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Random Acts of Kindness, Community Is Everywhere.

Some of the most personally rewarding things about what I do professionally is not only helping people achieve their dream home, but learning about their lives, their community, their town.  How fun is that? I meet people from ALL OVER and I have been so touched and bettered by interactions with people from all over the world whom have shaped my life in some way.

There are people I have worked with for ten years whom I have never met, but know so well... I know the names of their grandchildren, they know the personalities and quirks of my children. We know each others' dog's names. I have spoken with people from Colombia, Finland, Canada (lots : ) ), Germany, Spain, Bahamas, Senegal...

So, with my love of learning about different places, be forewarned:
When you contact me, I turn into a total stalker. ; )
My parents have a map where pins indicate all the places they have sailed; maybe I should start doing that for people I talk to about the house kits. I LOVE learning about your towns, big and small, that I have never visited and often have never heard of, but now I've engaged with someone from there!

I have learned about Goldvein, Virginia, about little towns in Colorado with no building codes, about lots of neato places in California and Canada... I learn about your farms, your children's weddings, your businesses...

I have been fortunate to meet a few of these people... yet also know I'll never meet many "in real life" - but what is real life anyway? If I talk to them, know their names, their background, even their sense of humor, then we know each other well.

I have been a bit low & sick lately, and, earlier this week, one girl with whom I have been speaking on twitter for about a year, Tara Burner, asked me, "is this your correct mailing address?" Secretly I suspected she knew I have had a hard few weeks with all this snow and sniffles... I jokingly accused her of being a stalker, and the teasing continued until today... when I discovered on my doorstep, a package. Within a pretty box, with a splash of pink tissue paper I found:
Inside... (my pictures do NOT do justice, it is going to snow again in Richmond and the lighting is gray and horrible!) Tiny glass squares and bottle caps... each with an image chosen from this blog.
Tara picked some of the most personal, treasured images I have included in stories here, and preserved them in beautiful keepsakes: 

Learn more about Tara here- 
Her website:
And her Etsy Store:

And here's why each of the pictures she chose mean so much to me:

Here's the story about another weekend with The H's - This picture shows G and C...
Two little girls from different worlds becoming fast friends in a boat yard... and how I was thinking about how my life had been bettered in unexpected ways when my "plan" diverges into something else.

We have met many of our friends in strange, random ways, heck, one of my best friends I met at a bus stop in the rain! It's a reminder to leave your heart open: you never know who will traverse worlds and different backgrounds to become a fixture in your life.
This was from the day I was so happy to be at the house kit, we were spending the night for one of the first times there after having camped on the land for years, it was a GORGEOUS weekend, we were so happy to be out and about, and had stopped to pick wild flowers at our friend G's farm with the children, had some fresh cold watermelon with him, and got lots of goodies from Mrs. Esh's store... all put together here, in the picture, when I got back to the house kit, and I even made a fun recipe out of the bounty!

This was after a very, very long walk and our eldest child was trying to convince the dogs that they were really horses and had to carry him up the hill.

They refused. ; )

I just remember how muddy and exhausted yet happy we were that weekend...
And here's the house kit...
: ) 

I love the light out there, how it plays with the architecture of the house kit throughout the day, how the lighting changes with the seasons... 

And I love how Tara's glass squares play with the daylight, filtering rays through and onto these photographs.

This was from when the Amish were building our house kit and oh the things they had to go through with the cladding manufacturer!!!!

I love that people in a community work on the house kits, therefore  imparting green building skills and energy efficient technology into rural areas, while I, as the consumer, learn about and support my community's local trades and tradespeople.

And who are we kidding: I am tickled that SOMEONE ; ) appreciates Vintage! Hat! Friiiiiday!
(Just vote for me, okay?)

And then the same image of G & C in a bottle cap - it's incredible how Tara zoned in on that picture, because there are bigger, deeper stories behind that photo I never spoke about, and you just have no idea how special it is to us. (I am going to give the bottle cap to my friend Mrs. H, so she can treasure it as well.)

And finally, here is a picture taken from The Big Snow.  Chickens do NOT like snow. So Handsome Husband and I had to carry the coop into the garage so they could have some area to walk around without snow. But first we lifted them out, one by one, complaining all the way, and trudged carefully through it all until we unceremoniously plopped them onto the dry garage floor, then, stumbling, lugged the coop across the yard to them.
We refer to it as The Great Chicken Rescue.

Let me tell you a little more about Tara: Like many of you here, she is adept at Makin' Something Outta Nuthin'. 

Tara  is creative, hard working, down to earth, kind. She has supported herself as a contractor, a model, a body guard, an Etsy craftswoman.  She is a testament to hard work, and the constant belief that SHE can shape her path, that SHE is responsible for her future, and in doing so has had her own business for twenty years.

Tara enjoys repurposing and upcycling materials into her own jewelry, and it is clear that she puts just as much thought and reflection as craftsmanship into her art.

Maybe with their permission I'll start doing occasional posts on some of the neat people like Tara and their stories that inspire me that I've met in random scenarios... there's a lot!

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a cute picture of Tara that I *STOLE* off of her web site : ) to show you that beauty is not only on the outside, but the inside, and sometimes, if you're lucky, both.

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At 2/24/10, 3:16 PM , Anonymous Tara Burner said...

WOW Copeland, I never expected this nor your phone call...I'm sooooo thrilled you love the images I chose and am glad they all touched you and your memories!
and hey, thanks for calling me a 'girl' and not "old woman" or anything!
you ROCK!
luv ya, your friendly creative eco stalker! ;)

At 2/24/10, 4:03 PM , Blogger Mothermary said...

So sweet! Each is like a "little world"!

At 2/24/10, 4:20 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

They *are* like "little worlds" - I love how when you tilt them slowly about the light bounces off and through the glass, the smooth organic weight of it...

True keepsakes.

At 2/24/10, 6:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This made me smile.

At 2/24/10, 8:32 PM , Anonymous Tara Burner said...

had to comment because one of my consultants for my other company just sent me message laughing hysterically about the part where you "stole" my picture from my site, since I'm usually tweetin about all the thieves stealin my business content and images! toooo funny ;)
glad you enjoy each little world there, I was drawn to those images and now I see why :)

At 2/24/10, 8:59 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Honeychile, YOU might be a stalker, but *I* am a BANDIT. (As Justin well knows... ; ) )
So heck ya I *stole* yer picture!
: )


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