Monthly Archives: April 2014

Sabbatical: In Conclusion, The End and Universal Truth Learned


I’m at the end of this great adventure and I want to thank all of you for listening, for reading, for feeding and housing me, for sending encouragement during a few dark moments, for poems, books, songs and texts, emails and good advice. Huge thanks to my family and colleagues for holding down the fort and for allowing me to go. This blog gave me focus and allowed me to take you all along for the ride…sometimes bumpy.

During my 42 days away and almost 8000 miles, I had a different set of responsibilities. They were about the basics, food, shelter, warmth, soul searching and auto-mechanics. It felt like I was 20 years old again, but with more knowledge and experience.
©2013 Breathless Boudoir | Jen & Max Trombly angel traintracksdessert

I’m home and realized that I’ve changed at a profound level. I think it’s greater confidence, calm and grace. We put on a community event Saturday and typically I’m running around hyperventilating and worried about things going wrong. I knew (because of Jenny, Briar Chapel and the great community help) that this was going to be the best 5K race we’ve ever organized. I didn’t look for the problems, just trusted that everyone was having fun, and it was a fabulous day.

The next day was a ½ marathon that Jenny and I have been training for. I literally had no anxiety…it was my first one and worse case, I stop and walk. Not the end of the world.
wonderfulworld route66

Training for a ½ marathon while on the trip really helped me metaphorically:

*Taking the first step is the hardest…once you start, you just put one foot in front of the other until you get to the finish line.

*Rest is just as important as work….I forget that often.

*Gave great focus

*Accountability…After a long run, I would reward myself by texting Lyle and Jenny…that motivated me to keep going. It helps to share the joys and concerns in one’s life.

*Taking things day by day, mile by mile and sometimes minute by minute.

Some random universal wisdom:

  • Girls just want to have fun
  • Water is life…I take for granted in lush NC
  • There is a solution to everything, seriously…everything.
  • Your life reflects your beliefs
  • Impermanence is devastating and is also magical; crisis is opportunity
  • Being judgie is not good for anyone…more compassion, please
  • I think religion and spirituality are about clarity, intention and removal of doubt
  • We each create our own reality
  • There is ENOUGH
  • Miracles are just a change in perception
  • Gratitude keeps worry at bay
  • Alone time helps sort things out
  • Being in the moment provides great joy
  • Take a deep breath
  • It’s going to be OK, in fact, it’s going to be phenomenal!
    iloveyou oklahoma
    I want:

    More quality, less quantity. Instead of a bunch of good experiences or projects, I want EPIC experiences, SWEET relationships, AMAZING projects that rock our world and make change.

    I want to go deep and know what’s going on in people’s hearts, not their heads.

    I want people to reach their full potential. I think many people have only scratched the surface of what they are capable of…think how great this community would be if people let go of their inhibitions and fear and just went for it!

    To help create more meaningful jobs. We have so many talented people doing such good work around here. I want them to be paid handsomely for creating our resilient community. I want Abundance, the Plant Eco-Industrial Park, the Distillery to enjoy resources and wealth along with this entire community of businesses, farms, organizations and for the small local folks to be rewarded for their courage and creativity.

    I hope I can inspire others to take that extra step to do what you want, to think about doing something that might seem scary…guess what, it won’t be after you get started.
    things just work out…magically in the best interest of you and at exactly the right time.

    It’s time to get back to work now and I can’t wait!

    Until the next adventure…

    starlight lylebabyblue dayofdead


Travelin’ with Two


Santa Fe, Taos, Earthship Community, Ojo Caliente, NM and Amarillo, TX…wonderful and a blur of two exhausted happy people reunited. Ha!earthship riograndegorge taos2 taos

We drove the blue highways from Gore Oklahoma to Hot Springs Arkansas. I had heard from someone that it was a place of interest. And Bill Clinton grew up there. Must be cool? Leaving the bleak Texas and Oklahoma flatness and dustiness, we came into the lush terrain that seemed more like home. Mountains and trees and green. Over the Ouachita Mountains to the Zig Zag Mountain of Hot Springs was beautiful. Coming into town through the typical strip malls and Walmart and McDonalds I wasn’t sure this was a good decision…another tacky, depleted small town. We stopped at a little visitor center that pointed us to Gulpha Gorge first come, first serve camping ground (no showers….not that I care). Lyle and I set up camp by a running creek and cliff. The prettiest camp ground yet. The ranger showed us the trail to town. You could hike 2 miles over the mountain to the town. I heard there was a micro-brewery in an old bathhouse, so that was motivating.

Lyle’s email to family:

I don’t hike anymore.  I thought about this last night as I struck out on stepping-stones in Hot Springs Arkansas, heading over a mountain in my backless Birkenstocks.  Tami and I had our campsite set beside a wonderful brook, and decided to take Dead Chief Trail to town.

It was only two miles.  Tami’s been training for a half marathon and is in the best shape she’s been in for awhile.  I’ve been obsessed with “getting my steps” ever since Jim gave me a fitbit wristband that would count them for me—and let me compete with him—so I’m in decent shape these days too.

It took us an hour to get to town.  We arrived winded and stunned.  In Hot Springs there was a plaque at the trailhead that explained in the early 1900s people traveled from all over to indulge in the curative power of the volcanic water.  This was a medical town. 

Further, there was one doctor who prescribed aerobic activity to his Hot Springs patients.  He was so convinced of the power of fitness that he designed and built a series of trails, each one harder than the next.  As his patients’ health improved, he would ratchet up the hiking regimen.  The pinnacle of his trail achievements was Dead Chief Trail.

During our hike, in between gasps, I explained to Tami that Dad would frequently spy a short cut down the side of the mountain that would occasionally get us hopelessly lost.  At one point we encountered “Short Cut Trail” that was roped off by the park service, and appeared under construction.

We had a wonderful evening in Hot Springs, and hiked home in the dark—moving me into closer contention with Jim.  This morning, we are driving to town, for a soak in the curative springs…


When we came over the mountain, we were on Central Avenue that had a gorgeous magnolia lined promenade with all the historical bathhouses built in the early 1900’s to take advantage of the hot springs. There were all sorts of contraptions used to heal everything from obesity to syphilis to just sore muscles and hysteria. (I think that is what women are said to get from time to time). This place was a stop for all the famous gangsters and also the baseball players to soak out their wild nights. The sadness is that only two bathhouses remain in use. In the 1950’s when western medicine said hydrotherapy doesn’t help, just take a pill, the Golden Age of Bathing began to decline. I personally think they should bring back Hot Springs as a healing center or maybe we should figure this out for Pittsboro. Hydrotherapy certainly helps most things and has no side effects.
hotsprings2 hotsprings

Regarding camping, let’s just say, it’s been very cold and I have to tell Lyle which way I’m sleeping. It’s a big decision and takes planning to turn over. I’m trying hard to “glamp”. I can do it, but it’s exhausting…. although…after cooking something in the van, the food tastes amazing. Starvation helps.

amarillo glamping

Onward to Dewitt Arkansas for an all day consulting gig for Lyle. (The rice and duck capital of the World) Her name is Tami and he sometimes gets her mixed up when texting which can be disasterous. Lyle explained we were coming through in Baby Blue and she said you can stay at our hunting lodge. The last time I had been in a hunting lodge was when we bought 450 acres next door to stop the constant gunshots and preserve some land in Chatham with a covenant protected development, Abeyance. There was an old homestead that was falling into the ground with broken windows, empty beanie-weanie cans and a stack of hunting magazines interspersed with Playboys. That is fine…I bet there is an old rusty shower and maybe indoor toilet? We can just park the van and sleep in it.

Nope, this was a drop dead gorgeous, high thread count lodge and eco-tourism place that had about 8 bedrooms, pool table, wrap around porch overlooking bald cypress swamp with ducks and alligators. The fridge was stocked, a beautiful bottle of red wine out and I couldn’t have been more in heaven washing laundry and sitting by the outdoor fire watching the birds and ducks. Didn’t mind all the stuffed ducks and deer and camo everywhere…

The interesting part about the rice capital of the world is the mono-cropping. There were constant crop dusters dropping various chemicals. Because of so much standing water, they also fly over with mosquito killer and they have no frogs or other eco-systems. The mosquito repellent doesn’t work, but just imagine all the different chemicals we are consuming in our rice…and we wonder about cancer. This part of Arkansas has no small farming. They ship all their food in from California or further. Lyle’s progressive clients are worried about the resiliency of their community if something happens to fossil fuels either in cost or supply. Their work is cut out for them.

I’m finding it fascinating looking at all the businesses that are wiped out by “progess” (maybe because my family hardware store was wiped out by big box), but the other Arkansas resource is mussels and they used to harvest the mussel shells for mother of pearl buttons and had big button factories. Until plastic came along. Now they are closed.

Onward to Tennessee. I will kiss the ground, when I see NC!