Day 62: Create a Health Bubble


During this cold winter, I’ve created ice bubbles and icy winter globes as firsts. Today was another cold day with yesterday’s ice and snow covering the ground. It was the perfect day to stay in and create another first, a health bubble!

I recently decided to take back my health, using a detox diet designed by Dr. Mark Hyman. More about that in a few days, as I complete the 10 day detox. One of the things I’ve appreciated about Dr. Hyman’s book is that he has a section for daily use, full of encouraging tips and ideas. Today’s section was called Design. And it fit in perfectly with my day. The action plan was to make sure my environment is supportive of my desires and intentions for my health. Dr. Hyman says, “We need to create our own “health bubble”. I want you to discover how to sync up your motivation, your ability, and the environmental triggers to make doing the right thing automatic.” My strategies for today that I focused on: Organize my kitchen for healthy meal preparation and make my bedroom a sanctuary.

Eight days ago, I emptied out my refrigerator and stocked it with fresh produce and healthy proteins such as eggs, chicken, turkey and fish. Today, I tackled the cabinets, where unhealthy processed snacks still lurked. It is difficult for me to throw away food. I had to override that voice in my head telling me I was wasting perfectly good food. I did attempt to give some of it away, but found that created a conflict as well! If I don’t consider it healthy for me to eat, how can I foist it on someone else? Once I threw a few things in the trash and silenced any sense of guilt about it, I made great progress! I felt very good about cleaning out the junk food. I now have a refrigerator AND pantry stocked with healthy food choices.  I have a great food prep area ready to go as well.

In his book, Dr. Hyman asks the question, “Is your bedroom designed to be a peaceful, stress-free environment that promotes rest?” I took a critical look at my bedroom with that question in mind, and decided it could use some tweaking. The TV that I had moved to my bedroom when my young granddaughter spent the night was still present. Back it went to the spare bedroom. After a bit of tidying up, I decided to add a bistro table set that I had bought last weekend at a junk show. I love this set and it will eventually end up in my backyard garden, but for now, it has a home in my bedroom. I think I’ve created my new morning spot for breakfast, tea and reading.

I have a quote that I attach to the bathroom mirror occasionally. It reads, My entire living space is an affirmation, reflecting the energy I wish to utilize in fulfilling my personal destiny. I am being intentional about creating an environment that not only supports who I am, but who I am becoming!

Day 61: 86th Academy Awards Bingo


This was not my first time to watch the Oscars. No, I’ve been watching this yearly event for most of my life. My family knows not to contact me on Oscar night, unless it’s an emergency. When my kids were little, their daddy would entertain them in another room or take them out for the evening so I could watch the Academy Awards without distraction. That’s how meaningful this show has been, and is, to me.

Naturally, I wanted to be able to incorporate today’s first into this special evening. I had planned a small viewing party, but the weather canceled that plan. So for today’s first, I printed out a ballot so I could vote and keep track of the winners. And I printed out Oscar Bingo cards. Greg and I watched for things to cross off, like “bilingual acceptance”, “#Oscars” and “name mangled”. Neither of us yelled out “Bingo!”, but it was a fun activity, and something I had not done before.

The theme for tonight’s show was “Heroes”. I enjoyed the tributes to the many types of heroes portrayed on the big screen over the years. There was a special nod to The Wizard of Oz, this being that movie’s 75th anniversary. The Memoriam brought a tear to my eyes, as those in the film industry who have recently passed were honored. Their works live on as a legacy to future generations of movie goers. Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” at the end of the memorial segment was very fitting.

I didn’t do well on the ballot, only correcting predicting 8 of the 24 winners. But that’s okay. I don’t watch the Academy Awards to see how many of my favorites win. I watch because movies have been, and continue to be, such an important part of my life. They speak to me, deeply. By drawing me into the story that they weave, movies impart to me lessons for life. I watch a movie that captures me, over and over again, until there is nothing more to receive from that particular story. Some movies, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I’ve watched 20 or more times. With each viewing, another nugget of wisdom is uncovered, another significant truth is revealed. The Oscars honor the year’s best movies, and I watch to pay tribute as well.

I was delighted that Frozen won for best animated film. And the song from that movie, MY song for this year, Let It Go, won best song. Twelve Years a Slave took home the best picture award. I realized as I checked my ballot that I had not seen even one of the nine movies nominated for best picture. That’s unusual for me. I intend to rectify that by watching all nine films. That can be a first me in this year of firsts, one I will enjoy a great deal!

Day 60: Destination Imagination: Live and Let Fly Skit


As a grandmother, Yaya to my two grandkids, I do my best to attend all their activities. It’s not that I have to force myself to go! I enjoy having both of them living nearby and participating in their lives. Today’s first, watching my grandson Dayan and his team perform their Live and Let Fly skit in competition, was a special treat.

Dayan, who is a freshman in high school, and his six other team members, took part in the Destination Imagination competition today at his school. Destination Imagination (DI) is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization with the purpose of inspiring and equipping students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. This unique drama program gives the kids a challenge and then steps back, allowing them to create and produce their own solution, in the form of a skit, without any adult input. Dayan’s group had the challenge of “extremes”.  They chose to create a skit about a ship traveling toward Venus. Their fuel source runs low and they are forced to make use of “extreme” technology to survive in an “extreme” environment.

I was amazed by the creativity and ingenuity of the team. They worked together many weeks, meeting after school, creating characters, writing a script, memorizing lines and making props and costumes, all on their own. And the actual skit was incredible. The lines were clever, the storyline humorous and they nailed the challenge. I was quite impressed with their props, especially the “botanical air supply and sulfuric protector” device that they dreamed up for their extreme technology. Someone may have a future in space exploration!

I admire these young people. At such a tender age, they are stepping beyond their comfort zones and letting their creative souls shine brightly. They are also learning the power of teamwork, allowing each member to have a voice and share ideas. And they have fun. Watching the way they encouraged each other and joked and laughed brought a smile to this Yaya’s face.

Apparently the judges appreciated Dayan and his team’s efforts as well. They won 2nd place and now advance to the state competition.  I’m so proud of them all! Live and Let Fly, indeed.


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!