Friday, January 31, 2014

Town Hall Meeting with Senator Moran

Senator Jerry Moran was in WaKeeney doing a Town Hall meeting on New Year's Eve.  I wasn't sure how many people would be there during the week between Christmas and New Years, but I knew it was something I definitely wanted to attend.  And, I was pleasantly surprised.  There were over 40 attendees of all ages.  I guess the benefit to having Town Hall during Christmas Break means that students could attend.  I love watching the future leaders of Kansas getting involved.

He shared what is going on in Washington right now especially in regard to health care, the Farm Bill, education, new voting rules in the U.S. Senate, and wind energy. I was pleased to see citizens having the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns.  Who better knows the challenges we struggle with than us?  Who better knows the needs of agriculture than the farmer?  After a brief presentation, the floor was open for questions and discussion.  The questions and topic of conversation definitely related to the current concerns of the majority of the citizens in the room.  There was a lot of discussion about agriculture and the new healthcare issues and the future of rural hospitals.

I did not have a chance to personally talk to Senator Moran.  He had another meeting to get to and a 1/2 hour drive to get there.  Oh, the joys of rural Kansas.  It is generally a 30 minutes or more drive between towns.  :)  No wonder people are concerned with the possibility of closing rural hospitals.  We choose to drive 30 minutes or more for dinner or a movie, but that is by choice and recreational.  I can't imagine having to drive 30 minutes or more for medical reasons because that is your only option.

Thankful thoughts for today:
City bus
Perfect timing

"In life there are two kinds of people:  those who inspire you and those who bring you down.  However, in the end, you'll thank both of them."        

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas at the Place Where Help Is Only a Phone Call Away

Christmas--what a perfect time to focus on thankfulness.  At least, that's what I thought.  Then, I began looking for Christmas themed stories about thankfulness.  Those are difficult to find if you are only focused on the word gratitude.  Stories about thankfulness and gratitude were in abundance in November--the month focused on Thanksgiving.  Not so much in December.  Stories in December are focused on love, joy, peace, and giving.  But, aren't these the things we should be thankful for and aren't they the natural expression of living a life of gratitude?  I think so.  And I've always thought my platform, "Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude" is not just limited to a certain season, but something we need to be focused on all year.

I was invited to speak at the SKIL Christmas party in Hays and I was so excited.  SKIL has been a part of my life since the beginning of my time with Independent Living Centers.  It is through my involvement with SKIL that I have learned what services are available to help me live life as independently as I possibly can.  It is SKIL that comes to mind first any time I have a question about disability services.  I know the answer is only a phone call or email away.  :)  I was thrilled to get to spend time having lunch and visiting with staff and clients and then share my platform and get to answer questions.  I learned something this month, that I don't know why I didn't realize it before.  As I was sharing about Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, I realized we have a date in common.  Ms. Wheelchair Kansas began in 2004.  My life with a wheelchair began in 2004.   So, they have really been a huge part of my life with a wheelchair since the beginning.  I just thought I'd share that piece of trivia.  :)

Thankful thoughts for today:
Those who understand rural Western Kansas
Truly accessible hotels
Successful Interviews
Recognition of Independence

"Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action."
                                          W.J. Cameron

Friday, January 10, 2014

Connecting with Another Generation

I had the privilege to share my platform with the Hays Senior Center.  This is a facility that provides many opportunities for activities, including a weekday lunch and time to just socialize with friends, talk and play games.  I'm not really sure how many guest speakers they happen to get, by they got to hear Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2013. :)

They did an amazing job setting up a projector and screen so  I could use my PowerPoint and even had a table for me to set up a table display, business cards, and information.  I even had the honor of being introduced by my Grandma.  :)  I was pleased that during my presentation, the audience brought their chairs up close to listen and watch the video screen.  After my presentation, I read a story in honor of the Christmas season: "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas" by Natasha Wing and Mike Lester.  They seemed to enjoy the story.  I know I did and I love how it ties into my platform of "Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude."  The family in the story learned to be grateful for each other, no matter what was going on around them.  This is a lesson we all should learn.

I always enjoy the q&a time after my presentation.  And, this time I not only got to have great conversation immediately following the presentation, but also as I stayed to have lunch.  There were several interesting conversations started when people spent time viewing the table display.  I even got to meet the uncle of Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2011, Jennifer Kreutzer.  You just never know where you'll find a connection.

As Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, I have had the chance to talk to many various groups of people, from preschoolers to the Hays Senior Center and many others.  I'm thrilled that my platform seems to be a message appropriate for all ages and groups.  Being thankful every day for everything is a lesson we all need to learn.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Warmer days

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
                                                                                       William Arthur Ward