January 2011


All of us would like to have good media relations with our local paper or TV station.  Weblog are always looking for new and different stories.  They want you to give them information, especially if you give them good stories that is well edited.   

Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Media Relations

These tips were distributed by Joyce Wilden, Public Relations Director, Mercedes Homes Inc.

  1. Do return phone calls.  Always, always, always.  Even if it’s just to say, “Thanks so much for the call, but we don’t have anything to contribute to this story.  Please call us the next time.”
  2. Do respect deadlines.  Everything a reporter, editor, free lancer or staff writer does, involves a deadline.  By the time they contact you, the clock is already ticking.  If they don’t volunteer their deadline, ask.
  3. Don’t send more information than is needed.  If you’re emailing or faxing information, highlight or bold the important stuff.  Don’t make them look for a needle in a haystack – because they may not find it and will have to use whatever they did find for the story.    
  4. Don’t ever ask to “check” an article ahead of time.  This is considered insulting to a news professional. If you’re concerned about the writer getting the nuances right, you can always email a bulleted list recapping your top points, etc.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for the questions in writing.  Many writers are happy to oblige, as it signals your willingness to help them.  This can sometimes be preferable to “winging it” during a free-wheeling conversation where you could end up saying more than you intended.
  6. Do send photos.  You may already have terrific shots that will add to the article and save the writer time dispatching a photographer.  Agree on appropriate file size and format before emailing.  Win-win. 
  7. Do pitch your own story idea. If you don’t have something to contribute to the story that’s being developed.  Sometimes writers can go back to their editors and change the story focus if you’ve got something interesting.  Win-win.
  8. Do submit your own material – and tell them they are free to use it as their own.  If you have (non-proprietary) material you’ve written and it can be easily adapted for all or part of a story, hand it over with your blessing and let your ego take a back seat.  Keep the goal in mind: you want exposure in the media; they want a story. Win-win.
  9. Don’t badmouth one reporter to another or go on about a past bad experience you had with another writer, paper, etc.  No one will take kindly to your trashing one of their own.  Plus, they really don’t care about your experience. They’ve got a story to get out.
  10. Do send an email of thanks after a good article appears or a story runs.  If a concept or point is mistaken, contact the reporter so that they can have the correct information for any related stories they may be planning.  If there is an egregious error –ask for a printed correction.

I would add some additional tips.

  1. Don’t speak in the Language of Zion.  Be sure that everyone will understand your terms and termonology.  More and more, our society is becoming secularized. 
  2. Don’t be religious.  Remember Christianity is a relationship with God–much more than a religion.  The more relational you can make your information, the more likely you will have that your piece will be used.
  3. Tell the story of your ministry.  Don’t sermonize.

Created to Make Choices

Romans 14:12

Central Theme:   God gave us the ability to make good and bad choices.

Introduction–I went to a pastor’s meeting and was forced into taking a job I did not want.  In reality I made a choice to do the job. Each of us have choices and make choices.  We will have an opportunity to talk to God about all the choices we make.  Have a member read Romans 14:12.

       I.     Tell the story of Adam and Eve

              1.  Eve was deceived but she made a choice.

              2.  Adam was not deceived, he chose to follow Eve.

      II.     There are two kinds of choices that we make.

              A. We are tricked into making the wrong choice.

                   1.  We find ourselves in a place where we know what we should do but we choose to do something that is wrong.

                   2.  We might be tricked, or pressured, or forced but we make the choice

              B. We decide on our own to do what we do.

     III.     Each of us make choices each day and we will talk to God in prayer about the choices we make.    

Conclusion–Jesus helps us to make good choices in our lives.

After meeting with Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, these men and women, representatives of the mentally challenged community, spoke with the Senate Committee studying the possibility of putting all people with developmental disabilities under HPO’s.  At times, we believe that we cannot make a difference.  However, these men and women spoke to politicians; and they could have changed their minds about changes in our health care system in Florida.

People First of Brevard and Florida Senator Mike Haridopolos

This a comment from Tony Piantine who heads Camp Daniel Ministries in Wisconsin.  I loved what he had to say about prayer and I was concerned that you might miss it.  Therefore, I’m including it as a post.

At our weekly Camp Daniel Staff meetings we finish in prayer.  Each of us takes a turn around the table. Hearing each other pouring out our hearts to God has been more impacting than our Bible studies or the words spoken to each other on a consistent basis.

These spoken prayers have brought unity and bound us together like I never thought prayer could.  I often think that we overlook how powerful prayer is when we pray with each other.  Perhaps it is even more powerful than when we pray for each other.   

I think that when we pray in unity with others we are letting each other touch the Jesus in our hearts that sometimes we keep covered. That touch is what we need more than anything. Thank you for sharing your yourself with us and your family’s prayers. We join you in prayer for Frank and your entire family during this hard time.

Thank you, Tony for this word of truth.  I was especially touched by what Tony wrote about the mighty power of prayer when we pray, out loud, with each other.  At Special Gathering, there are several things which impress visitors.  Often, one of our members is asked to pray out loud during the service.  The most impressive, however, is when our members pray for each other.  This is one of the most vital parts of our worship services.   Also, thank you, Tony and  all who pray and have prayed for me and my husband.  We are blessed.

At times, I’ve been hesitant to pray for our members.  Even in the hospital, there doesn’t seem to be a time or place that is appropriate or convenient.  Do I interrupt family members to pray?  Do I insist on praying?  What about the awkwardness that is always present?  What if  the family members are not Christians?  Will my prayer offend them?  What if these are dedicated people of prayer?  Do they really need my feeble attempt at prayer?

A couple of weeks ago, I visited a Christian man who is dying.  His children, Special Gathering volunteers, had asked me to visit him in ICU.  I spent a few minutes.  As I was gathering my things to leave, one family member bluntly said, “You can’t leave before you pray.”  Even though my prayer was fumbling, short and abruptly to the point, the family hugged me and thanked me with such gracious warmth that I knew God had used the prayer to comfort them.  I was grateful.

After my husband’s extended time in the hospital, I’ve concluded that prayer can be some of the best medicine that the patient or family can receive.  Our children and grandchildren came to visit us for the holidays.  Honestly, gathering around my husband’s bedside was uncomfortable.  With all of us, there were eight people squeezed into the small space.  It was awkward and uncomfortable.  The other patient’s family was also there.  At times, there were two hospital beds with ten to 12 people smashed into a ten feet by ten feet area.  However, that didn’t stop my son-in-law, Rev. Brian Merritt from praying.  He never allowed us to leave Frank’s bedside without prayer. 

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for Brian’s boldness and for his sensitive prayers.  While I love both of my sons-in-law and appreciate their faithful and godly lives, Brian insistence on praying for Frank blessed me more than I can express.  And he taught me several good lessons.

First, his spoken prayer had added power to deliver and bless us.  I know that everyone in that room was praying for our husband, father and grandfather.  Yet, it was Brian’s spoken prayer that set me free from the burden of the hour. 

Second, prayer is always appropriate and usually welcome.  Of course, I never pray without first asking permission.  I simply say, “Before I leave, can I pray?”  Most of the families, who are involved or whose children are involved in our ministry, will welcome prayer as much as I did.  Additionally, I learned that my words are not as important as my acknowledgement of my desperate need for a healing, redemptive God.

One of the most effective prayers for me came from Judy whose disability is Downs Syndrome.  Until her family moved to be with her sister, she was a Special Gathering member.  She was a part of this ministry for most of her life.  Judy was a deacon in our Cocoa program. 

In the earlier years of our ministry about 15 years ago, the full-time pastors would travel from one program to another on Sunday.  Often, I would start in Melbourne and end up in Cocoa.  That morning had been perplexing for me.  My sound equipment had not worked in Melbourne.  Complications with my husband’s health were plaguing us, even in those days.  Automotive problems had threatened to make me late in Cocoa.  When I arrived, I could not find a parking place so I had to walk several blocks to the chapel.  Ripping on my clerical robe as I bounded toward the chancel area, I had entered the chapel hurried, perplexed and flustered.

With someone else in charge of praise and worship, I was able to relax a bit before I delivered the devotions but my mind felt as though it was drowning in deep waters of frustration.  Busily reviewing recent annoyances, it refused to be released from the struggles of the morning.  Even joining the worship of our members could not stop the internal commotion.  Almost unconsciously, I prayed, Lord, how will I be able to teach about your grace and peace, if I don’t have any?

Judy, a member of the choir, sat close to me.  In fact, because the chancel area was so small her knee not only touched mine, our legs almost tangled around each other.  During one of the worship songs, Judy reached over and prayed, “Lord, Linda had bad day.  Help her right now.  She needs it.”  Instantly, the pain, hurt and frustration evaporated.  It was such an amazing miracle that remembering the impact of her prayer brings tears to my eyes after all these years. 

There have been oodles of books written about prayer.  Googling prayer gives you 32,800,000 results.  I love studying about prayer and meditation.  However, Judy never read a book or an article on prayer.  She prayed.  That was enough for God to do a miracle for this needy child. 

Learning from Judy, I’ve deliberately made my prayers for my members more compact.  God knows the heart.  He doesn’t need flowering words of give answers that result in changed lives.

The executive director of Special Gathering, Richard Stimson, often explains the powerful influence his twin brother who is mentally challenged exerts on his life.  Nevertheless, he also says that his brother is not the reason that he started the ministry.  It was the call of God that determined his vocation.  Regardless, it is an interesting fact that many siblings are drawn into social service positions.  There appears to be a strong attraction within the human spirit that draws people to this cloistered sub-culture. 

When Laura was a child, the Lord led her parents to volunteer with Special Gathering.  During those years, she was like any other child tagging along with parents.  More times than not, she resented the fact that her Sunday afternoons were occupied with ministry tasks, rather than play.   Now, Laura is a mother. Recently, she made the decision to also become a volunteer with a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  One of her main reasons was for her children to come to know this population.  “I want my girls to have the advantage I had of being exposed to the mentally challenged community at an early age,” she told her mother.

 While no more was said, this young mother believes that the development of her children will be enhanced by establishing a relationship with people who are developmentally disabled.  Beyond a doubt, there are great benefits associated by fostering a friendship with a man, woman or child who is mentally challenged.  Thomas’ brother was mentally challenged, born with Cerebral Palsy (CP).  I’ve been Thomas’ friend for about three years but somehow he had missed that my ministry was within the disability population.  When he learned about Special Gathering, his eyes widened; and he grabbed the table where he was sitting as though trying to keep himself from jumping up from his seat, “Can I come?  I would love to be a part of that!” he said with more enthusiasm than I’d ever seen him express. 

The blessings of the Lord rest on The Special Gathering in a unique way.  There are several reasons but the most glaring one is the population that we serve is loved with by God with passion.

Last Monday as I was studying the sermon for this week, I was struck again by the entire incident surrounding Jesus’ first miracle found in John 2.  One thing left me puzzling.  Why did Jesus say, “My time has not yet come,” to his mother; and then perform the miracle of turning the water into wine anyway.  During the week as I used this scripture for my meditation time, I found myself wondering repeatedly about that phrase,  “My time has not yet come.”

However, as I preached the devotions on Saturday, I realized that God is willing to break the rules for us.  In fact, every miracle he has ever performed is God breaking his own rules to help us, heal us or deliver us.  Even the working out of our salvation meant a realignment of his rule regarding  justice. 

At Special Gathering, I preached this miracle-principle on Saturday and Sunday.  Looking intently at the faces of our members as I shared, I saw amazement, understanding and joy on the faces of most people there.  However, Tom’s eyes almost glowed.  Finally, containing himself no longer, he shouted, “That means I can break the rules, too!”

Great, I thought.  Now I’ve given Tom permission to be inappropriate, misbehave and act badly–as though he needed any encouragement.  I smiled, sweetly, pretending to ignore Tom’s remark and said, “Of course, God doesn’t sin or act inappropriately to answer our prayers and he doesn’t want us to break the rules of bad behavior.”

As though a repeat performance, on Sunday morning before I could give my disclaimer, Mimi shouted, “Every rule is only made so we can break it!” 

Years ago, in ministering to a junior high group, one gorgeous young woman told the youth group on Friday night, “I wish I could be godly most of the time and sin only once in a while.  That would be the perfect life.”  Glenda often fell into sinful practices and then returned tearfully wanting God’s forgiveness.  She, of course, was an extremely gifted person but her desire to want all of God and a bit of the world held her back spiritually.

Tom and Mimi are equally gifted and they have the same tendency.  They can pray like angels.  They use godly speak to convince others of their commitment.  But their daily lives betray their hearts.  It appears that they want all of God, except on the occasions that they want what they want, when they want it.

Unable to sleep last night, I mulled over the wonder that God would break his own rules for me.  I thought of the small and big miracles in my life.  There was a time years ago that seeing a stopped car within feet of me in the middle of a slick road, I cried out to the Lord while slamming on the brakes.  The car did not slow down but it stopped instantly.  My three children who were in the car, said, “Mom, the car stopped!”  God broke the laws of physics to help me and the children.  There have been other rule breakings that were just as dramatic in our lives. 

But as my mind reviewed Tom and Mimi, I realized how closely aligned to their thinking my daily actions can be.  Of course, there will be times of falling and slips along the way.  But I must guard my heart closely that I do not accept the immature philosophy that “all of God is great, as long as I can have my own way when I want it.”

Much Ado about Nothing

Genesis 2:7 and 8

Central Theme:  God‘s greatest prize was made from dirt.

Introduction–Okay here we go again with grandbaby stories.  I went to visit my granddaugter who is 18 months old now.  She can say, “Grandmother and cracker.”  She knows what she wants and how to get it with a smile and a kiss.  Can you imagine that this little baby is a growing, thriving bundle of dirt.  Show a bag of dirt.  Have a member read Genesis 2:7 and 8.

       I.     God took the most common thing on earth, dirt, and fashioned his most prize possession, people. 

          A. When we look at the great achievements of the universe, they have all been accomplished by some bundle of dirt. 

          B. The greatest acts of love, compassion and tenderness, all come from some salt-water moistened lump of dirt.

          C. I’ve brought a picture of a great work of art, skillfully and brilliantly fashioned by dirt hands.           

      II.     We should understand our origins to fully understand ourselves.

              A. I‘m not talking about our family background. 

              1.  We need to understand that God made us from dirt.

              2.  Even science agrees with the fact that we are made from dirt.

              3.  What science cannot understand is God’s love for me as he fashioned Adam and Eve into humanity

              4.  Abstract thought cannot grasp a Creator God who loved us enough to let us have freewill that would turn and curse and revile our Creator.

              5.  Thinking people cannot grasp this God who made a way for me to be redeemed by the shed blood of his Son.

          B. God loved the dirt he had fashioned so much that He knew that only if he became dirt himself could he bring these dirty creature to himself.

              1.  He gave us everything to become like us–dirt.

Conclusion–I am dirt but because of Jesus, I am clean dirt.

People First Reception

You are cordially invited to attend

People First of Brevard 

Legislative Reception

 

Friday, February 4, 2011

from 7pm to 9pm

at Indian River City United Methodist Church

1355 Cheney Hwy (Hwy 50)

Titusville, FL  32780

 

Funded by a Self-development of People grant fromt he Central Florida Perbytery and in coordination with the Special Needs Recreation program of Brevard County and with the help of Florida United Choice. 

One of my favorite bonsai trees is a 47-year-old Ficus tree that lives at my house.   Because of the near-freezing weather invading Central Florida, I moved it into our kitchen in recent weeks.  Ficus trees don’t like to be moved–or transplanted.  Interestingly, it has not only survived the transition but flourished.  I’ve found that regular, once-a-week water and an occasional shot of fertilizer is all that is required for these sturdy trees.

For some reason people believe–as I once did–that bonsai trees are difficult to nurture.  However, I learned through experience that they are amazingly resilient plants.  Of course, the secret to survival is their root structure.  Onlookers and gardeners observing the bonsai are generally impressed by the artful curves and sculpting of the roots which may be larger than the tree itself. 

Bonsai trees and plants are stunted by placing them in small containers.  They must be maintained or they will die; but once established, minimal care allows them to thrive.  In short, given proper, regular care, bonsai plants are hard to kill. 

As I look over the congregates of Special Gathering each week, I see many people who are the human equivalent to the bonsai plant.  Each one has his/her personal story of stunned growth and tragic circumstances.  Developmental and physical disabilities have endeavored to choke them all during their complicated, yet paradoxically simple, lives.  But their spirit man–which is what makes us human–is amazingly tough.  Stunned by the faulty containers which bound them, these men and women have grown strong, rich, interesting and beautiful root structures.  These structured masses of  roots defy the circumstances of their lives and the limitations foisted on them by their brains and bodies.   

This is one of the best gifts that these men and women bring to the church, rooted lives that understand the loving, unmoving grace of God.  Yvonne grieves for your mother who has been her constant companion for more than 50 years because her mom is suffering in the hospital.  When I asked Yvonne why she was crying, I said, “Do you miss your mom?”

Yvonne’s answer came in a whimper, “Yes, but Mom is sick.”  My concern was for Yvonne.  Her concern was for her mother’s pain.  Deep roots.

Are our members who are developmentally disabled perfect?  Of course not.  They are faulty human creatures.  But when they accept Jesus as their savior, they are perfect in his sight because of the shed blood and resurrection of  Christ.  The part we see most often is the stunted tree.  The part God sees is the magnificent root structure that allows them to flourish and thrive with minimal care and attention. 

Generally, the Church has not understood the gifts that this portion of God’s family has to offer.  Therefore, out of necessity, these men and women have driven their roots deeply and firmly into the heart of God and they are magnificent to behold and to know.

It is interesting that ministries within the mentally challenged community don’t seem to be worrying about being relevant.  You see, our relevance is increasingly apparent.  As more and more children within the autism spectrum advance to adulthood, parents are seeing in larger numbers that the message and hope of Christ our Savior is what they need. 

As in the 50’s and 60’s, parents are leading the charge urging new treatment methods, improved techniques and better medications to help their children.   Recently Focus on the Family radio show replayed a program which featured Chuck Colson and his daughter, Emily sharing about her son, Max.  Now 19, Max’s disability is within the autism spectrum.  Briefly, Emily spoke about how the church could not minister to her and her son.  Later she shared how her current congregation is ministering to her son by allowing him to be an essential part of the ministry team.

The biggest problem with autism is that medical and mental health professionals have not determined exactly what autism is.  They have a set of symptoms and benchmarks which allows them to diagnose the spectrum; but not knowing whether it is a mental health or a medical issue makes a cure impossible and treatment spotty at best.

Part of the concerns of ministry within the community of people who fall within the autism spectrum is their ability to understand.  If developmental disabilities are not present, then it is finding the key which unlocks their minds and spirits to the world outside their inner turmoil.  If developmental disabilities are present, then it is still necessary to find the key which unlocks their minds and spirits to the world.  Though it is beyond our understanding, the message of Christ has become part of that key of some of our members in Special Gathering.

It has been estimated that one child in 100 will be diagnosed within the autism spectrum.  Many of these children will live happy and productive lives with a minimal amount of professional intervention.  Others will need consistent treatment and creative love to survive the chaotic world which swirls around them.  In short, they need the message of Christ’s peace and joy.

Several professionals attend Special Gathering on a regular basis.  They report to their overseers that there is a peace and joy that allows calm to reach into the hearts of the people with disabilities when they bring their residents or consumers to our local programs.  Of course, there are times…

Within the world of disabilities, there is still an open door to minister the gospel of Christ.  The message is there.  The joy and the positive effects of God’s transforming love is apparent, even to the skeptic.  Within your community, look on the fields.  There is great fruit ready for the harvest. 

As Martin Luther King’s birthday approached last Sunday, DeAnne, a Special Gathering member, wanted to know what we would do to celebrate her birthday next week.  Quickly, an elder said, “You bring the cake. We celebrate.”  DeAnne looked gravely at me and questioned, “Sure I can bring the cake.   But who will bring the ice cream?  Can’t have a birthday party unless you have ice cream.”

I often laugh with our members who are mentally challenged and tell them that their birthdays are not national holidays.  However, most of them want to celebrate the day with parades, a vacation from work and a big, big party, with lots of gifts. 

Their desire to acknowledge their birthdays probably stems from several things.  First, families know that there are not many of the normal milestones in their lives that are celebrated with them.  Getting a driver’s license, graduation from high school or college, promotions at the job site, weddings, birth of a child are all events that will pass them by as the years balloon around them.  Therefore, birthdays become important events, celebrated with parties and gifts and food.

Additionally, everyone needs a measure of positive attention.  This is their day of celebration and honor.  And it needs to be acknowledged and experienced with joy.  As a ministry, Special Gathering cannot financially afford to have more than 450 birthday parties a year for all of our members.  But we can provide a time of delighted celebration for our members when they bring the cake. 

Sadly, as DeAnne gets older, her close family ties have  dwindled. I suspect people within the mentally challenged community want this special day to be remembered by their friends because their families are no longer able to celebrate with them.  Days of celebrations can quickly become times of depression and despair, if we are alone.  Without others to join in the festivities, celebration are merely bitter-sweet memories of events and happy times lost.

I believe that God has placed in human beings the need for celebration; and he provides those times in the Scriptures for the Jewish people.  Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread,  Presentation of the First Fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Feast of Booths are days of assembly and  feasting.  Some are one day.  Others are for an entire week.  It was mandated by God that no work would be done and that the people were to rest and eat.  In fact, in the Law, the Lord said that the people were to eat whatever their eye lusted for.  “Forget the diets for those days,” God says.  “Eat and enjoy me.” 

Too often we look at what we cannot do in the Law, ignoring the many joyful things that are also prescribed for us.  We speak of love, emphasizing the hardship of loving our enemies.  Too often, we ignore the joy of delighting in every person God has created and the freedom that comes in seeking to find pleasure in God’s creative abilities as exhibited in each unique person.  We teach forgiveness to others as a duty, not explaining the liberation and emotional release that comes from actively forgiving those who have hurt and harmed us.  The Laws of God were given to enable us to live happy and productive lives.  It was not meant to put us into bondage.  They were meant to set us free to be the person God designed us to be.

As the Lenten season approaches, remember Resurrection day is coming.  In our lives we cannot forget that God only allows harsh things to happen to teach us and prune us.  We must work extra hard to impress our members with this important principle of Christian life.  That may be extra hard for me to accomplish.  For, it appears from the condition of my heart that  I have not yet gotten the point of God’s boundless love.

Over the years I’ve wondered why Jesus turned water into wine as recorded in John 2:4.  I understand Jesus’ comment to his mother, “Why come to me?  My time has not yet come.”  When teaching this passage of Scripture, I’ve always felt the emphasis should be on, “My time has not yet come.”   The fact that he did the miracle without another word isn’t a mystery, however.  I can only imagine the look Mary gave her son.  It’s the “don’t make me say that again” look that every offspring knows and obeys. 

There is another thing that confuses me about this miracle.  God doesn’t do magic tricks.  He does miracles.  There is a broad difference.  Turning water into wine (along with walking on the water) seems to lower the bar of what qualifies as a miracle.

Yet, teaching the mentally challenged community, this miracle becomes appropriate and relevant.  Life is hard for them.  Even the simplest tasks can be monumental and confusing.  Steve struggles with the mechanics of opening a car door.  While Teri masters the mechanical aspects of life, she speaks in short phrases that often don’t make sense because the confuses her negatives and positives.  “I go to the store” becomes “I not go to the store.”  Willi can memorize music quickly.  But she has no concept of time or space or money.  She tells everyone that she is 7.  Willi is thrilled with the $1 she lives on each year.  Christmas is always tomorrow.

Too often people say, “I work out my own problems in life.  I only ask God about the big stuff.”  That sounds really spiritual and gracious considering human beings are all-powerful and God is dependant on us for his next breath.  Okay, thinking logically that reasoning is a bit ridiculous. 

Perhaps the reason that the Lord turned water into wine was to show us that his miracle-working power extends into the smallest areas of our lives.  He wants us to ask; and he will respond to work everything out for our good.  The most interesting part of this story remains, “My time has not yet come.”  It appears that even though it was not fully part of God’s plan, Jesus showed his glory through this miracle anyway because his mother asked him to do it. 

Each of us realizes that the small things dominate our lives.  Song of Solomon speaks of the “little foxes that spoil my vine.”  The minute incidents of life nibble at us and eventually destroy our joy, our witness and our faith.  Early in my prayer life, I learned to take everything to the Lord.  Introducing God’s care and power into the lives of my children became extremely important to me. 

I have no problem praying for a parking spot or a break in the traffic so I can pull onto the highway.  I see no reason why I should not ask for God’s wisdom in the middle of an argument with my husband.  I pray for safety and  God’s mercy as I drive.  I ask God to help me not be so sloppy.  I pray when I hurt; and I include Him when I rejoice. 

It is the small things of life–more than the big and the monumental–that make up our lives.  God desires to be–not only included–but in the center of the small things.  Ask him and see how wonderful your miraculous life can be.

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