I’ve been meaning to do this…

I’ve been meaning to do this…

I’ve been meaning to do this…

…no, really.  This has been on my “to-do list” for quite some time.

Updating this blog has been on my mind for months.  I first my desire to get “caught up” on my blog around July / August.  At that time, the busy spring season was starting to slow and I began getting caught up on many things work and life.  July / August quickly turned into August / September.   Before I knew it, September was over and we were all getting ready for Halloween.

Even then, I was beating on myself because I was falling behind on my personal blog.  It wasn’t until today when I finally sat down to write that I realized that my last Nameless Wayfarer blog post was in March, but I did write several other articles in the meantime for an online magazine I write for called Brink of Freedom.  You can see the articles here:

As I previously mentioned, until today…where I sat down to write, because of the repeat kicking myself for not writing…which has taken place for months.  Today, I pause and realize that I actually had been writing.  It took a shift in perspective to understand this.  Perhaps this is part of the reason that this very topic has been a big part of my writing for Brink of Freedom.

Without expanding on that more than I already have, I am writing this post as more of a “check in” post.  It’s a quick post to get myself back in the habit of writing in 25 minute blocks (Pomodoro-style) and actually sitting down to *do* something rather than just thinking about it.  So here we go…in addition to the writing above, a number of other things have taken place since March.

Besides the busy spring, it has been the best and most profitable year for the tree farm I work for.  Moreover, the farm I work for had their best and most profitable year from Farmer’s Market sales as well.  After attending the Permaculture Voices Conference (PV1) last year, I returned to Ohio to organize a Permaculture Meetup group in my local community.  Within 6 months, we had approximately 50 members in the group with a core group of about 6 people that are regular attendees and have been to multiple single and multi-day events we have organized.

During all this time, the dream of starting a permaculture-based business materialized and started to take shape.  I performed my first consultation as a Certified Arborist in August and upsold a landscape design at the same time.  Within a few months I delivered a proposal to the customer and they put a deposit down for the second-tier design package that I offered.

I also was able to work with a neighbor and the farm I manage to secure plant material based on their needs and effectively became a small-scale nursery dealer.  Shortly after looking into licensing by the state to be a certified nursery dealer, I attended several additional permaculture workshops and conferences and have continued down the permaculture worm hole.

That’s it folks, one Pomodoro of writing.

Stay tuned.

Pushing Through Fear

Pushing Through Fear

Everyone has fears; the person who says otherwise is lying.  Quite honestly, one of my fears is that my readers will read the words that I am writing and further convince them that I am indeed the lunatic that I have been telling them that I am all along.  In all seriousness though, one of my fears is that people won’t read these words.  One of my fears is that people won’t listen to me.

Like many people, I’ve had my fair share of struggles in life.  On the other hand, I feel blessed in so many ways and know there are many more people who have struggled much more than I.  Frequently, I write about the importance of perspective.  By living deliberately and shifting our perspective, we can change the way we see the world.  It is important to simply understand that we can change.


Right now, I am writing…or at least I am trying to.  I feel myself struggling for words.  I want to stop.  I want to take the easy way out and crawl back into bed for another hour or so before I actually need to get up.  However, I have a message to share.  I have something deep inside me that I need to say.  I continue writing searching for the right words to express myself.  I fear I will never find them.

It is important for me to acknowledge this.  Every time that I do, I continue writing.  I never stop.  I realize that my fears are nothing more than a brief perspective of the moment.  Before I know it, the fear has passed, more words have been written and my fears have passed like dust in the wind.

These moments of clarity come when I take time for myself to reflect.  Whether it’s a walk in the woods, going out for a run, or time spent writing – I find myself best able to address my fears when I have taken the time to fully understand them.  It’s much easier to not take the time to look at the man in the mirror.  It’s much easier to sleep walk through life and not pay attention to the painful reality that is life.

With that said, once we realize that we have actually spent time in our lives doing this, the realization that we have not been fully paying attention becomes more painful than the perceived pain of life’s reality.  We can allow this pain to continue with lives dominated by complacence and apathy or we can put an end to it by not only making a decision to change, but ultimately taking action and executing.

The decision is yours.


We have a choice.  We can choose to take the red pill.  We can choose to take the blue pill.  Sometimes we can pretend we take a pill and simply “cheek it” only to spit it out later.  Whatever words you use to describe addressing your fears is up to you, but the bottom line is that you have a choice.  You can take the time to reflect on what your fears are or act accordingly…or not.  What will you choose to do today?

Keep the Change

As a kid, we’ve all sold something.  Today, I challenge you to think about and remember the first thing that you ever sold to someone who was not your mother.  Part of what is engrained into many American memories is the iconic lemonade stand.  For others, it may have been girl scout cookies or candy bars that we sold door to door.  Today, let’s try remember what it was and how it made you feel.

Personally, I remember selling lemonade at a stand in front of the house we grew up in.  It was a new development on the Western end of the suburb we lived in.  As a matter of fact, the house that we lived in had only been standing for about 6-7 years by the time we moved in.  There were houses lined down the street and around the corner, but beyond that corner was a whole new world for a 6-year old boy.

Around the corner, there were multiple construction sites.  On a few of them, the shells of the houses had been built.  On other sites, the basement had been dug and the foundation was being built.  As a kid in the summertime, it was a flurry of activity back there.  There were always trucks hauling equipment and building materials back there.   The guys hauling the material were different from my dad.


While I may not remember why I began selling lemonade in the first place, I remember that our location was such that these guys would pass our house at the beginning and end of each day.  Location, location, location…is what one of my future classes on business would tell me – and as I write this post today while remembering years past, nothing could be further from the truth.


These guys would stop, especially in the afternoons to buy my lemonade.  In my mind as a child, it was the greatest thing ever.  In my childish mind, the lemonade was delicious.  The reality is that it was most likely a cup of the most watered down lemonade-type drink ever.  It didn’t matter – these guys seemed to love it.  Having these guys stop by my stand and buy a big cup of lemonade was AMAZING.  I honestly don’t even remember what we charged them.  I want to say that it was either 25 or 50 cents.  Sometimes, they would give me a dollar.  “Keep the change” was something that I heard a lot of back then.


Now, I am in my mid-30’s and I while I don’t work in the construction industry, there were plenty of times where I worked on a construction site.  A career in the green industry with a number of years doing landscaping and maintenance left me tired and thirsty many a day in the summer.  It’s been a few years since I stopped at a kid’s roadside stand and treated myself to lemonade from a roadside stand.

This year, I think that’s going to have to change.  This year’s I’m going to say, “keep the change.”

Dreamers and Builders Goal Update

On July 6, 2013 – I wrote my original START introduction:

My name is Rob.

I am just like you.

I am not sure how to write my introduction. I want it to be witty and incredibly cool. I feel kind of awkward writing this in the manner that I am…but whatever. Here I go, here is my introduction. Let’s find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Seemingly always at a point of transition in my life even when stable – I delicately balance the good and the bad in life. When good, I try not to celebrate too heavily and when bad, I try to view the experience as a learning opportunity. This is easier said than done.

I claim to be neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but I strive to be a realist. These attempts at realism are fairly new to me. It is an interesting perspective to strive to achieve. My observations lead me to believe that this is also a perspective that many people don’t seem to gravitate towards.

Spirituality resonates with me on a deeply personal level and is a significant part of my life. I was born and raised as a Christian. During my late teens and early twenties, I was introduced to various other worldly religions and cultures. I would grow away from and return to the church repeatedly.

Approximately 5 years ago, I set out on my career path and began climbing the corporate ladder. After several successful years and promotions – I stumbled upon love and gave up my current career to move across the country to try and grow the relationship…only for it to fail. I am learning a lot about myself.

One of the things I have learned is that I have a core set of values. These values and moral code are driving factors which form the beliefs that I have. These beliefs factor into the decisions that I make and the actions that I take in life. I learn and try to act accordingly. I make many mistakes, often repeatedly.

When I repeat mistakes, I feel that it is because there is lesson to be learned – and I continue making these “mistakes” until the lesson is learned. In learning these life lessons, I developed a belief that the corporate ladder and the “normal” life is perhaps not the life for me. It felt like a game.

Recently, I began to believe that I am merely a pawn in game of life. This realization is what set me free. The simple acknowledgement of this allows me to more effectively play the game, for now I have a strategy in mind and am living deliberately in an attempt to play the game efficiently.

Relationships have come and gone, love once lost had now been found…only to be lost again. After a period of stability in life I am preparing for another period of transition on many different levels.

I will be working on a short-term project for my company for the next 6-12 months and will be on the road again. When this project is complete, I will likely quit my job and START living the way I have always been afraid to…well, that is the plan, at least. We’ll see what happens.

As this plan unfolds in front of my eyes, I find myself here…writing an introduction to share with YOU. We don’t know each other, but I suspect my words resonate with you as much as YOUR words have resonated with ME. I am grateful for this and very much look forward to sharing all these experiences with all of you.

Stay tuned.

A week after writing this introduction and not 100% sure what I was getting into, I was assigned to “Group 39 – Internet Entrepreneur (Podcast, blogger, developer, etc.)”  Many of the people in that group had clearly defined goals / risks such as:

  • “I will write the first section of my ebook”
  • “In order of difficulty:  Blog daily  Swim 3x a week  Sign up for graphic design class”
  • “I will write 20 blog posts and apply to three jobs.”
  • “Conduct a budgeting workshop for a church or organization or do a one-on-one personal budgeting workshop.”
  • “Grow Twitter to 1,000 followers.  Speak at 2 events.”
  • “I will begin my Christian multi media website and add one new piece of content every week.”
  • Etc, etc, etc

And finally…there was one person in the group that had written one of the longest and most eccentric goals, risks ever seen.  That person was me.  It read something like this:

  • Knowing that by the end of 2013, I will be debt-free.  In early 2014, I will likely have 3-6 months of living expenses saved up from the successful completion of the project I will be working on throughout Texas.  With my parents owning 20 acres and dreaming to start a farm on this 20 acres, it has become my dream to help them grow York Meadow Farm into a successful generational farm in an effort to fulfill my role in the sustenance of America and living freedom and liberty.     It is my dream to follow through on the writing and drafting of a business plan to submit to my parents in order to effectively lease that area of the property just south of the neighbors field, southeast (?) of the pond.  I wish to lease and homestead there with a tiny-house, shipping container or a yurt that is set up as an office / shop.  Fully set up to be operational as a small, independent farm operation.  This is the reason for the official lease.    Hopefully with the way that I grow and produce vegetables on my parcel, they will witness results and we will both be better suited to get to where we are working together rather than fighting.  This lease will allow me the feeling of independence from my parents while still having the ability to live/work independent of them and experience the freedom that is necessary for a man in his mid/late 30’s to have.    Eventually, I’d like to get to a point where I am self-reliant in terms of food production.  What little I do have to buy, I can barter for and/or use silver as a means of exchange.  I would like to run and operate a small hydroponic supply distribution warehouse along with involvement of selling certain vitamins and health supplements?   There are many ideas, but perhaps it could be a health/wellness/self-sufficiency/edible landscaping/permaculture design/online store where I sell and stock the items and then simply control the sales and distribution of the products?     Perhaps my dream over the next 24 days would be to finally develop the business plan / proposal to provide to my parents…

It may have taken several paragraphs to say so…but it appears as though my goal over the next 24 days was to work towards the development of a business plan / proposal to provide to my parents.  The idea at that time was to document the process of developing a homestead and living a life geared towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance without owning land.

Ronne Rock asked the question about how things were going with our dreams…and the reality is that things had been going really well.  During the month of July, I got involved with the START experiment.  During the month of August, I began actively writing for an online magazine called Brink of Freedom.

Brink of Freedom was created on July 31, 2013. The purpose being to create a community of like-minded individuals. People sick of government; who wish to gain true freedom through self-reliance, knowledge, skill, and a true sense of community. Let Brink of Freedom show you how to truly be free. Join us.

This community gave me an outlet to express what I initially began working on with the START experiment.  It gave me purpose and drive.  The editor of the magazine seemed to really like the way in which I wrote my articles and in turn, I felt extremely proud to be a columnist for them.  For the first time in my life, I actually called myself a “writer.”  It felt wonderful.

During this time, I was working on a short-term project for my company and was based out of the Austin area.  My territory was Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  The project was going well and I felt really on top of things as far as my life was concerned.  Work was going well.  My boss was happy.  Our clients were happy.  My teams were happy.  I was approaching another peak of my physical fitness and had set a personal record for a five mile run (in barefoot sandals) by running 8:30/mile.  Life was good.

As the months progressed, I ended up writing several articles for Brink of Freedom with a focus on health and wellness.  Towards the end of September I wrote an article titled, Physical Fitness 101.  I was excited about having written this article because it was published right around the time I went on vacation for a camping trip in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park.

This is where the story gets interesting.  While health and wellness had been my focus…the reality is that health and wellness had always been a struggle for me.  Since the age of 13, I have struggled with a chronic neurological condition called epilepsy.  In April of 2012, while living in California, I changed medications from one that I had taken for over 20 years to a medication that was entirely new.

For the first time in my life, I felt as though I had the blinders taken off of my eyes.  The new medication had side effects that were so minimal…it felt as though there were none.  I finally experienced clarity of thought and did not feel as though the pharmaceuticals were making me feel slow or dumbing me down as I felt they had been up to that point.  All I had known my entire adult life was this feeling.

During this time, I actively began working out and becoming healthy.  I trained for and ran several half marathons and ultimately ran a marathon in April of 2013.  I went on several backpacking trips and visited a number of state and national parks during this time as well.  One of the things that began to occur however was the recurrence of the seizures that were a result of the epilepsy that I suffered from.

Throughout the months of August and September, the frequency of my seizures increased (likely due to the stress of being on the road and traveling.  Just to be on the safe side, I contacted my neurologist and communicated what was happening and requested that I change back to the old medication that I had been taking for the years prior to April 2012.  While the side effects of the medication were less than ideal, they were ultimately more effective at controlling my seizures.  The control of the seizures was of paramount importance, especially with the amount of driving that I was doing on this project.

I began making the transition from one medication to the other approximately a week before my vacation to Utah.  The trip began in Denver where I met with one of my best friends for a couple of days before heading into the high desert of Utah.  During this first night and periodically throughout the trip – just like the prior couple of months – I had multiple small seizures.  Nothing debilitating…but they were taking place.  I just kept ignoring them.

Finally, upon our return trip home – and after the burgers, fries and milkshake at a roadside stand in Utah, we set out on the long drive back to Denver.  In the passenger seat, I passed out and nodded off to sleep.  The next thing I knew, I woke up in the neurological intensive care unit of the Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, CO.  I had been unconscious for almost two days.

Needless to say, this series of events is the derailment that I previously referred to at the beginning of this extraordinarily long post.  After a week in ICU, I returned back home to recover with family in Ohio.  I was unable to return to Austin to continue working on the project I had been working on.  I was unable to drive for 3-6 months as a result of the intense seizures I suffered from.

Initially, my employer appeared as though they were going to work with me on this with regard to reassignment to a new position, but without getting into any more detail, the long and short of it is that my employment with them was terminated in January 2014.  Luckily, several weeks before the termination of my employment, a new job just “fell into my lap.”  It was remarkable.

This new job is truly a blessing and at the moment, I am currently getting back on track with my life, my writing, my goals and doing everything in my power to achieve them.  Taking the time like this to sit back and reflect upon them couldn’t have come at a better time.  Being a part of the Dreamers and Builders community really got me though some tough times during the past 6 months.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and be a part of my story.  I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for many of you out there in this community.  Thank you for helping me find inspiration during the hard times.  Thank you for helping me stay motivated when it was incredibly challenging to do so.  I will be forever grateful.





My 500 Words

The other day, I was kicking myself about how much I hadn’t been writing lately.  I hadn’t been contributing to the magazine I had been writing for over the last few months.  I hadn’t been keeping up with my personal blog.  I hadn’t been doing this…or I hadn’t been doing that.

It is incredible how things have a tendency of working themselves out in life.  While I was thinking about how much I hadn’t been doing, there were others out there that were recognizing what I had been doing.  One of my friends out there asked me to be a monthly contributor to the website she maintains.

It seemed unlikely that someone might want to recruit me to be a guest writer for their site, but apparently some of what I write is of the right mindset for her business and could potentially appeal to a group of people that she might not normally reach otherwise.

Ultimately, the point of mentioning all of this is that we can often be hard on ourselves.  Far too frequently we rely on others to point out our strong points.  We need to begin recognizing our own strengths…and then acting upon them.

Does that mean that I am a strong writer?  No.  However, by writing today – I am becoming a stronger writer than I was yesterday.  I can (and did) kick myself for all the time spent not writing recently…but today I will be grateful for the fact that I got up earlier than normal to execute my plan of action rather than think about what I haven’t done.

Over the past few months there’s been a lot that has taken place that could be considered justification for not writing.  My former employer terminated my employment based on my epilepsy and inability to drive for several months and seemed unwilling to work with me despite my almost 6 years with the company.  Since then, I have secured a new job.

Moreover, I have been getting settled in at the new job and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  It’s giving me the opportunity to work in my preferred field.   Not only that, it’s giving me the opportunity to continue paying down the debts incurred as a result of the hospitalization last year.  I came to within $500 of becoming debt free last year by the time I acquired several thousands of medical bills.

Besides paying down my debts, the new job is providing me with income to allow me to attend the first annual Permaculture Voices Conference in Temecula.  This conference follows up the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference last month in Granville, OH.  There are many exciting things that have been taking place over the past few months in addition to simply not writing.

While today’s post will likely be a “catch up” post, there will be other days where I will feel motivated to write and there will be days where it’ll be challenging to find the motivation.  Luckily, I stumbled across a group of people that accepted me into a group called “My 500 Words.”  According to the group description, “My 500 Words is a 31-day challenge designed to help you develop a daily writing habit and become a better writer.”  So…how did I do on my first day back to writing?

553 words.  I think I succeeded.

Stay tuned.


My Resume Lady and Happy Tears

My Resume Lady and Happy Tears

Less than 30 minutes ago…I found myself in tears.  Happy tears.

Shortly afterwards, I was exchanging messages with a friend who wrote, “I am so happy for you. I love when you are connected in conversation and it brings out emotions. Even better is being vulnerable and free to do so.”

For over two months, I have been on a medical leave of absence.  During this time, the correspondence with my employer has been…less than desirable.  All too frequently, I find myself frustrated, depressed, angry and confused.

It finally dawned on me that after almost six years with this employer – the harsh reality is that I will likely lose my job.  While there are likely grounds to “fight” it…I’m not so sure this battle is one in which I wish to engage.

The inevitable change has been paralyzing at times.  Situations such as this demand that we address our fears…otherwise we will be steamrolled by life on life’s terms.  This has happened to me before and will certainly happen again.

Suffice it to say, the time during my leave of absence has allowed me to reach this conclusion on my own terms and quite slowly at that.  Over the past few months, I have been spending many hours each week working on my resume and scouting jobs online.

Mid-December, I finally began applying for some jobs.  Mid-December, I began receiving rejection letters.  I was applying for jobs everywhere.  I couldn’t accept the fact that I was here.

Looking back, it seems as though I was applying for jobs elsewhere to prevent me from dealing with the reality that would be facing me every time I looked in the mirror.  Nevertheless…I kept up the hustle.


A week or so ago, I came to the realization that I am here – and here is where I will make my stand.  I began to look for opportunities for employment here.  Once I made this realization and came to this conclusion…amazing things began to happen to me.  Within a matter of days…I was presented with opportunities.

For example, a friend requested my resume on account that there were discussions about potential positions being created in 2014 that might be a good fit for me.  Shortly thereafter, a family member handed me a business card from a local business owner who mentioned that he might be looking for someone to fill a position where someone like me might be a good fit.

After more hustle, I tweaked my resume further and sent it to my friend.  I also sent my resume out to Amy Campbell, of http://www.myresumelady.com/.  I “met” Amy through an online community that formed around Jon Acuff’s book titled, START.  You can read more about the online community and its development here.

bloglogoAfter a brief exchange with Amy, I emailed her my resume and within days, we had scheduled an appointment to review my resume.  This was the first experience sending my resume to a professional.  Not knowing what to expect, I was blown away by the quality of service that I received from her.  Amy’s personality was warm and welcoming and her passion for helping me was unquestionable.

She helped me understand all aspects of my resume, gave me advice where and when it was necessary and answered all of my questions – all in a way that was beyond professional.  It was evident that she truly cared about me and that she wanted me to succeed.

It is important to understand that while we were part of the same online community…we had no correspondence prior to our discussion.  I learned of Amy Campbell after reading a *raving* testimonial about her work.  After spending time with Amy on the phone…I wanted to write my own raving testimonial.

Not only did Amy Campbell help me review my resume, she helped me identify my strengths and gave me the courage to share them with others.  She motivated me to “punch fear in the face” and embrace the talents that I have and not be afraid to show them.  She inspired me to look beyond what I think I am capable of doing and chase dreams I never even thought possible.  She challenged me to become a Thought Leader and provided me with much needed encouragement at a time I needed it.

At the end of our conversation, I was filled with joy and I found myself in tears.  Happy tears.

Contact my Resume Lady, Amy Campbell.  May you be blessed with happy tears and the ability to be “vulnerable and free to do so.”

New Year’s Resolutions and Creating Meaningful Work

This morning, I began 2014 not unlike many other days in 2013…

Soon after waking up, I begin scanning facebook on my iPhone while drinking a cup of coffee that is entirely too strong for my tastes.


After getting “caught up” from the night before (and likely wasting even more time), I soon shift gears into behaviors that make me feel slightly productive – such as reading 48 Days to the Work You Love.

Why this book and why the need to feel so productive?

Before I get overly psychoanalytic about this, I would like to point out that the New Year is merely coincidence.  I am not one to drum up a whole lot of resolutions and speak of what I am *going* to do this upcoming year.  However, this time of year *does* get me thinking about what I’ve done, what I’m doing and what I’m planning to do.

Before I expand on all of this, there may be some new readers out there…if you are one of them – Welcome!   You have boarded the crazy train and are about to join me as I share my thoughts on humanity with you.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with me and my current situation, please feel free to take a moment to get caught up by reading some of the back story here.

While there are many complexities within this story, the reality is that I am feeling uncertain about the security of employment with the company I am currently working for.  It appears as though driving restrictions I currently have will factor heavily into my reassignment.  Bottom line?  I’ll likely need to begin looking for new work in 2014.

So…back to the question I previously wrote, “Why this book and why the need to feel so productive?”

In my back story, I wrote about how life is truly lived on life’s terms.  I realized this completely when I attended the memorial service of a college friend whose wife passed from cancer last month.  My own challenges, coupled with life experiences with people who are challenged with much greater burdens have made me realize what blessings I have in my life.  Personally, it is important for me to acknowledge this.

Perhaps, the need for me to feel productive is summed up in a quote that Dan Miller provided in his book.  He mentions that we should “…expect change and workplace volatility to enhance your chances of creating meaningful work.  It is often in the midst of change and challenges that we find our true direction.”

At the time Dan Miller had been writing about this, he was also discussing Ralph Waldo Emerson and his concept of “divine discontent.”  I don’t want to begin drawing comparisons between the challenges with my continued employment and a friend’s battle with cancer…but the bottom line is that when we are presented with challenges we must look inward.

Looking inward allows us to find the place that causes the pain we feel and the root of the challenge that life has presented us with.  Moreover, it allows us to reflect on this with God and find the solution to the challenges and begin acting accordingly.  Only then can we begin creating meaningful work.

Dan followed up his writing by quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines.  With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”

emerson divine discontent

This is important to understand.   It is also confusing.  Frequently, we associate consistency with productivity and success.  This is partially true.  However, when our consistency leads us to living a life of complacency and apathy, we begin constructing barriers that prevent us from exploring alternative paths towards the very destination we set out for from the beginning.

We all have our own individual destinations and goals in life.  If you find yourself at this time making resolutions for the New Year, consider the foolish consistency that we all have experienced from time to time.  Consider how this foolish consistency may factor into the greatness that your soul is.  Consider how this foolish consistency may be hindering you from creating meaningful work.

Rather than creating a simple New Year’s Resolution, consider reflecting on what your individual destinations and goals are in life.  Allow your New Year’s Resolution to include those destinations and goals.  Do not submit to foolish consistency.  DO think about what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you’re planning to do.  Then…stop planning and start DOING.