Before we head into the New Year! I would like to share with you Ally Bain story on her 10 year fight for Restroom Access. In 2001, after several months of misdiagnoses, a pediatric gastroenterologist diagnosed me with Crohn’s disease. At the time, I had no idea what that meant. And, for the next couple of years, my only reminder of having Crohn’s disease was a doctor appointment every so often, some pills I had to take in the morning and night, and an abdominal pain here and there. Several years after I was diagnosed, I had an experience that would forever change my life; it would forever change my perspective, my aspirations, and my purpose.
When I was 14 years old, I suddenly felt a sharp pain while my mother and I were shopping at a large retail store. I was in the midst of a flare and I knew I had a matter of minutes to find a restroom. After a store employee said that the store did not have any public restrooms, we asked that the employee page the store manager. I begged the store manager to let me use the employee-only restroom. Despite admitting that he knew about Crohn’s disease, he claimed he was making a “managerial decision” and repeatedly denied me restroom access, causing me to have an accident in the store. Being denied restroom access is something that no one should ever have to experience. Walking out of the store, my mother promised this would never happen to me or anyone else again.
I knew who to call: my local state representative, Representative Kathleen Ryg, whom I had met while on an eighth grade class field trip to the Illinois capitol just a couple months before. Within months, Representative Ryg and I were working together to draft a bill stating that anyone with a medical emergency must be allowed access to an employee-only restroom. I had the privilege to testify in support of the bill, which passed unanimously through the committee, Illinois House, and Illinois Senate, becoming law in August 2005.
It is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since the Illinois Restroom Access Act, or “Ally’s Law,” became law in Illinois and the first of its kind in the nation. Restroom access legislation is now law in 16 states—Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. The success of its passage in these states is largely due to individuals using their voices and sharing their stories to advocate for the cause. Others have expressed interest in its passage in many states, and I have enjoyed working with them on this endeavor as well.
In addition to helping other states enact similar laws, I have participated in a variety of Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) events, including Take Steps and IBD Day on the Hill. I also served as a member of the National Council of College Leaders (formerly called the National Youth Leadership Council). This October, I will be attending CCFA Illinois Chapter’s Annual Gala and am extremely honored to be the patient honoree at this year’s Gala.
Working to get the Restroom Access Act passed in Illinois taught me the importance of speaking out and advocating for a cause. My experience with getting the legislation passed also encouraged me to attend law school. I am now a third-year student at Northwestern University School of Law. I spent this past summer interning in the Civil Rights Division and Disability Rights Section at the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. After I graduate, I plan to devote my career to advocating on behalf of those with chronic illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel diseases.
Help pass similar legislation around the country. Sign up to become a CCFA advocate and learn how you can make a difference in the lives of the 1.6 million Americans living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
With only 4 more day until the New Year we are starting the week OFF with these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 61
Bible in a Year: Zechariah 5-8; Revelation 19
I long to . . . take refuge in the shelter of your wings. —Psalm 61:4
Homeless people in Vancouver, British Columbia, have a new way to find nighttime accommodations. A local charity, RainCity Housing, has created specialized benches that convert into temporary shelters. The back of the bench pulls up to create a roof that can shield a person from wind and rain. At night, these sleeping spaces are easy to find because they feature a glow-in-the-dark message that reads: THIS IS A BEDROOM.
The need for shelter can be physical, and it can be spiritual as well. God is a refuge for our souls when we are troubled. King David wrote, “I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Ps. 61:2). When we’re emotionally overloaded, we are more vulnerable to the Enemy’s tactics—fear, guilt, and lust are a few of his favorites. We need a source of stability and safety.
If we take refuge in God, we can have victory over the Enemy as he tries to influence our hearts and minds. “You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe,” David said to the Lord. “I long to . . . take refuge in the shelter of your wings” (vv. 3-4).
When we are overwhelmed, peace and protection are ours through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. “In me you may have peace,” Jesus said. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Dear God, I am frail and defenseless, but You are mighty and powerful. Please help me find peace and rest in You when I am overwhelmed.
God is our refuge.
INSIGHT: Of Psalm 61, Charles Spurgeon wrote: “This Psalm is a pearl. It is little, but precious. To many a mourner it has furnished utterance when the mind could not have devised a speech for itself. It was evidently composed by David after he had come to the throne. . . . The second verse leads us to believe that it was written during the psalmist's enforced exile from the tabernacle, which was the visible abode of God: if so, the period of [his son] Absalom's rebellion has been most suitably suggested as the date of its authorship.”
We have made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! So as we are preparing ourselves to Celebrate Christmas with our Family and Friends let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Luke 2:1-7
Bible in a Year: Zephaniah 1-3; Revelation 16
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! —2 Corinthians 9:15
When we give a fragile gift, we make sure it is marked on the box that contains it. The word fragile is written with big letters because we don’t want anyone to damage what is inside.
God’s gift to us came in the most fragile package: a baby. Sometimes we imagine Christmas day as a beautiful scene on a postcard, but any mother can tell you it wasn’t so. Mary was tired, probably insecure. It was her first child, and He was born in the most unsanitary conditions. She “wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 nkjv).
A baby needs constant care. Babies cry, eat, sleep, and depend on their caregivers. They cannot make decisions. In Mary’s day, infant mortality was high, and mothers often died in childbirth.
Why did God choose such a fragile way to send His Son to earth? Because Jesus had to be like us in order to save us. God’s greatest gift came in the fragile body of a baby, but God took the risk because He loves us. Let us be thankful today for such a gift! —Keila Ochoa
Dear Lord, the Strong and Mighty One, I thank You for becoming small and fragile on that day long ago. It amazes me that You did that for me and the rest of Your world.
May you know the peace of Christmas every day of the year.
INSIGHT: The New Bible Commentary explains the census described in Luke 2: “During the reign of Augustus (31 bc-ad 14) the Romans reorganized their administration in several parts of the Empire and carried out fresh censuses of the population for the purpose of taxation. The execution of such an imperial decree in Syria (of which Judea formed a part) brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, long ago prophesied as the Messiah’s place of birth. The fact that Mary travelled with Joseph means that they were now married, but the description of her as [pledged to be married] (v. 5) to him . . . shows that they had not yet consummated the marriage (cf. Mt. 1:25).”
Today Marks the beginning of Winter or better known to all of us as the Winter Solstice as we enter the beginning of Winter let's be Grateful for ALL that God as done for us. So I just want to wish You and Your Families a HAPPIE FIRST DAY OF WINTER! May it be filled with lots of Warmth, Love, Joy, Cheer & Blessings.
The weekend as come to an end and we are starting a New Week as we prepare ourselves for the Christmas festivities that's fast approaching let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: John 6:32-40
Bible in a Year: Micah 4-5; Revelation 12
I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. —John 6:38
Approaching the first Christmas after her husband died, our friend Davidene wrote a remarkable letter in which she pictured what it might have been like in heaven when Jesus was born on earth. “It was what God always knew would happen,” she wrote. “The three were one, and He had agreed to allow the fracturing of His precious unity for our sake. Heaven was left empty of God the Son.”
As Jesus taught and healed people on earth, He said, “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. . . . For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:38,40).
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was the beginning of His mission on earth to demonstrate God’s love and give His life on the cross to free us from the penalty and power of sin.
“I cannot imagine actually choosing to let go of the one I loved, with whom I was one, for the sake of anyone else,” Davidene concluded. “But God did. He faced a house much emptier than mine, so that I could live in His house with Him forever.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). —David McCasland
Father in heaven, we are in awe of Your amazing love for us. Thank You for giving Your only Son to save us from our sins.
The birth of Christ brought God to man; the cross of Christ brings man to God.
INSIGHT: The 40-year experience of the Israelites in the wilderness where God sustained them by manna (Ex. 16) provides the backdrop for this passage in John 6. The miraculous feeding of 5,000 men (vv. 1-13) caused the Jews to compare Moses with Jesus. Jesus corrected them, saying that it was God, not Moses, who had fed the Israelites (v. 32). Jesus then gave them one of the greatest revelations of Himself: He said He was the new manna—sent down from heaven to sustain them. “I am the bread of life” (v. 35) is the first of seven “I am” sayings in this gospel where Jesus provides a clear picture of who He is (John 8:12; 10:9; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1)
The week has come to an end we have made it FRIDAY! YES! as we are preparing ourselves for the Christmas Holiday which is fast approaching let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Psalm 139:7-12
Bible in a Year: Obadiah; Revelation 9
The night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. —Psalm 139:12
Our old dog—a West Highland white terrier—sleeps curled up at the foot of our bed. That’s been her place for 13 years.
Normally she doesn’t move or make a sound, but lately she’s been pawing us gently in the middle of the night. At first we thought she wanted to go outside, so we tried to accommodate her. But we realized she just wants to know we are there. She’s nearly deaf and partially blind now. She can’t see in the darkness and can’t hear us move or breathe. Naturally, she gets confused and reaches out for reassurance. So I just reach down and pat her on the head to assure her that I’m there. That’s all she wants to know. She takes a turn or two, settles down, and goes back to sleep.
“Where can I flee from your presence?” David asked God (Ps. 139:7). David took this as an immense comfort. “If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me,” he noted. “Even the darkness will not be dark to you” (vv. 9-12).
Lost in darkness? Grieving, fearful, guilty, doubting, discouraged? Not sure of God? The darkness is not dark to Him. Though unseen, He is at hand. He has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Reach out your hand for His. He is there. —David Roper
Lord, You promised never to leave us or forsake us. We know Your word is true, but so often we see the obstacles and the challenges and lose sight of You. Help us today to see more of You and less of our problems.
Dark fears flee in the light of God’s presence.
INSIGHT: In Psalm 139 David invites us to meditate on who God is and how that affects us personally. David is perplexed by God’s omniscience—that He knows everything about him (vv. 1-4). He is assured by God’s omnipresence—that He is ever-present and will never leave or forsake him (vv. 5-12). And he is overwhelmed by His omnipotence—that He is the all-powerful Creator who created him (vv. 13-18). In today’s reading (vv. 7-12), David speaks of a God who is always there to lead, hold, and protect him. There is no place where he is beyond His care, and even before he was conceived God showed His love for him (vv. 13-16). Mindful of all this, David prayed a prayer of loyalty and commitment (vv. 23-24).
WOW! What a week and what a weekend it has been so Grateful to start the New Week off with these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 150
Bible in a Year: Joel 1-3; Revelation 5
Praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe. —Psalm 150:4
After Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan scored a goal against Germany in the 2014 World Cup, he and his teammates did a coordinated dance step. When Germany’s Miroslav Klose scored a few minutes later, he did a running front flip. “Soccer celebrations are so appealing because they reveal players’ personalities, values, and passions,” says Clint Mathis, who scored for the US at the 2002 World Cup.
In Psalm 150, the psalmist invites “everything that has breath” to celebrate and praise the Lord in many different ways. He suggests that we use trumpets and harps, stringed instruments and pipes, cymbals and dancing. He encourages us to creatively and passionately celebrate, honor, and adore the Lord. Because the Lord is great and has performed mighty acts on behalf of His people, He is worthy of all praise. These outward expressions of praise will come from an inner wellspring overflowing with gratitude to God. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord,” the psalmist declares (150:6).
Though we may celebrate the Lord in different ways (I’m not encouraging back flips in our worship services), our praise to God always needs to be expressive and meaningful. When we think about the Lord’s character and His mighty acts toward us, we cannot help but celebrate Him through our praise and worship. —Marvin Williams
How has this psalm challenged you to be more expressive in your praise to God? Spend some time thinking about the greatness of the Lord’s mighty works. Then give Him your praise.
Praise is the song of a soul set free.
INSIGHT: The last five psalms (146-150) are also known as Hallelujah psalms because each of them begins and ends with “Hallelujah” or “Praise the Lord.” The psalmist calls for “everything that has breath”—every living thing on earth and spiritual beings in the heavens—to worship God for what He has done (v. 6). We praise Him for “his acts of power” and for “his surpassing greatness” (v. 2). God deserves the full and joyous expression of our commitment and devotion, and we can praise Him exuberantly with singing and musical instruments (vv. 3-6).
On this day Day we would have been Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Old Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra. I can't believe that I am blessed to be sharing and celebrating Frank Sinatra on this day December 12th 100 years later WOW! Magnificent. Here's To You KIDDO!
Frank Sinatra - "The Girl From Ipanema" (Concert Collection)
Frank Sinatra - "For Once In My Life" (Concert Collection)
Frank Sinatra - "My Way" -
On this day I get an EXCITEMENT! because I share a Birthday with the Queen Of Percussion Sheila Escovado better known to Millions as simply Sheila E. I am so Blessed an Honored to share my BIRTHDAY! with the Latin Soul Percussionist Sheila E. So I just want to take a moment to wish U a HAPPIE BIRTHDAY SHEILA E!!!
Sheila E (RBMA Paris 2015 Lecture)
Sheila E. Reveals Rape, Love of Her Life in New Memoir
Sheila E - "Glamorous Life" - With The Ladies Of Soul - Ziggo Dome - Amsterdam - 13-2-2015
Sheila E. @ B.B. King's 2
So here we are in the last month of the New Year which is December WOW! GOD has been so GOOD to us ALL to allow us to make it to the month of December, as we have made it to the end of the week let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 143:7-12
Bible in a Year: Hosea 5-8; Revelation 2
In You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk. —Psalm 143:8
I am amazed by the story of the World War II paradogs. In preparing for D-Day (June 6, 1944), the Allied troops needed the sharp senses of dogs to sniff their way through minefields and to warn troops of approaching danger. And the only way to get these dogs to troops behind enemy lines was by parachute. But dogs are instinctively afraid of doing this—and let’s be honest, they are not alone. Yet after weeks of training, the dogs learned to trust their masters enough to jump at their command.
I wonder if any of us trust our Master enough to do challenging things we would never instinctively do or things that might make us fearful. We may not be instinctively generous or forgiving or patient with those who annoy us. Yet Jesus commands us to trust Him enough to do things that may be difficult but that will advance His kingdom. To say, “In You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk” (Ps. 143:8 nkjv).
Paradogs often received medals for their bravery. I believe we too will someday hear “well done” because we have trusted our Master enough to jump when He said, “Go!” —Joe Stowell
Is God asking you to do something that you are afraid to do? Will you trust Him to lead you and walk with you?
Trust Jesus to show you how you can be used by Him.
INSIGHT: Psalm 143 is the last of seven penitential psalms (Pss. 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130) that express deep sorrow over sin. The authors affirm that as forgiven people they have come into God’s presence because of His mercy. Today’s psalm is a prayer for deliverance, protection, and guidance. David, pursued and in grave danger from a powerful enemy (vv. 3-4), desperately cried out to the Lord (v. 7). He likely wrote this psalm when fleeing from the murderous Saul. He prayed for God’s mercy (v. 1), rescue (v. 9), guidance (v. 10), preservation (v. 11), and deliverance (v. 12). His prayer is not based on his own merits (v. 2) but on trust in God’s mercy, faithfulness, righteousness, and unfailing love.
The beginning of this Month jump started the Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week which started on December 1st-7th as we are coming to the end of the Crohn's & Colitis Awareness week Celebration we should always Celebrated and Honor those affected by this NASTY Disease so I hope that everyone took the time to Teach, Train & Educate those that might not understand these condition, so weather you know someone that has been affected by these condition take a moment to uplift,and encourage them along their journey because it's a very long and painful journey.
To ALL the million's that are currently or been diagnose with Crohn's & Colitis stay STRONG, Have FAITH, & FIGHT for your life I know because I had to FIGHT for my Life.
Blessing to ALL the Crohn's & Colitis Warriors.
On this Day December 7, 1941 is a Day that will Live in Infamy so I am taking a moment to reflect on Pearl Harbor and ALL those who served I want to say Thank you for your service. Remembering and Honoring Pearl Harbor.
On Sunday Evening started on December 6th the first of an 8 day Jewish Celebration and ends on the evening of December 14th which is called Hanukkah so I just want to take a Moment to wish everyone a HAPPY HANUKKAH! May Peace, Joy & Light Shine up on you.
We are starting a New Week in the last month of 2015 as we prepare ourselves for this week here are some words of wisdom to help us along the way Read: Joshua 14:6-15
Bible in a Year: Daniel 5-7; 2 John
If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. —1 Peter 4:11
Madaleno is a bricklayer. From Monday to Thursday he builds walls and repairs roofs. He is quiet, reliable, and hardworking. Then from Friday to Sunday he goes up to the mountains to teach the Word of God. Madaleno speaks Nahuatl (a Mexican dialect), so he can easily communicate the good news of Jesus to the people in that region. At age 70, he still works with his hands building houses, but he also works to build the family of God.
His life has been threatened several times. He has slept under the stars and faced death from car accidents and falls. He has been kicked out of towns. But he thinks that God has called him to do what he does, and he serves happily. Believing that people need to know the Lord, he relies on God for the strength he needs.
Madaleno’s faithfulness reminds me of the faithfulness of Caleb and Joshua, two of the men Moses sent to explore the Promised Land and report back to the Israelites (Num. 13; Josh. 14:6-13). Their companions were afraid of the people who lived there, but Caleb and Joshua trusted in God and believed He would help them conquer the land.
The work entrusted to us may be different than Madaleno’s or Caleb’s and Joshua’s. But our confidence can be the same. In reaching out to others, we rely not on ourselves but on the strength of our God. —Keila Ochoa
Where has God placed you to serve? Are you being faithful?
We grow strong when we serve the Lord.
INSIGHT: Discipleship has been called “a long obedience in the same direction.” The point is not how much we have done, but whether or not we have been faithful to our Lord. Caleb was faithful for 45 years in the wilderness. When Christ returns, our faithfulness will be rewarded when we hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).
Here is our December 2015 CCFA Newsletter A Letter from the President & CEO
It's a big month at CCFA! First, we are already part way through Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week – and it's been a very exciting couple of days. Tomorrow, we have a national call-in to the House of Representatives. Visit our Action Center to see how you can participate. You can also join me for a Twitter chat at 1p.m. EST on Monday, December 7th by tweeting your questions @CCFA using the hashtag #IBDAware.
Second, we are thrilled to announce we've just secured a holiday gift match! Donations you send to CCFA by 12/31 will be matched up to $100,000. Reaching this goal will allow us to double our impact against IBD in the year ahead and continue funding the work that is making a real difference for people with IBD.
Richard J. Geswell, CCFA President and CEO
So please join us!
President & CEO
Ally's Law: 10 Years Later
When Ally Bain was 14 years old, she was denied restroom access at a retail store. She decided then and there it was something no one should ever have to experience – so she called her local state representative and they worked on drafting a bill together. Ten years later, the Restroom Access Act continues to grant anyone with a medical emergency access to an employee-only restroom.
Read Ally's story ►
Join Our Holiday Gift Match
Support cutting-edge research at CCFA this December and your gift will be matched – dollar for dollar – up to $100K!
Enjoy a Stress-free Holiday
The holiday season can be filled with friends, shopping, and family, but it can also be filled with stress – which can exacerbate IBD symptoms. Prepare yourself by learning some stress-management techniques, such as breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. You can also order a printed brochure through our IBD Help Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highlights in IBD Research – a Webcast
Join us for an educational webcast on Thursday, December 17 at 8 pm EST that will highlight research in the field of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Learn about the importance of clinical trials, the future of IBD research, and how you can help pave the way for future therapies.
Sign up today ►
Support CCFA on Amazon
Make a gift that supports IBD research this shopping season! Just find CCFA on Amazon Smile, and they'll donate 0.5% of every purchase.
Check it out ►
Search our resources Find your chapter
IBD Clinical Trials and Other Studies
CCFA provides a comprehensive database of studies, clinical trials and other research on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. One of the recently added studies is:
Low-dose IL-2 for ulcerative colitis – investigating the safety and clinical effect of a medicine called “Interleukin-2” (or “IL-2”) in people with active ulcerative colitis, taking place at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA.
Deciding whether to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision, best made with a full understanding of the drug development process and a participant's role.
Take Steps Team Challenge
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We have made it to the end of the week YES! It's Friday with so much going on in the world it's good to know we have these words of wisdom to help comforts us in time of hurt and devastation going on here are these words to reflect on Read: Psalm 37:1-9
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 47-48; 1 John 3
Do not fret because of those who are evil. —Psalm 37:1
Trying to stay aware of current events has its downside because bad news sells better than good news. It’s easy to become overly concerned about the criminal acts of individuals, crowds, or governments over whom we have no control.
Psalm 37 gives perspective to the daily news. David begins by saying, “Do not fret because of those who are evil” (v. 1). Then he proceeds to outline for us some alternatives to becoming overly anxious. In essence, David suggests a better way of thinking about negative news in our world.
What would happen if, instead of worrying about events beyond our control, we chose to trust in the Lord? (v. 3). Wouldn’t we be better off to “take delight in the Lord” (v. 4) rather than fret without limits? Imagine the freedom from worry we could have if we would “commit [our] way to the Lord” (v. 5). And how calm we could be by learning to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him”! (v. 7).
News of trouble we cannot change offers us an opportunity to set boundaries for our concerns. As we trust God, commit our ways to Him, and rest in Him, our outlook brightens. The struggles and trials may not disappear, but we will discover that He gives us His peace in the midst of them. —Dave Branon
Lord, we see danger and trouble all around us. Help us not to worry but instead to trust and rest in You. Show us the peace that comes from waiting patiently on You.
Obstacles give us the opportunity to trust God.
INSIGHT: The invitation of Psalm 37 is not simply to lay down our anxiety but to replace it with something far better—trust and delight in the Lord (vv. 3-4). Replacing worry with trust is also a concern of the apostle Paul when he tells the Christians in Philippi, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).