My Philosophy:

The days of your life are finite; your potential is not. Make the most of it. Observe everything around you, learn from it, then serve others.



I'm LuAnn aka Lu Cooley. I'm a wife/mother/grandmother, educator/writer, entrepreneur, activist involved in a variety of projects, all wrapped up in a package called "The Art and Business of Creation." Every day is an adventure. First, there is the amazing challenge of balancing family, work, and service. Fortunately, my husband keeps me grounded. He questions all my manic (maniacal?) ideas. My children are more than happy to keep me humble. Even in mid-life they still give me that teenage-angst look of, "You did NOT just say/do/write/post/wear that." Then there is the struggle to stay focused on what's most important. My two grandchildren crush my heart with love and my three big rescued dogs keep me sane even when I'm having a bad air day. Finally, there is the tsunami-sized need to serve. I replenish my soul by putting my hands in the dirt of my garden or on the keys of my piano. Writing is prayer: adoration, expiation, love, petition, and thankfulness. Photography refocuses my mind on beauty, and there's always, always something to see that is full of awesomely magical beauty. So I serve by sharing my gardening knowledge in workshops, my stories and experiences in blogs and books, and my vision of the Earth in photographs. Much of it is on this site, but information specific to homesteading is on my Little Suzie Homesteader site  and experiences in kids' gardening is on my Kids Gardening Workshop site.


For 30 years, I was a professional educator who taught and trained in business, government, college, public school and on-line settings. Then, I took a year's sabbatical and forgot to go back. For a couple of years, I was the Executive Director of a non-profit that combined my love of the environment, passion for education, faith in science, and devotion to art. Basically, we created a preschool garden with areas for art, music, literature, an insectary, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and places to climb, balance, dramatize and socialize. Now, I homestead with my husband and am an indie author entrepreneur and an out of control volunteer.  

I started this site as a way to share my observations, to encourage life-long learning, and to spotlight people who are serving others and the Earth. I strive to be uplifting, but frequently fall into being snarky. Feel free to comment on any or all of my posts and photographs, and if you're snarky, too, I'll probably laugh and say, "Bless your heart."

Lighthouse & Roses
South River Shenandoah National Park

12 Things Few People Know About Me

1. I can quote dialogue from Aliens and frequently use it as short-hand to describe a particular problem when talking with my husband. He, of course, understands it when I say, "Yes, intelligence levels have dropped precipitously since I've been away" when in one of my snarky moods.

2. I've seen every episode of the Walking Dead at least 3 times-- once while playing in the background until I know who dies, once to see what happens visually, and once to really listen to the dialogue. It is stunningly poignant and thought-provoking.

3. I usually have 2-3 books going on at the same time.

4. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, which I've read over a dozen times and seen the movie closer to 20. The first time was on television when I was about Scout's age.

5. My favorite literature character changes based only mood, but is usually a secondary character and anyone depicted as having tenacity and resilience in the face of insurmountable odds. 

6. My favorite movie character is Ruby from Cold Mountain, another female lead who is tenacious and resilient, has big dreams, works hard, and doesn't waste time feeling sorry for herself or crying, "Victim!"

7. I was not athletic as a child and only started running in my mid-20's. I have since run about 4 marathons and numerous 1/2 marathons at a snail's pace proving slow won't win the race, but you still get a medal and a sack of goodies at the end.

8. I am chemically sensitive and mold sensitive and no longer believe I am any more or less "sensitive" to pollution or the chemicals around me than anyone else. I'm just less tolerant of feeling ill, tired, foggy-headed, and more observant of how my body and mind respond to external factors. I am also tenacious in my search for REAL answers rather than the hoo-ha that usually comes from traditional medical doctors.

9. I love stories and find people fascinating. I will sit for hours listening to someone tell me about his/her life.

10. When things get really squirrelly and it looks like they will never quit, I try to remember to look for the pony. It's an old joke that has kept me going through some of the worst times of my life. 

11. When my kids were small we moved around a lot so I was always getting lost. I started carrying a little picnic with us whenever we went out so when that happened I could stop at a park, roadside rest area, or open field and say, "Look! We're having an adventure. Let's have a picnic, too." It worked for awhile.

12. Finally, and probably the most significant for understanding my attitude, I am unapologetically pro-organic everything, an earth activist educator, and on a quest to learn more about how pollution aka toxics, toxicants, chemicals negatively impact our health and the earth so I can share that knowledge in a positive, understandable way with others. If you don't think you are affected by what you eat, drink, and breathe, well, bless your heart. You just ride that train as long as you can. For everyone else, join me!

We may be slow. We may get lost. But with a little tenacity, resilience and attitude, we'll have an adventure and maybe learn something along the way!

Hope Strategies:
For those with MCS & Mold Exposure 

Wildcrafting Your Brain: Reclaiming your native mind after MCS & Mold Exposure


Little Suzie Homesteader

Living in a Climate Changed World: 

Resource Website

Kids Gardening Workshop
Companion website for workshop

Identifying and acting on the emotional impacts of chemicals & mold exposures.

(writing phase)

How to find, gather, and use your native intelligence and creativity in the face of multiple chemical & mold sensitivity.

(research phase)

A resource for facing the challenges of living in a climate changed world with specific information on multiple chemical & mold sensitivity, sometimes in a positive way. ​Research-driven information, trusted products, affordable practices for reducing your toxic load and strategies for coping and even thriving. Hope, encouragement, support for successfully living with the changes we're all experiencing. 

Workshop resource for creating a garden with and for children and the child in everyone. Information, links, news, handouts, events. Special attention is given to climate change, chemical sensitivity, mold and children.