Going Beyond People Pleasing

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For most of my life, my desire to please others drove my behavior and my choice of words or the lack of them.

I carefully avoided confrontation due to my agreeableness…and my silence, choosing to play small rather than upset anyone.

What I eventually learned, way later than I should have, was that people pleasing kept me from being who I was meant to be. Sure, I didn’t “rock the boat”…but I didn’t rock my life either. In fact, for many years, I lost important aspects of myself, all because of a fear of disappointing someone else.

Can you relate?

People pleasing is very common, especially among girls and women. If you routinely seek to please others, rather than yourself, check out these six tips for going beyond people pleasing.

Going Beyond People Pleasing title


What is People Pleasing?

People pleasing is the behavior you adopt to avoid disappointing others, upsetting others or attempting to meet the expectations of others. Kindness and courtesy are desirable traits, however people pleasing is a lessening of who you are to fit within the acceptable parameters of someone else.

It’s a great way to avoid confrontation and conflicts. And also a great way to lose yourself. You can’t live as your authentic self when you constantly change how you act and what you say or refuse to say, based on what you think someone else wants.

People pleasing is energy draining. Focusing on what others expect or want means you aren’t focusing on your own desires and needs.

Try the following ways to shift away from people pleasing.

“I lost myself when I learned how to please.”  Glennon Doyle

Get to Know Yourself

You are told to love yourself. It’s not that simple. I found self love impossible to do before accepting myself. And I couldn’t accept myself until I really got to know myself, in a deep way.

Small children know who they are. Just watch a toddler at play. She isn’t trying to figure out what others expect of her or trying to please. She’s simply being herself as she explores her world.

By the time that same child starts school though, she’s learning to adapt herself to others in order to make friends, to keep friends, to receive praise from the teacher or parents, to avoid conflicts. That’s when people pleasing starts.

Know yourself. Use journaling or voice recordings to get beneath all the layers you’ve built up over the years and REALLY get to know yourself again.

What makes your heart sing and your face light up with anticipation? What brings you great joy, no matter what anyone else says or does? And what did you love doing as a child that you stopped doing as you grew older? List your strengths and gifts, your quirks and superpowers. And list your flaws too. You are all of these things. They make up your unique personality.

Once you’ve spent time getting to know yourself again, THEN you can accept yourself, just as you are. Self love follows. And then, you know. “This is me…with my gifts and quirks and abilities and desires.” You become unwilling to forsake yourself to please another.

“We forgot how to know when we learned how to please.”  Glennon Doyle

Find Your Voice

To stand on your own truths and beliefs, rather than on another’s, you must find your own voice.

So…what do you believe? It doesn’t have to be what everyone else you know believes, nor the same as your best friend or your family. What are your key beliefs and values, the rules you live your life by?

It’s helpful to write your own manifesto, to uncover what those beliefs are. Find tips for writing yours HERE.

Once you know what you believe…then you learn to speak up for yourself and those beliefs. Trust me, I know how difficult that can be.

The greatest harm I’ve done to myself and to others, is to remain silent when my voice is needed. Silence is perceived as agreement. My silence through much of my adult life eventually led to living out of alignment with who I am. Carrying the burden of silence seems justified when people don’t like what you have to say. However, it is so crucial to find your voice, to express your thoughts, and stand up for yourself.

Speak your truth. Don’t let others belittle you and your beliefs. Walk away from conversations you don’t want to have. And, make new friends. It’s okay to let people go, those who discover that the real you isn’t to their liking. Remember, you are no longer trying to please them.

“We can stop asking what the world wants from us and instead ask ourselves what we want for our world.”  Glennon Doyle

Going Beyond People Pleasing know yourself
Going Beyond People Pleasing – know yourself

Set Boundaries

Once you know who you are, know what you enjoy and use your voice to express your beliefs and values, you’ll find it necessary to set boundaries.

People who are used to you going out of your way to please them and do what they want, may continue to manipulate or place expectations on you, to meet their needs.

It’s not selfish to know what you will and won’t allow in your own life, and what you will and won’t do for others. Of course you can offer help to someone in need, if you choose to and it aligns with who you are. And, you can decline to help, go out with friends for an evening, have people over or have coffee with others. If it doesn’t feel like the person or activity is in alignment with what is important to you, don’t do it.

You don’t have to volunteer for every project, repeatedly stay late for work, babysit for the neighbor or be the mom who always organizes the class parties. If it feels like others are taking advantage of you, it’s time to create or re-establish boundaries and protect your time and energy.

“Anger delivers important information about where one of our boundaries has been crossed. When we answer the door and accept that delivery, we begin to know ourselves better. When we restore the boundary that was violated, we honor ourselves.”  Glennon Doyle

Learn to Say No

Connected to establishing boundaries is learning to say no.  And I get it…this feels very difficult, saying no to people who are used to hearing yes. Feeling like you disappoint people for not agreeing with them or their requests is uncomfortable.

If you are asked to do something you don’t want to do, say no. If someone makes fun of another person or a whole group of people, say no and walk away.  When someone is unreasonable in his or her requests, say no. If a task or project feels unfulfilling, say no. Saying no and meaning it is part of knowing who you are and caring deeply for yourself. You only have so much time and energy to give to others and to tasks. Saying yes to too many requests uses up that precious energy.

And, you don’t need to offer excuses for saying no. A simple, firmly spoken “no” is enough. You don’t have to justify why you answer the way that you do.

“Sometimes being brave means letting everyone down but yourself.”  Glennon Doyle

Going Beyond People Pleasing voice
Going Beyond People Pleasing – learning to say no

Stay True to Who You Are

After doing the sometimes challenging inner work of freeing yourself from the need to please others, stay absolutely true to who you know you are. You are a powerful, amazing, creative, compassionate bearer of light and truth. No one can take that from you.

Learn to go within and listen to that still small voice that continually reminds you who you are and why you are here on Earth. Journal what you hear. Write down thoughts, feelings, dreams and plans.

Trust what you know is true about yourself and let that guide you in your dealings with others and in your actions.  You stop pleasing others not by changing who you are but by knowing who you are and staying true to what you know.

Sometimes fear arises, attempting to drive you back into people pleasing mode. “What if no one likes the real you?” fear whispers. “You won’t fit in anywhere,” fear threatens. Go beyond fear with these tips. And stay true to you.

“The people who build their truest, most beautiful lives usually put pen to paper.”  Glennon Doyle

Spend Time Alone

Another reason that you might feel tempted to please people is so that you are not alone. Loneliness, in my opinion, occurs when you aren’t present with yourself, rather than when you aren’t with others. People pleasing to insure you are surrounded by others ultimately doesn’t help to ease that feeling of aloneness.

When you focus on who you are and what you enjoy, you are present with yourself. When you focus on your present moment instead of a past that cannot change or a future that has not happened, you are present with yourself.

Learn to enjoy your own company and thoughts. Spend time doing what you love, what brings you joy, what encourages growth and expansion. The more you learn to please yourself, the less you desire to please others in an unhealthy way.

Schedule times of solitude and use them for self care, having fun, meditating, pursuing an interest, enjoying a new experience or doing absolutely nothing.

“Then I built a life of my own. I did it by resurrecting the very parts of me I was trained to mistrust, hide and abandon in order to keep others comfortable: my emotions, my intuition, my imagination, my courage.”  Glennon Doyle

Going Beyond People Pleasing lunch for one
Going Beyond People Pleasing – lunch for one

Are you a People Pleaser?

Unlearning my people pleasing tendency took years, and I still feel the pull toward it occasionally.

Was it easy to stop trying to please everyone except myself? No. Did people cheer me on? No, most did not. I let many people go and limit contact with others.

Do I believe it was worth the effort? Oh yes. I’m happier, healthier, more confident, less anxious, at peace with who I am and what I enjoy doing. With my energy more focused on what I desire to do, I find exciting opportunities come to me frequently. I never feel lonely or unworthy or unwanted. I’m exactly who I am and doing what I love. Gratitude is my foundation…Joy my companion…Adventure my traveling partner. I feel centered and settled in my soul. Life, truly, is good.

Are you a people pleaser? Do these tips inspire you to take the steps toward breaking free? Have you found other practices helpful for saying no to the expectations of others? If you feel so inclined, share your journey in the comments below.

Going Beyond People Pleasing alone time
Going Beyond People Pleasing – alone time

The quotes in this post come from Get Untamed: The Journal.  With a subtitle of How to quit pleasing and start living, I highly recommend the journal and the companion book, Untamed, to all those ready to stop people pleasing.


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August Movies

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August brought a new slate of films to the theater. With my Regal Unlimited membership, I caught six movies that bounced between comedy, suspense, fantasy and heart warming.

Movie watching is more than entertainment to me. It’s a form of self care, setting aside a few hours each week, just for me. And I enjoy deciphering the deeper messages within the stories and picking up life lessons.

These are the August movies.

August Movies title

August Movies

Check out June and July films. Then read a brief synopsis, spoiler free, of the August movies with my reason for enjoying each one.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Cast: Lesley Manville, Jason Isaacs, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson and Alba Baptista.

Rating/Length: PG, 1 hour 55 mintues

Currently available on Prime Video HERE.

Brief Synopsis: Mrs. Harris, a widowed cleaning lady in 1950s London, falls in love with the idea of owning a couture Dior dress. Saving her hard earned money, cutting expenses and relying on her faith in “good things happen to those who expect them”, Mrs. Harris travels to Paris, cash in hand for a one of a kind dress. Her adventure changes her outlook on life…and the future of House of Dior.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is based on the novel by the same name, written by Paul Gallico.

What I love about this movie: I so looked forward to this film, due to the previews I saw. And yet it did not show at my local theater. Not to be deterred, I purchased it through Amazon Prime Video. I’m so glad that I did!

I love Mrs. Harris and her optimistic, positive outlook on life. She believes in pursuing dreams and combining desire with action. The comedy drama is an adult fairy tale in which Mrs. Harris serves as her own fairy godmother and I appreciate that! It’s a warm hearted film full of laughter and a few tears along with hope and perseverance. This beautifully done movie captured my heart.

August Movies mrs harris
August Movies – Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Bullet Train

Cast: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon and Sandra Bullock.

Rating/Length: R, 2 hours 7 minutes

Brief Synopsis: An assassin with the codename Ladybug accepts a supposedly easy and peaceful assignment, after too many gigs gone wrong. He boards the world’s fastest moving train in Japan, with the intention of completing his mission quickly and leaving the train at the next stop.

Fate has other plans as lethal adversaries from around the world end up on the same train in interconnecting missions. It’s a thrill ride that does not stop as the train hurtles toward the end of the line.

Bullet Train is based on the book by the same name, by author Kotaro Isaka.

Currently playing in theaters.

What I love about this movie: I’m a Brad Pitt fan. That drew me to this movie. What I didn’t expect was the comedic elements that made me literally laugh out loud. The action includes graphic violence however, which earns the film its R rating. What I appreciate most about Bullet Train are the synchronicities portrayed and the interconnected stories that bind the characters together. There’s a reason these strangers are all on the same train and discovering that keeps interest high through the film.

August Movies bullet train
August Movies – Bullet Train


Cast: BJ Novak, Boyd Holbrook, Dove Cameron, Issa Rae, Ashton Kutcher and J. Smith Cameron.

Rating/Length: R, 1 hour 47 minutes

Available on Prime Video HERE.

Brief Synopsis: Ben, a writer and wannabe podcaster from New York City, travels to Texas to attend the funeral of a girl he barely remembers. The young woman’s family believes the two were a couple, with plans to marry. After the funeral the girl’s family enlists Ben’s help to find the person responsible for her death. With the hope of creating a good story, suitable for a podcast, Ben agrees. However, not all is as it seems in Texas. What begins as a search for material for a podcast becomes a true mystery to solve.

What I love about this movie: I knew nothing about this film before watching it, other than reviews were decent. Watching it unfold, I laughed in all the right places and then got caught up in the mystery…and the deeper messages about our society. I definitely thought about this one for a while. BJ Novak wrote, directed and starred in the film, an ambitious undertaking that works.

August Movies vengeance
August Movies – Vengeance

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba and a huge cast of other lesser known actors.

Rating/Length: R, 1 hour 48 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Brief synopsis: Dr. Alithea Binnie, an academic content with her solitary life, travels to Istanbul to attend a conference. While there she encounters a Djinn who offers her three wishes, in exchange for his freedom from the bottle he’s been in for thousands of years. Dr. Binnie, a practical woman, hesitates. All stories about making wishes are cautionary tales about wishes gone wrong. The Djinn pleads his case, and inadvertently enforces her caution, with stories from his past.

What I love about this movie: Three Thousand Years of Longing is a beautiful, richly visual film that relies heavily on the art of story telling. And it’s about knowing the deep desires of the heart and allowing those desire to guide our choices…and wishes. I sat spellbound for almost two hours…and left wanting to know more about this film. Of all the movies I watched in August, this is the one I’ll watch again.

August Movies three thousand years
August Movies – Three Thousand Years of Longing


Cast: Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Mason Gooding.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 1 hour 47 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Brief synopsis: Best friends Becky and Hunter reunite a year after a horrific tragedy causes each to go her own way. Avid adventure climbers before the tragedy, Hunter convinces her friend to join her on a new extreme climb to the top of a 2,000 foot abandoned television tower. The unthinkable happens, after the pair reaches a tiny platform at the top of the tower, stranding the girls. They need their wits and agility, along with endurance, to survive.

What I love about this movie: I expected Fall to play as a B disaster movie, set high above the ground. And it is…and it’s not. It’s more than that, with a good story, dizzying heights and unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed this intense film although it’s not for those afraid of heights. The effects are incredible.

August Movies fall
August Movies – Fall


Cast: Idris Elba, Leah Jeffries, Iyana Halley and Sharlto Copley.

Rating/Length: R, 1 hour 33 minutes

Currently showing in theaters.

Brief synopsis: A father, who is a doctor, and his two teenaged daughters visit the African Savanna after the death of their wife and mother. They reunite with a family friend, who shows them the Savanna while also sharing with them about the animals living there and the threat of poachers. During their journey, the four become the hunted, pursued by a massive rogue lion.

What I love about this movie: Although not quite as intense as Fall, Beast kept me on edge and provided at least one jump scare. What I appreciate most was the dual story about family,..human and animal kind…and the importance of protecting that family. There’s more to Beast than a lion gone rogue and it’s hard to know exactly who all to cheer for!

August Movies beast
August Movies – Beast

Which August Movies Did You See?

I’m very much enjoying this form of self care. I initially signed up for Regal Unlimited for three months. When my subscription comes up for renewal in September, I’m happy to continue it on a month by month basis. I’m seeing a wider variety of movies and I love that.

Did you catch any of these flicks? Or did you see one that I missed? Tell me about it!

August Movies theater

Get Amazon Prime, which include Prime Video, HERE. Free trial for 30 days.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.


Dine and Dash

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Thank you to The Adventure Challenge, for sending me The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition Book for review purposes and to use for my Year of Adventure. All opinions are my own.

I seem to be on a food arc, with The Adventure Challenge activities! Last month I randomly chose Homegrown, and enjoyed a trip to the farmers market where I selected fresh produce for my evening meal.

This month, opening a page at random, closing my eyes and picking an activity, I chose adventure #34, Dine and Dash.

That title gave me a moment’s pause, as “dine and dash” is a form of theft in which a diner orders and consumes food at a restaurant and then leaves without paying for the meal. No worries! The Adventure Challenge does NOT encourage lawlessness.

Check out this month’s challenge and see what it was all about!

Dine and Dash title meme

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

The Adventure Challenge books contain scratch off adventures, suitable for adults, families and individuals. Each hardbound book contain 50 fun and unique challenges to experience with a partner, spouse, friends, family members or on your own.

The challenges encourage you to get off your phone and electrical devices and connect with each other…or more deeply with yourself. They are the perfect way to explore your city or the great outdoors, try something new, reconnect with your inner child or make new friends.

The keepsake book makes it easy to document the memories, with snapshots and a few words about the experience.

There’s a catch though. The challenges are hidden. You don’t know what the activity is, until you scratch it off. If you’ve followed me for very long, you KNOW I love playing games built around randomness. The Adventure Challenge books are like the games I play where I draw random slips of paper out of a jar and do the activity I select. There are no “do overs”, in those fun games I make up, or in The Adventure Challenge.

Dine and Dash

The instructions for Challenge #34:

“Tonight you dine like royalty! You’re gonna order an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert.

The only rule is, you can’t eat any of them from the same restaurant. Three different courses, three different restaurants, one tasty night.”

This activity is fun…and there’s no not paying for meals!

During one of my birthday celebrations this past year, I did a similar activity and enjoyed it. As one who eats plant based, choosing restaurants is the challenge, however I knew exactly which ones to visit for this activity.

Dining at three different restaurants takes time as well. The activity suggested allowing 2 – 3 hours. So Greg and I selected a late afternoon to begin the dine and dash challenge, allowing plenty of time to eat and drive.

Dine and Dash first course
Dine and Dash – first course at Panera.

Dining and Dashing

We started our dining and dashing at Panera.

First Course

Rather than appetizers, our first course consisted of an Asian salad for me and a bowl of soup for Greg, with water to drink. Knowing our next stop was for the main course, we both selected the half portion sizes for our first course.

A huge benefit of this activity is eating slowly and enjoying the food before hopping in the car and driving to the next restaurant. Dining and dashing doesn’t mean wolfing down food as quickly as possible. It’s an experience to linger over.

Second Course

We felt ready for the main course when we arrived at Cracker Barrel, located five miles away.

Here Greg ordered one piece of fish and veggies, while I dined on the Cracker Barrel vegetable plate. I selected four plain veggies…baked potato with no butter or sour cream, green beans, carrots and broccoli.

Again, we ate slowly, savoring the food. And knowing dessert was still to come, I elected to take half of my main course home.

Third Course

Dessert out is difficult for me. Not only do I eat plant based, but I try to avoid gluten and too much sugar. At home I can limit the amount of sugar and use gluten free flours.

My solution? Dairy Queen drive through.

Did you know that Dairy Queen sells a gluten free, vegan dilly bar? They do! The sugar content is higher than I like, however, the dilly bar uses coconut cream and it is gluten free.

Rather than eat inside Dairy Queen, we chose to pick up a box of six vegan Dilly Bars and took them home. We enjoyed the special treat at home a little later in the evening. And Greg gets the rest of the bars!


Dine and Dash second course
Dine and Dash – second course at Cracker Barrel

Adventure Challenges

Do these adventure challenges sound intriguing to you?

Challenge books are available in solo, family and couples editions. Each book contains 50 scratch off challenges. Check out the various books and the camera/book kits HERE. Use my code GOINGBEYOND to save 10% off of your order at checkout.

You can also purchase the camera HERE, from Amazon. The instamatic photos add to the fun, plus there’s a spot for them in the book as you document the challenges.

This Dine and Dash challenge proved fun…and all meals WERE paid for. I toted along the Adventure Challenge book and the instamatic camera, for photos.

And no, I didn’t do this challenge solo. And I adapted the activity a bit. However overall, I completed the activity and enjoyed the leisurely meal that stretched over three locations and a couple of hours.

I’m curious to see if the food theme continues when I choose another challenge next month!

Dine and Dash course three
Dine and Dash course three – vegan Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.




Weekend Fun in Branson MO

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Branson, Missouri is a popular vacation destination, drawing visitors from around the world. In fact, it’s known as the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World” due to the variety of live shows and events offered. And attractions such as Silver Dollar City and the Titanic Museum provide top notch entertainment.

I live in Joplin, Missouri, about a two hour drive from Branson. And although I’ve visited the city many times, I had yet to spend time in the charming downtown area.

Greg and I joined my sister Linda and brother in law Roy for weekend fun in Branson. Check out what we did!

Weekend Fun in Branson MO title meme

Branson Missouri

Located in the Ozark Mountains in Southwest Missouri, Branson is a unique community. The city offers a huge variety of activities, attractions, live shows and natural beauty.

Play golf on one of their many courses that range from par three to nature courses to championship, with skill levels suited for everyone. Visit a wide variety of restaurants, shops and museums.

And stay at accommodations that include hotels, Airbnbs, B&Bs, condos, cabins and luxury resorts.

It’s the perfect weekend getaway. Start planning your trip by visiting Explore Branson.

Linda and Roy spent five days enjoying Branson, staying in an Airbnb condo. Greg and I joined them for the weekend.

Weekend Fun in Branson MO
Weekend Fun in Branson MO – view from the condo balcony

Exploring Downtown Branson

While Greg and Roy played golf Saturday, Linda and I explored the historic downtown area.

As many times as I’ve visited Branson, this was a first for me. The Strip in Branson hosts many attractions and that’s where most of the live show venues are located. However, Downton Branson is a fun and charming destination of its own. The area includes many unique small shops and restaurants plus entertainment, outdoor activities, attractions and the fabulous Branson Landing.

It’s a very walkable area or you can ride the free Downtown Trolley called Sparky.

Linda and I found a free parking lot and walked. It was fun to explore the variety of shops…everything from energy infused jewelry stores to flea markets and gift shops to entertainment venues. We bought fudge for the guys. Wandered through cute shops, stopped by a dinosaur fossil store and enjoyed a girls’ lunch at MoMo Sushi and Grill.

We both found travel themed handbags at one shop and at another stop, I picked up a small vegan leather sling type purse that’s perfect to carry when I’m traveling.

And we enjoyed Dick’s 5 & 10, an old fashioned retail shop that’s been in Downtown Branson since 1961. The fun store boasts 250,000 items on the shelves and I believe that! We found all kinds of merchandise, some reminiscent of our childhood favorites. I bought a cute little tabletop framed quote that says “The best miles are the ones you walk”. It’s perfect for my travel shelf.

Weekend Fun in Branson MO downtown
Weekend Fun in Branson MO – historic downtown

Branson Landing

After wearing ourselves out walking and shopping in the August heat, we met up with the guys back at the condo. On the agenda for the evening…Anthems of Rock at King’s Castle Theatre on The Strip.

But first, the four of us walked in Branson Landing and ate dinner at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen there.

This 1.5 mile boardwalk along Taneycomo Lake offers shopping, dining and entertainment. Strolling down the boardwalk, Branson Landing feels like a cross between a high quality outdoor mall and a cute downtown. It’s a beautiful place to get outdoors, enjoy the activities, try a new restaurant and play.

Branson Landing offers events as well such as the weekly Farmers Market, concerts, the Grand Prix of Missouri Powerboat Nationals, Trick or Treating in October and a Winter Wonderlanding Season that begins in November.

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is a spacious restaurant and gift shop that specializes in family style dining with classic Southern recipes. I appreciated the family style dining. The four of us shared a variety of main and side dishes.

Weekend Fun in Branson MO branson landing
Weekend Fun in Branson MO – strolling along Branson Landing
Weekend Fun in Branson MO train
Weekend Fun in Branson MO – you can catch a train in Branson Landing if you need a lift…although this ride isn’t free

Anthems of Rock

After dinner we arrived at King’s Castle Theatre for the Anthems of Rock live show. When they say about this show, “Get ready to rock!”, they mean it!

This biggest rock party in Branson showcases hits from some of the most famous bands including The Beatles Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, Journey, Aerosmith, Meatloaf and Tina Turner.

It’s a high energy two hour performance by a cast of extremely talented singers, guitar players and dancers. They encourage the audience to sing and clap along.

We loved this show. If you grew up listening to rock music, you’ll appreciate every song. The performers keep the fast paced show interesting with props and costume changes. They seem to genuinely enjoy performing and interacting with each other and the audience.

And if you aren’t quite sure what that familiar song is, there are large screens behind the stage and in the corners of the auditorium that display the album cover, band and song.

I’d definitely recommend Anthems of Rock. Get more info and tickets HERE.

Weekend Fun in Branson MO anthems of rock
Weekend Fun in Branson MO – Anthems of Rock live show
Weekend Fun in Branson MO rock show
Weekend Fun in Branson MO – waiting for the rock show to begin. We enjoyed it.

Have you Explored Branson Missouri?

What a perfect getaway weekend! Branson offers so many choices and fun things to do. I loved exploring parts of the community I had not seen, trying a new restaurant and rocking out to favorite songs with an energetic audience.

I’d love to go back during the holidays to see Downtown Branson and Branson Landing decorated for Christmas and to catch another performance at King’s Castle.

Have you visited this beautiful city? Traveled to the past at Silver Dollar City or experienced the Titanic?

What are your favorite activities to enjoy while in Branson?

Weekend Fun in Branson MO quiet morning
Enjoying the view from the condo balcony


Exploring during the summer? You need these accessories from Amazon:


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Going Beyond Procrastination

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After writing posts on going beyond fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs, I realized other limitations exist that can hold us back from accomplishing all that we want to accomplish.

And that thought birthed an idea for a series.

This limitation creates big roadblocks for many people, including me. In fact, as I worked on this post, it felt like I was talking to myself. Read the tips in Going Beyond Procrastination and let me know if this is something you also struggle with!

Going Beyond Procrastination title meme

What is Procrastination?

By definition, procrastination is the practice of delaying or postponing something such as an action or task. You have a deadline looming and yet instead of working on the project, you check email, scroll through social media feeds or watch funny videos on YouTube. There’s nothing wrong with any of those activities, however, you are stalling and ultimately placing pressure on yourself when that deadline absolutely must be met.

Procrastination can range from minor stalling to an inability to complete daily tasks. Reasons for procrastinating include setting indefinite, abstract goals, disconnection from true desires, overwhelm, anxiety, perfectionism and a dislike of certain tasks such as car maintenance.

This tendency to put off doing what you know needs doing isn’t so much a disorder to cure as a practice to shift.

If you find yourself procrastinating frequently and seek change, check out these tips for going beyond procrastination.

Reduce the Number of Decisions You Need to Make

Planning out the day, before you get up in the morning, goes a long way toward eliminating the tendency to procrastinate and waste energy throughout the day.

Instead of making decisions on the spot, moment by moment, plan out your day, your week, your month or your year in advance. When your plans are written out on paper it frees thoughts, which are energy too, from swirling around in your head. You don’t have to wonder what to do next…it’s written down.

Schedule reoccurring activities like walking, yoga, creative time, appointments, journaling, meditating and classes. Then you don’t have to decide, “Do I walk…or go to the store?”

Choose your outfit the night before. Establish a morning and nighttime routine.

Create habits for tasks you don’t like, such as housework. Make it fun or power through it…just do it. These are things that must be done no matter what, the non-negotiables.

Going Beyond Procrastination habits
Going Beyond Procrastination – create habits for reoccurring activities or unpleasant tasks

Make Lists

A helpful way to organize thoughts, make plans and prevent procrastination is through list making.

According to studies, we are 33% more likely to achieve goals and get tasks done if we make lists.

Using a planner or a simple notebook, create monthly lists of blog and social media posts and appointments, weekly scheduled activities and daily to-do tasks.

Prioritize by starting with the ONE big thing that needs to get ticked off the daily list. Check that activity off as early in the day as possible. It’s your most important task.

Break the rest of the list into doable tasks and attach action steps to them. Any deadlines for the day, week or month? Write those down too, so you don’t have to continually think about them.

Work in Time Blocks

You’ll get more done, without overwhelm or burn out, breaking the day into time blocks.

This scheduling method is a technique for time management. Break the day into small periods of time…typically an hour to three hours…for specific tasks and to-dos. During that block of time, focus only on the tasks or activities scheduled.

A simple but effective time blocking schedule might include breakfast, then threes hours for accomplishing your most important task, lunch, then two hours dedicated to other tasks and to-dos, afternoon break, then two hours for exercise, minor tasks, creativity or taking a class. Make the time blocking work for you. And stick with it. No procrastinating or avoiding the things you know you need to get done.

Going Beyond Procrastination lists
Going Beyond Procrastination – make lists of tasks and to-dos. Here I’m making a list of what to include in my post on making lists!

Create a Supportive Environment

To lessen procrastination, surround yourself with an environment that supports you and helps you get your tasks done.

Whether you work at home or in an office, tackle the space that you spend the most time in.

Declutter. A room or desk full of clutter creates disorganized energy. It doesn’t feel good and it’s not conducive to productivity. Have a place for everything, even if your system doesn’t look like someone else’s. Get rid of things you don’t need.

Eliminate distractions. Put your phone on silent. Stay off of social media unless that’s the task you are working on. Turn off the television.

Surround yourself with what inspires and motivates you. Hang up a vision board. Frame inspirational quotes. Create a personal manifesto and keep it nearby to read often. Play music that uplifts the spirit or boosts creativity. Display family photos, travel mementos and artwork.

Check for Alignment

Sometimes, the things we put off doing are things we really don’t want to do. I’m not talking about household chores or taking the dog for a walk. I mean things that no longer align with who you are and what you most want to do.

If you find yourself avoiding certain tasks, take time to check inward and see if those activities still align with your passion. If not, it’s time to shift away from them. Step down from committees that you no longer feel strongly about. Stop the activities that bore you. Say “the end” to the work that no longer interests you.

Focus on the tasks and activities that make your heart sing and light up your face when you talk about them. These are the priorities that go at the top of your to-do lists.

The truth is, we find the time and a way to do the things we really want to do. And, if we are avoiding or postponing activities, then they are no longer what we really want to do.

Going Beyond Procrastination supportive environment
Going Beyond Procrastination – create a supportive environment

Reward Yourself

One of my favorite ways to spur myself onward, when I have a big project to complete, is to reward myself when it’s done.

I personally avoid rewarding myself with food, as that was an old habit that wasn’t healthy. Instead, I might go for a walk in nature or visit a city, watch a movie, putter in the garden or play an online game.

And often the reward is the accomplishment itself or the incredible high level energy I feel.

Shifting a Task I Disliked

This is a real life example of a task I frequently procrastinated on and how I shifted.

I dislike washing dishes. I’ve never, in my lifetime, lived in a house with a dishwasher. I am the dishwasher. And I often postponed washing up, letting dishes accumulate in the sink, which made it even more difficult to make myself go into the kitchen to clean up.

I used tip number one to avoid procrastination, creating a habit to complete a task that I don’t like. Initially, I made this rule: no dishes in the sink by the time I go to bed. That meant I sometimes washed dishes at midnight, no matter how tired I was.

Soon I discovered I loved walking into a clean kitchen every morning. The energy of a ready for the day kitchen far exceeded the energy required to empty the sink each night.

And then, I realized I loved walking into a clean kitchen all the time. It became easier and easier to wash up immediately after a meal. The satisfaction of an empty sink and clean kitchen, always, is the reward and the habit evolved over time after I made one unbreakable rule about washing dishes.

Are You a Procrastinator?

I admit I was and I still fall into procrastination sometimes. Doing so is my nudge to check within to see what’s going on. Is the activity no longer in alignment with who I am becoming? Do I need to shift and create a no matter what rule? Or do my lists require some adjustment?

Going beyond procrastination is a continuing area of growth for me.

What about you? Are you a procrastinator? Tell me about the areas you struggle in. I hope these tips are helpful for you in going beyond and creating meaningful shifts in your life.

Going Beyond Procrastination tea break
Going Beyond Procrastination – daily tea breaks are important to me


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More Funny Travel Stories

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Last April I shared my first Funny Travel Stories post. The humorous experiences were fun to recall as I typed them out. And, in the process, I realized that I had enough funny stories for at least one more post.

I hope you enjoy these tales from my travels and feel inspired to share your own.

Here they are…more funny travel stories.

More Funny Travel Stories title meme


On my first visit to Scotland, with my cousin Mindy and her son William, we stayed at Halcyon House in Edinburgh. This property felt more like a grand old house rather than a hotel. The friendly owners lived on site and offered guests a hearty breakfast every morning in the dining room.

On our first morning in the city, Mindy and I finished getting ready in the large room while William showered. I KNEW better than to plug my hair dryer into the socket. I packed an electrical adapter, however, in my excitement to explore Edinburgh, I plugged the dryer in and turned it on.

The hair dryer sounded strange, surging with power. Just as I thought “Oh no…” a loud POP occurred. The dryer stopped and the lights went out. William yelled as he tried to shower in total darkness. I yelled an apology back and then heard doors opening all along the upstairs hallway. Power went out on the whole floor, as everyone got ready for the day.

I felt so embarrassed! One of the owners, Matthew, thankfully brought a ladder up, fiddled with the circuit breakers and quickly restored power. William did not let me forget that incident and I never forgot to use an adapter again.

Two Doctor Whos

My grandson Dayan and I are both huge fans of the British television series, Doctor Who. What a wonderful experience to attend our first Comic Con in St Louis, with special guests David Tennent, the Tenth Doctor and Matt Smith, the Eleventh.

After Dayan’s photo op with the two doctors, it was my turn. Throwing an arm around each actor I squeezed them close and happily told them they were two of my favorite people. David quipped, “Two of your favorites? Why aren’t we your absolute favorites?” Matt joined in the conversation and we all laughed so much that we messed up the first photo. The photographer scolded us and told us to stop laughing and talking and to hold still….which only made us laugh more.

Later, after standing in line for a couple of hours to get David’s autograph, I  offered my condolences on the recent death of his father. I told him how proud I was that as a Scotsman, he represented the country well during his stint as the Doctor. David surprised me by reaching for my hand and giving it a squeeze. I walked away and then realized I never got a signature on my photo.

Turning around, David saw me and waved me back. In his thick Scottish brogue, said he wondered how long it would take for me to return. He signed the photo with a flourish and then said, “Now go…and behave yourself!” (You have to imagine the words spoken in a Scottish accent to get the full effect.) I’ll remember that day always!

More Funny Travel Stories doctors
More Funny Travel Stories – Dayan with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors

Knock First!

During the girls’ UK trip with my mother, two sisters and niece, we shared rooms to cut down on costs. And almost immediately we had to have a talk about respecting personal space after my mom nonchalantly walked into the bathroom while my sister Debbie was in there. Knock first, we suggested seriously, even though everyone except Debbie laughed about the incident. I thought it was funny too, until it happened to me.

In London, I shared a room with Mom and my sister Linda. While showering in the glass enclosed shower, my mother and/or Linda walked in on me not once…not twice…but three times. I think the last intrusion was deliberate, just to hear me yell “For the love of God…some privacy please!”

I locked the bathroom door after that.

Road to Nowhere

I appreciated having a rental car on my recent trip to the Charleston area. The Mitsubishi Mirage featured a large screen on the dash. When I plugged in my phone and pulled up the maps app, it displayed on that screen and Siri directed me from there, making navigating on the South Carolina sea islands and Charleston easier. It worked really well…until it didn’t.

On my departure day, I left the airbnb early, with the Charleston International Airport address loaded into the app and up on the screen. Siri directed me effortlessly through heavy morning traffic. However, as the screen showed about 10 minutes left until I reached the airport, something didn’t seem right. Looking around, I didn’t recognize this part of the city.

I trusted the GPS system though, following Siri as she directed me off of the expressway. I continued to trust as I turned into what looked like a neighborhood. Maybe this was a shortcut? Deeper into the neighborhood, I turned onto a street and Siri announced, “Destination on the right. Arrived.”

I stopped in front of an ordinary looking house, on an average street, in a typical suburban neighborhood. The man working in the yard turned to look at me and waved, a bit hesitantly. This was not the airport!

I nodded to the stranger, drove to the end of the street and re-entered the airport into the maps app. Fortunately, it was only 15 minutes away. I’ll never know what happened and why the map changed to a different location, mid-route. But I arrived at the airport with time to spare, turned in the car and caught my flight. Even if I don’t understand why, I believe everything happens for a reason.

Lucky Bird Poop

After exploring the medieval village of San Gimignano in Italy, my grandson, daughter and I sat on benches near the city gate with our tour group. As the tour bus pulled up, we all stood and gathered our belongings.

I felt something hit my shoulder and arm. Looking up, I spied a bird in the tree above me. Glancing back at my arm, I noticed bird poop.

I made a sound of disgust, however, to my surprise our tour guide Fabi and others in the group cheered and applauded. In Italy it’s a sign of good fortune when a bird poops on you. The next suggested action is to visit a casino.

People came by to rub my shoulder, transferring good luck to themselves. One dear woman offered me a package of wet wipes so I could clean off the poop. Bless her!

Read more Italian good luck traditions HERE.

More Funny Stories bird poop
More Funny Travel Stories – lucky bird poop in San Gimignano, Italy

Deja Vu

Traveling cross country with my family, I began to experience deja vu. This phenomenon is described as a feeling of already experiencing the present moment, of remembering something that can’t possibly be remembered.

Leaving Los Angeles, Joplin bound via a layover in Denver, the deja vu began at LAX airport. By the time we landed in Denver, that strange feeling was occurring almost continuously. Casting about for an explanation, I decided this must be the day that I die. I was seeing my life flash before my eyes through deja vu.

Boarding our plane for the last leg of the journey home, I experienced the strongest sense of remembering yet. The artistic design on the front cabin wall triggered it, as did the approaching severe thunderstorm. Our pilot announced that due to the storm, take off would be quick and rough. This was it. We were going to crash.

Only my older daughter sensed that something was going on with me. Her look of concern prompted me to pray like I’ve never prayed before. I asked for angels to surround the plane, placed protective energy around it and visualized us all flying safely above the storm and arriving back home. Closing my eyes, I did all I could to help that plane take off  and rise above the turbulence.

This story is more weird than funny. And it’s absolutely true. The deja vu stopped as soon as we cleared the storm and we did indeed arrive home without further incident.


I am not afraid of most animals. Even snakes and spiders are fascinating to me. However, I do not like alligators. They freak me out. During trips to Florida and South Carolina, I’ve observed them from afar and that’s the way I want it. On my recent trip back to South Carolina, I discovered it was mating season for these reptiles, which can make male alligators more aggressive. Oh, wonderful.

The beautiful airbnb I stayed at on Johns Island, with its pretty pool, is situated on a tropical property, lush with trees, plants and flowers. Aware that the island is surrounded by rivers and marshes, I hoped I would not have a close encounter with an alligator.

My first night at the airbnb, I ventured out after dark, barefoot and wearing a lightweight cotton dress. Lights strung up all over the property make it even more magical at night. Wandering down a path I suddenly froze. Something big thrashed in the shadowy underbrush and it seemed to be coming toward me. I immediately thought, “Alligator!” and ran back to the airbnb as fast as my bare feet could take me.

The next morning, talking to Neil, one of the hosts, I sheepishly mentioned my encounter the night before. I asked if alligators ever get into the pool. He laughed and shook his head. In all the years he’s lived on the island, he said, he’s never seen an alligator on the property. But he added, with a twinkle in his eyes, they do have armadillos who like to forage at night among the plants. He spotted one earlier that morning.

I ran from an armadillo…and what a relief.

I still didn’t wander too far from the house at night though, just in case.

Share Your Funny Stories

We all have embarrassing, funny or strange travel stories. These colorful adventures form part of the life tapestry, woven with threads from rich experiences.

I know I’ll have more funny travel stories to share as I continue to explore the world with an open heart and mind and the ability to laugh at situations and most importantly, at myself.

I’d love to hear one of your favorite funny stories. Share it in the comments below.

More Funny Travel Stories alligator
More Funny Travel Stories – alligator hiding in the shadows??

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July Movies

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As one who loves watching movies, it’s good to be back in the theater, watching films on the big screen. To celebrate my return to the movie theater, I joined the Regal Unlimited program. For $18 a month I can watch as many movies as I want.

I’m enjoying popping off to catch a film when I have a couple of free hours. During this recent heat wave, the cool, dark theater offers relief along with entertainment. Check out last month’s films and then grab a snack and a cup of tea and read about the July movies. No spoilers.

July Movies title meme

July Movies

I enjoyed another broad range of films in July. Movies included fun animation, English romance, one of my favorite superheroes, a book adaptation and another spooky offering from the brilliant Jordan Peele. The sixth film I hoped to watch in July has not yet arrived at my local theater. I hope Mrs Harris Goes to Paris makes it to Joplin next month.

Here are the five July movies with a brief synopsis and what I love about each one.

Minions: Rise of Gru

Cast: Steve Carell, Pierce Coffin ( who does ALL the voices of the minions), Alan Arkin, Taraji P Henson, Michelle Yeoh, Russell Brand, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Lucy Lawless, Danny Trejo and Julia Andrews.

Rating/Length: PG, 1 hour 27 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis: This prequel in the Despicable Me franchise transports us to 1976 where 12 year old Gru dreams of becoming the world’s greatest supervillain. To pursue his dream, Gru contacts the Vicious Six, hoping to join the nefarious group he idolizes after the leader is ousted. The minions arrive and become Gru’s helpers and friends. Young Gru’s initial interview with the Vicious Six doesn’t go well…and things quickly go downhill from there!

What I love about this movie: I’ve seen all of the Despicable Me films with my granddaughter Aubrey. Even though she is now 13, we declared a girls’ day and watched Minions: The Rise of Gru together along with my sister and her two granddaughters. It’s a cute, fast paced film that kept us laughing. And as a bonus for those who actually lived in the 70s, like me, there are lots of  hilarious nods to that time period.

July Movies girls
July Movies – girls’ day for Minions: Rise of Gru

Mr Malcolm’s List

Cast: Freida Pinto, Sope Dirisu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ashley Park and Theo James.

Rating/Length: PG, 1 hour 57 minutes

Currently showing in theaters or rent/buy on Prime Video.

Synopsis: This Regency romance features London’s most eligible bachelor Mr Malcolm, who is intent on finding the perfect wife. Ever practical, Mr Malcolm looks for a woman who ticks off all the boxes on his list of desired character qualities. When Julia Thistlewaite doesn’t make the cut, after an evening at the opera with Mr Malcolm, she seeks revenge. Julia discovers what’s on the list and convinces her friend Selina to play the role of his ideal match. Is it the perfect payback? Or is romance actually blooming between Selina and Mr Malcolm?

What I love about this movie: This romantic comedy, an expansion of a 2019 short film, is geared toward the audience that loves the Netflix series, Bridgerton. As a fan of that series, I enjoyed Mr Malcolm’s List. And while critics seem to miss the point of the cast diversity, I appreciate that greatly. It’s a heart warming view of the world, as it could be.

July Movies mr malcolms list
July Movies – Mr Malcolm’s List

Where the Crawdads Sing

Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn, Michelle Hyatt and Sterling Macer Jr.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours 5 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis: Kya Clark raises herself to adulthood after her family abandons her in the marshes of the deep south. The townspeople call her Marsh Girl and consider her a wild and mysterious outsider.

Marsh Girl is ridiculed, ignored and shunned until the town golden boy is found dead. After a link between him and Kya is discovered, she is accused of his murder. Kya is taken by force out of her beloved marsh and stands trial, defended by retired attorney Tom Milton.

Why I love this movie: Where the Crawdads Sing is based on the best selling novel by Delia Owens. I tried reading the book but got put off by the author’s writing style. Watching the film, I felt glad that I didn’t read the novel first. It is an intense, heart touching story that twists and turns, with the wild marsh as a gorgeous backdrop. Perhaps now I’ll try reading the book again.

July Movies where the crawdads sing
July Movies – Where the Crawdads Sing

Thor: Love & Thunder

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tess Thompson, Taika Waititi and Russell Crowe.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 1 hour 58 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis: Thor’s travels with the Guardians of the Galaxy and his search for personal peace are interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher. After Thor parts ways with the Guardians, he enlists the help of King Valkyrie, his friend Korg and surprisingly, his ex-girlfriend Jane. Jane arrives looking like Thor and wielding his former hammer, Mjonir. Together the eclectic group uncovers the mystery behind Gorr’s vengeance and seeks to stop him before he destroys everything.

What I love about this movie: In the Marvel Universe, Thor is my second favorite superhero, right behind Iron Man. This romp of a film is fun, humorous and filled with action and adventure…and a few touching moments as well. My daughter Elissa accompanied me to this showing and we laughed throughout the movie.

July Movies thor love and thunder
July Movies – Thor: Love & Thunder


Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott and Steven Yeun.

Rating/Length: R, 2 hours 10 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis: Siblings OJ and Emerald co-own Haywood Ranch, a facility that trains horses for films, commercials and events. They face tough financial decisions concerning the ranch after their father dies in an unexplainable freak accident.

When an unidentified flying object begins to appear over the ranch, and horses disappear, the brother and sister wonder if this is their chance to create wealth. With the help of a techie salesman, they set out to capture the UFO on film and present the proof for financial gain…before their competitive showman neighbor can do the same.

What I love about this movie: I’m a fan of writer and director Jordan Peele, creator of the films Get Out and Us. While his movies are considered in the horror genre, they are so much more than that. I love Jordan’s movies because there’s always a deeper message there to uncover and examine. His films make me think while also providing riveting stories…and a few jump scares!

July Movies nope
July Movies – NOPE

Have You Watched Any of These Movies?

That’s my July round up of movies.

I sincerely hope Mrs Harris Goes to Paris plays at my local Regal Theater soon. And I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite out of this bunch of films. They all entertained. Where the Crawdads Sing and Nope had the biggest impact. Thor made me laugh the most. Mr Malcolm’s List was pure joy and Minions brought the laughs as well.

Have you seen any of these films? Which was your favorite?

July Movies hollywood theaters
Hollywood Theaters in Joplin MO

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Thank you to The Adventure Challenge, for sending me The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition Book for review purposes and to use for my Year of Adventure. All opinions are my own.

As summer declares itself in full force, all across the US and the northern hemisphere in fact, I considered whether I should carefully select an adventure challenge…or let the activity choose me. This current heat wave is breaking records, with no immediate end in sight. An outdoor activity could prove challenging indeed.

Ever one to play the random game, I let the adventure choose me. What a wonderful activity for summer…and this incredible heat. I laughed with the perfection of it.

This is Adventure Challenge #24, Homegrown.

Homegrown title meme

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

The Adventure Challenge books contain scratch off adventures, suitable for adults, families and individuals. Each hardbound book contain 50 fun and unique challenges to experience with a partner, spouse, friends, family members or on your own.

The challenges encourage you to get off your phone and electrical devices and connect with each other…or more deeply with yourself. They are the perfect way to explore your city or the great outdoors, try something new, reconnect with your inner child or make new friends.

The keepsake book makes it easy to document the memories, with snapshots and a few words about the experience.

There’s a catch though. The challenges are hidden. You don’t know what the activity is, until you scratch it off. If you’ve followed me for very long, you KNOW I love playing games built around randomness. The Adventure Challenge books are like the games I play where I draw random slips of paper out of a jar and do the activity I select. There are no “do overs”, in those fun games I make up, or in The Adventure Challenge.


My instructions for Challenge #24:

“Your hometown is unique. The local butcher shop, community garden or nearby farm could bring some of that uniqueness right to your table.

Today your challenge is to create a completely locally sourced meal featuring only local ingredients. Extra special and extra fresh!”

I adore this challenge activity. My community has local farmers markets that offer fresh produce…and other products…year around. In fact, I was just at the outdoor Webb City Farmers Market Saturday morning. This particular market sets up under a long open air pavilion every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday. I happened to select this activity on Tuesday.

Off to the market I went, to pick out the ingredients for my evening meal. Since I am vegan, I intended to purchase a variety of fresh vegetables to create a homegrown meal with.

Homegrown farmers market
Homegrown – Webb City Farmers Market

Gathering Food

The Webb City Farmers Market opens from 4:00 – 7:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9:00 – noon on Saturdays. I’ve visited this vibrant market for years. Besides fresh produce, shoppers can find many organic foods, crafts, plants, bakery items, soaps, herbs, spices, fresh flowers, food vendors, a variety of breads and, I’m happy to add, a vegan food vendor as well. A jar of her vegan dill ranch dressing sits in my refrigerator right now!

To complete this challenge, I focused on fresh, locally grown produce. I bought tomatoes last Saturday. During this trip, I purchased red skinned new potatoes, okra, green beans, carrots, onions, zucchini and yellow squash.

Homegrown veggies
Homegrown – my vegetable stash

Creating a Homegrown Meal

I wanted to use each of the fresh veggies in my meal so I settled on a simple vegetable hash for dinner.

A vegetable hash is so easy and delicious and, best of all, I can make it from whatever veggies I have on hand.

After washing and chopping the veggies, I heated a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Adding the chopped potatoes, onions and carrots first, I stir fried them over medium high heat until the potatoes and carrots were almost tender.

Next I added sliced okra, green beans, zucchini and yellow squash plus a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a teaspoon of cumin. I continued to stir fry the mixed veggies until tender, then added a small amount of water, covered the skillet and turned the heat to low. While the veggie mixture simmered, I sliced fresh tomatoes.

My homegrown meal of veggie hash and sliced garden tomatoes was so full of flavor. What a satisfying…and yummy…adventure challenge.

Homegrown veggie hash
Homegrown – veggie hash

Adventure Challenges

Do these adventure challenges sound fun to you? What about the amazing life lessons and/or synchronicities that accompany each one?

Challenge books are available in solo, family and couples editions. Each book contains 50 scratch off challenges. Check out the various books and the camera/book kits HERE. Use my code GOINGBEYOND to save 10% off of your order at checkout.

You can also purchase the camera HERE, from Amazon. The instamatic photos add to the fun, plus there’s a spot for them in the book as you document the challenges.

I enjoyed the trip to the farmers market, picking out vegetables and creating a meal from them at home. It truly was a farm to table experience. And, I have vegetables left for at least three more meals.

Do you have a farmers market or co-op in your area? What do you like to purchase there?

Homegrown adventure challenge 24
Homegrown – adventure challenge #24


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Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield

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I recently enjoyed an afternoon looking for art in downtown Springfield, MO. Check out my first post about the city’s Sculpture Walk HERE.

Springfield features sculptures in their beautiful downtown area, an exhibit that changes yearly. It’s fun to start at Park Central and walk the blocks surrounding it, looking for unique sculptures that tell interesting stories.

This is part two sharing some of the art that I discovered on my trip.

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield title meme

Sculpture Walk Springfield

Sculpture Walk Springfield launched in April 2015 with 13 sculptures installed throughout the downtown area. This year the 2022 exhibit showcases 41 sculptures…29 temporary ones that will change out next year and 12 permanent installations.

Their vision: to create a museum without walls with access to all.

Their purpose: when placed outdoors, integrated in full public view with existing structures and landscapes, sculptures add to a city’s heritage, character, and sense of place and diversity; it adorns a city with distinction, adding to pride of place and a sense of identity. Public art rejuvenates public spaces by transforming them into destinations.  Sculpture Walk Springfield will play a major role in the economic rejuvenation of Springfield.

Their mission: to encourage the artistic transformation of Springfield through outdoor sculpture, thus enhancing our quality of life and promoting economic vitality.

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield park central
Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield – start the hunt in Park Central

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield

Park Central Square is the place to start for the art hunt. There is free parking available nearby and a variety of shops, restaurants, cafés and pubs in the area for a meal or a refreshing drink.

You can visit the Sculpture Walk Facebook Page or the website HERE to download a map or you can park near Park Central Square in downtown Springfield and simply start walking. The sculptures are identified by a small plaque near each one, that lists the artist and a brief description of the inspiration for the art.

Here are more sculptures that we found.

Folded Weight I

Artist: Matthew Csernansky

Matthew’s art utilizes modern materials to capture the minimalistic shapes of nature that often get overlooked. He seeks to provide the viewer with a way to experience those natural shapes.

Folded Weight I  is meant to remind us of natural and man-made objects that awe us with their scale, weight, and presence. The shape is reminiscent of a piece of paper, folded into a new form. Folded Weight I represents shelter, a moment of rest and balance. It encourages reflection and meditation.

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield folded weight
Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield – Folded Weight I

Agatha’s Contest

Artist: Timothy Pease

This is Timothy’s first public art piece. The nurses fighting on the frontlines against COVID provided inspiration for his art. The nurses tirelessly continue against the virus, never wavering in their desire to triumph in this contest.

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield agatha's contest
Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield – Agatha’s Contest

Grandpa S

Artist: Matt Miller

Matt has created art for 12 years while also spending time in the classroom, teaching art to others. He enjoys a constant connection with this form of expression. 

This sculpture is inspired by his wife’s grandfather, who whittled slingshots out of sticks.

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield grandpa s
Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield – Grandpa S

Never Too Far

Artist: Joe Duggar

Joe’s inspiration for this piece is feeling of separation from the ones we love and how a memory pulls those we miss to us again. This is his second work in the sculpture program.

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield never too far
Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield – Never Too Far

Ozarks Jubilee Park

While looking for this year’s sculptures, Greg and I discovered other art pieces in the area. There is a massive cube-like sculpture in Park Central Square. And we found this intriguing piece in Ozarks Jubilee Park, a few blocks away.

The base is similar to those supporting the 2022-2023 Sculpture Walk pieces, leading me to believe this is an entry from a former exhibit, that became a permanent installation.

We had fun walking around this beautiful park, playing on the interactive musical pieces there.

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield ozarks jubilee park
Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield – Ozarks Jubilee Park

More Art to Discover

I’ve shared less than half of the sculptures from this year’s exhibit. Which means, I’ll return to Springfield Missouri soon, when temperatures are below the 100 degree mark, to find more sculptures.

I look forward to the discoveries and the opportunity to try out another new to me restaurant downtown.

Do you have a Sculpture Walk in your city…or a town near you?

Looking for Art in Downtown Springfield sky eleven
Pretty Sky Eleven in downtown Springfield is an apartment for students.

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What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island SC

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Last fall I experienced my first bigger solo adventure in the Charleston, South Carolina area. I loved the experience and learned so much about traveling solo and discovered new things about myself as well.

When the invitation came to travel back to South Carolina and explore the sea islands just outside of Charleston, I happily accepted. There is, I found, a difference between staying in Charleston’s historic downtown area…and island life.

Here’s what I learned traveling solo on Johns Island.

What I Learned Traveling on Johns Island title meme

Johns Island South Carolina

Shortly after I returned home from Charleston, one of the owners of Sailor’s Rest Airbnb contacted me about hosting my stay at their wonderful property. Located on Johns Island, Sailor’s Rest is situated to offer unique experiences on the sea islands while being close enough to Charleston for further explorations there. I said a grateful “Yes!”

Johns Island is the largest of the South Carolina sea islands. Located about 11 miles from Charleston, Johns Island was named after Saint John Parish in Barbados, by the first English colonial setters who arrived from there. Before the settlers, nomadic Native American tribes, such as the Kiawah, hunted and fished there.

By the late 1600s, colonists developed plantations along the banks of the Stono River. The plantations relied on enslaved people to grow crops of indigo, prized for its rich blue dye. During the Revolutionary War a small force of British troops camped on the island, with the purpose of laying siege to Charleston. British troops successfully besieged the city in 1780. Occupation lasted until 1782.

During the Civil War the island was the site of the Battle of Bloody Bridge in 1864. During a three day siege, 2,000 southern troops held off 8,000 union soldiers. After the war the island experienced a time of change and redevelopment.

Today, Johns Island offers guests lush landscapes, fun attractions and laid back vibes.

What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island vibes
Island vibes at Sailor’s Rest on Johns Island.

What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island

Following are my six biggest “takeaways” from this solo trip.

Research Pays Off

I’m sure I’m not the only one who does extensive research before leaving on a trip. Perhaps because of traveling solo, I spend a great deal of time researching the area I’m visiting and familiarizing myself with it.

Studying maps of Johns Island and the other sea islands helped me visualize my travels and delivered my first surprises. I discovered two places I wanted to visit during my first trip to Charleston…Angel Oak Tree and Charleston Tea Garden…located within minutes of my accommodations.

Learning the roads and plotting out travel routes eased my slight anxiety about renting a car and driving in the area alone. I also developed a loose itinerary, with built in times for spontaneous explorations, so that I could make the most of my time on Johns Island.

All of this planning pays off when I arrive at my destination. I know where I am at all times, even though it’s a new to me area, and I know what I am doing so I don’t miss experiences that are important to me.

I knew from my research that a bamboo tunnel leads to the Sailor’s Rest property. When I drove through that tunnel I felt such a sense of excitement that I had arrived!

What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island bamboo tunnel
What I learned traveling solo on Johns Island – the bamboo tunnel leads into Sailor’s Rest

A Car is Essential

When I flew to Charleston the first time, I took a cab from the airport to Meeting Street Inn downtown. From that location, I could walk to all the places I wanted to see, or take the city’s free hop on/hop off trolley.

Taxis and ride providers such as Uber don’t go to Johns Island, or at least not without very high fees. I knew this trip I’d need to rent a car to get around.

This is where I experienced the most personal growth during my solo trip. I’ve never rented a car on my own before…or driven from a major airport through a large busy city to an island. I admit to feeling some mild anxiety and also excitement over that adventure. I made rental car arrangements before the trip and picked the car up at the Charleston International Airport.

The Mitsubishi Mirage was perfect for my needs. I loved the large screen on the dash. When I plugged in my iPhone and pulled up the maps feature, it displayed on the screen, making it so much easier for me to navigate. And I spent very little on gas during the four days I drove the car, thanks to it being a hybrid.

A car truly is essential for getting around the islands or driving back into Charleston. I’m glad staying on the island forced me to do something I might not have otherwise. I think I strutted a bit walking back into the airport terminal, after handing the car keys over to the attendant. What a sense of accomplishment. And the next time I need to rent a car, it won’t be a big deal.

What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island rental car
What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island – a car is essential

Staying on the Island is the Best Way to Experience It

It is certainly possible to stay in Charleston and spend a day exploring the sea islands. However, I’m so glad I stayed on Johns Island for this trip. And while I did spend half a day in Charleston, I enjoyed the rest of my stay exploring what the island has to offer.

I highly recommend Sailor’s Rest Airbnb as the perfect accommodations for an island visit. You can read more about the features of Sailor’s Rest HERE. I loved having the whole property to myself. And I loved just as much knowing that the hosts live above the airbnb, in case I needed them or had questions. They showed me incredible kindness and graciously shared their story with me. Otherwise, they left me to enjoy the house, the beautiful grounds, the pool and the many amenities, in solitude.

Although I spent each day out exploring, I arrived back at Sailor’s Rest by late afternoon so that I could experience the property, swim, fix an evening meal and savor downtime. Island life invites reflection and practicing the art of doing nothing. There’s such a unique, slower paced vibe there and I happily aligned with it.

What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island arbor
What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island – align with the slower paced island lifestyle

It’s Okay to Join a Group

I adore solo travel. I’m naturally a solitary person and alone time is never lonely for me. However, I also discovered that it’s okay to connect with others and join a group, when necessary.

At the Charleston Tea Garden, on Wadmalaw Island, I highly recommend the factory tour and the trolley tour of the tea farm. I joined a large group of lively, talkative women…and a couple of men…for both tours. On the trolley, I sat next to a woman I did not know and got acquainted as we toured the property. These ladies laughed, a lot, and made me feel like part of the group. In fact, they even invited me to join them for lunch when we got back to the gift shop. I had other plans for lunch, but I thanked them and we all wished each other well on our adventures for the day.

And here’s the thing. I almost waited for another trolley tour rather than join that boisterous group. I’m glad though that I spent 45 fun minutes with them. Had I hesitated, I might have waited much longer to board another trolley. I bought one of the last seats available with the fun group… and the next trolley tour sold out immediately as more and more visitors arrived at the tea garden.

What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island group
What I learned traveling solo on Johns Island – it’s okay to go with a crowd


Since I had a full kitchen at my disposal, I prepared breakfasts and suppers at the airbnb. That left lunches out, while exploring. Before the trip I picked cafés to try that offered vegan options.

And since I arrived on Johns Island late on Sunday afternoon, I selected a food market with a restaurant for carry out so I could take my meal to Sailor’s Rest.

Wouldn’t you know….the food market and restaurant wasn’t open on Sunday and every café that I selected was closed for lunch. For someone who does extensive research, I somehow didn’t check open times.

Adapting is an important part of solo travel. I carry a notebook full of my ideas and fortunately, I jotted down alternative places to eat. And you know what? They were so good. The food market in Freshfields Village not only provided groceries and my first carry out meal on the island, the trip there inspired me to return to explore the village more a couple of days later. And I enjoyed lunch there at Café Eugenia after I found that the other restaurant I’d selected on Johns Island only opens in the evening.

I revisited Brown Dog Deli in Charleston for an amazing vegan meal after I discovered my initial choice also only opens in the evening and my second choice did not have enough vegan options.

What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island cafe eugenia
Interior shot of Café Eugenia in Freshfields Village

Go With the Flow

Going with the flow is a crucial life lesson I learned years ago. And it is an important aspect of solo travel for me. Even with all the planning, unexpected things happen…like closed restaurants…or opportunities appear. Resistance not only takes me out of the high level energy flow, it can also flip me into disappointment or cause me to struggle. I don’t want either…in life or on my travels.

I found other wonderful places to eat lunch. And because the restaurant/food market I intended to stop at on my way to the airbnb was closed I needed to find another place to stock up on groceries and grab a quick meal. My host recommended Freshfields Village and I’m so glad she did. Going there Sunday afternoon led to the visit later in the week.

Additionally, going with the flow secured me an ideal parking spot in Charleston. Using Google Maps, I located a parking garage in the downtown area. However, arriving in the city I felt drawn to drive by Waterfront Park first. The sight of a cruise ship docked in the bay drew my attention. I didn’t see any cruise ships last September. As I slowly drove along the street toward that cruise ship, I literally found myself coming to a stop in front of a parking lot with an attendant motioning me in. It was cheaper than the downtown parking garage and the perfect starting point for my explorations.

What I Learned Traveling Solo on Johns Island cruise ship
What I learned traveling solo on Johns Island – go with the flow

What Are Your Takeaways from Your Last Trip?

Do you love traveling…and the experiences you have? What about the lessons you learn?

Every time I travel, I learn and experience something new. Solo travel ramps that up, as I also discover new things about myself and what I am capable of.

Each solo adventure inspires me to go again, to another place I’ve never been.

Share with me your takeaways from your most recent adventure.

What I Learned Traveling Solo

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