Out of all the roads and directions we can choose in our lifetime on this planet, I chose the Greendesert.org path! This lifestyle has allowed me to experience the freedom, the peace of mind, good health, and the ability to secure a legacy for my family, all in the course of one year!
When I look back over my life, my mother Doris Burt-Johnson and my Father William Edward Burt have always been in the best shape of their lives by being living examples of how we should eat and exercise, and also by providing us healthy meals growing up. Our friends would come over and say that we ate differently from them and would almost tease us for not having certain things in our house like potato chips, Kool-Aid, soda pop and candy… there was no white sugar in our household! We didn’t feel like we were missing out because my mom made all of our meals and drinks appetizing. Watching and living this lifestyle is what started me on my path to health and awareness. This is not to say that I’ve always been on this path.
I have been a Special Education Teacher for 29 years in South Phoenix, taught grades K-12 and impacted the lives of numerous parents and children in my community that I am still very honored to have relationships with. I loved working with children and showing them how to make better choices and decisions for their lives.
I have held numerous titles in my career in addition to being a teacher such as, Special Education Facilitator, Coach, Trainer, Step Team Sponsor, Team leader, etc., until I woke up one morning and I didn't feel like I was doing enough for my community and legacy. I was exhausted and not motivated in my own life, I was busy but not fulfilled, and I was on autopilot, but didn't know where I was going. I became very depressed and felt stuck with the day to day routine of life. I stopped eating good foods and exercising. I stopped living the green life my parents showed me.
But my family continued the lifestyle my parents had developed, eventually evolving into GreenDesert.org Their focus has always been simple – to live a self sufficient life while honoring green living. Their goal was and has always been to Eat green, get sun, and stay grounded. It was that combined mindset that helped prepare me for my next life journey.
I decided to retire from my teaching job and go on a journey to rediscover and reconnect with life and my two daughters, 18 and a 14 years old. My journey started on September 8th, 2019 around my 50th birthday! I went to Texas on an Off-grid journey with my GreenDesert.org family to construct two shipping container homes, on 26 acres of family land for under $50,000. This was a journey that eventually would save my life! We documented our journey on GreenDesertTV on Youtube!
It was then that I realized I truly had to step it up because when I saw myself on camera I was not a happy camper to say the least. I knew how I felt but had no idea how I looked and hadn't really taken a picture or really looked at myself in the mirror. THIS was the first change that needed to happen. I didn't have any energy, I was tired all the time, and my health had started to be challenged. After taking bloodwork in October to refill my prescription for my thyroid medication, my thyroid at that time was elevated to an 8 (10 is not where you want to be) so I was definitely concerned that I was headed for trouble.
I never knew how hard it would be to TRAIN my mindset that it was ok to not be busy and be able to relax and just enjoy the current moments in my life. I had 26 acres of land to just explore and enjoy. While walking around the land, I could feel all the stress and anxiety fall away. I started to feel very empowered as we started our journey of building and constructing our Off-grid homes. From laying the tiles down for the floors, or putting up the tongue and groove for the walls, to painting both containers, the work was very hard but also very rewarding! I began to feel like I was taking control of my life again and had taken myself off autopilot and actually started to live again!
While I was building and working on the container homes, I noticed my clothes were starting to fit a little differently. I mentioned in the earlier paragraph about my mother and her cooking. Well.. she was our personal chef for this journey. She provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner for us to be able to work all day long. She was providing us with a PLANT-BASED menu which consisted of beans, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits! We had oatmeal with nuts, brown sugar (well I didn’t get the brown sugar reward), butter (don't think I got that one either), chia seeds, and flax seeds every morning and we ate the rainbow of colors for vegetables and everything and it was amazing! I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing or missing out on anything. I was feeling better than I’d felt in years. But I still wasn’t out of the woods. I had to go back for lab work just four months later to reorder my thyroid prescription. I was not prepared for the results --- My thyroid number had gone down to a 5!!!! An 8 down to a 5 and that was in only 4 months! I lost around 20 lbs. that I sure didn't miss! I was feeling better on the inside and looking better on the outside! it was a win win situation. There was no going back to my old ways!!!
My story doesn’t end here. This Eat Green, Get Sun lifestyle gave me more than my health back, it gave me energy! When your energy is right, I believe you can find your path organically. The lifestyle gave me more thinking power, more motivation, more power. So I had a decision to make…I had no plans to go back to a 9 to 5 job; I had spent a big chunk of my retirement on the container home; and COVID19 was in its peak, leaving my kids pretty depressed like many others around the world. I needed a plan!
So first thing… I had to make my investment work for me! That’s the container homes. We built them OFFGRID. That means it will cost me less than $400 per year in utilities. That’s per YEAR! That relieved a lot of financial stress. So now I just needed a simple way to make a living, while staying loyal to this green lifestyle.
So...So Fresh Smells Natural Soaps was born...My 14 year old daughter already had an interest, she just needed a little push. And I was determined to make this soap like no other… FIRST I wanted natural ingredients, since I’m focused on putting only good stuff in my body, I want to have the same priority for what I put on my body.
So here we are almost a year later after going off grid that I have now started my soap business and it has been an amazing journey. I love the fact that I know what goes into every one of my soaps and skincare products and it gives me great pride and joy when a customer has a wonderful experience and review about my soaps. I also love the way my house smells after cooking soap, because the essential oils linger in the air, the soap has a very fluffy lather and when you get out of the shower you feel squeaky clean but skin so soft all at the same time!
II truly feel retired--- financially, spiritually, and physically. I have an amazing business, that I’m passionate about… a business I can pass along to my daughters, I have an exceptional off grid home, so finances no longer have to stress me out and my views of deer, birds, cows, etc. is my entertainment. I’m doing my part to leave less of a carbon footprint, I’m closer to my family, I’m happier… the rewards don’t stop! Now I can focus on the important things in life…………