Health – Don’t Take It for Granted

It is so easy when you are healthy to think you will always be so. I have been lucky enough to live a life where I took my health for granted, most of the time. After two family members where hospitalized 8 month apart, to the day, I am given a wake up call as to the importance of appreciating and taking care of your health.

The morning of the 5th day, in the year I had dubbed “The Year of Health”, my husband woke up with chest pain. I had no idea the events that were about to begin unfolding. My husband is a healthy, active man. We hike, he shovels snow for 8 houses in the winter, takes the stairs over the elevator and is focused about getting his 10,000 steps a day. I never imagined that under the surface this insidious disease was slowly but continually preparing to change our lives.

What I thought would be a trip to the ER to “be safe rather than sorry” turned our world upside. My 50 year old husband had had a heart attack. We kept our chins up; positive thoughts bring about positive results. We were sure that, during the procedure to assess what was going on with the vessels that supply blood to the heart, the doctors would be able to put stents in to repair the blockages. Once again we were shocked. The amount of disease that was found requires a quadruple bypass to repair. Family history was one of the factors, which was shared, as a reason why there would be this level of disease in a man this age.

As we await his surgery, I think how can this be true of my strong and active husband. I just always took it for granted that we would both remain healthy and be able to continue our active lifestyle, traveling, hiking, camping, and kayaking. I know that this surgery is a second chance. I know that it gives us a chance to start again. He will have new healthy vessels on his heart. Though we can not change the family history, we can work together through diet and exercise to make modification that will help to keep this disease at bay. Making these adjustments in our lifestyle will be our way of saying, “Thank you” everyday for our health. Appreciating, whatever level of health we currently have and continually striving to reach the next level of health available to us. Whatever that may be.

I am grateful for the health we have today. I am grateful for the even better level of health we will have in the future. I will never again take my health or that of my family for granted.

May you appreciate your health, at whatever level it is at. I wish you every happiness. I love you!

10 Steps to Get Stuff Done!

Do you ever have those days that you feel blah – you just have no get up and go. There is plenty of things you could be doing, maybe even things you feel you”should” be doing. How do you push past this and get moving.

1. Allow yourself to rest. Maybe you just need a break. Take some time for yourself. Go sit in the garden with a cup of tea or take a hot bath with a great novel.

2. Make a list. I personally love lists- just ask my kids. I love being able to mark things off. I use and orange pen or highlighter to mark off what is done. Orange is a color that helps you feel productive.

3. Try doing something easy. Once you have a list to work with pick the small things so you can mark something off. You could even put “make list” on the list and then you have something to mark off right away.

4. Start with some you enjoy. Sometime starting with the creative project or at least a task that seems fun will help you get up and get moving

5. Turn on some music! When I have tasks such and cleaning that do not require a lot of thinking I like fast paced played at a higher volume. If I am doing something that I need to concentrate on I like quiet more peaceful music. I find it helps me focus to play tunes.

6. Choose a reward. How many things do you need to get done in order to get a treat? Pick smaller rewards for smaller numbers of items completed and have a grand reward at the end of the list. (Although having everything done and off you plate may be reward enough).

7. Clean or organize your space. If you have a clean and organized space to work you mind will also be less distracted and less cluttered.

8. Stay hydrated. You will feel better and you will find you brain is better lubricated. Plus if you keep sipping on some water you will have to go to the bathroom which will keep you moving and give you little breaks during checking off your tasks.

10. Celebrate- hooray you did it! Brag about all you accomplished – post on social media, tell your friends, celebrate with a family meal at the end of the day.

It is amazing how the momentum can get going and suddenly you will notice you don’t feel so blah any more.

Have fun checking off those tasks my friends. I wish you a life full of completed “to do” lists! I love you!

2020: The Year of Health

I may sound cliche to start the new year focused on health and it certainly is not new for me, but it is different this time. Let me tell you why.

In the past my focus was to loose weight. I would make a New Year’s resolution to exercise and get thin but the motivation was really vanity. I didn’t understand how powerful mind, body and spirit wellness was back then. The resolution would last 2, maybe 3 months and then I would fade back into my old patterns of behavior. Today I no longer make resolutions; instead I make a list of new year’s manifestations. These manifestation can be anything I want to come into my life in the new year. I decided 2020 would be a year of health.

My year of health manifestation list has a lofty number of health related items I want to enhance my life. They are mind, body, and spirit related, for one cannot successfully be well without balance in all these areas.

It is day 4 in my year of health and I already feel a shift in my mood. I find myself making healthy decisions and I keep slowly incorporating items to bring about overall wellness.

On Jan 1st, I started the day hungover from a New Year’s Eve party I attended. I find this very embarrassing to admit to. So, my first healthy initiatives were to give up alcohol and sugar. Next I went back to intermittent fasting. This is an eating strategy that limits the time you can eat during the day. It has many health benefits but my primary use of it is weight loss. I have gained about 30 pounds in the last 4 years and it is affecting my energy level and ability to do things. Losing weight is not about vanity for me this time. It is about being comfortable hiking, having the energy to kayak and reclaiming my connection with my body as a divine being.

Then I decided to start tracking what I eat. This is about mindfulness. So now I know what I am putting into my body and why. I am using the “My Fitness Pal” app to do so; although there are so many apps that can help you with it. I have anemia, so it helps me track my iron intake, something that is important for me as a pescatarian. I also find that tracking what I eat, makes me less likely to do the mindless noshing that can occur when I am bored.

Yesterday I decided to start drinking 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water. I feel this is helping purify my body from all the toxic things I have put into her in the past. Also, yesterday I recommitted to moving my body. Getting at least 10,000 steps a day. I even started running a little again. I plan to improve my fitness condition in order to participate in 5K events. I really enjoyed these in the past. My daughter, Liz, and I have also done a couple 1/2 marathons together and we are toying with the idea of committing to do another one of these.

Today I am starting on my commitment of “52 Hikes” during 2020. I have seen others make a commitment to this in the past, but never got on board because of the frozen tundra where I live. I know I feel better when I get outside and be “in” nature, so this is another part of the mind and spirit commitment for me.

My husband and I continue our pursuit towards financial wellness. Yoga and meditation are on my list of items to incorporate. I find that adding (a little) something new daily is helping me stay motivated and not feel overwhelmed. I’m just slowly incorporating, the items I want, into my year of wellness.

I know it is only day 4 but I already feel clearer and  more upbeat. I am more connected with my body and the aches and pains are starting to subside. I have lost 4 pounds and even reclaimed my right to be a runner.

Would you like to join me on my journey into the year of health?

Come along! It won’t always be easy but it will be totally worth it!

I love you! May your year bring you every happiness.

Oh Sugar Sugar; 11 reasons to decrease your sugar intake.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Me too! I have alternated over the years between eating a lot of sugar to eating little to no sugar at all. I know that I feel a lot better when I do not eat sweets but it sure does taste good. I find that knowing the reasons behind decreasing something can have a big impact on staying motivated to pass it by; even when others are partaking. Below are 11 reasons to really consider decreasing your sugar intake.

Let me clarify. I am not talking about natural sugars like honey, fruit, or real maple syrup. I am talking about processed sugar made from Sugar Cane or Sugar Beets. I have found that replacing processed sugar in receipts with Stevia, Honey, and real Maple Syrup helps when you want a sweet treat or to serve a dessert but not all the other affects.

 

Reasons to decrease sugar intake

Inflammatory – Sugar can cause an inflammatory response. I notice that I have joint pain when I eat sugar. Decreasing the intake of this inflammatory substance can almost completely relieve my pain. This is my number one biggest reason why I try to avoid sugar in my diet.

Addictive – There are lots of studies out there about the addictive nature of sugar. Some people think it may be even as addictive as Cocaine. What I do know is the more sugar I eat, the more sugar I want. It takes me about 3-5 days, without having sugar, for the cravings to decrease.

Empty calories – Sugar has no nutritional value other than the carbohydrates. These are a fast energy source, but if we do not need them, they are stored as fat.  If you are making choices in the foods you get your calories from, then I urge you to choose foods with more nutritional value.

Blood sugar effect – Eating sugar spikes your blood glucose levels. In people with properly functioning pancreases, insulin is released to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood stream. This spike in blood sugar levels can cause problems even for people without diabetes. For me, the spike triggers my body to release insulin, which does too good of a job removing the glucose from my blood stream and I end up getting low blood glucose levels. This causes me to feel woozy and have trouble concentrating.

Cognitive function  – There are some studies which suggest that sugar can cause fogginess in the brain. Sugar intake has been linked to forgetfulness and trouble concentrating. This is ironic when you think about how many student will reach for a candy bar for that little pick me up to keep studying.

Blood pressure and heart disease – There are many complications to the the cardiac and circulatory systems that diabetic people face. There are studies out there that show that, even for people without diabetes, increased sugar intake can cause elevated blood pressure as well as strain to the heart.

Depression – Some studies are showing a link between sugar and depression. Others are saying that inflammation increases depression and we already know sugar causes increased inflammation. 

Cancer – Sugar feeds cancer. This alone is a good reason to avoid excess intake of this sweet poison.

Hunger – Because of sugars effects on the blood glucose levels, it can cause a continual rise and fall and when blood sugar levels fall, we feel hungry again. Because of this it is easy to get into a cycle of eating sugar again and again throughout the day because of the effects it has to continually cause us to feel hungry. Eating less sugar will reduce those feelings of hunger.

Money – By not spending money on sweet treats, which make us hungry repeatedly through out the day, we will save money. There are lots of great natural foods to put that money towards, that will not cause the repeated need to munch and save you money in the long run.

Immune system – Sugar affects the functioning of our white blood cells. These are the cells that rush in when an invader gets into the body to fight off infections. If we are eating a lot of sugar, and causing these cells to be sluggish, we are risking increased illnesses.

All of these reasons and we didn’t even talk about tooth decay! Ultimately, whether you decide sugar is thumbs up or thumbs down for you, do your own research. Know the facts about what that cupcake might cost you or how it could affect you in the long term. Ultimately life is full of choices and luckily we all get to make our own. I, personally, am choosing to not have sugar as one of the choices of what I put in my body. At least most of the time, no one is perfect after all.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you make the food choices that are right for you.

 

Nature Is All Around Us

I live in the city even though I am a nature girl at heart. As I was driving through downtown Minneapolis, on my way to work this morning, I noticed the sunrise reflected on the glass of the downtown sky scrapers. It was stunning and it helped me to realize Nature is all around us.

As a girl who loves nature, I sometimes feel that living in the city keeps me away from my beloved forests, but then I take the time to notice there are wonderful ways for me to experience the outdoors without having to take a drive to the countryside. The trees and shrubs along the side of the road, showing off their autumn color,  are one way we are blessed with beauty. The squirrels, who are busy putting on their winter fat, are little bits of the wild that we can enjoy. If we just take the time to look around, there are so many amazing little gifts that the plants and animals offer us, even within the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.

Winter is coming to the Twin Cities, where I live. I find it difficult to get out into the natural world in the winter because the cold weather does not agree with me. I have purchased snow pants, good quality winter boots, hats and gloves; all with the intention of making sure I continue to get outside and experience the wild and fresh air all winter long. This must be a mindful decision on my part. It is not natural for me to want to venture out into the frosty cold. I have learned that when I push through and get out there, even if it is just to walk around the block, seeing the sky and feeling the wind on my cheeks makes me a better and happier person.

Are you like me? Do you feel better when you have more playtime with Mother Nature? How do you incorporate her into you everyday life? It is too easy to think that you need time to drive to the bluffs and go hiking, or take the kayaks to the river to get out there. Maybe just enjoying this gorgeous world we live in is as simple as noticing the sunrise or sunset. Maybe watching the fluffy clouds float by, or the even fluffier squirrel in the tree, can help sustain us until a deep journey into the wild is available.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the beauty you need in your everyday life.

 

 

 

Moving Through Emotional Trauma

My Daughter was shot early in the morning on Cinco De Mayo. The miracle is that she survived. The trauma of that incident has changed us all forever. I still feel stuck, lost and numb since this occurred almost 6 months ago now, but I feel I must share this incident in order to move on and past it. 

My daughter is an active and amazing 25 year old woman. She works in a leadership role in the food service industry and is a single mother of a very bright 5 year old daughter, but she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. She had gone out to a club with a friend to go dancing. While outside the club, getting ready to leave, some young men began fighting. Someone in the group pulled a gun and tried to shoot their adversaries but hit my daughter instead. The bullet entered high in her left abdomen and came out her back. It passed completely through her missing: stomach, intestines, lung, pancreases, spleen, and bones; literally missing everything important for life. There are many heroes in this story. Her friend was the first one. She fought her way back outside, against the crowd and despite active gun fire still occurring, to be by Kat’s side and apply first aid. Still more heroes were the police officers who arrived quickly and moved her to safety across the street. Then there are the EMTs, doctors and nurses who got her to the hospital, into surgery and started on her healing process. I am so grateful to all of these people who played these roles to make sure my daughter came back to me. Her sisters who rushed to be by her side, putting their own lives on hold, as well as all the other extended family members aiding in her recovery. There is so much for me to be grateful for in this story. 

I feel the need to finally share this emotional trauma. I have friends who have lost children and I cannot imagine that pain or what life looks like after having to face such a devastating loss. Many people go through all types of trauma and loss and I do not believe mine to be worse than anyone else or more important. I just feel the need to share about my trauma. That it might give words to others who have experienced this and somehow feel unworthy to express it. Because in the end, everything is okay. 

Everything is okay with my daughter. She has healed physically, although the scars are still there. Her life choices are forever changed by having gone through this, but emotionally she seems to be doing okay. For me, though, it is still there just below the surface. While she was in the hospital I stayed with her everyday; about 22 hours a day even though I didn’t have too. When she went home from the hospital it felt so hard to leave her. Somehow, I felt that if I could stay by her side, I could keep her safe. I knew I had to go but it was still one of the hardest things I have experienced. Having to drive away from her house her first day at home. 

I am numb, I am lost, and things that once seemed important have lost their appeal. I went to a therapist to see if that would help me work through it, but after a couple of sessions, she told me I didn’t really need to be there. I know I am processing grief. I am mourning the belief that we are safe. That things like random gun violence happen to other people but not to us, but it can happen to anyone. Does this mean we should live in fear and not experience life? I do not believe that. I believe that taking the risk, going to see and trying new things, falling in love, applying for your next great job, and following your dreams are all totally worth it; even when they do not turn out as planned. Even when pain and heartbreak are a part of your journey, the journey is still every bit worth taking. The trauma we feel is real, but so is our ability to dig and claw our way out of the the darkness. 

I am still figuring out how to make my way home to myself. Writing this blog is a part of that journey. Supportive friends and family are also a blessing on this trip. I have so much gratitude to all of the love and prayers that have been shared with us. Healing work, meditation, gratitude are also a part of this path. I will practice good self care, love my family, spend time with our children and grandchildren. Someday I will wake up and realize that the numbness is gone and that the darkness has been replaced with more light. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May any emotional scars you are carrying be brought into the light and validated. I love you!

Today is a New Day

Today is a new day. Today is a day that I recommit to myself. Today is a day that I say, “I am important”. Today is a day where I push guilt out of my mind. Today is a day that I realize that by practicing good self care; I am better equipped to deal with sorrow, stress, anxiety, and everything that life throws at me. Are you ready to recommit to yourself too? If so, come along on this journey with me. A journey with a heart full of love. Love for others, but more importantly, love for oneself. Love enough to know that I deserve to be a priority.

Those of you who follow my blog may have noticed I have not blogged for about 3.5 months. My daughter was shot and that shook me to the core. She is okay and for this I am extremely grateful. It is a story I need to tell, but today is not that day. Today’s blog is about self care and the future, not the past.

Inspired by my husband, I have decided it is time to take a serious look at how I am treating my body. After walking over 17,000 steps Saturday and over 10,000 Sunday; today seemed like the perfect day to make a commitment to 10,000 steps a day. After trying on clothes this weekend, I realized that what I feared was true. I have put on a few pounds over the last couple of months. A tentative step on the scale this morning showed a gain of 14lbs since April. Weight gain can be so insidious. A little comfort eating here, a couple of glasses of wine to numb the pain there and suddenly there is more of me to love. I find myself getting winded, having more back pain, and finding that all kinds of things take more energy. So, want to commit to 10,000 steps a day with me?

I have also noticed that I may chose to hermit in the house rather than getting outside. I know I feel best when I get outside amongst the trees. Whether it’s a walk down the street in the city or hanging out in a hammock in the woods, nature soothes me. It helps me feel more like me. What makes you feel most like you? How can you get more of that into you life? I intend to get outside and take a daily walk. It will support the earlier goal of 10,000 steps and also feed my soul!

Are you ready to commit to caring for yourself? What are your goals? There is no reason to feel guilty because you are making decisions that support your goals to care for yourself. My goals are related to getting my body healthy but yours may be related to getting your mind or spirit, healthy. What every they are, I encourage you to set a couple and commit to care for yourself in some small way each day.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find self care rewarding and enriching, as if by magic!

3 Reasons to Not Point Fingers

Recently, a generous person with a lot of money, offered a considerable donation to rebuild Notre Dame. Quickly, all kinds of controversy started about where they should donate their money and how it should be used. I do not watch the news, because I do not want all the negativity and fear that is broadcast there, to seep into my life. What I know about this situation is simply what I have heard others talking about and it got me thinking about finger-pointing.

When you point your finger at others (whether they see it or not) 3 fingers are pointed back at you. I see this as an invitation to look at myself. In regards to a donation, where am I putting my resources and time? In response to others behavior, how am I behaving? If something really gets my goat, why is it that it is pushing my buttons so?

It is not my job to judge how others are living their lives, nor is it up to me to decide where others should or shouldn’t put their money. It is my job to just love my neighbor, be grateful for the blessings in my life, and to notice all, that others, have to offer to this crazy voyage we call life. Like with the rule of threes, if I am going to have three fingers pointed back at myself, I want to be sure they are pointed with the highest vibrational energy possible.

Notice the good that people do, see the creativity that other posses, observe the wisdom shared by those around you. Raising our vibration to one of love and appreciation will have a magical effect in our own life and likely others around you.

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

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Introspection: 5 possible approaches

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a conflict and you’re not really sure how you got there? This has happened with me this week. I find myself in a conflict I would have never predicted and I don’t really know how we got here. It hurts my heart. I do not like conflict and typically work very hard to avoid it. All the same, here I am. I have been trying to use an introspective approach to determine what steps I can take in the future to avoid this same situation. After all, life is about moving forward.

The Oxford Dictionary defines introspection as: “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional process.”  This seems like a good approach to heal this situation and avoid future ones. What could I have done differently? What within me caused me to react in the manner in which I did? What parts of myself do I need to heal in order to move forward without a similar future situation, like this,  rearing its ugly head? Introspection is about looking deeply within yourself. We can only control our own reactions and responses to situations.

There are many ways to approach introspection. Here are 5 of my favorites.

1. Journaling – journaling is a great way to let the words just flow. It is a safe space to say everything you want to say, and you never know what wisdom may flow onto the pages. There can be many “ah ha” moments while journaling.

2. Meditation – mediation allows you to step away from the circling thoughts and find a few moments of peace. This is a great space to set an intention of having clear guidance and insight flow to you. I find this a powerful process.

3. Therapy – Meeting with a good psychotherapist is a great way to have someone hold space for you to get beyond any issues at hand. This person can often help you identify blind spots or actions you do see, that can cause pain.

4. Exercise – Going for a walk, running, or yoga can also be a great way to go inside. There is something about this process that is not only healing but helpful in gaining insight into who we are and the type of actions we take.

5. Tarot – This one may seem weird to you but I find, working with either tarot cards or oracle cards, is a great way to dig into the subconscious. Our subconscious often has a different agenda than our thinking mind. Even if you do not know what a card means, looking at the symbolism you notice and thinking deeply about its message for you, can be a great source of insight.

Introspection is a great tool. Whether you are currently within a situation that brings a need to look at your own actions and intentions, or you are just on a journey to be the best version of yourself. We all have shadowy areas within ourselves. It never hurts to go in and clear out the cobwebs.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you have introspective insight when you need it, as if by magic.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters

Stacy’s Blog
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***Our newest website where events will be posted: 

https://adventurewithemyandstacy.com/

Fostering a Love of Nature in the Younger Generation

This weekend my husband and I met our daughter and granddaughter on the North Shore of Lake Superior. There are so many lovely views along the way. Majestic Lake Superior, beautiful waterfalls, and forests all make for an enjoyable day surrounded by natural beauty. Our granddaughter is 5 years old and a smart little girl with a naturally inquisitive nature, that made this day even more special.

As we voyaged along the North Shore, we made many stops. The first was at Gooseberry falls and the last was at the Temperance River. The paths were covered with snow, slush and ice from the recent April blizzard we had. But that didn’t stop us. That little girl was always excited to get out of the vehicle to see what new experiences this stop would bring her, what new path to trot down and what new sights to see. It was such a joy to watch her as she darted here and there. I could see her falling in love with this area of the country that I love so much.

Our other grandchildren love the outdoors just as much. They enjoy playing outside every chance they get. They love to hike down paths through the woods, are excited about upcoming camping trips, and enjoy getting to see the wildlife that are part of these types of adventures. Fostering this type of love in our youngsters does a couple of things. It helps them and it helps the planet.

It helps them by giving them an escape, that we all need sometimes. They learn that the world has so much to offer. There is more to life than just the TV and tablets. They learn that fun, as well as peace, can be found by getting out into nature. Helping them develop a love of nature at a young age gives them an opportunity to develop several coping mechanisms as they age. Going hiking and camping, are parts of my life, that help me during tough times. Paddling a Kayak down river, after a stressful day, helps all the tension melt away. When we introduce children to these things at a young age, it gives them more for their tool box as they age.

It helps the world by producing more people who will want to protect it. They are less likely to take actions in the future that could cause harm to the planet, when they see how special the natural world is. When they fall in love with Mother Nature and all she has to offer them, they are more invested in taking care of her. They will not all become tree hugging hippies but they may become responsible with their trash, recycle, or choose products with packaging that is earth friendly.

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Just as our little granddaughter had a blast exploring the beauty around us, I enjoyed watching her fall in love with the earth. Do you have children in your life? what kinds of things do you do with them out in nature? I would love to hear about your adventures with little ones. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you enjoy the world of nature with any little ones in your life, as if by magic.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters

Stacy’s Blog
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***Our newest website where events will be posted: 

https://adventurewithemyandstacy.com/