Living and laughing with a disability - cerebral palsy; ordinary life, extraordinary circumstances.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Finding solutions...

Amy....I didn't want to pester you as you get other bids for a website, but I found a solution for creating a membership directory for you organization. Google Base. Here is a sample. The fields are highly configurable, it list is sortable and searchable...and, best of all, it is free!

Jodie and I want to start speaking on behalf of disability awareness. I am starting a Google Apps startpage for us. I need to add some good disability blog feeds to it. We will be able to share google docs, calendars....and a site. A work in progress. Documents can be attached to the site, like a wiki. And I configured my mx directory so now I can get email here:

Some day maybe I can convert my church's site to this?

Monday, April 28, 2008


Bonnie and Clyde, our doxy/yorkie mix brother and sister, are almost two years old. They are pretty lively and wild.

Last night, Bonnie wasn't so lively. She wasn't moving around. She was not even sitting.

We took her into the per hospital last night. The vet felt all over her little body. Bonnie's belly was tender. The medicated her, and we brought her home. This morning she still wasn't moving very well.

Jodie and her mom took Bonnie into her regular vet today. We picked Bonnie up on the way to E's baseball game (season opener....we won....17-9!) . I sat in the van with Bonnie during the game.

I found a Twinkie in my lunch cooler (how'd that get there?) I gave Bonnie a little bite. That perked her up!

The vet called and said all the tests came back clear, except for a slightly elevated white cell count.

I think she'll be okay.

Tony Campolo

Back in my college days I was involved with Campus Ambassadors, a college ministry. Every June we went to Denver for a week.

Tony Campolo was one of our guest speakers. He is a wonderful servant of Christ.

This ODB is a great reminder how his words blessed me:

Our Daily Bread - The Greatest Gift

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The beautiful Miss Iowa....

Born with cp, told she couldn't do it, she was in the running for Miss USA. The first contestant born with with a serious disability her whole life.

She was eliminated in the first round, but my goodness....what a beauty and what a winner!


Her heart is in the right place. This piece from a couple years ago: "But the most important thing isn’t winning a pageant, it’s about letting God’s beauty show through me. And telling other challenged girls that with God all things are possible—even the impossible."

John McCain on disability?

Five and a half years as a POW, he probably deserves it.

But it is interesting that he returned to flight status, and he has a millionaire for a wife, and the $58,358 disability pay is tax exempt.

John McCain gets tax-free disability pension - Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

$98.62... fill Jet white...Diesel.


I borrowed this photo...but this is identical to ours.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

E gives his first sermon

It was Youth Sunday at church today. E was projectionist, led us in the creed, and delivered a sermonette.

E spoke of our ordeal at Universal Studios last summer. He talked about seeing God in the kindness that was shown to us by the mechanic who went beyond the extra mile to help us out...and his wonderful "Aunt" Cindy who took us in.

His delivery was slow, deliberate and relaxed. Many people congratulated us afterward and told us how wonderful his message was. A retired minister's wife told us that she saw a young man headed for ministry.

Jodie and I are careful to tell E that whatever he does, we will always be proud of him. Each of us worked in ministry before (we are ministers all the time, everywhere, but I mean in a more formal sense). E has always wanted to dress like Pastor Al. We would be very proud if he chooses to go that direction.

We know that God has special plans for E. He has compassion for people, we feel that is from being around two parents with disabilities who are constantly facing and dealing with challenges. He is comfortable with people.

I'm not saying E is perfect. Like any normal kid, what we see at home is often way different from what people see at church. Not a bad kid...but a kid. Nobody is perfect.

We are all clay in God's hands.

God has a special plan for E. We are beginning to see his gifts, and it is a thrill!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Driving trucks for a living with a disability

Strange that mild cp would prevent a guy from getting into a truck driving school.

My cp is not mild. I drive, but all the other stuff truckers do for their rigs and loads....I will keep my desk job.

Trucking with a Disability from Monster Career Advice

Disability awareness in Kenya

“Disability entails multi-dimensional and cross-cutting agenda « CHAMA CHA MWANANCHI, SOCIALIST

I think it is wonderful that a wave of concern for the disabled is churning throughout the world.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why do they mock us?

Jodie was in the backyard Saturday playing with our Dorkies, Bonnie and Clyde. Live wires, they are. Jodie was running around with them, as fast as her crutches let her run. She was talking to our babies.

The kids it the yard behind us were mocking her. They were imitating what she was doing.

I used to go out back more. I don't do much of the yard work anymore, and we are busy, so I don't get out there much. A couple years ago, those same kids would call me names, imitate my walk and movements, and throw small rocks at me. We drove around to the other culdesac and told their dad about the rock throwing.

We need to set up a web cam. I don't know how we can act on this stuff without having proof.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Friends passing through...

Yesterday morning I took E down to the baseball field for the annual cleanup before the season opener. Wish I had pictures. E and his teammates, a bunch of really young t-ballers, and some adults all worker very hard. They emptied the railroad container shed, sorting through old gear and uniforms to see what could be used and what should be tossed. The coach and older boys leveled the dirt around the dugout for cement to be poured. A couple dads replaced the one wall in the dugout that had a hole.

We came home and picked up our lawn mower to take it into the shop. It's not working, and our grass is getting long.

When we got back home we had an e-mail from my old friend, Annette. I mentioned her briefly just a couple days ago. I met her at a Youth Conservation Corp in 1980. In 1981 I went to visit her in Bend. She took me to a concert with the Continental Singers, where I began my journey with Jesus. In 1982 I had no hope for a prom date. Annette was attending Southern Oregon State College down in Ashland. She made the long bus trip to Portland to go with me to my prom. A couple years later she had a bout with Hodgekin's Disease and was teaching up in Hood Canal, WA, to see her. Brother and sister, friends in the truest sense.

She visited Jodie and I in 1990 when we got married. My mom and I drove to Kirkland, WA, for her wedding. We felt like E was too young for the trip at the time.

Yesterday, Annette and Dave we driving home from Bend. We were able to meet up at Main City Park in Gresham. They have three wonderful kids. Our E is 12; they have an E who is 5. Very mechanical, serious minded little guy. And they have twin 2 year old girls -- very cute. They were born through a special embryo adoption process. Our E had a ball with the kids. He caught them as they came down the slide.

We went to Wall Street Pizza for dinner. Dave works for a computer company up in Redmond, may have heard of them. Annette has been a Spanish teacher. Her kids speak Spanish.

We had a really good time. We hope to make it up their way this summer.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

And I feared I was just getting old....

The Great Forgetting - New York Times

I spend too much time surfing the web...and trying to figure out stuff like Google's new App Engine. I am running out of brain cells....

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hi Tish!

When I was in high school, my wonderful school, Beaverton High School, found wonderful opportunities for me to go to each summer.

The summer between my junior and senior year I went to a 5 week marine science program in Wallops Island, VA. It was put on the the U of West Virginia and sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

I remember a nurse with long red pigtails and overalls. Her name was Tish. I wish I remember more about our conversations back in the summer of '81. I remember identifying with her dealing with her mom and dad splitting up. She took me to the airport when it was time to go home. She hugged me goodbye. I felt joy for the connection we shared, sadness that I might not see her again.

When I got back home to Oregon that summer, I went down to Bend (OR) to see my friend Annette from my previous summer's adventure to the Youth Conservation Core in Eastern Oregon. She took me to see the Continental Singers, a traveling Christian group. Annette had recently become a Christian. I accepted Christ into my life.

Tish started sending me letters. She was a Christian too! She traveled to Israel to discover her roots, on her dad's side I believe. Her letters were a huge encouragement to me back in my high school days. I did not have a lot of friends. Writing is like therapy to me, and writing to friends like Annette and Tish really kept me going. Getting her international letters from Israel were such a thrill!

My first job out of college was as an associate editor with World Christian magazine. I had to raise prayer and financial support for the venture. Tish sent me a very large gift that I will never forget.

In my mind Tish is my big sister. I lost contact with her about 20 years ago. I have googled her name a few times to try to find her. No luck.

Last week got this special email:


I wonder if you remember me. I think you're the same Troy Wittren that I used to know. Is your birthday Feb ..? I was a counselor (red hair) at Wallops Island when you were there - if you're the same Troy Wittren. I've thought about you so often since that summer and didn't know how to get in touch with you. But it occurred to me just recently that perhaps if I "googled" you I would turn up something. Please let me know if this is you. I loved reading your website and finding out that you're married and that you love the Lord (another reason why I think it must be the Troy I knew). Please let me know if you remember me and if it's you and I'll write more.

Of course I remember you have no idea how I have missed you.

MicroHoo...and Myspace too?

News Corp to join Microsoft in Yahoo bid? - U.S. business-

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The eye roll...

As I mentioned in my previous post, we went to Corteo last night. We got there for the 4 o'clock show, but our tickets at will call were for the 8 o'clock show. We were able to exchange the tickets.

Jodie and I were both on scooters. We went to the handicapped entrance. There was only one seat in our area that could accommodate a scooter...and it was taken. I waited in the entryway while Jodie and E got situated. The ushers were trying to figure out what to do.

In front of me I say a young usher roll his eyes over the whole situation. I was right there by him, buy he was paying me no heed.

It made me laugh and it made me think. We were an inconvenience to him for a few minutes. BUDDY! Try being disabled. Try dealing with inconvenience all the time. I long for a day when I do not face physical limitations 24/7.

Disability is not for wimps!

They were able to transfer Jodie to a seat. Eric helped the ushers park our scooters near the door.

Things worked out fine.

Circus de Soleil

Last night, Jodie, E and I went and saw Corteo. I have seen Circus de Soleil perform on TV, but never in real life.

Wikipedia has a good rundown on the show.

Circus of the sun from Montreal.

I am doing a website for out chiropractor, and the tickets were a very nice "thank you". Culture for the Wittren's. We don't get out to live shows hardly ever.

It is gymnastics set to theater. Tumbling, trapeze, trampoline, jumping on a bed with flips you would not believe. Singing, dancing, acting. It was all to tell the story of a clown imagining a joyous procession (corteo) at his own funeral.

The human body is an amazing instrument that we take for granted. The athletes/actors of Circus de Soleil show the instrument in it's highest and finest form.

Jodie's birthday

Friday was Jodie's birthday. Sixty moons from 50 and she wanted to gamble. Some fantasy about not having to go to work Monday...what's that about?

I suggested an amount of money to take. I got that look. I doubled it. Could I play a little? "It's my birthday." Fine...WOMAN!

I took E to the arcade. He had the day off school. $60 is a lot of quarters...he had a ball.

We all met for lunch. Jodie was depressed. She had played hard. I took $40 to play. The 2 cent slots are fun, but the jackpots are small.

Jodie has to go to work tomorrow...but I'm not telling her!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Trip to the tire shop

The brakes on our Jet White (our huge Dodge Sprinter) have seemed spongy at times lately. Last Saturday I took it in the Les Schwab to be looked at. The checked and found that some fluid was leaking through in the master cylinder. The needed part was not on hand, but they would order it. It would be in on Tuesday, so I made an appointment. 10 Tuesday morning.

I took Tuesday morning off, and I was at the shop a bit before 10. For most people, an employee runs out the greet customers in the parking lot when they get out of their cars. They don't do that for me. I went into the shop and a lady behind the desk asked what I needed. I told her I had an appointment at 10. She found me on the schedule and called back to the shop to let them know I was there with the van.

I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited...

Jet White was right outside the window I was staring out of. It wasn't going anywhere. At 11, an hour after my appointment time, our van was still sitting there, unmoved. I went up and told the lady behind the desk that my van was still sitting in the parking lot, even though I had a 10 o'clock appointment. She called the shop. I overheard her say "I told you guys it was here!"

An hour and a half later the van was done.

I was irritated.

I probably should have gone up to the desk sooner, but I thought maybe they were backed up. I am surprised that none of the employees why our Sprinter was sitting out front for so long.

I tried to explain to the guy at the desk when I paid that I was upset, that I had a 10 o'clock appointment and that the van was not taken back until after 11. I was flustered, the words were not coming out clear, and he was not getting why I was upset. All I got was a canned "Sometimes it takes awhile..."

I get the feeling sometimes that my time is not valued as highly as a non-disabled person, an assumption that since I am disabled, I must not work, so I can wait longer than someone else who is not disabled and who does work.

I do work. I don't like to take more time off work than I need to. I am a cog in the wheel...I need to be there.

I have done business with Les Schwab for many years. I will probably continue to go there. I did not see the faces there this time that I use to see there.

Not much I can do about it...just frustrating.

"I am Jemma, and I am immortal"

This incredible essay was written by Jemma Leech when she was eight.

ABC News: Autobiography

She is now 10. He story was on World News tonight. I didn't see the story on tv; just by purusing the internet. Her mind and diction are much sharper than mine...and she's only 10!

Her giftedness would be celebrated even if she did not have cerebral palsy. Her thoughts were trapped inside of her until age 5, when she started tapping a xylophone stick.

Her essay (Jemma's autobiography) won out of 1,600 other essays according to this wonderful blog I just found....Patricia E Bauer veteran journalist. She has CP also, and was senior editor of the LA Times Sunday Magazine.

The imagery is applied to her of a great mind trapped inside a broken body. Stereotypical, yes, but that is what it feels like having cerebral palsy. I don't care for the word "trapped", but the angst of the term is what it's like having a body that does not obey the mind.

Broken people in a broken world with wills that won't die.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Coast Guard auctions off lighthouses -

I love I could buy one!

I have a calendar filled with lighthouses at work. We are the light of the world.

With gps, lighthouses are pretty much obsolete. There is a good sermon tucked in there somewhere...

Coast Guard auctions off lighthouses -