Category Archives: Family

Libraries & Magnolias

This week, the Senator and I did a really fun thing.  We got together with my parents and hosted a little get together for a dear friend of ours, Sean Burrage, who is the President of a University in the Southeastern part of our state.


My parents aren’t in this picture, but I’m sandwiched in between my Senator and Sean!

Sean is a special friend who not only served in the State Senate with my Senator, but he also worked for the current President of the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, way way back when Boren was a United States Senator.  I also happened to be working for Boren in Washington DC , so I claim to have known Sean longer, haha. Small world.

Anyway…Sean and my Senator were not just colleagues at the Capitol, but good friends, and even though they were on opposite sides of the political aisle, they worked together to make positive things happen for the people of our state.  Current elected officials could REALLY take a lesson from those two… just saying.


My Senator drove to Durant and gave President Burrage a Trump tie for Christmas cause they are fun friends like that! He wore it to our event…see next pic for proof!


With my mom and favorite Bennett cousins!

But, I digress.  Back to our special event.  We thought it would be cool to host a gathering for the alumni of Southeastern Oklahoma State who happen to live in our neck of the woods and use the opprtunity as a fundraiser for a scholarship in the name of my Great Grandfather, Henry G. Bennett, who just happened to be the President of this same University a very long time ago.  ( Pardon the major run on sentence amidst a post about Higher Education!)

I always knew my Great Grandfather was the President of SEOSU, but his real claim to fame was being President of Oklahoma State University and working with President Harry Truman as an Assistant Secretary of State for his Point Four Program.  So, for me, this was a fun opportunity to see old friends, blend a connection of sorts and learn a little bit more about Southeastern Oklahoma State.

Evidently,  my great grandaddy planted a lot of magnolias on the campus. I have always loved magnolias.  They are so hardy and strong…at least the ones in my yard! But, he planted over 1,000 magnolias there…so, they named the Library after him. I love libraries.


The Library at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma.

I think he loved libraries as much as he loved magnolias because his philosophy was that the Library should be at the center of campus and provide a gathering place for students.  Such an educator!  Maybe that is why I have always loved libraries too, who knows!

He continued the library and magnolia tradition when he took over the helm at Oklahoma State University – except that magnolias didn’t really grow in them there parts. Determined to make it work, my great grandaddy reminded them that OSU was an agricultural / mechanical school and they needed to go figure it out. So, they did.  They also re-routed a road which ran thru the middle of campus in order for the Library to be the center of attention. Pretty dang cool.

Back to the event for our good friend Sean.  It was special.  Not only is he a fabulous President of this University bringing his passion for education and kids to the job with him everyday, but I am hopeful that he, like my grandad, will someday take the reigns of another major University in our State…. but, this one would begin with an O and end with a U!

Bringing it up to speed

Can’t believe it’s been almost six months to the day since I have posted here but it certainly wasn’t for lack of something to say.  Quite the opposite actually.  So much has happened since March that I thought I would do a brief re-cap to catch myself up to speed. Ha.

Our daughter wrapped up her first season playing club volleyball.  What a great experience and so many new friendships made along the way. I have to admit, Volleyball moms are cool.


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The Senator finished serving his third and final term in the Oklahoma State Senate. So much to say about that.


Somewhere amidst the chaos, I managed to attend a Conference in Colorado celebrating moms.


Some dear friends in this group!

I agreed to chair a fundraiser with my best friend because I didn’t have enough going on…


Our son graduated from high school in May.



And, our daughter picked up a few awards at her 8th grade graduation.



The Senator ran for a state wide office and lost.  Much more to say about that too.

Billboard Tues

Then, we went to the beach.


And Belize.

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Our son went off to college.


Our daughter is now in high school.


It has been a wild and crazy six months but the dog survived, so that’s something!




This summer has flown by much to quickly.  When the roofers showed up at dawn this morning (because our poor roof has been pummeled repeatedly by recent hail storms), it reminded me of just how early my day begins when the school bell rings. I have become rather accustomed to NOT having to wake up so bright and early. No, let me just be really honest and admit that I love being able to sleep in a bit, and I really love it when my kids get to sleep in…a bit. Or, more than a bit.  My 13-year-old will sleep  any chance she gets. My 17 year old sleeps in because he keeps late hours-a topic for a completely different conversation! But, the quiet morning time for me that I have discovered is soon coming to an end.  Enter, the dark thirty wake up, run two miles, figure out breakfast, make sure everyone is up and moving, fed, back packs in order, homework done and ready to go, off to school on time etc…. you know the drill.

Summer is almost over and I have this sinking feeling inside…and not just for the early alarm clock to come, but really, because we have had a seriously terrific last couple of months.

Here are some of the highlights that I will cherish and savor. Especially, on those mornings where everyone is grumpy and dragging their feet and I am longing for my happy place!

Ahhh, Florida.  How I love you so!



Or, my new happy place…discovered with some seriously special friends!



I could live here…. really, I could!


Or here, at our annual 4th of July happy place….


With our happy friends.


And kids who are growing up faster than I want to think about….


In fact,  that big boy in blue had the audacity to go to summer school at my alma mater…an old, happy place!

This was hard…really hard….to let him pretend he is in college already.  Even though I know he’s on deck to find that happy place of his own soon.

photoIn fact, this next year is going to fly right on by!

My parents will attest to that since we just capped off the summer celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary… in their ‘happy place.’


Northern New Mexico is truly beautiful…

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And the perfect place to celebrate two very special people.


Or, the perfect way to wind down the past couple of wonderful months…

On deck…a legislative conference in Chicago. Fun, because it is just me and my Senator….but, certainly a reality check that summer is coming to a close.

Hope your summer was full of fun memories and happy places!