Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father is His Name

About a month ago, we observed Mother's Day. Today is designated to acknowledge the other parenting half, Father's Day. However, who is your father?

For my male parent, I call him dad, pa, pop, old man, and a few other terms. However, I rarely use the term given this day and that most adults use. That is due to one verse Jesus said in Matthew 23:9, "And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven."

In this passage, Jesus is referring to a spiritual head. Just as today, some spiritual leaders wanted the term as a sign of them being head of a congregation or group of people. Jesus reminded them that He is their Father, not someone who dwells on earth.

As a result, I almost exclusively only say Father when I am praying or reading Scripture. It helps me to remember who I am speaking with, someone that has supreme respect and is my Father in heaven. The few times I've used the term for my dad or grandpas, it doesn't feel right to me and that I'm using incorrect terms. I know this isn't the case for everyone, but it is my reasoning for the terms I use, or don't use.

In my years, I'm thankful for everything God has done for me through my dad. With the injuries mom and I received, he has had to do a lot to help keep us healthy and in a comfortable home. I know the responsibilities get overwhelming at times, but I know I can always rely on him to help when needed.

For several years now, his day has always been while he is helping me at CHAMP Camp as a counselor. I hope he's able to take time on his own to relax and do what he enjoys, but it depends on God's plan for our lives.

For this day, and week, be sure to give thanks for parents and all they do. Especially remember to look to our Father in heaven and remember His sacrifice that He gave for all of us. I look forward to one day meeting Him face to face when this quad life is over.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Waiting Approval

If you have actually been reading this blog for a few years, you may remember 2014 was a challenge. I lost my insurance plan due to the Affordable Care Act and the new plan I was on decided I didn't need caregivers. The following months consisted of multiple appeals, talking with doctors, politicians, and the Iowa Insurance Commission.

After much prayer and trial, insurance finally agreed to cover my night hours. Working with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Iowa Medicaid, days were able to be covered through a program called CDAC (Consumer Directed Attendant Care). As I said in last week's post, it requires a lot of paperwork for my caregivers, but it works to get everything covered. However, it requires approval every 6-12 months.

My last approval period was for a full year, starting from July 1, 2017. That year is nearly complete and all the documentation was submitted in early May for authorization past June 30. As of today, nothing has been heard for a decision.

Since my insurance upheavals in 2014, Iowa Medicaid has also made major changes. Some politicians thought it would be cheaper to privatize the insurance and handed it over to three different companies from out of state. Two of these companies have now dropped all clients and it's down to one company handling everything. A multitude of stories have come forward of people not getting necessary coverage, medical companies like nursing homes not receiving payment, and several other problems. With 2018 being a governor election year for Iowa, it has been one of the campaign topics.

Everyone who used Iowa Medicaid had to select one of these private agencies to handle their needs, except if you have private insurance and another Medicaid program. Since that describes my situation, I'm one of the 1% of Iowans that got to stay on regular Medicaid. Since there are few of us, there are fewer staff handling paperwork and it can take longer. It is cheaper for Iowa to keep me on the current system than to deny it and send me to a care facility, but we're still uncertain on what will happen.

Just like four years ago, I will continue to trust in God's provision and go where He takes me. In many ways, it would be easier for my parents especially if I was in a facility. At the same time, I would lose my ability to be able to be active in the community. In less than three weeks, I will have an answer. Until then, I will try to use the time God has given me at home to serve Him.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Paperwork Problems

Everything in the medical world uses paperwork. The majority of it is now in digital format, but records are kept of absolutely everything. I'm almost guessing there is a requirement somewhere to count how often someone blinks.

It's not only the patient that has extensive records, it's also the caregiver. All license information must be current, as well as a host of other requirements. For my daytime help, they also have to have paperwork with the state of Iowa. Last October, everyone went through an update and had approval for another few years. At least that's what we thought.

Working for the state, it's always an uncertainty of when the previous month's hours will receive compensation. My main day assistant noticed her time from April was taking much longer than usual to go through the system. Finally after some investigation, she was informed that her paperwork wasn't in order and was not registered as a care provider.

When her pack of nearly 30 pages was completed in October, one signature on one page was missed. That sheet was sent to be corrected and put in the mail, but it apparently was never received. My county DHS worker showed in her information that my caregiver was approved, but digging deeper in other records showed the opposite. Now she has had to register again with the state and wait for approval that could take several months.

I'm thankful that resources are available for the assistants I need in order to stay home. There are many people in the United States that don't receive as much and are forced to have family for help or live in a care facility. Other countries may not cover anything and someone with a disability like mine may not survive such conditions for very long.

It can be easy to worry about the future and what tomorrow will bring when times like this come. However, God regular reminds us in His word to not worry, He is in control. Life may not always go as we expect, but it also increases our trust in Him. I will see what this first full week of June brings in the quad life and use what time I have been given to serve.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

What swamp?

A couple years ago, I updated my service plan for phone and internet. It was one of those price for life plans that remains popular, saying the price won't change as long as you keep the plan. Unfortunately, that of course has not been the case.

Every month for the last six or seven, the bill keeps getting higher. I investigated the breakdown of each charge and saw one that was increasing was one labeled "Iowa communication fees." I assumed this is some sort of tax, but wanted to check. Like any good IT person, I went to my favorite search engine to investigate.

I typed in the start of my search, "what are..." and then stopped. The suggested search questions had me wondering what information is known about me, and anatomy education.


My area of Iowa has been rather dry lately and I definitely don't have a swamp in my backyard. In the winter, it may be nice to own some land in the south for a retreat, but I have never acted upon the thought. If I did, then a stray visitor might be something I would question.

For the other suggestions of bones, muscles, and lungs, I'm now curious how often these questions are asked. It is likely I could find new information on each of them, but I think I have the basics pretty well covered. I'm fairly confident lungs are what provide oxygen to the muscles so bones can move and hit unsuspecting caregivers.

After I continued my search, I didn't get much further on my investigation. If I have yet another increase in my bill next month, I'll likely contact my provider directly. I learn new things in the quad life almost daily, and sometimes from unexpected sources. Learning God's creation never ends, and tools made to help can provide good entertainment.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

It's Just Temporary

If my Bible reading schedule continues at it's current pace, I should soon be entering the book of Ecclesiastes. It was written by the Israelite king Solomon and starts with saying that everything is meaningless. Reading through it can be difficult, but also helpful when you look at it carefully.

The world we live in has times of joy and happiness as well as suffering and sadness. No matter what the circumstances are, we need to remember they are only temporary. The latest promotion at work, fun from vacation or a new child in the family; these can be times of excitement, but are only temporary. At some point, new job stresses or personal expenses will turn the pleasure to torment. Vacations quickly come to an end and children will cause grief and stress at some point as well. However, it doesn't end there.

When you're experiencing a cold or flu, it can make life miserable. Within a few days to a week, it will likely be gone and just be a memory. For those like me that are living with a lifelong disability, spinal cord injury, CP, MD, MS, etc., it's only temporary as well. Everything in this life will come to an end at some point, whether we're prepared or not.

This week, yet another school shooting occurred and has been going through the news. As with previous massacres, questions arise as how to stop such atrocities from happening again. We need to stop teaching that life is just an accident, that is isn't important, and that it's meaningless.

Yes, everything in this life is temporary and will come to an end, but not life after leaving this earth. Solomon concludes the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

Life is a special gift from God to be used to serve Him. Trouble and persecution will come, but it should make us look forward to the life to come. All we need to do is truly repent of our sins and serve God completely. I encourage anyone reading this to read the book of John while time allows. We do not know what another week, or day, may bring.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers

The day has come again specifically set aside to honor our mothers. I have been watching a series lately about the godly men who helped to form America, but how often do we look toward women, especially mothers.

In Genesis 2-3, we read about our first parents, how God formed them from dust, and commanded them to be fruitful and fill the earth. Adam named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all the living. So no matter who you are, as long as you're human, we have the same great great great ... grandmother, Eve.

Reading further to Genesis 21, Abraham's (Abram) first son was Ishmael, and it was his mother Hagar that found his wife. How great a responsibility this was to not only raise your child, but then find the person he would have for the rest of his life. Today, we leave it up to our own choosing to find someone to date and marry. I wonder if the practice still happened today if marriages would be better, or worse.

The entire book of Ruth tells about a woman who came to God and served Him in a foreign land with her mother-in-law. Following God's leading, she eventually re-married after her first husband's death and became the great-grandmother of King David. He was called a man of God, and I wonder how much influence his mothers had in his upbringing.

Throughout Scripture numerous examples of godly women are given. Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." I'm very thankful for my mother who has brought me in training of the Lord and has done so much for me over the years.

If you still have the opportunity to speak with your mother, or grandmothers, be sure to thank them for the role they played in your life. Mother is not an easy job title or one that necessarily ends at a certain age. This quad life has been very blessed by the numerous women, mostly all mothers, God has surrounded me with and I pray He does for you as well.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Tulip Reach

In my sermon last week, I encouraged the congregation to pay attention to the tools God has given us and use them to serve Him. I gave out million dollar bill gospel tracts to everyone with the challenge to give one to someone by today.

Over the last three days, Tulip Time, a Dutch heritage celebration, has been held in Pella. On average, 150,000 people from all over Iowa and other states attend during the festival. A few months ago, another man from the area worked to organize an evangelism training time each morning of the event and then send out everyone to talk with tourists and hand out gospel tracts.

Friday's Group
I helped with it last year and worked to get the training and gathering location based at my church. On Thursday, there were about ten of us and each day increased to Saturday's total of around 30. We started the day at 9:00 and then by 10:30 spread out to the community.

My assistant got in some good walking exercise as we strolled around town. Most conversations I had were short, but productive. Friday, as we worked through a busy sidewalk, a man who I hadn't seen before noticed my t-shirt talked about creation. He excitedly came up and began talking with my assistant, another group member that was with us, and me. The 20 minute conversation covered a variety of topics and we learned he was a student at MIT and spoke six languages, English not being his first. He offered to buy us lunch and continue talking, but ended up unable to join us.

Before church, I had 400 tracts ready to give out. Now with the week complete, I'm down to less than 100 left. Days like these are in a way rejuvenating for me. Getting out and actively working, especially for Christ, makes me want to do more and remain busy.

Only God truly knows what my calendar will contain. Living the quad life, I can sometimes quickly lose momentum and energy. I pray that the work we were able to do will lead to eternal benefits and I will continue to serve and remain active in the coming months until winter returns.