Many years ago I read 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert Pirsig and learned a new word: aretê. It means personal quality, virtue or excellence. The word encapsulates the idea of the more modern idea of the Renaissance man - someone who is open to learning a little bit about everything and who seeks to excel at everything they do. Aretê is my inspiration and I try to live by this sentiment every day.
I've always had a deep connection to Nature and I love exploring national parks and other preserves around the world. Nature's diversity is truly awe-inspiring. In my younger days I spent most of my freetime in the woods and fields, learning the plants and animals of my home state of Michigan. Along the way I deepened my spiritual abilities by learning how to tune in to the natural world. I learned that everything is alive and aware, and with practice we can all learn to communicate with the larger world around us.
Eventually I came inside and struggled to build a career where I could stay connected to nature while earning a living. This journey led me to the world of botanic gardens and I spent several years at the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI, and the Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, CO. I eventually left Denver Botanic Gardens to launch Thunderbird Design in 2003. After 8 years building my company into a multimillion business creating numerous award-winning landscapes with our 33 employees, I needed a break. So I sold the business and moved to Florida!
Florida marked a wonderful new chapter in my life. Much of my extended family moved here as well and it was great to reconnect old bonds. I decided to take time off and try my hand at writing and amateur filmmaking. For a few years I had Mercree Media and I had a lot of fun doing short films, web series, TV pilots, animation, etc. This is when I also began writing books, starting with The Way of the Psychic Heart in 2014, then A Little Bit of Buddha in 2015 as well as a French edition of The Way of the Psychic Heart called Au Coeur du Medium, A Little Bit of Chakras (English & Czech editions) and The Chakras and Crystals Cookbook in 2016, and then in 2020 an Indian version of A Little Bit of Buddha and A Little Bit of Chakras Guided Journal.
When I needed a break between writing and filming I spent many hours in nature. I couldn't deny that being connected to plants was still my passion. More and more people were asking for my help redesigning their landscapes in the Naples area, and eventually I said yes. In 2014 I made it official by opening Artful Exteriors (). Once again we create and care for mini-botanic gardens for plant-loving customers, this time all year long.
In 2020 I'm also launching a micro greens growing business, MicroHarvest, to serve high quality organic greens to local restaurants. ()
I'm grateful to be able to pursue many of my passions at once: writing, gardening, painting, and being a serial entrepreneur. I feel very blessed.
When I'm not working I still love to explore Nature, but I'm also an avid reader of ancient history and cultures, climate science, world religions and metaphysics, mythology, natural sciences and astronomy, etc. I guess I love science as much as I love spirituality.