Brenda's Berries & Orchard is 4 miles east of Chetopa, Kansas and is worth the trip. So many more "Enterprise" remain while the yellow "Goldrush" apples are hanging on the limbs of her trees still not quite ripe but getting there.
Pick a few bags, take them with you on your way home, and an opportunity will occur for you to share some before you make that last turn to your house. That is how I came to learn about Brenda's orchard, from a friend's sharing with me. So as it happened for me on my last turn, Jerry and Pat Powell were harvesting our soybeans and they got a sack of fresh picked apples for being in the right place.
Mental health services and green hats at the state capitol. Advocates wore green to symbolize mental health and red to support substance abuse and addiction awareness. Pictures from the event may have seemed like early Christmas revelers with these colors to those deaf to the messages they called out.
Everyone of these wearers were in the right place, telling our legislators that people need services that keep their lives working and making sense to them. Mental health providers and those who have found those services lifelines stood next to each other. They all found their voices that day and spoke for those who could not make that trip.
Laura and Jerry Edington got in and were our witnesses to an event that brought me a full heart feeling. All those people on the 4th floor of the rotunda, once it filled so were the 5th and the 2nd floors with people still in line to get IN. The fire marshal declared the building was full. People stood up for services, not for handouts, not for raises, but for services that are the support for MANY people in Oklahoma. Many people you know, certainly people I know.
It was only a month ago, Lissa James made a presentation at the National Environmental Conference at Tar Creek speaking about mental health services right here in Ottawa County and how Grand Lake Mental Health had found ways to wrap services around their clients to take them from childhood into adulthood to make their lives not only possible but also meaningful.
If the cuts go through, people with mental illnesses and addictions will still have psychiatric hospitals, crisis centers and medication, but no other services, unless they can pay for them but with the drastic cuts many capable mental health and substance abuse providers will not be available, with over 8,500 staff reductions resulting by December. That is just not right. And is not safe to eliminate all outpatient services in our state.
People will have to get to the crisis level of wanting to kill themselves or someone else before they can access services, meaning in-patient crisis care, but there are already not beds available for all who could use them now.
I didn't make that trip to the capitol, our state capitol which last week had to be closed because all the wiring had to be redone. The state capitol's caretakers, our legislators had let the whole electrical system go for 60 years before they shut it down to fix it. The people who need mental health and substance abuse treatment can't wait 60 days to know if treatment will be available and there for them.
We need our legislators to be in the right place for us and do the right thing while they are there.
The Spanish philosopher and humanist José Ortega y Gasset took me out from under that apple tree and into that capitol with our green hat wearing mental health allies with his thought, "I am myself and what is around me. And if I do not save it, it shall not save me," and made me consider how urgent our "here and now" is and how there is no postponement for now. Gasset assured us we cannot put off living until we are ready. Our roles are set, this is it and we can do what we can for those around us and the world that surrounds us full of urgent needs.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim