If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to thrive, no one can stop you!

Home Sweet Homecoming

Wow!!! What a FUN day!! Seriously, one of the best days ever!! It was AMAZING riding in the parade!! Loved seeing all my friend’s faces!! Big thanks to Student Council for choosing me to be Grand Marshall!

Great win tonight for our ESHS Tiger Football team!! They are having a great season and are bringing much excitement to our community with their wins!!


Sherry Ballinger totally saved the day and drove us in her awesome Corvette convertible! ❤️ Photo thanks to Rosie Smith Goetz 


This morning when I left the house this was the view I had looking up! Ask my family and they will tell you I am obsessed with the sky. This is true, because look at these clouds!! Amazing!!


Here’s where I work, at the school district’s central office. When I was a kid, this was a bank. I may have really just wanted to take another picture of the sky. 



All morning I sold alumni t-shirts to alums. Overall, we sold over 50 shirts today! 🎉


This afternoon I went home for a bit and admired the view of the boulevard Mackenzie will have in her new bedroom!


On our way to the parade Mr Grasshopper stopped by to wish us a Happy Homecoming!


Love living here in Excelsior Springs on Elms Boulevard 


The streets were filled with people, given the amazing weather we have been having.


Our admins!! Love them and their amazing leadership!! 


Staging location for the parade!


Our ESHS Tiger Cheerleaders! They do a great job bringing spirit to our games each week!! 


Our amazing Excelsior Springs Band!! 



Our ESHS Tiger Football Seniors! Congrats on your win tonight! 🏈


We love getting our picture taken with the ES Tiger! 


Here’s our band again!! 


Woo Hoo!! Loved having my family with me!! After we were done I asked Sherry to drive me around so I could do it again 


Prettiest porch and the prettiest girl 💗


Loved having the students from ES Job Corps to lead us


Stopped by Mr Harlan‘s room and he helped me print some alumni sign ups. He has a nice view of the ball fields from the choir room. 🎶


We had a steady stream of alums drop by the alumni tailgate before the game!


Dinner was provided thanks to the Gregg Williams Foundation


Burgers and dogs makes for a great Tailgate! 🏈


Within the first five minutes of the game the Tigers had a touchdown! 


Our ESHS Band students are some really great kids. They put a smile on my face each time I see them. 


The stands were full on this beautiful night in Tiger Stadium!


The student spirit section!



Our ESHS Tiger Football team watching from the sidelines


Thanks to all who come out to support our Tigers!



Our Tigerettes! 🎉













A Day in the Life

Follow as I take you along, on a day in the life of Courtney Cole…

I love mornings on the boulevard, when the Sun is in the East and warms everything up with its radiating presence. This is what greets me while walking Mackenzie to school.

Meeting with a good friend at the Elms to discuss internship possibilities for our students at the Career Center. The Elms is a wonderful partner for our school district. We appreciate them being open to possibilities in giving students real world experience!

I obviously couldn’t get enough of this amazing fountain in front of the hotel. With the Sun behind it in the mornings, it’s beautiful.

My next stop was to Spirit Pack, where I got to see the last of the three orders I placed for Homecoming come off the line, ready for packaging.

Recently I organized t-shirt sales for Mackenzie’s elementary school, the alumni association, and the educational foundation.

Spirit Pack is a local shop that offers promotional materials to market your business or organization. It’s nice having them in town but they actually do business across the nation.

Quick stop at Aunt Molly’s to talk Budding Artists. Aunt Molly offers painting workshops to kiddos every Wednesday evening. She donates 20% of the proceeds back to our Educational Foundation! So grateful!

Couldn’t resist taking a pic of these cute Halloween creatures in Aunt Molly’s studio. So fun and she’s got a bunch of cute stuff right now for Fall.

I don’t know the names of any of the pictures of flowers that I take for you. I also don’t have a green thumb. In fact, I’m known in the plant community as the “plant killer.” I still appreciate their beauty and am drawn to want to photograph them. 😊

'm a board member of SAFE Community, which is a local committee whose goal is to prevent drug addiction and destructive decisions in our kids. I took this to share with our local community.

I run a Facebook group for Excelsior and try to keep them updated on what's going on. Let me know if you want me to put you in. 🙂

Picked up the alumni t-shirts that are ready just in time for Homecoming tomorrow! Spent the afternoon sorting and selling shirts to alums who dropped in to get their orders.

Tomorrow we are having an alumni tailgate, before the Homecoming game. I’m going to be signing folks up for the alumni association. Anyone who donates $20 or more to the Foundation will be recognized as a founding member! This will provide us with seed money to get our association started. So exciting!

This evening we walked down to Wabash BBQ and met my parents for dinner. Couldn’t resist taking a photo of the hotel, though. My castle at the end of the street.

I had the Golden Spike chicken sandwich at Wabash and have determined it’s the best chicken sandwich in Excelsior, for sure.

Stables at the Elms. When my Aunt Molly was growing up, her job was at the stables, taking care of the horses. She had a horse that she rode everywhere she went and at night she would tie him up on the boulevard. She’s always loved animals so much.

He’s almost done with painting her room what he calls “The Royal Tenenbaums” pink. I agree and think he’s such a great dad. 💗

Thanks for following along! Still loving these mums!

The Connection Between CVS and Migraines


I started my new medical adventure today with my first visit to my new doctor. He discovered me in my poor condition while treating me at our local hospital. I have been suffering recently from flare ups of my rare, chronic disease cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). This doctor has given care to our area for a long time and is a reputable doctor, so I was surprised when he told me that he’s also a migraine specialist and believes that is what I am suffering from.

Not too long ago, I had actually read a study connecting cyclic vomiting syndrome and migraines. In that study it stated that the first connection between the illnesses was in 1898. So when my new doctor told me that he wanted to treat my CVS as a migraine to see if it helped, it made a lot of sense to me. There are many similarities between the two and sometimes the illness is referred to as abdominal migraines.

For instance, those suffering head migraines will often have signs beforehand that tell them they are going to have an episode. CVS patients also have this phenomenon. Senses heighten and we become sensitive to things like fluorescent lights, change in vision, and feel off in a way we often can describe. I will lose my appetite and will have a hard time even wanting to eat. My sleep is always disturbed, waking often in the early morning hours of 3:00 or 4:00am, despite knowing I need rest.

When an episode does flare up, treatment is often the same. The length of time that it takes for a patient to get through it varies from person to person. No one is really sure what exactly triggers it to come on, although there are hypothesis’ out there of stress being a link. When in an episode, we wish to have it dark and quiet, if possible.

My doctor today explained that when having a migraine, our blood vessels are actually constricting, causing us to have pain or nausea. He said that there’s an imbalance in hormones, too, that are causing my episodes to flare when I have my period. I have actually been using birth control to skip my period, after my episodes were consistently coming every month apart when my period would start. This worked for nearly two years before my episodes started to flare again in late July. My last two episodes were only 3 weeks apart. Since then, I have lost almost 15 pounds. This led to another conversation about the importance of not becoming pregnant, because of the risk it could pose to the child. We are going to try me on Mirena, an IUD that will be implanted, to stop my period from triggering an episode.

Another thing that we talked about was exercise. He said part of the treatment would be that I would need to exercise more regularly, because it helps with the blood vessels that we talked about earlier. He said an hour a day, even just going for a walk, would be good for me.

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For those reading this who may be suffering from CVS, the only thing I have been taking that seemed to work immediately was mirtazapine. I was only taking 7.5mg, one time a day. Now, in addition to the mirtazapine, I am taking 50mg of nortriptylin, which is used to treat migraines.

You might consider having a conversation with your doctor about the possible connection. The reason that I say this is because when I have an episode, they are on average 9-11 days long. While in the hospital with my last episode, on day 4 my new doctor gave me nortriptylin and the next morning I was alert, awake, and discharged to go home. So by day 5 I was well enough to be released.

Since that time, I have only gotten better. For the last 8 days, I have marked having a good day on my health chart. I will continue to write about this illness, in case it helps even just one person who might be suffering.

For more of my blogs about CVS see:
8 Things I Do When in a CVS Episode
• 10 Things To Prepare For The Next CVS Episode
• I Have An Invisible Illness Called Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
• The Next Trip Down The Rabbit Hole

Do you suffer from CVS? Share your story with me below and be featured on my blog!



Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.

Historical Tour of the Hall of Waters

Tonight was our MU Extension Council Annual Meeting and this year they held it in Excelsior Springs! You can imagine how excited I was and they played right into it by asking me to give them a tour of the Hall of Waters beforehand. I was more than happy to and may have gone a little crazy with the pics of the Hall (sorry, not sorry).

After we went over to the lovely Ventana Gourmet Grill where 4-H students gave a demonstration and explanation of the program to the council members. We also met our Clay County Farm Family and Master Gardener of the Year.

Follow along to take a mini tour with me and let me know if your group is need of one, too! I’ve been giving tours of the Hall since I was 8 years old. No joke.

In 1927, the Excelsior Springs City Council prepared a plan for taking over and operating 10 of the springs and wells located in the downtown. This led to the building of the Hall of Waters.

Construction of the Hall of Waters began in 1936 and finished in 1938. The Hall was built as a WPA project, which was for building the Hall, purchase of the mineral water rights, and piping the waters to bottling facilities within.

The interior and exterior decoration incorporates Art Deco and Depression Modern styling with motifs of Mayan Indian tradition relating to water and Water Gods.

The foyer features a mezzanine and skylight with electric lights providing lighting during evening hours.

There are local Kevin Morgan postcards for sale for a dollar each in the Visitor’s Center!

At its height, the Hall of Waters was the most completely outfitted health resort in the state and possible the region. Waters of ten main springs were piped into the longest mineral water bar in the world.

At the height of its popularity, over 10,000 people a day visited the Hall of Waters

Five varieties of mineral water were bottled here and shipped all over the world.

Excelsior Springs Water Development • 1937

The Hall was built as a WPA project, at one million dollars, it was the most ambitious project to have been taken undertaken by the WPA in Missouri.

Siloam Spring was the first of the mineral waters discovered in Excelsior Springs. It is the only natural supply of ferro-manganese water in the United States and one of only five known worldwide.

The original spring upon which the city was founded, Siloam Spring, currently lies under the front steps of the Hall of Waters. There remains today a 12 foot cavern under the lawn shown here with the original spring.

Annie Bensyl gives us an overview of 4-H, while Caden Kutzli demonstrates how to make ninja stars out of post it notes!

If you are interested in joining 4-H with your kiddo, we have an Excelsior Springs Chapter! We meet the second Tuesday at 7pm at the Good Samaritan Center.

For more of my posts on Excelsior Springs, see:

5 Places to Volunteer in Excelsior Springs

Friday Walk Through Downtown Excelsior Springs

7 Interesting Facts About Excelsior Springs