Tag Archives: heartsong chai

Toast

19 Mar

I’ve got a lot on my mind these days. Building a brick & mortar store front, installing a kitchen there, pulling apart my kitchen in J’ville (and having no production space for my biz. in the meanwhile), running a successful (yipee!) Kickstarter campaign and oh, you know, Being a mom and a partner and a farmer in the springtime….

Happy Spring to you my friends!  I hope all those seeds you’ve cared for and revealed this winter are humming with life force and blossoming fully!

Past few days my mind keeps wandering back to toast.  Not JUST toast, but the TOPPINGS on toast too!  Long story short, I’m jumping onto the artisan toast bandwagon, as crazy as it sounds, and I’m gonna serve it up right and proper at the Tea Bar.  Not only do we have some AMAZING local bread bakers in this valley, but also it is the perfect medium to serve up the regional farm fresh foods here.

I’ve already made the menu…Toast To Go, party people… You are gonna love it!

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As the diamond forms from coal under pressure, so too the genius idea is born… Toast at the Tea Bar for the GOLD!

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Immersed in Kickstarter Culture

11 Mar

“The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.”

-Tom Robbins

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For the past month I have been immersed in a new-to-me culture.  I created and launched a Kickstarter campaign.  Right now we’re 63% funded with 7 days to go.  Check out the link at the bottom of this post.

My Kickstarter campaign has worked me in some deep and holy ways.  The creation, distillation and launch was an experience all to itself.  We’re mid-campaign now and the lessons are all about asking and receiving.  For me these lessons are so deep that they really should read: Asking.  Receiving.  (Repeat!)

Truly you should just go watch Amanda Palmer here: http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking

Because what she says and how she says it is just the best.  If you plan to do a Kickstarter yourself, I’d say this video is a must watch (twice).

Kickstarter is a crowd sourced funding platform. An on-line, super efficient, user friendly platform for crowd sourced funding.  People use it to produce music, make films, launch businesses, publish books and more. A person designs a campaign around their great idea and asks friends, friend’s friends and the world wide web to vote for this dream with their dollars.  People do.  They do it gladly.  And communities form.  Its completely amazing.  On March 3, 2014, Kickstarter passed ONE BILLION in pledges. That’s $1,000,000,000 pledged by 5.7 million people to creative projects! I highly recommend taking some time to surf the projects at Kickstarter.com.  I can almost guarantee you’ll be a backer by the end.  There are many amazingly creative and next level projects.

Like this: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hellobragi/the-dash-wireless-smart-in-ear-headphones?ref=live  These German guys and their genius wireless ear buds that are 1,027% funded!  They set their goal at 260,000, a bold move for Kickstarter (most successfully funded projects ask for $10,000 or less) and so far they’ve got 2,948 backers, pledging $2,738,411 and they still have 20 days to go.

And OMG this! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/harebrainedinc/period-panties?ref=live  A Chicago guy who puts silly cartoons on comfy undies for ladies. In his words, “Fun underwear that high-fives you for having ovaries and serves as a friendly reminder to others!”  I must say that the undies do look comfy, the cartoons are hilarious, the campaign presentation is great and the video is humble and adorable.  But here’s why I’m in love with this campaign.  The guy asked for $10,000 for his first production run. Today, he’s got 31 hours to go and the pledges are at $388,476.00 from 9,209 individual backers!

A clear example of the power of Kickstarter (which is really the power of organized people): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lindaliukas/hello-ruby?ref=live  Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities. She was looking to generate $10,000 to publish it.  But with the help of 9,258 backers she raised $380,747.00!

The Dream of a little kid comes true in real life right here.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1118548804/sequoia-emmanuelle-photography-book?ref=live.  Since she was 13, artist and photographer, Sequoia Emmanuelle, wanted to make her own coffee table book.  She launched a Kickstarter to do it just a day before I launched my own.  Her work is astounding and addicting, so it is no surprise that with 9 days to go she’s got $19,761 pledged from 264 backers. Her original goal was $15,000.

Lastly, a campaign after my own heart: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/661201405/the-rogue-valley-messenger-a-free-alternative-news?ref=live The Rogue Valley Messenger is “a new, locally-grown bi-weekly newspaper for the Rogue Valley – informed, enthused and crazy-smart!” Their campaign is simple, clear and compelling. They’re out to inform and connect this valley!  Today, with just 111 backers they’ve raised $5,097, surpassing their original goal with 42 hours to go. I’m one of those backers!

Two words come to mind when I think about how to describe the experience of doing this Kickstarter campaign.  The words are big and deep.  Big because your vision must be both clear and clearly communicated. And big because you must love what you are doing. Deep because each backer is voting for your success and each backer is kicking in to your stash from their own to make your dreams come true.  That’s a whole lot of love flowing your way.

So tonight as I’m thinking about all this, BAM!  My friend Micah Blacklight shares these words facebook and captures all of how and where I’m growing in one incredible expression. He says,  “I think it was Ghandi who is attributed the quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” and I think it SUCH a profound exhortation. I would amend it, add to it, transform it a little by saying-EMBODY THE SPACES YOU WISH TO EXPERIENCE IN THE WORLD.

so many of us wait for someone else to be the welcoming space, the open arms, the one willing to lower their guard, and only then do we dare follow suit. What if YOU chose to BE the space more often, instead of looking to others to provide it? What if you BECAME the kind of space, held the kind of energy, you are super attracted to in people you look up to, or admire, or just feel good around?

It might take you a moment to overcome the fear that inevitably rises up when we step outside our comfort zones. It might take realizing we fear all kinds of things: rejection in ANY form including someone not responding to our space in a way we would have liked.. but we don’t get good at things without practice.

You can think of it as another homework assignment Micah BlackLight style; a mission you don’t have to accept at all, but it might do some thangs for ya you haven’t foreseen.. bring a bit of a different kind of fun into your sphere. Because the minute you start BEING the space you’re really attracted to or comforted by, you become a walking realm full of those characteristics, the vibe you’re diggin most. AND, there’s an automatic side-effect: you start attracting a lot more people who hold/are that kind of space, OR, they’re open to being opened BY that type of space and guess what? YOU get to be the key.. Vessel space is a powerful space.

work dat out for a mo.. chew on it if ya wanna, you might already be in the practice of doing/being that, and if you are, keep doin whatcha doin.. it heals a LOT more than you know”.

YES! Think about it.  At this moment my project has 155 backers.  That’s 155 people saying to me with $1 or $1000, “This projects rocks and I’m stoked to help it happen.”  I flung myself off the cliff of small, safe and comfortable, KNOWING that people in the world and in my community would be delighted by my willingness to do it.  That my vision would be shared and supported. And while my campaign is not safely complete well before the deadline like Sequoia’s or a slammed-dunk-home-run like the Period Panties still, I’ve got 155 people voting for me with their hard earned dollars and I have to believe more are on the way!  People are sharing the project on their social network and talking about it with friends and people are getting excited to support the place once we open.  The impact of this is impossible to predict. I like that.

The experience of campaigning for this dream via Kickstarter has been nothing short of amazing.  The way people become backers, the way friends share the link with their networks, the way total strangers become cheerleaders… it exciting, humbling, empowering!  Yesterday one of my High School English teacher gave the link a shout out on her facebook page and I was so damn touched I can’t even tell you.  So you can imagine how I burst into tears when, a few hours later, I realized that she had also become a backer! There’s magic like that in this.  With 7 days left the story unfolds.

The New, The Nearly Complete and Wild Turkeys

3 Mar

It has been a little while since I blog-diddy-blogged and I think I have a lot to say.

Springtime on the farm almost.  We’ve had a lot of rain.  All over town the forsythias are boldly blooming, while the apples and lilacs are just barely leafing. I swear I fall in love a thousand times a day as winter releases into this potent blooming of everything alive!  Daffodils, baby cows, violets, leafing trees, the first farmer’s market of the season…  Oh, you’re right there with me?  Awesome!

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Birth.  Emergence.  The Push.

To illustrate the life of a farmer in almost spring one could draw a pair of eyes taking in the entire horizon and connecting that image via dotted lines to a brain full of words that scroll like the words at the beginnig of Star Wars. But instead of an epic saga, its an epic To-Do List.  And that is how it is here with us.

Except that this spring I am in the process of building a brick and mortar, I’m actively fundraising via Kickstarter and I’m moving out of Jacksonville.

Before farm and store and fundraising and moving,  I’m mom. So I’ve got to say here that our silly little child turned 5 last week!  Five is big and doesn’t she know it!?!

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On the birthday we went up to the mountains for some sledding.  It was a beautiful outside and we had an awesome time. It was a wonderful break from the construction and hustle that is and has been the focus of my days.

Last week was all about launching the Kickstarter campaign and getting the plumbing into the shop and so many things were out of my hands.  I filled up my nervous idle time with the zen of painting the furniture for our store. Bright colors, physical labor and obvious results were just what I needed!

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And BE had fun too.

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Today we went to the J’ville house to get the “kitchen”.  The stove, counters, shelves and our beloved bicycle spice grinder.  It was a successful mission.

On our way there, BE and I encountered the biggest flock of turkeys we’ve ever seen. There were easily 50 birds, all crossing the road and headed into the hills.

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The encounter was especially auspicious because in folklore turkeys represent abundance and we had just come from the auto parts place where we were trying to get parts to fix the brake lights on our borrowed trailer but instead we got this rhinestone studded Money keychain for the new shop’s keys.

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“I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind!”

This brings us to Kickstarter’s genius mode of organizing crowd sourced funding and the incredible opportunity they offer to people like me. Using their platform, I’ve created a project and now I’m asking my friends, family, peers and fellow citizens of the world to back it.  Collectively we are making this thing real. Follow this link to learn more and get involved.  I sure hope it inspires you to!

A successfully funded campaign builds this kitchen and storefront.  Then I’ll take this potent lil’ brick and mortar and ROCK it like a hurricane.

Bling diddy Bling! 

While Kickstarter makes designing the campaign very easy, still it is one of the most challenging and deeply personal experiences of my life. To communicate my intentions clearly, to take a very public, very flying leap out of hibernation and to ask for help from friends and strangers are all uber humbling endeavours.  I am doing my best to muster sustained trust.  Yet,  I’m feeling a bit like these two turkeys…. one moving toward the goal with focus while the other meandering back the way she came.

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As I step out and create this brand new thing, I am mining the gems from my previous life.  Some are physical tools and stuff.  But most are rememberings distilled into clear hindsight and rich life lessons.

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Lessons that empower the launch of the new and stuff that enhances our now.  Like this plastic toy that entertained BE on our way outta J’ville today.

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And the five jugs of Mate Fire that I found in a box today!   A most thirst quentching reunion ensued!  Just. Yum.  (Don’t be jealous.)

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My longing for Mate Fire, for Habanero Honey Brew and for Heartsong Chai is the ultimate fire of this gigantic project I’ve created.  It was a true joy to down a good portion of this jug today (6 years in a bottle yet so revitalizing and delicious)!

And so today the kitchen moved from J’ville to GP and our trusty bicycle grinder is one step closer to her next spice grinding mission! And this week the plumber and the electrician will work their magic and bring us even closer.

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YOU can help us too! By liking this blog, sharing it with friends, visiting the Kickstarter campaign, becoming a backer, telling all your friends to back it too and by taking a moment to picture it all coming together with grace and ease!

There’s more painting to do too, if’n you are needing some zen in your life. As always, thanks for reading and witnessing the words of my world.

Letting It All Hang Out

19 Jan

Sounds scary, doesn’t it?  I’ve been looking at what lies underneath that fear and I’m here to say that If you are anything like me, its a very hard to get to but very sweet relief.  Let it ALLLL hang out!  Simple as that.  Riiiiight.

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This post is about getting back on the horse.  About how simple that sounds and how hard it is.  For me, getting back on the horse has been wrapped up in a thousand layers of getting over myself.  And it has been hard.  Real hard.

I’m a reemerging entrepreneur.  This experience is allowing me to realize that ultimately, I operate on faith.  And maybe, just maybe, that should be a capital F.  Now, I can’t explain faith and I sure don’t understand it intellectually.  But I can’t deny that if I had to put a word on that core fuel of my life’s fire, the absolute essence of my heart’s motivation…. its faith: faith in life itself and faith in my own life.

My first venture as an entrepreneur was a 9 year run with a tea company.  It was a wonderful, wild, extreme adventure and I loved it.  It crashed and burned hard in 2008.  The bureaucratic and financial convulsions of the company’s death still reach out and slap me from time to time.  Its. Like. That.

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So many of my essentials burned in the flames of that crash: my identity, credit, job, house, self respect … you name it.   And it altered many a friendship, like maybe all of them.  Because it left me questioning my self, my abilities, my worth, and what I’m bringing/have to offer. The investors in my company were people who know and love me, they lost their money by investing in my venture and this is undoubtedly one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced.  It weighs heavy in me and I have not been able to forgive myself this.  The results of this heavy over time are obvious: being closed to collaboration, seeing my ideas as a liability, the can’t-commit-but-can’t-quit dance, and a smattering of other small makings.  I’ve been holding this tight and I thank you for listening. **

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Look!  A Banana slug!

Ahem.

Meanwhile I’ve been making teas again and selling them at farmers markets, running an itty bitty lil’ tea company called Uber Herbal Inc.  I also sell online at Etsy.com.  Business has been going pretty great.  I’ve been integrating the farm I live on into the products I sell with a Farm Direct line of tea blends, soaking blends and gift boxes filled with things like dehydrated watermelon, crab apple chutney, pickled peppers and smoked hot sauces.  The potential here is pretty great.  Here’s the kicker: the way I’ve been able to get back into business is by licensing the kitchen in my stuck-in-the-irons-of-foreclosure home that has yet to be seized by the bank. Talk about rising from the ashes, eh?  And here’s the thing.  I have GOT to get out of there!  It is high time to complete with alllll of the above.  And that means that it is time to get back on the horse.

So now and yet again, it boils down to faith.

There is victory in these words tonight my friends.  These are the distilled thoughts from a two hour drive time.  Here’s me realizing that I’ve been holding everything too close and that to move forward, I’ve got to let it all hang out!  That I’ve got to speak to the heavy till it is light, I’ve got to speak my dreams till they manifest, and then I’ve got to speak the new dreams too.  Tonight when I sat down at this machine, out flowed a 7 page business plan.  And when I sat down again, This!

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And once again, YOU!  Choosing to witness my process, that’s awesome!  Thank you.

** Yes, I have read the book ‘Great Failures of the Extremely Successful’.  Yes, I know how common it is for small companies and virgin entrepreneurs to fail.  Yes, 2008 was a hard year. Yes, I learned a lot.  Heartsong was a thing of beauty in so many ways… #habanerohoneybrewforever… best chai ever… I know, I do.  Thank you!  Seriously, thank you. 😉

So Much Living Gets In The Way of Blogging….

10 Jul

 

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It seems so simple that I could live and then have a short lil summary to blog about.  Though as you know, there is a space and silence between my blogs.  As much as I want to keep things simple, my writing is deep and only flows when it flows.  I have many an attempt in the drafts folder, but few that get published.  Anyhow.  It is summer now.  Happy summer people!   Dive into the goodness of your friends, adventures and gardens!

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Like all of you, we have been busy, busy, busy!  The farm is bursting forth with the fruits of our labor.  Somehow, in year two here, we are still discovering new fruit trees in the orchard and mourning the loss of a few that are slowly dying.  We know so little about stewarding orchards and wish we knew more.  The trees I pruned this spring, which got a raised eyebrow and a muttered “hack job” from my man, have leafed, flowered and fruited quite nicely.  The apples are ready and delicious!

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Uber Herbal has been fabulously and creatively exploding!  We’ve got tons of new products, many direct from our farm.  I feel like finally my vision is clear, I’m super excited about what I have to offer and I love the way the product line is being presented and received.  Now I need to spend some time on the Etsy store…. loading up all our new, seasonal goodness.  Keep an eye out (but give me a week).  I have not put products into stores like I planned.  Mostly because I am juggling my time and this avenue needs more attention than I have to give right now.  And so it becomes a winter project.  I’ve been doing my best to give everything I choose to participate in my all.  It has been richly rewarding!

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Incredibly, in the excitement of Uber Herbal hitting stride I’ve been able to keep perspective on my life priorities and spend incredibly focused time on the farm and adventuring with my family.  Last week we had the awesome opportunity to spend two nights camping at Squaw Lake and it was incredible.  This weekend I’m taking BE to the Oregon Country Fair.  And I’ve accepted the invitation (and challenge) to attend the Burning Man Festival with some of my favorite women in the world.  My sweet friend Dana keeps assuring me that if I want it all I can have it all….. we will see!  I leave you with a photo of BE and me, taken at midnight when she suddenly emerged from the sleepy time kingdom to firmly let me know that it was high time to cuddle.  I hope all of you are enjoying the blossoming of your hearts and the fruits of your focused intentions.  Happy Summer!

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Seizing Opportunities to Step Back

5 Apr

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In springtime we took a break.  Yes BE n me took the month of March off and spent it in Florida with family and good friends.  We had an incredibly lovely adventure!

I was hoping that the distance would instigate new perspective on directing my life in a bit more of a direction.  No such luck.  Instead it distracted the heck out of me in all the best ways!  I tried to think about my life and my future, but I simply could not.

So now I have returned and the question still hangs: do I get a real kitchen for the Uber Herbal tea biz?  Or do I let the kitchen license expire (thus letting go of the business and thus opening my life up to the next great adventure)?

Last I wrote I was gushing about building a kitchen/fresh local grocery.  That idea has come and gone.  I’m back to thinking smaller scale: a production kitchen, farmers market & internet sales.  I’ve been looking at kitchen spaces across the valley and finding some good options.  I’ve also been weighing the option of not having a kitchen.  Been weighing this one deeply.

The 2012 season was rough for me and for the tea company.  Since moving to the farm, I’ve been pretty scattered.  I’m 45 minutes from my work kitchen now and the farm has taken an incredible amount of physical prowess and presence.  I immediately began to integrate products from the farm into the product line AND to launch into a second market.  Both these moves were WAY premature.

And then in August, I had the opportunity to attend the Burning Man Festival.  I laid down the farm, the tea biz, the markets, and I left for an entire week.  It was a very special experience.  As I was out in the desert I began to see that the reason Uber Herbal has been such an uphill endeavor is because it is building off the crumbled remains of my former company, Heartsong.  This was truly an eye opening realization and a great opportunity to practice self compassion.

You see I’ve been using my almost-in-foreclosure-home as my licensed kitchen.  And while it is licensable, it is by no means efficient.  It is in foreclosure because of the burst housing bubble, yes.  But also because when the market was good, I took a second mortgage out and with that money, I built the Chai Hut for Heartsong.

I never doubted this move because I had complete faith that Heartsong was gonna rock the free world organic beverage style and there would be plenty of time after our launch to take care of my home and my own needs.  Instead, the company crashed simultaneous to launching.  Instead, I found myself with nothing but a whole lot of debt, a very public failure and a few pots and pans.

What I realized in the Black Rock Desert is that I was linking the success of my new dreams with the failures of my broken ones.  And that this was an excruciating and unique form of discomfort.  The opportunity to launch a new company from a “free” workspace was impossible to resist.  But the workspace itself was totally crowded, inefficient and uninspiring for me.  I’ve worked “ghetto style” for many years and I’ve worked in some really nice spaces too.  I know that kitchens are all about their flow.  A solid floor plan and lots of storage makes a good production space. Taking time off this summer helped me to recognize my lack of passion around the business stemmed from a lack of desire to do production.  I returned home, laid most of the company dormant and began to reassess. I began to ask myself if I would want to do the business if I had a good kitchen space.  I’ve been asking myself this question for months now.  The answer is most often a yes.

If I do want to do this thing, now is the time to line it all up.  Markets begin in May.  My kitchen license renews in May.  Summer is nearly upon us!  To chai mama or not to chai mama.  That is my burning question.

And so dear reader, if you have any strong opinions about my direction in life or anything I’ve shared here, please do share with me!  I feel really stepped back from the whole thing and open to new ideas.  A new kitchen is both a leap of faith and a bit of an investment, so I’d like to hear everything from everyone so that I can make the best possible, most informed decision here.  As always thanks for being witness to my unfolding!

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The Depth of Winter and A Year on This Farm

11 Jan

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We have been on the farm ten months now.  i’ve been diggin’ my self into this place with deep roots.  Maybe because it is a farm.  Maybe because that is what I know.  

My transition from 2012 into 2013 has been wild and bumpy and real deal.  On December 3, I turned 41.  On December 4, driving home from Ashland on a very wet night, I crashed my car on the I-5.  The car spun in circles on the highway, bounced off the concrete median and came to rest on the shoulder, facing oncoming traffic.  I walked away in one piece.  A sweet friend rescued me from the side of the road in Medford, offering me safe haven till morning.  The owner of the farm where I live owns a body shop in town.  He straightened out the frame, put on a new door, banged out the worst of the dents, covered them nicely with a new bumper and got us back on the road.

When we were picking up the car, our landlord said, “You guys thinking about another year out there?”  We answered affirmative and he said, “Well, we want to do a walk through and make sure we still want you there.”  A totally reasonable thing that shook me to remember that life is changeable and that what I think I’m doing is such a small part of this whole shebang.  

So while I was laying low with whiplash wounding and astonishment, my partner D was raking and pruning and burning, working so hard on the land!  Getting wood for our fires, dealing with infrastructural blow outs and broken limbs in the trees and baby sheep born in snowstorms.  Non stop action and full on craziness (also called farming). 

And we’ve both been thinking about the year we’ve had here.  About the hard work that farming is.  About what else we could do and where else we would go.  About the future of this farm, the future of ourselves, the future of our family.  And we’ve been processing this very deep stuff to the best of our ability.  Compost is indescribable gorgeousness.  The process is messy and it takes a long time to really break things down.

We are not one of those families that romantic love created.  When I was pregnant, we had opposing ideas about where to go with that.  He did not want anything to do with having a family, so he took off.  With time he turned around.  So we’ve slowly tiptoed into this very sweet family, built backwards but with conscious effort.  When we moved to the farm last February, it was BE’s third birthday and our first time living under the same roof.

So 2012 recap: 1. Move to farm an hour away from our familiars.  2. Move in together for the first time.  2. Integrate farm into a very new tea company and attempt very fast growth. 4. Two adults with a toddler establish farm infrastructure, plant, maintain, harvest, process & sell the foods we grow, get a bunch of animals: chickens, ducks, sheep & two big farm dogs. 5. Experience steep learning curves with all of the above.

Which brings us back to now.  And the walk through with the land owners.  Which really was no sweat.  We care for this place, they can see that and they are grateful for it.

2012 was completely experimental!  All we did was “test the waters”. Then came December filled with slowness, reflection and assessment.  I truly felt like a little seed in the dark ground pushing, pushing, PUSHING at my container, seeking the paths of least resistance.  OUT!  And now I’ve got some wiggle room and I feel empowered because by looking deeply at possibility, I am actively choosing my reality.

So it looks like we are staying another year.  And as we set intentions for that, I am sitting on the 5 year plan, just waiting for it to hatch.  And it comes through so clear that I’ll speak it here.  I want to dig my roots into this farm and to blossom some goodness in Grant’s Pass.  I’m dreaming a retail space downtown: licensed kitchen, seasonal elixir bar, regional foods market.  Here I will sell my products and other fresh, incredible, regional goodies and the freshest veggies ever. Here I will build a bomb diggity old west style bar serving tea and then some: Heartsong Chai, Habanero Honey Brew, Turmeric Kombucha, Cold pressed coffee drinks, seasonal immune boosting tonics and more.  I am formulating a business plan in my head.  I (think I) am staying grounded in reality while dreaming big. I am allowing visions for the future flow through and I am feeling entrepreneurally creative again. The lessons of Heartsong’s fiery crash I keep close in heart and I am working with the fears that naturally rise up from there. I’ve been calling this storefront, Fresh.  I see it so beautifully and clearly.  Tens of thousands of miracles will have to occur in near perfect unison for this seed to blossom fully.  Regardless, it is a seed I cherish.  One that I will nurture.  I speak to it now to give it life.  Whispers of encouragement as this sprout begins its dark journey through the dirt and toward the light are most welcome.

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