I’m Alison Wiley here in Portland, Oregon, writing since 2007 about how to be rich in what matters.

I’ve been dollar-poor at times, like, the 80’s and 90’s. That’s when I was in college and grad school, then an alcohol/drug counselor, and then a self-employed artist for a decade.

These days I’m not dollar-poor at all.  I own two homes with my husband. We carry no consumer debt. I love not worrying about money, and I love helping other people to land in that place, too, via my posts on how to live happily below our means.

But whatever my money ups and downs, I’ve always focused on being rich in what matters. Loving relationships. Health and vitality. Work I believe in. Good books, community, creativity. Connection to nature and God. Service to others. We’re the same people, dollar-rich or dollar-poor, needing the same things to be happy.

Being rich in what matters means we don’t need to buy and consume our way into happiness.  It means treading lightly on our gorgeous, fragile planet. because it’s clear that our climate is changing, due to the furious rate we’re burning fossil fuels.

I do plenty of stumbling. I make some poor choices, and I write about them, and learn from them. I pay attention to readers’ comments, and reply to them. I like to laugh at myself. We can all become richer and more joyful, together.

You won’t find any ads at Diamond-Cut Life. You won’t find any trash-talking. I dive below the roiling ocean of bitter bipartisan politics. This is the diamond-cut life: chiseling our focus down to true riches, and what unites us.

My paid work  is for the state of Oregon, being of service to the transit agencies in the largely rural, stunningly beautiful, southwestern corner of the state. Most days I like my work very much.

My wonderful husband, Thor Hinckley, built the nation’s leading renewable energy program at Portland General Electric. We don’t have children (we met too late) but we love children. We’re on the southeast flank of Mount Tabor here in Portland,  in the house with the solar panels on the roof and the poetry post in the garden, next to the bicycle/pedestrian path. Please say hello if you’re in the neighborhood, or say hello in a comment.

Receive weekly posts on how to be rich in what matters:

I will never share or sell your email address.

45 Comments
  • Brian Davies
    March 18, 2008

    Hi Alison,
    My wife Kim and I also thoroughly enjoyed the Crater Lake Trip. I do hope that you can pass along your contact information – it would be great to stay in touch about the Bicycle related transportation we discussed. Take good care, and say hello to Thor for us.
    Brian and Kim Davies

  • Dave
    March 20, 2008

    Hi Alison,
    Here’s a juicy little graphic that was posted on our bulletin board
    http://learningfundamentals.com.au/resources/combating-global-warming-mind-map/
    - Dave

  • Joe Lowe
    May 12, 2008

    Alison,
    Hi, I came across you blog while searching Grist. I am a journalism student at Ohio University beginning a project to study the advantages and disadvantages of online environmental reporting. Would you have time or be interested by helping with an interview?
    Thanks, Joe Lowe

  • Frank
    June 13, 2008

    The new site looks great! Nice job.

  • Danny Bloom
    July 15, 2008

    alison
    i used to live in corvallis and eugene, time when Mt St Helens blew. graduate work at OSU. Now in Taiwan, Japan, Alaska. From Boston 1949.
    did i ever tell you about polar cities? it’s my take on the glo war future, but with a positive happy ending maybe in 3500……but yes, we are in big trouble now, and we need NEW thinking and I love your idea of getting rid of all our so called entitlements to travel, consumption etc….we don;’t need half those things, most of them we dont need…..sigh

    danny, homeless, retirement fund less, own nothing, no car, coasting to the finish line…. and working on polar cities, aka LOVELOCK RETREATS ideas…

    northwardho.blogspot.com

    what do you think of polar cities idea? just to get people THINKING!

  • Danwen
    August 20, 2008

    Dear Alison,

    Thanks for standing up for sustainability and the environment. Keep up the good work! I know that traffic is really important to any media property and I am contacting you to help you in this regard. I believe our sites have a common goal, that is, to promote and educate people on environmentalism and sustainability. We at PosiPeople believe the content on your blog would be interesting and useful to our users, and in return, you may find topics which are of interest to you. Therefore, we urge you to visit our site and see for yourself what PosiPeople is all about. All you have to do is register for a free account, submit your posts to our newly launched forum, and watch traffic to your blog grow.

    In case you’re wondering, PosiPeople is a community-driven forum that highlights any web content that makes or is about positive impact on society and the environment. PosiPeople allows anyone to submit, vote, and comment on any content on the web that is about positive impact on society and the environment. Some examples of the content that PosiPeople highlights is organic food, renewable energy, recycling, hybrid/electric cars, climate change, and green issues. Anyone can register for a free PosiPeople account.

    PosiPeople works as follows:

    1. Any member of the community submits a link to content that is about positive social or environmental impact.
    2. The community then votes for the content they like best.
    3. Content that receives the most votes in a certain period of time is published to the main page of the site.

    Additional PosiPeople features allow users to connect with other users by interacting with them through comments, viewing their profile page, sending them a message, or adding them as a friend (a.k.a. a PosiPal).

    We would appreciate if you take a peek at our site at http://www.posipeople.com, and review it in a blog entry. You can also visit the official PosiPeople blog at http://blog.posipeople.com. as well as read a press release about our recent public launch of PosiPeople.

    Thank you for your time, and we look forward to seeing you join us!

    Sincerely,
    Danwen Chen
    Marketing Associate
    PosiMedia Corporation
    web: http://www.PosiPeople.com
    email: danwen@PosiPeople.com

  • Melissa
    November 30, 2008

    Please contact me at the above email so we can discuss propelling your cause to the next level.

    Thank you

    Melissa
    melissa@thethirstymoose.com
    http://www.thethirstymoose.com

  • Vince Scordo
    December 23, 2008

    Hi Allison,

    Great site, I got to it via GetRichSlowly, have a look at my new site (http://www.scordo.com/blog/blog) and let me know what you think! I focus on frugal living, how to, and leading a practical life!

    Cheers,
    Vince Scordo

  • Jeff Sullivan
    January 5, 2009

    Hi, Allison,

    You played trumpet as I recall.

    I, alas, was a lowly clarinet player who was not really interested in music but electronics. Class of ’77.

    Send me an Email sometime. I am alive and well in Cave Creek, Arizona.

    Jeff

  • Lord Sutch
    January 29, 2009

    Awesome website. And I see you made the Reddit front page. Keep up the great work.

    You’re correct in noting that Adams is getting a raw deal. It appears he is being railroaded. I thought Portland might be above that sort of thing. =(

    From a fellow Portlander!

  • Robert Stafford
    February 2, 2009

    Hello Alilson Wiley,
    Your comment about gas price is very interesting. I would like to know the exact reference you made about David Kavanaugh that «VMT (vehicle miles traveled) has five times more to do with whether people are fully employed, than it does with the price of gas».
    Thank you very lmuch.
    Meric beaucoup.
    Robert, from Montréal, Québec.

  • Alison
    February 2, 2009

    Hi Robert,
    Here is where it was reported in the Portland Tribune: http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=121745437044578500

  • Doug Strickler
    April 21, 2009

    Hi Alison – Cathy sent me the link to your website, so I thought I’d drop you a note. After nearly a year of being unemployed, I’m now in my second week at my new “dream job” working as a planning coordinator for the Oregon Zoo. Not only do I get to bike to work, but I get to work with an organization that does environmental education and is concerned with helping to preserve endangered species. Briefly, to begin with I am involved with the building of the new Animal Hospital with (hopefully) an as yet undetermined LEED certification and helping the Zoo to establish a new plan district using environmentally sustainable standards. I hope to do this in such a way that this “Eco District” can be a transferable model for others trying to incorporate the same principles in any future development. That’s enough for now – it would be good to spend some time really catching up with one another.

    Cheers, Doug S.

  • Frank
    May 13, 2009

    Hi Alison, your site looks great! You were my best reader at frankwork, my discontinued blog, but I wanted to let you know about my latest project — The Solar Job Guide (www.solarjobguide.com) . . . send me your email and I’ll send you a link for a free copy. (And of course would love a plug if you deem it worthwhile!) I hope you’re well and appreciate your thoughtful and humanistic posts!

  • Donal O'Riordain
    September 1, 2009

    Hi alison,

    Your website came up as you had moved from Desert to forest. I would like to change deserts to forests:

    While we should of course live with a small footprint, as I try to do we should also reach deep inside and change the World as you have done already with your carpooling etc.

    http://saharaforest.ning.com/

    I am currently gathering people together to embark on the project. Each increase in awareness will change how people think. The Sahara is about the size of the US and growing each Day.

    I invite you to join Today, and everyone who reads this, just make the effort and join the project. The more input there is the quicker it will succeed. Don’t underestimate yourself.

  • Linda Lou
    October 18, 2009

    Hello dear heart,
    I have some book reviews for you– email me & I’ll run the titles by you & see what you think. I miss you!

  • MM
    December 9, 2009

    Great blog. I really appreciate the tone you take in your writing. I’m a conservative who can’t stand the fact that responsible and sustainable living has become a Democrat vs. Republican issue.

    I like to learn about the issues you address, but I’m put off by the smug and condescending tone in so many blogs and news sites (GRIST! – sorry, I see you read them). Anyway, I plan to check back here periodically.

    This sort of writing and perspective is what our country needs to bridge the political divides that environmental issues often create.

    Keep it up!

  • Alex Amelang
    December 14, 2009

    Hello Alison! I want to invite you to an event Nissan is hosting in Portland on Thursday, please email me.

  • Alison
    December 14, 2009

    MM,
    I appreciate your comment. In fact, I devoted a post to it here: http://www.diamondcutlife.org/a-conservative-reader-speaks-up/
    Please keep visiting and commenting; I value your thoughts. While I am liberal on some political issues, my core message is definitely nonpartisan, and thank you for your encouragement, i.e. that I am helping to bridge the divide.

  • Alison
    December 14, 2009

    Alex, I just emailed you. I noticed that Nissan EV recently started following me on Twitter. Thanks in advance for your invitation.

  • Megan
    December 19, 2009

    Hey Alison! I just wanted to say that I was searching for some good healthy dinner recipes and I stumbled upon your website. I am very excited about it, and it has inspired me already to make a greater effort to be more conscious of both my own well-being and the condition of this world we share. I am eager to learn more from you! Thanks so much.

  • Alison
    December 19, 2009

    Hello Megan,
    I’m happy you’ve landed at Diamond-Cut Life and that you feel inspired by it. Please keep commenting; I love it when other people have things to say besides me. Big hug!

  • Gary Robertshaw
    January 13, 2010

    Hi,

    I wondered if you would be interested in exchanging links with The Green Providers Directory.

    We are a not-for-profit, green directory founded on ethical principles, providing links to renewable energy suppliers, organic health and beauty products, fair trade clothing, gifts and household goods and services. We also provide news and updates on the environment, recycling, energy efficiency and related topics.

    We are listed in The Guardian and Channel 4′s environmental sections and on green.tv, a United Nations Environmental Programme, and we are members of Ethical Junction.

    Please let me know if this would be of interest.

    Kind regards,

    Dr Gary Robertshaw
    The Green Providers Directory
    http://www.search-for-me.co.uk

    Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/greenproviders
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Green-Providers-Directory/140642334915

  • Will Johnston
    January 21, 2010

    Hi Alison,

    My name is Will and I’m in Portland running Growandmake.com. Wanted to reach out and see if there are any ways we could collaborate?

    Great blog.

  • Alison
    January 21, 2010

    Hi Will,

    I’m open. Would you like to write a guest post?

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • Eashwar
    April 8, 2010

    Sub: Blog Partnership Request!

    Hello Alison Wiley,

    My name is Eashwar and I work for ExpedientInfoMedia.com, a blog Network with 24+ growing blogs.

    I have enjoyed reading your blog http://www.diamondcutlife.org and thought of dropping in a word.

    I have initiated an idea to create a blog roll in our blog http://www.thenewecologist.com. As both the blogs deal similar topics, it would greatly benefit the visitors; if we could link to each other.

    All you need to do is, add our blog to your blog roll and we will do the same.

    Do let me know if you have any other ideas to cross-promote our blog’s content; like guest posting, feature promotions etc.

    I look forward to working with you for a mutual partnership.

    Regards,
    Eashwar.K
    Channel Editor, Expedient Info Media
    http://www.expedientinfomedia.com

  • Carly Miller
    March 16, 2011

    Hello,

    I am trying to earn some publicity for the Nature Conservancy’s mission to plant 1 billion trees.  I would like to discuss advertising options with you. If you wouldn’t mind emailing me back that would be great.

    Thanks,
    Carly

  • Colleen
    June 6, 2011

    Alison — We are now blog-sisters! I just launched my new blog, Good Journeys, today. Feel free to check it out at goodjourneys.wordpress.com/

  • Alissa Keny-Guyer
    July 21, 2011

    Alison–GREAT meeting you at the Tabor concert yesterday, and then discovering your blog today.

    YOU don’t need this Eco Challenge (Oct 1-15) by the NW Earth Institute, but this is for the readers like me who still have a ways to go to lessen our carbon footprint:

    https://app.e2ma.net/app/view:CampaignPublic/id:29217.7137420910/rid:2bb21de42c05ba65d70bf46f0d4de90f

    • Alison
      July 30, 2011

      Alissa, Great meting you, too. Thanks for the tip on the Eco Challenge the first half of October.

  • Jocelyn Anne
    December 1, 2011

    Hi Alison!

    I’m very interested in seeing if I could potentially contribute a guest post to you! I’d love to send you some links to previously published pieces or some ideas for potential articles to see if you might be interested!

    If that sounds like something you might want to talk about, please let me know!

    -Jocelyn

    • Alison
      December 3, 2011

      Jocelyn,
      I’ve published many guest posts, and am definitely interested in one from you. Please send a link. I’ll also email you now. Thanks!

  • russ fautin
    June 4, 2012

    its a good day to die was’t just a war cry,,,it was customarily used by people of the tribe when they became a hindrance on the clan and they wished to be so no longer…i believe the saying actually went something like . . “the grass grows to the sky on the prarrie. . today is a good day to die” they would then wander off to their final rest.

    • Alison
      June 4, 2012

      Russ, That’s poignant, and I appreciate your giving the fuller picture on ‘today is a good day to die’.
      Just a few hours ago, my carpool partner and I were talking about the new assumption of some that
      people can and should be able to live to 100 and more with modern medicine. But I question that assumption,
      because it can be a terrible drain on the earth’s (or a tribe’s) resources to live that long. And, that’s what you just
      said this saying is really saying. Hm, this may be a topic for a new blog post at some point . . . . thanks for sharing.

  • Peter Laughingwolf
    July 25, 2013

    Hi Alison,

    I’m a fellow Portlander in St. Johns.
    I tried to send a letter to Robert Leo Heilman c/o Sasquatch Books which doesn’t appear to exist any more. Do you know how I can reach him?

    Blessings, ^^

    • Alison
      July 25, 2013

      Peter, I just chatted with Bob to confirm his current contact info, and then emailed it to you.
      He also reports that he is the only Robert Heilman in the phone book — he lives in Myrtle Creek, Oregon.
      And he has a website now for his excellent writing: http://robertheilman.wordpress.com/

  • Rabbi Brian
    November 10, 2013

    I was looking for a quote about “treating people like objects and objects like people” and stumbled on your page. I thank you. I thank you.

    rB

    • Alison
      November 10, 2013

      Rabbi Brian,

      I am honored. I am honored.

      My husband and I just visited your lively website. Fun to learn that you’re a fellow Portlander! We left a comment inviting you (and your family, if you have a family) to our Christmas party next month.

      Blessings on your good work. Hope you come and visit again.

  • James Finnan
    March 13, 2014

    Hello Friend,
    I have looked at your site diamondcutlife.org and I really impressed with the entire structure. I loved the way you maintained the posts in the blog. Presently I am searching for the possibilities of having shared my content in this kind of blogs (as guest blog posts). Mostly I write about academic related topics to help students. I would like to get my article with a link to my website is posted in your blog.
    Please let me know your attitude on my request.

    Thank You,
    James Finnan

    • Alison
      March 14, 2014

      James, Thanks for your interest. I do publish some guest posts, if they are on the general topic of being rich in what matters. What I need is to see some writing samples. Yesterday I sent you my email address for that purpose. Thanks again. Best wishes.

  • African Mango Fruit
    June 24, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and
    I will be waiting for your further write ups thank you once
    again.

  • Paige
    July 6, 2014

    Superb blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go
    for a paid option? There are so many options out there that
    I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Alison
      July 6, 2014

      Paige, Good for you for planning to start your own blog. I’ve been using WordPress since late 2007, and yes, I recommend it.
      I just emailed you with my phone number. I’d be happy to give you some personalized encouragement on your writing, if you’re interested. I think you have something important to offer the world. We all do — I’m just especially partial to writing :). Please come visit again.

  • Nancy Sulfridge
    September 4, 2014

    I came across your website while researching the topic of exchanging work for rent, which I am considering for a fixer-upper house I am buying as an investment. I appreciate your positive approach to the topic. I’m looking forward to reading more of your ideas.

    • Alison
      September 7, 2014

      Good to hear from you, Nancy. My post on working for rent has been my most-read piece over the years. I’ve thought about writing a follow-up piece with more how-to information, and making a pdf of the combined material that people can then download. Your interest is nudging me further in that direction. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *