Tuesday, March 6, 2018

No Ordinary Life by Diana Rhodes

Paperback:  415 pages                                                                                                
Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: Stand Sure Publishing 2010
Source: Purchased from Plas Dolguog in Machynlleth
First Sentence: 'You're going to die!' screamed the doctor, now puce with rage.

My Opinion: What a perfect title for the biography of Diana Rhodes an amazing woman who inspired so many people around the world in her lifetime. I live in the locality and was motivated to read the book after meeting members of her family, sadly not the lady herself. So glad I did read it, as although I had heard about her achievements, I had no idea just how much she had to overcome severe physical disabilities to achieve her aims in life. An enlightening read, that will make you think about your own place in this world. 

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

The inspirational story of a woman with severe physical disabilities who has made her mark as a wife, mother, teacher, peace delegate to the United Nations and founder of Grandma's Garden, a tourist attraction featured by both BBC and ITV, dedicated to raising money for charity.
From an early age, Diana always felt different. While her two sisters were strong and healthy, Diana was often sick and confined to bed. A sensitive child, she was attuned to the non-physical realms and no stranger to communicating with others who had died. She challenges our concepts of life and death and the role we each play in society and the kind of world in which we live.
Diana's own first brush with death came at age eighteen after an operation to remove part of her thyroid. After complications set in, four young doctors battled to save her life with an emergency tracheotomy.
None of this barred Diana from finding happiness with Richard, the love of her life, and they married when she was twenty. Three children followed, with more health problems along the way, but Diana has never lost her sense of humour and her story is peppered with funny, irreverent anecdotes and asides. These include a passionate search for spiritual understanding and tales of years devoted to teaching 'unteachable' children with severe dyslexia and other learning problems.
Fate led Diana and Richard to a magical part of Wales, where they first ran a caravan park from an ancient stone cottage with hardly a penny to their name. Hard work paid off, and they were able to extend their boundaries to include a small hotel . All the while, Diana's health was a rogue factor and at age thirty six she had another brush with death following a hysterectomy. Diagnoses of severe rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogrens syndrome were to come, and she began to use a wheelchair.
Through all of this, Diana's infectious sense of humour shines out to captivate her readers. When she had to give up teaching she set out to make a difference in another way, setting up the Seed of Life Peace Foundation to bring about one world vision and prayer. A Peace Gathering at Plas Dolguog attracted people from all over the world and Diana's work grew to the point where she was invited to attend the launch of the Earth Charter at The Hague in the Netherlands. This led to an invitation to attend the Millennium World Summit for Religious and Spiritual Leaders and the presentation of her Peace Scroll to the United Nations and the United Nations University of Peace, the Foreword to this book written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Yet to come would be Diana's vision of a special garden at Dolguog dedicated to peace. Her work is tireless and now supports many different local and national charities. As her health has deteriorated, Diana's determination has grown. You will be amazed, uplifted and enlightened by her story.

Author Profile: 

Diana Rhodes was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She was a teacher, educator and tireless worker for the peace process. Despite, or perhaps even because of serious ongoing health challenges she had a passion for her work.  The previous paragraph is adapted from the Biography in her book, No Ordinary Life. 

I never had the pleasure of meeting Diana but I do know her late husband, Richard, sons Anthony and Edward and daughter in law Tina.

Sadly Diana died in January 2015 and below I have reproduced the announcement her son Anthony posted

It is with sadness that we, the Rhodes family, inform you of the passing of Diana Patricia Rhodes. She was an exceptional wife, loving Mum and Awesome Grandma, she will always hold a special place in our hearts. Diana spent many years of her life suffering from an ongoing illness and disability, which never held her back. We take great comfort knowing that she is now free from her pain.
Diana is known and loved locally by all, especially her students, she taught at Ysgol Bro Dyfi and Newtown College, and when she was too poorly to continue she carried on teaching from home, and called her school “Frogs into Princes.”
Her Local charity work was awe inspiring raising tens of thousands of pounds for local people, charities and good causes.
Her passion for peace and love was unsurpassed and she spoke globally on the subject at many prestigious venues and events, including the United Nations World Peace Conference in New York.
Diana was helped with all she did by her amazing Canine Partner, Wallace. Diana and he were wonderful together and shared a connection, he read her mind, he did more than fetching and carrying for her, he was able to comfort her.

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Amazon Author Page   Goodreads - No Ordinary Life   

 Facebook - Memorial Page - Diana Rhodes

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