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