Monthly Archives: June 2009

On Prayer and Journaling

Recently, our Bible Study class had a discussion about prayer, prayer times, location, etc.

I have a dear friend I visit daily (comes in my inbox) and she shared a great post on prayer, journaling and scripture reading. Visit Ann. Without the “e”. She is an inspiring and gifted writer and mom.

Two weeks ago, if you searched for me online, I was scarce. I was house sitting/dog sitting for my mother and Grandbuddy as they were involved in a missions work project in Central Florida at a new developing orphanage.

It was nice to have break from the same roads and routine. I was blessed to be able to attend my home church, Carmel Assembly of God, where the Spirit of the LORD reigns–and rains. A powerful, anointed message was preached—as the old sign by the road used to read, “We make no apology for old time religion”. I shout a hearty “Amen!”

The old sign is gone, but the sentiment remains. Strong and firm. Just as He requires us to be.

Strong and firm. In our faith. In His strength. He doesn’t call us to walk this road alone, He’s there.

If you want to hear more….I’m over at the Cafe` on Monday 🙂

Photobucket



Two Things…

First —the winner of the BOOK by author, Karen Mayer Cunningham, Defying Autism, is…(drum roll please) (Randomly selected by the “Random Number Generator”) Karen of “Hallelujah Anyhow“!

Congratulations Karen!

Second—YOU have got to go see Mary Snyder! She has got the cutest video up of the retreat!

Okay, next up—we have our darlin’ sista and friend all the way from California— Girls, again, this is just a peek at the sweet teachers/speakers/friends we have lined up for you to hear! OR, should I say, God has lined up!

Third…I know…I said two things…well the third thing is….I have MUCH catching up to do!

Come on back! The week will be FULL!

Photobucket


Defying Autism. Interview with the Author!



You have a real mix of talents in addition to being an author. Will you please tell us about yourself?

I am a stand up comic and speaker with a passion to impart truth and hope to people and to remind them that God is still purposed to have them move into their destiny.

Your new book, Defying Autism, is about your son, James. Will you tell us a little about him?


James is my first born, the apple of my eye. He was born right on time, perfect in every way. He progressed and hit all of the appropriate markers ahead of time. He was one of those vey easy babies that you could pass to anyone and he was still a happy baby. He was pointing and babbling at a year, and into everything!

He sounds adorable! At what point, did you start to notice that something was wrong?


We took James in for his 18-month check up and shots, after which his behavior took a dramatic, turn for the worse. When we brought him home, he would run to the same spot in the hall and stand with his back to the wall and slam his head backwards into the sheetrock. To say this was upsetting was an understatement, but then I thought maybe this is the dreaded terrible twos, or little boys are rough. So we would redirect him and send him on his way. The redirecting stopped working; it was though he could not stop behaving this way. He had many other strange habits, obsessive behaviors that began to appear. He would eat the little pieces of sheetrock, where he had actually put a hole in the sheetrock, he pulled the wallpaper off and ate it, he pulled up the corners of the carpet and ate the foam underneath it, he ate the rubber lining out of our car doors, he watched videos for hours standing in front of the TV.

What did you do? Who did you go to for help?


First we went to other parents of children. I owned a salon so I had the free advice every hour from women who had “already been through it”. I wanted to believe as they all said, that this is a phase, this is the two’s, little boys do strange things. We then went to professionals, pediatricians, speech therapists, ENT specialist, pediatric specialist, state agencies, MHMR and of course our church for lots and lots of prayer.

What can you tell us about autism?


Autism is a severely handicapping disorder that begins at birth or with in the first two and half years of life. For many years autism occurred in 5 out of 10,000 births, however since the early 1990’s the rate is now calculated at 1 in 150 births. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time in disturbing behaviors, which are marked differently from those of normal children. They may stare into space for hours, throw uncontrollable tantrums, show no interest in people including their parents, and pursue strange repetitive activities with no apparent purpose. They have been described as living in a world of their own. Some autistic children have remarkable giftings in certain areas such as music or mathematics, and all need help.

What was your greatest fear?


My greatest fear was losing my child at five or ten years, or as an adult, to an institution. I would watch the movie Rain Main over and over again and assume that would be the best outcome for my son.

What was a typical day like for you and your family?


A typical day for us would be James up before we woke with a video in and grunting for what he wanted. He would only eat a few foods, several times a day he would throw up to let you know he didn’t want or like something.

Crying, tantrums and fits filled the day from sun up to bedtime. His fits had no beginning and sometimes it felt as if there would be no end. In the spring of 2000, when he was almost 6, he was still in a diaper, on a bottle and only spoke 20 words.

Did school help James?


School did help James; he did much better with a strict structured environment. The opposite of that however, is that it is hard to duplicate that environment at home with a family. School helped James academically, but not emotionally or socially.

Did church help James, or you?


Unfortunately, church did not help James at all. My husband and I were music ministers and would fill-in at churches that were looking for a fulltime staff person. This meant a lot of changes every few months – new locations, new staff, and new strange glares inferring what a bad mother I must be for my baby boy to behave in such a way. Church turned into a place I dreaded and had been such a place of family and belonging before.

What was the turning point for you in this journey?


Having heard the weekly cry of my heart for help for my child, one of my clients recommended a ministry team, a deliverance team, Gospel Revelation Ministries. I didn’t know what deliverance was, but I had no doubt I needed some. I went through personal deliverance and then followed with James in the spring of 2000. I was terrified but they said that God said he was going to be healed, so I stood with their faith. As we brought James into to the room for deliverance, he began to thrash and point to the door to leave, he was ready to go. The team prayed and laid hands on him. They said that the first demonic curse would have to go in Jesus’ name to the dry places. With that, my son reached his hand out and screamed, “come back, come back, come back, come back!!!” He was calling out for the demons that were leaving him. That was the turning point!

So, what was next?


The first thing I did was the most difficult. I changed my mind.

I changed what I believed that God could –and would – do if petitioned. I changed what I thought about the stories in the Bible. I changed my belief in what is available to us, TODAY, by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

When I began to be open to the truth of the scriptures, and not just what someone else said I should believe, or someone else’s interpretation of the scriptures for me, then…the Word of God began to truly be a light unto my path.

That was several years ago. How is James today?


James is wonderful! He is 15 years old going in to the 9th grade. He’s six feet tall and an amazing athlete. God’s promise is that he will restore our minds daily and James has caught up with remarkable speed. He is still about 2 ½ years behind academically, and in three resource classes, but is making up lost ground daily. He is completely healed from the oppression of autism.

What do the professionals say?


Doctors say it is something, maybe higher than what they have in the medical field. It is nothing short of a miracle!

What can families hope for who have children with autism?


Families can believe and stand for their loved one’s healing. Jesus is in the miracle working business. He healed James.

James’ story could be anyone’s story. I was not the “good” Christian, but I stood, no matter what, believing for my child’s healing. Your healing may be through diet, environmental changes, behavioral changes, or even the way James was healed. However it comes, do not waver from the promises of God. Exodus 15 says, “I am the Lord your God who heals all of your diseases.” He is Jehovah Rapha, our God who heals. If it is in His name, it is in His will!

Karen, where can our readers get a copy of your book, or find out how to have you come and speak for their group or organization?

They can find out more about my book and speaking information on my website at KarenMayer.org. I would love to hear from any of you who are dealing with autism in your family or among your friends. I hope you are encouraged by our story – that there is hope, healing, and freedom for your situation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the Author

The ups and downs of life have taught Karen Mayer Cunningham that laughter really is the best medicine for what ails you. Her passionate narratives can as easily make you laugh as they can move you to tears. Karen draws many of her stories from her daily life and more specifically from being the mother of a severely autistic son. More than once Karen wondered how she would face the trials that crossed her path. The weight of the responsibility of a handicapped child, became the cross roads of her life. Her story of how God super-naturally altered and prospered her life will uplift and refresh you. Whether she is opening for a Grammy award winning musician, redirecting a sales force or lifting up the hearts of a women’s encounter, she cuts through with comedy and clarity; challenging others to take it up a notch or two. Karen knows that through he release of emotions you will internalize her message of possessing the promises and purposes of God, that will take you on the road to truly joyful living.

Karen is a gifted stand-up comic, motivator, and author. She and her husband, Cortney, live in Houston with their three beautiful children, James, Paige, and Caden.

*****************************************************************************

A note from me:

I want to encourage my readers, whether or not you have a child, grandchild (like I do), or know someone with this illness, this book is a must!

With incredible honesty, Karen reveals how she dealt with, or rather ran from the problems throughout the beginning of this journey.

When I received this book, I read it through—I could not put it down! She captivated me from the first chapter! It not only gave me hope for Rylan’s issues, but hope in other areas of our lives!

This book will bless your heart and give you a new perspective if you work with children in church nurseries, daycare, or youth groups!

Photobucket

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be included in the “giveaway”!


Giveaway will be held on Friday, June 27 from the comments on the Book Review post!

I will give away this copy of the book, “Defying Autism”. Be sure and comment to enter!

Photobucket


My Utmost

bible study 004

Oswald Chambers writes, “The actual things are, but immediately you look at them you are overwhelmed, you cannot recognize Jesus, and the rebuke comes: “Wherefore didst thou doubt?”  Let actual circumstances be what they may, keep recognizing Jesus, maintain complete reliance on Him.”

Scripture reference: Matthew 14:29-30

That portion came from the devotional I am using this year.  The one I received from Wanda’s book batch.  I will be honest, I didn’t think I’d get much out of it when I first glanced through it.  But now I admit that almost every time I go to the day at hand, there is a message for me.

A dear friend from blogville,  sent me an e-mail that she was praying for me.  This came on the heels of another dear sister-friend stating the same thing.  Two hearts burdened to pray.  God knows the deal.  He knows full well the problem.  It’s called “Iwonderif” disease.

Ever heard of it?  Ever had the affliction strike you?  It can happen at a moments notice.  I’ve had the ailment more times than I can count. 

It happens somewhat like this:

The Lord brings an idea or thought to your heart and mind.  Even though it is something that we sometimes refer to as a “burden”, it is one we gladly bear.  (As in when you feel “burdened” to pray for someone.)  It is something that you feel distinctly drawn to…you feel Him call…you step out in faith…and you sense His direction and His affirmation.

And then it happens.  Up on your shoulder sits the pest.  The buzzing mosquito.  You swat—you slap…but still it buzzes. 

It buzzes in your ear, “I wonder if you really heard right…

I wonder if He was really talking to you…

Don’t you think someone else could visit the sick?

I wonder if they will think you are weird…or worse yet, off your rocker!”

I wonder if your friends will leave you? 

I wonder if the money will hold out to the end of the month…or the bills…will they all get paid??? 

Did you really hear Him call you? 

Do you really think you are able?

I wonder if ….

If you’ve lived a Christian life for any length of time, you’ve probably been afflicted with this nasty bug.  Similar to a virus…it can wipe you out physically and emotionally and last for several hours, or even several days—and sometimes, it can stay long enough to cause you to give up the vision God had for your life….

I wonder if.

Let’s turn that around.

I don’t have to wonder long, we are a called and chosen people.

We are one of two types of people—we are either Missionaries—or we are a Missions Project.

When He said, “Go ye”, I believe He meant “Go you.  Go me.” 

When He said, “Follow me and I will make you fisher’s of men”…I believe He meant exactly that!

We are to go out—in our day-to-day and share Jesus with the world.

I am being prompted in my spirit to go—in the work place—in the stores—wherever I may be—I am there to do what I normally do, work, shop, eat, and live the daily—but also, while I’m there, I am to be sharing and living Jesus. 

Daily.

Without a doubt.  Giving my utmost for Him.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the “actual” that is your circumstances, but look beyond—to the place up on top of the water—where He is calling you to walk.  As Peter did. 

Don’t cast your eyes to the waves, keep them focused on Him.

Today, He’s calling us to follow.

I’ve stepped out in faith.

How about you?

In Faith,

Angie

Matthew 14:29-33 (New International Version)

29“Come,” he said.

   Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


Happy Fathers Day Guys!

100_1408 Easter 2009 033

flowers-Ellijay 024I am blessed with some awesome guys in our family.  These guys work hard for their family, and most importantly, put God first! God is doing some great things!

They are sweet blessings in my life.

Especially my man!

Thank you LORD for the gift of love.

Thank you for the blessing of a mate—one who understands my heart, or at least puts forth a great effort!

Thank you Lord for 27 years with this sweet gift of love! 

Thank you Lord for his ability to be a good father.  You have taught Him well.  He relies solely on YOU.  Thank you Lord that he seeks You first in the morning—every morning—and follows Your direction for the day.

Thank you Lord for  his protection—strength—mercy and his determination to see a job done…and done well.

That’s the kind of guy I have! AND I am mighty thankful to have him!

What are YOU thankful for?


How We Do Retreats…

100_1006
A decision is made. WE NEED TO GET AWAY!
We call each other and find out who has what—when. (If you understood that sentence—you might be one of us!)
Then we set a weekend! We call again to confirm that NO ONE has anything to hinder—and assure one another that whatever comes up can be handled!
We then make plans.
We decide on the “where”.
We find out how much it’s going to cost to rent the facility.
We divide the cost of the house, cabin or condo between each of us. Then we share in the cost of gas and food.
There are a lot of “we’s” in the above statements—but it is a combined effort all the way around! (As for the co0kies being snatched…see—it’s combined—Aunt Evielean bakes…we EAT!)
I wish I could say we drew straws or said ennie-minnie-miney-moe to decide who drives…but no matter who’s vehicle is used…I drive. Not my choice. But it’s okay. I have learned that I am either in the driver’s seat…or I am the vehicular “ONSTAR”. (Aimee named me that after our She Speaks Conference—she drove—but I HAD to be the OnStar 🙂 to watch for the signs…of the times…you know. We went through Atlanta. Remember??
100_1005
We make SURE the snacks are well within reach for munching while traveling! We have our Bibles in hand (well, all except me—I have the steering wheel in hand), and whatever book we might be reading.
There is great music ready to go (sort of like the Jack Nicholson movie, “As Good As It Gets”…sometimes we make our own CD from a compilation of the Worship songs we all enjoy! (I made everyone a CD last year to take home.)

100_1035
We load up, join hands and pray, and take off!
We generally have the trip planned, however, we have been known to stop at an interesting looking Flea Market, Thrift Store, or Antique Store on the spur of the moment. These are great adventures!
We eat out when we need to—but generally, we take food to cook for our dinner meal, or go to the grocery store. Usually we have a cook crew and clean up crew. Aimee calls it the “Butler System”.
I wish you could hear her…actually, I may talk her into demonstrating this process in an upcoming video commercial for the Bloggers Retreat!
After the “Butler” (Aimee pronounces it “But-la”) does the cleaning up, we get ourselves ready for bed.
But bedtime will be a few hours yet. It’s just more relaxing to us to read and sing in our p.j.’s and robes. Not all restaurants allow this.
We gather in the living room, around the fireplace (it was very cool weather at night during this retreat), and with the worship music playing softly in the back ground, we start our sharing.
Jesus is shared—talked about, worshiped and sang to. We sing old songs and new ones.
We have a Bible Study session—many times impromptu –and I can tell you those are AWESOME lessons! We share stories of faith and perseverance and testimonies from our own lives, AND we have an incredible time of prayer for one another. Usually around midnight we shuffle off to bed…. 🙂

The above pictures was from the retreat of 2007. It was the last Sister’s Retreat Wanda joined us on.
Today, she is already enjoying the next retreat—

An incredible journey to heaven!
Sister's_Retreat
This collage was made by Susan, a dear sister of faith. She attended the Retreat of 2008. It was a blessed one.
Aimee and I spent weeks planning, praying and getting everything together. We wanted many things to be a surprise for our “adopted sisters”. We surprised them with PURPLE bags—full of surprises! That was fun!

I believe they had a good time. I know that Aimee and I enjoyed ourselves! God was indeed present! And He was so good!
Before we left on this retreat to North Georgia, I felt the strong desire to share my love for Jesus to many women who may have never had the experience of the love of a sister. I can tell you there is nothing like it! You don’t even have to be REAL life sisters to enjoy the fellowship of sisterhood!
This group pictured above are not all related. Not by birth—oh, there are a few of us, but there are those who are simply sisters by choice. Not birth.
I invite you to join us on the Bloggers Retreat 2009!! You will have a GREAT time!
Be a sister by choice!!
See you here!
Angie