Tag Archives: how to show love to others

When You Give

In the second grade, I was in Mrs. Brumfield’s class. There are a few special memories I think of when remembering Mrs. Brumfield and her class: She always wore bright red lipstick and because she used my personal book, Abel’s Island, to read to the class for our afternoon reading time, I have a smudge of that red lipstick in the front cover of my book. It still remains one of my favorite children novels. Our circular building held classrooms divided like a pie and our door faced the playground–I especially liked the monkey bars, so much that I gave my palms blisters; but once my name was written on the chalkboard and I had to stay in from recess.

Mrs. Brumfield’s favorite type of animals were pigs. We even made “pigs” using pantyhose stuffed with pillow cotton and after we tied off the curly tail, we hot-glued on felt ears and sewed buttons for the eyes. My pig has pink ears and purple buttoned eyes…and it is in my special box. On our birthday, we got to make a chart using pictures from home to tell the class a bit about our favorite things and about our family. A family member was invited to attend and sit with us up front, but because neither mom nor dad could attend mine, Mrs. Brumfield allowed my best friend at the time, Stephanie, to sit with me.

At the end of the day, there were two dismissal bells for the bus shifts. Because I left on the second bell, this allowed me ten extra minutes of reading time…as we always ended the day with quiet reading in our own “corners or desks areas.” Being a book nerd from an early age, I took this time seriously and never wanted to leave class at the second bell if I was in mid-sentence. And Mrs. Brumfield gave us a take home assignment, but it was “fun” homework: when it was our turn, we took home a large Ziplock bag containing a book, entry log, and a stuffed animal of a mouse in overalls holding by Velcro–a chocolate chip cookie. Our assignment was to log our different activities of what we did with our new pal. Mom tried to find a few educational activities. 🙂 The hardest part was keeping track of the cookie! The book:


If you have read either this book or the other, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, the overall concept of the story is the same: you give and they keep asking for more–eventually circulating back around to what was initially given.

Recently, my parents went on an extended weekend vacation back to Colorado. It was not initially the reason why we set the Lifeline for use, but it was planned to have that established before their trip for safety reasons. My weekend was not much different from others. I had a few appointments already set, tasks I needed to accomplish and had some sister chat times. I carried out my days like usual routine–my own breakfasts and lunches. Several ladies from my parent’s Sunday school class signed up to deliver hot meals for my dinners. I cannot tell you how much that was appreciated!! A few ladies contacted me just to see how I was doing and if I needed anything. Genuine kindness.

Mom did ask a girl from town around my age to come in the evenings to spend the night (mainly for my Lifeline factor), but also to help take out trash, clean Muffy’s kitty litter, help with dishes and anything else I might need. We decided this was best in their absence–she came in around 10pm and left in the mid-mornings for her other duties and jobs. It worked nicely and since the Olympics were still being covered in Primetime, I usually was in the basement at the end of the day relaxing and working on a friend’s late Christmas present while watching the Games.

I really cherished the weekend, but also saw how much I possibly take for granted within my family all the extra help they give so selflessly. Miriam would ask if I needed help with anything else before going to bed herself and unless it was something I just couldn’t do, like unbutton my new sweater so I could wear it the next day, I didn’t initially ask for much assistance. Maybe it was embarrassment, maybe pride. Maybe I am used to my family seeing me struggle, like when I try to pick up medicines that have fallen to the floor, and they just come to the rescue without my asking. Or often, maybe I am just tired of asking for people to give their time and help–as I turn more dependent, I am becoming stubborn and wanting to still do things on my own. How do I balance between the two? It is something I am still in process of learning.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Muffy, Uncategorized

Happy Valentine’s Day


“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.”

I Corinthians 14:1 MSG


Filed under Paintings, Random, Uncategorized

My One Word for 2014

From my last post, one can read about the good times my family and I had while being all together for the first time in over a year. It was a phenomenal way to kick off the new year and I wish it could have lasted longer!

Over the week, however, I really struggled with the battles waging in my mind. I know–you will tell me something like, “Mel, you are beautiful. Don’t believe the lies that say otherwise,”–but right at the start, looking around at my beautiful family talking and laughing over our Spaghetti Warehouse dinner..I just wanted to burst into tears. I felt different, distant than everyone else. It was only the beginning of my “happy face” week.

I think in part it is frustration at my current hand condition. As the numbness increases, so does the weakness and curling of my fingers. Tasks that should be fast, are now taking me longer or requiring help. One that is most frustrating of all is putting in my hearing aid. Some days I just can’t, so I either go without it (which I do okay in lip-reading) or someone else puts it in for me. It was putting in my hearing aid before our late lunch on Sunday that caused me to get so frustrated that once I finally got it placed in my ear, I looked in the mirror and told myself, “Just put on your happy face.”

I know–I can be honest with my family and should not hide emotions, but I get tired of it being about my health. I feel my conversations with people are most often about my health (if they ask about it) or books, coffee, or small talk such as this. My first engaging conversation I have had in a long time was when we came home from the Creation Museum the Friday before and we started discussing Darwin, natural selection, and evolution. Don’t get me wrong, the car ride to the museum had us in conversation of memories–hilarious–but memories are different than deep questions (if you get what I mean.) Back to Sunday, the battling of emotions and lies in my head did not fool my sister, Marcia, as I came back into the kitchen.

She asked what I what I wanted to drink and I snapped, “Water,” then headed to Mom’s bathroom to see if she had a hair clip. Not being able to do my hair anymore was also bugging me. Next thing I know, I am a sobbing mess and Marcia finds me like this–anything but happy. Ironic, just releasing those anger and frustration thoughts helped me release the tight emotions. Marcia said that we are family–I don’t have to put on a happy face for them. Easier said than done when you battle “burden” thoughts for over ten years. Mom found us and helped me put up my hair. The evening turned out to be one of great memories and laughs. With a true happy face.

Not even a day later, I find myself in the worst possible situation I have ever had physically. It’s not G-rated and I don’t wish to discuss it…but let’s just say that night I was sick, and I mean literally sick. It was awful. I have never felt so humiliated even though I was at home just with family. Without asking questions, Marcia and Mom set out to assist me, as once again, I am a sobbing mess. I even said, “This is when I hate my body.” And I meant it. While helping me, and cleaning up at the same time, I am not sure how the conversation flow happened, but I remember Marcia looking up and saying, “Because you’re family and we love you.”

Holley Gerth–author, speaker, fellow blogger–wrote a post, “What’s your one word for 2014?” It was sent to my inbox the morning of the humiliating incident evening. I read it, but I did not start to think serious about something like this until a few days later. I have never claimed a life verse or a yearly word. I know others who have, but especially a yearly word–seemed like a resolution to me and I never meet my resolutions, thus, I don’t make them at the beginning of the year. I just used that as my excuse, I suppose. Maybe it was something about Marcia’s comment that caused me to see different.

My health is something that affects much greater than myself. For my family, I can’t grasp the depth of their sacrifices on my part due to health or what it means for all of us in the future. But what I saw the night of my most vulnerable physical state was Love. It was sacrifice. It was pure. We say the word “love” all the time, about anything, but are we really giving ourselves away in the process? In thinking of Holley’s question, I found myself trying to find the “perfect” word for my year of 2014. It didn’t take me long to oust the perfection part and just gather a word. I thought of many but found myself returning to this: there is only one perfect Love and through my sister and Mom’s actions, I saw Jesus.

That is Love.

What is my one word for 2014?


Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

~I John 3:18


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Uncategorized

Blessings from bruises.

Because I am on blood thinners, my bruises seem to be taking their precious time in healing. Right now, I have a lot of combination of colors…most are still dark purple or blue on my stomach. When I looked in the mirror this morning after my shot, I remarked out loud to myself, “That looks like a seahorse.” Yep, a seahorse…like finding shapes in the clouds. 🙂 On the right side of my stomach, a little heart was formed when two bruises came together. It was then I started thinking of my bruises–the ones on my stomach that go unnoticed to the massive bruise on my right arm where the IV was placed on the outer part of my palm. It extends a good two inches of brownish-red to below my outer wrist. Very obvious and not very pretty, unless I am wearing a sweater or beads.

But I figure, bruises are temporal. They should (I hope) start to turn their greenish-yellow healing colors in the next few weeks before slowly fading back to my pale skin color–then just disappear altogether. I know you may think this is strange, but if anyone else is an organized, planner-ahead person…well, then I just really can’t explain why I thrive on this sort of activity–but, yes, I already have my Valentine cards/gifts set out to write and get ready to mail in the next week or so. Crazy, I know. I think it came about strong this year, due to the paintings I have been putting together for the coffee shop. Or maybe reading some verses in I John, or the sermon last week at church, or watching a few chic flicks on the recovery days. Not sure. As I was finishing up my paintings yesterday for Beans-n-Cream, I could not help but do one more 8×10 painting as thoughts of love, red, purples, bruises and blessings came to mind.


Somehow all these thoughts made me stop and think of the real Love that has been shown. Mercy and grace were given by blood and bruises: Jesus, dying for the sins of the world that we might know God and know His Love.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5, NKJV

It is not even February yet, but it makes Valentine’s Day so much more anticipated…and I think that is why I anticipate it–because it is like Easter (i.e. Saying “He Lives” more than once a year!); the holiday means so much more when you think of it every day. How can I love my family, neighbors, strangers in the way that God has shown His Love to me? It has been in my thoughts and prayers as I want to show that kind of Love…and bless others who have so richly blessed me. Fail on days I will (human nature), but God’s Love remains. And that is what matters. ❤

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Paintings, Random, Uncategorized