I Get It Now

It was said more than once last week: The volunteers get just as much, if not more out of this week than the campers do.

I believe it.

It’s been a few days since the lights dimmed and the equipment was stored and we all said “See ya real soon!” and in the moments between the moments that were chock full of “holyhell I need to ________” came the idea of how amazing it really is to give back.

I wasn’t raised in a culture of volunteering, per se.

My parents were educators. They worked day in and day out just to make ends meet so that I could have all the voice lessons and dance lessons and dramatics that we could manage. So this wasn’t something I was raised to actively seek out. I quit Girl Scouts early on. I was involved in church, but there wasn’t any outreach involved in my youth group. (or maybe there was and I didn’t participate, I can’t remember)

But I have always had the want and the desire to help, to give. It’s the nurturer in me.

Mark and I have these conversations all the time. He has volunteered all of his life. He spent years at the Science Museum, guiding, cleaning, fixing things here and there. He was a Big Brother at one point and worked with kids in another recovery group.

I love this about him. It is this spot that he and I crossover. We have the same outlook for our life.

Last week, my first consecutive Monday-Friday I’ve ever taken off work at GS (I parse out my pto as much as possible, and this time I just said, SORRY NOT SORRY!) not once did I mourn the loss of vacation time.

It. Felt. Good.

It does, doesn’t it?

It feels good to think about something other than yourself for some consecutive hours. It feels good to worry about a project bigger than your  work problems, hangover problems, relationship problems.

When the lens turns and focuses on what you can do to create change in another life it gives not only perspective, but fuels another piece that personally I haven’t had fired up in awhile.

It feels really good, ya’ll.

You know what else feels good?

Seeing a completely different world on my social media. I have over 20 new friends, IRL and online and being able to see what they think about life, how they reflect that in that space is just so refreshing.

My world grew bigger.

My heart grew fuller.

I have a passion for empowering girls. I have a passion for supporting women. I have a passion for spreading joy and kindness.

What’s your passion?

Thumbs Up Everybody For Rock & Roll

rcgokcAnd just like that…Rock Camp For Girls OKC is over…is finished…is behind us for another year. You can see that I’m still struggling with words to describe it.

It’s not over.

The music lives on, the experience and the love and the frustrations and the snappy comebacks and the hysterical laughing over salsa and the tears of awakening and the energy passed back and forth…that continues. It is energy. It lives on.

It’s not finished.

We learned that just because our daily schedule is different starting today, that doesn’t mean the work is finished. We must still lift each other up. We must still encourage creativity and expression in each other. We must be courageous and strong and if we cannot be that for ourselves, we must supply it for our brothers and sisters on this earth, lifting them up when they are in need. We must continue to teach our girls that they can DO ANYTHING THEY WANT TO DO.


I remember when I was young, I would go to Falls Creek for a week in the summer.

I was a young white Baptist girl in Oklahoma. That’s what we did.

I know the illusion is that girls go there to hook up with boys, but I never did. Likely because I wasn’t filled with empowerment from a week a Rock Camp, but that’s a whole other story.

I would come back filled to the brim with hope.

Hope for this world, hope for my own journey, hope for my tiny (at the time) little community of friends. I was filled with hope that by loving hard, loving freely, walking in faith that the world was good and right, that by expressing joy and kindness and generosity to those that need it I could help change this world for the better. We called it a Mountain Top High due to the location of the camp. We were filled with love and light and joy and we would come back and tell everyone about it Sunday night at church and our stories would be received by the congregation not as stories from children who ran around trying to get kisses, but from humans who understood the purpose of this thing called life.

Be kind.

Be joyous.

Love one another.

Give help when it is needed.

Receive help when it is given.


One day while I was taking a quick little break  hiding in the bathroom during band practice, (on account of it sounded a little like cats being put into a blender and I understood fully the need for nerve pills,) I thought what the hell am I doing here?

My temper is short. I don’t have anything to give these girls except for NO and STOP THAT today. I can’t teach music but I know what is happening needs guidance. They really should have someone better suited to this volunteering here.

Once that box of crap was open in my brain the parade began -fully equipped with fire batons and marching bands playing out of tune. Ugh.

And because I was taking a break  hiding in the bathroom I looked up and read some of the messages on the MY BODY IS poster on the wall.

I could see in these girl written letters the words



tall and clumsy at times but i am good.

I’m starting to like it!

and I thought, maybe I’m not here right this minute to give…but to receive. So I took a few more deep breaths and rejoined my band and Kensey our music coach had worked some magic and there was progress.

But there was also teamwork. There was collaboration even on the most micro of levels. And I could see that clearly. It was humbling and glorious.


Yesterday at our showcase Carter announced our band, The Black Roses, and I thought I might just throw up right there from the nerves. Our singer looked at me with such dread in her eyes. Pleading silently:

I will give you one go-jillion dollars and this effing glow stick if you don’t make me go up there. 

So I just turned my head and walked to the center of the pit and gave them all a thumbs up and prayed so hard: Please Let Them Do This. Please Let Them Do This. Please Let Them Do This.

I didn’t pray for them to be good, to get the notes or the tempo, I didn’t even care. I just wanted them to do it and to know that they could do it.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.–Eleanor Roosevelt

This was one of those moments. For the band. For me, their manager. For their music coach.

Breathe in.

They started the song and it was good!

Then we got to that pivotal point and our fierce little drummer (who in reality is about 432 years old in an 8 year old body) hit her sticks and counted down



Every instrument came in, the music was together, the tempo was together, our singer rocked it out

and I buckled.

Spontaneous emoting.

In one second I was recording them on my phone and in the next I was ugly-cry-snot-sobbing with a range of emotion that came from so far away it could have high fived Christmas.

I had my hand over my face so as not to scare the children,and I was soaking wet with tears and just dancing and laughing and I am one thousand percent sure that I could have been mistaken for someone having a mental breakdown. I reminded myself that PARENTS ARE WATCHING GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER and wiped my face on my Bea Arthur kimono I was wearing and tried to get my shit together.

I was still huh-uh-huh-ing when Carter announced the next band.


That was some amazing thing I saw on that stage.


And now they KNOW that they can do it.

Push through fear. I mean, that is a life skill that we ALWAYS NEED.

They met new people and formed a group and wrote a song and learned an instrument in one week.

What might they be able to do for this world?


I’ve spent most of the day in bed.

We left the house only to find food around 2pm today and then I came back and slept until 6pm.

I’ve been stalking social media, looking for posts from my fellow volunteers, looking at photos from the week, just to keep a little bit close to me, remembering and communicating with my new friends.

There is so much more to tell you. But I worked myself up into a cry writing about The Black Roses and now I need to drink-your-juice-Shelby.

I’ve looked at the world news enough to know that more bad things have happened today.

It isn’t finished.

There is still work to be done.

Continue riding the Rock Camp High, sharing love, lifting each other up, high fives all around.

Monday is a few hours away, but we are all marching towards it with an arsenal of awesome, a spirit chock full of love and we are ready to rock.

We feel happy of ourselves.

Thumbs up, everybody! For ROCK AND ROLL!

Affirmations of Awesome and a Little Bit of Reba

I didn’t write yesterday because by the time I got home I couldn’t really type.

Holly and I gave our body image workshop and we had some amazing conversations with girls and the energy at camp was life sustaining.

I’ll say that again.

The energy at camp yesterday was LIFE SUSTAINING.

It was so much that I had to take about 20 minutes in the Reba McEntire Room of Self Reflection.

That is a real thing. IMG_2003

A volunteers only space, with white walls, a private bathroom, a fan and a comfy bed.

Reset. Recharge. Peace Out.

I don’t know why every place doesn’t have a Reba Room. Because DUH.

We moved our after camp meeting since the space was being used by the local PFLAG chapter last night. We walked around the block to Sauced and had some drinks and a meeting there.

It was one of those days that needed a few drinks afterwards.

But then I came home and I just unzipped and let it all pour out onto Mark. We sat on the porch and talked and laughed and I wept. We both wept. For this world that these girls are living in. For the beauty that they bring to it. For the strength and power that is flowing back and forth between them as they all experience brand new, scary things.

They are in a band with girls they never knew until Monday, most of them playing instruments they’ve never played until Monday, writing songs, participating in workshops, sharing safe space for emotions and conversations and NONE OF THIS HAPPENED BEFORE MONDAY YA’LL!

On the volunteer side, there is the same power and strength binding each of us together. There are high fives and hugs and affirmations and you may think it sounds like a bunch of hokey bunk but I am here to tell you right now, I don’t remember a week when I felt better about myself.

Today we were all really super tired. It was an energy hangover. I personally felt horrible until about 2pm. Just struggling. Campers were tired. Volunteers were tired. We drank so much coffee we were nauseous.

I spent more time with Reba today. Many of us did.

We have had two days of body image workshopping.

Today was a mofo. It was heavy. We were raw. Girls and volunteers alike. We stood together, in vulnerability and said to each other, to each girl

It’s OK.

You’re Beautiful. I am beautiful.

I am not a description.

I am my own body goals.

Tears streamed and tissues were passed and yet we forged on. Pushing past the uncomfortable and sharing and supporting.

As she raised her hand and said, “they called me fat” I looked into her eyes and recognized 8 year old Misti.

As she raised her hand and confessed to feeling worthless I looked into her eyes and saw 15 year old Misti.

And as she spoke of diet pills and flappy arms and feeling as if the outside was more important than the inside for so so long, I looked into her eyes and saw myself.

At 25. At 35. At 45.

I don’t know what would have changed for me, for my journey that has been riddled with body image and self esteem issues, had I gone to a camp like this. I don’t know if I would have been the girl who quit eating anything but saltines and water and Dexatrim and Phenteramene for the two weeks leading up to prom. I don’t know if I would have been stronger in the face of rejection or if I wouldn’t have wrapped my self worth in a relationship.

The past three days have been chock full of love, and awesome and support and affirmations. The week isn’t over.

So I don’t know what my story would look like had I been to Rock Camp For Girls OKC… but I do know something would have changed.

Because once you see something, you cannot unsee it.

You cannot un-hear it.

You cannot un-feel it.



You are Beautiful in every single way.

You are not a description.

You are the boss of your own body goals.

You are amazing and strong and fierce and powerful and loud and important and


You don’t even need a Reba Room to reflect on that.

*but it doesn’t hurt




I Wrote A Rap.

Day one of Rock Camp is in the books.

Today was Make New Friends Monday.

I made some new friends.

I got to be part of the Skit Players and we did some improv on behaviors in a group. That did not suck. I’ll get to do that every morning!

I listed to some seriously cool women do a workshop on more seriously cool women in Rock. I have so many new people to look up and listen to.

We formed 10 new bands.


I’m a Band Manager. Which really means I get to help keep us on track, be support staff for our Band Counselor (the one with the music knowledge who steers the ship) and be all around cheerleader. I dig it.

My band is *as of today called the Whatevers. or just Whatever. They are all Flats (8-11 yrs) the Sharps (12-17) are all divided into their own bands. Flats & Sharps. I giggle at how delightful the whole thing is.


A for real, legit camp song that includes a rap.


I should be more tired than I actually am. I did drive home in complete silence…because 50 campers are like WOAH for 8 hours. On my way home I hit the store for my workshop supplies, came home and threw together a quick pizza and salad dinner, debriefed with Mark and started putting the finishing touches on tomorrow’s workshop. I’ve got to get there extra early tomorrow to set up our mongo coffee machine.

Camp staff needs coffee. ALL DAY LONG.

I’m still processing the day, but I will tell you this:

Girls Rock.


Make New Friends Monday was not a lie.




Get Ready To Rock.

I’ve been waiting for what I deemed the perfect time to start writing here again.

It makes sense, what with the tumult that we are all living in. Watching the vitriol play out between friends, between family members on social media. Watching, shaking our heads wondering “How could they THINK THAT?” Watching and holding our broken hearts wondering, “How will we ever heal?”

And I too am broken, and shocked and painfully aware of our differences more than our connections these days.

But I’m not diving into that muck and mire. My husband and I discuss, my friends and I have conversations face to face. I’m not putting any of that here.

For now.

What I’m here to talk about is what is happening in my life at present.

I’m sitting at my dining room table, sipping our second pot of coffee, working on my Self Esteem Workshop I’ll be presenting on Tuesday, and reminding myself every time my brain goes into Weekend Mourning Mode that I’m OFF NEXT WEEK and not only am I not at work but I get to surround myself with women whose only focus is to empower girls through music, through conversation, through connection. We have the opportunity to spend time with girls, 50 of them, everyday this next week and tell them that they are amazing. We get to tell them that it gets better. We get to show them the beauty of a community. And I promise you this friends, my soul needs this week more than it needs a week in the mountains.

The Rock & Roll Camp for Girls OKC began last year and my best good Holly and I nosed our way in after  Carter Sampson played a house concert here at Casa McClellan.  Carter is beyond awesome. Don’t know her? Go here. Listen. Enjoy the wonder.  She is the founder and has accrued a phenomenal group of women, board members, supporters and together they have raised the flag and we are launching year two tomorrow. But back to last year. Holly and I led an anti-bullying workshop for half a day last year and we both left saying, “next year, I’m all in.” Once applications were open for volunteers (I may or may not have had that date set on my Outlook calendar) we both sent in our info and waited with bated breath.

That time is now. We have both taken the week off, using our vacation time at work, and we get to spend the week basking in the glory of girl power. I’m looking forward to meeting my co-rockers, making new friends and soaking up the love. I think the world needs not only to know that we have strong awesome girls that are growing into strong awesome women, but that the power of art and music and connection is far greater than a passive-aggressive facebook meme.

I know I could use a little healing right now, so I thought you might as well.

I’ll be writing throughout the week, and I encourage you if you are local to buy tickets, support this organization and come to our concert on Saturday. It’s going to be amazing. grc

Girls Rock.



The John Morgan Scholarship; or What The Hell Are You Doing With That Five Bucks Anyway?

I’ve been working on a plan for sometime now to get John’s scholarship funded. We’re so close, ya’ll. Over half way there.


We said so long to John  it seems–years ago and minutes ago.

johnI keep going over memories and stories and photos, wondering what the best way is to make this ask, to say, “Please help me honor this man that I loved so deeply. Please help me honor this friend who touched our lives so profoundly. Please help me continue his legacy of his love for words” 1533813_10203198128055464_1314524976_n

I have a donor who will match your gift up to $100.

I will also match your gift up to $100

I think if we all threw in $20 or so, we could get this thing up and running in time to designate and award next year.

1554513_10203201111450047_898786613_nNext year is the 100th anniversary of the USAO Alumni Association and wouldn’t it be lovely for the first John Morgan Scholarship to be awarded during that homecoming weekend? 1549463_10203518478112185_1326097273_n

Say yes.

Say yes to John, and his goofy grin.

Say yes to education, and to a student who needs financial support.

Say yes to USAO, this place that for a moment in time held us all in the palm of it’s hands and created magical friendships.

Say yes.

On this Father’s Day, help me to honor the life of my friend, my soul connection, and the greatest man who could fart on command that I ever knew. 10155766_10203518483112310_432493943_n

If you want to send a check please mail to

USAO Alumni Association
1727 W. Alabama
Chickasha, OK 73018
Designate the
Johnny Lee Morgan, Sr. Scholarship

Or on-line:

Designate the
Johnny Lee Morgan, Sr. Scholarship



Good for the Soul

We took ourselves a mini-break to Colorado this past weekend. Unbeknownst to us it would land on the playoff game between Denver and New England. It didn’t really hinder us in any way, we spent our downtown day on Saturday, before the mayhem.

Everyone kept asking why we were there and our answer was as vague as we could be.

Because really, there wasn’t much purpose. We just wanted to get away. The flights were too cheap not to go. We have friends and nephews in that area and I’ve never been on a winter vacation before. Nor have I been to Colorado and stayed in a hotel before.

It was quite lovely, to have no set agenda. We sat across tables from the likes of Haley and Whitney and saw our nephew Jordan. We made new friends in Joe and laughed and laughed and told stories and laughed more. We saw the sights. We spent time in Boulder, finding delicious breakfasts and coffees. We walked around neighborhoods. We drove up through the mountains to Estes and over to Loveland and Ft. Collins and Longmont. We went to some breweries and had delicious beers.

I had been dry since January 1, and lordahmercy it tasted good! But we didn’t go nuts.

It was the first time Mark and I have ever flown together, and I loved it. We travel so well together, very in sync. He read a book, I watched The Intern on the flight there and The Spy on the way back. EasyPeezy. He really is my favorite person in the world.

It made all the difference knowing our livestock and home were in the care of Alex. Knowing that she would take great care and love all of it as if it were her own, I can’t even tell you what peace of mind that gives us.

I didn’t do too horribly counting my points either. I went back to Weight Watchers this month and got off to a really great start, but I have little faith to see a loss at weigh in tomorrow. I’m ok with that. This whole Beyond The Scale thing is working for me. #NSV non scale victories are something I’m paying attention to and whatever weigh in looks like tomorrow, it’ll be better next week. Flying makes the body do crazy things, so I’m going in with a clear head. But it was nice to be able to do a vacation and pay attention without it making me crazy, or feeling like I was missing out on the fun food adventures. That in itself was a giant #nsv.

Our flight was delayed a bit this afternoon but we still got home in time for me to get the groceries purchases and meal plans for the week, fresh sheets on the bed and a really good walk with Winnie in the cold. Getting those steps in no matter what! I can feel my brain trying to go to work, cookies are around the corner and there is much to be done…and I’m pulling it back…savoring the final moments of this trip. This was our last reprieve before Cookie Season  for me, a busy February with him hitting Folk Alliance in KCMO, and our anniversary to boot. Before we know it we’ll be boarding a plane and heading to DC in April.

It’s a full life, but a happy one. I made so many mental notes of #NSV moments as well as those really quality “this is our life” moments on this trip…it’s so easy to get so damn busy that we forget about it. We turn another page in the calendar and just zoom through it all.

It’s important to make it count. Make it all count.

That’s exactly what we did this weekend.