My Blog Transformed My Life

by Lance Ekum on · 47 comments

Today I have a special guest with us – Live Lane, from Choosing Beauty.  Below, Liv shares a part of her blog journey, and how deeply good that has been for her.  As well, both Liv and I sat down recently to talk about this, and to discuss her upcoming "How To Build A Blog You Truly Love" e-course.

The story Liv shares below very much touches upon choosing beauty, and how we can all choose to see that in our daily lives.

For those of you who are bloggers, in the video Liv and I dig a bit more into her upcoming e-course, How To Build A Blog You Truly Love.  We both came into this video as video non-experts (yikes!) and there were a couple of technical difficulties which cut off the last few seconds of the video (in which Liv so graciously thanked me for our time) (and thank you, also, Liv!).


My Blog Transformed My Life


I know it sounds over-the-top, but it’s totally true: my blog transformed my life.
Before I tell you how, I need to rewind to the day my first son was born in early 2003. I had entered the hospital happy and excited, my usual chipper self. But several days later, I left the hospital a changed woman – sobbing all the way home. The birth experience had been horrible, with one complication after another. I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the time my baby arrived – blue and barely breathing, with his heart on the wrong side of his body and his lung collapsed. Miraculously, he recovered in the NICU and is now a healthy, high-energy eight-year-old. But as he got better, I got worse.
I cried a lot. I couldn’t sleep.  I became masterful at small talk because I couldn’t handle anything deeper. I hid my pain really well – at least for a while. My family eventually urged me to seek help in late 2005. I was diagnosed with depression and post traumatic stress disorder, both the result of “birth trauma” – something I’d never even heard of.  My therapist, Jeanne, promised me I could heal and that the darkness I was living in could be lifted. It seemed impossible. But I decided to believe her and jumped into my healing journey. I was willing to try anything: talk therapy, psychotherapy, medication, meditation, hypnosis, and more. Eventually, I began to see glimmers of light. Slowly but surely, I re-discovered the real me.

One day after a session with Jeanne, a brilliant rainbow arched over the intersection where I was sitting in my car. I looked at the drivers around me; they were all too busy putting on lipstick, talking on the phone or staring blankly at the stoplight to look up and notice the stunning rainbow overhead. I wondered in that moment how many other little miracles I’d missed by being too distracted or too depressed. I wanted to take a picture of the rainbow, just to show others what I’d seen {remember, our cell phones didn’t have cameras back then!}.

My birthday was only days away and I decided it was the perfect time to initiate a personal exercise: take a picture of something beautiful each day for a year and write about it. I suspected it could contribute to my healing and created a very basic blog – a type of web site I’d only just learned about.  I called it One Year of Beauty.

Within weeks of starting, I was hearing from readers around the world who were inspired to find beauty in their everyday lives, too. They kept me accountable; had it not been for those early readers cheering me on, I probably would have quit on the days it felt impossible to find beauty. In the end, those turned out to be the most transformational days. Finding something good on a “bad” day was a rush. I was so glad I’d chosen to write something about each photo I posted because it forced me to really reflect and practice gratitude. What was so beautiful about a fallen leaf? Why did the sight of my child’s paint-covered hands make my heart skip a beat? How did I feel standing under a bright blue sky?

Over time, one beauty sighting a day multiplied into many. Though I continued to feature just one on the blog each day, I began to notice beauty everywhere I went – even in the midst of chaos. My therapist was floored by the changes in me. I would waltz into Jeanne’s office more eager to tell her about all the good things around me than the fear or sadness that occasionally {instead of always} reared its ugly head. During that first year of blogging, my search for everyday beauty – and the ability to post it for the world to see – gave me comfort, hope and a new perspective.  And the support I received from readers was the fuel that kept me going.
I’m fast approaching the fifth anniversary of my blog. It’s now called Choosing Beauty because I believe we each make a daily choice – whether conscious or not – to see or shun the beauty in our lives. It is there, waiting to be noticed, eager to inspire us and ready to comfort us. I learned this from my blog and it changed my life for good.

About Liv Lane

How To Build A Blog You Truly Love is a soul-stirring, blog-boosting e-course for anyone who longs to feel more inspired, excited and rewarded by their adventures in blogging. Led by inspirational speaker, radio personality and veteran blogger Liv Lane of Choosing Beauty, you'll be lovingly guided through an innovative process of self-reflection and in-depth learning. Over the six-week course, you'll develop your own unique blogging blueprint – designed to help you achieve sweet success and deep fulfillment for years to come. Plus, gain exclusive access to Liv's interviews with more than a dozen superstar bloggers on how they're rocking the blogosphere and livin' the dream.
Special: Sign up here for 20% off this six-week course (starting June 5th).  I'll be at this course both as a participant and a contributor!

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

rob white May 31, 2011 at 8:12 am

“Choosing Beauty” is a perfect and empowering name, Liv. Running away from our problems never works. Inevitably, they run into us, somewhere down the line. We must cast away old patterns of thought – don’t bemoan our problems and failures. We can always begin right now to engage in the choice of choosing beauty! I’ve noticed that the more I appreciate the more there is to appreciate – suddenly beauty is everywhere!
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Liv @ Choosing Beauty May 31, 2011 at 9:51 am

Thank you, Rob! It really is a daily choice and what I love is that ANYBODY can do it. Thanks for your insights!


Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

That’s it…it IS a choice!

And isn’t it very cool and awesome how that works – we choose to see beauty and to appreciate that which is around us…and it multiplies!!


Tom Volkar / Delightful Work May 31, 2011 at 9:01 am

Hey Liv, loved your story. Thanks for sharing it wholeheartedly. It reminds me that all good things come from a fully aware choice. I enjoyed reading about the expansion of you seeing beauty everywhere. Thanks for the inspiration.
Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s Last Fabulous Post ..How To Make Your Idea A Real BusinessMy Profile


Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:01 am

Liv really in filled with inspiration, and the story she shared here just truly highlights that.

It’s great to see you here today!


Lynn May 31, 2011 at 10:08 am

Choosing beauty – it’s there for all of us. How lovely that this was so transforming for you.
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Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:01 am

That’s it right there – we choose to see the beauty…and we’re transformed ourselves!! So, so awesome!


Keith May 31, 2011 at 10:21 am


I think one of the most powerful statements you made was when you were speaking of your blog :
“It’s now called Choosing Beauty because I believe we each make a daily choice – whether conscious or not – to see or shun the beauty in our lives.” That says so much. We do CHOOSE how we live, how we view life. If we cannot control what comes our way we can definitell control how we deal with it. Thank you for sharing your story Liv.

Lance, my man! You’ve done it again. What a wonderful guest today and with such a powerful story. Thank you!


Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:03 am

“Choose”: that one word is such a key. What are we choosing? And when we choose beauty, how awesome what it is that we see…right there in our daily lives!

Liv is a superstar…and it’s an honor having her here!! Thanks Keith!!!


Andrea (Sacred Suds) May 31, 2011 at 11:06 am

Liv, you are a continual inspiration. You are a living example of how to be present in the moment. I love your photo-a-day approach – what a simple, yet powerful way to be mindful every day of the miracles that surround us. Even if if we pause just a tiny moment to respect and appreciate a rainbow, or a leaf falling, the momentum of that appreciation carries through to everything else. Thank you so much for the reminders that it is within our power, it is our choice, to “see or shun the beauty in our lives.” I can’t wait to take your course!!!

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Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:07 am

First off…it’s great to “meet” you, and welcome!!!

And so awesome that you know Liv, and have been touched by her beauty!

I love how you have highlighted how this beauty can be something as small as just seeing a leaf falling. It’s reminding me that beauty doesn’t have to come all packaged up, or be grandiose. It’s right there, in front of us. And I’m seeing it right now, as I look out the windows at the purple buds on a small tree. Amazing…to see and know that this has just been created…

And…I’ll be seeing you in the course! Yay!!!!


Melody | Deliberate Receiving May 31, 2011 at 11:24 am

What a beautiful idea! I love it! And what a fantastic example of how what we focus on multiplies. As soon as you started looking for beauty, you began to see it all around. Bravo.

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Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:08 am

Yes!! It multiplies…whatever we choose to see. So, here’s to choosing to see the beauty, and then having that multiply in our lives!! Love it!!

Big hugs,


Hilary May 31, 2011 at 11:45 am

Hi Lance and Liv .. glad you posted the transcript .. and Liv I can see how the experience of blogging lifted you and continues to do so …. your experience must have been hugely shocking and no wonder depression and the blues set in.

We experience so many bloggers who have so many different heart wrenching tales, but who feel the encouragement of blogging souls around the world .. they are as you say a major source of life blood to our brain .. and the positive kick and support we need at times.

Blogging has certainly helped me along my continuing journey with my mother … but has opened new doors I didn’t know existed in me …

Lance – great guest .. and so good to have you back .. cheers for now to you both .. Hilary
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Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:53 am

So true…the amazing doors that are opened from blogging. And that’s above and beyond just the sense of joy we can get when we share from our hearts.

I’m sure this journey of yours has been touched by many, and has made the your time with your mother even that much more meaningful. And there is much, much beauty in that…

Hilary, thanks so much for being here!


Liv @ Choosing Beauty May 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Lance, you have built such a compassionate and uplifting community here. I can feel the love – thank you, all!

The many comments about our power to CHOOSE how we deal with every situation reminded me of a fave Wayne Dyer quote: “How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.” The same is true of life circumstances and events that are out of our control. If we stay stuck in the notion that life happens TO us rather than FOR us, we’ll always be playing the victim. No fun, right?? Big LOVE to each one of you today!
Liv @ Choosing Beauty´s Last Fabulous Post ..Knock Knock Whos There Great- Big Love 053111My Profile


Lance June 1, 2011 at 9:07 am

That word “choose” is something that’s been really highlighted in the comments, and is something that is really connecting here for everyone.

And I’m loving this – how you talked about how choosing to see the everyday beauty took you from a dark place to some place altogether more beautiful and happy. So, choosing beauty…is so, so fitting for what you have created.

Big, big love to you!!


Henway May 31, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I appreciate the message of seeing the beauty in everyday life, but sometimes it’s hard for me to do so when I look around and just see disappointment, and everyone just thinking about themselves. Noone takes things seriously such as friendship or love. People just want to do the least possible, and are after carnal pleasure.
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Lance June 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

You bring up a great point – there can be moments where we feel like “what’s the use, anyway”. And the thing is…even in these times where it feels bleak…our choices DO make a difference. We may not even be aware of it…about what we do and choose and feel – and how that can affect those around us. It does, though – just like those who choose to see the disappointment – and it affects us. And maybe this is baby steps into seeing beauty. Baby steps toward seeing the world in a whole new light…


rocky @ travel to india June 1, 2011 at 5:33 am

Nice post , Thanks for sharing with all.


Lance June 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

Thanks Rocky!


Tess The Bold Life June 1, 2011 at 7:39 am

Hi Liv and Lance,
I love the concept of choosing beauty. It reminds me of Macy Gray’s song, I see beauty every where.
Hubs has a conference in Vegas each August and I go with him for the week. I don’t gamble and tend to be very judgmental about most of what goes on there. Last year I decided before I left to enjoy myself and knock off the judgment. I practiced seeing beauty every where and in everyone. It was amazing how it changed my experience.

Lance…awesome video my friend!
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Lance June 1, 2011 at 9:19 am

Hi Tess,
I *love* that Macy Gray song!!! So…thank YOU for reminding me about that today! I’m going to listen to it in just a little bit!!

And thank you for sharing your story about Vegas. How do we choose to see others, right? And look at how everything shifted for you, just by the choices you made! Awesome!!

And – thanks on the video! It’s definitely a work in progress!!


Lance June 1, 2011 at 9:13 am

Thank you so much for sharing your very personal story, and how choosing beauty…in the every day…has changed your outlook on life and on living. It’s so true – what are we choosing? What am I choosing? And by those choices, so is our life…

I’m reminded of a favorite quote: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~ Viktor Frankl

We can always choose (even when we think we don’t have a choice)…even if that is just our attitude in any given moment (no matter how dark).

Liv, you are a beautiful and shining star of beauty, and I’m deeply grateful for your presence here.

Much love…always,


Liv @ Choosing Beauty June 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

Oh Lance – I would say you’re “too kind,” but I don’t think we can ever be too kind! So, thank you for your affirmations and for inviting me into this sacred space of yours. I’m loving being part of it and can’t wait to talk more during the e-course!!
Liv @ Choosing Beauty´s Last Fabulous Post ..Knock Knock Whos There Great- Big Love 053111My Profile


susan June 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

Hi Lance! Your story of personal healing thru blogging is dynamite! Seriously – and we are blessed that you started! As for Choosing Beauty – well, just beautiful! How many times do we “forget” there are choices about every darn little thing all day, every day, and starting the day out choosing beauty (I do wake up with abundant gratitude, pretty much the same thing I think) is just the best!

Tricky thing over all though. I am working with clients (as a nutritionist-food coach) and teaching people to choose something to consume that makes their CELLS happy indeed makes their health (and weight) improve. However, lots of struggles getting people to realize that very little they were eating really truly is FOOD. We are creatures of immediate gratification and oh well the diet starts tomorrow etc etc. Choose Beauty AND choose real food! (Sorry – had to throw this in, haha)


Lance June 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm

And as I write this comment, I’m eating some green peppers, carrots, and some fruit…and life is good (and beautiful)!! So – thank YOU for putting a plug in for real food!

Do I always eat this way?? No (although I do quite a bit). When I do, though, I just feel better (hmmm….maybe I really have to work on making this a habit)

Liv is a shining example of someone who has really embraced that which speaks to her, and in so doing – has created something deeply meaningful for her – and it IS beautiful…

Big hugs,


Naomi Estment June 1, 2011 at 9:49 am

Thanks for a fabulous post, Lance and Liv – and congrats on an awesome concept, as well as both of your blogging success so far!! I completely agree that it can be transformational, and that the key is to blog in accordance with your purpose. Way to go and all the best with your program!! I can already see it helping loads of bloggers 😀
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Lance June 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Hi Naomi,
Thanks!!! I really love this, because I know that my blog meant much more for me when I became more fully “in love” with it. And that’s been part of the journey…and a journey more deeply into that love…


Audra Krell June 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I love this authentic story of a fighter and someone willing to try. Very inspiring!
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Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Liv is a shining example of exactly the title of her site ~ Choosing Beauty. And it just emanates from her, both in written word and spoken word.

Thanks so, so much for being here!


Jody - Fit at 53 June 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I love these views people take! In fact, saw a segment about 1 lady’s year of fear & taking on something sh feared to do each day for a year – we all know how fear of failure can stop us in our tracks but I LOVE taking the look at beauty – since so many of us are so stressed that we rarely find time to do that… THX!
Jody – Fit at 53´s Last Fabulous Post ..Better Exercise Experience BEXMy Profile


Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm

And that’s it – when we become too busy or stressed or whatever – we can all too easily miss the beauty that is right around us. And so, what Liv has done – she’s made this just a deeper part of her consciousness…in choosing to see beauty EVERY day! I love it, too!! Thanks Jody!


Cathy | Treatment Talk June 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Sounds like a wonderful course. How refreshing to hear someone talk about their blog as a place they want to be. Finding beauty everyday and turning it into a blog sounds like the ultimate gratitude list. I like the technique on your video. Was it done through Skype?
Cathy | Treatment Talk´s Last Fabulous Post ..How Can Parents “Behave” Their Way to Good Parenting to Help Stop Substance AbusePart 2My Profile


Lance June 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Isn’t it wonderful!! And just look at Liv’s site – it shines beauty…and that’s beauty that I’m sure has deep and personal meaning to her!

Yes, the video was done through Skype – and the recording of it…well…the first time for both of us!!

Thanks for visiting, it’s great to have you here!


David Stevens June 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Hi Lance & Liv,
Thank you for sharing your story. The world really can be a beautiful place. Be aware of what surrounds you, often we take this for granted. There are times when we have to peel back some layers to find “the beauty”, but do it anyway.
Be good to yourselves


Lance June 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Yes!!! And…Yes!!!

We can all too easily take for granted what is right beside us…thinking there’s something greater (and more beautiful) over the horizon. And in that, we miss what’s right there all along. And sometimes that beauty is hidden…but, yes, it’s there!

Thanks David…great thoughts to go along with all of this!!


Giulietta Nardone June 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Hi Liv and Lance,

I love the idea of looking for beauty every day. You know the physical world seems to be the Garden of Eden to me. As a child I loved getting National Geographic so I could look at the pretty pictures of faraway places. If we were committed to beauty, we’d never hurt the Earth. I hope you can spread the celebration of beauty around the world. It might make folks think twice before doing ugly things to each other.

One of the most beautiful things ever is the inside of a flower! It’s a little piece of art, delicate yet intricate and free for anyone who stops galloping through life long enough to slow down and take a look at it.

I believe we’re taught to ignore the natural beauty around us and in us and look for artificial beauty. Otherwise, we’d all be outside all day and all night. I go out at night and look at the stars (lance, you might like my essay The Starry Night – I can send you the link if you like ) not many folks out there wishing on these twinkling beauties.

So many ways to unite the world through beauty!

Thx, G.

Best wishes for the class.
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Lance June 3, 2011 at 5:38 am

That’s such a wonderful thought – that if we’re committed to beauty, we would never hurt the earth! So, just by seeing the beauty in our every day, we love and care for this planet (and those who inhabit it) a bit more than we did before – and that is so, so awesome!

Yes, please do send a link to The Starry Night. I love to go outside and just gaze up at the stars, too. When I do, I just get this sensation that our world is so amazing and filled with wonder.

Thanks so much for being here, dear friend…


Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord June 3, 2011 at 10:38 am

You are incredible! Good for you, Liv, for changing your life around so consciously, and for inspiring many others along the way! I cannot imagine what your experiences eight years ago must have been like, but my gosh, to come clear on through to the other side and then some?! You’re made of tougher stuff than probably even you realized.
Like you, my blog changed my life but maybe not so radically. Sounds sort of like your blog “saved” your life (maybe that’s too strong a word). Through mine, I found deep, meaningful, love-filled friendships — and I’ve tried to meet, in-person, each of those friends so that our connections don’t start and end online. It’s been such an enriching experience.

Blessings of eternal joy and beauty to you!


Lance June 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Isn’t it so, so cool to see the power of the human spirit, and what IS possible! Liv exemplifies this in her choosing to see the beauty before her every day. And in that…how awesome that the light within her just shined brighter than ever!

Megan, even though you no longer write at your original blog, I am so, so blessed that you did. And I am because that brought us together, including that wonderful day we met, in person! (along with a very meaningful and special friendship…)

…peace, love, and all things beautiful…


Jean Burman June 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Hey… thanks you guys for this. Video blogging isn’t easy. I tried it when I launched DearDotCom. I think on some levels it scared people. Just a little. They had been used to reading me for four years and then all of a sudden… hey… there I was sitting there talking to them. It was a funny experience.. but one I will be repeating into the future on both blogs.

Liv… congratulations on your new ecourse. And go you! I hope it’s a huge success. I resonated with all you said… and concur that blogging is not easy without a strong personal focus and clear direction on which way to go. It takes time. And persistence. Especially given the blog platform… where meaninful feedback isn’t always given. No-one expects how hard that will be to keep producing [without an emotional return] and that’s why so many give up. So great you’re addressing the issues and helping people to see. Thanks for doing that.

Lance… dear friend. So great to hear you talk! I loved the video and hope you do more. Apologies for my lateness to this topic. It’s been a big week!
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Lance June 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

Ha!! Yes, video blogging can definitely pose some new challenges!! (and we discovered them!!)

And now you have me looking forward to your next video posts!! Woohoo! I’m excited!!

So true – when there is that emotional return, that makes blogging just connect more deeply. The thing is, that emotional return may take time to develop. Staying the course…can be challenging. When it’s meaningful though, there is so much reward in it (for blogging, or for whatever it is that brings meaning).

It’s super great (as always) having you here!!


Andrew Walker June 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I love your story, Liz. It’s great if you have found your way in blogging world. I am new in this battlefield. I have to learn a lot from the other bloggers. Thanks for sharing the inspiring story.
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Connie @ carpet cleaning grand rapids mi June 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

It is such an inspiring story! I totally agree that a blog can transform your life as well as those who have read your blog. For me, blogging may not only talk about business, it can also function to inspire others with what you have experienced and learned in life.


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