Journey 45: Pinewood Derby Race


What a fun Valentine’s Day, spent in the pleasant company of various family members. Tomorrow, as we gather to celebrate a child’s birthday, I’ll get to see the rest of my family.

The highlight of the afternoon was attending my first ever pinewood derby race. Grandson Jonathan qualified in the preliminary in his Boy Scout pack, earning him a place at the finals today. SE Kansas area troops gathered at the mall in Pittsburg for a jamboree. There were booths with fun activities set up everywhere. As the boys moved from booth to booth, their cards were stamped. A completed card was presented for prizes.

At the center of the mall, the track was set up for the derby. Each participant registered his pinewood car that he had made for the race. Jonathan’s green car looked so sharp! The boys lined up along the race track while older scouts set up three cars at a time to race. The cars competed in three sets, changing the cars to a different lane each time, with the run times averaged out after the third race.

Jonathan’s car did well. He didn’t take a trophy home, this year, however, he had a great showing, and he was a good sport. There will be other years to try again, if he continues to enjoy the challenge. I’m proud of him for all his work and his willingness to experience something new. It takes courage, at any age, to put yourself out there, and be willing to fail. Jonathan is courageous.

After the race I had a fun lunch with Jonathan, Josh, Elissa and Greg. We chatted while we enjoyed Mexican food at Del Rio. Jonathan at last could play with the car he had so carefully crafted without being concerned about messing the car up before the race.

Jonathan has benefitted from his scouting experiences. I’m looking forward to seeing what catches his interest next as he continues in the Boy Scout organization.


Watch Jonathan’s Pinewood Derby Race here

Day 45: Hand Out Roses on Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day, the day of celebrating love, is not a happy day for everyone. For some it is a painful or lonely holiday. This is also Random Acts of Kindness Week. My desire for today’s first was to combine the two events by handing out roses to people. What happened was that the first became much more intentional, rather than random! It was a sweet experience.

A busy day kept me from doing my first until this evening. By the time I headed out to buy flowers and give them away, the sun was setting and a beautiful full moon was rising. It seemed appropriate, somehow. And it influenced my choice of roses. I had envisioned buying yellow roses, for friendship. What I selected were gorgeous roses as white as the moon that was shining brightly in the velvet sky.

I asked to be guided to people who could use a smile and a reminder that someone cares about them. And the fun began. The first recipient was the cashier at the store where I made my purchase. She admired the roses as I dug in my purse for money. The look on her face as I handed her one, and wished her a Happy Valentine’s Day, was priceless. My focus became people who were working this evening, while others were out on special dates. The girl who handed me my tea at Sonic got a rose as did the young lady behind the counter in McDonalds.

I enjoyed my stroll through this fast food restaurant. McDonald’s isn’t a common destination for Valentine’s dinner. There were four men present, each sitting alone, engrossed in their computers or cell phones. I walked by each one and dropped a rose on their tables, wishing them a happy day. The three older men gave me startled looks, smiled and thanked me. As I walked toward the last guy, a considerably younger man who had been listening to music, he removed his earbuds and looked at me with a hopeful expression. I laughed as I gave him his rose. He beamed.

My last stop was to one of my favorite places in Joplin, Cupcakes by Liz, on Main Street. I knew Liz, Jim and their staff had put in a very long and busy day. I gave my last roses to the ladies working so diligently in the kitchen, baking and boxing up beautiful edible creations. I left feeling really good about making a dozen people smile tonight, and hopefully, feel appreciated. I didn’t leave Cupcakes by Liz empty handed though. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!