Advertisement

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith Archives

Friendship Evangelism

posted by Linda G. Howard

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 […]

Advertisement

Pressure Time

posted by Linda G. Howard

Is there a time that you can remember that you were pressured beyond your ability to cope? There have been many for me. As a child, my mother told me again and again that I was constantly burning the candle […]

Advertisement

When we leak

posted by Linda G. Howard

Recently, I’ve heard a great deal about the things the Holy Spirit was doing in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  It is interesting to me because those were days through which we lived.  There were times that it seemed that the […]

Advertisement

Providing a Safe Harbor

posted by Linda G. Howard

One of the most important things a person can provide for any person and especially for a man or woman who is developmentally disabled is a safe harbor–a place where they can securely share their thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Because […]

The First Points of Light Award

posted by Linda G. Howard

When President George H. W. Bush gave the first Points of Lights Awards, one of them went to a NASA employee named Frank S. Howard who was a volunteer for The Special Gathering of Indian River. The fact that Frank […]

Eating fish

posted by Linda G. Howard

We all know that when you eat fish you will usually come across a bone or two no matter how carefully the fish has been filleted.  We also know that the bones aren’t digestible and should be spit out.  Fish […]

A history lesson

posted by Linda G. Howard

Over the past months, I’ve discovered the classics from Sir Walter Scott, James Fenimore Cooper, St. Augustine to Andrew Murray.  Of course, most of these volumes were written in the early 1800’s.  Unlocking the labyrinth of historical fact wrapped around […]

End of an era

posted by Linda G. Howard

Carla is not adjusting well to this time.  It is an end of an era for her.  Carla  is a high functioning person with intellectual disabilities.   Both parents have died.  She became too ill to live in her own apartment […]

Wilted

posted by Linda G. Howard

A couple of times a year I must dedicate several days to my garden.  I have a small yard.  Therefore, most of my back and side yards are devoted to my garden.  I’m not consistent enough with my yard work […]

The Don’t’s of Friendship

posted by Linda G. Howard

After the men had gathered for their last supper together, Jesus made a shocking statement to his followers.  In the light of who he was–mighty God, the Messiah, the Christ and Savior of the world–Jesus’s announcement is a total departure […]

The Do’s of Friendship

posted by Linda G. Howard

Since there are three levels of friendship–causal, close and committed–it should be our goal to move as many friendships as humanly possible from a causal to a committed friendship. There is means that there are at least 10 things that […]

Friendship

posted by Linda G. Howard

Robert Lewis Stevenson expressed an important sentiment regarding friendship.  He said, “So long as we love, we serve.  No man is useless while he is a friend.” Jesus, however, lifted friendship to a new and holy level when he spoke […]

Partial payment

posted by Linda G. Howard

Today I finished the final payment for a set of storage cabinets that I asked All Around Handyman and Lawn Service to do for me.  They are beautiful enough to have in my home; but they are in the garage. […]

Remember–a Christian discipline

posted by Linda G. Howard

Remembering is a vital Christian discipline that is either ignored or taught in an off-handed, casual manner.  Most of us know that routine thinking is defined by psychologists as remembering what happened in the past and rehearsing how we would change it […]

Remember

posted by Linda G. Howard

Perhaps one of the greatest virtues and joys of a Christian is remembering.  We often overlook the command that Jesus gave to us during the Lord’s Supper.  He said, “Do this so you will remember me.” Time and time again […]

Meeting a friend

posted by Linda G. Howard

Tonight I had a pleasant surprise when I met a friend who is also a member of Special Gathering during my late afternoon walk.  My friend, M.J. was meeting with her reading tutor in the park. Her tutor explained that […]

Writers write

posted by Linda G. Howard

Each day begins with prayer and either household errands or blogging.  As much as I enjoy writing, the daily household demands of living often interfere with what I feel God has called me to do.  The author of thousands of […]

Saying what you mean

posted by Linda G. Howard

During the morning, I performed some mindless cleaning and straightening of a supply closet.  Also, I listened to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she testified before the Senate.  Later, in the afternoon, I met in a strategy meeting with […]

Meaning what you say

posted by Linda G. Howard

Even though saying what we mean is difficult, it may be harder to mean what we say.  When working with people with intellectually disabilities, I’ve found that our sub-culture is actually less prone to say things they do not mean […]

Permanent Markers

posted by Linda G. Howard

I found an interesting tip for making your own personalized dinnerware.  You buy the cheap white china from the Dollar Store and write on it with a porcelain pin.  Then you bake them in the oven for 30 minutes. It’s […]

Traveling Mercies

posted by Linda G. Howard

Today, I’m headed home from a vacation that seemed long when I planned it; but then it was over more quickly than I could have imagined.  Other family will arrive soon and I’ll need to work around their vacation schedule. […]

This morning and every morning

posted by Linda G. Howard

There are few times that I don’t feel light-hearted and joyful.  My brother says that it’s only because I’m stupid.  I think it’s because God has given me the ability to see beyond present pain and embrace the joy of […]

The new mother

posted by Linda G. Howard

I remember my husband, Frank, and I rushing to the hosptial.  It was Christmas eve.  I’d farmed out the other two children to willing neighbors in a pitch of fervor.   Frank had refused to pick the name for a […]

Glory to God in the Highest–a sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

Glory to God in the Highest Luke 2:6-16 Central Theme:  Christmas is a time for big events and big changes. Introduction–I have to admit that at Christmas I go a little crazy.  I save all year and spend all December.  […]

The end of my world?

posted by Linda G. Howard

Okay! I had to do this.  But I have more reason to write about December 21, 2012 than most folks.  It’s my birthday and it’s a big one.  That is, it’s a big number.  For many people, my age might […]

The promised peace

posted by Linda G. Howard

That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened. The angel said to them, “Do not […]

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

posted by Linda G. Howard

At Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community, we have several activities to celebrate the birth of the Savior.  My favorite is our Happy Birthday, Jesus Party.  Our members bring food.  There is a birthday cake. […]

Purchasing time

posted by Linda G. Howard

There are few times of the year that present the Church with a greater degree of purchasing power than the time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  I’m actually not thinking about purchasing gifts or other stuff but purchasing a […]

No link between autism and planned violence

posted by Linda G. Howard

The Autism Society continues to mourn the lives lost on Friday, December 14 in Newtown, Conn.  We join the nation as we keep our collective attention focosed on those directly impacted by this tragedy. In the nation’s rush to understand […]

Face to face with God

posted by Linda G. Howard

In ancient times, few people were given the privilege of seeing God.  While we aren’t told that Abraham actually saw God face to face, we know that God valued Abraham so much that he was called “the friend of God.” […]

The Star

posted by Linda G. Howard

As Pastor Iman passed Eric who paced back and forth at the back of the room, the pastor asked the young man, “What part do have in the play?” “I’m the star,” Eric said, scratching his head and facing the […]

Value of Repetition Part 2

posted by Linda G. Howard

Martin Luther has been quoted (or probably misquoted) as saying, “I’ve read the Bible once.  I don’t need to read it again.”  The life of Luther disavows this ascertion because it was his study of the scriptures that led him […]

The value of repetition

posted by Linda G. Howard

For years, one of our Bible teachers at Special Gathering reviewed the same Bible verse with his class every week.  ”I will pray morning, noon and night.”  As the first five years rolled around, I became a bit disturbed.  Doesn’t […]

Ethel–A teacher to remember

posted by Linda G. Howard

Ethel was a Bible teacher at Special Gathering.  Additionally, she wrote many books for the mentally challenged community and they were published in our monthly newsletter.  Ethel and I shared a passion for writing and Special Gathering.  Therefore, we became […]

The Choice that Changed Everything–a sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

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 […]

Falling off my horse

posted by Linda G. Howard

In all of our lives, we suffer the embarrassment and shame of falling from our horse.  You know what I mean.  Sitting high and straight on our noble steeds, we are riding along our path of life, attempting to serve […]

Communication: I don’t understand it

posted by Linda G. Howard

Recently, I visited a neighboring Special Gathering program to practice our Christmas music. We are a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  I am the director of four of our choirs.  It seemed like a good idea. However, it appears […]

Living bad

posted by Linda G. Howard

Often, those of us who minister to people who are intellectually disabled romanticize our population.  It is the most wonderful group of people with which I’ve worked.  However, like the rest of the population, there can be glaring bumps, blemishes […]

God chooses to make the world for man–a sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

God chooses to Make the World for Man Genesis 1:1and 26A Central Theme:  God choose to make the earth for mankind. Introduction–Bring a basket that you have made.  This is a basket that I made.  I did not create it […]

God’s Prep Time

posted by Linda G. Howard

The Church has quoted Jeremiah for more than 2000 years.  We especially love the verse 11 of chapter 29.  “I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, […]

A shameless plug

posted by Linda G. Howard

I often plug products that I’ve found beneficial, especially in the ministry of The Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  The Christmas musical, A Stranger in the Manger, is a well-written and joy-filled musical that becomes an excellent […]

To move or not to move

posted by Linda G. Howard

Leonard is a handsome young man who was separated from him siblings at birth.  The State of Florida convinced his widowed mother that she could not take care of another child, especially one who was intellectually disabled like Leonard.  Therefore, […]

Prayer is answered–a sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

Prayer Is Answered Matthew 21:22 Central Theme:  A good reason to pray is because God answers prayer. Introduction–Bring a watch that does not work.  Throw it away.  Bring a straw with a hole in it.  Throw it away.  I don‘t […]

When God speaks

posted by Linda G. Howard

I shared a few days ago with a friend that everytime someone prays for me, they usually end with the statement, “I believe that God is telling me that you must not be weary in well-doing.”  It’s happened so many […]

The Best of Times/The Worst of Times Part 3

posted by Linda G. Howard

Worship is the apex of all the many things we do at Special Gathering.  Therefore, it is vitally important to us that things go smoothly but there are weeks that are beyond interesting and border on bazaar. A couple of […]

The Best of Times/The Worst of Times Part 2

posted by Linda G. Howard

What do you do when some of your members become agitated and cause confusion in your services?  That is what we faced at The Special Gathering of Melbourne on Sunday morning.  Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community, […]

The Best of Times/The Worst of Times Part 1

posted by Linda G. Howard

Birth, birthdays and even death are important times of blessing Some weeks you wonder how everything comes in bunches.  “Amazing” is the only word I find appropriate to describe the events of many Saturdays and Sundays at Special Gathering.  We had […]

God gives us the power to go–a sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

God can give us the power to go Acts 1:8–Teacher Appreciation Central Theme:  God wants us to tell people about Jesus not matter where we are. Introduction–I can tell where I have been last week by the receipts in my […]

Different strokes

posted by Linda G. Howard

For me, one of the best things that happened at the Disability Leadership Gathering that I attended this week at Sonrise Retreat Center in Anderson, Indiana, was that I was griped with the amount of passion shared by the leaders who have […]

Shut the door

posted by Linda G. Howard

At Special Gathering, we don’t often lose a member.  There are many reasons for that.  Yet when we lose a member, it is as difficult for us as any other pastor.  I meet with many pastors fellowship groups during the […]

Where am I?

posted by Linda G. Howard

This year has been a transition point for my life.  Last year, I had a drastic change when my husband died.  In some ways, there is a new freedom.  During other times, I realize that I’m much more constrained.  There […]

The Power of Courage–a sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

The Power of Courage Acts 4:29 Central Theme:  God gives us courage to speak and do what is right. Introduction–Bring one of your gardening books. Explain how much I love gardening and I find it easy to talk to people […]

Waiting in the wings

posted by Linda G. Howard

As God moves on the hearts of the more mature members of Special Gathering, they are expressing a desire to serve the Lord in “important ways.”  I’ve been surprised at how much they are yearning to have their lives count […]

Prayer asks for help–a sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

Prayer Asks for Help Psalm 121:12 Central Theme:  Prayer is a cry for help. Introduction–I have a friend who has a poster.  It says,  “When things are so bad or scary that you don’t know what to prayer, memorize this […]

Preparing for leadership

posted by Linda G. Howard

Author and teacher Oz Hillman teaches that God deals with leaders in specific ways.  “There are three patterns of preparation that have been common among most of God’s leaders,” Hillman asserts. He teaches that there are three steps God uses.   […]

What is real power?–A sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

What is real Power? Acts 3:6 Central Theme:  The power to effect lives is real power. Introduction–I called up a young couple with a new baby and we had a baby dedication. I.     Have a member Read Act 3:6. A. […]

Is that me?

posted by Linda G. Howard

While searching a photo of my mother on the Internet to use in a sermon blog entry, I found an interesting image of a young woman who had the same name as my mother.  I had been quickly overseeing the […]

American Sign Language

posted by Linda G. Howard

  This is a part of the Edgewood United Methodist Church News.  Think you will enjoy it. American Sign Language Written By Herb “Padre” Agee Engle­wood United Methodist Church When I was 40 years old, I was pas­tor at a small, […]

God is Patient–a sermon

posted by Linda G. Howard

God is Patient II Peter 3:9 Central Theme:  God is patient with everyone. Introduction–  Bring branch from the jassmine vine.  Tell about the other one getting killed in the storm.  I was sad because it was beautiful and large and […]

In polite company

posted by Linda G. Howard

The news reported that an owner of a restaurant asks that everyone check in their phones and electronic tablets when they enter the restaurant so the patrons will be free of such devices while eating their meals.  He said it […]

How to write a funeral sermon or eulogy

posted by Linda G. Howard

It is probably true that you will be asked to be a part of a memorial service or funeral at some time in your life.  There are specific things which I have observed from pastors who are successfully able to capture […]

Take your time–God does

posted by Linda G. Howard

Yesterday was filled with back-to-back meetings.  I got on the road at 7AM for my first meeting which was 50 miles away.  I criss-crossed two counties zipping from one meeting to another.  I finished my day and meetings at 5PM. […]

Meeting a need

posted by Linda G. Howard

Angie is a committed Christian whose son, Marvin, is intellectually disabled.  She greatly desired Marvin to worship with the family.  Yet, she also felt a need for more respite time.  The answer for her was The Special Gathering Saturday program. […]

Learning the names of Jesus’ disciples made easy

posted by Linda G. Howard

As a child I could not memorize.  I could learn, of course, but anything that had to be memorized word-for-word was a loss for me.  For years I wanted to learn the names of the disciples but I felt it […]

You don’t control me

posted by Linda G. Howard

Inbred within us resides a desire to be in control of our own lives.  Often, when children are playing,  an argument will begin or end with one child yelling,  ”You don’t control me.” Prisons are designed to control people.  They […]

The Sacristy

posted by Linda G. Howard

The other day I received the key to a local church where The Special Gathering main office is located.  Because the sanctuary has been recently remodeled, new keys had to be made.  The key was labeled “The sacristy.”  I thought […]

A search for honesty

posted by Linda G. Howard

Working with people with special needs, I’ve discovered that your IQ doesn’t determine your honesty quotient.  Yes, they are the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the privilege with which to work.  However, cheating is as systematic in a special […]

The Inspector

posted by Linda G. Howard

While others may balk at their loss of privacy because of inspectors who invade their space, I’ve become quite comfortable with it.  In fact, my daily inspector is not even a human being.  It is a squirrel.  That’s right…the brown, […]

The Blank Page

posted by Linda G. Howard

Each morning I sit in front of a blank page waiting for me to write something.  For more than 50 years, all during the day, I’ve listened within my spirit for the Lord’s prompting and teaching.  In the morning, afternoon […]

The smile of a saint

posted by Linda G. Howard

I received the call at 7:30 tonight.  John died at 6pm.  I was at Universal Studios Theme Park with a group of people who are mentally challenged.  There was no way for me to run over to help comfort the family because I […]

Through the Roof Disability Ministry Summit

posted by Linda G. Howard

  Through the Roof Disability Ministry Summit is designed to give you practical training and education while equipping churches for disability ministry. Sign up and be a part of this enriching event, which will be held May 18-19, 2012 at First Church of the […]

Working or stay-at-home, she’s still my mom

posted by Linda G. Howard

For more than 20 years, I was a stay-at-home mom.  During those years, I wrote five books.  Two of them were best sellers.  Together they sold over a million copies.  I was an award-winning, free-lance writer working with several different […]

Created to need other people

posted by Linda G. Howard

It surprises no parent that the first two brothers were rivals.  Cain, the older sibling, became jealous of  Able when God favored Able’s sacrifice over his.  Cain came to believe that the root of all his problems was his brother. […]

Created to make choices

posted by Linda G. Howard

I went to a pastor’s meeting this week and I was forced into taking a job I did not want.  In reality, I made a choice to do the job I didn’t like.  I was put in a position of either, disappointing […]

People you would like–Andrew

posted by Linda G. Howard

Andrew moved with his family from up North about six years ago.  He is an outgoing, friendly man who has worked much of his life at Wal-Mart.  When lay-offs were needed at the store where he worked, Andrew was the […]

Much ado about nothing

posted by Linda G. Howard

When I went to visit my grandchild when she was 18 months old, she could say, “Grandmother and cracker.”  She knew what she wanted and how to get it with a smile and a kiss.  Can you imagine that this […]

Waiting for the green light

posted by Linda G. Howard

I sometimes wonder how much time we spend waiting for a green traffic light. This is a phenomenon of the automobile age, though waiting has been the bane of human existence since our time spent in the Garden.  My first […]

Opening gifts

posted by Linda G. Howard

I am a real believer in delayed gratification.  In fact, as much as I love gifts, I love the anticipation even more.  As a child, I gave up the Christmas gift hunt.  The annual childhood adventure wasn’t hard in our […]

Happy Birthday to me

posted by Linda G. Howard

I woke up at 6AM with the familiar beep-dong of my iPhone that tells me that I have a message on Facebook.  I was a bit startled because I don’t EVER get messages that early.  Then I remembered it was […]

And God speaks

posted by Linda G. Howard

Today, during a pastors’ prayer meeting, one of the pastors said to me, “Linda, I believe that you are feeling upset because of the IRS audit you are facing and God wants you to know that he isn’t upset with […]

Aftermath

posted by Linda G. Howard

December 5 means that both of the Special Gathering Christmas plays are over in Melbourne and Vero. This year unlike 2009, Mary’s face wasn’t bruised from having dental surgery.  The shocking effect was what appeared to be a bearded Mary. […]

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–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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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–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, […]

God gives to us to give to Him

posted by Linda G. Howard

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

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 […]

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 […]

Trucks and hard-working young men

posted by Linda G. Howard

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

Good Things

posted by Linda G. Howard

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

…and he danced

posted by Linda G. Howard

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

The Final Moments of Life

posted by Linda G. Howard

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

Walking in love

posted by Linda G. Howard

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

Confession–Good for the Soul

posted by Linda G. Howard

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

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.

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 […]

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 […]

Walking the best exercise

posted by Linda G. Howard

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Top 10 Predictions for the Second Half of 2011

posted by Linda G. Howard

In case we forget The Bible will still have all the answers in the middle of our joys and sorrows. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on earth. The Holy Spirit will still move in the hearts and […]

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 […]

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 learned and maybe we even remember God’s Riches

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 money he needs. It’s never been my favorite Christma

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 moved from our city to a small town out of the state.  Bec

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 our lives. There is a couple of absolutes that totally

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 friendship of David and Jonathan from the Bible.  Even if we o

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

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.