Day 59: Close 4 Transactions in 1 Day


This was a great first today! Previously, I have closed as many as three transactions in a single day. On the last day of February, and a Friday at that, I closed four.

One of the things I enjoy most about being a realtor is closing the sale, and not because that’s pay day for me. I’m not complaining about that either! But for me, being able to hand a buyer a set of keys, or a seller a check, is a wonderful experience. I love the excitement that lights up the faces of new home owners as the last document is signed and they realize the house is now theirs. And often for the sellers, there are sighs of satisfaction that the sale is completed and they can now move on to whatever is next on their journey.

My role, as a realtor, is to come alongside a buyer, a seller, an investor, and help them accomplish their goals in real estate. It can be a stressful time for those who are moving. Often there is a life transition taking place at the same time: a new job, a new baby, the last child leaving home, a death, a divorce.  If I can ease their stress by handling the details and making sure the transaction goes as smoothly as possible, then I have done my job. I also soothe, encourage, hand hold, wipe tears, hug and celebrate. This is a people business, not a house one. And emotions accompany people. I am honored when I can offer more to my clients than showing a house or writing a contract.

Today’s closings were the end of these transactions, but not the end of the journeys or the relationships with these precious people. Thank you, Kaleb, Amber, Mona and Terry, and Steven and Rachel, for allowing me to be your realtor! I am grateful.

Day 58: Visit Local Color Art Gallery & Studio


What a delight today’s first was! I’ve known about Local Color Art Gallery & Studio, located in the Gryphon Building in downtown Joplin. I even had it on my list of firsts as a place to visit. So I love the way events arranged themselves so that I made it my first for today.

After I viewed the deeply moving Angels for Joplin exhibit at the Joplin Library I searched on Facebook to see if I could locate the artist. I found her. And realized she was connected to Local Color Art Gallery & Studio. She most graciously invited me to visit at a time when she would be there and today, that happened.

It was such a pleasure to meet Tricia Courtney in person. She is as creative and warm and compassionate as her angel sculptures indicated she would be! We had a great conversation and then I strolled through the gallery.

What a beautiful, magical place. The space is open and lit by an abundance of natural light streaming through the many windows. It is imbued with a sense of purpose and creativity, making it the perfect backdrop for the 16 local artists who sell their work there. Hand crafted pottery, paintings, sculptures, furniture and wearable art are skillfully displayed throughout the gallery. I was amazed at the variety of art styles and pieces.

Tricia was present to answer my questions and introduced me to one of the artists, Percilla Penner. I admired the painting she was working on and enjoyed chatting with her also. Percilla and Tricia both teach at the gallery, offering fun classes for adults and children. Budding artists are encouraged to create their own masterpieces and show them off.

I left Local Color Art Gallery & Studio feeling inspired. I will be a frequent visitor, to browse and to shop. And I look forward to attending many art classes there and allowing my creativity to blossom. What a fun way to bring more firsts into my life.

Day 57: Listen to Rap Music



For today’s first, I wanted to listen to a style of music that I don’t, or won’t, normally listen to. I love all types of music, and have an eclectic mix of styles on my iPod and iPhone. I admit a preference for movie and musical soundtracks, but I enjoy just about everything else, with the exception of one genre. I’ve never been a fan of rap music.

Wanting to expand myself and open to new possibilities, today I listened to rap on my iPhone, using Pandora radio. Working around the house and driving in the car, I let Pandora select the songs, and I listened. Really listened. I initially had to overcome a dislike of the heavier beat and sometimes rough language.  I quickly realized, however, that like all musicians, these artists are telling a story. Rap is no different in that regard. The sounds were different. And the cadence of words and slang usage made it difficult to understand what was being said, at least to my unaccustomed ears. But the anger or pain or sorrow came through. And the stories.

A few songs today left me shaking my head. Some made me smile or laugh. One, though, captured me. The song is “Yesterday”, by Atmosphere. I listened to it twice and then looked up the lyrics. I called this song a gentler rap, and the story really spoke to me. Rapper Slug (Sean Daley) is telling about his relationship with his father. Only I didn’t know he was singing about his dad until the song’s end. I thought he was lamenting the loss of a girlfriend. Suddenly, the whole meaning of the song changed.

Here is the hook:

Yesterday, was that you?
Looked just like you
Strange things my imagination might do
Take a breath, reflect on what we’ve been through
Or am I just going crazy cause I miss you?

I loved the poignancy of the last line, in the last verse:

Never thought about the world without you
And I promise that I’ll never say another bad word about you

I thought I saw you yesterday
But I know it wasn’t you, cause you passed away
, Dad

I researched this song. The rapper’s father committed suicide a couple of years before this song was written. This is Slug’s heartfelt goodbye, offered through his music. I hope, in creating this tribute, there has been healing for him.

Am I a rap fan now? No, I’m not. But by opening myself to a form of music I’ve avoided, I discovered a powerful and moving story, hidden within a rapper’s song. And, I do still have a rap channel saved on Pandora, so who knows? I might become a fan after all.



You can listen to Yesterday, by Atmosphere, here:

Day 56: Eat at Spring River Buffet


I don’t frequent Downstream Casino. That’s not a judgment. I love that my five year old granddaughter refers to the casino as “Chuck E. Cheese for grownups”.  I just don’t enjoy gambling. However, in not going out there, other than for a couple of realtor banquets, I’ve missed out on the restaurants that are part of Downstream. For today’s first, I ate at Spring River Buffet, located within Downstream Casino.

If you are a seafood lover, Tuesday evenings is the time to dine at Spring River. It’s all you can eat, and includes plates heaped with crab legs. The same crew that accompanied me to the weather spotting class last night, sampled the buffet with me tonight. In fact, this first was my sister Linda’s idea! It was a great one!

The restaurant was beautiful and the food delicious, plentiful and artfully displayed. I’ve been reading a book called “The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life”, by Thomas Moore, and I love his chapter on food and the soulfulness of it. He writes “Food is not just for the body; it also feeds the soul.” We enjoyed a leisurely and soulful dinner. I love when I can savor a well prepared meal without having to rush to the next appointment. And the variety of food made it easy for me to eat a healthy meal without feeling like I was overdoing or missing out.

My family and I had a great time together, laughing, talking and dining. Our attentive waiter filled us in on what’s served on the buffet each night. I think I’ll visit again soon. Perhaps on a Saturday night for prime rib!




Day 55: Weather Spotting Class


Today’s first was about confronting a long time fear. My earliest memory, at the tender age of 27 months, was of being in a tornado in Tulsa, OK. I didn’t understand what a tornado was. I only knew my mom, a young woman at home with a toddler and a baby, placed us between the bed and the wall in her bedroom to protect us. I thought we were hiding from a monster. And when I saw the tree uprooted in our front yard, I believed it was a HUGE monster. I was scared that it got my daddy, who was at work at the time.

I eventually learned that a tornado isn’t a living, breathing creature, but that didn’t lessen my strong dislike for high winds during a storm. I enjoy the power and beauty of a thunderstorm. As soon as the wind comes up, though, I move into an uneasy state of alertness. Going through the Joplin tornado was traumatic and surreal and has since created a yearly dread of spring, and the onset of tornado season.

I can continue to fear these massive storms….or I can face my fear head on and educate myself. I chose the latter! Tonight, I attended a Weather Spotter Class along with my sister, mom and stepdad. We received Spotter Training Certificates of Completion.  

This was a fascinating class. I now understand so much more about the formation of thunderstorms and tornadoes and what to watch for. The instructor did a great job of incorporating lecturing with pictures and videos. We were each given a field guide, which I appreciate, as I can review the material often. I learned which cloud formations normally produce rain and low winds and move through an area quickly. And which ones indicate the possibility of heavy rains, hail, strong winds and tornadoes. We also learned how to safely observe the weather, call in a report, and when to seek shelter.

I’ll never be a storm chaser. But if my mouth will no longer go dry when storm watches are issued for the area, that will be a big leap forward for me.  My fear is shifting to a cautious respect for severe weather. And rather than casting an anxious eye toward the sky, I can cast an assessing one.  I’ll soon have the chance, with the arrival of spring, to put into practice what I learned this evening.

Day 54: Make Energy Bites


Today’s first, making no bake energy bites, was easy and yummy. It was a perfect first for Sunday, when I like to have some down time before another busy week begins.

This recipe couldn’t have been more simple. In a large bowl, combine:

1 cup dry oatmeal

½ cup mini chocolate chips

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup ground flaxseed

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

Form into balls and let set on wax paper. I made fairly large “bites” and the recipe made 15. And the results? Wonderfully tasty! This is a great, healthier alternative to chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies. To up the health benefits, use organic or steel cut oatmeal, dark chocolate chips, organic peanut butter and locally produced organic honey. Ground flaxseed can be found at your favorite health food store or larger grocery store.

I’m feeling a strong desire to eat differently. All these firsts are having an amazing impact on my life. Opportunities are arriving and ideas flowing. I want new experiences in all areas of my life, including my health and wellness. I’ll be sharing those new adventures, as I am drawn into them!

Day 53: College Basketball Game


I’m not a big sports fan but today’s first, attending a college basketball game, was fun! I haven’t attended a basketball game since I was in high school, many years ago. And I’ve never been to a college level game, even though Joplin is home to Missouri Southern State University, and my kids and a nephew went to school there.

My sister, Linda, and I were given the opportunity to go to a MSSU game because we visited Southern’s booth at the Business Expo back in January. When we were offered free tickets to a game, we knew this could be a first for me and we immediately accepted. We were given the option of two dates to attend and we selected today, simply because we had plans for the other possible Saturday.

What a great date we picked! Today’s game was against major rival Pittsburg State University. It was also the last home game for MSSU and coach Robert Corn was being honored with a ceremony as he prepares to retire. This was a BIG game. A friend of mine gave us both a Southern hoodie to wear and our stepdad came up with a Go Lions! banner. We were ready to cheer for the home team!

Leggett and Platt Athletic Center was packed with fans from both universities. I’d forgotten how loud friendly rivalry is during a game and the depth of devotion some fans exhibit. You wouldn’t have known we were newbies to college basketball though. We yelled and cheered and clapped with the rest of them and groaned when a shot was deflected or a foul was called.

It was a fun afternoon. I’d definitely go to another basketball game and attending a college football game is on my list of first things as well. I’ll hang on to the banner. Go Lions!





Day 52: Tagline for Rivendell of the Ozarks


If you know me at all, you know I am a huge fan of JRR Tolkien. His writings have greatly influenced my life. And the recent Peter Jackson movie adaptations of Lord of the Rings and now The Hobbit have brought those stories to life for me. There are many life lessons contained within the books and the films. About 12 years ago, a vision was born in me. I longed to create a place much like Rivendell in Tolkien’s stories, and invite people to stay there for a time, disconnecting from the busyness of their lives and reconnecting with who they really are.  Rivendell would be a place to rest, heal, reflect, and be restored, surrounded by beauty, nature and a peaceful, joyful atmosphere.

I’ve carried that dream for many years. And then two years ago, I realized that Rivendell is a reflection of me. I am Rivendell. What I hoped to offer someday, I can offer now. I don’t have the wooded acreage and the cottages and the trails to explore, yet. But I can create space, now, that allows others to discover who they are. I can offer out of my heart all that I long to offer someday in a place called Rivendell. More specifically, Rivendell of the Ozarks.

Today’s first is a stepping stone from where I am, to where I want to be. There are many planned firsts this year that will help my dream take shape. Today, I created a tagline for Rivendell of the Ozarks. This seems like a very simple task, and in some ways, it is. And yet I’ve thought about it all day! Before I create a logo, I wanted to consider what I am offering, and how that can be expanded upon. So the words are important to me.

Here is my tagline:

Rivendell of the Ozarks

Relax  Reflect  Refresh

Much thinking….for those three words. However, I am laying a foundation that must be solid for that which will be built upon it. Those words capture the essence of what I want to offer in the future, and what I offer now.

I have a quote about Rivendell in my office. There is a phrase contained within it that states, “Rivendell is a haven of light…” Rivendell of the Ozarks is my light, and my gift, that I shine outward into the world.

Day 51: Hypnotist Michael C. Anthony


My first for Day 51 required me to suspend skepticism and attend a performance with an open mind. Hypnotism is something that has always intrigued me. I’ve seen hypnotists on TV.  Is it real? Is it just a show? I’ve always wondered if I would succumb and enter into a trance, or would I resist. When I saw Michael was going to be performing at Missouri Southern State University, I was eager to observe what happens in a live event.

Michael is considered one of the top hypnotists in the world. He is in high demand on college campuses across the US. He’s been seen on CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX. He is more than an entertainer. He is a board certified hypnotherapist and holds certifications as a practitioner of Neuro Linguitstic Programming, Ericksonian hypnotherapy and is a Master hypnotist.

But he is an entertainer, as well, of the highest caliber.  His show, Hypnotized, is a critically acclaimed masterpiece that is considered the best of its type in the world. His style is described as an avant garde blend of human psyche and eye-popping theater. It is amazingly funny!

My sister and mom accompanied me tonight and none of us knew quite what to expect. We did know this: we were there as spectators and did not want to volunteer. I’m glad we were quite firm about that! College students lined the stage and Michael quickly moved them into trance. The results were hilarious. Michael was personable and comedic, reminding me of Jim Carrey. He was careful not to cause harm or push the boundaries too far, and yet with great showmanship, he had a group of young adults obeying every amusing suggestion, from howling like a werewolf to forgetting the number 6 existed. We laughed until we were hoarse. The students were good sports and received a huge round of  applause for their participation.

So after watching the antics of the volunteers for an hour, gauging responses and studying each person, I’d say I’m a believer in the authenticity of hypnotism. Beyond the fun and hilarity, there are more serious and helpful uses for this practice.  I believe the subconscious is where our imagination and creativity reside, and hypnosis bypasses the conscious mind with its constant self talk, and taps into this deep mysterious pool of possibilities. I’m even more intrigued and will study this subject further.

Do I now believe hypnosis would work on me? I’ll let you know. We walked out of there with a couple of Michael’s hypnosis CDs.

Day 50: A Day Without Complaining


Today’s first, to go the whole day without complaining, was interesting. I’m not a big complainer. And yet I suspected there were more complaints sneaking into my words and thoughts than what I realized. It would have been easier to do this first on a Sunday, when I tend to have more quiet time and less contact with people. But I had a full schedule today and it was the perfect opportunity to try this and truly gauge my level of complaining.

Keller Williams Realty has a saying: “Complaining = Garbage Magnet”.  The more I complain, the more I attract into my life to complain about. Likewise, the more gratitude I express, the more I have to express gratitude for.  I believe those principles. So it was good to do a reality check to see how I’m doing at living what I believe.

I moved through my day with a raised awareness of my thoughts and words. In conversations with others I stayed very mindful of not participating in complaining. I didn’t mind if someone needed to vent. I just didn’t need to join in and was able to listen without making a big deal about what my first was. One person, who was aware of my no complaining day, started to speak about politics and then very graciously dropped the subject!

It was complaining to myself that I had to watch. When I dropped my container of deodorant this morning, three times, rather than grumble about my clumsy fingers, I said, “‘That’s okay”. Twice today, while driving alone, other drivers reacted in unexpected ways. When a car suddenly cut in front of me, I said “Gosh!” I promise, that’s the word that came out of my mouth! Just saying that caused me to press my lips together and not utter another word. Later, when a second car blocked traffic and a fire truck trying to get through, lights and sirens going, I simply said “Stop”. I’m not sure why! Perhaps the word was spoken as a reminder to me, since the driver couldn’t hear me and was stopped already.

Being aware of the thoughts I have and the words I speak, and shifting when necessary, was a good experience today. I felt lighter, joyful, grateful and experienced high energy. That’s what I want more of in my life. I created a new saying: “Gratitude = Joy Magnet”.