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A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith Archives

The mystery of prayer

posted by Linda G. Howard

Prayer is such a great mystery and marvel in the life of Christians.  It is fascinating how the Lord answers prayer.  Yet, when prayer is answered suddenly and completely, I can’t help but wonder, does the Lord have us ask for […]

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The Love of a Mother and Son

posted by Linda G. Howard

by Michelle Demeree Shelly is a deacon and member at Special Gathering with is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  She is also a writer.  She loves to share God’s love with others. When my grandmother died, I came […]

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The “she gets it” factor

posted by Linda G. Howard

This weekend I had the honor of teaching a group of wonderful volunteers who minister to the mentally challenged community.  They put in thousands of  hours each year. Our teachers and volunteers instruct, transport and love the members of  The […]

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The problems with miracles

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 […]

Share the Good News

posted by Linda G. Howard

Want to Share the Good News? by Michelle Demeree Ms. Demeree is a member of The Special Gathering.  She serves as a deacon and on our Board of Directors. Her passion is writing.  Ms. Demeree is a vital part of […]

It gets lonely here

posted by Linda G. Howard

As I knew he would, Chad squealed when he heard my voice on the phone.  “Linda! You called me!” I had called in response to a request from a staff member at his group home.  She asked if I would come to see Chad who had been admitted to the hospital […]

Gleaning from leaders–Part 3

posted by Linda G. Howard

On October 14, about 20 ministry leaders flew into Chicago O’Hare Airport to steal a day of fellowship and learning.  This third annual event developed from the need of several people who wanted an excuse to spend more time together […]

Gleaning from leaders

posted by Linda G. Howard

On Friday, about 15 ministry leaders from around the US and Canada took the time to meet with each other for a few hours.  It is jokingly called the Chicago Fly-In because we fly into the Chicago airport.  We then […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

You’ve changed

posted by Linda G. Howard

Several years ago, a friend told me that she had seen lots of changes in me over the years.  Though she didn’t really mean it to be a compliment, I took it that way.  “You aren’t nearly as serious as […]

From exhilaration to dead tired

posted by Linda G. Howard

Thursday is a great day for me.  I leave the house around 7AM to start a 30 miles trip for a pastors’ prayer meeting with a group of men and women who have become good friends and irreplaceable counselors. Then […]

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 […]

When a trusted friend leaves

posted by Linda G. Howard

Today, during Special Gathering worship, we said good-bye to a dear and trusted friend who is moving away.  Erik came to us seven years ago and he has done more tasks that I can name. For me, he has been […]

Prayer of the Saints

posted by Linda G. Howard

On December 13, 2006, I injured my eye ball.  It caused what the doctors called a Recurrent Corneal Erosion.  In simple terms, the skin on my eyeball would dissolve in the middle of the night and I would wake up […]

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 […]

Storm after the calm

posted by Linda G. Howard

Early Friday morning, 33 people from two states gathered for a Special Gathering choir retreat.  Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  People who are developmentally disabled compose the three choirs. This is part of the outreach […]

Transient Treasure

posted by Linda G. Howard

Clarence taught me the transient nature of people, especially the men and women within the mentally challenged community who do not have  families.  When I met Clarence, he was living in an Adult Living Facility that housed people who were […]

Chicken or the egg

posted by Linda G. Howard

Of course, we all know the question.  Which came first the chicken or the egg?  As familiar as we are with the question, none of us truly know the answer.  (Though I can’t imagine God scattering eggs all over creation […]

Right vs left

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’m not sure when our faith in Christ became a political football.  But I know that it has become exactly that. My neighbor, Betsy,  is one of the most dynamic and conservative Christians I’ve ever known.  She attends Bible class […]

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 […]

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 […]

Wearing out vs rusting out

posted by Linda G. Howard

My good friend, Inez Thompson used to say, “I’d much rather wear out than rust out.”  In reality, Inez was active and happily working until she had a stroke that left her unable to continue serving the Lord.  Calculating her […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Forgiveness and the Zipper

posted by Linda G. Howard

This hilarious video demonstrates the dire need for forgiveness.

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.  […]

Eliminating stress–practice quiet

posted by Linda G. Howard

Friends have been concerned about my well-being since my husband died.  ”How will you get along without someone in the house?” is the most common question.  In reality, I think they are asking, “How will you survive the quiet?” Even […]

I Know my Redeemer Lives

posted by Linda G. Howard

Watch Team Hoyt as an example of God’s love flowing through people who love each other.

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-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–Sense of humor? Get One

posted by Linda G. Howard

There may be nothing that is as potent in leadership than a sense of humor, especially when you allow yourself to become the joke. I’ve watched gifted leaders turn some of their greatest blunders into a time of learning for […]

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 […]

Born into Extreme Poverty and Mentally challenged, Teen Triumphs

posted by Linda G. Howard

I hope you will enjoy this incredible story, which was written by Mark Hanlon, Senior Vice President of Compasion International. Every so often, you come across someone who truly inspires you. Recently, for me, that person is a teenager from […]

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 […]

Eliminating Stress–Daily Exercise

posted by Linda G. Howard

About 20 years ago, I realized that I was loosing my balance.  Most of my life, I’d hated exercise; and I could realistically be called a couch potato.  However, I had fallen and broken my leg.  As soon as I […]

Leadership: Courage to stand

posted by Linda G. Howard

One of my favorite things is chocolate; and I will tell anyone who will listen.  I talk about it a good deal of the time.  When we take members of Special Gathering which is a ministry within the mentally challenged […]

There’s a Person in There

posted by Linda G. Howard

This article was written by Bev Linder.  Enjoy! Yesterday in Colorado was a fine sunny Saturday with garage sale signs on just about every corner.  I resisted most of them, but after my walk, I went to investigate one up a […]

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 […]

Building a life or a legacy?

posted by Linda G. Howard

When my father salvaged a signed “Miller” chandelier from an old Charleston, South Carolina, mansion, Mama didn’t want it in her house; so Daddy hung it in the attic. I asked if I could have it.  I was about 11 years old […]

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 […]

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 […]

12 Survival Essentials

posted by Linda G. Howard

As I watch the tornados ravish central US, I realize that in some ways those of us who live in Florida have been blessed.  When it’s not hurricane season, we are often faced with another natural disaster.  However, we are […]

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 […]

I’m still here

posted by Linda G. Howard

Okay!  I admit it.  I didn’t think that the current doomsday upheaval deserved any more attention than it was already getting over the airwaves.  The Scriptures are pretty clear that we won’t know when the Lord will return.  Therefore, May […]

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 […]

Lasting Common Sense vs Passing Trends

posted by Linda G. Howard

Even though I don’t feel that old, I’ve not only lived through the last Ice Age but now I’ve also been able to navigate through the deadly specter of Global Warming.  However, all this has been replaced by another haunting […]

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. […]

Exploring a Brave New World

posted by Linda G. Howard

The date is March 11, 2011.  As I sit around the dining room table with my family who is visiting their ailing father, I’m hurriedly writing my daily blog.  My granddaughter is playing an on-line video game.  My daughter, Carol […]

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 […]

From a child to a mother

posted by Linda G. Howard

From a Child to a Mother by Michelle Demeree With mothers, there is a love so real and so expected. So expected that we forget how much They love us. They give great parts of their heart To us. We […]

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 […]

The Prayer

posted by Linda G. Howard

We gathered around her bed, watching her shallow breathing.  We waited.  Mother, 84 years old,  had awakened with blood pouring from her mouth.  My sister, her caregiver, was unsure.  Had she seizured and bitten her tongue; or was she hemorrhaging? […]

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. […]

Love for the Father and the Son

posted by Linda G. Howard

Shelly Demeree is a 34 year old woman who is mentally challenged.  Her poetry has been published in various publications, including Connecting Point, monthly newsletter for The Special Gathering, a ministry within the developmentally disabled community. Love for the Father […]

The Benefit of Simplicity

posted by Linda G. Howard

Two years ago, Special Gathering pastor, area director and elders met together to investigate what our members who are mentally challenged need to know and understand about the Christian faith and theology.  It was boiled down to three things that are […]

Vindication

posted by Linda G. Howard

Mike has suffered more in gossip and mistrust than anyone I know.  He has lost his ministry, started another, nearly lost this one.  Sure, Mike has his personality quirks and problems like all of us; but he had not fallen […]

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

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 »

Friendship Evangelism
For many years, I taught a seminar called "Friendship Evangelism."  The basis of this teaching was that people are much more susceptible to hear the promises of the Gospel, if they know and respect you.  We all have a knowledge of the ...

posted 9:12:04am Aug. 16, 2014 | read full post »

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