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A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

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 to us.

In time, as we pray

Moments are given back to us

As we all pray in Christ.

 

Shelly Demeree is a poet whose work appears in various venues

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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.  Every faith group is touched by many forms of disability–from age-related cognitive decline to birth defects, autism.  Physical and mental health issues grab the Christian, Jew, Muslim and infidel.  Therefore, The White House has formed a disability group.  Each month thousands of people join to be a part of the discussions regarding disabilities via a conference phone call.  Here is the information regarding the May 2011 White House Disability Call.

Subject: Next White House Monthly Disability Call
Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 08:30:46 -0500
From: White House Disability Group <disability@messages.whitehouse.gov>
Reply- White House Disability Group <disability@messages.whitehouse.gov>
In order to help keep you more informed, we are hosting monthly calls to update you on various disability issues as well as to introduce you to persons who work on disability issues in the Federal government.

Our next call will be Thursday, May 26 at 3:00 PM Eastern.

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I would encourage you to call in about five minutes early due to the large volume of callers.

If you received this email as a forward but would like to be added to the White House Disability Group email distribution list, please visit our website at http://www.whitehouse.gov/disability-issues-contact and fill out the contact us form in the disabilities section.

This month’s call will feature:

Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood

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Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Department of Education, Russlynn Ali

Director of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Department of Labor, Patricia Shiu

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The call also will include updates on civil rights, health care, and fiscal/budget issues.

We strongly urge and ask that you distribute this email broadly to your networks and listserves so that everyone has an opportunity to learn of this valuable information.

The conference call information is below.

Dial in for listeners: (800) 230-1085

Title: White House Disability Call (use instead of code)

Date of Call: 05/26/2011

Start Time: 3:00 PM Eastern (dial in 5 minutes early)

This call is off the record and not for press purposes.

For live captioning, at the start time of the event, please login by clicking on the link below. Please only use this feature if you are deaf or hard of hearing.

http://www.fedrcc.us//Enter.aspx?EventID=1745291&CustomerID=321

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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.  Yet, through no fault of her own, she is now working for less than $12 an hour, doing the same job she did while she was in high school.  Her new job puts her in close contact with Special Gathering  members.

Yesterday, as I approached her, I could see the tears reaming her eyes.  “How are you?” I asked.

“I can’t believe my life has come to this,” she said, marking a check list and reviewing the things that needed to be done to keep the people she oversees safe.  She turned away from me so that I could not see the lone tear that pierced her left cheek.

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I took her in my arms and hugged her.  We had bonded from the first time we met because she is a devoted Christian and she attends the same church that I’ve had close connections with for years.   Her greatest concern isn’t the amount of money that she is making.  It is that by working with our members on Sundays, she is not able to attend her church.  I’ve invited her to come to Special Gathering, instead; but she isn’t able to break away and come.

As our members bounded away from her a few hours later, I couldn’t help but contrast their lives with this caregiver’s. I also saw myself in the caregiver’s position; and I wished that I could more easily identify with my members.   These past two weeks have been a struggle for me.  I can identify with the middle-aged woman who found her life in shambles.  No,  my situation isn’t as tragic as hers.  However, circumstances have definitely changed.

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Is there an answer for me and for her?  I saw that the answer was slapping me in the face.  Our members have the same concerns of any other adult.  They have bills to pay.  They have boyfriend/girlfriend issues.  They have problems with the people the work with and the people with whom they live.  Their bosses aren’t always fair.  They have health issues.  Their aging parents have delicate health concerns.  But they bound from place to place happy to be alive.

Sure there are those within the mentally challenged community who live with depression.  Others are just plain aggravating or even mean.  But as a population, they have so much that could be distracting and oppressive; and yet they determine to see the best for themselves and for their families.  Add a relationship with Lord and we find the most positive and resilient people I’ve ever met.

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Here are several things that I’ve found that the mentally challenged community does that helps them to maintain their mental stability in the face of trauma.

  • They continue to laugh at themselves and with each other. Laughter is still the best medicine.
  • They maintain a close-knit community.  They work together, dance together, play together and vacation together.
  • They are repeatedly trained to walk away from offensive situations, rather than stew about  misunderstandings.  This is a great skill that we should all practice daily.

Each of us are able to make decisions that can and should alter our lives.  Most of these decisions are simply deciding to allow God to fight our battles and laugh in the face of hard circumstances.   Of course, keeping in daily contact with the Lord, family and Christian friends can help change our lives in the middle of difficult circumstances.

 

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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 the years, Eric’s parents have constantly commended the training he has received from Special Gathering.  Likewise, Brent’s mother worked hard to manage his behavioral concerns.  After attending Special Gathering for a few years, a drastic overhaul happened in his life.  She gave all the credit to the teaching that he received each week at Special Gathering.

Brent and Eric still have issues that are unresolved in their personalities and actions.  But they are still green apples.

Arthur is equally dysfunctional in his behavior at work.  No one can get along with him.  However, all these co-workers agree that Arthur has radically changed for the better since he has been attending the Bible study at work.  Barb looses her temper with her family and friends.  She knows that she is wrong; and she has started to read her Bible each day, looking for answers to her temperamental behaviors.

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Arthur and Barb still have issues that are unresolved in their personalities and actions.  But they are still green apples–growing in the Lord.

Arthur, Barb, Brent and Eric have stories that are amazingly similar. All four struggle with behavioral issues.  But they are also very different.  Arthur is the CEO of a large company and Barb manages a local restaurant.   Eric and Brent are part of the mentally challenged community.

The acorn that falls from the mighty oak tree is very different from the tree that it will become.  The sapling which springs from the acorn is not nearly as beautiful or stable as the tree that it will become 20 years later.

The Christian life is a growing experience.  As disciples of Christ, we will never become totally ripe fruit until we are in heaven.  The acorn does not even resemble the tree it will become.  It is the same with the members of Special Gathering.  As much as Brent may change, he is still miles from the goal of being transformed into the image of Christ.  Eric loves the Lord; but he still falters in his execution of the disciplines of the Christian life.

Yes, Arthur–the CEO–and Eric–the Special Gathering member–are dissimilar.  Yet, in comparison to the acorn and the oak tree, there are more similarities than there are differences.

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