Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Princess Guide: My Momma LOVED Trains

My Momma LOVED trains. She grew up across the highway from the AT&SF tracks, and she LOVED trains. When we packed up her house a few weeks ago, we found more than a few trains in the mix.

My Mom would have loved the fact that Kevin Tate has offered a train challenge to our team. If we get 100 or more team members this year (right now we're at 79), Kevin is going to paint a train engine pink. How cool is that? I wrote about it yesterday here.

So in the spirit, and to add to the fact that all four of you should be walking with Team Tiara, today I'm coming up with as many reasons "why" that I can think of.

1. It's a whole new way to live.
2. We're "wild" about the 3-Day.
3. Crazy things happen with this team.
4. Glitter mascara.
5. Pink ribbon tattoos.
6. Tiaras.
7. God uses our team for big things.
8. We are determined.
9. We won't give up a fight.
10. After 5 years, we finally (sort of) know what we're doing.
11. We've been on TV.
12. Suzi Bruin walks with us.
13. Our team is a perfect microcosm (I think that's what you call it) of the 3-Day. We have walkers who have lost Moms, Sisters, Grandmothers, Friends. We have walkers on our team who are survivors, and we have walkers who have never been touched personally by breast cancer -- but realize the price.
14. Some of us walk very, very slowly. Others walk very, very fast. And there are about 70 who are in-between.
15. Because I want to see that pink train!
16. It's a 60-mile buffet.
17. And it's 60 miles of ministry.
18. Being part of a team is way too much fun!
19. Anthony knows where Starbucks is.
20. Our walker-stalkers know what to do with polar fleece!
21. Hair pretties.
22. The Love Shack.
23. We're color-coordinated.
24. It's all about the clothes.
25. We're firm believers in Body Glide.
26. We know what to do with Moleskin.
27. Once a Tiara, always a Tiara.
28. No peeing in the showers!!!!!!!
29. Big earrings.
30. Bras, bras, everywhere you look you see bras.
31. We walk for Cheri.

Okay.... We've got soccer practice tonight. Maybe I'll add more later????

Your Challenge for Today:
Your challenge is to come up with your own list of why you're walking -- and share it with someone. Or why you're walking with Team Tiara! Believe it or not, this is your homework for tomorrow -- you'll understand when we get there.

What I'm Doing Today:
I kinda forgot this part of yesterday's post. Oops. Yesterday I did 20.75 miles on my bike. Today I did 10.75. Biggsy is doing Insanity, so I played with it a bit today. I'm thinking the jumping is more than my feet can handle, but I'll see.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Princess Guide: Logistics

Before I get started.... Did you know that if Team Tiara has 100 walkers this year, my friend Kevin is going to paint a train engine pink??? How cool is that???

Here's the scoop.... Right now we have 79 team members -- so close! If you're "flying solo" in the DFW 3-Day walk, or you're with a very small team that wishes you were part of a big team, please consider jumping in with us! You'd just have to call 1-800-996-3Day and ask them to moooooove you on over.

If you haven't yet registered, there's still time -- but you need to get your booty moving! Just go to www.the3day.org/goto/teamtiara and click on Join Team. We'd love to have you walk with us -- and not just for the pink train engine. But we want to get to know YOU as well!!!

Now.... Back to the task at hand. As you can imagine, having 79 walkers on our team can be a logistical nightmare. Add to that the fact that we have "branches" in Oklahoma, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and several points beyond. Mass Chaos.

So... I'm going to try to get a few things down here -- we'll have far more details later. But this may answer part of the questions that are starting to bounce around in your minds.

Getting There: From Houston, we usually have groups leaving several times during the day. I'll take a carload up as soon as the kids are in school -- and no, we will not be picking up any pit bulls stranded by the highway. If you're a fan of pit bulls, and the type that might insist we stop, you'll need to wait for a later bus. I'm just sayin'.

Usually, additional carloads will be leaving mid-day and later, after the "late" group gets off work. This year, I think we have two walkers (maybe more) that won't be able to fly up until Friday Night. But guess what? We'll take them whenever they get there.

If flying is your option, please let us know well in advance, so we can have someone pick you up. We'd hate for you to have to walk an additional 20 miles to a hotel or whatever.

I really do recommend several of you ride together to Dallas, whether you're coming from Houston, Oklahoma or wherever. As long as you don't run across any stray pit bulls, it really makes the ride more fun. Especially if the crowd is leaving from your house and does your dishes for you while you load the truck!

Thursday Night: On Thursday night, we always have a team get-together somewhere. If you are in the area, please plan to be a part of this. Because we're so scattered, we don't have a whole lot of opportunity to bond as a team until we get to Dallas. Once there, bond we will. But the get-together Thursday night really is important. These are the faces you'll be looking for on the walk. We do not have details on the get-together yet. All that has to wait until we know where we're walking from.

In the past, we have done Goodie Bags for each walker. Different walkers have brought fun little things to put in the bags -- everything from rice crispie treats to tattoos to pencils.

This year, we're going to do things a bit differently. You can do this alone, or you can team up with friends to help you. You can bring your goodies in a stand-alone gift bag labeled with the name of who's "donating" that particular goodie. Walkers will be able to choose the items they will use -- thus preventing waste. As of right now, we have about 78 walkers headed to Dallas -- and one Incredible Crew Member!!! Just so you can plan. And again, this is a cool thing to team up on with other walkers.

We will find a central hotel for everyone to stay at. We have learned through experience that the "host" hotels are often expensive because they offer shuttle service to the Walk. Last year, we stayed at a different hotel and had several friends from the Plano area do a shuttle service to the Walk. Again, this will have to wait till we see what's what.

Friday Morning: Once again, we will arrange for transportation on Friday morning to the Opening Ceremonies. If you have friends in the Dallas area, they may be called on to help!!!

Hotel During the Walk: We have several team members who will not be able to stay in camp with us. As soon as we get a feel for the actual location this year, we'll work to get those team members in a centralized hotel.

Walker-Stalkers: We absolutely cannot do what we do without a support team. The Sweep Vans that the 3-Day runs are GREAT. BUT we still need a support crew. This is a huge task. If we could have 4-5 vehicles running around it would be incredible. Early in the morning, we dump our extra layers of clothing with our Walker-Stalkers. It helps if they bring Starbucks. We need hugs and smiles, cheers and signs -- and sometimes we need tampons. By mid-afternoon, they're needed for all sorts of other stuff. Any friends you have who are available to help with this will be on our forever-loved list!

Travel Home: Most of us drive back home Sunday night. One quick stop at the Buc-ee's in Madisonville, and we're good to go. Kayren (from San Antonio) has a standing hotel reservation near Dallas. Really, it's up to you. We've found that coming back, with friends in the car to keep us awake, makes it easier to get back in the groove on Monday. Among those who work, some limp back into the office on Monday. Others limp in on Tuesday. If you want a post-walk massage, you'll want to book early. Team Tiara tends to fill quite a few Monday slots in the area.

I know that was all painted in broad strokes, and didn't include a lot of details. But hopefully if you're new to the Team, it did answer some of your questions. We will have more details soon -- we've just got to get the walk information before we can give you specifics.

If you're a seasoned team member and would like to add to this, go right ahead!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Princess Guide: Rest, Ags.

Okay. I know that in a perfect world all four of you would be Aggies -- and would be on Team Tiara.

And I know you're not.

BUT... I can't say "Rest" without thinking "Rest, Ags."

It's just part of my blood, this Aggie-speak.

But Rest is important. It's important for you to take a break from training to let your body recover. It's important to give your family a 3-Day-Free day.

It's important to take breaks while you're training, or doing the actual walk. So, today we Rest.

Your Challenge for Today:
Rest. Get ready to hit the trails again tomorrow.

What I'm Doing Today:
We started soccer season yesterday with a Win for Kait's team. Abbie's team ran out of time, but she had one heck of a game. We were supposed to cap our day with the Texans /Cowboys game but after sitting in traffic for an hour and never getting off of 610, we came to the realization that we were never going to get there. So.... We went to Rudy's instead (mmmmm..... Creamed Corn!) and watched the game on TV.

I'm still fighting the ragweed. Claritin was not working at all -- just rolling over and playing dead. So between Sunday school and Church this morning, I made a quick jaunt to CVS. Zyrtec seems to be doing better, but we'll give it the true test at soccer practice tonight.

I am resting up for tomorrow. I plan to do 20 miles on my bike, so you'll have to check in and see how I do!

How Hurricane Katrina Changed My Life

Or better yet -- How God used Hurricane Katrina to change my life.

I always think it's kind of interesting when someone shares their "testimony." That's mainly because I can't imagine sharing just one testimony. How do you choose? How do you break it down?? What do you share?

For me, my list of "testimonies" is way long. Some are pretty -- some aren't. But I don't have a single experience in my life that's more powerful, or more treasured, than the way God used Hurricane Katrina to change my life. And today, as we mark the 5th year anniversary of Katrina's landfall, is the best possible time to share that with you.

I was miles and miles away from the storm. Living in Plano, we didn't feel the immediate impact. We didn't go through the trauma that so many people did. I didn't lose everything I owned, or my home, or any loved ones. In fact, my experience with Hurricane Katrina would never be counted among my "losses." For me, the hurricane was a gift.

Please don't take that wrongly. Please don't walk away right now. I know many people were hurt greatly. Maybe you were. But hear me out.

Five years ago.... I'm not at all proud of what was going on in my life. I'd made some choices -- not good ones -- and was reaping the results. I don't want to go into details, but I will put your mind at ease enough to let you know that know that no drugs, alcohol or affairs were involved. Nothing illegal.

But still, I'd made choices, friends had been hurt, and I was on the dark side of the moon. I'd "fallen down," and I didn't know how to get up. While Biggs knows all of this now, he knew nothing then.

I would take the girls to preschool, then come home and sleep. I'd pick them up, come home, get dressed and clean the house. By the time he got home at 6 or so, dinner would be ready. I could have been on Broadway. He was travelling a lot, and life was more than a little crazy.

I don't have any recall as to how long I was "down." Maybe a couple of weeks. No one in my life knew what was going on. I never saw a doctor -- I never took "happy pills." I'd simply fallen down. I didn't feel worthy of the life God had blessed me with. I was so ashamed of what all I'd done.

During that time, Biggs and I had become involved with two small group Bible studies. We met on Sunday nights with a group in Allen. On Wednesday nights, we met with a second group in Plano. Almost immediately, Biggs started serving as the apprentice leader on Wednesdays, and eventually led the group.

Then Katrina hit. And as I watched the scenes over and over and over on the TV, I knew I had to do something.

At that time, we hadn't been members at The Branch (our church) all that long. We weren't really "plugged in." But I'd made some friends who were involved with setting up a response from our church. I got plugged in.

We went home that weekend for Opening Weekend of dove season. It's a National Holiday as far as we're all concerned. Biggs needed to come back earlier than usual anyway, but I remember getting everyone up in time to make it back to The Branch for church that Sunday. We did special offering, and the money came pouring in.

I loved what The Branch did with that money. Each small group Bible study was giving a certain amount -- I think the initial amount was $500 -- to help a family displaced by Katrina. The Metroplex was teeming with these families -- people who had nothing more than the clothes on their backs. We were empowered to find a family -- and help them.

It's been five years, and I don't remember the reasons why the first family we found wasn't a perfect fit, but our small group was sent back to the drawing board after delivering some food and a Yahtzee game to their hotel room.

Within a day or so, we got word of a family in Frisco that needed our help. My friend Janell and I went up there to visit with them. Mike and Madonna were staying with Madonna's daughter, Melody, but they needed to get a place of their own. They had fled New Orleans with very little. They had honestly thought this was just a warning, and they would be able to get back in their home a day or so later. When they left, they had no idea they would lose everything they owned -- that the flood waters would overtake their home, damaging everything in it.

This wasn't the first time they had faced tragedy. At one point, Mike's son had married a woman who already had a daughter by another marriage. The son and his wife had eventually had a baby girl together. Unfortunately, this woman had turned to a life of drugs, they had divorced, and Mike's son had gotten custody of both children.

Then disaster struck. Mike's son was killed by a drunk driver. The courts gave Mike and Madonna custody of the girls.

And then came Katrina.

They needed our help -- and helping them is what picked me up, set me on my feet, and got me out of my funk.

And boy, did we ever help them. My precious friend Dori gave them the bed out of her guest room. We bought them clothes and school supplies and helped them find a place to live. It was so cool to see our friends being the hands and feet of Jesus through this process. It was so cool that The Branch had given us the tools needed to do just that.

So much was going on a the same time, that it's really hard to write this in an organized fashion. So please bear with me.

At the same time we were helping this family through our Wednesday night small group, we were involved in that Sunday small group across town. An elder and his wife were a part of our group. One of the great things about our Sunday night group was that we spent a lot of time in prayer, and one of the things we prayed about often was the life of one of the elder's sons. He'd asked us to pray that his son would be led back to the Church. And that he would see that his lifestyle wasn't the one God would have chosen for him.

And at the same time all this was going on, my friend Dori and I had joined the Ladies' Bible Class at The Branch. Our leader was Robyn Knight, and I have no doubt God put her right where she was to play a role in what was playing out in my life.

All this is going on simultaneously. Dori and I are doing this Bible study. We're praying for the Watson's son -- at this point I don't even know his name. And we've plunged into helping Mike and Madonna and their girls.

Early on, we find out that the girls missed having a birthday party. One daughter's birthday was in August -- before Katrina. The other daughter's birthday was in September. They had always done one party between the birthdays, but Katrina had prevented that from taking place.

So we decided to throw them a party. The local skating rink gave us a "deal." The Branch helped our Small Group host the party. We had a Tina cake and friends and all that jazz. Everyone brought presents -- and we gave Mike and Madonna money to buy their girls presents from them.

The party was a blast -- but the really cool part didn't happen until afterwards. Towards the end of the party, I was sitting down talking to Melody's boyfriend/husband/guy who I had no idea how he fit in. But he fit somehow.

So we're talking (knowing I could take to a fencepost for hours, I know you don't find that a surprise), and this guy named Marcus brings up how we used to go to Pitman Creek, how we're at The Branch, and how his parents go to The Branch. His dad is an elder there. The same one in our small group on Sundays. Who has been asking us to pray for his son. Marcus.

And folks, that is when the light bulb first went off. I'm a slow girl, but even I caught that one.


Of all the families that fled Hurricane Katrina, we got hooked up with a family staying about 15 minutes from our house. Staying with the woman's daughter who was living with the son of an elder at our church. The same son we'd been praying for. Dude. Our God is big. But until then, I'm not sure I knew just how big.

But there's more. As we left the party, I was visiting with Madonna's daughter in the parking lot. I asked her for her email address -- melody112670@ (you don't need to know.) 112670??? Like as in November 26, 1970??? Uh-huh.

Let me tell you, it doesn't get any weirder than that. It was like God was screaming, "This is about you and her!!!!!!!" We didn't just share the same birthday. We shared the same day. Month, day and year. (Along with my friend Leann Freeman!!!)

Looking back, the time we spent with this family was short. Relatively speaking. But I think God used us in a big way.

We helped them as much as we could. We're not rich, but we shared what we had. And we shared our time. And we shared our hearts.

And some of it was pretty. Some of it was not. Some of it was drama, drama, drama. But you know what? The joy of looking up in the balcony at church and seeing Melody and Marcus there was incomparable. Knowing that in some way God was using us to help bring healing to this family.

Melody and Marcus came to church, and brought her kids. But tragedy struck again the next spring when Melody's young son passed away in his sleep. This family that had already suffered so much suffered the ultimate loss -- one that God understood.

I don't know how it all works. I don't know how all the pieces go into place. But here is what I do know. I don't believe in coincidences. Or fate. Or the stars aligning. I don't believe it was through an accident that God plugged us into the lives of Mike, Madonna and their girls. I don't believe we just somehow stumbled into the lives of Marcus and Melody.

I don't believe it's coincidence that God used us to help bring them home to the Church. Not the building -- the family. That God put the pieces in place to introduce her son to Him before he was called home. That God brought Melody to a place where she would have a church family to lift her up after that happened.

Remember, while all this was taking place, I'd been in the Believing God, Bible study. While all this was going on, Beth Moore had been teaching me that:
1. God is who He says He is.
2. God can do what He says He can do.
3. I am who God says I am.
4. I can do all things through Christ.
5. God's Word is living and active in me.

And through all that, through that whole process, through the Believing God study, and through the fallout of Hurricane Katrina, God used me.

For the first time ever, I could see a pathway of how He had used me. Little old me.

And it was so cool. It had taken a hurricane to change my life, but change it did -- in a really big way.

The story isn't over. Guess what? This morning, on the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall, I found out that this Fall our Ladies' Bible Class is studying Beth Moore's Believing God.

That, my friends is not happenstance. Coincidence is what happens when God chooses to remain anonymous.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Princess Guide: Meds

Okay. I'm not talking about the Mediterranean right now -- although that might be a nice place to be.

Instead, I'm talking about Meds -- as in Medication.

I've spent much of the last week outside, as I did all of today. And I'm suffering. My ragweed-ometer or whatever it is is going off.

Which reminds me of meds -- and why they're so important.

And how they'll be that much more important when you're walking 60 miles in three days, 4 hours away from your pharmacy back home.

Don't forget your meds.

I was going to say, don't forget your (insert long list of prescriptions here), but all I could think was the name Cialis --and isn't that like Viagra? Or not.

But I digress.

Whatever it is, start planning now to make sure it's in your suitcase for the walk. If you're going to run out of whatever it is the weekend of the walk, and you need to see a doctor before it's refilled, it might be a good idea to get that appointment scheduled now.

I hope you're following me here, because I'm not sure I'm even following me....

Ragweed does that to me.

Your Challenge for Today:
Take a close look at any prescriptions you take and make sure that won't be an issue.

What I'm Doing Today:
Sneezing. And craving a nap.

Right after I do the Happy Dance -- I lost a Pound!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Princess Guide: Child's Play

I've blogged before about involving your kids in your 3-Day Fundraising. You can see more here and here. Really, I'm a big fan of doing just that. As a Mom, I want to teach them that you're never too young to help make a difference. And as a former 4-H member who went to college on a Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo scholarship, I'm thinking it's never too early to start putting in community service!
Beyond the fact that our kids really get into fundraising and have a great time doing it, I think that line of communication that it opens up is important as well. That door of opportunity to talk with your daughters about why it's important to stay healthy. Why it's important to stay on top of things. Why it's important to serve others. Soooo many things to share with your kids!
This weekend, many of the girls in Fairfield will be helping with snow cone stands at the soccer fields. If you're in the area, please stop by and buy a treat! This is a fundraiser to help build Hope Field. Through this, we are teaching our daughters how much we believe in them. We're showing them that they can make a difference. And we're teaching them that if you want something, sometimes you've got to get out there and git er done.
Each one of those things is a lesson we teach them through our involvement in the Breast Cancer 3-Day. And each one is a lesson that is going to help build our young children into strong adults who will be armed and ready to make an impact in this world -- prayerfully a cancer-free world.
Your Challenge for Today:
Find some way to involve your children in what you do tomorrow. Whether it's decorating Cans for Cans, baking for a bake sale, decorating flamingos for Flocking or selling lemonade at a lemonade stand, there are a bajillion ways to involve your kids and make them a part of what you're doing. It will give them a sense of ownership in your walk -- and it'll give you lots of fun photo ops!
What I'm Doing Today:
Just rode my bike 18 miles this morning. Carving 18 miles out of Fairfield is a lot of fun. My tailbone is sore and is looking forward to the break we're taking this weekend. I'm fully aware that there's this whole "muscle weighs more than fat" thing that goes with exercising -- especially when you start back after taking FOREVER off. BUT I'm about ready to start seeing the scales creep downwards!!
And a reminder... If you haven't ordered your tickets to Team Tiara's Gala on October 2, you need to! You can find out more here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Princess Guide: Just Ask!

Ummmm... I'm not totally sure why I'm doing this, but I must be a glutton for punishment. Or something. But hang with me -- there's a point in here somewhere.

As I rode my bike this morning (16.5 miles, thank you very much!), I was wondering if it's easier for guys to ask their friends to donate to the 3-Day -- or if those of us who are lucky enough to be chicks have it easier.

Now, I understand that "dating" has changed quite a bit from the Good Old Days, but I'm thinking that asking girls out on dates has to prepare young men for careers in sales -- or fundraising for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. They get used to hearing the word "No," right???

It's just a theory.

Growing up in Fluvanna, I had a bit of experience with the "asking" side of dates. You see, with 11 kids in your class, and an estimated 70 kids in the whole high school, there's not that high a probability that The Guy you want to go to prom with is one of the guys who has been making fun of you since first grade. And besides, if everyone in the Jr. and Sr. classes paired up for Prom, it would be pretty small. Right?

So... Many of us shipped in dates from the Outside World. Places like Snyder, Post, Lamesa and Grandfalls-Royalty. My date my Senior year was Kenny Norris -- and when I think back to all the guys I knew growing up, his star is still one of the brightest -- just a really great guy. About a month after Prom, I managed to flip my Bronco II with Kenny in the passenger seat. That's another story for another day, but continues to be a lasting testimony to God's faithfulness in my life.

But let's back up.... If I hadn't asked Kenny to Prom, who knows what would have happened.... Would I have been dateless? You've got me. But... I had to ASK to get him there. I had to ASK, so 21 years later I'd have this LOVELY picture to show you all. (Yes, my Momma made my dress. And yes, there's some type of beribboned banana clip holding my hair back.)

My point is (See, I told you there was a point.), you never get anywhere if you don't ask. Whether you're hoping your family and friends will donate to the 3-Day, or you're hoping for a Debonaire date to the Prom, you've got to ask!
How often do we have that conversation... We tell our friends what we're doing. We talk about porta potties and peanut butter graham cracker sandwiches and the 60-mile buffet. Pink tents and showering in semi trucks. We talk right up to the point where it's natural to ask them to donate -- and then we stop.
We don't ask.
We leave them hanging.
We don't want to put them off. We're worried they'll say, "No." We're worried they'll think we're weird or needy or whatever.
But guess what? I'm wondering how many people walk away from those conversations wishing we had asked. Wishing we'd given them the opportunity to make a difference. Wishing we had invited them to be a part of this great big thing we're doing????
Your Challenge for Today:
Your challenge for today is to tell five people about the 3-Day -- and then ask them to donate. Tell them they can easily donate by check -- you'll send it in for them. Tell them they can easily donate online. Tell them online donations automatically generate an emailed receipt for their tax records. Tell them they can double their donations with matching funds from their company. Tell them they can split their donations into installments.
But before you tell them all that, you've got to ask.
Oh, and here's a twist: you need to do all this personally.
That's right. No email. Make a connection -- in person or over the phone. I promise you'll be glad you did!
Oh! And let me know how it goes!!!!!!!!
What I'm Doing Today:
As I said earlier, I did 16.5 miles on my bike this morning. That's 52.5 miles this week. And my tailbone can attest to that. I'm loving it, though. The humidity is low here right now -- that helps immensely. Of course, as soon as the kids go back to school and the humidity drops, the ragweed comes out. DANG.
I'm working up to doing a training walk this weekend or early next week. I know that sounds crazy to most of you, but you've gotta understand that for me walking is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical exercise. I have this huge fear of screwing up my feet -- I notice every twinge. But I'm gonna get there.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Princess Guide: We're All in This Together....

I love that song. And I love it that God made sure my little girls would be little girls at just the right time for that song to come out and for me to hear it over and over and over.

You know, I wish all four of you that read my blog were on our 3-Day team. BUT in the grand scheme of things, I know that all of you who walk are on my team. So that's cool. We're all in this together.

In the spirit of being a team, and really supporting each other, I'm gonna tell you what I'm really thinking right now.

Ready? Okay! (Football season is here, and I always wanted to be a cheerleader!)

Here goes....

It's time for you to get off your tushi and do some fundraising.

There. I said it.

Let's start with something simple....To me, there isn't much in life more discouraging than the number "zero." And I'm thinking that if you're a 3-Day walker with a "$0.00" beside your name 72 Days before the walk, you might be a bit discouraged.

So.... Here's what I want you to do. I want you to go to www.the3day.org and donate to yourself.

Uh-huh. That's right. I'm asking you to lead the charge.

And no, I'm not smoking anything.

I promise.

Here's the deal. We talked yesterday about telling people why you believe in the 3-Day. Now, I'm asking you to show them you believe in the 3-Day.

It doesn't have to be anything big. $10. That's less than two trips to Starbuck's for me. It's less than taking your family through Chick fil A.

Donate what you can -- just knock that Goose Egg off the board...

Now... Doesn't that feel better???

Once you've done that, it's time to start spreading the word about this little adventure we've got going on here.

Have you sent out your fundraising letter yet?? If not, it's time to do that. And no, you're not too late. Last year, I didn't send mine out until Labor Day weekend. I remember, because Suzi and I were taking all our kids to Fluvanna for Opening Weekend. I'd addressed all my envelopes -- and stuffed them -- in advance.

We stopped in Somerville to buy stamps, then I put Suzi to work stamping those suckers. After about an hour or so, she realized she'd put the stamps on the wrong side of the envelope -- where the return address goes. That's right. She did.

So.... She fixed that little problem. And then, would you believe, started doing it again.

That is one mixed-up girl.

We eventually got the letters stamped and mailed from little post offices along Highway 36. Like Flat and Pancake. Seriously, those are the names of actual places. Would you believe?

But you see? It's not too late. I promise.

So it's time for you to get those letters out. If you need an example, I have one here. But once again, you've got to make it your own. Unless your name is D'Lyn and you lost your Mom three years ago last month, this really isn't the letter for you.

If you've already sent out your fundraising letter, it's time for you to send an update to all your friends and family. Let them know how your training is going (or isn't), how your life is going, and how your fundraising is going. They need a little nudge here and there to remind them that you're walking and could sure use their help.

Your Challenge for Today:
If you're looking at a Goose Egg on your tally, the first step is to make a donation to yourself. The next step is to send a fundraising letter -- or an update, depending on where you are in the fundraising process.

What I'm Doing Today:
Today I rode 14 miles on my bike -- and my new shoes made a huge difference. You wouldn't think they would, but they did! I'm also firing up The World to come to Team Tiara's Celebration Gala on October 2. AND we're laying the groundwork for Hope Field Snow Cone stands this weekend at the soccer fields. Life is never boring around here!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Princess Guide: Psssst... I Have a Secret!

Ya'll know how much I love a good secret. Well, today I have THE BEST secret of all.

You can't tell anyone. Not even your dog.

That's right --this is just between you, me and the fencepost.

Are you ready???

Are you sure???

Here goes....

You're walking in the Breast Cancer 3-Day.

Surprised??? I know some of you are -- and your neighbors will be, too!

Now, this isn't a post trying to get you to sign up to walk. That's another post for another day. This is a post for those of you who are registered to walk -- and haven't told anyone.

Not even your Mom.

Know how I know?

It's not that I have superhuman powers or anything like that. Nope. I just looked at your web page. You know, your "official" Participant Center?

My first clue? It still looks like it did the day you registered for The Walk. No offense, but it's boring. When people log on to donate under your name, the last thing they want to see is a picture of someone's stinky shoes and the pink Energizer bunny. Really, I mean it. You've got to do something about that. Today. I mean it -- don't make me give you the Mean Mommy Look.

Really, this is soooooooooo easy to do. Just log onto your Participant Center at http://www.the3day.org/. When it comes up, click on the button at the top that says "Personal Page."

You'll see a light pink shaded bar with this in it:

1. Edit the content of this page.
Click here to open this page for editing.

2. Save your changes.

So... Click where it tells you and edit away.... And then save.... And then I'll be sooooooo proud of you!

Make it your own. Make it happy, sad, mushy, whatever. It's YOUR story. Tell us why you're walking and what this means to you.

You cannot expect people to donate to something unless you show them why you believe in it.

For some of us, that's hard. It's hard to put yourself out there. Some of our stories are so new and so raw and so painful that we cringe at the idea of sharing them.

But we've got to. It's a step to finding a CURE. It's a step towards our own healing.

Now.... Know what else clued me into the fact that you haven't shared your commitment with anyone? The fact that you've done no fundraising so far. I know we're all incredibly busy, and the economy isn't the greatest, but it's time. Unless all your 3-Day donations are squirreled away in a Swiss bank account, just waiting to be posted, or your Honey is planning on writing that $2300 check, you need to get a move on. We're gonna talk about that tomorrow.....

In the meantime.....

Your Challenge for Today:
Your challenge for today is to take a stroll through your Participant Center. Take 5-10 minutes to turn it into something that will knock people's socks off. Add a picture of your Great Aunt Gert, your kids, yourself -- or even me. Tell people why you're walking. Share your heart.

And if you've already done that, take a second to just read over it and make sure it's up to date.

Then, take a moment to let me know you've met the challenge -- even if you just write "done" in the comments. Seriously, I talk to myself all day long. I need some "comment love" on here -- at least then I can pretend I'm not talking to myself!

What I'm Doing:
If you follow the virtual personal trainer for the DFW walk, you'll see that today's walk was 4 miles -- easy. If you're me, and your feet are whacked out, you've got to be a bit creative about training. So... I did 10 miles on my bike yesterday and 12 today. With the girls back in school, I'm thrilled to be back in my routine.

My goal is to lose 10 lbs. by October 2. That's 5.5 weeks away. Very do-able. I'll have to step it up to lose the next 10 by The Walk, but that's the Holy Grail I'm aiming towards. I'm glad you're coming along for the ride!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Princess Guide: Like a Dog on a Jet-Ski

Please note: If you haven't read this post from yesterday, please do!

We have this dog.


He's 8 years old, and really not good for much. Star of our annual Christmas letter. Hole-digger. Cat-eater. Trampoline-jumper. Escape artist.

At one point, Biggsy thought he had a new hunting dog. Then he shot the gun. Jake couldn't get under the nearest truck fast enough.

Since we moved back to Houston, though, there is one thing Jake has really excelled at -- chasing Jet-skis up and down the Creek. And last year, when we bought him his very own Jet-ski to chase, he was in hog heaven.

Until this weekend. This weekend, Jake found out what it's like to live.

Saturday morning, we got up and put the ski in the water. We were moving a bit slow, and the Thomas family wasn't there yet. The girls weren't really motivated to go yet, so Biggs suggested we put Jake on the ski.


Jake did not agree that this was a good idea. He kind of balked. But Biggs got him on the ski, and I started off slowly.

Forget hog heaven, He was now in Dog Heaven.

Jake was in his element. I took him on a couple of rides, and with the exception of the fact that it was a bit like having a smelly, shag-carpet bath mat next to me it was pretty cool.

We went way up the Creek to the second bridge -- and he loved it. He never wiggled. Didn't make a peep -- not for birds or other dogs or anything.

And for the rest of the weekend, he begged to go again and again and again.

Now, for many of you, doing the 3-Day is about as unnatural as a dog on a Jet-ski.

You've probably got more than a few people in your life sending you the "Can't" vibe.

Are you going to prove them right???

I was thinking of all the negative reasons your dream-stealers might be sharing with you. I'm not going to give you the litany -- but what I will do is tell you that many, many of us have the same reasons running through our brains on a regular basis.

I'm asking you to turn those voices off and listen to this instead....

We have 74 days till the DFW 3-Day....

That means we have 74 days to:
Get in shape.
Lose weight.
Raise the $2300.
Find a new sports bra.
Buy Glitter Mascara.
Shoe-Polish the car...

Really, the list goes on and on.

But even more than that, we have 74 days to remember why we're walking in the first place. And yes, I know some of you need to jog that memory. You know who you are. So take some time today to think about why you're walking. Each of us has a different reason. It was enough of a reason for you to sign up to walk, and it's still enough of a reason for you to continue this adventure.

And guess what? It's probably more emotional than logical. Do you know how I know that?

Well, it's not logical to walk 60 miles in 3 days.

And it's not logical to raise $2300.

And it's sure not logical for a dog to ride a jet-ski.

You may balk and whine a bit, but you know what? Once you jump on, it's definitely worth the ride!

Your Challenge for Today:
Today you're going to make a list of all the reasons you signed up for the 3-Day and post it on your desk, your wall, your mirror, etc. We've got 74 days to raise $2300. If you're starting "from scratch" that means you're looking at raising an average of $31 a day -- very do-able! Especially when you have a chat with your inner "dog on a jet-ski" and let him know you're ready for a ride!
Help Turn this into a Conversation:
This 74 Days Straight of Princess Guide Updates will be so much easier with a little back-and-forth! So please leave a comment and let me know some of the reasons you are walking. And better yet, please let me know if you have any 3-Day questions that need to be answered!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Princess Guide: Passionately Pink for the Cure

Oh my.

Just wait till you see what I have planned for you tomorrow. I have found the PERFECT way to launch my 74 days of posts leading up to the 3-Day.

I'll give you a hint -- Jake is involved.

BUT.... We're not there yet.

We're "here," instead. And "here," we need your help.

You've heard me talk about the Gala we are planning for -- It's October 2 in Houston. A celebration of all that Team Tiara has accomplished in the last 5 years. A Party. And it's a sneak peek at all we want to accomplish in the future.

There's just one small problem.

If we don't sell 100 tickets to the Gala by next weekend, there will be no Gala.


My friend Melissa says it all so much better than I can....

"This event is a 5 year celebration of what Team Tiara has accomplished, as well as our expanded vision for the future, a celebration of life for survivors and a commemoration to those who lost their lives to this nasty disease.

We want to have money to help those struggling with fund-raising so they can participate in the 3-Day. We want to help the mom who needs child care, and the woman who needs a ride to and from chemo. We want to help the husband who has to take a day off work without pay to be with his wife during treatment. We want to help the man who is confused about how he got this disease.

The needs that are not fulfilled under other organizations are immeasurable. We are making a difference, but it could be so much more! "

The date for the gala is October 2nd, 2010, and the tickets are $50 each or $90 a couple and checks need to be made out to Team Tiara Foundation. The tickets include entrance into the event, 2 adult beverages, a fruit and cheese "appetizer", tea, coffee bar that includes cinnamon sticks and chocolate shavings (CHOCOLATE!) in addition to the traditional additions to coffee, and full buffet meal including bread/rolls, choice of chicken dish or roast beef carving station, 2 sides and dessert.

We have many great auction items including some of our calendar quilts, autographed items, private chartered sailing, Harley rental, football tickets to several different colleges, wine packages, and the list goes on and on...

So Here's the Deal.....

Team Tiara has accomplished so much in five years. To date, we've raised over $340,000 for breast cancer research, education, awareness and services. But there's just so much more we can do.

Please consider coming to the Gala. Help us celebrate where we've been -- and where we're headed. Put on your sparkly mascara and come Party with us. (Some of these walkers really are a hoot.) And if you can't come, please consider sponsoring tickets for a local survivor to attend.

You can download an order form for tickets here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Ish" Parenting

Hi. For those of you who hang out around here on a regular basis, I think I'd better issue a warning..... When the girls go back to school on Monday, I'm going to launch in to High Gear 3-Day-wise.

As of Monday, we'll be 74 days out from the 3-Day. That's 73 days before we leave for the event in Dallas. Beginning Monday, I'm going to do my best to do a "Princess Guide" post every day. For those of you who are "in the Pink," this will be a good thing. I'm afraid, though, some of you may not be quite as excited.

Please hang with me. I'll do some regular posts as well -- but I've really got to kick it up a notch on the 3-Day, in more ways than one.

So... Back to our regularly scheduled programming (for now.)

I'm a big fan of "ish" parenting.

I'd never realized this was a whole parenting style until Suzi said something about a friend who "doesn't believe in ishes." Oh yeah. I do.

"Ish" parenting rocks. Low-stress, low-key. If you're not familiar with this, here are a few examples from my day...

We get up about 8-ish in the summer.
We eat lunch when the kiddos are hungry -- sometimes 2-ish.
Bedtime is 9-ish.

But it gets better. We went to the Children's Museum the other day with 8-ish kids. Came home with 8 or so. ("Or so" being another form of "ish.")

Really, it works.

You should try it.

Here's a recap of the last week in "ish" terms.

Last Friday, the girls and I went to welcome the troops coming home from Iraq. They were supposed to drive up Fry Road about 9:30-ish. After the two buses rolled by, Abs asked it that was "it." I explained that while it might not seem like a big deal to her, I bet it was a really big deal to those guys -- to see families strung out along Fry Road to welcome them home.

Here are the 8-ish kids we took to Children's Museum.

Banking is one area where my "ish" factor reigns supreme. Hoping the kids learn better in Kidtropolis.

Now.... Amber and her kids came down this week for 48-ish hours. Forget "ish" -- "Squish" is now my buzzword. As in.... You've just gotta squish those cheeks.

So you have a $40,000 swimming pool, and it's the $5-ish water hose that the kids love the most??



Can't pass up the nose-picking shot...




LOVE Abbie's look here!

Double Squish.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughters.

I know these aren't great pix, but they're what I've got....

We took a little trip to Aggieland last Friday to watch the Aggie Girls whomp on Rice in soccer. Of course, we had to check out some Aggie fare. Seeing as The Bird isn't really the place to take your kiddos on a Friday evening, we went to the Chicken Oil instead.

And being my girls, Abs and Kait signed the wood!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Size Matters.

I don't know about that, but it did get your attention, didn't it????

I just got an email about a great contest going on.

If you're a 3-Day walker and are looking for a fun way to raise $250, you need to check this out!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Yes, THIS has me all in a tizzy.

What do you think the chances are that Obama actually read the letter Rick Perry handed him this week?

And what are the chances he'll ever step up to do something about it??

That's right -- As Coach Frisbie always said, "Slim to None and Slim left town...."

We've already seen that our federal government will go to no end to keep the gates open and allow illegal immigrants access to whatever, whenever they choose. The state of Arizona had the courage to step up and say "No." But Obama stomped his foot and declared they shouldn't be able to make a difference.

Farmer's Branch stepped up with a big "We're not gonna take it" while we were living in Dallas. We had a front row seat to the power of the people -- and got to see Domingo Garcia (the Quanel X of Dallas) on TV every chance he got. Three Cheers to Farmer's Branch for continuing the fight -- and not rolling over to play dead.

Look. You and I both know that not all illegal immigrants are criminals. Many, many of them are hard-working, honest individuals. And it's hard to come to terms with this issue in your heart.

BUT.... We have enough criminals who sadly belong in this country. We really don't need to keep the gates open for those who aren't here legally.

And the simple fact of the matter is, if you're not here legally, you're breaking the law.

And I have to confess, as upset as I am about the whole immigration issue, there's another issue with this situation that's troubling me as well. What was a 14-year-old girl doing at a party until 12:30 a.m. -- and then walking home alone???

P.S. While I'm on a rant... Let me make sure I have this right. Obama doesn't have time to talk immigration with Perry, primarily because he's hitting up Texans for money to help promote the Democrat Ideal -- mostly elsewhere. This in a state where the Democrat's one great hope for governor is afraid to be linked with the President.

So.... Perry writes a letter to impress Obama with the gravity of our situation down here.

And it has a Texas-sized typo??? What is up with that???

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Camp Rocks!

The girls and I spent a chunk of last week at Trinity Pines on Lake Livingston. We were up there for Camp Ten:10 -- the church camp put on by our church, Memorial, Bammel and Conroe. I met some incredible people. I will say I was really looking forward to spending time with old Bammel friends -- but none of them were there. BUMMER.

We did have a great time, though. Kait stayed with me in the Staff cabin, didn't get much sleep, and was a really worn-out kid by the time it was over. This was her one and only "Pre-Camper" year -- next year she'll be in a "real" cabin, and will get to fully enjoy the experience. She did have a great time hanging with her new friend Olivia -- who just so happens to be on our soccer team.

I spent much of the first day running around looking for Ranch Oak -- I know, that's not your typical camp activity, but I'd never seen so much Ranch Oak in one place! Now, I know some of you might not have been brought up in the land of Ranch Oak. If you weren't, you can find out more here. In short, Ranch Oak was made by the A. Brandt furniture company in Ft. Worth. It's solid, weighs a ton, and was built to last.

As my friend Jay has pointed out, it was primarily built for short people. It kinda takes a forklift to get you back up from one of their couches -- you're sitting looooooowwww......

In our family, Ranch Oak is Da Bomb. You don't sell it. Ever. You don't even think about giving it away. If given a choice between me or a Ranch Oak hutch, I guarantee you they would grab the hutch. That's just how they roll.

So imagine my shock & awe when I walked into the camp to find TONS of Ranch Oak! Now... I will say that it was primarily the "dark" stain. We all prefer the light stain. BUT it was Ranch Oak all the same..... (That's Carla in the corner -- working hard while I run around acting like a freak.)

The only light chairs had leather backs. None of it was stamped A Brandt that I could find, but some of it had this R.O. stamp.

Now... as much fun as my Ranch Oak scavenger hunt was, I have to tell you spending that time with Kait was even more fun. There was a very real sense that I'd better enjoy this experience, because next year she'd be a "real" camper.
You know, I think this kid is a Keeper. And the fact that she's my Little Aggie is only a small part of that. When the bus rolled up to take the kids to camp, I knew we needed to snap this picture. I just wish I knew how to photoshop Future in front of the AFC.

Before I go... I do have to tell you there was one part of camp I really didn't enjoy all that much -- but it brought back tons of memories of Camps Gone By.
Yep. Shaving in the shower. With a shower curtain that didn't totally close. And the uncertainty of whether or not the toilet that had overrun earlier had contaminated the floor. YIKES.
And yes, I cut my leg shaving worse than I had since Electric Camp. But it did usher in some Camp Song Humor.
Ung! Ungawa! I cut my leg in the Showah!
Which sequed to:
Ung! Ungawa! Don't Pee in the Showah!
Yep. Camp Rocks!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Need Hope

Hi ya'll,
I've kinda been living under a torrent of emotions for the last couple of weeks. I've got pictures -- somewhere -- to explain a bit more, but it's really been a river of a gazillion different emotions.

M'Lys and I went to Snyder a couple of weeks ago to clean out Mom's house in a marathon session. Actually, it was far more of a sprint. We worked our tails off. But we got it done.

And it was a journey.

Then, last week, the girls and I went to church camp up on Lake Livingston. Kait was a Jr. Camper, and it was quite the adventure.

School starts two weeks from yesterday -- and I'm more than ready. We've had an incredible summer, but I need a big rest to get ready for the next one!

Once school kicks in, I'll begin my Big Countdown to the 3-Day. It'll be just around the corner, and it's time I started training. And you'll be hearing a lot about that from me.

BUT..... Today we need to talk about something else. We need to talk about Hope and why we need it so much. Last night I was talking to a friend about Team Tiara and Hope Field, and I just couldn't quit talking. (I know that's hard for you to believe.) BUT, you see, as I talked I just got more and more excited and wanted to share all the more.

And the timing.... Well, this hit the news yesterday. A link between childhood obesity and early puberty and breast cancer all tied up in a package. You see, researchers are trying to figure out if there is a link between childhood obesity and the earlier onset of puberty. This is something that has been bandied about for a while. With two girls, that hits my radar screen. But what is even more concerning to me is the fact that they think it might increase the chance of breast cancer later on. That the longer a woman menstruates (Personally can't believe I just typed that word.), the higher her chance of breast cancer.

The article also talked about how this earlier puberty can affect a girls' self-image and behavior.

A few months ago, a friend from college posted a note on Facebook about Vicki Courtney's Blog. Vicki addresses this early puberty / self-esteem issue in her book: Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter. This book is a must-read for anyone with daughters and really was a wake-up call for me.

I know, I know.... Land that plane.

Here goes....

When we were first approached about helping with Hope Field, I'll admit I was a little concerned about how it would go over. I didn't want anyone for one second to think that we were steering away from our main purpose -- to find a cure for breast cancer. I didn't want anyone thinking we were just turning a field pink for the sake of turning it pink. (While I do love the color pink, I am getting a bit tired of it and do hope we can hurry up and find the bloomin' cure.)

But here's the deal -- that article yesterday really put into perspective the REALLY BIG PICTURE that Hope Field encompasses.

Once Hope Field is built, it is going to have a Breast Cancer Awareness theme. And I hope that it opens up a line of communication in the homes of our girls about breast cancer. About how important it is to be aware of any changes in your body. About how it's important to take care of your bodies and stay healthy.

But it doesn't stop there. One of the huge benefits to involving children in team sports is that it helps keep them healthy. And strong. And builds self-esteem. The Women's Sports Foundation has some great information on the benefits of team sports for girls.

And staying healthy comes around to decreasing the instance of breast cancer. If you didn't follow the link, here's a little snippet:

•As little as four hours of exercise a week may reduce a teenage girl's risk of breast cancer by up to 60%; breast cancer is a disease that afflicts one out of every eight American women. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1994)

We need Hope Field. We need it here, and we need it in neighborhoods around the country. I don't know if this is the start of something big, but I do know that the Something Big often starts out small.

If you live in Fairfield and have daughters, or even if you don't, we need you to help. The Hope Field Committee has raised close to $20,000 -- about half of what's needed to build this field.

We've gotten all the approvals we need and are ready to start building. If you want to be a part of this, or if your company wants to be a part of this, please let me know.

Help us build Hope on the Hill. Checks can be made out to Team Tiara with "Hope Field" in the memo line. You can send them to: Team Tiara, P.O. Box 2433, Cypress, Texas 77410-2433. If you have any questions, you can shoot me an email to: dlyn (at) teamtiara (dot) net. Team Tiara is operating as a 501 (3) (c) non-profit foundation. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Thanks for your help!
- d.