Letting go…

There is a saying, “Autumn leaves show us how beautiful it is to let things go.” This past weekend, we took a spontaneous trip to Itasca State Park. Last minute fishing trip for my husband and oldest son meant a chance for me and the youngest son to explore the state park. We’ve been there before, but usually in the summer. Fall in MN is just magical. The trees are brilliant yellows, oranges, reds and browns. We met up with some friends and hiked the trails through the woods where bikes aren’t allowed. It was a perfect, crisp fall day. The sun was shining, the leaves were beautiful and the fallen leaves were crunching beneath our feet. It smelled like fall. If fall has a smell, that was it – crisp air, fallen leaves, slight breeze.

The kids (my son and my friend’s two girls) complained a little about the length of the hike. Some photo stops, finding walking sticks and the many leaf colors distracted them a bit from the amount of miles we were walking. My friend and I just breathed in deeply… soaking it in. “They need this,” we both agreed. Spending hours online for school, they needed the connection with nature. We did too. To be grounded with the earth, breathing in fresh air, soaking up the silence…. all just good for our souls.

If there was a place that was fall year round, I’d move there. But it’s part of the cycle… letting go (fall), being still (winter), regrowth (spring) and abundance (summer). One of the benefits of living here is our distinct season changes. It’s one of the reasons I put up with winter.

What are you letting go of this fall? Fear? Anger? Frustration? Busyness? Self doubt? We get so wrapped up in being busy, we forget the value of being still and connecting with nature. I hope you are able to be outside, breathe fresh air and soak up some sunshine before our days turn colder and shorter. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.

Holy Rabies!

What?! The cat got rabies? Nope. There is a back story….

If you have kids or grandkids (or you just like animated movies), you know what movie this is from. In 2012, a movie called Hotel Transylvania came out. It looked like a cute movie – Dracula’s daughter turns 118, which is like turning 18 in real life, and she is wanting to explore the world. Her father doesn’t want her to go – he wants to keep her safe. He instills fear in her – that the humans are just out to hurt her, so she stays at Hotel Transylvania and doesn’t venture out.

As we were watching the movie, Dracula called his daughter by name – Mavis. “What did he say?” I have a unique name. It’s an older name, but still not that common. I don’t hear my name in a crowd. I don’t have to go by my full name because there is another “Mavis.” I rarely meet someone else named Mavis either. My dad often assumed I didn’t like my name, but it’s not true. I kind of like being unique. The only thing that bothered me growing up, was not being able to find cool trinkets with my name on them. I couldn’t just go to Claire’s in the mall and get a Mavis bracelet like some of my friends could. So, imagine my surprise when there was an actual character named Mavis. So strange!

I was shopping the clearance aisles at my local Target last week, when I spotted Mavis’ on clearance! “Holy Rabies!” (It’s the thing Mavis in the movie says instead of “holy cow” or “holy smokes.”)

3 different “Mavis'”?! Wow!! I still haven’t decided if I’ll open one and display it or what I’ll do. I think I will bring one to work and leave 2 in boxes. (For sure the one that has Mavis’ name on it should stay in the box.)

Sometimes I feel like Dracula – wanting to keep my kids safe… wanting to protect them. Sometimes I think back to when I was their age and how I felt like the Mavis in the movie – ready to explore! Our fears can be like Dracula too- trying to keep us small… telling us lies to try and keep us from experiencing new thing. Our heads, like I talked about last week, try to keep us safe. Our hearts are like Mavis – wanting to adventure to Hawaii. I’m not saying that being safe is a bad thing. When it comes at the cost of missing out on life though? Then I think it’s sad. Not many people, at the end of their life will say, “I’m so glad I didn’t try new things.” Since it’s still January, you can make a list of one new thing you want to try this year (something that will not cause harm to you or anyone else.)

I wish you peace on your journey of enough, but I also wish you adventures and experiences. I hope you have something so exciting, it makes you shout- “Holy Rabies!!”

Pack your bags & try the pie….

It all started with a casual conversation…

My sister, Marie and her friend Heather were talking about spending some time with their daughters. “We should really do something with our girls before they go off to college next year… And while they still like us.” What the mom’s didn’t realize was that the girls overhead the conversation and it lit a spark. Both of them probably knew it was one of those things people say, wishing for it to happen, but knowing that it probably wouldn’t. Time would slip away, and before they knew it, they’d be off to college. So the girls, soon to be seniors in high school, took it upon themselves to plan a trip. The girls told the moms what days to take off of work and what to pack, but nothing else. “You need 3 days off, tennis shoes & shorts for sure.” No clues. No hints. No slip ups. Their lips were sealed, but their minds were racing. You could see the sparkle in their eyes when they talked about the upcoming adventure. 

The girls researched where to go, what things to do in the area, popular places to eat, etc. The moms were still totally unaware of what was in store. Anticipation was thick as they loaded up the car early in the morning of day 1. It was 3 hours into the trip before they found out where they were headed. Duluth, MN. 


Their 3 day adventure would take them biking along Canal Park, having meals by Lake Superior, a trip to Gooseberry Falls, Glensheen mansion & Betty’s Pies & more. 3 days. That’s it. This wasn’t a week long vacation to the Caribbean. It was 3 days in northern Minnesota, and it meant more to the moms than the girls will ever know. It meant that they cared enough to want to spend time together. It mean that they planned out their trip with excitement & mystery. It meant that the love those moms show their daughters came back full circle. It makes me emotional and teary eyed thinking about it. I’m sure it will make them all smile each time they think of their trip together. Time spent together that they wouldn’t trade for the world. 

Take the trip. Try the pie. Walk by the lake. Love. Laugh. 

It makes me think of a surprise trip that I planned 16 years ago. Cameron was about to turn 30, and I wanted to surprise him. Before kids, before 9/11, before airport security & before you needed a passport for Canada, I planned a surprise trip to Niagara Falls. I did have a binder and a plan but it was all secret to him. I got him to the airport & had his bags already packed. I had a sign with his name on it. His plane ticket was purchased & we were off.


We stayed on the Canadian Falls side & had a great time. We went on a biking trip to vineyards in the area and saw the falls up close. I normally don’t add this many pictures, but look at these kids!! I’m not sure what made us laugh at the vineyard picture, but I’m guessing it was something that seemed funnier given the amount of wine we had.


I realize that we do need to work to make a living, but it can’t be at the expense of our life. These moments won’t come around again. We don’t get a “do-over.” I still grin when I think about this trip – as will those 4 ladies when they think about their Duluth adventures.

On your journey of enough, take the time to have a detour. Go somewhere new. Try a new food. Have a new adventure. Stop and listen and soak it all in. Spend some time with those you hold dear. Oh, and for sure -have the pie!