Obviously it has been a looong time since I last posted.  I guess getting over brain surgery took a bit longer than I anticipated.  It wasn’t painful, believe it or not.  In fact, it was the least painful surgery I have ever had, and I’ve had a bunch.  I’ve been known to say I don’t have many working parts left, but I was joking.  I’m not joking about not having much pain.  Who knew that a person could have 1/3 of her head shaved, an incision from middle forehead to ear, skull removed, brain pushed to the side, tumor excised, plate attached with titanium screws, scalp stapled together with what felt like a million staples, and it wasn’t that painful?   The physical part wasn’t as bad as I imagined it would be.  Oh sure it was hard moving my head for a little while.  I felt like I had a pumpkin on my shoulders.  I couldn’t sleep.  I was uncomfortable, but no, I thought it would be excruciating.  And it wasn’t.  The hard part was waking up knowing that I didn’t not see Jesus or my mama.  I secretly  thought I would and was so disappointed that I didn’t.  Bitterly disappointed.  Once the healing began, I pretty much got over it.  By the way, the tumor was benign, no further treatment is necessary, just yearly check ups for five years.  Honestly, the whole thing was a bit scary.  Apparently I was rather hypovolemic as I woke up with more IVs than I had ever had at one time.  I think about five if I remember correctly.  And then there was the little matter of my heart rate.  It dropped, and when I say it dropped, I’m talking low.   One night my male nurse woke me up saying “Miss Nancy, your heart rate is in the 30s and I need to stimulate you”, to which I replied “couldn’t you just shake me instead?”.  Haha, I am so bad!  We laughed and my heart rate went up.  Problem solved.

In truth, I am amazed at how easy the whole thing was.  Getting used to life post surgery is another story.  I cannot explain what is different, only that it is.  I might be a little slower.  The memory process might be an issue.  Maybe I see more color.  That is kind of iffy.  One thing I know for sure is that our Lord God is a good God and His mercies endure forever!  I could go on a lengthy litany of His goodness and only scratch the surface.  How else can I claim healing but for His goodness?

I’m switching the focus to the fun part of the whole situation.  Yes, indeed, there was a fun part!  Let me start by saying how blessed I am with good friends.  Not just good friends, but great friends, the best friends.  Friends who stand by me when the going gets tough.  It was tough for my husband to see me go through this.  But he was held up by angels; my prayer group and several other great friends who traveled 3 1/2 hours and more to be with us.  And surgery was in NEW ORLEANS, people!  New Orleans!  Can I tell you the night before surgery was fun?!  We managed to get in a good tour of the French Market and sampled the cuisine that made New Orleans famous.  Yes, there were beignets.  Lots of beignets.  If you don’t know (egads!), beignets are a puffy, powdered sugar coated pastry known far and wide as THE one thing you should not miss in New Orleans.  And don’t forget the cuppa strong café au lait on the side.  Heaven on earth, I tell ‘ya.  Yes, indeed.  There are so many wonderful things about that fabulous city and I certainly wanted to do/eat/see all of them before I had surgery.  Can you imagine?   Oh forget about Bourbon Street.  Been there, done that, don’t want to go back.   I’m too old.  It’s not fun anymore.  Now that I know Who my God is, I have no desire to dip my toes in that sorry lake of fire!

night before surgery Yes, we had a big meal but I think I was the only one who had beer.  Wouldn’t you?  I am the nut on the far end of the table.  Let me tell you something; this group can laugh!

Progressing on….  I’d say I am healing well.  It has been 8 months.  The neurosurgeon told us that it would take 9 to 12 months to recover completely; to even start feeling like my old self.  I’m not so sure about that but I will trust him even though he did laugh at me when I asked him to be sure to remove some of the bad memories wreaking havoc in my brain, and replace them with a few golden nuggets of wisdom.   He must not have realized that I was serious, lol.  Oddly enough, the good doctor must have done something different because the memories are still there but somehow they aren’t as important anymore.

What is important?  The fact that I woke up when the surgery was done, eyesight intact, moving all extremities, still utilizing brain function (that part is debatable).  And I love.  I love very much.  Besides that, I am acutely aware of what I want to do more of.  I want to become a better person.  I want to praise God with every breath.  I want to open my eyes and look around and light a fire under my butt if that is what it takes to do what God wants me to do.  There are a lot of people in this world who have needs.   Maybe you and I can’t touch every one, but our prayers can.

How about you give that a try?  Pray for our country.  Shoot, pray for our world.  Pray for peace.  Please.  Oh, and love one another!  To love someone is a gift from God.  Don’t waste it.

Feel free to leave a comment.  I would love it if you would!

 

Advertisements

The Motorcycle Mama and the Lord


stock-vector-mad-granny-on-a-bike-89888923

We went for a lovely late afternoon/evening motorcycle ride and didn’t get home till somewhere around 9:30pm. It was really nice. I wear a full helmet that has the thing around the front and the visor that can be pulled down over my face. I gotta thing about wrecking my face if I ever fall off.
ANYWAY, I discovered that the rear view mirrors are right in my line of sight so I thought I’d take a peek to see what a woman in her 60th decade would look like sitting behind her man on a Harley Davidson. Lawd, first thing I thought was “Damn, I shoulda tucked my face in!”

When I was a kid, there was a period of time when my family was surrounded by motorcycles. We all rode. Heck, my brother even had his very own Honda. Those were good days, a summer of fun, exploring, stretching to see how far we could go. It was the last summer we had as a family and I’ll never forget it. Even my mom rode, may she rest in peace. I still chuckle at the memory of her on a bike, snaking across a pasture behind our house, her very ample boobs about to beat her to death, poor thing. As for myself, I was always a little timid when I drove. I don’t know why. I remember a dirt bike trail we frequented. I finally made myself brave enough to take it on. And to my surprise, I found it to be FUN! But still….every time I got a good run going I backed off. Why? What was I afraid of? Broken bones? No, it wasn’t a dangerous track and I don’t remember any of us ever getting hurt on it. It’s funny how we develop personality traits at a young age. I’ve done the same thing for most of my life in many different areas. The thought was worth exploring.

Now all of these years later, I realize I was afraid of success, of letting go, of stepping out of my comfort zone, of feeling unworthy to succeed. Man, it took me a long time to put an end to that kind of behavior! It’s basically the story of my life. How sad! But you know what? It’s never too late to change, to grow, and to prosper. Ok, you know where this is going, right? John 10:10. If you get a chance look it up in the bible. Meditate on it. It will change your life.
It says:
I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.

Wow. He loves me enough to see that I am well taken care of! He wants me to live and live well! To see that end, He has to heal me, body, mind, and soul. And guess what? He has over and over and over. For every crack that keeps me from wholeness, he patches up with his love and desire for me to have life and have it more abundantly. Oh Sweet Jesus, how can I repay you?

Well, the answer to that is not such a hard one to find but you gotta look for it and do what the instruction manual (Bible) says. Very clearly it says to love one another. And in doing so, do everything else that comes with it like help each other, take care of each other, reach out to the poor, lonely, displaced, misfit, etc. Just love one another. That’s all He asks. Everything else will fall into place. As it should.
Can you imagine a world where we all took the time to love one another?

Pray for peace, people. Please.

Spiritually Overcoming Abuse


jesus and child

I intended to post the following yesterday but I had to sleep on it and pray about it to be sure I wanted to share it with the world. Plus, I don’t want to hurt anyone who has hurt me in the past. With healing comes forgiveness. Or maybe the other way around.

I don’t even know how to put into words the experience I had, or I should say, the truth revealed to me last night. I was at my weekly prayer meeting, a group of Catholic Charismatic ladies who get together to praise God and offer prayer intentions. And sometimes share a bottle of wine. Hey, we’re Catholic, what can I say?

ANYWAY, during the course of the evening we shared and prayed and meditated. I think we all had the same thing on our hearts because it seems the conversation drifted into the realm of our pasts and the pain of our childhoods. Isn’t it something how God brings people together who have so much in common? Not a coincidence, a God-incidence. There were only three of us last night but we still made a joyful noise unto the Lord, as the saying goes. When we got down to brass tacks, it was all about surviving abusive relationships and childhoods. One by one we shared things in our lives that were devastating. We cried for each other and prayed for each other. And we thanked God that He is a God of mercy and compassion. The more I thought about that, the more I began to recognize a truth that had evaded me for as long as I could remember. And with that truth came healing.

In terms of what we all have to suffer in life, I can’t say I know the reasons why we do. The world wide web is not the place to discuss some things so I’m not going there. But I will say this: God’s timing is not our timing but his timing is perfect. Recently, I saw a post on fb that said our bad memories need to be removed from our lives because they are toxic to ourselves physically and mentally. Personally, the suffering I have had to endure was bad in my eyes but compared to some, maybe not so much. Nevertheless, it was so complicated it had to be healed by layers. I can’t say I was always fully aware of each step into healing. All I knew was I had pain that was tattooed on my heart and soul and I wanted to be free of it. I wanted to be ‘normal’, whatever that was. As the healing progressed, I began to understand the reasoning behind why I felt ‘less than’, as well as defining and understanding my own behaviors that were destructive and self-deprecating, at the same time, inevitable; symptoms manifested by my pain.

A little at a time, the eyes of my heart have been opened to see the reasoning, if there is such a thing, behind why I suffered what I did. With each revelation came healing. Like an onion (I’m sure you’ve heard this before but it still rings true) peeling away layer by layer, so were the obstacles that kept me from the area in my life that most needed healing. And it was a s l o w process. Finally, just last night, I came to understand that I needn’t search for healing and the ability to rise above. It would come to me. God would see to it. Suddenly last night, as clear as a bell, I realized that God knows what He is doing. I had to wait until His time was right to complete the work He began in me. I discovered that the reason I wasn’t healed the first time I asked was because God knew I couldn’t deal with the reasons why what happened happened. I simply wasn’t ready. God knew when I would be and he tilled the soil and fertilized the field, and pulled the weeds until I was in the exact spot I needed to be, a place where I could accept hearing what happened, what made me the way I am.

I would have not been able to handle it otherwise. Premature enlightenment of the truth might have destroyed me. There could have been weak areas in me that couldn’t go there without more damage occurring.

God’s timing is perfect. I’m pretty sure I am a much stronger person with perhaps more insight and rebounding abilities. All thanks to God.

I don’t blame Him for the bad, bad experiences I have had. His gift to the human race is free will and it isn’t His fault that the choices of others have had a negative impact on my life. For that matter, some of my own choices have had negative impact on other’s lives. But God, in His mercy, has all the tools we need to become whole. His understanding and compassion are perfect, therefore He knows the exact time in which we will be able to accept our healing so that it will become totally complete.

Amen.

Please pray for peace.

Eating Colors


Some times I surprise myself. If any of you follow facebook, no doubt you have seen a gazillion recipes and tips that will make your life easier. I copy and paste about a billion of the those that make my mouth water. The other day I saw a clip of a man putting together salads for a week’s worth of lunches. He packed glass quart jars with all kinds of amazing stuff and stuck them in the refrigerator. “Easy peezy,” he said. All weekend I thought about jars full of lunch. So last night I did a market run and came home with all that you see in the photo below.

DSCF7055

I don’t work away from home but I love the idea of having a meal premade and ready to consume, preferably in large amounts. I am a foodie only in the sense that I like to eat. I don’t like preparation, I don’t like cooking, and most of all, I don’t like to plan menus. I do love it when someone else does the cooking. I really love it when a meal prepared by someone other than myself is beautifully presented. And don’t forget comfort food. Apparently I must need a lot of comforting because I love comfort food. We live in Louisiana, so comfort food here is anything with rice and gravy, potatoes, fried anything and sweets. I could live (and die) with any kind of deliciously sweet, preferably gooey, delectably chocolate or cinnamon desert. My favorite good group is cookie. Mr. Pete said I have well earned the title of cookie monster. I love them. And because I love deserts and comfort food, I expand, not only my worldly knowledge of good food, but also in girth. Therefore, it is my curse to discipline myself to occasionally diet, as in cut back, eat right, eliminate my favorite food group. It’s hard, but necessary. So when the salad-in-a-jar fellow came along, I thought ‘I can do this. I’ll eat better. Mr. Pete will eat better. It’ll be good.’ I said those things to myself even knowing how badly I hate to fix salads. Putting together several at one time sounded like a great idea which in turn takes the pressure off making sure I eat right. I’ve read that a diet full of fresh, colorful, uncooked fruits and vegetables can ward off inflammation, problem digestion, aid in healing, and make your skin glow. I’m in.

This morning I was determined to make salad-in-a-jar come hell or high water. I gritted my teeth and struggled into preparation mode. I had to clean, chop, and decide what foods would be palatable when paired together. I pulled all my bowls out of the cabinets and began to fill them with chopped veggies and fruits so assembling the salads would be easier than trying to make one at a time. See how my mind works? It ain’t pretty. As I worked, a rhythm began to develop. I don’t know, it was something about rocking the big knife on the cutting board as I chopped the crisp veggies. I’m sure the knife has a name but I don’t know what it is. Anyway, I made friends with it and together we put on quite a show. Food flew. But I got it done and, I must say, with a certain level of satisfaction. Maybe this thing called food prep isn’t so bad after all.

DSCF7058

Next up, assemblage. Salad-in-a-jar guy said to put the ‘wet’ stuff on the bottom of the jar, ie; dressing, tomatoes, etc., then follow with fresh what ever you want, saving the leafy greens for last. He said jam it in there till you can’t get any more in. That sounded easy and guess what? It was. My first combination started with pineapple. I bought a package of individual servings of pineapple chunks packed in 100% juice and used that instead of fresh pineapple because I didn’t want the hassle of … well … you know. It was easier with the pre-packed stuff. And I figured the juice would make a great dressing. On top of that I packed in sliced carrot, cauliflower, and so on until I got the jar about 2/3 full. Then I stuffed greens to the top and screwed the lid on. Keep in mind I am making two identical jars, one for Mr. Pete and one for me. Other combinations included salsa for the dressing, tomatoes, sweet peppers, avacado, broccoli, peaches, and leafy greens. I did not include any cooked meat, boiled eggs or onions in any of the salads like the salad-in-a-jar guy did, nor did I add seasonings other than fresh parsley. I’m kind of funny that way. I prefer to add it just before eating and I keep cooked chopped chicken and beef in the freezer for that purpose. I chose not to cut up the grape tomatoes because they would give off to much juice that way and I wanted to keep the ingredients as dry as I could so the salad would stay fresh longer. And I only used parmasean cheese and sparingly at that.

DSCF7061

I paired pickled beets with red cabbage, celery and carrots. I made a cole slaw dressing and topped it with green cabbage, dried cranberries, raisins, carrots, celery and romaine lettuce. I topped every jar with a tablespoon or two of sunflower seeds. One tip: you can eat the salad straight out of the jar if you use the wide-mouth kind. Just turn the jar over before you open it so that the dressing will coat everything first. Another dressing I used was extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.

DSCF7059

I can’t even tell you some of the combinations of every salad I made, but I can tell you this – they were beautiful. The colors! Looking at the salad jars makes me hungry. It’s like salivating over a box of crayons.

By the time I made up TEN jars of salads, I had used nearly all of the fresh veggies and fruit with the exception of green cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, spinach, parsley, and pickled beets. I spent no small amount on all of this food, so I wanted to be sure not to waste even one little piece. I cooked the green cabbage with a little crispy fried bacon and put it in the refrigerator. Tomorrow I will stew a couple of potatoes with some Andouille sausage and bake a cornbread to serve with the cooked cabbage. Although I won’t eat it, my husband will be happy. Then I cooked the spinach and put it in the freezer. The broccoli and cauliflower too. As for the red cabbage, I boiled it in the juice from the pickled beets. Yum. It is going in the refrigerator to use later for garnishing, probably with roasted pork. I chopped up the parsley and am drying it. Mr. Pete likes to cook with parsley so he will be pleased. And the radishes? Well, they are still sitting in the bowl. I don’t know what to do with them. This bunch is particularly sharp and the one I ate gave me heartburn. Dang it, I hate that.

DSCF7062
I used some of the left overs for my lunch today.

So there you are. That took several hours and I am tired now. Despite the fact that today started off a painful one in terms of FMS, I accomplished quite a bit and I’m satisfied. I wish I would have gotten the floors done before I started another tangent, but on the other hand, if I had maybe I wouldn’t have done the salads. Oh well. The great thing is we have a week’s worth of salad lunches all made up and pretty enough to eat. I am sure my body will thank me. I don’t know if this will be a weekly jaunt or not but it was fun today.

DSCF7064

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, please please please pray for world peace and for impoverished people everywhere. I know very well that there are tons of people who don’t have the opportunity to eat food as wonderful as that which I have shown in this post. I urge you to pray, and if you can, put some action behind your prayers in any way you can to help others.

God bless you.