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{This week: San Francisco, Age is Just a Number, loneliness, and more.}

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Hi all,

I feel incredibly grateful because I spent part of the week in San Francisco. The trip was a mix of business and pleasure, and it was filled a crazy amount of walking, delightful food, and engaging conversations.

Next week, I’ll share highlights from the trip along with a photo roundup. Until then, below are 10 happy links that I thought were worth sharing this week. I hope you enjoy them!

1. Age is Just a Number by Dara Torres is an inspiring memoir. I especially loved her comments about masters swimming.

2. This was a helpful essay: How to beat loneliness.

3. A fascinating essay about 4-H: Head, heart, hands, and hustle.

4. Offline is the new luxury (Part 4).

5. Sound advice via Melissa Hartwig: Unfollow Friday (Even if it means unfollowing me).

6. A fantastic interview with Instagram founders Kevin Systrom & Mike Krueger.

7. Forgive me for indulging in my confirmation bias: 10 Scientific Benefits of Being a Cat Owner.

8. A touching essay by Dee Williams: What I’ve Come to Know from Tiny House Living.

9. This post is full of goodness: 101 small ways you can improve your city.

10. So good & real: Life After the PCT—Readjusting to the Real World.

If you enjoy my weekly happy links roundup and want to support it, share this post with a friend. Thanks for reading!

With gratitude,

{This week: Registration for my online photography course closes tomorrow, how to be a writer, why composition notebooks are popular, and more.}

Photography by Tammy Strobel

Tomorrow—Saturday, September 24, 2016—is the last day to register for my online photography course—Everyday Magic: How to Capture Creative Images with Your Camera. I hope you’ll join me for the upcoming session. Class begins on Monday, September 26th. Read the course description and register here.

Now, onto this week’s happy links. Enjoy!

1. Rebecca Solnit on how to be a writer.

2. Why the basic marble composition notebook is still popular.

3. Inspiring writing quotes via BlankPage.

4. Truth: They were the big things.

5. Magic Lessons episode 207—Living the Dream and Facing the Nightmare—featured Neil Gaiman and it was GOOD! Gaiman’s description of writers as either dolphins or otters made me smile.

6. Last week, the latest issue of SWIMMER arrived in my mailbox. I loved this issue, especially the article about rest and recovery.

7. Simplicity quotes and images to lift you up.

8. Amanda always asks good questions: “…what if life is not this linear progression of events as we might expect?

9. Loved this essay: Talking to strangers.

10. In The Water They Can’t See You Cry by Amanda Beard was an honest and interesting memoir.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy my weekly happy links roundup and want to support it, buy a book or share this post with a friend.

With gratitude,

Swimming in the Weeds

Photo by Tammy Strobel

I stood near the edge of Whiskeytown Lake along with 125 fellow swimmers. We were all wearing green swim caps, and everyone seemed excited. My new friend Janette turned to me and said, “Good luck!”

“Have fun!” I replied.

Then, the race director shouted, “Go!” Some swimmers ran into the water, and others walked in leisurely. I dove into the water, started swimming, and immediately noticed the waves we created. Then I felt the weeds tickle my legs. As soon as that happened, my stomach did flip-flops.

Rather than looking at the weeds while my head was underwater, I closed my eyes so I couldn’t see them. Instead, I raised my head more often to site the racecourse buoys and to make sure I wasn’t swimming over another swimmer. Also, my mantra—“plants aren’t predators”—helped me to stay calm.

Eventually, I broke away from the weeds and glided into deep dark blue water. Rays of sunlight reflected off of the water, and as I took deep breaths, I noticed the mountains, the sky, and the kayakers that were part of the water safety crew. As I rounded the second big buoy, I realized that I was halfway through the race. Part of me wanted to stop and tread water because it was so beautiful out in the deep blue water, but I had to keep swimming.

Before I knew it, I was back in the weeds swimming to the shore. As I made my way through the weeds, I thought about my friend Aubrey and how much progress she’s made since her cycling accident. She’s been working hard in physical therapy and with a CrossFit coach, too. I thought to myself, Aubrey is so inspiring. She’s working hard to regain her strength. That is WAY harder than being scared of weeds! Keep swimming, Tammy.

So, I ignored my fear of the weeds, tried to catch the swimmer ahead of me, and thought about how far I’ve come this year.

After a bad back flare up in February, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my lower back and degenerative disc disease. During February, it was difficult for me to do basic things like walking or sitting without experiencing intense pain. At the beginning of the year, I wondered if I’d ever be pain-free again. I felt so tired of dealing with my reoccurring back problems. Thankfully, my doctor referred me to a fantastic physical therapist, and eventually, I found my way back to the water and to a masters swim team. Getting back into the water, and slowly building my strength, helped me get through the weeds in my mind.

Facing my fear of lake weeds last weekend seemed fitting because the experience reminded me to prioritize self-care. For example, I rested and recovered from my race. Resting has never been my strong suit because I just want to keep moving. I’ve learned that rest requires an active commitment, just like writing, photography, or any other type of activity. Plus, if I don’t take care of myself, and ignore the importance of rest, I’ll get stuck in the weeds over and over again.

Serendipitously, the latest issue of SWIMMER arrived in my mailbox last week. One of the featured articles—by Gretchen M. Sanders—is titled “Give It a Rest for Your Best.” Sanders said, “Rest requires commitment—it does not happen by chance. Rest should be as deliberate as putting on a swimsuit. It will take practice for some and come easily for others. Start small by taking a morning off, then a day, then a weekend, then a whole week. With each passing year, our bodies grow older and need more time to recover. Giving your body the rest it craves may just prolong the time you spend enjoying the life-giving sport of swimming.”

Cheers to rest, recovery, good health, and conquering the weeds!

With gratitude,

Photo by Tammy Strobel

{This week: The KittiKubbi, tiny libraries, good reads, friendship, and more.}

Hi all,

Below are 10 happy links that inspired me this week. I hope you enjoy them, too!

1. Last week, our KittiKubbi arrived in the mail via Amazon.com. It’s a cat bed that’s free from harmful chemicals and synthetic fibers, and it’s 100% wool. The bed can be used as a hideaway, or it can be flattened into a padded mat. Christie and Elaina are obsessed with the KittiKubbi. Usually, they snub cat beds and toys. But not this time! We’ll see if they actually use the bed consistently. I’ll keep you posted.

2. Great tips via Dee—Downsizing My Library for My Tiny House! I loved the article, and it was fun to see my photo included in her post, too.

3. And speaking of books, Zephyr Books & Coffee has a trade credit system at their store. Last week, I traded in a few of my older books and bought Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurzel.

4. I swooned over these memoirs: Swimming in the Sink and Love Warrior.

5. Offline is the new luxury.

6. A beautiful essay about friendship.

7. How Apple changed the camera industry forever.

8. I’ll be in San Francisco at the end of September, and I’m looking forward to trying some of the restaurants and coffee shops in this guide.

9. A powerful post: Pictured / Not pictured.

10. Get out of your head and into your body.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy my weekly happy links roundup and want to support it, register for my upcoming photography course or share this post with a friend.

With gratitude,

Scenes From My Daily Life

“Adventures don’t begin until you get into the forest. That first step is an act of faith.”
—Micky Heart, Grateful Dead drummer

Today, I have a photo round-up to share with you! If you’re reading this via email or in a feed reader, visit RowdyKittens.com to view my photo gallery.

With gratitude,

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