Live Boldly!

This past week I was nostalgic, thinking of the last week of September in 2017 when I was in Iona, Scotland. Each day I’ve remembered what our group of forty retreat participants were doing. There are things that I learned there that have stayed with me.

That Saturday before we checked in at the Abbey, I had a wave of anxiety when I was standing at the ferry landing, waiting to cross over the sound. My thought was that I wasn’t worthy of spending time at that famous pilgrimage site; Who was I to be attending with participants from around the world who were probably more educated, well-traveled, sophisticated than me? But before I stepped onto the ferry, that ‘still small voice of God’ within me said, “You are my child. You are enough.” I remembered that message whenever I felt any hint of doubt, any urge to hold back and be less than myself.


Ferry ride in Scotland

That Tuesday we took a hike across the island, our ‘pilgrimage’ to all the significant sites. At Columba’s Bay, I threw a rock into the water that symbolized what I wanted to let go of, what I’d leave behind in Iona. That rock represented my self-consciousness. That evening my resolve was put to the test; I was asked to do a videotaped interview about my Iona experience. I’ve always been shy about being filmed or recorded, but before I had time to pull that rock out of the sound, I said, “Sure, I’ll be glad to do that.” I kept telling myself to forget about the camera and just have a conversation– something I’m comfortable doing. My desire to say “Thanks” for my Iona experience was greater than my need to step back.

Last week, at two years to the day from that Iona interview, I attended a launch for my friend, Jill Hammergren’s project with British chef, Lee Wright. He spent the week here, with Jill and her crew filming segments for the show that’s best described on their Facebook page:

A self-contained docu-hybrid travel, foodie, action show that follows Millennial professional Chef, competitive water skier, action-seeker, Lee Wright on an adventure around North Carolina & the world to eat locally, explore mightily and live boldly!


Lee Wright

 In the reminder email, Jill let us know that her production crew would be filming. My first reaction was, “Oh no!” and then I remembered Iona and how I must let that resistance go. It was important for me to step forward to support Jill in this launch that she and Lee had worked so hard to make a success. 


Lee showing Jill the pulled pork for the main course (photo credit Mary Alice Connor)

I’d never been to a gathering like this dinner party with Lee preparing the food while we watched and the crew filmed.


He had some time to be interviewed and to chat with the participants. Using foods that are locally grown, he prepared an appetizer with a sweet potato pancake with herbs topped with pork tenderloin and sauce with apples.

I couldn’t imagine being a chef, but going to another country and cooking for a group of strangers while being filmed, that seemed altogether overwhelming. I wanted to do what I could to help him feel welcomed and to learn more about what he’d created for us.

I moved over toward him, trying to ignore the lights and the guy filming.

“So Lee, do you all use a lot of sweet potatoes in the UK?”

“We do. Jill took me to buy them at your North Carolina Farmer’s Market and it was quite something.”he said with a smile, and put another pancake onto a small plate. “We don’t have anything like that around London.”


Lee enjoyed the NC Farmer’s Market

Later I chatted with him about visiting London and enjoying the pub food at The Old Swann. He knew that spot in Hyde Park and responded, “So you enjoyed that comfort food?”

“Yes, very much after a chilly and rainy day touring London,” I responded, and savored that memory while enjoying Lee’s comfort food.

The two people, besides Jill, whom I knew left early. I got my plate of the main course– a pulled pork sandwich with Lee’s special UK sauce topped with slaw– that tasted like a combination of slaw and potato salad. I found a seat at the island by Shirley Coble who’d come with her daughter, April. They’re the owners of the Coble Ski School in Harnett County where Lee had been filmed skiing.

What an interesting conversation I had with Shirley as I learned about the world competitions they’d won and she learned about my family roots in Harnett county. Shirley’s husband had started out as a coach at Boone Trail School. That was the community where I, along with some girlfriends, used to ‘ride around.’ Shirley laughed, as I recalled how we’d hung out at the Lillington Tastee Freeze. Funny that now her ski school employs lots of Australian instructors. I wonder if they ever ride around the Tastee Freeze!


Lee with the main course (photo credit Mary Alice Connor)

Overall, the night was a lot of fun. It had been a major undertaking for Jill and Lee. I hope their launch moved them toward a successful docu-hybrid travel, foodie, action show, that follows Lee not only on an adventure around North Carolina but to other parts of the world. May that show encourage followers to eat locally, explore mightily and live boldly!


How About You?

What areas of self-consciousness do you need to let go of in order to live a more fulfilling life?

How can you toss that rock you’ve been carrying into the water and move forward?









7 thoughts on “Live Boldly!

  1. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  2. what a fun and adventurous post! And you always ask THE most thought-provoking questions.

    What I need to toss away so I can live a more fulfilling life is all of the noise around people-pleasing/being liked/putting up with bad behavior. I’m working on it, and something that helps is daily introspection/quiet and lots of permission to do what makes my heart sing! 🙂 MJ


    • Hey MJ,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing how you’re working on living a more fulfilling life. It’s important to sort out that noise of people-pleasing, being liked, tolerating other’s poor behavior. Sometimes as women, mothers, daughters we’ve gotten so used to taking care of everybody and ‘keeping the peace’ that we lose ourselves. Sometimes I have to remember to step back and ask myself, “What do I want?” I’ve waited far too long to come to that question.
      I hope that you keep ever-before-you the things that make your heart sing.
      You deserve that!
      Best to you,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The trend today is to have a chef show up at your home to prepare a meal while all the guest drinks wine and ask questions. The great chefs actually offer some little tricks to make the meal seem effortless. I really enjoy those dinners and always bring something new from the experience. You have had a very unique time as most of these dinners are video-recorded. The best to you.


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