I’d like to introduce you to a very inspirational woman and author, Mary Jane Gonzales.
Me: Hi, Mary Jane. Thanks for joining me today. You have written two memoirs. What inspired you to share your life story?
Mary Jane: Living with an incurable disease/syndrome prompted me to write my first memoir, In the Blink of an Eye: My Life With RSDS. I wanted others who were suffering with my disease to know that they weren’t crazy, and they weren’t alone. Then, a short time later, my condition escalated and so much had changed that I needed to bring the story current. The second book, a sequel titled A Growing Faith: Stories From Bed, was a blog book interspersed with journal entries, so creating it was easy but revealing it was hard. Yet, in the end, it’s the book I am most proud of (because of the personal growth).
Me: I haven’t heard of RSDS before. What is it, and what impact does it have on your life?
Mary Jane: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome, renamed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, is a debilitating disease involving the nervous system, and it pretty much affects every aspect of my life. I actually have a new book coming out soon, titled Sharing the Pain: The RSD Interviews, in which I interviewed fifty RSD patients and asked that same question and the answer is a resounding “In every way”. And, with that said, you’ll have to read the books for more details…lol.
Me: Nice one :P. I’ve recently been reading about the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis, and one of the key themes is that even in the midst of our suffering, God has a bigger plan. Have you seen any ways in which God has used your disease to help others?
Mary Jane: The books that God inspired are being used to encourage others with this disease and also help their loved ones better understand what they go through. And some friends of mine have commented that seeing my trust in God has increased their trust in God. Plus, the relationships that are formed in the RSD community online serve as support for one another.
I’m also part of an RSD mentoring program which gives support to people who are new to RSD by pairing them with a veteran, so to speak. Along with the support and partnership we share, the mentoring has produced a friendship for life. I’ve actually made a number of friendships like that through the pain community, as you become like family – going through the trial together.
Me: With everything you’ve been through in your life, do you have a favourite Bible verse that has been an encouragement to you?
Mary Jane: At the risk of sounding corny, they are all my favorites. Each one holds special meaning. But, three years ago, God spoke Psalm 91:2 to my heart, and it has become a life verse for me…meaning that everything centers on that one message, which says: “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.””
Me: That is a great verse! Do you have a favourite hymn or worship song?
Mary Jane: My current favorite is Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies). Older favorites would be In Christ Alone, Holy Ground, Shout to the Lord, and I Surrender All.
Me: Do you have any new writing projects underway?
Mary Jane: I just published my anthology, entitled Poetry & Praise, I‘m currently designing a website, and I have a devotional book that I hope to publish. For now, I‘ve switched from writing to reading as a means of relaxation. Though I do hope to write more, I’d also like to get back to interviewing people in the RSD community, and I have a sense that this will come before the writing.
Me: When you are not writing, or busy with other things, what hobbies do you enjoy?
Mary Jane: I love scrapbooking and card making. I get very creative with scrapbooking; things such as nature books, scripture books, and, best of all, photo-less scrapbooks. I’ve recently made two photo-less scrapbooks entirely of greeting cards titled ‘Greetings Galore’. And I once did a scrapbook about “My Roles in Life“.
Me: Wow, you sound very creative! And now for my final question – if you could give one piece of advice to your teenage self, what would it be?
Mary Jane: That you bloom with age! There is nothing to dread. After years of dreading growing older, I discovered it’s actually a blessing.
Me: That’s fantastic – something that we can all benefit from. Thanks so much for letting me interview you. It’s been lovely to meet you.
To find out more about Mary Jane’s books, visit her Amazon author page [click here], or say hi on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/intheblinkofaneye.gonzales
Author Mary Jane Gonzales is intent on raising awareness of RSDS/CRPS, along with sharing her love of the Lord and her passion for poetry.
Her works include:
- In the Blink of an Eye is the story of “a life shattered by disease and disability, and a life reinvented through faith and coping skills”.
- A Growing Faith is the story of “a unique and unexpected life—a life of crusading, though confined, of advocating for awareness and living a life of purpose”.
- Sharing the Pain: The RSD Interviews is a compilation of fifty compelling interviews with RSD patients.
- Poetry & Praise is a journey with God through the seasons of life and the wonder of an awesome Lord!
- My Only Consolation, music CD , sung by singer/songwriter Lequita Hoffpauir.
She resides in Houston, Texas, and is a mother and grandmother.