Article submitted to In Touch Magazine December 21, 2016
It is the January, 2017 and I would like to wish all the readers of IN TOUCH magazine a Happy and Blessed New Year! I am absolutely thrilled and am so thankful to be able to contribute to IN TOUCH Publications. Through out the years IN TOUCH magazine and Rev. Charles Stanley have been a huge part of my daily spiritual walk with God.
The staff of IN TOUCH approached my husband and I recently because of our dedication to living out God’s purpose for our lives. Actually this all began as a small seed planted in our hearts in March, 2008 during the chaotic episodes of our son’s battle with his illness. Like an acorn on a tree–this seed has grown into a mighty oak and now touches well over 30 people. We are different in that we have looked at this vision as a ministry- simply doing what God has called us to do. What is our ministry? We provide affordable and safe housing solutions for consumers with mental illness.
Each new resident who enters our units receives a gift of a bible, prayer and something homemade from the kitchen. It’s our way of welcoming them into “fold,” because move in day can be rather stressful!
Each building functions as a small community or family complete with a vegetable garden in the back yard. Our residents are eager to tend to them. Much of our produce is utilized by the residents or is sold to surrounding neighbors. During the monthly meetings, residents gather to talk about issues related to living together. It is not unusual to dialogue about topics related to recovery from mental illness, so training through the local chapter of National Association of Mental Illness has been facilitated for those individuals interested in serving as peer support group leaders.
Warm spring and summer months provide the opportunity for barbeques, ice cream socials or watermelon gatherings. On these occasions, it is not unusual to hear drums pounding away in drum circle at one of our buildings. I thoroughly enjoy facilitating these events, because making music soothes the savage beast within, and brings old and young alike together through out the neighborhood. The mesmerizing sound echoes the beat and heals the soul within.
Our son and daughter work in perfect harmony with us. It is a blessing to gather every Sunday evening over a homemade dinner in order to truly “Mastermind” tasks that need to be done in the weeks ahead.
Our son Allen can be found raking, mowing, painting at anyone of our buildings. Sometimes, he can even be found doing data entry for our business on the computer. He has often remarked that it is the “work” that helps him to overcome the feelings of depression. We are all grateful as a family because thanks in large part to a non for profit agency, Independence Center, Allen has successfully learn how to live on his own! (Independence Center works exclusively with consumers of mental illness providing a full array of services in the St. Louis region.)
Our daughter, Ida, is happily married and is busy with her husband running an Acupuncture Clinic. They are enthusiastically awaiting the arrival of their first child. Sometimes, residents can be found mingling or working along side of Ida at the Recycled Boutique Shop operated next door to the Acupuncture Clinic.
Working along side of Laura Al-Amery, we have successfully developed and implemented, BREAK THROUGH MINDSET. Curriculum designed to touch the lives of entrepreneurs and real estate investors within the St. Louis region. It has been amazing to see individuals really come into touch with their true purpose and follow their bliss. Actually, we exceed all expectations and enable 1000 people or more to follow their bliss, all by or around October 1,2014. I, myself, place much of my gratitude to Mark J., otherwise known as THE WORLD’S LAZIEST NETWORKER and his wife, the fabulous Davene! I am paying it forward to Mark and Davene by pointing individuals to continue their journey of self discovery; registering participants to participate in the Master Key System course in 2014.
At last I return full circle to the dream planted in my heart long ago. God asked me to beacon of light and love in our son’s lifelong dark tunnel. In good times and bad I have always returned to this one moment in my mind’s eye. On the journey I have come to learn that the trappings of the world really don’t measure success. What I have learned is that we are all created on purpose with a purpose: to become who you were designed to be and have a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. Touching the heart of one has always been my primary mission. The rest is simply an outpouring of God’s Love, The Infinite Spirit, The Universal Mind that exists within. Praise be to our Lord and King!