Guest Blogger Chad Van De Griek: November 11, 2021 – New Challenge, Same Solution

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (ESV)

I graduated from college in the Spring of 2019. It was a huge accomplishment that took a lot of personal effort and a lot of help from those in my support group. When I reflect on my college experience, I can’t help but be extremely proud of myself and thankful for each and every person that helped me along the way. There were a lot of hurdles that I had to overcome before I could roll across the stage and get my diploma. And while there were times where I never thought it was possible, I did it. But of course, graduating isn’t just a finish line, it’s the start of a new beginning.

I felt decently prepared for life after college. There were the obvious hurdles that I had thought about and planned to metaphorically jump over, like finding a job (which, admittedly, can be difficult for a guy who can’t drive and has a pretty limited physical skill set). But then there were other obstacles that I wasn’t prepared for at all. And of all of these unanticipated struggles that came, there was one that I didn’t think would have as large of an impact as it did. I never realized how much I would miss it all.

I miss being a college student. I knew I would miss friends, professors, and mentors, which certainly is far and away the number one aspect of college life that I miss the most, but it’s not the only thing I miss. I didn’t realize how great living on a college campus was for me until I looked back on it all in hindsight. When I lived on campus, I rarely needed to use a car to get where I needed to go. I had relatively easy access to food, friends, my job, a gym to work out in, and almost anything else I needed. Everything was within pushing distance, which kept me in great shape and helped me enjoy the beauty and energy that permeated the campus. Sure, there definitely were days where my body was sore and wasn’t in the mood to roll everywhere, but I even miss that feeling. Not only did those days teach me how to listen to my body and care for it well, but I would be reminded that I was working hard and it motivated me to continue to give maximum effort and to work on my physical endurance And, believe it or not, I even miss going to classes and having school work every day. While I don’t necessarily miss stressing about getting assignments done on time, I loved how it all brought structure to my daily life. I always felt like I was productive and got stuff done each day. No, my time as a college student wasn’t perfect, there were a ton of triumphs, and a ton of lows. But as I reminisce, I see how my time in college helped me grow and develop as a human being. I didn’t realize what I had until it was gone.

My first year out of college taught me how I truly struggle when life transitions from one phase to another. I’ve never really loved change, but this was a whole new ball game. As I started my new life as a college graduate, I often found myself feeling really discouraged. I wanted to be back with my friends and support group that I had, I wanted to be back in an environment where most everything I needed was accessible, and I wanted to have a physical workload and a sense of structure to my day again. Without those things, I felt lost in many respects. I was incredibly unsure of myself and felt out of place once I moved back home. I got easily frustrated and felt unmotivated as a result. I didn’t want to make new friends, I didn’t want to be far away from my mentors, and I didn’t want to have to retrain myself to have to ask for a ride to get to work or to get food, or see friends, or wherever else I needed. Yet, that is exactly where I was. I felt like I was starting all over again and I hated it. I was stuck. I wanted to quit, and it was extremely hard for me to hold tightly to the dreams and aspirations that God had placed inside of me. But even while battling through those thoughts, feelings, and doubts, God still held me close and gave me what I needed in that season. And I believe that the same is true for this current phase of life that I find myself in.  

Life isn’t easy. Seasons change, expectations go unmet, and obstacles (both expected and unexpected) inevitably arise. And as a result, it can leave one feeling like I did after graduation: unsure, lacking in confidence and motivation, and wanting to quit. But, like the verse in Galatians talks about, my hope is that we don’t give up, we continue to do the best we can with what we have, and we cling to Jesus tightly. When we do, the truth of the verse will come to fruision as we will reap a great harvest of undisappointed hope, increased faith, deeper love and more. So we fight on because we know that God’s best is better than we can imagine and His love for us that is deeper than we could ever fathom. We all have a unique perspective and stories to share, and I believe that it is oftentimes our perseverance and reliance on Jesus that can make those stories and perspectives so much more colorful and impactful! 

Access-Life “Fun Fact Friday”: October 29, 2021 – Where in Florida?

What’s exciting, educational, and #AccessLife? If you guessed #ALFUNFACTFRIDAY then you are correct! However, you have to watch this month’s video AND send in your answer to be the real winner!

Speaking of #winning, FOUR people have the opportunity to each win a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card! You can be entered to win by calling/texting (352) 455-9926 or emailing Join in and hear all about the #SunshineState! Hurry to be one of our FOUR winners and God bless

2021 Access-Life North Texas Expo Update: Memorial Day

Well, the 2021 North Texas Expo was a memorial outreach to say the least. It was a day of honor as we opened the outreach with the national anthem and were blessed by the North Texas Jeep Club coming out to share their cool rides all decked out in RED, WHITE and BLUE! However, it was also a day of JOY as we enjoyed the FREEDOMS that America guarantees it’s citizens. We had the ever popular boat rides, kayaking, archery, fishing, arts, crafts and FOOD but as this was our 10th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION in North Texas we also added a rock wall, axe toss [inflatable :) ] and a basketball toss.

There was JOY given by the Lord and His presence on so many faces that day that it spilled over to our small volunteer team giving them the STRENGTH to push through and finish STRONG! It was our first “normal” Expo without medical protocols since February 2020 and we were so thankful it went so well. With Leanne’s health challenges, we were especially grateful for the help of our new MINISTRY SUPPORT LEAD, Kendahl Hancock!

It was our 56th Expo since the ministry began and as usual it was a God blessed success! We are so thankful for God’s blessing and favor and everyone who prayed, gave and served his year that we are already excited about the North Texas Expo in 2022. :)

Access-Life “3 in 3”: October 26, 2021 – Florida Vacation

Well, sliding in just under the wire again this month with our October #AL3IN3. However, it was worth the wait as we have FIRST TIME GUEST, Bayleigh Wunsch with Kendahl Hancock IN FLORIDA bringing you the latest Access-Life INFO, a great FLORIDA joke and of course an encouraging verse. Watch out there is a sneaky PUN in there, too. :)

Access-Life North Texas Expo: October 16, 2021 – “One Water” Contest Video by Dendy Family

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. 🙂

Guest Blogger Chad Van De Griek: October 14, 2021 – Patience, One Step at a Time and Do the Best with What You Have

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!  

Access-Life “3 in 3”: September 29, 2021 – Fall Leaves

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. 🙂

So check it out the video, be on the look out for lots of #FALL#PUNS and always remember to FALL for Jesus because He never LEAVES!

Access-Life “Fun Fact Friday”: September 24, 2021 – Times Four

#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 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.