Category Archives: Disability Issues

Pain Shared

I haven’t blogged for so long, you, my readers, may have disappeared.  Well, I got cancer. Surprise. There is something I didn’t  have.

 

Since surgery, I have thought a lot about those of you anywhere who have pain.  There is stuff about it on this website.  But beyond that, is anyone interested in sharing personal experiences and ideas about pain.  It is such pain you may not have time to talk about it, but we might benefit from touching voices about a severe subject no one talks about.

 

MD Anderson doesn’t treat my pain because it is not from cancer. In my case, so far, cancer doesn’t hurt, it is arthritis, neuropathy and other stuff that keeps me hurting.  I take lots of pills, and try not to move unless necessary.

I also remember Sister Thea Bowman (Saints to Lean on, McGrane) who said “I’ve found that moaning is therapeutic. It’s a way of centering, the way you do in centering prayer. You concentrate your internal energies and your powers in prayer or wordless outcry to God. ”

 

Many of you know I have developed moaning and groaning to an art form. But it is not art the museum wants, so if you want to talk pain, here is a good place to tell and hear.

 

For those in pain

Check out my new writing on pain called, “Pain is Such A Pain” on this site. It deals with the consequences of pain.

Pain is the everyday fare for a lot of people I know including myself.  I’ve been thinking about how it changes the way we live, feel and interact.  It has been a good exercise since I dissected it into more than one writing.  It’s a huge subject!  My pain is about to expand as I have been diagnosed with colon cancer and am getting ready for surgery.  So I am about to find out if what I wrote about cancer and what I wrote about pain is actually useable. It’s an exercise I could have skipped, but I will let you know how the scorecard works out.

 

Who is “whole?”

Lots of theological discussion about who is whole according to church doctrine. I will put in my two cents worth.  A simple definition of wholeness is hard to come by. Life keeps happening to us, and how we meet those flinging events may help define us as whole or not.

What if, after you die, you put out your hand to shake hands with God, but you discover that God has no arms? Would God be less because he/she is different? So, this is a dumb question. God is a spirit and we are created in his image. Not a him or a her or armless. In a spiritual image. Whew! That lets me off the hook. I can’t walk or lift a full glass of water, but  I can try to attain wholeness in God’s image.

It really doesn’t matter what anyone says.  We can all strive to be whole in spiritual ways and have a fulfilling life any way we can.

Abraham Maslow wrote that to be whole you must certain needs met including food, clothing, shelter, safety ad security, love belonging, self esteem. but a few years later in his  Theory of Hiarchy, and Pyramid of Self Actualization he gives a different idea of being whole:  Knowing what ought to be known, and living accordingly makes one a whole person.

Everyone gets an even shot at what might be called wholeness, and while it is a label and I don’t like labels, using the word can make us think about our spiritual sides.

 

 

 

Ramps’nthings Press

Ramps’nthings Press is dedicated to publishing relevant materials for persons with disabilities and those who teach them, play with them, pray with them or just enjoy their company.

For mainline publishers, there’s not much money in the publication of materials for a smaller audience than the general population, so I took a little nest egg and started Ramps’nthings. It’s a fledgling, and I have had a steep learning curve, but publishing has been a big adventure. The downside is that it takes LOTS of time, so I don’t have as much writing time.

Other publishers always did  publicity, advertising, tax information, etc. for me Now I have to do it all,  so this is an extra effort.  EVERY CHILD CAN BLOOM IN THE INCLUSIVE CLASSROOM was released last month just in time for churches to use the book to inform teachers of children how to create a comfortable climate.  I had fun putting the   book together with the help of Homer Carvajal, the best book designer ever. He takes black words on a page and makes them appealing with color and pictures.

This is a book about practical teaching and easy adjustment of attitude.

Every Child Can Bloom in the Inclusive Classroom

 

 

Not only can every child bloom, but every teacher by tweaking the way they do things can  also BLOOM, and I tell them how to do it in my new book from Ramps’nthings Press. Available from Amazon.com,  EVERY CHILD CAN BLOOM IN THE INCLUSIVE CLASSROOM, A QUICK LOOK DISABILITIES HANDBOOK FOR SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS AND ANY TEACHERS gives  practical helps in “quick read” as I did in my first Quick Look for Volunteer Responders.

It’s about children with and without disabilities, and covers everything from sensory overload and calming actions to successful hands on teaching practices and spiritual formation and worship. There’s a bonus of    27   exciting ways to use a story.  Intentional church policy information can help your church decide which options for grouping best suit your needs.

If you don’t know what a Venn Diagram is, you need to buy this book. If you don’t know about social thinking, you need to buy this book. This information will help you exhale and sink onto a soft cushion as you enjoy your students. Maybe you didn’t know your were holding your breath!

Homer Carvajal did a fantastic job in designing the book. He took my black and white words, and with thirty color illustrations made them come alive.  Amazing!

 

 

Youth Camping and Summer Project Advice

Camping with youth is fun but certain to be full of surprises, especially if someone with a disability registers. Early on, find out what this person’s needs will be so you can help everyone have a good experience.  My this-website article, “Camps and Projects Can Be Inclusive,” will help you know what to do first, second and  on….   Don’t wait until the last minute when you have to gasp and wring your hands. Find out now what to do! My big camping surprise was at a Methodist teen Cedar Bluff Camp near Coffeyville, Kansas where I served as registrar. We ran out of cabins, so a few of the staff slept outside on cots next to the stage area. Being a sound sleeper, I awoke and looked up from my cot to see EVERYONE carrying their Bibles as they walked past me, snickered and pointed.  Question:  Is it worse to be seen in bed during morning watch or to be seen in cute shorty pajamas scampering toward the cabin? Answer: Wait until the opening prayer when everyone had their eyes closed. Almost everyone.

Job Opportunity

We are still looking for my replacement as director of special needs ministry at Chapelwood United Methodist Church (Houston, TX).  A great change in job description: IT IS A FULL TIME JOB OPPORTUNITY!  If you are a Christian educator with a heart for persons with disabilities, or you are a person certified in special needs with a heart for God and acquaintance with Wesleyan theology, this job might be for you.

You would oversee the programs for youth and adults with special needs and help move the children’s work from mainstreaming to inclusion programming.  What a great opportunity. Subtract a few years from my age and take a wheel off my wheelchair, and I’d still be there having fun. 83 volunteers work the teen and adult programs, and they are organized and friendly and have fun together.  They all have helper’s high.

 

Leibman’s Fails to Pass

Leibman’s on Memorial disappointed me big time when they made passages between displays so narrow my wheelchair could not even GET INTO ANY AISLE IN THE STORE  and the entrance was blocked by boxes of wine with bottles on top. With one wheel I could have turned the first aisle a Christmas wine red.  The wine manager asked me if I was leaving when he saw that I couldn’t detour through the wine department. He showed  me to the automatic door. I have shopped at Leibman’s for  years, so I was sorry they failed to pass muster for a person in a wheelchair. Their great handicap parking spot is right by that front door. Narrow passageways were not created out of malice, but were done thoughtlessly. Nice folks: become aware. And we spend money, too.

New Bug Trap

Seems like into every life of a mobility impaired parker there will be some blips and downs, but I had a pretty big blip with malice.  When visiting a sick friend at a facility there was not one van parking place (I don’t mean they were full, I mean they didn’t have one on their two block campus) I parked diagonal on two spaces. This allows me to get out of my   van. I do it all the time.

Well someone took exception! They plastered a red parking violation sticker approximately 10 by 4 or so on the driver side windshield of my car. They  also took all the stickers from my van and stuck them all over the windshield EXCEPT for my Baker University shield sticker which they tore and stuck on the right rear vision mirror. Looking at it you could feel the anger and intended punishment. They were mad.

Lottsa nice people around. Some helped me remove the stickers  so I could drive home. Before I got most of the glue off, the sticky patches collected pine needles and dirt, even a couple of bugs. We used all sorts of things trying to get the sticky stuff off my windshield, but so far haven’t found the right thing. I can get new stickers from the van repair telling people not to park within eight feet of my van, and Baker University will send me a new shield, but I wish that person had just left a note asking me not to park there. I would have thought better of them. Revenge and malice don’t work.  Only good thing is the sticky stuff on my windshield may trap another bug. This malicious person may have invented a new bug trap.

PLAN AHEad

So far, my replacement as director of special needs at Chapelwood United Methodist has not walked up the sidewalk to open the door,  so I am planning ahead to re-launch the programs that discontinued through the summer.  August has always been the time when paperwork gets stirred with a big stick, so watch out copying machines.

Anyone out there with Christian education experience looking for a 30 hour week job? If so, you need us, and you need to apply now. Most enthusiastic people to work with, good working conditions, cheerful helpers, forward looking board of directors. Hey this sounds so good, I may apply. Don’t worry if you don’t have special education training; I can help with that on-the-job.

Meanwhile, I better get down to the office. Someone is coming to help organize our new hallway bulletin board. (Did I mention that we have a great facility and system for using it?)