Nika Maples | Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, author, and stroke survivor

Nika Maples

Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, author, and stroke survivor

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Nika Maples
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Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Lightby Nika Maples

Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Light

by Nika Maples

Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage.

Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.

Nika Maples became a hope hunter after suffering a massive brainstem stroke that left her quadriplegic in her twenties. Doctors warned that she had as little as 48 hours to live, and-if she lived at all-she would never walk or talk again. There was no hope on the horizon. So Nika started to hunt for it. Today, she not only walks, but she speaks to audiences everywhere about the power of hunting hope when a situation appears hopeless. She says hope remains camouflaged in the daily mundane. If we are not looking for it, we will miss it, though it is right before our eyes.

Whether you or someone you know is going through a situation that feels hopeless, you will find encouragement in Hunting Hope. Whether you are experiencing a medical trauma, a financial hardship, or a relational crisis, you will find empowerment in Hunting Hope. As you read, you will cling to 20 truths about God's character and practice 5 daily disciplines that will develop your own character in crisis.

You will become a hope hunter.

Maybe it doesn't matter what causes suffering in our lives as much as it matters what suffering causes in our lives. Maybe we were all meant to be hope hunters.

Laughter is the Best Medicine
Learning to Use Life’s Most Powerful Tool

In her most popular keynote, Nika shares some of her embarrassing moments as Texas Teacher of the Year and reminds us of the importance of laughter through the touching account of her lifelong struggle with chronic illness. “Joy is a treasure, and like any treasure, it must be hunted and excavated. There is work involved. Joyful people make it look easy, don’t they? We are so captivated by their smile and energy that we overlook the dirt underneath their fingernails. They have been digging—sometimes in the dark mine of a situation they didn’t want—in order to strike the thin, gold vein of contentment.”

The Ricochet
Waiting for a Good Return

The classroom and the marketplace are not as different as one might think. Both teachers and business people are “selling” something of value to, at times, skeptical consumers. With humor and emotion, Nika offers insight into ways that we can shift our perspective to selflessly serve others and reach our own goals at the same time. “When it comes to goal-setting, success simply aims for a target, while excellence waits for the ricochet of positivity. Step back and and take a look at the terrain. It may never be this treacherous again, but these are the adventures you will tell the new guys someday.”

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Working Together to Make Work Better

Nothing invigorates productivity like a trustworthy and enjoyable environment. Through the humorous stories of some “freaky neighbors” she has had over the years, Nika illustrates the reality that everyone has a a different story, and it is that variety that makes our working community beautiful. “Some friction is good! Learn to disagree well. Courteous conflict makes you better practitioners, but only if you question yourself as much as you question your colleagues.”

May the Force Be with You
Engaging the Mystery of Student Motivation

Through a workshop format that is ideal for professional development, Nika opens the door of her classroom via photographs and videos of her students at work and play. Participants engage in small groups and walk away with new ideas to add excitement and interest to their lessons. “Students come to us with all kinds of wounds, some potentially fatal to their success. Our classrooms are intensive care units, and we are the academic physicians. We must never remove educational life support. We must never give up or stop caring. Without the component of caring, a classroom is just a room. Without the component of caring, a teacher is just a bystander. For a few students, one dedicated teacher can mean the difference between a lifetime of paralysis or truly moving forward.”

Nika Maples
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