Living Out Loud

How This Groupie Got Her Groove Back

Bill Stimpson & Michelle Stimpson_Pre-Neil Diamond Concert
[Editor’s Note: Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I’ve got a cool story to share – but it’s a little long. So, please allow yourself some extra time to fully take in this post – you’ll be glad you did!]


My confidence was shaken, then my faith restored…all within a matter of a few days.

Just as we were leaving to embark on a Midwest road trip to catch a few shows with my all-time favorite performer, Neil Diamond, I allowed some external voices to grab ahold of me. I let some things in that made me question what the heck I was doing, what I was spending my money on, what I was doing with my time, and how I was living my life.

Woah, I was shocked at how much power I gave to this external voice. Even though I’m 43, I still yearn for affirming approval from those important to me, ya know?

Normally a confident gal, Read more »

Ready Or Not, Here I Am!

Michelle Stimpson_Sedona

These past few weeks I have been experiencing a (very minor) health issue, and the symptoms have been puzzling. Two important people in my life reminded me to never underestimate the mind-body connection and that the symptoms could be the result of an emotional issue. Hmmm.

So this weekend, Bill started asking me questions about what the symptoms might be related to. After an entire evening of deep and meaningful conversation (nice to be married to a trained coach!), I got to the crux of a big issue for me. It was about the way I occasionally hold myself back in important situations and don’t play as ‘full-out’ as I’d like to or as I could. I don’t always fully shine my light, letting the world see – and have – all of me.

As you may have read before, this has been an issue for me throughout the years. I’ve had past counseling sessions, great coaching guidance, and most recently it came up Read more »

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Caribbean Travel + LifeNext time you’re out and about, be sure to check out the May 2010 issue of our favorite magazine, Caribbean Travel + Life. An edited version of a previous Following Your Joy blog post is one of the features!

You may remember a blog favorite from last year: Just Another Day On The (Nude) Beach. It’s a great honeymoon story about the adventure with my hubby on a nude beach in St. Martin, almost 16 years ago! The entertaining tale certainly lives on…

It’s fun to see our story featured in a big-time magazine; the one and only publication we’ve been subscribing to for years! It keeps us in touch with what we love: the Caribbean and everything the region represents. Turquoise waters, laid-back vibe, soft white sand, palm trees blowing in the warm breeze, sun on the skin, lush landscape, groovy music, an abundance of time, simplicity, and friendly attitudes. Ahhh…

Are you a fan of the Caribbean? If so, what’s your favorite spot?

Is Front Row Asking Too Much?, Part II

[Be sure to first read Is Front Row Asking Too Much?, Part I]

There wasn’t much time to bask in the afterglow from the concert the night before. This was a new day, and tickets needed to be scored! Previously, I said I wanted front row seats for this second of two Neil Diamond shows, and in the back of my mind I wondered how realistic that really was. And after such a fantastic experience the night before, could this now be asking too much?

But I held strong. Why not?

Expecting the best

Once again, there were no good seats available for the show that night and tickets on the broker websites were exorbitantly priced. As Bill headed out for work that morning, he pulled one of his Hawaiian shirts out of the closet and said, “I’m gonna wear this tonight. It’s my new ‘front row center’ shirt!” Have you heard that old adage: “Act as if”? Well, my trusting hubby was acting as if we would be sitting in the front row. What a great attitude to choose, and I figured I better adopt it as well. I had nothing to lose!

Our plan for the evening was to Read more »

Is Front Row Asking Too Much?, Part I

We’ve all had those “defining moments” when we learned something so powerful, that our life literally changed right there, on-the-spot. This happened for me when Neil Diamond came here to Minneapolis in 2005 for two back-to-back concerts. It was then that I learned the power of being clear on what you want, asking for it out loud, and declaring it to the world.

A big Neil Diamond fan

Quick backdrop: My love of Neil started in the early 80’s, when getting tickets to concerts was a whole different deal. I skipped school one day in 8th grade, standing in line for tickets for eight hours! Through the years I’ve remained a loyal and faithful fan.

It’s been a fun constant in my life from the days of feathered hair and braces…to my wild college years…to maturing into adulthood…and to most recently hitting the big 4-0. Throughout it all, when Neil goes on tour, you can bet that I am there.

So on the day before the festivities back in ‘05, believe it or not, this huge fan (me) did not have tickets Read more »

Just Another Day On The (Nude) Beach

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson_Honeymoon

Many of you who know Bill and me have heard this story before, and many of you have even graciously paid it forward and re-counted the legendary tale to friends; everyone enjoying a good laugh at our expense.

Through the years, we’ve had people who meet us for the first time say, “Oh! So you’re the couple who…” Yep, it’s us. So at your urging to share this story again—and because it definitely ties-in with following your joy—here it is in print.

Following our wedding day in 1994 we embarked on a honeymoon cruise to the Caribbean. The week of vacation was magnificent, and it was a wonderful way to start our new lives together, especially after all the fanfare of a big, traditional wedding.

On the cruise ship following our first day at sea, we attended a big meeting led by the Cruise Director telling us what to expect on our first port of call—the West Indian island of St. Maarten/St. Martin.

Getting “briefed” on the nude beach

“The island is half French and half Dutch,” he said, “And you may have heard about the nude beaches on the French side…” Read more »

What Makes You Come Alive?

Chicago The Band

One of the things I do in my work as a Professional Coach is help my clients clarify and “name” what it is that makes them come alive. And sometimes it can be a little elusive to identify, or define, specifically what that is. A good way can be to take the cues from those around you.

Feel-good music and concerts

For me, one of those things is music. The deal for me was sealed when my aunt left a message on our voice mail the other day. She was returning my call about the Chicago / Earth, Wind & Fire concert—I wanted to know how she liked it. And her message said, “The best part of the show was watching you and Bill through my binoculars dancing up a storm!” At first I was a little embarrassed. But then I realized that yep, that was just me, following my joy.

Then one of my clients emailed me the next day and said how she enjoyed our “show” up front! Okay, slightly embarrassed again, but what are ya gonna do? Also reminds me of the time that Bill and I were at a Neil Diamond concert in Sioux City, IA. Afterwards, one of the local radio station DJ’s waved us over outside the arena and said, Read more »

Inaugural Post: Following Your Joy, Fleetwood Mac Style

Fleetwood Mac
It was July 2004 in Cedar Falls, Iowa, when a turning point occurred in my life. Bill and I were on a road trip to see one of our favorite bands, Fleetwood Mac. I’ll never forget how sweltering hot it was driving through the Iowa cornfields to get there—the kind of heat where you can see the psychedelic-looking steam radiate off the scorching hood of the car while you’re cruising down the two-lane highway.

And to add to the mid-summer drama, the cicadas (you know, those insects that sound like a major power line buzzing) were engaged in a full-out blast.

If you don’t already know this about me, I’m a huge concert enthusiast. I LOVE classic rock and paying tribute to the legends that helped shape the world of music in the late 60’s and on through the 70’s. I’ve been going to shows since I was a kid and thoroughly enjoying it all along. When I met Bill, I was so happy that he was a rocker just like me (my mom always did say that he was the “male version” of me and vice versa). :)

On that hot summer day, we were so excited to see the band live once again. But this time it was different. This time we had front row seats. Read more »

You’ll Love Being a Subscriber!
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

The Parent Company

Lacking clarity or direction? Disconnected from your passion?
Ready for something new or different?

Like What You See Here?
Facebook Like Button
Watch for this "Like" button at the end of each post and if you like what you see, please give it a big fat "thumbs-up!" Thank you!
“Like” Us On Facebook!

Where else you can find Michelle:

Project Light Year 2015

Our Funny Nude Beach Story!

Joyful Partnerships

Need help finding something?