“Ad Astra per Aspera”

“To the Stars through Difficulties.”  The motto of my home state, Kansas.  Or, as I’ve often referred to it since moving away, “The Motherland.”  It’s where I’m from.  It has shaped my history and influenced my life in every possible way.  Admittedly, I am more fond of the place since being away from it, but the distance has allowed me to truly appreciate the fact that I was raised in such a grounded place, surrounded by salt-of-the-earth people.  So, in honor of Kansas Day, the state’s 156th birthday, I give you some fun facts about one of my favorite places.

Did you know…

  • The word Kansas comes from a Sioux word that means “people of the south wind.”
  • State symbols include the sunflower, the Western Meadowlark, the Buffalo, and the Cottonwood tree.
  • Famous Kansans include:  Dwight D. Eisenhower, Amelia Earhart, Walter Chrysler, Carrie Nation, William Allen White, Gordon Parks, Bob Dole, etc.
  • The land that would later form the state of Kansas was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803
  • The very first Pizza Hut was opened in Wichita
  • Kansas was the first state to ratify the 15th Amendment
  • The inventors of the dial telephone and the helicopter were from Kansas

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not include a list of some of my favorite Kansas things.  In no particular order…

  • Kansas State Fair
  • Kansas Cosmosphere
  • The Kansas Jayhawks
  • Pretty Prairie Skating Rink
  • Walter’s Pumpkin Patch

Happy Kansas Day!





Words of Wisdom

Because we won’t be hearing any today, I present you with a selection of eloquent words that continue to stand the test of time.

“So let us begin anew–remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.  Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.  Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”–John F. Kennedy

“How can we love your country and not love our countrymen; and loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they’re sick, and provide opportunity to make them self-sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory?”–Ronald Reagan

“The time is always right to do what is right.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.  Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past.  Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”–John F. Kennedy

“We hold these truths to be self-evident:  that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”–Thomas Jefferson

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”–Helen Keller







No man, no madness…

With the inauguration looming on the horizon, my heart is heavy.  I do not look forward to this new administration and I was not overly fond of the one on the way out.  But even as I dread this new leadership, I respect the peaceful transition of power that is the hallmark of American politics.  I am grateful for it and pray that we, as a nation, never take it for granted.  Because as bad as it may seem, it could be far worse.

Yet, even as I respect the peaceful transition of power, and as I also respect the office of the President of the United States, I cannot and do not respect the man about to step into that office.  Respect is earned, not given, and he has done nothing to earn my respect.  I did not agree with many things that 44 did during his eight years (that may be an understatement), but it cannot be denied that he was an educated, charismatic speaker who carried himself with dignity and treated people with respect.  I’m afraid the same cannot be said about 45.  I look toward the next four years with great trepidation because frankly, we could have done so much better.  It truly hurts my heart that people would choose such hatred and bigotry over hope and love (and no, I’m not talking about Hillary, I’m going ALL the way back to the primaries).

However, even as I believe the election of this man is a colossal mistake, I know that God uses every situation for His glory, no matter how bleak it may seem to us. This presidency and the next four years will surely be no different.  For nothing is out of God’s reach.  So I will pray for His will to be done.  If I were a better person, I would pray for 45, but alas, I’m not, so I won’t.

I leave with you with a song sung by my favorite artist that I feel is, in part, especially relevant.  And because Josh Groban’s voice makes everything a little bit better.


Excitement: Luggage, Phones, and Politics

So much excitement is going on today!  First, I ordered my first  ever grown-up luggage.  And by grown-up, I mean expensive and pretty (Samsonite).  They had a 40% sale going on…thanks MLK (for the sale, but for more important things, too).  Now I will no longer have to borrow my dad’s giant suitcase whenever I fly; I’ll now have my own giant suitcase to stuff to the brim.  AND it can wheel upright, 360 degrees.  Since I took care of my checked luggage needs, I couldn’t leave my carryon luggage needs unattended to.  Sadly, my favorite little carryon duffle is tearing and I don’t know how many more trips it can survive intact.  So, I found a pretty little boarding bag that will fit under the seat (which is exactly where I like to store my carryon…no overhead bins for me, thank you very much) to go along with my giant, shiny, spinny suitcase that I will check at the counter.  Houston/Florida…get ready, cause here I come (with my giant, shiny, spinny suitcase and pretty little boarding bag) in about 59 days, 1 hour, 54 minutes, and 41 seconds.

Next, my textbooks came in!  As an avid book-lover, I am always so excited to get new textbooks at the beginning of the semester.  The excitement usually lasts about a week, or until I have to start actually using those textbooks.  So far, I have… one textbook for my Public Policy course:  Analyzing Policy.  I just opened the box and found only the one book (this development is now less exciting, as I only had one book to peek at).  However, there are more to come, which translates into more excitement for another day.  Side note:  This book looks particularly intimidating.  It’s probably the class I’m least looking forward to this semester…but oftentimes those have turned out to be the classes I’ve ended up loving the most, so we’ll see.

Perhaps the MOST exciting event of today…I ordered my new phone!  I was due for an upgrade in a couple weeks, but I got it early.  And I got it accomplished all over the phone with the help of a very nice and capable customer service tech.  It should be coming in the mail in a couple of days.  And I got a pretty good discount.  Plus, I found a case that has a built-in kickstand (it’s about time I got one of those!) and a car mount so I can get directions hand-free!  I will be all set for new adventures pretty soon, so look out world!

As an exciting end to the day, I will be attending the county Republican meeting.  The first of the year.  There are many things happening within the party recently that I do not agree with, but fundamentally, I am a Republican.  (When I say I am a Republican, please think Rubio, not Trump.)  And the only way I can hope to affect any sort of change is to stay involved and fight for what I believe is right.  So, I will attend the meeting and see what’s happening at the county level.  And after the meeting is over, I will go across the street and eat some delicious pizza.

Here’s to many exciting days for all of you!


P.S.  It’s been exactly one week and I’m still going strong on those goals I told you about a few days ago!



Resolutions, Schmesolutions

My New Year’s “Resolutions” That Aren’t Really Resolutions

Throughout my life, I have found resolutions to be pretty useless.  So this year, I am going to work on accomplishing some goals.  Goals.  Not resolutions.

My first goal is to drink more water.  The more water I drink, the healthier I am and the better that Thrive will work in me.  (Also, the more trips I have to make to the bathroom.)

Next, I will endeavor to walk on my Treadclimber (aka the dreadmill) every single day.  This has transformed into what I anticipate will be a series of goals.  Weekly workout goals.  This first week I have started with a goal I named the 20/50.  20 minutes on the dreadmill and 50 squats every day.  This is how it works (ideally).  I do 10 minutes and 25 squats in the morning before work, the rest after work.  I get through these things easier if I break up the time.  Also, I’m hoping that starting with small goals will keep me from getting burnt out too quickly.  We’ll see how that goes.

Third, I want to blog at least once a week.  This has been a problem for me particularly when school is in session.  But seriously, once a week shouldn’t be such a burden.  And I really want to write more often because I enjoy writing down my random thoughts in this little creative space of mine.  It makes me feel…I don’t know what exactly, but I like the feeling.

I have other goals for the year that have started creeping into my consciousness, but these are my big three.  Why are these the big three?  Well, because they are the first things that came to mind and because after reflecting on them, I believe they will each positively impact other areas of my life.  Like a chain reaction of goodness.