Dying for Chocolate — My Valentine’s Day Not-So-Near Death Experience


Yesterday, on February 14, I woke up to a sweet surprise. Propped on the night table next to my side of the bed was an envelope containing a Valentine’s Day card. The front of the card says: ‘You Are My Favorite Thing in the Universe.’ The inside printed part reads: ‘How lucky the world is to have you in it! Happy Valentine’s Day.’

But the best part is what my husband of almost 16 years wrote on the card. ‘You are the most wonderful caring loving person I know.’ Awwwwww!!!! Love is blind, right! πŸ˜‰ I love my best friend husband so much.

My hubby and I did not meet until we were both in our fifties. We met at work, and quickly discovered that we had practically everything in common. Finding each other when we did was something of a miracle. However, because we had both been diagnosed with PTSD, we had a very rocky first couple of years. Between dealing with our multiple trauma triggers, on top of our respective histories of failed relationships — PTSD can be hard on relationships, for multiple reasons — it looked for awhile like we weren’t going to make it. But thanks to our shared faith in the Lord Jesus and to a lot of good, healing, Christ-centered therapy, today we are doing great.

I thank God for my husband. This is the happiest and healthiest that my life has ever been. We may be “over the hill,” age-wise. But instead of going downhill, I feel like this is just the beginning of the best part of life.

Yesterday, though, for several scary minutes, I thought I might not live to see another day!

You see, I am a chocolate addict, and my husband knows this. He knows to buy me chocolate for Valentine’s Day, but he also knows not to buy too much, like a huge heart-shaped box of chocolates, because I have a tendency to keep eating chocolates until I make myself sick. A small box of only about five or six pieces of candy works best for me.

Yesterday morning, after I found my lovely card, I looked around for a small box of chocolates, but there were no chocolates to be found. The only chocolate related thing I saw was the book that’s pictured at the top of this post: Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson. This book was lying on our dining room table beside my husband’s placemat, where he had left it after he finished reading it the night before.

“Dying for Chocolate,” I said to myself. “How ironic that he would be reading a book by that title, when here it is Valentine’s Day and I was expecting chocolate, but there isn’t any. He must have hidden my chocolate somewhere.”

I am an early bird and my hubby is a night owl, one of the few things we don’t have in common. So I had to wait several hours until he finally woke up, to get my chocolate. He had hidden it behind his rye bread, another thing we don’t have in common. Behind his bread, tucked in the back of the breadbox, was a small bag of chocolate covered pecans, one of my favorites.

They may not come in a heart-shaped box, but I couldn’t have been happier as I tore open the familiar dark brown bag, grabbed a fist full of the rich chocolatey nuts, and started munching away.

I chewed, I swallowed, I grabbed another handful, chewed, swallowed, grabbed another handful . . . and that’s when I first noticed that, underneath the familiar, deliciously sweet chocolate taste, the pecans tasted different.

The bag was lying face down on the table. I picked it up, turned it over, and discovered that I wasn’t eating chocolate covered pecans — I was eating chocolate covered peanuts. And I am allergic to peanuts!!!!!

Well, obviously, I did not die yesterday. My husband gave me a Benadryl antihistamine. We had an epipen handy. And, we prayed! Me: God, please don’t let me die, my husband would be so mad at himself!Β  Husband: Please don’t let Linda die, I would never forgive myself!

Not only didn’t I die, I didn’t even have the slightest allergic reaction! The last time I ate something with peanuts in it, about 22 years ago, my lips and tongue swelled up and I had to go to the emergency room. But not this time!

So, how could such a mistake have been made? Was my loving husband trying to kill me? Lol, no. What happened was that he had bought two bags of what he thought were chocolate covered pecans. The bags were hanging together on a hook in the store. The bag in front, the one he saw, was, indeed, chocolate covered pecans. But the bag behind it was chocolate covered peanuts. The two bags are identical in color, size, and shape. Of course, the pictures and wording on the front of the bags are different. But neither one of us had bothered to look at the front of the second bag, until after I had scarfed down almost half of the contents. Duh! I don’t expect that we will ever make that mistake again.

But here’s the really amazing thing: I did not have a panic attack yesterday, not even after I realized that I had scarfed down half a bag of peanuts. I have had several life-threatening anaphylactic shock reactions to various allergens in the past, and I knew that I could very well have such a reaction to the peanuts I had just consumed. But — I did not panic, not even a little bit. Seventeen years ago, I was diagnosed with severe PTSD. I used to have panic attacks All The Time. But I did not panic yesterday, even though I had every reason to. And neither did my husband, despite his PTSD!

You know what this means? We were truly trusting God to do His will. We were trusting that His will is best. I knew in my heart that I was ready to go to heaven, if God wanted to take me right then and there. And I also knew God wasn’t going to let me die, if He didn’t want to take me just yet.

Not only that, but the Neurofeedback Treatments that I had in 2017, and the EMDR and EFT treatments my husband is currently undergoing, have made a huge difference in our PTSD symptoms. We had every reason to panic, but we didn’t panic! Praise the Lord!

Still… isn’t it ironic that my husband had just finished reading Dying for Chocolate! πŸ˜€

Leopards and Panthers and Biopsies, Oh My!!! (Update: No Cancer, YAY!!)


EEEK!! This picture of a camouflaged leopard (hiding in the tall brown grass on the right side of the tree) gave me a flashback!

The year was 1973. One lovely spring day, I took my 2 year old son for a walk along the isolated gravel road we lived on. Our home was in southern Missouri at the time, in the Ozark Hills. Thick forests surrounded us on every side. The nearest neighbor lived about a mile away.

A small stream ran down the hill below the road. Thinking that he might enjoy playing near the water, I led my son through the trees to the bank of a shallow stream. As he was happily throwing rocks into the creek, I looked up — and there was a large panther, standing motionless on the other side of the narrow brook. The stealthy animal was almost close enough for me to reach out and touch, staring at us with eyes just like the leopard’s in this picture!

I was 20 years old then, and very naive in many ways. I did not know anything about panthers. But it was like a combination of protective mama bear and survival instincts took over. I tend to believe it was God…

Two thoughts immediately came to my mind: “Don’t feel any fear — animals sense fear and it triggers them to attack,” and “Don’t make any fast or sudden moves.”

In that moment, my emotions were completely shut down. I felt no fear, no feelings whatsoever. Without taking my eyes off the panther, I very slowly bent forward, picked up my little boy, and slowly lifted him over my head and sat him on my shoulders. Then I slowly, quietly, carefully, turned and walked away… slowly, slowly, slowly, one cautious step in front of another. I still felt no emotions at all.

I walked the 50 feet or more through the woods to the gravel road. Then, still moving just as slowly, with my son still riding on my shoulders, I walked the approximately 1/4 mile up a winding hilly curve to our house… I slowly crossed the wide front yard…. slowly climbed the steps… opened the door, walked in, shut and locked the door behind me, put my son down…. and collapsed on the floor.

I still don’t know how an “expert” would advise handling a situation like that. I have no idea if the typical panther would just stand there, moving nothing but a long twitching tail, if you were to take the same course of action. I only know what happened in my case.

Later that day, when I told someone what had happened, he thought I was crazy. “There ain’t no panthers around these parts,” he sneered. But a few days days later, a neighboring farmer who kept a herd of cattle in a field along the creek where I had seen the panther, found the remains of a calf that had been eaten by some kind of wild beast — with big cat tracks in the mud around the carcass.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving my son and me!

This afternoon I am going to see a surgeon and learn the results of a biopsy he took during a colonoscopy over a month ago. He is also going to assess an inflamed growth under my right arm that my general practitioner wants him to remove and biopsy.

I don’t wanna do this!! But I know that we are all going to leave this life, someday, in some fashion. Meanwhile, I hope I can use this trial to grow a little more spiritually.

Remembering things like my long-ago panther encounter, strengthens my faith. I do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my Savior and my Lord. As long as I am walking step by step with Him, seeking His will above all else in my life, I believe that I cannot die… not until my time has come. And then, WOW — what a glorious reunion with loved ones that will be!!!!!

God bless you, and thank you so much for stopping by. Here is a link to the terrific blog where I found this leopard picture. (I love bluebird and her blog.)