Joni and Friends Blog

Small Potatoes

There’s nothing like a bond between mother and daughter. 

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I’ve seen that bond between Jill Miller and her daughter, Ashley. With Mother’s Day coming up, I can’t think of a more touching story than theirs. Because Ashley was the family’s Mother Theresa – I mean this young woman cared about everybody and their needs. Even when she was little, Ashley had an unusual compassion for hurting people – like her younger sister, Kim, who has autism. It always bothered Ashley that Kim could not speak. But little sister opened big sister’s eyes to a whole world of young people with disabilities, and it’s why eventually Ashley chose special education as a career. Compassionate Ashley even took her sister to speech computer camp to learn how to speak through a computer. What an unusual, wonderful way for Ashely’s prayers to be answered…Kim can finally speak, all because of a caring older sister.  

Well, things got harder when in her mid-30s Ashley was diagnosed with cancer. Her mother Jill was amazed at the selfless way she handled the disease. Jill, and her husband Paul would watch, as their daughter – on her way to the chemo clinic – their daughter would hand out homemade lunches to homeless people. Always this young woman was looking out for others – especially when she married and had children of her own. It’s why it was especially hard on the family when, at the age of 42, this remarkable young woman, Ashley, passed away from cancer. Such an exceptional follower of Christ; taken at such a young age.  

And Paul and Jill miss her terribly. I keep in contact with Jill and she often shares how hard it is, how much she misses her beautiful daughter. There’s not a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about herAs a grieving mother, Jill often speaks about that glorious time when shell see her dear, brave Ashley again in heaven. And it is for this reason that Jill keeps on her kitchen windowsill a bowl of small potatoes. That bowl of little potatoes is such a comfort. Why is that? Well, as Jill tells me, every day when shes at her kitchen sink, and looks up and sees that bowl of potatoes, it’s a reminder of a favorite paraphrase of Second Corinthians Chapter 4, verses 17 to 18Get this, cause I think this paraphrase will bless you, too. It says, “These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today and gone tomorrow. But the things we cannot see will last forever.” 

Jill Miller (Left) and Ashley Miller (Center)

What heartwarming words for any mom whos grieving the loss of her childAnd you can see why that bowl of potatoes encourages Jill. And if the idea of heaven encourages you in your loss, think about hunting down a good paraphrase of Second Corinthians Chapter 4. And then, uh, set a few small potatoes on your kitchen windowsill. Keep em as a visible reminder that the hard times we experience here are small potatoes compared to the gloriously good times ahead in heaven. Today, if youre grieving the loss of your child much like Jill, then I pray this Mother’s Day will be good cause to reflect on all the sweet remembrances of your daughter or your son. And may those memories spur your thoughts on toward heaven. Oh, and please stop by and enjoy a great photo of mother Jill and her precious daughter, Ashley, whom you one day will meet in heaven where there’ll be no more small potatoesOh, and one more thing, when we serve the needy, we also please God and it’s why I want you to go over to my radio page today at and ask for our Joni and Friends NewsletterIt’s filled with opportunities for you to serve people with disabilities in the name of Jesus.

© Joni and Friends



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