Christmas 2017

A brief, and pictorial, blog post tonight, at the conclusion of a joy filled Christmas day spent with family. Greg and I joined daughters Adriel and Elissa, sons-in-law Nate and Josh, and grandsons Dayan and Jonathan, for a fun afternoon of cooking together and chatting, laughing and snapping photos in front of the tree. My mom stopped by to visit and see Dayan, who is home from the University of Missouri on holiday break. Son Nate and daughter-in-law Megan and their three children spent the day in Arkansas with Megan’s family. We missed them, however I know they had a fun day!

I love this time of year. Christmas Day is the culmination of weeks of buying and making gifts, planning and prepping food, and anticipating gathering with family. We had a casual, smorgasbord type meal today, with everyone contributing to the meal.

Nate prepared his family’s traditional sloppy Joe recipe, one that his grandmother Dorothy created. I was told that the sloppy Joes were wonderful! What a special tribute to Grandma Dorothy.

Elissa recently discovered an app called Yummly. She tried two recipes from it for the first time…scalloped potatoes and maple glazed carrots. I was so impressed with her recipes that I downloaded the app, which can be customized for my plant based diet.

Here are our fun pics in front of Adriel and Nate’s festive Christmas Tree…

Our outfits were festive too!

Nate and pup Frances in holiday finery as well!

Greg with Elissa, Adriel and Nate.

The family group shot!

With grandsons Dayan and Jonathan.

Mimi with two of her granddaughters.

Jonathan playing Super Mario Odyssey on his new Nintendo Switch. This boy intuitively plays these games! It would take me months to learn a new game.

Coney and Willow insisted on snuggling with Dayan.

We had such a sweet and precious day. The food was plentiful, delicious and healthy. And the company I kept? Well, that was the true gift of the day, spending time with my family. There is no greater blessing in my life than my family members. How incredible it is, that I get to journey through life with these beautiful, amazing people. How miraculous, to hug them and kiss them, and receive their love in return.

Christmas 2017 is almost a memory now. Dayan just left my house. We watched the Doctor Who Christmas special together, a yearly tradition for us. Candles are lit throughout my home, one of the last times this season that I will enjoy their soft glow.

I will spend the last two hours of Christmas 2017 in a contemplative space as I allow my heart to fill and then overflow with love, joy, peace and gratitude.

Merry Christmas, blessed Christmas, joy and peace within me, joy and peace to the world.

Journey 332: Christmas Possibilities

I moved my Artist Date to today, since I have a birthday to celebrate tomorrow in Oklahoma. And this is also Small Business Saturday, when consumers are encouraged to Shop Small, Shop Local. I decided to combine my date with myself with a little Christmas shopping, and conclude the afternoon with one of my favorite activities. 


I was proud of myself that I got out today. It was cold and rainy and otherwise known as a perfect day to stay home and sip hot tea. I did that yesterday! I refuse to have a “date” at home. It would be too easy for me to rent a DVD and watch it in the comfort of my bedroom and call it good. So I layered on warm clothes and off we went, my inner artist and me, to support a couple of small local businesses and experience Christmas joy. 
My first stop was Blue Moon Boutique, located at 613 S Main Street in Joplin. I love this unique little shop that is marketed as a “modern boutique with a vintage soul”. The store  carries trendy clothes, accessories, gifts and home decor. And it is always so beautifully merchandised. Christmas items were all 50% off today. I carried out some lovely purchases that will look delightful in my home. 


My next stop was Gourmets, a kitchen and more store, located at 2800 S Main. This is another shop that I love to wander through. There is a plethora of kitchen accessories and gadgets, plus home decor and specialty items such as coffees, teas and soup and dip mixes. I happily crossed some items off my Christmas list here and enjoyed chatting with one of the owners. 

My inner artist graciously allowed me another stop to pick up a couple of gifts and then, thoroughly chilled, I opted to drive through Starbucks for a venti hot chocolate and a slice of gingerbread loaf. How festive is that? I didn’t mind the long line of cars, any more than I mind lines in the stores this time of year. There’s a camaraderie among us as we shop and  then wait in line to pay. People were in high spirits and chatty, which I loved. I heard about a pumpkin pie failure for Thanksgiving dinner and sugar intolerance, forgetful parents and decisions about a grandchild’s gifts, all from strangers. 


I carried my hot chocolate and slice of gingerbread loaf into the mall and settled into a comfy leather chair near the Santa Village. This was what I had been looking forward to all afternoon. Sitting among the bustle of shoppers laughing and moving in and out of stores and visiting Santa, while I engaged in a lifelong pleasure: people watching. I have been since childhood, a keen observer of people. I knew my creative child would enjoy this. 

The energy was high here as well. I loved watching parents with their kids as they approached a very authentic looking Santa, garbed in his red suit, with beautiful gray hair and a real, luxurious beard. Most of the kids were excited to see the jolly old elf. Even older kids called out to him and waved as they walked by, too old, they thought, to sit with him, but still young enough to notice him. I most enjoyed a young couple with a 9 month old baby girl. She was not going to cooperate with sitting on a stranger’s lap. She tightly clutched her daddy’s arm and leaned away from Santa, while her mom spoke to her in a high voice with exaggerated facial expressions, “Ooohhh look…it’s Santa!! Want to see him? Santa! Let’s see Santa!” Momma didn’t convince Baby, or Dad. They walked away. 

After a leisurely time of people watching while I sipped my hot chocolate, I stood to join the crowds and make another purchase. It was as I was preparing to leave the mall that I got a strong nudge to make one more stop. New pajamas came to mind. For me. Ah. On the way to Starbucks I had driven through the parking lot of a store, with the intention of looking for an item for myself. Not for the house. Not a Christmas present for a family member. For me. I never parked the car. I decided this was not the time to get something for myself and drove away. Now my creative child, my inner artist was getting my attention. 


When I get home in the evenings, the first thing I do is change into comfy pjs and soft fuzzy socks. That’s my home attire. I have to admit it’s been three or more years since I bought new pjs. While very comfy, the two sets that I have are decidedly worn. What a lovely thought, to purchase a new pair. I walked into JC Penney with the idea that I’d only buy a new pair of pajamas if I could find something decadent for under $20. I was being agreeable, going with the idea, but adding a condition. In hindsight, I didn’t need to do that. I’m learning. 

I found a beautiful, incredibly soft, warm pair of pajamas, in light gray and pink. Normally $54, today they were $14.99. I laughed. And I added two pairs of soft gray socks for $2.50 each. All for under $20, and barely over with tax. I’m enjoying the snuggly pj’s at home now. Thank you Little Cindy. 

I read Week Five in the Artist’s Way this evening, curious if my date today connected at all with the upcoming chapter. Called Recovering a Sense of Possibilty, this chapter is full of amazing truths, and explores how we might curtail our own possibilities by placing a limit on the good we can receive. There’s much to digest in Week Five and things I’ll share about later. These words caught my eyes: “We are stingy with ourselves.” Yes, I used to be very stingy with myself, and even today I held back. But my creativity is awakening, my awareness raising, and I’m listening to God and my inner child. I’m learning not to hold back. 

Journey 318: 2 Friends & Junk Show Springfield 

On this beautiful fall day, mindful of the tragedy in Paris, open hearted in quiet love, it was good to spend time with some members of my family. Greg drove me, daughters Elissa and Adriel, and Adriel’s fiancé Nate, to Springfield to the 2 Friends & Junk show. 


My girls and I enjoy wandering through craft and junk shows and flea markets. We look for items to purchase, that catch our eyes. And we look for ideas for repurposing things that we already own, at home. Greg and Nate, while not shopping per say, enjoyed looking around as well. They were great to fetch sodas and iced teas, carry packages and take purchases to the car to stow in the trunk. 

Here’s a pictorial representation of my journey today, through the always fun 2 Friends & Junk Show. 
Painted furniture is still a hot item. Some booths sold chalk paint as well. 


 This booth had a cute idea…little Christmas trees tucked into glass jars and silver vases. 


 Loved the little bottle brush trees at this booth. 


Seeing this display, I got an idea on how to create a simple obelisk for my garden. 



Nate, Adriel and Elissa looking through tiny treasures. 

 So many creative ways to decorate for Christmas. 


My favorite booth at this show!


My purchases. Picks of rustic red berries, rusty stars and rusty jingle bells, in a very cool olive bucket. I intend to place a tall skinny artificial Christmas tree in the bucket for the holidays. And find other way to use the bucket as the seasons change throughout the year. 



A leather cuff, stamped with acorns. Acorns are my symbol this year for remembering during my journey. 

We had a fun day at the show. I was inspired, being in the presence of so much creativity. 180 booths meant there was a wide variety of artistic talent on display. And I loved finding vintage items, such as suitcases and antique jewelry, tucked alongside wooden boxes, metal buckets and painted furniture. 
We capped off our trip to Springfield with a late lunch at Zio Italian Restaurant. The food was delicious, the conversation lively and the laughter the type that brings tears to the eyes! I call that a great meal. 

We look forward to the next 2 Friends & Junk Show, in Joplin, in February 2016. The girls and I will be there, with other family members I hope. Listen for our chatter and laughter, and join us. 



Day 310: Blue Moon Market Holiday Open House

blue moon christmas exterior

For today’s first, I returned to Blue Moon Market, located at 613 S Main Street, in Joplin. I have visited this charming store a couple of times, and always enjoy browsing. Several firsts came together at the shop today as they host their Holiday Open House.

blue moon christmas

This was my first holiday open house of the season. I know some people dislike that Christmas products appear so early, usually before Halloween even. I understand though. I used to work in retail. For many businesses, sales this time of year mean the difference between thriving another year, or not. The earlier you can capture a share of the market, the better your chances are. It’s not meant to be commercialization…it is making it as a business. And, quite simply, I love this time of year. It brings me great joy to connect with the Christmas Spirit as I see trees go up and sparkling lights appear, cute snowmen huddled in clusters and red and green décor every. I have a small gift tag, printed with a quote from A Christmas Carol, that hangs in my house throughout the year. It reads: “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

blue moon christmas 8

This was also my first time to attend Blue Moon Market’s Holiday Open House. Described as a modern boutique with a vintage soul, this shop has a beautiful, whimsical appeal. Filled with unique finds that include jewelry, clothing, signs, note cards, home décor and vintage collectibles, there is something for everyone here. The store recently closed for a couple of days to prepare for the open house event. I’m sure I walked around with a smile on my face. The store was magical with Christmas items everywhere, artfully arranged, and general merchandise that would make perfect gifts for everyone. Or for me! I had a limited amount of time today, to shop, however I will return. I enjoyed a quick sweep through the store, and with permission, took pics to share here on the blog.

blue moon christmas 3  blue moon christmas 5

And, while I was browsing, I spied the perfect ornament for this year’s Christmas tree. Each year I purchase an ornament that represents my symbol for the year. I have butterflies, dragonflies, and silver hearts on the tree, as a reminder of previous years’ themes. Tucked into a display at Blue Moon Market I found golden birdcages, empty of course and in a variety of shapes. I selected a cage and I’ll find and purchase a small golden bird to clip onto a branch nearby, representing the bird free from its cage, which is my symbol for 2014.

blue moon christmas ornament

The Holiday Open House will continue at Blue Moon Market through this Saturday. What a fun and pleasant way to spend an hour, and mark items off the Christmas wish list at the same time!

blue moon christmas 7