My 2018 Cleanse And Restore 30 Day Challenge Completed

With victory flags a-flyin’, I’m pleased to be checking in with a final update on the 30 Day Cleanse and Restore Challenge I committed to on January 3rd. Yes, I am happy to say I’ve completed the challenge and am feeling awesome.  Thank you to everyone who reached out to me throughout the month with your curiosity and support, I really appreciated your questions and interest!

I thought it would be hard to follow this challenge, but it took virtually no time to adjust. My biggest shift was with portion size, since I eat pretty clean as it is.  I never really felt like I’d “given up” anything to eat, although I did choose to omit certain things for 30 days just for the principal of following more of a Keto/Paleo diet.  It really wasn’t a big deal to do knowing it was temporary.

My body has definitely changed over 30 days. I no longer feel puffy.   My skin feels softer and tighter.  I dropped a whopping  12 pounds in 30 days without trying and my clothes are feeling loose!  I’ve stopped shedding my hair.  I have increased energy and stamina.  My trips to the bathroom are normal.  I sleep like a log and wake up refreshed. My physical condition remains fantastic and pain free.  I’d call that a successful cleanse!

I am done with the complicated array of supplements that had to happen on certain days at certain times and my routine is back to normal. Or is it?  It’s February 12th and life is anything but normal.  I couldn’t be busier—and all in a good way!  And I’m down another 3 pounds.  Moving forward, I’m using elements of the cleanse, exercise, mindfulness and essential oils to get me the rest of the way to my goal by Memorial weekend.

One thing I must say is this: after doing this challenge I realize that I have not been drinking enough water for years. Consciously making sure to drink 64 ounces of water a day was difficult at first, but doing it sure opened my eyes.  I believe the increased water is one of the key factors of my feeling better over all.  When you consider of all the ways our bodies are impacted by what we do, and don’t do.  I’m pretty sure I’ve been living a dehydrated life for years.  Water flushes out the toxins our bodies are subjected to all day every day.  All I know is I will now continue to drink lots and lots of water with essential lemon oil daily.

Of course I’ll also continue to use the Life Long Vitality Supplements as a staple part of my daily routine. The PB Assist (probiotics) and the TerraZyme (digestive enzyme complex) are products that I will continue to use at low levels for maintenance as well.

I’m ramping up my exercise program—more cardio, and more core muscle group specific strength training, along with my daily Yoga, and regular meditation.   I’m continuing to incorporate essential oils to protect my immune system, assist with curbing food cravings, and to increase my metabolism.  Life will be very busy between now and my goal of losing 25 pounds by Memorial Weekend, so I want to make sure I’m strong, healthy and on track to achieve my goal while I’m pushing myself so hard.

In closing, I’d say this 30 Day Challenge has not just been a cleanse and restore of my body. It’s also been an adventure of the mind.  An adventure to  test the mind; test the will; test the unknown, hold myself accountable to me and push myself to see what I am willing to do to effect positive change in my life.  A challenge of the mind to set the mark, stay the course, and reach for the ring at the end. Oh, yeah, RINGS!  That’s another thing…..I can finally wear my rings again after almost 5 years….

 

Thank you for reading my post. I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—good or bad, and it begins today!  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my home page.  If you are interested in learning more about doTerra and the Cleanse and Restore Challenge, please reach out for me! I would love nothing more than to help you achieve your healthiest self too!  I also offer essential oil wellness workshops for formal and informal groups.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

                                                                                                                                                       

 

My 2018 Cleanse And Restore 30 Day Challenge Home Stretch

It’s the final week of my cleansing health adventure and I’ve had some folks reach out with questions. This really excites me! There’s nothing I’d like more than to help others achieve their best selves and am willing to work with anyone who reaches out to me.  Here are answers to the questions I’ve been getting Maybe they’ll be beneficial to you as well…

Is the Cleanse and Restore Challenge all you are doing to lose weight?

No, it’s not. My goal is not to lose weight with the Challenge per say, it’s more to get me ready to lose weight after the Challenge is over.  I’m not trying to loose weight now.  Much of it is happening organically.  I have always been a hard running active person.  Then in August 2016 all that changed; I became completely inactive, and put on a whole lot of weight.  Now that I’m able to move without pain again I have started to slowly get back to some level of activity.  Is it a hard core work out program?  Not by any means—that will be coming shortly.  But for now I’m doing just a little bit to see how my body responds.  So I do a half hour of core activation and low weights (2lbs) 7 days a week the moment I get out of bed, an hour of Yoga 5 days a week usually in the evening, and cardio for 30 minutes 4 times a week usually early morning after weights.  What? I know that may sound pretty hard core! But we’re all different.  Our bodies all need something different.  This may seem like a lot of activity but for me it’s not.  It’s just a baby steps start.  And so far I feel fantastic.

The other thing I’d say is I’ve adjusted my portion size at meal time. I’ll admit I continued to eat like mad when I was inactive, which was a no-no, plus I only ate 2 meals a day and did lots of “pain grazing”.  So now, I’m eating 3 meals a day that are about half the size of the meals I’d been eating before, and then I have a mid-morning and mid afternoon snack to keep me from attacking innocent bystanders that have food in their hands.  Now that it’s been over 20 days  I rarely go wild with hunger mid-day, but boy, that first week was quite the killer!

What I think the cleanse is doing is helping me to purge the toxins and gunk out, jump start my metabolism, and support  absorbing a much higher nutritional value with what I eat, and take with my essential oils and the cleanse.  So far I freaking feel like an athlete reborn!

Doesn’t that Cleanse make you “bathroom bound” all day?

No, no, no, not at all. This has been a very gentle process.  I know some people have said they spent more time on the throne….others have had the total opposite effect.  I haven’t.  One thing that I’ve done consistently is take the supplements with food –literally intermixed with eating something—and I’ve been drinking roughly 64 ounces of water a day.  That may seem like a lot of water, but I count my morning coffee in there….lol….which amounts to about 16 ounces, and it’s still technically not enough water to be drinking per day just to be normal.  Perhaps that makes a difference?  I’m not sure.  But I will say that I feel like my body has been absorbing what I put in it, as though it was depleted and trying to recharge or something.

You get up at 4:45 and go to bed at 11:00? Geeze you look so good! Aren’t you getting run down? Aren’t you worried about getting sick?

Well, yes and no and thank you! I do get up early and turn in late.  Usually.  But not always.  I feel great. I listen to my body.  If I’m starting to feel tired or sore I back off of things for a day.  I meditate, too, and that bring me serious instant restfulness.  Truthfully I feel more energized and focused than I have in a very long time.  Plus I am taking fairly regular doses of essential oils internally and diffused in the air to support my immune system with all the flus and viral infections going around.  I seem to be rock solid and “healthy as a horse”, even while being subjected to sick people on a regular basis!

Aren’t you worried about taking all that product? How can that be safe?

Not worried at ALL! The decision to stop ingesting synthetic products purchased over the counter in stores was the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time!  What I’m using now is all natural.  Nothing synthetic about it.  Our bodies only take (absorb) what they need, and, crazy as it sounds, let us know when it’s enough.  I know when I need to use a certain oil, because my body tells me.

What kinds of foods are you restricted to with the Cleanse?

There are no real restrictions, depending on what you want to achieve. The way to reach optimal results is by following a “clean” eating plan, and because I’m such an overachiever, well I went all out and decided to go somewhat Paleo/Keto.  But I’m no purist, as you will see.  I’m always going to be a food baby and celebrate awesome foods of all kinds!

What does that mean? I eat pretty much everything I did before.  It would be easier to describe what I don’t eat:

  • Milk (but I stopped that 15 years ago)
  • Cheese (but I have sprinkled some fresh grated Parm on a few things)
  • Breads (notice I didn’t say carbs)
  • Pork (but I didn’t have to)
  • Chips (but I did find some that fit the plan)
  • Sugar (but that doesn’t include honey)
  • And anything “processed” meaning it came in a package with a list of 5 syllable words describing what’s in there.

Some specific examples of my meals during the Cleanse include:

Breakfast:

  • Indie Egg Bake—chopped onion, garlic, mushroom, tomato, zucchini, green pepper and 8 eggs with curry, turmeric and s&p baked in a brownie pan and sliced for 6 mornings of breakfast.
  • Italian Egg Bake
  • Mexican Egg Bake

I should point out that breakfast was the most significant change for me. Prior to the Cleanse I always alternated breakfast tortillas and breakfast sandwiches with skinny bread for my normal routine.  A serious carb overload that I’ve taken a break from.

Lunch: left-overs from dinner items, or a spinach/romaine salad with chicken breast and avocado slices

Dinner:

  • Steak and mushrooms with pan grilled asparagus
  • Chicken soup with barley
  • Baked Grouper, broccoli and ancient grains
  • Spaghetti /w/turkey burger and spaghetti squash noodles
  • Broiled garlic shrimp, Brussel sprouts and brown rice
  • Bison taco salad (with those natural tortilla chips I found)
  • Roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and pole beans
  • Pan seared salmon and Quinoa kale salad

OH I could go on but I think you get the picture…..

For my mid am and pm snacks I nibble on things like carambola (Star Fruit) slices, blueberries, apple slices, banana, pineapple and mango, chopped radishes and celery, cashews, pecans and almonds, with an occasional half an avocado thrown in there.

I stop eating any food by 7:00 pm

So does it look like I’m restricted? I think I may be eating more than before!  I am never hungry.  I don’t crave much except maybe if I start thinking about it, I start to miss my late night garlic potato chips, dark chocolate and red wine….oh there I go again day dreaming…stop!

And I guess I have significantly decreased my alcohol consumption which is not a big deal to me.   I could, actually eat about anything I want with no apologies.  With this plan, I’ve lost 12 pounds in 22 days.  I’m already about half ways to my Memorial Day goal.  Do I feel restricted?  Heck no!

Isn’t that a lot of pills to take? Isn’t that a huge expense?

Well yes, at times it is a lot of pills, especially on this last leg, and it gets pretty darn confusing! But it’s only a 30 day commitment.  The purpose is to get healthier.  I don’t really look at the pills as pills.  They are natural supplements that are fresh and good for me.  I’m okay with muddling through the schedule for taking them.  It shall be over soon.  As for the cost…the Cleanse and Restore Kit was $326.67 and I needed an additional $50 bottle of TerraZyme for the month.  Geeze I’ve spent more than that per month in Caribou Coffee and going out to the bars and partying!  Seriously, I feel like my health and wellness is worth way more than that, so I consider this an investment in my wellbeing.

I’ve heard of doing Cleanses that make you dizzy, or sick. Does that happen to you?

No, I’ve been feeling really positive except for only once, but I think I understand why. I did get a touch of a dizzy spell one day early into the Cleanse.  I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and I was so hungry!  Then I smelled food from one of our local gourmet restaurants and got light headed and positively crazy for that food like a Banshee. Whoa!  I took some deep cleansing breaths, closed my eyes for a few minutes, drank some lemon water, talked myself back to civilized, and I was back in the game, feeling fine.  As my body adjusts to all the changes I’m putting it through it seems less “resistant” and more ready to go with the flow.

How do you know what to do? It all seems to be so overwhelming!

If you’re talking about just plain getting on track with improved health then, I agree. When you look at the nutrition component, the activity component, the mindset, the coordinating of things, the myriad of essential oils with countless combinations to address endless ailments, yeah, it does seem to be a bit overwhelming. I’m immersed into being an exemplary doTerra Wellness Advocate Director, so I devote a tremendous amount of time to it.  Lots of trust, patience, training, research, studying, being under a seasoned oilers wing, and of course I’ve done somewhat of a “trial and error” on my own self with amazing results.  Much of this practice is intuitive.  I’m addressing nutrition, exercise and healthy immune function, which dove tails into physical, mental and emotional health.  The resources at my fingertips or with a phone call are phenomenal .  If anything I feel empowered.  This path provides such a wide open opportunity for improved health head to toe.  Inside and out.  I’m excited to be what I consider a “life student of essential wellness”.  I’m excited to share this knowledge and freedom with others.  So, truthfully, just start small.  Tackle one thing at a time.  Maybe it’s cutting portion size.  Maybe it’s doing a 30 day cleanse first.  Maybe it’s just taking the LLV supplements for a while.  However you decide to start, whenever you decide to start, please do it with support…do it with me!  Come to one of my workshops, or we can create one for your own group, too.  What do I always say?  The opportunities are endless!

When is the best time to do a Cleanse and Restore?

Whenever you’ve decided that you are ready to commit to 30 days of something that may be somewhat out of your comfort zone, but will most certainly bring you pleasing results!  I probably wouldn’t do it at Thanksgiving or Christmas though.  That might just be asking for frustration, hehehehe!  I will likely do mine annually in January, and would be happy to have others join me next time!  That said, if you’re ready now, message me and we’ll get you started!

If you’re not seeing your question here…..well…..that means I’m sending your answer via email as the content is a little “graphic” or super personal for the world wide web!  You can also get back in touch with me and we can discuss further.

Well it’s about time for my lunch and TerraZyme. Cinna-Bean Soup today.  My attempt at creating a vegan dish.  It was going really well until I added the hamberger……………It’ll be on my website in the next week or two, once I perfect it.  I think the burger might have done the trick!  Counting down the days to completing my 30 Day Cleanse and Restore Challenge.  More soon!

Thank you for reading my post. I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—good or bad, and it begins today!  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my home page.  If you are interested in learning more about doTerra and the Cleanse and Restore Challenge, please reach out for me! I would love nothing more than to help you achieve your healthiest self too!  I also offer essential oil wellness workshops for formal and informal groups—let’s set one up for you and your friends or colleagues or department.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

My 2018 Cleanse And Restore 30 Day Challenge Half Way Mark

As promised, I’m checking in with an update on the Cleanse and Restore Challenge I’ve embarked on. Wooo Who00, I’ve made it through Phase 1, and have completed the first half of the Challenge!  Sure has been an interesting 15 days!  Just as I had hoped I’m feeling better than I have in a very, very long time.

I must admit, I do have a slight advantage in seeing great results so far. Here’s just a little back story….

Last October I began taking the Life Long Vitality supplements, mostly because I felt so depleted from the previous year of physical issues. The 3 supplements, taken together, are amazing!   I noticed I had more energy and felt “lighter” within a couple weeks of incorporating them into my daily routine, even without changing anything else.  People that I hadn’t seen in several months would say things like “wow you look so great, what are you doing?”  and that was pretty much the only thing I was doing.  One of the main reasons I started taking LLV was to hopefully improve my bowel movements which had become “extremely not normal” over a year ago (LOL,  I know, T.M.I.!).  I have to say, things did improve some by about mid-November, and this was with only taking one of each of the three supplements daily (suggested quantity is 2 of each 2x a day).  Now with this cleanse challenge, I’ve been taking one of each with breakfast and with dinner.

In addition, there are several little changes I’ve made for the cleanse that are rather interesting:

  • Caffeine Freak here, I’d been drinking a pot of coffee a day for years; now I’m drinking ½ or less of a pot daily and don’t seem to miss it.
  • Guaranteed I’d be having a glass or two of wine with dinner each night since the beginning of time; now I enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner maybe every 3 nights, and I don’t seem to miss it.
  • Maybe I’d grab a bottle or two of water, or not, every day; now I absolutely drink 3 16 oz. containers of water with lemon oil or more, daily.

I thought it would be hard to follow this challenge, but it hasn’t been hard at all. My biggest shift has been with portion size, rather than foods.  I’m not a processed foods chick.  I eat pretty clean as it is.  The items that I’ve “given up” for the month apparently weren’t all that important to me, because it’s not a hardship to not have them.  Even the carb craze of pasta, potatoes, and pizza has been bearable.  I’ve made amazing dishes that fulfill me so I hardly notice the absence of carbs (but I also take comfort in knowing I’m half way home to getting me some noodles again….in moderation!).

So during Phase 1, (the first 10 days) I dropped a few pounds and felt even more alert and energized. Seems I slept better and woke up better, too.  By mid-afternoon I’d get crazy hungry, but I could instantly satisfy that with a couple almonds or a half of an avocado, which are some of my afternoon snack choices.  I peed and peed and peed all day and my bowel movements got remarkably “better”( I know, T.M.I . again!) There were only a few times I became a tad lightheaded (sugar or carb withdrawals).  When that happened, it wouldn’t be for very long.  Some deep cleansing breaths helped with a couple swigs of lemon water.  Days 2 – 8 an occasional burp would rise up out of nowhere.  Those burps were wonderfully fragrant tasting like flowers (LOL) and quite interesting to experience!  Actually, I’m rather missing them.

Now I’m half way through Phase 2 (the second 10 days)

My body feels somehow a little less “puffy”. I’m flattening out (well, not everywhere! ) and don’t feel bloated.  Even my fingers got “skinny”.  This seems so strange to me, as I’m consuming more liquids than I ever have. Still peeing like a racehorse, and I am downright proud of my #2’s. My eyes seem “brighter” than normal.  My skin feels softer and tighter.  And my hair—OH MY!  My hair!  People who know me know I’ve been worried about my hair for the last 5 years or so.  Believe it or not, I’ve lost 1/3 of my hair or more in that time—it’s been shedding by the handfuls (although you’d never think that by looking at me) and I’ve been terrified I’m going to lose it all.  But suddenly now I’m not experiencing  alarming hair loss anymore!  I’ve stopped shedding hair!  In fact the texture of my hair seems to be changing—seriously!  It’s softer, more manageable, and not as quick to tangle! This in itself is so very exciting for me!

I’ve had a little bit of tummy growls that are new. Must mean things are moving around.  My energy level remains high, I sleep well and wake up refreshed, and by golly I’ve now dropped 9 pounds since January 3rd—without trying–and I’m eating fantastic!  I’m excited to see what the next 15 days will bring.  So far, I couldn’t be more pleased with how my Cleanse and Restore 30 Day Challenge is going!

 

Thank you for reading my post. I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—good or bad, and it begins today!  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my home page.  If you are interested in learning more about doTerra and the Cleanse and Restore Challenge, please reach out for me! I would love nothing more than to help you achieve your healthiest self too!  I also offer essential oil wellness workshops for formal and informal groups.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

                                                                                                                                                       

The 2018 Cleanse And Restore 30 Day Challenge!

Finally! It’s time for a new adventure!  The doTERRA Cleanse and Restore Challenge begins today!  Time to re-set my body and get to my healthiest self yet!  Yessir, I’m up for the challenge–I’m in it to win it!

What do I win?

The results and satisfaction of completing a natural process that will improve my immune system, improve how my body functions internally and improve my overall health and wellness. I’m a firm believer that our environment can kill us.  Goodness knows, stress is a killer!  When I look back at my life, and the way I’ve run hard and fast, for sooooooo very long……years and years of stress and bad choices and putting my health last…I’ve not been  a good friend to myself.  Like many people, I’ve gotten so clogged up with the ‘gunk’ of day-to-day life on the go, that even though I do eat fairly good, my body simply can’t get all the nutritional benefit it should.  The last year of health issues really put it all into perspective for me. I’ve been running on empty long enough!

I’m done with that lifestyle. I’m putting myself first now.

I’ve already been doing that with my shift back to alternative medicine and essential oil use to ‘self heal’ from a year of dreadful physical issues.

Now the best thing I can do for myself is to Cleanse and Restore my poor abused self, and give myself a fresh, healthier start. I deserve it!  Our bodies are our temples, and it’s time to “clean house”.  Naturally reset my body for optimal wellness.  Following the Cleanse and Restore process will help condition me to continue making those same wise choices after the challenge is over, which in turn, will keep me on track with living a healthier lifestyle, and allow me to gently and naturally lose 25 pounds by Memorial Day.

How does it work?

I’ll be taking a series of specialized natural supplements at different times throughout the month designed to gently pull out the bad toxins and stuff out of my system, and replace it with good stuff:

  • A blend of digestive enzymes to aid in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.
  • A combination of essential oils and caprylic acid to help cleanse and support the digestive system.
  • 6 BILLION CFU’s of 6 different strains of probiotics.
  • A botanical blend to support the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and skin.
  • A botanical blend to support the body’s natural ability to rid itself of unwanted substances.
  • An essential oil blend to support cellular health, function and renewal.
  • A natural “cleanser” for the body and to aid in digestion.
  • And the bonus is I’m a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, and using all natural therapeutic grade essential oils to support much of the process!

Combine that with eating “clean” (which I, for the most part already do but could do better, especially with portion size) types of foods that support the body during the cleansing process, and continue to feed it the most nutrition to boost my metabolism and immune system, increase my strength, endurance and energy. I’ve designed a 30 day menu for myself that is somewhat Paleo, somewhat KETO, and much of what I already do.  I don’t feel like I’m giving up anything, because truthfully I’m not (well, I am sad to see the Beer Chips go…).  Because I love to cook, fine tuning my eating routine is actually fun!

Combine that with a steady commitment of meditation, yoga, aerobic and strength training. Having been pretty much incapacitated for over a year with health problems has left me feeling (and looking ) like a blob.  P.R., the human blob.  I’ve not felt like myself for so long!  The good news is I have already been working to get back to my physical and mental health routine and my health has been improving, but not to any great degree, mostly because my body just hasn’t been ready.

That. Changes. NOW. Thanks to diligence and changes I’ve been slowly making, I’m stronger and virtually pain free now.  I’m ready to create the best version of my healthiest self!

My faith in this program is so strong, I’m sharing my progress here over the next 30 days. Watch the magic unfold.  I’m so excited! This is going to be quite the adventure!

 

Thank you for reading my post. I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—good or bad, and it begins today!  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my home page.  If you are interested in learning more about doTerra and the Cleanse and Restore Challenge, please reach out for me! I would love nothing more than to help you achieve your healthiest self too!  I also offer essential oil wellness workshops for formal and informal groups.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

Road To Wellness – An Update

Well, it’s been 15 months since I woke up to my right leg blown up like a balloon, unable to walk, constant level 10 pain, eventually discovering a short list of big issues that would prevent me from making a living, or doing just about anything I love to do.

But today I’m doing much better.

I’ve gone from a frustrating and painful hour of micro-mini exercises in bed in order to get out of bed every single day, to a simple “hello morning!” stretch, then off to a “real” workout routine on my yoga mat or at the gym.

That means yes, I can now get down on the floor and back up without it being an act of congress. And I can take a flight of stairs in a few seconds instead of 4 dreadfully painful minutes.

I can sit cross legged for the first time in a year!

I can wash dishes or prepare a meal without having to sit or lay down every 5 minutes to alleviate the pain and numbness in my hands, arms, shoulders, back, right hip and leg.

I can walk from the parking lot to the store, or most any distance, without a limp and without holding my right hip in place.

I have even been known to get out on the dance floor, or take the hula hoop out for a short spin…..

These changes are almost surreal to me. I do believe in miracles.

My health situation forced me to make changes that I initially fought like mad, but now I’m learning to work and play well with them. They say everything happens for a reason. Perhaps my body decided I needed this down time.  Perhaps I needed to slow down, and re-assess everything about my life. This little “bump in the road” has brought me back to the basics of what’s most meaningful to me—things that I somehow let drift away in the midst of running myself ragged with “doing”.

It’s been a long, painful haul, and the journey is certainly not over. Admittedly, I may have an occasional set back but it does not last long. 

I’m bouncing back. I’m on the road to wellness.  I continue on with bold determination.

Imagine that November 1st, one year ago today I sat on an exam table in excruciating pain, being told by an orthopedic surgeon that besides all sorts of problems that are NOT his specialty, I would need a hip replacement within one year. Well.  Good thing I didn’t take that awful conversation to heart.  He was wrong.  Here I am today, showing virtually no signs of needing anything replaced, and getting better every day.  And no thanks to that guy!

I sought many alternative methodologies over the past 15 months. Some of them are bringing me surprisingly fantastic results.  Along the way I’ve had dozens upon dozens of “ah-ha” moments, and sad realizations. Life lessons have unfolded before me that have helped me cope with far more than just the frustration of my body not performing at 100%.

While I’m still not completely “fixed”, at least I’m not down for the count. And I’m hopeful that I will eventually be back to 100%, whatever that ends up meaning for me.  I’ll be sharing some of the amazing things I’ve returned to, discovered, and incorporated into my new “wellness program” during this journey over the upcoming months.  For now, I leave you with these simple bits of hope and truth:

  • No matter how bad you think things are for you, they are absolutely worse for someone else.
  • There are more examples of a person’s value and worth than you could ever come up with on your own, so stop judging yourself.
  • Constant complaining about the same old shit does nothing positive or helpful or useful for you or anyone else who has to politely try to hear it.
  • As frustrating as it is to listen to countless do-gooder’s “self-proclaimed medical expert diagnosis” of your problems, take a breath and be patient—remember they are only trying to help.
  • Just because it was a certain way twenty, or ten, two years ago, doesn’t mean it’s that way now. Everything changes over time.
  • The more idle time you have on your hands, the more room there is for unnecessary worrying and negativity.
  • Whatever you aren’t able to get done now, will still be there waiting for you later…unless some kind soul decides to give you a hand and helps you with it.
  • Every time you choose not to at least consider an unorthodox alternative, you’ve lost a potential opportunity for positive change.
  • Lower your expectations and raise awareness of your accomplishments. Little things can also be big.
  • Sometimes it’s best to just let your body rest. And rest.  And rest.
  • Thirty minutes of intentional meditation is far more productive than hours of simply sitting around overthinking stuff on the couch.
  • Animals have super-powers we will never come to understand.
  • WE, too, have powers that most of us will never understand.
  • Positive thinking can be every bit as impactful as traditional medical treatments.
  • Manifest destiny is real.
  • Stubbornness and fortitude are sometimes confusing in-the-moment. Pick and choose your battles.
  • It’s okay to ask for help.
  • Never assume people understand the pain you are in or know how you feel. Never assume they don’t, either.
  • Believe and trust that you are not alone. Your higher power is always on call and ready to assist.
  • Pain is an energy drain so severe, it can cloud your reasoning, change your personality, and slow you down to a dead stop. Smart choices will keep your mind fully charged, which will help your body persevere as well.
  • The people who truly care will still be there no matter what. As for the rest, consider how much of your very limited energy you want to spend trying to figure them out.
  • You are not a powerless victim. Everything about what you do next is a choice you have the power to make.
  • Not making a decision IS, in fact, making a decision. And it is yours alone to make.
  • You won’t know if you don’t try.
  • Never settle. Never give in.  Never give up.
  • Today is always replaced by tomorrow. Move forward, and leave the past behind.

Thank you for reading my post. Was it inspiring?  Scary?  Funny?  Unbelievable? Just plain weird?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—good or bad, and it begins today!  There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my home page.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

 

Plans, Advocates, and Injections

As the years end approaches, a force much greater than I continues to hold me to a new adventure. One I haven’t wanted to hear.

One I haven’t wanted to believe.

One I haven’t wanted to participate in.

I have my own ideas, my own plans.

But,

Apparently I’ve been usurped.

Ohhh my plan was amazing. It started with re-connecting and indulging in a passion of mine that has been left dormant for over 20 years.  I wanted to step back into that joy—even if only as a part time experience—to prove to myself that I could still do it, and do plansadvocatesinjectionssomething that I loved to do.  What a perfect set up—to combine part of my time focused on my business (my main passion) with the resurrection of unused skills from a lifetime ago.

Sadly, after a very short time of stepping back into it…..BAM!

Without warning, for no apparent reason, straight out of the blue, my whole plan came crashing down around me. Without my input or consent, my amazing plan was “re-written” for me.  Now, I did not go down without a fight mind you!  I tried to hang in there….act as if I was okay…..I would push and push to keep going each day, and try, try try to convince myself it wasn’t happening.  But eventually resistance was futile.

And now, here I am, finally sharing my unwanted adventure after months of being on it.

Yes, apparently I’m to embark on a new adventure, struggling with hip, low back and upper back and neck pain that has brought me to my knees and forced me to stop doing pretty much everything I live for. No hunting.  No travel.  No dancing.  No working out.  No flitting about town. No nothing.

Instead of living my life with joy and passion, I’ve spent months held hostage by massive physical pain, and all of the debilitating symptoms that go with it. How can this be happening? After all, I’m only 23 (wink wink)!  This can’t be happening to me!

You’d never know it to look at me.

There is no blood, no cuts or bruises, no missing limbs or casts or anything to give you the idea something’s wrong. At first glance I appear to look just fine.

Unless you look into my eyes, to see the tension, the tiredness, the exhaustion, the sadness of not being able to get up and go the way I get up and go. Or watch me try to do just about anything.

“What’s your pain level?”

On a scale of 1 – 10, I’d give it a strong 11.5 most of the time.

Waking up fearful and with screaming pain each morning—will I be able to get myself out of bed? Or is this the day I will have to call 911? Is my low back going to snap in half and leave me in a heap on the floor before I make it across the room?  Not being able to feel my hands most of the day.  It’s a monumental effort to sit down, stand up, bend over, and on, and on.  This pain has been draining.  It has drained me of energy.  Drained me of caring.  Drained me of “fight”.  Entirely depressing.

Then there’s the slew of Doctor and Chiropractor visits, alternative medicine, meditation, the X-rays and MRI’s and finally, physical therapy at Courage Kenny. The thing about being stricken with pain issues in multiple locations is, each can be independent, yet compounding each other, making diagnosis and treatment very difficult.   “You’ve got some narrowing of the nerve endings and arthritis….you ARE getting older you know….”  But how does that explain this sharp horrific pain? Tears, spasms, inflammation, degeneration. No, no, no I can’t accept this!  I’m 23, remember?  Every time I move I could scream!  So physical therapy seemed pretty useless.  And being so drained, it’s hard to have the wear-with-all to accurately or specifically describe exactly what you feel and where to the right person at the right time to get results. Keep trying, until you just can’t anymore.  I definitely reached that point of “I. Just. Can’t. Any. More.”

Thank goodness for June, Randy, Susie, Joy and Paula, Caring friends who stepped up as my advocates when I could not. How easily I could have just gave up and melted into the world of everlasting chronic pain without them.  But no, they heard me.  They saw me.  They knew this suffocating pain was not me, and held me up, guiding me to push for better answers from the Doctors when I was so overwhelmed with pain I couldn’t think straight.  Between them, and the amazing Physical Therapists at Courage Kenny, I finally had the strength to question my situation further to get to the bottom of what’s wrong.

After one more MRI and an Orthopedic Surgeon visit, it was determined I needed a hip injection.  A simple procedure of injecting a dose of steroids with a mile long needle stuck into my right hip.  Sounds awful, but hey, I suppose as long as you don’t LOOK at it being done….

I secured the first available appointment-thankfully only a couple days later. On Friday November 4th I was in and out with my steroid filled right hip in about an hour.

Feeling groovy.

Feeling like brand new—except for the residual fuzzy nova Cain buzzing in my right leg.

For the next week I was pretty much entirely PAIN free!

Everywhere!

I mean, EVERYWHERE!

Hey—I’m 23 again!

Who knew one simple hip injection would cure ALL of my woes! No more burning pain in my neck and shoulders.  I could feel my hands and arms.  No more stabbing pain in my low back.  My hip felt GREAT!  I could walk without limping.  No more holding pressure on my groin to take a step without screaming pain. Physical therapy seemed helpful!  What a miracle!  I started working on my plan again, with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

The removal of pain after being completely pummeled with it for months can cause a person to not think completely rationally….

I tried to revisit my plan to get back to pursuing my long lost passion that next week; you know, just ease back in slowly.  In all my excitement and naivety I thought I could just jump back in, only to be strongly advised to wait until the injection had a chance to reach its full effect.  Wait to ensure the results are long lasting.  Just slow down and give this some time.  Just 10 days.

Okay, fine. I’ll wait.

This adventure has forced me to address a great personal challenge. Waiting.  When it comes to living, and celebrating life with passion and intention, the idea of holding back is completely foreign to me.  To have to re-access my plan yet again, and agree to just “hold off” for a while? Wait 10 days, and work on rebuilding my core to support a better head to toe structure?

UGH!

Waiting was agonizing. I continued to feel great for the next 6 days.  Physical therapy seemed to have a point now.  But then, slowly, little haunting twangs of discomfort started to re-appear.  Working in the kitchen making a meal occasionally became uncomfortable.  More than 10 minutes on the computer…uncomfortable.  Admittedly, dancing around the backyard bonfire hula-hooping wasn’t the smartest thing to do just days after–but it was only for a couple minutes.   After 10 days I was feeling no pain but, it was clear that as time went on, there were more tiny signs of discomfort in my low back, upper back and neck.

Then that damn universe stepped in again with a big black magic marker, messing up my draft of a great winter plan. While my hip is still doing great, slowly, pain is returning to my low back, upper back and neck. I have increasing muscle spasms, growing numbness in my arms and hands, and I’m trying so very hard not to let it bring me down yet again.

Being the person that I am, I will not go down without a fight. But I also better understand the need to listen to all of the signs being presented.   First and foremost, I need to rebuild my core and not engage in anything to deter that effort.  Clearly I need to take baby steps in fixing my “foundation” to better support my structure and reduce the opportunity for pain to take over.

So am I able to pursue my passion? Nope, not right now.  I’ve received numerous inquiries about my business plans, as well.  My ETA to return to my normal life is unknown at this time.  My calendar is blank.  I got no plan.  Apparently I’m on an adventure of personal health and wellness.  An adventure of waiting and seeing.  An adventure focused on re-cooperating.

Apparently I’m on an adventure of not having a plan, other than taking care of me. And  I’m finally starting to be okay with that—sort of.  Wow, imagine that!

 

Thank you for reading my post. Was it inspiring?  Scary?  Funny?  Unbelievable? Just plain weird?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—good or bad, and it begins today!  There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my home page.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

 

PR’s 2016 Adventure Brief

August is my “Fiscal and New Year’s” review. It’s my time to reflect and plan.  It has now been 4 years since I left the hardcore, corporate whirlwind of black suits and briefcases, to pursue my passion for people, business and the outdoors, via PR Brady AdVentures.

Whewww!

“They say” it takes 5 years for a new business to succeed. According to my projections, if I don’t take some very deliberate steps the rest of the journey, I may not be able to continue.  So I am in the final steps of building my 2016-2017 structure and schedule.  The last year has been extremely challenging.  A few things will be changing, including me, and some fun, exciting new things are already in place; the results will hopefully be shared soon, and be worth the work.

Virtually everyone is a candidate for some part of PR Brady AdVentures’ services. This means more opportunity than I could ever fulfill in a lifetime.  On the other hand, quality versus quantity is more important to me in order to provide the most rewarding experience for those I work with, and why I continue to be conservative with marketing.

To my past clients I am so grateful for your trust and business. I know there are many options available for help with business strategy, marketing, advertising, personal and professional coaching, and event development.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing to work with me.  Thank you for recognizing value in what I bring to the table. Thank you also for your referrals, they are golden!

To my business associates and collaborators; you have no idea how much I appreciate your faith in my ability to find exciting and creative ways for us to work together. Sharing your time, facilities, and expertise to make a positive impact on individuals and groups continues to be the best part of what I do.  I look forward to our ongoing business adventures.

To my network of supporters, thank you so much for actively engaging in my efforts as I try to build up my business.  Your personal and professional referrals and social media support have been and continue to be absolutely critical to my success.  Thank you also for your patience, and the occasional “ear”. They say the most important aspect of surviving a small business is for family and friends to be your biggest champions.

And finally,

To those individuals, my “guides”, especially back in those final corporate days: Thank you so much for challenging me to be true to myself!  You have been my biggest cheerleaders, encouraging me to “leap” with the hope that a net would appear, recognizing in me what I couldn’t see myself back then.  Initially I may have caught a foot in the web here and there, but now I’m becoming a better climber, and maintain a burning desire to succeed.  Just knowing you are still out there and available to me is a huge, ongoing comfort.

In closing, thank you all. I’m where I am because of you.  Whether you’re near or far from me, have a fantastic rest of your year; a happy, healthy life filled with inspiration and adventure.  Watch for exciting updates coming soon, and again, thank you for your continued support of PR Brady AdVentures.

 

Thank you for reading my post. If you find yourself spending your time not doing what you love, I invite you to contact me to help you change that.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’. There’s a place to do that right on my home page.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

 

My Elephant

Elephant2

All this in the back of the truck?

It’s been exactly two weeks since I got back home to Minnesota. Two weeks.  Pretty sure I slept for over one whole week of it.  The rest of the time, I’ve been on yet another adventure—I’ve been tackling the elephant on my property.

What?

You know the saying— “How do you eat an elephant: One bite at a time”?

Elephant1

Um, anyone see my tooth brush?

Well I came home with an elephant of a “to-do” list, with some things that just couldn’t wait. And I came home TO an elephant of a “to-do” list that also included things that couldn’t wait.  Packing last fall took about a week.  Packing to come back home, took three.  Just getting the vehicle packed took a week!  I couldn’t have squeezed another box in the trailer.  In other words, I had plenty to get done in a big hurry, and I was still not over being sick.

Lucky for me I’m a “list master” and can detail out and prioritize pretty much anything needing to get done, calculating time, cost, and materials needed; and do it in a very short time. On my way home I carved out this quick starter list:

 

What to do when I get home:

Set up screen tent for temporary coop

Get birds set up in tent

Vet

Set up Holly and the girls in the house

Clean fridge in house

Bring food in

Prospect for work/projects

Florida follow ups

Salvage any remaining house plants

Plant/re-pot new flowers, herbs and tomatoes

Get coop supplies

Clean fridge in camper

Unpack trailer

Clean trailer

Trailer repairs: 2 wheels, awning, 2 gutters, upper back right side, waste piping, fridge wall, fridge electronics

Sweep helicopter seeds

Take out patio stuff and set up

Repair/replace patio lights

Set up fountain

Build the coop

Take down screen tent

Sort through mail

Register truck

Register @ Hy-vee

Financials/evaluate biz plan

Budget

Organize projects and paperwork

Mow front

Mow back

Weed gardens

Laundry

Install air conditioner

Repair porch door

Repair guest room balcony door

Put clothes away

Brush out dogs

Dog baths

Do my hair

Sort and put stuff away: PR Brady Biz, Florida biz, hunting, fishing, recreational

Sort and organize for Garage Sale

Test/turn on water for outside—possibly repair

Repair bathtub faucet

Catch up on email correspondence

Draft and initiate new website schedule

Clean and reorganize office

Clean guest room

Clean master bedroom

Clean basement

Clean living room

Clean dining room

Clean kitchen

Clean bathrooms

Clean and set up sun porch

Build Hollys cage

Get well

Go on a bike ride

Get over stuff

Reconnect

Throw a party

Elephant5

Come on in and have a seat?

This is the reality I was faced with on June 4th. It took all of 10 minutes to visualize, and another 10 to commit it to print. My working copy is far more detailed as to what’s involved, including estimated time to complete things and what’s needed to do it. In the last two weeks I’ve managed to accomplish the items in bold. At one bite at a time and frequent naps, it will eventually all get done. Trouble is, things will keep getting added to the list.

Thank the Gods for my dear neighbors who have been so very helpful, and hospitable. I’d still be trying to back my trailer into the driveway if not for Randy! The first week home, June woke me up and fed me dinner almost every day—as I was crashed out exhausted from full days of “elephantitus”!

Elephant3

And I wore every single thing…..not!

The goal for next week is to get everything unloaded and put in its proper place. Right now, there’s no getting through the living room with the stacks of boxes and gear everywhere.  and you KNOW you’re in trouble if you’ve converted your Toy Hauler bathroom into your closet…..

With a constant eye on Sunny Girl’s cyst, I’m hoping our routine Betadine cleanings of the area will keep her stabilized until I can scrape up the money for a vet visit.

Of course, one can’t ignore the fact that the weather is simply BEAUTIFUL here, and it’s the perfect time to go fishing, bowfishing, or tooling around the woods. I am eager to cook some awesome grub and get chillin’ on my patio, or out to some of the free music in the parks, and art fairs and festivals around the Twin Cities. It’s almost fireworks season, too!

Ohhh so much to do!

One bite at a time.

One bite at a time.

That’s the way to get through my elephant adventure.

 

Thank you for reading my post. Was it inspiring?  Scary?  Funny?  Unbelievable?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—and it begins today!  Why wait for an invitation to live an amazing life full of great experiences? There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’. 

 

 

Barefoot

It’s been twenty-some hours since “take off”. Twenty some hours since the end of my latest winter adventure.

What an adventure.

A six month adventure.

A busy, hard-working adventure.

A turbulent, dizzying, adventure.

An adventure and then some.

A quagmire of mixed emotions are poking at me; an irritating reminder of what I’ve just left behind. An ominous realization of what I’m heading back to.  Trying to balance between the two and find peace seems impossible.

Just keep driving.

I try to think about past years adventures, and how excited I was to share my experiences. Those memories keep me alert for a few miles, but I still feel unsettled.  The long journey home is flying by compared to past years.  I’ve no idea why my mind keeps clouding up with a strange emotional angst.  I know I need to take a break.

After a five hour rest I’m refreshed, and on the last leg; I’ve just passed exits for Madison Wisconsin. There’s an absence of city life as far as the eye can see.  Rolling green hills, farms and open country.  I missed spring.  As my wheels hum along the dark highway, thoughts drift back to the past six months.  Sure, there was good.  And there was bad.  Then, there was the really bad.

I focus on remembering the good times. Friends.  Fun outings.  Whistling ducks.  Sunsets on the beach.  Sunrise on the boardwalk.  Accomplishments.  Kinship and kindness.  Caring for sweet animals.  The laughter of children.  Greetings and conversations with strangers.  Making new friends.  Enjoying great meals.  Treasured moments with special people.  Yes it was a good winter.

Suddenly my thoughts start to derail—feeling dread for the insurmountable “to do” list waiting for me at home. Who knows what I’m returning to?  Then, instantly, thoughts shift to tremendous feelings of sadness, loss, heartbreak, hurt, disappointment, failure, frustration, futility, confusion and regret.  Terrible feelings stack up in my mind that I cannot push away; pressing on my chest hard and deliberate.  I begin envisioning pieces of conversations I’d rather forget, rerunning scenes from situations that should not have occurred.  I relive bits of the past 6 months that brought me to my knees more than once in sheer aggravation.

The dark sky unleashes a downpour of rain that forces me to pull over. Thunder, lightning, and whipping wind rocks the truck and trailer for half an hour.

In the privacy of my vehicle I realize this string of negative recollections is choking me breathless. It’s wrapping around my soul, squeezing me tight, stopping me from celebrating any of the good.

How can this be? This is not me! My thoughts slam into the single, most prevalent question….

What the hell did I just do with my life?

For someone who strives to see the glass as half full, it’s been pretty hard to accomplish it this time. I’m finding this last adventure is one I don’t want to share.  I don’t want to talk about it.  I don’t even want to think about much of it.

Perhaps I’m just going through a phase.

Perhaps I just need to decompress.

Perhaps it’s just from being stuck in the wee hours of the morning in a thunderstorm.

I don’t even feel like me.

The rain subsides, and we’re back on the road. I continue racing northwest on the wet highway with a powerful feeling of wanting to recluse.  Of wanting to curl up in a ball and disappear.  Somehow, I just don’t feel like reaching out to my people .  Feeling  worn out and broken I realize I’m developing a kind of resolve, and craving quiet, drama free space.  I’m still not healthy. I do feel like sleeping for a week—maybe two.  Oh I can see my bed.  Pillows and blankets and cool 60 degree nights.  I imagine my bathroom—my retro, yellow and red bathroom.  I miss that bathroom.  I picture my patio. There I am, gently rocking back and forth on the swing, listening to the traffic out front. I imagine shuffling about in my kitchen, cooking something amazing.  I miss Jack.

With a heavy sigh I revert back to that epic question……..

What the hell did I just do with my life?

Just keep driving.

The landscape is beginning to look familiar now. The sun has sprung up over the horizon behind me. A new day is here, and I am almost home.  “Welcome To Minnesota” is a sight for sore eyes as I cross the St. Croix river.  Street lights are flicking off as the city wakes up to a beautiful morning.

This road warrior is pounding down the highway–closing the gap on the last 20 minutes of the drive. There are no cars on the road. Everyone must still be asleep.  It’s a cool 63 degrees, halleluiah.

I need to figure out what the hell I just did with my life. And what’s next.

I have so very much to do.

There is so much to do.

So much.

I carefully make that last curve in the road. My house is just up ahead.

So much to do, indeed.

What’s that? Is that my place?

OH, WOW!barefoot

I pull over and park in the street, pushing the quagmire of mixed emotions I’ve been burdened with out of my mind. I jump out of the truck and run across the road to my house, excited and amazed.

Everything is simply going to have to wait until I do one simple thing—I just need to do one thing:

Off come the shoes, and with joyful abandon, I proceed to dance barefoot across my beautiful green lawn and brand new driveway!

Now I’m home!

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it invoke anything in you? Was it inspiring?  Scary?  Funny?  Unbelievable?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—and it begins today!  Why wait for an invitation to live an amazing life full of great experiences? There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’. 

 If you find yourself spending your time not doing what you love, I invite you to contact me to create your own, amazing adventure.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

 

 

 

Holy Smokes!

Do you go to bed at night, anxious about what might go wrong while you are sleeping? Do you wake from a nights sleep, anticipating what awful thing you might discover as you rise and shine to start the day? Some people do. But I’m not one of those people. I’m one of those positive people who goes through life, thinking that whatever up beat, wonderful day that I plan, is going to happen as planned.

Damn, I hate unpleasant surprises!

Guess I was thrown off from the very beginning. I was trying to get to Southern Minnesota to finalize my preparations for bow hunting. I only had a few days to spare. Boy, I got off to a bad start. It was one thing going wrong after another all morning, and into the afternoon. My hope for a noon departure soon became 4:00, then 4:30. Then after just a few miles down the road, I gave up on leaving completely—the highway was a parking lot—clearly I was better off sitting out the rush hour somewhere other than in bumper to bumper traffic. Instantly I veered onto the next available off ramp, pulled into a shopping center and made plans to visit with a friend. While it was a great decision, our visit put me at an 8:30 departure time from the cities.

Ouch.

Driving almost three hours on barren country roads in the dark is precarious at best. It also lends itself well as a time to practice for becoming the next “The Voice” contestant. I’ve often wondered why, when I’m driving long distances on country roads I don’t see more deer. Well, me singing at the top of my lungs with the windows down to stay awake may have something to do with it. Not only did I stay awake, but I’m pretty sure everything within 2 country miles of my vehicle did, too.

My sweet dogs, my captive audience, were actually trying to bury themselves under their dog blankets to escape my serenade. Finally, I turned left one last time, and slowly coasted down the long gravel driveway to where my toy hauler sat waiting for us. I made it to my friends farm by 11:30 pm.

How lucky, and grateful I am to have this wonderful opportunity to spend time down in farm country on this beautiful acreage! Although there are lights on inside the farm house, I know we are the only ones here. Tired, and ready to crash for the night, I pulled up next to my toy hauler, grabbed up the dogs and we piled into the trailer, ready to call it a long day and night. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Next thing I knew, mother nature woke me up with quite a sense of urgency…..catapulting me out of my bed, groggy and scrambling for keys to the farm house.

The sun was up.  It was somewhere around 7:30ish. Oh no, I forgot to set my alarm. Now my plan for today is off to a bad start too!

With head down, and arms folded across my chest I staggered out the trailer—gotta go, gotta go, oh my I gotta go–and made a bee line across the yard to the back door of the farm house. I detected the faint smell of bonfire in the breeze. I got to the door, put the key in the key hole, turned the knob, pressed the door open, ripping into the kitchen to get to that bathroom just around the corner before I pee my pants and:

HOLY SMOKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I felt like I’d been hit in the face with a burning cloud. I was instantly disoriented, confused, and gasping for air, choking. The kitchen was a solid mass of thick grey smoke and super-hot heat that started billowing out of the back door! I froze dead in my tracks, hot burning smoke filling my nostrils, searing my eyes, and covering me like a dark, deathly blanket. I stepped back, then forward, confused and hesitating for a second, before I snapped to real time attention:

OH SHIT! SHIT! OMG-OH SHIT! GET OUT ! I MUST GET OUT!

Hyper Speed would describe how fast I bolted back out of that house and across the yard.

I gotta call Ron—no, 911—no Ron, I gotta call Ron, no—OH SHIT THE HOUSE IS GOING TO BURN DOWN!

I dial my friend, Ron. Barely getting a connection, the phone rings and rings. OH SHIT he’s probably still sleeping, I can’t leave him a message……

I dial 911.

“Please help me, my friends farm house is on fire! Please send someone, please hurry. Address? OH MY GAWD I DON’T KNOW!!”

I run up to the road, and look at the mailbox but now they have a coordinate from my phone and have located me.

“Can you see where it’s coming from?”

“No!”

“Is anyone inside?”

“No.”

More questions that I can’t even begin to remember in my frantic panic.

“We’ve got someone on the way they will be there soon.”

“Oh please hurry!”

Now Ron is calling me back.

“Sorry, doll, I couldn’t get to the phone.” He sounds like he is still sleeping.

“Ron, um, I don’t know how to tell you this but your house is on fire.”

He’s definitely awake now.

“What do you mean it’s on fire?”

“I can’t see into the house, the kitchen is full of smoke—the house is hot, really hot and so full of smoke I can’t see!”

“Are you in there??

“No, I opened the door and there it was!”

“Is the stove on?”

“What? Why would the stove be on?”

I am now inching closer to the house, still unable to see anything inside, only smoke billowing out the door I left swinging open. I could maybe just get in there and look….real quick….

“Ron, I’m going in, I’ll see what I can see.” We get disconnected.

I gingerly step up onto the deck, then over to the open door. The heat and smoke blasting me in the face stings like a superhot sauna. With squinted eyes, and holding my breath, I step back inside the fog and two more steps toward the stove. I can barely see it—but there are heavy black streaks on the face of it, yet all the dials are turned off. I try to look deeper into the house to see if there are flames anywhere.  It’s too hot. Too smoky. I’m scared. I’ve got to get out! I start coughing and choking again, and run out the door and back across the yard.

Ron calls again. I try to tell him it seems like the stove is on, but it’s not turned on. I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I feel so dreadfully helpless and afraid.

Here comes a pick-up truck with flashing lights barreling down the road. I run across the yard, flailing arms to wave him in. He’s big and tall and is the first responder to the fire call. I already feel safe, just seeing him get out of the truck.

“Oh thank you for coming so fast! I don’t know but I think it’s the kitchen–maybe the stove?”

And so it begins. Three more trucks show up, all of the community fire guys, including Gary, the farmer that keeps his cows on Ron’s place. Then three huge fire trucks pull into the driveway, the Sherriff, the local newspaper, and several hours of questions, descriptions, several more conversations with Ron, and investigating where the smoke is coming from and where the fire is.  I am convinced that the wiring in the walls is bad and there is fire everywhere up and down the walls of that old farm house.

HlySmokes3By 10:00 a.m. the experts determine that the stove malfunctioned and “turned itself on” causing a box of Cheerios and whatever else was in the oven to burn. Huh?  It seemed so unbelievable. I didn’t understand how that could happen. It shook my faith in technology altogether. HolySmokes3Three firefighters carried the unit out of the house and hosed it down. They speculated that it probably wasn’t burning long, but if I wouldn’t have discovered it, the whole house would have gone down. It was a very somber moment.

Ron had just left the farm the day before. If he would have stayed one more night, he would have been subjected to major smoke inhalation. If I wouldn’t have had my toy hauler there, I would have brought the dogs into the house that night. We discovered while there are smoke detectors throughout the house, none of them had working batteries.

Another very somber moment.

By 10:30, the firefighters gave the ‘all clear’ to enter the house. They opened all of the windows and doors to get some fresh air circulating, checked the walls, the plugs, the breakers and turned off the breaker to the stove. HolySmokes2It was safe, but stinky in the house. They did a walk through with me to make sure I felt comfortable, and then one by one they make their exit.   By 10:40 I finally got to go pee.

I stayed on the farm all day, watching the house, resting, and organizing hunting gear. Gary was kind enough to take my number and check on me throughout the day. It wasn’t until everyone left that I realized how exhausted I was from the morning. I felt like I had an elephant on my chest from the brief smoke inhalation. I couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky I was that neither Ron, nor I were in that house last night.

But as the day wore on, I felt more and more vulnerable, fearful of things that I hadn’t ever given a thought to before. Is my toy hauler wiring safe? What if a mouse chewed into something and I don’t know? I wonder how reliable my stove is at home? What if? I wonder if? I about made myself sick with senseless worry the entire day. I needed an explanation that was believable, but didn’t get one. The stove turned itself on?  Ron’s friend Glen stopped by to see how I was doing. Gary came over just before dark to help me get all of the windows shut before the rain came. Hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop the feelings. That night, I woke up almost hourly, afraid. I would get up and go look out my window to see if the house was still there. Then I’d look at my little gas range, checking the knobs. Good grief, I don’t even have the propane turned on.

The next morning I packed up the family, closed up the toy hauler, and headed home. I broke down crying twice, called Ron once, and cried one more time before I pulled into my driveway, feeling vulnerable, alone, and fearful. It’s taking an enormous amount of effort to remind myself that I’m one of those positive people, and there’s no reason to be afraid. Things happen for a reason. Maybe it was a test. Maybe I was supposed to be there to save the farm. Maybe I was supposed to meet new friends. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to go to the woods that day.  As I try to pull myself out of this funk, I try to focus on the good. I am filled with gratitude, on so many levels. Life is a cherished gift. Every breath we take is a gift. We owe it to ourselves, and to each other, to respect, and nurture our gifts, never taking them for granted.  When I come back down next time, I’m checking those smoke detectors and bringing batteries.

Holy Smokes!

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