“Keep Going”

Thank you for the encouragement to keep Amy’s Axons going. I received numerous texts, messages, emails, and FB posts saying this little blog is meaningful to my friends and family. The most important voice was my Hubby’s, he said it was “worthwhile” and “meaningful”. So, I will continue to share snippets of my life with you and hope you continue to enjoy the content.

Although most of the leaves have succumbed to the great gusts of wind in the Ozarks the last couple of days, I was able to photograph a few places close to our house in mid-October. Looking through these makes me hungry for pumpkin bread, such are the fall vibes.

The day before the first frost of the season (a couple of weeks ago) I caught these butterflies on our butterfly bushes.

This chickadee was so obliging that he posed in the most photogenic spot in the backyard and allowed me to capture his loveliness.

I somehow managed to squeeze the trigger at just the right moment as the twigs were parted by the wind and caught an unobscured pic of this handsome house finch.

My Mom is always in my heart but especially today. I cherish my memories of her and the love she always gave me.

Purple flowers (her favorite color) and a good cleaning of her headstone. Happy birthday, Mom!

May God be with you. ❀️, Amy

Where Have You Been and Where Are You Going, Amy’s Axons?

Mellow sunshine through river birch leaves

Hello friends! It’s been a while. Today is a good MS day so I thought I’d write a wee bit.

As you can see…

… I’ve been enjoying the butterfly bushes we planted just last spring. It’s easy to say they love the corner of the yard we chose for them.

I’ve only ventured to the neighborhood lake once since the last time I posted pictures. Sadly, our neighborhood lost their groundskeeper and they’ve not had much luck finding a consistent replacement. As a result, the lake is looking pretty weedy and rough. I know they will get it sorted sooner or later, so I probably won’t hang out much over there until it’s cleaned up. However, I was able to get a shot of a beautiful blue dragonfly.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time watching the birds at our feeders and on the trees at home. Shocking, I know 🀭.

This is the last chipping sparrow still here before migrating.

So, on to the main thing. I’ve really been thinking about my blog these past few months. As you can tell if you’ve been following Amy’s Axons for very long, I haven’t been posting much.

Getting ready for takeoff!

Soon after taking full-time retirement in February of 2019 I started my blog as a way to stay busy and feel a bit of a connection to the world. I wrote quite a bit the first year or so before changing the format to more of a photo album of my life.

The first hummingbird feeder I ever put out and I got a trio of hummers within the first week πŸ₯³!

Since getting my Canon Rebel t8 it has felt like a whole new world of opportunities has opened up. Photography has become a very fulfilling pursuit and outlet for the artistic side of my personality. It has meshed beautifully with my love of birding.

This female cardinal has almost finished molting.

Something has been missing, though. I feel like I should be and want to be writing more and not just relying on photos to fill the space. I suppose I feel a bit intellectually lazy, but mostly I feel reluctant. It isn’t for a lack of topics – I’ve thought about writing on a host of different subjects and have even fleshed some of them out in rough drafts. But, the climate of the world and its intolerance of free ideas has left me cold and I realize I will never publish any of them.

Red!
A house finch convention 🀝

There is one exception: I’m not reluctant or afraid to defend my faith and belief in God, not here online or anywhere else. I know Jesus Christ is the only true Son of God, that all scripture and prophecy pointed to Him, that He fulfilled all prophecy and came and died as an atonement for our sins, that He rose from the grave on the third day and later ascended into heaven, that He will come back, we all will be judged before God the Father by whether or not we have named Him as Lord of our lives and lived according to His Word, and those who are His will spend eternity with Him and God our Father, while all who have not named Him as Lord will be eternally condemned. (Please let me know if you want to know more about Christ, I’d love to talk to you about Him!) It’s everything else that can’t be said without censure. I don’t want to be trolled and fight the nastiness of the world online.

White-breasted nuthatch
Downy woodpecker

I have never had a bad experience here on my blog, probably because I haven’t shared my thoughts on serious subjects. Looking back, I think I thought I would when I started Amy’s Axons. I realize now that I never will share them in this type of forum because it’s too impersonal for me to feel comfortable. If I’m ever going to discuss sensitive topics, I want it to be within a personal relationship with my conversational partner(s) so we can still feel the tie of humanity between us. The respect of equality of mind, though different conclusions, is essential to talking through viewpoints that are at odds between people.

Black-capped chickadees are so fun to watch ❀️
I’ve had several bluejays at my suet feeder these past several weeks. They are noisy critters but absolutely striking to watch.

Anyway, I don’t know where I’m going with this blog anymore. I haven’t decided if I will continue it or if I’ve outgrown the need I had for it when I started it. I suppose time will tell and you will know as soon as I do πŸ˜‰.

This crow sat in our neighbor’s tree across the street for several hours a couple of weeks back and cawed and cawed and cawed some more into the silence. Finally, as I was packing my things up to go inside, it got a response and flew away to find the voice that had answered. I haven’t seen it since. πŸ€”

Whether I continue my blog or not, I want to thank you for being here. Thank you to those who have stayed from the very beginning, I truly appreciate your interest and care about my life, particularly those who have prayed for me over the years. And thank you to those who have joined somewhere along the way, knowing you felt like this was worth joining in on has given me great joy.

May God be with you! ❀️, Amy

Arkansas, The Natural State

Long weekends should be spent in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Forget your images of hillbillies and poverty and replace them with rivers, lakes, trees, mountains, and lush, green glens. The drive between Springfield, MO and Hot Springs, AR is eye candy all the way. We kayaked on Lake Hamilton, lazed around in hammocks, drove up and down some switchback roads of the surrounding mountains, sat on the dock behind the house and watched the dragonflies whiz to and fro, dipped our toes in the water, and ate some really good food.

View from the dock behind our house
Yep, we made s’mores
Hubby took this shot along one of the roads he cycled on Friday morning.
Study in blue and green
πŸ¦†πŸ¦†πŸ¦†
🌸
It’s not an Amy’s Axons post without a bird picture
I may have to get a chair hammock…whee!

Do yourself a favor, go to Arkansas! God be with you. ❀️, Amy

Too Hot To Bother and MS Update

As you can see, my life has revolved mostly around our cats Laudy and Pip. That’s as it should be for a crazy cat lady. I did squeeze in making some delicious English muffins; they didn’t last long. They were especially good with some Tiptree Raspberry Jam made in England πŸ˜‹.

Southwest Missouri has been in the grips of a severe drought this summer made worse by excessive heat over 100Β°F these last couple of weeks. As a result, I’ve not been out of the house much because MS and heat don’t mix well. Summer has traded her usually lush green frock for a drab yellowish-brown garb that isn’t nearly as attractive. We may get some rain later this week, it’s gotta come sometime!

The MS Update Part: You may remember that a few years ago I started taking a drug for my MS named Ocrevus. It was an IV infusion given every six months and I was able to get the last couple of doses at home through home infusion nursing. Well, after a lot of prayer and discussion with my neurologist, I have decided to stop taking the drug. This will be the first time in 26 years that I will not be on a disease modifying therapy. My disease has continued to progress, in the normal course of things, to a place where there are no current drugs to treat it. I’ve known I’ve had Secondary Progressive MS for the last few years but opted to treat it with the drugs available for Relapsing Remitting MS because nothing else was available. Ocrevus has some significant side effects when used long-term and I’ve reached the point where the risks outweigh the benefits. Not everyone with MS may agree with my decision but, for better or for worse, no one else has to live with the results but me. As always with MS, no two people have the same disease progression or outcomes. Though I appreciate the concern and good will of others, please don’t send me articles and cures to try. I am probably already aware of whatever you’ve found on the internet or what your aunt’s cousin’s friend’s dad tried and how it “cured” him. I chose to educate myself about MS as soon as I was diagnosed and have stayed on top of research as well as drugs, diets, and homeopathic interventions ever since.

I am quite at peace with my decision, I’ve known this was coming for a long time. I’ve had 32 years to get used to my MS, we’ve sort of grown up together and understand each other πŸ˜‰. As always, I appreciate your prayers. Considering how long I’ve had MS I know I am doing very well related to many others. I can still walk some for short periods of time and I can independently take care of most of my daily living needs. My wonderful hubby is my right hand and I know God gave me a tremendous gift when He gave Todd to me. My sister and Dad are always ready to help at the drop of a hat and my Mom-in-law is only a phone call away and has come to the rescue on more than one occasion. I also have a loving and supportive church family, as well as good friends who care and always offer to help me whenever needed.

Thanks for coming by to catch up today, I know it’s been a while since I last wrote. When things cool off a bit I’ll probably be more likely to post more often. May God be with you! ❀️, Amy

A Beautiful Day In the Ozarks

Sunny with a high of 78* F and a gentle breeze. I rode my scooter to the neighborhood lake and spent a couple hours besotted by God’s creation.

The touch of amber on the wings is stunning 😍
Yellow on black good for Jack
These wings shimmered like diamonds in the sun.
Amberwings are my personal favorite.
I love πŸ’š dragonflies!
Eyes in the moss
Can you see that tail?
Though I’m pretty sure this is the equivalent of a weed in the water, the colors are striking.
Daylily

Thanks for stopping by. May God be with you. ❀, Amy

A Week In My Life

Sunday was a beautiful day in the Ozarks so Hubby took me for a drive after church.
First thing Monday morning one of our cats puked her breakfast all over the blanket on our bed. So, laundry.
I listened to some classic rock while sewing up a tote bag on Monday.
One of Hubby’s work friends has been sharing with us some of the surplus eggs her hens have been laying. She loves the St. Louis Blues, so I found some themed fabric and made this up for her.
I don’t care about hockey, but I love the yellow and blue together.
Tuesday afternoon I rode my scooter to the little lake in our neighborhood and took a few photos.
Wednesday was a rest day. Pip and I watched the birds together πŸ₯°.
After work on Thursday, Hubby and I went to my Dad’s for dinner. Hubby then helped Dad clean out the gutters and…
…weed eat.
Dad worked hard too.
I sewed up a couple more totes on Friday. I think I’ve now made 13 bags from this pattern over the last year.
The cupcakes look yummy πŸ˜‹!
I love the pockets, they make the bag very versatile.
Friday was a tough MS day with very limited energy. I was pretty proud that I was able to get the kitchen cleaned.
Today, Saturday, has been another MS dominant day. I sat on the patio this afternoon and enjoyed watching the birds and this little fella.
I think squirrels are funny and cute, though I know they can be pests.

I hope you are doing well. God be with you! ❀️, Amy

What No Eye Has Seen, No Ear Has Heard, No Heart Has Imagined

Sitting cocooned in a luscious, lemon minky blanket as a brace against the damp chill of an early May breeze, I conceal myself and wait in the southwest corner of the back patio. You must make yourself small and discreet when bird watching. Our fully blossomed, lush purple lilac tree sends its bouquet of deliciousness, so sweet I can almost taste it, around the corner of the brick wall serving as part of my cover. A couple of mature, verdant green, newly leafed-out river birches dwarf the trio of bird feeders directly between them. The birches’ treetops are full of Goldfinches, Carolina Chickadees, Cardinals, House Finches, and Tufted Titmice singing in brilliant chorus as they rise and fall on the quivering branches with the waves of the wind. Bluejays, Mourning Doves, and Chipping Sparrows hop along in the fast growing blades of grass as they hunt for and peck at seeds on the ground below the feeders. Near the trunk of one of the birches a pair of shy, but gorgeously vivid, Blue Buntings huddle close together . A Baltimore Oriole, clothed in his jet-black hood with a juicy orange throat and chest, hesitates to leave his perch in the tree canopy before carefully alighting on the feeder tray to snack on sunflower seeds. Four male Red-breasted Grosbeaks swoop in and spread out on various limbs, followed moments later by a female. Their striking v-shaped patches of rosy red on a clean, linen white chest reminds me of cool summertime treats like strawberry ice cream.

Blue Bunting
Rose breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole

I can’t describe the incredible joy it brings me to be near these tiny creatures, to share moments of their lives with them. I’ve been trying to learn and recognize the songs and calls of a few of the species that regularly visit our feeders. Some of the common songs have been easy, but each kind has several sounds and I’m often stumped. It has also been fascinating to learn that Chickadees, Titmice, House Finches, Goldfinches, and Chipping Sparrows are plucky and not very afraid when I’m close to the feeders. While, on the other hand, the much larger Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves,and White-brested Nuthatches are much more reserved and hesitant when they see me.

Every single time I watch the birds, without exception, I find myself praying with thanksgiving to God. I think it is the natural result of spending quality time with other creatures or features of His creation. I find myself praying when I am holding my cats, or watching dragonflies and frogs at our neighborhood lake, or am near the ocean or in a forest, or surrounded by mountains. I often think of how God has revealed Himself and has shown us the awesomeness and majesty of His mind through His creation. Muggy, hot, swamps full of crocodiles and toads; blindingly white, frozen, snow and ice covered tundra with polar bears and walruses; mesmerizing shades of brown, dry, barren, sandy, dune-laden deserts; eye-popping colors of coral reefs swaying in the vastness of the oceans; mossy, earth-smelling, leafy forests with arms lifted up toward heaven. These are just a few of His many carefully balanced ecosystems and all are interconnected through meticulously designed life-cycles of plants and animals. His ability to create such diversity and His attention to detail astounds and humbles me.

Mourning Dove in the rain
Downy Woodpecker

Of all He has made, His detail and attention to color is the most overwhelming aspect to me. This may be one of the reasons I am so fascinated by birds. Consider the common Mourning Dove. At first glance it seems like a dull, gray bird with some black dots and stripes on its tail. But if you look closer, it has stunning pastel blue eye rims and lids! And, if you look closer still, you will notice a small, round patch of iridescent pink on both sides of its neck. It’s as if God wrote His name there in a flourishing signature. The color of Cardinals is so distinctive and singular we have called it by it’s moniker, “cardinal red”, and made millions of crayons duplicating it so it can be scribbled across children’s artwork. Goldfinches fly around sporting dazzling, buttery-yellow feathers topped with ebony heads and wings, like rays of sun flashing across the sky. In the style of modern art, the black and white markings of Downy Woodpeckers are set in extraordinarily striking patterns. And then there is the Painted Bunting. Many years ago, long before I knew anything about birds, I used to drive all over Southwest Missouri seeing patients at their homes as a speech language pathologist. I remember driving down the highway at 60 mph and seeing a crazy flash of color in front of the car and then watching it stop and land in a tree at the edge of a park. It was so arresting and marvelous that I actually took the nearest exit and drove to the park hoping it was there, not caring if I was late for my next appointment. Thankfully, the little critter was still perched on the branch of the tree on which I had seen it alight. I had never seen anything like it before. It was so tiny, yet it was an unbelievable array of vibrant colors. I watched it for several minutes before it flew away and was so impressed by the encounter that I still harbor hopes of seeing one again someday.

If this is how God has made His earthly creation, then I sing the old hymn How Beautiful Heaven Must Be with renewed vigor! I can only imagine!!
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

May God be with you! ❀️, Amy

Hoppy May

I always look forward to a visit from the migrating red-breasted grosbeaks each spring.Β  I noticed this sweet lady this morning but haven’t seen a male yet.Β 
Grosbeaks are in the same family, Cardinalidae, as cardinals.Β  Can you see the family resemblance?
This robin hit the jackpot by our neighborhood lake.
Evidence that spring is all around us.
Several frogs were sunning themselves in our neighborhood lake earlier in the week when the weather was nice.Β  There were only a few pink petals floating in the water but this little fella found one.
I’m not sure who was watching who.Β  Those eyes πŸ‘€!!
I love how you can really see this frog’s tympanic membrane πŸ‘‚.
The eating must be good at the lake 🦟
I have no idea what this is but it was pretty cool with all the bubbles inside it’s top.Β  If it was an inkblot, I’d say it looks like a person walking down the street with an invisibility cloak over the top half of their body.

I hope you are enjoying your week.  See you next time!  ❀️, Amy

Recent Scenes

It’s been a very good couple of weeks 😊. My MS has loosened the reins a bit some days and not ruled my life as such a tyrant every moment. I’ve seen a lot of family, especially this past week, and they have boosted my spirits immensely.

These little friends came to visit too 🐦πŸͺΆ!

Downy woodpecker, male, wearing his bowtie.
American robin catching some rays.
American goldfinch sporting his full πŸ’› coat.
House finches on a lunch date.
Tufted titmouse – you can see it’s thoughts written across it’s face.
Female downy woodpecker – gorgeous!
This little chickadee posed so patiently as I walked around under the tree snapping away at it and it’s snack πŸ˜‹. The chickadees seem to be really getting used to me.
My sister came up from Texas over the weekend (❀️) and we hung out at the lake in our neighborhood one afternoon. This turtle was out for a swim.
Eastern redbud petals were scattered around the edges of the lake making a beautiful contrast of color to the mossy water.
Little minnows 🐟 and their shadows.
I think a starling has moved into the box at the lake πŸ™„
Blue violets fluttering by the lake.
Glorious spring!

My Hubby makes the best thin mint concretes – such a treat!

I hope you are enjoying your little slice of time in whichever corner of the world you call home. God be with you! ❀️, Amy