Today I enjoyed a road trip north to the beautiful city of Columbia, Missouri and the campus of the University of Missouri. It has been two weeks since I saw my grandson Dayan. I traveled to MU with Greg and our daughter Elissa to visit Dayan for the first time since he moved into the dorm, and I captured our trip in photos.

Photo by Elissa Adam

Crossing the Missouri River as we passed the state’s capital, Jefferson City. Columbia, which is 236 miles from Joplin, is not far from Jefferson City. It was a beautiful day for a drive and I enjoyed catching up with my daughter as we all chatted.

Dayan’s residence hall on the gorgeous campus of the University of Missouri. Mizzou is the affectionate nickname for this university. It is a form of clipping, or shortening, a longer name into a shorter one. In this case, Missouri to Mizzou. The first reference to the nickname was in a 1905 college publication. At games and events, it is customary for the fans on one side to shout MIZ…and the other side to answer ZOU! The university mascot is the tiger and the colors are gold and black.

And this is the young man we came to see! It was so good to hug him and talk to him and hang out for a few hours. We met Dayan’s roommate, Carlisle, who was kind and personable. I was impressed with the dorm room and with the hall’s casual meeting areas and laundry facilities.

On the way to lunch, Dayan guided us around campus. I loved the stone and brick buildings, the newer structures and the mature trees and many gardens. The campus is actually considered a botanical garden. I’ll be exploring the grounds on foot during my next visit.

Holding to a long established tradition between Dayan and me, we enjoyed Chinese food for lunch at a nearby Panda Express. I was able to select brown rice topped with mixed veggies, while Dayan had his usual orange chicken. Elissa and Greg both tried the kung pao chicken. We read our fortunes to each other. Mine said Important events are in your future. True!

After a trip to Walmart to get a few things Dayan needed, we wandered through downtown Columbia, on the way back to campus. I’ve been to Columbia several times, but this was my first time to the charming downtown. The city, which is about twice the size of Joplin, had a lively energy and the definite feel of a college town. Small shops and cafés lined the streets and this time of year, bistro tables and chairs provided outdoor dining.

Dayan’s favorite Starbucks.

I enjoyed getting to know Mizzou’s campus. I’m impressed with the extensive grounds and the halls. I look forward to attending future events and activities here.

It did my heart good today, to see my grandson. I have missed him. And it brought me great joy to see that he is thriving. He is happy and having fun. His classes are interesting and challenging. Dayan has learned his way around campus and around the city and he is making new friends.

College life agrees with Dayan and it shows. He was confident and relaxed and excited to show us around and share about his classes and activities. I could drive away after our visit, knowing he’s not so very far away and that he is doing well and thoroughly enjoying this new adventure. And that brought peace to the hearts and smiles to the faces of his Papa, Yaya and Mom. The boy has become a man.

Happy Birthday Greg

This gorgeous fall day was perfect for celebrating a birthday and setting off on an adventure. Greg did both! Last year he purchased a motorcycle, after wanting to own another one for years. He took the bike on its maiden voyage last fall, making a loop through several states. This year as summer was fading away and cooler days and evenings appeared, Greg felt again the call of the open road. 

Following the tradition for birthdays this year, I looked up Greg’s name:

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

You seek freedom and opportunities to enjoy life. You are adventurous and willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New ways and new experiences won’t satisfy your restless nature for long, therefore let one adventure 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 best thrive in a field of work that meets your demand for action and adventure.” 

I’ve known Greg for more than 40 years, and those words describe him well. He is a philosopher, a life long learner, and introspective. He is a deep thinker, who tends to vocalize his thoughts so that he can better process them. Greg also has a good sense of humor that helps him to find the light in challenging situations. 

Our kids and grandkids are blessed to have him as Dad and Papa. Greg invests in the lives of his family, both financially and with his time. Even though they are adults with their own families, he checks in frequently with the children, showing interest in what they are doing. They know, and I know, that during times of celebrations and times of sorrow, this man offers his quiet presence and strength. 

I love the last paragraph about Greg’s adventurous nature. As a wild youth, he was indeed a risk taker, and a seeker of exciting new adventures. Greg and I have had long conversations about what happens as we step into adulthood. As we grow older we tend to take less risks, hesitating to set off on adventures, thinking too much about what can go wrong in life, rather than what can go right.  We begin to lose who we are, trading adventures for safety. 

I’ve watched Greg grow and challenge himself these last few years as he questions who he is and what he wants to do. Buying a motorcycle wasn’t so much about taking risks as it was about remembering who he is.  He seeks freedom as he rides down the highway, freedom to be fully who he is, freedom to live a joy filled, adventurous life. 

I’m proud of him for having the courage to reclaim a bit of that wild man who knew no fear. I’m excited for him as he searches deeply in his soul for answers to questions that only he can answer. This adventure that he set off on this morning is a way for him to discover more about who he is and what makes his heart sing. 

Following his heart as it leads him down the road and into nature touches Greg’s restless spirit and brings peace. As his soul grows quiet, his awareness raises in appreciation for the beauty around him and in his life. I can’t think of a better way for this biker dude to spend his birthday, than riding off on a such a quest. 

Happy birthday, Greg. Enjoy your adventure…on your bike and in life. Love you!

Journey 290: Maple Leaf Parade

What a fun morning, jump started by a big parade! The air was crisp with a definite fall chill to it and the sun not quite up when I headed east to Carthage, MO. This is the 49th Maple Leaf Festival, held annually in this beautiful Ozark town. The highlight of the festival is the Maple Leaf Parade, touted as the largest in southwest Missouri. 

I marched in this parade while in high school, with the Mustang Marching Band, and more recently walked the route as a realtor. Now I enjoy watching from the sidelines. And today was a special event. Four of my five grandchildren were in the parade. And my son Nate, a police officer with Carthage PD, led off the parade with the Honor Guard. Daughter Elissa, son-in-law Josh, grandson Jonathan and daughter-in-law Megan sat with me on the west side of the square. Greg joined us just as the parade was starting. 

Here are highlights of the parade, captured in photos:


Elissa and Jonathan

 Jonathan sporting his Link costume. 



 Megan and Nate


Megan and me

 Nate was in charge of the Honor Guard, which led off the parade


 One of the winners in the float category


This dog, wearing a hat, cracked me up. He seemed to enjoy all the attention. 

 Grandsons Joey and Oliver, with Tiger Football


Lots of scary floats, advertising local haunted houses for Halloween

   The Flip Shop with their trampoline on wheels


Grandson Dayan with the Carl Junction Marching Band, which sounded great! There were lots of bands in the parade, as there is a band competition in the afternoon. Carl Junction was awarded first place in the parade! Latest update is that they are in the finals for the afternoon marching band competition. 



 Granddaughter Aubrey, and her mom Brittany, Nana Shelby and brother AJ, with the Donate Life float. Aubrey’s Nana is a liver transplant recipient, celebrating her 6th anniversary! 


One never knows where a kilted man will show up!

 Or Darth Vader 😃


This guy was cool!

 The crowd pleasing Dancing Cobras from Springfield MO


Horses and mules signal the end of the parade, with the city street sweepers behind, for obvious reasons! 139 units passed by…bands, floats, businesses and organizations. 

I enjoyed the morning immensely, sitting with family, watching for grandkids in the parade, smiling as I watched my son carry out his responsibilities with dignity and ease. On the way home I found myself humming the song “I Love a Parade”, so I looked the words up. The lyrics are a fitting conclusion to this blog post. 

I love a parade, the tramping of feet,

I love every beat I hear of a drum.

I love a parade, when I hear a band

I just want to stand and cheer as they come.



Journey 213: A Simple Treat

I am weary today. Not discouraged or depressed, but tired, deeply so, a result of long days, short nights and an extended time of heightened alertness. We only spent half the day in Arkansas, taking care of some business and spending time in Dad Moore’s home. 

The house feels still, the absense of Greg’s dad notable in a way that’s changed since yesterday, even though he’s been out of the house all week. It is the knowledge that he won’t return that shifted the energy. Anticipation is gone. 

However, we enjoyed looking for photos, exclaiming over long forgotten pictures tucked into drawers, boxes and shelves. I found a large box full of aviation photos that I have never seen before. Tears came to my eyes as I looked at the handsome young man sitting cross-legged on the wing of an airplane. How Bob loved to fly!

After a brief and delicious nap, I joined Greg and daughter Adriel and her fiancé Nate for a cold treat at Andy’s. I deliberately choose a flavor of concrete that I had never had before, key lime pie, in the spirit of first things. We sat around a small table and enjoyed our simple treats. I loved the joy of spending a few minutes chatting with dear loved ones. We talked about loss…Greg’s dad and a friend of Adriel’s and Nate’s. We talked about life. We laughed. We hugged tightly outside the restaurant before  heading off separately into the beautiful evening. 

That simple treat, the ice cream and the time with family, was as restorative as the nap. I left feeling more alert, less tired. Tomorrow I am taking a Me Day, spending time resting and puttering in my garden. I can reflect and allow my body and heart, mind and spirit to center as I allow peace and joy to surround me. It’s going to be another beautiful day! 


Journey 111: The Wheels on the Mower Go Round and Round

Today’s fun journey may seem small and insignificant. However, it was a first for me, and the outcome was beneficial for another. 

Greg and I have been in Arkansas all day. We wanted to check in on Greg’s dad and also check on the condition of his yard, after days of rain. With the sun out today, I could almost hear the grass growing. Dad Moore has a big corner lot, with numerous tall oak trees. At one time this hard working man tended his yard with great care, planting lush grasses and growing beautiful vegetables in his garden.  

Now in his 90’s, just looking at the grass wears him out. We slipped into his garage while he was still resting today and began some much needed  yard  work. I started with the weed eater while Greg got the riding mower started and made a few passes. And then, to my delight, we traded. 

It may sound silly, but in all my years, I’ve never mowed with a riding mower. Whenever the opportunity arises to try something new, I do my best to say yes! With a few instructions, off I went. It’s an older mower, and it has its quirks, but who doesn’t? Remembering where to put my feet to keep the whirling blade engaged occupied the first few minutes. It seemed I was going too fast initially, which later made me laugh, so I slowed down. Once I got the hang of what I was doing, I sped back up and had a great time, mowing in the abundant sunshine. 

Eventually Dad Moore caught on to what we were doing and came out to sit in the porch swing. It is still difficult for him to see others doing “his” work. Greg and I traded around on mower, weed eater and sitting with his dad, until the work was completed without too much fuss from him. 

It is a lesson to me to be with this dear older man, seeing the shifts in life through his wise eyes. As we visited while Greg took a turn on the mower, Dad conceded that perhaps at age 94, he should be slowing down. And he remembered that he had helped his aging father with yard work, just as Greg was now helping him. I pointed out that when Greg was older, son Nathanael would in turn help him…and someday his kids would help him, and so on. Dad Moore grew thoughtful and then replied, “I guess that’s why it’s good to have young ‘uns!” It’s good, indeed. 

It’s been a wonderful day, and I loved that my journey went around and around today, leaving neatly trimmed grass in its wake. I enjoy every moment with Greg’s dad as well, hearing his stories, holding his hand, loving on him and being loved on in return.  I’m stockpiling memories during these little visits. And that’s the real journey. 


Journey 101: Vintage Market Days of NW Arkansas

vintage market booth 3

Today I attended a wonderful event in Arkansas, for the first time, the Vintage Market Days of NW Arkansas. Accompanied by Greg, and daughters Elissa and Adriel, we ventured into the fairgrounds in Bentonville to try out this open air market. Actually, the vintage market was located in the livestock building at the fairgrounds, with additional booths set up in a large tent outside. Even more booths were clustered near the entrance to the building. We had the pleasure of meeting Greg’s cousin Pam there, along with her daughter Charity and grandson Braeden.

vintage market Pam and Braeden

Pam and Braeden

vintage market booth 2

In my family, we enjoy hunting for treasures at flea markets, junk stores and vintage shows. I wasn’t sure what to expect, this being our first visit to the Vintage Market. We loved it! The livestock building was transformed into a bustling market with many, many booths filled with all kinds of wonderful vintage items, painted furniture, metal pieces, fabric, artwork and jewelry. We spent a leisurely morning and early afternoon browsing and exclaiming over finds and deciding what to buy and what to leave behind.

vintage market booth 4

All the lovely booth photos from Vintage Market’s Facebook page

…because my photos were full of people and looked like this:

vintage market crowd

Outside there were marvelous food vendors, selling everything from cinnamon roasted nuts to stir fry vegetables with rice or noodles and chicken to beans and cornbread to ribs. For kids there were corndogs and sandwiches as well. We took a much deserved break to rest for a bit and have lunch. Well, two of us ate healthy lunches. Two in our party ate giant shortbread cookies with icing on them! I won’t name any names. Pam, Charity and Braeden finished their meals before we got started, so I can’t vouch for the healthiness of what they consumed!

vintage market cookie

Beautiful and tasty cookies…or so I was told 🙂

vintage market booth 1

I saw so many unique items, different from some of the shows I’ve attended in the Joplin area. That’s the benefit of attending different shows in different areas. I did run into Joplin friends at the market and recognized several businesses from here as well, set up in booths. We had a wonderful time. The girls each made purchases and I found a large metal tray or box. I’m not sure if I’ll use it indoors to hold collectibles or plant flowers in it out in the garden.

vintage market Elissa and Adriel

Adriel and Elissa

vintage market pig

The girls found a baby pig…fortunately, she was NOT for sale.

Surprisingly, the booth we spent the most time in sold canvas prints and bookmarks with whimsical artwork on them and inspirational sayings. We spied a canvas that seemed ideal for a nursery or child’s room and then saw an amazing assortment of sayings and artwork. We started in the first bin and sorted through every piece. I bought a stretched canvas print and two loose canvas prints and a variety of oversized bookmarks.

vintage market purchases

vintage market my soul

I love the larger piece that says, “Blessed are the gypsies, the makers of music, the artists, writers, dreamers of dreams, wanderers and vagabonds, children and misfits: for they teach us to see the world through beautiful eyes.” That one will hang in my creative space, near my writing table. The booth was Bless This Earth, owned by Jason and Natalia Ramsey, out of Texas. Their booth was an oasis in the midst of vintage items and collectibles and we smiled, laughed and even teared up over many of the works of art.

vintage market blessed are the gypsies

We decided we will definitely attend the Vintage Market Days of NW Arkansas again next year….and bring a truck instead of a car. This is a three day event, and I can see the advantage of attending on multiple days. The booths restock overnight, with fresh items. There was so much to see, and so many people filling the building, that I am sure we did not see it all. Still, I enjoyed chatting and looking, spending time with Pam, Charity and Braeden, and tossing around creative ideas with Greg, Elissa and Adriel. Great show, Vintage Market of NW Arkansas. See you next year!

vintage market exterior

Journey 51: Bob Moore is 94!

Dad Moore 2

Today’s journey was all about celebrating a man with a beautiful soul, as Greg’s dad turned 94. I have known Bob Moore since I was 16 years old, and I have never met a more kind-hearted, compassionate man, nor one filled with more mirth and mischievousness. Born in 1921, he has lived a full life, serving as a young man in the United States Navy, marrying his sweetheart, raising two sons. He owned and operated a hamburger and barbeque drive-in in Noel, MO, that drew hungry patrons from three states, and later took to the air as a private pilot for Peterson Industries in Decatur, AR. He has been an amazing and loving Papa to my three children.

The first time I met Greg’s dad, I was a shy 16 year old, invited to Sunday dinner at their home. I was surprised to find Bob cooking our sumptuous meal alongside Greg’s mom, Leta. I was seated next to Bob at the dining room table, enjoying that meal, when I noticed this jovial man had a dab of mashed potatoes on his cheek. I was too embarrassed to mention this fact, and tried to look anywhere but his cheek when he spoke to me. At last, Greg’s mom noticed the glob of potatoes, and admonished him to wipe his face. Suddenly those bright blue eyes looked straight at me, as he grabbed his napkin, and he asked, “Did you sling potatoes onto my face?” I was mortified! I know I blushed and stammered a denial. Then his eyes crinkled up and he laughed. He was teasing me. I laughed too, relieved. And all my feelings of shyness melted away.

Dad Moore as a young man

Bob while in the navy. His bride Leta and friends in the background.

Bob has been a second father to me. He taught me about being good-natured when faced with the inevitable, as when I begged him to let me buy a fishing license on the way to the lake. He didn’t think it was necessary, no one was ever checked….and paid my fine with a smile when the game warden headed straight to our fishing boat in the middle of Beaver Lake. I learned from him how to bait a hook and fillet the fish I caught. He taught me about not sweating the small stuff when I borrowed his car and put a scratch the length of his Pontiac down one side. I learned to trust, flying with him in a small plane, with my two babies aboard, through thunderstorms over Texas. He taught me about generosity and not keeping score, as he helped those in his community without any expectation of return. And playfulness as he crawled on the floor with his grandkids.

Most of all, he has taught me about love and sacrifice, tenderness and faithfulness as I watched him care for his wife of 50 plus years as Alzheimer’s slowly robbed him of the woman he had loved for so long. He kept her home with him, and was at her side, holding her hand, when she slipped away. Three years later, he brought his elder son home and cared for him as well as cancer snuffed out his life. Caring is not a big enough word for this man. He knows the value of investing deeply in the lives of others, checking on elderly friends, driving a former boss around for hours to ease his restlessness, responding to calls in the middle of the night when his 97 year old neighbor woke up confused, taking care of his remaining family. He never lost his joy, his sense of humor. Even now, as he walks in the twilight years of his life, he jokes and teases, and his blue eyes, which are dimmer now, still crinkle up when he smiles.

Dad Moore eating birthday pie

That was a lot of pie…

Today Greg and I, and Greg’s cousin Pam, met at Bob’s house and took him to lunch. We laughed together and chatted as we enjoyed catfish dinners. Although his short-term memory is a little faulty, he easily remembers stories from his youth, and shared some of those tales with us this afternoon. Back at home, we had birthday pie, a decadent chocolate cream from Big R’s in Joplin. Although he protested over the size of his slice of pie, he ate every bite. At 94, he is independent, some might even say stubborn, and reluctant to accept help. However, his generosity knows no bounds. I’m still learning from this man…to live each day, to not complain, to find the good in the situation and see the best in people. From watching him, I’m learning how to age well and when it is time, approach death with calm dignity and grace.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature. But beautiful old people are works of art.” Bob Moore is a work of art, a lifetime of joys and sorrows, triumphs and challenges overcome, woven together into a marvelous, beautiful tapestry of a life well lived, and shared, without holding back, without regret. I love you, Dad Moore. I am grateful for you, your wisdom, the love you have showered on me, and for journeying with me, from an insecure young woman who didn’t know who she was, to a mature woman with grandchildren of her own, who knows exactly who she is. Happy, happy birthday, dear man.

Dad Moore

With cousin Pam.

Journey 44: Make the Day My Own


I was aware this morning that today was Friday the 13th. Being one who does not believe in luck, good or bad, nor one ruled by superstition, knowing the date and day of the week didn’t bring fear, but instead a heightened determination to make my own amazing day even more beautiful, more joyful.

Curiosity about why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky did lead me on a search of discovery. I found three possible explanations for the uneasiness around this day:

* The number 12 is considered to be the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock day, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, or the twelve signs of the Zodiac. In contrast the number thirteen is considered irregular, transgressing this completeness.

* Friday has been considered an unlucky day to undertake a journey or begin a new project, at least since the 14th century, as recorded by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

* On Friday, October 13, 1307, hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested in France by King Philip IV, possibly giving rise to the fear of a curse on that day.

Whatever it’s origin, Friday the 13th continues to at the least be a day to remark on, and at the most, a day to be fearful on, staying home, staying safe.

I celebrated the day by engaging others and connecting, giving hugs and teaching a class on meditation, laughing with daughter Adriel and receiving a precious Valentine from Aubrey. As I thought my day was winding down Greg suggested a trip to Springfield. We browsed at Barnes & Noble Bookstore and enjoyed an excellent dinner at Longhorn Steak House. The Flo’s Filet steak melted in my mouth. The grilled asparagus was tender and flavorful and we tried a new appetizer, recommended by our charming waiter, Matthew…the crab and artichoke dip with flat bread. Delicious.

The day is what I make it to be. If I’m fearful, I’ll find things to be afraid of…angry, things that will boil my blood…and if I’m joyful, I’ll find more things to bring me joy. It sounds simplistic and yet I’ve been walking this path long enough to find that it’s true. What I expect to get out of the day, I get. Today, I opened to greater joy and connectedness, and that’s exactly what I encountered. Happy Friday the 13th to me!


Journey 29: Lunch With Aubrey

Lunch with Aubrey 2

In the middle of a very busy and long day, what a delight to take a break and have lunch with my youngest grandchild and only granddaughter. Following on the fun lunch time with Oliver and Joey earlier in the week, I decided to join Aubrey at school today, and grandson Jonathan next week. She asked for shrimp and cocktail sauce for lunch, and for her Papa to join us. Greg was able to do that today. Picking up a shrimp dinner at Long John Silver’s, we arrived at the school just before Aubrey’s kindergarten class lined up for lunch.

I loved seeing this beautiful little girl’s face light up as she spotted us waiting for her in the cafeteria. I think it is great that kids who have guests present for lunch are allowed to choose where they want to sit. Aubrey led us to a table in the middle of the room. Her best friend, Marley, joined us as well, with her mom as her lunch guest. These two spirited girls look like they could get into quite a lot of mischief, under the right circumstances! During lunch, they were content to grin at each other and giggle together occasionally.

Aubrey enjoyed her shrimp, fries, soft drink and especially that cocktail sauce! Shrimp is a fairly recent addition to Aubrey’s list of favorite foods. What I didn’t realize is that she likes her shrimp “naked”, as she put it, without the crunchy coating on it. So that she could eat in the time allotted for lunch, I peeled her shrimp and she dipped it in the sauce! What a funny girl. I made a mental note to get plain shrimp next time….or two helpings of fried shrimp that could be stripped!

Lunch with Aubrey Yaya

We chatted during lunch, this animated girl, Papa Greg, and I, discussing computer lab, which this kindergartener had just come from, and that it was, sadly, too cold for recess today. She asked about our day and the whole time, her bright eyes were taking in the noisy but pleasant surroundings, missing nothing. We were informed that there were more kids present during lunch than is normal. I wasn’t sure of the reason, maybe the colder weather today. A lunch helper told us that, I believe, in case we thought the noise level was too high. I was glad to see kids laughing and chatting and enjoying some free time before being back in class again. No explanation, and certainly no apology, necessary!

All too quickly, lunch time was over and after hugs goodbye, Aubrey left us to join her classmates as they prepared to head back to class. I texted a picture of our time together to her dad and stepmom. Her daddy, my son Nate, sent a text back saying that Aubrey had been very excited about lunch today, and recorded the anticipated event in her Book of Happy Thoughts. That touched my heart. One of the things I appreciate about Aubrey is her joyful, positive attitude. We started the Book of Happy Thoughts when she was 2 years old, in a journal that I had owned for years, yet had never written in. I gave her the small blue book and we began drawing pictures in it and writing about our fun times together. As she grew older, she took the book home with her and her dad now helps Aubrey to record special thoughts and events.

And here is the amazing thing about Aubrey and that small blue journal that is her Book of Happy Thoughts. It has a picture of Arwen on the front cover, being a journal that I purchased when the Lord of the Rings movies were first being produced, seven years before Aubrey was born. Arwen is posed with her sword, a picture from the scene where she fiercely protected Frodo from the Ring Wraiths. Aubrey loves that picture of Arwen, and her strength and beauty, characteristics I see in my granddaughter already. Even more amazing, Arwen is a High Elf, daughter of Lord Elrond. She is an elf princess. Aubrey’s name  means, “elf ruler or elf princess”.  I had no idea, when I purchased that small journal and saved it, that I’d someday have a granddaughter whose name would have a connection to Arwen on the cover. Or did I know it, somehow, at some level? What I do know is that journal, that Book of Happy Thoughts, definitely was meant for Aubrey, elf princess, the possessor of happy thoughts.

Lunch with Aubrey journal

Journey 24: Fancy Flamingo Flea Market Frolic


A few days ago at a local craft store, as I wandered the aisles, I searched for a representation of my symbol for 2015…an open door or at least an interesting door! I found pictures of doors and small doors that could hang on the wall. About the time I discovered full sized artistic doors (insert fake doors here), for $150.00, I decided that instead of looking for something that represented a door, I’d look for an actual door, preferably a vintage screen door.

Today I got to hang out with my mom, both sisters and my niece and two great nephews. This afternoon we enjoyed browsing at The Fancy Flamingo Flea Market, located at 5171 N Main, Joplin, with its many unique and fun booths. Greg met us there and strolled along with us.

I love this flea market. I entered through the doors with openness and curiosity, and the intention of having fun and seeing if anything grabbed my interest. If I found a screen door, perfect. If I didn’t I knew it would appear at the right time.

We enjoyed looking in each booth. The adults reminisced about objects that harkened back to our past, stirring memories and sparking conversation. My nephew Ethan stayed with Papa Walter at my mom’s, but my other nephew, 3 year old Kaleb, is a pro at shopping the flea markets. I have as much fun watching Kaleb inspect items that catch his interest as I do shopping for myself. Today he was drawn to Mickey Mouse memorabilia, objects that were blue, a tiny wrench and rotary dial phones! His gracious mom allowed him to pick out several items and Greg gifted Kaleb with an old rotary phone from home.

At the end of our shopping adventure my mom found a couple of novels, my sister Linda picked up the LP of Gigi to use creatively as wall art in her home and my sister Debbie bought an assortment of items that will be transformed into Halloween decor this fall. Niece Ashley paid for Kaleb’s purchases.

I collected a metal bucket and a candle holder adorned with acorns, my sub-symbol representing this year’s journey. And to my delight, I found my screen door, waiting for me in a booth in one of the last aisles we wandered into. It’s wooden, painted gray, and nicely aged, with intact screens. All these items will most likely grace my backyard garden. I’ll let inspiration guide me on how best to display the door.

It was a great afternoon, looking, visiting, laughing with family. I never know what I will find in the flea market and that’s part of the appeal. Each visit becomes a treasure hunt, without a map. I’m simply guided by knowing what I like and an openness to being surprised by beauty or intrigued by using an interesting object in a new way. Visiting a flea market parallels the way I journey through life….open to everything, attached to nothing, inspired by joy.