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.

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 💞

The Next Thing

One of my favorite Christian authors Elisabeth Elliot has a phrase she quotes ever so often in her books to encourage others during times of hardship or waiting. She often says; “Do the next thing.”

This quote came to me last week when feeling in a funk about how to carry on now that my husband’s job is gone along with our medical coverage.

My focus has been to carry on, play with my kids, school, craft, and stay cheerfully occupied instead of remain in that old funky frame of mind because the rug’s been pulled out from under me. Truly, helping my youngest learn to ride her bike, crocheting stuffed animals for my kids Christmas presents, and carrying on with life has been a great blessing and has helped our family continue to carry on. Doing the next thing is something we can do and is a genuine gift from God while we wait or endure whatever it is we are faced with.

The tasks I have right before me, the next thing, is a genuine comfort because life goes on and although things aren’t perfect, I can still keep my family functioning and with God’s help we can still stay happily focused on what’s in front of us.

Much love,

Viv 🍁🍂🍄Airing out my yarn. There is one rather different skein in there. 😂My little “Monkey” riding her bike.

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!!👰🤵 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.) 😂 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? 🤗😍

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. 🍰🥂

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.🤗😄

Much love,

Viv 😃

A Birthday Poem To My Dad

You were born in the 40’s after WW2

A “Baby Boomer” yes, that’s what they call you

My dad you’re amazing a trooper I say

You served in the Marine Corp

Back in the day

Your education was extensive and strenuous as can be

Yet you pushed through to achieve

Your Master’s Of Divinity

You never shrink back to take on a challenge

Motivated, determined, and a man of deep knowledge

Your provision consistently steady and good

A secure roof over our heads and plenty of food

Daily family devotions you never lost sight

Pointing us to God and teaching what’s right

Married to mama over fifty years golden

Strong committment to love, honor and cherish you’ve proven

A fond memory I hold of you in years past

Your grand fireworks display

Giving the neighboorhood a loud blast

It was the best fourth of July hot summer night

How you treated all us kids to a spectacular delight

Smoking a cigar your lighter too

Then we all stood and watched

Breathtaking sparkles of red, pink, white, green, blue

Another favorite memory I cherish of you and me

Was riding around on your snazzy Harley

Then you rigged your bike up with loud banana pipes

It was fun riding with my dad, the cool biker type

You go to the gym

Staying fit, trim, and spiffy

I promise you look not a day over fifty!

It touches my heart to watch you care for your wife

Your devotional love is an example of Christ

A godly picture of what a Father really means

I’m honored to be your daughter and proud to share your genes

My dear “Papa” at this particular time

I write words that say “I love you”

In this little rhyme

You’re a father so loyal, so faithful and true

I’m penning this poem saying “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

Written by Vivian Joy

July, 2019.

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.

Welcoming Autumn

Hi friends! I wanted to share with you my daughter’s brand new blog, Mischief and Mjolnir! So let’s all give this cherished young lady a big huge welcome and follow. She’s an excellent writer and faithfully helps her poor brain injured mama edit her own blog each week. I can go on and on but I’m just going to let you see for yourself.

Welcome to WordPress dearest Autumn!!

Much love,

Viv (Mama)🤗😄💃💃