A Message From Dawn

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...

I have a terrible memory.  I hate it, but it’s true.  My entire family makes fun of me for it.  But, what’s a girl to do?  In fact, my brother and I were joking on Halloween about how I don’t remember even one costume I wore as a kid.  I do have a vague recollection of wearing plastic masks with the elastic bands that wrapped around your head.  That image is etched in my brain because I can almost feel the moist condensation that would collect inside the mask after a chilly night trick-or-treating in Indiana.  Gross. I used to think I had to push some stuff out of my brain only to stuff more knowledge in as I learned and read more.  But, that doesn’t explain why I know all the words to American Pie and vividly remember Mrs. Hall pinning a tail on the back of Lee Adrianson’s blue jeans in third grade to detour him from being a tattletale.  (In a crazy plot twist, Lee’s is an amazing elementary school teacher now!) One detail I probably would never have remembered was the exact section I was in for 6th Grade Social Studies.  Every time I see Mike Burchette, he...

This year marks two years in a row that one of my nieces aced the 3rd Indiana iRead test. Aced it. As in 100% on a state test. Pretty remarkable. Or perhaps I think it’s remarkable because I could never have aced the iRead test when I was in 3rd grade. Why? Because I was a Red Devil. Maybe they still do it, but back in the day, Reading Groups were all the rage. It made sense. Give the students a pre- test, find out what reading level they were on, and group them accordingly. This is where theory and practice wreak havoc. In theory, it had some educational legs to stand on and seemed relatively efficient. In practice, I was in the low reading group and everyone knew it. I was in a group with a bunch of cootie-ridden boys. As the sole girl in the group, when it came time to vote on our reading group name, they all thought the Red Devils would be amazing. Me, not so much. I was outvoted.   Later in my school career, I watched friends excel in art and music, some were Spelling Bee champs, others were trophy-winning athletes.  There were many standard ways the...

It was as if FedEx had made a special delivery straight from the Olympic pool in Rio.  We found ourselves staring at the most wicked green water to ever jettison out of a decorative fountain.  Or should I say Wicked green water?  That’s right, a few friends and I went to see the emerald-green Elphaba befriend the bubbly-blonde, Galinda (pronounced Glinda, the Ga is silent) in the Broadway production of Wicked this past weekend.  And, outside of the Morris Performing Arts Center on the loveliest September day in South Bend, Indiana was a beautiful water fountain spewing water the color of the Wicked Witch of the West.  I loved that special touch.  A little splash of green added to the water made a beautiful backdrop for pictures and memories. Because experiences like this will change you for the better.  Sharing them with others will change you for good. The Land of Oz is full of much innuendo and , as you will quickly discover.  The music is  and the dichotomy of Glinda and Elphaba was so cleverly written.  Seriously, the genius behind this Wonderful Wizard of Oz prequel  my own creativity and reminds me that things aren’t always what they seem.  We’re...