silvery strands of thought

The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment Begins

I mentioned earlier this week that I have started working with a personal trainer, Pamela Hernandez of Thrive Personal Fitness. I’ve been working with her since August 8, but I’ve just started blogging about it. You’ll have to pop over to her blog to read my posts, so go on over there and read it. Be sure to leave a comment! You can also follow my successes and struggles on Twitter by following the hashtag #TPFlam (for Thrive Personal Fitness and my initials).

Let the Steam Escape: Tending the Stove of Creativity

Do you have an item that seemed just an okay gift when you received it, but once you started using it, you realized it was a game-changer? For me, that item is a book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

I developed a close relationship with my senior high counselor, Jodie Miller, because Beth and I spent hours in her office talking colleges, scholarships, applications, and life. After my parents’ marriage ended the day before my senior prom, I spent even more hours in her office talking through that. She became a very special woman in my life, and as a graduation gift of sorts, she presented me with a copy of Simple Abundance. I loved it then, because I liked the meaning of the gift and the philosophy of the book. But I wasn’t really ready for it until this year.

Simple Abundance is a daily devotional, at least that is the best category for it, I believe. Each month has a theme–simplicity, gratitude, order–and each day, you explore different aspects of that theme. Over the course of a year, the book will, I presume (as I have not yet stuck with it for 365 days) guide you through a transformation if you let it, a transformation that orients you to nurturing your Authentic Self.

As part of my FlyLady before-bed routine, I read Simple Abundance, a book that has collected dust on my nightstand for many well-intentioned years. FlyLady and Simple Abundance are strikingly similar, even though Simple Abundance isn’t focused on de-cluttering your home. Both are all about Finally Loving Yourself, about creating margins in your life during which time you can be your Self. They encourage you to put first things first, to finally realized that you deserve to be surrounded by comfortable cleanliness, by lovely treasures, by nurturing practices.

I just had to write about Simple Abundance today because yesterday’s reading confirmed my feelings about Coffee, Crafties, & Besties, that crocheting, writing, even cooking, all allow for necessary self expression so that you don’t explode from the stress of bottling it up. Here’s the quote from American expressionist painter Lilla Cabot Perry that inspired this post.

Lilla admitted her passion for self-expression reminded her of a “cooking stove which has too much coal in it and it has to have one of the holes open to keep it from becoming red-hot. It did not matter if it was the poetry hole or the painting hole, but the lid had to come off.

I love writing poetry, but it’s a form of self-expression that requires a certain frame of mind that I cannot force, and I haven’t been in that frame of mind for a while. Instead, I seem to be in the middle of a crafting, writing (of the blogging and journaling sort) cycle right now. I have been dumping on myself for not working on my poems, but I realized that it’s okay, as long as I am expressing myself.

What hole have you opened in your creativity stove right now? Or is your stove tightly closed because you are “too busy”? All parts of You are dependant on and affected by the others, so make time. Relieve that stress.

Wordless Wednesday: Jordan Valley Park Irises


She’s Back!

I don’t really feel like blogging tonight, but Sarah does! She just re-opened shop on her A Fool of Myself blog. Go check it out–it’s chock full of yummy recipes!

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 23-Aug-2011

I’m beginning a new leg on my fitness journey, so today I’m going to share several pages and resources which help or inspire me, starting with Pamela’s post on Thrive Personal Fitness which explains this new direction I’m taking.

  • The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment: Pamela’s introduction to our partnership (mine is coming soon!)
  • Why You Should Keep a Food Diary: One of the first tasks Pamela gave me was to write down everything I ate. No calorie counting, just an honest record of what goes into my body. Here are some reasons why.
  • This is where I get my training programs, even though sometimes I use it for inspiration to craft a training plan that takes into consideration my current time availability and current running level
  • Ozark Greenways: Are you running in Springfield? This website shows you all of the great places to run in Springfield, with marked paths, good parking, and even some restrooms.

Healthy Obsessions: Coffee, Crafties, & Besties


It just sort of happened. Sarah, her best friend since 3rd grade Jenny, and I met a couple Monday nights in a row at a local coffee shop, each bringing our current craft projects. Before we realized it even, we had a standing date.

Now, some Monday nights have prior commitments, like on the second Monday each month, but anytime we don’t have something like that, it’s Coffee, Crafties, & Besties Night.

Sarah has been working on a small-block scrapghan, and finished the blocks tonight.

Jenny does embroidery–tea towels or baby onsies–and this evening she had formed a little tea pot in her embroidery ring.

I’ve been working on a gift scarf and, my piece de resistance, a large, cozy afghan all for me.

In a couple hours a week, we leave work and family and stress and enter a place that is relaxed and stimulating, engaging our creative selves, indulging in a craft that we don’t get to splurge on at any other time during our week.

In a couple hours a week, I have found a mini-vacation that leaves me refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the week.

Our conversation follows no pattern, no rules. We natter, we discuss, we explain, we tell stories, all while our hands and minds are relishing in a favorite craft. It’s almost divine.

What do you do to disconnect from your stresses and replenish your soul each week? Or… what do you dream about having the time to do? If you’re in the second category, don’t ignore yourself any more; make time for YOU this week, perhaps with dear friend. Tell us about it in the comments.

3 Jazz Albums You’ve Got To Listen To

I love jazz.

I played piano in the jazz ensemble in high school, and I liked jazz then, but I love it now. I’d love to be able to tell you exactly when it went from tunes to soul music, but I can’t. Sorry. :)

I can tell you some songs or albums that vibrate on the same frequency as my heart strings.

Miles Davis Kind of Blue
Heavy on piano, soft and insistent, this album picks me up when I’m down and can drop me gently to sleep. It’s short, only 5 songs, but it’s deep.

Colin Stetson New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
I found this album through NPR and I immediately went home and bought it. Stetson plays the bass saxophone and the album was recorded in one take with more than 20 microphones placed around the room, including contact mics on Stetson’s throat and the instrument.

It blows my own mind. Mostly because it’s amazing and experimental and creative, but also because it evokes a sort of abstract nightmare I’ve had off and on since I was 11.

Maynard Ferguson’s Chameleon
Oh man! If you need energy, this is the album. “Gospel John,” “Chameleon,” and “Superbone Meets the Bad Man” rock my face off. This album swings hard, and it features some famous jazz musicians, like Herbert Hancock and Chick Corea, as well as other artists like Paul McCartney and Ira Gershwin.

Bonus: Check out Maynard Ferguson’s version of “Birdland.” We played this song in jazz band, so it epitomizes great jazz to me, in a way.

Soulcaring: No More Working Lunches


An omelet with sautéed onions, a handful of real bacon bits, and cheese. My favorite coffee in my cute owly mug. A NOOK book in front of me, but no cell phone. Birds twittering or cicadas chirping. Wind gently swaying the trees. And, oh, the fresh air!

One of the most soulcaring activities of mine is enjoying a book on the deck with a meal–breakfast, lunch, or dinner–and I’ve been making it a priority lately.

Working from home is ideal for many reasons, but it presents its own set of challenges too. In the past, I’d grab my meal and head back to my office, a working lunch, if you will. I’d “work” all the time, but suffer from lack of focus and burn out, all while accomplishing less than I believed I should have in the amount of time I put in.

But the combined influences of FlyLady and Simple Abundance have made me respond to the impulse to slow down and eat outside. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes, this ritual refreshes me almost as much as the food energizes me. I tend to choose food that makes me feel good about eating too. Why indulge my authentic self while trashing my body? That doesn’t make any sense.

Sometimes, I do allow myself to take some reading-intensive work outside for these stress-relieving meals, and you know what? I focus better and have higher productivity from the change of scenery and digital disconnectedness–no more phone chiming incessantly or email/Facebook notifications breaking my concentration.

How can you build peace into your life? How are you already loving yourself enough to pamper yourself daily?

Healthy Obsessions: FlyLady

Sarah introduced me to FlyLady back in June, and I took a while to warm up to the (admittedly awful) webpage, but when I did, all I found was solid content.

I’ve learned in some marketing workshops that features don’t sell but benefits do, so I am going to give you some FlyLady benefits.

You can declutter your house in 15-minute chunks. Are you like me and, for whatever reason, never learned to keep house? FlyLady will teach you, and she’ll do it lovingly, practically, and fun-spirited.
Busy busy busy? Aren’t we all. You can find 15 minutes to declutter each day. Your spirit and your family’s spirit need you to.

Feel overwhelmed about the clutter? FlyLady turns that feeling into hope.
You will find out just how much you can really accomplish in 15 minutes and slay the engorging excuses that challenge you and create the ironing pile that’s seen three seasons or the rooms you haven’t really looked in in years. Me, I found out that what I was sure would take me all night–the ironing I’ve been neglecting since Christmas–really only takes about 20 minutes total. Easy peasy.

And the best benefit by far??

A shiny sink; clear, clutter-free surfaces; and the huge weight of clutter and chaos lifted off your soul. Well, what are you waiting for?!

A Running Equation

running on a treadmill <<< running outside alone < running with your awesome running partner

I count my blessings every day that grad school brought me together with my best friend and running partner, Sarah. When you find a good one, it’s magic.