My Journey with Loopiethotamus- Pursuing Your Dreams

Loopiethotamus at Book Signing at Salem Church Library 32412

Loopiethotamus at Book Signing at Salem Church Library 32412God created Loopiethotamus for me back in July 2006 when my life was turned upside down. I was blinded by unspeakable fear and filled with so much anxiety and inner turmoil. At the time, I didn’t know God had given this gift to me because, for one, I didn’t have a relationship with God; and second, I didn’t understand who I was to God. I didn’t believe in any of it at all. I didn’t know how to believe in it. However, as my relationship with God developed more and more, I began to appreciate the greatness that was placed onto my lap. In July 2006, the idea of Loopiethotamus was just a mere notion, a fleeting thought. He was created based off of my purebred blue Chihuahua Loopie that I had at the time. I purchased my Chihuahua in February 2006, in all honesty, because I needed something to cling to. With my mental capacity being challenged, and just feeling so desperate to move forward, I felt I needed something to take the pressure off. My Loopie at the time gave me a sense of normalcy. Now, I realize that nothing can heal the inward wounds of our lives, but Jesus. However, as Loopiethotamus began to come together, I believe, I was able to grow within myself. God allowed me to tap into the creativity He placed on the inside of me in the midst of utter confusion.

There have been some bumps in the road with Loopiethotamus and I. I wrote the first story in August 2006 and it took me two years to write the second story. I had the first story thrown all over the place- in my kitchen drawer, in my dresser, in my night table drawer. My husband would push me to write more, but my heart wasn’t in it then. I couldn’t see the blessing before my eyes.

When I think about the roads I’ve had to take in this journey, there have been a lot of them. From developing the story, to developing the character, to developing his suit, to developing his family, to developing his motto, to understanding what he means to me, to understanding how he would be portrayed to the public. Everything came in stages. The stages have been great because now I get to look back and think, “Wow, look how far I’ve come!” And not just with Loopiethotamus, but also within myself. If things would’ve come easy, there would be no true gratitude and no true growth.

There have been so many people God has brought my way that see my vision and want to help it come into fruition. I thank God for these people because I’ve learned over the past few years that we cannot make a dream come true on our own. It takes a lot of heartfelt collaboration. There are so many people I will have to thank when I accept an award for Loopiethotamus at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards one day. They’re going to begin playing that silly music for me to get off the stage!

Loopiethotamus has now become a reality and I am no longer afraid to dream. The first dream was writing more than one book; now there are a total of 22 books written!  The second dream was to see my character illustrated. God granted me that dream come true in September 2010 when He found my illustrator that brought Loopiethotamus to life on paper from my innermost vision.  The third dream was to have one book published; now there have been three books published since March 2011! In the midst of everything that was happening in my life, the ups and the downs, the twists and the turns; God also allowed for His perfect timing. He allowed for my son to be born so I could dedicate him in my first book. I couldn’t imagine any element of my dreams coming true without my son being an intricate part of it.

I thank God that I am actually able to see the pursuit of my dreams coming true. I believe they will all come true, but I also realize that God is orchestrating everything and I’m okay with that because when we allow Him to orchestrate, we are able to witness the most perfect symphony ever created! Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans for your good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

I will tell anyone that has a dream to keep at it. Never give up! It is so easy to sit on your dreams and not believe they will come true, but that is a lie. Dreams, awesome dreams, do take time, but when you work hard and believe in yourself, anything is possible! When you keep God first and include Him in all facets, your dreams will soar to places you’ve never imagined. It all starts with just one thought, one concept, one idea and then…BOOM…BANG…ZOOM!! You never know how the wind may blow… God bless you and all of your dreams, big and small.

~To support local author, Ayana Sala Baugh of the children’s book series, “Loopiethotamus, the Chihuahua Who Thinks He is a Hippopotamus,” you can purchase books and/or send her a comment on her website: Loopiebooks.com.  You can email her at Ayana@Loopiethotamus.com and/or LIKE Loopiethotamus on Facebook.com/Loopiethotamus.  She is also available for speaking engagements, school and public author visits, book readings, book fairs, and/or self-publishing advice.


cloudsThe imagination is a terrible thing to waste!! When you tap into the colors of your imagination, you'll find so many wonderful dreams and endeavors. I have come to understand that my imagination is precious. At one point, I believe I lost a part of my imagination. As a child, I was forced to see and experience things that no child should have to experience. Innocence was taken away from me. Unfortunately, this happens far too often with children. They're stripped of their child-like innocence. Reality sets in and they forget how to dream. Thank God, He created Loopiethotamus for me in 2006. Who ever thought a Chihuahua and a Hippopotamus would ever cross paths??? Then in 2009, God created my son Elijah. Elijah's imagination intertwines with mine. With these two wonderful entities, I am able to feed my imagination each day.

I love thinking outside of the box and coming up with ideas for my books. I love to see the smiles on children's faces when they hear a Loopiethotamus story. They laugh at some of the "out of this world" stuff I've come up with and it just makes my heart swell up with love. The questions they ask are something else too! Creativity is an awesome thing! It allows you to explore the innermost parts of your being!!

We need to teach our children that it's okay to dream. It's okay to imagine beyond the stars! And it's okay to create something from nothing!!! When our stamp is on something that no one else has thought about, it shows uniqueness. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made of God. He has given to each of us a level of creativity and imagination.

Imagination=Dreams=Creativity!! Dare to Be Hipp-O!!!

The Miracle in Finding My Illustrator


When I finished writing the first book and felt it was time to have it illustrated, my husband told me he would do it. This was back in 2007. My husband tried to draw the character, but I had it in my head how I wanted the character to look. I always knew he would have to be cute and adorable. I always knew Loopiethotamus would be wearing a hippo suit with a zipper and his initial “L” would be hanging from his zipper. My husband decided it was time for us to search for an illustrator.I prayed about it and heard the Holy Spirit tell me to continue writing and an illustrator would come. So I did just that. I continued writing and a few weeks later my husband suggested I go onto a website called Elance.com where freelance artists request work. My friend Nicole and I went onto the website and posted the job of illustrating my book. About thirty illustrators applied for the job. I checked out all of their work and was blown away by the illustrations done by artist Mike Swaim. There was this one drawing he had done with a duck in a pond at night with twinkling stars in the sky. I always remembered picturing Loopiethotamus under the stars. I chose Mike and our connection started from there.

Mike and I talked a lot about what I wanted out of the illustrations. I found that he was easy going and always available to answer any questions or concerns I may have had. He drew the rough sketches of Loopiethotamus and my heart almost leaped as I saw my beloved character that I had inside of me for five years coming to life. Everything that I ever hoped for in Loopiethotamus was being formed.

I always write out all of my illustrations for my books before giving it all to my illustrator to illustrate for me. He draws them in the way that I request, but always manages to add little touches to them and I really love that. My illustrator Mike and I are in sync with one another and I think in all aspects of your life it’s really important to make sure things flow well.

I am so blessed to have found such a wonderful illustrator in Mike Swaim and I look forward to working on many more projects with him. It is so critical to never give up on what you want and to strive hard to make your dreams come true. In believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, I know He will help me to attain the dreams and goals I have for myself and He will do more in seeing them come to life right before my eyes.