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.

joni quote

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.

d.m.

Funny Farm . . . Or A Winter Wonderland?

Living in the North Woods of Wisconsin was exciting, exhausting and challenging.  It was not easy with three youngsters who were absolutely full of energy and always ‘raring’ to go do something.  Especially during the cold, early winter months, before the snow falls.  We lived on a lake and once it was frozen the fun began.

Until then, however, we all suffered from cabin fever.  Our log home was rustic and not too big.  We played games, read books and did creative art projects. But my children all seemed to have very short attention spans.  Some days I felt like I was at my wit’s end, trying to entertain my family.

family projects
When Its Too Cold To Think Of Being Outside

One day, the wall phone rang and since this was before portable or cell phones, I had to answer it in the kitchen.  Although I did have a very long cord, my ability to watch what the children were doing was limited.  That call was important.  I was trying to listen and sound professional while worrying about what was going on in their play area.  Sure enough, the middle child, my most rambunctious one, had got into mischief.  As I hung up the phone to survey the damage, I muttered, “You guys are going to drive me to the funny farm.”

Big mistake!  Not recommended positive reinforcement.

“Can I go with?  Please?”  My middle son kept begging for a very long time.

“Me, too, me too,” sobbed his younger brother, while their older sister looked confused.    It took much too long to explain. I doubt they ever realized it was just a silly comment.

Finally, a few days later, it began snowing and soon we were  snowed in.  Now we were in a winter wonderland and the fun began.  There was lots to do and the price was right!

man ice fishing

We ice fished for supper and enjoyed healthy hot cocoa out on the lake.  One has to drink it rather fast, of course, before it froze right before our eyes.

young boy ice fishig

Kids Hot Cocoa

So much fun in the snow.  My daughter spent hours building sturdy igloos.  One day I was pulling my young sons on a toboggan across the lake and met another woman walking over to my side. We became lifelong friends.

Then came the day when I suffered from frost bitten toes. Really suffered when I got stuck driving on a stretch of road the snowplow had neglected to clear.  It wasn’t long before Florida began sounding wonderful.  I have been here now 30 years and it is wonderful.

Those memorable days in a winter wonderland are permanently etched in my heart.  My daughter and her family spend a lot of time snowmobiling in Wisconsin and sometimes send me photos.  I enjoy seeing them all bundled up when i am relaxing on the beach or at the pool.

dm

Getting Back to Today … Again!

Well, back to making the most of the remaining “Days of My Life.”

A sense of urgency continues to motivate me as I resume crossing items off my “Do before I Die,” list.  Yet, the list is getting longer instead of shorter.  How can that be?

Compiling an up-to-date list of my lifelong and newer friends (along with current mailing and email addresses) has risen to the top of my list.  And for a good reason – it is time for me to thank each one for their love and loyalty.  Long overdue and not a minute too soon.  W are all getting older!

Friends are a blessing from God.  My dear friend, Sandy, signed her cards “Your Eternal Friend,” and since she lost her courageous battle with brain cancer, those words are now especially comforting.  Her faith in our Lord Jesus was also comforting.

Also on my list is being a better friend to mine and keeping them in my prayers.  How easy it is to promise to pray for someone but allow it to slip our mind. Oh, someone just crossed my mind who really could use a prayer or two.  Gotta go. . .

DM

 

Off the Beaten Path. . . my Turtle Trilogy

One way or another, turtles have had a way of becoming a part of my family.

First, in order of time sequence,  consider the tiny turtle my daughter, Pamela, gently lifted out of Lauderdale Lake, in Wisconsin,  one spring morning.  Yes, for a time, we took it home with us.  It seemed content to walk across our large front floor room and we all spent a lot of time just watching it go back and forth from one wall to another.  Then we began to wonder if it missed being in the lake.  The next time we returned to Lutherdale Bible Camp, we all headed down to the beach and sadly but gladly put the turtle in the sand. At first, of course, it hid its head in the shell, then  poked it out  and headed to the lake.  Slowly at first, but quicker by the minute, it hit the water and began swimming. For years, Pammy was sure she recognized it somewhere in the lake.

Then came the summer several years later when we were on a small boat near shore in the Mississippi River.  Timmy asked if we could catch a turtle and bring it home. “I doubt you can catch one,”  the owner of the fishing boat said.  At that moment, Timmy  reached out on a branch floating in the water, and pulled No.2 into the boat.  Again, we brought it home,  enjoyed it and then felt it time to return it.  Same scenario…it seemed happy to be back in the rushing river.

Again, years later,  my children were older and Danny, my youngest son, was in his senior year of college at University of FL in Gainesville.  As he was driving back to his apartment after attending church one Sunday, he slowed down to avoid hitting a large turtle slowly crossing the road. He passed it and kept going for a while.  Suddenly he slowed down and turned around.  The turtle was still crossing the road with cars speeding by. Danny found a large box in his trunk and gently lifted the turtle into  it.

“What to do with it now?” Danny wondered.  Then an idea came to his mind.  He decided to take it to the local community college, as it offered courses in zoology.  It was the right choice.  When he brought out an employee from the college to look at it, she got very excited and hugged Danny.  Turns out it was a very significant type of almost-extinct turtle.  By now,  others were coming to view the turtle, who seemed curious about so much excitement.  When Danny returned to his apartment and called me,  we laughed at the fact turtle no.3 was now part of our turtle tales.

But that is not the end of our turtle tales.  For the last two years, Jacob and Rebecca have shared my screened porch living in a large glass fish tank.  They enjoy sitting on their pet rocks basking in the sun.  There is enough water for them to swim along with some dry area.  My granddaughter, Emily, selected them; she and her younger sister, Shelbi, named them.

I live a short walk to the Atlantic Ocean, and certain times of the year turtles lay eggs and become a major attraction.  Watching them is fun.  Turtles are in my blood, I believe.

dm.

The Lasting Impression Of Prayer..

The Power Of A Praying Person

When my oldest son was a baby, he was awake and hungry very early each morning.  {Some things never change It was then I began to keep a prayer journal and read the One Year Bible, once he fell back to sleep.  Many years later, I still keep my prayer journal and read the One Year Bible in the morning, but not quite as early nowadays.

Many answers to prayer have been reported in my journal and reading the Bible every year has been extremely amazing.  Somehow,  one can learn all kinds of new stuff about God and His Word.

But the real surprise I got not too long ago was a wonderful comment  from my son. . .yes, the early bird mentioned above.  I was asking him if he could recall anything I had done right when he and his younger brother and older sister were growing up.

“I remember how you were sitting reading the Bible every morning when I came downstairs,” he said.  “It was a reminder of how important it is to have strong faith.”      His words were quite a surprise and very encouraging.

Then I, too, remembered seeing my grandfather kneel by his bed, a Bible open as he prayed in German.  I didn’t understand what he was saying, but did recognize he mentioned my name in his prayers.  That picture of him remains clear in my mind.  He had the door partly cracked -just enough for me  to see and hear him-which really increased my own faith..

These days I look at the power of prayer in a whole different light..

DM

 

 

Does it Mean Nothing to YOU?

 

When I was a young girl,  my congregation, Grace Lutheran in Elmwood Park, IL,

put up a plain wooden cross every year during Lent. (It was made from our live

Christmas tree.)  A simple sign was nailed across the tall stem.

It read, ”Does it mean nothing to you?”

As a young girl, that question really got me thinking.  In fact, that

question has often crossed my mind during the many years since then.

During each Easter Season, many of us usually are reminded of the great

price Christ paid for us to have peace and eternal life.  We may pause for a

while and spend more time in grateful prayer and Bible Study,    .  .  .

until life resumes its busy pace.  Especially when summer arrives and kids

are out of school.  Sadly, our focus on Jesus may slip into the background.

One of my granddaughters, when she was about 4,  would often say,

” I want to give Jesus a big hug.”  In fact, she even drew a picture of

herself giving Jesus a loving hug.

My point is, many of us, me included, are blessed when we take time all

year long,

to stop and give our Lord and Savior a big hug of gratitude.

 

 

 

 

Are You Using Your Head?

Is the amount of our brain that we use just the tip of the iceberg?

It is said, most people use only 10% of their brain.  Do you agree? Guess we need to

figure out how to increase that number.  I’m shooting for 17% in 2017!

 

DM