Category Archives: 2016: Home

Bringing it Home… 2016’s Theme Word

Stephany Hoffelt Iowa City HerbalistWhile I generally avoid resolution posts,  I do like to reflect on what has been worked this year and set an intention for the next year.   I can honestly say that for a year that started out a little shakily,  2015 ended on a fabulous note.  Things are really humming around here.

Part of that is because my husband and I worked damned hard to make that happen. We called in some outside help, set boundaries, made time for one another and focused on self-care and rebuilding.

Kiva told me at the conference in the fall,  that I looked ten years younger, and while I wouldn’t go that far, I think this year has been less stressful than any since he started the really travel intensive project in 2011.

With a firmer foundation under our feet again, we have moved on to other projects.  I have a home office/classroom. The boys have their own rooms on a different floor.   We managed to literally run through an entire dump-truck full of mulch while working on garden projects.  We turned some work trips into work vacations.  

Towards the later part of 2015,  I started focusing on building my professional presence, locally.  Historically, it has been much easier for me  to find professional outlets in other places.  I do freelance research, write herbal handouts for physicians on the coasts, submit articles to herbal publications, work on course development for the Herbal Academy.  I  travel to other areas to teach classes, because that is where the demand has been.   While these jobs pay the bills, they don’t leave me feeling as though I am “walking the walk” of a  grassroots, community herbal practitioner.

When I was at my conferences in the fall,  I took part in a great conversations with colleagues from other parts of the country.  What I took away from those conversations is that not only does every person have different needs, every place does, too.   There was not point in my trying to  emulate my friends’ work models because most of my  friends  live in different places and what works for them,  won’t work for me.   And my place needs me, much more than the Internet or the coasts do.  There are plenty of great herbalists out there, but only a very few here. 

I also was reminded that the winds of change have been blowing, even in the Midwest.  Four years ago, I contacted the local community college about offering classes and I was pretty rudely dismissed..  But on a  colleagues advice, I came home and tried again. Now I have a great programmer at the college encouraging me to teach classes.  I also have other venues interested in hosting my classes.   (Funny how I spent all spring getting my home office in order and now  affordable venues are popping up all over.)

I crafted my classes for the complete novice.  When I walked into my first continuing education class this fall, most students didn’t even know what a tincture was. They were entirely new to the subject of herbs, which is a lot of fun.

Keep in mind that none of this is easy for me.  Putting my introverted, not entirely neurotypical self out there is a challenge for me and there are days I worry that I am not up for it.  It is like having to be “event manager” on all the time instead of for  So, that makes hanging on to my self-care practices developed over the last year even more necessary.

We had so much fun on our work vacation to Colorado that I thought about  throwing myself on a whirlwind teaching circuit but then I think about all my garden plans for the spring and summer and my desire to cultivate a more meaningful  presence in my community.  So I will keep my conference attendance to those I could not bear to miss or whose mission really speaks to me.

Continuing my focus on  my home and community in 2016 makes the most sense for me on a lot of levels.  First, it gets me away from my desk. Secondly ,  I get to focus my creative efforts on local projects, home improvements, making stuff and playing in the dirt and that sounds like a pretty good year.

So “home” is my theme word for  2016.   What is yours?