Well, we are back from our week long van fitting for my driving equipment in Lakeland, FL and FINALLY, wrapping-up the #NTXEXPO2021. We’ll have photos uploaded to the Access-Life, Inc. website, testimonies on the #ALLIFELINKBLOG, final counts, etc. next week but in the meantime, we wanted to share a video that our long time friends and ministry volunteers, Dusty Dendy, Valerie Dendy and family did for a contest that gracious supporters, Slalom Shop Boats & Yachts held with 77 of their sister stores. It’s about their 10 year experience with the Expo in North Texas and they even came in second place! WORTH THE WATCH AND ENJOY.
Hello, all! It is such an honor and a privilege to be writing to you all today as a guest blogger! I want to take some time to introduce myself and share a little bit of my story as a means to hopefully bring some encouragement!
My name is Chad Van De Griek, I am 24 years old and I live in Nashville, TN! I was born with Cerebral Palsy, which mainly impacts my legs and left arm. As a result, I use a manual wheelchair on a daily basis to help with mobility and independence. Of course, while my disability is a big part of my life, it isn’t my only defining factor! There is so much more to me than just my wheelchair! However, I didn’t always think this way.
For much of my childhood, I was under the impression that my disability was holding me back. In my mind, Cerebral Palsy was the thing that was keeping me from being everything I dreamed of being. I did anything and everything I could in hopes to eventually be seen as “normal” by those around me. I was embarrassed at the fact that I had to use a reverse walker, or had to wear AFOs, or even at the amount of upper body strength that I possessed at a young age. All of those things made me different. All of those things made me feel insecure, and I projected those insecurities on everyone around me. I assumed my disability was all that people saw because it was the only thing I noticed when I looked in the mirror.
Things began to change when I entered my teenage years. I started playing wheelchair basketball and, as I fell in love with the sport, I started to gain more confidence in who I was and became more comfortable in my own skin. I began to see that my disability wasn’t actually holding me back as much as I had initially thought. No, it didn’t make life very easy at times, but perhaps CP wasn’t the dream-crusher that I always assumed it to be. I could still be the follower of Jesus, the student, the athlete, and the vocal leader that I had always dreamt of being, even with CP.
As I transitioned from high school to college, many of these same self-doubts and insecurities came flooding back. Sure, it was one thing to live with confidence when in the comfortable confines of home, but college felt like a whole new ballgame. I had to learn how to live life independently on a college campus and it was a major struggle at first! There was a ton of pain and tears involved. I honestly didn’t think I would make it through four years of schooling. But despite my numerous doubts and moments where quitting seemed to be the best option, I was patient with myself, I took it all one proverbial step at a time, and did the best I could with what I had. It wasn’t easy, but I eventually grew more and more comfortable living as a college student and achieved my goal of obtaining a college degree!
But, even as I sit here and write these words over two years removed from my college graduation, I find myself having to learn and relearn many of those same life lessons. This current season of post-graduation life and trying to figure out what I truly want to do with my life has been extremely difficult in many ways and quite a bit longer than I had initially hoped. I have really struggled with job searching over the past year or so, along with an incredible amount of fear and nervousness when trying to get more comfortable independently driving with hand controls. These struggles have made it hard to have confidence in my ability to eventually become a mature and independent adult that is able to live by myself or have a family of my own one day. But in the midst of these present difficulties, fears, and unmet expectations, I have had to remind myself to, just like in college, be patient, take everything one step at a time, and do the best I can with what I have.
Like I said back at the beginning, my ultimate goal is to use my story to encourage those who may be reading it today. For those in the reading audience that have a disability themselves, I hope that my words would be a reminder that life isn’t always easy. There are (and will continue to be) a lot of obstacles that come our way, and that’s ok. When encountering these inevitable obstacles, be patient with yourself, give yourself grace, take everything one step at a time, and do the best you can with what you have. And for those in the reading audience who are loved ones of those with disabilities, my encouragement would be to always be willing to instill confidence in your loved ones and constantly point out and affirm the strengths and passions that they have. Speaking from my own experience, people who have done this in my life have made a gigantic impact that I am forever thankful for.
Thank you all for reading my words! I appreciate this opportunity so very much!
We are squeezing the September #AL3IN3 in just under the wire of the month’s end but with a Philippians 4:13 attitude, we “GOT-R-DONE”! It was no easy task with all the Access-Life, Inc. news, we had to share but it was good to be back on screen connecting with so many folks.
#ALFUNFACTFRIDAY is BACK and BIGGER than ever! That’s right, since we are only doing one Access-Life, Inc. trivia video per month now, we have quadrupled the chances to receive a prize with FOUR WINNERS each time.
So listen to Kendahl Hancock on the video and if you know answer to her question, call/text 352.455.9926 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You have until midnight on Monday, 9/27 to submit the correct answer and be put into the drawing pot to be one of FOUR random winners of a $10 gift card!
#ALNEWSFLASH: Our TEAM is growing! That’s right, our East Tennessee Intern, then North Texas Intern, turned overall Ministry Intern is continuing to climb the nonprofit ministry ladder and is now our MINISTRY SUPPORT LEAD.
We are so excited to have Kendahl Hancock joining the @accesslifeinc staff even though it is only part time as she finishes her college degree. We so love her attitude, heart to serve, sense of humor and combination of unique skills making her versatile and a great fit for working with us. She has even won the approval of #ALMASCOTLULU. :)
So please join us in CONGRATULATING Ms. Hancock to Access-Life and #DISABILITYMINISTRY. :)
In today’s world we are bombarded by a variable plethora of commercials, billboard ads, political options, medical advice and even often pushed to accept or tolerate the ungodly and unholy agendas of many factions, groups and organizations. So as Christians what are we to do? Are we to follow everything we hear, believe even what we see with our own eyes or cling to God’s pure light, loving character and promises?
I think is obvious that the answer is for us all to rise above the clutter to where we can clearly hear Gods good promises and see His wholesome and beautiful blessings. However that is not always an easy thing to do now days. We can choose to believe to the Good News and think the best in Christ but it is still hard not to be dragged down by the immense negativity and untruth being thrown about in so many places.
However, if we can put a laser tight focus on our Lord Jesus and choose to have an unwaivering faith in God’s promises, we can rise above the waves of life and even tread on top of them much like Peter did when Christ called him to leave the boat in the storm.
Sometimes we even have to choose to believe God’s promises above what we hear and see in times when to our human minds think things make sense to us. In fact, I had a great reminder of this recently when visiting the orthopedic doctor about my wife Leanne’s broken arm. She had broken it right below her shoulder and despite what we were originally told no surgery was needed. PTL! However when we saw the x-ray it was a clean break and did not look good. The doctor though reassure us that it was lined up ok and should heal on it’s own. GREAT NEWS!
So four weeks later we showed back up for follow-up x-rays. Between the brake and then we had been praying fervently that God would heal her arm and make it stronger than before. When we saw the second x-ray we were a bit discourage and even concerned as to us the x-ray looked no different that the first one and the gap in-between her break looked no smaller. In turn, we continued praying while waiting on the doctor. To our surprise when the doctor entered he said things were looking good and it was healing up nicely. I was over joyed but had to ask about the gap and how it was not coming together. Then I was educated that the bone dos not necessarily shift and close together but rather new bone grows through and around the break. In turn making it stronger than before! WOW.
What a lesson for me to not believe my eyes but God’s promises: The prayer of a righteous man [or woman] is powerful and effective. James 5:16b. God had heard the prayers of the many praying for Leanne’s healing and he was bringing it to fruition despite what we thought we saw.
I HOPE THIS STORY ENCOURAGES YOU TO BELIEVE GOD OVER WHAT YOU HEAR AND SEE AND THAT IT LEADS YOU TO WALK MORE IN THE LIGHT OF HIS LOVE.
Now while this gives you less opportunities to win, the prizes may be BIGGER making you a BIGGER WINNER. So be on the lookout for our next FUN FACT FRIDAY on 9/17 right after our #NTXEXPO2021!
Hey there boys and girls of ALL ages and abilities. It’s Monday when we usually post our weekly #AL3IN3 but due to stretched bandwidth and starting other projects, we’ll only be posting our Access-Life, Inc. ministry videos once a MONTH going forward.
So while you’ll see us on screen less, we’ll have more to share when we do post a new video. Please keep an eye out for our next one that will be on 9/11 at the #NTXEXPO2021.
Happy Fun Fact Friday! This week’s #ALFUNFACTFRIDAY question and prize are TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL!
Don’t forget the new way to win – you have until MONDAY NIGHT AT MIDNIGHT to send in your correct answer. Once we get everyone’s correct answers, we will shuffle and see who wins the Access-Life, Inc. treat!
Mondays = #AL3IN3 ! Make sure to LISTEN to this week’s video for a CORNY joke, great bible verse, and an #ALFUNFACTFRIDAY update. :)