A Fun Surprise

I had to share with you all the neatest thing that came from the UPS man today via my friend Kim….

Okay, let me backtrack here a bit. I am required to swallow several supplements daily to keep me going and help heal my central nervous system. Unfortunately, my swallow muscles aren’t quite right and so I have to crush up everything I take and stir into applesauce just to get it down. Otherwise, I just can’t do it.

So, for years I’ve taken a heavy ice cream scooper and an old rag, beaten the pills into a fine dust before stirring into my applesauce. I know I look as stupid as it sounds…πŸ˜‚

Well, not anymore folks! Kim lovingly sent to me an Ezy Crush Pill Crusher from Amazon. I’m literally so excited right now because taking my supplements will be so much easier and I won’t conveniently forget anymore due to the hassle.

Whoo Hooooo!! Looky here folks, I’m moving up in the world. No more waking the hubby and neighbors because I have to beat up pills!! I’m so thrilled and excited to get this and humbled too. She also generously sent a yummy flavored pre-biotic powder to help aid in digestion. I’m overwhelmed by such love!😍

God knows how bummed I’ve been lately but He continues to send loving kisses from friends like Kim because He knows, cares, and uses people to lift us up and urge us forward. We’re not ever alone in any of our troubles. In response to others who haven’t been nice, I find myself wanting to pop my turtle’s head back into my shell for protection but that’s not what God wants! He knows we need each other, community, and fellowship, and that’s why we are to reach out, to share, to pray and to never ever give up hope!

Much love,

Viv

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The Accident That Took Home My Friend Herm.

On March 7, 2010, my friend, mentor, and neighbor of eight years, Hermione Joy Wommack, was killed by a drunk driver slamming into her SUV head-on at 80 miles per hour. Reports say his blood alcohol levels were 2x over the legal limit and he was driving without a license.

Let me take you back to that day.

On March 6, 2010, I gave birth to my youngest daughter and final baby. I telephoned Herm later that day to tell her the good news and see if she could come take a peek at my new bundle of joy at the hospital. I was greatly looking forward to her visit because she and I had both recently moved miles apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. She told me she could visit the next day since it was Sunday and a bit less hectic for her. I was due to return home Monday, so I assured her Sunday was perfect and couldn’t wait to see her again.

Herm, an Argentinean high school Spanish teacher, had always been a precious friend and neighbor to me. Going through difficult times in the early days of marriage and job loss was made easier by her wisdom, counsel, and prayers. There wasn’t much I didn’t tell Herm and her presence in my life was constant.

There would be times when I would open up my front door to find bags of gifts awaiting me that she cleverly sneaked there. Generosity was always nothing but second nature to Herm.

I vividly remember watching my oldest daughter, who was three at that time, putting on the gorgeous Sunday dress Herm had given her and walking next door to show it off to Herm before church. I can still see Herm’s smile as she knelt down to admire the dress, and my daughter trotting proudly back across the lawn towards me.

Sunday evening March 7, 2010 at around dinner time, Herm came into my hospital room, and immediately took my newest baby in her arms. It was so good to see her again. She and I caught up a bit and I promised her I would come visit her at her new farm they had just bought in the country. I grabbed my digital camera and asked for a picture. She said she looked awful since her grandkids had been with her all day and they’d been gardening together. I assured her she looked great as always and began snapping away.

Herm holding my youngest just moments before her death.

I’m so glad I did. Those were the last pictures ever taken of Herm, for only an hour later she was taken to heaven.

She was on the phone counseling another friend when the drunk driver, a man named Mark Elliot, slammed his vehicle into her Honda SUV.

Her husband later told me she had the presence of mind to tell the police officer his phone number and he arrived at the scene to be with her in her final moments.

The news of Herm’s death hit me very hard. One friend tried to comfort me by telling me that Herm could have been killed before she saw me and then I would have never seen her, visited, and gotten photos of her. For years I felt guilty for asking her to visit me and experienced severe grief and remorse. Knowing Herm, she would have told me to stop.

“STOP CHICA” is what she would have said. Herm never let me wallow!

Whenever I start missing her and feeling remorse, I’m reminded that God is still in control, even in this crazy out-of-control world. He was with Herm in her final moments comforting and ministering to her. He came to her that night with His hands outstretched towards her saying, “Come Home Child”. She was driving along Leesville road that night journeying towards her true Home in heaven.

She was never alone in death. Knowing Herm, she was praying hard as her body breathed it’s last and God answered by giving her peace and everlasting happiness in heaven with Jesus her Lord.

1 Corinthians 2:9 King James Version (KJV)

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

This verse gives me comfort knowing that right now Herm is experiencing delights unimaginable in heaven that await those who love Him.

Several years before her death, Herm shared this scripture verse with me from 2 Samuel 15:26. ‘But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.’ I’ve highlighted that verse in my bible with her name marked beside it. It encourages me to surrender to God’s will for my life and to hand over everything to Him saying, ‘here I am’. Whatever seems good to God is what’s best for me. It may not always look like it at the time but I’m trusting, as my Herm did, that He always knows what’s best. Always.

So many have been killed or severely disabled by drunk drivers. Although my brain injury is not from drunk driving, I’m still heartbroken when I find other TBI survivors (there are many) robbed of their happy lives by the carelessness and selfishness of others. It needs to STOP.

In honor of my friend Herm, please share this post with others.

Herm and my two oldest making Christmas cookies together Christmas 2008.

The article that explains the accident and sentencing of Mark Elliot.

http://www.newsadvance.com/go_dan_river/news/man-pleads-guilty-in-wreck-that-killed-campbell-county-teacher/article_818e9b0a-2f8d-5be4-9dde-d98c7886015e.html

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,

VivπŸ€—

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.

This kind of friend…

There are only a few people you will ever be blessed to meet that will be this kind of friend. A true friend that loves you at your best and worst. Someone who listens and pats your head letting you cry it all out (or write it all out.)

But once you let go, and let the real you shine through, knowing that person still loves you and believes in you anyway in spite of the flaws, well, that’s a real friend.

I don’t know if this kind of friend is a common as we think. There is such freedom in being real, being who you are, letting go of fears that others may judge or think less of you should you show them the real person inside by expressing the depths of your heart. Sometimes, just saying how you really feel is better than bottling it up, because letting it out restores healing.

This kind of friend won’t judge or lecture because they understand rash words or feelings may just be our pain crying out. They know us and love us to know maybe we just need to vent and they understand the root cause of our pain.

Being real takes courage.

Being you takes courage.

But as my beautiful mama says, (paraphrased) Sometimes God uproots the weeds in our friendship gardens to only leave us with the flowers.

I’m so glad for the true flowers still left in my friendship garden. πŸ€—

I pray that I will grow to be this kind of friend.

β€œOh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

― Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

🌻🌼🌷⚘🏡🌹πŸ₯€

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