Don’t Give Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Do You Believe in Trolls?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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11 ways to Live Life to the fullest

As I write this, it is my birthday. What has happened over the past year?

New grandchild was born•Another grandchild is in a better situation•Traveled to England and saw Stonehenge•Traveled to the Netherlands and saw my grandfathers homeland•Lost my grandmother and a couple of friends•Purchased a boat as a second home in Florida•Had family photos taken with all four children and all four grandchild for the first time ever•Finished renovations on our home•Started renovations on our rental property•Helped my daughters move•Attended a writers workshop and started proposals on, not one, but three books•Started blogging•Traveled to Canada and explored Amethyst mines•Joined Toastmasters and became the club Secretary•Navigated changes in my day job•Began completing my coaching certification•Joined instagram•Had my 1 year wedding anniversary•Formed a deeper more loving relationship with my stepson•Watched as all three of my daughters became even more amazing women•Completed a 5k for charity•Took my stepson and a granddaughter to see the Grand Canyon•Served several holiday meals•Gained ten pounds•Entertained friends•Hosted gatherings to create community•Donated my time to fundraisers, raking leaves for seniors, and my local Buy-Nothing group•Broke my wrist and had surgery to put in a plate to repair it•Went dogsledding for the first time ever•Watched several movies•Cried a little and laughed a lot•Had more than a few glasses of wine•Baked goodies for others•Tried to make the world a brighter place•Listened to my friends and encouraged them when I could•Camped in three different states•Worked hard to be the best wife I can be•Worried about my family and strived to improve my relationships•Read several books•And many more items I cannot even think of right now.

It is amazing how much life can be packed into 365 days. I believe in using everyday to the fullest. We do not know how many breaths we will have in our life. Why waste any of them. I work hard and play harder. Striving to find joy in all aspects of my life, helps keep my focus positive.

It is interesting to reflect on a year. They seem to go by so quickly but when I look back, it has been a glorious year. Full of joy and a little bit of sorrow. The duality of sorrow amongst the joy helps us appreciate the joy. It takes the darkness so we appreciate the light. We need both.

How can we live our life to the fullest between the demands of work, family, and other responsibilities? Make them fun! Find the joy!

Talk. During a family meal, pose a question to get a conversation going. “What did you learn today? What kindness did you witness, what was the most interesting part of your day? What do you hope to accomplish is year?”

Plan a trip. It does not have to be a month long cruise around the world, although it can if that is accessible to you. Take a day trip to a nearby town to explore. Go camping in a state park. Plan a family get away to a historic part of the country or go on a romantic weekend retreat with your love. Whatever kind of trip is right for you, it’ll  give you a break from the routine. It refreshes you and gives you a pause, to enjoy.

Get outside. Go for a walk; feel the sun on your face, hike, run, play, sled, whatever is enjoyable to you.

Laugh. Find the joy in life and share it. One of my Yogi friends is passionate about her mantra: “Feel joy and share it!” It is a beautiful sediment!

Accept yourself  Be kind to your self, love yourself as is. If you want to work on things about yourself, fine, but know you are perfect just as you are.

Notice the positive things  A beautiful tulip in the spring, pretty snow in the winter, a child laughing, the hug of a loved one, a delicious fresh and healthy meal. There are always positive things to be grateful for.

Play. Work is important, it gives us purpose and allows for money to pay for our life, but play is important too. Whether it is paint night with your friends, hopscotch with your child, or bowling with your league, playing is an important part of living life. Just because we grow into adulthood does not mean we should stop playing.

Love. Love your family, friends, furrbabies, coworkers, neighbors, strangers walking down the street; allow that love to flow from you to others, even if you only share a smile with that person.

Create. Create art, community, recipes, games, whatever gets your creative juices flowing. Children create works of art, games, even imaginary worlds. Just because we grow older, does not mean we should stop.

Share  Share stories, thoughts, or journal, even if this means just sharing with yourself.

Learn. Learning should never stop. We can learn formally from classes and seminars, but we can also learn informally from others, watching interesting programs, taking tours, or looking things up in books or on the internet. Learning things enriches our life and helps us grow.

I am wishing you a life full of joy! Thank you for reading my blog today!

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:
Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister
https://stacycrep.com
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A Brand New Adventure

Thursday was a beautiful winter day in Northern Minnesota. The sky was a crystal blue and clear. The sun was bright and white against the blue of the sky. The ground was blanketed with a layer of sparkling white snow. It was 7 degrees above zero with an expected high of 31. This was as lovely a day as we could hope for on our first ever dog sledding adventure.

The dogs were friendly and happy. They excitedly greeted each one of us. We walked amongst the dogs giving them hugs and loves. They were as excited as we were about the days adventure. It was to be a day long experience that would cover 15-30 miles in Superior National Forest.

It started out with the guides teaching us how to drive the sled and mush the dogs. The most important lesson learned was how to stop the sled; the dogs needed no encouragement to go. They loved to run. Instruction halted for a bit when a dog came over looking for affection. Theo (one of our teachers) stopped what she was doing to give the pup what she was looking for. I was impressed by the love and respect the animals were treated with. Our guides taught us how to safely and kindly harness the team. Lead dogs in front, team dogs in the middle, and wheel dogs in the back. As we secured them to the line, all of the huskies started barking and howling, saying they too wanted to go on the excursion.

As we set off into the middle of the forest, the dogs were excited and wanting to run. Marty (my amazing husband) was driving the sled while I was tucked safely inside, ready for an experience unlike anything I have done before.

We glided through the crystalline world, encompassed completely by nature. Giant boulders, some as big as our house, stood as reminders of the glaciers that dropped them there long years ago. The uphill climbs were slow and steady, while on the downhills the canines poured on the speed. The sound of an occasional bark was the only noise other than the paws on the trail and that of the sled. It was breathtaking! Large pines and bare birch trees stood in alliance protecting this sacred space. We pulled out of the trees to journey across a frozen lake. As we first glided onto the lake, one of the sleds lost its balance and tipped, throwing its driver. The passenger continued on behind the enthusiastic team in the sled, on its side, for a good 20 feet before the team came to a stop. I thanked my lucky stars that Marty had kept us upright. We stopped for lunch on the lake. A fire was started and brats were cooked on sticks found in the woods. Homemade cookies and hot chocolate rounded out the meal. While we ate and chatted, the dogs lounged in the sun. One of the younger dogs barked excitedly but the older dogs took it easy or rolled and played in the snow. The crackle and smell of the fire, which I usually associate with summer, was in such contrast to this silent cold environment.

After a nice break, we loaded back up, tummies full of warm food. As soon as the teams saw us coming they got all lined up and start making a joyous sound, more than ready to get going again.

The trip back was faster and with tighter curves. There were times my shoulder brushed trees as we raced on. As we came around one turn, the end of a downed tree protruded from the snow into the trail. Marty tried to shift the sled to avoid it but it caught us just right and our sled was pushed over onto it right side. Luckily Marty held on and the team stopped after a somewhat short drag on my side. Marty pulled the sled back upright and the dogs immediately took off before he could get himself situated. This time we were thrown onto our left side. Marty got the sled upright and again, the dogs took off. The fact that I was not dragged away is because Marty threw himself on the brake and held the team back until he could get situated. Dan, our other excellent guide, had tied off his team and was running back to help us, but by now we were all set and ready to go again.

The rest of the trip was a wild ride through the evergreens and naked brush. I can not describe how exciting and fun it was to be zooming through this majestic forest, pulled onward by these amazing animals. I am so impressed with the dogs and their enthusiasm. As we neared the end of our trip, a large cast iron bell hung in a tree. I reached up and grabbed the rope and rang the bell as we glided under it to let them know of our return.

We pulled back into the dog yard. The dogs were happy to be home and only slightly winded. We thanked each dog with pets, hugs, and treats. We got to help unharness the team and get them safely back to their homes.

This was a great adventure. I was in need of some forest bathing time and this was a beautiful and fun way to get to experience northern Minnesota nature in March. I recommend, if you are looking for something different to do during the frozen months, to give it a try! You will learn a lot, have a new adventure, and maybe even discover some things about yourself.

Adventure on my friends! I wish you a life filled with fun and new experiences.

Thank you Theo, Dan, and White Wilderness Dog Sledding Adventures for the grand day!

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:
Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister
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Pursuit of Happiness

What will you do when those things, that the universe is bringing to you, show up within your reach? Will you reach out and take them? Will you be afraid? Ii it all too good to be true?

I recently had this happen. I had lived in Florida for ten years about a decade ago. It still feels like home to me. Recently,  on trip to visit my friend, I mentioned to my husband that I would love to have a second home in Florida. Of course this was a dream; something I would like to manifest but not anything I believed was within reach for us. Marty said, “Perhaps we are looking at this wrong. Maybe we should be thinking about buying a boat here”. My husband and I have been talking about buying a boat to live on since we first met. It was a dream we shared. What a great idea! We could have a boat in Florida as a second home. Still this was a dream that we didn’t really expect to show up in our lives that same weekend.

When we shared our thought with my friend she told us she knew someone selling a boat. Oh what fun it is to dream. We decided to go look at it, just for fun. Well to make a long story short the boat was perfect for us and priced within our reach. Wowzers! The Universe just told us to put up or shut up. The universe plopped our dreams (not one but two) just within our reach. I am still amazed at how events swirled to make these dreams a possibility.

You can probably imagine all of the things that were going through our head. Can we really afford it? Does it make sense? Is this really what we want? What’s the catch? Do we have enough time? Will we regret it if we do it? Will we regret it if we don’t? And about a hundred other “what if’s?”.

So I ask you, are you ready? If the Universe offers you your dreams? Will you reach out and take them? Think about some of those seemingly far off or future dreams. If one of those was put within your reach, what would you do? It may still require some work, some energy, some time investment on your part, but there it is. You only need to reach out, invest the time, the energy, the commitment and it is yours. Will you do it? Do you really want it or did you just think you did?

Marty and I decided we do really want these dreams. We are grateful that the Universe put it in our path. We plan to name our boat Happiness. Live your dreams today.

Do you have a story of the Universe asking you to “put up or shut up”? What would you do?

I wish you many blessing and dreams come true. Thank you for reading my blog today.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:
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https://stacycrep.com
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Stacy Crep on Instagram
@stacycrep

The Story of the Stone Buffalo

Emy and my adventures are mostly based in the BWCA (Boundary Water Canoe Area) but there was an earlier adventure. It also started with a Groupon, curiously. It was a kayak trip down the Mississippi. This was not a daunting journey that took days and multiple supplies. This was a leisurely paddle with the current for a few hours.
It was a beautiful sunny day. We were excited to get out and do something new together. I had done some canoeing and kayaking but this was our first joint voyage. We paddled along, enjoying the scenery and each others company. We talked about the environment and even sent some healing energy to the Mississippi. We wanted to help combat some of the pollution we feared was there. There was a little island in the middle of the river at one point. Feeling free and quite adventurous we decided to stop and explore. It was a small bit of land covered with trees. There was a little dirt path through the forest. Hiking on the path was a great way to stretch our legs after a couple hours in the kayaks. We came across a picnic table. We walked past it not thinking much about it. Emy wondered further into the woods but I felt drawn to the picnic table. On the table there was a small stone bison. I felt intuitively that the fairies had left it there for me. I excitedly told Emy about it and showed it to her.
When I got home I looked up the spiritual meaning of bison. I believe that when we notice animals (especially animals we don’t typically see) they come with a message for us. It is a way Spirit talks to us. When I look up the messages animal totems have for me, I trust my gut to guide me to the reason the animal showed up. Nothing about the stone bison really seemed like a strong message for me at the time. I kept it in a special place; I had a sense that it was a powerful gift.
Tonight as Emy and I were messaging back and forth about steps we are taking to get our books published, my phone autocorrected “vision” to “bison”. I was immediately reminded of the stone bison from all those years ago. I looked it up again to see what meaning or message it had for us now. The following list of words came up acquainted with the bison.

Abundance      Blessing      Community      Consistency      Goals
Gratitude      Manifestation      Prayer      Prosperity      Provision
Sacrifice      Service      Stability      Strength      Surrender

Since this evening had been focused on our efforts to get our books published, I feel that the message of the stone bison was about steps we could take to move our books forward. I find it so interesting that this gift was given to me so many years before the idea of the book or even the concept of the Adventure Sisters was born. Life is magical, if you trust it.
Do you have any similar stories? What magic have you noticed in your life?

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:

Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister
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How I Became an Adventure Sister!

Hello, I am Stacy Crep, Adventure Sister! You may be asking yourself what is an adventure sister? You may be curious to find out how I became an Adventure Sister. You may want to know what kind of adventures I have gone on. I will tell you all of this as well as my Adventure sister goals.

It all started with a Groupon! I saw a Groupon for a 3 day canoe trip. It sounded so fun. I just couldn’t pass it up! And who doesn’t love a sale! I bought 2 and contacted my friend Emy to go with me. At the time I had no idea what the Boundary Water Canoe Area was. BWCA, is that a funky dance from the 70s? I really didn’t understand what I had gotten us into. People warned us that we would get carried off by mosquitos and eaten by bears. As we started doing research we discovered that there is this thing called portaging. It is the crazy concept that when you get to land you pick up your canoe and carry it, on top of your shoulders, by yourself, until you get to water again. Not to mention all your gear.

That first year we learned so much! 2 ordinary woman out there in the wilderness at a campsite that consisted of lots of trees, a cooking grate, and a pit toilet. It didn’t even have walls. We chopped wood and learned to build a fire in the rain. We caught and cleaned our own fish, never had I ever done that before, but we wanted to eat. Washing dishes in the forest became second nature. We persevered after we tipped our canoe and had a lovely time. When we were packing up and leaving the last day, the only day that was warm and sunny, by the way, we decided to leave note for the next campers about the beautiful campsite and the fun we had had there. We left a couple tea bags and the note in a plastic bag tied to some extra fire wood we had chopped. We signed it Adventure Sisters.

We have continued to go back to the boundary waters year after year. We have survived lighting storms. We have climbed and navigated difficult portages. We have never mastered packing lite. We have managed to stay a float in rough water. One time it was so rough that when I went to paddle my paddle did not make contact with the water because it was between the massive waves. Once we endured camping in the forest when we couldn’t make it to a campsite. We didn’t even have a pit toilet that year… just a shovel.

This year we went to Orlando and had a different kind of adventure which included a swarm of fireman and 2 sheriff deputies. But that story is for another time.

These continued adventure have built our confidence and have helped us learn about ourselves. By pushing ourselves in these physical and many times emotional ways we have grown so much personally. We want to share this with others and inspire them to live the life of their dreams. We have decided to write a book to share our experiences with others. The idea of a book has grown into not just one book, but three. Lessons Through Joy, Lessons Through Forgiveness, and Lessons Through Magic.

An impulsive purchase changed my life and from it the adventure sisters were born. We were not carried off by mosquitoes nor were we eaten by bears. We had struggles, we learned a lot, we saw amazing aspects of nature (to include a swimming moose), but most of all we learned who we are and who we want to be. I am Stacy Crep, Adventure Sister. We are already planning our next adventure! Want to come with?

Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

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