Monthly Archives: October 2008

A Sad Day in Kenya

My church, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, has believers that are not just hearers of The Word, but they also put their faith into action. One of the ways that we’ve done this is to partner with Huruma Children’s Home in Kenya. There have been many people from Cornerstone that have not only given their money, but have also made the trip to Kenya to assist this amazing ministry, run by a woman named Mama Zipporah. This woman, with her husband Papa Issac, have adopted over 150 children. But what’s amazing is that they not only house and feed these children, but they teach them as well. Since I haven’t been to Kenya (yet!) to witness this, I can only imagine what this looks like from some of the pictures I’ve seen from there.

I first became aware of Huruma when Caroline, Mama Zipporah’s daughter, came to our church for a few months last year. I can’t say that I spent a lot of time with Caroline, but she made an immediate impact on me. There was something so kind and graceful about her…it wasn’t just charisma, but she possessed a gentle, peaceful, and loving spirit. A truly Godly and beautiful woman.

Earlier this year, Mama Zipporah had also visited us. Because of the size of our church, and the amount of people I saw talking with her, I only had a chance to shake her hand and wish God’s blessings on her and Huruma. But it was immediately clear where Caroline got her spirit from; her Mama had the same loving spirit.

Since that visit, Cornerstone has been a huge part of Huruma, adopting children, providing financial support, and also physical labor. Our pastor and his wife were recently there, along with many other church members…some of which have stayed months. Huruma is definitely part of our family.

Yesterday, I received some sad news. Brian Wurzell, our worship leader, informed us on his blog that Papa Issac had passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Not only is this the loss of a father and husband, but for Huruma it’s also the loss of the man that donated the land to build their home. Papa was also the strong male figure for everyone at Huruma…what a tremendous loss this is.

With apologies to Brian for almost direct copy and paste from his blog, here is what we’re requesting from you:

1. Pray for healing and comfort for Mama Zipporah, Caroline, and everyone at Huruma.

2. If you have a blog, Myspace page, etc., please help us get the word out about Huruma. Donations are badly needed, and they will be wisely used.

3. Give! Link below is for donations.

Thanks for your time reading this, the prayers that you’re saying for Mama and everyone at Huruma, and your donations.

Category: Christianity, Personal

Ooh Child

After making the post above about Huruma, I saw this video on Regina’s Family Seasons and knew that I had to put it on here. I love this video…and I feel hopeful when I hear this song. Even though this is a remake, I love this version just as much.

Watch the video, and then show Regina some love by visiting her blog.

Category: Music

Miscellaneous Brain Dump

  • I just signed up for NaNoWriMo. Why? I have no incredible idea. I’ve always felt like I would be able to write a novel, but never knew how or when. Well, I’m at least going to try. With the 3-Day walk coming up, I don’t think I’m going to be successful…but I’m giving it a try.
  • Speaking of the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk…I’m still short on donations. After my fundraising event last weekend, I’ll be at about $1000 raised, and I still need $1200 to make goal. If you read this, please consider donating $10. Or more, if you feel like it! But if 120 people donate $10, I’ll be done asking for money. But don’t do it for me. Do it because 1 in 8 women get breast cancer…and that’s way too many. Link is at top right.
  • School is going pretty well. I get a few markdowns for little things, but I’m keeping my A in both classes. It is more time consuming than previously thought, but going well.
  • I went to a TweetUpAZ lunch last Friday. Met a LOT of really nice folks. I knew some of them from Twitter, some I didn’t, but before Friday, I had never met any of them in person. Cool people, great social networking.
  • PodcampAZ is coming this weekend! If you blog, tweet, or do anything with the internet, show up. I’m going to try to show up…but it’s going to be another busy weekend. 18 mile walk coming up on Saturday morning.
  • People are weird.
  • When is cooler weather coming? I hope it gets here before the walk.
  • I’ve been following several different people on ustream.tv, including Brian Shaler, Jody Gnant, and The Nanas. I can’t do links right now, but go to ustream.tv and search. You’ll like!
  • Time to get back to work. God bless.

EDIT: Oops! I’m following The Nadas, not The Nanas. Thanks, @ousooner44 for being my proofreader.

Category: Personal

Sarah Palin on SNL

Holy. Cow. She KILLED it!!!

RIP, AS Stephen Fortunato

The only thing I can add to the following is: amen. Original with video here at the Boston Globe, hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

The following is a blog entry written on Aug. 30, 2008, by Army Specialist Stephen Fortunato, who was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was riding in was blown up by an improvised explosive device. This entry was forwarded to the Globe by his mother, Elizabeth “Betty” Crawford.

If I may …
I’d like to say something….Just to get it out there so it is clear.To all the pampered and protected Americans who feel it is their duty to inform me that I am not fighting for their freedom, and that i am a pawn in Bush’s agenda of greed and oil acquisition: Noted, and [expletive deleted] You.

I am not a robot. i am not blind or ignorant to the state of the world or the implications of the “war on terrorism.” i know that our leaders have made mistakes in the handling of a very sensitive situation, but do not for one second think that you can make me lose faith in what we, meaning America’s sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers in uniform are doing.

I am doing my part in fighting a very real enemy of the United States, i.e. Taliban, Al Qaida, and various other radical sects of Islam that have declared war on our way of life. Unless you believe the events of 9/11 were the result of a government conspiracy, which by the way would make you a MORON, there is no reasonable argument you can make against there being a true and dangerous threat that needs to be dealt with. i don’t care if there are corporations leaching off the war effort to make money, and i don’t care if you don’t think our freedom within America’s borders is actually at stake. i just want to kill those who would harm my family and friends. it is that simple. Even if this is just a war for profit or to assert America’s power, so what? Someone has to be on top and I want it to be us. There’s nothing wrong with wishing prosperity for your side.

I am a proud American. i believe that my country allows me to live my life more or less however i want to, and believe me, i have seen what the alternative of that looks like. i also believe that our big scary government does way more than it has to to help complete [expletive deleted]-ups get back on their feet, a stark comparison to places where leaders just line their own pockets with gold while allowing the people who gave them their power and privilage to starve. I have chosen my corner. I back my country, and am proud to defend it against aggressors. Also, if you dare accuse us of being inhumane, or overly aggressive because we have rolled into someone else’s country and blown some [expletive deleted] up and shot some people, let me remind you of just how inhumane we COULD be in defending ourselves. Let me remind you that we have a warhead that drops multiple bomblets from the stratosphere which upon impact, would turn all the sand in Iraq to glass, and reduce every living thing there to dust. Do we use it? No. Instead we use the most humane weapon ever devised: the American soldier. We send our bravest (and perhaps admitably craziest) men and women into enemy territory, into harms way, to root out those whom we are after and do our best to leave innocent lives unscathed.

…One last thing…a proposal. i know it has been stated time and time again but i just think it is worthy of reiteration. If you find yourself completely disgusted with the way America is being ran, and how we handle things on the global stage, you can leave. Isn’t that amazing? No one will stop you! If you are an anarchist, there are places you can go where there is no government to tell you anything. That’s right…you are left solely to your own devices and you can handle the men who show up at your door with AKs in any way that you see fit. Just don’t try good old American debate tactics on them because you will most likely end up bound and blind-folded, to have your head chopped off on the internet so your parents can see it. However if you insist on staying here and taking advantage of privilages such as free speach and WIC, keep the counter-productive [expletive deleted] to a minimum while the grown ups figure out how to handle this god-awful mess in the middle east.

Category: Military, United States

System for mentally ill spurs worry

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I told a friend that I would be posting about people expressing their opinions during this presidential election…because, I guess, I’ve been getting fed up with some of the comments I’ve heard about the candidates.

However, I saw this article in the East Valley Tribune, and it kind of stirred something up in me.

The article talks about how care for the mentally ill in Maricopa county has deteriorated. About a year ago, Magellan was awarded the contract by Maricopa county to care for those people suffering from a mental illness, replacing the previous provider, Value Options. Because of my ex-wife, I had a lot of experience with Value Options, but I have no experience (or opinion) about Magellan. But it sure sounds like little has changed. Overwhelmed case managers and doctors, lack of treatment and followup still seems to be the status quo. I wish I had an answer for this, because lack of care for SMI individuals is absolutely unacceptable.

But the author of this piece also briefly touches on what I perceive to be a bigger issue: the rights of mentally ill patients versus society at large. Two cases mentioned involved patients who had either assaulted or murdered innocent victims shortly after receiving care and assessment. This is such a tough subject to tackle. People should not lose their basic civil rights based solely on the fact that they have a mental illness; but the question could also be posed about society’s safety.

My ex-wife has borderline personality disorder. This psychiatric illness often results in cutting and suicide attempts. I’ve seen research that claims a mortality rate as high as 10%, meaning that as many as 1 out of 10 people with BPD are successful in their suicide attempt.

As a spouse, here’s some of the fun I got to deal with: assault (I still have physical scars), emotional blackmail and manipulation, loss of friends, battles with healthcare providers to get proper care and medication, many calls to 911, and a constant vigilance to keep her from killing herself. Now, if you know me, I’m definitely not the smallest guy out there, and while I won’t be enrolling myself in any boxing matches, I think I can handle myself under normal circumstances. But the ex turned out to be a challenge I should have never signed up for. I remember one time that she attacked me so fiercely that I had to bend her arm behind her back and smother her face into the bed until the cops got there. At that point, I was prepared to go to jail because I just didn’t care; I had to do what I needed to do to protect myself. Fortunately, the police had been there enough to know that I wasn’t the one assaulting her. In fact, because of the path of destruction she left in the house, they told HER that SHE was the one in danger of being arrested for domestic violence.

The interaction we had with mental health providers, and the system that was established to balance her rights with everyone else’s, was often a real source of frustration. The worst times came when she was in crisis mode, threatening to hurt herself or others. Under Arizona law, this is defined as danger to self (DTS) or danger to others (DTO). I can recall multiple times when she would tell a police officer that she wanted to kill herself or others. When an officer hears that, they have no choice but to ensure that the consumer gets help. If she refused to go for help voluntarily, she was literally handcuffed and transported to what is more or less an emergency room for DTS/DTO individuals.

More than once she was taken to this center, only to be released several hours later. The last incident I experienced involved her swallowing a bottle of meds, producing a reaction that made her heart stop twice in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She spent 3 days in ICU getting rid of the drugs in her system…and after that was transferred to a psychiatric center for evaluation. It took them 6 hours to come to the conclusion that she was no longer DTS/DTO, and needed to go home. I got the phone call at 2:00am to come get her. How can anyone really say that someone is no longer a danger to themselves less than 4 days after swallowing a bottle of pills?

The reason for letting you into this piece of my life is this: while I know that anyone suffering with a mental illness is in an extremely difficult situation, I also know all too well that the suffering extends into everyone else surrounding that person. That means family, friends, coworkers, and for that matter, anyone that crosses that person’s path.

The battle to balance the rights of the mentally ill with the rights of society in general is a fragile balance. It used to be that consumers (one term used for mentally ill individuals) were institutionalized for life, a practice that was used as recently as the mid-1970s. Most people would agree that approach is wrong for many reasons. But what’s the balance? How do we prevent someone from walking out of their psychiatrist’s office and assaulting someone less than 4 hours later?

The answer is not to blame Magellan, Value Options, or whatever mental health provider happens to be at the helm. While I personally believe that they share some responsibility for the welfare of consumers, the real problem is that the laws do not seem to strike that balance between consumers and society. I don’t have the solid gold answer, and I haven’t met anyone else that does. But instead at pointing fingers at providers, someone needs to take a good, hard look at the legal balance of rights between these two groups…and determine what changes are needed.

It’s broke. Let’s fix it.

AL Central Division Champions. Again.

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What a season it’s been for my beloved Chicago White Sox. September arrives with the Sox in first place, only to see them surrender the lead to the Twinkies (Minnesota Twins), and force a one-game playoff at the Cell. And what a game it was! The difference: a solo home run off the bat of Jim Thome, the 38-year old veteran.

When the ball landed 461 feet from where Thome hit it, the White Sox were 6 outs away from winning the Central Division championship. Danks and Jenks combined to ensure that the Twinkies would, in fact, go gently into the night. Or maybe they went into the blackout, courtesy of the 40,354 fans, most of whom responded to the White Sox’s call to wear black to the game.

It’s October, and once again, the Good Guys are still playing baseball. Their first opponents are the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a team that surprised everyone in baseball by beating perennial playoff participants Yankees and Red Sox. Having won the season series 6-4, the Rays are the decided favourites. But in a five game series, anything is possible.

Both the Rays and the Sox are extremely tough at home. As a Sox fan, it’s my belief that if we can pull off one game in Tampa, the Rays are going to be in real trouble, and could leave Chicago making tee times instead of travel bookings for the ALCS. And don’t count out the Sox: the last time the Flubbies and Sox were in the playoffs in the same year, it was 1906, and the Southsiders won 4 out of 6 games to take the World Series title.

This season has been a constant adrenaline rush for Sox fans. Three cheers for the guys that won three games in a row against three different opponents to ensure that we get to cheer for our team in October.

Category: White Sox