Building a Bright Future: Making Choices That Matter

Nov 14, 2023 6:01 pm

Hello ,

We hope this newsletter finds you in great spirits and good health. Today, we want to share some exciting news from our end, as we embark on a journey that involves not just building a new home but crafting the blueprint for our future.

As many of you may know, choosing a newly constructed home involves myriad decisions, from the layout and design to the details like kitchen cupboards, appliances, flooring, and lighting. Each choice holds the power to shape our lives for years to come, influencing our daily experiences and overall well-being.

That’s why we met with our design team online this week for four hours to be sure we make the best choices possible.


Our commitment to embracing the future with sustainability at its core makes this venture even more thrilling. This new home will boast the latest energy-efficient features, designed with the capacity to integrate solar panels on the roof and electric vehicle charging in the garage. We believe in living with an enhanced quality of life that contributes positively to the environment.

Some may wonder why we're forging ahead with building a new home amidst current market conditions, including interest rates and the uncertainty of selling our existing houses. The answer is simple: we are determined to improve our future, and we have unwavering confidence that everything will come together because we made a firm decision and have committed to seeing it through.

This brings us to a broader point we'd like to share with our cherished community. 

Life is full of choices, and sometimes it's easy to feel stuck, whether in a job, a relationship, or any other aspect of our lives. We encourage you to take a moment and reflect. Is there an area where you feel immobilized or uncertain? It might be time to make a firm decision and take a step forward.

The decision is the first step, but following through is where the magic happens. Whether it's pursuing a new career, starting a passion project, or making a lifestyle change, taking action is key to unlocking new possibilities.

We're excited about the journey ahead and the prospect of creating a home that aligns with our vision for the future. We invite you to consider your own dreams and aspirations, and if there's something holding you back, take that bold step forward. Your future self will thank you for it.


Enjoying autumn in New Mexico one last time during daily walks along the Rio Grande River. Photos by Shelley Carney.

Thank you for being a part of our community, and here's to building a future filled with purpose, sustainability, and the courage to make choices that matter.

Adolescent Adventures and Nightmares: Exploring Misadventures with the Police

by Shelley Carney

About the event in Afghanistan, I was basically in a hotel for two weeks. 

You know? 

They arrested me. They came and arrested me inside the Green Zone and took me and put me in this old Holiday Inn where I had to stay two weeks with terrible food until the Consular Officer came and got me out. 

My experiences in those situations have been nowhere as negative as experiences with Balkan warlords, Afghani warlords, or Colombian warlords. 

Those have been a lot more frightening.

— Toby Younis

Welcome back to another captivating episode of Our Story Your Story

In this installment, hosts Shelley Carney and Toby Younis guide us through the enthralling chapters 31 and 32 of "A Gypsy's Kiss," where the teenage protagonist, Miguel, finds himself entangled in a web of adolescent adventures and nightmares involving the New Orleans Police.

Watch the video or download the podcast episode.

Taking Responsibility: A Lesson in Maturity

Toby Younis shares a profound personal lesson drawn from chapters 31 and 32 of "A Gypsy's Kiss." 

Drawing parallels between his own life experiences and those of the teenage protagonist, Miguel, Toby reflects on the pivotal moments that taught him the importance of taking responsibility. 

“It's all about perception and taking responsibility. You don't have to be a jerk. If you do something wrong, you've done the crime. You're going to have to do the time. The times when I did things wrong got me into trouble.”— Toby Younis

The discussion highlights how Miguel's encounter with the police after sleeping atop a mausoleum serves as a metaphor for the challenges young individuals face in navigating the complexities of adolescence. 

The voice sounds official to me, so I do what I’m told. I turn around, meeting the stares of two police officers wearing uniforms with accessories that indicate they are employed by the New Orleans Police Department. A Gypsy’s Kiss: A Treasure Hunt Adventure, Chapter 31

“I was very polite, you know, with ‘yes sirs’ and ‘no sirs.’ I understood that being a jerk was not going to help me.”— Toby Younis

Reflecting on moments of recklessness, Toby emphasizes the importance of knowing your rights and the potential for positive resolutions, even in seemingly dire situations.

“I've gone through what I would do now, which is to ask, am I being charged with anything? If they say, we're going to hold you here for a minute, you say, am I free to go? You're well within your rights to do that. Not having this experience, I didn't know any of that. Had I known it, would I have invoked it? At the time, I trusted that the officers knew what they were doing and would find a positive resolution.” — Toby Younis

This exploration unveils a universal theme of maturity, illustrating how the journey toward adulthood often involves facing consequences, learning from mistakes, and ultimately taking responsibility for one's choices. 

The journey to adulthood is a dance of progress and setbacks, a nuanced rhythm where individuals take a few steps forward, encountering challenges and learning valuable lessons, only to take a step back. 

“You were back and forth between that: Am I a man? Because I spent the night with a woman last night. Or, now I'm a boy again with these police officers who are telling me what to do and keeping me safe. You want that at the same time. You grow up a little, but then you take a step back.”— Shelley Carney

It's through this intricate choreography of advancement and regression that we navigate the winding path of maturity, steadily building resilience, wisdom, and a deeper understanding of ourselves until we ultimately arrive at the destination of adulthood.

“I had gone from ‘Mister Motorcycle guy’ to ‘I'm 15.’ I need to play that role here. I felt like these guys were willing to help me, maybe even take care of me.” — Toby Younis

Through Toby's insights, listeners gain a deeper understanding of the role responsibility plays in the maturation process, making this episode a compelling exploration of life's lessons.

Click here to read the rest of Shelley's informative article on our blog.

Here's our next week in content:

7 pm MDT, Thursday, November 16, 2023. Our Story Your Story with Shelley Carney and Toby Younis. Premier.


Exploring Themes of Justice, Choices, and Compassion | A Gypsy’s Kiss Chapters 32 and 33 | Our Story Your Story

📚 Join authors and hosts Shelley Carney and Toby Younis in the latest episode of "Our Story Your Story," where they dive deep into Chapters 32 and 33 of their treasure hunt adventure novel, "A Gypsy’s Kiss." 

In this captivating installment, the hosts unravel the intricate themes of justice, choices, and compassion as teenage protagonist Miguel navigates the complexities of the legal system and contemplates his place in a world of contrasting realities.

🔍 In Chapter 32, Detective Lacoste's interrogation leads Miguel to reflect on innocence lost and the consequences of choices. The subsequent Chapter 33 explores Miguel's encounter with District Attorney Jim Garrison, shedding light on fear, loneliness, and the ultimate decision to go home.

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Shelley and Toby

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