News Releases

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thank a veteran this Veterans Day!

My daughter,Graci when she was  in kindergarten
 at a Veterans Day ceremony at her school
Veterans Day is a day to celebrate all who have served in the armed forces. Veterans are the ones who have given their lives for us to be free. Sometimes we take for granted what veterans have done and are doing for us. It’s easy to do because we are not there.
I haven’t lived it, but I listen to others and hear their stories like the 7-year-old little girl whose dad just came back from Iraq and she missed him so much she hoped he could stay home and work down the street at Publix, so she could see him every day. Or the lady who sat in front of my family in church for months pregnant while her husband was serving overseas and he missed the birth of his baby. Or a friend’s daughter who graduated from high school and her dad was in another country fighting for our country and didn’t see her graduate. Or the family with three kids under the age of 6 who don’t have a mom because she was killed in action while she was serving overseas.
Those are just a few stories ... there are so many more. What’s amazing is these men and women fighting for us give up their daily lives and some pay the ultimate sacrifice with their life.
We should be thankful and honor our veterans. I am blessed to have a family full of veterans and I am thankful for their service. My dad was in the Army. His dad, my grandfather, was one of the youngest pilots in World War II and the Korean War. My father-in-law retired from the military after serving more than 20 years as a lieutenant colonel in the Army. My brother-in-law was also in the Army and served two tours in Iraq. My husband’s grandfather also served. I have great respect for our military and their families.
As a mom and a wife, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a husband or a son or daughter in combat. I know talking to my mother-in-law it was hard not knowing whether or not you are going to get that dreadful knock on the door informing you your loved one was killed in action.
I am glad for Veterans Day celebrations to remind us of these sacrifices our veterans have made. It’s important to bring our children to these ceremonies and talk about what it means to be a veteran.
As we celebrate Veterans Day I think it’s so important to thank our veterans for what they have done for our country. We are free because of the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe. So, here’s to all our veterans ... thank you!!!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Words can be as sharp as a sword

You've heard the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." As a kid when someone would say something mean I remember saying that to them to try and brush off what they had just said. Words may not physically give you a broken arm or leg, but they can do so much more damage to us mentally. I think the reason words today can be even more hurtful is because of the social media aspect that comes into play. Now not only are words spoken, but they are written and can never be erased, as digital footprints can last forever.

For the past year my daughter who is in middle school has been harassed by another girl in her class. The student likes to make fun of her. She talks about her looks and her smile and just about anything she can think of. The girl goes out of her way to be mean. My daughter told me about it at the end of last year and I kind of brushed it off. My daughter has good self confidence, so she knows it's not true and has continued to take it this year and would laugh it off. My daughter isn't one to be mean back and hates for kids to get in trouble, so she didn't want to say anything. After talking to a friend about the situation, I finally realized I needed to do something. I wasn't doing what was right for my daughter and there could be other students getting harassed by this child.

Even though physically my daughter wasn't being hurt, after awhile kids can only take so much. I talked to the school about the situation. My daughter is fine, and the other child was talked to, so I am hoping the situation is resolved.

What's interesting is in the past few days I have heard the message about how words can be like a sword, they do hurt and can cause damage mentally. This past month my pastor's sermon in church has been about how our tongue is one of the most powerful weapons. They can do good, but they can also do harm, and we need to be careful how we use our words. Also, in my daughter's health class they have been talking about bullying and how words hurt.

October is National Bullying Awareness month and as parents we need to talk to our kids and remind them just how much what they say can do for both good and bad and tell them to think before speaking mean things to others. If our child is being bullied they need to let us know and as parents, we should handle it right away. I know I learned a lesson and I am also am teaching my daughter to stick up for herself more. I should have done something sooner. I am fortunate the situation didn't get of control. Our kids can be nice but shouldn't be taken advantage of. If you want to learn more about more about prevention of bullying and how kids can identify bullying and stand up to it safely, go to

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Seminole Post Office Goes Above and Beyond in Service

Graci sending out her first care package for Operation: Miltiary
Matters in January 2016 at the Seminole Post Office.

I never use to think the post office was a place where you could go to meet people so many nice people, but it is. It’s not too often you hear about postal employees going above and beyond and being extraordinarily nice, so when it happens it’s worth writing about. That’s why I must let you know about our post office at the City of Seminole. They are a wonderful group of people and I believe it stems from their Postmaster Theresa Painter.  

I am in there quite a bit with my 12-year-old daughter, Graci, helping her mail hundreds of care packages to the military overseas with her nonprofit Operation: Military Matters.  

We have been doing this for more than two and a half years now, so the clerks and postmaster know us by name. But they don’t just know us by name, I notice them calling others by name too. Sometimes it reminds me of the 1980’s television sitcom “Cheers” with the theme song “Where everybody knows your name.”

So many people these days think if it’s not in my job description, I don’t have to do it, so I won’t. That’s not the case when I go to the post office. They go out of their way to help. Sometimes I have a bunch of packages to load into the cart and the clerks are right there asking us if we need help.  

It’s not just us though. The other day I was there checking my P.O. box right about the time the post office was closing. There was a man was walking in at 5:01 p.m. He needed a check mailed and needed an envelope to mail it in and was pleading to be able to mail the check. The clerk said ok and he even helped him get an envelope. I know he didn’t have to do that, but I am sure it made that man’s day.  

When the employees are nice, it makes for nice customers. I can’t tell you how many times I have met wonderful people at the post office. It’s not that I am talking to everyone when I go there, they just seem to talk to me or overhear my conversation and start talking. One day I was there and met a lady who was mailing a package to someone overseas and I told her about my daughter's nonprofit and that she would mail a package also if she wanted. The lady ended up telling us how she and her husband are Mr. and Mrs. Claus during the holidays and deliver toys to the kids who have parents in the military. She gave me her number and it was a wonderful connection.

Another time, I met a nice young man who was in line, who was in a wheelchair and started talking to me about how he got hurt playing soccer years ago and caused brain injury to him. He just brightened my day by just being so pleasant.

I’ve met others who have given me their business cards to help with my daughter’s nonprofit and others who have just given us money to help mail a package while we are there. We’ve also been able to send care packages overseas to friends of people we’ve met while in line.

Next time there’s a line at the post office and you are waiting, strike up a conversation or at least say hello to the person you’re in line next to and if you get a worker who is a veteran (most of them are) thank them for their service to our country.   You never know how you might just brighten their day and make your trip to the post office worthwhile experience.