Day 263: Jonathan’s Minecraft Birthday

Jonathan birthday Steve and Jonathan

Today’s first was another September birthday celebration, this time for grandson Jonathan. He is the son of Elissa’s significant other, Josh. I already count sweet Jonathan as a grandchild and this was the first time I’ve attended a birthday party in his honor.

Jonathan turned 9 years old today and started the afternoon in a special way….he was baptized. The party was held at Trinity Baptist Church, in Pittsburg, KS. The party attendees met upstairs to be witnesses to this significant event. After a few words, the pastor baptized Jonathan, signifying new life in Christ.

Downstairs, we gathered in the fellowship hall for cake and goodies and joyful celebrating. Jonathan chose a theme based on the popular video game, Minecraft. I’m familiar with this game only because I’ve watched Dayan play. It is based on creating and breaking blocks. You can build structures to protect against monsters, in worlds where everything is square shaped, but there is much room for creative playing and building, and exploration, and there are a variety of resources to help you along your journey.

Jonathan birthday blow out the candles

The decorations were all made by Jonathan’s family members and the room looked so cute! The food matched food resources available in the game, and were labeled so non-gamers knew what was what. There was a Minecraft piñata that the kids enjoyed breaking open and a scene set up for a photo op. The central character in the game is Steve. Dayan graciously dressed up today as Steve, sporting the large blocky head and turquoise shirt. The kids enjoyed having Steve at the party and having their pictures taken with him.

It was Jonathan’s day, and he had a fun afternoon. From blowing out candles to eating cake to opening presents, he was surrounded by other children, and loving adults, who allowed him to shine in the spotlight. Jonathan is a cute, good natured, smart young man, who loves music and computers and gaming. At the age of nine, he already has an idea for a game app of his own and has spent time planning and working out the logistics of it. I have no doubt that he will find a way to launch his creation. Jonathan has huge potential in the gaming world, indeed in any field he chooses, and the support of those who love him who will encourage him to keep creating and keep dreaming. I look forward to watching him grow and become all that he is meant to be.

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It was fun too to see Josh’s family. I have known his parents, Jonathan’s Nana and Papa, Debi and Mike, since they were in their late teens. Greg has known Mike, actually, since childhood. When our families were young, Mike and Debi’s children and ours played together often. Elissa and Josh have literally known each other since babyhood. They’ve been close friends for most of their lives. It is wonderful to see them together as a couple, blending their families, and journeying hand in hand. And it was amazing to gather today with Mike and Debi to celebrate a dear grandson’s birthday. Many joy filled years ahead, Jonathan. Thank you for allowing me to be your Yaya.

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Day 262: The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest Challenge 4

The Hobbit The Battle of Five Armies Tapestry

So I’ve temporarily skipped over Challenge 3 in the contest, and quickly completed Challenge 4 this evening, for my first today. Challenge 4 was a snap. I simply had to share an exclusive picture, which is actually a part of a larger tapestry, from the upcoming movie. The picture was shared on Facebook and twitter.

And, I worked on Challenge 3 today. With only about 15 minutes of daylight left, I grabbed my phone and the script I had written out, and seated myself in my garden. I think I hoped I’d do a couple of “takes” and voila! There the finished video would be. Well that was a good thought!

Challenge 3 is most definitely challenging. I know a year ago having to create a video would have stopped me from finishing the contest. And to be realistic for a moment, I haven’t completed it yet! The completed contest MUST include the video, or it doesn’t count as a submission. The creators of the contest knew this would be the making or breaking point, and much emphasis is placed on the video.

I have a script I wrote out. I won’t read it on camera. But it helps to sear the message I want to convey into my brain when I write it down. I read through it a couple of times and then started the video on my camera. The first two takes, I simply read through the script. Both times, the video was too long. It can’t be more than two minutes. I finished with a 2:15 video and one at 2:11.

I struck a few lines from the script and this time, tried recording sans script. Take 3. Uh oh. I caught myself frowning. Take 4. A car drove down the alleyway, hidden behind the fence, but the noise not only distracted me, it was evident on the video. Same thing happened on Take 6. Where are those cars coming from? I hardly ever hear a car in the alleyway. Take 5. One of the cats jumped up next to me, striking the metal table. Cut! Take 7. I got the giggles because I suddenly realized I had a telephone pole coming up out of my head. Shift the chair. Take 8. I flubbed a word. Takes 9-12. More stammering of words. I mutter a colorful word. No profanity allowed! Take 13. Yikes, mosquitoes are biting my hands and feet! Take 14. I lose my train of thought and stare blankly into the camera. Laughter. Ahem. CUT! Take 15. The words are flowing well, however, I notice the light has failed enough outside that the video is appearing grainy. Final cut and it’s a wrap for tonight.

I have a couple of days left in which to complete this challenge. Tonight, for the first time, I did consider quitting. I speak often, before small groups, before large groups. It’s not the speaking that is getting to me, it is knowing that I’m recording my words. I will not allow discomfort to keep me from finishing this quest. The challenge is pushing me. So be it! Tomorrow morning, I’ll start again. No mosquitoes. Hopefully no cars in the alley. Cats contained in the house. I can do this. Roll video.

Day 261: Zumba in the Street

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Tonight was Third Thursday. I always enjoy milling around downtown, chatting with people, checking out booths and art, and listening to music. The Joplin Y took over the corner of 3rd & Main Streets this evening and cranked up the Latin music. For my first today, I joined in with other enthusiastic dancers and did Zumba in the street.

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Dave takes the stage

It was a busy day with several unexpected twists and turns, work wise, that kept me on the phone or in the car for a good part of the day. I did get to enjoy the company of granddaughter Aubrey for a short time. After dropping her off at home, I met my mom and sister downtown to watch other groups perform Zumba and wait for my instructor, Dave, to take the stage.

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The Y had 8 of their instructors downtown, putting willing participants through a variety of moves, much to the enjoyment of the crowd gathered to watch. When Dave’s turn to lead the dances arrived, Mom and I joined in, front and center. There was at least one other woman from my class present. I arrived downtown straight from Carthage, so I didn’t exactly have on Zumba clothes, but I had a great time. Dave shines as an instructor. Fun and very expressive, he had the dancers moving, clapping and whooping in no time. My sister held our stuff and snapped pics while Mom and I danced through four routines. I’m very proud of my mom, who faithfully attends class three times a week and showed up tonight ready to give it her all. She has rheumatoid arthritis, but you’d not know that from her energy and ability. She inspires me to keep going as well!

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There’s my mom, two down from me dressed in black. Go Mom!

We finished with the Chicken Dance, which is a high energy routine, even though it isn’t one of our usual numbers. I unfortunately pulled my Achilles tendon on my right heel having a blast on that one and have my foot soaking in warm water with Epsom Salts. I’ve aggravated this heel before and I know it will be fine shortly. It didn’t help when I added insult to injury and stumbled over a parking curb in the dark, walking to the car!

I am grateful to Dave for his patience with the Zumba Gold class, and for his playful sense of humor. And I am thankful for this excellent form of exercise. It is not only fun, it is good for me, on so many levels. I’ve just got to beware that Chicken Dance!

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Great finish, Dave!

Day 260: Celebrate Adriel’s Birthday

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This evening’s first was a celebration of Adriel, my youngest child, who had a milestone birthday today. She turned 30. It was a milestone for me as well, to have my baby turn 30 and to now have all three of my children officially in their 30’s. Oh my, the time has flown by.

I was very tempted to stop by Adriel’s house early this morning and knock on her door. When she came to the door, I would have made a strange request of her, much like she did to me when I turned 30. Of my children, Adriel seemed to be the most concerned about me reaching this grand old age. Alarmed might be a better word! The morning of my birthday, she ran into the bathroom, where I was taking a shower, and demanded that I stick my arm and hand out through the shower curtain. Amused, I did as she asked. She held my hand and carefully turned it palm up and then palm down again, examining it intently. Finally she sighed with relief. She was afraid I had become all wrinkly overnight, since I was now so old! She was four years old at that time.

Adriel arrived in our family during a time of transition. We had just bought our house and we were in the process of extensive remodeling. I had 4 year old Elissa, who would be starting kindergarten the next fall and 2 ½ year old Nathanael, who had just moved beyond diapers and a crib. Being 18 months apart, those two were more like twins, and they were constant companions and playmates. And then the tale-tell sign for me…..I couldn’t tolerate anything sweet all of a sudden. Three months after we had moved into our new house, I discovered I was pregnant. Adriel knows now that physically, it was a very tough pregnancy for me. A minor heart condition became a major problem for the next 8 months, requiring weekly doctor visits and creating difficulties at home, as I cared for two toddlers and a house that was in a state of deconstruction. However, the day I heard this new baby’s heartbeat, at the doctor’s office, my whole world shifted. Even though it was the third time I had experienced hearing a tiny, yet strong heart beating beneath mine, I was awed, and amazed, and completely undone. My own heart, which was beating more rapidly than the baby’s, expanded with the deep love I felt for this gift, this new life I was being entrusted with.

Adriel has been a precious gift. Perhaps because she is five years younger than her sister and more than three years behind her brother, she has always demonstrated first born traits. All three of my kids show characteristics of being a first born. Adriel not only strove to keep up with her older siblings, she succeeded. She was also the orneriest of my kids, but maybe that goes with being the youngest and finding her place in our family. She was artistic, musical and had a flair for drama. Not dramatic. Acting. As a youngster she wowed audiences with her portrayal of an old woman, during a monologue. Had she desired to, she could have pursued acting and become another Sandra Bullock!

Instead, at the age of 14, Adriel became a volunteer at Freeman Hospital. And thus began a journey that has continued all these years. She amazed me by deciding to pursue nursing. I wasn’t astounded by her compassion for people, or her desire to help the elderly or the very young, especially. I wasn’t surprised by her determination that has carried her through years of going to school while she also worked. I was amazed because as a child, if anyone even said the word “snot” around her, she gagged. This child with the sensitive stomach now does things, as a nurse tech at Freeman, that I cannot imagine anyone doing. And she does those indescribable jobs with grace and dignity and great skill. In 87 days, Adriel will graduate from nursing school. She never wavered from her goal, and I am so proud of her for meeting challenges and adapting her life and continuing to work while doing so well, both academically and emotionally. Nursing school is tough. Life can be tough. This girl, with the sparkly eyes, is tougher.

I didn’t make my daughter show me her hand tonight, but I did have the opportunity to observe Adriel. She is a beautiful young woman, with no wrinkles on her smooth face. She and her sister and brother had animated conversations as we dined at Olive Garden. They are still so close and Adriel has often been the glue that holds that trio together. Both her siblings have relied on her during difficult times in their own lives, and when she has needed them, they are there for her in return. Her artistic bent tends more toward creative Pinterest projects and it has been a while since she sat down before a piano or acted in a play. That fiery, independent spirit is very evident though, as is her loyalty to family and friends and her commitment to her chosen profession. This child, now a lovely young woman, has always set huge goals for herself. I have no doubts that she will accomplish all she intends to do. Happy Birthday to my youngest, my achiever, my level headed planner, my charmer. Seize life and enjoy the journey!

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Day 259: Back to Back Hobbit Movies

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Tonight I have a quick post about a not-so-quick first! I am working on Challenges 3 and 4 of the Hobbit Fan Contest. Challenge 3 is the making of a 2 minute video sharing my refections about the impact on my life these powerful movies have had. I had planned to create the video for today’s first. A busy day taking care of clients changed my plans.

When one first doesn’t work out, another always appears. I have 6 days left in which to complete the challenges for the contest. I know I will succeed at completing steps 3 and 4. As I headed home in the dark, after getting contracts signed, I mulled over possible firsts. Several options that I considered “shied” away from me, meaning the thoughts didn’t resonate with me. That’s a clear no signal for me. When I tried to open the saved website with unique holidays, the site wouldn’t open. That’s never happened before. Another no.

The thought that kept coming to me, that resonated with me, caused me to shy away. Watch the two Hobbit movies, back to back. It was 8:00 PM. I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. These are lengthy films. I have work tomorrow. I had all kinds of excuses why this wasn’t a good time for this first! And yet, the more I considered watching the movies, the more it seemed the right experience for this evening.

Because, I’ve been thinking a great deal about these movies as I accept and complete the fan challenges. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug have had a great impact on my life. I’ll share more about that when I post the video I am creating. I draw amazing life lessons from these films, as I also did from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

And so, after a quick dinner, I brewed a pot of Scottish Heather tea, set up the TV/DVD player in the bedroom and made myself comfy. I am enjoying the first movie. Rather than overthink the plot or scrutinize the characters, I am just watching, open to receive whatever impressions flow to me.

As soon as the first movie is finished, I’ll continue with the second. Not only will I appreciate the movies but I’ll have clarity as I share from my heart before the camera in the next few days. I’ll also build anticipation for the upcoming release of the third and final movie in The Hobbit adventure. Not a bad first!

Someday, after The Hobbit:The Battle of Five Armies releases on DVD, I’ll have a Middle Earth marathon! I’ll watch all three Hobbit movies, followed by The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But that is not this night. I’ll save that event for a long weekend!

Day 258: Bolero Dance Lesson

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Thanks goes to my friend, Leslie, for tonight’s first. She invited me to the Tanglefooters Dance Club, located at 1801 W 2nd, Joplin, for a dance lesson. The group was starting a new series this evening, the bolero. I said yes!

My sister Linda accompanied me. Neither of us had ever experienced this particular dance. I’ve only had one other formal lesson in dance and that ended abruptly when I twisted my knee during a turn. I appreciated Linda going with me. Since neither of us had a dance partner, we intended to just watch, or to dance with each other, if we could control our giggles.

We arrived at the dance club at the same time as a thunderstorm. Thunder rumbled overhead and the sound of the rain pelting the metal roof almost drowned out instructors Linda and Paul as they welcomed everyone. I was surprised, first of all, at the number of dancers in attendance. Leslie appeared at my side, pleased that we had shown up. As it turned out, there were a couple of gentlemen present, without dance partners. So, second surprise, Linda and I joined the circle of dancers, ready to learn.

The bolero is a slow tempo Latin dance. In America, it is one of the competitive dances in the American Rhythm ballroom dance category. It has a 4/4 time, with the first step taken on the first beat, then a pause, then steps on beats 3 and 4. It is cued as slow…quick, quick. During the dance the body flows, or rises and falls, like a wave, subtly of course.

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I paired up with Roy, and Linda with John, both experienced dancers. I found myself offering apologies before the lesson even began, as this was a very new and different experience for me. Roy quickly put me at ease though, guiding me expertly and offering grace and forgiveness for my missteps. My months of Zumba served me well this evening. Zumba relies on Latin dance moves so that familiarity was helpful, plus Zumba has helped to loosen my hips and knees and give me stamina.

Our instructors taught us five moves tonight and allowed us to practice over and over, with and without music. They were fun to watch and gave clear instructions that were easy to follow. Amazingly, in a 90 minute lesson, I felt like I was getting the hang of the moves. Roy began to give me small corrections, which improved my dancing even more. By the time we danced through all that we had learned this evening, to the beautiful song from Beauty and the Beast, Tale as Old as Time, I was moving more confidently. Roy was gracious to give me extra tips after the formal instruction was over. I tend to move too quickly and he showed me how to slow my movements down and how to bring my arms down slightly, and maintain the proper tension in them.

What a fun evening! I enjoyed the lesson, appreciated my dance partner and during the break, had the pleasure of watching a bolero demonstration by experienced dancers. I am so glad that Leslie invited me to attend and that my sister joined me in this first. She had a fun evening as well. And rather than being observers, we got to be dancers. How cool was that?

Bolero Roy and Cindy e

Day 257: Earthing

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Today’s first, earthing, which is also known as grounding, seemed a natural fit, energetically, after celebrating Positive Thinking Day yesterday. I’ve desired to practice earthing and I’ve been looking for a nice grassy location to walk around in. As I was working in my yard yesterday, I realized I have a nice grassy spot in which to walk! I found my earthing location , literally in my own yard.

Earthing is the practice of walking or exercising barefoot outdoors, preferably on the beach near the ocean or on a grassy section of earth. This fast growing movement, studied by doctors and scientists, is based upon the discovery that connecting to the earth’s natural energy is foundational to vibrant health. The skin is a good conductor of energy and the feet especially so. There is a “sweet spot” on the ball of the foot where all the meridians of the body converge. When the feet make contact with the earth, there is a transfer of free electrons from the earth through the feet to all parts of the body.

Dr. James Oschman is an expert in the field of energy medicine, with a bachelor’s degree in biophysics and a PhD in biology. His research in earthing led him to study inflammation in the human body, which is recognized as the leading cause of major diseases. The free electrons entering the body from the earth are potent antioxidants, beneficial for decreasing levels of inflammation throughout the body by neutralizing free radicals, and therefore decreasing the potential for diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. Grounding has been shown to thin the blood, lower blood pressure and make cells less likely to stick together and form clots. Because free radicals are a major cause of aging as well, keeping the body balanced with electrons from the earth reduces the destructive signs of aging such as wrinkling of the skin and the breakdown of DNA.

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Dr. Oschman believes when people began wearing shoes with plasticized and rubberized soles, which block the earth’s free electrons from reaching the body, diseases began to increase, because the level of inflammation within the body rose as well. The simple practice of walking barefoot daily not only feels good and reduces inflammation and disease, it also relieves joint and body pain.

I was intrigued by my research. I have been aware of the negative effects of inflammation for quite some time and take minerals and herbs to counteract the damage within my own body. I had heard of earthing. I thought it was primarily a meditative practice and only discovered today that it is beneficial in reducing inflammation, pain and disease. I love how the right information flows to me at the right time. I used to go barefoot often as a child. Even though I grew up in a large city, I rarely wore shoes while playing in the yard or neighborhood. Although I frequently go barefoot indoors now, I can’t remember the last time I intentionally walked barefoot outside, beyond a quick jaunt out onto the deck or sidewalk.

With child-like glee, I stripped off my shoes and socks early this evening and headed outside. The grass was dewy and dark green on the north side of my house. Slowly, I stepped into the grass and wiggled my bare toes. I sighed with pleasure. I had forgotten how good it feels to be barefoot in the grass. I walked thoughtfully alongside the hosta garden and into the backyard, entering the space that was cleared yesterday. After walking back and forth along the hostas for several minutes, I pulled a chair off the brick seating area and plopped down to catch the setting sun’s last rays. I kept my bare feet flat upon the ground and just let my body relax. I intended to remain connected to the earth for 30 minutes, but an hour later, as darkness descended, I at last stood up and re-entered the house. I felt refreshed.

This is a new practice for me. My intention is to walk barefoot daily for as long as the weather permits, and see if I notice a difference in my body and the way I feel. If I simply reconnect with my joy in walking barefoot outside, that will be a benefit. I hope that connecting again with the earth’s amazing energy will bring increased health and vitality as well. I am open to receive!

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Day 256: Positive Thinking Day

world is what you believe it to be byron katie e

Today is Positive Thinking Day! And a great day for me to celebrate for the first time. Years ago, when I first heard of positive thinking, I dismissed it as a gimmicky fad. It seemed like lying to myself, thinking thoughts that weren’t true, which just showed I was unfamiliar with the concept and not ready to shift my attitude. For that’s what positive thinking is, truly, a shift in thoughts, and attitudes, which shifts beliefs, emotions, actions and results. Embracing positive energy, living in awareness and operating at a higher vibrational frequency is a way of life for me now. It was a joy to celebrate Positive Thinking Day, with even greater awareness of my thoughts, attitude and beliefs.

From my own journey, here are some reflections about keeping thoughts on a higher, more positive level:

  1. Embracing the positive isn’t about distorting the truth, it’s about accepting what is, and not creating stories around what’s not true. I deeply appreciate the teachings of Byron Katie, who encourages me to questions my thoughts by asking, “Is it true?” We have upwards of 60,000 thoughts a day. Most of these pass through our awareness without bringing distress. It is when we focus on a thought, and begin to create a story around it, that we can spiral downward into negativity. For example, my friend passed me by on the street, without acknowledging my wave. After I walk on, I focus on the thought that she ignored me, intentionally. If I don’t question the validity of this notion , I can begin to build a story around that thought that goes like this…. She must be mad at me. I must have done something wrong. My friend is mean. I don’t deserve to be treated like this. I need to make a new friend… On and on the thoughts go, creating a story based on a thought that wasn’t even true. The truth is, I don’t know why my friend didn’t respond to me. Perhaps she just didn’t see me. Questioning my thoughts allows me to let go of negative thinking. All I know is, she didn’t wave at me. That’s it. I can check on her later, and move on with my day.
  2. Gratitude always raises my level of positive energy. I don’t walk around all day saying, “I am a billionaire.” I move through the day saying “Thank you”. Today I could say, “I am grateful that I have all that I need in this moment. I am grateful for my home and my family. I am grateful for this beautiful day. I am grateful for my garden.” Gratitude is the foundation of my life. And gratitude is a choice. I can complain, and bring more into my life to complain about. Or I can express gratitude, and bring more into my life to be grateful for. I choose.
  3. What’s going on in my world, positive or negative, is a reflection of what I’m thinking about. Everything is energy, vibrating at different frequencies. When negative people, things, or actions are showing up in my life, it is an invitation to check in with my thoughts, which creates my beliefs, and make a shift. As I release lower energy thoughts, and embrace higher energy ones, my outward world shifts to match my inner world.
  4. I’ve adopted practices that keep my energy humming along, in a positive way. I limit the amount of news that I encounter, by limiting TV news programs, talk radio, and newspapers. If there is something important I need to know, I will know it. I have friends, family and Facebook for that. I also limit my contact with lower energy people. If someone is prone to complaining, I smile and walk away, as quickly as I can. I foster relationships with positive, high energy people. I meditate and pray. I engage in activities that I love and enjoy and that bring me pleasure. Today, a beautiful mild day with abundant sunshine, was perfect for gardening. I puttered around my garden, weeding, watering, cleaning up, touching flowers and plants. When Greg joined me, amazing changes took place in the area of the yard where construction materials and odds and ends have accumulated. With his help, we cleaned up and uncluttered that area, with the immediate effect of freeing energy in that part of the yard. There was suddenly openness and increased flow and I was so delighted with the result that I walked repeated into that area, just to experience the heightened positive energy!

I had a beautiful day, quietly celebrating Positive Thinking Day. It was good to check in frequently with my thoughts, express gratitude and stay in a place of acceptance and allowing. My yard and I both benefitted from powerful, high level energy, as a result of choosing to focus on positive thoughts. At the end of the day, I celebrated with dinner outside and a crackling fire in the fire pit, which was positively perfect!

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Day 255: CJ Marching Band Takes the Field

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Last Friday night strong thunderstorms moved into the area, cancelling the Carl Junction Marching Band’s first half time performance. Dayan and the band took shelter in the school, in hopes of waiting out the storm. Eventually they were sent home. Tonight, under an overcast sky and with much, much cooler temperatures, the Bulldogs football team took the field on time and the marching Bulldogs got their half time.

I was excited to be headed to Carl Junction again this evening. Although dark clouds hung low in the sky, and a few drops of rain sprinkled across the windshield, the forecast called for nothing more than drizzle and cool, fall-like temperatures. I traded in last week’s short sleeve shirt and lightweight jacket for a couple of shirts layered under a hoodie. Once I arrived at the stadium, I added a long raincoat that served me well in Scotland, and a pair of knit gloves! I was reminded of preparing for the annual Christmas parade, bundled up as I was. Once Greg and I found our seats, saved for us by Elissa, Josh and Jonathan, I also covered up with a heavy plaid throw. I was ready for some football!

The Carl Junction football team was ready as well, making touchdown after touchdown against Springfield Central. At the half, with a score of 48 to 8, the team took a much deserved break. Across the field, the 132 member marching band prepared to take the field. Dayan plays the tuba. He is a tall, muscular young man. When he joined the band, back in 6th grade, he tried out on five different instruments. Five instruments, I might add, that he had never played before. I was so proud of him for deciding to join the band and auditioning on instruments he had just picked up for the first time. As he so often does, Dayan inspired me with his courage and determination. He impressed the band teacher as well. He did so well that he was allowed to choose which instrument he wanted to play. The teacher, though, suggested the tuba. Dayan had the height and strength to carry this cumbersome musical instrument. Dayan agreed….and has become an excellent tuba player, most years qualifying for the regional honor band.

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I watched for his tall form, carrying the tuba, as the band members marched toward the stands. I played in the marching band years ago, in junior and senior high. There is still that thrill of anticipation when I watch the band stand at attention, ready to perform. The Marching Bulldogs entertained us with two Latin songs, marching in formations as they played. I especially enjoyed the second song as the band broke into two groups, forming moving circles on the field. And of course, we all stood, infused with school spirit, as the band last of all played the Bulldogs Fight Song. It was an awesome first performance for the year. I was very proud of Dayan and the band and whooped and clapped to show my appreciation for all their hard work.

Dayan’s dad, stepmom, younger sister and baby brother were in the stands too, cheering the band on. We all had the opportunity to see Dayan, as half time wound down and the third quarter began, and congratulate him on an amazing performance. Elissa and I intend to get shirts made for the family that have Dayan’s last name of Reynolds on them and the statement, Here for the marching band. We enjoyed watching the football players too, who were victorious tonight with a 57 – 16 win. And happy to acknowledge that the band contributes to the team spirit, playing before and during the game, musically celebrating each touchdown, and they really shine during half time. I am proud to let everyone know, that I am here for Dayan, and for the band, and that I see them as important as well.

Check out the Bulldogs Marching Band Here

Day 254: Yamato Hibachi Grill & Sushi Buffet

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*Updated 2/13/15: Yamato in Joplin has, unfortunately, closed since this blog post.

One of the most fun experiences this year has been trying out new restaurants as they open in the Joplin area. Many favorites have reopened this year, after being destroyed in the tornado. It has been a joy to welcome them back. And, there has been a great variety of restaurants to appear in Joplin for the first time. It has been wonderful to welcome these new comers.

Tonight, eight of us did a group first. I love that my family so readily tries new things along with me. We checked out the new-to-Joplin Yamato Hibachi Grill & Sushi Buffet, located at 510 S Range Line.

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Any restaurant with the word “sushi” in the name appeals to me. I looked forward to seeing what Yamato had to offer. I picked up grandson Dayan from school and we hung out until time to gather Greg and Adriel and meet the others at the restaurant. Elissa, Linda, and my mom and step dad all arrived ahead of us and were seated at a table. Off we went, to check out the buffet.

It was an impressive buffet! A huge rectangular section occupied the middle of the restaurant, with plate after plate of hot dishes, containing seafood, pork, beef, chicken and a few surprises like frog legs. The food was kept warm over burners. For those preferring American food, there was also a great selection of favorites such as macaroni & cheese, fried chicken wings and barbeque chicken. Also present was a sushi and sashimi bar with an amazing selection of tasty bites, a soup and salad bar, a raw food section for the grill, and a fruit and dessert bar, with a chocolate fountain.

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The fun thing about a buffet is also the difficulty….so many choices, only so much one can eat! We took turns surveying the selections and everyone exclaimed over each other’s heaped plates when we returned to the table. I focused on sushi. It was delicious! I have yet to try sashimi but will experience that delicacy sometime this year, for another first.

After the sushi, I ventured back out to look for dishes that are out of the ordinary for me. I didn’t make a big deal about it, because one of my daughters, who shall remain anonymous, is squeamish about certain meats, but I tried the grilled squid tonight and found it to be very tasty! I quietly enjoyed my meal. I was pleased to see Dayan try the salmon and a couple of other foods that were new to him.

As always, when any members of my family gather together to eat, the best part of the meal is the conversation and laughter that circles the table. I deeply love and appreciate my close knit family. September is a big birthday month, for us. I look forward to more opportunities to gather together and celebrate!

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