So, welcome (wild cheers) to our little corner of the internet. Bet you thought this was never going to happen, didn’t you? Don’t feel too bad about nodding along (emphatically, even) because there were probably dozens of times when we thought the exact same thing. In fact, as I’m drafting this – one week before our “start date” – I’m STILL not sure it’s going to happen because every time we get close something doesn’t go quite as planned. Like at this very moment our stickers still aren’t here and our recycled mailers are out of stock and we had to reorder business cards and we still have shop listings to edit and pictures to take and…(update: afternoon before launch, still working!) But if we’ve gained nothing else through this whole process, we have gotten really (really) good at letting things unfold in their own time. And when we do that, plans seem to manifest in ways better than we originally imagined… even if some days that whole patience and surrender thing makes us more than a little bit crazy!
So today I’ll start by sharing how Follow Us Home came about and tell you where we’re heading with it. But if you stopped by simply for a slice of Taco Bean Pie and would really like to skip over all of my chatter, there’s a button at the very top of the page that’ll take you there. As for anyone left, here’s our story…
It all started about a year ago, autumn 2017. It was a pretty tough year for each of us, mostly in different ways, although some trials did overlap. The girls and I were each looking for individual direction, some of us floundering more than others. Because honestly I thought I knew exactly where I was going, and I can tell you emphatically that it was pretty much the polar opposite of diving into social media and launching another business. But, as usual, God and Guru had other plans for me; plans I didn’t actually like, but sometimes that’s just how things go now. And really, arguing is just a waste of time. Besides, I’m usually (always) wrong in the end.
So, the story starts in meditation and if you already know me, that’ll come as no huge surprise. But sitting there one day, the notion just kind of bubbled up to the surface and immediately demanded my attention. That happens a lot when I settle down to meditate, when everything gets a little more quiet; ideas often pop up. Unbidden. They’re usually good ideas: ones that solve problems, or shed light on something I’m struggling with, or even post topics that “Someone” thinks I should talk about. Mhmm. I’m pretty sure I know exactly where they’re coming from, so I’ve learned to pay attention and not ignore them. Even when they’re as big and overwhelming as this one was. The idea? A natural lifestyle-type blog partnered with an online shop (because Jordan always needs a creative outlet). Our niche would be that the whole family got involved, each bringing our own strengths and… distinct personalities. And I’m laughing, because some days I wonder how five people who spend so much time together can be so very different. Well, except for me and Jordan. I’ve tried to warn her that she’s turning into a carbon copy of me, but for whatever crazy reason, she doesn’t seem to mind.
Jordan and I have both had small businesses in the past, and every single one of us has blogged at one time or another, so I knew exactly what I was stepping into. And all of it is a huge investment of time; this post alone involves so much more work than I can say. Photos, writing, editing, rewriting, links… hours of my day for one short(ish) post. And that doesn’t include shipping orders, managing the shop, restocking, tax junk – just a whole lot of work. But at the same time it solved so many problems that I’d been praying for some (any) kind of guidance on, and I figured it would be just plain stupid to ignore it all. Mostly because it didn’t fit in with my plan. And despite my hearty resistance, I could see clearly what it was offering me, so I presented the idea to the girls and everyone got on board. Then one by one we all jumped ship. Then climbed back on. And tossed ourselves back overboard. Over and over again. Pretty sure I thought it just a couple of days ago, as the date crept closer and things were still unfinished. First open date was April 22. (Haha, what a cosmic joke, because not even close.) Then June. Then August. And September. Followed by October. And if this actually happens as we think it will… official start NOVEMBER.
But it’s pretty obvious that God was anticipating our weak moments, and during those times when we were just about ready to give up on the whole thing, He’d send along some kind of a pick-me-up. Like an order of shirts would arrive and we’d fall in love with a chicken. Or someone would ask when the shop would be open because they really wanted to purchase a cookbook. Or one of us would be struck with creative inspiration and rush back to work. Always unseen encouragement prodding us on and keeping us moving through the tired times.
And one by one things just kept falling into place. Like when I was about ready to give up on the whole sticker idea because I’m not a fan of vinyl…but then lo and behold, I stumble on biodegradable, wooden stickers. Two weeks before our set opening. But, really? It’s like they were made for me. And this whole shop idea wasn’t an inexpensive endeavor (organic cotton t-shirts are pricey, y’all) but at each point the money would somehow be there. And we’d carry on with hardly a glitch. The more time that passed, the more we became convinced that this is where we should be right now. And more and more often on my tired days, instead of wanting to trash the whole idea, I just get some sleep. Or have something to eat. Or take a walk. And once I’m refreshed, it all seems doable again.
It’s actually kind of interesting how one idea grew into so many others; even some we’re looking at much further down the line. Right now we’ll start with a blog featuring the ways in which we live a simple, gentle and eco-friendly life, because this stuff is really important to each of us. I adore the food, Riley Mae loves the eco-conscious companies, Taylor admires the philanthropists, and Jordan thrives on the creativity. Hopefully we’ve even managed to rope Scott in, because he’s crazy talented when it comes to woodworking. And Riley Mae really wants an owl house… and a bat house… and a grandiose bird feeder. Some tutorials featuring that would be really cool, but honestly, that idea was born, like, two days ago. See, it just keeps growing, almost of its own volition. But basically, it’s just a whole lot of information accrued over the past 13 years or so that we just really want to share. Some things you may find crazy, but others may be just what you’ve been looking for. And if not, then perhaps a chicken shirt is right up your alley…
So, if you look at the top of the page there’s a menu (underneath our header) and we’ll be adding those pages as we go. We’re shooting for two posts a week and I guess we’ll just see how things play out. When we’ve got a handle on one part, we’ll move onto the next. Really, who knows where this is going to lead us? Because when I follow those meditation-inspired ideas, sometimes things head off in wild and wonderful directions. So, here we are. The whole clan in one place. Sharing what we do and sharing what we love. And we’re all really happy that you stopped by.
And now… anyone up for a slice of Taco Bean Pie?
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(I’ll only link to brands that I use and trust in case you’re looking for any recommendations. And I almost always buy in bulk because it’s much cheaper in the long run!)
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- 1 cup basmati brown rice (soaked, drained and rinsed)
- 1 small cauliflower (cut bite-sized)
- 1 medium zucchini (diced)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
- 1 tablespoon potato starch (if needed)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (for the filling)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (for the rice)
Preheat oven to 350°
1. Add the rice, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 3 cups of water to a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until very soft.
2. Sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil until soft and golden. I begin on medium-low heat and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently. Then I reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the rice is just about done. This will leave you with deliciously sweet golden brown onions. Stir occasionally while cooking on low heat.
3. Steam the cauliflower and zucchini until tender, 8-10 minutes.
4. Add the cooked beans, chili powder, cumin, coriander and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the food processor and puree until smooth (add only enough water as is needed to puree, no more than ¼ of a cup). Scrape the bean mixture into a bowl. If your beans are anything but very thick add in the potato starch to help them stiffen up and mix in thoroughly.
5. Add the cooked rice and 2 tablespoons of melted oil to the food processor and process until sticky. Press the rice into the bottom of a parchment lined pie plate to form a thick bottom “crust” (Using a wet spoon makes it much easier to spread smoothly.)
6. Scoop the pureed beans into the rice crust, smooth flat and top with the cooked vegetables. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the pie is heated throughout and the vegetables begin to lightly brown. Let the pie cool slightly before slicing.