Really?...Kansas...Are you serious?

"Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward." ~ Henry Ford

The memory and feelings of this day are as real to me today as they were then.

I can vividly recall sitting on the bank at Glendo Reservoir in Wyoming as my dad informed me we were packing up and he was moving us from our home at the base of the Casper Mountain to Wichita, KS…Not only did he just ruin my camping trip, but I was certain my life was over too. And as a 10 year old kid who spent most of his waking hours fishing, hunting and exploring in those mountains, it certainly appeared to be. It didn’t make any sense to me and I was angry at my parents – and at God. Why on earth would we leave the beauty of this place for a flat, boring place like Kansas?

It wasn’t funny at the time, but I can smile about it now. I am so thankful for their decision and that experience for many reasons. First, that move taught me how to build new relationships with people, which is something that I appreciated even more as I have started getting to know over 5000 employees and their families. Second, I met my smokin'-hot wife, Valerie, while we lived in Wichita! Two incredible blessings I would have missed out on if we would have remained in Casper.

In the midst of that change and perceived difficulty, I could only see the negative effects on my life. Now looking back, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Valerie and to be anywhere else but Simmons - pursuing my passion of caring for people in need. God was certainly faithful in bringing my family to Kansas for both of those reasons (and it so happens that there was plenty of hunting and fishing to keep me occupied!).

Being able to reflect on that time in my life has altered how I view challenging circumstances in my life, and they happen in my life just like they do yours – though each of us has our own story to tell. This is certainly not the most difficult experience in my life – boy, wouldn't that be nice! – but it’s a pivotal part of my story. During times when things work out differently than I had planned, I think back to that day as a 10 year old boy. And I trust that whatever the outcome, it is certainly for a greater purpose than I can currently comprehend.


  • If you were to tell your story, what were some setbacks to your plans that you experienced?
  • How have those experiences impacted who or where you are today?
  • If you were to prepare your heart and attitude for the next challenge you might face, how might you do that?

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." ~ Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)