Journey 20: Day of Contrasts

contrasts biz expo logo

Today’s journey involved lovely contrasts. After working at home this morning, taking care of business via phone, computer and the internet, I let inspiration guide me as I was drawn to different areas of my home to fill empty space. Small areas in the kitchen were reorganized. A shelf in the dining room arranged. And as the balmy spring like weather continued, complete with a rain shower this afternoon, I felt drawn out onto the front porch.

I have themed decorations for spring/summer, fall and the holidays. However, I never quite know what to do with my front porch after Christmas. It feels too early for the spring collection. I don’t really have a winter theme or Valentine’s Day decorations. I stood looking thoughtfully at my new framed Tolkien quote, hanging alone above the empty table. My spare bedroom has most of my every day décor hanging out on the bed and various tables and chairs, awaiting my decisions on what space they will next grace. I selected pieces that appealed to me and gathered them together on the little yellow table on my front porch.

contrasts front porch table

My Great Aunt Roxie’s old red box, that she used as a foot rest, sits now on one end of the table. It’s flipped upside down so that mason jars holding votive candles can be tucked into a corner along with a red wooden heart. A trio of wooden candlesticks that I’ve had for years anchors the other end. A woven table runner, a stone bird, and my old favorite metal charger complete the grouping. I like it! That look will carry me into spring.

The rain pelted down earnestly as I returned indoors. It was tea time and I enjoyed a cup of hot tea with a shortbread cookie, snug inside while rain sluiced down the windows and drummed on the roof. I spent a wonderful 30 minutes sipping tea and browsing through a beautiful book that I picked up from the library. Titled “Style & Simplicity: An A to Z Guide to Living a More Beautiful Life”, the book by Ted Kennedy Watson shares ideas for “making time spent at home graciously comfortable, visually rich, and truly personal.” Ted is a Lifestyle Retailer and blogger. His hope is that his book will be a starting point for discovering things you love and integrating them into your life. Looking at the gorgeous pages of the book, and seeing vintage collections and repurposed items used creatively, inspired me to continue on my journey of creating beautiful, intimate spaces in my own home. What a lovely tea time!

contrasts style and simplicity book

After a solitary and peaceful day at home, I undertook a very different type of journey this evening, visiting the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo with my sister Linda. This is a huge annual event, set up at the convention center, featuring 200 exhibitor booths. Tonight was the business to business evening, actually a Business After Hours, with only the business community invited to attend. Tomorrow the event is open to the general public. This evening though the business community turned out in record numbers to connect, network and of course, enjoy food and drink. It is a noisy, crowded glorious event and I attend every year. I love the opportunity to talk to people and see business friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I never know who I will bump into, literally, and Linda and I always have a great time. Lots of marketing goodies get handed out, business cards exchanged and appointments set. Keller Williams Realty has a booth at Business Expo and I normally work at the booth parts of both days. However, this year, I declined working in the booth and attended the Expo just to have fun and see friends. It was great to mingle and go home early.


I loved the contrast of this day’s journeys….the quiet serenity of the morning and afternoon, with time for work and creativity, and the bustle and noise of the Business Expo with its throng of people. Both were perfect, exactly as they were. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Nothing is worth more than this day.” So true. And to that sentiment I might add….and this day’s journey.

contrasts biz expo

Midwest Regional Ballet Company demonstration at Biz Expo

Day 21: Celebrate National Hug Day


I enjoy hugging people, although this wasn’t always true. There was a time when I’d back up a step if someone moved toward me, arms outstretched. As a young adult, I learned to allow hugs, and then to appreciate them, and then to initiate them.

Hugging is not only pleasurable, but has health benefits too! A 10 second hug releases the “feel good” hormone oxytocin which lowers stress and reduces fatigue. Other benefits include a lowered risk of heart disease and infections, improved immune system, and a reduction of blood pressure and depression.

Today, January 21, is National Hug Day. When I discovered this holiday, early in the year, I added it to my list of firsts, with the intention of hugging as many people as possible on that date. I love how intentions open possibilities and events arrange themselves beyond what I can imagine. When I looked up the date, I was delighted to see that if fell on a Tuesday, which is the day we have sales meetings at the Keller Williams office. Wonderful! I knew I could hug people at the office, after the meeting. Then I realized that the annual Joplin Business Expo was also on that date. Now the possibility existed of hugging hundreds of people. Even better!

What an amazing day at the Business Expo. I loved greeting people in the business community, seeing colleagues, and hugging friends and new acquaintances. I lost count of how many hugs I gave and received. As Bil Keane, creator of Family Circus, says, “A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.” I am grateful to everyone who shared in this experience today. Happy Hug Day!