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Helping People with Disabilities…

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Finished a three-mile walk, Mason is tired but he kept those little four legs moving.  He was ready to go back to bed; me I am ready for coffee.  It is a beautiful day here in Wisconsin.  Therefore, today I tackle “Rain, Fire, Secrets and Lies”.

It may possibly be a series as there are six families…do not know where it is going I am just going to keep writing until it makes sense as to what direction I need to go.

July 21, 2010, will be the seventh anniversary of my daughter Charlotte’ death.  The last ten years of her life, she was involved in such programs below.  My appreciation goes to the person who writes these articles, they are important.  I realize that it is long, I hope you have time to read it all, and support such programs located near you.

Have a great Tuesday and I will try to check in on as many blogs as possible today.  Hugs

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Medicaid Cuts In Wisconsin Would Undermine Training For Adults With Disabilities

June 14, 20172:32 PM ET

Alison Kodjak

It’s morning meeting time at Our Place Day Services, a day center for adults with disabilities, housed in a small concrete and glass building on Lovers Lane in Slinger, Wis.

About 30 people are gathered here, around a long table, reciting the pledge of allegiance. One man paces alongside the table, another sits in a wheelchair a few feet away. There’s a woman holding a baby in her lap and a friendly dog — a goldendoodle — wandering around greeting people with a sniff and a lick.

A modest operation based north of Milwaukee, on Interstate 43, Our Place serves as a safe place for people with severe cognitive disabilities to spend their days and learn news skills while the family members who usually care for them are at work.

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Clients at Our Place can participate in fun activities — do art or go bowling with staff from the center — and they also work on specific skills like money management or cooking. The center provides the sort of crucial support services that many people are concerned will no longer be offered if Republicans proceed with their planned cuts to Medicaid.

On this Monday morning, the clients at Our Place are sharing their goals — big and small. One man wants to finish a mosaic he is working on, while a woman down the table says she hopes to go to the movies with a friend someday.

Danielle Wirsbinski reads from a long list.

“To have a job, to do more volunteering, learn new skills, talk …. Taking classes go to school, to live on my own,” she says.

Another group member, Eric S. (who asked that we not use his last name because he is not comfortable going public about his condition), describes the work he is doing to be able to live on his own someday.

“Learning how to cook with Justine. Justine teaches me how to shop,” he says, referring to Justine Orr, a staffer who works with him at Our Place. “I learn how to clean with Justine and I did safety skills in the home.”

“We help men and women become the men and women they were meant to be,” says Donna Ellenbecker, director of Our Place.

However, she is worried about the Republican plan to overhaul Medicaid.

All but one of her 33 clients pays for their classes and care at Our Place with Medicaid dollars. Wisconsin’s Medicaid system includes a program called IRIS that grants people with disabilities a budget, based on their level of need, to use for services that help them live in the community.

The state’s approach is part of a national trend in recent decades to move people with severe developmental disabilities out of institutional settings by providing the support they and their families need to live more independently – either with their families, in community-based group homes or even on their own.

“Many of our people are interested in having their own apartment someday, and are living with their parents now,” Ellenbecker says. “They really need some help with the everyday skills of cooking and cleaning and doing the things that everyone else does to be able to live independently.”

President Trump and Republicans in Congress want to restructure the way Medicaid is funded. Instead of paying for all the medical care and services beneficiaries need, the health care bill Republicans passed through the House last month would grant each state a fixed sum per beneficiary based on what the state has spent in the past.

That per-capita allowance would increase over time, but at a slower rate than health care costs generally rise. Therefore, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicaid funding under the plan would be 25 percent less in 10 years than it would be under current law.

“We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs but by the number of people we got off those programs,” White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said last month. “We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the amount of money that we spend but by the number of people that we help.”

While Medicaid is best known as a health care program for poor people, more than 80 percent of its budget goes to care for the elderly, children and people with disabilities, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only 15 percent goes to health care for able-bodied adults, the people that Mulvaney was likely referring to in his remarks.

The program has been growing in recent years and it now makes up almost 10 percent of federal spending. That is why it is the top target in President Trump’s proposed budget, and figures prominently in the House Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Some estimates suggest the program could be cut by more than a trillion dollars over 10 years.

Nevertheless, some Republicans in the Senate, who are now hammering out their own plan to replace Obamacare, are hesitant to make such big cuts to services for the poor, elderly people and those with disabilities.

The people who come to Our Place each day are not likely to be among those who can “get off” Medicaid. They are likely to need care and support services for their entire lives.

Ellenbecker describes how her program helps people engage in the community.

“We actually have a class that’s a date,” she says. “You know, ‘how you go to the movies with a friend.’ ”

That everyday joy has a number of steps — you have to figure out transportation, money, movie times and simply how to choose a seat in a theater.

To navigate all that, the woman who had listed going to a movie as one of her goals “would need somebody to come with her to help her with all of those things,” Ellenbecker says, “because she doesn’t have the skills to be able to do it independently right now.”

Other group members benefit from a job coach who can help them learn how to find and do a job, or keep one. Others need help managing money, cleaning their homes or getting to work. And other clients have even more basic needs, such as personal care and help with eating.

Ellenbecker worries that if the current Republican plan is passed, or the kinds of budget cuts Trump is proposing go through, the money for those support services just will not be there.

“It’s a 25 percent cut you know, and a 25 percent cut it is going to affect these programs,” she says. “There’s no way that a 25 percent cut can come out of any other program — except long-term care.”

That’s because many support services are considered optional under the law that governs Medicaid. So, if state lawmakers are forced to choose between say, job coaches, and traditional medical care, the job coaching is likely to lose out.

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AMAZON.COM

 

 

 

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Estrangement from Family …

Estrangement from Family…

With the book, Flying with Broken Wings finished and in the “mail”; before I begin the next writing project I wanted to post my own feelings about ESTRANGEMENT …some type of estrangement appears to be an ongoing part of my life.  Therefore, I will share a few with you…

I want to write about estrangement from family, mine and my point of view.  First comes the Alabama “shirttail” redneck relatives oh yes…I use to go back home to visit and their first words upon seeing me was “You still a Yankee”?  Still living is an aunt and uncle neither have ever been outside their home town except when my uncle went to fight “The Big War”, which in reality was the end of the Korean Conflict.  He returned to work in the same factory forty or more years and she was a homemaker.  Nothing wrong with either of those statements accept you would have to know them personally, as there are various levels of “Redneck”.

I call it a YO-YO estrangement spanning about forty- years.  I went those many years going back to a place I knew was never “home” just a place where I grew up.  Always spring and Thanksgiving breaks with my parents whom have since passed, I had one sibling who passed as well.  During those, many years visiting on Holidays brought a new meaning to the word relatives.    

I understand that I left home when I was sixteen, but I tried to keep in touch with many of them.  I must say that it was a one-way communication, hard to believe but it was…I would call my parents weekly, reach out to the only sibling I had, and the others who I thought of as relatives.

Now after all of these many years later I have to wonder why relatives chose to distance themselves, choose to demonize you while painting themselves as virtuous, sailing a tide of bitterness and anger mostly for unknown reasons.  Most thought if you crossed the Alabama state line you would fall into the Pits of Hell, yep, Alabama was the world and it was flat.  It appeared the closer the “Pecking Order” leading to the top…the nastier they were when talking behind one is back.  Oh, this was not just me; this deeply embedded Redneck dysfunctional family went after each other as well.

My parents made it known to me in the hidden messages in their conversations that visitors should stay in a motel.  I was the visiting relative.  I kept my visits short and casual, the love I had for my out of touch parents would never end.  I was not alone in these situations, my aunts, uncles and families were not welcome, including my only sibling.  The only one my parents ever accepted was a grandchild whom had lived off my parents all of their life. However, this individual would never learn to function alone, not my problem I say.

Three years before my mother died (my father already dead); ask that I “not come back”.  I honored her wish and did not return until her death.  Estrangement…the only relative I felt close too ostracized me for about ten years.  I reached out and the email relationship and an occasional visits were on and off for another twenty years, having three year gaps.  Please understand that I continued to try and “hold on” to this individual because of my parents.  In the beginning of 2017, the mixed messages and/or lies seem to give me reason to turn loose, to stop the acting, to stop listening to how their entitlement created by my parents caused all of the problems.  From parents that made the mistake of “dying” leaving them to fend for themselves.  Oh my, what a dilemma! 

I finally went “Oh my God”; I have been holding onto a family member that clearly does not want to continue communicating with me or have a family relationship.  Since, I have made it very clear that I no longer want to be a puppet in their lives, strung along to whatever tune they are playing. 

I realize that some might be empathetic and others will say for the sake of peace live with their poor reasoning skills and their sense of entitlement.  I understand struggling, but I was not the child that lived free well into adulthood under my parents “roof”, I was not the one who did not know how to survive.   

Honestly, I wrestle with the challenges, struggles, and consequences of writing about my estrangement.  It is hard to decide what to omit and what to disclose.  The stakes are high and paying the price for transparency can strike hard.  While many people are empathetic, some think I should bury the hatchet for the sake of peace and family.

While I am no person’s judge, I do not presume to know what others should or should not do in the same predicament.  I do not have to explain or justify my decision to draw boundaries between my family and me.  I do not have to help these people understand my position.  I do not have to defend myself or prove myself. Please do not underestimate the power or long-lasting effect of emotional and verbal abuse.  With the death of my parents, I would tread lightly as the family I was dealing with had a passion for lying and being a victim.  I have known all my life that my family would never inspire to match the image of a Norman Rockwell painting.

For those who are empathetic with my situation or suffer from their own estrangement, thank you for understanding!  I know estrangement is tough especially during the holidays, which promotes families and togetherness.  It is plagued by awkward moments where we dodge communication about our family and suffer in silence.  

I try to remember that no two people view any event the same, even within a family.  We have different vantage points, shaped by our own perspectives & life experiences.  Our different levels of awareness are impacted by our beliefs, ideas, fears, & motives.  I have quit trying to change my estranged family or trying to get them to consign to a common perspective.

There are NO completely innocent parties with estrangement.  I try to reflect on my part.  I do not question if somehow I could have handled things differently.  What would I do differently next time, nothing, as there will not be a next time?  Life hands us pain and hurt to teach us lessons.  I have finally with aged wisdom learned from my experiences with family.

I have chosen to focus on the healthy relationships in my life and my children and grandchildren, which I have built on respect, support, & appreciation where I am loved for who I am and not what others wanted me to be.  My was not imprinted with images of unconditional love and acceptance from family.  I do know that I am not alone…with these words in closing old wounds, I have a new perspective on my life and will now begin my next writing project…”Rain, Fire and Lies”, my autobiography.

Thank you for reading and supporting me, I will do my best to keep all of you posted with the progress of the book and my daily life.  Love to all of you.

2017©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

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The Future is dead… 

The homeless sleep in boxes hidden by tall and bushy shrubs, their last meal from a nearby restaurants dumpster; men, women and children, forgotten, shattered and despised; in the night, a hungry baby cries.  Veterans, White Collar, Blue Collar, all begging for food, living on the streets, no jobs to be found, families are no longer sound.  The Government talks end up in contradictions, lies, and the future “poverty” that is the prediction.  

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The spirit freezes, fruit of labors rot, life struggles persist, bad luck killing the heart and soul, hope ceases to exist.  Shifting winds turn into storms, will the world grow wiser, or will it be humbled and beaten back into servility?  Trust departed, a cardboard box in the streets is where the homeless make their beds, hope disappears and the future is dead.

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

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It is a Blue Bird Day…

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Once again it is spring, warm breezes of May float across the green grass, it strokes the Hosta, Day Lilies, and Bleeding Hearts lightly; the daffodils’ leisurely bow their golden heads ready to sleep in the bosom of Mother Nature.  May is also the month that my mother and father married.

They would have been married forty-five years when he died.  My father was a man of few words, in those early days he turned over crimson soil with an old mule and one blade plow.  The land within time would turn into a sea of the white gold; cotton.  Later, he would work in a steel plant welding; the burns to his face and hands left deep brown scars.  The way he led his life was a testament to his principles.  

When the steel plant closed, he set out on yet another quest; he drove a sixteen wheeler making a California “turn around”, which was driving from Alabama to California and back weekly.  He always had a supply of “Bennie’s”, known to be an “upper or speed”.  He actually worked at this job until he retired; one month before he passed away.  It was his job and drug of choice; with the blood of his Chickasaw ancestors flowing through his veins and Uppers, he was no doubt a “Bad Boy” on that three-thousand-mile road.

My mother, a gracious but cold-hearted woman of the South was among the “career” women of the time.  She chose to be a beautician over being a mother.  When she looked at me with those ice blue eyes and tight lips it sent fear deep into my soul.  She left me to walk the furrowed red rows behind a plow and mule; my father did the best that he could to raise me.  

 My Aunt Vina, my father’s sister kept me during the summer months; she was the mother I did not have in those days.  She taught me to read and write; I was living among the upper class, artist, writers, poets, and politicians.   She and my father taught me how to love, be proud of who I am and believe.

As I walk through these  last chapters of my life I find my home overflowing with paintings on my walls and those to finish on the table, hours spent in reading, writing stories and poetry fill my days and nights.  This short walk down memory lane has been a happy and a sad one; some would say do not take that path through my memory.  However, it is these memories that make up who I am and I like whom I am today.

Thanks to all of you who drop by to see new post.  Have a great weekend, as I too will enjoy the beauty of spring all under a blue bird sky.  eajm

 

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The American Dream…

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The American Dream…

There was a time when life flowed slowly like a perfect meadow stream, fresh was the air, blue was the sky; and everyone had a chance to live the American dream.

These things will never return, we have put a hole in the sky, we are destroying earth out of self-seeking for the things that we really do not really need.  The sky is no longer a clear blue, now we see it as a dingy hue, the rivers and streams are filled with debris, between Heaven and Earth hovers a cloud of toxic waste, we are destroying this planet at an ever-increasing speed.  Our wetlands are taken away sold to build summer get-away, gone are the lands, forest and streams where wildlife was free to roam, today it is some greedy rich persons million dollar home.

Listen, are the birds still singing a joyous song, we are not happy because our backyards we find mountain lions, foxes and deer who are only passing through; it use to be their feeding grounds.  We never give it a thought when these feeding grounds were gone, where did we expect Mother Nature’s children to call home?

Mother Nature tries to correct our mess with hurricanes, tornados and such, but I believe she thinks that saving these feeding grounds for her children is up to us.  It appears we do not care and one day all there may be are crumbling buildings, bridges and monuments that will all turned to dust.  Where you ask is that American dream, its lost among the rubble of crooks and banking schemes.  The planet will die and waste away in fishless oceans and down dirty mountain streams.

There was a time when life flowed slowly like a perfect meadow stream, fresh was the air, blue was the sky; and everyone had a chance to live the American dream.

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

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Easter…for Me!

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At the age of three and yes, I can remember back that far!  Easter meant dressing in your best clothes and going to church.  There was always an Easter egg hunt at the church, which was lucky for me, as my mother believed it was a day to worship “The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”, not hide Easter Eggs. 

Daddy would put me into one of the two dresses I owned, both quiet plain and ugly, he brushed out my tight as coils hair and mother finished it off in a crown of corncob ringlets.  My mother and sister wore store bought dresses I wore hand-me-downs.  Armed with my one-pound lard bucket I was placed in the front seat of an old Army jeep.  We could only use it on nice days as the cloth top had been removed after the War!

In those days I did not realize that, everyone in the little Rural Grove Baptist Church was dress in their Sunday finery, and that only a few of us were labeled “share croppers” wore everyday clothes.  This did not matter when the service was over, all of the colorful eggs were found, Easter dinner of ham, and the trimmings were waiting at home. 

Daddy who refused to go to church would be waiting on the front porch of our tiny clapboard house, picking his banjo with a few of his farm hounds howling.  Even Soap sticks, our old mule brayed along with the dogs.  When my mother drove up the road, a silence fell across the land.  Relatives came from near and far for that Sunday feast, which she hated.

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By the age of six my mother made certain that I knew that there was “no” Easter Bunny, she may have been tired of me all year long refusing to eat the rabbits that my daddy killed on a regular basis as part of our food source.  I understood by the age of six that the only eggs boiled would go into the potato salad; coloring eggs was a waste of money, to hide them was a waste of time.  She no longer allowed me to hunt for the eggs at church.  By now, I knew why my daddy would never attend church, my sister left home and that left just mother and me. 

By the age of twelve, we had moved from the farm into the city, I was old enough to dress myself and I walked to church alone, for some reason my mother always stayed home with my daddy.  In her later years she returned to the church. 

The Easter Sunday that I turned thirteen, many of us were put into busses and cars to be taken to the backwaters of the Tennessee River to be baptized.  My mother never asks why my clothes were still wet and my hair hung down my back weighing a ton.  Daddy looked at me saying, “Well little girl they got you too”, the subject never came up again as relatives were piling into the front door greeted by the aroma of that big ham waiting for them.

By the age of sixteen, I was teaching Sunday school to an excited group of six-year-olds, I did this for ten years, through the years.  By the age of twenty-six, I was still teaching Sunday school; by this time, I was taking with me my three little girls, their daddy stayed at home.  Now, everyone is gone, my family from my childhood, the husband, and I have lost two of my five children. 

If for no other reason, I have to believe that Jesus existed and rose from the dead to enter his father’s Kingdom in Heaven, for if it is not so that would mean I will never see my family again.  So, with my time getting closer I celebrate that day and to grasp the idea that there is a Heaven and a Easter Bunny; in my mind’s eye a little curly headed child of a sharecropper is skipping on the green grass at the Rural Grove Baptist Church in Alabama hunting for eggs.  Sorry… I have to go; I see another colored egg in the tall grass by the Oak tree!

 

 

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Harnessed a few old thoughts today…

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My mother never had but one child and it was not “me”!  My mother never had but one grandchild, it was not among my own five children.  My mother never had but four great-grandchildren, my two are not among that accounting.  My mother had many great-great-grandchildren I have none to be in that accounting!

While working on my current writing project “Flying with Broken Wings”, I stop to write down a thought that would be in relation to my own autobiography that now comprises of many scraps of paper, some full sheets, including the back of many coffee house and diner placemats.  My “someday” autobiography.

The thought was to write a book about estrangement among family members.  This relates directly to my beginning paragraph.  After Google delivered its list to me, I realized that there is a slight possibility that every family in this world had problems with getting along with each other.  There are dozens of estrangement books, so my starting one is not necessary.   My home library beside many books on fiction and non-fiction consists of dozens of self-help books from emotional to the deranged brain; I have nothing on the family that hates.

 I quickly went to Amazon and ordered one that I thought interesting.  When it arrives, I will read and store with the other books on “real life issues”.  I love to read, and I see my family and myself in these books.  I do not need to learn how to confront family; ninety-nine- percent of them are dead; the other one-percent is dead to me!  These percentages consist of my birth family, mother, father, siblings, and nieces, etcetera.   

In general, I have read articles about family estrangement, mothers, fathers, siblings and the cold war of ending communication.   It is not about who got the spotlight in the family, to me it is about how one selfish act of my own mother changed the dynamics of my entire family.  There are many books and articles about this subject, but I found there are few statistics on the subject of family estrangement. 

If I had to make a statement about why family members cease to speak to each other, I would say one reason is intolerance.  Family members are unwilling to be their real selves and share their real feelings.  Living in a family with estrangements is extremely painful and can be debilitating.  I usually say, these people wear “rose colored glasses”.

Is healing possible, maybe, but my own healing is impossible due to death or stubbornness of these people.   Therefore, I believe that healing starts within, willingness or unwillingness of communication lies with the parting family member.  I chose the path of healing myself, making peace with myself, knowing that I have tried more times than anyone to reach out to family members.  They return to the “circle” of family only to push those who tried to love them away.  I find them to be hypocrites and unworthy of my love.  I have peace of mind, I will be okay, and the scars will heal.  The secret is time.  I call it the “Seven Decade War”! 

Have a great weekend.

 

 

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