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March 20, 2017 marked a day of loss for a very good friend of ours. Her mother passed away. Less than two years ago, I lost both of my parents and so I understand how she is feeling at this moment.

We knew her mother and she was a wonderful Christian lady. There is no doubt in my mind that she is now absent from her body and present with her Lord. I know that the family is as assured of this fact as I am, but it does not take away the sorrow and loss that is being felt right now.

Sorrow and loss are feelings that we all must face because our original perfection was destroyed by our open rebellion against God. Yet God, in His mercy, chose not to leave us in our sinful state, but in His Sovereign Will, would one day restore that perfection.

Until all of creation is renewed, we will be very well acquainted with shedding tears. There is nothing wrong with expressing sorrow over lost loved ones. Jesus himself wept in the Scriptures. There are two recorded instances of Jesus crying. Once over the loss of a dear friend and the second over His beloved Jerusalem. However, Isaiah 53:3 tells us that the suffering Messiah would be “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”

Throughout the life of Christ, I believe that he saw tremendous amounts of sorrow and grief. I also believe that because of His love for us, he shed many silent tears.

We are told that time heals all things. As nice as that sounds, I do not believe that. Death is our enemy. We were created to live, not to die. I’m not even sure that time lessens our sorrow and grief over the loss of a loved one. I think it is more accurate to say that we become adjusted to live with the loss. Regardless of the years that will pass, one rogue memory brings everything back, and that feeling of loss will still be there.

First Thessalonians 4:13 is the light at the end of the very dark tunnel of sorrow. That light is hope. So yes, even as Christians we will experience sorrow and grief. Our consolation in this is that we know a day is coming where our hope will be fulfilled in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Revelation 21:4 which states “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

For now, my family grieves for our friend and her family for their loss. I pray that in the days to come, she will cling close to our Savior and be assured that one day soon, the sorrow will be gone and our age old enemy, death, will be swallowed up in Victory.

 

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I put together a little video about my latest skiing adventure. I hope you get as much chuckle from watching it as I did making it!

Skiing

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I just got home late last night from a week of skiing with NEHSA (New England Healing Sports Association).

This was the first sports clinic that I have been too and I now realize how much fun I have missed for the past 20 years.

This particular clinic was held at Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire. I cannot say enough good about the organization, the location and the Veteran’s Administration for putting on such an event.

The skiing was SO much fun! But the bonus for me was meeting so many great participants and volunteers to make the week a huge success.

A special thanks to my ski instructors, Mark and Kevin! They were phenomenal to work with and get to know. And to Ken who joined in with our group and let us use his Go-Pro to capture one of my “finest” moments! lol

The plaque on the trophy that I was awarded says it all! And here is a link to a video to show my comedic moment. Skiing 

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I was watching some news for a bit. I felt like being nauseous, and the news is usually the best way for me to accomplish that.

The last thing I looked at was the story of the disabled man being tied up and beaten in Chicago. One news reporter mentioned that if this case is “raised” to the level of a hate crime, the four attackers could face up to 30 years in prison. Most of you have probably seen the news report but here is a link to what happened.

Chicago beating

As I watched the video, and read the report, I wondered something about hate crimes. Is not “hate” the motivator behind all crimes? People love to jump on the “No Hate” band wagon for their favored group. But is one group any more important then another? Politicians fight and babble over gun control. We can take the gun out of someone’s hand, but until the hate is taken out of the man’s heart, there will be no change. If not a gun, then some other weapon.

So we as society have decided how much hate constitutes a hate crime. And what if I disagree with the measuring rod? Does that make me a hater? Am I as guilty as the attackers in the video if I don’t agree with someone?

You are by now thinking this post ridiculous. Maybe it is. Just seems to me that it is just fine for me to hate, as long as I hate the same things you do. Just don’t let my hate leave the boundaries set by society.

But wait…what if we lived in a world with no hate, no violence, no crime, etc. Oh wait, that would be called heaven. I’m not there yet, but watching the news often makes me wish I was.

 

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It has been so long since I have logged into my own blog that I could not remember the password. That may be good for the two of you that read this, but I’m not sure yet.

Do I have a good reason for dropping out of life? Or perhaps I should ask is there ever a good reason for dropping out of life. I wish I had a good answer to that question without relying on some old and pat cliché.

The past two years have not been good. Starting with the death of my mom on July 7, 2015, a very good friend on July 18, 2015, my father-in-law on September 5, 2015, my dad on October 9, 2015 and the list continues on like that for two years.

Of course many have told me that I am depressed or wallowing in the depths of despair and need to seek out “professional” help. I do not feel depressed and I am not wallowing anywhere (outside of the occasional times I get my wheelchair stuck in the mud).

What I do feel is reflection. Even now I have a very good friend in New Zealand, from playing on line games, who is only 35 years old, laying in a hospital bed, and feels like giving up. I also have another very good friend in NYC that is scheduled for back surgery on Tuesday for spinal stenosis. So this new year is not looking much brighter then the last two years.

It is very easy to ask why…but we all know why. What I ask is “Have I done enough?” Have I been there when people need me? Have I offered a smile, held their hand, laughed with them, cried with them. Could I have done more? These are the questions that cause me to reflect as I go into 2017.

My only New Year’s resolution is that I want to be a better person for people when they need me most.

In my book, regret is a much worse feeling then depression.

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inn-sign-640x319My daughter just returned from an amazing three days at Word of Life retreat on Schroon Lake in New York. https://camps.wol.org/ She has now been there several times with our church as one of the youth leaders, and comes back with some amazing stories and incredible blessings.

This latest trip was an exceptional blessing, because one of the guest speakers was Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni has a special meaning for our family because we can relate so well with her life. I remember reading the story of Joni before I was injured and was so impressed with her strength. Then after my own injury, I realized that Joni’s strength was not in herself, but rather in her saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Any strength I thought I had was obliterated the day of my injury. I know from Joni’s story that she often felt like I did. Discouragement, feelings of inadequacy, pain and rollercoaster emotions lurked as an undertow that would pull me under. Yet through it all I smiled. Often not because I wanted to, but because that is what strong people do…right? Wrong.

My smile on the outside is only possible because of my savior on the inside. Even now, 18 years later, I have to rely daily on the strength of Christ. Philippians 4:13 is such a simple Bible verse that children learn, but we as adults should never forget. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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Ariel not only heard firsthand Joni’s personal testimony in word and song, but also had the privilege of having her picture taken with Joni and her husband Ken. I think the smile on Ariel’s face pretty much says it all.

Joni has a God honoring ministry of serving people around the world with disabilities. Her ministry, Joni and Friends http://www.joniandfriends.org/, has reached millions of people around the world with help, encouragement and the Good News of Jesus Christ. She has been in her wheelchair for 48 years! I have only been in mine for 18. I pray that I can continue to have a smile on my face that reflects Christ just as hers does.

1Jcgz7dbWhile there, Ariel also got to hear Best Selling Author Joel C. Rosenburg. I am an avid reader of his work and I highly recommend his books to others. http://www.joelrosenberg.com/

And as always, when Ariel comes home from any trip, Wendy and I have the joy of her retelling us stories about her adventures. She never fails to keep us all laughing for days as she remembers one more “Oh! You have got to hear this one!”

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Better_to_Be_Broken_Updated_CoverRick Huntress, author of Better to Be Broken, knows about inspirational books. He brings his readers through his very personal disability book, and by being transparent with his own struggles, makes his story one of the best books that inspire other people in their life struggles.

Ranked high in the class of inspirational books and motivation books, Better to Be Broken is a book of inspiration that will offer you hope and encouragement to live life to the fullest.

So if you are in a difficult place in life right now and are searching for inspiring books, Better to Be Broken is just what you are looking for and is one inspiration book that is a must read for you.

National Christian Author’s Show

Make sure and listen to my interview on Monday, April 8, 2013 on the Christian Author’s Show. You can click the link and listen any time during the day and listen at your convenience. I am the featured guest on Monday so make sure and listen.

Monday, April 8, 2013, Rick Huntress interview on the Christian Author’s Show.

Thanks!

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