September 2010

Sitting with my friend in Atlanta, she talked about “back timing.”  It is an entertainment term.  People who do scheduling for TV/movie shots and staging, depend on this method constantly.  I sat as she talked about how much “back timing” it must take for the Lord to get people set up for effective ministry. 

In a few minutes, I went to my papers that were sitting on her table.  On the top, I found a post-it note that read:

  1. 2:45am–get up/fix husband’s breakfast and lunch/put out snacks and medication, 
  2. 3:30am–put medication on Frank’s feet,
  3. 3:45am–leave the house,
  4. 5:00am–arrive at Orlando park/ride,
  5. 7:00am–plane leaves

I had started at 7am with my list and I had back timed my schedule to find out what time I needed to get up.  While I didn’t know that there was an “official” name for the technique, Special Gathering uses it constantly with our van routes and set up schedules.

I’m sure that you are also continually using “back timing” in your ministry.  However, if you haven’t discovered the marvel of this scheduling technique.  It will take out the headache of being late or rushed.  Use it and enjoy.

Today, I went to Atlanta by way of Charlotte, NC.  A dear friend died a few weeks ago.  For 20 years, my friend had said, “Linda is going to do my funeral.”  In her final letter to me last year, she reminded me that I had promised to do the service.  When her daughter wrote to me via Facebook, she asked if I could do the service.

Things didn’t work out for me to make the trip.  However, when the daughter expressed regret, I told her that I was coming to be with her and her family.  It may seem extravagant.  Yet, my friend sent cookies to my children when they were in college.  She sent my grandchildren gifts when they were born.  I owned her a debt of gratitude and love.  My husband agreed.

When I first met Phyllis, everyone–young and old–called her Mama.  I resisted out of my respect for my own mother.  Nevertheless, I succumbed because everyone called her Mama.  For about five years, I didn’t know her name.

I’ve always been grateful that my journey in life paralleled  Mama’s.  She was a full-time volunteer in the elementary school where my children attended.  Mama did vast musical productions involving hundred’s of children.  When I first met her, I thought she was a kook.  Within days, her tenacity and genius won me over when I saw her making exquisite oriental wigs for about 50 children out of paper tape, black yarn and broken cheap jewelry.  I saw her put her own comforts and money aside in order to give elementary-aged children the opportunity to gain the self-confidence and grace that comes from being on stage.

I pray that there are people within the mentally challenged community who are grateful that our lives’ journeys have moved in a parallel path.  While they have taught me so much about the Christian live, I’ve desired to be Christ’s vehicle for evangelism and discipleship.  At times, it isn’t in the sermons that we preach; but the lives that we live exhibit  the most lasting and effective model of what Jesus can do through a person fully desiring to serve him.

I’ve been asked several times this question.  This information is from the March of Dimes Website

Can people with Down syndrome have children?
With rare exceptions, men with Down syndrome cannot father a child (3). A woman with Down syndrome has a 50-50 chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome, but many affected fetuses are miscarried.

While people with developmental disabilities have a lower IQ than normal, their drive to procreate is not usually disabled.  This can be a concern with men and women but they manifest themselves in different ways.  It has been said by the experts there is a basic difference between men and women in regard to sexual activity.  Men will pretend intimacy (that they are in love) to get sexual favors.  While women will give sexual favors because they are in love (or to gain intimacy). 

 With our population, these are still the basic drives.  Men desire sexual activities; women desire intimacy.  Many years ago, two members of Special Gathering were engaged in a sexual relationship.  He was a man who had many, many girlfriends.  She was a large, younger woman with a quirky–often difficult–personality. 

When I asked this young woman why she would allow herself to be used by this man while they rode on the bus, she said, “He was very, very good to me when we first moved here.  He is the ONLY person who would speak to me.  He liked me and he was kind to me.  I love him.  I will do anything for him; anything he asks.”

The man often set his sights on women who were lonely and otherwise unattractive.  He had a “girl in every port.”  He was kind to lonely women and then he used them for his own sexual benefit.  The women desired someone to love and he showed them love.  They gladly gave themselves to him.

As a ministry head, this issue can be a deep, abiding concern because of the unique desires and needs of your members.  Sexual needs are valid and God given.  They cannot be ignored.  We can speak to this issue with delicacy and tact.  However, this isn’t an issue that we can or should ignore.  There are no boiler plate or simple templet answers that we can use or be taught.  We must know the Scriptures and then depend on God’s Holy Spirit to answer questions and meet the needs of your members.

You are invited to the Free APD waitlist quarterly forum & Dance.
October 2nd
Tavares civic center 100 East Caroline St. Tavares FL. 32778
Forum 9:00AM – 2:00PM Free Dance 2:00PM – 4:00PM

There will be Free refreshments & food during the event.

We will also be doing a FREE raffle for families on the waitlist. You can win FREE hours of Respite Service to help you and you loved ones. Also we will be giving away dozens of door prizes.

Guest speaker Jim DeBeaugrine Director of APD The Agency for persons with disabilities is scheduled to speak. He will be talking about current issues & the latest updates related to the APD agency,

Don’t be left in the dark.
Come talk to the people that can help you.

This is a Free event for everyone. The event gives you the opportunity to learn about resources & programs that can help you and your loved ones. Also a opportunity to speak out about your questions and concerns.


We are pleased to present this opportunity for first hand information. Get updates on current issues and future plans of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The Director Jim DeBeaugrine will be speaking, followed by a question and answer session. The FCC area 13 will be helping families with information. will be telling families about FREE resources to help with information. Also with ways to help you speak out about your questions and concerns.

Jim DeBeaugrine

The Director of APD The Agency For Persons With Disabilities

Owner of &
Aaron Nangle
Learn about ways for everyone to come together & unite. Making your voice heard.
Isabel S de Martinez chairperson for the FCC area 13 
Isabel S de Martinez Chairperson FCC area 13

The american dream for all individuals with developmental disabilities

Note to Providers,

�� The Family Care Council area 13 is helping to host this Family Forum for families who are currently on the wait list. As you are aware the information provided at these events is invaluable to the families as they wait for services; however it has come to my attention over the years that the wait can, at times, feel like forever with no end in sight. Many of these families have spent 24 hours a day caring for their loved one without ever receiving Respite. I thought some of you could donate something tangible. Volunteering some respite hours would be appreciated more than you know. Thank you in advance for you help.

Preventive Behaviors & Solutions has already donated 50 hours of respite service for people on the waitlist. How many hours will you donate to people on the waitlist? Call Aaron Nangle and let him know. 727-841-8943

Thank you Sandy Dayton from FCC area 13


EVENT SPONSORED BY, APD area 13, FCC area 13, Delmarva Foundation, Moving Mountains, C Volkmann Consulting, Woodbury Products, Independent Mobility, Adept community services, Sunrise ARC, Preventive Behaviors & Solutions, Elite Home Medical Supplies,
Live Oak’s Building Inc., Tamara C Watkins Small

Many other company’s and organizations will be at the event to help provide you with information.


If you would like to have a table at the event call
Aaron Nangle 727-841-8943 or email & 
    Family Care Council Florida



I am not a Techno Babe.  (Okay, so I never was a Babe, but work with me here.)  Nevertheless, I try to keep up with the latest things in the electronic field.  For instance, I know that the Blog is a dinosaur of the distant past of 5 years ago.  Within the world of “what’s happenin’ now” five years is several technical generations past.

Because our ministry wasn’t Apple Ready until recently, I didn’t have any of the iFun and iExciting gadgets that others were gobbling up like iCandy.  I don’t play video games and I only listen to music in my car and I have a radio in my car.  The greatest Christian station in the world is in Orlando.  Therefore, I didn’t even have an iPod.

However, in March I got an iPhone because my phone died and only the iPhone could support the database program that we are currently using.  Last week, a ministry colleague bought me an iPad.  Now, I’m attempting to do things that others find extremely easy.  “Plug it into your computer and iTunes does everything,”  I’m told by the geek working in my friendly Apple store.  I plugged it into my computer and that didn’t work.  Therefore, I’m trying to learn how to do what should be the easiest thing in the world.

Couple with that, other distractions have invaded my life.  All this means that I’m attempting to work my way through a total iGlitch.  Of course, things will settle down but in the meantime I have iQuivers in my stomach and an enormous iHeadache.

Don’t get me wrong I love Apple.  We owned the Apple E, 2E and the first Macintosh. My husband has all the latest Apple products.   However, it’s been 20 years since I was told that Special Gathering worked with PC’s, not Mac.  Because I confuse easily and I loved the ease of using Apple products, I’ve resolutely stayed away from my husband’s equipment.  There was a bit of envy mixed into my resolve, as you probably suspected.

Each ministry needs to find the equipment that will help them to achieve the mission that God has called them to do.  With Special Gathering, we are evangelizing and discipling people who are mentally challenged.  God is working all things for my good.  The more I fail to understand what is happening; the more closely I identify with my members.  As we switch from all PC’s into the world of iWonders, I’ll keep you in touch with the transition in the form of iWhines and iComplaints.

Last week, my husband and I started on a new avenue of our lives.  All this week, people have been in and out of the house, moving furniture and bringing in equipment.  My husband has felt an extreme loss of control.  He is an extrovert.  Therefore, he would normally enjoy people in and out.  But this has been different.  Others are now making decisions that would normally be his to make.

Almost forty years ago he built a bed that was especially made for our bedroom.  The final indignity came when two men came and turned his bed on its side and brought in a hospital bed.  He  protested loudly but to no avail.  He wanted his bed back. 

Tonight, Brad Shea from Able House called, “Is there anything that I can do to help Frank?”  Shea has remodeled out home so that it is completely wheelchair accessible.  However, even professionals are surprised at the subtle and beautiful ways that Shea has incorporated that accessibility into our home.

Knowing Brad, I felt that he meant it so I didn’t hesitate.  “They turned Frank’s bed aside and put a hospital bed in his room.  The movers couldn’t get the bed out of the bedroom so it’s sitting on its side leaning against a wall.  I think if he didn’t have to look at his bed all day he would feel better about things.  I know that he would forget about it much more quickly.”

“I’ll be there tonight,” Brad said.  After working all day, Shea knocked on our door at 8pm and worked another hour to help a confused and distressed friend. 

After he left, my husband called me into his room.  “That was really nice, wasn’t it?”  Within minutes, he was asleep.  

While Frank has had a disability his entire life, we have not lived with that disability.  The disability has lived with us…in the backyard.  Frank has pushed himself, made demands on his body and it has obediently obeyed.  However, the years has caught up and now we live with his disability.  I can only imagine the decades that most of our family have experienced wherein a disability–any disability–has forced its way at the head of the table and demanded to be fed first. 

As he slept, I worked another two hours to bring order back into the rest of the house.  I find that when life demands that I do a balancing and juggling act at the same time, it is vital for there to be as much order in my life as possible.  It’s also good to know that God is in control of our lives–not a sickness.  We rejoice that our wonderful Savior cares enough about us to have a friend call and make a sincere offer of kindness and love.

It also helps to vent.  Thanks.

Women and men scream at the appearance of this tiny creature.  If you dare to look eye to eye with the insect, it resembles a monster from a science fiction TV show.  No matter what your fears or concerns are about a spider, everyone admits that the construction and architectural abilities of that tiny insect is nothing short of miraculous. 

However, Ori Brafman and Rod S. Beckstrom in their book, The Starfish and the Spider contend that the current forms of management are much more unlikely to succeed because they are constructed like a spider.  Their thesis says that if you cut off the leg of a spider, it is crippled.  If you cut off the head of a spider, it is dead.

While I haven’t read the book but merely listened to an interview on NPR about the book, I was fascinated with the interesting supposition set forth by the authors.  Their contention that an organization that is built about a strong head is eventually doomed to failure.  I have no idea whether Brafman and Beckstrom are Christians.  It is reasonable to assume that they are not.  However, I learned long ago that we can obtain wisdom from many sources.  In fact, I’ve always contended that if a fact is true, it is either scriptural or it does not contradict the scriptures because the Bible is true.

On hearing the spider analogy, my thoughts immediately jumped to The Special Gathering and other specialized ministries.  Richard Stimson, our executive director, has worked hard to NOT have a spider organization in this ministry.  He desired to gradually divorce the success of the ministry from himself.  This has been difficult for him because he realized that in the early decades of The Special Gathering, the Richard Stimson name was closely connected with the Special Gathering ministry brand. 

Other ministry founders have worked equally hard to keep their ministry branding as closely connected to them as possible.  There is great wisdom in this, especially at the starting point of a work for God.  Yet, there is a time for a break from the personalized branding of a special needs ministry if it is to grow and be maintained.

Years ago, there was an ongoing discussion regarding the need for decentralization and the succession of a ministry head.  One woman with a very successful ministry in a large church refuted that this was any concern.  “The Lord will take care of those details,” she would sternly rebuke the men or women who expressed concerns.  However, at a young age, she contracted cancer and died within a few months.  There are no one to take her place and the ministry is now dead.  It would be wonderful if this were an isolated case but we all know that it isn’t.  When any ministry is built around a personality, then it will usually fail when the person dies.

Jesus left this earth and delegated the spreading of the gospel to 11 men.  With the help and anointing of the Holy Spirit, the world was turned upside down within a few generations.  There is still much to do in specialized ministry.  Perhaps God is waiting for a few of us old spiders to realize that it’s time to raise up people who are called by God and desire to continue this important work.

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