Inspiration is a tricky thing isn’t it? Sometimes Inspiration equals motivation and you feel energized. Sometimes inspiration leaves you in a more reflective and internal state.  Then there are the times when inspiration just gives you a feeling of well being which requires no action or refection other than you are just happy that this person/force/idea is out there and that other people are seeing/meeting/experiencing whatever or whomever it is. Yeah, to me inspiration is just about as vague as that introduction was but stay with me here because I’m about to get a lot more specific in a moment! Today I want to highlight a few people who have really inspired me this summer (and there’s no way I can list them ALL in one blog so maybe I’ll have to make this a series of blogs so stay tuned).

Holly Kiefer

That name sound familiar? Yes ladies and gentlemen, that’s my wife. She’s as multi-passionate and multi-talented as they come. She graduated with a degree in English and Art, went on to become a licensed Massage Therapist with ANOTHER associates degree to add to the wall, worked through her schooling the second time as a barista for a local coffee house as well as for a prominent national chain, completed a 200 hr certification in Yoga Instruction and is a licensed Desire Map facilitator! And that doesn’t include any of the skills she has self taught herself or researched on her own (including but not limited to sustainable house-holding, home-brewing, gardening, henna design and more)  My wife can do anything she puts her mind to. She has been transitioning her small business into something that has more and more entrepreneurial spirit as time has gone on, no one does quite what Holly does.

Not only that but she puts up with the mind numbing level of introversion and social anxiety I exhibit on a regular basis and “usually” puts up with my puns and wild antics. She even peacefully coexists with my Puppet collection… sort of (but that’s another story), and she pops onto the Grawlix Podcast (more on that later) when the regular gang can’t be.  Her drive to function as a self-employed small business owner really helps to inspire me and motivate me in my artistic endeavors. She helps me to keep pushing myself and my art production to a place beyond mere hobby and into something greater.  I just generally wouldn’t have the confidence to do any of this without her support and encouragement.

You can find out more about Holly and all of the cool things she does by visiting her website!

Kristy Hanson

Holly Kiefer (left) Kristy Hanson (right)

Holly Kiefer (left) Kristy Hanson (right)

So meeting Kristy is an interesting story… I didn’t particularly know she was coming. Holly had been in contact with her over e-mail and she let me know that Kristy was coming to town, and in one of those moments of miscommunication I did not fully understand that she was going to be couch surfing at our house. So who is she? Kiefer quit burying the lead! I’m trying to convey about as much as I knew about Kristy which was almost nothing… and she was staying at our house.

As I stated earlier I am something of an introvert, I recharge at home, in a relatively quieter atmosphere by not interacting with lots of people. So this house guest came as something of a shock to me. Especially since I grew up with my well meaning father who was surprisingly (for as friendly as he is) cautious of people (almost to a paranoid degree). We lived out in the middle of the country and yet my father was very particular about having things locked up. My father was also very particular about what were and were NOT acceptable items we might lend to our friends. Anything of relative monetary value was not to be traded or lent out. Like video games… renting Nintendo games was okay but if we BOUGHT one and traded it or lent it out to a friend?… Dad definitely had something to say about that because they “cost too much to just let them walk out the door” (never mind that the whole premise of lending items to friends is that you trust them to return those things) WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOUR HOUSE GUEST KIEFER?! Well my Dad passed a little of that paranoia on to me, for better or worse, so I was more than a little apprehensive about having a total stranger in the house.

Kristy, however,  was delightful. Once I met her and listened to her story I lightened up. Boy am I glad I did! Kristy Hanson of is a yoga instructor located out of Minneapolis, MN who recently decided that she would bike from Midwest to West to connect with Yoga Instructors and Practitioners all along the way to talk with and interview. She wants to collect more of the “story” behind Yoga in all of these different places that she’s visiting. She managed a successful kickstarter campaign to help her fund the trip. You can find out more about the project by watching her campaign video and reading the campaign description. She’s been telling the story of her journey along the way on her blog and her social media outlets. It’s been inspiring to read about how this adventurous young woman is biking out in the elements (and lately the elements in the Midwest have been unpredictable to say the least… we’ve had storms followed by sweltering heat and stifling humidity) to see and meet more of the world as it relates to yoga but she’s doing it in a way that connects her 3 passions of biking, storytelling and yoga. Man it’s hard not to get excited about her story. It makes you think more about: “How can I bring more of my own passions together in an interesting and inspiring way?”

Now here’s the kicker… SHE does Yoga, my WIFE does Yoga, but I do NOT. I like bikes but I don’t actually bike very often, not even around town,  and I definitely wouldn’t identify as a bicyclist. It does not matter, good content is good content and great stories inspire you regardless of whether you might be the “usual” audience for it or not. Kristy has the gift of telling a good story, while inspiring others through it, and I encourage you to read it by visiting her blog and seeking her out.

Jena Bruner

Grawlix Nights SquareJena is a friend whom we’ve known for a good long while now, as often happens we all get busy and we don’t get to hang out often enough but when we do there’s always an abundance of selfies, smiles and full belly laughter. Jena LOVES movies, lately she specifically loves MARVEL COMIC BOOK MOVIES. Well growing up as a long time “Marvel Comics Guy” and slowly becoming an entry level podcaster it only made sense that I should interview Jena! She doesn’t just love movies, she’s a super fan! When she enjoys a movie she goes again and again. She knows that others love these same movies as much as she does so she shares the information that she finds with others so they too can share in the joy (before, during, and after the launch of a great movie). She even drops everything to travel to the red carpet premieres to take part in the action as it unfolds! It’s exciting that she doesn’t let things stop her, she finds the adventure and she goes on it. Those are just a few of the ways that Jena is inspirational to me and others (and I’m not even scratching the surface of her Radness). So I was very glad that Jena, Holly, and I were able to sit down recently to record an epic geek out of an interview. The Grawlix Podcast released that interview earlier this week and actually the interview kind of morphed into a kind of round table discussion as she began to turn things around on me and asked as many questions of me as I did of her! We cover so many of our favorite and not so favorite things relating to super hero movies! You can listen to it HERE, find it on iTunes by going HERE, or even stream it via the mini player embedded below!



Grawlix Nights #7: MovieFanJen by The Grawlix Podcast on Mixcloud


So Now What?

This inspiration overload has really motivated me to change up how I do things and how I connect the dots between all of the things that I’m passionate about. I know the industry standard advice is to FOCUS! Focus on one or two things and just do them well… but here’s the thing, that’s not me… that has NEVER BEEN me. I’m multi-passionate,  I float from thing to thing. and I chronically overuse ellipses when I write!  That’s just who I am and honestly?… that’s Tank-Monkey too. He’s not scared to do things, he’s got a tank for crying out loud!

So what inspires you? Tell me in the comments below (or click here)  because I’ll tell you what, I’m always looking to get inspired and awesome feedback does exactly that!