Month 2 – Gratitude


(source)

For the second thirty day chunk of happiness, I’ve chosen to focus on gratitude. It’s so easy for me to forget that I intentionally chose to have another desk job in order to save up for teacher training. Instead I get stuck in the whole, “Blah, having a job sucks” spiral, when in reality, I could be flipping my attitude around and feeling grateful for the fact that I have a means to fund my dream.

I’m still going to yoga every day, but I decided to add daily gratitude as my next 30-day “layer” of happiness, so to speak. I took some blank pieces of paper, stapled them together, and created a little Gratitude Booklet.

Since I love doing things incrementally, I started the first day by picking one thing I was grateful for (I picked Green). I then went through and added one number on each page, the final page is numbered 1 through 60. Even though I’m only spending thirty days “focusing” on gratitude, I want to keep in incorporated in my daily routine, just like the yoga. So, like the yoga, I opted for 60 days, adding one thing each day. After that, I plan to put together another Gratitude Booklet where I list sixty things a day. My hope is that it will keep me busy the whole day, so that I am constantly seeing things and thinking, “Oh, I’m grateful for that! How lucky I am that this is in my life!”, and writing it down.

I’m halfway through, on day fifteen, today. (Which means, if you’re keeping track and I explained well enough, that I had to list fifteen things.) I’m trying to list different things each day to push myself to really realize just how much I actually have.

For some reason, this exercise is harder than it has been in the past when I’ve done it. Usually, it instantly pulls me into the present moment and turns my focus on abundance rather than lack, and I can list things forever. Right now, however, it seems like a struggle to come up with my lists each day. I don’t know why this is. On days when I am excited about something, it’s easy. For example, when I went to see the Hooping Life in Austin (which was FANTASTIC and well worth the wait, by the way), I filled the page with ease.

I’m finding that I have a mental block that’s keeping me from viewing work favorably. It’s almost as if something in me doesn’t WANT to be grateful for work. Like admitting that work is a good thing will somehow be admitting defeat, or joining the dark side or something.

Logically, I know that’s not the case, and that it would be much better for me emotionally to look at work from a place of acceptance rather than resistance, and I’m hoping my gratitude lists will help with that. And if they don’t, at least I’ll be reminded on a daily basis that I have plenty to be grateful for, and I also have ten more months after this to get to that place.

I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Ask For Help, Part II

Click here for Part I


“I’ll give you all I can…”
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Before I get to far into this, I feel it’s important to say just how stressful it can be for me to ask for help. Somewhere deep down, I don’t feel like I deserve help to get myself out of my own messes. I mean, things wouldn’t be quite so bad if I’d just sucked up my pride and kept my job. Or looked for a new one with more gusto. What right did I have to ask anyone for anything when I clearly couldn’t help myself?

(I should mention that Green had also quit his job, and for a span of at least a month and a half if not more, both of us were unemployed.)

I continued struggling through each day, determined to be solely responsible for digging us out of this mess, too embarrassed by my own foibles to even fully reveal the details of our situation to anyone.

I’d been reading a lot, and one of the books I’d been picking up for a few pages a night was Live the Life You Love by Barbara Sher.

In the book, Sher lays out ten steps to take toward putting your life in the direction you actually want it to go. In lesson seven, “The Idea Bank”, Sher writes:

“This is probably the simplest and most effective way of getting great ideas that I know of. All it requires is that you tell as many people as possible – friends, colleagues, people on the bus – what your wish is and what obstacle you face.”

She goes on to say that the reason this works is because when people hear someone talking about their wishes and their obstacles, they immediately go into problem-solving mode and try to come up with ways to help. Even if that person can’t help directly, they may be able to point you in the direction of someone who can.


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I read this and thought about a group I’d recently joined on Facebook called DFW Bartering Artists. The group encouraged artists in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to connect with one another, asking for things they needed in exchange for their artistic skill, or whatever they could provide. The only rule: No monetary exchanges. Bartering only.

The creator of the group set it up because she wanted a haircut. Within one week it had 500 members.

I’d spent the week of the group’s inception scouring the page looking for barters I could help with. I didn’t find any, but I did know people who might be able to help with some, and I pointed those people in the direction of the group. Watching everyone trading with one another so willingly really touched me, and reminded me just how good humanity can be.

So when I read Sher’s description of asking for ideas, I realized that I’d just watched that very concept in action.

It occurred to me that I didn’t have to ask anyone for money, or to fix my situation for me. But I could definitely ask for help with ideas, for nudges in the right direction. I began to compile a list in my head of the things that would help me out the most: a job, tubing to fill some hoop orders, but more than anything else, I needed a morale boost. I needed help remembering that the world is on my side.

I wrote up an open letter and posted it to Facebook, describing my issues with asking for help and how I could really use some good vibes and help coming up with ideas. I addressed the letter to friends, family and the Universe. I felt that if nothing else, putting it out into the world that I was finally open to help could shift things up a lot.

It did.

Within minutes, I got comments from friends sending their well-wishes, which reminded me that no matter how bad things got, I had people who cared about me. I had people tell me about places I could try applying. I had people offer to donate rolls of tubing in exchange for their own hoops or payment when I could afford it.


(source)

But the thing that made the whole endeavor worth it for me came in the form of comments from people who related to what I said about being too embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. I had people I’d never met before tell me they were inspired by my note, that they saw themselves in it and felt they could have written it themselves.

In other words, my asking for help directly helped others.

The note signified more than just a request for help, it was a declaration of upward momentum. From that point on, I would look at what I had, the things I was grateful for, and watch things get better.

A couple of days after I posted the note, I got a call back from the interview I thought I had bombed. The next day, I received an e-mail inviting me to interview at the company my friends had told me about. I got hired on at both jobs. I went from feeling convinced I may never work again to having to choose between two excellent job offers. There is no doubt in my mind that the abundance came as a direct result of changing my attitude about my situation and opening myself up to aid from the outside. They may have come otherwise, but would I have been in the right frame of mind to receive them? Would I have gone into the interviews in a bad mood and continued my unemployment streak? Very probably.

I’m now working at a company I am EXCITED about. A company that rewards its employees for a job well done, that shows its workers in innumerable ways how it values them as human beings, not numbers. It’s helping me change my attitude about employment, as well. Soon I’ll begin receiving paychecks, which will continue the upward momentum as I begin putting things back in order.

The moral of this story is: If you feel like you are stuck and you can’t get out, think about the things that you need and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is a second step that might be even more important: Don’t be afraid to be open to receiving help. It’s the openness that allows opportunity to flow into your life. Getting rid of the resistance that’s keeping you from asking opens more doors than you might expect.

Try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

My Favorite Hoops I Have EVER Made!

After a drought of hoop orders, I suddenly got five orders all around the same time. All of them needed new tape, so I had to place a HUGE tape order before I could get to the fun part of actually MAKING them.

The tape arrived on Monday and I was like a child on Christmas day. After giggling happily, tearing open the box and examining every roll of the largest hoop tape order I’ve ever gotten to make, I set about taping and spent the rest of the day making hoops. I made four hoops, and I got to do something new and unique with all of them.

It was the happiest and most productive I’ve felt in a while. I truly, genuinely adore the process of making hoops. But these were a particular blast to make, because they had each been special requests, and I loved making them knowing that these hoops were each unique to the people who would soon own them. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the process of creating something special for very special people. I really hope I get to do this more often, because this kind of customization filled me with an incredible sense of joy and fulfillment.

Since I’m the type of person who will leave the mashed potatoes on my plate for last because they are my favorite, I’m going to present these hoops to you in the same way. I love all of them, but I’m saving my favorite for last.

New Something #1: New color combination and a collapsible hoop with only one connector

I was excited about this color combination from the moment it was originally suggested. Blue, green, and brown. Normally, if I heard these colors suggested for a hoop, I’d go for the blue or the green as the shiny colors and the brown would be a grip.

However, my tape supply was dwindling and I had to work with what I had. Luckily for me, I had a gorgeous metallic brown that I don’t get to use very often, so I suggested the brown be the shiny and the blue and green be the grips.

The result, I think, came out GORGEOUSLY (Is that a legitimate adverb? Because it is now.). As soon as I snapped pictures of it, I named it “Electric Chocolate”, because that’s what it looks like to me. Delicious chocolate infused with a zap of bright, electric color.

Again, thanks to dwindling supplies, I had only one connector for a collapsible hoop. My original plan was to go ahead and make the hoop using the one connector (because I was having so much fun making hoops and I didn’t want to let a silly thing like lacking connectors stop me), then when I got more, I would cut the hoop for the new connector, put it in, then trim the edges.

But after I’d finished taping, I remembered seeing a hoop one of my friends had that collapsed with only one connector and I decided to see if it would work with this hoop.

IT DOES. This is incredibly exciting to me, because in my opinion, it makes the hoop look nicer since it’s not broken up in two places, and it also will help keep the collapsible hoops from forming a more oblong shape (as opposed to the circle they are supposed to be). Not only that, but I wouldn’t have to wait for more connectors to deliver the hoop. It could be delivered as-is!

New Something #2: Using two tapes I’ve never used before, but have eyed forever, on the same hoop

One of my friends and favorite clients came up to me at the weekly spin gathering we attend to ask me if I could make her a new hoop. She’d previously purchased the black and yellow hoop from this batch, named it Bumblebee, and proceeded to love it into a beautiful battered pulp. She wanted a new hoop, something special, pretty, slightly bigger, something shiny she could love and enjoy, a hoop to indulge in.

I showed her my sample tape book, which has not only tapes I presently own, but also tapes that I can order if someone wants them. Among those tapes was a jaw-droppingly opulent holographic tape called “Fire Opal”. In the sun, it refracts in the most incredible shades of pink, blue, magenta and orange. (The pictures of it on the hoops above DO NOT do this tape justice.) I’ve seen it on other hoops and have been dying to use it myself for ages, but it’s a pretty pricey roll of tape.

She saw it and immediately said, “That one. I have to have that one.” She then proceeded to point a tape with little hearts on it, slightly raised from the metallic surface. “And that one.”

I don’t normally make hoops with double shinies. And when I do, they don’t usually have two super-special-fancy tapes like that.

Nine times out of ten, when someone is ordering a hoop from me, they will pick a tape they like and when I tell them I’ll have to order it, they drop it and work with what I have. They want their hoops quickly, and I don’t blame them.

Not this girl. I told her I’d have to order her chosen, and she said, “That’s fine!” She also decided she wanted another hoop, with a different grip accent, for her friend.

When I got the tape, I spent a while just staring at it. Then I took a picture of the tapes and sent it to her. I knew she’d be just as excited as I was about it, and she did not disappoint. When I finally got to deliver the hoop to her, she was literally bouncing around with joy. THAT is exactly why I love making hoops for others. She knew exactly what she wanted and I was able to provide it to her. Happiness. 🙂

New Something #3: Drawing inspiration from something special to the owner; new taping techniques

I got a message on Facebook that said, “A little bird told me you make hoops.” She then went on to tell me she wanted a hoop to match her favorite pipe. I’ve never created a hoop design from something specific before, and I immediately jumped at the challenge of doing so. I asked her to send me a picture of the pipe, and she sent me an image of one of the coolest piece of glasswork I’ve ever seen:


Piece by Mike Fro

My initial instinct involved using metallic tapes for the colors and white and black for the grips. After mulling it over more, however, I remembered that the company I order my tape from had sent me samples of a high-gloss vinyl tape in solid colors. Colors that are bright, but also slick and shiny, like…GLASS.

I was so excited about this idea that I went ahead and ordered a roll of tape in every color. I also wanted to capture the way the pipe had swirls, stripes, and solid chunks of black. I decided to try something I’d seen on other hoops but never tried before myself, making stripes of colors.

The hoop that I produced from this inspiration source, tape, and design technique is easily the hoop I am most proud of to date:

New Something #4: Making a big hoop/minis matching set

The same day I got my tape, I also got a message from the girl who ordered the pipe hoop asking if I could also make her a set of minis in the same design theme. I said OF COURSE. I’ve never gotten to make a big hoop/minis matching set before! I made them the next day.

When she came to pick up her hoops, she saw them and said, “Oh wow, they look just like my pipe!” I heard that and knew I’d done my job. Creating these hoops using a unique and creative inspiration, and attempting to make them look like the source material while still utilizing classic hoop designs, I felt like I got to truly be an artist. It may sound strange, given the limitation of having a specific model to work from. But that was oddly freeing. I could create the hoop however I wanted to, and the process of coming to the final result is the most fun I have ever had making something for someone else.

I hope that this is not the last project I get to do that way. In fact, it would be thrilling to do nothing but super exclusive, incredibly customized orders from now on (though I love making hoops regardless of the amount of customization involved). I loved the uniqueness of this hoop, and more than that, it was a rush to know that it would be all the more special to the person that ordered it.

Creating for others is a fantastic feeling. I think there is an extra thrill in making something as simple as a plastic circle into a magical work of art that lights up people’s faces.

Breakdown of an Emotional Breakthrough (and a hoop!)

Let’s do the hoop first, because everyone loves to look at the pretties:

This was a custom order, delivered last night. Very well received. 🙂 Many thanks to my friend Lissa for helping me out to make sure the hoop got delivered on time!

ONTO THE BUSINESS PART OF THIS POST: I haven’t been blogging much the past week or so, and I wanted to explain why. It’s not for a lack of ideas, I’ve got ideas for posts scribbled on random scraps of paper, saved for when I would sit down at the keyboard again. But I felt I needed to make this particular post first, before making any of the others.

You see, I had an enormous emotional breakthrough this week. I mean, with giant, sopping globs of tears and snot and bawling at myself in the mirror while I mentally told myself (and believed) how wonderful I really am.

It happens.

If you follow me on Facebook, you saw some of this breakthrough occurring in real time.

It started with a blog post by Sarah Wilson. The title was “Possibly the most reassuring life advice I’ve been given”, and I clicked on it, figuring some good advice couldn’t hurt.

I didn’t realize I was clicking on a post that would lay out my greatest insecurity, the one I keep under the table and very rarely even admit to myself, in mind-numbing clarity. Nor did I expect it to tell me that the very personality traits that cause this insecurity are to be celebrated, not admonished. And I certainly didn’t expect the post to hand me the title of a guidebook for finally making peace with said insecurity.

The Personality Traits: I find something interesting, I get very excited about it, I commit to it and dive into it headfirst. I do everything I can to try to form a career, a living, off of this new thing I love. But the thrill always wears off and it always become something I do and enjoy, while the sparks of passion grow fewer and far between. And I leave a cloud of frustrated friends and family in my wake, who thought I was really going to do something this time, wondering why I stopped when I was doing so well.

The Insecurity: I’m then left wondering why I’m never happy with the idea of just getting a regular job like everyone else. Why I have to keep searching for something that truly fills me up, rather than just something to pay the bills. Wondering if my failure to be motivated by the paycheck is going to get me in serious trouble one of these days. Wondering if I really am lazy, a flake, a letdown. Thinking that there must be something wrong with me, because I can’t seem to find that one thing that makes me want to get up in the morning. Instead, I jump from thing to thing to thing.

I’ve grown to accept that might just be how I am, that I may never be interested in just one thing, that my passions will change and I’m just along for the ride. But then where does that leave me, as far as making a living goes? How do I do what I love, when what I love is never consistent?

Let’s get back to that blog post. It turns out that I am not the only person with this “problem”. And it turns out that it is not a problem at all. An amazing woman named Barbara Sher has labelled us “Scanners”, and she wrote a book about what it’s like to be a Scanner and how to deal with it, embrace it, and find work that won’t kill you. It’s called Refuse to Choose, and I was able to wait exactly one day before I caved and ran to the closest Barnes & Noble to get my own copy.

I devoured it. And I cried more than once reading it.

Here’s what’s up: Scanners love learning, and they learn very quickly. They tend to get what they want out of something simply by learning as much as they can, then moving on. Bosses tend to be impressed with how quickly these people pick up on their jobs, and want them to stay. But once a Scanner has learned the job, the “fun” part is essentially over, so the job becomes boring. And boredom is like death to a Scanner.

In addition, Scanners are hesitant to commit to any long term career, because they fear that they might be missing out on something else they’d really want to do or learn.

This explains, clearly and succinctly, my entire work history thus far. I find a simple, non-committal job because I want the flexibility of free time and a malleable schedule. I go through the training process quickly, learn the ins and outs of the job entirely, and have a blast doing it. Then the boredom sets in.

Or I’ll get a job because I love the idea of having a job like it: I wanted to work in an office with my own cubicle because I’d never done it before. I wanted to work at a yarn store. I wanted to work for an independent business owner. I don’t really want the job for the sake of having it forever and ever. What I want is the experience of having a job like it. And the pattern is the same: I love the job at first, I soak up every new thing like a sponge, I learn it quickly and make myself almost invaluable. But by then, I’ve had the experience. I now know what it’s like to work at X place doing X job, and I’m done. But I’m still there.

And so I quit. And I feel great relief while friends and family lament. And hearing their laments causes me to second guess myself, am I a failure? A commitment-phobe? Doomed to be a bum stuck in crummy high-school summer jobs for the rest of my life? And my self-esteem plummets, without me even realizing it.

But what Barbara Sher’s book made me realize, what brought me to tears in a fit of self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-love, is this: I am NOT a failure, a commitment-phobe, or a loser.

My brain is too hungry to specialize, to curious to settle down.

My gorgeous, beautiful, astonishing brain will never want to stop learning, and why should it? Why should I force it? Why not celebrate it, let it play with its own ideas, let it relish life and all it has to offer?

As for what I should do job-wise, the book was very helpful. I don’t feel like I need to find something and settle on it forever anymore. I have some ideas, but the most powerful came when I read the section on a particular breed of Scanner, the “Serial Master”.

These Scanners love the challenge of learning and mastering a new skill from the ground up. Once they’ve grown competent, however, they’ve gotten their reward out of the process and begin to scan the horizon for something new.

This is me to the letter. I love a good challenge. The reason I’ve got so many finished rough drafts lying around came from the challenge of NaNoWriMo, to write a novel in 30 days (and then, friends who saw how fast I could write and challenged me to complete even greater word counts in even shorter lengths of time). The reason I ran a 5K came from the challenge of interval training myself up to it with Couch to 5K.

I realized reading this section that the same drive for mastery is what pushed my manic, addictive practice sessions with hoop dance, knitting, even Dance Dance Revolution (oh yes, I’m AWESOME at DDR, you should play me one day). With these skills, I saw what mastery looked like, decided I wanted it, and set out to get it.

What happens, though, is that eventually, I reach a point of diminishing return. Once I get good enough, improvements are smaller and more gradual. While some people are content to spend the rest of their lives honing their skills increment by increment, I reach this point and crave the process of learning something new all over again. I realized that I subconsciously set a goal for myself when I start out, an “I want to be good enough to do blah” sort of thing. Typically what happens when I reach this goal is my enthusiasm for practice begins to wane, because I’ve gotten to where I wanted to go. I’ve gotten what Barbara Sher refers to as my “reward”.

When I read the book and realized that all of this is not only okay, but the way I am supposed to operate by my very nature, it unleashed a torrent of emotions and self-doubt that I knew I’d been supressing somewhere but could never identify clearly enough to work on fixing them. It’s amazing how just giving a name to your fears and insecurities can help the process of healing.

Oh, and Barbara had a very specific career suggestion for the Serial Master breed of Scanner: Motivational Speaker. My jaw literally dropped reading that, because it seemed so obvious while being something I might have never given myself permission to think about seriously. But given the amount of people that have come up to me telling me how much they love my blog, and how inspired they’ve been by the posts, and the amazing and unexpected way the How I Didn’t Lose Weight Hooping article has taken off, I think she might be on to something. It’s given me renewed joy to work on this blog, and to look into what small, first steps I might take to trying out some public speaking.

Maybe on the Open Stage?

Driving vs. Flying

This week, I had an amazing opportunity to drive out of town to teach a private hoop dance lesson. A woman contacted me from a town three hours away, asking if she could set up a lesson. We decided to meet in the middle in a town an hour and a half away from both of us.

It consumed my day, driving out to meet her, working with her, and driving back home. I loved every friggen’ minute of it. I can’t believe how lucky I am that I get to do this, to meet incredible people with incredible stories, to see the joy on their faces when I help them nail something they’ve been struggling with, and that thanks to the Internet, people outside of my hometown find me and ASK for my help. It’s a wonderful feeling!

It might seem odd that I’d be willing to drive an hour and a half out of my way just to give one hoop lesson. But I love driving. In the past two and a half years, I’ve driven to Colorado, to California, to North Carolina, and a number of shorter distances in the name of hoop dance. When I first started planning these trips, I got plenty of odd looks from friends and co-workers. “You’re driving? Why don’t you just fly?”

The truth is, it never even occurs to me to fly when I plan trips. Growing up, my mother did not enjoy flying, so my family opted to drive when we traveled, even on long trips. My dad’s parents lived in Missouri (about a day’s drive), and my mom’s parents lived in Ohio (a two or three day’s drive, depending on how often we stopped). When it came time to pay them visits, they would pull out the back seat of the minivan and lay down foam padding and blankets for me, and later my sister. I’d bring books, games, my portable cd player, and settle into my cozy little nook for the duration of the trip.


My cousin and I, all tucked into the minivan for a trip to grandma’s.

My parents might be able to say for sure, but I don’t ever remember being one of those kids that constantly asks, “Are we there, yet?” I loved the journey. I liked watching the scenery change as we traveled from state to state. I liked watching for the signs that said, “Welcome to Oklahoma!” “Welcome to Tennessee!” “Welcome to Kentucky!” It gave me an awareness of the size of my country.

As I got older, these road trips became special to my mother and I. We’d drive to Ohio every year to visit Cedar Point, and the journey was just as much fun as actually arriving. We had our own special landmarks along the way (like our favorite town, Bucksnort, TN), inside jokes (while driving through Effingham, IL, we’d say, “Dang it, are we having effing HAM for dinner again??”), and travel rituals (everyone gets to listen to their iPod for one hour, then we switch).

For ten years, I didn’t get on an airplane, but did plenty of traveling.

Then, a few years ago, one of my best friends was getting married in South Carolina. I had a day job and limited vacation time. Ah, “vacation time”, a concept I had a difficult time adjusting to. I will never forget how stunned I was when I told this new company that my mom and I were going on our yearly vacation, and they responded, “Oh, that won’t work, somebody else is going on vacation! We won’t be able to approve that!” I couldn’t believe that somebody could actually tell me I couldn’t go out of town with my mother. Madness.

Anyway, I decided to fly to my friend’s wedding rather than drive. It would save time, as all of my coworkers pointed out, so that I didn’t use up all of my vacation time. So I bought my plane ticket and prepared for the trip.

The last time I’d been in an airport was before 9/11. I knew I didn’t want to check any luggage, but I hated having to pick and choose what to pack so it would all fit in my carry on. I disliked having to wake someone else up to drive me to the airport at asscrack AM. I felt herded through the security checks. When I finally got on the plane, I realized I’d either forgotten how small the seats are, or grown quite a bit. (It was probably a combination of both.) Sure, the trip was short, but I was stuck in my seat between a window with one constant view of the sky, and a person I didn’t particularly want to interact with.

When I finally arrived at my destination, I had chosen to rent a car, and I found out that rent-a-car places feel that everyone in the whole world drives automatics these days. I missed my 5-speed with the hand-crank windows and manual locks, panicking the entire time that I might accidentally wreck this weird, unfamiliar car I’d been given and end up having to pay out the ass for it. (I didn’t.)

What I found, at the end of that trip, was that the time saved taking a plane didn’t make up for what I missed from driving. I missed watching the country pass by. I missed being able to stop when I needed to for food, gas and bathroom breaks. I missed the feeling of sailing down a highway in a new state, singing along to my music blaring at top volume. Driving equaled freedom. Driving made me feel connected to the space I was traveling through. Driving made me feel human, alive.

And that’s why I found great joy driving to meet my new student the other day. I drove through towns I’d never seen before, I got to see beautiful buildings and gorgeous scenery, and at the end of my trip, I got to share the joy of hoop dance with a new friend. I am in love with that feeling, and I can’t wait until the next time!

Today’s Hoops and Some Gratitude :)

I actually only made this first hoop today:

(It’s a bit dark because it’s rainy out today.) This one’s a special order collapsible.

This one I made yesterday.
I got a text from a friend saying he needed a hoop for a 6-year-old boy, and would leave the colors up to me. This is what I came up with. 🙂

And a third hoop, which I made before I decided to start taking pictures of them:

The owner of this hoop wanted something “foresty”. I liked it a lot (so did she!), so I asked her if I could snap a picture of it while we were hanging out last night!

AND NOW FOR SOME STUFF I’M GRATEFUL FOR:

1. Green. ❤ Also the fact that he has gotten a job at our favorite restaurant. He had his first day today, and his happiness makes me happy as well. I am so excited for him!!

2. The rain today is nice and relaxing, and it feels like the world is telling me it’s okay to just chill out, soak it in, maybe take a nap if need be. The rain always feels like permission, if not a direct order to slow down.

3. My yoga classes are getting stronger and stronger!

4. This song. It’s a mashup of Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. I remembered it yesterday and decided to look it up and listen to it again, I still love it!

5. While we’re talking about music, I’m also grateful for Amanda Palmer’s Goes Down Under album, the whole thing makes me so happy! I am also grateful that you can listen to the whole thing FREE on her site. I love the entire album, but my favorites so far are…I was about to try and pick some but then I would have listed at least half the album. Though you should check out “Vegemite (The Black Death)” if you need a good laugh. 🙂

6. Firefly. The show by Joss Whedon. I love it to pieces. 🙂

7. The bacon Green made for us after I got back from yoga today!

8. All the hoop sales I got last night! YEAH! I’m really doing this thing and it feels AMAZING!!

9. My camera, so that I can document all the hoops I make, and look back on them later and realize just how much I’ve created!

10. Wheezy Waiter! Love him!

Okay, I’m off to take a nice, delicious nap. What are YOU grateful for today?