Monday, December 31, 2012


Res-o-lu-tion [rez-uh-loo-shuh-n]

1. A formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. 

2. A resolve of determination.

It’s that time of year again where we promise ourselves that we’re getting back on track…we’re going to lose weight, save money, get organized, try new things, meet new people, and everything else in between.
I am just as guilty as the next person for making my list of resolutions, but today I can’t help but ponder the question of why it is so easy to state our resolutions now, but so hard to follow them come July?
Just like any new project, we’re anxious to get started and we make the time to get on the treadmill, make new files folders, pinch pennies, etc. Unfortunately, after awhile the new wears off, we’re exhausted from our normal schedule, the treadmill becomes an extra clothes rack, and we slide right back into the routine we once had and feel guilty about what we didn’t accomplish.
Did we take on too lofty of a New Year’s resolution – did we think that all of a sudden we would gain some extra time to do all of these things? Who knows these answers even? Well, I will be the first to admit that I sure don’t – but what I do know is that the number one definition of resolution states that a resolution is a “formal expression of opinion or intention made.” 
Did you catch that word? Intention. I’m not a huge fan of the word myself because I think a person can have all the intentions in the world, but until they set their mind to it and perform the actions, nothing gets accomplished. So instead of making a list of intentions, why don’t we make a list of goals? The definition for goal is “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.”
If we make goals and have our efforts, whether they be in January or July, be directed towards our goals, then we are accomplishing our New Year’s Resolutions. If you fall off the wagon, don’t let the guilt set in…just get back in the game when you can and keep working towards your goal!
2012 has been a great year for me, but here’s to 2013 and all of the organizing and working out that is in store for this girl!
PS – Can you imagine me on a treadmill…now that would be a disaster!
(Oh, and the definitions, courtesy of Mr. Webster, himself)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Inner Beauty

This post is a few weeks overdue, but hey…better late than never! One day back at the beginning of December, I was trying to think of ideas for some a few MWKS appearances and I just couldn’t really find anything that my heart told me that I absolutely needed to do at the time. That was until I remembered a day back in Mrs. Wilson’s junior high health class when she brought in a beauty consultant to teach us girls how to properly care for our skin and the right techniques of applying make-up.

I have numerous friends who are Mary Kay beauty consultants and I thought this could be the perfect match! I could speak to the groups of girls about being responsible for defining themselves and that it is okay to be unique and then they could do a makeup demonstration.

After contacting the principals at Bucklin Junior High and asking Robyn to help with the makeup demonstration, it was set – December 11 we would do our presentation!

I had the chance to speak to the girls first telling my story and talking about my platform for Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, but left them with the message that although makeup is fun and a way to express oneself, we are not defined by our makeup and what we look like on the outside, but what is on the inside…what is in our hearts, thoughts, and actions.

Robyn then took the stage! She picked a volunteer from the audience and began in on the proper techniques of taking care of one’s skin. Then it was on to the makeup, and heck, I even learned some tips!

The girls of Bucklin Junior High were great and extremely receptive to both Robyn and my presentations – I think they really enjoyed it…especially the free samples of lip-gloss Robyn handed out at the end!

I am reaching out to some other local area schools in hopes to take this show on the road, but until then, my audiences are stuck with me only! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wrapped with Love

I always loved wrapping presents during Christmas time – in fact when I would see the make-shift store in the mall that would wrap your presents for you, I always wanted to work there. I got great satisfaction by having perfectly fitted, folded corners and a beautiful bow on top, but I learned last night I do not share this same satisfaction with my father.

While Mom finished up her holiday grocery shopping yesterday evening, Dad decided it was perfect time for him to wrap her gift. Note, I have NEVER seen my dad wrap a present in my life so I thought I might be in for some good entertainment...and I was right.

After acquiring what supplies he thought he needed – one of his two gifts, the wrapping paper, a knife, and black duck tape – I told him that he needed to go get the other gift, scissors, and some clear tape. He proceeded to get the other gift, but nothing else, saying the black tape would add “character” and asked why would he need scissors when he had a knife.

My entertainment began as he was trying to measure how much wrapping paper he needed. The first piece he cut was somewhat shorter than he thought, so he decided he would just piece 2 or so pieces together. His corners were not perfectly folder whatsoever, but he did a better job than I thought he would.

After getting his present wrapped, he needed a bow.  As I began to tell him where the bag of bows were, he walked to the Christmas tree and reached down to take one off another present. I stopped him just in time so he reverted to Plan B. Plan B consisted of stealing one off of the Christmas tree and taping it on the present. “She’ll never know where it came from,” is what he told me…little does he know that she makes new bows to put on the tree every year.

The icing on the cake came when he wrote out a sweet message on the gift tag, wishing her a Merry Christmas and telling her that he loved her. As he was beginning to tape it down, I jokingly asked him if he had spelled Elaine correctly…turns out I was right, he missed the “i” and had to redo it.

Finally after thirty minutes of comic relief, he placed his newly wrapped present under the tree. Here’s the new picture of “wrapped with love!”

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


As my mom and I were driving to Dodge this afternoon we were discussing some policies that are in the school handbook. During this conversation she made the statement, “You just can’t make a kid do something if they don’t want to.” I was immediately appalled and quickly thought back to my childhood.

Like most children, when I grew up, my parents taught me right from wrong and that with certain actions come certain consequences. If I disobeyed the rules or didn’t do what I was told, I faced punishment of some kind and to go along with that punishment, came the fear of God. That fear gave me much more respect – respect for my parents, my elders, my teachers and coaches, respect for authorities…So when my mom made this statement this afternoon, I thought to myself have the kids lost that respect and do they not face punishment anymore? Have things really changed that much in a few years? (Okay, maybe more than a few years…I am pushing closer to 30 than 20 now-a-days.)

As I continue to read and try to process the tragedy that took place last week in Newtown – I can’t help but think about repercussions. Adam Lanza committed a horrific and selfish act last week and he will never be able to face the consequences of what he did. He will never see the devastation he caused and how he ruined the lives of so many families…including his own.

I don’t understand how one person could do that. However what I do know is that we need to reinforce that “fear of God” and we need to demand respect for authority. We must teach our youth to take responsibility for their thoughts, words, and actions.

All generations in life probably look to the one after them at some point and say, “it’s just not the same as when we were young.” I can now say that I officially think like this...does this make me old?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Santa Came to Town

Today was a special day for all of the young children of Bucklin…Santa came to town! Somehow he managed to escape from the North Pole so close to Christmas and come spend the afternoon at BTI-Bucklin with two of his favorite elves!

After two hours of listening to the wishes of the kids of Bucklin, I was lucky to have had the chance to sit down and talk with him! I didn’t have much of a list of things I wanted, but I made sure to tell him that Karlee wants Barbies and a music player, Jake wants tractors and trucks, and Eli, well, he wants a healthy baby brother near the end of January!

It was an amazing afternoon, but I hope Santa and his elves made it back to the North Pole tonight…they sure did look tired at 5 o’clock!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lemon Lights

I don’t know about you, but Christmas is one of my favorite holidays! It is a time for traditions, spending time with loved ones, celebrating the birth of Jesus, and gift giving...not particularly in that order. I love everything about Christmas…actually no, I must take that back – I love everything about Christmas, except Christmas music! (especially when they begin playing it before Thanksgiving)

Nonetheless, I’m here to talk about traditions – it is tradition for the Evans family to go to Christmas Eve service at the Presbyterian Church in Kingsdown; it is tradition for the Vogels to celebrate the holiday in January; and it is tradition for Jessica and I to go to Pratt to see the Lemon Park Lights.

Looking at Christmas lights is one of my favorite activities during the Christmas season and Lemon Park in Pratt is the place to go in Southwest Kansas to see lights. Numerous volunteers in the city of Pratt set up over 150 light displays throughout Lemon Park each year – they range from a dragon looking over a small pond, gingerbread houses, lots of reindeer, lighted arches, and so much more.

I have known Jessica my entire life and she is one of my best friends in the whole wide world. We share so much in common and that includes our love of Christmas lights, so each year we jump in the car and travel the 50 miles to Pratt to check out the lights! We first make a beeline to Sonic to grab some supper and then head over to the park. We always make at least two trips through the park to make sure we see everything and to try to find the new light display, as they add a new one every year!

We end our trip by cruising around Pratt and Bucklin looking at the lights and checking out all of the decorations. It is one night I look forward to every year and this year was no different – Jess and I had a blast!

Although our annual tradition of light looking has taken place for this year; it doesn’t mean that you can’t start your own and remember, look no further than the “Lemon Lights” in Pratt, KS (as Karlee calls it). 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Inner Geek

My Christmas present has arrived early…I got me some new spectacles! I absolutely love them, but it has honestly taken me one whole day to be able to look in the mirror and not laugh at myself. They are not my normal frames that I go for, but perhaps a bit retro. It totally brings out my inner geek which leads me to this blog post.
Me and My New Specs
My “geeky” side of me absolutely loves to read and so I thought, why not give you seven of my most favorite books of all time! 
(I had ten listed at first, but it was going to be the longest post ever, so seven it is!)

Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission 
by Hampton Sides
 After hearing my talks of a Vietnam era novel, my neighbor Larry brought me over this book and suggested I read it. He told me it is a monumental book that tells the story of the Bataan Death March. Eager to read it, I began and couldn’t put it down.  Hampton Sides does a phenomenal job recreating the atmosphere and intimate details of the prisoners and how they survived in a Japanese POW camp when every odd was against them – starvation, tropical diseases, and torture. This book fueled my ever-growing interest WWII and our country’s history.

by Laura Hildebrand
This is another page turning, can’t put it down type of books…and yes it’s anther survival story from WWII. Louie Zamperini's dream of running in his second Summer Olympics was derailed the moment he B-24 went down and crashed into the Pacific. After a torturous, yet remarkable and record-breaking 47 days at sea, he was rescued by the Japanese. For the next two years until the island where he stayed was liberated, he was beat and tortured, but managed to somehow stay alive. This book details his entire journey from his childhood, to war, and life after. It is an amazing read filled with so much courage and resilience. I would recommend this one to everyone!

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
I first read this book in high school, but have come back to it numerous times in the past couple of years. It is a classic and although written in the 1960s, it is still relatable in today’s times. The advice Atticus gives to Scout and Jem is both heartwarming and enlightening and the whole book makes a person think about what is truly important in life. If you haven’t read it, read it now because you’re definitely missing out!

Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir 
by Frank McCourt
Angela’s Ashes tells the harrowing story of Frank McCourt’s adolescence – one of which is full of heartbreak. Growing up in poverty, losing his three siblings, and dealing with his alcoholic father, McCourt experienced it all, but somehow overcame it.  The book is so eloquently written and should be a must on everyone’s list!

The Sun Also Rises 
by Ernest Hemingway
Another classic! I read this book a couple of summers ago and was hooked by the ease of Hemingway’s words and a storyline of undetermined love and loyalty between Jake and Lady Brett, but you can’t forget how much drunkenness, debauchery, and travel is emitted throughout the story. What was wrote in the mid 1920’s could easily be pulled from real life 2012 – that’s what makes this a classic, it stands the test of time!

Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chamber
by Filip Muller
I just finished this book in October and I must admit, it took me awhile to read it, which is so uncharacteristic of me regarding a book that I love. Filip Muller was a Jew who ended up working in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and graciously lived to tell his story and the horrors of the concentration camp and disposing the bodies of his own people. It is one of the most eye-opening books I have ever read and truly paints a picture of what happened during the Holocaust.

My Horizontal Life
by Chelsea Handler
I absolutely love Chelsea Handler. She is amazingly funny and I rarely miss an episode of Chelsea Lately! So, as I was browsing Amazon one day a few years ago and saw this gem, I couldn’t resist. I do not recommend it for all because well, it is a bit raunchy, and tells numerous tales of Chelsea’s nightly escapades, but if you’re 18 and older and looking for a quick, easy, and hilarious read, this is your book! 


You might see a trend through these titles…most are true stories...most are stories of resilience and overcoming something major…most of these books makes me truly grateful for my life…and most of these show that no matter how hard you think you have it, someone has it or has had it much worse.