Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dancing With the Angels

On the night of April 23 the world lost one of its brightest lights and I lost my only child. On that night, Shanna Sandmoen relinquished her struggle for life in the physical and passed peacefully from this world. She returned “home” to joyously dance with the angels, and I know this as I have seen her dancing.

If you have been following this blog than you know about Shanna’s illness and the courage, optimism, and humor with which she faced each day.  The path she chose was a difficult one and it was a path many people found hard to understand. Still it was her choice to make and who is to say that a different path would have led to a happier ending. The truth is there are no wrong or right paths, some paths may be more arduous than others, but they all eventually lead us to the same destination...home.

There was so much more to Shanna than most of you ever knew, she was creative, compassionate, selfless, courageous, intuitive, and talented. She was a born leader and naturally gravitated toward managerial positions. She preferred writing by hand and loved sending hand written letters. She was an avaricious reader who could spend hours exploring a book store. Dogs were so firmly entrenched in her heart that doggy was her first word.
She was passionate about women’s causes and admired strong women like Queen Elizabeth I, the singer Tori Amos, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On more than one occasion she put herself in danger to help a friend. She talked to angels and had the ability of looking into your eyes and “reading” your soul.

I hope that you have been touched by Shanna’s story and inspired by her words, and I hope that when you think of Shanna, you don’t just remember her as the girl who had cancer. Instead remember her as the girl who was passionate about dogs and vegetarian food, the girl who loved music, dance, poetry, art, theater and ballet, the girl who joyously played the violin, piano, and harp…the angels do love to play the harp!

Most of all remember her because She Loved, She Laughed, She Lived!

I end this blog for Shanna now on it’s two year anniversary in the same way in which it was started, with one of Shanna’s favorite quotes from E. E, Cummings;
“Existing’s Tricky, but to live’s a gift.”

In Loving Memory of Shanna

Rhonda Sandmoen

Shanna's ashes have joined those of her grandparents in the Unity Village Rose Garden.
Her Celebration of Life is being held June 2, 6:00 to 9:00 at the Unity Village Clubhouse.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sprout Magazine

Sprout Magazine is a gorgeous ~60 Page online monthly magazine created by Amanda Fall. Each month has a theme, such as Celebration, Boldness Creativity, Abundance, etc. The magazine is filled with articles, stories, poetry, artwork from Creative Women from every perspective of life. I discovered this magazine a few months ago and have been incredibly inspired by it. I contact Amanda to see if she would answer some questions for us. Happily, she said yes! Click HERE to subscribe to Sprout Magazine.

1. How would you define Radical Self Love?

Saying no to what no longer serves you; saying yes to what brings you joy, lights you up, and makes you come alive. Making space in your life for what nurtures, soothes, and stretches you. Connecting with others honestly, openly, and graciously while not diminishing your own importance. Listening to that divine whisper deep inside you and having the courage to do something about it.

2. In what ways do you feel you spread the message of Radical Self Love, or ways you might want to?

Y’know, I learn best from people who lead by example. I strive to do the same with my own life, practicing gratitude as often as I can, using creativity to save and strengthen me. I share these methods and more through Sprout, my online magazine ( Every issue is a joyful gathering of love—honoring our unique voices, taking the time to press “pause” in our lives and savor what matters most. I also write three weekly features on my personal blog, Persistent Green (, which embrace these ideas.

3. What inspired Sprout?

My whole life, I think! Sprout was originally a teeny-tiny seedling of an idea in my preteens, although at the time my vision looked more like dot-matrix print-outs, stapled and mailed all over the world. I grew up loving words and embracing the power they have to transform our lives—and I wanted to help spread that inspiration. I wasn’t ready, though, and so the idea slipped away. It resurfaced about a year ago with the realization that digital possibility now blasted doors wide open. Suddenly, threads running through my whole life tied together: my love of photography, writing, editing, art, and connecting with likeminded people all over the globe. Sprout suddenly made sense. All these threads could tie into one beautiful whole.

4. Creating a magazine sounds like an overwhelming adventure; could you share with us the process of starting up a magazine? Such as getting permissions, your site up, getting subscribers and submissions, etc.

Ha! Yes! It IS overwhelming—but now it’s overwhelmingly good. In the beginning planning stages, I was paralyzed by possibility—all the potential ways I could shape Sprout, all I needed to learn, all I had to research and plan and organize. I gathered piles and piles of notes and scribbles and question marks and exclamation points. One day I finally got up enough courage to just BEGIN—however imperfectly. Honestly, it would take pages to tell you how to begin a magazine, and there are so many different ways to go about it. The most important thing for me has been learning to embrace my unique viewpoint, and knowing what Sprout’s mission is—and sticking to that however I can. It’s a learning process, and I’m constantly thinking how to improve and grow. For me, the product has been vital—and everything else will fall into place with time.

5. What are your goals with Sprout?

Sprout’s mission is to uplift and inspire through color, beauty, and meaning. I want Sprout to be filled with moments of grace, celebrating simple joys in our daily lives, honoring our blessedly imperfect journey and cultivating what matters most.

6. You have a specific topic for your magazine, what's coming up?

Releasing 3/15: Creativity (so much goodness in this one!)
4/15: Kindness
5/15: Adventure

After that, my schedule’s still open! I love to let potential themes simmer in the back of my mind and
heart, until one rises to the surface. I look for topics that are close to my heart and that will speak to others as well. What do I want to cultivate in my own life? What do likeminded souls want more of in their lives? That’s where I find my themes.

7. How would someone go about submitting to your magazine?

Easy! Check out my submission page here: I’m open to all types of submissions (art, poetry, essays, fiction, tutorials, recipes, etc.) as long as they’re from the heart.

8. You also have a personal blog, Persistent Green (loved it!), share a little about this.

Thanks, Shanna! Here’s part of my about page from Persistent Green ( “I’m on a mission to color the world, to seek beauty in the mundane , to practice gratitude, and to celebrate abundant joy in this divinely blessed life.” I share three weekly features—Tuesday highlights a tidbit of inspiration (quotes that move me), Thursday focuses on the gratitude practice in everyday life, and Saturday spotlights inspiring people and products.

9. You are so creative, where do you get your inspiration?

Everywhere! Seriously, I really am a joy-seeker: I look for beauty and color and inspiration everywhere I go, from the curl of an orange peel to dust motes dancing in light to clouds skittering across blue sky.

10. Anything you'd like to add?

Shanna, thanks so much for having me here! I think discovering self-love is so important. I was a very timid and quiet child who didn’t believe in herself. Only recently have I discovered that what I have to offer the world is important—and I think that’s true for all of us. We have to learn to love ourselves—and then we can love the world.

You can find me here:
Sprout’s Facebook page, including Community Garden, a forum where you can share your own answers exploring each month’s theme:
Persistent Green:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Burning Questions

what’s one dumb thing that you used to believe in?

I used to buy into the whole concept of The One. You know…The One…your loverly soulmate. All perfectly cut to fit your mold. In sync with your values, kisses like a lover should kiss, finishes your sentences, can read your mind with such accuracy that they know exactly what to say, what to get you for your birthday, when to tip toe or sweep you off your feet. Lifetimes together. Riding the same brainwaves. Wants what you want. Harmonious hot perfection. DESTINY. The ONLY one for you. Just…one.
That’s what the 80′s in the New Age got ya: predeterministic thinking that is dangerously narrow — doesn’t leave much room for mystery (maybe The One isn’t who you thought they’d be), and limits your options (what if there’s more than just one?)
What I now know to be true: The One Is the One because you say they are. It’s the partner you choose, the partner you declare sacred, the partner to whom you vow — in your own way — to love like they’re the only One.
ANSWER THE BURNING QUESTIONWhat’s one dumb thing that you used to believe in?

My Answer: This question bothered me. Is anything we believe really dumb? As children it's cute to believe in everything and anything until we reach a certain age and we need to "grow up". Fairies aren't real. You can't be an astronaut. We don't have the ability to move things with our minds. You need to let go of the "imaginary" friend", they aren't really there. Well screw that, if you believe it, it's real. And I understand what Danielle is saying about belief in the "one", but maybe instead of being one person, it's one soul, and I think sometimes our souls are spread between several physical bodies, so in a way, all those people are "the one" and I there's. No belief is dumb, like there are no dumb questions. Belief is a beautiful thing: I'm going to ride my Unicorn now. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Poetry Wednesday's: The Box by Shanna Sandmoen

This is a weekly series that I posted on my Enlightened by Books blog. Every week I would feature a new poem/poet. This month, I am participating in a 30 Day Poem a Day Challenge, so I thought I'd share a poem that came from that challenge. 

The Box 
by Shanna Sandmoen

I pulled out the box, encased in dust and lost memories, 
memories that will remain locked in mystery forever.
Beautiful photos; adventures never revealed.
My Grandma, holding a rifle, laughing, 
pictures of her dancing in the garden,
so free, gracious, beautiful, 
and her smile; I wish I had seen it personally.
She never shared her stories, not until
those final days in the nursing home.
Then she told me of a farm house, 
parents and great aunts and uncles I never knew.
Oh how I wish we could speak now!
The box teasing me with it's untold stories.
To my future generations I promise you this:
I will not take all my secrets to the grave. 

Radical Self Love Goddess: Suze Ford

Suze Ford is a local Kansas City artist that inspires with her gorgeous artwork. Her paintings are use poetry and inspirational images with messages of love, gratitude, and living your dreams. 

“I find myself striving to make sense of it all.  I am consumed with an excess of images, emotions, dreams, faith, expectations, gender, identity, journals and lyrics.  Sometimes it creates an overwhelming feeling of chaos.  These elements combine in my works as they do in life.  Evolving at times arbitrarily, and unexpectedly each work creating their own DNA.  The layers embody a history, past present and the foreshadowing of future paralleling the human experience.  

My work comes from a perception of the stages of a woman’s life.  I illustrate an optimistic view point on the melancholy and awkwardness of life.  A viewer’s personal experiences that they bring is what completes the story of each piece.  My fascination with life’s constant changes drives me to find clarity and serenity with in chaos.”


Suze Ford Studios

(816) 304 3752
Find me on Facebook "Suze Ford Fine Art"

"Painting to Please the Soul, the mind, the eye, but not the ego"

How would I define Radical self love?

I do not feel that loving yourself should be anything radical.  I believe loving yourself should be something that you do everyday.  It should be something that people tell themselves each night they lay their head down, and each morning when they start their days.  Human nature causes us to be very insecure and full of self doubt.  We constantly talk ourselves out of things instead of jumping into an adventure that can be a step closer to a life you want to live.  It is sad to me how we all have certain standards, and ways of thinking that have been etched in our brains.  We don't love who we are and how God made us.  We constantly compare ourselves to others, and become envious of those who do love themselves enough that they know they deserve to be happy.  Loving yourself is knowing you are here for a purpose and you deserve to find what that is.  You must love and respect who you are and others will follow.  You have to be a leader and set an example.  Others will in turn love you as a reflection of how you treat yourself.  

When did you discover your love for art?

I have loved creating since I was a child.  It was something fun to do.  In preschool I painted all day at the easel while other kids switch from one activity to the next.  I began to enter some contests growing up. Winning some awards I think encouraged me.  It felt good to be noticed and praised for something that I did exceptionally.  In high school I took classes at the KCAI.  My dad gave me my first painters box, filled with oil paints.  It was so wonderful, that I can remember the smell of those oils and it takes me back to the days of first learning the medium.  I went on to college, learning to work in all kinds of mediums.  I began to find myself and what I wanted to create.  I learned that my heart could speak through my work with out ever having to open my mouth.  It was very therapeutic for me.  After college I began to explore a career in art.  It wasn't until years later of hard work that I began making an income with my work.  To this day I think what I fall in love with most about my art is the way it makes me feel, and in turn how it can make others feel.  These moments and interactions with my audience is priceless.  Pieces of me extend to others, and in some small way I hope that I can make their day a little brighter, and feel less alone in this big big world!

What inspires you?

EVERYTHING!  LIFE!  My faith motivates me through my work.  Life is the content that fulfills my canvas.  Each piece tells a little story that I feel in some way there is a person out there that needs to "hear" it.  I paint because it feels good.  No matter what mood I am in, there is always a purpose to create.  Ups and downs is what motivates me.  Life is not always easy.  The tough times make a great story to tell when faith gets you through.  Through it all you learn to love other, love yourself, and be thankful for everything that you have.  

In what way do you spread the message of radical self love?

Simply, I don't think that art has to be "shocking", "political", or controversial to make an impact.  All of those things are in our faces on the news and in the newspapers, spread across the internet, and on our Facebook pages.  It is impossible to get away from.  For me I like to paint pieces of happiness, hope, and love.  People don't hear someone say nice things enough, and they aren't saying these things when they look in the mirror either.  I think everyone needs encouragement knowing that whatever they are going through is temporary.  "This too shall pass".  We never know what each day will bring us.  But, if we know we are not alone it somehow helps us get through another day.  I hope that my works sends out these messages of learning to love yourself and others.  I hope that my paintings simply put a smile on your face when it might seem impossible to. 


Lyrics, music, and poetry inspire me.  I write my own poetry almost thinking about it as if I am writing lyrics.  Here is one I can share….


She closed her eyes to open her heart.  
All of the labels she put out of her mind.  
She took her life to a place she never imagined.  
And she found one strength to mend her broken wings.  
Come fly with me.  
Rise above it all.  
She stood alone waiting.  
She knew the others would see... how much better life could be.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Healing is More Than Physical

I have a friend who recently confessed she has an autoimmune disorder. She hesitated to reveal this to people as she makes a career of helping people heal and improve their diets and has been a shining example of what living the Almost Vegan life will do for you. However, she bravely chose to reveal this in hopes that people would realize that her diet actually prevented her from subcumming to this disease earlier. You can read Amber's story HERE.

I can completely relate to this, as recently my health took a downturn, and I too, promote healthy living as a way to heal. However, as I've said many times, healing is physical, emotional and spiritual, and without balancing all three, illness will creep it's way in. Eating healthy and getting exercise is fantastic and will no doubt keep you healthy for a long time. Eventually though, if the underlying issues that caused you to be unhealhty in the first place are not addressed, at some point you will experience health issues again.

Therefore, I have decided to create a series of posts on the emotional and spiritual tools for getting healthy. This is where I'm at in my journey right now as well. I've been great at eating right, but when it comes to the other stuff it's been a challenge for me. I'll be discussing:

  • EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
  • Louise Hays "You Can Heal Your Life"
  • Meditation
  • The Violet Flame
  • Energy Healing Techniques
  • QiGong
  • Prayer
  • Visualization
  • Creativity
  • Tuning Forks
  • The Healing Codes
and so much more!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Heart Isa Mokowitz: Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes 

From AmazonThis is not your mother’s low-fat cookbook. There’s no foolish tricks, no bizarre concoctions, no chemicals, no frozen meals…no fake anything! Appetite for Reduction means cooking with real food, for real life. (Skimpy portions need not apply.)
In Appetite for Reduction, bestselling author and vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz has created 125 delectable, nutritionally-balanced recipes for the foods you crave—lasagna, tacos, barbecue, curries, stews, and much more—and it’s all:
  • Only 200 to 400 calories per serving
  • Plant-based and packed with nutrients
  • Low in saturated fat and sugar; high in fiber
  • Drop-dead delicious
You’ll also find lots of gluten-free and soy-free options, and best of all, dinner can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. So ditch those diet shakes. Skip that lemonade cleanse. And fight for your right to eat something satisfying! Now you can look better, feel better, and have more energy—for health at any size.

My Review: This book has proven to be just as excellent as the rest. The OMG Baked Onion Rings are to LIVE for and with an assortment of tips on eating healthier, this book is for everyone. 

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