Life in a Small Town

By Corey Breneisen

Twenty-five years ago, I left the small, rural town in Pennsylvania where I was raised to explore the great big world. At the time, I couldn’t wait to leave behind all the trappings of small town life. I never expected to return, let alone return with two kids who will now graduate from the same high school I did; and most likely have some of the same teachers I had; take swim lessons in the same community pool; ride bikes through the same streets; explore the same creeks. Life is funny though and here I am, back where I started.

I admit, I had an idyllic childhood. The small community gave me a taste of independence at a young age. In a town with a population of just under 2500, everyone knows everyone. And with a family entrenched in public service, and as large as mine, it was inevitable that everyone knew me. I had many eyes watching me which was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I had many caregivers, people looking out for me and keeping me safe. It meant I could ride my bike to the pool or my friend’s house at a younger age, or explore the town with my gang of cousins 12 and under. On the other hand, there were a lot of expectations to manage.

My escape was our local public library. I would sit in the front room in one of the high back winged chairs (which are still there!) and I would read about far off places and dream about the adventures that awaited me beyond the limits of this town.

Upon returning, I now see the many gifts growing up in a small town gave me. Independence, ambition, a sense of community, to name just a few. I am grateful I can share these gifts with my children. Already, they breathe a little deeper, laugh a little louder and explore a little more.

*For more stories about life in a #smalltown, follow us on Instagram: @raemariefinesoaps. Every Thursday we feature a post about our lives, our town and our families.


HomeMade Days in the Park

By Corey Breneisen

June in the Northern River Valley means HomeMade Days in Brandon Park. From the time I was a little girl, I remember enjoying this two day event featuring local artisans, craftspeople, live music and food. Tagging along with my mom and grandma, we would make our way through the park, my attention always drawn to vibrant hand crochet dolls or landscape paintings reflecting the local scenery.

It’s exciting for Rae Marie to become part of this long standing tradition. For me, personally, I couldn’t ask for a better homecoming. It’s an opportunity for us to establish ourselves as part of the local community of makers, and to maybe catch the eye of a little girl wandering through the park behind her mom and grandma.

Please come out and join us today and tomorrow. We will have all of your Rae Marie favorites plus a few surprises, as well as our new Rum Bar!

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We are Women

By Amy Ford

It's international Women’s Day! We are so thankful to be women who are in charge of our careers and who have established ourselves as business owners. We are proud to say we are women who can run a business while taking on other various roles in our personal lives. We are grateful to be able to work with and build a team of women who bring unique talent and perspective to our vision and mission. To be able to take control and be in this position is empowering and at the same time nerve wracking. This position of power comes with uncertainty, lots of faith, and a strong sense of self.

But, when your desires become stronger than the unknown or the scary, beautiful things can transform. Establishing Rae Marie comes with embracing our fears, owning our present moment and our present selves, and creating a positive mindset that feeds the fuel to our coming out at the very top. Being brave is scary and it can take many bruises to the ego in order to really start believing that we are capable of achieving what we set out to do.

The initial step is not being scared to be seen or heard.  Vulnerability is the foundation of building any business and as women, we have to prove that our vulnerability is not our weakness but our strength that holds up each layer of each floor. We push forward to climb and build each layer as we cut through the red tape that has told us to give up. When we hear no, we take that as another opportunity to grow even bigger and even better. The years of building Rae Marie has been a time of learning our place, our power, and our chance to live our life within our control. We make no apologies for being women, for not taking no as our answer, for being exactly who we were meant to be.

We are warriors. We are women. Watch out! We are nowhere near done!