Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Roses of Success" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Just wanted to share "The Roses of Success" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  I was touched by the message while watching the movie in the park tonight.  Pay attention to the lyrics.

Thankful thoughts for today:
State parks
Fried pickles
Community fun
Cooler temps

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings….” ~William Arthur Ward"

Friday, June 28, 2013

Our Alma Mater

We went back to KSDS for Summer Graduation.  One year ago Azure (AJ) and I were just getting to know each other and beginning this journey together.  I never would have imagined one year ago, that this year would contain such amazing adventures for us.  When we graduated as a service team last year, I could never have imagined that we would be back one year later speaking to the graduating class.

What an honor--to get the opportunity to share my platform with this group of people.  What an honor to get to share my adventures around the state so far and how my service dog has been involved in these adventures with me.  What an honor to be in a room again filled with assistance dog lovers and the dogs themselves.  What an honor to be there as a student I met at the Challenge Games graduates with his dog.  What an honor to get to see the trainers, staff, board members, and volunteers again that played such an important part in the life of my service dog and continue to be there for us as we have needs today.



After the graduation ceremony, the party began as everyone celebrated the graduating teams.  This also gave me the opportunity to sit by my table of information and talk personally to people about Ms. Wheelchair Kansas and my platform.  I had the chance to discuss potential future appearances.  We will see if our calendars work out together.

Me and Annette--the Service dog trainer
So thankful for our time working together last year and
how she has been there for me when I needed her this year
The couple who took care of Azure's mom when she had the
"Blue" litter.  He spent the first few weeks of life in their home.

Play time for the dogs.  We've missed that socialization time
since we got home.  I guess I'm not as fun to play with as
other dogs.  ;)

Thanksgiving for today:
Wellness Center
Muscle Cream
Completing a Goal

"Gratitude is a nice touch of beauty added last of all to the countenance, giving as classic beauty, an angelic loveliness, to the character."
                                                                                         Theodore Parker

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Best Week of the Year

I got to attend summer camp June 14. Well, not exactly attend the whole week, but I was the early morning speaker and then spent the morning checking out the camp and even stayed to have lunch with the campers.  I was thoroughly impressed with the whole setting.  The numbers are at least one counselor for every camper.  This makes it possible for everyone to have a great time.  If you need to leave an activity, you can, because your counselor attends to your needs.  What an amazing opportunity for these kids to have an awesome summer camp experience.  I borrowed the title for this blog post from their website about the camp.  I think many of them would agree it is the "best week of the year."  :)

I began my presentation with my Power Point.  I was told afterward that many of the boys were not all that excited to hear Ms. Wheelchair Kansas.  I couldn't tell during the presentation.  They were just as engaged as the girls.  Maybe it helps that I showed the picture of the wrecked car, my x-rays, and the screws that were in my pelvis.  That seems to be the kind of thing that catches boys attention.  :)  Maybe it was because I had my service dog with me.  Who knows???  Anyway, I had a lot of fun and there was a ton of audience participation during the q&a time.  Then we played a game.  It is like the classic, "I'm going on a bear hunt ...", but we made it "I'm thankful for  . . ." and they had to think of things to be thankful for that began with all the letters A to Z.  It was a ton of fun and there was a lot of laughter and participation.

A magician followed my presentation.
Ms Wheelchair Kansas and magicians must go together.
I followed a magician at the Riverfest.  :)

After my presentation, I got to spend the morning exploring the camp.  I didn't venture far, but I hear if I had there were more fun things available like horse back riding, a pond, a swimming pool, and more.   I just ventured into the main area, arts and crafts, and the dining area.  I had a great time interacting with the campers.  I even got to play Monopoly Junior and have a craft made for me so I could always have something to remember this camp.  Thanks Dakota.

I got to meet a king.  :)

Thanks Emily for letting me know how much fun this is and to try and fit it in my schedule.  I've been asked to tell Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2014 how great it is so she can fit it in her schedule.  I even spent some time talking about ways they can use me next year even without the crown and sash.  :)  Who knows?  Maybe, I'll make it back next year.
Thankful thoughts for today:
]Air Conditioning
Computer security features
Fixed accessibility equipment
Planning Family Fun
"Difficulties are opportunities to better things; they are stepping stones to greater experience.  Perhaps someday you will be thankful for some temporary failure in a particular direction.  When one door closes, another always opens."
                                                                Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Learning at the Library Part 3

You can't really click to look inside unless you go to and look it up
Another appearance at the library--this time during WaKeeney Public Library's Summer Reading Program.  I got to read twice--once to the preschool/kindergarten group and again to 1st-3rd grade.   The theme for Summer Reading is "Dig Into Reading" and my reading theme besides the books I typically read was that of construction.  Both groups got to hear Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and both groups had a construction related craft as part of their library program.  The younger group got an unexpected treat.  While we were reading about construction vehicles, there were some working right outside the library.  There was a dump truck next door and a concrete mixer pouring new sidewalk right outside the library.  How cool is that???

 The younger group got to hear Mama Zooms and Susan Laughs and learn a little bit about life in a wheelchair.  Thanks to Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, Bliss Welch for introducing me to Susan Laughs.  It is an amazing story that I can't wait to share around the state.  The older group got to hear The Secret of Saying Thanks.  We were going to take a break and have a craft and then come back to hear Susan Laughs, but the craft took longer than expected.  Maybe I'll just have to visit some classrooms and read it to them next year.  Of course, both groups got to hear all about my service dog and even got to come over and meet him.  He is the true star of the show after all.  :)

There are more appearances at libraries scheduled.
To be continued . . .

My favorite part is always meeting people and getting to
answer questions and listen to stories.


Thankful thoughts for today:
Zero Entry Swimming Pool
Water Chair
Water Aerobics

"I want to be the most thankful man on the face of the earth."--Ben Furrow

Party on the River

What a long, exhausting, yet amazing day.  It began leaving my home in Northwest Kansas bright and early in the morning.  It was a rather leisurely trip to Wichita with no hurry to be there. The event didn't officially start until 4:00pm anyway.  But, I thought since I'd never been to Riverfest, I would come a bit early and check out all that Riverfest has to offer.  I arrived to find out the weather forecast was threatening to cancel the Celebrate Abilities event.  While we waited on the final decision, I found out, they could use me in the KidFest area.  The great news was I had my books with me.  :)  I have discovered that I love reading to groups of all ages. 

Throughout my appearances this year, I have discovered that reading stories is a great way to make people of all ages more comfortable asking whatever is on their mind.  As I read about wheelchairs, they are more likely to ask about wheelchairs because they are asking about the character in the story.  As I read The Secret of Saying Thanks, it is yet another way to get my platform communicated and opens up conversation about being thankful every day.  What an amazing way to open up conversation.  (plus we got to sit in the shade--BONUS) 

 Well, the weather report cleared somewhat and Celebrate Abilities happened as scheduled.  The one difference the weather made was the inability to set up canopies to keep us out of the sun (and the inability to set up my table display).  The wind was threatening to blow everything away, but by laying things flat and anchoring them to the table, we managed to keep it all within our space.  What an amazing concept.  There were tables displaying several different organizations available for those with differing abilities.  :)  I had the opportunity to talk to several people who had never heard of the Ms. Wheelchair program and even pass out a few contestant applications/nomination forms.  I had a great time watching the Laughing Feet organization perform for us on stage.  There was a mix up about me speaking from the stage and it just didn't happen, but I was mentioned by the MC and people were encouraged to come over and check out my table.  They also checked out the other tables and could even watch a game of wheelchair tennis in progress. 

Check out my sun burn beginning
The following morning my PCA, daughter, service dog and I headed back to the KidFest area so my daughter could enjoy all there was to do.  I did not have my crown and sash on, but was recognized anyway and got to spend time talking to a couple of groups of day camp kiddos especially about my service dog.   A big thank you to the Riverfest volunteers for taking time to make us feel special and make sure our needs were taken care of.  Thanks for the great experience.

To see more pictures of my sunburn check out my post about the WaKeeney Public Library.

I had another special BONUS on the way to Riverfest.  We stopped in Newton to personally thank one of my sponsors, Tracbout, Inc.  I had an amazing time meeting and thanking them, and an even greater time trying out a Tracabout.   I can't even begin to describe the feeling of independence and freedom as I tried it out on grass and gravel.  It was an amazing feeling to never get stuck with my wheels spinning.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Air Conditioning
Easy Fix to Problem
Learning from mistakes
Winning a door prize

"Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."                                                             Brian Tracy

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Learning at the Library Part 2

Another library appearance:  This one in Hays and for adults.  Adult programs are slightly different than children's story hour.  For one thing, no one expects adults to come in and have a seat before the program begins and then stay seated until the program is finished.  Although there were some who were there before it began and stayed to talk after it was finished, there were also those who peaked in the door throughout the presentation staying only for part of it.  Also, no one really stops in the middle to provide time to sing and dance and get the wiggles out.  Maybe I should add that.  :)  Regardless, I did stop after my power point for a question and answer time and then gave the audience time to stretch their legs and check out the table before coming back to listen to "The Secret of Saying Thanks."  You are never too old for a story.  :)
I did have a first today.  Eagle Communications came to the presentation and I did a TV interview before it began.  I haven't seen the interview personally, so I don't know how it turned out.  I'll keep you updated as I learn more information.
I am so thankful that my husband was there to figure out the technology and get my laptop hooked up to their TV so I could use my PowerPoint.  Technology is wonderful, but only when it is working.  I am so glad I have someone in my life that is technologically savvy and knows what to do to make it work.  Thanks Eric for helping make it all run smoothly. 

There are more library appearances in my future--keep watching for more information.
To be continued . . .

Thanksgiving for today:
Air Conditioning
Social Media
Finding the Right Item

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
                                                                                   Oprah Winfrey

Monday, June 17, 2013

Learning at the Library Part I

I love libraries.  I know not everyone is as big a fan, but I LOVE Libraries.  Of course, it helps that I love books.  But, libraries are more than books to me.  They have amazing programs available--some for all ages.  I grew up with library story hour programs and searched for the same thing as soon as I had children of my own.  My kiddos have been attending library programs since before they were 2.  I am thrilled that I have the opportunity as Ms. Wheelchair Kansas to give back and be the story teller, not just the story receiver.  :) 
  Preschool story time is more than just great stories.  I am so thankful to the library staff (my mom) for planning fun activities and crafts to go along with my platform.  They all got to dance and sing to "If You're Thankful and You Know It".  What a nice break in between stories to get all the wiggles out so they could sit and listen to another story.  Then they got to work on a craft coloring what they are thankful for.  What a nice gift to get an "I am thankful for . . .Angel" paper signed by all the students at one daycare.  I hope they had a great time and left understanding my platform about being thankful every day.

Once again AJ was the star of the show and everyone
wanted the chance to say "Hi"
My first library story telling experience was at the Norton Public Library, which just happens to be where I got to attend story hour at the beginning of my life.  Keep watching this blog for more exciting story hour experiences.  I am currently scheduled to read at the WaKeeney and Hays Public Libraries. 
To Be Continued . . .
Thankful thoughts for today:
Water aerobics
Willing Helpers
“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”
-William Blake

Monday, June 3, 2013

Champion in Us All

I really didn't think I live in a bubble, but I must.  I had never really heard (or at least paid attention) about the Challenge Games until this year.  Where have I been?  What an amazing event.  What a celebration of all the athletes and their accomplishments.  When I first learned about the Challenge Games and that I had an opportunity to attend, I began doing research.  What I learned excited me.  This would not only be an opportunity for me to attend as Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, this would also be an opportunity for my son to compete.   I would not only get to represent Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, I would also get to be the parent of an athlete.
My first big moment came when I got to meet Ryan Chalmers as he made the Challenge Games one of his stops on his Push across America.  You can follow his journey at  We had a nice conversation about his travels.  I can barely push myself across the parking lot, let alone across America--how about you?  :)  I guess that's why he's the Paralympic athlete, not me.

I may have been a little star struck for a moment, but my entire day was filled meeting tons of heroes.  The real celebrities of the day were the athletes.  They didn't let anything stand in their way and I was super impressed by the support of their families and friends.  Everyone was cheered all the way to the finish line no matter what challenges they faced along the way.  I had the privilege of meeting people wanting a moment with Ms. Wheelchair Kansas.  I even had the opportunity to meet some who have been following my blog and some I will be seeing again during my adventures this year.  

After all the hard work of the day, it was time to party.  What a great time everyone had.  There was dancing, pizza, and ice cream.  What else do you need to have a great time?? 
Challenge Game Veterans
Challenge Game Volunteers
Well, maybe what everyone is waiting for--recognition of the athletes and all the medals they have won. 

Check out more information at and pictures from this year's event at
This is an amazing opportunity you should all go to if you have the chance.  I know I will be back--as the parent of an athlete. 

Thankful thoughts for today:
Extended deadline
Online garage sales
Cherry Pepsi
Doctors who listen to patients

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~Thornton Wilder