Six years ago, I was in the corporate world and hating every minute of it. A job I once enjoyed had turned into a stressful grind that took me away from the things I was really passionate about. Like everyone else, I had unfulfilled dreams. I wanted to spend time with my kids. I wanted to do all those self-reliance projects I read about. I wanted to write books.
Most of all, I wanted to be independent.
Instead, I spent my days grinding my teeth and pretending like I actually wanted to be at the office.
Like most stories of dramatic change, it starts out sad. But hang in there. It gets way better.
It took death to rock my world and inspire me to change everything.
First, my beloved father died. One of the last conversations we had turned out to be the lesson that eventually changed my life.
“You know I love you, right?” he asked from his hospital bed.
“Yes, of course. You’ve never ever made me think otherwise,” I reassured him. He’d been asking me this continuously, wanting to be sure I knew this vital fact.
“Girl, tell me, what are you going to do with your life?” he demanded.
I replied, “I’m going to be a writer, Dad.”
And it really hurt when he shook his head, “No you’re not. Writers write. You just talk about writing. If you want to be a writer, you have to write.”
The next day he was gone.
I was devastated, but I made the funeral arrangements and helped my mother get her bearings. Then, I went back home with my kids, dreading my return to a job I was beginning to despise.
My personal economic collapse
This happened as the automotive industry was collapsing. To keep myself employed, I was forced to survive on significantly lower pay for more work as others were let go. My financial situation began to unravel. I’d spent more money than I was making traveling back and forth from Canada to the southern US during my dad’s terminal illness. But sometimes, you lose your handle on things like money during difficult times.
As a result, first, I lost my house.
Then, I had to return my car because I couldn’t make the payments.
Every single day during that grim time, I was thankful for the well-stocked pantry I’d built over the years because, despite the chaos going on in our world, the kids had full tummies and all the basic supplies they needed.
And then, just a few months later, everything got worse.
My children’s dad died. Suddenly. Shockingly. Gone at the age of 40.
My poor girls were reeling at the loss of their daddy. The only thing I wanted to do was to be there for them. I couldn’t fathom the thought of sending them to a babysitter or worse yet leaving them home alone to fend for themselves, while I busted my tail making ends meet.
In less than one year, the whole world was different.
And we had to change with it.
I took a leap of faith because “writers write.”
In what probably sounds like the most ridiculous idea ever, I left my full-time job.
I accepted a severance package from the company (who was downsizing anyway), cashed in a small retirement fund, and set about to live a different life.
I wanted to try everything.
I wanted adventures and experiments.
My preps had seen us through the most challenging year of our life. We really wouldn’t have survived without them. I wanted to embrace all of those ideals that preppers set up for themselves.
- I wanted to live in a remote area off the grid.
- I wanted to raise my own food.
- I wanted to learn all of the skills that seemed so simple when I read about them.
I didn’t know how to do any of it. But I knew with every fiber of my being I was going to wholeheartedly embrace the chance to try.
But that wasn’t all.
I wanted to put my own special twist on the preparedness market.
I saw way too many unhealthy, unfit people planning to live off highly processed, chemical-laden food while tidying up using toxic cleaning products. I had been a long-time proponent of a healthy, organic lifestyle and I wanted to find a way to combine my passions: prepping, nutrition, and health.
You don’t change your life by being timid.
I had enough money put aside to sustain the family for a very frugal year. I decided to stop putting things off until the perfect time. I was going to move someplace dirt cheap and go for it. If I failed, I was just going to have to come back to the city, tail between my legs.
So ever since, I’ve been doing cool and unusual things that I probably have little business doing.
First, I packed my oldest girl off to college and took off with the youngest to spend a year living in a cabin with sporadic electricity in Central Ontario.
I got more adventure than I’d bargained for.
I learned that I didn’t know diddly.
For example, I had to learn to keep a fire going in the woodstove or, quite literally, die. When you’ve never built a fire in your life, this is harder than you might imagine.
During one exceptionally memorable storm, we got snowed in by a 7-foot drift and had to climb out the window of the house. (Thankfully, by this point, I was a fire-building pro.)
Then, to finance my own writing gigs, I spent three years working from home for an alternative media company, where I got to indulge my news junkie side every single day and get paid for it.
We headed back to the United States.
After that, I got to move to California to be closer to the headquarters of that company. My fledgling blog, where I wrote about both successes and failures, was building an audience. Apparently, lots of folks were looking for newsy, health-related prepping information.
I got the opportunity as a total farming newbie to spend two years homesteading in Northern California, where my office was my front porch.
There, I killed a bunch of vegetables, managed to nurture some to harvest, and learned to raise animals, including chickens, ducks, goats, and even a baby deer.
While my oldest daughter completed her degree in Canada, I homeschooled my youngest in the US. Recently, my intrepid kid and I went on a 7-week road trip around the perimeter of the USA to learn geography and history.
Why was my blog a success when many others aren’t?
Well, I’d like to say it’s my Pulitzer-prize-deserving mad writing skills and rapier sharp wit, but it’s probably the following.
- Curiosity. I’ll try things I’m totally unqualified to do and then write about the experience.
- Admitting failure. I’m not a guru, and I totally admit it when my experiments fail. Then I try it again until I get it right.
- DIY health. I like to make healthful living an affordable option.
- Frugality. I’m not going to tell people they need a $7000 generator to survive. Heck, I don’t have one either.
- Humor. Although sometimes my kids tell me otherwise, I try to be funny. Preparedness doesn’t have to be grim and doomy.
What are we up to now?
Today, I’m a coffee-swigging, gun-toting mom with a penchant for trying new things. I no longer do freelance work. I write for my blogs, churn out a book a year, research products for my website Preppers Market, and I teach live webinars at Preppers University, an online school for preppers of which I am a co-founder.
I have a motley assortment of rescued dogs and cats, plus an always-revolving number of chickens.
Soon I’m going to set off on my next grand adventure, getting my precocious youngest child into college at the age of 16, which will require us to do some in-town prepping and homesteading.
I enjoy cooking, canning, hiking, shooting guns, hiking, and reading. Sometimes, I watch Netflix into the wee hours of the night, even when I know better. I’m a total
hermit introvert and I rarely charge my phone.
Where to find me:
I’m probably wherever the coffee is…oh, you meant online.
My websites are:
- The Organic Prepper (where I write about preparedness, health, frugality, and food. I also write about current events in relation to preparedness.)
- DaisyLuther.com (where I write with enthusiastic sarcasm about all of the stuff that makes people say, “you need to stick to prepping” or “I’m offended by this.” )
- Preppers University, a virtual school for preppers that covers everything from surviving current threats to planning for future ones.
- Preppers Market, a store for preppers that focuses on the highest quality water filters on the market today, non-GMO and organic emergency food, and other preparedness supplies specifically chosen by me, for you.
I’m the author of four books:
- The Pantry Primer: How to Build a Whole Foods Pantry on a Half Price Budget
- The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide
- The Prepper’s Canning Guide
- Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas (and a Debt-Free New Year)
You can find more information about my books here.
My articles are widely republished throughout alternative media, and I am a frequent guest on radio shows and podcasts. You can find more information about my appearances here.
You can find me:
- Making snarky comments on Twitter
- Saying politically incorrect things on my Daisy Luther Facebook page
- Innocently inciting the wrath of someone who wants to be offended on my Organic Prepper Facebook page, regardless of my attempts to behave myself.
- On Pinterest, not only can you find my vast collection of preparedness pins, but you can witness my weird obsession with doors and libraries.
- I don’t understand Google Plus and will likely never post there.
If you’d like to interview me, you can find my media page here.