Feeding Hungry Children Fills Heart

Children Appreciate Volunteering When Feeding the hungry


I’ve always believed one of my parenting jobs is to guide my children’s eyes to truly see and respect those around them. Especially others who are different or less fortunate, and are in need of nutritious food, clean water, and shelter.

Often at our dinner table, we talk about children who are in need of a meal packed full of nutrients to keep their bodies strong, healthy, and growing properly. I’m not talking about 30 years ago when dinnertime meant parents threatening their kids into eating disorders with the “clean plate” method. Nor the pitiful line, “There are children in China who are starving!” Not sure why the Chinese got stuck in the middle of that phrase, but placing guilt on kids to eat when their bodies aren’t hungry is not the greatest plan.

For over a decade, I’ve been supporting Harvesters the Community Food Source. They are a non-profit organization whose mission is to “feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow.” Throughout 26 counties in Kansas and Missouri, they have provided food and essentials to over 600 agencies since 1979.

Why do they do this? Because according to Harvesters, in our area alone, one out of seven persons is “food insecure.” 127,190 children, translated to one out of five, are food insecure in the Kansas City area. And 38 percent of them don’t qualify for federal assistance, so their only hope for a meal is from charities. This is unacceptable.

So when my youngest daughter’s Girl Scout troop was to assist an organization pack food into backpacks, I insisted both my girls come. I’m a huge fan of this program. The “BackSnack” program provides backpacks filled with food, so the school’s can discreetly help children in need every Friday. This ensures all children have food for the weekend.

It does break my heart to think what happens on a long weekend or during school breaks, but I’m sure Harvesters is there to provide.

Pounding volunteerism into my children’s brains, with this hands-on experience, gave me a sense of parental accomplishment. It finally got through to my daughters. I thought the dinner talks were getting through to them, but they only had part of it.

When volunteers were calling out for more food containers and were naming the schools my daughters had heard of, it hit them like a ton of bricks. These were kids their age, who couldn’t afford to play soccer or attend dance class. They didn’t go on trips to Target to buy cool new clothes for school or go on vacations to Disney World. These children who might be sitting next to them in music class were struggling to just get some food.

“There are this many kids who can’t eat on the weekends!” said my daughter with frightened eyes.

That is the look I hope everyone would have in their eyes when they hear of this happening around them. Even friends at their school could be secretly heading to the office to get their sustenance for the next 48 hours.

“Mommy, those backpacks aren’t very big.”

“No. No they aren’t,” I said with an aching heart.

Thanks to this experience, my family feels even more blessed for what we have. I didn’t even need to guide my girls’ eyes, for they opened wide on their own. Now they are looking forward to our next volunteering event.

Thank you, Harvesters and to the hundreds of volunteers and supporters who give their time, money and food to those who matter.

Because we all matter.

If you stuck around this far, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Your opinions feed my soul.




Road trip leads to marital tension



roadtrip anxiety

A Hiccup in Relaxing Getaway leads to Road Trip Anxiety


They always start off fun. You finally have the car packed, there’s no more arguing about leaving on time, gas tank is full, and you no longer have to avoid promising your poor, poor under-sugared children that you’ve stuffed enough Red Dye 40 food products in the van to make the trip interesting.

When I was a child, road trips occurred regularly since my grandparents lived five hours away in St. Louis. This was before we had Game Boys, Kindles, DVDs and tablets filled with mind-numbing games. We actually had things called books, and boxes of crayons to color on our Big Chief writing tablets. We also had a game called, “Who can sing all of the songs from the musical ‘Oklahoma’ 50 times?”

Our last family trip to Gulf Shores, Ala., was a lengthy affair; but traveling with our kids wasn’t unpleasant. We had the Disney DVD babysitter, which kept the girls from bickering or whining. It was a travel win.

So last week when my dear actor friend from my past life told me his touring show was coming to St. Louis, I grabbed some tickets, my husband, a babysitter and quietly prayed my hilarious friend wouldn’t share too many stories of me from my young and stupid days.

Since I had driven this trip numerous times and knew the way there like the back of my hand, I thought this would be a nice time for my husband and I to catch up. So we ironically headed east for our “Gateway to the West” trip and bonded for hours.

Our weekend was fabulous! The show was charming, and our time with my buddy was full of laughs. After wishing him safe travels, we hopped back on the interstate in the correct direction according to history books, with plans to breeze home in four hours.

Then the ammonia hit the fan — or the highway. One hour into our return trip a farmer decided to accidentally release two 1,000-gallon tanks of ammonia onto our path. Normally, I can easily forgive an accident, but Mama Bear had to pick her cubs up by 6 p.m. You don’t mess with Mama at dinnertime when it involves her children.

To avoid the toxic fumes and three-hour stall time, we were forced to pull out our phones, so I could compare multiple map apps and find an alternate route. Did I mention that I am a wiz with a map, but phone map apps are the bane of my existence?

Since we weren’t going to make our ETA, I was forced to find a willing and able neighbor to foist my daughters onto, while feebly manning two pathetic phone maps.

I won’t go into detail, but my husband, who doesn’t have two angry bones in his body, managed to locate one of them since I wasn’t doing my job effectively. He was right. But you can only push a theater major so far in cartography.

After stopping in “Mayberry U.S.A.,” we entered a grocery to find a map. Instead I found a mailman, while mumbling how there are no maps made of paper anymore.

Assuming postmen would be familiar with local back roads, my plan was to avoid 60 miles of gridlock traffic, and our potential untimely demise via toxic fumes. This baffled my husband because 1) I stopped to ask for help, and 2) the roads Mr. Postman recommended didn’t exist on our phone maps.

I can’t tell you exactly how far off the beaten trail we drove, but it added an extra hour and a half, and took our blood pressure to new highs. The back roads of Missouri wine country were lovely and could have been relaxing if we had the time.

It would have been better if we had had the energy to stop and buy a bottle of their wine to open at home.

Because nothing pairs better with road trip mania than a rousing chorus of “Oklahoma!”

(previously printed in The Kansas City Star on Saturday, April 25, 2015)





Prenatal Chiropractor Speeds up Labor and Reduces Painful Labor


Even though this is a sponsored post, all of my opinions and bad jokes are my own.

Last year when Jen, from the blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat, and I were hosting a book signing in Kansas City; I met the sunshiniest gal. Not only did this human light source make me feel better while briefly talking to her, but she told me about her job, where she can daily provide support and understanding for her patients.

PLUS, her name is Dr. Shine!! Coincidence? I think.not.

Dr. Kezia Shine, is a prenatal and womens’ health Chiropractor. As a registered nurse, I was surprised I had never heard of this specialty. However, there are several other practices in KC who do the same thing. I can only assume they don’t provide as much love and sincerity as this gal.

Align, Chiropractic Care for Babies and Mommies, was established in 2010 by Dr. Shine. This was immediately after she graduated from chiropractic school.

Prior to this career, this charismatic woman struggled to find her calling. (I sure can’t relate to this, since I change my career every ten years!) She was doing outside corporate sales and “selling pagers when pagers were cool.” But this work wasn’t satisfying.

Then she experienced the event which forever changed her life: a drunk driver hit her vehicle, causing her to fracture her pelvis. I’ve always believed that monumental changes and clarity in a person’s life came out of tragedy.

Now her practice is thriving. She partners with Dr. Brandi, who is a pediatric Chiropractor, specializing in neurosensory disorders like ADD, autism, Tourette’s Syndrome, slow developers, and kids with food sensitivities.

When I spoke with her recently, I asked Dr. Shine what her favorite part of her job was. She didn’t hesitate to say, “Hanging out with the moms. I feel like I’m giving them the VIP treatment. So many of them are emotional due to their pain, but I leave every day feeling fulfilled that I’m helping people.”

No wonder she’s so joyful. Her job sounds incredibly rewarding!

The doctor said that it is common practice for many pediatric chiropractors to treat three times a week. But she doesn’t feel this is good practice.

“Typically I see the moms following their OB appointments,” she said. “A normal appointment is 20 minutes, where I work on tissue and ligament exercises.”

Apparently, she can help the moms have “super fast labor” where their “pain is decreased. She also helps these women relieve sciatic pain and constipation and claims she can help women with infertility.

So if you are a pregnant woman or know of any woman, struggling with any of these issues, you should consider coming to her practice. I can’t promise that all of your problems will be fixed, but one thing I know is you will get tender-loving care, a good listener and a strong shoulder to cry on.

Check out Align on their website and on Facebook.

Have you ever gone to a chiropractor and/or would you consider going when you were pregnant? Also, what are your thoughts on pediatric adjustments? I’d love to discuss this!


National “I Just Want to Pee Alone” Night Out – October 16th

Grab your sitter and get ready for this Wednesday, Ladies!

October 16, 2013 all across the United States, the first annual National “I Just Want to Pee Alone” Night Out is going to kick off in a city near you.

Jen of I Just Want to Punch You in the Throat created this national event after having a great response last year to a local Ladies Night Out with many of her readers. They were talking on threads about how it is hard to get out of the house when you are a mom and sometimes harder to make new friends outside of the carpool lane. And I don’t know about you, but some of those people can be Kray-zay!! (Of course not at my kids school…NOT!)

You have to take a look at how many cities are getting together for this. My last count was 32! I think there might even be some of readers from other towns who are hosting their own party because some of the towns I didn’t recognize as where the “Pee Girls” live.

Here is the post that Jen, our fearless leader (probably because she threatens to punch folks in the neck), wrote about last year, and it includes the contributing cities.

IJWTPA National Night Out

Check if there is one close to you and join in the fun, because every woman needs to find time to get a break the routine of life, hang out with some friends, and not have anybody watch her pee from the under the next stall!

Jen and I are hosting the Kansas City one. Come join us for some cocktails and laughs!

national night out infokc
Hope you take part and if you do make it to another city event, PLEASE let me know how it went. I want the dirt!!


If you are the laughing type, you might swing by my Facebook page for spits and giggles.


Local Ronald McDonald House New Campaign One Penny at a Time

Hiya Readers!

Remember awhile back when I wrote an article for the KC Star and outed some dork from Mickey D’s drive through for stealing my penny from the Ronald McDonald House change box? You don’t? Go on and read it. I’ll wait.

Well, they contacted me and wanted me to spread the word around that they are actively trying to raise money for the RMHC of Kansas City. And they are doing it, according to them…”ONE PENNY AT A TIME!”

Right on! I only wish they guy who was stealing from these sick kids and their families, knew that he fueled a campaign in his dishonest honor. HIGH-YAH!! *just threw in one of my Karate roundhouse kicks*

So here is the deal: Coinstar (you know the machine thing at the grocery store that looks as if it would either dispense water or twenties) is partnering with RMHC of KC this month (October 2013) to collect change to build a THIRD Ronald McDonald House!

First of all, this is exciting that those in need will get a much needed facility; but it’s also tragic there’s such a great need for families to eat, shower and sleep because there are so many ill children. Makes my heart heavy and achy.

So here is the PR packet they sent since they really summed it up well and why re-write something when they said I should give this information to you. I mean really!

Oh, and you should read it cause they are offering PRIZES folks. Real prizes!!

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the school year back in session, parents look for constructive ways to get their children involved in programs that build self-esteem, teach them about helping others and start them on a lifetime of philanthropy.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City (RMHC-KC) was selected by Coinstar to be one of few locations in the country to receive a Coinstar machine at its House to encourage families, area children’s organizations, schools, church groups and others to come together to donate quarters, pennies, nickels and dimes to benefit RMHC. A penny here, a nickel there. The change can add up to help a charity make real change!

The machine will be temporarily set up in the lobby of the Ronald McDonald House at 2502 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Mo., and the public is invited to stop by any time during the month of October to deliver donations and get a tax-deductible, printed receipt from the machine. The Coinstar machine will count the coins and automatically print a receipt.

Engaging Kansas City’s youth is especially important this fall as the 32-year-old local non-profit embarks on the final public phase of its capital campaign to build a much-needed third Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City. With less than $800,000 left to raise for the total $4.5 million campaign, funds from programs such as the Coinstar machine fundraiser are earmarked to help build the third house.

Of course, good competition always helps build excitement. RMHC-KC will provide a prize to the local group who raises the most change. To enter the KC Coinstar Competition, submit a receipt from the Coinstar machine and be sure to include a name and phone number. Receipts can be entered to win at the front desk at the Ronald McDonald House near the Coinstar machine.

The prizes are as follows:

1st Place – An assembly and/or visit from the Kansas City Chief’s mascot KC Wolf and the Chiefs Cheerleaders

2nd Place – A personal visit and magic trick by Ronald McDonald himself!

3rd Place – Free ice cream cones from McDonald’s for an entire grade/class

Event Information:

The final date to deliver coins is Oct. 27. Families, youth groups and schools are invited to collect coins throughout the month of October and deliver their coins between 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 and participate in a special Halloween-themed Trunk-or-Treat event in the parking lot of Ronald McDonald House, 2502 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64108. The event includes candy, House tours, a visit from Ronald McDonald, magic tricks and more.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City
The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City is to reduce the burden of childhood illness on children and their families by providing a “home away from home” while they are receiving medical care at Kansas City-area hospitals. On any given night, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City serves 67 families. Annually, it provides lodging to nearly 5,000 families and supports more than 46,000 visits from inpatients and their families at its Family Room space within Children’s Mercy Hospital. By providing a comfortable place to stay, warm meals and other supportive services, RMHC-KC works to keep families together during a difficult time. Families staying at RMHC-KC will experience a safe, peaceful environment so they can focus on what’s most important: their child’s health.

Feel free to pass this on to your local schools, church groups, local scout troops and see if you can be the winners on this contest. This would also count as community service hours which I know is required in many school districts in the metro.

Have a great philanthropic Wednesday!


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