Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Wild Hair - Donating to Children With Hair Loss!

 March 15, 2018 ~ Today is one of my favorite days... it's Hair Day (aka: Tinfoil Thursday)! I love hair days which only come once every 3 months - because I can't stand the thought of going every month for highlights and a trim. When this day comes around I feel like a new woman and today I got a wild hair to cut off more than I would during just my normal highlight and trim! 

I have been talking about cutting my hair off and donating it for several months. It takes forever for my hair to grow and I just got it to a length I really liked but donating it was more important to me. 
I mean, it's just hair and it will grow back! 

I have been researching organizations that you can donate your hair to that would accept hair that was color treated (I just highlight my hair) and stumbled across Children With Hair Loss and was so happy that they would accept my hair and the minimum requirement to donate was 8" of hair - however they would love more if you have it.

So many organizations wouldn't take hair that wasn't "virgin" hair and I totally understand their reasons however I would like to believe that there are far more people that process their hair that would like to do something good for others and can't - until I found Children with Hair Loss! 

This picture was taken right after I sat down and we measured my hair to cut... then it was time to highlight before finalizing the cut! I wasn't really nervous but rather anxious to see my new style! I knew I would like it but also knew it would take a few days to adjust to this new look! Even blow drying my hair was weird because there wasn't much there and it didn't take long to dry!
(Yes I am a complete fruit loop and fix my own hair at the salon.... crazy I know!)

Shew wee sugars, now you know why I call it "Tinfoil Thursday"! There is a hot mess going on inside all that shiny metal and soon enough I will have balanced locks that are blonde again!  I can only imagine that they get a heck of a discount on tinfoil! (I am sure they go through a ton of it!)
As a side note I did have really great cell signal! Ha! 

The new haircut with some much needed highlights!
Feels so weird but I love it... Thank you Jen Bloss! 

It feels good to give back to others especially when it's something we have and don't need. I know it's not near as much but it's something I know I can do to help someone else. I have really fine hair and I know this won't even come close to making one wig but hopefully whomever receives a wig from pieces of my hair will find joy and happiness.

Interested in donating your hair and want more information?
Visit their website:

Just remember.....

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Happy International Women's Day!

March 8, 2018 ~ For me, I try to remain neutral on all social media outlets when talking about subjects such as religion, politics and sexual orientation. I personally would rather sit down, face-to-face and have a real conversation with someone to better understand, educate and comprehend a topic or subject. When I see a post on someone's social media page I don't take offense as I know that they are trying to understand or possibly make a point however many times it's taken in the wrong context which causes many comments (both positive and negative) to start taking place. Sometimes the originator of the post can keep the conversation going and asking questions or explaining in further detail however many times no comments are made by the originator of the post and this brings mixed messages.

We all are curious and have our own opinions about many things in life. For me, social media isn't the best place to discuss those things unless you are willing to start hard conversations, offend others, be offended or simply be called out on something that you may believe in. Those face-to-face conversations are so much deeper, you see the emotion and feel the passion in the other persons actions, facial expressions and body language. I do think that if you are going to use social media to talk about politics, religion, gender equality then you need to give as much details and then ask for what you are looking for. When you put something out there on social media that is open ended then it opens the doors for negativity, misunderstandings and confrontation....  which you all know I am not a fan of. I certainly don't judge someone because of there choice or stance on a subject instead I try my best to respect others thoughts and beliefs with the understanding that we must agree to disagree from time to time. Listening to someone elses perspective gives you a view that you may not have thought of or the chance to ask questions to better understand - never to make fun of someone.

Today, I will celebrate International Women's Day by always remaining positive, trying to inspire others and applauding the many amazing women throughout the world that have done some incredible things to make this world a better place. I am certainly proud of women who have taken a leap of faith (at times) and started their own business, raising a family (many times doing both at the same time) and took time to give back unselfishly to their communities and beyond. They are setting the tone for other women and young girls that with hard work and determination you can do just about anything you set your mind to! 

As a side note: I completely understand that there are physically some things that many women can not do that men can do however I am proud that behind many of these women are supportive men (husbands, fathers, sons, grandpas, etc.) that encourage us to pursue our dreams. 

As a woman I do my best to lift other women up while recognizing their potential. I often remind myself that we all started somewhere and I certainly remember the women (and some men) that wouldn't offer advice or even tell you anything about running a business in our early years. I learned quickly that I don't want to be that kind of woman. If I can give advice or talk to another woman about trials and tribulations of owning a business in an effort to support, encourage and over come obstacles as they move forward then I would gladly sit down and talk to them. It's not easy but it is worth it. 

I am the first person to admit that I am the hardest on myself by always doubting that I can do something. I have several women in my life that have been a mentor, even if never officially knowing it. Having such positive, motivated, hard working women that I keep close to me is worth more than gold. Just watching these women move mountains (although not literally) they have truly inspired me along the way and I can't imagine life without them in it. I can't name everyone but a handful of specific women would be my Momma, Sarah Hill, Christy Asper, Shefali Burns, my Golden Girls...

I also have a very close circle of friends and those people are very much a part of my tribe and I lean on them a lot as well. I appreciate every single one of these people and couldn't imagine life without them in it either! 

What can you do to recognize other women?
1. Nominate them for an upcoming award that they would be deserving of
2. Send them a hand written note with a positive message inside
3. Connect them with someone you may know to help them reach their goals and/or dreams
4. Encourage them to do something they have always wanted to do
5. Promote them and/or their business
6. Become a Mentor to someone or perhaps find a Mentor for yourself
7. Pass their name along, something of interest to them (ie: Board position, volunteer position)
8. Support something they are an advocate for
9. Listen more - There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth
10. Lead by example - Be your authentic self all day every day

My advice to any woman - don't ever be afraid to follow your dreams and your heart. Do you admire a successful woman? Then sit down for coffee, lunch or a glass of wine with her... I bet you'll be surprised to hear her story and things that shaped her life along the way. Life isn't perfect but leaning on key people will certainly help you reach your goals... don't ever give up! You may need to take a few steps back or possibly get knocked down (not physically) but always stand back up, put a smile on your face and determination in your heart because girls... you are gonna set this world on fire!

The color for International Women's Day is purple. Lilac's are my favorite flower and it would take truck loads of these beautiful smelling flowers to give one to each woman who inspires, does amazing things and doesn't let anything stand in her way... these flowers are for you!

Just a few of my favorite quotes -

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Interview with Lt. Col. Ferrill A. Purdy!

March 3, 2018 ~ For anyone that has followed my blog and followed the journey of writing my second children's book, A Trip To Remember, you might remember some incredible things we found out when researching Lt. Col. Ferrill A. Purdy. Three key pieces that will always have a piece of my heart, besides Mr. Purdy of course, was finding his wing man, Major John H. Tashjian and reuniting them, finding a plane they both flew during World War II in combat - Corsair F4U-1A # 17799 and the Planes of Fame Air Museum family. We found these people and things in 2016 and for the last nearly 2 years they will forever have an important place in my life. (Photo Credit for above photo goes to Jeff Burg with Grindstone Digital Imaging)

For the last two years I have had the honor and privilege of traveling to Chino, CA and being a small part of their Living History Event focusing on the Corsair F4U-1A #17799. During the entire year they will pick a war bird and focus on it for a month, have presentations with veterans, historians and pilots to give the audience an over view of that particular aircraft then fly it. The Living History Event for the Corsair had been in August for the past two years and this year they bumped it up to March 3, 2018. Sadly, I couldn't make the trip with several commitments going on around home. I was really bummed as I didn't want to miss out on this very special event. Planes of Fame Air Museum understood and then I received an e-mail from Harry "T" Geier, Director of Marketing and Development who suggested that maybe we can do a phone interview with Mr. Purdy during this event. I loved this idea and it would certainly bring a different spin on this presentation because they have never gotten the chance to hear Mr. Purdy speak! We talked a little more and decided to try Skype... this way everyone would be able to see him on the big screen they have at their events AND hear his voice! 

 A few days before the event we tested the Skype connection at Mr. and Mrs. Purdy's house, on their 64th Wedding Anniversary and everything checked out nicely. We were all really excited to be able to have Mr. Purdy a part of their Living History Event. The best part was Mr. Purdy was really excited to do this and just couldn't believe that technology would allow all of this to happen! 

On the day of the event we were unable to test connections one last time. If you have ever been to one of Planes of Fame Air Museum's Living History Events you will know that the energy is high, volunteers, members of the community and beyond are checking out the various planes and waiting for this day to get started. (Plus it is 2 hours earlier than Missouri time) The event started and we were up but sadly we couldn't get Mr. Purdy on the big screen. A minor issue so we quickly turned to "Plan B" which was doing the phone interview just as we first discussed. I know it was nice for the 350-400 in attendance to hear his voice - the voice of the first known pilot to have flown their Corsair F4U-1A # 17799 but I really wish they could have seen him. We got done with the interview and Mr. Purdy was happy. He was so willing to help in any way possible. I visited them for a little longer and then headed home. 

I received a private message from Lorrie Hermann, who was in attendance at the Planes of Fame Air Museum's Event and suggested that we try Facebook Live - What a brilliant idea! Why didn't I think of that... I mean seriously I had the technology literally in my hands! 

I drove back over to Mr. and Mrs. Purdy's house and told them what I wanted to do so that everyone would be able to see Mr. Purdy and hear him respond to various questions I would ask him. It wouldn't be long but just something that would be kind of cool to share with others. He was on board and was ready when I was!

Posted by Michele Spry, Author on Saturday, March 3, 2018

This was my first "Facebook Live" video and I apologize for not having my thoughts well thought out but hopefully it makes sense! Mr. and Mrs. Purdy watched it after we were done and he just laughed. At almost 96 years old all of this technology is crazy to wrap your mind around. I love sitting and listening to his stories and I will have to do this again sometime - pieces of history being captured for many years to come. He said the hardest part about getting older is that he is starting to forget a lot of the island names and that bothers him. I think he does pretty darn good and because I have had the pleasure of visiting 60+ schools in Mid-Missouri and tell his story then I can help with part of it - although we haven't talked a lot about his time on Tarawa. 

I hope you enjoyed this video and I am so thankful that technology allowed Mr. Purdy to travel from his home (while sitting comfortably in his recliner) to California. Hug your veterans tight and thank them for their service often!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Frugal Living in 2018... Part 2!

February 26, 2018 ~ So I am truly enjoying this new-to-me simple (aka: frugal) lifestyle and I also enjoy sharing my thoughts, ideas and actions with you guys. I'll be completely honest, in the past saving money wasn't really something that was in my vocabulary. I wanted to travel the United States, make memories and enjoy life. Now that Brandon and I have seen all 50 states over the past several years we have made many memories and enjoyed life but it also meant that we always were on the go and never (or hardly ever) would sit still. I wouldn't change that fast paced and crazy lifestyle for anything however I suppose as we grow up and become adults things in life change. I am ready to be home and just enjoy making memories locally. (Don't get me wrong - we will still visit places throughout the years but not near like we had been previously)

To me saving is more important than ever as the reality of retirement is closer than it once was. Don't get me wrong... my husband and I are 42 (well, he's 42 and for the next 6 months I will be known as his "younger" 41 year old wife)... we still have several years to work but just before we turned 40 we set a "Retirement Goal" of 50. Now before y'all start getting all "Have they lost their mind" on us please remember that this is only a goal. Perhaps in reality we don't retire until we are 55, 60 or even 65 but if you don't set a goal for yourself then how do you ever work towards something? It's just getting the idea of retirement in your thought process and saving up as much as we can so we can afford to retire.

Setting goals can be a bit overwhelming, scary and even difficult but with determination, hard work and keeping a daily reminder of your goals you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I am a visual person. I will tell you this anytime we are going to work on a project or brainstorm because I need to see the big picture. From that point I like to work backwards to find out what I need to do right now in order to reach the goal or deadline. It's just how my brain works. 

In my previous blog post I talked about decluttering my home and living with less which I felt really was the pivotal piece that inspired this change. The next step to my frugal living journey would be to curb the spending. This would come in many directions but these few are huge ones for me. 

Eating Out! 

This was a major one for us. For nearly the past 10 years (give or take) we have just about ate out for lunch and dinner every single day. Obviously there were times when we ate at my parents house, my sisters house and friends houses but 90% of the time it was going out to eat.  Now realize that we are just two people that do not have children and I know it sounds crazy but it was cheaper for us to go out and eat rather than cooking at home - at least this was my old mentality.

At the beginning of this year I put the brakes on us going out to eat and decided that I was going to start cooking at home. Yes my family laughed at this idea because I was not someone who would cook. After about 6 weeks of seeing that I was now cooking lunch and dinner at home every day and even inviting my family and friends over for home cooked meals I have heard "I would have never believed it if I hadn't seen it / tasted it for myself"! (Seriously, they don't know me by now that when I set my mind to something then I go all out and prove everyone wrong!)

This has actually been an easy transition for me and although I do struggle from time to time to come up with something different to cook ..... it's harder than you think because I am a super picky eater and if I don't like it then sugars, I ain't cookin' it! I stick to my basic beef, pork and chicken and have managed to come up with easy recipes that have most of the basic things in my refrigerator and pantry. (Many thanks to Pintrest and Google) I have several "new go-to" recipes and some that I won't make again - I do have to admit although they weren't horrible it won't be something I fix.

Something else we never did was eat leftovers. Yep, like never! Learning to cook without a lot of waste can be hard. I have purchased I have a Food Saver so that I can vacuum pack and freeze meats that are smaller portions and much easier not to waste... I love that little machine! I have also learned that leftovers are all in how you save them and how you re-heat them. You want there to be enough juice on green beans for example that when you re-heat them on the stove they aren't dried out or you need to add water or anything else to them. (I'm sure many of you already know this but it's somewhat a new concept to me) Also another key piece to leftovers is to warm up the meats slowly in the oven. Re-heating in the microwave, to me, makes a funny taste and then makes the meat nearly rubberized - YUCK!

Now don't get me wrong... not every meal is a gourmet meal by no means but I know what I am cooking is better for us and we aren't over eating meals. I guess the best part is being able to cook for our family and friends while enjoying a meal without all the noises. Honestly I don't miss eating out!
(In the last 55 days we have ate out maybe 5-6 times tops.)

Let me just give you an idea of what this has saved us....

Lunch would run anywhere from $10 - $50 (if we bought lunch for others)
Dinner would run anywhere from $20 - $60 and could go up if we bought dinner for someone else

Let's just say on average we spent $40 per day for lunch and dinner for both of us
Over the past 10 years let's say we ate out 90% of the time which would be 3,285 days
$40 x 3,285 = $131,400 spent on eating out at minimum... GAH!
{insert picking myself up off the floor}

Remember me telling you that I am a visual person? Well, actually seeing these numbers knowing that many times we spent a lot more than the average but also eating at family and friends houses is crazy to think we've spent that kind of money on food while eating out!

I would expect that with my new method of a frugal lifestyle we could cut that by more than half  in 10 years and have healthier options which is ultimately better for our bodies. How do I expect to do that? Well here's my visual piece....

52 weeks in a year x 10 years = 520 weeks
I have been spending on average about $125 per week on groceries
*Realizing this is an approximate average*
$125 x 520 = $65,000

I am certain with sharpening my shopping skills I can drop this number as well but it will take time to figure out coupons, double coupons, etc.

Grocery and Shopping Lists!
I have always been a bulk shopper meaning that every time I needed to go to Walmart or Target I would buy 6-8 laundry detergents, 8 dish soaps, 24 bath soaps.... you get the point. My family and friends give me crap about how my closets look like Walmart shelves but honestly, I did this because I hate shopping for stuff like that but hate running out of basic supplies even more because then you were forced to go to the store for that item and come back out with 50+ items! I know y'all are shaking your head agreeing with me on this one... it's like once you cross the threshold of a store your list sudden gets tossed in the trash and it's a dang free for all! 


I have made lists for things I need to do each week at my office and sticking to those lists aren't hard so why is it so difficult to stick to a list when going to the store? So, I have a list next to my refrigerator and the moment I use up the last bit of something I add it to my shopping list. I have found that doing this has helped me to not buy things I do not need and use up the things I already have before replacing it. By sticking to this method I feel like I don't overspend or impulse spend nearly as much - Now if you think I never by something that isn't on my shopping list you are so wrong sugar.... I do!

I feel like I am being more structured, a better shopper and learning to be frugal in my financial habits. I also have been grocery shopping on the weekends with my sister which I love because I get to spend time with her but also because our goal is to get in and out of the store - no dilly dallying around! We make our Sam's Club run (I've never really paid attention to price tags - clearly because we ate out more than bought groceries) which I was very surprised at the savings of items we use often, then run over to Hy-Vee to get our groceries. I have always said that I would never run to 3-4 different stores to get things I needed but in reality when you know you can save a large amount of money then it sudden makes sense and becomes worth it. (I mean Sam's Club is next door to Hy-Vee so it's not like you are running from one side of town to the other)

In the past it seemed like I was forever in a store of some sort but now I feel like this scheduled shopping has helped me so much. Plus it's one more thing I don't have to do in my busy schedule of life is spend time trying to remember what I walked into the store for in the first place!

Zero Spend Days! 

Wait... What?!?! How do you expect me to live not spending every day? Yes, I freaked out at first when I thought about zero spend days but now I love marking down in my calendar every single day that I didn't spend any money from our personal accounts! Actually, it's became a fun game to me and when I have a spend day - grocery days and paying bill days but I try to do these on the same day so it only counts as one spend day per week - then I hate writing what I spent on my calendar but it's the reality of what we actually spend from month to month.

Gift Cards = Zero Spend Days!

Say what?!? Yep I made a rule that I can totally live with! We all get gift cards for holidays, birthdays, returning items to a store with no receipt or sometimes just randomly in the mail from a friend.  (My friends know I love Starbucks and always pay for a beverage for the person behind me in the drive through each time I go... randomly someone will give me a gift card which I will upload to my smart phone app and use it to pay it forward)

The gift cards have been previously paid for either by your self or others right... so there is no exchange of money taking place therefore when you use them it still counts as a zero spend day, unless of course you spend more than the gift card has on it. Brilliant idea!

I have a random collection of gift cards from food places to gas stations to local shops and more that I keep with me at all times. When I am thinking about something I really need I look at the gift cards to see if I can get those items at a place I have a gift card to. Food gift cards... I know we will want to grab something quick sometime or maybe have a date night and I have 7-8 different gift cards to choose from ranging from $25-50 each. I had taken a few items back that I didn't have a receipt for and have a small handful of gift cards to craft shops. When paired with coupons you really get more for your money and stretch it a little further.

Now before y'all try changing the population in Tightwad, Missouri (yes it truly is a real town) just know that I am 100% still human and will enjoy a normal life. I needed to put a financial plan in place and this seemed 2018 seemed like the perfect year to start! I just want to be aware of what we are spending and where it's going while putting money back to continue growing our emergency funds, savings accounts and retirement accounts while moving towards a retirement goal.

Now if you are already doing these things to save money monthly and even yearly - great job! Sorry that I am just now figuring this out and thinking about our future. If you aren't doing these things I would just encourage you to just take a look at these things and see where you might be able to shave a little off your monthly expenses and knock out any debt you may have. I can tell you that in the last  55 days I have learned what I truly need vs. what I want, where my money is truly going and how to shut down the areas that you don't really need while getting rid of things around your house that are stuck in a storage unit to never be seen again... Y'all get rid of the clutter and simplify your life! Take baby steps and I promise it will make you feel better!

Saving for Retirement! 

So the final piece to all of this, for me, is to put more into our IRA's each year. Through our business we have a 3% employer match and my goal this year is to bump up the amount we personally put in our IRA's with each paycheck to watch our retirement funds grow! I would like to bump it up to a total of 15% going in each paycheck including the 3% employer match. Baby steps right? 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Frugal Living in 2018!

February 23, 2018 ~ Frugal living... wait... what?!?! I have never considered myself "frugal" by no means and before y'all think that I am becoming a complete tightwad let me just tell you... that I kind of am! No, I haven't lost my mind! As I think about my goals for 2018 one of the things I really want to do is live with less. Not the "living with less" that means we will move to a remote part of the world, catch our water in tubs and live by sunlight - clearly there is nothing wrong with this lifestyle but I simply mean less stuff and less clutter.

I don't know why but I loved this picture from the moment I saw it. I do have an old soul that loves antiques blended with new things. Re-purposing old things to give them new life even makes me happy. I guess the simplicity of basic things, some of which are old or perhaps look old, with a simple arrangement of flowers in a Ball jar for example, just makes me smile. Simple is good. 

In order to began the path to a frugal lifestyle I needed to declutter my life. My stress level began to rise when I realized that I had so much stuff that I didn't need. Seriously, who needs 20 random fabric bags, bedding for 10 beds, and enough clothing to cover 100 people?!?! I had totes, clothing, misc. household items and more scattered all over my house - something my OCD doesn't handle well. 

My point is that I knew that I needed to get rid of things and figure out what I truly needed to keep and what I could get rid of and/or pass along to someone else. I began to make piles....

1. Keep - Items that I needed to keep such as family items, special or memorable items and things that I know I will use in the next year or so. I am almost embarrassed to tell you that I had nearly 40 totes that were completely cleared out and gone, making my storage area much easier to look at and not overwhelming when walking through the door.... nearly 40 totes y'all and we ain't talking little totes either! Crazy!

2. Sell - Items that are in great/good condition that are worth selling to make a little extra money to put into savings. This is something I didn't even think about. I mean I know I have several items that were totally sell-able but  one day our receptionist, Nicole turned me on to a Facebook page called: Columbia / Boone County MO Swap Shop... {insert heavenly rays of sunshine here} This was a game changer in a major way and extremely simple to use. You simply ask to be added to the 39,000+ member page and then you snap a picture of the item(s) you are selling, put your asking price and done! I began getting private messages and requests to purchase my items - just like that I was running over to the Columbia Mall meeting people and exchanging the items they purchased for cash.... something my shoe-box loved! Every day I am trying to sell something and it's nice seeing that you actually have room (and a little extra money) for something you really enjoy! They have these types of groups all over Facebook and I would highly suggest that you give it a try!

3. Donate - Items that are in great/good condition and would be of value to an organization. Here in Columbia, MO we have some wonderful organizations that do great things for people in our community. When I have had items to donate I have simply asked my friends on Facebook for their suggestions - for example: I had 2 older luggage sets that my husband and I had taken on several vacations. The wheels were just about worn off but the luggage themselves were still good so when I asked what to do with them, one of my friends suggested donating to someone they knew going on a mission trip! Excellent idea! I have also donated items to Upscale Resale which is a great little store here in Columbia, MO that takes donations, sells the items and uses the money to put towards various things in the community such as: Operation School Bell,  Parent Packs, Assault Survivor Packs and more! There are many more wonderful organizations, which I won't name for fear of forgetting someone, but ask around and make sure to ask for their "Want Lists" as you never know, you may just have extra items around your house that you can donate!

4. Trash - Items that should have not been stored, broken and not repairable or just junk. You know, when you see it and think "why in the world did I save that"! 

I did find that I had an abundance of t-shirts and it seems like those are items that everyone has enough of so I decided to cut them up and make t-shirt rags out of them. They are great to use in the garage, dusting or use them for craft projects and throw them away when you are done! 


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!