Sunday, January 30, 2011

Scrapbook-y Eye Candy

Check out this cool scrapbook image I found on Flickr (click on it to access to larger and more readable sizes):

Twenty quotes, AEZine challenge #20

Is it cheating to post this as my Snapshot Sunday "photo"?  I'm going to say no, and post it.  Hah!  Take that, perfectionism! 

Anyhoo, this scrapbook-y collage is by Sharna of I love my ________ life.  Sharna has all sorts of crafty eye candy both on her blog and on her Flickr photostream.  All of it is inspiring, but I especially love this page of can-do quotes.  For me, the coolest thing about this collection is that some quotes are by famous folks and some are from Sharna and her own family.  We are all quote-worthy!

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?  What is it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I feel so -- I don't know, there are so many words to describe it: honored, bashful, embarrassed, encouraged, seen, acknowledged, humbled. What's bringing all these feelings up? Besides life itself, I received a Stylish Blogger Award!

In fact, I received three. Do you understand why I'm feeling so shy/loved/blessed now? Yeah. I was delighted to be awarded by:
On top of that, Melissa over at Blame It On the Weatherman included me in her Write Hard 2011 list of (and I quote) really awesome people.

 Yeah.  I'm honored.  Thank you, thank you, and more thank you!  I really needed some encouragement (and really, who doesn't?) and you heaped encouragement on me by the bucketful.  Thank you, friends. 

Here are some other awesome, stylin' bloggers that inspire me to try harder, reach higher, and trust deeper.  Thank you for your wisdom, blogosphere pals!
  • Clare of :: This photographer/yoga teacher/God lover never fails to inspire and encourage me or give sage advice.  Besides, she didn't forget this past Snapshot Sunday when other bloggers (*cough* who started Snapshot Sunday *cough* *cough*) did. 
  • Voice in Recovery :: An awesome, speed-Tweeting eating disorder and body image advocate. 
  • Erica of Spoiled Yogi :: I don't think this yoga fan is spoiled, but I love how her approach to the practice is realistic and accessible for us mortals. 
  • Maggie at Say Yes To Salad :: Dude.  Maggie's latest post is a recipe for 100 calorie cheesecake.  Enough said.
  • Dani of My Hooping Heart :: I met this Portlander at Hoopcamp, and I really identify with her journey.  
  • Missy at Beautiful Struggle :: Missy is just starting out on her journey from anorexia to recovery, and blogging each step of the way.  I am astounded at her honesty and presence at such an early stage of the healing process.  Bravo!
  •  Lissa the Swampwater Debutante :: This curvy hooper is sassy, smart, and tells it like it is.  Plus she shares great videos of her hooping practice.  Me likey.
  • I'm going to cheat.  But I only have one "spot" left to award, and three awesome bloggers I want to mention.  Recently some Twitter friends and I formed a writing critique group, and they sort of come in a unit in my brain (sorry -- I can't decide if that's insulting, but it's definitely not in my mind).  Anyway, I love the writerly antics of Melissa, Liza, and Kalya.  Thank you for the laughs, encouraging tweets, and writing assistance!  Here's to literary joy and (*crosses fingers*) success, my friends.
Is that enough clicking for you?  You won't be disappointed, though -- these bloggers are amazing.

Part of the Stylish Blogger Award (I think, anyway) is to share seven things about me.  Read on . . . if you dare:
  1. I put ketchup on my scrambled eggs.  This is the only way to eat scrambled eggs. 
  2. My husband and I met through the internets, only to find that it was weird that we hadn't met in "real life" because we ran in the same social circle.  
  3. As a kid, I decided that I would be an astronaut when I grew up -- until I realized how much complex math and science it involved.  
  4. I have a somewhat disturbing passion for all things alpaca (and, to a lesser extent, llama).
  5. I felt horribly sad and repressed when I began to need a bra and learned that I'd have to wear bras for the rest of my life.  I did not, however, burn said bra, and eventually made my peace.
  6. I am a marching band geek.  In high school I was a devoted member of both the colorguard and winterguard.  My parents think this is why I like hooping so much.
  7. As a young child, I was terrified of all dogs except for the family dog, Chief.
What bloggers inspire you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The ballot for the 2011 Hoopie Awards is open!  Go vote for your favorites from this year's epic hula hooping action!  And trust me, the choosing ain't easy . . .

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rethinking the Morning Routine

Banana cereal yogurt

The first time I remember setting a strict morning routine (i.e., not rolling out of bed at the last possible moment and dashing for the shower) is around the time I moved to my present home city.  I wanted to make time with God a higher priority, so I began to start my day with some Bible reading, a devotional, and prayer.

And then things, as they always do, changed, and so did my priorities.  Here are some of my morning routines from the past five years:
  • intense cardio exercise, then God time/breakfast
  • yoga, then God time/breakfast
  • God time, then intense cardio exercise
  • God time, then exercise, then blogging
  • God time, then hooping
  • God time, then writing
  • morning pages, then God time, then writing
  • morning pages, then writing, then God time
Now I'm in something of a conundrum.  I have no idea how to structure the latest incarnation of my morning routine.  But before I ask for suggestions, I want to share why I have a morning routine at all.  I mean, I work from home now, so it's not like I need to squeeze things in during the wee hours before heading off to the job.  I can do whatever I want . . . right?

Not quite.  For me, a morning routine helps set my tone for the day, self-employed or not.  I try to get some spiritual time in each morning because it helps make me aware of God for the day ahead.  It encourages me, and reminds me to ask for help when I need it.

A morning routine also kick-starts my energy.  It starts a ball of kinetic action rolling, which picks up momentum and carries me through the morning and afternoon.  This is especially true for exercising in the morning darkness.  As contradictory as it may seem, morning exercise (when I was healthy) was incredibly energizing.  It's also nice to get the sweaty work out of the way early, especially if you don't like to exercise -- as one fellow YMCA goer once told me, he likes to exercise super early because he's not really awake enough to know what's happening until it's done. 

Sun UpBut right now, I have a whole slew of things I'd like to relegate to my morning hours, because they will all benefit me and my day, albeit in different ways.  Here are a few of the things I want to put first in order to set the done for the rest of the day:
  • God time
  • morning pages
  • more professional writing
  • yoga
  • hooping
  • morning walk
  • blogging
  • intense, sweaty exercise
  • meditation
These are all good things.  Really good things, in fact.  I get so much out of each one, and they're all so different (in my mind) that I can't just kick a few out the door.  But I also can't do all of them first (or second) thing in the morning.

Now, I could just do all these things, getting them done one right after the other straight through the morning and afternoon.  But I suspect that that would take the power out of the one or two prioritized morning items.  I don't want to make my life a rote to-do list. 

So here's what I want to know -- what does your morning routine look like?  What things to you prioritize?  Or do you have a morning routine at all?

And if you're totally lost as to this whole morning routine thing, here are some interesting articles on morning routines that are bouncing around the blogosphere:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Special Delivery

Special delivery
I ordered it at Hoopcamp before it was completed . . .

Special delivery
. . . two very special hoopers worked day and night to finish this amazing project . . .

. . . and now it is here at last!

That's right -- the very, very long awaited Hoop Technique DVD is finally shipping!!!!  I'm slightly psyched to have my copy.  Just a little.  Check out the preview here.  Movie night, anyone? 

What are you snapping on this Snapshot Sunday?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Infinite Lives

A couple of weeks ago, I began working my way through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  The Artist's Way is a creativity recovery program modeled off of twelve step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.  Cameron's goal is to help artists of all kinds bust through their blocks and insecurities and create without fear or self-judgment.

I first ran across The Artist's Way in 2008, just before I was diagnosed with anorexia and began treatment therapy, and at the time I thought this book was a bunch of bull.  I thought that Cameron's program was weak, pagan, and an utter waste of time.  Now, after years of therapy as well as experience with Overeaters Anonymous, I feel much, much differently.  Case in point: I just started week two of The Artist's Way.  In 2008 I barely got into week one before tossing the book aside. 

To help reveal self-doubt, skepticism, and other creativity-blocking nasties, Cameron closes each chapter with a series of tasks for the user to complete some or all of.  One of the first chapter's task reads:

Imaginary Lives: If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?  I would be a pilot, a cowhand, a physicist, a psychic, a monk. . . .  Whatever occurs to you, jot it down.  Do not overthink this exercise.

The point of these lives is to have fun in them -- more fun than you might be having in this one.  Look over your list and select one.  Then do it this week.  For instance, if you put down country singer, can you pick a guitar?  If you dream of being a cowhand, what about some horseback riding?

I must confess -- I skipped this exercise.  However, when I got to chapter two's tasks, I read that Cameron wants the user to continue building on this exercise, listing more alternate lives and trying to insert small pieces of those lives into his own. 

Thinking that Cameron might continue referring back to the original Imaginary Lives exercise, I decided to just get it done.  Upon reflection, I think I was shying away from this task because I felt very daunted by trying to "be" whatever I wrote down.  I suppose I forgot that I don't have completely change my life for a day.  Silly me.

So I got writing.  And, to my surprise, this exercise turned out to be super fun.  I jotted down five options, then five more, and the list is still growing.  Here's some of what I have so far:

circus performer
horse breeder
Renaissance Faire performer
book store owner
whale biologist
zoo keeper
Broadway musical star
    As I looked back over my list, I chuckled to myself.  "Har har," I said, " as if I could ever be any of those things.  They're all impractical, if not impossible."

    But then I got to thinking -- why can't I be one or two or ten of these things?  Why can't I live a bit of the hippie life, and live a bit of the Renaissance Faire life?  Why do I feel like I must chain myself to the practical?  And what does "the practical" even mean?  Because if I spend my life doing "practical" things that bring no joy, what does that do for anybody?

    I think that, as children, we are born with a sense of wonder, joy, and play.  But somewhere along the way, that playfulness and willingness to take risks fades, often because of situations like this:

    What will happen to our world if we collectively sacrifice all creativity and artistry for what's considered practical?  I'm not saying that we should stop working or burn big corporations to the ground, but the question of joy and fulfillment versus "being realistic" is an important one.  Because, in the end, we don't have infinite lives.  At least, not as far as anyone knows for sure.  We have to make this one count. 

    What do you think about this?  And if you had alternate lives to live, what would you be?

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    If You Had One Eye, What Would You Do?

    Hey!  It's Sunday, so on the blog that means it's Snapshot Sunday.  Check out this silly/serious graffiti I found decorating the baby changing table of a local coffee shop's bathroom:



    As for me, if I had only one eye, I might get a funky patch and/or a cool tattoo around the empty socket.  What would you do?

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Who Do You Want To Be in the World?

    Today's post is an excerpt from my morning pages two days ago.  I was inspired by a recent blog from Elsie Escobar, a podcasting yoga teacher whose online Anusara classes I've been using (and loving) for years.  A reader asked Elsie how to establish a daily yoga practice, and Elsie responded:

    If you don’t first and foremost ask yourself who you want to be in the world, what has meaning, what has value to you, and continue to refine the answer and deepen the questions again and again, whatever you decide to do (be it a daily asana practice) will be unsustainable.

    Here's my reaction:

    Um. Wow. I commented back (and truly feel) the following: "This is crazy-profound. And it basically smacked me over the head with a great cosmic DUH! :) I have all the externals on my side — deity, relationship, desire, talent, discipline. But I'm missing the internal — I have never asked myself who I want to be in this world. Wow. Wow wow and more wow." And it's true. I've never thought -- "what do I want to be in the world?"

    I have wondered about what I want to be "when I grow up," but that day of finally achieving maturity and grown up-ed-ness never seems like it will arrive. It is too distant. But Elsie's question is about now. "What do I want to be in the world today? What can I do today (and right now!) to help me become that person?" This has nothing to do with achievement, status, money, security, marital status, popularity, and all the other so-called important factors the culture demands that we gauge our lives by. And all those things are mostly irrelevant if they are attached to an unloving person. I don't want to be a shallow person incapable of love, even I'd get to be a bazillionaire at the same time.

    So now I must ask . . . what do I want to be in this world?

    When I first read Elsie's post, I kind of rolled my eyes. But then I thought about it.

    The answer wafted in on a cloud of calm -- I want to be a person of words. A writer, a writer of words people want to read. A writer of things that must be written and must be read.

    Note: understand that me wanting to be a writer has nothing to do with publication. It has nothing to do with three book deals or being famous or winning a prize. I simply want to write things -- write quality things, good things, write about important things -- and have people read and respond to my words. I want to be in the middle of an important dialogue, contributing via the page. I want to say things, textured things, rich and expressive things with my writing. I want to be read and to read, respond and be responded to.  I want to write every day.

    What to write about? Well, I know of some things that are important topics for me: eating disorders, holistic health, uniting God and movement (via hooping and/or yoga), good fiction. I also know what I enjoy: photography, dogs, board games, simple crochet, hooping, reading, blogging, good television, video games, and film, hanging out with people, especially my husband.

    Deep breath. Is this me, my life captured in a blurb? At least, the predilections of this single human soul? Perhaps. It is so simple and yet so profound, and I am simultaneously calmed and invigorated by this knowledge.

    It also gets me thinking about things that I try to make myself be or do that are not true to my self, to what I want to be in the world. Like roller derby, or teaching hooping/yoga. I so badly want to be as kick arse as a derby girl, but right now my heart's not in it. Same with the teaching -- I drag my feet into it, am not successful, don't enjoy it, and then wonder why my classes make me depressed and vulnerable to giving in to disordered eating.

    So who do I want to be in this world? The person: loving, seeing others, a blessing of a wife, supportive, caring, listening, ever hoping, ever singing. The actions: writing, reading, stepping out in the world, participating, making art with each breath, loving the work, loving this and all life.

    Now I have to ask (and you knew it was coming) -- who do you want to be in the world?  Think about it.   Also, be sure to check out Elsie's full post and her related free yoga class. 

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    The Hoopies are Here!

    Photo by Sara Janssen.
    That's right, my darlings, it's that time of year again.  It's time for The Hoopie Awards! Sponsored by, these awards recognize fabulous hula hoopers and hoop dance.  Categories for 2011 include best photo, best solo and group videos, instructor of the year, best male and female hoopers, and new hooper of the year, to name a few.  To check out the full list of categories and to nominate your favorite hoopers, videos, music, etc., visit's 2011 Hoopies page and cast your vote.  I already did!

    If you're anything like me, though, there was so much fantastic hooping in 2010 that you don't know where to start nominating.  I know it was really tough for me to both remember and choose my nominees.  To give you an idea of what's out there, here are some folks that I think are worthy of a Hoopie nomination:
    As you can probably tell, my list of 2010's awesome hoopiness could go on and on.  You can also see why it was so difficult to nominate only one selection for each category.  If there's a hooper you'd like to honor, swing by the 2011 Hoopie Awards page to check out the categories, then send your nominations to  The nominees will be announced on January 17th, and then the voting will begin.

    Is there a hoop-tastic person, event, group, or video that I left out of my best-of list?  Who do you think deserves a nomination?

      Sunday, January 2, 2011

      Snapshot Sunday, Take One

      Because the Wordless Wednesday site went off the grid for a while, I've decided to start my own blog tradition (if that's the proper term) -- Snapshot Sunday!  I tend to take a good amount of photos, so Snapshot Sunday will be dedicated to showing you all how cool my photography is (she wrote humbly).

      No, in all seriousness, I do enjoy sharing my photos -- not because I think I'm some maestro of the lens, but because I find taking pictures fun.  Besides I have nothing else going on with my photos, so why not blog 'em?

      So here we go -- Snapshot Sunday numero uno!


      I took this while wandering around the other side of the tracks (literally, since my city has a railroad pathway cutting through its northern portion) a few weeks ago.  It was a particularly cold day, so my fingers didn't want me stopping for long to expose them simultaneously to my camera's shutter release and the freezing wind.  As a result, I didn't frame this shot as I might have done had the temperatures agreed with my skin, but I really wanted to capture the beautiful brick building and its equally beautiful graffiti. 

      Shoot along with me!  Post a link to your snapshots in the comments, if you like.  I would like to see 'em!

      Saturday, January 1, 2011

      Day One

      Snow runner

      Okay, so this post's title is deceptive.  I mean, it is day one of 2011 . . . but I don't necessarily believe that's all that special of a fact.  But, like I wrote yesterday, the shiny newness of a new year is tantalizing all the same.  I went to make resolutions, start a new fitness regime, pledge to lose 200 pounds by Easter . . .

      Reality break!  There is no way anybody is going to lose 200 pounds by Easter.  Unless it's through surgery, which I'm not even sure is possible.  Is it?  Actually, I don't think I want to know.

      Even though I'm not really on board with resolutions-making, I have hopes for 2011.  Don't we all?  I mean, if we didn't have hopes for the future, what would be the point of anything?  But, because I'm a flesh and blood human, I hope.  I have some concrete(ish) hopes, including:
      • write, edit, polish, and submit a novel by 2012
      • hoop daily (and that's hula hoop, folks, in case you're a new reader)
      • kick disordered eating habits out the door for good (okay, I'm not sure this will ever be possible, but I want to get as close to full healing as possible)
      • bust through insecurity and fear and be the woman God made me to be
      Those are all good goals.  Also, notice that none of them has to do with weight loss or physical appearance?   This is a big step for me from even January 1, 2010.  Even while attending therapy for my eating disorder, my ultimate goal has always been to maintain a low weight and look good.  Even when I gained lots o' poundage this summer, my goal was not to heal and find balance, but to lose weight.  No more!  While weight loss might result from achieving my goals, it is not the goal itself. Take that, eating disorder brain.

      Yesterday I wrote that, while I'm staying away from resolutions (and, in my mind, goals are different from resolutions), I am hoping to stick with a theme for 2011, and maybe beyond.  And the theme is (cue suspenseful music) . . . doing it for me.

      "Wow," I hear you thinking.  "That's really . . . selfish."  Oh.  Well, maybe.  But hear me out.

      In my last post, I shared a video of Baxter of the HoopPath discussing his practice principles.  While he says a bunch of good stuff, my big take-away was to think about how my hooping serves and affects me.  So many hoopers perform and teach, but (Baxter asks) what if the only person you hoop for is yourself?  What if you never get on stage or in front of a class?  Are your efforts wasted?  Baxter's answer is no, and I find this profound.

      I get really tied up in "What will people think?" and "Am I good enough?" and all sorts of similar scary questions.  Even while I'm hooping up a storm in my living room, I think about what people would think if they were watching, and how I can make a really fabulous video to post on YouTube for the rest of the hooping community to admire.  Also, because I don't have a nine-to-five job right now, I keep trying to capitalize on my hooping by teaching.  Both of these facts -- that I focus on hooping for others, and making money from hooping -- stress me out.  A lot

      So, after watching Baxter's video, I decided I needed to hoop -- for myself.  Instead of worrying about my fitness hooping class's low attendance or if I should perform at a local open mic night, I focused on feeling my body and feeling the hoop.  I let my practice stand for itself in the moment.  And -- it was amazing.  Seriously profound.

      I can't control other people's opinions or the future or even my own gracefulness while hooping, so I am practicing letting it all go (which, I know, is easier said than done).  And not just in hooping.  I want to write for the joy of writing, exercise for the joy of moving, stomp through the snow for the heck of it.  I want to do these things for me, live for me, because it's worth it.  I might even say (cautiously, nervously) that I'm worth it -- and you are, too.

      Like a performance poet sang out at the Hoopcamp showcase this fall, I want to pretend that I live for a livingDon't you?