My Loving Partner

When I was 14 my dad gave me a box of bookplates with this passage attributed to Stephen Grellet, a prominent Quaker (although there are other claims that it was written by Emerson, Gandhi or William Penn).

“I shall pass through the world but once.
Any good, therefore, that I can do or
any kindness that I can show,
let me do it now.
Let me not defer nor neglect it,
for I will not pass this way again.”

This simple passage became my northern star. I used the bookplates as bookmarks, kept it under my pillow at night and had a copy in my navy blue purse. Through time my understanding of these words expanded from small gestures of kindness and love to include a more mystic view of the world and love in action. Some of those acts include husbandry and stewardship of this beautiful earth.

When I met my husband, it was clear to me that his life was in harmony with both nature and other people. Our marriage became a natural place for us to explore and expand our understanding of what it means to help make the world a little brighter and to contribute to its harmony. We expect that as we continue to age, these words will continue to guide us to even deeper knowledge of respect, love, awe and the eminent gratitude that arises naturally from living a slow thoughtful life.

We have daily practices that include growing our own food in ways that honor the seed, soil and other resources we have been gifted. We walk through the forests of Western North Carolina and identify plants, trees and fungi that have medicinal value and work with them to support our health. We do a daily qi gong practice that honors the elemental forces of nature. We also learn from our trials, as well as our successes, at parenting. And of course, there is the constant path of growing old along side another beautiful soul ~ in honor, love and great peace.

We are extremely blessed to walk this path together. May all beings be so blessed.

Often, we refer to Wendell Berry, Thomas Jefferson and many others who have inspired many of the ways that we live. You will see their influences in our writing.


Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.