Help us bring the farm to Dallas!

I couldn't be more proud of our Urban Acres team (and my hubby!) for putting together this incredible video and campaignWe're using the Kickstarter website to raise $30,000 by August 5th to build a one-of-a-kind farmstead in the heart of Dallas.  Our current market will move to the new location (still in our beloved neighborhood) and add features such as an open kitchen, Texas cheese counter, chicken coop, and aquaponics greenhouse.  I'm particularly excited about the outdoor patio with the communal farm table!

In case you're not familiar, Kickstarter is an "all-or-nothing" deal, so if we don't get $30,000 pledged by the deadline, we don't get any of the money.  Please, watch this short video and if you feel led to give at all to help us reach our goal, that's great!  You don't have to live in Dallas to contribute. 

And most importantly, thanks to all of you who have supported our dreams throughout the years!

A meadow.

On the first day of spring, I wanted to share this meadow that's within a short walking distance of our home.  To others it may just be an open field in the middle of a neighborhood, but you have to look more closely.  And then you'll see it's filled with wild grape hyacinth, trees sweeping low to the ground for climbing, big rocks for collecting and jumping, tree stumps made into chairs.  I found out it's owned by a nearby church but open for public use.  We've probably returned 5 times since the initial discovery.  What a treasure.

"The air was sweet with the breath of many apple orchards and the meadows sloped away in the distance to horizon mists of pearl and purple; while the little birds sang as if it were the one day of summer in all the year."
~ Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I'm gonna find every spot of nature in this big city, yes I am.

I love that my daughter now asks regularly if we can go play "in the meadow."  Why, yes we can.  Happily.

Our neighborhood. (30 days of thankfulness - day 8)

I'm so thankful for our super artsy and diverse nook of Dallas, North Oak Cliff.  It's the home of our small business, where we've been welcomed into the community with open arms, and where we get to pour back into the community.  It's the home of the Bishop Arts District, a small strip of Main Street USA in the heart of the city, with unique restaurants, shops, and events.  We first discovered Bishop Arts in early 2006 and were amazed that it even existed in Dallas.  Today, Bishop Arts is bustling and is even becoming a little touristy!    The white twinkle lights year-round are a bonus.  Who doesn't love twinkle lights?

Most of you know my pining desire to live in Nashville again one day...but for now I'm in Dallas, and I'm learning contentment. Right now, Oak Cliff is where I am and where I want to be.

Our store looking fallish

Eno's Pizza in Bishop Arts looking quite whimsical

Enos' Portland-ish interior

Coming into Oak Cliff at sunset over the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge

Dallas skyline as seen from North Oak Cliff

~ ~ ~

During the month of November, I'm practicing "30 days of thankfulness" - will you join me?  Use your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to voice your thankfulness for something every day in November.  My hope is that this daily routine will create in me a heart of thankfulness and gratitude, no matter the day or month or situation.

Food As Gift.

Image: Art House AmericaI'm honored that my essay "Food As Gift" has been included on the Art House America blog today!  I hope you'll meander over and check it out...

While you're there, don't miss the lovely essays "In High Cotton" by Kierstin Casella and "Believing The Seeds of Wonderland" by Alice Smith, two creative and inspiring friends and fellow mamas from Nashville.

"Somehow, my little family’s efforts combined with that of so many others is a gift to the community, a voice shouting over the din of this big city that knowing where your food comes from does matter..." read more

Another beautiful day.

Apparently I'm on a continuing search for beauty here in this big city, and I'm going to find it all! After soaking up the Cedar Ridge Preserve, I recruited my friend Bre {and her baby Jack} to journey with me to the Trinity River Audubon Center to see what we would find there.  It was open wide and centered around a lake.  Very Walden-esque. 

Here we are with our koala babies...

It was rather windy and a bit overcast so we didn't stay too long, but I'd love to return on a beautiful sunny spring day to enjoy the wooded forest path.  It seemed the perfect place to curl up with a journal, waiting for birds and butterflies to make their appearances.

And the best part? Right before leaving, we stopped in the nature center's "Art251" gift shop to peruse the shelves of gifts and handmade items by local artisans.  While I was swooning over a set of large handpainted bird postcards and a baby onesie that said "Small Footprint," Bre called me over: "Look! There's my photo!" Indeed, in the back of the shop, next to a display of locally roasted Oak Cliff Coffee, was a clipped article about our store, Urban Acres, from a past issue of The Dallas Morning News.  The article shows a photo of Bre working the counter while pregnant with Jack.  It was encouraging to meet the director of the store who knew about us and to connect with other like-minded folks in Dallas.

I didn't leave the store empty handed.  In a back corner, there was a display of handmade clay plaques with inspirational sayings on them. I dug through the pile and knew immediately this was the one I wanted:

It's now displayed on my kitchen windowsill where, amidst chaos and disarray and a nonstop agenda, I can always stop and remember - it is another beautiful day.  And I must continue to search for and find the beauty all around me.


Oddfellows, nice to meet you.

There's a new restaurant in our neighborhood called Oddfellows.  With its inclusive motto, "Food For All", the restaurant is an artful collaboration of several local entrepreneurs {and friends of our farm store} who want to continue to make our neighborhood more interesting for those who live here, more welcoming for those who don't {yet}.  There is also a menu full of delicious-sounding dishes that feature local ingredients and a beverage list featuring what are rumored to be the best lattés in Dallas!

So, while my friend Amy was visiting last week, we were suffering from a severe case of cabin fever after the aforementioned snow day and were anxious to get out on the town.  Apparently so was the rest of the neighborhood - no one minded trudging down slushy walkways, gripping the sides of buildings to gain footing.  No one complained, either, about the lack of plentiful parking in the Bishop Arts District or the continuous torturous dripping of snow melting off roofs.

When we arrived at Oddfellows, we found a cozy retreat from the cold with a Cheers-like atmosphere.  It seemed that everyone was already a regular.  We were greeted eagerly, immediately ushered to a round table with ample room for two adults and a baby.  Having already eaten lunch {what were we thinking??}, we would have to save our exploration of their food menu for another today...this day was about soaking up the vibe and sampling some warm drinks.  Luci Belle was easily amused by a crumpled-up receipt and Tic-Tac container while Amy and I sipped our adult beverages - hot rooibos tea and vanilla latté perfection...


Sun streamed in the many windows, customers laughed and chatted, steaming plates cycled back and forth from the open kitchen.  We left with warm bellies, recharged spirits, and revived love for our little Oak Cliff, TX, the finest gem of a neighborhood in Dallas.