Out Of Order

Dear friends,

Unfortunately, due to severe neurological issues, I will not be able to post on my blog for some time. The more I am on any type of screen, whether phone, tablet, or computer, the harder it is for my eyes and brain to cope. I need to allow adequate time for them to heal. I hope to be back to blogging once I’m feeling significantly better, but I don’t know when that will be. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Much love,

Viv πŸ’šπŸ™

A Birthday Tribute to My Mama

I had planned on writing a Mother’s Day post prior to my one month sabbatical this past spring and am now getting to it as we near my mama’s birthday here in November. Better late than never!

My mama is my very best friend and closest sister in Christ. Every Sunday morning she phones at precisely 10:30 a.m. for our weekly visit and chat. I can’t begin to relate how much her love means to me, but I humbly will attempt to as I blunder my way through this seemingly inadequate post.

“Mama”, as I call her, was the oldest of four girls with a single mom who reared them up in the age when being a single mom was shunned and frowned upon.

When my mama was a little over one year old she suffered a high fever that left her with a rare case of cerebral palsy. So, my grandmother had four small girls to bring up by herself with a handicap to try to figure out and understand which road of proper care was best.

Doctors assured my grandmother they knew what was best and convinced her to put my mama in an institution. (In those days, group homes and in-home care didn’t exist.)

While at the institution my mama was put into a padded room with no books or toys and left alone in seclusion. When grandma discovered this tragedy she wanted to pull Mama out of that dreadful facility but it wasn’t so easy to be done. Amazingly she ended up kidnapping my mama out of that horrible place and never looked back!! How she did this, I don’t know, but I do know she had help orchestrating and carrying out this desperate plan of getting back her precious little girl.

My mama (left) and her sister in the mid-1950s.

My mama was a few years old by now and had to relearn talking since the months of seclusion ripped away her ability to verbally communicate. She did very well and went on to becoming a well educated student and staple in her family of five. Her mom and sisters loved their “Mel” and she enjoyed a happy adolescence and many fun memories growing up.

Fast forward to her college years where at San Francisco State University she met my dad, the handsome, funny, Hispanic guy who won her heart and led her to Christ. In the late 60s they married and in the 70s had my brother, a rainbow baby, which is a baby after a miscarriage. Four years after suffering another miscarriage, they had me, another rainbow baby.

Mama at the Philadelphia zoo, feeding the animals.

Mama told me I was always a fighter since 4 months into her pregnancy with me she started bleeding. Her doctor told her, “If you want to keep this pregnancy then you need to rest!” So rest she did! “You hung in there” she later told me…..lol, I still am!

Mama would stay on the sofa all day and then fix dinner for my dad when he got home. How she managed with a four year old boy is beyond me but I see God’s hand in every part of her life as I still do now.

Mama is a trooper and a fighter and one tough cookie!! She is such a powerful example of what it means to persevere in trials. She never complains and is always more interested in others’ lives than she is in going on about herself. She lives in a lot of pain due to over 70 years of cerebral palsy and presently is battling adrenal fatigue otherwise known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Yet, she continues to minister to me and other ladies while enduring these crosses and faithfully speaks the truth in love from God’s word.

Nine years ago. My parents with me holding my youngest.

For years my mama led the women’s bible study at her church and was a prayer partner to the pastor’s wife. She knows how to pray and I believe it’s her prayers that have kept me alive to this day. Her example of godliness has had a powerful impact on everyone she meets and she is loved by many.

I’m so thankful and blessed to have you in my life dear Mama and I love you beyond what these feeble words can express. Happy birthday to you and thank you for your love and for being the amazing woman and mother that you are!

Much love,

Your VivieπŸ˜šπŸ€—πŸπŸ‚

The gang taken in 2018. Mama is in front with her two sisters behind her, then me and my four kids.

Answers

For years I went with an undiagnosed brain injury that almost ended my life in 2016/2017. The months following my close shave left my brain unable to understand or process the changes taking place in my body. My brain couldn’t even form relevant questions to ask my doctor that a uninjured person would find easy to articulate. Over the last two years, I’ve done a lot of research and studying of the human brain and nervous system. My determination for answers regarding why my body nearly shut down was and is the driving force behind all my extensive studying.

My prayers have been that God leads me to someone else who has also experienced near death due to nervous system collapse.

Yesterday my mama related to me having met a young lady in a wheelchair while she was at her chiropractic appointment who told Mama of her health journey. This lady mentioned having five kids, and a central nervous system issue/disease (I’m not clear on that) that almost shut her down because she had entered into the dreaded unhealthy parasympathetic state. I have never met anyone who had gone through the same horrific trial and couldn’t believe my ears! In 2017, after an extensive hair analysis test, results came back stating my nervous system was indeed in the parasympathetic state known as the “rest and digest” state of the body. This state can be good but in extreme cases the unhealthy parasympathetic state is dangerous which indeed I was in. The two branches of our autonomic nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic, work together to keep us alive. My sympathetic was pretty much gone and my body was struggling hard to stay alive in the parasympathetic state.

This lady was probably more far gone than I was because she had lost the ability to swallow. But here is the good news: she started going to the same specialist as I am and now she too is recovering!!

This news is so hopeful and encouraging to me as I’ve not encountered anyone who nearly kicked the bucket from nervous system collapse. Or who has gone through these cranial adjustments either which is not very well known of.

I want to meet her. I’m thinking of leaving a note for my doctor to give her so she can contact me. I know with doctor/patient confidentiality it may not work but I hope so. God may indeed use this lady to give me some much needed answers!

Much love,

Viv

Our Suffering Is Not In Vain

Philippians 3:10 King James Version (KJV)

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;


I have lived in poor neighborhoods infested with crime in inner city Philadelphia among drugs, gangs, and violence. I have lived next door to a meth lab while rearing my four babies. I have also lived next door to a violent cocaine addict who beat his girlfriend. However, I have learned that the scariest place to dwell in is the broken, shattered, human body.

Nothing compares to the fear one feels when the body spins out of control and symptoms seem to play first fiddle in the symphony of every day life. Sometimes the simplest tasks like turning your head to roll out of bed become a dreaded nightmare because the room starts swaying and spinning with you stuck inside a broken brain. Even the easiest tasks become so scary because even if you are mentally fit, physically you are as weak as a newborn kitten, and those tasks become obstacles that seem insurmountable. The physical overrides the mental and you become captive inside the bars of this broken body, willing and trying to break out but stuck and trapped instead.

But, the reality of this is, it’s your own reality. No one else can enter into this prison because they are locked out. Here’s what I said to my friend one day regarding this:

“I think they’ve given up on me as many others have too. It’s hard when we know the reality of our condition but others disregard this reality and make our health a reality that they don’t believe. Therefore, it’s in their thinking not a reality at all but only in our minds. It feels like a nightmare sometimes…..”

Image by Todd Trapani on pexels

I’m well aware that these words feel weighty at the moment but I hope that others who struggle with the VERY real reality of living inside a broken body can relate and know they are not alone.

We are loved by the One who fearfully and wonderfully made us.

He is always with us in every challenge we face.

Nothing is impossible with Him.

Wonderful things await those who love Him.

One day we will be rid of our broken bodies and that means being in the presence of Jesus.

Never ever give up.

Never lose hope.

Jesus cares always and forever.

He gets it.

By His strength and grace we will be set free from these bodies and given new ones in glory.

As believers in Jesus his Spirit dwells inside of us and in our suffering we find true comfort in him. It’s because He suffered so much while here, we too gain deep fellowship with him that nothing but in our suffering can come even close. So really, our suffering is a gift. Simply put; it’s a unique way to have intimate communion with God. It’s hard, yes, but what it’s accomplishing in us is priceless because in our refining we are becoming more like Christ as we grow in faith.

Much love,

Viv πŸ™β€

Songs of Hope 2.0

Dear blogging family,

I’m in the process of revising my page Songs of Hope and am looking for some input from you. Whether it’s psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs, I’m looking to compile a list of powerful music to help comfort and give hope to others who are suffering.

Many of you have shared beautiful and uplifting songs with me in the past and I’d like to ask for personal favorites and “go-to” songs that I can include here along with my favorites.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

Much love,Viv 🎢🎹🎀

Outcasts

Do you ever feel like an outcast? An outcast in your family? In your community, or among your circles? For me, I can say……yes. (Not in my blogging community though, y’all are great!)

Sadly, when most people are brain injured it causes a standoffish reaction from their community of people. Their closest friends slowly back away….and the other not so close ones vanish like soap bubbles. I had no idea in 2016 this was the all too common reaction from the majority of well bodied people. I naively thought I would be loved and supported but instead, I was cast aside.

Although this response shocked me then, I’ve come to see past this and seek answers beyond. Jesus has taught me this: He loves and came for all of us outcasts, misfits, losers, and those labeled as abnormal by worldly standards. He didn’t really have much to do with those who had it all together…..instead, he hung out with the out crowd.

My security comes from Him. He is my everything, not people’s reactions to me. He loves me just like I am. Physically broken……yes, but spiritually I am whole, healed!! He sees past my TBI to a woman bought, redeemed, and justified. He is my everything because He is perfect in every way and lives inside of me.

Knowing my security doesn’t come from anyone other than Jesus comforts the sting of being an outcast because this world is not my home. I’m just here on a temporary basis because my real home is in Heaven with Jesus my Lord.

Much love,

Viv 🌷🌺🌻

Good News! We Found Work!

Dear readers, my husband secured a job this week at a company close to our home. We praise God for this blessing and for easily opening up this door for our family. We only went without income for seven weeks and yet, so many of you loved on us tangibly which warmed my heart, and helped greatly. I’m blessed beyond words to have such a supportive community here on WordPress……who are my family of brothers and sisters in the Lord.

The last seven weeks have had spiritual ups and downs for sure. While I remained hopeful, I do admit at times I pretended to be okay when I wasn’t. I didn’t want to depress my dear readers or show the community a lack of stability. Maybe I should have been more real as I’ve always been when writing of my brain injury but I felt myself closing up and going into survival mode once again. It’s a bad habit of mine……pretending to be okay while probably obvious to others that I am not. God’s working on me here. I want to be a blessing to this blogging community and not scare anyone away with my messy existence. Yet, I’m learning that showing our weakness always reflects how strong Jesus is and ultimately brings glory unto His name. He is teaching me daily through His word how to remain faithful to Him through not just what I say or do but also in how I think. Our thoughts are important because they reflect what’s in our hearts and consequently directs our actions. I’m learning to seek His face first when troubles hit me and lay my burdens down at His feet. Running to Him when the negative thought processes slam me and drag me down has been such a beautiful comfort and spares others from the domino effects of my venting.

Thank you for prayers on behalf of my family and for the beautiful ones who donated to my blog. You know who you are and I praise God for your love.

Much love,

Viv πŸ’ž