Monday, January 30, 2017


It's a beautiful morning here in Rancho de Five. Sunny and the temps are beginning the predicted warm up this week. Buddy has selected her napping spot for the first nap of the morning.

This weekend held some very fun times but while it is still fresh on my mind I want to write about Wednesday first. I met Emily for lunch and then went over to the rehab hospital where I spent two weeks after surgery.  My rehab Dr and I wear the same size of shoe and I had told her I would bring her some boots that I hardly ever wore because of the heel being too high for me. While waiting for Dr V I was able to see Jasmine, PT, and several nurses and assistants that had cared for me during my recovery. I was so happy to thank them for their kind care to me. Several of them didn't recognize me at first because I hardly ever put on makeup or did much to my hair while I was rehabbing. Hey, I had my priorities straight. Dr V got out of her meeting and we visited for a bit. It was so nice not having to talk about pain levels and going to the bathroom. Each and every person I talked with commented on how well I looked and my straight knees. In the elevator a nurse who had cared for me asked me again about bilateral knee surgery and what were my recommendations for rehabbing because she is having the same surgery the end of February and rehabbing at her job hospital.

Wednesday night, I went to choir practice. Before going upstairs I looked for CourtneyS in the lobby as she was working the Midlink Preview night. I had an Astro's t-shirt for her. After we had visited a bit, I turned to the area where the Women's Ministry tables were set up. I visited with Carolyn and her assistant. Greeted a few others and then wandered over to another table to talk with a friend there. She is teaching a spiritual journaling class and I wanted to tell her about Adam Feldman's book on journaling. Then I went upstairs to choir and had a wonderful time of seeing friends, worshiping God and remembering. I left quickly after rehearsal to get home before Roy went to sleep mainly because I needed his help to get my boots off and I wanted to tell him about my visit to the rehab hospital.

He was fixing to go to bed, so I just caught him. He knows I am a thought processor and knew when I talked about my Wednesday that he would really hear my thoughts on Thursday. But I did tell him this; the rehab hospital had a whole different feel for me and of course you want that. You don't want to pine for that in the process of healing. It is much better to be on this side of the work. I had heard while being there as a patient that some former patients came back many times, not to work out but to see the staff and remember their stay. I told Roy I don't think I will ever go back there unless I would be a patient because that short season is gone. I appreciated that time and know it was the best decision for those two weeks. I am also glad I opted for rehab at Methodist, where I had the surgery. New place, new perspective and a new set of eyes for rehab.

By Thursday evening I had thought it all through and I realized that both of these Wednesday experiences just reinforced what I have known for some time, this season of life is closed but it has opened to an exciting season of life in the mountains. The realization that the timing back in 2015 of the Alumni By Choice luncheon at Baylor the end of February was the bookend for this very long season of life because a month later the moving van was here and the great adventure began. This isn't a new revelation to me or to long time readers of the Monablog but I love it when we get to see examples that help reinforce the dream and challenges ahead. What is important will remain, close friends and of course good restaurants. I didn't mention Roy because that is a given. But everything else and everyone else will fade into memories, both good and some bad memories. The things here that seem to have more emphasis are not such a big thing in NC where we live. The density and pace here are beginning to rattle me and I so look forward to those country roads whose traffic jams include tractors or horse drawn wagons. My pet peeve of being overly marketed to by the church is a bit irritated here but thankfully there are things that calm the irritation and I won't be here much longer attending.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sic Em At The Silos

A few days have passed and I have not blogged. The days have been filled and once home I felt the need to rest. Oh a few times I wandered over toward the computer but something else would draw me away. This morning it is quiet with Roy at Bible study and Buddy figuring out where she will start her first nap of the day. I slept in a little too not getting up until 7:30 am.

Yesterday, Roy and I took off to Waco, TX home of Baylor University and The Silos. I watch Fixer Upper occasionally and I am not a devoted fan, but a fan nonetheless. I had wanted to go last year while recuperating from surgery but didn't make it. We thought it would be a fun day trip and a good test for when we drive back to NC. It gave us a good idea of when we will need to take breaks and things like that. So, we left home around 7:00 am and of course our first stop was in Waller at Buc-ees. Roy and I got breakfast to go and a few snacks for the road. We arrived at The Silos about 10:20 and the place was already jumping. We were coming back around the block where it is located and a big SUV pulled out of a parallel parking spot. Let the record show I have NEVER EVER parallel parked SequishShawn but the NEVER EVER ended in that moment. I had a moment's struggle and I asked Roy if he was praying for me? He responded, well I am now and the rest is history. Didn't hit the curb or any cars. The Silos are located near First Baptist Waco and the style but not the color is very reminiscent of First Baptist Asheville. Asheville being the more beautiful church cause FB Waco is yellow brick or some color like that.  To be fair I think we saw FBW when the sunlight hit it just right to make it look a lot more yellow than it is. If we were going to stop at the bakery in hindsight, we should have gone in when we first arrived. We went into the main store and how beautiful it is. Lots of decorative things but truthfully like so many of my shopping stops, I was looking for t-shirts. We found them on the lower level with about thirty of our new best friends. I also spotted a metal sign that spoke to my heart and knew a small version of the sign hanging in the shop needed to come back to NC with me. After going back upstairs for a moment to look at notebooks and such, we headed back downstairs to pay for our purchases. Lot shorter line, in fact no line and then we went outdoors to the big play area for kids and grown up kids. There are also bathrooms out that way while having a line much shorter than indoors...these are just FYIs for those who have never gone. Lots of picnic tables and food trucks. Big play area and old fashioned swings, with wooden seats not that man made stuff that grips around your rear end. With this being a school day, excepting homeschoolers who might have been there, not too many kids. So I was able to get a quick pic taken on a swing but I didn't feel confident enough to actually swing like I did when I was a child. A train blew past while we were there. After we wandered about a little more we decided it was time to head over to The Baylor University Bookstore. You know, I always need to resupply a Baylor shirt or two. Before going to the bookstore though, we drove around the campus. When we went past Ruth Collins Hall, I mentioned that I had been assigned a corner room with two other roommates that I never got to meet in person nor did I ever see the room. No maybe I did see the room when I visited Mary Madeline a couple of times at Baylor. Who knows, I don't remember but I do remember having to write Alton Lee to let him know I would not be attending Baylor. Roy and I talked about the alumni by choice luncheon we attended in 2015 right before moving up to NC. I know if I had been able to go to Baylor it wouldn't have been a good or happy time and I realized this fact only after going to the alumni by choice luncheon and receiving my ABC "diploma." The realization that my father would have been working overtime to make me miserable there and thus probably causing me to leave before graduating would have hovered over the whole experience. I think I kind of knew that all these years but I kept it tucked in the back of my mind. Interesting that once receiving the ABC "diploma" I have never had another Baylor dream since then and I used to have three to four dreams a year about attending there.

We decided to head on down the road to stop at St Peters Church. Beautiful white clapboard church seen from the road on a rolling Texas hillside. I have no clue where it is to reference the location. We took pictures and walked around the grounds of the church. It has beautiful stain glass windows that has some kind of clear but cloudy protection on the outside of them. Next stop College Station, home of the George W Bush Library...I mean Texas A&M University. We didn't stop there for either of these two but to eat lunch and we chose Rudy's. Next brief stop Navasota for some DQ ice cream and then Buc-ees. Glad we made the Buc-ees stop because we got in a huge traffic jam on 290. We read on WAZE that there was a major wreck past 99. We were slow moving for about 45 minutes but we found freedom once we made the turn onto 99.

Even with the stress of bumper to bumper traffic I still had energy enough to go to Academy with Roy to see if they still had some of their on sale Reeboks in his size. He scored three pairs of tennis shoes, two of the sale ones and a trail tennis shoe for NC. We came on home and Roy did some work from the office and I settled in watching a bit of TV. I watched the special on Mary Tyler Moore.

Our Friday was fun and a driving success! Roy and I had the best time laughing and talking on our road trip. He liked having a day off. He found a Baylor workout water bottle that is the type he has been looking for. When it came to stairs or uneven ground, he was right beside me if I needed any help. I did take him up on his offer going down the stairs in order to go down them correctly and not one step, one step, one step.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Just Living It Out On The Prairie

This morning I find myself with a little bit of muscle soreness because PT kicked my butt yesterday. That is almost literally. I had an afternoon appointment and after a full morning I was a bit on the tired side but ready to tackle the exercises offered. Yes, I have a lot of strengthening to do and Kelly gave me a few new things to do at home. One thing we did showed me just how much I have been using my arms to do the work that legs and hips were created to do. Only a few more sessions and I will be on my own but I plan find a place to workout. I am seeing a year later, even though I was doing well, how much outpatient would have helped me after doing in home therapy for my hip. Some things are being corrected as we work on the knees.

To celebrate being able to do all that was asked of me at PT, I went over to Academy to look at Astro shirts. 2017 could be the year for the 'stros. I found two cute shirts and purchased them. I will be ready to represent in the ANC.

I did a little more packing and rearranging of things going back. Guess that would also include rethinking some of the things that might just go back with us. A lot of good times and memories from this trip for sure will travel back and stay with me a long time. Many lessons learned and notes from rehab hospital time are certainly going with me. Thankfully, before I came to Texas I went through a list of situations, circumstances or people that I don't have a dog in the show to speak and let those things go in how I let them affect me. In that time of reflection and letting go, I really grabbed onto the present and what the future just might hold and rejoiced in that. It is looking like Super Bowl Weekend in Houston just might be the weekend I get the most accomplished because we are all laying low with the crowds that will soon engulf the area. At the last Super Bowl they had to restrict then close all access to the Galleria. Too many people for it to be safe. I read there are a couple of events out this way. Hopefully, they won't be large venues to further complicate traffic.
It is an earlier morning than usual for me. Woke up pretty much wide awake. I have lunch plans and Chris will be here this afternoon. Yesterday, Erin D came over to show me Norwex products. I told her I was sold on them before she even came out to show me what they can do. Roy has become so sensitive to fragrances so I figure using less chemicals to clean would benefit him. Along with the info, I enjoyed our visit. Erin is one of those young women who I admire so much.

After she left I did a couple of errands and then spent the afternoon tracking some suspicious emails that looked to be fraudulent activity. We had a fraud alert on a credit card last week. I think after talking to many it is nothing but I am keeping an eye on things. Roy wasn't available for consultation because he was at the dentist.

We both worked on our CBS homework last night. I think mine is a lot harder.

Driving around here going places and running errands, I realize just how many more homes are being built and businesses opening. Several of the mom and pop stores that were fun to go to have closed. Both have sited busy lives but it is the box stores and chains moving in that have taken business. Even in Fulshear, one of the fastest growing areas around, a couple of home grown restaurants have closed and a fun little gift shop just closed its doors as well.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Day Calls

These early Texas mornings will be drawing to a close soon. The sound of multiple school busses starting and stopping as they load up kiddos for school throughout our neighborhood. Today's forecast is sunny. I have PT today and several things to take care of. One is a Buddy cat who seems to be very vocal this morning and she can't decide whether to begin her first nap of the morning or sit on my lap.

Saturday morning I had a wonderful treat of going to the Fulshear Farmer's Market. Honestly most of the farmer's markets around here are pitiful. This seemed to be the exception. Great vendors with varied offerings. Roy and I walked about and purchased a few items. The buy of the day, grapefruit for a quarter a piece and they gave him a fifth one for free. While we were looking around our shopping conversation turned to crawfish and cajun. Since we had an errand over toward Mason Road, we decided to stop at Babin's to take care of those gumbo cravings. Lunch was delicious and gave us the strength to complete the day's tasks. One task was to walk around the water feature next to our home. We learned several years ago that it is actually a creek and it was around when all this land was used for rice farming. It does run into Spring Lake which is a beautiful, man made "lake." It is one of those lakes just to look at, not enjoy. I have been practicing extending my stride and it was fun to have Roy there to walk and talk with. The turtles were sun bathing around the water and some kind of bird was doing a lot of underwater swimming and fishing. There is a new connector that no one thought would ever be constructed because the trail is between two different "owned" neighborhoods. Roy says it a flat and not interestingly designed like the rest of the trails in Rancho de Five. Before I go back to NC, I may take his trek to ride along that path.

Sunday morning the choir and orchestra were back in the 9:15 service. Welcome back! I was back to my regular perch of the last row in the balcony. I took the elevator up but took the stairs when going to Life Bible Study. Dena's lesson in the Mastering Life book was thought provoking and good. Now there is a six week break on that book because for the next six weeks all the classes will be doing standard lessons based on the pastor's book, Unstoppable Gospel. Next Sunday Malcolm Pierre is teaching our class at Dena's invite. I think it will be wonderful and all the ladies were happy when she announced that info at the end of class. After church Dena and I went to Molina's for lunch. Great Tex Mex and on Sunday afternoons it is quiet enough to actually have conversation that each other can hear. Our waiter Luis was fabulous! We went to a local furniture store nearby. Dena is looking for an entryway piece. Saw a few possibilities. Then we went to Kuhl Linscomb. What an experience! This place is so big they have maps to help you navigate the store. They carry all kinds of things, goods and wares. Some are very pricey, like a $175.00 candle and other things are reasonably priced. They carry hard to find products and there is also the usual. I loved it! I am so glad we had time to make a quick visit. Since we were so close to the Shepherd Whole Earth Provision Company, I called to see if they had any Flax brand clothes. Yes, they did. So we went the 3/10 of a mile to the crowded center and thankfully although the parking lot was jammed, there was an open handicap parking space. I will be happy to be well but dang, I am going to miss that parking placard. I found some Flax I loved and was on sale. Much bigger selection than the Galleria store. Our fun afternoon called for a celebration, so we stopped at a Starbucks for coffee. On the way to Starbucks we drove on the street where Dena used to live years ago when she first came to Houston. All the apartments have been torn down to make way for high rise apartments I'm sure. So little land, so much density.

I watched some of the Inauguration on Friday just like in years past, not much of it. I mainly like to watch the parade with the military bands. I briefly saw two of the three balls the Trumps attended and couldn't stay up much later than that. Last night we watched some of the blowout football games but we flipped between the games and some documentaries on the aftermath of WWII and how Europe came back to civility. Very interesting and I learned a lot. There isn't too much talk after...we won! But it took a lot to put lives back together.

The day calls to begin, so I will respond.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Find, Regain and Walk

So after a morning of heavy, flooding rain for parts of Houston, the afternoon cleared. The streets that always flood it seems with just a drop of rain began to see the water recede and the way become clear again. The bayous were full and the water flowing through them looked like raging rivers instead of the usual, slow, meandering way that bayous have. All the news reporters standing in water and chasing after those wading through the dirty, oil and probably snake infested waters went back to their respective stations. I heard that two reporters from rival station both had on the same dress.

With the waters gone I drove into town and went to choir practice at Houston's First Baptist. Since it was the kickoff Wednesday of Midlink and the movie The Insanity of God was shown to get the semester started. The parking lot was filled but I was able to score a handicap space close by the entrance. I loved getting to see friends and worship with them. That is how choir practice is with John, we work hard learning notes and wording but we also worship. This choir practice not only was the first for 2017 but it was also the first practice after John's father's passing. Before practice began I was able to share a few minutes of conversation with John. When John began at First Baptist, I was still on staff and had stopped in the music office and by chance got to meet John. He is enthusiastic and passionate about music and worship....which means he is also very good at recruiting for choir. Back in the day it was an uphill struggle when he first came. He invited me to come to choir with the assurance he would call during the week to remind me of the invite and then asked my name...I told him Peggy Bain. Joan Brunson, church pianist, overheard the conversation and let him know that wasn't my name. I have loved John Bolin from that very moment of laughter. As we briefly conversed John told me that he has his father's hands. I think he also has his father's heart and God given talent. He told me what that meant to him and the comfort and strength of seeing his father daily in his hands. My thoughts immediately turned to my mother's hands and there is a story there but for another day. It was time for choir to begin and John went to the front of the rehearsal hall and I sat with Lisa P and Debbie B, former choir member returning to the fold. Loved every song we sang, especially the arrangement of All Creatures of Our God and King. Felt at home when we sang Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here...thinking of my friends in the Newfound Baptist choir.  Before we opened We Will Remember, we did just that...we remembered.  A few from the choir shared and then John shared with us those days in Israel before the homegoing of his father. He read Psalm 46 and graciously shared with us from the heart, not as a teachable moment, cause the heart share carried teachability in the words and thoughts. Then we sang the song we learned back in 2010 with new eyes and hearts. My intention was to leave choir early because of the total lack of sleep from the night before but I stayed. I am so glad I did. Icing on the cake, seeing CourtneyS and visiting a bit with her.

Keeping close to the house yesterday, I tried to transfer some music from the computer but it is not working. My music is in files not in real itunes. I will leave that to Roy to figure out but decided in case he couldn't, to purchase three songs I already have but not on my phone. There is a method to my madness. I am trying to get a regular gait and seam of walking. Like I have written before, I am learning a new way to walk and trying to discard bad habits I got into because my knees hurt so much. I thought about the story I saw on FB about the man with Parkinson's when music was played how different he was able to maneuver with the walker. So, after searching for my head phones, which might not have made it home with me from rehab hospital, Roy told me where to find some here. I used the music to help me walk over to the mailbox which is around the corner and down the block. Having the music to walk to helped.

I went to Bible study this morning and as per Thursday usual, I was a little late. Gina was my core group leader before and the group seems very nice. And there are a couple of friends in the group. So funny, several knew who I was because of the my grits recipe. We are studying Isaiah and have been looking at the life of Hezekiah. The homework was good this week. Afterwards, Debbie, Peggy and I went to Carabba's for lunch and then I ran a couple of errands.
The sun is trying to come through the clouds this morning. The last few days have been rainy or drizzly. From the weather reports this weekend will be marked by several different aspects of weather from warm temps to rain to cool temps to experiencing a lot of high wind.

The PT staff have discovered a little hitch in my right hip and leg. Doesn't surprise me cause that is the hip that was replaced last year. It causes me to swing out my leg as I walk and they are working with me to eliminate that swing because it will cause trouble down the road. The worst day at the rehab hospital, Thanksgiving Day, the PT guy saw the same thing but there wasn't too much to do about it because I thought it was caused from trying to do stuff in tremendous pain because the "contract nurse" brought in would not respond to pages and believed I was the patient who had received pain meds early. I'm excited to learn how to properly walk and once again have balance to my steps.

I was texting with Lisa P this morning and told her I was beginning to wrap up this stay and turn my sights toward home. Not only are there loose ends to take care of but people to spend time with and things that I want to do. The time feels as if it is speeding up as Texas time comes to a conclusion. There are things I thought I would work on as I recovered but didn't and there are some valuable things I have learned that I wasn't planning on.

This Sunday in LBS, Dena continues to teach from the book Mastering Life. I only remember the title now because she sent out an email asking for input on Sunday in what we think about God being organized and how that plays out in our own lives. She is funny when she stated this wouldn't necessarily be a subject she would teach on. I have pondered the questions and seeing a different take or maybe not a different take since I am not reading the book on what it means to be organized. Just like most subjects that do with discipline in the life of a believer, we can tend to go legalistic with it or hold standards that are out of touch and chaotic for many people. I'm looking forward to hearing her lesson. Dena is a great teacher.

Now I am off to walk, find and regain my balance or should it be find, regain and walk? .

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18th, One Year Ago Today

All that early morning business yesterday caught up with me during the afternoon and into the hour I slept till this morning. The CBS station here carried great coverage yesterday morning on the storm that tracked through our area and into north Houston and the lands beyond. A small tornado touched down and was rather close to my friend's home in the foreign land. The most reported damage in our area was the trampoline high above the ground, resting in the wires now broken, that would normally supply electricity to the surrounding homes and businesses. While somewhat newsworthy, the attention the trampoline was receiving smacked of overkill. Whose was it? How far had it traveled? Had the power company been called? I never learned the answers to these burning questions and I'm fine with that. I did learn a lot about funnel clouds and tornadic activity from the station. Very informative and educational. The meteorologist on the morning show is passionate about his work and it showed in the reporting.
Wednesday morning. There were storms in the middle of the night with close lightning and thunder. And oh my goodness, the rain was some of the heaviest I have heard. It was not a good sleep night. I should have stayed with mindless TV instead of finishing up CBS homework before going to bed. Isaiah, with emphasis on King Hezekiah. He has always been so interesting to me and the questions got my brain awake and thus...a slow falling into sleep. Also Buddy was restless and couldn't settle. My brother sent a text letting us know that Aunt Amy had passed away. She is the last one from that generation of family. She is really my great aunt.

One year ago today I was on my way home to NC when I stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Lafayette,LA and tripped on a small piece of metal by the trash receptacle. The tip of my tennis shoe caught the metal piece and hurled me forward and as a long time ago volleyball player, I turned my body to absorb the hit like I had been taught. Only thing, this wasn't a gym floor, it was concrete. Thus began the saga of the shattered hip and replacement. I read my blog entries the other day from that period of time and rejoiced at how God had kept me safe and arranged the right doctors and nurses for surgery and recovery. There were small details that I had forgotten about. I rejoice that it has been one year, fall free. 2016 into 2017 is all about learning again how to walk correctly and that is an ongoing process. New knees has brought about more learning in how to "walk this way."

As PT is winding up, I like what we do now more than anything before. It seems like we are into the fine tuning of all the other work. My balance is still off but Kelly sees improvement. We did some tough work yesterday and I was tired at the end of the hour.

I am thankful for this past year, 2016. Lots of changes and learning.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Up For A Storm

Marathon Sunday in Houston...warm, muggy Houston. The threat of rain ever lingers and the gray skies attest to a dreary looking day. But I take hope cause I like cloudy, overcast days. The tree in the backyard has a few spinning leaves on it. Those leaves creating such art must not be hanging onto the tree to tightly spinning and twirling while the rest of the leaves remain still and stoic, behaving like leaves are wont to do.

This morning I woke up with a sore throat and this shall be a sign unto me since 2008 that I need to slow down and rest a bit. So, I opted out of church. Roy went onto church and is stopping at Walmart on the way home. He found the pretzels he loves there and they are being displayed as a seasonal item..seasonal as in football. They are in these huge plastic containers which seems to be another indicator for the seasonal designation.

After a hearty start to the day, donuts and coffee, Dena and I headed over to Home Goods yesterday morning. We are both pleased with what we found and loaded up the truck with all our Home Goods goodness. Our plans had originally been to go to brunch at Las Alamada's but we opted for Red River. We split the shrimp plate and added sides to our order. Delicious! Our dessert option came as Sonic because we wanted to bring Roy something, sort of a bribe, although we didn't need to, for his help in putting Dena's purchases into the back of her SUV. We had a wonderful day that ended too soon because Dena needed to get back over to the foreign land.

We flipped channels last night between Dateline and the Texans. Seems like we spent more time with Dateline because we kind of knew the end result for the Texans. The story on Dateline took place in Austin with some Houston thrown in. The story of a man, who was found guilty of killing a woman who was selling her home. He had a long history of making women nervous as he acted like he had cash to buy these homes on the market. He also claimed to be a Christian and he worked at a church. It was a bit unnerving as the show told the story and how he came to be discovered when the fiance and another man friend had been considered the chief suspects.
Roy was especially noisy this morning while getting ready for work and since I was wide awake, I got up at 5:00 am. The forecast has called for rain but we didn't really get any yesterday but this morning, a totally different story. Rancho de Five and surrounding Beigeland was under a tornado warning. The alarm to take cover went off on my phone several times. Buddy wasn't too interested in hunkering down in the bathroom, so we moved to the closet/bathroom in our bedroom where she had a little more room to roam. Thankful that Dena was texting and keeping me in the loop weatherwise. Once the worst of the storm had passed and Buddy was onto her first nap of the morning, I went about fixing the screen on the refrigerator that was flashing error. We had a huge power surge earlier in the morning that also had the alarm system beeping and chirping. I feel a nap coming on for later this afternoon.

I woke up with a sore throat yesterday morning. Since 2008 a sore throat is an accurate warning that my immune system is in upheaval and I need to pull back and rest. So, I opted out of church but if there had been more initiatives like choir and orchestra or lunch plans afterwards, I would have powered on through. It was good to rest and read. Roy had gone to church and when he got home we made Black Eye Pea Jambalaya. It is a recipe that my mom used and lunch turned out pretty good.  We also made cornbread. And what a coincidence, this is what we will be having for supper tonight.

One of my favorite movies was on TCM yesterday afternoon, All About Eve. That movie contains some great lines along with the story of Margo Channing and her star struck, yet cunning protege Eve Harrington....

Now that the sun has risen the sky has that eerie iridescent feel that comes after a storm. We had some hard rain and I think the rain loosened the leaves to fall that were twirling and spinning yesterday morning.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Planks and Parties But No Overthinking

It looks like some mockingbirds have taken up residence in a fixer upper nest in our one of the trees. The nest came with the tree when it was planted in our front yard. It has been used by many a bird family in the past few years. Upon returning home yesterday one of the birds rustled out of the tree and perched upon the garage roof to keep an eye on my activities. Nothing to see here bird, just getting a few groceries out of the back and I'll be on my way.

PT was especially challenging yesterday. We did all new things, harder things that kicked my butt. Had to stop and do a BP reading at one point because it felt like it had gone low. Kelly asked me why I was looking at my watch so much and I told her I was looking at it to see my heart rate and not looking at it with the thought of how much longer. Last year is the year I relearned how to walk and this year is leaning toward posture and opening up my lungs and connective tissue. When Kelly asks me to do something new or something I haven't been able to do in years, after a bit she reminds me not to overthink it. I thought I was trying to better understand the request and movement required to be able to perform it. Alas, it is overthinking and I am learning to discard that habit. It seems to be a slow discard. While trying not to overthink yesterday muscle memory came back in the form of my arm and hand shake I always did before big moments in a tennis or volleyball game. It is the way I would get rid of extra kinetic energy and calm nerves before a serve or executing a particular play. Kelly mentioned the shake and I told her just an old jock habit. She not being athletic in former years laughed saying well that is not anything I know about. We ended my session by doing some moderated planks. Yes, it is as fun as it sounds. The first nine were such a struggle barely if at all being able to count them as a modified plank. I took a moment before the last one, yes probably overthought it but I actually did one and held it for five seconds. The goal is thirty seconds. On Monday we did another assessment of progress and we did some leg stretches that helps with extension. To begin, she gave pressure to the back of my knee and then began a process of pressure points to loosen connective tissue. It stung a little at first but eventually, I could feel a difference.

After PT I went over to CBS and signed up for the remaining time I have here. Peggy's class is full but at least I was able to go into a core group with a leader I have had before. The study this year is Isaiah. Afterwards Emily, Peggy and I went to lunch. There were a few errands to run before going home and I was happy to get home because this child was exhausted.
I feel like I am having a celebration hangover for Peggy's surprise birthday party last night. Such fun! Well planned and Peggy was very surprised. Jaimie did a great job. It is always fun to catch up with friends and meet new friends that you've seen on Peggy's timeline. The variety of friends and the deep love we all feel toward and about her was so powerful in that party room in Pappasito's.Before the party, Dena came over from the foreign land. Since it is such a long dark drive home for her now she spent the night. We both said it is like a mini road trip. Roy is at Bible study, Buddy is settling in for her first morning nap and Dena is still asleep. All is well..... When she gets up and after some coffee, I am already having some, we will do a little bit of shopping and considering brunch.

So happy to see Stevie at Emmanuel yesterday for a haircut and highlights. I met Roy afterwards for a quick lunch and then stop at a convenience store to buy seventy scratch off tickets for Peggy's BD. I have never bought them before.

Back to my thoughts of yesterday reminding myself of a new way to walk and how to release and ease connective tissue. A great word picture for this girl in so many ways and in so many thoughts. Although I don't want to overthink it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Little Thursday Shoutout

It is going to be a warm spring day in January today and tomorrow the temps might break previous records. I'm wondering if the winter season is over or if we will have a few more days of cooler temps before it is over? I know I brought limited spring type clothes. That new washing machine will be getting a workout at this pace. Because of the cold and icy roads from Dallas, on Saturday our delivery and installation of a new machine didn't happen until 10:00 pm. I was so tired and Roy told me to go onto bed but I didn't want to be in jammies with workmen in the house. Besides, I've been watching ID TV again and every situation is probable for something to go wrong. Then you become a Dateline show and we do not want that. I am thinking, with the doors open and machines being removed and replaced, it could be a crime of opportunity for someone to just come in among the change and create chaos. So, I was in the bedroom watching TV and praying for that not to happen. It all went well. We could have had the washer fixed but the repairs were almost the same price of a new washer and a new one could be delivered before a repairman could get here. We got the upgraded version of the machine we bought for NC. We've been very happy with it.

Monday was a momentous day in PT World. I was able to do three flights of stairs. Real stairs and although it was a halt and lame kind of climb and descent, it wasn't the one step, one step kind of deal. I actually used one railing, not two, and went up and down like normal. It was a celebratory kind of moment. Beginning next week PT will only be once a week.

Tuesday was a productive day in recovery world or what's left of that world. I was able to get some things picked up and although not put away because they will be going back to NC with me, at least in some kind of order. Roy was pleasantly surprised to see the work I had done especially in the closet. All the synthetic workout clothes I brought for rehab are going to Katy Christian Ministries along with a few other clothes that didn't quite workout the way I thought they would. Even some clothes that have been hanging around the closet got the heave ho. It dawned on me yesterday that I am not going to get nearly everything done I had wanted to do while recovering. A lot of time you think can be used for reading or projects is used to rest and restore. Stamina is slowly returning. One of the assessment questions on Monday, can you stand for an hour? I'm getting closer to doing that but it was a struggle on Saturday at the reception after Don Bolin's service.

John's song, Daddy's Lullaby, was used in the service on Saturday. I just happened to be sitting in between two friends who both had wonderful daddies. And there were tears. I even had some tears, but not because of such love...I kind of laughed to myself, oh this song would have to be re-written for my circumstances, your daddy hates you. Now there was a day that thought would have put me over the line emotionally but thankfully, I am not living in that season anymore. It was like an acknowledgement of life but the forward pressing into the present that I have a Great Father and I have Roy a great, great hubby.
Once I hit the floor running, I didn't stop until last night. I met Geni H for lunch at Collina's. The ravioli is one of my favs. So another place marked off the list to go to while in Houston. We had a wonderful time of catching up and I came home with a handmade knitted lamb. So, so cute but must keep it out of Buddy's vision. I took the back way through Memorial to Memorial City Mall and wow, so many new homes, giant homes...  I stopped at Macy's and that was a bust. Must be getting close to inventory time because most departments were filled with clearance items. Lots of clearance items...more so than usual. That stop at Macy's, although quick, put me in Houston 5:00 traffic. I have avoided that kind of traffic on most trips back here. Wow! It is a bear but like most things here that are opposite of life now, you adjust for the time here or avoid. Chris was still here when I got home and I barely beat Roy home from the office. Leftovers sounded like a plan for dinner.

Today, PT and then I am stopping in at CBS to register, I am happy that I was able to schedule the rest of PT on other days than Thursday.

Well, I better kick, stretch and kick...cause I've got PT ahead of me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Service, A Call, A Purpose

I went to one of the most God honoring funerals this weekend and by the newsfeed on Facebook, many others felt the same way. Our music and worship pastor and friend, John Bolin lost his father unexpectedly last week. John and his four brothers were in Israel when their father passed away. Out of this tough week of getting back to the states, gathering the family, planning the service and most importantly taking care of their mother, came such love and compassion in telling the story of a life well lived and well served. You knew that Don Bolin loved the Lord and invested in others knowing the Lord too. The service was more music than talking. The seven children invited us to sing with them, they told stories and Don's wife told a few too. Most all of us leaving with the thought in our hearts, I would love to be a part of the Bolin family.

Reading stories from friends and family on Facebook before Saturday told a wonderful story of his life and it was all confirmed there Saturday morning in the service. I briefly talked with John at the reception afterwards. I mentioned the fact that his father never served at a large church and yet, his impact upon lives is like a minister that has served in large churches...but unlike ministers at large churches where you hear their words and know their leadership from the stage, those who served with Don Bolin got to know the man and know his words served with him in the trenches. John told me that his father purposely served in smaller churches so that he could spend more time with his family and not have the demands a large church places upon him. Watching his seven children lead the service, you were assured that the legacy continues and God will be glorified and lifted up in their lives, their children's lives and those that are fortunate to know and love them.

This week and the coming weeks ahead will be difficult and a huge hole has been left in their family as they adjust to life without the leader of the band. Yet, they know and have the assurance that God is there, He has new mercies every morning, and great is His faithfulness.

Yesterday morning in church I sat close to the front. My usual spot is the back row in the balcony but since I am avoiding stairs with lots of people, the main floor in the worship center has been my choice for seating. The congregation heard some exciting things from the stage yesterday and the vision for the future...We also learned the church staff at all the campuses are doing the Daniel Fast for five days. I would think twice about calling the church this week because this means none of them have had caffeine. With First Baptist being a presence in downtown Houston since 1845, not too sure on the date... it is awesome to know that First Baptist continues to have the vision and care for downtown Houston in 2017 and beyond.

Life Bible Study, formerly known as Sunday School, was good too. Dena and Carole are teaching from a book by Robert Morgan and true to my inability to remember titles, I cannot tell you the name of the book. It has something to do with being purposeful and successful in life. Dena taught from the first chapter, what we can learn from a twelve year old. Of course that twelve year old is Jesus when he told his mom and dad he must be about his father's business. The other end of the bookend with this thought of what Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished." So we start the day thinking about doing our father's business and when the day is done, we say it is finished. Dena gave great examples of going into meetings at the office with the purpose of doing the father's business. What a good challenge for me to think and act through my day with a like mind even though I don't have meetings per se or having an effect on many. My days of course are known by God and He knows that most of them are rather mundane....I am not complaining, I have come to love the mundane. So being about my father's business is about treating sales clerks, food servers, friends and those I meet along the way with love and compassion...even when it is difficult to do so. I used to think back in the day, okay Lord, is this a push over the "money changers" tables kind of day for me? Purpose and success in my life is on a much smaller scale in the grand scheme of things and that is just so fine with me. Dena shared the story of Sam Wyche, football coach, who received the diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, and given only a short time to live....but a heart transplant saved his life. My own diagnosis of cardiomyopathy in 2008 and the healing of my heart by the Lord, put me on the path to live life in a greater way in the smaller places of life, where I began to experience more than just an existence.

The Saturday service that honored Don Bolin still has friends encouraged to serve and chose differently how to live life honoring the One who created them. A call or challenge from the stage to praying, giving and going. The emphasis for the month praying which includes fasting. A purpose of being about the father's business...being used in small ways, in smart ways, in whatever ways God has purposed.

Monday, January 9, 2017

It Is Monday Already

Brrr...It is overcast and cold this morning. There is talk of sleet in the area. I am also keeping an eye on NC weather. On Monday here on the prairie, it will start warming up and we will soon be in spring like temps.

Yesterday was an ensconced kind of day. I stayed around here and totally enjoyed the time. I was texting with a friend and told her I think the units of blood I got in the hospital were from a petite woman who was always cold and is an introvert. Being cold instead of hot is the biggest change and I already know I am an extroverted introvert.

We, well mostly me, watched the Lyle and Eric Menendez, twenty six years later program last night. ABC presented factors that led up to the night Lyle and Eric decided to take matters into their own hands. We came away with it all factored in, their lifestyle, wealth, dysfunctional family, their greed and so on.
It's even brrrer....this morning. It was 22 when I woke up with a windchill factor of 9. That is rather cold for these here parts of the country. It is snowing in NC and friends have posted a few pics. The community center just posted all the roads have snow and ice in our area. Roy is out and about this morning. He bought food for Bible study and he came back here with some donuts for keep me warm this cold prairie morning.

I have been focused on January 6th since December 2nd. My follow up visit with my Dr and Orthopedic Surgeon. My friend from joint camp was in the waiting room when I arrived. She was also there on 12/2. We got caught up with each other's progress. She still needs to use her walker away from home and she was jealous that I haven't used a walker for almost a month. Her "good" knee is taking a beating from the repaired knee and she is wondering now if she should have had both knees done at the same time. My doctor visit was very good. He is so pleased with my progress and even stood and applauded my walking. Wow, I have never had a Dr do that. I asked a lot of questions on this visit. I have been concerned with stamina but he assured me it will return. I am so off the charts in my recovery that these few little things are coming into play much more than they should. He assured me around the six month mark, my stamina should be back. I am a party pooper now with bedtimes averaging between 8:30-10:00 most nights. Dr Smith told me I am the poster child for bilateral knee replacements and I have had the best recovery of any of his double knee patients. I don't think he believed me when I told him in July I was very motivated. I said that a lot to medical people as well as I am a slow starter but once I understand what is needed from me and I understand it, I accelerate quickly. I think I am also a good example of not needing the machine that moves your knee back and forth. My Dr is getting away from using them and only prescribes one if the patient is insistent.

Monday morning...where did the weekend go? Well, you'll have to wait for another post.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Beloved Recipe Is Found

The long lost apple cake recipe has been found! My brother texted me last night announcing this good news. He had found it hiding in his recipe box and it had been safely ensconced all these years. We have bought apple cakes looking for the same taste but never came close to it. We have discussed recipes for apple cake we have found along the way, but alas they didn't fit the bill. He also found a recipe for caramel icing that he is going to drizzle onto the cake. I told him he will not have any leftovers as he is taking it to a Sunday School potluck this weekend. I also asked him to send the black eye pea recipe that my mom made every New Year's Day. Bonus, he sent the caramel icing recipe.

Slowly but surely all the to do's on my list are being checked off as done. This means we are getting closer to returning to the mountains. I also do my exercises, or at least most of them, faithfully everyday. That means, I am getting closer to returning to the mountains.

So, I got a Fitbit for Christmas. I like it but not for the reason I thought I would. My best thing on my Fitbit is the sleep tracker. This has been an interesting look into how well I do or don't sleep. I am not meeting my goal on steps but I am meeting my goal on sleep. Then you factor in the times you are awake or restless while sleeping and boom, I am still meeting my goal. This Fitbit also keeps a record of my heart rate and that has been especially helpful. These past seven weeks have been revealing in that knee pain caused a whole lot of the stress I experienced. These weeks of recovery have held very few afib moments or events. Sometimes I couldn't tell the difference between heart episodes and knee pain but now I can.
Good Thursday morning! I got out and about yesterday and never came back to the blog. I went to Hobby Lobby, Whole Foods and Kroger. By the time I finished at Kroger, I was a bit fatigued and ready for the quick drive home. I spent the afternoon doing things around here and as has been my custom for most of this recovery time, I was in bed asleep before 9:30 pm. Today, I thought I might make a quick trip to Memorial City Mall but while looking through the closet last night, I found I could put together an outfit for a funeral I will be attending this Saturday.

On this cool morning it is nice sitting by the fireplace. I miss having a real fire even though it comes on with a click of a remote. The electric insert we put in the fireplace in NC is nice and it will warm the room, just not the same though.

The new washer is delivered this Saturday and the people from Nordictrack also come on Wednesday to tune up the recumbent bike. Roy is certainly enjoying his Christmas gift, a small freezer for the garage. He loves to slow cooker cook and then freeze for days ahead.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

One Word, Flourish

Psalm 92:12-15New Living Translation (NLT)

But the godly will flourish like palm trees

    and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
    They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
    they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just!
    He is my rock!

    There is no evil in him!”

Mark 5, the passage about Jairus' daughter, became my rally prayer before and after surgery. Yes, I know I am not a twelve year old girl, but Jesus giving His hand out, her getting up, walking around to the amazement of others and yes, even the part about give her something to eat kept me focused in prayer for the outcome of one of the scariest decisions I had made in quite sometime. But, I knew that I needed another passage to keep me centered and Psalm 92 came to mind. As I read and reread this Psalm the word flourish stood out. 2017 was fast approaching and I hadn't discovered my One Word for the year...but flourish had definite possibilities. I kept looking and praying about One Word and flourish kept my attention. Then I remembered Margaret Feinberg's devotion book Flourish and it had been packed with other books making their way to Texas. I need all the help I can get to keep sharp and on point with things like this. On January 1st I read the introduction and first chapter and knew I had found the word and the book to help me along this year. 

Flourish-grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, a fanfare, a bold or extravagant gesture or action. Yep, that is the definition of the word but biblically it means more than that. Flourish is an agricultural term and mainly used by the poets and prophets. I learned this from the devo as well as tree in the Bible often serving as metaphors referring to people, not plants. 


I have written in the past and will most probably write in the future about the move from the hot prairie of Texas to the mountains of North Carolina. While I was tired, exhausted, at my wits end, parched and giving up hope daily, my wonderful and thoughtful hubby intervened, with great sacrifice I might add. With the cooler temps, the slower pace of life, and a a change of view, the life that at one time lively and full of spirit and had deteriorated into just existing returned thriving, exciting and blossoming with new energy and life. This is not just happy talk because there were tough days and nights. There are results and residues making the change. There are people who gossip and speculate about circumstances falsely. Friendships transition and some hold tight and others begin to slip away. Roy and I began a new normal and our conversations and ideas are more focused and real. In all these things, I want to flourish when things are good, when situations are beyond understanding, and in the waiting times. We flourish when we pursue the life that God intends. I will also share that I laid several dreams and goals at the feet of the Lord. If He resurrected and gave new life to them, Praise Him. If He left them there at His feet, Praise Him. 

 Flourish...yep, that is the word. The desire is it to be the real deal...  I know as the year goes by, the word will develop and grow and fit my life specifically. That is something I have experienced since doing the One Word. For now I am happy to present my One Word, flourish, in the best way possible. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Knees...I Mean New Year!

After two nights of fireworks, with the worst of it all being New Year's Eve, God is now putting on quite the show with rain, lightning and thunder. Round one came through earlier and this is now round two. This time around we experienced much more lightning and thunder...oh and rain. There were a few no time to say one Mississippi kind of lightning and thunder.

It has been some time since I have experienced lots and lots of fireworks going off in the neighborhood. On NYE the fireworks started early and continued on until 2:30 am. Many a time it sounded like war instead of celebration because of the echos and sounds. Our neighbors behind us must have spent all their savings on fireworks and sadly they seemed to be the most inept in firing them off. While beautiful colors filled the sky, their attempts seemed to just produce a lot of smoke and noise with the occasional success of reaching the target of the sky. Last night they still had leftovers and set quite a few off and then thankfully, they stopped after what looked to be a disastrous attempt at filling the skies with brief flashes of light and color. Tomorrow night I am so tempted to go out in our backyard with pots and pans and Bose speakers as they try to go to sleep and get their kids in bed early for the start of school on Wednesday morning and have my own celebration of the new year. I'm tempted but I won't do it.

All the fireworks made me think of my mom. She hated fireworks and she was on patrol NYE and on the Fourth of July, especially if there hadn't been any rain. Her thinking was, ok, yes, you can shoot off fireworks for about five minutes after midnight and then it must cease. Of course, it never did. Sometimes you would find her outside doing preparatory hosing down of the yard and as much of the roof that she could reach. She kept her eye on the boys next door who had the notorious reputation of being mean and mischievous.

On NYE afternoon we drove over to the foreign land to see Dena. Roy hadn't seen her new home and on a more minor note, I wanted to see how I did with driving an hour. The driving part went well and we had such a fun time with Dena. Roy was disappointed though, that we went to dinner at Carabba's after hearing Dena and I speak about carbmomma's.  He had forgotten about the dream I had while in rehab of not being able to say Carabba's but only being able to say carbmomma's. Roy said, I thought we were going to some local place...which technically we were. Carabba's started in Houston, so it is local. We had a delicious dinner and a great time and we were thankful that we got there early because by 6:00, they had a huge wait for a table. We came back to Dena's and watched a little football, then we headed back to Rancho de Five before all the crazies were out for NYE. 99 makes it so nice of a drive. If we had to go I45, I don't know how often we would get out there.

Roy and I had a very lazy New Year's Day. He went to church and I did not. I kind of spent the day resting and recovering from a fun day before. I did do some work in organizing a few things and getting stuff ready for the recyclable pick up.

Tomorrow our schedules and lives get back to a normal routine. It has been such fun spending time with Roy but since yesterday he is starting a micro manage campaign that I don't especially care for. Of course my micro manage campaign is totally fun and welcomed by Roy. Uh no....

So I just finished up putting 2016 Monablog into book form. I do this at the end of every year. It is kind of fun to read and look at how the year went in print and it is easier than reading it on the computer.

The sun is starting to show and I think the rest of the day is supposed to be clear. The high is 76 today. I'm so glad I remembered to bring capris for such days as this.