Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Election Story

Day #26

Before you click off of this story at the fear of a political rant,

this is about Ellie’s 5th grade student council election.

[I posted this four years ago.]

There were 4 different classes of 5th grade in Ellie's grade.

Two representatives were elected from each class.

There were specific rules to run:

•They had to write out their campaign "platform” 
and reasons why they wanted the position.

•They had to write a speech which they 
would give in front of their class.

•They could not "campaign" by giving out 
buttons or fliers or candy or bribes of any kind.

Ellie was excited and filled out her form with her platform with ease.

Her campaign promises included:

• Getting a microwave in the cafeteria that the students could use.

• Increasing the size of the sub sandwiches 
(this is a real hot topic with Ellie that caused her to make an appointment with the vice-principal last year. I guess the VP said she "appreciated Ellie's willingness to share her thoughts on the matter." But the sub sandwiches remained minuscule in size.)

• Bringing back the option of getting a salad for lunch.
(It became an "adult only" entree after years of allowing kids to buy it.)

Yep, Ellie's core platform issues 
were all food related.

The night before the election, she wrote out her speech on index cards and asked if she could practice in front of Monte and I.

This is the kind of stuff Monte LIVES FOR!

He LOVES politics, government and debating the issues.

About 5 index cards into her speech,

I eyed her stack and realized we probably had 15 more cards of points to listen to.

Monte stopped her and said something along the lines of:

"We love you and we are bored to tears. 
What are the kids in your class going to think?"

She received the information well 
and she and Monte began to work 
on rewrites of the speech.

The next day I picked Ellie up from school. 

I couldn't read her expression if she was a newly-elected student council member or not.

She handed me a folded up piece of paper.

When I opened it, I saw a large version of a 20-dollar bill photocopied with the face of one of her classmate's replacing Andrew Jackson's.

Handwritten on top of the paper was, 
"Vote for Will. He fits the bill."

And there was a chocolate foil wrapped coin taped in the corner.

Whoa, the campaign trail is ugly even in the 5th grade!

"I didn't win, Mom," she said softly.

As I tried to encourage her, she admitted that she voted for Will too.


"He gave us chocolate, Mom."

She said that his speech consisted of one sentence:

"Please vote for me because I told my mom I already won."

Maybe Trump and Hillary have it wrong.

Don't debate.

Or give endless speeches.

Give us chocolate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Since We Were Talking About Ellie

Day #25

Since we were talking about Ellie, I thought I’d share this weird incident that happened to her as well.

God love her, she had some interesting elementary years.

And an obsession with the school nurse that I’d completely forgotten about.

I thought that phase would NEVER end.

And isn’t that just what parenting is?

One phase that you’d think would never end bleeding into another one and another one?

How soon we forget.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Stuff We Remember

Day #24

I was in my high school freshman English class when a girl threw up all over the back of the boy sitting in front of her.

He was all leaned back into his chair 
so she got a good shot at him.

Poor sick girl got up and ran out of the class.

Poor “got sick upon” guy ran out not far behind.

The girl never returned but the guy did,

wearing a too-small gym uniform with tube socks pulled up high on his skinny long legs.

He was super tall so those short shorts 
seemed even shorter.

His hair was wet too.

We all had a good laugh.

I remember asking my fellow classmates at our 10-year high school reunion if they remembered that incident.

Some did, some didn’t.

Something very similar just happened to Ellie in her freshman English class.

I told her that she just became someone’s 
10-year high school reunion memory.

But she doesn't see it like that--yet.

I’ll be sure to let you know when I’m free to tell the full story.

In the meantime, It reminded me of Ellie’s  “puked in the head” story that happened to her in the 1st grade.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Just For Fun

Day #22


There’s just been too much heaviness 
so I’m going to keep this light and breezy.

Here’s some stuff just for fun:

• Cows Frolicking

My friend Shannon sent me a video of cows frolicking in the grass after a long winter inside. She sent it to me on Facebook and I couldn’t find the exact video on YouTube but this one is close.

She and I talked about how fascinating and calming it is to watch. A cow getting pure joy out of being outside in the grass. I love it!

• Jon Crist

We saw Jon as the opening act for the comedian Tim Hawkins a few years ago. He’s funny! He puts out these funny little videos on Instagram. This is his latest one:

Be sure to check out the one about Christian music too.

• Tim Hawkins Podcast

Speaking of Tim Hawkins, he has a podcast with the people he travels on the road with and various guests along the way. Like Jon Crist and Kirk Cameron. They record the podcast after Tim’s comedy shows and they are usually tired and slap happy and soo funny!

There’s one guy who cracks me up just by laughing. 

It’s one of those wheezy laughs that gets me every time.

They have all these characters they do that pop in and out of the podcasts. The guy who criticizes the olive bar at Whole Foods is hysterical.

I usually listen when I’m cleaning the kitchen or wrapping 432 boxes.

• That time I almost lost my finger to a packing tape incident.

Speaking of boxes,

I’ve been wrapping shoeboxes for favors for our upcoming women’s retreat at church. 

I’ve been using packing tape to secure the thick kraft paper I’m using to wrap the boxes.

Packing tape is tricky.

It’s thick and super sticky.

I somehow managed to get a piece of tape wrapped around my middle finger on my right hand. I tried to yank the tape ends apart but that just tightened its hold and grip on my finger.

It instantly turned purple. 

It was like one of those Chinese finger trick things where the only way you free your fingers is to relax and not try to yank them out in a panic.


I panicked and yanked harder, 

shutting off all blood flow. 

I screamed and somehow frantically shoved scissors under the tape and cut the tape off with MY LEFT HAND.

It hurt.

There was a heat beat in my finger 
for a good two hours.

Speaking of Chinese finger tricks,

McDaniel got one of those things at a carnival when she was younger and got her two index fingers so tightly stuck that we COULD. NOT. FREE THEM.

We had to take her to a basketball game with her fingers still stuck in them.

Luckily, it wasn’t her basketball game.

Can you imagine if it was?!

She spent the first half of the game cheering on her friend with her hands hidden underneath her coat until Monte finally Googled an escape plan.

• Things that sound like Chewbacca

I saw this on Facebook Friday night and laughed really hard.

I was clearly tired.

But to my defense, the toilet did remind me of that condo
 we rented in Florida one spring break where the toilet 

• Joanna and Chip Gaines

This is great.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

We Need Our Faith Back

Day #22

There’s been a lot of crazy in this presidential election season.

The worst has been the way people are attacking one another.

Demanding tolerance yet not extending it.

Baiting and trapping with little or no facts.

And using social media to do it.

It’s sad when someone questions someone’s salvation based on who they may or may not be supporting for president.

An author of many bible studies, Beth Moore, is under such an attack.

She wrote beautifully in response to it. (click on the link to read it)

It’s long but so worth it.

She explains we need to get our focus off of two people and on to the one true God who is actually in control.

To stop acting like THEY are our only two options when HE holds the entire world in his hand.


It’s a nice reminder.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Our First OFFICIAL College Visit

Day #21

Some time ago, my friend told me she was taking her daughter and nephew to a university for an official visit on a scheduled day off from school.

She asked McDaniel and I to join her.

I filed it away in my mind.

As we did our Saturday football tours, it became increasingly clear that we needed an OFFICIAL for real visit/tour actually put on by the university.

Not that we haven’t gained important insight from our tours.

I think we’ve been able to get 
a good unvarnished look.

But we needed a guide that we could ask lots of questions that aren’t usually listed on the college website.

So I called last week to add McDaniel’s name to the tour list only to find it was full.

I was able to do an

“Aww, shucks! That’s her only day off from school 
this fall and she’s a senior.”

They put me on hold and came back to say 
that they found room for one more.

Which only happens to Monte.
Never me.
So it was a good, good day.

This wasn’t a school on McDaniel’s list but very similar in size to our last school tour so I thought it would make for a good comparison.

It’s a few hours away and we left in the dark.

My friend had the path mapped out on her phone.

The kids slept in the car.

I made the comment that we were going a different way then the last college we attended and I thought they were somewhat close to one another.

But this was a new area of Ohio for me, so what did I know?

We pulled into what we thought was campus to find only 2 or 3 buildings.

It was a branch campus not the main one!

We were 40 miles away and our tour started in 20 minutes!

I called admissions and they were so sweet and said they would have a student tour guide waiting for us whenever we got there for our own personal tour.

They told us to be safe.

Very impressive.

It was a pretty and very unseasonably warm day for October.

Perfect for walking around a campus.

Our tour guide had a great personality and easily learned the kids’ areas of interest and incorporated them into the tour.

She even fielded questions about scary clowns like a pro.

There have been no sightings.


We really liked the campus--mainly because it was bustling with activity.

Something we haven’t really been able to see on a Saturday.

The university's colors are blue and gold and the mascot is the eagle.

They call themselves the Golden Flashes or just The Flashes.

Our guide said that the students have petitioned to get the mascot changed to the black squirrels.

I guess the “powers that be” felt a black squirrel 
wasn’t as intimidating as an eagle.

Tell that to the people that came up with
the fish with the teeth wearing a sweater
at that other school.

Our tour guide explained the history of the black squirrel.

Back in the 1920s or 1930s, the president of the university was in Canada and noticed all the black squirrels running around.

He decided he liked the looks of them.

So he caught four,

brought them back to Ohio 

and they populated the university campus.

We saw them running around and they are very black.

And big.

There are statues of black squirrels all over campus and inside the buildings.

In the winter, students put a hat, scarf and gloves on the squirrel.

This was in the bookstore. There is a selfie stick so you could post your selfie
to a specific hashtag.

There is even a Black Squirrel Festival every year.

You can see in the photo below what they think of Flash the eagle.

Too bad for the eagle. 

That is a perfectly respectable mascot.

The eagle seems to be clenching his teeth and saying something along the lines of “stupid black squirrel."

It was neat touring the campus with just us so the kids could ask as many questions as they wanted.

We decided that going to the wrong campus first was a blessing 
so we didn’t have to be a part of a bigger tour group.

Who might not have understood 
all our questions about scary clowns.

Or how excited McDaniel got when she saw they sold 
Boar’s Head lunch meat in the school market.

Our kids had three different areas of interest:

Journalism, fashion design and music.

I appreciated that each major had its own building
 and dorm close by.

McDaniel had to see the fitness center.

The gym was HUGE!

There was a climbing wall and a pool and a smoothie bar that we tried out before leaving campus.

We never even saw the football stadium and you know what?

It was okay.

College visit #4 down,

3 on the like list.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Like Listening to a Good Country Song

Day #20

My girlfriend started reposting on Facebook short little pieces written by this guy.

Sean Dietrich.

I was hooked with the first article, essay, whatever you want to call it.

He writes about these people.

Normal, everyday, phenomenal people.

Mostly from the south.

He transports you in the room with them.

He makes you fall in love with them.

He almost always makes me laugh
or cry--
usually both.

Like listening to a good country song.

What a gift he has.

You can go to his website:

Or like him on Facebook where you can see his recent posts.

Here is one of my favorites.

Grab some tissue.


“My dad left us while Todd was still a baby, he called him an ugly freak. He was too stupid to see how great Todd is. Why, he's the thing I love most in this world."
Whenever Randy was happy, so was his kid brother, Todd. And even though Todd had Down’s syndrome, it didn’t stop him from being the mirror-image of his idol.
In fact, Todd never knew he was any different than the rest of us. His brother didn’t permit such ideas. If anyone even looked at Todd sideways, Randy would tighten his fists.
Sometimes, the two seemed less like brothers and more like one person.
We’d take Randy fishing; Todd came along. We’d go camping; they’d share a tent.
Consequently, one night I felt splattering against the side of my tent, and heard Todd whistling Dixie.
The next morning, Todd said, “Sorry, I thought you were a tree last night.”
Still, it was impossible not to like Todd. He laughed hard at jokes, sang loud at campfires, and made simple things seem like privileges.
One summer, Todd got a job on the same construction site his brother worked. He wandered around picking up nails and screws for pocket change. He lost the job when he started playing with a high-powered nail gun—accidentally making pin-cushions out of Randy’s truck tires.
Another time: Todd drove his brother to the doctor when he came down with the stomach bug. He piled Randy into the vehicle, fired the engine, and broke the sound barrier.
When the cop pulled him over, Todd instructed the deputy to write him two tickets to save time. The officer was more interested in why Todd was driving without a license—and why he was driving on the median.
But that was long ago. Todd and his brother moved to Tennessee when work slowed down. They grew up, sprouted facial hair. We lost touch. But I still remember the younger versions of them, and how they did everything together.
And I recall the time Todd fell prey to a fistfight because someone called him, “retard.” Randy stepped in and ended the rumble in a few seconds. When the scrape was over, Randy told me through bloody lips:
“My dad left us while Todd was still a baby, he called him an ugly freak. He was too stupid to see how great Todd is. Why, he’s the thing I love most in this world.”
Anyway, a few weeks ago, Randy was on his way home from work and fell asleep at the wheel. I’m sorry to say that it was a dark day in Tennessee.
They tell me Todd gave one hell of a eulogy. And when somebody asked why he wasn’t crying, he answered:
“Because. Randy’s happy right now. And we always do everything together.”

You are welcome.