Brisket Chili

Social media is covered up with everyone declaring their love for fall…the cooler temperatures, the colorful leaves, the sweaters, the campfires, the boots, and the food.  Oh, for the love of fall foods.  And I’m a sucker for every single bit of it.  September 1st, I practically skipped around the farm wearing flannel and decorating with pumpkins and mums and hay bales.  If I could whistle, I’d have probably done that too.  My name is Brooke, and I love fall.

And last night felt like fall.  Rainy, cold, windy….downright perfect chili weather.  I have an old faithful chili recipe that I make almost weekly during the cold months, but last night, we had about 4 lbs of leftover brisket trimmings, and I was feeling a little adventurous.   Now, I fully recognize, most people don’t have brisket just lying around like we do, but it would be criminal to keep this to myself.  So if you do happen to have some leftovers that have dried out a little bit in the fridge or you’re just hankering for the absolute best chili you’ve had in your life, give this a go.  You will not be disappointed.

So from our table to yours,


  • 4 lbs of fully cooked, Smoked Brisket
  • 4 Tbs minced garlic
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/4 c. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 29 oz. can pinto beans

1. Chop your brisket into small, bite size pieces and put in large pot or dutch oven.  Add garlic.

2.  Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin and water.  It seems simple, I know.  But you’re dealing with brisket here….not ground beef like usual.  It doesn’t need as much help to be amazing.

3.  Let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.  Add more water if you need to prevent sticking.

4.  Add pinto beans, and continue to simmer for about 30 minutes, still stirring occasionally.

5.  Ladle into a deep bowl that you can hunker over to eat.  It’s so good just like that.  But my never-ending quest for the perfect bite leads me to all the chili fixin’s….cheese, shredded lettuce, avocado, sour cream and jalapeños.

Oh!  And cornbread.  There’s probably some amazing homemade cornbread recipes on Pinterest.  But that 88 cent blue box of sweet Jiffy cornbread is like heaven in an 8×8 pan.  So it’s our resident go-to 🙂

Is it really God’s plan? 

In times of tragedy, I always hear people say things like, “It’s all part of God’s plan” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” While that all may bring a sense of momentary comfort, I just don’t believe that’s true. See, God doesn’t rule this world we live in, so how then can we assume all that happens is his plan? How can we assume all that we are “given” is from above?  
The God I know wouldn’t purposefully plan children dying of cancer, hurricanes wiping out entire states, gangsters doing drive bys or soldiers having to leave families to defend our country. The God I know doesn’t condone rape or abuse or bullying. The God I know doesn’t plan harm on any of us any more than a mother would plan on her child. When Eve chose to eat the apple, she let sin into God’s perfect world. That sin brings the evil and the pain and the hurt that we all face daily in some form or fashion. That sin is the reason there are car accidents and drownings and murders and all of the other terrible circumstances we encounter. That sin is why we live in an imperfect world.

But! What I do believe is that God can take what the devil meant for bad and turn it to good. I believe if we lean on Him through absolutely unbearable and stressful situations, He’ll carry us through, and bring us out on the other side….sometimes with scars but always in triumph. He gives us peace in the turmoil and joy in the fire. While that may not change the outcome of a situation, it will change the way we come out of it.  

So when something goes wrong, start looking around for God to show out. I think that’s where we really see Jesus. His unmistakable peace and unexplainable joy will let you know that He may not have planned it, but He will bring you through it. He’ll send people. He’ll give you rest. He’ll help you smile when you want to cry. He’ll let you know he’s still here. ❤️

Spaghetti Sauce

My tomatoes have overtaken an entire half of my garden this year.  Keep in mind, I’d allocated about a sixth.  I’m not sure how it happened, but six plants have given me well over 200 beautiful, deep red, delicious tomatoes.  We eat lots of store-bought tomatoes year round, but I love, like really love, the fresh-from-the-garden variety during the summer.

Aside from all the BLT’s we can eat and a few jars of salsa, this spaghetti sauce is by far our most favorite thing to do with loads of tomatoes.  I’ve made this recipe for years with tomatoes from the canned vegetable aisle.  This year, I substituted all the cans for fresh, and holy toledo…it’s glorious.

You can make it fresh and eat it that same night, or fill a few jars and save them for later. It’s good on spaghetti or in lasagna or as a dipping sauce for some garlic cheesy bread.   Either way, the taste and the smell in your kitchen will very likely keep you from going back to Pregu every again.

So here it is…one of our all time favorites at the Smokin F, Homemade Spaghetti Sauce.



  • 130 oz of fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp. basil (fresh or paste from the produce section)
  • 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbs fresh parsley
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (can be turkey)
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice (if canning)

1. Boil a pot of water while you wash your tomatoes very well.


2.  Using a small pairing knife, cut around the stem of each tomato and remove the core.  You can go all the way through if you’d like.  I prefer to just make a cone around the stem and save as much of that glorious tomato as possible.

3. Once your water is boiling, turn off the heat, and add as many tomatoes as will fit comfortably.  It usually takes me several batches for this.

4. Let them sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.

5. Fill another large bowl or pot with cold water.  Add 1 cup of ice.

6. Remove tomatoes from hot water and place in cold water for 5 minutes.


7. After a few minutes, the skin on your tomatoes will start to pull away.  Using your fingers gently peel the tomatoes and let them drain in a colander until you’ve got all of your tomatoes done.  Some people scrap the skins, but I love the flavor of them and they’ll serve a fantastic purpose at the end.  So for now, set them aside in a separate bowl.

8. Repeat this process until all of your tomatoes are done.

9. Empty your boiling pot.  If you’re making this sauce for tonight, brown your Italian sausage in this same pot and then add the peeled tomatoes back into it.  If you’re planning to can it for later, I prefer to leave the meat out for now.  So just go straight to peeled tomatoes in the pot.

10. Mash them gently with a potato masher.  They don’t need to be completely smooth, just mostly mashed.

11. If you haven’t already, use a food processor or chop your garlic, onion and basil very fine.img_1081

12. Here’s my favorite part.  Those skins that you have set aside make a fantastic tomato paste that adds flavor and thickness to your sauce.  So put all of your reserved skins in a food processor or blender until they’re very smooth.  Add that paste into your tomatoes. img_1095

13.  Add the rest of your ingredients EXCEPT lemon juice to your mashed tomatoes.

14. Bring it to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-4 hours.  I let mine go all afternoon, giving it a good stir when I pass by the stove to keep it from sticking.

15. If you’re cooking for tonight, ding!  Dinner’s ready!

16. If you’re canning it, fill your clean jar, leaving 1/2 in headspace with sauce.  Add in 2 Tbs. lemon juice to each jar to make the level of acidity safe for canning.  (This not affect taste at all!)  Replace the lids.

17. Drop gently into your water processor, making sure you have 1 in of water above the lids.

18. Process for 40 minutes and then remove vertically.  Let cool and wait for the infamous canning pop of your lids sealing.

19. Store for up to a year.  When you’re ready to serve, brown 1 lb of Italian Sausage in a pot.  Add in a jar of your homemade tomato sauce, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until warm.

20. Enjoy!!


Crispy Dill Pickles

2017 at The Smokin F will definitely go down as the summer of Tomatoes and Cukes.  Salsa, pickles, spaghetti sauce, pickles, BLT’s, more pickles, fresh with mozzarella and basil, even more pickles….we’ve had both more ways than I thought were possible.  And all have been glorious.

While we got experimental with the tomatoes, we knew all we wanted from our boatloads of cucumbers….was boatloads of dill pickles.  See, I live in a house full of pickle connoisseurs.  I needed a crunchy, savory but not spicy, dill pickle to meet all of their standards.  We’ve gotten good flavor but no crunch.  Or crunch, but no flavor.  And y’all, I will not eat slimy, seedy pickles.  I need the crunch!  But the afternoon I watched my two year old down nearly an entire jar of my latest batch by herself, I knew we had a winner.

Let me add quickly, I’m relatively new to canning.  So please visit  http://www.freshpreserving.com/  for detailed and up to date safety guidelines.

So from our garden here at the Smokin’ F to yours….

What you’ll need:

  • 12-16 small to medium cucumbers (the really big ones are too seedy and not as crunchy)
  • 4 cups distilled vinegar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 c. pickling salt
  • 12 dill sprigs (if you can find them.  It’s nearly impossible around canning season)
  • 12 garlic cloves or 12 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 12 tsp dill seed or dill weed (most recipes advise against dill weed mostly for aesthetics.  But I used it in every jar this year because I could never find the seeds, and we all loved it.)
  • 3 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 6 tsp whole black pepper
  • 2 tsp pickle crisp
  • 4-6 wide mouth quart size jars
  • If you’re doing pickle chips, Wavy Pickle Knife. I swear the ridges make a crunchier pickle!  I bought mine on Amazon for $6.99….it’s so worth it!!

1.  In each clean jar, put:

  • 2 peeled, smashed cloves of garlic OR 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 sprig of dill
  • 1 tsp dill weed or seed
  • 1/4 tsp Pickle Crisp
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper
  • Enough sliced cucumbers to fill the jar.  (Or spears or babies, whichever you’d like will work perfectly!)

2.  In a medium pot, add the vinegar, water, sugar and pickling salt. Heat over medium low just until the salt and sugar are dissolved and the liquid is no longer cloudy.

3.  Add enough liquid to each jar to fill it, leaving 1/4 in. of headspace.

4.  Put on your lids.  From here, you can either refrigerator or water process them.  If you plan to eat them within the next month and have fridge space, you can just put the jar in the fridge.  Let them process for a few days, and then dig in.  They’ll stay good in the fridge for a month after they’re opened.

5.  If you’d like to water process them, put the cans in a boiling water canner.  Make sure there is at least 1 in. water over top of the lids.  Return the water to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes.

6.  Remove from the water, keeping vertical, and set on a towel.  As they cool, the lids will pop, thus ensuring they have sealed properly.  Let them sit for a few days, and then, they’re ready to eat, but they have a shelf life of a year or more if stored in a cool place.

If, for some reason, one of the jars doesn’t seal, just throw it in the fridge, and eat that one within the month.

Who We Are

Simply put, we love all things America. Not modern day, whitewashed, over-tolerant America.  Old America.   The one where kids were spanked and adults worked hard for what they had.  The one where families gathered around the supper table and prayed before meals.  The one where women acted like ladies and men respected them for it.  The one where people appreciated those who fought for their way of life.  We love those ‘Merica values and work hard to practice them in our household.

We love backyard BBQs and two-stepping.  We ride 4-wheelers and horses.  We work hard all week, go to church on Sundays, and manage to have an awful lot of fun through it all.  My husband smokes a mean rack of ribs, drives a big diesel truck and never misses a shot (or a good time!)  We have 3 gorgeous kids, who, despite my best efforts, are usually covered in dirt.  And me…I’m a proud wife, mama, and junk finder.  I’m not a master of any one thing, but love to cook, restore old furniture, get wild with burlap and paint signs on old barn wood and pallets.

Taking Pride in All We Do

The moment I quit expecting more appreciation, I became a better mom. The day I embraced my role as a servant to my family, I began to enjoy each of them more. That very second I became secure in who I am and what my role is in my family, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and quit trying to prove my worth to everyone around me.

Like most stay-at-home moms, I’ve felt unappreciated. I’ve been offended by the “when are you going back to work?” and “what do you do all day?” questions. I’ve read and even shared the articles other moms write about how hard their days and nights are; how they never have clean clothes; and how stressful it is to revolve their entire lives around everyone else in their families. Although I mostly shared the articles because I enjoy the comradery that comes with reading that I’m not the only one wiping poop off the crib walls at 2am, I have to admit, a small part of me shared the articles trying to elicit the “ahhhh, what a hard job!” effect.

And by gosh, my job is hard! But so is every store clerk’s; every teacher’s; every oil exec’s; every working parent’s that has to leave their child at day care. I am so fortunate that I get to stay home and see my kids thrive. Colossians 3 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” That one scripture has resonated with me for weeks.

My calling for this season in my life is to serve my family; to make every member of my family’s job easier.  Some may call my thinking outdated or even sexist, but I want to send my kids and husband out every day ready to tackle the world. Part of that is spiritual and difficult like modeling positive self image and teaching them to deal with stress and pain and showing them how to love and be respectful and responsible. But part of this mission is in the simple, every-day things like clean socks, healthy lunches that make full bellies, and warm cozy beds to rest in at night. It’s in the sparkly, lemon scented toilet bowls and taking time to give my kids my undivided attention or jump on the trampoline with them. It’s having a good meal, and clean home and a somewhat put together wife for my husband to retreat to after he’s been out working for 15 hours.  (or at least lighting a candle and freshening up my mascara to fake him out!)


This does not mean I don’t take care of myself or do things for me. And it certainly doesn’t mean my home is pristine or I get it right every time. It just means I respect myself and my role enough to not depend on getting my spiritual tank full from others anymore. It means I do all the same things I’ve always done, but now with my heart in the right place. I used to stress myself out trying to prove to everyone that I don’t eat bon bons and watch Dr. Phil all day! I know I don’t. My husband and kids know I don’t. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters to me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is let’s all quit trying to prove our worth to our friends, PTO moms, strangers in the grocery store, and other people whose opinions of us frankly don’t matter. Let’s spend less time whining about how hard our jobs are and more time just doing them better. It’s hard, it’s chaotic, and there are days we all want to pull our hair out. But this is the life we chose and are privileged to lead. So instead of drumming up more “woe is me,” let’s compare stories so that we can all laugh about the crazy together and realize there are no perfect parents.  One day we’ll all miss being some little person’s world, so enjoy the heck out of it while we are! Be proud of exactly who you are and what your role is right now in life even if others don’t quite get it.  Take great pride in being behind the scenes of your family’s successes. It truly is an unmatched honor.



A few Sundays back, I said a cuss word under my breath on our way into church because my 3 year old traipsed his happy self through a puddle…in brand new shoes. Not like a little puddle….more like a small pond. And I was already mad we were late. And I didn’t have anything to change him into. And I was just sure his Sunday school teachers were going to look at him and think what a horrible mother I was for having my son out with wet shoes in the cold weather.

The very next day, my 7 year old was jumping on the trampoline and got hit by his brother in the face. I’m sure it hurt…but I promise you they heard him scream 3 counties over. And he just kept screaming. And kept screaming. And just when I thought he’d calmed down, he started screaming again, but not because he was hurt…because he was mad he’d been hit. After I was sure his face was fine (and it totally was), I tried to be the mature parent that I am and send him to his room to calm down for a few minutes. But when he looked back and yelled at me how mad he was again, I lost it…my patience was spent.  And I hollered right back at him how he needed to calm the heck down and how yelling wasn’t going to do him any good. I know….the pot calling the kettle black, right?!? I’m seriously so embarrassed just seeing it written out on my computer screen.

Ironically my devotional that Sunday was about bridling my tongue. According to James 1:26, the one thing proving our level of spiritual maturity isn’t how religious we are – whether we go to church or can quote scripture or the good works we do – it is the words from our mouths.

So after everyone calmed down after the trampoline incident, those words came back to me. And I was immediately convicted and overwhelmed with guilt. Uuuuugggghhhh I hate it when that happens!!

Don’t get me wrong…I fully believe in consequences for poor behavior. I’m not always sure how to accomplish that, but I am sure hollering over my kids is not the solution. I always tell them to reserve yelling for gushing blood, broken bones, strangers, and emergencies. I am so patient 90% of the time, but then I can’t hold my tongue over wet shoes and well, yelling. It’s really no wonder my kids are so, ummmm….vocal.

I’m not really into New Years resolutions….because frankly, I’m not great at keeping them for long. But I decided to give it a go this year. I vowed to learn to hold my tongue through my frustrations…especially with my kids. I fully embraced the challenge of becoming a better example of how to handle emotions. Archbishop Desmond Tutu credits his father for saying, “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.” I took that to heart, friends.

My husband and I have discussed in great length creative ways around yelling. My 2 year old daughter is completely fascinated with the movie Frozen, so we have seen it no less than 500 times during this nasty spell of winterish weather. So, now, when my oldest son gets angry or starts to pout about anything, we stop and calmly announce that he has to sing Let It Go…with gusto; hand motions encouraged. 9 out of 10 times, he just giggles and completely forgets what he was mad about in the first place. It’s a drastic improvement from the yelling matches that were taking place just a couple of weeks ago.

I’m sure the consequences will have to change and evolve as our kids grow (although seeing a 16 year old hairy boy sing Let It Go would be quite funny).  For now, I’m so thankful for that conviction that led me to find a much more effective solution that makes my entire house more peaceful and calm.  It’s amazing how quickly the kids are embracing our new tactics.  I think we ALL feel better!

Like Bluebonnets in the Spring

I’ve never been afraid of getting older. 30 came and went, and I honestly forget regularly if I’m 31 or 32….or 33? I loved being in Aggieland, but was excited to graduate, too. I enjoyed a career, but now love staying home with our babies.   Not that any stage of life is without its difficulties, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I’ve never looked back and wondered where the heck the time went.

And then came Gentry. My fourth baby. My fourth and final baby. I laid eyes on that gorgeous 8 lb 5 oz of perfection and all of a sudden, I’m panicked. I can’t believe I will never create another life. I can’t believe another heart will never beat in my belly or live because I live. It’s completely overwhelming to me that this stage of my life is over with. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a whole slew of reasons why 4 is our number….from my refusal to drive anything bigger than my Suburban to my fear of not having enough attention to go around. Not to mention, I’d sure like my husband to be able to retire before he’s 95. I’m excited about the soccer games and gymnastics and hunting and fishing that is to come as the kids grow, but all of a sudden, I realize it won’t be like this forever.

They’re growing up right in front of my eyes. My once helpless babies are starting to think and act on their own. And sooner than later, I won’t have to remind anyone to get their shoes or carry a change of clothes in my Mary Poppins bag. Someday, Nerf guns and cartoon pajamas won’t solve all the world’s problems. The little humans that right now think I hung the moon will all of a sudden know everything and be embarrassed when I kiss them in front of their friends. (But don’t you think for a second that will keep me from doing it!) And then before I know it, my Suburban will have empty back seats and I won’t be rushing to baseball or softball practice.

For the first time in my life, I see how fast time really is passing by. I see how much has changed in the 8 years since I became a Mama and how much will change in the next 8 years. I see how much I don’t want to miss and what I want to do better. I’m less focused on this post-partum belly this go round and more focused on enjoying this tiny, perfect, God-given creation. I’m looking my kids in the eyes more and at my cell phone screen less. I’m going to have more fun and clean less. And on the days, I get stressed and I’m tired and I’m tempted to duct tape one…or all….of them to the wall (ok, not really…but sort of), I’m going to reread this post to remind myself that nothing is more important than my family.

The other side of this is that one day, not too far down the road, it will just be Jay and me. We won’t have all the distractions and the kid-centered schedules. We’ll have grown up conversations without interruptions. We’ll go to quiet restaurants where no one spills and travel whenever we want. We might even sleep in again someday! So it’s also a huge reminder to me, that amidst all the outpouring of love for my babies, it’s so important to simultaneously nourish my marriage.   It’s important to set aside the chaos and carve out some time just for us. It’s important to listen, to really listen, to my husband when he tells me about his day and to tell him about mine. That way, when we’re 85 and rocking next to eachother on the front porch, we still know one another. It’s important that we have fun together and enjoy one another’s company. Just as it’s important that when I’m doling out bedtime kisses every night, I make sure he gets one too. We’ve created this whole crazy, chaotic, beautiful life that we love, and it’s vital we remain partners through it all.

At the end of the day, we’ll always be our kids’ Mama and Daddy, but our job as a parents is to work ourselves right out of positions that we love.  Aaron Watson said it just right….”Hold ‘em tender, hold ‘em tight.  Pray every morning, day and night that God will help you raise them right. And don’t you blink…because like bluebonnets in the spring, we’re only here for a little while. It’s beautiful and bittersweet, so make the most of every mile.  Pack light and love heavy, give it all your heart and soul, so in the end, you won’t regret one thing. Life is like bluebonnets in the spring.”

America The Great

I made the choice to have 4 children. When I go shopping, I really appreciate when there’s a family bathroom for people like me. But I’m not offended when there’s not. I prefer the changing table be in a stall and not out in the middle of the restroom. When I was nursing, I loved an area to breastfeed comfortably and privately. But when there’s not, I make due. I don’t think I’ve ever made it through a grocery run without someone shaking their head at me, asking if all those kids are really mine.  I just smile proudly.  I’m not going to boycott or send hateful letters or cry hurt feelings. I’m not even going to call it an injustice on facebook. I don’t expect everyone else to understand, agree or cater to my desires because of a lifestyle choice I’ve made.

I wish more Americans felt this way. It grieves my heart that this is what America has come to. That old adage about the squeaky wheel getting the grease is the truth. Wrap your brains around this…we can sue a restaurant because our coffee is too hot or because we’ve become obese eating too much of their food….and win. We can pull a gun on a police officer…and somehow emerge a victim. We can decide we like a house, squat on it, and the owners cannot legally kick us out after a period of time. We can watch a show called “Blackish”….but a show called “Whiteish” or “Brownish” would certainly be called racist. We can choose not to work…and get paid to do it. A people group that makes up .3% of the population can decide they’re uncomfortable…and we change bathroom rights for the other 99.7%.

The beautiful thing about America’s foundation, was that it brought lots of people groups together. Did they do it all right? Absolutely not. Did they commit atrocities in their voyage to freedom? Without a doubt. They did then what they knew how to do. I’d like to say, we know better now so we do better, but I can’t. All we do is divide into smaller and smaller segments: Republicans, Democrats, Independents, conservatives, black people, white people, immigrants, straight, homosexual, transgender, rich, poor, middle-class, working, not working….

Everyone is drawing lines in the sand and bickering and fighting over tiny details. It wasn’t so many generations ago, our forefathers were fighting for freedom and equality and religion….not one religion, but the freedom to choose. Now, we shun and guilt-trip and threaten violence on anyone who disagrees with us or our choices.  The reason we love America, the reason we’re ‘Merica Smokers, and the reason I call my blog Mama ‘Merica is because we love what this great country was founded on.  Thousands of lives have been sacrificed so that we can have our own opinions – even strong ones. With that, I guess they assumed we’d be mature enough to respect others even if they were different. They assumed we could be nice, or at least civil, even if we disagree with our fellow Americans. They assumed we, the people, would handle our day to day affairs with some degree of common sense and not rely on the government to micromanage.

While other countries are fighting for hungry children and girls being sold as sex slaves, and villages being burned or daily explosions, here we are fighting over things like bathrooms. I’m disappointed in us, America. Without any of the afformentioned people groups, America would not be what it is today. But we should operate as Americans….not solely as any of those smaller groups with whom we identify.  I have a unique situation, and there are many things that would make my life easier or happier. But I do not expect everyone else who is not like me, to understand or operate in my favor.  Having to sometimes “make due” does not qualify as injustice. Logistically, we cannot cater to every person, people group or opinion. We are chasing our tales. We’ve got it so good over here, we’ve forgotten what real oppression is.  This is why we have lost our reputation as the greatest country in the world. We all need to put on our big girl panties, quit being so easily offended, and work together to make her great again.

My First Ballot


Confession: I am 33 years old, I love all things red, white and blue, and today was my first time ever in a voting booth.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t also confess I was slightly disappointed when Lee Greenwood wasn’t playing in the community center while I voted.  But that’s beside the point.

In 2005, I had the privilege of working in Washington, D.C. right in the heart of our nation. I loved every second of the fast pace and rubbing elbows with such “important” people. There’s a constant energy on Capitol Hill that’s intoxicating and irresistible.

But what I didn’t love was the small glimpse of corruption I witnessed first hand. I saw representatives’ votes swayed with gestures as small as boxes of candy bars. There were almost always 2 truths….the real truth and then some sort of vague, whitewashed truth the constituents were told. Frankly, it was enough to make me lose hope in our system.

While I love our great nation, I started to see that politics is really nothing more than the culmination of thousands of handshake deals made to benefit and prolong political careers. I’ve never voted because I honestly didn’t see the point. Whoever was elected wouldn’t really represent me or be my voice in Congress like they are supposed to be anyway.

But this year I feel differently. It’s no secret we’re on the Trump train; not because he’s perfect or even close, but because he’s not a politician. It’s that simple.  I haven’t been around just a whole ton of billionaires, so I can’t attest to their business practices. But I have seen the way many career politicians operate, and I know its certainly not how our forefathers intended our country to be run.  I may not even like the guy on a personal level, but at least I know where he stands.  And after my short time in D.C., I can say, that alone would be a breath of fresh air in our political system!

There will always be corruption….that’s the nature of the beast. But Trump doesn’t need anything from anyone. He has no reason to be swayed based on personal favors or dollar signs. I’d like to think he will demand transparency from the top down; while we demand to be heard from the bottom up. And we’ll slowly eat away at all of that Capitol Hill nonsense.  At the end of the day, I’ll take rude, arrogant and uncouth over dishonest, phony and groomed any day of the week.

So today, Trump’s got my first vote.

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