Happy Mother’s Day

Thank you to Joan www.Luke14Echange.org for publishing this story orginally.

My daughter came as an unexpected gift. As a woman with cerebral palsy, people didn’t think I could birth or raise a child. So I never dreamed of being a mother but God is full of surprises. After a normal pregnancy, I walked into the hospital. Rachael was born a week early. When my mom heard the news, she drove from Montana to Oregon in record time. With her arms full of gifts from friends and family, she arrived at the hospital smiling from ear to ear.

When we got home from the hospital reality set in. Frustration over the inability to change my baby overwhelmed me. I burst into tears. Sobbing, yet I resolved that no 2-week-old baby is going to get the best of me. Day by day, Mom and I developed ways I could care for my precious newborn. My dear Mom has always tried to help make my life easier. One of the ways she did this was to put Velcro on Rachael’s clothes. As my little girl grew, she learned to be a team player. I couldn’t use both hands to pick her up, like most people would do. So to get her out of the crib, she leaned on my right arm, and that’s how we did it “our way” so I could lift her with my other hand between her legs.

As my big helper, she might have been the only kid allowed to stand on the cupboards to reach the dishes.

Mom visited as long as she could but eventually she had to go back to the family farm in Montana. I hired caregivers to do many of the things that mothers need to do. This meant that there was always someone else with us on our adventures. But we developed a strong mother-daughter bond.

The year I turned 50 I knew Rachael would go to Disneyland with her freshman band. I didn’t want her first theme park adventure to be without me. Because there are some adventures mothers like to do with their children first. Before her scheduled trip, I asked one of my best friends to go with us to Disneyland. It brought me great joy to see my daughter have fun and not worry about taking care of me. The three of us played hard and went on all sorts of rides. When we were ready to go home, my friend, JoAnn, laughed and said, “I don’t really like rides but I didn’t want you to show me up.”

Fast Forward 20 years, my daughter drove me and my three grandchildren from Colorado to Montana to visit my mother, Great Grandma Elaine. It was no easy trek. Even the pitstops for gasoline were an adventure with three young kids under the age of 8. They all took turns climbing on the scooter with me, laughing and smiling. What an amazing blessing, four generations together. The kids loved to chase the kittens at the wheat farm and loved to swim in the community pool while Great Grandma coached them.

Even the difficult things in life can be gifts when we see how God uses them to teach us about His goodness. God richly blessed me with the amazing mother He gave me, and again by the unexpected gift of being Rachael’s mom.

On the go with my girl

Know Power. Know Peace.

My day went upside down when I discovered the Internet and TV weren’t working. I felt panic rising up in me.

What could be the problem? When I called my cable company, they said my bill hadn’t been paid. My handwriting isn’t legible so I always pay my bills through my bank.

It’s difficult for some people to understand my speech on a good day, so my diction is even worse when I’m stressed. So my caregiver called the bank for me, and they verified that my payment had been sent. Soon the power was back on. But it took me a little while to calm back down.

In the process trying to calm down, I remembered that the poor people in Ukraine are going through a horrendous time and I felt self centered.

I’m not the only one who panics. 

My day went upside down when I discovered the Internet and TV weren’t working. I felt panic rising up in me.

What could be the problem? When I called my cable company, they said my bill hadn’t been paid. My handwriting isn’t legible so I always pay my bills through my bank.

It’s difficult for some people to understand my speech on a good day, so my diction is even worse when I’m stressed. So my caregiver called the bank for me, and they verified that my payment had been sent. Soon the power was back on. But it took me a little while to calm back down.

In the process trying to calm down, I remembered that the poor people in Ukraine are going through a horrendous time and I felt self centered.

I’m not the only one who panics. 

When problems in life come up.  Matthew 8:24 tells the story about when Jesus was out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when the storm came up. The disciples panicked and looked for Jesus everywhere. They finally found him and couldn’t believe He was asleep. I can just imagine that they might have yelled, “Help us or we will die”.   

Jesus spoke one word and the roaring waves were still.

Life threatens our peace. But as long as we find Jesus we will be safe. 

“Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7

When problems in life come up.  Matthew 8:24 tells the story about when Jesus was out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when the storm came up. The disciples panicked and looked for Jesus everywhere. They finally found him and couldn’t believe He was asleep. I can just imagine that they might have yelled, “Help us or we will die”.   

Jesus spoke one word and the roaring waves were still.

Life threatens our peace. But as long as we find Jesus we will be safe. 

Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7

Small Things Can Make a Big Difference

As 2021 came to a close, people often asked the age-old question. “Are you going to make a New Year’s Resolution?” A typical response nowadays is, “No, they never work.” It is like a magic key that will automatically open the door to significant changes.
My Mom has lived in a tight-knit farming community for more than sixty years. Even now, at the age of 91, an ardent quilter. She has quite a large stash of fabric, but most of her friends know. Mom is always on the lookout for the right piece.
After a battle with cancer, Denny, one of her neighbors, called her, “I’ve lost a lot of weight. My shirts used to be tight but, now they hang off me. I’m going to get rid of them, so I wondered if you could use them?”
Naturally, Mom’s response was, “Sure, I’ll do something with them.”
“Great,” Denny responded. Then he took all his shirts out of his closet. Later, in the afternoon, he flung a gallon trash bag into the bed of his pickup.
After a quick cup of coffee with Mom, Denny left; Mom threw the already clean shirts back into her washer. That winter, when I called her from my home in Oregon, she’d usually give me a blow-by-blow report. When I called to chat one time, I asked Mom what was going on; she caught catch me up on the family news and then said, “I’m watching a movie and taking apart all Denny’s shirts.” Another time she said, “My back hurts because I’ve been leaning over my table all day, working on the quilt.” After she got all the fabric ready, she could see her with my mind’s eye, my dear Mom, down on her hands and knees, on her living room floor, moving all the pieces around until she was satisfied. Even though she complained about her knees hurting, she wouldn’t quit. After months and months of work, Denny’s shirts and other fabrics became a beautiful quilt.
This year, I’ve set a goal to maintain my physical ability. Then I chose to eat better, drink more water, and exercise. These action steps (resolutions) will help me do it. Whenever I forget about my action plan for a couple of days, it’s tempting to give up on my goal. Then I remember how minor changes can make a significant impact.

A disability does not disable joy

My daughter freaked out when she heard what I was about to do. “Mom, why do you want to go parasailing?” I smiled and then laughed. “Honey, it’ll be fun!” Although Rachael knew that I love adventure, she was afraid because I have Cerebral Palsy and I have limited use of my hands, and my balance is precarious.

It was my sister’s idea. When my 10-year-old daughter and I were visiting my extended family in Montana, my sister Kathy and I took our girls on a quick road trip. As we ate ice cream at a marina, my sister Karen went to talk to the man who worked there. In a few minutes Karen came and introduced me to Jess.  I squealed with delight when Karen pointed to Jess and said, “I just asked him if you could go parasailing. He explained how we could go tandem parasailing safely.”

So we did. Our pink and white parasail began to rise, taking us in the air with it! I was bursting with joy as I soared higher and higher into the air. Usually, I was the one watching others perform daring feats, but this time they were watching me! My disability wasn’t holding me back!

My disability wasn’t holding me back! quote by Lyla Swafford for Begin Within: A Gratitude Series

I felt utterly alone with God and at peace as we soared through the blue skies above Flathead Lake. Now I knew how it felt to be in the shelter of God’s wings. That was a perfect day. For one day, for a few moments of it, I could feel free. I had longed for this feeling, this freedom, all of my life. I’m so grateful for that experience.

Much as I would have like to hold onto the joy and peace of that moment, I haven’t. Sometimes life is full of frustrations. I only use two fingers to type so it can be frustrating but I love to share stories of encouragement.

Delight in the little things

At Christmas, we don’t need to get all stressed out. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed because our expectations are high. Keep this in mind: we don’t live in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine photo shoot. I remember when my young daughter was 7 years old, she said, let’s set up the Christmas tree. I had to say (with disappointment thinking of my physical limitations), “We have to wait for help.”

Instead, the little rascal told me to stay in my bedroom and closed the door. An hour later, I was delighted to see that she had set up the small tree with her favorite shiny decorations, all by herself. She was full of joy. 

Let’s look for joy in small things like simple Christmas decorations, food lovingly prepared in advance by friends or family. Wrapping presents can be challenging, but I’m thankful for colorful gift bags.

Where do you find your joy?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 NIV

Pictures in our heart

The commercials on TV make us think the effects of aging can be covered up by hair-dye and skin care products. If all I had to worry about is my appearance that would be one thing, but it isn’t. Typically I can trust the Lord to Carry me through the ups and downs of life. But my concerns about getting older and losing my quality of life haven’t been the least bit palatable.


When I know I need to do something difficult I try to have fun doing it! That’s one reason I flew to Colorado to celebrate my 70th birthday with my daughter’s family. It was wonderful to play with my grandkids and spend time with my daughter.


A surge of joy went through my heart when I saw a picture a friend had painted. It’s of a happy little girl pig-pigtail jumping off a rock. As I looked closer I saw a pair of man’s hands, ready to rescue her. After I told her that I want to buy it, I realized that I need to get rid of something because all the walls in my apartment have pictures that once brought me joy, like the one of a bouquet of flowers a friend gave me over 20 years ago when she moved. Although I still like it, maybe I need to pass it along to some else.

Visit www. teresacora.com to learn about the artist.


My mind’s eye or heart can become cluttered with memories. As a kid I must have been frightened when I saw a group of elderly disabled people in wheelchairs without any teeth, without anything to do. The likelihood of those things happening soon isn’t likely. I still live alone and my teeth are in good condition! I can’t stress myself out wondering what my future holds. Instead I’m excited about it because I’ve replaced my crazy ideas with God’s promise.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saithe Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you [a]hope in your latter end. Jeremiah 29:11


Lean in to be set free.


When you feel prevented from enjoying the season of life you’re in, ask the Father to show you why. So He can change your perception.

His Comfort & Provision

Looking back, March of 2020 took us down a bumpy road that no one wanted to go down. When the Covid19 pandemic caused restrictions, I wondered how I would fill my days.

As I was looking at Facebook, I noticed a post about a writing class called Your Story Matters, taught by Leslie Lealand Fields.  The course was a rich time of learning more about the craft of writing.  I loved seeing how powerful it is when we tell our story.  It was a good reminder of how the Lord has guided me through the tough times and the good.

Before my daughter could drive, we often flew from Oregon to Montana to see my family. After arriving to bear hugs from my mom and lunch at our favorite restaurant, we were ready for the hundred-mile ride to her house.

After speeding down the highway for a while, my mom turned onto an unpaved country road. Forgetting that we’d always go this way to get to the farm, Rachel asked, “Grandma, I thought we were going to your farm?”

In reply, Grandma teased,  “Oh dear, I forgot the way, so I took the wrong road.”

My tired little girl burst into tears. 

After she heard Rachael cry, Mom said,  “Honey, I’m sorry.  We aren’t lost.  I’m just taking a short cut.”

Oh, the memories of raising my daughter as a single mother with a disability. I cried because I  felt overwhelmed. God comforted.  Now, in these pandemic times, the weeks of staying home have stretched into months nearing a year.  I have gotten bored, but on those harder days I remember what I am thankful for.

My daughter is grown up, happily married, and is raising my precious grandchildren in Colorado. So, with the travel restrictions this year, I had my first Christmas alone.  I had to lean into God’s arms. I remembered my family was happy and healthy and how well God has provided for all my needs. 

When the pandemic started, the Lord put 2 Corinthians 10:5 on my heart, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When I would get into a funk, focusing on how much He’d done for me filled my heart with joy.

What promises have helped you get through the tough times?

Easter Treasures

7784-autumn-back-light-clouds-dawn-416738The “shelter in place” order means that many ways we celebrate Easter will be different this year. I decided to share a memory about that day.
After church on Easter, when my daughter Rachael was little, we went too over to our friends Chuck and Dottie’s for Easter dinner. Before everyone got to their home Easter eggs, were scattered throughout their yard.

When Rachael had been married a few years, the tradition expanded because she had two kids in tow. The closer we got to the end of the meal, the more excited the children got about the traditional Easter egg hunt. After the older kids got their baskets and went outside.. My son-in-law picked up my little granddaughter to the big front yard so she could take part in her first Easter Egg hunt.

He lead her over to the egg and pointed. It didn’t take her long to figure out when she followed her dad’s gestures, and she’d find a surprise.1514[1]

Seeing the tenderness in my son-in-law’s eyes, my heart warmed because he reflected the love of our Heavenly Father. I’m glad Hannah can run and play like her friends, but I pray she’ll too learn to depending on her Father in Heavenly who points to the treasures he has for us.

The Coronavirus and fear are wreaking havoc with our world, but our Heavenly Father promises to give us his treasure of peace when we follow Him. God’s treasured Son died to bring God’s
treasures to earth.

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A Different Kind of Contagious

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The excitement at the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference feels electrifying.  Each year, when I first arrive, I like to mingle throughout the crowd seeing old friends and introducing myself to people who have come for the first time.   And that’s how I met my friend Xochit Dixon a few years ago.  As we started to visit, she told me she wrote devotionals for Our Daily Bread and lived with a severe chronic disorder.

Later, she emailed me to ask if she could interview me for her book Waiting for God.  Surprised, I asked her why.  She told me she was in a lot of pain and felt exhausted when we met.    But when she saw my smile while I struggled to avoid hitting anybody with my scooter and talked to me about my life, she was  encouraged to rely on God for the strength she needed. She said my courage was contagious and it encouraged her to rely on God to be her strength.

We  are facing a very difficult time in our country. People who have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 Inadvertently exposes everyone they come in contact with because they don’t have symptoms for ten  days. There is a lot of fear floating around. Many of us wonder how we can help each other through this time of uncertainty. I believe that courage is contagious too. It’s my hope our demeanor as we interact with each other can be a reflection of the Comforter, who is the source of courage.  

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The Blessings of Barriers

A few months ago, I heard about a writer’s retreat that sounded like fun and I wanted to attend.  Because of my disability, I need help throughout the day.  A friend agreed to go with me and to help me.  Everything seemed to be worked out until I heard the bedrooms were upstairs. I knew that would be a problem because it’s difficult for me to walk.

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It’s times like this, my physical limitations have felt like chains that prevent me from things I’ve wanted to do. Attitudes, like pessimism or feelings of isolation and discouragement, repeated disappointment can cause us not to take risks because of the possibility of being told no.  These issues of the heart changed my perceptions and threatened to become more of a hindrance to a life of fulfillment than my physical disabilities.

When my plans don’t work out, it often disappoints me but,  I’m beginning to realize when God closes one door, He either wants me to rest, or He gives me a different opportunity.  In this case, He did the latter.   Last year I took an on-line writing class from Tracy Crump.  She’s teaching another workshop, a Dear friend live, who also lives in that area and also writes.  We’re both plan to attend the class and site-seeing. 

Although we don’t like the words NO or WAIT, we can learn a lot about God’s faithfulness when we quiet our hearts and listen to His.

What are you learning from the situations you are in?

Sunshine on Cloudy Days

Last January, the cheer of Christmas lights and friends was replaced by a cold chill in my heart when my son-in-law applied for a job out of state. I felt a sense of relief when he didn’t get it, until he started to talk about moving again. I’d always been able to see my daughter and her family at least once a week and I couldn’t help imagining the void in my life this would cause

I could talk to my family anytime I wanted too on my cell phone but sometimes that wasn’t enough.  One afternoon when I felt isolated I went for a ride scooter ride. The warmth of the sunshine, and a chat with a friendly neighbor changed me mood.  

 My friend (Heidi Gaul- Mornings With Jesus/20) struggles with Seasonal Effective Disorder.  She said depression looms all around her on dark winter days.  During a walk with a comrade one day her companion pointed out a patch of blue sky. Although it was only a sliver it was enough to lift my friend’s spirit.

Please share what brings you sunshine on your gloomy days?

 

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