The Poison Ivy Blues (Lean On Me)

Two weeks ago today I began my bout with the–you guessed it “if you see three leaves, let it be”–poison ivy plant. It doesn’t really matter how, when, or why I contacted this, but I got a full blast of it. Within one week of contact, it had spread down my arms, hands, and legs causing a great deal of itching and pain. By the weekend, it caused swelling around the left side of my face and into the crease of my eye. By Monday morning, I was on the phone with my physician and I was given an appointment quickly.

My husband and grandson trekked along with me to my appointment, and I was so proud of Gryphon for sitting in the waiting room without trying to get down and run around. The office personnel noticed this and commented on “how good” he was as well. (His reward was getting to eat lunch at Denny’s and he was even great there as well.) I later learned that while I was seeing the doctor, Gryphon had scooted over next to PapPap and, while smiling up at him, stroked his arm. I think I noted a happy tear in PapPap’s eye when he told me about this–but don’t tell him.

After my examination, I was given a steroid shot to give my body a boost of medication for the swelling on my face and eye, as well as a 12-day steroid prescription easing down the dose after each set of three days. Even with the medication, I was itching so badly that I even tried squirting lemon juice, calamine lotion, and other home remedies after I Googled types of remedies for poison ivy online. Even laying down at night was a chore because it felt like my arms were “on fire”. Needless-to-say, I have had a number of restful nights sleeping. The steroids had caused a great deal of change in my sleeping pattern that’s for sure.

Last night, for example, I went to bed by 11:00 p.m. but when I was still awake at 2:00 a.m., I finally decided to get up and watch something on TV and, of course, eat. Ice cream with whipped topping and Kashi Go-Lean with Vanilla Pepita makes a wonderful snack in the middle of the night. It even sounds healthy right! I also washed my arms with Dove soap for sensitive skin (also recommended) and tried Eucerin Intensive Repair on my itchy arms. Believe it or not, this cream really worked very well.

As I sat on the couch watching E.T., the song, “Lean On Me” began to spill out of my mouth. Although I couldn’t remember all of the words (until I looked them up today), I felt a calm sense of peace about my situation. By 2:30, I was ready to go back upstairs, brushing my teeth again for a second time, and just continued to sing this song out loud, trying not to disturb my sleeping husband.

This song encouraged my heart and soul even in the midst of my discouragement last night, and I realized that God was right there next to me during this entire ordeal. I just needed to “lean on Him” and let Him continue to heal my mind, body, and spirit in that very moment.

I would like to share the words of “Lean On Me”, written by Bill Withers, with you and if you are going through something discouraging in your life right now, may you be reminded that God is right there with you and we can lean not only on Him but on our family and friends for help, encouragement, and prayers as well. All you have to do is reach out.

“Lean On Me” by Bill Withers

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow.

Chorus
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on.

So swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t show.

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand (Chorus)
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Second Verse
(Chorus)

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load
If you just call me
(Chorus)
Call me (if you need a friend)
Call me (call me)
Call me (if you ever need a friend)
Call me (call me)
Call me
Call me (if you need a friend)

May you be a blessing today to your family and friends as you lean on Him and encourage those with whom you come in contact with today as well.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Nana’s Corner: Nana’s Song (I’m Singing Under the Sun With You)

A few years ago I was privileged to babysit for a very delightful baby who was seven weeks old at the time I started babysitting for him (and who, I believe, will be 6 years old this year). I was able to watch him every day for 2-1/2 years, and it was during that time that I began making up and singing a song to him while I rocked him to sleep. Now I am singing this same song to my own grandson and will share this song with yet another grandchild as well.

The song is simple, yet I find myself humming and singing it even when my grandson, Gryphon, is not around. It makes me smile and fills me with utmost joy. The scripture says that “we should make a joyful noise unto the Lord with singing…” and that is what I have endeavored to do by sharing this song with you. It is in the Key of F; and although you can not hear it, I hope that you can visualize yourself singing, laughing, and dancing under the sun, moon, and stars with your own children and/or grandchildren as well.

Nana’s Song
(I’m Singing Under the Sun with You)

I’m singing under the sun with you, singing under the sun with you.
I’m singing under the sun with you. Nana’s singing under the sun…with you.

I’m laughing under the sun with you, laughing under the sun with you.
I’m laughing under the sun with you. Nana’s laughing under the sun…with you.

I’m dancing under the sun with you, dancing under the sun with you.
I’m dancing under the sun with you. Nana’s dancing under the sun…with you.

I’m singing under the moon with you, singing under the moon with you.
I’m singing under the moon with you. Nana’s singing under the moon…with you.

I’m laughing under the moon with you, laughing under the moon with you.
I’m laughing under the moon with you. Nana’s laughing under the moon…with you.

I’m dancing under the moon with you, dancing under the moon with you.
I’m dancing under the moon with you. Nana’s dancing under the moon…with you.

I’m singing under the stars with you, singing under the stars with you.
I’m singing under the stars with you. Nana’s singing under the stars with you.

I’m laughing under the stars with you, laughing under the stars with you.
I’m laughing under the stars with you. Nana’s laughing under the stars with you.

I’m dancing under the stars with you, dancing under the stars with you.
I’m dancing under the stars with you. Nana’s dancing under the stars with you.

Singing and playing the keyboard has always been a very important part of my life and imparting music to children at school, VBS, church camps, etc. has been very rewarding and such a delight, especially when they begin swinging their arms and legs and begin moving to the beat. At this time, Gryphon does this a great deal while we are watching a PBS program and/or just playing with some hand-held musical instruments. He really loves playing the penny whistle and the little drum playset.

The Book of Psalms is filled with singing and dancing before the Lord, and I believe that music can give one a sense of freedom in our worship to God and enriches our lives immensely. If I am tired or having an “off” day, music helps to change my attitude. Whenever I am out and about–grocery store, restaurant, and/or at church–and see a young child who appears to be fussy/crying, it is amazing how quickly a smile or humming of a tune from my mouth gets such a positive reaction back from them.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me…” I truly believe that adults can really make a difference in a child’s life and that is why I have enjoyed working with children so much. Jesus also said that we should come to Him “as a little child” does. As adults we often forget what it was like being a little child–so innocent, carefree, and trusting. Sometimes we often allow the “cares of this world” to cloud our minds. Let us be reminded of the promises that Jesus has given us throughout His Word so that we can trust Him more and truly take to heart that “all things work together for our good.”

May the Lord bless you and guide you in all that you endeavor to do for Him today.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Reading: “Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe” by Max Lucado.

Nana’s Corner: Under The Willow Tree

Gryphon’s giggling and laughter were infectious as he kicked up his feet and began running in and out under the huge willow tree in our backyard. He decided to play hide’n seek with me, and every time I said “boo”, his eyes widened as he laughed heartily. He ran after our dog, Toby, trying to get him to go under the willow tree to play as well.

There are moments like these that make me so happy to be a grandmother. He has really “rocked my world.” Since he now walks, runs, and jumps more steadily on his feet, he can really move when he chases me, and the dog(s) for that matter. PapPap just loves to watch Gryphon run around the backyard and gets a smile on his face when he sees him doing that.

Speaking more words have become more numerous over the past few weeks, and he is able to identify the objects/animals on the chunky puzzles as well as numbers and recognizes some of the alphabet as well. He loves books and enjoys helping you read one with him. He is so much fun to interact with on a daily basis. He loves to watch PBS programs (i.e. Curious George, Daniel’s Tiger Neighborhood, etc.), and absolutely loves YouTube’s “Little Baby Bum” nursery rhymes, shapes, counting songs, etc. Both mommy and Nana have to limit his time on these things, but he has learned some positive lessons as well from watching them (i.e. potty training, cleaning up, sharing). He is a quick learner and observes everything and everyone.

It is amazing to realize that he is almost 21 months old and in 3+ months, he will be 2 years old. It has been awesome to be a part of his growth development process and progress.

Gryphon is also aware that mommy is having another baby in November, so when the situation arises, we continue to explain that he is going to be a big brother really soon. He just gets a smile on his face and acts like he understands exactly what you are telling him. I just know that he is going to be “mommy’s little helper” and Nana’s too because he is learning to clean up his toys and loves to use the broom and dust alongside us. He also helps with the laundry by putting the clothes in the washer, hands me the clean clothes to put in the dryer, and then tries to help fold the laundry after it is dried.

This morning after I got up and even though I was tired from the weekend, I thought about the willow tree and how much fun it was playing under that tree this past week with my grandson, and it brought a smile to my face. Making memories with your children and/or your grandchildren is definitely a way to leave a legacy for them for years to come. I trust that both my daughter and her children will enjoy the family memories that we are having with them for many years as they live out their own lives and fondly look back at these times together.

May God bless you with your own children and grandchildren as you make lasting memories as well.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Through Water and Fire

In my walk with the Lord, I have always been a firm believer that “God does not give us more than we can bear” and that “He always goes with us” through our experiences–the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Two weeks ago, I was definitely tested on the “bad and the ugly” when I fell–up the stairs–holding my grandson who, thankfully, was not hurt. Fortunately, I fell forward and not backward. I was able to lay him gently at the top of the stairs, and–at the time–I thought all I hurt was my knee. That was on a Thursday afternoon but by Sunday, I was experiencing a lot of pain on the left side of my lower back which generated all the way down to my knee. By Tuesday, standing was getting more difficult, and my husband and I decided it was time to go to the chiropractor and my primary care physician.

My first visit was with the chiropractor whom I trusted completely to examine me and determine what the problem(s) were with my back. Unable to lie face down for an adjustment, she recommended that I go to my primary care physician because I might need an MRI to determine what the course of action should be. After an ultrasound/cold compresses, I went home and took some Aleve, along with bed rest for two days.

Before the doctor’s office could see me, I ended up going to the ER for several hours where they hooked me up to pain medication/saline drip and did a CT scan which showed I had a “bulging disc”–the cause of the pain. After the diagnosis, I was given discharge instructions, along with pain and nausea prescriptions. Luckily, I was scheduled for a visit with my primary care physician the next morning.

However, at the doctor’s office the next day, even though I had a scheduled appointment, the waiting room was quite busy and I ended up waiting for an hour just to get into the exam room. Sitting, however, was less painful than standing but the wait caused me to become more anxious than I realized. Did I mention that along with the back/leg pain, I also had a “terrible cough” all week as well and trying to breathe in and out while she used the stethoscope caused me to cough even more. Because strep throat was going around, she decided to do a strep test, and I was now diagnosed with strep throat. A prescription was called into the pharmacy for us to pick up in half an hour. I called my daughter immediately to let her know about the diagnosis and that she should take Gryphon to the doctor because he had also been coughing. The result was he, too, had strep throat.

In the meantime, my husband and I decided that I needed something to eat so we stopped at our favorite diner–Denny’s. They seated us right away, and I was able to relax and eat. After our meal as I waited for my husband to pay, a woman approached me and asked about the pain I was experiencing, where it was, and what caused it. She proceeded to tell me that she had been a massage therapist for over 20 years and was known in the local area where she had her business. Along with her background, she gave me an exercise that she knew would ease my pain although it would be uncomfortable to do. I thanked her and appreciated her advice which I later used and it did help relieve the pain.

Along with the “exercise” advice, she also told me that she was a strong believer “that the Holy Spirit” directed her to talk with me and I agreed that I believed that as well. God always allows individuals to come into your life at the time you need them has always been my philosophy, and it has been proven over and over throughout the years. By the ending of our conversation, my husband joined us and also agreed with what she shared. He, too, was thankful for her advice and that she allowed the Holy Spirit to talk with me as well. Isn’t the Lord good. She could have just sat in her seat and did nothing, but she obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and that action lifted my spirits tremendously.

I may not see this woman ever again, but I will always remember her kindness and words of encouragement during the time that I needed someone to lift my spirits. It also served as a reminder that “God loves me no matter what I am going through.” I do believe that He also will not give us more than we can bear without an “end” in sight to whatever is happening in our lives. We just need to remember and recognize the little things that He does–sending someone along at just the right time–to encourage us and give us the strength that we need at the time.

I want to thank my sister who was visiting for over a week from CA that–even though she had to work during the week on her computer–she was there when I needed someone to help with household items, as well as make me laugh by talking about past childhood incidences (i.e. toilet paper). Along with a number of my sisters, she is one that I can always count on and she is one of my best friends. The Lord knew when she booked her trip that I would need her more than ever.

Also a note of thanks to Grammy Cindy, who came down immediately to watch our grandson for the rest of the week. She didn’t hesitate to come when she was needed, and I appreciate her taking that time to do so for me and for my daughter as well. She is truly a “one-of-a-kind”, “down-to-earth”, “honest-and-true”, precious friend, and I feel very blessed to have her in my life. I really miss those “Panera” lunches we used to have before I moved to VA as well.

If you are going through some difficulty in your life at this moment, I pray that the Lord will send someone–your pastor, a friend, a family member, or a stranger–along to encourage your heart and to help give you the strength to go through your circumstances no matter how big or small.

May the Lord bless you in your daily walk with Him.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Nana’s Corner: 26 Pounds of Fun

Most of us have heard and/or seen the movie, “South Pacific”, and can recall one of the songs entitled “101 Pounds of Fun.” When my daughter told me how much my grandson now weighs and how tall he is, I could not help but think of that song. Now I can sing, “26 pounds of fun–that’s my little honey bun.” He is almost 16 months old and is 2’8″ tall. No wonder it has been harder to pick him up and carry him around. Phew! I am tired already thinking about it.

It has been amazing for me to see this precious little one grow up before my eyes, and I am a very proud Nana that’s for sure. When I watch him and see all of the things that he can do and is learning to do, I feel so privileged to be able to enjoy him every day (except when I have time off). So I decided to make a list of what I have observed him doing more of lately.

Some of the things he is currently doing–not total list–are:

. Climbs onto the couch and living room chair without assistance and gets off as well by himself.
. Climbs up and down the stairs backwards.
. Climbs the dining room chairs and his high chair as well.
. Gets on top the dogs and tries to pretend they are ponies.
. Plays ball with the dogs.
. Forms words or sounds like up, down, go.
. Calls the dogs into the house from outside.
. Plays hide and seek–hides himself in closets, bedroom, bathroom or under the table.
. Loves playing outdoors and going for walks, even in the rain or snow.
. Tries to help you dust and clean and uses his broom/dust pan to clean the floors.
. Observes anything and everyone when we take him to the store and/or restaurant.
. Loves books, music, playing with his car, kitchen, and blocks.
. Fixes things with his tools.
. Enjoys playing with the water in his water table.
. Learning to go on the potty and washes his hands in the bathroom sink–plus plays in the water.

Special moments with him throughout the day would definitely include sweet hugs and kisses that he gives me, his “mile-wide” smiles and playfulness throughout the day, bringing me a book of his own choosing to read to him, and doing unexpected things that make me laugh even when I am very tired.

This week his daddy is watching him for a few days–no Nana around. So for all the grandmothers out there who don’t get to see their grandchildren as often as they would like, I can now understand how you may feel. But when I realize the precious time he is spending with his daddy this week, it makes my heart sing, and I know that I will again enjoy my time with him next week.

So enjoy your families and friends this week–time is very precious with all of them.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Friendships Are Vital Relationships–Book Review

In Dawn Camp’s recent book entitled “The Gift of Friendship”, friendship(s) is defined and explored through the various insights and perspectives of numerous women writers and advice is shared on how to be open to friendships that God brings our way (or we seek out) and what we should or should not do to keep these precious relationships.

Filled with words of advice and wisdom regarding the importance of friendships, the list of contributors share their own personal and inspirational stories which cover such topics as building friendships within our community; being a friend in order to make friends; how to pursue friendships; how and why we need to show hospitality; making friendships on purpose; what we can learn about friendships from our family; being vulnerable in relationships; making a difference in another person’s life; and re-connecting with old friends.

If you are desiring to develop truly vital relationships with others in your community and beyond or want to re-kindle older friendships–those who have perhaps moved to another city or across town–or if you are feeling lonely and just want to develop closer relationships with your friends, then this book will inspire you to reach out and connect with those whom God brings across your path and to re-connect with someone you have lost contact with.

I would encourage you to read this thought-provoking book on the “gift of friendship” which can be purchased through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other book stores and/or distributors.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Love Is In The Air…Valentine’s Day 2016

This Sunday (February 14) is officially Valentine’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than to spend time with someone you love.

Actually, today (Friday), I had the extra time to spend with my husband because I did not have to babysit my grandson. He was going to spend the day with his daddy. So we decided to go to Fredricksburg to shop at an Ollie’s (favorite place to purchase books and K-cup coffee) and then to Costco.

Before we left, however, my husband surprised me with a gift of chocolate and a gift card to one of my favorite places–IKEA. It was a nice, unexpected surprise and showing of his love for me.

By the time we arrived in Fredricksburg, it was close to lunch time so we ate at a local family restaurant that we found during our last visit to the city. Hmmmm…delicious.

Next, we shopped at Ollie’s and Costco. While we were at Costco and partaking of one of the quiche samples they were demonstrating today, a woman who I did not know asked how many eggs I used when I made a quiche. We talked for a few minutes about the ingredients, and she said she found she was intimidated at trying to make a quiche since she had never made one before. I encouraged her to try it and before we parted ways, she thanked me for talking with her about something as simple as making a quiche and now felt encouraged to try to make one. We purchased our items and then headed home. Overall, we had a very enjoyable, relaxing day together.

On Sunday (Valentine’s Day), we will get to spend part of the morning (at church) and afternoon (eating lunch together) with my daughter/husband and grandson which we are looking forward to.

Valentine’s Day is called the “day of love”, but we don’t have to wait until one “special” day to show someone that we love and care about them. So today and throughout the year….

. Tell someone that you love them

. Hug someone today

. Smile at someone in the grocery store, etc.

. Show genuine concern and compassion towards others

. Telephone a friend or someone that you lost touch with and tell them you were thinking of them and miss your time together

I’m sure that many of you could add to above list. In fact, why don’t you create your own “love list” for the coming year as well. Love is definitely in the air, and it begins here in our own heart.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Reading for February: “The Gift of Friendship” by Dawn Camp (a review of this book will be forthcoming)