Monday, December 31, 2007


New Year's Resolutions aren't really my style. I sorta tend to live life in a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants mode. I think that's a combination of cliches there, but it just proves my point. The holes in the backside of my jeans prove my point as well.

Planning ahead has always been somewhat of a challenge for me, mostly because it's boring. I'd rather run around like a chicken with my head cut off, and make a list so I can cross things off AFTER the fact, than sit down and map out a route for how to get things accomplished. On the rare occasion that I do actually have a list prior to starting something, if I manage to fit in other chores not listed, I make sure I add them, so I can cross them off. I'm pretty sure this is a diagnosable mental disorder for which I could probably get drugs. Sometimes I even rewrite the lists more legibly, so I can feel good about being neat.

Yes, I'm aware I have a disease. But most of the fun of being partially insane is the raised eyebrows and quizzical looks other people feel free to toss my way. (not to mention the way the kids shrink in mortified terror when I open my mouth)

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem...

Returning to my original train of thought, however -
I do have a list of things I'd like to try to accomplish this year.

1. Plant a garden with more than tomatoes and zucchini.

2. Start and FINISH making our bedroom look like a bedroom, and not a catch-all.

3. Help raise significant funds for Gabe's school to build a new

4. Have a ton of fun celebrating Preston's 16th birthday.

5. Find a new(er) van that has 2 doors on the driver's side!! (long teenage legs...)

6. Help Ron Paul win big.

7. Help Savannah improve her sewing skills.

8. Spend a long weekend away with Tom. (Florida???)

9. Locate some indoor skateparks for Bucky.

10. Adopt a child. (We're approved, licensed, and ready, ya know!)

11. Finish paying off Bucky's braces, the bike, and various small bills.

12. While we're at it, paying off the house would be a HUGE answer to prayer. I
dream big!

13. Follow God in dealing with a particular family situation and find peace.

14. Be a Godly influence to my children's friends.

15. Send Christmas cards!

16. Have family pictures taken!

Granted, this is not all-inclusive, and while some things may be fluff, others are serious. Check back in a year and see how I did!

Friday, December 28, 2007

If Life is a Game, Why am I Driving a Mini-van?

It has come to my attention that some people make mountains out of molehills. Over-exaggerate. Blow things out of proportion. You know the type...can’t see the forest for the trees. Take me, for example. I can’t tolerate topos. I mean tipos. Hippoes! TYPOS!!! So when I see one, I go BOlistic. Which is the real way that should be spelled, because you really can’t combine ball and istic. Of course, I don’t have my dictionary turned on right now, but I’m positive I’m correct on this.

Some people are also eager to jump the gun, join the bandwagon and put the horse in front of the cartwheel. Be careful, though...haste makes waste, and in some countries, if you happen to jump a broomstick instead of a gun, you just might find yourself with a new wife you weren’t expecting, in which case you might wish the term “till death do us part” was a clause Santa would help you enforce. Especially when you consider that by rearranging the words “mother in law” you reveal “woman hitler”.

Caller ID has taken the fun out of prank phone calls. But should you find you’ve been victimized, don’t waste your time dialing and demanding “Who called this number??!?” Honestly! Do you expect me to admit that I was inquiring as to the identity of your father? Or if your kitchen appliances are in working order?

Church signs reveal such useful, intelligent, cogent, coherent, logical, forceful, rational, convincing, strong, sound advice - we could do well in adhering to such knowledge. A few of my personal favorites are: “Have you downloaded Jesus to your heart-drive?” ... “Download your worries - Get online with God” ... I supposed to download good files and delete bad files, or delete good files and download bad files, or delete bad bile and keep good bile...oh wait, I can’t do anything with bile, I have no gall bladder!

Speaking of medical issues, recently I read somewhere that if you’re 30 pounds overweight, you’re considered obese. What category does that put me in? The morbid department, probably. How many axe handles does it take to measure that woman’s width??

Why do they put sugar in toothpaste? Does anyone ever use the white crayon? Does water have a taste? How are you supposed to use Bounce if the box states “Not to come in direct contact with clothing?” Why do people tell you to store batteries in the freezer? How do you get your ears clean if q-tips aren’t for inserting? Why do babies poop the minute your change their diaper? Why are sequels never as funny as the original? Where DOES your lap go when you stand up? Why can’t Carol Burnett come back to TV?

I’m Deanna, and I prove this message.
(paid for by keepherlockedupshesapublictothethreat)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Garden of Life

Some of you know that we have a child with special needs. Few people understand what that means to a family. Our son was born with Angelman Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that causes global development delay and seizures, and will always require 24-hour care. As I write this, he is home from school today because he had 2 grand mal seizures last night. He also has a metabolic disorder that requires a special diet. The list of challenges he has faced is long and complicated. He’s well known at our local hospital as the happy, always-smiling non-verbal patient. He’s taught us much about love, patience, and endurance; he’s shown us that you don’t have to be wealthy or healthy to be happy; he’s played a large part in keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus; he’s given us a very big “WHY” for fighting for freedom.

My husband has faithfully worked at his place of employment for 16 years. The income isn’t fantastic, but the health insurance has been a blessing to us. Our son’s medical expenses paid by insurance, to date, are over $250,000. His monthly medications are $2000, of which insurance pays 90 percent. Despite the fact that my husband works multiple jobs (some of which the family is able to help him with) our son has, for years, qualified financially for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Medically, he has qualified for a waiver program that helps pay for expenses not covered by insurance, including a home health personal care provider who assists him with getting ready for school, feeding, bed, etc. This has been a HUGE help for me, as I was severely injured in a car accident 3 years ago and can not lift.

Today, I received a phone call from the local SSI office to complete an annual review to make sure he still qualifies. 2 minutes into the phone conversation, I was asked for “verbal permission” to allow access to our financial records. When I asked why this was necessary, and that I had always complied with their requests for copies of our bank statements, I was informed that this permission would allow them to access our records on their own. When I reiterated that I had always complied, I was told that unless I gave verbal permission, our son would lose his benefits. I was told this was “something new”. I asked if it was a law, and if so, could I please have a copy of this law. Yes, it’s law, and yes, they would send me a copy. In searching the SSI website, what I’ve found appears to be from 2005
but I haven’t delved too far into more information yet.

Of interest: even though I said I would not grant permission for access to our financial records (which was acknowledged) and I was informed that he would lose his benefits, the conversation continued on her part with questions about the other family members. My statement that the conversation didn’t need to continue if my son’s benefits were being denied was acknowledged and after stating that she would send me a notice in the mail, the interviewer did offer a polite goodbye and hang up.

Am I surprised? No! Am I disgusted? You bet! Am I willing to sacrifice? Without a doubt!

We don’t live extravagantly, as the world views that word, at our home. Our children are happy, well-fed, and warm in the winter; they have lots of friends, are not immune to wearing hand-me-downs, and don’t get name-brand clothes very often; I drive a 13 year old mini-van with better than 200K miles and my husband drives a 14 year old Festiva with more than 225K miles racked up - it gets 40+ miles to the gallon. Occasionally we have a date. Sometimes our bills are paid late because we simply don’t have the full $200 dollars to pay Toledo Edison! We’ve counted change to put money in the gas tank more than once. Sometimes we have a little extra and we can take the kids out to dinner and a movie.

We had been thinking recently about the increased intrusion of our personal lives and were debating the pros and cons of having government money come into our home. We’ve been explaining to our kids that we’re trying to get our freedom back. We realize that in order to make our country better, it will take effort on everyone’s part. It might even mean we say ‘NO’ to the carrot being dangled in the front of us. That carrot right now is a few hundred dollars every month. That carrot isn’t looking so good anymore. We want the whole garden, and the government isn’t going to be the one offering it! We have to plant it ourselves. We’ll fertilize it with a Ron Paul Presidency, and we’ll share the harvest with our fellow Americans.

We’ll say “NO” to any more people who think we will willingly give permission to tread on our home, trample our freedom, and trash our country. Our family’s needs will be met. We trust God to supply what we need. He promised He would do just that - why did we ever doubt it?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Speaking My Mind, part 2

Last week, Teresa and I took our kids to see The Christmas Carol. It was a nicely performed production. After leaving the Stranahan, we stopped for a quick bite to eat at McDonalds. "Two items off the $1 menu for everybody, and get water to drink"...our standard menu when hauling a van load of teenagers (give or take a year here and there) around the countryside.

When I ordered for Teresa and I - "Two hamburgers, two fries, and two cups of water" - I was informed "We don't have cups for water anymore, but we do have Dasani bottled water for 50 cents, would you like some?" Imagine my surprise! Especially when I peered around the young man's shoulder and noticed myriad choices of cups sitting on the counter top behind him. I quizzically looked at him and said, "No, thank you - I want a CUP of water" and was simply ignored at that point. I peered a little more noticeably at the cheerful array of neatly stacked cups in various colors. This young man must obviously be blind. Apparently deaf, also, I could only assume, as he continued to ignore my request for water.

I held my tongue - no easy feat. (Never make a person angry when he's holding the spatula that flips your burger, and you haven't been served yet. You might just wind up with some seasonings you weren't aware were on the menu.) I can understand a fast food chain's policy of not giving cups of water to non-customers; I can even sometimes tolerate the practice of charging a dime for water, although I rarely will pay for water, unless I'm parched and have only potato chips to eat. But simply not making water available to paying customers because there are no "water cups"?

Remind me to never eat ice cream with a fork, or cut steak with a butter knife, or wipe my mouth with a kleenex! (For that matter, I would have been happy to go to the van and get the empty Burger King cup and ask for a refill!)

I walked out with raised eyebrows, not simply at the rude treatment of a customer, but more so at the preposterous realization that people truly can't think outside the box!

And we stopped at Rite Aid and paid several dollars for drinks for all! Principles don't die easy for me!

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Christmas WHAT?

So I get this email from my little sister and she says "Insert your own answers and post it on your blog." I figured, she's done enough things I've told her to do, in the past, so I might as well amuse her this time. It'll make her feel important. Hey, Tam, I sure could use some Kleenex and Oreos right now. Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Both. I wrap until I'm tired (always late on Christmas Eve, which this year might be a problem, as we have a 10:30pm church service) then I finish with gift bags. I'm a procrastinator extraordinaire!

Real tree or artificial?

Artificial. I love the smell of real, but hate the gouge marks I get from continually removing the psychotic cats from their sleeping positions on the lower branches.

When do you put up the tree?

We usually try to set it up right after Thanksgiving. We couldn't this year, because we had an after-parade chili supper for our fellow Ron Paul supporters. This year, it was up, and safely secured to the wall so Gabe won't knock it over, on December 5th.

When do you take the tree down?

I like to have the remnants of Christmas Past removed by January 2nd. However, as described here, that sometimes doesn't happen.

Favorite holiday theme?

Hmmmmmm...whatever trips my trigger at the time.

Favorite gift received as a child?

Probably the Holly Hobby pillow that my oldest sister made and embroidered for me when I was about 8. I slept with it every night, took it to college, and still have it, packed away in a box. It's threadbare now.

Do you have a nativity scene?

Yep, I bought one before I got married, and looked forward to being able to use it with my family. It was just the figurines, so for about 13 years, poor Jesus was REALLY exposed to the elements. I finally broke down and bought him a stable about 3 years ago. Then He smiled at rum pa pum pum...

Hardest person to buy for?

Usually, Gabe. He has Angelman Syndrome
and a list of other medical diagnoses, and we have to be quite selective in what we let him play with, since he likes to chew everything. We buy him a lot of his favorite snacks for gifts.

Easiest person to buy for?

Without a doubt, my Savannah. She prepares a list weeks in advance, and includes an array of choices, in an array of price ranges. She's also quite content if I pick things on my own for her. I have pretty good taste. (After all, I married Tom!)

Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

I don't recall any really bad ones, but I DID have a sort-of high school boyfriend give me a ring (not for Christmas) that...Ok, try and picture this - it looked like a bubble gum machine ring, the kind that aren't connected so that fat fingers can still wear the treasured bauble...only the bauble in question was...well, it appeared to upholstery button from the back of a plaid was the strangest thing I've ever seen in the jewelry of life. I'm laughing my head off just thinking about it! Ah, Duane....How ARE you, anyway? Let's just say, I would have been fine without having to "Meet the Robinsons".

Mail or email cards?


Favorite Christmas movie?

I have been in love with Jimmy Stewart for decades. Ronald Reagan knew him. Need I say more?

When do you start shopping for Christmas?

Sometimes the day after Christmas. Sometimes two weeks before. It depends on our budget.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? least to Goodwill.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Buckeyes. Buckeyes. Buckeyes. And sometimes, hard cinnamon candy.

White lights or colored on the tree?

Usually white. It depends on how I decorate the tree. We currently have a pre-lit (in white) tree. Try it, you'll looooooove it!

Favorite Christmas song?

I will listen to just about anything Christmas. I take that back. If it's a currently popular, typically stupid, secular artist wailing about Lost Love at Christmas, I puke. And go look for my Osmond records. Donny and THERE's some Christmas music! "It never snows in LA, so Santa don't bring me a sleigh, I'll leave a key by the door, cause there's no chimney anymore...." Ok, Tam, join in here...(and please correct my misunderstood words...I don't have the lyrics in front of me, you know)

Travel for Christmas or stay at home?

I like both. I lean toward staying home, though.

Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?

I'm a little leary of a reindeer who prances. And Comet is a toxic substance.

Angel on the tree top or a star?

A blue angel, right now.

Open the presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Christmas Morning.

Most annoying thing about this time of year?

How stressed people get over the spending they feel obliged to do; people who act like Christmas is a chore they have to get accomplished

What I love most about Christmas?

This year, Tom is taking 10 days off work. I like that. I like to sit in the dark with Tom and stare at the lights on the tree and.....(censored)....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


People say we 4 girls all look alike. At times, I'd agree. Other times, not so much. Like here. Sure, Tam and I bear a remarkable resemblance, as do Deb and Teresa, but Tam and I don't look so much like Deb and Teresa. People really should be careful that the glasses they use have been thoroughly cleaned. Cameras, too!

Who Says Ya Can't Be Cool Past 70?

When I was a kid, my Dad had a blue pin striped suit he wore to church many Sundays. (One time he went to church wearing his house shoes - we were walking up the long sidewalk at Hilltop Chapel, located next to The Pony Bar, in Concord, Michigan, when he glanced down and realized he had his brown vinyl-bottomed Kmart slippers on - but that has nothing to do with this blog, I just wanted to insert that tidbit here cause I know he reads my stuff!) Back to the original thought pattern. This blue suit was the typical late 70's polyester fabric that all the men in our church donned to look their Sunday best.

Not being prone to reminiscing about my father's clothing too often, I had not thought about that particular item until about 6 months ago, when my 14 year old son wanted me to take him to Goodwill. He wanted some "old man pants" to wear. (Sorry, Dad - those were Bucky's words, not mine! Do I still get a Christmas present??) Wouldn't you know, one of the pairs of slacks this fashion-conscious child of mine chose during this shopping excursion was identical to my Dad's blue pin striped pants! Bucky loved them. Later, he decided that they would be cooler (that's probably "kuhler" in current language) if they were chopped off at the knees, so the last time I checked, his old man pants were jagged, no-hemmed, mom-isn't-sure-what-this-style-is-supposed-to-say shorts that aren't overly attractive, but which scream "Bucky!!" loud and clear. They make him happy.

I can't imagine wearing something my grandmother would have worn. The mere pondering of the drapery-inspired gabardine red and black flowered skirts combined with the double-knit red and white-speckled zippered, high-collared pullover tunic causes me to shudder with horror. It also makes me pause and remember the time that my mom, sister, aunt, and cousins, along with Granny and I, went to Albion to a park for a picnic. We kids were swinging and playing on the slide. Mom and Aunt Joyce decided to join in the fun. Not to be outdone (another family issue my sisters and I often laugh about), Granny strutted up the steps to the top of the slide, took her seat on the shiny metal, and proceeded to slide in a downward motion, which is as it should be. However, Granny forgot how to land gracefully. Granny flew off the end of the shiny metal and promptly found herself sitting, rather forcefully, in a pile of dust. After being certain that Granny's tailbone wasn't broken, helping her re-insert her eyeballs and close her mouth, and assisting her to an upright, if slightly painful, position, Mom and Aunt Joyce commenced to laugh - dare I say, cackle - their not-very-kindhearted-to-their-humbled-mother heads off, while we kids gingerly checked on Granny's well-being (and then joined in the laughter).

It's funny what you remember at the oddest moments, for the oddest reasons. I wonder what my kids will talk about, what their kids will be telling their kids about me someday. Will I have left a good heritage for them, rich in funny stories and loving memories? Will they be able to say I showed them by my actions how to love God with all their heart? Will they do what's right, even if no one else does, because they saw me do what was right? Will the things that I think are important for my children to know right now make a difference in their future generations?

Our family is spread out across several states, and we rarely are able to be together. We're all unique, like families everywhere, in our choices of how we raise our children, family rules, church denominations, schooling methods, financial situations - the list goes on. However, there is one thing we are united on and that is who we want for President of the United States of America. Our choice for President is Congressman Ron Paul. We might have varying reasons WHY he's our choice, but it's a nearly unanimous decision that he IS the choice.

In the past 6 months, my kids have learned much about government, loyalty, corruption, the Constitution, Mom's "tenacity" (as I was recently credited with by a friend), meetup groups, campaign donations, laws, elections, primaries, Democrats, Republicans, freedom of speech, health care, spying, and all other things political. I've learned with them. My dad has learned with us. This election spans generations, political parties, financial status, religions, countries.

I love America. I love our ability, our freedom, to be different. I want that freedom to be strong for my family years from now. That's why I'm not going to stop the "tenacity". I want what I leave for my family to remember to be worth their time. I want to spend my time doing things that will still be making an impact long after I'm gone. Being tenacious for Ron Paul is worth my time. Teaching my kids to follow the rules and demand that leaders do the same is worth my time. Working together with my family for a common cause is worth my time.

I will be tenacious for a man who:
*has never voted to raise taxes.
*has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
*has never voted to raise congressional pay.
*has never taken a government-paid junket.
*wants to let me keep more of my money.
*wants to end the IRS.
*wants to protect my privacy.
*wants to bring our troops home and keep our own borders safe.
*wants to end the Patriot Act.
*wants to end forced vaccinations.
*believes parents know what is best for their children in ALL aspects.
*is a strong home-school advocate.
*relies on God for wisdom, but doesn't use his "faith" to win an election.
*believes life begins at conception and as an OB/GYN, delivered over 4,000 babies.
*has been married to one woman for over 50 years.
*upholds the Constitution and votes "NO" on items contrary to it.

When I'm no longer here, I hope my family remembers that I was a little crazy, that I refused to throw away any Ohio State Buckeyes sweatshirts, that I wasn't afraid to make a fool of myself to get my point across.....and that I didn't regret, for one second of my life, having tenacity.