Day 181: Six Month Celebration & Reflection


January 1, when I began this journey of experiencing something new each day, I wasn’t sure if I could find enough firsts to make it through the year. I made lists. I hunted for ideas. And there was nothing wrong with planning ahead! I still check the newspaper for upcoming events and I always have my “antenna” out, picking up suggestions. As June draws to a close, I have made it half way through the year! Today marks six months gone in 2014. If I go by number of days, noon Wednesday, July 2, marks the halfway point. Today seemed like the day to celebrate one of the greatest years of my life!

It has been an exciting year thus far. These new experiences have taught me much about life and stepping out there and being okay with being uncomfortable. Firsts like handing out flowers to strangers on Valentine’s Day and using power tools pushed me to go beyond the fear of being misunderstood and the fear of hurting myself! Many of my firsts have involved family members such as my sisters, mom, children and grandchildren. Aubrey and I sang our hearts out at the Disney Frozen Sing a long, while Joey and Oliver got to have their first outing with me at the Jasper County Sheriff’s Day. My grandson Dayan moved beyond his own comfort zone when he helped me put encouraging notes on random cars in a large parking lot. We laughed as we darted from car to car.

I’ve appreciated how supportive my family and friends have been as they journey along side me while I experience this amazing year. They’ve not only been willing participants, they’ve come up with suggestions and ideas for firsts and they’ve been open to experiencing and sharing firsts of their own.

The new friends I’ve made and the people I’ve had the privilege of connecting with have so enriched my year. I love that the act of moving beyond has brought opportunities to meet people I never would have met otherwise. It has been a pleasure to email with Lu Ann Cahn, and do a guest blog for her. Lu Ann’s book, “I Dare Me” inspired my own journey. I’ve also met another blogger who is having a year of firsts as well. Betty has been fun to correspond with and I often check out her blog to see what she’s doing that day for a first. Although we’ve had a few similar experiences, for the most part, we are doing very different firsts. A link to her blog is provided at the end of this post.

The most amazing lesson I’ve learned so far this year is not to over think or over plan what each day’s first will be. Many times the planned first has shifted or been postponed, for a variety of reasons. And yet, when that happens, another first always appears, and it is always the perfect first for that day! I’m seeing how life flows, and how being in that flow not only makes life easier and more joyful, but more opportunities show up for me as I stay in that open space. It has been exciting, also, to experience so much synchronicity and see the connections that are everywhere.

This afternoon, I had a delightful time catching up with two of my dear friends, Garen and Cate, at Blackthorn Pizza & Pub. We shared about what was going on in our lives and encouraged each other in our journeys. We each had a drink. I normally have a hard cider, Angry Orchard being my favorite. Today, however, they were out of cider. Jason, the bartender, disappeared and came back with a deliciously tart, fruity drink he made just for me. He called it The Cindy. How appropriate, as I celebrated the halfway mark in my year of firsts, to have a drink I had never had before, named after me. And how fun! Here’s to an incredible rest of the year!

Check out Betty’s blog



Day 180: Dig New Potatoes at the Farm


What a fun weekend….big city first yesterday….today, this small city girl headed to the country. My Uncle Rex and Aunt Mary own a beautiful property in Oklahoma. My sisters and I met my cousin, Mike, at his family farm for a visit and to get our hands dirty. For my first today, I dug up new potatoes.

I’ve always been a city girl. I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a child, moved to a small town in Missouri during my teen years and have enjoyed living in Joplin most of my adult life. I like the conveniences of living in town. And yet, I am drawn to the earth. I love gardening and growing plants. While I tend to focus primarily on flowers and herbs now, I also enjoy vegetable gardening. I’ve grown the easy, traditional veggies such as tomatoes and squash and green peppers. I’m not as experienced with such plants as potatoes, peas and berries.

My cousin and uncle have a large kitchen garden on their farm. Mike works long hours at his day job and then spends his evenings and Sunday afternoons tending to the many tasks around the farm and garden. Since Linda and I were in Tulsa this weekend and headed home to Joplin anyway today, we decided that we would stop by the farm on the way home. Debbie joined in the fun by driving out with us from Tulsa and then returning home again later in the day.

Dressed in casual clothes and wearing ball caps to shield our eyes and faces, we gathered in the garden, eager to help out. Mike brought buckets for picking and we spent the early afternoon filling them with ripe, luscious blackberries. I’ve picked berries before. This was fun and we popped quite a few juicy blackberries into our mouths as we worked our way along the heavily laden bushes. We were grateful for cool breezes and an overcast day. It was perfect work-in-the-garden weather.


Mike showed us all that was growing in the garden and patiently explained the growing cycles and what was finishing up and what he still needed to plant. We moved to the rows of Golden Yukon and Red Potatoes. This was something I had not done before, dig up potatoes. Mike demonstrated how to turn the plant with a garden fork. And then we each had an opportunity to wield the fork. It was very satisfying to sink the tines of the large fork into the rich brown earth and turn the soil, exposing golden or red potatoes. They were easy to pick from the roots of the plant. We carried large 5 gallon buckets along with us and plopped the potatoes into the containers. I loved the feel of the warm moist dirt on my hands and the fragrance of the freshly turned earth.


Speared one, accidently

We enjoyed our afternoon of picking berries and unearthing potatoes. It was fun to chat with our cousin and catch up on family news as we worked. Mike not only let us take home a generous supply of blackberries and potatoes, but cooked an amazing meal for us all too. He grilled steaks, squash and corn on the cob and had prepared large pots of green beans and new potatoes and purplehull peas before we arrived. What an amazing meal and except for the steaks, it was all from the garden, this year’s and frozen produce from last summer’s bounty. He even surprised us with homemade blueberry and blackberry pies, from berries he had picked the day before.

I’m back in the city tonight, tired from an afternoon of harvesting and still full from that wonderful meal. It was so good to see my cousin and visit with my uncle and aunt, listening to family stories and laughing over my uncle’s escapades. They are kind hearted people full of grace and wisdom. I love and appreciate them and in a couple of weeks, I’ll be back! It’s time to learn to plant corn and drive a tractor.


Cousin Mike and sisters, Debbie and Linda, on the farm


A good afternoon of work

Day 179: Front Row Seats at Wicked


I love musicals. I’ve seen several live performances, in Dallas and Tulsa, including Phantom of the Opera, The Addams Family, Jekyll & Hyde and Wicked. Today, my sisters Linda and Debbie and my niece Ashley and I attended a matinee performance of Wicked at the Tulsa Performing Art Center. This was my fifth time to see this amazing musical, however, it was my first time to see it from a front row seat. Special thanks go to Ashley for securing such spectacular seats.

Wicked is the untold story behind the Wizard of Oz. Long before Dorothy showed up from Kansas, two girls meet in Oz and form an unlikely friendship. One is beautiful, popular, ambitious and blond. The other is intelligent, fiery, misunderstood and green. The story follows the girls through high school and beyond. The relationship that develops between these two girls and how Elphaba becomes the Wicked Witch of the West while the other becomes Glinda the Good makes for “the most complete….and completely satisfying musical….in a long time.” (USA Today)

The musical premiered on Broadway in 2003 and has had a continual run since. The original Broadway musical launched the careers of Idina Menzel, who played the green skinned Elphaba and Kristen Chenoweth, who played the perky Glinda. The success of the Broadway production spawned a North American Tour that has played for more than 2 million viewers. I have had the privilege of being one of those viewers.


The musical is the perfect blend of humor, drama, romance and angst. Cast members in this production include Gina Beck as Galinda/Glinda, Emma Hunton as Elphaba and Nick Adams as Fiyero. All had incredible voices. Gina captured Glinda’s bubbly blond personality while Emma’s powerful voice and expressive face brought depth to her portrayal of Elphaba. Nick was a handsome Fiyero with just the right amount of fun loving swagger and sensuality. Sitting in the front row was absolutely amazing. I could see every expression of the performers, which added considerably to the overall performance. When Elphaba sang, “I’m Not That Girl”, I could see tears glittering in her eyes.

Glinda, with her narcissism and use of made up words, contributes most of the humor to Wicked. She appears shallow and yet she genuinely comes to care for the green girl who has always considered herself an outsider. I love the scene with the song “Popular” in which Glinda endeavors to give Elphaba a makeover, attempting to ease the girl’s awkwardness and give her a measure of popularity. I can’t help but like Glinda. She sees the world simply and at heart, she is truly good.

But it is Elphaba whom I am drawn to. Her outward appearance frightens people and yet, she possesses a keen intelligence and a compassionate heart, and yes, a quick temper. She despises injustice and popularity is not important to her. My heart aches for her as she reaches out, tentatively, to connect with others. When her trust in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz is dashed, Elphaba embraces the wicked persona that everyone expects her to have. Her song, “Defying Gravity”, is the most powerful of the musical and the turning point in the story. Tears fill my eyes every time I hear it and see Elphaba’s transformation from misunderstood young woman to Wicked Witch of the West.

What a fun afternoon this was, watching Wicked and sharing time and space with my family. I never tire of doing either! Being so close to the stage allowed me to totally tune out the thousands of people in the audience and be immersed into the magic of the musical. I’m afraid the experience may have set a precedent for future musicals, as I would now like to see all of them from the vantage point of the first few rows. Ashley, work your magic, for Phantom of the Opera will return next April!


wicked 3e

Day 178: Winter’s Tale


This movie played at the theater in February of this year. I saw the preview several times and was captivated by what I saw. Unfortunately, I missed seeing the film on the big screen. I’ve been waiting for the dvd release, checking on it periodically. Tuesday of this week it became available. For my first today, I watched Winter’s Tale.

Winter’s Tale stars Colin Farrell, Russell Crow, Jessica Brown Findlay, William Hurt, Will Smith and Jennifer Connelly. The film, classified as a fantasy drama, was written and directed by Akiva Goldsman and is based on the novel of the same title, written by Mark Helprin. It is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Set in New York, and spanning more than 100 years, the story follows Irishman Peter Lake, played by Colin Farrell. His immigrant parents, who were not allowed to enter the United States, secretly send their son to shore in a small boat. As a youth, he learns to survive by stealing. He is a very good thief, combining his desire to live with a knack for manipulating mechanical things, such as safes. He’s had a falling out with local bad man, Pearly Soames, played menacingly by Russell Crow, who wants Peter dead. Peter finds a magical white horse, and together they rob a few mansions to pay for the necessary trip out of town, and away from harm’s way.

In the last house he intends to rob, Peter meets heiress Beverly Penn (Jessical Brown Findlay) a beautiful young woman who is dying of consumption. The course of their lives changes as Peter falls in love with Beverly and hopes that his love for her is so strong that she will be able to cheat death. Beverly, who has accepted her fate, wants to experience love and romance before she dies.

This was a beautiful movie. It doesn’t matter to me that critics snubbed it. Some films I simply enjoy and watch for entertainment. Some I watch because they are inspirational or based on true stories and I learn from them. There are a few that I feel compelled to watch, and as I view them, I am touched deeply. Winter’s Tale is such a movie for me. The opening prologue, spoken by Jessica Brown Findlay’s character, Beverly, so captured me that I played it over and over before letting the move continue. She says, “Destiny calls to each of us. And there is a world behind the world where we are all connected. All part of a great and moving plan. Magic is everywhere around us. You just have to look. Look. Look closely….”

Cleverly disguised as a romance movie, Winter’s Tale is, instead, a movie about the connections we all have and how we offer to each other. It is about the larger picture and our roles in it. Peter thinks he is on the earth to save Beverly, and yet, it is what she offers to Peter that is essential. And on a much larger scale, the movie is about the battle between good and evil. Several of the characters in this movie are much more than they seem to be, including the white horse Peter is so “fortunate” to find.

I’ll be thinking about Winter’s Tale for days to come. It reminds me that I, too, have a role to play in this larger story called Life that is unfolding around me. I have gifts to offer to others and my existence here is purposeful and crucial. This is true for everyone. I want to ponder the story line over the weekend and then watch the movie again. I’m also interested in reading the book the movie is based on. Mostly, though, Winter’s Tale caused me to look inward and contemplate life and how I am connected to others and to God, and how, with raised  awareness, I see the shimmering Light that binds us all, everywhere. That’s no small feat for a movie to accomplish!


Day 177: Evening Retreat


This has been a busy week with several long days of work and a day spent at the hospital while my stepdad had a lengthy and risky surgery. Thankfully, he is recovering well. And it’s also been an interesting week of firsts, as almost every day has seen a shift away from the planned first and the arrival of something unexpected. Today, in between showing property to great clients, I drove my grandson, Dayan, to a dental appointment and then to a friend’s house.  We were discussing my busyness and how my firsts had all changed this week. He asked what my first for today was, and I answered that I had not decided yet. “Yaya” he said, “It’s 1:30. You should know what your first is!” I love this young man and how he holds me accountable!

And then this clever teen proceeded to come up with my first for today. Dayan suggested that I have a quiet, peaceful time in my garden. That alone would not be a first, as I have spent many peaceful evenings in the garden. However, Dayan added that to lie down and gaze into the sky, while doing nothing else, would be a first.  What a lovely idea for a new experience. As I finished another longish day, I decided Dayan’s suggestion was perfect.

As the sun began to set, I gathered a variety of candles and placed them on the brick patio, near my metal containers full of sweetly scented petunias and blooming lavender. I lit candles in the meditation area and also in the Japanese garden and hosta garden. I started a small fire in the fire pit. And lastly, I placed a thick quilted throw, in shades of cream, yellow and blue, on the brick patio and added a couple of plump throw pillows. My beautiful, serene retreat area was ready.


A cool, fresh breeze stirred around me as I settled onto the quilt. The warmth of the bricks radiated upward through the quilt in gentle waves, making the space surprising cozy and comfortable. I stretched out and inhaled deeply, enjoying the scent of the nearby flowers and herbs, and felt tension and fatigue leave my body as I exhaled. Bliss. The fire crackled and the candles, deep within their glass containers, cast a warm glow. Overhead, the sky turned a dark velvety blue and the first stars and Mars, the red planet, appeared. As I did when I was a child, I made a wish on the first star I saw.

Starlight twinkled above and below, flitting about the backyard, fireflies answered with twinkles of their own. I spent a very peaceful hour enjoying this sanctuary and allowing the busyness of the past two days to slip away. Before I put my things away, I sat on the quilt and held a few yoga poses, stretching, breathing, opening. Resting there a moment more, several other possible firsts came to mind that would allow me to enjoy the backyard further.

I am very grateful to Dayan for suggesting this restorative first. How important it is to my soul to seek solitude and quiet my mind so my spirit can soar. Mark Buchanan says, “Most of the things we need, to be most fully alive, never come in busyness. They grow in rest.” I agree, wholeheartedly.


Day 176: Dessert Bites at Wilder’s Steakhouse


Tonight’s first was supposed to be titled “Dinner at Wilder’s Steakhouse with Dianna”. Dianna Kokoszka, from the Austin Keller Williams headquarters, is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and trainer, and she has built the most powerful coaching and mastermind program in the real estate industry. She was scheduled to be the guest of the Joplin Keller Williams market center this evening, and join a group of top producing agents, myself included, for dinner at Wilder’s Steakhouse. She was, that is, until severe thunderstorms in Dallas, TX grounded her flight for most of the day.

We gathered at Wilder’s Steakhouse, located at 1216 S Main, in Joplin, anyway. Wilder’s is housed in a building that was built in 1908, and since 1929 has had the motto, “Famous for Good Things to Eat and Drink”. It’s a beautiful place to gather for a fine meal. My colleagues and I dined on filet mignon, scallops, mashed potatoes and fresh salads. My table mates Steve, Deb and Kyle were great dinner companions and we enjoyed talking about business, vacations, Joplin and life in general.

However, eating at Wilder’s Steakhouse was not a first for me. And as much as I enjoyed my companions, having a meal with them was not a first either. Although I think I could have argued for having a meal with Keller Williams agents AT Wilder’s Steakhouse as a first, I decided not to do that. I thought, instead, that I would stay open, and see what showed up, for today’s first. I was preparing to head home, after a delightful meal, and pleasant and engaging conversation with Steve, Deb and Kyle, when our server brought out dessert.

I had not intended to have dessert. However, when the server placed a chilled plate before me with three bites of three different desserts, I changed my mind. Arranged on my plate was a small square of lemon raspberry cake, and a tiny slice each of apple caramel pie and Hawaiian pie, a wonderful combo of chocolate and coconut on a flaky crust. Although I have eaten at Wilder’s before, I’ve never had dessert there and therefore had not had this sampler dessert that was not too much, not too little, but just right. My first had arrived!

And indeed, this was the perfect finish to the meal. While the Hawaiian pie and apple caramel pie were both very tasty, the lemon raspberry cake was amazing. Light, lemony, slightly tart, that bite was to be savored. At my table, we all agreed, it was delicious.

This year of firsts has taught me to go with the flow. When a first doesn’t work out or has to be postponed, it does absolutely no good to rant about it or resist what’s happening. I’ve found that as I open to other possibilities, another first, the one that was apparently meant for that day, arrives. Dear Dianna flew into the Joplin airport just as the meal finished up tonight. I’m so glad she was able to arrive safely. Perhaps I’ll be able to see her tomorrow. For this evening, though, Wilder’s Dessert Bites was the perfect first for today


Day 175: Oil Pulling


Several months ago, my friend Vicki sent me a suggestion to try oil pulling as a first. I’ve had this idea on my list and have researched the practice. Tonight, for my first, I gave this ancient folk remedy a try.

Oil pulling, or oil swishing, originated in India thousands of years ago and was used to treat imbalances in the body. The modern practice of oil pulling, which involves holding or swishing oil in the mouth, was introduced in the United States in the 1990’s.

The benefits are said to be many, and include whiter teeth, improve oral health, fresh breath, reduced plaque and inflammation, and the elimination of toxins and bacteria from the mouth. Other sites I visited online also claim the daily practice reduces migraine headaches, provides pain relief, clears up the skin and alleviates sinus pain and congestion. The medical community says the claims have not been proven, but those who practice oil pulling swear by it.

The technique is simple:

1. Put 1 – 2 teaspoons of oil in the mouth. The majority of people use coconut oil, which is in a solid state until it warms up, and then it becomes liquid. Sesame oil is also recommended.

2. Gently swish the oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes, which is key. That time is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria and short enough that the body doesn’t reabsorb the bacteria.

3. Spit oil into a trash can. Do not spit into a sink or toilet as the oil congeals again as it cools. And do not swallow the oil because it now contains bacteria and toxins.

4. Rinse well with warm water, swishing again to remove all the oil.

5. Brush teeth.

I was curious enough to try oil pulling as a first, although I had concerns about swishing oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes. That seemed like a long time!

So how was the experience?

I had to get past the thought that I was putting a spoonful of oil into my mouth! I used one teaspoon. Coconut oil is very mild, so taste wasn’t a problem. The solid substance quickly became a liquid. I set the kitchen timer for 20 minutes and gently moved the oil around my mouth. I was right….20 minutes is a very LONG time, when you can’t swallow. The amount of fluid seemed to increase, and indeed, since I wasn’t swallowing, I had saliva building up in my mouth. I had to spit some of the oil out, twice. I busied myself, playing Furballs on my phone, to pass the time. When I checked the kitchen timer, 11 minutes had gone by. Whew.

I went back to playing on my phone and tried not to think about the minutes slowly ticking by. I almost abandoned the trial shortly after that. My throat became dry and I felt like I needed to cough. I almost panicked. Checking the timer again, I found I only had 4 minutes to go. I could do this. Pacing through the house, willing myself not to cough, I was headed for the trash can when the timer pinged, signaling that the 20 minutes was up! Yay!

I spit. I rinsed with warm water. My mouth did feel clean, as did my teeth. I checked my mouth in the mirror before brushing my teeth. Gums and teeth looked good. So, oil pulling wasn’t so bad. I don’t know that I would want to practice this every day. However, I might be willing to adopt a once a week regimen. I can, at least, say I’ve experienced oil pulling now. Been there, done that….get me the T shirt!

Day 174: 42: The True Story of an American Legend


My planned first for today didn’t work out, nor did my back up first. One because after a quick trip to Tulsa, a short night and a long day, I didn’t have the energy, while the other was hampered by the rain that chased me home from Oklahoma. Tonight, therefore, was declared a movie night! And I had the perfect film to watch, for the first time. Months ago, Linda loaned me a DVD. I had had the Oscar nominated movies to watch and then a few others to catch up on. I’d been saving this one, until now.

42, subtitled The True Story of an American Legend, stars Harrison Ford, Chadwick Boseman and Nicole Beharie, and was written and directed by Brian Helgeland. It is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 2 hours and 8 minutes. It is considered a biography sports drama.

42 is the Jackie Robinson story, from his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945 to his phenomenal rookie year in 1947 when he broke the color barrier in major league baseball. Robinson, played by Chadwick Boseman, is recruited by Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey, which incidentally, was Harrison Ford’s first portrayal of a real life character. Rickey created a stir when he brought the first African American baseball player into the major leagues. The deal also put him and Robinson under attack from the press, the public and even other players. Facing racism and threats from every side, Jackie Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and draw from deep within himself to quiet any desire to retaliate in kind.

Rickey faced pressure as well, from other major league teams and managers and his own staff and players, many of whom planned to quit the team. His belief in the game and his belief in Jackie provided strength and resolve when cruel taunts and the unfairness of life threatened to bring his star rookie down. Together, Rickey’s unwavering support and number 42’s talent for baseball won over fans and teammates, silenced the critics and changed the world by changing the game.

There were so many reasons to love this film. It was wonderfully acted, with Harrison Ford and his slightly goofy look bringing many a smile as his character stepped up and held firm against prejudice and ignorance. At the same time, Chadwick Boseman brought tears as his character defined himself in a field where no definitions yet existed. There are many sports heroes, and yet this was a time of extreme heroism as these two men stood against a tide of old beliefs and deep seated fears. I cheered for Jackie Robinson, along with the fans in the stadium, over every victory, in the game and in his life. Jackie tells his wife, played by the lovely Nicole Beharie, “I don’t care if they like me. I didn’t come here to make friends. I don’t even care if they respect me. I know who I am. I’ve got enough respect for myself. I do not want them to beat me.” He wasn’t referring to striking out at bat. He didn’t not, would not, allow who he was to be beaten down.

Toward the end of movie, Robinson faces a pitcher who beaned him in the head during a previous game. Stakes are high, as the Dodgers move relentlessly toward bringing home the pennant. The pitcher throws three foul balls, nervously avoiding Robinson, but also avoiding the strike zone. With quiet strength and determination, Robinson faces the man without flinching and softly asks, “C’mon, what are you afraid of? What…are you….afraid of?” The next pitch flies in, hard and low, and Robinson knocks it out of the ballpark. That scene moved me deeply . What am I afraid of?  Facing all that life throws my way, without flinching, can I too say “bring it”…. and then knock it out of the ballpark? Yes…..I believe I can!

Day 173: Eddie Izzard Force Majeure Show


I am posting late tonight, or rather, early in the morning, from Tulsa, OK, where for my first yesterday I enjoyed a live performance of British comedian Eddie Izzard. Accompanied by my sister Linda, nephew Scott and stepmom Jerri, we gathered in the Brady Theater in beautiful downtown Tulsa for an evening show.

Born in Yemen in 1962, of British parents, Eddie lived briefly in that country before moving to Ireland and later to Wales. He knew by the age of 7 that he wanted to be an actor. Initially he sought an accounting degree at the University of Sheffield, but began toying with comedy. He left school and took to the streets, performing his comic routines throughout Europe and the US in the 1980’s. By the early 1990’s he was gaining recognition through his improvisation.

During this time he broke into mainstream comedy and moved from the streets to the stage and television. By the late 1990’s and into the 2000’s, he was not only touring with his comedy acts but appearing in movies and television series. He has received awards for his comedy and also for his humanitarian acts.

I was introduced to the standup comedy of Eddie Izzard in the early 2000’s by my sisters, via his DVDs. We watched, we laughed, we threw out random Eddie Izzard quotes.  His comic style is described as a rambling, whimsical monologue. He doesn’t work from a script, because of dyslexia, but instead, uses free association as he jumps from topic to topic, often acting out a “scene” during his routine, adding various voices and sound effects. I found him to be charming, engaging and hilarious. No topic was off limits for his humor.

Toward the end of February 2014, Linda and I happened to be discussing Eddie Izzard and remarked that he would be one we would love to see in a live performance. We didn’t know if he was still doing comedy or focusing primarily on acting. We agreed watching Eddie Izzard perform would be an amazing first. Less than two weeks later, we discovered Eddie was going to be in Tulsa for one night in June of this year. We purchased tickets immediately. I love how things work out!

Last night’s show was just as amazing as we thought it would be. None of us had seen Eddie Izzard in a live performance. We were excited about hearing new material and seeing if this older Eddie still brought the laughs. He did, indeed. I laughed so much during his 2+ hour show that my throat was sore afterwards. Dressed very sharply in a suit and looking fit and trim, Eddie Izzard brought the packed out house down. His on stage presence and his sense of comic timing are brilliant. And he has an incredible talent for presenting historical facts and stories in such a way that it’s not only memorable but hysterically funny. I especially loved a parody of the Lord of the Rings that he did that included a chicken, moles, Liam Neesan and a kraken.

Eddie hasn’t lost his ability to poke fun at virtually everyone. He doesn’t intend to offend people, he hopes to open the minds and hearts of others and help us see that inside, we are all the same, no matter where we live and what language we speak. Thomas Moore says, “I’ve long thought that the greatest therapists and true spiritual teachers are comedians, advocates for a comic sense of life, who break open our serious efforts to arrange life as we think best.” Eddie Izzard, then, is a therapist of the highest caliber as he challenges himself and others to see life not in somber tones of black and white, but in riotous bold colors.

Day 172: Celebrate Joey’s Birthday


What a fun day, for me and the rest of the family, but especially for Joey as he celebrated his 8th birthday! This sweet, thoughtful young man actually turned 8 last Sunday. Today, however, was the day the family gathered to take part in a full afternoon and evening of festivities. Joey is the son of my son’s fiancé, so he is welcomed as a new grandson. For me, he is already my grandson, and I am his Yaya.

Nate and Megan went all out to create a special day for Joey, making sure they included some of his favorite activities. The afternoon began with Joey, Oliver, Aubrey and several cousins attending Mudstock in Carthage. Sponsored by the Carthage Fire Department, the event is described as a mix of dirt, water, an obstacle course of rope swings, mud pits and hills, low rope obstacles, sun and fun. The kids are allowed, and encouraged, to get muddy as they play and move through the obstacle courses. What a great idea and fun activity for kids!

After cleaning up, the party began at Nate and Megan’s house. Joey wanted a water themed birthday party. Adults chatted and watched as kids swam, ran and slid down a slip n slide and threw water balloons. There were kids everywhere, mostly boys, as all of Joey’s cousins are boys except for London! It was a hot June day, so the water felt great to the kids and to the adults who were splattered with a water filled balloon. I didn’t mind one bit when the water balloon I was tying off for Oliver suddenly slipped from my fingers and sprayed me with water. The kids enjoyed bouncing on the new trampoline as well and discovered that the water balloons didn’t break immediately when dropped onto the trampoline’s surface. Instead, the balloons bounced and jiggled along with the kids.


After cake and ice cream, opening presents, and a bit more play time, the party shifted to a Sonic in Joplin that has a sand volleyball court and play area for kids. Joey likes to play volleyball and yet the court was always busy when he tried to join in a game there. His great parents solved that dilemma by renting the court for the evening. Joey got to join cousins and adults in his family in fun games of volleyball. I watched from the sidelines and he did great going after the ball and serving it up.


What an amazing day, for an amazing boy. I am enjoying getting to know my grandson. He currently likes the color orange. As the older brother, he watches out for his new younger sister Aubrey and his brother Oliver. He and Aubrey have been known to join forces in plotting out adventures. He enjoys art and has an interest in and talent for drawing. He loves animals, RC cars, and nerf guns. He’s a thinker, quick to show affection and say “I love you” and kind hearted. I look forward to watching him have fun, grow and become  the person he is meant to be. He has family who loves him very much and will be there to journey alongside him as he figures out who he is and what he is here to do. Happy, happy birthday, Joey! I love you!