Best-ever Women on Fire Retreat!!

My heart is full.

What an amazing, inspiring weekend with women from 22 states and Canada at our annual Women on Fire Retreat held this year in Chicago!

The fabulous women who attended the Retreat! (Photos by Heather Stone)

Next week I’ll say more about what it was like to be in the energy of all these dynamic, creative, supportive women who are making a difference in the world.

But right now, those of us on the East Coast are preparing for the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and I am sending love and hope for everyone’s safety.

Meanwhile, please join us in a few Women on Fire moments from the weekend! More pictures next week.

Chicago host and Woman on Fire Debi Lilly cheering!

The wise and talented Sophfronia Scott, publisher of the next Women on Fire book, shared our plans for inviting co-authors to participate. Very exciting!

Kim Davis, Dana Frost, Nancy Neal and Cindy Clendenin listen intently to Margo Frazier sharing what she is “on fire” about in her life!

Blue Women Group? Not exactly! Dreaming Big was this year’s Retreat theme.  Everyone received a blue-gel mask to promote relaxation, better sleep, good dreams!

My sweet mother Mary Lue Phillips attended her first-ever Women on Fire Retreat. Here she is, happy in the moment with Laura Benton, Meredith Schoenberger and Arlene Alexander.

Enjoying the Retreat with my best friend Jan Allen, a coach and life strategist, who moderated a panel on Career Leaps and Changes and also discussed on her experience giving a TEDx talk. (Photo by Jamie Eslinger)

Yoga teacher and trainer Laurel Hodory led us to discover techniques for becoming centered and grounded.

To everyone who participated in this powerful, engaging, life-changing Retreat, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Safe travels home.  And stay tuned for next year’s Retreat date and city!

If you haven’t attended a Women on Fire event, I hope you will soon. No better way to fill your cup:-)

Sneak peek inside a Women on Fire Tea Party!

I am still on a high after last Friday’s Women on Fire Tea in Naples, Florida.

What a joy to meet all the women who came from far and wide to listen deeply to what each other is  “on fire” about; to confide innermost fears, desires and dreams; and to cheer each other on.

The fabulous Women on Fire Tea Party participants in Naples, Florida

After leading these events for nearly seven years, this particular tea also touched my heart  because it was the first one my mother Mary Lue Phillips had ever attended.  (She loved the women and the experience so much that afterward she wondered how she can attend every single tea from here on!)

My mother Mary Lue Phillips and Woman on Fire Karen Kilpatrick

I’d love to introduce my mother to you and take you inside for a private view of the opening circle at the tea in Naples …

Video Here

Having my mother there also brought awareness to the incredible gifts that flow through us from our mothers.  No matter your history, your status or your relationship with your mother, do you know which gifts you possess from her?

It is both freeing and empowering to recognize and honor them.  I thank my mother for her compassion and positive spirit, her warmth, her love of people and her sense of humor! She is a funny one (as many of you remarked after watching her eat a Limpopo last summer!) and I am so grateful to receive those gifts from her.

Two Women on Fire at the tea whose strength, generosity, creativity and wisdom greatly influence my own life — Anne Gallagher and my mother Mary Lue Phillips.

Please pop on down to the comments section below to share what is special about your mother that you are the lucky recipient of!

Have a wonderful week and stay tuned for some very exciting new happenings at Women on Fire to bring you even more inspiration, strategies and support!



May I interest you in a Limpopo?

Happy end-of-Thanksgiving holiday.  I hope you have room for one more sweet!

After all that we Americans ate over these past few days, you might think I’m a little crazy to even bring up F-O-O-D.

These delights fly off the shelves at State Road Restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard

But I am eager and excited to share a story about one woman’s simple, creative genius and what it led to.  And it just so happens to involve sugar donuts.  So forgive me if you are too full to continue reading.  I’ll understand.

In the world of Women on Fire, one of the 20 aspirations to live an extraordinary life is:  I recognize my creativity as a gift to be protected, valued and nurtured.

Here is a woman who took that aspiration to heart.

Debbie Phillips Founder Women On Fire With Mary Kenworth Owner State Road RestaurantDebbie Phillips Founder Women On Fire With Mary Kenworth Owner State Road Restaurant
Here I am cheering on Mary Kenworth (left) and her signature Limpopo

A while back Mary Kenworth was reading a book and came upon the name of a river in Africa called The Limpopo.  The very name inspired her and she was hoping to read more in the book about The Limpopo.  But nothing.  The name, however, stayed with her.  The dreaminess of the word had her imagining people saying to each other: “let’s meet at Limpopo.”

A restaurateur in business with her husband Jackson, Mary found “Limpopo” so evocative that she decided she must attach it to something “beloved” in the restaurant.  So, she collaborated with the pastry chef at their exquisite (and our favorite!) restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard called State Road.

The Limpopo — a light and fluffy, warm, sugary, cinnamony brioche donut without the hole — was born.

And, this is the part I love.  Mary turned her creative thought about a river in Africa into the reality of a “beloved” treat for her patrons, and Limpopos are now the runaway, best-selling item at State Road!

Today I saw a man wait patiently for 20 minutes for a fresh batch of Limpopos. He breathed a happy sigh of relief when our friend Sydney Bender, who works at State Road and is also food writer for Edible Vineyard Magazine, brought out a fresh, hot batch from the oven.

Now you see and then you won’t! Sydney Bender brings out a fresh basket of Limpopos

Even my mother Mary Lue Phillips who is an expert baker had to have one and delighted in attempting to discover what makes Limpopos so exquisitely delicious and special.


What creative thought or idea is currently rolling around in your head that is calling you to bring it to life?

In a similar way that Mary was inspired with the word “Limpopo” and followed her interest, what notion of yours could be transformed into something possibly tangible, profitable, and uplifting for you, your family, your world?

I look forward to reading your comments and hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.

Much love,