Respite Retreat

Respite Retreat

... using the serenity and privacy of a 4.5-acre farm to minister to hurting families dealing with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Autism and other emotional disturbances. The main crops harvested are peace and tranquility ... and exhausted parents reap renewal, refreshment and rejuvenation as we strive to educate, edify and encourage them.

May God be glorified in all we strive to do for His kingdom!

==============================

In furtherance of our mission, one of the founders completed a graduate degree in professional counseling so that we would be better equipped to help even more people struggling to raise children from troubled pasts.  She is now in a doctoral program, intent on conducting critical research to get a better understanding on root causes and effective treatment protocols.

==============================

This week, we were blessed by the support of The Home Depot's TEAM DEPOT volunteers, who re-roofed our detached garage, closed in the opening to make a nice entry, and added lap sidin to match the main house. This building will house our counseling office and private retreat for families to stay in when they visit their child in our care. We are incredibly grateful for the support and tireless work of The Home Depot and these men who devoted two days to complete these tasks. We still have a lot of work yet to do before the building is complete, but are motivated by it beginning to *look* like a proper office/retreat! We have many of the materials to complete the inside, but time and budget are stretched to capacity, so it may be slow going from here. Thank you, Jesus, for the provisions You continue to send us in the form of volunteer services and financial donations. This week, we were especially uplifted by the show of support from our community --- thank you Blairsville Home Depot!!!

The siding needs to be stained, the door needs to be painted ... and that wood pile needs to be finished and stacked to dry. But this is our new counseling office and retreat center:

==============================

Materials were purchased today (05/29/2015) to remodel our detached garage into a private counseling office and waiting room that can double as overnight accomodations for visits of families of the children we have in care.  The Home Depot has taken the project on as a Team Depot community service project; we are unspeakably grateful for their critical support and assistance!!! We have a lot to accomplish before the work days though, so prayers are appreciated for that, too.

==============================

New child arriving in three days (on June 1st, 2015)! Prayers appreciated as we strive to help this boy's heart heal. He has suffered way too much trauma.

==============================

Recap of the some of the blessings in 2014

==============================

FUNdraiser --- join us for a week-long Caribbean cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and help us gain the funding to rebuild our detached garage to serve as a private counseling office and waiting area! We've negotiated AMAZING rates on the MSC Divina, sailing out of Miami on 12/12/2015 for eight days and seven nights --- and we're passing the savings on to our supporters. Our fundraising proceeds will come from the agent's commission and fees. Interior cabin rates as low as $349 per person (plus taxes) ... and children 0-11 sail free as the 3rd or 4th passenger in the cabin (paying only taxes). Age 12-17 sails for $150 plus taxes as the 3rd/4th passenger in the cabin. Balcony cabins are only $629 per person (plus taxes; same deal on children), and they include the "Fantastica experience" package. We have a limited number of cabins at these rates. First come, first served.

Of course, we welcome cash donations toward the office rebuild, too, and will provide a tax receipt for those.

Itinerary: http://www.msccruisesusa.com/us_en/Cruise-Departures/MSC-Divina-Cruise-Itinerary-Rates.aspx?cruise_id=DI20151212MIAMIA&ship_code=DI

Registration link: Please contact us at abundantlyblessed at windstream dot net

==============================

==============================

Graduate degree in professional counseling has been conferred!!!
Next step: applying for licensure and taking the National Counselor Exam

==============================

==============================

We get a mild reprieve tomorrow (09/02/14), when our current
respite child starts school (private, Christian school). It has been
a l-o-n-g month as we work to breaking her strongholds and
helping her learn to trust adults to meet her needs. We are
grateful for the breather ... and even more for the faithful people
who will be helping to "train her up in the ways of the Lord!"

==============================

Help needed to support a struggling military family. We are just a
vessel to bring attention to their plight and garner the financial
support to get them some critical services (not through our ministry directly, but through one which we have found helpful):

A few weeks ago, we received a phone call from a Behavioral Health caseworker for the North Carolina National Guard. One of our fellow American citizens who serves in the NCNG --- BRETT MCLAMB (thank you to him and ALL servicemembers for your service!!!) --- has just returned from a second deployment to the Middle East. His young son has been diagnosed with Reactive Attahment Disorder and that child became very unstable during the father's three years of deployment. This family is in extreme crisis and they critically need to attend a family bonding camp. The cost is $3,200 for his family of four. We are familiar with the camp (hosted by Nancy Thomas ---www.attachment.org --- who is an international expert in attachment issues) and believe it truly is a ray of hope to help this family heal from the inside-out. 

We are especially grateful to the servicemembers who protect our freedoms and defend our people and property. This particular father did not sign on to full-time military service ... and as a Guardsman, he does not receive the pay or perks afforded to full-time servicemembers ... yet his family is suffering hardships as a result of his duty to serve his country when called. 

I myself am shocked to learn that our nation is calling up Guardsmen for multiple deployments to war-torn areas overseas, while at the same time handing out pink slips to active servicemembers in those same countries. That is egregious. And while you and I cannot do much to change the current political arena, we CAN wrap around one family at a time and save them from destruction, as in this case. 

I continue to be amazed at the time and care that the NCNG caseworker took to research various options to help this family. Our ministry is not in a position to help them intensively ourselves at this time due to our extensive waiting list and the safety parameters and restrictions related thereto. But we CAN speak out and be a voice in the wilderness calling other patriots to band around them in their time of need.

We cherish your ongoing prayers and are grateful for your monetary, one-time support. This is a unique opportunity in that we are an approved 501(c)3 charity, so all donations will receive a tax receipt if you provide a name and address for same. Any extra donations received will go in a scholarship fund to help other families with similar needs.

To make a donation to this worthy, but weary family, please go to:
http://www.gofundme.com/dsdnys

Thank you for helping us help this family!!!

===============================================
We are IN our new, permanent property, praise God! So humbled by His grace and provision. Horses, (pregnant) Nubian goats, chickens, children, and most of our 25-years of stuff is moved and now we settle in to downsize our surplus stuff, donate it to worthy folks (God moved much faster than we anticipated and caught us offguard!), and get ready for the amazing things that God has in store for this next chapter in our lives. We have a LOT of work yet to do on this property to maximize its potential, so prayers and financial donations are gratefully accepted. Next on the agenda: offer practicum counseling services to families whose children are in foster care on the path toward reunification, as well as those who have adopted or are providing kinship care for troubled children this summer, then graduate from the master's-level counseling program at Liberty University and seek licensure as a professional counselor by September 1st, God-willing. We have a child scheduled to be in care during the month of June, siblings during the month of July, and are reviewing applications now for the next long-term care position available August 1st. Please let us know how we can pray for you and your family!

Here's a photo overlooking the new pasture and barn:

==============================

Musings after our recent personal tragedy on 10/11/2013:

My (Christy's) least-proud moment as a Christian mom occurred 18 months ago on a road trip to DC. My then-10-year old son screamed out from the back seat, "Mom. Mom! Slow down, you're speeding!" Without any hesitation, I popped off that it was "Okay, I'm allowed to speed." I felt immediate shame and conviction from God. As a Christian and a citizen, I am NOT "allowed" to speed at all; that is breaking the law ... and the Bible commands us to obey man's laws unless they contradict with God's. So in shame, I had to pull off the side of the road and apologize to my son and explain to him that I was not, in fact, allowed to speed; that I had made a calculated risk but he was right, I needed to obey the law ... and I did (and have, ever since). In fact, I set my cruise control to the speed limit every chance I get. I want my son to know that I honor and obey rules, so that HE will grow up to the do the same, through my modeling.

This week, our family had to endure the tragic loss of yet another baby. Our hearts are all heavy and grieve for this little life that we will never get to know here on earth. Through it all, I had multiple flashbacks of that night in the car with my concerned, God-loving, law-abiding son. And I knew that my biggest task was to make sure that I modeled love and gratitude toward God; that I never cursed Him in my sadness but instead found ways to praise Him for His glory and divinity.

I don't know why we had to endure the loss of yet another baby --- and I don't need to know. After reading my sweet daughter's song of praise to God the day after we buried our baby, I was comforted to know that I had managed in some way to minister love, hope, trust, and praise for God to her. If nothing else, I hope to be found faithful!

Please, no compliments on that. Instead, I implore everyone to study your own self and really take the message that we have a DUTY and privilege to shape the lives of impressionable people around us (as mothers/fathers, fellow students, counselors, and Christians). How we act and react to tragedies in our lives ... or stumbling blocks, or inconveniences ... makes a difference. People ARE watching us. Are we living for Christ and modeling that in everything we do? It is NOT okay to speed. And if I want my son to heed my word and not break this law or that one, he needs to see *me* living my life daily honoring and obeying ALL the laws myself. Our world is disintegrating far too fast. And on so many levels, I think it has everything to do with the evaporating sense of accountability. My daughter was able to praise God through the sadness because she had, I hope, seen me doing so. Thank you, Jesus, for that gift of amazing grace that I could pass on to these precious children You let us keep!!!!

==============================

Christy is is the midst of her internship (at an amazing Christian residential facility that uses Family Systems Theory to reunite broken families), on the path to becoming licensed as a professional counselor, to better serve our families. Prayers are coveted as we strive to serve God's hurting people in His name!!!

==============================

Imagine our surprise when an award-winning inernationl journalist whose
stories have been featured on CNN, Time, and PBS, contacted us out of
the blue to discuss a documentary project focusing on failed adoptions and programs that work to salvage them! This journaist has a voice and platform that can garner a great deal of attention to help the class of families we
serve all across this nation. Praying for God to bring the right resources
to help tell the full story ... and thanking Him that we were even deemed
worthy of providing any insight and wisdom into this critical issue!

==============================

Praising God for the healthy delivery of one of our alumni family's
newest baby, Jacob (despite some scares in the process) ... and praying
for his big sisters, as they adjust to this newest chapter in their life journey. Praising God for additional scholarship funds and a job with my university
to help reduce my graduate school tuition dramatically. He continues to
confirm that I am exactly where He wants me to be!!!

==============================

We currently have a child in care and another scheduled to arrive for an extended period of time once this child returns home. But we are always ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for the next family God plans for us to work with. The selection process is not necessarily first-come, first-served, but we need to have your family's information on file for us to consider your needs! Please contact us privately to discuss.

==============================

Respite Training --- CANCELLED

==============================

Respite Training --- 09/15/2012

By critical demand, we have contracted with a professional therapeutic/motivational respite provider, Susan Ward, to host a full-day respite provider training. We asked Nancy Thomas about coming out to do this training but she felt that Susan was the best, most-qualified person to conduct the seminar. We have worked together with both Nancy and Susan during the week-long intensive programs hosted at our family's farm the past few years and know first-hand that Susan is extraordinary. Nancy's office HIGHLY recommends Susan for respite care. I first heard Susan speak in 2005 at a RAD seminar and she was so phenominal then that I knew she was the best person to hire for the intensive programs, and she has proven me right! Come and bring a friend from your community to be trained as a respite provider in order to build YOUR team to help save your challenging child(ren)! See details at http://respitetraining.eventbrite.com/ for a $30.00 rebate for parents who bring their own friend to be trained as a respite provider!

==============================

NANCY THOMAS week-long intensives!!!

We're delighted to welcome Nancy Thomas and her Clinical Director, James Dumesnil, back for two week-long intensive programs to be hosted on our family farm. Each week can accommodate three families, who will each receive 2-4 hours a day of one-on-one personalized therapy and intervention. All meals and activities included.

==============================

Nancy Thomas seminar

How to Build a Winning Team to Heal a Challenging Child

PLU credits for Georgia teachers

Continuing Education Credits for Social Workers, Mental Health Professionals including counselors and therapists, and Psychologists

==============================

Whew, we've got a very busy month and covet your prayers! We are scheduled to meet with the post-adoption services director of SHOW HOPE, which we regard as the most reputable Christian adoption ministry in the world ... then on to Hope for Orphans Institute (a Focus on the Family ministry) in Plano, TX, on 09/16 and 09/17 ... and the Empowered to Connect seminar presented by Dr. Karyn Purvis in Nashville, TN, on 09/23 and 09/24.

==============================

GOD HAS HEALED ANOTHER CHILD!!! (click to learn more)

============================================

May God be glorified in all we strive to do for His kingdom!