Idyllwild Woods TN

Last week, I challenged you to do the perfect average day exercise. I promised I’d publish mine, which I’ve named Idyllwild Woods. Last week, that didn’t seem scary at all. Today, not so much scary… more like that feeling when you accept a double-dog dare. Not to get too woo-woo, but there’s a reason I’m sharing my version of living the dream with complete strangers. If it’s a dream I can get behind publicly, that I can proclaim with boldness, it seems all the more inevitable that we will bring it about. (I say ‘we’ because hubby can see it, too, and he’s on-board.) In fact, it’s gotten to the point where I will talk with ANYBODY about it if they show the remotest interest! I’m also drawing up a sort of business plan for it, mapping out the milestones I foresee on the road to this dream becoming reality.

Remember the “rules” of the Perfect Average Day Exercise? Write it as if it’s already reality. Be detailed. Try to capture the reality and feeling of it in the details.

Idyllwild Woods

Welcome to Idyllwild Woods

I wake up in the house we built on our land in Tennessee. We bought 18 acres, not far from the kids and called it Idyllwild Woods. After prepping the land, we built one tiny home after another, along with a hobbit house and several old homes we got for hardly anything if we’d just haul them away. We stayed in our favorite whenever we went up for a visit for the first few years. The rents from these rentals funded our personal home on the far end of the property. Now we invite small groups in for seminars, retreats, and camping. There’s a gorgeous fire pit area, an indoor/outdoor kitchen and meeting area, a bunkhouse, and the tiny homes. We’ve also built space for RVs and some tent camping spots. On the grounds, there’s a zip line, a bunch of trails, and of course, the creek which is great for cooling off, fishing, and playing in the little waterfalls.

The view from our home is spectacular – you can see trees for miles. Spook and I designed our home ourselves. We love the windows and because it’s so private, we don’t have curtains. Every morning, we see the trees and leaves shimmying in the breeze as the sun rises. 

Idyllwild Woods


I still get up at six every morning, rested and excited to start the day the same way I have for decades, thanking God for the new day and praying for my loved ones. Only an alarm on the rare occasion we need to get up earlier than usual. Then I get my robe and go out to the kitchen for a hug. Spook’s already made our tea, and we take it to the porch, where we sit together on a porch swing that rocks. We chat while watching the birds and squirrels do their thing, the dogs are just loose because it’s totally safe for them to wander here. 

After coffee, we shower – in the warm months, the outdoor shower is amazing. When it’s cooler, we really enjoy our walk-in with all those jets and the heated floor in the bathroom. There’s also a gorgeous soaking tub with jets that feels pretty amazing at the end of the day.

Idyllwild Woods

Creating and Puttering

After I get dressed, I take the dogs out to the chicken yard and get the hens all settled for the day. Lots of eggs, so plenty for us and for the retreat house kitchen. The dogs follow me as I tend the gardens, picking and pruning and planting away. We’ve got so many tomatoes this year – we’ll have gallons of sauce to put up and enjoy all year. Traipsing around and puttering in the sunshine is good exercise, and I’ve gotten so strong while learning how to do all kinds of homesteader stuff. I love the unhurried pace and getting to be outside in the quiet. 

At about 8:30, I have my usual breakfast of steel cut egg oats over nut butter or fresh fruit. I take all my supplements and make a mason jar of water, then head to my studio office by about 9. While I was puttering this morning, a bolt of inspiration hit, and I already know I’ll be writing from that clarity. The words just flow for a couple of hours, and I’m smiling as I read it. Throughout the hour or so, I have fun, productive calls with colleagues. My life is basically doing cool things with cool people in cool places – and we make everyone involved very, very, very wealthy. We all have teams who do the heavy lifting on our projects. Everyone works so well together because we’re all having a blast and doing what we do best. 

Idyllwild Woods

Cool People Doing Cool Things in a Cool Place

One of my morning conversations was with the facilitator of the upcoming weekend’s retreat. I love being able to help more people experience the kind of transformation that various retreats bring. Mostly these folks are business owners who are into personal development. But we also host artists and writers, an annual car show, and family and friends. Sometimes we have fire walking, kanna, ayahuasca, and other woo woo stuff, and it’s really fun. It’s an incredible delight to be able to provide space on our beautiful land for people to come – and for the privilege of witnessing them transform and step into their greatness. So many of these folks come back year after year, and they feel like family. 

We’ve got a wonderful caretaker and team who handle the operations, and it’s also fun to see our volunteer work-campers every year. They take such good care of the place that it’s easy for us to leave anytime we want to take a trip. 

Rhythm and Routine

Friday nights in season, we have cocktails and a cookout with the guests. Live acoustic music, bonfire, catching fireflies, s’mores, and whatever treat I’ve baked. It’s the highlight of the week for our regulars.

Spook and I have lunch on the porch when it’s warm – or in the sunroom during the winter. Then he goes back out to his workshop to putter and I go back out to garden for a while. I cut some flowers for the house and for the retreat center. Then I take a little lie down on the hammock and read for a bit. That sparks more writing ideas, and I jot them down.

A quick check-in with my assistant, and she proudly tells me we’ve had a great revenue day. The team is getting bonuses again!

It’s about six now and Spook and I will meet at the kitchen island for a cocktail. We decide to cook in our outdoor kitchen tonight and eat by our fire pit under the stars. It’s amazing watching the stars kind of flicker in time with our music. We clean up after dinner and get in bed around 8. I read but he’s out cold within minutes. I’m out by about 9:30 and sleep like a rock. 

Idyllwild Woods

Living the Dream

I love our land and enjoy hiking all over, taking pictures, tending to the property. It’s good for my body and I’m grateful to be so strong, fit, flexible, and sure-footed. 

Our grandchildren are coming over tomorrow, and we’ll have fun exploring, baking, and telling silly stories. My kids, their partners, and their kids love coming over and we get to see each other almost every week. The babies and I are having fun painting lately, and I’ve set them up with little easels in my studio.

Our life is so satisfying, we are always creating and sharing. Time flies in that flow state. But also, I’m so present that there’s this overwhelming feeling of peace and deep satisfaction that fills me up. I truly enjoy all the creative pursuits in my life. Making – in all forms – is so rewarding. It’s even more fulfilling to see how much of what I create serves others. They read my words and shift. Some see my art and are moved. They attend an event on this land, and are utterly transformed. It feels so good to serve as sort of a conduit of God’s love this way, and I wouldn’t trade one minute for the world.

So, What’s Next?

To be honest, I’m not really sure. To call Idyllwild Woods a dream seems to discount it. But to call it a goal seems off somehow, too. It feels more like an inevitability that’s REALLY fun to enjoy even now in its planning stages.

That’s why I’m going to write up a sort of business plan; seems like that’ll give us an idea of next steps. Obviously, it’s going to take some money to do this. It might sound crazy, but it feels like that part will take care of itself as we go. For now, I feel excited about researching and planning, looking at properties, creating Idyllwild Woods in detail in my mind (and on paper) so we have a blueprint of sorts to follow.

How Much Money Are We Talking?

My initial estimate for what it’ll take to make Idyllwild Woods happen goes like this:
$100K for property
$100K to get the land ready for building (septic, electric, well, road(s), grading)
$25K for the first tiny home

After the first tiny home is ready, we’ll rent it out to help fund subsequent cabins. Some, we’ll transport ‘donated’ cabins to our site. (My father-in-law has loads of experience with that, as he and his wife ran multiple campgrounds in Custer, SD.) Others, we’ll go with tiny homes and cabins until we have about 10 on property. We’ll also install RV hookups and tent camping sites.

Hubby was a contractor for decades, and he says these numbers look about right.

Would You Enjoy Being Part of This Project?

As we start this journey, one thing is clear – it’s going to take a team. I’d love your support in advice and ideas, and if you’d like to back this retreat center, that would be epic. Some suggested tiers:

  • $1-$250 if you just want to support the project
  • $2,000 if you’d like to stay in the first cabin for a week
  • $20,000 if you’d like to invest in this retreat center project on the business end
Let’s Make This Happen!


Note: Idyll – kind of a cool word! There’s an area of Charlotte, NC with that name, and it’s always stuck with me. So… Idyllwild Woods it is!



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