I Am Determined to Make 21 Days Complaint Free

I recently started off on a new adventure. I decided that I would take up Will Bowen on his challenge to go 21 days complaint free! I initially thought it would be easy. I thought I was a person who didn’t complain much at all. Sure, I knew I had my occasional rant about this or that, but surely I could just stop doing that and move easily through this adventure. Well friends, I am here to tell you it is really about the journey and not the destination. This adventure has taught me so much about myself and it has also taught me about the person I want to be.

I started on this adventure in early September. I have yet to go one day without complaining. The principles behind this, is to bring complaining to the front of our mind, so that we can make a conscious choice before we let the words flow out of our mouth. Thoughts do not count, only things we verbalize. My blog from September; Can You Go 21 Days in a Row Without Complaining?, will tell you more about it. I was shocked that I complained so much and could not get past day 1, so I bought his book and wrote a second blog. I found out that I was normal in my initial performance.

Today, as I write this, it is 7:30 am and I have already had to move my bracelet from one wrist to the other, (this is done when you complain to help increase your awareness). I realized today I need to change my focus a little. Instead of looking at the whole objective and feeling overwhelmed, I need to take it more bit by bit. I have already complained once today so perhaps my goal is to have no more than 3 complaints today. I sometimes do not notice my complaints until a while after the fact. I great bite sized goal, would be to be fully aware of my complaints as they happen. Last night, as I socialized with friends, I removed my bracelet fully intending to dive into one of my favorite complaints. In the end, I changed my mind and put the bracket back on without uttering that particular grievance.

I have noticed that, from September to now, I am better about staying on the positive side of a conversation. I am aware of when I need to move my bracelet more often. I am starting to learn when to keep my mouth shut. I am far from perfect but getting closer to being a better, more positive version of myself. If you are interested in improving yourself, I encourage you to jump on the band wagon. Remembering that what we put out in the world is what comes back to us and this is a great way to increase the abundance in our lives. Let’s replace our complaints with gratitude. Let’s be the best and most positive people we can be. Please join me on this adventure and let’s change the world by starting with ourselves.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your life be full of gratitude, as if by magic.

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Finding a Connection

Whether you use the word God, Universe, Creator, Spirit, or some other term we are all talking about the same thing, that force of life that is in all of us, that guiding force that lets us know there is something greater than ourselves that we are part of that. It is not something separate but something that connects us. For me, it is important to feel this connection. That does not happen by going through my mundane life, plodding along and checking the boxes. It takes an effort on my part to attend events, connect with others on the same spiritual path, and go to locations where I can feel that connection. This weekend I had just this sort of event on my calendar, because a friend had reached out and asked me to attend with her. I am so glad she did. It was an amazingly moving event that inspired us and left us fulfilled.

On Saturday night we went to a Kirtan. What is Kirtan? According to Courtney Amundson and Chi Johnson (the people lead the Kirtan we attended) “Kirtan, also called Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of devotion), is an ancient practice that stems from India. The call-and-response nature of Kirtan involves both performers and audience, setting a unique and sacred space that quiets the mind, reduces stress, and awakens your spirit within. Kirtan is open to all people, regardless of spiritual or religious beliefs!”  It was held in a beautiful space. A yoga studio in the lower level of the Compass Center in Stillwater, MN. The people in attendance ranged from an infant to seniors. Some people sat on the floor and others in chairs. The music was beautiful. The voices, raised together in song, created a beautifully energetic connection between all in attendance.

The music moved my body. As I sat on my yoga mat, I could not help but feel my body swaying in response the rhythms that filled the room. My voice raised signing/chanting the response to the call from the facilitators. I do not feel I have a gift for singing nor do it in public, but on this night, my voice would not be silent. I was a part of the communal energy. The vibration that resonated through the studio. The 3 month old infant was mesmerized by the music and her tiny foot also moved in response. The beauty of this experience even moved some to tears. When I had entered the room, my neck was tight, full of knots, and uncomfortable. It had been a harried day of trying to get projects completed, readying for the arrival of winter, and keeping promises to friends. I walked into this beautiful room, stressed from rushing about and with a headache. As the music and the voices were raised, as I was picked up within the loving, supportive vibrations and everything changed. The stress dropped away. The knots in my neck seemed to melt and released. The headache disappeared. I felt renewed. I felt energized. I felt connected.

I am grateful that my friend reached out to share this experience with us. I am blessed to have a husband who will try new things and is open to attending events like this with me. My life is magical. This spiritual adventure was one of the many blessings that flow into it everyday.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with events that fill your cup in whatever way you need, 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 because of his family’s heritage. I had no idea what to expect. Through my 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 short cut to get a blog done. This turned out to not be true. There are so many lovely photos to chose from and so much I want to share with you about Croatia, I will have to do a short series to share even a handful of the photos and the experiences with you.

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

Long lost relatives brought us grapes they had grown, bread they had baked, and salami they had made from animals they raised.

The generosity was overwhelming to me. Such a blessing.

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 lunch welcomed us in. Her brought us a smorgasbord of food and cooked us eggs. Another blessing on our trip.

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

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

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

The homes changed from area to area. In the North we notices lots of cute balconies adorned with flowers. There were brightly colored flowers everywhere we went.

There was such charm in the 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 made it around the country if we stopped to take a picture of everything that caught my eye.

This country is truly a country of slender. It starts with the people and their big, kind, generous hearts. It moves on to a beautiful landscape that covers all of the country as it moths and changes from area to area, and charming, homes, business, and places of worship are not to be forgotten.

I will be writing future photo blogs about our trip to Croatia. There is just too much to share for one blog to possible be enough to show you all that I want to here today.

Zagreb and Dubrovnik: Two Very Different Cities

The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia

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

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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My Grandmother’s Hands

I love this picture of my grandmother’s hands holding her new great great granddaughter. This was the last great great grandchild she would get to meet, for she passed later that same year. I love how this picture shows the legacy that her hands started so long ago. 

My grandmother’s hands scrubbed floors and took care of her siblings as a young girl. She grew up on a farm in rural North Dakota. She was the oldest child in a large Catholic family. As an adult, she worked hard to care for her own family and keep her house clean. She taught me to work hard.

My grandmother’s hands baked bread and cooked big meals. As a farmer’s wife, she fed the farm hands and neighbors who came to help with the harvest. She would take meals to the sick or sorrowful neighbors. She hosted large happy holiday events. She taught me to take care of others.

My grandmother’s hands raise two children. She would have liked to have more, but it wasn’t meant to be. She mourned the loss of two still-born children.  She was crazy proud of her son and daughter and the successful careers they would have. She taught me to be proud of your family.

My grandmother’s hands instructed 5 grandchildren. I was the oldest of those 5 grandchildren. She fostered in me, a love and respect of nature. She showed me how to experiment and express myself through cooking. She modeled for us the best way to accomplish many tasks. She taught me how to learn from others’ examples.

My grandmother’s hands held on to my grandfather’s while they danced. They loved to dance and did it often. They belonged to a round dancing club and had many friends and much fun doing it. She taught me how to embrace life and do what you love.

My grandmother’s hands painted. It was something she started as a hobby. Her beautiful landscapes and floral paintings decorated her home. She taught me the value of art and being artistic.

My grandmother’s hands held a passport. Her and my grandfather loved to travel and they did not wait until they were old. They went and explored the world. She gave me my adventurous spirit and she taught me that wanderlust is a wonderful thing.

My grandmother’s hands played. She loved to play cards, other games, and was not one to be left out of the odd squirt gun battle or ballgame. Throughout her 80s she played and kept up, never saying she was too old. She taught me to always embrace your inner child. 

My grandmother’s hands prayed the rosary. She was Catholic and her faith was important to her. I saw how God held her following my grandfathers death. She was open to learning about others spirituality, but for her faith, she made no apologies. She taught me that even though my beliefs were different from hers, it was safe to be who I am and have my own faith.

My grandmother’s hands tried new things. She rode jets skis and tubes behind the speed boat well into her 80s. She was the queen of the kayak. She even let me give her Reiki (healing touch) with my hands. My grandmother taught me that it is important to always try new things.

My grandmother’s hands read. She was hungry for knowledge and loved politics. She felt bad that she didn’t go to college but she still learned through reading, traveling, talking to people, and being open to it all. She taught me to never stop learning. 

My grandmother’s hands hugged 11 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren. She never met a baby she didn’t love. Some of her great grandchildren lived further away then the others and she did not get as much time with them as she would have liked, but she loved each and everyone of them for their individuality. She taught me how to love.

My grandmother’s hands cheered people on and congratulated them. She was always happy for other’s accomplishments. She celebrated right along with them. My grandmother made a room brighter by just being in it. My grandmother taught me that a positive attitude will raise the spirits of others.

My grandmother’s hands held a telephone. She loved to chat on the phone. She was always ready to listen to what was going on in my life or something new I was learning. She talked to many people, every day. She truly loved people and sharing their lives with them. She taught me how to listen.

My grandmother’s hands held me when I was broken. When bad or sad things happened in life, I could always count on my grandmother to comfort me and help me see the silver lining. She taught me how to keep going.

I miss her everyday. I still often go to pick up the phone to call her. Her legacy will go on and on. The people who knew her will never forget her and those who carry her blood in their veins, will carry her bright light into the future. I love you grandmother and I was blessed to have your influence in my life. Thank you for all you taught me.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you be an inspiration for others, as if by magic.

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Do You See Dead People?

With Halloween fast approaching, you hear more talk about ghosts and people more readily share their “experiences” and “stories” with one another. After all, it is that time of year when it is fun to have the hair on the back of your neck raised by a good tail of a haunting or strange occurrence. The veil thins and gives other worldly beings a chance to slip through and say hello. Sometime these can be comforting visits from loved ones who have passed or maybe occurrences that you just poo poo away as being your imagination. Other times, it’s creepy things happening that leave you nervous to be home alone.

As I am writing this blog, I am listening to music and the songs in my iTunes are randomly playing. Ghost by Halsey just came on. Is this manifestation, a coincidence, or is Casper trying to influence my writing?

I have always believed in ghosts. Adults around me would gaff at my stories of the ghost that lived in the school. Well, most adults. My 100% Irish grandmother would match me tit for tat in the ghost story department. She would share stories of loved ones who came to visit and the banshee. She never made me feel like my stories were made up. Do all families have tales of spooky happenings?

My favorites are told by those that so profess to ‘not believe’ in such things. For example, my Dad tells of one hot summer when he and my brother were on the deck at the lake. They were grilling food and chatting when all of a sudden it got very cold. So cold they could see their breath, he tells me.  He says it passed as quickly as it came. Did a spectral spirit walk across the deck? Was it some freaky weather occurrence? Or was it a little chill, from a passing cloud, that was exaggerated into quite the yarn? I guess we will never know, but I like to believe that a ghost was traveling through their space and it’s presence was made known by the change in temperature.

A lot of strange things would happen at the lake. Maybe this was because we had time to notice them or spent less time in front of the TV. I once bought a book of goofy ghost stories because I thought the kids would like to hear them around the campfire. We were taking turns reading the stories from the book. My Dad was playing it up big time and making faces and really acting scared. So much so I snapped a picture of him. It was so much fun even if the ghost stories were not great. When I got the film developed (Yup, film. It was several years ago) there was a giant orb just behind my Dad’s head. It seems we were not the only ones enjoying the goofy ghost stories that night.

As we grow closer to Halloween, you may be more likely to have a visitor from the other side. As I said earlier, I do believe in ghosts and I have had many experiences. I also believe that we are safe from these ghosts if we define our space and let them know they are not welcome in it. Then they may not enter. We get to say who can and cannot violate our space. So when you feel the goosebumps raising up on your arm, because something seemed to have moved across the room, remember that you can ask them to leave. Stay tuned for a future blog on ‘protecting yourself.’

Enjoy the spirit of the season! Enjoy your friends spooky yarns and tell a few of your own. Feel free to share your ghostly sagas in the comments. You never know who might be listening over your shoulder.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you feel safe in all your experiences, as if by magic.

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Our Missteps Can Be a Reason To Laugh; Why Let Problems Steal Our Joy.

Do you ever have one of those days when you think you should have just stayed in bed? How do you choose to deal with them? Do you get frustrated, mad, and let it ruin your whole day and everyone that you interact with? Do you roll your eyes, come up with a counter plan, and laugh at the day? Can you carry on without letting a couple missteps ruin your whole day? I want to share with you my ‘Monday’ this week. Where circumstances fell into place to give me just such a day and a ‘choice’ to make.

I typically travel Monday through Thursday every week. My husband enjoys driving me to the airport. It gives us a last few precious minutes together. He is such a gentleman and really works hard to take care of me to ensure that all my needs are taken care of. So, well before the crack of dawn, ourMonday morning started. I packed my suitcase and rolled it into the kitchen, as I always do. I set it by the backdoor where my husband always grabs it and puts it in the trunk of the car. Typically I put my computer backpack onI; he dutifully and lovingly places both in the truck of the for me. This morning, I decided to carry my backpack myself and placed it in the backseat of the car. On the way to the airport, my husband asked about the computer backpack, stating he didn’t remember seeing it with the suitcase. I assured him that I had carried it to the back to the car. When we got to the airport he opened the trunk, said, “It’s not back here”. I am sure I looked like one of those wide-eyed cartoon characters who silently blink in shock. What did he mean it “wasn’t back there?” I asked him, didn’t you put the suitcase back there? He said he thought I had put it in the car. I let him know that I had left it by the door, like I always do for him to carry to the car. So there we stood. In front of the airport, 45 minutes before my plane was due to depart. There was no possibility of going home and making it back in time for the flight. I could either not go, which since this is my job, was not really an option. Or I could be the ultimate light traveler today! I grabbed my backpack, told him I guess I would be going shopping. Kissed this sweet, wonderful (and easily distracted) man, and headed into the airport.

I could have been angry at him and thrown blame his way. But ultimately I am a grown up and responsible for myself. I trusted him to bring it but I did not verify that he did indeed put it in the car. He had arrived home after midnight, the night before; having gone to a family funeral about 7 hours away. The alarm had went off early, for my departing flight. So I know he had likely only had about 4 hours of sleep, if that. I had offered to make my way to the airport by other means but he said he enjoys those extra 20 to 30 minute together in the morning and so he would drive me.

I could have been frustrated with my job and cussed and carried on about the lifestyle I lead; always the go and burning the candle at both ends. I could have blamed it on my busy weekend that had left me exhausted by Sunday night.  All of these choices would have negatively impacted my day in a big way! Instead I decided to laugh at it. How funny that he was able to walk past the bag in the doorway and that I so trusted him, to bring it, that we got all the way to the airport without it.

He let me know that my stepson called him in a panic when he realized it was still in the kitchen. Poor boy thought his Dad was going to be in big trouble for leaving the bag behind. I had decided why spoil my day and everyone else’s, by being mad and throwing around blame. In the end it is my responsibility. Marty works very hard to take care of me but on this earlyMonday morning he thought I was embracing my independent streak and carrying my own bags. We got some good laughs about it. I encouraged myHusband to go home and go back to bed for a bit before going to work. He was evidently more tired than he realized.

I have a couple new outfits in my immediate future and a great story to tell. Embrace these days when you feel you should have stayed in bed. Look for the humor in the missteps along your human journey.  Life is too short to be angry and frustrated.

 

I love you. Thank you for reading my blog today! May your life be filled with smiles and laughter, as if by magic.

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How Are You Improving Yourself?

I am always trying different things to improve myself. Are you also obsessed with becoming the very best version of you? I have multiple ways that I am working on myself at any given time. Some are very successful; others take more effort and require that I try again and again. I often think about the goals I have set for myself. Which ones are realistic and which ones are more grandiose ideas.

Currently I am working on going 21 days complaint free. Despite the fact that I have been working on this for several weeks I am still on day one. But with this I am finding that I am becoming more aware of my complaining. I am finding that, depending on who I am around and what I am talking about, makes a huge difference in how many times I need to change my bracelet. To learn more about this, please read my blogs: Can You Go 21 Days in a Row Without Complaining? and OMG! Read This Book! It will take you places you didn’t know you need to go. (An update on my Complaint Free Adventure)

It is the first of October as I write this and I am thinking of writing a blog every day in October, sounds like a great idea, right?! This maybe one of my more grandiose ideas for a couple reasons. Blogging everyday takes time and that is not always a luxury I possess. Another is that, Adventure Sister Emy and I make sure not to post blogs on the same day. This avoids overwhelming our readers and helps make sure both of our important messages are heard. But what would be realistic number for me? To write 20 blogs in October? That certainly seems reasonable and I can write them without posting them. Just save them for a day when I don’t have as much time but need a blog. Okay – that is “now” my goal for October.

Continuing to improve my health with intermittent fasting is another. Somedays I do better with this than others. It remains my goal to start eating somewhere between 10 and noon and complete my caloric intake for the day by 6pm. It is a worthwhile goal to me and I have lost somewhere between 10-20 lbs. doing so.  I remain horrible about keeping track of my weight but maybe that is not such a bad thing.

I’m also trying 28 days without having an alcoholic drink. I feel this is also a worthwhile goal. I like the way a glass of wine helps me relax and causes the stress of the day to role off my shoulders. I like the way I can decompress and the stress seems to melt away after a glass. Specifically, because of the way wine helps me not have to deal with my things, is precisely why 28 days without it is a great goal. To remind me that I don’t really need it and by working through the lessons of my day is really better for me.

Another goal I have is to start running again. I cannot say I am currently really working towards this goal… unless you count reading How to a Lose  Marathon by Joel Cohen. I keep planning to start training again but so far it is all just talk. I need to overcome the fear that my knee injury is permanent.

Doing a really great job at work is always a goal for me too. I want to continue to improve my skills at my job, learn more, and be more of an asset to my co-workers and boss. Sounds like a lofty goal perhaps but one I feel strongly about.

With all of these goals, I move forward little by little, step by step. I can make big strides in one, while the others may stay stagnate for a time. At other times I move all goals forward in someways. Of course I have many more goals than those listed here. I wanted to convey to you that it is “okay” when goals do not go according to our plan and that when it comes to being the best version of ourselves, we can work on several things at once.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you make progress on all you goals, as if by magic.

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