Tag Archives: Joni Eareckson Tada

When Your Beloved Pet is Diagnosed with Cancer…

Friends! It’s been several sad weeks here in the Hoagland household. Our beloved Gracie, our wire-haired fox terrier who was only 7 1/2 years old, got sick on Christmas Day and got worse and worse, week after week, until we discovered she had liver cancer and lymphoma. Only five days after that hard-to-believe diagnosis, we knew “it was time.” Beyond awful.

I know many of you have been thru’ this. One of our dear couple friends dropped off a new-to-us children’s book you need to know about: It’s called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant.

The book is super sweet and we will enjoy sharing it with our grandchildren later while it helped comfort us immediately.  Additionally wonderful, our six children commissioned a super talented local artist to create a watercolor of our Gracie. What a keepsake.

Special thanks go to Taylor Grimm! Find her on Instagram at: Taylor_Leigh_Grimm

Since we’ve been empty nesters, Gracie has been our little shadow, going everywhere with us, especially my better half. We logged miles and miles a day walking with her, she chased a thousand and one squirrels, and was quite the mole hunter and conqueror.

Claire “calms” Gracie before bedtime…

Gracie perches over Poppy’s shoulder while he reads to Claire Bear.

Gracie’s favorite hangout, by the fire…

The Great Squirrel Hunter…

Thankfully, I remembered an invaluable resource we read years ago in book club: Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It’s a tome, and is seminary-worthy. Even tho’ we read it over the summer to discuss once we resumed in the fall, it was a little more than we bargained for.

We howled when the children’s version came out about the time of our meeting. However, the adult version is truly a resource readers can consult over and over for just about any topic you’d be interested in. (Try 12 sections, 46 chapters!)

Yes, there’s a chapter called, Will Animals, Including Our Pet’s, Live Again? You can bet I went to grab the book and reread this chapter.

Let’s read the first paragraph (Ch 40):

“Christ proclaims from his throne on the New Earth: ‘Behold I am making all things new’ (Revelation 21:5 ESV). It’s not just people who will be renewed but also the earth and ‘all things’ in it. Do ‘all things’ include animals? Yes. Horses, cats, dogs, deer, dolphins, and squirrels—as well as the inanimate creation—will be beneficiaries of Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Two well-known authors are also quoted in this chapter. First, let’s hear from Joni Erickson Tada from her book on Heaven:

And you all will LOVE to read this poem from none other than John Piper:

Randy Alcorn’s chapter on pets also includes answers to:

“How closely are animals tied to our resurrection?”

“Will extinct animals live on the new earth?”

“Will our pets be restored on the new earth?”

“Is it wrong to grieve a pet’s death?”

“What future is God planning for animals?”

“Might some animals talk?”

You can tell these are deep questions, Likewise goes the rest of the book. You’ll get to see and read Scripture after Scripture on animals (in this particular chapter) and see the wonder and the love the Lord gives us through our pets, ultimately created for God’s glory.

Already John and I’ve been asked the big question, “So, will you get another dog?”  To which, for today, I’ll answer “no.” We wish (!!!) to hold off until our future grandchildren arrive (two grandsons super soon, Lord willing!) and we see how much time we’d have to raise a puppy!?!

Meanwhile to those of you who’ve survived losing a pet, we’re with you. Gracie’s our third terrier and it gets much more difficult each time.

So, as Bob Hope would sing, Gracie, “Thanks for the memories…”

‘Til next time!


Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Grief, Life Lessons

Discover a SURE CURE for Complaining!!! Please Join Us for Our Next Book Club Meeting, Monday, February 24th! We’ll be discussing Joni & Ken—An Untold Love Story

Quick fixes are virtually non-existent.  Clever advertising leads you to believe otherwise.

Take a gander at the number of diet books out there just for starters… Brace yourselves:  perusing thru’ Amazon, I found a  mere eighty-three thousand six hundred and sixty-seven results when I typed in “diet books” found in thirty-two  pages of options.

At recent lunch outings with friends, the two “buzz books” I hear of over and over and over are Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, M.D.  I’ve not looked thru’ this one, but a good friend knows a gal who’s lost a lot of weight from taking the book’s suggestions, and according to my friend, “she looks like a teenager”. (Sounds attractive as I watch new wrinkles form across my face each morning….)


The other book is: The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman.  Even if you don’t participate in the plan, the book is an excellent resource full of nutritional information, recipes, menu ideas, the importance of Scripture and Bible study, as well as exercise recommendations. Its’ five “F’s” are worth your time:  Faith, Focus, Fitness, Family and Friends.   I have a dear friend who began this regime January first and as of last week had lost eighteen and a half pounds.


I’ve decided while I’m reading it, I don’t necessarily have to participate in it, fearing the multiple times I’d already have derailed the dear ole’ Daniel Plan.  Thence justifying the dark chocolate truffle loaf with raspberry sauce we savored during Valentine Week.

Savvy Spokesperson for diets I shall never be….

We know there’s no quick fix or sure cure for dieting, however, having just finished reading Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story. I believe their story is a sure cure to quit complaining.  The next time I pitch a complaint (one of my terrible “talents”), I pray I re-think uttering such.

Joni and Ken

Before we get into the book, and promote the next Book Club Meeting about this book on Monday, February 24th (see details near the end of this post), I’d like you to be informed about Joni being nominated for an Oscar for the song she sings for an upcoming movie “Alone Yet Not Alone”.  Sadly, her nomination was rescinded.  Please visit the link below to see her comments.  You may watch her sing the beautiful song, in the below YouTube, which is a miracle in and of itself given her lung capacity challenges, etc.

Comments from Joni Tada:

Now, on to the book!   Joni and Ken is a must-read whether you’re married or not.  To be right there with both of them, thru’ their marriage, their struggles, slapped with adversity beyond anything most of us have endured, is eye-opening.

Can you think of someone you know who’s a chronic complainer?  Nothing is ever just right?  Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh is  a good example of a bad habit.  Being around such downers (or “Basement People” if you recall from the book Balcony People. Click here for my blog post.) is literally a drag.  They simply suck the life out of you.

You won’t find any complaining  in Joni and Ken’s story.  (Questioning God, yes, but they answer their own questions…Another reason to read this book!!!)  Joni and Ken graciously  allow us a sneak peek into doing life as a quadriplegic. Paralyzed from the neck down since 1967, Joni was learning to live life in her wheelchair.  God later orchestrates a meeting between Joni and Ken Tada.  He was a high school history teacher and football coach.  Their unlikely courtship is wonderful to watch.


But how in the world could Ken possibly learn to care for Joni, watch her live with chronic pain, all the while trying to keep their marriage alive? You’ve got to read this to believe it…

In between their ups and downs, you get to travel with them all over the world.  You feel like you’re in the same van or seated behind them on an airplane.

Trouble keeps lurking, however, and just when you think things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Joni receives a cancer diagnosis.  Scans.  Chemo’.  Pneumonia  from the chemo’.  How would one possibly cope with that?

Joni and Ken learn to totally, one hundred percent, rely on the Lord.  Their “aha” moment, from gaining strength which could’ve only come from Christ, is a beautiful part of the book.  They never fail to give God the glory.

Regarding her cancer diagnosis, Joni shares a quote from Alan Redpath, a British pastor and author:  “There is no circumstance no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me.  If it has come that far, it has come with great purpose.”  She then told Ken she believed her cancer came with real purpose.

They came to the following conclusion:  “Christians should remember to place their ultimate hope in God Himself, whose love never varies, and who is always trustworthy, always kind, always faithful, and who never misses a single detail.”

Joni firmly believes her battle with cancer was a severe mercy.  Remember the book we talked about a few weeks ago by that title?  Author Sheldon Vanauken believes his relationship with his wife was a severe mercy.  It was his friend, C.S. Lewis, who coined that God-inspired phrase. (See  post on An Extraordinary Love Story…)

9780060688240_p0_v2_s260x420In an interview with Dr. James Dobson in August of 2010, Joni discussed the whole concept of walking with the Holy Spirit.  Galatians 5:25 talks about keeping in step with the Spirit.  She said for her, especially during the cancer, it was about taking “those very small steps with Him.”  Every morning Joni would pray, “Lord Jesus, what would please you today?”

Joni also cites encouragement from a wooden plaque in their kitchen with the words of Isaiah 43:2 carved in it: ”When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk thru’ the fire, you will not be burned.”

She adds, “The fact is, if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

You can find out about Joni’s ministry by visiting her website:  www.joniandfriends.org

You can find out about Joni’s ministry by visiting her website: http://www.joniandfriends.org

Without giving away anymore about the book, if you live anywhere near Louisville, KY, please come join us for our next Book Club meeting next Monday, February 24th, at Middletown United Methodist Church. Bring a friend!

We meet from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Connections Center.  Please RSVP to Kelly or Nancy at:  (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 www.middletownumc.org

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243

We’ll enjoy discussion on Joni and Ken—An Untold Love Story.  We’ll gain a vast appreciation for the littlest of blessings.  Joni and Ken are so inspirational,  I pray we’ll also glean many of their pearls, plus be cured from any future complaining!!!

Hope to see you on Monday, February 24th!

‘Til next time!



Comments Off on Discover a SURE CURE for Complaining!!! Please Join Us for Our Next Book Club Meeting, Monday, February 24th! We’ll be discussing Joni & Ken—An Untold Love Story

Filed under Book Clubs, Book Reviews, Life Lessons