Sunday, November 30, 2008


You never know when you're going to have the opportunity to touch someone's life. AND sometimes you don't even have to be there to do it!

While we were walking, I gave one of the Tiaras with Mom's picture to Linda Hammett. Linda and her motorcycle, Grace, are part of the Route Safety Crew in Dallas and in San Diego each year. Since I wasn't going to be in San Diego after all, I didn't want my Mom to miss the trip. So I asked Linda to take her. And I told Linda about how I hand them out to struggling walkers and tell them they don't have to walk alone -- that Mom will walk with them.

This is what I just got from Linda....

Well, I didn't have an opportunity to take but a few pictures --- but wanted to share part of your Mom's walk with you.

There were 2 very special ladies walking San Diego -- one was 74 with limited mobility and the other 70 and almost totally blind. On day 1 the first lady was struggling to my intersection, I took the picture your Mom off my motorcycle and gave it to her, told her your story about the picture.

She read the back and smiled -- then continued on. The Route Safety Crew "escorts" the last walker into camp and yes, she was the last walker on day 1. When she saw me, she gave me a big hug and the picture back "to share with someone else who might need the help".

Day 2, the visually impaired walker (with 2 assistants) came across my intersection. She was pretty bushed -- I offered her your Mom's picture with your explanation. She had one of her support crew read the back to her and off she went. Sure enough, at the end of Day 2, she had her support crew find me at camp and give me back "your Mom". So now your Mom will always be part of my "windshield gallery" for as long as I am on route safety crew.

Isn't that cool? And wouldn't Mom have LOVED that sunset???

Friday, November 28, 2008

Please Pray for April and Her Family

Please pray for April. And her family -- especially her precious sister who shoulders so much of the load.

As a consequence for her actions, April has to report to prison today. Possibly for 5 years. That's an awfully long time, especially when you have three kids -- the oldest of which is only 7.

Please pray for April, that the people she encounters will genuinely try to help her, rather than just lumping her in with everyone else. Please pray for her children who are going to be without their Mom in some very important years.

And please pray for her family, that they will be able to restore emotional and financial health to their household -- for this saga has cost them much on both fronts.

Would Jesus Blog That??

I think I need a new blog. One where I write with a pseudonym. One where someone named Gertrude gives you the straight skinny on her life. The real stuff. The stuff I can't blog here.

Because, you see, as much as I'm giving you a window into my life, I just can't share it all. I don't share info about my marriage, and I try to honor other people's feelings. As my kids get older, I want to honor their privacy. The growing-up years are hard enough without a Mom who shares the latest about your zits and dates and all that jazz.

I've read a few blogs where the writers have ranted and raved about this or that, going off on husbands and Moms and best friends and anyone else they can find to hurt. Naming names and baring all their dirty laundry.

I'm not like that. And I don't think you should be, either.

But there are some things that are just begging to be shared. Our number-one, most hilarious moment of the year just can't be shared here. This is good stuff -- the kind of story that would have Sam spewing Diet Coke all over her computer monitor or Kayren peeing in her pants. The kind of story that could very well turn viral and bounce from computer to computer.

But we can't share it. Because someone we love would be hurt.

So if you're cruising the blogsphere and come across some really great stuff written by some chick named Gertrude or Adelaide or Eveline..... it's probably me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Chances are Slim, but I Still Have to Say....

Beat the Hell Outta t.u.!!!!

Thankful Thanksgiving

This is going to be quick because I haven't even started my Sweet Potato Casserole yet!

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for...

My Heavenly Daddy.

An amazing husband who has become more to me than I ever could have imagined.

Abbie, the animal-lover. This child who has a heart as big as Dallas and genuinely cares for all of God's creatures, large and small.

Kaitlyn, the cartwheel-turner. A little bundle of boundless energy, determination and spirit.

That my Mom was around to wish me "Happy Birthday" for 36 years.

For a precious mother-in-law, Jacquie, who has always been more of a treasured friend than anything else.

For Pa, and the jet-ski I just know he's going to get us eventually!

For Milton, who was my mother's protector and best friend until the end.

For Granny Nelva, who has been my mentor and rock all my life.

For my Dad, who taught me that hard work was "just the way we do it." That we don't work hard for rewards. We just do it because it's what's right.

For A'Lise, who takes pleasure in spoiling the girls.

For M'Lys, who keeps me grounded.

For the women (and man) in my life who joined with me in taking a bold step against breast cancer -- this fight that means so much to me.

For all of our support systems -- the friends and family who donated time and money to make that fight a reality.

For good shoes.

For Dr. Lisch, the man who keeps my feet moving in the right direction.

That my Christmas decorating is already done.

For Newk's Favorite Salad.

For J. Jill.

For Carla Sandusky, who's about as close to being a sister as a cousin can be.

For all my friends who leave me little blog comments.

For all those bracelets and all the time it took to make them.

That we live in a country where I can go all conservative on my blog without worrying about my safety.

Nicole Nordeman.

Rainbows -- Granny's way of saying "Hi!" to the girls!


Friends who I can call at the drop of the hat for prayer.

A dear friend who holds me accountable.


Worship Music.

Pictures of my girls.

That I can just open up six cans of "Sugary Sam" sweet potatoes, add butter and brown sugar and pass them off as "my own."

For Kelly, who encourages me to give the girls experiences I never could otherwise -- and realizes my need to do just that. For her long-standing, never-wavering friendship and love.

For Mary, the "neighbor across the street" that I've always longed for.

That our kids can go to an incredible school, with incredible teachers who love God and love our girls.

That Mom's sewing machine is still working after all these years!

For all of you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Birthday Wishes Form Line Here!

Wow! This birthday rocks and it isn't even officially started! Details to follow soon....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lights, Cameras, Action!

This is the first year since we moved from Plano that we've gone all-out putting lights on the house. When we were in McKinney, it was just too much. We weren't done unpacking, weren't sure if we should unpack, and Biggsy was way busy at work. Last year, we weren't done unpacking, I was dealing with way too many emotions, and Biggsy was way busy at work.

Luckily, this year, I'm done unpacking, my emotions aren't such a roller coaster, and while Biggsy is still way busy at work, it's manageable. We borrowed a ladder this last weekend so he could put lights on the house. WAY too much work for one little string of lights.

This is what we've got so far -- but hold on for more. We've got a ton of lights still sitting here that haven't found their purpose yet!

Rice Wins Again!!!

Rice won again on Saturday, beating Marshall (as in "We are Marshall.") We got there early enough to eat at the tailgate and then hit the bounce houses before the game. The girls all got their faces painted by Jingles the clown and had balloon animals made. I know these kind of look like longhorns, but they're supposed to be chihuahuas.

Here are the girls with Sammy the Owl....

Sidekicks Rock!!!

Congratulations to the 7-8 Girls Sidekicks!!! Our girls remained undefeated until the very end of the season when they lost a game to an older, more experienced team. That loss meant they took 2nd in the season standings.

BUT... The Sidekicks came back in the first round of tournament play and won against that other team. That put our girls in the winners' bracket. They traded losses / wins with that team again last Saturday, coming on top in the final game and winning the tournament!!!

As for Mom, I'm just glad the season is over. My voice is finally recovering!

We're Going to the Zoo Today, We're Going to the Zoo....

Okay. Not today. I know ya'll have been patient. Here are (finally!) the pictures from Abbie's birthday party at the zoo! Let me just say this was one of the best birthday parties we've ever done! We didn't do the "official" zoo birthday party -- we just went to the zoo with a BUNCH of friends. It was great! We had everyone wear red shirts, so they'd be easy to spot.

Abbie has worn this birthday hat every year since she turned 1!

This was our first trip to the Houston zoo. Wow!!! We highly recommend it!!! One of the coolest features was this tunnel going through the aquarium.

This is Andrew -- one of Abs' best buddies.

Here's the gang with the Asian elephants. You'll note that Kat no longer has on a red T-shirt. That's because we were barely out of the car when we realized bees are attracted to red T-shirts! Kat is highly allergic to bees, and since none of us wanted to use the Epi pin, we promptly purchased a purple shirt for her off the gift shop clearance rack!
I let Abs carry around my camera most of the time, so I have a lot of pictures that are out of focus like this:

But she took this one, and it's kinda cute!

The petting zoo is always the favorite! I think my girls have petting zoo radar!

We ran into Levi & Allie -- Levi, of course, had to pretend to be shy!

Anytime, anywhere we see a Longhorn, Abbie has to have her picture taken with it.
Luckily we had lots of little Aggie friends to help balance that out!
Here's the gang practicing to be flamingos!

The prairie dog town has these cool plastic bubbles where the kids can get a prairie dog view of the world!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This is a Hoot!!!

From my friend Anthony....

My wife wisely tells me that I need to get over it. And that if I don’t like it, to do something about it. So I’m exercising my right to free speech (while I still can) to tell you how I plan to “redistribute” my hard earned dollars. Today I emptied a stack of catalogs out of the mailbox and happened to be looking at an interactive map ( ) that shows how the election turned out in the United States .

All the states are either blue for democrat or red for Republican. By clicking on a state you can see how the counties in each state voted. By entering a zip code you can see how that area voted. Out of curiosity I entered a zip code off the back of a catalog. Blue state, blue county - into the trash it went. Hmmm…I may be onto something here.

I’m choosing to spend my money in the areas of the country that didn’t vote for socialism, redistribution of wealth, erosion of civil rights and tossing out the Constitution of the United States of America .

Examples: I need a new coat: LL Bean – Freeport, ME (blue county in a blue state – trash) Cabelas – Sidney, NE (red county in a red state) My favorite microbrewery is New Belgium in Ft Collins, CO (blue county in a blue state) but I also like Shiner in Shiner, TX (red county in a red state). How about a little Bud Light… St Louis MO … 49% MCCain, 49% other dude … they went MCCain.

My daughter is having a birthday and Christmas is coming up: I have toy catalogs from VA (blue), MO (mostly red but still counting), MA (blue), VA (blue) & TX (Red) Howdy y’all!

Vacations: Colorado and New Mexico are out for weekend trips. Maybe we’ll check out Oklahoma this next year. I was planning on taking my family to Disney World in Dec 2009. ( Orlando , FL – blue county in a blue state) I’ll have to weigh my values against the promise I’ve made my daughter here….maybe I can talk her into Six Flags Over Texas.

Movies and the liberal media? Don’t get me started.

Obama had the largest political donations EVER. He has not published his donor list (or birth certificate, resume, college transcripts, bar exam…) but, Liberals gave him that money. I found a searchable website that gives names, amounts and to which party the donation was made. And another site is Be informed.
If I buy something from a liberal, some of that money may go to Obama 2012, the DNC, the PLO, ACORN, the Karl Marx Appreciation Society or any other bunch of left wing boneheads. If I buy from conservatives maybe the GOP or the NRA get some money.

My guess is that conservatives have more disposable income than the college kids and the unemployed that elected him. But probably not as much as Oprah.

I’m just one guy and my small amount of cash doesn’t mean much. Together we can make a difference.

Be sure to let those blue companies know why they aren’t getting your business or they’ll blame their economic down turn on President Bush.

I’m still buying from Americans. I’m just choosing which Americans to buy from now.

If you agree with me, pass it on. If you don’t agree, come up with a better idea and pass that on.

God bless America !

Friday, November 21, 2008

Please Pray for Elise Goertz and Her Family

Last fall and spring, we spent a lot of time on this blog praying for little Elise Goertz. For those of you who weren't around here back then, Elise was battling leukemia for the third time. She had previously had a bone marrow transplant, courtesy of her brother. And then last November after spending just a couple of months in kindergarten at Keith, she relapsed.

She had another bone marrow transplant during the winter, and was 100% donor. That was a good thing, but she still struggled with her appetite and feeling better and all that jazz. She was able to start 1st grade this fall. But the germs at school were just too much for her, and they had to pull her out of school.

She's been struggling with anemia lately, and they did a biopsy yesterday just to rule out the leukemia.

It's back. She's relapsed. She doesn't know, and they aren't going to tell her until they have to. But her Mommy knows. And her heart is broken.

Please pray for this sweet family.

Right now they are trying to get her a trip to Disney World. Unfortunately "Make a Wish" turned down their wish this summer. So now Children's is trying to find another way to get her there.

Please pray with expectation that that will happen. That her family will have this chance to add Disney to their lifetime of memories -- for this child whose lifetime is going to be far too short. That even if Children's can't find a foundation to make this happen, there will be someone, somewhere with a heart big enough and pockets deep enough to see that this Princess gets to visit the Castle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Birthday is Coming Up.....

My birthday is coming up. Next Wednesday. November 26. You might thinks it's a little odd for a grown woman to be advertising that, but in the words of our school librarian, when it comes to the birthday thing, I got "gipped."

You see, my arrival, oh-so-many years ago was perfectly timed to allow my mother to eat Thanksgiving dinner. I was a Turkey Baby. That's right. Born at 10:45 in the morning -- with plenty of time for Mom to ooh and aah over me before digging into a plate of turkey & dressing -- and knowing her, plenty of cranberry sauce. And don't forget the pie. She never passed up dessert.

At first thought, it might seem kind of cool to be born on Thanksgiving. It's a festive time of year. People are into celebrating.

Not so. Because what people are celebrating and being all festive about has nothing to do with birthday cake. (Which, I might add, is one of my absolutely favorite foods!)

My drama was compounded by the fact that, while I shared a birthday with my cousin Monty, my Granny Lloyd and cousin Marty shared their birthday on the very next day. So even if my birthday happened to fall on Thanksgiving again, we celebrated Granny's. As an adult, I can see that that was the perfect way to do it. But as a kid -- not so much fun.

You know how kids get to wear a birthday crown at school on their birthdays?

Not me. We weren't in school.

Very few of my birthday parties were held on my actual birthday.

But oh, my sweet Mom tried hard. I remember one birthday when we were celebrating Thanksgiving with all the Lloyds down at the armory. This was one of those years when my birthday fell on Turkey Day. She bought me a birthday cake and invited Kevin Pruitt (I was madly in love with Kevin Pruitt that year.) to join us. And he did. And it helped. But it still wasn't like a real birthday.

And then there was the year I was "dating" Russ Mantzel -- as much as you can be "dating" a marine who's stationed at Camp Pendleton. (BTW -- this was the last "boyfriend" before the GREAT Biggsy!!!) That year Russ was supposed to come visit our family for Thanksgiving, but didn't make it. I remember Aunt Vell & Uncle Bob came in that year and stayed with us. But the most clear of the memories?? I got food poisoning at Thanksgiving Dinner and spent the entire night on the floor of my parent's bathroom talking to ralph on the porcelain phone. What a birthday. (That was the last year my Granny was with us. I wish I had a better memory!)

Oh! And then the next year Biggsy and I were dating and he tried so hard to make my birthday special. He threw a surprise party at my apartment. It was kind of a mess. For one, I found out about it and worked my tail off cleaning for days before -- that kind of got me all in a tizzy. For another, I worked all day that day and was whipped. AND..... looking back, I'm about 99% sure I must have had PMS. Not a good combination.

So you see, I have a bit of a birthday complex. I've had more of an un-birthday than a birthday all these years. Most people forget because they're all busy with getting ready for Turkey Day and all that jazz -- and that's understandable. For the rest of the entire country, it's the Thanksgiving holidays. But for me, it's my BIRTHDAY WEEK!!

This is Just WRONG.

I was just sitting here listening to the girls fight over the two remaining Eggo waffles, and arguing over who was going to eat cereal for breakfast. And I was just thinking that subbing up at the school has really messed with my blogging. For one thing, I can't write about my subbing adventures -- other than the occasional mention of someone peeing in their pants. And I'm spending quite a bit of time up there, so I'm not really having that many cool stay-at-home Mom adventures that I can blog about.

And then I found this. And this is just WRONG.

E-Harmony is a Christian-based dating service. And believe it or not, it works! It's based on Christian principals. How do I know so much, considering Biggsy and I have been happily married for over 10 years?

My friends Debbie and Kevin met through E-Harmony. They are both amazing Christians who had a tremendous impact on my becoming who I am today. Debbie is truly filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Just about as soon as they met, Kevin brought Debbie to our small group Bible study. And from there on out, we were all a witness to the miracle God brought through their meeting on E-Harmony.

Those Christian principals that are woven into E-Harmony worked.

I'm not too familiar with the whole Gay & Lesbian thing. Frankly, it just baffles me that anyone would choose to go that route. BUT.... one thing I know for sure. Choosing that route is not a choice based on Christian principals. The Bible is very clear on that. There's no gray, muddy, what-do-you-think-that-verse-means stuff going on there. It's VERY clear.

If you have a business that's based on faith, you should be able to run it based on faith. This isn't discrimination against minority groups that God created -- this isn't discrimination against Chinese or Africans or other groups. This isn't refusing to sell milk or eggs or clothes to someone who's "batting for the other team." The simple fact of the matter is, E-Harmony is being asked to compromise what they do and their faith to cater to a group that's not following the Biblical principals E-Harmony adheres to. The fact that our government is allowed to force businesses to do just that is a clear example that we have REALLY screwed up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Facebook is T.R.O.U.B.L.E.!!

Being a rather conservative Christian, I've been aware of warnings of the "dangers" of Facebook and MySpace. They'll lead you down the wrong path as surely as dancing will.

But I think that's a bit misleading. Sure.... Some of the people who claim you as friends might be a bit "iffy." And whoever knew they'd be waiters in restaurants that cater to the "over the rainbow" crowd. And what's up with Biggsy having a camouflage model for a friend? Or the chick he went to school with that's "looking for women?" (I know... I'm using all his friends for examples, but mine are so Normal!)

But that's neither here nor there. The danger in Facebook is the ability to complete embarrass your friends! People have been posting pictures and video of Biggsy for awhile now, and I've rather enjoyed it. Until this week. When pictures of me in Junior High! arrived on the Facebook front. YIKES!

And then there's the whole time factor. It just sucks you in! Before you know it you're tracking down your old boss or your first date or trying desperately to find someone who was uglier than you in Junior High, so you can post pictures of them!

And then there's the whole "oops!" factor. I don't recommend logging onto Facebook when your kids are underfoot and you can't really pay attention. You might end up "outing" a friends "looks natural but never has been" blonde hair. Or the fact that someone works in one of those "over the rainbow" bars!

Cinnamon, Sugar, Sprinkles Galore!

Hello Friends!
I host a Cookie Exchange each December (this is the 9th Annual), and I invite everyone I know!

This year it's going to be Sunday, December 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Here's the scoop: Bring at least 3 to 6 dozen cookies or pieces of homemade candy with each 1/2 dozen in a separate plastic bag. One bag of cookies will go into the "tasting party" and the others will go into the exchange.

You'll go home with the number of cookies you brought -- minus 1/2 dozen. Now... We're talking homemade cookies or candy here. If the only kind you know how to make is chocolate chip, then by all means, bring those. But let's try to have a good variety!

(Once you know what you're baking, please let me know, so I can update the Evite. It really helps make sure we have a diverse assortment of cookies!)

Please feel free to bring your cuddly babies, moms, aunts, sisters, friends, neighbors etc. -- just no toddlers / kids who are old enough to climb our stairs! If you have any questions, just give me a call.

Can't wait to see ya'll!

Holiday Blessings,

The cookies coming so far include:
Sharon's Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Almond Glazed Sugar Cookies
Honey Bars

Let me know if you're planning on joining us, and I'll get you directions!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cletus, Take the Reel....

Oh my goodness. Kayren just shared this link. I don't think I've laughed this hard in forever. Tears streaming down my face. Check it out! (It's under Video / Audio)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Tell Anyone....

... But I'm decorating for Christmas.

I have both of the big trees up, as well as the Christmas card tree in the entryway.

And I'm about to start putting on the lights.

But don't tell anyone -- they might think I'm nuts.

(And they'd probably be right!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

At What Age....

Do you stop getting your feelings hurt when you don't get picked?? I was just talking to a friend about this.

It's something that I certainly have a lot of practice at. Growing up, I wasn't exactly athletic and my goofy-looking phase lasted about 15 years. At least. I wasn't often the first picked and I wasn't always the last picked, but it kind of seemed that way.

I think that's why, any time I do anything I am so determined to involve anyone who might possibly want to be included. It doesn't matter if I'm planning a party or a dinner out or a ski trip, I'm all for including anyone and everyone.

That extends to doing the 3-Day. I would be so very happy if every single person I know wanted to walk with us. Not because they'd want to walk with me, but because they'd know they were wanted.

But today I'm struggling with this. I was passed over in favor of someone else. I don't get that decision at all, and I'm quite dumbfounded. AND my feelings are hurt. They are.

When does that stop? When I'm 80??

I try so hard to teach my kids to brush it off and not let it get to them. But it still gets to me....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What I Forgot to Add....

When writing that novel about the 3-Day, I forgot to add that my Mom showed herself again. Before she went to be with our Heavenly Daddy, Tootsie Rolls were her favorite candy. When she died, we buried some with her so she'd have them.

Last year I was blown away when a 3-Day fan brought a bowl of Tootsie Rolls with her to cheer on the walkers. None of that other stuff. Just Tootsie Rolls. And away from a cheering station where she would stand out. Suzi and I knew it had to be my Mom.

And it happened again this year. Even though I didn't walk all 60 miles, I did see a little girl with a bowl of Tootsie Rolls. None of that other stuff.

Yes, my Mom was there!

Great 3-Day Coverage

Check it out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Love Letter....

This is an "I Love You" letter to the Tiaras and the crew and my family and friends and everyone else that made this weekend possible. And it wouldn't have been possible without so many of you. That whole "it takes a village" thing applies to 3-Day walkers, too!

The lead-up to the 3-Day is a long process involving recruiting and fundraising and training. None of us could do what we do without our family and friends who watch kids for us while we train or make donations or get our kids off the bus while we're gone on the walk. You rock!

THURSDAY, November 6

No trip to the 3-Day would be complete without the Boobie Mobile. You'd be amazed at how people let you into traffic when you have a bra wired to your tailgate. We got quite a few honks as we headed north, so we were sure we were on the right path! Take note of what the Boobie Mobile looks like. That'll come into play later.

You couldn't read it in my pictures, but across the front windshield, we put, "We're pissed off at cancer!"

This year I was blessed to make a treasured new friend with the 3-Day. Saralyn Carrillo is on staff and she and I have spent many, many hours on the phone. This summer, I was unbelievably honored and humbled when she asked if I'd like to carry a flag during the Opening Ceremonies. Wow. And then, as if it couldn't get any better, Saralyn asked one day if anyone else on my team would be up for carrying a flag. I gave her a few names and shared their stories with her. And when we showed up for rehearsal on Thursday, there were three of us there.

The really scary part isn't that the other two Tiaras that were chosen were survivors. It's that they're survivors who are my age. With young children just like I have. Stephanie Roberts and Allison Migl are my heros.

Last year, Allie's sister Melody walked with us. We call Melody "Lipstick," but we'll get to that later. (Although, I will tell you it has nothing to do with pit bulls.) Melody and Allie were both supposed to walk last year, but Allie's reconstruction ended up being the week of the 3-Day. So Melody walked for her.

I was assigned the "Victories" flag. I was just glad they didn't give me "Patience." I thought that might have been a bit hypocritical.

This is the survivor's circle with Allie and Stephanie on the left.

My job was to walk down this little chute and up onto the stage carrying the "Victories" flag. Here I am trying not to knock out the lighting as I go up on stage.

I could have carried this flag, too.

I was pretty much coasting through practice. Clowning around a bit and having a good time. Until I looked down that chute and Ed Basham was standing in the middle of it. Arms crossed and just watching as Joan walked down the steps of the stage holding the "Daughter" flag. Joan is Stephanie Gaworski's Mom. And Ed was just standing there. And I was just crying. I knew it was going to be hard for them this weekend.

But at the same time it was great to spend the weekend with them, as well. Out of 3200 walkers, I saw Joan everywhere! It was great to see her taking her stand. She walked all 60 miles. I'm so very proud of her.

Thursday evening our team met Scotty P's in Plano. We weren't all there, but a good number of us were. It was great to finally meet the new members of our team who I'd been visiting with for so long! And it was great to see old friends who I hadn't seen in a while.

FRIDAY, November 7

We stayed in a hotel in Allen, so we'd be close to Southfork Ranch for the opening ceremonies. We were supposed to all catch a shuttle to Southfork on Saturday, but it didn't all work out like that. Some of us did, but the rest rode in my truck with Anthony, also known as my driver.

Friday morning was cold, but not nearly as cold as the last two years. This was a bearable cold. It was still dark, and since this was the first time we'd be walking in daylight savings time, I knew we'd have to be at the front of the pack to get into camp early in the afternoon. We got their way early -- before they even opened the gates.

My sweet, old (she's older than me!) friend, Kayren Babcock, walked with us this year. Here she cops a feel on a Gear & Tent Crew member as we dropped off our luggage. Check out those eyes!

I had to sign in by 6:00 a.m. for my flag-carrying, but knowing me you'll understand that I really had to pee first.

So I headed over to break in one of the brand-new, clean Porta Potties. My first of the weekend. In a row of about 25 Porta Potties. And I got trapped. No toilet paper. And it was cold. And it was dark. The light of my cell phone wasn't enough to find the spare toilet paper I carry in my backpack when I walk, so I called Suzi and asked if she loved me enough to bring me some toilet paper.

Luckily she did, so I hovered in the cold, dark Porta Potty with the door cracked open calling her name until she and the toilet paper arrived. Well, I promptly began to use said toilet paper and then..... YIKES!!!! The door opened and there was a man!!! I had forgotten to re-lock the Porta Potty! Praise God for the cover of darkness!!

Slightly rattled, I headed over to where we were supposed to meet with the flags. One of the other walkers who was carrying a flag didn't show up in time, so they asked if any of us had team members nearby. I said I did, and what did they need? We have it all! Old ones, young ones, women, a man.... They asked for a man, and I was glad because if I'd gone over there and picked a woman out of our team, everyone else would have wondered why they didn't get picked!

This is sweet Joan carrying the "Daughter" flag.

Here I am going up on stage with my "Victories" flag. I'm the one in pink.

This is a really cool shot. You can't totally see Anthony and me because of the sign, but we were there!

Here are Stephanie & Allie in the Survivor's Circle.

As the walkers come out of Southfork, they just keep coming and coming and coming. There were 3200 walkers this year -- an amazing number.

The "Talent" met up on Southfork Road. Suzi, Eli, Cissa and I had a mini-reunion right there in the road. Eli is expecting a baby and was only supposed to walk about a mile, but she walked nine. AND THEN, she was at camp when I got there -- setting up tents!!! What a mess!

Of course, Suzi brought treats for all the dogs along the way. Sweet Maxine wasn't out this year, but there were lots of other dogs in her place!
This is Pink Beard Barry. He's walking in all 14 of the Breast Cancer 3-Day walks this year!

I made it to the end of Southfork Road but my foot was starting to bother me. I was totally paranoid about messing up my foot and not being able to enjoy the rest of the weekend. If I was going to mess it up, I needed to wait until Sunday. My plan was to catch a sweep van to the next pit stop, getting ahead of my team. Then, I planned to walk out of the pit stop a ways, and catch a sweep to the next one. That was how I planned to go about my day.

Not so. I got to the sweep van and asked them to take me to the pit stop. They weren't quite ready, and apparently there aren't many walkers asking to sweep after only a mile. So we waited. When we finally go the go-ahead to leave that spot, we were told to go back to Southfork to pick up a few walkers who didn't even make it out. But we couldn't go up the road because it was completely full of walkers.

So we went around to the other end of the road. It was blocked off and they weren't letting anyone in -- even 3-Day personnel. Finally they let us in, but they wouldn't let us into Southfork. All through this process I was telling them I had to go pee and asking if I could get out of the van and find another way to the pit stop. Nope. Against the rules. So I sat.

We finally got into Southfork, and the sweep van driver was told to sit a bit to wait for further directions. She opened the door and suggested I use one of the Porta Potties then get back in. I told them not to worry about me when I didn't come back. I jumped out and headed across the prairie like Laura Ingalls in search of Anthony and my truck. Found him, jumped in, and asked him to take me to someplace that had flushing toilets.
Here's a shuttle van with a great slogan!

Anthony and I spent the rest of the morning cheering on walkers at Collin Creek Mall. It was great. We had a blast. I wasn't screwing up my foot, I had handy flushable toilets nearby in La Madeleine and we were able to relieve our teammates of all the cold-weather clothes they had piled on that morning.

I'd do a few silly cheers from my boobie repertoire and really tried to get Anthony to yell, "I love Boobies!" He resisted. Said they'd hit him. Whatever. He just had to make it his own. By the time we were done, he'd see another guy walking and say, "Now there's a man who loves boobies." It was always good for a laugh!

We stayed at that cheering station until lunch time, ran and got Suzi a "Fat Coke" and met our group over at lunch. But we didn't eat. The lunch line was unbelievably long. We picked up two walkers who were "done" for the day -- Kayren and Taunda -- and headed out to find a way to serve our fellow walkers.

Boy, did we find it. We got to camp -- which didn't look much like a camp at that point. It was still all grass. The 1500 pink tents were in a pile. Only a few were set up. Of course, three of those belonged to Cissa, Suzi & I. Our sweet Eli, who should have been at home sitting on the couch eating Bon-Bons, had brought her mom over to set up our tents and acquire our luggage. What a blessing!

We quickly ran Eli off and sent her home. And then we got to work. This is where I really saw Jesus in my fellow walkers. Anthony, Taunda and Kayren worked constantly for the next 2-3 hours to set up tents. Constantly. I drug our team's luggage back and forth from the trucks -- I will note that I had help from a few new friends. A few of the Gear & Tent crew members helped me pull and move the luggage for our 50 or so walking team members.

As we worked, our teammates began to come into camp. Because of the work Anthony, Taunda and Kayren were doing, our teammates had a place to lie down as soon as they got into camp. While they rested, our three tent builders continued to work. Our teammates were able to get showers as soon as they got into camp -- long before dinner, before the long lines would form at the showers, and before the temperatures would drop. And Anthony, Taunda and Kayren kept working. Never a complaint. No whining about how they needed showers. Those three really have the hearts of servants and I feel blessed to have spent that time with them.
And the way our team members responded to that service was so cool to watch. They were so grateful and let my friends know over and over how much they were appreciated! Just as Abbie's soccer team has games where they totally function as a team, this was a moment where Team Tiara did just that!

I eventually got a shower and headed off to the dining tent for some spaghetti -- a meal I'd kind of been looking forward to. We'd just sat down when the last walker came into camp. On the 3-Day, the first walker into camp is not celebrated. This isn't a race. But the last walker is highly celebrated. The camp isn't complete until the last walker is in.

So we went outside to watch the flag raising, and then went back in to our now-warm spaghetti. I was just starting to eat when my cell rang. It was Shynell letting me know Jill had been taken to the hospital. Shynell's husband Mark was taking her to Plano Medical Center to meet them.

I jumped in to go along. We had been planning to sing Dancing Queen during Karaoke, but this was far more important. So Suzi scratched us off the Karaoke list, and I headed to the hospital. And God watched over me. Normally, I would not have been dragging my backpack, but I had to have it in the dining hall with me that night. So... I had it and was ready to go with Shynell and Mark immediately. In my hot pink Betty Boop pajama pants, of course.

We found Jill in the emergency room. She had dehydrated, but they weren't totally sure what was going on. She didn't have any symptoms all day, but as soon as she got into camp she was slammed by it. They gave her 2.5 bags of fluid and ran a ton of tests and said she could go back to camp.

So about four hours after I hadn't eaten my spaghetti, here I was back at camp. "Lights out" on the 3-Day is at 9:00 -- and it was after 10:00. I stopped by the Porta Potties and was thankful I had Suzi's lantern with me. And thankful this one had toilet paper!

SATURDAY, November 8

By Saturday morning, I had figured out that the cold was probably why my foot had such issues on Friday -- that I just needed to save my walking for after it warmed up. So Saturday I set out in the Boobie Mobile to see what I could do to help my fellow walkers.

Now... It's a good thing I grew up in Old Fluvanna. Let me tell you, driving through a pickup through a herd of cattle isn't all that different than driving the Boobie Mobile through a herd of women. They just wander right in front of you without looking, stray off into the road, that kind of thing. It was fun.

I picked up Taunda and Sherry (Team Talent) at one of the pit stops. They helped me get the tiaras together for my walk later that day. Sherry needed to have her foot checked, but the med tent lines were forever long. So we went way up to the front and hit the lunch stop about 15 minutes after it opened. This was the only time I "officially" ate lunch all weekend. But there was hardly anyone there yet. No lines. Whoop!

After lunch, we left Sherry there and picked up Jill. Jill was looking much better than Friday night in the emergency room -- but still had on flip flops and was moving slow. The three of us headed over to a cheering station to set up shop with A'Lise -- also known as our Champion Walker Stalker.

The cheering station ROCKED. My friend Lynne came out to see us -- I'm trying to get her to walk with us next year. "That Girl" would love the 3-Day!

The biggest surprise -- which immediately made me cry -- was when Adam Earls found me. Nichole and the kids weren't far behind. Nic walked with us last year at 5 mos. pregnant and then Addison was born a few weeks later at 27 weeks. She's a miracle baby! And this was the first time I'd seen her.

Nic is walking in San Diego week after next. She's got a great team out there -- Fight Back for Your Rack!

Cheryl brought their girls out to see Anthony. I told Emily that Biggsy would be jealous when he found out I got to see her!

When Suzi, Caroline, Lori and Michelle came through, I jumped in and started walking with them. That made my Saturday walk about 7 miles. Not bad considering what I've dealt with with my foot the last few months. But it held up great and I had a great time walking with them through Plano!

Of course, Talent is never far away on the 3-Day. The Stoker crew was waiting for us just down the street. I love that "Future Boob Man" shirt Amy has on!

I need to ask these girls who does their hair!

Suzi and I decided to go to the Memory Tent together on Saturday. Our friend Rex had put together a video of Steph and David, and we wanted to watch it together. Well, coincidence is what happens when God chooses to remain anonymous. When we got there, someone else was watching the video. We decided to wait until we could use both sets of headphones -- and see the whole thing straight through.

So I wrote to my Mom in the memory book. And then, as we waited, in came Cissa and Sherry (girls from the commercial), one of Steph's co-workers, and then Steph's Mom, sister and nephew. When it was our turn, we unplugged the headphones so we could all hear it and watched it together. And cried. And laughed a little. And mostly cried.

There's a 3-Day team called the Asphalt Angels, and as we were watching the video, one of their team members was standing on the back side of the tent. And the way the light was hitting everything, her sillouette was placed on the white wall of the tent -- just behind the little DVD player. So as we watched Stephanie talk about her cancer and her hope for a cure, there were angel wings right behind her.

How cool is that???

This is what the dining tent looks like. It's a very important place. That's where the heat is. We LIKE the dining tent!

The dining tent is also where the entertainment is. Here's the dance party -- there were about 342 men walking in the 3-Day. And they were all up on stage. Well, not quite!

Since we weren't there to embarass ourselves with Karaoke on Friday, they had some really great entertainment take our place. This Chicka stole the show!

This guy was 1st Runner-up!

Oh, and you couldn't have a 3-Day without the Lost & Found Fashion Show!

Where you find women, you'll find shopping. And foot massages. And cookies. And all sorts of cool stuff.

This was our Home Away from Home. Tent # A-73. And here's a shout-out to our friends who learn from Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Elmer, Mrs. Bowman and Mrs. Smith. They provided posters to decorate our tents. We were so lucky!

SUNDAY, November 9

Abbie's Birthday.

So I missed most of Abbie's birthday this year. I got home for the last hour or so of her birthday. That was hard. As a Mom, I'd never missed one of my children's birthdays. But I kept telling myself that I was walking so Abs would have many, many birthdays. We had already celebrated Abs' birthday with a trip to the zoo on Tuesday, so she felt well-celebrated. But it was still hard not to be there with her!

Sunday morning we once again jumped into servant mode and hit the trail -- just not the walking trail. We took Michelle McMillan's car over to SMU where we found a PRIME parking lot right next to closing ceremonies. Then, we drove up to Allen and got all the cars that we had parked up there -- so we could just go straight back to Houston rather than having to drive up to Allen first.

We dropped Anthony, Mary & Jill off at the lunch stop and Mindi, Taunda and I went to church. Remember that picture of the Boobie Mobile at the top of my Love Letter? Well, that's what we drove to church. We had a hard time deciding which end of it might be more of an issue. The windshield that said, "We're Pissed Off At Cancer!" or the back window which read, "Honk if you Love Boobies" -- and sported a pink bra just underneath. We opted for the windshield and parked it in the back corner of the lot where you couldn't see the bra.

Now... Here is how God worked in my life this weekend in a way that really didn't have anything to do with the 3-Day. Biggs and I have both struggled with finding a church since we've moved to Houston. We've had this whole comparison thing going on and we just haven't been able to find a place like The Branch. And that has been hard.
So Sunday morning we get to The Branch. Part of my wanting to go was for Mindi. She was really hurting and couldn't do the walk anymore. And I thought it would be a blessing to her. Part of it was selfish. I wanted to get "Branch Fix." I'd been yearning to be in a strong Acapella service again. To hear Chris preach -- all of it.

I didn't get my "Branch Fix." But what I got was better. I did get to see some dear, sweet, much-missed friends. That was a huge blessing. But it's kind of like when you see an old boyfriend and he isn't exactly what you remember. The Branch isn't The Branch that I loved anymore.

With the addition of the new campus at Vista Ridge, our friends aren't all in one place anymore. Many of the people I would have loved to have seen just weren't there. The numbers were down in 2nd service due to that as well. It wasn't the same without Robin. They have a new worship leader, and while I'm sure he's great, he just isn't Robin. But the biggest change and the one that hurt the worst was that there was no Garden of Prayer. That was such a precious time for us. And I miss it dearly. And in this instance, when Mindi needed prayer for healing, Brother Eddy did pray over her, but it just didn't seem the same.
What was the same was that The Branch is still a "we'll take you where you are" kind of place. That was a good thing because not only was the potentially-offensive Boobie Mobile sitting in the parking lot, but we weren't exactly dressed in our Sunday Best. We looked like 3-Day walkers, head to toe. I had on my 3-Day cap with my feather boa hairclip holding my hair up in a ponytail. I had on my hot pink Betty Boop pajamas (over the little pink tennis skirt I walk in) and a pink jacket that honors my Mom. Credentials hanging around my neck and New Balance tennis shoes. And they still took me in and loved on my friends and I. I did notice a couple of grins, but nothing too major.

And I have to say I love the way they do the DVD when Chris isn't preaching there in person. They put this image of him preaching up on the wall right below the baptistry. It's pretty close to life size and he still moves around. And a couple of times I had to catch myself because I didn't remember I was looking at a DVD. Now that is cool.

And the blessing is that I feel somewhat released now to settle in with a new church. No place is like The Branch. But The Branch as I knew it doesn't exist anymore. And I feel a peace about all that now.
Taunda and I dropped Mindi off at SMU and parked my car there. Then, A'Lise drove us up the road to a pit stop where we could jump back in the mix and start walking. I was able to give away all the tiaras that were left (the ones with Mom's picture on them.) As I walk past people who are walking alone or are struggling I give them one and let them know my Mom will walk with them. It's an active way for me to involve her in the 3-Day and it really means a lot to the people she walks with.

I did about 5 miles on Sunday. Not bad. I would have loved to have done more, but I think God just had that other plan for me. I crossed the finish line with Ed & Sherry (Team Talent) and their friend Pam. That was great. I saw Steph's mom a lot that day. What a blessing!
The Finish Line!!!
Here are 3200 walkers headed into closing ceremonies....

Here are a few pictures of our girls from closing ceremonies.

Here are Allie & Stephanie carrying their flags into closing ceremonies.

Tracye. Sharon & Carla

Kayren & I had a blast!

2/3 of "The Michelles"
Sisters fighting for a Cure!
We couldn't do what we do without A'Lise. M'Lys was supposed to come in for the 3-Day but got sick and had to stay in Midland. So A'Lise had to work twice as hard! She rocks!

I'm so glad Carla finally gave in and agreed to do the walk with me!

Here I am with our poster girl, Cissa!

Team Tiara Rocks!!!!

In 2006, when Lisa and I walked together we raised over $6000, and the DFW 3-Day raised over $6.3 million.

In 2007, we had 17 team members, but only 13 of us were able to walk. We raised over $38,000 and the DFW 3-Day raised over $6.5 million.

This year, we had 67 team members and about 50 of us walked. To date, we have raised over $118,000 and the DFW 3-Day has raised over $7.9 million.

And we're not done.

If you'd like to make a donation for this year, please go to our website and donate under the name of a team member who has not reached the $2200 mark.

If you'd like to join us next year, check out our 2009 Website. Click on "Join Team." Remember, to walk you have to raise $2300 next year. While we'll try to help you raise your funds if you need it, we learned this year that we just can't make any guarantees. You need to be open to fundraising if you're going to be a walker.

To crew, you don't have to raise any money. You just have to have the heart of a servant and love to make people happy!!! Crew rocks!

When you register by December 31 and enter the code name "Legacy" you save $35 on your registration fee!

Thank you for making it possible to do what we do!

Much Love,