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Ten Years

I was in Target trying to do some Christmas shopping a few days ago when this man appeared. 
The first time I saw him, he was asking a sales associate for a video game. The associate pointed out there is a newer game that had just come out (I think assuming if the request for the first game had been made, the recipient might also be happy to get the second) and the man looked, then somewhat gruffly declined, saying he’d better stick to what the text said.
The next time I saw him, he was on his phone. He wasn’t so loud as to be rude, but he was loud enough that it was obvious he simply didn’t care that others could hear him. He was talking to someone about that person’s recent trip to Chicago and kept asking if they had done certain things. “Did you have lunch in the Walnut Room at Marshall Field’s?”
As I listened to him, it began to dawn on me that this could have been my dad. Buying gifts his grandchildren sent text requests for, talking to me on the phone as he walked through a store. …
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Tell me a Story

(This is the speech I gave to my students on the last day of the semester,
Spring 2018.)

Over the weekend, I attended several "end of year" events and banquets at the high school. At one of them, the teacher read the words of the famous "Wear Sunscreen" essay that has become rather a cultural icon in terms of graduation speeches.

"Your choices are half chance," she read. And immediately, I thought of the best job I've ever had- the one I have right now, the one I got by chance.

Or was it? Because when I think back, there is a pretty sturdy chain of people and events that leads to me teaching Speech at Bradley. I don't think I can quite pinpoint its origin either. It's tempting to say that it all began the day I decided the best way to get over my fear of public speaking would be to try out for the speech team in high school. (Oh, how I miss the naive bravery of youth.)

But recently as I was looking through my Facebook feed, I found a post from…

Thank you Mr. G

I may be one of the last people left still playing "Candy Crush," but I'm pretty faithful about it. It's become a nightly bedtime ritual to use up my allotted "lives" to try to pass yet another level. I don't know that I'm especially good at the game, but I'm diligent.

A lot of the levels I've played lately have this challenge where if you clear enough of the "jelly" of a 3x3 square, a hammer will come down and shatter what's left, thereby jostling every piece of candy on the board into a different position. Sometimes it's jolting because the next match my eye just saw is suddenly knocked out of place and not there anymore. You kind of get used to where the pieces are and then suddenly, they all get knocked around.

The game stays the same, but everything changes in that one moment.

That was exactly what came to my mind early this morning. I was just starting to get moving for the day and with nothing pressing to do on these…

When the Time is Right

Recently, I read the book “The Last Letter from your Lover” by Jo Jo Moyes. It’s a bit of a haunting story that revolves around missed opportunities for love, largely due to timing.
It reaffirmed for me a theory that my husband and I have long had about that very subject, and how often timing plays a critical - yet unseen - role, until the benefit of hindsight becomes available.
But it’s not just love stories that rely on timing. I think so much in life really does.
And so that brings me to the story of how we added a third car to our family. (Yes, seriously. Bear with me!)
I've been wanting to add a 3rd car to our household ever since we got our 3rd licensed driver, or about 3 months ago now. But the timing wasn't right and - warning - full honest parent mode here - our newly licensed driver hasn't always made the most responsible decisions with that privilege and so, we put it off - er- waited.
Then this week we were faced with what I had feared, a reduction in usable vehicle…
Do you ever have one of those moments that seems kind of insignificant at first, then seems to suddenly take on some meaning and then before you know it, your brain is turning it over and over so much that you have to go and write it down just to be able to focus on something else?
No? Just me?
The grocery situation in our house is at code “you’re really just better off going out to eat” and since I was alone for dinner, I stopped at Culver’s while running a few errands tonight. At first I pulled into the drive-thru but then I changed my mind and was going to go somewhere else. Then I changed it again, so I decided to go in and get my food to go. (Yes, this is typical behavior for me and yes, my husband is a saint.) 
I walked in behind two older gentlemen. I’m terrible at guessing ages but the older of the two seemed to be in his 80’s and was walking with a cane. The other man appeared to be his son so for the sake of the story, that’s just how I’ll refer to him from here out. The son wa…

Moving, Moving, Moving

I am not a runner. In fact, I am not an athletic person at all. Growing up, the only sport I really participated in was swimming and really I only did that in the "I swim on the country club's summer swim team mostly so my parents can socialize" kind of way.
I didn't like balls coming at me, or balls that I had to chase (really? what's the point of that?) and so I just avoided most sports completely and willingly accepted myself as "non-athletic."
As a mother with children who are athletic (and of course now I'm also the wife of a soccer coach), I have learned to appreciate sports but still mostly in the "I'm just here to sit on the sidelines and socialize" kind of way.
And I was fine with all of this.
But earlier this summer, a friend who is helping to organize the Pekin to Peoria St. Jude Run (a satellite event to the Memphis to Peoria run) tried to convince me to sign up. At first, I just laughed but she insisted the event isn't abo…

A Day in the Life of Ainsley - age (almost) 16 months

7:20am - Hey! What was that? Sounded like my big brother Aidan slamming the toilet lid! Thank goodness he did that or I might have slept in today and since everyone else is already up and leaving for wherever it is they go all day, I KNOW mommy wants me to get up too! Some days I don’t get up until after everyone else has already left and mommy always looks so lonely. I’d better start yelling so she knows to come and get me!
8:30am - Better start asking for some breakfast. Nursing was great but it’s time to sink my teeth into some toast too!
9:30am - Mommy is dozing on the couch. I don’t know why Sesame Street puts her to sleep, it’s one of the few shows I find really fascinating! Oh well, I will sit here in my little chair and watch... but just for a little bit.
10:00am - Got my exercise done for the day. I crawled all over mommy on the couch for about 20 minutes... phew, what a workout!
10:30am - I see mommy’s heading to the bathroom. I’d better go with her and be sure to shut the door …