Happy Birthday Mom

Today was my mom’s birthday. Because it was also Sunday, my sister Debbie was able to join my sister Linda and me in celebrating this special woman. Mom selected Golden Corral for her birthday lunch. Our stepdad Walter, Linda’s granddaughter London, my daughter Adriel and her fiancĂ© Nate joined us as well, turning the luncheon into a full fledged party!

We had a fun lunch, dining buffet style, chatting and laughing. London took photos, moving around the table, capturing selfies. Mom has joined me in pursuing a healthier way of eating. The buffet offered fresh salad fixings and plenty of steamed or sautĂ©ed veggies for our meals. There was the obligatory dessert bar present, which we skipped. 

I looked up Mom’s name:

“Patricia, you have a powerful way of expressing yourself, either through speaking or writing. You enjoy studying and doing research for your creative projects. You are clever, clear-sighted and intelligent, bold, independent and curious. Once you decide on a course of action, you stay on that path until you achieve your goal. 

You seek freedom, and seize opportunities to enjoy life. You love to go places and have new experiences. You are very adventurous and willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New places and new experiences don’t satisfy your restless nature for long. One adventure leads you to another. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive justice and honesty from other people. Your personal growth is vital to you, and you choose not to be tied down by too many rules and obligations. You make your own way in life. 

Those words paint an accurate picture of my mom. She is extremely creative, in many different ways, finding artistic expression through drawing, sewing, gardening, repurposing and do it yourself projects. However, she is a born story teller. When my sisters and I were young the best bedtime stories were the ones Mom told. 

Later she began to write stories, rather than tell them verbally. She is a sucessful author, having penned several children’s chapter books and contributed to collections such as the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I am positive that my own desire to write flowed to me from my mother. 

Two of Mom’s books

Mom is truly a self motivated person and a strong woman with a clear idea of who she is and what she wants to do. Her cleverness and intelligence have served her well. She has owned and operated a variety of businesses, including a pizza restaurant and a family video rental store. 

When she retired from working she indulged her passions for writing and traveling. Mom has a gypsy spirit that fuels her longing to see the world and experience new things. This adventuress has traveled throughout the US in an RV and across much of Europe. I am excited that next year I will get to travel with my mother, sisters and niece on an amazing adventure. 

Halloween fun. 

Mom has always been my champion and my encourager. I continue to learn from her, by way of her words and her example. She’s had a tough year, health wise, and yet she keeps going. I had the privilege of accompanying her this week to various doctors’ appointments. I appreciated that she trusted me with this part of her journey. Listening to her and to the doctors, I determined to walk alongside her, in the role of teacher this time, showing her new ways to care for herself and her health. 

It’s time for me to be her champion, her encourager, and to lead by example. Mom has made the commitment to embrace a healthier lifestyle, particularly by eating a plant based diet. I am honored to walk with her on this new adventure. She has lots of places yet to go, and more stories still to tell. 

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you!

The Celebration Test

Today I enjoyed being with family in Oklahoma, in honor of my great nephew, Kaleb. On his actual birthdate I featured a blog post about this charming five year. On this beautiful Saturday, I had the opportunity to be with Kaleb in a day long celebration. 

Being away from home has its challenges on a plant based diet. It requires planning and preparation. I had my morning celery juice before leaving the house. Breakfast smoothies travel well in a plastic cup. I drank a banana, peach, strawberry one on the way. And I carried in my own food. I knew there would be birthday cake ahead to tempt me!

Kaleb watching for me to arrive. He is such a sweet boy. 

You see, today was a test for me. So many of our celebrations involve food. And there is nothing wrong with that. We eat to rejoice, to honor someone, to mark a special occasion. And we also eat to comfort ourselves, ease boredom, and relieve stress. On this journey I am changing my relationship with food. I am focusing on eating to nourish my body with the healthiest of food choices, so that I feel my best. Right now, I eat to heal. I was curious to see if I could skip the cake today, without compromising the celebration. 

My sister Debbie and niece Ashley helped by serving fresh fruits and veggies as snacks. What an encouragement! It wasn’t difficult to have a salad for lunch, and at the end of our day together, have a plain baked potato with green beans at a restaurant. 

When Happy Birthday was sung, the candles blown out and the cake cut, I could rejoice in the blessing that is Kaleb, and pass on the cake and ice cream. Instead, I arranged my afternoon treat of an apple, celery sticks and dates on a brightly colored Pokemon party plate, and enjoyed it. The cake was adorable…and did not tempt me at all.  

It’s not willpower that carried me through. It is the desire to feel good and live in a healthy, pain free body that guides my choices. And it helped that I planned ahead and had a suitable treat to snack on while others had cake. 

My take away from today was that celebrations are about the people involved, not the food. I had fun with Kaleb and the rest of the family…playing, chatting and laughing…and the birthday boy didn’t care at all whether I had a piece of cake, or not. What mattered to Kaleb was that I was present, and spent time with him. 

I passed the celebration test today. I can do this, without offending anyone or compromising my healing journey. This is good to know. My younger daughter is getting married in October. And I will be there to celebrate!

Happy Birthday Kaleb

Today my great-nephew Kaleb turned five years old! I’ll be attending his birthday party Saturday in Oklahoma and celebrating with him. On his actual birthdate, though, I am celebrating Kaleb with words. 

This bright and beautiful boy is the younger son of my niece Ashley and her husband Jon. Kaleb shares a house with his parents, an older brother Ethan, whom he adores, and his Meem, my sister Debbie, whom he also adores. In fact, Kaleb is very family oriented, affectionate and loving with his immediate family and his large, extended family. He loves to cuddle and talk, a very endearing trait that I hope he’s slow to grow out of. 

I looked up Kaleb’s name:

“Kaleb, you are cheerful and friendly and good natured. You are a good conversationalist and can express yourself joyously and constructively. You seldom worry over anything. At times, you can be impatient, and act impulsively. You have the ability to think in big ways because you are bold, independent and inquisitive. You have a strong intuitive nature. 

You seek freedom and look for opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest. You desire to go places and to do great things. You are very adventurous and willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New experiences won’t satisfy your restless nature for long. One adventure will lead you to another. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive justice and honesty from other people. Your personal growth is vital to you, and it is difficult to be tied down by rules and obligations. Your restless spirit might lead you into a field of work that meets your demand for action and adventure.

Those are very big words to describe a child who just entered kindergarten. And yet I see the truth contained within, like the potential curled inside a seed. As he grows, Kaleb will manifest those adventurous charecteristics. He’s wise, for his years, an old soul, a kindred  spirit to me. Who he is will become more and more evident in time and he will have much to offer to the world. 

His cheerful and friendly demeanor is obvious now. He is a big thinker, intuitive and inquisitive. And in ways most people would not comprehend, he is an adventurer, a seeker, deep and mysterious, yet playful and comical. 

He is uniquely Kaleb. He knows who he is. He knows who he is here to journey with. He is content to let his life unfold. The path he chooses will be a grand adventure indeed. I’m grateful I get to walk alongside him and hear his stories and watch him grow. 

Happy birthday, Kaleb. I love you! 

Happy Birthday Elissa

Thirty seven years ago today, I became a mother. When the nurse tucked my infant daughter into my arms, I thought my heart couldn’t possibly contain the wonder I felt for this little miracle or the love that swelled in my chest. Elissa Dawn. She was perfect. She still is! 

I helped my grandson Dayan in the kitchen yesterday, as he prepared a special birthday treat for his mom. Although I didn’t sample an Oreo Cheesecake Bite, I had the joy of being present as Dayan surprised his mom. Because he is an amazing son, he even topped one of the bites with a candle. After making a wish and blowing out the candle, it was time to try the snacks. Elissa declared the mini cheesecakes a success. 

Today her dad and I stopped by her office, bearing birthday cards from us and her Mimi Pat. I love the group of people that my daughter works with. They are a fun and innovative bunch who encourage and celebrate each other. I’m so grateful that Elissa has found a place that is perfect for her and allows her to offer her talents. 

Elissa has had a busy year. She remains a steady and loving presence in the lives of her guys…Josh, Dayan and Jonathan…cheering them on as they journey. She was there for Dayan’s band concerts and award ceremonies, Jonathan’s talent show performance and poetry reading, Josh’s new business venture. And she continues to learn about who she is as she pursues the best version of herself, attending a ladies conference last fall and diligently training in the rigorous Cross Fit program. 

I looked up Elissa’s name:

“Elissa, you do well when you are in harmony with yourself and others. When you live in discord, many of your best qualities are then reversed. Because you are interested in many things, you find it difficult to settle on just one area of interest. Your versatility results in changes, and could bring travel. You have a fine intellect and you are capable of great achievement if you apply yourself. You can be restless, changeable, and very sexy. You will live an eventful, exciting life. You are versatile and learn new things easily. 

You understand the law of harmony and desire to balance your life with those around you. You may feel incomplete without someone to share your journey with…your love, ideas, wealth and work. You have developed intuition, patience and the ability to nurture others. You can achieve lasting happiness living in complementary relationships. Go and create a great life. 

Those words describe my daughter well. They are powerful, strong words that portray a strong personality. She does have a fine intellect…and also a delightful sense of humor and many creative gifts that she can offer to the world. 

The truth that I was most struck with, as I read about Elissa, is how she desires to live in relationship and how important those relationships are. Whether it is as a sister to her younger siblings or as a daughter, as a horse whisperer or a team member at work, as a wife or a mom, Elissa values and honors the relationships that she’s in. And I’ve watched this past year as she more deeply realized the importance of a good relationship with herself. She is offering her best to all those she lives in partnership with, including herself. I am so very proud of her. 

I love the last line: Go and create a great life. I see my girl doing that, as she continues to learn and grow and open her heart. You shine, beautiful one. Happy birthday Elissa. I love you! 

Happy Birthday Cade

Today is my nephew’s birthday. He is the older son of my brother Bryan. Cade was born six weeks after the birth of my grandson Dayan, and the two boys couldn’t have looked more different! I have pictures of them together during the millennial party at my dad’s house, as 1999 slipped away and became a new decade, a new millennium. One boy had deep brown eyes and dark, straight hair. The other had bright blue eyes and fine blond hair that was just beginning to cover his head. Both boys had beautiful smiles that appeared easily. 

Dayan and Cade

Dad holding his grandson Cade and his great-grandson Dayan. The boys were turning one. 

I rarely saw Cade without a smile, as he grew from baby to toddler, little boy to young man. Oh sometimes this grins were full of mischief and other times, mirth. And sometimes they were wise, knowing little smiles as he studied the world. 

He is a teenager now, 17 years old today, and rapidly approaching adulthood. In honor of the day, I looked up Cade’s name:

Cade, you are cheerful and friendly, and likely to have an emotion-filled life. You prefer to have several lines of effort going at once. You are a good communicator and promoter, expressing yourself joyously and constructively and you seldom worry over anything. At times you can be impatient and impulsive. You have the ability to bring an idea to completion. You might have intuitive abilities that you haven’t developed yet. You are bold, independent, inquisitive and interested in research. You know what you want and why you want it.

Dependable, down-to-earth and well grounded, you desire meaningful work, a career you can take pride in. Your main priority is to create a protected and secure environment at home and at work. You can be very determined in achieving goals and gaining objectives and you possess great organizational skills. At times you may appear stubborn and overly critical of others, but your practical approach to life and productivity makes you a valued member of your family and community. 

Those are amazing words, describing an amazing young man. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with Cade, however, the teen I see displays those characteristics. Like most of the children in my family, Cade has a large blended and extended family.  He’s both a younger brother and an older brother, and he takes that role seriously, especially with his younger siblings. 

Cade participates in marathons with his grandmother, dad, stepmom and brother Fox. He enjoys movies. He’s responsible, which is good because he’s driving! He’s curious and intelligent and he was recently inducted into the National Honor Society at his high school. 

As I’ve thought about my nephew yesterday and today, in preparation for writing this birthday post, I realized I’m missing him. In not spending more time with him, I’m missing seeing who he is becoming as he finds his way in the world. I intend to remedy that. I’m looking forward to a chat in the near future, so I can hear about Cade’s plans for after high school, discover where his heart is leading him, find out if he is aware that he has intuitive ability. 

As I was wishing Cade a happy birthday on his Facebook wall this morning, I saw a post written by his stepdad on Father’s Day. I love what Joe shared. 

Cade Lauderdale you have changed so much in the last year. I see your adult soul coming out and I love what I see. You are going to be a good father yourself one of these days, I know you will by the way you love your littlest brother and sister. I love you Cade, thank you for letting me be a part of your life.

Such high praise! I see the adult emerging as the boy matures, as well. The future is bright indeed for this young man. Happy birthday Cade! I love you! 

Photograph by Cade’s mom, Stephany Christensen. 

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!

Happy Birthday Megan

Today I am celebrating the birthday of another family member, my daughter-in-law Megan. Married to my son Nate, Megan has been a wonderful addition to the family. With their marriage, I not only gained a daughter, I gained two grandsons as well. The two blended their families, Nate’s daughter Aubrey and Megan’s sons Joey and Oliver, into a big, fun-loving group. 

I looked up Megan’s name:

Megan, you care for others with joy. You have a receptive nature and tend to carry burdens for others. You are pragmatic, thorough, strong-willed, practical and stubborn at times. You are hard working, and often a martyr to duty. You appreciate home and security above all and you live an eventful, exciting life. You are versatile and have the ability to learn easily.

Dependable, very down-to-earth and well grounded, you are always looking for meaningful work, a career where you can take pride in your work and do the best job that you are capable of. Your prime desire is to build a protected and secure environment at home and at work. You can be very good at achieving goals and gaining objectives. You are very detailed and possess great organizational skills. Your practical approach to life and productivity makes you a beneficial member of the community.

Those words describe Megan well. She cares for others, often going that extra mile to benefit clients, family and friends. Organized, hard working, practical and dependable are all traits that Megan displays. She gardens, she cooks, she cuts hair for family and friends. She’s the kind of person that people turn to, for help, for advice, for a hug and a shoulder to cry on. 

She’s not all work though. She knows how to have fun and she enjoys outings with her family, date nights with her hubby and time with her girlfriends. Megan and Nate attend concerts together, gather up a group for a night at the drive-in theater, and take the kids on fun vacations. They are very present in the lives of their kids, attending sporting events and award ceremonies. 

I appreciate Megan’s love and support for my son, and for the kids. She’s an excellent wife and mom, demonstrating kindness and affection, and offering encouragement with a “you can do this” attitude. She lets the kids be kids, knowing they will grow up soon enough. If they get dirty, they will wash! 

And I appreciate Megan because she is her own person and she likes who she is. She is versatile, unafraid of trying  different things whether it’s a fresh haircut and color, or a new recipe. Life is never boring with this girl. What a great way to model life for her kids, teaching them by example to experience new things and to live with joy. 

I’m so grateful she came into our family. Happy birthday Megan! I love you. 

Happy Birthday Joey

Today is the birthday of my grandson Joey. He spent the day with his family and his best friend, having some fun in the sun at a nearby river. I had the privilege of having one on one time and celebrating with this handsome young man yesterday. 

We kicked off Joey’s birthday with a first for both of us, dinner at the newly opened Chili’s in Joplin. We have dined in this restaurant before, but never together or in the Joplin location. While we waited for our meals to arrive, Joey and I had fun playing Life on the table’s player. This is smart marketing on Chili’s part and a great way to pass the time. We laughed and talked as we took turns spinning the electronic wheel and watching to see what Life presented us with. Joey ended up with a car full of daughters! I’ve always loved this board game and Joey and I determined to play another round soon. 

I had so much fun at Christmas time, taking each grandchild out for dinner and shopping, that I began a new birthday tradition this year. I’m taking each child out again for dinner and shopping, except this time, they get to spend their allotted cash on themselves, rather than on others. The kids choose which store they want to shop in, or they can pocket the cash. 

Joey chose Toys R Us as his destination. I enjoyed walking alongside him as he carefully deliberated, talking through his options. It didn’t take long for him to zero in on a modular Nerf gun that can be assembled in a multitude of ways. Joey’s eyes lit up as he returned again and again to look over that Nerf gun. 

Joey, Aubrey and Oliver. 

I looked up Joey’s name: 

Joey, you are honest, benevolent, brilliant and often inventive, full of inspiration. You are courageous, honest, determined, original and creative. You are a leader, especially for a cause. Sometimes you do not care to finish what you start, and may leave details to others. You do well in positions of authority, and you will prosper in intellectual and professional fields. You are frank, methodical and believe in law, system and order.

You are always looking for a chance to do your own thing, to be your own person, and to have things done your own way.

These words describe my bright grandson well. He’s the oldest child in his family, and leadership suits him. He is inventive and creative. We have spent time sketching together. I love looking through his art portfolio at the many drawings he has done. Joey isn’t afraid to attempt sketching anything, and I appreciate his confidence. 

I’ve watched this past year as Joey has grown into a young man. He had a great school year and football season, as he matured in every way. He enters a new school this fall, leaving elementary school behind. Joey thinks deeply and enjoys a good conversation. He always asks me how I am and wants to know what I’ve been enjoying. 

As I drove him home last night, I realized just how close he’s getting to his teen years. We had an amazing and deep conversation, about who he is and who he is becoming, and about his role as the older brother. For the first time, Joey and I discussed energy and what it means to be empathic and how to shake off negative energy. He is an intelligent young man. He nodded in understanding as we discussed life and the journey and he asked great questions. When he shared some of his own observations about life and people, my heart swelled with love and pride. He is growing up. 

The last section above, about Joey’s characteristics, is what I see him becoming so beautifully…one who looks for the chance to do his own thing, in his own way, as he is being totally who he is. He shines, as brightly as those expressive brown eyes of his. Happy birthday Joey. I love you!

Happy Birthday Jerri

Today is my stepmom’s birthday. Jerri became a part of my life when she said “I do” to my dad. I was eleven years old. 

Dad and Jerri didn’t live far from where my sisters and I lived with our mom. Linda, Debbie and I spent every weekend with my dad and stepmom. That routine became a very normal part of my childhood. 

It was later, when I was a teenager, that I realized that our situation was anything but normal. My friends told horror stories about the animosity between their divorced parents and their intense dislike of their stepparents. I was shocked. And then deeply appreciative. My parents, stepmom, and later my stepdad, never treated each other with disrespect or hostility, which created a secure and loving environment for us. In fact, I have memories of my dad watching us while my mother and stepmother attended jewelry parties together. 

I have not experienced being a stepparent. So I can only imagine what that’s like, to step, literally, into a ready made family. I’m sure there are more challenges and stresses involved, when the person you promise to love and cherish already has children. However, Jerri didn’t create that impression. She rapidly became another family member, a second mom, and later a Mimi to my children. 

Jerri didn’t parent us in the stepmotherly way that fairy tales portray so negatively. She was herself. She modeled strength to me, resilience and confidence. She was and is a hard worker, smart, and deals well with people. When my youngest, Adriel, was tiny, she heard me refer to Jerri as my stepmother during one of our summer visits. Eyes wide, Adriel was quick to protest that I was making that up. It couldn’t be true. My toddler had watched Disney’s Cinderella too many times to believe that the fun Mimi that she adored could be a stepmother. I quickly assured her that I was just teasing. I’m not sure how old Adriel was before she sorted it all out! 

I looked up Jerri’s name. 

“Jerri, you are introspective, prophetic, philosophical, and soul searching. You can also be analytical, critical and opinionated. You think deeply and clearly, have an air of mystery, and can sometimes be solitary and secretive. You live an eventful, exciting life. You are versatile and have the ability to learn easily.

Creative and outgoing, you look for opportunities that showcase your strengths. You are flexible and like to feel appreciated. You look for chances to mix with others socially and to communicate your ideas. You speak well and can easily relate to different cultures and concepts. Your high creativity can lead you to happiness. If you understand your goals, you can make major decisions in life and follow them successfully, without worry and uncertainty. You are able to achieve great things. 

Those words create a portrait of a powerful, secure woman, who communicates well and enjoys successes in life. That’s Jerri. Her strengths and flexibility enabled her to help raise three girls and one boy, the son she and my dad had. That strength also carried her through the difficulties of my dad’s battle with cancer, a battle he ultimately lost. 

My appreciation for my stepmom deepened during those two years that she journeyed so faithfully with my dad. I watched her help my father fulfill his bucket list, care for him, and remain upbeat and positive, no matter what the prognosis, or how heavy her heart felt. She loved him well, and that meant so much to his four children. After my dad’s death, Jerri seized life, as if living now for two. She’s adventurous, running in marathons, riding a motorcycle, skydiving, and zip lining, among other things. I can hear my dad proudly cheering her on, in spirit. 

I’m cheering her on too. Jerri lives her life full on, with passion. She’s an amazing example of carpe diem, seize the day, to the youngest members of the family, to the grandchildren who are all young adults, and to us, the children, who are inhabiting middle age. We can all learn, as we observe her life. 

Happy birthday, Jerri. I love you!

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!