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.
Rita Boyer, otherwise known as Heather’s mother, must have a degree in photography because she took pictures of my retirement party that are crisp, beautiful and caught the spirit of the goings-on. Thank you very much, over and over Rita. The pictures are posted on my face book.
I, on the other hand, am not a good photographer as my hands shake to add a squiggly dimension to all pictures much like those little squares you can click on to make the pictures look like something else. Am trying to take pictures of the gifts presented to us so everyone can see what shoppers from their groups did.
The dedicated Sunday worship and the party are over, and it would seem like I’m retired, but we haven’t found a replacement yet, so here I am for a while.
Next week is my favorite party – fishing – so Bob and Don are getting the fishing rods ready, and we have bait. It’s a contest between baits, mine being cheese hot dogs, and Don’s being (yuk) worms. If kept chilled, packaged leftovers of my bait can be eaten. Okay, Don, you can’t say that about your bait! Tonight is the art show when artists wow us with their products. Each student gets to explain his/her art, and we close the evening with refreshments.
They said it would be amazing and it was all done in secret, so the surprise was amazing and has me flying! Don’t know how they accomplished so much without me, old nosey, getting into it. During delicious dinner at tables decorated with sunflowers (I’m from Kansas – state flower) a large spread of my life was featured on video starting with myself as a baby! Also lots of Circle of Friends pictures. The Circle of Friends choral group formed especially for this occasion sang on stage, “We Are Marching In The Light of God” with great enthusiasm and hand waving. The drum group started before the singing and accompanied he singing. It was fabulous.
The drama group presented a skit I wrote in the 1980’s called, “May I Come Up and Play?” with adaptations to celebrate me. They created the huge tree that formed a backdrop for the plays tree house on which they slotted complimentary descriptions of me.
There were many tributes two of which were said on speech devices, and another recorded by Dr. Jim Jackson who just retired and is gone to Europe.
The Sunday School group presented posters spelling Bob and Naomi with descriptive words making us out to be saints causing me to suggest to Helen (a Catholic nun and head of Pal’s Place) that she speak to the Pope about getting me blessed. The Sunshine Room boys presented very special glitter art work they made. Pal’s place presented a beautiful commemorative platter with their thanks and my name in the middle and names of all members around the rim. Artists in Action made an exquisite cloth upholstered box containing decorative paper crosses with messages from individuals written on them. I have read them over and over. Some of their famous notecards were enclosed – I can now write thank you.
Bob and I were showered with beautiful, wonderful, exciting, touching gifts.
Oh yes, and a huge, beautiful cake was in the shape of an open Bible and on top was written the Circle of Friends theme Bible verse of the year.
Everyone was in on the act except me, and from beginning to the cake ending the tribute was beyond spectacular, or, as the students say in a shout out, “That’s Incredible.” The amount of love and appreciation could be felt making Fellowship Hall truly sacred space.
I keep groping for a way to say thank you in BIG WAYS. I am overwhelmed with blessings.
A surprise king size retirement party is plannned to celebrate my 19 years of service at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas. During that time I worked to make our church accessible in mental environment as well as ramps and other architectural features. From the disability taskforce came Signs of Grace, and with the help of the taskforce we started a group for adults with functional challenges that has grown from 4 to 60 and we have added a teen group that numbers over 35. When our groups outgrew their one room facility, the generous church build a master room/wing to house them, and we have now outgrown that wing. Other programs are now featured, each with a director. It has all been a team effort, so I’m really humbled by a party celebrating ME. Anyway, can’t wait to see what is in store, since I know the drama group has been preparing, and how could I not overhear the drum group practicing. I’m taking a crying towel. Stay tuned.
Circle of Friends prayer circle was huge last night as we included the rodeo helpers, teens, adults and all the leaders. Highlight of the circle was calling our minister of caring who is ill and having her listen in on the prayers. We began by telling her (shouted all at once) “You’re incredible.” Teamwork decorated the room and got the booths together. Not to be forgotten are the persons who stayed late to undecorate and put away the equipment for next year in a place where we can find it. No one ever, I mean ever, has enough storage space.
This is rodeo night for Circle of Friends, a time when everyone does everything with the help of Stripes the Clown, Miss Moo and Howdy. Everyone will wear a bandana, and many students will come in chaps and cowboy hats. I’m going to take a wranglers rope looped over the handles of my wheelchair. Can’t wear a cowboy hat since my headrest knocks it off, but I do have boots and jeans. There will be bean bag toss, face painting, cookie decorating, dancing, a petting table for the rabbits, and did I say dancing the Macarena? At the end we come up with the world’s largest prayer circle of about 90 plus with pure, heartfelt requests and celebrations. One big prayer I expect is a thankfulness for the good health report of our director of caring who is very special to everyone plus a blessing on her future with slower doses of chemotherapy. Our student’s prayers have the thirty-nine leaders and the additional rodeo volunteers going home with similes on their faces. Our students “get it.”
One of my students who sits in a wheel chair turned up yesterday with great fur lined boots and heavy leggings. Last night as I sat in front of the fireplace warming my wheelchair foot plates (yes, your feet freeze on metal) and drinking some tea, I remembered my family who actually live where it is cold. In Houston, 40 degrees is cold enough for the fireplace. My nephew and his family in Alaska are enjoing snow so deep they had to scoop the snow away from their windows so they could see out. My grandson in Denver reported sitting in the hot tub out in a snowstorm. Wherever you are, keep warm. I’m dressing warmly today to check in with Artists in Action.
Artists in Action, our program for unemployed persons with disabilities who want to give back to the church, meets every Monday. They are in touch with their creativity, and make beautiful card creations for persons who are homebound or need cheer. Right now they have a request for over a hundred cards for a special church group, and they are having fun trying to meet a quota. I have lunch with them – a high point for Monday. Monday is my least favorite day – when I make myself do book keeping and check requests and pick up after Sunday.
After a study of their natural talents, our Circle of Friends Teens and Friends group is presenting a talent show tonight for parents and for the adult Circle of Friends group. They have worked very hard getting this together and deserve more than a round of applause.
Good news for homebound and parents who cannot be there: the show will be livestreamed through Chapelwood.org but you must have a link to it. Time between 7:00 and 8:15 central time. Don’t be late.
Use this link:
<http://www.chapelwood.org/cof> <http://www.chapelwood.org/cof> <http://www.chapelwood.org/cof <http://www.chapelwood.org/cof>
Sorry the link may not work as it is not up and running until late this afternoon. You will probably have to type it in.
The quote of the day from the Circle of Friends adult Sunday School class is, “No matter what it is, you have to put it in God’s hands.” Said by a student. Our students always inspire and encourage us as we watch them grow, and they help us grow. I spent the afternoon writing Christmas thank you notes, and I’m not finished yet. Many of them were for money given to Pal’s Place to honor Bob and me. Pal’s Place is one of our favorite groups because it gives parents a little time off while their teens and friends have a good time. There’s always pizza or turkey or something special for the season, and the students love to play in the gym and do other activities. It’s more than activity, though; it is planned to be socialization by intention. A great big thank you to the staff and helpers.
At last! Amazon has my Quick Look for Volunteer Emergency Responders in stock, so my friends in the disability community can spread the word that it is available. This book will save lives as well as provide a safe and comfortable rescue zone for both the rescuer and person in need of help. The title page listed on Amazon needs a tweak, but that is out of my power. It lists the author as Naomi Mitchum and Naomi Mitchum. There have been many days when I tried to clone myself and was unsuccessful, but finally the power structure at Amazon did it! Yahoo! One of me is going fishing while the other works.
On the local scene, our teens and friends group of Circle of Friends is doing a talent show next week, and it promises to be the best ever. Best part is that they learned a lot about their natural talents before they put the show together. There will be singing, playing, dancing, basketball shoots and many other events. I’m told it will be live streamed, but to get it you have to have a personal link known only to parents and friends. Our number of students keeps growing, so the set up takes many chairs. The drama group of adults is preparing a wonderful Easter play. We do have fun, and every week we realize that we are a big family within a family. Next time I will tell you about our theme Bible verse this year.