Living life beyond Cerebral Palsy for God's glory.

Archive for the ‘living beyond my circumstances’ Category

Mom’s Tribute

On November 26, 2019, my world was rocked. My mother was taken home to be with Jesus.  This was my tribute to her. It was read at her funeral.

 

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” (Proverbs 31:28-29 NLT)

We met when she was 21. She was an ordinary person, but her smile would warm up the coldest day. She loved chocolate, ice cream, black coffee, and making things with her hands. She always made time to listen and help others.

She knew nothing about Cerebral Palsy, but she was willing to learn. She pushed me to work hard, but at the same time, she accepted my limitations and loved me for who I was.  When the world told me I could not succeed, she told me to try.  Mom would not let me use the words, “I can’t.”  She made me try everything at least once.  Sometimes her friends would get upset with her because she wouldn’t help me, but her perseverance made me who I am today.

Even before my sports career began, she was my biggest cheerleader! She was always encouraging and pushing me to go further. Even my staff gets frustrated with me because they want to help me, but because of my mom, I am determined to do things on my own as much as I possibly can.

She took me to Pioneer Girls at our church. I loved to earn badges, but I was concerned I could not get my hiking badge. But she made sure I could by carrying me on her back through the woods with the other girls. Then I had to light a fire to finish the badge. The other leaders said not to worry about lighting the fire, but Mom insisted that I would do it if I wanted to complete the requirements. She got me to hold the match in my front teeth and brought the box up close so I could strike it. Then I leaned down, dropping the match on the paper and the fire was lit.

Mom looked after me every day for the first 25 years of my life: getting me up and dressed every morning, bathing me, feeding me, getting me ready for bed. She could not call in sick. The doctors told her to give me up and put me in an institution, but she would not.

Mom had a sense of humour. She wanted me to experience life. One morning when she was getting me out of bed (I am not a morning person), she sat me on the toilet with the seat up, which resulted in me plunging into the cold water, waking me up rather abruptly. When I looked at her with a questioning shocked look, she just laughed and said, “I just thought you should experience this!”

Mom travelled to many of my sports events. The biggest event was the 1984 Paralympics in New York, where she proudly carried around the Canadian Flag. During the wheelchair soccer game that I was playing in, she was interviewed on TSN. To this day, I don’t know what she said, but that interview was a highlight of this trip for her.

On Tuesday God called Mom home. She has left a big hole in our family and in my heart, but I know she is with her Saviour and Lord.

Thanks, Mom. You’re the best! See you soon.

BOOK SIGNING

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SATURDAY MAY 14th FROM 11AM TILL 2PM

CHAPTERS @ 1037 WELLINGTON ROAD

WE LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING YOU.

The Word Guild Award

Paralympian Deb Willows and her coauthor, Steph Beth Nickel, are thrilled to announce that Living Beyond My Circumstances, available from Castle Quay Books and other suppliers, has won after being shortlisted in The Word Awards 2014 Life Stories category. Though born with cerebral palsy and faced with numerous challenges over the years, Deb has had many dreams come true, the nomination and subsequent win of her memoir being the most recent. She and Steph are honoured and overjoyed.

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Winners in each category were from across Canada and recognized on Saturday, June 13, 2015, at The Word Awards Gala held at the Novotel Hotel in Toronto, ON. If you would like to see the complete list of winners, please check out The Word Guild website

 

Deb is available to speak in schools, churches, and other venues. If you are interested, please contact her at contact-Deb@bell.net

 

Steph is a freelance editor and writer and a regular contributor to HopeStreamRadio She is also available to speak and teach. You can contact her at stephbethnickel@gmail.com

 

Deb and Steph trust that this honour will open even more doors for them to point others to the Lord Jesus, the Source of their hope, strength, and salvation.

 

Living Beyond My Circumstances is for anyone who is facing life’s challenges and desires to “go for the gold.”

 

As Deb said in her speech on June 13th,

“This book and award is dedicated to Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Lord. Without Him, my life and this book would be meaningless.

I would like to thank Steph helped put my ideas into words, my parents who have encouraged me to live life and to Larry & Marina for getting this story published.”

For His Glory.

Steph, Larry & Marnia with Deb

Steph, Larry & Marnia with Deb.

DADDY

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.”    Psalm 103:13

 

When I was 10 years old my dad wrote this in my autograph book:

 

Big brown eyes, brown hair too,

Has her lows, lost her shoe,

Has her highs, face just glows,

. . . that’s my Debbie.

Love,   Daddy

 

Dad was strong in his faith, always putting God first in his life and teaching us to do the same. He always read a Bible story to us at the dinner table despite the many distractions. The phone often rang during devotions. Dad would take it off the hook and stuff it in the towel drawer. He was faithful in his own daily reading of God’s Word.

 

When I was young, before I received a wheelchair, he carried me everywhere. He was always trying to make my life a little easier. His hands were always big, strong, and rough, and he always smelled of wood. From as far back as I can remember, my dad loved to work with wood—and he could make anything. Because I could not use my hands, I fed myself by bending down and getting the food off my plate with my mouth. One day Dad made me a toast holder out of wood. Another time he made an ice cream cone holder. Sunday evenings were fun. After church he would make milkshakes or ice cream sundaes for all of us. It was the only thing he could make that was not wooden.

 

Dad always loved me the way I was. He never expected less from me and always encouraged me to be the best I could be. He loved to help me do things that were not expected or accessible. One time at Disney World in Florida, he was so excited that I was able to go on a ride that had been inaccessible the last time we went that he ran with me in my wheelchair towards a moving ramp. My foot plates hit the ramp and I was catapulted out of my chair and onto the moving ramp. I heard a lady yell, “I think she’s dead.” I was still alive and not hurt. The thing I was most upset about was the rip in my shirt.

 

I am so blessed to have a daddy who was handpicked for me by God. Thank you, Dad, for living for the Lord, for being real, and for showing us how to live for God. Someday in heaven I will dance first with my Lord Jesus, then with my Daddy.

 

 

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Book Signing May 9th

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in London, Ontario.

We hope to see you there.

Book Signing

Paralympian Debbie Willows and her co-author, Steph Beth Nickel, are holding a book signing at Chapters, 1037 Wellington Road in London on Saturday, September 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Autographed copies of Debbie’s memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, will be available.

 

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  We hope to see you there.

Stept and Deb

Stept and Deb

An Author

In January of this year my book, Living Beyond My Circumstances, was released. It was exciting to see years of hard work finally in print. It was so cool to have physical copies; there were many mornings when I would check the boxes in the office to see if the books were real. One day it hit me: I am a real author!

This April was crazy and busy. We had a book launch in London and one in Huntsville three weeks later. To my delight, many people came out to the launches. If you were able to be there, I would like to thank you.

Book launches take some planning. Where should I hold it? Who will speak? Any event is better with punch and cake—but no event can be successful without guests.

Each event was unique; London was like a great reunion. People were there from over the years, including my Grade 8 principal. Huntsville was special as well. Between the two launches, over 200 people came out. This still blows my mind. Steph was able to be at both and that was very special for me.

As exciting as it is to have a book to sell, it is even more thrilling to see what God is doing in the lives of others.

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23).

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 Signing a book at the Huntsville launch.