Happy Birthday William

Today is William’s birthday. The son of my cousin Mindy, I’ve known William since he was born, and went by the name Harry. As he’s matured into a tall and handsome young man, he grew as well into his more formal first name. As I looked up his name today, in honor of his birthday, I agree that the name William suits him perfectly. 

William, to express yourself you must follow the divine law of love. You have great persistence and hate to give up. You are a good mixer, charming, magnetic and intuitive. Spirituality is your key to success. You are intuitive and might be interested in the arts, drama or science.

You are very intuitive. You have a reservoir of inspired wisdom combined with inherited analytical ability, which could reward you through expressions of spiritual leadership, business analysis, marketing, artistic visions, or scientific research. Operating out of the spiritual side of your personality can take you to great heights, or drop you if you neglect your spiritual identity. You are always looking for an opportunity to investigate the unknown, to use your mental abilities, to find the purpose and meaning of life. You want to become wise and to understand people and things. You need privacy to replenish your energy. You have a unique way of thinking, you are reflective and absorbing.

This describes William very well. He is charming and spiritual and very intuitive. The arts are important to him. While in high school he was involved in the drama department, as an actor, as one who helped with props and scenery and as an assistant director. 

I love the sentences above that say, “You are always looking for an opportunity to investigate the unknown, to use your mental abilities, to find the purpose and meaning of life. You want to become wise and to understand people and things.” William is a very intelligent, curious man who enjoys learning about a variety of subjects. I cherish sitting with him over a long lunch, discussing movies and books, culture and life. We share an interest in Tolkien’s works and we’ve sat together in movie theaters watching the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. 

One of the greatest joys we’ve experienced together was a trip to Scotland in 2014. I loved everything about that journey through the land of our ancestors. Mindy made that trip happen, for both of us. And the most difficult challenge we’ve walked through together was the loss of Mindy, just a few months after that memorable trip. No one is ever quite ready to say good bye to his or her mother. To have to do so at the age of 19 is especially wrenching. 

William was suddenly thrust into adulthood, with many responsibilities placed on his broad shoulders. I know how difficult it has been. And I also know how he stepped up into that space of running a household and caring for others. He has had to draw from a deep reservoir of innate wisdom and strength. He has had to learn to trust his instincts and rely on his intuition. 

I know his mother is so very proud of him. She raised a good son. I am so very proud of the man he has become…and the person he is becoming. Happy birthday, William. I love you!

Journey 301: Treats & Tricks

October has been one gorgeous fall day after another. Even the rainy days were welcome, and beautiful in their own way. This week concludes the month, and my journeys have reached the 300’s. The year is winding down. On this perfect autumn day, had not one, but two highlights. 

I had the pleasure of having lunch with my cousin William in Neosho. We were overdue for a chat and a shared meal. William suggested one of his favorite local restaurants, Cafe Angelica, on the Neosho Square. I was delighted, as I’ve not eaten here before. 


What a great place! I loved finding a cafe with a cute name that had a charming interior to match. Even before we ordered lunch, I was captivated. The French country decor was so inviting. And the food was marvelous. We each had the lunch special which included half a sandwich, a salad and a bowl of soup. William loves the chicken curry salad sandwich and I had one as well. The potato soup was delicious and perfectly complemented the chicken curry. 

I enjoyed my first meal at Cafe Angelica and look forward to sampling other entrees. Most of all, I enjoyed seeing William and catching up. By anyone’s reckoning, he has had a challenging year. His mom’s birthday Monday was a bittersweet reminder of his loss. He and his uncle celebrated the day by preparing some of Mindy’s favorite foods. I find that very touching. He reminded me in his quiet, sincere way today that he’s here, he’s journeying, he’s figuring out the path that’s been laid before him. I continue to be so proud of this young man. 

After my return to Joplin, I totally switched gears, into high energy mode. For the first time, I picked up Aubrey, Joey and Oliver from school. Not such a big deal, except that not only do they attend different schools, the schools are in different towns! Fortunately Aubrey gets out 25 minutes ahead of the boys. We had plans for the afternoon and the kids were ready for an adventure. 
With all three kids in tow, we visited the Halloween Store, at the Northpark Mall. We have a big family Halloween party Saturday and I offered to take this trio shopping for costumes. That might sound overly ambitious, taking three active children into a store full of props and costumes and accessories. It was a blast! The kids were golden. None of them knew what they wanted to dress up as, so we looked and discussed and tried on options. 

I am very grateful for the help of a friendly woman in the store, who cheerfully fetched costumes in different sizes, made suggestions, and answered questions. There were lots of questions. The kids were great to sort through a variety of options and make decisions fairly quickly. I was very proud of all three. My only regret was that I completely forgot to snap pics of the process, which had comedic elements. It was a busy 45 minutes and I apparently needed an assistant whose only job was to take pics. Ah well. We have memories. 

We carried our purchases to the mall food court and had snacks before reversing our trip and returning home. I love watching these beautiful children as they chat and laugh and observe their world. I learn so much from them. We listened to songs on the ride home, everyone singing along. 

The kids humored me, once we arrived at their home, and donned their costumes so I could get a photo. Aubrey’s outfit is on over her clothes and Joey has other pieces of his costume to pull together. Oliver’s is complete. He cracked us up by saying he was smiling behind his mask, since I couldn’t tell. Saturday will see everyone fully costumed. It promises to be a fun day. 

Today was a fun day too. From Cafe Angelica to the food court, from Neosho to Joplin to Carthage, it was a memorable journey. 


Journey 93: Afternoon Tea with William


What a treat today, to be invited to afternoon tea. My cousin not only graciously extended the invitation but prepared the tea and the sandwiches. I contributed mini scones and William completed the meal with thin chocolate wafer cookies, called biscuits in the UK. 

It’s been a busy and emotional week. I can’t think of a better way to relax, and at the same time feel refreshed, than by sharing a pot of hot tea. William even had a tiny pitcher with milk at the ready. 

I formerly called this young man, son of my dear cousin Mindy, by the name of Harry. I realized as we navigated together through the shifting and sometimes challenging landscape that appeared after Mindy’s passing, that he was referring to himself as William. I like to call my family members and friends by the name they prefer the most. William was using his legal first name. I have shifted to that name as well. And it is a fine name, meaning “strong, resolute warrior-protector”. What great qualities. I see William growing into those with ease. 

This afternoon, we chatted and caught up on each other’s news and journeys. We talked and laughed and sipped our hot tea. This ritual became a daily practice when William, Mindy and I visited Scotland last year. This son was very indulgent of his mother and me as we wandered about each city and village that we visited, searching for the perfect spot to have tea. The memory, though tinged with sadness, makes me smile. 

Sitting across from him on this day, I smiled as well. William has grown through so much these past three months. I’m very proud of him. And very touched that we shared this tradition today. I sensed Mindy nearby, her love and pride almost tangible in the room. She approved of the fare included with our afternoon tea. As did I. I returned to Joplin uplifted and restored in body and spirit. Thank you, dear William.