Eco Womb Update
I seriously haven't had the words to write an Eco Womb update. I have been counting my gratitudes, breathing deep, manifesting the best outcome, and being there for my kiddos. I have also cried deep, curled up in a ball on my bed, asked what the what, and shouted to the sea and the stars. I've been leaning into trust and seriously in the depths of my heart know that the universe is already guiding us to where we need to be when we need to be there. But I confess, this past week has been HARD. This Wolf Moon has had some serious energy with it and we are still reeling. Tough transitions, sleepless nights, everyone sick, and big, big, BIG emotions.
A little back story… after a whirlwind of events on Tour in Oregon to work on the Yes on 92 campaign and educate on GMO labeling from September - November, we landed back in Portland to (hopefully) celebrate our big win. Yet, the law didn't pass, despite a recount and ballot chase and pretty much everyone in Oregon wanting this except the big money machine called Monsanto that tweaked the vote just enough (812 votes) with their big tv ads that played the 'it's going to cost too much' scare tactic game. But, regardless, we were proud to be a part, proud of our kids work on the campaign, and proud of just how many people support GMO labeling now. We then decided to head south (finally) to warmer temps, find some land to rest on for a couple months, put our tipi back up, gather with our Village, and reset for our next year's Tour and Education Programs, as we do every winter. We made it to Ashland, OR (again), for what was to be a one night stay on our way into Cali, and... bang, pop, hmmm… yup, something went up on that last hill climbing into our spot at Emigrant Lake. Always so much energy at Emigrant Lake, and SO very much love for our stay in Oregon, but we were ready to go... or, were we?
We ended up staying another two weeks trying to get her fixed up, hubby working his tail off for work and working day and night to do engine repairs. We missed our chance to make it to Texas to visit with family for Thanksgiving, super sad since it was our time to catch up after over two years apart, and our baby boy's chance to meet ---for the first time ever--- extended family on Mama Bear's side. Yes, still super sad over that loss. But, we were lucky to just get her running again and leave the day after Thanksgiving to finally head south. We weren't in Texas, but we did make it to San Francisco that weekend, yet something was still definitely wrong. More engine repairs, more parts, more time spent on fixing her up, and things weren't looking good. After another two weeks of Papa Bear and a friend giving it all they had to fix her up (thank you Village and our resident diesel mechanics), we called out a mobile mechanic and were hopeful final repairs were on the way. Although we felt that by handing her over to a professional, she would finally be fixed up, we now believe he actually did more damage than good. Hubby went to take her for a test drive after the job was supposedly complete and stopped to fill up on propane first, but couldn't start her back up... the engine was completely locked up!!! We were again broke down, and ended up sleeping at the propane fill-up station for a night!!! Got towed the next day into a spot at the campground and made the decision to stay through the holidays before having her towed to a shop. We were grateful the campground extended our stay, grateful our Village decided to stay with us, and grateful we could take a week to focus on the love and our traditions at Christmas and New Years with our kids, keeping the engine closed for a short bit to celebrate the holidays. It was a tough end to the year, but we were positive things were going to get better.
Then, right after New Years, we were ready. Ready for her to be well, ready to be on the road again, ready for final fixes, and ready for big change. We prepped for towing by packing up and clearing out. Not easy to pack for a family of six when you live full-time on the road and travel year round, yet, never have to pack anything because your home is always with you! We were going to a cabin at a local campground, so needed not just our clothing and essentials, but bedding and food. Throw in cloth diapers, toys, favorite stuffed animals, and a dog ;) and well, our van got tight quick.
Move date picked, work structured around it, tow truck was called, and all prepped when we got word that the right size tow truck for our rig couldn't come until the next day. So, food, bedding, and some essentials unloaded back into the RV. Not easy but still excited for fixes on the horizon. The next morning, the tow truck was supposed to be there between 10am-12noon, but didn't get there until 2pm and it was the wrong size truck, or maybe just an unmotivated to try driver, since he did not want to unhook the drive shaft which was essential for our locked engine. Mama Bear was drained so I got on the phone to voice concern over how it was handled and took all day, and got hung up on by the tow truck manager, yikes!!! After a good cry, and a million calls, finally got another tow company to come out, and got the Eco Womb safely hooked up and on her way to a shop. We all arrived as the sun was going down and bellies were getting hungry. We got her settled, got food, and got to the campground, just to wait at the ranger station for 45 minutes with our tribe of very tired children because the quote we got didn't match the rate they were trying to charge us?!?! After the LONGEST day ever, we finally finally finally got to the cabin to crash out.
While I am extremely grateful we have a roof over our heads (this week) as our home gets fixed up, this transition has not been easy. I am a gypsy at heart, but have realized I am definitely a stay-at-home gypsy. I miss my home, my bed, and my couch where I nurse my sweet babe to sleep every night (the one he was born on). He hasn't been sleeping well, and everyone has been sick. Having constant engine repairs for over a month (59 days and counting according to my boy), major financial strain, and now being displaced out of our home is starting to take its toll. We have already spent $1500 on repairs and had set aside another $1500, but we got word on Friday that she needs a complete engine rebuild. She is now at a very reputable shop, they are trying to give us the best deal based on parts and labor, but it is likely to be upward of $7000. They are experts at engine rebuilds in this area and can have her ready for us by the end of the week. But, the stress of coming up with that kind of money in a week is now weighing heavy on our hearts. If it takes us longer to raise that money, not only will the Eco Womb have to sit on a lot alone and empty, and we will be without our home, we may also be without a place to stay at all. We can't hotel or even cabin it for that long, it's just too expensive, especially in the Bay area. So, I find myself here, behind my computer, breathing deep, wanting to just give, give, give on my end, but now tanked out on anything left to give.
We run our family non-profit on basically nothing year round. We have love and passion for what we do, but very, very limited income that supports it. Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps is our sole financial supporter. At $5,000 a year it doesn't go far, or last long, but it does cover many of our expenses and time for the events we do, and has kept us going three years in a row. We are so very grateful for their support, we seriously couldn't do it without them. That and Papa Bear's company, Letterbox Studios, supports all of what we do on the road. Our other supporters are mostly product donations, and very few small one-time individual contributions. We have been criticized for not 'making it' by some, asked when we are going to stop and 'settle' down or get a 'real' job, and many still don't understand what we do or why we do it. But, when we are at an event teaching a young family what GMOs are, why we need them labeled, and the importance of shopping organic and Non-GMO for the health of our family, we know why we do it. When we set up to do an alternative fuel workshop at a college and a student approaches us inspired to try out waste veggie oil or solar and start off living sustainably, we know why we do it. When we get a big hug from a Mama thankful for the advice on eco-safe products to use for her new baby, or connect with another Mama with a special needs child that is trying to reduce their toxic load to heal her kid, we know why we do it. And, when our kiddos step up and teach someone about GMOs, or talk about ways to go zero waste and how to bottle brick, we know why we do it. We will spend 10-12 hours at a time on our feet at an event, juggling work and kiddos, not getting paid for being there, sometimes losing money for being there, and know we are successful if we impact at least one person to make a positive change, or if we connect with just one family and encourage them to make a difference. So, for the critics that don't understand making your passion your life's work, they must not know that feeling of making change happen one connection at a time.
Why am I sharing all of this here now. Because, Eco Womb has always been more than just an online store selling eco-safe products, and then a non-profit teaching on GMOs and sustainable living. It is those things and so much more. It is our life's passion, it is our life's work to connect with families and create change. It's who we are and why we do what we do on very little. But, we do know that in order to keep giving selflessly year round, we need support. We are currently seeking new Sponsors for 2015 as we do every January, but this year it is crucial to keeping us on the road. We need to raise $7000 in the next week for this repair and to get us back in our home. We have been told we don't run enough fundraisers to support a growing non-profit when our focus becomes instead on our hard work during our Tour season and all other energy goes to our kiddos as it should. So, we are opening up our hearts at this time to seek any support that you feel called to give. If you know of any potential Sponsors that would like to support our Education Programs on the road, please send them our way. Are you a small business that would like to partner with us for the year, please check out our Sponsor proposal and give us a shout. And/or if you would like to donate to our nonprofit directly, please submit here.
ALL money raised is tax-deductible, and will go toward fixing the Eco Womb and getting her back on the road and us back into our home. Anything in addition will go directly to our Education Programs and support our ability to continue to give back to communities as we travel on Tour throughout the year.
Why did I just share a book here with you and why am I asking for your help? Because it takes a Village to make great change. And, because my word of the year is "authentic" and "embracing my authentic self" and this is ME (the Mama Bear behind Eco Womb)... I do write books, I do give selflessly, I do seek collective change. And, I want to share more of me this year, more of our family, the heart and soul of Eco Womb, who we are behind the bus, why we do what we do as a family, and why we think it is our most important life's work. And, this year I am going to ask for help so that I can give more. I am going to work hard to raise funds to support our little family-run non-profit so that we can continue educating and making a difference, because a non-profit needs fundraisers or we end up working until our tanks are empty. I want to be full so I have more to give. I am going to keep connecting families and creating change, because this is the heart of Eco Womb. And, I will work tirelessly to save the Eco Womb Tour Bus to make it happen! Help us get back home in our home-on-the-road and help us create this change together!!!
And, my goodness, if you are still reading, I love you!