Thursday, February 22, 2018

Well Hello February!

February 1, 2018 ~ So when I saw this picture I was totally shaking my head yes! I mean seriously, is it just me or has the past 32 days literally flown by?? I have been saying that I am going to slow down and enjoy every single day while not letting them fly past me but somehow I have failed. Brandon and I have been flying by the seat of our pants for years and it's been a blast, great memories were made and I wouldn't change any of it for the world but frankly I'm ready to chill out! I know y'all are like blah blah blah.... you will never slow down - but I really am trying to figure out how to put the brakes on a little more than in the past and set a few goals along the way.

They say the older you get the faster time flies.... 
It's crazy but it's so true! I remember being a kid and it seemed like summer lasted forever and as you get older it seemed like the weeks drug on yet the weekend went by quickly. Now I feel like the weeks go by so quickly and the weekends go by at the speed of light! I find myself looking at how quickly these past 32 days have went and yet try to remember where the past couple of years went. 


So how in the world do you slow it down?
Great question... I don't have the perfect answer to this but for me it's about figuring out what is most important and then where your passions are. In some sort I guess you could call this "Time Management" and for me it's the following 4 items:
1. Family! Your family should come first and if they don't you need to change that. They are the ones that support you, love you and are there to listen when you need them. I respect people when they say they can't attend something because that is during a family event. I wish more people would say that because typically at the end of the day we are only spending a handful of hours with those that mean so much to us. Trying to find balance is certainly challenging but can be very rewarding when you find a routine that works for you. My family has decided that we will have one family meal each week and rotate houses between Mom and Dads, my Sister and her husband (and nephew) and our home. Sometimes we will figure out how to squeeze another night in at someone's house but it's something we look forward to each week!
2. Friends! Your friends are the next in line and I would say that you choose quality over quantity.  Wouldn't you rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies? (My point is that we all have friends - many are business friends or friends we have made while being involved in organizations or met at your kids school but to have a core group of friends that that you can count on for anything at anytime - those are the ones you need to cherish and appreciate because they are rare) Friendships change over the years and while you often times don't get to see someone near as much as you would like you know that they are special and unique and you won't ever let them go but make time for those people.
3. Jobs! Our jobs would be third in line. For majority of us we have to work to support our households and to do the things we love and enjoy. Other than sleep our jobs might be the next biggest thing we spend our time doing. It can be rewarding yet frustrating at times and even owning your own business takes time to do daily tasks that keep things on track. When you are working you really need to give 100% daily and if you aren't happy then find something that will make you happy so you can give 100%. No job is ever perfect and even owning a business comes with it's own challenges but never just do the bare minimum - you have a stronger work ethic than that!
4. Organizations / Volunteer! The final item for me is organizations and volunteering - We all are passionate about something - Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Veterans, Senior Citizens, Children, etc. yet we only have so many hours in a day and so many days in a week. You can't run yourself into the ground trying to "do it all" so instead think about where you can make the most impact. Also, factor in how much of your time will be needed when getting involved in an organization. At one point I was too involved and the hard headed person that I am wasn't willing to say that I simply couldn't do it all. I finally made the choice to step away from certain organizations. Not because I didn't like them but rather because I wasn't able to give 100% to them and I now realize that it's OK to say "No".  Now when I am asked to do something I will ask key questions then take a couple days to give them an answer. It's my way to be real with myself and not over commit my time or time with my family. 

I am a visual person and for me it makes it easier to see what my week looks like. I am old school and use a Day Planner that I physically write in every day - I know y'all are like "Michele, we do live in a technologically savvy world full of smart devices that will keep a calendar and keep track of things for you". I'm over here like "Y'all just won't understand!" For me I like to turn the pages (like using my fingers) and seeing that I have 4 events coming up next week or 2 events in September that is like 7 months from now without worrying that something get erased or moved on accident. I just like simple things and for me this is simple and easy to use! Before I commit to anything I get to the office (I never take it from my office so I am not tied to it) and see what I already have planned then I can make a decision on if I want to make time to add it to my calendar or not.  Remember that you are in charge of doing what makes you happy!

I would encourage you to print out something like this (or for you tech savvy people do a spreadsheet on the computer) and block off the time that you are busy getting kids ready for school or yourself ready for work, the hours that you are working, other activities like dance lessons or ball practice for your kiddos and dinner with the family/friends. Once you have all of that filled in then look at the spaces that don't have something filled in. It's eye opening when you figure out that there may only be an hour or two that isn't spoken for but before you fill it in with volunteer time think about filling it in for some much needed "Me" time or one-on-one time with your spouse/partner or your child. The biggest thing for me, is finding where I can add an extra hour or two to focus on being at home and spending time with family. It's hard and when you see what your life looks like from a visual standpoint then you start changing things. We only have one life to live and we have to take care of ourselves to help others - While you figure out where you have spare time in the course of a month think about penciling in some time for yourself say maybe 6 months down the road then you can look at getting involved in a volunteer activity that you have wanted to get involved in.

One other thing I do daily is write down the things I need to do each day in a small binder that stays open on the side of my desk so I always see it. Nothing big and something with lined pages. I do this Monday through Friday and it helps me to knock out my to-do list each day without fear of forgetting something. (I will be completely honest and tell you that my memory isn't what it used to be however I would write things on a post it note and forget where I put the dang thing) This way if there is something I need to remember to do on Thursday and it's Monday I can just add it to Thursday's to-do list and forget it! It feels so good to come to work knowing what my tasks are for the day and feels even better to cross them off as I get them done! Occasionally I don't get something done that day so I will highlight the item and transfer it to the next day and continue this process until I can cross it off! (Truth time... I had one project that I tried to push off for almost 2 weeks but finally just jumped in to get it done and cranked it out in no time at all - should have just done it when I originally put it on my to-do list!) I would highly recommend this for anyone who needs help staying on task and making sure you get things done in a timely manner! 

Maybe you are already doing something like this and that's awesome!  Maybe you want to start doing something like this and don't know where to start. Regardless just keep focusing on your goals and maybe something from this blog post will inspire you to change what you are doing or perhaps offer advice to help others. Whatever it is never give up and I hope you find a little extra time for you!

I'm back y'all....

February 1, 2018 ~ Well hey there sugars! It's only been a year and a couple months since I have blogged and to be completely honest... I've missed it! I felt like it was a way to tell a deeper story than I could tell on various social media platforms and it was a perfect writing outlet for me....soooooo.... I am going to try to get back in the swing of blogging! {insert happy dance here}

2017 was a fast paced and busy year - but then again those of you that know me would be shaking your head in agreement that my life is always fast paced! Ha! Before I can move forward I feel like I need to get several things out of my head and reflecting on 2017 makes me smile. It was full of many emotions but each memory (many that aren't listed on this monthly list) holds a special place in my heart. It's kind of like hearing an old song and your memory going back to a special time. So, let's see what 2017 had in store for me.....

December 21, 2016 one of my good friends, Lindsay Lopez lost her husband in a tragic farming accident. Myself along with 2 other girlfriends, Sarah Dubbert and Shelly DeVore (also known as the Golden Girls - not like Mizzou Golden Girls but rather the 1980's show of 4 old friends) banded together to help our friend in the worst time of her life. She is an amazing woman (just as the other two ladies) who wouldn't be on this journey alone but one that we didn't know how to navigate. We all have learned a lot in this process and it's a great reminder to never take life for granted. Over the next several days, weeks and months we walked side by side with Lindsay and her two children, Ben and Kate. We were there for all the holidays and milestones as well as so many other caring and compassionate people. I am so proud of Lindsay for recently starting a blog to talk about her life since that day - I would encourage you to read her blog and I promise we can all learn from her perspective and think about things you never really thought about including how she is moving forward.

January 2017 we made a road trip to Nashville, TN to visit the Ryman to see Loretta Lynn! I was picked out of 2500+ people to come up on stage and play a game of guessing various items for Dollar General! It was a blast and I won a $25 gift card - Brandon, Momma and Pops were proud! I also had the pleasure of traveling with Sarah Hill to visit a 100 year old World War II veteran in Louisiana, MO. We took Honor Everywhere to him because he was physically unable to travel to Washington, D.C. to see his respective memorial so the next best option was for us to travel to him to view his memorial via Virtual Reality. You can find more information about Honor Everywhere here:

February 2017 I had been asked to be interviewed and photographed for the Columbia Business Times Magazine here in Columbia, MO. The article was titled "The Ten Most Influential Women in Columbia" and I hardly felt like I fit that description. It was humbling to be included with 9 other incredible women in our community but I know 100 other women who would have been far more deserving for this article. I greatly appreciated this opportunity and loved reading about the other women - Congratulations and thank you all for what you do for our community and beyond! You can read the article here.

 March 2017 I began visiting schools throughout the Mid-Missouri area talking about Lt. Col. Ferrill A. Purdy, a World War II Marine Fighter Pilot and who was one of the main characters in my 2nd children's book, A Trip To Remember. Throughout the 2017 year I would visit 60 schools and had the chance to visit with nearly 18,000+ students talking about the importance of honor and respect towards one another but specifically towards our military men and women both active duty and veterans. It's something I truly enjoy each of my visits and had a chance to check out some really neat communities! Interested in me visiting your school in the Mid-Missouri area? Visit my website here: 

April 2017 I had the chance to volunteer and take photos for True North's "Little Black Dress" event. I always love doing this because the smile on the faces of these beautiful ladies (and a handful of handsome men) sure makes my job easy! I've done this for the past couple years and look forward to the 2018 Little Black Dress event! (Yes I even wear a black dress which I know many of you don't believe but this year I added my cowboy boots which made it more my style!) In or around Columbia, MO and want to come to support this great event? Visit their website and find out more information here:

I also had the opportunity to be a small part of Central Missouri Honor Flight again during the 2017 year. By the end of this year they had taken 50 flights (since they started in 2009) and flown well over 3,000 veterans to their memorials in Washington, D.C. for free of charge. At the end of 2017 I had flown 25 flights with them and it is an experience I will never forget. Being able to spend this very fast paced 24 hours with some of our true American Heroes is something I wish everyone could experience. Live around the Mid-Missouri area and know of a World War II, Korean or Vietnam veteran that would be able to physically travel? Please visit Central Missouri Honor Flight's website and print off the Veterans Application and get them signed up!

My mom had Fuchs' Dystrophy which is a disease of the cornea in your eye.  This is something she has had for many years but as the disease progresses it would require surgery or she would go blind. Her vision was starting to really fail and a good friend of mine, Nancy Fay had this surgery as she also had Fuchs' Dystrophy. She had excellent success with her surgeries and had done her research to find the best of the best doctors that dealt with this but they were located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mom really wanted to have her surgery locally but I convinced her to do a consult with Price Vision Group in Indiana. Once she heard the downtime was far less than doing these surgeries locally and knew that I would take her and stay the week in Indiana with her she was totally on board. She had her first eye surgery in April 2017 and the 2nd one was done in May 2017. During these two surgeries (one for each eye) they replaced her cornea and did cataract surgery at the same time. Total surgery time was about 30-40 minutes per eye and we are so thankful for the eye donors that made this transplant possible as well as the excellent doctors, Dr. Matthew Feng and Dr. Jonathan Crews who took excellent care of my Momma! To learn more about Fuchs' Dystrophy visit the following website :

May 2017 I had the opportunity to fly out to Chino, CA for the Planes of Fame Air Museum's 60th Annual Air Show! From the moment I met the wonderful people at Planes of Fame Air Museum we instantly became family so every time I get a chance to visit it's extra special. (Planes of Fame Air Museum is home to the World War II Corsair F4U-1A #17799 plane that Lt. Col. Ferrill A. Purdy and his wing man, Major John H. Tashjian flew during World War II overseas) During this Air Show it was extra special because not only did Gayla Maier (Purdy) and Greg Purdy - Mr. and Mrs. Purdy's kids, attend this Air Show but I went and picked up Mr. Tashjian to attend as well! They also featured the Corsair F4U-1A # 17799 along with 4 other Corsair's which was totally awesome! I am thankful that the Purdy kids and Mr. Tashjian was able to travel to Chino, CA for this special weekend! You can see additional information by clicking on these two links: and the following video is from the 2017 Air Show :

June 2017 our Uncle Karl Spry passed away suddenly. Anyone that knew Uncle Karl would agree that he was a hot mess!  It is with the heaviest of hearts that I tell you heaven gained another wonderful guy. Our Uncle Karl Spry passed away unexpectedly. He was a guy that got the nickname "Crazy Karl", who never met a stranger, served our country for 39 years, truly enjoyed life and loved his Busch beer! He definitely loved his family and would just "pop" in the shop to visit us from time to time. He was a one-in-a-million kind of guy and will certainly be missed by so many. Please keep the Spry family in your thoughts and prayers especially Aunt Sandy, his kids, Matt and Darren as well as their families. This was such a blow to hear this news but I know he impacted so many people during his time here on earth (believe me... we've heard the many hilarious, shake your head, laugh until you cry stories) but I can only imagine he is reunited with Grandma Ruby and the rest of his family that passed away. Uncle Karl...I would have never imagined when we saw you last week it would be our last.... love you and miss you like crazy!

July 2017 we took Uncle Terry, Aunt Debbie and Kate Lopez to the Arvin Gottlieb 4k Planetarium in Kansas City, MO to see the Beatles Laser Show! It was something we had never done before and before the show we checked out the Planetarium to learn about the various stars and zodiac signs that light up our skies then visited a mummy experience. I'm so glad we took a little extra time to visit these things and I am pretty sure that we all had a lot of fun and memories were made! You can check out the various shows and exhibits they have here :

August 2017 I turned 41 years old and my birthday this year would be a little different than most. Last year I had signed up to donate my wedding dress to turn them into Angel Gowns for babies that are still born or pass away shortly after they are born. Since Brandon and I chose not to have children I wanted to do something special with something that was so special to me. I had opted to have the Angel Gowns sent back to me along with the scraps of my dress. On August 2, 2017 I took my mom and headed to the hospital I was born at... Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, MO to donate a large portion of Angel Gowns to their Labor and Delivery Floor. A very special day was captured by Byler Media and I worked with Christy Asper (The Ink Cafe ) and couldn't be more proud of this video! My hope is that others will do the same or come up with something that makes their heart happy while giving to others. Thank you so much Byler Media and if you ever need video work done I would highly recommend them!

September 2017 was an exciting month and memorable! This month was the 2017 Mid-America Emmy Awards held in St. Louis, MO! A special thanks to Scott Schaefer, Eric Blumberg and Lindsay Tyler for including me in an Emmy Nomination - Military News Single Story Feature / Program Feature Segment for "Mr. Purdy's Corsair" through Veterans United Home Loans! Although we didn't win it was an awesome experience for everyone involved and I am super proud! You can view all the nominations for the 2017 Emmys here:  The video that was submitted was this one:

Brandon and I would celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary during the month of September as well! It's hard to believe that we started dating in 1992 while students at Hickman High School in Columbia, MO and after 25 years together, 20 of those years we have been married! I really wanted to do something special or unique so I contacted my good buddy Scott Schaefer with Schaefer Photography to capture us on our actual anniversary! He did an amazing job and I was impressed with his magic skills to make us look good - then again, anyone that knows Scott (and Shannon) would already know he is just that good! Thanks again!

October 2017 I would take my last ceramics class this month and what a fun experience that was! I had never tried "throwing clay" or making pottery but thanks to Access Arts here in Columbia, MO I would have an awesome teacher, Cassie and the encouragement from seasoned professionals as well as newbies like myself! Once I started understanding the technique and working with clay I began to "get it". It was a lot like Kindergarten artwork in the beginning but then I began to develop some skills that allowed my pottery to look more advanced - like a 4th graders work! Ha! It was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone who is crafty or has an interest in making things! You can visit their website here:

November 2017 I became an adult and decided to have my vision checked - I had Lasik Surgery in 2005 and hadn't had an eye appointment in 12 years and they say Lasik is good for 10-15 years based on my age at the time I had it done. Good news is that my vision is still really good. (When I had surgery it was 100/20 and 200/20 - Now it's 20/20 and 25/20) Bad news is that I would need "Cheater Glasses" for my book work and things up close but honestly that isn't too bad for 41 years old! (Plus I had my eyes checked for Fuchs' Dystrophy as it is hereditary - He couldn't see that I have that disease which was great news!

I also decided to go to a real "General Practice" doctor to have a baseline check up. I saw a female physician that I really liked and of course she wanted to do blood work (which I knew would happen but I hate needles) however with too many people being diagnosed with cancer and other diseases I wanted to take care of myself the best I could which meant I would have to suck it up and get this done. Good news is that everything came back good with nothing to worry about for the time being - Shew! Y'all... if you don't have a regular doctor in addition to your gyno doctor you seriously need to get one and stay on top of your health!

December 2017 we lost Brandon's mom, Marleta "Marty" Spry unexpectedly on her 66th birthday. Her health wasn't the greatest and honestly she was living on borrowed time for the last 10 years or so but you never really expect to get that phone call. It is sad but we know she isn't in pain anymore and we do miss that raspy voice and random songs she would sing if our phones would go to voice mail.

On December 21, 2017 was the 1 year anniversary since Anthony Lopez's passing. The Golden Girls were planning on a bunking party with Lindsay and the kids but some of their other close friends decided that they would love to have a little party where everyone got together, enjoyed food, laughed and remembered Anthony. It was really good to be with everyone again and although this day was hard it was nice to see so much love still shown to the Lopez family and how much Anthony meant to his close friends. It certainly made my heart happy and my legs hurt from all the dancing that night!

We decided that we wanted to go back to Walt Disney World with some close friends of ours who had never been. Since they own Don's Family Style Buffet, a restaurant in Huntsville, MO it wasn't easy for them to get away but they do close twice a year, 4th of July and Christmas for a week at a time. We left the day after Christmas and returned home on New Year's Day and had a blast! Their daughter had just turned 4 and loved being able to spend a week in Disney with her parents and BubbaShell (what she calls us). We made lots of memories and my absolute favorite time of year to be at Walt Disney World is the month of December! Something about the Christmas decorations, parades and warm weather are just perfect - however we had warm weather for the first two days then it got down right cold (still warmer than the negative temps back home) and we didn't really pack super warm clothes! Oh well... we were in Walt Disney World!

{insert breath here} My goodness that post was long winded! I like to reflect back on some of the important things I did throughout the year and I know there are a ton more exciting things but I just can't remember all of them! It's a darn good thing I write things down! Ha! 

Last year I was still involved in some great organizations - Partner in Education with Midway Heights Elementary School, Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Mizzou Ambassadors, Central Missouri Honor Flight, Honor Everywhere and Hawthorn Bank Advisory Board. I love being a part of these organizations and I have always said that if I didn't have to worry about money or working that I would become a professional volunteer and donate my time to so many organizations in and around our community. Each year I look at the things I am involved in and make sure that I still have an interest or passion for those things and I have to say that 2018 will be a great year! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Virtual Reality - Honoring our Heroes!

April 12, 2016 ~ Today would be a very special trip to Macon, MO to take 8 veterans, that have served in World War II and Korea, on a VR (Virtual Reality) experience to see their memorials in Washington, D.C.  With the help of several volunteers coordinating this event and Chariton Valley Communication for providing the perfect location to host this event we were able to enjoy the wonderful conversations while they experienced Honor Everywhere.

I did a blog post about Honor Everywhere and you can read it here:

The reason we would be going to Macon, MO today is because this wonderful World War II hero has terminal cancer and would not be able to go on an upcoming Central Missouri Honor Flight. As you know, the entire Honor Flight Network was created in an effort to get our World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to see their memorial therefore it was very important to us that he have the ability to see it via Honor Everywhere. 

He told a few other friends of his that were in a nursing home and they graciously put these wonderful heroes on their shuttle bus and brought them to Chariton Valley Communication so they could participate in this Virtual Reality experience. 

*Please Note: We highly encourage any World War II, Korean or Vietnam War veteran to sign up to go on a real Honor Flight in/around your city. In the event that they are unable to go this is the next best option to see their memorials. To find an Honor Flight hub near you please click on the link:

Photo Credit: Sarah Hill

The best part about Virtual Reality is that as soon as you slip on the headgear or hold up the Google Cardboard to view the story you are taken from where ever you are currently located and immediately submerged inside the story. You are not watching the story but rather seeing the entire thing surrounding you as if you were there the entire time! Truly incredible. 

Thank you to every single person that made this day possible. It truly warms your heart to spend time with these true American Heroes.... my heart is full!  

Anyone that has a smart phone can help be our "boots on the ground" and getting this video in the hands of our veterans that are too sick or frail to go on Honor Flights. To find out more visit the following website and help us help them... 

Happy 64th Birthday Momma!

April 9, 2016 ~ Operation "Surprise Yo Momma" was in full effect today as it was our Momma's 64th birthday! She thought we were going to cook dinner at Ashley's house to celebrate this big day but little did she know that her girls and Pops were up to something else!

You see us girls had everything planned out and under control... we just told Pops to make sure to keep Momma away from the barn (she likes to ride her golf cart over there to see what's going on) and away from Ashley's house. A simple job yet she would give him a run for his money! 

Greg smoked the pulled pork and Ashley and I made the sides. Ashley had a wonderful lemon cake made by a local baker (Columbia Cupcakes) and we had surprised her with a few special guests. A very small but important party!

We told them that Brandon and I would come pick them up - something Momma thought was silly because they were perfectly able to drive up to Ashley's. (She how difficult she can be!) We get them in the truck and I text my sister to prompt her to call...

(phone rings)
Me: Hello Ashley....
Ashley: Hey I need a punch bowl and cups
Me: Ok we can bring those.... gotta stop by the barn then we will be there
(hang up phone)
Mom: Why does she need a punch bowl? Just put the stuff in a bowl and call it good...
Me: {insert the look} Because it's your birthday and she wants a punch bowl
Mom: Well that's silly... I'm hungry

We get to the barn and Pops and Brandon start looking at our new flag pole.... Momma doesn't know if she should sit in the truck or not so I tell her to come look at my new signs. (You can tell that she doesn't really care about the signs and she is ready to go to Ashley's) We walk inside and she is looking at some pictures laying up against the wall...
Mom: {insert bad language here} 

She was so surprised and yet so happy! 
We managed to get her sisters to this special party and she totally called them out on lying to her when she talked to them earlier! Her oldest sister, Carolyn isn't in the best health and had turned 80 years old but when she knew what we were doing she wasn't going to miss this party! Momma loves spending time with her sisters and thank you Aunt Carolyn, Aunt Janie and Aunt Darleen for coming down to help us celebrate! 

(Of course my sister loves to aggravate the crap outta Bubba!)

It was certainly a birthday to remember and I am so glad we could surprise her! We had great food, really good cake, she got lots of great gifts and we laughed until we cried!

Happy 64th Birthday Momma! 
We love you!

2016 ATHENA & ATHENA Young Professional Awards Banquet

April 7, 2016 ~ Tonight was the ATHENA Leadership and the ATHENA Young Professional Awards Banquet. This would be held at the Kimball Ballroom on Stephens College Campus in Columbia, MO. I was one of the three finalists for the ATHENA Young Professional Award and honestly didn't think I had a chance of receiving this honor because I was up against 2 amazing rock star ladies. 

Please see a previous blog post on this award and who were announced as finalists:

As many of you know I lost a really good friend almost a month ago. I've been working very hard to get things together with his wife in planning for his Celebration of Life and I guess he knew I had been thinking about him often because as I got to my momma and daddy's house it began pouring down rain. As we left her house it began spitting down little hail stones. By the time we got to our shop it had stopped raining and there was the most beautiful double rainbow over our building. Luckily I stopped to take a quick picture because by the time I got to my sisters house, nearly 3 minutes away, it was gone. It was as if Chuck was saying "You got this kid!" and I couldn't help but smile that he was sending me a message.

The first award given was the 2016 ATHENA Young Professional Award....


I was very surprised to see my name on the big screen but so honored to see my Golden Girl, Lindsay Lopez speaking about me on the video. I was really happy that my best friend, mom, sister and close friends could be here tonight to share in this very special evening. 

 The glass award in my right hand is the 2016 ATHENA Young Professional Finalist Award that we all three received. The really cool diamond looking award in my left hand is the 2016 ATHENA Young Professional Award!

A huge congratulations to Dr. Tonia Compton and Erica Pefferman on being named a finalist for this award... what an honor to have my name thrown in the hat along with you rock star ladies! These ladies have accomplished some really great things and I can't wait to see what the future holds for both of them!

The main award given tonight was the 2016 ATHENA Leadership Award.....

What an honor to see such a deserving woman from our community receive this prestigious award! A huge congratulations to Dianne Lynch of Stephens College! You have certainly done an amazing job and what a well deserved honor! 

A huge congratulations to Jan Grossman and Nancy Fay on being a finalist for this award! You both are incredible women who do so much for our community and I am proud to call you both friends.

What a night! Such and honor and it was a wonderful surprise to receive this award. I am grateful for the friendships and opportunities that I have because of my involvement in the Chamber of Commerce and Women's Network.

 Thank you to Women's Network for being engaged in this wonderful ATHENA program. You encourage, inspire and empower women in our community while being a huge support system for us. Y'all ROCK!

Thank you to Heather Stewart and Shelly DeVore for taking the time to nominate me and put together the nomination form. It's not an easy task yet you took time from your day to make sure it was perfect. I am so lucky to have wonderful friends like you!

Photo Credit: Daniel Brenner / Columbia Daily Tribune

Thank you to the Columbia Daily Tribune for a great article on these awards:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Little Black Dress 2016

April 1, 2016 ~ I am in no way a professional photographer but I do enjoy taking photos and making people smile. I was asked to be one of the photographers for the 7th Annual Little Black Dress benefiting True North in Columbia, MO. These kind of things always make me nervous as I don't edit my photos... what you see is what you get. While this is great I know they can be better but frankly that takes precious time that I don't have an extra lot of these days!

True North began as the “The Shelter” in the 1970’s when a group of University of Missouri graduate students formed a volunteer organization to serve rape survivors. As soon as the organization became known, the volunteers were overwhelmed with requests for service by women who were experiencing intimate partner violence.

True North is now a comprehensive domestic and sexual violence victim service program. The services provided are designed to empower those who have been battered or abused by an intimate partner, enabling them to begin the healing process and work towards regaining control of their lives again.

 This was my first time being at the Little Black Dress and I was blown away at seeing the 700 guests at this sold out event! What a well attended and fun event! Kuddos to everyone involved in making this night a huge success! As a "stationary" photographer I got the chance to have a really fun background and take photos of some beautiful women all dressed up in cute dresses! 

Thank you Barbara Hodges for asking me to be a small part to this wonderful evening! Here's just a small handful of some of my favorite pictures of the night! 

Such a fun evening and such beautiful women! 

I'm pretty sure the board was super excited for another successful event! 

Occasionally I managed to slip into a picture....
Love this girl and love listening to her sing! 

For more information on Little Black Dress please visit their website:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 2016 Monthly Challenge!

March 1, 2016 ~ Another month and yet another fun challenge! This month I signed up for 50 miles to give myself a break from last month's 100 mile challenge. You wouldn't think getting 50 miles in one month would be hard but sometimes it's hard to find time in a day to bust out the 1.61 miles needed each day. One of my yearly challenges was to walk 100 days and I wasn't going to let anything get in my way to keep me from reaching this goal. With 60 days complete I am ready to rock this month and push myself to keep going and see who I can drag along with me on this journey! Here's the proof that I am movin' and groovin' in March! Ready.... Set.... Let's do this!

March 1, 2016
1.00 mile
March 2, 2016
1.00 mile
March 3, 2016
1.10 miles
March 4, 2016
1.00 mile
March 5, 2016
3.50 miles
March 6, 2016
3.25 miles
March 7, 2016
1.00 mile
March 8, 2016
1.50 miles
March 9, 2016
1.25 miles
March 10, 2016
1.50 miles
March 11, 2016
3.75 miles
March 12, 2016
"Lucky Clover 4 Miler"
4.00 miles
March 13, 2016
1.25 miles
March 14, 2016 
3.14 miles
Today was a tough day as heaven gained another angel. My great friend and side kick Chuck "Chuckles" Everitt lost his battle with some recent health issues. It was so hard to see him go but I am so thankful for his friendship and being able to be there when he needed me most. Love ya buddy and already miss you like crazy. Thanks for the many memories that I will treasure for a lifetime.
March 15, 2016
1.00 mile
March 16, 2016
"Sham Rocked It 5k"
3. 10 miles
March 17, 2016
1.00 mile
March 18, 2016
1.00 mile
March 19, 2016
3.25 miles
March 20, 2016
1.00 mile
March 21, 2016
1.50 miles
March 21, 2016
3.10 miles
March 22, 2016
1.00 mile
March 23, 2016
1.50 miles
March 23, 2016
3.15 miles
March 24, 2016
3.10 miles
March 25, 2016
1.50 miles
 March 26, 2016
"Seize The Day 5k"
3.25 miles
March 27, 2016
1.50 miles
March 28, 2016
3.10 miles
March 28, 2016
1.85 miles
March 29, 2016
3.10 miles
March 30, 2016
1.16 miles
March 31, 2016
1.50 miles

Total of  68.90 miles for February 2016! 
(18.90 miles above my 50 mile goal... and every little bit counts!)

I also want to see how close I can get to the 2,016 miles by adding up my total daily Fitbit miles. So each day I have wrote down how many total miles I get in the course of a day and write it at the top of each day in my Day Planner.... For the month of March my total Fitbit miles are 149.94 miles! (Now I realize that you don't count total Fitbit miles and just the miles you actually make time to walk/jog/run. Not too shabby since you would need 168 miles per month to complete the 2,016 mile yearly challenge! I'm telling you... having a Fitbit and thinking about the walking/jogging/running that you do when you think about exercise will increase your distance for sure! Now let's see what we can do in March for our monthly challenge!

2,016 Total Fitbit Miles:
January: 151.03
February: 170.74
March: 149.94