Posts with Category This Writer’s Life

“Don’t forget to explore!” A lesson in creating from my daughter

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On Monday, Harper and I explored the woods. We found puff balls, a beer bottle, a rabbit, and a squawking heron. We climbed a deer stand and tried to patch a beaver dam.

When we walked from the woods into the clearing next to the pond, we saw what appeared to be snow flowers. It was as if tall weeds that had managed to stay upright through the winter bloomed petals of snow.

Harper wanted to show “everyone,” so we recorded a short episode of Harper & Daddy TV, our hit YouTube show. (I mean, like, one of our video has 100 views.)

While we were filming, we realized that the snow flowers had formed atop nearly invisible spider…

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Union City Pride

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I haven’t watched a high school basketball game from start to finish since my wife hung up her sneakers in 1998. (Annie was #44 in the playbook and #1 in my heart, although I was too cool to admit it.)

That changed this past Saturday when I cheered on the Union City Lady Indians against Wood Memorial in the Class 1A State Championship.

“I don’t know why I’m crying,” I said to Annie after a girl from Union City drilled a three out of the gate. (To qualify crying: I had a single tear welling up in each eye. It wasn’t like I was ugly crying.)

“I had tears running down my face watching The Facebook video of them leaving town,” Annie…

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My friend/grandma Frances

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My grandma, Frances (Copeland) Wilt, looked like Bob Dylan and laughed like Popeye. Two inarguable facts that I’ve kept to myself until now.

She died on Monday morning in Rockford, Illinois, while I was eating donuts and drinking coffee in Muncie, Indiana.

The smell of coffee reminds me of her and Grandpa. They were the only reason our house had a coffee maker growing up. When the coffee maker came out, I knew they were on their way and grandma would be loaded down with paper bags of garage sale toys–He-Mans and Han Solos and some of the weirdest toys you could imagine.

They’d pull up in their multi-Brown RV and it was like a whole planet just showed up in the…

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A house on wheels provides tons of adventure

This  article first appeared in the CS Monitor on June 12, 2016. My Grandma just passed away and I’m dusting it off in remembrance of her and her love of travel.

My cousin Brice is armed with the bow and arrow. Of the two of us, he is the better shot and the more ruthless. I have a plastic bag filled with paper “snaps” that go bang! when thrown on the ground.

A foolish woman thought she could steal a few moments of rest alongside this winding road in the Great Smokey Mountains. Little did she know that lurking behind the shade tree she had parked under were two 7-year-old boys about to attack.

She is asleep. This is going to be easy. First, I will…

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What my autistic son taught me about happiness

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It’s that time of year when we are constantly reminded through ads, resolutions, and unrealistic expectations that we are less than others. People are more organized, fitter, harder workers, better looking, and overall live better lives being better people than you and me.

Feel better? Are you overcome with hope and positivity?

Perhaps the happiest human I know is my son Griffin. This might surprise some people because Griffin, 5, is on the autism spectrum. The stereotype for someone on the the spectrum is that he or she becomes easily frustrated by people, lights, sounds, a break in routine. This can lead to anxiety and sometimes depression.

One night recently Griffin woke us up, not crying, not whining, but laughing an uncontrollable, body trembling belly…

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The sweetest Obamacare story you’ll hear this week

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Griffin was down in the basement in his “boy cave.” Harper was doing an art project on the kitchen table. Annie was preparing dinner. And I was shopping for Obamacare on healthcare.gov. My appetite a bit less as I scrolled down past ever-rising premiums and deductibles trying to find a plan that worked for us.

We are thankful for Obamacare and the fact we can’t be turned away for my son having a “preexisting condition” of autism. No private insurance company would insure us otherwise.

Basically, we pay the insurance company $10 and they pay $100 of our expenses. Of course, we pay a lot more than $10 each month to have insurance. Our premiums and our deductibles (which we…

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Thanks for the inspiration, Donald Trump. Let’s get to work!

There are a lot of reasons I didn’t want Donald J. Trump to be our next president, but there is one reason (and probably only one) that I’m glad he won.

The night of the election, I went to a watch party hosted at The Downtown Farm Stand. (Can you get more liberal than drinking organic beer and eating organic free-range, potato chips with your GMO-free friends? Probably not.) Like everyone else we expected to watch the election of the first female president. I can’t say I was a vigorous supporter of Hillary Clinton (there’s something rather unappealing about political dynasties), but earlier that day when I cast a vote for her I did get the “feels.” I have a daughter and if her fascination…

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This photo shatters a common myth about autism

There’s this myth that people with autism aren’t affectionate.

Allow me to shatter that into 1,000 pieces with this pic:

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This morning my wife took this photo of our 5-year-old son Griffin, who is on the spectrum, snuggling with his sister, Harper. Griffin gives great hugs and high-fives. He giggles so hard he toots and then giggles even harder because toots are funny. And he has a smile that will make your day.

Not all people with autism can express their affection through actions or words. We’re fortunate that Griffin can. But I’m pretty positive that every single person on planet Earth, including those who are on the spectrum, feel love and affection just like you…

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That time I filed a harassment complaint against my favorite ice cream shop

Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day–a day, which for religious purposes, we participate in whole-heartedly.

It was getting late in the day, our Sunday naps had given away to a flurry of activity–swinging, bike riding, Ninja-warrioring on the local playground, anything to try to wear out the kids so they would fall asleep before 2AM. (Oh yeah, we also enjoy playing with the kids, but, honestly that was secondary.)

I checked my phone in a panic between underdogs to see what time The Barking Cow, our favorite, local ice cream shop closed. The Barking Cow’s Facebook page said they closed in 50 minutes.

Oh look and there on their Facebook page was a picture of someone we know. The husband of Mrs. Stanley, Griff’s preschool teacher, was holding his little boy who…

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