Friday, April 28, 2017

A Friday Morning Catch Up And Blogiversary

I went to bed early so the early morning arrival wouldn't totally zap me. I woke up a little before 5:00 am and finally got moving about 5:15. This is the morning I have been waiting on for almost two weeks, the endodontist appointment. They asked me to be at the office by 7:30 for paperwork. I rolled out of the driveway about 6:45 and checked the traffic reports. Today it looked like the roads were clear and the trip would take about thirty minutes. Sure enough I arrived about 7:20. I really liked the office, staff and Dr. Yep, there is a root canal on the calendar but I liked that he took time to talk with me about finding the right dentist for follow up work and for care. I mentioned the dentist that had been recommended and he couldn't say enough good things about him. So his office is calling their office with a new patient referral. I will follow up on that next week, about getting an appointment.

I was finished by 8:15 and decided to go to Another Broken Egg for brunch before heading onto Barnes and Noble. While eating breakfast, a regular type breakfast but they offer beignets, I could overhear a conversation in another booth. Two young men talking about the Lord and church. I was so blessed by their hearts for ministry. I felt the urging of the Holy Spirit to go over to their table and buy their breakfast. I was talking myself out of going over there and talking with them but I got up and spoke to them. They had already paid for breakfast but we visited for a few moments. One man was a pastor and the other man in a parachurch organization. I walked away and could hear them talking and being so encouraged, even though I didn't buy their breakfast. I didn't feel like I was to give them money for another meal down the road but was obedient to what I felt in my spirit.

After Barnes and Noble, I stopped at the Target in Arden. Found a few things. I decided to run by my usual Target because that store might have the linen pants I saw in my size. Boom! Scored two pair. They also had the tap lights the other store was out of. I can finally see in my little pantry. Since it was there, I stopped in at Lifeway. Once again I was reminded that I have better luck at Barnes and Noble finding things than at Lifeway. It is so sterile.

The sky was foreboding and there was a little rain and that convinced me to head toward home. Only Ray was here working. Bruce didn't like some of the flooring they sent for the screened in part of the porch, so they are waiting on a new delivery to finish out that part and begin framing in the storm door. I think he just finished up for the day. There might be the beginning of the steps up to the deck.
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It is a very, very foggy morning. It should burn off by 9:00. The field in front of us is filled and abundantly foggy. You can see better in the back but not by much. When the horse lady lived behind us and she let her horses out to pasture in the mornings, the sight of those dark horses set against the gray of the fog was magical.

I saw a bird last night that was a bright blue. Some other bird chased it off, so I hope it comes back so I can identify it with my handy dandy bird chart. All the  construction noise seems to be disturbing the birds so not as many are hanging around the backyard. The doves don't care and the cardinals come around several times during the day.

The crew isn't here yet and until the replacement flooring comes in, they might not be around. In the trash pile I found two good size pieces of the posts to use as a step for the back deck. It is easier with new knees but this makes it even easier. I have procured a few other pieces of scrap wood for various usages in the future.

The morning holds working out with Taylor and then getting ready for my brother who is coming this weekend for a visit.

My schedule has been a little disrupted, so I haven't been as consistent blogging here of late. Once life settles into routine, I'll be at the old blog more often. I have been writing Monablog for ten years. I started blogging in April 2007. Happy Blogiversary!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Early Mornings Mean A Porch Is Being Built

I've been everywhere man, I've been everywhere. Nothing like a little Johnny Cash to get the blog rolling. I am tired but it is a good kind of tired. This week and into next week will be early mornings with the porch crew here at work.

I don't mind the early mornings though. On Monday, the porch crew arrived and began tearing out the old porch and they were able to begin the rebuilding process. I was gone most of the morning dropping off things for the church yard sale and then my workout session. After that it was a few errands ending at the grocery store. I came home and got things put away and had lunch. I was so tired that I found myself nodding off while sitting up. That is unusual for me, so I decided to nap in the chair. The loud noises of hammering didn't stir me a little. It was then I realized I had a women's ministry meeting. I texted Tonya to let her know I might be late because of the crew working but thankfully, I was able to get away and get to the meeting on time. Once I got back home I did a little reading and finished up some laundry. By then I was ready to hit the bed for more sleep. A good night's rest but morning came fast and early. I began to get ready for the day which included going with friends from church out to Painter's Greenhouse and then to lunch.

Since the back of my truck is covered I volunteered to bring back plants for those riding on the church bus. Someone realized that it was Tuesday and Painter's Greenhouse is closed on Tuesday. Oops, plan B. We went to a greenhouse in Old Fort and I think the people there who were very elderly and not on the best of health side were happy to have the business. Then we went to Marion to another plant place and I got some beautiful Mona Lavenders. We ate lunch at the Countryside BBQ place and it was absolutely delicious. During the wanderings of our day both Roy called and our contractor called needing decisions regarding the front porch. So after our plan B day, Angela came home with me to measure the extensions for the twin bed bedskirts and for the king bed bedskirt. She has some great ideas on how to improve and for that I am very thankful. Then my next errand was to go to Lowe's and pick out a storm door. roy had done some research and sent me two that he liked. They had the one we both liked the best in stock, so it was loaded into the back of the truck and we came home. Door unloaded and then I got to look around at the day's progress. The cement truck had been here and they poured the concrete. They also removed the trees in front of the garage and two shrubs that housed wasps in the summer. Goodbye for sure! I was sad because the little house wrens had a nest in one of those trees and I sure hope those babies had hatched and moved on their way. I was just watching the house wrens at the feeder just now and hoping they aren't devastated over the loss of their home and nest.

I'm eating supper a little later than normal and my dining companions tonight are Big Daddy Red Bird and Bunny Foo Foo. The roses are beginning to bloom and the green is returning to the butterfly bushes. The newest cardinal, who I have named David Tassletop cause the young cardinals top knot is more distinctive and Big Daddy just got into a chase and fly off. Tonight Big Daddy prevailed.

Tomorrow I can set my own pace and take care of a few things. Then Thursday will be the early, early morning dental appointment. I am ready to proceed with the part of the journey.

We enjoyed a rainy weekend and our backyard rain gauge measured about four inches since Friday night. Everything looks so green and fresh. Sunday night we began working on the song the choir will sing with Lisa P when she is here.

Whether it be Texas or NC this thing is the same....why do people who pull out in front of you going 50 miles per hour, suddenly slow down to 20 mph once they've made the turn? Oh, this is beyond minivans, it is a way of driving for some. Doesn't matter what state you're in. This is a universal truth. This is also true of general matters you find on FB. Don't eat bananas, do eat bananas, coffee can save your life, don't drink coffee, do only these exercises, never do these exercises. Frankly, I find it all exhausting.

The day that began cool and overcast turned into a warm, sun filled day. The supper portion of my day is now concluded as well. I tried the Birds Eye beef lo mein dinner and it was delicious! Now to catch a little TV and get ready for another early morning....but these early mornings are bringing forth a porch!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pimentos And Functional Fitness

This morning while driving over to Biltmore Village I got to thinking about some of the strangest things. It doesn't take much to amuse me. Somehow in all these deep thoughts the pimento came to the top of the whole thought process. What exactly is a pimento? How do they get those little red strips into olives and really does the pimento add that much to pimento cheese? You see, I knew I'd be having a pimento cheese sandwich for lunch. Upon arriving at home I went to the Google to see what I could find out. Pimentos are made from a red cherry pepper that originated in Spain. We associate pimento cheese with the south and the well guarded family secret to such sandwich or topping in celery. Pimento cheese started out as one of the first industrial sandwiches brought into the 20th century but when pimentos began to be grown in Georgia, well it was a new day for the pimento and for cheese, for that matter all other means of condiments and food items that find themselves mixed into the cheddar, mayo and pimentos. As for the olive....well, pimento stuffing was an intensive time labor thing so they take the peppers make a mush, form the little strips so that they can mechanically be put into the olive. So you see what happens when I get on a tangent. Really, who thinks about pimentos and for me they don't add any taste. They are kind of just pretty adornments for olives and in cheese.
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The fog began developing last night and this morning it is a slow burn off. I do see the baby bunny that the cat was chasing on Monday, so I am feeling good about that. There is clover in our yard so maybe it will make its way down for that deliciousness. The first buds on the rose bush are showing. It is one of those spider web mornings where you see them on the grass, in the trees, along the fences and in a few butterfly bushes. A little chipmunk has discovered some of the bird seed I threw out on the rocks this morning. Now the squirrel has chased off the chipmunk. And mama bunny is coming on the scene. I love the view from this back window.

I read a great article on functional fitness last night and it confirms all the things that Taylor is telling me.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 percent of adults aged 65 and older are limited in their ability to perform basic actions, like picking something up off the floor or reaching to grab a cereal box from the pantry.
You may not do these things in the gym, but don’t let that fool you: Many everyday tasks mimic basic exercises. They’re known as functional movements, and being able to perform them is crucial for a long, active life, says Jessica Matthews, senior advisor at the American Council on Exercise and author of Stretching to Stay Young.
“To ensure our continued independence and freedom to do both daily activities—including self-care—as well as leisure activities that we enjoy, it’s important to develop and maintain quality movement patterns.” That second part—maintaining—is especially important because if you don’t use them, you’ll eventually lose them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

First Tomato Sandwich of the Season

My first ease into the day morning in a while. With Roy we are up and moving in the mornings because he likes to ease into the evenings. Then with regular appointments and medical appointments mornings have not been mine. Although it has felt okay to feel accomplished earlier in the day I am relishing this morning. It is overcast and a little rainy. The birds are singing. My coffee tastes delicious and I have done a little writing this morning.

I took a book with me to my appointments...ok, I took more than a book to be prepared for long waiting room interims. My iPad, magazine, protein bar, paper and some colorful pens accompanied me along with all the paperwork diligently filled out over the weekend. I had little to no waiting time at either appointments. At the cardiologist office I would have read in the waiting room but I am so engrossed in the story that I wouldn't have heard my name called to approach the front desk to turn in my paperwork and pay. Also you get your picture taken. So once that had taken place and I had returned to my seat, I had just settled in and boom, name called to go back behind the "golden door." John took me first off to the scale and I asked if he would take off the six pounds of metal and cement...like they did in Dr Morris' office...women nurses who empathized with the whole weigh in procedure and laughed when I said I would remove my seven pound jacket and my two pounds of keys from my pocket before stepping onto the scale. I don't think John did, anyway, he then took me to a patient room and told me Matthew is in there waiting for us. The doctor I was seeing first name is Matthew...I'm thinking wow! This is different, calling a doctor by his first name and the doctor is waiting for the patient. Well, ok, that morning I had called Dr. Morris by his first name Andy but I used both his name and title all through my conversations since knowing him pre-doctor. So when Matthew is asking me questions while John wires me up for the EKG, I think I am talking to the doctor. Oh silly rabbit, Matthew was a nurse as well. At least I don't think either John or Matthew knew I thought Matthew was the good doctor up until the time Matthew tells me the doctor will be in shortly. During the EKG I was a little nervous because I briefly thought back on the whole November EKG debacle of taking it six times to get a reading that would pass for surgery...a reminder to the reader, all one of y'all, that it was operator error not the state of my heart.

This morning I was reading in Ephesians 1. A phrase caught me, " God's kindness showered on us." Truly, my experience here has been multiple layers of God's kindness. In 2014 when I spent a month at the cottage on the family farm, I experienced and saw God's kindness in so many ways. Looking for His kindness or rather being aware of His kindness is usually there at the forefront. Remembering that it really costs us nothing to be kind to someone when really, we might want to smack them upside the head and say something hurtful. Oh, not that I have ever thought this, but you know, I have heard others talk of this. Oops, there is that lightning bolt again.

Well, the day has been lovely! The skies cleared and finally it warmed up. The birds, bunny and squirrel have been here for the last snack in the daylight hours, only to begin again tomorrow. There be a haircut awaiting me later this week but for now I do believe I will have my first tomato sandwich of the season. I am all a twitter with anticipation.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Attitude and Rain

The sound of gentle rain is most welcome. The sound of any rain is welcome and hopefully the afternoon and evening holds the hope of much needed moisture. It has rained off and on the past few hours but nothing major.

It is a new learning curve when it comes to appointments, especially anything medical. I am learning to accept the waiting associated on getting anything looked at or taken care of. In Houston they work you in when you have an emergency situation...not so much here. I cannot get into the root canal dentist until late next week and at a horribly early time. So, until then, it is soft foods for me.

Today is the day I have been looking toward, Dr appointment day and it would also be the day that an eighteen wheeler filled with dog food over turns right along my normal route. My spidey sense said to go the way I never chose to go and then made a zig zag free of traffic and I was just a little early for my appointment. Not old person early, barely early. Hendersonville and I haven't had too good of a relationship and even after finding a great medical practice, I still feel the same about that city. I had a good appointment with Andy...the good doctor and it was nice to catch up with him. When I left there, instead of hanging out and killing time, I decided to go home, rest and grab some lunch. I had fasted just in case there would be blood work. Soon it was time to leave for the cardiologist and they were still picking up dog food and traffic was still bad. So, I once again took the route I usually don't take and got to my appointment on time. I really liked the Dr and he was able to hook up my afib monitor to get a reading and yes, the first week of April was a doozy with afib. Wow, I knew it was bad but not as bad as the numbers proved. Back in rhythm but keeping a watchful eye on the flutters. Gave me some good instructions and I will see him again in three months.

I came home with a lack of caffeine headache but supper and a little bit of Diet Coke relieved the pain. I am pretty tired since I woke up at 4:00 am and could not go back to sleep this morning.

A good reminder in the cardiologist office waiting room...attitude is a huge factor. I was the youngest patient waiting but an older gentleman and his wife were just so darn cute. Neither one is very amble or nimble anymore but you would have thought he was still an athlete by the way he maneuvered around those chairs...in slow motion.

Now, off to relax and get a good night sleep.






Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Quick Check In

Last night while enjoying the last of the leftovers from Vivian's wonderful dinner, I watched some of the Broken For You service at HFBC. A nice surprise to catch Lisa P leading in the service. I wasn't able to watch the whole service but did catch bits and pieces of it in the next hour or so.

We are steadily knocking things off the to do list. We took the first part of the week and played. Thankfully, the list of big things to take care of gets smaller over due time. Roy put together the above ground flower bed and I planted some bulbs and lined the edges with snapdragons. Yellow ones. We pulled the swing out of the garage and got it set up in the backyard sans the cover. It just gets in the way. The cover might go to the landfill today. One of the things we won't be able to do this week is hang the bird house in the red bud tree because it is presently filled with blooms and it is a bee and wasp hangout. Last night after we had finished the fence project we sat on the deck. The constant hum and buzz of bees treating us to a little evening music. Roy went upstairs to watch TV and rest and I took to the front porch to check on my friends across the street. It looks that some of the young male calves have been separated from the group which usually means they have been sold or will be. Those mama cows bellowing out their moos breaks my heart each time this happens.
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It is now Easter Sunday afternoon. While I did not make it to the sunrise service I did make it to Small Group and church. We had a powerful service. There were cardboard testimonies at the end of the sermon and those are always full of rejoicing at the victory found in Christ. I had a lunch invite but declined so that I could come home and rest. I did fix an Easter type lunch of ham, potatoes and carrots.

We left for Charlotte a little later than we had planned. We stopped for a late lunch early supper at the Cracker Barrel. It was a quick turn around for me and I decided to return home on a different route. It is a little shorter even with a few traffic lights along the way and of course the scenery is beautiful. Even in just a week so many trees are leafing and the dogwood and sarvis trees are in full bloom along with the red bud tree. Upon returning home Duke Power, not mayo, came and installed our street light on our pole. Lots of light now on the driveway, in the front yard and in the backyard as well and all for the low, low price of $8.00 a month.

Friday evening became a little more exciting and not to plan as we had thought. Roy had cooked ribs on the grill and I had made fresh off the cob fried corn. While eating our supper I heard a crack and kind of knew it wasn't the rib, but a tooth. I quickly Googled urgent care dentists and found one open till 7:00. I called and they told me to get there as quickly as possible. I went without brushing my teeth. Never have I ever not brushed before a dentist visit. He thinks the tooth can be saved and it might involve a root canal. They faxed a referral to a specialist and I should know something on Monday morning. So soft foods are in order for a few days.

I keep thinking about the memorial service for Steve Seelig and how powerful it testified to how God can use us if we are willing to give our all to Him. Steve possessed a great laugh and sense of humor, he was one of the most creative minds and if a little is good, more is better. He tackled life with energy and a willingness. Over 4000 came in person to his service and who knows how many of us were online watching. Steve's life motto would be or at least one of them would be love God, love people.  He is one of those people who you think are so strong and big that they could defeat pain and death, but alas we do have that victory only through Jesus and not in our personality or creativity.

Well Easter 2017 is quickly coming to an end but I am glad that resurrection life does not.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lots of Lifting, Carrying and Doing

We have the windows open and we are being treated to a delightful concert from various birds and a few insects here and there. The first carpenter bee has been trapped in a bottle on the back deck. Many have met their demise on front porch. New feeders have been purchased and hung for the birds. Roy and I have been hard at work today. Originally our plans were to drive over to Grandfather Mountain but when we realized the scale of work ahead of us, we opted to stick close to home.

On Tuesday we started the day early with Cumin and Inez. They were our tour guides to Madison County. We saw such beautiful scenes up in those mountains. Homes that have been abandoned and stories of back in the day. Madison does have the nickname of "Bloody Madison." We stopped at their cabin and Roy took off up the mountain for pictures. He was gone quite a while and we were getting a little concerned. We finally were able to get ahold of him and he was supposed to make his way back to their cabin only thing, he went to the wrong cabin with a green metal roof. Soon all these texts from him came in one after another. He took a picture of where he was standing and Cumin knew exactly where he was. So off to rescue him while Inez sat on the front porch just a laughing. It is a beautiful place to relax. Once Roy was retrieved we went back down into Marshall for lunch. Then we headed to the Redmond Dam and points beyond. We so enjoyed our day with them and look forward to the next adventure. I'll probably write about this day again in the future. Roy and I rested a bit and then we were off to Bill and Vivian's for supper. Delicious as always. Our menu was ham, parmesan potatoes, green beans, creamed corn, okra, deviled eggs and biscuits. Yum yum yum! And coconut pie for dessert. We ended our visit by sitting on the back porch with the most beautiful view of the mountains.

Wednesday, we went to Optix for Roy to look at new frames. Summer found the perfect pair that will look so sharp on him. We ran a quick errand to Ace and to Ingle's, then off to Spartanburg for a Costco run you know, because we are easily entertained. Longhorn Steakhouse was calling our names so we went there and had a late lunch. I noticed a nearby Barnes and Noble and you know, you're supposed to go and pay respects to new Barnes and Nobles...to you. Then we began an adventure of trying to find Andy's office in Hendersonville. Truthfully, Hendersonville and I have not had too great of experiences and a trial run was needed and I am so thankful that we did one. It seemed a little more complicated than, just across from the hospital. With that taken care of we headed toward home with hundreds of our best friends on the road. Roy accidentally loaded his Dr Enuf drinks where they would shift and he lost a couple when they crashed onto the pavement. So we stopped at a different Ingle's to get another supply loaded in. Later in the evening Brenda dropped by with some Easter goodies and lemon pie. We all had a great visit. Being tired from a full day, I fell asleep easily only to be awakened by Roy kicking the bed when he got in it. About scared the pea waddlin' out of me. It took me a good bit to fall back asleep.

So today, we have been to Lowe's twice and to Sonic twice. Once to the bank and Publix and a quick trip to the Walmart. We brought strawberries back from SC and Roy thought vanilla ice cream sounded kind of good.

While we worked outside we listened to a lot of Steve Seelig's memorial service. How encouraging and fortunate to be one that knew him. He and Bonita sent me a message while I was recuperating from hip replacement surgery in Lafayette LA. It made my day cause that was a long week with great hope.  One year for the orchestra concert Peggy, Drew and I were reprising our roles of bandit, Lone Ranger and Tonto for them as they played the William Tell Overture. I had torn my plantar fascitis and could not perform. Steve filled in and made Tonto even better. He was so funny and his life touched many for the Lord.

We still have some work to do in the back. I am sure Roy is enjoying the break as he has had to do most of the heavy lifting and carrying. We have a new flower bed and he is also putting some stone liners like he did in Katy along the fence. Always trying to imped the traffic that comes and goes under our deck in the animal, reptile and bird world.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Fun Day- Such a Witty Title

I remain so thankful and grateful to live here with such wonderful friends. Roy and I are so blessed. We were talking today about how many houses and how many different areas we looked at while searching for a home in NC. We were looking far and wide and the house we found and love today is only a half of a mile from the cottage we rented in August 2014. God knew what He was doing. I don't know if I would have transitioned as well living over on Balsam Mountain. I would have been snowed in a lot for sure.

Roy and I began the day with my session with Taylor. Roy worked out while Taylor and I worked on getting me stronger and of course more functional in daily life. Then since we had worked out it didn't seem too bad to go to The Blue Rooster for lunch. It was so very delicious! We headed over to Belk's because Roy wanted to get some new ties and dress shirts. We also found pizza cutters ands storage bowls. We headed over to the Hazelwood area to stop in at Robin Blu. RB is on the must stop and shop list when friends come to visit. I found a few thing to purchase and to come home with me. With Roy there, he kind of cramped my style on a few things that would be wall decor. A metal sign will get my attention every time. Next we went to Mast General Store and as we were pulling onto the back street to find a parking spot, a car pulled out of a close one to the store. Again, Roy found some things, exciting things like socks and a t-shirt. Since one lane is closed on I 40 going west we took the back route through Bethyl and kind of close to Cold Mountain. We went through Canton, which drives Roy's eyes and nose bonkers because of the papermill. I did locate Southern Porch which is another restaurant I would like to try. We came home and enjoyed some front porch time. Then Gale and Judy dropped by to pick up something to help a fellow Sunday School classmate. Karon also stopped in with a beautiful wreath she made. I cannot wait to hang it and it is too pretty to hand on the front door where I will never see it, so I think I might hang it on the backdoor, inside the house so I can enjoy it. It goes perfectly in the kitchen with the colors.

We decided to eat some black eyed pea jambalaya that I had frozen when I made it last month. Delicious! Roy is settled in upstairs watching reruns of Remington Steele. I happily blog and have a feeling I will fall into bed early this evening. Tired from such a fun day.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Checking In

Sunday evening. The towels are washing, the strawberries cut up, and a few other odds and ends done this evening around the house. It has been a very fine day. We went to Sunday School and church this morning. Judy taught a great lesson on the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. A very good lesson. In church the choir did an Easter musical that has been so meaningful to think about and to sing. I think several of these songs will stick with me for a while. After church we came home for a few minutes and then decided to eat Mexican food at La Cantina in Biltmore Village. We strolled Biltmore Village and then headed over to The Biltmore Estate. The trees are blooming and the walled garden is filled with colorful tulips and daffodils. We walked around and took some pics. We also stopped in at the garden shop for something I saw a couple of weeks ago. We saw wonderful things, a momma and daddy goose with their yellow spiky feathered goslings. There were geese grazing in the fields but no lambs. We left with hundreds of our best friends and headed toward home. Roy was out of his breakfast sandwiches so we made a quick stop at Walmart. I stayed in the car and talked with Peggy on the phone. We got home and it wasn't too long until Roy mentioned he was starving and he suggested gas station pizza. He doesn't always request that, so I was happy to agree that it seemed like a good idea. It was.

Yesterday afternoon I finally went out of afib. I was so thankful for that to happen. The week had been difficult with a whole lot of shaking going on. My BP had been high and it returned to normal. Emotionally and physically I was drained of strength. I didn't do too much other than what had to be done. This bout shook me to my core. It has been years since I have experienced this much continuous afib. I wanted to be out and doing things because I have felt so good with new knees and working out with Taylor. So much gratitude to the Lord for answering my cried, along with Roy's and friend's prayers.

Late Friday afternoon I drove over to Charlotte to pick up precious cargo. Checked into the hotel and waited for the arrival. The plane took off late and so Roy got to our room an hour later than planned. We had been upgraded to a suite which was nice but the room was so stuffy. The hotel had been remodeled but it seemed only cosmetic. This is a huge hotel and they had one elevator off the lobby. Neither one of us rested very well and around 5:00 am Roy announced he was getting up and I said let's get ready and leave. That is what we did and stopped for breakfast on our way home. Last night I cancelled reservations we had made for the future at the same place and made reservations for where we usually stay. It was not a good experience.

Tomorrow we have a full day. We began working in the yard yesterday afternoon and will finish up that work sometime this week.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Joyous Celebration Today Verses Total Discouragement Yesterday

Last night was a whole lot better than the night before. Truthfully, I thought I might die Tuesday night, not because I am morbid or wanting to be all dramatic but because the pounding afib beat was the worst I have experienced in a very long time. No way to be comfortable with no sleep coming on the horizon. Heart rate up and down, so hard to watch. So, taking off the Fitbit is one of the best decisions I made yesterday. I went to the project desk and pulled out a journal and began writing a few things down. I marked a couple of verses in my Bible but all the while praying and thanking God He had heard my cry, petition, and prayers. After having a good day yesterday I was optimistic that I would go to bed and fall right to sleep. It didn't happen and there was a bit of tossing and turning adjusting to get into the least afib feeling position and finally sleep came. I only got up once and then slept till 8:00 am. Today I feel a little better than I did yesterday but not a 100%. Some of that is due to lack of sleep from the other night and even light afib which what it feels like now is exhausting. the Lord is at work in me and so are the drugs that I have available to help me. Also no coffee the past few mornings and drinking a lot of water.

I was reading a southern book review email and this particular publication said a new Gail Godwin book had been released and available on March 31, 2017. I went to Amazon to read reviews and the like. There Amazon said it would be June 6th for the release date. This made me feel a little better about keeping up with favorite authors but then a little sad that it will be summer before the book is released because you know, there aren't very many books in our house to be read. Oh, that lightning bolt was a little too close for comfort, although the storms have moved out of the area.

It is my favorite time of the day in this season, to sit at the kitchen table and watch birds, rabbits and squirrels out the back windows. Bunny Foo Foo and I must be on the same eating schedule. The crazy squirrel that sunbathes on our back deck just made an appearance. There must be a lot of clover up by the gravel road because Bunny Foo Foo spends a lot of time up there and then comes down for dessert around the feeder. Those bunnies love them some clover. Big Daddy cardinal has come and gone but he will be back. He comes around dusk and has a little supper when the feeder and the yard isn't filled with all the comings and goings of finches, wrens, sparrows, squirrels and bunnies.

After a disheartening yesterday, today is filled with joyous celebration that the doctor offices have called me back and yes, people get ready....appointments are coming with both a primary care doctor and the cardiologist. The appointments are the week after next and that my friends is a miracle. I know the primary care doctor from Houston's First Baptist Church. Roy was his eight grade Sunday School teacher and we watched a few soccer games the good doctor played in as an eighth grader. He isn't taking new patients but I guess the disappointment in my voice and the acknowledgment of knowing him must have swayed the scheduler to cut out a step that saved some time. Karen called me back this afternoon  just as a friend in Houston and I were texting about the doctor and how she and 32 other middle schoolers had a crush on him. I have an appointment with him the morning of the day I have the cardiologist appointment.

The cardiologist office in Houston came through. They called late in the afternoon and with the squirrels not running fast enough our connection was bad. She hung up. I quickly called her back from the house phone but the system had rolled over to the night messsage. About ten minutes went by and she called again, this time better connection. We went over what she was sending here and I thanked her because they are not used to sending referrals, they are used to getting them.

I think it once again will be time for me to demonstrate that just because someone is in their 60's, they aren't so old not to know how to do a few things. Both offices acted like GPS might be a problem for me to master....or maybe I just took it that way. I told them I would probably do a drive by just to know where I would be going...I hope they don't think that means anything other than finding the offices. Of course they were not here just a moment ago as I yelled at the squirrel when it got into the bird feeder. Now that is being an old lady if I ever thought about it.

Roy just cracked me up by saying, the things I have to do to get you a doctor appointment, teaching eighth grade boys Sunday School. Then he said don't mess this up because I don't want to have to go back to teaching student Sunday School again. I assured him it would be a life group or life Bible study now.




Pre-Fibrillation And Present

It is a rainy day here in the mountains. It is also a cool temp day as well. One day you wear linen and the next day comfy workout pants and sweatshirt. The rain has been consistent but not overly heavy. Our grass has not looked this lush and green in a very long time. The view across the valley is fresh and verdant. Colors seem brighter and the cows, well, they seem the same.

After a very long and rough night of little sleep and a whole lot of shaking going on...and the shaking would be my heart in afib. Afib can be worse at night because the heart has to work harder to pump blood all the way down to your feet and back. My heart rate was all over the place but thankfully not as high as it has ever been but the duration seemed to be longer. The Fitbit can really keep the numbers and I think I was stressing over the ups and downs of my heart rate. I came downstairs to sleep in the recliner thinking that might help. Nope. So I got comfortable on the couch, found a position that didn't make my heart shake, rattle and roll and had just fallen asleep when downstairs normal noises started waking me up. So back upstairs and I finally settled in for a bit of sleep around 2:00 am. Then I woke up to answer a few texts from Roy cause I didn't want him to think I died in the night. Afib can be so strange in that I didn't feel bad, no swollen limbs or ankles, and not fatigued...well from lack of sleep but the other kind of heart fatigue is horrible. Not bad enough to go to the ER, not that I ever like to do that, and yet maybe a little more involved than an urgent care place would know what to do. I texted a few friends and asked them to pray...Texas friends because of the time difference and the hour being late. I quoted scripture and sang worship songs. I prayed for others yet at no time during this inability to go to sleep did I feel like a leader....you know cause leaders wake up bearing a heavy burden or something. One thing I have done today is to take off my Fitbit. It has made it a lot less stressful.

My brother texted me this morning and said he finally had the funeral oked for Saturday morning, graveside. He sent me the three songs he had picked out via You Tube. He did a fabulous job with the music. It should be a short service as services go. I can only imagine that he will be so happy to get back to his home in Nashville.

The hotel/resort telemarketers have taken all the fun out of pranking them. They make the call sound so real and like you are talking to a real person. I only answered the phone because you know I am waiting for a call from Houston and it was a 713 area code. Dang! Anyway, the girl sounds like she is adjusting her headset and begins the call. Once again it is for a trip to beautiful Orlando and yes, we just might be the only people in the United States that don't want to go to Orlando or to Disney World. I tried telling her that cause I still thought she was live person...so of course I had to hang up.

So I tried to make an appointment with a cardiologist here but have to have a referral. Talked to my Houston cardiologist office and waiting on a call back. Probably my best thing is to make an appointment with a GP up here and go that route...although our insurance doesn't require a referral to see specialist. The pace of medicine and seeing Doctors and having tests run is much slower than in Houston. I might could fly back to Houston and see my cardiologist before I will ever get in to see one here.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Beautiful Day After The Rain

When you wake up because your Fitbit is celebrating all the cardio work you've done during the night, if the tell tale fluttering and lurching heartbeat doesn't alarm you, then you know you are awakening in afib. That is where I found myself this morning. So you wake up exhausted because your heart has been running a marathon. I got up, relaxed a bit and then got ready to go to workout training. I was out of afib but still lots of fluttering going on. So for only the second time I took the meds that help you get your heart into a smooth rhythm and then when I got to the workout I told Taylor maybe just stretches or something. We did an hour of restorative work with the jackhammer deep tissue machine and stretches. It was awesome! I also learned that of all the people he has worked with after hip and knee replacements I have the most range of motion of anyone. He is really surprised with my hip because it moves and functions like it had never been replaced.  Thank you Lady of the Lourdes hospital and thank you Jesus.

We are pretty much having a rainy day. All this rain moved off from Texas and through the south. Since we've been here there haven't been too many of these kinds of days. It has tapered off some but radar holds some yellows and reds if they move this way. The birds are really singing especially the cardinals.
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We did have almost a day long rain event yesterday. The two years we have been here there haven't been too many of those kinds of days. Everything looks so green and spring-like. Around 4:00 the skies began to clear and we had a bit of sun to finish out the day. This morning the sun is out and it looks to be a beautiful day.

I think my heart is starting to get back into a good mode. A bit of fluttering and higher beats per minute at times but it is feeling like it has calmed down since this time yesterday morning. Thankfully, Fitbit did not congratulate me this morning on a great cardio work out through the night. I internalize more in the past years, so things affect me but not so much outwardly like they did before.

Sunday evening before choir practice Brenda came over and brought me supper. Of course I usually make three meals out of everything she brings. Today will be the third meal out of everything she brought, pork lion and gravy, sweet potatoes, baked apples, homemade mac and cheese, rolls and banana bread. She was here Saturday when my brother called with the news of our fathers passing. She had brought over homemade chicken salad for lunch. We visited a little more after the phone call and then I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening here thinking and praying. So thankful my father went peacefully after a difficult morning trying to breathe. So thankful for my brother being there and holding his hand when he passed.

Today is the service for a friend's son who was killed Friday night in a motorcycle crash. I could see the red flashing lights from a front window. It is a scary curve.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Where Is The Spellcheck?

Once again from the vantage point of the living room, the view to the north looks ominous with gray clouds and darkening sky. The view to the south is sunny and blue skies. The last little bit of rain is skirting our area and the rest of the day looks to be clear and cool. We had some heavy rain showers last night and thankfully the lightning and thunder sounded at a distance. No large clap of thunder that makes the house groan.

I have training today but it is at a later time. This gives me a morning to ease into the day. I should be easing into the finishing up of getting spring and summer clothes out. The good thing about buying Flax clothing is this, it lasts for such a long time, for which I am thankful. Thus I have quite the accumulation of Flax. I think I can make it through the fall without buying anymore Flax, even if I find it on sale. Now, if it is a shirt or top....that might need different consideration. Thankfully, the shop in Biltmore Village that used to carry Flax, stopped carrying it. Whew! That cuts back temptation.

Tuesday our church had a luncheon, dare I say it, for senior adults. This spring luncheon honors those who are no longer able to come to church on a regular basis due to health. Then all us other ones get to eat lunch too. It was delicious! Such fun fellowshipping and we also took the Lord's Supper together after a short devo from Pastor Jeff.

Wednesday was quite productive as I began the aforementioned project of clothes changeout. I did some spring cleaning laundry and generally tried to get things picked up that I am so lax about. I made it over to the gym and did a good workout by myself and trying to remember good form and posture throughout. I had planned on going to the Post Office and to Lowe's afterwards, but opted to come back home. I was rewarded with a beautiful view of the pasture across the way as the day turned to dusk.

Oh and I want to celebrate a successful trash can trip up the driveway, down our road to the bottom of the hill and correct placement on the main road for trash pickup on Sunday evening. My first attempt at using the trash can instead of taking a big contractor's bag down to the road in the truck.

I had the distinct pleasure of being invited over for breakfast at Brenda's yesterday morning. She and her mom prepared quite the feast. I just might have come home with some handmade goodies that are in the form of sheep and lambs. Oh and some leftover biscuits. So bravely, this morning, I finally unpacked the new scale from its box and tried it out. Woohoo! Lost weight and I also take off six pounds of metal and cement in my knees and hip cause that weight can't ever be lost. So, I have lost twenty pounds since right after my surgery.

Well, workout, Lowes, bank and grocery store all accomplished. I did a stupid thing at the gym. I have been using one particular locker these past few weeks and when I came into the locker room I mindlessly picked a locker, attached my lock and went about my work. When I came back into the locker room, I thought my lock had been cut and my purse and headphones stolen. I went to the front desk and the lady came back with me and we began looking through the lockers and then I saw my little blue lock on a locker I have used in the past but has been occupied these last few weeks. Oh my, I apologized profusely. Gee whiz, I was sleep walking through the whole process. I was so embarrassed, I got my stuff and left. Ugh!

My brother has been texting me today and the reevaluation of my father may indicate he has had a stroke recently and might not be as close to the end as they had thought. Doug sent me a pic of his food at Escalante's this evening. He deserves a great meal. Erin also came by today. I so appreciate him keeping me informed.

The birds have more food and another feeder. Got to keep them happy. The bunny has been here several times this morning and this evening. It has cooled off and the temps are rather brisk but we are looking forward to a temperature warm up this weekend. The French Broad River is up with all the rain last night. There was a rock slide this week on a road that is used quite a bit in this area. They are saying that the road should be cleared by this weekend sometime. They have hauled 250 truckloads of rock away from the slide. Wow!

I am so saddened by the news of the wreck that killed thirteen senior adults coming back from a choir retreat in Leaky Texas. I have been there to that camp many times and it holds good memories for so many. I also spoke at a Women's Retreat at First Baptist New Braunsfels several years ago and the ladies there were so kind. When they asked me to come I asked them if they had the right person and the lady said yes. She reminded me of a conversation we had previously and she remembered how helpful I had been with information. She thought that would translate into someone who could close out the retreat. Our subject was a verse in Colossians. I have wondered if any of those ladies were on that bus? I have been praying for First Baptist New Bransfels. My spell check isn't working and I don't think I spelled that correctly. I am a mess without spellcheck.






Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Five Years......March 27th

It is ironic that five years ago today I saw my father for the last time. I can still see him standing in front of his house as I waved from the car, with a look that matched his look when he found me in his house. Not of surprise but of mistrust. You see I found myself in his house not by my choice but because a nurse at his cardiologist's office called, concerned he had not shown up for his appointment. Well, long story short, after I had driven the route to the office and searched the parking garage and coming back to his home every single way I knew to go, I sat in his office looking through a rolodex getting phone numbers when he came inside and found me at his desk. Because I know his nature and how he thinks I spent a lot of time with him going over meds, license numbers and getting the numbers of some of his friends. It was nearing 4:30 in the afternoon and I needed to return home when he asked me to go to one of the assisted living places he was considering. If he truly was considering making the move I would have gone but we had gone through this whole thing before. Besides, my stamina was gone, my heart working overtime and I was extremely tired and spent from the physical and emotional deluge of looking for my father and me realizing how little I knew about his whereabouts and what meds he took. As I drove away I knew this was not going to end well...and I was right. When we would get the phone calls from the police, Adult Protective Services or the Constables, I would begin the conversation with, the last time I saw or spoke with my father was March 27, 2012. Then in April came the papers served by his attorney that he severed his relationship with us over a conspiracy he constructed that didn't have an iota of truth to it.

March 27, 2017 is another day entirely. It seems that my father is in the process of making his exit from this earthly realm and will soon be with his Savior. My brother has sent me several pictures. One in particular was from two weeks ago when his assisted living had a field trip to the rodeo and he looks healthy and happy but fast forward two weeks and he is emaciated and frail. His assessment today has him on morphine administered every four hours. He tried to get up last night and fell. He is being moved to the skilled nursing area.

The last time he was in skilled nursing is when he needed to be in assisted living to recover from a fall or a mini stroke. It depends on who got told what by him. Instead of living in the assisted area, he chose skilled nursing for the thirty days free. He didn't realize how little privacy he would have being in skilled nursing. Thus began his escapade of the great escape where he hid his mini van and would drive home to take a shower, go through mail and such. I once stopped by to see him unannounced and he was furious with me when he found my note. He made sure I never stopped by without letting him know first. We limited our visits to him because he yelled, berated and demanded from us things we could not do. In hindsight, after being told the whole story, we should have guessed he had hidden his minivan at a nearby synagogue within walking distance for him.

The past five years of not having to participate in his chaotic life, to have to sort through his lies and untruths, trying to help him when he would do what he wanted and what was not best for him, have been freeing for my health. He could weary one so quickly. I think it dawned on him too late what he had done when he made the grand gesture of the lawyer and the papers and instead of apologizing or trying to reconcile, I believe these lies he told were to draw us back into his life without him having to humble himself. If he hadn't acted so quickly and served us with papers, we would have been there helping him and yes, being subjected to his abuses but the drama with the lawyer was it for me.

You see this is the man who told family not to reveal that mom was in the hospital and at the end of her life. She couldn't talk so it was not unusual just to talk with him on the phone and he never said a word to me about the turn of events. Thankfully, family members didn't do his bidding. I found out and talked with him and asked if we could begin with a clean slate and both of us put aside our differences and forgive each other. I thought it would make a difference in our relationship but it didn't last. I had hoped we had turned a corner.

My father didn't have an easy life. An unwanted child by his mother but not so much by his father who tried and life is difficult when his brother was the favored child. He worked hard, became successful but at a huge expense to himself and to others. I don't know if he really ever enjoyed anything other than keeping track of money and stocks. You can understand why he always had huge trust issues, even over the littlest of things and that fear kept him locked up in his own turmoil. His inner turmoil translated into chaos for those around him. Even when I was very young and he still liked me back then, every playtime or snow walk or Saturday errand had an element of fear involved. Not being a professional therapist, I do believe I went to my fearless zone so often because deep inside I wanted to prove to myself I didn't have to be afraid. Well, I chose the wrong situations to go to the fearless zone where I didn't care about consequences or end results. That might be a story for another day.

One of the strangest conversations I ever had with my father is when he talked to me about his funeral service, this was many years ago. He had it all planned out which is not unusual except he was in robust health at the time and most plan their funeral when they are in the throes of illness. The music all had a sad tinge to it and he told me he wanted that music because he couldn't trust that people would be sad to see him gone, so sad music might bring a few tears that would translate as sadness at his departure.

After he retired he began working with troubled youth at the Burnett Bayland home which is so ironic because this is the place he threatened my brother and me with. Back in the day it was an orphanage. Our home like every other one at that time only had a phone in the hallway in a little niche built for just that purpose. Beside the phone was a personal phone book of important numbers to my parents. Under B was the phone number for the Burnett Bayland Home that my father would fake call, I am guessing they were fake calls, asking the orphanage to come get his son and daughter because he didn't want them anymore. By the time he was volunteering there it had become a juvenile detention facility.

I am concerned for him and a peaceful transition from earth to heaven. I forgave him a long time ago and love him. Sadly, I have to confess, I have not missed him. A friend who has battled brain cancer for the past five years has been placed under hospice care. The outpouring of love to him because of his life and ministry is pouring out on social media as friends declare their love and appreciation of this very talented and ministry minded man. My father could be funny and creative but he couldn't give...like this friend.

Through all of this my brother is my hero. He is seeing our father through this and trying to keep him there in skilled nursing as long as possible, for him to be comfortable. Because my father tried to get up in the middle of the night and fell, he is on morphine administered every four hours. He is so agitated without it. Doug told me that he had our father's wedding ring on his keychain and he read the inscription out loud on the inside of the ring, then Doug added, you'll be seeing mom soon. Doug said our father smiled and drifted back into sleep.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Just A Little Catch Up

This has been a most productive day. The outdoors beckoned and so I responded. I got some garden hose stored away, raked a bunch of leaves and put out some outdoor furniture on the back deck. The birds looked on impatiently because there was fresh water and food waiting. A few things rearranged in the garage and then the upstairs called. Put up winter clothes but resisted the urge to pull out spring and summer things. Got lots of laundry done and shredded not so important documents. Guess it must be the spring cleaning bug. Last night I cleaned out the pantry and ditched the arrangement system I had in place and thought would surely work.

Yesterday, I met Taylor and we did my Friday workout. My right hip is not cooperating and getting with the program. Here is the lesson boys and girls, always do PT even when they tell you that since you're doing so well, you can quit. So, trying to break up scar tissue and the like is hard work, but I am willing to do it. I worked even after our time was up. Spent another thirty minutes on the elliptical machine. Then it was time to run a few errands which included Fresh Market, Stein Mart and CVS.  I kind of thought about going out for supper but decided to have leftover queso and ate a salad to balance out the calories.

Last night I had a very nice surprise when a friend from Houston called to chat. We are not phone talkers by habit but we have such a warm, memorable and fun friendship. Oh my gosh, I was laughing to the point of doing the wheezing laugh.
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Well, the weekend went by and I didn't get back to the ol' blog. It isn't that I don't have things to write about, but it just seemed to be a quiet time. I was so productive on Saturday and then totally lazy on Sunday. Guess that is ok since it is a day of rest.

We had a guest speaker Sunday morning, Maxim Katz from Israel. He was very good and interesting. We also got out of church at a halfway decent time. I will once again say I love my Sunday School class, now going by the term Life Group or something like that. No matter the new relevant term, I still love this class of women who love to serve, pray and have fun together.

Sunday evening we worked on the Easter musical coming up on the 9th. It is beautiful and very meaningful. When I got home I had a phone message from a friend and the rest of the evening was devoted to having a fun conversation.

This morning I worked out with Taylor and we reviewed my initial assessment. Progress has been made! Hallelujah!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Maybe The Turn To Spring

There is a stump close to the gravel road behind us. In the past we have seen chips of tree stump lying about and close to another tree. The answer to the chips of bark came the other evening when I had pulled into the garage. A bright red headed woodpecker worked intensely and intently looking for his supper...bugs. We see several woodpeckers throughout the year but not on a regular basis, so it was a treat. The feeder and shrubs around it were filled with all varieties of birds and the splashes and flashes of color mesmerize me.

Today I get a much needed hair trim. Christine needed to change the appointment time and although I don't like later appointments usually, I was happy to help with her schedule. I will run a few errands afterwards but will probably go early to find a parking spot.

My father is officially under hospice care now. I did finally remember a fun time with him. I must have been about three and I would accompany him on Saturday errands. So, this is back in the day when we didn't need no stinkin' car seat and I stood next to him as he drove. We would sing Little Darling together. Even though we haven't had contact for five years and all the years before were certainly chaotic and traumatic, you can look to find the good amongst the evil perpetrated against you. Both my brother and I have qualities now that were forged from intense pain and circumstances. We have both been able to walk with others who have lived with similar circumstances and encourage them that things can and do turn out better than you'd ever think. We understand the language of double meaning and when silence, or words have a different intent, Only those who have walked this kind of path understand while others who have been so fortunate not to experience this kind of thing, look at you and question decisions. Oh my, they haven't a clue. Thankfully, I had a therapist who helped me understand this and who gave guidance as I forged ahead to emotional, spiritual and physical health and healing. I am keeping my brother in constant prayer remembering those times that we needed such strength and patience when we were taking and staying with my father in the ER and when he'd check himself in at MD Anderson. This is much different except for the energy that can be zapped.

The young cows across the way were feeling fine and frisky yesterday afternoon. Lots of head butting and chasing one another. At one point the older cows surrounded the rowdy group as if to stop the shenanigans but after a while, they moved onto their grazing letting the young ones duke it out. Maybe with the intent they'll get tired after a bit.
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We are supposed to warm up today and over the weekend. Ray's Weather, the definitive WNC guru, even said we can begin the wardrobe switch. The heat pumps are running this morning to take the chill out of the air in the house. It's a hazy start with the sun breaking through the haze and clouds. I can hear a blue jay in the distance and almost every morning of late I have awakened to the sound of the cardinal song.

I was away from home most of the day yesterday. There was a post office package pick up, Biltmore Village parking search, a quick looksee or two in some shops, lunch at La Cantina, haircut and color, Target, Home Goods, and Whole Foods. La Cantina is about the closest in providing good Mexican food that reminds me of what we find in the Houston area. They charge for chips and salsa now...so I get queso and chips, then have a snack for the next day. I like their black and blue nachos. So it was unpacking the truck and eating leftovers for supper when I got back home. The clock that has USB ports in it by the bed has been acting kind of wacky, not charging anything. So I messed with that for a bit and then gave up and unplugged the clock. Back to the old fashioned wall plug in with USB ports. Did a little bit of PT homework and then settled in to watch some TV.

Roy had called Duke Energy earlier in the week and they sent out an engineer yesterday. We are having a street light installed over our driveway. That should happen in the next two weeks. The work on the front porch will begin about that time too. Lots of improvements to come.





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesday And Wednesday Views

I woke up at 3:00 am and had a difficult time falling back into sleep. My brain was being too active for the middle of the night. I began to pray and I included my father's well being in those prayers to God. That he would have peace and comfort, that he would know God's presence in that room. If you had to give a theme for my father's life, a very broad theme would be chaos. Circumstances were rife with churning and his very presence brought an onslaught of turmoil both physically and emotionally. Peggy once said to me I have never heard you tell a humorous or fun story about your father. They are few that's for sure. He tried at times but his personality could not take anyone's happiness, so what could have been always turned into the always has been. When we were young my parents would take us to small amusement parks in Houston, Wee Wild West, Kiddie Land and maybe Peppermint Park a few times. That would have been great fun but the whole trip getting to one of these places included a lecture on how other father's played golf on weekends but here he was taking us to an amusement park. I can remember thinking and by the grace of God I never said, why don't you take up golf? Playing golf had nothing to do with wanting to spend time with family, it had more to do with he didn't want to spend the money to play. I had a good time on the rides but my brother probably could have done without those trips because he was nervous about getting on some of the rides or riding the oldest and tamest ponies in the world at Kiddie Land. My father would make fun of him, unmercifully. Even if a ride scared me, I rode it cause I didn't want the attention directed on me.

I am still thinking about a fun experience with my father. So far nothing and I am thinking back to before I turned five because that is when he turned the course for us and determined to make life a living hell for me because now I was more interested in school and making friends than I was in him.
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I still haven't thought of a fun time yet but I will keep on searching. I went back to 2012 on my blog and read about those days beginning on March 27th and through the month of April. I stopped reading when I realized my heart rate was elevated.

Yesterday afternoon Brenda and I went to the Biltmore Estate to celebrate her birthday. We had 4:30 reservations for tea at the Inn, but we went a little early to drive through the gardens, stop at the garden center and a little bit of Antler Hill Village. The tulips are beautiful! Our tea time was delicious and such fun. Roy told me to offer Brenda supper too cause he thinks there isn't enough food at tea time, he considers everything appetizers.We did a little shopping in the Inn and I came home with two items that I love and were on sale. So double score. On our way back home, Brenda taught me a few more short cuts and I am driving like a local more and more. We also drove by the elk and watusi cattle. Weatherwise, it was the best day so far this year with temps in the low 70's.

Rain showers came though last night. Such a lovely and relaxing sound, raindrops on a metal roof. Thankfully, we did not have a lot of thunder and lighting. It looked like most of the heavier rain went to the south of us.

This morning one of the first things I did was to complete my Nord order because today begins triple points. I've been waiting so I could order makeup and products I use daily and benefit to get more Nord Notes. I did find a couple of shirts for next fall and winter on sale.

Bird watching has been especially entertaining. Many little birds stop by with nesting material in their beaks. They stop and fuel up and continue about the business of making a home. The squirrels and bunnies stop by at least once a day. The squirrel cracks me up when he comes to get a drink of water. It must taste so good that he lays out like a sunbather for a few minutes before continuing on with the day. The front yard and the gravel road in back has had a wonderful full capacity of robins. Such a beautiful sight watching them hop with their little heads cocked to the side listening for supper.

Have a full day of nothing schedule wise in concrete. I know some of the things I hope to take care of today.

Monday, March 20, 2017

From The Darkness To The Dawning

It is the first day of spring. A new season awaits and we greeted the day below freezing but it has warmed up nicely. After working out this morning I decided to make the often put off trip to Johnson City because I had happy feet and felt the need to see the big mountains north of us. It is kind of a gray day and in Johnson City rain threatened or at least it seemed that way. Once I was over the highest part of the drive, I talked with a friend. We had been talking when the call failed and before I could return the call, my brother called. We had talked yesterday because it seems that our father is having some difficulties health-wise.

With my father you never know...This is the man who would mow his lawn in the middle of the day during the summer hoping that just a small health related incident would happen, for just a little bit of attention. While being in remission for over five years almost fifteen from cancer, he would think every ache or pain announced the return of the dreaded C and after trips to the ER at MD Anderson or a slew of appointments the diagnosis would be the flu or a sore muscle. When he decided to have some heart surgery and it being more or less elective and Roy and I talked with him at length to see if this is really what he wanted to do. I suggested he look into a study program I read about and that meant not open heart surgery but a less invasive procedure. Once he began to understand open heart surgery, he backed off quickly...let some time go by and then swears up and down that he discovered the study program on his own. He was accepted into it and had a wonderful result. So when my brother was told that our father wasn't eating or wanting anything to drink, we didn't know if it was a natural decline or if he was trying to control the last thing he had any control over. The need to control stays with us to our dying day. After twenty four hours it is beginning to look like natural decline and not an obstinate man looking for a last bit of attention.

Life has never been easy with father. For us it became more difficult beginning in March of 2012 when he legalized his hatred with a severance of relationship. He cut contact and then began accusing us of actions we never had done. His next step when he didn't get the desired reaction was to notify Adult Protective Services and filed a complaint with the Houston Police, Elder Care and Abuse. It became the regular disruptive stress during the next three years to continually respond to these charges filed against us and the end result always the same, we hadn't done anything he accused us of.  We are innocent. When the authorities knew we were in North Carolina and when my brother called them and vouched that our father is an adroit lier, the calls stopped, the investigations and stopped wasting the authorities time. My brother also discovered a person of interest that kept things stirred up in hopes of some kind of financial windfall by duping our father. Then my father fell and broke his hip and the long time duplicitous stories to his doctor and to others revealed he shouldn't have been living in his house, by himself for a very long time. Thus began his assisted living journey.

My brother, after a few hits and misses, found a wonderful place for our father. His quality of life, raised. He was playing cards again and being social. He did have a little problem of taking things that weren't his, but Thelma, his long time friend, makes him read the Bible, pray for forgiveness from the Lord and then makes him apologize to the people he has taken things from each time he tresspasses against others. The past two years my brother has described them as freeing for our father. All the darkness that had covered so much of his life, all the conspiracies against him...imagined...gone. He was easier to talk with and he apologized to my brother and began telling him that he loved him. Our father was not one to express love by action or by words. He would ask why Roy and I weren't coming to see him and that is when my brother would remind him of everything he had done and said. He admitted those were some pretty good reasons. If my father had ever told my brother, would you tell your sister I am sorry, I would have probably reached out, but you see he never said that. He could not let it go because of his dislike that should probably be described as hatred, for me.

I am thrilled for my brother that he has had these last two years finding out he is loved and I am thrilled for my father that he has had these last two years away from his emotional darkness. It makes me so happy. Thelma has had many a conversation with our father making sure he knows the Lord and that he has truly accepted the gift of salvation. There have been several previous conversions that weren't the real deal admitted so by my father.

I am thankful for a therapist who helped me before and after all this happened. I am in a good place emotionally and spiritually, but I do find myself these past twenty four hours praying for and thinking about my dad. There is no desire to go see him and it is probably one of the healthiest decisions I can make. I wish he had had a better childhood. I wish he could have loved living life with his wife and family. I wish he could have found happiness. As for those holes in my childhood that didn't connect or make sense, I am content that three years ago I found the answers and those pieces of the puzzle explained so much. There is closure. I have forgiven him and I love him.

My brother should have some answers by this evening as a hospice nurse is visiting with our father this afternoon.




Friday, March 17, 2017

Out of Low Winter Temps

Yesterday was a weather/black ice/cold temps stay at home day with an extra emphasis of ensconcement on my part. To commemorate the day I wore my very favorite, well worn, well loved sweatshirt that has been with me for over twenty years of meritorious service. The cuffs are fraying but other than that I believe there is twenty more years of wear in this sweatshirt. It is not even a cute sweatshirt, it is light gray...yep that's it. I took this sweatshirt to the rehab hospital for those difficult days of hard work and lots of surgical pain. I also spent the morning reading favorite verses and chapters from the Bible. The comfort and hope they've brought through the years in and out of different seasons of life was assuring and went so well with the beloved sweatshirt. I tackled a project or two. While in Texas, I ordered floor lamps for use here. I put them together, thankfully there wasn't anything on the box that said easy assembly, and then put them in the twin bedroom. The packing foam broke apart all over, so I cleaned it all up and called it a project well done. I also unpacked a hanging rack that I ordered while in Texas and put it up. All the while wearing my favorite sweatshirt and thinking on what I had read.

I think that Margaret Feinberg is one of my all time favorite authors. Her words and thoughts mesh with how I think and express myself. Even the devo I am using this year by her, even the tough subjects and sin that needs to be confronted in my life, resonates and calls me to action. So many feel this way about Ann Voskamp. Her style of writing should speak to me, narrative prose, but I had the hardest time reading her first book. I gave up in frustration.

During the weather related home day I also took the time to journal in depth. I'm always writing things down but yesterday I took time to contemplate and express. Because I love notebooks, journals and office supplies in general, I used a new journal that I recently purchased...I know, like I needed another journal. This new one has characteristics that none of the others have and it came with a little stencil thing to add emphasis to your writing. Winner winner chicken dinner cause I rely on stencils because this girl ain't got no art talent.
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I kind of eased into the day yesterday but when the temps were closer to getting about freezing I got out and ran errands. During the floor lamp project I realized that our light bulb stash was down to next to nothing. So the first stop Lowe's and I also stocked up on some bird seed. Then I went to the bank, grocery store, Cottage Door consignment shop and Ace Hardware. It was getting past lunch time so I called in a gas station pizza. Then I swung by CVS and then on my way for pizza pick up then home.

Brenda dropped by on her way home in the late afternoon. We got caught up with life and the time got away from us. She needed to get home and fix supper. Since I had pizza for lunch I opted for a sandwich while watching the birds in the backyard. The medium and small bunny were both back in the yard and a spat ensuded. At least it looked like a fight to me, lots of jumping and egging one another on. The bunnies went out of view but the birds kept on rolling. Two neighborhood dogs that I usually see once a year came through, a golden retriever and a boxer. Then they went back the way they came. I saw my first blue bird of the season, not blue jays, but I have seen a lot of blue jays too.

It's a workout day for me, so off to get ready.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Cold And Blustery March Day

The workout yesterday at the wellness center certainly is talking to me this morning. Muscles in my core are saying why did you wake us from such a sweet slumber of so many non active years? I love the TRX work and I am finally trusting it to do the work and yet suspend me. I also did my first time at that rope thing. You know where you hold one end of the big, heavy rope and make it do waves... We are at a small facility, so there was a lady on a yoga mat very near my rope activity. I asked her if I was making her nervous and she said yes. I assured her, hey this is my first time doing this so I am so sure it will go well. She didn't seem to share the same assurance. I think she was trying to do some kind of stretch with meditation but she probably felt it was more like stretch with irritation. Taylor worked on my calves before we started the workout. Oh my goodness! That and his jackhammer muscle thing have been life changing. My lower legs have always been so tight and that is due to not being able to use my knees for very much. I still had some slight swelling in my right ankle and since I have began this training, that swelling is gone. That jackhammer muscle thing opens up the connective tissue for better circulation. Since last July when we scheduled surgery and into this time I have been very motivated and believe me, I have to go with it cause I am not always so motivated to see results.

Bill C was so very kind to put together the "easy assembly" sit up thingy for me yesterday. The box lied, it was not easy assembly especially with the little allen wrench they provided. While Bill put it together Vivian and I visited. Such fun and I came home with a mason jar of homemade veggie soup and some peach cobbler. I had the veggie soup for supper and it was delicious. I also put some in the freezer to have for another meal.

The devo this week has been on words. The power of life and death is in the tongue, so says Proverbs. We can speak life into lives but many times we end up speaking harsh and hurtful words. Even in our actions we can give life into lives or take away hope with our chosen words or non verbal communication. Tone is a huge factor as well. Subject should be in there too because we can talk about ourselves too much or give ourselves too much credit for success. I saw my friend Velda at the wellness center yesterday. She was there to take a class but we got to visit for a moment. We both understand so well how the words, you look so good, affects decisions. We look good in our recoveries but that doesn't translate into we can do as much as we look like we can and we both confessed to the detriment in some tasks we opted to take on and realized we were not ready. I was on a tennis team with a woman who told her stories and happenings with way too many words. We'd all be waiting for the point of the story but we all knew we'd be waiting because of all the needless details. It took away from her story. I used to say to her and I am wishing I hadn't, but after a lot of meandering and bunny trails, I would announce, if this doesn't get interesting in about thirty seconds, I am so onto something else. Yea, there was life in those words, she said sarcastically.  Growing up I heard a LOT of words from my father. None of those words ever contained any mercy but he was big on lecturing about common sense and using good judgement. In those long extended "talks" before my punishment, I remember he did say some helpful things and like the sower that sows the word, before it could take root in my life, he dug it up again and again and again...he wanted overnight growth and could not be patient for a process, growing time. I don't know if he thought repetition would make his thoughts be more meaningful or what. I do know it is a fact we can only listen as long as our rear ends are comfortable. Maybe that was a good thing because I was so numb before getting a spanking from the "your behavior discussion.". Hmmm...maybe not so life changing but life saving cause he could render hard wallops. So those wise words became pedestrian, they lost their power to do life giving work. Funny how life and devotional reading collide because Roy and I had a good conversation about a situation he is experiencing with a friend who ambles too much and distracts when group conversations get meaningful. I was able to help him think through some things. Of course now that I look at this paragraph I believe I too have rambled on a little too long.
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It is a cold Wednesday morning. The heaters are running on overtime. The wind has blown and howled for hours. It woke me up at 1:30 am and it was hard to go back to sleep. As that wind blew making the whistling sound around the windows I began remembering and then seeing if I could still  recite the poem my grandmother told me at night before going to sleep, Little Orphan Annie. It is a scary poem about goblins coming for bad little boys and girls. Yes, sweet dreams are made of these. This poem was especially terrifying in the winter at her house. The heater was a wall mounted contraption that made scary sounds of bumps and no good knicks coming up the stairs to get you before eventually transitioning to heating the upstairs.  I'll leave off this morning with this poem. I can still recite most of it from memory.

Little Orphant Annie

.  Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay, 
    An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away, 
    An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep, 
    An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep; 
    An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done, 
    We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun 
    A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about, 
    An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you 
      Ef you 
        Don't 
          Watch 
            Out! 
    Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers, — 
    An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs, 
    His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl, 
    An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all! 
    An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press, 
    An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess; 
    But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout: — 
    An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
      Ef you 
        Don't 
          Watch 
            Out! 
    An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin, 
    An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin; 
    An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there, 
    She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care! 
    An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide, 
    They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side, 
    An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about! 
    An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
      Ef you 
        Don't 
          Watch 
            Out! 
    An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue, 
    An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo! 
    An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray, 
    An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away, — 
    You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear, 
    An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear, 
    An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about, 
    Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
      Ef you 
        Don't 
          Watch 
            Out!





Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Brrr....Cold

There are just a few patches of snow left mainly in the shade, places without a southern exposure. Our deck still has a remnant of snow left. It was fun while it lasted and really that is how snow can be enjoyed. When you are trapped inside for days on end by this beautiful white ice, somehow it loses its appeal. Every little bit of moisture helps knock out the drought that we have been in since last year.

The time got away this morning and before I knew it, it was 10:04. Good thing I had already planned not to go to church. So second day in a row without makeup and once I got involved into my bird and bunny watching, well I am ensconced. I did venture out for a quick minute when I took the trash down to the road in the truck and then went "around the block." The camels were up by the fence close to the road. They very rarely, or we are never able to catch them, that close up to take pics. So, I drove around the block so to speak and came back this time ready to snap a few pics and I was treated to a great display of camel cushing and rolling over onto the grass mainly for scratching purposes. I was so delighted and entertained. Thankfully, no traffic on the road so I was able to sit there a few minutes and take it all in.

Today Peggy called me the bird lady or Lady Bird. Maybe I am more like Doctor Doolittle because when I start watching the birds, I do little other than that. The backyard is all a flutter with birds coming and going. I observed an interesting thing today. Bunny Foo Foo was back and enjoying the seeds the birds hadn't found. There were doves nearby and the feeder filled with finches and wrens. The caw of a nearby crow broke the silence and all activity stopped. Not one of those birds moved. The bunny was so still and they stayed that way for about three minutes. When they knew the coast was clear all activity resumed. The fluttering of those small birds did not phase the rabbit. Even when the bigger birds like cardinals came around, nothing...but the shadow of a big bird flying over or the sound of a crow....makes for a quiet backyard. This morning two squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees, that is until two blue jays began darting toward them. One squirrel ran off but the other one kind of put up a defence of his limb on the tree. Obviously, there wasn't a birds nest in it, so the blue jays were just playing or bullying because it was all a sport to them. I am learning a lot about life watching the antics of the animal kingdom.
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Tuesday and it is cold with winter skies. We are having spotty Wifi coverage so I am writing quickly before the squirrels decide it is too cold to run and it goes out again. Just like ancestors of old I restock the Wifi by rebooting...well, it seems like it is the same concept as with stoking a fire.

The roads were clear yesterday so I was able to go to my workout appointment. We did some good work yesterday. Afterwards, I went to the grocery store and then to the pharmacy to get prescriptions transferred. I have an errand or two for today but I think I can wait till the cold is over. We are above freezing for the rain we got last night was just that, rain not snow. The next two nights will be bitter cold in the teens. I keep thinking about and praying for the students on spring break from Houston's First that are serving in New York City this week. Most do not have cold weather gear since winter is about three days in January.

I had a very difficult time falling asleep last night. I got back up and dozed in front of the TV until about 2;00 am. I think I was a little wired from phone calls and I ate my supper a little later than normal. And I think the time change had something to do with it as well. As I regain stamina and active days like yesterday that would have worn me out before new knees. So maybe I need to take activity up a notch.

Another experiment in coffee and it seems to be a good choice. I bought some Folgers French Vanilla coffee yesterday since it was on sale. We used to drink that coffee several years ago. So I made coffee with it and a scoop of a premium vanilla coffee and I think we have a winner. I also want to try out this morning the new item in the dairy case for making lattes. It comes in a can that looks like whipped cream. I got caramel flavor, so we will see.




Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Sunday Happy Occurrence

Just like that, the snow event is over. I felt like a kid at Christmas knowing the snow would come in the middle of the night. The first time I woke up, I looked out the window. The snow must have just started to fall because there wasn't any accumulation. The second time I woke up, I decided not to look because I would be so disappointed not to see snow. Ah yes, third time is a charm and I looked out the window to see the deck covered in radiant white snow.

I stirred myself out of bed early to take a few pictures from inside the house. That cold gray was the canvas for the snow to show off. The limbs of trees laden with snow created beautiful silhouettes against the gray and silver sky. Now that the sun has come out the snow will melt and by this afternoon there won't be any signs that it was here for such a brief time.

The normally busy road is rather quiet this morning with only a few cars and trucks passing by. The road must have been brined yesterday because it was clear this morning while everything else was blanketed with snow.

The little wrens and sparrows were busy this morning clearing out the birdfeeder designed for smaller birds. They cleared the snow and got down to the business of eating. I sat at the table watching the coming and going of the birds and asked the Lord if He would so kindly send a cardinal. He did and I took a few pictures. Then another male cardinal came, they got into a fight and flew off. Later, Mr and Mrs Cardinal had brunch together and I was able to catch that too.

Now the trees that are still in winter dormancy look like they have cotton balls among the branches. I know better than to try and maneuver outdoors. One is more cautionary with artificial knees and hip. Besides building a small snowman is fun when you are doing that with others. So, I choose to drink coffee and watch the birds and the snow melt.

This has been a special, quiet morning. Along with the sacred there has been fun sending pics to friends and then posting snow pictures like a tourist. I know, I should act like I have seen snow before but it is fun to share the beauty. I am happy to see friends who have lived here all their lives posting snow pictures or commenting on the happy occurrence.

The weather service is reporting that we didn't get as much snow as expected and the dry air coming from the north made this more a southern snow event, meaning south of Asheville. It looks like, from my back deck observation, that we got maybe 2 inches of snow. Believe me I am fine with that. Yesterday, I read articles about the blizzard of 93 which ironically began on March 12th. We will keep an eye on Monday evenings weather because we could get some icy precip from the Nor'easter coming back up the coast.

I just saw my friend CourtneyS leading on the frontline praise team at Houston's First Baptist webcast. I love to hear her sing.

Our church service here begins at 11:00 so it is a later start. I am still in my jammies and have opted for church at home this morning. The time got away as I watched and took pictures of our happy occurrence here in the mountains.

 In a bit, once it looks better for me to venture out, I will help the birds get a little more food in them to keep warm.



Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Day, With Sat and Tur

After two nights of being awake in the middle of the morning in the middle of the night, I was so thankful to have a good night's rest. Even confirmed by my Fitbit sleep tracker. Taylor mentioned in our workout session yesterday that I seemed a bit off and I knew it was from lack of sleep and rest. The new coffee this morning is tasting pretty good but I am still ever on the search.

The early sunlight has now changed over to gray skies. It has been fun watching two sparrows this morning gather dead grass and other materials to build a nest. The nest they are building is in a tree/fir in the front yard. Bunny Foo Foo was out this morning as well. The cast of regulars, birds of different varieties, come and go as they eat and probably have a sense to prepare for a cold night ahead.

It dawned on me yesterday while applying makeup that the foundation I use comes in a bottle that the top cannot be unscrewed or undone. So unlike other foundations where the bottle can be turned upside down to get the last little bit of makeup before opening a new bottle, your foundation usage is already determined by the manufacturer. Guess you can tell I am getting to the end of the present bottle.

The winter storm that is overtaking TN through the Carolina's today and tomorrow is named Stella.

Flourish, the devo book by Margaret Feinberg, is really so good and is just the devo book for such a time as this. I am in the section Bursting With Life. The chapter I read this morning is How To (Not) Enjoy Life. Yep, it is about attitudes and words that rob and threaten living an abundant life. The verse, "do everything without complaining and arguing" Philippians 4:2 NLT. When Beth Moore still taught Sunday School at First Baptist Houston, she talked about what Paul endured. The visual she used as she named them off was that of an old timey adding machine where you punched in the numbers and then had to pull the handle on the side of the machine down for the numbers to be included in the adding. She was naming and pulling that imaginary handle down rather quickly. It is one of  Lisa P and my favorite memories of her class. Paul had a whole lot of reasons to complain but he holds his tongue and he in turn is teaching the Philippians.

"Paul never suggests that believers deny any sorrow or adversity they face, but rather recognize, that even in the midst of affliction, they can control their tongue-including the brass and the sass. 
When we respond ready and cheerful, we become like a breath of fresh air in a smog-chocked city. Those around us catch snapshots of God and see the world in a better light."
Flourish, Margaret Feinberg


So, that no complaining thing has to apply to this weekends big change...to daylight savings time. Why is the fall change so much easier to adjust to? Well, I do enjoy having longer evening hours with daylight. In the summer that translates to about 9:00 pm in these here parts. 

The past few days while doing the regular stuff as I drive around, I have noticed more houses that are hidden by the trees most of the year. I wonder how people get to some of those houses? Really, there is such beauty in all four seasons of the year around here. 

I think one of the reasons I slept so well last night was the rejuvenation from the deep tissue machine that Taylor has. As we ended the session yesterday, he used it on my right hip and then on quads with emphasis around my knees. Oh my word! I might have could have sang a song. Yes, I know bad grammar. The nerves that hurt trying to come back are helped so much by this. It helps with connective tissue and when the blood is flowing freely, healing is happening. I could have jumped off that table and could have sang and marched as I did, I'm a soldier in the army of the Lord! 

Well, I have eased into the day longer than I had planned. So I better be about the business of the day.