Archive for the ‘The Christian Life’ Category

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.


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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

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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




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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



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.




Fresh snow

Morning mountains



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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!


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

1.Small town I love living in a small town. It’s not perfect, but people tend to look out for each other, greet each other, and rally together to support local causes. This week a very popular restaurant in town posted on their facebook page that they would trade baked goods for any extra mint from area residents’ gardens. How fun is that! Since my summer has been rerouted from regular activities to recovery, I have not been able to poke around in my garden, and had plenty of mint to share. Even though the baked goods were not gluten free, my family enjoyed the delicious breads, rolls and muffins given in trade for the mint.

2.More local stuff Two of my daughters are involved in the local arts council, one representing drama and one voice. Recently my daughter became aware that even though there are many families with young children in our town, there is no community children’s choir. She has taught voice lessons and coached musical theater for several years and decided to start a kids’ choir this fall. The local newspaper did a full-page piece on her which has generated even more interest than what she was already getting. This is very nostalgic for me as most of my kids participated in a community choir years ago.

3.Drive in the country Yesterday my husband took me for a drive in the country. I haven’t been out much since the surgery, which made this jaunt particularly enjoyable. We capped the drive with a take-out meal from Edo Japan. Though I could not get out and walk around, I was able to get a few photos from my seat in the car. What a refreshing afternoon!

4.Short lived flu Our youngest daughter had a flu last weekend which I picked up mid-week. Because I am still recovering from surgery I was concerned at first that the pounding headache was some sort of surgical side effect, but after talking with my daughter I realized I had identical symptoms that she did. Thankfully the headache dissipated after 24 hours.

5.Paring down on meds The past few days I have been able to significantly cut back on my pain meds. Though they have been necessary, they affect my mental state and I will be very glad to be off them altogether. Yay for clear thinking and a healing body! My next post-surgical check-up is Wednesday and I am praying for a good report.

Here are a few of those photos from yesterday.

Summer on the prairie

Roadside purple

Fading canola

Anybody home?

Prairie simplicity


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