Episode 190: Lori Vober and Giving Our Children the Gift of Perseverance

Lori Vober, a writer, speaker, stroke survivor, and adoptive mom of three, shares her very personal story with us and what God has taught her through it. She shares how we can help our children find strength in perseverance and resilience and why that is so important.

Our Guest: Lori Vober

Lori suffered an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke at age twenty-nine, and then developed
epilepsy from the stroke. She is a walking miracle, and felt called to share her story, and her
journey of faith and perseverance, to encourage others. Lori believes God has a plan for each of
us, but life is about your choices! Even with her difficulties, Lori and her husband, Dainis, were
able to become adoptive parents to a sibling group of three.
She published her first book, CHOICES: When You Are Faced with a Challenge, What Choice
Will You Make? in March 2022 and has been connecting and encouraging others to choose to
survive and thrive. Her book received the 2023 Reader’s Choice Awards from The Christian
Literary Awards in the categories of Christian Living and Testimonial. Additionally, she is a
published author in five additional books as a compilation author.

Email: lorivober@gmail.com
Blog: fromzerotothree.blogspot.com
Website: lorivober.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lori.vober
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorilonghorn99

Lori’s Book:

Show Notes/Transcript:

Terrie (00:07):

Welcome to “Books that Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that help us with everyday discipleship every day, sparking important conversations with our children. I’m so excited to share with you today. We have a very special guest. Her name is Lori Vober. Lori, thank you for joining us today.

Lori (00:27):

Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here and to share with you and your audience.

Terrie (00:32):

Well, normally I have people on when they’ve already had their children’s books published, and I know you have some in the works, and they aren’t quite published yet, but I felt like your message was so important. I wanted you to go ahead and share about what your books are going to be, and if you have an idea of when they’re going to be out, let us know that. Then also, of course, to share about your book that you do have out. Let’s start a little bit with your message. Tell us a little bit about what has happened in your life.

Lori (01:00):

Definitely. Well, again, thank you so much for the opportunity. I started my journey way back 20 years ago in January of 2003. I am a stroke survivor. For those in the audience that don’t know much about stroke, there’s actually two types of stroke. There’s one that’s most frequent and that is the typical blood clotting type stroke that many people suffer from. Then there’s the not so common type of stroke called a hemorrhagic stroke. That’s the type I had, and it’s more of a brain bleed, similar to an aneurysm, and I had that back in January of 2003. I was only 29 and completely undetected, the farthest thing from my mind. I really had no idea that was even possible. My husband and I were just shy of our fifth year wedding anniversary. We lived in Minnesota at the time, and I had actually just transitioned my career from marketing and sales support in the airline industry to our church. We had been trying to start our family and had not yet been successful, and I was trying to slow our life down and slow travel and stress, and God had another plan. I thought the plan was to slow life down to start our family, and he had the great plan to slow my life down, to save my life, and I’m forever grateful for that job change and for the faith that I had and for God in his wisdom because really truly it’s been an amazing journey since then. So that really was the beginning.

Terrie (02:28):

Well, that’s amazing. I know you have lots of lessons you’ve learned that you share when you speak and when you write. Tell us what your plans are for your children’s books. What are we going to be seeing in those? What are the messages you’re wanting to share?

Lori (02:42):

Yes, I have learned a ton on my journey so far. I’ve been writing a lot about perseverance. My first book was called Choices: When You’re Faced with a Challenge, What Choice Will You Make? My husband and I did have the pleasure and opportunity to adopt three kids internationally, eight years post-stroke, which was a whole other journey. I say in my book that life rarely turns out like we plan, and that goes with medical challenges and parenting. Those of you that are listening that I’m sure are many in your audience that are parents, you know, we all have expectations of what we dream parenting’s going to be like, and then the kiddos come and it’s nothing like we ever anticipated. Whether they come biologically, through adoption, through fostering, through marriage, the kids have a whole new set of plans that are different usually than ours. So my thought on my books are, I really want to introduce to children what I really feel is lacking in our society and of what I have struggled with as an adult, and that is an awareness of how to cope and support others that aren’t like them.

Lori (03:48):

What I found when I had my stroke, because I was a young age, is I struggled to fit in. I struggled with my peer group. I tried so hard for so long to persevere to get better, only just to fit in again and never really could. I have a wonderful group of friends and many people that support me, but I spent so much time just trying to fit in incorrectly because when you have a disability, truly you will always stand out. You’ll never be the round peg to fit the square hole. I mean, that just isn’t possible, and I think when your child in that position, it’s even harder. Children need to know that that’s okay, and parents and educators need to know how to answer those questions appropriately. And so, many times I think as adults, we don’t know how to answer the kids’ questions, so we tend to ignore or just not know how to answer, and then the kids are left not knowing.

Lori (04:44):

So part of this whole journey for me has been recently I took on a support dog. His name is Maverick, and that’s where this idea actually has culminated, is really thinking through the books of Clifford, the Big Red Dog, and where kids go and how many kids really relate to animals. And I thought, you know, now that I have Maverick in my life, kids can relate to dogs much better than they can people, and I see it out when I’m out in public. So many kids will come up to me, and they’re not scared of me, but because first they see Maverick, he’s a big German Shepherd. So I thought, you know, if I could come up with a children’s book series that has Maverick as the focus, and Maverick learns about stroke, Maverick learns about hospitals, Maverick learns about therapy, Maverick learns about going to the Doctor. Maverick learns about going to school. Everything is from Maverick’s point of learning, which really is where Maverick is right now. He’s a one-year-old learning about me. Then I would love to introduce at the beginning in each book to parents and educators what they’re going to learn in the book. Then have a story for the child. Then at the end of the book, have actual discussion questions for that parent or educator so they’ll know what they can actually have as a discussion time with their child. So it’s more than just a fun story. It’s really an education time.

Terrie (06:09):

That sounds wonderful. Do you have an estimated time of when the first one will come out?

Lori (06:16):

Oh, that’s the golden question, isn’t it? I know maybe this, maybe God put you in my life, Terrie, for accountability because I have these ideas and so many other things come up that those ideas are just seeds of ideas. So I have an amazing friend that’s been on this journey with me of writing and supported me from my very first book, and she is a children’s book author. So when I posed to her, “Hey, would you write with me?” She said, “Absolutely.” We just need to start working together. So I think the next steps are just start writing, and I think that’s part of you as a writer. You start attending conferences and you start getting everybody else’s ideas in your head and then you forget. Really, you just need to sit down and write.

Terrie (06:58):

Yeah, well when they do come out, please let me know, and we’ll have you on again so we can talk about those. That’ll be so wonderful.

Lori (07:05):

I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Terrie (07:08):

Well, you’ve talked about how parents can talk with their kids. What are some things that we can say to address some of those questions? What are some questions you might have heard children ask? How can we help our parents basically?

Lori (07:22):

Absolutely. I think some of it is just not being fearful. I think so many things for kids today, I see, is just a curiosity. So I would encourage parents going forward, if you have a child that has another friend that may have gone through medical crisis, hit that head on, take them to a hospital to visit that child if that child’s in the hospital or take them to a hospital just to visit a hospital if they’ve never been to a hospital to see. I think so many times children have fears because of curiosity and because of the unknown. As soon as we zap that unknown, it’s all okay. I just encourage parents, if you’re fearful of something, try and get rid of that fear. Because many times kids are feeding also into your own fearful situation.

Terrie (08:10):

That’s true. They can feel our fear big time.

Lori (08:14):

Yes, absolutely. I also think of the movie that came out, ‘Wonder,’ I don’t know if you saw that movie, but it was about a boy that had a disability and his parents were really cautious about whether they should send him to school or not, but he desperately wanted to go into a public school system and he struggled once he was there because kids made fun of him, and the parents were really concerned because they thought, this is why we homeschooled, this is why we kept him home in our bubble, but what they found out is, he was such a blessing to those around him once they got to know him, because so many times our disabilities that we have many times on the outside, those children that have those disabilities, they have so much to share on the inside that’s just bursting to come out.

Lori (09:03):

They just need to be given that chance, and sometimes it just takes that one friend to say, “Hey, will you come with me? Will you sit beside me at the lunch table?” Or “Will you come be my friend at recess?” And that’s all it took. I encourage parents to encourage your children to be that one friend. I’ve had the opportunity recently to start speaking in a middle school. I talk to the kids a lot about self-identity, self-worth, self-image, and the importance of that, and how that’s the beginning, and that you have to have positive self-talk and self-image in order to be a good friend to others, but sometimes when you have that, your smile is all it takes to affect someone else. And the importance of being a challenge to the kids, I talk to them about “it just takes one.” So I encourage parents to talk to your kids about them being that one that really can make a positive impact on someone else.

Terrie (09:59):

Yeah, I love that image of the domino effect, cause it is, it really is, and I have four kids, and our two oldest were born with clefts, and the biggest thing I heard from children was, does it hurt? That was their biggest concerns is that, was the baby in pain? So I was always able to comfort them and assure them that it didn’t hurt. It was just different and they would be able to have surgery and close up their lip and everything. Once we did that, they were fine. It was never an issue after that, you know, they just were concerned. With adults, it’s a little different. Sometimes, they don’t know how to handle that, but children are great. My kids, three of my four are on the autism spectrum, and the one friend has been the saving grace. I mean, it’s like they, even if they just only have one friend, it makes a world of difference.

Terrie (10:49):

It has changed everything. My youngest, he’s a social butterfly now, he, I don’t think he’d appreciate me calling him a butterfly, but, he was diagnosed early enough that he learned to cope and to be more social. He has so many friends, he never meets a stranger, I think, but my older two, they’ve always just been, if they have one friend, they’re good. So someone being kind to them and one person talking to them about their interest and all of that makes a huge difference. It makes them feel a part of the church and of school or whatever. So yeah, you’re so right that, and then the domino effect is there because peer pressure works both ways sometimes.

Lori (11:28):

Oh, that’s wonderful. I’m so glad your children have that. That’s hard. And that’s hard as a parent because what we want for our kids, sometimes we can’t make happen, but we can encourage. I know as an adoptive mom, that was always hard because what I wanted for my kids, I couldn’t force, and they were, because they were from Colombia, they came to America not knowing English. So they had to learn English. They were introverted and they were shy. I so desperately wanted them to fit in and have friends and be liked, and that’s all of our heart’s desire as parents, right? But we can’t make that happen for them and we can’t matriculate friends for them. They have to find that on their own, and our personalities aren’t their personalities. And I think that’s hard too for us as parents is to realize that, right?

Terrie (12:16):

Yes, for sure. And each kid is so different too. Learning how to adjust for each kid’s needs and each kid’s personality, that keeps you on your toes, for sure.

Lori (12:27):

Yeah, absolutely. And so I guess that was part of my thought is I found a good response in my first book by putting questions at the end of each chapter, because I find when we do that, we really turn our stories from a me story to a we. The whole goal is as an author for us to incorporate things, to really be the reader, to really embrace things into their journey, especially when you’re talking to readers that may be struggling. So my thought on putting questions at the end that parents or educators could use in the classroom or just at bedtime was that it wouldn’t just be a bedtime story or a storytime story in the classroom that the kids would enjoy, but it would be a really good discussion time that would maybe open up some eyes and help the kids.

Terrie (13:14):

Yeah, I love that. I think that’s so important. One thing that I’ve done before too in my classes, if we’re dealing with a difficult subject is I might hand out a sticky note for each child and as we’re reading the story or having the discussion, they can write down a question, and then, at the end, we just pick up all the sticky notes. We don’t know who wrote what question or whatever. And sometimes that helps too, if we haven’t covered a question for them to be able to bring in a question they might have. That might be something parents or teachers might want to do when they’re dealing with some of these topics that might trigger some interesting questions or some touchy questions to just do that and that way no one’s on the spotlight.

Lori (13:54):

I love that. That’s a great idea.

Terrie (13:57):

A friend of mine taught me that. It wasn’t my original idea, but I loved it. I thought it was so great. She’s been a teacher longer than I have. She’s brilliant.

Lori (14:06):

Kids are hesitant sometimes.

Terrie (14:08):

That’s right. Well, I appreciate so much you sharing your story, and I cannot wait for you to write these books, so I’m going to pray for you that you’ll be able to get with it and get those written faster than you even anticipate, because I do think helping our children be able to have these discussions, the idea of perseverance, no matter what happens to us, those kinds of things. Like you said, they’re not always in children’s books. That’s not something that’s out there a lot. So I’m very excited about this, and I just hope that God really uses these books in the future to challenge and bless children.

Lori (14:41):

I appreciate that so much. Thank you.

Terrie (14:45):

Thank you for joining us for “Books that Spark,” where we encourage each other to grasp those teachable moments sparked by great books and great conversations, and to live out everyday discipleship, helping to equip our children to follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you enjoyed this episode, please like and share so people know we’re here, or leave comments on the podcast host sites or on our blog. We truly appreciate you and we love that you were here today. If you would like to connect with me, you can join my mailing list or comment on TerrieHellardBrown.com. We love to hear from you, and we respond to every comment and question. We pray you feel empowered to walk by faith and to embrace everyday discipleship every day with the children in your life.

Your Host: Terrie Hellard-Brown

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her newest book, A World of Pancakes, just launched and is available at terriehellardbrown.com. Her devotional for families, Building Character through Picture Books: 25 Family Devotions Based on Favorite Picture Books, is available on her website and through Amazon.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts discuss living as a disciple of Christ while parenting our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of our lives to disciple our children.

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

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