Recommitting To Me!

Lately, I have been feeling drawn to run. I have in the past had a love/hate relationship with running. I hate to do it but love to be able to do it. But let’s face it, if you have ever been a runner, it gets under your skin. When you aren’t going on runs, you can feel it trying to spur you on. You can hear the trail, ever so gently calling; “come run with me”.  I have been hearing the trail calling for months now and ignoring it. There are other ways I am being called to improve my health as well. I keep hearing my inner voice tell me to improve the quality of what I put in my body. So, I decided, now is the time. It is the time to recommit to me. 

I stopped running a few years ago when I hurt my knee training for a half marathon. I had procrastinated starting my training and then pushed very hard to get the speed and stamina I needed to finish in the required time. Once I knew I had injured my knee, I switched to biking and other ways to keep up my fitness, while resting my complaining joint. The weekend before the half marathon, I did a nice and easy 5K with a friend. All felt fine. It was during that next 1/2 marathon, at about mile 5 of 13, that the pain returned.  I did finish the 1/2 marathon (although not in the required time). Even though I was hurting, I made one more poor decision that ended my running, I ran a 5K again the next weekend. I tried to ignore what my body was telling me and pushed on and that was it. I have since attempted to get back into running a few times but my conditioning is just not what it once was. That and I can think of a million reasons why not to go for a run. It’s too cold, I am too busy or I don’t have the right shoes all work well. 

I have heard the call of my body. It is saying, “Stacy, take care of me”. It is pleading with me to stop drinking the diet soda I guzzle by the cases (even though I believe it is poison). My body is kindly requesting that I not drink wine. Not only by my physical form but also my spirit is screaming at me to get back out on the trail. Hiking, running, walking, climbing; it does not matter, just get out in the fresh air and go. Move your body! Get out of the basement and stop binge watch TV shows. The spirit that flows through me says there is more to life than that. I know this and it feels that now is the time to honor my life and  physical being. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I do take pretty good care of myself. I eat a vegetarian diet, limit my intake of processed sugar and fried foods. I look for natural or holistic treatments when possible. I seek balance, although this is one of the areas I need further work on. I am not good at resting. But I feel making these three changes will enhance my life and respect this meat suit that I have to wear for this lifetime. 

I was receiving healing at Heaven On Earth Healing. The practitioner used NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) to work with me. She had me visualize myself running. It was an interesting process and I had some profound “ah-ha” moments during it. Today I went for my first run in a few years. Last night I skipped my nightcap. Today I am drinking tea and not my usual soda. I am ready to recommit to myself. I am ready to treat my body with the same respect I give my mind and soul. 

I am not perfect, nor do I want to be. Where is the fun in that? I do want to be better. After all, isn’t that what this journey is about, doing better today than we did yesterday. Slowly making progress forward. So I recommitted to me. I answered the call of the pavement. I ran a very slow 2 miles but I am very proud of myself for doing it. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of a healthy and happy choices that seem easy to make. Recommit to yourself my friends. I love you. 

*The photo is my daughter and I at our first 1/2 marathon which we did together.

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The More Stressed the Vine the Better the Wine. 

Today Marty and I had the pleasure of attending a wine tasting with my friend. The lady wine expert, at the vineyard, happily told us about the wines and the growing process. She explain to us that they stress the plants because “…the more stressed the vine the better the wine.” I think this is a great metaphor for our development in life. 

When you hear the life stories of admirable people, they often had a rough start or very difficult lives. Some of my most amazing close friends, who now live wonderful and healthy lives, had huge past struggles and stresses that many of us cannot imagine. Like the story of the addict who has to hit rock bottom, but once they do, they completely turn their life around and never look back. 

When life’s hard and you are really feeling stressed ad tested, remember this quote. Remember that this stress is helping you to become a better version of yourself. Just as it takes pressure to turn coal into a diamond. That stress and pressure are there to help you to transform. To help you become an even better version of yourself. 

At this time in my life, by my choices, I am currently very stressed and horribly busy. I work a full time job, that is more than a little demanding. I volunteer as the admin for the local Buy Nothing group. I am writing blogs, getting book proposals ready to submit, participating in Toastmasters and functioning as their club secretary. Add to that rehabbing a rental property with my husband, helping our children and making time for our grandchildren. My job requires travel, so I am gone about 4 days a week. There is a lot of stress to do a lot and to do it well. Sometimes the pressure seems overwhelming. How do I get through it all? How do I find the gumption to keep going? I try to remind myself that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. I pick one task and work to get that accomplished and move forward. Even during a period of stress, keep moving to grow the best fruit possible. You might just find you are amazed at what you can accomplish. 

It is like when Emy and I go to the boundary waters. It has not been easy. There has been a lot of work, stress, and pressure involved. The process of sticking with it and keeping one foot moving in front of the other, has helped us continue to evolve in our skills out there in the wilderness. It has taught us how much we are capable of and given us a new sense of pride and self worth. All of the hard work is totally worth it. It makes for an awesome trip. That is why we keep going back. You may think that the BWCA is a fun thing we go and do, and you would be correct. You may not see how something so fun is at all the same as the stress and demand of everyday life. I want to remind you that fun is a state of mind and It can all be fun. No matter what you are doing, if your attitude is right.

So when it all feels like too much, take a deep breath, and remember the fruits of your labor will be all the sweeter, once you overcome the current stress and pressure. 

Thank you or reading my blog today. I wish you a life full of sweet rewards as a result for journeying on. 

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Don’t Give Up!

Yesterday my husband and I hiked a very difficult trail. It was rated as moderate to difficult. It has been a cold and snowy winter in Minnesota and we have been hibernating . We have not done our usual 10,000 steps a day, but instead been watching TV (which is a rare thing for us to do). Our fitness level is not what it has been over the last couple of years. We have a never say die attitude though and believe that there is nothing that we can’t do. So we took this and applied it to Rattlesnake Ledge Trail. 

Rattlesnake Ledge Trail is a 4 mile round trip trek up a mountain. You climb up 1,175 feet of elevation to a view point that overlooks the Rattlesnake Lake. There are many switch backs that make the climb not as steep as it once was. This is not to say that it is an easy climb any means. There were spots along the trail that were so steep it was almost more like climbing a ladder than walking on a trail.  

It’s a popular hiking trail though, where we were passed by many happy and fit people. There were people of all shapes, sizes, and ages. One young man who was hiking it in dress shoes made it look easy. He passed us four different times. When we told him he made it look easy ,he said it was because he was taking it slow. This struck me as funny since he kept passing us. We saw a mother carrying a baby, a lady carrying her puppy, as well as elderly folks making the climb. 

We were probably about an hour and a quarter into our hike when it became very steep. This was the part of the path that earned it the “difficult” rating. This truly showed me that I have not been treating my body the way it deserves and I need to be better. When we hit the steepest parts, I would climb about three yards along the path and be so winded, I had to stop. I wanted to turn around and go back. Inside, my mind, I was screaming for me to stop. That inner justifier was saying you can go back and have more time to enjoy your Airbnb. You do not need to keep going. No one will judge you. But I had told myself I will do this, that I can do this, and I would be disappointed with myself if I didn’t do this. So I ignored that inner voice that just wanted to stop and forged on. 

IMG_7591The climb, though hard, was full of beautiful scenery. Trees so tall they take your breath away. Cute little wild flowers that added a splash of color. We tracked on about another 15 minutes when my husband verbalized what I had been thinking. “I feel like I just want to stop and turn around” he said. Well nothing brings out my inner cheerleader like hearing someone else want to quit. I suddenly was very positive about our success. I kept telling him how “Creps don’t give up”.  We could and would do this. We would be so disappointed in ourselves if we didn’t. We continued to plod along up the mountain, to a promise of a breathtaking view. 

The inner cheerleader in me lost strength after a bit and I began to question my sanity. I asked Marty repeated if he wanted too stop and turn around. I worried about how sore our bodies would be the next day. Marty was now motivated and his never let go attitude was in full out determination mode. On we went. 

As some other hikers were descending, we asked how much farther. The lady told us we were very close. The man said what we thought was 40 minutes. Could I really keep going another 40 minutes. Yes, we were going to do this. No matter what. On we went. Suddenly we round the corner on a switchback and could see light coming through the trees. I am pretty sure I heard trumpets blowing and confetti was falling.  As we climb the final few steps to the rocky ledge top, one of the hikers, who had passed us earlier, said (with some surprise in his voice), “Hey, you made it”. We felt exactly the same way and told him so. We had made it! Our lungs burned, our legs were wobbly with fatigue, and sore muscle would welcome us the next day but we had made it. Despite all the screaming in our heads to quit! Despite the fact that it took us twice as long to climb it as we expected (2 hours vs the 1 hour promised on the sign), we had made it. 

I climbed out on the edge of the ledge and sat down even closer to the giant drop off. I have always been afraid of heights but on this day I was Queen of this mountain! Looking over the sheer drop off did not bother me (much).  I sat there, amongst the clouds,  overlooking the valley. I could see the parking lot, next to the lake, below were we had started from. Wow, we did this!

When things seem to be taking longer than you would like, when your inner voice is yelling at you to give up, just keep going. Sometimes you cannot see the light through the trees that promise success, but it is close at hand. You might just round the next corner and see the light. Suddenly, without warning, you will be at your destination and  have achieved your desired outcome. 

Voyage on my friends. Thank you for reading my blog today. May all of your journeys end with success and pride! I love you! You can do this! 

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Do You Believe in Trolls?

Albert Einstein said,”Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” Imagination is a wonderful thing. My husband and I are in Seattle, traveling and exploring the Pacific Northwest. This is one of my favorite parts of the country. Today we went to Fremont and saw the troll under the bridge. It reminds me of my childhood.

 IMG_6874When I was a child, my grandmother used to tell me the story of 3 Billy Goats Gruff. I was always so nervous for the Billy Goats. Afraid that the troll would come out from under the bridge and eat them up. I was so relieved when they would outsmart him and get safely across the bridge. It was a great story to let you know, as a small child, that you could overcome things that seemed bigger and stronger than you with cunning and creative thinking. 

I find that traveling is a great way to embrace your creativity as well. You can imagine what it must be like to live in the area. Think about what it was like long years ago when only the indigenous people were here. I find myself wondering if perhaps Bigfoot really does lurk in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest amongst the Hemlock, Douglas Firs, and Aspen trees. 

We decided that this trip really should be an adventure, so we booked several quirky places to stay that include an Airstream, yurt, and an little cabin in the woods. This is further sparking our imagination and allowing us to dream. What great originality our hosts had to offer such unique experiences. 

The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before. ~ Neil Gaiman

Imagination is not just for children. It is for all of us. It is fun, it gives life a spark that it just doesn’t have, if you don’t allow yourself to dream. Dream big, dream often, and dream in a way that might just change the future, even if it seems to be in a small way. Think about the artists that created the troll under the bridge in Seattle. This creative project has attracted people to the neighborhood to see the troll. Children look in awe and then with a gleam in their eye, run and climb all over him, while parents snap pictures with delight. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. Dream my friends. Dream in big ways and in small ways. Allow your imagination to sore. Blessings. 

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Sisterhood

l love my male friends, but there is something special about female friends. This week my life has been full of the beauty of sisterhood. There is an extraordinary quality to the relationships of woman. An ease of understanding; an ancestral community of healers, caretakers, and nurturers. Some woman have forgotten this bond. Some women look for enemies in other woman. I encourage you, if you are one such woman, to look for the good in your sisters. I hope you can seek to understand why their journey has made them who they are and find respect for them, even if you do not agree with them. 

I look around me and see my life is full of smart and capable female friends and family. This week I have supported one amazing woman who has turned her life around and continues to do so in miraculous ways.  Another friend needed encouragement to continue to walk a difficult journey. I watch a dynamic millennial blow the competition out of the water at a speech contest. A friend called and gave me encouragement to continue on a new creative project I am working on. I see other woman making their dreams come true and I am inspired. 

We must, as woman, band together and support each other. Celebrate the successes and cry over the losses. Together we are stronger than we are as individuals. Together we can make the world a better place. Together we will nurture the children to become fine adults, we will plan for a better tomorrow, we will mend the broken and heal the sick. We will encourage the forlorn and help the lost find their way. 

Let’s look at being a woman as a super power. Let’s see our strength. Let’s gather our emotions around us and see how they do not make us weaker but make us stronger. Let us not step on the backs of other women to get to the top but rather take turns pulling each other up to the top. 

I love you my sisters! I am here rooting you on. Your success is success for us all. My success is your success. We are a community of powerful women. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a feeling of sisterhood, community, and love! 

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I Wanna Help!

I am involved in a lot of stuff. I mean really, a lot of stuff! I work hard and I play just as hard. At work, home, and with various things I am involved in, I find myself volunteering or being ask to volunteer to take on more and more. I find it difficult to say, “no”. I wanna help and I want to make my corner of the world a better place.

That is why Emy and I wrote the 3 books. Yes, we have both felt the call to write since we were young girls. I have always know that somehow, in someway, I would eventually be an author. But, Lessons Through Joy, Lessons Through Forgiveness, and Lessons Through Magic were written with a genuine desire to help others. It is a part of the calling to make the world a better place. That same desire, swirling inside my soul, is what drives me to write this blog. It is what pushes me to get something posted 3-5 times a week. I want to help people. I want to make the world a better place.

That same desire is why I go speak to high school students and share my story of placing a child for adoption. I want to share with them an option. When I was young and not prepared to support and raise this child, that was growing inside of me, I had to make/find my own options. By sharing my story, hopefully I can help some other teen see there are other ways to give your child a good life.

My desire to help is why I am the administrator for my local Buy Nothing group. Have you heard of Buy Nothing? It is a movement to keep items out of the landfills and build community by neighbor giving to neighbor. When I first heard of this, I thought the concept was brilliant. Sadly, my neighborhood didn’t have a group. This bothered me; it was simply not acceptable. So I contacted Buy Nothing and offered to be the administrator for my area. It is one more way I can help make my little corner of the world a better place.

I do it at work too. When I see something that needs to be worked on, I often volunteer for the project. I want the company I work for to be a better place also. I want to help things be smooth and easy for others who work there. It is one more way I try and make the world a better place.

I joined Toastmasters last fall to try and make myself a better speaker but I found it was a place I could share important messages also. I try to write speeches for my little group that can help them or that they can share with others. Important messages about loving yourself as is and how forgiveness can improve your life.

I couldn’t take care of the world around me without taking care of my friends and family. So I try to be available as a shoulder to cry on, ear to listen, helping hand when needed. My husband and I worked hard to renovate our own home and now a home for our daughters. We are also using this work to providing encouragement and lessons on being the best version of himself to our teenage son. We want to make the world a better place by helping him grow into the kind of man who will stop and pick up litter on the street, help an elderly neighbor shovel snow or haul in groceries, smile at strangers, and give without selfishness. We spend hours with our grandchildren, helping them to also grow into caring people and build lasting memories for both them and us of play, creativity, and love.

With all of these efforts (and more not mentioned here) to help the world around me, it is easy to get bogged down and feel pressured and feel like I do not have enough time for me. Somehow, I manage. I do feel badly when I have to turn down a request or a project either at work or through some other avenue, but if I do not take a minute here or there for myself, I will be tapped out and not able to continue to give the best of myself. Half an effort is not good enough for me. If I am going to take something on, I need to know I can always give it the best of myself.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you have healthy happy boundaries.

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9 Way to Improve Back Pain

Many people suffer from back pain. For some it is a chronic condition; for others, it is an occasional occurrence after a strenuous day or twisting the wrong way. It can be debilitating and western medicine does not always have the answers. There are many holistic options to treat back pain that are surely worth a shot as an alternative to narcotics, living with pain, or considering surgery. Here are some of my favorites. 

  1. Frankincense essential oil – I love this essential oil for so many things. Rubbing it on the bottom of your feet can provide miraculous relief from chronic back pain. 
  2. Ice – When I first started having back pain I always went to heat. Ice seemed intolerable. Once I tried ice, I knew I would never go back to heat. The problem with heat is that it increases blood flow into and out of the area. This can cause the inflammation in the area to become worse. Ice decreases swelling. It has made such a difference for me. At the first indication of any back pain I am reaching for the ice pack. Just remember not longer than 20 minutes.
  3. Yoga – The stretching and various poses Yoga has to offer can be great for back pain. There are Yoga kriyas or sets that are specifically formulated for back health. They help get the spinal cord moving, can help compress excess fluid out of the disks, and stretch bunched up muscles. Plus the meditative aspects of Yoga can help to provide over all calming, which can relax those tight muscle in the back. 
  4. Massage – Knots and tight muscles can cause a lot of discomfort in the back and the skills of a massage therapist can really work them out and help provide relief from the pain. 
  5. Acupuncture– If you have never tried this, I highly suggest it! I find it so relaxing. I know that sounds crazy but it provides a sense of calm I do not get from other modalities. The needles help increase circulation and chi to the areas of pain. I am not an acupuncturist but I am sure someone with the qualification could explain this better than I can. I know it works for my back pain. 
  6. Chiropractic – There are many different times of chiropractors out there. If you chose to seek this treatment, do your homework and ask questions. One type of Chiropractor may not be right for you while another may be very beneficial. Some Chiropractors use a tool called an “activator” while others uses their bodies to adjust yours and still others have tables that help to make the adjustments. There are also Chiropractors who work more energetically and with your breath. 
  7. Mantras – Louis L Hay felt that our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves cause the illness in our body. In her book, Heal Your Body A-Z, she has mantras for upper, middle, or lower back pain. This is another thing I have done to find my bodies own ability to heal itself. It is something you can try that won’t break the bank and puts the trust in your own body to heal itself. “I trust in the process of life. All I need is taken care of. I am safe.” is her mantra for lower back pain. For other types of back pain, check out her book. 
  8. Strengthen your core – There are lots of ways to do this. Crunches is one that we hear about a lot but there are many resources or personnel trainers out there who could help you with this. A stronger core means there are more muscle to help your back hold you up. 
  9. Turmeric– It helps reduce inflammation.  When I was doing my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training it was strenuous, with back to back days of full day yoga instruction. One blessed yogi would bring us golden milk to help our sore bodies. Golden milk is almond milk, Turmeric, and Honey. The anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric helped us get through the growing we were doing physically, while our mind and spirits continued to be enhanced but the yoga. 

I hope you are able to give some of these a try. I hope that they are beneficial to you. If you have other tips for people suffering from back pain please share. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a day filled with flexibility and ease.

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