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 🎢🎹🎀

Yes You Can

My daughter was able ride her bike without training wheels yesterday!! Whoo Hoooo!! It felt so good to watch her triumph after weeks of being afraid to ride without her training wheels. Plus, her wheel had a slow leak so that hindered her for progress for a time. Her big brother bought her a bike patch and fixed up the inner tube quite easily.

So last night she actually got on her big brother’s bike and rode for the first time ever! Yes!

You can hear me telling her in the video that she could…….she didn’t think she could……but she did!

Here’s the video I took of her (my Monkey) on her brother’s bike. She gives me a big hug at the end. 🀣

Much love,

Viv β˜€οΈπŸ’

We Will Praise Him!

My heart has felt heavy lately. I’ve felt like my dog Molly’s stuffed moose “Gregory” with all the stuffing ripped out of him, one eye missing, and half of one antler gone, leaving nothing but a rag. Head injury and job loss just seem like too much.

But, after reading a chapter in Martha Peace’s book Damsels In Distress I was hit by so much conviction. Do I praise Him in the good times AND in the bad? Or just praise Him when all is well like my wayward heart was doing the last few days. She went on to mention how praising God in our trials because He is working them out for our good is something we can do as believers to glorify His name. If we go around all down in the mouth and slump shouldered that brings shame to our testimony as believers in Jesus. He deserves our praise in every storm we face no matter how hard or how scary or real they are. When we praise God, the world looks at us in wonder, and marvels at our faith in our Savior as we journey these valleys keeping our eyes on Him. They observe us steadfastly holding onto and clinging to Him while we sit at the foot of the cross in full surrender to His will. This brings glory, honor and praise to His awesome and majestic name.

Exodus 15:2 King James Version (KJV)

2 The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Jesus is with us in every storm. Every test or trial is from His loving hand and He carries us through them to refine us bringing forth gold. He could give us nothing but sunshine and lollipops but then we wouldn’t need Him and we wouldn’t mature. These trials give us the opportunity to showcase His grace, mercy, love, and strength.

Will you praise Him with me?

In the darkest hardest times, let us continue to praise Him with a thankful heart.

Much love,

Viv β€πŸ™Œ

Molly

You Don’t Look Sick

Has this been said to you? Those of us chronically ill or injured have probably been given this all too common line, “You don’t look sick.” Or how about this one, “Well, you look good!”*

If we look sick, we are sick, if we don’t look sick we aren’t. Right? No!

Most people have five senses; taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. Now, we can mistakenly use our sense of sight to judge someone’s sense of touch.

An injured brain can not be seen. The brain is enclosed by the skull and a protective water layer called dura matter (both of which are damaged on me). Injured brains are felt.

Fatigue can not be seen, it’s felt.

We can’t judge a person’s sense of feeling based on our sense of sight.

This is why invisible illness is so misjudged ending up with the ill feeling very much alone.

I met a lady in my brain injury group whose teenage son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after being struck by a car and then run over by a second car which dragged his body underneath it before stopping. When she arrived at the hospital she told me he looked to her like an alien. His brain was actually visible and he was so beyond recognition, she could only identify him based on the fact that he bit his nails which was the only recogizable part of him. This is probably the worst case of TBI I have ever heard of, and by some miracle, her son survived his brain injury but with many many deficits.

Yet, this is not the norm. TBI is typically an invisible malady. It effects all of life in so many various aspects most of which go unseen to onlookers. TBI is felt. Chronic fatigue is felt. Autoimmune diseases are felt.

We want to be well. We don’t want to wake up every day wondering what we have to do to just barely get by. We don’t want to tell our best friend we can’t receive her visit because we are too weak. We hate missing church. We want to get up, feet hit the ground running and get everything done while having strength and energy to play with our kids and make chocolate cake for dessert.

Not all ilnesses are visible, rather, they are hidden inside the intricate workings of our very fragile bodies that can easily become disfunctional living in this fallen world. While we may not look sick, believe me when I say we are bravely fighting every day and never, ever giving up….. and are courageously smiling and enduring through the pain.

Much love,

Viv 😍

*This post was written a long time ago. I’m no longer frustrated over the way people respond to invisible illness, but I still feel this post holds a few valuable insights worth sharing with others. ~Viv

Dearly Beloved

I wanted to share a bit of happiness today: Last Saturday, August 3rd, my nephew and now brand new niece got married. Hooray!!πŸ‘°πŸ€΅ The ceremony took place outside and everything was absolutely gorgeous. The event went well except for the fact that the minister got the times mixed up (they are so busy and rightly so) and was late so we sat there wondering what the hold up was. The viola and violin players did a great job continuing to play as if nothing was askew. I saw one muscian mouth to the other “again” and they just kept on playing. At last, much to our relief, the minister finally arrived and the wedding went on smoothly.

As we entered the ceremony there were fans with our program printed on them and bug repellant. So very smart and helpful as it was very humid! It was wonderful being able to attend and take part in the celebration.

My niece has Celiac Disease so the reception was catered by Zoe’s Kitchen which made almost all the food gluten free. I tried falafel for the first time……it was ok. 😁 (A bit of beans and a tad awful.) πŸ˜‚ The gluten free ravioli was delectable. (My oldest daughter and I are still talking about how good it tasted.)

We had family fly in from California our native state. My parents are originally from San Francisco and had my brother there before my dad decided to move to Philadelphia and attend Seminary.

Here I am with my handsome nephew and darling new niece! Love, love, love them!!

They had popsicles at the reception provided by a vendor because of the heat which was an excellent idea!! My kids and my hubby and I sat inside where it was a bit cooler.

Here I am with my big brother! Love him tons, obviously.😍

My precious niece eating the yummy gluten free carrot cake she and her mom made. Can you see the sweetness in her angelic face? πŸ€—πŸ˜

Here are my four all cleaned up and polished. My heart nearly breaks as I look at my oldest two (on the right) because they’ve had to make up for all the times I’ve been unwell by running the household together. God is good though because they can cook and clean doing everything I do yet, I think even better! Xoxo

On the far left is my beautiful and cherished Mama. My beautiful Californian aunt “Auntie Jo” is on the right.

All the desserts were gluten free. I was naughty and had a chocolate chip cookie and four bites of cake. (I don’t eat much sugar because of blood sugar issues.) It was well worth it and I have no regrets. 🍰πŸ₯‚

This picture turned out so well! I was so busy capturing it so I forgot to throw the flowers but isn’t this just great?!

I’m so very thankful we could be a part of the happy couple’s wonderful day! They are truly a blessing in my life and in many others lives too. Both are the sweetest, kindest, and most compassionate souls ever and I’m oh so thankful for my adorable family.πŸ€—πŸ˜„

Much love,

Viv πŸ˜ƒ

Sunshine Blogger Award 3 in 1

It’s probably been a year since I was able to participate in an award. These awards are so much fun because you can get to know other bloggers through the questions and connect with them better.

Thank you Stu from Something to Stu Over, Debbie from Bee Tree Gathering, and Purple Rose for nominating me for this award.

πŸ† Stuart is a very godly man who writes about how God helped him overcome addiction. His blog showcases his huge heart and his goal is to help others through example, support and prayer.

πŸ† Debbie from Bee Tree Gathering writes beautiful uplifting posts from her own journeys through trials. She has a very caring heart and helped me greatly when I had my mold issue. Thanks dear Debbie!!

πŸ†Purple Rose writes some very lovely and profound poetry. Although I haven’t been following her long, I sense she is a beloved part of the blogging community with lots of insights to offer from her heart. I look forward to reading more from you Purple rose. (Purple’s my favorite color too. πŸ˜„)

I have enjoyed reading all your blogs and encourage my readers to go check them out and follow them if you’re not already doing so. You will be blessed!!πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ƒ

About the Sunshine award:

This award is given to creative, positive and cheerful bloggers by other bloggers as a token of appreciation and admiration.

Here are the rules:

β€’ Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.

β€’ Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.

β€’ Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

β€’ Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.

β€’ List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.

I am going to just answer four questions from each person who nominated me, otherwise I’ll be answering 33 questions which feels like a lot. πŸ˜‰

First four questions by Stu:

1. What brings joy to your life?

Being able to spend time with my family.

2. If money was not an issue, what would be your dream job?

I would open up my own bakery and create all different kinds of delicious pasteries, cakes, pies, cookies, and all would be gluten free and good for you.

3. What are two gifts the Lord has blessed you with, spiritually or physically?

Usually, I’m good with initiating conversations. The gift of gab!πŸ˜‰

4. What post or posts touched you so deeply that you felt β€œeveryone needs to read this”.

Oh my, how do I narrow down this one? I really enjoyed Steve’s post about beautiful things.

Here are 4 questions from Debbie:

1. What stirs you to write?

I am stirred to write to bring hope to others who are hurting and to raise TBI awareness. Encouraging others through what I share has been my motivation since many with chronic illness or TBI suffer from loneliness and isolation.

2. What category does your writing center around? Why?

My main focus is sharing how God’s helping me in my healing journey, so my main catagory is Christianity and keeping our eyes focused on Jesus.

3. Which blogger post made you sincerely cry? Link?

It’s been awhile, but I cried when Tina wrote about discovering her friend died after the package she sent to him was sent back unopened. 😒

4. Which Blogger post made you bust out laughing? Link?

Oh, goodness me, Jeff Rab always makes me laugh so hard my heart palpitations act out. πŸ˜‚

Here are 4 questions from Purple Rose:

1. When did something start out badly for you but in the end, it was great?

Childbirth.

2. Who do you go out of your way to be nice to?

I’m usually nice to everybody which at times can be challenging. However, lately I’ve learned I need to be nice to myself too which includes standing up for myself and setting proper boundaries with others.

3. What was the last photo you took?

A picture of my flower garden’s Zinnias. 🌻🌺🌷

4. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve broken?

I’d have to say my skull but actually, It was a wreck not me that broke it. And the cost of health care…well, you know.

It’s so tough to narrow it down as there are so many talented writers out there, but here goes…..

My nominees:

Autumn

This new blogger brings so much fun to the blogging world through her clever, funny, and interesting posts. I always look forward to her Friday’s Favorite Character posts where she features a favorite person from a popular book, movie, or TV show. Her brilliance with words and insights bring so much sparkle to my life….M&M.

Tina

Tina’s wonderful blog God’s Kid Speaks always speaks to my heart. Her heart is so full of love for God as she writes guiding posts during her personal journey with chronic illness that always reflect what God is revealing to her through the scriptures. Tina is a blogger who I personally admire as a type of Mary who sits at Jesus’ feet learning, and taking in all He teaches. I strongly emcourage you to follow her blog!

Nicole

Nicole’s powerful blog Trophy of Grace, stirs up hope, light and encouraging truth which she relates in a very inspirational way. Her blog She also loves to include gorgeous pictures of her lovely family and pets which always brighten my day. If you need a godly pep talk, this blog is a must!

Kim

Kim walks closely with God and is always faithfully studying the word. Along with being a close friend of mine, she is a veteran homeschooling mom and author of a great book. Her blog, Commissioned By Him, reflects her personal walk with the Lord as she bravely perseveres amidst debilitating chronic migraines, fatigue and cancer. I love this lady and her profoundly spirtual blog!

Kelly

Kelly’s not only an excellent writer but also writes about her personal journey through her son TJ’s battle with TBI. This blog, While I’m Waiting, highlights her up close-and-personal accounts over the years she cared for her son as he battled brain injury. She addresses the social, physical and spiritual dilemmas those with TBI and their caretakers bravely face and speaks for these individuals through her deep love for God and His word.

Cindy

I still remember the contact message I received from Cindy, Real Christian Women, when I first traversed the road of blogging. She encouraged me to write and offered so much support. She continues to do just this for me and many others through her daily Bible verses and weekly posts. She uses her years of Bible knowledge and experience to guide others for which I’m truly grateful.

Alicia

Alicia is also a homeschooling mom who writes stirring posts based on her insights and life’s challenges on her blog, For His Purpose. I am always richly blessed when I read her articles and you will be too!

Renee

Renee’s blog, Heart Tokens, is such a fun, heartfelt and encouraging blog to visit. Don’t just visit though, follow her and be oh so abundantly blessed by her vibrant writing and her wonderful spirit. You will be blessed by knowing Renee through her blog!

Tammy

Tammy, and islander from Trinidad and Tobago is such an encouragement to me. Her blog, God Inspired Art and Quotes, has such gorgeous flavor as she writes about God and the beauty all around us. Her love for others shines in all she does and the interaction she has with others. Thanks for praying for me Tammy!!

Deandra

Deandra is not only a gifted writer and conveyor of words but she’s also become like a sister to me. I am so blessed beyond words God led her to my blog during a time I could hardly see to read or write. Her spirit is so alive with love which pours out of her and flows onto others through her blog and friendship. Why not follow this amazing lady at Imago Dei and receive this girl’s love back tenfold. You need to!!

Lily

Lily is one amazing young woman! She writes about what it feels like living in this harsh world while enduring a rare physical disability and speaks up as an advocate for others facing the same difficulties. Her spirit of determination will encourage you as it has me. Retrospective Lily is a must read, must follow blog!

And here are my 11 questions: πŸ€”

1) What is the bible verse/passage which you turn to the most for comfort?

2) What are you most thankful for today?

3) What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child?

3) When did you last clean out your closet? (hehehe, I tagged my daughter on this postπŸ˜‚)

4) What is your primary love language ie, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, or gift giving?

5) Which Bible character can you relate to because of what they went through?

6) What is your favorite board game?

7) What is or was your favorite subject in school?

8) What do you enjoy doing during your down time?

9) What major obstacle in your life has God helped you overcome?

10) What musical instrument(s) can you play?

11) If you could go back 10 years, what major decisions would you change?

*To my nominees, please do not feel pressured to accept this award. I just wanted to show my appreciation for all you do and summerize why I feel others should follow you. Thank you and God bless you all!πŸ€—

Much love,

Viv 😊