My company name says it all… !
LIVE AND THRIVE!
It captures the essence of what I strive to do every day!
It implies going WAY beyond merely "surviving", but turning ANY trial or challenge that is thrown at you, into a positive experience by deciding to take the "high ground", to make the effort to live a full, abundant, healthy, active life, in ALL aspects of your life, including spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, social, financial, and more.
It doesn't matter where you are right now, you have the power within you to begin TODAY… to "LIVE and THRIVE".
Unfortunately, I have had plenty of times throughout my life when I wasn't much of a "Live and Thrive" role model. However, I have learned how to work hard to turn my weaknesses into strengths. As a result, I have received HUGE blessings.
One experience completely changed the course of my life.
It was 3 pm on a clear February day, 2003, in Salt Lake City. I was 47 years old. It was a drought year with not much snow in the valley or mountains. I had hit rock bottom. Not only was I NOT "living and thriving", but I was barely hanging on to life. I hated someone SO much that it was now starting to consume all of my life and I couldn't take it much longer. I'll call him "Steve".
Steve was one of my son's best friends. He was smart, good looking, physically strong, clever, quick witted, manipulative and loved getting a "rise" from me OFTEN. He would do or say things that he knew would send me soaring in anger. Now I think, as I look back on this, that he was highly entertained by how easily he could get under my skin and drive me crazy. Just imagine being "pecked at" nearly every day for 10 years. Any ONE "pecking" wasn't a big deal, but when you combine this little torture on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly amount, it adds up.
But this story isn't so much about what Steve did or didn't do to me. It's about how I allowed myself to get into a very dark, lonely, tormented place for 10 LONG years, from the time my son was 9 - 19. During this time, I felt completely justified in all my woes and pity. I wanted to tell the entire world how much this young man had wronged me but no one seemed to care or wanted to listen.
At times my anger crossed the line and turned to rage. At one point, I hated him so much that I know if I had a gun, I would have shot him.
After 10 years of enduring this emotional and mental torment, I had built up PLENTY of "hate and anger" poison in my body. I can honestly say that it was toxic!
I couldn't enjoy my life. I couldn't focus on anything else for very long. Everything I did was hard to do. I was angry with my husband. He should have fixed this problem and made me happy, so I thought. Images of Steve dominated my life every hour of the day. When I went to a party or family gathering, I wanted to talk about how much of a menace Steve was in my life. No one wanted to be around me including my kids and husband. They were worn out hearing about "Steve" and would avoid being around me for very long.
I finally hit a low in my life that I wanted to run away from home and just keep driving, but as a mother I couldn't do that. I had immediate obligations and a family that needed my attention. I thought "If I can't run away from home, then I'll go to my favorite restaurant, The Mikado, and I'll eat until I am happy again". Fortunately for me, they were closed since it was between the lunch and dinner hours. What else could I do to relieve my agony! I sat in my car and cried. I felt helpless. I didn't know where I could turn for help. I cried some more. Then I started praying to God for help. I told him I couldn't take it any longer. Please help me get rid of all this negative energy that was destroying my life.
After sitting there alone, for awhile, praying and crying, I remember FOUR words came into my head. It was not an audible voice € just a very specific thought, consisting of FOUR words:
"Go climb that mountain".
Those 4 words would change my life. I knew those words didn't come from me, because my first reaction was "Why didn't I think of that!" I knew exactly which mountain these words were referring to. As I sat in my car, I looked up and straight ahead of me was a majestic mountain… Mt Olympus. Out of all the many trails along the Wasatch Mountain Range, this was the only trailhead I knew about. It was close to my home. But this was not your average "walk in the park" kind of hiking trail. It was a steep, rugged, difficult trail to climb and I was not in any shape to climb it. But I acted immediately on this very specific prompting I had received from God. I broke all the hiking rules. I didn't tell anyone where I was going. I was all a lone. I wasn't a hiker and wasn't wearing good sturdy hiking shoes nor did I have any water or food with me but I was determined to "climb that mountain".
I drove to the trailhead, which was just a few minutes from where I was crying. I got out of my car and started up the mountain. I thought about Forest Gump and how he started walking and kept walking until he could walk no more. That was exactly how I felt! I decided to start hiking until I could hike no more…. Until I had more pain in my legs than I did in my heart.
Fortunately for me, since I hadn't exercised on a regular basis, it didn't take long for me to hit my limit on the mountain. After less than a mile I headed back down the trail and could barely lift my legs to get in the car. I was SO sore and it felt SO good!!!! There was NOW more pain in my legs now than there was in my heart!!! With every step I took on that trail, I was able to dump a boatload of negative energy and leave it there on the mountain.
Because it felt so good, I knew I had to do it again…SOON! A week or so later I still didn't know who to ask and so I hiked again by myself in February and then twice in March. After hiking four times by myself, on that same Mt. Olympus trail, I realized it was not a wise thing to do but I had to keep hiking!
Who could I find to hike with me?
Since I majored in Musical Theater in college (singing, dancing and ACTING) AND I am a natural, born promoter AND at the time I was teaching some Adult Community Education Classes, I decided to become a HIKING GUIDE and offer a "Hiking the Wasatch" Class for the Adult Comm. Ed. Summer Quarter. Five students signed up. These were my first "hiking buddies"! Now that I was their "leader", I seriously began studying and learning all about the closest hiking trails, especially all of the easy ones and as they say, the rest is history!
Seven years later…
I've been hiking every week, YEAR ROUND, with currently more than 1200 hikers on my Outdoor Adventure weekly email list who receive a weekly newsletter from me, I have lead hundreds of hiking groups into the Wasatch Mountains, have hiked more than 700 hikes, walked more than 3000 miles, hiked nationally and internationally, including the Swiss Alps, and most importantly, I now have countless numbers of incredible, loyal Outdoor Adventure friends from all over the world. My 30-year marriage with Dave, is better and stronger than ever and I am blessed to have a great love and friendship with each of my 4 grown children, my son in law and 2 grandchildren. I am physically stronger than I have ever been in my life. I feel younger at 54 than I did at 29.
Best of all, I not only got rid of ALL the anger and hatred I had for "Steve", but was able to go WAY beyond that and actually face him and tell him that I loved him and forgave him. It was because of him that ugly trial in my life that I now have such an abundant life, filled with so many incredible friends and experiences in the mountains. Each relationship I have now, came at a high price. Unfortunately, I had to experience a lot of pain before I could really appreciate the miracle and blessings that have come to me. The art of "Living and thriving" may seem like an overwhelming one. But with a change of attitude, one experience will lead to another, which leads to another….and so on and so on…
Because of my willingness to change and ask for help from God, I not only have my own thriving Hiking group, but one thing soon led to another and found myself starting my own…
- Snowshoeing group…
- Then My Camping and Hiking Group…
- My Flat Water Kayaking Group….
- My National and International Outdoor Adventure Vacation Group….
- My Outdoor Dutch Oven Cooking Group
- My Downhill Skiing Group
- My Community Garden Group
- My Healthy Eating Group
- My Barter and Trade Group
- And so on and so on…
Nothing can stop you when you are striving to live a healthy, active life and aren't afraid to work!
Don't settle for one more day of just surviving…
LIVE and THRIVE!
It will literally change the direction of your life…
From singer, dancer, performer…
to mountain woman and farmer
During my college years I majored in Musical Theater at BYU. Throughout my life I've enjoyed performing by playing the piano, singing, dancing, presenting my one-woman theatrical storytelling shows or teaching big band swing dance, theater, etc.
I've also experienced my share of adversity. I'm grateful for tough times though, since it changed the course of my life.
My healthy eating passion...
When we got married in 1979, my new husband quickly became aware of the types of dinners I made. He had been raised with meals that mostly came from plant foods i.e. whole grains, legumes, veggies for snacks and fresh fruit for dessert rather than cakes, cookies and pies. He encouraged me to try cooking with more of these foods and I did.
As our family grew from two, to a family of six, we became more familiar with financial challenges due to unexpected layoffs as I stayed home and raised our 4 children.
We managed to survive through three layoffs as a result of outsourcing and downsizing.
We quickly realized that even with a BA degree in Math and plenty of experience in the Computer Software industry, no one is exempt from layoffs.
However, life was good even with little money for groceries because of what my husband had taught me early in our marriage about food.
As I continue to learn how to eat healthier, delicious meals while spending less money on groceries, my big desire is to reach out and help many others who are struggling to feed their families through these economic hard times, which is why I started teaching classes on the subject 10 years ago.
Eating well without spending much time or money is quite easy to do, once you know how.
Groceries can be one of the bigger expenses in a family budget. Some expenses i.e. mortgage or rent payments and utilities have no flexibility but your grocery bill can vary greatly depending on your habits. I spend very little time in the kitchen preparing and cooking healthy, delicious, home-cooked meals quite inexpensively WITHOUT the use of ANY coupons! I work hard to avoid buying and preparing meals from processed foods. Instead, I am more interested in developing my "getting-back-to-basics" skills by practicing and cooking meals that are made from basic, raw ingredients or meals made from "scratch".
Here I am with Mayor Dennis Webb, mayor of Holladay City and my good friend.
I spend very little time and money in grocery stores, which not only saves our family a great deal of money every year but also allows me more time to do the things I love to do i.e. hike, ski, kayak, bike ride, snowshoe, play the piano, etc.
In addition to teaching my 6-3-4 Meal Plan classes, I started distributing baked goods from local stores in 1998 to families in need.
In 2007, I was ready to launch my community garden group which started with just a few members. It has now grown to several garden properties located throughout the Salt Lake valley. Being able to help people learn how to grow their own food AND sharing an abundance of fresh, locally grown food that we grew ourselves from our own farms is a great feeling of satisfaction. Over 300 families participate in our Community Gardens each year and we are always looking for additional families of all sizes to join us.
In 2010, toward the end of our 3rd layoff, I designed and organized what I call the “6-3-4 Meal Plan Food Box" which I think is the best way to "jump start" you into a world of eating and cooking healthier meals.
6-3-4 means: 6 minutes of prep time, $3/meal enough to feed a family of 4.
My Outdoor Adventure passion...
I was born and raised in Holladay, Utah, near the foot of Mt. Olympus and the Wasatch Mountain Range. I have lived in the same neighborhood in Holladay most of my life except for my teen years spent in Golden, Colorado.
I often wondered where and what the trails were like up in the mountains that were so close to me. Unfortunately, I just wondered but never did anything about it.
In February 2003, my whole life changed.
For years I had been dealing with some difficult and stressful relationships in my life that was now reaching a breaking point.
One day, I had had enough and decided to run away from home or go eat a ton of food at my favorite restaurant—which ever would relieve my pain the quickest!
Luckily, my desired restaurant wasn't open and I knew I had important obligations that day that I couldn't get out of, so running away from home really wasn't an option. However, I knew I still needed to decompress... somehow!!
Feeling frustrated and hopeless, not knowing where to go or what to do to relieve this ever-growing pain, I sat in my car and cried and started praying to God for help.
Soon after I felt a very clear impression in my mind and in my heart that I should "go climb that mountain"!
I looked up at the mountain, specifically Mt. Olympus, a popular 9000 ft. mountain that is quite popular in the Salt Lake City area.
"Why didn't I think of that", I thought to myself, acknowledging that it was not my idea but a great piece of inspiration I just received!
I immediately drove straight up to the Mt. Olympus trail head on Wasatch Blvd. and started hiking!
It's mid-February on a weekday at around 2 pm and I am all alone.
I wasn't wearing hiking shoes, or any special clothing. I wasn't carrying water or food.
I felt like Forrest Gump. I just wanted to hike until I could hike no more, until my legs fell off.
Fortunately for me, it was a drought year and we didn't have any snow on the trail.
I didn't go further than a mile up the trail since this is a steeper mountain to climb and I was not in shape for hiking.
My leg muscles got sore very quickly.
That experience on the mountain was one of the best things I ever did for myself in a time of crisis. And, as they say, the rest is history!
The trail itself is a 4000 ft. hike to the peak in about 3.8 miles.
I hiked this same trail four times during February and March in 2003.
I went by myself all four times because I didn't know anyone who would go with me.
It felt so good to be hiking, even with all the muscle pain. I was able to release SO much negative energy and frustration. I meditated and prayed while I hiked.
However, I knew I shouldn't continue doing this by myself, but it was just what I needed to help me at that point in my life.
I don't recommend hiking by yourself. In Utah, hiking alone in rugged, isolated terrain even though it's just minutes from a busy city, can still be dangerous and risky. Over the years I have learned there really is safety in numbers.
When I got home after that first hike, I could barely walk but it felt SO good to have pain in my legs, instead of my heart. I was able to release SO much negative energy on that mountain.
By March 2003, after hiking just four times on my own, I decided to start my own hiking group.
I was born a promoter, so it didn't ever occur to me to join another hiking group, which would have been the most logical thing to do.
Instead, I decided to organize a hiking group of my own - effective immediately.
Since March 2003, our group has grown from 1 member to over 2000 outdoor enthusiasts.
The quality of our members is simply incredible!
Over time as we gained new members, new ideas for additional sports and activities started to emerge. Eventually I started my Outdoor Adventure Club which includes 350 outings per year including 15+ sports besides hiking 3 - 4 times each week. Other sports include bike riding, snowshoeing, camping, downhill skiing, international and local adventure vacations, flat water kayaking, stand up paddle surfing, Zipfy riding, hooping, land paddling, trampoline jumping, slacklining, cross country skiing, Dutch Oven Cooking, etc.
Besides hiking the Swiss Alps and several trails in Maui we've discovered the amazing beauty of trails that were off the beaten path along with stunning beauty from trails in National and State Parks in Utah and beyond.
Over 156 hikes in the Wasatch Mountains are scheduled for our members each year. New people join us every week. Safety is always top priority.
With our free weekly orientations, members learn how to have a great experience on their very first outing with us. They are also taught important guidelines to follow, regardless of the outdoor adventure.
Our members may have nothing in common except their own passion to be active in the outdoors, which is all that is needed.
I highly recommend that EVERYONE, regardless of age and ability, get outdoors often and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. It will give you a deeper sense of gratitude in your life.
Becoming more active outdoors is honestly one of the best and cheapest ways to decompress, regardless of what ails you.
Besides the fact that you are getting a great physical workout, it will clear your mind and allow you to get a whole new perspective on your life.
The rest of the story....
Remember why I started hiking in the first place - my troubled relationships?
In just a few short months after hiking each week, I was able to sort things out and decompress.
As I began focusing more on the good things in life - my new hiking friends, incredible beauty all around me, my body starting to get stronger, my original problems began dissolving on their own.
Hiking was a HUGE blessing in disguise for me! I never in a million years would have guessed that it could do so much good!
Kind feelings slowly started replacing anger, bitter feelings.
I was able to forgive, forget and replace bad thoughts and habits for good ones.
When you start feeling better about yourself, and correcting your OWN bad habits rather than trying to correct someone else, it's amazing how you start thinking about and treating other people differently.
I am mostly grateful to God that I was inspired to start hiking in the first place, rather than get involved with a lot of contention that I know I would later regret.
Why I am "Crazy Sheryl"...
Several years ago when I had my first website built, I needed to find a name for it. My children and their friends, who were all teenagers at the time, observed that I was not your "normal" mother. I was teaching dance, hiking, jumping on trampolines in our backyard, and a host of other things that other mothers my age weren't doing. They all affectionately started referring to me as "Crazy Sheryl", so when it was time to name my website, we all thought it was the perfect name - crazysheryl.com. It has stuck for all these years! You can still type in Crazysheryl.com and it will direct you to my current website, liveandthrive.com.