An Amazing Woman of Faith

My young sons and I stepped into an elevator and realized we were sharing space with Joni Eareckson, whom we had just heard speak.  Although I only had a minute, it was long enough to tell her what an inspiration she was to our family.  She smiled and said she was happy to hear that.  Then the door opened and away she rolled.

It was July 1976, and we were at a Successful Living convention in Snow Bird, Utah. Joni was a featured speaker.  Her biography, Joni, had just been published.  In July of 1967, at the age of 17,  Joni dove into a shallow spot in Chesapeake Bay, and broke her neck. When we met her, she had been in a wheelchair for nine years.  Her beautiful smile and attitude were delightful.  Her smile and attitude are still delightful today.

Joni has a daily 5 minute radio program which airs early each morning,  Her messages are so inspiring as she delivers them in an upbeat tone.  Sometimes she sings a few lines of a sweet song with her lovely voice. Listening to her always brightens my day.

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Whenever my life faces difficult challenges, thinking of the countless obstacles Joni bravely faces helps me get a better perspective.  She and her very dedicated husband, Ken, were married in 1982, so recently celebrated 35 years together.                                             joni and ken

If being a quadriplegic isn’t difficult enough, Joni was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2010.  It was a very difficult time, and her body limitations complicated her treatment.  But she was very determined to eat right and pray even more fervently.    Joni is an avid Bible scholar and has written many book discussing suffering and even Heaven.

We live in a time when we have access to many inspiring speakers and preachers.  As grateful as I am for their ministries, no person on earth has inspired me more.

At the end of her first book, written only eight years after her diving accident, Joni wrote, “I will be pleased if only one person is drawn to Christ. . .”  (as a result of hearing her testimony).  She said it would make being in a wheelchair worth it.

July 30. 2017 marks 50 years since her life changed when she dove into Chesapeake Bay.  During fifty years in a wheelchair, Joni has shared her inspiring story with people of all ages, all over the world.  She directs ministries to disabled children and their families.   And she is still going strong.

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When the Fireworks Are Out of Sight

It was evening on July 4th several years ago.  My delightful 90 year old friend, Dorothy, had invited me to come watch fireworks from her balcony overlooking the Halifax River.  I knew she wanted company but I was taking care of my young granddaughter and had promised to take her to watch our community fireworks display.

So I asked Emily, who was five years old, if she cared if we went to be with Miss Dorothy instead of going to the big park to watch the display.  Emily liked Miss Dorothy, so agreed to go to be with her.  We all enjoyed a strawberry ice cream bar, then went out to the 5th floor deck to get ready and comfortable to watch the fireworks.

Soon we heard the sounds of fireworks, and exclamations of delight from the crowd.  But we were unable to see a thing.  We were confused because Miss Dorothy kept saying,  “I don’t understand.  We used to see them perfectly.”

It turned out that she had not watched them for several years, since her husband died.  A new building had been put up since then, that robbed the people living in the center building of their once perfect view.

As I tried to decide if there was enough time to go downstairs and walk around the south building,  Miss Dorothy told us to go ahead but she wasn’t up to going.  Then sweet Emily said, “Oh, no!  We are not going without you.”  She ran over and hugged our elderly hostess.  I was so relieved and proud of young Emily.

So we went indoors and watched Macy’s fireworks on television.  And we enjoyed a second strawberry ice cream bar with a glass of apple juice.

The next year, Emily and her baby sister went with their mom and dad to the community display.  They arrived early to get a great view.  I went to spend the evening with Miss Dorothy.  We again watched the Macy’s fireworks display.  But that year we had vanilla ice cream bars (instead of strawberry) with our apple juice.

I was reminded how we all have times when things do not go as we planned.  But time often gives us a second chance.  As has been said in Israel, “Maybe next year.”

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The Deep, Emotional Pain of Being Misunderstood

It happens to most of us, from time to time.  The older we get, the quicker we recover, usually.   Yet, it kinda takes the wind out of us for a while, especially if we have no way of proving we meant well or did what we hoped was the right thing to do.

The secret of “getting over” such situations is to forgive ourselves for not being a mind reader and forgive our accuser for misunderstanding our good intentions.  No one said that would be easy.  It isn’t easy!  Yet, with the help of our Heavenly Father, it is possible!

If anyone suffered greatly because many misunderstood him, it was Jesus Christ.  There are no Scripture verses that discuss His hurt feelings or His being resentful. He spent much time in prayer and received power from His Father.  We are offered the same option.  It isn’t always a “quick fix,” but give it a little time and it works well.

 

“Just the Facts, Ma’am.”

    In the early days of television, Detective Sgt. Joe Friday relentlessly searched for clues to solve crimes.  This fictional character was played by Jack Webb, who created the radio program and later television series, Dragnet.  Determined to stay focused and not get  side-tracked, Sgt. Friday became known for his words, “Just the Facts, Ma’am.”

   How hard it seems to be, today, for our newspaper and television investigative reporters to present “just the facts”  and avoid spinning real and fake information. The average American has to dig deeply into all reports put out by the news media to be able to discern what is truth and what is not.  It takes time and effort not to “buy a lie.”

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Remember the days of Davy Crockett . .

Crockett was an activist and accomplished many significant things during his busy life.  Though he died at 49 years of age at The Battle of The Alamo, he had previously carried out a number of patriot projects.  One wonders why the popular 1950’s Disney television series starring Fess Parker, has not been redone in recent years.  Obviously not as exciting as Wonder Woman!  Although the song stayed around for quite a while, as well as the sale of coonskin hats for children.

One memorable incident in Crockett’s life was receiving a formal letter of thanks from a Cherokee Indian Chief.  While he did fight to protect families from Indian attacks, he also at times defended their rights to land.  Crockett was very opposed to President Jackson’s actions to take away land from the Native Americans through his controversial Indian Removal Act.  Future president, Abraham Lincoln and Crockett spoke out to the U.S. congress against the Indian Removal Act.  Crockett also wrote a letter to President Jackson. In Crockett’s  Narrative of the Life of  David Crockett, he clearly stated his disturbance.  I believe it was a wicked, unjust measure. . . I voted against this Indian bill, and my conscience yet tells me that I gave a good honest vote, and one that I believe will not make me ashamed in the day of judgement.

   Crockett insisted the word “republican” be inserted in an oath of allegiance document he and others took to the “Provisional Government of Texas”.  Crockett felt Texas was the best land and best prospects for health he had ever seen and intended to relocate his family to the San Antonio area.  Sadly, before he could do that, Crockett was killed in the Texas Revolution at the Battle of the Alamo. 

Although not many may realize it today, Davey Crockett was ashamed of how his own president so readily discarded the Native Americans from their own land.

 

Is it Ethical to Slant Truth in Journalism?

Years ago, most reporters sincerely attempted to “tell the truth” as they covered their assignments.  That was when I was young, very many years ago.  I studied various journalists and especially respected Adele Rogers St John. Her informative reports on various events and trials were interesting and educational.  I may have disagreed at times with her perspective but I never considered her to be presenting “fake news.”

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Discerning what is true and what is not, robs sincere searchers of their time and effort.  Now I “pick and choose” what I really “need to know” and manage to get along without knowing as much as I would prefer to know.  Truly a sad state of affairs when I can no longer be a “know it all. ”  LOL!          dm

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