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

A Beautiful Day In the Ozarks

Sunny with a high of 78* F and a gentle breeze. I rode my scooter to the neighborhood lake and spent a couple hours besotted by God’s creation.

The touch of amber on the wings is stunning 😍
Yellow on black good for Jack
These wings shimmered like diamonds in the sun.
Amberwings are my personal favorite.
I love πŸ’š dragonflies!
Eyes in the moss
Can you see that tail?
Though I’m pretty sure this is the equivalent of a weed in the water, the colors are striking.
Daylily

Thanks for stopping by. May 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

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 πŸ˜‰.

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

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

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

May Marvels

Behold, May is about to close her shades while June prepares for her debut.

Laudy
Pip
There were bees everywhere among the foxglove at the lake park this past Wednesday, a sure sign that summer is nearly here.
Bergamot are a good spot for pollen.
A field of Queen Anne’s lace
πŸ₯±, kayaking is so relaxing.
There were several dozen purple martins in the boxes at the lake. Their eyes and beaks remind me of Muppets.

A little house wren decided to make a nest in one of our birdhouses to attract a mate. This tiny fellow wrote the book on hard work and perseverance.

This sweet little catbird came and stayed for a couple of days earlier in the month, a birding first for me.
Chickadee action shot.
Common grackle
White-breasted nuthatch
Downy woodpecker
Such a tiny little tongue this female cardinal has!
I never tire of seeing cardinals, they have got to be one of the most beautiful birds in the world.
This red-bellied woodpecker got his dinner by hook or crook.

This is the tail end of the post. May God be with you! ❀️, Amy