Morning Glory & Hope After a Stroke by Lisa Stump

“Morning Glory”
by Lisa Stump

Opening at the break of day
Her beauty steals your breath away
Bright purple trumpets seem to say
“Enjoy me for I’m here today”

The Day rolls on eyes turn away
No one sees her fade to gray
She bows her wrinkled head to pray
“Thank you Lord I’m here today”

Still shriveled she clings to the vine
She knows that she is past her prime
But there’s a seed pod down the line
There will be a new day

She marks the grave to remind you
It’s only temporary
This isn’t where your loved one stays
She reminds you that
You’re here today.
Lisa 2008

This poem was inspired by a spontaneous morning glory pictured below that bloomed in our garden this summer. I am a member of the stroke network a wonderful on line support group for stroke survivors and caregivers. They are having a creative writing issue coming up and this is one of the poems I am submitting and I thought you may enjoy it too.
My mother had sent me morning glory seeds at Easter. The girls and I planted the seeds in a separate planter in early spring and the morning glories bloomed and then withered. Somehow a seed blew over to the turtle garden. I thought it was remnants of a green bean plant we had in there before so I left it there and latched it to a twig to grow. Imagine our surprise when this beauty bloomed. When the seed pods formed again I transferred them back to their original planter and we have had several blooms again.
Morning Glories have special significance to my mom, my sister and me. We choose morning glories for my father’s grave marker when he died at 34. We were so scared. My mom was only 30 years old, I was 10 and my little sister was 7. The morning glories reminded us that after night comes the morning. We all look forward to seeing daddy again in the morning after our mourning.
The struggle since the stroke has brought me some dark, discouraging days. When I saw the beauty in the morning glory, it inspired me to be thankful for today. Sometimes the small gifts God gives are the best ones. I am so thankful for this moment and every moment I am here and can enjoy my family and God’s gift of nature.
God Bless, Lisa

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23

My friend Lisa Stump, whom I have known from years from the NHE home school group, sent this poem and photo to me. I knew immediately that I wanted to share it on my blog, so I asked her to give us all a little background on her stroke. (Three of my friends who are about my age, fortysomething or maybe even younger, have had strokes in the past few years. Remember, a stroke is not just something that strikes old folks! Be aware of the symptoms and get treatment as quickly as you can!)

Thank you, Lisa, for blessing us with this poem and encouragement.

Here is my summary of my stroke and recovery journey so far.

I had typical stroke symptoms but I ignored them. I thought the pain in my head must be another migraine. My right hand and leg weren’t working. Hmm, I must have pinched a nerve in my back. Maybe I just slept on it wrong. My mommy instincts told me to push past the pain. It was 6:30 AM, and I went back to bed to sleep it off.

When I woke up at 10 AM, I couldn’t speak right or stand up. My husband and daughter told me I was going to the hospital even though I insisted that there was nothing wrong. This would be a huge inconvenience to everyone and only mess up our schedule.

I made Madeline call her worship band leader to ask for a ride that afternoon. They told her to stay with me and started praying. When I went to sign myself in at the hospital at 12 PM, I couldn’t even hold the pencil to write my name.

I could have gotten the medicine that stops stroke within 3 hours. Instead I had waited 5. We can’t save ourselves – but God saves us. He did a miracle that day. I believe the Lord healed me of some of the worse defects, because by the end of the night, I could hold a pencil and talk normally again.

However the stroke destroyed part of the right side of my cerebellum. So I was left with severe balance problems. I still think I am a miracle because a stroke in this part of the brain can take away your ability to swallow or breathe on your own. So I was very blessed. The doctors discovered that the cause of my stroke was a hole in my heart called a PFO. 25% of the population has this birth defect.

A year and a half of physical therapy and a heart surgery later, my family has adjusted to a new kind of normal. But when you have a balance problem, every day is a struggle just to remain upright. My kids hear phrases like “don’t talk or walk behind me” and “don’t wave, rock, or jump in front of me.”

This is my effort to create an environment where I can be the mommy they’re used to: an environment where I don’t convulse and fall down, where I don’t become too exhausted to speak, or have to go and lay down.

As difficult as it is to create this environment in my home with two animated girls, it’s impossible to create outside the home. I can’t tell the guy next to me to “stop walking in my peripheral vision”.

Losing control has caused me to realize that God is in control of my life. Just as I relied on Him to get my orange juice from my fridge to my kitchen counter, I rely on Him to get from my car to my seat at church. It’s very humbling to fall over in a public place. But the Lord gave me this verse while I was still in the hospital:

Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
Isaiah 50:7

He is my helper, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day.

– Lisa


P.S. from Virginia: If you are reading this in a Facebook note, via an automatic blog feed, you probably can’t see the photo of the morning glory. You can see it by reading the original post at

About virginiaknowles

I am a mother and grandmother of a huge family, and I still home school my youngest daughter. I write to stay sane. My WordPress blog is a combination of my Blogspot blogs, and may not be continually updated.
This entry was posted in Art~Beauty~Creativity, Fellowship of Friends, Grace and Wonder, Health, Photographs, Poetry, Stress~Weariness. Bookmark the permalink.

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