Sunday, September 30, 2012

24 FORMER slave children!!

On Labor Day, I joined with a group of fellow bloggers to tell you about the Mercy Project.
Well, it is with incredible joy that we can blog now that 24 children have been freed!
Please click on the picture or link below and read about this ministry.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


It's HERE!!
My COACH purse!!
It arrived Friday in the rain.  Thankfully it was well packaged!

Opening the box was sooo fun.
 Ta Da!!
(Of course Blogger is having issues and won't let me resize this picture!)

So why am I so pumped over a purse?  Well, it's really not about the purse. It's the journey that it represents and the daily reminder it will be to me to make better choices for my body.

I'm really not one of those people that get caught up in clothes and accessories (though I have enjoyed shopping lately!!) but back in May when I decided to change my ways and take control of my life I wanted a goal outside of my body shape and a purse that I would never buy for myself seemed like a good way to go.

And here I am!  It took 4 months of really hard work and dedication, but I'm happier and stronger for the effort!  I'm also wearing a smaller size than ever thought I'd get back too.

I haven't started using the purse yet. I don't want to get it dirty or rained on :) But I will soon. For now, it's sitting in my bedroom in a place of honor. Maybe I should place it in my pantry so that when I want a snack I have to walk by it!!

Thanks for taking this journey with me!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye.

I don't mind being that person in the family that takes pictures at inappropriate times. Because by doing so, I have wonderful pictures of my Grandad's funeral that took place on Monday.

If you don't like seeing pictures of funerals, well, skip this post.

It was a beautiful service.
The chapel felt familiar to me, even though I had never been in it before. Maybe because Doug was speaking, but it reminded me of his preaching days.  Here he is talking with my Grandmother before the service.
Doug did such an incredible job with the serivce. I know it was very hard for him, but I can't imagine anyone who could have done a better job.
Grandad was one of the few surviving WWII Navy veterans. The presenting of the flag was rather poignant.

After the service, was the burial. For the end of September, it was hot.

And finally, here is a picture of my mom and me. It was actually taken earlier in the day, but I like ending posts on a happy note. Don't we look pretty.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


If you weren't on this journey with me, I'd feel like I was bragging.
I went shopping tonight. I didn't have anything to wear to my Grandad's funeral.
So while I was trying on dresses, I decided to try on some pants as well!
Take a good look at the picture.
Yes, that is a size SIX!!!!!

I am so pumped!!!

I also hit the official 30 pounds lost today!

I am so close to the Coach purse :)

I figure that I will level off the weight loss soon, but for now, I am thrilled.

Thanks for joining me on my journey!

Friday, September 21, 2012

A life well lived.

If you have read many of my blog posts, you know that my family is the core of who I am. Not just my husband and children, but my FAMILY..  My parents, my sisters and their husbands/children, my cousins, my grandparents and even our close friends.

You have probably read posts about my grandparents.

Well, my granddad, Hoyt Greene died yesterday afternoon.

It is with heartache that I write this, but also with joy.

Grandad was born in 1917 and lived well.

He taught our family to LOVE.
He taught our family to READ.
He taught our family that we could be ANYTHING!

He and my grandmother raised four girls to be strong women.
That legacy has been passed down to my sisters and me.
That is what I am teaching my daughters.

Grandad loved politics and economics.
In his retirement, he went to the library almost everyday and as a child I went with him during the summers sometimes. I loved the children's section of the big downtown Fort Worth library. After we finished at the library, we'd stop by and check the stock market and make it back to the house for lunch with Grandmother.

One of the best gifts that Granddad and Grandmother gave to us grandchildren was the feeling like we were their favorite. My sisters each think that they were the favorite, but I know that I was! :)

Grandad did this with giving his undivided attention to me.
Grandad did this with my children.

Here are the most recent pictures I have with my girls and Grandad.
Granddad is reading "Daddy's Girl" to Kylie and Lexi.
Oh how precious these memories are.

And how thankful I am to have these pictures to show my girls.

As we say goodbye to Grandad, I want to remember to love wholeheartedly and with undivided attention to my family. To honor our family traditions and to live with the integrity and quite compassion of my Grandad.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Warning: A Possible New Addiction

For all of you out there that enjoy Pinterest. I have to ask you. Have you tried Craft Gawker?

Maybe this is old news for all of you, but I just recently stumbled on it. 

It's quite possibly my new addiction.

Why, becasue it's all crafty diy stuff on it.

So if you haven't looked at it yet, go check out  It's pretty cool!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Choosing to FIGHT a Negative Self-Image!

As you all know I have been on a diet. A full-blown, hard-core watch what you eat and exercise diet. Thanks to Weight Watchers and my determination, I have lost more than 25 pounds since May 29th!!
Now that I'm closing in on my target weight, I thought I'd take a look and see what the world wide web had for me as an ideal weight range.
I shouldn't have.  Instead of making me feel good, I ended up being hurt, mad, disappointed and incredibly frustrated. Why? Because there isn't a consistent range and many of them are CRAZY!!
To make my point, I'm going to use my journey as an example. This is important. That's why I'm willing to divulge the details!
In 1998, I weighed in at 130 pounds. Newly engaged and happy and a fit 24 years old. Isn't my picture with Doug so cute!! Oh how young we were!!  Just for reference: I wore a size six pants.
I stayed within 5 pounds of this weight until getting pregnant with Maddie. At that point I was sooo sick the first trimester that I lost weight and then ended up gaining 40+ by the time I delivered all 8 pounds of her!
After Maddie was born, I went back to work. She was sickly. Life was just a little stressful. I lost some of the baby weight, but it was slow. Finally, about the time she turned 2 I had made it down to about 150 pounds and a size 10.  I felt pretty good and was swimming a few MILES three days a week!!
Then we moved, I had a series of early miscarriages, Doug had a new career and life was once again pretty stressful. By the time Maddie was four I weighed in at 166 and was hating the way I looked. Dieting brought me back to 150 and a size 10/12.
Then I got pregnant, we moved and life got stressful again. I only gained around 20 pounds with Lexi, but afterwards I could still just get back to that 150 mark. I did that with running. Then I broke my foot.
Fast forward another few years and I had Kylie. I only gained 18 pounds with her! By then I knew that making it down to "pre-baby" weight was impossible, so I had to be careful!  And I was right, this time, now at age 35, my weight loss hit the wall at 160. Ouch. But I didn't have time to exercises. Life was just too busy!
So here we are in 2012 and I'm flirting with the 170's. I am miserable and my self-worth is at an all time low. I hate to look at myself in the mirror and I don't want my kids to grow up with an overweight mom. To make matters worse, I have three sisters who are SKINNY.
Finally, as the last day of school wrapped up, I made a decision. It was MY TURN. It was my turn to be on the list of priorities. It was my turn to be proud of myself. So I did it. On May 29th I started a new chapter.
I am now  really happy with who I am and where I am in life. Currently I weight 146. I am sooo close to that 30 pound mark. My goal is 140. Then I'm buying that Coach purse! I run on average 10-15 miles a week and do bootcamp 3 or 4 mornings a week. I am THRILLED with my progress. Here is a picture of me from this weekend! I'm wearing a size 8 skirt and my medium shirt is getting a little big! 
See, I have no need to be frustrated or sad. I'm doing great.
But now, let's go back to the WWW and see why I am in a tizzy.
Exhibit #1.
Did you read that? I know it's blurry. sorry.
It says:
"You are overweight by 14lbs."
That's just what I needed to see.
So I decided to look at a different site.
THIS is NUTS. 112-116 pounds.???
I'll try another.

108? That has to be a typo. CRAZY.

Forget ideal weight, let's look for HEALTHY!!

This site says I should be between 111-140. Well, that's better. I says that my healthy BMI is right on the overweight side. Thanks.
And people wonder why women have such negative self-images? How can we not when this is what we are BOMBARDED with.
At 146, I feel better than I have in years. Yes, I want to lose 6 more pounds, but really, when I was a skinny theatre major in college wearing a size 4/6 I still weighed in at 125.  There is no good reason to put pressure on myself to weigh in at my "ideal". Whose "ideal" is this? The fashion industry?
In the end, I went back to my trusty Weight Watchers site and got a shot in the arm when I looked at my progress report. I can't say enough good things about Weight Watchers and they way they do things, the HEALTHY way they push you to eat and the HEALTHY weight ranges that they give you.  Below is a picture of my current progress report!

And let me end this rant with my new motto.
You might get skinny sitting on a couch, but you CAN'T get STRONG!!
Obviously, I need to work on my striking a pose. I need to learn how to do the muscle arm and fist right. No worries. I'll practice!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Heart of Gold: David vs Goliath

The Heart of Gold Game

I can't remember what I've told the blog world about The Heart of Gold Game, so I'll recap.

Our local high school has a really good football team with an fan base that is quite large. A few years ago the team decided to honor a child that had a special need or health issue by designating one home game of the season as their Heart of Gold game. Tshirts are sold with the child's name on the back and the entire team and coaching staff wear the shirts. The community buys the shirts as a fundraiser and then the family is given a monetary gift.

Our family has supported this in the past and I know last year's recipient family. I would have NEVER guessed or dreamed that we would be such a family. 

But a couple of weeks ago the head coach called Doug and asked him if we would be willing/interested in Maddie being this years recipient. So after drying the tears, we asked Maddie and she said okay. She didn't really get how big this was.

Fast forward to this past weekend.

Maddie went to the Breakfast with Champions with the Varsity football players, then was honored at the pep rally, then spoke on the local radio station at the Coffee with Coach.

That was the warm up.

When we got the the stadium, it was electric. It didn't hurt that the game was against our big rival. It's a David vs Goliath match up with us being David. The Head Coach had told me earlier in the week that he really, really wanted to win for Maddie. But we weren't predicted to win.

So as it nears game time, imagine a stadium full of people and tons of them are wearing a shirt that supports your kid. I really struggled to keep it together.

Maddie ran out with the team, in fact, the Head Coach ran with her. It was wonderful as Maddie had been really worried about being the last one on the field when she heard that she would be running with the team. For a kid that is always last in gym class, is the last picked for a team and is the last one finished with anything athletic, this was really worrying Maddie. So, I shared this concern with the coach, and he turned something scary into something special!

Here they are running in. 

Here is Maddie with the Head Coach. They are getting ready to go out for the coin toss. Isn't this picture crazy. It's taken with the same camera at the same time as the other pictures, but the spotlight on Maddie and Coach is incredible!

Maddie was the Honorary Captain and she called the coin toss.

Here we are leaving the field. Don't you just love Kylie's pig tails!!

And the game starts!!

During the game, Doug and Maddie spent a lot of time on the sideline. But she still made time to play with Cousins!

Even Kylie and Lexi got turns to go on the sideline.

Don't you just love this picture of Kylie and her Cousin!! Sweet.

After the game.. It was incredible. We beat our Goliath.  Head Coach ran down the sideline waving our flag and hooting and hollering. It was such a memorable time.  And to be standing on the sideline. One of my highlights.

Then Head Coach got the team together and did his speech.  It was so fun to hear him. These boys had done something special and he praised them all. Then he called Maddie over and gave her the game ball! Oh yeah, I was teary!
And we finished the evening with a team picture. Complete with Maddie in the center.
The entire experience was one our family with never forget. The monetary gift to Maddie will be placed in a trust for her future medical expenses. Our prayer is that it will never have to be touched. But is sure is nice to know that we have it available for her care.

Living in a small town, there are trade offs. We don't have a lot of the amenities that others have.. but the community love of each other is better than any fancy restaurant!

Oh how blessed we are to live in the Ville.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Heart of Gold Pep Rally

Being a parent of a kid with health issues means most of the time, most of the people you meet have no clue what your day is like.  This week, our local high school football team honored Maddie.  I have felt on the verge of tears for a week!!

This is part one of a few posts.. The Pep Rally. This is actually the second event of the day, but I have pictures of this one. Thank you so much my friend and collegue Tammy Jones for taking these wonderful pictures!

I love how the pictures capture Maddie's excitement and fear all at the same time. In the first picture Coach Gillespie is introducing Maddie to the 1000 people. Scary.

And in the next two pictures Maddie is scared to death that she is going to have to talk!! She is an honorary captain for the game tonight.  No, she didn't talk! 

And after the pep rally with the cheerleaders and mascots. Relief on her face!

Coming soon: posts about the breakfast, the coach's show and then the game.


Monday, September 3, 2012

The Mercy Project

The following is a post written by a fellow blogger. I found her blog while she, along with her husband and children, were working/serving women and children in Haiti. She is back in Texas now and while I've never met her, she is a kindred spirit! 

The post is so well written, that I didn't edit it at all. I hope you will take the time to read the post and watch the video. It is overwhelming to me. As a mother, I truly can't comprehend the idea of losing my children in such a horrific way. To think that these mothers thought they were making a good decision for their children, only for them to become slaves. It's more than heartbreaking.

Please take time to watch the video and should you feel the need to act beyond that, know that the Mercy Project is a 501c3, so your donation to the freeing of child slaves would be tax deductible.

I've just recently learned of the Mercy Project, but this won't be the last you hear from me about it.

Mercy Project Post

There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old.  All of these children are slaves.

–Mercy Project

Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children. 


Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.

As a mother, it’s difficult for me to imagine my children working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children.  Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa.  As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.

We invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa.  Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root - by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.

Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.  When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.

 Learn more and get involved by 

• Following Mercy Project on Facebook.

• Connecting with Mercy Project via Twitter.

 • Spending some time on Mercy Project’swebsite.

 Although child trafficking, child labor, and the unstable economies that result in these injustices are a tragedy, we’re grateful for what Mercy Project is doing to protect the vulnerable and for allowing us to be a part of this story.   While we’re commemorating labor laws and ethical work in our own country today, we invite you to follow along on this journey with Mercy Project to protect and free children in Ghana.