Always Look at Your Compass

 A Personal Note  Comments Off on Always Look at Your Compass
Sep 242015

Recently, Jeff and I visited the Grand Canyon again. Since it’s only a couple of hours from our home, we try to go at least once a year. This time, we drove in through the eastern entrance. The eastern rim is less crowded and less well known than the more popular south rim.

Grand Canyon Colorado RiverOn the eastern rim, you get completely different views, because this part of the Canyon is much wider you have a clear view of the Colorado River as it winds its way through the canyon floor. We had a late picnic, then went for a hike across an undeveloped promontory to an overlook. There were no trails to the point a mile or so away, but I thought we’d find it by following a dry creek bed.

We took a compass reading at the beginning of the hike and started out, following the creek bed. Every so often, we’d pull out the compass and check it to make sure we were headed in the right direction. Sometime later, the creek bed disappeared. We again looked at the compass and kept going.

We had to keep detouring around fallen trees and dense bushes. After about an hour, we began hearing Grand Canyon-Moran Pt.traffic, and a few minutes later saw cars driving by. We’d looped back to the road.

This is what happens when you don’t keep your goal in the forefront of your mind. We should have kept the compass out at all times and followed its readings. By having to detour around all the brush, we got off our heading and ended up far from our goal. It’s just the same as when you have distractions in life and don’t check your priorities (your compass) so they can stay on course. Get off course, and you may never reach your goal, just like we didn’t on our hike.

Since it was getting late, and we had no idea how far we were from the point, we headed back to our car. Linda-Ann Stewart at Grand Canyon-Moran Pt.Since we’d trekked a long way from where we’d planned and from where we’d started, it took an hour to reach the parking area. Although we were disappointed we weren’t able gotten to see that vista, we’d had an enjoyable hike. And we spent the rest of the afternoon at developed points on the eastern rim. Getting off course doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means you need to correct your course and head toward your goal.

Enjoy the Journey

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Nov 192014

Jeff and I recently visited the Grand Canyon again. We try to get up there at least once a year. The past couple of times, it’s been windy when we first got there, but died down in the afternoon. This time, it was windy when we got there and just increased during the afternoon.
Grand Canyon Rim Trail
We walked along the Rim Trail, and out onto a couple of the points that jut into the Canyon. In the late afternoon, the wind was blowing a gale. Once, I had to stop walking and crouch down because the wind would have blown me down if I hadn’t. Jeff grabbed the handle on my pack and steadied me as we continued.
Linda-Ann Stewart at a windy Grand Canyon
We had to be careful not to get too close to the edge without bracing ourselves, because a sudden gust of wind could have caused us to lose our balance and fall. And it’s a long way down.
Grand Canyon Rim Trail
I realized it’s like life. You can coast along with calm breezes, then have gale winds buffet you, trying to push you off course. Sometimes, you have to hunker down until they pass. And sometimes, you need some help to ground you and keep you on track.
Grand Canyon Rim Trail
But no matter what the winds, you can enjoy the scenery and recognize that the challenge is a temporary situation. In another day, the weather can be completely different. Your choice is whether to complain about the conditions, or adjust to them and enjoy the journey.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Officially Married

 A Personal Note  Comments Off on Officially Married
Sep 302014
Bride on left, groom in middle, maid of honor on right.

Bride on left, groom in middle, maid of honor on right.

Jeff and I have been together almost 20 years. Since it seems we’re compatible, we decided it was time to make our union official. And since it was simply a formality for us, we wanted a small, informal type of wedding.

Last week, Jeff and I did the deed. We got married in an intimate, nontraditional ceremony in a Flagstaff park. Since we love all things Celtic, we used that as our theme.

Celtic music played in the background and we wore Renaissance inspired dress. Our minister is the president of a Celtic Heritage organization in Arizona and a friend of ours. Jeff wrote our vows. He’s amazing at writing from the heart. I treasure the sentiments he writes in the cards he gives me.

We had only 3 guests. My oldest and dearest friend, Linda, was my Maid of Honor. Yes, we’re both named Linda. It caused all sorts of confusion when we were young. We’ve known each other since we were 4 years old, and have been through a lot together. Jeff’s folks were the only other attendees.

We lucked out with the weather. Months ago, when we chose the date, we planned it to be after the main part of the monsoon season would be over. But Arizona has had a late monsoon this year, mainly in the month of September. We had major storms the week before and also a couple of days afterwards. Fortunately, the weather for our wedding was as perfect as it could get.

Now we embark on a new voyage, as married partners. I anticipate a smooth journey, but with more adventures to come.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart (I’m keeping my birth name)

May 272014
Linda-Ann Stewart handing out worksheets

Linda-Ann Stewart

I had a speaking engagement in the Phoenix area on Wednesday, May 21st. I got everything prepared on Tuesday, then checked the road conditions. That’s when I found that the main artery from Northern Arizona (where I live) to Phoenix was closed due to a fire by the freeway. I thought I might have to drive 1-2 hours out of my way to get to the venue the next morning. Fortunately, the freeway opened by 7pm Tuesday evening.

Wednesday morning, I met the amazing, powerful women of WREN, Women’s Resource Educational Network, in Gilbert. A friend from NSA-Arizona, Fran Lowell, had joined me, and we had a wonderful time getting to know these women. I felt welcome and at home with them. We stayed for an hour afterwards to talk with one of them. Another woman showed up and we spoke briefly with her, as well.

Fran Lowell & Linda-Ann Stewart

Fran Lowell and Linda-Ann Stewart

Cindy Webb and Linda-Ann Stewart

Cindy Webb and Linda-Ann Stewart

WREN is a different kind of networking group. Instead of each person pushing their agenda of “This is who I am…,”  this chapter of WREN was created by Cindy Webb to let women get to know each other and also to give back to the community. People channel business to those they know, like and trust. Being able to learn all about the person you might refer to builds trust. To me, this is the model networking groups should follow.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Elk Surprised Us on the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

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May 142014

Jeff and I went to the Grand Canyon this month. We got there mid-day, after the high winds they’d had earlier had quieted down. After a picnic lunch overlooking the canyon, we started hiking east along the rim trail. Our 2 mile hike would end at the South Kaibab Trailhead.

Linda-Ann Stewart at Pipe Creek Vista, Grand Canyon

As we approached it, Jeff put his hand out to stop me. I froze. Just ahead, on the trail and in the trees beside it, was a herd of young elk. We were within 20 feet of them. Jeff got out his camera and took photos. They weren’t fazed by the clicking of his shutter. Eventually, other hikers neared and the elk ambled off into the woods.

Elk at South Kaibab Trailhead, Grand Canyon

When we got to South Kaibab Trailhead, a herd of mule deer and another herd of elk wandered in the parking lot and trees. I got a photo of an elk by the water station. A guy turned on the faucet to let the elk drink. When the bus for Yaki Point arrived, the elk spooked and left.

Grand Canyon Sunset - East of Yaki Point

It was a magical day. We ended it watching the sunset at Yaki Point.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Mar 052014

Every year, Jeff and I spend a weekend at the Arizona  Renaissance Festival. We made our arrangements months ago, and were looking forward to it. This year, two weeks before we planned to go, the weather forecast started looking bad. For the first time this year, Phoenix was supposed to get rain.
Rain at the 2014 Arizona Renaissance Festival
Every day, the forecast got worse. We discussed whether we should reschedule, but decided to gamble and “act as if” everything would be fine. Friday evening, the forecast was calling for rain all day on Saturday, and some on Sunday morning.

By Saturday morning, the meteorologists had reduced the amount of rain that was expected. When we got to the Faire that morning, it was dry. But just before the gates opened, it started to sprinkle. That sprinkle turned into a downpour that lasted about 30 minutes. It drizzled a little after that, but by noon, the rain was gone. We even got some sun that afternoon.

A soggy day at 2014 Arizona Renaissance Festival

Sunday was beautiful. Mostly sunny, cool, with a slight breeze. I said to Jeff, “I’m so glad we came. If we’d cancelled and I discovered how little rain the event had, I would have been furious.” (“Furious” isn’t the word I used, but that’s what it means.)

Tartanic at 2014 Arizona Renaissance Festival

Although we prepared for the worst, we went ahead and expected to have a great weekend. I’ve found that when you move ahead on faith, “acting as if” all will be well, it generally works out that way. It certainly did for us.

Jeff & Linda-Ann at 2014 Arizona Renaissance Festival

Attitude Is Everything

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Jul 152013

Rainbow and Main Falls at Victoria FallsI’ve been working on a business project for several months. For most of that time, it has been difficult to work with and on. It’s moved forward about as quickly and smoothly as pouring molasses in the winter.

Last week, I decided to change my attitude about it. Instead of dreading working on it and expecting it to be hard, I chose to think that it would be smooth and easy to work on. And as soon as I shifted my expectation, it became easier. I was able to complete a section of it in less than half the time than any of the other sections were done.

Struggling with a situation, dreading the difficulty of a project, or just generally banging your head against a brick wall, creates an expectation of trouble. This brings on more obstacles, and progress becomes like walking through wet cement. However, if you shift your attitude to expect it to be easy, you give the subconscious the instruction to be more resourceful.

This project reminded me to choose to think that the situations of my life can be easy. In the past, when I’ve carried this belief, things have flowed incredibly harmoniously. It isn’t easy to change your expectation when the evidence seems against it, but it’s well worth the effort.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

NSA-Arizona Chapter Member of the Year

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Jun 142013

I’m a Board Member of the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association, and have been Membership Chairperson for the past year. At June’s meeting, the new Board was sworn in. Afterwards, I gave a short announcement of an upcoming event.

As I started to my seat, our outgoing President, Susan Ratliff, said “Linda-Ann, stay up here.” She told the audience how I drive over 100 miles to attend the meetings and board meetings each month. And she praised me for how much work the membership committee  had been doing to promote our membership. I was puzzled, but appreciative of the recognition.

Then she said, “Because of all that you’ve done, we want to present you with the Chapter Member of the Year Award.” I almost fell through the floor. My mouth dropped open and I was stunned, shocked, and speechless.

I’m honored and grateful to the NSA-Arizona Board of Directors for presenting me with this award! I wasn’t expecting it at all. I will treasure it always for representing their appreciation and confidence in me.

Grand Canyon Reverie

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May 092013

Jeff and I recently visited the Grand Canyon again. It’s been a year since we’ve been there and I’ve missed it.

As you approach the rim, the vista looks like a backdrop.I remember a ride at Disneyland where you rode through a mock-up of the Grand Canyon. They did an amazing job, because the Canyon is so massive that it looks like that ride.

Every minute, the light changes, and the scenery is different. The whole Canyon alters from morning to afternoon to evening and sunset. It doesn’t seem real that it’s a mile down to the river. This photo of Jeff taking a photo on the Rim Trail shows that if you slide off, it’s a long way down.

Spending time at the Canyon is food for the soul. It shows that you’re a part of something greater. Every time I visit, I come away feeling replenished.

Make A Commitment To Your Dream

 A Personal Note  Comments Off on Make A Commitment To Your Dream
Apr 302013

When you begin moving in a direction, and accept opportunities that are offered, you may discover all sorts of new possibilities. A few months ago, I started re-thinking my business model. The old one didn’t serve me as well as I’d hoped. So I set my subconscious mind to find new ways for me to move forward in ways that suited my desired lifestyle.

Within a short time, I was presented with the opportunity to register for Kendall Summerhawk’s weekend workshop LeapLive13. As a member of her International Association of Women in Business Coaching, I was able to register early enough to be eligible for three extra teleclasses that gave specific direction to grow my business.

Within three weeks of my committing to attend the workshop, another major strategy for my business fell into my life. It was one I’d heard before, but I wasn’t open to it then and had forgotten about it. But because of my more open and seeking mindset, this idea got planted in my mind. And it was one that completely resonated with me.

Kelly Chicas of Albuquerque Family Counseling

Kaye Halligan – Assisting to Manifest the Divine You

Then, in April, I attended the 3-day LeapLive13! workshop. It was amazing! Some of the information Kendall shared I already knew. But the way she put it together, the package she created with it, impacted me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It’s changed the way I plan to do my business.

Nafissa Shireen of Unleash Your Success – Executive Health and Success

We had exercises to work through, generally with partners. I had some fantastic coaches to help me with insights and new directions. Kelly Chicas from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kaye Halligan from Australia, Nafissa Shireen from Canada, Zahra Efan from Canada, and Niki Klein from Canada. I can’t thank them enough for their assistance!

Zahra Efan – Life and Business Success Coach for Women

The moral of this story? Make a commitment to yourself and your dream, ask for guidance, and follow the signs along the way. You may not know quite where you’re going, but your inner self will guide you to what is for your greatest good.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart