Rediscovering Wichita through the epic #ILoveWichita #ICThanksgiving tour

Rediscovering Wichita through the epic #ILoveWichita #ICThanksgiving tour

It’s easy to think that when you grow up somewhere, that you know it well. Even though I’ve not lived in Wichita for quite some time, I felt like I was familiar with all that it has to offer. Holy moly, was I wrong! We recently took our first week-long vacation to explore Wichita and spend time with family for Thanksgiving.

FTC Disclosure: When we decided to take this trip, I reached out to Visit Wichita (the local convention and visitor’s bureau) to see if we could get a few complimentary tickets to attractions. Thanks to their efforts, we received complimentary tickets to seven different attractions in Wichita! I am so grateful to the attractions and to Jessica at Visit Wichita for helping me share about the countless things available to do in Wichita. All pictures (except a few from family members), words, and opinions are my own. You will find pictures and updates about our trip under the #ICThanksgiving hashtag and all things great about Wichita under the #ILoveWichita hashtag.

icthanksgiving-hero

Our trip to Wichita was a whirlwind! We had two family days, one rest day, two travel days, and four “tourist” days. In those four days, we went to seven different attractions. We ate a lot, we learned a lot, and we had a lot of fun.

I must say that I took hundreds of photos. There is no way I could use even half of them! I’m going to try and go back to write an individual blog about each of the attractions but wanted to do a summary blog about our trip as soon as I could. I will come back here and link up the new blogs as I go.

You will find below information about what to do in Wichita, where to eat in Wichita, and some of my favorite memories from our trip! Keep scrolling, I promise it’s worth it!  Read More

A different take on the idea of harvest

womenblogger-main_400x400I recently had the honor of guest posting on the Arkansas Women Bloggers site. Each month, we have a different theme and for October, the theme is “harvest.” I chose to talk about harvesting leaders and community.

 

Here is an excerpt:

“Let’s look at this idea of “harvest” from a different angle. We grow more than fruit, vegetables and grains, right? Let’s talk about how we grow and “harvest” both leaders and a community. In my opinion and experience, harvesting leaders and community go hand-in-hand and hold similar ideas.

The key to developing both community and leaders is the idea of investing in people. Sometimes this investment means money, but money is a means to an end. Investing also means believing in, focusing on, and developing individuals.

First, I will share my own story of investing in people then challenge all of us to find what this idea of harvesting leaders and community means for each of us.”

Read more at the Arkansas Women Bloggers blog.

Guest Post: The anniversary of when everything changed-life with fibromyalgia (Living with chronic illness series)

Guest Post: The anniversary of when everything changed-life with fibromyalgia (Living with chronic illness series)

Living withChronic Illness

Note from Jamie: It’s been a while since I’ve had a guest post in my Living with Chronic Illness series and I’m delighted that my friend Melissa is sharing her story about life with fibromyalgia.

Also, check out Melissa’s blog When I Obey

Here’s her story:

The anniversary of when everything changed (life with fibromyalgia)

by Melissa Shannon

August 3, 2016, for most people, was just another day. For me, it was the one-year anniversary of the day everything changed for me.

 

You see, I have had the diagnosis of fibromyalgia for about 8 years now. We won’t get into the discussion as to whether or not it’s a real diagnosis. The symptoms I deal with on a daily basis are real enough that none of that matters. It’s a problem, anyway you look at it. This is how it’s affected my life.

 

The first few years with fibro

For the first few years, I was able to push through and still maintain a normal life. I worked a full-time job, volunteered at church and other places throughout the week, had an active social life and a busy family life. The pain and issues I faced then were problematic, but not exactly debilitating to my daily life. I sought medical treatment the first couple of years, but once we realized the treatments caused more problems than they helped, I stopped taking any kind of prescription. I just “suffered” through.

Melissa and her husband Ben a few years ago.
Melissa and her husband Ben a few years ago.

Oh, how I laugh at that! “Suffered” through. I had no idea what I was about to experience. Over the last three years, my health has slowly declined. I didn’t realize what was happening at the time, but looking back now, I see it. I began to have more and more bad days. Good days, where I was able to function and be active became fewer and farther between. This all came to a crash, as they call it, on August 3, 2015. Read More

Let’s listen to each other

Let’s listen to each other

listening

 

A friend of mine recently started a discussion on her Facebook page that asked what the solutions are to what feels like a growing number of unarmed black men being killed in interactions with law enforcement. She asked if hiring more black police officers would help. The discussion was interesting and for the most part, civil. She’s great at fostering those types of discussions!

It is a question that I’ve pondered for more than a year. What will solve the problem? The thing is, I don’t think a problem this multi-faceted can be solved with a simple answer. I tried to write a few paragraphs in response but it turned into well, what you are reading now. I decided something this long was too much to load on someone’s Facebook page so I’m taking my thoughts to Jamie’s Thots.

The first several versions of this blog were more than 1,000 words. I ranted and raged about preconceived notions clouding our judgement of each other. I lamented how wrong and sad all this is. But you know what? I scrapped most of it.

The thing is, I think many people logically know that not all cops are prejudiced and not all black people are somehow dangerous. We know that in our heads, but fear and preconceived notions are rarely, if ever, logical. We react based on our perceptions and personal realities. It’s easy to say that we just have to remember all this in the heat of the moment. I think the work needs to happen well before then.

I’d be interested to learn from communities that, overall, are doing things right. What actions have the black community and the police community done to better understand each other? And, let me be blunt, what has the white community in those cities done to help foster this discussion and understanding?

White friends and family members, it’s people from our part of society and who look like us who started the prejudice and who created systems that would benefit white people. I agree that not all things labeled as racist actually deserve that label. But to deny that our systems were not originally set up to benefit white people is simply foolish and contradicts all that we know about history.  It’s up to us to figure out what those issues are and change them.

I’m also going to be equally blunt about known issues in some segments of the black community, which are the statistics so many white people like to bring up that show the high level of black-on-black crime. We must all believe and act on the belief that black lives matter. That means valuing yourselves within your own community. I know that as a white person, I can’t really do a whole lot about that. It’s not my place to tell you what to do. My responsibility is to focus on what I can do, which is to speak for justice, equality and change. I’m not going to wait to love people until the circumstances are perfect.

Back to the idea of how we can do actual work to make things better. We need to talk to each other. Forget the hashtags. Forget the narratives we’re told to believe by various sources. Let’s listen to individuals. We each have a voice in this. We can each make a difference. We won’t solve anything soon, but it’s a start.

That means we have to seek out people who are different from ourselves. We need to hear their truth, their perceptions, and their realities. Without trying to find ways to discredit what we hear with statistics and pseudo-empathy. We’re going to make each other mad. We’re going to push buttons. We’re going to feel negative things.

Let’s listen anyways.