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!