Hi, we are Max and Deirdre. We are in our late 20s, and both grew up in the same community of homeschooling families in Southern California. Our families met when we were 9, and we became better friends in high school. In 2011, we got married, and decided to stick close to home, and raise our own family in our hometown near grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. One thing we had in common as kids was a certain "out-of-the-boxness" which made us feel a little bit like fish out of the water in today's society. We grew up with no little to no TV, minimal peer pressure to follow current trends, and we both have a propensity to dream big and shoot for the moon. While there are many differences in our personalities (see below!), we have the same passions and vision in life. We started this blog to share these passions with other kindred spirits. You will be hearing from both of us as we post, which will give you an idea of where our different interests lie, and also reveal the common threads that hold us together.
Meet my wife Deirdre
Hi Folks, Max speaking. Deirdre and I met as kids, and at the time she performed regularly with her 5 siblings in an Irish fiddle and dance band called "Celtic Spring." I remember being mesmerized by their performance at our local homeschool talent show one year. I always noticed her when we saw them perform in subsequent years, but our friendship began in earnest in our later high school years, when we both played together in a youth orchestra, and taught a catechism class together at our Church. I remember calling her (who was the better musician) to ask little questions about our orchestra piece, but really I had a written list in my hand of other things I wanted to talk about, and I found ways to shift the conversation. We would talk for hours. Deirdre went to college while I was finishing my last year of high school, and the next several years we only saw each other during breaks. It was during those school holidays that our friendship really took root, and those are some of our fondest memories to this day.
On the outside Deirdre might seem like a quiet, shy girl, and that was part of what initially intrigued me about her. I was definitely the initiator in our friendship! As we got to know each other better though, I saw more and more of a heart and soul that was more than met the eye. Combine sensitivity and gentleness with passion and the fiercest commitment to values, and you have a good outline of Deirdre. She weaves together musical skill, artistic flare, youthful innocence, and an acute eye for beauty. Never satisfied with mediocrity, Deirdre is always longing for something more.
If you really want to see her come alive, just put her in some dance shoes. Deirdre was born to dance, and that is where she is happiest and most herself. She has danced her entire life, and has taught others (including me!) Irish dance since the time she was 14. She keeps a neat and tidy house and always reminds me to clean up from one project before rushing off to another. She lives for spending time with family over holidays and feast days throughout the year. She loves to hike in nature, go on trips around the country, and loves good folk music, especially Irish and bluegrass. 5 years into our marriage, we still talk for hours like we used to, and I still learn little things about her that I never knew. Everyone who meets Deirdre likes her, and she always has something nice to say about everyone. Sometimes I wonder why she ever agreed to marry me, but she did, and I like to think that we always encourage each other to strive for the best in ourselves. She is the spark that keeps me going on tough days! - Max
Meet my husband Max
Hi! Deirdre here.
What initially intrigued me about Max was that we could talk and talk and talk about things that I would be embarrassed to share with others. I would tell him my crazy dreams about the life I wanted and he wanted it too! We would traipse around the mountains surrounding our town like two little kids on some fun adventure...talking the whole time. I couldn't believe I had met someone else who was a dreamer like me, with the same life's vision.
As I got to know Max more, I came to know a very unique person. He is an unexpected combination of dreamer and doer. Seriously. He has big dreams like I do. But while I can't seem to get past the dream, Max takes them and turns them into reality. A recent example: for years we have talked about wanting to have an outdoor pizza oven. We were talking about it again this summer. While I was still thinking about the idea of an oven, a book on making your own pizza oven had arrived in the mail and Max was out in the backyard finishing the oven with clay he had dug from our farm. (I must add that this was a few weeks after our second baby had been born.) That is Max. He is determined, tenacious, a leader, innovative and absolutely impossible to box. For real. He doesn't fit into any box, so don't even try. He is also efficient and punctual (opposite of me). He lives by his principles and highly respects those who don't just talk the talk but also walk the walk.
As strange as it sounds, Max's life revolves around food. Not because he is a glutton, rather he is a food connoisseur at every level. He spends his days growing food on the farm then comes home to the kitchen to be our resident chef each evening. He almost pursued a culinary career but in the end chose the field over the commercial kitchen. He passionately loves sharing food and creating hospitable community whether at the farmer's market or in our home. Nothing fascinates him more than the nutritional and healing value of food as well the deeper spiritual implications of food and eating. One of our favorite things to do when we were dating was to read "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and cook food together for parties at my family's house.
It is a great adventure to be journeying step by step alongside Max (or is it racing down the road at 100 mph?). =) Either way, it's great! - Deirdre
This blog is basically a journal for us to post all our little steps along the path to a beautiful life and culture for our family. The idea of "Creating Conscious Culture" is a common theme throughout, and we explain what we mean by this in more detail here.
Although the explanation on the "Conscious Culture" page can sound a bit heavy and heady, we actually intend this blog to be a source of lightness, fun, beauty, inspiration, excitement, positive energy etc... It is not intended to be a dogmatic platform, even if we do occasionally step on the box to voice an opinion. We just want to share what we are doing to create a beautiful culture in our own home and community, and since a good thing always becomes better when shared, we want to share it with you. If it is truly beautiful, beauty speaks for itself, and we know that others will see it, appreciate it, and want to take part in it. But we also realize beauty has as many faces as there are people in the world, and although we certainly don't accept an "anything goes" mentality, we make it a goal to stay open to infinite beautiful variations, many of which we can't even imagine. Every person brings something unique to the world. If you like what we write about, please keep reading. If not, we are impressed you made it this far down the page, and thanks for stopping by!
We will be posting on a variety of topics, all areas of intense love and interest to us. These include:
- Food, cooking, and culinary traditions
- Organic Farming, especially small-scale commercial farming as a profession and vocation
- Development of our own farm, First Steps Farm
- Folk music
- Folk Dance, group dancing
- Community, festivals
- Living with the rhythms of nature
- Simple recipes, innovative home kitchen management
- Nutrition and healthy diet and lifestyle
- Education, particularly homeschooling
- Family, kids and parenting
- Homemaking and homesteading skills
- Holiday customs and traditions
- How our faith informs our lives
- Environmental stewardship
- Beautiful home decor
- Great quotes from good books
- Natural child birth and babies
- Home Gardening
- Raising animals at home
- Beauty as a force for good in the world
- Postive psychology and relationships
- Business as a regenerative force in society
- Cultural and philosophical reflections
- And anything else we happen to be interested in!!