Joni and Friends Radio Contest


Me with joni Eareckson Tada and Ken Tada at Family Retreat 2011 in Murrieta Hot Springs in San Diego CA. The theme was “Be Free!”


In April Joni and Friends had a radio contest for Easter. This May marks 35 years since she’a been on the air. Although I didn’t when the contest, I thought people would want to see what i wrote. Joni Eareckson Tada is one of my greatest inspirations for writing the way I do.  I listen to her radio program on her website  everyday. I would love to start a ministry similar to hers with my writing someday.  Thank you Lord for Joni Eareckson Tada!

Spending four minutes a day with Joni Eareckson Tada is a real treasure. I have cerebral palsy, and I use a wheelchair. I’m 34. Listening to her radio program is a highlight in my day. Her broadcasts have inspired me to teach, minister, and write. I’m the author of a children’s book and I have a Blog. I teach kids in the Awana program at my church and I’m always quoting Joni’s sayings with the kids such as, “I’d rather be in this wheelchair knowing Him, then on my feet without Him.” I grew up in a Christian home. Joni has re-enforced the values my mother has taught me like, “Focus on what you can do.” Joni and her radio program have had such an impact on my life, as my writing advances, I’m trying to make my writing similar to hers. I want to have the same impact on special needs families she’s had on me. Not only do I volunteer at church, I also volunteer at my local hospital. I share Joni’s story all the time and tell people how she paints with her mouth. She doesn’t give up. When I think of Joni, I think of Philippians 4:13 where it says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength!”

“The Perfect Writer” How I Learned to Write for Mother’s Day

This year I gave mom something special for Mother’s Day. It was a cookbook with quotes from famous people and recipes. Instead of buying her a card, I decided to write the greeting in the cookbook. After all, I’m a writer. What better to show love then write something by hand? I did it, but let me tell you. It wasn’t easy! I wrote:

“Happy Mother’s Day mom. I found this in Hallmark and I thought you would enjoy this since I know you like to cook. Some of the quotes are funny, some of the people have a real sense of humor.”

My friend Jessica helped me. The hardest part was getting the spacing between words correct. We practiced for a month every Monday. Many times, I’d write a sentence and it would come out looking like one long big word. Jessica made paper for me with all sorts of colors and very small squares so I would get used to writing words in small spaces and then my letters would get smaller. She also had me write on paper with no lines so I got used to writing in the book. We did it from many angles Jessica even put X’s where he spaces were too close. and O’s where she could tell there was a good enough amount of space between the words so she could read the sentences. I practiced from 10:00 until 2:00 when my mom got home from work. Sometimes I would do great and then other times I’d get frustrated because I couldn’t get the spacing right or a letter was too big. Sometimes I’d scribble a sentence and start writing the whole thing over. Other times I’d get another piece of paper, or I’d just throw down the pen on my tray. I knew she was my mom and she would understand, but I’m such a perfectionist. I wanted everything to be perfect. Some days Jessica would say, “Okay, you need to stop for the day. You’re getting so focused on being perfect It’s not coming out well.”

I practiced, practiced, and practiced. Finally, the day came when it was to wrap the gift. However, I needed to warm up. After all once it went in the book it wouldn’t be able to be fixed because I wrote it in pen. Finally, after much practice I got the spacing perfect on the very first line! The key was counting out loud as I moved my hand. “One two, three, space,” and then I would write the next word. I was hoping I would be able to do it completely independently without any help at all, but that didn’t happen. After practicing many times that day, it was time to just do it before mom got home. Jessica reminded me there would always be something I could’ve done better. It came down to I would handwrite the words myself and Jessica would verbally cue me. She would tell me things like. “Stop” and “Go to the next line.” She also made sure my sentences weren’t on top of each other.

She’d say, “Pull your letters down.” “Down down.” “Put the next sentence right there.” When I got hard on myself Jessica cheered me on and reminded me how far I’ve come. “Remember when I couldn’t even read your letters?” Then I was able to calm down and breathe.

I did great! The only thing I messed up on were the words this and in. Even though Jessica told me to stop, for some reason, I thought I could make the word in fit since it was only two letters. I was wrong. Oh no! The words this and in were too close! Ugh! So much for perfection!

“Just tell your mom you decided to get creative.” I moved on. As we went along, I began to recognize when a word needed to go on the next line. I finished writing the message and then I wrote “May 2017.”  Jessica did help me write the 2 but I did the rest all by myself. As we started wrapping the gift, we heard the garage door. Uh-oh. Mom’s home. We wrapped it quickly, and  then she walked in the door! Phew! Just in time!

Mother’s Day arrived. Mom opened her gift and loved it! When she saw my writing she said, “So that’s what you’ve been doing. That wasn’t easy for you was it?” She was very impressed I did it all by myself! It felt good to accomplish something and make Mom smile. She’s been reading the book and really enjoys it! Jessica reminded me if I keep up the practice next time I won’t need any guidance. I’m amazed how much repetition my brain needs. If I miss a day or a week and then try to go back and practice what I learned, it’s like my brain forgets, and then I have to start all over from the beginning. If I want to remember how to do something, I have to practice on a daily basis which means making rime to practice handwriting every day. I will because I don’t want to lose the skill. It took me a long time to make sure my mom could read my writing in the book! The other thing I need to remember is for Mom anything I give her is perfect!

Lord, help me to remember you are the perfect writer. Thank you for writing the perfect story for my life. Amen.