Recommitting To Me!

Lately, I have been feeling drawn to run. I have in the past had a love/hate relationship with running. I hate to do it but love to be able to do it. But let’s face it, if you have ever been a runner, it gets under your skin. When you aren’t going on runs, you can feel it trying to spur you on. You can hear the trail, ever so gently calling; “come run with me”.  I have been hearing the trail calling for months now and ignoring it. There are other ways I am being called to improve my health as well. I keep hearing my inner voice tell me to improve the quality of what I put in my body. So, I decided, now is the time. It is the time to recommit to me. 

I stopped running a few years ago when I hurt my knee training for a half marathon. I had procrastinated starting my training and then pushed very hard to get the speed and stamina I needed to finish in the required time. Once I knew I had injured my knee, I switched to biking and other ways to keep up my fitness, while resting my complaining joint. The weekend before the half marathon, I did a nice and easy 5K with a friend. All felt fine. It was during that next 1/2 marathon, at about mile 5 of 13, that the pain returned.  I did finish the 1/2 marathon (although not in the required time). Even though I was hurting, I made one more poor decision that ended my running, I ran a 5K again the next weekend. I tried to ignore what my body was telling me and pushed on and that was it. I have since attempted to get back into running a few times but my conditioning is just not what it once was. That and I can think of a million reasons why not to go for a run. It’s too cold, I am too busy or I don’t have the right shoes all work well. 

I have heard the call of my body. It is saying, “Stacy, take care of me”. It is pleading with me to stop drinking the diet soda I guzzle by the cases (even though I believe it is poison). My body is kindly requesting that I not drink wine. Not only by my physical form but also my spirit is screaming at me to get back out on the trail. Hiking, running, walking, climbing; it does not matter, just get out in the fresh air and go. Move your body! Get out of the basement and stop binge watch TV shows. The spirit that flows through me says there is more to life than that. I know this and it feels that now is the time to honor my life and  physical being. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I do take pretty good care of myself. I eat a vegetarian diet, limit my intake of processed sugar and fried foods. I look for natural or holistic treatments when possible. I seek balance, although this is one of the areas I need further work on. I am not good at resting. But I feel making these three changes will enhance my life and respect this meat suit that I have to wear for this lifetime. 

I was receiving healing at Heaven On Earth Healing. The practitioner used NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) to work with me. She had me visualize myself running. It was an interesting process and I had some profound “ah-ha” moments during it. Today I went for my first run in a few years. Last night I skipped my nightcap. Today I am drinking tea and not my usual soda. I am ready to recommit to myself. I am ready to treat my body with the same respect I give my mind and soul. 

I am not perfect, nor do I want to be. Where is the fun in that? I do want to be better. After all, isn’t that what this journey is about, doing better today than we did yesterday. Slowly making progress forward. So I recommitted to me. I answered the call of the pavement. I ran a very slow 2 miles but I am very proud of myself for doing it. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of a healthy and happy choices that seem easy to make. Recommit to yourself my friends. I love you. 

*The photo is my daughter and I at our first 1/2 marathon which we did together.

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The More Stressed the Vine the Better the Wine. 

Today Marty and I had the pleasure of attending a wine tasting with my friend. The lady wine expert, at the vineyard, happily told us about the wines and the growing process. She explain to us that they stress the plants because “…the more stressed the vine the better the wine.” I think this is a great metaphor for our development in life. 

When you hear the life stories of admirable people, they often had a rough start or very difficult lives. Some of my most amazing close friends, who now live wonderful and healthy lives, had huge past struggles and stresses that many of us cannot imagine. Like the story of the addict who has to hit rock bottom, but once they do, they completely turn their life around and never look back. 

When life’s hard and you are really feeling stressed ad tested, remember this quote. Remember that this stress is helping you to become a better version of yourself. Just as it takes pressure to turn coal into a diamond. That stress and pressure are there to help you to transform. To help you become an even better version of yourself. 

At this time in my life, by my choices, I am currently very stressed and horribly busy. I work a full time job, that is more than a little demanding. I volunteer as the admin for the local Buy Nothing group. I am writing blogs, getting book proposals ready to submit, participating in Toastmasters and functioning as their club secretary. Add to that rehabbing a rental property with my husband, helping our children and making time for our grandchildren. My job requires travel, so I am gone about 4 days a week. There is a lot of stress to do a lot and to do it well. Sometimes the pressure seems overwhelming. How do I get through it all? How do I find the gumption to keep going? I try to remind myself that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. I pick one task and work to get that accomplished and move forward. Even during a period of stress, keep moving to grow the best fruit possible. You might just find you are amazed at what you can accomplish. 

It is like when Emy and I go to the boundary waters. It has not been easy. There has been a lot of work, stress, and pressure involved. The process of sticking with it and keeping one foot moving in front of the other, has helped us continue to evolve in our skills out there in the wilderness. It has taught us how much we are capable of and given us a new sense of pride and self worth. All of the hard work is totally worth it. It makes for an awesome trip. That is why we keep going back. You may think that the BWCA is a fun thing we go and do, and you would be correct. You may not see how something so fun is at all the same as the stress and demand of everyday life. I want to remind you that fun is a state of mind and It can all be fun. No matter what you are doing, if your attitude is right.

So when it all feels like too much, take a deep breath, and remember the fruits of your labor will be all the sweeter, once you overcome the current stress and pressure. 

Thank you or reading my blog today. I wish you a life full of sweet rewards as a result for journeying on. 

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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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Sisterhood

l love my male friends, but there is something special about female friends. This week my life has been full of the beauty of sisterhood. There is an extraordinary quality to the relationships of woman. An ease of understanding; an ancestral community of healers, caretakers, and nurturers. Some woman have forgotten this bond. Some women look for enemies in other woman. I encourage you, if you are one such woman, to look for the good in your sisters. I hope you can seek to understand why their journey has made them who they are and find respect for them, even if you do not agree with them. 

I look around me and see my life is full of smart and capable female friends and family. This week I have supported one amazing woman who has turned her life around and continues to do so in miraculous ways.  Another friend needed encouragement to continue to walk a difficult journey. I watch a dynamic millennial blow the competition out of the water at a speech contest. A friend called and gave me encouragement to continue on a new creative project I am working on. I see other woman making their dreams come true and I am inspired. 

We must, as woman, band together and support each other. Celebrate the successes and cry over the losses. Together we are stronger than we are as individuals. Together we can make the world a better place. Together we will nurture the children to become fine adults, we will plan for a better tomorrow, we will mend the broken and heal the sick. We will encourage the forlorn and help the lost find their way. 

Let’s look at being a woman as a super power. Let’s see our strength. Let’s gather our emotions around us and see how they do not make us weaker but make us stronger. Let us not step on the backs of other women to get to the top but rather take turns pulling each other up to the top. 

I love you my sisters! I am here rooting you on. Your success is success for us all. My success is your success. We are a community of powerful women. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a feeling of sisterhood, community, and love! 

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Transforming Your Life

Do you have aspects of your life that you are not okay with? Of course! We all have parts that we could take out and shine up. There are certain practices that we can leave in the past, to step into our future as a better version of ourselves. There are probably many ways that you have ready done this on some small scale and if you look at how you did, you will begin to see how you can do it on a larger scale.

During my lifetime I have done many things that have transformed my life. When I look back at these things, I see the common factor being my belief in myself. I am a high school drop out. How did I move past that to have a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and several credits in a Graduate program? How did I keep moving on forward to a place of a successful career? I believed that I would. Never once did I think that decision defined me. Perhaps I was lucky to not know the statistics about the future for high school dropouts.

When I was young, I smoked. It had a two pack a day habit. I quit this unhealthy practice 28 years ago. Once again, I quit because I believed I could. I did not allow the term “smoker” to define me. I did not care if the statistics said if I could or would quit. I saw what I was capable of and I worked to make that vision of myself a reality.

I was morbidly obese. Once again, I did not allow this to define who I am. I decided to become a runner. I had never been athletic as a child but why did that have to define me? I have completed 3 half marathons and countless shorter events. I also completed a 150 mile bike ride for charity, done a lot of hiking and kayaking and enjoy an active lifestyle. Once again, it was believing in myself and wanting something better for my life that helped me to pull myself up and push forward.

Whether the aspects of your life that you want to change, are big or small, involve a career goal or creating more healthy habits, you can accomplish it!

You are capable of amazing things! This capability comes from deep within you. There is a strength that lies coiled inside of you. Call on this strength to become more than you are today. Call on this strength to incorporate a new healthy habit into your life. Call on this strength to live the life of your dreams! I believe in you! You should believe in yourself too! You see stories all around you of people improving their lives. No one is more captive of improving your life than you are!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you and I believe in you! I wish you a lifetime full of positive changes.

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What inspires you?

I went to a speech contest for my Toastmaster’s District tonight. There was a wide variety of speeches. Funny tall tales started the night off with great humor. There were passionate speeches, speeches that were serving a mission, and teaching speeches. The speakers were all good, brave, and inspiring. It got me thinking about what is inspiring. What inspired me? What inspires you?

Motivation is an external, temporary high that PUSHES you forward. Inspiration is a sustainable internal glow which PULLS you forward.

~ Thomas Leonard

What is it that makes something inspiring? Why is it when we read or hear some message, we feel that pull to take action. Something inside us resonates with the message. One of the speeches tonight was about running. I have run for fitness and to train for events. I have completed several road races (enough to have a quilt made from the t-shirts) and 3 half marathons. I know the love hate relationship with running. I hate to do it but love to be able to do it. My husband is a kayaker and hiker but has never been much of a runner. I asked him if the speech had the same motivating effect on him. He said that it did make him consider giving it a try. Was the inspirational call to lace up the sneakers more of a call to me, because I know the sound of shoes hitting the pavement in a rhythmic pattern in the still, quiet morning? The feel of runners lined up for a big 5K event with the group excitement carrying everyone across the starting line when the pistol fires, runs in my veins. I have a running playlist on my phone and certain songs that have play during my train times will always be linked to running in my heart. Does all of this predispose me to be inspired by her speech, even though I have not run in a few years?

I want to inspire people to overcome their self limiting beliefs. I want to help people do what they may not; even believe is a possibly for them. Am I more likely to reach those people who have already experienced overcoming their own fears? Those who have moved past their own self doubt in the past, are they the spirits I can reach? I am happy to to inspire all of these people, but I also want to inspire those who have not had that experience before. I want to reach that person who is feeling my messages are for others…  who hasn’t tasted success. I want that sneaky inspiration to get beyond their walls and start to pull them out of the darkness. I want them to break the shell they have been in and grow beyond what they thought was impossible. Then I want them to share their stories to inspire others! We have all been there. I was the overweight kid, who had no athletic ability and poor self esteem. Somehow I have become a woman who has roughed it in the boundary waters, ran half marathons, kayaked on the Mississippi, hiked on Mount Reiner, traveled to 18 different countries (so far), and Co-authored 3 books.

I want to inspire you! I want you to feel the pull to do what you think or thought you couldn’t! I want to hear about you blazing trails, taking the trip of a lifetime, and surpassing your dreams! Be inspired fiends and inspire others!

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