Stroke to Heels is an inspired memoir that speaks to a woman’s life from childhood and how her early experiences in life shaped her beliefs, values, and faith. Especially sharing with readers, an in depth of personal experiences, the story of her tumultuous times dealing with various health issues and learning to live after a stroke.
The author invites readers to see how faith, dedication and hard work were able to provide her with a way to cope with and overcome her challenges.
Her great lessons about faith, hope and restoration was formed from her resilient and assurance in the power and love of Jesus Christ.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.31(d)|
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First of All
As human beings, we think we should be able to predict the results in our lives if we do the right things? For instance, if you study hard enough, you will pass the exam, or if you eat right and exercise, you will never get sick? I often wonder why and how we think we are in control when there is a God who created all things, who knows all things, and who can control all things?
How often do you go to bed with the thought that something will be wrong in the morning? No one wants that? We all pray for sweet dreams, sound sleep, and a bright morning?
We have certain routines we perform each night before bedtime? Perhaps you do some cleaning in the kitchen, wash your face, read a chapter or a page in a book, etc? One of mine is to pray with the family? We call it our prayer altar, and it consists of my husband, our darling boys, Jesus, and me?
However, I stay up longer to make sure the kitchen is tidy and maybe start preparing some things we'll need for the next day?
I believe no one goes to bed hoping something might go wrong with him or her or any loved one by morning? Instead, we go to bed hoping, believing, and trusting that the next morning will be much better than the previous? "Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Ps? 30:5b NLT), especially when you have dotted all your i's and crossed all your t's to the best of your human ability?
If you are like me, who thinks everything has to be done in a certain way and always wants it done exactly that way, you'll think yes, you have all things under control — your children, your marriage, your husband, your business, ministry, and everything else that concerns you, and perhaps even a few that do not directly concern you? If something goes wrong in one or more of those areas, it will affect you? But when things are not going as smoothly as you'd like, you still have hope, knowing it's just a phase and that surely all will be well?
Well, that was me, and yes, I went to bed one night feeling good after a great meal, family prayer time, sending the boys off to bed, and spending some romantic time alone with my husband? Alas, I woke up next morning feeling hale and hearty except for one thing: an unusual heavy feeling in my hand and leg when I got up to go to the bathroom?
At first I thought it was because of the gymnastics I had performed with my husband night before or perhaps because of the way I had slept; maybe I rolled over onto my arm while I was asleep? All sorts of normal causes came to mind, but none were related to illness?
Looking back at my life, from as far back as I can remember, I have mostly been aware and in control of things around me? That does not mean I respond to them all the time, but most times I have a clue of what it is going on and just pretend that I don't and not let it bother me?
Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, I was sick with malaria most of the time? Because of the frequency of the illness, my parents didn't allow me to go to a boarding school, unlike my siblings? I was told by doctors that my sickliness was due to my blood genotype, AA, and that people with that genotype are prone to malaria (fever) and any stressful situation makes them sick?
But as an adult, after giving myself to Christ and studying His word, I have become aware of who I am in Christ and know that I am now a new creature and have been redeemed from sickness? "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person? The old life is gone; a new life has begun" (2 Cor? 5:17 NLT)?
After overcoming the roller coaster of illness, my health was very good until I relocated to the United States to join my husband and was diagnosed with a weak immune disease and placed on drugs? I traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, in 2010, six years after I moved to the United States but I had to cut my trip short and return immediately when a painful red rash appeared on my left shoulder and ached badly? I was told to apply mentholated talcum powder and that it was just a heat rash? But the pain became unbearable by the third day? That was when my husband changed my ticket so that I could return earlier than planned? From the airport, he took me straight to my doctor, who diagnosed the rash as shingles?
Now that my shingles outbreak, which left me with scars on my left shoulder, has been treated, I can't travel anywhere without being cleared by my doctor, who checks if there are any disease epidemics in my destination city or country before I embark? But this great day — October 11, 2017 — made the word of God clearer and more meaningful to me? Especially His word in Zechariah 4:6: "This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies?" There is no list of dos and don'ts to avoid life's problems? All the research and step-by-step guidelines out there are only suggestions to guide us toward healthy living, but there is nothing conclusive that can ensure a healthy life?
The only way, the only truth, of living to avoid and overcome illness and stroke is Jesus!
The mind is shaped by whatever you feed it? A newborn baby is clueless of what is going on in his or her environment, but whatever you feed their minds forms who they are, who they will become, and what they believe? In a 2015 blog post by the University of Warwick, it says: "babies' minds begin to develop from birth, before they have language and before they begin to use autobiographical memory? Their interactions with their primary caregivers play an important role in developing their minds? So, who their caregiver is and whatever the caregiver says to them plays 80% role in their life?"
The mind is a powerful object, and we should be careful what we feed it? What my caregivers fed my mind during childhood played a major role in what I did and became, until now?
I grew up in a Christian home with sisters and brother; we also had some relatives who lived with us? My parents raised us to live in love and taught us the way of the Lord?
My mom always told us to live as if we had no one to help us, to expect nothing from anyone; and that we just had to work and pray? I guess she formed that notion basically because she lost her mom at age six and was raised by her stepmom? So I grew up with that mind-set, that I had to work, work, work and figure things out for myself to make it in life? This shaped my life from childhood?
Margaret Boucher wrote, "The groundwork for your unconscious mind was laid in early childhood? What your parents said, how they acted and what you experience became embedded in your subconscious mind?"
Eventually I went to college and gave my life to Christ, not because I was born into a Christian family and was just going to church because my parents said so but because I fell in love with Jesus for me, by myself?
Then one day, while reading my Bible, I came across a scripture that said: "I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me" (Phil? 4:13 NLT)? This verse confirmed my motto growing up, that there is nothing on earth that I cannot do if I put my heart to it and pray? Because I read it in the Bible that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me (Phil? 4:13)?
This scripture was embedded into my DNA: there is nothing I cannot do if I believe it, put my heart to it, and pray? These words became the main motivation for me to do and conquer things because I kept repeating them in my mind? Even when I am scared, I find myself saying, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me?"
This scripture became the basis for all that I do? Even when I'm tired, I keep telling myself, "Bookey! You can do all things?" I started doing business as far back as 1988, when I was in secondary school (known as high school in the United States)? My mom was an accountant at the National Bank Nigeria and also had a store where she sold provisions and some tailoring accessories? Her neighbor back then was a store that was used as a bakery depot? The bread depot closed early? As soon as all the bread baked for that day was distributed to different vendors, they left? I discovered that all through the day, people kept coming to my mom's store to ask for bread, and all we could tell them was that it was finished for the day?
I started learning how the vendors made their profits from collecting and selling the bread, and one day I told my mom I wanted to sell bread?
At first, she was reluctant? She said, "Your father won't allow it? You are not always here at the store?" She was concerned because she had a store employee managing the store and wondered how I would keep up with my education? I explained to her what I had learned about how to calculate the commission and how to pay the bakery depot and how it wouldn't affect my school work? I also told her that I didn't like the way we turned people away after the bakery employees were gone for the day? She finally agreed? That was how I started a business in high school; I believed I could do all things through Christ, who strengthens me? In 1995, while studying law in college, I started a fashion business because of my friends' and colleagues' compliments about my tailored garments compared to their clothes, which they bought from big stores in Lagos or during their holiday travels outside the country? I have a very modest way of dressing, and I prefer to make my own clothes to suit my style? But I discovered that most people liked what I wore, and they started asking me how to get it? Well, I said to myself, "Wake up, girl! Here comes another avenue for you to make money?" I was a solution to someone's problem? I then met with my tailor and asked him to teach me how to measure? So the next time someone asked about my garments, I proudly announced it was made by me and if they were interested, I would measure them, charge for fabric and the sewing fee plus my profit, and make their desired garment? The business became so big that after I graduated from Nigerian law school during the 2000-2001, then I went to serve in the youth corps service? In Nigeria, youth corps service is similar to community service in the United States, but you are required to do it as a contribution to society? So while serving my community, I continued with the fashion business? Today, I have a fashion line called Attolle' Clothiers? Attolle is my indigenous name from Kwara State in Nigeria pronounced A-TO-LLE' meaning full and running over?
Even after I was hired at a law firm, I still made clothes? The fashion business grew so much that I started making shirts for bankers, both female and male, and some groomsmen? I also got contracted to make the uniform for the famous Big Mac fast-food stores with the head office in Maryland, Lagos, Nigeria? In November 2003, I got married? I had planned to wait a year before starting a family because I wanted to spend the first year of marriage bonding with my husband, but as they say, man proposes, but God disposes? I became pregnant immediately?
In the fifth month of my pregnancy, I traveled to London for vacation, and my husband joined me there? I went back to Nigeria after the two-week holiday, and he went back to the United States? Upon arriving home, I started processing my travel documents to the United States, and by May 2004, I left Nigeria for the United States to join my husband?
Upon my arrival in Houston, Texas, where he resided, the same drive I'd had from childhood, that I could do all things, came over me? I was now six months pregnant and in a new territory? My husband would leave for work in the morning and expect me to just relax with the baby and wait for him to get home? But I was too full of life and energy to just sit and watch TV all day?
I cleaned the house, cooked, and rearranged things? Maybe I should have written a book then, but the wifey role took over my mind, and I kept busy doing household chores like a new bride wanting to please her husband?
I could scrub the bathroom and kitchen floors without feeling any pain? I was so strong that I forgot I was pregnant sometimes? But my husband always got angry with me when he got home and found me cleaning and mopping the floor? After the delivery of my first son, I entered college in Houston to study law? I dropped my baby off at the child- care center and went to my classes? While studying, I started a small business of buying items from the United States and sending them to Nigeria to sell?
In 2005, while I had all of this going on in my life, I decided to get a job? My first job in the United States was at Wachovia Bank? I got the job just to contribute because I didn't go to class every day and I started to feel empty? I had always been busy with one thing or another all my life; I'd never been lonely or not busy?
Anytime I started feeling empty, I found something to do, something to occupy my time and fill the vacuum, regardless of the task's importance or relevance at that moment in my life? I just couldn't be idle? My life had started becoming a restless one, unconsciously on my part?
My job at the bank went so well that I was given many awards for accomplishing goals and going beyond the set standards? All this made me happy that I was fulfilling the scripture that says I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me?
By the time I had my second son in 2007, I took time off for maternity leave and started contemplating changing jobs? After my maternity leave, I went back to work but quit my job a short time later? I didn't get a new job right away and decided to go help my husband at his office because I was bored and hated being idle? I had periodically helped in his office in the past, especially when it was busy, so we decided to work together? It also gave me more bonding time with my baby and kept him away from child care facility hassles?
This continued for three years, and by 2010, when both kids were in preschool, I decided to follow my real passion since childhood — fashion? Even though I was in a new territory and didn't know how to go about it, I believed there was somehow a way because I could do all things? That belief has shaped my mind-set and helped me to believe that I can do whatever I put my mind to?
The knowledge that you are what you think challenges you to think positively and treat every obstacle that comes your way as temporary? It's only a phase, and it will blow away like a season? If you are always thinking low of yourself, you will begin to see yourself only that way and become that way too?
If you believe staying away from those who hurt you, either intentionally or unintentionally, is the best way to live your life, you will gradually become the angry, unfriendly, moody, and proud type of person that you detest in others? It's safe to pause at every detour we encounter on our life journey to reevaluate our vision, mission, goals, and purpose for doing things the way we do them?
Our thoughts and mind-set form the basis of what we do and what we become in life? Where you are today, the successes you've reached and the differences you've made are all connected to your mind-set? What you believe in your mind controls your unconscious thinking, your unconscious thinking controls your emotions, your emotions control your actions, and your actions produce your outcomes?
If you have a mind-set that one day you are going to write a book, for instance, that belief will take root in you, and as soon as you have an experience or go through an ordeal, you begin to feel (emotion) that you need to write it down for others to see, and that produces your outcome? These ideas formulate your core beliefs about life and how it works as well as your attitudes toward people and situations; therefore, they dictate the way you act in any situation, at any time? You will live your life using these beliefs as guidelines without even realizing it?
The mind is like a storage bin: you store away what you learn, experience, and see, and someday when a similar situation or circumstance presents itself, you dig those observations out, rearrange them, and make use of that information as they fit into the puzzle?
Once you believe it — though it might take a while — step-by-step, in every direction you go, you will find yourself moving toward your desired belief? No matter how long it takes, your mindset will keep telling you that you can do it and that picture will remain in your mind, and if you don't quit, it will gradually come to pass?
What my parents and the passage of the bible that I held unto taught me used to control me, and unconsciously I refused to reevaluate what I believed or what I was doing? Gradually, I started to realize that I would agree to do something I did not feel like doing because I wanted to prove to myself and to others that I could do all things through Christ, who strengthened me? The pressure to prove that nothing was too hard for me kept mounting, and I continued to encourage myself in the Lord? After all, He said I could do all?
Excerpted from "Stroke to Heels"
Copyright © 2017 Bookey Itoandon.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 First of All, 1,
Chapter 2 The Mind, 9,
Chapter 3 Controlled Mind-set, 21,
Chapter 4 The Storm, 33,
Chapter 5 After the Storm, 55,
Chapter 6 Expect Responsibility, 69,
Chapter 7 All In, 77,
Chapter 8 Pursuit of Me, 91,
Chapter 9 Not the End, 107,
About the Author, 125,