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 Vivie😚🤗🍁🍂

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

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 ☀️🐒

Progress and Prayers

Dear Readers, I’m so grateful for the huge overflowing of kindness and prayers received by so many as I push along towards healing. I am getting stronger in many ways although my emotions are healing at a slower pace than my body. I’ve reached out to several prayer groups for prayer as well as many of you individually. I feel your prayers for me and the comfort of the Holy Spirit as I have struggled off and on under the stifling blanket of depression. I’m still battling challenges of my emotional health but God has given me a profound sense of His love in the midst of this storm. He has used several blog posts from old and new friends, and my weekly Bible study with Kim, to hold me up and to keep my eyes fixed upon Him. He has heard the cries of my heart, and given me scriptures after scriptures to wash away sorrows leaving hope, and pouring truth to my soul. Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers! Truly, I’m grateful for this body of believers who have loved on me and showered me with support. ❤

As I mentioned before, I am getting much stronger physically. I can see a HUGE difference in contrast to where I was a year ago to where I am now.

Last year walking was a huge obstacle that seemed insurmountable. There were moments I wanted to give up trying to walk because this exercise made me feel worse instead of better. I could barely walk to my next door neighbor’s house and back without needing hours to recover deep inside my head. When mentioning it to my Dr. she said something about the cerebellum and how it was changing, and to not go beyond my physical limits but to still walk as much as I could. It seemed like a catch 22 because I needed to walk but it’s effects were so scary, I was afraid. But I kept trying. I would wait several days and try again. It was a long arduous process. Trying, waiting, trying again because I knew I couldn’t give up. So, keeping at it, pushing through the pain and fear I’m excited to report I can now walk three houses down my road, nearly 1/2 of a mile!! This is huge because there was a time three years ago, I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom and my husband had to carry me from room to room because my muscles were so weak.

I am physically gaining strength but still facing the challenge of not able to handle climbing more than one or two stairs at a time. My balance is not great and there seems to be a mild disconnection between my head and legs leaving me feeling all Loosey Goosey and wobbly in the space around me. My dear husband is like my own personal scout, scouting out places, locations and surroundings, making sure my body can handle it before we try adventuring out there into the world. My husband also has the additional challenge of handling all things pertaining to our downstairs basement/laundry room since I can not handle going down them unless I go slowly on my rear end. This is exhausting and doesn’t leave much energy left over for other tasks like laundry, cleaning, or sorting so those tasks rest on him now.

Your prayers are very much appreciated and I just want you to know I’m truly seeing results! God is slowly healing me and He is giving me moments of reprieve from the TBI, glimpses of hope and good sunny days. I’m able to handle social settings better (minus the stairs) and I need less recovery time then I required before. I even went to church last Sunday and was greatly encouraged by it.

The road to recovery is long and hard but I do see progress. And like a dear friend once said to me, “slow progress is still progress anyway.”

Much love,

Viv ❤

Here’s a link to my podcast where I was given the privilege of sharing my story.


Romans 11:33-36

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

For prayer requests please visit my page Come Pray With Me, and join in a loving community.

6 Helpful Home Remedies for Coping With Light Sensitivity

As many of you know, I have had severe light and eye strain since mid-October resulting in 2D vision and severe light intolerance. Although the issues have truly eased up a bit, the residual effects of my eye/brain issues relentlessly remain since the eyes are the pathway to the brain.

My dearest friends who are knowledgeable on this topic have helped me out in so many ways, being my eyes for me by researching various helps that have proven to slowly heal my brain. Let’s take a look.

1) Limit screen time.

I can not stress this point enough especially for those of us who have chronic migraines or brain injury.

I often wonder in our over-stimulated society due to devices…just how much we are damaging our nervous systems from all our technological “advancements.”

Those blue lights are brutal. I have found a yellow night shade app helpful for my phone but I still have the brightness settings so low my husband says it’s almost black. I have given up watching TV (boo) because the movement from picture to picture stimulates my brain far more than I can handle.

2) Cocoons sunglasses.

These are so awesome!! I was very reluctant to try these because I was afraid I’d look like an old lady but they have come a long way in various styles that are modern, catchy, and super cute. These sunglasses block the sunlight from the sides as well as the front, and cocoons brand are crystal clear. They are perfectly fitting over your glasses so now instead of four eyes I’ve got six . . . . ha!

3) Be in the dark.

It’s so hard but it helped. Many days I would just sit in a darkened room and listen to music or audio books. It was tough but until I did this I did not see improvement. I used my salt lamp for light which cast a dim orangy hue over the room that wasn’t too difficult to look at. So, being in a dark room greatly helped me.

4) If you do #3, then supplement with vitamin D.

Being in the dark is depressing, plus staying away from all light including sunlight over a long period is bad for vitamin D levels. My doctor recommended that I supplement with vitamin D. I found that liquid D drops are better absorbed than capsules and boost mood and energy.

5) Frankincense.

This is the best essential oil for healing the brain and eyes. In reflexology, the big toe channels directly to the eyes and brain, so rub it directly on both big toes and around your eyes carefully.

6) Eye exercises for eye lubrication.

My eyes are super dry and red. Using my drops plus this eye exercise has greatly helped:

Close eyes for 2 seconds

Squeeze tight for 2 seconds

Open

Repeat 5 times an hour for a few days.

These six ideas for healing my eyes have greatly relieved my symptoms. Although I’m still not fully recovered, I’m heading in that direction and that sure does give me a lot of hope.

Much love,

Viv🤗

Hand It Over

This has become my recent lot in life. Unable to read much, type much, or look at screens . . . . I’ve become used to handing it over. “Can you read this please?” “Will you order this for me?” “Please send so-and-so a message”. . . .

My family remains patient for which I am grateful but it’s not in my nature to just hand things over, pass them off, or ask for assistance. I fight it . . . .

Every part of me wants to be whole, every part of me wants to depend on no one. Every part of my nature desires my will to be done . . . . yikes!

God’s whisper to my heart of late has been to “hand it over.” Some things are just too much. Psalm 131:1 says, things too high for me.

God does not expect me to handle life’s problems on my own. I may not understand His plans but I know He knows best, is in control, and desires for me to have a wholehearted trust in Him.

Hand it over or worry . . . .

When I worry (who else here is a worrier like me?) I’m really in essence saying “I’m in control and God doesn’t know best.” Worry is a demon.

Faith breaks free those chains of worry. Read Matthew 6.

Last night, I was deeply worried about one of my kids who’s been hit with a relentless virus. I felt no rest, no peace, and no ease until I handed it over.

I gave it to God.

With tears flowing down, God’s Spirit, our Comforter, gave me peace and I slept peacefully until morning. Thankfully, I wasn’t up all night stressing, worrying and making myself sick.

God is so merciful.

He tells us in His word, to hand it over, knowing how much we need to give it all to Him, surrendering our wills to His, knowing He is a good, wise, and loving heavenly father who understands us better than we ever can.

He is our strength. Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust in Him.

Just like I hand over that jar of Mt. Olive pickles to my husband to open, because it just won’t budge, we can hand ALL our problems over to God who is our strength. Eph 6:10 Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. He can and will budge those problems, in His time, and promises to carry the load for us and help us if we hand them over to Him.

Much love,

Viv🤗

Bumps In The Road

Last week was one of those weeks. Friday I pulled out my back muscles while trying to spray the mold on the ceiling with my nifty mold removing spray. I was craning my neck and I didn’t realize I hurt myself until minutes later when the pain hit.

At the chiropractor’s office she said my para spinal muscles were cranky and advised me to ice my back and rest.

The next morning my friend Emily texted from the ER. She had fallen and hit her forehead on the steel frame of her wheelchair causing a severe concussion. Her MRI came back ok and no bleed on her brain thank God!

We were talking last night about this set back for her and she said. “I thought I was on the right path. ” she had been pushing hard in therapy and it seemed like her body pushed back. Same with me. I had been pushing myself to try harder, do more, be super mom. My body pushed back.

I told Emily. ” You are on the right path these are just bumps in the road.”

Bumps in the road. It doesn’t mean we’re not on the right path. It just means we need to be more careful. Slow down. Stay alert. Listen to our silly, sorry excuses for bodies because if we don’t proceed with caution, the road will tip us into a ditch.

This bump in my road is not a set back. It’s a gift of learning. God is faithful in teaching me not to push myself because of impatience. He’s saying rest. My body and brain are under construction right now and if I don’t listen to the warning signs, it’s inevitable that this injury will continue to bump me back again.

So, while I have spent a better part of this week in bed, I’m doing exactly what I need to do. And that is rest.

Please pray for my friend Emily. She had a TBI from a massive brain stem stroke at the age of 28 and now just this week another TBI (concussion).

I could use some prayer in this area too. I have a type A personality and don’t really know how to pace myself. With TBI and a bad spine it’s a challenge to rest and be still.

But I must!


Much love,

Viv🤗🤕

Keeping up

TBI has a way of making one feel like you’re driving an old back-firing moped while everyone else is whizzing by in their 2018 Harley Davidson with the shiny chrome banana pipes.

Do you ever feel like keeping up with life is just too much? I do. The feeling of being so extremely overwhelmed by keeping up; homeschooling four kids, being mom, tending the home, trying to heal, and just living life makes me feel like it’s an impossible obstacle. I’m trying so hard, but it’s like running on a hamster wheel, exerting energy but not feeling like I’m getting anywhere.

When I was young, my dad, brother and I would take long walks to places in Philadelphia because we didn’t have a car and sometimes walking was the preferred method to buses or subways. I could never keep up because my dad’s long Marine Corps strides were not easy for my little legs and my brother being 5 years older had longer legs too. They were always having to say “keep up.” I tried, believe me, I tried, but the long journeys we took were so frustrating to my 7, 8, 9 year old legs. I had to walk/ run the whole time because it was the only way to keep up.

I’m glad of it! Being the baby of the family could been very detrimental in coddling or babying me, but my parents never did. They never babied me and let me off easy, just because I was their youngest and a girl. They knew how tough life is and didn’t sugar coat my childhood with pillows of fluff, and candy coated ideals.

When I realised my job as a child of keeping up was twice as hard, I could go easy on myself, not chiding or berating myself because I couldn’t keep but, instead, I could feel like I accomplished something as my efforts to keep up payed off from trying twice as hard.

Today, I’m dealing with this. It feels impossible to keep up. The house stays a wreck, school work presses in, and most days I barely have a chance to brush my hair. But when I see other homeschool moms going here and there teaching Latin, Greek, music to their kids and I can barely do the math and language arts, it hurts. But I realise it’s ok. I have a TBI. Not an excuse but a huge obstacle to overcome while trying to keep up. My kids are all excellent readers, great at math, and learning. Maybe not able to do all the fun stuff and extras like soccer and scout troops as before, but they are four great kids and loved. It’s ok! I need to speak this often. It’s okay, because with TBI things are twice as hard for me but in reality, I can keep up……. just in my own way with God’s help.

Yes, my moped still runs, even if it’s slow and not very pretty but that doesn’t matter because I’m still getting there.

Viv