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  • Writer's pictureBeth Hildebrand

Things I Learned The Past Two Months

I skipped my What I Learned post last month.

Since then the busyness of the holidays are over, new year dreams have been thought out (and maybe put into action), the sleet storm has almost completely thawed and the kids are back in school after having been only 13 of the past 28 school days.

Because it’s the end of the month, it’s time to join with Emily P. Freeman’s “What I Learned” group of writers and share some of the things I’ve learned lately.


#1  A Star Wars promo on the radio makes me cry.  You’re probably laughing. In December you saw and heard about the new Star Wars movie everywhere you turned.  I grew up a die-hard Star Wars fan.  I had most of the figures and battleships, had Star Wars sheets for my bed, and my neighborhood friends and I “played Star Wars” outside all the time.  I’d wear those brown, fuzzy earmuffs to pretend I was Princess Leah who had buns on each side of her head. (I wish I had a picture of that!)  One thing that was must special to me about Star Wars is that my dad took me to see the movies.  That was always our date.

Early in December I was driving in town and heard a radio station announcer say to listen for to time to call in to win a deluxe package of free movie tickets to see the new Star Wars:The Force Awakens when it’s released (which was December 18).  In the announcement there was also clips of the movie and when I heard Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) say, “Chewy, we’re home.” with the “roaring” sound of Chewbacca agreeing and spacecraft zooming in the background,  I couldn’t believe it but I started crying!  I didn’t expect that one coming.  It happened so fast.  As soon as I heard his voice, all those childhood memories I just mentioned flew through  my mind as fast as the Millennium Falcon zooms through space.  I wasn’t expecting to become a hot mess.  I don’t think they were the toys I missed, or my galaxy sheets with Luke, Hans and Leah, but it had to have meant it was pretty ingrained in me and I didn’t even know it until that moment.  And most of it was probably because of the memories I had made with my dad.

OK. Moving on before I become a hot mess again.


#2  I guess I’m on a Star Wars kick here.  I also learned that the wookie “voice” of “Chewy” Chewbacca is a combination of the recorded sounds or four bears, a badger, a lion, a seal, and a walrus from Long Beach.  Now you know too!

#2  Bob Goth has a new book called Love Does (and now is a NY Times Bestseller). I haven’t read it but I might as well have because my son was given that book from his Young Life leader, and he’s told me many details about some of the stories in the book.  I’m so thankful for his YL leader to invest his college life into high school guys and I’m thankful that my son is enjoying the book.  Check it out.  My 16 year old highly recommends it.

#3    You start to receive emails and slow-mail from colleges and universities the day after your child gets his PSAT results back.  This is now the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.  I’m sure I’ll be learning many new things about getting ready for college from a different perspective (my child’s, not mine when I was his age) the next couple of years.

#4  Dick Vitale, the most outspoken and well-known college basketball announcer is a former 6th grade math teacher.  We were watching an ACC basketball game this month and it’s just as entertaining (and educational) to listen to Dickie V. announce as it is to watch the game.  I had never heard that he was previously a middle school math teacher but I’m sure the kids had to love him being their teacher.  He told some good memories he had teaching while the ball was bouncing down the court.  Speaking of education, can you hear Dickie saying this with his unique voice and character?

I learned from my mom and dad, who didn’t have a formal education but had doctorates of love. They told me that if you gave 110 percent all the time, a lot of beautiful things will happen. I may not always be right, but no one can ever accuse me of not having a genuine love and passion for whatever I do.” – Dick Vitale

That’s awesome-baby!


(picture taken from here)

#5  Was Thomas Edison “mentally ill”?  I read what a Rabbi had written about Thomas Edison:

A story is told about a young Thomas Edison who came home one day with a paper for his mother. He told her, “My teacher told me to give this paper only to my mother.” Thomas’ mother read the note and her eyes filled with tears. Thomas asked his mother what the note said, and she read aloud, “Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers for training him. Please teach him yourself.” And that’s exactly what Thomas’ mother did; she homeschooled her child with devotion and dedication. As the story goes, many years later after Thomas Edison’s mother passed on, and he was now one of the world’s greatest inventors, he found a folded paper among other family items. He opened the very same paper that had been handed to him to give to his mother and read the following message: “Your son is mentally ill. We won’t let him come to school anymore.” At that moment, Edison realized what his mother had done for him so many years ago. He wrote in his diary: “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the ‘genius of the century.’”

How blessed he was.

#6  How to make “mall pretzels”.  Last week while we were snowed in, I pulled out a recipe in All Recipes I had saved on how to make those thick, salty or sweet pretzels you get at the mall or sports events.  They’re sold at Target too, by the way.  My daughter and I had a good time making a total floury mess while we attempted to make them.  They turned out pretty good actually but can use improvement.  Now that we kind of know how it’s done, we’ll just get better at it next time!  We packed them up and went to our friends’ home to watch the Carolina Panthers win their game that takes them to the 50th Super Bowl next week!  Go Panthers!

Here’s the recipe if you’re interested in making mall pretzels

Those are the things I learned that come to my mind the most.   What are some things you’ve learned this past January?

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