Sunday, February 28, 2010

5K - Check!!

What an experience!

My sister and I completed a 5K this Saturday in Fishers, IN. It was to benefit the Fishers High School Cross Country & Track Team. I had no idea what to expect (hadn't seen the course, no idea how many people were going to be there, hadn't really checked the weather).

It's fascinating going into an experience with no expectations.

(A HUGE thanks to our wonderful mother who watched the kiddos - and manned my camera! - while we ran! This would not have been possible without you, mom!)

The environment:

There were close to 200 runners.

The weather was COLD. (Around 23 degrees F.)

Bless the Cross Country & Track team members (and coaches and parents!) who went out at six a.m. that morning and shoveled as much as they could of the course.

Even with all of their hard work, around 80% of the course was through neighborhoods and streets almost completely covered with ice. I believe this was my first time ever of running on ice.

While most of the course was flat, there was one hill in the first mile and a fairly large incline towards the end. I'm glad I didn't know about that last one until I saw it.

Myself, my sister, my kiddos and my niece before the race

The starting pack. I look at that picture and am truly glad I didn't know what was coming. Had I have been able to see this the night before, I would have seriously reconsidered just staying in bed!

The results:

Remember my comments that I was going to push this regardless of the weather or how I felt? My whole mental focus of this race was trying to beat a 10 minute / mile pace. I wasn't going to let a little ice or a couple of hills stop that.

My discipline was truly tested on the final hill. With probably 3/4 of a mile left, I was huffing and puffing up the hill. I had pushed the pace in the beginning and was now really feeling it.

About 1/3 of the way up, my legs decided they wanted to walk, so one foot plopped down in walk position. Thankfully, my mind knew I'd be rather pissed if that walk occurred. The result was kind of a little sideways stumble that made me look quite drunk...but I KEPT RUNNING. I remember even saying "NOPE" out loud and giggling a bit. That probably didn't help the whole drunk impression.

The final result?

I finished in 30:49 , meaning a pace of 9:55 / mile!

My sister totally kicked butt, too, finishing in 32:56, a huge improvement in her pace!

I am taking this all in stride (ha ha, *groan*). I know that this pace was on ice and with hills...which means I could probably go faster. But I also know that a few seconds here and there don't mean much (the course distance could be off, the timing chip not exact, etc.).

Basically I'm not going to let any pride sit like a big squishy lump; rather, I'm using the energy of the accomplishment to boost and drive me further. This is one step in the journey - it's like a road sign letting me know I'm going the right way! :)

My son and niece also completed a 1 mile fun run. They had a GREAT time!

This is my son's second 1-mile run. I'm considering trying to "train" with him (i.e. get him outside more, working on running at slower paces, having him ride his bike with me while I run with the jogging stroller, etc.) He has such an enjoyable time, but gets frustrated easily. He'll sprint, then walk, then sprint, then walk...then repeat. He hasn't quite grasped the concept of pacing yourself - or that winning isn't everything. He's only 5, though, so it's a great place to start!

An unhappy girl (she wasn't signed up to run and was quite upset. Note the t-shirt "dress"...I don't think she could have run in this even if she wanted to.)

It's the try that counts, and boy did he try....and had FUN!

The wonderful cross country team was out running with the kids - my niece (being the youngest and last of the crowd) got quite the escort through her race.

I ran the last two laps with our son, and our daughter joined us to cross the finish line.

Now THAT is one determined girl!! (Can you see the tongue?) :)

My niece and my!

I'll freely admit - the rest of the weekend has been about rest and indulging.

I am already feeling the call to get back to the run, though. Feeling the brisk wind while running outdoors was SO refreshing. I truly wish I had the strength at this point to get up early (I'd have to leave at 5 a.m.) to run my long run tomorrow outside before hubby leaves for work. I'm realistic and know that won't happen, so I'm "looking forward" to running 49 laps around the YMCA tomorrow. Hmmm. Discipline slipping quickly....

*UPDATE: This post was written on Sunday. I'll update in the next post as to what REALLY happened this morning!**

May you find the energy to accomplish the next step in your life!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Awaken To Your Life

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don't go back to sleep.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh So Thankful!

What a day it was!

Ironically, we pulled up to our house at the same time our lovely mail lady was arriving. T'was a good thing....because I got oodles of gifts in the mail today!

My fun, character-filled earrings arrived yesterday from the talented Debb (a.k.a. DaCraftyLady) at . I mentioned when I entered her give-away that I already had the outfit planned for it - this shirt was calling out for some funky earrings! And voila! (The color matches way better in person)

(The sticker by my eye is courtesy of my daughter. Bling everywhere!)

Thank you so much, Debb - they will be worn with love and attitude!

Today - three gifts at once!

First, the oh-so-kind Jenn ( mailed off the Kraft-i Roller and it arrived quicker than I expected! I have already been to the library - as well as gotten some helpful information from Jenn - to delve into my paper-crafting adventure. Jenn has been so wonderful to chat with, and I cannot wait to make my first bead! And seriously, how beautiful is this tool??

She has six different designs (found here) to add whatever zest you need to your crafting time. (I chose the Victorian Script) I'll definitely be posting the results of my work! Yippee!

Jenn, I'm looking forward to crafting "with" you over the coming months and years!!

And speaking of beautiful...

Look at THIS (from Cheryl at Artsy-Fartsy ( stunning antique tintype photograph.

Oh my goodness, it is truly a treasure. And look at how it was delivered!!

(It seriously took me about 10 minutes to unwrap because I kept trying not to tear the paper and doily!)
This antique tintype photograph has so many stories to tell. (You can see the inside photo at Cheryl's blog post here.) The lovely lady inside is already the inspiration for stories that will make their way into my art work.

Cheryl, I cannot believe you parted with this but I feel so fortunate that you did. Please know that she has found a loving home!

And whoa - speaking of art work....I am SO SO tickled to have BATCHES of new things with which to play - thanks to Joanie at Full of Bolognie (

Seriously, I had seen the photo on her giveaway post, but had NO idea at the SCOPE of what was included! This photo does not do it justice, but since I have all my other crafting supplies spread out over the dining room floor, I figured I'd better put these all back in the bag. (Gotta keep the husband happy and the kids outta my stuff.)

Papers, ribbons, stamps, antiquing paint, flowers, buttons, trinkets, ...the list keeps going. I am SO excited!!!

Joanie, you are amazing...thank you. I wish I could share with you the creative excitment that is stirring my soul - I can't wait to get started!

To each of you: THANK YOU. These gifts have put a smile on my face in the midst of a challenging week - that is saying a LOT.


I have more exciting photos to share of art journaling (as well as more stories about the STRENGTH and JOY!!), but need to get the kiddos ready for bed. I've already posted twice today - who knows, another might be on its way!

After all, with all of these new goodies, I'm not sleeping any time soon....

Training Update

On and on I go!

The 5K is coming up this Saturday, so my training this week is ever so slightly different.

What I Did:

Monday: Ran SIX miles - i.e. FORTY-TWO LAPS around the YMCA track.

Tuesday: Strength training (free-weights) at home

Today (Wednesday): Interval Training - random sprints in the midst of a 30-minute jog/run.

What I Learned:

*I can DO THIS!

Seems an odd thing to "learn", but as Bleubeard and Elizabeth put in a comment, I previously might have been able to run 5 feet if the house were on fire. (Ok, I would have run 3 feet then dramatically fainted and waited for my brave husband or a strapping young fireman to come and rescue me.)

During both my five- and six-mile runs over the past two weeks, I have been able to let my mind go. That is the biggest key. I'm not constantly chattering at myself that I have THIRTY laps left and how in the world am I supposed to do that or my that other chica is kicking my butt so I should speed up my pace and show her up....

Nope. Just running. Honestly the hardest part is the last mile or so when I do start counting down and my mind pipes up. Suddenly every step is painful - but at that point, there's no way I'm stopping to walk.

For others getting into running, I admit that this still isn't easy. But it is far easier than I ever feared it would be. Don't most things seem tamer than our fears once we face them??

* Still admitting I'm over a 10-minute / mile pace, I found out that my watch resets itself after an hour (i.e. starts counting back at zero). I stopped it after my 6 miles (or 42 laps * (1 mile=6.8laps) - you do the math), and found I'd only been running for "08:27". Eight minutes? Oh yeah, I'll be signing up for the summer Olympics.

* I don't like interval training. You think it would be nice compared to running over an hour, but I am still an inner-wimp. Pushing myself that hard - for 60 seconds, 30 seconds - for any period of time that there isn't a fire I'm running from or a piece of cheesy pizza I'm running towards - is not enjoyable.

I'm not sure I could be doing this if I were single and had to work out at one of those gyms around us that attract all of the already-fit college girls to which potential mates would be comparing me...I am a slobbering red-faced groaning and moaning blob at the end of a sprint. It isn't attractive.

I must say though, one of the benefits of doing this is that on the inside I know I am the sexiest thing to be walking this earth at this point. T'is a yummy feeling.

Another post coming later today - it's been a GIFTED day! (Hint, hint)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Two words.

Two words.

They might be all it takes to change my life.

I've been working this past week on Connie's awesome program "Art Journal Love Letters". While learning some amazing techniques for our art journal (which I've just started - and LOVE), we've been reflecting on our foundation.

My foundation. Hmm.

It's something I often ignore. After all, life can keep going with a foundation that is "solid enough". If it's solid enough to keep me going through laundry and child meltdowns, financial crises and snow days, it's solid enough. But solid enough won't make a life lived. It just makes a life survived.

When I'm out on the track, at mile 4.5, solid enough won't get me to that next mile. My foundation screams out that it is enough that I ran, enough that I'm out there, and that walking certainly won't hurt.

And solid enough keeps our home in disarray, our finances just balanced enough so we don't overdraw, and the kids happy enough that they don't have a breakdown.

But I am More than Enough.

Getting the time and over the fears to examine this foundation has taken a lot. And I'm still not done...I know this is an ongoing process. But, as with the art journal, I have to stop messing with the foundation at some point. I have to create it - mindfully and with purpose - and then have the confidence to keep going and the trust that the foundation IS.

My foundation can't be too complicated and vague, otherwise I have the tendency to just sink into it like a pool full of mushy, squishy, comforting thoughts. At the same time, I need my foundation to have some depth and complexity - otherwise it is too hard, too cold, too inflexible for me to build anything on.

So I move forward today based on a foundation of two words:

Strength and Joy.

I'll elaborate, perhaps later this evening, on what those words mean to me.
For now, I challenge those of you who read this to stop for a minute - yes, right now - and contemplate what your foundation Is.
Many blessings for us all as we journey through the process.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Train-ing (Choo choo!)

With my son on my mind, I couldn't escape the cheesy title. Sorry.

This week, here's how it has gone thus far:

What I Did:

Monday: Ran FIVE (5!!) Miles (on an indoor track. That equals 35 laps.)
Tuesday: Shoveled Snow. Strength Training (weights at home).
Wednesday: Shoveled Snow. (notice a trend??)
Thursday: Ran 3 Miles at or above race pace. (21 laps at the YMCA)

What I Learned:

* Shoveling snow can be very peaceful. Brilliant white, random birds chirping, the feeling of getting something accomplished. I'm still over it.

Image from

* Knowing how to let the mind zone out can be a runner's best training tool.

Image from

That five miles I did on Monday? First, that's the farthest I've ever run. (Even when we did the Drumstick Dash back in November, that was only 4.5 miles...and I even took breaks to walk.)

Second, it really wasn't that bad! I know I was just having a good day, but I felt SO powerful all day long after that. When asked how I got through it, I had to answer that I Just Ran. Honestly, the hardest part was probably the last mile or so when I started thinking that I only had 7-6-5-...laps left. It made me focus on where I was and what I had left, which made it harder.

I really think I should hone in on a meditation practice. As I'm quickly learning, the mind can be the biggest cheerleader or the worst opponent. The more I learn to control and partner with my mind, the easier those longer runs will be.

* Look at the big picture. Today I ran the 3 miles with the sole goal of trying to get a sub 10-minute mile. (For non-runners, even a sub 10-minute mile really is rather slow. But my pace has consistently been around a 10:40/10:30 mile and I want to improve.)

My first mile was completed in 9:47. So far, so good. I was at mile 2 at 20:20. Off pace, but still redeemable. I finished all three in 30 minutes and 47 seconds. Even acccounting for a bit of distance mis-measurement (I count a full 7 laps as a mile where as the track on which I run is actually 6.8 laps / mile), I didn't get a(n average) sub-10 minute mile. *sigh*

But I RAN THREE MILES! That makes me smile. I remember back in October the thought of running a 5K (3.1 miles) was truly daunting. Today it was still a struggle to run but only because I was pushing myself and my pace.

I am entered in a 5K next Saturday and am going to completely push myself for that sub 10-minute mile time, darn it. Totally cool with swallowing my pride and looking like a running, huffing, puffing, stumbling fool if it means I'll get there. Ok, as long as there isn't pictures.

Time to meet the school bus!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Share the Love!

Oh much love to share! In no particular order:

THANK YOU to One World One Heart Participants from whom I won giveaways (Whoo hoo!!) :

Joanie at Full of Bolognie (tee hee) (
for the scrapbook kit for which I have already been pondering creative arrangements (I'm never sleeping again)


Debb (a.k.a. DaCraftyLady) at Http:// for the lovely and oh-so-fun earrings (that I already have an outfit planned for when they arrive)


Cheryl at Artsy-Fartsy (Http:// for the stunning antique tintype photograph (that I can't wait to just hold in my hands and admire for hours)!

I'm anxious to share photos but am going to wait until I can show them on me / at my abode. For now, I'm going to suggest you visit their blogs to check them out. Trust me, worth the visit!

Thanks, too, to Jenn at Http:// for the AWESOME Kraft-i Roller. (I can't wait to start creating with it! Seriously. Sleep is going to not happen.)

BIG THANKS to the oh-so-kind Heather (a.k.a. Namaste-Heather) at . She gave me / this blog an oh-so-sweet award!

Part of being awarded this is sharing 7 things about myself then awarding it to 7 other bloggers. (Heather's were good - check it out at!)

So 7 random things...hmmm. I feel like I'm at a networking party. Let's see:

  1. I have successfully (hah) completed 20 skydives in my lifetime....all were from about 10 years ago and lasted until I went broke. I would go again in a heartbeat (with hubby's, albeit reluctant, permission. Hey - he has completed 3 himself!).
  2. I birthed both of my children without pain medications. I didn't do it for the accolades, but simply because I felt that was the path I wanted to take. Thank god I didn't know my daughter was 9 lbs 2 oz before she was born or I might have changed my mind.
  3. I love yoga, but not the yoga most people think of when they think, "Yoga". I love the full discipline, on and off the mat. It is the concept of Unity that intrigues me most about the practice...and that oh-so-yummy feeling you get after an in-the-zone mat practice. (Oh, and my classmates and teachers from my yoga teacher training program at Cityoga. They are AWESOME.)
  4. "LifeUnity" was a name I coined almost 14 years ago after several days of brainstorming a business name that captured the essence of my values. It has been the name for a Life Coaching business venture, a photography venture, a yoga program, and of course, this blog. I still love the name, regardless of what business path it's pointing to. (For the first time ever, I have come up with a new domain that encompasses more of who I am today. Stay tuned for more information...I'm so excited!!)
  5. I can stick my arms out in front of me, palms together, rotate my hands so the palms are facing away, cross my arms (right over left), clasp my hands (palms now together), turn my joined hands down and towards my body rotating them fully through until they are pointing up to the sky, slip my right elbow over my left while keeping my hands clasped thus creating a small hole between my forearms...and wiggle my head through that hole so my hands are clasped behind my neck. My BFF & I learned we could both do that in college and it turned out to be a fairly nifty party trick. If you can follow those directions and can do that, I'd love to see a photo. Seriously. I'd post it up here alongside a photo of me doing it.
  6. I have no one favorite movie or favorite song or favorite food or favorite color. I am truly a outside desires change based on my inner mood. This used to be a big problem for me (I thought, as others had said, that I was wishy-washy). I now am beginning to embrace it as a unique and fun characteristic -- I can (and do) love it all! (Well, ok - I really don't care for heavy heavy metal and can't eat black olives with grimacing...but who knows what the future may bring!)
  7. I saw the Grand Canyon when I was very young and didn't remember it. I went more recently with my husband (several years ago). He led me up a path and had me close my eyes. Once we were within view, he had me open my eyes. The first thing I did was gasp and say "oh shit!" The people next to us laughed. It still makes me laugh. I love having my breath taken away like that. I can still feel the rush of an inhale of energy that comes from being faced with magnificent vastness.

So now my problem is...ONLY 7 to whom I can award this? See that list over to the right of those blogs I follow? I follow all of them for a reason! (Really, I don't have time to follow blogs that aren't interesting.) There are amazing people out there with amazing blogs. So to each of them I give a big shout out (check the list of those I follow, folks!).

Part of my confidence that has been growing is knowing when I feel ok breaking the rules. This is one of those times. Forgive me, oh creator of the Beautiful Blog award, but I have too much love to narrow it down to 7 people. (If any of you readers want to share 7 things about yourself, please leave a comment below letting me know you did so and I'll add a link to your post!)


I URGE you to check out Connie's workshop ART JOURNAL LOVE LETTERS.

It started on the 14th, but I'm almost certain you can still join! I completely agree with another participant who said that she already feels she got more than her money's worth...and we're still in the FIRST week! The videos alone are worth get an example, visit Connie's blog at to check out her work. Seriously - $25 for oodles of information and and tips and techniques and inspiration and all sorts of juicy love - JUST DO IT!

(I'll be posting some of my fun journaling up here but keeping some of the techniques a secret. *shhh* You have to join Connie's workshop to find out more!)

Whew...a whole lotta lovin' going on. Doesn't it feel delicious?! ;-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

OWOH Winner!

OH my what a ride that was! So many other participants have expressed similar feelings...this event is simply AMAZING.

BIG thanks go to Lisa Swifka, the organizer of this event ( For all of those who participated in this event for its true purpose (to bring together bloggers and connect with others who you may not otherwise come across), this has truly been an AWESOME journey.

Personally, I had 183 people visit my site and decide they wanted to enter the giveaway...and my followers have MORE THAN DOUBLED! I am so tickled!

To all of my new followers: I am going to send out personal emails to each of you - please forgive me for not having done so already. This carpet ride has me a bit tousled and the oodles of snow outside that I keep having to shovel a bit sore.

Ah, but I know that's not why many of you are reading this! Eeek - the suspense!

First, I had a few duplicate entries. (I know they weren't on purpose - I had enough trouble keeping track of where I'd been!) Because of that, I wasn't quite sure I wanted to use the random number generator. So we did it the old fashion way.

I had been keeping track of everyone who commented in a nifty little Microsoft Excel file. (Yep. I'm a geek like that. I'm cool with it.) This gave me a way to make sure I visited everyone who entered my giveaway. (This was the only way I could think of to keep track!)

Next year I'll remember to start earlier - I ONLY got to those on the carpet ride who entered my giveaway. But I'm I mentioned, I had ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE entries! Whoo hoooooo! (So you can't blame me for not visiting more. An average of 3-5 minutes visiting each of the 183 sites? You do the math. It's been quite a week.)

We printed out the Excel file shortly after the giveaway closed tonight and cut each entry into a little slip of paper. (If you had entered twice, I kept only one of your entries.)

(Don't worry about the shading - it was just my way of keeping track of who I had visited in return!)

I then recruited my kiddos, who were ever so excited to help. Of course, we wanted to make it a big show. So my princess got dressed for the occasion. (We couldn't find our prince's cape unfortunately.)

Really, they were quite excited.

I had them shuffle around the entries and my fairy princess blessed them all with her magic wand.

They both closed their eyes and my son got to pick the lucky winner....

And the winner is....


Jenn has already been successfully contacted and notified her book will be on its way as soon as we can get out of the house. (Snow day today and we're expecting another one tomorrow...hopefully we'll get out of here soon!)

Jenn has a beautiful site at a REALLY nifty tool called the Krafti-Roller, a multi-use tool that she created (how cool is that??) and with which she makes GORGEOUS paper beads. I've already placed my order. :)

I simply cannot express enough thanks to all who entered and visited my li'l blog. I had so much fun visiting each of your sites and have found myself some new blogs to follow as well! I plan on jumping back to many of them that I didn't have time to fully look around.


Here's to the journey ahead...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

For Love

To all of those in love -

with a partner
with yourself
with your mother
with your father
with nature
with God or Goddess or Spirit
with the smell after a fresh rain
with falling into a warm bed
with vibrant or subdued or natural colors
with simplicity
with laughing so hard it hurts
with snow
with sunshine
with a pet
with Life

Happy Valentine's Day.

May we each continue to find and radiate love in every moment of every day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Look From a Different Perspective


If the past few days have taught me nothing else, it is just that: before settling into a funk or getting upset or just bored...look at the moment from a different perspective.


Starting with the most recent:

Example 1

What I Did:

*20 minutes weights
*25 minutes on the elliptical (effort around 7)
*5 minute core strengthening

What I Learned:

As always, it only takes one step. This week has been less than perfect in the workout realm (see more below!) and today was turning out to be no different. I had oodles of excuses. And yet, whether it was from a habit that has become part of my life, a deep yearning that my body is awakening to, or simply guilt...I had to do something.

It was step by step. I just put on my workout gear. If I got that on and still felt crappy, I'd deal with it from there. I went down and picked up the weights. One set. Two. Different muscles. 50 minutes later and I've done a whole workout.

Voila! Don't look at the whole thing - it is easy to get overwhelmed. One step. That's all you have to take. Then the next. Easy peasy.

Example 2:

Remember those excuses I mentioned? One of those was that I have two very rowdy kids this morning. Between snow days and a good nights sleep, both kids are ready to rumble.

I really hate putting them in front of the t.v. (but that's not to say I haven't done that before and won't again). This morning I said no t.v. (commence WHINING!). But downstairs I went...and downstairs they followed.

We have a twin bed downstairs with a mattress that is probably past its prime. (We don't get a lot of overnight guests. This could be one reason.) The kids have turned it into their own jump palace.

Normally, I try to stop it - for the sake of the mattress, for the sake of the wall that they always run into, for the sake of the fingers that always get stepped on, for the sake of my sanity.

Today, I just let them have fun. I figured they were getting exercise (out of breath from continuous jumping!) and having fun. The mattress is shot anyway and a few boo-boos as a result of a good time is something with which I can live.

What if we looked at everything from that angle - are we having fun?

So, go have fun. But be safe. Sorry, mother in me has to say that.

Example 3:

Ok, this is the good one. I debated about how to share this but knew I'd have to one way or another. This is almost like one of those butterfly effect things...amazing how one little thing leads to another.

Remember how I shared my oops the other morning with forgetting my socks for the gym, and how I ran anyway?

That led to very sore feet.

Sore feet led to bandaids and wearing fuzzy socks instead of regular (or no) socks around the house. (Mmmm, fuzzy socks.)

Fuzzy socks led to....wait for it....

me falling down the stairs.

Those stairs.

It wasn't pretty. The kids had already gone to bed and my husband was probably 45 minutes away from getting home from work. Remember that spine issue I have?

I just sat at the bottom of the stairs, box of graham bunnies spilled everywhere, and said out loud, "Hm. Ok. Huh.".

Two perspectives here. Both are the truth.

1) (The thought train I briefly thought about following, but didn't) I've just fallen down the stairs. I'm in pain but know the worst is yet to come because I am in shock. I will pick up all of these bunnies, nurse myself back to health over the next few days, forgo running for several days just in case I've really done something to my back, get some movies so I can spend plenty of time on the couch with my ice packs, and whine about it to everyone I can so they know I'm not just being a wimp.

2) (The thought train I ended up choosing.) I'm at the bottom of the stairs. I'm kind of hurting right now. Oooh look - bunnies! (Really. I picked one up and ate it while I contemplated what to do.) Ok, one step at a time. I'm not hanging out here all night. I will take some Ibuprofen tonight so I can sleep and see how tomorrow goes.

As the pain has subsided but the bruises gotten bigger, I show my husband all my war wounds (bandaids from no-sock-running, bruises) and garner from sympathy from him. (Gotta work this a little bit, eh?) I realize that SO THANKFULLY it doesn't feel like I did anything to my back.

The rest of the pains are just temporary, and if nothing else, a reminder to be more mindful of my steps. I use the boo-boos as ways to pay attention to my body (I'm learning of some butt muscles I didn't even know were there - ouch) and as a new way to train my discipline (can I really work through this even though I have a valid reason not to??).

In every situation, there are many perspectives to be had. It's up to you which one you choose. As my dear friend Connie said, you can work past the cotton balls. Or Melita, in one of her wonderful Monday Moments of Zen, discussed how when you make the choice to do what you love, every day will be a new adventure.

My dear friends, just take a step.

Jump, if you have to.

Enjoy a little bunny graham and for heaven's sake...

be mindful of every step.

And don't forget to have fun.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Artistic Mother - new book!


Oh, I've been waiting for this one (along with so many others...look here!)!! (Giveaway notice to follow -- keep reading!)

Shona Cole, a beautiful blogger at has written a book just for me - well, ok...for me and the thousands of other mothers out there who feel that inner yearing to create.

She did a wonderful job introducing the book at this post ( (Her words are better than any description I could give it.)

She wrote, "I believe that artistic type moms do a better job at mothering if they are doing art". I believe we all have a creative side and once we acknowledge and live with it, our entire lives are enriched.

The book has now been released in the US on Amazon! (Purchase it here!) And, Shona is offering a giveaway of her book! Simply visit here (

So much creativity and inspiration ...I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

Valentine Love for Kindergarten


Last year it was enough for us to purchase the pre-made Valentine's Day cards (Kung Fu Panda, I believe) and spend nearly an hour getting our preschool son to sign his name to each one.

This year, there was no way we were not making Valentines. What a perfect excuse to create something else!

Because I love the process as much as the final product (and because I believe it is so important to realize we are all human and that those amazing crafts don't pop out pefect the first time, every time!), I've included the whole lot below.

I started by dreaming I could use my Cricut to cut hearts out of fabric (glitter felt squares puchased in the children's section of the craft store). Unfortunately, I don't have the deep that didn't work. I did get enough of an outline (from the blade) to create a template.

my Cricut

I cut out the template (using regular scissors) and used it to cut out 20 other hearts. I then used the computer to type up 20 "Happy Valentine's Day" cards (using Microsoft Word and the ruler guidelines to ensure the card would fit on the heart).

I cut out the individual cards and let my son write his name on each one. We did an assembly line: after he wrote his name, I used my lovely sewing machine to sew the sides and bottom of the card to the front of each heart. (I left the top open to make a pocket.)

This process went fairly well until the bobbin started acting up...I had one heart that my machine kept gobbling up. Eventually, I had to use my seam ripper to pull the whole card off and just start again. (I only had enough fabric for the 20 hearts so I was luckily able to salvage that!)

Using the seam ripper to get the last few threads off of the fabric heart I just had to salvage. The paper was already removed.

Side note: (partially because I think it's funny and partially because I want to encourage ANYONE to craft and create regardless of your space) My sewing machine is on the floor.

I have a tiny desk in the basement but got tired of bumping into the wall. I now just sit on the floor and use my foot on the foot pedal to sew...sometimes creating some interesting body positions. Who said yoga could only be done on a sticky mat?? Hey, it works. While I dream of having some of the studios like the ones in "Where Women Create", I'm going to work with what I have and make it enjoyable.

We had found some organic lollipops (or Wall-E-Pops as my daughter calls them) at TJ Maxx. (Discount!) After winning the battle with my sewing machine, my son returned to put the lollipops in the pockets we had created.

The final product(s):

We also created a valentine for his teacher.

I must admit, I started with the best of intentions for this Valentine but not the clearest of pictures of how I was going to do it. I wanted to use paper and fabric. The result? Another lesson in letting go of perfectionism and embracing a handmade look.

I used the cricut again to cut a heart out of paper. I then used it as a template to trace the same size heart and another heart about 1/4 of an inch around that heart onto muslin (for seam allowance). The thought was that I would sew the seam around the muslin heart to create a more finished look, then sew the muslin heart to the paper heart.

I've never sewn a seam around a curved item before so I totally guessed along the way. I ended up cutting notches all the way around the muslin heart so the seam portion could fold over onto the heart (without gathering). I tried pinning the seam over...then gave up on that. I just moved very slowly, letting the fabric heart feed into the sewing machine and frequently lifting the presser foot to turn the fabric.

The result was a VERY handmade-looking heart.

We then decided that our son needed to find a way to make this personal (besides just signing his name). So we again used the cricut (love that thing!) to make an envelope into which he could tuck a personal note. I used the Big Bite to put some eyelets on the envelope so we could tie it closed. And back to the sewing machine...

Another Side Note: I have a lot of tools and machines. I've built up my collection over time. If you are thinking of purchasing any of these, please know that I've not paid full price for any of them! With a little research, you can save yourself a lot of money....which, of course, can be used for more tools and machines. :)

I decided to just sew the envelope onto the muslin heart (easier than trying to glue). I just used a straight stitch along the sides and bottom. My son wrote his personal note while I did this.

Finally, I used a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine to attach the muslin heart/envelope piece to the paper heart backing. Because I'd done such an....interesting....job on sewing the seam on the muslin heart, the hearts were no longer the same size. So when they were sewn together, I did get some gathering of the fabric.

Again, perfectionism monsters defeated. (Or at least jailed up. They were still yelling at me. Nasty buggers.)

The final project?

I sent my son off to school a few hours ago with his Valentines. He is so excited about passing them out and seeing what everyone else brings.

And THAT is what makes it all worth it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Training Progress (Sort of)

It's time to get serious.

For those who aren't aware, my husband and I (as well as my brother and sister) have signed up to run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon in May - 13.1 miles of exhileration, music, discipline, feet-thudding, sweating, and, hopefully, after all is said and done, a beautiful cross over the finish line.

This feat was only suggested after we decided (last fall) to start training for a triathlon (thanks to our friends who had recently completed one).

And all of this was decided only after we apparently lost our minds.

Keep in mind - I have never been a runner and, at times, have even sworn it off completely. I've exercised on and off for years but never for a long-term goal. I hadn't been on a bike since probably high school... and as far as swimming? Let's just say I can doggy-paddle with the best of them but once you get me horizontal in the pool it ain't pretty. And my husband? Bless him - physical fitness is not one of his strong points.

So here we are. 5 or so months later, we have completed a 5K and an 8K, purchased bikes and a trainer we can use indoors, and signed up for swimming lessons. We have memberships at our local YMCA which we use religiously now that the weather is nasty.

Myself, our son (who completed a 1 mile fun-run), and hubby after completing our first ever "event" (a very hilly 5K)

Because the mini-marathon is first on the calendar, both biking and swimming have taken back seats to running. However, I still try to do swimming at least once a week and, once I figure out how to get my bike on the trainer, will try to do that once a week as well. Right now it is essential to keep progressing on training for the run - each week is an increase in distance and one or two missed days can easily mean not being prepared when the 13.1 mile run hits.

I am learning so much from this process and that is the primary reason I feel the desire to blog about it. I am blown away by the strength I've found within myself to overcome my fears in the water and to keep on running when my legs feel like jello. I'm also learning from those times that my discipline failed. I'm learning how to distinguish between those mental voices; the ones that are looking out for my momentary happiness (eat the cookie dough! stop running and walk!) versus the ones that are speaking up for my soul.

Case in point:

What I Did: (Today)

Intervals for 1 mile (sprint at effort of 10, slow jog at effort of about 5, repeat), ran 1/2 mile.

What I Learned: (Today)

Running without socks is not a good idea.

I had left the house today with both kids in tow (our son's school was again delayed 2 hours) and was proud of myself for getting out so quickly. You know where this is going.

When I got to the YMCA (20 minutes from our house) I realized I'd forgotten all of my other clothes...which included the socks I was to run in. By this point there was no way I was turning around. I decided I'd just go as long as my feet could hang in there.

Turns out, that's about a mile and a half.

I'm still wearing band-aids and am taking tomorrow off from running but am quite glad I still went. This is one of those cases that the immediate-happiness voices were loudly screaming "Don't run! You'll hurt yourself! You can go tomorrow...just use this time to spend time with your kids...they'll love you for it..." (Yeah, they are tricky voices) However, the soul voices knew better. They knew I needed the discipline to get out on the track even if it meant momentary discomfort. They knew my body would know when it was time to stop.

There are obstacles that are going to pop up all over life - snow days, unexpected calls, spills, forgotten socks. It is up to you to decide whether that particular obstacle is a rock you can climb over or a boulder that is best left alone. There is no right or wrong answer...each will depend on the situation and the exact moment you find yourself in. (If our son was already in school, I probably would have driven home to get the socks.)

Training for this half marathon and traithlon has shown me that so many of the obstacles I saw before that looked like boulders were really small rocks - all I had to do was get up off my bum and look down upon them. After all, when you're lying down, everything looks big and impossible.

I'm still working around my boulders (there will always be some), watching my back, and honoring the messages I hear from my body. But the fire continues to grow within and, wow, is it beautiful. My hope is that you are on the path to finding your own light within.

I still wouldn't recommend running without socks, though.

Division Within Unity - How I'm Going to (Try) to Post

I have contemplated making different blogs for different aspects of my life - mini/triathlon training, crafting, motherhood, yoga, etc. - but the whole point of "LifeUnity" is the recognition that all of these things flow into one another. What I learn while tripping over my own feet in running helps me keep my balance with the kids. What messages I find on the mat in yoga come through in my craft/art work.

However, I do realize that some readers may be more interested in one thing over another. To help with ease of reading, I'm going to try (for now - we'll see how it works!) to at least create different posts based on the topic. For example, this next post will primarily be on my training (and what I'm learning!!). Please be aware that, as with life, lessons will flow through if you are interested in the "hmmm" behind the "what", you may want to read all of them! Even if you swear you'll never run (like I did about a year ago - really), you may pick up something that will change your mind...or at the very least, give you a new perspective on the "running" you do in your own life.

Let's see how this goes - on to the next post!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Day & Updated Giveaway

For the ONE WORLD ONE HEART Giveaway, click here

(or simply scroll down).

I have UPDATED the OWOH giveaway with more pictures of the (almost!) finished book!

Today in lovely Indiana it was quite snowy. This meant no school for our son.

So I used this

to do this

and because I have this
image from McDonalds Chiropractic

I reluctantly had to take this

But because of this

and this

and this

(Which I just won through Sleeping Dog Studios - amazingly talented artists.

They're having another giveaway - check it out!)

and this

and this

and this

Followers (29)

I'm still feeling like this.

( Image Courtesty of The Vintage Moth, who are also participants in the OWOH giveaway! Visit their site at )

Thank you.