Month: March 2017

God’s Timing Is Perfect Even If It Means Ice Cream Might Melt

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I’d like to share another time when God showed me His Timing Is Perfect. (1*) (2*) One day three years ago,  back  when our budget was a bit too tight,  I tried to get back into house cleaning as I had done years earlier.

“Oh, great,”  I willingly but not so energetically thought, “Once again I’ll somehow get my name out to find new customers.”

While I was doing all I could to connect to possible customers, God was hearing me often ask for His guidance in how to connect with who.

About one week after I started giving it my all, one fall windy evening something took place. As I was pushing my grocery cart with four filled-to-the-brim bags to my car, I saw something a bit odd: a tow truck behind someone’s car parked in the disable spot with the truck driver talking to an elderly lady. I slowly walked by, hoping to hear what was going on.

“I can’t get your car to start,” said the tow truck driver, “Where would you like me to tow it?”

“Oh, my! I don’t know what to do,” was one sad elderly ladies answer, “Just tow it to my place and tomorrow I’ll have to try to figure out what I’ll do next.”

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, one of my favorite verses, came to mind. I began pondering.

One thought came to mind while trying to ignore the fact that the ice cream in one of my bags was melting.

“Um…excuse me but I couldn’t help but hear what the problem is. I have a suggestion.”

“Please, tell us!”  they both replied.

“Right across the street,” I said while pointing, “is the auto repair place I take my car. I know them well. They are closed now but how about you tow the car there, we both leave a note, and in the morning talk to them about your car. I’ll also offer to take you and your food to where you were headed, assuming it’s close by?”

Both mouths dropped.

“And if you have no way to get it after it’s fixed, maybe I can take you back to pick your car up.”

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“Wow, You mean that? You’ll really help me. You’re an angel!” the elderly lady said. “Oh, thank you so much!”

“That sure sounds good to me,” said the truck driver.

After dropping the car off, getting her and her food in my car, we both chit chatted a mile a minute. All went great as I took her only a few miles to her place.

“Can’t wait to see her face when she sees my plans,” God must have been thinking, because it turned out this dear lady lived at a retirement apartment complex. No way was I going to let her carry all her stuff up to the 4th level.  As I walked into that building, seeing a few elderly people walking around, one even needing a walker, a thought began to form.

Hmmm – I bet people here could sure use someone to clean their places. I just might look into this.

I asked the lady her thoughts about that while in the elevator.

“There sure are people who would love for you to do that. You’ll get quite a few! I promise.”

That next day, when picking her up to go get her car, I had a poster all ready to pin up in the main office’s wall, informing those living there about my cleaning service. That evening I got my first of many calls! God must have been grinning each time I answered the phone those first few days. Why?  Because I kept thinking that Gods timing of me coming out of that store was perfect, and that helping that dear older lady was far more important than keeping some ice cream from melting.

1*  Click here for God’s Timing Is Perfect #1 – Even when you’re scared.

2* Click here for God’s Timing Is Perfect #2 – A little love story.

Unforgettable Forgettable Pictures

There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.

—Marie Antoinette

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Memories. Memories can be tough sometimes. Sure, everyone has things here and there they don’t remember. But for me, I only had things here and there I DID remember when I walked into that new hospital to help me recuperate after being hit with encephalitis. (*1)

My stay at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington, was much different than the first one I had stayed in close to three weeks before. Different types of therapists had well-structured class times in different rooms, covering different subjects, day after day. Much of my time was still spent in my room resting, because the more I had to work so hard to think caused me to get worn out. Believe me, I really appreciated my room.

Here’s a sample of what one of my many classes was like.

“Marianne, for starters, I’m going to hold up little pictures of things that are very common to most people,” my speech therapist said while holding up a photo taken from newspaper ads. “Let’s see if you can tell me what it’s called.” 

Looks easy, right? Wrong.

Of course, I don’t remember that exact first picture I was shown, but I’ll never forget how I felt: dumb.

Here’s one of my common responses. 

“I think I know what it is, but I’m not sure. What’s it called?”

The first time seeing each card was almost impossible. Usually, though, after being told what it was called, along with what it was for, it would finally click! I remembered the name…for a few seconds, anyway. I’d say it a few times over and over. Next, a new card. Once again, she told me the name and explained what it’s for. Then, oh, darn it, that first one again. Great. Back to square one.

“Don’t worry, Marianne,” she said, “This is very normal. Trust me, it will get better.”

Slowly but surely, as minutes went by, I remembered the names of the items. Then she added a third picture. Then a fourth. Not too hard anymore to swiftly see one, say its name, do the next, and then the next. 

I felt so much better at the end of that first class.

Don’t get your hopes up like I did, because the next day I came close to starting from scratch. I remember how sad I felt after seeing that first picture. But thankfully, that day I got them all down a lot faster, even adding more. It put the day before to shame, making me one happy camper.

“Soon you’ll have no problem remembering what it’s called the first time you see it!”

YIPPIE!

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These are actually a few of those original pictures I was given to take home. They probably assumed that years later I’d like to reminisce on how sweet and simple my thinking was. Why the names of each with the photo? Days later, once it had become easy for me to say the name of each, then the hard part – writing down what they were called. Not fun.

But my speech therapist  wasn’t done, and continued. “I do need to warn you that often, as soon as you try to say some words out loud in a sentence, that word may suddenly seem to disappear,” She told me that is an effect because of what happened to my brain. Thankfully, she then taught me how to describe things in such a way that would hide my new problem.

As an example, she showed me a picture of a dog. Now, in 2017, I can say dog without any thought, but back then, dream on. (Just don’t ask me now what KIND of dog.)

“So instead of telling your friend ‘I love your new… oh, sorry, I can’t remember what that type of animal is called,’ say something like ‘I love your adorable new family member.’ Does that make sense?”

“You mean, I can still sound like I know what I’m talking about even though I don’t know the right word?”

I never forgot how relieved I felt. There was hope. That was the best advice I think I got the entire two weeks I was there. Seriously, at least once a day, I still hide the fact I can’t pop that word out I had just thought. I am proud to say, I have mastered that skill. 😉
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I saved this one picture for last being I still have to think about this here batch of cool threads often used for knitting.

1* Click here to read how all this started 

How Sadness Showed Me God’s Presence

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Are you one who makes your own abbreviations for words you find difficult to spell or those that are really long? For instance, ‘E’ is the letter I type instead of encephalitis, the word used most often to describe the illness I had years ago. (*1)

That illness caused me to forget what the names of many people, places, and things were called. (I jokingly call it my noun illness. After all, I have to find some humor in it.) It also affected my spelling, making it harder for me to glue in certain words: ‘E’ being one of them. Excuse me, I mean encephalitis.

My last post (*2) shares how ‘E’ caused me to lose my senses of smell and taste, as well. Since there were many other things I was working on recalling—who my family and friends were, what certain items I was being shown were used for—food was far from the top of my list of what to work on to remember.  But, I still had to eat.

From that one day in the first hospital when I ‘woke up,’ (*4) they slowly but surely got me back to eating. However, sitting up on my bed was, to me, the only place to eat, having known of no other place…yet. Finally, one unforgettable day took place in the second hospital. I had my first experience eating in a room with other patients. No biggie for most twenty-three-year olds to eat with other people around, but for me, it was a day I’ll never forget.

“Now, Marianne, many patients eat together in this room,” my nurse told me as we walked down the hall to the dining room. “Everyone here is like you: all healthy enough and physically able to eat in this room together, but having a tough time remembering things. A few of you will sit at different tables, while a few people who work here will bring you your food.”

fotolia_106265296As I slowly looked around at all those tables, the nurse showed me where to sit. I’m glad she did, because there was no way was I able to think where to sit when I didn’t really love the idea of sitting next to strangers. Even people I’d known for years still seemed a little like strangers to me, but I knew these people I’d eat with really were strangers.

Once sitting, I was just like all the others: silent. While looking around, I noticed that the majority of those around me looked down-and-out. Sure, illness was to blame, but it still seemed far too negative to me. I had a brain-damaging illness, also, but I just didn’t get why I felt a bit more peace-filled than most of the others seemed to be.

After we got our food and as we slowly started talking, I sensed quite a few of those people were showing a bit too much anger to the other patients or to those who were serving us. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the ones who had this negative glow around them.

They shouldn’t seem so upset about so much. It just makes being here harder. I feel sorry for them. They should be happier.

Seeing all that hit me hard, for some reason.

“Why are they like that?” I asked one of my nurses later that day.

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“Their brains have similar problems as yours and most patients can’t help but react that way. Many get mad at almost anything because they are sick and tired of working hard at remembering. There are really only a few like you who do not get angry while here working on memory.”

I ate in that room many times, eventually getting a bit more comfortable sitting with those few who were willing to be more positive. That first meal, however, is the one that stood out. Because of that time, I realized God was with me in that hospital. Even though I couldn’t understand it all at that moment, as days went by I realized it was because God, my Father, was holding me, the Holy Spirit was inside me, and Christ was sitting right there next to me. Those three are the ones I give credit to for keeping that little extra peace inside of me, which I felt and needed.

Thank you, Lord, for living in your children, even when we aren’t clear what it is we are going through.

Romans 8:26 – Likewise, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses. for we do not know what we should pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (NKJV)

Romans 8:27  –And He that searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  (NKJV)

1* Click to read how my encephalitis began.

2* Click here to read my last posting about my lost senses.

Encephalitis – Time to Make Some Sense

Before continuing my story on the brain-affected illness called encephalitis that hit me hard in my early twenties, some brainpuzzleillo-workedtwenty-six years ago, I want to give a brief overview of what I have covered in my posts thus far. (*1)

I had an unexpected seizure on December 20, 1990, causing me to spend over two weeks in the hospital. It took the doctors a few days to realize I had been hit with encephalitis, an illness that affects the brain and, often, other parts of the body.

After being there eight days, I showed the first sign that there was hope, hope that my brain was on the long road of improving, hoping to get as close to normal as possible. However, it wasn’t going to be easy.

After two weeks, I was physically almost back to normal and ready to finally leave that hospital. But because I still needed much work to improve the function of my brain, I was not able to go home. Uncertain what most things around me were used for, let alone what they were called, it was obvious I could not yet go back home and be a wife and mother of two small children. After all, how could I if I wasn’t even sure what being a wife or mother even meant. That second hospital, to focus on my brain’s ability to remember the many necessities in life, was a must.

But, before I get into explaining what took place after getting to that second hospital (*2), I first will share a bit more about my illness. With encephalitic, it depends where in the brain this illness hits to what effects will show, and to what extent. Thankfully, because of where it hit, it didn’t affect me as hard as it could have if it had taken place elsewhere. Because of where it did hit my brain, two of my senses were noticeably lost: my sense of taste and my sense of smell.

So there I was, not only forgetting what food was called, where and how in the world food even came to be, but not being able to smell it either. Even if food—or anything, for that matter—was brought right up to my nose, giving it one strong sniff, I smelled nothing. Add all that to losing the best part about eating—tasting—you then can understand why I lost some weight, being eating didn’t make it to the top of my list of things I wanted to do.

Remember my story a few posts back about me getting excited about McD’s french fries and ketchup? 2975f38df60b37e9d172ba700c2da448

Read it if you haven’t (*3), because as you read, you’ll notice I loved them because I remembered them!  I did not say I loved them because of the taste. How could I if I was unable to taste them.  I loved them because I remembered those long things with red stuff on them.


Losing my sense of smell also made no sense to me (no pun intended.)

amazing-facts-about-your-sense-of-smell-722x406Food, no. Soap, no. Perfume, no. Flowers a few people brought me, no. My then seven-month-old daughter’s dirty diaper, no. But it wasn’t really that bad. I mean, why would I miss the smelling of things if I wasn’t able to remember what I missed or what they had smelt like before. Make sense? (Pun intended.)

  But, overall, that part of life in that hospital wasn’t all that bad. I was still like a little kid, trusting all those doctors who told me what to do. But I was also an adult who was doing my darndest to show improvement, knowing there was a normal-thinking twenty-three year old wife and mother named Marianne, soon to be found.

To be continued.

1* Click to read how it all began.

2* Click for info on my second hospital.

3* Click and find out what was so great about Mc D’s.

Encephalitis – Time to Make Some Sense

Before continuing my story on the brain-affected illness called encephalitic that hit me hard inbrainpuzzleillo-worked my early twenties, some twenty-six years ago, I want to give a brief overview of what I have covered in my posts thus far.

I had an unexpected seizure on December 20, 1990,(*1)  causing me to spend over two weeks in the hospital. It took the doctors a few days to realize I had been hit with encephalitic, an illness that affects the brain and, often, other parts of the body.

After being there eight days, I showed the first sign that there was hope, hope that my brain was on the long road of improving, hoping to get as close to normal as possible. However, it wasn’t going to be easy.

After two weeks, I was physically almost back to normal and ready to finally leave that hospital. But because I still needed much work to improve the function of my brain, I was not able to go home. Uncertain what most things around me were used for, let alone what they were called, it was obvious I could not yet go back home and be a wife and mother of two small children. After all, how could I if I wasn’t even sure what being a wife or mother even meant. That second hospital, to focus on my brain’s ability to remember the many necessities in life, was a must.

But, before I get into explaining what took place after getting to that second hospital (*2), I first will share a bit more about my illness. With encephalitic, it depends where in the brain this illness hits to what effects will show, and to what extent. Thankfully, because of where it hit, it didn’t affect me as hard as it could have if it had taken place elsewhere. Because of where it did hit my brain, two of my senses were noticeably lost: my sense of taste and my sense of smell.

So there I was, not only forgetting what food was called, where and how in the world food even came to be, but I also lost the best part about eating—tasting – which I’m sure you can then understand why eating didn’t make it to the top of my list of things I wanted to get back to doing.

 2975f38df60b37e9d172ba700c2da448Remember my story a few posts back about me getting excited about McD’s french fries and ketchup? Read it if you haven’t (*3), because as you read, you’ll notice I loved them because I remembered them! I did not say I loved them because of the taste. How could I if I was unable to taste those fries with ketchup. I loved them because I remembered those long things with red stuff on them.

Losing my sense of smell also made no sense to me (no pun intended.)

amazing-facts-about-your-sense-of-smell-722x406

If food—or anything, for that matter—was brought right up to my nose, giving it one strong sniff, I smelled nothing. Food, no. Soap, no. Perfume, no. Flowers a few people brought me, no. My then seven-month-old daughter’s dirty diaper, no. But it wasn’t really that bad. I didn’t really miss the smelling of things if I wasn’t able to remember what I missed. Make sense? (Pun intended.)

But, overall, that part of life in that hospital wasn’t all that bad. I was still like a little kid, trusting all those doctors who told me what to do. But I was also an adult who was doing my darndest to show improvement, knowing there was a normal-thinking Marianne soon to be found.

To be continued.

1* Click here to read how my ‘E’story began.

2* Click to read how I started it all in that second hospital.

3* Click to read why I’ll never forget Mc D’s French Fries.