Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Keepin' it Real


Hi,
I just missed a Webinar I had TOTALLY planned my week around because I didn't realize it was supposed to start at 6:30 EASTERN. Yes, this organization is headquartered back East -- you think I would have picked up on that. Not so much. 

Kaitlyn scored another soccer goal this weekend -- for our opponent. Our goalie is out with an injury, and all the girls are taking a turn in the goal. It was her first time in the goal in well over two years. Bless it. 

But here's the deal.... The sun is shining on the tree outside my window, Breck hasn't called the cops in awhile (knock on wood), I'm sure there will be other Webinars in the future, and Kait doesn't have to play in goal again for a while (maybe ever.)  

If you read my blog in February (FEBRUARY!), you know I've been following the Trim Healthy Mama plan; and I wanted to give you an update. 

I've been following this plan since January 9, and it has made a HUGE difference for me. While there are some pretty incredible testimonies on the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook page, the progress around here is quite a bit slower in terms of the scale. I've lost about 10 pounds since Christmas, but the last two were at the rate of about a pound a month -- not what people usually brag about at work. 

BUT I'm good with that. I've done the way quick slim-down before AND that didn't exactly work long-term.  At this rate I'm hoping to reach my goal weight about the time Kait goes to college, but I keep telling myself it's not the weight part that matters as much as the HEALTHY part. 

This has been a long road for me, but when I look back to a year ago I'm a completely different person.  A year ago, I didn't realize it but I was suffering from severe anemia. I wasn't sleeping well, was exhausted all the time, and had a lot of other quirky things going on. We got that under control, but I still had room for improvement. 

With Trim Healthy Mama I have cut ALL sugar and bad carbs out of my diet. They really don't appeal that much to me any more. On STAAR test day there was an awesome dessert spread in the Teacher's Lounge. I didn't eat a single cookie or cupcake -- was loving the fresh berries instead. 

I've been walking a lot -- until last night when I tripped over Jake in the dark and stubbed / jammed / broke my toe / foot. (Jury is still out on this one.) A year ago I didn't have the energy to walk. 

We really are loving the FRESH meals we are eating. I wanted to share this recipe for Avocado Ranch Dip. If you know Abbie, you know this has been a life-changing HEALTHY option for her!

Avocado Ranch Dip

1 cup Duke's Mayo (No other brand compares, and this one is sugar-free.)
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 Avocado (Peeled and seeded, obviously.
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
3/4 tsp. Garlic
1 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Dried Parsley
1/4 tsp. Paprika
Optional: 1 Large Jalapeno, Stem end cut off.

Throw it all in the blender and give it a whirl. Store in your favorite plastic container.  It stays yummy for up to 2 weeks, but never lasts that long around here.  ENJOY!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wow.

Hi Y'all,
When I ran by here in December, I had every intention of coming around more often. On a regular basis. Maybe not daily, but at least more than once a year. AND THEN....

Life did it.

That little thing where everything goes haywire and turns upside down.

That thing.

So RIGHT AFTER I wrote that last post, Biggsy was laid off. I'll spare you the details of how terribly unjust it was and just let you know that, under him, his company had had their best year -- ever. REALLY.

We're good.  Better than good.  We can see God's hand all over this. I promise. He is working.

It's like I say all the time, when you can see Him moving in the crazy small details of your life, you KNOW He has your Big Picture in control.

If you could sum up the last 10 weeks in one word, it would have to be CHANGE.  When Biggs was laid off, all spending came to a screeching halt around here. It was a good thing I'd almost finished my Christmas shopping!!  Life does seem to be in a bit of a holding pattern. We're thankful we had decided to low-budget Spring Break, so we didn't have to cancel a ski trip -- that was already taken care of.

We did have to cancel our trip to Italy this summer. Abbie had been asked to play softball over there this summer, and we were ALL going. We have high hopes to have that kind of adventure some day -- we aren't giving up!

In the meantime, I needed to make some individual changes. For one, I needed to cut sugar and caffeine out of my diet. I needed to ditch my Thanksgiving / Christmas poundage -- it was making me grumpy. AND we needed to drastically cut back on how often we visited our buddies at Taco Bell and Chick fil A.

So.... I took a deep breath. I joined a weight loss challenge to help a friend raise $$ for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. I stopped feeding the kids the "easy" way and went back to what really does work best for us. And I bought this crazy book I'd found online -- Trim Healthy Mama.



And everything shifted back to normal a bit.

I've been following Trim Healthy Mama since January 9 and have lost 8 pounds. That's not a ton, but I'm seeing a number on the scales I haven't seen for over a year. I feel better than I have in a long time. As for the peeps over at Taco Bell, I think they're in mourning -- we were only there ONCE in January -- and only through four drive-throughs total. RECORD BREAKING!

It's a process. THM takes a bit of coordination and planning. I tend to make a lot of mistakes. BUT -- I believe in Grace, and I believe in giving myself Grace when I screw up.

Getting our family "healthy" has been a long road. We've been on this path of learning / changing for several years. We stumble along the way, but somehow manage to find the path again and move ahead.

I do love THM for a gazillion reasons. I've had enough experience with Weight Watchers, Adkins, South Beach, Bikini Body (YIKES!) and Dukan to know why those wouldn't work for me long-term -- why they weren't sustainable or something that worked for our whole family.  I really did get excited when I started reading THM, with my background, and could see why it would work for me. I BELIEVED it would work for me -- and now I'm seeing that all come to fruition.

It's been a blast.

So..... Even though Vanity is really real, I'm going to share my picture from yesterday.  This isn't the best put-together outfit, I know.  However, I wanted to wear shorts so I could see my great legs (the one thing I'm ALWAYS happy with) and to taunt those of you in the Great White North. (High of 75 here today.)  AND I wanted to wear a somewhat fitted shirt, so I could see a real difference in the next few weeks.

As far as goals, I don't really have a weight-loss goal. I have a black dress in my closet that I haven't been able to wear in a few years -- when I get in it, I'll know I'm "there." My biggest goal, though, is to walk ALL 60 miles of the DFW 3-Day November 6-8 with my Tiaras at my side. The list of warriors I'm walking for is longer than ever, and I need to do them proud. My Abbie-girl will be walking this year as well, and I need to keep up with her!!

So here's my pic from yesterday. Have a blessed day, and I promise I'll try to touch base before 2016.

Oh!! And don't forget to schedule your Mammogram!  You are your best defense!  Love ya! Mean it!



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from Jake!



Merry Christmas from Jake!


Howdy, Y’all! This is Jake the Wondermutt. I’m getting older and spend my time napping. Keeping up with my people is exhausting!

Our year started well. Abbie played BOOM softball. Kait played Lonestar Soccer. She built the Keystone River Run Gondola and wrote a song. D’Lyn substituted at HBMS. Then … wait for it…. They brought home a puppy for Valentine’s Day. A puppy! Things haven’t been the same since Grayleigh Breck arrived. Breck ate a roll of toilet paper; I took a nap. My people skied/rode Beaver Creek and A-Basin for Spring Break. Epic snowball fight. The girls did their first double black diamond. Abbie & Kait were selected for the DFW 3-Day Youth Corps. Breck ate Mom’s book club book. I took a nap. Kait & Cate performed their original “He is the Light” at the Talent Show. God’s Not Dead! Franklin BBQ is worth the wait! Easter at the Creek with the Roarks – the septic system backed up. Ew! Biggs chaperoned the 5th grade Field Trip and toured an underground Prohibition-era brothel. D’Lyn took 7 kids to the Wyldlife Food Fight – then had to bring them home. Kait medaled at the District Robotics Competition. She got a concussion at soccer practice. Abbie played basketball, ran track and threw the discus for HBMS. Her ACT scores were State Recognized, and she is over-qualified to be a college football player. She was inducted into the NJHS. Kait loved wakeboard, basketball and ACU camps; Abbie hated Cavs Course. Breck ate a sock. I napped. Abbie played softball with STS. Reese’s Oreos, Lick Ice Cream, Krause Springs and Opi’s BBQ. Kait lived the dream at Rice Soccer Camp. Abbie aced Rice Volleyball Camp and Wyldlife Camp. D’Lyn’s hair was famous. Grannie Nelva’s 80th birthday! Breck ate the rug. Abbie FINALLY got her braces off. Abbie & Kait spent two weeks at Camp Blue Haven. Abbie earned the Bible award and “Crested” again. Biggs & D’Lyn fished Matagorda Bay with Scott Baehren. D’Lyn won. Breck ate a bra. I napped. Abbie was selected to play softball in Italy next summer! Ice Bucket Challenge! Kait is in 6th grade with her first locker. Abbie is in 8th – and is taking two HS classes. Her calculator is smarter than Mom. She played Volleyball for HBMS. That girl can serve! Breck learned to hunt Opening Weekend (I abstained.) Abbie joined Austin Stars 01; Biggs is coaching. Kait loves Wyldlife and her leaders. Shake it Off! Biggs & D’Lyn began a 4-6 week bathroom renovation to be finished by Halloween. Kait turned 12 and celebrated at Krause Springs. Biggs & D’Lyn celebrated their 17th anniversary. Breck flooded the kitchen, pantry and pool potty. A week later, Biggs was in Germany when it rained, flooded the kitchen, collapsed the retaining wall and the pool became a pond. Biggs got a leg lamp and a big mess for his birthday. Breck landscaped the back yard. We did not get Ebola. Or droplets. Abbie hits like Mike. Breck threw a party while our people were out of town. I napped. The police were called. Breck got hate mail. D’Lyn dyed her hair pink. Kait got braces – again. Houston hugs at the Renaissance Festival. Breck destroyed the trampoline and an ice chest. D’Lyn stalked Jen Hatmaker. Team Tiara raised over $60,000 for breast cancer. D’Lyn walked, and Abbie & Kait gave great hugs. Shiny Hineys everywhere! Abbie turned 14 on Day 3! Austin Stars ROCKED the Fall – can’t wait for Spring. Hand warmers in your bra. Breck called the police. Peanut Butter Fudge Cake for Thanksgiving in Waxahachie. Thanksgiving soccer tourney in Plano = time with friends. Kait is almost as tall as Abbie. Biggs is now “self-employed.” D’Lyn needs Duck Face for Dummies. Our bathroom STILL isn’t finished. Team Tiara celebrates 10 years and the $1 Million mark in 2015. Abbie will walk with D’Lyn! And… Must mail this quickly to say the girls had all A’s!

We hope you had a great 2014 and are wishing you a
Fantabulous 2015!  May God Bless You!

Love, Jake & Co. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I Can't Think of a Better Time....

I haven't been here in a long, long time. I needed a break, and I took it. I'm back. I'm not sure if my four friends are still here. If you are, thank you!



Today is #GivingTuesday, and I can't think of a better day to come home to my blog.

It's been awhile. We moved to Austin. The girls have grown. We got a puppy. I backed over a utility pole yesterday. Life is good.

And I'm still walking.

2015 will mark Team Tiara's 10th year to walk in the 3-Day for the Cure. Next year we will cross the $1 Million mark. Whether you are considering walking with our team, or with another team, or solo, this post is for you.

If you've never walked before, you have no idea what you're getting into, I get it. You have NO idea just how much I get it. After nine walks, I have it down. I know the route. I know all the ins and outs.  BUT I was once in your shoes. (Actually, I didn't even have good shoes back then -- yours are probably much better!)

As you ponder whether or not to take the first step and Actually Sign Up, I'm hoping I can quiet some of your fears and help build your excitement.

A couple of weeks ago, I polled a few friends (okay, all of Facebook) to find out what held people back from walking.  I have to tell you, the fundraising was the #1 thing. 



"Fundraising is daunting."

You're right. It is. To walk in the 3-Day, you are required to raise at least $2300. That's a lot of money.  It is. And a whole year may seem like an awfully short time to raise it.

But here's the deal. It's not $2300 in a day or a week. It's $2300 in 11 months -- if you register today. Everyone on our team raises it differently, but the options are endless. Letters and emails work for me. Grandma Brenda sold hot dogs and drinks outside a grocery store. We've had poker tournaments and sold snow cones. And we've sold LOTS of T-shirts. Bake sales. Car washes. Baby-sitting.  Really. Endless opportunities. I know Abbie Biggs has grown up with this, but if she's not going to balk at $2300, I think you can do it too!!

As one of my friends said, the harder and bigger the amount, the grander the feeling of accomplishment. You can feel like a hero for a song by running any number of 5K's out there. But if you want to make a HUGE impact, the bigger the challenge, the greater the reward.



"I don't like asking people for money."

I get it. I don't like asking people for help. Never have. BUT don't look at it like that. You're not asking them to send you on a golf outing at Pebble Beach. You're asking them to fund breast cancer research. You aren't asking them to help YOU, really. You're asking them to help you help others. This is NOT a selfish pursuit. In fact, I'd wager to bet 3-Day walkers are among the least selfish people in the world. Remember, I've walked this thing nine times. The acts of service are legendary.

Another thing to remember -- people want to help. Almost everyone you meet has been touched by breast cancer in some way. They want to help. You are simply helping them find an easy, tax-deductible way to do it.



"What if I can't raise $2300??"

What if?? Let's say you raise $500 by March, hit a wall, and never raise another dollar. GREAT! Do you have any idea what $500 will do in the breast cancer world? You've just paid for FIVE mammograms for women / men who are uninsured or under-insured. You've potentially saved FIVE lives! You've made a difference -- in no way have you "failed."

What if you get to November and are $500 short and just cannot get it done?  I know every team is different but on Team Tiara, we have NEVER had a walker stick it out to the end and NOT been able to walk. I don't know how it happens -- it just does. We have had too many Pinktober Miracles to count. The money comes. It just does. If you step out in faith, it's crazy what God will do with that.



"Giving shouldn't hinge on you completing the grueling and time-consuming training and walking."

I'm a bit conflicted on this one. As I said earlier, the bigger the challenge, the greater the reward.  But I'm pretty open with people on this one. Every year, my goal is to walk all 60 miles. That doesn't always happen. Sometimes the work behind the scenes is more important than the actual mileage. 

While a LOT of walkers train like crazy, a lot don't. And while a lot of walkers do all 60 miles, many walkers sweep a few or a lot. I really think it's more about the money we raise than coming home unable to walk the next week. Because of that, all walkers on our team are encouraged to be smart, listen to their bodies, and sweep whenever necessary.



"I don't know what I'll be doing next November."

I get it. I can't plan a week's worth of groceries. Life happens. We've had walkers who had to drop at the last minute due to surgeries and grad school and all sorts of stuff.  In the end, even if they weren't able to walk, they still Saved Lives! I will say, though, we have many more walkers who make that commitment and stick to it.



"My family has _____ that weekend."

I get it. Opening Weekend is a religious holiday in Texas. Your daughter has a big soccer game that Saturday. Life happens. It does. But here's the deal. If you're like me, there'll be another big soccer game the next weekend. Or the next. Your Honey can leave the kids with their Gramma. Think about walking for the kids who don't have a Gramma to stay with or the ones whose Moms will never see a soccer game. If you are breathing, you are blessed. And you have the ability to bless others with this walk.



"I can't take off work."

Okay. So join us Friday night and walk 40 miles instead of 60. Yes, you'll miss Babe's Banana Pudding. You can make it work. I know I'm blessed because I don't have this issue, but I HAVE to believe you can make it work.



"I don't know anyone -- 60 miles is a lot to walk alone."

You're right -- it would be. BUT you don't have to do it alone. You can join a team like Team Tiara or a host of others and have an immediate family to walk with. Or you can walk solo and meet friends along the way. Either way, you don't have to walk alone.



"My kids are young."

I get it. Abbie & Kait weren't always middle-schoolers. When we started this road, they were 3 and 5. I remember "training" (I didn't really get the whole training thing back then.) while they accompanied me in their Fisher Price Jeep. AND I remember pushing it home when the battery died.

I remember those days. I remember desperately needing to do something for ME. I remember how good it felt just to get out of the house and walk.

And even more than that, I watch two girls who grew up with this -- two girls who inherently give of themselves. That time you spend will be blessed, and generations will reap the rewards.



"I'm not in shape."

Yeah, buddy. Let me tell you -- I get it. When I started this I thought half a mile was something. And 60? Holy Cow.

But it changes you. It changes your shape and your attitude and your outlook on life. Training a little or a lot makes you stronger. If you're not in shape today, you have 11 months to get that way. And if you're not in shape then, you have sweep vans driving by to give you a bump forward.

Exercise does not have a downside. Ever.



"I don't have time to train."

Okay. Don't. I don't follow the training schedule, either. I do a few walks beginning September 1, but none of those are over 7 miles. If you can walk 3 miles, you can walk the 3-Day -- there's a pit stop every 3 miles or so. And if you can't, you just hop in sweep van and bump forwards. It's more a mind thing than a physical thing if you ask me.  If you DO train, you'll be in incredible shape. Again, exercise does not have a downside.



"I can't walk because of ____ (insert health issue / injury here.)"

If you simply can't walk, the 3-Day is ALWAYS in need of volunteers and crew. AND Team Tiara is ALWAYS in need of walker-stalkers and ground support. We can find a place for you somewhere!!



"I've been doing this thing for years, and I'm just plain tired."

I get it. I am, too. But I can't quit on my peeps. I can't imagine quitting on Rachel or Saralyn or Grandma Brenda. Yes, this is incredibly time-consuming. Yes, I'd love to spend three days on a beach somewhere. BUT I do this thing for those who don't have choices anymore.



"I have a cause that's just as important to me."

YAY!  You go, girl! You get out there and you do your part to fix your thing. I'm going to hang out over here and work on saving your boobies while you're at it. It takes a Village. As long as you're doing something, how can we complain about that??



"My ____ had a different kind of cancer."

I'm so sorry. I know Pinktober is overwhelming. And I know it probably hurts you because it's not Tealtober or Purpletober or Goldtober.  But here's the deal. I firmly believe that if we can find a CURE for THIS cancer, the others will fall in line. In the meantime, the research and developments we are funding benefit many other cancers as well. Again, you go fix your thing and let me work on this piece of the puzzle.



"I don't want to sleep in a tent."

Okay. We have a block of rooms at a REALLY nice hotel nearby and will be thrilled to hook you up with that!



"I don't do Porta Potties."

I don't, either. But Porta Potties trump chemo any day. They really aren't that bad -- as long as you remember to lock the door.



So here's the deal....

I've covered just about every "negative" my friends offered up. But you already knew I wouldn't stop there -- right??  Here are just a few positives to get you pumped up.

Firemen. Peanut butter & jelly grammiches. Instant friends. Survivors. Youth Corps. Kids cheering outside schools. Hugs. Prayer. Tiaras. Shiny hineys. Dance Party. Helping others. Fight the Beast. The Memory Tent. Channel your anger. Sisters. Victory. Advocate. I can do Something. Honoring life. Because I can. Renew the fight. Giving back.

And it all comes back around to that. Giving back.

It's #GivingTuesday, y'all. I can't think of a better way to give than a gift that will keep giving.  Hop on over to Team Tiara's 3-Day Page and register to join our team.  It's only $35 through Thursday.  You can spend $35 to register for a 5K, get a T-shirt and go on. Or you can spend $35 to register for three days that will save lives -- and the life you save may be your own. 

If you're STILL not up for walking with us, please consider making a donation.

Thank you!!
















Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm Famous. Again.

Really. It's the craziest thing.

Our Church does Advent Conspiracy.  Advent Conspiracy is a movement calling us to proclaim Christ in how we celebrate Christmas. It calls us to:

Worship Fully -- It starts with Jesus and ends with Jesus. Entering Advent means entering a season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.

Spend Less -- Asking people to consider buying ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas.

Give More -- Take time to make a gift. Make love visible through relational giving.

Love All -- By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Jesus in giving resources to those who need it most.

We were introduced to Advent Conspiracy last year, our first year at Cy-Fair Christian Church.  I LOVED it.  We "Worshipped Fully" -- the music, especially singing Christmas carols, was incredible. 

I'll be honest and say I haven't mastered the "Spend Less" concept.  Don't know that I'll ever get that part down. 

As for "Give More" -- making candy trays is a tradition for me. But I wanted to do something more.  So I took the time to write about 150 thank you notes to people who had impacted my life -- and who had impacted the success of Team Tiara.

"Love All" -- we helped bring safe, clean drinking water to people who didn't have that resource.  Sure, we "wrote a check." That was the easy part. But the cool part was seeing Kaitlyn go door to door collecting over $100 in change so she could help.

We were blessed.

Fast-Forward to 2012.....

I didn't really have a "Plan" going into The Season this year.  Basically, I was worn out.  It just seemed like this entire year has been a beating.  Last spring the girls were on a total of five softball teams -- at a time. We hopped teams after Abbie's tournament team caved, and that added more stress.  We hit summer -- and the highway -- with a bang.  Our house had a revolving door.  SOMEONE was at a camp SOMEWHERE almost every week -- but never both girls at the same time.  It was a constant battle against laundry and schedules.  And then we were back at it with Abs playing on two softball teams and Kait on two soccer teams.  That meant about 10 possible uniform combinations to keep up with.  It was too much.

Then.....

Karen Kingsbury's latest book The Bridge came out.  I have every one of Karen's books -- with the exception of the few I've loaned out that never came home -- and the entire Redemption series that burned up in Mary Jean's house fire, along with my American Girl patterns.  MAN.

The Bridge is the sweetest little book -- and has a message for just about everyone.  I loved it. It's an easy read.  It's a book that I was able to share with Abbie. 

One of the underlying themes of the book is that the little things we do for people can have a lasting impact -- THAT is something I know and believe 100%.

Through her Facebook page, Karen encouraged her readers to pass the book along to others, to share it with strangers, to purchase extra copies that would touch hearts. 

And then I came up with this little idea.... A way to spread the sheer joy I feel when I do my Acts of Random Kindness on Fridays. I'd share that feeling of joy with my friends.

I started with eight copies from Wal-Mart.  Then it was 10 ordered at half price on Amazon.  Then I cleaned out the Wal-Mart stock again.  And then cleaned out Sam's Club -- twice.  I'm honestly not sure how many copies of this sweet little book that I've given away.  (In fact, I'm a wee bit afraid to think about it too much.)

But here's the deal.... I've shared them with friends and family and people who have been incredible in the success of Team Tiara. I've shared them with people near and far.  With neighbors. With Kait's teachers at school. With friends who have had a tough go the last few years and who have been blessed by others' random acts of kindness.  With people who have given selflessly to me and to my family.  With people I know and love dearly, who I wanted to give the gift of Christ's love.  If I had all the money in the world, I'd send this out instead of Christmas cards. Really.

In each book, I've written "Live, Love & Pass it On -- Christmas 2012."  And I've included this letter taped inside the front cover:



I've also included a couple of gift cards to Sonic or Subway or Coldstone or Starbucks.  Nothing large -- usually $5-10.  Just something to brighten someone's day.  After I found a cute RACK'd design online, I started including that as well.  Just giving the gift of giving. 

The feedback has been kind of funny.  Some people haven't really "gotten it," I don't think -- but that's okay. Others have been touched. My darling mother-in-law sent me this:  

I passed the cards and the book on to several friends, one who is experiencing especially stressful times right now. She started reading The Bridge and said she was already "moved" by the content. Thanks for giving it to me. You are a precious young woman.

I liked that.  Made my heart happy.  I like a happy heart.

So.... I got this ball rolling.  And about the time I reached 20 books, I emailed Karen Kingsbury to share.  I wanted her to know her book was having an impact.

And it was.  You see, this is our fifth Christmas without my Mom.  And for some reason, I've really struggled this year.  Michael W. Smith's "Place in this World" has been rolling through my head for weeks. The pressure of where to go for Christmas, and how to celebrate and even where to stay was just a LOT this year.  At Christmas, it's just really hard to figure out my "Place."

BUT when you're D'Lupe Biggs, that odd combination of ADD, ADHD, OCD or whatever is SUCH a gift.  As I described it the other day, you want to do everything, and you want to do it all RIGHT NOW.  So... I got busy.  I got busy spreading books and love and my own Acts of Random Kindness. I gave a Subway gift card to a guy on a street corner and one to the girl at Starbucks. I left bags of chocolates in shopping carts at HEB -- all with cute little RACK'd tags. My fave?  The hot cocoa section at HEB had just about been cleaned out by a sale, so I left a cute little thermos mug thingy there with a Starbucks gift card.

I've had a blast with this. Again, nothing huge. Just a lot of little love being spread around the neighborhood. 

Then came last Friday.  While the rest of my friends and neighbors were glued to the TV, I was oblivious.  I was at Wal-Mart buying my candy-making supplies.  I  make at least 14 trays of candy each year to thank teachers, doctors, firemen -- all the people who make our little world go round.  I had FINALLY come up with a plan for Christmas, and I had FINALLY found my Christmas spirit.  I was ready. 

And then I came home. And then I heard the news. And it was rainy here all weekend. Abbie said God was crying -- and she was right.  And I cried. A lot.  And you can read yesterday's post for more on that....

BUT.... I kept going. NO WAY was I going to let that dude in Connecticut steal my joy.  No Way was I going to let him keep me from loving on everyone.  With the rain and humidity I couldn't make divinity or pralines, but still I hammered away. The girls helped.  We laughed and smiled and maybe licked our fingers -- but you'll just have to wonder about that.

Monday was spent delivering the candy trays.  Tuesday night I hosted my annual cookie exchange.  And then yesterday I set out for a day of Random Kindness like no other.  I carried this basket Amber had given me, stuffed to the gills with treats.  And a big smile. 




The smile was perhaps the most important part.  When you live in Houston, you don't just go approaching strangers.  And you're naturally wary when people approach you.  BUT yesterday was different. Yesterday was dedicated to Bryce.  Bryce's parents, Danny and Amanda, were friends of mine at A&M.  They're precious people -- you know, PRECIOUS people.  The kind of people you want to emulate. The kind of people you wish you could grow up to be.  AMAZING people.  They lost Bryce over Labor Day weekend in a car accident -- he was 13.  The strength and peace they have shown the last few months has been remarkable.

They live in Midland; I live in Houston. I couldn't be part of the Casserole Campaign. I can't leave treats on their doorstep.  I'm not there to hug them.  BUT I could dedicate yesterday's Acts of Random Kindness to Bryce -- and I did. And I'm telling you -- I had a BLAST.

Armed with my cute basket, looking every bit like Goldilocks -- okay, the 42-year-old, graying hair version -- I set out to spread Christmas Spirit whether people liked it or not. After filling up my truck with gas at HEB, I passed treats out to all the other customers.  Two turned me down (with 500 mph winds, that graying hair was whipped into a frenzy, so I don't blame them.)  Several looked at me like I was crazy, but for the most part people were receptive. I told them I was spreading Random Acts of Kindness in memory of Bryce --many people said "God Bless You." 

I'd stepped out of my comfort zone and was doing great. I will add that God was really prompting me to buy a tank of gas for someone, but I just didn't get there yet. That's WAY out of my comfort zone, and I'm working up to it.  While I'm all too familiar with what a tank of gas means when you drive an Expedition, you'll understand I was looking around for a Mini Cooper.

So I left the gas station on my way to spread more kindness -- and rather than running over an employee in in the middle of the parking lot, I stopped to hand her a treat as well. I gave her my spiel, and she looked at my with the sweetest look and a huge God Bless You and the tears started pouring. So much for the smile.

I spread some more love around the 'hood, giving candy to construction workers and leaving some for shoppers to find.... I was so blessed.  People appreciate homemade candy.  And I think they appreciated the fact that it was for Bryce.  And I know I was blessed to be able to honor his memory.  I never got to know Bryce, but I can tell you by all accounts he was an incredible kid.  And I think he would have had fun yesterday.

THIS is where the famous part comes in.....

Last night Karen Kingsbury, by far my favorite author ever, shared my story on her Facebook page.  How cool is that????

You can read about it HERE.  I want you to know that having traded emails with Karen the last few weeks, she is the REAL DEAL.  If you feel like something's missing in your life, check out her books.  She speaks God's truth in a way that will touch your heart and change your life.

I've shared all this because I DO want all four of you to know I'm Famous. Again. 

But I've also shared it because you, too, can touch lives with small acts that make a lasting impact.  It doesn't have to be big -- it can be something small.  A treat.  A hug.  Helping an elderly couple with their groceries.  Putting back a shopping cart.  Smiling. 

I do believe God calls us to GIVE -- often and with a happy heart.  And I do believe we are to do it anonymously -- not for attention.  I'm not going to share all the fun I've had. BUT I am sharing this in hopes it will give you a little nudge. You WILL be blessed by blessing others.

Go have fun.  Be Blessed.  I love you, and God does, too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Write.

I write.

It's what I do. It's what I've always done. It's how I sort through all sorts of stuff.  I've tried to write about Sandy Hook, but I just can't.

Cry?  Oh yeah, I've cried.  I've cried over the pictures of babies taken from this world too soon. I've cried for Mammas and Daddies and sisters and brothers.

I cried through Church Sunday morning.  I LOVE singing Christmas carols in Church, but Sunday morning it just hurt too much.

I cried over the cross that some precious, nameless neighbor stood in front of our school. 

It's not that I'm sitting in front of the TV, immersing myself in the news.  I'm not about to "fall down" again.  I know I can't let that suck me in.  I've continued with my shopping. I hosted my annual cookie exchange last night.  My life continues. 

And I still cry.  I cry because I've spent so much time with 6 and 7 year olds.  I cry because I know what it feels like to hold one in your arms -- until she squirms to get down.  I cry because I can't imagine what it's like to have that ripped away. I don't want to imagine what it's like to have that ripped away.

But here's the deal....

Some of you are driving me nuts.

While I've tried hard to NOT be immersed in this, to keep myself upright -- three things have stood out that I continue to stew over. 

The first is this notion that God isn't in our schools -- that we've run him out of there.  People, God is WAY bigger than that.  God doesn't bend or bow to anyone -- He certainly didn't bow to Madeline Murray O'Hair. God is VERY much in our schools.  He was right there in Dawn Hochsprung when she charged that shooter.  He gave Victoria Soto the courage to hide her students and stand up to that beast.  He was right there giving comfort and strength.  His heart is broken right now -- and I assure you He is crying as well.

The other thing that is driving me insane is this Gun Control debate that is RAGING.  I've got friends on Facebook, concrete in their polar views, yelling at each other. 

Guess what?  None of you are right.  It's not an all or nothing deal. And some of you are being so darn hateful!  Really? Twenty BABIES died on Friday -- tone it down! I read a GREAT article last night that I think you all should read.....  Check it out.    I don't know this writer. She could be the biggest goofball of all time -- but in this, I think she's got some very good points.

The third thing that is driving me nuts is all this talk of Asberger's and autism -- and the fact that media is so freaking clueless it just creates confusion for everyone else.  Asberger's and autism do not create the kind of insanity that brings a guy to plan out an attack like Friday's.  My heart breaks for my friends who are raising kiddos "in the spectrum."  I KNOW you have an incredibly difficult path already -- without hearing autism addressed by clueless dudes on the evening news.  Please know each of you and your kiddos have been in my prayers -- by name -- this week.

So maybe I CAN write after all. 

And it's Christmas.  And if I let this steal our joy, the shooter wins even more. And if for no other reason than the fact that I think we could all use a bit of diversion, I bring to you Jake's annual Christmas letter.  No, I haven't mailed my Christmas cards yet -- they may come around Easter.  But in the meantime, you can enjoy Jake's annual missive.

Kait's teacher labeled it "confusing."  It may be.  Or maybe it's just that this was her first year to get "the letter."  But remember, Jake's about as ADHD as a dog can get.  "Squirrel" is his middle name.

Hope you enjoy.

Big Hugs,
d.



Merry Christmas from Jake!
Howdy, Y’all! This is Jake. I’m kind of in the dog house. Yesterday I ate Mom’s Vera Bradley purse. It was tasty.
Abbie Grayce was baptized on Christmas Day 2011! In 2012, Kait got braces. Team Tiara’s goal is raising $100,000 for Breast Cancer Metastasis Research. “Keep calm and _____.” Biggs to D’Lyn: You know, I wonder what you do sometimes. Godspeed, Uncle Don. Be Sweet. Jones cousins taught us Chinese. Abbie’s DI Team, The Nerd Herd, won the Da Vinci Award and 1st at Regionals, qualifying for the State contest in Corpus! Have a Very Nerdy Christmas! “It’s a Tiara! A Tiara! I’m a Princess, and I have a Tiara!” Abbie & Kait played on FSA’s Rice Owls softball teams. Biggs coached. The garage freezer died while Biggs was in Asia. We lost Bellville sausage, Omaha steaks and Matagorda redfish. Abbie got contacts. I am a cancer Survivor thanks to my new vet in Navasota! My family went skiing with the Long family in Park City. I went to the spa – again. Kait learned to snowboard. D’Lyn got run down and slid 50 yards down the mountain on her tummy, spread-eagle, picking up speed. Nertz! Abbie played with the Sandlot Sox and CFGAA Angels. The new boathouse at the Creek is The Bomb. The jet-ski dock is SWEET! Abbie was a frog in the 5th grade play, Eleanor Roosevelt for wax museum and graduated from Keith Elementary with a clap-out. The Kid-Pitch Rice Owls won the Championship! Abbie & Kait made All-Stars. Kait got her ears pierced. Cy-Ranch State Baseball Champs! Pie Sampler at Royers’. Kait went to Tanglewood, and Jesus touched her heart. Vacation at the Creek. 6,352,218,354:1 – The mosquito to human ratio in Sargent. Fishing with Captain Gene! Nertz! Abbie & D’Lyn went to Jr. High camp at Tanglewood and spent time with church family from The Branch. “Wouldn’t it be cool if pants were made out of cheese?” Kait went to ACU Leadership Camp and now wants to go to college at Rice, A&M and ACU. Bluebell Red Velvet Ice Cream. Abbie got a Phone! Road Trip! Storms, Scurry County Rodeo, the Mule in Muleshoe, Old Fort Sumner & Billy the Kid’s Grave. Abbie spent two weeks at Camp Blue Haven chasing bears – again. ”Pine trees tall, waterfall. Blue skies canopied o’er me!” Kait & D’Lyn went to the lake with the Taylors. Kait learned to surf. D’Lyn wake boarded! Call Me Maybe? We ate at Chick fil A. D’Lyn met Katie Stanko. For real. “If your bladder is the size of a peanut, does that mean the actual peanut? Or the shell?” Splashway! Rooster’s and Orange Leaf! Kait’s 4th grade teachers are Mrs. Loving and Mrs. Loveless – no joke. Mimi made sure Abbie’s middle school locker was all decked out. It’s a Good Morning! A&M joined the SEC. Opening Weekend is the best! Abbie, Kenlee, Stephanie & D’Lyn never want to see wallpaper again. Kait played soccer for Team USA (Biggs coached) and Challenge. See You at the Pole had the best turn-out ever. Cypress City Snow – butterscotch with cream and caramel. Shiner Prickly Pear. Not all Pinterest recipes are created equal. Kait turned 10 and celebrated with a skating party. Abbie played for the Houston Havoc and CFGAA Bandits. The Bandits were undefeated in CFGAA and were the Season Champs! Biggs and D’Lyn celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. Abs & Kait brought two pet lizards home from Splendora. “Get your lizards out of the kitchen.” Pink with a Purpose. Team Tiara gave $25,000 to Dr. Jenny Chang with Methodist Hospital in Houston for Mets research and $5,000 to The Rose to help women who don’t have health insurance. Kait was baptized! Biggsy turned 40! Happy Happy Happy. Team Tiara raised over $100,000 for the DFW 3-Day for the CURE. The team has raised over $700,000 in seven years. Biggs got a speeding ticket in Louisiana. D’Lyn got her first speeding ticket in 20 years. Fuzzy’s Tacos! Kait got her braces off! Abbie turned 12! The Fairfield HEB opened! A&M beat Bama. Abbie joined Bayou City Crossfire Softball. Forevermore, D’Lyn’s birthday will be the week after Thanksgiving. We “Elf’d it up” to celebrate Abbie’s Birthday. The girls raided Pa’s Oreo & ice cream stash. Rice is going bowling.
And Johnny Football Won the Heisman!!!
We hope you had a great 2012 and are wishing you a Fantabulous 2013! May God Bless You!

Love, Jake & Co.



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hacked -- AGAIN

Okay.

My blog keeps getting hacked. I have NO time to deal with this, as I'm supposed to leave tomorrow morning for the DFW 3-Day for the CURE and haven't packed so much as a sports bra.

So.... If you get the "hacked" posts, please be patient. I'll try to sort this out when I get home.

To whomever keeps doing it and posting junk on my blog -- I have nothing nice to say to you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not Supporting Komen These Days???


D'Lyn's Note:  Yes, this is a loooong post.  If you're going to take the time to read it, please take the time to read the whole thing -- all the way down to where Norm talks about how I'm a rockstar or awesome or something like that.  And please don't start a wave of ugliness after it.  If you do, I'll be forced to turn off the comments.  

Dear Friends,

A few people have sent emails or called concerning the PR scandal involving Susan G. Komen for the CURE and Planned Parenthood that took over the news cycle earlier this year, and they have asked me to forward their opinions to Komen.  I've sent them to Norm Bowling, the most head honcho of the head honchos that I know at Komen.

Norm sent me the following email in response, in hopes that it would better help you understand the relationship that Komen has with Planned Parenthood.

On a personal level, I'd like to share what I shared with another sponsor yesterday.  It's been revised a bit since yesterday -- in all honesty these ideas have been in the revision process for about the last three years.  

Please understand that if I thought for a second that I was helping fund abortions there is no way I would do what I do. I detest abortion.

I think the Planned Parenthood issue was a PR disaster, and I think you'll see that resolved in the very near future. Komen's support of Planned Parenthood from the very beginning was nothing more than a token support -- designed to provide breast health services -- and only those -- where there were no other options for helping the women who needed it so badly.

The problem with this whole situation is that people on both sides of the issue have used this to draw a line in the sand. As you know, the problem with lines in the sand is that sometimes you have to cross them.

If your wife or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, would you turn down any treatment that was discovered with Komen-funded research? I'm betting not. I'm guessing you'd be just like so many of us and be thankful for all the advances Komen has made in the last 20 years -- advances that are saving lives.

This issue is affecting both sides of the coin. Just as many Pro-Choice supporters have pulled support from Komen because this life-saving institution DARED to pull their paltry support from Planned Parenthood. They've drawn lines in the sand as well.

The trouble with all this -- Women will DIE because of this mess. People on BOTH sides of the issue are pulling support because Komen "let them down." The 3-Day series will bring in $17-21 MILLION less than last year. And that's just the one program I'm involved with.

Are you prepared to avoid any company that supports Planned Parenthood?  Google it -- the list is rather long.  If your higher moral ground won't allow you to support the life-saving research and services Komen provides just because they have the audacity to provide breast-health services through Planned Parenthood, I hope you'll avoid those companies on the list. I guarantee you the money that Whole Foods donates isn't geared toward saving lives.

I appreciate the phenomenal support you've all given to Team Tiara over the years, and I know you don't mean this personally at all. I just hope you understand that if people on both sides of the issue use Komen to make their points, they will be voting with the lives of women and men who had absolutely nothing to do with this fiasco.

Trust me, I'm ticked off at Komen, too. BUT for me this walk isn't about Komen. It's about honoring the Mom I lost five years ago. A Mom who would be SO PROUD of my girls, who would expect a play-by-play after every soccer or softball game.

You helped us lay the groundwork for Team Tiara, and you helped us build it into what it is today.

This month we presented a $25,000 grant directly to Dr. Jenny Chang with Methodist in Houston for research into metastatic breast cancer -- an under-funded area of research where we desperately need to have an impact. And we presented a $5,000 grant directly to The Rose to fund mammograms for women who don't have health insurance. Neither one of those grants touched Komen in any way, shape or form. Neither one would have been possible without the foundation you helped us build.

Thank you for that, and thank you for letting me share my heart. 

Seriously, please don't turn this into an ugly discussion -- if you do I'll have to give you the mean Mommy look -- and you know I don't like to do that.  

If this information I've shared today has brought about a change of heart for you, please consider making a donation to a Team Tiara team member TODAY.  We have 11 days to raise approximately $21,000.  You can easily donate at www.the3day.org/goto/teamtiara2012.  I'm especially asking you to consider donating to Cinda Brown, Tanya Croft, Laura Davis, Bernadette Dohmen, Amy Martin, Charlotte Stuart or Diane Wiley.  

You see, those walkers have not reached the $1,000 mark yet. According to the new "Pay before you Play" rules with the 3-Day, each of those walkers MUST raise $2,300 before the walk -- or they won't even be allowed to join Team Tiara on the route.  

If this information hasn't changed your views at all, please consider donating to Team Tiara's Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Fund.  You can do so with an easy donation at www.teamtiara.net or send checks payable to Team Tiara, P.O. Box 2433, Cypress, TX 77410-2433.  

A friend of mine compared this to looking for a new church.  Sometimes after a while the church you're going to just doesn't fit any more, and you need to look for a new one.  And that's great as long as you don't stop going to church

Maybe donating to Komen doesn't work for you anymore -- but please don't stop supporting this cause.  Find a new place, a new way.  

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Many Blessings,
D'Lyn


Norm's email:
Dear D'Lyn:

Thank you for passing along the questions from your donor about Komen-funded grants to Planned Parenthood. It is important to all of us that donors and constituents get accurate information.

Komen provides funding for local community health programs through our network of more than 120 affiliates across the United States. Each affiliate is responsible for assessing the breast health service needs—including education, screening, treatment and support—for the residents within its region as well as identifying and providing funding to organizations that can meet those needs. Annually, Komen Affiliates fund programs that provide breast health education and breast screenings for hundreds of thousands of low-income, uninsured, or medically underserved women via nearly 2,000 local organizations, including 19 Planned Parenthood sites.

The decision to fund any breast health and screening program is based on a thorough assessment of a community’s breast health needs and resources. In some areas of the U.S., our affiliates have determined a Planned Parenthood clinic to be the best or only local place where women in need can receive breast health care at no cost.

In all cases, Komen funding is used exclusively to support breast cancer programs, including clinical breast exams conducted by trained medical personnel. When symptoms indicate a need for further screening, patients may be provided with a referral to obtain a mammogram. Depending on local resources, that mammogram may be paid for using a Komen grant.

Twice each year, Komen affiliates conduct a thorough review of their community health grant programs to ensure that funds are being used only for breast health services. Under no circumstances are Komen funds used to fund abortions or other non-breast services, and any service provider shown to violate those rules would be immediately terminated from the Komen grant program.

During the past five years, Komen Affiliate grants to Planned Parenthood have funded 169,777 clinical breast exams and more than 6,400 mammograms. Our mission is to help save lives by increasing screening rates among all populations of women across the U.S. and around the world. As long as there is a need for health care for vulnerable populations, Komen will fund the facilities that can best meet those needs.

We very much appreciate the support we receive from the faith community and will continue to work with organizations and individuals who share our goal of helping women and families facing breast cancer in our communities. We very much hope that people of all faiths will continue to support the fight against breast cancer by participating in Komen activities and events.

A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 74 seconds, and we cannot win the battle against breast cancer alone. We need the support of our local communities to ensure that we are able to continue providing vital services to women and their families.
For additional information on this issue and Komen’s overall work in local communities, we invite your donors to visit our website at www.komen.org<http://www.komen.org/>.

I hope this information is helpful, D'Lyn. Thanks again for your amazing support over the years and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best, Norm.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tee'd Off for the CURE!


Hello Friends!!!

Whether you've sponsored a Team Tiara walker, walked in the 3-Day or been part of our prayer team, you've played a role in this exciting news!

Our 3rd annual "Tee'd off at Breast Cancer" golf tournament will be Monday, October 1 at Falcon Point Country Club in Katy.

The highlight of this year's tournament will be the presentation of two checks. We will be donating $25,000 to Dr. Jenny Chang's research at Methodist Hospital here in Houston. Dr. Chang works primarily with Triple Negative breast cancer -- an incredibly aggressive type of breast cancer that is taking far too many young mothers. She runs a Triple Negative clinic at Methodist and also works with Denver Harbor to provide treatment for women who do not have health insurance. This grant is representative of Team Tiara's commitment to directly fund metastatic breast cancer research -- an under-funded area of research where we need to have a lasting impact! Our goal is to raise $100,000 to directly fund research conducted by Dr. Chang and others in this field.

We will also be presenting a $5,000 check to The Rose. The Rose is a Houston area non-profit that provides mammograms for women who do not have health insurance, or who are under-insured. When women who do have health insurance get their mammograms at The Rose, the income from those services funds mammograms for women who don't have insurance. It's a great program and one Team Tiara supports whole-heartedly!

Please consider golfing with us -- it's always a great tournament! This is a beautiful course we know you'll enjoy playing! If you sign up by this Friday, your registration fee will be discounted to $100 per player. If you're not into golf, but you'd like to join us for dinner and the check presentations, we have that option as well. Dinner-only tickets are $25.

Thanks!

- D'Lyn Biggs
Team Tiara Founder
WELCOME!
Description: https://sites.google.com/site/teedoffatbreastcancer/_/rsrc/1326250049173/config/teed%20off%20logo.png

Obtain more information about our organization at

19days until
Event

3rd Annual Tee'd Off at Breast Cancer Tournament

Texas is having a COOL front and that means COOL savings for you. Sign up by September 21, 2012
and each golfer is only $100!!
Description: https://sites.google.com/site/teedoffatbreastcancer/_/rsrc/1326766454375/home/FalconPointPhoto.jpg?height=308&width=455
This years event will be held Monday, October 1, 2012 at the well-manicured Falcon Point Golf Club
in Katy, Texas. All proceeds will benefit Metastatic Breast Cancer research.
Registration begins at 11:30 am, with shot-gun start at 12:30 pm.
The cost for this event is $130 per player, $475 per foursome. Sign up more than one foursome and
each player is only $110. This price includes entry into all events, 18 holes of golf, riding cart, lunch,
dinner, silent auction and a chance to win various prizes.
There will be an awards presentation and dinner directly after golf at the club house. You may purchase
a dinner ticket only for $25.
Please click here to register or click here for information regarding sponsorships.
Appropriate golf attire is required. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kait!!



Just look at those Smooshy cheeks!!!  

Kaity-did, we love you!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

D'Lyn-terest

D'Lyn's Note: This post was approximately 150 years ago, but has to be the most-viewed post ever. I still get questions about these gloves. Yes, they are ADORABLE. What you don't see is that approximately 75% of our party guests cut the fingers off in the car on the way to the skating rink with a pair of scissors that came from God Knows Where -- and then complained about how cold their fingers were at the skating rink. Seriously. BUT.... Long story short, I bought these on a clearance rack at Sports Authority in a pretty icky area of Houston. 150 years ago.  Hope that helps. 

If I had a name like Betty or Christie or Evelene, would I have this much fun with my name???

Well, maybe if my name was Evelene.



Anyways....  Kait's #10 birthday is on Monday, and we're doing an Ice Skating Birthday Party.  I couldn't find any cute goodie bag ideas on Pinterest, so I had to get creative.

We'll just call it "D'Lyn-terest."



Snowmama D'Lyn???

Tonight I applied to be a Snowmama -- or at least I attempted to.  Whether or not I've actually applied is somewhat up in the air.  You see, my computer kept getting stuck on Step 2.

If you know me, you know I was pretty much born to be a Snowmama. I've been a Room-Mama and a Soccer-Mama and a Softball-Mama for years. I'm a DI-Mama.  I've been a Substitute-Mama and a Cooking-Mama, and I know I'd be a darn good Snowmama.

I LOVE the Snowmamas and the advice they give.  They ROCK.  Like KISS. As a Snowmama, I'd get to share all the tips and tricks we've learned to make our vacations in Park City a breeze -- like ordering our groceries from Grocery Girls and how we get our skis delivered to our door by Ski Valet.  I'd get to share about my favorite runs and adventure trails.  And about how YUMMY the hot cocoa is at the bottom of the slopes.  (BEST EVER!!!) Most of all, I'd get to share how their Signature 5 Ski School is the Bees Knees!!!

Here's the deal.....

I started out wanting to video my answers to their application questions.  That didn't exactly work.  I've never made a "movie" before, and my skills just aren't honed in that department. It was kind of like when I got rundown on by that crazy skier last year.  It was a MESS.

So I answered the questions as best I could, then attempted to attach some Biggs-style entertainment to my application -- just for grins.

And that's where things went awry.

So here, for all four of you to enjoy....   Ski Houston by the Biggs Bunch.


video



Wasn't that a hoot???

If you want to know what our crew looks like on "real" snow, check out these pictures from Park City Mountain Resort.  Now don't you think I'm meant to be a Snowmama???




D's Note:  These next two pictures are from the top of McConkey's.  When Chris Seidman preaches about how you can experience a bit of Heaven on Earth, he must be talking about the top of McConkey's lift.  By far my favorite ski place -- EVER!!!