Nature Will Always, ALWAYS Take Back What Is Hers

Have you ever noticed that when humans step away from things, Mother Nature is quick to say “Ok, I’ll take that back”. Sometimes she even takes it back before we might be ready to give it up. This thought has occurred to me several occasions over the last year or so. In the end, all that we think is ours, (including our bodies) will belong to Nature once again. IMG_1612

Have you seen where a store has closed and no-one has gone into the parking lot for awhile? It doesn’t take long before there is all kinds of green grass and weeds growing up through the blacktop. I tried to look up how long it would take for New York City to revert to nature if humans disappeared. The answer was not as easy as I thought it might be. Somethings would happen rather quickly like wildlife returning, vegetation growing up, and things starting to decompose. Within 10 years Nature would definitely have an eco-system functioning quite well within the city. Give it another 50 years, 100 years or 200 years  and it would be nothing more than ruins among the wilderness.

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Sometime the human race doesn’t even need to step back. Sometimes Mother Nature decides she wants something back and will force herself on a certain area until once again it is hers. Sometimes we can do something about this; like fill in a sink whole, rebuild after an earthquake, or divert water to another course. Other times there is nothing we do can to persuade the natural world to give us back what we “think” is ours. IMG_6458

When you really think about it, if Mother Earth decided that she was no longer going to tolerate us, and wanted to take back all that we think is ours, there is not a thing we can do to stop her. Have you been through a natural event? Hurricane, tornado, flood or earthquake? Have you ever truly seen the power of nature? Have you been there when she swoops in fierce and angry? There is nothing we can do to stop her when she is like this? DSC_0231

Even when she is not full of turmoil and destruction, even when we think we are living in harmony with her, she is slowly taking back what is hers. It is only through our constant maintenance, presence, and a pushing back, that we maintain a delicate hold on our corners of the world.

So the next time you see a crack in the sidewalk filled with “weeds”,  an IMG_2702abandon building that is over run by vines, or the pigeons sitting on the head of your favorite statue; realize that this is Mother Nature. Patiently waiting for her opportunity to take back what was once hers, alone. Remember to thank her and offer her blessings for allowing us to coexist with her. Respect her and try your best to take care of her and the creatures that are part of her. Keep in mind that she could wipe us from the face of the earth at a moments notice, if she so chose to. Nature will always win in the end. She will always take back what is hers.

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Thank you for reading my blog today. May you easily and happily coexist with Nature, as if by magic.

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The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia

I have been fortunate enough to see the Coliseum in Rome. Coming from a country where all the architecture is brand new in comparison to Europe, I am always awed to walk in something built so long ago.  The trip to Rome was on our honeymoon. My husband and I were walking along the streets when suddenly, there it was. This huge ancient structure rising up out of the city. It seems so out-of-place with traffic lights blinking and delivery vans zooming by. But there it was, none the less. Giant and majestic and so old it boggles my mind.

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Colosseum  Rome, Italy

The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia is small in comparison to the Roman one. It is still well worth a visit though and has some very interesting things to offer.

Doing some research on the Theater at Pula, I learned it is thought to be the most intact of Roman theaters. Another fascinating thing, about the one in Pula, is that it is still being used as a Theater today. Concerts and film festivals are held there routinely.  It is still fulfilling its original purpose of entertaining the people. Thankfully, we no longer watch Gladiators destroy one another, but people still flock through the entrance anticipating a great show.

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Roman Theater – Pula, Croatia

When we traveled to Croatia, there was one main purpose. This is the country that my husband’s family originated from on his Father’s side and our purpose in visiting was connected to that. We brought my stepson along, thinking what an excellent opportunity for him to see and experience his roots. I was reading a guidebook, my mother-in-law had loaned us for the trip. When I happened across the mention of this Roman Theater.  We adjusted our plans and added several hours of driving, in order to make the track to this part of Croatia, to see something history left behind for us.

It was well worth that drive. The setting sun painted the theater again and again, changing its appearance.

We sat where crowds of people sat and were entertained by events of days gone by.

IMG_6272We Walked where Gladiators had walked, pumped up for the battles they were about to fight.

We were surrounded by shadows of the past and hope for a bright future.

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Even having seen the Colosseum in Rome, which is bigger and more famous, the Roman Theater at Pula was well worth the drive. It was a visit that I will relive in my memories. and I am glad that my 14-year-old stepson was also able to experience something so old. Hopefully it will live on in him, inspiring creativity, dreams, and the promise of future adventures to come.

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Thank you for reading my blog today! May you find yourself on adventures and experience snapshots of history, as if by magic.

** Thank you to SydneysByDesign for doing photo editing to a couple of these photos. Your work is breathtaking!

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The Most Beautiful Place I Have Ever Been; Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

When we were planning our trip to Croatia, I was very excited to be able to visit this park full of waterfalls. I was sure it was nice but I had no idea how breathtakingly beautiful this visit would be. I have loved waterfalls since I saw my first one in Ireland. I now try an see them every chance I can get. I have heard that there is healing energy that is released by the cascading water. If you have ever stood near a large waterfall, I’m sure you have felt the energy it releases.

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I feel my words cannot adequately share with you the beauty of this park. Please enjoy my pictures with the hope that they might give you at least a little glimpse of the amazing glory of this place on earth. If you get the chance to visit, go! I suggest trying an early morning visit as this park is very popular and very large.

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The color of the water is breathtaking. From some quick internet research it seems limestone deposits are to credit for the stunning color of the water.

The water is also crystal clear too. My stepson’s quick eyes noticed this boat sunk under the clear water, pushed up against edge by the flow of the water, trapping it there for us to discover.

Of course, the beauty of this natural world is not without it’s dangers. This park is full of cliffs with drops-offs and some caves that offer fun climbs for the brave.

This park is dazzling because nature made it so. The park is also full of thoughtful walkways made to blend in gracefully with the lovely natural surroundings.

Veliki Slap or Big Waterfall brought me to tears when I saw it and I am not a person easily moved to tears. The magnificence of this fall did, what few things have done before.

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I have traveled a lot and I have been to many amazing places both natural and manmade. It will take a lot for this place to be dethroned as the most beautiful place I have been.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May your life offer you adventures to beautiful places, that take your breath away, as if by magic.

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OMG! Read This Book! It will take you places you didn’t know you need to go. (An update on my Complaint Free Adventure)

A recent post from a FaceBook Friend set me off on a journey I didn’t know I needed to go on. My other blog, Can You Go 21 Days in a Row Without Complaining?, explains the journey and how I found myself on it. Until I started this adventure, I had no idea how much I complained. Until I read the book, I did not correlate how complaining and focusing on what I did not want to happen, was stealing from me the opportunity to live my dreams.

I am about 2 weeks into my “Complaint Free World” Adventure. I’ve been using my cute little happy turtle bracelet to switch back and forth on my wrist every time I complain. The articles suggested this action as a way of bringing my complaining to my attention. I thought I could easily whip through the 21 days and be off to my next adventure. Nope. After 2 weeks I am still on day 1. Because I am struggling so much with this challenge, I decided to buy Will Bowen’s book, A Complaint Free World; How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted.

This book has taught me so much.

1 I am not alone in the fact that I complain “way” more than I realized.

2 I modeled this for my children and taught them to complain, as they grew up, without ever realizing it.

3 It is robbing me from living my dreams.

4 Complaining is contagious.

5 It does make for easy conversation starters.

6 I have a lot of work to do to become the best me I can be.

These are just a few of the lessons I have learned from reading the Will’s book. I felt it was necessary for me to read the book because I was wondering what was wrong with me that I could not make it “one day” without complaining. It was a comfort to me that even the author of the book, as well as most other people who go on this journey, find getting through one whole day complaint free, a struggle.

I continue to push on towards living a complaint free existence. I will continue switching my bracelet back and forth until the day I notice it has rested, undisturbed, on the same wrist for a whole day. I will then work towards going another and another day until I break this habit of complaining.

I am currently at the stage where I am starting to become aware of my complaints. Hopefully, soon, I will enter the stage where I stop them before they even cross my lips. Luckily, no switch of the bracket is required for unspoken complaints. I will strive to live my great grandmothers advice. “If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all”, she would tell us.  Ura McGurran was so wise.  I am human; a work in progress that is striving towards practicing what I preach and in search of living my dreams.

I did decide to go to Will’s website and purchase the purple bracelets he sells for this challenge. I have been using my cute little turtle bracelet but, after hearing how many people broke brackets switching them back and forth, I decided a purple silicone bracelet would be a great idea. I really like my little turtle bracelet.

Will you join me on this adventure? Will you walk this journey towards a Complaint Free World with me? I hope so but make sure you bring a lot of bracelets if you do.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find yourself moving easily in the direction of your dreams, as if by magic.

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Regrets; Looking Back on the Life You Have Left Behind

I have always tried to live my life in such a way that I have no regrets. Recently, someone told me that I will regret living my life the way I currently am. They feel that I will regret traveling so much and not spending more time with family. It gave me pause to reflect on my life and choices. Will I have regrets in the future?

As I reflected on my life so far, there are 3 things that came to mind that perhaps I wish I had made different choices. One was a high school friendship that fell apart related to my ego. I have since found this person and apologized. I no longer regret this, as I believe all things happen for a reason and they help us learn and be better people. The second thing is a stepdaughter, who I wish I would have fought to raise when I heard she was in foster care. I was divorced from her father at that time and although I considered fighting for her, I was really not in a place in my life where I could have taken her on and provided her with the life she deserved. I also have since found her and apologized. She easily forgave me and told me her life was going well. Once again, everything happens for a reason and perhaps the journey she walked help form her into the wonderful person she is today.

The final regret I have in my life still haunts me to this day. I wish I had stuck up more for my children. Don’t get me wrong; I fought the school systems, volunteered as a Girl Scout leader, scrimped so that they could be involved in more things and have experiences. I worked hard to be a really good mother and advocate for them out in life. But at home, when their step-father had a very different parenting style than I did, I didn’t have enough self-confidence that my way was the right way and to speak up. I allowed him to set the tone for our house. I do regret that I did not stand up better for my daughters at home. I think they are wonderful mothers and women and hope that these earlier life experiences are what helped form that “will” to overcome barriers in their lives. My hope is that, my not having enough self-confidence to stand up and speak up for what I believed in, made them stronger. This is the one part of my history that still haunts me when I look back on my life thus far. I have healed from the experiences and now have the confidence to stand up and tell others what I believe and why.

Being told that I will regret living my life and traveling, instead of staying home to spend all of my free time with family, gives me pause. Because I intentionally try to live a life free from regrets, I cannot simply let this comment pass without reflecting on it. I have worked most of my career as a nurse caring for the elderly and those on hospice. I saw countless people and couples who waited to take the trip until they were retired or until they had “enough money” (however much that is). Then one of them would get sick and those dreams would die with them. The trips were left untaken and those dreams never reached. Their money went to pay for medical care. I don’t want that to be my story.

I want to find balance in my life. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. I enjoy doing things with them. We try having a family meal once a week. There are times when I am not home, because of my job or a trip I am taking, and I am unable to make the weekly family meal. But when I am home it is a wonderful get together. Holidays are spent with family as well. My Family has grown and spread out, so it is not always possible for me to spend holidays with “all” of my family. I have daughters, grandchildren, parents, a brother, a niece and nephew, and a whole other set of family with my in-laws. Decisions and compromises must be made. I do love my family in a very big way!

I feel that traveling also makes me a better person. I get to see and experience the ways that other people live. I see that our way is not always the right way to do it. There are other ways to accomplish the same things. I learn through my travels. I have fun and feel fully alive when I travel. I know that I need to travel to be fully me. It feeds my soul. Perhaps there will come a time in my life when traveling is no longer the right choice for me. Right now though, I feel I must travel.

I appreciate that this person felt brave and comfortable enough with me to share their opinion on my life choices and how it may affect me in the future. It was not something easily dismissed. I caused me to reflect on what they had said. It caused me to think about my family. I reflected to things my parents and grandparents did before me. Those wise ancestors who I came and learned from, made choices about their lives too. Did they regret the choices they made? I don’t know. I do know that I am responsible for my life and my choices. I will continue to work to find a healthy balance between time with family and living my life the way my soul is calling me to live.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find perfect balance in your life, as if by magic.

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Croatia; A Visual Journey Through a Country of Splendor

My husband, stepson, and I recently journeyed to Croatia. This country was such a surprise to me. I found a country full of rich heritage, natural beauty, and kindness. I had first heard of it a few years ago when another friend traveled there to learn his family’s heritage. I had no idea what to expect. Through this blog, I would like to share some photos of this beautiful land. 

I must tell you, I thought writing an “photo” blog would be an easy shortcut to getting a blog done. That turned out to not be the case at all. There are just so many lovely photos to chose from and so much I want to share with you about Croatia, I decided I will have to do a short series to share even a handful of the photos and the experiences with you.

Let’s start by talking about the people of Croatia and their hospitality. Complete strangers opened their homes, restaurants and kitchens to us.

Recently meet, long lost relatives, brought us (three types of) grapes they had grown, their freshly ripened plums, fresh bread they had recently baked, and salami they had made from animals they raised.

 

 

Their generosity was overwhelming to me. Such a blessing to share with us.

Early one morning, as we were traveling along the coast, we stopped for breakfast. We did not really grasp that Croatia does not do breakfast in the way America does. A restaurant owner, who was setting up for their daily lunch rush of 200 factory workers, welcomed us in. He happily brought us a smorgasbord of food, cooked us eggs and visited with us. Another blessing on our trip.

 

 

 

Next I want to share with you the landscape. Croatia is a relatively small area geographically. The State of Minnesota (where I live) is 4 times larger than Croatia. The landscape of Croatia is very diverse. As we drove across the country we would see the landscape change and change again. It is such a beautiful country.

 

There were coastlines, forests (of different types depending on region), mountains and valleys. We saw farmland and we saw arid land that would never be farmable. All of it was breathtaking in it’s own way.

Growing along the roadways we saw grapes, pears, apples, plums and sugarcane. There was a valley we drove through were you could see many diverse crops all growing in close proximity to one another. Honey and Med was often offered for sale in roadside stands.

 

The homes changed from area to area also. In the North we noticed a lot of cute balconies adorned with flowers. There were brightly colored flowers everywhere we went.

 

There was such charm in their homes, it was easy to believe that this is a very happy place to live.

 

Business and churches also had a lot of charm. Often, as we were driving down the road, I would squeal in glee seeing a church that was so cute. We would have never have made it around the country if we had stopped to take a picture of everything that caught my eye.

This country is truly a country of splendor. It starts with the people and their big, kind, generous, giving hearts. It moves on to a beautiful landscape that covers all of the country as it morphs from area to area and is covered in charming homes, business, and places of worship.

I will be writing future photo blogs about our trip to Croatia. There is just too much to share for one blog cover all of it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be filled with journey to places of splendor, as if by magic.

** Thank you to SydneysByDesign for doing photo editing to featured image on the blog. Your work is breathtaking!

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Can You Go 21 Days in a Row Without Complaining?

I am here to ask if you would go on another adventure with me? This is a challenge that sounds easy, but it is not for the squeamish. This will require you to come face to face with the type of energy you are REALLY putting out into the world. When I first heard of this challenge, or movement might be more appropriate, I thought it sounded like something I could master pretty easily. After all, I am a positive person. At least I thought I was a positive person. Does this intrigue you? Do you think you can do it? Of course you can. We can do it together.

First, let me start by telling you this is one of the reasons I LOVE social media. This movement, was totally off my radar, until I saw it in a Facebook friends post. She was starting the challenge of 21 consecutive days of being complaint free. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. Thankfully, she posed a link to a keynote speech given by Will Bowen. After watching his speech, I thought, this is something I have to do even though I had no idea what this was going to entail and what it would teach me about myself.

I naively jumped into this challenge believing my natural Pollyanna attitude would carry me easily to day 21. I knew I was not perfect. I do hear myself complain from time to time. I know, that at times, I even relish the complaining. Really enjoying an occasional good “bitch session”.  Let me tell you something. Despite how self aware I think I may be, I have big old “blind spot” where I don’t see my own imperfections. I complain, A LOT.  I have been on this adventure now for about a week and I am still on day one.

One of my favorite things Will says, in his key note speech is, “There is no shame in day one”. Boy oh boy, I have embraced this as my mantra! After a week I am still on day one. I think some of the days I have complained less, than I would have, before I started this adventure. I have certainly become more aware of how quickly and easily I do complain. I am trying to notice when I am the one who is initiating the complaints verses when I am the one who jumping on the complaint bandwagon. I will tell you, I am certainly guilty of both.

I was beginning to feel a bit discouraged by my inability to get past day one. I thought, maybe I wasn’t keeping it front of my mind, enough? I get it that complaining is a habit and will take time to break it, but a week without being able to go past 1 day without voicing a complaint?! What am I doing wrong? I decided I need to keep the adventure front of mind for myself. I looked for the audio book that Will wrote. It’s called, A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted. I downloaded it and started to listen to it while I was commuting. Surely, this will be what I need to remain complaint free for a day or two. Nope! I am still catching myself complaining but there is some really great stuff happening. 

One of the really wonderful things is I am now aware of myself and my complaining in a way I have never been in the past. I am telling you, I really thought I was Stacy Sunshine. I was more than a bit surprised to find out that is “not” the vibration I am sharing with the world all of the time. The other thing that I learned, from listening to Will’s book is this; he struggled too. He did not immediately jump to day 2. There were days he celebrated that he only complained 5 times. Ok, so now I feel better. I am not alone in my Eeyore nature. We “all” do it.

I do know this! I do not want to be a complainer. I do not what to bring others down and put negative vibrations out into the world or even boost myself up by gossiping about others. This is not who I am on a soul level! This is not the person I am here to be. I want to raise the vibration and be an inspiration. So, you want to go on an adventure with me?! Let’s do a 21 consecutive days; complaint free! I will write update blogs to let you know how I am doing and you can share hints, tips, and tricks of what is helping you along the way. Together we can help Will’s movement of a complaint free world spread even further and faster across this planet. He does say; it takes most people about 8 months to reach the 21 days. Let’s see if we can beat that!

We can do this! Remember that Will says; “There is no shame in day one”. Want to join this adventure?! Why not? What have you got to loose?

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find your spirit positive and your words hopeful, as if by magic.

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