Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The Christian Life’ Category

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

1. Mother’s Day – My daughters brought Mother’s Day brunch over before church. The weather was warm and sunny, so we enjoyed an el fresco meal while chatting and spending family time together .

2. Herb Garden – My herb garden is planted! I used my gift card from a favorite nursery to select about a dozen different herbs for my raised bed planter. My husband planted flowers in the railing boxes, and we need to get our vegetables in soon. The growing season is short but intense here with the long days of summer sunshine and I am grateful for the blessing of warm weather after a very long, cold winter.

3. Ministry friends – It ended up that the college guest speaker and his wife did not stay in our home this past week after all. My husband had a stomach bug right before they were due to arrive, so the college board did not want to take chances that I might get it and pass it on to our guests. We were able to host them for several meals during the week and were blessed by fellowship with these new friends.

4. Rest – God prescribed rest as part of His creative process. It has been a long and intense couple of months for us and we look forward to an upcoming restful week.

5. Loving husband – This has been a doozy of a year health wise for me. While the recent iron infusions seem to be nudging my stamina and energy forward, I still am fairly frail and unable to handle much social interaction or physical activity in a day. It has not helped that in my weakened condition I still am dealing with secondary conditions and even sometimes negative effects from the meds and treatments for these conditions. I am researching and deciding the best way to heal my immune system in light of my body’s particular reactions and requirements. Throughout this whole process my husband has been a kind and helpful support. I am so very blessed by his loving assistance as well as the help of my family and friends.

And a bonus blessing: Less than two months now before we see the these special kiddos!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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

1. Seeing improvement – The iron infusions appear to be producing results. My stamina is slowly increasing, the underlying muscle pain is subsiding, and I am thoroughly enjoying the renewed healthy-looking countenance. I still feel quite tired in the mornings but perhaps a recently diagnosed tooth infection has been contributing to that. I am so very grateful for each answer, each treatment, and each bit of improvement.

2. Book club – My daughters and their friends host a book club I’m participating in. We had to set aside getting together for a while due to complexities in all our lives but are scheduled to resume meeting next month. This time around we are reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook and am listening through a second time for clarity and detail.

A film has been made of this book. I’m not sure if it has been released yet but I will probably end up seeing it unless reviews indicate it portrays objectionable elements. (The producers would have to twist things around to do that, but isn’t that what happens sometimes with films?)

There are not many movies based on books that I have enjoyed once reading the book. My husband and I recently watched Unbroken and found it disappointing. Laura Hillenbrand’s book is full of rich detail and carefully crafted phrases which, woven and layered together, create a deeply satisfying literary canvas. Most of the movies based on books that I have seen have to either give you the Dummies version for sake of time or want to deviate from the storyline in the name of artistic expression. I don’t have high expectations for this film either, but we’ll see.

3. New gluten free discoveries – Trying packaged gluten free foods can be…..interesting. I understand that those who must eat gluten, dairy, soy, and egg free need to be more creative with baking and may not have much to choose from in prepared foods. So many of these items I’ve tried have grainy textures, are extremely dry, or are strange tasting. I’ve recently learned I’m not fond of the taste and texture brown rice pasta, but I do have a couple of other new-to-me Italian GF pasta products on hand to try soon.

After chatting with the dietician at the Ellerslie Sobeys earlier this month, I bought some Schar brand products from Germany. The cheese bites – small crackers in several shapes – are very tasty with no weird textures or flavours. Their Honeygrams also have great flavor and a texture fairly close to graham crackers

Tate brand gluten free cookies out of the States are exceptional. Both the Ginger Zinger and Chocolate Chip varieties have the taste and appearance of home baked cookies like no other GF cookies I’ve tried. I found the Zingers at the Italian Centre and the Chocolate Chip at Ellerslie Sobeys.

4. New dishwasher on the way – My new dishwasher is ordered and is scheduled to be installed at the end of the month. After chatting with the sales lady while she wrote up my order, she volunteered to give me free delivery instead of the usual $50 charge. And that was an unexpected blessing!

5. Yard clean up – The wonderful young woman who helps me around the house called me on Saturday morning. She and her husband and three small children wanted to volunteer to come over and clean up our yard. What a blessing their help was! The day was sunny and warm, so my husband and I prepared a simple picnic style lunch to enjoy with our friends on the deck at lunchtime.

Here are a few special order and other Mother’s Day cards I made this year.

Read Full Post »

On Fridays (or as you know, sometimes later than Friday) I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

Progress! I’m slowly creeping toward posting again on Fridays. Sunday instead of Monday is a tiny step in the right direction.

1. Iron infusions done – My IV iron treatments are done! My body is in the process of resetting and I look forward to greater stamina and improved strength in the future. Good thing they told me it takes up to three months to feel the full effects or I’d be chomping at the bit wanting to see quick results.

By the way, maybe some of you medical experts could clarify whether IV iron treatments are called transfusions or infusions. There seems to be mixed information about this. Even my nurses during treatment interchanged the terms.

2. Grocery savings – The first Tuesday of the month several local grocery stores offer 10 – 15% off your total order. This week I went to the Sobeys at Ellerslie to shop. They offer 15% off and have a large gluten free / organic / natural foods section that I like. On Tuesday I met the manager of that section, a young woman who is a registered dietician and loves to help people with their special diet questions. It was an extra bonus to chat with her in addition to receiving the discount.

3. Visit with a ministry friend – Another area pastor’s wife came for a visit this week. I’ve been so out of the loop the past year and most of my contact with ministry friends has been via electronic media. It was a special blessing to have face to face time with her

4. Dishwasher – We are reminded in Scripture to give thanks in every situation, but often I find my default reaction is complaining like the children of Israel. I have not yet quite figured out the blessing of the situation, but our dishwasher broke this week with a terrible grinding sound and the burning smell of an electrical fire. It already had smaller problem which would cost at least $100 for parts plus the repairman’s cost so we decided to replace instead of repair.

The dishwasher is my number one favorite kitchen appliance, but I have never had one perform without the need to call a service person at least once every two or three years, so I’ve always opted for an extended service contract. And, I do have an extended warranty on my dishwasher which would normally take care of service and parts, but the dishwasher and contract were with Sears which went bankrupt in Canada last year making null and void my contract.

When my DW went kaput right before a week of company and one of the most intense weeks in the year for us and the college, I slipped into panic mode. Prayer and common sense have since prevailed, and I am employing the Japanese style of dishwashing as my sister-in-law calls it – wash dishes under hot running water using a soapy cloth. I have reminded myself that I have someone coming to help me around the house while my guests are here, and I will be chill about dishes being stacked in the sink if I need to rest instead. I am still trying to recover from my unexpected medical journey this past year and fretting over dirty dishes is not worth a setback in my health.

5. Craft area clean up – I usually employ a delightful piling system when working on projects. I have everything spread out on my desk, the floor around my chair, and any reachable nearby surface. My husband calls me messy, but I claim it’s the hallmark of a creative mind. But to keep peace, practice discipline, and salve the twitchy part of me that is the highly sensitive person, I purge, clean and tidy periodically. My wonderful house helper is better at organizing than I am and her recent suggestions for taming my craft space are currently being implemented. It’s already looking neater and I really do enjoy the calmness a tidy space evokes.

Read Full Post »

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!

Last week I posted on Tuesday so posting on Monday this time is an improvement, eh? Maybe I’ll eventually get back to posting on Fridays

1. Tax info completed – I worked through the week to get our 2017 files sorted and all our tax information recorded. I handed it all over to our tax preparer yesterday. In the past working on taxes was, well, taxing, and very stressful for me. This year was much less stressful, and I am grateful for that blessing.

2. Celebrating a record – or maybe not– Thursday the Edmonton area set a weather record: 167 consecutive days where the temperature did not stay above 0C for a full day. And the year to date warmest temperature in 2018 was in January. And it snowed a couple of inches yesterday. And we still have piles of snow in the yard. Hmmm. A few 10-degree C days should make it seem more spring-like. One can hope!

3. A tale of two coffee companies – My husband likes Tim Hortons’ coffee. I can’t drink coffee or black tea, but Starbucks creates the matcha beverages I enjoy. Our friends and family know our brand preferences and we are frequently blessed with gift cards for the two companies.

I usually register our gift cards to garner rewards, keep track of balances, transfer money online from one card to another, reload a card when it’s close to zero funds, and have a record in case a card is lost or stolen.

Recently we had problems with both coffee giants.

I had mistakenly reloaded two registered Tim’s card which had been previously tossed out once the card balances hit zero. In the past I would log in and, in a minute or less, could transfer funds from the registered card we had thrown away to the current card my husband carried.

I see you all shaking your heads. Yes, this little problem has happened before. You’d think communication between the one who uses the card and the one who reloads the card for him would be flawless after 38 years of marriage. It’s more a matter of the ‘throw away the useless stuff’ minimalist thinking vs the ‘this still can be used by someone’ collector and recycler thinking. Don’t worry. We’re still working on a harmonious compromise.

However, Tim Hortons has recently suspended the online feature which allows the customer of registered cards to transfer funds from one card to another, and I had to contact customer service to ask them to do it. I first sent an e-mail asking them to take care of this for me. Yes, it was my mistake initially, but could they please make the transfer for me? After one week I received a reply. I needed to call the customer service number for assistance.

So, I called. The customer service rep was very courteous and took down my information, informing me it would take 3 to 5 business days to take care of the transfer. She gave me a ticket number for my request. I could call back if the transaction did not show up online by the end of 5 business days. After 5 days no changes were made so I called back. Very courteously another CS rep apologized and told me she would resubmit the request but that it would take another 3 to 5 days to complete my request. This went on for over a month. Each time I spoke with a different courteous and very apologetic rep. They were sorry, they were unable to take care of the problem themselves, they would try and mark it as urgent, they were unable to call me back about the problem, and the issue was out of their hands. And each time was told to call back in 3 -5 business days. After a few calls one of the balances was transferred but not the other. Finally, this week, and after multiple calls, the money was all transferred.  A transfer which used to take less than a minute had taken over a month to complete.

Starbucks has recently changed their ‘recipe’ for the matcha frappuccino I enjoy. My husband will occasionally offer to pick up the treat for me on his way home from work but asks me to mobile order so he can grab it quickly. For a yet unknown reason when the recipe changed I was no longer able to mobile order the frap. It was still available but not through mobile ordering. I asked at my local SB and, unable to fix the problem themselves, they gave me the customer service number to call. A very courteous rep took my information and wrote up my concern. She apologized for the trouble and told me a district rep would call me within 48 hours to let me know why I was unable to mobile order my beverage. She then told me she had loaded $15 on my card because of my troubles.

Sure enough, a day later the rep called and told me that the mobile ordering for my drink worked fine in the States but until my call, SB did not realize we could not mobile order the frap anywhere in Canada, and that was a problem they wanted to fix. She contacted app guys in the tech department and would call me back when they did their thing. In the meantime, one of the managers at our local store has been calling HQ for updates and letting me know the progress of my request. Though it’s not fixed yet, SB has been going out of their way to keep me posted while working to resolve the problem.

My staunch TH hubby is now wavering. He could not believe how long it took to complete the simple transaction and how long our funds were unavailable to us one we requested the transfer. More frequently the coffee or tea he orders have not been what he receives. TH has recently fallen out of favor with many Canadians for other reasons, but our recent experiences have him singing the praises of SB, something I never thought I’d hear.

4. Blessings in the lives of my kids – This past week two of my daughters had some recognition for hard work and jobs well done. We are so happy for their success!

5. Anticipation – I am eager to receive my first two iron infusions this week. Though I have been warned it will take up to three months to feel normal again, I’m hoping at least to begin feeling better soon. And hopefully to avoid some of the side effects some people experience!

Read Full Post »

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!

So….I did not get around to posting this until Tuesday, but I am trying to get back to writing regularly even if the result is posted later than expected!

1. Medical update – Thank you to all who have been praying for me. I have continued to have some good progress and some significant setbacks in my recovery.

I have a great physiotherapist and after a couple of good weeks last month, we mutually decided to bump up my daily physio / activity to include both in each day. Previously I could do one or the other without extreme fatigue, but not both. I should have gotten out and moved, rested for a period of time, and done my physio, but I misunderstood and did them back to back. Several hours later I began experiencing severe muscle spasms in various parts of my body which precipitated a major flare in my fibromyalgia. Working with my therapist I am again slowly building up activity but am still experiencing the FM flare symptoms.

This week brought some encouraging news, though. I was referred for iron infusion on January 2 due to my iron deficiency anemia. and just heard yesterday that I will have a series of four infusions beginning April 18. I am told it will take up to three months to feel normal again after the treatments, but I am grateful for the help and hopeful that I will be able to run around some with my grandchildren when they visit in July. I’m moving back to my core FM management plan to see if my basic food sensitivity diet and stricter attention to my management plan will bring even more healing, strength and stamina.

2. The spring that will not come – We are not alone in this, but the Edmonton area has had the most snow and cold weather than any spring in many years. Minus 21 C at night is not normal for this time of year! However, with longer days and the sun peeking through, the snow and ice are gradually reducing. I am grateful that the sidewalks and road in front of our house are safe enough now for me to walk across the street to check our mail.

3. Birthday lunch – Three of our children plus our son-in-law have birthdays in March or early April. Good Friday is a holiday here, and after our church service we met for birthday lunch at place that works for everyone’s dietary restrictions. We each thoroughly enjoyed our meal and especially enjoyed spending time together as a family.

4. Pizza night – Our in-town daughters joined us for a DIY pizza night last week. We watched a movie Talbert style – everyone slinging comments and critiques during the viewing which can be either annoying or amusing depending on your viewing preference, but overall lots of fun!

5. Short shopping trip – We returned to the nearby Italian Centre on my husband’s day off and took our time to “poke around.” They carry so many items that we recognize from our travels in Europe and many other products that are new to us. We left with some interesting gluten free pasta, clotted cream, specialty butter, various cheeses, my favorite black raspberry spread, and several things on my grocery list.

Hope to have a new FFF for you this weekend. I’m also working on some Titus 2 Thoughts for the near future. Thanks for sticking with me while I still struggle with my health.

 

Read Full Post »

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!

Thanks for your patience as I have been sparse with writing and posting. It has been an interesting 7 months. I know God has a purpose in this unexpected health journey and I see some of that purpose, but most of it remains unknown to me at this point. But I am at peace with the fact that whether or not I ever figure things out, God has it planned for my good and His glory and I rest in that.

1. Medical update – My recovery journey continues to provide some unexpected detours. The month of November was pretty much taken up with fighting a bad cold and a lingering constant cough. I was so relieved when that cough abated!

But come December, instead of gaining strength and feeling better, I was weaker and constantly fatigued. I had been making good progress with my physio until I found I was unable to complete my reps and instead had to go lay down after doing a few simple exercises.

There was something wrong with me and my whole family was concerned. The signs were all there and under normal circumstances I might have put them together, but I was so very tired and was certainly not processing things well mentally. Hair loss. Brittle nails and particularly dry skin. Food irritating my tongue. Forgetfulness and fogginess. And utter, debilitating fatigue. While sitting in my chair one day I bent over to pick something up off the floor and immediately fell asleep all hunched over. I would do a few things around the house and, absolutely spent physically, sink into bed and drop off to sleep. Twelve hours of sleep at night and I still was exhausted when I awoke. It finally dawned on me that some underlying problem (other than recovery from surgery) was going on.

Blood tests revealed I have both iron deficiency and anemia. My stored iron is so low that my doctor scheduled me for an iron infusion, but there is a waiting list, so I likely won’t get the treatment until April. Meantime I am on oral iron and after three weeks I am feeling a modicum of improvement.

After starting a new physio exercise in December my hip and pelvis hurt and ached constantly. It felt to me like something had shifted and I was concerned that the exercise had caused damage. After x-rays and a consult with my surgeon I was greatly relieved to learn that there was no shift and the bone grafts were continuing to heal well. There is always discomfort as new physio stretches and strengthens weakened areas, but this concerning level of pain and discomfort is most likely due to my iron problem. I see my therapist again soon and we will discuss how to handle physio in light of my iron issues.

So, here’s a simple bit of advice: if you feel like something is wrong physically, go get it checked out right away. At least then you will be dealing with your reality and won’t be wasting time speculating (or worrying) about all the things that could possibly be causing you to feel so bad.

2. Amusing translation – My son and his family live and work in China. They teach there and are constantly working on acquiring and improving their Mandarin. It’s a tough language and not at all like English. But they are making progress. They teach their program in English and most of the students use electronic translators to help them better understand the English instruction. But when those translators provide a literal translation, the results can be really amusing.

I bought some Japanese matcha powder and the translated message on the package truly lost something in the translation. I got the gist of it, but It made me smile, and I hope it will make you smile too. “Only for once, all customers are in a lifetime. We have the soul which entertains the customer so that there may be no regret.”

3. Office makeover – Now that I am in my golden years, I am trying hard to declutter and reorganize. A young friend is helping me rearrange my office space so that I can sell off some of my library and do more writing. I need a larger desk and have spent hours investigating what’s out there, but I’m having a hard time choosing the best quality with all the features I need that is within my budget. I don’t mind buying used, but I am not in a position to go look at desks that are advertised online, plus I would need to pay someone to pick it up and bring it to my house. I am, however, excited about getting going on the office makeover!

4. Light! – I look forward to each December when we get past that shortest (and darkest) day of the year here and begin to see more and more light each day as winter melts away. We were having some pleasant warm days until Thursday when temperatures dropped and we received a huge dump of snow. Now the sun is back out and reflecting against all that newly fallen snow, it makes for a pretty, bright day.

5. Black raspberries – I love black raspberries. We had a few bushes in my Ohio childhood yard, along with raspberries, red currents, blueberries, and the overhang of a mulberry tree from the vacant lot next to us. I enjoyed them all, but black raspberries were (and still are) my favorites.

We have lived in Alberta for 30 years and have found black raspberries are almost unknown here. One vendor at a farmer’s market told me there was no such thing as black raspberries! A few years ago, one of my daughters found some black raspberry spread at the Italian market in Edmonton. It was delicious, and I bought that brand several times until I was told they were discontinuing it. Last week my husband and I stopped in at the Italian market and I was delighted to see they were carrying the black raspberry spread again!

We had a two-day R and R in the mountains earlier this month. Here are a few photos from our time there.

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: