“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

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 🥰.
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 😋!
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

Hoppy May

I always look forward to a visit from the migrating red-breasted grosbeaks each spring.  I noticed this sweet lady this morning but haven’t seen a male yet. 
Grosbeaks are in the same family, Cardinalidae, as cardinals.  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.  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.  Those eyes 👀!!
I love how you can really see this frog’s tympanic membrane 👂.
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.  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

Hello, Again

Hello, again.

The last time I posted I told you I had a relapse of my MS and was getting ready for a few days of steroid infusions to try and hasten recovery. Sure enough, it happened and my symptoms have improved. My left eye stopped twitching and feeling numb, I can move my legs again and walk with less of a shuffle-stumble sort of thing. My energy level has improved to allow me to be up for more than 3-5 minutes at a time. Things are still not back to where they were before, but I’m hoping the trajectory continues to move up.

The IV was placed right where my wrist bends, not ideal. It was a long three days.
Hubby made me a “splint” to remind me not to bend my wrist. It worked a treat other than the fact I had a piece of wood there day and night. I cut a sock and used it to keep my splint in place.

Huge doses of steroids given in a short time creates numerous icky side effects – one of the worst for me is flushing of the skin. That being said, the side effects during the infusion are nothing compared to the slam your body takes when your last dose is done. Agonizing, insipid, catatonic-like fatigue reigns for about three days while your skin hurts to the touch and your muscles ache down to the bone. Slowly, the goo seeps out through every pore of your being and, around day four, you sense you are morphing back into feeling like a human.

I’m so thankful it’s all behind me now. It’s been four years since I had a relapse necessitating steroids. Yesterday marked four years since I completely retired due to MS and April will mark 32 years since my diagnosis. I’ve never felt bitter about this disease nor thrown my fist in the air screaming, “Why me?”. I think a better question is “Why not me?”. Everyone has some struggle to deal with in life. There’s no such thing as luck, good or bad. There is such a thing as attitude, though. As Philippians 1:27 says, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Though “whatever happens” here is in reference to whether Paul can come to visit the Philippians or not, he goes on, in the same verse, to tell them, “Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” No matter what diseases, frustrations, difficulties, or unexpected troubles come our way, we are to respond with a Christlike attitude that brings honor and praise to the glory of God.

Nothing makes me think of God more than His creation.

Carolina Wren
American Goldfinches
Tufted Titmouse
Lucky shot 📸
Carolina Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Fisheye lens through our birch trees.
Hubby threw some eggs in the yard and some American Crows enjoyed them. I love all birds.
Blowing in the wind…
… beautifully.

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

Happily Ever After

Hubby and I celebrated 16 years of marriage yesterday 💕. He’s always been and always will be the best part of my life. God gave each of us to the other and not a day goes by without recognizing and giving thanks for such a love as this.

Christmas Day at my sister’s.
Hubby in deep puppy love.
❤️
Sunrise in Texas
Same sunrise 5 minutes later.
Using my zoom lens with the fisheye effect.
Poor little jellyfish.
Chicken soup for the puny, I had the flu but am better now.
Typical of my life living with MS in 2021 – feet up. I suspect more of the same in 2022.

Thank you to all who follow or occasionally peruse my blog. I wish you a safe, happy, and healthy New Year! ❤️, Amy

December

I think the beginning of November and the start of December swapped their weather garbs here in Southwest Missouri. 70+°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 😂. 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 😉.
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 🦋❤️!! 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

A Week In My Life

Pip is my little sewing helper. He had been walking in, through, up, down, over, and around for quite a while before finally sitting front and center. When you need attention, you need attention 😺.
So…I finally gave up, went and got a robe, and tucked him in. He settled right down, purred like a freight train, and stayed until I finished up.
Laudy knows how to get her snuggle time too 😻. This was first thing in the morning one day…
… and this was last Saturday. My shirt says, On Caturdays We Wear Cat Shirts.
I had my Ocrevus infusion on the first of this month, which I think I mentioned in my last post. My nurse wanted a picture of Laudy climbing on him and checking him out. I barely got the picture in time and it doesn’t look like he was enjoying it, but I assure you he did. (I guess this isn’t really from this week.)
This swallowtail butterfly looked a little worse for wear but seemed to be thriving on our aptly named butterfly bushes.
This yellow garden spider set up shop between one of the butterfly bushes and the fence. The reinforced center zigzag is amazing!
I’ve not had a lot of birds at the feeders lately and it’s been too hot to sit outside much, but I did get a snap of this friendly chipping sparrow.
We had a single day break in the heat so I took advantage of it and did my Bible study on the patio.
Later that same morning I rode my scooter around the lake in our neighborhood.
If you squint really hard you can see the bench on the other side where I often sit to watch dragonflies buzzing around. I only took one lens with me so I wasn’t able to get a picture of a ruby throated hummingbird going from flower to flower on the bushes to the right. It was pretty cool!
Hubby took me for a drive to try and get some pictures of a field of sunflowers a few towns away. The road was a little busy and I only had a few seconds to get a shot. It didn’t really work out the way I had envisioned it in my mind because I didn’t have time to get the exposure right. That, and there was also a real chance I might fall over because I had to step across a ditch along a fence row full of weeds and, of course, my balance is wonky. When I got back in the car I had burrs stuck all over my pants.

Although the pictures were an epic fail, I enjoyed riding around with my hubby that afternoon. Oh, and about an hour after we got home both of my eyelids and the bottom of my eyes turned red and swelled up to be about 1/2 an inch thick. They stayed that way for the next 24 hours! Ragweed, was that you??

Yes, I know, I lead a very exciting life 😉. I hope you have had a good week. See you next time! God be with you. ❤️, Amy

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

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