Listen to the Whispers of Your Heart

This past week has been a wild ride.  After being dropped at the Cincinnati Airport to travel to California for a Symposium, where mass interviews took place, I realized I was at the wrong airport.  How does that happen to someone who is as detailed and organized as I am?  I believe I wasn’t supposed to go and I was ignoring the whispers of the universe/God/my heart!  I had tried to back out of going a while back and people talked me back into it.  And actually—that sign from the Universe was yelling—not whispering!

I’m frantically calling my husband repeatedly to come back and pick me up—to no avail—he had turned his cell phone off because people kept texting him while we were having a rather heated discussion on the way to the airport.  Everything was aligned against me going.  The next flight through that airline to Sacramento wasn’t until Tuesday and flights through other airlines were too expensive.

While I was waiting for my girlfriend to pick me up at the airport, having cried and feeling at one point that it was the end of the world, a handicapped man hobbled past me and a new perspective hit me.  So what, I missed a flight.  That happens some times…it had just never happened in all of my travels…to me.  If I really wanted to be a Tour Director, those are some of the kinds of things that happen while traveling.  I also remembered a conversation I had with my boss’s girlfriend the day before leaving.  She said the universe guides us if we listen, which I knew, but had forgotten.  I spent the day helping my girlfriend pick out décor for remodeling her bathroom, had a couple of rum and coke and spent the night at her house.

My husband picked me up the next day—on Sunday—and I asked him if he’d like to drive to Florida for the week.  I had a friend that had offered her condo for us to stay in at Ft. Myers Beach, Florida.  After checking with his boss, it took all of 2 hours to unpack winter clothes, pack summer clothes and hit the road for the 17-hour drive.  On the drive down we stayed at the same motel in Macon, Georgia, my mother and I stayed at in March, when I drove her down before she died from Cancer in June.

The weather was glorious…80 degrees and sunny every day.  I jogged every morning, took 3-4 mile hikes on the beach and read by the pool!  I’m glad I chose to not sulk—to seize the moments!

Here are some photos from the trip—

CAPTIVA BEACH…FLORIDA

CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA

GREAT IDEA!!

As Marilyn Monroe has said…”Sometimes Good Things Fall apart so Better Things Can Fall Together”.  I can’t wait to see what the Universe has in store for me next—I have a feeling there are some adventurous times around the corner!

Next Stop…Sacramento

Leavin on a Jet Plane…to Sacramento today!  This will be my third trip to California this year.  I’ll be interviewing with about 20 tour companies for a position as a Tour Director, along with hundreds of others.  We’ll also get to go on a couple of fun day trips.  Tomorrow is a City tour of Sacramento…followed by a wine tasting in wine country.  On Thursday, I’ll be headed to Yosemite for the day.  I went hiking in Yosemite back in 2006.  I was there by myself touring around California via Amtrak trains and buses.  On the bus ride from Napa to Yosemite, I met a girl from England and she and I hiked together the following day for nine hours…about 14 miles…with lots of elevation changes.  It was harder than hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up…which I did by myself back in 2007.  Here are a couple of photos from that trip:

This career change is exciting but also makes me feel a bit apprehensive/nervous.  Public speaking was never my thing, but I joined Toastmasters back in November and have given two 5 minute speeches already.  I think it takes courage to make big changes once you’re older and I’m proud of myself.  I’m trying to get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

To change the subject…an update on the care packages for the homeless that I made and distributed.  I gave a pack to about 6 of my co-workers and about 10 other family/friends.  So far, I’ve heard that two of them have been distributed to people at street corners.  I’ve given out two of them.  I was stopped at a light and there was a guy holding a sign that said, “Veteran…Need help.”  He saw me rolling my window down and starting walking over with a smile on his face.  When I said I had a care package for him, I could tell it wasn’t what he was expecting, but he thanked me.  A guy came into the office (which is an old home in a semi-residential area) and was looking for donations for the shelter that he stays at…for people with drug/alcohol problems.  He had a printed up card with the name, address and mission of the facility that he handed to me.  I had donated $20 to a guy from the same place, a couple of years ago, who stopped me in a grocery parking lot.  Anyway, I told him about my care package and he accepted it with a “thank you”.  It’s fun to hear about how the others are distributing theirs and I can tell it makes them feel good doing so!

Other than that, I’ve been making lots more recipes from Pinterest and am taking my new work-out clothes (from Christmas) to Sacramento to jog/exercise in while I’m there to keep my body and attitude in good shape!  I’m excited about reading a new book I downloaded to my I-Pad to read on the planes, etc….”The Help”.  I haven’t seen the movie yet and like everyone else, usually enjoy the book better than the movie.

I’ll have lots of photos to post when I return and stories!  Hope everyone has a peaceful, fun and inspired week!

~Sherry~

2011 in Review

Looking back at what has occurred in my life in 2011, brings to light the observation that many of us don’t realize how much we’ve grown or what we’ve accomplished during any given period of time.  Until you put it on paper or…in the blog!

In February my mother was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer.  In March I had a family reunion while she was still able to spend some quality time with people.  The first photo was from 2007 – you can see how she changed in a few years.

March was a busy month…I took a flight to Los Angeles for the Travel & Leisure show– to network for employment within the travel industry.

A week later I drove my mother from Ohio to Ft. Myers, Florida for a mini vacation…knowing this would be her last time to see the beach…it was bittersweet!

April was filled with lots of exercise…hikes, hot yoga, a 5-K run, and my first boot camp.  I spent more time with my mother…picking her up to spend the day with me at my house.  She enjoyed soaking up the sun on my back deck…surrounded by trees and the beautiful beginning of spring.

I helped a friend organize her house one day, met with hospice for my mother’s evaluation, and did lots of yard work.  I bought a new camera (Olympus PEN) and won third place in a photography contest at the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati with this photo…

I volunteered at a food bank in May, took my son to the traveling “Cirque du Soleil” show, attended a derby party, organized a couple of social events for meetup.com–a motorcycle meetup–and a winery tour in Madison, Indiana.  I moved my mother into my home at the end of May to take care of her during her last week of life.

She died on June 9th and I made a short movie to show at the memorial service.  The rest of June was somewhat quiet.

July was filled with pool parties, boating, jogging, yoga, hiking and traveling.  I hiked on the Appalachian Trail for a couple of days with a friend and you can read about it here

We treated ourselves the third evening to an overnight stay at a beautiful bed and breakfast!

A week later I left for a vacation to Washington State and British Columbia that was absolutely breathtaking…filled with beautiful scenery and amazing hikes!  Read about it here

I quit smoking cigarettes one month from the date my mother died…and consider it my most significant accomplishment of the year!

In August…after only two days at home…I was blessed to be able to go on another trip…this one to New Mexico and Colorado.  It was truly magical and stunning!  Read about it here

In September I started training for a half-marathon that was coming up at the end of October.  I took photography classes to learn more about aperture, F-stop, shutter speed, etc.

I also made the decision to follow my passion for travel and enrolled at ITMI (International Travel Management Institute) for a two-week class that was starting in October, to become a Tour Director–to take people on trips around the world!  It was held in beautiful San Francisco…

The class took a trip to the enchanted Sequoia Nat’l Park and Kings Canyon Nat’l Park…

I ran my half-marathon at the end of October and completed it in 2 hrs. 15 minutes.

In November I went on a girls’ weekend to Lexington, Kentucky…

I joined Toastmasters!   And I started a temporary full-time job for the next couple of months until I start Tour Directing!

My blog was “freshly pressed” twice this year…which I am so grateful for and I’ve met a lot of interesting and nice people both online and off!

The two quotes or philosophies that have stuck with me this year are:

Your attitude + Your choices = Your life

Collect experiences…not things!

It was a year filled with beauty, challenges, sadness, joy, confusion, and much gratitude!