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FFF #97 and #98

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

Today is a two for one special! First is the FFF I wrote for 11/3/17 but never posted, followed by today’s FFF.

FFF #97

1. Butternut squash soup – Butternut squash soup is a favorite of mine – as long as it doesn’t have nutmeg in it. I like nutmeg just fine, just not in butternut soup. This week I made a batch the soup using some herbs from my herb garden. It was delicious and tasted especially good after cold symptoms swooped down on me Wednesday night. Nothing like hot soup to treat a cold!

2. Check up at surgeon – The check up at the surgeon was encouraging. I have been graduated to full weightbearing as tolerated, but I need to continue using my walker and crutches until I get a few weeks of serious physio under my belt. I have been cleared to drive, which is nice, but when my cold swooped in, so did the snow. It’s been snowing lightly on and off since Tuesday and everything is coated with either snow or ice. The biggest concern I need to watch out for at this stage of my recovery is falling, so dealing with ice and snow just means I need to be extra vigilant, especially during these first few weeks of intensive physio until my leg and hip are stronger.

3. Football game – I enjoy watching American college football, particularly when my favorite team is playing (Go Buckeyes!) Last week the Scarlet and Gray came from behind to pull off a last-minute win over another very good team. It was a nail biter that last quarter and so much fun to watch!

4. Stencils – Some borrowed grandchildren discovered our stack of Tupperware stencils that my kids loved and used decades ago. Because my mom sold Tupperware for 30+ years, we accumulated many of the great, durable toys that TW made during that time. For now, my borrowed grands are loving designing pretty pictures using the stencils, and I’m enjoying their excitement and joy in creating.

5. Answered prayer – Our youngest daughter has been waiting quite a while for the next step in her RN certification process and she finally heard something this week, after about 10 months. The paperwork has been passed on to the next agency who will evaluate her credentials and let her know, what, if anything, needs to be done next. She passed her NCLEX exam on the first try and is certified as an RN in the States, but wants to be certified here in Canada. This approval will allow her to work as an RN here and go on in Canada to earn her BSN. We’re thankful for answers to prayer for part one, and are continuing to pray for the rest. Update: She next needs to take an English proficiency exam. Though her instructors were all North American, and her textbooks all standard US nursing textbooks, the school is located in China, so the approving board requires this English exam. We continue to pray!

FFF #98 12/8/17

1. BBQ – A couple of years ago my husband discovered a BBQ place in a town adjacent to ours. We liked the food, but the setting was not our favorite. Last week my husband offered to bring home BBQ from this place on his day off. Their in-house smoked meats were delicious and reasonably priced. We’re looking forward to take away from there again!

2. London – Three of my daughters just returned from a two-week holiday in London. They traveled with two friends and the five of them could split up or go together to see things that interested each of them. I love how we live in an age where we can be part of that through instant chat, online photos, and other media. Their posts and calls overflowed with excitement at the interesting and fun things they experienced. The five of them were even at Kensington Palace when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement!

3. Therapist – When I started physio in town last month I was assigned a therapist. Kristen is highly qualified and has listened to me and worked with me very carefully these past few weeks. She understands that I am working around fibromyalgia, weakness due to surgery, and currently living without any painkillers after over 15 years on a medication to help with arthritis pain. My progress is slow, but I am progressing! Our health plan provides seven sessions of physio for a hip replacement patient. Due to my history and the severity of my last surgery, Kristen will be applying for additional funding for ongoing PT, which I did not even know was an option.

4. Warmer weather – I had my last check up with the surgeon on November 1. That day cold weather blew in, it began snowing, and it snowed pretty much every day for the next three weeks. Swept away were my plans to enjoy my new freedom to use my walker to walk around our cul-de-sac on our newly-installed sidewalks. Too much ice and snow!  The past couple of weeks have been much warmer, the sun has been shining, and the sidewalks are finally clear. Maybe I can get that little walk in today!

5. Progress – I know some of you have been praying for me and I thank you for that. When we returned from the surgeon on November 1 I was excited to be able to put full weight on my leg (still using a walker.) I had great plans to get out and about in the neighborhood, and to drive to some places in town. Not only did it begin to snow that day, but that evening my ear and throat started hurting and I was set aside by a flu / cold for a whole month. My plans were put on hold as it simply wasn’t safe for me to do what I wanted in my weakened state. Plus the first two weeks of the cold I simply felt wretched.

My main job right now is my physio. I go to physio, then practice my exercises at home, apply heat to specific areas after, and try to gradually increase reps from week to week. Boy, are my leg and hip muscles weak!

Now that the flu / cold is behind me (except for the lingering occasional cough which is part of this particular strain) I have been getting out a bit more, which is nice. My surgeon wants me to focus on sustained movement and activity – if I go out and am active for an hour today (and I’m talking about doing errands or going to church, not snowshoeing or snow sailing), then I should be able to do the same the next day. My practice was more along the lines of go out for four hours then crash for the next two days, so I am working on making that transition. One of my biggest problems is still low stamina. I am exhausted after getting out for two to three hours and pretty much have to take it easy the rest of the day, and my sessions with the physiotherapist leave me exhausted.

I have been graduated to using a cane around the house. My hip area aches a bit less these days, though as physio is added and that area is stretched and strengthened that aching does return as I begin to work on a new area.

So this has been a long FFF. Thanks to those of you who read all the way through. I am more and more grateful each day for the many blessings God has given me throughout this unexpected journey. Blessings of family, and friends, and provision, and safety, and medical help, and so much more.

Hope you have a blessed week!

Here are a few Christmas cards from Purple Grandma Designs i made over the past few weeks (the protective sleeve causes the glare on a few of the pictures.)

 

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Friday’s Fave Five #96

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Dinner out. We had a week-long guest who treated us to dinner last Saturday. It was delicious, and my petite steak was cooked to perfection. I’ve had to learn which restaurants take my food sensitivities seriously and which don’t. This place did, which made dining out a happy experience for me.

2. Shopping. Yesterday my daughter took me grocery shopping. I pushed a cart and selected my own items, something I have not been able to do for the past 4 months. I also graduated to changing a laundry load on my own, and knocked off a bunch of ironing this week. I still need help with many things, but it is wonderful to add to the list of things I can now do.

3. Unexpected generosity. Someone anonymously paid for two weeks of my cleaning helper’s wages. This young lady has been a cheerful and exceedingly capable helper to me as I continue to heal. When she told me of the gift I burst into tears of joy and gratitude. Benefactor, if you read this blog, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

4. Lunch out. After grocery shopping yesterday, my daughter suggested we get lunch out at our favorite restaurant in town. I was feeling quite tired from shopping, and I’m not a spontaneous person, but it sounded like a nice idea, so we went for it. My meal was excellent as usual, and I had plenty for both lunch and supper from that one meal. It was extra-special to spend some ‘girl time’ with one of my lovely daughters!

5. Evaluating I see the surgeon again on Wednesday. I feel my leg is strengthening, but I am still struggling with lack of stamina and overall strength. It will be interesting to see if one leg is longer than the other after this surgery, but it’s hard to tell that until I am walking on it normally. I’m also looking forward to adding more physio to gain strength and balance. Dealing with my fibromyalgia in addition provides an interesting challenge. If I push too hard my muscles are in agony and I am unable to do my physio for several days. If I don’t push enough, my strengthening will be delayed. I need a great deal of wisdom as I go forward, as well as listening carefully to the way my body responds to the exercise.

Photos from the past few weeks:

Vibrant colours

Balcony view

Cattail convention

Mountain corona

Prairie standard

Magnificent mountains

Friday’s Fave Five #95

My goal is to post FFF each week to make myself intentionally stop and recall blessings of the previous week. It’s amazing to me how often I have to rack my brain to think of five I want to write about when each week is full of God’s grace as well as many blessings Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1.Warm weather October weather in Alberta can be really cold or it can be very pleasant. Though we’ve had snow a couple of times this fall, we’ve also enjoyed some beautiful warm days. With my current limited mobility I am grateful for every day without ice and snow so I can enjoy the sunshine and take my short daily walks unhindered.

2. Phone visit with a friend A dear friend lives thousands of miles away and recently suggested a phone chat to catch up. We thoroughly enjoyed talking together and plan to continue these visits on a regular basis.

3. Ride in the country I was feeling under the weather on a particularly warm and beautiful day. Since my husband has a lighter schedule this week he willingly took me for a drive in the country so I could enjoy the warm day. Though I will be so very glad to be cleared to drive again, I am thankful for my husband’s kindness in driving me around during my convalescence.

4. Healing My hip continues to heal and strengthen. I am now able to do more physio, walk around more, and put more weight on the leg. I am hoping to receive the green light for full weight bearing at my November 1 appointment. I am also extremely grateful for continually increasing mental acuity now that I am completely off the pain meds.

5. Handicap helps A century ago my hip condition would have meant I was relegated to the rocking chair by the pot-bellied stove and labeled as a cripple. I am so thankful that we live at a time when my hip replacement revision surgery was possible and for the many handicap-friendly aids loaned to me to help me have a safe and successful recovery.

Photos from this week – from the mountains….to the prairies….

Mountain view

Dusting of snow

Valley view

Larch branches

Sunlight and shadow

Autumn abates

Fence line fluff

Nature’s cotton candy

Pastoral peacefulness

 

 

Friday’s Fave Five #94

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1.Canadian Thanksgiving We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last Monday with family and friends, and were even able to enjoy our feasting in the lovely autumn weather outside on the deck!

2.Road trip This was a full week including a road trip to Canmore for our church’s leadership annual planning meeting. I had to take most of my temporary handicap equipment with me, which meant others had to help set it up and haul my walker in and out of the car for me. I was blessed by their patience and kindness!

3. Photography My beloved drove me around to take pictures while we were in the mountains. I have missed many things while recovering from surgery including being able to drive around and take pictures. My husband is a busy man, so his loving sacrifice to cheerfully drive me around when he has other things demanding his attention was a wonderful gift to me.

Clouds lifting over the Rockies

Autumn snow

Possibilities

Contrast

Golden autumn

Lone leaf

Autumn afternoon

 

4. Pumpkin beverage I have many food intolerances, including coffee. I really enjoy fall harvest flavours and thought it would be fun to try a pumpkin spice latte, but it has coffee in it so I’ve never tried it. While on our little trip I discovered that I can order this fall-themed beverage without the coffee. They call it a pumpkin spice crème or pumpkin spice steamer. It was delicious!

5. Mountains I love the mountains. I love the majesty, beauty, and ever-changing face of the mountains. From snow-capped, sun-dappled peaks, to howling storms, to mist and cloud draping craggy mountain shoulders, the mountains provide a constantly changing canvas for photography. Here are a few mountain shots from our weekend trip.

Layers

Mysterious

 

Fresh snow

Morning mountains

 

Friday’s Fave Five #93

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Alice in Wonderland These past few months have seemed very much like my own personal Alice in Wonderland experience. My body’s response to the meds I was on caused a great deal of cognitive impairment and emotional upheaval. Over the past three months I have experienced hallucinations, depressive thoughts, accentuated fears, and have regularly misread, misheard, and misunderstood much of what filtered through my brain. I heartily sympathize with Alice and all her puzzling and weird experiences. We made the decision a couple of weeks ago to wean off the pain killers, which I have done. I’m dealing with some pain as I increase movement and physio, but the mental restoration has been a blessed relief.

2. Health update Last Wednesday my surgeon moved up to 50% weight bearing to be increased to 75% weight bearing by the time I see him again on November 1. My x-rays show no movement of the prosthesis, which is good, and healthy bone growth around the bone graft. I have some new physio which once again reminds me how weak my leg is, but I am seeing increased strength and ability as I plug away at doing my exercises.

3. Snow and cozy fires We’ve had two snowfalls thus far interspersed with some beautiful Indian summer weather. My husband is a master fire builder and built us this lovely fire to enjoy on an inclement day.

4. Visits I have enjoyed some lovely visits from family and church friends the past few weeks. My pastor’s wife, who is also unwell, organized an encouragement tea and fellowship time for me with church leadership wives a couple of weeks ago. It was a blessing to spend time with these ladies and focus on God’s goodness with them.

5. Bowl of sunshine Some little ‘adopted’ grandchildren came over and plucked the last of the summer blooms for me from our yard. We put them in a bowl of water and enjoyed this sun-dappled bowl of sunshine on our kitchen table for a few days.

Thanks for your patience as I have been away from writing the past few months. I am hoping to resume my Titus 2 Thoughts very soon, as well as stay current with FFF now that my brain fog has lifted. Hope you too, have some blessings from the week to rejoice in!

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Family in Houston I have family living in the Houston area. Though they were affected by Hurricane Harvey (like everyone else in the area) they are all safe, for which I am grateful.

We live in the town of Beaumont, Alberta. There is also a Beaumont, Texas east of Houston. A distraught mother was trying to get news of her family in Beaumont, Texas, and was somehow connected to the Beaumont, Alberta emergency dispatcher. Instead of rerouting her, he took the time to track down her family (after contacting emergency services in Beaumont, Texas.) He made sure she found out about her family (they were safe) and did not pass her off to someone else or tell her she had the ‘wrong number.’ Pretty impressive and admirable. The Canadian way, as they say.

2. Orchids and ice cubes I learned something new and wonderful about orchids lately – you water them with ice cubes! Probably most of you knew this, but I was surprised and delighted to learn that I could water them by adding three ice cubes once a week. With my former reputation as a house plant killer, this was welcome news indeed. I received a beautiful orchid plant shortly after my surgery and it’s still looking great (thanks to the weekly ice cube watering!)

3. Out and about My recovery from surgery continues slowly, as requested by my surgeon. I am doing better on crutches when I occasionally try them out, made it to church for the third week in a row, and have begun to do an errand or two each week when someone is available to drive me. Last week my husband and I enjoyed breakfast at I-hop, where I found a gluten-free friendly selection on the senior’s menu. My stamina is still fairly low so these jaunts wear me out, but I am hoping to gradually build up that stamina as I carefully and regularly get out and about.

4. Eggs Our local drug store has the best regular price on a dozen eggs of anyone in town. A bonus is that on Tuesdays seniors receive an additional 20% off. This past week I asked my husband to pop in and get a couple dozen eggs. Our store had a buy one get one free special on the eggs because they have a best by date of mid-September. They also gave the senior special so we got those eggs for less than a dollar a dozen. Nice deal and an unexpected blessing.

5. God’s peace in the midst of challenges Our family is experiencing some challenges. It is a comfort and a blessing to know God’s peace as we face these challenges. Things may be unexpected or unwanted by us, but God has a purpose in all He ordains. We are praying for His will and leadership in all He brings our way.

I did not get out to take any photos this week. Hopefully soon!

Friday Fave Five #91

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Church – I have been able to attend our Sunday church service the past two weeks. What a blessing to be in personal fellowship with the church family after having to miss for six weeks during my initial stage of recovery from surgery.

2. Doctor’s report – The surgeon gave me a good report and has graduated me to 25% weight bearing on my affected leg. How does one determine how much pressure on the leg equals 25% weight bearing? The physiotherapist gave me a simple formula: gently press down on the scale with the operated leg until the scale registers 25% of your body weight. That amount of pressure is how much you can use when walking. I will still be using a walker or crutches for at least another month.

3. Supplement in town – One of the supplements that has helped my fibromyalgia muscle spasms is now available in my small town. I used to have to drive at least 20 minutes north or south to a supplement store to buy them so I am very glad to be able to get them right here. A bonus is that they are actually a bit cheaper here!

4. Walk to the mailbox – Where we live mail is delivered to super-boxes for a whole street. Our super-box is right across the street from us, but since my surgery, it might as well be a mile away. Since I was a kid I have loved getting mail, and lately have been ordering some cutting dies from China for my card making. It’s so much fun to find one or two of these little packets in our mailbox! Since no one else in my family shares my enthusiasm for mail, I have really felt like I was bothering people to ask them to check the mail. Today I did a trial run out the back door and down the driveway to the mailbox. My husband ‘spotted’ me since we weren’t sure if the incline of the driveway was too steep for me to traverse safely with my walker. Everything went smoothly, and if I go slowly and carefully, I should be able to check my own mail now while getting a spot of exercise in.

5. Messing in the herb garden – Because of my emergency hip replacement surgery and planned slow recovery I have missed most of the outdoor activities of summer. Today I was able to work a bit in my raised bed herb garden, weeding out dead leaves, and thinning out some herbs. I love running my hands through the fragrant herbs, rubbing the leaves to enjoy the unique smell each herb offers. I’ve begun harvesting some of them to dry for use in winter cooking. It was lovely to be outside again for a bit today!

James is one! He was celebrating with my daughter-in-law’s family in the States.

Here are a few of the Purple Grandma Designs cards I have been working on as I recover.

 

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