Get Outside

A BOLD Move in the Retail World

Today’s post was supposed to be about what I learned backpacking for 10 days. It will have to wait until next time because something important happened this week that I think is more worthy of sharing. As you know, I work part-time at the outdoor outfitting store (and largest co-op in the country), REI. The six values REI holds sacred are authenticity, service, quality, respect, integrity, and balance. The company works very hard to ensure these values are upheld in everything they do, from the way in which they support their employees, the way they do business with their customers, and the way they support the environment with each individual store contributing money and volunteers to help people get outside and enjoy a richer life.

So if you haven’t heard yet (but I’m pretty sure you have), this past Monday Jerry Stritzke, the President and CEO of REI, announced to both his employees and the world that REI would be closed on Black Friday, AND would be paying all of their employees, AND is inviting co-op members, employees, and anyone else interested to #optoutside for that day instead of slogging it out at the stores or spending hours online shopping.

BRA-VO Jerry!

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Not only that, they’ve set up a website,, for people to go and share what they’ll be doing outside with their friends and family the day after Thanksgiving. I call it Thanksgiving 2. Giving thanks to mother nature for all that she does for us. Without her, we would not be here at all.

Think about the for a moment. Black Friday is one of the largest money-making days of the year for retail stores. My company, has decided that it’s okay if they don’t bring in millions of dollars that day (MILLIONS). AND with zero coming in they are going to give out a day of pay to over 12,000 employees. That’s not a small chunk of change. We can all shop 24/7/365. But REI is saying not at our store. You have one day you can’t. And please, for the love of the outdoors, go out and be a part of it.

It’s a bold risk for sure. But isn’t it about time that someone in the retail world stood up and said money doesn’t have to be our only indicator of success. Maybe part of that success is taking care of your people who are the ones that have made your company so successful. And allowing for balance at the start of the crazed holiday season. And inviting everyone who can and is willing, to go outside and be, and play, and breathe, and enjoy.

There’s a reason the bottom of every page on my website, and every blog and newsletter I write says, Get Outside and Nurture Your Life. And REI’s motto is a Life Outdoors is a Life Well Lived.

Please tell me, do your best memories come from that time you went to Macy's and bought that amazing sweater? Do you remember the perfumed aisles and the awesome lighting in the dressing room? Or do you remember that time you camped out on that gorgeous lake with water so still you could see the exact reflection of the trees in it? The birds that sang to you in the morning as the sun came up, rippling the clouds in the sky with pinks, oranges, and purples so breathtaking that you just didn’t have words to describe it. I somehow believe (and really hope) that those are the memories you hold important.

This is not only a call from one retail store to stop the madness for one day, I see it as a call to start a Get Outside Revolution. Tell me who doesn’t come back from time spent in nature on the beach, in the mountains, on the water, refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated?

What do I know to be true right now?

Nature IS one of the main paths to our whole and peaceful selves. It not only connects us to something bigger than ourselves, but I believe that something bigger than ourselves is part of our DNA. We are not separate from the whole, the whole is part of us.

So don’t even wait for Black Friday, get outside and make it part of your weekly if not daily routine. You will never waste a second of your life if it is spent outside taking in everything natures’ got to offer. She will give to you exactly what you need if you let her. But you must spend time with her to receive her gifts.

There’s a reason REI is one of the top 100 companies to work for as rated by Fortune Magazine. Today I am one proud #REIemployee. If you's like to be a part, here's that link again,

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Why Mother Nature is a Gift

I can’t tell you how many times I hear a version of the same answer over and over again when I ask someone what getting out in nature does for them. This is what they say, “It brings me peace, clarity, expands my heart, connects me to the world.”

“It fills me with fresh ideas and fresh perspective.”

“It’s my home.”

“It recalibrates my sense of well-being and rightness in the world.”

“It gives me appreciation, calmness, grounding.”

“It inspires me, renews me.”

“It gives me peace and joy.” woman-out-in-nature-looking-at-camera

“It calms my mind and generally makes me feel happier, more optimistic.”

“It’s refreshing and peaceful at the same time.”

“Nature is my spirituality.”

“It gives me a sense of peace, awe, gratitude, and connection with the universe.”

“It helps me remember everything runs in cycles and will change”,

“It frees my body, mind, and spirit.”

Wow- that Mother Nature has got it goin’ on!

This is what she does to us, for us. She is always there to help bring us back to ourselves. Back to a more natural state of peace. Peace, groundedness, centeredness is who we are at a core level.

I can think of almost nothing better than spending time outside and feeling peaceful, connected, re-energized, grounded, happier, and with a calmer mind.

We each enjoy her differently. Some of us like to sit by a river or at the beach. Some enjoy biking or hiking, some like to photograph nature, some like to garden.

What’s most important is that we actually spend time with her. Regularly. The to-do list will always be there. For the rest of your days. So let it be.

There are times when you need to step out of your everyday, a million things to do life, and go outside. Spend 10 minutes watching the birds at your bird feeder like I’m doing as I type this. Spend 3 hours hiking along a gorgeous river, like I did a few weekends ago.

I promise you that if you allow yourself to be there and take it all in, you will leave feeling some if not all of the things mentioned above.

And what happens when you get back to your regular life? Because you feel more grounded and centered, you'll have more energy, you’ll able to make more clear decisions, you'll prioritize better, you'll discover what’s more important at the moment. You can often get out of the muck and focus.

And that’s the gift. Mother nature brings you back to yourself. Your best self.

So I suggest you grab your calendar right now.



And flip through the next month, and schedule yourself time in nature. I don’t care if it’s once a week, or once a day. For 6 hours, or 20 minutes. But schedule it. And do it. And enjoy. Not only will you like yourself better. Others will like you more too.

She not only sustains everything on this planet, she sustains us. Without us, she would continue just fine.

Appreciate her and she will nurture you.

If you’d like, Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to  hear from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Giving up Perfection when you're trying to be Creative

I love ideas. I have a lot of them. We just picked out our Christmas tree and brought it home. While some branches were being cut to make the tree fit into the base I had a great idea. I’ll use the extra branches to make a wreath we can put outside our front door. Brilliant idea!

My husband brought in some wire from the garage, and since I didn’t know how to make a wreath I Googled it. Martha Stewart makes some might fine, perfectly shaped, symmetrical wreaths!

I tried following the directions and my branches didn’t resemble anything like her wreath, or even A wreath. My husband gave me another idea. I tried that. Nope. Not so good.

Then I got frustrated. I just wanted to make a nice simple wreath using the greenery from my tree without spending a ton of time or money. I am not a moron. I should be able to figure this out. Dammit!

Then, my snarky brain kicked in. Just give up. You aren’t creative. Go to the crafts store and buy a pre-fab round foam form to attach the branches to and get it over with.

But instead of giving up and going to the store I stepped away and took my dog for a walk. Note- one of the best things you can do when you have a problem you can’t find a solution for is to step away for a while. It gives your subconscious mind some wiggle room to actually come up with a way to fix the problem.

I said to myself, I know I can do this. It’s just a silly wreath. So I proceeded to walk in the rain with no particular thoughts in my head. Then out of the blue, the ideas for how to fix my problem started coming. I had at least 2-3 ideas by the time I got home.

I put the wreath up, as is, just to see what it looked like. It wasn’t even close to what I envisioned but it was a start.

Wreath #1

Them I started to cut out the branches in the middle so my wreath would have a hole. It started to take shape until I cut one branch, which separated one whole side of the wreath. Instead of having a wreath with a round hole in the center, I now had one that looked sort of like a C. I said aloud,” that is so not what I had in mind”.

Wreath #2

Then something completely unexpected and fabulous happened.

I remembered that my last name is Carroll. Carroll starts with a C. This is the Carroll household. So why couldn’t my wreath be a big C with a red bow. I mean, why the hell not?

This all made perfect sense to me as I looked at this C wreath. It was totally organic. It didn’t sit on the wall perfectly flat. Some branches stuck out here and there, kind of like my hair often does. This wreath was completely me. It looked nice but not perfect. Care was put in to creating it but the perfection of a Martha Stewart wreath was left out. My life is messy, not perfect, filled with joy and sorrow, and great ideas that don’t always end up looking like I thought they would, or should.

I am quite pleased with my creation. I bet it won’t look like anything else in my neighborhood. And isn’t that often what we notice most? Things that look different but are still beautiful. All because I stepped away from the problem and allowed solutions to come through, then followed through on those ideas, which led to the organic creation of my unique Christmas wreath.

And I’m happier with the outcome, maybe even because, it doesn’t look like a Martha Stewart wreath.


Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to  hear from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Get Outside (Really) GET OUTSIDE!

It’s fall in many parts of the country. The air where you live may be crisp and cooler, the leaves changing and falling off the trees (or not). There may even be snow all over the ground already and it may look like winter. And now is the time to get outside before full-blown winter arrives (whatever that means for you). As we all know, it’s only going to continue to get colder and darker.  woman in nature

The holidays haven’t arrived and I’m betting some of you get pretty busy when they do. Which is why now is the perfect time to do it. Throw on an extra layer (or 2) if you need it and take a walk in the crisper air. Notice how it feels and smells so different. Notice the trees. Do they look different than they did a month ago? What animals are around that you don’t normally see? What bird sounds do you hear?

You already know you’ll feel better. You don’t need hard science to tell you that.

It’s the changing of the seasons. Transition time.

Be a part of that transition. It won’t happen again until spring. NOW is the time.

Get Outside!

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to  hear from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Choosing the beaten path

My husband, our two furry friends and I, love to hike. When we lived in Alaska, hiking often meant we wouldn’t pass another soul while we were out. We loved that! That doesn’t happen so much here in the lower 48.


Over the weekend we decided to go hike one of the endless trails here. We chose a popular one. There were a ton of cars in the parking area at the trailhead. I have to admit, we weren’t really all that excited about sharing the trail with a bazillion other people.

But for some reason we didn’t come across that many while we were out.

No only that, the longer we hiked on this well worn trail, the more awesome the landscape became. Mt. Bachelor was to our left and Broken Top was straight ahead, front and center. It was, as my husband likes to say,


And we never would have seen all that spectacular-ness (made up word J) had we not chosen the beaten path that day.

While they say the road less traveled is where life happens, I’d say the well-traveled road has its perks too. It’s well traveled for a reason.

Have you got a story about taking the road more or less traveled? Please. Share it with us.

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Go fly a kite

When was the last time you flew a kite? Seriously.

I’m on vacation at a reunion with my husband’s family in Hilton Head, SC. With 17 people including 8 kids ranging in age from 5-18, we’re having a ball. Bike rides, tennis, playing games, body surfing in the waves, building sand castles, and flying kites.

We all headed to beach one evening after dinner with an assortment of kites that were either shaped like diamonds and really inexpensive as well as kites that were more technologically advanced, one was even a dragon fly.  flying kites on the beach

It was so fun to watch both the adults become kids flying those kites, zooming them left and right in the sky, and the younger kids with their big, wide eyes taking turns trying to get their kites off the ground and soaring. That look of anticipation in their eyes and the excitement in their giggle when the kite takes off and flies up is priceless.

There was no distinction between the adults and kids. Bright eyes, excitement, expectation, laughing, smiling. In the moment.

To be a part of it and watch at the same time… awesome.

Go find a park or a beach on a windy day, fly a kite, and just enjoy. You won’t be disappointed.

When was the last time you flew a kite? Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Your message is your answer

Memorial Day is this Monday. I'm taking a moment to notice that while millions of us will be barbecuing and enjoying the day off, many families may have a hard time because this holiday reminds them of a loved one lost who chose to support this amazing country of ours, and died in the process. On to the blog.

I am a life coach. I am happy most of the time. Positive. Upbeat. I can see the benefit of almost anything.

And I’m a human being.   did you get the message

That means I get grumpy, irritated, stressed, and tired.

This happened to me this week.

I had spent too much time on the computer and got that anxious, irritated feeling. I needed something. But what?

Then a message came through. Get moving and get outside it said.

I didn’t listen.

I plowed through more stuff on the computer.

Back came that stressed, grumpy feeling.

Again came the message, get moving and get outside.

I ignored it.

It took me 3 freaking times to hear that message to finally say to myself, you need to get moving and get outside.

So I did.

Piled my 2 dogs into the car, drove to an awesome local park with BIG pine trees on the rushing river, and we walked for 90 minutes.


Just what I needed.

I dropped the negative feelings and enjoyed being out in nature.

I returned feeling SO much better and ready to continue what I was working on.

My message was there. It kept nudging me. It’s a quiet one that inner voice of mine. She’s a subtle bugger. But persistent. She was right too. Doing what she said gave me what I needed, my answer. I just needed a break.

There is a ton of research that says when you’re frustrated and not moving forward on something you’re working on to take a break and walk away.

By taking the time away, you come back more refreshed, with increased clarity, and ready to begin again.

You actually become more efficient. When you’re tired and plowing through something, mistakes are made, quality decreases, and you aren’t efficient. I don’t know a single person that is.

I don’t need the research on the value of stepping away (especially outside to nature). I have proof from my experience in my own life.

That’s all I or anyone else needs. The truth of what works for you.

What has your inner voice told you lately? Are you listening? Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

susan small sig 05:14Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Welcome to my new website! A virtual home for women who want to relax, slow down, and learn how mother nature can nurture their lives.

Let me get right down to it.    standing close up

I'm on a new mission.

To help women transition through change in life better, slow down in this fast crazy paced world, and get outside and nurture their lives.

It's time to get out and become present to all the amazing beauty that surrounds us.

There is so much research on the huge benefits to our health, minds, and souls. The more we spend time out in green spaces, the more peaceful we feel. The more at peace we feel, the more our cells are in a happy place in our body, able to keep us functioning at a high level with a good immune system.

The happier and healthier we are, the more energy we have to share and give to others.

The time is truly now.

So get to it. Feel the sun on your skin, hear the birds singing, smell the air, see the buds and blooms.

Don't just take my word for all of this, get outside and notice how you feel. That will be your true test.

Tell me what you think. Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me directly,

If this struck you and you think, "I know one friend who would really like this". Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

~ Susan Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Building your community

We human beings are social creatures. That means, at least some of the time, we need to be around other people we can connect with. holdinghands

But not just anyone will do. You need to find your people. Often you find those people in various groups in your life.

Some can be found at work, or a place you volunteer, maybe in line at the coffee shop, or when you try something new like taking a painting class.

Having moved and settled into a new hometown, I’m building my own local community. It’s exciting and actually scarier and harder than I thought it might be. It’s almost like going on a first date all the time. How will I come across? What will I say? How much info. is too much info. to share? Will they like me? Will I like them? I’m not sure if that ever goes away. But then I realize I’m looking for my people. The one’s that like me will, the one’s that don’t won’t. And that’s okay.

In the end, my community will be the people who get my silly quirks and still love me, and I’ll get their goofy mannerisms and love them too.

There are endless possibilities to meet new people and build a community for yourself. Here are a few in my town. You may have many similar ones too.

Online you can go to and type in your town. It will show you quite an array of different groups meeting to hike, bike, go to movies, have tea, play games, learn computer stuff, etc… I started going to coffee meetups here and found a ton of woman in my same shoes. Either they were new to town and didn’t know many people or had been here a while and many of their friends had moved.

Look in your local newspaper or magazine. Maybe you have a community college or university where you can take an inexpensive class in something you’ve always wanted to learn more about.

People want to learn, share, grow, and connect. It makes us feel good. We know we aren’t alone and have people around us to be there during the happy and the hard times.

It’s spring! Get out and commune. You’ll find your people if you look. I promise they’re out there.

And I want to thank you for being a part of my community here online. I love the comments you leave on the blog or email to me. There are some smart, deeply feeling people in this community. We can’t meet in person and have coffee but I know if we could it would be super fun. We’re all on the same team and that feels good. Thank you again.

Join the conversation on the blog by leaving a comment below, or email me,

I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.

As always, take from here what works for you, share this with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest… you can leave behind.

Bloom On!