So what does that mean for you?

Two donkeys, one white on the left and one dark one on the right

You are not your ancestors, for good or bad

When I worked in a local history archive, I sometimes got annoyed by the people coming in to do genealogy research. They always seemed to think that you should care about this random person they were descended from who was so great because of X, Y, or Z reasons. The person they were talking about was usually someone who had done something nifty, and while I’m glad that those folks are happy to find out those things, is relationship really a good reason to be proud (or ashamed) of an ancestor?

Organizations, like…

Literally Shredding the Past to Feed My Future: a semi-poem

Plastic storage bins filled with old papers no longer needed

In my basement were boxes of old papers.

Documentation of a marriage now dead.

Remnants of a past riddled with mistakes, hurts and memories that I don’t need cluttering my heart anymore than I need this physical junk.

They take up space, wasting precious real estate in the rooms I live in.

I’ve always loved dandelions. Yellow, bright pops of happiness in grassy yards. So random where they seem to grow. As a child, I’d blow on the puffball, making a wish as the seeds drift out in the wind. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like dandelions, though I’ve met plenty of adults who see their appearance on a lawn as a smudge against a perfectly manicured lawn.

Even as a child I realized that so many adults found dandelions to be a nuisance, and perhaps because of their ability to pop up seemingly overnight sometimes in the…

My home consumes and produces. It is all connected and benefits me and all engaging with it.

Home, Defined

My home is
the house itself (quite small),
the land around it (not even .25 acres),
and all living things in and on it, including me.

Parts of the Home

Worms in the basement(1) feed on kitchen scraps and paper. They produce compost tea and compost that feeds plants indoors and out.

Plants in the yard feed me, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, perhaps a groundhog if he’s around again this year, and many others. On this small patch of land are:

  • dandelions, delicious in salad,
  • potatoes,
  • beets quickly…

There are a lot of stories out there encouraging people to make extra money with a side hustle, doing consulting, gigs like Fiverr, etc. Those are great, and if you want an extra side job, definitely get that, but realize that you only really make significant more money by having exactly that, a job. If you only have a few minutes each day, though, you can still make enough over a year for some extra holiday spending money (or whatever else you want to spend it on). …

“Let’s grab coffee together sometime!”

“We should definitely get the kids together sometime.”

“I’ll give you a call sometime.”


Having the best intentions to follow through on promises to connect doesn’t negate the harm caused by failing to follow through. When we or people we know say things like this that express a desire to connect better and find time to deepen our relationships, the failure to reach out can hurt emotionally and is a kind of abandonment that many of us may be used to due to childhood or other trauma.

People fail to call, email, text, or…

There are several variations on the stone soup tale, but in each one, items — first a carrot, next a potato, then an onion, etc. — are gradually, deliberately added to a pot of boiling water, eventually making a hearty soup. Having that same mentality of tackling one item at a time in a deliberate, thoughtful way can eventually lead to building the kind of fuller, richer life that you want. I use this kind of thinking to work towards three main goals each month, and over several months, I make significant progress even towards unattainable, aspirational goals.

You don’t…

When I was in high school, I worked in a restaurant and had the pleasure (usually) of working for people coming there to eat. When I went to college, I worked part-time for a woman cleaning her house. These two jobs, while both in the “service industry” were drastically different, and they taught me a lot about how to interact with people especially when someone is paying for the services of the other.

In a company, like a restaurant, the company tells you how to behave and what to do. When you go to someone’s home to do a job…

We can keep our heads down and ignore strangers entirely, or try to except when forced, or we can choose to raise our heads, put a smile on our faces, and occasionally say hi to strangers. There are pros and cons, but bear with me — I argue that it’s worth the discomfort you may find in meeting strangers’ eyes and positively pursuing that interaction.

First, what happens when you keep your head down, only engaging with forced?

By looking at the sidewalk, the times you engage with strangers are likely to be negative. Someone yells at you in traffic, bumps into you on a busy sidewalk, or makes a snide comment. These…

A story of a puppy, the man who adopts him, and how the puppy learns to make cheese

The Shelter

A little brown puppy was curled up, asleep on a faded blue blanket. He was in a building with bright lights, which he could still see a bit when he closed his eyes. A lot of dogs were barking nearby, but they didn’t bother him. He’d gotten used to the constant noise, and he slept despite the chaos around him.

The puppy vaguely remembered his life before he came to this place. He remembered being very cold and shivering a lot. His…

Lauren Havens

Trying to be a good person in a chaotic world. Finding joy along this journey.

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