Saturday, February 25, 2017

Easy Like Saturday Morning

I have returned home from my assessment at the wellness center I joined on Monday and I feel so good. Susan matched me with the perfect trainer and I think much will come out of the sessions I have signed up for. Each trainer is different in this process and I like that. Rehab PT was mainly getting me back on my feet and ready to get into the game. Outpatient PT highlighted problems and time spent with solutions but there were so many things to address it was kind of a smorgasbord approach. Today Taylor tested muscle strength and pinpointed several problems that I had been made aware of but had no clue in how to resolve the muscle weakness. In fact he did many of the assessments that I saw others at theraphy getting but we never did any of that kind of work. The end of the session he used this PT machine that opens up your muscles and rids them of the tension. He worked on my shoulders and shoulder blades. Wow! Unbelievable! I was able to stretch more than before and sitting here right now I can still feel the effects of what I like to call the jackhammer. For the immediate future I will workout with him twice a week and I feel like he can get my functional fitness back on track. There is always homework and I am anxious and ready to get started.

Today I once again am reminded of the person aspect of life in a rural area. I don't think I mentioned this before but a week before we left to come back home I received an email from our propane provider that we hadn't paid our tank rental for this coming year. We hadn't received a bill so I emailed back asking how they would like for me to take care of the bill. Angela responded that it was ok and if we wanted to take care of the bill when we returned, that was fine with them. I called her and gave her a credit card number and then she asked if she would like for her to schedule a propane delivery because it looked like our tank was getting low. Yes, thank you. Then we had a wonderful conversation about life and her interest in seeing San Antonio. Today, I went to our little post office to mail a couple of packages. We got to talking about things and one of the clerks asked if we were back and I answered yes. She said we knew it would be soon so instead of sending magazines back we just put them in your box. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that and the time their thoughtfulness saved me, contacting magazines and telling them it was ok to resume delivery. I love the personal touch. I have seen Marissa at Turkey Creek, the lady at Ingle's that works cutting up fruit and veggies and I have talked to Laura, who works at The Blue Rooster. Even the guys from Main Street Mercantile remembered me when I stopped in briefly at their store.
A rainy Saturday morning. This is my first morning to ease into the day and I am so thankful I don't have any have to's this morning. I'm on my second cup of Butterscotch coffee from Smokey Mountain Roasters and contemplating what's for breakfast. I told Roy last night I wouldn't be staying up late and that my friends was a true statement...I went to bed a little after 8:00 pm. I think that jackhammer thing on my neck worked wonders and all the tension from long hours of driving last week and then trying to get the necessary accomplished added to my already tense shoulders helped sleep come early. I found out yesterday that the tension comes from the traps overworking and compensating for muscles in the mid range of the back that have become lazy cause they are letting the traps do all the work. Now that makes sense to me.

I heard a wonderful story last night from a friend and it is a reminder that little things matter. My friend's sister has several cute possums she has found at craft shows and stores. Not real ones...anyway, I gave her sister a book I had picked up at a store in Bat Cave called, A Possum Come's A Knockin' to go with her possums. That book brought such joy to her daughter in law when she saw it and reminded her of her childhood when her mom read her that book. Such a good reminder that those little things matter when we haven't a clue. I love how God uses those kinds of things to bless.

Oh and a note about my blog post yesterday. It is a coincidence that my devo reading and then my thoughts might have been taken wrong about the barriers of tables etc...  I didn't even think about my former church's series for women called The Table and that it might look like I was putting it down. Nope, not at all. My thoughts concerned the barriers and walls we construct and Margaret Feinberg's thoughts on community.

From my vantage here in the living room, the view out the back windows is blue sky and white clouds. The view from the front window is gray, foreboding skies. By the looks of the radar the rain is over for the day. We will have much cooler temps tonight, maybe below freezing. The crazy weather jags are true and not unlike the ones in Houston...only it is hotter there.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Acting Verses Living

It is a balmy 71....well, it isn't balmy, it is downright cool. There is a pretty good wind kicking up and if you find yourself in the shade, you find yourself rather cold. It has been a beautiful day which began a rather foggy day. I decided it was a great day to treat myself to a Waynesville visit. First stop Robin Blu where I found some things that needed to be purchased and go to a nice home. Then I stopped in Smokey Mountain Roasters and bought some coffee. It was getting close to lunch time so a quick lunch at Bourbon, Beef, Barrel and Ale was in order. No, I didn't drink my lunch, I had the house salad and unsweet iced tea. Then I drove into downtown Waynesville and stopped in Main Street Mercantile and then a trip into Mast General Store. Found Roy a great fall shirt marked down and I found a couple of fun things for the kitchen. It was a very relaxing day.
This morning I awoke kind of early, or earlier than usual. I found a sliver of the moon waiting for me to wonder at the beauty. The sky was that pinkish hue of sunrise. I came into the kitchen pushed the button for the coffee to make and sat down and read for a bit. This will be of no surprise but I am behind in the devotional book I am using. Margaret Feinberg is an excellent writer and I have thoroughly enjoyed her books and her style of writing. This morning I read about community and how we are to live in community. Seemed to dovetail with the conversation my brother and I had via text yesterday. I sent him a picture from my FB feed, the people you might know thing. There in that feed every once and a while is a picture of a man and probably his daughter and the man resembles  my father. Doug saw the resemblance too and then we turned to my father's health. He is failing more into his dementia and has started talking gibberish. He stopped eating for a bit but now is eating a little. It did not sound good when Doug told me several weeks ago that my father leaves his Sunday School class at church to go look for my mother. So what does a devotion on community and my father's failing health have in common? is this, community didn't happen very often and when it did, it was never organic but staged and behavior extracted to try and meet his unrealistic expectations of what this all should really looked like. In the devo this morning a story was told about a woman who had a dinner party for nine friends who didn't know each other very well. She did not pull out her best dishes nor did she set the table properly with bread plates and a plethora of forks to be used throughout the meal. It was very simple with small portions for dinner but she offered many choices for dessert, fruit, lemon cake and the was a meal she designed for lingering together. Instead of the barriers that can be found at a table she encouraged couch and overstuffed chair conversations and laughter. The opposite of exacting from my father's perspective and the offering of relaxed, conversation brought forth comparison and what is the better choice. It is a shame that as my father's life draws to an end, he could never let himself enjoy spontaneous. He didn't flourish, he didn't live loved, fearless or free. I think that because everything was to be acted out in life as we grew up, I don't cotton to conformity of social functions or graces today if I am feeling the pressure to do so.

The past few years in church world as it transitions out of coffee world into table world word choices maybe church world will transition into couch world, Not so formal, not so many barriers that enable us to keep our lives in the comfy confines we have surrounded ourselves with. Who knows? I don't, these are just thoughts I am processing out on the good old blog.

Last Monday spending the afternoon and evening with high school friends reminds me of the organic mix of life and seasons...many more we have not experienced together than we did in school and church. We talked about so much of life from then but more of life now. Beth and I were talking on the way back to the house that friends we have reacquainted with on FB from those long ago days and haven't kept in touch with through the years now look so much like their parents. And it is kind of odd knowing we look like our parents to others on FB.

The sun is out and birds and dogs and people are waking up and moving into their day. Guess I should be doing the same. Have lots of little errands before my appointment at the wellness center gym.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Slowly But Surely, No Just Slowly

Slowly but it's just slowly I am getting clothes and books unpacked. While unpacking and putting up clothes I am also trying to go through things and get them set aside for either Salvation Army or for our church's yard sale. The smaller duffle bags have been unpacked but the two larger suitcases are being unpacked at a very slow crawl. Last year when I came back after the whole hip thing, no I didn't try to be a hipster doofus, I packed so that I could put one suitcase up that was filled with winter items. When sneak packing because of Buddy, one isn't that clever. You are just trying to get things put up without upsetting the cat.

The plumber came today and fixed the leaky thing in the crawl space. Leaky thing had to do with the well water coming into the house. I just pointed him to around the corner because I don't go over to that part of the yard anymore. Fell there and Mike the Mower Man saw one or two snakes hanging out over there last summer. Roy says the crawl space has spiders too. I can see now why I didn't want a house with a crawl space but at least it is a small one....not like a large one would make a world of difference to me. Brenda came over after running some errands to keep me company while waiting for the plumber. Didn't have to wait long because he was early. I really liked him and he did a good job...well, water is running in the house, so without seeing what he did, I say good job.

The birds are returning to the feeder. Right now we mainly have wrens, chickadees, tit mouse, sparrows of various kinds and a few cardinals. Every once in a while there is a blue jay or a mockingbird, but they do not play nicely with others and would probably run with scissors if given a chance. A few doves come by and one big old fat squirrel which I try to chase off when I see him.

The plumb trees are flowering and I see a few yellow blooms on the forsythia. If we have another hard freeze it will wreck havoc with these plants that are blooming in February. The apple orchards are keeping an eye on things because with the weather being the way it has been, their whole apple orchards could be wiped out this year. Last time this happened was in 2012.We have seasonal temps today but it will be back in the 70's for tomorrow and Friday.
It be very foggy this morning. I love watching the fog dissipate revealing what it has hidden, even though I know what it has hidden....great scenery and cows. Yesterday, a group of 7-9 calfs were grazing together...without adult cow supervision. It was kind of fun and interesting to watch the dynamics yet I reminded myself not to get emotionally invested into these little ones lives. These looked to be teenage cows.

I'm drinking coffee from a mug that Dena gave me for Christmas, actually she gave us two mugs but of course, I can only drink coffee out of one mug at a time. It is the colors, star and an oil derrick design. Very cute and very Texas. It is filled with Biltmore coffee so it is the best of both worlds.

A friend in Houston is teaching a class on journaling at church. She asked the question on FB yesterday if you journaled and what do you get out of it. I responded that I began keeping a diary in the fourth grade, then it turned into a journal when the language changed. I was honest in telling that some things have changed since the fourth grade about me and then some things that made me mad in the fourth grade, still upset me. I added that these journals remind me of the little things that have happened and all those little things turned into one big change. I can remember the change but sometimes forget the journey and my journals are a road map of God's presence and hand upon my life.  I loved reading the other responses to her questions and in those responses I realized I still don't give the Sunday School answer that most are looking for. Used to bother me that I didn't but now I embrace the fact I am not cut from the same cloth, I don't want to be a cookie cutter person and it is just fine and dandy not to be able to be put into a box....or mindset. There is a price to pay for this of course but now I am willing to pay the price. Before, not so much....just wanted to be accepted for who I am and that my friends is an unrealistic expectation. Funny thing about my childhood observations and prayers, my father found one of my diaries and I wrote honestly and truthfully about the situation in our home. He waited for me and then confronted me about what I had written....yep, paid a hard price for expressing, privately I might add, thoughts. From then on I wrote in code which really was just writing opposite of what was really going on and trusting that someday when I read this in the future, I would remember that it was in code. Didn't have a problem remembering. Most of those early journals have been destroyed. I did that when we moved to Katy because there wasn't any reason to hang onto all of that. I did tear out pages though of the funny things from that time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Blogging To Catch Up

Monday greeted us with a foggy morning which made for some beautiful pictures of sunrise. I took the pics from an upstairs window. Right now we have winter mountain views of the east because the leaves of the trees are no where to be found, cause they are on the ground. In the coming months the trees will refill and then replace the morning view of sunrise.

We met with a contractor this morning and we really like him. We told him what our vision for the front porch is and his bid and our ability to afford the redo will determine what does and does not get done. We have a three year plan on things around here we want to improve and change but screening in the front porch will be a lovely addition to evenings of sitting on the porch or for that matter mornings on the porch. After meeting with him, we were on our way to the wellness workout center nearby. I'm officially a member and have my first session on Friday with a personal trainer. This is to evaluate and instruct but if I like him, I think I will sign up for a few sessions with him. His specialty is functional fitness and that is exactly what I need to continue improving with these knees. It is a nice facility and not a big box fitness center. They have a workout/lap pool and it was part of the tour, but being in a room that humid, with a 93 degree temp of the water and 90 temp for the room, I said no thank you. I just left that kind of temperature in Texas.

Next order of business, lunch. So Roy chose The Moose Cafe and we had a delicious lunch. He went for the turkey and dressing while I chose the veggie plate...and no dessert. We made an Ingle's stop on the way back home. Roy loves drinking the Dr Enouf's that have vitamin B in them. He has worked very hard the past few days.

We had a social afternoon with a quick visit to see Judy W and bring her some Texas goodness and then we went to see Bill and Vivian. We have some Texas goodness for them too. Such a fun visit on the porch and Vivian had made Roy some apple fried pies. He was a very happy camper. We needed to get back home so Roy could do some computer stuff and get his staff notes out. Roy did a little more work outside after that and he decided a Sonic hamburger sounded good to him. So, we made the little jaunt to Weaverville and picked up our dinner and brought it home. He continues to do his office work and I have been unpacking a couple of containers that are taking up space in the dining room.
Kind of quiet around here. Drove to and back from Charlotte today. Stopped in at the Cracker Barrel for a late lunch and then a quick stop at Fresh Market. There is tons of work to be done around here but I'd rather sit a bit and blog.

We got the rest of the trimming done and it looks like Roy will be choosing a chain saw for his birthday present this year. Roy also cleaned the water filter for the well and the house and found a small leak. After making a bunch of calls we were given the name of a local plumber and he will be here tomorrow.

The sunset was so beautiful this evening. I must confess I wasn't up early enough to see the sunrise this morning. It was good to sleep in.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Grateful and Thankful

There is really so much that needs to be done this evening but instead of putting up things and clothes, while going through closets and drawers to put items in donation bags, I sit here and write. I am so thankful to be home. It has been a wild ride these past few months, that have been full of fun and challenges. It is good to be home in the mountains. The sun showed off a little yesterday evening and came out this afternoon but most of the time it has been overcast and drizzly. Didn't bother me a bit that we went through Zips Car Wash and then it rained on the truck. All the car washes in a month for $15.00, such a deal. I am so grateful for friends in Houston and I am grateful for friends here. I am so blessed!

We got up early Thursday morning and hit the road about 3:46 am. We stopped at Buc-ees and we stopped in Sulphur, LA and then drove what I consider both coming and going the worst part of the trip I 10. Even early in the morning the traffic was backed up before the bridge over the Mississippi in Baton Rouge. It gave Roy a little time to look at Death Valley, LSU football stadium, but that was about it. We picked up Burger King and ate in the car to save a little time. We even hit Chattanooga at a better than normal evening traffic rush. Once we checked into the hotel, we walked over to Puelo's, a new restaurant nearby the hotel. The food was delicious. On our walk back in the chilly air I was breathing through my mouth and I knew the moment I went into afib. Dang! I have been doing so well and afib? To try and sleep was almost impossible and I was so tired. I did the best thing and asked Roy to pray for me. The afib continued on but at a rate that was bearable and sleepable. Friday morning, my heart rate was still elevated so I took one of and for the first time since getting them in July, one of the as needed heart meds I had been given. Half of a pill and the rest of it thirty minutes later. It helped and as we left Ooltewah and drove toward Blue Ridge Georgia to stop in at Mercier's, my heart rate returned pretty much to a normal BPM and I was out of afib by the time we crossed over into NC. Thank you Lord! In hindsight it was two days of packing the truck, a travel day with poor food decisions and the excitement of getting back to the land I love and to the people I love.

When I first arrived in Houston, I would be looking for things at the house that were at the NC house and now I find the opposite to be true. We needed batteries to put in the thermostats and I told Roy where they are in Houston. Oops....oh well.

Last evening I put out the bird feeders and the bird baths and waited. A few brave birds came but this morning word had gotten out in the bird world that free grub was back. When Roy and I left for church this morning a male cardinal flew in front of the truck right before we pulled out of the garage. That made me ever so happy. This afternoon several bunnies have checked in as well as those pesky squirrels and chipmunks...ALVIN!

It was so good to be back at Newfound Baptist Church this morning. Our Sunday School class didn't have an empty chair. We laughed and hugged and prayed and heard a great lesson in the span of an hour. My heart overflowed with a good theme of praises to my King. The choir sounded awesome! Pastor Jeff preached a good sermon on was a good day to see friends and hug a few necks. I hadn't been able to see Vivian until this morning and what a great hug I got from my friend!

Roy cut back the forsythia this afternoon and trimmed back the plum trees, even though they are budding. We got it all gathered and put on the curb for trash pickup. Then we headed over to the Sonic for ice cream for me and a Powerade slushie for Roy. We drove around and checked on the camels, bison and watusi. There were some young watusi males duking it out or head pushing it out. The elk were taking it easy just lying in the grass.

So, this evening we find ourselves full after a delicious supper prepared by Roy and he also froze some for later suppers. I did the dishes and sent him upstairs to watch TV. We have a contractor coming in the morning so it might be an early rising for us.

Again, the theme of thanksgiving and gratefulness runs through my heart and mind tonight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Look Out, Here I Come

Did anyone get the license number of the truck that ran over me? This morning I am kind of dragging a bit. I worked really hard yesterday loading the truck, the back of it anyway. I think the miracle of the loaves and fishes is being played out because things going back with us have multiplied. The fragments might have to come up a little at a time if it all doesn't fit. New things going home include floor lamps, Norwex products, tennis shoes (it is so difficult to find my size so when I do, I buy all that fit) and various pieces of new clothing. I hit the jackpot with Flax! I don't think I did that efficient of a job job packing suitcases . Part of the truck that ran me over me in the middle of the night is named Buddy. She is not a happy camper seeing suitcases and the multiple trips out to the garage. I had a little tension headache all day and it lasted until early this morning.

Another part of the truck that ran over me is an ear worm song, I Just Can't Stop My Hallelujahs. We have been singing it in choir rehearsals and the choir led us in worship with that song on Sunday. It is written by members of the worship team at First Baptist and will be on the new choir CD and released by Lifeway. One line in particular has my attention right now, " You are my God, You've rescued my heart. And I can hardly breathe when I see how great You are." God rescued my heart in so many ways and the healing He has done...well, it has made  a significant difference not only physically but spiritually and emotionally...guess mentally would be in there too. This is more than living in the parameters set by the cardiologist and his team, it is living a more peace filled life. It is a more wonder and playful view. When God rescued my heart on January 29, 1971, I never contemplated all that has happened, for His good thus my good. I would not have chosen viral cardiomyopathy to get my attention. He rescued my heart and I haven't followed the family tradition of intense bitterness and comparison thus inflicting others with that poison of the spirit. He rescued my heart of arguing just for the fun of it and because I was so good at it. There are so many things I could list that I have been rescued from and there are days and times when I battle harder against those things knowing He is victorious and I can live life abundantly. I Just Can't Stop My Hallelujahs!

We celebrated Valentine's Day with a big splash of doing life. Roy was late from the office. I was tired from packing and loading the truck. We ordered pizza for dinner and had heart shaped cookies for dessert. You know, I wouldn't have it any other way. There was a day when we felt the pressure of unrealistic expectations of the Day. I stopped by the Kroger yesterday and it was a buzz with late thought Valentine Day purchasers...mainly men. Most of the women in the store were doing regular shopping. There must have been three men in each line holding flowers and maybe some semblance of remembrance with chocolates or the like....It was a Valentine miracle at our home because I actually got Roy his card in time and I knew where I had placed it so I could give it to him on the day. There are years where I haven't found his card until oh around Easter.

Just did the weather and road check and it looks good for taking the scenic route from Chattanooga to home, with a stop at Merceir's on the way. Hope they have plenty of the cornbread mix that we like.

This has been a good three and a half months, yes even those early days after surgery and the first days at the rehab hospital. I've learned a lot about walking differently, doing exercises well for a desired end result, and saw what a fear gripped life looks like up close. I don't ever want to descend into that madness. I have spent time with friends and have loved that. Eating at all my favorite restaurants wasn't half bad either. Getting to hear good Life Bible Study teachers and experience worship in the music has been wonderful. There were days when I thought, I could return here full time but that's not true. Some days when it was 80 degrees and above were tough with the added humidity, ugh. Life would settle back into the mundane, which I don't mind, but it would return to the reasons why it is best for me, for us to be in NC. The pace and stress is difficult here. The things that are so important here are not at all important for me at home, which includes wearing flannel, boots and jeans all the time....if I wanted to.

I'm wearing new scars proudly and standing straightly and walking confidently. Look out NC, here I come!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Trip Perfectly Bookended

The morning has turned from dark and foreboding to gray and rainy. A loud thunder awoke Buddy and me this morning. Buddy has retreated to a nap spot and I keep watch with the extended weather coverage on TV. Well, as much as Dish doesn't lose the satellite feed. We go from warm temps to cooler temps today. I am going to stay hunkered down here and then get out and about a little later.

Yesterday was the bookend to this trip back to Texas. Way back in November when this journey started I was writing about leaving the mountains in fall and going to joint camp and then it was about surgery and recovery/rehab. Then life drifted into PT and spending time with Roy and expanded with going out to eat with friends or into a more social mode. As the time winds down and my attention is more focused to the northeast as I pack and we gather everything to make the return trip home. Today and tomorrow are certainly focused on this endeavor but yesterday was a good ending to this time here. My long time friend Beth, whose influence from our high school days still affects me today and my fun friend Mimi, who was/is such a fun-filled friend from high school days came over to the house. It is like time hasn't passed since our last visit....probably around three or four years ago. Beth has always had a free spirit about her and she has resumed that passion in traveling and sailing all about and around the world. How exciting as she follows her joy to hear her stories of fun and adventure. Mimi travels to far and exotic places as well and her stories of course, always make us smile and laugh. Such fun to catch up with these friends. We met Karolyn, another friend from high school and church, at Goode Company Seafood to continue stories and laughter among longtime friends. It is always good to revisit fun times, talk about the present and what the future may hold. So last night to a casual observer of four "older" women, who on the inside still feel eighteen, wouldn't know that long time friends were observing the time honored custom of friendship that is rooted in a long ago time. Beth returns to the Seattle area today. This morning I realize just how special yesterday was and I am so thankful for the time spent with these friends.

I think the worst has passed us and the skies are clearing just a bit. Haven't heard any thunder for a while. Some areas south of us had damage from tornadic winds. So, I better get started with the job ahead. Is it weird to sneak pack so that your cat doesn't get too upset?

Nancy's Monablog