Day 214: Open to Receive Day

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This morning, as I sat in the garden, I considered what I might do for my first today. I had several options. As I enjoyed the sights and scents around me, an idea came to me. A simple idea. Stay open all day to receiving. I turned the idea over in my mind and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I didn’t ask for anything or expect any particular gift. I decided to stay in the attitude of openness and be aware of all the blessings that I received.

Once that decision was made, my awareness shifted immediately. The first gift I received was the beauty of my surroundings. I rose from my chair and slowly walked along the pathway that winds through my garden. I stopped to touch several plants, and admire how they give so freely of who they are. Their fragrances wafted about me. They didn’t give to me because I asked anything from them. In their being, they offered, and in my state of being receptive, I accepted.

The cats joined me in the garden and I was the recipient of their love and affection. I laughed as they wound around my legs, vying for my attention and purring as I scratched behind their ears. Back in the house, as I prepared to head to the office, I drew a random card from my homemade deck of affirmations. I draw a card every morning, from the 100 quotes and sayings I’ve written down. This morning I drew the card that reads, “I am willing to surrender”. How appropriate for today. In allowing myself to be open to receive, without expectation, I could surrender the need to know how I would be blessed this day. I surrendered worry that I wouldn’t receive anything. How could that happen? So many good things had shown up already. I surrendered planning out how the day could go so that I might receive more easily. I simply surrendered….and fully opened to allowing.

The day was lovely. A few of the blessings I received today included a large yellow and black butterfly that fluttered around me as I walked to daughter Adriel’s house, her loan of a very nice camera for my trip, visitors to my garden who got to view it for the first time, and offers on properties. I engaged in great conversations today and learned from watching author and speaker Thomas Moore on YouTube as he spoke of art and dreams. He shared about the healing properties of the color blue, which is my favorite color, and I smiled as I looked down at my long blue T-shirt dress that I wear around the house.

Via email I received an invitation to write articles about my trip to Scotland to include in the Clan Maitland publication. I was also given information about visiting the burial site of many of my Scottish ancestors and was told how to “open doors” on my journey. A friend blessed me with her email also, and the amazing energy from her words could not be contained as it flowed over me. I will carry her well wishes with me as I travel. Another friend surprised and inspired me with a text full of pictures from her own lovely flower gardens.

This evening I received greetings and kisses from my grandchildren Aubrey, Oliver and Joey and warm hugs from Nate and Megan. For a couple of hours I was blessed with seeing the world anew through the eyes of those precious children as we walked to the cul-de-sac, or rather they outpaced me on their scooters while I trailed behind. Holding their small hands and hearing their stories blessed me so much.

Songs on shuffle on my iPhone touched me, grace surrounded me and total strangers gave me the gift of their smiles and kind words. Abundance comes in many forms, and today, I was on the receiving end of joy, beauty, kindness, love, family, friends, great clients, affection, opportunity and well wishes. I am grateful for my “Open to Receive” Day and all that flowed to me. I am blessed, indeed.

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Day 200: Christmas in July

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I know many people who celebrate Christmas midyear. However, my family has not done this, until this year. My sisters, our children, all have families and traditions of their own. It is difficult nowadays to get most of us together to celebrate anything! For my first today, I gathered with many members of my extended family to celebrate with a traditional Christmas dinner.

This was a fun day. Another first for me was the privilege of including Joey and Oliver in this family event. My son Nathanael had to work today, and his lovely bride-to-be, Megan, had a day long class at MSSU. They couldn’t join us today, but they allowed the three children to ride to Broken Arrow, OK with Greg and me. I was excited about this, our first outing. I have to say, the kids did great, riding in the car for such distances and playing with cousins. Many more adventures together await us.

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My niece Ashley, and her husband Jon, once again hosted the family for a large dinner. They are such gracious and generous hosts, opening their beautiful home and planning and carrying out these get togethers. Parties are such fun….and a whole lot of work. This young couple focuses on the festive aspect of parties, not the hours of labor involved. I am grateful for them.

Everyone contributed a side dish, sodas or appetizers. Mimi Jerri and Steve brought the chocolate cream pies! Jon deep fried the turkey breast and it was delicious and juicy. We all feasted well and enjoyed a day of visiting, laughing and taking turns keeping an eye on the kids. I was grateful daughter Adriel was able to join us, and grateful for daughter Elissa as well, who was accompanied by boyfriend Josh and his son, Jonathan. Linda’s son Scott and daughter-in-law Nicole were able to be there, with toddler Weston. By the time we say Merry Christmas again, in December, this wonderful couple will have been blessed with a baby daughter. We missed Nate and Megan, my grandson Dayan, who was with his dad, celebrating their Christmas in July this weekend, Adriel’s husband Kelly and Linda’s son Eric and his family. Mom and my stepdad Walter stayed home too, as Walter is recovering from heart surgery.

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We didn’t exchange gifts today, or sing Christmas carols, although we did wish each other a very Merry Christmas. The purpose today was to take time now to get together, as a family, and celebrate life and successes and express love and joy to each other. And those are the greatest of gifts, to offer and to receive.

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Day 195: Shrimp Quesadilla at El Charro in Carthage

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What a busy day today, meeting with clients and making phone calls and getting mulch down in the newest part of the garden. In between meeting my last two clients for the day, I had the opportunity to have dinner with my son Nate, his fiancé Megan, and their three delightful children at El Charro in Carthage. I had not eaten at this El Charro before, and to really make it a good first, I tried a new dish there, shrimp quesadilla.

I was missing my son and his family. With their busy schedules and mine, it had been too long since I’d seen them and hugged on the kids. It was great to get to be with them, and fun to go to dinner together. I don’t believe I’ve had dinner with this little group by myself before. We often have family dinners for someone’s birthday, where the whole group gathers. But this was special, too, having an intimate dinner.

I rode with the family in the car to El Charro and Joey, Oliver, Aubrey and I sat in the back and chatted. I loved hearing the kids’ news and stories and listening to what’s important to them. We settled in at the restaurant and ordered dinner. These are precious times. I remember what it is like as a parent. Someone needs to use the bathroom, everyone has something special that they want for dinner, each child has something to say. Like Nate and Megan, I had three kids and they can keep you busy!

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The wonderful thing about being the grandparent, the Yaya in this case, is that having a boisterous, everyone telling stories at once kind of dinner is great fun for me. It brings back memories of my own young family. And having raised those kids and knowing how fast the time goes by, it reminds me that these children will grow up just as fast. All too soon, they won’t discuss who gets to sit by Yaya in the car or at the restaurant. They won’t be so eager to tell me their stories and they will be embarrassed to hold my hand. And I definitely won’t be able to pick up each one for a hug and a kiss.

Tonight, I didn’t mind escorting the kids to the restrooms, twice each. Or sharing my rice. Or wiping up drips of queso. These children with their bright little faces, curious minds and their open, loving hearts bring me great joy. Nate and Megan are amazing parents and they have every right to be proud of their offspring. I’m proud of them, as parents.

And, the shrimp quesadilla was excellent! Plump shrimp and sautéed onions and green peppers made a delicious and healthy dinner. I’d have this unusual quesadilla again. The restaurant offered friendly service and our meals arrived promptly. We had a fun, engaging meal with lots of interesting conversations and no one, not even me, spilled a drink or even dropped a fork!

Before heading back to Joplin and meeting with my last client, I drew pictures on the driveway with colored chalk, traced around each child as they lay on the driveway, and participated in car races with Hot Wheels. Oh, the incredible joys of summer and childhood. When I’m with my grandchildren, I get to experience both.

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Day 137: Jasper County Sheriff’s Office Community Safety Day

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Today’s first was special, and actually a double first, as my mom, sister and I took Aubrey, Oliver and Joey on a first family outing! We attended a fun event sponsored by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department. Located just off the square in Carthage, MO, Community Safety Day was geared toward children but had plenty of fun and interesting activities for the whole family.

I often do things with my grandchildren and always enjoy being with them. It is fresh and magical, seeing the world through a child’s eyes. For the first time today, I enjoyed taking not only Aubrey out for some fun, but also got to include the boys of my son’s fiancé. It was great having my mom and sister with us as well. With the crowd and lots of booths to visit, we each paired up with a child and could give the kids the freedom to participate in the activity that they wanted to, without trying to keep everyone together.

Immediately after we arrived, we watched a demonstration by the county’s attack and drug sniffing dog. Later we watched the bomb detecting dog do her thing, alerting her trainer to the presence of an explosive. The kids got to get up close and pet the bomb detection dog, although the attack dog was strictly off limits. Each child also tossed a ball for the bomb dog to fetch. Even working dogs need to have some downtime!

There was also a demo by the county’s swat team and a booth set up with all their gear on display. Aubrey headed a different direction, with me in tow, but Joey and Oliver were fascinated with all the equipment and asked the officers great question. They got to stand behind a protective shield and each one tried on a safety vest, which weighed a hefty 40 pounds.

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The kids visited the face painting booth and left with painted characters on their faces or hands. The balloon animal man created two monkeys and a sword for our little group and we munched on popcorn, hotdogs and shaved ice! The big hit at the event was the bounce house that looked like a giant police car. The kids were quick to shed their shoes and crawl inside. Fortunately for us, there was a tent nearby with chairs and tables so we could unload our arms of balloons, bags and food and rest for a little bit.

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Sheriff Randee Kaiser and his deputies did a great job creating a fun and educational event. They were on site to mingle and visit and answer questions. I think it is important to be very visible, in a positive way, in the community in which they serve. The kids just knew they had fun playing and eating and learning about safety and being protected. And that made our day, knowing they had a great time. On the way back to their house, we also stopped for ice cream cones at Braum’s. That finished off a perfect outing!

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