Monthly Archives: December 2010

Disability Without Tantrums

When little kids don’t get their way, sometimes they throw a tantrum, kicking and screaming and pounding the floor with their fists. Usually it doesn’t help them get their ways, just a lot of being ignored or sent to their rooms when they calm down. Didn’t get what you wanted? It’s that way often when we don’t get our ways in life, or when we get mad at God for not doing what we asked. After all, isn’t he (she) a Santa Claus? Well,  maybe not, but we want to throw a tantrum anyway, you know, pout, not speak, or even get mad at someone instead.

There’s great good news! After the adult tantrum because we are sick in bed or a loved one dies or we are afraid or are disabled to the point we can’t stand up to cook a turkey or go caroling with the tenors in the choir, we can use the advertising V-8 commercial trick. We can smack the heel of our hands against our foreheads, and say, “Oops! I forgot God was with me.” That’s the point of Emmanuel: God with us, a message of Christmas. Christ – mas is the best time in the world to appreciate Jesus who is called God WITH us.

God understands if you have a tantrum, especially if you are a care giver, but now is probably the time to remember that God is with us 24-7-12 in very special ways that can be noticed. A good reason to smile during Christmas season, and if you must have a tantrum, please go to your room.

Mayor’s Disability Advocate of the Year Award to Naomi Mitchum

It’s Official! Mayor Anise Parker presented me with The Mayor’s Disability Advocate of the Year Award at City Hall on Tuesday with family, friends and co-workers present as support. In a wheelchair for the last 15 years, I was the recipient of an award for a disabled advocate. Other awards were to Dr. Cynthia Peacock as a non-disabled person and Matthew Stephenson as a youth advocate.

Advocacy made me use or develop skills I didn’t know I had, so I am still working on them. By nature I am a hands-on person who likes to teach and write, but the field of work with persons with disabilities has promotional needs and a desperate call for vision and someone who will speak up loudly for them. Some people say I have a loud mouth. Some say I have a loud presence. Some say, “Stay away from Naomi, or she will recruit you,” To sign up to help try or through this website Contact Us page.

The landmark American With Disabilities Act achieved much, but the act did not tell us how to enact and interact with persons on personal scale in the fields of spirituality, education and physical accessibility in churches. I came to the right places at the right times with ambition to find ways to do this. Right or wrong, I plunged in, and along the way people taught me and helped not only me but the programs I proposed. No one person can be successful in disabilities work without the persons of like heart who join the vision. Along the way, God took little achievements and turned them into goldmines.

One of my goldmines is still underground: I want to start a full-scale respite center in my area where students can have a good time while their parents enjoy a little vacation together. That’s for when I win the lottery.

A little tea party after the award ceremony was fun with my family, Circle of Friends family and supporters and other friends . The Revs. Greg and Betty Edwards, who worked with me on the Texas Conference committee on disability concerns, surprised me all the way  from Beaumont.

Thanks are due to many persons for the award, especially Dr. Jim Jackson who nominated me.

View Box Christmas Story

Children with Disabilities love a seek-and-find story. I’ve been busy making boxes of story for our children’s group. Find boxes to fit your pictures, glue the pictures inside the boxes, and attach with tacks to the wall at eye level. Then put the lids on the boxes. Children love opening the boxes to help tell the story of Christmas. In January we continue with boxes about the life of Jesus. It’s the same for everyone: we learn the characters, and then, little by little, over the years, we find out what the story really means. If we are lucky we remember the real Christmas gift all year and we make new discoveries about Jesus as we go along. I just love discovery. For more information, go to  How to Use Stories With Students With Disabilities.

On another front, our teen and adult groups hold their year end Christmas party on December 8. We can’t decide who has the most fun – Santa who brings gifts, the leaders who watch it all, Jim who drops in to share fun with his favorite persons, or the students who share their gifts with us.  The Harbor Light Choir will entertain with a carol program.