Tag Archives: garden

Homemade OT

“Do you want to go out on the patio to sit?” We had just finished dinner and Dad was up from the table already starting to clear the dishes to the sink. It was a particularly toasty day, so I had only ventured outdoors when Mom drove me to my short doctor appointment in town. But around supper, the temperatures dropped slightly making the air pleasantly calm and a soft warmth.

“I’m not sure what I am going to do,” I reply to Mom’s question. Before dinner I had finished a book–downloaded on my Nook–that a friend recommended to me. I was all caught upon emails, not planning on starting any paintings, had a clean room and just did laundry a few days prior, and didn’t feel like resuming finger-poke blog entries just yet. In a word, I was a bit bored. I could have called someone on my Captel phone for a conversation, but decided fresh air was needed.

I was taking the last of my medicines in the kitchen and thought of what to do while outside. Mom was going to be planting the yellow Columbines she recently bought from Lowes and Dad was working on (what looked like to me) weeding and installing the new garden hose. Never being one with a “green thumb” and now too adding my limitations of walking, bending over due to balance and my hands–I am pretty much no use in the garden. (Although I do play a role sometimes of watering the flowers and small bushes near the house with the hose.)

I decided I could sit at the picnic table and continue where I had left off earlier in the morning, reading and recording the verses where the phrase, “steadfast love,” appears. I had started this quest last Fall, but stopped after finishing Psalm 119. The notebook of references fell to the bottom of my upper right dresser “junk drawer” and it wasn’t until yesterday that I found it.

Lost in thought about the Psalms, Mom comes back to the kitchen and starts talking to me about using rice as an Occupational therapy exercise. Taking into consideration how the numbness in my hands affect my feeling, holding or picking up objects (I demonstrated with my medicines,) Mom continues to explain this simple exercise in an excited fashion. Totally missing a few context pieces to the conversation puzzle, I just understand that if you put rice in a bowl with objects, such as beads or coins, use your hands to feel around for the objects (because you can’t peek in the bowl for them), then it helps–not only your hands and finger touch awareness–but strengthens the mind. It’s like a psychology OT exercise! Stimulating!!

Instead of sitting around the picnic table, Dad suggests sitting under the tree nearer to where they are working. It was lovely! As I am getting ready to pull out my Bible, Mom asks if I wanted to try the rice bowl activity. “Sure,” I say. Mom goes in and gets a bowl of rice and places in “hidden objects” for me to find with my hands. The objects slowly discovered: nice sized wooden beads and pennies. “How many pennies are there?” Mom turns her head so I can lip-read, “Twenty.” Twenty? I found two. 🙂

It amazed me how just weaving my hand in a bowl of rice “looking” with my fingers for objects, felt like an exercise. My hand was physically tired; I rotated between left and right. My physical therapist had commented on how much atrophy she saw in my hands, then showed me a strengthening exercise to help with the curling fingers. But it persists. The hardest part of nerve loss is that it can never be regained, though I can keep it for as long as possible if I retrain my brain using the muscle exercises. It might not amount too much, but it is better than being idle.

The book that I had finished before dinner is an autobiography titled, Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice, by Kristen Anderson. At age 17, Kristen had lost all hope to live and attempted suicide by laying on a train track one block from her home. But she did not die. God, in miraculous ways…unfathomable ways…spared her life–a second chance. Through the long, hard recovery, Kristen came to know the healing power of God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace. Although she didn’t understand God’s timing, she started to share her story. She had questioned what life would hold with no legs…her future…but the more she shared, the more outflow of how her testimony helped others who were hurting came to light. Feeling God’s call, Kristen started in full-time ministry and founded Reaching You Ministries.

There are moments in my life where I question my abilities, strengths and future. It is not an easy road…and unlike Kristen, my body will never recover here on earth. But the encouragement and hope I found in Kristen’s testimony gave me the reassuring peace that my abilities, strength and future are not like the shifting sands…but solid, unshaken…held in God’s hands.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.


On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground isinking\

“The Solid Rock.” Edward Mote. 1836.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times

Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini

My mom is an amazing cook! This summer season she has been cooking some amazing dinners whether grilled, cold pasta salads or in the oven. Tonight she used fresh picked zucchini from her garden to bake Stuffed Zucchini.

Mom uses a very practical idea for keeping her recipes easy and accessible. She uses a photo album!!

While I think recipe boxes are very cute and classic, I like the way the recipes in the photo album are easy to flip through and easy to read. To make things easier at dinner time, like my mom did for herself, you can categorize.

Recipes come from a wide variety of sources: internet, family or friends, magazines or ones you make yourself. I personally do not like to hand copy recipes. They turn out like burnt cookies. 😉 I am glad others enjoy it though. It is fun to flip through the “cookbook” and find Grandma’s handwriting on recipes. I am blessed with three Grandma’s, so there are many delicious recipes…my favorites being the different cookies and cakes. Flipping through the pages brings you an appetite and good memories! After all, isn’t that how most recipes start?

Stuffed Zucchini was a magazine clipping. I think it was probably from Taste of Home. Regardless, it was first made by a lady named Ruth. Mom used her zucchini and also used her garden herbs: dill (I think) and she added basil to the sauce.


2 medium zucchini (Mom had 3 large ones)

1/2 pound ground beef or bulk Italian sausage

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon dill weed

1 cup spaghetti sauce (Mom used a whole jar)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Mom used the rest of the Cajun curds from Young’s Dairy! Added some good flavor!!)


Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in shell. Chop pulp; set pulp and shells aside. [Mom is putting her pulp/seeds in her compost pile, so it tastes fine without it too!] In a skillet, brown meat, onion, and garlic; drain. Add pulp, bread crumbs, milk and dill. Spoon into zucchini shells. Place in a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Top with spaghetti sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Cover [foil] and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Yield: 2 servings [but it fed our family of four! 🙂 See picture below–plus add another pan! Made us two dinners this week!]

It is really a delicious recipe! I hope you enjoy it!!

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Filed under Family Times, Uncategorized