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NEW RELEASE – “MY FAVORITE COURAGE STORIES”

BLOG #7, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

NEW RELEASE

MY FAVORITE COURAGE STORIES

February 14, 2018

Yes, it is now out: our 99th book and 83rd story anthology. During the last five years, this series has been gathered to the heart by both the regular buyers of our books and those who are searching for true stories to use for church, Sunday schools, schools, and home ministries—stories for all age groups.

Our new collection follows on the heels of Angel, Miracle, Prayer, and Life-Changing Stories. Courage will be followed by Integrity Stories.

Many parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, are gifting family members with these books.

All five sport cover art by Marcus Mashburn. You will discover that each cover illustration can be traced back to an incident in one of the stories in the collection. This particular cover painting depicts the hero of the Academy Award-winning movie, Hacksaw Ridge, Medal of Honor winner Desmond Doss.

Many of these stories are biographical shorts preserved for us by famed editor Lora E. Clement.

Here are the stories you will find in the collection:

“On His Own Two Feet” – Grace Perkins Oursler“Hearts Unafraid” – Hildegarde Thorup

“Rustler Tess” – Aline Havard

“We Had Lost Everything” – Lora E. Clement

“Philip and the Cows” – Mrs. R. B. Sheffer

“Anna of the Wilderness” – Richard Morenus

“Scraps” –Marjorie Baker

“Courage Rather Than Hatred” – Lora E. Clement

“The Madness of Anthony Wayne” – Rupert Sargent Holland

“Five Days With Dolly Madison” – Elinor E. Pollard

“Thomas Nast and the Tammany Tiger” –Lora E. Clement

“Fo’c’sle and Wigwam” – Henry Morton Robinson

“War on Yellow Fiver” – Ruth Fox

“158 Spruce Street” – Lora E. Clement

“A Sheet of White Paper” – Author Unknown

“Beautiful Upon the Mountains” –Arthur A. Milward

“Take Me, Take Me” – Lora E. Clement

“Silhouettes of Courage” – Agnes Kendrick Gray

“A Question of Courage” – Ethel Comstock Bridgman

“God Keep Him Alive!” – Carr P. Collins

“Greater Love Hath No Woman” – Louisa Stinetorf and Lora E. Clement

“Jane Amsden’s Hospital” – Author Unknown

“Did—I—Do—My—Best?” – Lora E. Clement

“Hero of Pleasant Hill” – F. A. Boygess

“An Incredible Act of Courage” – Author Unknown

“The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge” – Joseph Leininger Wheeler with Booton Herndon

 

* * * * *

Retail $15.99; our price is $12.00. Personally inscribed if so requested.

Set of all five in the series (Angel, Miracle, Prayer, Life-Changing, Courage).

Retail: $79.95; sale for the set: $60.00 – plus shipping.

Order from our web page: www.JoeWheelerBooks.com

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Ron Hall and Denver Moore’s “The Same Kind of Different as Me”

BLOG #6, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

DR. JOE’S BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB #74

RON HALL AND DENVER MOORE’S SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME

February 7, 2018

First of all, the book’s appearance in our house remains a mystery. One day it was there, the next day it was not. No one has even admitted planting it here.

The mysterious book remained unread for over a year. Finally, curiosity got the better of me–and I picked it up, idly scanning the first few pages. Didn’t take long before I was hooked: This was a book unlike any other book I’d read in my entire lifetime! But even when I’d finished the book, I still wasn’t certain it was for real: In a world awash in hoaxes, fake news, virtual reality, and scams of all kinds, I remained unconvinced.

Finally, while visiting us, our son Greg spied the book on a table, and pounced on it, saying, “There’s a lot of buzz out there about this book–can I borrow it?” So the book walked away with him.

Later, he raved about it: “Dad, that was some read!”

Several years later, Greg purchased the Paramount movie edition of the book and bequeathed it to me rather than surrender the loaned original.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BOOK

For starters, I found it to be a deeply disturbing book, mainly because the protagonists (all actual people) did something mighty few of us professed Christians would ever do ourselves: “Adopt” a homeless Negro street person with a criminal past, invite him into their home and circle of affluent friends–as an EQUAL! Of course, Christ, while on earth, urged people to do just that–but certainly He couldn’t expect Christians of today to do such a thing! As a result, the book and movie portray concepts of selflessness few of us would want to even try in real life.

Apparently, most reviewers feel the book is considerably more powerful than the movie: reason being, only a few of the many riveting scenes in the book were incorporated into the movie. Which is not surprising since virtually all movie portrayals are weaker because time-constraints make it all but impossible to fully replicate all that appears in printed texts.

On the back cover of this new Thomas Nelson edition, we learn more about this 2006 book that has done nothing but gain steam during the last eleven years.

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.

An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.

A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.

A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

* * * * *

“I’m honored to share in Debbie’s story and to be part of this beautiful effort to perpetuate the legacy of her work.”

–Renée Zellweger, Actress”It’s a rare opportunity for an actor to be blessed with a role so soulful. To embody Denver’s spirit was at once an emotional challenge and an extreme privilege, learning the story of a man who came from so little and gave so much. The givers truly are the gate-openers for the world.”

–Djimon Hounsou, Actor”Homelessness is epidemic and anyone who fights the battle to help correct the problem deserves our respect and admiration.”

–Greg Kinnear, Actor

* * * * *

The book concludes with these words spoken by Denver Moore, the homeless illiterate drifter who ruled the gang-ridden city streets:

“Even though I’m almost seventy years old, I got a lot to learn too. I used to spend a lotta time worryin that I was different from other people, even from other homeless folks. Then, after I met Miss Debbie and Mr. Ron, I worried that I was so different from them that we wadn’t ever gon’ have no kimnd a’ future. But I found out everybody’s different–the same kind of different as me. We’re all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us.

The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain’t no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless–just workin our way toward home.”

* * * * *

So hurry to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of this life-changing book. You’ll never be able to forget it, or face a homeless person on the street in the same way you did before.

 

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Three Weeks in British Columbia #12, The Last Ferry, Au Revoir Canada, and My Favorite Photographer

BLOG #5, SERIES #9
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
THREE WEEKS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA #12
THE LAST FERRY, AU REVOIR CANADA,
AND MY FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHER
January 31, 2018

All too soon it was time for us to leave this land and people we’d come to love. Intriguing how someone living just a few feet away from the U.S. Border (more of an abstraction than an actual obstruction) can be so much like us yet still so different from us.

In all our lives, this was the longest visit to Canada we’d ever experienced. Of course we bragged on our half-Canadian grandsons and son-in-law Duane, whose falling in love with our daughter made all this possible. We know we’ll be back–there’s so much more to see!

After making one last stop at one of Canada’s ubiquitous Horton’s (mouth-watering coffee and sinfully fattening doughnuts), we purchased a pound of their coffee so that we might periodically drink a cup for old times’ sake.

 

Then we boarded one of the biggest ferries yet—and watched Vancouver Island gradually recede from view.

By my side, as has been true for the last 58 years, was Connie, my still lovely bride—and, serendipitously, the photographer who has visually fleshed out the abstractions I wrote about in this B.C. blog series.

Oh my! The Washington state shore is just ahead, and the U.S.A. We’re happy to see it coming—but when we look back, there’s moisture in our eyes.

The Travelers Four

 

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Three Weeks in British Columbia #11, Sidney-by-the Sea

BLOG #4, SERIES #9
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
THREE WEEKS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA #11
SIDNEY-BY-THE-SEA
January 24, 2018

Used book stores! Not just any used book stores, but those that are run by bibliophiles who genuinely love books that have stood the test of time, and cherish their favorite authors so much that sometimes they hate to part with certain beautifully bound and illustrated classics.

Today, such bookstores are mighty hard to find! Even in mega cities. Oh there are lots of half-price run-of-the-mill paperback stores, but more often than not they are run by individuals who know little about books and authors. They just show up, dutifully shelve alphabetically whatever comes in. And when asked probing book-related questions, they just stare at you blankly.

This is why Sidney-By-the-Sea is such a grand place to visit. It is known far and wide as B.C.’s premier book town, with six or more book stores that are worth traveling to get to. The ones most talked about are Munro’s (set up inside a magnificent neoclassical building that originally housed the Royal Bank), Chapters, Ivy’s Bookshop, Russell’s Books, and Beacon Books. Several of them I could have stalled out in all day.

We lucked out in another way, as lining both sides of the city’s main streets were around 250 vintage antique cars, protected by eagle-eyed owners who were clearly determined to make sure that no hoi polloi dared to touch their washed and waxed treasures. Several thousand onlookers all but slobbered over their favorites: cars they revered but had rarely if ever actually seen. I did a double-take when I first set eyes on a coral sand (one of the two rarest colors) 1957 T-Bird convertible. I had personally owned two of them over the years: a white supercharged one and, later, a coral sand one. When the owner discovered I’d actually owned one, he really got excited. It almost killed him to admit to me that his was originally white–he’d painted it coral sand to make it appear rarer than it actually was. My two Thunderbirds were the only autos I’ve ever owned that periodically pop up in my dreams–usually with the dashboard lit up at night. My coral sand car was a magnet for attention wherever I drove it. I didn’t dare leave it unattended anywhere. Kids mobbed it, and police fattened on the tickets they so generously bestowed on me.

This is my ’57 Thunderbird. Photo taken in Texas.

So how could I ever forget Sidney-By-the-Sea, with a coral sand ‘57 Tbird and six vintage book stores. Luckily for my pocketbook I live nowhere near those used-book Meccas.

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Three Weeks in British Columbia #10 – Tofino to Butchart Gardens

BLOG #3, SERIES #9
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
THREE WEEKS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA #10
TOFINO TO BUTCHART GARDENS
January 17, 2018

It was anything but easy to bid adieu to the Tofino coast. All too few places in our increasingly homogenized cookie-cutter world are able, or willing, to hold out against the forces of kitsch and style-sameness. But because Tofino is still unique, it’s a place we’d love to return to again. But Connie and I had deadlines to meet, and Byron and Kim jobs to return to (in Kim’s case, a classroom full of children).

Since the whole of Vancouver Island appeared to be booked up, Byron had a mighty tough time finding room vacancies anywhere in the south part of the island, much less anywhere near our destination, Sidney-by-the-Sea. Finally, at the very last minute, two rooms came miraculously open in the Sidney Best Western. We breathed a sign of relief, ate a leisurely breakfast, loaded up, and headed south on winding Highway 4.

Eventually, on hitting Highway 19, civilization began to swallow us up again. Housing and commercialization grew more congested with every passing mile. Our goal was to get a place on the Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay ferry. Once we reached the dock area, we were initially pleased that so few cars were ahead of us–that was before we chatted with some of the people around us. “Be forewarned, it’s a small ferry!” A small ferry? We hadn’t yet even seen such a thing in British Columbia. But since no one appeared to know just how many vehicles would make it on, we could only wait, and pick wild berries conveniently growing next to the roadway.

Finally, about an hour later, a small ferry boat docked and disgorged a small number of vehicles. A bit later, boarding began–we all but held our breaths: We made it–and we were only the 21st vehicle. Turned out the car just behind us didn’t make it, and would have to wait an hour and as half longer for the ferry to return.

Once on land, we headed to our next destination: the world-famous Butchart Gardens. In June of 2010, we had visited the fabled gardens for the fourth time. I titled my June 26 blog, “Measuring Our Lives by Butchart Gardens.” We’d first come here in 1968 before our daughter was born.

But now, here we were again, for the fifth time! And we wondered, Will it be ‘Same ol’ same ol’ this time? Since people come here from all over the world, and many, like us, return again and again, those who design the gardens are always changing trails and flower configurations and locations. Result: No two visits are ever the same! And each time, the gardens appear more beautiful than the time before.

How much poorer would be this earth if it was stripped of its beauty! Twould be like a lifetime of murky skies.

Or as Keats put it in his “Endymion”:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness, but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of quiet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

* * *

Would we live long enough to return here for the sixth time–only God knows.

 

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Three Weeks in British Columbia #9 – Storm-Chasing Heaven

BLOG #2, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

THREE WEEKS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA #9

STORM-CHASING HEAVEN

January 10, 2018

I first read about this magical place in the September/October 2016 issue of The Saturday Evening Post; the article by Todd Pitock was titled “Storm-Chasing on Vancouver Island.” The subtitle is just as intriguing:

Between October and early March, 10 to 15 fierce tempests a month gather and roll across the Pacific, unimpeded by any landmass until they crash on the shores here. For some, this makes for perfect beach weather. 

Wickaninnish Inn

The rest of the first-person paragraph is, “Sailors know the coast as ‘The Graveyard of the Pacific,’ and chronicles of disasters and survivor stories fill volumes.”

 

Once Pitock reached Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, one of the porters informed him, “Oh, a storm is coming all right. But not to worry: the Lodge is built into a rocky promontory, whose floor to ceiling windows are tempered to withstand 100 mpg gusts so guests can look into the heart of the storm without flinching.”

As to what it’s like in a storm, Pitock obliges: “Rain pelts the windows and taps the roof, strong and steady, and then builds into a real torrent, billions of little beads dropping from the sky. The water’s surface whips into a creamy brown foam, and enormous swells heave and then roll in long seams into waves that explode on the boulders, sending bursts of spume a hundred feet into the air. The wind cuts the crest of the waves like a scythe and slings foam and water. Across from the beach are tiny islands with huge sitka spruce trees so strong that the wind can’t bend them. Everything begins to look like an impressionist painting up close. The susurrations [whispers, murmurs] of the water are amplified by a rumbling, a sound of thunder that comes from the sea itself, which we can hear even from within the cozy safety of the lodge, thanks to a pipe that carries the sound in from outside.”

Pitock goes on to some tourism stats: “Today, the 1,875 residents receive about a million visitors a year, though most of them come in season for the water sports and whale watching, not for the storms.”

But Pitock does not conclude without warning po’ folk like us that staying at the inn is not for pikers: “When the Wickaninnish Inn opened in 1996, its cedar-sided building, along with furnishings from recycled old-growth fir, western red cedar, and driftwood and natural stone tile floors covered by wood sisal carpets, all let the 75-room inn fit the setting. But the ‘Wick,’ as it’s called, was intended as an experience for people who take their rustic neat, without the rugged. Let’s call them (or us, as the case is) the Pampered Traveler–people who appreciate a good double-soaking tub, heated floors, private ocean-facing balconies, in-room fireplaces, and a four-star full-service spa. . . . Construction was no mean feat. Each massive post of the restaurant is mounted on a steel saddle connected to a concrete post that is anchored deep into the surrounding bedrock. Pairs of 5-foot-wide panes knit by narrow mullions give guests a 260 degree view of awe-inspiring weather in awesome digs.”

* * *

After I read and re-read that article, I sighed, Wouldn’t it be great if we could see this incredible place for ourselves. Even more–since I’m wishing for the moon–, to be actually privileged to stay there.

The seed had been planted, thus when ten months later we set up this three-week sojourn in British Columbia, a must-see had to do with the Tofino Coast and the legendary Wickaninnish [that extra “in” throws me every time] Inn.

View from the dining room

For, always, I have been a stormaholic. How well I remember a banana boat experience when I was about twelve. My missionary parents booked tickets on this 300-foot ship that shuttled bananas from Trujillo, Honduras to Tampa, Florida. It was cheap so my folks could afford it. Then there was the not-so-small-aspect of all but nonexistent weather forecasting back then. No sooner had we headed out into the Gulf than the wind began to blow, the rain to fall, the waves to grow higher and higher, and (not coincidentally) the ship to rock, roll, wallow, and all but sink; every sane person on board, even seasoned sailors, retreated to their bunks and clutched their bedsteads like they were life-rafts. Same for my parents, brother, and sister. I, however, decided it was high time to get a better view of the action–and my folks were too sick to care what I did. There were no equalizers back then. I staggered down the hallway to the stairs and up to the deck. No one was crazy enough to be there but me. Gradually, I pulled myself along the railing until I reached the bucking prow. And there, shades of the Titanic film’s protagonists, I rode the screeching maritime bronco as the prow reached far up towards the sky, then plunged down deep into another canyon. Never in all my life have I experienced higher highs or lower highs than during those hurricane-driven hours. Finally, as the storm passed, my folks and the irate captain discovered my whereabouts, I got the castigation of my life.

Another time, at the Eagle’s Nest on the rim of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, we were lucky enough to be visiting my brother Romayne (internationally known concert pianist) when a terrific storm blew in. It was no laughing matter as it was the only time in my life when a storm blew up at us from a mile below us! The storm blew up rather than down, through the louvered windows, into the studio onto the priceless nine-foot Steinway grand piano, and an equally valuable seven-foot grand. For hours we labored to save the pianos.

Another tremendous storm hit us in the Mediterranean on board the Stella Solaris. We were in the dining room when the storm hit, sweeping china, glassware, pots, pans, etc., off the serving decks and the guests’ tables, and catapulting them across the room and splintering on the walls.

And, more recently, returning on a cruise from Alaska, just north of Vancouver Island, in Queen Charlotte Sound, a doozy hit us. While Connie hugged the bed, I sallied out into the hallway and sashayed like a drunk toward a stairway. Occasionally I met other lunatics who reveled in storms like me; sometimes we passed without careening against each other, and sometimes not. It really got funny when I got to the stairway–sometimes the next step was higher than I calculated on, sometimes not there at all! Oh how we fellow inebriates laughed! Once I reached the prow of the ship, I joined a crowd of other passengers afflicted with the same malady as mine.

Oh, it was wonderful!

* * *

The dining room

But with that windy [pardon the pun] preamble, our foursome did make it to the Wickaninnish Inn. Not being flush enough to actually stay there, we did book breakfast in that already referred to iconic restaurant with 260 degree view windows. The service was all one would have expected and the food, in a word, “wonderful!” The view itself was worth the price of the trip.

Our waiter loved us! I’ve observed this, in other grand hotels, the waiters clearly tire of many of the so-called “beautiful people” who stay there, affluent couples and families who are bored of luxury the rest of us can only sigh for. Waiters who are used to being all but ignored, really come to life when they meet people like us who sacrifice just to have a meal in their famed dining rooms, people like us who take a personal interest in them, where they come from, how they got here, and how they relate to such five-star facilities. “The Wick” is sometimes referred to as a “Ten-Star.”

* * *

After we’d remained longer than we should have in that Shangri-la of a dining room, we explored the hotel, the grounds, and the rocky promontory storm-chasers revel in.

We vowed to return. Byron declared that he’d save up his sheckels so that he could bring Kim back here on a romantic anniversary. I’d like to do the same, but it’s a “fer-piece” from Colorado!