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Luther Okeyo

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November 30, 2014

Thank You So Much!!

November 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

I know it’s a little late, but it’s been a weird week. I’m still getting over the fact that my football playing days are over. Well let me start over, we lost our playoff game last week to Southern Oregon University last week. It’s been an amazing season, and a wonderful career here at MNU. I have so many great memories that I can take with me for the rest of my life. I just want to thank some of the many people who were able to make all this possible for me.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family. Through thick and thin, they were right there to help me out. I wouldn't certainly be here without them. I love them all to death.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family. Through thick and thin, they were right there to help me out. I wouldn’t certainly be here without them. I love them all to death.

Coach John Diaz, for introducing MNU into my life, and helping me through the tough summer workouts, and making sure that I was always ready for whatever football threw at me.

Coach John Diaz, for introducing MNU into my life, and helping me through the tough summer workouts, and making sure that I was always ready for whatever football threw at me.

The former head football coach Jonathan Quinn for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to play football here at MNU.

The former head football coach Jonathan Quinn for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to play football here at MNU.

My freshman mentor, Kara Quinn. During my early years at MNU, Kara was there for me, when no one else could. She is getting married to this lucky guy, Chris Lindenmeyer. Fun fact: Chris was my RA my freshman year.

My freshman mentor, Kara Quinn. During my early years at MNU, Kara was there for me, when no one else could. She is getting married to this lucky guy, Chris Lindenmeyer. Fun fact: Chris was my RA my freshman year.

Last, but certainly not least, Coach Willmer. This man, has taught me so much in few months I've known him. He is more than just coach, he teaches you about life, about staying strong in your faith. I'm honored to have gotten to know him.

Last, but certainly not least, Coach Willmer. This man, has taught me so much in few months I’ve known him. He is more than just a coach, he teaches you about life, about staying strong in your faith. I’m honored to have gotten to know him.

I mean I could spend all day thanking countless people for all they have to help me get where I am today. I’m just grateful I got to do something that only 1% of all americans get to do. I was able to play college football. Now I get to follow my mom’s footsteps and become a college graduate. I just want to thank everyone who had a part in shaping me to become the man I am today. I want to thank MNU for providing a platform, most of all thank you God for guiding through this huge part of my life.

Now I just have to get used to just being a regular student now.

 

Mariah McCommon

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November 30, 2014

A Thanksgiving Selfie

November 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

Hello friends!! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I was fortunate to celebrate the holiday with both sides of my family which means two delicious meals. I feel like I have to run a marathon to work it all off but we all know I don’t run unless I have to.

It  was such a blessing to take a nice little break before finals coming up here soon. Honestly I wish I had more time at home, but I’m also anxious to be back on campus. I keep telling people how I feel like I have two completely different lives: my life at MNU and my life at home. It’s crazy how fast time flies too because I’m pretty sure I just started college! I’m still getting used to the whole college thing but it gets better and better each day. I learn something new all the time!

I’ve always been a family-oriented gal and have grown up with a beautiful family. We always celebrate the holidays together at my grandparents house and enjoy time with each other. Thankfully, most of my family is pretty close with most of us being in KC.

Since the weather was so nice this year, we all went outside and had a good time! That’s where the selfie comes in. Say hello to my little sis and my pops. They’re kind of weird.
selfie

My mom was somewhere else at the time of this photo, but pretend she’s in the back climbing a tree or something and that would be my family in a nutshell. Oh how I love them.. I can’t even begin to describe how much God has blessed me with these silly people. Ladies and gents, family is so important. They are more than just parents or siblings and aunts or uncles. They are your support system, your friends, and they’re even like your own personal cheerleading team. I know some people may not be able to say that about their family and I can’t even imagine what that’s like because I’d be lost without mine.

Family is what I’m most thankful for this Thanksgiving and I treasure all of the memories and time I spend with them! It’s hard to leave them, but Winter Break is approaching soon and I have to survive that whole finals thing first so we’ll see how that goes!

Have a blessed week and remember to still be thankful!!

Samantha Moore

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November 26, 2014

Be: Thankful

November 26, 2014 | By | One Comment


I AM SO THANKFUL FOR CATS! Okay but for real there is a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, like my family! Being able to spend time with my family is what is important during the holidays! So much tests, papers, project and homework have made me thankful to spend time with my family!

Comment or chat with me!!

Katie Linsey

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November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Break in KC

November 20, 2014 | By | No Comments

Hey, friends! If you’re staying in KC for Thanksgiving break, here are some cool happenings that you can be involved in. I encourage you to take part in as many of these as you can… it’ll get you in the holiday spirit!

1. Thanksgiving at Café Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude

A typical day at Cafe Gratitude… so peaceful and loving! (Photo courtesy of veganomics101.wordpress.com)

If you don’t have any lunch plans on Thanksgiving day, look no further than Café Gratitude for a FREE meal! If you stop by anytime between noon and 3 p.m., you can sit down and have a delicious organic and vegan meal (salad, entrée, and dessert). No reservations are required, but it’s first come first serve. If you would rather volunteer at this event, they are also looking for people to help!

I’ve personally been to Cafe Gratitude and it’s a great environment. Everyone there is so friendly and the food is surprisingly delicious! Since it’s organic and vegan, it does have an all-natural, “earthy” taste, but it’s still amazing. It’s definitely an experience I would take part in if you can!

For more info, visit http://cafegratitudekc.com/events/

2. Pack Friday

Pack Friday

This is a photo from one of Youthfront’s packaging events with a club I was involved in at my high school. So fun!

On Black Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Youthfront is hosting an event called Pack Friday, where people can go package meals for their Something To Eat initiative. It’s a great way to serve and give back around the holiday time. I’ve been involved in 2 of their packaging events in the past and really enjoyed them. It’s super fun if you get a group of friends or family together and go! It costs $0.25 per meal that you package and it’s so worth it. You must register ahead of time, so start talking to people and get a group together! (If you want to go and have no one to go with, talk to me and we can go together!)

To register, visit https://youthfront.com/somethingtoeat/pack-friday/

3. The 85th Annual Plaza Lighting Ceremony

Plaza Lights

The beautiful plaza lights that you MUST go see! (Photo courtesy of www.jocosiding.com)

On Thanksgiving Day starting at 5 p.m., there will be festivities on the plaza leading up to the flipping of the switch at 6:54 p.m. This will take place on the main stage at Nichols Road and Pennsylvania (by Brio Tuscan Grille). If you can’t make it to the ceremony, the lights will shine daily from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. until January 18, so make sure you go downtown to see the beauty sometime!

For a detailed schedule of the ceremony, visit https://countryclubplaza.com/event/plaza-lighting-ceremony/

4. Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Crown Center Lights

A beautiful place to go ice skating and look at the lights! (Photo courtesy of www.kcparent.com)

On Friday, November 28, this will take place at Crown Center Square. It’s a free event that starts at 5:30 p.m. and lasts for an hour or two!

For more info, visit https://www.crowncenter.com/Event-List/tree-2014

I hope you all decide to participate in some of these events if you can! Happy Thanksgiving!

-KT

Luther Okeyo

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November 13, 2014

A Very Special Veteran’s Day

November 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

As you all know Tuesday was Veteran’s Day and now matter how you feel about the military, you just have to sit back and admire the sacrifices that they endure everyday to keep us safe, and help us enjoy the freedoms we have today. Just like Coach Willmer told us the other day, “Our freedom isn’t free, somebody else pays for it.” This day is now very special to me, you never really realize how important something is until it hits you personally. For me, this day is about my friend Cory Ellis and his family.

This is one of my best friend's Cory Ellis. He is a marine stationed in Japan. He is coming home in a couple of days, from his first tour of duty. I'm so proud of him and I'm honored to be friend and grateful for the sacrifices he made. I can't wait to see him again.

This is one of my best friends Cory Ellis. He is a corporal in marine core. He is stationed in Japan. He is coming home in a couple of days, from his first tour of duty. I’m so proud of him and I’m honored to be his friend and grateful for the sacrifices he made. I can’t wait to see him again. 

It takes a special kind of person, to able to take on the commitment that the armed forces require. The Ellis family knows that commitment all too well. First things first, this family is like my second family. They embraced me and made me when one of their own, when I was just a stupid kid high school who didn’t know any better. Some of the best moments in my life were made with this family. For example the creation of the wolf pack, the 4th of July incident, and I can’t forget the Fall Fridays when I had meatball subs before football games. They are a blessing, and I can’t even imagine who I would be  if they were were not apart of my life.

The Ellis kids in all their glory. This was when Cory graduated from boot camp. There is Cory in the middle (the oldest), Ryan on the left (second-oldest), Colin on the right (second-youngest), Morgan (youngest) in the middle.

The Ellis kids in all their glory. This was when Cory graduated from boot camp. There is Cory in the middle (the oldest), Ryan on the left (second-oldest), Colin on the right (second-youngest), Morgan (youngest) in the middle.

These guys are a collection of characters but I love each and everyone of them to death. As you know Cory went into the military, he is a corporal in the marine core. Cory has probably the sharpest wit this side of the Mississippi, he has a comeback for everything, and when you think you finally got him, that’s when you fall into his trap. Ryan is an enigma all of his own, you never really know what he is going to do, but I’ll tell you this right now don’t underestimate him, this little guy has more heart than anyone will ever give him credit for. Now we have Colin, this kid is just nuts sometimes. Yet you can always catch him in the some spot, downstairs in office, usually watching Netflix. He also wants to go into the military when he graduates from high school like his big brother. He scares me a little bit, but I can’t wait to see the man he becomes. Last but certainly not least we have Morgan, the baby of household, (sorry Maddie). She is just a little bundle of joy, who can catch you slipping at any moment. She always knows how to brighten my day or completely tear me down, but I don’t care I still love her.

The parents, Glen and Tammy Ellis. Glen's nick name is Papa Ellis, and I just call Tammy Mom.

The parents, Glenn and Tami Ellis. Glenn’s nick name is Papa Ellis, and I just call Tami, Mom. They were high school sweet hearts and they’ve been married for 22 years

Lets start with Papa Ellis (sorry mom), Papa Ellis served in Air force. He technically still serves as a reservist. He is also a police officer for Simi Valley Police Department. He is just a big teddy bear, a little bit too old school but that’s why we love him. Don’t let him fool though, this guy still has it. Just ask Cory. Everyday this guy does all he can to provide for his family and then when he steps out of the house, he goes and protects the people of Simi Valley. He is always there for his family no matter what. He is the man, I aspire to be. Ok now here we have Mom, the best way to describe her role in the family is to have watched the movie Remember the Titans. She is basically Denzel Washington aka Coach Herman Boone in a sense. In the immortal words of Coach Boone, “This is not a democracy, this is a dictatorship!” Mom is the same way, she is just and fair, but is not afraid to put her foot down. She treats everyone the same no matter who you are. She is 2nd toughest woman I know behind only my own mother.

The Ellis family is also a sports family. All the men in the family played football (I played with Cory in high school). Colin however took it to another level and also wrestles in high school. Morgan is a cheerleader and is insanely flexible. Ironically Tami is the only one, who never played a sport, but she is one of the loudest fans you will ever meet. I can’t tell how many games, I could hear her screaming at us over everyone else in the crowd, plus she doesn’t care who will hear her. She has even called me out on the carpet a few times, when I dropped a ball, or had a bad play during my high school playing days. That’s just who she is and there is no one else like her.

Anyway, this is my second family. I can’t wait to see them when I go back home for winter break. I got some stories for them and I can’t wait to hear their stories either and also have one of the famous (well to me) Ellis meatball subs. Also to all the men and women out there put their lives on the line for us here at home or anywhere else in the world, thank you so much for your service. I know it may not be said enough but I am grateful for all you do for us. Come back home safe and rejoin your families and hopefully one day, I have a chance to give a little back to you for all you have given to us.

 

Luther Okeyo

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November 11, 2014

This is it…. Senior Week…

November 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Wow this it… This game against Avila is my last guaranteed home game in an MNU uniform. It’s very bitter sweet for me. One hand we will outright win the conference this week with a win against Avila but on the other it’s my last home game ever as an MNU pioneer. It’s one the last times I will ever put on the pioneer uniform. I’ve had some great memories here, it’s hard to believe that it’s all coming to an end.

On March 23, 2011, I made the committment to come to MNU, little did I know how much this would change my life. There is my mom on the left, and the man who made all this possible, John Diaz.

On March 23, 2011, I made the commitment to come to MNU, Little did I know how much this would change my life. There is my mom on the left, and on the right, the man who made all this possible, John Diaz.

The journey to where I am has been long, amazing, frustrating, and many other verbs I can’t really think of right now. Either way this journey changed my life in a way I ever really thought possible. We all have an idea of what college is about, but MNU gives it’s students a very unique college experience.

Here I am, as a Freshman. Weighing in at a lofty 160 pounds, with my whole future ahead of me. Who would've known that would've lead to where I am right now.

Here I am, as a Freshman. Weighing in at a lofty 160 pounds, with my whole future ahead of me. Who would’ve known that would’ve lead to where I am right now.

Throughout my football career here at MNU I’ve basically seen it all. I’ve been through the highs and lows. Like my freshman and sophomore year when we were rolling, winning the huge games, playing for HAAC championships, and most special of all playing at Pioneer stadium (not trying to start anything but come on, we need that thing built!) I’ve seen football at MNU change so much, and I’ve even been apart by one of the biggest things a football program can go through, a coaching change. With a new coaching staff comes a new philosophy, a new way to do things, and a new approach to the game of football.

It’s amazing to see what coach Willmer has done to the program, in just his first year. We shocked the world. Nobody outside of the MNU faithful even gave a chance to do anything this year, we were supposed to be rebuilding, and we let everyone know that we are ready to go. I can’t wait to see where coach leads this program in the years to come.

Shoutout to the senior class, we stuck it out through it all, the 5-5 season last year, waking up at 5 am to work out in January and February, spring ball, fall camp, I mean I could keep going on and on. There is never going to be a senior class like ours.

Here we are, the senior class for the 2014 MNU Pioneers football team:

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#1 Linebacker – Justin Vargas

#2 TE - Zach "Carrot Top" Brandsted

#2 Tightend – Zach “Carrot Top” Brandsted

#7 Cornerback - DeRahn "Primetime" Williams

#7 Cornerback – DeRahn “Primetime” Williams

#8 Wide Receiver - Chris "Money Man" Fields

#8 Wide Receiver – Chris “Money Man” Fields

#14  Wide Receiver - Taylor "TD" Davis

#14 Wide Receiver – Taylor “TD” Davis

#24 Running Back - Charles Quainoo

#24 Running Back – Charles Quainoo

#32 Long Snapper - Will Hertel

#32 Long Snapper – Will Hertel

#44 Defensive Lineman - Mason "Mad Dogg" Mathews

#44 Defensive Lineman – Mason “Mad Dogg” Mathews

#45 - "Pretty Boy" Nick Richardson

#45 Linebacker – “Pretty Boy” Nick Richardson

#47 - JT "They Call Him Nasty" Braddock (Don't ask... I don't know why they call him that)

#47 Defensive Lineman – JT “They Call Him Nasty” Braddock (Don’t ask… I don’t know why they call him that)

#52 Defensive Lineman - Demarco Kemp

#52 Defensive Lineman – Demarco Kemp

#53 Offensive Lineman - Armand Banks

#53 Offensive Lineman – Armand Banks

#73 Offensive Lineman - Jose "Burrito" Carillo-Ayala (He's the guy on the left)

#73 Offensive Lineman – Jose “Burrito” Carillo-Ayala (He’s the guy on the left)

#74 Offensive Lineman - Andrew "Chevy" Sexton-Chavoya

#74 Offensive Lineman – Andrew “Chevy” Sexton-Chavoya

#87 Wide Receiver - Yours Truly Luther "Crunchy" Okeyo

#87 Wide Receiver – Yours Truly Luther “Crunchy” Okeyo

 

 

 

 

 

Luther Okeyo

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November 11, 2014

Baker Week

November 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Aright I want you to picture this, it’s late in the fourth quarter, Baker has driven down to our 3 yard line and they are lining up for a 20 yard field goal. If you know anything about football you know that a 20 yard field is a chip shot for any kicker (well most kickers). The game will be won or lost on this play. George Tombaugh with the call…

If there ever was a play that exemplified our season, this is it. Every time it looked like we were down and out, somebody comes up with a huge play to keep us alive. This time it was Coop and Primetime coming up with the play this time. Throught out my MNU life, one of the biggest and parts of it are times we play Baker no matter what sport. I mean IT’S BAKER!!! Ok it’s really hard to explaining you just gotta be here to experience it.

Anyway back to the game. If you weren’t able to watch the game, you really missed out on a great game. I mean it really had everything, think about it, it was homecoming week, IT WAS BAKER WEEK, they were ranked as the #2 in the nation. Nobody really gave us a chance, to win the game. From the very beginning, the game went back and forth, but we struck first with Coop picking off a Baker pass, in which turned into a field goal. After swapping TDs, it just became a defensive slugfest with both offenses struggling to score. The score at halftime 14-10 with us winning. Javon Taylor had the play of first half with his 53 yard TD. George Tombaugh with the call…

Baker started the second half off hot. They scored twice in the 3rd quarter, but we responded with a TD drive of our own. Using a little trick we’ve been saving for a game like this. George Tombaugh with the call…

Baker wasn’t the #2 team in the nation for nothing. They took back the lead and had a chance to ice the game in the fourth quarter before Coop and Prime made the play of the game. But 2 penalties pushed us back to the 44 yard line. A couple plays later, on 3rd and 18, Sunshine found Simmy for a key first down, but Simmy did more than just get a first down. George Tombaugh with the call…

We ended up winning the game in overtime, on a 2 yard TD run on fourth down run by Erik May. It was a great game, probably the best game I have ever been apart of.  We took over the top spot in the HAAC, we once again shocked the world and now it’s time for us to finish the season strong. On a year where MNU was so supposed to be rebuilding, we showed everyone we are for real and we put the nation on notice.

One of the stand outs was Trent "Sunshine" Hedlund. He was 26-38 for a career-high 307 yards and 2 touchdowns.

One of the stand outs was Trent “Sunshine” Hedlund. He was 26-38 for a career-high 307 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Javon Taylor aka the muscle hamster, once again balled out, he is the horse that really carries our offense.  He ran 14 times for 60 yards and caught 6 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Javon Taylor aka the muscle hamster, once again balled out, he is the horse that really carries our offense. He ran 14 times for 60 yards and caught 6 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Ok it's about time that this kid gets his props. This is our kicker Cristian Casillas, he is only a freshman but he is the best kicker in the HAAC, and on of the best kickers in the nation and HE IS ONLY A FRESHMAN. He leads the nation in field goals, total field goals, scoring and is second in the nation total scoring. This man is a beast.

Ok it’s about time that this kid gets his props. This is our kicker Cristian Casillas, he is only a freshman but he is the best kicker in the HAAC, and one of the best kickers in the nation and HE IS ONLY A FRESHMAN!! He leads the nation in field goals, total field goals, scoring and is second in the nation in total scoring. This man is a beast.

 

 

Aaron Merrell

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November 1, 2014

Future Fears

November 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

Trusting everyone has had a fantastic week, and I hoping you’re all enjoying your weekend.  My weekend consists of hanging with friends for Halloween, spending some time at home, and performing with MNU Choirs tomorrow at 3:30!

This week, my brother gave me a great topic to think about: the future.

The future used to terrify me more than anything.  I used to think about my college plans, then about real life and grad school, and it would all get me terribly stressed out. Picking a school, picking a major, and from there a career, and where I wanted to go with that career eventually, and then about starting a family are unavoidable topics and they are every important to think about.  Though it is imperative that we remember to discuss these topics, we also need to remember that what’s going on currently in our lives is also a priority.

In order to train myself not to panic about the future, who would leave my life and who would enter, I had to stop placing so much urgency on those decisions.  Like I said, we need to make the decisions, but we won’t make the right choice unless we slow down and consider everything separately.  After we have considered this, we can think about the future and what the decision is going to mean for our future lives and families.

The future has become an exciting place for me rather than a scary one.  Just by calming down and taking a step back once in a while, I have realized how excited I am to graduate and start working, wherever I happen to move, whatever I happen to do, and whoever I happen to be with.  I know that if I put my faith and trust in Him, I will make the right decisions and follow his will, as I constantly work to make his will my will.

 

It’s all a process, but it’s not too much of a difficult one. Just continue to pray about choices, the future and ask God to make his plan clear to you!  You can find so much truth and evidence of His faithfulness to your present, which was once your future. just by studying his word, something that takes nearly no time to do every day.

 

Praying everyone has a blessed rest of your weekend and next week!

See you soon!

-Aaron.

Luther Okeyo

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October 30, 2014

Just Became an Uncle!!!!!!!

October 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

Yesterday I found out that my cousin Jacque gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She lives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I was shocked when I heard, I found out right before practice.

This is my cousin Jacque (left) and her sister Mitchelle (right) before my Uncle's wedding a couple of years ago.

This is my cousin Jacque (left) and my other cousin Mitchelle (right) before my Uncle’s wedding a couple of years ago.

Anyway enough about my cousin, its all about the baby right now. First of all the baby’s name is Leo Njinu. He was 3.2 kgs or 7.1 lbs. He is so adorable and cute, I’m mad that I haven’t even seen him yet.

Look at him he is so cute. I can't believe that I'm his uncle and i can't wait to meet him.

Look at him he is so cute. I can’t believe that I’m his uncle and I can’t wait to meet him.

Well this is a new frontier for me. It is just amazing to think that I’m an uncle now. It’s just a shame that I haven’t been able to meet him yet. Leo, welcome to the family and I’m excited to watch you grow. I can’t wait to meet you and see the man you become.

 

Luther Okeyo

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October 27, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom (well sort of)

October 27, 2014 | By | 6 Comments

Last Saturday was my mom’s birthday and I’ll be honest with you I’m a huge mommas boy. You see I’m an only child and for as long as I can remember it just been my mom and I taking on every challenge that life threw at us.

This my mom, Grace Mbere Gachanja. The most wonderful woman in my life. Look at us representing even when I was little.

This my mom, Grace Mbere Gachanja. The most wonderful woman in my life. Look at us representing even when I was little.

She has accomplished a lot of things just during my lifetime, let alone here. She is my rock, my inspiration when I’m down, and she always knows just what to say (as all mothers should). We both born in Kenya, a country in East Africa. Back in the day my mom was quite the athlete and she was a beast on the track, she ran the 400 & 800 meters in high school. She then went to college and became a nurse. (She had me along the way but most of that information is classified.) My mom was trailblazer in outr family, she was the first person to go to college, the first to graduate from college and just to top it all of she got her Ph.D just over a year ago.

The day my mom graduated from grad school. I couldn't be more proud of her and she is always setting the standard but don't worry I'll be right behind here.

The day my mom graduated from grad school. I couldn’t be more proud of her and she is always setting the standard but don’t worry I’ll be right behind here. (What am I pointing at)

Sure I could tell you about all of her accomplishments but you wanna know why she is so important to me? Back when we used to in Iowa (Oh oh Midwest Shout Out!), my mom worked three jobs, found a way to put me through school, while she was also going to school to receive her masters degree, and she still was there for me when I needed like when I was in accident in the 4th grade and my bike was destroyed (I know it sounds bad, but actually it’s a funny story, but that’s for another time.) If she was able to do all that, I have no excuse. I’m going to do everything in my power to be there for her. Happy Birthday Mom, I can’t wait to see you again.