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A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

intellectual disability Archives

Looking back

posted by Linda G. Howard

by Michelle Demeree Shelley is a member of Special Gathering.  She, also, serves as a deacon in our program. Dedicated to the memory of Special Gathering members who have died. As we look back over the year, we remember the […]

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Time away

posted by Linda G. Howard

One of the interesting things about directing a ministry where you are the lead staff person, a van driver, data entry person, chair arranger, praise and worship leader, choir director, and the one who gives the devotions is that you don’t have […]

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Wow!

posted by Linda G. Howard

Camp Agape is a four day retreat that allows all of us to get into the skin of our members and for our members to get to know us and each other.  On Sunday evening at Camp Agape, we have […]

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What is the first impression I give?

posted by Linda G. Howard

My good friend, Malcolm, told me that he attended a leadership class recently.  It was both an exhilarating and brutal course. The teacher expertly built up the members.  Where needed, she ripped apart each of the participants. At the end […]

All that glitters

posted by Linda G. Howard

For several reasons, I hated when our children got their driver’s license.  Of course, there was the problem of safety. Now the crazy teenage idiots driving wildly through our neighborhood were my children.  But the other reason was that I learned so much about my offsprings […]

The face of encouragement

posted by Linda G. Howard

Looking through my memories over the past months, I’ve been shocked at the number of people who have been “The Face of Encouragement” for me.  Too many to name. My dad didn’t encourage with words but actions and attitude. My […]

To be or to do

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’m not telling you anything new.  God wants us to be and then we will do.  It isn’t that God is against doers. However, he knows that doers become rigid and Pharisees, pointing a finger at everyone who doesn’t live up to our standards.  Or […]

Power Point

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’m a computer person only because my husband was a computer person.  He purchased the first handheld calculator manufactured 35 years ago.  It cost $1,200.  A few years later, he bought one of the first personal computers.   Our Apple […]

Cliff Jumpers

posted by Linda G. Howard

Steve Brown, a Christian radio commentator, explained that his mission in life is to watch out for cliff jumpers.  He said that he stands at the edge of a cliff every day and warns people not to jump off into […]

The pit crew

posted by Linda G. Howard

Yesterday on Facebook Vicky wrote a lovely tribute to her sister-in-law and best friend.  Vicky explained that Patty was always there to help and assist her.  They had given a bridal shower for Vicky’s daughter and Patty had done much […]

When to say “Yes”

posted by Linda G. Howard

This weekend was more than exciting for me and the three choirs who gathered for our annual choir retreat.  Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Our choirs go into churches helping to teach that a person […]

Dress shirt and tie

posted by Linda G. Howard

There are different ways that the members of The Special Gathering tell me that they are growing in the Lord.  I see in our members subtle changes that others would ignore.  Nevertheless, each adjustment means a transformation has occurred in their […]

Is that you, God?

posted by Linda G. Howard

During the time that my husband was slowly slipping into heaven, I wrecked my car three times.  Each accident was a simple fender crusher; and they were my fault.  Nevertheless, the cost of the repairs was thousands of dollars.  It […]

And we wept

posted by Linda G. Howard

Ten years ago, all during the morning and afternoon of September 11, I watched in horrified fascination. Much of our nation was paralyzed by the acts of evil men whose purpose was to destroy the heart of our nation. These […]

History was being made

posted by Linda G. Howard

  Hot and sweaty I came in from a 10-minute run. Wiping my forehead and drinking a large glass of water, I’d neglected to turn off the TV.  Absently, I observed as the morning show hosts flashed the live picture of […]

In Memory of Leslie

posted by Linda G. Howard

  By Michelle Demaree What can I say about my friend, Leslie? She had a lot going for her. She was loved by everyone. Leslie is a star in our eyes. Having her friendship was a joy in our lives. […]

Being a survivor

posted by Linda G. Howard

Crouched behind the sofa my five-year old grandson delighted in jumping from behind to scare his family.  He would often accompany the surprise lurch with a growl, clawed fingers extended and a fantom face that was supposed to terrorize anyone […]

The miracle of simple things

posted by Linda G. Howard

I often laugh at radio and TV commercials when women (or men) talk about their new weight loss and say, “I have my life back.”  The commercial writers want to convince us that I cannot have a real and honest […]

Who’s my customer?

posted by Linda G. Howard

On April 23, 1985, one of the largest marketing bungles was made by Coca-Cola when they introduced a new formulation of the Coke.  This is a company known as the leader marketing expert in the world.  No matter where you […]

Approaching the weary

posted by Linda G. Howard

Thinking about people who work hard, I cannot help but remember those who work within the mentally challenged community.  In fact, there is always a great deal of weariness.  Parents see no end to the responsibilities they must carry for the […]

Let’s keep the faith

posted by Linda G. Howard

Let’s Keep the Faith by Michelle Demeree God has given to each one the gift of faith. When we believe God, Our Christian faith lets us Live outside the box. People need to see how we believe through our faith. Our […]

Look at me

posted by Linda G. Howard

With the stir of the new movie, The Help, I’ve been reminded that the hardest part about directing a choir of mentally challenged people is teaching them to look at me.  In the twenty years that I have been a choir director […]

Redemption–Part 2

posted by Linda G. Howard

Marsha was a Vacation Bible School teacher who demanded that every child obey the rules, except her own son. I’d looked forward to working with her; but I had not counted on her obvious favoritism regarding Johnny’s behavior. Even though […]

Redemption–Part 1

posted by Linda G. Howard

While I’ve always had a love affair with the English language, redemption is one of my favorite words.  It speaks of strength, firmness, character, kindness, forgiveness and compassion. When I was much younger, I taught Vacation Bible School with Marsha, […]

God changes our hearts

posted by Linda G. Howard

by Michelle Demeree Melbourne, Florida God changes our hearts for people. With His help, we come to see others through their eyes. We grow together in time. When we speak God’s word, Sharing out loud, we grow together. Sharing God’s […]

What’s stealing your joy?

posted by Linda G. Howard

What’s stealing your joy?  Bev Linder shares a piece from her life and journal that will brighten your day.  

Trusting God means action–not knowledge

posted by Linda G. Howard

When I’m going on a trip, it’s important to know where I am going. It seems pretty fundamental that all of us need to know where we are going.  In contrast, we love to quote and sing, Proverbs 3:5, “Trust the Lord […]

God made tears. Why?

posted by Linda G. Howard

by Michelle Demaree God made tears  Why? We sometimes think God brings the rain and the sunshine. As we read this poem, we may find ourselves happy and sad. For example, let’s say you see a lovely movie.  What do […]

Marking the markets

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’m sitting at the end of the day hearing experts talk about the Dow-Jones dive by 419 points.  Owning stocks is no longer a priority of the super-rich.  Like most other folks today, part of what I will one day […]

The Place Setting

posted by Linda G. Howard

I was in the eleventh grade when I learned exactly how a proper place setting should look.  We were preparing for our Junior-Senior Banquet.  To insure that we all knew how to use the correct forks and spoons, it was part of our […]

Melt down

posted by Linda G. Howard

My husband, Frank, was Disney’s greatest fan.  Therefore, we took our children often to the original Disney park.  When Disney was planning EPCOT’s attraction, The Land, they called NASA for suggestions regarding how to grow food in space.  Somehow, the call […]

God’s Power to Change our Life

posted by Linda G. Howard

A friend told me that he saw a man mopping up a spill in a local 7-11 store.  He said to the man who was mopping, “I assume you are the manager.”  The bosses in stores get to do the dirty […]

Less is more

posted by Linda G. Howard

Often I edit my blog entries eliminating the unnecessary words.  When teaching writing skills or attending a writer’s conference, I will say or hear said, “In writing, less is more.” Last Thursday, as I looked into the eyes of one of […]

God gives to us to give to Him

posted by Linda G. Howard

When I was a little girl, I would watch as the offering plate was passed over me in church.  In the church where I attended, we put in our offerings during Sunday school. As I watched it pass over my […]

Frank loved Jesus

posted by Linda G. Howard

by Kevin Fowler Walterboro, South Carolina Mr. Fowler is a member and deacon of our South Carolina Special Gathering located in Walterboro.  A life-time resident of Walterboro, Fowler is also a member of The Special Gathering choir.  A wheelchair or demon […]

Now I have my own church

posted by Linda G. Howard

For almost a year, I thought Peter was non-verbal.  Unaccustomed to his speech patterns, I didn’t understand that his low-bass mumbles were words.  I had started our DeLand Special Gathering program, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community, with two […]

Living on less

posted by Linda G. Howard

After checking my on-line bank account for the fifth time that day, I decided that I’d eat lunch at my favorite place, my own kitchen.  It seems that whether I’m planning an excursion or simply working in my home office, […]

Colors of the rainbow

posted by Linda G. Howard

Colors of the Rainbow by Michelle Demeree Friendship is like a rainbow of love. There are many colors in a rainbow.   With love, it doen’t matter Your shape or your size.   Like a rainbow where colors blend, The […]

Master gardener

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’ve spent much of the last two afternoons and evening outside working on my garden.  This is my private sanctuary but I’ve spent precious little time out doors these past two years.  My husbands failing health and other concerns have made my […]

Back steps picnic

posted by Linda G. Howard

One of my favorite childhood memories is having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch on the back steps of our house.  Often my brother or sister would be sitting beside me.  Occasionally, one of my parents would join the conclave.  Some days […]

Overcome your fear and nervousness making a presentation

posted by Linda G. Howard

Even though public speaking is the number one fear of people living in the US, there will be a time that you will be called on to stand before a group and share.  Here are 11 practical and proven ways to […]

Call to action

posted by Linda G. Howard

After Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne hit Vero Beach, Florida, in 2004, the street signs in Indian River County were all twisted.  Many of the street markers were gone.  Almost all of the ones left standing were turned the wrong way. These street […]

Strength for Prayer

posted by Linda G. Howard

Hudson Taylor, a pioneer missionary to China, once said, “Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray, for prayer requires strength.”  I was reminded several times this week of the vital work of prayer.  At […]

Where are they?

posted by Linda G. Howard

Lawrence moved two weeks ago.  His court-appointed guardian had signed the forms we send each year saying that as his pastor I would get all information regarding his health and safety.  Yet, it wasn’t until I called the guardian’s office […]

Loving the seasons

posted by Linda G. Howard

I still work with our DeLand program which meets the first Thursday of each month. In February as I drive south on I-95 back from DeLand Special Gathering, my van was filled with a wonderful odor. At first, I could […]

Prayer of the saints

posted by Linda G. Howard

On December 13,  I injured my eye ball.  I was working in the garden when a spindly plant pierced my eye directly into the corneal.  It caused what the doctors called a Recurrent Corneal Erosion (RCE).  In simple terms, the […]

Trucks and hard-working young men

posted by Linda G. Howard

It was late Friday afternoon.  Three battered trucks with all sorts of construction equipment flapping from the truck beds buzzed in beside me.  I entered the convenience store ahead of them.  As I stood at the ATM, I was rattled […]

Good Things

posted by Linda G. Howard

By Michelle Demeree Jesus is coming through the door. Are you afraid?  You do not need to be. Do you know, who is good all the time? Let me tell you. It is Jesus. So let’s raise up our hand […]

…and he danced

posted by Linda G. Howard

Wednesday, November 10, did not seem like an eventful day for Joey Melton.  He got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, took his lunch and went to work.  None of us would have suspected that this would be his last day […]

The Final Moments of Life

posted by Linda G. Howard

Rev.  David A. Tester shares from  his experiences during his chaplain residency in Charleston, SC at St. Frances Hospital. The article was first published in the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling. The Final Moments of Life I am a […]

Walking in love

posted by Linda G. Howard

This week there are three little girls under the age of five visiting in my home.  Watching them, I’m amazed again at how much they are able to pour their love out without abandonment.  The girls live in another state; but […]

Confession–Good for the Soul

posted by Linda G. Howard

Sometimes confession is good for the soul.  So here goes. I began reading the Bible on a daily basis when I was in high school.  That was more years than most of you have been alive.  I still read through […]

Hard times? You are in good company

posted by Linda G. Howard

I was fascinated by the story of man who had a Cadillac Seville that fell on him.  He prayed for an an angel to come and help him; and a college football player showed up.  The football player, Danous Esterner, […]

Touch and Listen

posted by Linda G. Howard

By Michelle Demaree We can open up our ears because We have to hear. What are people saying to us? “Let’s open up the Book to read.” It is is the way to learn about our Lord. It is is […]

The Healing Process

posted by Linda G. Howard

As many of you know, my husband died almost two months ago.  We had been married for 49 years.  It had been almost a decade since his first stroke.  I knew each time I left the house that when I […]

It’s a Guy Thing

posted by Linda G. Howard

It’s a guy thing.  I’ve never quite understood most of this passage of scripture found in John 21. You remember the incident that happened after Jesus’ resurrection.  First, the breakfast on the beach.  I think Jesus  invented going out to […]

Turning Lemons into Lemonade Part 2

posted by Linda G. Howard

While writing about the members of Special Gathering who are grateful for their lives even though they are mentally challenged and often have serious disabilities, I received an e-mail from a young missionary working China.  She just returned back to […]

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

posted by Linda G. Howard

I am often surprised by the ability of the members of Special Gathering to “turn lemons into lemonade.” The other day I had a conversation with one of our SpG members. When he was 18 years old, this young man was […]

Forgiveness

posted by Linda G. Howard

Perhaps the most important thing I have learned from the computer age is the wonderful power of forgiveness.  I remember that one of the first things I was told about my computer was “don’t worry they are very forgiving.”  Interestingly, this is also […]

Adventures at Disney

posted by Linda G. Howard

Yesterday, I spent 9 hours at DisneyWorld’s Magic Kingdom with my son and daughter-in-law.  The thermometer was set at 100 degrees by early morning but the shops and rides were air-conditioned.  A 7PM rain storm cooled everything down for the […]

Picnic with a bunch of wimps

posted by Linda G. Howard

For the past decade, The Special Gatherings of Melbourne and Vero have held 4th of July picnics either the Sunday before or the Sunday after the actual date.  We call them our “I’m Free in Jesus” picnics.  It’s your usual […]

Different strokes/Different folks

posted by Linda G. Howard

Shelly is a young woman in her early 30’s.  She is an avid writer.  Some of her articles appear in our monthly newsletter, Connecting Point, her own webpage and as a guest writer for this blog.  Terry’s passion is kitchen duty.  […]

Leadership–Enduring the hardships of living for Christ

posted by Linda G. Howard

Recently, I was reminded me that God called Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of bondage.  Then God deliberately hindered Moses’ efforts to succeed.  You remember the story, Moses came from his 40 year respite in the desert to […]

Eliminating stress: Take a break and Don’t run

posted by Linda G. Howard

Several times each week, I would take one or all of my children on foot, crossing the busy five-lane A1A Highway to the ocean.  Each time, I would instruct them.  “Stop.  Look both ways.  Listen.   And do not EVER […]

Eliminating stress-sing a song

posted by Linda G. Howard

Bach called music, “Recreation of the mind.”  Modern scientific research tell us that your mother was right–again. Learning to play a musical instrument as a child and continuing to practice into adulthood sharpens your mind and keeps your thinking clear […]

Giving back

posted by Linda G. Howard

Giving Back by Michelle Demeree Shelly is a deacon at The Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Her work has appeared in several places, including being a regular guest columnist for A Simple Life. We want to […]

Learning that changes lives

posted by Linda G. Howard

The mentally challenged community is hungry to hear the Gospel.  If we can get people to our chapel services, they will almost always accept the wonderful grace of Christ into their lives.  Yet, discipleship is a struggle.  One day at […]

Amazing litte boy with no arms

posted by Linda G. Howard

What an amazing story.  You won’t be disappointed.

Leadership–Standing on the backs of older generations

posted by Linda G. Howard

Several years ago, Richard Stimson wrote in the Special Gathering newsletter, Networks, something that made a big impression on me. He said that all of us who serve within the disability community stand on the backs of the generations who have […]

Eliminating stress–Take a walk

posted by Linda G. Howard

When I first began writing to meet a deadline, I found that I could sit at the computer for only a limited number of hours.  Every 15 minutes or so, I would walk around the house or yard.  I might […]

Leadership–Standing no matter what

posted by Linda G. Howard

Making decisions are a part of all of our lives.  Each day we make a mulititude of decisions.  Whenever the phone rings, I have to decide whether to answer it or not.  If I’m in the middle of  teaching or […]

Fathers–Heroes and Treasures

posted by Linda G. Howard

Father’s Day by Michelle Demeree Our fathers are our heroes. His day is a time to be with him. Remember how Dad is to you. Remember how your father is  in your eyes. Dads are our heroes. My father is […]

My dad

posted by Linda G. Howard

My father was not allowed to leave the house without me.  That was my rule–not his.  Sure, he could go to work; but after that, I would pile into his mini-Crosley car whenever he attempted to leave the house.  I […]

Leadership

posted by Linda G. Howard

My granddaughter was only three years old, when I heard her speaking to her older brother.  “I’m the boss,” she yelled in a matter-of-fact voice.  “You sit down right now and be quiet.” “Okay,” he said, obediently. For some unknown […]

Choices

posted by Linda G. Howard

By Michelle Demeree We learn about love for the world and to have good judgment.  For the right reasons, we are in trouble with ungodly people. But we sometimes hurt our Christian family.  We should not spread rumors about each […]

The Sea Turtle Promise

posted by Linda G. Howard

For 45 years, I’ve walked the beach looking for sea turtles during the evening.  While others see them regularly, I’ve never seen even one.  The sea turtles nest on our beach; but I’m probably the one person who lives on […]

Five ways to beat disappointment

posted by Linda G. Howard

I received a disappointing text message today from a good and close friend. The text wasn’t aimed at me or even intended for me.  Nevertheless, disappointment vibrated through the Internet lines piercing my heart.  I could feel the disappointment that emanated from […]

Changing history with a few words

posted by Linda G. Howard

There is something that will change people’s lives which every person can do.  It is very simple.  It won’t cost you a penny.  It will make you feel better.  It will change your life as well as others. The Bible […]

The Fingerprint of God

posted by Linda G. Howard

Hard to view and not understand that God wants to play a unique part in your life.

Is there any other way?

posted by Linda G. Howard

Often, my good friend, Woody Johnson, used to teach, “As Christians, we have no rights.  Our job is to listen and obey.”  Of course, she was talking about obedience to God, not obedience to men.  However, there are times that […]

The Autistic Child and Discipline from Special Heart

posted by Linda G. Howard

This is an excellent piece I received from Bev Linder.  There is a great deal to learn from her regarding autism. Special Heart The Autistic Child and Discipline Although I have had two children with special needs, and although one […]

I Am Sombody Because God Loves Me

posted by Linda G. Howard

What do 200 people with special needs, their pastor, area directors and volunteers do after a four-day weekend at a rustic retreat?  There is only one option–collapse.  Thanks to Ladybug Photography, here are few of the pictorial highlights of our […]

Remembering

posted by Linda G. Howard

Memorial Day is the last day of The Special Gathering’s annual camping experience called Camp Agape. Each year we take more than 200 people to a camp ground for four-days of fun and fellowship.  We return Memorial Day and those […]

Loving As God Loves

posted by Linda G. Howard

Loving As God Loves Me by Michelle Demeree Do you know your inner self? Do you love YOU as Jesus loves YOU? To love as Jesus loves, I must find faith I must find faith to pray to God. I […]

Making dried plums out of prunes

posted by Linda G. Howard

My best friend died from late-term vascular dementia.  My mother’s dementia finally took her life.  I watched dementia steal the IQ of my brilliant husband.  His ability to reason slowly slipped from him as he worked feverously on an invention that […]

Never underestimate your influence

posted by Linda G. Howard

We should never underestimate the influence we have for good and for bad.  A scientist released two bugs that had been imported for research from the University of Florida.  Now they have totally invaded Florida.  They especially love highways because […]

Welcome to our home

posted by Linda G. Howard

As I waved good-bye the last group of visitors, new folks were arriving on Friday.  Yesterday, the senior pastor of a large church spoke to a staff gathering about the importance of being willing to have our homes open for visitors. In […]

Scratching the itch

posted by Linda G. Howard

At Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the intellectually disabled community, we take our members on an annual retreat called Retreat Agape.  It is located in Vero Beach at Life for Youth Camp.  It is a  youth summer camp […]

How we live

posted by Linda G. Howard

How we live by Michelle Demeree We live through each other. We take moments in our lives Then we give it to someone we love. We give to those we love. For then, when we have a need They give […]

May 2011 White House Monthly Disability Call

posted by Linda G. Howard

Few people realize that 17 per cent of the population of the US is disabled.  This is a large number and growing.  Additionally, it means that every person in the US is touched by disabilities in one way or another. […]

Fallen but not because of a disability

posted by Linda G. Howard

Her brown hair is short and it sports a utilitarian style.  Her uniform was clean and pressed with precision.  Last year, she held an important position with the Federal government in Washington, DC.  She has a Master’s degree in management.  […]

Green apples, the acorn and the tree

posted by Linda G. Howard

A green apple isn’t edible.  However, a small, green apple may be perfectly shaped and formed.  Nevertheless, it is not ready to be eaten.  If I decide to eat this small, green apple, I will probably get a stomach ache. Over […]

Connections

posted by Linda G. Howard

Because many of our Special Gathering members were not able to attend the memorial service for one of their Bible teachers, we had a short memorial time at our Melbourne Special Gathering on Sunday morning.  Special Gathering members are mentally […]

The World’s Weighty Problems

posted by Linda G. Howard

For Sam, Cara and George, the large problem looming in their lives on Sunday was if I received their camp forms for the Memorial Day Weekend retreat that The Special Gathering holds each year.   Special Gathering is a  ministry within […]

Hope

posted by Linda G. Howard

A gifted member writes poetry for Connecting Point, The Special Gathering monthly newsletter.  Here is one of her poems.  Miss Demeree was born with Down’s Syndrome.    Hope by Michelle Demeree  What does hope mean to me? I believe that in life,                                                                           […]

Big plans or new toys

posted by Linda G. Howard

By the time I was born, my father had started several successful businesses.  As a teenager, he was an ice man, selling ice to many people in his small town.  After he married my mother, he started a grocery store […]

Waiting and other distractions

posted by Linda G. Howard

I admit that there are some things that I do pretty well.  These are things at which I work hard to do as well as I can.  They are also things I enjoy.  My list seems to grow as I […]

The Dignity of Risk

posted by Linda G. Howard

I direct two choirs as one of my tasks as area director of The Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community. During one of our choir practices, I asked the choir to vote on which songs […]

Fact or fiction

posted by Linda G. Howard

Working and living within the intellectually disabled community, I found that there are many common bits of misinformation and urban legends that haunt our population.  These distortions diminish all of us.  Here are a few of the most common misunderstandings. […]

Rereading

posted by Linda G. Howard

Each new generation learns valuable lessons that may be missed by a preceding group of people.  I love rereading my favorite books.  Yet, I came from a tradition in which you watched a movie or television show only once.  You […]

Failing health and other knicknacks

posted by Linda G. Howard

Sometimes I found myself wanting to treat my husband’s failing health as though it were a knicknack.  In that way, I could put it on a shelf and forget all about it.  I fought almost daily with this notion of […]

Hope in the middle of despair

posted by Linda G. Howard

I received from a friend who is actively involved within the mentally challenged community.  She has worked as a professional.  Her family is deeply involved in the professional community.  She is a volunteer with Special Gathering.  Currently, she is part […]

Hiding in clear view

posted by Linda G. Howard

I have six locks on my door all in a row.  When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three. ~Comedian Elayne Boosler […]

Everyone like me

posted by Linda G. Howard

During my “play time,” I dreamed of being on stage and teaching.  Playing mommy and cuddling doll babies didn’t ever interest me.  However, writing and performing plays was the passion of my playmates and me.  While standing before people is […]

Reaching Out Through the Internet

posted by Linda G. Howard

Drawn and thin, the teenage hospital patient sat for hours in the waiting room communicating with his friends through the Internet.  They sent messages and talked.  He laughed and typed.  Looking at pictures sent to him, he would respond and receive […]

A great day

posted by Linda G. Howard

If you don’t think every day is a great and blessed day, try living without one.

From information to revelation

posted by Linda G. Howard

I was a bit shocked to read in Ecclesiastes that Solomon said that there will always be books and reading too much will confuse you.  God understands that we will never learn everything about any subject.  When I was a […]

A Small Word

posted by Linda G. Howard

I was raised in a denomination that is currently being accused of worshiping the Bible.  Understand, I don’t remember ever being told that the scriptures were co-equal in importance with the Godhead.  What I do remember is a strong emphasis […]

The Perfect Gift for Mom

posted by Linda G. Howard

Are you like me?  My email inbox, Facebook Wall and even today’s Twitter Timeline are full of messages telling me about “The Perfect Gift for Mom.” Frankly, I hope my children read and use a couple of  these suggestions. Even BeliefNet […]

Changes of the Season

posted by Linda G. Howard

The Changes of the Seasons by Shelly Demeree We look at the meaning of spring. We know that spring can mean that change is here. Spring means we will have fun in the sun. We being to feel things around […]

Commitment–Not Excitement

posted by Linda G. Howard

Is there a way to insure that God is working in our lives and in the lives of those people we care about?  Perhaps it is the common and mundane that accents the Christian life more than any other attribute. […]

Living History with the #STS134

posted by Linda G. Howard

Living on the Space Coast for more than 40 years, we’ve seen the ups and downs of a community with one major industry–space.  My husband is a retired Aerospace Technologist who worked for NASA.  He was a design engineer whose […]

Wild Hogs and Wolf Wars

posted by Linda G. Howard

Wild hog and wolf wars are raging across the US.  In Central Florida, we understand the wild hog problem that is plaguing the South.  A good friend bought what seemed like an idyllic, secluded piece of acreage about five years […]

Which Flag Am I Flying?

posted by Linda G. Howard

With the world watching London for information regarding the royal wedding, trivia about the Royal Family from the United Kingdom seems to pour forth hourly.  One piece of information that you may have missed is that when Queen Elizabeth is […]

Humor from people who minister within the disability community

posted by Linda G. Howard

Photo by torturnedmommy From Linda G. Howard of The Special Gathering of Indian River At Easter, how can you tell the difference between a male chocolate bunny and a female chocolate bunny? The male bunnies have hollow heads. Tony Piantine […]

Reality TV and my life

posted by Linda G. Howard

Wonderful, dreadful and insignificant, our lives are being recorded to be shown to every creature someday.  Is there a hidden camera waiting for us to stumble in order for someone to place it on UTube?  Is this a government plot to […]

No royal wedding

posted by Linda G. Howard

It is my understanding that the Rowan William, Archbishop of Canterbury, has written two prayers for Prince William and Kate Middleton.  One is for adults to pray; and the other is a precious and simple prayer for school children.  Additionally, the […]

The Kiss–a Resurrection Miracle

posted by Linda G. Howard

After Special Gathering chapel service on Sunday morning , James, whose disability is within the autism spectrum, came up to shake my hand.  Because it was Resurrection Day, we had abandoned our usual worship format.  The chairs were arranged in a […]

The motivation of work

posted by Linda G. Howard

For years, Andy has worked with Wal-Mart.  He was considered a profitable and cooperative employee.  Then the management changed.  As a result, the new manager and Andy didn’t click.  Eventually, when the store needed to trim their employees, Andy was […]

The Call

posted by Linda G. Howard

Larry wasn’t at our He Is Alive! Party the Saturday before Resurrection Day.  I wondered because Larry never misses Special Gathering of Vero, a ministry within the developmentally disabled community.  Our mission is evangelism and discipleship.   However, our supervisor […]

That’s the Wrong Answer

posted by Linda G. Howard

One day while training a new Special Gathering staff member, I asked him if he would clean up a mess left by our members in one of the Bible study classroomes.  Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged […]

The Sounds of Resurrection Morning

posted by Linda G. Howard

Because we live two blocks from the ocean, Resurrection morning is a time of great joy for me. Around 6:30AM, the singing begins because the Christian community gathers at the beachside park near our home, for the Easter sunrise service.  From […]

My Story

posted by Linda G. Howard

My Story by Michelle Demeree My story begins with love. My story begins with prayers. My story begins with hope. Through  hope, love and prayers, I found faith in the Lord, Finding faith in all I do. God has put […]

Soul Surfer and the Cross

posted by Linda G. Howard

My son lives on the North Shore of Hawaii.  He is a champion surfer.  The North Shore is where many of the massive waves originate that we see in the movies and on posters.  He calls his father and me several times […]

In the garden

posted by Linda G. Howard

For several decades, I’ve had one spot in our home where I pray.  It’s not a place set apart situated away from everyone–not a separate sanctuary.  This room is in the middle of the house, where we gather for family […]

Joe’s Going to Camp

posted by Linda G. Howard

During Memorial Day weekend each year, about 200 Special Gathering members go to Vero Beach for a spiritual retreat called Camp Agape.  For four days, we learn about the Lord, play and hangout with each other.  There are go-carts, a […]

Betrayal

posted by Linda G. Howard

When our daughter, Carol, was 14, she had a good friend in California.  They had met on a Teen Mission trip.  Her friend wanted her to come for a visit in California.   She even bought Carol a plane ticket. […]

We are not born rude

posted by Linda G. Howard

Last month, I accompanied three Special Gathering members and our South Carolina Special Gathering program director on a Disney cruise.  It was a great time of fun and fellowship.  At 6 feet 4 inches, one of the members, Tony, is […]

Previous Posts

Justice and Mercy
As we know, it was God's undeniable sense of justice that demanded that He allow Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross.  However, it was God's mercy that allowed this perfect human to be killed for the sin of all mankind.  While we can do ...

posted 11:43:14am Jun. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Explaining Grace
In the past weeks, I’ve been going over some of the key words in our covenant relationship with God with the members of my community who are intellectually disabled.  Perhaps one of the most important words we use is grace. Most of us have ...

posted 5:55:58am Jan. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Holidays and grief
Today, I heard again the Christmas song about the little boy whose mother is dying on Christmas eve and he wants to buy her shoes to wear as she goes into heaven. He doesn’t have enough money to buy the shoes and a person in line gives him the ...

posted 8:29:32am Jan. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Can You Come?
Maddie is one of those people within the mentally challenged community whom everyone loves.  She is friendly and happy.  Maddie makes everyone feel as though they are her "extra-special friend."  Several years ago Mattie and her husband ...

posted 12:20:34am Dec. 29, 2014 | read full post »

The Choice that Changed Everything--a sermon for the mentally challenged community
The choice that changed everything Nehemiah 9:17 Central Theme: Man choices to sin and God chooses to be gracious. A ream of paper has 500 sheets--not more and not less. A foot is 12 inches--not more and not less. There are many absolutes in ...

posted 10:48:30pm Aug. 17, 2014 | read full post »

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