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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12 Reasons to Get into Nature!

Where I live, you can see the change of season coming. Some of the leaves are already starting to turn bright colors. This is one of the signs that Summer is coming to an end as it does every year. So here comes Autumn! I love all of the seasons for different reasons but Autumn is truly my favorite. I love the crispness in the air, the crunch and smell of the leaves on the forest floor as you hike, and the beautiful colors that splash onto the canvas of the world. I enjoy getting out in the kayak or on the hiking trails in the Fall. Exploring what I have seen before, but now looks entirely different. In the Winter, when the temperatures here dip below zero, I often find it hard to get outside and be a part of Nature. But I still try. Last year it was dogsledding in Northern MN. Finally Spring, rebirth and return of the sun. Always appreciated. Here are some reasons for all of us to remember the importance of getting outside (and into Nature) no matter what the weather.

 

1.        It gives you room to breathe – Removing the walls and the ceiling around you can give you the opportunity to see the sky, relax and just breathe.IMG_9974

2.        It lowers stress – The sounds of the birds and rustle of the trees, the clean smell of the air, the sun on your face; it can all help reduce stress and anxiety.IMG_5938

3.        It helps to keep your clock set- The natural light of the outdoors can help to reset your internal clock. Your brain responds to the sun on your face. IMG_1088

4.        You realize you are part of something bigger – The web of life happens all around us, all the time. When we spend time in nature, we can see how we fit into this bigger world.IMG_2486

5.        There are amazing things to see – There are so many things waiting for you around the next turn. Beautiful things are available for your five senses in all seasons. You only have to get out there.IMG_9876

6.        Feel more alive – Have you ever sat on a covered front porch and watched a lightning storm? You feel so alive with the wind, the electricity in the air, splashes of light and booming thunder putting on a show. There are so many of these experiences in Nature!IMG_4515

7.        Be inspired – So many outdoor sights can be inspiring. Whether it is the bumble bee making its way from flower to flower, a beautiful waterfall, or breathtaking rock formation – from the small to the large, Nature can be very inspiring. IMG_1813

8.        You time – It gives you time to unwind and step away from all of the “to do’s” on your list. Laying in the sun, swimming in the surf, or walking through the forest; it gives you some space to honor yourself. IMG_8501

9.        Just full of analogies – I, have many times, been out in Nature and noticed something that I can see as an analogy for my life. For example, once I saw how a beaver had built his house. I thought about the hardworking beaver. He doesn’t complain. He just gets to work and gets it done. Then he can go for a swim and relax. IMG_1044

10.     Experiences – I think most of my favorite experiences have happened outside. After all, it was an impulsive BWCA trip that inspired this whole journey that led to blogging and Adventure Sister Emy! IMG_8513

11.     Bonding time – My grandmother used to take me on Nature walks to pick wild flowers. I took my own daughters on fairy hunting treks and my grandchildren have gone kayaking with me. Whether it is friends or family, time in Nature can be such a lovely bonding experience. IMG_2489

12.     Appreciation – Finding things to be grateful for attracts more blessings into our lives. When you look around outside, there is so much to be grateful for and appreciate. IMG_9500

 

I am sure there are many more reasons other than these 12. Get outside today! Enjoy the weather, as is, without wishing for it to be anything other than what it is. Take a moment to be thankful for all the beauty that the natural world gives us.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be filled with opportunities to get out in Nature, as if by Magic!

***No Trees, insects, or birds were harmed in the making of the art on the featured image of this blog. All items were found on nature walks.

 

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It’s a Magical World… Where We Live Magical Lives

Yesterday, as my husband and I were Kayaking, we came upon two Eagles sitting on a log eating a fish. I was able to get within 20 feet of them before they flew away. Then we paddled a bit further on and happened upon a waterfall flowing down into the river. IMG_2487Marty commented that we live a magical life. Why?  Because we had planned a different Kayak trip for the day but it just didn’t feel right, so we skipped it. When we got to the restaurant where we had planned to enjoy an amazing Indian meal but we found it was closed between Lunch and Supper. So we needed to wait about an hour to eat. We had passed this little park a bit back up the St Croix River; so we decided to go back there, put in, and paddle around while we waited for the restaurant to reopen. Because the planned paddle earlier in the day just didn’t feel right and the restaurant was closed when we got to it, we were able to have these remarkable experiences. (Magical Divine timing)

The paddle was beautiful and peaceful. We saw water plants with white flowers on them, that we had not seen in bloom before. IMG_2525We sat awed looking at the amazing Eagles, sitting so close to where we floated. We took a moment to soak in the cool mist from the waterfall as it joined the river. It was truly magical! Marty was right. Think about how many times in your life things don’t work out the way you planned and how many times that spurred you on to something bigger and better? (Life Is Magical)

Those times when you didn’t get the job, the guy, or the trip takes an unexpected curve, those are the times the Divine is working in your life. Those are the times God, Spirit, or the Universe are helping you get to amazing, dreamlike, opportunities and experiences. Ones you could have never imagined if you were fully in control. It is through this trust and moving with the flow of life, that amazing things can happen. Like, on our honeymoon, when we missed out connection in Paris on our layover between Italy and home. Now missing a connection is not something one usually wishes for, but this turned out to be a magical extra night on our honeymoon. We got a night in Paris on the airline, were able to take a whirlwind tour of the city. Taking pictures of many of the most popular attractions there after running into an amazing tour guide of a taxi driver. It was a blessing in disguise.

How many people do you know that were devastated when their marriages fell apart. Now you look at them. Most are in new relationships that are a better fit and they seem so much more joyful and happy with life. I had a time when an employer decided to replace my position with someone else. At the time I was hurt and crushed. But now the job I have is so much better, I make more money, I have the opportunity to travel, and what I am doing I absolutely love. It is, all of the best parts of the old job,without the stressors, and has better perks!

We have all heard the old quote that when things are falling apart sometime they are falling together for the better. It is painful when they are falling apart. It just plain sucks and you can’t understand why it is happening, but if you can look back on these events, you might just see that you are in a better place now. Because you live a magical life. Believe that it will work out! Believe in the possibilities! Keep your thoughts positive! Before you know it you will be living the life of your dreams!

Thank you for reading my blog today! May your life be magical in every way! Blessings friends. I love you!

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My Gypsy Life

My life is nomadic. I am here and there and everywhere. I travel for work almost every week. I love to travel. Being in a different place, meeting people with different traditions, and seeing how others live; is a fascinating adventure for me. The New Oxford Dictionary describes a gypsy as a nomadic or free-spirited person. This is me to a tee! 

Despite traveling 4 days a week for work, my Husband and I often set out on mini adventures on the weekends. It may simply involve hooking up to our ever-ready pop-up camper and driving across the State or flying somewhere for a quick weekend getaway. Our boat in Florida also provides us with another option to be on the move, especially in the winter months. I hear people talk about the joys of sleeping in their own beds. This is not true for me. I sleep much better when I am on the go. IMG_1121

Traveling to other countries is something I hope to do more of. I have traveled to 20 different countries and have 2-3 more on the agenda coming up soon. In fact, I may be in another country as you are reading this! Traveling to places where people live very differently than us gives me insight into how things can be done other ways. It teaches me that our way, may not be the right way or only way. There is usually more than one way to solve problems, live life, and have experiences. Not only does travel outside of my comfort zone teach me about others, but it also teaches me about myself. When I traveled to India, I learned a lot about India and the way people live there. I learned even more about me. I learned how the things I was seeing and learning affected me. I felt shifts in my opinions and I felt that trip helped me grow as a person. It enhanced me. 

While hiking through the woods today, my Husband was sharing with me how the land in this part of Wisconsin was formed. He told me the hills were formed by a large river that used to flow high above theses current banks, as it went, it deposited sediment that became the hills that were now covered by trees around us. When I was in elementary school; Geology and History did not interest me. Now as I explore these new places, the history of the land and people fascinate me. Traveling helps these things come to life for me. Tasting new foods, hearing local music, and experiencing old local traditions creates a sensory smorgasbord of learning. I feel travel is a wonderful way for people of all ages to learn. 

I love the romantic image of gypsies traveling in their wagon pulled by horses. Making their way across the land, telling fortunes, cooking over the open flames, and living a happy carefree life. Perhaps in a past life I was a gypsy; it is certainly a lifestyle that resinates with me. To me Home is not a place, for me, home is carried in my heart. It is with me wherever I lay my head down at night. I love my gypsy life and I am so happy that I have a life partner that feels the call of new and exciting destinations to travel to with me as well. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life feel free and be the life of your dreams, as if by magic.

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What Comes After the 90 Meditation Adventure?

It has been 90 days, plus some, since I started my daily meditation blogging adventure and it has been an adventure full of learning. Meditation did not always happen daily for me, even though I would like to start a daily practice of meditation. I know that when I did meditated, my days were enhanced, my mood was calmer, my writings were more inspired.  I feel some of the best blogs I have written, were written after a session of meditation. For example; A Story of Remembering, was written after a meditation on creativity. I feel it was Divinely inspired. 

So now what? I want to continue to meditate daily. Do I continue to write a weekly blog about it? Do I admit to the number of days that mediation does not happen? Maybe It should be a year long adventure but It is so easy to put everything else before my meditation. Time with family and friends, work, even blogging and preparing the Meme’s for the Adventure Sisters’ FB page. 

I also wonder if the meditation check-in blogs are helpful to anyone. Does it help you to know that I too struggle with incorporating this into a daily practice? I wouldn’t go about my day without brushing my teeth; shouldn’t meditation be just as important? It is like food for the soul; a dipping of my toe in to the ethereal bounty of the collective consciousness. 

I especially like meditation outdoors! I feel a part of the world around me and fully present. I hear the birds’ songs, crackle of the fire, rustle of the leaves, something moving further out in the forest, and the sound of other campers packing up this morning; as I sit in quiet meditation at my campsite in a Wisconsin State Park. There is a peacefulness that falls over me like a blanket as a result of this quiet time. I feeling that all is right with the world. It seems my psyche steps away from the everyday anxieties that can be a part of life in the world today. 

While I am in meditation, if feels safe to gently touch the emotions that I am uncomfortable experience in normal life. I can slowly accept them rather than the constant pushing down or pushing off, that are my typical ways of dealing with them. 

My thoughts seem clearer, words flow more easily, and the bigger picture becomes obvious. Everyday annoyances take their place as little things that do not contribute to or enhance the vibration I wish to bring to the world. All of this after only a couple of minutes of quiet meditation. Imagine if I was meditating 20 minutes or an hour a day. What would be possible then? I will continue with working toward a committed meditation practice. Why? Because committing to me is important. It will help me show up as the type of person I truly want to be. It will help me shine my little light so that others can see it and find within themselves their own light to shine. 

I will continue to blog about my experiences. I can’t say if it will be a weekly blog. I am guessing sometimes it will and sometimes it will not. That is okay. There is Divinity in the breaking of patterns. What is needed today will not be the same as what is needed tomorrow. I will flow easily where Spirit guides me and wish the same for you. 

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

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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