Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jason!



Today my stepson Jason turns 15. Yikes! I met him as he was turning 9, so we've had six years together now.

It's been fun watching him transition from kid to young adult. We've had to get to know each other and learn to work together in a different way than typical mom/child relationships. I had to learn what boys like. It's all been quite the adventure.

Today's post is for him. Happy birthday, Jason!



Now, I am going on a blog vacation. Live Wonderstruck will be on break next week, but will resume the following week.

Wishing you wonderstruckness!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Teen Interview: Jason

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

I'm switching things up a little this week with our very first Wonderstruck Interview: Teen Edition! Yes, we can learn from the youth around us and it's important to listen to what they have to say. Meet Jason, my stepson. He turns 15-years-old this week.

Jason

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I'm not sure what wonderstruck means, but I liked watching my brother Jonas learn to walk.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I am grateful for every morning, because you never know if you were gonna wake up.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

School is tough. It's boring and sometimes the work is hard. But I have my friends there so we work through it together.

What do you wish you were more conscious of?

I wish I was more conscious of my attitude. Sometimes I can be real mean and be talking back and I'll get in trouble because of that.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

I just focus by thinking of why I do what I do. The reasons I do things and stuff like that. When I think of those reasons then I know what's really important to me.

About Jason:
Jason is currently on summer break preparing to enter the 10th grade. He likes baseball, video games, and harassing his parents (as teens do).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Put the iPhone Down

Hello. My name is S.M. Hutchins and I have a problem. I am addicted to my iPhone.

I'm not sure the amount of time I can go without looking at my phone, but I'm pretty sure it's not good.

You see, every job I've held has been on a computer. I was used to staring at screens for 8+ hours a day. Thankfully, I don't have that affliction anymore. In fact, I mentioned on Friday that The Little One makes it nearly impossible to use a computer in his presence.

But, now as a stay-at-home mom, my phone is always nearby for when my husband calls (or anyone else for that matter- we really don't use our house phone at all). It's all too convenient to check my email there, too. Plus, it's great for taking quick photos of cute faces or videoing new tricks.

Here's what happens. I play with The Little One. He becomes occupied with something. I think, "oh, I should really get something done while he's busy." It will take too long to run upstairs and pull together laundry. I don't have time to hop on the computer and do my freelance work. I've already swept the hall. So, I check my email.

It's quick. I don't have to leave the room to do it because my phone is right there. Ok, email took 30 seconds. Now what? I can see what my friends are up to on Facebook. I like a few things, maybe type a short comment.

I should put the phone down, but no. Instead I check Pinterest, read Dilbert, then maybe Twitter. If there isn't anything interesting, I get frustrated. Perhaps Instagram or LinkedIn or... .

Other scenarios, I turn on some music and start a dance party with The Little One, then I remember I needed to look something up... web browser. Or I see someone on TV and can't remember where I've seen them before... IMDB to the rescue. Or my husband will be home and take a phone call. Well, if he's on the phone I may as well be, too. Anything new on email? No. Facebook? No. Pinterest... . 

And so it goes. A perpetual cycle of check the phone. But it's okay because it's all under the guise of getting stuff done. What a joke.

The crazy thing is I don't actually like looking at my phone for long. It bugs me that I'm constantly grabbing it. Why can't I just set the dang thing down and leave it?

That's my new mission. Put down the phone. (Seriously, put it down.)

Ann Voskamp created a poster of 10 Things to Do Before You Click. I shared the link on Friday, but I'm sharing it again now, because I'm challenging myself to try these methods (and any others I can think of) to stop the iPhone insanity.

Do you want to put your phone down, too? Is there another crutch it's time to let go? Or, do you have other tips for staying focused in the moment?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Potentially Life Changing Posts

Using the computer is tough for me these days thanks to one grabby little one-year-old. He sees my laptop and can't help himself from trying to pull it closer to him and pressing keys.

One time I was typing some camera recommendations to a friend who was looking to buy a new one. I spent more than a half hour writing explanations of camera terms, what to look for, comparison of features, model recommendations, and even which stores had sales going on. Toward the end of that message, The Little One got restless so I pulled him on my lap. Five seconds later he wiped out my entire message with a single key stroke.

Gone.

Poof.

Never to return again.

So I pretty much limit my computer use to nap time, bed time, and the occasional strapped-in-a-high-chair feeding.  I'm not even sure how I find time to blog, honestly, but I enjoy blogging so I try to fit it in.

This limited computer time also means I don't read as many blogs as I used to, which is a shame, because there are many that I enjoy.

For this wonderstruck Friday, I thought I'd share a few posts I loved this week.

Life is art: Sara is a warrior by Brandi Reynolds

Remember Brandi from last week's wonderstruck interview? Brandi is a talented photographer. Recently a cancer patient went to Brandi for a photo session "to do something artful/fun with her newly bald head." Imagine that. Instead of staying home feeling sick (which, quite frankly, I've been doing all week with a cold... don't I feel the shmuck), this woman is spreading her wings. Check out the photos in Brandi's post. Beautiful.

Abhyanga: It Cures What Ails Ya by Taylor Newman

Taylor and I used to work together at PopSci.com. She has since moved to Austin, Texas where she seems to have found her rhythm. She is currently studying massage and posted this week about self-massage with oil. She talks about the benefits and gives instructions (clockwise strokes on your stomach, long strokes on arms and legs). I tried this last night and felt so relaxed afterward. I just may need to work this into a regular practice.

How to Unplug {More}: 10 Things to Do {Pick 1 Before You Click} by Ann Voskamp

Do you spend too much time on the internet? As aforementioned, I don't get on my computer much, but I am guilty of overusing my iPhone, to the point that I'm now challenging myself to set my phone down and leave it. I don't know why it's such a struggle. I have a lot of work to do here clearly. Anyhow, Ann created a poster of things to do before you click like "give someone a hug" or "open a window and look outside for 5 minutes." Wouldn't our days be better if we incorporated some of these each time we were about to go online?

Have you found any great posts this week? Posts that will change your life for the better?

Wishing you a wonderstruck weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview: Julie Dellinger

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

I met this week's interviewee in elementary school and, thanks to the internet, we reconnected about five years ago.  How fun is that?  Julie Dellinger is a marketing genius and new mama with a near permanent smile.

Julie DellingerWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

The kindness of people and their openness to saying nice things.

I guess this kind of needs a backstory: last Fall I was in a terrible position at my job – I was drowning in work for a company that didn’t value me as an employee or a person. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t make everyone happy and some of those meanies were apparently super loud in their complaints, because they decided to lay me off.

However, before getting rid of me, it seems that they made it their goal to try and destroy me. In a performance review right before their decision was made clear, I was told that although I was the best Marketing Director they ever had and the amount of work I did was admirable and amazing, I was an “unlikeable” person. I was also told that I had an awful sense of humor, was not funny at all and that I should stop trying to be funny. Oh, and this wasn’t a thought in passing – they kept repeating and repeating the information until I started crying.

Anyways, fast forward to my wonderstruck moment. I started a new job in December and it has been a total opposite situation. I recently had a review with my boss and he specifically commented on my friendliness and positive attitude. What’s really funny is that he pointed out how much my coworkers liked me and that everyone really enjoyed
my sense of humor.

Bam…wonderstruck indeed!

What part of your day are you grateful for?

Honestly, I’m grateful all day long. I’m grateful for the mornings that I drop my baby off at my parent’s house (my mom is providing childcare for my son) because it gives me a few minutes to sit down and catch up with my mom and dad. I’m grateful to have a job to go to that I enjoy each day. And I’m so darn grateful to have a wonderfully supportive husband to come home to each evening. I guess the only thing I’m NOT grateful for is traffic. Oh, and the fact that dinner doesn’t just magically appear on our dinner table.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

My drive into work each morning takes at least an hour, more if the traffic is bad. It just seems like such a waste of time to be sitting in my car. I try to keep positive by stopping by Starbucks in the morning and treating myself with a delicious caffeinated concoction. I also make it a point to let people merge in front of me while at an especially congested area on my drive. I figure the karma points might add up for when I need them, right? As for the drive home, the only way it can be improved is with a one-person driving dance party.

Another super tough part of the day is in the evening when I’m doing my daily “wind down” chores. I hand the baby to my husband to cuddle with and I run around the house straightening up the messes that magically appeared when I blinked – cleaning dirty bottles in the sink, repacking my son’s diaper bag for the next day, finishing laundry, etc. It’s easy to get resentful of my husband because even though we both worked all day, it seems like a never-ending chore-fest for me. I work on moving through it by reminding myself that parenting is not a contest. Even though, if it was I’d totally win.

What do you wish you were more conscious of?

Sometimes I feel like I’m just paddling in place as hard as I can and not going anywhere. However, I have friends who compliment me on being so organized and getting so much done. I wish I could see myself through their eyes and stop being so hard on myself.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

Whenever something seems really hard or gets me down, I just remind myself that this is my one life and I need to fully live it. Whatever the obstacle is, I’ll get past it. Why? Because I always do somehow. So why drive myself crazy about it when I’m just going to conquer it?

For example, when Jack (our almost 3 month old) is crying for absolutely no reason and is just fully inconsolable, I remind myself to just sit back and enjoy him. Our plan is to have one child, so every phase that Jack goes through is the only time that we’ll get to experience it. So, good or bad, I remind myself to be present in the moment because it’s the only one I’m going to have.

About Julie:

Julie Dellinger (aka Joules from Pocketful of Joules) is a recovering type A overachiever with a passion for marketing, home improvement projects and writing about the silliness of life. She started her blog in 2011 because she loves writing and making people laugh. Even though she’s totally not funny… and she’s also really unlikeable.

If you want to check out some more of her random rantings, visit her blog at www.pocketfulofjoules.com. You can also find her on twitter at @joulesdellinger.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Moments

Umpire and bat boy

Moment (noun):

  1. A brief, unspecified amount of time.

  2. The smallest portion of time; an instant.


Our lives are made up of moments. Lots of them. Good, bad, indifferent.

Sometimes we notice them, feeling their full weight, recognizing that this moment is special. That this moment, right here, is one we will remember. Sometimes we don’t notice or remember them at all.

Sometimes a moment that seemed insignificant at the time, is one that returns with more importance later, in hindsight, like that moment when my husband asked me to distract his son by the Christmas tree while he went upstairs to search for a “missing present.” I might not remember that moment at all four years later except that it was all a ruse to surprise me with a proposal.

Then there are littler moments that we get to relive when we see them in pictures, like that time when I was a little girl and I got to wear a long nightgown, the length of which made me feel “like a bride like Aunt Sue!”

A week ago my stepson’s baseball team got to play a game in the Trenton Thunder stadium. They played on “a real field,” used the dugouts, and listened as their names were announced loud enough for the surrounding town to hear. They loved it (of course).

I brought the good camera so I could get pictures of the boys in action. When I went through the pictures the next day, I saw lots of moments that I hadn’t necessarily noticed at the time.

Sure, I snapped photos of each kid coming out of the dugout, each kid at bat, a few plays in the field, but my favorite photos weren’t about the action at all.

There was the moment the catcher had taken off his mask between plays and looked thoughtfully at the approaching batter.

The moment when a runner was making his way back to the dugout after crossing home plate.

The moment when a bat boy (a player’s little brother) returned a ball to the umpire. This, in fact, was my favorite photo of the day. The moment when a little boy probably felt important doing that job and an umpire took a few seconds to acknowledge that boy’s assistance.

What a precious moment.

Tami Clayton wrote a post last week about “That Moment” of inspiration, like...

That moment when someone says to you the very thing you needed to hear but didn’t know you needed to hear it.

(Side note to Tami: Thank you so much for naming this blog as part of your inspiration.)

I challenge you this week to notice one of those moments. A moment, big or small, that makes you feel something. Then write it down or take a picture so you can revisit that moment whenever you want. Share them here in the comments or on my Facebook page if you would like.

Wishing you a wonderstruck week.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Warm Sunshine All Around

I have this friend, Marla, who I have seen since I was a little girl. She reads this blog, so you may have noticed her name in the comments.

She was my next door neighbor for almost 20 years when I was growing up. Upon moving in, she and my parents became friends. I babysat her kids a few times (both of whom are in their 30s now).

Our families used to go out for pizza together and it always turned into a laughing, singing, dancing good time which had other patrons wishing they were at our table and had my mother turning beet red probably wishing she were at theirs.

Marla has an infectious laugh. In fact, I can't think of a time I've ever seen her without a smile. She takes the good and the bad in stride, never letting it affect how she treats other people.

She has changed careers a few times, when she was ready to try something new. She doesn't let fear stop her.

She learned to play the drums at age 50. (This is where we should realize that now is the perfect time to study whatever it is we thought it was too late to learn.)

I strive to live like Marla.

Why do I mention her here today? Because she has just started blogging. I am so excited! You can find her at warmsunshineblog.wordpress.com.

Yes, Warm Sunshine Blog. Isn't that inviting? If that doesn't get you, maybe her tagline will: "Warming your soul with inspiration, a positive outlook, and encouraging healthy self esteem."

She's off to a great start with posts about mediocrity and perspective. I can't wait to see what else she has planned. Please visit the Warm Sunshine Blog and show her some love.

Now I'm going to switch topics and mention this wonderful band called Eden's Edge who I saw for the first time at the Country Music Association Festival last year. Their performance literally stopped me and my husband in our tracks. The lead singer's voice is incredible and the other two singers add beautiful harmonies.

Anyhow, their first full-length album came out this week and you better believe I snatched it right up. I had asked them to do a wonderstruck interview and, not surprisingly given my blog's young status, was (politely and personally) turned down. Maybe some day.

I thought I'd share a video here of them singing the song that finished out their set at the CMA Festival last year. I chose to share this song because it's a capella so you can really hear them. Most of their music is of the pop country variety with a full band backing them.

Enjoy! Here's wishing you a wonderstruck weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Interview: Brandi Reynolds

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Brandi Reynolds is our interviewee this week.  Brandi is a yoga instructor and photographer, a rescued dog mama, a traveler, a soul diver.  I've been blessed to know Brandi through the blogosphere for a few years now.  She has a remarkable energy and light spirit that always put a smile on my face.

Brandi ReynoldsWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

My yoga students. They are beautiful and strong and they don't even realize it. My photography clients. Their eyes make my photos come alive and they don't see it.

Honestly, I am wonderstruck by a lot in this world and sadly, I see most people dismissing their own wonder. I feel it's my mission to help them see it.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I'm grateful for a lot of my life but there are few moments that stick out. When I first wake up in the morning and my dog, shiloh, sticks his big galoot head in my face and licks me. I don't think I've woken up in a bad mood since we rescued that dog...lol.

That moment at lunch when I step outside my office for my (mostly) daily lunch time walk. There is a ring of trees that surround the parking lot at my office and the minute I get under them, I feel at peace.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

Well...what's tough right now is not something I can really share on the internet. It's not something huge and traumatic or related to my marriage or friendships-just not something appropriate to share at the moment. But it is tough and let's just say I'm in a situation where I know I don't fit in and moving into a different situation is not that easy.

How do I move through it? I take those lunchtime walks, I grin at my ridiculous dog, I laugh with my husband, I give myself permission to be frustrated when it is warranted and I focus on my blessings. Sorry, no earth shattering advice. But then I find that the answers to life are rarely earth shattering. We live in moments, we learn in steps. The answer to life is not to expect the big boom, but to find the miracle in the tiny movements.

What do you wish your were more conscious of?

Ha! I'm not good at BS'ing-even myself. I'm a fairly sensitive and empathetic person and really in tune with my body, my emotions and the feelings of those around me. If anything, there are times when I wish I could turn off the consciousness as it can get overwhelming if I'm not careful.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

I don't know. Wow...my answers are not very inspiring are they?? LOL. I just keep asking myself what is important to me and make small, constant course corrections towards those things.

About Brandi Reynolds:

Brandi Reynolds cultivates an adventurous heart, unearthing remarkable experiences in every part of life, and she invites you to do the same on her blog, http://www.brandireynolds.com. Brandi is passionate about moving through comfort zones, facing internal judgements and transforming lives into ones filled with gratitude and magic.

Do you know of the daily galoot? https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23dailygaloot If not, you are missing out on the greatest (and ridiculousness) that is her dog, Shiloh. She has also recently started a feature on her blog: Be your own Yoga: Unbind your practice, a space to encourage you to give into your intuition and practice yoga (and life) in a way that is true to yourself. http://brandireynolds.com/category/be-your-own-yoga/

website: http://www.brandireynolds.com
twitter: @brandireyn 
facebook: facebook.com/brandirreynolds

Monday, June 11, 2012

Scaling Your Dreams (Bigger isn't always better)

Have you noticed all the people out there encouraging you to “play big” or “uplevel?” Generally, they are exciting, energetic people with a big following, a hugely profitable self-owned business, speaking engagements, and workshops that “will sell out fast, so reserve your spot now!”

Reading blog posts from these kinds of people or listening to their podcasts, I get really excited. From their blogs and free teleconferences, I have learned how to grow a business, how to market, how to price products. I come away thinking, “Yeah, I can totally do that!”

Shortly after tuning in to these sessions I start feeling like I’m not doing enough, or anything really. I actually start to feel like I’m failing in some way.

Instead, I stay in the dreaming cycle, perpetually studying myself to uncover my one true passion. If only I could figure out what that was, I could have my own mini-empire and be known around the world.

All of that sounds great, but here’s the thing: I don’t want it.

I don’t really want to be famous. All of those eyes scrutinizing me over everything I do? No thanks. I like having my own little corner of the web where I can do my own thing, whatever that may be.

I don’t want to run a multi-million dollar small business. It sounds exhausting.

I don’t want to travel all over and lead workshops with hundreds or thousands of people. I recently led a small group workshop series two miles from my home with seven attendees. I loved it! The discussions we were able to have with everyone contributing made for an engaging experience and I got to know people in my own community.

This world seems to push us all to be bigger, faster, stronger, and if that’s your thing, go for it. I’ll be here to cheer you on.

As for me my small world suits me right now. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped growing. I continually learn everything I can and stretch my own limits to better myself. It just means I’m okay being in the small pond. I like having time to putter and explore. I like being able to interact with people one-on-one.

Dreams are not one size fits all. They are personal. They must fit you, your needs, your desires.

Maybe you want to travel around the world, filling passports three times over. Maybe you have one particularly country you really want to explore. Maybe you just want to try every coffee shop within 10 miles of your home. These are all great goals.

Scale your dreams to fit what you truly want, whether it’s big, small, or somewhere in between.

Are your dreams scaled to suit you or are you dreaming bigger (or smaller) because someone else expects that of you? What goal can you rework today to fit what you truly want?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Outdoor Adventures

What a wonderstruck week this has been! I was blessed to spend a lot of time outdoors and even more so to be with friends.

I started the week by meeting my friend Joules and her baby at a park in Delaware (which is kind of a halfway point for her in Maryland and me in New Jersey). We sat on the rocks along the river and watched geese dive and ducks float.

The weather was perfect- not too hot and not too chilly. I'm not going to lie... this is a much better way to spend Monday mornings than in the corporate meetings that used to be my routine.

Joules snapped this photo of me and The Little One enjoying the scenery.

at the park in Delaware

Isn't he cute conquering a boulder?

On Wednesday I had less of a car ride. Less than a mile actually. My friend Laura, her baby, The Little One, and I went to the "u-pick" farm which is literally around the corner from my house.

You might think that with a farm so close, I would go picking quite often. And yes, moving forward, I plan to do more picking. However, I'm also a bit of a coward and never wanted to go by myself to figure it out. Sad, right? I've lived in this house for five years and I've never gone picking. In fact, it took me until last year to even visit their farm market (which I then did repeatedly throughout last summer). It's a 90 second drive. Seriously. Coward.

Anyhow, I worked up the nerve, called for the scoop, and Laura and I headed over, kiddos in tow.

We picked strawberries...



and peas. The Little One tasted one to see if he'd like peas in a pod. (He did.)



We watched butterflies dance across the fields.



I think everyone had a good time.



In fact, The Little One must have had his fill of excitement because he fell asleep on the way home. Remember when I said it was a 90 second car ride? Impressive.

While he slept, I got to work on our harvest: 6 pounds of strawberries and 1.5 pounds each of snow peas and sugar snaps. Of course, I also sampled them all. It's amazing how much more flavorful food is fresh from the farm.



Not all of the adventures required car trips, though. Back home it seems our summertime friends are back. Namely in the form of furry woodland creatures and songbirds like this blue jay who visits our deck every morning to steal cat food.



If they start pitching in on my chores, that really will have me wonderstruck. Hey, it worked for Cinderella.

What were you wonderstruck by this week?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Interview: Sara Walpert Foster

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

This week's interviewee is writer Sara Walpert Foster.

Sara Walpert FosterWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I was recently wonderstruck by how amazingly kind and helpful people were to my naturally quiet 15 year old daughter as she nervously pounded the pavement looking for a summer job. She told me how random people in the stores helped her figure out who to talk to and told her about what they liked or didn't like about a store or store owner. When she came home feeling energized after two hours of asking people she didn't know to offer her a job, and she told me about the experience, I felt inspired and hopeful about people and our world.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

Every day is different but if I had to choose, I am most grateful for first thing in the morning, when I'm in the kitchen alone, letting the dog out, making coffee, and waiting for everyone else to come down. I'm usually a little dreamy before breakfast, so I like that I get to slowly, routinely, and gently enter into my day.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

Late afternoon is definitely the hardest time of day for me. I'm exhausted from work and errands and all the other daily activities, and then, I have to think about making dinner and potentially whiny family members, who are also exhausted from their long days.

What do you wish your were more conscious of?

Everything. Even in my little world of family and friends and writing and activities, there is so much to appreciate, and I find I use the "I don't have the time" excuse far too often. On the days I allow myself to stop and go deeper either in a conversation or in research or in observation, I am always glad that I did.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

I am a homebody married to Mr. Social, so it has taken years to find the balance in my life, but I feel like I am there much of the time now. Age is a teacher that guides you to appreciate yourself and what you need to make your life whole. I've learned to say no even when pressured if saying yes will take me away from what matters most to me. So much of being able to stay focused on what is truly important to me rests in my acceptance of who I am, warts and all.

About Sara Walpert Foster:

I write because I am fascinated by people and because it comes more naturally to me than talking. Somehow, ideas and thoughts that are jumbled in my head flow out of my hands organized and articulate. Not always but more often than not.

Currently, I am revising a novel that takes the story of the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and turns it on it's head. An ancient violin sends a woman on a journey back to her family where she discovers the truth behind the troubled childhood she thought she'd left behind long ago.

My blog: http://sarawalpertfoster.com
My twitter handle: twitter.com/sarawfoster

Monday, June 4, 2012

Let Your Hair Down

“Let your hair down.” It’s a phrase that gets thrown around every once in a while, particularly in movies. Usually it’s used in context of relaxing, unwinding, loosening up. I never gave much thought to what it means. You?

My hair is often tied up. The Little One has been known to pull it both by accident and on purpose, so these days I consider my hair somewhat of a hazard.

Barring The Little One, though, there are certain days I really can’t stand having it in my face, so up it goes. And don’t get me started on wind. By the time I detangle from that kind of damage, I feel like I should have earned some sort of medal.

On a windy day not so long ago, I had plans to work in the garden with The Little One in tow, so I was especially thorough in securing loose ends. By the end of the day, all that tension pulling tight around my head had become pain.

That night as I pulled out the fasteners, my hair falling on my shoulders, I felt the full weight of it come down. The ache lifted as I brushed through my hair. Tightness gave way to relaxation.

The simple act of letting my hair down released tension in my entire body. As if that weren’t enough, my mind and my soul felt refreshed.

I get it now. That’s what it means to let your hair down.

Have you relished in this simple act? What other end of day routines renew your body, mind, or spirit?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Wonderstruck Blogs & 7 Things About Me

I'm just rounding out my first month with this blog and I've been amazed by the acceptance, love, and encouragement you have all shared. Thank you all so much for visiting, commenting, conversing with me on Facebook and Twitter. You have all been so supportive and I really can't tell you what that means to me with this project. You have me wonderstruck.

So imagine how much more wonderstruck I was to find a message from Elaine Smothers and her froggy assistant Forrest saying they had bestowed upon me The Versatile Blogger award. Thank you, Elaine! This is special.

The Versatile Blogger badge

It seems this award has also come with work. Drat! But as I love to spread the love (yes, I know, that's love twice), I'm delighted to play along.

Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy. - Done! But just for good measure, thank you, Elaine and Forrest!

Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it. - Also done, but I'm presenting it again here: http://elainesmothers.wordpress.com/

Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!) Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.


A bunch have already been nominated, but I'm not going to worry about that. Here are 15 blogs that have me wonderstruck:

  1. Pocketful of Joules - My friend Joules provides jewels in the form of savvy marketing advice, DIY home decor, and basically living a kick butt life.

  2. Brandi Reynolds - Yoga, dog rescuing, photography... her awesomeness cup overfloweth.

  3. Jamie Ridler Studios - Jamie is shining inspiration for creative spirits. She is an amazing coach and a beautiful person all around.

  4. Deb Owen - Deb has the perfect combination of "I hear ya" mixed with "so now what do you need to do?" If you missed her interview on Wednesday, check it out now.

  5. Dirty Footprints Studio - Connie is an artist and a new mama with a strong connection to inner self and the earth.

  6. A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp - Whenever you need comfort, go here for beautiful photos, rich words, and soothing music.

  7. Jennifer Louden - Jen's mission is to savor and serve, which she does with a spunky attitude.

  8. Shauna Niequist - Shauna is real, honest. She knows how to be wonderstruck in ordinary life.

  9. Momastery - Glennon is a recovering alcoholic and bulimic, now doing the busy mom thing.

  10. Carrie Daws - You may remember Carrie from her interview a couple weeks back. Her blog mixes talk about her books with other bits of this world we live in.

  11. Laird Sapir - Laird is a writer, a web designer, an extremely helpful person especially beloved for rocking the bad movies.

  12. Shay Fabbro - My very first wonderstruck interviewee!  Shay talks about life, writing, and science... in a cool way.

  13. Diana Lesire Brandmeyer - Diana is an author who has written a book I look forward to reading called We're Not Blended, We're Pureed: A Survivor's Guide to Blended Families

  14. Julie Kenner - Julie is an author with a series about a demon-fighting soccer mom, of all things. Awesome. Her blog brings humor to everyday life and I always appreciate someone who can do that.

  15. Gene Lempp - I've learned so much from Gene's great link mashups on Saturdays and he almost has me convinced to join ROW80 one of these rounds. (Just working up my nerve and dreaming up goals, Gene!)




Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

7 things about me:

  1. I may have saved a baby bunny this morning. I'm hoping I did. Maybe you could send a little positive energy, prayer, and good thoughts its way.

  2. I have a bigger garden this year than I've ever done before: corn, carrots, broccoli, peas, brussel sprouts, onions, peppers, lettuce, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, hazelnuts, grapes. We even added a small orchard with apples, peaches, plums, cherries, and a mystery tree which long ago lost its label and we don't remember what it is anymore. Surprise!

  3. Before achieving my dream of becoming a stay-at-home-mom, I had achieved my dream of working for a magazine. Yep! I got to work with Popular Science, Parenting, Working Mother, and Saveur. Next dream... published writer.

  4. I currently have a heck of a bruise on my left knee. While I remember having the thought of "that's going to leave a mark," I don't actually remember what I hit it on.

  5. Most of the time I'm afraid of writing. I want to write, but I don't know what to write about. I fear I have nothing of value to say.

  6. I eat waffles with peanut butter and syrup.

  7. After publishing this post, I will be taking my one-year-old for some unabashed play time at a kids gym. I may climb on parallel bars like a weird monkey.


There you have it. Random stuff you probably didn't know about me. I hope you'll check out some of the blogs I listed. They really are wonderful!


You can find out more about The Versatile Blogger award here: http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/

And if you haven't already, please "like" my Facebook page to stay up to date with all sorts of wonderstruck fun.

Happy Friday!