I AM BEAUTIFUL…Just the Way I Am

Oh my goodness, you guys!  Your response to I Am Beautiful…Just the Way I Am was so sweet and lovely!  I loved reading all your comments, and LOVE that the general consensus is that beauty comes in all forms and springs from places unseen.

I’m so tickled by those of you who were willing to show us your real selves – the everyday you, as the world sees you – not just the you that’s primped and curled and ready for the camera (though, don’t worry, I’ll give you the chance for that soon!).

Here you are, dear friends.  Beautiful you, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

A big hug to all of you who participated in February’s I AM BEAUTIFUL campaign!  Each and every one of you are lovely beyond measure!

p.s.  This week (February 26th through March 3rd) is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  August McLaughlin has a fabulous interview on her blog with filmmaker Diane Israel.  Diane is an amazing woman with incredible perspective on the topic of true beauty.  I highly recommend you check it out!

p.p.s.  I have something really fun planned for March’s I AM BEAUTIFUL, so stay tuned!

ROW80 Check-In 02-29-12

Howdy!

Here’s how my week looked:

WRITING:

Goal: Work on WIP in evening after kids go to bed.

Reality: This seems to be working well, although I haven’t managed it every night of the week.  Some nights I crash almost as soon as they do.  :)  But, I’m making good progress – the Hubster occupied the kids for a large portion of this weekend, allowing me to get 4-5 hours in – an unheard of chunk of time!  Thanks, T-Man!

BLOGGING/SOCIAL MEDIA:

Goal: Read and promote other’s blogs 1 hr/day in the morning.

Reality: So far I’ve managed to make this work, although I never am able to get to as many blogs as I’d like.

Goal: Write 4 posts/week to stockpile for baby’s arrival.

Reality: This actually hasn’t been a problem at all.  In fact, it’s eeking into my writing time in the evening.  Who knew nesting urges would bleed into blog writing?

Goal: Schedule blog posts for when baby arrives.

Reality: This is going well! I’m so grateful to you lovely volunteers. Those who have already sent me your posts, thanks! And those whose posts are on the way, I can’t wait to see what you send me!  It really means so much to me that you’re willing to help.  These WANA methods are the bomb!

Goal: Reduce blogging to three times a week.

Reality: Yep.  I did it.  And while it’s definitely easier on me, it’s not been easy to accept.  I’ll be interested to see how my traffic fares in March because of the reduced content.  I keep reminding myself that after Little Miss Took arrives and life smooths out again, I can always go back to posting more often.  Right now, though, I’ll stick to this goal.

HOMESCHOOL:

Goal: Ignore social media during homeschool time.

Reality:  This worked about 85% of the time.  There were some down times when I was able to do a little blog-reading on my phone, so I guess you could say I cheated a little.  But, committing to a work/school schedule has really smoothed out lots of bumps.  I think we’re falling into a rhythm here that we can easily maintain.

EXERCISE/EATING HEALTHY:

Goal: Put 5 minute test mile theory back into practice.

Reality: Nope.  Didn’t do it.  Not even a little.  This momma is tuckered out from chasing her offspring around while carrying a giant kicking watermelon in her abdomen.

Goal: Allow myself to nest.

Reality:  Giggle, snort.  I don’t think there would be any stopping me at this point.

Goal: Whole foods brekkie and lunches.

Reality:  Easy, peasy.  This one’s been no problem at all.

So, overall, I’m tickled with how the week went.  I can definitely feel myself slowing down, but the end is in sight, pregnancy-wise, and so it feels pretty short term.  Give me a couple months, and I’ll be zipping around like a crazy woman again!

I hope y’all had happy, productive weeks, too.  Lots o’ love,

Myndi

Q&A: Alica McKenna Johnson

I am super-psyched to introduce you Alica McKenna Johnson today.  She’s not new to my blog – you can check out her guest post here – but she’s recently released her novel PHOENIX CHILD, which is super-exciting news, any way you slice it.  This seems like a fabulous time for you to get to know her a little better, don’tchya think?  Check out the little Q&A we had the other day…

ME:  Alica!  Your new book has just been published, which is so very cool.  The day after PHOENIX CHILD was available online, what was the first thing you did when you woke up?

ALICA: Great question!  Nothing too exciting.  I was working, so up at 5:20 AM, opened the computer and logged in.  Then I woke up the first child, checked email, squealed at seeing two more purchased from Smashwords, got kids to bus by 6AM, woke my two personal kids (hubby was also working), woke two more work kids, when they were done in the bathroom woke final two work kids, made breakfast and managed to get them all off to school while obsessively checking Amazon, Smashwords, Facebook, and Twitter.

ME: Holy cow, woman, you are busy!  Six kids, four of which are foster kids (is that the right term?)…it makes my head spin.

Quick, which do you relate most to?  Hamster in a wheel, kangaroo with a pouch full of rowdy joeys, or goddess divine who can breeze through anything life throws at her?

ALICA: It’s actually five kids, did I leave one out?  The term ‘foster’ works, but I’m technically a houseparent  in a group home.  

I like to imagine that I’m a divine goddess, but really I think I’m more a kangaroo desperately trying to keep everything together.  Hey, what happened to my opposable thumbs?  I need those!

ME: Okay, first of all, anybody who’s a houseparent immediately gets rockstar status in my book.  Secondly, opposable thumbs are an absolute necessity.  How else would I drag the offspring around by their ears all day long?  And thirdly, I clearly can’t count, because now I totally see that you listed five kiddos, not six.  Scary thing, isn’t it, to think that I’m responsible for teaching my kids math…

ALICA: Don’t worry, Myndi.  Your kids will help you learn math.  :)

As for rockstar status, I don’t know about that.  Most of the time I’m desperately trying not to lose my temper!  

ME: That’s okay – I’ve heard rockstars have been known to lose their tempers a time or two…

Hey, speaking of homeschooling, you’ve been down that path before, and are looking to start up again.  In the spirit of homeschooling camaraderie, riddle me this: What’s the silliest question you’ve had to fend from non-homeschooling folks?

ALICA: I loved homeschooling, and most of the people we hung out with either home-schooled, or were alternative thinking, so I didn’t get too much flack.  But while we were on vacation in Denver some guy in a shop asked my son some weird question about a quarter – it might have been who was on it, or what the newest state quarter was?  All I remember was thinking he was crazy and a regular school kid wouldn’t know the answer!

My mom used to worry that my son was ‘too smart and active’ to be home-schooled.  And of course, there’s the ‘but what if you don’t know it?’ question.  Umm…I look it up?  I learned a ton homeschooling my kids.

ME: As I’m sure you’re well aware (because I can’t seem to shut my yapper about it), I’m about ready to pop out my fourth child.  You’ve mentioned in passing that you’ve home-birthed more than once.  Again, rockstar status is in order here.  I kind-of dig the idea, but I’ve never been able to get the Hubster on board.  How did you convince your Hunny it was the thing to do?

ALICA: Well, with my first hubby – once I stopped crying, realizing I was unmarried, 19, and pregnant – I said, ‘By the way, you know I’m having this baby at home.’  He wasn’t sold on the idea, but once we went to Bradley Child Birthing Classes, he was good with it.  We felt very secure with the midwife I picked.  Good thing, too, because he almost delivered Logan by himself!

Hubby #2 is as alternative as I am and dislikes hospitals as much as I do, so that one was easy.

I was blessed with a midwife that I trusted, and easy, healthy pregnancies.  I’m so glad I had my babies at home, and have even been invited to attend a few births.  So amazing…and I always hold my breath until the baby cries.

ME: Isn’t that first cry of life the most amazing, relieving thing?

ALICA: It’s amazing.  I don’t think I can describe it.  Just thinking about it fills me with hope and joy.

ME:  How old are your kiddos now, and what’s the one thing that sticks out in your mind that motherhood has taught you?

ALICA: Let’s see…my kiddos are 17 and 12.  What has motherhood taught me?  That being a good parent is more than just how you raise your children, it’s also how much work you’re willing to do to become a better person so you can show your kids how they can be their best.  Does that make sense?

ME: Absolutely!  So much is taught through observation.  I don’t think we can underestimate how much they learn from us when we don’t realize they’re watching.  

Back to this book of yours.  What did it feel like when you got to the place with your manuscript and realized, “THIS IS DONE!”?

ALICA:  At first I was shocked.  I just stared at the computer screen.  Then I jumped for joy and told everyone I could think of.  Then I realized I still had to edit and revise, and then I wanted to cry just a little bit.  Okay, a lot.  But after some moral support and chocolate, I pulled myself together.

ME:  Mmmmm, chocolate.  Favorite kind?

ALICA:  Is there any bad chocolate?  LOL.  I do prefer dark chocolate, and I like quality chocolate.  No cheap stuff for me.

ME:  …can we still be friends if I admit I have a love affair with Hershey’s with almonds?

(silence)

ME: Um….back to PHOENIX CHILD, shall we?  *grins awkwardly and throws Hershey’s wrapper behind sofa*  Give me a fast run-down of what the book’s about.

ALICA:  PHOENIX CHILD is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy.  Sara lives in a group home and is trying to make the best of her life in the system.  Waking up the morning of her fourteenth birthday, she finds her appearance has changed, and she has powers – like bursting into flames – that she doesn’t want.  

Soon she finds a family.  Not only others like her, but an uncle she never knew existed shows up in her life.  Confronted by the evil that killed her parents, Sara has to decide if she will let her fears win, or find the courage to accept her destiny and save her people.

ME: Sounds totally fantastic!  Who do you think would most enjoy PHOENIX CHILD?

ALICA:  I hope I have written a book that will appeal to teens and adults.  I know so many adults who love YA that I didn’t want to focus on just one age group.  

ME:  Where can folks purchase your book?

ALICA:  You can purchase PHOENIX CHILD at Amazon and Smashwords.  Both places have a free preview – 30 pages, I think.  

ME: Lovely!  Thanks for stopping by Alica!

ALICA: Thanks for having me, Myndi.  I’ve had a great time.