From Haiti to Here is here!

From Haiti to Here: A Journal has gone to the presses! And soon, I'm off to the Philippines!

As a disaster relief volunteer in Haiti, I found many people taking action after the devastating 7.0 earthquake of January 12, 2010 in ways that ranged from innovative and awe-inspiring to destructive and self-serving. It’s easy to focus on money wasted or things done badly, but without equal focus on that which is done well, positive change becomes elusive. Featuring pages dedicated to history, culture, and inspiring organizations, From Haiti to Here places the country's current challenges a historical context, while offering an inspiring look at a half-dozen small organizations that are acting in innovative, effective, and culturally appropriate ways to address some of the challenges Haiti faces.

Nestled between these pages of history and inspiration in From Haiti to Here are your pages—the blank pages with which you create your own story, your own inspiration. Use these pages however you wish: to reflect, to hold memories, to organize your thoughts, to doodle, to plan. I often find that my best ideas spring to life in the pages of my hand-written journals, and there is very little that doesn’t work itself out if I sit long enough with pen and paper.

Please choose from the three cover designs (two by Haitian artists and one by me) and place your order by clicking the PayPal button below. We ask for a $16 or more donation per journal, and all profits will help me to bring supplies from the All Hands Volunteers wish list to the Philippines in mid-January. I'll be volunteering on Project Bohol, clearing rubble and helping to rebuild after the earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan. You can find out more about our work at hands.org.

Thank you for your support!


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Rhizome Urban Gardens

If I’m not in a disaster zone trying to be useful, I’m probably planting a garden in San Francisco. In 2012, a friend and I founded Rhizome Urban Gardens, with the goal of helping people connect with nature, the food we eat, and our natural ecosystems. Sometimes that means offering one-on-one lessons in planting organic gardens, sometimes it’s talking about permaculture at our Farmers’ Market booth, and sometimes it’s just keeping a yard beautiful so folks want to spend more time in it.

We began with just a few clients, but have grown over the past year to complete a wide variety of garden installations, including succulent gardens, edible landscapes, and even a display for Google. I learned a lot, not just about plants, but about how to run a business in the Bay Area. There were a lot of long days and challenging moments, but as winter offers a bit of rest, I’m reflecting back on the year with gratitude that I’m paying my bills doing something healthy and meaningful to me.

Check out our website! rhizomegardens.com…

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Ordinary Stories of Magic, Adventure, and Chocolate

Beginning with a broken toe in the ex-Soviet republic of Moldova, Ordinary Stories of Magic, Adventure, and Chocolate traces a personal journey through urban squats of Western Europe, Central American countryside, an Alaskan winter without electricity or indoor plumbing, the streets of Istanbul and Southern India, across Bosnia, Serbia and Romania on a bicycle, and eventually into the political countercurrents of Venezuela, Uruguay, Cuba and Colombia.

More than a travel memoir, this collection of true stories relentlessly pushes at the edges of cultural boundaries, while tracing a path of personal evolution through activism, love, loss, birth, death, politics, and exploration of the ever-evolving mysteries of life. It is a tale of what is possible when a young woman insists on staring down her fears, keeping magic as a travel companion, and sampling all the chocolate along the way.

Ordinary Stories of Magic, Adventure, and Chocolate is a playful, personal story that pokes at politics and cultural differences, but focuses on our ultimate interconnectedness, and seeks to offer a reminder of the magic that is always around us, the ordinary magic we tend to overlook, the mysteries we get too busy to ponder. And in that ubiquitous magic we may just find reason to live with more trust and compassion, with less fear, and with more openness to the infinite possibility of life. We may find that we are capable of much more than we realize.

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I guess it started when I was a kid. Or maybe I was born with it, a gene passed on from my immigrant parents, even though they claim they don’t understand why I do it.

In elementary school I snuck off campus at recess and ran around the block, just to see if I could. I explored every possible route home, to see what they all were like. My favorite school day of the year was...
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