I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be,
but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.
— Douglas Pagels

Monday, November 16, 2009

One For One

When you buy one pair of shoes from TOMS...



...they put a pair of shoes on a child in need.



I went through the McDonald's drive-through today and wasted seven dollars and change on junk that I didn't need. It's so easy to spend money on things we don't need, isn't it?

So I decided that I wanted to do something with the money that I received this week for teaching...something other than spend it on more junk at McDonald's. I thought about getting something that I could use. I own three pair of shoes (including those god-awful crocs...ha!), and thought that I could use a pair of casual flats...something that I could wear to church or something. I imagine folks would appreciate not having to see my uglier-than-sin crocs every time I enter the room. So, I went to TOMS and ordered the above pair. $44 + tax + shipping = 50-something bucks. That's the most I've ever spent on shoes in my entire life...




...and it was worth every penny.



I never thought shoes could make me cry like a baby...



...so much for that. :)


Go to TOMS.com. Join their mission. Make a difference.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bob Ross Charity Workshops





(Click on Abby's photo to visit her website)


Although sick and broke (in more ways than one), I try to do as much charity work as I can. It gives me a reason to get out of bed. I wanted to do something big that I had never done before, so I decided to go out with a bang this year and have my last two Bob Ross workshops in 2009 to benefit charity. I held one workshop at Hobby Lobby in Biloxi, MS and the other today at Hobby Lobby in Mobile, AL.

Thanks to all of my wonderful students for helping make this happen! I couldn't do it without you! You rock!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tropical Storm Ida

You know you live on the Gulf Coast when you have a tropical storm in NOVEMBER!

Are you kiddin' me???

I went to the point of Pascagoula yesterday to take a pic or two. I got out of my car with umbrella in hand...



...and it IMMEDIATELY did THIS. Haaaaaaa! Shoulda known.

So I gave up and decided to get rained on. No biggie, it was only sprinkling at the time and the gulf was a little rough but didn't look too bad. I went out too early, really.

Thankfully, Ida was kinda a pansy. Strong wind gusts (still present 36 hours later) but not much flooding or damage to the area. The school studio got a little water, surprisingly, but all is well.

Now someone please inform Mama NayNay that it is indeed NOVEMBER and we dun want none 'o dis mess anymore. Mmmmk thanks!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ryan




No little boy should lose his father.

Ryan was a single dad, raising his son Skyler since birth. He worked his butt off as a laborer, sometimes seven days a week, so Skyler wouldn't go without. He would come home after a long shift, and find his son with toys in hand, waiting to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with his dad. They were two peas in a pod.

Ryan developed an abscessed tooth. A phobic of dentists, he refused to go even though people begged him to. If he only knew how serious a tooth infection could be. He would have never let a fear of needles and pain take him away from his son. He didn't know it could happen to him.

The infection went to his brain. It turned into meningitis, and he had a massive stroke. I received a call from my mother that Ryan was on life support. I canceled my class and went immediately to Mississippi, where I found Ryan in a coma with tubes and hoses coming out of his brain. It is an image that I will never, ever erase from my memory.

Ryan had chosen to estrange himself from my side of the family several years prior, so we had not seen each other in a long time and I don't think that he would have wanted me there. Tough luck, I told him. I held his hand and declared that he is the most stubborn person I've ever met. I picked on him and played with his toes, giving anything if he would wake up and cuss me out. I reminded him of when he used to spontaneously break into the song "Love Shack", which always made his sister and I double over in laughter. I demanded that he wake up and come back to his son. I prayed. I cried. I fussed. I told him that I loved him and that I'd give anything if things could have been different. I told him that I was so sorry that this happened to him.

He was removed from life support on November 7th.

The tragedy made the front page of the newspaper. Killed by a toothache. Dentists stepped forward and pleaded with the public to not be afraid of them. People everywhere made dental appointments because of Ryan's story. Twenty-nine is too young to die. Five is too young to lose a father.

Skyler is being raised by his grandmother (his mother left shortly after his birth), and he misses his daddy horribly. He lives in my town, but he doesn't know I exist. I see him at the baseball field and wish I could be there for him, but I'm not permitted to do so. Family feuds are senseless and cruel. They hurt so many people...sometimes for generations to come. Life is too short and fragile for such things, but it is far beyond my control. All I can do is pray for Skyler to be ok.

My heart is crushed for him. It's so unfair. No little boy should lose his father.

Friday, November 6, 2009

GREEK FEST!!!

In line to order food!


Crazy lady singing on top of a dining table! Does she realize that she flashed everyone directly below her? The world may never know.



The adorable kids!



The Music!


The Vendors!


The crowd!!! (And that was only HALF of them!)


The awesome art! I could only dream of painting like this!








Greek Fest is annually the first weekend of November in Mobile, Alabama. It is held at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on S. Ann Street. Very cool place, and Greek Fest is always a fun time! The $2 admission fee benefits several local charities including Penelope House Domestic Violence Center, an organization that is near to my heart. Next year, come join me!