March 2010


About a week ago, I invited others to share in this blog.  At the same time, a series of events prompted other leaders within the mentally challenged and disability community to begin their own blogs.  These blogs are a welcomed addition to a rather sparse Internet presence among specialized ministries. 

However, it seems that one faithful reader read from what I had written that I was trying to give away this blog.  That was never my intent.  I’m committed to the need for Christian disability information to be dispersed on the Internet.  I have wanted others to contribute because these men and woman have so much to say and teach.  Their blogs are a welcomed addition.  As I find them, I will highlight them.  Please visit these blogs because there is much to learn about disability ministries.

Advertisements

Jim Hukill of LIFT Ministries in Orlando, FL  has started a blog.  Be sure to visit him often.  His first entry is “Leadership Pressures.”

With recent economic events, cultural shifts and ministry adjustments our disability leaders are under greater pressure than ever as they navigate their organizations and programs through this treacherous era. These challenging moments are consuming some, scaring others and isolating a community further. Living with disability has taught me many things about life, about family and has crafted my leadership immeasurably. Additionally, this wheelchair in which I sit has enhanced my learning about pressure: its effect upon us, the dangers pressure can have, and the benefits it can bring. Here are a few of my lessons.  To read more, click here.

In case you haven’t heard, April 2 has been declared Autism Awareness Day.  This year, it falls on Good Friday.  At first I blistled at the coincidence.  That I thought, perhaps this is a good thing.  It will remind all of us that Jesus died for everyone, including the most vulnerable in our population.

Recently, a staff person who heads three group homes told me that she tried to explain to the people who supervise her the difference in her residents when they attend Special Gathering.  “There is such a peace and calm that comes over our residents when they enter the worship area that it is a miracle.  Only those of us who have experienced the difference can understand what happens.”

Remembering the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us, let us continue to pray for full access to the cleaning, healing message of God’s grace for everyone.

I came back from South Carolina late Saturday evening tired to the bone.  Sunday’s worship was wonderful.  Pam Gillespie, a former Special Gathering staff person and now a volunteer, preached and lead praise and worship.  I was able to sit back and observe.  It was an anointed service.

Today is our son’s birthday.  He is older than I feel, even carrying the tireness of a busy week.  However, I wanted to say that it’s a wonderful thing to have adult children who love each other and love their mother and father.  This past week, our son saw his son pass into adulthood.  It is interesting watching the passage of children and grandchildren venturing into the world of adulthood.

A very wise mother of a mentally challenged woman once told me to never cry when my children successfully pass from one stage of life to another.  These are the normal things which should happen.  I knew that she was speaking about her own daughter who would never don a wedding dress or attend college.  She would never have children or grandchildren.  She would not even be able to speak a clear sentence. 

I met a doctor many years ago whose daughter had spoken her name that morning.  She wept at the meeting.  “It’s taken her 15 years to be able to say ‘Mommy,’  but this is the happiest day of my life.”

I often think of my friend who is now struggling with cancer and whose daughter faces an uncertain future.  I pray for her and the doctor whose daughter is no longer 15 but approaching  her 30’s. 

Birthdays and graduations are times of celebration and rejoicing for all of us.

The last time I saw my friend, she said, “You know, I’ve been blessed beyond measure.  What a good life God has given to me and my daughter.”  Perhaps achievements and accomplishments are overrated commodities in the light of eternity.  Parents of special needs children seem to be able to understand that better than the rest of us. 

I do thank God for birthdays and graduations!  But also thank God for the peace and assurance of having just one more day shared with a loved one.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Stacia Woolverton, Executive Assistant

The Governor’s Commission on Disabilities

4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 260

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0950

Phone: (850) 487-3423

Fax: (850) 414-8908

Email: Stacia.Woolverton@dms.myflorida.com

Website: http://dms.myflorida.com/other_programs/governor_s_commission_on_disabilities

We serve those who serve Florida.

For information regarding the Florida Discount Drug Card visit: www.FloridaDiscountDrugCard.com.

Governor Crist encourages Floridians to have a disaster preparedness plan.  For information, please visit the Florida Department of Emergency Management’s Web site at www.floridadisaster.org.

This is an e-mail I received from Mosaic.  They are based in Omaha, NE.  I don’t know anything about them.  However, one thing struck me in their information.  Ms. Nasif reported that giving to people with develomental disabilities ranks behind giving to the needs of animals.  Thank your Ms. Nasif for sharing this with us.

Hi Linda,

My name is Heather and I work with Mosaic, a non-profit aimed at providing housing and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Given you obvious passion for supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, I thought you might be interested in what Mosaic does and their current awareness campaign, which can be found at www.wouldyouhelp.org.

While you’re developing content for the coming weeks, I thought you might like to consider writing about Mosaic and this new initiative.

Mosaic serves approximately 3,500 people with disabilities nationwide.  Mosaic believes that individuals with intellectual disabilities deserve the opportunity to live a quality life, receive individualized services and socialize with family and friends in or near their home communities.

As you may know, support for those with disabilities is often not a very high priority for the general public.  In fact, one recent study had people ranking this 11th in causes they’d support – even behind helping animals.

We are working to raise awareness of this issue and get people talking about it. Additionally, we’re trying to raise $25,000 to help provide individuals with disabilities homes, jobs and a better quality of life.

If you are interested, we could put you in contact with a spokesperson from Mosaic or provide you with embeddable video for your blog.

Additionally, here are some resources to give you more insight into Mosaic’s effort—we encourage everyone to share their own stories of how their lives have been changed by those with intellectual or developmental disabilities at these locations. Feel free to contribute!

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Heather Nasif

I’m a bit eccentric when it comes to doing tasks.  Most of the time, my eccentrics is extremely beneficial.  Other times, it is a great hindrance.  In my mind, I keep a series of tasks that need to be done.  Often, they are arranged in their order of importance.  Other times, they are organized by a time schedule.

When I was in an automobile accident a couple of months ago, I decided to do the traffic school route rather than lose points on my license.  It was far down on my list of things to do until the week before the deadline to complete it. I had planned part of my week around doing this task on-line.  I’d done a bit of research and figured out where to go and the amount of time it would take me. 

Unfortunately, my schedule became a bit unraveled by my husband’s health and I was stuck doing the on-line course after a day of traveling to DeLand for our monthly program.  Additionally, I had underestimated the amount of time the course work would take.  (Actually I had correctly estimated the amount of time it would take me to do the course.  However, I wasn’t allowed to move on to the next section until the time allotted had expired.  Which meant that the course had to be completed in four hours or more–not less.)  I started at 8:45pm and ended at 12:45am. 

I had in my mind a long list of things I would do that week, but the on-line course was on top.  I was traveling at warp speed the rest of the week knowing I had to complete my self-inflicted tasks.  At the end of the week, when I’d completed the last issue on my list, I was exceedingly happy.

My happiness didn’t come merely from the satisfaction of completing a task but that my last task had been the completion of making arrangements for the graduation of boot camp at the end of March for our grandson.  Completion in this case means a great deal to everyone in our family. 

Like every teen I’ve known over my lifetime, my grandson has struggled the last couple of years.  Knowing his great potential and loving him a great deal, I’ve struggled with him in prayer.  This week marks the completion of his childhood and he has finished gloriously.  None of us in his family are surprised.  All of us are happy.

We will attend his graduation and laugh and cry with him.  Today is his day.  Congratulations, SeaBass.  We are all proud of you.

Next Page »