Mary Did You Know?

Mary started working for me in 2006.

To this day, she remains one of my favorite employees.  We lost touch after she moved back east.  I was thinking about her  yesterday as I was roofing.

At the time I hired her, I  was looking for one laborer.  She met all of my qualifications but one…

Needed to be able to carry an 80 pound bundle of shingles up a ladder.

We talked about that at the interview. She thought she could probably do it.  She told me her last job as an archaeological assistant  was very  physical. She liked working outdoors, in all kinds of weather, wasn’t afraid to get dirty.  In the end, I hired her and young man named Brady.   I knew Brady could handle the shingle lifting.

Like I said,  Mary came to mind yesterday as that Christmas song Mary Did You Know  was  flitting through my brain…

Couple of quick stories about Mary.

First week she came to work, she cussed like a sailor.  I didn’t say anything. Figured she just wanted to make a good first impression with a bunch of rough construction guys.  I used to cuss like a sailor myself, so I didn’t think too much about it.  About the 3rd day she came to work, she brought the cussing  up.  Seems she and her day care lady were talking about her new job working for me….(whom I kind of knew)  The day care lady went on and on about what a “good Christian man I was.”  (yea right)  so Mary  told me she was sorry about all of the “f bombs.”

I laughed.  Told her not to worry about it.  To my ears, they were just words.  I noticed a change  after that conversation. She became more relaxed and  genuine.

Few months later, we were heading to work one morning.  She told me to pull over, quick….  she was feeling sick.   Lost her breakfast next to a telephone pole.  (sorry)  When she got back in the truck, I asked her if she (quoting now) “Had one in the oven?” 😉

“Absolutely not!  It was probably a greasy salad dressing I had the night before.”  She said.  Well, me, having watched my wife go through pregnancy  four times  wasn’t convinced.

The time of day was suspect. The fact she didn’t have the flu made me suspicious.

In the end, I was right. 🙂

As we got closer to Christmas that year,  I could tell she was under financial stress.

No family in the area.


My heart went out to that young family, 1000 miles from home.   I mentioned something briefly in an adult Sunday School class I was a part of.

“Wouldn’t be fun to pass the hat  in the spirit of Christmas?”   I told the class I would have to come up with a way to present it to her, because she was not a mooch.

There is nothing quite as much fun as being able to help someone out who really needs it, and who is not expecting it.  We ended up collecting  about $300 as I recall.   I gave it to her that next Monday morning before work.

She cried.

Said she couldn’t accept it.

Can’t remember now what I said, but eventually she  did.  The following week, more money trickled in…

I had to apologize and tell her I had more money for her.

It wasn’t my fault.  Someone else had heard about their situation and wanted to help.  I think I got a hug out of that one. 🙂

I’ve tried to track Mary down a few times since she moved but she’s fallen off the radar. She reminded me a lot of my eldest daughter Angie.

I’ll close with Pentatonix’s version of Mary Did You Know.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone’s generosity?

Have you ever had the chance to be on the giving end to help someone out?

Tell me your stories!

I want to hear about it!   DM


We headed  to Cedar Rapids that night  to hear  live music at the Java Creek coffee-house. Scott and Michelle/ a husband wife duo, both master musicians in their own right,  took it to another level when they played together.  Michelle was teaching our daughter Rebekah guitar at the time and when they saw the three of us in the audience, they asked Rebekah to come up and sing a song with them.

It was all spur of the moment.

Rebekah picked Landslide.

Quick back story…When Rebekah worked as a Subway artist back in the day, it was not uncommon for her to lapse into song while at work…nor was it uncommon for someone who knew her, to request a song when she was working. She was like a little songbird 🙂

So there we were @ the Java Creek coffee-house, on a Friday night.  Our 16-year-old home schooled daughter took the stage with Scott and Michelle…she was wearing a leather trench coat.  Funny how  details like that stick in my head. 😉

Those couple of minutes  are still frozen in time in my mind.

She sounded  every bit as good as Stevie Nicks.

You could have heard a pin drop when they finished.

I still remember a young man sitting at a table close to us, wondering who in the heck that girl was. 😉

Anyway, Landslide was on the radio just now as I was driving home…took me right back…


Just For The Heck Of It….

I’m going to give you a peek into my head tonight as I wind it down.

The song  Silent Running by Mike and the Mechanics is playing.

Actually, that song is the background music on a powerful 6 minute tribute to Anne Frank (Diary Of Anne Frank)

Mrs DM attended our local  high schools drama department’s performance of A Diary Of Anne Frank Friday night.

Saturday morning on my WordPress feed I read, then watched  Silent Running.

Then this afternoon Mrs DM  went to a short presentation by Kitty Werthmann an 89 year old woman who grew up in Austria and talked about her experience watching Hitler come to power in that country.  I had some errands to do so I didn’t go, but I did agree to watch the 50 minute DVD she brought home.


Combine those two presentations and it puts several current events into  fresh historical perspective.

“When people fear the government, that is called tyranny, but when the government fears the people that is called liberty.”

Kitty  Werthmann


(Normally I don’t have quite this much rolling around in my head as I hit the sack..wanted to share the joy.)  DM

99 Red Balloons

The wind was coming out of the Northeast when we released the  balloons.  Within 30 seconds, 80 of them were tangled  up in a pine tree, and that is as far as they went.   The rest of them got away.

My  original thought was to fill 99 red balloons (just like the song) with helium, attach a little message to each one with my e-mail , and if someone would happen to find a balloon, shoot me a message to let me know and see how far they went.

The balloon release was part of a bigger event on our property.

In 2002  when we planted our first 40 apple trees, as I was standing there looking down the rows of the little 3 ft twigs baby apple trees , (they are called whips),in my mind’s eye, I could see full-sized trees, loaded with red and yellow apples.  Children running up and down the rows playing hide and seek.


I could hear live music and laughter coming from a stage planted in the middle of the orchard.

Keep in mind, this was all in my head at this point.

The trees would not start producing apples for another 5 to 7 years.  But from that idea was born  a series of music festivals we hosted starting the Fall of  2002 until just a couple of years ago.   I am currently taking a break from the whole thing, cause I’m still slightly burnt out from the 7 concert series we hosted in 2009….

I think I’m starting to run down a bunny trail right now….


Anyway, we had our first musical event the Fall of 2002.  It was everything and more I could have hoped for.  I wasn’t even sure who would want to come, or what sort of musical talent I could scare up.  Turned out, there is a lot of musical talent all around me, just waiting for a chance to take the stage.

So back to the balloon release….

Next morning  less than 12 hours later after the balloon release,  I got an e-mail. Someone had found  balloon # 51.   445 miles to the east.  It had crossed Lake Michigan and wound up in a fence near Parma Michigan. One month later, I got a second e-mail.Balloon #42 was found in Alfords Park Kenosha Wisconsin. 242 miles from home. That one had decided not to cross Lake Michigan 🙂

Now that was interesting because the wind was blowing from the East when it left…How in the world did it wind up traveling East?   Apparently the wind in the upper atmosphere was blowing in the opposite direction.

Blogging is like that for me.

I release my thoughts in the form of a blog post and sometimes, in the most random fashion, someone will stumble across one of them…And once in a while, wonder of wonders,someone will leave a comment.

Some sort of connection takes place.

If you’re a blogger then you probably know exactly the feeling I’m trying to describe.  That connection you experience with random people, from all over the world.  And sometimes, those people become a friend.

There are good people scattered all over this globe.

Last time I counted,  out of all these hundreds of random connections I’ve made via blogging,  My wife and I have met 7 of you in person, in the flesh, a couple of you multiple times.

If you don’t mind me asking, where in the world are you as you are reading this?  Be as general or detailed as you like. 

  Just so you know, this blog is originating from the United States of Merica. 😉