Happy Birthday Ethan

My great nephew, Ethan Barnes, turned 11 years old today. I didn’t get to see him on his special day, however we exchanged text messages and my thoughts have been on this bright young man as I prepared to write his birthday blog post. 

Ethan after a big birthday dinner tonight with his family. 

The grandson of my sister Debbie, Ethan lives with his family in Oklahoma. He is the older son of Ashley and Jon, and a wonderful big brother to Kaleb. Smart, inventive and creative, Ethan excels in academics and he is well on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. He’s already earned many merit badges and just returned from his first out of state Boy Scout camp. 

Halloween is a big deal at the Barnes’ house. I loved Ethan’s costume from Doctor Who. 

I looked up Ethan’s name:

Ethan, you do well when you are in harmony however you are changeable when in discord, because many of your best qualities are then reversed. You are entertaining and may be impulsive. Freedom is a necessity, and you find it difficult to settle on one thing, creating restlessness. Your versatility may bring many changes and opportunities to travel. Your fine intellect is capable of high honors if applied seriously. You are capable of inspired thinking.

Creative and outgoing, you are always looking for an opportunity to showcase your abilities, especially before an audience. You like to feel appreciated. You are looking for ways to communicate your ideas. You like to talk and can easily relate to different cultures and concepts. The biggest challenge for you may be that you are easily bored, causing you to move from one job or project to another. Your high creativity can lead you to happiness. If you pursue your goals, you can make major decisions in life without worry and uncertainty, and achieve great heights.

Those are very powerful words for an 11 year old boy. And yet, I see Ethan growing into them already. He has a rich vocabulary, loves to sing and entertain his family, and already has a vast knowledge of the sciences and technology. I love to sit beside him, watching as he creates his own video games on his iPad. He’s a master at games like Minecraft. Like several in our family, this young man is very aware of energy and spirit, and shows strong intuitive abilities. 

While Ethan has always been a great conversationalist, this past year we’ve had some deeper conversations about life and the journey, and about being our own wonderfully unique selves and being okay with who we are. Ethan became a Doctor Who fan recently and I’ve enjoyed discussing this amazing British series with him and hearing his insights. 

Ethan’s creativity extends in many directions. He creates cool memes such as the one pictured above, designs games, plays with technology, surprises me with music that he just casually pulls together on his iPad. He likes to read, watch movies, and play trivia games. 

He’s a deep thinker. And he’s an outside of the box thinker. His intellect, versatility and keen insight will indeed take him far in life and abroad in the world. And perhaps this amazing boy with his big ideas will go way, way beyond this world and explore among the stars, literally seeking out new life and new civilizations, going where few have gone before. 

He can do whatever he wants to do. No matter what career or path he chooses, I’ll be here cheering him on. Happy birthday Ethan! I love you!

Journey 221: Happy Birthday Elissa

Today is my older daughter’s birthday. The extended family will gather later in the week for a birthday dinner, when everyone can be present. However, I enjoyed spending time with Elissa this evening as she shared a quiet night at home with her family. I love that she set aside time for herself late this afternoon and had a birthday nap, and that she allowed me to bring her a special treat. When I asked this morning what I could bring her this evening, she replied that she wouldn’t say no to a chocolate chip double doozie, from Great American Cookie Company!

Elissas birthday double doozie

Greg and I arrived with FOUR chocolate chip double doozies, one for Elissa, one for Josh and one for each of the boys, and a gallon of cold milk. One cannot eat a double doozie without a tall glass of milk to wash it down with! Sitting and visiting with her, it was hard to believe another year has flown by. It has been a busy year for my girl!

Elissas birthday wedding with Josh

Elissa and Josh got married last November, joining their hearts, their families and their lives. It was such a special time, as Dayan and Jonathan stood with their parents while they expressed their love and devotion to each other. They have combined households and I am so thrilled for them, so proud of them, watching them juggle careers and the boys’ busy schedules with competence and love. They carve out time to do things together, take family trips, hang out together at home.

Elissas birthday Dayan

Elissas birthday Jonathan

Elissa is a wonderful mother to Dayan and to Jonathan, encouraging them to follow their hearts and do what they enjoy. She cheers Dayan on in the many school and extracurricular activities that he participates in, always present in the audience as a witness to his life. When Jonathan performed in the school talent show, she was there clapping wildly, nervous for him, and proud of him, at the same time. And present as well when he had a lead part in a play, after a week of drama camp this summer. I love how connected she is to those boys.

Elissas birthday Adriel and Nathanael

She is connected to her brother and sister as well. Although they are all adults with families of their own, these siblings stay in touch and have fun together when they can. Elissa, being the eldest, challenges her younger brother and sister, in everything from board games and ping pong, to dressing fashionably and winning at life. As a child, she was the bossy one, sure that she knew what was best for Nathanael and Adriel, and not afraid to tell them so! She is not so bossy now, but she does not hesitate to step in and offer help and encouragement and advice when it is needed. There is mutual love and respect among those three, and their significant others. The six have a great time when they are together, and I love watching them interact.

Elissas birthday having fun

Elissas birthday group pic

I am so proud of Elissa. As her mom, it brings joy to my heart to watch her journey, to see the growth that is evident in her life, and watch her engage others. She has such an amazing sense of humor. She doesn’t use it to wound, or to deflect, but rather allows her wit to brighten the lives of those around her. She especially enjoys teasing her dad, who wouldn’t know what to do if his eldest child didn’t kid him whenever they are together. Elissa is settling into who she is, discovering what she has to offer to the world, learning to seek within rather than without. She shines brilliantly. Elissa is not only my daughter, but one of my favorite people to hang out with. Happy birthday, beautiful girl. May the next year be full of love and light, adventures and joys. I love you so much!

Elissas birthday Josh