Celebrating Life

Music and Magic On the Road

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson_Concert Road Trip

This is the 11th year now that we’ve made our Annual Midwest Summer Concert Road Trip a priority. What a FUN tradition it’s been! When we’re doing the things that bring us joy, the feedback we get from others is that it inspires them to do what brings them joy. How cool is that?!

This year we flew from our home in Minneapolis to Kansas City and put 1,300 miles on a rental car. All around us, wherever we went, we paid attention to “life”…

We breathed in the fresh (and hot!) summer air. We loved calling out the various noisy insects that made themselves known at rest stops along the interstate. We marveled at the rows and rows of corn. We acknowledged the license plates we saw from all around the country. We cherished the Read more »

It Don’t Come Easy…Or Does It?

Ringo Starr_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Front row to Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band.

How did we do it, you ask? It was easy! But only if you know the whole story.

*   *   *   *   *

On our bucket list for several years has been a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, timed to also include a cool concert in the city. We finally made it happen last weekend, and it was a powerful reminder to us that when you embrace what you love, things do come easy.

We made our way from Minneapolis to Cleveland, a city we had never seen before, and planted ourselves at a downtown lakeside hotel, right by the museum. The plan was to spend Read more »

Stayin’ Alive and Lovin’ Life

Barry Gibb

When Bill and I got married 20 years ago, I’ll never forget during the reception when the DJ grabbed the mic and said, “When the bride and groom hand me ‘The Bee Gees 20 Greatest Hits’ CD, you know we’re gonna have a party!” And everyone on the dance floor cheered.

I flippin’ LOVE the Bee Gees.

Fast forward two decades later. We just returned from our 20th anniversary adventure which included the beautiful wine country in Napa Valley, the majestic Redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, a visit with cherished family in Sacramento, and a gig in Chicago to see the legendary Barry Gibb in concert – woohoo! We simply had to get in on this historic event and support and cheer on Barry, the oldest and only surviving Gibb brother.

Sidenote: Did you know that the Guinness Book of World Records lists Barry as Read more »

Namaste…and The King of Blues

B.B. King

It was time to leave our Omaha hotel room and head out for a night of fun – an outdoor concert with one of our favorite rockers, Peter Frampton! We were smack in the middle of a long weekend summer road trip to see two back-to-back shows with Frampton’s “Guitar Circus”. As Peter said, the shows included “No animals but a lot of guitars.”

On this tour, in addition to Peter and his amazing band (big shout-out to Stanley, Rob, Adam, and Dan!), we had the opportunity to get to know other guitarists that were new to us, as well as enjoy others we already loved. Because they all had Peter’s endorsement, we were excited to be in their presence. 

It’s been such a joy to see each of the band members completely light up when playing with the greats. It’s obvious they’ve all been having a blast! There had already been so many memorable moments for us on this tour, and on this particular night – we were thrilled to see blues legend B.B. King (for our first time!) as one of the openers.

Often times, before we embark on an adventure, Bill and I have a ritual of setting our intention together. So in the hotel room, we Read more »

My Bucket List…and The Rolling Stones

Bill Stimpson & Michelle Stimpson_Rolling Stones Adventure

It was the day before my sister-in-law’s funeral. Our dear Ann had passed away at age 53 from lung cancer.

The grief and sadness hung heavy in the air.

It seemed to make perfect sense, though, for me to still participate in a scheduled interview for a local women’s magazine about the importance of “bucket lists”.

A bucket list is basically a list of things to do before you die. Although, I prefer to think of it instead as a list of things to do while you’re alive (I like to put a positive spin on things). It’s a fun exercise because it encourages you to dream a bit and think about things that you’d really love to do. They can be big things such as “Travel to Africa” or little things like “Take a cooking class”.

At the beginning of the phone interview, Amy, the delightful interviewer from the magazine, asked me whether or not I thought it was important to have a bucket list. Hearing that particular question on that particular day, made me feel like I was in kindergarten. No offense at all to her! I knew the question was coming, and it was an important one to start off the interview.

However, I had just recently experienced an all-night vigil at the hospice Read more »

Don’t Stop Believin’, Part Two

Journey_i wireless Center_Moline, Illinois

Heads-up: Be sure you have a few spare minutes for this post – it’s a little, I mean a lot, longer than the rest of ’em! :)


I know, I know – it’s been a long time. The last blog post I wrote was six months ago! It was all about our life-changing experience at a Journey concert.

Shortly afterwards, I was excited to share that write-up with Journey’s new lead singer, Arnel Pineda, to show him how he had impacted my life. The very same day he replied with a tweet that said: “Thank you so much for this. Really enjoyed reading your write-up about your experience. Goosebumps!”

So cool. So, if you haven’t read the post yet – please do!

Funny how the post ended with a message to Journey, saying: “See you all again soon…”

And so it is. Here I am, six months later – and Bill and I just returned from a winter road trip to hang with Journey once again!

I’ve gotten so much reader feedback in the past, asking me Read more »

Don’t Stop Believin’

Journey_MN State Fair

The last official weekend of summer may have included one of the most joyful experiences of my life. I know I say that a lot, but this one was really special! I’d like to thank the popular feel-good band, Journey, and their awesome new lead singer, Arnel Pineda, for hosting the party.

They were playing on a beautiful summer night at our beloved “Great Minnesota Get-Together,” the Minnesota State Fair. Bill and I hopped on the express bus to the Fair without concert tickets in-hand (but you know us – we trusted it would all work out!) to enjoy a night of fun with the band. The show had been sold out for quite a while, and ticket brokers told us this was the “toughest ticket of the summer” to get. Really? That explains why there hadn’t been any good tickets available, which is pretty unusual.

That morning I went Read more »

Living It Up On a Summer Road Trip

Chicago Theater_Steve Miller Band

Winters here in the Twin Cities are looong. So when things start to turn green, Bill and I get crazy. Big-time. We maximize the season and make sure to focus on the things that bring us joy. Nature, outdoor dining, concerts, boating on the lake, walks in the park, watching storms, adventuring, and exploring our beautiful city.

For the last several years, we’ve done what we call a “Midwest Summer Road Trip.” We check to see which of our favorite musicians are touring somewhere in the Midwest…and then we plot out a plan of attack. Our past summer road trips have included Neil Diamond, Fleetwood Mac, and Steely Dan, to name a few. And the destinations have spanned Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Thanks go out to this year’s catalyst – the Steve Miller Band! With two back-to-back Midwest shows on their tour schedule, we were all in.

For us, a concert is never “just a concert.” And a road trip is never “just a road trip.” We make the absolute most out of everything we do. Call it “quirky,” “preference,” “over-the-top,” “habit” – whatever you want. It’s Read more »

It’s a Beautiful Day, Don’t Let It Get Away

U2 Concert_Bill Stimpson & Michelle Stimpson

When the rain comes there’s only one thing to do. And all my life I’ve been conditioned to do it.

When it rains:

You postpone plans.

You stay indoors.

You sing “Rain, rain go away…”.

You close the windows.

You wish for a sunny day.

You check the news to see when the rain will end.

You are glad for the flowers, trees, and grass…but not for yourself.

You cover your head.

You run from the door to the car.

You hope to heck that your hair doesn’t get wet.

I’m 42, and I just learned a new way. Read more »

Cheers And Gratitude To My Buddy, Neil Diamond!

Michelle Stimpson_Las Vegas

Did you hear the news? Neil Diamond has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! My recent tweet captured my feelings best:

“Heartfelt congrats to Neil Diamond R&R Hall of Fame Inductee! Amazing man, gifted musician, light in the world.”

Friendships come and go. Trends change. People grow older. And life continues. But one special ‘constant’ in my life has been the influence of Neil Diamond – singer and songwriter extraordinaire – which has etched a mark in my soul for 30 years. Read more »

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

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