My plan was to write a little bit about the year past before jumping into the next. And when I started to think about this year, I came to a startling realization. I have been so incredibly affected this year. I’ve made so many connections and I have an amazing support system. I have an ever growing spider web of people who make sure that when I fall, I don’t hit the ground. And I appreciate every single one of them, there is no possible way that I could fit them all into one teeny tiny blog post.
So after a proverbial wastebasket full of crumpled up beginnings of this post, I decided that instead of reviewing the ups and downs of another crazy year, I’d like to introduce you to a handful of women who inspire and support me. Not only am I naming names, I’m offering up their websites, because if you too want to be supported and inspired, these are your girls.
Shelley Adelle – www.shelleyadelle.com Ah, Shelley. Unlike the other ladies I’ll introduce you too, I am lucky enough to live in the same town as Shelley, which means that I get to soak up her awesomeness directly from the source. But explaining Shelley Adelle to the world? Where do I start? The yoga goddess? The artist? The actress? Nope, I think it it’s the “experimental human” thing that really makes her special. She teaches us to be who we are. If you don’t know who you are, be everything and anything you ever thought you might want to be until it all falls into place. Shelley is the one who gave me the push to take it to the keyboard. and the canvas. Both of which are slowly becoming new ways for me to share and express myself. Something I’m not very good at. And she taught me to breathe. Ok, she’s trying. Who knew breathing was so important? A good deep breath can undo a whole day’s worth of troubles and stresses. Sometimes I think I literally forget to breathe. Apparently it’s important.
Katie Coyle – http://thejackcreekcoyles.blogspot.com/ Katie and I ran together in high school. And by together I mean, she was running, while I was holding a relatively steady and totally unimpressive jogging pace somewhere in the vacinity. But you get the idea. I started following Katie’s blog last year and find her lifestyle to be totally inspiring. Think you’re doing everything you can to help the environment because you put out your recyclables every week? Think again. The ‘Jack Creek Coyles’ live the most sustainable lifestyle that I can imagine. Growing, raising or hunting most, if not all, of their food. Minimizing waste and energy use wherever possible. Re-using anything they can get their hands one. They’re keeping an eye out for mama earth and sharing their journey. Of course they can’t save the planet on their own, but here’s the kicker – she makes it sound so damn easy! When I start getting lazy and think about using the dryer instead of the clothes line, because the clothes line is “so far away” (picture eye rolling here) I think about Katie’s posts. I’m going to whine about the extra five minutes it takes to put the clothes on the line? Really? And while I’m at it, why aren’t I making my own laundry detergent? So easy. Why don’t I grow my own food? Ok, I don’t grow my own food because I have guilt over the death of so many lovely, lovely plants at my hands. But I could try again. And why am I not making marmalade from the over abundant citrus trees in my parents back yard? So easy. Just read the blog. The woman makes her own cheese! From her own goats! And now she and her husband are about to bring another little Coyle into the world. Raising a child in a truly sustainable lifestyle. Talk about improving the next generation. Oh, and she still looks like she’s twenty. Coincidence? I think not.
Carla Tanguay – www.beingcarla.com Carla and I went to school together, for a few years. In fact, we were nearly inseparable during that time. Well, Carla moved to another school and as teenagers do, we grew apart. Eventually we found each other through Facebook (have I mentioned my love of social media?) and re-connected. Carla comes from a religious upbringing, her dad is a pastor. She clearly has a firm grasp on her faith, something I admire, but lack myself. She shares her faith and stories of where it has taken her willingly and openly, without preaching. But here’s the gem. Carla, to me, is the definition of what a true Christian should be. She’s so genuinely kind. She makes me want to be a kinder person, just by being who she is. Yes, I’m sure that there are plenty of non-christians out there who are just as kind as she, but I don’t know them. And I can tell you this for sure, there are whole lot of people out there who claim to be Christians, but could use a lesson on what the really means. Carla is new to blogging too, so maybe a good deal of this won’t come across in her blog, but I’m betting it will. You can’t hide that kind of good for long. I hope it’s contagious. And I do need to give a little shout out too, because Carla blogging helped me claim this blog as my own. She uses the the tag line “A recovering self-censored girl speaks out” and it was reading that sentence that took me from writing under a “pen name” to jumping into owning my thoughts here. Because nobody wants to be censored, not even by ourselves.
Sarah Stanley – www.sarahstanleyinspired.com Sarah is the first of two women here who I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting. I started following her on twitter over the summer. Sarah is an ultra-marathon runner, which in and of itself is inspiring (when was the last time you ran 100 miles?) So one day on twitter, I reached out to Sarah, after a particularly grueling long run, that left me wanting to quit, looking for some ideas to inspire and motivate me through the rest of my training. And she responded, in a private message, looking for any way to help. She offered advice, asked questions about where I was and told me to reach out any time. We went back and forth for several days talking about where I was physically, mentally and emotionally in my training. The woman has like 9,000 followers and took the time out to help me. She cares about the journey of a total stranger. Why? Well, honestly I don’t really know why. Cause she’s awesome is the answer I’m going with. And knowing that this woman, who’d never met me, cared enough about helping me find a way out of the little pit I let myself land in, was all the inspiration I needed in that moment.
Kate Fields Bartolotta – http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/kate-bartolotta/ Kate, who I also have yet to meet, and who I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, is a blogger who I stumbled upon while reading Elephant Journal. The thing that I love about reading Kate’s work is it gets me thinking. Every time. She’s witty, fun to read and can write about anything. In fact, when presented with “Hey Kate, how about another Adam Levine article…” no problem. The link was on my page the next day (photos included, thank you much!) Her titles range everywhere from “Adam Levine does yoga. Should we care?” to “Batman: Sad & Tender Warrior” and “Mom, what’s fellatio?” (a questions that makes me exceedingly happy I don’t have children.) Reading her posts remind me that I can write about whatever I want. It’s fantastic to be funny one day and deep the next. To address anything and everything I want. I can be everywhere and nowhere and somehow it’s all ok. Oh,and it’s a small world. Get this, Kate went to high school with Carla. Apparently they had a good writing program.
So in many, many words, these are my women. This post is way longer than I had ever intended, but these ladies are way to cool to put into less than 1000 words. So follow them, check out their stories, be inspired. Hope everyone’s 2011 was as great as mine!