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Registration is open for the NANCY THOMAS seminar “How to Build a Winning Team to Heal a Challenging Child” to be held on March 1st and 2nd, 2012, at the First Baptist Church of Blairsville (Georgia). Due to a lower facility rental fee and the fact that we are not providing lunches this year, the ticket cost for all persons not needing CE credits has been REDUCED.

Unfortunately, the staggering cost of providing the CE credits has resulted in a slight increase for professionals requiring those credits. However, for a limited time, the first 25 professionals who register at http://respiteretreat.eventbrite.com and use code MINUS10 will receive 10% of their registration fee. This offer expires on 01/20/2012 and is not available to individuals and married couples because your fees have already been reduced across the board by 8-20%, without limitation.

This year, seminar attendees will be blessed by a brief but very special message of encouragement and hope presented by 19-year old Brandon, whom the “experts” once insisted that we institutionalize because he was “too sick” to live in a family unit and would “never function in society” (and his younger sister) on Thursday.

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NO MORE rectangles!

    Yesterday, my husband and I traveled to the Atlanta airport to pick up a child who will be staying with us for Motivational Respite for the next five weeks. Traffic was thick and the airport bustled with more activity than either of us has ever seen. But what struck us most, as we sat and awaited the plane’s arrival in a gate FULL of people ready to board the incoming plane for its next destination, was how horribly the people were detached from everyone around them. Of the 250-300 people in our immediate gate waiting area, only THREE were not using some sort of electronic device. “Rectangles”, as they were so aptly called at Dr. Karyn Purvis’ Empowered to Connect conference a few months ago. One person was ready a real paperback book; another doodled in an activity pad. A third slept. Without exception, every single other person we saw was intensely wrapped up in something that helped them tune out the rest of the world. So disturbing. America is under attack, in the name of “technology” … and we are sleeping. Families are being destroyed by “rectangles” and we need to stand up and say ENOUGH!

Brochure for 2012

Still needs to be tweaked, as I am new to Photoshop.  But the critical details are all here…

Our son Brandon is now 19 years old and embarking on his own journeys in life. (This is the child the “experts” insisted we institutionalize at age two because he would “never function in society.) If you know our story, then you know that God healed him completely several years later. If not, please take time to read the “about us” section. Remember that although he was diagnosed “autistic”, we can  look back and see clear evidence of severe attachment disorder through his intense rages when touched, and other behaviors (which we will expound on to anyone who wants to ask).

God continues to use Brandon as a source of great comfort and encouragement to the families we minister to.  We  just completed his first official “release” of praise and are awaiting its duplication (you can hear one of his songs on our website homepage — www.respiteretreat.org).  We’re really pleased with the proofs and are praying that God will bless these efforts and use them for His glory.  Brandon’s story is such a powerful encouragement to families who are parenting violent and malicious children.  It is both amazing and sad to see these moms and dads reach out to shake his hand, peer deep into his eyes for a few long seconds, then grasp onto him in a desperate hug, unwilling to let go.  Many of them latch onto Brandon and his story for hope that their son or daughter will heal, too.

Brandon is interested in presenting his music and testimony to church and civic groups.  He will travel anywhere he is invited, as long as his expenses are covered and a love offering is taken up.  His CD is also available for a donation of at least $10 to our ministry (plus $5 shipping if it needs to be mailed).  We are non-profit charitable organization so you will receive a tax receipt for any financial gift greater than the value of the CD.  The CDs are shrink-wrapped and will make great Christmas gifts, especially since his testimony is briefly outlined in the insert.  This is not a money-making venture … it is an extension of our ministry and an outpouring of praise and exaltation to our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Remember: my wife and I were both saved as a direct result of the desperation and brokenness we suffered from Brandon’s illness!  May He continue to be glorified in all that we say and do!!!

Registration for How to Build a Team to Heal a Challenging Child seminar presented by Nancy Thomas is now available:

 

http://respiteretreat.eventbrite.com

Big plans!

    We have long bemoaned the fact that there are only five attachment therapists in the entire State of Georgia, at least two of whom do not accept insurance. That sad fact has only be exacerbated by seeing how states like Texas and Colorado have strong alliances working to serve families in need.

    I was preparing to complete my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education in December of 2011 and wondering why I chose that path, as I do not envision myself ever teaching in the school system. I figured God would be able to use it in our ministry, maybe to oversee academic progress of children whose families have to come here for long-term services.

    Apparently, He had a different plan. Earlier this week, I learned that a master’s degree is not necessarily an extension of your undergraduate degree. I also learned that my alma mater has a graduate program in professional counseling … and that it has an instructor who specializes in attachment and post traumatic stress. I applied for the program yesterday, hoping to focus on those areas. This morning, I was accepted into the program.

    God seems to be lining things up nicely for me to begin this next chapter in my life. I am delighted at the prospect of becoming an attachment therapist that can do “more” than what we’ve been able to offer thus far. For the first time, I am really excited about what I will be able to DO with my degree once I graduate. Our last obstacle is how to fund the classes (about $20,000). We are praying about that…

Get-together this weekend?

Is anyone planning to be at the Empowered to Connect conference in Nashville this weekend? If so, we’d love to “connect” with you, too, at a picnic at one of the local parks. Please contact me for more information and we’ll plug you in! We’re looking forward to the food and fellowship!!!

There are two fantastic training seminars scheduled in September of 2011.  The first is “Hope for Orphans Institute” in Plano, TX on 09/16 and 09/17.  HOI is a ministry of Focus on the Family and this training is geared to church ministries that work with families who have adopted at-risk children.  The cost is only $99/pp.  See http://www.hfoinstitute.org/ for more details.

The second seminar is sponsored by Show Hope (the charitable foundation founded by Steven Curtis & Marybeth Chapman) and is presented by Dr. Karyn Purvis (also to be at HOI), in Nashville, TN, on 09/23 and 09/24.  That seminar costs only $25 but there is a match grant from Focus on the Family.  See http://www.etcconference.org for more details.

Hope to see some of you there!!!

Encouraging news!

    Respite Retreat was contacted by a representative of Show Hope (formerly known as Shaohannah’s Hope), the foundation started by gospel music artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth in 2003. We have been invited out to the Nashville, Tennessee area to meet with their agency and discuss the programs we offer in August of 2011. We are ecstatic about this invitation and opportunity, as Show Hope is the single-most-highly-respected adoption charity in our humble opinion and we cherish the opportunity to find ways to mutually reach out to hurting families post-adoption. We covet your prayers in the coming weeks as we prepare for this critical meeting.

Clydesdale geldings …

Gift of three Clydesdales — not to be.

A gracious and kind woman and her brother offered to donate three magnificent Clydesdale geldings to our ministry to add to and bolster our equine therapy program.  Unfortunately, we were not able to arrange transportation for these massive boys in time to move them here before they had to be out of their Ohio barn.  Standing at 18 hands each — or 6’2″ at the withers, where the neck meets the back — they required a super-tall trailer to travel comfortably for the 15-hour drive and we could not get an experienced transporter there until six days after their move-date deadline.  We will be looking to add some Clydes in the future…

Clyde 1Clydesdale 2Clydesdale 3