August Is About to Adios

August has provided us several opportunities to enjoy time outdoors, as the pictures below document.  We had a few unseasonably cool days for this time of year that allowed me to get out of the house and explore a few outdoor spaces close to our house.  I ramped up my own self-isolation the past couple of weeks in anticipation of my next Ocrevus infusion.  Matter of fact, I am writing this in the hospital while the O-juice goes in.  The drug was supposed to start dripping at 8:00 but it got held up in the pharmacy until a little after 11:00 😖.  It takes about five hours to infuse then I have to wait an hour before I can leave, so it’s going to be a long day.  Even so, I’m thankful to be getting it at all since so many others with MS don’t have any options this late in the game (#30yearsofMS).

Hubby had a couple of weeks off between semesters so he tackled restoring the fence around our backyard.  The days he worked on it were boiling!

In no particular order, Pip and Laudy have become my favorite muses.  I am still enjoying my new hobby.
This bee probably thinks the center of the daisy is as big as the moon.
I think this is a strawberry clearwing.  I found all the following insects around the lake park in our neighborhood.
I can’t believe how good the pictures turn out in sports mode, very clear images in motion.
Buckeye butterflies are plentiful around the water and are a personal favorite.
Swallowtail
I especially loved finding these amberwings ❤️.
Jimmeny Cricket!
Ugh, I stepped off the path to get a good shot of a flower and ended up being covered in these little burrs 😖.  It took 30 minutes to pick them all out of my hair and off my clothes.  How they got in my hair I have no idea!

The road back home from the river. 

I have had a lot of things floating around in my mind to write about, but I haven’t decided if I want to share them or not.  Writing is very pleasurable and cathartic for me and I want to guard it so it remains that way.

May God be with you. ❤️, Amy

Seven Current Things God is Greater Than

God is greater than all things.  But, since the number seven indicates completeness and perfection within the Bible, I chose it to represent current issues we can pray about with confidence that He is in control.

Dear Heavenly Father, with humbled hearts we pray You will fill us with joy and peace as we remember You are the great I AM.  You are in control of all things and are greater than…

…the Corona Virus with all it’s ensuing  unemployment, bankruptcy, evictions and foreclosures, businesses failing, schools resuming, and our anxiety for both the physical and mental health of ourselves and loved ones.  You are even greater than death by Christ’s victory over the grave!

Father, please help us remember you are greater than Nations and Politics, especially amidst the barrage of divisive and aggressive rhetoric, fear mongering, looming elections, and potential civic fallout. 

Lord our God, we may rest assured that You are greater than the Media that constantly fills our ears. You are greater than bias and intolerance on all sides, as well as our well-intentioned friends who’s social media posts break our hearts with aggressive, divisive, or judgmental words.

Holy One, we need Your presence to comfort and restore our weary minds with the knowledge that You have always been and will always be mightier than the Social Issues that have surrounded Your children through the ages.  You are greater than the current cancel culture, ANTIFA, riots, lootings, hate and intolerance, racism, and movements that plan destructive uprisings of any kind.      

Loving, compassionate Father, please restore us from the fatigue of living in a different and difficult new reality that seems to have no end in sight. You are greater than the Weariness of the past several months.

All-knowing Lord, we pray You will reassure our hearts that You are greater than all the Unknowns that surround our lives. We rejoice in knowing You will never leave us or forsake us through the trials, sorrows, or temptations of our journey here below.

And lastly, Almighty God, help us to remember You are greater than all our Fears. When we trust You hold us in Your mighty hands, fear dies and You are glorified.

Thank You, God our Father, for loving us with Your perfect love and for caring about each and every one of us. We ask and pray this prayer through Christ, our Savior’s name. Amen.

If Only

The whole world is mad enough to chew nails and spit rivets at each other.  The wildfire of anxiety already fueled by a viral pandemic and financial hardships has roared into an inferno fanned by outrage over racial injustice.  Add all of this to an overly politicized, deeply divided, radically idealized, and seemingly diabolicaly opposed Left and Right presidential election year and, voila, here we are.  McCarthyism (“The practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigate techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.” – Dictionary.com) turned into Cancel Culture (“The popular practice of withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” Dictionary.com).  Unsurprisingly, we (collectively as humans) have learned absolutely nothing from God or history on how to get along with each other.  Like sheep, we’ve all gone astray.  The only difference between us and sheep is that we like to point and call out the wrong courses everyone else has taken, but never look back at our own errors.

As a result, I’ve been rationing my news intake and limiting my time on social media platforms.  I can’t take all the lava-hot words and vitriol spewing out of the mouths on all sides of the world’s current, self-inflicted problems.  I don’t know how to heal or even understand the differences of opinion and the vast chasms that seem to lie between the logic and thinking of some of us.  So, with that admission, what can I do?  I have been and will continue to lay them down at my Father’s feet.  He is the answer to everything, always. God excels in doing what everyone says is impossible. 

I’m doing the same on a personal level.  While the huge fires of the world keep burning, so too do the little flames within my life.  I’m sure you understand because we’re all the same.  My personal fire is called MS but yours might be named such things as Furloughed, Job, Money, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Death, Parent, Child, Spouse, Cancer, Diabetes, Aging… just about anything, really.  For me, MS is constantly melting away tiny pieces of my own sovereignty.  It’s very difficult to let go of the things in life that make you feel like you have some control, such as driving, shopping, cooking, and walking. 

In much the same way that I realize I can’t put out the MS fire in my own life and deal with the destruction it leaves in it’s wake on my own, we, as a nation and even world, must understand we will have to work collectively to bring the flames of our society back under control.  The solution will not be conceived in fear of an unseen germ, worry over the next great depression, or riots that break our neighbors’ windows and loot their livelihoods because of injustice.  No, if it could then we would already have the answer.   The fix is to be found in love.  The kind of love the apostle Paul described in I Corinthians 13:4-7, the sort God has for us.  His love is patient, kind, happy for others instead of envious, lifts others up instead of boasting about self, is well mannered instead of rude, seeks the good of others instead of self, is slow to anger, keeps no records of wrongs, delights in holiness instead of evil, rejoices in the truth instead of sensationalism, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. 

I realize what I am about to say is very Pollyannish of me, but…  If every person would recognize the truthfulness and wisdom of this type of love and make it their own personal goal to practice it, without policing others and how they are doing as they attempt to do the same, all the infernos of the world would simply burn themselves out.  If only.

Goodbye May 2020, Don’t Forget to Take Your Germy Germs With You!

Goodbye May 2020, Don’t Forget to Take Your Germy Germs With You!

Below you will find a few more pictures from the scrapbook of our May under CV-19.  We have completely settled into our new home and are grateful to be here, virus or not.

Tis a pleasure to live in the Ozarks!
We went for a drive in the country on Memorial Day.
Slowly, restaurants in our neck of the woods are opening back up.
Napping buddies.
We’ve had a lot of rain and storms the last few weeks. I see a lily in the clouds, can you?
This little house finch found a good spot to shelter during a heavy downpour.
One of my favorite backyard views.
A friend from church gave me this beautifully fragrant peony…
…and this old world rose.
After some research, I got a couple of new, weighted feeders and a different suet feeder. The seed feeders are on a spring that closes the seed ports when triggered by anything greater than the weight of a couple of finches. I also changed the kind of seed I put out and stopped spreading it on the ground. It has worked to cut off the riffraff grackles, crows, and brown headed cow birds.
Robin
Eastern Bluebird deep in thought.
Mourning Dove
Cardinal
Purple finches, female and male
House finch
Carolina Chickadee, I think. It’s hard for me to tell the difference between a Black-capped and a Carolina.
Chipping sparrow and blue bunting
Red-bellied woodpecker
Downy woodpecker
One of our neighborhood squirrels hanging out on the fence.
Our newest critter, an eastern chipmunk
My very favorite animals, Laudy…
…and Pip!

We’re ready to ease into June with fewer restrictions and, hopefully, greater normalcy. May God be with us one and all! ❤️

Joy Complete!

The dark scenes of Christ being in anguish and His sweat “like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Lk 22:44) in the Garden of Gethsemane, His gruesome torcher at the hands of Roman soldiers, and His agonizing, six hour crucifixion on Calvary are tenderly felt in the hearts and minds of every Christian.  We realize it was all suffered and done for us. For me. He died for me. We honor and commemorate His sacrifice each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper; the fruit of the vine representing his blood shed for us and the bread representing his body given in our stead.  

The intensity of what He knew and dreaded going through was so great that “an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him” (Lk 22:43) just before he was arrested in the Garden.  And yet, finishing their meal before heading out to pray in the Garden, Jesus spoke candidly with the apostles about His impending death in chapters 15 and 16, which John recorded. Jesus always seemed to say astounding things, but His words in chapter 15, verses 9-14, when seen in light of what He was getting ready to go through are, to me, the most astonishing of all.  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that MY JOY MAY BE COMPLETE IN YOU and THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE COMPLETE.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Yes, despite His dread and anxiety about what He knew would happen in just a few short hours, He was still filled with JOY.  His joy was grounded in love, the state He always had by being obedient to and at one with the Father. But it didn’t stop there.  His ultimate joy would only be made complete when He brought us into the same oneness with the Father and Himself and He shared this joy with us.  That is the reason He said He would, “lay down His life for His friends.” His impending death would ultimately bring Him joy because He would be sharing the resultant benefit of His death, burial, and resurrection with His “friends” – and that benefit was SALVATION.

John had walked and talked and seen Jesus and knew He was the Son of God (1 John 1:1-2).  John said in verse 3 of I John that he proclaimed the Truth so that we could have fellowship with Christ.  Fellowship with Him creates “joy complete” (verse 4). Why? What makes fellowship with Christ the Son and God the Father so joyful?  For that answer we need to turn to 1 John 5:13-15, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that YOU MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” The promises of fellowship now and eternal life with the Godhead creates within the hearts of all believers “complete joy.”  Further down in verse 20 of chapter 5, John reiterates this by saying, “We KNOW also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may KNOW Him who is true – even in His Son Jesus Christ (fellowship).  He is the true God and eternal life.”  Christ said it this way in the Gospel of John 17:1-4 as He prayed just before going to the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify You. For you granted Him authority over all people, that HE MIGHT GIVE ETERNAL LIFE: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave Me to do.” Finally, back in 1 John chapter 2, verses 24- 25, “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, YOU WILL REMAIN IN THE SON AND IN THE FATHER (fellowship). And this is what He promised us – EVEN ETERNAL LIFE.”

During this time of social distancing when even church gatherings have been shutdown, no one can take away my joy for it has been made complete!!

Life During the Time of Corona through My Camera Lens

A quiet lane a block or so from our house.
Along the quiet lane.
Dogwoods in all their glory.
Spring comes alive in our backyard.
Our neighbor’s tulips
Blooms in our backyard.
Our neighborhood has a small lake with a walking trail around it.
A bit of sunbathing.
Breathing new life into our old iron rocking bench.
😂
My stepmom gave me a cutting from a plant my sister Glenda gave her 20ish years ago. Glenda died in a car wreck 14 years ago next month. It’s a happy coincidence the pot she put the cutting in matches the lawn ornament behind it 💙.
I added a few bird feeders last week and they sure have been busy!
To the left…
…to the right.
Momma Tree Sparrow and…
…baby in one of our nesting boxes.
White-throated Sparrow
Downy Woodpecker
This Nuthatch is a new visitor, I get so excited every time it visits.
Goldfinches are a favorite of mine.
Such a cute baby Goldfinch!
We have a pair of stunning Bluebirds nesting in one of our boxes!
Momma Cardinal sporting a beautiful crest.
This little fella thought “crest” meant a mohawk!!
We’ve had a lot of House Finches at the feeders, they sing and chirp until you can’t help but smile that God created such marvelous creatures!
(Female House Finch)
Elegant and gorgeous Mourning Dove.
I think this dove may have a birth defect. He comes around a lot and I’m always happy to see him. I’m rooting for him out in the great-wide world.
Hubby has kept himself busy with chores…
…fun…
…making labs for students…
…and teaching from home.
Meanwhile, my life under the shutdown looks exactly like it did before Coronavirus. I always have a cat nearby and I don’t leave the house very often. I guess MS has been good for something, it’s made surviving the shutdown easy-peasy for me.
I’m still sewing when I have the energy, but I have swapped my usual tasks to making masks. As ever, Laudy supervises my work.
Pip as my parrot 😉.
LOTS of napping!
Yes, I did cut my own hair 🤫🤭.
I’ve been using my foot pedal a lot these days. My MS has been a beast lately, but I’m determined to keep moving by hook or crook.
We celebrated Hubby’s birthday on the 20th of April…
…and mine on the 22nd. (I forgot to take a picture of the donuts we had for Hubby’s breakfast.)
Texas Roadhouse for dinner on my bday 😋.

We’re both ready for the current madness to end and return to whatever the new normal will be, I’m sure you and yours are too. Stay sane, safe, and healthy, we’re all in this together together ❤!

Can’t Catch Me, ‘Rona

Hi everyone, I hope you are healthy and virus free. I may not know your name, but I have been praying for everyone to make it through this this pandemic and the extensive economic impact related to the shutdowns it has caused.

Like so many others, Hubby and I are living under a stay at home order from both our county and city. Hubby teaches at a local community college and got an extra week’s worth of spring break while officials and tech got their ducks in a row. He will be teaching all of his classes online from home starting Monday. He’s been working hard to get ready since making a shift from seated Physics classes with labs to an online platform for both has taken a lot of prep and creative thinking. As always, my brilliant, hardworking guy has it all in hand and is ready to go.

Meanwhile, I’ve been labeled “vulnerable” and the only “essential” thing I can do is help prop up the local economy. Hubby has been pitching in and we’re taking our duty very seriously. For example, we’ve driven through Andy’s Frozen Custard on three occasions in the last couple of weeks for Thin Mint concretes.

The following is a collage of snapshots showing how we’ve been riding out this unprecedented time in history.

Hubby’s days have included cycling and projects and then more projects and cycling. Oh, and probably like everyone else, a lot of surfing of both the inter-web and channel varieties.

I’ve been hobbling along with Salonpas pads stuck all over my legs trying to get my MS related muscle spasms under control. I’ve also managed to get some sewing done, including the cat-themed wall art, with a bit of help from my two favorite felines. Our new house has a lovely patio out back and I have been been putting some miles on my new rocking chair, “See-Saw”, every chance I get!

A lot of time has been devoted to loving and being loved by, well, CATS.

I love to bake and have taken advantage of having my favorite taste-tester home with me every day. Scones, bread, muffins, biscuits–we have more bread and baked goods in our freezers than Panera!

What joy it has been this spring to watch the birds come to our feeder and move into the three birdhouses we have in our backyard! I have enjoyed snapping pictures of all the different varieties and then editing them. We have a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in one house, sparrows in another, and juncos in the third.

We’ve had a mild, rainy spring and the trees and shrubs have started blooming and budding everywhere. It is beautiful to see all the colors painted across the landscape, whether rain or shine. As the back of our house faces due east, it’s been a treat to watch the sun’s orange glow as it spreads across the sky in the mornings. We added some color ourselves this week with a few flowers for the beds.

I hope you have been able to find joy despite the ‘Rona fear that has gripped the hearts and minds of the world. I encourage you to turn off the constant news feed and find a way to enjoy the people in your home and your surroundings. Remember God’s promise after the flood, “As long as the earth endures, springtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Ge 8:22). It’s true, regardless of ‘Rona, springtime has come just like God promised. May we all live in the light of God’s promises, not in the darkness of the fears in the world.