accidentSaturday afternoon, during choir practice, I got a phone call from a colleague, who said, “My wife and I have just been in at terrible accident. Can you cover for me tomorrow?” This is a person who downplays everything. Therefore, his admission regarding the  severity of the accident set me into caution mode.

Having him interrupt choir, when he knows my schedule was another cautionary note.  After seeing the pictures, it’s obvious that accident was terrible.  A truck rear-ended their auto.  After the accident, driver of the truck could not move his body.  In addition, the impact of the accident slammed my colleague’s vehicle into the car in front of them.  This person was also seriously injured.

All indications from the damage done to the cars and the injuries the others received, it is a miracle that my co-workers were not critically injured.  But they were not.

Earlier that day, the news media reported that an entire neighborhood was covered with mud in California.  However, no one was hurt.  People were saying this was truly a miracle.

prudenceThese are two incidences of God’s miraculous work in the world today. As wonderful as miracles are, there needs to be a word of prudence given.

Discretion teaches to never use the word, “miracle” in a loose manner.  It seems that often when Christians are speaking to each other and to non-believers, we use the word miracles as frequently as possible.  We get a parking space after prayer; and we let everyone know that it’s a miracle.  We are able to safely cross a heavily traveled highway by foot; and it’s a miracle.

Understand, I’m not saying that these things are not miracles.  I am  saying that describing everything that happens in our lives as a miracle weakens our witness with the outside world.  It is important that we protect our witness regarding God’s intrigity and our relationship.

Years ago, I learned from a wise friend that many things are too sacred to be shared.  This has been hard for me because I like to tell everything.  When we throw out these sacred bits of information, we open ourselves and our witness to criticism.

We don’t fully understand the reason why the Lord often admonished people who had received great miracles in their lives. “Don’t tell anyone what has happened to you,”  Jesus advised. Perhaps one reason is that these things are too personal and too holy to be thrown out for critique and misunderstanding.


AAIDD Colleagues:

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) seeks applicants for the position of Editor of its peer-reviewed journal, American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AJIDD), for a term of four years that shall begin in mid-2014 and with the first issue under the direction of this Editor to be January 2015.

About AJIDD

First published in 1896, AJIDD is among the top-ranked, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary publications reporting current and critical research in the biological, behavioral, and educational sciences. AJIDD contains high-quality, original contributions to the literature on intellectual disability, its causes, treatment, and prevention. AAIDD publishes the journal bimonthly (January, March, May, July, September, and November).

AJIDD is distinct from AAIDD’s other multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journals, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and Inclusion. IDD focuses on the application of emerging policies, innovative practices, and transformative concepts, and Inclusion presents and discusses evidence-based interventions and strategies that promote the full inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in society.

Qualifications and Responsibilities 

Qualifications for the position are an established record of scholarship in the disabilities field, managerial skills necessary to oversee the editorial cycle, and the ability to attract and retain respected experts to the editorial advisory board.

The major responsibilities of the Editor of AJIDD include:

•    Overseeing the peer review of approximately 100 manuscripts per year;
•    Soliciting high-quality manuscripts from potential authors, deciding which manuscripts to publish, and assisting authors advance their manuscripts to publication;
•    Selecting a sufficient pool of competent reviewers to reach conclusions and make decisions on manuscripts in a timely fashion;
•    Identifying and appointing qualified members to an editorial advisory board; and
•    Providing a clear vision for the direction of the Journal.

Applicants must have clear employer or institutional support for this activity for the duration of their appointment, including release time and general office support. AAIDD does not pay for office space or release time, but can provide basic financial support for the IDD Editor, which may include funds for clerical assistance, office supplies, postage, and telephone beyond what will be provided by the Editor’s home institution. Since the support offered by different institutions varies widely, interested individuals are encouraged to contact the appropriate office of their employer in order to ensure the feasibility of your application.

Application Process 

Interested individuals should prepare and submit an application via email. The application must include:

•    Letter of Application that describes your qualifications for the role of Editor of IDD, such as past experience as an editor or member of an editorial team, history of scholarship in the field, and demonstrated capacity to manage deadlines and to attract and retain contributors to projects.
•    Vision Statement that provides a clear description of your vision for IDD under your leadership. Set forth your goals and plans for the content of the Journal, with an assessment of the current strengths, weaknesses, or gaps that you plan to address and how you will operationalize your plan.
•    Vita or Resume that accurately portrays your experience, indicates your current affiliations, and lists your current contact information.
•    Evidence of Institutional Support, which may be a letter of support or other documentation from your employer that describes the level of support (release time and general office support) available should you be selected for the position.

Applications will be reviewed by the Search Committee immediately after the submission deadline. Interviews will be conducted by phone and the selected candidate will be expected to disclose any potential conflicts of interest prior to appointment and annually thereafter throughout his or her term of service.

Applications will be accepted via email only. Send application packets to Margaret Nygren, EdD, Executive Director, at mnygren@aaidd.org by December 13, 2013.

Marc J. Tasse, PhD, FAAIDD
Chair, AJIDD Editor Search Committee

Last week we started learning new music at The Special Gathering Vero and Melbourne choirs.   I am the director of three of the six choirs at Special Gathering, a ministry within the intellectual disability community.  Our choirs sing in local churches and during our chapel services.  Our purpose in traveling to other congregations is to educate the church to the spiritual needs of people who are mentally challenged.

Trying to keep the choirs more interested in newer music, I often let them choose the new songs.  Because our members memorize the music, it takes a bit longer to teach them the words and melody.  Therefore I begin about three or four months before they will preform the songs.  This new music contains the songs we’ll be singing in the summer and fall.

During the time we were going over the new selections, Anna kept wandering away in her mind.  Lucy and Nancy were nodding off.  Only Sheila was awake and perky during the half hour that we were rehearsing the new numbers.  After we had sung the new pieces once, maybe twice, we jumped into the older music that we knew.  Immediately, Anna was centered. Lucy and Nancy woke up with smiles.  Their grins returned and they were laughing and happy to sing our older melodic friends.

When I went back to college as an adult, I was taught something that I had not previously learned at school.  One professor lectured, “We all learn better in bits and pieces.  A few minutes here and there; and we will absorb new information better than sitting down and cramming in one long stretch.”  As a child, I didn’t make excellent grades.  Therefore, I wasn’t considered a good student; but during those years, I did learn how to learn.  In reality I wasn’t memorizing facts; but I was learning the essence of learning.

Each afternoon, I came home from school and did my written work while watching TV.  When I was studying for tests, however, I did that while washing dishes or taking a shower.  I was absorbing bits and pieces.  In addition, because I was a more tactical learner, I would better able to associate and assimilate the facts I needed while doing another task.  Sitting in a quiet room armed with only bare facts accomplished nothing except to pile unneeded stress on me.

If you are wanting to learn, it is important to take it easy.  Take the time needed.  The Bible tells us that we learn about God’s ways “line upon line, precept upon precept.”  Turns out that all of us who learn, learn best the way God prescribed.  It is interesting that Isaiah gave us this valuable information more than 2,400 years ago.

Years ago, our children moved to South Louisiana.  All hot sauce and especially Tabasco sauce is a BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC deal in South Louisiana.  Therefore, we had to visit the Tabasco Welcome Center because it is one of their greatest tourist attractions.  Both my husband and I loved the tour and the wholesome, HOT environment.

I’ve always enjoyed hot sauce as a condiment. But before our visit to that HOT Welcome Center, my husband refused to eat anything that was spicy hot.  Even black pepper was banned from my kitchen, lest it accidentally fall onto his plate.  After that visit, however, he became a Tabasco Sauce connoisseur.  He purchased a Tabasco Sauce coffee cup and that became his favorite cup.  He wanted Tabasco Sauce at the table for every meal,especially breakfast.  He requested it at restaurants and sprinkled it liberally on his food.

His visit to the Tabasco Factory Welcome Center had transformed his eating.

Interestingly, I’ve found the same is true with Special Gathering.  Most people are extremely hesitant to even visit our program.  It is as though intellectual disability will fall onto them accidentally and they might catch something.  Yet, if a person ever “visits our Welcome Center,” they are usually transformed. Our members and their inclusive, loving and enthusiastic ways become part of their cultural experience.  They usually want to and do come back.

A retired pastor and his wife often visit our program.  They have been immersed within the culture for years because their son is a popular young man within our community. Yet, they come to Special Gathering whenever he is not preaching somewhere else.   They could attend any church but they chose to worship with our chapel members because the members love them and, in return, they have come to love our members.

In much the same way we jump into a pool on a hot, sultry day, each of us reaches into different experiences with a variety of reactions .  Some are hesitant, creeping into the water slowly.  Others dive in gracefully.  Many simply jump, feet first.  However, I’ve found that when a person is fully immersed in the pool water, they want to stay in the refreshing coolness as long as possible.  It doesn’t matter how hesitant or forward they were in entering the experience.

The key to enjoying other cultures and new experiences may be immersed–or being baptized.   Perhaps this the reason that the Lord insisted that baptism become a part of the Christian experience.  There is no way to truly enjoy or become a real part of an experience without total immersion.

ImageEach year, Special Gathering of Indian River partners with the Brevard County Rec Department to provide special events.  This Saturday, we will be taking a group of SpG members to SeaWorld, an amusement park in Orlando.  These trips are a great time of fellowship and growth.

I’m responsible for 34 people who will be attending.  I’m not supervising these people; but I am gathering their information and helping to get their tickets.

However, I find several things that I cannot understand.  First, I go over my list of people who are attending several times.  I keep a complete and thorough list.  Every person gives me their money and I record the amount they gave me.  I don’t let anyone get away with not paying.  Yet, I, occasionally, manage to have less money that I should have.  Usually, it is only a few dollars so it isn’t a financial burden.  It is a source of frustration though.

ImageMy questions is:  Where does that $3 go?  Is there a hole in an envelop somewhere? Have I lost my ability to count?  This week I’ve gathered the money for the 34 tickets and I face the same dilemma.

Perhaps, it is like the proverbial sock that disappears in the short journey when transferring from the dirty clothes hamper to the dryer.  My problem is not the amount of money that disappears but WHERE has it gone?

Do you have any answers?  Does this ever happen to you?  Is this a sign of stress?  Perhaps, there is a simple explanation.  Can you help?

This is a great post that you will want to read.  I found it at youthguyerik.  Click on this link and you will be able to read it.