. Mardi Robyn Mardi Robyn

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Dollar General Dinner

Saturday three or four weeks ago we were all tired from working around the house, no one wanted to go to the grocery store in the next town to get groceries for supper.   We don't keep the refrigerator or freezer stocked right now because we are making trips back and forth from one house to the other moving. We buy what we need for a the time we will be in whichever place.   This trip we had not gone to the grocery store yet. 

I needed bubble wrap lined mailers to package orders, so my Mama and I went to the Dollar General that is five minutes give or take a few from our house. 

Did you know you can buy food to fix an entire meal there? I am not talking about off brand groceries either.   We bought Tyson Chicken, Kraft Pasta Salad, name brand green beans, a packet of gravy mix and hot dog buns to toast in the oven.  

Next time you don't feel like going to the grocery store for lunch or supper, check out your local Dollar General.    

*Disclaimer: I am not associated with Dollar General, and I was not paid or asked to do this post. It was my own idea!*

Monday, March 6, 2017

Why Am I Here? My Story Is Not Over.

What am I here for?  Why was I born? What am I suppose to do? What is God's plan for my life? No matter how we word it, we all ask ourselves the same thing,  I know I have.

From a young age I knew God called me, set me apart to be in service for Him, to be used by Him, to love others, help others, shine the light of Jesus in a world that is dark.

My story starts before I was born, before I was even in my Mama's womb really.  An injury lead a Doctor to tell my Daddy he would not be able to have any biological children.  For many years he had already been a Daddy, to some of his nephews, and to my two oldest sisters who my Mama gave birth to during her first marriage.  Both she and my Daddy were married before marrying each other.  I tell you this because it is no secret on my blog, I have two older sisters who are not half sisters, I do not believe in half or step as people say, neither do my Parents or sisters. We are all family, period.

One Sunday my Daddy was at the alter at Church praying with a group of people for a couple who wanted to have a baby. While praying, God spoke to Daddy's heart and let Him know He and my Mama would have a child.

Little did they know at the time, God was already forming me in my Mama's womb.  With God All things are possible. 

 My Mama found out in 1986 that she was pregnant with a baby girl, me! 

Doctor said I would be a Thanksgiving Baby, born around Thanksgiving.  I was born September 30th.  During pregnancy my Mama and I had become toxic to one another, she was swollen worse than normal swelling from pregnancy, and things were not looking good. My Mama went to the Doctor for a checkup and He told her she would be having the baby, me that day.   The Doctor did an emergency c-section.   He did not believe my Mama nor I would live the rest of the day.  I was born weighing 2lbs, 8 ounces. I dropped to 2lbs 5 ounces. 

The Doctor and nurses worked to keep both my Mama and I stable.  The Doctor came into the waiting room and told my Daddy he did not expect me to live much longer, that an artery was punctured and I was squirting out blood from my mouth, they had done everything to help me.   My Daddy told me when the Doctor left my Aunt began sobbing "She is going to die." Daddy told her to "Shut up, God gave me this baby, she is not going to die."  He trusted God.  It was not long after the Doctor came out and said "Mr. Manning we do not know what happened, but the artery has stopped squirting blood."  Daddy knew,  God intervened.   The Doctor did not have any hope that I would live through the night, but I did, both my Mama and I are alive and well today.

The Doctors told my Parents I would be in the hospital off and on most of my life, I would need a lot of therapy and help and would not develop mentally or physically as fast as others my age.  Instead, I was in the hospital one month.  My Parents believed God would heal me, and He did. I was not mentally or physically slow. I had no disability. I was normal. I was healed.  God healed me. 

Monday, May 28th, 2012,  Memorial Day at the age of twenty-five I wrecked a dirt bike at my house.  Prior to this day I had never been on a dirt bike,  I thought it would be a piece of cake, after all I had rode a bicycle and a 4-wheeler several times, what could be that different, I told myself.   My nephew who is like my brother, we are close in age, he showed me where the brakes, gas and clutch were several times to make sure I understood.  I was confident I did.  I hit the clutch with my right foot and gave the gas a push, bike did not move. I tried it again, same result, I tried again, the bike barely moved. A soft voice kept telling me, don't keep trying, stop.  I did not listen. I am stubborn. I thought to myself, you are just being silly. I was determined to ride it.  With some irritation and stubborn determination I repeated the steps, clutch, gas. Only this time I gave it to much gas and the dirt bike took off with me hanging on.  I experienced panic for the first time in my life. My mind reverted back to riding a 10 speed bicycle as a child, and hitting the brake on the handle bars, I did the same thing on the dirt bike, only what I thought was the brake was the gas.  The dirt bike went up on the back tire for a few feet and straight towards my jeep, I reached my left arm out towards the jeep to try to steady myself and jerked the handle of the dirt bike with my right hand, In doing so I was thrown into the brick wall of my house.  I hit my head 5-6 times.  My back was thrown into the corner of the carport bricks, the impact jarred my head.  I hit the right side of my head on the bricks, the back of my head and the left side of my head. Imagine turning your head fast and hitting it each time, that is about the how it went.  I tried to catch my balance, and ended up falling and hitting my head on the front of my jeep that was less than a foot in front of the carport.  I tried standing a third time, and could not feel my legs, my head was dizzy, I felt hot and disoriented. I fell to the ground, hitting the back of my head.  I laid there trying to inwardly tell myself that it would be okay.  I had felt dizzy and faint in the past, I knew from experience if I laid still and waited it would pass.  Only it did not.  Hundreds of thoughts flashed through my mind. I felt a gentle breeze wash over me, the day was hot, no breeze,  what I felt was the Holy Spirit with me, comforting me. I was not afraid. 

My parents told me I quit breathing for around five minutes, I turned blue, and had a seizure and was gone. 

My Daddy did mouth to mouth resuscitation to bring me back to breathing, nothing. It did not work.  I am told when nothing was working, he rebuked the devil and said I belonged to God, I was His child. I heard myself calling out to Jesus as I came too. God once again had intervened. It was not my time to go.

I was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital, told I had a concussion but would be fine.  During the week things started looking bad, within two weeks, things were not improving. I began having panic attacks, depression, and my speech was messing up, to name a few things that were wrong.  I remember laying on the loveseat in our office having one panic attack after another, I felt like I could not breath and I begged God to let me die, I told my Mama to call Daddy at work.  I felt like I was fixing to die and I wanted Him to be with her. Mama rushed me to my Doctor, Daddy met us there.  I was diagnosed with having had a traumatic brain injury, and post concussive syndrome.  Doctor said it looked like a classic textbook case.  In addition to having a traumatic brain injury and post concussive syndrome, I was diagnosed with a manic depressive disorder.  My journey with a brain injury was just beginning.  Later I would be diagnosed with non epileptic seizures, claustrophobia, memory loss, brain fogs, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a list of other symptoms that come with a major traumatic brain injury.  

During the last four years I have been to Doctor appointment after Doctor appointment, appointments with my brain injury therapist, physical therapy, and two different speech therapists.  The first speech therapist I went to, we had to stop going because the other brain injury symptoms were at their worst and I would have days of no sleep or multiple panic attacks when it was time to go to an appointment, I was tired all of the time.  After a month of going to physical therapy, it got to where I could not go anymore because of the same reason for quitting speech therapy. My Doctor gave me a list of exercises to do at home to improve muscle strength and get me walking without limping on my right side like I had been. I am happy to say I do not limp today, unless I walk for hours in the wrong shoes!  

In 2015 I saw a Physiatrist who specializes in brain injuries. He referred me to a speech therapist less than 20 minutes from where I lived. I went through her entire program. My memory block improved. I stopped having trouble getting words out of my mouth that were stuck in my brain.    It has been a long journey. 

Today in 2017 I have come a long way because of God, my Parents, my family, close friends, my Doctor, and therapists. At one time I was on twelve plus medications a day.  Now I am on two. I am no longer depressed, I go anywhere I want too.  I have not had a seizure in two, going on three weeks. Instead of seeing my Doctor weekly, I see him every six weeks.  I no longer see the Physiatrist, brain injury therapist, or speech therapist.  

God has shown me His love and mercy and endless grace through my recovery, through healing.  On the days and nights I wanted to give up and die, God was with me. On the nights I could not sleep, when all I saw was darkness, despair, and no hope, Jesus would show me His unconditional love for me.  He has been my strength.   God is not finished with me.

There is much more to my brain injury story, but I am trying to condense it.  I share my story with you to let you know, you are not alone.   Everything I have been through makes me that much more aware of God's calling on my life.  There was a time I sang in Churches, at festivals and events, I even spoke at Church.  I taught Sunday school for six years.  I love spreading the love of God.  Many times in the past four, almost five years I have questioned God, cried out to Him, wondering why He gave me gifts that seemed to be rotting. I have asked God why did I go through what I have gone through. Why am I not completely over this brain injury? What is my purpose?  Why didn't you let me die when I was a baby? God, why didn't you let me die when I wrecked? Why did you bring me back, was it to suffer with a TBI for the rest of my life? No!  Are you through with me? No! He is not. He did not bring me through everything He has brought me through to cast me aside now. I have to trust His timing. 

  I have dreams, visions, prayers that I have yet to see fulfilled.  I know in God's timing they will be.  He planted desires in my heart as a child that is part of His plan for my life. They have not happened yet, but I know that they will.  

Why am I here?  What does God want me to do with my life?  The answer is simple, love God and love people.  Maybe you are saying, yeah but what about God's calling?  That is His calling.  Yes, He has specific things He has called each of us to do based on the talents and gifts He gives us, and if we remain faithful to Him and are willing to let Him use us, He will fulfill everything in our lives that He promised.  While we wait, praise God. While we wait, serve God. While we wait, love each other.  Ask yourself what you can do to help other people, to show people God's love, and then do it.  Before you know it, God will open those doors that no one can close, but we have to keep His commandments, and follow in His ways.  

We are here for God's purpose. We are here to help each other.  I know if I let Him, God can use what I have gone through, and what I am going through for His glory to help others. If my struggles and all the times I questioned God and begged Him to let me die, if God can use me to tell just one person going through the same kind of despair, that it gets better, that God will walk through the storm with them, that He loves and cares for them, I know because I have been there. If God can use me to help just one person, to show them God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that His love is enough to see them through anything, then everything I have gone through will be worth it.  

Use my story, for your glory God, that is my prayer, that is why I am here, for God to use me to help others.  What the devil meant to harm me, God will use as a testimony of His love.  Use me God, use me. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hello 2017

A storm came through today and knocked our electricity out until after eight o'clock tonight.  After coming back from the store with my Parents this evening. It was dark, I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I did not want to spent a lot of time on my cellphone because I did not know how long the electricity would be off and my cellphone battery would die in a few hours.  So I read a book on my Kindle until the battery died on it.  When I turned it on the battery was on 12%. It did not take long for the battery to die.  My laptop was charged. I thought about plugging my kindle up to my laptop to charge it, but I decided to wait so I could use it's charge to plug my cellphone to it to charge it in case my cellphone battery died before the electricity came back on.  My iPad was my next option, but guess what? If you guessed the battery was dead on it, you guessed correctly! 

With the electricity off that meant the wifi was off, but with the battery issues mentioned above, even if the wifi did work, there would not have been any use on being online. 

It was dark except for candles and flashlights. I know thousands of people before me in older days lived without electricity and some people still do today, and they do just fine without it.  During hurricane Katrina in 2005 the electricity went off for two-three weeks.  I enjoyed the adventure. 
I have to admit thought, in eleven years since then I have become very spoiled to the modern technological conveniences of our day.

Not knowing what to do with myself, I took a nap.

Maybe this year I should learn to withdraw from my Laptop, iPad, Kindle, Cellphone, and Television.  Not entirely.  I enjoy technology.  I need technology to run my businesses.  But maybe, I spend to much time on them. 

When I am unsure what to do with myself because electricity is off and my electronics do not work, that is not good.  To give myself some leeway it was dark, and it is hard to read a book or write without lights, on the other hand people have done it for years using candlelight and tonight in my room I had a touch light that is battery operated. My excuses for not reading or writing by that light was "I wear glasses,"  "It will be hard to see."    Excuses, excuses, excuses.

This year I want to get in touch with myself. I cringe at that thought. Why does that make me cringe? I am not sure, because I like myself.   I want to get back into the habit or writing like I use to when I was younger.  I want my hobbies to be more meaningful than spending time on social media when I am not working on my businesses or keeping in touch with friends.   I do not want to waste time being idle.   I want to live life walking in my purpose. Not merely getting by living day to day in a screen zone of technology.

I did not mean for this post to be a welcome into 2017, but here it is. Hello 2017. Let's make this year count for something more than merely getting by.  This year I choose to live my life with meaning. I want to make a difference in the lives of other's and I cannot do that by staring at a computer screen when I do not know what to do with myself.  

I am glad the electricity went off tonight. I needed this time to reflect and come to the realization that I spend to much time doing nothing when I was created to do something meaningful for Jesus.

Welcome to 2017.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas!  I hope that y'all are having a wonderful day!  Today has been a good day spent with family.  

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

"O, give thanks to the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endures forever." I Chronicles 16:34

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing.  Know ye that the Lord He is God: It is He that has made us, and not we ourselves, we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.    Enter His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless Him.  For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations."   Psalm 100:1-5

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2 Chronicles 7:14

Let us remember this, today and everyday.

 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."      
 II Chronicles 7:14 

A View Through My Eyes: Week 23

Good morning!  This weeks "A View Through My Eyes" picture is of these two chimpanzee's that live at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana.  I took this picture on a trip that my Daddy, Mama, sister, nephew and I took to the Zoo in August of 2014.  We had a great time! I look forward to going back when the weather is cooler.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Goodbye's Are Never Easy

Saying goodbye is never easy, neither is this blog post. The picture is of my American Paint Horse Cupcake. Isn't she pretty? She was born late May 28th, 2015 to my horse Sassy ShyAnne. Her Daddy is Shiloh.  Sadly she became sick, almost overnight. I say overnight because even though the disease had probably been building up and taking it's toll on her immune system, it was not until Wednesday of this week that we noticed she was not acting herself. She wanted to lay down more than usual. She acted tired.  My Daddy noticed she was limping, but we thought maybe one of our other horses kicked her, as horses have a way of doing other horses when they do not want to be disturbed or feel jealous. 

Look at sweet baby Cupcake with her Mama hours after she was born. I remember Daddy woke me up that morning. I knew from the excitement in his voice that Sassy had her baby. I jumped out of bed, threw on some shoes and headed outside to see our lovely foal. A filly! 

Even Bama was excited about the new addition to our family. 

So precious. I enjoyed spending hours with her the day she was born, and the next day, and any other time after that, that I could get outside to play with her. 

In this picture you can tell Sassy Shy'Anne was a tired Mama.

This is one of my favorite pictures. Sassy and Goober lovingly checking on baby Cupcake. Goober was outside with Sassy when the baby was born. He seemed to share a special bond with her up until his death in October 2015, another unpleasant goodbye.

Cupcake was the first newborn foal I had ever loved on, pettied and held  in my arms. As you can see fro the picture, it was love at first sight. 

Cupcake loved laying in the hay. It just so happened that laying in the hay is where her life ended over a year after I took this picture.

This picture I took the day after Cupcake's sister was born. Same Dad, the stud in the background, but different mare, of course, considering the fillies were born two months apart. 

Cupcake was a good horse. She had her own personality with a mixture of  Shiloh's gentle nature, and Shy'Anne's sassieness.  I called her my Shiloh Look-a-Like because she looked so much like Shiloh when he was younger, and the older she got the more she looked like Shiloh. 

Wednesday night my Parents and I went to Alabama. Thursday evening we got a call from family who told us that Cupcake was on the ground. She did not look good. She would not get up. They tried to get her to stand up, she would attempt but fall back down.  I called our Veterinarian in Mississippi. 
She said from the description it sounded like Cupcake had encephalitis, which is dangerous, life threatening and contagious to other horses.  She said she would ride out and see Cupcake and see what she could do, but she prepared us for the worst,  just in case.

By the time the Vet got to our house in Mississippi, we were already on the road headed back home from Alabama, so we could be there to handle whatever we needed to handle. 

We were anxiously awaiting the call back from the Vet, but dreading it at the same time. At last my phone rang, I handed it to my Daddy, I knew I would break down in tears on the phone if I answered and I did not want to do that. 

The result, Cupcake indeed had encephalitis, a bad case that could not be controlled. My other horses had to have vaccines, Shiloh would not let the Vet give him his vaccine, so she left the shot for me to give him, which I did today, but that story is for another blog post. 

Cupcake had to be euthanized. My heart broke.  I was not there when she was put to rest, and her suffering ended, but my heart was. I cried and cried.  I am crying thinking about it now while typing this blog post.

I was not with her when she entered this world, and I was not with her when she left this world, but the time I was with her between her beginning and end was special to me.

In my eyes, you died to young Cupcake, but you will never be forgotten. I love you Cupcake, my Shiloh look-alike. 

A View Through My Eyes: Week 22

 Earlier this Summer my Parents and I were in Alabama, were staying in the camper at the time when we made trips to Alabama.  One evening I decided to go outside and make jewelry. Bindi was curious! I like the expression on her face, it is like she is asking "What is all this stuff?" 

I love her happy smiles! 

Throwback Jewelry Photo's: Post 1

Last week I came across picture of jewelry I made years ago. I thought these pictures were gone. I was happily surprised when I found them.  The bracelet above I made using mini blue and white glow in the dark pony beads.

 This bracelet I made using blue glass beads and golden yellow pony beads. The blue beads have a unique story.  One day my Mama and I went to a Pet Store in Monroeville, Alabama. I believe I was sixteen at the time.  While at the checkout at the Pet Store, we saw a container of beads sitting on the container.  The woman working there said she sold beads! I remember how excited I was to find somewhere else nearby that sold beads besides Wally World.

 For this bracelet I used a combination of plastic beads. Clear, pearl white, and red. 
 This bracelet I made or did a family member make it? I do not remember. I do remember liking how pretty it looked, even though the beads were plastic. 

This bracelet turned out colorful!  I used a variety of shapes, all plastic beads.

I enjoy looking back at jewelry I have made.  Looking at these pictures along with others I came across inspired me to start a new blog series. Throwback Jewelry Photo's. Ever so often I post a throwback jewelry photo on my Instagram (MardiRobyn), so why not start a series of blog posts?  

Check back right here, every Thursday for four or five throwback jewelry photo's.
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