in London, Ontario.
We hope to see you there.
“Then he said to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’” (Matthew 22:21 ESV).
Sometimes by not choosing we have made a decision.
This time of year I do tax returns for many friends and family members. Most bring me their pile of receipts hoping for a refund. If I have done their return before, I gave some tips for the following year. No one likes to pay taxes. I usually suggest they get more tax taken off and make some donations so they can receive a receipt as this will help lower what they need to pay. You have to pay someone, so make it a charity of your choice or pay our government. Some take my recommendations, but more often others do not. They have many excuses: I did not have time; I did not have enough money; I could not decide what to do. There are endless justifications.
This year is no different. I have to break the news that they do not want to hear: “You owe the government money.” Those who did what I recommended have a better return. Why do we think if we ignore the problem it will go away? Dealing with your income and taxes is important to keep in check, but it is not a life or death choice.
There is another issue that people like to just disregard: the decision of what to do with Jesus. Good Friday is set aside for us who believe in Jesus to remember the ultimate price He paid for our sin. Jesus died a very public, humiliating death. He was nailed to a cross for all to see. You ask why would I care if you do not know Jesus as your friend and saviour? Jesus died for you and me. You see, we are sinners and He was not. He died so people like you and I could be saved from eternal torment. If He was willing to die for us, then people like you need to know.
Take time this Easter weekend to read the account of Jesus’ crucifixion in the book of John in the Bible and take time to decide what you will do with Jesus. This is one decision that will make or break your eternal destiny.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 ESV).
This is the account of the first Christmas: God gave His Son Jesus, the greatest gift of all, to mankind.
We read in Luke 2:1-7 …
“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn”ESV
Christmas is a special time. It is mixed with emotions from excitement to depression and everything in between. We get wrapped up in gift giving and receiving, trying to find the perfect gift—but the perfect gift has already been given. The real meaning of Christmas is Jesus coming to live with the very people He made. He came to live a spotless life so He could give His life for you and me.
Do you see what I see? If you know Jesus, then thank Him for giving you His life. If you are not sure of what to do with Jesus, I invite you to explore His story. Read the book of John in the Bible or find a friend who knows Jesus and ask questions. Do not assume what the world tells you is right. If I did that, I would have not done anything with my life.
It is my prayer that you see Jesus, God’s gift for you in the manger and upon the cross. If you find Him, you will have the greatest gift of all.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18 ESV)
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.
We hope to see you there.
He was big, black and beautiful. He arrived in my life the day the For Sale sign was hammered into our front lawn. He was as stressed as I was. We were both in transition. He had a new home and a new master, and I was moving from the home I had lived in for 40 years.
Tate, my third service dog, had such a gentle spirit and a great desire to work. He spent six weeks with me in London: watching people pack boxes, seeing them come and go, and learning how to help me. Then we helped each other transition to a new community. Tate picked up his tasks quickly and we were soon working like a well-oiled machine. He knew things I needed before I would ask.
He also was full of mischief. One day I thought he was in my room with the door shut while I was at my brother’s, only to look down the hall and see him standing there wagging his tail. He seemed very proud that he could open the door without me asking.
Tate and I had fun, and though he loved to work, he did not like his working harness. He was very ticklish, and for the first few minutes, it would bug him. But after he got over that, he was ready to go were his job led him.
Two years ago, I retired Tate. Yet, he stayed with me. He was happy being at home more but would still want to go with me wherever I went. I would take him in the car for a ride if it was not too cold or too hot, but it got too hard for him to get in and out of the car. After that, he took it upon himself to be at the door to welcome me home with great vitality. Even in retirement, he was a blessing to others by visiting our local hospice, giving hope to those at the end of life.
Last May at Tate’s checkup, the vet found cancer and told me he had about six months to live. That dog loved life and had fun with my new service dog. They became close buddies.
In April I traveled to London for my book launch. Tate came with me and stayed with a friend. On April 23, five days before my second book launch, it was apparent that Tate’s life was ending and the heartbreaking phone call to the vet was made. My brother Dan and his youngest son, Malcolm, dug the hole for Tate to be placed in later that evening.
Life must go on, but there will always be a big hole in my heart for the gentle giant who served me so well.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV).
My favourite picture of Tate he loved snow.
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).
My younger sister is turning 50 this week. Sharon is a very caring person – even though she likes to hide that fact.
The Rose of Sharon is a common name that applies to several different species of flowering plant that are highly valued throughout the world. My sister is like a rose. Upon first meeting her, you might only see a rough, prickly person, but as you get to know her, you realize she is very hard-working, enjoys cooking for others, and loves to help people in need. Sharon is a highly valued person – even donating her left kidney. And she would donate the right one if she did not need it.
Sharon and I grew up in a time when it was not cool to have a “different” sister. She had to deal with much teasing at school. We had fun together sleeping in the same room (okay – talking more than sleeping). We worked well together. I had the ideas; she had the legs. Unfortunately for her, the legs got caught more than the ideas. She did not need my ideas, however, when it came to spreading butter on mom’s couch or climbing the cupboards to get baby aspirin.
Sharon, my little sister, thanks for 50 years of adventures and for being you. My life would not be the same without you. I’m so glad you married Ian. He brought your smile back – and I love your smile. Thank you for having three children and for being a great cook. (You make it hard to eat right.) I could not ask for a better sis.
Love you! Happy 50th.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me
I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. ’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matt. 25:34-40
On February 29, 2012, we drove to Vaughan Mills Mall to meet with Larry Willard. It was a dicey drive as the roads were icy and it was snowing. We made it and had a nice lunch at the Pickle Barrel. Larry left with my manuscript and only a promise to read it. Esther and I made our way home through the snowstorm. Was it worth the trip? Now almost two years later, my book is published.
It has been a long journey but so worth it. This journey with Castle Quay Books has been a pleasant one. Most people who publish have told me to be wary of editors who try to change too much in your publication, but working with Marina, my editor at Castle Quay, has been a great experience. She asked good questions so she could understand what I was trying to say. Marina did a great job putting the final touches on that shaped the book. I found myself a little disappointed when the editing was done.
As this book is now available in bookstores and online, I want to thank Larry and Marina for all their assistance in making this book a reality. It has been a privilege to work with them. They did a great job on the layout and cover; they even worked to get a note for the book from the Honourable David Onley. Check out Castle Quay’s web-site http://castlequaybooks.com/ they have published many good books.
Thank you, Larry and Marina and all those at Castle Quay, for your work on this book. May God bless you as He is glorified.
“He hath made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
We met in October 2007 in London, Ontario. Steph was introduced to me through a family friend. For many years, I felt God wanted me to write a book about my life, but I knew I could not do it myself. Typing with a mouth stick is slow going at times, so I started looking for a Christian woman with whom I could work. Steph was a great fit and I believe God brought us together.
I felt a good connection with Steph. We were around the same age, so many things I talked about, she knew what I meant. I started by dictating on tapes and sending them to her. After a few years, this book was taking shape, but we still had a long way to go. It was time to seriously work together on the book, so Steph came up for a week in the summer. We talked, wrote, talked, ate, and wrote. It was a great week.
Dr. Jerry E. White from the Navigators was speaking at M.B.C. and we asked him if he would read a draft of the first chapter. He graciously took the time then met with us over lunch and gave us many pointers and ideas that helped shape the book.
The next summer, Steph spent another week with me, again talking and eating, more writing and editing. She spent time with my parents and siblings, asking questions and at times, just watching us interact. I know this helped Steph write better because some stories she wrote like she had been there! Email and Facebook have made our communication easier and by January 2012, we had a completed manuscript.
Thank you, Steph, for seeing a story and putting up with all my questions, phone calls, emails, my ups, and my downs. I could not have done this without your expertise. Thanks for your friendship. This is a great bonus to working with you.
See Steph’s web-site to learn more about my friend. http://stephbethnickel.com
Living Beyond My Circumstances is being released in December 2013. This is not just my book. It’s about my family and about a great God who cares for each life and how He can use anyone for His glory if you are willing to trust Him.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV).
Here is a brief tidbit from one of the endorsements.
“Those who endure greater conflict always have something powerful to
say to those who face lesser conflict – and that’s how I look at Deb
Willows. This woman is a rare jewel in Christ’s kingdom, inspiring and
encouraging all those who know her. And I trust you will come to know
her well through her new book, Living beyond My Circumstances. The
book you hold in your hand is filled with nuggets of biblical insight and
wisdom, honed and shaped from years of living with a significant
disability. So be encouraged. Be blessed. And see what wonderful things
the Holy Spirit has to say to you through Deb’s story!” – Joni Eareckson
Tada, the Joni And Friends International Disability Center.
For more about my book check the Book & Contact page.