Saturday, April 13, 2013

Manifesting Simplicity

Yesterday I made a new friend.  She dropped by Coastal Bend Health Foods to pick up a few items and try one of my smoothies.  I really enjoy blending love-filled concoctions and serving them with a smile.  But one of my favorite beautiful by-products of this Raw Y'all venture is fascinating conversation.  My new friend described to me an aspect of the LifeLine technique she learned from Diana, our local soul coach.  Diana instructed her to create a collage of images to represent her goals visually.  (I'm probably oversimplifying this.  Sorry, Diana!)  My new friend completed her manifest-montage, and within a few weeks realized her goals.  The success of the project impressed me and made me ponder my own vision-board.  Typically I express my goals and desires in writing, whether in my offline journal or on one of my blogs.  After meeting my new friend, I've been thinking about translating these ideas to a visual context. 

This morning I awoke before my alarm went off at 5am.  As I lay in bed listening to the nighttime sounds of the forest, I revisited my individual goals and their relationship with my goals for family and business. Three years ago, when I began my simplicity journey, my individual goals could be summed up in four simple words: write, raw, run, read.  The order doesn't really matter because they are all equally important to me.  Although I have achieved all four -- and especially my dream of a much simpler life -- I have not maintained them as consistently as I would like.  A visual reminder posted in my little nook of our home might be helpful.

While I brainstormed in bed, I discovered that, ironically, my quest toward simplicity has had some negative effects on the pursuit of our collective as well as individual goals.  Living in a tiny home was a long-time dream, and I've realized it.  That is the success part of the story.  What I've sacrificed, however, is my workspace (for writing) and privacy.  My mind began painting portraits of a new vision that would allow me to expand (slowly and comfortably) some sectors of my life; the need to write and visually render these revised ideas became apparent.

So why am I posting this here for my all my Raw Y'all friends to read?  I believe the manifestation process works if you write it, tell it, and draw or assemble it.  One of you might connect with my words and feel inspired to take up your own manifesting journey.  Another might have information to share that would help me along my path.  By putting these ideas "out there", I am announcing to the world that I'm ready to consider new routes in my journey.

Here goes...

My passion has always been writing, but I've only solicited a couple of paying projects.  They are like little tiny life-preservers bobbing on a great big ocean of free gigs.  I am at my best when I write and speak about green-sector topics; my goal is to create a part-time assignment where I write a weekly installment about native plants or tenets of sustainable landscaping; raw food recipes and preparation tips; and facets of sustainable living, such as tiny house dwelling, alternative energy generation, etc.  Several years ago I wrote an installment series called Green Mama for an online magazine -- my biggest paying gig!  I want to do that again but for our local market...

Speaking of much as I enjoy our "Rawkport Weekends", I also want to start teaching raw food classes.  Once per month, I'd like to present a different topic related to the food and philosophy of the raw lifestyle.  My fee would cover the time (probably two hours) and cost of food.  Yes, there will be sampling!  Eventually I would like to plan a retreat to encompass raw food, exercise, meditation, native plants, and more.  That will come a bit later, though.  First, the classes.

I have signed up for two races, one is our first annual Redfish Run that I have been fortunate to help coordinate with Kimmi of Coastal Bend Health Foods and Becky of RunnerGirl Nutrition.  In case you have not heard, our race is a fundraising event for beautification projects in our beloved downtown heritage district.  It is also part of our Earth Day festival which will be held at Kimmi's store on Austin Street, Saturday, April 27th, from 10am to 2pm.  (Shameless plug!)  The other race I'll be running is the Beach 2 Bay in May.  This will be my third time to participate, and my second to run the first leg on sandy (deep sand, actually) Padre Island.  I'm slow as wintertime molasses, but I run a consistent pace and always finish beaming as if I've won an Olympic medal.  (Writers have imaginations, eh?)  I want to run one more race this year -- the Harbor Half.  If my running partner will agree to meet me at 6:30am, I can get all my training in...hint hint, Becky.  ;-)

I have failed to set aside time to read, which is one of my longest running hobbies.  Recently, however, I read a book manuscript ENTIRELY ON MY PHONE.  Each morning at 5am I would snuggle into bed with my phone to read for an hour or two.  It took a bit longer than expected, but I did it and wrote something for the author.  (More about that project soon...)  I read on my phone because one laptop crashed, the other was deteriorating and basically only a few of the keys work.  This breakdown in technology has affected my ability to write, create presentations for speaking engagements, and keep business and family organized and flowing.  We have a new laptop -- hurray -- making this post possible.  In my spare time (that's sarcasm) I have been backing up and transferring to an external drive the digital version of our mobile adventure, forest adventure, business docs, taxes, everything.  Next week I will have the old laptop repaired.  If you know of anyone here in Rockport-Fulton who can make my keys type again, please comment below or drop me a line at tx.treehuggers at  A hug for you if you do...Now that I'm up earlier each morning I will make more time to read for pleasure.

Lastly, my guiding vision (which will help make all of these goals possible) looks like this: a 1-2 acre tract of raw land where I can build my tiny eco-home, 600sf with a 400sf attached screen room for enjoying the outdoors.  My tiny castle will be complete with rainwater harvesting system, composting toilet, solar panels, and a huge garden to sustain my raw food world.  Of course, aside from the edible garden, the entire property would be restored with historically native vegetation to offer food and shelter to birds, butterflies and other wildlife.  I don't really want to keep "farm" animals, other than to generate fertilizer and companionship.  I plan to adopt as many dogs and cats, and anything else that turns up at the animal shelter, as I can.  The size of the home will allow me the space and privacy to strive toward each of my goals.  Our micro-ranch would be used as an education center for sustainability practices in Texas.  Classes, programs, retreats: I have big plans!  Someday you will be able to pitch a tent, park an rv, or sleep outdoors under the stars, when you come to learn from the Texas Treehuggers!  Currently we live in a place where we are allowed to experiment with all of these technologies -- I'm eternally grateful for this opportunity to train our family for off-grid living.  Our home is really too small (200sf with 100sf attached screen room) to carry out my goals.  The missing piece of my current life-puzzle is the home, I've concluded.

So there it is, my vision for my life in its verbal form.  I have written and shared my hopes and dreams; time to pull together the visuals and make this new approach to simplicity my reality.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Today's smoothie: 1/2c. strawberries, 1/2c. blueberries, 1/2 cucumber, 1 carrot, 1c. packed mixed greens, juice of 1 Meyer Lemon, 1c. fresh squeezed OJ, 1/4c. chia seeds, water and ice. Blend with love, serve with a smile!

Tried to snap a pic, but this blend was so tasty, my glass was already empty and the straw was making airy, slurping noises.  Until tomorrow, then.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Raw Food for Gardeners

Tuesday I taught a class titled "Raw Food for Gardeners" for Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners as part of their brown bag series.  About 40 folks spent their lunch hour watching me whip up soup, lettuce wrap and a simple cacao-covered strawberries.  All raw.  Here are the recipes, in case you missed it.  Thank you to the Master Gardeners and to all the lovely people in attendance!  I had a wonderful time and look forward to the next opportunity to share my passion for all things raw!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Raw Y'all!

This will be the new home for  Raw Y'all, a division of that promotes plant-based foods as the foundation of a sustainable lifestyle.  Instead of setting up a blog specifically for this division, I've chosen to incorporate recipes, tips, announcements, and more into this blog.


Raw food is as much a part of our personal life as gardening, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, tiny house dwelling, and more.  Using this blog, I can use keywords to organize subjects better so that all the topics that turn me on can be streamlined into a singular 'site.  This brings me to my third reason for using this blog...I have too many blogs!

Would you like to try some of my raw goodies?  Come see me Fridays and Saturdays, 10a to 2p, at Coastal Bend Health Foods, located at 111 N. Austin Street in Rockport.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Finally...A Welcome and Why

I finally did it.  I found a few seconds to set up this blog so that I may more easily share our experiences here in the forest.  If you are just joining us, nearly two years into this odyssey, this path toward sustainability...welcome.  Please read through posts on "my other blogs" to backtrack our route.  Ours has been an incredible journey -- mostly wonderful, sometimes painful -- toward sustainability.

I have a list of blogposts to upload in the coming days.  Hair detox, raw food, off-grid laundry, tiny home living, and more.  Most are already written and waiting for somewhere to be posted.  Some need a little fine-tuning, but all will reveal some of the details of how we live.

First, the why...

When our daughter was born, we had the busiest spring season in the history of our business.  Keeping up with the increased workload with a newborn was a tremendous challenge, but we savored every moment of success and parenthood.  Confident the streak would continue, we took a risk and moved from Plano to Corpus Christi, TX, to raise our daughter on the beach.  We maintained our clientele in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area by traveling once per month for meetings.  The rest of the month, we worked from home on Padre Island.  Later that year, our business declined in-step with the downturn in the global economy.  Pursestrings had to be tightened, but fortunately we had an abundance of time to spend with our new baby.  For the first two years of her life, David and I realized our long-time dream of raising our child together.  About the time she turned two, requests for our services began to pick up again.  David had to travel a lot, and none of us enjoyed being apart.  Also at that time, we began to feel a bit claustrophobic at home.  Simply put, we had too much stuff.  Clutter, yes.  Items too big for their space, yep.  Managing all this stuff took away from time with our daughter, time we would rather spend playing and exploring outdoors.  There were many choices, such as moving back to Plano and taking advantage of new business.  We could have stayed on Padre Island and taken a job locally while rebuilding NativeDave part-time in the new market.  Or, we could continue to work in DFW, live on the beach, and spend time together as a family, but we would have to make some pretty big changes.

You guessed it: we chose the latter.  For nine months we sold and donated items from our home.  We moved into a slide-in truck camper, finished out a 5x8 adventure trailer, and moved the rest of our stuff into storage.  In September 2010, we took off toward DFW as a 100% mobile family and business.  Within a few weeks, we would be back at the beach, camping for several weeks at a time, in our new tiny home/office on wheels.  The seemingly more drastic choice was without question the best for us.  No longer do I feel like the curator in a museum of other people's memories; I'm ready for the next round of purging, in fact.  My family is no longer separated by work.  When we have meetings in DFW or Austin, or wherever, we all go.  Together.  By making our family and the mission of our business our priorities, we have discovered the core of our happiness by way of simplicity and sustainable living practices...but our journey is far from over.

Since August 2011 we have lived onsite our project on the Texas Coast.  The camper and trailer have been retired -- wait until you read THAT post, whew.  Now we live inside a 300sf safari-style tent tucked under the canopy of Live Oaks and Red Bays.  Here we are restoring and developing a 6-acre-or-so tract that has ecological, historical and cultural significance to the Americas.  This is a dream project for us professionally, because it allows us to blossom as designers, writers, photographers, naturalists and nature-lovers.  Our client also allows us a flexible schedule so that we may travel to other markets for other projects.  On the personal side, because we are in a remote and raw section of the property, we are able to test our ideas for living a more sustainable lifestyle.  Our goal is to migrate to an entirely off-grid, self-sufficient environment by combining simplicity of yesterday with technology of today.  This phase of our journey is still in-progress.