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 🥳!

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 😉.

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. 🤔

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

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 😋.

Southwest Missouri has been in the grips of a severe drought this summer made worse by excessive heat over 100°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 😉. 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 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

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

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 😀) 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

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

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

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

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