Welcome to the Fifth-Decade-of-Life-Club, a Tale of Sibling Warfare and Love

            “Everyone knows that if you’ve got a brother, you’re going to fight.”—Liam Gallagher


            “Nothing can stop me from loving my brother.”—Brandy Norwood


Me, and baby brother, Scott at his 50th birthday celebration at La Famiglia, Huntington, WV.


“My back has been bothering me.  I’m not for sure why,” he reveals to me during a phone conversation.


“I know what you mean.   I put ice on my back most mornings,” I reply.


“Those foods used to never bother me, but now . . .” he later bemoans.


“Me too!” I declare in affirmative.


“I love you,” he states as he hangs up the phone.


“I love you, too.”

Left to Right, my sister, Traci; my brother, Scott; me; and my sister, Rachel. This was our annual night before Christmas picture, one of the few times we weren’t fighting about something.


Is this really the same person with whom I used to debate over whose turn it was to wash versus dry the dishes after supper?  Is this the same person with whom I became so enraged that I actually pelted him in the belly with a plastic baseball bat?  Was this the same person who, in my young mind, used run straight to Mom to reveal my misdeeds, and infuriate me enough to plot his death, or, at the very least contemplate all of the ways I could cause him equivalent injury?


Of course, this is also the same person whose baby crib and my twin bed once occupied the same space, leaving me to feel like his guardian.  He is the same person to whom I would read storybook after storybook once I learned how to read.  As a teen, whenever I heard the newest alternative music, I couldn’t wait to tell him all about it.  Furthermore, we shared a love of cooking the classic, “Chef Boyardee Pizza kit,” all the while “doctoring it up” (aka adding extra toppings to it that weren’t in the kit.)   Plus, we both loved to come home from junior high and high school, flip on the TV, and watch the newest After School Special, a made for TV movie based upon a currently popular teen book; old TV reruns, such as Bewitched or Bonanza; or, later, when I was in my first year of college at the local branch of Ohio University, our favorite soap opera, Santa Barbara.



I felt as if I was my brother’s guardian.


It all began one day in May 1968.  Up until that point, I was special.  I was the only one; and in my mind, the entire world centered on me.  Then, my solo career came crashing to a sudden and irreversible halt!  One day I was sent to stay with my grandparents; and, low and behold, several days later, I went home to find, of all things, a baby—a boy, at that, who would monopolize what was once my spotlight! Little did I know, this unknown baby was only the first addition with whom I needed to adjust—I would eventually have to share the limelight with two more babies, but at least they were girls!


Up until May of 1968, I was in rocking’ in the limelight of my parents’ love and attention.


Then, in May of 1968, I was sent to stay with my grandparents for a few days. Pictured here with my grandparents’ during an Old Fashioned days celebration.




By the time I was three, I had lost my center-stage status and was forced to share the stage with other siblings, the first of which was my brother, Scott.


As the childhood years passed, my brother, Scott, would become both friend and foe.  I had a temper, and he knew how to set it off.  Heaven help me, when he and our middle sister, Traci, would pair up together against our baby sister, Rachel, or me.


One of the more funny examples of this occurred when Rachel was quite young—no more than two years of age.  Scott and Traci devised a plan to trick her into climbing inside a toy box in their bedroom to look for a “lost” item. Once she was within the box, they promptly shut the lid and sat on top of it.  I was horrified, and of course, angry.  I began yelling at them from my bedroom to, “Let her go,” while they laughed at me.  Running in a rage towards them, I tried hitting and kicking them.  Of course, mom quickly entered the room; and in the end, I was trouble because, “I was the oldest and should have got her rather than taking business into my own hands.”  I declare, where’s the justice in that?


Scott, Traci, Rachel, and me on the morning of Christmas. By this point, I shared a bedroom with Rachel; and, Scott and Traci shared a bedroom.


No matter how annoyed I could become with Scott, I was the first person to rise in his defense any time I perceived another person outside of our family picking on him.  If any of the neighborhood or school boys we knew, said a cross word to Scott, my black and white saddle oxford shoes instantly turned into kicking weapons as I simultaneously gave those so-called-baddies the greatest tongue-lashing I could create.


In fact, I recall one hot August day, while on a break during high school band camp, throwing my nearly five feet self in front of a pack of football players who were making fun of my brother. I dared a single one of them to pass in front of me and say another word to him.  I stood my ground, craning my head, in order to look directly into each of their eyes as I set my chin firm and determined. They, quite miraculously, walked away and quit bothering him—at least for the rest of that day. Afterwards, once I realized how dangerous and quite stupid my actions were, I ran to hide inside the instrument closet of the band room and cried, but never told my brother, well, until now—assuming he reads this.



During our teen years, my siblings could be my best friend one moment, and my mortal enemy the next–at least temporarily.


Now that Scott is joining me in the fifth-decade-of-life club, I can see that through good times, and some rather ugly times, our deep connection and love has remained.  Scott is witty, articulate, and intelligent.  He loves Broadway musicals, good food/drinks, dogs, and music—especially danceable tunes.  My brother served in the Air Force, has experienced a wide-ranging, successful career-life, has three beautiful kids, and one adorable grandchild.  Plus, he is married to a person who truly loves him.  I am proud to be his big sister.




Happy Belated Birthday, Scott!! May you continue to celebrate and dance through the rest of your life!


P.S.  Thank you La Famiglia for the wonderful venue in which to celebrate and thank you Selena Urbaez for the delicious gluten-free, melt-in-your mouth, lemon cake as well as the decadent, uber-rich, gluten-free chocolate cupcakes!!  Wow!







Gluten free Chocolate Chip cookies

            “If you can’t change the world with chocolate chip cookies, how can you change the world?”—Pat Murphy


            “Number one, I absolutely love making chocolate chip cookies. I mean, it’s fun. It’s exciting. Beyond the fact that I love making them, I love eating them.”—Debbi Fields


“Mom, when are you making chocolate chip cookies? I want to help you,” stated my daughter, Madelyn, with a smile.


Certainly, Maddie does like helping me bake chocolate chip cookies, but I think she has an ulterior motive. To begin, there are the bags of chocolate chips. We like to mix both mini-chocolate chips with regular sized chips. Thus, both bags must be opened, measured out, and mixed together before adding them to the dough. Which means, of course, a quality control taste or two, or ten!


Then, there is the cookie dough. Ooey, gooey cookie dough filled with, yes, that’s right, chocolate chips. Now, I know what you may be thinking. I should not allow my child to eat unbaked cookie dough filled with raw eggs, right? I have certainly considered the danger; however, my mom allowed me to eat cookie dough, and I am well into my fifth decade of life! Furthermore, Maddie has been sampling cookie dough ever since she’s been old enough to help me. Neither of us has ever become sick afterwards. I mean, it’s not like we sit down and eat the whole bowl.  That said, I certainly understand if you choose not to eat raw cookie dough!
I grew up in a house where I ate nothing but homemade desserts. Store bought desserts were no-nos—at least until I was old enough to date a guy who worked for Keebler, but that is a different story entirely! I am not saying that my mom made dessert every day, but we did have made-from-scratch cakes, cookies, and sometimes pies at least one time per week.  


Once I was old enough to help my mom in the kitchen, you bet I volunteered. Why? Samples—that’s why! Sure, I could say it was because I loved to spend time with my mom, but sadly, that usually wasn’t my motive. A growling belly was all the motivation I needed!  Mom was always generous to allow me “lick” the beater or scrape the mixing bowl once finished, a.k.a., getting in her way!


It was a different time period too. I grew up eating three meals per day—not grazing all day long. Snacks were not heard of until I was in high school; and even then, it was only when my parents weren’t home. (My siblings and I would sneak in those after-school snacks before they arrived home from work whenever possible.) The idea, which we often heard was, “Don’t spoil your appetite”; or, “Don’t spoil your dinner.” Still, if left to supervise ourselves after school, we were certainly known to grab a spoonful of peanut butter or a slice of lunch meat/cheese.


Likewise, Mom did not cook separate food for picky eaters at meals. Either you ate what she prepared, or you’d eat at the next meal. Her philosophy was that none of us were going to starve over one missed meal. Sometimes, I think many of our kids today would benefit from this attitude, but again, that’s another story for another day.


Back to baking with Maddie . . . Since my mom allowed me to sample while she cooked, including eating that much maligned cookie dough, it was only natural that I permitted my daughter to do the same. In addition to saving the mixing beater for my daughter to “lick,” we also enjoy tasting the cookies right off the baking pan!


The traditional recipe that I follow, calls for cooling the cookies on the pan for two-three minutes before removing. Maddie and I have learned to respect this rule, otherwise the cookies fall apart. Then, we remove all of the cookies carefully and gently with a metal spatula and place on racks to cool. (We have learned to cover the cooling rack with paper towels for quicker clean-up.) After that, watch out! We have to sample at least one, or three, warm! Mmmm, this is when these cookies are best! Therefore, when serving these cookies, do not be afraid to warm them slightly before eating. It brings out the flavor of the butter and makes the chocolate melty.



Finally, yes, this recipe is full of shortening, butter, sugar, and white flour. I get that these are NOT the healthiest ingredients—and, if you’re vegan,  these are clearly not vegan. I offer no apologies; however, I do NOT make this recipe as part of my everyday diet. These cookies are made for special occasions, and likewise, fully savored and enjoyed!!! In my opinion, life is about balance. I eat a healthy, plant-based diet the vast majority of the year, so why not splurge from time to time. And, if I am going to splurge, I want real, quality ingredients.


I think my mom had it right. Save desserts for special occasions and make them yourself. And, take time to share the experience with your kid, spouse, or friend. By baking with another loved one, you add the secret ingredient that can enhance any cooking experiences . . .love.


From my home to yours, I wish you healthy, happy, and homemade food!



Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies


3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour, (Reduce the flour if you prefer a crispier cookie.) & (I prefer Cup4Cup brand)

1-teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon salt

1 stick butter, softened

½ cup shortening

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups chocolate chip (I prefer semi-sweet.)

Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In large mixing bowl with mixer, cream together butter, shortening, and both sugars until fluffy.

Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in vanilla extract until creamy.

Gradually mix in flour mixture until well blended and thick.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden, but NOT dark, brown.

Allow cooling on cookie pan for 2-3 minutes BEFORE gently removing with spatula onto wire racks to cool completely.

Once thoroughly cooled, store in airtight container.


Gluten-free, Cauliflower Protein Pancakes

            “The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves.”  W.C. Fields


One of my more fond childhood memories were Saturday morning pancakes.  I was the oldest of four kids, and my parents simultaneously raised us while both of them managed to work and earn their degrees.  Thus, I do not mean to imply we had pancakes every Saturday; but, boy, when we did—it was a real treat for all of us.  Pass the syrup, the butter, and hand those pancakes over!


Mom would make them, and stack one on top of the other covering them over with a towel to keep them warm until all of the batter was cooked.  She usually called us kids into the kitchen about mid-way through her flapping.  Then, when she was down to the last little bit of batter, she would pour it all into the skillet and make one large pancake.  Sadly, it was always my brother who got that one!



Gathering ingredients for my latest twist on pancakes.


All those years ago and I can still recall the feelings of resentment watching her place it on his plate!  Why couldn’t I have it?  Was it because he was the only boy?  Was it because he was capable of drinking a gallon of milk a day by himself? Was it because he usually ate the most food out of all of us kids?  Hmmm . . .this large pancake serving still remains a mystery.


Now that I am capable of making my own pancakes, I make my own big pancake—thank you very much!  No more little pancakes for me.  No more worries of using too much syrup or butter because I choose not use those items. Instead, I load-up my over-sized pancake with healthful toppings such as fresh fruit, thinned out almond butter or powered peanut butter, or sometimes, even a few not-quite-as-healthy mini-chocolate chips.  Plus, my pancakes are gluten-free and loaded up with a full serving of veggies!



Making a “flour” by grinding up old-fashioned oats.


Wait, what?  Yes, that’s right! My pancakes recipe has a vegetable in it, but you would never know it by its taste.  Using my blender, I mix up my gluten-free, protein-rich batter right along with a full cup of riced cauliflower.


I was inspired by the idea when I started blending riced cauliflower in my morning smoothie.  (Another recipe I’ll share at a later date!)  It was delicious, easy, and a creamy way to start my day with a serving of vegetables and never even taste it—not that I don’t like the taste of cauliflower, I do.  Since this experiment went so smoothly, (Ha! Did you see what I did there?) I began to wonder if with a few tweaks, my smoothie recipe could be converted to a pancake?



Dry ingredients mixed in a bowl.


Sure enough, with a bit of experimentation, and a whole lot of luck, I came up with the following recipe.  It is easy, and does not take much time to create. Best of all, it makes one large, delicious pancake that you can eat all by yourself without blowing your nutrition for the day!  Treat yourself to this healthy recipe the next time you get a hankering for a sweet breakfast treat!


From my home to yours, I wish you healthy, happy, homemade meals.




Gluten-free Protein Cauliflower Pancake

Serves 1, but could be doubled


2 tablespoons oats

½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

½ serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder

1/8-teaspoon baking powder

1 cup (100 grams) riced cauliflower (I actually used frozen, and set it out on counter about thirty minutes before mixing.)

¼ cup egg whites or Vegan egg replacement**See recipe below

½ teaspoon vanilla

Optional Toppings



In a blender, pulse oats until it forms flour. (I use the blender cup of my Ninja.)

Place in mixing bowl.

Stir in cinnamon, protein powder, and baking powder.

Place cauliflower, egg whites, and vanilla in blender; then, mix until smooth.  If needed, adding a tablespoon or two of water if seems too thick, but don’t make it too thin.

Add in dry ingredients and blend until fully combined.

Meanwhile, coat skillet with nonstick cooking spray and preheat over medium heat.

Spread (it doesn’t really pour) batter into prepared skillet.  Cover and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the edges appear firm and batter looks set.

Flip with large spatula and cook uncovered for two more minutes.

Remove and serve immediately with desire toppings.


**Vegan Egg Replacements

1-tablespoon chia seed (or flax)

3 tablespoons of water


Mix thoroughly in a small bowl, and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.  Use this in lieu of egg.  Can doubled if needed.

This recipe works well for any baking recipe that requires only 1-2 eggs.




Moving into Mother’s Day

           “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.”—Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh


Maddie birthed me into motherhood.


           This weekend, I will be traveling, once again, to the Wheeling/Bethany, WV area.  My husband, John, and I will be making this trip together in order to pack up our daughter, Madelyn’s, belongings for the summer.  She will remain at Bethany College with the few items she needs for the next few days in order to study and take her final exams before returning home mid-week.  

           A few weeks prior, when Maddie came home for a rare and quick weekend visit, it occurred to her, as we discussed the plan, that we would be moving her possessions on Mother’s Day weekend.

           “Sorry, Mom, that’s not much of a Mother’s Day present,” she said half-laughing, but I could see the remorse in her eyes.

           “Sure, it is,” I replied.  “I am spending time with you—Best. Present. Ever.”


Maddie’s Mother’s Day present to me when she was in second grade at St. Joseph Catholic School, Gail McDowell, teacher.


          Maddie, being Maddie, rolled her eyes at me, but I spoke the truth—at least for the most part.  Did I look forward to lugging totes, boxes, and bags out of her dorm room, into John’s truck, and into the house once home?  Well, that is not exactly the most exciting part, but I am glad to do it. In fact, I am happy to help move her belongings for many reasons.

           First, and foremost, I am spending time with my daughter, the young woman who birthed me into motherhood.   I still fondly recall those nine months of pregnancy. Okay, the morning sickness was not that fun, but everything else was filled with wonderment.  


Maddie serves me breakfast in bed one past Mother’s Day assisted by our two, now-passed cats, Bobbi and Robbi.


           Pregnancy in the late 1990s meant no gender-reveal party, no 3-D ultrasound images, no social media blasts, and so forth.  John and I did not even own a computer at that time. Instead, I went to the library often, and checked out multiple books on pregnancy, purchased the classic book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel (now in its fifth edition and considered to be one of the most influential books of the past 25 years), and eagerly called family to share to the news once we found out we were having a girl.


This little bundle of joy was long awaited!


           As my belly expanded, I would gently caress it, thinking about the new life growing inside of me.  I talked, sang, and even read aloud to her. John would lean down in the evenings, put his hands on my stomach, and speak to her as well because, “She needed to know her Dad’s voice too!”

           The first time I saw her foot pressing against my stretched mid-section, I cried—such a miracle of life growing inside me.  It was a time in my life when I felt as if I was God’s assistant in creating and caring for life. Thus, why would I mind helping her move most of her things out of her dorm room nearly 19 years later?

           Secondly, helping my daughter move out at the end of an academic year is an act of celebration.  After all she successfully completed her first year of college as well as her first year of semi-adulthood.  (I say “semi” in that, we hold her accountable for and respect her decisions, but she is not yet 100% financially independent.) That first year away from home in college is not an easy transition.  Maddie, not only made it through, but also achieved a few significant milestones along the way for which John and I feel extremely proud.


          Maddie always loved to draw pictures for me as well as leave me notes when she was small.


           Thirdly, helping her move her out allows me to feel part of her life-away-from-home.  While there, we will have the opportunity to connect with her friends, walk the paths she daily ambles, and perhaps gain a bit more insight into life at Bethany College.  I don’t mean to imply I wish to hover; rather, it’s more about a genuine interest into the person Maddie is becoming, the person who made me, “Mom”.


                     In fact, she still leaves me notes.          


           Finally, while the trip will be a whirlwind of activity that will most likely create some fatigue, John and I will have some down time together.  The trip to and from Bethany traverses some beautiful scenery that we both enjoy sharing. It will grant us an opportunity to talk without interruption.  Plus, it will also give us the gift of shared quiet—something that is often undervalued in our society.


                    Maddie certainly “baptized” John and I into parenthood!          


           It’s funny, while writing this; a memory has repeatedly popped up in my mind’s eye.  It is a fuzzy, movie-like image of driving to work towards the end of my pregnancy. May was in its full-glory as the morning sun glowed through my windshield.  While waiting at a rather long red light, I began to rub my distended belly, as I was less than three weeks away from Maddie’s birth. Unexpected tears of joy began streaming down my face in that moment at the thought of soon meeting my daughter.   Now, I get to feel that sensation again as John and I drive to see and embrace our child once more. Life is good, and I am blessed. What more could I ask for on Mother’s Day?

Maddie at one-year.




6 Needs of Human Fulfillment as told in a real life parable

            “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”—Dr. Seuss


“To deal with individual human needs at the everyday level can be noble sometimes.”—Jimmy Carter


As seen on Instagram at heartcenteredbalancing


“Mamaw, Can I have one of those books?” asked the ingenuous boy of about four or five years.


He was wearing YMCA soccer clothes, and by the look of them, he had already played in his morning youth league game. The boy and his grandmother were in line in front of me at the Starbuck kiosk inside of a grocery store. There was a kid’s book section directly across from the coffee area, and it was filled with colorful, inviting books.


As a current middle school Language Arts teacher and former kindergarten teacher, I was impressed that the young fellow was interested in books as so many kids are far more interested in screen time. Oh, how I would have enjoyed walking him over to the bookshelf and allowing him to read, or at the very least, look through, a few of those books as I would have done years ago with my own daughter when she was his age.


“Mamaw, please.  Can I just go look at the books?” the young lad implored this time carefully patting his grandmother’s arm.   She ignored this request in the same manner in which she had ignored his first by incessantly talking to the lady behind the Starbucks counter.


As seen on Instagram at yoga_digest


From my vantage point, I perceived the slightest flicker of irritation cross the Starbucks’ employee’s face due to the grandmother’s persistent barrage of questions, but then, quickly fade. Despite the fact the employee was politely answering the questions based upon Starbucks’ policies/products, the grandmother kept debating with her.  Nevertheless, I will hand it to this employee; she remained patient even as the grandmother continued her demands.


“Mamaw, can I please look at the books?” The boy tenderly tapped his grandmother’s arm once more.


“No!  Now, stop bugging me!”


The boy hung his head, and his face turned bright red.


“I was just kidding, Mamaw,” stated the boy after a few moments in such a way to show contrition, and he returned to patting his grandmother’s arm once more as she ignored him again.



You can bet Champ, my mom’s oldest great-grandchild is not ignored by his grandmother, my sister, Rachel, or his great-grandmother.


Her questions and demands to the meek employee continued, and I felt my own frustration grow in this situation. I wanted to take the boy over to the book area, tell the grandmother to give the kid and the Starbucks’ employee a break, and just place her order while I read to her sweet grandchild. Instead, I remained quiet.


“Mamaw, I was just kidding,” implored the boy once more as his eyes looked up at his grandmother seemingly with the hope of her to noticing his remorse, but she remained focused on her questions.


It was then I saw a tear trickle down the little boy’s face, and my mom-heart broke.   It was a silent tear that I recognized as his soundless hurt, and I sensed this was not his first time to be ignored and/or treated badly by an adult.  I was so absorbed in watching the boy; I had not realized the grandmother had finally placed her order until she jerked the kid by his arm.


My daughter, Madelyn, on a recent surprise weekend visit home in order to meet her need for love and connection with us.


“Get over here with Mamaw, now!  Can’t you see we need to move over here so I can get my iced tea?”


The little fellow said, “Sorry, Mamaw,” hung his head, and obediently began walking.


Stunned, I stood there for a moment, and before I could say anything, I noticed the Starbucks’ employee reach into the bakery counter, pull out a pink cake-pop, gently place it in a crisp white bakery bag, and hand it over the counter to the grandmother.


“Can he have this?” the Starbucks’ employee sweetly asked.


The grandmother snapped it out of the employee’s hand, impatiently passed it to the boy, and said, “Here you go,” with no hint of gratitude or consideration in her voice, and she resumed her nonstop complaint session with the employee.


As seen on idlehearts.com


“Can I eat it now?” the little boy asked with a bit of hope as he once again gently patted his grandmother’s arm and longingly looked up at her.  He was never answered—at least not in my presence.  I watched as he clutched the bag tightly in one hand, looked down at it, glanced up at his grandmother, and then looked down again as his shoulders sagged.


You can bet John, my husband, ensured that Jackson Landis’ needs were met on a recent day in which he spent a bit of time in our school’s nursery.


As I contemplated the scene driving home, I was reminded of an article I had read earlier that same morning entitled, “The 6 Human Needs for Fulfillment,” by Cloe Madanes.  The reading was part of my yoga teacher training.  My teacher, Katrina Mailloux, had encouraged us this month to spend time reflecting upon these needs and noticing how we can share these needs with others.  These six needs include: certainty/comfort, uncertainty/variety, significance, love/connection, growth, and contribution.




Clearly, the little boy longed to feel certain in his relationship with his grandmother.  He seemed to yearn for the variety, and perhaps growth, that a book might offer him.  Additionally, he displayed his desire to feel significant and important in his grandmother’s eyes as he did not look at any one else but her.  He plainly desired love and connection—a hug, a smile, or a tender pat on his head—yet, he received none of those.



John and I have both had the privilege of working with special students as pictured her left to right, Kaity Brumfield with John and Brenna Chapman.  Teaching is reciprocal experience in that we meet many needs of fulfillment with our students, and likewise, they meet many of our needs.


Sadly, this child’s emotional growth has the potential to be stunted if the grandmother’s behavior is a reflection of how he is frequently treated.  And, while the young boy would not be able to articulate this, I do sense he was trying to contribute to his grandmother’s needs by remaining compliant and obedient.  Furthermore, instead of the grandmother going beyond her own personal needs, it was the Starbucks’ employee who attempted to contribute a bit of positivity into the youngster’s day.  It struck me as both sad, but somewhat refreshing—at least with regards to the employee’s behavior


It is worth remembering that every person we encounter has the same needs as we do—even that grandmother.  The Starbucks employee exemplified this to me in her every action.  She remained calm, kind, and considerate to the grandmother’s demands.  Additionally, her behavior reflected her recognition of the grandmother’s need to feel significant.  At the same time, she noticed the boy’s need for comfort, significance, connection, variety, and growth.  While she could not give him a book, she gave what she could. And, that, in the words of Jimmy Carter, was indeed a noble event.  One from which we could all benefit if we would interject more of that understanding and behavior into our daily interactions and practices.

My sister, Rachel, her son, Vincent, along with Vincent’s son Champ, recently met my needs for love/connection, significance, and variety by surprising me with a visit at my school! They live over 8 hours away from me.