Awesome engagement!

snapcode_pinkSnapchat is such a great platform to me. Although it’s my smallest network, it’s definitely my most engaged network. Yesterday, I had a lengthy discussion with a woman in The Netherlands about concussion and CTE. This morning, I had a new follower who coaches football for first and second graders in Texas. I talked to him about CTE and Flag Until 14. I even had one person who follows me be so interested that I was working against CTE that he googled me and found out I was a powerlifter as he is! So, anyway, I love snapchat. smile emoticon

Book Review: The New Guy

The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)The New Guy by Amy Spalding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really cute book and I liked it. Jules is looking forward to senior year when she would work on the school paper and work on her dream of getting into Brown University for the following year. Alex comes to school and changes all that.

Alex is a former boy band member and he likes Jules. When TALON (an in school TV station) starts and Alex is a part of it, Jules is devastated and breaks up with him. She then plots and schemes to get TALON shut down so the newspaper, Crest, can exist after she goes to college.

Through her single minded focus to make the paper win over new media, Jules puts her relationship with Alex in jeopardy but also all of her relationships with all of her friends.

I laughed a lot while reading this book because it’s cute. I highly recommend it!




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Texas International Pageants

It was so fun to attend another of the International state pageants. Lyndzee and I drove to Texas on Sunday.

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We met up with our friend, Denise, and her four year old, Caitlin. Caitlin has been obsessed with pageants for at least two years now. She knows exactly how she will wear her hair and what her dress and earrings will look like when she’s finally able to compete. 

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I don’t think I know another four year old that could do so well sitting in a pageant audience but I was confident in Caitlin. She was enthralled. 

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She wanted to meet and take photos with all the queens she saw. 

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She chose her dress that she wore and the outfit her mom wore. 

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The pageant was great. It was nice to see two of the three International title holders and watch the new queens be crowned. Although I didn’t get a chance to stick around (we had to get back to Oklahoma!) to meet the new Mrs. Texas International, I look forward to meeting her at Nationals in July. 

Congratulations to the new Texas International queens! :D

Listen To Your Mother Rehearsal

We had our first rehearsal for Listen To Your Mother this past Saturday at the American Banjo Museum in Bricktown, OKC. 

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What an amazing get together! I met my fellow cast members and heard their stories. There were tears and laughter and friendships being made. I can’t wait for the world to see our show. It’s going to be held on May 1 and the Will Rogers Theater in Oklahoma City at 3 p.m.  This is when you will hear our stories as we read them. Tickets are already on sale

Here’s a video showing pieces of our first rehearsal and giving more information about the event itself.

My story is my why. The explanation of why I feel it’s my mission to let every person in the world know that it’s not “just” a concussion and that helmets don’t protect against concussion.
 
I hope you’ll join us! I feel humbled to be included among such amazing people. :-)  

 

National Walking Day!

Every day on snapchat, I encourage people to walk. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know walking is one of my true passions in life and that David and I have been walking for at least 11 years now. 

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Well, Wednesday is your chance to get started on a walking program. It’s National Walking Day! 

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The American Heart Association has the following suggestions for how you can participate in National Walking Day. 

  • Take a walk on April 6!  (We encourage a 30-minute walk.) 
  • “Donate” your minutes walked that day at #AHALaceUp. Whether it’s 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, post your minutes on social media using the hashtag #AHALaceUp and help us reach a total “donation” of 100,000 minutes walked across America! Follow our updates all day.
  • Want to encourage friends and family to join you? Planning a walk at work or school? It’s easy! Get the free National Walking Day toolkit with tips and promotional materials here!
  • And follow @american_heart on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news and tips on fun ways to move.

I hope you’ll give it a whirl. It’s so easy and you’ll feel great afterwards. See you there! And don’t forget #AHALaceUP. :-)

Save Your Brain

I was honored to be included on a trip to Washington DC last week with the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation for Brain Injury Awareness Day. 

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I chose to work with this group because Patrick’s story is so similar to my son’s story and I felt drawn to them. It was wonderful to meet Karen Zegel and her husband, Doug. They are passionate about the issue of stopping CTE and concussion safety for youth athletes. 

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We all got together at the hotel the night before and I heard the stories of the collected women. Some had lost sons to CTE and some had lost husbands. It was all very sad and it made me even more sure that I was on the right path in my quest to inform anyone and everyone I come into contact with that it’s not “just” a concussion and that helmets do not protect the brain against concussion. 

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Debbie Ploetz’s story was one that made me realize that even if everything seems okay for now, somewhere along the line, the result of all the concussive and/or subconcussive hits, may take its toll. Greg Ploetz died from CTE. Here’s the video:

 


  

The next morning, we all met at the Cannon House Office Building for breakfast and to get to know each other. 

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Then it was on to the Brain Injury Awareness Fair. I walked around the room to see what people were there to showcase. I shared with each person my own personal quest and got some very good ideas of ways in which I can proceed and reach more people.

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I was so happy to meet and speak with Mike Haynes. Mike is a pro football Hall of Fame corner back. The exciting thing is that he never played football until he was a sophomore in high school. Not only is he is in the Hall of Fame, his brain is okay!

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I had a meeting with my Congressman’s legislative aide. In the end, we weren’t able to meet with the person we were supposed to meet with but we were able to share our concerns with another of his staffers. I’ll be following up with the Congressman, though, because this is too important to just leave to chance that he will hear about if from someone who isn’t me. 

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Some members of our group had really great and positive sounding meetings with their representatives. It became apparent that it will take us some time and that we must bring even more interested people with us as we continue to strive for a legalized standard of care for concussion in youth sports. While it may take some time, I know that we will achieve our goal blow by blow, one step at a time.

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If you know of any parent groups that are interested in safety in youth sports, particularly with regard to concussion and brain safety, please have them join with us on the Save Your Brain facebook page

 

 

Book Review: The Girl In The Blue Coat

Girl in the Blue CoatGirl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It takes place in WWII Amsterdam. The Nazi’s have occupied the country and Hanneke is trying to get by. She works as a receptionist but then her boss asks her to help him procure and sell items on the black market. She feels that she is doing a good service until she realizes that her friends are into even more than she is.

While trying to find a girl for a woman who is her customer, she realizes that her boyfriend’s (who died in the war) brother and his friends are doing a whole lot more than she is to save Jewish people. They want her to become involved with them but she is single minded in her quest to find one girl, Mirjam.

The story is full of twists and turns and I wasn’t really sure how it would end up. I liked this book a lot and would recommend it to those who like historical, especially WWII fiction.

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Book Review: Mean Sisters

Mean SistersMean Sisters by Lindsay Emory

This was a fun book! I got right into the story because Margot, the main character, was so cute. The story is set in the Delta Beta sorority, Margot’s employer and her sorority. She just loves the sistershood she had when she was in college and can’t quite let it go. She loves her job working for the sorority even though she lives out of a suitcase as she travels from campus to campus. Margot is sent to visit her alma mater. When the house adviser drops dead during the chapter meeting, Margot feels it’s her place to keep the girls calm and figure out whodunit.

What ensues is funny and quite unexpected. Not your typical murder mystery. This is a great book. The only thing I wondered is why it was called Mean Girls. Yes, there were a couple of mean girls but overall, because of Margot and her love for her sisters, I didn’t find the girls mean.



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Illinois International Pageants

I was super excited to attend the Illinois International Pageants this past weekend in Chicago. Pageanting is something I do with my stepmom and it was so great to see her. It had been way too long!

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Before we headed in to watch the pageant, I stopped for a photo in front of the step and repeat.

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At intermission, I actually got my stepmom to visit snapchat with me! 

Click to play!

Click to play!

Then we went in to watch the rest of the pageant. I was super impressed with the contestants and their commitment to their platforms. It would have been hard to be a judge!

When the judging was complete, the following ladies were crowned:

Nicole Zwiercan – Mrs. Illinois International

Jessica Kumpula – Miss Illinois International

Lindsey Pearlman – Miss Teen Illinois International

I was hoping to be able to introduce myself to Nicole before we left but that didn’t happen. I will look forward to meeting her at the National pageant in July. Congrats to the new titleholders and to director, Beverly Turkowski and her staff who put on an awesome pageant!

Book Review: Multiple Listings

Multiple ListingsMultiple Listings by Tracy McMillan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this book and said, “That was a really good book!” I loved it.

At first, I wasn’t so sure. Ronnie being in jail made me wonder how I was going to like this story but he ended up being my favorite character. This book has great characters. Nicki, Ronnie’s daughter grows so much through the book as does her son, Cody.

There much love and happiness woven through a tale of this unconventional family that truly becomes a family over the course of the book. Ronnie has been in prison for 17 years. When he’s let out unexpectedly, he shows up on Nicki’s doorstep. She doesn’t’ want to see him but Cody is intrigued.

My biggest thought as the book progressed was I hope Ronnie gets to be the chef at the restaurant. This is a great, heartwarming book and I highly recommend it!



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