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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bill and I

I wrote about going to Bill Porter's funeral yesterday.  I didn't want to clutter my tribute to Bill yesterday, but what I went through getting from my van into the church made me think "what would Bill do?"

I found the disabled parking spaces at St. Henry's Catholic church in Gresham.  I pulled my walker out of the van.  There were some doors near where I parked, but the looked like back doors, private entrances.  They did not look like entrances to the church.

I walked around to the front of the church.  It was a good distance for me, but if Bill could walk ten miles a day, I could handle this.  There might be a handicapped entrance at the back of the church that just was not obvious to me.

When I made it to the front of the church, I found three stairs to go up on the sidewalk leading to the church entrance.  I realized that I could walk a greater distance to avoid the stairs, but I was getting tired, and the service was about to begin.

I was just going to fold my walker and drag it up the stairs.  A bit crazy, I know, but like Bill and most other disabled people out spend a lot of your life figuring out ways to do things that nobody else thinks you can do.

Just as I was about to do my crazy deed, a very kind woman at the top of the steps saw what I was about to do and she offered to help.  I thought about being bullheaded and telling the woman, "No thanks.  I can do this."

Instead, I figured the woman was there to honor Bill, a guy with disabilities.  Helping me, a guy with disabilities, was probably something she would like to do.   She carried my walker up the stairs.  I used the handrail to get myself up the stairs.  I thanked the lady as we made our way into the church.  She held the door for me.

During the service, it was mentioned how Bill did not like to ask for help.  Something we had in common.

Shelly Brady, whose family adopted Bill after his mother passed, thanked the many people for the help they gave his house, getting him to appointments, etc...

It made me smile.   No wanting to ask for help, but knowing when to accept it.

Bill and I had in common.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bill Porter, American hero, rest in peace

I went to Bill Porter’s funeral on Friday to pay my respects to a truly great American hero.  Bill passed away on December 3.   He was the Portland door-to-door salesman with cerebral palsy who never let his disability be used as an excuse.  

Tom Hallman Jr., who first brought Bill's story to us in 1995 wrote a fine obituary on Bill.

Like Bill, I was born with cerebral palsy.  His cp was similar to mine, but I think Bill's speech was more affected than mine, as also were the involuntary motions in the rest of his body worse than mine.  

Bill's mom told him he could accomplish whatever he set his mind to do.  My  mom and dad, my whole family, brought me up to believe I could achieve any goal I set my mind to do.

At his service a story was told of how he went to the employment agency every day for months only to be told that he should stay home, that they had no job for him.  Bill's father was a salesman.  The only advice Bill could remember from his dad was "Get a job!"

After many turn-downs, his tenacious never-give-up spirit spirit got him a job with the JR Watkins Company, with the toughest door-to-door route in Portland hilliest area.

Bill walked ten miles a day, going door to door, selling household products.  He was a tenacious salesman, never taking “no” for a final answer.  A “no” today might be a “yes” the next week, or the week after, or the week after get the idea.

I went to Oregon State.  My favorite job to date is the one I had as a student in college, as a copyeditor on OSU’s Daily Barometer, with a weekly humor column titled “Witticisms.”

After college I had a brief stint as an assistant editor with World Christian Magazine, but my support ran low and the magazine went under.  I moved home and had to start looking for a job.

No one told me to stay home and collect a check as Bill was told, but that message was getting through to me with the rejection I was getting.  I sent lots of resumes with no response.  I worked with Vocational Rehabilitation.  

Unlike Bill who spent his life getting around on his feet, I rode a three-wheeled bike through college.  After college, I was able to get my driver’s license with the help of Voc Rehab.

One day I volunteered to make a spreadsheet to track volunteer hours for the volunteer coordinator in the Hillsboro Department of Human Services office.  That led to a desk job with Child Welfare.  That was 24 years ago.  Many different desks, but still with Child Welfare.

Less than a year after starting my job, I was married to Jodie.  She has cerebral palsy too.  In 1995 we had a son.

When I compare my life to Bill’s life, my life seems really soft.  Usually, though, I am not comparing my life to Bill’s.  

I have a theory that as part of the human condition, we all, at times, wish we had another person’s life, but if we had that person’s life, we would rather have our own life back.

From what I have read and heard about Bill’s life, he was not one to sit still long enough to worry about what could have been if his life had been different.  For more than 45 years he did door-to-door sales.  Six days a week, with Saturday being his day to call back on customers who weren't home when he went through earlier in the week.

On Sundays, Bill was in church.  Rev. Zach told us at Bill’s service how Bill always sat in the same pew, and how he always walked up front for communion, even though it was a struggle for him.

There were three beautiful bouquets in front of the sanctuary to honor Bill.  One of the bouquets was from the Watkins Company.  Another bouquet was from the Brady family, the family who adopted Bill as their own after his mother did.  The Brady family was up front singing beautifully together for the service.  Kathy Brady shared wonderful insights into Bill’s life.

A third bouquet was from an American who is living in Shanghai, calling Bill a “great American hero.”  Bill really was.  I love the idea of naming the new light rail bridge across the Willamette the “Bill Porter Bridge”.  Bill deserves to be honored and remembered.

Bill Porter was a great American.

Rest in peace Bill.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The key won't turn!

Jodie had her office manager's meeting yesterday.  My manager attends the same meeting.  I'm allowed the flexibility of transporting Jodie from her meetings to her office with our van.

I picked Jodie up about 12:30.  We drove to Wendy's in Gresham.  We got up to the drive-up menu to order.  I turned off our van.  Our diesel van is so loud that the order takers can't hear us over our loud engine.

After we gave our order, I tried to turn the key to turn the van back on.  It would not turn!

Jodie tried to turn the key.  The world is Troyproof you know.  What does not work for me does work for just about everyone else.   Also, I can break stuff in ways no one else can. You think I kid.  Whatever!!

Well, the key would not turn for Jodie.  Panic was setting.

Disabled couple in their Big A** van blocking Wendy's drive-up menu.

I kept jiggle the steering wheel, and the key.  I  was praying.  In out last van I broke the key off in the ignition...that was an expensive fix.

The key did turn.  The van started.  We went to park to eat.  The key would not turn to turn the van off.  We decided to go home. We parked in our drive way.  Still, the key would not turn.  We ate our lunch with the van running.

We called the shop.  They did not know what would cause the key not to turn, but hey, they never figured out why the van's windshield wiper broke off a few months ago either.  They scratched their heads and told me to come into the shop.

With the interlock system on the van, our lift does not work when the van is running.  I went in the house and got Jodie's crutches so she could walk into the house.

I pulled the van into the shop's garage.  I was praying it would not cost much.  Did not know which card to put this one on.  ;)

I got my walker out, told the guys "It  won't turn off," and headed to the waiting room.  The 'or I'll eat my hat!' guy was in his office.  "Hi, my friend!" he said.

In short tine, one of the shop guys came and told me the the key was bent, which it why it was not working.   The hammered it straight, but told me to start using another key.  No charge...such a nice shop.

I texted Jodie and headed home.  When I opened the garage, Eric came running out.

"Dad, how did you bend a key?!"

I reminded him I'm the same guy who rebroke his arm, bending the titanium plate that had been holding it together.

Troyproof...ya know...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Handcycling at PIR

The racetrack at the Portland International speedway is two miles.  Did you know that?  I don't think I'll ever forget that after tonight.

Handcycling at the PIR is an event that runs every Tuesday through September.

John and Dixie from our church family have been encouraging us to come.  John is a racer trying for 4 miles.  Dixie hands out fruit, water and encouragement.   Many wonderful volunteers are there.

All abilities...all ages...all skill levels.  No cost.

Jodie did great.  Her cycle was more upright, steering with her hands. 

Me?  I kept thinking that I was glad Eric was not there to see how many times I drove off the track into the grass.

The bike I was on steered by leaning your legs.  My brain was telling my legs what to do, but my wild legs just weren't moving the way I wanted them to.  I kept driving off the track into the grass. Each time there was someone around to help me back onto the track.  I was trying to hurry, because there was a guy waiting for my handcycle.

My handcycle had many gears.  I didn't use them.  I was having trouble staying on track in low gear...why would I go to higher gear?

Jodie stayed with me.  She could have easily blown by me.

Physical exercise just isn't much part of my life, but this felt good.  We were tired...a good kind of tired.

Will we be out there next Tuesday?  Hmm...

Monday, September 02, 2013

Teach your children...we are just like you

This is a top ten list worth sharing:

» 10 Things Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids About Disabilities | Wheelchair van, handicap van, & wheelchair lift information | AbilityVoice Blog

Kids are naturally curious.  The greatest harm we do as adults to kids is anything that`stymies their curiosity.  It's okay to stare the "ten second" stare.  It's okay to ask questions.

I like it when Jodie is around to answer kid's questions.  The teacher in her handles it beautifully.  When I am by myself and I try to speak with kids, kids are more curious of how I am speaking than what I am saying.

Don't be afraid of us as adults, and don't let your kids be afraid of us.

Disability is not something we chose.  We are as human as you are.  We overcome the barriers we can, we deny our disability when we are just plain sick of it.  We don't all have super human smarts, or some other super power that offsets our disability.

We are people just like you.  Great sometimes, not so great sometimes...we are human just like you.  Teach this to your kids.

I believe that kids who aren't afraid to acknowledge persons with disabilities or other differences will have a level of compassion that will one day open doors of opportunity for them.

Kindness benefits both giver and receiver, and it makes the world a better place.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Getting out...on the Springwater Trail

A bright sunny day in the middle of Labor Day weekend.  As true Oregonian, Jodie and  I know that sunny days are numbered.  

In a desperate attempt to sponge the remaining precious sunshine, Jodie and I took to the Springwater Trail for a ride.  There is a ramp to it a few blocks from our house.

It's not physical exercise for us.  Jodie is in her powerchair, and I am in my scooter.

It is a different kind of exercise for us.  We are homebodies.  We work all week in offices, go to church Sundays, go to Eric's baseball games.  Other than that, we stay home.

Home is safe. It is where we recoup from the week...and get our weekly chores done.

Going out on the Springwater Trail is and adventure that takes us out of our homebody routine.

We have live in our Gresham community for 15 years.  Riding down the trail reminds why we like living here.  Walkers, runners, bikers...they all smile and most say "Hello" as they go by.

I went by a teen boy.   I was thinking he would not say anything, but he smiled and said "hi."  I was surprised!

Jodie and I made it to the Main City Park.  I guess it's been a long time since we have  been there.  They have built a beautiful new entrance to the park off the trail, with a special tribute to Gussie Roberts, one of out former mayors.  There is now a beautiful wide sidewalk that winds through the park.

We drove through park and crossed Powell into Downtown Gresham.  I saw the antique consignment shop where Eric's girlfriend's  family has some stuff.  I was mesmerized by the old albums.  I found a 1970 Kansas album, which I didn't know existed.  Evidently, Wikipedia doesn't know either...I just checked.  More research to do...

Jodie found the dolls.  She saw a 1964 calendar she wants to get me.

The scary thing about looking at antiques is seeing items we remember using in our lifetime, like a pay phone.  So, that's a antique?  Like really?

After that, we stopped at Jazzy's Bagels, one of Gresham's treasures for sure.  Toasted cheddar cheese with cream cheese on top...just wonderful!

 I know, we are homebodies, and we are that boring!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disability squared

Its been a week. I was putting my walker in the van. I fell backward out of the van.

Gone are the days when all that I hurt in a fall was my pride. I chipped my elbow. I am in a splint as the swelling lessens. I will be getting a cast on Friday.

Yes, I am typing this with my left middle finger, with new appreciation for my blogger friend, Glenda, the left thumb blogger.

Disability squared is what it feels like – already disabled, dealing with a temporary disability on top. Not that I am complaining...just another challenge to get through.

Daytime tv. Newest scandal. GMA. College baseball. Ellen. Maneuvering one handedly with my walker. Best friend, Clyde, with his eye on me all day long.

Next week I will be torturing Eric by having Eric drive me to work. Making a kid get up before 10 in the summer, evil!


Saturday, June 01, 2013

Changing the symbol for disability...why the fuss?

What's in an image?  Don Draper would say everything. The Madmen of Madison Ave know that we can easily be manipulated into thinking and feeling pretty much whatever they want us to think and they think and feel their way to our pocket books.

The international symbol for disability.  The stick figure of a guy in a wheelchair.  He and the chair is one.  Not a perfect symbol for disability, but it is simple..we all know what it is...why would anyone want to change it up?

Boingnoing has the story of how New York City has adopted a new international symbol for accessibility:

In the new symbol, the guy looks active.  He is using the wheelchair, yes, but he is not one with the chair.  He does not look passive; he is in motion.

Disability is not for sissies.  What Jodie and I go through to get ready everyday for work.  We are getting older, moving a bit slower...basically dealing with age and disability.  The other day I had been on my feet too long in the kitchen doing my morning routine.  I was hurting.  I decided to skip breakfast.  Jodie kinda scolded me...she knows how I get when I haven't eaten.

Jodie is dealing with lots of new aches and pains and other issues. 

The lift on our van is acting up.  We need to get it into the shop.  We are a bit nervous, because we don't know how much it will cost us.

I share this stuff not for sympathy.  Disability is not a life we chose.  We were born into it.   We have fought to overcome obstacles since we were kids.  We are overcomers, and I would dare say that most other people dealing with disability are likewise overcomers. 

You can stick with the symbol of the motionless guy that is one with the wheelchair is the proper symbol for disability, or accessibility.  I prefer the guy in motion, using a wheelchair as a tool to get where he needs to get.  Not sitting, but moving and overcoming. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Exit 188

I just re-upped this domain, "" for another 2 years.  I suppose I should be saying something on it.

Having a blog is a responsibility and a curse.  I'll think of something interesting to write about, then I'll talk myself out of writing about it, telling myself, "Who'd be interested in that?"

Jodie just got super excited over a $5 coupon card we got in the mail.  See! That's the excitement around here.

We had some sadness nearly two weeks ago.  We took one of our two dogs into be seen at Banfield Pet Clinic.  She was acting real listless.  As Eric and I took Bonnie in, I had no idea how sick she was.  Anemia...not much could be done for her.  We had to say goodbye to her.

Clyde has been looking for Bonnie ever since. When we come home now, Clyde goes nuts and runs throughout the whole house, as if Bonnie may have snuck in the door with us.

 The staff at Banfield sent us a sympathy card, with Bonnie's paw print, and signed by all the staff.  They have been seeing Bonnie and Clyde since they were pups eight years ago.  The card really meant a lot to us.

The highlight of our life is our boy and his baseball.  He pitched a wonderful 1-0 game against Gaston a couple weeks ago to win a trip to state.  KUIK 1360 AM was there.  Hearing the radio announcer say "Wittren" over and over again was a thrill!

A week ago, Jodie's mom and sister, Denise, Jodie and I were roadtriping to Stanfield.  Clyde came with us.  Yes, he is being spoiled these days...;)

Exit 188.  Stanfield.  First stop on the way to the state championship.

Eric pitched a gem. His Portland Christian teammates played well.  We were ahead throughout the game   The rain showers seemed to hit only when Eric was pitching.  The Stanfield boys battled, and, in the end, they snagged the game.

Yes, a bummer.  The dream of a state championship will have to wait another year.  For now, summer ball starts this weekend.

Eric takes his SAT this weekend.  Prayers for him and all the kids out there taking the test.

We are hoping to visit a few colleges this summer...between the ball games...;)

Not hugely interesting...I know...but that is what is going on with us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A mess on the outside

We were out to dinner with family and friends at the Olive Garden. Jodie was at the head of the table in her powerchair. I was sitting by her, trying to tuck my walker between out of the way as I could.

An older gentleman came over and started talking to us. His hat said "2nd Ranger" on it and he used to parachute out of planes, "The most fun you can have without getting naked."

He asked Jodie what she had...then what I have. She told him cerebral palsy. He told us that growing up he had a friend who was like me..."A mess on the outside, but beautiful on the inside".

Hmm. An interesting way to put it!

Offended? Na! Older guy, very kind words. I think he probably underestimated us, not realizing that Jodie and I work, have a home, a van...and that the seventeen year-old at the table was ours.

He asked if we knew Jesus. "Yes we do!"

He gave Jodie and I each a golden medallion. One side reads: "America, the land of the free, only as long as it remains the home of the brave!"

The other side reads: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.

When this guy was leaving, he stopped by and told us what a beautiful family we all were. We thanked him.

When the bill came, the manager came over and thanked us for coming in. She then told us that someone had anonymously paid $100 toward our gratuity.

Eric says the guy has spoken at his school, but he cannot remember his name. My Googling fingers failed to find him.

2nd Ranger guy, from the mess of me outside and whatever beauty my Lord affords me on the inside, thank you!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Good news...dumbfounded

Jodie had a doctor appointment the other day with a neurologist.  A month ago Jodie went to see this doctor for the first time so he could refer her for an mri.

Last summer, our eye tor picked up that Jodie was not seeing in the lower portion of her vision.  It's tricky to understand.  When you look straight ahead, you can see the floor in your peripheral vision; Jodie cannot.  Jodie has been wearing bifocals, but now we know that she can't see out of the lower lens.

This loss of vision probably happened subtly over the course of years, so slowly that Jodie did not notice the change.

After a couple field of vision tests over a few months, our eye doctor thought that an mri might be in order to make sure there was not any growth producing pressure in Jodie's head, on the optic nerve, causing Jodie's loss of vision.

Jodie saw the neurologist last month.  He did a few simple tests to witness that Jodie was not seeing in the lower part of her peripheral vision.  He then ordered that an mri be done.

Jodie had the mri three weeks ago.  A week after, she called the doctor's office to see if there was any news regarding the mri.  After  few call backs, the office acknowledged they had the mri results, but that Jodie would need to make an appointment with the doctor to find out the results.

An appointment was made.  Two weeks.  It bothered us that they would not tell us the mri results over the phone, and would make us wait two weeks to tell us.

If there was anything bad in the mri, they wouldn't make us wait two weeks to find out, right?  But, if the mri was clear, they would tell us over the phone, or send us a note, wouldn't they?  We were confused.

When Jodie first went to see this doctor a month ago, her mom and sister took her.  The doctor's office has a parking garage.  Our van is too tall for parking garages.  This time I drove Jodie to the office and found street parking with room in the rear for the lift.

Jodie's mom and sister met us at the appointment.  Jodie's sister and I went back with Jodie to meet with the doctor.

To our amazement, the neurologist acted as if he had not seen Jodie before.  He did not seem to really know why we were there.  We asked for the mri results.  Oh yeh...those.  The new mri showed no change over the mri Jodie had done in the 90's.  He seemed surprised that we did not already know the results.

We asked about Jodie's limited vision.  He proceeded to test Jodie's peripheral vision himself.  He asked whether Jodie really did not see down there, or just did not see in color.  He did not have any answers as to why her vision was limited, but that he could refer us to a neurological optometrist.

We left dumbfounded.  A clear mri was good news.  Reasons for Jodie's limited vision still elusive.

Should we be concerned?  Who knows...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yes God...I know...

Last night when Jodie and I got home, our van was spewing white smoke out the front.  We panicked. We tried to hurry to get out...which is a snails pace at best.

I got Jodie down on the lift.  The front of the van seemed really hot.  When Eric said he thought it was just what he and I had witnessed before, only we had seen it happen when it was raining and the roads were really wet.

Our favorite nephew Vance came over this morning to look at it.  After the van ran awhile, the white smoke was back.  I called the shop, and then I dug the card out with the phone number of  the tow company that can tow Sprinter vans.

The cab to the tow truck was twice as high as our van.  I don't know how I got in and out...but I managed.  ;)

The tow guy was nice.  He had me lead him out of our neighborhood.  He turned left on Powell.  I would have gone down to Sandy and turned left there, but I figured he knew what he was doing.   Turns out he could have used my advice.  He was a really nice guy.  He was lamenting the fact that his next run was 180 miles away in Yakima to pick up a truck,

I was soon sitting in the waiting room at Breslin & Wallace.  The "or I'll eat my hat!" (Timberline Dodge guy who did commercials before all the Chrysler dealerships were closed...including his) guy was there.  He was calling workers of the car lot and telling them which cars needed prepping.  He looked at me and said "You need a job?"  I said "I have a job!"  Now I wish I had waited to see what he was offer me.  Who would offer a disabled guy like me a job anyways...;0)

I was really happy when the guy came out and told me that nothing was wrong.  Sprinter vans have many peculiaralities, including an auxiliary heater that heats thee van before the main heater kicks in.  Sometimes it just lets off some steam.

But...we needed a new battery.  $250.  Was I surprised at the price?  Not really.  Everything for the sprinter cost more.

When they changed the battery, it messed up our stereo/video system.  The screen did not pop out.  The station playing was the Catholic station...the song: "God is in control!"  I smiled.  Our budget is very tight these days and Jodie and I were both squeamish about how much today.

Yes, God is in control!

Sometimes it takes some white smoke...a tow truck ride...a job offer...a messed up stereo...and a two hour remember that.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our old home...POOF!

Jodie and I lived in three different places during our first three years of marriage.  Friend Sam still razes me on that.

In 1992 we moved into a brand new manufactured home.  We bought the home in McMinnville and chose all the amenities inside.  We had it moved into Baseline Woods in Aloha, no, it was Beaverton, no, it was Hillsboro.  The cab company refused to send us a cab...they said we didn't exist.

Memories...Jodie and I sitting at the kitchen table with our 3-paneled corner window drinking coffee and watching the world go by...

...Management telling us to clean our lot from the wood scraps left from the home installers.  Boards were frozen to the ground.  Old man Frank across the street came over to help.  Franked talked to management for us.

...Jeff and Crystal next door with their little girl.  Jeff live for the Fourth of July.  He was a pyro!  The neighbors gathered a potluck under our carport.  Jeff lit off his arsenal of fireworks.

...The retired neighbors on the other side.  She was skeptical of having a disabled couple next door.  Watching our every wasn't hard with as close as the homes were together.

...A favorite memory of mine...Jodie and I had come home for lunch from our jobs at Child Welfare in Hillsboro.  Brother-in-law Ken came by and surprised us with pizza.  Ken was a bigger than life kind of guy.  He was in sales...he could smooze with the best of them.  He fought a brain tumor with grace until that December day in '94.

...The day Jodie told me that something felt different.  She thought she might be pregnant.  My immature faith: "No, God wouldn't do that to us."  I bought more pregnancy tests.  Friends Brad and Lori came over.  Lori gleefully came out and said "Troy, your going to be a papa!"

In July of 1995 we move to the eastside of Portland.  Jodie's mom ran a daycare and we knew we'd be needing that.  We moved into another manufactured home...this one on it's own lot...however micro it was.

Progress moves us on, but memories never abandon us.

Polygon Northwest plans housing complex for former Aloha mobile home park |

Sunday, January 13, 2013

One in the can!

I just finished a website for a friend of a friend at work.  He has a fishing guide service.

Brad was paying pretty big bucks for an old-style FrontPage website.  I moved it to the WordPress platform...modern, easy to use, very professional.  Check it out:

I discovered how wonderful Nextgen Gallery handles photos.  From my previous work, handling photos and photo galleries has been somewhat tricky.  Nextgen was easy to use and the photo galleries look great.

A couple tricky things I did in this project.  One, I used a fishing template I found at a online fishing magazine.  To get the slideshow in the top part area of the template took me hours...ok...days to figure out.  By trial and error I finally got it!

Another feat was that I designed the website on a subdomain for the client to see, then I helped the client move the domain "" from their old host over to GoDaddy, where I was able to forward the nameserver to my webhost, then I moved the WordPress site I had made on the test subdomain over to the domain.

And it all worked!

Technical stuff, I know.  I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  I now know that I can successfully walk other clients through this tricky process.

Anyway, my prices are low and I work hard to make the website exactly how the client wants it.  I also maintain the website for you.  Check out my portfolio:

If you need a website, please send me an email with details of what you need.  I will let you know what I can do for you and give you a bid.

Help me expand my portfolio.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Radical love hits Child Welfare offices

Steve Duin: A revolution in Portland's foster care |

I work for Child Welfare.  My day job.  When I started with Child Welfare 23 years ago I knew as little about the agency as you probably do.  My first job was typing up dictation and handwritten notes from caseworkers. I quickly learned the ugly truth that bad things are happening not just to kids across the country or Wacross town.  It can happen to kids anywhere.

I moved up from typist to Title IV-E eligibility worker.  IV-E is a stream of federal funding that covers a large portion of the costs associated with kids in foster care.  I spend my days reading case notes, narratives, court orders and financial screens to piece together IV-E determinations.

Caseworkers have the tough job.  They work hard to make sure kids are safe.  The hope is always to get enough services in place that kids can go back home.  When that cannot happen the best, safe, alternative is found.

Some days workers return from court sad.  Their careful planning overruled by a judge.

What these churches did to transform our waiting rooms into more of a family room shows that they realize that kids and families going through trauma are not just an agency's responsibility, but the community's as well.

Even further, the kindness these churches showed our workers by turning our lounges to places of comfort goes beyond reason, down to the washing of feet if you will.  For an agency where bad news can be a front page story in a flash, and  good news can be few and far between, with very little notice - this kind of love is, well, radical!

Thank you...