My Summer Sabbatical

Me in my Gazebo

Things are always changing. I am sharing some of my recent changes with you and how they are affecting me and  Women for Living in Community activities (or lack of activities).

In the last few months, I have lost 2 significant housemates and gained a wonderful new one.

Some of you might know that BOTH of my kitties decided to exit over the rainbow bridge in early April with the assistance of my wonderful Vet,  Dr. Beth and Kelly, the Vet Tech who have been providing palliative care for them over their elder years. 

NOTE: I should have it so good in my elder years!

The Kitties

It was the right decision to let them go but a very difficult one that has really devastated me in a way I had no idea of the impact. The house is so quiet without their pattering and meows. After owning them for almost 20 years the adjustment has been brutal. I hope some of you pet owners can relate. 

Persie and PY

My new housemate is Linda. We have lived together before and I have visited and stayed with her many times in her shared housing locations in Sarasota, FL over the last decade. She will be with me until the temperature drops to lower than 50 degrees for any sustained amount of time here in Asheville. Welcome, Linda.

Over the last few years, my 60’s brick house has purposefully been transformed inside and out. The last phase was significant hardscape and plantings to make a sanctuary and space for gatherings.

With the inside and outside spaces completed, I hope to host parties, salons, groups and workshops in the future. The lovely completion is called Bettyz Playz after my mom (she did know how to spell though).

Bettyz Playz

And after the last few years of many zoom workshops and meetings, I feel it is time to change there too. More in-person and less online for me. I am calling that “more high touch and low tech”. I am very grateful for the workshops and classes I was able to take. Also those I could offer. Thus I am stepping away from the office for a summer sabbatical to enjoy the outdoors and maybe do some traveling. 


I am very thankful for all the years I have been welcomed into your home to read about my community living transitions. My desire is to assist and inspire you.

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Why anything is better than being called “Elderly”!

Language Matters!

If you’ve been following (which I hope you have!) in mid-November I put out a poll on Facebook to gather input from our community to expand on the language or words for how we would like to describe ourselves as a group as we age.

Is it boomer, elderly, crone, wise owl? Do we have a preference? What would we “call” ourselves?

Although, I seemed to have miscommunicated my question to you. “What do I call myself?” I realize communication is everything, and some of the answers showed my error, whoops! Nevertheless, those that were reading between the lines, you understood!

We’ve had some great juicy and imaginative ones! However, we’re still looking for ones that might stick. As you know I am always on the Quest.

Here is what we have so far with those receiving the most votes at the top as of now.

As you can see, none of the “usual suspects” garnered too many votes. It looks like the community is allergic to “Senior Citizen”. In all honesty, the creative options our community pulled out, “Polished Silver” “Recycled Teenager”, “Nostalgic Expert” felt more fun! Let’s face it no one, our age, wants to be called “elderly”.

And in case you want to see what I shared on this, watch it here:

A little tidbit of information from The Grand Nudge for you:

Becca Levy’s longevity research in a Yale study shows that when we’re negative about getting old, we can start to feel, and even act old, and that can undermine our actual length of life. What she found was that the people who had a positive view of aging, and said so, lived about 7 ½ years longer than the people who saw aging in a negative light. 

Tip: Every time you think to say, “ I am getting old.” Or “I am senior moment”.  Stop! 

Continuing The Quest: Coming together despite the distance

Halloween and some great gals who are taking ACTION. 

This is my favorite time of year. Halloween, Fall weather, leaves turning, my birthday, and having some fun with videos and staying connected to you all. I have been very busy! My Facebook Live’s on Mondays has kept me hopping and engaged. Changing topics every week to offer value is fun and challenging. Hopefully, you have joined me, if not please do on the Facebook page for Women for Living in Community Network

Everyone was doing Zoom last year, and I thought it was “time” for me to do that too.

What happened is more about the women who gathered than zoom or my class but a few basic details.

We came together over Zoom from different parts of the country after my offering of a 5 session class on my guidebook, Your Quest for Home last Fall. There were 9 women who took the class with all its technical challenges (you know, “can you unmute?”). Oh, and my MacBook Pro gave up on the 3rd session. That was a real test of trust, flexibility and commitment which are all things needed on the quest.

About Us 

More than half of the women continued to stay connected through our bi-monthly zoom meetings to support the 6 of us after the original class offering was completed. It is called “Continuing the Quest” (CTQ). 

The timing was interesting during the class sessions as we had big events all over the world, a presidential election and the insurrection at the US Capital. And of course, we were all sequestered at home by a global pandemic. We bonded even more during this time. 

We women who lived in Oregon, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, California, and North Carolina came together during those months. Thanks to the joint interests in furthering the goal of community, whatever that might be for each person, the quest is still on. 

The really magical thing is that these women have taken their action plans seriously, that is why I love spending time with them. 

Judy sold her house in Florida and moved to North Carolina to possibly join one of the women in the group to form a shared living arrangement. There was some impetus from all the hurricanes.

Another member picked up and moved from her home in Oregon to Arkansas to be near family and friends. Another member found the Village to Village Network in her hometown to participate in and expand her friendships and community. Yet another go-getter has taken huge strides to make her dream of a 4-plex house in North Carolina, that she lives in to become her own and grow her community that way. Then there is our friend who is working diligently on a lesbian community in Ohio, has regular meetings, a lively Facebook group and has shared her dream at conferences. All this, in less than a year. Wow!

Lots of BIG strides. The support and friendship, camaraderie and drive have been remarkable. The women often expound, without prodding, how much the support of the group means to them. 

I am honored by this group of pioneers who have taken the challenge. It really makes me feel we can make a difference towards alternative possibilities for us as we age with connections of our choosing!

Continuing The Quest on Zoom

My observations of these women include some definite necessities in my opinion to make the possibility of aging in community a reality.

 What we have in common: (and basic building blocks)

  • Risk takers
  • Sense of urgency
  • Willingness to learn
  • A big dose of flexibility
  • Natural yearning for connections with others
  • Resilience 
  • Positive nature
  • Interpersonal work on themselves

I hope that some of you have gotten this far reading about some amazing champions bringing community living for themselves and others.

The next class on my book will be in 2022 as I focus on my webinar for Fellowship of Intentional Communities on some basics of Aging in Community, and my one-hour free webinar tentatively titled, Conquering Loneliness by Living a Golden Girl Like Life. I will keep you posted on all that on my FB page and here if you have subscribed. 

Also if you’re not a Facebook fan, you can watch my live videos on my Youtube Channel. Have others who are interested? Please spread the word. Thank you for your continuous support. It’s a Movement…Hoping you will be joining us.

Who’s watching?

It’s been way too long! Glad I said 2021 and beyond in my last communication! It is beyond for sure. Summer is here in North Carolina and my dream of a gathering place here in my home (outside) continues to take shape. I don’t know how many of you know how personally I take this mission of mine. I live it. In the last year along with some other pointed priorities, my personal community has changed. 

I have my own personal journey and experiments in living in a community. I was doing it for me. Along the way, I wanted to share my journey. I have shared it with you in a few ways if you have been with me for a while. Added to some of my communications over the years. You know, website then Facebook Page, and on and on. Wanting to make sure we stay connected. That is part of my mission in Women for Living in Community. Connection, Information and Action.

Recently I posted some pictures on my personal page of the BIG changes on my ½ acre property. You know those sporadic pictures of progress you might see from your friends? Well, one of the more recent ones was a selfie of me in front of the Dept. of Public Works with me and my brand new permit.

Selfie of me with my brand new permit!

I had no idea who was watching my postings. I heard from folks I hadn’t heard from in years. I realized many thought I was still acting as a developer to build my dream of a pocket neighbourhood. I decided to set the record straight. And here it is for you too. 

Thanks to all of you who have been on the journey with me the last 15 years that I have been in Asheville and singing the Aging in Community movement song.

It’s been long and very circuitous. In case you missed a few of the turns. Here goes: some of the facts.

I bought 2/12 acres to build my pocket neighbourhood adjoining my existing property in N. Asheville, NC in 2015 from the matriarch, Faye who had lived on the property through a few husbands and was 80 at the time.

The property was perfect for small community use. The zoning was right, the property was as flat as any in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I even had a design done by the guru of Pocket Neighborhoods, Ross Chapin. For 2 years I talked about it, presented the concept many times and even hired an architect.

Nothing prepared me to be a developer. In 2017 I gave up that dream and adjusted to a new plan. I cut out the  ½ acre with the midcentury ranch brick house from the rest of the 2 ½ acres. I had hoped it would be used as a  common house like meeting space.

In the years since 2017, the house had 4 housemates, the swimming pool was buried and new wiring and HVAC was added. Then the property was remodelled on the inside by a young couple to bring the 4 bedrooms, 3 baths into the 21st century. In May of 2020 while the pandemic raged the young couple and their new baby left to move out of the area.

During the pandemic, I sat talking to my cats about the community concept and we decided to move into the house in August of 2020. More renovations on the outside continued and those are the ones you have seen recently on this page.

Oh, and it isn’t a pocket neighbourhood in the purest way.

What it is, is MY intentional neighbourhood.

I share the house with my housemate, Vicky who has her own 400 sq. ft suite and her own kitchen, bath and entrance. It is perfect for us. I have many neighbours, many of them single women, and I know all my neighbours. I live on a dead-end and very quiet street. I hear the frogs in the creek and the neighbours’ horses snort. Dreams can adapt.

I do want to thank you all for being of support for the last years through all the transitions. I’d like to think I help you just a little to know the persistence has paid off for me. Hope it will for you too. I really do believe there are models that we as women can point the way to, so we can live our later years with joy.

Ready to dream with me? How about making it a reality! 

Live Mondays!

I’m so excited to be back and will be live with you every Monday, 4 pm EDT on the Women For Living In Community Facebook Page, talking about different topics involving community and connection. See you online!

Glenway House Photos

What is the most important conversation that community builders need to have?

Exploring Shared Housing Information Session

Click on this image for a printable flyer!

The ugly duckling modular home

From myth to reality: the beautiful truth about modular homes

You know the childhood story – the ugly duckling that was picked on by his barnyard friends until one day he matured into a beautiful swan…. that story. In much the same way, modular homes have gone through the same transformation.  Modular homes have been around since the 1950s, starting because of the demand for homes after World War II.  At the beginning, it was function over form so the “ugly duckling” vision of modular homes stuck.  Years of misinformation and confusing modular homes with mobile homes still has many avoiding modular homes for all the wrong reasons. Here’s the truth about modular homes and why you should consider this beautiful swan.

First and foremost, it would surprise many that the home I live in is a modular.  Here’s a pic:

Why the surprise? Because of the myths surrounding modular homes.  So, let’s break that down:

  1. Modular homes are NOT mobile homes.  Unlike mobile homes, modular homes DO appreciate in value, their resale value is good and they do last longer than mobile (i.e., manufactured homes).
  2. Modular homes do not all look the same.  You can customize each and every feature of your home just as you would a site built home. The difference is that the construction is faster because it is built inside in sections and then delivered rather than being built onsite where weather and construction schedules lengthen the construction time.  Another advantage of being built inside is that they are “green” meaning they have a lower negative impact to the environment. Most importantly, you can incorporate Universal Design elements in your customization.  (Curious about Universal Design? Click here to read our blog about it).
  3. Modular homes can be financed just like site built homes because they, too, do not depreciate like a mobile home.  In addition, because construction time is often less, the finance costs to the homebuyer are also less.
  4. Modular homes are NOT cheap.  You can customize your modular home with the same high end finishes and coverings as you would a traditional home but they can be 10 to 35% cheaper than a site built home.

If you are considering downsizing your home and building a smaller home or considering moving into a planned pocket neighborhood community then you should consider modular homes as a way of saving your savings, having all the customization you want and seeing faster results.

Summer and Fall classes on Guidebook – Asheville

Your Quest for Home

 Here are the happy faces of those who completed the Guidebook Summer session at our potluck social after four intense sessions intense together. We didn’t want to say goodbye and also wanted to see Sheila’s amazing home and gardens. No wonder she is conflicted about her next steps. Like many of us, who like our current homes and stuff, we can’t imagine leaving anytime soon. Yet, there is that small voice saying, “Don’t wait, start now!”
Eight of us gathered at my little house in North Asheville for a jam packed one and a half (1 1/2) hours every 2 weeks or so. The dates were decided before hand and most everyone made all of the sessions, which is really important.

Class participants comments afterwards:

“Being in Marianne’s workgroup, Quest for Home, was very beneficial to me at this juncture of my life.  Not only did the exercises in the book, once I actually did them, give me clarity that I was looking for, but hearing other’s concerns and experiences gave me insight into my own journey.  The sharing of experiences helped us see that the obstacles we are encountering are not just our own or our lack of ability or experience but are shared among most women.
Highly recommend!” Marty Knight
 “The workshop was invaluable. Marianne is an excellent facilitator–attentive, perceptive, and organized–and the group bonded quickly. We all learned a lot about cohousing and a bit about ourselves. I’d recommend the workshop to anyone thinking about a cohousing community.” CT
“I got a lot out of the book and workshop, which helped me organize my thoughts as I consider and evaluate a very different living situation than I have now, an intentional community, rather than a single-family house model.  The constant reminder to “pay attention to what you don’t want as well as what you do” will become a litmus test as new ideas are considered.  First time through is an eye-opener, but I will go back to relevant sections over and over as I go forward.  I would not have done the exercises on my own, but working in a group showed me options I hadn’t considered, as well as giving me a schedule to work to.  Valuable experience!” Linda B.

Fall sessions starting soon!  The organizing meeting is September 13th.

For details: Click away!   Dates and times and fees:

 The Table of contents and a flavor for the Guidebook.
You can also purchase on Amazon or download on Kindle – click here
Talk and meet others on Wed, Sept 13 at 6:30pm at Earthfare West Community Room in Asheville to get a feel for the book, the author and others. Or email Marianne and sign up by Sept 24th, class size is limited.
If you are not in Asheville or surrounding area, or thinking it’s going to be cold out there to drive this winter?  The plan for future programs on the Guidebook will be to use of Zoom or some techie thing on the horizon. Stay tuned (by making sure you are subscribed to our website).
Is there a book sitting on your shelf? Hope it is this one and link. Take it down from the shelf and join us!

Summer Workshop Series based on Guidebook

Beginning this summer, Marianne will be leading workshops based on her guidebook, “Your Quest for Home: A Guidebook to Find the Ideal Community for your Later Years.”  Workshops are small (no more than 6 people) and will be hosted in her home over four weeks.  Each workshop is approximately 1.5 hours and is open to anyone.  Participants will be taken through the guidebook with assignments in a group setting allowing you to learn from each other as much as you learn about yourself.

Organizing Meeting Details

Interested? Not sure?  Attend the first organizing meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Earth Fare from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.  The organizing meeting is free to attend. Ask questions, learn more and if you need to, buy a guidebook at the onsite price of $20.

If you wish to sign up, please attend the Organizing Meeting and bring workshop payment.

If you cannot attend but wish to sign up for the workshops, please email Marianne at

Guided Workshops 

Once we have a full class, we will schedule the workshops to begin in June or July to be held on Tuesday evenings or Friday mornings.  Space is limited to 6 people to keep the workshops small and intimate as we work through important self-discovery questions and assignments.  Learning from each other is equally important in this small workshop setting. If you can’t make the summer series, we will be scheduling a fall and winter series.

For full details, visit

Questions? Email

Women For Living in Community