08 January 2019

In the Midst of Winter by Danice Hope

In the Midst of Winter shares ways to cope for those suffering from misunderstood chronic illnesses, and a glimpse into our daily lives for those who wish to understand. It also testifies of the Savior’s ability to reach into each heart and bring hope and renewal.

At age fourteen, Danice Hope started having troubles functioning during the winter months. Each year, the fatigue and depression grew worse. During the summers, her health would improve, and she learned to fit as much joy into life as possible before winter returned. After six years, she was finally diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. Over time, she realized that there was also beauty in winter. She found a poster with flowers growing out of the snow that said, “In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

In the mid 1990’s, Danice moved south to Arizona with the hope of improving her health enough to have a better life. While the SAD improved, she found herself developing new health problems. The biggest surprise was that she could be sitting slumped over in a wheelchair in the emergency room, barely able to speak or move, and doctor after doctor told her that she wasn’t ill, or that it was “just anxiety”. After going to twenty-four different doctors in the next year, she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Stunned at the loss of her hopes and dreams, she gradually learned to see in new ways, to balance her health, to reshape her dreams, and to look to Christ. She learned that flowers can grow not only in the snow, but also in the desert sun.

Danice Hope has been married to the same loving, supportive husband for 26 years. They live in the deserts of the American Southwest, where the winters are mild. Their two lovable cats keep them busy.

Danice loved to roam the mountains of Utah in her younger years, and to see the variety of wildflowers each spring. She has enjoyed writing since she was old enough to write. She takes solace in reading the scriptures and other good books. She is grateful for God’s care and guidance through the distresses of life.

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1. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I had to face my own worst fears, and learn to cope with them.

2. What is your favorite part of writing?
Hearing someone say that my story is exactly what she needed that day.

3. Do you have any advice for other writers?
I like to write from my heart.

4. What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
It took me over 20 years to write this book. I kept writing a little at a time, and kept editing, etc.

5. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story? 
Despite the worries and struggles of life, God gives us times of renewal and hope. Here is one story.
One summer at camp, the Henderson girls and I went out to the waterfront. We weren’t allowed to go out in the rowboats without adults, so we sat down on the docks. With paddles in hand we imagined being in one of the boats rowing down the lake. We pretended to go down towards the dam past the tall pine-covered mountains on each side. When we reached the cliffs as we rounded the mountain and started towards the other arm of the lake, we stopped to go cliff-diving. Only having been diving off the shortest cliff before, we decided to be brave and jump off the highest cliff like the boys who worked on staff. The water was green because it reflected the green of the mountains, but also because near the shores it was thick with green, underwater plants. Fish liked to lurk there as the many fishermen could tell you. But to us there was more down in those waters.
We continued on our journey around the other side of the mountain from where we had started. When suddenly, out of the water rose the lake monster. It had large claws, and was as green and slimy as the water plants. It came up, dripping slime and started coming after us. We started rowing as fast as we could back the way we had come. But we couldn’t go fast enough as it chased us. It came up under us and shook us so hard, we almost fell out. The two other girls decided to stay on our boat and keep rowing. In reality, never having left the dock, I jumped grinning off our “boat” into the slimy green of the shallow water and “swam” to the shore. Climbing out of the water, I walked with the other two, laughing, back up to our rooms so I could dry off. As we went, we found a knot of people looking at a rainbow up the canyon ahead of us.

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