Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Visit to Oz Part 2

As long time fan of all that is Wizard of Oz, I was so excited to be invited back to Wamego as Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2013.  This is my second visit to Oz as Ms. Wheelchair Kansas and this time I was invited to participate with the Emerald City Stage.  Check out my blog post about my first visit to Oz as Ms. Wheelchair Kansas.

I was so excited about the opportunity to share my platform during a time slot Saturday afternoon.  I loved the chance to talk about how Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion learned the lesson about "Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude" during the Wizard of Oz.  See if you can figure it out and then come talk to me sometime.  I was also excited about judging the contests.  Little did I know that when they told me I would be a judge for the contests, they meant I would be THE judge.  Except for help from Miss Pottawatomie County Fair during one Dorothy look alike competition, I was the only judge.  Talk about difficult.  I am so glad I re watched the movie the night before heading to Oztoberfest, so I knew exactly what to look for.
Wicked Witch Look Alike Contest

Wicked Witch Cackle Contest

Dorothy Look Alike Contest

Miss Pottawatomie County Fair

This was an amazing experience.  I got to share about Ms. Wheelchair Kansas and my platform (and I got to enjoy all that is Oz in the process.)  The energy was amazing and those dressed up made the weekend so much more fun.  I even got to meet and have a picture with foreign visitors mostly because the crown is a conversation starter.  I love the chance to share about Ms. Wheelchair Kansas and my platform.  My family got to experience more of Oz than I did, since I spent the majority of my time with the Emerald City Stage.  I did get to experience a few of the booths, stores, etc.  But, I missed some things.  Dorothy was even on trial for the murder of the Wicked Witch, but I didn't get to see any of it.  Next time I get to attend, I'll make sure to take it all in.   Oh, and my daughter says next time I won't be the judge so she can enter the contests.  :)  Maybe we'll all dress up like Oz characters.  Come to the next Oztoberfest.  You never know what you'll see. :)

I even wore my special Oz shirt and bought a paper flower from a vendor for the occasion.

Details of my shirt

Talking with People
Always my favorite part
Getting Silver Shoes and Powder of Life
autographed by Paul Miles Schneider
and talking about my platform

Thankful thoughts for today:
Early school dismissal
My sous chef
Medical options

"It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.

                         Naomi Williams

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Learning to Focus on "What Is"

I had the privilege of speaking at Community Church of God in Phillipsburg.  It's a good thing I've had some experience sharing my story and my platform this year.  It never gets easier to look out into the audience and see faces of people you have known most of your life.  It's somehow harder to share details of your story with those who watched you grow up.  But, even though the anxiety increased, they did such a great job of making me feel welcome and loved.

I was the morning speaker during their Sunday morning service.  The service started with praise and worship and a puppet show.   It hardly seems fair to make me follow a puppet show.  How could I ever compete with that?  :)  The church then did something absolutely amazing.  They provided activity bags to keep the kids busy during my talk.  What an awesome idea!!  Maybe I should pass out activity bags to all ages of listeners at all my events.  :)
Beginning of puppet show

I got to share my story and my platform speech.  Since I was the morning speaker at a church, I added some supporting scripture like I Thessalonians 5:18 :  "In everything give thanks" (NKJV) and "Thank God no matter what happens." (MESSAGE)  I got to talk about how I have especially learned the lesson about "Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude" since my car accident and how I am still continually relearning that lesson as life continues to happen.  I am also learning to focus on "what is" and not on "what if."  It does no good to spend time wondering "what if."  We need to spend our time focusing on the "what is" and finding things to be thankful for.

I ended the morning by opening it up for questions and discussion.  I think I will always rather have discussion than lecture.  I learn as much or more from the people at my events than they learn listening to me.  It is definitely a two way street.  The pastor and his wife took my family to lunch following the service and the great conversation continued.  There was much more laughter and fewer tears during this part of my day.  :)

Here are some pics of my favorite time of any appearance--getting to talk with those in attendance.

Thankfulness for today:
Cell phones
Changes already being made
Power chair
Interlibrary loan
Finding the perfect celebration

"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
                         Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Meeting the Governor

Here I am doing something I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to do--I am meeting the Governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback.  Well, I actually had met him  once before--before he was elected on his bus tour around the state, but I never dreamed I would get to meet him in his ceremonial office in the State Capital building.    I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet him, get to talk about my platform, and thank him for my appointment to the State Rehabilitation Council.
I also had the amazing opportunity to be a proud parent, while my daughter received her Read Across Kansas award certificate from the governor and state librarian.  What an honor!!!  This will be a day not quickly forgotten.
My service dog letting everyone know that I belong to him!!
Thankful thoughts for today:
Adults learning what the youth are learning
Story Telling
Quiet time

"If you haven't all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don't have that you wouldn't want."
                 Author Unknown

Saturday, October 5, 2013

World's Largest Truck Convoy

What an amazing event!  And, in Western Kansas too!  I was privileged to be invited to join the fun at the World's Largest Truck Convoy in Colby, KS.  The event started with a party Friday night with supper and tons of fun for everyone!   The Special Olympians and their supporters came out for a time of fun and to check out some of the trucks that would be in the convoy on Saturday.  They also got to play basketball with the Colby Community College basketball team.  I was a little nervous sitting on the sideline watching because I am notorious for being a ball magnet.  It never fails that when I attend a basketball game, the ball will come flying towards me at least once.  Well, I am proud to say that did not happen this time.  The ball managed to stay on the court.  :)  Thank you Colby Community College basketball players and Special Olympians for having such great control of the basketball.  The night ended with a fireworks show and excitement for the truck convoy in the morning.  I am not a huge fireworks fan, but they were beautiful from the safety of the van, even if they were a little loud.

Saturday morning arrived and the convoy began.  Part of the trucks started in Oakley and part in Goodland and they met in Colby.  There were 61 vehicles in this convoy:  37 trucks and 21 motorcycles.  About 35 Olympians got to ride in the trucks on the convoy.  What an amazing sight going down the highway and especially once they all arrived in Colby and traveled together through town. One of the most special parts was being led through town by their own Olympic torch (or law enforcement torch).  It was run by State Trooper Adam Medlicott, Colby Police Officer Ray Schweitzer, and parent of a local Special Olympian Michelle Morris.  What a sight.  The pictures do not do it justice.

I learned a valuable lesson during this activity.  Friday night during supper, the wind was blowing hard enough to make it difficult to hold on to your supper plate.  Some were wishing the wind would die down so we could eat in peace.  Well, Saturday the wind did die down.  No wind meant sweltering heat and flies that would not go away.  I learned to be thankful for the wind.  :)  Sweltering heat or not, there were amazing Special Olympians and supporters out enjoying the Convoy.  I had the chance to meet several people and hear amazing stories.  That is always my favorite part.

Thankful thought for today:
Grocery bag carriers
Willing workers

"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."
                              Rabbi Harold Kushner