Interview with Denise Ridley - Mother's Day Edition

  We asked community member, daughter, mother, grandmother, speaker, and so much more, Denise Ridley to answer a few questions for us! This Mother...

 
We asked community member, daughter, mother, grandmother, speaker, and so much more, Denise Ridley to answer a few questions for us! This Mother's Day we want to highlight all types of Moms! The working mom, the teaching mom, the motherly figures for those without, and any woman in your life who has been important and influential to YOU and your journey! To anyone who has helped you on your path and cheered you on, this day is also for you! 
Introduce yourself, where you’re from, and a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Hi! I’m Denise Ridley. I grew up near the NJ shore but after completing my Undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a graduate degree in Deaf Education, I moved to New England where I worked as a teacher of the Deaf. I met my husband, George during that time. My husband is deaf so we have had many adventures in our unconventional marriage of 41 years! We have two married sons and four grandchildren.

After completing a second graduate degree in rehabilitation counseling, I worked first as a rehabilitation counselor and as a Director of Guidance in a Christian school. My faith is very important to me. In college I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. About 10 years ago, I sensed the Lords leading to become ordained. Doors opened for me to teach and preach as well as host a weekly radio program, The Waters Edge.

Currently I am working as a chaplain in a men’s jail of 800 inmates! I’m not bored! I teach Bible study counsel and coordinate Sunday services. I love going to jail! God is doing a life changing work!

What motivates you to keep being active in your community?

I think there’s something inside each of us that wants to make a difference. I love trying new things, pioneering a project, encouraging and helping others. 

Are there any specific women in your life who inspired you?

My mom! She’s 96 years young and active.  She made sure my sister and i had an opportunity for a college education, and to have the confidence to follow our dreams. She has modeled a life style of learning something new everyday and not being afraid to step out into something new! I believe Mom’s example has influenced the direction of my life in many ways. 

Is there a woman in your family that influenced you to push yourself?

Mom!

Has diabetes ever held you back from following your passion in life?

When I was first diagnosed 15 years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. No one in my immediate family had diabetes. I was afraid. I didn’t know what to eat and felt tired all the time. But in time, lots of trial and error (and testing) I learned what’s best for me and how to prepare for the inevitable BS highs and lows that are part of the diabetic journey. I believe that as long as we prepare, we can follow our dreams. Even with diabetes!

What is your favorite book from a female author?

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. Every success in life begins with our mindset!

How have you turned your weaknesses into strengths?

My Weaknesses helps me understand that I can’t do it all. We need each other! My weaknesses give me compassion for others and cause me to lean on God. And I consider that a strength!

Are there specific women you look up to? Why?

 An example of such a woman is my friend Lenn Dyson. She just passed away at 88. She chose not to become angry or bitter but faced her challenges (and she had many) with unwavering faith. She used her life experiences to encourage others by taking time to pray with them and share wisdom she had gleaned from her journey. She left a powerful legacy. 

What are your future goals?

I would like to take that Mediterranean cruise that was cancelled due to Covid. I am also in the process of writing a book to encourage families with loved ones who are incarcerated.