Shop to Give Back this Christmas

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 2.32.18 PMIt is that busy time of the year. I am making list and watching for deals online. At the same time I am continently aware that I am blessed and very grateful that I have the luxury to buy my loved ones extra at this time of the year.

We do a lot of our shopping online; mostly on Amazon. It is just easy. I get to sit in the comfort of my own home, with or without the Christmas music blasting, and get most everything done in a few hours. No crowds, lines, or cold weather. I usually get it cheaper and somebody else even carries it up to the house for me.

Amazon also makes it easy to give. With their AmazonSmile program it is even free to give.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 2.31.28 PMThis is such a cool program. And so simple. When you shop at, Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase price to a charitable organization of your choice. It doesn’t increase the price you pay but rather Amazon donates in your name when you shop through them.

You still have all the selection, same shipping options, and you use your current amazon account. You simply go to instead of

The first time you go to you will be asked which charitable organizations you wish to have your donation given to. I would ask that you consider choosing The Mercy Initiative.

The Mercy Initiative is the 501c3 that we started a few years ago to help provide health and education to vulnerable children in Africa. With The Mercy Initiative you can rest assured your money is making a difference.

Now that smile that I am so use to seeing on every Amazon box that is delivered to our door is going to make me smile.


MOJO: A Cycling Tour From Moore, OK to Joplin, MO

About two months ago Joseph started training to participate in the MOJO cycling tour. A bike ride to help bring families home that have been displaced in the tornadoes in Joplin, MO, Baxter Springs, KS, and Moore, OK.


Joseph only had six weeks to train when he signed up to do the ride. Before training the farthest he had ever rode was maybe 10 miles. He started slow and worked his way up.


I was a little uneasy when he started his training and still worried when I dropped him off the night before the ride that he was going to be able to do the 275 miles over three days. But I am proud to say he was able to do every mile and wasn’t really in too much pain.

10636194_870475149637480_3913363182879837891_nThe ride started in Moore, Oklahoma on Thursday morning. There were many news crews, a police escort, and the community at their start.

IMG_3437There were a total of 23 riders. Most riders were from Missouri but we had a few people that flew in for the ride; one riders from England and another from California.

IMG_3439 2

Joseph was sponsored by the United Methodist Conference. The conference was the second largest donor for MOJO and has been a major supporter in helping Joplin get back up and going over the past few years.

10699752_10100343918651422_7662356209358736797_o 1795340_857363390948656_586564693969800309_o

The ride took them through Baxter Springs, KS where they were able to meet one of the families that  raised funds would help get back into their homes. 63963_870475299637465_6568786616950728524_nJoseph and the others averaged 80 miles a day.


Each person burned about 8000 calories each day, this is Joseph’s dinner the first night.


One day the riders at lunch at a school along the way that was affected by the tornadoes. 10734181_870475312970797_1711488537480323502_n

While long, Joseph had a great time on the ride.
IMG_3445The last morning they were ready to start riding as the sun was coming up.

1529991_10100343962528492_93603289967389091_o 10687365_10100343769270782_4839830773499762619_o

They were followed along the road by the maintenance van that was able to help with flats and any other problems that might come about.


We were able to join up with Joseph at the end of the ride as the whole group and families gathered to celebrate and raise a glass to the riders.


I really like the statues that were made to commemorate their ride.

10465249_872680506083611_7506320304848380942_oTogether the riders have raised over $70,000. If you are interested in donating please visit





Meet Rainbow, Sunflower, and Big Red Bison

In my last post I shared about our buffalo hunt around my parents town of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. We traveled all over town finding all the fun bison, or buffalo as is most commonly called.Others2

dc8bMbgceAt lunch my fortune cookie said I was going to come up with something creative to do that day. So while I don’t believe in fortune cookies telling the future, it did make me start thinking about what I was going to do that day that was creative.

I decided it would be fun to make our own murals on a smaller version. A quick trip to Hobby Lobby resulted in small plastic bison. Eden had promised Grandma early in our trip that she would make a picture for her to take to her office; so Eden thought while this project wasn’t a picture that it would still be pretty neat in Grandma’s office. And she was quick to think of Papa and wanted to make him one as well. So we ended up getting 3 bison as she also needed to make one for herself.


During the kid’s nap I painted the bison white with craft paint.

IMG_6913Next designs were picked for each of the small murals. Eden wanted a rainbow. I drew the design for her in pencil and she used a small brush to paint in each section.

IMG_6918It took lots of patients and control for her to stay in the lines. While she painted I drew out designs for the other two.

IMG_6921We went back and forth painting on each of the bison as each color of painted was drying.


Her finished Rainbow Bison turned out pretty nice. I am very proud of the time she took to do a nice job.


The other two buffalo were a combined effort.

IMG_7119Grandma’s Sunflower Buffalo. Eden painted the green and the base of the yellow on the flower and then I put in all the detail.

IMG_7122Eden made the design decision to leave the horns their natural color and to paint the hooves to match.

IMG_7126Papa wanted a Nebraska Buffalo. Eden painted him red and I did the detail for this one too.

IMG_7128His back side has Huskers painted in the traditional Huskers script.