A Message From Dawn

It was a Thursday night about 7:00 p.m. when my husband arrived at the MGH Emergency Room.  It wasn’t a life-threatening event, but our 2-year-old son, at the time, fell in the slippery bathtub and hit his chin just right.  Just right means a small gash that left the bathroom looking like a crime scene on CSI Las Vegas.  As a police officer, my husband works well under pressure, so he handled the blood, stitches, and tears like a champ.  He even managed to clean up the mess, give the boys a bedtime snack, and tuck them in—all before I made it home for the night.   You see, I didn’t even hear about all of the ‘excitement’ until I arrived home at about 10:30.  I was at my night class, just as I had been every Thursday night for the past two years.  It wasn’t easy getting a Master’s Degree when my kids were only 2 and 5--having a superhero husband helped. Let’s be realistic, life is messy…glitter messy.  And, frequently (read: all the time) when I was working full-time and completing my second degree, my house resembled the before picture of any home improvement show.  True, there was one time...

I’m always surprised when I’m out with a friend and then run into another friend, only to find out that those two friends know each other—but, I didn’t introduce them!  It’s like two of my worlds have collided and it blows my mind every single time.   But, the same thing happens when I assume everyone knows the same information that I know, when they don’t.  The most recent instance of this was at one of our Give Me Five celebrations when I was encouraging the grant recipients to attend Gas City Concerts in the Park to enjoy live music and feast on an elephant ear or a pork tenderloin sandwich.  It was then that one grant recipient said, “What’s an elephant ear?”—again my mind was blown! We make those simple mistakes often when we come from a small community like Grant County.  It’s easy to readily complain about what didn’t work or what we don’t like.  But, we completely forget to boast about what is awesome about our hometown because we just assume everyone already knows.  Alas, that’s not so. It was at this Give Me Five celebration that we hosted a couple of new Grant County residents who recently moved here...

I’m sure by now you’ve all witnessed the birth of Oliver and April’s baby boy.  This adorable calf was born at the Animal Adventure Park in New York last Saturday just as Hoosiers were rising and shining.  According to Google, there were 232 million live views of this delivery for a total of 7.6 billion minutes of live watch-time! It was over a hot cup of coffee that I watched April’s 5’9”, 129 pound newborn take his first wobbly walk within an hour of being born.  How miraculous is that?  Those unsteady strides were literally two steps forward and one step back as this confident calf was determined to get back up and try, try again. I have no idea why, but this scenario took me waaaay back to a time when I was about three years old.  This in and of itself is a mini-miracle because my memory is horrible!  But, I vividly remember living in a small farmhouse out in the country one spring when my family was planting a small vegetable garden.  I’m sure as a threenager that my attempt at ‘helping’ wasn’t all too helpful.  But, I wanted to be part of the action.  I was intrigued...

My family had one of those ginormous old console televisions back in the day.  I remember it well for two reasons: (1) We only got three channels…6, 8 and 13. I remember when Fox added a 4th major network to the lineup and many people thought that it would never survive; alas it did and so did many others! (2) I was the remote.  There were no fancy controls back then; you wanted the channel changed, someone had to get up, walk to the television, and physically twist the little dial.  That job usually fell to any child in the house at the time! Times were simpler then and many things have changed; but some things, well, some things stay the same. With three network channels there wasn’t much to watch in the 60’s and 70’s on a Saturday afternoon, but if you were lucky, you could catch a heartwarming Doris Day flick and all was right with the world.  I remember watching With Six You Get Eggroll, Pillow Talk with the one and only Rock Hudson, and listening to her beautiful voice singing the Lullaby of Broadway or Que Será, Será.  And, boy was she a looker!  She had a showgirl presence, but...

How many times have you wanted more?  Probably always.  There’s even an old AT&T commercial where an adult asks a group of kids, “Who thinks more is better than less?”  And, because we know that children say the darndest things, an adorable little girl in the focus group answers, “More is better than less…we want more, we want more, like, you really like it, you want more.”  Out of the mouths of babes, right there. But, with age comes wisdom.  And, with a brain like Seth Godin’s, I’m pretty convinced that he’s is old enough to have had play dates with Moses.  So, let’s apply this little nugget of brilliance from Godin and see what we come up with: “The opposite of more; it’s not less.  If we care enough, the opposite of more is better”.  That, friends, is what the kids call a mic drop.  Let’s marinate on that for a bit, shall we? Imagine for a minute that less isn’t more.  Then take that one step further to realize that more isn’t even more.  Maybe, just maybe, better is more.  <<insert mind-blowing moment here>> So how could that work in daily life?  I truly believe that each and every person is...

Dinner at our house is often unpredictable.  It’s this daily dance we do of asking, “What do you want?  I don’t know, what do you want?”  We typically end up deciding with everyone answering this question, “What don’t you want?” That eliminates a lot of options and narrows it down enough to choose. Sometimes our son decides on his own.  Last week he made a DiGiorno’s pizza and topped it with a Totino’s pizza.  I’m not kidding, we had a pizza topped with a pizza.  It might not have been predictable, but I didn’t have to decide or cook that night, so I count that as a victory in my book.            “Whatever happened to predictability? The milk man, the paper boy, evening T.V You miss your old familiar friends, but waiting just around the bend. Everywhere you look (everywhere you look) There's a heart (there's a heart) A hand to hold on to. Everywhere you look (everywhere you look) There's a face, of somebody who needs you. When you're lost out there and you’re all alone A light is waiting to carry you home Everywhere you look.” I grew up watching Full House, so I love that theme song.  And it may be just as true today as it was way back...

I often wonder if every family is as quirky as mine…probably not.  I just ran across an old Facebook memory where my oldest son, Griffin, got embarrassed at school by using a word that he thought was a real word; in fact, it was just one we made up and used all the time at home.  Couperfs is one of those words.  My husband made that one up when we lived in Texas.  As you’d expect, the Sunday edition of the Dallas Morning News was chock-full of what Hoosiers would call money-saving coupons.  But, in Dallas, at the time, these coupons were actually perforated.  This eliminated the need for scissors or, if you were a Neanderthal, crooked ripping.  It was really quite lovely.  Find a deal, tear along the perforation, and ta-da, the world couperf was invented. Those were our newly married days back in the suburbs of Dallas when we were both fresh out of college and learning how to balance a budget a mortgage, insurance, and car payments all on our own—so couperfs were a great way to save a few bucks and allow for a date night or two.  Fast forward a couple of homes and kids later...

I was having lunch with my friend Paul last week and he reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about in a long time.  Nearly 18 years ago, my husband and I had a happy, healthy baby boy.  He was perfect in every way.  Ten fingers. Ten toes.  An adorable round head.  What a happy day!  I’m sure big business deals were being made that day.  Missed those.  I bet someone got married that day.  Missed that, too.  Happy were we, nestled comfortably on Cloud Nine at Marion General Hospital and all was right with the world…until it wasn’t.  A mere week later, things weren’t going so well.  Our son wouldn’t eat and was losing weight rapidly.  Dropping five pounds might seem great to most people reading this, but it’s not great when you start life weighing in at just a tad more than that.  That’s when we learned what ‘failure to thrive’ meant and when our three-month stay at the hospital began. Now, just so you know, the story has a happy ending.  That almost-18-year-old is in Indy today testing for his entry into the United States Army and has made us very proud parents along the way.  But, during...

We don’t do Elf on a Shelf at our house, but we do watch a lot of Elf on television.  The popularity of this Christmas film may be even more ginormous than the toilets in New York City.  It’s mildly embarrassing that I may have seen this movie about 100 times since it was released in 2003…but that’s still not as many times as my husband has watched the first Die Hard.  So, if I measure myself using that scale, I’m still good!  One of my favorite scenes in Elf is when Buddy the Elf is trying to muster up the courage to ask a beautiful retail worker, Jovie, out on a date.  Buddy is a human, but he was raised by elves, so his dating game isn’t what the kids call ‘on point’.  Leave it to his 12-year-old half-brother, Michael, to show him the dating ropes.  The conversation goes like this: Alas, Jovie agrees to ‘eat food’ and Buddy realizes just how nice it is to meet another human being that shares his affinity for elf culture. It’s funny to me how ‘eat food’ was what a 12-year-old thought was ‘the code’ for going out on a date.  But, the more I...

There are two kinds of people in the world—those who use the Oxford comma and those who should.  Not too long ago, I was helping one of my colleagues develop a website that connects volunteer opportunities with volunteers in our Grant County community.  The site can be found at www.ServeGrantCounty.org and it’s a great place to go if (a) you’re a non-profit who needs some extra volunteer help or (b) you’d like to volunteer and need to find the volunteer opportunities that fit the type of help you’d like to give—especially during the holidays. It’s sort of like an eHarmony for volunteers, so you can imagine the sophistication that the engine for this website must have—this is no small task.  It’s also why it’s so funny that when I did a final click-through, the only real edits I had on the site were those involving Oxford commas!  We had a few laughs as this falls under Nerd Quirk #52…good thing being a nerd is cool these days—but not as cool as collective impact. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the collective impact phenomena, but it’s trending in Grant County.  Collective Impact is essentially the commitment of a group of people...