Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall Adventures

This has been a particularly lovely year for Fall colors.  I have a few special spots that I like to go to each Fall to see the glorious colors of the season.  Year after year, I never tire of seeing these Fall colors. While we don't have as many of the vibrant colors like the Northeast, our trees and shrubs still manage to put on a gorgeous display this time of year. There are an abundance of pictures, so grab a teacup or your coffee cup and settle in for some northwest Fall colors :)

Two geese swimming in sparkling waters

A favorite view of mine, the still waters a reflection of color.

Cool skies overshadowing the yellowed grasses. 

Hiking the short trail down to the river.

The reds and oranges of the maple trees backdropped by the purple mountains.

An old railroad bridge framed by the brilliance of the maples.

A late afternoon break in the clouds brought sunshine's warmth to the river. 

A cloudy day turned glorious with a burst of sunshine in late afternoon.

A closer look at the railroad bridge

An elderberry tree

A lovely spot to sit down by the river

A beautiful ending to the day

The colors of this sunset were magnificent, and after the cloudy day,
the brilliance of the sunset was wonderful to see. 

A favorite place of mine to visit in fall.  Once again, this little place of business has failed to remain open,
and is now deserted again. It was last a pizza parlor.  

I think a cozy little sandwich/coffee shop would be a much better fit here. 
So much character in this building and location.  

On another afternoon, the rainstorm passed just at dusk and left this moody scene. 

A home across the river was having a bonfire just as evening shadows were falling. 

The road that leads to our home, decked out in fall brilliance.

Sunsets in Fall are magnificent. 

A quaint little spot to have a picnic lunch! 

Rocks adorned with the offerings of the nearby maple tree. 

Walking in fallen maple leaves... 

Rose hips now fully ripe, bursting forth in reddish delight, adding to Fall's color mix. 

We found a wild apple tree along the train tracks, with fallen ripe apples covering the ground. 

We picked as many as we could, filling all our pockets with them.

What a delightful treat they were too, firm, sweet, and yet tart. 

The railroad bridge at sunset. 

A late afternoon storm left behind this radiant rainbow in the skies. 

Rich colors of fall abound on every corner. 

I will be having my second carpal tunnel surgery this coming Thursday on my left hand. I know a little more what to expect, and yet I wonder what it will be like to have two hands that are weak and unable to do simple things.  Should be interesting!  I can already tell a difference in my right hand, with no pain, numbness or tingling any longer and it is already so worth it to me to have the surgeries done.  My family and friends have been such a blessing to me through it all.

My son showed me a neat "trick" that has allowed me to keep in touch with friends and family throughout this time, since I can't type.  On my smartphone, on the little keyboard where you type your message, beside the space bar, there is a little microphone.  If you tap that microphone, it allows you to dictate your text message.  It is called Google Speak.  I've found it to be remarkably accurate, and it allows me to dictate my text messages and even do my blog posts for me.  However, I do have to edit the message, because there are many words it gets confused on, lol! But at least it does most of the work for me, without me having to text with one finger!

It may be a week or two before I get another blog post out, with two hands not able to do much. However I hope that with the quick healing that I've experienced with my right hand, that it will be the same with my left hand. My Dad is healing well from his surgery as well, and so we are just very thankful for all the many blessings of the Lord, and His great care of us.

Our hearts continue to lift in prayer for those who have been affected by the hurricanes, floods, shootings, and fires, so much sadness and tragedy on every hand, and it reminds me that the little things in life (such as my hand surgeries), are nothing compared to the heartaches and loss that so many have faced this year.

So thankful that our trust in the Lord remains a foundation and a pillar of strength for us. May the blessings of the Lord abound in your life, and may His strength and joy become yours each day.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Carpal Tunnel Surgery

This week has been a busy one! I flew back Tuesday from Texas and had one day to get my house in order before having carpal tunnel surgery on Thursday.

My sweet neighbor A took me to have the surgery and we were blessed to spend this time together. I arrived at the clinic at 8:45, they began the surgery at 10 and at 10:15, they woke me back up, had me dressed and walking to the car by 10:30! The anesthesia they used did not upset my stomach at all! I am usually very sensitive to anesthesia, but had no issues whatsoever with this one.

I was hungry and so we went to Olive Garden to eat. This was my first time to eat with one hand and it was a new adventure, lol! My kind friend A cut my food into small pieces to make it easier for me. I had no pain, but felt extreme numbness, kind of like the feeling you get when your leg or foot is in one place too long and goes to sleep. By the end of the day, the numbness wore off and pain set in. I really only had pain for the first day after the surgery and then just more of an uncomfortable feeling and swelling.

My hand the night after surgery was swollen and numb, but thankfully that didn't last long.

By Saturday, I felt much better with very little pain and I took a walk through the woods with my husband and dogs.

It was a gorgeous fall afternoon with the most brilliant blue skies, the fields were bathed in warmed sunshine, and the cool north breeze was crooning its fall song through the tree tops.

My husband and son are building an outdoor shelter in our woods where we can climb up to sit and quietly watch the wildlife passing by. We are using mostly wood reclaimed from our woods and a few boards we had lying around. I sat out there and watched them work together, with the dogs stretched out beside me, all of us enjoying the beautiful day.

As the sun began to hang low in the sky, and rosy colored clouds drifted by, the crisp fall day drew to a close and I was amazed at the healing beauty around me, on my second day out of surgery, and I was so richly blessed to be outside enjoying the glorious season of fall.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

One Surgery Down, Another To Go

I just wanted to thank everyone for all their prayers and thoughts for my Dad, and our family during the last week or so.  The Lord undertook in so many different ways for us throughout it all, we are so thankful.  My dad's brother and sister, whom he hadn't seen in several years were able to come and visit Dad, as well as all our immediate family was together.  It was such a blessing for all of us to be together, at such a time as it was.  

Dad ended up having 5 bypasses done in his heart, and the surgeon said it all went very well.  Dad woke up from the anesthesia within 30 minutes, catching the nurses a bit off guard because normally it can take up to four hours.  He was in a lot of pain initially, as could be expected, but thankfully never had any complications at all with his hospital course.  He walked the hall the day after his surgery.  He was able to come home today.  He still has some pain, but it is incredible how fast they get them back on their feet.   We remain so thankful for the prayers that were prayed on his behalf, we know that he was safe in the hands of the Lord.  

The timing of the whole event was really impeccable. Had my dad had the heart attack days later, I may not have been able to be there, as I have been scheduled to have carpal tunnel surgery on October 5th, which is now tomorrow!  I can hardly believe it.   I flew home Tuesday, and I've been so busy since I got back trying to catch up things that needed to be done while I was gone, and getting ready for not being able to do things with my hands for a while.  

So if you would, keep me in prayer Thursday as I undergo carpal tunnel surgery. I have suffered ever since my first pregnancy with the carpal tunnel pain, and have utilized conservative measures for years, but recently have gotten to the point where the pain wakes me in the night, and my arms, hands and fingers are numb and feel lifeless.  I was also noted to have some muscle wasting in my right hand by the surgeon, and he felt that I should wait no longer to have the surgery done.  My mother had a flight booked to come and help me after the surgery, but of course, now she can't come because of my dad's surgery.  I would have loved to have her here, but am so thankful that she is right there with my dad, giving him the very best care that he needs. 

I'm so very thankful that I was able to go and be with my dad throughout his ordeal, and know that the Lord will be with me tomorrow.  I have complete peace, because I know the GREAT PHYSICIAN, and that gives me peace.  My husband and children will be here to help me over the long Columbus Day weekend.  My neighbor A, who I helped during her traumatic event this past June with her eye injury will be taking me to have my surgery.  She is a nurse, so I will be in very good hands, and my husband has taken Friday until Tuesday off to be with me.  

I'm so thankful for friends, family and neighbors who have offered their help with food and whatever I might need.   I really feel so very blessed in the midst of it all, for it is in times like these that you realize just how much prayer works.  The prayers of so many faithful friends and family praying were felt by our family, and I continue to rely on your prayers for my surgery tomorrow.  

I thought I would share a few pictures with you... after all, I can't just post without a picture or two {smiles} so here are some snapshots along the way of my journey to Texas, and back home again. 

My dad's sister, Aunt J. served up these delicious strawberry shortcake biscuits to our family at our Sunday family gathering using my grandmother's recipe.  A real treat!

My brother and his wife hosted our large family at their amazing home on Sunday.  We enjoyed a barbecue outside in the lovely 80 degree sunshine, and after eating, the big kids and little kids found their way to the pool, enjoying the warm waters, and lots of family watching on.  After cleanup, the entire crew of us headed back to the hospital to visit with my dad in the large family waiting room.  My dad was wheeled down to the room, and we enjoyed visiting until one of my brothers came in the room with a birthday cake.  We all began to sing, not knowing who it was for.  Turns out, it was for me! Yes, I celebrated a birthday a few days ago, and the entire family sang to me, and then we enjoyed Dairy Queen ice cream cake... yum!  So sweet of my family to think of celebrating my birthday, when I had forgotten all about it, ha!

Flying home on Southwest, how thankful I was that I booked my flight with Southwest.  While there, it became evident I needed to spend at least one more day, and I was able to change my flight without any additional cost and moved it up to the next day.  One more reason why I love to fly Southwest!

The road that leads to home... how excited I was to be back home, and to see my sweet children, fur babies, and all my feathered friends too.  All our pets and chickens had fared well in the care of my family, and it was comforting to come home knowing everyone had been well cared for in my absence.

At home... the brilliance of fall awaited me.  Our ash trees that we planted last fall were dressed in the splendor of fall with their brilliant reddish-purple leaves.

Tonight the sunset was glorious, as the colors of fall are vibrant and full of yellow warmth.

I was thankful for the chance to be with my family... but my heart always yearns for the beauty our area offers up, and I am thankful to have seen this beautiful sight tonight... knowing we are safe in the care of the Great One who created it so beautifully for our enjoyment.

Glimpses of beauty such as this warm my heart...

As the sun gently put the world around me to bed, I traveled to home to prepare for my surgery Thursday, greatly comforted in the beauty resting deep in my heart, and thankful I know the One who cares so much for us, that He created this beautiful world for us to live in.  My heart goes out to the ones who have suffered so much tragedy and loss recently with the hurricanes, earthquakes, and shootings.  Prayers continue to be lifted in their behalf.

Garden-rich chicken and rice soup ... I used our own carrots, broccoli, corn, and jalapenos grown in my garden to create this soup that will be appreciated when I come home after my surgery.  I always add a good splash of heavy cream to my chicken soups, it just seems to blend the flavors together so perfectly.  

I am scheduled to have carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand Thursday, and two weeks later, on my left hand, depending on how I do with the first one.  From what I can understand from limitations the doctor told me to expect, that it would be six weeks at least before I could return to normal duties.  I am not sure how long it will be before I feel like typing again, so if you don't hear from me for a while, look for me on Instagram where my name is 'mountaintopspice' where I may be able to share short updates without having to type for a longer period of time.  However, I am hopeful that recovery will be speedy and that relief will be felt, but whatever the case, I remain at peace in the hands of the Lord, and will definitely try to 'peck' out an update with my left hand after my surgery. 

Believing that our Lord does all things well, with much love and hugs to all those who pray and share their good wishes and thoughts, it means so very much, and hopefully I will be back to blogging very soon :) 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Wild Week...

This has been a wild week, in more ways than one.  This past Monday night, Roger and Annie were attacked by a wild animal.  I didn't realize it until the next morning.  Roger's wound was more severe, and in fact, I didn't notice Annie's wound until several days later. 

We are not sure what it was that got the dogs, but it was something with claws, able to rip into the skin. We think possibly a raccoon, but other possibilities exist too.  At any rate, a trip to the vet with Roger resulted in surgery for him.  His wound had to be sutured, and then...

 ... the cone! Oh my.  Roger has NOT done well with the collar at all.  He came home, and just stood in the corner, and wouldn't move.  We couldn't get him to eat, drink or potty with the cone on.  So we had to take the cone off for short periods to let him take care of business, and then  try to get it back on.  He is just NOT a good patient!  I did not see the animal that attacked them, but we have been more cautious since the incident, to not let the dogs out alone at night.  Whatever it was, I hope it has moved on!

In happier news... the maple leaves this week became bright red... oh how I love the brilliance of this tree's leaves!

Snow on the mountains in September!  It was more than a dusting too!

Maple leaves are just starting to turn everywhere.  I am hopeful they will turn slowly, and stay with us for a while!

I attended a Stampin Up! shoebox gathering and this was the card that I brought to share with the other ladies.

I put together this natural bouquet out of my garden.  I picked a sunflower that was a late bloomer, some marigolds, and alyssum, then added some turkey feathers, a dried cornstalk and pine needles to create a little fall vignette in our home with pumpkins from our garden, and fallen blazing red maple leaves.

These trees have just started to turn colors, how wonderful it is to watch the beautiful colors emerge on the trees.

The shrubs are beginning to burst with color too...

You can see the top of the maple tree beginning to turn red... I hope they turn slowly and last for several weeks... one can hope!

Our little maple in the yard starting to turn red.  This picture was a couple of days ago, and it is now completely red.

Tea held out on the back deck as I gathered some of the red fallen leaves for my fall vignette inside.  I was drinking raspberry tea from the raspberry leaves gathered in my garden.  It is wonderful to drink... with great health benefits.

A closeup of the gorgeously colored maple leaves.

I saw this barn that had seen better days one evening, with the glorious evening light overhead, creating a beautiful pastoral scene.

Love the brilliant autumn colors that can be seen this time of year.

And then today, I had to take Annie to the vet, and she needed a collar too!  She got hit on her back leg as well, by the wild animal and while her wound wasn't as bad as Roger's, because she kept licking it so much, it was just not healing, and needed protection... hence the collar.  Now we have two wounded dogs running around with their collars of shame, knocking things over, and just generally being very difficult to have inside.  They have both learned to tolerate their collars, but we are all counting the days until they come off!

With this week being rather wild with our injured dogs, it turn an even greater turn for the worse when my Dad suffered an acute heart attack on Saturday morning.  It has been a very difficult process for all of us, because of the lack of forthcoming information about his condition.  After being taken to the ER, with all his blood work coming back normal, and because his condition was felt to be stable, and it being the weekend, we were told that he would have a heart catheterization sometime this week, and that a further decision for treatment would be made after the cath.   Meanwhile, his blood pressure kept rising, his sugars were rising as well, and we all continued in the "limbo" mode, not really sure what was going to happen.  We all felt he suffered a heart attack, but because the blood work, x-rays and EKG were completely negative and normal, it seemed the hospital was taking a very laid back approach to his care.

Today he finally was taken in to have the cath done, and was back out in short order.  They could not do the cath because of the complete blockages in ALL of his main vessels and arteries, and the only option now was open heart surgery.  As of tonight, a surgeon still has not been scheduled to do his open heart surgery, we are awaiting word on that, but his condition remains serious with the complete blockages in all of his heart vessels, blood pressure that remains high, and sugars high as well.  With all of this happening, after talking with my husband and family, we decided I needed to fly to Texas to be with the family for when he undergoes the open heart surgery hopefully Wednesday or at the latest Thursday.  Right now we are just waiting on a surgeon that is willing and able to do the surgery.

So I would covet your prayers for this situation, that the Lord would touch my Dad and help him get through the surgery and ongoing recovery process afterwards, prayer for other family members who are traveling, including myself to be here with him over the weekend.  One never knows what a day holds, a phone call, a text, or the next breath we take.  Our life is in the Lord's hands, and so thankful we can trust the Lord in times like this when our loved ones very lives are hanging in the balance.  And I am reminded once again of this scripture that has come to mean so much to me...

Psalms 91:1-2  
He that dwelleth 
in the secret place of the most High 
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  
I will say of the LORD, 
He is my refuge and my fortress: 
my God; in him will I trust.

In Him Will I Trust! Amen and amen!

Appreciate your prayers dear friends, and I will try to post an update when I can.

Update Thursday 9/28:  I had a great flight in to San Antonio and went straight to the hospital to see my dad. Within 20 minutes of my arrival there the two surgeons who had agreed to take Dad's case came to the room and explained their treatment plan, which was to have open heart surgery Friday morning with them hoping to do a quadruple bypass.

I continue to ask for your prayers for him and the team doing the fact the surgeon said to us that with the good Lord's help things were anticipated to go well. So it was wonderful that I got to meet the surgeons doing the surgery and we can all prepare for the big day Friday. Thanks again so much for praying! I will post here again on Friday after he has the surgery.