Dublin Bound

I am at the Tulsa airport, awaiting departure on the first leg of our journey to Dublin, Ireland. I’m sitting with my mom, sisters Linda and Debbie, and my niece Ashley. We’ve already laughed as we fumbled our way through the airport, dragging our carry ons, dropping travel pillows, watching my mom have to go through a security check because of metal in her knee.

This is going to be an amazing adventure, a one of a kind trip.

I’m posting early because our time is short here and even shorter at the Atlanta airport. And then we will lift into the air and arc over the Atlantic. I am looking forward to exploring Ireland, Scotland and England with my family. Even these times of sitting together at airports is precious as we chat and laugh and dream and wonder.

Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible. ” Charles Haughey

Next stop, Dublin.

The Next Adventure Begins

The last day before my next adventure was full of real estate related work, which was fine. I am grateful for amazing clients and a bustling business. And…everywhere I went today, the question I was asked was “Are you packed yet?”

The simple answer was…no!

I started packing about 8:00 this evening as work wound down and fresh clean clothes began coming out of the dryer. As I rolled clothes and tucked them into my carry on, the excitement that has been building for the last week bubbled up. It is almost adventure time!

My post is brief tonight, as I still have a couple of real estate emails to send and a few things yet to cross off my “to do before I go” list before I sleep. However, I am smiling as I write this post. I can’t help it. My wandering heart gets to venture forth, starting tomorrow.

The beginning of the packing process…piles of clean laundry and an empty suitcase.

Keeping an eye on the final work for the day.

Tomorrow’s simple travel clothes laid out and ready to wear. I’m excited to carry the plaid poncho onto the plane and let it double as a blanket.

Young Living Essential Tangerine Oil in the diffuser keeps my energy up.

All packed, in a carry on: one pair of jeans, two jackets, pjs, a pair of walking shoes, a dozen pairs of socks, a dozen undies, two bras, thirteen shirts, supplements, a clear makeup case with my BOOMstick trio and essentials such as a toothbrush and comb, and my quart sized zip lock bag with travel sized liquids such as shower gel, lotion and toothpaste. There is room yet for a few more items after my morning shower.

I have several new shirts from Solgave that I look forward to wearing on the trip. This one expresses well where I am in my life journey: having fun and following my heart and living with No Regrets. I am doing what I want to do, and living large, so that at the end of my journey those words will be my epitaph.

Fifteen hours and counting. The next adventure begins!

Lunch with Joey

I had the opportunity today, between morning and afternoon appointments and work, to have lunch with grandson Joey. I set the intention of having lunch with each grandchild within a week, and I successfully did that. I was even able to include my eldest grandchild, by driving to Columbia to visit him on the University of Missouri campus and take him to lunch.

Joey is in 6th grade this year. His school is new, with last year being its first year in operation. I love the openness of the cafeteria and the windows that let ample light in. I arrived a few minutes early and chatted with one of the teachers on lunch duty today while I waited for Joey. Two of my grandsons are 6th graders this year, although they attend different schools. I am grateful that even though they are approaching their teens, they still enjoy having lunch together at their schools.

The kids filed into the room and Joey joined me at a front table, a smile on his face. He requested a roast beef and cheddar sandwich meal from Arby’s. Joey’s friend Connor joined us, sitting across the table from us. Having friends with us is always okay! I love meeting my grandchildren’s friends, classmates and teachers. I just make sure that my focus is on my grandchild, although we include others in our conversations.

Connor, Joey and Yaya

Joey and I chatted about the new school year, his classes, football and my upcoming trip. He would love to have a ball cap from one of the countries I will be visiting, as a souvenir. I am happy to oblige. A counselor and two teachers stopped by our table to introduce themselves and my grandson informed one that I am plant based. I chatted for a few moments about health with the interested counselor, answering his questions. I appreciate that my grandkids understand that I eat differently so that I can be my healthiest self. They encourage me and ask questions as well.

I love the way this week of lunches worked out. It is very important to me to invest time and energy in the lives of my grandkids. They amaze me, inspire me, make me laugh and move me to tears. We are creating precious memories as we talk and play and learn together.

In the last seven days, I’ve had lunch with a Dragon, a Tiger, a Tiger, a Tiger…and a Tiger! Lunches don’t get any more interesting or fun than that!

Tiger…Tiger

My intention in the last six days, has been to have lunch with each grandchild at his or her school. I have two reasons. This is the start of a new academic year and I enjoy visiting the kids at their schools and bringing them the lunches of their choice. And, I leave this Thursday on my trip to Ireland, Scotland and England. I wanted to see each of the grandkids before I go.

Last year, the four younger grands were in four different schools, requiring four separate lunch dates. This year, the younger two, Oliver and Aubrey, are in the same school. Today I met them in their cafeteria.

I am a frequent visitor to this school. They know me here. The school principal is the most interactive elementary school principal I have ever met. As I waited for Aubrey, who had the earlier lunch time, I watched with appreciation as he led second graders in songs and games. Wearing a mic, he wandered among the kids as they ate, calling them by name, asking questions, instigating fun. This school is quite a contrast to most that I’ve visited. Kids are allowed to chat and laugh as long as the noise level is kept tolerable.

Aubrey arrived and joined me at the lunch table. She requested a Jr Cheeseburger meal from Wendy’s. I noted her pink cheeks. She started cheerleading this year and spent Saturday cheering at Oliver and Joey’s football games. This bright eyed girl chatted about her school year and her schedule, cheerleading, making new friends and her family. She asked me about my upcoming trip and made me laugh when she asked if Scottish people wear clothes! She thought perhaps I might be wearing just my “birthday suit”.

The lunch schedule changed this year to an overlapping one for the grades, and I like it! That meant I had 15 minutes with Aubrey alone, and then Oliver’s 4th grade class arrived. For 10 minutes I got to be with both kids, one on each side of me. And then I had 15 minutes alone with Oliver. How perfect!

It was fun to be sitting between two spirited Tigers, which is the school’s mascot. Their colors are blue and white. The kids not only chatted with me, they enjoyed chatting with each other. The conversation turned to Halloween and costumes. In my family, it is never too early to discuss Halloween…and that day is Aubrey’s birthday as well! The theme for the family Halloween party is Criminal Insane Asylum, which promises to be spooktacular! Aubrey, Oliver and I were whispering about costume ideas and got the giggles as kids turned to listen in on our conversation. The school cafeteria is probably not the best place to be talking about insane historical figures!

Aubrey left with her class, after multiple hugs. I am thrilled she is having a great start to third grade.

As Oliver ate a Taco Bell lunch, he asked me lots of questions about real estate: What houses have I shown this past week? Which was my favorite? What is the biggest house I’ve been in? What house was the scariest? Oliver is the businessman/idea creator among my grandkids. He likes to think about new adventures and creative ideas. We were looking at houses together on the MLS, seriously, when it was time for him to go. He gave me a big hug and then politely tidied up our eating space before joining his classmates.

I am equally thrilled that Oliver is having a great school year and enjoying his second season of Tiger football.

I have one more lunch with one more grandchild. Tomorrow I join Joey at his school. I am grateful for these opportunities to visit with the kids, hear about their big little lives and get to know their teachers and friends. I am honored to be a witness to their journeys and to walk alongside them.

MIZ…ZOU

Today I enjoyed a road trip north to the beautiful city of Columbia, Missouri and the campus of the University of Missouri. It has been two weeks since I saw my grandson Dayan. I traveled to MU with Greg and our daughter Elissa to visit Dayan for the first time since he moved into the dorm, and I captured our trip in photos.

Photo by Elissa Adam

Crossing the Missouri River as we passed the state’s capital, Jefferson City. Columbia, which is 236 miles from Joplin, is not far from Jefferson City. It was a beautiful day for a drive and I enjoyed catching up with my daughter as we all chatted.

Dayan’s residence hall on the gorgeous campus of the University of Missouri. Mizzou is the affectionate nickname for this university. It is a form of clipping, or shortening, a longer name into a shorter one. In this case, Missouri to Mizzou. The first reference to the nickname was in a 1905 college publication. At games and events, it is customary for the fans on one side to shout MIZ…and the other side to answer ZOU! The university mascot is the tiger and the colors are gold and black.

And this is the young man we came to see! It was so good to hug him and talk to him and hang out for a few hours. We met Dayan’s roommate, Carlisle, who was kind and personable. I was impressed with the dorm room and with the hall’s casual meeting areas and laundry facilities.

On the way to lunch, Dayan guided us around campus. I loved the stone and brick buildings, the newer structures and the mature trees and many gardens. The campus is actually considered a botanical garden. I’ll be exploring the grounds on foot during my next visit.

Holding to a long established tradition between Dayan and me, we enjoyed Chinese food for lunch at a nearby Panda Express. I was able to select brown rice topped with mixed veggies, while Dayan had his usual orange chicken. Elissa and Greg both tried the kung pao chicken. We read our fortunes to each other. Mine said Important events are in your future. True!

After a trip to Walmart to get a few things Dayan needed, we wandered through downtown Columbia, on the way back to campus. I’ve been to Columbia several times, but this was my first time to the charming downtown. The city, which is about twice the size of Joplin, had a lively energy and the definite feel of a college town. Small shops and caf├ęs lined the streets and this time of year, bistro tables and chairs provided outdoor dining.

Dayan’s favorite Starbucks.

I enjoyed getting to know Mizzou’s campus. I’m impressed with the extensive grounds and the halls. I look forward to attending future events and activities here.

It did my heart good today, to see my grandson. I have missed him. And it brought me great joy to see that he is thriving. He is happy and having fun. His classes are interesting and challenging. Dayan has learned his way around campus and around the city and he is making new friends.

College life agrees with Dayan and it shows. He was confident and relaxed and excited to show us around and share about his classes and activities. I could drive away after our visit, knowing he’s not so very far away and that he is doing well and thoroughly enjoying this new adventure. And that brought peace to the hearts and smiles to the faces of his Papa, Yaya and Mom. The boy has become a man.

Investing in Myself

Before I called it an early night, I spent a few minutes starting a list. It is five days, in the countdown, until my next travel adventure begins. I’m a list maker, and this evening I made a Packing List and a Need to Do Before I Go List. I began gathering. My travel documents, my passport, and my maps have started the “to pack” pile.

I have always loved anticipation. So these next five days will fill me with delightful tingles of keen anticipation and excitement as my preparations to leave begin in earnest.

Tonight, because it has been a very full week and I am weary, I have one predominant thought to share.

Yes, traveling is fun. It is an opportunity to see enchanted places and experience different cultures and meet new people. It is the fulfillment of a desire that I released to the Divine 10 years ago. Traveling strengthens connection with the family members I travel with as we share the adventure. It broadens my perspectives, deepens my trust, expands my mind, ignites my soul.

Matthew Karston writes, “Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.”

That resonates with me so much. Travel is all the things I listed above…and more. And most importantly, travel is an investment in myself. It feeds my gypsy heart and my old soul. Traveling allows me to honor who I am and my desires to explore and go on adventures and see the sun set and the moon rise on the other side of the world. It touches something at my core that nothing else can.

Ireland, Scotland, and England are calling to me. I’ll be there soon. I don’t know where the next journey will lead me. I just know that every trip I take and every country I visit has a profound effect on me. And ultimately, that is not only good for my soul, it is good for the world.

Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright

The focus of today, and indeed, of much of the last couple of months, has been real estate. Summer is a busy time for realtors. Families move while kids are out of school. Out of town buyers come in to look at properties while they are on vacation. Continued low interest rates make it a great time to buy. And low inventory, creating competition for housing, makes it a great seller’s market as well.

Into every realtor’s life comes challenges that pop up during a transaction. It’s my job to handle each issue as it arises, in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties concerned, which typically includes my clients, another realtor, their clients, and various affiliates.

Such was the case with a transaction that was scheduled to close today. There were a few bumps as my clients and I journeyed toward closing. Those were dealt with and we kept moving forward. However, late yesterday, on the eve of closing, one of those bumps quickly grew to become a wall that appeared to be immovable. It was the kind of grave situation that left the other realtor and I standing together saying, initially, “I’m not sure…I’m not sure how to handle this.”

This is not the story of what went wrong. This is the story of what went right.

What I am incredibly proud to say is, that after a time of shock and understandable reactions, everyone came together and talked…and talked…and brainstormed about how to proceed. My clients were open and gracious. The other clients were open and gracious. Both compromised to reach an agreement.

The agent on the other side of the transaction stepped up and waded in, putting in long hours and going above and beyond without a word of complaint. I did the same.

And this is where my attitudes and thoughts about being a realtor have shifted dramatically these last few years…I do all I can to take care of my clients in a conscientious way, and stay open and in communication with the other realtor and all parties involved. And then I open to the Divine and ask for guidance. I ask for grace and compassion and love and kindness to surround each person involved and all situations. I ask for angels to surround us all. I listen for and look for inspirational nudges and Divine messages. I express gratitude each step of the way as I act on what I am given. What I have stopped doing is worrying, fretting, struggling, resisting and coercing.

This morning I met my clients at the title company at 6:15 am, thanks to an extremely accommodating closer. We closed our sides of two separate transactions. The sun was just coming up as the final documents were signed. They went on to work and I went to my office. As I drove to Keller Williams, during the dawning of a new day, I expressed deep thanks to the Divine, whom I call El-le. El-Hebrew word for God, elle-French word for she…both pronounced “ell” and together reminding me that the Divine is neither male nor female and yet encompasses both male and female.

I was grateful that we had made it this far, grateful that people came together to find a solution. Was it perfect? No…everyone involved sacrificed something. And yes…because nothing happens by accident. For myself, there were lessons to learn and opportunities for growth. Trust has been a big lesson for me the last few years. This experience was the next exercise in trusting that all is unfolding exactly as it should, even if I can’t see what’s around the corner or explain all the whys about what is happening.

I was very aware that even though my clients had closed their sides, things could still go wrong. However, I chose not to focus on that. I chose to trust. I chose to let everyone else do their jobs. I chose to express gratitude, aloud in an empty car.

As I walked into the office a little after 7:00, I felt settled and centered and at peace. We have background music that plays in the office during the day. Perhaps it plays all night too. As I walked down the hall, the song playing literally overhead suddenly caught my attention. Bob Marley was singing out, at that precise moment…

Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Rise up this mornin’, Smiled with the risin’ sun, Three little birds, Pitch by my doorstep, Singin’ sweet songs, Of melodies pure and true, Sayin’, (this is my message to you),

Singin’ Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.

I stopped to listen, amazed. I laughed. I teared up. Oh sure, it was Bob Marley’s voice but it was El-le speaking…Don’t worry. Every little thing gonna be alright.

The Divine didn’t say it was going to be easy or simple or without challenges. It is big stuff, to all of us working through it, yet in the end, three sets of clients will have ended up with what they ultimately wanted…new homes, fresh starts, stories to tell. I can only speak for myself, but for me this time also includes lessons about trust, growth, gratitude, higher awareness, intuition and deeper faith.

I’ve been singing the words all day. Every little thing gonna be alright. And so it has been and so it is and so it shall be.

Seven Day Countdown

One week from today, I will be flying over the Atlantic, destination – Dublin, Ireland. My traveling companions will be my mom, my sisters, Linda and Debbie, and my niece Ashley. We will visit Scotland and England as well.

I learned during my Italy trip earlier in the year that it is possible to pack for a twelve day trip in a carry on suitcase. Tonight I spent a few minutes with Mom and Linda, demonstrating just how doable it is.

Mom was a good sport, laying out her clothes and toiletries so she and Linda could practice rolling each article of clothing tightly. Shoes were added first, then pants and a jacket rolled to start the foundational layer. Heavier shirts were rolled and completed the first layer.

Linda practicing her packing skills.

The cutest pic ever…my mom making decisions about which toiletries to pack. A quart sized plastic bag isn’t very big!

I rolled pajamas and shirts and started the second layer. There is plenty of room left to tuck in socks, underwear and supplements or meds. And there is yet more empty space to fill with purchases made during the trip.

The trick is to roll tightly. And fill every space by packing the rolled clothes snugly together.

Mom and Linda got the hang of it and discovered that you truly can pack for twelve days in a carry on. With that detail out of the way, we can focus on the growing excitement of discovering new places and experiencing different cultures.

Seven days and counting! The next adventure is about to begin.

Lunch with a Dragon

The new school year has started for all of my grandchildren. The eldest, Dayan, is enjoying his first week at University of Missouri, living away from home for the first time. The four younger grandkids each began in a new grade and two started in new schools.

One of the things that I enjoy doing as a Yaya, is having lunch with each child at his or her school, several times during the school year. Today I kicked off the tradition by having lunch with grandson Jonathan.

The kids get to choose their lunches and Jonathan requested a sandwich from Subway. This was my first visit to his new school, home of the Purple Dragons. I had the honor of having lunch with a Dragon today, who happened to be dressed in orange, rather than purple.

I love these one on one times with the kids. Surrounded by the chatter and laughter of a hundred other children, the world closes in and that lunch becomes a time to give my attention solely to my grandchild. We talk. We laugh. I ask questions…and get asked questions in return. I don’t eat with the kids. I visit with them while they eat.

What clever, and colorful, lockers at Jonathan’s school, made to look like the spines of books.

Jonathan was happy to escort me to the cafeteria today. We talked about his new school and how he moves from classroom to classroom this year. His favorite class so far is science. We discussed the musical he just performed in and I got to hear his perspective as a performer while I shared mine as an audience member. Drama and music are areas this young man shines in.

We chatted about Dayan being away at the university and how he left behind some cool Doctor Who stuff. Jonathan’s face lit up when I told him I’m leaving next week to visit Ireland, Scotland and England. Ireland calls to Jonathan like Scotland has called to me my whole life. I’ll bring him back a souvenir from that Emerald Isle. And after he graduates from high school, I’ll take him there if he desires to go.

I’m looking forward to spending time with Jonathan in the months ahead, picking him up from school often and grabbing a snack, watching Doctor Who, or watching him play games or create YouTube videos. It was a tradition I began with Dayan, these after school hangouts, and I intend to continue with the other grandkids. As I have already experienced, they grow up so quickly.

Jonathan recently quipped to my daughter that he could be Dayan 2.0. He is a funny and clever boy, who knew Elissa was feeling the swirl of emotions that accompany having a child leave the nest.

I love this boy and his tender heart and his creative spirit. I just want him to be Jonathan, the beautiful, original version of himself. Because that is what the world…and his Yaya and family…needs. Jonathan being Jonathan is absolutely perfect.

National Eat a Peach Day

When I saw today was National Eat a Peach Day, I knew exactly how to celebrate. I love these quirky little known holidays. I may someday have a Year of Celebration, if I am led to do so. It would be an easy year to blog through! In the meantime, what fun to occasionally pick a unique holiday and find a creative way to honor it.

I finished work too late to stop by the Farmer’s Market in Webb City for peaches from Pate’s Orchard. Instead, I visited the produce section at my neighborhood grocery store and selected several ripe peaches there.

My idea was to make a batch of Banana Nice Dream and top it with sliced peaches. It was a very good idea!

I’ve posted it several times, however, here is the oh so simple recipe for this one ingredient healthy alternative to ice cream.

Banana Nice Dream

Four bananas, sliced and frozen ahead of time. Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Process frozen sliced bananas at high speed in a food processor, stopping as needed to scrape sides and push mixture down. Add vanilla if desired. Continue processing until bananas become smooth and creamy, with a texture similar to soft serve ice cream. Serve immediately or store in freezer.

Before making the nice dream, I peeled and thinly sliced a couple of peaches. In the past, I would have then added sugar and mashed the peaches slightly. I can’t imagine adding sugar now. The thought isn’t appealing at all.

To my bowl of banana nice dream, I added the sliced peaches, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a few walnut pieces. Voila! A peach dessert, to celebrate National Eat a Peach Day.

This easy dessert provided a wonderful way to recognize the day while also honoring my intention to eat in a healthy way. Peaches are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C and K, and potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, making them a beneficial part of a healthy diet. Plus, they are delicious.

Peaches are picked locally between June and the end of August, which is why this holiday is celebrated on the 22nd of this month each year. Pick some peaches, or purchase them at the grocery store or farmer’s market, and create your own luscious dessert or simply eat a peach. Celebrate!

It is, after all, National Eat a Peach Day!