October 2009

This article was taken from Aaron Nangle’s newsletter.  If you aren’t on his mailing list, you should be.  You may subscribe by e-mailing Waiverinfo@aol.com

CDC PLUS is being expanded
CDC + or Consumer Directed Care is a program where consumers direct their own care and manage their allocated monthly budgets. APD hopes to enroll 5,000 people in the next two years.

A letter and information package is being mailed out regarding interest in the expanding CDC+ program. It is now posted on the APD website as well. It is being sent to individuals currently enrolled in the Home and Community Based Services Waiver who reside in their own home or in their family home. So if you are on the wait list you are still waiting for services.

The handbook For the CDC+ program is 90 pages. Before you decide if you would like to take part in this program. I want you to be aware of a concern I have. Whether those already on the program have read it and realize what if any changes may take place. Changes will be instituted that could change what you are used to. If you are new to the program make sure you are prepared for the new rules and changes. It will be very important for people to understand what they are signing up for.

Included in the packet is the information about each of the Family Care Council areas around the state. Each one is having a meeting that you can attend for even more information on the CDC+ program.

The mission of the Family Care Council Florida is to advocate, educate, and empower individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, partnering with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), to bring quality services to individuals for dignity and choice.

Click one of the links below to see the letter being sent out by APD

  • Ms. Liesl Ramos began as the new CDC+ Program Administrator effective June 12, 2009. Ms. Ramos has a wealth of experience in the APD service system and has most recently moved to APD from the Department of Health in the Early Steps Program. Ms. Ramos will be leading the expansion of the CDC+ program this upcoming year. Contact information for Ms. Ramos is:Liesl V. Ramos
    Program Administrator
    Consumer Directed Care Plus
    Agency for Persons with Disabilities
    4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 360R
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-0950

    Customer Service:1-866-761-7043
    Fax Number: 1-888-329-2731

Last Sunday, I invited 15 of our members and volunteers to come to our home for lunch.  The preparation for a large meal of 15 people can be overwhelming or it can be kept simple.  I served three kinds of pasta and three sauces with a large salad, pizza bread and a dessert.  It took me exactly 30 minutes to cook the entire meal. In truth, it took longer to reheat it after church, set the table and get ice in the glasses than it did to cook the meal.

Here are a few secrets I’ve learned over the years.

  1. This sounds simple but don’t sweat the small stuff.  If a bedroom isn’t spotlessly clean, close the door.
  2. Keep the menu simple. 
  3. If you don’t have time to prepare a meat, serve fried chicken as your main course. Most grocery store chains carry fried chicken that is cooked fresh in the store.  It is inexpensive and almost everyone loves it.  Your local store may also carry roasted chicken. 
  4. The menu can consist of:  Chicken, salad, rice or baked potatoes, a vegatable.  Dessert can be a store bought plain cake with ice cream on top and a prepared sauce.
  5. It is allowed to use the prepare salads from the grocery store.  Add a tomato, if you desire.
  6. For your vegetable, try serving frozen petite peas.  They cook in the microwave or on the stove top in five minutes and they are better tasting than their larger brothers.
  7. In simple terms, you can serve a large casserole or speghetti or lasana with a salad, simple dessert and people will love it and you. 

Other menu suggestions are

  1. A large leafy green salad topped with broiled chicken or fish and shredded cheese.  With both of these meats, the problem can be overcooking them.  They can be prepared quickly. 
  2. Pot roast cooked the night before with potatoes, onions and carrots.  Serve with rice and a salad. 
  3. Top a large dish of prepared stuffing  from a box with a chicken breast for each person eating.  Let them bake together until the chicken is cooked.  Serve with a large salad and dessert.
  4. Serve a salad plate with potato salad, leafy green salad, slice tomatoes and top with a thin slice of your favorite cheese, put a canned pear on a lettace leaf, top with yogart, sour cream or mayonnaise and cheese.  Add a relish of pickles.  Put on a deviled egg.  Slice into strips lunch meat.  It is great meal that takes minutes.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to slave all day to have guests.  Your members will be thrilled to be invited to come to your home.  The Bible teaches that we are to be people who practice hospitality.  Keep it simple and everyone, including you, will have a wonderful time  of friendship and building lasting relationships.

I carry our chapel program in my van.  Each week, The Special Gathering of Indian River meets in two locations.  Saturday, we are in Vero.  Sunday, we are in Melbourne.  In addition, there are chapel programs that meet on Sundays in Cocoa and Titusville.  There are other programs that meets in South Carolina and Jacksonville.  During the week, two Volusia programs meet.

Over the years, we’ve all learned a few things about equipment survival and self-preservation when you carry church with you.  I say self-preservation because there is nothing more defeating than arriving at your program only to find that you have left a vital piece of equipment somewhere across the state.

Here are a couple of things we have learned over the years:

  1. If possible have more than one set of equipment.  Ask the facility you are borrowing, if you can use a locked closet to store your equipment.  This is the optimum way to travel from one venue to another.  However, this is the most tricky because you must have a great working relationship with the church or owners of the facility to merit this kind of favor.
  2. Barring this, do not attempt to transfer your equipment from your car or van each week. 
  3. Make your trunk or the back of your van your equipment storage unit. 
  4. Eliminating the number of times you must move the equipment also eliminates the number of times you will leave an amplifier or a microphone in a place it should not be.
  5. Purchase the best equipment you can afford.  Buying cheap doesn’t pay in this regard.  Moving your things from one place to another is difficult, especially on delicate sound equipment.  Therefore, purchase the best you can afford.
  6. The Fender company has a portable sound station that includes a good quality sound board, amplifier and speakers.  There is even a microphone included.  This is built sturdy enough to withstand most abuse you can thow at it.  We have found nothing like it in the world of sound.  It isn’t cheap but it also isn’t expensive for what you get.
  7. Personally check and recheck your equipment each time you leave one place to travel to another.  I check the equipment in my van.  Then I also go back into the building and check to be sure that all my wires and mikes and stuff is gone from the building.
  8. Learn the things you are most likely to leave somewhere.  Be sure that you also recheck that one thing that seems to hid from you when you are transferring your equipment.  It is usually a small things.  For me it is an electrical wall adapter or my offering plates.  If possible, try to have spare of this piece of equipment that you carry with you. 

Leading a chapel without walls can be exciting and frustrating.  Eliminating as much of the frustration as possible will make it even more exciting.

What are some of the ways you’ve learned to make your life traveling easier?  What is the thing you lose most often?  What can you do to eliminate the frustration of lost stuff?

At Special Gathering there is an understanding of the workings of each denominational system and how their support is distributed.  This is a powerful tool in obtaining support from local churches.  People are surprised and happy to know that you care enough about their system to learn how their funding apparatus works.

Another thing we study and try to master are the expectations of different denominations.  As a gift, our executive director gave to me the book, How to Be a Perfect Stranger.  It is billed as “the essential religious etiquette handbook.”  It was the winner of the Best Reference Book of the Year award.   Edited by Stuart M. Matlins, this is a must have book if you are seeking funding across denominational lines. 

Matlins took information obtained directly from each of the religions and denomination.  This is an indispensable handbook on what to expect and what will be expected of you when you attend different worship services.   A paperback book, the cost is reasonable–$13.95 at Amazon.com–for this excellent reference volume.

After Hurricane Andrew

After Hurricane Andrew

Often when I travel to other parts of the US and even around the world, people ask me about the hurricanes.  They express their fear that they might one day get caught in a hurricane.  When I tell them that I live two blocks from the ocean, something like terror crosses their face.  “Aren’t you afraid?” is always their next question.

This is a new phenomenon and one that puzzles me.  The truth is that anyone who gets caught in a bad hurricane is either stupid or extremely arrogant.  Sure there are extreme and rare cases like Andrew which was a category one storm not headed in the direction of south Florida when people went to bed and they were awaken a few hours later to a category five storm that had sped up and was crashing around them.  But the Andrews are the rare exceptions.

And when we evacuate, we leave our houses and property to the fate of the winds and rains; but it’s not any worse than what most people experience sometime during the year with tornados and floods and snow storms hit their areas.  In fact, it’s a great deal better because we can leave the island; and we have days of preparation time.

“But people don’t have any place to go,”  I’m often told.  My comeback is that there are shelters set up all over the state to accomodate people who don’t have a place to go and can’t afford a hotel. 

What isn’t often told but is true, nevertheless, in some of the more recent and serious storms, people suffered terribly in their homes, while shelters stood empty or half empty only a few miles from their residences.  Before the storm, officials begged people to leave the area.  But the people were too self-assured to leave their homes until it was too late.  Then the tax payer had to pay the bill to rescue them from their roofs.  Warning had been given hours and days before; but there were a myriad of excuses used to stay.  The bottom line was “it won’t happen to me.”  That is either stupid or arrogant.

What actually does concern me and many other people  is that some of our most vulnerable members of society were not properly cared for during the past stormy events. Advocates and families have been assured that proper precautions have been taken to provide for the needs of people who are mentally challenged and live in independent situations.  Yet it has been four years since the last big storm has hit our area.  Time causes stupidity and arrogance to grow.  The mentally challenged community is aware of the dangers; but they remain captives of a government system that sometimes doesn’t provide proper care for them during emergencies.

For those of us who work within this community, our prayer is that with this next storm (and there will be another one) proper care will be taken and the most vulnerable people  will be the most safe.  Anything other than that is either arrogance or stupidity.

I’m not sure that it was the right Sunday but this week some of our volunteers did a simple ceremony to thank me as their pastor.  I was really humbled by their throughtfulness. 

The whole thing started me thinking.  Do I do enough to show our Special Gathering volunteers how much I appreciate them and their service?   We do several things in Special Gathering of Indian River.  We have an Elder’s Appreciation Day the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  We give them gifts and pray for them.  We also have an annual retreat.  Both things are meant to bless and show our appreciation to the wonderful volunteers who faithfully serve year after year.  In our Brevard programs, which meet in Cocoa and Titusville, they have a monthly prayer time and fellowship supper at a local pizza joint.  Their volunteers find great value in this time of fellowship, prayer and fun.

All of this is good.  Yet, I could not help but wonder if we do enough to show our appreciation and love for the people who give and give and give.  We often say, “Our volunteers get to do whatever they want to do.”  In reality, they probably don’t REALLY WANT to give up hours in their week to transport, teach, serve, bake and do other “foot washing” assignments.  But they find value in their service and they come back year after year.

What are some of the things you do for your volunteers?  Do we as paid staff sometimes forget the service that our volunteers give so freely?  Do we sometimes expect from others more than we are willing to give of ourselves?

God protects Me

Psalm 46:1

Central Theme:   God knows when we are in danger.  He will help and protect us. 

Introduction–The night I broke my leg, I was surprised.  I did not know that I was going to break my leg.  The day that Frank broke his ankle, we were all surprised.  I sometimes wish that God would always let me know when I am in danger.  Sometimes, I know; most of the time, I don’t.  But God always knows when you are in danger and He protects you.  Have a member read Psalm 46:1.

       I.     Tell the story of Jesus in the boat with a great storm  (Mark 4:1-2, 35, 41).

              1.  His followers were terrified and they were fishermen.

             2.  Jesus was asleep on the boat.

             3.  Jesus wanted to know why they were afraid when he was on the boat.

      II.     Jesus calmed the storm and he can give us calm in our lives also.

              A. Jesus wanted to disciples to be calm in the middle of the storm.

                   1.  When they were not calm, he make the sea calm.

                   2.  Jesus wants us to learn that no danger can hurt us unless he allows it.

              B. When Jesus allows hurt to get to us, he will teach us many things.

     III.     How we can be calm in the middle of danger.

              A. Plan ahead to be calm and to trust God.

              B. Repeat verses that will remind you that God loves you.

              C. Ask God for help.

              D. Ask others for help.

Conclusion: Danger will happen to all of us but God wants to protect us.

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