Being Adriel

I started something new last month, when my daughter Elissa had a birthday. Although my son’s birthday occurs earliest in the year, Elissa is my oldest, my firstborn. I seem to reset on her birthday and then continue the new tradition as my other children’s birthdays come up.

Today is my youngest child’s birthday. And as I did last month, this is not a birthday post as much as it is a reflection on my younger daughter, Adriel, and the lessons I’ve learned from her.

I have enjoyed this rainy Sunday, and a day of rest and self care. Last night I had the opportunity to see my daughter and share a meal with her. During this peace filled day, I’ve reflected on Adriel’s life and smiled over the joy she has brought to me…and teared up multiple times as I’ve sorted through family photos and pondered the lessons this beautiful soul has taught me.

Adriel has always surprised me. Discovering I was pregnant with baby number three was a big surprise…more of a shock really. With two toddlers already, a girl and a boy, our little family felt complete. However, it obviously was not! My pregnancy with Adriel was challenging, for two reasons. A minor heart condition that I have became a major problem during this pregnancy. And I felt very alone during those nine months of weekly doctors’ visits. Greg was busy with work and a new hobby…golf. His parents and mine all lived in other towns and/or states. I struggled to care for two active kids and a house.

Before she was even born, Adriel taught me to keep going, no matter what, and to find the joy in every situation. The day I heard her tiny heart beating for the first time, was the day I fully embraced this new life growing within me and opened my heart to her. I went home and sat quietly on the bed, holding infant clothes in my hands, imagining who she would be…and who she would become. I loved her fiercely.

And fierce she turned out to be! Adriel was the game changer in our family. The girls now outnumbered the boys. She was the youngest, but that never stopped her from doing her best to keep up with her older sister and brother. She was ornery…expressive…vocal…and tender hearted. She could love on her sister and then turn around and pinch her. She laughed when her daddy teased her brother, but cried when the teasing included her. She liked to tattle on me to her dad, if a male stranger smiled or winked at me while we were out shopping.

Adriel has always been her own person, and a force to reckon with, then and now.

One of the things that Adriel taught me, that had a great impact on me, was the beauty of tears. She cried easily as a child…because she was angry, because she was sad, because her feelings were hurt. Adriel felt no shame in crying. She would grab a handful of tissues and dab at her beautiful little eyes as the tears rolled out of them.

I envied her ability to cry like that. I struggled with showing emotion, and yet this precious child simply allowed the tears to flow. How her tears always melted my heart. I never shushed her. Adriel’s tears tried to open my own heart to the beauty of releasing pent up energy by crying. I wish now I had held her close and joined her by allowing my tears to flow with hers. I still think of young Adriel with her wadded up tissues, wiping her tears away. She is, unknowingly, still teaching me about crying.

The greatest lesson my youngest child has taught me is perseverance. Adriel has a “can do” attitude that has guided her through life. She decided at an early age that she wanted to be a nurse, and she has relentlessly followed that path. This was my child who gagged if someone said the word “snot” or sneezed in her presence. I never dreamed that she would enter the medical field.

But as I said, she surprises me. She started down her chosen path by volunteering at the hospital as a young teen. She allowed her fascination with the intricacies of the human body to overcome her tendency to react to certain unsavory things that the body is capable of. She taught me, by her example, to never give up…to follow your passion and your heart…and to get up every morning and keep going.

It was a long journey for this fiery girl, becoming a nurse. There were challenges as she worked full time and semester by semester completed her studies. Nursing school is difficult, even in the best possible circumstances. She didn’t have ideal conditions, as a tornado destroyed her home and a marriage came apart. Her life was upended. And yet…she persevered. She kept going. She didn’t stop trying. And she did it. My girl became a nurse.

Adriel bought another house. She married her sweetheart, Nate, last October. She has a career she enjoys, working as a RN for a neurologist. And still she keeps learning and growing and persevering, in pursuit of the life she desires.

As I did for Elissa last month on her birthday, I considered what symbol best represents my daughter Adriel. If I was going to get a tattoo for Adriel, in honor of her, her birthday, and her life, what would it look like? I asked for guidance, and I love how I was led.

My attention was first pulled to a pair of framed prints in my bedroom, vintage drawings of flowers. So, a flower for Adriel. The word that I associate with my daughter is “perseverance “. I googled to see which flower symbolizes that character quality. And I knew…before I saw the flower, I knew where I was being led.

Adriel’s middle name is Lauren. It’s a derivative of my own middle name, Lorene, and it is associated with laurel leaves which symbolize victory. That’s appropriate. However, I looked up the name Lauren. It literally means “from the place of the laurel leaves.” Is there a laurel flower? There is. And guess what the laurel flower symbolizes? Perseverance…steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

I drew laurel flowers for Adriel. There are laurel leaves in the sketch too, representing victory. But the flowers are significant. They are beautiful, these clusters of delicate blossoms, and the plant thrives, in less than ideal conditions. Poor soil and deep shade (darkness), do not prevent this flower from blooming and offering its fragrance to the world.

And that’s Adriel. Less than ideal conditions in her life have not stopped her from blooming, from offering her gifts, her beauty and her heart to the world. I am so grateful for the many surprises and great joys that have flowed into my life, since the day I discovered I was expecting another child. I continue to learn from her.

Adriel, my youngest child, the one who perseveres and doesn’t give up, I am excited to see where your journey takes you. I’ll be watching, and cheering for you, and surrounding you with love.

Adriel & Nate Get Married

The big event arrived, right on time. Tonight my daughter Adriel and her sweetheart, Nate, said “I do” before a group of loving and supportive family and friends. It was a gorgeous evening for an outdoor ceremony, at the Civil War Ranch in Carthage, MO. 

Here is the special day, captured in photos:


The day began early at the venue. 


Rachel and Camden creating the wedding cake and cupcakes. 





These two…sisters and best friends. 


Grateful my son has a clothes steamer! 


Choco says, “What’s this wedding you speak of?”


It’s time!


Dayan and Oliver. 



The beautiful bride and her proud daddy. 






My son with his wife and family. 


I love the relationship these six have, the three siblings and their spouses. 


Adriel and Aubrey


Although I did not eat any, I heard that Rachel’s cakes were wonderful!




First dance as Mr & Mrs. 


Daddy & daughter dance. 


Nate’s grandmother sang a special song. 

What a wonderful day and celebratory evening. Joy and happiness were present, along with food and drink, laughter and dancing. Two people joined their lives and their families together tonight. Two people promised to honor and love each other and grow as they journey together. A host of people silently vowed to journey alongside them, loving them as they cherish each other.  

I am thrilled to gain another son and embrace his family. I am full of joy to see my daughter so happy. Congratulations Adriel and Nate. I love you both so much! 


Happy Birthday Adriel

Thirty two years ago today, my youngest child was born, a beautiful baby girl who captured my heart immediately. As the nurse tucked her into my waiting arms, she studied my face intently with wide open, solemn eyes, as if putting a face with the voice she recognized. Satisfied, she settled into my arms and deeply into my love, content to study the room. I’ve read that babies can’t see well immediately after birth. But Adriel Lauren Moore could, and she seemed curious about her world. 

She’s been curious ever since, always learning, exploring and discovering. 



I looked up Adriel’s name:

“Adriel, you are powerful and have all that you need to journey well through life. You are intelligent and require multiple outlets for your high energies. You are not a builder but a planner, and you are capable of directing others to carry out your plans. You are bold, independent, inquisitive and interested in many subjects. You know what you want and why you want it.

Dependable, very down-to-earth and well grounded, you desire meaningful work, a career that you can take pride in and that you can offer your best to. You appreciate having a sanctuary, a secure environment that supports you, both at home and at work. You can be very dedicated to achieving goals and gaining objectives. You are detailed and well-organized, possessing great organizational skills. At times you may appear stubborn and overly critical to others, but your practical, intuitive and creative approach to life makes you a valued member of your community.” 



True words about my daughter! She is intelligent, bold and inquisitive. She does have all that she requires to journey well, including a supportive family, faithful friends and a sweet, fun man to walk alongside her. And when she has an idea that resonates with her, there is no stopping this powerhouse from reaching her goal. No matter how long it takes or what challenges pop up, Adriel keeps going. 

She is one of the most dependable and down to earth people that I know. Adriel has always been the connector in our family. Information travels to each of us through her and holiday gatherings take place at her house. She can take a no nonsense approach with others, when required to, and she cares for others, human and animal kind, with compassion and warmth. 


It’s been a busy year for this active girl. She and her fiancé Nate bought a house. They’ve traveled and explored the outdoors and cared for their fur babies. And they said good bye to two of them. Adriel’s older dog was truly a special needs dog, adopted from a shelter. Mylee was extremely lovable, and extremely challenging, having many health and emotional issues. Most people would have given up on her. Adriel gave her a forever home, loving her anyway…and released her humanely when advanced age made life impossible for Mylee. 

Adriel has completed her first full year as a RN. Listening to her stories, I marvel at what my daughter does. She cares for others with competence , efficiency and kindness. Her job isn’t always pleasant, but it offers her many opportunities to rise above, to deepen compassion in the presence of those who suffer, to see both the best and the worst in people and continue to do her best. 


Recently she accepted a new position in the nursing field that allows her to be off work evenings, weekends and holidays. This is important to Adriel. It means she gets to spend more time with her sweetheart Nate. Next month, they will marry. I will be there to celebrate this step in their continuing adventure together. 


Journey on, beautiful girl, and journey well. Let your curiosity continue to lead you, and may compassion, truth and grace ever be your companions. I am grateful to be your mom. 
Happiest of birthdays, Adriel. I love you! 

2 Friends & Junk Show Joplin 

I was very excited today to kick off the weekend by attending the 2 Friends & Junk Show in Joplin. This is always a fun event, with booths full of repurposed items, crafts, vintage finds and junk. It’s been 18 months since I last attended a Joplin show. When 2 Friends & Junk was here last spring, I couldn’t even get in the door, the line was so long. My daughters and I purchased VIP passes this time, which allowed us to enter early this morning, ahead of the crowds. 



The tickets were worth the purchase price. It is extremely inspiring to me, to wander through the booths. The vendors do a great job merchandising product and I get fresh ideas just looking around. My creativity fires up. 

Adriel and I had specific items we were looking for, while Elissa wanted something to grab her attention with the “wow” factor. One of the pieces I was searching for was an old fashioned edison bulb type light fixture. My next year is already coming together, with a theme and symbols. This light bulb is part of the unfolding. One of the ways confirmation is given to me, concerning my new journey, is by way of repetition. I wanted to find a light bulb fixture, and I expressed the desire to do so. 



The first booth that caught my eye provided an immediate response. There were the light bulb fixtures! Pheona’s Vintage Market was my favorite vendor today. I returned to it over and over. All of my purchases came from this attractively set up booth. And Adriel made her purchases from there as well. 

It was a well set up floor. The girls and I enjoyed wandering around, exclaiming over items or discussing what one could do with an interesting piece. The wrist bands gain admittance to the show tomorrow too. We will go back, to see what new items have appeared, as vendors restock tonight. I saw several other pieces that I would like to purchase. I’ll see where inspiration leads on Saturday. 



Tonight I am thrilled with my finds. The light fixture will go in my studio. The two wire cloches are going to become part of my fall decor. I’ll share more about that idea later. My favorite piece from today is a small framed quote, that I had not seen or heard before. 

It perfectly captures where I am on my journey. And foreshadows what’s to come in 2017. What a beautiful and encouraging confirmation that I am on the right path. 

Journey 260: Happy Birthday Adriel

Today my youngest child, daughter Adriel, celebrates another year. She worked last night and so got to sleep a little bit today. I had the opportunity to see her and her fiancé Nate for a short time this evening, to wish her a very Happy Birthday and give her dessert to take home. A new tradition was born last month, when my older daughter Elissa celebrated her birthday. Her dad and I asked what special birthday sweet she would enjoy and we took her chosen dessert to her. Today, I asked Adriel the same question, and not surprisingly, she asked for the same thing…a double doozie chocolate chip cookie from Great American Cookie Company. Because Nate and Adriel were out for dinner, they stopped by my house on the way by, to collect the cookies and visit for a few minutes. As it was with Elissa, it is difficult to believe another year has flown by. Didn’t we just celebrate a milestone birthday for Adriel? And like her sister and brother, it has been quite the journey for her this past year.

Adriel birthday cookie

Adriel has accomplished so much since her last birthday and experienced several major life changes too. After diligently pursuing her goal of graduating from nursing school, she walked across the stage last December, at Crowder College, to receive her diploma. Her dad and I had the honor of pinning on her nurse’s pin, during the ceremony. The tears carried more emotions than just joy. What a tough road this was, and yet this young woman never gave up on her dream, and overcame challenges that would have caused many to quit or at the least, withdraw for a time. I am so proud of her. A couple of months later she passed her board exams on the first try, becoming a RN, attaining the role she first envisioned when she was 14 years old.

Adriel nursing school

Not all of Adriel’s paths were pleasant ones last year, but she lived her life with grace and dignity and held on to her sense of humor and sense of purpose as well. She said good-bye to some people who had journeyed with her for a time, and not without sadness. I trust she will, as I have so often done, look back someday and see and appreciate the gifts that all have brought into her life, and see how she grew through those times. She sold a house that meant a great deal to her, sorted out who she is and where she is heading, and then resolutely turned her face toward a future that is bright with promise. JOURNEY has been a good word for Adriel this year as well, as she has seen the landscapes around her changing, and yet bravely traveled onward and upward.

And there were happy celebrations as well, one of the most significant being her engagement to her sweet Nate. It is good to have traveling companions, and Adriel and Nate journey well together. They have many areas of common interests and they love to seek out adventures. On their days off, I might hear that they are walking trails with their assortment of furry babies, or floating the river with friends or siblings, or visiting a wildlife preserve. Adriel has a close-knit group of friends, her Life Club as they refer to themselves, who are all wonderful traveling companions as well. They encourage and support each other, and have great evenings of fun.

Adriel and Nate

Foremost among those who closely walk with Adriel are her brother, Nathanael, and sister, Elissa. I am so thrilled with the relationship that my adult children have with each other, how supportive they are, and how competitive they can be, in a fun way. Little sister Adriel has always sought to keep up with her older brother and sister, and I think we can all agree that she has, and continues to. This past year, Adriel cheered on both siblings as they married, present for them in more ways than merely attending the ceremonies, a smiling face in the crowd that let both of them know how happy she was for them.

Adriel and her siblings

I trust this next year will go more smoothly for this bright girl, although there are sure to be surprises, delightful ones I hope, and unexpected turns in the path. With her creativity, strength and determination, there’s not anything that Adriel can’t handle or work her way through…she’s proven that. Let your light shine brightly, beautiful child of mine, as you continue to make your way in the world, offering from your kind and compassionate heart. We are all here, walking with you, cheering you on, and today and everyday, celebrating you. Happy birthday, Adriel. I love you so much!

Adriel and Frances

Journey 213: A Simple Treat

I am weary today. Not discouraged or depressed, but tired, deeply so, a result of long days, short nights and an extended time of heightened alertness. We only spent half the day in Arkansas, taking care of some business and spending time in Dad Moore’s home. 

The house feels still, the absense of Greg’s dad notable in a way that’s changed since yesterday, even though he’s been out of the house all week. It is the knowledge that he won’t return that shifted the energy. Anticipation is gone. 

However, we enjoyed looking for photos, exclaiming over long forgotten pictures tucked into drawers, boxes and shelves. I found a large box full of aviation photos that I have never seen before. Tears came to my eyes as I looked at the handsome young man sitting cross-legged on the wing of an airplane. How Bob loved to fly!

  
After a brief and delicious nap, I joined Greg and daughter Adriel and her fiancé Nate for a cold treat at Andy’s. I deliberately choose a flavor of concrete that I had never had before, key lime pie, in the spirit of first things. We sat around a small table and enjoyed our simple treats. I loved the joy of spending a few minutes chatting with dear loved ones. We talked about loss…Greg’s dad and a friend of Adriel’s and Nate’s. We talked about life. We laughed. We hugged tightly outside the restaurant before  heading off separately into the beautiful evening. 

That simple treat, the ice cream and the time with family, was as restorative as the nap. I left feeling more alert, less tired. Tomorrow I am taking a Me Day, spending time resting and puttering in my garden. I can reflect and allow my body and heart, mind and spirit to center as I allow peace and joy to surround me. It’s going to be another beautiful day! 

  

Journey 126: National Nurses Day

nurses day

Today, May 6, is National Nurses Day, and marks the start of Nurses Week. The day is celebrated to raise awareness of the important role nurses play in our communities and in society. Nursing Week ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of professional nursing.

I have several nurses in my extended family and my cousin Mindy, who left us in January, was a nurse all her adult life. I am well aware of the sacrifices these hard working women have made to get where they are today. I am most aware of just what it takes to become and be a nurse because of my younger daughter, Adriel, who graduated from nursing school at the end of last year.

Adriel nursing school

How appropriate for her that this is Nurses Week, for Adriel recently passed her Boards and became a RN. This week, after accepting a nursing position at Freeman Hospital, in Joplin, she embarks on this long awaited part of her journey. She never wavered in her determination to reach this point, which isn’t an end but a bright new beginning. All the years of putting herself through school, of working long hours overnight as a CNA, of studying and going to school and working with little sleep have yielded at last to this accomplishment of becoming what she had dreamed of being…a nurse.

I am proud of her. She is caring and compassionate towards those in her care and also no nonsense when the occasion calls for it. She is competent and capable, able to hold the hand of one who is sick and fearful, and able to firmly grasp the hands of one who, in the throes of sickness and despair, tries to strike out at the very one who is helping.

Adriel graduates from nursing school white scrubs

To all nurses who give of themselves to help others, who are the very heart and backbone of healthcare, who rejoice over good news and weep over sad news with their patients, and especially for my daughter Adriel who has stayed the course, I say a deep and heartfelt “thank you” for all that you do. You are so seldom recognized. May you shine this day and this week and know that you are appreciated.

nurses day quote 2

Journey 101: Vintage Market Days of NW Arkansas

vintage market booth 3

Today I attended a wonderful event in Arkansas, for the first time, the Vintage Market Days of NW Arkansas. Accompanied by Greg, and daughters Elissa and Adriel, we ventured into the fairgrounds in Bentonville to try out this open air market. Actually, the vintage market was located in the livestock building at the fairgrounds, with additional booths set up in a large tent outside. Even more booths were clustered near the entrance to the building. We had the pleasure of meeting Greg’s cousin Pam there, along with her daughter Charity and grandson Braeden.

vintage market Pam and Braeden

Pam and Braeden

vintage market booth 2

In my family, we enjoy hunting for treasures at flea markets, junk stores and vintage shows. I wasn’t sure what to expect, this being our first visit to the Vintage Market. We loved it! The livestock building was transformed into a bustling market with many, many booths filled with all kinds of wonderful vintage items, painted furniture, metal pieces, fabric, artwork and jewelry. We spent a leisurely morning and early afternoon browsing and exclaiming over finds and deciding what to buy and what to leave behind.

vintage market booth 4

All the lovely booth photos from Vintage Market’s Facebook page

…because my photos were full of people and looked like this:

vintage market crowd

Outside there were marvelous food vendors, selling everything from cinnamon roasted nuts to stir fry vegetables with rice or noodles and chicken to beans and cornbread to ribs. For kids there were corndogs and sandwiches as well. We took a much deserved break to rest for a bit and have lunch. Well, two of us ate healthy lunches. Two in our party ate giant shortbread cookies with icing on them! I won’t name any names. Pam, Charity and Braeden finished their meals before we got started, so I can’t vouch for the healthiness of what they consumed!

vintage market cookie

Beautiful and tasty cookies…or so I was told 🙂

vintage market booth 1

I saw so many unique items, different from some of the shows I’ve attended in the Joplin area. That’s the benefit of attending different shows in different areas. I did run into Joplin friends at the market and recognized several businesses from here as well, set up in booths. We had a wonderful time. The girls each made purchases and I found a large metal tray or box. I’m not sure if I’ll use it indoors to hold collectibles or plant flowers in it out in the garden.

vintage market Elissa and Adriel

Adriel and Elissa

vintage market pig

The girls found a baby pig…fortunately, she was NOT for sale.

Surprisingly, the booth we spent the most time in sold canvas prints and bookmarks with whimsical artwork on them and inspirational sayings. We spied a canvas that seemed ideal for a nursery or child’s room and then saw an amazing assortment of sayings and artwork. We started in the first bin and sorted through every piece. I bought a stretched canvas print and two loose canvas prints and a variety of oversized bookmarks.

vintage market purchases

vintage market my soul

I love the larger piece that says, “Blessed are the gypsies, the makers of music, the artists, writers, dreamers of dreams, wanderers and vagabonds, children and misfits: for they teach us to see the world through beautiful eyes.” That one will hang in my creative space, near my writing table. The booth was Bless This Earth, owned by Jason and Natalia Ramsey, out of Texas. Their booth was an oasis in the midst of vintage items and collectibles and we smiled, laughed and even teared up over many of the works of art.

vintage market blessed are the gypsies

We decided we will definitely attend the Vintage Market Days of NW Arkansas again next year….and bring a truck instead of a car. This is a three day event, and I can see the advantage of attending on multiple days. The booths restock overnight, with fresh items. There was so much to see, and so many people filling the building, that I am sure we did not see it all. Still, I enjoyed chatting and looking, spending time with Pam, Charity and Braeden, and tossing around creative ideas with Greg, Elissa and Adriel. Great show, Vintage Market of NW Arkansas. See you next year!

vintage market exterior

Journey 59: 2 Friends & Junk Show – Joplin

2 friends and junk 3

After a day of resting and recovering from a stomach virus, I felt better this morning, and ready to enjoy the 2 Friends & Junk show in Joplin. Elissa, Adriel, Nate Pugh and Greg braved the falling snow and cold temps to walk the aisles too, looking for treasures.

In fact, MANY people showed up today at the John Q Hammons convention center, in spite of the wintry weather. This is the 4th time in Joplin for this fun event and a little snow wasn’t going to stop any of us from browsing and shopping. After we all gathered near the front, my daughters took the lead and off we went. Booths were filled with an eclectic and interesting mix of vintage products, antiques, recycled and repurposed items, crafts and well….junk.

2 friends and junk 2

The girls and I each had a mental list of things we were looking for. I originally wanted a hutch for my kitchen and because of the weather, decided to hit up flea markets later on. It wasn’t appropriate weather for transporting big pieces of furniture in the back of Greg’s truck. However, smaller items on my wish list, such as metal containers for my garden, were easily toted home in the car.

It was fun to look at everything and chat as we browsed. There were so many things to see, great repurposed items that inspired, and unexpected treasures to uncover. We all ran into people we knew and it was great to visit with friends. I also enjoyed seeing vendors from previous shows and meeting new ones, and seeing some favorite local shops represented as well.

2 friends and junk

The girls selected some great items to purchase. I found lots of items that I liked and yet passed up. And several items that I couldn’t leave without. I picked up a couple of metal buckets to add to my metal collection in the backyard. And thanks to Elissa’s sharp eyes, I walked out with a wonderful old metal box, with chippy red paint. I am envisioning this great container in the backyard with the lid propped open, planted with cheerful impatiens spilling over the edges. It will be so cute!

2 friends and junk 4

I also found a surprise, a ceramic acorn. It was tucked away in a box of miscellaneous goodies. I love how this sub-symbol of my year keeps showing up in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. And from Studio Bliss I found an antique looking bracelet chain for my door charm. My sister Debbie and niece Ashley gave it to me. I can’t wait to wear it. I’m looking now for a small charm with the word JOURNEY on it to add to the bracelet. I know I’ll find it, at exactly the right time.

The girls and I left the show, happy with our finds. The guys carried our treasures. We decided to visit local flea markets soon, as we are inspired now to see what else we can uncover and create with. We all made it safely home where we can wait out the wintry precipitation in cozy comfort. Let it snow!

2 friends and junk acorn

2 friends and junk chain for door charm

Journey 16: Family Friday

family dinner quote

If I described today’s journey in one word, it would be FAMILY. A week ago today, I had a birthday. I got to see a few family members throughout that day and Greg and I enjoyed Keltic Knot at the Woodshed in Carthage, a real treat for me. With the varied schedules among my adult children and their kids, it was a whole week before we could gather for a meal. Today was a Family Friday.

I spent a portion of the day with two family members who are very dear to me. Harry and I accomplished so much today and enjoyed chatting in between our many errands. Those interesting talks in the car as we drove to various appointments were priceless. Such an amazing young man. I got to love on Jeff too, giving him a hug and sharing lunch together. Jeff is a sweetheart. A grown man with a boy’s heart and enthusiasm, his way of looking at life and enjoying the moment teaches me to do the same. When Harry and I returned late this afternoon from our last appointment, Jeff greeted us and wanted to know where we had been. I loved how he studied us, determining whether we had been off having fun without him, even after Harry assured him we had NOT been having fun. Harry is so compassionate and so very good with his uncle. Watching them together warms my heart.

family dinner Jeff, Mindy and Harry

Because I failed to snap a pic this afternoon, “borrowing” one of Mindy’s fb pics.           
Harry, Jeff, Mindy

This evening I joined all of my children and all of my grandchildren for dinner at El Vaquero on Main Street in Joplin. This is a rare enough occurrence, having everyone present, that it qualifies as a high celebration! Greg, my mom and stepdad, and my sister Linda made us a lively party of 16. That created a bit of a dilemma for the staff at my favorite Mexican food restaurant as they sought to seat us. They found two oversized booths close together and we divided up. Greg joined the adult children and their spouses and significant other, and I gathered the grandchildren to me, along with Linda, Mom and Walter. We declared our table the fun table, and indeed, it was! (Although hearing laughter ringing out from table 2, I did peek over and they appeared to be having a grand time as well!)

family dinner side one

family dinner side two

Table One: Jonathan, Joey, Cindy, Aubrey, Linda

Walter, Mom, Dayan, Oliver

I have five grandchildren, ages 15, 9, 8, 7, and 6. Dayan, Jonathan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey, who is the youngest, and the only girl. They are each unique and gifted and precious in their own ways and I enjoyed talking to all of them and listening to their stories. Dayan could easily have joined the adult table, but I’m so glad he sat with us. The conversation was animated, and not just because of the kids. Linda and Mom joined right in. Poor Walter rarely got a word in, but he smiled and he won the cool hat award.  And I learned a new tech tip. Dayan taught me how to use the pano button in my iPhone for taking wide angle pictures.

I am so grateful for my family. Grateful for Harry and Jeff. Grateful for Elissa, Josh, Dayan and Jonathan….Nathanael, Megan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey…Adriel and Nate. Grateful for Greg, Mom, Walter and Linda. Each juggled their schedule around or made some effort to be present with me today and this evening. I couldn’t ask for a better family. I couldn’t feel more loved!

family dinner table two side one e

family dinner table two side two

Table Two: Greg, Elissa, Adriel, Nate

Josh, Megan, Nathanael