Living As A Dead Man…

Living as a Dead Man: Life Lessons Gained from Losing One Life to Receiving a Greater Purpose

Recently,  I was contacted by one of my husbands  friends, Jeff Lester, whom he grew up with in small town Sikeston Missouri.  He had written a book and wanted to know if I’d be a beta reader, submitting  back to him any thoughts,  critiques, suggested edits, prior to publishing.

I didn’t really know him….                                   Of course I was aware of Jeff and a few basic facts about him.  He grew up with my husband, wrestled and played football in school AND, Jeff has ALS, formerly known as Lou Gehrigs disease… I was about to get to know Jeff and his family, a whole lot better.

Once the manuscript arrived, I grabbed my reading glasses and curled up at the end of the couch.  As I opened the cover, little did I know that I would  be meeting one of the most inspirational people I have ever known.  More than that, someone who would not only deeply touch my life but irrevocably change it and my perspective on EVERYTHING.

Is the book about ALS? 

“I am just Jeff, making the best of life like everyone else in the world. We all have problems and struggles; mine are just more visible because I have ALS.”

In a word, No.  While you’ll read about the progression of the disease, the trials faced and ravages endured, It’s much, much more.  Living as a dead man is a story of faith, hope, strength in the storm,  light in the darkness, beauty from ashes.  But above all, it is a tale of a young man, handed a death sentence,  losing every imagined future, aspiration, progression, of the life he had planned for himself..but in the midst, rebuilt a new one and discovering a life of greater purpose.

Am I special? No, I am just like everyone else in this world we share. I am making the best I can out of what I have been given!

Through the story, Jeff teaches us, from the lessons he’s learned, how to focus on the beauty and blessings all around us instead of the things we’ve lost.

“I didn’t write this book intending for it to be a Christian nonfiction book.  It wasn’t until I relived the earlier year and the story unfolded as I wrote that I realized ALS brought me closer to God.  More significant,  I discovered the meaning of life and that we all have a greater purpose. “

About Jeff:

As I mentioned, Jeff grew up in small town Sikeston Missouri with my husband.  Jeff, a strong young man, wrestled and played football and went on to to college.  While in college, with his life ahead of him and plans to marry,  Jeff was first faced with the death of his father and  Secondly, on his wedding day, Jeff was left literally at the alter!

“The Majesty of the Grand Canyon displays Gods patients creating beauty through flaws. powerful force transforms us forever.”

Then, at the early age of 26, Jeff was diagnosed with ALS and a prognosis of 3 – 5 years.  ALS is considered to be very rare although I personally know of at least 4 people who’d had it.   ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70 with life expectancy of 2 – 4 years.  The cause is unknown and there is no cure.

“I learned to not fixate on the tragic parts of life or the potential storms on the horizon. I narrow my focus to the positive elements of my life, appreciating each day.”

Jeff has defied his diagnosis.  He’s survived long past his prognosis…God had other plans! Over the next 27 years, the progression of ALS  has rendered him a quadriplegic and on a ventilator yet…. Jeff found love, married his amazing wife, Lisa, and fathered 4 beautiful daughters.  He was named the Missouri MDA Person Of The Year for his work for the ALS community.  He was accepted into the University of Michigan, Dearborn ‘s graduate business program, graduated with distinction with an M.B.A. and a M.S. in finance….AND wrote this book!

“This is why my story was not defined by ALS. God led me to greener pastures as I persevered against one of the worst conditions someone endures.” 

“people believe they couldn’t handle my condition. However, I grasp the God given strength we all possess. More importantly, I gained the gift of sight. I see the multitude of blessings God gives me in my two lives, before ALS, and with ALS.”

I encourage you, friends, to read Jeff’s story.  I would ask you to support Jeff,  this book, promote it, share it….but most of all, buy the book for you, it’ll change your life.  See book link below.

My review:

I just finished reading Living As A Dead Man as a beta reader prior to publication. I cannot Express how blessed, awakened, inspired, I am for the reading of it. This is a book that will touch the lives of every reader. It transcends any one particular journey or struggle to enrich and fortify the lives of us all, in every journey.. every struggle. It is a story of embracing life, discovering beauty from ashes, purpose in the darkness and unrelenting grace. – Laura Bailey , Blogger @ All The Shoes I Wear alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com

Advertisements

14 comments

  1. ALS took the life of my brother, Roger, and it played a role in the death of my Dad. Roger lived many years with it and was misdiagnosed until the last year of his life. His doctors apologized for treating him inapproprately. I watched a dear friend die as a result of it, too. It is a terrible disease and I don’t believe, if not for prayer, I’ve ever felt more helpless in my life. Thank you for writing about Jeff’s book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff too, went through a struggle in being diagnosed properly and I can only imagine what it must’ve been like to experience your body begin to exhibit loss of control only then to be dismissed or struggle to get answers to finally finding the answer once found, is the worst imaginable.
      But, God in the moment, creating a new and fulfilling life. What a testament!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad I found your blog! It’s fantastic, and I have a LOT of catching up to do!😁

    You introduced what sounds like a wonderful story, so thank you for sharing!

    Like

    • Thank you so much for reading, Jim! I barely skimmed the surface so I encourage everyone to buy the book, support Jeff and in doing so, we’re helping Jeff not only help others regardless of the struggles they face in life but also help Jeff support his own family. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our neighbour died from ALS some five years ago, and I know of at least three more people who were diagnosed with it. I only knew of one other person who defied ALS and lived for many many years more – world famous scientist Stephen Hawkins. You are lucky to know this wonderful man, Laura!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with me, Leya. He and his book definately changed my overall outlook, my perspective if my daily life, opened my once blind eyes to everyday blessings, taught me how to savor joy with a heart of gratitude.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I met a lady online a few years ago and she is living with ALS..Like Jeff, she has defied the odds and a more cheerful, brave soul I have never ever come across…This wicked disease has robbed her of life as we know it and as she knew it but she is such an inspiration to me and I am sure others. She also loves ice cream which is the only food she can eat 🙂 I know how this book must have made you feel Laura what an inspirational person he is…A sad but beautiful post :)x

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s