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

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It's too easy to focus on the empty half of the glass.  It takes an extra muscle in the heart to see that in everything there is something to be thankful for.

Eric has been to my office, seen the cube where I spend my days...has no desire to see it again.  He calls my job "the most boring job in the world!"   Policy, data, paperwork...he really is not that far off!  Yet, I have been doing the job for over a decade.  I am proficient at it.  And...I am employed!

I am thankful for that.

Jodie...Woman #1.  She works her tail off as an office manager with little thanks or appreciation.  This has been her first year in a wheelchair full time.  As long as the wheelchair is functioning right for her, this transition has been a big blessing for her as it has reduced pain and strain on her body.  Twenty years of marriage!

I am thankful for that.

My son.  Eric is 15 and towers over me now.  Great student.  Awesome pitcher who helped lead his team to state.    He has given two sermons at church this year.  Jodie and I have always known that Eric was a gift from God to bless this world.  Every day that is more apparent.

I am thankful for that.

Family.  A job for stepdad John after a twenty month search.  Jobs and college for my nieces and nephew. Everyone rallying around  SisD with her battle with the Big C...the boys picked up a giant 80 bags of cans donation to support her yesterday.   I had an awesome visit with my sister last month, and I have been seeing my mom and have been having great visits on Saturday mornings while Papa John teaches Eric to drive.  Life - good stuff and hard stuff mixed together.

I am thankful for that.

Women #1 thru guys know who you are...keeping me sane or insane.  Lunch dates, words of wisdom...keeping me together.

I am thankful for that.

My church family - Resurrection Lutheran.  Interim Pastor Craig an Pastor Karl.  Faithfully sharing with us words we need to here.  Sisters and brothers at church with words of encouragement.  News that Pastor Mike has accepted the call to come lead us.

I am thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This is YOUR problem

Yesterday I got an email to problem solve a medical eligibility issue for one of our kiddos.

I use to do that kind of problem solving in my previous duties; not so much now.

I went to a coworker.  I kindly told her, "This is YOUR problem to deal with", as I showed her the e-mail outlining the problem.

She shot back, not missing a beat, "That name at the top of that page is YOUR name," pointing to the e-mail.  "This is YOUR problem to deal with!"

One of us was schooled.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SisD update

I had a request for a SisD update.

She had a good day today. She spent a week in the hospital.

Sores inside her because of an allergic reaction to treatment made her unable to hold food down. She was sent home yesterday continuing to have that problem. She needs another week of treatment before period of rest and then surgery.

 It's hard to share stuff when the silver lining is not apparent. The treatments seem to be working. God's strength is carrying SisD and the family through this.

 Your continued prayers are coveted and appreciated.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yes Virginia, the season is upon us...

Twelve thirty five.  I was savoring my leftover enchiladas.  My phone rang.  Not a number I was familiar with, but I answered it.

It was a mom wanting to get her three children on the list to get toys from the "Toys for Tot's" program.  Someone told her she had to go through DHS to get them on the list.  Our office is the closest DHS office to where she lives.

I am the point person for Toys for Tot's in our branch.  I basically pester the caseworkers by email to find out who will be responsible for getting the toys delivered to the kids after the toys are delivered to the branch.

Our office is a Child Welfare branch.  The toys we get are for foster kids or for kids in families with whom we have involvement.  This lady did not fit that criteria, but she did have a foodstamp case.  We can't help her at our branch, but I didn't tell her that.  I took her information.

I emailed the lady's information to the person who is coordinating Toys for Tots for the district.  We're not sure this family meets the criteria that has been set up for the program, but we are finding a way to make it work.

The desperation in the lady's voice kinda got to me.  Her kids, foster kids, all kids in need.  I know that Christmas is about way more than gifts under the tree.  To kids, though, Christmas is about gifts under the tree.  Gifts under the tree shows that somebody cares for them.

It does take a village to raise our kids.  Kids in need are all of our kids.

This holiday season, amid the hectic pace, amid the joy and celebration, amid the hopes, dreams and possible disappointments, find a way, ever be it so humble, to reach out to the village and help make a miracle happen.  


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sprinter discrimination!

Attn: Membership Records
600 SW Market  St.
Portland, OR  97201        

We have a 2006 Sprinter van.   My wife and I purchased it in June 2007 as a mobility van.   My wife has a power chair and I have a scooter.

A couple weeks ago we called for a tow and learned that you cannot tow Sprinters in Oregon.

Please cancel our membership #:  

  Thank you,

Troy Wittren

Thursday, November 04, 2010

SisD and the Big C

Jodie's sister, Denise, has cancer.  Rectal cancer.

I hate calling it the "Big C".  It seems to give cancer a respect that it does not deserve, when in fact it is a hideous, scary disease.

It has been barely a month since she found out that the sickness that she felt was not just food poisoning.  Her whole life has changed.

Chemo, radiation...and upcoming surgery.

Denise is a hairdresser at Salon Ambiance in Gresham.  Hairdressers are a tough breed.  On their feet all day. Talking with people all day.  Counselors who cut and do hair.

The chemo treatment has made it to where Denise cannot work at the moment.   The ladies at Salon Ambiance, along with family and friends, are rallying to help Denise get through this tough time.

There is a bottle and can drive to raise funds to help Denise get through this tough time.  Bring your bottles and cans:

Saturday, Nov. 6  10am-2pm
Salon Ambiance
 192 NE 2nd
Gresham, OR

You can also donate money at any US Bank branch under "Denise Downey Cancer Fund"

Denise's husband, Ken, walked Jodie down the aisle to me at our wedding 20 years ago.    He was a giant of a man.  Not just his 6'7" basketball stature, but two weeks after our wedding we learned that Ken had a brain tumor.  He fought it with grace for over four years.  Their son, Vance, was two when his dad passed in December 1994.

Vance is now 18.  Tough deal, real tough deal.

Doctors are optimistic that this battle will be won...but the battle is real and it must be fought.

Donate cans, bottles, or money if you feel you can.

Even more important though, I ask you to pray for Denise:

-release from pain
-remission from cancer
-financial needs met
-a place to stay that does not have stairs
-strength and grace for Denise and her son Vance

Thank you!