Monthly Archives: February 2012

God is Present

Lately I have been trying to put into words the importance of spiritual recognition with our students and others with disabilities only to wrestle with word after words. There is no one way to “Evoke God.” God is present.  Knowing that may be realized in many ways, different from person to person and group to group. It happens in fellowship, community, planned worship, unplanned moments of discovery, and, in many instances, it happens usually not in cognitive ways. It happens with significant persons who are steady, present and role models in their ways of recognizing and worshipping God.  It happens when there is a sacred flow of love and thought. It happens with routine and symbols, and it happens when the senses are awakened and used, and it is important to know your friends in this respect. Music is great for some, but definitely not for persons who are deaf. Colorful worship materials are great for most, but meaningless for persons who are blind. Here is the great importance of using varied ways of worship or God conversations.

See how hard it is to use words to describe intuitive knowing?  In two paragraphs, I didn’t get it right. Let’s keep working on it.

Our prayer circles – the taking of unrushed time that is intentional and celebrated can bring about an intuitive “knowing” of the presence of God. Well, maybe. Maybe not. Who knows?  That knowing varies like water that is sometimes still, sometimes rippled and may look stagnant but is not. God’s mix and ways. Be encouraged even if you don’t always see a celebration of the knowing.

Fragile X Treatment

The recent news about the experimental drug research for persons with Fragile X brought discussion among many parents about the advisability of entering the program. If their child is teen age or adult, the first concern is that they are balanced on current medication, and will this drug teeter them into problems.  The second concern, for most, is for removing their children from current medication with the possibility of having a placebo as their part of the experiment in which case the children and parents must struggle with all kinds of problems.  I don’t know how this research program will play out, but we know for certain that parents will not enroll their children without a great deal of angst.  In the meantime, our focus is genuinely on saying to the child by deed and word that we love them just like they are – very special with special gifts to celebrate.

Specialist’s Substitutes

I have some great doctors, some who have nursed me through very hairy situations, saved my life and held my hand. I love the doctors who see me, talk to me and call me themselves when test results are in. I hope they will take care of me forever.

But lately,  it has been bothering me that I’m paying the big  bucks to see a other speciality doctors, and instead see his or her Physcican’s Assistant , medical student or nurse specialist.  They then send the bill as though I had seen the specialist. This must be legal, but it is becoming so commonplace that I when I leave I feel like I should have stayed home and spent my $250. or more elsewhere.  In the last month, four times this has happened. I’m trying to be charitable, but it’s my body they are playing with. Anyone else have this happening?  Is it because I’m on Medicare (I have supplemental, also)?  I really appreciate technicians, medical students and physicians assistants, so I’m not complaining about them, just the roles they are asked to play by their superiors.

Praying 100

Circle of Friends prayer circle was huge last night as we included the rodeo helpers, teens, adults and all the leaders. Highlight of the circle was calling our minister of caring who is ill and having her listen in on the prayers. We began by telling her  (shouted all at once) “You’re incredible.”  Teamwork decorated the room and got the booths together. Not to be forgotten are the persons who stayed late to undecorate and put away the equipment for next year in a place where we can find it. No one ever, I mean ever, has enough storage space.

Everybody’s Rodeo Cup of Tea

This is rodeo night for Circle of Friends, a time when everyone does everything with the help of Stripes the Clown, Miss Moo and Howdy. Everyone will wear a bandana, and many students will come in chaps and cowboy hats. I’m going to take a wranglers rope looped over the handles of my wheelchair. Can’t wear a cowboy hat since my headrest knocks it off, but I do have boots and jeans. There will be bean bag toss, face painting, cookie decorating, dancing, a petting table for the rabbits, and did I say dancing the Macarena? At the end we come up with the world’s largest prayer circle of about 90 plus with pure, heartfelt requests and celebrations. One big prayer I expect is a thankfulness for the good health report of our director of caring who is very special to everyone plus a blessing on her future with slower doses of chemotherapy.  Our student’s prayers have the thirty-nine leaders and the additional rodeo volunteers going home with similes on their faces. Our students “get it.”

What’s Your Weather?

One of my students who sits in a wheel chair turned up yesterday with great fur lined boots and heavy leggings. Last night as I sat in front of the fireplace warming my wheelchair foot plates (yes, your feet freeze on metal) and drinking some tea, I remembered my family who actually live where it is cold. In Houston, 40 degrees is cold enough for the fireplace. My nephew and his family in Alaska are enjoing snow so deep they had to scoop the snow away from their windows so they could see out. My grandson in Denver reported sitting in the hot tub out in a snowstorm. Wherever you are, keep warm. I’m dressing warmly today to check in with Artists in Action.

Artists in Action, our program for unemployed persons with disabilities who want to give back to the church, meets every Monday.  They are in touch with their creativity, and make beautiful card creations for persons who are homebound or need cheer. Right now they have a request for over a hundred cards for a special church group, and they are  having fun trying to meet a quota. I have lunch with them – a high point for Monday. Monday is my least favorite day – when I make myself do book keeping and check requests and pick up after Sunday.

Naomi Mitchum is Author of Quick Look for Volunteer Responders, A Guide to Aiding Persons With Disabilities

I am, in fact, the author of this great little pocket book, and it is for sale on, but they have not listed it properly, so I am listing here with the hope that a search engine will pick it up.

This small 5 x 7  book made of durable plasticoat will fit into a rescuers backpack or pocket, or its bright yellow color will easily be found on a teacher’s desk or by a church usher. Reviewed ahead of time, then carried to an emergency site, it can save lives when the rescuer can quickly refresh the memory about what to do. For example, it will tell him or her precursors of a seizure or that  a person who is having a seizure  needs to stay in place, in fact, can do nothing else, but follow up is important.  Other details about what to do with persons with disabilities are stated concisely with great graphics to stimulate thinking. Very important picture boards and body pictures help a non person or one who speaks English as a second language point to where they are hurting or what their needs are.  Other topics include how to help someone who is homebound, how to deal with loss of power or lockdown and how to safeguard persons post-emergency. In the beginning Quick Look gives the process of quickly communicating, assessing and responding.

I’m not telling you this with the hope you will have an emergency, but an emergency can happen any place and any time, and each of us needs to be prepared to help and save lives. Persons with disabilities need a little extra help, and you can find out what kind of help that is.

What is your latest emergency?  House fire, running out of milk for your cereal on Sunday morning, helping a person at a car wreck (how did you know they were disabled?), hurricane or flood  (Mitchums are five time winners on this one). Or is  your emergency standing up to make a speech and noticing your shoes don’t match? For the shoe thing, it’s too late, for other emergencies, you can prepare.

This has nothing to do with my book, but one of my funny emergencies happened because I am diabetic and was trying out some new doctor-suggested liquid glucose. Scene: Sitting on the stage in front of hundreds of people waiting to make a presentation after two others finished. They talked too long, and my blood sugar dipped, so I pulled out the little tube and squirted some glucose in my mouth while holding a paper in front of my mouth. The sticky glucose, which turned out to be red, stuck to my hands and to my paper. I could not turn loose of the paper. And I had a new color of sweet lipstick. Saved by the bishop just as I was wondering what and how. He called lunch, and my speech could be afterwards. Diabetic readers will have stories to share.

Talent Show to be Live Streamed

After a study of their natural talents, our Circle of Friends Teens and Friends group is presenting a talent show tonight for parents and for the adult Circle of Friends group. They have worked very hard getting this together and deserve more than a round of applause.

Good news for homebound and parents who cannot be there: the show will be livestreamed through but you must have a link to it.  Time between 7:00 and 8:15 central time. Don’t be late.

Use this link:

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Sorry the link may not work as it is not up and running until late this afternoon. You will probably have to type it in.

Growing Old

My friend Jim’s Daily Awakenings is right on target about what it means to grow old. I have an idea to add to how I feel about growing old. Well, thank you God, I am growing old. We hear a lot of advice from youngers about what we should have done to prevent disease and creaks and groans, but I am standing up to defend us oldsters.

Old people don’t need someone to tell them that they are sick because of choices they made or stresses they have.  With diet, exercise, worthwhile activities, prayer–a wholesome life–people get sick. Old age is wearing out. Some wear out sooner than others.  What is, is. I felt better when I quit letting anyone intimidate me about why I am sick or about wrong choices I made. What is, is means doing the best with what I can now do, and celebrating life without looking back at mistakes. The forward lens is much cleaner than the backward lens, but I have to admit it is an adventure requiring creativity. We were all created with creativity by a creative God of with.

You can subscribe to Jim’s Daily Awakenings at

No Matter What

The quote of the day from the Circle of Friends adult Sunday School class is, “No matter what it is, you have to put it in God’s hands.” Said by a student. Our students always inspire and encourage us as we watch them grow, and they help us grow.  I spent the afternoon writing Christmas thank you notes, and I’m not finished  yet. Many of them were for money given to Pal’s Place to honor Bob and me. Pal’s Place is one of our favorite groups because it gives parents a little time off while their teens and friends have a good time. There’s always pizza or turkey or something special for the season, and the students love to play in the gym and do other activities. It’s more than activity, though; it is planned to be socialization by intention. A great big thank you to the staff and helpers.