The Blue Rose

This is not my story, but I AM truly blessed to have my very own Blue Rose (and here we are)!If you like this post, check out But the Greatest of These Is Love Steve

 

Blue Rose

Having four visiting family members, the wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent, and Clorox. So off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies, and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.”

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged, and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly. “Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.. “You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles, and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him. I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, “Blue Roses” are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand, and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest that the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion!

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

“People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Please feel free to share this post by linking to it and/or tweeting it.

Have a blessed holiday season,

Steve Falter

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Urgent Your Help Needed – Florida Medicaid Reform

My son, Chris, and many other people here in Florida with disabilities need your help. Help with something you’ve heard of, but probably haven’t had to deal with personally…. Medicaid. Specifically, Medicaid Reform.

Like any large program, Medicaid has its flaws but, overall, it has done a decent job for Chris. We had no problem getting excellent services when he was admitted to the hospital with Congestive Heart Failure several years ago and his ongoing medical needs are well taken care of.

Under Medicaid Reform, the program would be handled by an HMO. As proposed, both the level and quality of care available to Chris, and others could change dramatically, and for the worse.

Medicaid Reform will happen, that we know, but we are trying to get the disabilities part of the program exempted and left as-is. While other recipients of Medicaid are capable of making choices and decisions, the disabilities clients… our children…. are not.

This is not a ballot item, so our elected officials must be contacted if we are to succeed. I have already received responses to several emails I sent this past Saturday.

Please watch this Short Video , learn what’s going on and how you can help Chris and others, like him. Then, write your elected officials and ask them to leave the Medicaid Disabilities Waiver program as-is.

You can also visit Florida United for Choice for more information, sample letters to send to your elected officials. Join the discussions on Facebook at  Florida United for Choice Facebook.

Also, please forward this to everyone you know who lives in Florida.

Thanks!

Steve, Chris and many others

But the greatest of these is love.

Many of you know my son, Chris and for many of you, this will be the first you hear of him. He is one those people that you never forget, once you’ve met him. It’s not unusual to be out with Chris and run into someone who met him briefly, many years ago, and they will have the biggest, most genuine smile on their face when they come up to say hello and give Chris a hug. 

It’s not because of his physical stature. It’s not because of his athletic prowess. It’s not because of his academic accomplishments. It’s not because of his eloquent speech. It’s not because of his professional achievements. It’s not because of his financial success. It’s not because of his physical possessions. 

It is because of his love. Pure love.  As I write this, Chris is 25 years old, an age by which many young adults are getting established in their life’s course. An age by which the ”cream of the crop” have started to establish an impressive life resume. Chris has this resume, but not in the way that you might think. 

You see, shortly after Chris was born, we learned that his development wasn’t progressing as expected. The term we ultimately got for Chris’ condition was Pervasive Developmental Delay. This affected his motor, language, cognitive and learning skills as well as his speech and behavior. This isn’t about what it was like raising and caring for a special needs child and the impact on our family, so I won’t go into that. 

What this is about is how true God’s word is and how I have seen it played out in the flesh, in the here and now. In Chris. I am not trying to convert anyone to my beliefs because that’s not my responsibility. I am just sharing what I know to be true based on what I have experienced. 

Chris is very intelligent, yet emotionally functions at about an 8-year-old level. So, while he requires a fair amount of guidance in his life, he has that wonderful childlike point of view and innocence about him. 

He greets everyone with outrageous enthusiasm, a huge smile and the tightest bear hug he can muster. Chris will excitedly tell you what’s going on in his world and just as excitedly ask what’s going on in yours. 

Chris enjoys life and the people in it. Every day. He knows no strangers. If you’re nice to him, and that’s most people, he loves you. Period! It doesn’t matter what you look like, what your beliefs are, what you’ve accomplished or what your abilities are. It never occurs to Chris to think about what you can do for him and he never worries about being provided for. 

He’ll tell you if he wants something and never be angry if you say no, even if you give no further explanation. He may ask you 100 more times and even if you say no 100 more times, he’ll never hold it against you. 

Chris doesn’t have a good comprehension of time, so if he knows we have something special planned in the future, he looks forward to it every day with the same excitement level. After the event, he’ll talk about it with the same enthusiasm he had each day leading up to it and never let you forget how much he appreciated it (and you)! 

When I’m having a rough time, a few minutes around Chris puts me right back on top and appreciating all the blessings I’ve been given. 

So, when I read these verses, I know that Chris is God’s pure love, in the flesh and God’s word is true. 

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8Love never fails. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

What’s really amazing to me is that no matter what I think of myself, God not only thought enough of me to send His son to die for me, but he also gave me my son, Chris. He used Chris as the tool to bring me to a saving faith, when I had no faith at all and to let me know and feel His love, in the flesh, right here, right now, when I need it most. 

Thanks God, and Chris. I love you both! 

Steve/Dad 


 What do you think? 

1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version) 

  

Love  

 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 

 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

At the Russian Philharmonic in Orlando - 04/2009