Category Archives: inspiration

{April Art Auction} for the Grow Hope foundation


AAA_teresasheeley copy

Hello friends!


I wanted to share some exciting news about a fundraiser that is being hosted on the Grow Hope site starting tomorrow and running through Saturday at 3pm PST.  We will be holding an online art auction to hopefully raise enough money to completely install the roof on the first building at Tusubira Village. You can learn more here.




I would LOVE it if you would not only join us in bidding on the amazing art that has been donated, but also SPREADING THE WORD! The more people that know about it, the higher our bids will be.  This auction has the potential to really kick this building into the next stage and with YOUR help we can make that happen.




The auction will be found at


Please share it everywhere you can.  Thank you once again for all of your amazing support~




{24 hours left} and miracles are happening!



Friends- I am AMAZED! Your support has been incredible!  We are down to the wire with 24 hours left in our campaign to help an amazing community in rural Uganda change their lives FOREVER.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to install the well in this community as it will be THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in building our educational compound – Tusubira Village.  But the well is only the first thing to go onto the compound.  And when we can begin planning the next step is up to YOU!  Have you had a chance to make a donation and join us in making this dream come true?  There is still time if you haven’t!  Visit the campaign page and within five minutes you too can be one of the incredible team of people who are doing what they can to impact people they may never meet in a place so far away.  And yet the care enough to be a part of this team because they know that what may not be much to them will be everything to those in our little community in Africa.

I hope you will join us in this last 24 hours and help that number continue to rise!



Donate to {change a life}



Friends, I am SO EXCITED about this!  After months of planning and working to create what we KNOW will be an amazing place of learning, we have kicked off our Indiegogo campaign – Build Tusubira Village!!  Our goal is set to raise money for the well- the most important and most expensive part of the project.  A well will be life-changing on a day to day basis for this village.  Currently women and children walk up to 2 miles each way twice a day to collect water through dense jungle that is NOT SAFE.  There are no animals there- but there are other things that, as a mama, nearly kill me to think of.  So- a well is a MUST so that these kiddos can safely collect clean safe water.

However…  If we can raise more than we have set as our goal- WE WILL GET THIS VILLAGE UP AND RUNNING!  We have a complete plan that will offer the people of our community so much hope – a place that they can come and learn to grow nutritional food, learn skills and basic life changing ways of living day to day that will improve health and wellness.  It is the beginning of creating a better life for themselves and we simply want to show them how to do it.

So- what I would LOVE to ask you to do is to visit the campaign and then SPREAD THE WORD!  I am so grateful for any help getting this project all over social media in hopes of getting people to donate to changing the lives of this amazing community.  With this project, we are offering them a helping hand by which to improve their OWN lives, and to continue doing so for generations to come.  We can do this my friends- I truly believe that~

Thanks so much for any and all help you can provide and I can’t wait to share the progress with you!






{Follow along!}




Hello friends!


With the arrival of the sun and with it the warmer weather of spring I am not often on my computer.  Thus, posting seems to all but disappear sometimes.  However, if you want to follow along on our adventures on the farm or our travel to wonderful places around the globe, you can easily to so on Instagram!  It’s quick and easy, not to mention visual- of which I am totally in love with.


Happy Tuesday!



{mexico} and going forward




Hello friends,


I feel like I have neglected this little place in my life lately.  So many things going on, life getting in the way, travel, projects.  I love it here and it usually isn’t until I return that I realize how much I have missed it.  It is the place I come to share the parts of my life that give me joy, or inspiration, or to share things I think you too will appreciate.  I try to keep it rather light- except for the times when I need you to really understand the weight that your support can carry; the lives you can help change.  I don’t tend to do a lot of “venting” here, or divulging of private information- I feel like we all have enough of that in our “local” lives that we don’t need more drama coming from me.  But I want to share something that I experienced a couple of weeks ago, and it may get a bit personal.  There are no recipes, or inspiration in this post- only me, and some of the parts may not be all that pretty.  Proceed with caution…




Last month #4 and I took a trip to Mexico to visit my brother and his wife.  This brother, who is 3 1/2 years younger than I am, is the one I grew up with.  He is the one that I knew from the moment that he was born, the one who’s hand I held and rubbed the back of when he was a toddler as it was so soft.  It is strange, the things you remember the clearest.  We argued – a lot – as children, but I don’t think I thought about it a lot growing up.  What I do remember about our childhood is that I was “in charge” of him a lot when we were young.   It was a time (the 70s) when kids came home from school alone and no one worried.  A time when, come summer, we left the house in the morning to play in the neighborhood and didn’t return home until after a game of kick-the-can long after sunset.  It was a different time.  But what I remember about us- about my brother and I – was that because I was responsible for him I bossed him around.  A lot.  And I’m sure, as anyone would, he hated it.  I won’t go into the whys or the whats of our childhood- suffice it to say that there are many things I had conveniently “forgotten” about that time.  I know now that it was a survival tactic- but back then, it was just survival.





When I was 16 and my brother was 12 my mother moved back to Canada from the states.  It was a sudden decision and one that we had no say in.  As I was going into my junior year of high school I decided that I would not move to Canada with her.  My brother, however, went.  And that was the end of my life living with a little brother, the only brother I had ever known.  (right now I am struggling for words to put here,  because of all that I have been re-processing over the past two weeks, it has again suddenly hit me at how insane, how wrong and completely fucked up that is- being torn away from your little brother)  I went to live with my dad, and continued on with school.  It was a messed up time.  I was an hormonal pissy teenage girl who was so angry that her mother had abandoned her, and I’m pretty sure I made life hell for my dad and step-mom.  God bless them for not kicking me out over the two years that I was there.






For whatever reason, (and a clear sign of how messed up I was at the time) when I graduated school I decided it was a good idea for me to move to Canada to live with my mom rather than going to college.  Two things- 1. I was all kinds of messed up at that point.  I can’t accurately and fully convey the disaster that was my mental state in any way that will make you understand what a hot mess I was.  and, 2. I don’t for one minute regret that decision, as through it I gained two incredible boys and, most likely two more little ones years later.  So, off I went to Canada to start anew.  I moved in with my mom, her boyfriend and my little brother where I stayed for – well, again, I have blocked much of that time so I can’t really tell you how long I was there.  I’m pretty sure it was less than a year.  Even though I lived with my little brother we didn’t bond through that time.  I know he had his own demons to battle, and my heart breaks for that wasted time that we could have possibly found a way to connect and be each other’s ally through it all.  However, that wasn’t the case and as soon as I was able to move out on my own I did just that.






Fast forward 24 years.  Mid-winter break was coming up and my brother and his wife had moved to Mexico within the past year.  I had probably seen them twice since their wedding nine years ago and hadn’t seen him more than two or three other times in those 24 years.  We rarely talked and only sent the occasional message through facebook.  And that was it- life as siblings.  (again, a loss, as what the hell made me think that was okay???)  But for some reason, the idea to visit them with #4 came and when I asked them what they thought they seemed to be excited at the possibility.  So we booked tickets and planned to go.  I had no idea what to expect, but knew that this may be my one chance to connect with two people whom I love and who are my family.  But mostly I was just excited to see my little brother.




Sissy and her dad (whom I have adored since he stitched up #2 at their rehearsal dinner 9 years ago) picked us up from the airport and I was so excited to see them after a long day of travel with three flights and time at four different airports.  My brother had dropped them off to meet us and then waited in the car (Mexican airport parking issues) until we were ready for him.  When I saw him- well, he seemed so grown up.  I know I had seen him a few years prior for a day but it really hit me when I saw him in Mexico.  My little brother wasn’t little.  And our life had passed us by- it hadn’t waited for things to be fixed, it just kept on moving along, me without a little brother.   It was the first time my heart felt a tiny bit shattered by it all.




We arrived at their beautiful home, got the tour, met their incredibly well-trained dogs and then went for a little walk around the neighborhood.  Finn and I were enthralled from the very first moment.  The smell of the plumeria trees, the orange trees, the oranges!  There were cactus everywhere, the air was warm, and – for the first time since considering going on this trip – I felt like this may have been a very good idea indeed.  #4 was immediately smitten with my brother and from those first few minutes, the two of them were inseparable.  It was amazing to watch, a bit emotional and completely joyous for me to see two of my very favorite people on the planet bond like that.  I was grateful, and humbled that the man that I had loved when he was a child was now loving my child.




The entire week was a whirlwind of amazing destinations, quiet walks on beaches or through beautiful old towns with whitewashed adobe homes.  It was incredible food, good wine (well, good wine one night- that second night, let’s just say someone “may” have purchased a bottle of wine not exactly meant for enjoying more than a very small glass, while someone else “may” have consumed most of the bottle herself) and deep, meaningful conversation.  That conversation is what meant the most to me on the trip, and is also what has left me in a state of just left of crazy since  I have returned home.  One thing I do need to share, however, is that my sister-in-law may be one of the MOST insightful, understanding, kind and empathetic people on the planet.  And I get to have her as a sister-in-law- although really, she is a sister that I have never had.  Through her we were able to talk about things that were tough, and ugly – things that I had forgotten for so many years.  You have to remember- my brother is the only person on the planet who really knows what my childhood was like.  He is the only one I can talk to who actually “gets it”  – who can relate, help me remember and understand my feelings.  While we dealt with growing up differently, I think that he understands why I coped the way I did- even if, as a child, he hated me for it.  He told me that, you know.  That he hated me for most of his life.  I cried.  I cried because I was a child and I didn’t do anything to him that would make him hate me, and yet he did, because of the situation.  And I don’t blame him- at all.  I hated me.  But we lost 40 years.  FORTY FUCKING YEARS.  And the worst part is that he is cool, and funny, and hella smart.  And did I mention funny?  And only NOW am I getting a chance to know that.  And I hate that.  And over the past four or five years I haven’t been much of a crier.  I haven’t had any reason for tears.  Sometimes I have to actually watch a sad movie if I know I need a good cry because I simply don’t have anything to cry about.  But now- NOW I cry often.  I get teary for all sorts of reason.  I get teary when I see Tia and Tio (auntie and uncle in spanish- what #4 calls them) on video chat working with #4 on his spanish.  I get teary knowing they are so far away and that I don’t even know when we will see them again.  I get teary writing this post.  I’m a damn faucet.  But it’s good, it’s healing happening, and even though I’m sad and so damn angry, I’m also hopeful.  And so damn grateful for that trip.  And for them.






I guess the problem is, when I was young and my life consisted of my parents and my brother, that was all I knew.  But as a mother- a person blessed to raise and guide and influence and love and cherish these four incredible boys- I am horribly saddened by my childhood.  I simply hadn’t really thought about it before- which I know sounds ridiculous.  But I had buried it and moved on, and considered myself all the better for doing so.  But I wasn’t better- I was BURYING IT – and all that is is a festering wound that never heals and gets infected and one day that infection gets so bad that you have the choice of either treating it or letting it destroy you.

I’m starting therapy.  I need it- I probably always have.  I can’t do confrontation.  At all.  It terrifies me and makes me physically ill.  I can’t even talk to someone who works for us if there is an issue that needs resolution for fear of someone getting upset with me.  What the hell?  So yes, therapy seems like a good idea.  Because if you say something about me, endlessly, I won’t confront you- but talk smack about my kids and I will TAKE. YOU. DOWN.  I need to take you down in defense of me.  Because I’m worth it.  We all are.

 I’m sure there is so much more I wanted to tell you, but then again I really didn’t plan on telling you this much.  But it’s healing, and it’s a start.  And it’s time- I need to start.

Pretty pictures, no?  It was outstanding- gorgeous in a tropical non-tourist blue water white buildings palm trees and cactus and lots of sunshine sort of way.  And we loved it.  Every single minute.  (and the black dolphins!  how can I forget #4 being in the water a mere 30 feed from black dolphins playing in the surf???)

(and I wish I could show you a photo of #4’s face when he sees photos of his Tio- there is such joy and excitement there, even though he misses him mucho.  thank goodness for video chat…)





a {Miracle} that I needed today



These past few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for me.  I know this isn’t the first time I have said those words, and after spending quite a lot of time thinking about it, I have begun to realize that I put a lot of pressure on myself to “accomplish something”.  Sometimes it’s photography oriented- working on projects, writing, shooting, submitting them.  Sometimes it’s running this house- planning and preparing meals, making sure everything is done and on schedule, keeping up on laundry and cleaning and gardens.  Other times it’s planning projects for the home – new gardens, outbuildings to design, decks to build, painting to be done, animals to add to the menagerie.  But for so many years – nearly twenty as a matter of fact – the one thing that has been consistent, the one thing that has demanded the majority of my attention has been my greatest job to date- being a mom to these incredible four boys.  These crazy charismatic hilarious spunky challenging boys.  It is the one job that gives me the most joy and the one job that I can finally sit back after all these years and look at the partial results and admit that maybe, as a mom, I have done a pretty good job.  It has defined me.  It is who I am.  And with them growing up, with #4 needing me in that day-to-day nurturing snuggling maintenance sort of way so much less, I feel my grasp on my identity slipping away.  And some days it depresses the hell out of me.  It literally weighs me down in the center of my chest and leaves me with tears rolling down my face as I wonder who I am supposed to be and what I’m supposed to do now.  I feel rather lost at these times and while I am sure that I am not the first parent to feel this, right now this transitional time can be a struggle for me.  It is no secret to those that know me on a personal level that I would adopt a little girl IN A HEARTBEAT- even my boys know it.  However, one needs both parents to be “in” on such a huge life decision and while I struggle, my husband is embracing this new chapter that is opening up for us.  He loves his time in the studio, working on projects that bring him endless joy and that he is passionate about.  He finds that the less the boys need him on a moment by moment basis, the more he can find joy in things he loves.  And I totally get that.  I respect it, and know that while he is an incredible (amazing unbelievable fabulous) dad he deserves to live the life he dreams of.  And that life doesn’t include adding to our family.




Wow- that is NOT where this post was meant to go.  However, it may explain where I have been- namely- not posting very often these days.  I have been busy trying to embrace life, as it is, right now, with my boys- all five of them.  I have been meeting #1 for coffee at the Whole Foods near his house (when he isn’t coming to dinner or hang out with us), loving watching #2 enjoy his last year of high school and all of the fun that involves, working with #3 on trying some new eating habits and hoping that they help him feel better, both physically and mentally.  And then there is #4, filled with such excitement and joy for life, learning and trying new things.  Last week he tried climbing at our local REI and absolutely LOVED it.  He’s so damn fun.


So, again, off track.  Let’s try this again…  This morning an email arrived from Dr. Isaac who is doing such amazing work in Uganda.  He and the volunteers have been working so hard to impact the lives of the community we are working in and I can’t express how grateful I am to them for keeping me so well informed and feeling a little bit closer to it all.




A few months ago Dr. Isaac and the volunteers were out visiting homes when they came across a little girl named Miracle.  Miracle is 6 years old and when our team found her she had been kept indoors  for much of her life due to the stigma attached with her being born with disabilities.   Miracle was born with Spina Bifida, which she had had surgery for when she was younger.  She also has hydrocephalus which which is a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling.  Due to these conditions, Miracle has not been able to go to school, interact with other children or experience any form of a normal childhood.  She doesn’t have the use of her legs, thus is unable to walk or move around much.








The email that arrived this morning was filled with photos- photos that brought me such joy, such inspiration and such a sense of purpose.  They were photos of Dr. Isaac and Sharon delivering a wheelchair to Miracle.  The team has been working with her to create an environment in her home that enables her to begin to live as a normal 6 year old girl.  They built her a table that supports her so that she can practice writing with a pencil or eat her meals.  They built her a chair to use as a specialized latrine.  And today they delivered a wheelchair- one that they had built to allow Miracle to be moved easily in and out of her home as well as- hopefully, eventually- to school.  The joy- the pure and utter happiness that shines on this little girl’s face in that new chair- it is unmistakable.  The local children surrounded her and were so excited to take turns pushing her around and get to know her.  I can only imagine what this would feel like to a little girl who probably felt very alone for most of her life.  This is a little girl who, were she born here, would be fully integrated into society, and taking part in things that every other child does.  But with stigmas and lack of medical care and therapy, children like Miracle are often kept aside, hidden and forgotten about.  Thankfully our team met her and are now able to completely change the trajectory of her story.  She is one of the many people I can’t wait to meet when I return.  I look forward to the day I can hold Miracle on my lap and practice writing with her.  I am counting the weeks…




Have a wonderful rest of your weekend friends,


You can find more about our project on my new Grow Hope Foundation website.  Stop by and say hello~



the {after Christmas almost to New Year’s} post



Hello friends,


I hope you have had a marvelous holiday season.  We certainly have.  The past month seems to have flown by with preparations – shopping and wrapping and planning the meals we would enjoy.  In the middle of it all I flew off for four days in New York City where I spent time with a dear friend walking and shopping and eating. We were there to celebrate with Charity: Water- an organization that I didn’t know a lot about before I went. After my time spent at their headquarters learning about all of the incredible things they do, I am now a huge supporter.  What an amazing team!  Lead by Scott Harrison, Charity: Water is on a mission to get clean water to as many people as it possibly can.  We were at their annual Charity: Gala where they raised over 4 million dollars!  Do you have any idea how many people will benefit from the generosity of the people who donated?  It was an incredible night and honestly, I was a bit teary watching the enthusiasm and excitement that night.  If you haven’t seen all that they do, check them out.  They have a fabulous store where I just bought my first of many “water” t-shirts.  I wore it today and after all of the indulgence of the past few days of Christmas, it reminded me of where I want to go and what I want to do in the new year.








Speaking of the new year, I have a few aspirations for 2014.  As I believe that putting things out there gives me the inspiration (read: pressure) to follow through, I thought I would share them here.


~I want to take more time for sit down lunches, inviting guests, drinking champagne, laughing and inspiring and building each other up 

~I want to purposefully move more, walk regularly, do a class here and there, try new things that make me nervous and will push me out of my comfort zone

~I want to continue to pare down possessions, find new homes for good things that are no longer needed here, use up and finish projects that have been sitting far too long

~I want to support local artisans, farmers and shops more than we currently do.  I want to alter our menu and lifestyle so that we can find  most of what we need at small businesses rather than big box stores

~I want to write more letters and send more parcels to those I love and am grateful for

~date day.  date night.  more of that.




I am also in the process of getting The Grow Hope Foundation registered with the Federal government so that I will be able to provide tax receipts for those generous souls who donate to my project in Africa.  After I have that ability, I am going to set a great big fundraising goal- I’m thinking $50k.  Go big or go home, don’t you think?  In 2014 I want to be able to finish the chicken farm project, as well as complete our 50 home pilot project.  {a new post on the progress can be found here} I hope to travel to Uganda to photograph all of the progress our amazing team in Jinja has accomplished.  I want to capture the beautiful village members whose lives have been affected by this project.  Our hope is to show what can be done when a team of dedicated volunteers provide education and guidance to a willing receptive village.

The coming year is sure to bring travel, and adventure.  Laughter and tears- but surely more laughter.  The amazing thing about standing on the edge of a new year is the not knowing what it has in store.  Here’s hoping that 2014 is filled with inspiration, kindness, laughter, generosity and time with those we love.



the gift of {giving}

donation bag


Hi friends,

Autumn has truly arrived here on the farm.  If there was any doubt, it was removed this past weekend when the winds whipped the leaves in a frenzy and the power was lost for about 24 hours.  As I have been on my own with the boys for the past 8 days we were left to get the generator running, light candles and make sure the fires were going.   This is indeed my favorite season as I am a nester by nature and love a good “batten down the hatches” day.  I feel incredibly blessed that when the weather turns our family has a place to go that is warm and dry.  I feel blessed that our pantry is never bare and we never go to bed hungry.  And while this is an issue for some year round it seems that with the colder weather it is brought to the forefront and seems more prevalent- more pressing come late autumn and winter.  Thus, after being inspired by another creative soul I spent today doing a bit of shopping.  I really (really really really) want to make this holiday season one of giving and selflessness- of kindness towards our fellow man and doing what we can to bring comfort and joy to those that need it.

We put together these little comfort bags- a small collection of things I imagine those without a home or a stable income could use.  We often come across people in our community in need and while it is easy to hand a dollar or two to a stranger, I felt that it was more important to take the time to put something together that would not only be useful but let them know that we had thought of them.  I intend to offer these bags without expectation and am prepared to be turned down.  However as I hope that for the most part they will be well-received and that if nothing else, they will bring a bit of joy to someone we don’t even know.

I really want our boys to become men of integrity as well as men who feel the pull to leave the world a better place because they were in it.

dream big.  do good.


{Going forward with a new heart} & I hope you will come along




I realize that this post is long overdue.  I still can’t believe it has been over a month since I returned from my trip.  I have wanted to share every incredible detail with you since I returned, but I have been having a difficult time trying to sort out all of my thoughts and memories from that life-changing time in Africa. I will tell you that it was so much more than I expected, I fell in love with the people and the place and I am already counting the days until I can return.  There seems to be so many “parts” of the trip- but one part has occupied much of my thoughts and time since I returned, and that is what I most want to share with you today.



{a classroom- which is filled with children wanting to learn}


Education.  While we aren’t a family who pushes our children towards schooling we do encourage a love of learning.  We do a lot of research around here, as well as reading and asking questions about things that intrigue us.  For us, learning opens up a whole new world, it expands the possibilities and improves conditions.  There are so many ways to change the world, but for me education is the start of it all.



{Dr. Isaac- the man behind the mission and someone I am so very grateful to have met}


While I was in Africa last month I met some amazing people with big dreams.  I also learned a lot about the plight of those in the outlying rural areas of southern Uganda.  When I have the opportunity to immerse myself into a culture that is drastically different than my own, I tend to absorb as much knowledge as I can and my brain immediately goes into problem solving mode.  I ask questions- a LOT of questions, and gather information on existing conditions as well as potential solutions.  I visit with people, find someone to translate if possible and really try to “hear” what it is the people in these difficult situations feel and think.  I put myself in their place and imagine how I would feel and what I would want to change.  I respect that different cultures may cope with things differently than mine, and so I don’t judge.  I hug as many children and women as I can and I smile as much as possible.  However it is always difficult to see suffering.



{it’s a bit blurry but I absolutely treasure this photo}

This was especially true in a children’s hospital that I visited.  To see those mamas holding their beautiful children, so very sick and weak- it was a place I couldn’t even imagine having to be.  Their strength and love of their babies carried them through while they sat sharing a bed with another mama and her babe, sometimes for days on end.  It captured my heart. Their resilience as they watched children around them get better, or get worse must be heart wrenching.  But they were bound together, by love of their child, in a place where help wasn’t always available and the future was unknown.




So I asked questions.  A lot of questions to my host, whom I have grown so fond of and gained so much respect for.  Why are they here?  What is the leading cause of illness?  What can be done?  How many are lost.  That one nearly sent me to the floor, my knees locked so not as to buckle at the thought.  When you read the numbers, hear the stories, it is easy enough to separate one’s self from it.  Especially when you are 7000 miles away from it all.  However, when you are standing there, in a ward with 20 beds filled with mamas and babies, two nurses and not enough plasma or medication for anyone, trust me- it does more than touch you.  It changes you.




I also visited “the slum”- from here on out referred to as “the challenged community”.  I had heard so much, about danger and disease and sadness.  Driving up my stomach was in knots, so nervous at what I would find.  But I learned something that day.  Perception is an incredible thing.  Where one person sees danger and despair, another sees hope and joy and potential.  I was that person.  Yes, I saw dire living conditions, lack of food and garbage everywhere.  I saw bloated bellies from lack of nutrition, signs of AIDS on little heads and tattered clothing.  I also saw smiles- smiles that would light up the night sky.  I saw mamas carrying their wee ones on their back while washing or cleaning or cooking.  I saw children asking, no – begging.  But while one would think that they would be begging for food, or money or even something to play with, one would be wrong.  What they all asked for were school fees.  $20 a term.  $60 a year.  to. go. to. school.  And I remembered all the days my boys complained about going to school, and I thought, if only they knew…




Home again, having had time to process it all and gather my thoughts, talking to some amazing people on the ground in Uganda and coming up with a plan.  I finally feel like I can do something.  For those of you who know me, you know how passionate I get about things that I truly believe in.  I truly believe in this.  I believe that education is the fundamental requirement for change.  I think that by educating people we can help them improve their situation.  I think that giving people things solves something in the same way a bandaid helps a cut.  However, I want to avoid the cut in the first place.



{happy children living in truly challenging conditions}


My plan is twofold.  The first part is educating children.  I think that learning to read and write and do math is a step towards making a better life for themselves.  Educating children will empower them to in turn create a better, more productive society in their little village and beyond. It will provide confidence and allow them to dream.  And dreams are important and something that too few of the children I met have.

The second part of the equation is educating people- most likely the majority being women- on the importance of sanitation.  Do you know that most of the ailments that the children I saw in that children’s hospital were due to diarrhea, which most commonly occurs by the spread of disease that originates in human and animal fecal matter?  Do you know that much of the transmission of such things is due to lack of clean water, both for drinking and for washing?  And would you believe that many of the children in that hospital will be helped, only to return to the same conditions that they had been exposed to, and will end up back at the hospital again in the future?  It is a vicious cycle that really seems so solvable in my mind.  It is all about EDUCATION- educating people about how to keep things sanitary.  The importance of latrines and keeping fecal matter away from human access.  The importance of clean water and clean bodies.  The importance of proper nutrition on developing bodies and pregnant mamas.  And while this all seems like common sense to those of us living in modern civilization, for people living in remote areas with little education it is something that needs to be learned.  And I don’t mean just telling them what needs to be done.  I mean a team, working together, comprised of a doctor, educated volunteers and village elders, all of whom believe in the value of making these changes for the betterment of the village.  



 {changing conditions such as these will make a vast difference in the health of the people in these communities}

And so we are doing a pilot project.  Dr. Isaac and Sharon, Godfrey and a number of other volunteers, whom I will introduce you to soon.  50 homes.  50 families.  Each hand picked based on need, willingness to change and conditions.  Each home will be thoroughly documented, from physical conditions and current nutritional intake to the health issues of the residents.  Photos will be taken, a map of the villages and the homes taking part will be created.  The team will then work together to educate the residents and help them make the changes necessary to improve their conditions, but also be available to assist in implementation of the changes.  People will be encouraged to work together to clean and build and support one another.  There will be ongoing support, a doctor will oversee the physical wellbeing of the residents in order to assess what conditions are contributing to any medical conditions.  Nutrition will be taught with a focus on the importance of proper nutrition for children and pregnant mothers. And hopefully, if all goes as we are praying it will, when this test group is finished, ailments will be down, sanitation will be improved and the people that have taken part will go forward living a healthier life.




The emphasis of this program will be empowerment of these communities, giving them self-sufficiency by introducing healthy practices that will then give them the opportunity to look beyond just sustaining life, but actually building a life that offers more than simply surviving.

The work that has already been done is amazing.  The team has been out conducting community meetings and the response has been incredible.  People gather to listen to Dr. Isaac share the importance of hygiene and nutrition.  They discuss things as a group and make plans.  I loved what Dr. Isaac sent me in an email after the first meeting~  “They gave us seats but we didn’t take them up. We sat with them down because we didn’t want to look so special. We sat down In grasses like they did.”  He sends updates nearly every day with what has been done, how people have reacted, and the teams surprise at the unexpected moments that arise when meeting with families.  Below are a few bits and pieces of what has transpired since the beginning just a few short weeks ago~

“we have been in the community today and we had a meeting with our first group. it was so nice and they are really very interested in our program. we shared a lot and agreed that we shall be having two general meetings in every month and then for the rest of the days, we shall be doing family support activities. we shall be doing home visits and guiding families at family level and when we have the general meetings, we share the experience and also discuss new topics to put in practice. Kim, this was very nice and the community was so warm. on the spot, we noted that jiggers and bed bugs are a very big problem in this group. we have offered to help them have insecticides to spray and then we shall go on addressing the other issues.”

“the youngest girl prisca was so irritable with un-consolable crying, just looking at her feet, they were swollen. I examined her and i noted that clinically she had protein energy malnutrition(PEM) I realized she never gets any balanced diet with enough proteins, she has never had a chance to take milk  apart from breast milk which she no longer gets.she has never had an egg. we therefore gave some little money so that they can buy her some milk and eggs so that she can recover from this condition.”

(which led us to our newest project which I will share soon!)




So, for now, I will be in fundraising mode.  I plan to re-open the shop with more inventory soon and ALL PROFITS will go directly to this program.  I will be looking for other ideas and am always open to suggestions.  You will find a lot more photos that are updated regularly on our FACEBOOK PAGE. Please head over and “like” us to be a part of it all.   I plan to go back in 2014 to take part in the meetings as well as capture it all on film.  By then the pilot program should be making a drastic impact on the communities it is a part of.  I can’t wait to see it for myself.  I hope you will join me on this amazing journey- it promises to change lives- and the future of the people involved.  You and I will be changed as well~



 {a simple place of worship and one of the most peaceful places I have ever been}




A {Winner}





Hello friends~


I apologize for not getting this posted yesterday!  #4 helped me by picking a number and I am excited to announce that Shari of Abundant Picnic is the winner of the Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays} course!  Shari- please email me at with your email information and I will pass it along to Jeanne.  I know you are going to love it!  For those of you who didn’t win, you can still join in on the inspiration.  Simply hit the “Buy Now” button on the bottom of THIS post to make sure you don’t miss this fabulous opportunity!

Happy Tuesday~



Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays}



I wanted to share an inspiring opportunity with you that I know many of you will love.  Some time back I was a part of a fabulous online course called Creatively Made Home, which was hosted by Jeanne Oliver and included some pretty inspiring women.  I loved the interaction with the women who participated as well as sharing a part of what made our home special to us.  I am really excited to tell you that Jeanne is hosting another course and the line-up is FANTASTIC!  The women taking part in this series are absolutely wonderful inside and out.  This course, “Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays}” will be filled with ideas and inspiration for your home during the holiday season.  The timing is perfect as it is early enough to really begin to figure out what it is that make the holidays special to you and your family, and how you can create a feeling of magic in your home.




The course description from Jeanne~


Join eight of my friends and me as we celebrate loving on your home, friends and family through the holidays.
You will be encouraged as you hear honestly from each woman about the times things did not go as planned during their holidays.
You will hear honest discussions about their own journey of hospitality.
You will walk away inspired as you hear about the traditions and special moments from their childhood and how they create special moments with their families today.
You will be able to watch beautiful videos with gift giving ideas, decorating projects and favorite family recipes.
We all want to create authentic moments with our friends and families.
We all desire for the ones we love to leave our homes knowing that they were welcomed and loved.
My hope is that this course will help you slow down and find the joy and beauty in the holidays.
*There will be 30+ project videos
These will be incredible videos that include everything from cooking, gift giving and decorating
*Tons of beautiful house photos from each of the nine women
*Supply Lists and PDFs for each project
*A digital recipe book of the recipes shared in this course




I am also excited to be giving away one spot in this course. Simply leave a comment in the comment section and I will draw the winner this coming Sunday, August 25th.  If however you want to get in on an early bird savings, Jeanne is offering the course for $48 from now until Monday August 26th.  After that, the course will run $58.  When you register you will have access to the course for ONE FULL YEAR- plenty of time to get through the content and create the holidays that you have always wanted.

You can sign up for the course by using the paypal button below.






{A Winner!}


I apologize for not getting this done yesterday but alas, I couldn’t seem to step away from the gardens- even with this heat!  The winner of the fabulous Raven + Lily wristlet is Rachel Schindler!  Rachel- if you would be so kind as to send me your mailing address via email at  I will get it sent out to you!

Have a wonderful week!



Fabulous {wristlet} give-away!

raven + lily-4


Hello friends,


After all of the recent emails asking for YOUR help, I would like to do something nice for you.  I have been so appreciative of all of the wonderful support, kind words and encouragement- it means so much.  I have less than a month before I depart and have finally been able to really focus on the packing, the collecting of items I plan to bring and the preparing to be away for three weeks (not a small endeavor with this little farm and all of it’s inhabitants).


raven + lily-3


I’d like to introduce you to Raven + Lily.  I came across a wonderful source for items that were created by women, for women to empower women world-wide.  You can learn more about them here.  I bought this little wristlet and while I love it, I plan to purchase another for myself.  I love supporting such an amazing company and hope that you will visit their website to learn more.  They have some wonderful items available and doesn’t it feel good to know that the treasure you are purchasing was made by women who were compensated fairly for their work?


If you want to be entered into the draw to win this sweet bag leave a comment.  I will draw a name on Sunday!

Good luck,



raven + lily-2

returning {home}

Maine river


I often find that after a trip somewhere, whether it be for work or personal, I return home inspired and energized to really immerse myself in the life that we have.  I have been on the east coast for the past week and that is especially true as I return home today.  I saw so many things that I am bringing home with me- people giving their all to build something amazing and simple and so wonderful.  The warmth of small towns and the way they welcome you and make you immediately feel like you are home.  Bread that is made by hand and the smell of it cooking in the oven- and counting the minutes until you can cut off the first piece and watch butter melt on the hot soft insides.

This trip was filled with hard work and long days.  There are hundreds of photos to be viewed, edited and sent off.  However, as I sit here at my gate at the airport watching the snow fall and trying not to fall asleep I am reminded of how incredibly blessed I am to not only have spent a week doing something I love with a good friend, but to also be returning home to a place that I absolutely love where my very favorite boys are waiting.   And while I have been going non-stop for days, I am filled with inspiration on things I want to do in our home, changes I want to make, ideas for slowing down and living a richer life.  This truly is one of my very favorite things about travel- the motivation I feel when I return home.

This week I will be getting things ready to list in the shop.  I am considering restocking on a Saturday so that more people have the opportunity to be online when it is filled.  If so I am hoping to do that this coming Saturday, February 2nd.  I will keep you posted!

And speaking of inspiration…

I’m sort of in love with noodles these days

Can you imagine if you were house hunting and THIS is what you were looking at???

Do you know that carrot cake is my favorite?

the perfect cheese board


Happy week friends.


finding your {creative spirit} in 2013



Another wonderful thing about the new year is that it offers us a chance to reconnect with things that we may have lost touch with along the way.  As we are resetting our list of goals and priorities for the coming year, we can take stock of what it is we want to accomplish and where it is we want our path to take us.

My dear friend Jeanne Oliver has recently created a wonderful new creative community that will surely inspire and encourage anyone wanting to expand their creative side.  It is a place that people will gather to share and learn and support one another and I know that with Jeanne leading the discussions it will be an amazing journey.  The community itself can be found at

Three new courses were added recently~ All you need to do is sign up (which is free) to gain access to course descriptions and videos.  Trust me, if you are looking to be inspired, this is a great resource.


Creatively Made {rediscovering the beauty of your gifts}

Building a Creatively Made Business {you’ll never know what is possible until you begin}

The Journey of Letting Go {creating beauty from ashes}


She has also added two free videos for anyone to watch~

A business video on Markets and Shows

A mixed media art video on creating Vintage Girls


This new year holds so much potential and I hope that you, like me, are ready to grab all of those amazing opportunities and see where they lead you!