Friday, April 24, 2015

Time To Take My Writing & My Yoga To The Next Level

A couple years ago I wrote down some life goals. Each year I check in with my list and I'm surprised how many of those goals have actually come true.

So, I'm going to stick with what works and write down my current career goals. As I've always wanted, my ultimate goal is to do what I love and reap the financial rewards from living a life I love.
  • Be invited to collaborate in one of the Reverb projects. Hello,  Kat McNally and Alana Lawson? Can I play too?
  • See my book for sale on Amazon.
  • See my book Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom sitting on my book shelf.
  • Sell a copy of my book to someone outside my social circle or to someone who doesn't feel obligated to buy it.
  • Sell many copies of my book.
  • Embark on a book tour. I'd like to do a reading/signing back home in Pennsylvania and at some of my favorite places in California, Seattle, Portland or anywhere anyone is willing to host me!
  • See my byline on Huffington Post.
  • Develop and teach a writing course for our local community college.
  • Attend writers workshops.
  • Develop and teach local writers workshops.
  • Continue my yoga teacher training.
  • Continue to be able to teach yoga locally.
  • Develop and teach a workshop on teaching yoga to seniors.
  • Travel for my writing.
  • Travel for my yoga.
  • Just travel more.
  • Take advantage of this time to finally become the person I am meant to be.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Southern Yard Art: Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

"Mom, we're gonna look Southern!"

Kid 5's warning stopped me only briefly in Lowes today.

"No, these aren't Southern" I told him.  "They are hippie yoga chakra wheels!"

"Yeah, that's so much better."

Southern yard art is a real thing; colorful glass bottles made into trees, little gnome tree houses, even pie tins hanging from the tree branches.

But not my yoga chakra wheels that spin when the wind blows! The colors of each one correspond perfectly to the chakras so they must be intended as more than just yard art.

Now true Southern yard art is the five-foot tall multi-colored gaudy metal rooster sold at the garden center up the street.

Every time I see it I wonder who would want this monstrosity sitting in their front yard. If it were mine I would decorate it for each of the seasons. A Santa hat on the rooster's head at Christmas and an Easter basket in the Spring.

It is a truly hideous piece of yard art.

It's so hideous it's fabulous and I want it. The only thing stopping me is the $300 price tag and some remaining common sense and dignity.

But every time we drive by I look at it and think someday that horrible metal creature will be mine.

This is either a sign of an impending mental breakdown or Kid 5 is right and I have been down here in the South way too long.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Will I Ever...?

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever...

Be truly happy.
Be loved.
Be in love.
Be sure my kids are OK.
Be successful with my writing.
Be no longer worried about finances.
Be no longer concerned about the future.
Be able to stop holding my breath waiting for the next crisis.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever...

Be content.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Late Night Time To Write

This is the best part of my day...

Late at night, long after I should be sleeping. The kids are asleep or at least quiet. The lights are off throughout the house and my never-ending to do list is put away for the day.

I'm propped up in my bed (horrible for my back I know), laptop stacked on a pillow on my lap, sometimes the TV is on for background noise.

The best part of my day is when I finally have time to sit and write.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Kitchen Gathering Place For Food, Clutter and Family

The moment I enter the kitchen I feel...

At home.

Sometimes tired after a long day and now having to make dinner. Sometimes frustrated because the sink is overflowing and the counters are dirty which means the kids haven't done their chores. Sometimes annoyed that the chocolate I hid in the back of the refrigerator is gone when I am looking for it late at night.

But always, I feel at home.

The kitchen is the place I have a constant reminder of my mom in her framed hand-written recipes hanging on my wall.
The kitchen is the place everyone congregates all the time. Sometimes 2 people sometimes more than 20 people.
The kitchen is the place I've broken bread with friends.
The kitchen is the place I've shed tears with the same friends.
The kitchen is the place all the clutter seems to gather.
The kitchen is the place we all gather after school and work to share our day.
The kitchen is the place we've done homework, paid bills and written books.
The kitchen is the place we have our family arguments.
The kitchen is the place we share our family laughter.

The kitchen is the place we have late night indoor soccer games.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.

Never Again

I immediately feel my body tense up whenever I hear...

An angry male voice. The angry male voice doesn't even have to be directed towards me. 

There are some nights I don't sit out on my back deck and enjoy my yard because the man who lives over the fence is constantly yelling at his kids. The first time I sat outside after my divorce and heard the yelling I started to cry. It brought back so many memories I just wanted to be able to put behind me. 

A friend and I were out walking one recent evening and as we passed a house we heard a man and a woman arguing in the backyard. Not really so much arguing, but rather a man yelling at a woman and the woman trying to defend herself. My friend and I stood out front on the street for a bit listening and debating whether to call the police or not. We both felt sick to our stomach listening to it. She also has the same physical and emotional responses as I do to angry men.

After the divorce my counselor diagnosed me with PTSD. At the time I thought it was silly. PTSD is for soldiers on a battlefield not women in a bad marriage. But no, thank God I didn't have to experience anything as traumatic as war, but I did have to live through a war in my own home. There were some nights the anger was outright rage. 

I've been out of the marriage for 2 1/2 years now and I think I've improved greatly. Yet just a few months ago a work situation with an angry man gave me flashbacks to many nights years ago where I felt powerless and would have done or said anything just to make the anger stop. I literally felt the same physical reaction in my body that day as I had so many times before. 

I see now that although the anger fades, the aftermath stays with you forever.

I guess I still have some way to go to be truly recovered. But I'm confident I'll never again be cowering to an angry man.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Word To Soothe The Weary Soul.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Going To Sleep and Waking Up A Bit More Peacefully

Up until recently when I lay down in bed at night my mind was out of control with to-do lists, financial worries, stress of being a single working mom, worry about people in my life that were hurting, work concerns and anything else my brain could find to be worried about.

And then when I woke up in the morning, or a couple times during the night, it began all over again. What about this work situation? How will I get the girls to dance on time? Will this person I care about be OK? What about this person? What am I going to do about ...

And then I lost my job.

I should be more stressed right? More worried. The anxiety should probably cause me to lose even more sleep.


Now when I go to bed at night I am grateful for the opportunity to be there for my kids during the day when they need me. I am hopeful about the financial opportunities presenting themselves. I sleep peacefully.

When I wake up, I wake up without the resentment of having to face another crappy day. I wake up looking forward to my day, which is surprisingly busy for not having a full-time job just yet. I am less stressed with the kids in the morning and I don't look at my to-do list with dread. 

I wake up happy.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe the Weary Soul.


One of my greatest sources of inspiration has always been...


Or movement of any kind. Most of my writing is done while I'm on my nightly walks. Or taking a yoga class, in the gym lifting weights or hiking through a state park. I am always more creative when I am more active.

Most of my writing is initially done in the Notes app of my iPhone. While I'm out on the trails or in the gym I'll jot down notes and thoughts that will later turn in to a full blog. Even half my book was initially written on my phone.

I recently swapped phones and somehow messed up the back up so I lost everything. EVERYTHING. Pictures, calendar, contacts and yes, all my notes. I don't even remember all the half-written posts that were there. Words I may never get back. 

My other big inspiration is of course my family and friends. Most of my writing is about the lessons I've learned being a mom, friend, wife, lover, employee, teacher, etc. My kids love/hate when I write about them. My students get excited when they "make the blog." Some other people I think would probably rather not be written about. 

But, if you are in my life, you are fair game to be in my writing. 

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe the Weary Soul.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

YogaUOnline Has A New Writer! Me!

If you haven't checked out YogaUOnline yet go do so now!

This isn't some fluffy yoga site. YogaU is full of great yoga news, education and information.

And, they just happen to have a new fabulous writer working for them!

Some of my older yoga posts from my blog here will be reprinted there as well as new original content. They've already accepted my first original piece and I'll be sure to let everyone know when it is up on the site.

For now, they've reprinted one of my more popular posts:

Yoga For Headaches - Head Wraps and Restorative Poses

Please click over and read my post as well as all the other great yoga information they have! Of course, if you like what I've written, please leave a comment on the YogaUOnline website under my post.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Place For Poets & Lovers

The last time I felt completely relaxed was...

September 18, 2014 sitting at the top of a waterfall in Portland, Oregon.

It was quiet and peaceful.

I remember saying this was a place for poets and lovers.

I remember thinking I could be happy here.

My legs were muddy from the hike up the mountain. I had taken off
my shoes to soak my feet in the cold water.

I was completely stress free and content.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words to Soothe The Weary Soul

Monday, April 6, 2015

Giving Birth To A New Life

Giving birth doesn't have to be literal. So far in my life I have birthed...

Giving birth to six kids wasn't the hard part. 

The agony I experienced, the crying, the screaming, the bearing down and pushing through the pain I never could have imagined, was all to birth a safe, happy home for my kids.

I'm embarrassed and saddened to admit my home wasn't always happy. And it wasn't always safe. I had to fight to create a life where my kids could invite friends over for late night gaming marathons without fear of a parent embarrassing them.  I worked hard to create a home where the neighbors heard laughter not anger from our open windows on summer nights. I endured a lot of pain before my home became a place we wanted to run to, not run away from.

Yes, I gave birth to six kids. More importantly I birthed a happy, safe, loving environment for them to grow in.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Just Do It. Now.

Knowing what I know now, I would tell my ten-years-ago self:

Just freaking do it!

You want to change your life? Change it!
You want to say no? Then stand up and say no!
You want to write a book? So write a book!
You really want to make ... your career? Don't worry if it's enough money or not just go for it.

And stop waiting!

Don't wait until you have all the details figured out because you never will
Don't wait until the kids are older because you'll regret the time wasted.
Don't wait until there's enough money because there will never be enough.
Don't wait until the time is right because new issues will come along making it never the perfect time.

Most of all, I would tell my younger self --
You will only be happy,
You will only be successful,
You will only be content,
When you are living your life the way you want to live it.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Muse vs. The Master

Last night I was reminded I was a teacher.

I didn't exactly forget this little tidbit. I still taught three classes a week but I was kind of on autopilot. I felt like my passion was missing.

I desperately want to attend a yoga training to reignite my fire. I need to attend a training. I always return refreshed and inspired. But financially that's just not possible right now.

Then last night as I was teaching to a new student I had one of those moments where I swear I heard the Universe say "This! This right here is what you are supposed to be doing." I've actually had moments like this before. Apparently I need reminded of it regularly.

Also this week I was reminded I was a writer.

Again, I didn't exactly forget this fact. I've written sporadically but not nearly as often as I want to or as I used to. I haven't had the creative energy to write for about a year now. I've just been zapped by life.

Then I got an email offering me a writing opportunity. A writing opportunity that paid money! Hey, get paid for something I enjoy doing? Well OK then! And the timing was perfect considering I'm currently unemployed and looking for a new full time job.

When I told my kids about the email Kid 2 said "well you better sit your butt down and start pumping out some words!"

And pump out some words I did. So far it has been received really well and I'm waiting to hear back to see if we can turn this into a regular paying gig.

So I'm a little unsure where I should be putting my focus right now. Obviously I'm sending out resumes daily for a full time job to pay the bills. But my creative side is also fighting to re-emerge.

My heart says "Go! Follow your bliss! Write. Teach yoga. Walk the beach and drink wine!"

My responsible logical brains says "Girl, be for real."

I can't help but wonder if this is the Universe's way of telling me that I am a creative soul and my soul needs nourished. And encouraging me to find a way to pay the bills with writing and yoga.

Or it's just wishful thinking and I'm grateful for this time I have now. The responsible thing for me to do is to follow the path to a full time job that pays the bills but runs the risk of withering my soul.

But maybe, just maybe, if I stay open enough to possibility, a different path will present itself that allows me to flourish both creatively and financially.

This post is part of #AprilMoon15 a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.