Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good Life and Prosperity

To be sure, our Father in heaven wants us to have a good life, and to have prosperity.

He has promised many, many times that He will watch over and take care of us who serve and obey Him, and His laws.

Problem is ... His definition of "good life and prosperity" may be a little different than ours.

But I digress. 

After describing the natural concern most people have for the basic necessities of food and clothing, Jesus exhorted us to "Seek, first, the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

Paul wrote, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’." (Hebrews 13:5)

God is our Creator, our Sustainer and our Provider.

He makes it possible for us to breathe the air that we breathe, drink the water that we drink and eat the food that we eat. 

Most human beings simply do not think about THAT.

I can guarantee you that homesteaders and preppers sure do ... air, food and water is of utmost importance to the off-grid, self-sufficient types, and they think about it a lot. 

They may not associate God with those things right now, but we're working on changing that ... aren't we.

The Bible shows us, repeatedly, that if we honor God with our endeavors and possessions, "So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine." (Proverbs 3:9–10)

"But this I say: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:6–8)

Hey ... did you catch that "sufficiency" part up there?

Again, as in so many other biblical passages, our Father in heaven is revealing to us that IF we are generous in giving to Him and His Work, He will indeed shower blessings upon us in many different ways. 

For He is able to make sure we always have enough to eat ... to make sure we always have enough to take care of our families ... IF we truly serve and obey the One who provides it.

Even though terrible tests and trials are ahead for our country .. physically, financially and otherwise ... those who truly obey God, and walk with Him, will prevail.

I faithfully prep KNOWING my family will have the divine protection of God in the perilous times to come ... I do not prep out of doubt or fear.

How do you prep?  Do you prep in doubt, or faith?  

Why do you prep?  Do you prep out of fear, or responsibility?

It is all a question of how "real" God is to you, really ... and if you are able to see Him intervening on your behalf when times are REALLY bad ... and if you are ready to serve and obey Him. 

With love, 

Your Faithful Prepper 
(where autonomy and faith collide)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


So today's adventure
at Mama's house 
centers around Star Wars.

Nani is
Star Wars ... 
this week.

She particularly loves
"Only One Can-Oh-Bee"
and his life saver.

She went to her closet and drawers,
and pulled out every
brown and tan piece of clothing
she could find.

This is the costume she
came up with.

Don't you love it?

Obi Wan Kenobi
The Only One Can-Oh-Bee ...
and check out
life saver action!


This last snapshot is my favorite one.
I think she is simply beautiful.

After this was taken,
we left to go downtown for a stroll.
Her tiny finger was smashed
in the car door.
She cried and cried ...
and so did I.

Her finger is swollen like you wouldn't believe,
and her little fingernail is already black.

Right now it is sporting a Curious George band-aid,
along with a strong smell of lavender essential oil.

And, so, here is the final pose
of her adventurous day.

I wish we could have stayed
in fantasyland.



Crumbs and Morsels; Rain and Seeds

God told the children of Israel, when He first rained manna from heaven, and thereafter, that they had to eat it all in one day.  

When I began my mission to learn everything I could about homesteading and prepping ... and becoming autonomous and self-sufficient ... I found that command a bit difficult to accept, and understand.  

To me it was an unexpected, and unusual, thing for a loving Father to tell his children.   The fact that they were in an extreme environment is a whole 'nother matter entirely.  The command was a whole lot like telling them not to plan ahead; not to prep; not to save. 

When I was forced to ponder this scenario ... (yes, forced, because I really didn't have a choice since it hit me, under a glaring new light, square in the face) ... everything in my physical being was telling me to take charge of my own future.   Not just because the world was in a sad state, and was getting sadder every day that went by, but because it really seemed to be the smart thing to do.  There are even proverbs and scriptures that confirm "it's the prudent thing to do."

Common sense is still telling us NOW we must save, and invest, for our own well-being ... before it's too late.  Right?  Right.

So ... this "eat your manna today, and let tomorrow take care of itself?" 

I don’t think so ... that's what I thought (with a tiny sass) at the time ... and, it ruffled my feathers, it did ... as I'm sure it's probably ruffling yours just a tad. 

But what do we do with Jesus’ statement to “take no thought for tomorrow?”  Or the prayer to “give us this day our daily bread” ... ?  

How about Paul’s instruction ... that “having food and clothing, with these we shall be content?”

First of all, we need to remember something about the Israelites as they were leaving Egypt, ... they were slaves.  They were conditioned to the burdens of hard labor, and in exchange for their servitude they knew they would get at least a pauper’s ration to sustain life.  It wasn’t much, that pauper's ration, but as slaves they came to depend upon those crumbs every day ... and like most on the slave side of a slave/master relationship, they were apprehensive about losing what little certainty they had in life.

God was showing the Israelites, by giving them a very generous daily ration of manna from heaven, that He was their Master, and He would provide for their every need.  Eating their fill every day, and not saving back a few morsels of manna, required them to TRUST completely in Him.

And, secondly, the teachings of Jesus, and the apostles, point still again to God as the Great Provider ...  He really will supply all of  our needs, so let's be content with our daily bread.  He knows what He is doing.  We are of more value than the sparrows, and more precious in God’s sight than the lilies of the field ... so don't fret.

Yet, as touched upon above, it is also evident from other proverbs and scriptures that if we have the opportunity to plan/prepare for our futures ... and prudently stock up some "wealth" in order to help others and ourselves in lean times ... then it is not only our right, but our responsibility to do so.  

We should ALWAYS remember the source of that "wealth." 

“Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them ... for him to accept his lot, and to be happy in his work ... THIS is a gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:19)

That paraphrased scripture calls to mind the prayer of Pa Anderson in the movie Shenandoah: 

“Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it.  It wouldn’t be here, and we wouldn’t be eating it, if we hadn’t done it ourselves.  We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank the Lord just the same for the food we’re about to eat.  Amen.”

Even though I want to plan/prep for tomorrow, and you want to plan/prep for tomorrow, we have to take the facts for what they are.  

None of us have any guarantees.  

If we, like old man Anderson, think we are doing it all by ourselves ...and all for ourselves ... then we are leaning on a weak tree indeed.  

Today's lesson is to do what you can, and do what you must.  Plant the seeds, but trust God for the right amount of rain.  

And if there is no rain at all, trust God even more.

With love,
Your Faithful Prepper
(where autonomy and faith collide)

Monday, June 28, 2010

What in the World!?

What is going on?  Are we in the beginning stages of the prophesied Great Tribulation?

The news reports we receive daily are about a never-ending series of floods, drought, famines, mudslides, wars, tornadoes, terrorism, earthquakes, arson, racism, tsunamis, crime, drug abuse, murder-suicides, gay rights, socialism, global warming, tea parties, hostile takeovers, tension, disease, wild fires, hurricanes ... world governments in upheaval, and their economies crashing ... need I go on and on and on about all of these horrifying tales of human tragedies ... horrifying accounts of man's inhumanity to man, and nature in chaos ... everywhere we look? 

One thing is sure ... We Are Living in Frightening Times!  

Yes, yes ... since the beginning of mankind we've always had natural disasters and human nature (with all its greed and lust and self-serving vanities.)

But this feels different.

"Tribulation" means "trouble" ... and "the Great Tribulation" is going to be a time of great world trouble.  

Such as was never before.

So think about what you see, and hear, on your own nightly news.

Not a day goes by without hearing some kind of appalling tragedy ... it is on a regular basis ... compounding  occurrences one on top of the other ... increasing in intensities.

Those who are awake, are not blind to such happenings ... even those who are awake and do not believe in a God, are not blind to such happenings ... and more and more we learn of people determined to go back to basics, and prepare.

You and I are one of them.

But ... prepare for what?
Now don't get me wrong ... I am all for "going back to basics and preparing."

In fact, my personal dream is to eventually be in a position to homestead, and scale down possessions, and live a simper life.

My motivation is no longer fear, though.

No longer do I fret and worry that I do not have enough food in stock.  For I am reminded of a prayer ... a simple prayer ... that speaks volumes.

It does not say, "Give us this year our daily bread."

I have faith I will be provided for, and I am making the necessary preparations ... physically, and spiritually.

No longer will I fear I do not have enough, or I haven't done enough.

In spite of these terrifying conditions all around us, we are told, "See that ye be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6)

Somehow, God's people must resist this feeling of  hopelessness, panic, and woe.  We must be joyfully obedient to the command, not request, to "see that we not be troubled!"

We are also told, "And when these things (the events of the "Great Tribulation") begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws nigh!" (Luke 21:28)

When we are "down" ... we tend to look down ... we walk with stooped shoulders; downcast.

But we are told that no matter how horrible the events around us, we should look up ... hold our heads up, and square our shoulders ... and have courage and faith to KNOW that all will be well in the long run.

Yes, I seek faithful autonomy ... I am a faithful prepper.

We need to find other faithful preppers.

Sunday, June 27, 2010



My Baby Brother is Home

We put him on a plane headed for NYC on September 10, 2001.
He left for Europe the next morning.
He's been in Belgium ever since.
Well, Belgium and Ireland and Spain ... ever since.
I have missed him.
The  first thing  he wanted when he got off the plane yesterday
was a hamburger.
He drove by my house, and drove by
my Mom and Dad's house ...   
and went straight to the REAL thing.
This photo was taken at Perini Ranch Steakhouse
outside of our hometown, Buffalo Gap.
Thankfully, an old friend of the family
(who actually lives in Austin!)
was there to get the first snapshot of his
long-awaited homecoming.


For the past five years or so, I have been an avid reader of everything I could get my eyes on pertaining to prepping and self-sufficiency.   Everything from articles to books to blogs to forums to magazines.  Everything.

It would be difficult to provide a list of all the places I frequent because it grows daily.  I'm always finding something new (or somewhere new) to read and learn.

The more I learned, the more I realized how little I knew.  And the more I prepared, the more I realized how little I was prepared.  The more I stocked, the more I realized how little I had in stock.

As fascinating as it all was to me, I simply could not keep up with some people's provisions and suggestions.  I only thought I was avid.  I would never reach their level of autonomy and self-sufficiency.

I would never find the perfect hiding place.  I would never find the perfect, safe land.  I would never have three years of food in stock.  I would never have ten pistols, and thirteen rifles.  I would never have 1000 rounds of ammunition for each weapon.  I would never accrue the equipment and supplies and tools some of these people had.  Or the knowledge.  Or the skills.   

TEOTWAWKI (the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it) was fast approaching, and I didn't feel fine.

I was doomed.  I was scared. 

Then it hit me:  I had become terribly concerned ... consumed, even ... about how to extend, preserve, protect, and sustain this human, physical life of mine.   

My life.  And my children's lives; my family's lives.

Consumed in fear, I had become a slave.

Me ... of little faith.

At one time I knew better.  Way better.  What changed? When did it change? And why?

The Faithful Prepper

We live in an age where, more than ever, people are seeking autonomy.  
An age where people are becoming more aware that the times, unlike any before, are nigh.  
People are seeking independence, yes, and striving for self-sufficiency.  
With a sense of urgency.  
We have people loosening their grip upon Big Brother, Big Corps and Big Pharma ... with some letting go completely. 
We have holistic healthers, homesteaders, off-gridders, preppers, stockers, and super-staunch survivalists emerging.  
This blog is for those who understand we will never achieve any form of independence unless we surrender ourselves to dependency.  
This is the place, and point, where the lines of autonomy and faith collide.

What do I mean by this?  The answer cannot be given in one post, and will have to be revealed over time.  
While I think it is admirable to want to be as self-governed, and self-sufficient as possible ... autonomous,  if you will ...  I think there needs to be a balance.  Everything in moderation.  

No man can be an island unto himself.  One can try, but it is impossible.  And it is also an insult to God.
And what do I mean by that?  Once again, the answer cannot be given in one post.  It will have to be revealed over time.  I can think of so many examples and instances toward which I can apply all of those opening statements.
Some will get it, and some won't.  He who has an ear, let him hear.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Can See! I Can See!

I can see clearly, now, the rain is gone ...
I've needed to do this since the beginning of May!
The doctor's little helper.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nani Has No Shame


Come on, Nani, it's time to go!

On the way to the restaurant.

Walking into the restaurant.

Leaving the restaurant.

(Nani has no shame ... and neither do I.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Bad Rabbit Cafe

Terlingua Ranch is looking to find someone
to re-open the Bad Rabbit Cafe

At the moment, I have a wild hair
(pun intended)
and feel like sharing 
the "business proposal" I sent
to Terlingua Ranch a few weeks ago.   

Frank Autrey, the new general manager,
told me the TR board's president is on vacation.   

I haven't heard anything, yet,
and I may not hear anything. 

I hope I hear SOMETHING, though, 
as any kind of feedback is better than none at all. 

I would like for my friends to take the time
to read my vision, and then tell me
why it WILL work, and why it WON'T work.

This kind of "next-level brainstorm" will help me
kick my problem-solving creativity up a notch ...
for plan B, C, and/or D.

I feel this proposal can be adapted to ANY location ...
if Terlingua Ranch chooses to pass it by
for something more traditional.

And, now, here's my proposal:


Business Proposal
Brooke Crow


Statement of Purpose

This business proposal will serve as a hypothetical guide through the general description, and operational vision, of/for the restaurant at Terlingua Ranch.

Brooke Crow requests to be seriously considered for the marvelous opportunity to participate in the revival of the Terlingua Ranch Lodge and Restaurant, by submitting this proposal, and offers her vision of how she would contribute to the renewal of the interest and patronage of TR’s immediate community, its guests, and its surrounding areas.


Table of Contents

Section One: The Business

A. Description of Restaurant
B. Description of Operation
C. Description of Management
D. Description of Market
E. Description of Competition
F. Description of Revenue

Section Two: Financial Data

A. Income Projections and Percentage Breakdown

Section Three: Conclusion


Section One: The Business

A. Description of Restaurant

It is not uncommon for new owners/tenants of a formerly closed restaurant to rename their business in order to establish a clean slate, to signify a fresh start, and to eliminate the tendency for local residents (and returning guests) to have preconceived notions … positive or negative … about the new restaurant’s atmosphere/food/owners/service due to past associations with the old.

In fact it is not only common to rename, it is advised and smart.

If I were to re-open the restaurant, I would personalize it with an attention-grabbing, marketable name that has special meaning and is also fun, relevant and unique.

The name I have chosen, thanks to my father, is Mama Crow’s Ore House at Terlingua Ranch … which will naturally be shortened to The Ore House at Terlingua Ranch, or simply Terlingua’s Ore House.

If that is not attention-grabbing, fun, marketable, relevant and unique … I don’t know what is.

For the personalization aspect, I am well-known as Mama Crow.  As an avid blogger, and online forum voice for over five years, my alias is easily recognizable and has a fond following.  I interact regularly with people all over the country on homesteading forums, natural health forums, and parenting forums.  I even interact as Mama Crow with Big Bend bloggers, and am honored to hold some of them as my friends.

Plus, the proposed restaurant name personalizes Terlingua Ranch by endorsing your specific brand and location.

For the relevancy aspect, the Big Bend area has a rich history in mining. Ore is a type of rock that contains metals and minerals. Cinnabar, a dark red quartz-like stone, is a common ore for mercury ... of which Terlingua is known to have mined.

The allusions, connotations, and metaphors associated within the name Ore House are endless in its specificity, and the paradoxes will contribute to its quirky (fun) and unique ability to garner immediate attention. The name, alone, will very quickly “make a name for itself.”  One cannot say it without grinning … and shaking one’s head in amused disbelief … and the name will not easily be forgotten.  People will come just for curiosity’s sake, and to be able to say they have been there!

Of course, with a name like THAT one would expect the atmosphere to reflect the myriad of imagery it conjures in one’s mind.

I envision a dark, relaxing atmosphere with masculine dark woods, overall, and feminine touches of red and white accents.  The feel of the place would be rustic, but elegant, in its simplicity.

White plates, on dark tables, with red flowers in the center.  Large, white canvas artwork, on dark walls, with splashes of red.  A white sofa, with red pillows, in a seating nook to the side.  An ornate, dark wood, red felt pool table.  An antique piano with a white statue of Venus De Milo as a focal point.

As the madam of The Ore House, I would wear feminine dresses and I would prefer my waitresses to wear feminine dresses. Very demure; very lady-like … not immodest; nor offensive … as my own daughters will most likely be a part of this endeavor, and my own morals have lines I refuse to cross. I am actually entertaining the concept of red cotton dresses with white aprons … to further set us apart from other establishments, and to perpetuate the alluded themes.

It is imperative I create a memorable dining experience for my guests. This is more than just experiencing a pleasant meal. A memorable dining experience will leave my guests feeling like “I don’t want to go, and I want to come back.”

This feeling can be inspired in many ways, and when I am able to achieve it for the majority of my guests … I will have also created loyal fans in the process.

At The Ore House I want people to feel like family and friends visiting my home, and I want them to receive that extreme special warmth of welcoming hospitality while there.

I will teach, by example, to never look at people who dine at our restaurant as a one-time transaction, or a mere customer. Instead, I will teach the concept that these people are our guests, OUR FAMILY, and we need to build an ongoing relationship with them.

An attitude change from “customer to guest” can make a huge difference in the way people visiting our restaurant will feel.  My employees (initially my girls until we grow) will feel the difference as well.

Developing this on-going relationship, and history, with our guests will keep them wanting to come back again and again … especially when the food selection is also diverse with each subsequent visit.

All of the meals will be fresh, non-processed, and hand (home) made recipes by Mama Crow … and will be served by Mama Crow and her girls.


B. Description of Operation

The operation itself would be very simple. Especially to start. It is imperative to start slowly, and build toward expansion. The hours would be set hours. The menu would be a set menu. Weekends would be reservation only for meal, and after the meal is served, the restaurant will open to the public for billiards and music.

The guests will be permitted to bring their own beer, after-dinner liqueurs, and wine. We will provide ice buckets (if needed) and cordial/wine glasses.

A website (of which I am already designing) will be very important for potential dining guests to check into to see what will be on the upcoming menu for the weekend. A blog will be utilized for social interaction, and guests will be encouraged to send their pictures and stories of their experience at Mama Crow’s Ore House.

Guests will be allowed to call/text for information, and a Twitter site will be made available for fans/guests to follow in order to receive restaurant updates i.e. changes, closures, etc.

Our regular guests, and the local residents, will quickly know/learn “what to expect and when to expect it” from us.

At first, we would only be open for weekends. We would direct our lodge guests toward The Grub Shack and Sally’s (?) for breakfast and lunch ... unless arrangements are made in advance.

I would never turn anyone away, and if someone were to show up during “off hours” I’d invite them into the kitchen to see what we can whip up together. I’d almost always have sandwiches and soup available during the afternoon, and I would always have delicious aqua frescas and sweet/un-sweet tea available to quench thirst.

I would develop the reputation for being open to anybody and everybody regardless of “hours” … it would be like my own home, and like accommodating guests within my own home.

If I am there … the door is always open. Visit with me in the kitchen, and have a quart of iced tea, while I cook pies for the upcoming weekend fare. Help yourself to the soup simmering on the stove, and make a fold-over sandwich.

Mama Crow won’t mind.

My reasoning behind not being open, initially, for breakfast/lunch is twofold:

1) We need to start slow, and work our way up to full service capacity; and

2) We need to carefully acclimate the local business people to our presence without causing resentment, and stomping on their toes.

Local people are going to talk about the new girl and new restaurant … I want to do my part to help ensure it is good talk. I want to focus upon providing a service that is currently not available for our entire customer base, and show that we are willing to take into consideration, and work well with, surrounding pre-established food businesses.

The downfall of a lot of restaurants pertains to food … food waste, having too many choices on the menu that MUST be kept in stock, poor planning and preparation, etc … and trying to do too much too soon; over-extending.

Reservations will let me know in advance how much to prepare for, and a set menu will let me know in advance what specific ingredients I need to acquire.

If the website says I will be serving lasagna this upcoming weekend … and I have 40 reservations … I will be preparing for, shopping for ingredients, and cooking lasagna throughout the week prior.

If someone is not interested in lasagna, but sees I’ll be making a Mexican feast the next weekend … they can reserve their spot for that next weekend.

I will open the door from 6-8 Friday and Saturday night for the reservation guests, and they will be able to keep their table the entire night if they so desire. After the reserved guests have eaten, I will then “open the restaurant” to the public for entertainment hours 8-12.

Locals will soon learn that they can “party” at Mama Crow’s Ore House after 8:00 P.M. They will be encouraged to bring their instruments for impromptu jam sessions.

If someone comes in to play pool and to socialize, after meals have been served to the reservation guests, and asks if I have any food leftover from the expired dinner service … I will gladly serve hungry non-reservation guests until the food runs out.

“Find a place to sit, and make yourself at home” will be my motto.

This strategy will eliminate food waste, keep people happy, show my eagerness to oblige, and inspire voluntary “word-of-mouth” advertising.

Everything about my proposal, as you will see, is geared toward inspiring voluntary “word-of-mouth” advertising.

We need to be so accommodating, and so unique, that people will WANT to visit ... to see for themselves what everybody else is talking about.

And I am talking about people aside from our lodge guests and ranchland owners. I am talking about people from Alpine, Study Butte, Terlingua, and even Lajitas ... and beyond.

Mama Crow’s Ore House at Terlingua Ranch will become what is known as a destination restaurant … pulling people from a very wide radius … and, one of the requirements for that prestigious label is “out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-but-definitely-worth-every-mile-and-minute.”

Mama Crow’s Ore House will also work toward organizing a special event for Thanksgiving Day, and the subsequent football game that ensues. Superbowl Sunday would also have a special event to pull guests our direction. These events would require a large TV screen, but if we start small and build toward gradual expansion, we can work toward these goals.

I will discreetly pull inebriated non-lodge guests aside, upon closing time, and offer them a room to sleep off their condition … at a reduced rate if you will allow me to, and if we have availability. This offering will show sincere concern for my guests’ well-being, and will also generate income the Ranch would not otherwise have.

I will also have a few small DVD/TV combo-sets to provide for the lodge’s overnight guests, if they should want to borrow one, along with a large assortment of personal movies for them to choose from. This offering shows thoughtful consideration for guests without imposing the modernized service upon every room, and thus preserves the laidback atmosphere the lodge portrays while being as accommodating as possible.

I offer to become a loving liaison between the lodge and its guests. I will also make myself available to clean, make ready, and even help re-decorate the outdated cabins (as budget and time permits) to freshen up the rooms and to present a uniformly rustic, and elegantly simplistic, themed environment throughout the lodge’s facilities.

In order to establish and maintain this homey, and recurrent, theme that will tie the lodge and the Ore House together, Mama Crow would require living on site with her children in order to be available for the guests the majority of the time. Nothing fancy; an empty shell of a cabin will do ... maybe the cabin closest to the restaurant to serve as a buffer to late-night noise for the non-partying weekend guests … or, if a cabin is not an option, a suitable alternative nearby.   Please. I won’t be picky. It is very important for me to have my children close, and safe.


C. Description of Management

I am a devoted 40 year-old mother of three beautiful girls (ages 18, 15 and 4.)

From 2001-2005, I attended McMurry, a private Methodist university, in Abilene, Texas and pursued a double major in English and Creative Writing, and a double minor in Religion and Theatre. Despite extensive medical problems requiring three major abdominal reconstructive surgeries within two years, I maintained a 3.95 GPA and qualified for summa cum laude status.  I am a published poet, and an established Abilenian playwright. I have won awards for my art, and have had successful stage productions of my play about the disciple Peter and his tumultuous life with Jesus, from Peter’s perspective.

I have a wealth of experience, and information, from which to draw upon concerning business ventures, in general, and the hospitality & food service industry.

My father is a successful West Texas businessman; owning an advertising agency (for over 35 years) and publishing a newspaper (going on 15 years.) I have watched my father embrace risk, and wrestle it into submission, my whole life. Raised as a child to read the likes of Og Mandino, and The Magic of Thinking Big genre, I have been influenced heavily by him, and have entrepreneurial blood coursing through my veins.

My grandmother owned and operated a restaurant in Buffalo Gap, Texas for over 40 years and worked until her death last September. I learned to walk in her restaurant, and began working for my grandmother at the age of thirteen. I have invaluable experience from which to draw. My grandmother’s restaurant is still successful, and going strong, thanks to the legacy she left.

I have also had the privilege to work for/with Tom Perini, a long-time friend of my father, whose famous ranch is classified as a destination restaurant, and I have helped prepare catered meals for President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Tom was recently showcased on the Today Show for winning “The Battle of the Burgers.”

Another major influence for me are my personal friends, Laurie and her husband, at Rancho Loma … a fine cuisine “destination restaurant” out in the middle of literal nowhere. I willingly drive two hours one-way to eat/visit them without batting an eye at the distance.

My sister is a licensed Architectural & Interior Designer who partners with her husband in the custom home building business out of the Texas Hill Country. I already have access to excellent advice regarding decorative style on a budget.

I am able to design and maintain websites, and know how to utilize communication technology to benefit business.

I am a natural marketer, and I am adept in all areas of public relations.

I have dreamed of implementing THIS VERY CONCEPT for years … except I had always assumed it would be something I’d have to do from my own home, on my own property, as a B&B set-up.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my progressive vision with an established lodge.

I have a medical background; both allopathic and homeopathic. I have one year of nursing school, and several years working for an osteopathic medical doctor.

I am a student of homeopathy, and a certified holistic health nutritionist.

I love to cook, and I love to entertain.

I love to take care of people.  I love to sing.  I love to play pool.

I love homesteading and voluntary simplicity.

I love to can/preserve foods, and may consider selling some of my jellies and salsas to the public since I’ll have a commercial kitchen.

I love to make hand-milled soaps, and may consider providing the cabins with some of my little bars for a special touch ... and I will definitely consider selling them.

I love to make colloidal silver, and look forward to making Terlingua Silver.

I love my faith, and I love my God.

I think that is it, about me, in a nutshell. I could say more, but it would ruin the mystique.


D. Description of Market

The market is beyond ripe for the reopening of the Terlingua Ranch restaurant.

Successful marketing must have a USP ... a unique selling point.  I believe I have shown that we have a strong USP.

The goal of Mama Crow’s Ore House at Terlingua Ranch will be to become a refuge for hard-working, hot, and hungry guests ... and since, initially, we will only be open on the weekends, the feel/thought I would like for our establishment to subliminally portray is one of “come here to prepare, and to unwind, for next week’s battles.”

The target market will continue to be the lodge’s overnight guests, and the ranchland owners.

I would like to extend this target market to include the non-lodge tourists who are attracted to the historic-laden countryside the Big Bend region has to offer, and also to the residents of the surrounding areas.

I will pursue this desirable market through publicity in local newspapers, and word-of-mouth “gossip” … which is an invaluable marketing tool that should NEVER be taken lightly.

To extend our market even further, I will have personal online interaction with loyal guests (and future guests) through our blogs, photo galleries, Twitter updates, and our well-maintained website … along with our social networking sites (Facebook/MySpace.)

My father’s newspaper is concentrated in Texas, but has subscriptions all over the United States. He is featured regularly on Brian Sussman’s … KSFO 560 … San Francisco radio show. I have no doubt, whatsoever, we will be able to advertise in his newspaper.  And utilize his advertising agency's contacts.  For free.


E. Description of Competition

I will not be competing with immediate local establishments.  There is no need to "compete" with anybody. 

The Grub Shack will be safe. Sally’s will be safe.  They should appreciate us sending our overnight lodge guests their way, and we would appreciate them returning the favor (by recommending us to their highway travelers for evening fare) since they close by early/mid-afternoon.

The American Legion is not far up the main highway, and they offer cold beer and a pool table, but their market is completely unique to their calling and patrons. 

The immediate surrounding food businesses each fulfill their USP ... their target markets .. and have a need to continue providing their services without any real, or imagined, threat from other establishments. 

As I have shown, and will continue to show, Mama Crow's Ore House at Terlingua Ranch needs to be so accommodating, so diverse in our menu, and SO UNIQUE that there will be no competition.  None.

We won’t even be competing with Lajitas Resort.

We will set a brand-new standard, and we will not be copying anybody or competing with anybody.

If anything … people will attempt to copy us.  If they have the guts.


F. Description of Revenue

I know the closing statements in the last section sounded haughty, and over-confident.  I intended for there to be a little "shock value" with the tone. 

You will soon see that my mission/motivation is not haughty at all ... quite the opposite ... although, even I concede, it WILL take some guts. 

The people who are most successful in the business world are the ones who are willing to change with the times.

Change can be a difficult, and scary, thing for everyone during economically-challenging times … especially restaurant owners who already have odds stacked against them.

But, in order to be successful we need different actions, different resources, different thoughts and different tools.

We need to be different. Period.  This goes back to the USP ... what is going to make people WANT to come visit you?  When they have other options?

There are many, many ways to think about how guests can enjoy a memorable dining experience … and there are many, many ways to think about “how to entice them to spend their money” at your restaurant.

Once again, and this is so important, we need to be so accommodating, and so unique, that people will WANT to visit ... to see for themselves what everybody is talking about.

We need to think BIG, and our profits will meet us THERE.

I firmly believe that, and have faith in that.

And because of that firm belief ... everyone will be fed, and taken care of, at Mama Crow's Ore House.

And we will be blessed.

To whom much is given, much is required … give, and it shall be given unto you.

There will be no cash register at Mama Crow’s Ore House at Terlingua Ranch.

There will be no ticket to place on the table, with the typical, “I’ll be your cashier when you are ready.”

Each table, instead, will be given a blank index card (for written feedback) and small white envelope … and they will pay what they can, and asked to do so anonymously.

For credit/debit card payments, I will show them to my computer and they can pay from our website … discreetly.

I don’t need/want to know “George” could only afford a five dollar bill this visit, and “Fred” was moved to dole out fifty.

I don’t want/need to know that the family of five in the corner could only afford to pay $30.00 … whereas that other family, of three, paid $75.00.

There will be a drop-box for the guests to leave their envelopes.

It will be an honor system … people know it takes money to buy food, prepare food, maintain a building, pay employees, keep utilities on, and make a living to provide for a family … and I have faith people will not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Pay what you CAN.

If you can only pay five dollars, you will be fed and enjoy the same memorable dining experience as everyone else.

If you can pay more, you will be fed and enjoy the same memorable dining experience as everyone else.

Pay what you think your experience was worth … you know how much you pay to eat out elsewhere.

It will be an honor system.

And I believe … I know … it will be very successful.

The hand-written comment cards will be tacked upon the wall for future guests’ perusal … after I’ve had the time to reflect upon their comments/suggestions.


I'm leaving out the financial part  (Section Two)
because it is WAY more hypothetical than the rest of the sections.

Besides, basically, it just shows me purchasing groceries out of my own pocket,
and preparing the meals, and serving the meals. 

And then it shows a hypothetical return
IF I have a conservative average of "so many" reservations a night, per weekend ...
and IF there is a conservative average of payment per person.

Very, very hypothetical ... and THIS is probably where I'll be shot down.


Section Three: Conclusion

Although I will technically remain independent of the Terlingua Ranch organization, we are both facing equal risks while anticipating eventual rewards and success.

As Mr. Autrey said to me, "It will take some time to bring the restaurant up to where both the leasee and the Ranch will truly benefit."

However, if you accept my general proposal, we will both be blessed with immediate benefits and we will both be blessed with immediate rewards.

You will have a caring, driven, dynamic tenant on-sight to edify and promote the lodge … to clean (and possibly help re-decorate) the cabins … to make the guests feel like family … and you will also have a restaurant that is so accommodating, and so unique, that people will WANT to visit so they can see for themselves what everybody else is talking about.

And, in return, I will have a roof over my children’s heads and the means to provide food on the table for them, and an opportunity to live my dream caring for people, cooking for people, and entertaining people … in beautiful Big Bend.

And now, all of a sudden, I feel completely exposed.

With a deep sigh,
I shall hit PUBLISH POST.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Never a Dull Moment at Mama's


Your Life As A Story

Everything is a mirror when you are a writer. 

A flower is a mirror ... a lone tree is a mirror ...
a mountain is a mirror ... a sunset is a mirror ...
a waterfall is a mirror.

Raging fire, shattered glass,
torn skin, undeserved rejection ... all mirrors.

When you are a writer mirrors are everywhere.  

Even a blank piece of paper, or a glaring
computer screen, is a mirror.

I started to think about life differently, about five years ago, 
when I took playwriting courses in college. 

There is so much to learn about play (story) writing.
There are antagonists, and protagonists.
There are story turns, and transitional dialogues.
I learned about character development,
and how conflicts propel the plot/story forward.

I learned about inciting incidents, and character transformation,
and what it took to make a story truly meaningful.

The whole playwriting process is, quite literally,
a science ... a skill.
I started realizing that life ... in a sense ... 
is a story. 

And I also started realizing that
the elements that made a story
were the same elements that
would make a life

Here recently
I have felt compelled to begin "writing my story"
for my girls.

The desire is there.
The strong urge is there. 
But it is a difficult task to start. 

Writer's block is just one obstacle. 

So I resort to the most basic of proven, timeless formulas
to help me get started with the writing of my story: 

A story
is a character
who wants something,
and overcomes conflict
to get it.

This most basic formula sounds so simple, but it isn't, really ...
especially when applied to real life.
The first forty chapters of my life have been recorded,
and are just waiting to be written down.
I have dynamic characters, conflicts and obstacles,
all kinds of inciting incidents, every kind of antagonist
you can think of ... and even a delightfully profound
protagonist (that would be, uh, me.)

How much should I share with them ...
how much should I tell? 
Part of me wants it to be an easy story.   
But nobody really appreciates, or learns from,
or remembers, the easy stories. 
If you think about the stories you like most,
and the ones you remember the most,
they probably have lots of conflict. 
And the characters probably faced their greatest
challenges, and fears, with courage. 
There was probably death at stake, too ...
actual death, or inner death.
Although I think most of us know great stories are
told in conflict ... I also think most of us are unwilling
to embrace (truly embrace) the conflicts in our own lives.
So far I don't think I have told a good story
with my life.

I have colleagues and friends and professors who would say
I tell wonderful stories ... beyond good, actually.

To them I would say, Thank you. 
I may tell good stories, but I don't live good stories.

I have spent a few very uncomfortable years
(after my playwriting courses .. when the seed was planted)
living with the awareness that I haven't lived a good story.

But I know what to do.  I am a storyteller.  A writer. 
A creator of sorts. 

Each day of my life is a blank page,
and all I need to do is start writing on it.

And I also know something else.

Good stories don't just happen by accident.
They are intentional.
They are planned.
There is a purpose in every scene.
There is a purpose in every line of dialogue.

There is a purpose for every character's entrance ...
and exit.

As I said, the first forty years of my story is already outlined
for me ... just waiting for me to skillfully construct it into
an artful form that flows within proven, timeless elements. 
And so now my newest, most strenuous, project to tackle
is this: 

To plan a good story for the remainder of my life, 
and to live that plan intentionally.

The remainder of my life's story will not be an accident.

What is your story, and
how is it being written?
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