A Last Minute Invitation…and Nothing to Wear

Drinks on the deck

Aaaahhh…a week in the Caribbean sailing on the Celebrity Eclipse. It was the type of experience that totally lights up our souls. A full week of sunshine, reggae, gourmet meals, warm breezes, Caribbean vibe, fruity cocktails…and relaxation squared. Together, we loved every single moment of it.

However, we almost didn’t do it. While we’ve had a warm-weather getaway just about every winter since the beginning of our relationship (nearly 20 years!), this winter was the first time we didn’t have a vacation planned. A big chunk of money had recently gone toward business training expenses, so it didn’t feel practical. Or even doable.

But because these winter vacations are always such a spiritual experience for us and bring us tremendous joy, in early January we thought we better find a way to make it happen. Our favorite vacation is a cruise, so Bill’s idea was for us to Read more »

Honoring My Place in the World

Michelle Joy

Recently, there was a game on Facebook that I chose to play. The idea was to look up the number-one song from the week you were born and then find it on YouTube and post the video as your status update. I couldn’t wait to find out what my song was! I figured it would be a super cool song – either by the Beatles or some other classic artist that stirred my soul.

But it wasn’t. The number-one song on February 2, 1969 was “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells. Not that it’s a bad song. But I never really cared for it. In fact, through the years, if I heard it on the radio I almost always changed the station.

So I posted it on Facebook and unenthusiastically claimed it as my song. Then I figured I might as well 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 »

Concert Tickets and Magic

Bill Stimpson_Robert Plant concert

Just a couple weeks ago, Bill and I had one of those full-circle life moments. My posts on Facebook said it all. First update early in the day: Very excited to see Robert Plant tonight! Bill has been a fan since 2nd grade when he bought ‘Led Zeppelin II’ at a garage sale across the street for a quarter.”

Second update much later that night: “Front-row center concert tickets – $200; dinner & drinks before the show – $60; Robert Plant giving us a smile & a nod after ‘Ramble On’ – Priceless.”

Wow, what an absolute thrill to hang out right at the stage, just a few feet in front of one of the greatest rockstars of all time. An experience we won’t ever forget!

There was so much magic and synchronicity wrapped up into that night. Initially, we had fantastic third-row seats and were incredibly excited as my first Facebook update showed. Shortly before the concert, though, I ‘accidentally’ stumbled upon Read more »

Does Your ‘Stuff’ Have a Hold On You?

Did you read the last post about our custom-built dream home? Be sure to read that one – it helped many readers take a step back and objectively question what’s most important in their lives.

The one thing I didn’t mention in that post, though, was about all the “stuff” we accumulated in the gigantic basement of that dream house. When you have the space, it’s easy to fill it. So that’s what we did.

The stuff I had been storing in my grandma’s basement for years naturally ended up in our new house. And Bill’s parents were delighted to give him back all of his childhood things in various boxes since we had the new space. No problem, though. We shoved it all downstairs where we never saw it and didn’t even give it a second thought.

But, when we sold our big house and downsized into a townhome, we had no storage. What to do? We knew we weren’t emotionally ready to deal with all the boxes, and we reluctantly paid Read more »

Letting Go of Our Dream Home

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson_Dream Home

“There’s no way we can move. We said we’d live here forever.” Those were the first words Bill and I uttered when we pondered the idea of letting go of our dream home eight years ago. At the time, we had only been in our beautiful home for two-and-a-half years. And it was truly our dream home. We custom-built the entire thing to completely reflect us and our lifestyle – both individually and as a couple. It was the perfect Minneapolis suburb retreat, tucked in a wooded setting with mature trees, wildlife, and ultimate privacy.

This rare find was thanks to a sweet elderly couple whose home was on a large piece of land, and they decided to subdivide their lot into two. We were the privileged ones who found the other half and bought it.

And it was there that we Read more »

Stephen Simon: Film Producer Following His Joy

Stephen Simon

For the last few years, our household has been a proud member of Spiritual Cinema Circle. Each month, we get a brand new DVD sent to us with four new spiritual films – they’re movies that inspire us, engage us, and help us connect with the big-picture and the preciousness of life.

All along the way, it’s been a joy to see the Circle’s co-founder, Stephen Simon, discuss the films and engage in conversations with members.

This guy is absolutely passionate about what he does! And it’s obvious that he’s doing what he is meant to do. As a filmmaker, writer, and producer – he’s following his joy, big-time. When I first got the idea to start a series of interviews with Joy-Followers, I knew I wanted to talk to Stephen. And was I delighted that he agreed!

In addition to being the co-founder of Spiritual Cinema Circle, he’s the author of Bringing Back the Old Hollywood and the producer of two films that grabbed my heart: Somewhere In Time and What Dreams May Come.

I’m excited to introduce Read more »

Taking Time to Smell the Roses

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson and Bill's Parents

Welcome to the biggest gap between posts since this blog started almost two years ago. It’s not because I haven’t written; I have. Over this past month I’d force myself to write a post and reluctantly toss it on my editor’s desk (Bill), mumbling under my breath: “Good luck with this one.” And later he’d come back at me with, “Um, I like it, but it’s very confusing.”

I know, I know. Forcing yourself to write isn’t good. And it’s not fun. So I finally decided to just drop it and wait until the time was right.

Here’s where my heart and soul have been this past month: Bill’s father, Larry, has been in the intensive care unit in the hospital, following a myriad of health issues. I’m a big believer in being fully present with whatever you’re doing, wherever you are. So, my father-in-law’s situation became Read more »

Marci Shimoff: Following Her Joy Through Love

Marci Shimoff

If Marci Shimoff’s name sounds familiar to you, it should! She’s the New York Times best-selling author of Happy for No Reason, as well as co-author of six books in the phenomenally popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her books have sold more than 14 million copies worldwide in 31 languages. Wow! She’s also a featured teacher in the hit film, The Secret. Special thanks to Arielle Ford for introducing me to yet another bright Joy-Follower.

Marci is currently launching a brand new book called Love for No Reason, which offers a step-by-step program for us to live in a state of unconditional love every day of our lives. The more I live my life, the more I realize the importance of love as the foundation – so Marci’s important work has certainly caught my attention. I just started diving into her book, hot-off-the press, and wholeheartedly recommend it!

Just as I would have guessed, my conversation with Marci was enlightening, engaging, inspiring – and her spirit is full of aliveness and energy. She’s the kind of woman you 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

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