Friday’s fave Five #105

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!

Friday Fave Five #102

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!

Still posting on Monday. Truly, my goal is to get back to posting on Fridays!

1. Spring has sprung! We finally are seeing sunshine and warm breezy days. I love having the windows open and hearing the background bustle of a small town: machines working on nearby construction, kids laughing and chatting as they walk, ride, or skateboard by the house, the mournful whistle of a train several miles away, and the joyful chirping of birds in our yard. Welcome spring!

2. Iron infusions almost completed – Monday I will have my last iron IV. People keep asking me if I’m feeling better yet and that’s hard to judge. After the first two infusions I felt pretty good but this last one left me achy in my joints with sore muscles and fatigue. My husband and I both have this intense lingering cough and runny noses from an earlier cold so maybe that’s the reason for the fatigue. Or maybe it’s still my fibromyalgia. Or ??? It can take up to three months to feel the full effects of the treatment, so I look forward to healthier days ahead.

3. Time with my daughters – I love having my daughters living nearby. They all live very busy lives so when we can all spend time together I really love it. Monday four of us went to a nearby place to get pedicures.

I’ve had trouble with an ingrown toenail most of my life. My hip dysplasia, (you know that congenital condition I never knew I had until mid-life) used to make me seem loose jointed, so I could whip my foot up near my face and take care of the problem myself. Armed with cuticle scissors, rubbing alcohol, antibiotic cream and a band-aid, I would soak my foot, sterilize my scissors, then painstakingly snip away the offending bit of nail hoping not to make myself bleed. Do you know how sharp the points of cuticle scissors are? Alas, I almost always poked myself in the process and had to apply the antibiotic cream and band-aid after the bleeding stopped. I was not cut out to be a foot surgeon.

Years ago, that poor toe became infected and my doctor had to remove part of the nail. It bled profusely which somehow made me feel a bit better about previously making myself bleed. Maybe it wasn’t my surgical skills as much as my physiology. But still, who wants to anticipate a bleeding toe when treating an ingrown nail?

I wasn’t shocked when the former nail place I frequented made the toe around my ingrown nail bleed – twice. Finally, one of the technicians took care of my problem perfectly so I would ask for her when booking an appointment. She was great! She helped me without causing me pain! And then she moved away. Sigh.

It took me a long time to gather my courage to try a new place. The first time my daughter and I went I had a technician named Kevin, apparently this location’s ingrown toenail guru. After soaking my foot, he gently wielded his scissors and clippers and within a couple of minutes the offending piece of nail was cut away without pain and without blood!

Monday Kevin helped me, three cheerful ladies helped my daughters, and we enjoyed chatting, smooth feet, and fresh spring polish on our pinkies. Afterward we visited together at the local Starbucks. It was such a treat for the four of us to spend that time together.

4. Moving on – A daughter of my heart and her children came over for a final visit before the family moved to the States for her husband’s exciting new position. I have been blessed and encouraged by this dear sister in Christ these past six years and will miss her and our time spent together. May God richly bless and encourage you, dear friend, in your new adventure.

5. Rosy cheeks – It has been almost a year since anyone told me I have colour in my face. These iron infusions must be helping because a couple of people have commented in the past week about me having some colour in my cheeks. Sure beats a sallow cement hue!

 

Friday’s Fave Five #89

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! (Yes, I’m late again and posting on Saturday!)

1.Green beans I love green beans! My little raised-bed garden has produced a bumper crop of tasty green beans this month. Last night we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with garden-fresh green beans. Family and extended family joined us for an evening of food, fellowship, and games. Good memories!!

2.Kids Camping A co-worker of our son and his family flew in this week to go camping with some of my family in the Canadian Rockies. They had good weather and an enjoyable time of camping, hiking, and visiting special sites my children remember from their youth. Paul brought back some wonderful pictures so that even though I could not go with them, I was able to enjoy some of their experiences through photos.

3.Visits I’m still not getting out and about much since my surgery and hopefully will get the green light to move around more at my next check-up in mid-August. This week several young friends brought their little ones by for a visit with Purple Grandma, which was a blessing to me.

4.Improving mobility I am grateful that physio continues to go well and that I am feeling stronger overall. My mobility restrictions remain in place but I am getting better and more comfortable about moving from place to place in the house.

5.Peach tea I enjoy almost anything peach. Peach tea is a favorite beverage and I have collected peach green, peach rooibos, peach black, peach fruit, and peach herbal teas. I can’t drink black tea very often, but had some delicious peach black tea this week and really enjoyed it.

The last of my June beach vacation pictures are here.

Holden Beach waterway

Marsh sunset

Surf at Holden Beach

Contrast

Stillness

Marsh visitor

Here are some favorite family pics from the past couple of weeks.

Cozy

‘Hi, Sis!”

Friday Fave Five #86 and Titus 2 Thoughts #2

Suzanne hosts Friday Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story to encourage us to count our blessings each week. This week I am coupling my Titus 2 Thoughts with FFF.

To be honest, I did not expect to be writing a FFF today. When my doctor called on Tuesday and told me my x-ray shows my most recent hip replacement has is broken and I will be scheduled for emergency surgery in the next day or two, I literally believed a day or two. The latest word is ‘sometime this weekend.’ My son asked if that means they have downgraded me from emergency to urgent. Maybe, but for now, I am supposed to ‘just use crutches’ and keep weight off that leg.

Just use crutches. Hmmm. Part of what I have been experiencing the last few weeks involves balance issues and motion sickness. Partner that with my natural lack of coordination and that little phrase ‘just use crutches’ is fraught with potential disaster galore. “Here, poor sick, sometimes-dizzy, out-of-shape lady with a wonky hip, just hobble around on these two little sticks. Keep your leg off the ground, oh, and press those crutches into your ribs. No, no! do NOT jam the pad into your armpits! Stand up straight! Grasp those hand grips and use your arms to hold your lumpy self up! No slumping! Simply follow these 25 easy illustrated steps to master the art of using crutches for any occasion.” It may sound crazy, but having to use crutches post-surgically is probably the thing I dread most about this surgery.

After my last hip replacement, I told myself I never wanted to go through hip replacement surgery again. A congenital condition, both hips replaced now, we’re done. Guess what? I’m not in charge. I can do ‘everything right’ and still not be in the position to control whether or not I have to endure something once or a dozen times. God is in control, and He orchestrates every part of my life for my good and His glory.

I’m an introvert and do a lot of self-talk. This can get me in trouble when I do not filter my thoughts through the truth of God’s Word. Lugubrious, self-focused Eyore thinking does not glorify God and is not helpful to me or to those around me.

My self-talk: anxiety and fear. God’s truth: Be anxious for nothing. God has not given us a spirit of fear. I will never leave you or forsake you.

My self-talk: What about the unknowns? How am I going to get through this arduous surgery and recovery again? God’s truth: My grace is sufficient for you.

Remember the children of Israel in the desert? God provided manna daily for them. If they tried to save up for the next day (with the exception of the Sabbath) the manna would spoil and not be fit to eat. In a similar way, God provides grace to help in our time of need. It’s not saved up like money in a bank but is instantly provided for each situation. That is a promise we can rest on.

So here are five blessings among many from the past week.

1. Protection from a potentially life-threatening situation because of my broken prosthesis. I’m not sure how long it has been broken, but I have had symptoms (that I thought was a flare up of my fibromyalgia) for at least 6 weeks

2. Loving family, church, family, and friends. I have blessed with flowers, cards, and the promise of prayer from many friends from around the world. My husband and daughters have helped in so many ways. My son and his family arrive in 2 weeks ready to help, too.

3. Getting my desk work caught up while waiting for the call about surgery. I finished some reports, organized some photos, filed some papers, and set up some automatic payments in preparation for my time in hospital.

4. Living at a time and in a place where I can be helped medically. Such a blessing!

5. All the wonderful ministry friends I met and fellowshipped with at the conference we recently attended in North Carolina. It was a joy to spend time with many who serve God faithfully across the globe, hear their stories, and learn of their hearts for the places where God has called them to minister.

Update! I just got the phone call. I will be admitted through emergency today and surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.

Here are a few more pictures from our recent vacation to Holden Beach in North Carolina.

Beautiful hydrangeas

Reflection

Marsh visitor

Sunset on marsh

Friday Fave Five #85

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from the past few weeks.

We’ve been traveling for much of the past three weeks. We had many blessings during our time away so I’ll share a few of them here.

1. Conference We attended a conference in North Carolina for our mission organization. It truly was a blessing to reconnect with old friends and make new friends during the conference.

2. Beach After the conference was over we headed to the beach for a week. My husband grew up on the South Carolina coast and was longing for some time in the ocean. We had a week full of fun and interesting experiences, though the ocean is not my best friend right now. Want to know why?  I shared my story on Facebook and will repost it on my blog in a day or two.

Boardwalk at Holden Beach

The mighty Atlantic

Holden Beach, NC

3. Family How wonderful to spend time with family and old friends! My husband and his three siblings were together for a few hours one evening and three of them spent time together later in the week. Nieces, nephews, and some of their children made time to see us and long-time friends made a point of touching base with us throughout our stay.

Three of four siblings

4. Southern food There’s just something about southern food that is special. This northerner picked up a few favorites years ago during my fifteen-year sojourn in South Carolina so it was fun to return and taste the cuisine again. Sweet tea, shrimp and grits, scallops and crab, various styles of barbecue, fresh, juicy peaches, and even black raspberry jam (a favorite from my growing-up days in Ohio) plus some interesting new gluten free items were all culinary highlights of our trip.

5. Garden Leaving for the States a few days after Victoria Day meant I had to scurry to get my garden in before our trip. Our daughters kept an eye on things for me and I returned to thriving herbs and kale with the promise of peas, carrots, beans and squash later this summer. Oh, and the flowers my husband planted are doing well too.

Cheerful pansies

Lovely lavender

Fresh kale

Here are a couple more pictures from our trip. If you use any of my photos, please credit Deborah Talbert or purplegrandma.com. Thanks!

North Carolina forest

Interesting evergreen

Hope you had many blessings to be thankful for this week!

 

Friday’s Fave Five #55

FFF spring

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Our ladies’ retreat last weekend was a blessing. It was lovely to spend time with friends from various churches in Alberta and Saskatchewan, to be encouraged in the Word, and to enjoy warm weather in a camp setting.

2. My daughters and son-in-law prepared a nice Mother’s Day dinner, which we celebrated together on Monday night. I cherish time we can spend together as a family.

Because of that warm weather I caved in and planted my seedlings early this year. The rule of thumb in our area is not to plant until the Victoria Day weekend (a week before Memorial Day for my Stateside friends.) Then we had an unexpected night of frost, and all my plants perished. Ah well, back to the drawing board!

3. We purchased our home in the winter so I was absolutely delighted to find dark purple lilacs bloom the first spring we were in this house. Due to the exceptionally warm weather, they have bloomed early this year. I really love the dark purple variety!

Beautiful dark purple lilacs

Beautiful dark purple lilacs

Purple lilacs

Purple lilacs

4. I have not been feeling well and consulted my doctor this week. She is supportive, encouraging, and gives me latitude to work on my health concerns in non-traditional ways. I really appreciate her.

5. My youngest daughter accompanied me to the ladies’ retreat and helped me tend the book table I set up each year at the retreat. I talked in to driving home the back way so I could look for some rural scenes to photograph. I got us lost for a while but we had a good chat and I found a few things to photograph. It was precious time spent with one of my children.

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Weathered

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Beyond the fence

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Rural charm

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Sunset sky

Friday’s Fave Five #48

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. This week we were able to enjoy the fellowship of a family temporarily here until their immigration papers come through to serve in ministry elsewhere. It was a blessing to get to know them a little this week. We’ve also had a fellow minister and occasional teacher at the college staying with us this week. He is a blessing to our family in every way and we always enjoy having him in our home.

2.Freshly returned from their honeymoon to Rome, our daughter and son-in-law regaled us with stories of their travels and explorations of the City of the Seven Hills at our weekly family night dinner. It was so much fun to discuss special places we discovered on our visit there a few years ago and learn what’s the same and what has changed.

3.This week I began rereading some of my missionary biography collection. I was looking to source a quotation which I thought was from Amy Carmichael’s God’s Missionary and ended up reading the whole thing. It’s a booklet, so not hard or long to read, but Amy Carmichael’s writing tends to be introspective and somewhat mystical so it requires some contemplation, evaluation, and simplification when reading her works. I did not find the quote I was looking for so began perusing Elisabeth Elliot’s work on Amy Carmichael, A Chance to Die. Still haven’t found my quote, but I shall persevere! (Ahem * Grumpy Grammar Lady reminds you that this word is pronounced “per-se-vere.” Do not be bamboozled, hornswoggled, or flimflammed into saying “per-ser-vere.” There is no ‘r’ in the second syllable of persevere. But I digress…)

4.Someday some smart researcher will be able to definitively explain why cloudy days and stormy weather make some of us ache physically (my arthritis and fibromyalgia yell at me when it’s cloudy outside!) or feel down mentally. We’ve had a few of those days this week. I am grateful for every clear and sunny day and the positive influence they have on my outlook. More sunny days coming! Sunday is the first day of Spring.

5.I am grateful for brothers and sisters in Christ who willingly discuss thorny theological issues and controversial topics without judgement, but with an understanding that our mutual goal in any such discussion is to be made more conformed to the image of Christ.

I didn’t get much photography practice this week, but did get a few gloomy day pics of rural Alberta on Saturday.

Near Beaumont 2 Near Beaumont 5 Near Beaumont 7

What were some of your blessings this week?

Friday’s Fave Five #21

FFF daisies

Friday’s Fave Five is hosted by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story and encourages us to put in writing five blessings from the week.

1. I have not posted for several weeks. Why? So I could spend as much time as possible with these two!  We had a wonderful summer. I was feeling much better than I did last summer, and was able to be more interactive with my grandchildren. Since next summer should be post hip replacement, maybe I can even be more active with them!

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2. My herb garden is winding down. It brought me lots of pleasure thus summer, though not quite like I expected.  It was an herb and vegetable garden, but the zucchini corporate takeover took out my kale, and a mighty wind storm took out my zucchini it all its golden glory (I planted yellow zucchini.)  The entire crown of the plant with its broad, bristly leaves and five golden fingers of zucchini-to-be ended up on the deck.  The plant never recovered. I planted ten peas and only two came up and my green beans elbowed the zucchini for sunlight before the demise of the squash.  Next year my husband is making me a second planter so I have veggies in one and herbs in the other!

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3. I am grateful for the wonderful privilege of having all five of my children together in one place for a few weeks each summer.  Our house was loud and messy, full of comings and goings, laughter and tears, discussions and debates.  We do Christmas in July (well…August this year) complete with holiday dishes, decorations, Christmas crackers (and the antics that go along with the hats and prizes), and Christmas readings. The China-based part of the family has left us until next year.DSC09573

4. Watching college football with my husband is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s that time of year and he is actually able to take a day off each week (well, most weeks) after years of having a too-heavy workload to do this.  I have one thing to say about college football:  Go Buckeyes!!

5. No word yet on my surgery date.  My first hip replacement was 8 years ago this December.  I am praying that I can have this one done before the snow comes since ice and snow hinder my mobility and make walking around on crutches or with a walker a little more tricky. Good news:  I am much more mobile this time than I was before the last surgery.  I’m very grateful for that!

 

Friday’s Fave Five #20

FFF daisies

On Fridays we stop to recount a few blessings from the week.  I have found it to be a wonderful exercise in gratitude, and it forces me to think grateful thoughts, even if it’s been a discouraging week.  Thanks to Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story  for hosting this!

1. Encouraging kids Is it ok to brag a little about your kids?  I say yes, when they have accomplished some impressive feats.

Our family members have always had weight issues, and our oldest daughter recently underwent bariatric surgery, a procedure called sleeve surgery.  She followed pre-op instructions carefully, had the surgery, and has stayed within her post-surgical restrictions.  As of today she has lost 110 pounds.  Our second daughter has combined an Atkins and exercise approach and has lost over 50 pounds.  Our third daughter, who has type 1 insulin dependent diabetes, has been using the exercise room at her work as well as watching what she eats and has lost over 20 pounds.  After sorting out my low thyroid issues I am now down 27 pounds.  My daughters have inspired me and help me stay on track.  And that is a huge, huge blessing!

2. My crazy raised garden I’m not sure why I find this so humorous, but one side of the bottom of my raised bed herb garden gave way after a few days of torrential rain last week.  I currently have the sinking garden of Beaumont on one end of the planter and a giant corporate zucchini take-over of the planter on the other.  Every time I look at it, I laugh.  My husband and son are kindly planning to rebuild it on Monday and all of the plants will have to be moved.  I am hopeful that they will all survive the transplanting.

3. Home for the summer I cannot completely express how wonderful it is to have most of my family here near us this summer.  The noise and fun factors both will increase when our daughter-in-law and grandchildren arrive at the end of the month (they are enjoying sibling and cousin time with my daughter-in-law’s side of the family for the next couple of weeks!)

4. Powerful thunderstorms We had some doozy thunderstorms overnight a couple of times this past week.  I am always amazed at the majesty and raw power of these displays.  It reminds me of our days in South Carolina when we would gather on the front porch and watch thunderstorms.  My husband used to tell the children it was God talking. (There are quite a few biblical references to God’s voice thundering.  A few of these are in Job 37 and 40, Psalm 18 and 29, and Revelation 19.)

5.  Yummy quiche My youngest daughter made me a crustless quiche for dinner.  It was delicious!  It’s always satisfying to try new foods (or re-introduce foods into my diet) that don’t make me sick.

Have a blessed week!

Friday’s Fave Five #11

FFF tulips

Sharing blessings causes us to stop and remember all the Lord is doing for us even in the midst of trying weeks.  Here are some highlights from my week:

1. Holding a newborn baby There is nothing quite like holding a newborn baby, a helpless bit of humanity less than 24 hours old.  This sweet little boy has three older and very attentive sisters, and loving parents.  As I held him his wee little eyes would open just a slit then slowly shut again as he drifted back into sleep.  Precious!

2. Memories of my mother The little one mentioned above was born on my mother’s birthday.  I have been reflecting on my mother and her impact on my life.  We had a close relationship but there are many things I wish I had asked her about her childhood, family history, and especially the family photo album.  Who are all of these people pictured and how did they touch your life?  Makes me more thoughtful about labeling my photos and telling my kids about my childhood.

3. Kitchen herbs I bought little pots of thyme and oregano at the grocery store this week.  I can use them in my weekly recipe of soup and, if I defy all my past history, can nurture them along until planting time, which around here is mid-May at the earliest.

4. The Mind’s Eye recordings  My husband found some recordings online from The Mind’s Eye, a group of audio recording artists from the 80’s.  We used to own several cassette series dramatized by this group and they were very, very good.  We would listen as we traveled and our kids loved to hear the tapes over and over again. This week Bud and I have been listening to their dramatization of The Hobbit. They’re as good as I remember!

5. My family – photos from China My son, who lives and teaches in China, posted some beautiful pictures of the family this week.  My youngest daughter is enrolled in the nursing program our son oversees.  In just a few short months my son, his wife, their two kids and my youngest daughter will be home for the annual monthly visit.  I am eagerly anticipating that time together as a family!

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