A Thanksgiving Memory...

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Nov. 28, 2013
  • Joni's Posts

Joni riding a horse when she was youngI'll always remember Thanksgiving Day in 1963. I was 14 years-old, living on a Maryland farm, and Mr. Cauthorne (the owner of the big estate across the river) invited me to go on a fox hunt. Early on Thanksgiving morning, my dad helped me trailer my horse to the hunt club. Within minutes, I was saddled up and ready to go. The bugle sounded and I reined my horse in line behind Mr. Cauthorne. I can still feel my hands on the reins, the wind in my face, my knees pressing the saddle, and the feeling of cantering across fields and sailing over stone walls. We never caught the fox, but I didn't care. I relished the ride! 

I haven't sat a horse in over 45 years. The only leather I sit on now is my wheelchair. No cinches around saddles, only cinches around my middle to help me breathe. The clip-clopping of hooves has been replaced by the click-clacking of wheel bearings. But that's okay. I'll ride in heaven. In the meantime, I thank God for memories. So today, design a Thanksgiving tradition that is suited to your family. Maybe a football game in a nearby park. A family puzzle by the fire. Perhaps a hike before you eat dessert. Whatever it is, it'll be memorable if you do it in the spirit of thanksgiving to our wonderful God and Savior. "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever" (Psalm 107:1). Happy Thanksgiving, friend!


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Joni, I hope that you and Ken had a nice Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing this wonderful memory. I know you will definitely be riding again in Heaven, but I do wish that you could ride a horse again on this earth too! Take care and God Bless You! Nicole
  • Dec. 9, 2013
  • 3:56 p.m.
  • Nicole Allen
I have a hard reading your post as my daughter in 2007 broke her neck diving. C-5. We have adjusted to our new normal. God has been good but as a Mom it breaks my heart. I wonder if she thinks of the past. She doesn't share if she does. Your an inspiration to so many. Thank you!
  • Nov. 30, 2013
  • 4:28 p.m.
  • Kyle Gerth
It is so easy to regret our limitations and be angry because we can't do what we once did. This week I have spent a lot of time being thankful for experiences of the past and what for what my limitations have taught me. Thinking God had a purpose for me reading Joni's biography some 25-30 years ago. Praising God!
  • Nov. 29, 2013
  • 10:23 a.m.
  • Mary Ann Snyder
You were quite the athelete! Love, honor and respect you testimony! To the one and only God and His son Jesus be all the praise for you life!
  • Nov. 28, 2013
  • 6:03 p.m.
  • Jan
Love to you Joni! God had BIGGER plans for you!!!
  • Nov. 28, 2013
  • 2:04 p.m.
  • Nancy Montagna
Thank you Joni! I'm 18 years old. I recently had minor surgery on my back because of an accident. I loved going trekking on horses every summer and now i can't any more. But my first thought was the same as yours- I'll be able to ride in Heaven and that will be so much better! The Lord is so good!
  • Nov. 28, 2013
  • 11:31 a.m.
  • Sara
Happy Thanksgiving Toni. Thank you for sharing this tender memory.
  • Nov. 28, 2013
  • 10:48 a.m.
  • Sherri Bartin
Joni, You are such an inspiration, I love you and your spirit! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
  • Nov. 28, 2013
  • 10:31 a.m.
  • Linda Christopher
You'll ride in heaven...again, sweet Joni ! God bless you, and Ken ! I say : Thanksgiving, for you two !
  • Nov. 28, 2013
  • 10:21 a.m.
  • Beatriz Manzini Gimenes
Joni, I'm thankful today for YOU and the inspiration you have been to so many folks for so long. Back in the 1980's, I volunteered at a children's hospital and worked for over a year with a quadriplegic 14-year old, who had fallen from a train. His mother had left with his younger brother, several years before. I tried to step into that role for his stay in the hospital. He was suicidal, at times, refusing to eat. I had heard about you and found everything I could about you to share with him. With your help, we turned him around! He's still living, driving, working, and a lot of the credit goes to your inspiration at such a tough time in his life! Thanks be to God for you, Joni!
  • Nov. 28, 2013
  • 10:04 a.m.
  • Stella Smith