Success

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We all have them. We all attempt to ‘silver line’ them. We all try to reduce them.

REGRETS

It’s not a pretty word. It lingers on your tongue like a bad tasting sip of wine. The word evokes doubt, indecision, and even fear when spoken. If you write it, the word flows awkwardly from your pen. Regrets never have a feel good feeling.

So why then aren’t we frozen in time? Not moving forward. Why do we, as the human race, repeatedly venture into the unknown? Wouldn’t it be less painful to just do the same thing over and over again. The proven method that cannot cause regrets.

What would our world look like if no person had one regret?

That is terrifying. No one would strive to be different. There would be no innovation. No iPhone, no cars, not even the most basic of items. We would still be living in the era of the Caveman. Our world would not exist.

I take chances. Not only for the shock value of it, but also because I want to minimize my regrets. The eventual outcome for most of my risk-taking is success. On this day will you work towards success or have regrets? You know what I’ll be achieving.

Holy Week Humor

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You know you are Lutheran when the coffee and treats portion of morning prayer service lasts longer than the service!  🙂

Holy week begins on Palm Sunday.  We celebrate the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem as a king!  It is a celebratory day.  We sing his praises in remembrance of His triumphant entrance to a city, he knew, he would be persecuted and die.  The culmination of Holy week progresses with silence on the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  The church does not ignore these three days but not much is going on either and yet I find them significant.

This is the time Jesus spent his last days with his disciples.  These few precious last days before Evil seeped into the hearts of many.  Where shouts of Alleluias turned to cries of anger.  Where corruption ruled and money spoke volumes.

These three days before Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday take the stage are calm, meditative days for me.  I seek prayerful beginnings, lingering evenings and ample time for reflection.  I attended our morning pray service at my home congregation.  I found a community of souls who to enjoy the meditative qualities of starting your day with reflection, together.  It was refreshing to see young and old, worshiping in a small setting.  After the service we all moved off to a meeting room filled with coffee and pastries.  Where we took the time to share and laugh with each other before heading off to our work days.

Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday in the church.  We celebrate The Last Supper and remember our Savior washing his friends feet.  All the while, knowing what weight he would soon carry for the sake of the world.

Have a blessed Holy Day.  Remember our Saviors humble actions, with a kind and forgiving heart.

Travel well my friends.     

Listen

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Do you hear a voice? 

Not the radio

Not the TV

Not the endless yammering of the city

Do you hear a voice?

The voice of the loved one who needs you but isn’t sure how to ask.  The small melodic voice of a child asking the same question over and over again. The droning voice of your boss reviewing quarterly statements with you. The authoritative voice of an administrator admonishing something you love. The seductive voice of your lover calling you back to bed.  The prayerful voice of your soul reaching out to the silence in your heart.

Listen to the voices that speak to you. Listen with a fervor to hear what another is really saying. Take the time to stop, listen and respond if needed. Only when we truly listen do we truly hear what our hearts want.

Pastimes

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Bowling, fishing, biking, skiing, boating, knitting, scrapbooking,….the lists of pastimes could go on and on.  This past weekend I participated in a pastime that I have come to love, Cowboy Action Shooting.

I have not talked about this pastime very often in a public forum because I was raised to think quite differently about firearms. Society and the media have attempted to paint the issue of the 2nd Amendment in a black and white.  I still believe that the grey areas of this ongoing debate have yet to be determined.  I have no use for guns. I do not own a gun and believed there is absolutely no reason for anyone to own one.  I was raised with the belief that guns were created for one purpose and one purpose only, and that purpose has no place in my household.  Then I met him….

He came into my life as a friend, we started getting to know each other and then the most amazing thing happened to me, I fell in love with him.  He introduced me to this pastime/sport shortly after we met but it was another few years before I even attended a match. Looking back I am sure he tempted me with clothes!

For all the hesitance I displayed about firearms, I feel the exact opposite about costuming.  I love costuming!  It has been a lifetime, yes a lifetime (I literally have a black dress from my childhood that is now in my costume wardrobe) of building different costumes for various events.  I have enough costumes to start a small store.  If I don’t have what you might need to help you change your persona, I know enough similarly costume addicted individuals that can help us out.  So when I learned costumes were strongly encouraged and sometimes required for Cowboy Action Shooting I was intrigued.

 

I started this learning process as rigorously as I begin any unknown project….lots of research.  I read about the sport, the clothing, the era, and yes, the guns, with the same fervor of a law student preparing for the Bar Exam.  After months of study, I acquired a costume and took a very deep breath, ready to attend my very first Cowboy Action Shooting event (match).

I started out as an observer, watching the routines, the safety procedures, and of course, the fun.  Away from the matches with a private instructor, on a private range, I learned the fine art of safely handling the guns, specific to the sport.  I was then practice shooting after my instructors felt I was ready.  At the matches I was soon keeping score, counting misses, picking up brass and helping anywhere I could. Basically I was a full-fledged shootist without firing a gun.  Finally after a beautiful summer of Sundays at the range I decided I was ready for my first competition.

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This pastime has taught me another outlook on my belief structure. I feel the shootists I have met are celebrating a very volatile time in United States history.  Not all of history is peaceful, much of it is violent, but in amongst the tragedies there are stories of perseverance, dedication, love and heroism.  As a settler in the Wild West it was imperative to you and your families survival to use the best tools available to you, from wagon wheels to guns, your survival depended on your choices.  Cowboy Action Shooting allows the people of present day to celebrate another time and place that helped shape what this country is today.

I will not say my view on guns has changed drastically but my appreciation for another viewpoint has changed immensely.  I will continue to grow in this sport with a love of history and costuming to support my desire to learn everyday.

For more detailed information of this historical pastime go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_Action_Shooting with great links to CAS, SASS and NCOWS clubs.

Soul Experiences

Off The Beaten Path

TRAVEL UPDATE!

North Central Kansas was reviewed last week.  I will showcase Iowa highlights this week.  It was a great weekend, albeit speedy, in Iowa!  Below is the original post that kicked off my Great Plains “off the beaten path” reviews.  We have only just begun with Kansas and Iowa.  Stay tuned, more to come!

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I use the phrase, “off the beaten path” often.  I value the adventure of discovery.  I enjoy finding new, seldom explored areas.  I venture away from the norm and I love sharing my explorations with anyone who will listen to my exuberance.

I am a native Nebraskan.  I have lived in this state my whole life.  It is a perfect location for this wandering traveler.  I am centrally located in the United States, I enjoy white Christmases and hot summers, that remind me of my love of winter.  The cost of living in Nebraska is low, owning an acreage is a reasonable goal.  I have wide open vistas in my backyard, trees that tower over my neighborhood and history that is as boundless as the open skies above us.

I feel The Great Plains are the most overlooked travel destination in the continental US.  It is my favorite “off the beaten path” area.  For the next few weeks I will be highlighting some of  my top picks for fun travel adventures in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Colorado.  I hope to share with you insights to unexplored or seldom explored areas with the intention of sparking travel desires for you.  Most of the highlights will also be sneak peeks of 2015 for Soul Experiences.  So if have not traveled with us yet or haven’t traveled with a group, this may be the preview you need to embrace a new form of traveling.  Come along with us as we search The Great Plains and beyond for “off the beaten path” journeys.

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Community Renovations

The patch of barren earth is green now, where the building once stood. The shell has been removed, the sidewalks have been swept and flowers are blooming in the planters that used to touch the side of the building. The side of the adjoining building is a scarred reminder of the structure that once stood proudly nearby. A community has moved on from a tragic fire in the historic downtown area. Soon the talk will be of “I remember when…” about this empty lot but for now the renovations have begun. Life moves ever onward.

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Originally posted on Soul Experiences
Community Setbacks
April 1, 2014

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While traveling through a small town I was shocked and saddened to see a shell of an old building.  The building had been gutted by fire.  The evident age of the building presents its historical significance.  A history that was erased for the next generation by an all-consuming fire, a history now only preserved in photos and recollection.

The structure was once a local watering hole.  People gathering to share stories with each other, mixing in their laughter with the friend or stranger next to them.  Now this once bustling building stands empty.  Void of life.  Surrounded by a safety fence.  What will become of it now?  Torn down I suppose, to be forgotten in time.

What does a building really signify to a community?  It is just mortar and bricks, not a living breathing organism.  Yet our memories are tied directly to tactile objects that stir in us those repressed feelings, thoughts, and senses.  Recalling a special event in our lives or even just a quick hide away from the day-to-day of our lives.  Physical items serve as anchors for our memories.

Embrace what is here and now but be ready to let go of the “things” that tether us to this world.  Life is out there, happening every day.  Enjoy all your life has to offer!

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Recovery

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What a beautiful day to drive the open roads of Nebraska.  The sun is shining down, warming The Great Plains.  The road is calling to me once again.

It has been a very tumultuous storm season so far in Nebraska.  Many lives have been disrupted by the destructive power of wind, hail and tornadoes.  With all the news covering the tragedy in Northeastern Nebraska, my heart is sadden with the loss of lives.  My heart goes out to all those grieving.  My prayers are for continued healing of everyone recovering, both physically and emotionally.  Property has been broken and scattered.  Just as the tornadoes upturned grain bins, homes, churches, and vehicles, lives have been upturned.  The morning light after the devastation only illuminated the work ahead.

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As I drive, I count all my many blessings.  I am happy to know I am able to help where I am needed.  Helping to pick up the pieces of so many broken lives.

While traveling this summer please remember to have respect for the ever-changing weather conditions.  Be aware of storms forming and moving through your area.  But be sure to get out there, into our big wide world.  Enjoy your travels!

Travel well my friends and pray for the continued healing of storm victims.

The Best Nest

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Creative minds will be distracted.

I sat down with my laptop to write.  A cup of hot tea steeping next to me.  As I snuggled in I caught movement outside the window of my sunroom.  Just a flash of dusty red.  Looking closer I saw the industriousness of a small robin.  The evening before from a little different vantage point of my front porch I saw this same robin stuffing beaks full of fluff into the crook of the tree.  The leaves are just beginning to unfurl for the season, so the gray skeleton branches are still very visible.  Time after time the little bird would stuff and the fluff would fall.  Yet this morning I see that all that hard work did pay off.  For he has the start of his summer home, which I am sure he, with his she, will be very happy to raise their offspring.

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Even as a little girl I loved books.  I would beg the adults in my life to read story after story to me.  I loved being transported to another world just by a few simple pictures and words strung together.  One book in particular was read to me over and over again.  It was about two little birds who loved to sing and loved each other.  The only problem in their world was one of them wanted a new nest.  So off they flew to find the perfect place to settle in and raise their family.  They flew from location to location never finding just the right perch, something was always wrong with where they chose.  During a storm they are separated.  From the perspective of the male he is devastated.  You don’t know where she is.  He searches high and low for her trying to find his love.

***SPOILER ALERT*** 🙂

Finally after searching everywhere he thinks, he returns to the old, run, down nest he shared so many happy songs with his love only to find, she had come home to ‘The Best Nest’!  And they lived happily ever after, thankful for what they do have, each other.  Okay the words weren’t actually written that way but that is what I remember the moral of the story being.

So today as you go about your daily activities, be thankful for what you do have.  Even if it is not the fanciest, biggest or best of whatever, It is worth being thankful for.

Travel well my friends.

Blessed

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My life took a huge turn for the better a few years ago.  I do not focus on what I survived, I focus on my future.  Every now and again I stop, like I am at the crest of a hill and turn back to see where I was.  Behind me is a huge dark valley with small patches of light.  Light that I would travel to, needing to move forward with my life, but knowing I would need to trudge through the dark to get to the next tiny hill bathed in light. As I slogged through the darkness my path grew ever wider, the brambles that would snag at me, were further back from the trail I walked.  Then my path began an upward ascent, like a rock climber with no gear I scrambled ever up. I was wounded, exhausted, and raw.  I reached the top of that ridge only to be standing on the edge of a cliff, bottomless and darker than anything I have ever seen.  The winds pushed at my back encouraging me, not forcing me, to take a leap of faith.  It was a sea of black, the unknown, ready to swallow me up.  Yet something inside me reassured my soul,  ‘Just take the first step’.  So I did.  I found the moment I stepped off of the cliff I could find my feet with every step.  I was not lost in the blackness.  I was the light.  Most of the time I only had a fuzzy grey outline of the path.  But with every step it becomes clearer and clearer.  I feel I am at the crest of yet another hill.  The vantage point is vast.  The difference this time is I am not exhausted, I am energized!  On either side of me I see the people who have supported me, sometimes carrying me.  In front of me I see the wide open expanse of possibilities.  I will continue to move forward on my path and I hope we meet along the way.

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Today marks the public beginning of my business!  It is with great pride and thankfulness I, with my mother/business partner, launch Soul Experiences!  We will celebrate the “fuzzy path” with friends and family tonight.  People who have lifted us up and helped us to be what we are today.

I am blessed.  I have food to eat, a place to sleep, friends to laugh with, children to hug, parents who forgive my teenage angst, siblings to connect with over the miles, the support of the man I love and so much more!  The blessings I have outnumber the hardships and that alone is my biggest blessing.  My hope for each of you is that continue to travel to your ‘light’, counting all of your blessings along the way.

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Travel well my friends!