Last summer, on my epic road trip, I met and stayed with some amazing women (and a great man), all of whom are using their special gifts to make their part of the world a better place.  Today, I’m sending out a special shout out to each one of them: much delayed, and sorely deserved. 

First, there’s Rita.  Rita and I met at the World Domination Summit only a week prior to the start of my trip.  By happenstance, we ended up sharing a room during the conference and I was introduced to a lady of immeasurable wit and a passion for life, hearts, and hugs.  Rita introduced me to a friend of hers via facebook who lives in Toronto, and whom, although she was leaving for Ireland the morning of our arrival that afternoon, let us stay in her condo for free without having any idea of who we are.  Thus the power of Rita Chand (aka LolaSpeaking and Cinderita).  So grateful she is in my life.     

A week later we made it to Denver, Co, home of the amazing Annemarie Milisen.  Annemarie is the woman that talked me off the edge when I had my mini-breakdown at the beginning of 2013.  She was the reason that I now work with Neuronutrient Therapy, and feel even-keeled most days.  She is the Founder and Director of Beacon for Balance, a nutrition coaching practice in Denver that works with busy professionals, and she is one of my closest friends.   She let us stay at her place for 5 days, even though she was preparing for a 250 mile hiking adventure on the Colorado Trail, and leaving on our day 3 of being there.  Talk about generosity.  I love her.  

Another week brought us to sunny Scottsdale, AZ, and the home of Tess Marshall and her husband Roger.  I met Tess online for a few minutes after she responded to my facebook post about needing a place to stay on our way to San Diego.  She too was a WDS attendee, and I guess as I was someone vetted by being there, she took a chance on me and the boys.  And thank goodness, because she is wonderful, her house is gorgeous, and her business, The Bold Life, is exactly in line with the trip we were on.  She welcomed us into her home and within 15 minutes, the boys and I were in swimsuits and enjoying the pool in the backyard.  It was amazing, and Tess’s infectious laugh and free spirit made us feel at home from the moment we arrived.  She inspires you to get off your butt and do something bold.

The kids desire to visit Legoland, and the power of the WDS facebook group brought us to the San Diego home of Michelle Jones, and her lovely children.  Her kids were about the same age of mine, and within 10 minutes, it was as though they had known and loved them all their lives.  I felt the same way.  Kindred spirits.  Her home is my dream home.  I got a room all to myself with an in-suite and a tempurpedic bed.  Heaven.  But the best part, I felt as though we were home away from home.  And so did the kids.  Ahh.  And then Michelle introduced me to her kites.  And they were uplifting and gorgeous and handmade.  She gifted me with two with the word SOAR on our last day there, and they inspired me all the way home.  And they adorned quite a few pics on the way back as well.  Boy, can those kites fly!, and benefit others too.  Amazing.

Katie McClain was the next person we had the pleasure of meeting in person.  Katie wrote the book How to Tame Your Thought Monster , and soon after it was published I won a copy, and used it to help my son through some tough times.  Katie then reached out and asked if she might coach Connor for a month, and I readily agreed.  Connor felt safe with her, and actually told her things I didn’t know.  It was a miracle.  Anyway, she offered to let us stay with her, but due to my thinking it unfair that her dog would need to go to a kennel, we decided just to stop in and say hello.  She had us meet her at her country club, and soon we were treated to dinner, the kids got to swim, and Connor got to meet the women that coached him all those months ago.  Wonderful how it worked out, and Katie is just as sweet and generous in person as she is online.  Katie is now working to help educators create cultures of kindness, cooperation, self confidence, and success with the kids they serve.  

After we left Katie’s, we went to my dear friend Tim’s house.  Tim and I were colleagues at Merck many years ago, and then he became one of my first coaching clients.  Though we get to see each other every few years, this was the first time I was able to come see him at his house, and he got to meet the kids.  I called him only a day before we arrived, and he dropped all his plans to see us and to take us out for breakfast the next morning.  Since we first met, Tim has become a yogi, traveling to India to study, and then a Transcendental Meditation teacher, and now he helps others connect to divine spirit, their own divinity, and to others through his kirtan practice.

After we left Tim’s place in Pascadena, we were headed to Yosemite, but we needed a place to stay on the way.  Again, WDS to the resuce.  Prior to the conference, I was invited to a party by my friend, Mike , and was introduced to a women that I have followed online for a year.   Molly Mahar, of Stratejoy, is a lovely women full of laughter, and divine spirit.  Her and I chatted at the party about her travels the months before, and about my trip, and she casually mentioned that if I make it San Luis Obispo, I should come stay with her.  Little did she know that I would take her up on it, but sadly, she was leaving for a trip the day we would be arriving.  So even though she wasn’t going to be there, she offered to let us stay at her home.  After driving for hours on the California freeway, her home was a welcome respite, and because it was the first time in days that we had no plans and no one to see, we spent many hours catching up on sleep, and then rejoicing when we found out they had Netflix (the boys were very TV deprived).  Molly is now pregnant with her second child, and still helping women all over the world find joy in their work and their life. 

To Rita, Annemarie, Tess, Michelle, Katie, Tim, and Molly-thank you so much for sharing your homes and your lives with my boys and I.  I am so grateful and hope one day to have the opportunity to grace you with the generosity you have shown me.  Much love to you and to those you hold dear.

And to all of the other amazing people we encountered on our trip and online, we wish you love, peace, and joy for the New Year.