My Morning at Montereau

Two years ago I was trained as a Volunteer Speaker for the Alzheimer’s Association.  I am credentialed to present two formal presentations: “The Basics of Alzheimer’s Disease” and “Know the 10 Signs of ALZ.”  Both of these are 60-minutes long and have slides and videos and graphics to coordinate.

I more often give personal presentations where I kick off Walk to End Alzheimer’s teams, give our personal story, and share updates about research, caregiving, and statistics.  These are my favorite!

Maybe it taps into my inner teacher, or maybe I am simply a spotlight hound, but I LOVE being in front of a group of people, telling what I know about this heartbreaking disease, educating on the ways we can fight it, and sharing why we must have hope to end it.

This morning I was honored to speak to a fabulous group at Montereau, right here in Tulsa.

As part of their annual Active Aging Week, I was invited to talk about our journey with Alzheimer’s and explain why Coach and I work so hard to support the Walk to End ALZ.

I specifically wanted to talk about and touch upon a few things:

  • The difference in “normal forgetfulness” versus signs of ALZ
  • My method for understanding ALZ and how it attacks the brain
  • Why active, healthy aging is our only defense against ALZ…for now!
  • The importance of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

I tend to shoot from the hip and get caught up in my telling, but I think we hit all 4 issues.

At least a little 😉

And then I got enjoy my very favorite part: meeting and greeting everyone after a beautiful group picture:

We had a great morning, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to share my message and encourage support for my mission.  Thank you, Montereau!!

If you would like to schedule an ALZ presentation, a lunch-and-learn, an info night, or even just a casual “coffee and conversation” for a few friends, I would be thrilled to speak.  Or even better, the Alzheimer’s Association can send one of the much more knowledgable presenters who will knock your socks off!  Just give them a call at 800-272-3900 to get the ball rolling.

Let me know how I can help!

With love and hugs,


PS: Speaking of rolling balls, we are still working hard to obtain and surpass the fundraising goal for our 2018 Tulsa Walk to End ALZ.  If you have not yet had an opportunity, please click here to make a donation, and THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us so generously!!  Together we can – and we will – #ENDALZ!


Being the Glue

The peacekeeper, the caretaker, the hovering-nagging-pestering-maternal-figure.  Those are all me.  Those are my roles in our family.

My moms says I am the glue, which is a huge compliment!

It refers to a book that she and I read several years ago when we had the opportunity to hear author Kelly Corrigan speak:

glitter and glue cover.jpg

The story is about understanding and respecting the different roles we fill in the lives of those we love.  It’s a fairly quick read, heart-warming, and thought-provoking.  If you’ve not yet read it, I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Now, back to being the glue.

When I was 9 years old, I gained a bonus grandmother when my mom remarried.  Mema wrapped me in her love from day one.  My childhood memories are filled with visits to stay with Mema, helping her cook meal after meal, cutting patterns on her huge kitchen island as she taught me to sew, and sharing our special day – November 3rd is my birthday and her and Papa Jim’s anniversary.

She showed me how to love people for exactly who they are.  Her home was always open to all who wanted or needed to be there.  Coffee was always ready and her mystery cookies (made of oatmeal and chocolate chips and pecans and who knows what else as there was no recipe card) were always fresh made.  Her front door was a revolving door, and as a little kid, I adored seeing people come through; I loved being part of those visits.  She never shoo’ed us youngsters out of the room, she never judged, she always included everyone, and Mema beautifully modeled for me what it is to have an open heart.

She was the glue.


Mema and Papa Jim with my baby brother, Shaun – 1985.


Shaun with Mema at his high school graduation, 2003.


Mema with my Angel Girl and my SonShine, 2015.

Today, Mema will take her last breath.  The family has been called in.  Her body is tired and completely give out.  It breaks our hearts, and yet I know she is ready.  While giving so many people so much love and comfort, she has endured great physical pain over the years.  I want her to feel peace.  My hope, my wish, my prayer is that she knows how immensely she touched and taught and trained me.  That she knows how much I love and adore her and all the moments we had together.

A great many people have shaped who I am today, and Mema is right at the top of that list.

If I am the glue, it’s because I had examples like Mema to show me the way.

Thank you, Mema – I love you!

All my love and hugs until we meet again,