Talking About My Favorite Hamburger Toppings

It was brought to my attention this morning that National Cheeseburger Day was yesterday. The craziest part about this fact? Sidney made us cheeseburgers for dinner last night! Sid doesn’t make cheeseburgers that often and we had no idea about the “holiday” so it really was the ultimate coincidence.

By the way, Sidney prepares the best cheeseburgers. She cooks them in something she calls a griddler and they are delicious and filling!

The cheeseburgers were so good that I took the unusual step of forgoing my peanut butter sandwich and bringing leftovers for lunch. The burger was just as good today as it was yesterday.

For tonight’s blog post, I thought what better way to celebrate a belated National Cheeseburger Day than to state my five favorite hamburger toppings? I mean, come on, you all are just dying to hear my list, right? Before I start, let me say one thing: I don’t eat kethcup, mustard, or mayonnaise so don’t be shocked when you don’t see those conidments on the list.

In order, here are my five favorite burger toppings…

5. Bacon – Occasionally I enjoy a bacon burger. The crispiness of a couple strips gives your sandwich a satisfying crunch. Also, it is a great way to fill up. Whereas sometimes one regular burger might not take your hunger away completely, a burger with bacon will make you feel just right. But besides the crunch and hunger satisfying attributes, we all know that anything in general is better with bacon.

4. Pepperjack Cheese – Out of the cheeses you can slice, I will always choose to top my burger with pepperjack cheese. As a guy who loves a little kick, adding some spice to my sandwich is a no-brainer. If there is enough available, and if no one is looking, I will add two slices of pepperjack.

3. French Fries – If I am served steak fries with my cheeseburger, I will take the top bun off and create a layer of potato on top of the patty. I love the texture it gives to the sandwich and there is nothing more American than meat and potatoes.

2. BBQ Sauce – I am not a condiment person by any means. As I mentioned above, I stay away from the mainstream “big 3.” However, there is one particular sauce that I really enjoy. I will usually ask for a side of BBQ sauce when I order a hamburger. Last night, I took our bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s out of the refrigerator and used it. To me, BBQ sauce just tastes natural on a burger. The smoky flavor combined with hearty beef is a winner in my book.

1. Blue Cheese Crumbles – Whenever I have the opportunity to order a blue cheese burger off any menu I will do it. Although not a big fan of blue cheese dressing, I adore blue cheese crumbles. I feel that adding some crumbles to a burger makes it taste at least 2X better. I wish I had more to say about it, but I guess all I can express is that it is my all-time favorite burger topping.

Retro photo of me eating a hamburger in 2012.

Honorable Mentions:

Mac and Cheese – Once a novelty, macaroni and cheese burgers are now pretty popular. As someone who counts mac and cheese as one of his favorite foods, it goes without saying that I don’t mind it on top of my burger.

Hot Sauce – Although BBQ sauce is my favorite sauce to put on a burger, my favorite type of sauce in the world is hot sauce. Adding some Sriracha to a burger with pepperjack cheese is a true spicy delight.

Peanut Butter – I have to be in the mood, but every now and then I will scarf down a peanut butter burger.

This is my peanut butter hamburger I ate at River City Café, a famous burger place in Myrtle Beach.

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Do you like blue cheese crumbles? Do you have an obscure topping you like to put on your burger? Let me know. Until then, let me fill you in on one little secret…although toppings are great, I have absolutely no problem eating a plain cheeseburger. Don’t Blink.

A Scary Situation for Montana Schools

Currently, something really strange is impacting students in Flathead County, a gorgeous area in northwestern Montana. Since last Thursday, over 30 schools covering multiple districts have temporarily closed down. The reason is chilling.

A hacker, or, as President Trump would call him, “a bad dude,” supposedly managed to infiltrate the computer system of the Columbia Falls School District. Once successful, this person didn’t demand money or seek other collateral. Instead, his goal was to simply incite fear.

This particular person was able to obtain information from the computer system that has allowed him to contact school officials and random parents not just by e-mail but through text messaging as well. The contact has been continuous. The message?…

Content so disturbing, violent, and vulgar that school officials and the media won’t even reveal it.

However, the gist is clear: go to school and die.

Imagine this for a moment: You receive a text message that uses your name and says your children and classmates will be subjected to violence. You freak out, right?

Yes, messages sent to people within the district have been personalized. The hacker is extremely sophisticated and able to send threats that include the name and info of each recipient. Things are starting to get out of control. Law enforcement, school officials, and students/families are understandably spooked.

But it gets even weirder! In my opinion, the craziest part of this whole story is that the hacker contacted the major newspaper in the county and requested an interview. During the course of the electronic discussion with journalists from The Beacon, the hacker continued speaking in violent and obscene terms, stating his goal was to kill people in large numbers. He admitted he wanted to paralyze the community in fear. He also spent considerable time mocking Flathead County by spewing stereotypes about that specific area of the country and shaming the community for closing down schools based solely on threats. 

Talk about a superintendent’s worst nightmare. What can you possibly do? This hacker has seized complete control of Flathead County. I don’t think a sane person would question the school leadership for closing down but of course the impact is immense. Three days of instruction have been lost; all athletic contests, dances, and extracurricular activities have been canceled. Students and staff are at home, wondering how the situation will unfold. It is tough to guess the long term effects on the academic/activities calendar.

Over the weekend, law enforcement officials did determine that this hacker is operating in an area thousands of miles from the state of Montana. With this news, despite the threats that are still continuing from this lunatic, classes are expected to resume tomorrow.

I feel for everyone in Flathead County. This is beyond scary and completely unfair. I hope students can return to classes tomorrow with a sense of safety. As for the hacker, I hope he is brought to justice and his identity exposed. It is impossible to calculate the damage he has done. Don’t Blink.

The Don’t Blink Emmy Awards

Tonight is the 2017 Emmy Awards. Not that I will be watching. First of all, I find these awards a snoozefest. But, adding extra incentive to not watch this year is the host. I don’t think there is anyone on TV whose work I dislike more than that of Stephen Colbert. So, there you have it, I won’t be tuning in.

What I will be doing, however, is “hosting” my own Don’t Blink Emmy Awards right here on my blog. Even though I am absolutely 100% unqualified to do something such as this (I used to never watch anything other than sports programming on TV until I met Sidney) I am going to take full liberty of my right to sit behind a keyboard and type out my hot takes. Without further ado, could I have the envelopes please?…

Best Drama: This Is Us – The writing and the themes in this program made it must-watch TV last fall. Sidney and I had Tuesday nights pretty much circled on our calendars and looked forward to watching the latest episode throughout the day. This show is about real life topics. All of us can relate to it in some way and even the most heartless individual couldn’t watch an episode and not feel some type of emotional pull at the end.

Best Reality Show: Big Brother – In my opinion, I think it is best when reality shows are actually based on reality. With “Big Brother,” it is raw and believable. It is based on actual human nature. Most of all, the show is about strategy. Regular people come on the show and battle it out to be the last one standing. It is structured and it is goal-oriented but it isn’t scripted. Nothing beats it.

Worst Realty Show: Housewives of __________ – Sidney calls the shows that follow “socialites” around trash. I couldn’t agree more. Even though she continues to watch it, at least she calls it for what it is. Nothing is more cringeworthy than the “Housewives of (insert whatever city is given a bad name).” The entitlement, the disrespect, and the first world problems are all enough to make me walk out of the room when it is on.

Best Game Show: Jeopardy – I know a lot of game shows came out this past season including “The Wall,” “Candy Crush,” and “Beat Shazam” but I would watch a 1980s rerun from Jeopardy over all those any day of the week. Jeopardy tests your intelligence while needing no gimmicks to keep you entertained. It is a great show to watch with others and Alex Trebek is still on the top of his game.

Best Made-for-TV Documentary: 30 for 30 – Yes, ESPN is starting to go downhill a bit but its 30 for 30 series is a bright spot. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, the way these stories are told will keep you glued to the TV. The reason? These documentaries focus just as much on the cultural aspect as the athletic pursuit. When you watch one of these programs, it really feels like you are living through it in the moment.

Best News Magazine: Dateline – Let me tell you, the news magazine category is stacked. Shows like 20/20, 60 Minutes, and 48 Hours keep improving by adding effects, social media components, and more drama. However, there is one show that has something those other programs don’t. Which show is that? Dateline. And what does it have that the others don’t? Keith Morrison.

Enough said.

Best News Broadcast: Nightly News With Lester Holt – Sure, the mainstream news networks have an obvious left-leaning bias these days but we still got to get our news somehow. At our house, we never miss Lester Holt’s nightly broadcast.

Best Crime Show: Live PD – This program quickly became a favorite of Sidney’s family and for someone like me who grew up watching Cops, Live PD is intriguing to me too. Making it even better is the fact that a regular department the show covers is the Spokane County Sherriff’s Office. Watching the cameras film the crime on the streets of my hometown and then have law enforcement experts in the studio analyze it is pretty cool!

Best Flipping Houses/Remodel/Fixer Up Show: Fixer Upper’s – This is another genre of show I would never watch if not for meeting Sidney but over the past few years I have seen all of the 47 programs that fit this category. The one I like best is “Fixer Upper’s.” I enjoy both hosts and, I must admit, Chip actually makes me laugh. Although it is not a show I could watch a marathon of, I am good for back-to-back episodes.

Best Baby Show: Color Crew – Surprise surprise that this is a category, right? My favorite show to watch with Sloan is “Color Crew” on Baby First TV. Give it an actual Emmy, please.

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Congratulations to all the winners! I know my opinion means a lot. Regardless of how bush league this blog post is, it sure is better than one thing: sitting through a show hosted by Stephen Colbert. Don’t Blink.

Your Thursday Rundown Is Right Around the Corner

Good evening to everyone! I hope the week is going well. Hang in there, Friday is right around the corner. You know what else is right around the corner? My latest Thursday Rundown…

Freeman High School – Yesterday, a school shooting took place in my hometown. Freeman High School was the target of the atrocity. A sophomore at the school lost his life and others were injured. A staff member at Freeman subdued the suspect (a student at the school) and police arrested him. Coincidentally, my dad had just officiated the Freeman football game this past Saturday at the school. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by this senseless act of violence. When I used to hear about something like this, I would always think about how scared I would be if all of a sudden someone started unleashing bullets in a public place I happened to be at. Now, as a parent, I feel absolutely mortified that my daughter will grow up in a world where going to school carries with it a possible deadly risk.

Mommy and Daughter – Totally separate from my Sloan photo collage update, I wanted to share this photo of Sloan enjoying some special time with her mom. On Sunday evening, Sid let Sloan cuddle with her in the “big person bed” for a half hour. They had a lot of fun and Sloan gave Sid plenty of “kisses.” I loved watching how happy both of my girls were.

It was so cute watching Sid and Sloan cuddle in bed together.

Welcome to the Neighborhood – It is not new for neighborhoods to set up private online networks. Residents can join and discuss neighborhood news, incidents of crime, services offered, babysitting inquiries, and more. Although this is not a novel concept, I was late to the party, joining my neighborhood’s portal earlier this week. Let’s just say it has been interesting. I read a couple of posts that seemed more suitable to be written by teenagers as opposed to homeowner adults. I showed Sidney one of the entries and she couldn’t look away from the app for the next hour. Me on the other hand?…not so much. I think the idea in general is great but I will need the posts to be a bit more relevant before I start checking it on a daily basis.

Mortal Combat! – I don’t know what made me think of it, but this morning I was reminiscing about the video game Mortal Combat. When the game came out, it generated a lot of controversy because of its violence. Believe it or not, my parents banned me from playing it. Although we didn’t have a game system growing up (until we finally got a Nintendo 64 when I was 16), the ban was in effect when I went over to my friends’ houses. Don’t tell my mom or dad, but every now and then I would still grab a controller and kick butt with Sub Zero. Looking back at it, the blood that was such a distinguishing feature of Mortal Combat was pretty fake, and, to be honest, a little unnecessary.

Today’s completely random thought is brought to you by Mortal Combat.

Sloan’s Half Birthday – Tomorrow, Sloan will turn 26 weeks old. On Sunday, she will officially turn 6 months old. Time sure flies by. What a wonderful half year it has been. She is such a sweet girl and brings so much joy to her mommy and daddy. To all my Irish friends, Sloan’s half birthday will begin the 6 month countdown to St. Patrick’s Day.

Here is the latest Sloan photo collage.

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Thanks for taking the time to read another Thursday Rundown. I am looking forward to a quiet weekend with no severe weather. Wherever you are, I hope you are safe from storms as well. Don’t Blink.

When Coke Reaches Out To You On Twitter…

Yesterday evening, the Coca-Cola Twitter account reached out to me and expressed interest in using one of my tweets. Coke, a giant in both the beverage world and the social media world, wanted to use one of my tweets?

Yesterday, Coca-Cola reached out to me about using one of my tweets.

Umm, yes please!

Oh my, this could be good. But why would they want to use one of my tweets?…

Did they want to use my content for a brand new marketing campaign? Did they want to put one of my 140-character gems on a billboard? Did they just want to retweet my tweet to the company’s 3.3 million followers?

Unfortunately it wasn’t so glamorous. I had to direct message Coke with my consent to allow them to use my tweet. It was in this private conversation that they let me know their intentions for using my social media post.

Coca-Cola only wanted to use my tweet for “internal” purposes.

B-O-R-I-N-G. It turned out Coke only wanted to use my tweet for an “internal video.” To translate that for you, it means that the only “engagement” my tweet will be getting is on a Powerpoint slide viewed by about 12 people on the Coca-Cola marketing team. But in all honesty, although I had a glimmer of hope that Coke would actually use my tweet for something cool, I knew better.

You see, no company (unless you are Dominos) is going to use anything critical a consumer said/wrote/posted/ for the general public to see. Yep, the tweet that Coke asked my permission to use was a snarky comment I made about the new name given to one of its products.

I can’t blame Coke for not wanting to use my tweet for something a bit more prominent.

I think it is the worst name change in soft drinks since Mr. Pibb became Pibb Extra. To me, adding “Sugar” at the end of Coke Zero gives the wrong impression. When I read it, I notice the first two words (Coke Zero) followed by the last word (Sugar). Thus, to me, it is as if Coca-Cola is saying the drink is calorie-free (Coke Zero) with sugar added.

But my biggest complaint with the name was written right within the tweet. Why add a word to the name of diet soft drink? Especially a word that conjures up a lot of negativity to people who drink diet soda in the first place. Less is more.

Before I sign off, let me at least give Coca-Cola a little credit. I appreciate the fact that the company asked my permission to use my tweet even though just screen capturing it and using it “internally” for a dozen people to see would have been a lot easier. If I was a jerk, I would have asked for some free product in return. However, I thought better of it…they probably would have sent me Coke Zero Sugar. Don’t Blink.

What Touched Me On This 9/11

For those of us who were alive that agonizing day, I don’t think we will ever let September 11 pass by without deep thought and prayer. Although the hideous act against humanity took place a staggering 16 years ago today (still can’t believe it), most of us can remember it like yesterday.

Make no mistake about it, time has not been able to evaporate the feelings of loss, anger, and disbelief many of us still have. Rather, as time goes by, they seem to intensify. Just by living through that day, my heart will never let me forget how I felt when I woke up that morning and watched the towers fall.

But if my memory ever starts to dull, I can thank historians and others for making sure we will never forget. Since September 11, 2001, I have consumed countless documentaries, movies, victim testimonials, photographs, and raw video of the attacks. This content, which I am borderline-obsessed with watching, always touches me in a certain way.

Today, on the 16th anniversary of the attacks, I was touched again. But this time, it was just a quote that gave me chills.

When I saw this quote on my Twitter timeline this morning, I couldn’t help but feel extremely moved.

Out of all the well-done, high budgeted, emotionally gut-wrenching 9/11 media I have seen, it was this photo that somehow popped up on my Twitter feed and really impacted me. This voicemail message from a husband to his wife instantly brought tears to my eyes.

Over the past couple years I have become a softy. By getting married and having a daughter, I have learned so much more about love. To see a man, probably close to my age and standing in life, leave such a selfless and heartfelt message to his soul mate in a time of death and terror, hit me hard. How beautiful, how brave.

This time around, it wasn’t watching helpless civilians jumping out of buildings or a contingent of heros busting into a cockpit that made me lose it. On September 11, 2017, it was something different. This time, it was pure love. Going to hug my wife extra hard tonight. Don’t Blink.

Spared by Irma

Hallelujah. Hurricane Irma decided to spare us.

On Thursday, I noted that one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to touchdown in the United States could potentially steamroll through Myrtle Beach. Thankfully for us, that won’t be the case.

Despite earlier forecasts that showed our area in the 5-day error cone of the storm and despite plenty of worry and build up, we won’t go toe to toe with Hurricane Irma. Meteorologists, who cautioned the whole time that the storm could shift, proved correct when Irma decided to take a westerly track, not only comfortably bypassing Myrtle Beach but steering clear of most of the entire state of South Carolina itself.

We are all extremely happy. After living through Hurricane Matthew last year, a storm dwarfed both in size and power by Irma, I told myself I was fine if I didn’t have to deal with another Mother Nature assault for a while.

However, as I have mentioned, Hurricane Irma is a massive storm. Because of this, although we won’t be anywhere near the eye of the storm, we will experience “fringe effects” from Irma. Starting tomorrow and lasting through Tuesday morning, the Myrtle Beach area is expecting tropical storm force winds with the possibility of tornados.

Horry County Schools, my wife’s employer, canceled all classes tomorrow. Sidney and Sloan will have the day to snuggle and rest comfortably inside our home while the wind howls. As for me, classes at Coastal Carolina University are also canceled tomorrow (as well as Tuesday) but staff will still report.

Sidney and Sloan will be safe from the fringe effects of Hurricane Irma as they stay home tomorrow.

My thoughts and prayers are with the millions of people who have and will be impacted by this nasty storm. Since my family was spared, it means another young family to the west of us who originally thought they were in the clear now will have to brace for danger. I feel for them.

Thanks to everyone who reached out over the past several days, you are all the best. Do know we are doing fine and that we are completely out of harm’s way. Don’t Blink.

Hurricane Irma Thursday Rundown

It is currently a tense time in the area of the country I live in but that won’t stop the Thursday Rundown. Time to roll with this week’s five random topics…

Hurricane Irma – My opening sentence of this blog post was meant to reference one of the potentially biggest hurricanes to ever hit the United States. Hurricane Irma, a current Category 5 hurricane, is forecasted to make landfall in South Carolina. Many meteorologists are saying that Irma will dwarf Hurricane Matthew. Although the hurricane will most likely diminish into a Category 3 or Category 2 storm before it wreaks havoc on Myrtle Beach, it is a very concerning situation. I will make sure to keep all of you updated.

Wife Not a Fan of Football – Sidney can’t stand football season. She becomes quite annoyed when male figures in her life such as her husband and father spend time in front of the TV watching it. If I am going to catch a quarter while in bed, I have to mute it because just the background noise annoys Sid enough that she can’t sleep. When I saw this Blondie comic strip this morning it immediately made me think of Sid and I.

One reason Sidney dislikes football season is because it is so loooong.

Dad Entering His 33rd Year as Football Official – Speaking of football, my dad started his 33rd year as a high school referee this past week. I have written before about his decorated officiating career and needless to say I am proud of him for hitting the field to serve the Spokane youth once again. I wish him well and I will pray for a season of no injuries, understanding coaches, and exciting games. Have fun, dad!

A photo of my dad before he went off to officiate his first game of the 2017 season last Thursday.

Return Trip to Dave & Buster’s – On Labor Day, my father-in-law said he wanted to do “something fun.” To quench his thirst for a good time, we went to Dave & Buster’s. We visited the entertainment center at around 2 p.m. and it really was night and day compared to last June when we went on a weekend night at 10 p.m. We were able to play the games we wanted to in an atmosphere that resembled more of a family center as opposed to a night club. We ate lunch as well. Dave & Buster’s offers a vast and fun menu. Although making a selection was hard, I went with the bang bang chicken. The entire experience was a very nice Labor Day outing.

Sidney (and Sloan) playing Mario Kart this past Monday. My bang bang chicken is pictured to the right.

The Latest on Sloan – Although I don’t have too much new to report on Sloan this week, I do have one of the cuter picture collages to share. The smiles keep coming and her hair does too! When we FaceTime my family, her dark hair is the first thing they notice. She was so happy this morning as she smiled and played in her new overalls. Sloan will turn 25 weeks tomorrow.

No shortage of smiles from Sloan this week!

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Time to start bracing for a hurricane! I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys the weekend. I will try not to blow away. Don’t Blink.

Putting A Week of Ailments Into Perspective

I apologize for not writing much over the course of the last week, the truth is I have not felt up to it. The canker sore I complained about last Wednesday proved to be just the beginning of a string of ailments.

On Thursday, I came down with a strange shortness of breath condition. Throughout the entire day, I felt like I had just finished running 10 miles up hill. I was pretty uncomfortable and a tad bit worried.

I woke up Friday morning and I no longer noticed any shortness of breath. Why? Well, first off it was mostly gone. But the real reason I didn’t pay much attention to the previous day’s annoyance was because I now had a splitting headache. Feeling like my head had just been ran over by a truck, I swallowed more pills than I have ever taken before. It provided a little relief but the headache never left completely and within a few hours it was back to throbbing status again.

After Friday, I battled my headache on Saturday and Sunday as well. Although the pain lessened each day, I had never had a headache linger for so long. But by Monday I was feeling pretty good. Then I woke up on Tuesday…

I started off the work week with one of my signature colds. Yesterday was annoying and today was pretty miserable. I am hoping that I shake this nasty cold soon, crossing my fingers that I feel better tomorrow.

Dealing with various discomforts over the past week has reminded me of a couple things. First, it is so easy to take for granted your health. I do it all the time! Life is just so much more enjoyable without a stuffy nose and watery eyes or without a pounding pain in your head. I need to do a better job of enjoying the numerous days I enjoy when I feel 100%.

Second, I have been reminded that even when I am “sick” I am lucky. Having the audacity to whine about a cold quickly reminds me of my blessings. I know cancer patients and other terminally ill people would take a headache 10X the strength of what I had on Friday if it just meant that they were given one day without their symptoms and medication side effects. Yes, I know I have nerve writing this post.

I hope I feel better but I also hope I can do a better job at putting my “annoyances” into perspective. These days in this country, a cold certainly won’t kill you. Don’t Blink.

Celebrating My Grandma 100 Years After Her Birth

If still alive, my grandma would have turned 100 today. Fifteen years ago, I would have placed money on her reaching the century club. But things happen and she passed away in 2006.

My hypothetical bet is not the biggest loser, however. Rather, it is all the people, both those who she had met and those she would have met, who would have gained a lot from having her around those 11 extra years. She was an amazing lady.

Before my grandma was an “amazing lady” she was just a girl. Here is a photo from her earlier years.

I know most of us idolized our grandparents. I know most of us first came to grips with the fact of death when our grandparents passed. I know most of us look back with a great sense of nostalgia at our grandmothers and grandfathers. So I don’t want to romanticize my grandma’s life because I know I would probably get eye rolls. However, I do want to just point out a couple things about Virginia Fazzari.

My grandma holding me when I was born.

A strong, Italian woman, my grandma grew up in Walla Walla, Washington. She married my grandpa right before he went overseas for World War II. During the war, my grandpa would consistently send letters and money back to his new wife. When he finally returned from the service almost four years later, my grandma said she could barely recognize him…he had lost most of his hair. But with the money my grandpa had sent home, they had enough to build their own house.

From that point on, my grandpa joined my great grandpa in the restaurant business. They owned a successful Italian restaurant in downtown Walla Walla. My grandma would help out at the business but throughout her life she spent majority of her time at home raising a family. She was a proud mother to two boys and three girls. My own mom was the youngest; my grandma gave birth to her when she was 40, a medical feat at the time.

Once the kids were out of the house, my grandparents spent time traveling the country/world when my grandpa could step away from the Pastime for a few days. As they got older, my grandma spent a lot of her time sitting in her favorite recliner reading books, gazing out the big window in her living room. However, no matter if she was in the middle of the best page turner ever, her first priority was always her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

My grandma was a quiet woman. She didn’t say much, but when she did everyone listened. I learned from her that in life your credibility isn’t enhanced by being the loudest person in the room. The wise use words only when necessary.

My grandma was a God-fearing woman. Completely devoted to her faith, she was deeply involved with the church and was probably the best Catholic role model I knew. Again, it wasn’t about her being loud and boisterous about her beliefs, it was her demeanor and actions that established her as a true disciple of Christ. It was inspiring.

My grandma and I before we went to the church for my First Communion. My grandma was a strong disciple of God.

My grandma was a giving woman. She spoiled us grandchildren rotten but she helped the downtrodden as well. With my grandpa, the two of them spent their lives practicing generosity.

A photo of us three kids with grandma and grandpa. They spoiled us rotten.

My grandma was a loyal woman. Married to my grandpa for 60 years, they served as a great example to my parents who in turn served as a great example to Sidney and me. But she didn’t just stick by my grandpa. She was there for all of her children, grandchildren, friends, other relatives, etc. through thick and thin. She didn’t hold grudges and would welcome anyone over for Sunday dinner.

A newspaper clipping from the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin announcing my grandparents’ 60th anniversary.

Finally, my grandma was a STRONG woman. God tested her. She went through a long stage where the doctors said she and my grandpa wouldn’t be able to conceive. She suffered through the agony of her middle daughter suddenly coming down with a mysterious illness and passing away. She watched as her oldest daughter became confined to a wheelchair because of Multiple Sclerosis. She battled cancer. She went through the unthinkable parental nightmare of burying a second child when her daughter with MS eventually passed away. She watched her husband of 60 years go in for a pacemaker only to return not fully the same, dying shortly thereafter.

My grandma was strong with several hardships. Before she passed away, my mom was the only daughter she had left (my mom is in the black and my sister is in the jacket).

But as the Book of Job tells us, God does test the just with suffering. However, like Job, my grandma responded to it bravely. She kept herself together in order to bring comfort to others. In fact, I only saw her cry once. It was when they closed the casket prior to taking my Aunt Becky (the oldest daughter) from the funeral home to the church for her funeral mass. I understood true sadness at that moment. My grandma was a rock.

But believe me, when I think of my grandma I don’t think of sadness. Rather, I think of a woman who was quiet, yet really funny; a lover of books, yet always open to watch a comedy that we picked out; a health nut in her later years, yet the best cook I have ever known. I think of one of the finest human beings I have ever known. Many others will say the same thing.

Happy Birthday, Grandma! I am so happy I got to be with you on earth for 19 years. Cant wait to see you again one day. Don’t Blink.