Surrender 103: Letting Our Lights Shine

Tonight was Book Club Night, which currently might more properly be called the Non-Book Club. We are in between books, and using our time together to explore a variety of topics. The beautiful thing is, as we take turns hosting an evening and leading the discussion, we are getting to know each other at deeper levels. And we get to shine, as our authentic selves. 

Cate asked each of us to bring a poem, a song or a quote to share this evening. 

I led off with Mid Life Woman, by David Whyte, from his book, The Sea in You. This poem touches me deeply as it creates a picture of a woman in her middle years. The opening lines are:

“Mid life woman

you are not

invisible to me.

I seem to see

beneath your face

all the women

you have ever been.”

Although the voice in the poem belongs to a man who has matured into one who can see into the heart and life of the mid life woman, when I read this poem I am invited to see and love myself at such an astonishing level. 

Check out the poetry of David Whyte here, or on his Facebook page. 


Margit shared a powerful quote from Marianne Williamson, that begins:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” 

The line that states,”Your playing small does not serve the world” led Margit to share about her own journey of finding her voice and speaking her truth. Margit now does this with joy and confidence and it was inspiring to hear more of her story. 


Cindy shared the poignant poem The Mask, author unknown.  It begins…
“Always a mask

Held in the slim hand whitely

Always she had a mask before her face”

…and ends in a startling way, a cautionary tale, as Cate called it, of what happens when we hide too long behind a mask. 

Cindy led us in discussing why we choose to hide who we are, and the impact that hiding has on our lives. 

Kathleen totally surprised us, by sharing a story that she wrote more than 30 years ago. She read it aloud for the first time, this story that very few people know about. 

What courage she displayed, in so revealing her heart. What a precious gift to our little group. We were moved by her wisdom and vulnerability, and by her beautifully crafted words. We were genuine in our approval. We are gently encouraging this dear woman to publish her story so that it may be a gift to the world. 


Cate closed our time together by sharing snippets from three of her favorite songs. She spoke of her journey and how the lyrics from these songs have touched her life. Messages are all around us, given to us to inspire and guide and reassure. Music is one of the ways in which these divine love notes arrive. 

Cate delighted us with a surprise as well. Fanning out sealed envelopes, she instructed us to select the one we were drawn to. I love activities like this. I truly believe we receive what is intended for us. 


Within the envelopes were gorgeous bookmarks that this creative woman had made. The bookmark I selected (pictured below) was absolutely the right one for me, as were the others for the ladies of the Book Club. Karen was not able to join us this evening, but Cate had a bookmark for her too, and we paused to send our missing friend love and healing energy. 

I so value the roles these women play in my life. Tonight I felt we laid bare our souls, speaking with authentic voices. Marianne Williamson writes, near the end of the quote that Margit shared, 
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” 

That’s what we are doing with each other, being who we are, and giving permission to one another to do the same. There were bright lights shining in the room tonight. 


Surrender 18: Adventure and Tea

Today presented an opportunity that was easy to surrender to. I met my friend Cate at Panera to discuss life, writing and surrender! On this bright, chilly day cups of hot tea were perfect accompaniments to our shared time. 


I tried the Mango Ceylon, an exotic blend of full leaf black tea, mango and blossoms. It is described as a metabolic frolic tea, which made me smile!  This was my one lovely indulgence today, shared with a friend. Steaming mugs of tea in hand, Cate and I found a booth to slide into and the chatting began. 

I so love and appreciate my friend. Cate and I met during my Year of Firsts and she has been a dear friend since, accompanying me on many of my journeys. I thought of the Peter Pan quote, “Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?” That’s us! We can have an adventure or a cup of tea, or both, and it’s all good!


We spent a very pleasant couple of hours sipping tea, and discussing writing, life and surrender. It is wonderful to have traveling companions who not only understand my journey but are on similar paths themselves. Cate is one of these. She shared lessons from her own life experiences, as she has learned, she added, to surrender to the inevitable. Cate gave me another quote, from Anthony de Mello, that fits well with her adage: “Enlightenment is absolute cooperation with the inevitable.”

Tea consumed and hugs exchanged, we parted company, full of the joys of life, and of friendship. Next time we meet, Cate and I must have an adventure! 


Journey 320: An Evening of Friendship, Sushi & Coloring

One of life’s greatest blessings is having traveling companions on the journey. There are those in my life who walk alongside, sharing their own experiences, and offering a helping hand or a timely word of encouragement. I’m so grateful. This evening I had the pleasure of spending time with one of these dear souls. 

I met Cate last year, during my Year of Firsts. We instantly connected and have become great friends. I appreciate her willingness to try new experiences and how brightly she shines as her authentic self. 


Cate graciously invited me to her house this evening, for a time of chatting, dining and coloring. I picked up sushi for both of us from Han the Sushi Man in Joplin. Cate enjoyed spicy tuna sushi and I opted to try something new, something I’d never had before. The “To Die For” sushi roll was amazing, with shrimp and avocado.  

After dinner, we cleared the table. Cate served cups of hot tea and freshly baked, healthy cookies while I brought out coloring books and colored pencils. One of the things I love about coloring is that two or more people can color together companionably and chat at the same time. Cate selected a page out of the Creative Haven Owls book while I started on my first page from The Time Chamber by Daria Song. 

What an enjoyable evening. Cate is one of those amazing people who can converse about a wide range of topics. And she’s so easy to talk to. We caught up on our journeys, discovering that we are on such similar paths, even down to a word that is repetitively popping up for both of us. We discussed books, synchronicities, what we are learning from our experiences and…coloring. I found that I color more slowly as I talk, but since there’s no deadline, that’s not an issue! 
I love Cate’s choice of colors and that gorgeous night sky. The heart stands out on the page because she was drawn to color that rune in first. Cate’s heart for others is just as evident. She is one of the most loving people that I know, caring for people at a deep level. I appreciate her listening ear and sage words. And then there’s that joyful, infectious laugh!   

We were so engrossed in our coloring and chatting, that it took several rumbles of thunder before I realized storms were approaching and it was late. Time to go home. What a great start to our coloring pages. And what a warm and comforting evening with a treasured friend, a kindred soul. I love the Ram Dass quote that says, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Thank you, Cate, for walking with me tonight. 


Journey 170: Happy Birthday Cate

What a joyous event tonight, as my friend Cate celebrated a milestone birthday. Hosting a large gathering in her home, Cate shone brightly this evening, surrounded by family and friends. I met this amazing woman last year, during my year of firsts. We have been great friends since, sharing a variety of firsts and journeys, the occasional meal, and meeting every three weeks in our book club group.

Cates birthday Daniel and Cate

I was honored to celebrate Cate. Her best friend of many years, Daniel, laid out a perfect celebratory feast that included a sumptuous dessert bar. A few friends showed up early to help chop veggies and slice cheeses while Daniel decorated. As friends arrived we shifted and moved, forming and reforming groups, introducing ourselves and chatting. In the midst of this large gathering, I could always locate Cate by her joyous laughter. She has a wonderful, very distinctive laugh, and it is infectious, rippling through the room in her wake.

Cates birthday food table

Cates birthday dessert table

Because Cate is the type to encourage others, cheering them on and celebrating their lives, she gave gifts away this evening as door prizes! We each drew a number out of a container and Daniel called out the numbers as he drew them, allowing the winners to select a gift from a wide assortment of goodies. That is so like Cate, to focus on giving. And rather than request gifts for herself, she asked each party attendee to bring a poem or a quote that we felt was fitting for her.

Cates birthday guests 2

Several read poems in her honor, and we raised our paper cups or bottles in a toast after each was read. The rest of us, myself included, tucked quotes or poems into her birthday cards, keepsakes for Cate, demonstrations of how much we love and admire and appreciate this woman. I know my journey has been enhanced and my life enriched because she travels at my side, a constant friend, a listening ear, offering words of compassion and wisdom. I am so very grateful to know her and have the privilege of walking alongside as we explore this life, this world.

Cates birthday guests 4

Cates birthday guests 5

I considered carefully what quote to share with Cate. I settled on this one, which I purchased on a large cardboard tag and inserted it into her birthday card. It captures Cate and her journey so well.

“We are all wanderers on this Earth, our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.”  Gypsy Proverb

May you wander far and wide in this life, sweet friend, your heart full of wonder, your soul deep with dreams! Thank you for so beautifully being who you are! Happy, happy birthday Cate!

Cates birthday

Journey 35: Dinner with Cate

Dinner with Cate taco bar

Getting to hang out with a dear friend and share a meal is a special part of the journey. Tonight I enjoyed a home cooked meal with Cate at her home. Even with the threat of winter weather and slick roads, I wanted to spend a couple of hours in the company of this cheerful, encouraging woman.

Cate prepared a wonderful dinner featuring a taco bar, Spanish rice and black beans. The spicy aroma greeted me as I entered Cate’s cozy home. She’s always been gracious in allowing me to take pics to document my firsts last year and my journeys this year. I love this picture of Cate filling her plate, her face lit up with a huge smile. What you can’t hear is the laughter ringing out as well. We laugh a lot when we are together, and chat non-stop. Because this was a celebratory dinner, for my birthday last month, Cate baked cookies for dessert. They were delicious, and also gluten free and made with coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. We both love hot tea, and had a cup with our cookies. What a perfect end to the meal.

Dinner with Cate

Cate is one of those friends that I can talk about any topic with, and we generally cover a wide range of subjects! Even though I was originally keeping an eye on the weather, I soon forgot about that as we finished dinner and carried our hot tea and the conversation into the living room. I really appreciate Cate. She has an amazing perspective on the journey, living as she does in awareness while fully engaging life. She brings a rich knowledge of so many subjects into the conversations along with a quick wit. And she is one of the most compassionate people I know. I am privileged to call her friend and to have her as a traveling companion on the journey.

dinner with Cate dessert and tea

And speaking of journey, she presented me with a hoodie tonight, that is perfect for this time of year AND has my word on it! “It’s the Journey” is proclaimed boldly across the front. Beneath those words, it says Kansas Explorers Club. I love that…an explorer’s club! Yes, I’m all in. After a delightful evening I opened the front door to head for home and discovered that it had snowed lightly. All was well, however. I made it safely home. It was a perfect evening, spent with a wonderful friend, and I left at the perfect time. That’s how the journey flows…beautifully.

dinner with Cate Journey hoodie

Day 317: Eye Scream Labs Ice Cream Parlor

Eye Scream Labs

I knew my friend Cate and I were going to have a fun experience, when we headed out to visit a new place called Eye Scream Labs Ice Cream Parlor. With such a name, how could we not? Located at 606 S Main Street, in Galena, KS, this attractive place offers 21 plus flavors of cold and exceptionally creamy ice cream. What makes the parlor unique is how the ice cream is made.

Created by the Endicott Family, Eye Scream Labs uses the best and the freshest ingredients to make the ice cream right there in the store. And they use a process I had never heard of before. To create the richest, creamiest texture, they freeze the ice cream quickly, with no emulsifiers or additives, using food grade liquid nitrogen. At a temperature of 321 degrees below zero, the mixture freezes in less than 3 minutes, creating ice cream with tiny ice crystals and a fine, smooth consistency.

eye scream labs making ice cream

While we were there, one of the owners made a fresh batch of Rocky Road, and we got to watch. Using a big shiny mixer, and a set up resembling a lab, the young man, appropriately garbed in a white lab coat, added the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Introducing the liquid nitrogen created a “scream” of noise and then the mixing began. Fog rolled out of the bowl and as the mixing continued, gathered in wisps along the floor. So cool! Literally. In minutes, the ice cream was set and ready for consumption.

 eye scream labs making ice cream 2 eye scream labs making ice cream 3

The lab tech, affectionately called a lab rat in the store, dipped pieces of graham cracker into a small bowl of liquid nitrogen and allowed volunteers to try it. We laughed as a young boy crunched on the frozen cracker. The cold billowed in a white cloud out of his mouth and nose, making him resemble a fire breathing dragon. Cate tried a bite of cracker too. I couldn’t catch the cold air escaping her mouth as she laughed, but it was there!

eye scream labs Cate

Cate enjoyed the Rocky Road today, topped with salted pecans, caramel sauce and homemade whipped cream. I opted for a scoop of pineapple cake inversion and a scoop of blueberry cheesecake, crowned with a dollop of the whipped cream. The ice cream was delicious, with a very creamy texture and a wonderfully fresh flavor. We savored our treat, chatting and watching as other customers came into the parlor to try a scoop of frosty dessert. The four Endicott sons are primarily responsible for running the business. I was impressed with the parlor and the product. One of the sons, the lab rat who made the batch of ice cream, patiently answered our questions and offered samples of flavors before we made our selections.

eye scream labs pinapple cake inversion and blueberry cheesecake

I will most definitely visit Eye Scream Labs again. The atmosphere is fun and lively, and it is interesting to watch the ice cream being made. Galena, KS is a very short distance from Joplin….literally where Joplin ends at the state line, Galena begins. It is very worth the drive, to experience something so fresh and innovative.

eye scream labs ice cream

Day 315: Book Club


What a fun first this evening, for a book lover like me. I was invited by my friend Cate to join a book club. Although I’ve been reading since the age of five, I’ve never participated in an organized book club. The group of ladies is reading through Eckhart Tolle’s best seller, “The Power of Now”.

Tolle offers, in this life shifting book, a path away from the analytical mind and the never satisfied ego, to the power and peace of living fully in the moment…this moment. I read the book several years ago. I read through the first four chapters today, in preparation for joining the group tonight, at their second meeting. Being in a different place in my journey, than I was the last time I read the book, different paragraphs leapt out at me and I had a greater understanding of the concepts.

Book in hand, I met with these lovely ladies, ready to discuss chapters 3 and 4. I only knew Cate, so this was an opportunity to make new friends. After a short time of sitting quietly, allowing our bodies and minds to grow still and our hearts and souls to stir, we spent the next hour and 15 minutes sharing our thoughts and favorite sections from the selected chapters.

I love journeying with others. It is very powerful to travel with like hearted, like minded people. I loved the fresh perspectives that were shared this evening, the enlightening and often humorous stories, the genuine desires to raise awareness and journey well. Each woman brought authenticity and an open heart and mind to the room. I felt honored to be a part of the group.

We will meet every three weeks, sharing insights, asking questions, and bringing experiences to offer to each other, all with the desire to learn and grow and live well. Echkart Tolle says, “Your outer journey may contain a million steps; your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now.” I look forward to both…my solitary inward journey, taken one step at a time, and my outer journey, in the company of these dear souls. What an adventure!


Day 296: Sweet Carolines Treat with Cate

Sweet Carolines logo

This afternoon, my dear friend Cate and I had planned a trip to Galena, KS to visit a new ice cream parlor there with a unique twist. Due to a death in the family, that parlor is closed for a few days. We will save that adventure for another time! We decided to get together still, in search of a first, and met at the Gryphon Building in downtown Joplin to check out the new restaurant that just opened there, The Dining Car. We met at 4:00, only to discover that the restaurant didn’t open until 5:00.

No worries! We chose instead to enjoy an ice cream at Sweet Carolines Ice Cream & Coffee Parlor, also located in the Gryphon Building. I have been here once before, so to create a first, I tried something new. This wasn’t difficult, since Sweet Carolines serves 32 yummy flavors of ice cream!

I normally go for a vanilla based ice cream, such as pralines and cream, or blueberry cheesecake. I’m not a big chocolate fan. So today, I decided to go with a chocolate treat. Sweet Carlolines had several amazing looking selections. The helpful young man behind the counter let me sample a couple of possibilities. I settled on a waffle cone, with a single scoop of Pirate’s Plunder, a decadent chocolate based ice cream with chocolate covered pecans, mini caramel cups and swirls of thick caramel. Cate had pistachio with hot fudge sauce. Since she normally chooses chocolate ice cream, this was a different selection for her as well.

Sweet Carolines treat with Cate

The real treat today was getting to chat with Cate as we enjoyed our ice cream. When we get together we pick right back up on our conversation, as if we had just been chatting a few minutes ago. We met for the first time earlier this year, and yet we are like long time friends. Today we had much to catch up on and much to share about our respective journeys. We chatted long after the ice cream was gone! That is the sweetness of friendship and I appreciate Cate very much. When we at last left the ice cream parlor, we hit the “pause” button on our conversation. After all, we have two other places to visit in the near future, for firsts, and we will continue our visiting there!

Sweet Carolines treat  Pirates Plunder

Day 269: Afternoon Tea with a Friend


What a special afternoon as my friend Cate joined me for the first time in my backyard garden, for tea. The day was gorgeous and the temperature mild. It was perfect for turning the bistro table into a tea table.

I’ve shared afternoon tea with family and enjoyed the experiences. What a treat to invite a dear friend to share a pot of Scottish Highland tea and all the goodies. I’ve told Cate about my work in progress in the backyard. I wanted her to see how the plants and flowers have grown and filled in the borders.

When she arrived we walked around the garden, Phase One, and I had the opportunity to share what the next phases will be.

The sun was still warming the brick patio, so we opted to move the table and two chairs into the meditation area, which was shaded. I dressed the glass and metal bistro table with a paisley shawl, in fall colors, and added rust colored cloth napkins.

While the tea brewed in the white porcelain pot, I brought out white tea cups and saucers, a small pitcher of milk, plates and silverware, and platters for the tiered serving set. We enjoyed cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, Elven Lembas bread, another first…serving it with afternoon tea…butter and strawberry jam, pumpkin spice cupcakes and Walker’s shortbread cookies. It was a simple tea, made more special because it was served in the garden, and shared with a friend.

Cate and I spent an relaxed afternoon chatting over tea. I value her friendship and her wisdom, and appreciate her views of the world. What a privilege to have such an amazing traveling companion. I look forward to the continuing journey and more afternoons in the garden, savoring cups of Scottish tea!


Day 253: Ahi Tuna Salad at The Eagle Drive In


ahi tuna salad e

This evening my dear friend, Cate, and I had a girls’ night out. In the spirit of true friendship, she is always willing to share a first experience. She selected The Eagle Drive In, as our place to meet for dinner. Great idea! I have eaten at this wonderful little restaurant once, late last year. I looked forward to another meal there and trying something new off of their interesting menu.

The Eagle Drive In, located at 4224 S Main Street, Joplin, has the look of an old fashioned drive in type diner. But their menu is anything but traditional. Yes, they offer gourmet hamburgers, the good old thick burgers with all the fixings. However, you can also try a bison burger topped with BBQ blueberry sauce or a black bean burger topped with mixed greens and curried mayo. The diner also offers steaks and seafood and a great selection of salads.

Tonight, opting for lighter fare, Cate and I both ordered the ahi tuna salad and split an order of The Eagle Drive In’s famous seasoned fries with Eagle dipping sauce. The salad was amazing! The ahi tuna was fresh and delicious, and plentiful, the slices piled on mixed greens. I savored each bite. And the fries were great too, crispy and seasoned perfectly.

If the meal was fantastic, and it was, the conversation was even more so. Over dinner Cate and I chatted….about the day, about friendship, about life. It is so good to have such an awesome traveling companion. Our journeys are very similar and yet we bring to the friendship our own perspectives and ideas. Joy shared is multiplied, and that is always the case when I get to hang out with Cate. I look forward to our continuing friendship and I appreciate all that I learn from this beautiful soul.