Prayer Request

Beloved friends, some of you from Stuart’s prayer group already know that my husband lost his job last week and I greatly appreciate the love and prayers being sent.

The company eliminated his entire team due to company cuts from low production. This news came as a shock to us and now we are dealing with job loss including the loss of medical insurance at the end of this month.

We have gone through this before in 2012. At that time, I had a few toddlers and a baby in diapers. Although my health was still good at that point (and I could just eat junk), I’m currently healing from a hard time of TBI and fatigue which requires more intentional care.

Please pray for my family as we face this new trial. Especially for wisdom and guidance which my husband needs as we seek God for His leading and direction.

God got us through seven months of unemployment before and I know He will get us through this again a second time around. (May I just say I wish we didn’t have to face this again?)😭

Nothing happens outside of God’s will and I’m trusting in His goodness, faithfulness and perfect plan for our lives. I do know that He will work all things together for our good because He promises so to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) During the seven month interim of unemployment we never went without food and God took care of our bills. Sometimes it was a friend pitching in or neighbor bringing groceries and quietly leaving canned goods on our deck. Sometimes it was people giving us odd jobs of chopping wood or farming that got us through. God provided for us then and I’m eager to watch Him at work again.

This past week we emptied out all our change and discovered we had over $80 in quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies! And I sold a pair of sneakers on Facebook Marketplace and got $20. It was amazing! 😃 He is working already. Actually, He’s never not working.

I’m reminding myself of my mama’s words to me, “One day at a time, Viv, one day at a time.”

Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

Much love,

Viv ❤🙏

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Some Blogging Insights

Start a blog, they said. It will be fun, they said.

Although my experience as a blogger has been mostly positive, I do want to share two hidden discouragements I believe we bloggers are apt to stumble across from time to time. Quite possibly they may bruise us, and leave us feeling unsettled, and can make us question our approach to the whole blogosphere.

1) Judging our writing based on other’s interactions, responses, or likes.

Okay, this one is hard because we feel the need for postive feedback and comments yet that doesn’t mean we are good bloggers because our blog looks like it’s smoking hot after every post with loads of interactions. It may be your likes and followers are high momentarily, but that is a very subjective and can change in a gradual incline or decline. There are excellent blogs out there with tons of great information and writing styles which appear to be more dormant but looks can be deceiving. One of my favorite blogs, jumbledbrain.com, looks very quiet from a blogger’s viewpoint but she has risen to one of the top 30 blogs in the world with thousands of email subscribers. If people sign up for your blog through email because of finding you through internet social media, that is a very good indication your blog offers something they are looking for. Don’t be discouraged if sometimes your posts go mainly unnoticed. There are more highly trafficked days and times for blogging and sometimes just strategic timing can bring the most traffic to your blog. Write from your heart and be you. Keep those posts from going on too long. Sometimes great writers can write lengthy posts and most people just don’t have that kind of time. Put your blinders on, and remember to dig in and stay focused on your true purpose as a blogger. If you wrote your heart out and didn’t receive much feedback, remember, lots of people may read and enjoy your blog but never leave a comment. A lot of us are introverts and like to read and ingest what we read quietly.

2) Being yourself may lead to negative feedback.

Yes, we want feedback, as I mentioned above, but it’s tough when it’s not always postive. As a Christian blogger who bears her heart openly on WordPress, I’ve learned to realize that if I’m transparent, I need to willingly take the heat from others. I am more of a sensitive soul, so I can get a bit worked up when others find fault in me through my writing. Now, I can be safe and write from a strictly objective viewpoint but I believe my subjective, honest writings are more helpful to other people who are hurting and therefore I continue to write being fully aware that my openness may lead to open criticism. Do I need to have thicker skin? Absolutely! I have had to remind myself that although it hurts to receive negative feedback, I truly did bring it upon myself through my openness, so I have chosen to open the door to receiving criticism. It’s my choice to say what I say, so I must choose to live with the consequences too. I can play it safe and close myself off with mainly impersonal writings, but my personal mission as a blogger wouldn’t be as effective so I choose to be real. Since being real may mean being vulnerable to criticism, I definitely need to thicken my skin and look at it as battle wounds for the cause of Christ, knowing that He sees the intentions of my heart: seeking to help, bless, and uplift others who are hurting. Because most people generally like reading posts that they can relate to, I will continue to write from my heart in hopes to be a blessing.

I prayed before writing this post that it would be helpful to another blogger out there who may be new to blogging or facing the same challenges I have faced. I pray God blesses each and every one of you as you seek to write for whatever your blogging mission may be, and that your blogging experience is a deeply blessed and rewarding one.

With much love,

Viv ✍🙏

Survival Mode

For years now, my family and I have been in this mode. Barely keeping our heads up above water……..just getting by.

Are you here, or have you been here?

Sometimes chronic illness or injury feels like grasping for a buoy and hanging on, barely keeping your head up above water. Then a huge wave of unexpected symptoms wash over your head pulling you under, leaving you fearful and disoriented, trying to figure out which way is up, and struggling to come up for air. Each new challenge, whether physical or emotional, is like an extra weight, pulling you downward so then you struggle even harder to stay afloat treading the deep waters that never seem to dissipate.

Yet, God is our buoy. He keeps us up and afloat daily. His grace never ends and His strength is beyond us. He is the ultimate source for enduring hardships, and fights alongside of us in the deepest, darkest, oceans of trials. His grace is sufficient and His mercy does endure forever.

2 Corinthians 12:9 King James Version

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It may not look pretty……this survival mode. But, we ARE surviving. We still get up every morning to see the sun rise yet once again.

I still see the faces of my darling children every day and here the soft whispers of, “I love you, Mommy” at the breakfast table.

Though for long or short durations life can be tough at times we can still glorify God and enjoy Him forever; because His grace abounds when we are weak, when things aren’t pretty, when bodies fail and life appears to go under. He’s always here, always surrounding us with His loving arms, and he loves us more than our finite minds can ever fully comprehend.

Hold onto Him in faith and never fear because when we are too weak to hold on, He holds us still and always is holding us. God will never ever let go because He promises to keep us, preserve us, and protect us until He calls His beloved safely home.

Much love,

Viv 💖

March: Brain Injury Awareness Month

Check out these few facts that can help make us all more aware of just how prevalent brain injury is in the U.S.

Here are a few statistics I find very interesting regarding brain injury:

1) A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.

2) Falls are the leading causes of TBI in America.

3) Men are twice as likely to sustain a TBI than women.

4) 90 % percent of concussions do not involve loss of consciousness.

5) Each year, about 2.8 million people are treated for TBI in a United States ER.

6) A concussion is a mild brain injury. The consequences of multiple concussions can be far more dangerous than those of a first time TBI.

7) The area most often injured are the frontal lobes that control thinking and emotional regulation.

8) A blow to one part of the brain can cause damage throughout the whole brain.

9) Blasts are the most common cause of TBIs for veterans fighting in war zones.

Resources: brainline.org, traumaticbraininjury.net

The above statement is an excellent summary of how a brain injury effects the body long term. It also sums up the personal battles I face with TBI daily.

I sketched this picture of the parts of the brain. X marks the spot of my compression in between the frontal and temporal lobes on the left side.

Thanks so much for taking a moment to read this. God bless you and much love.

Viv 💚

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🤗

Everyone’s Broken

Last spring when things got hard with my TBI journey, I was crying to my best friend saying, “I feel so broken!” Her response to me was, “Everyone’s broken.”

It’s amazing how God can use the honest words of a friend to wake us up.

Yet, it was not the response I was hoping for just then. I yearned for words of comfort, instead I felt like my brain injury was being undermined. Of course she didn’t mean to hurt me, it was my emotional state of brokenness at that time.

Then God did something in my thought process and heart that only He can do. He showed me that even though what she said to me came at a difficult time in my life, those two words are 100% true and I needed to hear them.

The problem with chronic pain, illness, or severe bodily injuries is that they can make a person extremely self absorbed. It’s impossible to not be so fully caught up in the pain and suffering that scream for our attention 24/7. We can’t help but forget that others we love have issues of brokenness in their lives and are just as broken. They may not be broken physically, yet in some way they’re broken emotionally or spiritually. Everyone’s broken.

In Ann Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way, she writes on how Jesus was broken first, so that we can be healed by His brokenness. She writes, ‘Could all brokenness meet in the mystery of Christ’s brokenness and givenness and become a miracle of abundance?’ I’ve often dwelled upon these beautiful words. Everyone’s broken, yet Jesus meets us in our pain and since He overcame all brokenness we are made whole by His broken body on the cross.

I’m so blessed to have a wonderful friend and sister in Christ who understands the big picture here. Her words have stayed with me and kept me from throwing myself a huge pity party or turning into “Debbie Downer” on tougher days of dizziness, nausea, pain, fatigue etc. and staying there. I still struggle with negative thinking, but those two words keep reminding me, that even though there’s a big, sad world of suffering, there’s a bigger God who meets us in our suffering and brokenness and gives us hope to keep fighting.