Blogging About Yoga, Books, and Such

Roller Coaster of Emotions Tamed by Words

The roller coaster of emotions throughout this time with my Dad has been mind boggling. One moment, I am encouraged. The next, I am so distraught. One minute, I am laughing. The next, sobbing. And of course, at many moments, comes the piercing anger.

roller coaster

This has not bothered me though. I have allowed myself to feel and do whatever I need to get through it. And we are only at the beginning. I’ve done a lot of writing. This has become my outlet over the years, and has helped me tremendously over the past two months. When the anger arises, my keyboard gets a beating. But the act of banging out these words provides a bit of satisfaction.

roller coaster

This poem illustrates my last ditch effort to help my father sleep and swallow. Amazing that our body can forget how to do those things. This is all quite amazing. Unbelievable. Tragic. Downright wrong.

The words help.

____________________________________________

 

Throat Chakraroller coaster

Standing by his bedside,

I lay the stone at his throat.

Placed my hand above,

Moving it in a slow, gentle, flowing motion.

Swallow. Swallow.

As simple, yet as difficult, as that.

Meditating on opening, flowing, functioning;

Breathing energy into this space.

Onto his feet with oils;

Couldn’t believe what I was doing.

Never imagined doing this.

Any of this.

roller coaster

Go Ahead. Get Pissed Off. You’ll Feel Better

Go Ahead. Get Pissed Off. You’ll Feel Better…

Yes, I am a yogi. I remain calm as much as possible. Teaching yoga is my favorite thing to do. I believe strongly in the power of positive thinking and manifestation. I use essential oils and Chakra balancing for my health. I informally counsel others on these ways of living. Most of the time, I am a happy, friendly, loving, and giving person.

go ahead

But right now, I am pretty damn pissed off!

I have found myself here several times since June. I have been deeply immersed in medical arenas, discussions, inquiries, conferences, emergencies, planning, etc. on behalf of my father.

My father.

A vibrant, strong, intelligent, funny, clever, 86 year old man, who’s been reduced to unthinkable things. He WILL recover. He WILL be healthy again. I know it.

But every day or two, I just get pissed off. And I’m okay with that. Pissed off feels good some times. It releases me from the happiness and hopefulness often hard to muster.

Dad…get pissed off and get yourself out of here.

go ahead

Unfiltered, Unedited Look Into “She Waited For Me”

Here is your unfiltered, unedited peek into my latest manuscript.

Here’s What Pisses Me Off

I wrote a blog post a while back about how depressing it was to see happy mamas with their new babies. I always felt totally robbed. I can’t look back at the first four months of Emma’s life without feeling sad, angry, resentful, and cheated. It was so fucking hard! I was severely anemic, had PPD, felt completely paranoid, was sleep deprived of course, and had to take care of a newborn.

It blows my mind to this day that I breastfed her for three months! What the hell was I thinking? And what the hell was everybody else thinking? Why didn’t somebody say,

“You know, Libby, your body really is taking on a lot of stress already. Your blood level plummeted to half of its volume within minutes after your C-section. You have post partum depression. You’re crying every damn five minutes because you feel like your world is crumbling around you. You are 44 years old. You just endured months of hormone shots and pregnancy. You lost 30 pounds in a matter of days. Give yourself a break. You can feed her formula. You don’t have to let this parasite suck you dry. Go ahead. Dry up. Let your body heal. Emma will be fine.”

Nobody said anything like that. And I never thought about it. And it pisses me off. Even five years later.

And here’s another thing that pisses me off. Why didn’t anybody do anything about my medication? They made me decrease my Zoloft to 50mg during pregnancy. Why didn’t we discuss a gradual increase back to 100mg shortly after birth so I wouldn’t feel like a fucking crazy person? The anemia and weight loss were quite enough. But being so anxiety ridden that I couldn’t eat should have been clue number one that I needed a little something more.

I will never forget sitting in my living room, looking down the hall at my mother holding Emma, standing outside of my husband’s home office. She was crying, telling Jeff that I needed help, that I can’t take care of my child like this. I don’t know if I said it out loud or not, but I remember thinking…”Oh no, no, no! You don’t get to cry! I’m the only one that gets to cry!” But, honestly, I was happy for the support and that someone else was taking care of my child at the moment.

They did gradually get me back up on my meds. The anemia slowly improved. My appetite came back and I ate everything in sight. I began to feel like a normal person who wasn’t deathly afraid of this tiny human. And even though Emma was complimented in the hospital for a good latch and breastfeeding was actually a joy for a while, that all drastically changed when she was diagnosed with acid reflux and put on Zantac. What a joke. Who the hell puts a newborn on Zantac?!?! She didn’t have any worse reflux than any baby does. She was simply showing her true, spirited personality and she was DONE with breastfeeding. And so was I. One of the best things I ever heard from a doctor during that time was, “It’s okay to stop breastfeeding. You got her through the most important time.” It was a freaking miracle that I got her through anything. And when I look at her today, I see that I did a hell of a lot better than it felt like at the time.

It’s stupid to look back on the past and start the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ dance. But, dammit, if I had been thinking more clearly…

  • I woulda ditched breastfeeding.
  • I shoulda told my doctors to get me the hell back on my medication sooner.
  • And I coulda enjoyed my first few months of motherhood.

Instead, I didn’t, and it makes me very sad. It always, always, will.

 

The Anatomy of Birthdays and Heart Surgery

The Anatomy of Birthdays and Heart Surgery…

anatomy

He turns 86 today. She turns 50 in 10 days. He is awaiting heart surgery. She has a plane ticket to Chicago to celebrate her birthday. He wants to get this over with. She wants him to be okay. He doesn’t want to miss or disturb her birthday plans. She says that he is the priority and birthdays can be celebrated any time. He has always insisted that birthdays be celebrated ON THE DAY. She agrees.

This is one of those times when living in the present can really help. They know very little about what’s going to happen, yet they would like to do things as planned. They don’t want to have to change their plans, but of course, they will. It’s his heart after all.

anatomy

If they live in the present, none of this matters.

He is important to her. She loves him. He’s been there for her a countless number of times. She will be there for him. She will be present.

Bottom line…she wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. He trumps her.

Take care of HIM. Period.

anatomy

 

 

Three Savvy Ways to Build Your Yoga Business

Three Savvy Ways to Build Your Yoga Business…

Up until a few days ago, I didn’t think of myself as having a yoga business. But, low and behold, I sure can! Yoga is my favorite thing to do. Apparently, I’m good at it, so why not do more and make it better?

three savvy ways

After meeting with one of my mentors to pick her brain about some yoga business ideas, I came away with much more than I expected. There are licenses, insurance, marketing, networking, taxes, blah, blah, blah. I knew all that from my attorney and have most of that taken care of. What I didn’t know are the three areas from which a yoga instructor can gain the most success and profit.

And apparently, these are important because my mentor repeated this list more than once:

1.) Private and Semi-Private Lessons – This one I can do. This is 1:1 or 1:2 instruction with students who want to improve their practice, have limitations and need modification ideas, or are beginners and want to learn the basics before braving a group class. Really cool stuff.

three savvy ways

 

2.) Workshops – This one I can do too. There are certain subject areas that always make their way into my classes: Chakra Balancing, Prop Use, Modified Postures, Breathing Techniques, Mudras, and Meditation. Doing occasional workshops and diving deeper into these areas would be fabulous!

three savvy ways

3.) Training – Not ready for this one, but I will be. Thinking about Reiki, Eden Energy Medicine, and maybe, just maybe…Kids Yoga.

three savvy ways

So, stay tuned for information on this site about my new yoga offerings. And thank you for your support thus far. After all, a yoga instructor can’t survive without her students. Namaste.

Flip Flops Family Wreathe: Really Crafty Link Party

Thank you to Keeping It Real for the opportunity to participate in the Really Crafty Link Party #72 with my Flip Flops Family Wreathe. This was so fun and easy to make!

Supplies needed:

  • 3 pairs of cheap flip flops (I chose one pair for each member of our family; these were 98 cents each at Walmart)
  • flower embellishments ($1 bin at Michaels)
  • white wooden letter for your last name (Michaels)
  • ribbon
  • hot glue

Directions:

  1. glue all flowers to shoes and letter
  2. glue shoes together along the edges that touch
  3. glue letter to middle pair
  4. glue ribbon to back of middle pair
  5. reinforce ribbon with electrical or packing tape
  6. hang and enjoy!
  7. Hint: if you have a peep hole, try to measure the ribbon so that you can still see through some part of the wreathe

Or buy one from Oh BaBee! Originals. I would love to make one for you.

 

flip flops

flip flops flip flops flip flops flip flops

flip flops flip flops

Fundanoodle Libby Goes Live on Friday!

 

Fundanoodle Libby Goes Live on Friday! gift service

There are so many cool things coming up this summer…I just have to go LIVE on Facebook to tell the world about it. From summer deals to fun events to FREE stuff…you won’t want to miss it. Click on the event below and mark it on your calendars.

Fundanoodle Libby Goes Live!

Words and photos can never match my level of enthusiasm when it comes to what I do as a Fundanoodle Ambassador. I’ve certainly never been shy in front of a camera or talking to large groups of people. We have my father to thank for that. He is an excellent public speaker and always needed a ham for his camera!

So, I figured, what better way to tell you all how to get involved in this ground floor, innovative, life-changing company then to shout it from the roof top (or from my pool patio)!!

Set your calendars for this Friday, June 2nd at 10 am, and get the whole scoop on Fundanoodle Libby…Summer 2017!

fundanoodle libby

fundanoodle libby

 

four ways fundanoodle libby

What’s a Fundanoodle???

The Fundanoodle education readiness program, designed by pediatric occupational therapists and elementary school teachers, develops and improves the fine motor skills needed for success in and out of the classroom.

Visit my Fundanoodle site to see all of these education products! Contact me with any questions. I would love to tell you more about Fundanoodle. I believe in it, am passionate about it, and see it making a lot of households happy. For adorable demonstrations starring my daughter, Emma, visit our YouTube channel. Join the Fundanoodle family today!

How I Bring Yoga Into My Direct Sale Business

How I Bring Yoga Into My Direct Sale Business…

Yoga is one of my favorite things to do. It makes me feel calm, content, and accomplished. When children are learning, it makes sense that feeling those same three things would only help to make them successful. That’s why I have chosen to focus my efforts as Fundanoodle Libby on the benefits of yoga.

It must have been fate for me to be asked to review a beautiful children’s book about three years ago. Rachel’s Day in the Garden by Giselle Shardlow is a book about Rachel and her dog, Sammy, and what they discover in the garden. Rachel practices yoga poses that emulate what they find…trees, bees, flowers, butterflies, sun, and caterpillars. Sammy happily romps along. The book is designed to be user friendly and accessible to anyone, not just yoga teachers.

One day, soon after becoming a Fundanoodle Ambassador, I decided to compare this book to our Muscle Mover Cards, which have a colorful animal and gross motor action word on one side and a traceable uppercase or lowercase letter on the other side. Much to my surprise and pleasure, I found six cards that correspond to animals and insects in the book and six additional cards that can be used as extended learning. Here is some of what I found.

how I

These Muscle Mover cards relate directly to pages in the book:

  • “Sammy jumped up and down, trying to catch a fluttering purple butterfly”, while Rachel practices Cobbler’s Pose.
  • “Rachel looked up, too. A red bird was settling into its nest.” Rachel is doing Warrior III Pose. (Fundanoodle’s bird is not red, but it only opens up conversation about similarities and differences.)
  • Sammy, just like Fundanoodle’s dog who digs, is doing all sorts of fun things through out the book.

So, I use Rachel’s Day in the Garden and Fundanoodle’s Muscle Mover Cards to teach the following concepts to little learners:

  1. Gross motor activity with a specific purpose.
  2. Basic yoga poses for strength, balance, and concentration.
  3. Letter recognition, sounds, and formation.
  4. Strengthening of hand and finger muscles using Play Doh and Wikki Stix to trace the letters. (The Muscle Mover cards come with a dry erase pen for use by learners who already know how to hold and use a writing implement.)
  5. Science discoveries like habitats, rainbows, the sun, the water cycle, photosynthesis, etc.
  6. Creative and critical thinking skills using comparison, cooperation, imagination, problem solving, etc.

This list could go on and on. The fun and learning definitely does.

One of the beauties of Yoga Play with Fundanoodle Libby is that it can be done anywhere…living room, studio, outside, even on line. Plans are in the works for a podcast. Stay tuned.

how I
Emma practice Warrior III like an Eagle.
how I
We make trees in Yoga Play!
how I
We creep like a caterpillar or inchworm in Yoga Play!
how I
We bloom like flowers in Yoga Play!

 

Rock n Roll With Your Kids and Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights!

Rock n Roll With Your Kids and Joanie and the Nightlights!

rock n roll

Joanie and her Nightlights ride the Subway, get a Library Book, and enjoy some good Pizza in their new eclectic collection, Brooklyn Baby! Each song takes you by surprise with its tempo, style, and lyrics. You never know what you’re gonna get and we love it! They bring the tempo down with the soft sounds and lovely lyrics in Brooklyn Baby and Love is Love. Their messages of love, acceptance, and world peace make this CD one of our all time favorites. Well done, Joanie and the Nightlights. We appreciate you.

Thank you to Waldmania PR for our complimentary copy in exchange for this review. Brooklyn Baby is available this Friday May 19th!

rock n roll

 

More from Waldmania PR:

“From her roots as a theater major and performer in the hip clubs of New York City, Joanie Leeds has proved herself as a major talent in the field of children’s music.”

— Parents’ Choice® Gold Award review of Joanie Leeds’ Good Egg

“THE BEST KIDS’ ALBUMS NOW!  Leeds and her band bring big fun on their new release.  Don’t attempt a family road trip without this minivan-friendly winner.”
— People magazine
 

NEW YORK — Six years ago, award-winning singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds packed her bags and moved from Manhattan’s Upper West Side to the vibrant, artistic neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Here she found not only a place to start a family, but also a magnificent melting pot metropolis that offered dazzling adventures on a daily basis.  Inspired by her love for all things Brooklyn, Joanie will release her eighth family album, Brooklyn Baby!, on May 19.

Produced by Jesse Lauter (Tedeschi Trucks Band, Elvis Perkins, Carl Broemel from My Morning Jacket), Brooklyn Baby! is a real genre-bender, containing elements of folk, Southern rock, hip hop, pop and punk presided over by a singer whose sheer command of vocal artistry is second to none.

Songs about the park system (“Ferry Nice”), public transportation (“Subway”) and Brooklyn’s most famous dish (“Pizza”) are a given, but the heart of the album embraces both a Brooklyn mentality and sentimentality with love (“Love is Love”), thirst for education (“Library Book”), healthy eating (“Apples in My Apples”), and Yiddish expressions (“Shayne Punim”). The album closes with Joanie’s take on Brooklyn-born Lou Reed’s gentle tune, “Sunday Morning.”

Gifted with a soulful, “rock solid” voice that ranges from low and bluesy to high, light, and breezy, Joanie Leeds is an exceptionally versatile artist who brings serious musicianship to the table right alongside a terrific sense of fun and fashion.  Says SiriusXM’s Kids Place Livehost Mindy Thomas, “Joanie Leeds is that cool babysitter who would let you try on her lip gloss once your mom left the house.  You idolized her, and your mom knew she could trust her.  That’s Joanie.  Only she’s also likely to completely ROCK THE ROOF OFF YOUR HOUSE!”

Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights have performed in dozens of cities nationwide at such prominent venues as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian, the CMAs, the Hang Out Festival, Symphony Space, Wolf Trap, and LA’s Skirball Center.

Joanie Leeds’ original kids’ music won first place in the USA Songwriting Competition, as well as winning an Independent Music Award, Parents’ Choice® Gold Award, NAPPA Gold Award, and Family Choice Award, and Joanie was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the International Songwriting Competition.  Joanie’s music has been highly praised in People magazine, Parents Magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post.  Her tunes are played on many radio stations nationwide and have climbed the chart to #1 on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live and WXPN’s Kids Corner. Joanie is also a PJ Library musician!

Prior to Brooklyn Baby!, Joanie Leeds released seven critically acclaimed, full-length albums and two full-length DVDs, in addition to numerous videos on her Youtube channel.  She is currently at work on more music videos, while maintaining a busy teaching and performance schedule.

Brooklyn Baby! will be available online at www.joanieleeds.com, Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, TuneCore, and other related digital outlets.

# # #

CD Details:  Brooklyn Baby!
Release Date:  May 19, 2017
For ages 4 – 9
Label:  Limbostar
SRP:   $15.00 for CD.  $9.99 for digital download.
Running time:  43 minutes

Behind the Scenes of My New Book, ‘She Waited For Me’

It’s been slow going, but book two is in the works. Here is a behind the scenes look at my possible introduction. Right now, I’m just writing, not worrying about the way it all comes together. There are certainly typos, for sure. Not paying attention to that either. Thanks for reading.

Introduction

Never say never. Really. It’s not possible for something to never happen. People will argue until their faces are blue against this point. But I know this. Never, never happens.

This was true when I shocked myself with an instant change of heart in the Fall of 2010. Jeff and I had been married only since May of that year and we were already talking to a fertility specialist. We were in our early forties and pretty darn sure nature wouldn’t take its course all that easily. We had yet to find out how difficult it would be.

For years, to myself, family, friends, and other not-so-potential husbands, I had stuck to my standard line. I will never go through fertility. Why would I spend money to make a child? Why would I pump my body with hormones? Why would I use a petri dish to create a child when there are millions of children out there who need parents? Why not just find one who’s already here looking for love, a home, a family? No. We will adopt. End of story.

My husband had one simple thing to say and that was it. My never turned into okay, I’ll do it. Just like that. He wanted a child from him. From his DNA. He wanted a child to look like him. He knew that my reach for adoption would have been the world! No color, race, ethnicity was off the table. But that wasn’t for him. And I respected that. In just a moment, my adamant desire was relinquished and we were heading into fertility testing.

Forever etched into my mind is the symbol at the bottom of my long list of tests, numbers, and foreign vocabulary.

< .01

Do you see what that says? Less than 1%. These were our chances for conceiving a baby through natural methods. Ha! It was laughable; however, I don’t recall laughing. We certainly knew it would be low, but this was ridiculous! What the hell do we do now?

We look at the options. And we look at them from the least to the most invasive. All the least invasive were skipped over quickly. My eggs were goners. I was 42. No shocker there. So, trying to pump my body with medication to get my eggs to wake up and do their job was futile. Again, we were given the percentages and they sucked. In addition, Jeff’s sperm count was inconsistent. Not bad. Not really the problem at hand. Just not steady enough to pick up the slack.

Our very best chance was In Vitro Fertilization with a Donor Egg. And even with that, our chance for conceiving was only 60%. But by the time we went through all our other options, ranging from 20%-50%, this one was looking damn good! It was going to cost us about $15,000. It was going to involve a great deal of time, patience, pain, and emotional upheaval. It would be the biggest and most daunting adventure of our lives. But it would work. I knew it would.  That certainty was my light at the end of the tunnel.

And Emma Grace is the light of our lives.

behind the scenes
Emma at about 4 months. One of my very favorite photos.