Journey 253: Tents & Water Gun Fights

Today I had the joy of picking up grandsons Joey and Oliver from school and spending the afternoon with them. We took care of essentials first…after school snacks and drinks by way of Subway and Braums. Then it was off to the house to hang out. 


I enjoy my grandkids. All of them. One of the things that I treasure is the fresh perspective that I receive about the world through the eyes of these bright children. They aren’t afraid to talk about life and share their thoughts. My earnest desire is to create a safe and encouraging environment in which the kids can explore their beliefs and bounce ideas around. I love their willingness  to express what’s in their hearts and minds. 

And I value how unique each child is, how they all have different gifts and interests. After we snacked, Joey and Oliver asked if we could build a tent in the living room, while we watched a program on TV. These two are master builders! I was impressed with their creativity in using the materials on hand to build a tent that in the end, strongly resembled a Hobbit House. Joey even took it upon himself to grab a screw driver and do a bit of repair work on the storage chest holding the blankets. I supervised, but he did all the work. 

The tent provided the perfect place to play and rest and hide from Carl the dog. They reminded me of Hobbits as they popped their heads out to watch a scene on the TV, one of the blankets covering them like a cloak.  Then, in typical boy fashion, after a short time of playing within the tent, it became more fun to fall out of it, wriggling through the many layers of blankets.    

 We didn’t have much time left to play, but we gathered up plastic water pistols and headed out into the warm sunshine. I didn’t have to be concerned about these two getting their clothes wet. They simply stripped off their shirts, shorts, socks and shoes and with wild abandon and great glee, dashed into the backyard in their briefs. I laughed watching them as they sprayed water from the hose, whooping in sheer delight, their happy faces covered with droplets of water. 

Their playfulness was contagious and when an occasional spray of water reached me, I didn’t mind at all. Is there anything more joyful, more soulful, then the laughter and freedom of children? I don’t think so. Thank you boys, for so enriching my day.   


Journey 226: Smiles and Giggles and Ink Spots

Its been two long tense days in real estate, the culmination really of a couple of weeks of negotiating a rocky path through an insane transaction. I don’t use the word insane lightly! 

Today’s result was not what we hoped for, my buyers and I, but apparently it was the decision we were supposed to get. How do I know? It’s the decision we got. Onward and upward. 

My favorite moment today was a visit from my little granddaughter, Aubrey. We got to hang out for a short time, chatting, coloring, watching some Doctor Who. She made me smile and laugh with her antics. 

She’s been into posing for pics since she was a toddler. Right now, she’s into funny faces. She grabbed her Papa’s motorcycle helmet and completely cracked me up with her goofy, exaggerated expressions. I know Aubrey senses other people’s moods. She’s very empathic. She perhaps picked up on my more serious demeanor and decided to shift that. She succeeded. 

Before she left, we grabbed ink pens and drew tiny black dots on each other’s  left palms. This is a new tradition Aubrey has created. When I look at the black dot on my palm, I think of her and smile. She looks at her palm and thinks of me as she looks at the black ink spot. 

I’ve looked at that little dot several times this evening, as I was doing laundry, tidying up, watering flowers. I picture that beautiful little face and those big blue eyes filled with joy and mischief…and remember the helmet on her head and laugh again. Aubrey, the dot works! 


Journey 219: Guest Blogger Aubrey Moore

I had the pleasure of spending the morning with my youngest grandchild, and only granddaughter, Aubrey. This six year old girl is such a delight to me. She is bright and articulate, curious about the world and open to exploring it. She inspires me and makes me laugh, and brings joy to my heart and often, tears to my eyes.

We had breakfast together at IHOP, walked through Toys R Us so I could note her preferences for birthday presents (her birthday is on Halloween….however it is never too early to plan!), and spent time at my house, watching a DVD and playing, talking and working in my office together. In fact, it was while I was working that she grabbed my digital camera and began to take pictures, which was the inspiration for today’s blog post. My grandson Dayan did a guest blog for me several months ago. Aubrey is sharing her photos today. I look forward to having Joey, Jonathan and Oliver do guest blog posts for me as well, whatever they want to share. I love seeing the world anew through the eyes of my grandchildren.

Aubrey’s Photos:

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I love Aubrey’s perspective. She captured my Vision Board, which hangs in a prominent spot in my office, and talked primarily about traveling to “Skinny Scotland” together. Why she calls Scotland Skinny, I don’t know! Aubrey examined my passport and expressed a desire to have one of her own someday, and use it. What an adventure that will be!

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One of my vignettes. This granddaughter of mine loves to stage items and decorate, just as I do. When she visits, she enjoys rearranging my shelves and tabletops, and I let her. It is good experience for her, and I like seeing her arrangements.

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Aubrey discovered what happens when you take a picture of a brightly lit window…it throws the rest of the picture into shadow. Love her viewpoint.

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A “screen shot” of Girl in the Fireplace, a Doctor Who episode from Series Two. Aubrey is the most recent family member to embrace this great BBC series. So far, this is her favorite episode…and happens to be the only one she has watched!

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More Doctor Who…Series One and Two DVD sets. She likes the 10th Doctor, on the right.

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My favorite Aubrey photo from today. This is Rilynn, aptly named by Aubrey, who gave this friendly cat her own middle name.

I sure enjoyed having this sweet girl with me for part of the day. Our conversations were amazing. Although we watched Doctor Who today, Aubrey and I have not talked about that TV show previously or discussed time travel. And yet, she informed me before we watched Doctor Who together that she wants to travel in time and we talked about whether that is possible or not. She asked me, “Do you know where I would want to travel in time to first?” I made a couple of guesses. All wrong. I asked her where she would go. “To your childhood, Yaya,” she answered. “I want to see you and be with you, when you were a little girl.”

That made me teary eyed. Of all the places and people she could have chosen, she picked me. Aubrey knows I was fearful as a child. Her loving presence would have comforted me. And you know what? Who knows. Perhaps, this precious child has done just that. As she sleeps, as she dreams, maybe she reaches back to a frightened little girl who dreaded nighttime. Just knowing that she would do so, if she could, brings peace and courage to that small girl that still resides within me. Thank you, Aubrey. I love you so  much.

Aubrey the photographer

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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