Service IS Joy!

I slept and dreamt that life was joy.

I awoke and saw that life is service.

I acted and behold, service was joy. 

Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet

 

It took me a long time to realize just how important being of service is to me. I always liked to help others, and still do what I can, to “make myself useful” as my mom likes to say. Yet for a long while, I did not understand the overall effect acts of service had on my psyche. I have since learned it feels good to be helpful, appreciated and even needed. Although it can sometimes feel like work, the influence volunteering has on me is quite magical. I no longer think of it as effort but as an opportunity to bring joy into my life and those of others!

When I volunteer for something that touches my heart, I usually get to meet new people and make new friends at the same time. This helps me to get to know others in my community who are also doing their best to better the town we share. When I see so many others, taking time out of their lives, to be part of the effort required to make our community so great; it brings me hope for the future. It’s a wonderful reminder that there are lots of people like you and me who still care about our neighbors and do our best to spread joy.

When I give my time and join my neighbors who have the same intentions as I do; the results can be heartwarming and encouraging. I was recently elected to the board of our local Friends of the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Committee. I am so excited about the opportunity to be part of this program. ‘The Friends’ have started a Young Naturalist program that provides the children, from our local Elementary schools, the opportunity to learn through outdoor field trips and provide educational information at the Refuge, that’s a lot of fun for them!

I love this program so much, because I believe that getting children excited about nature is how we ensure they care about the environment when they grow up.  To have this opportunity to make a real tangible effort that affects the children and other folks that enjoy the Refuge is exciting! The environment and protecting it is one of my true passions in life. Children are the future and I truly hope they care about the environment as much as I do when they grow up!

I think it is extremely important to have natural spaces that are free for our communities to enjoy. I first started going to the Wildlife Refuge several years ago; because it was full of beautiful hiking trails where I love to take my dogs for a walk. The trails are well maintained and safe, thanks to the funding they receive and the hard work of The Refuge employees and volunteers. Volunteering for an organization that is so near and dear to my heart and echoes the core of my beliefs really fires me up.

I try hard to make sure I am doing my best to bring good ideas, help where I am able, and put my skills to use. ‘The Friends’ Committee does much more beyond youth education. It also includes several subcommittees that have different purposes. I am on the Advocacy Committee which involves talking to Legislators and asking that they ensure our local Refuge will get the funding it needs to be maintained. Pretty sure I can do that!

I believe when you want to change the world you need to start in your own back yard… Volunteering and making a difference in my direct community is pretty darn cool in my mind. We often forget that politics are not just in our State Capitals or Washington D.C. Politics can happen in our towns, schools and even our parks. Being active in your community is the planting of seeds where the grassroots grow. We forget that politics is just putting our beliefs into action. It’s easy, fun and nothing to be afraid of!

Volunteering in other areas of the community has been an excellent opportunity to see the good in the world. We are all different but that’s what makes us so great! When you put us together for a good cause, great suggestions inspire miraculous action and happenings that truly do bring joy to each other and the community we share. How cool is that?!

I also Volunteer at a local animal rescue when I can. It has been a life changing experience that I enjoy and always has me going back for more!

What is your favorite volunteering experience? I’d love to hear what moves your heart!

Wishing you love and blessings,

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

@EmyMinzel

Follow the Adventure Sisters on Facebook!

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com

Starting seeds!

A purposeful and metaphorical act of hope –

There is currently about two feet of snow on the ground here in Minnesota with more forecasted on the way. Even though it is very wintery outside, it is time to think Spring! I love to start my summer flowers from seeds, and these must be planted in the winter.

Starting my petunias, echinacea flowers, asters, and other colorful blooms, are important to me, because I care very much about the environment. I want to give the bees, flowers to pollinate, that have not been sprayed with pesticides often found in store-bought flowers.

I also have other plants that I can start right outside in the ground, after the frost clears and I plan to do that in the spring. I’d like to create a whole area of wildflowers native to Minnesota this year. I’ll use a native blend of prairie flower seeds, known to nourish beneficial pollinators, that are imperative to our food supply. Bees and butterflies are not my only reason for starting seeds and growing flower gardens though.

I believe there is a certain amount of optimism and joy that goes into starting seed. It gives me the opportunity to nurture my environment into a space full of color and beauty. I get to be a friend to the environment and enjoy the beneficial blooms all summer long. Planting any seed is a sign and manifestation of your hope for the future!

Photos 3_17_2017 1703

Planting can also be an investment of beauty and abundance – last year I crafted a pretty and productive flower box for the deck. I planted jalapenos with my petunias, which offered beauty all summer and jalapeno poppers all fall. Plants also test your nurturing skills. How well do you care for your plants and does it correlate with how much attention you give yourself?

A small investment of time can pay off for several years, if you pick a perennial plant. I love to play in the soil, and dig in the earth, to plant my seeds of hope. Sometimes I even bury little notes and prayers under my plants before I put them in the ground. It can’t hurt to give your plant a little encouragement, right?!

During the long Minnesota winter months, I like to take time to tend to house plants also. Feed them, prune them, and transplant if needed. It’s a great time to get my hands in the soil and nurture the plants, that offer clean air, life and beauty to my home.

House plants can also be functional and purposeful, you can grow kitchen herbs like thyme and rosemary, to harvest when cooking or sage for clearing your space. I also like to plant flowers and herbs like echinacea and lemon balm to make my own tea for the winter.

Planting, growing, and nurturing the seedlings of what I want my future to look like, helps me get through cabin fever winter can bring. It’s a purposeful and metaphorical act of hope. A manifestation of the beauty and abundance I want my future to bring.

I am a person who enjoys the simple things in the world, I love tea and flowers! So even, if ‘all I get’ is surrounded by the beauty of flowers and to enjoy homegrown tea; it’s totally worth it to me.

What get’s you through the long winter months? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Wishing you an abundance of peace, love, and flowers,

 

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

@EmyMinzel

Follow the Adventure Sisters on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/BWCAdventureSisters

Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com