Find Out Who Killed Who 8.26 at the Midland Hotel in Hico 

You’re invited to a party to die for
Find out who killed who
Saturday, August 26th at 7PM
Midland Hotel in Hico

Private Party, Live Music, and Silent Auction
Tickets include:

  • Choice of Dinner with glass of wine
  • 20% discount on rooms for the evening
  • $50 for single tickets
  • $75 for couples tickets
  • $200 event sponsorships available, includes 2 tickets and recognition in all print and media marketing

Tickets are limited!

7.30.17 30 Things I Love About You


Today is Kenneth’s “Golden Birthday” meaning he’s turning the age of his birth day – 30 on the 30th.  For your mushy reading pleasure and in no particular order, I have compiled a list of 30 things I love about my husband. Enjoy 😊 

  1. His love for all things sports – golf, softball, bowling – watching and playing 
  2. The way he folds shirts – it’s endearing how meticulous he is about it 
  3. His cute butt – trust me 
  4. His love for Ian 
  5. His patience with my pokeyness – we can all agree it’s Mah’s fault 
  6. His love for his family 
  7. His smooches 
  8. His willingness to be my caregiver – bless his sweet sweet heart 
  9. The way he makes friends and casual conversation easily – because you know he meets a zillion people every where we go 
  10. His ability to slow me down and make life more purposeful 
  11. His love for Peyton 
  12. The way he leads our family – his parents are amazing examples for both of us 
  13. The satisfaction he gets from making sure others are happy – especially at work 
  14. His support of most of my insane plans – thankfully he’s the realist between us 
  15. His willingness to explore the world with me 
  16. How he always grabs my phone so I don’t forget it – it takes a village to keep me together 
  17. Our shared love for fast food and netflix binges
  18. The way he tolerates my invasion of his personal space 
  19. His love for Baloo Bear 
  20. His protective nature over “the girls” – my sisters, my best friends, his sister 
  21. The fact that he doesn’t like certain things – beans, pickles, nuts, olives – because that means I don’t have to share 
  22. His dimples 
  23. His accent when he talks to his parents 
  24. His love for my crazy family 
  25. The way he encourages my dreams without doubt or reservations
  26. How giddy he gets when he’s excited about something 
  27. The way he psyches himself up in mirror every morning when he’s brushing his teeth 
  28. How he helps me when my body is being difficult 
  29. His dreams for our future as a family 
  30. The way you can see his love for me in his eyes 

Happy happy birthday, Kenneth! I love this little life of ours! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for our next 30 years 💜

7.28.17 I have kept the Faith 

Christi is now healed of her ALS, in Heaven with her maker, and watching over us all. I reflected on our last conversation about life and love, and have no doubts of Gods perfect timing in crossing our paths. 


Her faith was rock solid, and she made sure everyone knew it. Her husband shared this update after the funeral:

“Ok, I don’t even know where to begin. Today was just simply amazing!!! Over 500 people showed up to celebrate Christi Wyatt Zimmerman beautiful life!!! Thank you everyone who helped get everything together. Thank you Paul Michael, James Chambless, and Robert Templin who spoke beautiful words about her life. Thank you to Christine Schmidt Jakubik, and Deanda and Tim who sang her favorite songs. It was just amazing!!! Thank you to all the family and friends who showed up! It is awesome how many lives christi touched!! The next few weeks will probably be very hard. Especially this Saturday and the next Saturday as we celebrate my beautiful Emily’s(spitting image of her mother in case you didn’t see her today) birthday! Thank you again to all of you, I couldn’t have made it thru these last couple years without y’all love and support.”

Jd

Please continue to cover this family in love, prayers and encouragement as tough days are on the horizon. She loved being a Mom. She loved life and it loved her right back. 

“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:5-7

7.27.17 Purple Thursday 

Making the decision to go to Tarleton State University was one of the best and most exciting opportunities I had ever been given. I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again: the four years I spent at Tarleton were the best years of my life. I found my best friends, I learned about life and love, I had more free time in one day of college than I did in four years of high school, I worked multiple jobs, I got an A in socializing, attended most sporting events, was involved on campus, lived at the Rec Center, and somewhere in all that attended enough class to graduate with a degree in Interdisciplinary Business. 


And now, it’s been 12 years since I started that journey and the university that holds my heart is still loving me back. When I got home Sunday there was a surprise waiting for me addressed from Tarleton. PURPLE EXPLOSION!!


Got my swag and I’m pumped to brag about it! Too bad it won’t be cool enough to wear the pullover to Tarleton night at the Rangers. Included in the goodies were two very kind, encouraging letters from two of my favorite Tarleton Texans:


Dr. Dottavio, President of Tarleton, and the man who autographed my diploma


My friend, the man, the myth, the legend: Dr. Kyle McGregor, Vice President for Advancement & External Relations

How awesome is that? If you ever questioned why I continue to bleed purple, this is just one example of why I’ll always be a Tarleton Texan. From my car, to my office, to anything and everything that can be purple, I’m reppin TSU every chance I get. And being right smack in the middle of Horned Frog territory, it’s crucial that everyone knows my alliance. So thank YOU Kyle and Dr. Dottavio for the awesome additions of purple – I’m in heaven!


And the best part is: I’m watching sweet babes like this grow up to be future Tarleton Texans and bleed purple with us 

Did you know John Tarleton walked from Tennessee to Texas carrying his pet duck, Oscar P? 

Did you know Tarleton is home to the oldest spirit organization, the Purple Poo, in Texas?
Did you know the smokestack lights up purple when we win and that there’s one brick inside of it?


Ever forward, ever onward

7.26.17 July-a-palooza 

July has been one for the books, and we’ve still have almost a week left in the month! If you would have asked me in January, when I randomly decided to start a #30by30 list and blog about it, where I’d be 7 months later I would have bet the farm on having lost interest. I’m the idea guy, the logistics person, and unless it’s for the benefit of someone else I’m not likely to complete the task – exhibit A: the never ending laundry pile. exhibit B: perfectly packed suitcase in the corner of our room. 

So here we are 7 months later: rockin’, rollin’, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. What he planned for our lives in this journey through ALS and blogging has been even more than we could have ever imagined. In case you missed it, Here’s the cliff notes version:

SunnyStrong Blog has gone global 


We celebrated our first 4th of July as puppy parents. 


July 5th I threw out the first pitch, the Sunny Slider, at ALS Awareness night at the Rangers game. Read more here. and almost 200 SunnyStrong crazies came out to cause a ruckus 


July 6th our sweet boy turned 1


July brought LOTS of Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, babies, reunions, and memories celebrated and created. 

Phil got his steps in


We Made the front page of the Hico News Review 


We Got a sweet shoutout from my favorite Mr. B


Spent a week in Punta Cana with my best friend and adopted family 


My baby love turned 1 and destroyed his smash cake 


Became a cover girl for FW Inc Magazine 


And Got smooched on by a fishy fella


ANNNND July still has 6 days left and our schedule is still going at full speed:

  • more birthdays 
  • more anniversaries 
  • Kenneth’s Golden Birthday #30onthe30th
  • Tarleton Night at the Rangers game 

I’m sure I’m forgetting something or someone so I’ll apologize now. July, you haven’t disappointed me – Let’s finish these last couple of days out strong. HUGE shoutout to everyone who made these dreams come true. Thank you for the love, the sweet words of encouragement, for sharing this journey with us, and for loving us through this disease. I’d like to ask for a quick favor: 

Christi Zimmerman, my goto for all questions concerning future pregnancy, marriage, and motherhood while battling a terminal disease, my friend, my sister in Christ, my fellow warrior against ALS diagnosed only one year before me went to Heaven on Tuesday. Please join Kenneth and I in prayer for her husband, son, and sweet daughter, Em Zim, who turns 1 this upcoming weekend. ALS is devastating and my heart aches for their loss. See why I loved her so much here.

And just like that, we’re smacked back into the reality of this disease and the families it destroys in its wake. Hug your loved ones every chance you get. 💜💜

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 

7.24.17 I Saw God Today 

I forgot to tell y’all how awesome Friday was. Get your popcorn ready, this is a good one:

Have you heard the song by King George called “I Saw God Today“?

His fingerprints are everywhere,  I just look down and stop and stare, open my eyes and then I swear, I Saw God Today. 

Friday, during our trip home from Punta Cana, I saw God, twice. Read that sentence again: I saw God twice. My heart still flutters at the thought. 

The first time God revealed himself was at baggage claim. We had to clear customs so Kacy and I were waiting on our bags, and up walks this sweet man named Ethan who asked if he could pray over us. Y’all, Kacy and I were blown away. We dropped everything and right there at baggage claim we prayed together, with our new friend Ethan,  and as He promised in Matthew 18:20

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” NIV

You’ve seen the pictures, you’ve heard the stories, but until a stranger approaches you with the sole purpose of praying for you – mind blown. So, so, so awesome. Kacy and I saw God on Friday, at the baggage claim in the Charlotte airport. 


Remember, I told you that I saw him twice Friday? So we leave baggage claim and we’re rolling to our gate and we met a beautiful woman named Cheryl who was traveling to New Mexico with her husband, “Grandpa”, and other family. With the promise of returning with a burger, Cheryl’s family got her situated at the gate, dropped their bags and gave us the opportunity to chat. Now I know for a fact that not one of you is surprised that I am chatting up strangers in the airport, but you may be wondering why Cheryl was my target. Well, I’ll tell you: SHE HAD PHIL FRIENDS!! She too was a walking stick connoisseur! She laughed that I’d named mine Phil and Larry, understood the struggles of using both in a world of doors, and shared with me her face plant stories. 

We bonded instantly, her diagnosis of Parkinson’s and the similarities with ALS, my clinical trial involving an FDA approved drug for Parkinson’s, our dreams of doing everything we can before our bodies give out, and our passion for education. We were chatting like old friends, laughing and sharing stories, and like friends do Cheryl asked, “Have you found Christ?”

Mind blown, again, at the same airport in Charlotte and as promised  in Matthew 5:16

“let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” – ESV

Our conversation changed to how we have hope for our future because of our relationship with God, and that our faith in his plans for us is unwaivering. When it was time to depart, Cheryl hugged me and said, “I don’t even know you but I know that I love you.” I saw God, right there, in my new friend Cheryl. 

Breath gone. Mind blown. God on full display. 

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy – Sheryl Sandberg 

Introduction

I thought resilience was the capacity to endure pain, so I asked Adam how I could figure out how much I had. He explained that our amount of resilience isn’t fixed, so I should be asking instead how I could become resilient. Resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity—and we can build it. It isn’t about having a backbone. It’s about strengthening the muscles around our backbone.

Loss, grief, and disappointment are profoundly personal. We all have unique circumstances and reactions to them. Still, the kindness and bravery of those who shared their experiences helped pull me through mine.

We don’t pretend that hope will win out over pain every day.

put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.”

1. Breathing Again

We plant the seeds of resilience in the ways we process negative events.

I stressed that not everything that happens to us happens because of us.

I have long believed that people need to feel supported and understood at work. I now know that this is even more important after tragedy.

Just as the body has a physiological immune system, the brain has a psychological immune system. 

“turning to God gives people a sense of being enveloped in loving arms that are eternal and ultimately strong. People need to know that they are not alone.”

Acknowledging blessings can be a blessing in and of itself.

Counting blessings can actually increase happiness and health by reminding us of the good things in life. Each night, no matter how sad I felt, I would find something or someone to be grateful for.

We all deal with loss: jobs lost, loves lost, lives lost. The question is not whether these things will happen. They will, and we will have to face them.

Sometimes we have less control than we think. Other times we have more.

2. Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room
Even people who have endured the worst suffering often want to talk about it.

Unlike non-question-asking friends, openers ask a lot of questions and listen to the answers without judging. They enjoy learning about and feeling connected to others. Openers can make a big difference in times of crisis, especially for those who are normally reticent.

I knew that people were doing their best; those who said nothing were trying not to bring on more pain, and those who said the wrong thing were trying to comfort.

3. The Platinum Rule of Friendship

There are two different emotional responses to the pain of others: empathy, which motivates us to help, and distress, which motivates us to avoid. 

For some, his physical paralysis triggered emotional paralysis.

learned that at times, caring means that when someone is hurting, you cannot imagine being anywhere else. This constant support was vital. 

hated asking for help, hated needing it, worried incessantly that I was a huge burden to everyone, and yet depended on their constant support.

I learned that friendship isn’t only what you can give, it’s what you’re able to receive.
What helped me more was when people said that they were in it with me.

I wanted those close to me to know I was there to help carry their troubles too.

4. Self-Compassion and Self-Confidence

Writing can be a powerful tool for learning self-compassion. 

Still, for many, constructing a story can lead to insight.

Now it’s clear that my compulsion to write was guiding me in the right direction. Journaling helped me process my overwhelming feelings and my all-too-many regrets.
because gratitude is passive: it makes us feel thankful for what we receive. Contributions are active: they build our confidence by reminding us that we can make a difference.
5. Bouncing Forward

We don’t have to wait for special occasions to feel and show gratitude.

As the saying goes: “In prosperity our friends know us. In adversity we know our friends.”

After undergoing a hardship, people have new knowledge to offer those who go through similar experiences. It is a unique source of meaning because it does not just give our lives purpose—it gives our suffering purpose.
6. Taking Back Joy

But during the dark days of that summer, the Girls had checked in daily and took turns coming to California. By showing up again and again, they proved to me that I was not alone.

A life chasing pleasure without meaning is an aimless existence. Yet a meaningful life without joy is a depressing one.

When we focus on others, we find motivation that is difficult to marshal for ourselves alone.

Having fun is a form of self-compassion; just as we need to be kind to ourselves when we make mistakes, we also need to be kind to ourselves by enjoying life when we can.

But happiness is the frequency of positive experiences, not the intensity.

7. Raising Resilient Kids

learned to respond to embarrassment with humor. He discovered that his own reaction to his disability influenced how others reacted, which meant he could control how he was perceived.

Sleep matters even more in adversity because we need to marshal all our strength

8. Finding Strength Together

We normally think of hope as something individuals hold in their heads and in their hearts. But people can build hope together. By creating a shared identity, individuals can form a group that has a past and a brighter future.

When we build resilience together, we become stronger ourselves and form communities that can overcome obstacles and prevent adversity.

The club that no one wants to belong to is incredibly bonding. Perhaps because none of us wanted to join, we cling to one another.

Just as individuals can find post-traumatic growth and become stronger, so can communities. You never know when your community will need to call on that strength, but you can be sure that someday it will.

9. Failing and Learning at Work 

Not only do we learn more from failure than success, we learn more from bigger failures because we scrutinize them more closely.

We’re too insecure to admit mistakes to ourselves or too proud to admit them to others.

Psychologists have found that over time we usually regret the chances we missed, not the chances we took.

When it’s safe to talk about mistakes, people are more likely to report errors and less likely to make them.

but he would always be there to remind me that I still needed to set ambitious goals.

10. To Love and Laugh Again

Now I encourage my friends and family to express their fears and desires to their partners.
You don’t need to justify your actions.

Couples who laugh together are more likely to stay married

7.21.17 Papa 

In light of all this crazy, awesome press I’ve received over the last couple of weeks, I can’t help but wish my Papa was here to celebrate it all with us. He loved the limelight and was wonderful with crowds big and small. 

If you recall, finding a piece of Brous history for my office was part of my 30 by 30 list. It took some digging, but I found my grandparents original wedding announcement from The Big Lake Wildcat newspaper dated June 12, 1953. How stink’n awesome is that? Luckily I have a best friend who is amazing at photoshop so she’s going to clean it up and I’ll share the final product with you soon. 

Mr. and Mrs. Michie Brous 6/6/53


My Papa would have been 85 yesterday. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and smile. He was always the most proud, the most supportive, and gave the best hugs. I miss his hands, his gentle guidance, and his music. He was a wonderful piano player and watching him play was mesmerizing. 


Happy heavenly birthday, Papa! We love and miss you dearly. 

7.19.17 Boomshakalaka

I don’t know if you needed to hear this today, but I most definitely did. 


No self loathing or “woe is me” crap, more like embracing the you staring back at you in the mirror and acknowledging everything it took to get to this point. Empowerment over pity, Boomshakalaka

“I don’t need a metaphor to help me get this out, Love ain’t what this song’s about. It’s about beer and whiskey and drinkin, It’s about playin the fool and actin without thinkin, It’s about runnin with your buddies you don’t give a damn, What in the world happens to you man? Oh love ain’t what this song’s about” – Roger Creager

Everyone knows Mr. Creager only speaks the truth – don’t emphasize the flaws or failures, celebrate the journey. And who better to celebrate with than the various relationships that have also shaped your life?

“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And, if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” – Carrie Bradshaw 

She is the Queen Bee for a reason, listen to her. I’ll leave you with this thought to ponder on:

“The universe may not always play fair but at least it’s got a hell of a sense humor.” -CB

laugh freely. laugh loudly. laugh often.