Through the Picture Window

Winter came to our backyard in January, she was exquisite ❄️.
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
On the other hand, these easy home-made whole wheat english muffins are one of my favorites. I frequently make a double batch of these and stick them in the freezer for a toasted breakfast delight. If you’d like to try them, I’ve snapped pictures of the recipe and added them below πŸ‘‡.

At the end of January I had a blood test to see if my immune system was rebuilding itself after stopping my MS treatments about a year ago (March 1st to be exact). The good news is yes, I have some nascent cells emerging. The bad news is I don’t have very many. I’m still immunocompromised, but the tide is slowly turning πŸ₯³.

My MS has been all over the shop. Two weeks ago I had a string of good days and was able to cook and sew and putter around the house. Yesterday afternoon I couldn’t sit up or hold my head up and spent hour after hour in bed. Today, I’ve been able to sit up and ride around the house on my scooter, but my legs are like concrete and won’t work. Tomorrow? Your guess is as good as mine. The only predictable thing about MS is its unpredictability.

Laudy and Pip finishing my oatmeal a couple weeks ago πŸ˜†.

Thanks for staying tuned and stopping by. May God be with you! ❀️, Amy

MS Haiku

Energy all gone,
Feels like I’m in a coma –
A puddle of goo.

I think I’ve melted into and become one with my recliner these last four days.

Thankfully, once again, my feathered friends have come to the rescue and filled the long hours with the joy of their songs and avian antics.

Eastern Bluebird and House Finch
Cardinal at takeoff. I love how you can see the individual features of his right wing.
Female Cardinal
Female House Finch
Another Eastern Bluebird
I can’t get enough of our State Bird πŸ’™
American Goldfinch
Mourning Dove
Carolina Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco
Though the image isn’t great, I was able to document my first ever sighting of a gorgeous Pileated Woodpecker across the road in our neighbor’s tree on Saturday!! This sighting was absolutely thrilling for me and I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day ☺️.

Another source of happiness filling my idle time has been the company of our cats, Laudy and Pip. They have no idea what a blessing and source of company they are to me, but I count them as one of God’s treasures gifted to my keeping. And they are experts at the art of resting 😻.

A person very dear to me gifted Hubby and I a fun surprise, a 6-month subscription to Universal Yums. It’s a monthly box featuring snack food from different countries around the world. This month’s box arrived yesterday with treats from… Austria πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ή πŸ˜‹!

Hubby’s favorite was the Waffelz and mine was the Auer Baumstamme.

I hope you are well.

God be with you! ❀️, Amy

Feathers, Flurries, Felines, and MS

Hello again, it’s been a while. I’ve been remiss in writing, distracted by other things in life. Well, actually, just one thing (drumroll)…my MS. Shocker, I know. The last couple of weeks have been simply outrageous. I’ll spare you the details, but I have IV steroids coming my way to try and get things under some sort of control. Yesterday, the day the home infusion nurse (yes, Bill πŸ˜€) was ready to come to the house and hook me up, winter storm Landon arrived covering the roads with ice. Today, Landon dumped 7 inches of snow before going on his merry way. Bill texted to say he will come over this weekend to get me going once the roads become traversable.

The snow has been beautiful to watch as it swirls and blows in frigid gusts. We’ve had 30+ birds at a time come to the feeders these past couple of days for an easy meal during the storm.

There’s a dark-eyed junco somewhere there in our lilac tree.
Bluejay
Cardinal, male
Cardinal, female
Buff tan dark-eyed junco
Slate-tan dark-eyed junco

As ever, the cats are keeping me company.

Gratefully, neither they nor my sweet Hubby see someone with MS when they look my way, they just see me – full stop. I feel so loved, and I know it doesn’t get any better than that.

God be with you. ❀️, Amy

December

I think the beginning of November and the start of December swapped their weather garbs here in Southwest Missouri. 70+Β°F today!?!

My Hubby took this photo while riding around Fellows Lake in Springfield, MO.

My sweet tooth took over my phone last month and before I knew what it was doing it had ordered TWO advent calendars!

McCrea’s Caramels out of Boston, MA. Look at this artwork… adorable! Caramel flavors include: Black Lava Sea Salt, Classic Vanilla, Cape Cod Sea Salt, Deep Chocolate, Tapped Maple, Ginger Fusion, Cafe Noir, Dark Roasted Mocha, Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt, Chocolate Peppermint, Cinnamon Clove, and Anisette.
This beautiful box of goodies is from Parisian candy maker Bossier. The website was full of beautiful handmade candies and I can’t wait to try each one. Chocolate covered almonds and hazelnuts, cocoa coated almonds, fruit flavored candies, honey flavored hard candies, caramels, jelly filled candies, almond puffed rice chocolate, bear gummies, strawberry candies, heart shaped gummies, fruit jellies, dark chocolate pearls, fruit flavored chocolate petals, chocolate balls, heart shaped chocolate truffles, calissons (French specialty candies), and fondants.
Ohhh, and I also got these little fruit flavored hard candies, they taste a lot like lollipops.

My MS has been very “assertive” over my legs and energy levels (among other symptoms) these last couple of months. That means lots of sitting and boredom. I’ve filled the time with some hand sewing and needlework. These little puffs turned out pretty cute.

We kept my Dad’s dog again for a few days. She’s growing on this die-hard Cat Lady.

As you can see, life has been very exciting around here πŸ˜‚. Of course, no post of mine is complete without a few photos of birds.

Male downy woodpecker
Male house finche

Carolina chickadee

I’ve been rereading through the Bible each day, great gulps at a time, two or three books per day. I’m overwhelmed at the scope, harmony, depth, awesomeness, faithfulness, mercy, loving kindness, and holiness of God. Everything He does is Right. Everything He says is True. In this season of Christmas, it is especially important to remember how all history, all time, all hope, all fulfillment of prophecy, all meaning and purpose is found in God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ. He is more than a season, more than an Eve or a Day. He is Creator, King, Redeemer, God with Us, Promise-fulfilled, Hope, High Priest Forever, and so much more. Come let us bow before Him and worship Him in His majesty! ❀️, Amy

Mallards and Monarchs

This beauty came right up beside me and let me take his picture. I think he knew he was a looker.
Although she was a bit more cautious than her male companion, she flashed several poses.
This little guy kept telling his Mom, “I’m playing with the ducks!”. I’m not sure the ducks saw it that way πŸ˜‰.
It was a windy day and this cutie pie held her bangs back so she could watch her brother “play” with the ducks.
As I sat by the lake, I noticed this butterfly land on the side of my leg. It had a couple of injuries to it’s wings and seemed unafraid of me. Over the span of the next hour it made it’s way onto my fingers and then into the palm of my hand. It was incredible to watch it taste my skin with it’s long, bendy tongue. It had some visible pollen on it’s wings so I knew it had been out foraging. It seemed as if it needed a rest and I felt honored it chose me as a safe harbor. It’s been a little over a week since my encounter with this tiny creature, nevertheless, its memory has flitted across my mind numerous times.
The sun through the just changing autumnal leaves was glorious.
Sun on a single strand of a spider’s web.
I can’t get over how big a fiery skipper’s eyes are compared to it’s head. I could almost feel it watching me as it crawled over the flowers of our butterfly bush.
Joy of joys, the monarchs have found our butterfly bushes! We’ve had as many as eight at a time πŸ¦‹β€οΈ!! The way the sun shines through their wings reminds me of stained glass.
AND, I think this is a spicebush swallowtail. What a neat little fella!

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

One Singular Sensation!

One great place to enjoy a gorgeous Autumnal day.
One dragonfly sunbathing.
One candy-striped rose of sharon.
One beautiful blue sky.
One showy butterfly moth.
One ripple effect.
One white clover.
One breath from being blown away.
One tenacious water plant
One piece of grass near the lake.
One oblivious grasshopper.
One pollinating bee.
The back of my scooter with a new sticker telling all my one and only wish.
The one corner of our yard I can’t stop watching for fear of missing all the butterflies, skippers, and hummingbirds who visit.
One skipper on a butterfly bush stalk
One eye of a butterfly bush flower getting a right good going over.
One adorable carolina chickadee.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Timothy 2:5

One more post has come to an end. ❀️, Amy

Breath In, Breath Out

Sometimes I’m really proud of myself for being able to keep the rhythm of breathing going, such is the joy of MS fatigue.

In my last post I said I would try to write something about my MS, so here it is. Whew, this summer has been a challenge! I have had a smattering of a few good days here and there and even a few strung together in sequence, but more often than not I’ve been under the thumb of pervasive, domineering MS lethargy. Nope, it’s not the kind of tired that needs a nap and sitting to rest for a spell doesn’t shift it at all. Like having a bone dry fuel tank, no matter how hard you try to go, you end up getting absolutely nowhere. The engine won’t start, the wheels won’t go anywhere, the brakes won’t compress, the electric windows won’t budge… technically it’s a car, but it’s good for nothing. I still look like Amy on the outside but there’s no juice to animate me. The electrical wires of my nerves are stripped and the signals my brain tries to send to make my body move either can’t or only partially get through. As a result, I don’t walk right, my hands don’t work the way they’re supposed to, my bladder doesn’t know if it’s holding or letting go, my thoughts struggle to be strung into words, and my balance is all over the place making me stagger around like I’m drunk. Normal things like showering, getting dressed, eating, and even sitting up use inordinate amounts of energy because my nervous system is having to work 1,000 times harder than yours just to get the signals through. Some days, for some inexplicable reason, I spontaneously recharge fairly quickly and I get to do things other than basic human functions – these are my good days. Other days, most days if I’m honest, time passes from my favorite chair or lying in bed. I read, listen to audiobooks, put puzzles together on an app, watch TV, and snuggle with our cats.

MS and heat don’t mix, it makes all symptoms worsen, so I haven’t been on the patio taking pictures much the past few weeks. However, the past couple of days have been milder allowing me to snap a few pics of my feathered friends.

I’ve learned to love bluejays and all the sounds they make.
Matchy, matchy red!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, cardinals are one of the most beautiful birds of all!
Male downy woodpecker
Female house finch
Sweet lil’chickadee
Mourning doves are another personal fav.
The butterfly bushes we planted in the spring have more than doubled in size and smell wonderful!
There have been 5-10 hummingbird moths around the butterfly bushes all summer.
Oh, and the skippers love them too.
Hubby has just a couple more days before he heads back to work. This chore has been on his list and he’s glad to have it done. It’s still hard to believe God has blessed me with such a perfect guy ❣️

May God be with you! ❀️, Amy

Quiet Days

Quiet Days

It’s been a month of MS fatigue and quiet living. I’ve ridden my scooter a few times to the lake in our neighborhood and enjoyed the dragonflies and flowers always present. Here are a few of my favorites.

One of these days I’ll write more. God be with you! ❀️, Amy

Under the Birches

Hello!Β  The weather has been beautiful the last couple of days so I’ve been soaking up the unseasonal coolness by bird watching on the patio.

I got a couple of new feeders, they work a treat!
Yarrow
Verbena
American Goldfinch, male
Can you see the πŸ’›?
This female cardinal is a looker!
American Robin
I think this pair of House Wrens is moving in!
He’s been singing all afternoon 🎢
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Carolina Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
I’ve named this little Chipping Sparrow “Chippy”, he is particularly friendly and let’s me get close to him.
I’ve been learning how to get action shots. This one didn’t turn out too badly.
This one isn’t bad either.
Blue Jays are very skittish but I can occasionally get a good portrait shot.
This is just a funny pic of Pip riding around the house with me while I’m on my scooter. I haven’t written much about my MS lately. Maybe I’ll do that some time soon. The abbreviated version is, yep, I still have it.

I hope you have a wonderful week. God be with you! ❀️, Amy

Rescinded and I’m Sorry

Have you ever done something that you look back on a bit further down the road and wonder just how you could have been so oblivious?  Well, I’m there.  I shot straight up at 4:38 this morning and thought, “Copyright!  I’ve broken copyright to Merrill C. Tenney’s The Genius of the Gospels“!  I was going to post the notes I took on John today, but instead I took down my previous posts on the first three Gospels.  Perhaps you were quicker on the uptake than I was. All I can say is I’m really sorry. It was such a good study, I got carried away and shared before thinking things through all the way.

So, back to the regularly scheduled programming…

My nephew came and stayed with us for a while last month. He made his Aunt very happy when he took my camera and, with his artistic eye, took pictures like a pro. Just look at his gallery!

Pretty impressive, eh?!

Here’s the young man himself.

Playing some Thin Lizzy with Uncle Todd.

The weather has been somewhat mild for our area this time of year so I’ve been able to get outside and take a few snaps. Heat and MS don’t mix so summer photo sessions are usually few and far between.

Common grackle
Titmouse
Female cardinal, almost fully adult (I think).
Juvenile female cardinal. Can you spot the differences between the adult in the picture above and this juvenile here?
I went to the lake yesterday for about 20 minutes before tiring out. It was super busy!
The fire department showed up with lights flashing for a water rescue.
Suiting up
In action!
This common whitetail dragonfly watched the rescue crew at work too.
AND, I got to see a purple martin being fed!
Meanwhile, inside, Pip has learned to appreciate birds as much as I do πŸ˜‰.
Laudy, as ever, knows how to snuggle and relax better than anyone.

All my best to you and may God be with you! ❀️, Amy