Thursday, March 25, 2010

Are You Ready to Bunco?????

It's kind of funny how things work......

Although I felt like stepping down this year as far as fundraising, things are continuing to fall in to place!! I still somewhat question myself as far as continuing this fight, but again, something inside me just won't let go of urge to raise funds for a cure.

As I sifted through our mail the other night after coming in from work, I had a letter in the mail from a CB reader in West Virginia. It had the nicest letter attached with an article about a lovely 26 year old girl who passed away last week of CF. She reminded me that the efforts that our family is continuing are truly making a difference. Thank you Susie, for taking the time to send me these words of encourgement. Every word in the article reminded me of Haley....these CFers show amazing strength even through their difficult trials of life!

I have already had 100 people sign up since don't delay ;-)
PERFECT GNO (Although we have several men that play as well!!!)

We will open the doors at 6:15pm, Dinner at 7:00 and Bunco at 8!! This is a new facility for us this year and they are more than happy to help out with this cause at no charge!! We are still in desperate need of donations!! We have got a very good start, but now that we have a confirmed date hopefully we can get more donations for this night. Here are a list of the baskets so far..
Here are some of the themes...

1. The Great Outdoors (Guy Basket)
2. Pamper Yourself (Ladies Basket)
3. Gift Cards Galore
4. Arts & Crafty
5. Home Sweet Home
6. Movies, Music, Itunes and More
7. Summertime Fun

ALSO, we will be giving out over 100 door prizes, so if you have something that does not fit in this basket we can certainly use them for door prizes!! BUNCO IS $10.00 MINIMUM DONATION PER PERSON TO PLAY AND WE ASK THAT YOU BRING ONE COVERED DISH OF YOUR CHOICE! I NEED THE NAMES OF ALL PLAYER THAT WILL BE COMING WITH YOU WHEN YOU EMAIL ME. Last year this event filled up in about 10 days, so I need to make sure we have all spots filled so we don't turn anyone away that would be willing to pay. All money will be collected the night of bunco at the door!!(

Remember, you don't need to know how to play bunco to participate! You will learn as you go)We will have entertainment for the evening and will watch a couple of videos to remind us all why we are there!! WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! Thank for all of your help in always making these fundraisers such a success. I will be more than happy to pick up any donations if you give me a call or e-mail me!!

Also, at this point it looks like we will be doing our 2nd Annual Run to Breathe 5K, In Memor Haley. Details to follow........ Yey!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meet my little friend Brady......

Tonight on my "Tune in Tuesday", I thought I would cover 2 areas with this blog. First I will introduce my Artist of the week....Ingrid Michaelson! Although I have heard of her, I have just recently been introduced to her music. Beautiful voice, beautiful lyrics....

2nd and most importantly, Our dear friends Missy & Parry have an amazing son named Brady. He is 6 years old and has Cystic Fibrosis. We love this little guy and he is one of the reason I just can't stop fighting to find a cure.

Please watch the video, listen to the beautiful lyrics and hugs your kids a bit tighter tonight!!

Remember, we are still desperately looking for donations for our bunco next month!! Thank you to those who have already donated!!

If you would like to make a cash donation, you can visit Haley's Great Strides Page by cliking on this link:

Love you all~

Saturday, March 13, 2010

All for a Cup of Tea!!!

Wow...never knew a cup of tea could cause such a commotion!!!
So, this morning after my zumba class, I decided to go to Chick fil A....just as I do most mornings, to get my daily dose of Unsweet Tea. I LOVE Chick fil A's tea and more so I LOVE their cups! I know that sounds funny....but I can keep it filled all day, with NO sweat and refill as needed. Did I mention my ice don't melt right away either?!?!?
So, I filled up my tea and left the house around noon to pick up Brenna from OM practice. I was going to surprise her and take her to Panera (which she loves) before heading off to work! When we got in the parking lot I said, "hmmm..I would really like to use this cup instead of theirs" - to Brenna-. "I think I will just take it in and buy a large tea and then I will have my "happy" cup instead of the sweaty one from Panera". Brenna follows up with.."good idea, they won't mind as long as you pay!"
So, we go in to the very packed Panera and order our food. Before I even order, I hold my Chick fil A cup up to the cashier and kindly say...."I have my own cup, but please feel free to charge me for a large tea or whatever you need to". Chris, our cashier very nicely said, "no problem ma'am!"
So Brenna and I sat down and enjoyed our lunch and our much needed time together!! As we were leaving, I decided to refill my drink. There was NO unsweet tea in the canister, so (because I had NOTHING to hide), I walked up to one of the ladies and nicely said, "do you have any tea made up behind the counter?" I held up my cup. She said, "ma'am, the tea pitcher is OUT THERE. I said, "yes, I know....but it is empty". She followed up with, "well, it will take 3 minutes to brew".
No problem on my end. 3 minutes is definitely worth waiting for another cup of tea before I leave. So, I go and visit with Brenna for a few....and get up to get my refill before we leave. Keep in mind....this was 12:15 on a Saturday and Panera was PACKED!! Very few tables available. So as I am standing pulling the knob to fill my cup with about 6 people standing right by me.....the manager walks right up to me and says, "MA'AM....DID YOU PAY FOR THAT TEA????". Shocked....I answered, "yes". She then says...."I'LL NEED TO SEE YOUR RECEIPT"!! (I am this really happening and is she talking to me in front of all these embarrasing!!) I again nicely said, " don't need to see my need to go talk to your employee". Then loudly she said, "NO I NEED TO SEE YOUR RECEIPT"!! Shaking, I a not so nice voice..."I'm not showing you ANYTHING....go talk to your employee, Chris who helped me".
To be completely honest with you all.....I have no idea if Chris charged me for my tea, all I know is I was so cautious about being honest with bringing my cup in and going over the proper procedure with Brenna on what needed to happen, I couldn't believe she accused me of STEALING HER FREAKING TEA!!!!! I was dumb founded and completely felt like I was being treated like a hardened criminal!!!!! Did I mention for me and Brenna to eat, it cost us $17.50!!!!!!!!!! A paying customer who just spent $17.50 for me and my daughter to eat lunch there!! Oh, did I mention, I had been to Panera only 3 days prior to this!! A frequent returning customer at that!!!
So, I go sit down (for those of you who know me....when I get mad...I truly want to cry)....I had tears in my eyes and Brenna said, "mom, what's wrong??" I told her what the lady has said, and she said....."don't let her get away with that!" I thought for a minute and I realized Brenna was right......she chose to accuse a PAYING customer of stealing something in front of many other people. So I walked up to the counter and "cocky" Laren (the acuser) said, "what do you need", I (the accused) said I really just wanted to tell you how wrong I think you were with the way you handled this situation. She said, "well, I'm sorry but I have seen it happen before". I said, "well maybe you should have your facts straight before accusing someone of stealing in front of others".
Needless to say....we exchanged many got very ugly and when I turned around I had about 20 people behind me waiting to "break up this cat fight".
I just left in tears!!!!! Something I tried to be SO honest about just turned in to a big mess!!!
(I discussed this with Shelly, my business partner, and we are in shock by the way they treated their customer!! 1. If you are unsure of something......ask YOUR EMPLOYEES first instead of quickly accusing the customer. I mean, really, there were only 2 or 3 cashiers....and trust me, Chris remembered me flashing the Chick fil A cup in front of his face. 2. If it was someone in my store that was fixing to buy $25.00 worth of product and I had a very small feeling they might have stole a $1.00 ink pen.....TRUST ME.....I would NEVER accuse this person.....because they are giving me business AND, I have NO PROOF that they actually stole the $1.00 pen!)
I have lost ALL respect for Panera today and have NO plans of returning anytime soon!!!!
All the lady had to do was pull me aside, without causing a scene and nicely ask me about my cup. I would have been more than happy to cooperate at that time. Needless to say, she lost my cooperation the minute she decided to slander me in front of many other Panera guest!
And all for a cup of tea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Mother never taught me the word "NO"!!!

Well, she might beg to differ on that and unfortunately since I lost my precious mom to cancer 14 years ago, I can't even clarify this with her....But I am beginning to wonder :)

I really thought I was going to step down from all of the fundraising efforts that I have done for years....I guess you can say I am just going to "slow" down for now!! I just have to keep up this fight!! I look at the past 2 years of my life and how heart breaking they have been, and it just makes it easier for me to keep up this "HUNT" for a cure!! I hate cystic fibrosis and what it has done to me and my family and I hate that it continues to take lives on a daily I must carry on!

I am asking my readers on this blog as well as many others for a HUGE favor!!!! I know we see it all the time...people needing donations for this, that or the other but I truly need help this year or we will not be able to pull it off!! Our BUNCO 4 a CURE is coming up, and for those of you who have will know our raffle baskets (or cubbies as we like to call them) bring in about 50% of our profit from the evening!! This fundraiser normally brings in well over $3,000.00. Each year I spend countless hours going around to businesses and asking and collecting donations, but this year I just really don't have the time I need to commit to this at the extent it needs to happen.

I know I am very guilty of reading things like this and thinking...oh, others will donations won't really matter. After organizing many, many events....I have to say...every little bit counts!!! It is amazing the difference 20 people dropping off a $10-$20 gift can make!!

This is such a fun event and it was by far, one of Haley's favorite fundraisers!! (This picture is of Haley at Bunco 4 a Cure just days before her final hospital stay...she finally made it to table #1, or "the head table". She was very happy!!) I am trying to see what I can collect over the next 7-10 days and then I will decide if we will be able to hold this. I will be happy to pick up anything that can be donated! If for any reason, we have a few donations, but not enough....I am going to gladly turn them over to 2 of my dear friends who both have young boys that are suffering from CF and they are planning their own fundraisers that these can be used for. In the end, all of the money will end up in the very same place!

I absolutly hate "begging" for donations...but I think about what Haley and these others go through and it makes it a bit easier!!

BUNCO 4 A CURE will be held in April in Owasso...details to follow!!! It is one fun night for a GREAT cause!!!

For more info about the basket needs, you can go to

or you can contact me at

Thank you all for considering helping out with this. Hopefully you can all WON'T regret it!!!! So much fun!! (Oh, and you don't have to know how to play bunco to play!!)


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tune in Tuesday :)

Well...this week was easy for me to choose my favorite for "Tune in Tuesday"!! I have been so very proud of Brenna this week....she continues to amaze me with everything she does! This video was from a year ago, but this was a very proud moment for me and also what I believe to be the "beginning" of a singing career for her! She rocks!!!!
She is singing Taylor Swift's, The Best Day in this Youtube Video!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Love Being Me...(or at least I am trying!)

There are many reasons I had in mind while choosing the name "Seeking Simplicity" for my blog, but the one I am faced with daily is the reality that so many people know me, my family and our story (I am speaking about Haley of course). I don't think I ever intended for this to happen to this capacity, but at the time I had two goals in mind and that was 1. To do everything possible to spread awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and 2. To keep people posted on Haley's condition, not only to lift the burden off of Rich and I as far as phone calls and such, but to also ask for much needed prayers!! I will start off by saying, I would never change either of those decisions.....but because of the openness of our story, I am truly seeking some type of simplicity in this area now.

I know I have many "eyes" on me, so to speak....not only because of Haley's story, but also because I am now a business owner in Owasso. I can't even begin to tell you all of the e-mails, CB post, FB messages, letters in the mail, phone calls and so forth that I have received over the past 2 years from people who "look up / admire" me for all I have gone through and how I carry myself. The only answer I truly have for that is God!! He has given me strength that I never knew I had, to somewhat "hold it together", over the past 2 years. I gain much of my strength from my family and even more strength from my friends. But truth be told....I am only human just like everyone else. I was given the strength to be strong throughout a very difficult time in my life and for that, I am very grateful!!

But as time passes, I truly want to "step off of this pedestal" so to speak that I was forced to step onto. Go back to the simple way of life. Go into a restaurant without 10 people staring at me from the door to my seat. Run into the grocery store and grab my milk and bread without being stopped in the isle 1/2 way through. This list could go on and on....but before I go too far, I want you all to realize this...

These are the people that have helped me through this TERRIBLE ordeal in my life. I don't want any of this to be taken wrong!! My main objective or goal in this post is to let everyone know that I just want to be "The Simple Girl". Just Me.., Jennifer!!

Many of you probably know...I am a huge Facebook Junkie. I have met some wonderful followers on there and have found lots of things in common with people who knew me....long before I knew them! It has been great getting to know these people, but I guess I am sometimes worried that my "FB Image" won't live up to the "Caring Bridge Image". I had to be someone I never thought I would have to be on the Caring Bridge. A mother, who was in her deepest darkest hours taking care of her daughter who didn't stand a chance of surviving this damn disease we call CF! I hope I found a way to do it with dignity and grace along the way, but reality is....I am still just a person!

Like I said before in my blogging, it is sink or swim for my husband or I. We do a lot of "surface thinking" to try and keep going everyday!! I have found somewhat of a new lifestyle as I am enjoying new things in life with Rich & Brenna and spending a lot more time with friends and just "living" a bit!

I often hesitate about things I do or pics I put on FB because I don't want people to "judge" me in case it's not what they expected from what they "knew before", but then I tell myself....this is me and I am who I am!!!!

For instance my "Weight a Minute" blog post.....HUGE, HUGE out of my box post!!! But again...that is my story and my true friends will still like me for who I am now just as they did then!!

Hopefully the "new" me that is beginning to show through will be accepted by all of my friends and followers. I am trying to find a new way of life, because I do will NEVER be the same as the life I had before Haley left this world......
I have said it many time....I would take that life style back in a heartbeat, but no matter how hard I beg for it will never be reality!

While talking to a dear friend tonight, I believe I realized that it is probably not any of you who are making me feel guilty about "moving forward", but more own guilt inside. I know this is what Haley would have wanted for our family, but no one will ever know how very hard it is to start this new life unless you have walked in these shoes!! After living for 35 simply have to "start all over" one day!! I hate facing this life after loss, but it is what it is and I have have one of 2 choices!! I just pray I am making the right decision!!!

I love this song and it is exactly the way I have been trying to live my life lately! I hope you all continue to follow me on this new journey! Again...It is YOU and God who have carried me this far.....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Good Luck OMers!!!

Well, this is a big weekend for Brenna Marie!! Her Odyssey of the Mind Team has been working hard to prepare for their Regional Competition that will be held tomorrow!! Her team has put in over 20 hours of work in the last week alone to prepare for the big day! Only 50% of the teams in her division will advance, but no matter what the outcome....they are all winners in my book!!!
I can post more pics after tomorrow, but here is one of her working away on one of the props for the set!!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Weight" a Minute....

That is what I keep telling myself every time I think about posting this blog!! I keep getting cold feet...not so much about the info that I am about to share, but more so about the photos. I thought about leaving them out, but well.....then I don't think you all would truly get the gist of what I would like to get across in this blog update!!

I know that many of you who read my blog or follow me on FB didn't know me 5 years ago, so this will probably come as a shock to many of you! After my kids were born and Haley started getting sick, I just completely turned all of my focus on them and didn't take care of myself in any way!! I didn't realize what was happening over the period of time and I truly was happy with my life (so I thought) and I just continued to gain weight!! It wasn't so much that I was an over eater...I just simply did NOT make any type of healthy choices when it came to eating.

A little over 6 years ago, I decided enough was enough and I started attending Weight Watchers!! That had to be one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I realized that there was NO diet that was ever going to work for was ALL about a life style change!! So, nearly 15 months after I started going...I met my goal weight and became a "Lifetime" member of WW and lost a total of 78 pounds!!!!

Yep!! That is me...78 pounds ago...(can I crawl under the table now??) The picture on the top left, I ALWAYS carry around with me a a quick reminder to "just say NO"!!!

So I have recently celebrated 5 years of keeping off the weight and I have to tell you....IT FEELS PRETTY GOOD!!!!

I have never been much on exercise, so although WW encourages you to work that into their program...I did not. I simply changed my entire way of eating and experimented with new foods that I didn't even know existed...and I was lucky enough to drop the weight.

Now, if you remember back to the post about Zumba....I told you all that it was very important to me to find an exercise program that "worked" for me. I am going on 3 months of Zumba...and my new favorite gym, Fit For Her, and it absolutely kills me now to miss classes if I have something going on. Although I have been able to keep my weight off (with the exception of a few pounds up and down), I have never been able to tone this darn "after baby" body or build muscle.

So as I slowly....cough...approach 40, this has been my new goal!! Not only to keep the weight off, but to finally work on toning up and finding new ways to stay fit and healthy!!

I had a lot of reservation about posting this blog, because I am embarrassed of where I was 6 years ago....but hopefully ONE person who reads this might just be inspired that "You can do it too"!!!

One last thing I would like to add is that, I am very glad Haley got to see her mom meet this challenge before she passed away. I spent every waking moment taking care of her....and she finally got to see me take care of myself for a bit. As for Brenna...I can tell she has her "momma's" genes and she might too struggle with weight a bit, but for anybody who is ever around her, you know she is ALWAYS making good food choices. I keep telling her she will hit that growth spurt and it will all pay off, and I hope that my lifestyle change has helped her as well!!
(The NEW me!!)

I will try and post some of my favorite food changes with you over the next few weeks!!!

Go for your goal!!!!