Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Appreciating the New Me and a Recipe

The two weeks has been a flurry of activity at the Murphey Saga household. No not writing but supervising.

The renovations that were supposed to be completed by February were done now with the help of family. Mainly the girls on the end of the chorus line pictured on the left and their spouses.

For Father's Day, the family got together and bought a walk-in tub for us. It meant totally gutting and extending the master bathroom to do it. Being my house is built on a slab with a septic tank, this was a major undertaking involving a jack hammer. Everything had to be switched around for access. But I now have both a walk-in tub and roll in shower! This was one of my back seat issues.

Another issue was wider, uniform doors. All my doorways are now 36 inches wide insteadof 27, 30, and 36  inches wide. Another back seat issue solved. God forbid I ever have another stroke where I'm wheelchair bound, but I'm ready. Concrete was poured to ramp the small steps up and downs to get inside my home and into my old office now converted into a family room. Fresh paint through out the inside of the home which hasn't been done in ten years.

That bring me back to the title of this blog,  "Appreciating the New Me." In the old days I would have been in the midst of all this with boots and a shovel or paint brush in hand. This time I was the supervisor. I drew up the plans of how/where I wanted everything and sat back for the most part and watched. Yes, part of me wanted to jump in and help, and I did in certain circumstances, but I didn't HAVE to do it all. This was a HUGE change for me.

As a result, I was just as tired supervising if I had done the work myself, but without the body aches and pains. I still had creative input in how things were done without actually getting my hands dirty.

I can sit back and let others do the work and realized I was okay with it. I can let them have creative input within reason and not micro manage a project to death. My husband is the micro manager but his health is complicating those efforts now. He's more pliable and willing to go with the flow unlike a decade ago. Both of us are willing to accept help now. That's another huge change. We are realizing our own limitations. While it still gnaws at us, it's a relief not to have to go it alone also.

Well not totally dirt free, I still had the garden to contend with. My three sisters methods of planting works in the constraints of small raised bed gardening. I harvested 43 ears of corn off of 40 stalks. A far cry from the eighty ears I was getting from my full garden, but from a basic container garden not too bad. It has been shucked and I taught my grandchildren how to make corn husk dolls. The corn is drying out for chicken treats. My younger grandkids will have fun cracking it later.

The garden yield so far besides the corn mentioned above has been...

  • 25 pounds of tomatoes
  • 15 pounds of zuchinni
  • 15 pounds of yellow squash
  • 35 pounds of green beans
  • 15 pounds of black eyed peas, shelled
  • 10 pounds onions, garlic, ginger root, and horseradish
  • 5 lbs salad greens, staggered plantings every two weeks
  • 1/2 pound of squash blossoms to stuff, batter and fry as wanted
And still producing more.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms Recipe

A food processor makes the stuffing easier than my meat grinder.
1/2 pound ground chicken, cooked
1/2 large onion, coarse chop
1/2 bell pepper, coarse chop
1/2 cup celery, coarse chop
1/2 tbs chives, minced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh oregano, basil, thyme
1 tbs butter, not margarine
12 squash blossoms
1/2 cup Egg substitute
1/2 c self-rising flour
1/2 c Sparkling water, very cold
Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet sweat onions, celery, garlic, and bell pepper until almost translucent. Toss in chicken, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through. Place in a bowl and chill for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes place meat mixture and cheeses in food processor and pulse until it forms a loose ball and well combined. Place in a pastry bag. Heat oil for frying to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix flour, egg, and water until combined. This mixture will be watery and thin.

Remove the stamens from the blossoms. They tend to give the dish a bitter taste. Fill with meat mixture leaving enough space to be able to fold the outer edges of the flower covering the meat. I can't give an exact amount because every blossom is different.

Dip the blossoms into the flour mixture and fry until golden brown. Eat immediately.

I'll serve these with fresh sliced tomatoes. 2 blossoms per serving. Yummy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Fun~ Movie Review: World War Z

Okay, so my downtime wasn't totally without some fun. #3 and #4 daughters and I went to see World War Z. We didn't want to fight the crowds opening weekend so we went on Monday after the opening at lunch time.
To say I was anticipating this movie was an understatement. I'd watched all the trailers and clips since they started filming it. Having read the book, I'm sorry to say I was disappointed by the film.

The high points were covered in the previews and clips. It wasn't a snoozer or boring because there was a lot of action going on. There were a couple of scenes where my paralyzed arm does that when startled in an extreme motion. I'd peg this movie more as an action adventure than a zombie movie.

Part of my problem is I always read the books before seeing the movie. I'm always destined to be disappointed by the film versions. While a picture can paint a thousand words, there are just a limit to what you can show in 120 pages of script verses the novel.The exceptions were the Harry Potter and Tolkien's Middle Earth series.

Don't get me wrong. The movie is great and the special effects are awesome. It just wasn't what I expected from reading the book.
There is a buzz going on about a sequel. But unless the sequel is more book based, I'll spend my money on the book instead of the sequel.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Opinion~ Paula Deen

I usually stay away from controversial subjects on this blog, but this is one I couldn't let go.

I live just 72 miles south of Paula Deen and her restaurants. I have children who live in Savannah. I have met her on several occasions over the years before and after her Food Network fame. Like her or don't like her is your choice. With her, it's what you see is what you get just like me.

While I might not agree with her on various cooking styles we respect each other.The current hype is her using the N word to describe a black person THIRTY years ago and under duress. All I gotta say is give me a break and cut her some slack.

What southern person over the age of fifty has not used that word once in their life? Even my unracially prejudice mother in law has said it, it is currently used by teens, and even I've said it once or twice in my lifetime. I'm far from prejudice or racially bias being nonwhite myself.

The points...
  • She was traumatized at the time. Having a gun pointed in your face would kinda do that, don't you think?
  • It was THIRTY years ago
  • She could have lied under oath. It wouldn't be the first time someone did it, but she didn't.
  • Does her use of that one word damn her for all time, it shouldn't. We all say things that we don't really believe or mean at times.
I've watched the story progress because it is close to home. Not because it's how the mighty fall from grace. She's lost her job with Food Network because of it. She's lost sponsors because of it (Smithfield, WalMart). Granted, it's a small chink in the armor of her multi million dollar enterprise, but still it's asinine.

The NAACP has a campaign going to bury the N word, but lately I've heard it said by persons of color mostly to describe each other. Isn't that an oxymoron? If it's wrong to say, isn't it wrong for everyone to say it? Where is the prejudice or racial bias now? When you hold one race to a different standard than your own, isn't that what the Civil Rights Amendment was all about? Equality for all not dependent on race, sex, or religion?

I'm not saying her use of the N word was right because wrong is wrong, but to punish her for the slur now after THIRTY years is ridiculous. It has no bearing on her present day status. At the time, she was a single mother of two trying to make ends meet just like the rest of us. Why must we tear down the successful to make us feel better?

I don't hide to fact that I was a drug addict or alcoholic in my twenties. Now looking back as I approach my seventies, do I regret it? Nope, I've used that experience to move on and help others. That is far more damaging for a minister and semi-public figure than using the N word. We all have a history and a past. We've all said and done things in our past that we might not be particularly proud of in our past. Let it go and move on. Even Christ said, "Go and sin no more."

Just my quarter for my thoughts.
(It used to be a penny but with time and inflation it raised in value)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another Week~ Gone

This week zipped by way too fast. I'll be gone for another. My mountain of back seat stuff is down by half with the help of two daughters.

While dealing with this my son-in-laws have been busy installing the walk-in tub, painting and rest for the weary.

When the pile reaches molehill status, I'll be back. Until then...

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Time, Energy, and Talent

A year in retrospect and focusing forward...

Last year at this time, three steps was exhausting and had to take a nap afterwards. I was unable to walk, barely able to stand, learning how to speak, finding proper words, and wanted to sleep all the time, but I couldn't because my physical terrorists made me move...not to mention crying nonstop.

Today, I can do most of what I need to do with only one or two one-hour long naps during the day. Blessed be the Magical Spot in the center when I'm most productive...usually the first two hours upon rising from sleep. Being able to recognize this time and energy relationship is a godsend.

I can plan around it daily for actually accomplishing things. All the major physical things that have to be done in all our daily lives which take the most energy like bathing, cooking, gardening, and shopping is done during this time.

If you haven't had the turmoil of recovering from a stroke, then think of it as running a 125K marathon and how you feel afterwards. That bone tired, exhausted state where even the thought of taking one more step is impossible and it takes every fiber of your being to do it. It helps to schedule your time to figure out when this will happen and work with it.

All the nonphysical is moved to the hours in between that only takes mental power like writing and playing games as my energy level peters out before sleep. Not a moment is wasted. Even if it is only watching television, the brain is functioning on so many levels with eye movement, listening and decoding words. That goes with just listening to an audiobook or radio also, but your brain is working.

Why is "talent" in the circle? Because learning to do with paralyzed or hemi-paralyzed (I can't remember the proper term for this) body that's thinking outside the box to figure out how to function. That in itself is exhausting. I mentioned last week about what I have to go through with each step I take. This goes on with anything I do with my stroke affected side.

But the important thing is I do! 

I drive albeit rarely by myself and with adaptive equipment. I have a steering knob and since the hinge has been put in my AFO and my dorsiflex has somewhat returned, with my right foot.

Although I do drive with both feet to save confusion. My left foot deals with the brake instead of me trying to reposition my AFO clad foot. Similar to driving a clutch transmission, but considering I was doing all of the driving with my left foot only, braking in smoother.

I write albeit not without difficulty. I may write 600 to 1200 words per week towards my book, which is a big improvement over not being able to write. Some words are even ingrained in my memory now and no longer misspell them. Nuances of grammar are coming back to me with nocturnal visits from Abby (my Abby Normal subconscious brain in sleep). Now there's Jack too (my Jack of all trades side) doing weddings. You gotta love the subconscious brain. I've still got a long way to go and may never be the editor or minister I once was. It will get done.

Yes, I finally broke down & bought one.
I cook and bake albeit one handed and some things are beyond me right now. I'm experimenting more in the kitchen. No, I won't be decorating elaborate wedding cakes again any time soon, but realized that I didn't need to.

With my garden producing corn, squashes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans it was just easier to buy one of these new fangled, adaptive cutting boards with all of its bells and whistles. My royalty money put to good use. It's even a tax deduction too. I've proven to myself I can do without it. It was time. My expectations of getting my arm and hand back to full use by now was unrealized. That's not to say my expectations are fruitless just not realized at this point in time. I am going to still work towards that goal.

So its the simplified life of juggling time, energy, and talent to help me achieve my new sense of normalcy. Thanks to many encouraging blogs, comments, and emails, I realize my life is just beginning again. A year post stroke in recovery. I may not be as good as I once was, but I'll be as good as I can be for the given point in time.

I've gained acceptance over things I cannot change right now, but strive for a better tomorrow. The past is the past and cannot change. The only thing I can do is look at today and try to make it better than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow. Tomorrow will bring new challenges to face and is never the same as today because it is now the past. I may not get the restored energy I had before my stroke but working around my time, energy, and talent constraints help me work towards goals.

Nothing is impossible with determination.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I'm taking the week and maybe two off because of family issues. Some you've read about here while others lay hidden. With Ricky's death, I realized it was easier for me to deal with all of them than leave it to my family to deal with it. I'll be back on Sundays for my Stroke Survival, but that's it for now.

No, this is not my car! But it feels like it.
Some things in my life have been put in the back seat for so long that it's time to deal with all of them for a fresh start again.

Now keep in mind that I drive a van so I have two back seats and a cargo boot to deal with also. It may take some time.{Grin}

For decades I have used the front seat-back seat (think automobile) method of dealing with issues in my life. Everything not life and death, literally, was shoved in the back seat. Eventually everything shifted to the front seat and was dealt with. In the past year since my stroke, too much has been put in the back seats that it's overflowing into the front seat, squeezing me tighter and tighter.

As with all things it's time to put things in order again. Usually this has been thought of as Spring cleaning, but my Spring was filled with more issues than I could handle. I realized part of my problem with writing was all these undealt with issues. They were niggling in the back corner of my mind. The guarded position of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I may have a disorganized/organized lifestyle, but I do have my limits to when I have to do away with the abundance of clutter in an organized fashion.

So see y'all back on Sunday.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Walking Post Stroke

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there and Mom's playing both parts.

Today a video with a twist. At least my take on it...
I want you to notice and keep in mind a few things while watching this video so you might have to watch it twice.
  • Walking post stroke is like this cat wearing shoes.
  • The everyday non survivors is depicted by the Yorkie whizzing by the camera. He's busy going about his life with momentary pauses while he checks on the welfare of the cat.
  • Of all the videos I watched about walking, this one best exemplifies what walking is like post stroke to me.
  • The cat's movements take on an almost fluid motion when he reaches the door. It is the same for recovering stroke survivors...with practice our movements become more fluid as our brains rewire and it can takes years.

(standard youtube license)
Unless you are recovering from a stroke or recovered from a stroke, you don't understand the thought that goes into each step you take. While you may get a chuckle or two from the video, you feel for the cat attempting to walk. There are other diseases that can relate but here I'm talking about stroke recovery.

  • When people zip by me in their normal everyday hustle, I want to shout, "Hey, I'm walking here!" In my best Bronx, NY accent. Both in jubilation and in irritation.
  • When old friends see me now with pity in their eyes, my response, "At least I'm upright on three legs. That's better than I was a year ago on wheels and a walker."
  • When my DH (darling hubby) utters the same phrase for the umpteenth time of, "Take your time. We're in no hurry." I want to yell back, "I'm at top speed. I'm not going any faster." No, I don't say it, but I'm thinking it very loudly.
  • When people watch me walk my mind yells back at them, "Give me a break! I've only been walking a year."

I have to squeeze my butt muscle to engage my hamstring to lift my leg and bend the knee to take a step. Then in reverse, I have to relax the gluteal muscle slowly to disengage my hamstring, straightening the leg, after the step so my foot doesn't fall straight down to the floor with a thud.  That's a focused effort with each and every  step I take with my right leg.

Similar to the engage brain before speaking, I have to engage my brain before taking a step. Yes, there is a pause between my steps with my right leg if I have to measure things like rugs, level transitions, and steps up and down because that's a skilled motion.

I don't need a balancing tool (cane) to walk on even surfaces. Yes,while on level surfaces such as linoleum or hard wood floors, I can manage a fairly normal gait with feet extending past the midline in secession, but it still takes concentration. Eventually, the neural connections in my brain will rewire and the steps will become automatic again. I walk with a cane for additional balance and it's not the cute little walk that Charlie Chaplain did. I know quite a few of you are scratching your head going, "Who?" So I'll leave you with this...

Nothing is impossible with determination.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Fun ~ Family Gathering

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there and the women who play both roles in their household.

Today we are off to the beach. All our girls are throwing a beach party B-B-Q for their dads, my husband and my ex. Also Poppa Jack, their grandfather.

Yes, we'll be heading for the same beach we went to last time on St Simons Island. With plenty to see and do for all. Plus easy access for us.

I had to promise not to fall this time. Last time, my husband started to fall and reached out to steady him. After he steadied I lost my balance and plopped on my ample derriere into a thickly, grassed incline. No harm, no foul. Although I could have done without the worried, hovering of my SH (darling hubby). Two nice, burly men offered their assistance. Gotta love the south for well mannered good old boys.

But if the situation arises again, I'd do the same thing. They all know I would so we've set up a system where I am to call one of the girls upon arrival to the park, wait for one of my teenage grandsons to be escorted to the park from the parking lot. Not for me, but my husband. I can walk very well by myself, thank you. Another will carry anything I bring with us. The same will be true when going to the car to leave.

It's a far cry from last Father's Day when I was in the rehab hospital and my father had to drive 75 miles to get his Father's Day well wishes. I much prefer the fun and sun of the beach.

Well, I'm off to make cake pops and brownies for the picnic. Have a good weekend y'all.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Determination to be an Author

Oops, I forgot it's Indie Life Day!

A writer friend of mine has a blog where he reviews and
posts on a variety of subjects. Malcolm Campbell has always had a witty point of view. So I ran across this on his blog and decided to share it here.

For those of you going through the query and rejection stage of publishing  You are not alone. HERE's the list. The most notable is the beloved Dr. Seuss. I was amazed at the comments that were given for the rejections because now in retrospective- it's a moot point.

The point is...the author didn't give up on their efforts. One author got 79 rejections before they finally sold their manuscript.

I can remember one author who lightning struck in reverse, like me, who got a publisher with contracts in hand and recommending agents in the past two decades. That other author is Jack McDevitt. But then he's been in publishing as long as I have. But Jack had been querying publishers after a long search for an agent.

What's an agent going to do when you tell them that TOR (or in my case Doubleday) has recommended them? Snatch them up, of course. It's almost guaranteed cash in the bank. Admittedly, this is backwards of what it's really like being an author submitting to an agent. Nowaday, you have to go through the agent gatekeeper first.

On a side note...I got a call last week from one of my old agents about the projected completion date on my new WIP, Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad.

Projected completion date? I've just spent two month NOT writing and dealing with my life. All I could answer was, "I dunno." Not very professional I know, but it was an honest answer. I haven't even made the decision to traditionally publish the book yet. Jokingly, I answered, "Never." Needless to say she didn't take it so well. I basically told her,  "Don't call me. I'll call you." Agents hate that so I might be in the market for another one eventually because I'll tell the other agent the same thing. If I traditionally publish this book. I've got to finish the rough 1st draft first.

This was one of the major reasons I've temporarily stopped traditionally publishing. I didn't need the added pressure. I used to only blog about my books when they were in their final editing stages and I changed tactics with this one because my stroke recovery is current and ongoing. Readers wanted to know what was going on in my life and my stroke recovery is up front in my focus right now. At the time it seemed like a logical decision.

You may have noticed I no longer post snips of this book on my blog. That's the reason why. It was garnering too much attention from agents and editors alike. I'm determined, yes, but not that determined. Once upon a time, I could handle set in stone deadlines, but that's not the case now. It takes the joy of writing away. Let's face it. I am are more apt to do what is pleasurable to do than what I am are forced to do. Hey, I'm human. When I am struggling to accomplish it during recovery in the first place, joy is important.

So why is determination essential to the author?
  • To plow your way through from beginning to end of a manuscript takes determination. 
  • To edit until you are bleary eyed and want to chuck the whole manuscript and not takes determination. 
  • To believe that your book has merit and deserves to be published takes determination. 
  • To get stacks of rejection letters and keep on searching for an agent takes determination. 
  • When the quest for publication stretches into the years mark takes determination.
Do you have the determination to be 
a published author?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Condolences and Prayers

Rick's family in 2003
After I finished posting yesterday, I got a call from my Aunt Viv. My cousin Ricky had a massive stroke.

Now Ricky and I go way back to the cradle almost. He's the same age as my little sister, Janet. Every time we were in country we always stopped at Uncle Ferdy's house before visiting my grandmother.

When we arrived in the States after the fiasco in Ceylon in 1971, that family was the first to welcome us home. We were shell shocked and exhausted both mentally and physically. I remember well how Uncle Ferdy's boys drew us out into some sort of normalcy instead of constantly looking over our shoulders for people trying to kill us. Yes, a lot of Escape from Second Eden is factual and really happened.

Between playing hoops, which now I'm not sure I won all those games against the boys fair and square, and exploring excavation sites, they drew us out and started the healing process. I'll be forever grateful to all of them for that. I lost my lucky elephant hair ring on one of those excursions. Ricky promised to keep looking for it even after we left. He never found it.

I was planning to go down to Jacksonville and play cheerleader for him this weekend. The first road trip for me alone since my stroke. Each day I am thankful to be alive and still able to hug my children and grandchildren since my stroke. I'm constantly reminded of those who are not able to do that. One third of the  million plus a year who suffer strokes are not here anymore. I am, for all my griping and complaining, one of the lucky ones. I am a survivor who can relearn what I lost.

I went to the family website, since we are all stretch across this country and a few others, and read where he had died just after midnight. My heart is heavy for his wife, three daughters, and grandchildren today.

Please send a prayer of comfort for the family he left behind.

Tuesday Tumbling Term ~ Determination

It's time for the term of the week for indie authors. This week's word is DETERMINATION.

1. the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a purpose.
2. ascertainment, as after observation or investigation: determination of a ship's latitude.
3. the information ascertained; solution.
4. the settlement of a dispute, question, etc., as by authoritative decision.
5. the decision or settlement arrived at or pronounced.

Why is this important for any author especially the indie one?

Determination is essential to growing a thick skin that you'll need to wear...
  • against doubters
  • against critics
  • against yourself
  • to travel the path of one less and more traveled
  • to be published even if it takes years or decades ...time
 When you announce to your family, circle of friends, or the world, there will be those that will think of you as a fool. They might never say it to your face, but it's there. The longer it takes to write, edit, and publish, the more this thought will manifest within them. They actually do not know how difficult writing and publishing is, or maybe they do. They just doubt your ability to see it through to the end. It will take determination to see it through.

When you publish a book, there will be critics. There always are. Whether the critics praise or slam your baby is up to them. All's you can do is wear your thickened skin through it. That takes determination to ride the wave and see it through.
 While you are writing, you are constantly in a battle with yourself. Am I a good enough writer? Am I ever going to finish writing this book? Will my tweaks attract and agent or publisher? I'm only fooling myself at thought of being a writer?

The picture is fairly accurate, isn't it? Self doubt is the biggest killer of determination. Set your mind on the finish line. Many people think about writing a book. Some even start writing a book. Only a few will finish writing a book, let alone publish it. It takes determination to reach the finish line and see it through.

A few years ago, self publishing or indie publishing was a taboo subject for any serious author. I know because I was one of them. It takes a lot of know how, finesse, or outsourcing to make it in the indie world. Longevity becomes a key operating. You will not be successful overnight. Savvy marketing, niches, angles become selling tools you will use. It will take determination on your part to see it through.

That ties in nicely with my last point...time. Okay, maybe a few hundred people know you've written a book. How is that expanded to thousands and millions? It takes time. Even with the standard presses, they will seriously push your book for a limited time for about 5% of their author base. The rest is up to you. As an indie you gave to do all the pushing, not shoving, yourself. You will have to push against cracks in the doors of independent booksellers. You will have to push yourself to make everyone know who you are as a writer. You have to push yourself to advertise. It takes determination.

Do you have determination on your side?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Mailbox ~ Nothing is Impossible

It's time again to answer your questions. This one is a carry over from several blogs the emailer discusses. This will also be copied in part on my ministry blog, Pastor Jo Says. I love a good, thought provoking debate and this one has been going on between BR and I for a month now.

You say nothing is impossible with determination and your momma's saying do or do not, it's a personal choice... I say somethings are impossible. BR

My response...
I believe that nothing is impossible with determination. That is the basis of my life. I have overcome some pretty, awful things in my life, but thinking outside the box and the will to do whatever it took to accomplish the goal. Whether it meant going without sleep, juggling schedules like a mad woman, many sacrifices along the way, or even admitting I can't do it right now.

My momma always said you have a choice to do or don't. Basically, it's true. We make multiple decisions to do or don't during the day. Some are minor dos and don'ts and some are major. But it is always our choice. Granted sometimes choices are thrust upon us and there is no choice. No other logical choice, but again this is an educated choice where we weigh options even if there is no other option to balance the equation.

I always loved writing. Publishing not so much, but others were interested in what I had to say or it would help others so I published. When doctors told me I'd never walk unassisted, my response was watch me. I had children that depended on me and a life to get back to.

Now nothing is truly the way it was after an event. How could it be? Our lives are molded and created by the events that happened previously. We as human beings adapt, learn, and go on. That's where the determination comes in. The will to persevere despite to odds. To make changes to our lifestyles and go on.

Everything in life is about adaptation to choices I make good or bad. My future depends on the choices I make today. Can I accept defeat? Yep, I can, but not without continuing to try to do what my goal is. I'll admit that something the mountain is huge cliffs that seem insurmountable. But if you look closer there are chinks in that cliff that you mat get a finger or toe hold in it to move upwards. I'll take that little chink over smooth glass anytime.

So do you believe in nothing is impossible 
with determination?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Visual Art Therapy I Don't Qualify For

I've watched some pretty amazing videos this week of stroke survivors drawing and painting. I even been encouraged by Diane's husband, Bob, in attempting to draw after his stroke took that aspect of his life away. So is there hope for me to ever publish more of my children's series of books...possibly. And possibly means hope.

Currently I'm having a rough enough time trying to write a grocery list. My left hand refuses to draw straight lines and close circles. In OT we were working on that a year later. The idea of painting and drawing again is part of who I was as a cartoon artist. Perfect for the children's books I wrote. Remember I have six books completed and waiting on me to do the illustrations.

Although my stroke and aphasia took away a lot of things I could do, I was left with the ability to creatively write with difficulty and read, also with difficulty. Being able to express myself verbally is challenging, but given time, I can make my point known. There is a big difference between doing something with difficulty and not being able to do it at all. I'm so much luckier than others who have survived strokes. I can finally say it and that's a huge step forward for me to make.

I wonder if my writing and drawing could have been recovered earlier with an art class in my early transitional therapy? Possibly, but there wasn't the time, money, or transportation to get to any of these and still isn't. Therapies focus on what you can't do first of basic ADLs. These other things are side bar activities for severely aphasic stroke survivors and I'm not severely handicapped enough...thus another gray area or crack that I fall through in the floor. Those classes are reserved for aphasics with problems communicating and mine would be for just gaining my old life back. Big difference therapy wise.

I guess I could buy an end roll of newspaper paper from the newspaper printing company and some finger paints to start. I did this for my children as a deterrent from coloring on my walls. Now there's a workable idea. Start my own studio for me, but I'm no artist or therapist. Yes I could compare earlier works from current works to judge my progress, but I couldn't tell what I was doing wrong and how to make it right.

In my life before, I painted pictures and murals on walls, drew cartoon figures, illustrated books, and enjoyed it as another creative outlet. Now the effort frustrates me. That's the last thing I need is more frustration...maybe next month or year. I focusing this year on getting my left arm, wrist, hand, and fingers functioning again.

There's nothing like a picture to speak a thousand words. For me, I'll see a picture and type a thousand words...maybe, if I can think of a thousand words to string together. Maybe I can convince one of the local artists to start a class for my stroke group. I do know quite a few of them. Now there's a better idea. If I keep writing like this I'll have a whole program outlined.

Nothing is impossible with determination.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday Saunter ~ Switching Over From Google Reader

While my Saturdays are my off day from blogging except for pre-writing blog posts, today is different.

Today I will be switching all two hundred plus of y'all over to my Bloglovin' account.  That's a huge undertaking for me. Since the projected demise of Google Reader is July 1st, I don't want to lose any of y'all. I never make any decision without researching all the options. I know it's a mere pittance to some of you.

Why Bloglovin'? It seemed more user friendly than the others I looked at. Similar to Pinterest in format. So it seemed a logical choice. Most of the Google Reader substitutes had the ability to separate blogs into categories which is ideal for me reading wise.

I will be putting a "follow me" button for Bloglovin' as soon as I finish uploading all of you.

And then it's on to finish up June's postings.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Fun~ Book Review-

Today is my baby girl's birthday! Happy Birthday, Jenn! You've come a long way in 27 years. Momma is proud of you! Yeah I know too many exclamation points.

I'm really getting slack with this blog. At least in the past couple months, not that my readers would notice. Yes, it would appear that I'm writing it everyday, almost, but in reality I'm not. The beauty of the Scheduler here allows me to pre-write my blogs. Since the beginning of the year I wrote my blogs a month in advance. But today's blog was written a week in advance. I'm looking at my blog posts under scheduled and it's four or five versus ten to twenty. I am slacking off with pain and life issues.

 I read this book fast because I was the lucky winner of it in Shut Up and Read's section in GoodReads. I really got to stop signing up for those so I have time to read my ever expanding TBR pile and maybe do some writing. Yep the Lasix and Botox are working well again so it's time to get writing again. Yeeeeaaaah! Although I have enjoyed my time reading and not writing, I am a writer first despite my love of reading.

But enough about me... It Friday Fun time! Today I've got a book review for you.

 There Comes a Prophet
by David Litwack
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing; Large type edition edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1771150149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1771150149
  • Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/YA

The Blurb

Who among us will cast aside a comfortable existence and risk death to follow a dream?

A world kept peaceful for a thousand years by the magic of the ruling vicars. But a threat lurks from a violent past. Wizards from the darkness have hidden their sorcery in a place called the keep, and left a trail of clues that have never been solved.

Nathaniel has grown up longing for more, but unwilling to challenge the vicars. Until his friend Thomas is taken for a teaching, the mysterious coming-of-age ritual. Thomas returns but with his dreams ripped away. When Orah is taken next, Nathaniel tries to rescue her and ends up in the prisons of Temple City. There he meets the first keeper of the ancient clues. But when he seeks the keep, what he finds is not magic at all.

If he reveals the truth, the words of the book of light might come to pass:

"If there comes among you a prophet saying 'Let us return to the darkness,' you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light."

The Author - David Litwack

The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter's editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

There Comes a Prophet is his first novel in this new stage of life.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

My Impressions
David weaves each of the three main characters into living beings by vivid imagery and the challenges these three face.

Entertaining and well thought out. As an author I can appreciate how he's meticulously plotted the story from beginning to end. As a reader it's a whirlwind adventure story.

As dystopian fiction goes there are readily recognized items of the past civilization ( our present time, ie road pavement) for the reader to see and know. It's a story of friendship, a quest of knowledge and truth, and ultimately courage. It begs to ask is the ruling party right in hiding the past by banning all technology. In brainwashing discontents, is that truly the answer to keeping power or suppressing the truth?

A nonstop, philosophical, thrill ride.

My recommendation
 A must read to appreciate the author's talent and the story itself.

Get it and follow info
David's website

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday Turmoil ~ Trading Stories

This morning has been a bad one in the Murphey Saga household. We awoke after ten this morning. In my case awoke again.

I awoke originally at 3 AM. Basically that's when my husband woke up from his nap at the desk and came to bed. I reached over to get the things for his injection. I administered it and was monitoring his vitals when the urge to empty my bladder hit. As you know from previous posts, I haven't the sensation that tells me my bladder is full unless I shift positions.

I groaned trying to maintain control over my excretory system while I donned my compression hoses one handed, put on my AFO and shoe, rose to a seated position on the bed, and then slipped into my other shoe so my step wasn't way off balance. Meanwhile in the middle of all this, Patches Kitty decided to jump up on the bed. Her claws digging into my bare foot. And then she jumps full force on my husband sits bolt upright knocking his pants and spare oxygen cylinder to the floor. All the time I'm fighting this "Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!" urge.

My DH (darling hubby) with bleary, drugged eyes and hands is trying to assist me. He was more hampering than assisting. As I stand he asks, "Are you coming back to bed?"

To answer him I have to stop and turn back towards the bed so he can read my lips. "I gotta pee and I don't know."

He mumbles something and pulls the covers up to his chin after adjusts the oxygen mask over his face. We switched to a mask from a nasal cannula  because most of his sleeping time he was mouth breathing. But I digress...

I move towards the bathroom, a mere thirty full steps from our bed. Except my walking has taken on a pigeon toed walk while I try to control my bladder. It's not doing my balance any good because I having to hold onto things to keep going forward.

As I step the small step up onto the marble threshold, I start losing control. I feel a warm trickle release from my body. "Come on four more steps, pull down my britches, and sit," I encouraged my body in its control efforts. Opening my thighs to pull down my panties to sit on the commode all efforts of control was lost.

After cleaning up the mess, a shower, and a clean change of clothes, I was awake and there was no going back to sleep. I walked into the office and started going through my usual morning routine of business and reading trying to get my mind wake enough to write. By six, I had taken my morning meds and found myself drifting off at my computer. Screw it, I'm going back to bed.

I awoke after a weird dream about ministering with a start. I glanced at the clock 10:30!  My husband's meds were past due. Things I have to get done today are now backed up three hours.

(His version)
My husband stumbles into the office. "Boy, what a morning! I feel like I've been beaten up with a baseball bat. The anti-constipation meds finally worked, but I took off my oxygen before I went into the bathroom. I had a bad session on the 'mode. Now I can't breathe."

"Slow, deep breaths." I reminded him, grabbed his tubing off the bed, and placed the mask firmly on his face. His respiratory rate was thirty per minute. I looked over at him gulping down oxygen through the mask like a starved man at a banquet table.  Did I forget to mention his oxygen condenser now has twenty-five-foot tubing.

He nodded and complied. His heart rate dropped by fifty beats a minute and respiratory rate fell to twenty but his O2 sats were coming up to the 80s just by doing it. I sighed with relief and as I watched the numbers fall. "I almost sh!t my pants! And then, I had to get dressed. Now I have to make coffee to get awake." He gives a chuckle. "But you know what? I'm praising God that I'm still alive!"

Yep, my DH pretty well summed it up with the last sentence. While alive we can complain, laugh, correct wrongs, and make the right choices, but once we are dead--that's it.

How is your Thursday shaping up?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Why Write?

This week I'm talking about why write? I could honestly spend a month of Sundays on this one topic, but today is the last day. But I may revisit it in the future.

  •  Basically, there's a permanence to actually writing (typing) something. 
  • That's why we jot notes to ourselves. 
  • We explore our feelings. 
  • We explore other alternative ideas. 
  • We expand on what we've read.
  •  It's an innate something that makes us human.
  • A creative outlet.
  • I was here.
  • These are my thoughts.
  • For myself and for others' enjoyment.
From earliest childhood we wonder why. For parents, do we ever forget the why stage in our child's life? As we grow the why becomes what if. That's creativity blossoming. What we do with our creativity is our choice. We can hold it close or send it out to the world to be embraced or shunned.

On a side note. I've noticed a backsliding in my typing or  how my mind is working in forming words. This is new. I'm substituting "y" for "t" and "t" for "r." I'm typing some pretty weird words. Why won't my fingers behave? Anyhow back to the subject of this blog...

For all of the reasons above a writer writes. By publishing it's a big, bold sign of I was here. I did this. This was my what-if scenario. This is my story and I hope you like it (buy it).

In deep retrospect, this is why I write to say "I was here." Yes there is a deep seated need to tell stories, but in publishing them...that's the reason. Otherwise, my stories would stay forever in banker boxes in my attic. Don't get me wrong, I write because of all of the reasons mentioned in bullets.

Although I drew cartoon images quite well, I was nowhere near as talented as my mother.
But with words, I can paint images for others to feel and see. Even multiple feelings and images with just a few words.

Personally, I love the cloud images of words. Both for the colorful image it portrays but the wealth of impressions they depict. You might have noticed I use quite a few of them here. I haven't learned how to use cloud or do the images myself, but that's a challenge for another day.

I love the choices of words. The images it portrays in the mind. The word "beautiful" can put so many images in the mind depending on the reader's mind. I guess basically that's why I write.
Why do you write?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.