Category Archives: inspiration

40 Earth Days!!!!

I was delighted to watch the new American Experience film, Earth Days. Earth Days shares the revolutionary story of how the environmental movement began, why we should celebrate, and how we can work together to solve today’s global dilemmas. It’s an instant classic that should be shared in classrooms for decades to come! 


In case you missed it on your local PBS station you can watch it online, see you really don’t need cable!  The film is as entertaining and inspiring as it is educational.


As cliche as it may sound, Earth Day does matter. Hundreds or maybe thousands are inspired each year to commit to protecting the Earth. I was inspired to “grow up to be an environmentalist” when I wrote a research paper in junior high on the history of Earth Day. It wasn’t necessarily easy to be a tree-hugger during the spotted owl recession in the Northwest. While disappointing, I appreciate the way the Earth Days film highlighted how the movement did loose ground during the polarizing Reagan years by pitting jobs against the environment and insisting that we need to reduce our standard of living to save energy. Europeans have clearly shown that it doesn’t have to be that way, and are a decade ahead as a result.


Forty Earth Days later being “green” is no longer a fad, but a way of life. Our society is finally making decisions to make “Every Day Earth Day” and moving beyond the basics of recycling. Each day we vote with our wallets, and can make the choice to invest in future generations. If we invest wisely, we’ll have something to celebrate in another 40 years.


At age 13 I also created an art poster with a vow: 


I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth 
To Cherish Every Living Thing
To Care for Earth and Sky and Air
With Peace and Freedom Everywhere 


Today is our day: 4 Years. Go. 


How will your family celebrate Earth Day? 
Here’s online petition to Congress to get the party started!

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Sustainable Family Finances  The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Chaordic Lives

Managing your finances on top of the responsibilities of a modern family can feel like uphill chaos. No matter how organized and well-intentioned you may be, reaching long term financial goals requires a level of commitment that can sometimes feel out of reach in your busy daily life. I know for myself that some days it’s hard enough to find my wallet, nonetheless update our budget. The good news is that’s perfectly O.K. as long as you keep your family moving toward your goals.

At least that’s one of the lessons I got from a recent reading for a work-related leadership training about Dee Hock, past CEO of Visa International. Hock is an amazing thinker who structured Visa around the fundamental organizing principles of nature and evolution. Visa is perhaps the largest global company in terms of customers and transactions, and this success wouldn’t have been possible without tapping into Hock’s “chaordic theory.”

The Chaordic Field is described as the “perfect balance of chaos and order where evolution can occur.” Living systems thrive in this narrow link between chaos and order. While in nature sometimes the goal can seem hidden to us, in a system such as a family, living your values gives a meaning that equals success. Hock asks that you create an enduring purpose and principle – actions occur in networks across the the system unified by a shared sense of purpose and principles. Hock: “Purpose is discovered in that wellspring of common commitment and caring.”

Hubby and I certainly have an interesting dynamic, as I am more comfortable with activity and chaos, and he needs order and structure. We often find it uncanny how we can accomplish anything, but chaordic theory helps me see why we make such a great team.

Hock recommends you manage yourself first “manage self: one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words, and acts.” We cannot control our children or our spouses, controlling others is ineffective no matter how much we might wish. As parents, we serve a role as leader in our families, and it’s important to remember that role in the daily chaos of our lives. Here’s an essay on Hock, with an excerpt from his book: Dee Hock on Leadership


Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Hock:

Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can move the body and influence the mind, but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and morality.

The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.

Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.

Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.

Here are two of Hock’s books:



Which rules in your family – chaos or order? Or both?

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

4 yrs from now?

I felt the calling to start this blog not because of some new revelation, but because I feel like this is the time to up the ante, share ideas and connect. I can’t afford to wait until my children are older and life is “easier.”
All parents know how quickly kiddos grow and we suddenly our internal clock is measured by their growth. In the daily hubbub, we don’t often take the time to reflect on what type of a world they will inherit.

My co-worker shared two inspiring activism groups: 
mothersactingup on behalf of the children
They were writing about a new convergence of worldwide action called Four Years. Go. This short video says everything I’m feeling and want to express.


I hope you’ll join the call to action.

How old will your kids be four years from now?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Live: Story of Stuff

After putting Girly to bed and kissing the Boys goodbye, I headed for a rare treat of an intellectual night out. I was jazzed to see my new personal guru Annie Leonard, the intrepid “host” of The Story of Stuff at my favorite place: Powell’s City of Books. 

It’s hard to express how energized her talk made me feel. I feel like we both just touched the tip of the iceberg. I found so many personal connections to her own story. Like Annie, I’ve been thinking and learning about environmental/social issues for twenty years. Annie talked about how peers told her that she needed to get out of her head and listen to her heart. One of the wisest people I’ve ever known, tribal elder Grandma Aggie, once told me that the longest journey we will ever take is 9 inches, from our head to our heart. Like Annie, I’ve had my own challenge of taking issues and myself too seriously and I feel like I’m finally finding my voice by sharing my story in bite-size blog posts. Unlike me, Annie has already reached over 8 million people worldwide with her video! Like me, Annie is an activist at heart. I started my career in the non-profit world as a climate activist, and now consider myself an “online activist” and I’ve already shared some of my favorite organizations/causes with you (check activism category). In spite of being highly educated about the issues, Annie is also hopeful. She reminded me of my all-time favorite quote, the Hopi Nation Prayer, which ends like this:

“The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Suffice to say, Annie’s story left me totally inspired.


So, I broke a cardinal rule, and bought her new book. Annie even signed it to “Green Mama” so if you’re in Portland, I’d love to share it with as many Mamas as possible. I’d also encourage you to consider buying a copy yourself (already on the NY Times best seller list!) to share amongst your friends.

The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And a Vision for Change


Lastly, Annie’s message resonates so deeply with me that I can’t help but share more with you about her book as I read it. I hope you’ll make the connections with me and together we will find ways to live in sustainable abundance, without all the toxic stuff!


Are you an Annie Leonard fan? 
Who inspires you?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Living Local & Green

After a weekend of preparing our spring garden, and enjoying the oddly rare Pacific NW winter sunshine, I came across this short video from a panel on supporting your local economy and living green. She rambles a bit, but shares a few things that have inspired her, which in turn inspired me, which I hope will inspire you…


Let me know what you think…

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.