Welcome, Beth. What
would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
In many ways,
I have lived a fascinating life. I am very fortunate to be highly educated. My
first master’s degree (from Butler University
was in music education, and I taught elementary school music for many years. Next
I received my second master’s degree in Communications from Georgia State
Communications’ degree covered public relations, public speaking, and
journalism. While I was living in Atlanta,
worked in public relations for a Fortune 100 company for about 10 years. Then
my family moved to Grand Rapids,
, to be closer to family.
After I moved here, I again began working as a music teacher at Ken-o-sha Elementary School
. But after I was
diagnosed with MS and the disease caused me to lose the ability to play the
piano, I had to resign as a music teacher.
But then something amazing happened. I had a dream that I
couldn’t get out of my mind. I even wrote about that experience in Guideposts’s Mysterious Ways Magazine. The
story can be viewed here: http://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/mysterious-ways/miracle-words
After that dream occurred, I started writing the book. After
I had finished the book, I said a prayer and prepared a package for one of the
world’s largest publishers—Penguin Publishing. I think that I even kissed the
FedEx package (causing the FedEx salesperson to give me an odd look). Then the
very next day, I got a call from Penguin. They wanted the book. My first book
did very well. It was the top book on multiple sclerosis at Amazon for six
years. It was even printed in second language. But I didn’t write the book. God
did! And I even put in the dedication page, “To my sweet Savior who gave me
this book in a dream.”
Tell us about your
family. I have three children—two daughters and a son. I have also had
numerous pets my entire life including a couple of cats and a string of
dachshunds. We even had a path along my back deck that one of my children would
shovel in the winter. It’s unofficial name was the “wienie highway” and our two
dachshunds would use it to get off the deck during snowy days. My children are
older now and live on their own.
Have you written
other nonfiction books? Yes, my second book was The AD/HD Book, and it was also published by Penguin. I published
my third and fourth book on my own. My third book was called Domestic Violence: My Freedom From Abuse.
I am a victim of domestic violence, and this book was based on things that I
learned when I was using Safe Haven Ministry’s services. I also interviewed
seven women who gave me their stories for the book. My fourth book was a children’s
picture book called Moo the Ghost. That
book is about a ghost who has a speech impediment. Rather than say “Boo” like
the other ghosts, all that he can say is “Moo.” The lovely illustrations in
that book were done my late father, Jack Praed. Also, my children’s picture
book, Moo the Ghost, was awarded the
Readers’ Favorite Finalist Award in the Children-Concept Genre in September
2020. And now, work is being done by Go To Publish to prepare a print version
of the book for children. The new print version should be available by November
Do you have any other
books in the works right now? No new books at the present time. But I am
working to help get my devotional about disease recognized. Advertising for my
latest book has reached nearly 30,000 people, with nearly 10,000 engagements
and 3,600 thumbs up.
What kinds of hobbies
and leisure activities do you enjoy? Because I am in a wheelchair now, I
can’t do anything that I used to love doing. I used to do kickboxing, but that
isn’t going to happen now. And I have lost what some would say was my greatest
gift—the ability to play the piano. At first when I was getting my first master’s
degree, I was getting it in music performance because I wanted to play the
piano professionally. I also had a professor who thought that I was capable. I’m
glad that I switched from performance to music education. I had many years that
I spent teaching young people about music. Also, since I lost my ability to
play when I was just 35, that would have been a very short career as a pianist
if I had stayed in performance.
Why did you write the
Whacky Dream Or Not?
(Story About How Book Came To Be By 5 Time Author Beth Praed)
When my neurologist told me that my MS would eventually be
fatal for me, I was depressed and angry. The reason for being depressed is
obvious. But the anger? I was mad at God! How could He let this happen to me! I
had been working on a devotional book about living with a disease. But when I
received the latest diagnosis from her, I shelved the book and didn't write
again for a year and a half.
And then, I had a dream about my funeral. In that dream, I
could see my body in a casket. Then the “dream minister” began his homily. He
mentioned how “God gave Beth her first book on MS in a series of dreams. That
book became the top book on multiple sclerosis for six years at Amazon. (Which
happened in real life.) But the book for which she is best remembered is her
devotional about disease.” When I woke up, I remembered the dream. It was then
that I realized that the dream minister was talking about this book! So, I
started writing again.
(I love this story,
Beth. That’s the God I know and Love.)
Maybe it was just some wacky dream! But my dear boyfriend Jim didn't
think so. He once said to me, “If I am ever flying on a plane sometime, and you
have a dream that my plane crashed, guess what? I would cancel the flight!” Jim
unfortunately died before the devotional book about disease was published, but
I do believe that he knows.
So now my 5th book, So You Have a Disease: Devotions and
Stories To Restore Hope, has been published by CrossLink Publishing and is
available. But mainly I am so grateful to God for giving me the motivation to
finish writing the book. It probably wouldn't have happened otherwise if He
hadn't given me that dream.
Multiple Sclerosis has robbed me of absolutely everything. I
have gone from doing daily kick boxing to now being in a wheelchair. But if
this book helps other people who are suffering from a serious disease, then my
life will have had some purpose and I am so grateful for this opportunity to
speak to other individuals who are also suffering.
And to think, the book almost didn't happen if God hadn't
given me that whacky dream about my funeral!
Please consider purchasing the $2.99 Kindle Ebook.
What do you want the
reader to take away from the book? I had been working on my devotional book
about living with a disease to help other individuals who suffer from a disease
of some kind. Having lived with MS for 25 years, I know the despair that one
can have when dealing with such a horrendous disease. I felt that some of the
stories are memorable and helpful. For example, there is the story, “Air In the
Tires.” In that story, it was a snowy day and I was going to a doctor’s
appointment. I went into the gas station with my cane and overheard a request
from an elderly woman who wanted help putting air in the tires of her car. At
first, I wasn’t going to help her. I had legitimate reasons (like it was
slippery out there and being handicapped, I could fall) and not very legitimate
reasons (like I wanted to get coffee first before I went to the appointment). But
God knew that there was a very important reason why she needed my help at that
moment that I didn’t know yet. There are many other short stories in the book
that are amazing (like the story about how I helped a woman who I saw hit by a
car right in front of me).
Is there anything else
you’d like to tell my readers about you or your book? I had a Near Death
Experience that happened when I was just a child of ten. In the experience, I
saw Jesus. That story was told in
Guideposts’s Mysterious Ways
Magazine and it is also told in my devotional about disease. My NDE
happened just a week after my 10th birthday. This year, I turned 60. So
basically, I was given an extra 50 years! Difficult at times, that is true, but
I am so grateful for those years and for the amazing ways that I could help
Jesus (even if I sometimes did so reluctantly)!
Please give us the
first page or two from the book.
My doctor says that I am dying. Every time that I see her,
she tells me this fact in a new way. “The multiple sclerosis is killing you;
You will not live a long life; your life will be shorter than most; the MS is
causing your brain to resemble Swiss cheese; and you’re lucky to know what you are
dying from, most people don’t.”
She is a great doctor, and I truly believe that she is just
trying to help me when she says these things. Maybe she thinks that I am in
denial about my disease. I’m not. I just don’t think that anyone can predict
how long someone will live. What am I supposed to do? Just sit in a chair,
watch television, and wait to die? All of us will die eventually. A perfectly
healthy person can be walking along and be hit by a bus, while another
person—to the surprise of his or her doctors—can live decades with cancer. The
truth is, only God knows how long that I will live. I just don’t think that He
is finished with me yet and that is why I am still here.
And the fact is that I have already died before this time. I
had a Near-Death Experience (NDE) when I was just nine, and this experience was
written about in Guideposts’s Mysterious
Magazine. It is
also told again in this book.
The devotions in this book were given to me by God to help individuals
when they are struggling to cope with a chronic illness or a disease. This is
the only reason for this book to exist, and it was not written to make a ton of
money. If my doctor is right with her diagnosis, I won’t need money where I’m
Money is not important to God. Why spend my final days on something
that has little meaning? If God can use this sick, broken person to make a
difference in the world, then that is everything
to me, and my life has some purpose.
In this book, you will hear me repeat the same mantra: “Surround
yourself with good people.” There are many good people in this world. Find them
and foster those friendships. We are here to help and support each other. You
are not alone. Search for the good people out there—they do exist! If you feel alone,
look around you and they will actually come running. God uses his children to
help others again and again and again.
I also state throughout the book that maybe you are an
“angel-in-training.” Did you ever realize this? Maybe angels are developing from
ordinary people who have gone through extraordinary
circumstances, both good and terrible. Right now, you feel
sick and discouraged. But perhaps God will use this to help you grow and
develop into the person that He needs for you to be. How
about this idea? Wouldn’t that be incredible?
When I was a child, my grandfather used to tell me, “There are
only two things that you have to do in life—die and pay taxes!”
Well, he was wrong. There is one more thing, and that is to change.
Our lives are constantly changing and I know mine certainly did in December
1995 when I developed multiple sclerosis.
Before that time, I was young; I was healthy; I was
Or so I thought. I worked long hours as a public relations executive
for a Fortune 100 company in Atlanta.
I was married with one child and another on the way. I also was completing my
second master’s degree in communications. I worked eight
hours and then went to class at night. I was young! I was invincible!
Before I developed MS, I considered myself a spiritual
person. I went to church on a regular basis. And most days, if I remembered, I
prayed before bedtime. But, honestly, God was not
a large part of my life. I knew He was there, but I was too
busy with work, children, and school to take much notice.
It is interesting how an illness can change you. For some people,
a chronic illness or disease can be devastating and more than they can handle.
I realized just how unbearable illness can be while I was reading an Associated
Press article about Dr. Kevorkian, or Dr. Death. According to the article,
twenty of the ninety-three people whose “suicides” he engineered had multiple sclerosis
(MS)! Although multiple sclerosis can be a dreadful disease, most MS sufferers
don’t die from it. As I read the article, I was immediately struck by the power
illness has to devastate people’s lives. These gentle souls were so fatigued
and tired of dealing with the MS every day, they no longer wanted to live—they
I truly believe that people can sometimes have too much
tragedy in their lives. Just like Dr. Kevorkian’s patients, many of us can and
do have more than we can bear. Life can be very difficult.
Illness or disease greatly adds to that burden, and we can feel
that we are broken. In reality, it might even feel worse than being broken. It
can sometimes feel like our lives have been shattered.
How do you begin to heal from your disease if you are in little
pieces? So You Have a Disease: Devotions and Stories To Restore Hope is
intended to help bring God’s hope and reassurance to individuals who feel like
they are broken from illness. If you have been diagnosed with a disease, it
will change your life. If I told you differently, I would not be telling the
truth. Sometimes a disease can start suddenly, or sometimes you will slowly
realize that something is wrong.
I hope and pray that this book is helpful to you. I would
like to begin with a Gaelic blessing that is one of my mother’s favorite prayers.
Perhaps you have heard it before. Even though you and I
might not ever meet, we are related. We are brothers and
sisters. Not only because we all are suffering from a disease, but because we
are children of God.
Where on the Internet
can the readers find you?
My five books can be viewed at Amazon here:
Thank you, Beth, for
sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I know it will help some of them
or their friends or family members.
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