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Finding hope through faith in dark times: Anything But Ordinary

A new beginning and a new sense of life for Morales is what helped his daughter overcome each stage of his fatal ALS disease.
Photo provided by Stephanie Morales-Beaulieu

“The doctors said I have ALS. It’s fatal.”

Nothing could have warned Stephanie Morales-Beaulieu about the news her father gave her in 2008 about his ALS diagnosis, but Jesse Morales’ discovery of his faith 22 years prior had prepared his daughter to seek hope through dark times and uncertainty. 

Published March 15, 2023, Morales-Beaulieu’s memoir Anything But Ordinary covers the story of her father, Jesse Morales, and his 15 month battle with ALS.

Morales was a Filipino immigrant who worked as a mechanic in Vancouver, B.C. before moving to Cochrane, Alberta in the early 1990s. A down to earth, kind, and gentle soul, Morales was well known and married his wife in 1980. 

His life was ordinary, but even surrounded by love, Morales found that the world left him empty. But in 1986, his wife found faith through Jesus Christ and urged Morales to find salvation to answer his emptiness.

After a long day at work, Morales planned to stop at the church to speak with the pastor. But after the pastor missed his calls, Morales decided to go home. Until something overcame him.

“God, I don’t know if you know me, but you know my wife, Kathy,” he said aloud as he crested the hills of Richmond, B.C., “I have a problem. I was going to become a Christian today, but the pastor hasn’t been answering. So, if you are real, put him in the church.”

He arrived at an empty parking lot in the shadow of the small church. Thoughts of doubt crept over his mind as he approached the doors, but as they opened, a crack of light under the door of the pastor’s study hit his eyes. A crack of light that would change his family’s lives forever. 

Following his spiritual encounter with the pastor, Morales discovered faith in Jesus Christ and a new meaning to his life. When his family moved to Cochrane, he acquired his Masters of Divinity and became a pastor at age 40. 

A new beginning and a new sense of life for Morales is what helped Morales-Beaulieu overcome each stage of his fatal disease, and the advice that he gave his daughter not only gave her hope, but it can for anyone. 

“It's a book written to remind people that there is hope even when you're facing the hardest of circumstances,” she says.

Morale-Beaulieu says Anything But Ordinary is an extremely real and vulnerable memoir that flips between the perspectives of Morales and Morales-Beaulieu and compares how they both used his treasured advice to deal with hard times.

She hopes that anybody going through struggles of any kind can connect to her journey of hope through her father and be able to relate to their own lives. 

You can find Anything But Ordinary by Stephanie Morales-Beaulieu in the Airdrie public library, Amazon, and Good Earth cafe. 

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