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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!

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!

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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!

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.

 

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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!

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

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

 

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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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