The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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The Color of Blue

Diligence: Constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind. 

Our 9 year old, Cassie May, started a blog. The Kumquat doesn't fall far from the tree. If Kumquats grow on trees. It all started because she wanted our family to get a puppy. The full court press began at Thanksgiving. It involved an art-board presentation deserving of Mad Men status on the reasons why we should get a puppy, but also a verification of all of the research she had done on dog breeds and which dog was best for our family. The winner was the Brittany Spaniel. She researched over a hundred breeds. We have four children and only researched two breeds. Because there are only two kinds of children. Or so I thought. Until I had children. Then I realized there are over a hundred different breeds. 

Cassie May announced she wanted to start a blog on how to talk your parents into getting you a dog. And so began Cassie's Dog Blog. It was her goal to post her research on dog breeds and her progress on getting her parents, to get her a dog. Within a week she had over 700 followers. Ready to torture their own parents about getting them a dog. I felt a karmic twitch.

Every morning she launched into a daily lecture on how to train a dog, how to feed them, bathe them, walk them, play with them. But we made it very clear to her, that a puppy was not in the near future. I had just had multiple spine surgeries. Daddy was working two thousand miles away. Yadayada. Her dog research never let up. And it became more about exercising her love for the animal, than actually having one. It was about appreciating the qualities of breeds, the issues involved in taking care of animals properly. Her maturity stunned us. And we gave in. But she had no idea.

Little did she know, we had done some researching of our own. Don was in Nashville, and had found a family who's Brittany had a litter, and there was one puppy left. She was ours. But we had to keep this a secret, because we found her three weeks before Don could fly her home for Christmas. I practiced my mantra over and over that we had to wait to get a dog. 

Cassie May continued to blog. Then on December 22nd, her world turned upside down. With her older siblings in on the plan, and her younger sister oblivious to our scheming ways, Operation Blue commenced. The color of blue was the name our family had decided would be the perfect name for a puppy, if we ever got one. Blue is our favorite color. Because our oldest daughter, who is now in college, decided that Tiffany Blue should be renamed Macky Blue. And so it was. Everything we saw that was light blue suddenly became a Macky Blue, so we should probably be naming the puppy Macky Blue, but that would be weird, to name your dog after your daughter. So it is Blue. 

Macky found a sparkling blue color with little rhinestones on it. We wrapped it in a clothing box. It was night time, the Christmas tree lit, fire was turned on. Because in California we turn on our fireplace. I know. That's weird. And wrong. Don texted me when he was outside the front door. The kids opened this strange early gift of a clothing box. Which is never too exciting to kids. The clothing box. Sometimes it's socks. So I told them it was socks. From Justice. Then upon pulling apart the white tissue inside they discovered a lack of clothing. It was quite boring in there, actually. Except for a collar. That was Macky Blue. With sparkles. Their brains began to race. Our youngest began to spurt out nonsensical vocals with words resembling "Puppy! Puppy! It's a puppy!" Cassie sat there in shock. And then the front door creaked. It was a daddy. With a puppy, and big red bow. 

Blue is now three months old. She asks for the door, when she wants to. We have lost six pairs of shoes, one rug, two computer chargers, and three supposedly indestructable chew toys. But we love her. And she's ours. The greatest gift ever. All because of a little girl who went Mad Men, over the color of Blue.

Blue Belle Bensko / Three Months Old

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