Journey 269: Guest Blogger Jonathan Adam

Today’s blog post is from grandson Jonathan. I got to spend time with him yesterday afternoon and asked him to be thinking about what he wanted to share on the blog. This boy, who just turned 10 (we will celebrate Oct 10th), and is a 4th grader, didn’t need long to ponder. He excitedly told me he already knew what he wanted to do…an instructional video! I grabbed my phone and in a few moments, we were set up and ready to go.

Jonathan is a natural, both in front of a camera and in doing instructional videos. He loves watching YouTube and learning more about the games that he enjoys playing. His great desire is to have his own YouTube channel soon, and a large following! For this blog post, Jonsthan decided to cover the basics of building a house in one of his favorite games, Minecraft. I filmed him as he deftly built the structure, keeping up a running monologue as he worked. Jonathan amazes me with his grasp of technology, and his fearlessness in putting himself out there, whether he’s acting in a play, singing in a talent show or creating a video. The boy is brilliant. His talents will take him far, should he decide to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

Here is Part 1, of Jonathan’s video blog post.

I’m so grateful to Jonathan for creating this video and for helping his Yaya to learn more about technology. He helps me to grow by challenging me to keep up with him! The video I recorded of Jonathan was about too long to post in one segment. I’m still in process, figuring out how to edit the video to break it into smaller segments. Stay tuned for the rest of Jonathan’s informative videos on YouTube. As I left the house yesterday, Jonathan was busy setting up his own WordPress blog. That’s my boy!

Journey 202: All Aboard Ice Cream Co with Dayan and Jonathan

What a great evening, spent with two handsome young men…grandsons Dayan and Jonathan. Before school starts back up, I want to spend time with the grandkids, having summer time fun.

We started with dinner at Wendy’s, and finished our evening together browsing and shopping at Vintage Stock, at Northpark Mall. In between we stopped for delicious ice cream at a fun and unique location.

All Aboard Ice Cream Company, located just south of Joplin in the Redings  Mill area, has converted a Kansas City Southern Postal Car into a dining area. We ordered our ice cream in the building next door, the “depot”. With 16 flavors to choose from, we carefully considered our options. 

We carried our selections to the train car next door and settled in to enjoy the cold, creamy goodness. Postal car #34 spent 40 years parked in Pittsburg, KS before being relocated to Redings Mill. This historical railroad car operated in the area for years, delivering mail to many cities, including Joplin.

Anderson’s Ice Cream acquired the car to use as the future home of their newly renamed, All Aboard Ice Cream Company. We enjoyed sitting in the air conditioned car and looking at the mail slots on the wall. We found the one labeled JOPLIN. We moved to the back of the train to sit in the passenger section and finish our treat.

We gave our imaginations free reign as  we looked out the windows, wondering what it was like to chug  down the track. The ice cream was wonderful and I cherished our time together. I loved our conversations and the way the boys interacted with each other, Dayan answering Jonathan’s questions and both boys outdoing me in an ongoing game of Slugbugs. I love being their Yaya.

Journey 155: Felula 2.0

Felula 2.0 porch bench

What a beautiful journey this afternoon, after work was completed, spending time with grandson Dayan and later, grandson Jonathan. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve had the privilege of hanging out with these wonderful young men.

Dayan and I enjoyed a late lunch together at his favorite Chinese restaurant before heading to the Lowe’s garden center. I’ve been busy working in my gardens and this afternoon, it was fun to help Dayan with planting around a tree in the front yard and filling several containers to add a splash of color to the front porch. Last year, Dayan gifted his mother with a small metal table and a light green ceramic planter with a tall perennial in it. Sometime during the summer, he and his mom, my daughter Elissa, christened the plant Felula. Felula moved indoors during the winter, and was doing fine, and then I helped her to pass into flower heaven. I’m not sure what happened, but there was perhaps too much water, and wilting, and Felula was no more.

felula 2.0 Dayan

Today, Dayan looked for a replacement plant, for the green ceramic container. He found Mexican Heather for a large planter at home, and a white geranium for another pot….but we could not find another perennial that matched dear departed Felula.

And then we laughed over a Doctor Who related solution. Dayan has made a Whovian out of me. By definition, a Whovian is a fan of the popular sci-fi tv show, Doctor Who, and he or she is the epitome of good grammar and better knowledge. This knowledge stems from their interest in time and space, and the information gained from many viewings of the show. (From Urban Dictionary). Dayan and I not only enjoy watching episodes of the show together, we also enjoy talking about Doctor Who and the many intricate and amazing details about the show, the actors, the writers and most of all, The Doctor. Today, as we drove to Lowe’s, our Doctor Who conversation led us into a wonderful discussion of the connectedness of all things.

felula 2.0 dr who regeneration

At the heart of the Doctor Who storyline, is the fact that The Doctor, who is a Time Lord, doesn’t die but regenerates instead, retaining his spirit and memories but changing his appearance and his personality. It’s a very clever way to keep a series going for more than 50 years, with 12 actors playing The Doctor thus far. Dayan selected a salvia plant and dubbed her Felula 2.0. She looks different, but the essence of the first Felula is there as she thrives in her planter. She is the first regeneration, perhaps, in a long line of Felulas.

Back at Dayan’s house, we had to pause to watch an episode of Doctor Who. Then it was out onto the porch and into the yard, tucking Vinca and Double Impatiens around the tree and nestling flowers into the containers. Elissa recently bought an old bench from a local flea market and it looks so charming on the front porch, the planters with their brightly colored flowers arranged with it. Felula 2.0 seems right at home.

felula 2.0 porch bench 2

As we were planting around the tree, Jonathan arrived home, with his dad, Josh. He helped us finish with the plants and then became the official water boy, using a copper watering can to ensure the plants don’t go into shock from being transplanted. I enjoyed spending time with Jonathan afterward, watching him play a new video game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance.  Sweet Jonathan always believes I can play video games too. I can’t! At least, not well. The last time he had me play with him, he kindly reached for my controller after five minutes and let me just watch. Today I was the observer as he moved his characters through various levels with skill and confidence.

felula 2.0 Jonathan

felula 2.0 Marvel Alliance

I’m so glad summer is here and I can spend more time with my five grandchildren. I look forward to gardening and playing, watching Doctor Who and going to movies, swimming and playing mini golf, grabbing snacks and chatting. Dayan and I will tend to Felula 2.0, keeping her hydrated and positioning her to soak up some sun….and we will watch for any signs that she’s ready to regenerate and become Felula 3.0.

felula 2.0 tree bed

Journey 114: Jonathan’s Talent Show

Tonight was such a treat, attending the Lakeside Elementary Talent Show. My 9 year old grandson, Jonathan, participated for the first time.

At least 11 members of Jonathan’s family were present in the audience this evening, witnesses to this remarkable boy’s talent. He was number seven in the line-up of fifteen performances, that included more than 30 children. I sat back to watch.

The children were all amazing. Ranging from 1st to 5th grade, they displayed ingenuity and ability, from singing and dancing to playing piano, recorder and cups, to performing a yo yo demonstration to Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. I was not only impressed with their talent, I was moved by the encouragement the kids demonstrated for each other. As each child performed, the rest of the kids applauded and cheered for their companion.

Jonathan absolutely astounded me, belting out Hey Soul Sister with confidence and incredible skill. This boy is a born showman. He loves to perform and doesn’t exhibit fear of any kind, singing or speaking easily and with gusto. Tears stung my eyes watching him, listening to him, so proud of his courage to sing and dance before an audience.

At the end of the show, all the children took the stage to receive thunderous applause, whistles and certificates. Every child was celebrated. They closed out the evening with a lively dance to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars.

Jonathan has a future in the arts….singing, dancing, acting…or all three, if he so desires.  His creativity will enrich the world somewhere. I’m keeping the program from tonight, with Jonathan’s name printed on it. Someday when he’s famous, I’ll show people evidence of this, his first talent show. And say “Yes, I was there when Jonathan sang in this show. I was so proud of him.” I know I’ll always be proud of him, no matter what he decides to do. I have a feeling there will be lights, a camera, action and much applause for Jonathan Adam on his journey.

Journey 48: Lunch with Jonathan


Today’s journey took me to Pittsburg, KS and the elementary school of my grandson, Jonathan. I have so enjoyed these school lunch breaks with my younger grandchildren, and today it was Jonathan’s turn.

He requested a chicken nugget meal from Wendy’s and a root beer. Standing near the cafeteria door, with lunch in hand, I watched for his third grade class to appear. Jonathan was all smiles when he spotted me and he escorted me to a booth in the lunch room. I thought that was cool, having booths in the cafeteria, along with the more traditional picnic table style seating.

Jonathan politely introduced me to his friends and the lunch helpers by saying, “This is my Yaya. She knows EVERYTHING about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings!” That made me smile! As Jonathan ate we chatted about his school, his favorite part of school (recess) and his favorite activities. This intelligent, handsome young man, with bright blue eyes, enjoys Boy Scouts and has a developing interest in theater and acting. He has the gift of speaking well in front of others and without a hint of shyness. I’m excited to see where he goes with that ability!

Jonathan, like all my grandchildren, is a gifted communicator too. When they were young, I taught my kids that carrying on a conversation is like playing ball. When someone speaks to you, it’s like being tossed a ball. You throw it back, figuratively, by speaking back or asking a question. If you give a short answer or no answer, it’s like dropping the ball. My kids and their spouses have taught their children well. They are all excellent communicators, whether with other children or with adults.

It wasn’t long before Jonathan introduced Tolkien’s stories into our conversation. We had a lively talk about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, sharing who our favorite characters are (Jonathan likes Frodo and Gandalf) and tossing out quotes and favorite scenes. This thoughtful boy asked me why I like the Middle Earth stories and movies so much and listened attentively as I shared that I like stories about transformation. And the Middle Earth characters all grow and become who they are destined to be, as they journey. Jonathan gets that. He’s on a journey as well, and growing into the person he is born to be.

All too soon it was time for Jonathan to go back to class. We hugged and discussed getting together again soon. As I started up the stairs, I heard Jonathan calling out “Yaya…Yaya!” I turned to see him bringing his teacher to meet me. He introduced me with the line about knowing EVERYTHING about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which made his teacher laugh. We had a pleasant chat. She remarked that I was a new grandmother for Jonathan and that he was fortunate to have so many grandparents who care about him. That’s so true! One can’t have too many loving grandparents. And I am blessed by having five beautiful grandchildren and fortunate to have Jonathan as one of them. This boy will travel far. I’m happy to accompany him on this part of his journey.

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

Journey 16: Family Friday

family dinner quote

If I described today’s journey in one word, it would be FAMILY. A week ago today, I had a birthday. I got to see a few family members throughout that day and Greg and I enjoyed Keltic Knot at the Woodshed in Carthage, a real treat for me. With the varied schedules among my adult children and their kids, it was a whole week before we could gather for a meal. Today was a Family Friday.

I spent a portion of the day with two family members who are very dear to me. Harry and I accomplished so much today and enjoyed chatting in between our many errands. Those interesting talks in the car as we drove to various appointments were priceless. Such an amazing young man. I got to love on Jeff too, giving him a hug and sharing lunch together. Jeff is a sweetheart. A grown man with a boy’s heart and enthusiasm, his way of looking at life and enjoying the moment teaches me to do the same. When Harry and I returned late this afternoon from our last appointment, Jeff greeted us and wanted to know where we had been. I loved how he studied us, determining whether we had been off having fun without him, even after Harry assured him we had NOT been having fun. Harry is so compassionate and so very good with his uncle. Watching them together warms my heart.

family dinner Jeff, Mindy and Harry

Because I failed to snap a pic this afternoon, “borrowing” one of Mindy’s fb pics.           
Harry, Jeff, Mindy

This evening I joined all of my children and all of my grandchildren for dinner at El Vaquero on Main Street in Joplin. This is a rare enough occurrence, having everyone present, that it qualifies as a high celebration! Greg, my mom and stepdad, and my sister Linda made us a lively party of 16. That created a bit of a dilemma for the staff at my favorite Mexican food restaurant as they sought to seat us. They found two oversized booths close together and we divided up. Greg joined the adult children and their spouses and significant other, and I gathered the grandchildren to me, along with Linda, Mom and Walter. We declared our table the fun table, and indeed, it was! (Although hearing laughter ringing out from table 2, I did peek over and they appeared to be having a grand time as well!)

family dinner side one

family dinner side two

Table One: Jonathan, Joey, Cindy, Aubrey, Linda

Walter, Mom, Dayan, Oliver

I have five grandchildren, ages 15, 9, 8, 7, and 6. Dayan, Jonathan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey, who is the youngest, and the only girl. They are each unique and gifted and precious in their own ways and I enjoyed talking to all of them and listening to their stories. Dayan could easily have joined the adult table, but I’m so glad he sat with us. The conversation was animated, and not just because of the kids. Linda and Mom joined right in. Poor Walter rarely got a word in, but he smiled and he won the cool hat award.  And I learned a new tech tip. Dayan taught me how to use the pano button in my iPhone for taking wide angle pictures.

I am so grateful for my family. Grateful for Harry and Jeff. Grateful for Elissa, Josh, Dayan and Jonathan….Nathanael, Megan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey…Adriel and Nate. Grateful for Greg, Mom, Walter and Linda. Each juggled their schedule around or made some effort to be present with me today and this evening. I couldn’t ask for a better family. I couldn’t feel more loved!

family dinner table two side one e

family dinner table two side two

Table Two: Greg, Elissa, Adriel, Nate

Josh, Megan, Nathanael

Day 359: Christmas 2014

christmas 2014 logo

I love Christmas time….the magic of the season, the deeply spiritual meanings, the time spent with family…all bring joy and peace to my heart. This year, in keeping with the theme of new experiences, we had a different type of Christmas.

Oh, we gathered together as a family, and as always, we had a wonderful, cheerful time. For the first time ever, one of my children was not present. She had the opportunity to spend Christmas in Georgia, with her dear friend Nate and his family. And I’m so glad Adriel, who loves tradition, stepped out of her comfort zone, and accepted their invitation. We gathered at her house anyway, Nathanael and Megan, Elissa and Josh with sons Dayan and Jonathan, and my sister Linda. I’m pet sitting for my daughter while she is away and she gave us permission to celebrate in her home, as we have the last couple of years. We had a non-traditional Christmas dinner. Greg picked up a variety of smoked meats from Rib Crib and we had appropriate sides such as baked beans, mustard potato salad, rolls, a veggie tray with ranch dressing, deviled eggs (thanks Megan!) and a relish tray. The meal was finished off with Dutch Apple pie and pecan pie.

christmas 2014 adriel and nate

Nate and Adriel in Georgia

Just as I was missing Adriel, Elissa had the brilliant idea to Facetime her and Nate. We spent a hilarious 10 minutes talking to Adriel and Nate as they peered into the phone. We all waved and chattered and the phone got passed around so we could wish our absent family members a Merry Christmas! I love that technology can keep us closer and I’m so grateful for the ability to see people as we talk, who are miles and miles away. We missed Aubrey, Joey and Oliver, who were spending the evening with their other parents. I’m so glad I got to see them last night and spend a few minutes with them.

christmas 2014 elissa talking to adriel

Elissa on Facetime call with Adriel

After opening presents, which I won’t speak of, since Adriel and Nate have not received theirs yet, we chatted for a while, laughing over stories. Dayan’s recent hilarity at his high school musical is probably the family’s top funny story for the year. Nate shared a recent tale about Aubrey, complete with a picture to illustrate it. I love that our family laughs so much together. I love that we can be so easy and relaxed with each other. Love flows as richly as conversation and storytelling and laughter. I am deeply blessed.

christmas 2014 megan and linda christmas 2014 the guys

Megan and Linda                              Josh, Nathanael, and Dayan

Greg surprised me with special gifts that relate to my word for next year. He gave me a box of chocolate covered cherries, which I have always loved, and have nothing to do with next year. And he gave me a hand lettered sign with the word “journee” on it. He was concerned that I would think he didn’t know how to spell “journey”. I knew immediately the significance of the word. Journee is the Old French word from which we derive our word journey. It literally means “a day’s travel”. This word is from the Latin diumum meaning “daily portion”. I love that. More about my word, theme and symbol for next year on January 1, however, I am thrilled with the sign. He also gave me a gift card to Books A Million with the Dr. Seuss quote, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”  Again, an acknowledgement of my path for next year. I am grateful!

christmas 2014 jonathan e


(forgive the poor quality of my iPhone pic!)

When I was a child, the day after Christmas was the saddest day of the year for me. A whole year to wait until Christmas rolled around again. I no longer feel sad after the holidays. I keep the spirit of Christmas alive in my heart all year. Each day brings its own gifts and blessings, mine to receive. I am content with the journey, and Christmas will arrive again, at the perfect time.

christmas 2014 gifts

Oh, the places I will go, indeed!

Day 332: Elissa and Josh Get Married

Elissa and Josh wedding Dayan and Jonathan

What a beautiful day for a wedding, and for a first. How lovely that the two were combined as my elder daughter, Elissa, married her beau, Josh. In a charming little chapel, with family present, these two long time friends and more recent sweethearts, pledged to love and cherish each other.

The story of Elissa and Josh goes way back. Back, even, before they were born. Elissa’s dad Greg, and Josh’s dad Mike, were friends as young boys in a tiny town in southwest Missouri. I met Josh’s parents shortly after Mike married Debi. After Greg and I married and moved to Joplin, we discovered Mike and Debi lived in nearby Pittsburg, KS. We met frequently, as our families grew, and the kids played together. Josh was their eldest and Elissa ours. They have known each other all their lives. Both grew up and married someone else, each having a wonderful son as a result of their first marriages, and they stayed in touch over the years.

Elissa and Josh wedding Dayan

It seemed a natural pairing when they reconnected after their first marriages ended. Neither was in a hurry to marry again and they spent time being friends first and then so much more. Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed watching Elissa and Josh grow, as individuals and as a couple, encouraging each other, supporting each other, loving each other. They recently spoke of getting married next October. But, as Harry says to Sally, in the delightful movie When Harry Met Sally, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible.” With the upcoming holidays and the threat of bad weather making travel between Joplin MO and Pittsburg KS more treacherous, Josh wondered, why wait? And Elissa agreed!

Today was such a joyous occasion. The ceremony was simple, classy, family oriented. Elissa’s 15 year old son Dayan walked her down the aisle and gave her away. He stood tall by her side, while Josh’s 9 year old son Jonathan stood proudly by his dad. What a sweet symbol of unity, seeing the four of them together at the front of the church, a beautiful blending of two families. There was no rehearsal, just life unfolding. We smiled when Elissa handed her flower bouquet to a slightly startled Dayan, as she and Josh exchanged rings. And laughed when Jonathan peered around his dad to watch him kiss his gorgeous bride. The ceremony concluded and Jonathan threw both arms upward in an excited expression of victory!

Elissa and Josh wedding

The wedding party and guests moved to the beautiful old Stillwell Hotel in downtown Pittsburg. Tables were arranged around the ballroom, their tops covered with cream tablecloths. Bud vases filled with fresh baby’s breath, white votive candles and hearts cut from vintage looking newspaper made attractive centerpieces for each table. There was a delicious dessert bar with two small wedding cakes, one with chocolate cake, one with vanilla. Family members contributed home-made desserts such as chocolate meringue pie, cupcakes, snickerdoodle cookies and fresh peach cobbler. The table was so cute, with burlap covered vases filled with more baby’s breath, hand lettered signs for each treat, a burlap covered letter A, and a lace cloth. I enjoyed the reception so, and forgot to get a picture of the table! We all watched, with teary eyes as Elissa and Josh slowly moved through their first dance together as husband and wife. And cheered and clapped for the children in the room who danced with uninhibited joy. Josh’s sister, sisters-in-law, mom and grandmother made the reception very special and one of Josh’s brothers snapped pictures, capturing moments and turning them into memories.

Elissa and Josh wedding dance

What a heart-warming afternoon of firsts, seeing my girl marry her man, officially welcoming a new son and a new grandson, and joining with the Adam family after almost a lifetime of knowing Mike and Debi. Someone once told me that when two people marry, it isn’t just a man joining with a woman, it is two families that join. I am thrilled to be so aligned with the Adam family. May we all live happily ever after!

Elissa and Josh wedding Nate and Adriel

Elissa and Josh wedding I do

Day 263: Jonathan’s Minecraft Birthday

Jonathan birthday Steve and Jonathan

Today’s first was another September birthday celebration, this time for grandson Jonathan. He is the son of Elissa’s significant other, Josh. I already count sweet Jonathan as a grandchild and this was the first time I’ve attended a birthday party in his honor.

Jonathan turned 9 years old today and started the afternoon in a special way….he was baptized. The party was held at Trinity Baptist Church, in Pittsburg, KS. The party attendees met upstairs to be witnesses to this significant event. After a few words, the pastor baptized Jonathan, signifying new life in Christ.

Downstairs, we gathered in the fellowship hall for cake and goodies and joyful celebrating. Jonathan chose a theme based on the popular video game, Minecraft. I’m familiar with this game only because I’ve watched Dayan play. It is based on creating and breaking blocks. You can build structures to protect against monsters, in worlds where everything is square shaped, but there is much room for creative playing and building, and exploration, and there are a variety of resources to help you along your journey.

Jonathan birthday blow out the candles

The decorations were all made by Jonathan’s family members and the room looked so cute! The food matched food resources available in the game, and were labeled so non-gamers knew what was what. There was a Minecraft piñata that the kids enjoyed breaking open and a scene set up for a photo op. The central character in the game is Steve. Dayan graciously dressed up today as Steve, sporting the large blocky head and turquoise shirt. The kids enjoyed having Steve at the party and having their pictures taken with him.

It was Jonathan’s day, and he had a fun afternoon. From blowing out candles to eating cake to opening presents, he was surrounded by other children, and loving adults, who allowed him to shine in the spotlight. Jonathan is a cute, good natured, smart young man, who loves music and computers and gaming. At the age of nine, he already has an idea for a game app of his own and has spent time planning and working out the logistics of it. I have no doubt that he will find a way to launch his creation. Jonathan has huge potential in the gaming world, indeed in any field he chooses, and the support of those who love him who will encourage him to keep creating and keep dreaming. I look forward to watching him grow and become all that he is meant to be.

Jonathan birthday gifts e

It was fun too to see Josh’s family. I have known his parents, Jonathan’s Nana and Papa, Debi and Mike, since they were in their late teens. Greg has known Mike, actually, since childhood. When our families were young, Mike and Debi’s children and ours played together often. Elissa and Josh have literally known each other since babyhood. They’ve been close friends for most of their lives. It is wonderful to see them together as a couple, blending their families, and journeying hand in hand. And it was amazing to gather today with Mike and Debi to celebrate a dear grandson’s birthday. Many joy filled years ahead, Jonathan. Thank you for allowing me to be your Yaya.

Jonathan birthday with Yaya e