Friday, September 19, 2014

Life Lessons for Writers—Live Like Joni

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

Recently I found myself encouraged in an unexpected way when my wife and I drove to the Billy Graham Library to meet and listen to an amazing woman. Her name is Joni (pronounced Johnny) Eareckson Tada.

If you’ve not heard of her, she’s an author of over 50 books, a blogger, and an excellent artist whose paintings and drawings are in high demand. But that’s not all, Joni is a public speaker, and an international advocate for disabled people. She’s served on the National Council on Disability and the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department. She’s the founder of “Joni and Friends,” an organization that encourages physically handicapped people all over the world, and supplies them with free wheelchairs.

She’s also recorded a song for a that was nominated for an Academy Award. This recording tested her physical limitations. While singing, her husband had to press on her diaphragm so she could hit and hold the high notes.

But these aren’t the reasons I’m so impressed by her. What amazes me is that she has done all this for forty-seven years as a quadriplegic with fifty percent of normal adult lung capacity.

 We all hear about people like this, but it really hits home when you meet one of them in person. There’s no smoke and mirrors.

Seeing really is believing.

With Joni, you learn she’s genuine. There’s no façade. In fact, we were told by the library personnel that she wanted to start and finish early because she wasn’t feeling well. But when she came out and saw the hundreds of people waiting to hear her, she came to life and, I’m sure, spent much more time with us than planned.

By her life, Joni takes away all my excuses. When she damaged her spine at seventeen, she could just as easily have given up. And she’ll tell you there were times when she wanted to. But relying on her faith, she followed the path that God laid out for her and has touched millions of lives.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve moaned and groaned about my perceived inability to accomplish some writing task because there wasn’t enough time or it was too difficult—and I have full use of all my extremities.

While I too rely on my faith, I will also look to Joni whenever I’m having a pity party.

Who do you look to as an example to give you the strength or motivation to press on?

Don't forget to join the conversation!


Bruce Brady is an author, writer and playwright. His work has appeared in Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family,, and on stage. Currently, Bruce is working on a Young Adult Novel about a boy who must deal with the death of his dad, being bullied, and helping his mom through her grief. His first five pages took third place in the ACFW South Carolina Chapter’s “First Five Pages” contest.

When he’s not writing, Bruce spends time learning from and helping other writers. He serves as Mentor of Word Weavers International’s Online Chapter, and as a member of Cross ‘N’ Pens, The Writer’s Plot, ACFW’s National and South Carolina Chapters.

“My dream is to entertain my readers and give them hope as they travel the rocky road of life.”

Connect with Bruce on his blog, The Write VoyageFacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest.


  1. Wow, what a great story. Makes me realize how blessed I am. Thanks Bruce.

  2. You just pulled the rug out from under all of our excuses. Thanks, Bruce. Great post.

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  4. Thanks Bruce. Great reminder of how our moans and whiles pale in comparison. We could all be praying about much bigger things. Awesome story!

  5. God hs certainly blessed Joni's life. You have given me a lot to think about. Now, I need to find a way to organize my time a whole lot better.