Weekly Winners (Jan. 24 – 30)

This is the first time my Weekly Winners post comes all from the same day. However, it was a very special day. It was Stride & Ride.

My excitement for the day was trumped by this overwhelming hope and joy of the event. As we made the walk around Cowboys Stadium, I was amazed at how all of us there had gathered to celebrate MDA’s strides towards a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. We were all gathered together with one common purpose. There was old and young there. There were people of every race. There teams walked with their friend or family member who have Muscular Dystrophy. There were those walking in memory of a loved one.

The excitement that buzzed in the air trumped the fact we were at the new Cowboys Stadium — a sight in and of itself to experience. And at the end of the day, over $500,000 were raised for MDA (the group with the most raised was a high school team!) and there was this wonderful reminder to everyone there: You are not alone.

Amazing. I am SO GLAD I got to be there… Thank you Scott, Dana, Cody and Jeni for having me there. Go Maynard’s Gang!

For more Weekly Winners submissions, go visit Sarcastic Mom!

We were at Cowboys Stadium
We were at Cowboy's Stadium
Boy Scouts on hand to present the colors
Boy Scouts on hand to present the colors
We had people cheering us along the way around the stadium
We had people cheering us along the way around the stadium
Me and my big brother -- I didnt expect this to come out because we were literally walking at the same time I took this. Much to my surprise, this is one of the best pics of the day!
Me and my big brother -- I didn't expect this to come out because we were literally walking at the same time I took this. Much to my surprise, this is one of the best pics of the day!
Carrie and I have been taking pictures like this since junior high school. Only, I think this is the first time one of us had backup singers.
Carrie and I have been taking pictures like this since junior high school. Only, I think this is the first time one of us had backup singers.
Maynards Gang striding and riding. My niece and nephew brought friends along, and they took a turn pushing my nephew along.
Maynard's Gang striding and riding. My niece and nephew brought friends along, and they took a turn pushing my nephew along.
There are Tvs all over the stadium! Our teams cruising along, checking out the screens.
There are Tvs all over the stadium! Our teams cruising along, checking out the screens.
Our fearless leader!
Our fearless leader!
I can officially say Ive been on the Jumbotron at Cowboys Stadium. TAKE THAT! I RULE! COOLEST THING EVAH!
I can officially say I've been on the Jumbotron at Cowboys Stadium. TAKE THAT! I RULE! COOLEST THING EVAH!
I think these arches in the stadiums architechure are the best part of it.
I think these arches in the stadium's architechure are the best part of it.
Cowboys Stadium
Cowboys Stadium
We all went to this awesome barbecue restaurant after the walk. This was part of the buildings charm. SO NEAT!!
We all went to this awesome barbecue restaurant after the walk. This was part of the building's charm. SO NEAT!!

All of my photos on Flickr.

When to give. Why to give.

cowboysstadiumRecently, a fund raising focus has been on helping the people in Haiti following the earthquake that devastated the island. The need there is great, and its wonderful to see the outpouring of love and aid that has come from the tragedy.

However, right here in our country, there are many people and organizations that are in need. And as everyone finds themselves tightening the belt on spending, those needs become greater. We find ourselves picking and choosing where we give our support.

For me, I have a few places I feel compelled most to help. At the top of that list is the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

See, my nephew has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), and I have seen the amazing things that MDA is doing with my own eyes through him.

My nephew is, without a single doubt in my mind, one of THE most amazing people anyone would be lucky enough to meet. Why? Simply because of his attitude and perspective on life. He never asks, “Why me?” Instead, he puts his energy and focus on those things he can do.

I still remember attending church one Sunday, and during the children’s sermon, the pastor asked Cody if there was ever a time he said, “That’s not fair!”

And his answer?

“When my sister got to have something I didn’t.”

I remember blinking back tears, and my heart filling with admiration. He could have said any number of things. When I couldn’t play baseball anymore. When I spent a week in ICU one summer. When I can’t join in at PE with the rest of the kids playing ball and chase. But no, when his sister got something he wanted.

He has an easy smile and can-do attitude. I have always said it, and I will continue to say it. I look up to that kid; he is my biggest hero. If I can be even half as optimistic as he is, then I’m doing okay.

It is with great honor that I will be joining him and the rest of the family in Dallas, Texas at the new Cowboys Stadium this weekend for MDA’s Stride & Ride to help raise money for MDA. We are Maynard’s Gang, named by Cody. And even though I don’t do mornings (no, really, I don’t; this isn’t just a funny thing to say), I will be there at 7:30 AM with a smile on my face (assuming I have coffee, then it might not be a smile as much as a smirk), ready to support this great cause. Ready to stand there by my nephew and family. Ready to be a part of this event.

(Besides. Dude. The new Cowboys Stadium. Holy Smokes! I can’t wait to see it! WOW! I think this week’s Weekly Winners has a definite theme ahead. LOL!)

I know from personal experience… dollars are very short these days. But if you can give, even just a little bit, please consider helping sponsor Maynard’s Gang.

Tax season widower

I still remember my dad doing tax returns out of our living room when I was a kid. He had a full-time job during the day, but would do returns in the evenings between January and April 15th.

As the years passed, the living room office turned into a separate building, and the full-time job for both Mom and Dad became the family business. By the time I was in high school, I was used to having them able to attend countless events due to the flexibility of self-employment. However, in the same breath, I coined myself the term “Tax Season Orphan” as through tax season, I was used to their putting in long hours at work.

I would help out at the office regularly. Sometimes filing. Sometimes shredding papers. Sometimes data input. Sometimes just running errands. I could really truthfully say I’ve worked at the office since high school, its just been a bit sporadic.

I swore I wouldn’t do anything dealing with math, and my love for writing sent me to a Journalism degree. I worked at a newspaper for a year and a half, and, of course, I’ve married and moved to Nashville. Nonetheless, I have continued to help out using my degree for advertising, designing the web-site, etc.

Last year, I spent most of tax season in Texas working at the family business. My husband and I joked that it was my turn to be on the road for work, like he usually is doing his job. I would spend three weeks in Texas, one week in Nashville, and then do it all over again. All the way through tax season.

It worked out nicely! My parents didn’t have to hire and train a new employee, and I was happy to have the work. So, it was pretty much a no-brainer to do it again this year.

Today was my first day in the office for this tax season.

My husband and I drove down to Texas last week, as he has a show in Houston anyway. I was able to come see him at work for the show, and we got to spend a few extra days together going into the season.

He left back for Nashville yesterday, and I teased him that he was a Tax Season Widower.

It is what it is, and we’re good at the long-distance thing. For the next three months, I’m the Musician’s Widow married to the Tax Season Widower. We’re a pair, aren’t we? I think the time apart makes us appreciate our time together all the more… and that makes me grateful.

So here we go! Most of my time in Texas, with trips to Nashville in between. Let the “Tax Season Shuffle” begin!