It’s Not Much… But It Is

A friend gave me a gift recently. She handed me the pretty wrapped package and said; “It’s not much but…” I witness people doing this all the time. It’s like they feel embarrassed that there is not a 50 foot yacht wrapped up behind that red and white package.

The gift was very much. It was her communication to me that she loves me. It was her way of wishing me well in this festive time of year. Her gift was well thought out and something that is truly useful and meaningful to me. She took the time to think about me and choose a gift that I would definitely love. She took the time to shop for something special for me. She spent her money, which takes time to earn, to buy something for me. Her gift was very much.

Time is something many of us feel short on. It seems like it just flies by and we end up needing more hours in the day then we have. When someone spends that precious commodity to give us a nice gift, it is very much! There are so many people that touch our lives that we cannot possible give them all gifts. I feel so blessed and special when singled out as someone, important enough, to add to their Christmas list.

When you give gifts to others, whether it is this holiday season or anytime during the year. There is no need to say; “It is not much”, to the receiver. Because to them, it is much. It is a communication of; “I care about you”, “You matter to me”, “Thank you for your friendship”, and so much more.

I am so grateful for this friend. I love her.  She did not need to give me a gift to let me know she cares but I will think of her fondly every time I use her gift. Friends are such a blessing. That is the real gift for me, to be her friend.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you have kind and loving friends in your life, that let you know you matter, as if by magic.

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Wisdom From An Ancestor

My great grandmother had a saying; “You will never be truly happy until you think more about others than you do yourself” – Ura McGurran. When you make choices in life, do you consider how they affect others? Maybe too much. Maybe so much that you are living your life for others and not taking care of yourself. So how do you strike a healthy balance? There is so much emphasis today on self care and putting ourself first. How can my great grandmother’s words still be relevant now? Let’s take a look at some self care activities and selfless acts and see where the common ground lies.

Do you feel guilty when you participate in self care activities? There is no real reason to feel guilty for caring for yourself. Do your self care activities hurt anyone? One really wonderful thing about self care, is that by doing it, you set a good example for others. A recent conversation I had with a friend, was about her feeling conflicted because something she needed to do for herself, was being viewed as selfish by her daughter. I encouraged her to go ahead and do it anyhow because, by doing so, she was setting an example for her daughter about taking care of herself and following her dreams. Her actions didn’t hurt anyone. In fact her actions help recharge her to further help others. Even when we take care of ourselves we can still be thinking of others and the example we are setting.

Selfless acts can also be a form of self care. My husband helps a friend rake his leaves, every year. He has never been asked to do this. There is no expectation that he does it. He just does it because he cares about his friend. The really good feeling he gets in his heart from helping out his buddy is a form of self care also. Selfless acts can also be a form of self care. Does this idea surprise you? It is possible to think more about others and still find happiness and balance in your life.

When we think about people who have inspired us as a world, we see that their acts brought them both happiness and purpose. People like Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama; show us how caring for others is also caring for ourselves. I assure you, that new outfit will help you feel great, but there is no greater joy than helping another and seeing the true appreciation in their eyes. When we help others do something they could not have done for themselves, a ripple goes out into the world. The movie “Pay It Forward” taught us this. It entertained us while sending a message that “random acts of kindness” are a form of self care. They help us feel good and shift the energy of the world higher.

By thinking more of others than we do ourselves, as my great grandmother so wisely shared with her children generations ago, we are also taking care of ourselves. By lending a hand to those in need, we can find happiness, change the world, and set an example for future generations.

Yes, please care for yourself. Treat yourself to quiet walk in a pretty place or take a nap when you are tired. But remember, true happiness can also come from helping others.

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

 

 

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Who Inspires You?

I was with a friend yesterday and she was talking about something her dad used to say. “A friend or a partner should make you a better person” ~ Don Ortmann. That struck me as some very wise advise. Do the people you surround yourself with make you a better person? Do you help your friends and lovers be better people?

We all touch other’s lives. Although no one can make us behave a certain way, we all have those friends who challenge us to be a better version of ourselves. These magical people inspire us, not by telling us how to be, but by just talking the talk and walking the walk. My husband is one such person. His kind and generous soul inspires me to be the best person that I can be. He never criticizes my behavior or says I need to step it up. He inspires me just by being himself. I am also blessed with other friends who, simply by living their lives, have inspired me to be and do better.

My elementary school had a secretary who had reinvented herself with the name, Henrietta Peach. She was a peach! This was back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. She would make copies for the teachers to use as worksheets in the classrooms. The “Ditto Machine” had a round drum where the original was placed. As the drum circled it would copy the content of the original, in purple, onto the waiting papers. As the drum circled it made a rhythmic “chuchunk, chuchunk” noise. Henrietta Peace would do deep knee bends to this, saying she was “exercising”. This woman would not have said she was a role model. She was just living her life and having fun at work. She played the organ in the balcony of the church. She climbed those stairs, often multiple times in one day, even into her 80’s when cancer was sucking the life out of her. She was an inspiration to others. She would sing out loud in the school office and even had a song just for me. Sometimes at the end of mass I would hear that song being played on the big church organ. A little secret sign between the two of us. When I left that school at the end of the 6th grade, I named her as the person I looked up to. I am sure I was not alone. Ethel Mohn aka Henrietta Peach, was an inspiration. Knowing her made me a better person. She taught me to have fun at work. She taught me to share my talents with others. She showed me how making a difference in the life of a child leaves a mark on this world that grows and grows. I am a better person for having known her.

Think about the people in your life. Who are the ones whose actions pull you up to better yourself? Do you think you do this for others in your life? I am sure in many ways you do. Perhaps you would be surprised to realize how your actions inspire those around you. Whether you realize it or not, people are looking to you to inspire them.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you inspire others to be the best version of themselves, as if by magic.

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Drumming With the Wolves; My Experience

On Saturday, July 21st I received the exciting opportunity to be part of an event called, Drumming with the Wolves. It was held at the Wildlife Science Center. To follow is the intentions behind the event, what I experienced there, and how it changed me.

The event was the brain child of one of my friends, Vonne. I feel grateful and blessed that she invited me to be a co-organizer for this important event. It was set with the idea of raising money to help support this important center and all of the great research they are gathering, knowledge they are sharing, and endangered animals they are fighting to keep from extinction.

The event started around 6 pm. The evening was sunny and warm and about 30-40 people joined us to have the opportunity to see these great creatures up close, learn about them, and be part of a drum circle. There was a strong feeling of community as old friends reunited and new friends met for the first time. I met some amazing people, who I hope to see again and again at future events. Peggy, the Founder, Biologist, and Wolf Mother took us on a tour of her amazing facility. We started off by meeting the Wolves. As we walked along their enclosures the Wolves ran up to the fence to meet us. I remember when my eyes met the golden eyes of the first majestic animal.  I fell in love. You could see the wildness in his being but also the love. These Wolves are, after all, spiritual beings too.  Peggy graciously educated us, answered questions, and howled so that the Wolves would howl back. I cannot describe the way it took my breath away to hear 100+ Wolves howling in chores together.  I have heard Wolves howl when Emy and I were camping in the Boundary Waters but to have them all around us howling, was a completely different experience. We met many Wolves on this tour, all with their own interesting and unique stories to tell.

After we met the Wolves we got to meet some of the other wild creatures that have come to live there, because they cannot be released back to the wild. Mountain Lions, Lynx, and Bobcats all call the Wildlife Science Center home. Additionally, there are Bears, Raccoons, an elderly Porcupine, Fox, and Skunk. Each creature has its own story of how it came to call the heartfelt place home. There are also Raptors, who we did not get to meet, perhaps during the next public event called The Harvest Howl in October.

After we finished our tours we shared in a potluck. Prayer Ties were made with Tobacco grown from a 100 year old seed shared by an attending indigenous woman. Intentions and prayers were placed in the Ties to be fed to the fire. It was very beautiful and powerful. That this tradition was shared with us and the tobacco song sung in the native tongue made me feel honored and blessed to be a part of this.

I led a healing meditation. I was awed and a bit amused as the wolves added their howls from time to time to the meditation. It was as though they wanted to participate.

Now it was time for the drumming. Lisa called in the directions and led the drumming. The drums beat matched with the heartbeat of the Earth. Each drumming session had a powerful intention set with it. Children and adults all participated. There were Drums, Dowels, Tibetan Tingsha Cymbals, Singing Bowls, Rattles, and even a white Crystal Bowl. A Didgeridoo was played earlier in the night offering sound baths to some participants. It was a blend of cultures and such an amazing sense of community. There was no judgment, only love, community, and respect. The Drumming was an important and inspiring part of the evening. As our Drums beat together, joining us with each other and the natural world around us, our prayers were carried off with the Drum beats and vibrations. It connected us together with one another and with all of nature.

The Wolves; who are a fierce hunter, strong predator, and create fear in so many – displayed only love and curiosity during our visit. They are well cared for and respected. They are not pets but rather wild animals who need our help and understanding to survive. At the end of the night we howled, Peggy howled, and the Wolves howled. It was a final goodbye and great end to the night.

It was an experience that was transformative in many ways. I was looking forward to the Drumming but the night was so much more than just that. The opportunities to join these kind of events is a blessing. They enhance your life and teach you things about others, but more than anything else, they help you to know yourself even better. What moves you, inspires you, touches your heart? This event and the people and creatures I met here did all these things for me and more.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find events that foster in you a deeper connection with yourself and those around you, as if by magic. I love you!

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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!

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When the Last Interaction Is Not Positive

One of my friends died today. Our last conversation keeps repeating in my head. It was not a happy conversation. Would I have delivered the same message if I knew his days were numbered? Would I have done it in the same way?
I do not believe that I am an unkind person. I am, however, direct and even blunt. I will deliver the messages that others shy away from. This was the way this conversation went. I was trying to help my friend understand how others perceived him. I feel none of us truly knows how we are being perceived unless someone is brave enough to tell us. This was my intention in my last interaction with this friend. I wanted to give the gift of honesty. I wanted to help him grow and be a better version of himself. It did not go well. I had thought he had received my words with openness and was taking some time to process. When I learned of his death, I also learned that he had un-friended me on Facebook. Apparently I had hurt him. This was never my intention. Many people have un-friended and re-friended me over the years. I don’t let it bother me, most of the time. I do, however, feel bad that this interaction had caused enough pain that he no longer wanted me to show up in his news feed.
Sure, they say, “truth hurts”. That doesn’t help me feel any better about it. I wanted to help him become a better version of himself. Instead, I now have the opportunity to become a better version of myself. If I had known his days were numbered would I still have delivered the message in the same way? Would I have felt the message was important to share? What is the cost of personal growth? Both his and mine. Did it really matter? I am left to wrestle with these questions as I come to terms that my friend has transitioned into another way of being. What would he tell me now that he has access to the wisdom on the other side?

Regret is… an unavoidable result of any loss,
for in loss we lose the tomorrow that we needed
to make right our yesterday or today
~ Gerald Lawson Sitter

How would I feel if someone was brave enough to share with me how I was being perceived? People have from time to time, and I welcomed the information. Sometime it throws you off for a minute as you have to integrate the message that they shared. What have I learned? To be as kind as possible always. Yes. To not share the truth? No. I will still share insights with others. I still want others to share insights with me.
To my friend – “Peace, Love, and a smooth transition to the other side. Please forgive me for causing you pain. It was not my intention to hurt you. Thank you for being my friend in this lifetime. Safe journeys”.

What are your thoughts? Was I wrong? Have you had similar experiences?

Than you for reading my blog today. May your friendships be open and help you grow.

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But, Just Think, What If?

Have you ever found a book, that so transformed your way of thinking, that you keep buying it to give away to others? I have one such book. It’s a children’s book. I was having an especially hard time letting go of some anger. I felt this person had not treated me right. My friend, Theresa, suggested that I read this book. It gave me a whole new perspective. I was able to see people who caused me pain in a new light.

The book was Neale Donald Walsch’s, The Little Soul and the Sun. Have you ever read it? If you have not, I highly recommend it. If you have not read it for awhile, you should read it again. My husband was lucky enough to get a live reading today. I got choked up reading it. It just touches me on such a deep level. The artwork in the book is stunning and the message is deep. The basic premise of the book relates to soul contracts. It shows, in a beautiful way, how souls make agreements with one another to “play” certain roles in their human experiences. By doing this each being gets the opportunity to try on different masks.

One of my very favorite lines in the book is when God is talking to the little soul. He says to him, “Always remember: I have sent you nothing but angels.” What a thought! What if we thought about the person who cuts us off in traffic as an angel? That person, who took credit for your project at work, they are an angel too. How about your ex, who did that unforgivable thing? Yes, they are an angel too. It really changes the way you look at the world. If you think about those people you are holding resentment, hate, or bitterness towards as a perfect creation of Love, maybe you can forgive them. Maybe you can move on.

There are people in this world who do really terrible things to other people. I am as human as anyone else. I do not condone these acts, in any way. But just for a moment, what if we thought that we had signed a contract to have that very bad thing done to us. It would give us an opportunity to experience and grow from it. Learn from it. I know there are people reading this thinking I am crazy. How can I think that these terrible things could be part of a spiritual experience. But, just think, what if? How does that change everything?

The premise in the book is kind of like the idea that a fish doesn’t know what water is. It is surrounded by it, but only through having a lack of it, could the fish a truly appreciation the water that surrounds it. We would not appreciate what we have if we had not experienced not having it. If everyone and everything is the perfect energetic embodiment of Love, then how could we truly appreciate that? We would need to have experienced it’s opposite.

I hope I have fairly illustrated this touching book through this post. Please give the story a chance. May you be able, at least some of the time, to look at the person who is making you mad and remember that they are an angel. “‘Always remember,’ God had smiled, “I have sent you nothing but angels.”’

What are your thoughts? Do you believe in reincarnation? Have you heard of the concept of soul contracts? What emotions did this bring up for you? Have you read the book or do you plan to?

Blessings!
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