Burden – Five Minute Friday

               – Burden – Five Minute Friday –

It’s  been a while since I’ve taken part of the Five Minute Friday. Incase you don’t know, it’s a fun challenge I take, being part of a group of writers where we are given one word each Friday morning. However, we have to try our darnedest not to spend more than five minutes, writing what ever we want to with that word somehow included.

So, on your mark . . . get set . . . GO !

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First question – Have you ever had  to give a helping hand that took tons of your time, effort, thoughts, and muscle? Admit it. It can be one bit of a burden. I bet tons of examples pop up of burdens that have come your way, right?

Next question – Have you ever had to deal with one extra large burden that also made you smile?

A few years back I did a few cleaning jobs at a retirement center. One was helping an older man’s apartment stay clean. I kept busy putting extra this-and-that’s in it’s right spot here-and-there, along with keeping those counters and carpet spotless. One dear, older man I was glad to help.

After a few years, he had to move to another retirement place close-by. One problem: I was the only one he had locally who could help him move. No way can I share all that needed to be done, especially on moving day. From 8am to 11:00pm, I gave it my all. It’s impossible to explain how tired I was when my head finally hit my pillow.

All day, as I was working – almost literally, my tail off  – I was wondering if I just might be in that man’s situation when I get older. That caused one of my favorite verses come to mind off and on all day.  — Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I could have title it all a burden, especially that one sure tiring day. But that ‘burden’ caused me to smile more than frown, making it feel far less less of a burden than I could have.  Through it all, I knew I wasn’t alone. God rolled up His sleeves right along with me as I rolled up mine, being I felt He was working right next to me. He sure gave that boost I needed. The best timing of a few things occurred, the perfect person showed up at the perfect time, and that last item I had to load in my car barely fit, but it did ! More encouraging things that occurred would take forever to write.

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When my bed hit that pillow I sure was fried, but I knew all the work was worth it. Better yet, I knew God was right there with me thinking ‘Mission accomplished.’

 

 

 

 

Okay, so maybe the rough draft took a bit more than five minutes, but well worth all the remembering. (I wont’ say how long fixing that rough draft took.)

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

Because You Love Me – Song #4

         – Because You Love Me – Song #4 –

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Have you ever cried the first time you heard a song, or as that saying goes ‘balled your head off’?  I sure have. One certain song called Because You Loved Me, by Celine Dion, sure did that to me. Still to this day it dampens my eyes. 

It has me think of the brain illness called Encephalitis I went through years ago. Not so much about me but my husband who went through it all right along side me. I couldn’t have made it through it without him. So as you listen to every word, you’ll see how it shares bits and pieces of just how he was my eye when I couldn’t see and lifted me up when I couldn’t reach. If you know my story, (click here for part of my story.) then I suggest you get a hanky. 

I could have chosen many different videos for this song but, as you begin to watch, you’ll see why I had to choose this one. Sure, it is opposite of who’s who, being I was the one laying down. I’m sure you’ll see why I wanted to use this version of this song.

 

 

It’s not just about my husband and the love he showed me, but also about God and the love He showed me. Now being close to twenty-nine years since, I still ponder on just how God carried me from the day it hit me to now. As the song says, He was my strength when I was weak. 

I want you to listen carefully, seeing if a person comes to your mind that was holding you tight through a tough trial? Or better yet, how God showed you much love, carrying you even tighter.  If this song words if perfectly for you as it does me, please let me know. 

#1- Click here if you haven’t yet read that part of my story. 

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

Loved – Five Minute Friday

 – Loved – Five Minute Friday

 

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– Loved

Note the word ‘Loved’ is past tense.  I’ll now think of the many times in my past that I sure have loved.

I have loved the time God opened my heart. I felt He directly said to me ‘I love you’. The most important day of my most important memory lane that began many years ago.

I have loved the time I saw my husband for the first time. That second had me believe that ‘Love at first sight’ can actually be true.

I have loved the outcome of even that, hall shall I say it, uncomforted feeling I felt giving birth to each of my four children. So worth it, indeed.

I have loved how God decided what was the best time for me to have that life changing seizure. It was so obvious God knew the best time and place for it to take place, for it truly showed, even though it was tough, His Fatherly love was right there.  (Click here to read more about that day.)

I have loved the entire route I’ve taken at getting my first memoir/book out. It sure hasn’t’ been easy. God showed me it was Him pushing me forward from start to finish.

Why don’t you look back at those times from your past you’ve loved. We should never run out of time to continue thanking God for that love He knew we’d never forget.

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Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

Staring At My Shoes

                  – Staring At My Shoes –

shoe-carnival-5“Okay, the doors now shut. I’m home. I’m pregnant. Now what,” I, the most nervous nineteen year old in the world, asked myself. I walked into my home, having found out a few hours before that I was pregnant. There I was, facing the fact I had to tell  my parents.

What made it the hardest reason to tell them, or really anyone, was because the year before I shared with them how God had graciously called me one of His chosen; a Christian. But it’s one of those situations where I was then the only one in that home who even understood what that was all about. Don’t get me wrong. My family didn’t shrug me away when I told them I was a newly saved follower of Christ. Far from it. I just felt I had to be a bit on guard in what ever I said or did in that home that year. Needing to tell them I messed up and was pregnant was obviously something I didn’t look forward doing.

Now standing inside, having just prayed outside that door before coming in, I continued wondering what to do as I started hearing my parents talking in the kitchen down the hall.

Should I tell them now or wait? I should just get it over with. Okay. I can do this. I hear them in the kitchen. I guess I’ll just walk down the hall and tell them.

A few steps I went, but the stairs up to my room right there were sure tempting.

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Stay to the right, go to the kitchen, and tell Mom and Dad. But no, my nervousness won and I went to the left and started walking up.

Half way up I stopped. NO! Just tell them. TELL them. I then turned around and went back down. Slowly I took a sharp left, went a few more steps and there I was.  The shoes I had on I can picture because, as I walked in I was looking down, staring at those shoes. If I didn’t have that comfort inside of knowing God’s Fatherly arm was over my shoulder as I walked in, I don’t know how I could have survived the shame I felt.

 

Now sure, I’d love to get into detail about what happened in that kitchen, but that is all shared in my book. I will say, however, that I began loving my parents and siblings even more after they learned what I was now facing. Being as I was not the only one of my siblings this had happened to, mind you, explains why my parents weren’t ignorant to this type ordeal. However, my family responded as if I was the only one on earth they cared for and loved. And on that day, I sure needed that.

To be continued.

Click HERE  to read how this entire story began.

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

4 Reasons We Need Our Pillow

          – 4 Reasons We Need Our Pillow – 


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1- Pillows help keep your head, neck, and spine in a normal position during sleep.
2- Pillows keep you from waking up with neck pain.
3- Pillows allow you to breathe easier and have improved circulation.
4 – Pillows are a necessity to hold all your thoughts.

Number four I hold to the most.
While I was growing up, there was no staring at your phone or laptop before you decided to turn your brain off and fall asleep. And, having a TV in your bedroom wasn’t as common as it is now. There wasn’t as much stuff around that kept you from thinking like we have today. For me, when my head hit my pillow meant I was going to think, think, and think some more. And what soaked up all those thoughts? My pillow.

As years went by, my pillow began to know more about me than anyone else. After all, it wasn’t worth telling my parents, siblings, or friends my many thoughts that had built up during each day. My pillow sure knew them all, though. Happy and sad thoughts it held. My pillow knew more than anyone else what toys I wish my mom would let me get when younger, to who I had crushes on as I got older, or if my sister would let me wear that one shirt of hers.  I know it felt all my joy-filled thoughts when I got my first real job. And I bet my pillow wished it could have told me to zip my thoughts shut after that day I got my driver’s license. And yes, my pillow sure knew how I dreaded getting out of bed for school every morning year after year.

I’m sure it jumped for joy when I began putting many of my thoughts into my new best friend: my journal I kept next to my bed. Here’s an example of what my pillow was spared from.

March 8, 1980 (12 years old)
Today was boring. All I did was clean up around the house. Mom was at work and Dad and David were out of town. It was a pretty day, but totally blah. I didn’t do much of anything that seemed important. A day not to remember. Plus, my skin is extra irritating today. Why me? Why do I have to have eczema on my arms? I mean, out of all the people in my family, why do I have to be the one to have it?

So why am I talking about my pillow? We all have pillows, so what’s the big deal? And why did I put the word pillow in the title of my book?

The day I found out I was pregnant was the day all my thoughts took a drastic turn. (1*) That pillow began its toughest job: hearing all my thoughts that were consumed with guilt, embarrassment, worry, shame, regret, and more questions than I’d ever had. b517537b7375822db752c6dd7c03ce4aEvery night, lights off, I was in my own world, free to load all my thoughts and tears onto my pillow. Family and friends knew some of what I was thinking, but still, not nearly as much as my pillow did. As each new day began, it would hear me think,

“I wish this was all just a dream?”

 

 

 

Then, as I got deeper into writing, including more of how God showed His Fatherly hands carrying me from beginning to end, I began to think differently.
Wait! How dare I not include who else knew all my thoughts: God! After all, He knew far more than anyone or anything about what I was dealing with. God and My Pillow. Perfect!

I felt much peace inside when I decided to give my book the name, using both who knew all my thoughts from beginning to end—God and Your Pillow.

Psalm 139:2-4  describes it perfectly. —  You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
1* – click here to read when I found out I was pregnant.

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

That Unforgettable Drive

               – That Unforgettable Drive –

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The first week of each new year gets me thinking of what the future holds. And, it also gets me thinking of what’s taken place in the past, specifically during the first week of January in 1991.

The next part of my encephalitis illness story fits perfectly right now being this new year of 2018 recently began. Why? Because it was during the first week of January in 1991 that I left my eighteen-day stay at Highline Community Hospital. (1*)

I was fine physically, but my brain was dealing with remembering a majority of what things were for, or what they were called, and what many words meant. I didn’t have to re-learn so many facts. They were all still in there, but had to be pulled out over and over again in order for me to happily say, “I know that!” Thankfully, though, it would be getting better.

Leaving the hospital on that day, I was nervous, excited, and scared at the same time. Keep in mind how that hospital—because of my illness which caused me to not retain most of what took place in the past—was the only place I could ever recall living in. Leaving that place was starting, for me, one major adventure. My thoughts were filled with questions about everything I saw outside the hospital.

My husband, Chris, was chaperoning me to our car. As he opened the passenger door, I looked in as if I had never even been in a car.  After looking all around inside, I eventually sat down next to Chris.

“We have this here to keep us safe in the car,” he said. “It’s called a seat belt.”

That was just one of many facts he was warned he’d need to tell me. For Chris, it was all a bit funny, but sad as well, with him wondering if I would be this way from then on.

My head was constantly turning back and forth, looking out the windows while the car was going down that first street. I’ll never forget thinking how all the cars looked so different from one another. It wasn’t long before Chris’s ears were drowning with my repeated three words: What is that? He knew it was best to keep the answers simple, so he tried to explain things in such a way that I could understand. One of the tougher examples was why some streets had weird lights that made you stop, while other streets, called freeways, didn’t make you stop nearly as much. Buildings, cars, signs, trees – you name it, it was new.

On one of those freeways I was feeling a bit down, because it started hitting me just how little I knew. That is, however, until I noticed something ahead.  A sign off to the side began getting bigger as we drove closer. A smile on my face began to form. That smile began getting bigger the closer we got to that sign.

“What . . . what is that up there? It looks . . . it looks like I know what it is!”  I still can remember how I felt, feeling a sense of hope was found!

“What do you see?” asked Chris. “What looks familiar?”

“The big picture thing over that building. Isn’t that some letter?” I said while pointing, feeling a spark growing inside. “Isn’t that some place where you can get these little, weird, long-shaped things? And then you put this . . . this liquid stuff on it. It’s a certain color. And isn’t it something people eat?”

My excitement could be heard and seen, as my smile extended from ear to ear.

Chris must have felt like I was some little girl who just thought she saw Santa.

“What are they called, those things with runny stuff on them?” I asked.

“Marianne, that building is a place everyone goes to eat, called McDonald’s. And what you are thinking about is called a french frie, with this red runny stuff you put on it is called ketchup.

My brain was soaking in all he was saying.

“That makes a lot of sense to me now. I sort of remember I loved eating that! Right? Do you think . . . ”

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“I’m taking the exit right now to go there.”

 

 

Happy as could be, I learned what a drive-through was as we got closer to that big sign which was now right in front of me. And a minute or two later those fries were also right in front of me on my lap. 

That first bite instantly had me remembered why I remembered that sign. Yum!

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To this day, whenever I’m at McDonald’s, I feel this little piece of kid still in me, enjoying that weird red runny stuff on those fries.

*1 –Click here to Read how this entire story began.

Treadmill + Math = Hope

            Treadmill + Math = Hope

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I’ve shared before now what went on inside that hospital when it was discovered I had brain damage from what’s called encephalitis. Twenty-eight years ago is when the hospital had become my new home, since I was not remembering much of anything before the illness hit me. But what about my family and friends?  Something about having their own friend, daughter, sister, mom, or wife in the hospital, with brain damage, put a big dent in their Christmas joy. A few even told me it was the toughest Christmas season they had ever had.

Cassie, our three-year-old daughter, however, was actually having a ball. A few families from church who had children her age graciously let her stay at their homes. That sure helped to keep her mind off of what wasn’t making sense to her: me.  My mother, mother-in-law, and a dear family from church helped immensely with watching our six-month-old baby. All this comfort and support took a load off of Chris, as his heaviest problem was taking in all the information he was obtaining from the doctors. Everything he was finding out about me was shadowing him with fear and tears, since he didn’t know if I would remember what being married even meant.

I, however, had no idea what was going on outside that room. I just stayed in my bed, listening to the doctors as they tried to get my body and brain functioning as close to normal as possible. 

Happy to say, there was noticeable improvement as each day went by, showing them more and more what I could remember. For example, my dearest friend, whom I had a small inclination of who she was, came by to visit one of my last days there. She came holding one thing that made my day: a Diet Coke. I was excited when I saw that because I recognized it! I gazed up and down the can as I read everything on it. Not sure what diet meant, or what pop even was, but man, oh, man, was I glad I remembered something about that can.

Were those days difficult? Yes. Sad? Yes. Worrisome for many? Yes. But thankfully, the doctors could tell that physically I was getting back to normal, so they allowed me to begin jogging on a treadmill a few times each day. I loved it! They then added one thing to that.

“As you’re jogging, look at this screen. Tell us what these things called numbers make you think.”

 

Up on a screen I saw . . .math facts

2+2 =

5+3 =

6+1 =

9+3 =

 

I was a little confused at first, but it was only a few minutes until it clicked.

“4; 8; 7; 12.”

“Good job!” I then did more with longer lists. “Wow! You answer those fast.” I’ll never forget how overjoyed I felt. Giving the correct answers gave them more proof that my brain was holding memory from my past.  There was hope!

This illness could have caused many physical problems. One main factor of what effects would show was where in the brain the illness hit. Thankfully, the area it hit me did not cause any permanent physical damage. To this day, God hears me thank Him for keeping me from most of the physical problems it could have caused.

I can’t help but think how, in the Bible, Paul, himself, had a physical ailment. It shows how he was at the same time “sorrowful” yet still “rejoicing.” And that’s how I am to this day about what hit me. My brain suffered much, yes, but I do find thankfulness wrapped up in it all with the fact I stayed physically intact. But more so because God has used it to confirm I am one of His. Even though it wasn’t understandable to me at the start, I knew there was something special between me and this man named Jesus. 

We all need to recognize, like Paul, that peace can exist somehow, somewhere, during a trial. It may take a while to find, but it’s there. We just need to keep our focus on Christ and what’s right in order to have joy in our ‘Why, God?’ trials.

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Can you share any story of your own about how a speck of peace was felt during a tough time? We all need to be reminded that peace and trial can go hand-in-hand.