Joni's Posts May 2014

A New International Symbol for Disability?!

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 30, 2014
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New International Symbol for DisabilityI have often thought that the old, familiar International Symbol of Access (ISA) you see on parking spaces and in stores looks a little institutional. But never did I dream they'd come up with a new symbol! When I saw it, my first thought was, "How will the implementation of this change take place, and at what cost? People with disabilities are more interested in taxpayer dollars used for services, not signs." I have since learned that the purpose of the Accessible Icon Project is not to completely replace the old symbol, but to create a conversation about the capability of people with disabilities to navigate their world. As it concerns costs, it would be an issue if cities and businesses were being required to replace all of their old ISA signs. Thankfully, they are not. The new icon could be useful, though, if people want to replace old signage that is worn out, or when purchasing signage for new buildings. My...

More About Pat McBride's Story…

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 29, 2014
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Pat walking to a large iron crossPat and Barb McBride were visiting the eastern shore of Maryland in February 2011. During his walk on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Pat came across this large iron cross. It was the last photo snapped of Pat walking – just two days later, he broke his neck. Right now, Pat is in a special program at UCLA which will insert an electronic stimulator to help rejuvenate his spinal cord. But while he is pursuing a full physical recovery, Pat and his wife Barb are still “living!” He told me, “I don’t know how anyone can make it without Jesus Christ!” And I say 'Amen' to that!  

God's Hand on His Shoulder

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 28, 2014
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Joni with Barb and Pat McBridePainting which inspires Pat: Jesus' had on the sailor's shoulder
A few days ago, Pat McBride and his wife, Barb, came by the IDC for a visit. Pat, a commercial fisherman, broke his neck in an accident three years ago. He was quick to tell me that it feels good when people rest their hand on his shoulder. "It's the only place I can feel," he told me. After our visit, Pat sent me a photo of this painting of Jesus which, for years, has inspired him. "I have always pictured myself in this painting," he said, "and look where Jesus has his hand!" Pat's story reminds me of Psalm 119:173, "May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts." Pray for Pat, he's...

Family Retreat in China Begins Today

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 27, 2014
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Ivy and Joni making a video greeting for the International Family Retreat in ChinaOur International Family Retreat begins today in Nanjing and will run through June 5. Scores of parents and kids with disabilities (most to do not know Jesus) will be attending, so ask the Holy Spirit to open their hearts. Last week, with the help of 14-year-old Ivy Bi, I videoed a personal greeting to the special-needs families – Ivy was a little rusty on her Mandarin, so she had to use a 'cheat sheet.' But I'm sure the families over in China won't mind; I think they'll be grateful that we 'tried!' Thank you for covering this important Family Retreat in prayer – the next one is scheduled for July 14-24 in...

Memorial Day Reflections

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 26, 2014
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Louis ZamperiniVeterans of WWII are fading fast into history, but many of the men and women who served in WWII are anything but ‘fading.’ Take Louis Zamperini – he is 97 years old and is still lauded as a true hero of WWII – he survived 47 days at sea after his plane was shot down; then he was captured by the Japanese and remained a prisoner of war until the close of WWII. The world may know Louis Zamperini as an Olympic athlete, but those of us in the Christian community consider him a treasure in the kingdom of Christ (he became a Christian at a 1949 Billy Graham Crusade). If you’d like to learn more about this remarkable man, pick up Unbroken at your local bookstore (and look for the movie coming out later this year). This Memorial Day, we salute Louis Zamperini and all the American servicemen and women who have gone...

Sunday Reflections

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 25, 2014
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Beyond the Sunset
During our recent trip back east, Ken and I took a few days to rest at my mother’s condominium in Ocean City, Maryland – her balcony looks out on the Sinepuxent Bay and the Eastern Shore. Every evening we carved out time to sit on the back porch, reflect on Mother-memories and watch the sun go down. At one point, Ken snapped this picture as I sang this favorite hymn of hers… "Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning...

Meet Frank and Carmen

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 23, 2014
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Ken and Joni meeting with Frank and CarmenOur Joni and Friends Greater Philadelphia team has been working with Calvary Chapel Philadelphia, so I was glad when Joan and Jerry Borton asked me to speak at Calvary's Sunday evening service. While at the church, Ken and I were stunned to learn the details behind a tragic car accident involving Frank, his wife, Carmen, and their daughter Theresa. It was less than a year ago that Carmen was in the passenger seat reading Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story while Frank was driving. Suddenly another car hit the side of their vehicle and it rolled over several times. Although his wife and daughter virtually walked away from the accident, Frank sustained a high-level spinal cord injury which left him a quadriplegic. In tears, Carmen kept repeating to Ken and me how God used our book to prepare her – prepare them both – for the new challenges of 'life with a disability.' Please join us in praying for Frank and Carmen (and we can’t wait to get them to a Joni and...

Christ… Your Example

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 21, 2014
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1 Peter 2:21 snapshotA Bible verse from which I often draw courage is First Peter 2:21. It's been a favorite ever since I read it when I got out of the hospital. I am comforted to know that when I feel the crunch of my quadriplegia, Christ felt the sting in His chest first. Jesus suffered first. He paved the way, and He is my example. This means that as I follow Him on my journey, he will be there to help me every step of the way. I shared these thoughts on a "Joni and Friends" radio program back in March – a dear friend (who deals daily with chronic pain) was listening in that morning and penned a quick note in the margin of First Peter 2:21. When he sent me a snapshot of his note, it happened to arrive on a day when I, too, was wrestling with pain. Oh, it was just the reminder I needed! If God has brought me to it, His Example will bring me through it! Thank you, dear Jesus for paving the way.

Lancaster Bible College + Disability

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 19, 2014
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Recently when I spoke to the graduates at Lancaster Bible College, I enjoyed looking around the campus and talking with the faculty. I was extremely impressed with the Disability Services Office at LBC's Ally Center – it's outfitted with everything a student with a disability would need to succeed (details are in this video). Such heart for disability may come from LBC's President, Peter Teague, who is the father of a special-needs child; but Dr. Shirley Tucker who oversees disability services gives a more plausible reason. She told me, "We do not want anyone on our campus to have a second rate education; we believe that Christian Education should be at the forefront of providing accessible facilities, programs and activities." I applaud commitment like that. So if you are looking for a Christian college that truly "gets" disability, make sure you consider Lancaster Bible College.

Sunday Reflections

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • May 18, 2014
  • 18 Comments
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Joni and Ken near the oceanThere are very few days when my soul does not require a good 'talking to.' On most mornings when pain encroaches, I demand my soul to come into alignment with the Holy Spirit; I order it to stand at attention and take orders from God for the day; that it rejoice in the day that's been made by its Creator; that it ascribe to a holy purpose for living; that it quit being sullen, and be hopeful in Jesus; and that it rejoice in the Lord, for therein lies its strength! Sometimes quadriplegia is just plain tiring – add to it chronic pain, and it can wear on the soul. It's why (when I deal with pain) I often pray, "Why are you downcast , O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God" (Psalm 42:11). This Sunday, join me in urging your soul to find its solace, comfort, and encouragement in Jesus Christ!

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