I love The Message version of the Bible so much.  Because I can understand it.  (If the Bible is boring to you, find a version whose words jump right off the page and into your heart. )

And I love this bit:


Sometimes my head hits the pillow at night and I think, “Well, I know what all I did today, but what did I do today?”  Like really do.  It can go by so fast and seem so insignificant, but this verse reminds me that the ordinary can be an offering.  I want to live in such a way that what I put into my body, how I use my body–everything I do–is a gift I can give my creator.  I fail so much.  But I will keep trying.


New SoKno Barre Classes!

This past Spring I was able to lead a barre class with Get Fit Seymour, and when the program ended a bunch of people asked me if I’d be continuing to teach anywhere.  I wanted to, but the timing just wasn’t right until now.  Beginning August 22, 2016, I’ll lead a 45-minute barre class at Riversong Dance Studio in South Knoxville.  Classes will be offered at the following times:

  • Monday: 6:45-7:30pm
  • Wednesday: 7:30-8:15pm
  • Saturday: 10:30-11:15am

Cost is $5/class.  (This is what I call non-social-club-you-shouldn’t-have-to-be-rich-to-exercise pricing.)  Bring your own yoga mat if you’d like, or borrow one of the studio’s.  Some water to sip (or guzzle–#August) is a good idea.

If you’ve never tried a barre class:

There’s nothing magic about the barre; in the case of a barre class, it’s just something to hold onto so you don’t fall over.  You don’t need a dance background to do a barre class.  We don’t dance.  We just hold onto the barre sometimes.  We don’t really “do” yoga–the yoga mat is for lying upon when we do floor work.  Floor work consists of things such as crunches (variations upon), planks, or stretching.  There’s a lot of up-and-down in a barre class.  It’s not necessarily fast-paced…just a few floor exercises, then back up to the bar, then back to the floor, etc.  Oh, and you don’t have to be in perfect shape to take this class.  This class may tone you up like a boss but, like I said, this is non-social-club stuff right here, so just bring your real self.

And you’ll like Valerie’s studio.  (It’s officially Knoxville’s favorite studio.)  And you’ll like Valerie.

So, I’ll see you there, right?  A few weeks from now! Yay!

something that may be worth your time


{via here}

Quite often I forget to talk.  I love listening to people and watching them.  And writing about them.  I’ll be right there next to people, all sad when they’re sad, and elated when they’re happy, and feeling like I’m there in that story they’re telling, and I feel so alive and wonderful and social, and then someone will inevitably lean over and whisper to me, “You’re so quiet tonight, Shannon.  Everything OK?”

And every single time that happens I feel surprised, because I feel like I’ve just been animated and loud and jovial.  I’m so completely OK.  I just wasn’t the one talking.

What happens is, I really enjoy observing all manner of people, but I don’t necessarily want to interact with them, and so I don’t have a lot of friends.  And I think I’m OK with that.  Except when people think there’s something wrong with me.  Because then I start thinking…maybe there is something wrong with me.

Nobody was like me in high school.  I did what I had to do to escape that a year early.  I thought there’d be people like me at college.  There weren’t.  Sophomore year, I had an early appointment  with my advisor–the head of the chemistry department.  He wasn’t in his office, so I sat outside his door and tried to stay awake.  I heard two voices down the hall in the lab.  I could tell one was my advisor, and then realized the other was the professor who headed the biology department.  They were laughing and talking.  They were laughing and talking about someone.  A girl someone, because it was and one time she did this, and she’s just really odd, and kinda nutty

They were talking about me.  I slipped out of the building.  That was my last semester at that particular institution.  I took my weirdness elsewhere.  But after that I still had this feeling that, yes, I must just be kinda nutty.

Until…about, I don’t know, five years ago when I took a Myers-Briggs personality test.  I know, it’s just one personality theory, and I shouldn’t base my perceptions on what it says, but it did help me understand myself a bit better, and why I am the way I am.  Turns out, I am what is called an “INFJ“, which is the least common of 16 personality types (like less than 1% of the population), and INFJ’s are very private, observant, sensitive loners who often feel, well, weird.  When I felt that there just weren’t other people like me, that’s because there literally aren’t people like me.  And if I do meet people like me, we aren’t likely to speak, because we’re too busy listening and being our strange, reclusive selves!  There’s a certain peace in knowing you’re not alone.

I’m just writing all this to say that I think everyone could benefit from taking one of these tests.  It may help you understand why you make decisions the way you do, why you interact with other people the way that you do, why you do or do not enjoy certain activities, etc, etc, etc.  It can most certainly help with career choices, if you just aren’t happy in your profession, or in relationships–figuring out that person you’re with, and helping that person you’re with understand you.

I made my kids take the test because I can use all the help I can get funneling their interests and honing in on their strengths as they make their way toward college.  In my daughter’s case, the test didn’t really tell us much we didn’t already know about her, but it led us to discover the profession of recreational therapy.  I didn’t even know that was a thing, but it would suit her to a T.  And in my son’s case, it gave him some insight into his ideal work environment (preferably quiet, not micromanaged, no managerial responsibilities, a good amount of research autonomy—things he’ll have to work hard to attain to, but that will bring him to a place of great joy.  He wants to be a metallurgist, by the way.)

Anyway, maybe try it yourself?  If you haven’t already?  Here’s a good test.

New year, new knowledge?

And Merry Christmas!

doodling + guts

My friend Stephanie, my Ninja Sewing & Art Master, showed me this book a few weeks ago when I went to pick up my daughter at her house.  Of course she was drawing with my daughter and her own daughter.  Of course she takes the time out of her super busy schedule to do stuff like this with her kids.  I got the book, and, yep, this zen doodling is indeed very relaxing.  It’s hard to not slow down and breathe deeply when you’re drawing.



I like doodling on blank cards because I have eleven nieces and nephews under the age of sixteen, plus my own kids, and one of those stinkers is always having a birthday, and I am quite frequently without card.  And it helps to have one handy.

And totally unrelated (this blog could probably be called “Totally Unrelated”)…look at these plush organs.  The tonsil!  The liver!  The appendix!  I just signed up for their newsletter!

I’m a little bit sick right now, so maybe I won’t be as excited about the plush organs in a few days.  They’re awesome, right?  Right?

ambivalence, my inadequacy, worth

So I’ve learned a little bit lately about ambivalence, and acknowledging ambivalence. Do you know this word? If you don’t, ambivalence is basically having mixed feelings about something. It’s not hypocrisy. It’s an issue of worth. Brant Hansen‘s definition of wisdom is knowing the relative value of things, and ambivalence is when two things seem suspended on the same rung, each jockeying for superiority, but neither successfully pulling ahead.
So often this issue of ambivalence creeps up in our own lives when it comes to health and fitness. Consider the wife who is praised by her husband only when she has baked him something sweet.  She desperately wants to eat things besides pasta and cake and bread, and wants to provide her spouse with healthier meals as well, but to stop the high-calorie comfort food would be to lose the only positive attention she gets.  Which has more worth?  The praise or the health?  Which would you choose? A healthy body/grumpy spouse, or poor health and peace and praise? Continue reading