Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA

 

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It’s October! That means it’s time for my yearly spooky series.

When I visit a location, I usually book a ghost tour of the city. Not only do I hear the local ghost stories, I also learn more of the history of the area.

When Greg and I visited beautiful Blue Ridge, Georgia last May, one of the first things we realized upon arriving was this: we were in bigfoot country!

Instead of sharing ghost stories from the mountain town, I’m departing from the norm to share bigfoot stories from Blue Ridge Ga.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA title

Blue Ridge Georgia

This charming small town was established in 1886 as a railroad stop. Visitors rode the train into Blue Ridge, ate a meal and then walked to the mineral springs. Because of those pure mineral springs, Blue Ridge became known as a health resort town.

Today visitors can walk along Main Street browsing through boutique shops, dining in cafes and watching the town’s resident roosters strut about.

We arrived late our first day in Blue Ridge. Driving to our cabin atop a mountain, we noticed something out of the ordinary. People had life size bigfoot silhouettes or decor in their yards.

Doing a bit of research that night, I discovered that northern Georgia is indeed considered bigfoot country. There have been hundreds of sightings in the mountains over the years. Standing on the upper deck the next morning, gazing out over heavily forested mountains, I could easily believe that these elusive creatures roam the area.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA silhouette
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA – these silhouettes were in many yards

Expedition Bigfoot – Sasquatch Museum

Curious about Blue Ridge’s reputation for bigfoot sightings, Greg and I stopped by the Expedition Bigfoot: The Sasquatch Museum.

I admit I expected this museum, located at 1934 GA Highway 515, Blue Ridge, to be cheesy. Wrong! This well done museum, opened in 2016 by owner and bigfoot researcher David Bakara, is packed with intriguing exhibits and a massive amount of evidence and scientific data supporting the existence of bigfoot.

The self guided tour lasts a minimum of 45 minutes, however, depending on your level of interest, you could easily spend a couple of hours here.

There is a theater playing bigfoot themed movies. Listening stations allow visitors to hear actual recordings of bigfoot hoots and howls plus there are recordings of eye witnesses, telling their stories. Exhibits include artifacts, photographs and drawings, plaster casts of sasquatch feet and hands, written accounts of encounters, equipment used for scientific expeditions and models  of creatures, created from descriptions by witnesses.

The museum is also a research facility. People call in sightings and tell their stories, which are then recorded as data to study.

I entered the museum a bit of a skeptic. I exited a believer!

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA museum
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA – Expedition Bigfoot Museum

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA

While there are more than 10,000 recorded sightings from all over the US, including my home state of Missouri, the following stories are from the northern Georgia, Blue Ridge area.

Minnehaha Falls Sighting

At this popular northern Georgia waterfall, an off duty police officer visited the falls alone, at dusk. After eating a sandwich, he prepared to leave when he spotted a figure at the base of the falls, staring at him.

As he approached the figure to say hello, the creature stood up, measuring between nine and ten feet tall. The officer noted that the area smelled strongly of body odor and fecal matter. When the officer drew his weapon and yelled, the creature climbed up the hill to the right of the waterfall and continued on to the ridge above.

This sighting has a great deal of credibility, coming from a police officer who is familiar with collecting evidence and writing accurate reports.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA recreation
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA – life size model created from a sighting. Exhibit in museum.
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA plaster cast
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA – cast of footprint

Bigfoot Hitchhiker

This sighting occurred near Blue Ridge. A 51 year old man, driving along Highway 515 at 8:30 pm, spotted a seven to eight foot tall creature standing near the road.

He said it was still light outside when he saw the creature who appeared covered with dark hair, walking on two legs, with a somewhat pointed head.

The driver skidded to a stop on the side of the road and watched to see if the creature, which disappeared into the woods, would return. It never did.

Although the man feared ridicule, and later shared that his own wife didn’t believe his story, he reported his sighting to Bakara at the Expedition Bigfoot museum. He affirmed the creature walked upright, like a human, but with long arms that swung back and forth as it walked.

The driver added that as he sat stunned in his car, a stranger approached, asking if he needed help. The driver explained that he saw a bigfoot on the side of the road that disappeared into the woods. The stranger simply smiled, said “I believe you” and walked away.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA head
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge – head modeled after a creature sighting

Another Dimension

This is the strangest bigfoot sighting that I’ve read about.

A man stood in his side yard, late on a December afternoon, hitting golf balls. As he walked toward the woods to retrieve the balls, he stopped, dumbfounded by what he saw about 80 feet away.

A bigfoot, about nine feet tall, stood with the sun behind him, watching the man. The bigfoot had wide, massive shoulders, measuring at least four feet across, and a cone shaped head above the muscular body. The creature stood in the open, watching the man quietly.

The two stared at each other for approximately 10 seconds. Then, and this is where things get strange, the bigfoot stepped to the right toward a tree. Out of nowhere, a door appeared next to the tree. The man could see sunlight shining through the door and noted leaves on trees. In his woods, the leaves were all gone and the trees stood bare.

The bigfoot slid into the opening, almost folding itself in, the man recalled. And then the door and creature vanished.

The man stood frozen in disbelief for several more seconds, then went into his house and locked all the doors.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA exhibit
One of the exhibits at the Expedition Bigfoot Museum

Are You a Believer?

These stories are just a sampling of hundreds of tales told of sightings in the Blue Ridge area. Some are brief encounters. Others take place in full daylight. And some have bizarre twists, like the other dimension story above. All are from witnesses who swear by what they saw.

I’ve never seen a bigfoot although when Greg and I walked in the woods near Blue Ridge we did encounter a collection of small tree trunks arranged in an X formation. According to a museum display, this is a classic sign from a bigfoot that means, “do not enter”. We didn’t linger in the area.

Do I believe there are wondrous things that exist in the world, in the universe, that we cannot explain? Yes, I do. I’ve had enough paranormal experiences to stay open to all kinds of possibilities and all kinds of life forms.

Have you ever had a bigfoot encounter? Are you a believer?

Me and a couple of friends
Me with a couple of friends

 

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Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

 

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For Christmas, my daughter and son in law gifted Greg and me an overnight stay at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, located near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Adriel and Nate LOVE Turpentine Creek. They’ve visited many times, typically booking around their wedding anniversary. And since the birth of their daughter Finley, they’ve taken her along with them for their stays.

Their love and appreciation for Turpentine Creek led them to want to share the experience with us. We recently booked our stay and discovered the wonder that is this refuge for big cats and other animals.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge title

How Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Came to Be

In 2022, Turpentine Creek celebrated 30 years in operation.

The refuge officially began in 1992. However the incredible story starts in 1978 when Don and Hilda Jackson rescued their first lion, Bum. He was discovered tied to a cinder block in a backyard. Five years later, the Jacksons acquired Sheila, another lion. Her owners had tried, unsuccessfully, raising their baby with the lioness.

In 1991 a big cat breeder named Katherine Twiss showed up at the Jackson home, towing 42 big cats and other animals in cattle trailers. She was running from law enforcement.

The Jacksons moved the animals to a friend’s 460 acre ranch near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. With the priority of providing enclosures, shelter, food, water and health care, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge was formed in 1992, on its current site. An intern program was created in 1997 as Turpentine Creek continued to respond to the need to rescue wildlife.

During those 30+ years, TCWR has rescued more than 500 animals from abuse, abandonment and neglect, providing them with care and a lifetime home.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge sunset
Gorgeous sky as the sun sets at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

 

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Mission and Vision

The sanctuary’s mission is to provide a lifetime refuge for abused and neglected big cats and bears, with an emphasis on tigers, lions, leopards and cougars.

Vision

“Through public education we work to end the Exotic Animal Trade, making sanctuaries like TCWR no longer necessary; together we can preserve and protect these magnificent predators in the wild for our children’s future.”

Guiding Principles

Education – working to end the Exotic Animal Trade while educating today’s youth with in-classroom visits and onsite programming through interpretive learning.

Preservation – rescuing survivors of the Exotic Animal Trade with an emphasis on big cats and bears, providing them with a safe, lifelong home, exceptional care and proper diets while working to preserve endangered species in the wild through pubic education and advocacy.

Compassion – big cats are predators, not pets or entertainment for the masses. They and other exotic and native wildlife deserve to live out their lives with dignity and allowed to be the wild animals they instinctively are.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge tea
Enjoying a cup of hot peppermint tea on the front porch of the Siberian Suite.

Turpentine Creek Lodging

Not only can you learn about the animals that call Turpentine Creek home, you can spend a night…or two or three…in the refuge.

Lodging includes a treehouse, safari suites with tigers as neighbors, the five Zulu Lodge suites, glamping safari tents and six RV spaces.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is a non profit organization. All funds from lodging goes to the care of the animals and upkeep of the facilities.

A complimentary tram tour is included with lodging, as is the freedom to explore the Discovery Area with its wildlife inhabitants.

Click HERE to check out the available lodging.

You can also visit the refuge without spending the night. General admission includes walking through the Discovery Area and an hour long tram tour. Purchase tickets through this LINK.

Other tours are available as well, through the above link.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge tram
Educational tram tour of the facilities.

Meet Some of the Animals at Turpentine Creek

Turpentine Creek provides a home and care for the animals who live there. The refuge exists because of the need to rescue these beautiful creatures from horrendous situations.

There are currently 99 animals living at TCWR with enclosures currently being built to house more.

Meet a few of the residents of this sanctuary.

Joey

Joey is a female tiger, who shares her habitat with another tiger named Khaleesi. Their enclosure is next to the Siberian Suite.

Joey came to Turpentine Creek through rescue from a Colorado based cub petting and animal breeding facility. Altogether 115 animals were rescued, many of them suffering from neglect and medical conditions. Thirty four of those animals came to TCWR while the rest found forever homes in other sanctuaries.

Joey required the removal of a hematoma on her elbow when she arrived at her new home. Today she is a playful eight year old tiger who enjoys swimming and observing guests from her perch.

Joey the tiger
Joey the tiger.

Lakota

Lakota is a Ti Liger, a hybrid. His father is a tiger. And his mother is a liger, a cross between a lion and a tiger, created for the entertainment industry.

Lakota came from the same Colorado facility as Joey. He shares his habitat in the Discovery Area with Aurora. Lakota is laid back, preferring naps over playtime, although he can still summon the energy to chase after Aurora.

Lakota the ti liger.
Lakota is a Ti Liger.

Mauri

Mauri is a lioness, rescued from an Indiana facility along with seven other big cats. A federal judge ordered the animals removed due to inhumane practices including declawing and prematurely removing cubs from their mothers. The rescue required the use of US Marshals who had to sweep the facility and then stand guard as the animals were removed. All of the big cats had health issues.

Mauri limps and is on pain management due to declawing. She’s still very playful and enjoys her enrichment toys and caroling at night with the other cats.

Mauri the lioness.
Mauri the lioness.

My Experience at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Siberian Suite

Greg and I arrived for our stay in the Siberian Suite, just after the check in time of 3:00 pm. The beautiful suite is located next to Joey and Khaleesi’s habitat and across from Mauri the lioness and the Discovery Area.

A corner table and chairs set provides a space to eat meals and holds complimentary tea and coffee. An apartment sized refrigerator contains water and juice, muffins, fruit and packets of oatmeal.

The rooms are spacious and attractive and the bathroom HUGE with both a sunken tub and shower. The couch in the living area converts into a full sized bed, making this suite perfect for two to four people. Children of all ages are welcome here along with pets.

I especially love the covered front porch, with its bistro table and two chairs.

As dusk approached we lit the citronella candle on the table, more for atmosphere than mosquitos, and settled in with drinks and snacks. As the sun set, the big cats began caroling…roaring and chuffing socially to each other, from all over the compound. It was an incredible chorus that sent shivers down my spine.

Siberian Suite living room
Siberian Suite living area

The Discovery Area and Tram Tour

We enjoyed exploring the Discovery Area the afternoon of our arrival and early the next morning. The enclosures house lions, tigers, hybrids, African servals, bobcats, cougars and bears. It’s a beautiful, peaceful area. The animals are well cared for and have large, safely enclosed areas to live and play in with night houses, heated during the colder months, for sleeping.

During our morning wanderings, we paused to sit on a bench down near the cougars. To our delight, several of the big cats nearby began caroling. The roars were SO loud and extremely beautiful.

Our scheduled tram tour took us on an hour long ride around the facility with an extremely knowledgeable guide. She shared stories about the animals we saw and information about the refuge.

We left after our tour with a deep appreciation for all that TCWR does to care for animals and their rescue of wildlife in need. And we departed with a greater awareness of the horrid practices out there that these gorgeous creatures suffer through.

White tiger
One of three white tiger siblings rescued from the Colorado facility. They were unable to walk due to metabolic bone disease. However all have healed now and can walk and play.

What You Can Do to Help

You can help Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in the following ways.

If you are in the Eureka Springs, Arkansas area stop by for a tour, to visit the giftshop or to enjoy an overnight experience. All fees collected go toward the care of the animals and the upkeep of the facilities. The address is 239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR.

Make a donation. Every donation goes 100% toward the care of the animals.

Adopt or Sponsor an animal. With adoption, you receive a high-resolution 11″x 8.5″ certificate with a photo and short bio of your chosen animal, as well as room for the name of the recipient. Sponsorship includes a glossy 8×10 photo, biography certificate and one year pride membership.

Memberships come in a variety of levels. Sign up for the one that best suits your desires and you and up to four guests can get in to the refuge free.

The Legacy Program allows you to continue helping TCWR beyond your lifetime to ensure animal rescue continues and animals are cared for.

I highly recommend a visit to this amazing sanctuary. I’ll certainly return, again and again. I’m so grateful to Adriel, Nate and Finley for the gift of an overnight stay at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. What an enriching experience. They’ve made me a fan and an advocate.

Have you ever visited a wildlife refuge?

Bedroom in the Siberian Suite
Bedroom in the Siberian Suite.

 

Pack for your trip to  Turpentine Creek:

 

 

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Year of the Wild Woman Review

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It’s the end of the year and the start of a new one. Unbelievably, the pandemic continues. In spite of that fact, 2021 brought many incredible experiences and opportunities. 

Check out Year of the Wild Woman Review, to see what 2021 taught me.

Year of the Wild Woman Review title meme

Year of the Wild Woman

This year I embarked on a journey to unleash my inner wild woman. The moon was my symbol for 2021 and “This Girl is on Fire” my song. The books Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Women Who Run with Wolves provided valuable information and guidance.

Stated simply, becoming a wild woman is more about living out of my untamed heart than living in an unruly, out of control way. All of our hearts start out innocent, pure and untamed. As we grow into adulthood, we allow ourselves to become domesticated for a variety of reasons. The primary one, for me, was so that I would not disappoint others’ expectations of me.

Reconnecting with the wild woman within reconnected me as well with my truest self. That freedom to be me shifted my whole world, from my business life to my relationships to my personal life.

My Business Life

Interestingly, unleashing the wild woman within helped me to narrow down my niche in Cindy Goes Beyond, especially on social media. What I offer to others is the tagline I adopted several years ago. I help people live life beyond the edges…of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. I do that by encouraging them to live as their truest, most authentic wild selves, by my example and via my writing. Right now that manifests as inspirational, motivational posts and travel posts.

On social media, I almost exclusively focus on travel as that is how I best go beyond and discover new experiences to try.

It’s no surprise to me that my top post for 2021 was The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition. It continues to bring in new readers every day and the Challenge scratch off book is foundational to this Year of Adventure.

Year of the Wild Woman Review solo
Year of the Wild Woman Review – Adventure Challenge

Collaboration Opportunities

Knowing what I want to offer to others helped me to also narrow down what brands and companies I work with. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working with a wide variety of brands initially. It’s good experience and I learned much about how to create good content.

Last year I became more selective about working with brands that closely align with who I am and the direction I’m heading. As a result, I turn down many more opportunities than I accept. Doing so, however, strengthens my own brand and attracts companies and readers that are in alignment with me.

Two of my favorite paid campaigns this year: Missouri Tourism and Splendid Spoon, a plant based meal delivery box.

The success of 2021 encourages me to really challenge myself for 2022. I’m no longer timid about reaching out to collaborate with brands that I align with. And I’m excited to already have several collaborations lined up for this year.

Year of the Wild Woman Review missouri
Year of the Wild Woman Review – paid campaign with Missouri Tourism

A Greater Focus on Instagram

The majority of collaborations come to me via Instagram, encouraging me to focus on that social media site in 2021. I began the year taking a class that helped me tremendously.

If you want to learn more about working with brands and building a genuine Instagram account, I highly recommend Insta Success by Christine McEvoy. Bonuses from taking the course, beyond the vast improvement in my Instagram work, are: the course continues to update with new, pertinent info (such as creating Instagram Reels) AND there is an extremely supportive Facebook group.

While the course focuses on the travel niche, the class is helpful for anyone who wants to build a successful Instagram account and work with brands.

The Insta Success Masterclass is free. Click this LINK.

Or enroll in the Insta Success course HERE. The lessons are all available online and you can move through them at your own pace. Plus Christine offers a convenient payment plan, making this course affordable for everyone.

Please, if you enroll in either class, type in my name in the referral box at check out.

Year of the Wild Woman Review splendid
Year of the Wild Woman Review – Splendid Spoon

Favorite Experiences as a Blogger

My favorite experiences this year involved travel. I chose to stay in the US, while the pandemic continues. However, I am discovering wonderful places to explore here.

The solo trip to Charleston is definitely the highlight of the 2021. It was my first big solo travel experience, to a city I’ve never visited before. I not only learned I can handle solo travel, I enjoyed everything about the experience. That trip is paving the way for many more solo adventures.

I also enjoyed a solo weekend in nearby Springfield, Missouri and day trips to places in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Year of the Wild Woman Review charleston
Year of the Wild Woman Review – solo trip to Charleston

My Personal Life

The Year of the Wild Woman changed me…or rather, it allowed me to become myself in deeper ways.

I spent much time delving into the experiences I enjoyed as a child, for therein lies clues about who I am made to be.

It’s not a big surprise to me to discover that I am, indeed, a solitary person. I love people and enjoy spending time with family and friends. And…I adore spending time alone. As a child, fear drew me away from my true self. Fear caused me to seek out others because I was afraid when I was alone.

I am no longer afraid.

And that brings me the freedom to explore new cities or new regions in my heart, on my own.

The trip to Charleston was so much more than a travel blogger’s dream. It was an important trip that allowed me to fully embrace solo travel and fully cater to that part of me that craves solitude. I loved every moment of that trip. And, for this year, I have a list of cities that I’d love to experience as a solo traveler. I’m excited to see which of the 15 manifest as trips in 2022. Two are already planned, with comped stays. I am grateful.

Year of the Wild Woman Review sunnies
Year of the Wild Woman Review – in Charleston

Becoming Untamed…and Adventurous

During 2021 I also learned to listen to the quiet voice of my heart and follow the deep knowing there. I used challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. I updated my manifesto. And I continue to honor the woman I am and the woman I am becoming while shedding domestication.

Like 2020, 2021 offered unique circumstances and experiences that provided “go with the flow” life lessons that I embraced. The only alternative was resistance and I know that pulls me out of the flow of life and out of alignment with myself.

This year is all about adventure. I’m excited to see where adventure leads me and what I learn as I stay open to all that comes to me.

Thank you for journeying with me. I hope you will enjoy my upcoming adventures and accept encouragement from me to live life beyond the edges…in your own magnificent way.

Year of the Wild Woman Review adventure
2022 – Year of Adventure

 

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Creating Adventure

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With less than a month until my 64th birthday, I’m ticking off the activities on my list of 64 wild things to do. During this time between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, I’m delving deeply into adventure. This is good! Adventure is my word and theme for next year and this in between time is prepping me for the new year it seems.

I am creating adventure. How you ask? I’m breaking out of routines, thinking about experiences rather than material things, dreaming big, putting action with my dreams and learning that truly, adventure is everywhere. And, I’ll allowing myself to be guided, invited and inspired.

Check out the first post in the birthday series HERE, for an explanation of this fun, ongoing celebration.

Creating Adventure title meme

11/30/21 Have My Daughter-in-Law Create T-Shirts I Design (in process…I have one more shirt to design before Megan can create my tees.)

12/1/21 Email Pitch to Honolulu + Accommodations (in process)

12/2/21 Eat at a New to Me Restaurant (completed)

I completed this activity while on my solo getaway weekend in Springfield, Missouri. I chose Café Cusco, a Peruvian restaurant near my accommodations. My meal…vegan sweet potato noodle stir fry…tasted amazing! A few drops of their house hot sauce added to the outstanding flavor of the veggies and noodles. How fun to experience Café Cusco and Peruvian food for the first time.

Creating Adventure cafe cusco meal
Creating Adventure – Café Cusco meal.

12/3/21 Plan an Alleyway Garden (in process)

12/4/21 Watch an Adventure Documentary (not completed although I’ve selected “Expedition Happiness” to watch)

12/5/21 Reconnect with Tai Chi (in process)

Years ago, I took Tai Chi lessons with a local instructor. I loved those lessons in moving meditation….until my legs could no longer keep up with my desire to continue. Pain stopped the Tai Chi. Although I am healing, and no longer in intense pain, my legs remain more stiff than I’d like. One of my goals for 2022 is to strengthen my legs and create greater flexibility.

I expressed a desire to return to my Tai Chi practice. The next day, I received an invitation on Facebook from an instructor in the UK who offers free daily Tai Chi lessons. I accepted that invitation! Check out the page if you are interested as well.

Creating Adventure tai chi
Creating Adventure – Tai Chi

12/6/21 Research Things to Do in Providence, Rhode Island (completed)

Providence is on my list of 15 cities I most want to visit!

12/7/21 Research Things to Do in Tempe, Arizona

Tempe is also on my list of 15 cities I most want to visit. I discovered both Providence and Tempe while doing research for Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US. I fit the hipster definition well and feel drawn to exploring these fun cities.

Creating Adventure tempe
Creating Adventure – Learning about Tempe

12/8/21 Email Pitch to San Francisco + Accommodations (in process)

12/9/21 Send Thank You Notes/Emails to Inspiring Wild Women (in process)

12/10/21 Research Things to Do in Boston (completed)

This city is high on my list of places I want to explore! Historical Boston offers so many fun things to do. My list is long.

Creating Adventure boston
Creating Adventure – Boston

12/11/21 Create Adventure Artwork for 2022 (in process…this art represents my symbol for next year, the VW van.)

12/12/21 Email Pitch to Carmel By the Sea + Accommodations (in process)

12/13/21 Drive Around and Look at Christmas Lights (completed)

It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed this seasonal activity. Greg and I drove to Carthage, Missouri on a mild evening, taking in the festive light displays there. I snapped a photo of a cute display on the historic courthouse lawn, then we walked through the light tunnel, off of the square. We also walked through Carthage Central Park. Thousands of lights adorn the trees, making it a magical experience.

Creating Adventure christmas lights
Creating Adventure – Christmas Lights

12/14/21 Do the 30 Day Instagram Reel Challenge (scheduled to begin January 1, 2022)

Reels are an excellent way to grow an Instagram account. I’ve been reluctant, however, to create them as consistently as I should. This challenge is a fun way to get me in Reel creative mode. You can join the challenge HERE.

Adventure is Calling

And I am answering that call!

Have you heard the expression that what you focus on expands? As I am focusing on 2022, my Year of Adventure, adventures are flowing to me. I’m an active participant in creating adventure by not just waiting for it to find me but by planning and taking action steps and also by remaining open to those surprise opportunities that arrive as invitations.

Additionally, I’m discovering that adventures are everywhere. Although I love international travel, I’m also exploring in my own area and enjoying those experiences.

I’m loving the Year of Adventure already.

What are you focusing on, for 2022?

Creating Adventure cafe cusco 2
Café Cusco, serving delicious Peruvian food.

 

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Ghost Stories from Charleston

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It’s October! And that means every Friday this month is a Ghost Stories from…post. I started this series last October and it was so fun to write. Readers enjoyed the posts as well, encouraging me to feature a new series of ghost stories this year. (Check out the first post in last year’s series HERE.)

I’m excited to lead off this year with Ghost Stories from Charleston.

Charleston, South Carolina, with its long history spanning 350+ years, possesses its share of ghost stories. I just recently returned from a fun trip to this beautiful city. Those stories are fresh on my mind!

Ghost Stories from Charleston title meme

A City Full of Energy

Through the centuries, Charleston experienced battles, sieges, fires, malaria, pirates, hurricanes and earthquakes. It was also a major hub for the trading of enslaved peoples. The citizens of Charleston continue to learn and grow as a result of their complicated history. And specific sites in the city continue to carry energy from those past situations and circumstances.

That swirl of energy that impacts a place is typically called a haunting.

I collected a number of ghost stories while in Charleston and had a few paranormal experiences myself while there. After much deliberation, I narrowed the stories down to five for this post. Here are the Ghost Stories from Charleston.

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Located at 122 East Bay Street in Charleston, the Old Exchange’s story is intertwined with all the eras of the city’s history. Today the Old Exchange and the dungeons below are a museum, offering daily tours.

Built in the late 1700s, the Exchange stood on land previously occupied by the Half Moon Battery and the Court of Guard. The dungeons below received its first pirate captives in 1718.

That summer the pirate Blackbeard blockaded Charleston Harbor, holding local citizens captive until the city agreed to provide medicine for the pirate’s crew. Stede Bonnet, known as the “gentleman pirate”, joined Blackbeard in pillaging the city. Eventually Captain Rhett of Charleston captured Bonnet and  his crew and imprisoned them in the damp, dark dungeon where they remained until their deaths by the noose. Other prisoners were left chained to die in the dungeon, sometimes by drowning when water flooded the underground rooms.

Unsurprisingly, there are many accounts of ghostly activity in the dungeon. Visitors report hearing cries, screams and moans. Old chains swing by themselves, people step into inexplicably cold spots and they capture orbs darting about. Some people even report being pushed, choked or scratched.

Upstairs in the Exchange visitors sometimes see men dressed in Revolution style clothing. These specters disappear when approached.

Ghosts Stories from Charleston provost dungeon
Ghost Stories from Charleston – Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

White Point Garden

This park at the tip of the Charleston peninsula offers the shade of beautiful live oak trees and spectacular views of Charleston Harbor. However, before the park opened as a public space in 1837, it was the city’s execution site for criminals and pirates.

Stede Bonnet and his pirate crew imprisoned in the dungeon? This is where they were hanged, in the oak trees at White Point.

After a guilty verdict for Bonnet and 30 members of his crew, the pirates were hung in the trees, their bodies left there for weeks as a grim warning to other pirates. Eventually their decomposed bodies ended up in the nearby marsh.

Those pirate souls haunt the park and the surrounding area, especially at night. Reports include floating apparitions, screams and the sight of swaying bodies hanging from the trees. The story goes that if you stand on Water Street and look down, you can see the faces of the executed pirates staring up from the water’s surface.

Ghost Stories from Charleston white point garden
Ghost Stories from Charleston – White Point Garden

Poogan’s Porch

Charleston is famous for its Lowcountry cuisine. Foodies from around the world travel to the city to experience award winning restaurants.

This famous restaurant at 72 Queen Street, Poogan’s Porch, offers fine southern food and one of the city’s friendliest ghosts.

Poogan was a small stray dog that roamed the neighborhood. When the restaurant was still a residence, the pup stopped by often for food, water and a chance to rest on the covered front porch. When the house transitioned into a restaurant, Poogan became a regular there, greeting diners on the porch and weaving among the tables inside, looking for scraps of food on the floor.

Poogan died in 1979, at a ripe old age. He’s buried in the front yard of the restaurant. However, diners claim the little dog’s spirit still roams the restaurant. They feel him brush against their legs under the tables, while eating.

And there are reports of another ghost wandering about in Poogan’s Porch. A former resident of the old house, Zoe, walks around the restaurant, searching for her sister who died many years ago. This ghost supposedly knocks over water glasses, slams doors and calls out her sister’s name.

Ghost Stories from Charleston poogans porch
Ghost Stories from Charleston – Poogan’s Porch

Dock Street Theatre

On this site at 135 Church Street, the historic Dock Street Theatre was built in 1735. (Read more about its history HERE.) The original theatre burned to the ground in the Charleston Fire of 1740. Another theatre took its place and then in 1809, the building became the Planter’s Hotel.

After the Civil War, the once luxurious hotel fell victim to neglect and later suffered damage during the 1886 earthquake that rocked the city. For 50 years the grand building sat vacant before renovations brought it back to life in the 1930s and 40s as a theatre again.

After another round of major renovations in the 2000s, the theatre serves as a cultural hub for the city. It also serves as home to numerous ghosts.

Theatre guests report seeing ghosts in the rafters and apparitions on the stage. While many sightings occur all over the building, two spirits are seen more often than others.

Junius Booth

Junius Booth, who performed at the former hotel with his troupe, appears frequently. He is the father of presidential assassin, John Wilkes Booth. It’s rumored that he once got into an argument with the hotel manager and tried to kill him. He is seen walking around on stage and wandering the hallways.

Nettie Dickerson

The spirit most often spotted at Dock Street Theatre is Nettie, a beautiful prostitute who visited the Planter’s Hotel during the 1840s. The story goes that Nettie, angry at Charleston high society and her station in life, stepped out onto the second story balcony during a storm. Wearing her best red dress, she shouted out her frustrations. A bolt of lightning struck Nettie, killing her.

People claim to see Nettie, wandering around the theatre, still wearing her vibrant red dress, although it appears tattered now. They say the woman no longer appears beautiful but more zombie like.

Ghost Stories from Charleston dock street theatre
Ghost Stories from Charleston – Dock Street Theatre

St Philip’s Church and Graveyard

Originally built in 1681, this church burned in the Fire of 1835. They rebuilt the current church in 1838 with the steeple added in 1850. A graveyard surrounds the structure and a cemetery sits across the street.

Many notable people rest in the graveyard and cemetery including signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Not all of those buried are at rest though, which is why this church is known for its ghosts.

The most famous of the St Philip’s ghosts is Sue Howard.

Sue, who attended church at St Philip’s, gave birth to a stillborn baby on June 10, 1888. She died six days later, from complications from the delivery. The grieving mother cannot rest as she mourns for her child. Sue’s ghost was captured in a famous photo, taken in 1987, kneeling over the grave of her child. Other visitors claim to hear the sound of a crying baby in the cemetery.

Ghost Stories from Charleston
Ghost Stories from Charleston – St Philip’s Church and cemetery

The October Ghost Series

I’m sharing ghost stories from five different cities this month. Check back every Friday, for a new post.

There are many more ghost stories associated with Charleston. Perhaps I’ll share more stories soon or include a Ghost Stories from Charleston 2 next year. I highly recommend Ghost City Tours, when you visit Charleston, for a wonderfully entertaining and informative nighttime tour.

While exploring this gorgeous city I had a few experiences of my own, including feeling dark, heavy energy in White Point Garden and near the Old Exchange. And I saw several spirits in different locations. I’m an intuitive though, who has seen ghosts since early childhood. Most people don’t see or hear the spirits that are, actually, all around us. They sense them though, on a subconscious level, more than they realize.

Do you believe in ghosts? By the end of this month, you just might!

Ghost Stories from Charleston dock street theatre
Ghost Stories from Charleston – interior of Dock Street Theatre

 

Charleston Finds from Amazon:


 

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Treats for Halloween from Decocrated

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

As September draws to a close, I spent the day adding spooky touches to my fall decor. New this season, treats for Halloween from Decocrated. This add-on box for 2021 contains the right blend of spooky vibes and festive fun.

Take a peek at the pieces inside the new Decocrated Halloween Box and see how I switched things up a bit for the upcoming holiday.

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated title meme

Halloween Add-on Box 2021

If you’ve never heard of Decocrated Curated Home, check out my initial review HERE. This subscription box company specializes in curating home decor that mixes brilliantly with what you already own and use. The boxes arrive to your front door four times a year, in time for each new season.

Plus Decocrated members have access to the online Decoshop and add-on boxes that come out around holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter and 4th of July.

This add-on box celebrates Halloween with hauntingly sweet decor in a festive orange, black and white palette. The Deco Creator for this box is Adriana Cullen, of AC Craftiness.

The collection is pictured below. See where these pieces landed.

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated collection
Treats for Halloween from Decocrated – the 2021 collection

Pillow Talk

The lumbar pillow cover for Halloween 2021 features cobwebs on a black background, on one side, with orange tweed on the flip side. After Halloween, this pillow can remain as a fall pillow, turned to the orange side.

I paired the spooky pillow with the Farm Fresh Pumpkins one I already owned. And I placed both behind a little vignette set up on the wood and tin tray from the very first Decocrated box I received in winter 2019.

On the tray: the wooden candle holders from the fall 2021 box plus fall themed items and a HOME sign from my own collection.

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated pillows
Treats for Halloween from Decocrated – pillow

Dining Room Shelves

Although already decorated for fall, I tweaked these shelves in the dining room, adding Halloween pieces.

On the top shelf, the ladder and linen from the fall 2021 box remain, along with the wooden lantern from the Christmas 2020 box and the flocked pumpkins from fall 2020. I added the BOO tabletop print and the fun wooden bottle cutouts, all from last year’s Decocrated Halloween box.

The second shelf holds black and white stacked pumpkins, a tabletop sign and a simple black vase with orange beads, on one end. At the other end is my rustic wire box holding the black metal clock from summer 2021, an orange candle and the wooden plaque from last year’s fall crate.

And finally, the third shelf is home to my own decor pieces plus the dark green metal pumpkin and colorful wooden beads from the fall 2021 box. The framed art features postcards I bought while on my Italy trip, in 2017.

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated shelves
Treats for Halloween from Decocrated – dining room shelves

Signs of the Season

The crescent moon wall art and the metal plaque both ended up on the covered front porch, ready to welcome visitors.

Bats and stars adorn the Trick or Treat moon sign, while “Enter if you Dare” gives a playful warning on the metal sign. After the holiday, it’s easy to remove both of these signs and return the front porch to fall, until after Thanksgiving.

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated signs
Treats for Halloween from Decocrated – signs of the season

Table Vignette

The rest of the new Halloween items gathered on the dining room table on top of the cloth runner from fall 2020 and the wooden runner from spring 2021.

The crate, filled with black and white pumpkins, comes from the fall 2020 box. I swapped out the wooden signs, moving the Harvest Moon one to the crate for Halloween. The spiderwebs towel is from this fall’s box.

On the other end rests the clip frame, holding the cat silhouette with the words “Trick or Treat”. The black metal “haunted house” is big enough to hold a candle inside. Use an LED candle or a small tea votive in a heat safe container. And the cute ceramic owl bowl is perfect for holding succulents, a small candle or Halloween candies. Mine will soon hold individually wrapped dark chocolates!

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated
Treats for Halloween from Decocrated – table vignette

Bonus Photos

Although they don’t feature items from the Halloween 2021 box, these areas contain pieces from previous Decocrated boxes. Those items really do mix and  match well with other Decocrated pieces and your own decorations.

Hot Tea Station

I set up my hot tea station for fall. Decocrated pieces include the sleigh shelf on the wall, the perpetual calendar and the tiered tray. This station, set up last winter for hot cocoa, remained in place all year and I enjoyed it so much. I simply change the decor with the seasons.

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated tea station
Treats for Halloween from Decocrated – tea station

Entry Table

The little entry table switched to a black and white Halloween theme. On the table top, the black metal candle ring from fall 2020 holds white tapers. The wreath with black berries can hang on the wall but I love the way it looks with the candle ring.

And the black and white pillow cover on the bottom shelf is from last Halloween’s box. I bought the cute Hocus Pocus sign last Halloween.

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated hocus pocus
Treats for Halloween from Decocrated – Hocus Pocus

Do You Decorate for Halloween?

Is your house decorated yet for fall? And do you add Halloween pieces too? I’d love to hear about your ideas for the season.

If you’d like to purchase these fun Decocrated add-on boxes, subscribe first, by purchasing a seasonal box or a yearly subscription. Use this link. At checkout, use my code CINDYM15 to save $15 off a single box or a yearly subscription.

Then you can buy an add-on box. Preorders for the Christmas 2021 box are available now!

I’m so excited as we enter this extended time of holiday celebrations. And I love decorating my house this time of year, shifting from fall to Halloween to Thanksgiving and then Christmas. These truly are my favorite months of the year!

Treats for Halloween from Decocrated fall

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

Finding Your Big Why

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I first heard about finding your big why ten years ago, in a Keller Williams sponsored class called BOLD. More than training on real estate, the objective of the class was to create a life worth living through shifts in mindset and daily practices that support who we are and what we desire to do.

At that time my big why focused more on an immediate desire…to take my oldest grandchild on a trip to Italy for his high school graduation gift. Looking back now, I realize that wasn’t a big enough why. However, we did travel to Italy four years later…Dayan, my daughter and me.

What I’ve learned since that class is to keep going deeper, to discover the BIG WHY beneath all the other desires and dreams.

I’m here to help you, in finding your big why as well.

Finding Your Big Why title meme

What is a Big Why?

So, what is a big why?

A big why is the strong motivation for doing what you do. It’s not just a goal or a wish, it’s more expansive than that. The big why connects to life purpose and it is what gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you going, when life gets tough.

Your big why can change as you grow and as life shifts. However, it always aligns with who you are…your most authentic self…and with want you want to do and why you want to do it. Plus it grows beyond you, to include your impact on others and the world.

As a parent with young children, your big why is likely to focus on raising decent human beings. As the kids grow and you experience growth too, the big why shifts to something even BIGGER.

Ultimately, your big why helps you create a life that you love.

“He who has a why can endure any how.”  Frederick Nietzsche

Finding Your Big Why travel
Finding Your Big Why – travel isn’t my big why however it’s an important component of it

Finding Your Big Why Through Reflection

When finding your big why, a time of reflection is helpful.

Grab a pen and a notebook and start by asking yourself these five questions:

  1. Who am I, right now at this stage in my life?
  2. What lights me up and makes my heart sing?
  3. What do I do best?
  4. Where do I add value?
  5. What matters most to me?

Let’s look at each of these questions briefly.

It’s important to know who you are, who you really are. Detach from labels such as “parent”, “spouse”, “teacher”, etc. At a heart and soul level, who are you? Write phrases that begin with “I am….”. I am compassionate or I am a big thinker. I am drawn to nature or I am a solitary person.

What makes your face light up and joy bubble out of your heart? List those things. You know you are on the right track when people tell you that your face lights up when you talk about a certain subject.

What natural talents and gifts to you have? Are you creative? Do you come up with out of the box solutions to problems? If you feel stuck, look at what you excelled at as a child or teen. Those are natural abilities.

In situations, what values do you add? Are you clear thinking and logical? Intuitive and insightful? What strengths do you offer to others?

And finally, what is MOST important to you? Saving animals? Teaching others? Expressing compassion? If you could do anything, without money as a concern, what would you do?

Finding Your Big Why therese
Finding Your Big Why – Therese living her big why…helping others learn about Charleston

Charting Out Your Big Why

Dr. Margie Warrell says that our life’s work and purpose sits at the intersection of talents, skills or expertise, passions and values.

On another page in your notebook, draw a circle in the middle of the page and label it PURPOSE.

Draw four lines outward from the circle and connect them to four large circles. Label each one: TALENTS, SKILLS, PASSIONS, VALUES

Free write in each category. Add your talents, the skills that you have, what you are passionate about and your core values. Look for repetition. Look for overlap.

When I did this exercise writing popped up in three categories, letting me know that it is an important part of my big why.

Finding Your Big Why chart
Finding Your Big Why – chart out your talents, skills, passions and values

Asking Why

Now, armed with your reflections and greater clarity about your purpose, write down what you want.

Then ask why you want that. Write another sentence, explaining the why. Then ask why again…and again…and again, until you get to the Big Why.

Remember, you aren’t looking for inspiration here. You are looking for the motivation that powers you through discouragement, difficult circumstances or the desire to quit.

Here’s an example:

I want to travel and work remotely, from anywhere in the world, making a fabulous income. Why?

I want to experience solo adventures and also take my children, grandchildren and other family members on trips. Why?

I want to expand my perspectives and other people’s perspectives too. Why?

I want to see life in bigger, more meaningful ways and live differently. Why?

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Why?

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my experiences and my writing, I can help others do the same.

Finding Your Big Why charleston
Finding Your Big Why – my solo adventures are a way of living my big why

Living in Alignment with Your Big Why

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my experiences and my writing, I can help others do the same.

That sentence is my big why. It’s evolved over the last few years.

Everything else in my life connects to my big why. Travel, blogging, what I post on social media, solo adventures, creativity, my plant based lifestyle, spending time with my family…all of it connects.

Travels and adventures continually push me beyond my fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Blogging and posting on social media are forms of writing that allow me to creatively express my truths and stories. My plant based lifestyle fuels my body so that I have the energy to do all the things I want to do. And I live my life as an example to my children and grandchildren, not so they do what I do but so they see what it looks like when someone follows their passions and lives an expansive life.

Every thing I do is in alignment with my big why. If it’s not in alignment then I’m pulled out of my purpose and my passion. There is a deep knowing that forms in the gut, an instinctive knowing that I can tap into, when I’m feeling out of the flow of my own life. That knowing guides me back into alignment with myself. It helps me say YES! to new opportunities and no to what does not align.

What is Your Big Why?

Using the info above, I hope you can craft your own big why. I’d love to know what yours is, if you want to share it in the comments below.

Write your big why and keep it in a place that is easily seen every day. My big why has become the tagline to my blog…and my life. Plus, I’ve written it as an affirmation as well.

“I am living life beyond the edges of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my example and my writing, I can help others do the same.”

Go deep within, to discover your big why, and then broadcast it outward, into the world. Let it powerfully motivate you and influence every part of your life.

And if you have any questions, please ask me!

Finding Your Big Why cindy
I’ve living my Big Why, which has become extremely important during my Year of the Wild Woman.

 

Helpful Books from Amazon:

 


 

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Welcome to Fall with Decocrated

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

With a bit of disbelief, I realized September arrives this week. Where has the year gone, truly? I’m excited though. I LOVE the season that for me begins September 1 and concludes January 9, my birthday. It’s the season of cooler weather, my favorite scents and colors and holidays!

Although it’s still HOT in SW Missouri, I started the fall decorating this week. My Decocrated Fall box arrived, and with the opening of that box, magic ensued!

Welcome to fall with Decocrated I say. Check out what was inside the newest box and see how I used these pieces in my fall decorating.

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated title meme

Decocrated Fall 2021 Box

If you’ve never heard of Decocrated Curated Home, check out my initial review HERE. This subscription box company specializes in curating home decor that mixes brilliantly with what you already own and use. The boxes arrive to your front door four times a year, in time for each new season.

Plus Decocrated members have access to the online Decoshop and add-on boxes that come out around holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter and 4th of July.

As summer melts…literally…into fall, this box celebrates the season with warm tones and a bit of spooky vibes. The color palette uses rusts, greens and black combined with warm woods and gold finishes. I’m thrilled that a couple of the pieces include a harvest moon. The moon is my symbol for the year and these pieces feel like winks to me.

Adriana Cullen is the Deco Creator for this season.

Take a look at this short video unboxing…and then see how I used the new Decocrated pieces.

Where the New Fall Items Went

I enjoy creating vignettes…displays that tell a story…in my home. I have several key spots that I decorate.

Lugging my boxes of fall decor into my bedroom, I spread everything out on my bed and then began the process of creating vignettes. My decor is never exactly the same, two years in a row. I enjoy starting on a vignette and then adding pieces that appeal to me.

For this fall, I did not purchase any additional decorations or items. I used what I had on hand.

Here’s where the new fall pieces landed.

The Moon Mirror

This pretty mirror can hang on the wall or prop up on a shelf or dresser top. It’s versatile enough, and the design subtle enough, that I can use this mirror year around in different parts of the house.

I chose to hang the moon mirror on the wall, above my small bookcase that sits between the living and dining areas.

I redid the whole bookcase, changing the look to fall. The black lantern is from the spring 2020 Decocrated box and the woven basket from the fall 2020 box. That’s one of the fun aspects of the boxes. The items mix and match with previous or new Decocrated pieces, as well as with items you already have.

Click this link for more about the small crescent moon art.

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated mirror
Welcome to Fall with Decocrated – moon mirror

Wooden Ladder and Leaf Print Tea Towel

The tall shelves in the dining room became home to the wooden ladder and one of the two tea towels in the box. This little wooden ladder is cute! It free stands or props against a wall.

I draped the leaf print towel over one of the rungs and added a simple orange berry wreath. Joining in this vignette are the metal clock and metal and wood arch from the summer Decocrated box, the flocked pumpkins from last fall’s box and the wooden lantern from the Christmas 2020 add-on box.

The second shelf holds an assortment of items I already own.

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated ladder
Welcome to Fall with Decocrated – wooden ladder and leaf print tea towel

Metal Pumpkin, Wood and Metal Candle Holders, Wooden Beads, Web Tea Towel and Art Card

The rest of the new items grouped together on my little dining room table.

The black and white fabric runner from last fall and the gray and white wooden runner from spring 2021 form the foundation for the rest of the pieces. I tucked the cute spider web tea towel into last fall’s crate and filled it with orange, cream and gray fabric mini pumpkins. The sign on the crate is interchangeable with the Harvest Moon one, currently hanging in my rustic box. (See photo above.) For Halloween, I swap out those plaques.

At the other end of the wooden runner is the clip frame, from the spring box, holding the art card with a fall quote. On the reverse side, the card features a full Harvest Moon. That side is perfect for Halloween.

Next to the art card is the dark green metal pumpkin with a wooden stem. The pumpkin looks so cute with the colorful wooden beads draped over it. Those beads will find a place to rest year around.

And finally, taking center stage, are the wood and metal candle holders. I absolutely love these items! The combo of wood and gold metal is beautiful. I’ll also use these year around, swapping out the color of candles. After dark last night, I lit the candles for a short time and they created a warm glow that the metal and wood reflected. It was so cozy.

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated table
Welcome to Fall with Decocrated – table top vignette

Get Your Fall Box

Do you enjoy this time of year too? And are you ready to decorate for fall?

Grab your fall Decocrated box and welcome in the season!

Click this link, Decocrated Fall Box, and use my code CINDYM15 to save $15 off the seasonal box or off of the yearly subscription.

Once you are a member, there are additional items that can be purchased from the online shop, and special boxes available too, like the upcoming Halloween and Christmas add-ons.

Enjoy this cozy season we are entering into. And share your fall decorating ideas in the comments below!

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated shelves
Welcome to Fall with Deocrated – small bookcase

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes Month Challenge

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

How fun this month, to receive an invitation to join in on a challenge. A friend of mine on social media decided, during July, to say “yes” to something every day.

I was immediately intrigued. During my Year of Firsts, in 2014, I experienced a Yes Day. I’ve since done that a couple of times. However, I’ve never experienced a yes month.

My first yes for this challenge was accepting the invitation to participate. Check out what I’ve said Yes! to so far and join in on the fun.

Yes Month Challenge title meme

Why Say Yes?

Saying yes opens us up to new opportunities and experiences. And saying yes shows that we are willing to move beyond comfort zones and fears. It’s too easy to utter “no” as our default response to opportunities, requests and invitations. Plus fear crowds in, giving us all kinds of reasons why we should say no instead of yes.

Saying yes allows us to stop procrastinating and to adopt a growth mindset as well.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who just soared into space this week, shares this:

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes…then learn how to do it later!”

Saying yes also ramps up creativity and invites playfulness.

Yes to the trip
Yes to a solo trip and to afternoon tea while there.

Yes…And

In 2015 I attended a writer’s conference in Philadelphia. I enjoyed an improv class there that taught me a valuable lesson.

The instructor led us through a series of conversations. The first one involved saying “no” to all questions asked. No quickly shut down conversations and possibilities. Next we said “yes…but”. Those words limited conversations as well and made communication awkward and difficult. However, when we answered each other’s questions with “yes…and” conversations and creativity flowed. High level energy filled the room.

I witnessed that day how powerful the word “yes” is. It leads to collaborations, more invitations and fun experiences. Yes moves us forward, gets us out of ruts and shifts us into the flow of life.

Of course, there are times to say no. Inappropriate requests are met with no. Overextending oneself repeatedly halts with no. And boundaries are set with no. When no becomes an automatic answer though, it’s time to shake things up and open life back up with yes.

Yes Month Challenge river
Yes Month Challenge – my first yes after accepting the challenge…a walk along the river

The Yes Month Challenge

My online friend Jen, Go Family Adventure on social media, decided to say yes every day during the month of July. She chooses to say yes to things she’d typically brush off, put on the back burner or say no to.

I love her idea of a month long challenge and said “yes, I’ll join in”.

We are sharing our yeses in our stories on Facebook and Instagram. I believe Jen began on July 1. However, I began saying yes on July 5. That’s the beauty of a yes month challenge. It can begin on any day of the month. Simply continue saying yes daily for 30 days.

When I do one of my games, such as my birthday celebrations, I plan it out. Activities are written on slips of paper and dropped into a jar, where I randomly draw one out every day.

For the yes challenge, the idea is to stay open and see what invitations arrive. Opportunities can be as simple as “Want to grab lunch?” to the more complex “Want to collaborate on this project?”

What I’m finding is that multiple opportunities to say yes appear every day. I’m just more aware of them during this challenge. Some days, I say yes to one opportunity. Some days I’ve said yes multiple times.

Yes Month Challenge picnic
Yes Month Challenge – yes to a spontaneous vegan picnic for one

My Yeses

A week into the Yes Month Challenge, I realized I began saying yes! several days before my invitation to join in.

I booked a solo trip to a city I’ve never been to before. Several times I almost backed out of the trip, before I even bought my airline ticket. However, I recognized it was time to push myself beyond my comfort zone and any fears I had about traveling solo. I said yes! and booked that trip.

Other yeses during my first week include:

  • a walk along the river, something I have not done in a while
  • a spontaneous picnic for one in my backyard garden
  • attending the Boss Baby 2 movie with my grandkids, sister and her granddaughter
  • trying something new at one of my favorite restaurants
  • working a 1000 piece puzzle that arrived serendipitously from Scotland
  • planning an afternoon tea time in Charleston during my trip, after a city brochure I received in the mail made me aware of the possibility
  • caring for my teething eight month old granddaughter one afternoon, so her parents could work

And today I said Yes! to writing this post about the challenge.

The fun, for me, is that I do not know ahead of time what invitations or opportunities will arrive. More yeses have shown up, than those I’ve listed above. Being open to possibilities brings more opportunities to actually say yes to.

Yes Month Challenge shrooms
Yes Month Challenge – shroom bowl from The Veggie Table

An Invitation to Say Yes

Saying yes involves trust.

Fear wants you to believe that you will end up doing something you don’t want to do, if you say yes. Not so. You still chose what’s right for you. Fear wants you to believe it is safer to say no. There’s a difference between safety and holding back.

“Jump off this building?” That’s an easy no.

“Speak before this group?” That’s a no because you are afraid…to speak in public, that you will make a mistake, that no one will want to hear what you have to say. What happens if you say yes instead? You move beyond your comfort zone. And you might make a mistake. No one cares. People can learn and receive value from what you have to share.

By saying yes to opportunities, invitations and new experiences we say to the Divine that we trust. We trust that good is intended for us and that we can grow through the experience.

Boss Baby 2 movie
We all said yes! to seeing Boss Baby 2…and we enjoyed the shared experience. Photo shot before movie started.

Will You Say Yes?

Consider this post your invitation to join the Yes Month Challenge. If a month long challenge seems too intimidating, try a Yes Week or a Yes Day. You can start on any day and end the challenge whenever you want. Have fun with it. Invite your children or a friend to join in. Write about your experiences.

It’s your choice. I hope you’ll join me in saying yes!

Let me know if you accept the challenge. And please share some of your yeses with me!

Yes Month Challenge cuddles
A very easy yes, cuddling this sweet girl.

Check out these inspiring books from Amazon:

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes Journal by Shonda Rhimes

The Surrender Experiment by Michael A Singer

I Dare Me by Lu Ann Cahn

 

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.

 

 

 

Year of the Wild Woman

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

A fresh, new year brings with it fresh, new possibilities and opportunities. For me it also delivers a new theme or word, a symbol and a song. These components serve as guideposts for the upcoming year.

I adopted these practices many years ago. It took me several years to realize that the companions for the year long journey chose me, rather than the other way around. Knowing this deepens my appreciation for the incredible way that life works. And, looking back at my journey over the years, I can see the progression and growth that occurred, as captured by my words, symbols and songs.

This year, 2021, is the Year of the Wild Woman. I’m extremely excited about what will unfold during the next 12 months.

Year of the Wild Woman title meme

Year of the Wild Woman – the Words

I’m typically given one word for the year. However, this year there are two…Wild Woman.

This is how the words initially came to me. Working in my garden one summer day, literally down on the ground digging in the dirt as I planted flowers, a phrase popped into my mind.

“It’s time to release your inner wild, your wild woman.”

I sat back and considered those words. “Okay,” I thought, “how do I do that?”

And thus began a journey of exploring what it meant to BE a wild woman and how to release her. You see, my inner wild woman went underground a very long time ago.

Wild Thing

When I was a teen in high school, I used my own money to purchase a pair of jeans and a jean jacket. The back of the jacket featured a magnificent lion, and the words “Wild Thing”. On the jeans the word “wild” appeared on one back pocket while the word “thing” appeared on the other. I happily wore my new jeans and jacket to school…exactly one time.

I was made fun of all day. My male friends, and many boys who weren’t even remotely my friends, teased me about being a “wild thing” or made suggestive remarks. I went home and tossed the jacket into the back of my closet, never to wear it again. I ripped the back pockets off of the jeans and continued to wear them occasionally.

What I learned that day was that being a “wild thing” was not acceptable. Wildness equaled partying, loose sexuality and out of control behavior, none of which were true about me. Although I possessed an inner wildness, and an untamed, freedom loving spirit, I pushed those deep within and learned to accept domestication.

Definition of Wild Woman

As I’ve learned what it means to be a wild woman and how to unleash my inner wildness, two books have guided me. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle and “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I’ll share more about both in upcoming posts. I love this definition of a wild woman by Clarissa:

“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women.”

I recognize that the journey toward releasing my inner wild woman actually began about ten years ago. And I also recognize that it is indeed time to fully free mine. While I’ve known about her for a long time, I felt I wasn’t allowed to live freely as her. My growth in the last decade makes me feel that I can do that now.

In October of 2020, I suddenly realized I didn’t know my word for 2021. I asked, out loud, what my theme and/or word was. Then I laughed as the words “wild woman” popped into my head. Of course. The conversation with the Divine that began in a garden, which seems highly appropriate, concluded with these words: “Wild Woman…be who you are”. And that’s the best way I can describe what a wild woman is. She is someone who completely embraces who she is as her truest, most authentic self, and lives in that freedom.

Year of the Wild Woman shake
Year of the Wild Woman – shaking loose all that is not soul

Year of the Wild Woman – the Symbol

With the theme for 2021 established, I opened myself to possibilities for the symbol. The symbol is important to me. It connects strongly with my word or words, in this case, and it serves as spiritual taps on the shoulder as I journey through the year. When I see the symbol, it means I need to pay attention.

I considered the lioness as a possible symbol, or even the cheetah, which plays a role in Glennon’s book, “Untamed”. But no, those weren’t for me. “What about the tree?” I asked. I love trees and feel very connected to that symbol. “It’s the tree, right? How about a tree?” No tree for this year.

The symbol that came to me, through repetition and synchronicity, is the moon. The moon symbolizes feminine energy, receptivity, regeneration, intuition and mystery.

My legal name, Cynthia, is Greek for “moon goddess”. Moon goddess….wild woman…that’s perfect. As one of my 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I purchased a moon necklace. I’m excited to wear it this year.

As I have the last three years, I drew a representation of my year, using the wild woman and the moon elements. It rests on my bedside table, a daily reminder of who I am.

Year of the Wild Woman art
Year of the Wild Woman art.

Year of the Wild Woman – the Song

For a brief time I considered “Moon River” for my song for 2021. That song kept popping up, so much so that I even watched the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s again, which features it. I still love it and choose it as my secondary song.

When I seriously paid attention to what song chose me, I knew it was “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

This song means a lot to me. My granddaughter Aubrey introduced the song to me years ago, as a favorite of hers. I used to do tai chi to this song. Although it may seem like a strange song to perform tai chi to, it works beautifully for me.

The fire element pairs well with my moon symbol. Fires represents creativity, passion, rebirth, desire and purification. Energetically, the fire of creativity and the moon of receptivity play important roles in my life already. And when you are “on fire” you are excited, passionate and enthusiastic. Yes, make it so.

The Journey Continues

Although 2020 made me a bit cautious about new years and what they can bring, I’m excited and optimistic about 2021. I feel like this year promises a great deal of personal growth. Not everyone will understand or even like that growth, however freeing my inner Wild Woman is the invitation and my soul is responding.

My granddaughter Aubrey asked me recently what my word is for 2021. She’s known since her toddler days that a new one accompanies me every year. When I told her “Wild Woman”, her eyes widened a bit. Curious, I asked her what those words mean to her. Without missing a beat she replied, “Yaya in the backyard, naked.”

I laughed. She’s not wrong. However, what I love about Aubrey’s answer is this. She didn’t say that a wild woman is out of control or bad or wrong. Her honest answer suggests a woman who is experiencing untamed joy and passion. Naked represents uncovered and unashamed. It’s natural and connected to nature.

I think this girl, who exhibits her own inner wildness rather well, nailed it.

Join me during this Year of the Wild Woman. We can all learn and grow together.

Year of the Wild Woman Cindy

 

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