This year was more of the same as 2013. I hadn’t declared yet for my fifth presidential run, but I was spending considerably more time now doing additional research for our positions, updating our website, and considering various campaign strategies late into the nights.
During the days, I was continuing to homeschool our now sixth grade son Jonathan. The “classroom” was the 4th floor of the Bluffton University Library (it’s also open to the public) where there was a broad array of curriculum for grades K-12 for education majors. Our courses included: math (If I can figure out sixth grade math, I can balance the National Budget!); history (primarily American history this year); writing; reading; science; art (Jonathan is quite an artist) and phys. Ed., which we did at the Bluffton Family Recreation Center. [This experience continued to be invaluable, not only to me as a father, but to me as a politician. That is, although I’d done a lot of research on a lot of tremendously nuanced, complex issues and all the adult rationalizations that come with dealing with those issues; seeing them through Jonathan’s uncomplicated, almost just plain ‘innocent,’ eyes, helped me bring some of what really mattered most with an issue into clearer focus.]
I was also starting to write more articles for my wife Liz’s two N2 Publishing high-gloss neighborhood magazines, Run Life and Lake Living. And many of these interviews were not only making for good stories, but were helping to broaden our campaign positions even more. [Our positions papers are largely based on working models designed to impact various issues.] For instance, we propose a dramatic shift to much more green energy. One of the magazine interviews was with a developer who was constructing a business park all tied into wind turbines. Another interview was with a man whose company designs and installs geothermal and solar projects. Another interview was with the owner of We Serve Coffee Café. He is a doctor who set up the coffee shop as purely a Third World outreach/charitable mission. Likewise, I interviewed an optometrist who does regular medical missionary trips to Kenya and spearheaded getting an impressive Eye Clinic there. (Our foreign affairs paper is replete with these kinds of outreach models.) And these are just two of many magazine story categories I was writing about.
In addition, I was continuing to write regular articles for the local newspaper. They were a mix. I wrote some whimsical columns about a youth T-Ball League (with multi-colored mitts and infield scrums trying to get a ground ball); a high school alumni soccer game where fans were overwhelmed, with the smell of Ben Gay; why the Bluffton University “beaver” mascot strikes terror – into absolutely no one, unless of course you’re a tree… Mixed in with the light hearted, were stories about, say, a local social worker who deals with human trafficking cases (Toledo, an hour north, is a big trafficking hub); a story about a Bluffton family who was hosting a college student from Bolivia; a poignant story about a missions trip to a poverty stricken part of Ethiopia…
On the home front (or rather ‘back’ in this case), we put in a garden. I spent time fixing up our campaign vehicles, while listening to some Indians games on the radio. Liz and I took a lot of evening bicycle rides around town. And we went to yet more kids sporting (soccer, basketball, track, baseball…) events. And of course, and probably most importantly, there were the Thursday 6 a.m. basketball games with “the guys” over at the university. That’s where the real sports was going on! In addition to all that, I was also continuing to do some part-time house painting.
All in all, it was another year of “Life in the Middle.”
This is a 1971 Dodge "Beaver" motor home that we bought in our travels through northern Colorado several years back. And wait 'till you hear this. Our hometown Bluffton University mascot is, that's right: a beaver! I've been trying to position myself as: "Bluffton's Favorite Son." 😀. Again, we're doing this all without paid political consultants -- although my wife suggests that maybe we should get some.