The last time you filled up?

Hello from snowy Alpena, Michigan! I’m about to hop on a plane to Naples, Florida after three days here speaking at four events to more than 250 phenomenal women “on fire” (and quite a few men, too:-)

I am leaving this city on the shores of exquisite Lake Huron with my heart full and, in a moment, you’ll see why my tummy is full, too!

But first…

I am wondering how you are? As the long winter turns toward spring, are you in need of a renewal?

If you were with us in Alpena these past few days, you are likely full of fire and ready to take on the world. And, if you weren’t, I want to share why my visit to Alpena has left me feeling renewed and filled with joy and how you might benefit, too.

It all started when Women on Fire Book Co-Author Mary Ellen Jones saw the need in her community for women to be inspired and re-energized. (You know MEJ from her terrific chapter “Finding Love Way Past 40” in the Women on Fire book.  A former television producer, she moved from the shiny hills of Hollywood to the rolling hills of a farm near Alpena to be with her beloved “gentleman farmer.” Or, as she puts it, “I went from the stage door to the barn door!”)

For nearly a year, MEJ and many caring others worked to organize RENEW, an event to connect fabulous women to each other to renew their hearts, minds and spirits.  She invited me to be the keynote speaker.

(You won’t believe the hilarious thing that MEJ did to surprise me when she introduced me to the wonderfully enthusiastic crowd at RENEW. She told them about my sweet tooth and my rule that I refuse to eat a dessert bigger than my head. Check out what happened in this video!)

What I hadn’t counted in Alpena was how I would be the one renewed these past few days and here’s why:

* Surrounded in nature — mountains of snow, gusts of fresh air and the tastiest, freezing cold water from the tap — awakened my senses and made me feel alive.

* Family-style meals with long-time and brand-new friends and pets Bootsie and Sammy filled my heart and made me feel so at home. (Thank you, MEJ, Rich Mills, Nan Katzenberger, Christine Wagner and Jamie Eslinger.)

* Dedicated and enthusiastic Women on Fire  — Julia McLemore, Lisa Davis Cooper, Kim Dettmer, Anne Thurston, Mary Lou Peters, Beth Kloesener, Debra Collins, Lori Tomlinson — drove long distances through ice and snow to attend RENEW.  It was so great to see them and I felt very loved and supported.

* The warmth of the people of Alpena.  Everywhere we went people welcomed us — and even showered us with gifts!

* The hope and enthusiasm from the many, many men and women — from ages 12-88 — at the events where I spoke, to live their dreams and be their best, lifted me up.

So, here I was half-way across the country “working” and I was the one filled up as though I just took a vacation!  Thank you, Woman on Fire extraordinaire Mary Ellen Jones and to each and every person in Alpena who shared a hug, a hope, a dream with me.

What is it you need to do today for you to feel renewed, loved and supported? Please pop down to the comments section and share with us.  We really want to hear.

Here is a fun little video our talented Jamie Eslinger captured of our Alpena experience. I hope it inspires you to find your own renewal.
(Hint: the video also reveals the reason why my tummy is full!)

WARNING: There are images of a woman in her pajamas!

Love and hugs,