Ladders and Adders, Post #2

This world is full of choices. I read that the average person makes 1200  choices per day.

Push snooze once more? What to wear? Which shoes? To which radio station do I listen?

Go through the yellow light? Drink just one more glass of wine? Take this leap of faith?

Our attitude is a huge daily choice we make.

Some people may call me a Polyanna, a glass-half-full optimist. I sure strive to be. It comes naturally because my precious mom is a beautiful combination of June Cleaver and Jesus rolled up into one genteel, joyful, encouraging, Southern lady.

My mom once told me that we can choose either to be a ladder or an adder. A ladder is someone who lifts people up, encourages them, and even draws them closer to God. An adder, though, is someone with a biting personality, who, like the serpent by the same name, can drain the life out of you. Which are you?

Charlie Cole is a distinguished, brilliant, handsome man. He retired about five years ago as a dynamic banking executive leader, whose territory covered all of South Carolina. Charlie and his bride of 40+ years, Joanne, go to my church.

In June 2008, Charlie and Joanne returned from a wedding and went upstairs to their bedroom to sleep. In the middle of the night Charlie went to the bathroom and fell down the steps. His fall resulted in paralysis as a quadriplegic, confining him to a wheelchair.

Charlie was immediately airlifted to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where he and Joanne stayed for three months. They returned to Charleston to their new life in their old world. They came home to their beautiful Sullivan’s Island home, already equipped with an elevator. For more than two years Joanne and Charlie tried to navigate fragmented healthcare resources for spinal cord injury patients. Imagine needing a specialized urologist or OB/GYN because you are paralyzed. Imagine needing a Physical and Occupational Therapist to relearn leg and arm muscles to one day, perhaps, walk and even feed yourself again.

Charlie had served since 2002 on the board of our Roper St. Francis Foundation,  Charleston’s great not-for-profit healthcare system. At the time, Roper St. Francis offered no specialized rehabilitation for spinal cord injury patients nor did the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Charlie and Joanne brought awareness to the fact that more than 10,000 spinal cord injury patients live in South Carolina and need better specialized healthcare resources for those who are paralyzed.

Working tirelessly with both Roper St. Francis and MUSC physicians and staff, the Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Roper Hospital was established in June 2011, just three years after Charlie’s injury. As of this writing, close to 200 spinal cord injury patients have been served from all of over the state, since the Center for Spinal Cord Injury is the only collaborative resource of its kind in South Carolina.

I have the pleasure of spending time with Charlie and Joanne weekly as we work together to raise at least $1.5M to endow and sustain the Center for Spinal Cord Injury. Charlie inspires me and everyone he meets. Charlie lives his life intentionally as a tall, tall ladder, not an adder, lifting everyone’s spirits. He turned his “test” into a “testimony” and is truly impacting numerous lives because of it. He brightens every room and heart into which he and his wheelchair roll.

Yes, we have a choice–

To be a victim or a victor of our circumstances.

To be bitter or better because of our circumstances.

To be a Polyanna or a Debby Downer.

To be a ladder or an adder.

The choice is yours.


  • Do you consider yourself to be a ladder or adder? Victim or victor? Bitter or better?
  • What language do you use to speak to yourself or others? Does it build up or tear down?


  • “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:11
  •  “But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” –Psalm 59:16


  •  Name one different choice you plan to make this week toward being a ladder. How will you accomplish it?
  • Please let me know what you decide to do.


Print Friendly
Leave a comment here | 10 Comments


  1. This definitely gave me some things to ponder this morning. Today, I will choose to be a ladder!

    • Dear Rachel, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. You are a blogging expert and friend. I welcome your wise counsel any time on what I can do differently (like responding more in real time to comments–haha).

  2. Good Transformational Tuesday morning Danya! Thanks for the reminder…it is all about choices. We can’t change others just our reaction to them. Let’s start today with a spirit of adventure and gratitude….for this is the day that the Lord has made.

    PS I love your Reflect, Renew, Recharge and Resource

    • Dear Cindy Lou Who, your comment made me smile. You are precious, and I appreciate your thoughtful words. God has you in such a delightful place in His adventure for you. 🙂

  3. I hope I am a ladder not an adder. Just in case, thanks for the reminder if I start going to the other side, to be mindful to pull it back! Thank you for your special message.

  4. Thank you, Danya for your wise words. Although in my heart I choose ladder, I have a heart to serve. I find myself being a Debby Downer at times, shame on me! I love you and am thankful your in my life. Even though it’s states away, you’re never far! Hi to my lovely Aunt Maxine 🙂 xo

  5. Love your blog Danya! Thank you for my note and little gift!! I’ll keep praying for you! God is doing something big here!

    • Dear Sharon, I respect you so much. Thank you for taking the time to look at my leap-of-faith blog and commented. Please keep the much-needed prayers coming! Enjoy a holy and joyful Christmas. 🙂

Please Leave a Reply