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

Arkansas, The Natural State

Long weekends should be spent in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Forget your images of hillbillies and poverty and replace them with rivers, lakes, trees, mountains, and lush, green glens. The drive between Springfield, MO and Hot Springs, AR is eye candy all the way. We kayaked on Lake Hamilton, lazed around in hammocks, drove up and down some switchback roads of the surrounding mountains, sat on the dock behind the house and watched the dragonflies whiz to and fro, dipped our toes in the water, and ate some really good food.

View from the dock behind our house
Yep, we made s’mores
Hubby took this shot along one of the roads he cycled on Friday morning.
Study in blue and green
🦆🦆🦆
🌸
It’s not an Amy’s Axons post without a bird picture
I may have to get a chair hammock…whee!

Do yourself a favor, go to Arkansas! 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

Happy Spring, Ya’ll!

It’s here! Sure signs of Spring are breaking out all over the Ozarks.

Red-winged Blackbirds all in a row by our neighborhood lake.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:


For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

– William Wordsworth
Ornamental pear tree, I think.
The first bee I’ve seen this year.
Just look at that face covered in pollen 🐝.
Stork’s bill, or at least that’s what Google came up with.
I love to see what grows around the lake.
That little dot of magenta made me so happy!
Though it took all of last week, I managed to finish a dress by doing a little each day. It has become a habit for Pip to climb into his little pouch and take a snooze when I’m at my machine. I’m not sure which slows me down more, MS or Pip 😉.

I hope you have a wonderful week and take the time to look at the world around you.

God be with you! ❤️, Amy

Cozy Days

Hello again, Friend. Below you will find some random pictures of things I’ve been doing to fill my winter days.

I really enjoy following several YouTube vloggers in the sewing world and wondered how hard it would be to take pictures of each step of garment construction like they do. I gave it a go and learned they have a lot more patience than me! Most of the pictures I took are in my camera’s trash and there they will stay. I’m sharing a few just to make myself feel like I didn’t waste all the effort it took to complete the experiment.

My notions and the PDF pattern.
The tail end of cutting it out.
I had enough fabric to make two tunics. I found the jersey knit on Etsy and loved the prints together.
Sewing the pocket on.
Finishing the hem.
It was my first time sewing a cowl neck.
The little pocket in the contrasting fabric turned out so cute 🥰.
I’ve learned to keep a stash of bandaids by my machine 🙄. Blood, sweat, and tears 😉!

My favorite Laudy pics of the past few weeks…

We had some really beautiful warmish days since my last post so, of course, I sat out in the backyard and watched the birds.

House finch pair with a goldfinch looking on.
Carolina chickadee
Downy woodpecker
💛

But, my favorite winter activity? Snuggling with Hubby!

Lord willing, I’ll write again soon. 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

Autumn Leaves and A Recipe From 1909

I rode my scooter around our neighborhood this past week.  Autumn is my favorite season and, despite a later than usual start, trees in our neck of the woods are glowing with color. 

Glorious yellows and oranges 💛🧡
Maple leaf aflame
Maple leaf in a sea of green
Maple leaf with scars and scratches
The last of our neighbor’s summer roses.
Our River Birch leaves in the throes of death.

A couple of obligatory bird photos because, well… I love birds ❤️.

I’ve been seeing a lot of this female downy woodpecker lately.
Friendly carolina chickadees are frequent diners at the feeders.

My Dad has slowly been giving me a lot of our family pictures and genealogy material this past year.  As I looked through the latest batch I found a small book of “receipts” in the Edmunds Cookbook, compiled in 1909. Edmunds is a town in Indiana where my great grandparents lived in 1909 as members of the local Quaker community. I thought it would be fun to try to make a cake from the scant directions provided.

I have no idea who Mrs. Henry Berg was but I chose this cake because (a) I had all the ingredients on hand, (b) it seemed seasonal, (c) my hubby would probably like it, (d) it looked pretty easy.
The batter seemed promising.
It baked up nicely.
And.. it tasted DELICIOUS with a moist, airy crumb. The mix of raisins and spices provided a pleasant spicy sweetness.
This is me sitting down at the kitchen table to go through the cookbook to choose a recipe. 😹🐾😻

I hope you have a wonderful day! God be with you. ❤️, Amy