Monday, December 31, 2012

Wheelchair Accessibility and Transportation

Part one of our newest video is all about the basics of wheelchair accessible driving as the driver (my husband's perspective) and as a passenger seeking transportation without having to transfer out of her wheelchair (that is my perspective! Click here to watch Part One.

Before we were getting married, my husband to be's vehicle was not suitable for modifications that were needed to enable me to also get inside, to travel together. We began praying specifically and God, always knowing our needs, within a few weeks, voila! In our local Auto Trader magazine, was the vehicle we had been praying about. Our city isn't a huge one, so to find a fully modified wheelchair accessible van was truly a miraculous event for us. As you can see in the video, it has all the features we needed so Craig could drive.
It didn't originally look like it does now. The person who owned it before us, had this full size Ford F150 van, modified at an awesome place called, Sparrowhawk. Check it out.

If you have any questions or input, please email us at
Enjoy the video!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Knead Bread Recipe Part 1

Kneading Bread Matters
Don't "they" say that if you are trying to sell a home, bake some bread and it will cause people to want your house??? True or not, who knows? Whatever the answer, doesn't it smell delicious!
Yum, home baked bread. For many it isn't something they have ever considered doing on their own. After all, isn't home made bread difficult and doesn't it require a lot of work? The whole kneading thing is a key part to making a successful loaf of bread. It is the formation of gluten strands, that can only be achieved by kneading. Check out this "How to Knead Dough" video, from All Recipes.
As for me, the only way I would ever be able to make home made bread, was with a bread machine. Unfortunately, it didn't survive long. I suppose it was because I was so thrilled to be able to make home baked bread, pizza dough, bagels, and buns, that I over worked it!
Contrary to what some believe, that a bread machine disqualifies bread from being hand made. We say, yes, we acknowledge that kneading your own bread and all that goes with it, makes it as hand made as can be. However, for those of us who use it because it is the only way to produce the closest substitute to home baked bread, we say, bake on!

Save Money!
Making your own bread, regardless of the method actually makes great budget sense. A decent loaf of Artisan bread at our local market ranges between four to five dollars. To purchase the ingredients, flour, yeast and salt means a fraction of the cost and great tasting bread to boot. (Don't forget the water can come from your tap!)

A Food Wish Comes True!
It was over a year ago, that I stumbled upon one of my favourite recipe food blogs, Food Wishes. Without a bread machine, the possibility of bread making was impossible. Then I saw this ! Never before had I heard of bread that didn't require kneading! Kneadless to say, get it, kneadless! :o) within minutes, I was making bread. All it required was flour, yeast, water and salt and the ability to stir. Oh yes and a total of about twenty one hours. My husband and I tried variations of Chef John's recipe and none of them failed. Over and over, it worked. We eventually came up with our own version, but all the credit goes to Food Wishes.
Aside from me being able to make our own home baked bread and pizza dough, my husband Craig is now the number one bread baker in our home. Even with his poor bent fingers, thanks to arthritis, he too, can easily stir up a loaf of bread. Click here to watch it!

So whether you have limited arm strength or movement or arthritis, the No Knead or Kneadless Bread making method is for you!! It is so rewarding to know you can do something you never thought possible! Wanting to share this awesome opportunity, we have created part one of our Kneadless Bread Making video.
Part two is coming shortly.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Laundry, Craig Style

Is doing laundry when wheels are your "legs," a challenge? The answer is, it can be. The resurgence of the front loading washing machine has been a blessing, many may take for granted. You'll see how awesome it is as you watch, (click this:  "Laundry, Craig Style.")

Ancient Laundry Methods, Survivor Style?
Some love it, others deem it a necessary evil and yet others, have the means to hire a laundry service! All this talk about laundry brings to mind one memorable, "laundry" moment....We are big fans of Survivor. No matter where on the planet the contestants are, they must outwit, outlast, and outplay each other. Something else they must do, is their laundry. Imagine thirty nine days with same undergarments...on second thought, don't.
Over the past twenty five seasons, we the viewers, have witnessed many laundering occasions using the oldest methods we can imagine, scrubbing clothing with water and sand or rubbing them on a rock. No smelly soap, just grit and water and then the good old fashioned hanging them up to dry method! Oh and as you'll see at about minute number 7:49, in the video above, the boiling water method. This clip is worth a view, because in this setting, a colourful and very unique survivor, named Tarzan, a plastic surgeon, mortifies fellow female survivors, as he seeks to drop his clearly, "spotted" underwear into a boiling pot of their laundry! Watch him defend his skivvies. Only on Survivor.

We can only imagine how thankful the ladies, must have been, knowing that laundry machines awaited them back home.
Back to "Laundry, Craig Style."
Aside from the pointers you will see in this video, I want to add a few things...Craig is the laundry guy, but most of the time, I have the great young ladies that I get to hire, to act as my "arms and legs," and have them fold and/or hang it all up according to how we would like it done. It works well for us for us.
If you have a top loading machine, back in my apartment days, with coin operated machines, I used a metal hanger, stretched out into long hook so I could pull out the clothing out,  I couldn't reach. A reacher is also another great device.
Laundry Hints
1. Directions: For best results, follow the directions on your laundry products.
2. Detergent Matters: Caution, use High Efficiency Laundry Soap for Front end loading washing machines. It really matters. We found out years after that using regular detergent can shorten the longevity of your machine.
3. Mildew?: For front loading washers only, please always leave the door ajar a little once the load is removed. Again, we learned the hard way. After smelling mildew or mould in the laundry room, we were informed that a slight puddle of water always remains under the drum which therefore, smells bad!
4. Keeping Bright and White: Separate clothing. To keep whites, white and bright colours true, do not mix darks with brights or whites.
5. Water Temperatures: Cold water wash with cold rinse is what we use most of the time. It saves on energy and keeps colours from fading or running. However, we do like to wash things like sheets and other items that can be soiled more, like towels- use warm wash, cold rinse. It is a matter of opinion. We are sure Martha Stewart has much better advice than we do!
6. Stains?: Stains can only be removed when they are fresh. Once a stained item is washed and dried, the stain is set. Shout, Stain Away and other Oxy type stain removers seem to work well. But follow directions.
7. Avoid Fuzz Balls: Wash towels separately. We have learned through experience that washing clothing with terry cloth produces those annoying little fuzz balls a.k.a. pilling.
8. Washer to Dryer: Always shake out wet items before you put them into the dryer. This helps to shorten dry time, and because the items are opened up and not in a ball, the wrinkles will be less. (We avoid ironing at all times.)
9. De-Lint: Always clean the lint filter before drying clothing.
10. Dryer Setting: Depending on the size of your load and what it is, you need to select the appropriate setting.
11. All Balled Up: Sheets always tumble into a big giant ball, usually with other wet clothes inside. We find that for best results, you should pause the cycle after about fifteen minutes and toss the sheets. Bring what is inside, outside. Sometimes we do it two to three times, it helps everything to dry properly and avoid severe wrinkles.
12. Ironing Underwear?: Just kidding, we don't iron anything. But, it is true, there are devoted Martha types who do iron socks, under wear and sheets! You decide.
13. Once Dry: If you leave clothing in the dryer too long, you will be faced with a lot of wrinkles. Best way, shake out all dry clothing and lay them out on a surface until you can fold them up. Or fold right away. We always fold the clothing first because it doesn't matter to us if rags, towels and such are wrinkled.
14. Share the Load: If you love laundry great then do it your self. But if your loved one prefers folding, then let them fold and you can wash....

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Abortion Survivors?

Before I complete part two of the story, I wanted to share the links to one incredible woman, we were "introduced" to via YouTube, about a month ago.
First of all, did you know that people have survived abortion attempts? We didn't know that until last year sometime, thanks to the internet. It is truly a remarkable miracle, as horrifying as it is to know that a child was meant to die at the hands of health care "professionals," to learn that a baby, who is the target of a murder attempt, actually survives, wow!
In many cases, if you do research, you will see, as we did, that there are clinics and such, that actually place the alive infants on a shelf to pass on, just leaving them there unattended. Here are some links to these stories: "The Crime of Being Alive, The Abortion Survivors, An Inconvenient Life
Sad and inconceivable, that is for sure. So meet Gianna. She will cause anyone who believes abortion is just a "choice" and a "right" of women, to hopefully at least, think twice before making a life ending decision. Gianna, survived a saline abortion and was saved by a nurse, God sent, who noticed she was alive. As a result, Gianna was born with mild Cerebral Palsy, something she calls a gift and a personality that outshines many. Thankfully, she shares the light that God gave her, which why we can all "meet" her.
To meet Gianna, click here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, Keep Those Tires, Rolling!

Last night as my dear husband was starting to cook dinner, suddenly, we heard a gunshot! No, not really, sure sounded like one though. Turns out it was his rear wheelchair tire that suddenly just blew out. Needless to say, it startled both of us. I, in my usual manner, went on about how he shouldn't have overinflated his tires a couple of days earlier, sure of myself, that that was why it blew. Of course, I don't really know for sure, but in my brain, logic says, when things like that happen, there must have been a way to prevent it. He does affirm that he always over inflates them by about seven pounds. (Never over pump tires because it can cause exactly what happened to him!) And yah, sometimes, stuff just happens. What did Craig think? He thought perhaps, it was a pushpin that he spotted on the ground at our local wheelchair repair shop! Sharp objects, are not something you want to see when you have pneumatic tires, but that shouldn't cause a blowout! 

After I raved on about the over-inflation thingy, and how on earth are we going to get help right now concern...with one phone call, thank the Lord, we were able to locate one of my PCA's (Personal Care Attendant)," to come and retrieve his spare wheel. A great reminder of how important it is, to have spare parts for such emergencies. Riding around on a rim can damage your wheels, not to mention, most people using manual chairs, can't transfer safely from their wheelchair without locking it.  Flat tires can't be braked.
We were quite thankful as well, that it happened once he was home. We both have many stories to tell about how "breakdowns" have happened once we were in a safe place, like at home. Be it a bent front wheel fork, blown or flat tires, failed or dying power chair batteries or a broken motor, we definitely feel taken care of.

Okay, I just have to share a couple of these stories, they are just too phenomenal to withhold. Before the age of mobile phones, instead of depending on our local wheelchair accessible transit vans, whenever the seasons permitted, I would "walk" all over our fair city. One particular warm summer day, as I was headed to a family function, my front wheel hit a curb sideways. For some bizarre reason, the fork that I had believed to be solid steel, bent so much that my wheel was seized. The break down was right in front of a street side shop that just happened to have their door open. Of course, I didn't see it as a good thing at first (no, I am not a "half full" kind of person) and fear flooded every part of my body, wondering what on earth will I do? Suddenly all the worst case scenarios left my brain and then came the "duh!" moment!  Clearly, because the door was ajar, I could yell for help. So, I did, and the kind person called the accessible cab and my family fixed me up.
Another outstanding "event" that is so obviously a, "God's perfect timing moment,"  was over fifteen years ago when a girlfriend and I borrowed my parent's van and drove from Thunder Bay to Ottawa. Since staying at the local University residence was far more economical than a motel, we stayed at Carleton University.

On the very first day, of what we originally thought would be a four week visit, Randi, on a bicycle and I in my power chair, cruised our way down town. If I have calculated it correctly, that would be about a 7-9 kilometer walk, one way only. We made it back to the residence and as soon as we entered the building, my wheelchair ceased to work! As bummed out as I was about facing the possibility of having to return home, thankfulness flooded my heart as the multiple scenarios that "could of," happened played out in my head. What if it would have...broke down crossing the four lane intersections or any where else on one of those frantically bustling streets? There would have been no trip back home for me, except maybe in a pine box, had it happened then.

Oh, and In case you are curious, one phone call home to my best wheelchair repair dude and all was well the next day, we stayed on for two weeks taking in the sights and sounds, not to mention a few trips to the IKEA store!
Those are two of many, many stories about how things (not just wheelchair breakdowns)  in my life, could have ended up far worse, had they not been orchestrated by my Lord's perfect timing. Makes me wonder why, I still feel the need to panic and fret, EVER! Sigh.
Wouldn't you know it, today, the day after, I was watching Craig's other tire and I noticed a bulge in the rubber. Now, here's a shocker, wanting to prove my point (know anyone like that?)  about over pumping tires, I "googled" the subject and lo and behold, yes, over inflation can cause a tire to burst. In all fairness to my beloved husband, he told me that he has been over pumping his tires for more than ten years now and this is the first time anything like this has happened! So perhaps, I am not as right as I think I am...yah, that's always a possibility.
Here's the thing, using a wheelchair for over thirty years, had lead me to believe that I knew everything I needed to, in order to keep everything working well and to avoid any mishaps. Turns out I was wrong! (pssst...don't tell Craig) Apparently, I have been neglecting my own wheelchair maintenance duties. Assuming that I am not alone, I thought it would be a good idea to post the web sites that enlightened my ignorance. (Just click them on)
Power Wheelchair Maintenance Tips
Manual Wheelchair Maintenance Tips 

Final note: Did you know that mobility equipment such as, wheelchairs are a blessing and not something everyone in this world has access to.  Just ask the awesome people at "Wheels for the World" (or our friend Julio in Peru). All the more reason to take care of what we have as best we can and consider supporting those who are devoted to spreading mobility around the world.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Get Busy Living - Meet Ron and Bev Huckabee

These entries are featuring, as mentioned at the start of this series, well produced video documentaries produced by "Joni and Friends Television," featuring people who have touched Joni's life. Anyone who knows about Joni knows, that it is her life that has impacted millions in the last thirty plus years, so for her to share the lives of these individuals is truly a humbling thing, but that's Joni!
Meet Ron Huckabee!
Okay, it is one thing to have to undergo something like cancer right? Well, picture that happening to you and then you break your spinal cord and are left paralyzed from the neck down. Ron Huckabee is a man of God who was living out his calling, that of a shepherd, a Pastor, sharing the love of Christ, taking care of his flock. When life altering events ocurred, our old foe, depression and despair came knocking and he succumbed to it. Thank the Lord, his wife reached out to Joni Eareckson Tada for help. Want to find out what happened and how God has lifted this amazing man out of the muck and mire, giving him one inspiring life to share. So if you are feeling low, without hope, and battling thoughts you can't seem to get rid of, check out Ron's story and I guarantee you that you will be challenged to get out of the pit. Or, if you have a friend facing challenges they just don't know how to deal with and you are at a loss, not knowing what to say, how to help them, watch this video! Watch "Get Busy Living" - click here
As I was posting this video, looking for pictures, I discovered that Ron went to be with Jesus in 2011. Click here for a link about Ron.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"I've Got Questions"

Meet Nick Vujcic!
If you haven't met Nick by now, then you are missing out. Whether you live with a disability or not, this man will inspire you regardless. Authentic, bold, hilarious, compassionate and loving, he is one amazing dude! It behooves us to at least learn a little about him.   Thanks to the world wide web, we can get to know a lot about so many people these days. Some we should wisely choose to avoid and some we should choose to seek out, like Nick! As handsome as can be, when he smiles it isn't just his mouth that grins from ear to ear but his eyes as well. It was noted by an interviewer once, that his eyes embrace as arms would. Watch even one of the videos listed below and you will know it's true for yourself. There is no denying, his radiant face is a mere reflection of his glowing personality! Filled with love, compassion, humour, empathy, energy, and understanding, he travels around the world speaking to thousands at a time. Clearly he is an Ambassador for Christ, shining His Light in this dark world. Sure all believers are called to be one, 2Cr 5:20 NLT - So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!"
This ambassador has an exceptionally unique position in life. We have already talked about how much more one can encourage and help another when they themselves have gone through similar situations. Considering that this young man who faced thoughts of suicide at the age of ten, triumphed to where he is at today, showing the world that life without limbs, is no biggie, in fact a blessing, causing utter dependance on Jesus, the best place in life to be. That is one of the most important things to know when you face turmoil, questions and the unknown, to know that you are not alone, that there are others who have struggles and because of Jesus, have many triumphs and thankfully, share their stories to help us!
 Nick Vujcic's story is one that is unique to many. Sure, I and many of my friends, were born with a disability, but only Nick can relate to what it is like to be Nick, to live life without arms and legs, blessed with what he refers to his "little chicken drumstick." An incredible wee limb that enables him to do more than any of us could imagine doing with two hands! (watch the video, read his book, you'll see!) You have to listen to his story, to even begin to grasp even a little, how this beautiful boy went from times of questions, despair and even thoughts of suicide at ten years old, to where he is now!
And Barriers, to Nick? You'll see for yourself, as far as I can deduce, it appears that he has none! From my experience, some are in our know, if you believe it is a barrier, then it is. Really Anita? In your head only? Well, yes, I get it. There is no denying that there are the physical barriers that no matter what I think, those stairs that I pull up to in my three hundred pound power wheelchair, are not going away.  So then, am I going to let the fact that I can't get up those stairs leave me feeling left out and hopeless and feel sorry for myself? Or, am I going to brush it off and trust that God has somewhere else I am to go? That reminds me, Craig and I have a family "barrier" story to share regarding a wedding and us not being able to go... but I will share that in another entry. 

So if you want to be inspired and join people like Nick - living life to the max, go for it! He definitely encourages all to think out of the "norm." Of course, even if my body was able to do every imaginable activity, if Jesus isn't the Lord of my life then it would all be meaningless. Like Joni Eareckson Tada says "I would Rather Be in the wheelchair knowing him (Jesus) than on my feet without Him. And it is clear Nick would concur!
There are a bazillion ways to adapt activities, and building, vehicles, and such so we can enjoy them. The choice is really up to each of us, so we can't blame it on our bodies. It's all about attitude and how we view things. I may not be Mrs. Adventure, but it depends what we view adventure as. Myself for example,  thanks to the life Jesus gives me, I am very content hanging at home creating and doing things like sitting here writing this!  No matter what you are created to do, you will do it.  

As you meet Nick through the bio video called: "I've Got Questions," you will see that Nick, like all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made, just as God designed us.

Oh and I  must mention, in February 2012 (I believe), God answered Nick's heart's desire, to marry a woman, handpicked by God! (I was praying for you Nick, and I assume that if you married her, she isn't just  beautiful on the outside, but the inside as well) Congratulations Nick!

Watch Now!
Check our Nick's Website "Life Without Limbs" - click here
Watch the great bio video "Ive Got Questions." - click here
Nick sings too! Here is his great video :"Something More" link click here

Monday, May 28, 2012


Meet Holly!
As I go through the videos at the Joni and Friends Television website another one tugs at my heart and I want to share it with you. This woman isn't just beautiful on the outside, but incredible on the inside. Holly was born with Spina Bifida and as mentioned in a previous post, S.B. varies in how it affects those who are born with it. Holly's life is being used by God to touch and inspire others as so many of the people in this video series are. Her love for Jesus, clearly radiates through her life as she talks about how she can't do anything a part from Him. She has been devoted to her studies in social work, seeking to serve in the support community for person living with physical disabilities.
To be inspired watch Holly's story- click here.
Meet Holly at her website - click here.

Brian Doerksen -"As For Me and My House"

Meet Brian Doerksen!
Brian Doerksen is best known to many as a musician, songwriter and worship leader. He was born in Canada! He has a beautiful wife and children. Brian's heart for Jesus, is obvious through his inspired lyrics and melodies. Many of us, myself included, have sung his songs repeatedly, even though he still writes new songs, there are many that are now classics.
This video documentary, produced by Joni and Friends, is an intimate presentation about his family discussing something that I, didn't know about until I watched the video. He is forthright, open and sincere, just like his music, as he lets us into his home and heart, talking about raising two boys born with a disability called, Fragile X.
What is Fragile X? The Fragile X Foundation says: "The most common cause of inherited intellectual disability and the most common known genetic cause of autism or autism spectrum disorders. Can cause learning and behavioral challenges ranging from mild to severe."
This video is an encouragement to parents who are in similar situations and even though we don't have children, his words hit near to my home and I feel challenged to draw closer to Jesus.
Watch the "As For Me and My House" video here -click here
See Brian's Website here

Be Inspired..."Determined to Win"

Meet Jean Driscoll!
Keeping in step with what we said we would do - meet another inspirational person who happens to use wheels for legs, just like us! Born with Spina Bifida, a cousin to Spina Bifida Occulta, which is what my husband Craig has, Jean Driscoll is world record breaking athlete who loves Jesus Christ and shares that love in some incredibly unique ways. Ways that could only happen because of her hard work and physical abilities. Coaching the first ever, paralympic racing team in Ghana, Africa is one of those ways!
Spina Bifida is a disability that affects the spinal cord in varying degrees. It is why women who are wanting to get pregnant, are to take Folic Acid because it helps to prevent any anomalies from forming in the the development of this area. Personally, most of the individuals I have met throughout my life, who live with spina bifida, generally have semi or full paralysis from the waist down and can use braces and walkers or they use a wheelchair to get around. As with most who have spinal cord issues, whatever you use gets extra strong, meaning these individuals have super upper body strength. Just like when a person who can't hear, has heightened other senses to compensate, truly an amazing feature that God designed.
Like I mentioned in a previous article, children who are like myself, born with a disability, are generally quite happy and content because it is who we are, all we know. From the age of eleven until I was seventeen, I lived in an eighteen bed institution built to provide a place for children living with physical disabilities. Most kids lived there because like mine, our home towns, weren't equipped with wheelchair accessible schools or places you could receive physical, speech or occupational therapy. Sadly, that was when I first learned that there were others who had been abandoned by their biological parents into foster care, unable to accept their child's needs. Seeing those dear peers, caused me to be extra thankful for the family I was able to visit with every other weekend and holidays. Thankfully these days, in Canada, much has changed. There are funds available to assist parents with things like home support, respite and easier access to all of those therapies that are so often needed, not to mention, wheelchair access to government funded buildings is law.
One precious lady often comes to mind when I remember my days there, Pamela had white blonde hair, blue eyes and spoke ninety miles an hour. She didn't let spina bifida stop her from anything, determined to get where she wanted, she'd often ditch her wrist crutches, lie tummy down on the floor and  using her elbows to propel her tiny, thin body up and down the long halls, leaving them with a fine polish!
Jean was also quite mobile when she was young, with the assistance of devices. It was after she had undergone many surgeries in her early teen years, that she discovered walking wouldn't be better but impossible. Facing a new way of getting around, she faced some very serious struggles. The video documentary focuses on how Jesus touches her life in ways she hadn't imagined. I don't want to spoil the story by saying too much, you will have to find out for yourself, just how many Boston Marathon records she breaks! 
Here is Jean Driscoll's Web Site - click here

Determined to Win, the Jean Driscoll Story video Documentary- click here

"Hope Out Loud"

As shared previously, there is a series of videos that "Joni and Friends Television" has produced a serious of half hour video presentations featuring the stories about those who inspire and have touched Joni's life. See, just as she is used by God to touch others, others touch her and so on and so forth. So let's pass it on so others may be blessed too. We are never alone, someone else is always out there going through similar issues. Be inspired.
Share your story too, we would love to hear from you! 

Meet Jennifer Barrick!

Meet Jennifer Barrick, a young lady who experienced an accident that changed her life forever. Her love for Jesus shines brightly and her desire is to bless others as well. (Click here to go to her website)
View audio documentary about the amazing young lady below:
The Jennifer Barrick Story Part 1
The Jennifer Barrick Story Part 2

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Knowing how much the lives of others can inspire and encourage us when we are facing crises of all types, I want to share a few video links to the story of Joni Eareckson Tada. Click on her name for one, and here are two more links to more awesome videos that feature her incredible life: #1 and #2
Joni's life has encouraged and inspired me for more than thirty years. Her diving accident, like others with spinal cord injuries, was sudden, without warning; she went from walking upright to sitting down; from full sensation to full paralysis from the neck down, in mere seconds. Her life story and a pile of other bio-videos produced by Joni's ministry, "Joni and Friends," created to inspire all, regardless of where they are at in life, will be posted in the coming days.
My Hero on Earth: Joni
No, I don't endorse that as a believer in Christ, we are to idolize anyone. But I do believe that God works through certain people, providing what He knows we need to learn. Listen to this: Even when I had no clue about why we were on this earth, ignoring Jesus and living for my self, facing incredible bouts of depression because I was terrified of death, God was always taking care of me. Try that some time, look back to your earliest memories and recount the many times that you know things could have went way worse than they did, making it evident that we weren't as alone as we believed we were.
Having a younger sister who had become a Christian at the age of eleven, meant I would be exposed to a variety of musical artists like Amy Grant, Michael W Smith and of course Joni Eareckson (before she was married to Ken Tada). Joni's voice was beautiful, as an aspiring singer (in my own head), I remember singing along with her, at the top of my lungs in my bedroom.
It was her open and blatantly honest autobiography about her diving accident in1967, that really caused me to have someone I could receive inspiration and encouragement from. I may not have suffered a spinal cord injury like her, but I did stop walking when I was thirteen years old and knew that my muscles would continue to weaken until one day, I wouldn't be able to fight off a lung illness that would lead to premature death (so "they say.) As well, like Joni, I too longed to be a visual artist ever since I could hold a pencil, and, I may never have recorded that album, but every time I could, I loved singing my heart out into my hair brush. Needless to say, that when her movie came out in theaters everywhere, (I was about twelve years old at the time) I connected with her in a way that would last right up until this day. Funny how that can happen with someone you may never actually meet on this earth!
Joni herself, would never want anyone placing her on any pedestals and that's something that I would never desire to do. Because of her godly teaching and her willingness to be so open about her life, it is clear to all that God uses her life to touch millions around the world. As the years progressed, after the movie came out, she opened a ministry directed toward others living with all types of disabilities and their families, called, "Joni and Friends." As a single woman myself during the time I was reading her book called Choices, Changes, all about all that she dealt with while making the "Joni" movie, and how then the development of the Ministry happened, and her struggles with relationships and her desire for one, she didn't know it and may never know it, but her words helped me to know I was not alone. By then I became a believer, so reading her raw, truthful books, so often helped soothe my lonely aching heart. When I got to the section of the book about how this wonderful, handsome man named Ken Tada, entered her life and how much he loved Jesus Christ too, my heart was all a flutter. I re-read that book more than a couple of times. Joni underwent many times of physical suffering as her thin bones would cause brutal pressure sores that would result in months of bed rest. When I read about how this dear man, built her an easel that would cause her to be able to paint in bed, it was obvious what real love was and why she had to say yes when he proposed to her. 
My teenage years were spent compromising myself, body, mind and soul, always desiring love and acceptance but never finding it because I was living a lie, blind to the Truth. The interesting thin is, I had heard God's Truth, I was aware but it was as if I never heard a word. At that point I was even familiar with Joni's story because of her books and the movie that came out when I was only twelve or so! The point I am trying to make is how amazing it is, when I look back, how God permitted me to make a lot of really rotten decisions and yet, He made sure that I was hungering for meaning, showing me lives like Joni's. It is as if the answers were presented when I was much younger, but because He knows what it will take for us to drawn close to Him and what we need to go through for purposes that we may never know - He didn't let me "see" until my early twenties. If I didn't make so make many lousy choices through all those years and if I didn't live this life that He pre-ordained, I wouldn't have this story to tell that points to the absolute Truth of Jesus Christ.
 I wouldn't change a thing, all the pain is worth it all because it lead to Jesus' loving and healing arms. Joni too, knows why too, to draw her near to Him and to be used to bless many. What a gift to know that about pain and suffering, both emotional and physical. Yes, God can heal and restore without us, but He chooses to let us be a part of all that He planned long ago.
We all must admit that, if we are battling something like drug addiction, and a well meaning someone tries to tell us they understand, but they have never experienced any type of addiction, just how not helpful that is. That is why for some, support groups work. Not a fan of those myself, but I get why they exist. For me, just being able to read about or listen to someone's story, like Joni and the others I will post soon on this blog, are what God uses to inspire and encourage me. All the more reason to believe that we are not to hide all that God has done in our lives, we have been blessed and we are to pass the blessings on.
We are told in God's Word that the Body of Christ, the church, is the body of believers in Christ. It is made up of many parts and Jesus is the Head of the Body. Just like our awesomely created human body parts, all work together to function, the Body of Christ is to work together, building each other up, to function well. One big mistake is when we join in with the self focused, narcissistic world that exists today. If we follow Christ, we are to prefer others above ourselves, being His hands and feet in so many ways-sharing our lives, glorifying our Heavenly Father.
Thanks to God providing my earthly hero, (not idol) Joni, He  touches my heart in the darkest times as the enemy tries to tempt me with that old foe, self pity. As I face each new day, I remember what I read from Joni, talking about how she, like myself, sometimes just doesn't have it in her to smile when she knows her "get up girls" are coming to help her out of bed. There are days when you just wish you could be alone with your husband, free from needing anyone else's assistance - no matter how thankful you are for the great ladies who help you. Joni speaks about how she asks God to be her smile for the girls that morning because she doesn't have one and of course, He does just that! Her prayer has become mine as well. Because I was blessed with reading about her honest struggles, that one paragraph alone has impacted how I handle those tougher days!
Thank you Lord, for the lives of others that You use to encourage us with. May my life be used the same way!