10 things grateful, plus a coupla graduations 🎓 | #gratitudeandshit

stormtrooper life of pets wednesday wifi mcdonaldsWe’ve got two graduations in three days.

I’m not talking those horseshit half-graduations for third graders, either. Full-blown, leaving this school, taking my game to the next level graduations. Hayden’s done with high school and on to college at Piedmont International University.

Camdyn’s coming to Queen’s Grant High, where I can’t wait to get her on the field.

They’ve both overcome adversity and adverse conditions but found ways to shine in big ways. There’ve been tests of will and tests of character and just a butt load of tests – like, on subjects. We’re ready to get this summer on.

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10 things grateful, plus that kickass feeling ✈️ | #gratitudeandshit

stormtrooper fruit may 31 2019 for post kitchen.JPG

I’ve just got that feeling.

I’m not worried about jinxing it. I never have. Things aren’t perfect. Are they ever? But optimism … it’s tough to cover up. It’s like that first day of warm sun in the spring. That first deep breath of a kickass meditation.

Or how your car smells like pizza the day after you bring home takeout. #mmmm

It’s like having your good shoes on with a huge hike ahead. Deciding on a lineup change your rival hasn’t seen yet. I’m not sure it’s a 2019 thing. I don’t know when it started. I know it was good today. Shifts. Adjustments. Rules set for me.

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🤯 Guest post: Author Britt Skrabanek, on how to protect your creative mind

stormtrooper dragon may 5 waiting antique store

A creative mind is a kind of mushy not often found in this world.

Not in a ‘this apple is too old to eat’ kind of way. More in a, ‘you can’t sit on a plate of flan or you’ll flatten it’ kind of way. It’s malleable in all the right ways, and when it’s healthy and strong, the best stuff comes shooting out of it.

Yeah, like sparklers.

Like a new pair of glasses or first-edition Chewbacca figure, it’s best to keep a creative mind protected 24-7 in the box it came in. But what fun is that? And what function? Just don’t sit on your glasses. Or lose Chewie’s crossbow.

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🙅🏽‍♂️ Go Ask Daddy about cream science, tequila compliance and the history of stinky schools we hate

stormtrooper octopus cinco de mayo waiting antique storeMy girls always knew dad’s hands were warm.

GAD GRAPHICIt’s a good thing when you’re a dad. As they’ve gotten younger, they don’t come to me for hand-warming much anymore. Maybe they outgrew it. Maybe they gained the gift of warming coils in their hands like dad’s – who knows?

In junior high, a girl once touched my hand during lunch.

I know, right? It’s true though. She couldn’t get over how soft and smooth my hands were. That was cool and all. She was touching my hand, for Boy George’s sake! But then teenage me began to wonder if she took it as a sign of weakness.

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#AtoZChallenge: U is for using up all your subs (Go Ask Daddy)

stormtrooper milkglass 2018 pretty antique store

I can’t help it.

AtoZ2019U (1)When the kids say something about subs at a soccer match, my mind goes to steak and cheese. Or turkey and avocado. It’s just how it is and I can’t change it. But the distraction is mostly temporary.

When I sub a kid into a game, it gives us a bit of a forum to talk that we don’t normally get.

You’re my mom’s favorite coach, but not my dad’s one girl told me. A new player told me how nervous she was to get in. Hayden didn’t spend a lot of time there, but as she waited to go back in after getting her first yellow card, we both tried not to snicker too loud.

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#AtoZChallenge: T is for Three Hundred Writing Prompts (Guilt)

stormtrooper love 2018 opp antique store

Way up here, there’s no Wi-Fi.

AtoZ2019TWhich is good. That means I can’t check email or get lost on Instagram. Again. It means it’s a good idea, while I’m on this flight, for me to have packed a couple of books loaded with writing prompts on my way to San Jose.

I got a little help from the girl next to me on the plane – after we’d sufficiently gushed over how incredible the cookies they give out are (I even scored three extra packs from the flight attendant – and folded up an origami peacock in appreciation).

My seatmate chose two prompts for me to write on from the book 300 Writing Prompts (Piccadilly 2017):

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#AtoZChallenge: O is for old people, other police dogs and one business day (Go Ask Daddy!)

stormtrooper globe 2018 travel antique shop

My kids are savage when it comes to my age.

AtoZ2019OThey’ve been rounding up for years. When my hair thinned just a hair, they declared me bald. They joke that my social security number is 47. Thing is, I’m probably the youngest 40-something dad among any of their friends.

The best old-guy insult came by one of Hayden’s friends.

\We’ll call her Anabel. I sat with Anabel and Hayden in an amphitheater at Carowinds theme park. We were visitors with the choir and band, I think. We were waiting for the show about dinosaurs to begin – and they were running late.

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#AtoZChallenge: K is for Kickass Kindness (to go with #gratitudeandshit)

stormtrooper mirror 2018 photos antique store
This one should be a country music album cover.

I mean …

AtoZ2019KWe do #gratitudeandshit around here. Why not #kickasskindness? Kindness kind of gets a bad rap. Like, me, in middle school, when someone started the rumor that I curled my hair. Psh. It spreads like wildfire. Or negative Yelp! reviews.

Anyway. Kindness.

People equate kind with weak. But that’s not always so. That’s why I like when one of my players trucks another player then helps her up. That’s sweet, right? It’s like, not in my neighborhood, !@#$!, then, you okay, sister?

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#AtoZChallenge: E is for Every Day Gratitude

stormtrooper pepsi 2018 thirsty antique shop
I’m grateful for photo ops in antique stores when I happen to have a stormtrooper in my pocket.

My journal has taken a beating.

AtoZ2019ELiterally and figuratively. Before last night, I hadn’t written in it for weeks. Also, the back cover has fallen off. There are about five pages left in her, and it looks like it spent a season getting kicked around on Gilligan’s Island.

Gratitude is easy to come back to, it seems.

It wasn’t as if I’d abandoned #gratitudeandshit. It’s part of every day. It just wasn’t getting written down. So I had some old things in there. Things such as, I’m grateful for new episodes of Silver Spoons and I’m grateful for my new calculator watch.

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#AtoZChallenge: D is for Drawing the Line

stormtrooper stegosaurus 2018 photo op antique store
You don’t have to be a star, baby, to be in my show. 🎶

Note: This post comes from a prompt in the book 300 Writing Prompts. On a flight from Charlotte to Phoenix last June, I asked the girl in the seat next to me to choose a prompt from the book for me to write about.

AtoZ2019DWhen I finished, the topic sparked an interesting conversation I’ll never forget.

The prompt:

Are there any lines that you simply will not cross?

Yes – although I can’t promise I never have, or I never will.

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