My website name says it all… LIVE AND THRIVE!
It captures the essence of what I strive to do every day!
It implies going WAY beyond merely "surviving", but turning ANY trial or challenge that is thrown at you, into a positive experience by deciding to take the "high ground", to make the effort to live a full, abundant, healthy, active life, in ALL aspects of your life, including spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, social, financial, and more.
It doesn't matter where you are right now, you have the power within you to begin TODAY… to "LIVE and THRIVE".
Unfortunately, I have had plenty of times throughout my life when I wasn't much of a "Live and Thrive" role model. However, I have learned how to work hard to turn my weaknesses into strengths. As a result, I have received HUGE blessings.
One experience completely changed the course of my life.
It was 3 pm on a clear February day, 2003, in Salt Lake City. I was 47 years old. It was a drought year with not much snow in the valley or mountains. I had hit rock bottom. Not only was I NOT "living and thriving", but I was barely hanging on to life. I hated someone SO much that it was now starting to consume all of my life and I couldn't take it much longer. I'll call him "Steve".
Steve was one of my son's best friends. He was smart, good looking, physically strong, clever, quick witted, manipulative and loved getting a "rise" from me OFTEN. He would do or say things that he knew would send me soaring in anger. Now I think, as I look back on this, that he was highly entertained by how easily he could get under my skin and drive me crazy. Just imagine being "pecked at" nearly every day for 10 years. Any ONE "pecking" wasn't a big deal, but when you combine this little torture on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly amount, it adds up.
But this story isn't so much about what Steve did or didn't do to me. It's about how I allowed myself to get into a very dark, lonely, tormented place for 10 LONG years, from the time my son was 9 - 19. During this time, I felt completely justified in all my woes and pity. I wanted to tell the entire world how much this young man had wronged me but no one seemed to care or wanted to listen.
At times my anger crossed the line and turned to rage. At one point, I hated him so much that I know if I had a gun, I would have shot him.
After 10 years of enduring this emotional and mental torment, I had built up PLENTY of "hate and anger" poison in my body. I can honestly say that it was toxic!
I couldn't enjoy my life. I couldn't focus on anything else for very long. Everything I did was hard to do. I was angry with my husband. He should have fixed this problem and made me happy, so I thought. Images of Steve dominated my life every hour of the day. When I went to a party or family gathering, I wanted to talk about how much of a menace Steve was in my life. No one wanted to be around me including my kids and husband. They were worn out hearing about "Steve" and would avoid being around me for very long.
I finally hit a low in my life that I wanted to run away from home and just keep driving, but as a mother I couldn't do that. I had immediate obligations and a family that needed my attention. I thought "If I can't run away from home, then I'll go to my favorite restaurant, The Mikado, and I'll eat until I am happy again". Fortunately for me, they were closed since it was between the lunch and dinner hours. What else could I do to relieve my agony! I sat in my car and cried. I felt helpless. I didn't know where I could turn for help. I cried some more. Then I started praying to God for help. I told him I couldn't take it any longer. Please help me get rid of all this negative energy that was destroying my life.
After sitting there alone, for awhile, praying and crying, I remember FOUR words came into my head. It was not an audible voice € just a very specific thought, consisting of FOUR words:
"Go climb that mountain".
Those 4 words would change my life. I knew those words didn't come from me, because my first reaction was "Why didn't I think of that!" I knew exactly which mountain these words were referring to. As I sat in my car, I looked up and straight ahead of me was a majestic mountain… Mt Olympus. Out of all the many trails along the Wasatch Mountain Range, this was the only trailhead I knew about. It was close to my home. But this was not your average "walk in the park" kind of hiking trail. It was a steep, rugged, difficult trail to climb and I was not in any shape to climb it. But I acted immediately on this very specific prompting I had received from God. I broke all the hiking rules. I didn't tell anyone where I was going. I was all a lone. I wasn't a hiker and wasn't wearing good sturdy hiking shoes nor did I have any water or food with me but I was determined to "climb that mountain".
I drove to the trailhead, which was just a few minutes from where I was crying. I got out of my car and started up the mountain. I thought about Forest Gump and how he started walking and kept walking until he could walk no more. That was exactly how I felt! I decided to start hiking until I could hike no more…. Until I had more pain in my legs than I did in my heart.
Fortunately for me, since I hadn't exercised on a regular basis, it didn't take long for me to hit my limit on the mountain. After less than a mile I headed back down the trail and could barely lift my legs to get in the car. I was SO sore and it felt SO good!!!! There was NOW more pain in my legs now than there was in my heart!!! With every step I took on that trail, I was able to dump a boatload of negative energy and leave it there on the mountain.
Because it felt so good, I knew I had to do it again…SOON! A week or so later I still didn't know who to ask and so I hiked again by myself in February and then twice in March. After hiking four times by myself, on that same Mt. Olympus trail, I realized it was not a wise thing to do but I had to keep hiking!
Who could I find to hike with me?
Since I majored in Musical Theater in college (singing, dancing and ACTING) AND I am a natural, born promoter AND at the time I was teaching some Adult Community Education Classes, I decided to become a HIKING GUIDE and offer a "Hiking the Wasatch" Class for the Adult Comm. Ed. Summer Quarter. Five students signed up. These were my first "hiking buddies"! Now that I was their "leader", I seriously began studying and learning all about the closest hiking trails, especially all of the easy ones and as they say, the rest is history!
Seven years later…
I've been hiking every week, YEAR ROUND, with currently more than 1200 hikers on my Outdoor Adventure weekly email list who receive a weekly newsletter from me, I have lead hundreds of hiking groups into the Wasatch Mountains, have hiked more than 700 hikes, walked more than 3000 miles, hiked nationally and internationally, including the Swiss Alps, and most importantly, I now have countless numbers of incredible, loyal Outdoor Adventure friends from all over the world. My 30-year marriage with Dave, is better and stronger than ever and I am blessed to have a great love and friendship with each of my 4 grown children, my son in law and 2 grandchildren. I am physically stronger than I have ever been in my life. I feel younger at 54 than I did at 29.
Best of all, I not only got rid of ALL the anger and hatred I had for "Steve", but was able to go WAY beyond that and actually face him and tell him that I loved him and forgave him. It was because of him that ugly trial in my life that I now have such an abundant life, filled with so many incredible friends and experiences in the mountains. Each relationship I have now, came at a high price. Unfortunately, I had to experience a lot of pain before I could really appreciate the miracle and blessings that have come to me. The art of "Living and thriving" may seem like an overwhelming one. But with a change of attitude, one experience will lead to another, which leads to another….and so on and so on…
Because of my willingness to change and ask for help from God, I not only have my own thriving Hiking group, but one thing soon led to another and found myself starting my own…
- Snowshoeing group…
- Then My Camping and Hiking Group…
- My Flat Water Kayaking Group….
- My National and International Outdoor Adventure Vacation Group….
- My Outdoor Dutch Oven Cooking Group
- My Downhill Skiing Group
- My Community Garden Group
- My Healthy Eating Group
- My Barter and Trade Group
- And so on and so on…
Nothing can stop you when you are striving to live a healthy, active life and aren't afraid to work!
Don't settle for one more day of just surviving…
LIVE and THRIVE!
It will literally change the direction of your life…