The song, “Riders on the Storm,” recorded in 1971 by the Doors invaded my mind this morning.  Perhaps I’m the only person in the US who can’t remember ever hearing this song.

My curiosity peaked by the title, I had to look up the lyrics.  Like many songs, some of the lyrics didn’t make sense to me.  However, the chorus is stunningly applicable to what happened a year ago.

Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house we’re born
Into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out alone
Riders on the storm

There is such amazing hope and despair coupled in these lyrics that my imagination was captured.  The songwriter says, we are riders on the storm.  Not tossed or turned in the storm but caught up riding above the storms of life.  However, once the hope is given, there is great despair because we are born to be thrown alone and lost.

One year ago today, my husband fell and broke his hip and leg.  He came home from an extended stay in the hospital and rehab centers on February 14, 2011 and died May 10.  I was only 10 feet from him when he fell; but we were in different rooms.  I bust through the door to find him sitting on the shower floor writhing in pain.  I knew he had broken his hip.  My first thoughts were our lives just radically changed.  Nevertheless, I had no idea how much change had stolen through our doorway.

From that moment, together he and I became riders on the storm, embracing and repelling the future with all our strength.  We laughed and cried in the same breath.  As his dementia accelerated, each moment became a bitter/sweet memory that I knew he would forget as soon as the hour passed.  I felt bitterly alone; yet surprisingly embraced second by second by Frank, our family and friends.  God’s wisdom was clearly working in our lives while the mystery of tomorrow became more and more clouded.

Often, God uses the secular to teach us His truths.  Today, I’m grateful to the Doors for their prophetic recording.  I ask God to bless them abundantly by leading them to know him through His Son, Jesus their Savior and Lord.

What about you?  Has there be one song–perhaps even a secular song–that God has used to help you through difficult circumstances?  Would you ever be able to use this teaching with your members who are mentally challenged?  How would you share this teaching?

 

Family Cafe logo

Dear Friends,

It’s official, the 2014 Florida Legislative Session has begun! Our elected representatives will be in session until May 2nd, working on a state budget, and tackling issues like Medicaid expansion, changes to the education system and efforts to reduce waitlists for state services.

While all sessions are political, the practice of the politics of the 2014 Session will be intensified, as the Governor, the entire Cabinet, all 120 members of the House, and half of the Senate (20 members) are up for election in November. So, this is the perfect time for advocates in the community to get involved. Let’s talk . . . let’s get informed and let’s get engaged!

 


 

Let’s talk . . . The Family Café is built around the idea that better informed families make better decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

Let’s talk . . . During the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, which beganTuesday, March 4, 2014 and lasts for 60 days, The Family Cafe is providing an opportunity to meet weekly via conference call to discuss the outcomes of Session. Please call in!

Let’s talk . . . During the conference call we will host various speakers, including community leaders, legislative leadership and local activists to share ideas/comments regarding the agencies and programs funded by the state.

Let’s talk . . . This is your call!  We will offer this conference call option every Friday for starting Friday, March 14th  at 4:00 p.m. The call is open to everyone! 

Let’s talk . . . Our  vision of meaningful family engagement in the legislative process can only be successful with the your participation!  Simply call the number below on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. (EST). Sharing our various, unique perspectives is how we effect change, and how we learn from each other. At such a crucial time, we need to concentrate our strength, power and wisdom in order to insure an improved quality of life for all Floridians. Your input, suggestions and sharing of resources will ultimately make this community as powerful and productive as it should be.

But we can’t do it without you!

Let’s Talk!

Friday, March 14th

4:00 p.m. EST

Dial-in Number:  1-888-670-3525 

 Conference Code 2424632211 followed by the # Key.

Family Cafe logo

Dear Friend,

The Family Café is excited to let you know that NFL legend and disability advocate Dan Marino will be in attendance at The 16thAnnual Family Caféthis June!

Dan MarinoOf course, Dan Marino is best known for the seventeen seasons he spent as quarterback of the Miami Dolphins, which led to him being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. But did you know that he is also the parent of a child with autism, and an active disability advocate? He and his wife founded The Dan Marino Foundation in 1992 to help children with autism and other disabilities. Since then, the foundation has distributed over $22 million to research, services, and treatment programs. His foundation also established The Dan Marino Center at Miami Children’s Hospital in 1995, and recently launched the Marino Campus in Fort Lauderdale to provide education and training to help young people with disabilities acquire job skills.

Marino Children's centerThe Family Café is pleased to let you know that Dan Marino will be on hand to share his advocacy message, and perhaps some NFL memories, at The Annual Summit on Disabilities on the evening of Friday, June 6th. Governor Rick Scott has also committed to attend, as has long-time Family Café supporter and Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Bill Galvano. This year’s Summit is sure to be a memorable occasion, and we definitely want to see you there!

If you haven’t already registered for The 16th Annual Family Café, why not take a minute to do it today? In addition to The Annual Summit on Disabilities with Dan Marino, we have a full slate of informative breakout sessions, a full Exhibit Hall and plenty of family-friendly activities in store. It should be an amazing event!

The 16th Annual Family Café is set for June 6-8 at the Hilton Orlando, and there is no cost for families to attend. We even have limited financial assistance available to cover the cost of on-site accommodations. To register, visit our website. We will look forward to seeing you there!

Thanks,

The Family Cafe

The Family Cafe 888-309-CAFE www.FamilyCafe.net

519 North Gadsden Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
United States

noah's arkThe Villages at Noah’s Landing has been recommended to receive a $14 Million dollar grant in order to begin construction.  Noah’s Landing is an awesome, pedestrian-oriented lifestyle community that will feature unique apartment-styled homes with a clubhouse, daily activities, pool, nature trails, a community park, and an optional dining room. We are working on the mountain of paperwork that is needed to finalize the grant and we have been asked to provide a list of people that may be interested in moving into our community.

So we need your immediate help!  Please log on to the following link and complete the survey:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLInterest

This will only take 10 to 15 minutes to complete but the information is essential to keep our grant funding moving forward.  Even if you have previously completed a similar survey, please complete the survey again, this is very important.

This survey is not an application for The Villages at Noah’s Landing.  However, the people that complete the survey will be among the first to be notified when applications are being accepted. If you have any questions please call our office at (863) 815-0909

Visit our website at:  NoahsArkFlorida.org

Jack Kosik – Executive Director of Noah’s Ark

If you would like to read the recent Lakeland Ledger article on our grant, go to the following link:

http://www.theledger.com/article/20131214/NEWS/131219602/0/SEARCH

Justina-pelletier_2Justina-pelletier_2Perhaps you have heard or read about a young woman named Justina Pelletier.  She is still a teenager. She is not intellectually disabled though the young woman was diagnosed in 2011 with mitochondrial disease.  This is a disease in which the mitochondria (the energy-producing organelle in cells) does not function properly.  The symptoms of the disease include pain, fatigue and gastrointestinal issues.

Through a complicated series of events, Ms. Pelletier became a ward of the State of Massachusetts primarily because of a clause in the Boston Children’s Hospitals Policies and Procedures.

The hospital’s clinical investigations policy states (emphasis added):

Children who are Wards of the state may be included in research that presents greater than minimal risk with no prospect of direct benefit (46.406 (50.53) or 46.407 ( 50.54) only if the [institutional review board] determines and documents that such research is

Related to their status as wards; or

Conducted in schools, camps, hospital, institutions, or similar settings in which the majority of children involved as participant.

Pelletier_1While no charges of neglect have ever been charged against Jennifer’s parents, after she was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital, she became a ward of the State of Massachusetts.  The parents no longer have any say in her treatment or where she is placed.  The parents do not know if she is part of any research projects.  For a time, they were not given visitation rights.

Jennifer was taken off of her medications.  When the parents saw her decline after being taken off the meds, the parents asked that she be put back on the medications that were helping her.  They reported that they were told that if they put Jennifer back on her medication, they would be charged with child abuse for giving her an excess of drugs.

In a meeting in October of 2013, ministry leaders from all over the country and Canada came for a day to sharing and prayer.  To a person, every leader came with one concern. What is going to happen to the people within the mentally challenged community when financial collapse happens in the US? Our members are financially and professionally tied to the state and federal governments.

I’ve never been  a prophet of despair.  However, this was a warning signal that even I could not ignore.  It may be time to prepare for the future of our friends and members who are intellectually disabled by storing up massive containers of prayer in the deposits of heaven.  The promises of God are that he will help the weak and take care of the wounded.  However, even recent history tells us that this vulnerable population has been a prime target for abuse.

The Lord uses men and women to do his work here on earth.  We are his hands and feet.  We need godly wisdom to know what our part will be in the future; and what our action should be today.

Minimum Wage Executive Order to Include People with Disabilities

white house signingWashington, DC (February 12, 2014) – Today, the White House announced that President Barack Obama will sign an Executive Order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for all future federal contract workers, including workers with disabilities.

This Covers individuals with disabilities.  Under current law, workers whose productivity is affected because of their disabilities may be paid less than the wage paid to others doing the same job under certain specialized certificate programs. Under this Executive Order, all individuals working under service or concessions contracts with the federal government will be covered by the same $10.10 per hour minimum wage protections.

By including people with disabilities in his Executive Order, the President has opened the doors of equal opportunity to many federally contracted employees with disabilities.

partyYesterday, I found myself “stuck” at a party I had not wanted to attend.  As part of our ministry, we escort our members to afternoon socials that are held by our county recreation department for people with special needs.  One parent asked me to take her daughter from our program to the social.

I was concerned because this member needs constant supervision.  I explained to the mom that my Sunday mornings begin before 7:00AM; and I did not plan to stay at the party which ended at 4PM.  I was assured that the parent would meet me at the party as soon as I got there.  It was two hours later before a parent arrived.

another partyI confess there was plenty of good conversation to keep me entertained.  However, I stewed about the two-hour delay in his arrival.

This morning I received an email which contained a teaching about God’s grace by Hector Perez of MarketPlace Ministries.  I wish I had read this before I spent the afternoon trying not to be miserable.  Yet, failing.

Perez suggests five practical ways you and I can demonstrate grace no matter what situation we find ourselves:

  1. Pray for a humble and contrite heart.
  2. Get rid of having a judgmental spirit.
  3. Esteem others better than myself.
  4. Avoid comparing myself to others.
  5. Embrace God’s grace every day.

We know that grace is unmerited favor.  We also know that God wants us to demonstrate His unmerited favor no matter what the situation.  These steps are simple enough that even I could access them into my life.