Launch Day and 99 Red Balloons

This is Andy and me in front of Delta IV in the 4-2 configuration.

This is Andy and me in front of Delta IV in the 4-2 configuration.

Those who regularly read the blog, know that I am married to a Rocket-guy named Andy.  He’s Director of Commercial and Missile Defense Rocket Motors for ATK.  For my birthday this week I met him in Cocoa Beach to see his industry in action. A Rocket is launching.  This launch is for a GPS Satellite.

During the day we got to see the rocket up close, Andy and the PR director Trina explained the rocket boosters, component parts and some of the structures were all made by ATK.  There was a nervous excitement in the air.

Some of the reporters at this prep time were reporting for news stations, some for educational and industry science websites others seemed more like students of Science Fiction trying to extract vocabulary for the next issue of their graphic novel.  But everyone was excited to be part of the launch.

The tower backs away from the rocket that stands over 200 feet high.

you can see the edge of the tower on the right side of the photo almost out of the frame.

you can see the edge of the tower on the right side of the photo almost out of the frame.

Photographers scurry and we all look up in awe at the majesty.   The Rocket represents  a billion dollars invested by over 100 companies and thousands of people who bring this dream to the physical monument before us.  It’s just huge – people on the mechanical scaffolding look like insects as they prepare for launch.

Next they fill the tanks with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

These are the Liquid Hydrogen and Oxogen tanks.  It looks like my house could fit inside one of these tanks 3 times!

These are the Liquid Hydrogen and Oxogen tanks. It looks like my house could fit inside one of these tanks 3 times!

They have to complete that fueling process with no lightening and we’re in Florida where storms are eminent.

We, the reporters, leave for the afternoon storm and hope the evening skies clear.

They fill some balloons with lighter than air gas, the balloons carry weather instruments to report back about winds, and if the clouds are too dense they can’t get the data back about the winds.  You’d think these clever people who defy the laws of gravity could get past a balloon failure, right?  I asked a first ever asked space question, what color are the balloons?  The engineers had to ask around and found out that they were off white, so I sent them a link to 99 Red Balloons.  CLICK > 

But the balloons can’t manage the weather and the launch is Scrubbed (that means cancelled) for the night.  They must remove the liquid Hydrogen and Oxogen, but it is okay they can remove the fuel and refill the rocket tanks 3 times.   Everyone is deflated (balloon pun intended) this moment but since tomorrow the weather looks 90 percent good, we’re all very hopeful the launch window is set for 8:08pm tomorrow.

Where to BE…

Many of my students have asked this week about the 2 hammocks in the tree in front of the Fill Your Cup Studio in Phoenix.  I can’t find the ones I bought but if I were buying one today this is the one I would choose.  hammock swing

It is available at, and called the Marrakech Swing.   A soft easy rocking motion is where all of my children, my husband, his children and I all feel at peace.  In the home we have in Park City and the home we have in Phoenix there are several places to rock or swing.   Since the many of my posts encourage a balance between being and doing I thought you may like a recommended BE-ing space.

Swing softly, enjoy filling your cup with a special moment with yourself.

Does doing your best compete with being your best?

You know when you are at your best.  You feel great you roll with the punches your sense of humor is easy.  You are likely well rested, have eaten moderate amounts of healthy foods, exercised and loved.  Being your best is a lovely thing.

Think back to when you studied language.  The word “are” has its root form in the infinitive to be – I am, you are, she/he/it is, and we are.

To BE our best, takes some time and attention.  Time we could spend doing.  Doing our jobs, doing our laundry, doing the shopping and doing our busy lives until we are no longer being our best.

Can doing and being, complement or must they compete?

I hope they can complement since functional life skills like keeping a roof over our head, food on our table and finding inspiring ways to spend our energy (a job) is critical to our survival.  Those to do activities are important.  But being at peace, sleeping well, taking deep breaths, enjoying good food, sensing our space, meditating, all the ways we re-charge so to speak, are the being activities.  When we invest in being, the doing seems less strained.

Take a moment and list what you do in a single day and then list how you invest in being. What percentage of your day consumes each list?  Does that work for your values?

Most people I work with on weight loss over eat, when they over do.  I ask again, does doing your best compete with being your best?

Marriage: a demonstration of bringing the inside into view

Why get married? Because we are more, together than we are side-by-side.  I married my deepest love a couple of months ago.  I pondered why for months before we decided.  And I came to this:  Togetherness is deeper than tandem.

Let me back up it hasn’t been as cheery a journey as my Facebook suggests (No one wants to photo document struggle.)  I began dating Andy after a year in Divorce Court and a couple of failed relationships that couldn’t withstand the difficult time I was in.

When I attempted to back out of things with Andy in the beginning, sighting all my failures in relationships and entropic life he said, “You know what I do for a living right?  I develop design and deploy nuclear weapons, you don’t scare me.”

His clarity and commitment was grounding for me and over the years no matter the challenges in his life or mine, he gets me; he matches my directness, ideals and passion for experiences so together we create amazing moments, spaces and feelings together.   I didn’t have to get married for any practical reason, but as I pondered it all I realized, I truly believe in uniting what I feel so deeply on the inside with what I show the world on the outside.   I believe that your heart can be worn on your sleeve safely and that beliefs can live from soul through to skin.

In Pilates we teach strength to both the being muscles and the doing muscles.  And they are more effective together than they are side by side in supporting the body.  What if our being values and our doing values supported each other in a similar way? What if our inner way of being (what we believe, dream, or sense,) supported our daily action all the time?

Most of my frustrating times with anything, weight loss, parenting, jobs or relationships I’ve found my inside (believing, dreaming, sensing) wasn’t married to my outside (doing, working, thinking, behaving)

From the inside out and to have and to hold, love …. I do!

wedding kissWEDDING CROPPED KISSwedding pic lil sqintywedding big hug


Life isn’t a multiple choice test, your first instinct isn’t always your best guess.

I’m learning to let things simmer. If you have been in my cycle class you’ve heard me say just because I feel something and can articulate it doesn’t make it truth. Feeling something and articulating it in my mind or even farther out to my voice doesn’t make that thought my truth, or a truth some one else should adopt. If you notice your current thought doesn’t match your goal can you divest from that thought for a moment or a season and see where your dream will take you?

That’s somewhat esoteric, I know so, here are some examples from my daily life.

Thought A: “I’m too tired to work out today, I should get extra rest since rest prevents wrinkles I may be better off…” But your goal was to work out 5 days a week and this is a day you can. Get up and give it a shot some exercise is better than no exercise.

Thought B: “It’s hot in this room, I really didn’t want to work out this hard today, and I’m done.” Why did you come to class in the first place, to burn off some steam or weight or…?

Thought C: “I don’t want a step-father for my kids, I won’t get married again until they’re grown up.” But your goal is deep connection and love. There are many options if you can open your imagination and re-write your own rules of the game.

Fear is easier than faith. Faith takes time to simmer, but faith is worth so much more, so Fill Your Cup.

Recipe for this Bison Meat Stew, a whole clove of Garlic minced 2 small yellow onions, one yellow pepper, 3 Tablespoons of frozen mashed potatoes left from Thanksgiving, one small yam, one small parsnip, 2 handfuls of mushrooms, 3 cubes beef bullion, a shake of tarragon, 3X a pinch of truffle salt, water and time to simmer. *Note simmer is a low intensity choice on your stovetop.

Bison Stew

Bison Stew

Black Hat?

A new client told me today that I missed my calling as a “Black Hat.” That’s the drill sergeant in jump school for the U.S. Air Force.

It is surprising because I don’t see myself as a tough woman at all. I don’t make people push a lot of weight or sprint hills, I yell sparingly. Typically shouting in elation when a client makes progress, not in ridicule. I see myself as a reflective person trying to get it right. Making an effort every day to live authentically and help others do the same.

Perhaps drill sergeants ask tough questions and that is where we overlap. I ask my clients and you – if you regularly read this blog, the tough questions. For example, Is it more important for you to be comfortable or thin? If the answer is the former then pull on your sweat pants and blousy top and be happy. If that’s not the right answer for you then have the courage and dignity to change. You are worth the effort, investment and even discomfort to be who you want to be, skin to soul. Fill Your Cup.

(thanks Ila – Butterfly Beauties Photography for capturing my “black hat” intensity before the storm.)

Life’s more fun if you don’t keep score

My person (“boyfriend” seems strange at our age) and I were playing golf this weekend. We were laughing and treating our twosome as a moving driving range experience more than a game when he said, “Golf’s a lot more fun when you don’t keep score.” I replied, “Life’s a lot more fun when you don’t keep score.” We both smiled because Andy and I have had this conversation many many times before.

How does it relate to Fill Your Cup? (New readers, FYC is a philosophy of life balance and weight management.) Well, to me when you are counting calories, measuring portions and obsessing on a particular meal plan for weight loss you loose sight and sensation of the essence of your hunger.

Are you certain about:
What and how much do you really need?
What feels like need and what may be want?
Can you make peace with your own headspace to be hungry a little while longer if you are trying to lose weight or make heavier choices if you are trying to gain weight?

I realize in our highly productive and effective society (I too was raised on Steven Covey’s 7 habits) that doing is more celebrated than being. However because eating and hunger are sentient experiences, perhaps being with those feelings in the moment is more effective than scoring, measuring and accounting all around them.

Ask yourself questions, share your answers, your hunger, your feelings and always Fill Your Cup.

Start Tuesday!

An on and off Fill Your Cup follower (sound familiar) told me once she has to start eating lighter on Mondays and if she has a “bad” meal or day then she has to wait until the next Monday to get motivated.

Has anyone else thought that way? I asked her, does fat know the days of the week? Do Calories? Then why is the day a condition for your mind? Just start now in the middle of the day, wait and wait and wait until you are really hungry and then eat something cup size, stay somewhat hungry and then notice when your mind just stops it’s incessant whining and you can eat a cup of something delicious and nutritious 3 times a day. For most over eater’s eating is a lot more about habit than necessity. Overcome your resistance and start right now.

“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“She had a desire to reach perfection in an oriental way, meaning developing her potentialities.” -Theodore Zeldin (An Intimate History of Humanity)

He continues, “Fame is worth striving for because it gives you a wider choice of interesting people to meet, but for no other purpose. Money is useful to widen your opportunities, but it is dangerous, because rich people tend to meet only other rich people, worrying about their wealth and doing the same things.”

This is from a book I’m reading called An Intimate History of Humanity. What is more intimate and human than hunger? This time of year people shed their winter coats and decide it’s time again to tame their winter hunger and find a summer body. So what is the undercurrent of your dream size? What is your physical “potentiality?” Or fill in the blank to be lighter is worth while to me because…..

When you can answer those questions in a way that is meaningful to you the answers fuel your discipline. It is not easy to be honest about how much your eating, what your appetite is really about and why you look the way you do. Only you can manifest your potential in any area of life, go for it… Fill Your Cup.

Appetite in Light

I’m not a vegan. I’m not gluten free. I’m not vegetarian and I don’t abstain. I don’t juice and I don’t fast. I don’t know who Mr. Atkins is and I don’t binge or purge. I’ve never been to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. I don’t have a gym membership or a physical trainer. I don’t always eat dinner before 7 and I don’t measure my portions in relation to a deck of cards.
I am a happy, healthy, fairly well adjusted size 10. My life is full of lots of unconditional love and I don’t feel the need to be something else. I’ve had ups and downs with my weight in my life. Two kids and a few too many ice cream sandwiches. But, I’m active. I’m super, duper active. I just go, go, go. I like a number of physical activities and rarely go a day without working up a sweat. At least once.
I eat when I’m hungry. I eat what my wonderful husband prepares at night for dinner. I try to be moderate with my portions. Salad on my dinner plate. Pasta in a small side bowl. No to that delicious smelling garlic bread. I try to count how many chips I had with my sandwich and make mine open face.
I’m strong and I’m flexible. I’m short and I’m curvy. I’m 44, but I feel more like 30. I’m more comfortable in my body now then I was 24 pounds lighter at 21. My kids have seen me naked more times, I’m sure, than they could ever count. I’m comfortable in my body. I know my body doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
I practice yoga. I look at myself in the mirror and I practice loving what I see. And what I see is beauty and grace. I just want to love myself, because time is always passing and I don’t want to waste a precious moment beating myself up. I can hike and I can run. I can’t bench press my own body weight, but I can do a black belt push up. I can swim 60 laps right now if you like and I can almost always get a full bind in parsvakonasana.
I have a healthy appetite for food and for exercise. I crave love and I crave friendship. I indulge in the here and the now and consume every minute of my day. My life is very satisfying and I feel most full when I am giving to others.
All this talk about appetite is making me hungry.

– Julie Tuomisto-Bell, Yoga teacher and blessing to all who know her. (Thank you again for all you are)