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A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith Archives

Doing a daily

posted by Linda G. Howard

Last April, I signed a contract with BeliefNet to write and publish a daily blog. I fully understand the complexity of writing something every day because I’ve had a daily blog for almost six years.  I know the joys and […]

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Upside-down time

posted by Linda G. Howard

I pulled the covers down from the pillows on my bed and casually looked at the time.  The digital clock on the table beside my bed read 65:11.  I wasn’t surprised that the time was wrong.  Those of us who live […]

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Stare Time

posted by Linda G. Howard

When I don’t take time to rest, I find that I stare a lot.  Letting my mind float, I simply stare into space for long minutes.  Everyone needs time to rest, no matter how important you are to your family, […]

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Holiday Traditions

posted by Linda G. Howard

All holidays are filled with traditions shared within each family.  This year, one of my granddaughters decided that we should start another Thanksgiving tradition, dressing (in costumes) for dinner. When it was mentioned, I immediately said, “I know what I […]

Winter

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’m a child of the deep South and snow isn’t part of my heritage.  Only two years ago, I walked in the snow for the first time.  I slid down a hill covered with soft flakes and I felt the […]

A Thanksgiving value: Respect for the people we love

posted by Linda G. Howard

This year has been a bell-ringing year for me.  In May, my husband died.  While miss him terribly, there is a peace that he is with the Lord. A big part of that peace has come because the people I […]

A Thanksgiving value: Respect for the things I have

posted by Linda G. Howard

As I passed through the family room I heard a TV Talking Head speaking about money problems.  “One of the things we must learn is to have respect for what you have.” I stopped wanting to take note of who […]

A Thanksgiving value: Enjoying the journey

posted by Linda G. Howard

There are some things I don’t like that are happening in my life right now.  I’m being audited by the IRS for the past three years.  And there is a possibility that I may be sued for an auto accident […]

A Thanksgiving value–Learning to wait

posted by Linda G. Howard

I try hard to not eat sugar all week until Friday.  Of course, I know that sugar and fructose is hidden in many pre-prepared foods but I TRY to eliminate it until Friday. I have to admit that it is […]

Hoping all the time

posted by Linda G. Howard

Hoping all the Time by Michelle Demeree Going deep inside our feeling often means we go to prayer. In this way, we know the meaning and how it feels to help those in need. We can have love. The choice […]

Why can’t I be there?

posted by Linda G. Howard

Alone, I left the event which our members and I had attended. I was once again saddened that there are so many mentally challenged people who live in our community who are still unchurched.  We were all attending a fall […]

Thankfulness lives at Jill’s House

posted by Linda G. Howard

A Thankful Response At 40 years old, Brenda Solomon got pregnant with Lon and Brenda’s fourth child. Thrilled, their baby girl, Jill, was born beautiful and perfect.  At three months old, however, Jill began to seizure.  Quickly, the malady turned […]

Winning friends and supporting others

posted by Linda G. Howard

Nancy’s voice was sorrowful, “Linda, can we have lunch?  I just want to be sure things are all right with you.”  She is a friend and a fellow pastor. Nancy, also a recent widow, has called me several times since […]

Expecting two babies

posted by Linda G. Howard

My sister, Ferne, has three great-grandchildren.  They are the offspring of her two granddaughters. I am looking forward to a visit from two of the babies and their mother this next week.  Several months ago, my husband and I had […]

God’s Post-it Notes

posted by Linda G. Howard

Perhaps like you, I received an e-mail that contained some great little, humorous sayings, such as, “Don’t let your worries get the best of you.  Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.”  I printed them out. After picking them up this morning, […]

11 ways to benefit from Interruptions in your life and your health

posted by Linda G. Howard

Perhaps one of the hardest things to keep in balance when you are faced with interruptions in your life are your healthy and eating habits.  Susan Brown, BeliefNet author, recently went through such a time. Ms. Brown spent days at […]

Reaching from the dark

posted by Linda G. Howard

Some say he could be one of the wealthiest men in the county.  His mother died about 10 years ago.  He has a beautiful home and a new car. This man has plenty of money.  There are two bankers and two lawyers […]

Lousy Timing by Bev Linder

posted by Linda G. Howard

We recently got a kitten, and my biggest fear was that he would not use his litter box, but have “accidents” all over the house (we’ve had kittens before so we know the dangers!) Happily, he took right to the […]

When they grow up

posted by Linda G. Howard

Tomorrow I’ll spend the last day with my grandson and his fiancee before he goes back to Alaska where he is stationed.  This was his pre-deployment vacation and I’m so honored that he wanted to spend it here with me. […]

Jesus, God’s perfect gift

posted by Linda G. Howard

This week  my grandson, his girlfriend and I toured Kennedy Space Center.  I saw that one of the astronauts who walked on the moon had received a Exceptional Service Medal for this task. I was a bit shocked because my […]

I wish I’d known

posted by Linda G. Howard

I walked away from my conversation with John’s only remaining family, a sister and brother-in-law, wishing I had known him better when he was alive.  But that always happens when I interview a family before attempting to conduct a memorial […]

Renewing the Mind

posted by Linda G. Howard

We first moved to Brevard County more than forty years ago.  My husband and I joined a small church with a missions outreach. As a local missions project, the women of the church were going to a nearby town to “pattern” […]

The importance of fun

posted by Linda G. Howard

The Book of Acts tells us there are three things that the early church did.  They are pray, study the doctrines of the apostles and fellowship. At Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the intellectually disabled community, we try […]

Making lemonade–Part 2

posted by Linda G. Howard

Some time ago, I received an e-mail from a young friend whose life is being spent in China carefully sharing the Gospel with the people in that nation.  She had just returned back from her home in the US.  I’d […]

Making lemonade

posted by Linda G. Howard

I am often surprised by the ability of the members of Special Gathering who are developmentally and intellectually disabled to “turn lemons into lemonade.” The other day I had a conversation with one of our SpG members. When he was […]

For beginners, repeats are allowed

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 […]

Please don’t feed the animals

posted by Linda G. Howard

Often my neighbors and I talk about the varmints that live in our attics.  We have tons of squirrels.  Then there are the raccoons and opossum which ravage our insulation with their nests and filth. Putting out traps and carrying the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mocking vs glorification

posted by Linda G. Howard

About 1400 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church and the Byzantine (Greek Orthodox) Church unofficially adopted a fun celebration the day before All Saints’ Feast Day.  The day became known as All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween. The purpose  of this […]

Marbles and a child’s toy

posted by Linda G. Howard

Yesterday, I found a doll that I received at Christmas when I was in the fourth or fifth grade.  It was a “walking doll,” stuck back in a closet, I barely use.  These specialty dolls would walk if you held […]

Special Heart

posted by Linda G. Howard

This is an email I received today from Bev Linder of Special Heart.  Brad is her oldest child.  He had multiple physical disabilities.  He died recently. Dear friends, The following is one of the blogs on my website.  Many of […]

Dave’s trip to heaven

posted by Linda G. Howard

This is a description of a good friend’s adventure in December 2010.  Dave is a quiet man who is not prone to exaggeration, extremes or drama.   Even though it’s been almost a year, each time he tells his experience, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Here and there

posted by Linda G. Howard

Every stress-relieving prescription in books or articles begin and end with “throw away, organize and simplify. ” Therefore, it isn’t hard to see the pattern that the experts recommend for eliminating stress. Following the advice of these men and women […]

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–Part 2

posted by Linda G. Howard

Over the years, I’ve gleaned so many working principles from leaders–more than I could ever begin to write.  On Friday, October 14, a group of ministry leaders met at Chicago O’Hare Airport.  We spent the day gleaning from each other. […]

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 […]

Standing up for God

posted by Linda G. Howard

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be […]

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 […]

Prayer of a saint: Stay with me

posted by Linda G. Howard

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You. Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak And I need your strength that […]

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 […]

What’s your church IQ?

posted by Linda G. Howard

I toyed with the idea of leaving.  I was uncomfortable being out in the storm any longer than I needed to be.  Central Florida was hit with a three day storm that became “officially” and unofficial tropical storm. It was […]

Having the courage to stand

posted by Linda G. Howard

Anyone who knows me realizes I love chocolate. I will tell anyone who will listen.  I talk about and share my chocolate anytime I get a chance.  As much as I love chocolate, it won’t change anyone’s life.  My desire […]

Hello, my name is Linda

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’ve received comments asking for a list of questions that can be asked when we first meet people.  This is in reference to the What Is the First Impression I Give, entry for October 5, 2011. Here are the 10 […]

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 […]

Susie’s Lemonade and the iPad

posted by Linda G. Howard

Have you watched Susie’s business grow?  Of course, Susie’s Lemonade is a fictitious TV-commercial corporation founded by a young girl who started with a lemonade stand.  She has now built her roadside stand into a large corporation, using advanced technology. […]

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 […]

An enduring promise

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’ve always been intrigued by Proverbs 25:2 that tells us, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, to search out a matter is the glory of kings”  (NIV).  For reasons of His own, God chooses to conceal […]

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 […]

Becoming an encourager

posted by Linda G. Howard

There is something that you and I  can do which will change people’s lives.  It is very simple.  It won’t cost you a penny.  It will make you feel better.  In fact, it will change your life as well as […]

Is there a deer on my lap?

posted by Linda G. Howard

She sat with blood and shattered glass dripping from her body and hair.  Staring blankly at the man who had come to her wrecked car, Natalie Carley asked,  “Is there a deer on my lap?” “Yes, but don’t look at […]

Riders on the storm

posted by Linda G. Howard

The song, “Riders on the Storm,” recorded in 1971 by the Doors invaded my mind this morning.  Perhaps I’m the only person in the US who can’t remember ever hearing this song. My curiosity peaked by the title, I had […]

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 […]

A nickel for ten

posted by Linda G. Howard

As a child, Mr. Milligan’s truck filled with produce and convenience store items came through our neighborhood each day.  I could buy ten pieces of molasses-nut candy for a nickel.  Okay, I’m showing my age.  The convenience-store concept and the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Boundaries

posted by Linda G. Howard

I passionately shared the concerns of a family whose son is a member of The Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  He and his family have become close friends during the 20 years I have served in […]

Welcome to my world

posted by Linda G. Howard

About 20 years ago, my husband and I met a doctor who was an audiologist.  This is an ear doctor who treats actual hearing and balance problems.  After giving my husband a free, unsolicited hearing exam, he leaned back in […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

Cheap grace–Part 2

posted by Linda G. Howard

When we are met head on by our mistakes, it is sometimes impossible to pick up and resume “just like nothing happened,” especially when we must admit that we have hurt a dear friend.   Even though I deeply hurt a […]

Cheap Grace–part 1

posted by Linda G. Howard

I hate cheap grace. A wealthy farmer in a small town in South Carolina bought his son a new red BMW for his sixteenth birthday.  The boy took the car out one night, got drunk and totalled it. The next […]

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 […]

Understanding the Prophets–Reaching the heart of God

posted by Linda G. Howard

After months of searching for a clear passage to release me from my careless and unforgiving attitude, I uncovered the heart of the message delivered by the Prophets.  I had formerly seen God’s unbending justice.  Now I was searching for his […]

Understanding the Prophets–Seeing God’s compassion

posted by Linda G. Howard

For almost a decade, I journeyed with the prophets in the scriptures observing only the judgment and condemnation  they proclaimed.  Then one summer, I trekked through a most painful personal desert.  In his mercy, God revealed a hidden, unpalatable sin in my […]

Understanding the Prophets–Prophetic justice unleashed

posted by Linda G. Howard

All my adult life, I’ve used a simple plan to facilitate my daily devotions to study and read the scriptures.  Sometimes it was reading three chapters a day, five on Sunday.  Later, it became four chapters a day, none on Sunday.  […]

I like Job’s friends

posted by Linda G. Howard

One day as I read  the book of Job in the Bible, my heart was struck dumb by the speech given by one of his friends.  “I agree with what this man is saying.”  I’d always given the speeches of […]

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.  

The Parrot Flower

posted by Linda G. Howard

Parrot Flower  This is a flower from Thailand.   It is also a protected species and is not allowed to be exported.   This may be the only way we will be able to view this flower.  FROM THAILAND. . THE VERY RARE […]

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 convicted felon

posted by Linda G. Howard

Years ago, a small, struggling church in Florida learned–to their chagrin–that they had hired a convicted felon as their secretary. She would soon be thrown into jail for embezzling as much as $150,000 from her former employer who was a […]

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 […]

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 […]

Prayer for release from hurt

posted by Linda G. Howard

Father, there is a way that seems right to all women and men; but that path leads to destruction, pain and despair. While the ways of the Lord are right and just, they seem alien to us.  Neverthless, we must […]

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 […]

Telling your story

posted by Linda G. Howard

If you are reading this, you have probably thought at some point in your life.  I can write better than this and I actually have something to say.  While the number one fear in the U.S. is public speaking, my […]

Not for Sale–Feeding the poor

posted by Linda G. Howard

Outreach of  the Islamic community to the Islamic community is the third pillar of Islam.  For the Muslim, the Zakah, which is the name for their charitable donations, is to fulfill a compulsory act of worship.  Each Muslim is expected to pay […]

Not for sale–Jewish and Christian education

posted by Linda G. Howard

 Education is an area in which the religious community has excelled. Reaching back through thousands of years of history, the Jewish community has been known as People of the Book.  Their need to read and understand the Torah and their […]

Not for sale–The Salvation Army

posted by Linda G. Howard

 Again and again the population of of the US votes with their pocketbook in favor of the good works done by organizations such as the Salvation Army.  Each Christmas generous shoppers plunk coins, bills and checks into the Salvation Army […]

Not for sale–The faith community

posted by Linda G. Howard

At times we need to remember that the modern Civil Rights Movement did not begin in a fashionable salon where artists and intellectuals exchanged ideas, but in a Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Martin Luther King.  In fact, […]

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 […]

Prayer for Burundi

posted by Linda G. Howard

In the 1950’s, my mother spent hours in prayer for our nation.  As she vacuumed, washed dishes or worked in her garden, she would weep for the US and her people.  I believe it was the prayers of my mother […]

Good feelings

posted by Linda G. Howard

Exhaustion after a day of hard, physical work may be one of the best feelings there is.  There is a great misunderstanding that when Adam and Eve sinned and they were driven from the garden, they were made to work.  In […]

TMI

posted by Linda G. Howard

It is true that God works in mysterious ways.  However, some of the holiest things should be kept to ourselves.  There is such a thing as sharing too much information.  Here is a news stories that perhaps should have stayed […]

To kick a bear

posted by Linda G. Howard

When Victor Martin and five companions encountered an enormous grizzly bear in the woods of Alaska, they were prepared.  However, the speed of the mother grizzly who was protecting her cub was more than three of the young men could […]

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 […]

Heaven is for Real

posted by Linda G. Howard

Colton Burpo shares his journey to heaven.  He says, “Heaven is for real and you are going to like it.”

Trust to succeed

posted by Linda G. Howard

For about 10 years,  mourning doves nested outside our back door.   The sweet cooing of the birds and the chirps of their young, filled my morning devotion and prayer spot with joyful, mourning sounds.  Several times a day, I’d […]

The rug

posted by Linda G. Howard

The Proof

posted by Linda G. Howard

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 […]

Getting tough with me

posted by Linda G. Howard

Dear Math, I’m not a therapist.  Solve your own problems. ____________________________________ I’m amazed at how often I’m working against myself.  Yesterday and today, I wasted more than $20 because I had to make three trips to a neighboring town, 20 […]

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 […]

Shared sorrow

posted by Linda G. Howard

Today, I heard from a friend about a deeply sorrowful event taking place in his life.  Like most men, he related his story with firmness and only a hint of tension that translated into a jerking speech pattern. I listened, […]

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 […]

Murder, She Wrote

posted by Linda G. Howard

On Tuesday, I listened as I drove from one appointment to another as the radio announcer read the verdict of Casey Anthony, the mother accused of killing her two-year-old daughter.  Unless you are living under a refrigerator box, you know […]

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 […]

The Paper Clip and the boat

posted by Linda G. Howard

Have you ever examined a paper clip?  Though the actual inventor is disputed, it was patented by Johan Vaaler.  He was an inventor who was struggling with the big problems of the patent office where he worked.  One of the […]

Boat found that dates to Jesus’ time

posted by Linda G. Howard

Some people believe this could be one of the boats that Jesus may have used.  This is the trailer for a larger video about this boat.  

Finding Freedom

posted by Linda G. Howard

Turning Lemons into Lemonade Part 3

posted by Linda G. Howard

A dad makes his homecoming a memory for his children that will last a lifetime.  

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 […]

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 […]

Theme Park in the making–Noah’s Ark

posted by Linda G. Howard

Even though there is a Noah’s Ark Theme Park planned in Kentucky, a expert builder from the Netherlands, Johan Huibers is building an exact replica of the real boat and plans to sail it down the Thames River in time […]

The 100th Psalm quoted by a small child

posted by Linda G. Howard

This small child knows the 100th Psalm.  Watch and see the mouth of a small child proclaiming God’s goodness around the world.

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: 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–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 […]

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 […]

Walking the best exercise

posted by Linda G. Howard

While the video isn’t the best quality, the information contained here is excellent.

Kool-Aid Fudge

posted by Linda G. Howard

Want to be trendy but watching your cholesterol and your waist line?  Don’t worry.  Here it is!  Kool-Aid Fudge. No deep-frying, just delicious yummyness. You can be the first person among your friends to make Linda’s Kool-Aid Fudge.  Pick your […]

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 […]

Popeye’s Lessons in Leadership

posted by Linda G. Howard

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 […]

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 […]

Translator Eugene Peterson Interview

posted by Linda G. Howard

Bob Abernathy of PBS interviews the writer and retired Presbyterian minister Eugene Peterson. His latest book is “The Pastor,” a memoir that includes Peterson’s concerns about how hard it is for pastors and everyone else to live Christian lives in […]

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 […]

Of course we don’t want to destroy the United States

posted by Linda G. Howard

I wanted to share this with you yesterday, but we had a computer error at Beliefnet — and I apologize if you were frustrated when you tried to watch the video. The late Paul Harvey, a devoted Christian, gives pungent advice […]

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 […]

Some things I believe

posted by Linda G. Howard

A Birth Certificate shows that we were born. A Death Certificate shows that we died Pictures show that we live! I Believe… that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other; and just because they […]

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 […]

Global Day of Prayer June 11, 2011

posted by Linda G. Howard

Today, is Global Day of Prayer.  The international chairperson is Graham Power of  South Africa.  This is a day set aside to pray for people around the world.  Here is a suggested prayer for the nations. Lord, we love and […]

Superman and seat belts

posted by Linda G. Howard

Smart people with position and power can do amazingly stupid things and still believe that they will are immune to the realities of life.  I received a devotional message from the organization TGIF which is part of  the ministry of […]

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 […]

20 ways to save gas in your car

posted by Linda G. Howard

Are you worried about the price of gasoline?  Of course, you are.  All of us are eager to save gas in our cars and, thereby, save money.  It has now stopped being an environmental thing.  Every person and family is […]

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 […]

Trying to find an American

posted by Linda G. Howard

Because no author is given, I cannot be sure of the author of this essay.  However,  you will find a great deal of truth in the content. Written by an Australian Dentist To Kill an American You probably missed this […]

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 […]

After-camp Coma

posted by Linda G. Howard

While others were enjoying the ocean, I climbed on a picnic table and lapsed into my after-camp coma. Photo compliments to Ladybug Photography by Tarah Risher.

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 […]

The marathon of life

posted by Linda G. Howard

Several times a year, the Volusia County locals are treated to lots of tourist traffic because of the Daytona speedway. For more than five years, my full-time position with Special Gathering, a ministry within the intellectually disabled community, was in […]

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 […]

Resting in His Love

posted by Linda G. Howard

As I look upon my life with dread, I think of the world that waits ahead– The splendor of the streets of gold,   The wisdom of the prophts of old I think of Jesus on His throne      And how […]

Scotty won!

posted by Linda G. Howard

After the announcement, the first person Scotty McCreery thanked was the Lord.  McCreery is the current winner of American Idol.  During the entire Season 10, McCreery was a dynamic witness on screen and, it appears, even off screen.  We should […]

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 […]

Prayer for the tornado victims

posted by Linda G. Howard

After the devastation in Joplin,  Missouri, another tornado has ripped through Oklahoma. Still another tornado hit Massachusetts.  It is important that we remember the victims of these horrific storms.  Here is a suggested prayer taken from various verses in Romans 12. Lord, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Goodbye, Grandpa

posted by Linda G. Howard

We went to the beach early so the children could play a bit before the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour.  It was Monday morning.  The launch was scheduled for 9:23 AM.  On Tuesday the week before, Frank, my […]

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 […]

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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