Summer’s Lasting Vibrance

Hello, Friend! I hope you are well.

It’s been too hot around here to get out of the house much these last few weeks. However, I did ride my scooter early one morning down to the lake in our neighborhood to enjoy the dragonflies and flowers for a spell.

Crepe Myrtle ablaze in red
A little skipper atop white clover
Blue dasher perfectly aligned on a blade of grass
Tail up!
Halloween pennant – gloriously orange
Amber wing, easily my favorite dragonfly.

I braved the heat for a few minutes one day to get a pic of this lovely female cardinal hanging out in one of the birch trees behind our house.

Since I can’t get outside much I’ve been filling my time sewing. I got a new serger and have been absolutely floored by the steep learning curve. For the first couple of weeks I was convinced that not even NASA’s best could get the crazy thing to work consistently! I have read everything I could get my hands on and watched hours of YouTube vids in a determined effort to conquer and master the beast of a machine. Perseverance, about 15-20 hours of practicing on scraps, rethreading the booger, and adjusting knobs a million times AND…

I FINALLY figured out how to consistently get good seams on my serger! I made a cute nightgown that I love. I ordered this knit jersey on super clearance from Joann’s. The snails are very appropriate 😉.

I had my Ocrevus infusion yesterday so I’m fuzzy-headed with a bit of a headache. Around 4:00 this morning I started flushing from the steroids they served up to go along with it. I should start feeling better by tomorrow. For the first time ever I got to have the drug infused at home – so much easier for me! My newest bestie Bill, the infusion nurse, and I spent five quality hours chatting and sharing the ways God has worked in our lives. God is so good!

Thanks for stopping by. God be with you! ❤️, Amy

Chocolates and Pelicans

The first week of December is in the books, and I can hardly wait for each new day to hurry up and get here. I got myself an “Oh, Nuts!” chocolate advent calendar to enjoy. Mmm, Mmm! Here are a few of my favorites so far!

I know many people put their trees up early this year, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My Mom always had us girls decorate the tree the day after Thanksgiving. Somehow, now that she is gone, it makes her feel closer to follow familiar traditions. She gave me many of the ornaments, and I love the memories each of them brings back.

Hubby and I drove by the river near our house as we came home from grocery shopping this past Saturday and saw several American Pelicans floating around. I got home, grabbed my camera, and drove back as fast as I could hoping not to miss them. I needn’t have worried, they weren’t in any hurry. The fishing was apparently good because they snacked all afternoon. Wow, it was fun to watch them throw their heads down, bring up a fish, and watch it wiggle down their necks!

I sat and watched the pelicans for about an hour and started back along the walkway to my car when I heard a rustle in the bushes and trees. There were several bluebirds eating berries not five feet from me! I got as many shots as I could of them before the sound of my camera scared the group off, these were the best two images. It was just as exciting for me to see them as the pelicans.

I got in the car and drove just a bit further down the road to another access spot by the river and took a few more snaps before heading home. I was running out of energy and only stayed 10 minutes or so, but every second by a river is bliss to me and I’m not going to waste it.

I think these shots are proof positive that there is beauty in every season. As a matter of fact, there’s beauty in everything and in everyone, if you look for it. I am going to try to remember to look for the beautiful in the world around me. I’m especially reminded during the holiday season to be grateful God saw beauty and worth in His creation, enough so that He sent Christ to redeem us. 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.

Undone

We placed our house on the market three weeks ago and every day since has been like living in some alternate reality.  The endless cycle of picking up, putting away, wiping down, and clearing out in order to hide the fact two cats and their humans live here had grown old by the second day. I’ve seen vlogs of people on YouTube who want you to believe they happily clean their house every day and offer advice on how you could learn to love to do the same. I like a clean house and I’m no slacker when it comes to actually doing the deed, but there is no way I want to adopt some ritual that forces me to scrub the toilet every morning in order to feel joyful.

Nevertheless, with the knowledge people could be coming over at the drop of a hat to see the house, I found myself in a state of constant tidiness not too far removed from the feeling you get just a couple of hours before hosting a dinner party. You have ten things to do at once and the pressure is on to get it all done before the first ring of the doorbell. We don’t host dinner parties anymore thanks to my MS. I don’t have the energy to clean, cook, AND be charming anymore. Most days it’s a struggle just to do one of these through to its completion. So, it wasn’t too far into the first week my prayers grew in fervor for God to intervene and make some way for me to survive this part of the process.

We had two open houses and several showings the first couple of weeks which resulted in one low-ball offer that was $40K below asking price and begged to be rejected. However, we received and accepted a second offer this past Monday, but it was contingent on the young couple’s house selling first. It was such a great offer we thought it was worth giving it a chance. For better or worse, a contingency does not stop your house from being shown, though it usually slows things down to a trickle. So, we were absolutely flabbergasted by the number of people who crawled out of the woodwork the day after Zillow and Realtor.com listed our house as “Contingent”. Our hearts and hopes soared that maybe something would come of it all, but my MS was absolutely seething and out to take revenge because I was not complying with its dictatorial demands for rest.

My prayers took on a begging tone asking Him to help me survive and to get another offer that would press the contingency to a precipice and conclusion. With each passing day my appeals intensified to the point they became more like chants than well-spoken prayers.

In addition to keeping things tidy, it grew harder and harder with each passing day to pack up the cats and put them in the car, move the litter boxes to the garage, stash the scratching posts and then drive somewhere to wait until the coast was clear before reversing the process when I got home. By Tuesday of this week I had become so tired I couldn’t walk or be up for more than five minutes at a time. Matter of fact, my energy didn’t even last long enough for the water to boil in the electric kettle for a cup of tea. The situation was dire!

That’s when it happened, right at the intersection of I Can’t Do This Anymore and God, Please Help Me. We got a full price offer on Friday that ended up being the one we got to keep. The young couple who made the contingency offer on Monday was not able to buy our house until theirs sold so they, unfortunately, fell victim to the standard kick-out clause when we got the second offer.

Our realtor, in the business for years, told me that she had never had a house with a contingency offer all of a sudden get so many people wanting to see it. She was still turning down requests to view our house over the weekend well after the ink on our contract was dry Friday.

My emotions have been all over the place through this whole experience. Excitement and anxiousness mixed with a healthy dose of hope, anticipation and nervousness. But when I saw the final full-price offer I thought I was seeing something wrong. I even looked our listing up online to make sure I had remembered our listing price correctly. Sure enough, I had seen it right the first time. That’s when I started sobbing uncontrollably as a flood of relief and gratitude to God completely made me feel undone by Him. Although I had begged God to intervene on our behalf with continuous pleas, I couldn’t take in how mightily He had answered. As the reality of it all slowly dawned on me, my continuous chant turned into millions of Thank You-s and You’re so good to me-s. I couldn’t stop saying it over and over as tears of joy and thanksgiving fell unashamedly down my cheeks. The fact that, once again like so many other times in my life, He had heard my prayers and intervened on my behalf, left me feeling completely and utterly undone and humbled before Him.

I am writing this in the middle of the afternoon while reclining in bed waiting for my MS to wear out its retaliation for doing too much this week. Let my MS do what it may, I don’t care. I am glowing in the ceaseless cascades of my Father’s love for me. I’d spend every hour of every day left in my life stuck here lying in my bed if I had to just to know and to feel His tender, caring, kind, reassuring love. Thankfully, I know I won’t have to do that. It is His nature to be just that good to me!

~ See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)