This is a true story that happened on November 16, 2009

I woke up that Monday morning with a feeling of urgency. I needed to change my schedule as I was supposed to go to Help Hotline Crisis Center, Inc., my employer, that day. As I said my prayers I just knew that the Lord was letting me know explicitly to do something else instead of going to work. It seemed really strange, but I felt I needed to obey. I called work and to my surprise Duane Piccirilli, the CEO answered. I could not tell him what my spirit was telling me so I told him that I was planning to speak at the Family-To-Family class at the Jewish Community Center that evening and I would make up my work for Monday later that week. Duane never usually answers the phone, but since I spoke to him directly, I knew it was safe to change my work days as he himself okayed it. It was just another confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

Gary and I decided to go Christmas shopping a little later in the day stopping first at Ollies, the then new bargain store located at the Eastwood Mall. As I walked down the sheet aisle I suddenly noticed a woman lying on the ground in the aisle. After attending the GriefShare the night before and hearing about a woman whose husband died at Macy’s I immediately thought she was dead. I walked over to her and saw that her eyes were rolled out of her head and she was moving involuntary a little bit. So I called 911 as Gary went and got 2 employees from the store to come down to the aisle where the woman was laying. In the meantime, I held out my hand and I prayed over her with the two employees putting a pillow under her head and taking off her glasses.

I felt an extreme amount of compassion and love as I got on the floor and stayed with this woman. Suddenly she began flailing; her entire body was shaking as though an electric shock had hit her like a lightening bolt. I am a person who fears medical problems and my usual reaction would have been to run from the situation. Instead, I felt a controlled peace flow through me and I stayed on the ground with the woman. What seemed like a long time was probably just a matter of 60 seconds when, looking at her upside down she began focusing her eyes on me. I noticed that she kept staring at me with a concentrated look on her face. Out of nowhere she whispered my name. Now I was freaking out that she knew me. It was a huge surprise to me. I asked her what her name was and she said “Sharon” “Sharon Maybee”. I didn’t recognize her because she had gained an enormous about of weight and was missing some front teeth which often happens to those of us taking psychotropic medications.

At that moment, I recognized her sparkling blue eyes with the curly eye lashes that brought back my memory of my old friend. Sharon had been in my support group years ago and the last time I had seen her was at North-Mar church about 2 years prior. I had been singing in the choir and saw her out there sitting on a pew. My husband must have not gone to church that day as I was free to sit with Sharon. It was nice to see her again just as it was that Monday at Ollies.

The ambulance came and the paramedics seemed very distant when they found out who it was they were called for. Apparently, Sharon had been having seizures and had had a few in Niles and the paramedics said that she always denied going to the hospital. One of the paramedics and I helped Sharon get back up….and as she stood up she got her composure and made a joke about being the “floor inspector” at Ollies. Sharon and I spoke together for a while; I told her about the WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) a mental health class I was teaching on Tuesdays and she said she would be there. She also said that she’d like to come back to North-Mar Church. As we spoke, my sweet husband walked through the store allowing me to talk to Sharon. Sharon and I talked about the Lord as she told me that she had just gotten out of the hospital and showed me how they had made a mistake on her neck. We stood in line together and I hugged her several times as she paid for her bird seed because she said she owned a bird. I felt such a strong love for her as though she was my sister and I let her know that. The last hug I gave her was at about 2:00 in the afternoon.

I said “good-bye” to Sharon Maybee. Well, she didn’t show up Tuesday night and I hoped she was doing okay. On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, her obituary was in the local paper. Sharon had passed away Monday night, just hours after I gave her that hug. She was only 37 years old.

I drove out to Hartford for her calling hours and spoke to her parents who were very distraught, of course. Someone from the family explained to me that she had a problem with her heart and the doctors couldn’t identify it. They said they found the bird seed in her car.

My learning experience: Listen to the Holy Spirit and do exactly what HE wants me to do. I also learned that death is not scary, no, as long as you are a believer. IT is just one step up, spirit man, and right into the arms of heaven.

That day at Ollies changed my life. It is hard for me to explain but I know that God had me there with Sharon for a purpose although I will never truly understand why. All I know is that I so look forward to seeing her again when my time on earth is through. I will give her a big hug and say “Thank you, Sharon!”

Ironic: Sharon said a swear word while we were talking. She quickly put her hand to her mouth and said with a twinkle in her eye “Whoops, I shouldn’t swear!”

She opened her eyes AGAIN that very day but focused in on our Lord Jesus Christ – forgiven of all and loved for eternity. The swear word? I have no recollection of what word she said and I’m sure Jesus doesn’t either!


Here we are in October already! Looking forward to hayrides and sweet cider, long walks looking at the gorgeous leaves turning yellow, orange, red, and that pretty “burnt” color. The air is cooler but the sun is still hot….and now….the flower of the season is popping up in front of all the neighborhood houses – MUMS! The creative ones have planted them so well that they come up each year adoring the colors of autumn. Most, though, were recently bought and sitting pretty in a container on the front steps. We like our FALLS in Ohio. Just don’t blink to quickly because they don’t last long!(nothing like throwing away a mushy old pumpkin or gourd!)

Why did I entitle this blog “MUMS” THE WORD? Do you think I am planning on rattling off more information about this time of year? If so, NOT SO! There is a twist and a quick left turn right around the corner!!! I would like to now put your focus on the word WORDS. Words are much more important than most people think! Words can change the course of your life!!! I would like to start out with asking a question: “Who do you SAY you are?” Some people may answer that question with “I am a woman or I am a man.” Others would talk about their profession “I am a plumber or I am a roofer.” I will never forget during one of our first Creative Writing Groups when the leader said “If you want to be a writer, you must acknowledge that you are a writer. You need to say ‘I am a writer'” Okay, “I am a writer”. Do you swim? You can say “I am a swimmer.” But the best part about this is the more you say it, the more you become it because the more you say it the more you believe it!

This concept is used frequently in the mental health classes that I teach. We call them “Affirmations”. If you have a low opinion of yourself then tape a few affirmations on your mirror and say them everyday out loud whether you believe them or not! Write something like “I am a lovely person.” or “People like to be around me.” or “I am smart!” Repeat it daily until it BECOMES you! Do not concern yourself about what others say to you, good or bad because if taken too seriously you may BECOME what THEY said you were! (this is especially true if you were mocked as a child)! Let GOOOOOOO of any and all negative words that may have been spoken over you! Decide who YOU want to be and BE IT! I will tell you a quick story. I did not think I was smart until I had a fun-filled weekend with my sisters. I was kind of “WOWED” with the awareness of how smart they were. When I got home, I thought, well, if they are smart, than that means I just may be too because we have the same genes! What a revelation THAT was for the insecure only-one-mentally-ill sister.

The understanding of how important words are is emphasized many times throughout the Bible. This scripture is one of my all time favorites because it is one of the all times most difficult to do: Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of my mouth-only that it may edify and minister grace to the hearer.” My, oh, My! This can translate into “Don’t talk to a person unless you have something positive to say.” Matthew 12:37 says “By your words are you justified and by your words you are condemned.” Galations 6:7 says “Be not deceived, God is not mocked for whatsoever a man


that he will also reap.” Okay, here we go into Proverbs. I love Proverbs because a lot of them were written by the wisest man on the planet in biblical times – King Solomon! Give us some wisdom, there King! Proverbs 18:4 “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” 18:7 “A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” 17:4 “A wicked man listens to evil lips; a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.” 12:14 “From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things, as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.” 13:3 “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Here is a BIG one: 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death!” SOOOOOO ,the moral of the story is WATCH YOUR WORDS…………and as far as the whole MUMS THE WORD concept: Proverbs 17:28 “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” Yeah, right on “MUMS THE WORD” to look wise!!!

Love and Blessings to all who read this! Nanette


I love the French language! In high school I took French for four years and two years in college. We received new names in the classroom. The French name for Nancy is Nanette. During my years of mental anguish, I used to tell people that my name was Nanette and then go into a little speal of speaking in French just for fun. When I first wrote my book, it was about a woman named Nanette. All that changed when I felt the need to portray my character from the perspective of the writer which, of course, was “moi”. My editor, God Bless her, had the daunting task of changing every me, my, she, her, us, we etc. into the first person, I. Wow. Thank God for Microsoft Word 2010 where word replacement is a snap!
There was something else about the French language that transformed my life when I was at an all-time low…..okay, there were MANY all-time lows over the years but this was my second one. I was attending Kent State University right out of high school. That is when I walked into a classroom and met a woman who undoubtedly changed the course of my life. Her name was Mademoiselle Evans and she was my French professor. She was very pretty, always dressed beautifully and was passionate in her work. I adored her. Her tests were hard but that was part of the challenge! I remember learning the words to “The Answer is Blowing in the Wind” and singing it in front of the class in French. It was beautiful. I wish I could write it for you but too many years have passed by so….when I meet up with Mlle. Evans again, I will let you know how it goes. Anyway, I was a manic freshman at Kent State. Loud. Boisterous. Obnoxious. You get it? I was HIGH every minute of every day without the use of drugs. Everything revolved around me. People could tell me off (which happened often) and it wouldn’t phase me in the least. I’d just laugh! LAUGH LOUD like everything else I did. But with the HIGHS come the LOWS and in a matter of months I was there. In a deep dark negative mindset that I could not get out of. I suddenly was unable to go to classes. I suddenly was unable to do much of anything. I tried desperately to make it to my French class. One day I walked in and it was time for a test. I sat silently looking at the blank paper in front of me and looked up at Mlle. Evans and with a quick glance she saw my pain. I know that she wondered what was happening and after class while she and I rode an elevator together going down a few flights I told her I wanted to end my life.

I was so scared. I was SO scared that I was going to complete suicide that I knew I could not go back to my dorm room so I asked Mlle. Evans to do the unthinkable…..I asked her if she could take me home to her house with her husband and two small children and spend the night so I could be safe. She thought for a few seconds and then answered “yes”. She saved my life. For it was not long afterwards that she called my Mother and said “If you don’t come get your daughter, you will not have a daughter.” Thus, one of my deeply anguished songs was birthed……with the chorus simply written from God’s perspective “No, No Nanette…….I’m not ready for you yet…..”


Chapter 8

One night in April 1988, Max and I had our final argument. It was the end of our relationship. I packed my suitcase and proceeded to do what I had planned. I left the apartment in the dark and on foot. I walked until I couldn’t walk anymore, so I slumped down in a field and put my head on my suitcase for a pillow. I decided that in the morning I would take a bus downtown and begin my new life as a homeless person. I believed that was where I belonged, and truly thought that I would be able to get along with these lost souls, sharing food and alcohol with them and having my own cardboard box. I focused solely on that plan and decided to take the first bus in the morning.
The one thing that I could not help but notice as I looked up at the sparkling sky was the enormity of it. It was beautiful with shimmering stars and a big moon staring down at me. I thought of God and how Jesus had shown his love to me so wonderfully that day in Rhode Island when I was so close to suicide. Where was he now when I was hurting so badly? Could he really be out there somewhere past that illuminated sky? I called for him but he did not answer. Again I thought about how alone I was. No family, no friends, no car, and no hope. The emotional pain of being rejected by Max was eating me up inside, but I knew deep in my heart that it was over between the two of us. I hung out in that field all night thinking about the prospect of living on the streets of Denver and trying to figure out where I would plug in my curling iron and how I would be able to put my make-up on. I needed my “cover” of not looking like a mentally ill person. I thought about the unforgiving brick buildings and the towering skyscrapers downtown. There would be no electric plugs. I also needed my make-up mirror to light up. I had it in my suitcase along with my mascara and other items. It was really not making sense to live on the streets, but I felt that I had nowhere else to live. I refused to go back to Max. I slept a little bit that night and when the sun finally began to rise, it seemed that the morning light gave me a new idea. This would be a last ditch effort to get some help.
In the morning I walked the long trek to the local Mental Health Center, as they were called at that time. I went in and sat in the waiting room not really knowing what to expect. A beautiful African American woman came out and took me aside. I told her of my plan to live on the streets of Denver, and also of my other plan which was to commit suicide. This woman was very strong and convincing, and she insisted that I go live in what they called then “a half-way house”, instead of on the streets. I could not get that nightmare out of my mind about the bus driver saying that it was a one way trip to Colorado. It made me certain that I would never leave the state alive, and my plans to live on the streets or commit suicide once and for all were very hard for me to change.
I really didn’t want to go to some strange half-way house and live with people I didn’t know, especially when I was feeling so screwed up. It took a lot of persuading, but I finally agreed to move into this half-way house that was located in Littleton, Colorado. I walked into the house and right away I told my story to anyone who would listen, again searching, ever searching for one person to be able to help me and my crazy mind. I told everyone that I really didn’t see myself living through this period of time in Colorado and didn’t want to be in this half-way house at all.
I found that they all shared the same bathroom and shower, and this was a deterrent to me as well, because there were all kinds of different people living there. I couldn’t fathom taking a shower where all the others took theirs also. It seemed really gross considering that there was a man living there who really did live on the streets of Denver and he was filthy dirty. The thought of all of them sharing a bathroom really bothered me, but there really wasn’t a choice. The only option was that I took on the chore of cleaning the bathroom from top to bottom, and that helped me with the others using it. I also liked to vacuum the entire house upstairs and downstairs. Each week someone different was assigned to cook for everyone, but there was this one man who was an over-the-top fantastic cook. He fried up chicken and made salads that were really amazing, so most of the people living there exchanged chores with him so that he would cook for us every night. Nobody minded cleaning up the kitchen as long as this man did all the cooking.
The gentleman who lived on the streets of Denver fascinated me since I was planning on doing the same thing. I interviewed him about the lifestyle of the homeless. He had a big long fuzzy beard and a weather beaten face. He also didn’t have many changes of clothing. He told me how he and others had pulled out their own teeth because they hurt so much and they would have been turned away had they walked into a dentist office. During the winter months they all shared bottles of alcohol which gave them the feeling of being warm for a time, but that it was false warmth that went away very quickly. The winter months were very difficult because the snowfall in that area of the country was monumental. I remembered my first ski trip I went on with Max. We went to his buddy’s house and his wife gave me this powder blue all one-piece snow suit to wear. I was thankful because it keep me warm and dry. Max paid for me to take lessons that day, and then finally I had the opportunity to go on the lift and ski down the slope. It was exhilarating and I enjoyed it so much. Max was an avid skier and went down the highest mountain which really was impressive to me since just walking in the boots seemed uncomfortable to me. Max was opening doors to a much broader life than what we had had in Rhode Island. He seemed so happy living in Colorado; it was just that I had been holding him back with my total dependence on him for the three years we were together.


A lot of people have asked “What is it like in a mental hospital?” I think……”Gee, isn’t that something everyone knows?” HA! Everyone who I know knows!!! Yeah, well a big LOL to that. The truth is I really do know a lot of people who DO. Those who HAVE stayed in a mental hospital. Served time, one could say. Time. Not always fun but certainly not boring. It used to be that some would actually call it a vacation as insurance was plentiful back in the day and we were treated with respect and care. The finest hospital I stayed in was located in Providence, RI. It was (and still is) called Butler Hospital on beautiful Blackstone Blvd. Even the hospital beds were more comfortable, it seemed. I remember going out for long walks in a group on the beautiful grounds and playing volleyball with some interesting people. Normally, a person thinks of a good volleyball player as someone who is tall and lanky. In a mental hospital, the best volleyball player is the one with the least amount of side effects from psychotropic drugs that can hit the ball over the net without drooling, shaking or falling down. And then, of course, our coach. A mental hospital Activity Director they called him. Enthusiastically, he yells “good job” no matter what anyone does. A woman ran into me trying to hit the ball and he yelled “Good job!”(A paranoid person could have taken THAT wrong!) One night it was time for us to line up like cattle and take the flight of steps down to the cafeteria. The food was always good at Butler. I glanced up at the notice on the door that tells us what is for dinner. It said “Lobster”. Seriously? When I got closer I stood in amazement as each person was given their own full sized lobster on a plate with a container dripping with butter. I can still see myself sitting there staring at mine. The little bug-eyes were staring back at me. All these Rhode Islanders were used to eating lobster but I wasn’t. I watched the others break open the shell and I followed suit. The only thing I had remembered about lobsters as a kid was while on vacation camping in Bar Harbor, Maine, my mother putting the live lobsters in a big pot of boiling water and listening to them SCREAM. When each came out of the pot they had turned red. I thought about all the lobsters that must have screamed as I pulled the thing apart and ate little chunks at a time. All I can say is that I thank God that I am sane today…….and don’t need Butler Hospital or any hospital. (for TODAY!) I give God all the praise, glory and honor that He deserves because I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW He is responsible for keeping me sane….and I am thankful that I had the chance to stay in “the hospital that served lobster” when I was ill.

“If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.” 2 Corinthians 5:13 Paul wrote this after he, himself, was questioned about his sanity, he, like me, was once bound in the chains of darkness and when he, like me, found the way, the truth, and the light OUT of the darkness, he, like me, wants to shout it from the rooftops to share the GOOD NEWS!


Wow! Today I watched the national news for the first time in well, like months…. Of all times! The horrendous flooding in Colorado – some places got “one year’s worth of rain all in one day!), the fire that burned down the brand new boardwalk in Jersey that was just rebuilt after hurricane Sandy. Nicole Kidman got hit by a bicycle? (Oh!) What a day. Interestingly enough today is Friday the 13th. `Are you superstitious?` It is hard to believe that our country has been so devastated from the east to the west all in one day. I missed the part about Seria…..I guess I’d rather not know. In order to have peace of mind, I choose not to focus on what is happening in this world because I, well, we ALL know that the news is not good. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would disagree and think I was living in my own little bubble. That’s okay, in my bubble I will stay……to remain sane! Something that I always found interesting is that a person can suffer horribly with mental illness and fall into deep depression and it has absolutely nothing to do with outside events! That is why people will ask “Why are you depressed?” I have heard that question and I never had an answer!!! I did not have triggers; I had cycles. The cycles are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. But to have triggers that are this monumental…. the ones whose houses are ruined in Colorado, they have a reason to be depressed! But the hardest part about the flooding is the 80+ people who are missing. Families searching for their families. Emotional pain and anguish, anxiety and concern. That is torture too. The other thought is for the animals. Hard to bear the thought of searching for a sister or brother and a beloved dog too. I am praying for all the hurting people in our nation tonight. God Bless America!!! And…God Bless YOU!


I woke up this morning with a SONG in my heart. It was an original by The Stevens Family. I was then on a mission to find their lastest CD “Can’t Thank You Enough”. My dear husband, the “organizer” had put all the CD’s neatly away….how would I ever find it? I went to their website in search of just listening to that one song….but, oh, I just HAD to find the CD…..then back upstairs I marched and, well, there it was! The Stevens Family CD! Ohhhhhh, NO, it was their Christmas CD. (too early for that!) I looked in a little CD holder that was near the two huge stacks of CD’s I had already searched through and there it was WOW! “Thank you, Lord.” I listened to the song and decided to write this blog. A blog about Jesus pulling us “out of the pit!” “I was in a pit, a really deep pit…” Tami sings. Oh yes! Have we not all been in a pit? Thank God that “Jesus Brought Me Out” which is the name of the song. (If you are not familiar with the beautiful blend of three voices go to their website and ENJOY!)

So, I got to thinking about the word “PIT”….I mean….really thinking….. doing a bit of RESEARCH even. HUMMMMMM This is VERY deep, folks, literally and figuratively, just a **warning**. Yes, let’s talk about this “pit”. Depression? Yes, of course, but I would like to talk about another type of pit. The pit kind where thousands upon thousands of people who suffered from mental illness were physically thrown into years ago. Have you ever seen the old black and white movie called “The Snake Pit”? It is a four star movie made many moons ago about a woman who was thrown into such a pit filled with hundreds of others – that’s the kind of pit that I am talking about now. A “pit” filled with the CrAZys, the luNaTIcS, the OuTcaStS of SOCIETY! During the 16th century, asylums were established more or less to house the mentally ill who were abandoned by family. They were cruel dark places run by untrained individuals who treated them like animals, many of them were cuffed and had iron collars that gave only enough movement to feed themselves and, because of the short chains they had to sleep upright. The most famous institution was called Bedlam located in London, England where patients were treated terribly and the violent ones were put on display like side show freaks for the price of a penny. Unfortunately, other countries followed the same idea. **I KNOW THIS IS DISTURBING BUT IT REALLY HAPPENED!** That is how it used to be. That was then and this is now. Now through many decades of reform, people who are mentally ill are treated well if they need to be hospitalized. We have Therapy! Medications that work! Support Groups! Wellness plans! Education! Peer-to-Peer Groups! And yes! Even a few psychiatrists who have their own mental illnesses! (not a joke). Thank God, things have changed.

There still is a pit called depression. I have suffered with it. Sometimes up to six months at a time…. But I was treated with kindness and compassion. And when I came to a place where I FOUND THE ANSWER TO THE PAIN I WAS IN – through no one else but Jesus Christ himself – It was then that I learned how to be set free from it! That is why the song that The Stevens Family wrote is so near and dear to my heart….because what happened to me was just that….”Jesus Brought Me Out” and HE can do the SAME FOR YOU!

Jesus said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he (will eat) with Me.” Rev. 3:20 Amplified Bible


Has anyone ever heard of Max Lucado? If so, I’m sure you are aware of his unique style of writing. I would like to share something that he wrote back in 2003, that is how long I have held on to it! I have always compared<this short composition to the stigma of mental illness<. I do believe that people are more understanding than they were in years past as more and more people keep coming out of the closet with their mental conditions. What really hits home is the initial diagnosis; usually at a young age. Knowing, as Max writes: life would never be the same.

    The UpWords Weekly Devotional – 02/05/2003

In scripture the leper is symbolic of the ultimate outcast: infected by a condition he did not seek, rejected by those he knew, avoided by people he did not know, condemned to a future he could not bear. And in the memory of each outcast must have been the day he was forced to face the truth: life would never be the same.

The banishing of a leper seems harsh, unnecessary. The Ancient East hasn’t been the only culture to isolate their wounded, however. We may not build colonies or cover our mouths in their presence, but we certainly build walls and duck our eyes. And a person needn’t have leprosy to feel quarantined.

Disease Number Two

Want to know a secret? When my book is published it will no longer be a secret SO HERE GOES: Nancy’s disease #2. After suffering for years with the mania, the depression, the anxiety, the obsession…..I had finally become mentally stable….yes, even working a full time job, living on my own and “leaning on the promises” when disaster struck. Are you kidding me? Multiple Sclerosis? Yes. Now that I had my mind back, a new disease, not to take my mind – although I was warned of cognitive changes – but paralysis!!! I couldn’t bear the thought of it! There I was, at the Cleveland Clinic Mellon Center, giving my MRI x-rays to the Dr. after being told that I either had a brain tumor or MS….wearing an eye patch over one eye, because I was seeing double. The Dr. gave me the diagnosis stating that there were lesions on my brain stem. It was November of 1998 Thanksgiving Day. Everyone was hugging me, knowing that just the day before my life came to a abrupt halt. How was I to deal with this horrific diagnosis? Panic set in. I did not just have fear but I was paralyzed with it! (hummmmm) I was, again, unable to function….the fear of my body slowly going numb, or pain, or limping along with “drop foot” or -or -or dare I think about it? UNABLE TO GET OUT OF BED AT ALL? WHEELCHAIR BOUND?

I found my answer at North-Mar church. I went up to the altar and, as in the book of James, the Elders of the church anointed me with oil and fervently prayed for my healing. I felt a burning hot sensation on the back of my neck. I felt my eyesight, which had gone from double vision to tunnel vision correct itself. It was yet another supernatural touch from God! All symptoms were gone, in Jesus’s name!

I had forgotten all about the MS in 2001 and unknowingly was poisoning myself by lying in a tanning bed so I wasn’t as white as my wedding dress! My left hand and arm were tingling and, actually, my left hand began to hurt in a weird sort of way. I was foolishly soaking myself in heat. Did I forget? Or had I not yet known that heat is the worst for MS. Oh dear! I had done it to myself….my FREE WILL brought back a glimpse of the disease.

I went back to a neurologist. This time at the St. Elizabeth’s MS clinic. I brought the doctor my MRI. This doctor ordered another MRI of the brain stem to see if the illness had progressed. When the results came back, the doctor was dumbfounded!!! There were NO lesions on my brain stem, NO NOT A ONE!!! I was SO happy! But no, the doctor wasn’t satisfied. He ordered yet another MRI. This one was of my spinal cord. He called Gary (soon to be Garrett) and I into the x-ray room. He pointed at this almost miniscule dot on my spinal cord and said “There it is! There is a lesion!!!” Ok, alright. Here comes the FEAR……but I had already written down each and every scripture that said “STAND FIRM” and I believed I would and always will “STAND FIRM!” The doctor gave me two books. One was written by Squiggy from the TV show LAVERN & SHIRLEY. It was called “Falling Down Laughing”. I read the book, as Squiggy jokes his way through his diagnosis of MS. (I did not find it the least bit comical.) The other book was a medical book that started out talking about the amount of people who COMMIT SUICIDE because they know they have MS! I threw that book across the room and never went back to a neurologist again.

Today…..after 15 years… only MS symptom is numbness in my left hand and, occasionally I am bothered by heat. Here is my song FOR TODAY….”Because HE lives, I can face tomorrow, Because HE lives all fear is gone! Because I know HE holds the future and LIFE IS WORTH THE LIVING, JUST BECAUSE HE LIVES.”

A Godly Grandmother

Substance Abuse. This is a problem that seems to go hand and hand with mental illness and I can’t blame anyone for trying to self-medicate……but…..when I meet a man who has had depression for what he told me “Thirty years of deep suicidal depression without any professional help…” I wonder how he survived. So, I asked him just that. “Alcohol and street drugs…” was his immediate answer. Oh! My heart breaks for this guy!!! How did he keep going? He barely did. His life was harsh filled with abandonment by his family, feeling unloved….running to and fro in relationships and out of relationships and living homeless at times. In jail sometimes. His face shows the lines of a man who has seen too much. What I had seen in him was nothing more than a broken spirit. I say a quick prayer for him under my breath, or do I really? Not long after he then disappears from my sight and I, unfortunately, forget about this man…..finding new people in similar situations.

In time, this man goes into a deep hole with no way out, it seems. But then – when he was at his worst moment – ready to give up. Feeling Doomed. SOON to be a just another statistic. He called out to the only person he had fully ignored. GOD. Then the God of the universe revealed himself to this man. Showing him the way, the truth, and the life though God’s son “they called HIM Jesus” (that’s from a song, sorry) and He gave him an idea to get some real help and another idea about where to live and who to seek for assistance. Finding peace of mind!

Now, years later, this man is back. I take a good look at his face and stand in awe for a moment. Gone are the eyes haunted with anguish. His clothes are freshly laundered. He tells me how long he has been clean from alcohol and street drugs. He not only holds a beautiful smile but there’s something else! He now has a guitar. This man who society would have wanted to “throw away” has a guitar in his hands. He stammers a little bit apologizing for his LACK of talent. The group in front of him waiting patiently to hear what he has to share. The man tears up for a second. He explains that his grandmother used to sing this when he was a little boy otherwise he knows no other songs. He begins strumming his guitar and then something really beautiful happens. He starts out hesitantly, looking around nervously at the small group singing in a low voice “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found. Twas blind but Now I see.”