November 2011


I pulled the covers down from the pillows on my bed and casually looked at the time.  The digital clock on the table beside my bed read 65:11.  I wasn’t surprised that the time was wrong.  Those of us who live in Central Florida call our electric company “Florida Flicker and Flash.”  Its continual time-outs to save energy are famously annoying.  My old and reliable clock automatically goes to 12:00 whenever there is an outage.

However, the 65:11 time was a bit of a shock.  I picked up the clock to reset the time and realized that it had been turned upside down.  The settings were right.  It was the entire clock that had somehow been repositioned incorrecly.  It was actually 11:59.  Turned in the upright position, no settings had to be changed.

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.  My errant clock was like a replica of my feelings.  This past week, I’ve felt as though my entire life was running in upside-down time.  Because my husband died in May, I know that this a big part of the grief process.  But that knowledge doesn’t seem to help with my lack of orientation.

Perhaps for the first time since becoming a part of the mentally challenged community, I’m fully grasping the grief that parents and adults who are intellectually disabled feel.  I’m so thankful that my husband is no longer in pain.  I know he is in heaven.  I’m secure that he would never want to come back.  I’m even looking forward to the adventures that await me.

However, because unexpected problems have also raised their ugly heads, I feel paralyzed by my life right now.  I MUST press forward and finish the tasks required but my body doesn’t seem to want to respond.  My feet won’t move.  My mind won’t operate because it’s in tilt position.  This must be what many parents and people within our community feel much of the time.

There is such joy within our community; but I’ve known there are also resilient apprehension and even despair.  I’ve been surrounded by it and seen the evidence.  When a member is moved by the State to another location against their will, I’ve felt it.  When funding is cut, I understood the circumstances.  But until now, I’ve not been enveloped with an upside-knowledge that time isn’t on my side.

Upside-down time is disorienting and can cause concerns and depression.  However, I praise God that this is a temporary condition, not a permanent state of affairs.  God never intends for us to stay in upside-down time for long.  He wants to turn our lives upright and teach us the values of living godly lives that are pointed toward His will and His ways.

JOY!

It’s Christmas Time

A Christmas play and cantata performed by The Special Gathering of Indian River

Vero Program

7:00PM

Saturday, December 3

at Tabernacle Ministries

51 Old Dixie Highway, Vero Beach, Florida

Dress rehearsal begins at 3:30pm.  Light supper will be served for the actors before the play.

Refreshments will be served after the play

Melbourne Program

Sunday, December 4

at First United Methodist Church of Melbourne

110 E New Haven Avenue, Melbourne, Florida

Dress rehearsal begins at 4:30

Refreshments will be served after the play

I have attached Pat Cunningham’s new Benefits Connection schedule. Pat is mutually supported by Second Harvest Food Bank and United Way of Brevard to assist people with their Food Stamp application including the interview required by the program, submitting documents and verifying case status. In addition, there are benefits that this same population may qualify for, such as Medicaid and KidCare.

ACCESS Florida is the service delivery model for economic self-sufficiency services.  It is based on streamlined workflows, policy simplification and technology innovations.  ACCESS Florida provides enhanced access to services through a combination of Department staff and community providers. Recognized as a national model, this service delivery system offers eligible clients a self-directed path to economic services seven days a week, 24-hours a day through a web application and an integrated voice response system.  This system makes it easier and faster for clients and potential clients to apply and access information about their accounts.

Since the service delivery system is online, some individuals who may qualify for assistance may not be receiving help because they do not have access to a computer or have difficulty using a computer. Pat Cunningham sets up sites throughout the County to reach out to those who are most vulnerable and in the greatest need. I have attached his schedule so that you might refer individuals who need assistance with applying for state benefits.

Donna Peters is also employed by Second Harvest as a Benefits Connection Outreach Worker and has sites in Cocoa, Melbourne, and Palm Bay. You may contact the Benefits Connection Program at (407) 295-2777 to obtain her schedule.

Thank you,

 

Keith Heinly/  Manager, Community Impact /  United Way of Brevard
 937 Dixon Blvd., Cocoa, FL 32922  /  tel: 321.631.2740 / fax: 321.631.2007 /http://www.uwbrevard.org  


       


God will give us the power to confront

Acts 17:30

Central Theme:  We are able to confront others because God gives us that power.

 Introduction–Have your label out of your dress and have someone come up and tell you about it.  Ask, “Has this ever happened to you?” Use other examples,   Paper caught on your shoe.  Tell about the woman who had paper hanging from her dress as she walked through the airport.  No one told her.  Telling people bad things is hard but Paul contronted people when they were wrong.  Have a member read Acts 17:30.

I.     Tell about how Paul went to Athens and told the people they were wrong.

A. They had all kinds of gods.

B. Paul said, I want to tell you about the Unknown God–Jesus.

II.     Being able to confront is hard but it will help us grow.

A. Bring a pearl and a shell.

B. A piece of sand gets in the shell and the little oyster trys to get it out.

C. When we have the courage to confront we help others.

III.     Sometimes we take liberties that we should not take–other times we are shy.

A. Don’t talk to strangers.

B. Don’t be too quick to criticize others–Criticizing is not confronting.

C. But we should learn how to take criticism.

D. Reach out in love and tell people when they are wrong

Conclusion      Paul had the courage to confront.  We need to take a stand against wrong and be willing to be confronted when we are wrong.

I’m a child of the deep South and snow isn’t part of my heritage.  Only two years ago, I walked in the snow for the first time.  I slid down a hill covered with soft flakes and I felt the cold as I sank almost to my waist in a snow drift.


For me winter means that the cacti bloom while the geese call our warm lakes and shores their home.  The grass may turn brown but only during the deepest winter months.

More than the warmer weather, there is much to love about a Southern winter.  The ocean waves grow stronger during the last and first months of the year.  For almost a mile, you can hear their roaring from open windows as the night turns to morning when the evening traffic has ended and the morning commuters are still sleeping.  The manatee return to the protection of the warm lagoons and springs.

People explore our streets all during the nights and day.  Walkers amble in pairs discussing the events of the day.  A dog and her master casually investigate every tree and bush at 1AM.  The late night walkers are up until about 2AM.  The early morning walkers begin around 4AM.  Especially during the winter, there is a security knowing that neighbors are making their daily patrols because these winter nightly strolls aren’t forbidden because of snow and sleet.

While the scorching afternoon summer heat forbids playing outside, from December to March, children shed their sweaters in the afternoon as they run through the neighborhoods.  School yards are filled with coatless children jumping rope or playing basketball,  football and soccer.  In the high schools located blocks from the ocean, when the surfers shout between classes, “Surf’s up!” teachers and administrators wink knowing there will be an early exit for the most ardent surfers.

During winter in the deep South, there is always a call for the renewing of our faith in the months when Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day are celebrated.  As a child, early winter was the time of fervent revivals.  The children slept on the church pews while our parents sang and worshiped.  Now, the times of renewal are still present but they come during Sunday morning or during a quiet neighborhood Bible study.

No matter where we are located, even if  we live with a disability, each of us experiences the blessings of wintertime.  However, for me, the South holds a variety that is unique for our region of the nation.  It’s a special blessing to be here in the winter.

As I left an event which our members had attended, I was once again saddened that there are so many mentally challenged people who live in our community who are still unchurched.  We were all attending a fall festival that is sponsored by the AKtion Club.

Bob walked all by himself.  When I spoke to him, he was genuinely pleased.  Yet he soon wandered off by himself again because he isn’t close friends with anyone.  He is a bit higher functioning than many people in our community but not beyond most members of The Special Gathering.  He needs friends but mostly he needs the One who desires to be his Best Friend and Redeemer.

Seven young people in our community were hanging together laughing too loudly and being inappropriate.  Behind the silly giggles, their looks were much like those of many young people their age–lost and afraid.  They know I’m “the pastor.”  When I approached, they scatter like roaches, laughing in embarrassment.  I wish I knew them well enough so they knew they could trust me and the Savior my presence represents to them.

Of course, I was met with hugs and joyful greetings by most of the people in our cloistered sub-culture but my heart aches for those who aren’t sure they can trust me.  I hunger to share with them the love of the Lord.

Who are some of the people you meet within the disability community who aren’t comfortable with the Lord?

This year has been a bell-ringing year for me.  In May, my husband died.  While miss him terribly, there is a peace that he is with the Lord.

A big part of that peace has come because the people I love the most have given their best to me.  It is hard to stand facing Thanksgiving Day and not feel a deep sense of love and appreciation for the people who have poured themselves into my life.

My children take time to visit and phone me.  We are all busy and we respect the time restrains of full lives.  But they have called to reassure me of their love.  Some of their visits have been longer than usual.  A few of them have been too short for the amount of time and money it takes to get here.  They check my Facebook entries everyday to be sure I’m all right.  They text and email me often.  My children and grandchildren have shown me such respect that I’m overwhelmed.

Additionally, my siblings have come to Florida simply to let me know that I’m loved.  My older sister has come again and again.  She laughs that she is taking advantage but I know that she is coming out of respect for me.  When she comes, she often piles other people I love into her vehicle.  For a few days, my home is once again filled with the laughter of children and the delights of food prepared for the masses.

My friends who are living near have surrounded me each day with their love and respect.  I’m invited to their home for Fourth of July and Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Even their family’s birthday celebrations have become my time to be included.  Each week, I have more activities than I could ever attend included in my calendars.  My Special Gathering members have reached out to express a healing touch.  One lady prays for me several times each day.  Frankly, her family is getting a bit tired to her prayer routine but I’m not.  She has become the embodiment of Paul’s admonition to prayer at all times.

As I approach Thanksgiving this year, I’ve experienced first hand how respect for the people we love can transform a time of grief and despair into a period of loving reflection.  I thank God for each person who has helped and called.  I’m deeply grateful that people I love have given to me the best of their love.

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,” she said.

I stopped wanting to take note of who was speaking; but The Head had disappeared from the screen as they often do.  While The Head was gone, her point stuck.  I reached into my pocket and found 10 crumpled $1 bills.  I stopped to straighten the errant bills and put them back where they belonged.  Then I decided to take a survey the other possessions I have that I’ve disrespected.

I placed a towel that had fallen on the floor into the dirty clothes hamper.  This morning as I dressed, I had carelessly stepped on the towel rather than pick it up. Then I attempted to repair the blinds in a bedroom that had been broken by the last guests in our home.  I had spent a few minutes trying to straighten it but concluded that it would be easier to buy something new than keep fiddling with the cranky window covering.  Miraculously, after an additional ten minutes or so, I found the secret to the repair and the blinds obeyed my command to go back to its lower position.

I wiped the inside of my refrigerator and freezer where I’d neglected spills.  I straightened my food pantry and removed the out-of-date items.  I cleaned out the bottom of my cabinet where I keep those glass jars when the jelly is gone.

These were the easy fixes.  My monthly bill file drawer will take more than 10 minutes to return to its proper location.  The garden in the back of our house will be a day project.  My dented auto will put my traveling out of commission for about a week when it’s repaired.

The people who dwell in that mixed-bag called the mentally challenged community are sometimes void of an appreciation for what they have.  At times, it’s a part of their disability.  Terri is an exception.  She can’t understand the difference between a nickel and a $1,000 bill.  But over the years, her parents have taught her to appreciate the things she possesses.  They are proudly displayed and carefully dusted each week.

Once again, the Lord had spoken to me through an unusual source, the TV Talking Head.  But it’s a lesson I seen worked out through my friend, Terri. Thanksgiving must be a time for prayers of thankfulness.  However,  showing respect for the many things God has given to me will show my thanksfulness in tangible ways.

This is an email received from Dayle Olsen telling friends and colleagues about his resignation from Brevard Achievement Center in Rockledge, Florida effective May 31, 2012.

November 2011

“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose…” 

                                                                “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by Pete Seeger

“Turn! Turn! Turn” is one of my favorite songs simply because Pete Seeger brought to life a message I firmly believe – there really is a time for things to happen and that everything does happen for a reason. 

When I arrived at the Brevard Achievement Center 27 years ago, I knew I was sent for a purpose; I just had no idea what that purpose really was!  Now I know why I have been here all these years – because of what we do.  The lives we change, the successes that we see and the satisfaction of assisting persons with a disability are a few of the reasons I found my purpose at BAC.  That’s why I know that this is the time when my “season” at BAC should end.    

Last night I informed the BAC Board of Directors that I would be stepping down as agency President effective May 31, 2012.  The Board will organize a search committee and begin looking for my successor in January.

I share my news with you because during my years at BAC you have not only shown support to the agency, but to me personally.  My time at BAC could have been filled with difficult tasks, but because of the encouragement you gave me I only have had moments of happiness at the agency.  Thank you for believing in me. 

I will miss being at BAC every day and spending time with clients and, of course, our incredible staff and Board of Directors.  It makes me proud to know that together we have made BAC the gold standard among our peers.  It’s because of my confidence in the foundation we have built that I know this is the right time for me to step down and for someone new to take charge.    

So what am I going to do with myself?  There is still so much that needs to be done to assist persons with a disability that I plan to stay involved in the industry, just playing a more distant role.  As many of you know music also is a passion of mine and one that I will continue to nurture.  Plus, who knows, I may finally take another trip to Europe to visit friends, see the Alps and drink some German beer.

Again, thank you for being a part of my life at BAC over the past 27 years.  You truly have made my time meaningful. 

Dayle

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

While dealing with the grief associated with my husband’s death and major life changes which go along with this realignment of my life, I’m not happy about these other obstacles hitting my life.

It was only one month after I learned about the audit that I received a letter from my insurance company. When I was told I could be sued, I asked the Lord what was the lesson He wanted to teach me from these two bad situations. Immediately, He spoke to my heart, “I want you to learn to enjoy the journey.”

God isn’t shaken by the IRS or a person who claimed he wasn’t injured until a lawyer contacted him. The Lord knew that I would be facing these circumstances in the middle of a major life-changing event. God isn’t wringing his hands, deeply concerned or sweating in anxiety.

But is this God’s plan for me? Learn to enjoy the journey? An ancient Chinese proverb says, “Today is the tomorrow you dreamt about yesterday.” Sounds wise; but what does the Bible say about my situation?

When the people of Judea were sent to Babylon in exile, they were told by God to build houses, marry and have children. The Lord, through Jeremiah, said that they would be in exile for 70 years; and they shouldn’t waste their time desiring to go home. What was God’s plan for his children while in exile? Enjoy the journey.

Too often we don’t take time to thankful for where we find ourselves at the moment. Instead we anxiously attempt to forecast what will be the next tornado. We can’t enjoy lunch because we are concerned there will be no dinner. We don’t sleep peacefully because we fret that we may not be able to function tomorrow.

Everyday I am confronted by people whose children and loved ones face debilitating diseases and circumstances. These aren’t people who sinned but they were born with special needs. This portion of our population almost never endures their trip through life. They remain sincerely grateful for the journey. A Thanksgiving value that could replace much of my worry and fitful unbelief is having a grateful heart for each new day. The question I’m asking myself is Am I ready to show true thankfulness this Thanksgiving day by enjoying the journey?

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/simplelife/2011/11/a-thanksgiving-value-enjoying-the-journey.html#ixzz1eR3qm26S

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 hard.  Ordering an unsweetened iced tea when others are having cheese cake or ice cream is brutal.  But when my body began to tell me that I had a sugar problem I tried to listen and respond.

Waiting for Friday represents hard work to me.  I find that it’s the same with the Lord.  God wants to give us good things but he often makes us wait for them.  In one of my most unfavorite verses  Acts 1:7, Jesus said to them, “The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. These things are not for you to know.”  

Of course, we remember the story of David and Saul.  Saul was king but God had rejected him and anointed David.  After David figured out God’s plan, he tried repeatedly to kill David.

Saul even took his entire army out to find David.  But as the Lord often works, David and his army found Saul and his army first. When David found them, Saul was asleep.  David was given the perfect opportunity kill the king who no longer pleased God.  But David did not kill Saul.

David was willing to wait because he understood that God had made Saul king and God had not stopped Saul’s reign.  Saul was still king.  David showed respect for Saul and for God by showing restraint and allowing Saul to live.  As David found out, waiting for God to do good things in our lives can be painfully hard.

However, God has used David’s example to teach us that God expects us to wait on him to make good things happen.  Sometimes, it seems that the places in our pathway and easy way out.  This does make waiting especially hard.

I have to be honest, given David’s circumstances, I don’t know that I would’ve found the grace to wait on God.  Too often, I try to make things happen in my life.

Like David, however, there are some things we can do when we are waiting on the Lord.

1)   I can pray.

2)  I can daily remind myself of God’s promises to me.

3)   I should keep busy doing good while waiting.  This exercise will prepare me for the future plans God had promised.

4)  I can continue to believe that God will do what he has promised.

It is a fact that God wants to do good things for us but he will make us wait for the good things to happen.  This week we are all preparing for Thanksgiving.  Our hearts are primed to look for things for which we are thankful.  Perhaps one of the things we should be most thankful is that God doesn’t give us everything the moment we ask for it.  He allows us to wait for his working in our hearts and in the hearts and lives of others.

We Must Wait on God to be able to help Us

Acts 1:7

Central Theme:  God wants to be able to wait on him to get ready to do things for us.

Introduction–Tell group that we have a special treat but they will have to wait for me.  Take a while with messing around.  Then bring out the chocolate.  We will still have to wait for the chocolate because we can’t eat in this room.  Waiting can be hard.  God wants to give us good things but he often makes us wait for them.  Have a member read Acts 1:7.

I.     Tell the story of David and Saul

A. Saul was the king and he was out hunting for David to be able to kill David.

B. David and his army found Saul and his army; Saul was asleep; David did not kill Saul.

1.  David was willing to wait because he knew that Saul was still king.

2.  He showed respect for Saul and for God.

3.  Waiting for God to do good things in our lives is very hard.

II.     God expects us to wait on him to make good things happen.

A. This is hard.

B. We try to make things happen.

III.     There are some things we can do when we are waiting.

1.  Pray.

2.  Remind yourself of God’s promises to you.

3.  Keep busy doing good while you are waiting.

A.      This will prepare you for the future.

4.  Keep believing that God will do what he has promised.

Conclusion      God wants to do good things for us but he will make us wait for the good things to happen.

sponsored by logo

 

Community Autism Resources Forum

January 16, 2012

Holiday Inn

8298 N. Wickham Rd.

Melbourne, FL 32940

10:00 am – 12:00 pm
(doors open at 9:30 am, Vendor Arrival at 9:00 am)
logobar
Dear Professional, 

Our center is sponsoring a community-wide Autism Resources Forum on January 16, 2012 to introduce families impacted by autism to the life-changing resources available to them in their own backyard.  At this event, we’ll be featuring a number of local organizations that provide care or resources to the autism community, and we’d love to feature your group.

 

We’re anticipating great media coverage and turnout, especially since our keynote speakers will be “The Biggest Loser” stars Phil and Amy Parham, who lost more than 250 pounds on the reality TV show.  As Phil and Amy shared with millions who watched their “Biggest Loser” journey, they are the parents of an autistic child.  In fact, they say that the stress and pain of autism’s impact on their family contributed to the extreme weight gain as they turned to food for comfort.

 

The Parhams are entertaining and engaging speakers, and families who hear their story not only identify with their experiences, they get plenty of practical information and insights as well.

 

We also want families and professionals attending to hear about what you do. If you’d like to be a part of this exciting and informative evening with families in our community, can you let me know as soon as possible? Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis, so I need to know soon if you’re planning on joining us. Click the Vendor Registration Form link below to print and complete.  Have questions?  Email tclark@learningrx.net for more information.

 

As soon as I hear back from you, I’ll send you a promo-packet you can use to let your staff, clients and contacts know your organization is being featured at this high profile event, and invite them to attend.

 

As you well know, autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in America and, as a spectrum-disorder, it impacts individuals and their families very differently. Families dealing with autism need every resource they can get to help them manage and improve their lives.

 

We couldn’t be more excited about partnering with other groups in our community to let families know that help and hope is out there!

Please print and complete theVendor Registration Formand return to:

 

LearningRx

225 5th Avenue

Suite 7

Indialantic, FL 32903

I’m very much looking forward to partnering with you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Terri Clark

Owner/Director

LearningRx of Melbourne

(321) 727-3996

A Thankful Response

Photo by Nevin Communications

Photo by Nevin Communications

At 40 years old, Brenda Solomon got pregnant with Lon and Brenda’s fourth child. Thrilled, their baby girl, Jill, was born beautiful and perfect.  At three months old, however, Jill began to seizure.  Quickly, the malady turned into grand maul seizures which were continuous.  Rev. Lon Solomon is a successful pastor at McLean Bible Church in metropolitan DC.  Their family was active with their boys’ sporting events and continual teen/preteen activities.  “Our lives stopped.  Life became one seizure after another.  Everything else was erased.”

After two and a half years, the family, especially Brenda, was exhausted. She had no sleep.  Nervous energy and acute awareness of her daughter’s critical condition kept her going.  Sitting in the middle of the floor one morning, Brenda was singing to Jill as she seizured.  Jill broke down.  Her weeping transformed into prayer as she pleaded with God, “Father, if my daughter must go through this suffering, please use her life in a mighty way for Your glory.”

Thankful Answer to Prayer

Photo by Victoria Ross/The Connections

In desperation, Brenda Solomon, pastor’s wife at McLean Bible Church, had prayed that the Lord would use her daughter’s life and disability in a mighty way.  She and her family were exhausted from two and a half years of concern and sleepless nights.  After the prayer, that afternoon the phone rang.  It was a stranger whom the Lord directed to call.  Brenda felt this was an answer to prayer; and she poured out her heart.  The stranger responded with help.  A corps of volunteers was organized by this Christian messenger-of-mercy.  These folks poured through the Solomon home for years.  As a thankfulness response, the vision of Jill’s House was born. The Solomon’s know the desperate need for a safe place for families to bring their children with disabilities, thereby giving them time to rest, regather and recoup.

Thankful Birth of a dream

Photo by Victoria Ross/The Connection

After years of prayer, a corporation was formed to build a respite facility.   But Mrs. Brenda Solomon, mother of Jill who is a child with special needs, admits she knew nothing about constructing a facility to accommodate the respite care needs of fragile children and their families.  After seven years of research, study and fund-raising, the $12.7 million respite center was built without government funds or support.  Jill’s House is a 43,000 square foot, 30 bedroom, state-of-the-art facility.  The accommodations  include a play ground, three indoor pools and a music room.  Jill Solomon was assisted by her parents in cutting the ribbon to open the facility in October 2010.  Brenda’s voice smiles as she recalls the event.  It was a wonderful day, filled with thankful joys.

Thankful Parents

The McNeil Family

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than remembering the care and love children with special needs receive at Jill’s House.  From the day of the grand opening in October 2010, this cutting-edge facility strives to provide quality care that insures that families feel secure about leaving their children for a few days.  Shannon McNeil and her family are enthusiastic supporters of Jill’s House.  They are involved in the fund-raising activities as a thankful response for the care their daughter Waverly has received.

“There are hours of preparation to be accepted as a participant at Jill’s House,” Shannon McNeil reported.  “But the result is that when Waverly walked into the door the first time, the staff and volunteers knew her complete routine.  They were able to meet her needs and anticipate her desires.  Waverly was totally comfortable at Jill’s House.”

Thankful Memories

Waverly enjoys life

Waverly enjoys life

Parents and families who give birth to and live with special needs children each day, do not hide their sorrows.  They quickly express the pain that haunts their lives.  Shannon McNeil shared on one of her blog entries, “I miss Waverly’s voice.”  Because both her children–Waverly who is eight and Oliver who is four–have a progressive disease called San Fillippo Syndrome.  These children appear to be progressing normally until they are about 12 months old.  At that age they start to lose their physical and cognitive abilities.  But it is not the pain and hurt that reaching into the deepest parts of their spirit.  It is joyful thankfulness for their exceptional children.  Most parents say, “I could not understand unconditional love until my child with special needs was born.  He loves me unconditionally.”

Thankfulness Fills the Lives of Families of Children with Special Needs

Waverly using chair as added support

The Solomon family and the McNeil Family from Washington DC are a minute sampling of the millions of families in our nation whose children have disabilities.   They readily share the joy and love these marvelous children bring into their lives.  For the McNeil’s, Jill’s House has become an important extension of her joy-filled life.  “Waverly has been able to stay at Jill’s House four weekends.  She has also had four week-long camp experiences.  This facility has brought such joy to her.  Additionally, rest and peace of mind to us.”  As the San Fillippo Syndrome rips Oliver of his abilities, Shannon McNeil said, “We are able to give him one-on-one time while Waverly is cared for with love.”  When you speak to and live with these courageous parents, there is unspeakable love and a deep abiding thankfulness to the Lord for his gracious provision.   “Our children are our greatest joy,” Shannon McNeil reports.  “We thank God each day for their lives.”

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