Friday, November 15, 2013

Swipe Out Hunger

I was so excited to get to spend an hour working with a great team of friends and my daughter packaging meals.  It's hard to explain how great this event is until you work it yourself.  Other team members were measuring rice, beans, and a cheese packet into the bag and then they would pass it to me.  My job on my side of the table was to weigh the bag and either add or remove rice until the bag was at the appropriate weight.  Then the bag would move on down the table to be sealed and then laid out until we had enough to fill a box.  Other team members would fill the box, seal it shut, and we would yell out the count.  Our team managed to fill 6 1/2 boxes during our shift.  What a great experience working together as a team to meet a common goal.

During our shift we were packaging meals for the Kansas Food Bank.  These meals will be used to feed hungry Kansans.  The second shift was packaging meals to be sent overseas to areas of need.  What an amazing experience to be a part of something so important.  This experience definitely increased my sense of gratitude for having food on my table every day.  My energy is not spent finding somewhere to get food.  My energy is spent on deciding which food to eat.  I am blessed.  May I never forget that.

To learn more about this event, check out

Before the event

Ready to package meals

Thanksgiving for today:
Rapt attention
Erasing items off a white board
Sharing stories

"No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.   The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude."
                                                                          Alfred North Whitehead

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Big Lakes Developmental Center

We got to head to Manhattan to the Big Lakes Developmental Center.  My time at the center began with my presentation to the case managers.  It was an amazing time spent giving my "Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude" presentation and then getting to spend time talking with these incredible ladies.  They asked such wonderful, thoughtful questions specific to their work.  I knew that this platform would apply to all people of all ages, but I am constantly amazed by just how well it resonates with all the different groups I've had the privilege to meet with this year.  It is always my favorite time of every presentation when I get to sit and talk with the people in the room.  I love finding connections and getting to answer questions and learn as much from them as I hope they learn during their time with me.
With these ladies, we found an unexpected connection--many of them have Northwest Kansas roots.  :)

After the time spent talking with the case managers, I had the opportunity to tour the Center and meet some of the clients.  I had a chance to see several different areas and clients both working and eating lunch.  I even had the chance to speak to a woman working at her job as a janitor when I visited the bathroom.  We had a wonderful conversation about Ms. Wheelchair and my platform.  That just proves I should always be ready to share my heart no matter where I am.  You just never know where you will meet amazing people.  :)

Thankful thoughts for today:
Fresh ingredients
Meeting goals
Dr. Pepper
Cocoa Roast Almonds
Confirmation that I'm on the right track

"Make it a habit to tell people thank you.  To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.  Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it."
                                                                            Ralph Marston

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Accessiblity for All

I had the opportunity to meet with the Trego County Ministerial Alliance and talk about accessibility needs in their churches and at community religious events.  What a great meeting format.  The members of the ministerial alliance get together and eat lunch at my favorite WaKeeney Restaurant--The Western Kansas Saloon.  The Saloon does not have a wheelchair accessible entrance, YET.  But, we have been talking about it, so we'll see what the future holds.  It is a great place to have a calm and respectful conversation about the needs of the community and opportunities in which the Ministerial Alliance plays a big role.

I had the chance to share about my platform and ways it can be shared in the community.  I also got to share about the Ms. Wheelchair Kansas program and what it is all about.  We spent most of my time to share talking about accessibility needs in their churches and offering to be available to come to their various locations to discuss specifics.  I also had the opportunity to discuss the need for community religious events to take place in a location that is accessible to all.  We discussed Lenten breakfasts in particular and possible locations that could provide the greatest accessibility so all of the community can participate.  I did find out the local Catholic church was in the process of building an accessible fellowship hall and had the opportunity to say thank you.  The priest was not present at this meeting, but maybe the other members will pass the thanks along.

All in all, I'm excited to work with these Ministerial Alliance members to help make WaKeeney religious opportunities as accessible as possible to all.  I passed out my business cards and can't wait for them to get in contact with me in the future.

Thanksgiving for today:
Portable X-ray
New crock pot spaghetti recipe
Mighty bug hunter

"It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart."
                         Author Unknown

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lions Club--Giving Back

I was more nervous for this event than perhaps anything else I've done so far this year.  Why???  I was in a room full of people that knew me well--teachers, pastors, community members, and even some people I went to high school with.  This was my first presentation in my home town.  Now, I had read stories at story time at the library earlier this year, but reading stories to preschoolers did not cause the same case of nerves that speaking in front of a group of adults caused.  :)  These people knew me well enough to see right through any facade I would try to put up.

Because I knew this crowd, I wanted a chance to get to spend extra time talking and answering questions.  So, I gave them a shortened version of my presentation so we would have more time for q&a at the end.  This is always my favorite part of every presentation.  This time, the questions got a little more specific since they had previous knowledge of my life  before my time as Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2013.  But, I always tell people they can ask whatever they want, so I guess I'm prepared for anything.  :)

I still had the amazing opportunity to tell a crowd--this time people I know--about the importance of "Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude."  No matter what happens in life, you can always find a reason to be grateful.  I am constantly thankful that I get to share that message around Kansas with all kinds of amazing people.

Now, I'd like to think I don't ever put up a facade.  I try very hard to be real and an open book.  You can ask me anything you'd like.   But, I knew that even if I wanted to try to fake it, I couldn't with this crowd.  Not only are these people I've grown up with, they are Lions.  They make it a point to spend their time and money on community service.  I'm sure the Lions have touched my life in more ways than I can imagine, but here are a couple of the most recent.  The Scout House in WaKeeney was built by the Lions Club and a ramp was added to the building when I needed to get in to participate with my son.  Also, Lions Clubs across Kansas support KSDS and their training of guide, social, and service dogs.  This has definitely greatly impacted my life recently and I made sure to thank them for their support of that organization.  I am sure if you take a moment and look around your community, you will notice something supported by the Lions.  I challenge you to see what the Lions support and thank them for that.

"No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.  The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude."
                        Alfred North Whitehead

Thankful thoughts for today:
Write on/Wipe off Board
Watching kids learn important life lessons
Army of Volunteers
Paying it forward