When you see brave, say so.

Today is Day 4 in my 100 Days to Brave journey: “Look for Brave.”

The daily assignment says, “When you see brave, say so.”

So, I’m doing just that…

By sharing the entry into my devotional journal that I am completing as I read the book:

Day 4: 12/14/18
How kismet/ironic/perfect is today’s devo?

For Maci’s scrapbook page today we revisited our cookie party from 2014…the week that her world changed in a very big, very challenging way. As I created her pages, I kept thinking how brave she has been her past 4 years.

And then I opened 100 Days to Brave and todays reading is all about people around us who are doing brave things!

Without a doubt, Maci Maree is my example of brave EVERY SINGLE DAY!

If you’ve been with me on social media for a while, you might remember this from SonShine’s senior year of high school two years ago.  At breakfast each morning before school, I display a new scrapbook page from childhood.

I started this insane tradition to prove to my child these 3 things:

  1. Although you look in the mirror and see a stressed, frazzled teenager, simply dog-paddling to keep your head above water through this senior year, here is a tiny reminder that today is just 1 day in a lifetime of days which will feel very much like a roller coaster ride that includes really high ups and rock-bottom downs, jarring twists and exhilarating twirls, as well as moments that stop your heart while simultaneously taking your breath away.  But today is just today, so don’t give it more worry nor concern than it warrants.
  2. You are loved. You are a gift. You are treasured. Since before you even arrived, when we are together in a one room or under the same roof, or when you are off chasing your dreams and living your own adventure, YOU ARE UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED AND A PRECIOUS, BLESSED GIFT THAT IT IS TREASURED BEYOND MEASURE.  Look at these pages, remember these moments, and know that you are never alone, you are never without support, you are never too old to want a hug, you are never too strong to need a hand, and you are never too far away to come back home.
  3. No one is perfect; you will struggle, you will fall behind, and you will fail. Just look at Mom…she is greatly flawed in many, many ways. On top of that, she is 18 years behind on your baby book, graduation album, and everything in between. But she will never quit, so neither should you!

Now it’s Angel Girl’s senior year, and it’s her turn to re-live her last 18 years one page, one day at a time.

As I mentioned above, today’s page takes us back to December 2014.

Talk about your roller coaster rides!!

(Click here for the play by play of that exciting, crazy time in our world.)

The detail that I didn’t write in my journal is that our family’s step forward came with great challenges for our Angel Girl. Challenges that have required – and still do require – big bravery and immense courage.  Some Many days of the past four years have been tough and rough; and yet, she just keeps going.

She has a huge servant’s heart, she is a kind and sweet soul, she’s a fantastic friend for all who give her a chance and include her in their world, she is phenomenal leader, and she has great passion for her endeavors.

She has a strong spirit, a healthy dose of spunk, and a smile to light up the world!

In her, I see brave, and I am saying so.

I love you, Angel Girl!!

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Last day of classes in the fall semester of senior year…but who’s counting??

Love and hugs,

Ashli

My New Favorite Book

I wasn’t always slated for Alzheimer’s advocacy.

In fact, back in 2008 – after watching a CSI: New York marathon on TV…for ten school days straight…and doing very, very little else – I went back to school for my master’s degree.

In 2010, I graduated from the University of North Texas with a Master of Science in Information Sciences (a.k.a., a librarian’s degree) with graduate certificates in Youth Librarianship and Storytelling.

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I chose these areas of study because I wanted to gain some expertise in something I love.

You see, I knew that Coach hoped to someday be a head football coach at the college level which provides a small, yet potentially impactful platform to create positive change in the team’s community.  And then, when I looked inside my heart and my pretend crystal ball, I saw a deep passion for children and an obsessive love for reading.

Since that decision, Alzheimer’s Disease has attacked our family.  Because we refuse to go down quietly, my public platform has taken on a life of its own.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m happy and proud and honored to shout “WE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY MUST END ALZHEIMER’S” from the rooftops every singe day.  You see, me and Coach, we are determined to help create a world without this horrific disease.

But I do still love children, I do still read obsessively, and putting it all together, I do still adore children’s books!!

Today, at Reasor’s (the Oklahoma version of HEB for all my Texas peeps), I bought my new favorite book:

Daisy-Head Mayzie by Dr. Seuss

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The title and it’s similarity to my Angel Girl, Maci, grabbed my attention.  On top of that, I could not understand how I have never heard of this Dr. Seuss tale.  Obviously, I had to have it.

And now I love it!

The story is precious, about a beautiful little girl who discovers something different about herself, has to deal with the fallout when everyone panics over her being different, and then realizes that she’s lovable and valued and proud to be herself [and grow daisies on her head] after all.

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But the main reason that it’s my new favorite is because just before bed my Coach and my Angel Girl stood by my side and looked over my shoulder while I read this book aloud to them.  No phones in the room to distract, no TV’s with which to compete, just the three of us standing in the kitchen while I read Dr. Seuss out loud.

For me, that was a perfect moment.

The icing on the cake is the historical information about Mayzie and Dr. Seuss at the end of the book…which explains why I had not ever heard of this treasure.

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The sprinkles on top of the icing on top of the cake?  I get to read it all over again.

To my SonShine!

The next time he is home 🙂

Yes, he is now 20 years old.

Yes, he’s a big, strong, rough and tough football player.

Yes, he’s an uber-busy college student.

But he’s listened to me read 100’s of books out loud, and he’s a good sport, and he’s the world’s best son, so I know – just as Coach and Angel Girl did tonight – he will indulge me with this one: my new favorite book!

Love and hugs,

Ashli

*  PS: please click here if you would like to support my efforts to #END ALZ –

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  A.

A Decrease in “I” and “Me”

This year I am serving as President for the National Charity League, Inc. Tulsa Midtown Chapter (an incredible mother-daughter organization that has blessed both my Angel Girl and myself tremendously!).

Being the obsessive reader that I am, I decided to create a “One Board, One Book” study for my executive officers to read together, one chapter at a time over the summer and fall. The book I chose is Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown.

It is a phenomenal book, and so far my greatest challenges to reading it have been 1.) to NOT highlight nor underline every single word, and 2.) to read only the chapter assigned when I really, really want to buzz right through to the end.

This month we are reading Chapter 1, ‘Scarcity: Looking Inside Our Culture of “Never Enough”‘ which oddly enough goes hand-in-hand with the fictional story I read yesterday by Cecelia AhernThe Book of Tomorrow.

If you’ve read or watched PS, I Love You, then you are familiar with this adorable and uber-talented writer and her skill for engaging and not letting go until the final page. (I also LOVE If You Could See Me Now!!)

The Book of Tomorrow is about Tamara, a teenager who can best be illustrated by Brene’ Brown’s description of how many young people are perceived today:

  • Always me, me, me
  • Thinks she’s better than everyone and is always putting other people down
  • Self-absorbed, grandiose…only interested in power, success, beauty, and being special
  • So entitled that [she believes] that [she’s] superior even when [she’s] not really contributing or achieving anything of value

But as Ms. Brown goes on to explain in Chapter 1, Tamara is acting out against the world for much more heartbreaking reasons that are “underpinned by shame.”

Brene’ cautions against diagnosing and labeling “narcissism” as such behavior on our part is “normally served with a side of contempt, anger, and judgement.”  And she reminds us that “we don’t ‘fix it’ by cutting people down to size and reminding folks of their inadequacies and smallness.”

This part of the book immediately brought to mind how Coach – the most patient human I know – is always coaching with love, respect, and encouragement.  Whereas I am wayyyy too quick to form an opinion (i.e., judge others), he is a great listener, and his delay in assuming things about people allows him to see through the insecurities and vulnerabilities that they are carrying around with them.  He is able to see the world through different eyes and from varied viewpoints, empathize, and show compassion for past experiences and challenges which opens the door to the best relationships.

Luckily, Tamara has her own Coach in Sister Ignatius, someone who sees past her defenses and hatred, someone patient and compassionate to give her time and space to grow.  And within that growth, Tamara naturally develops a decrease in “I” and “me” while learning that her actions and behavior do have consequences:

“…it obviously depended on how I lived the day when I awoke. The future hadn’t been written yet. It was still in my hands.”

I could go on and on (you probably feel as though I already have), but I’ll stop so that you can enjoy both books for yourself.  Just know that when you get to page 25 of Daring Greatly, I have personally felt each and every “Never Enough” tape listed as well as many, many more, so if you, too, feel like Brene’ Brown is speaking directly to you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS: I have to share this pic…it’s a beautiful mom and her precious daughter also reading by the pool yesterday, together and without an electronic device in sight.  It warmed my heart tremendously ❤

Spring Break 2018

Spring Break 2018 was truly a great one!

Me and Coach and the kids enjoyed a positively perfect week of relaxing family time…

We made it to Spring Training for our Houston Astros:

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We spent some quality time on the beach, which included reading:

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And practicing a little yoga:

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And, of course, playing some catch:

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We didn’t set a morning alarm for 5 straight days, and we spent the evenings playing cards, enjoying movies, and simply slowing down for a few minutes to take a deep breath and enjoy being together as a family.

Meanwhile, the Alzheimer’s Association was having quite a week itself, both in Washington as well as in Oklahoma…

  • Oklahoma HJR 2014, a resolution presented to the House by Representative Cyndi Munson and to the Senate by Senator Ervin Yen​ was passed by both the Oklahoma House and Senate declaring Alzheimer’s a Public Health Crisis in Oklahoma.  This may seem like a small step, but in actuality it’s a big leap in the right direction!
  • Oklahoma HB 2514 has been approved by the Floor Leader, Senator Greg Treat, to move to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for consideration. This is the bill that I was advocating to get passed when I spent a day at the capital in OKC.  That day we witnessed government in action as Representative Cyndi Munson and Senator Ervin Yen introduced the bill, and it passed the House vote with flying colors.  Now it will move to committee and from there to the state Senate for final vote…#VoteYESonHB2514

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  • On Tuesday, March 20th, the Alzheimer’s Association released their 2018 Facts and Figures.  This annual report is an update on where we stand in fighting this disease, and while the death toll and diagnosis rates have only gone up, knowledge is power; therefore, it is critically important that we read, understand, and share all we know…#Every65Seconds.
  • On Wednesday, March 21st, the U.S. Congress, in its final appropriations negotiations for fiscal year 2018, included a $414 million increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research in its spending plan for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and today, Friday, March 23rd, it was finalized and signed into law.  Oklahomans should be very proud of Representative Tom Cole who is a major voice on our behalf, one of our very best national advocates to #endALZ, and a driving force behind this historic budget victory.  This brings annual research funding to $1.8 billion which is knocking on the door of the $2 billion per year that scientists have said is necessary to eliminate this disease.  Please, please take 30 seconds to thank your congressional representatives for supporting this critical funding bill:  Click here to send an email of thanks.
  • Last – but certainly not least – the Alzheimer’s Association is very excited to announce that another one of our priorities — Kevin and Avonte’s Law — has been signed into law. Kevin and Avonte’s Law reauthorizes the Missing Americans Alert Program to help local law enforcement officials quickly identify people with Alzheimer’s who wander and reunite them with their families.

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If you are already receiving Alzheimer’s updates and information, I am sure you’ve been grinning at your inbox just like I have this week.  If you aren’t getting the updates, please join AIM, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement.  It involves only a $20 annual membership fee, and we need you as a member.  The greater the number who join, the clearer the message to Congress that America deserves and demands that we as a nation properly care for those living with Alzheimer’s, that we actively support their caregivers, and that we make finding treatments and then a cure a top priority.

Well, friends, I will step off my soapbox and leave you with my heartfelt hope that you, too, have had a fabulous Spring Break 2018…and maybe a few ocean outtakes 😉

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Love and hugs,

Ashli

My Home

The Montgomery crew just completed two consecutive weeks of Homecoming…the first at Angel Girl’s high school, the second at TU.

Let it be known: I LOVE HOMECOMING!!

Here is a selection of (BIG and BEAUTIFUL) mums that I have made over the years:

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Clara Belle, Uncle Shaun, and Miss K (who was crazy enough to grow up to be a [strong and amazing] football coach’s wife!)…Stephenville High School, 1996.

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Angel Girl, Bruceville-Eddy High School, 2009.

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For SonShine’s date, China Spring High School, 2012.

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We don’t leave out the boys, either…a garter for Angel Girl’s date, also 2012.

I LOVE MAKING MUMS!!

Here are a few homecoming goodie bags from over the years:

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2012

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2014

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2015

I LOVE CREATING GOODIE BAGS!!

Here are my babies attending homecoming dances:

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Angel Girl, Freshman Year, 2015.

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The gorgeous Miss C with SonShine, Junior Year, 2015.

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Two very good looking kiddos, Sophomore and Senior Years, 2016.

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Sweet B and my Angel Girl, Junior Year, 2017.

I LOVE MY BABIES!!

Here are some of my favorite homecoming victories:

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2013

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2014

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2016

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2017

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Yesterday!

I LOVE VICTORIES!!

And parades 🙂

This year I was honored to close out TU’s homecoming festivities with a session of “recovery” Yoga With Momma Monty on the football field.  Today was a perfect, crisp, sunny morning.  There was a crew cleaning the stands from yesterday’s game, a few folks were running bleachers, and a handful of alumni/employees came to practice with me.  It was both energized and peaceful in the same moment.

By definition, “yoga” means “calming the fluctuations of the mind.”  I find that incredibly valuable in a world that is overfilled with electronics, displays, beeps, words, sounds, music, lights, and stimuli in every shape and form.  Developing the ability to calm the mind is life-changing because it filters out the noise of life and refocuses on the right now.

This moment is the most important.  And once you let this moment pass, it will never be revisited nor regained.  Therefore, living in this moment, thinking in this moment, and loving in this moment is more important than I know how to explain or describe…so just trust me: it is!

Loving this moment, this place, and this life is my idea of being HOME.

When Coach asked me to marry him, when he asked me to be a coach’s wife, he said we might move around, he said we will experience be both adoration and hatred (often by the same people from week to week), and he said it would be tough at times.

He also said that as long we were together, it would be beautiful, rewarding, and fulfilling life work. TOGETHER.

When we chose to start a family, we reiterated our motto: as long as our children are safe, we can go anywhere, and together we will thrive.

We’ve embraced that mindset for 23 seasons now.

Coach is my home.

He is my shelter, he is my safe place, and he is my strength.

You can love him or detest him.  You can praise him or slander him.  You can support him, or you can choose to not.  But you – not anyone – can ever diminish him or cause me to doubt him.  Yes, he’s a brilliant, incredible football mind.  But even more so, he is patient, and he is kind.  He is emotional and loves big, in a whole-hearted kind of a way.  He is the epitome of a wonderful provider, the definition of a family leader.  He takes care of me, and he takes care of our family; he takes care of everyone in his world.  He supports me and all my crazy ideas and projects and aspirations.  He believes in me when often I don’t even believe in myself.

We love each other deeply and with great intention.

Yes, Coach is most certainly my home.

Which means that our kiddos are my decorations.  They make my life pretty!  They add sparkle and excitement and fun and flair.  They are joyful and funny, sweet and smart, fragile and strong, sturdy and delicate, rustic and elegant.  They are go-with-the-flow, low-maintenance, and easy-casual. They are high-end and high quality.  They are absolutely priceless.  They are the most blessed bonus of this life and the sweetest of icing on my cake!

Wherever are those three, my heart and my home will also be.

So, that’s my idea of home (as well as a photographic display of why I find homecoming so very fun).  I hope your home – not the walls and floors and ceilings and windows around you, but the people who create the foundation for your life…I hope they know that they are your home, just as I hope that Coach, and our SonShine and Angel Girl, know that they are mine.

One last thing to share…I’ve never done this so I hope it works.  I use Spotify to create my yoga playlists, and today’s Homecoming Yoga list turned out really well (if I do say so myself), so here it is:  YWMM – Home

Have fun listening, and have a wonderful week ahead 🙂

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS:  We have also dealt with our share of homecoming defeats.  Of course, no season is rainbows and butterflies 24/7…

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2016, 43-7 Homecoming loss to Oologah.

But one needn’t question our resolve; our love never waivers.

Struggle brings this family closer; we find ways to build one another up.  And win or lose, I could not love my Coach and my kids – my life, my love, and my home – any more fervently, any more devotedly, nor any more passionately than I do right now, in THIS moment.

xoxox,

A.

Day 18

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It is said that “sharing is caring” but I believe that to be backwards…I believe that caring about something means that you share it with others.

If you have a phenomenal dinner out, you can’t wait to tell your friends to go there, too.

If you get the best haircut (and color, of course!), you give your stylist’s info to all your friends so they can feel fabulous as well.

And if you feel called to help further a cause, a positive, uplifting, hope-building cause, you share that opportunity with the world so that they, too, may be positive, uplifting, and hope-building.  After all, the reward of gifting is in the giving!

It’s Day 2 of the Montgomery Family $10,000 Challenge, and we are on Day 18 of our Countdown to the Walk to End ALZ here in Tulsa.  Coach and I have pledged to match $10,000 in Walk donations that are given this week.  We started our campaign yesterday, which just happened to be Nana’s birthday (THE Sandra Jean for whom our family walks), and it ends on Sunday which just happens to be Grandparents Day.

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To help us reach our $10,000 goal, please take a moment today to share your Walk Page on social media:

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Your Walk Participant Center has all the tools you need, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me; I’d love to help!

If you are not a Walk Participant but would still like to help, please consider supporting our family and Team Sandra Jean by clicking one of these links to our family’s donation pages:

Coach

Me

SonShine

Angel Girl

Thank you for caring!

And thank you for sharing!!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

Voting, Believing, Investing

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  • When you are in the running for a desired role, do you vote for yourself?
  • When you tackle a task, do you believe that you will achieve your goal?
  • When you ask others to invest in you, do you, too, invest in yourself?

These seem like simple questions, but when we reflect back on these specific situations in life, [if we are being honest and true to ourselves] our answers are often, “No.”

Recently, my Angel Girl had an opportunity to be elected to something she felt she can do, and has done in the past, really well, but when it came down to casting her vote, she felt it would be arrogant to vote for herself and showed great hesitation.  In the end, she is very pleased with the outcome of the vote, and the experience led us into a great conversation and a wonderful, teachable moment that we shared.  I left her with this question for next time: If you aren’t confident in yourself, what will make others confident in you?

I am a running joke in our house.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I am the queen of new projects.  Which makes Coach the king of finishing them for me.  I always have a grand plan, a huge vision, and an overload of enthusiasm.  In the beginning.  Somewhere along the way, which is usually about 65% through the project, I either lose my focus or another fabulous, new project comes along that “needs” me more than the previously begun project.  So the first project moves to the back burner, and then I get really down on myself for not accomplishing my end goal, and then Coach jumps in to complete the undone project for me because he really, really hates to see me down on myself.  You see, my problem is that when I start something, not even I honestly believe that I will see it through to fruition.  I always circle back to this question: I think I am a quitter; therefore, I am a quitter?

So, when you set a goal to raise funds and awareness and excitement for a great cause, are you first investing in yourself?  Maybe it’s start-up capital for a business.  Maybe it’s saving money for your first car.  Maybe it’s finding a cure to a disease that is currently a death sentence.  Is the first penny in the pot your own? Let me ask you this question: How will anyone else see value in you, if you don’t see value in yourself first?

Today, which is 28 days out from our Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I challenge you to kickstart your Walk fundraising by making a donation to yourself.  Whether it be $5 or $50, your self-donation shows the world – your world – that you are actively pursuing your goal, you believe that you will achieve your goal, and you have confidence in yourself that you will do a great job along the way.

To give yourself this gift, sign in to your Participant Center at TulsaWalk.org and click on the “Donate” button.  From there you can post, tweet, and email your world to let them know that it’s GAME ON to #endALZ!!

Love and hugs,

Ashli

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The Host(ess) with the Most(est)

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The countdown is on; the big day is near.
Not sure what to do? Look here, look here!

Only 30 days left – that’s all that remain.
To throw in the towel would be such a shame. 

So follow me now.
I will show you just how,

To make your mark.
Will you, too, be at the park,

Or on a bike, or in a book?
You could even use a rook.

Maybe perhaps you’ll be set at a table.
You can do it, you can…you are really quite able.

I need your help, I need your heart.
Working together, if we all do our part,

We’ll make a world without this disease:
A world so lovely, like a soft, summer breeze.

So empower your brain, that you’re blessed is so healthy,
(And feel free to invite all your friends that are wealthy).

Plan a party, start the talk…
It’s time to gear up and go fund this Walk!

Poetry skills (or lack thereof) aside, we are officially one month away from the Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  To help us get from here to there in the most successful, most team-building, most fund-raising way possible, I (with the help of my brilliantly creative designer/assistant/niece…my precious Clara Belle) have created a 30 Day Countdown that will keep us on task to finish strong.

Day 30:  Be a host(ess) with the most(est) by planning an event to promote your Walk efforts.

This can be a quiet dinner party with a few friends or a rip-roaring backyard BBQ for everyone you know.  This can be a poker night with the guys, a Bunco night with the girls, or maybe a chess tournament for all.  This can be a Girls’ Night Out, a kids’ night in, or a guys’ trip to the ballpark.  You can organize a bike ride (bicycles and motorcycles are both a blast!)…maybe a lemonade stand with the littles, a cooking class for the moms, or a crawfish boil by the dads.  What about coffee or brunch, high tea with scones, gathering at the Botanical Gardens, your favorite museum, or a cute boutique just to browse with your besties?

The ideas are endless, and no matter what you choose, you cannot – you will not – go wrong!  Simply pick an activity that you enjoy, and invite a few [dozen?] people to join you.  Be sure to say up front that your fabulously planned, super awesome event is in support of your Walk to End ALZ efforts.  Never be shy to tell your guests that this is a fundraiser…be open and honest about your goals both financial and long-term when speaking about your passion and partnership to end ALZ.  Invite your guests to join you in every step of this Walk season:  your “pre-party” event, your fundraising campaign, and the 1.5 mile stroll that we will enjoy on September 23rd.

Dedicate yourself to being a lifelong Walker, and encourage others to do the same.

Remember…

  • People don’t know what we need or want unless we tell them.
  • Every donation – be it $5 or $5,000,000 – is a tremendous help.
  • Those we love also love to support us just as we strive to be there for them.
  • Happiness and fun are contagious, and people are happy to join in to have fun.
  • Together we can find the first survivor; we can end Alzheimer’s Disease.

Hopefully, your brain is storming, the pinballs are bouncing, and the ideas are bursting.

And you might be wondering about me, what I am doing to be a host(ess) with the most(est)…

Well, I am equally parts excited and terrified to invite you all to Yoga with Momma Monty in Centennial Park on Saturday, September 2nd from 9:30-11 am.

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This donation-based class is my first time to teach yoga publicly.  I usually lead my football boys and my coaches’ wives in practice, and as I recently shared on social media, my normal classes cause minimal anxiety as I know those people already love me (or at least they are already stuck with me).  This is much different, potentially much larger, and it is certainly a much bigger test of my skills as a yoga instructor.  But this will also be a ton of fun and is totally worth the worry.  Yoga with Momma Monty in the park is open to any level of fitness, all ages, everyone is invited, and I hope many will come!

Coach, SonShine, Angel Girl, and I will be setting up tables to help guests register for the Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s, donate to TEAM SANDRA JEAN, purchase t-shirts for our 3rd Annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Game vs New Mexico, and pick up general information about services and programs offered by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (and which are free to the more than 63,000 Oklahomans fighting ALZ and the more than 230,000 unpaid caregivers in OK who struggle and suffer alongside them).

We will also provide ice cold water, so all you need to bring is a towel or mat, your family and friends, and your checkbook 😉

I’d love to see you there, and I would especially love to hear about your special event or dinner or ride or tournament or gathering to meet my Day 30 challenge to launch your Walk season by becoming a host(ess) with the most(est)!!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

Walk Wednesday: WALK THIS WAY!

I haven’t written a “Walk Wednesday” blog in a while, and I have consciously tried to give you all a tiny break from me after spending all of June beating everyone over the head with my Kickoff Carnival fun…

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And as you can see above, it was a ton of fun.

BUT, now it is time to get in gear, so I am holding no punches back, putting my bossy pants on, and telling you EXACTLY what I need for YOU to do:

  1. Click right here:  TEAM SANDRA JEAN
  2. Scroll half way down the page and click the golden “Join Our Team” button
  3. JOIN TEAM SANDRA JEAN

That’s it, folks.

That is all I am asking.

For today.

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS: There is no cost to join our team (or start your own), you can join the team even if you are not able to attend our Walk in Tulsa on September 23rd, and all fundraising efforts are optional and totally up to you.  We – Coach, Cannon, Maci, and I – simply want you on our team.  We want your partnership.  And we want TEAM SANDRA JEAN to be a force to be reckoned with as we fight for a world without Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Taking AIM

I often get the question, “Is there anything I can do?” when I share my work to end Alzheimer’s Disease. Yes, there is: take AIM.

AIM stands for Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and it is the Alzheimer’s Association political action campaign partner. Officially from the AIM website:

AIM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization working in strategic partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association to make Alzheimer’s a national priority. AIM is a membership organization and we ask you to join us! The annual membership fee is $20.

Members have access to member exclusive benefits and opportunities, and only members may contribute to AIMPAC. AIM relies on the support of its members to advance the Alzheimer’s agenda in Washington.

I am a number’s gal, and I firmly believe there is strength in numbers.  Let me put it to you straight: we need bigger numbers (which means more members).  The beauty of AIM is that for a political organization, it is actually – at least in my mind – very non-political.  Because Alzheimer’s Disease does not discriminate in any way, form, or fashion, it is the definition of apolitical.  In other words, the fight to #ENDALZ reaches every single person on capital hill, it reaches across party lines, and it does not care about one’s race, or sex, or age.

Beating Alzheimer’s is one – maybe the only one – issue that everyone can agree must be a priority.  Best of all, our elected officials (from all parties) see that importance.  Their struggle comes in with time.  There are only so many hours in a day, in a week, and in a legislative session; the senate and congress depend upon us to know how to fight this truly atrocious disease.

That is where AIM, with a strong membership core made up of hundreds of thousands of Americans, comes in.  The greater our numbers, the more influential our voice.  As a collective group, AIM presents bills, research needs, and battle plans to legislators.  Because AIM partners with the Alzheimer’s Association and gathers “intel” from all over the world, they are the most knowledgeable voice for what needs to be done.  By joining AIM for $20 per year, you are speaking directly to your elected officials.

Just this week I had the opportunity to meet with an amazing, smart, savvy, and precious (I’m sure “precious” is not how she wants to be described, but it is true) legislative assistant for one of my Oklahoma senators.  My big “ah ha” take away from our conversation is that Senator Inhofe oftentimes has challenges getting other senators to support Alzheimer’s funding and programs because of the time it takes to see results.  In fact, Jennifer mentioned that if it takes longer than 10 years to see a dollar’s return on investment, politicians are hesitant to support spending that dollar in that particular way.  This is because they want/need to show their constituents progress today, not in 15-25 years (isn’t that just the world we live in…instant success, immediate gratification, and all that now, now, now junk…grrrrr).

Here’s the truth:  it WILL take 15-25 years for us to find a treatment so that people can live a normal, healthy life with Alzheimer’s Disease.  It might take 50+ years to find a cure.  This disease is that much of a monster.  BUT…if we don’t fund the science now to start that timeline, in the future we will regret having not started much earlier.  By building AIM, we prove to our elected officials that we want them to make those tough, long-term decisions and that we support them for supporting the battle to beat and end ALZ.

When I was in Orlando for the Alzheimer’s Association Summit this past January, one of the presenting doctors made a profound statement:  “We are all going to die, that’s a fact. I want to die of something else, with my memories intact.”  To that I say, “ME TOO!!”  But to make that an option in my future – in your future – we must come together today.

Please use this link to place your $20 annual AIM membership:

https://www.alzimpact.org/join/join_aim/code/ba7df2e558/method/link

I usually don’t ask this, but please also share this post via email to your family and friends, a retweet, or posting it on your Facebook wall.  This small step in fighting Alzheimer’s is critical, and this is how you can help.

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS:  In 50 years, my beautiful Angel Girl will be 66 years old.  Right now 1 in 10 Americans age 65 and over have Alzheimer’s.  2/3 of those are women.  Those statistics are only getting worse.  I really, really want that cure to be ready when she needs it!