Attitude to Gratitude

5 a.m. It can’t be this early! I needed to try to go back to sleep. But it wasn’t working so I got up out of bed and went out to check the wood stove and make sure it was still going.  I added a few chunks of wood.  My nose was really stopped up and my head hurt. I must be getting that bug from whatever it is that my daughter and all the grandkids have.

I couldn’t  believe I was up so freakin early. So I made up a batch of tea and started drinking on it. I better look around and see what tinctures and other such things I have to take to try to fight whatever this thing is. I will probably make some Yogi tea as well. It takes several hours of simmering so I got cracking on that right away.

I noticed a text from my daughter which she sends me every morning with a hello. She gets up before 4am every workday to have time for herself, briefly spend time with her kids and then head on to the city in an attempt to get an early start at her office and beat that nasty traffic.  She was surprised I was already up.

I was terribly annoyed that I had awakened so early and was unable to go back to sleep. And being sick wasn’t helping my attitude. Unfortunately, I let that annoyance get the best of me and I got in one heck of a pissed off mood. I was simmering and stewing just like that pot of tea in the stove .

About an hour later I got another text from my daughter. She said, ” oh my gosh, you have got to see the sunrise and get your camera.”  I walked over to the front window and looked outside across the road. Oh my goodness!  It was incredible.  I ran and got my camera and went outside and started taking pictures. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I had seen.

And then I was humbled. Here was a gift handed to me after I had acted like such a brat. It was like God was saying to me “What in the world are you in such a fuss about? Look at what I have made just for you!” Man, seriously humbled.

Amazing how something so spectacular can make your so called problems become ever so teeny in the immensity of such awesome beauty. My heart knew from the get-go that my head was messing up and once again, head-led won. For a short while. Had my heart not been tuned in to Father as it always seems to be, that sunrise would have escaped my attention and the rest of the day would probably have just kept on the same track of fussing and fuming over stupid stuff. So, in reality, heart-led won.

Enjoy these pictures…..img_0698

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Nice, don’t you think?

Have a blessed day!

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Struggle – less

In my previous post, I spoke of the many challenges my hubby and I have faced over the last many years with his health.  It was a very sad and pitiful tale. But, today that sadness has transformed into joy!  And, oh me, oh my!  Let me tell you why!

As you know, we headed up to the big hospital on Wednesday  (Feb 1st) so my husband could have some much needed and long awaited for surgeries.  The hope was that some of his excruciatingly painful physical problems could be somewhat alleviated.  These problems were all the result of many surgeries, treatments and resultant illnesses.

As we drove up that day and in the days leading up, he had so many questions and fears about how his life would be afterwards.  Would he still be able to do the things he liked to do?  Would some of the pain go away so he could sit, walk or stand more comfortably?  How long would it take before he would be out of bed?  How long would he be in the hospital?  All the while, he kept shifting in the car, trying to get comfortable.  He was in so much pain JUST SITTING THERE.

As the surgical staff wheeled him off to the operating room, I lifted up prayers to Father, asking for His blessing upon hubby and all those who would be working on and caring for him.  I had to stifle my tears and my fears else I might break down.  We have been through so much.  Is it possible to hope that finally something would actually go right and he would feel better this time?

After waiting for a couple hours, the surgeon came out and said that all had gone very well.  He answered all my questions and told me I would be able to see my sweet man in about an hour.  An hour went by and no one had called me. Okay, now I started pacing.  In times past, waking up had been an issue for him.

Finally I heard my name called and I was lead back into the recovery area.  There he was!  (:-)  With his little hairnet on and little hospital gown and socks.  His blood pressure was a little low, but once that was remedied, he would be transferred to a room.  I squeezed the room info out of them and made my way through the hospital maze and elevators and found the room.  After I set down all my/our stuff, I rounded up the charge nurse, left my concerns and requests with her and returned to the room to wait.  Shortly, he arrived, a little disoriented but smiling.   Yes, smiling.  Happy the surgery was over I suppose?

That night was your typical hospital stay.  Noisy and lots of interruptions. He slept well though.  The next day, he was up wide-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the world.  He was laughing and talking and all perky.  Yes, perky.   It had been months since I had seen that look.  Amazing.  Hesitant at first to even THINK he was actually feeling better, that it wasn’t just the meds; I came to realize he WAS better.  He got in and out of bed with ease and not a single grimace.  Granted with one major and two minor surgeries just done, I am sure there was soreness. He was even sitting up and not one word about pain or discomfort!

Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!   My heart was singing with so much joy that I thought everyone must hear it!  God did and so did the angels and all of Creation.  I have no doubt they were all singing with me!

Although everyone anticipated his stay to last through the weekend at least, we came home on Friday.  It was just a little over 48 hours since the surgery and we were headed home.   Hubby sat in the car and didn’t fidget once.  When we got home, he loaded up the woodstove,  got the fire going and even collected our mail from a neighbor (who was shocked as hell to see him so soon and so well).

It’s two days later now.  He is doing fantastic.  Nothing he had wondered or worried about has come to fruition.  He is well.  He is better. And nothing in this world could have made that happen.  It’s called a miracle.  A miracle from God.  Just because He could and did.  We didn’t expect one, nothing we did made us deserve one and we were ready and willing for whatever might have come our way this time around.  But, we don’t have to worry this time.  Hubby doesn’t have to suffer through and struggle with another post-surgery recovery.

Yep, a miracle.

 

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A New Struggle

This post is not for the faint of heart.   It contains descriptions of surgical and medical procedures.  Though they are not terribly graphic, they are descriptive enough to be somewhat unsettling.    

Challenging days lie before us.  This coming week, my husband will be having his 14th surgery since 2005, when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. He started a regimen of radiation treatments and chemotherapy.  He had a total of 28 radiation treatments over a period of 6 weeks.  Following that he had a surgical port-a-cath implanted in his upper chest through which he received continuous chemotherapy for eight weeks.  I helped each weekend by removing the needle from the cath and flushing it with saline.  A nurse would come the next day with a new cartridge of chemo and re-access the port for the following week.

With a port-a-cath, one of the dangers is the formation of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot.  I had to give him Lovenox injections in his belly everyday.

During this time, my husband was able to do most of his normal activities, but towards the end of the chemo treatment period, he became more and more tired. His appetite was poor and he started losing weight.  A lot.  During those first few months, he discussed his situation with no one but me.  He became very isolated from his family.   He was terribly depressed.

After those treatments completed , he had colon surgery during which time his rectum and most of his sigmoid colon was removed.  After he recovered,  he was given a PET scan.  The results were devastating.  The cancer had metastasized to his liver.  He had to have more chemo treatments.  For the next six weeks, we went and he got a 6 hour chemo drip once a week.  Needless to say, sitting in a large room with a bunch of other folks with IV’s in their arms getting chemo was overwhelming at first.  But then, you get used to it, we would all talk about different things, sometimes laughing,  sometimes crying.

Then it was time for him to have his liver resected.  They removed almost half of it. His incision was about 14 inches long across his middle abdomen.  Once he was home, he remained bedridden or in the easy chair for a couple weeks.  He lost even more weight.  At one point the last three inches of the incision became horribly infected.  Since I already had surgical tools, I removed the staples on that end of the incision.  Daily I would cleanse out the wound by squirting saline into it and then pack the wound with saline dampened sterile gauze and cover it up.  It took awhile, but it did close up and heal.

When we had our next visit with the chemo oncologist, she just came out and said that with Stage IV rectal cancer, he could expect to live another two years!  This went beyond devastation.  Words are useless to try to explain what was going through our minds.  There are none.

Well, obviously he survived.  But, oh, the price he has had to pay!  A year after his liver sugery, both ends of his abdominal liver surgery incision tore out on both ends under his skin (hernia).  He had to have laparoscopic surgery to implant some mesh at each end to close up the tears.  The same surgeon who did the original liver surgery performed this.  Unfortunately, one of his arteries in his abdomen muscle was nicked and that night he almost bled out.  His bandaging, binder, gown and sheets were completely soaked.  I was so upset but managed to stay calm while I urged the nurses to get a freaking doctor.  The bleeding was stopped but he had to be given two pints of blood.

Home again at last, we were hopeful that there would be no more complications. His port-a-cath remained so his blood could be drawn for labs and for any future chemo he may need to receive.  But, that would soon change.

One day a few months later,  he was in the shower and called my name. I could hear the panic in his voice.  He showed me his arm on the same side as the cath.  It was very red and swollen and had a red streak going up it from the inside of his elbow all the way up to his shoulder.  “And it hurts real bad”, he said.  I knew what it was!   A blood clot or DVT.  I rushed him to our local ER and after an ultrasound, it was confirmed it was a clot.  He was again hospitalized and treated successfully.  Our next visit to our sugical/cancer hospital resulted in the removal of the cath. Another surgery, though a minor one.

One thing that you also have to look out for is infection, whether it be internal or external because chemo pretty much decimates your immune system.  Needless to say, I am like a mama hen keeping a very close watchful eye on my man.  It was on a Sunday and he said he wasn’t feeling well.  I had him lie down and took his temperature.   It was normal.  I had a couple of errands to run but I told him I would be quick about it.  By the time I got home, he was way worse with a temperature of 104!,  I quickly called his other doctor who was his primary oncologist and left a message for her.  She called me back within ten minutes and told me to get him to the ER.  Another trip to our local hospital.   He was again admitted and successfully treated for a bacterial infection somewhere in his body.

Sometime in 2007, I started to notice his belly was protruding more than normal and that at the ends of the incision, it looked like balls of something were forming where the mesh had been inserted to fix the hernia.  We had visits every 3 months up at the big hospital,  so next time we went, I showed the liver surgeon the things I had noticed.  Apparently the mesh had failed and the central part of his abdominal incision had torn and formed a new hernia.

He would have to have the entire original incision cut open again!  The mesh would be removed at each end. Then a plastic sugeon specializing in abdominal wall repair would follow behind the first surgery and rebuild the abdomen using Alloderm.  All of that was accomplished and he had another hospital stay and extended recovery period at home.  Oh, me.  Oh, my.  We were wondering what could possibly happen next.

A month later, just before Christmas, I was doing my usual looking over his belly and noticed an area not too far below his left rib cage that looked a little swollen, red and warm to the touch.  He had been mentioning he kind of hurt around there for a few weeks, but I assumed it was part of the recovery process.  But after noticing that area looking like that, I became very protective and insisted much to his unwillingness, that we go immediately to the ER at the big hospital.   Yes, it takes an hour to drive each way, but I felt more comfortable going there especially since all of his doctors are there and are familiar with everything he has been through.

Once we were in the ER, I explained to the triage nurse all that had happened in the last couple years with my husband and the most recent surgery a month ago.  He understood the need for a quick processing to get a doctor to look at what was going on.  Well, they were extremely busy and we had to wait in the hallway with hubby on a small bed.  Finally they got him into a room and sent him off to be x-rayed and then scanned.  We could not believe our ears and eyes when they showed us the results!  From his surgery a month ago to do the second hernia repair, a surgical sponge had been left inside!

The liver surgeon was notified and came in shortly thereafter.  After profuse apologies and explanations that were pitiful as to how/why this had happened, an emergency surgery was performed to remove/cutout the sponge which had already been enveloped by surrounding tissue.

We were in total shock and disbelief.  Believe me when I tell you, the hospital made things right later.

Okay, so the continued three month followups and frequent CT scans went on for a few years until in 2013, a scan showed anomalies in his right lung.  Biopsy proved it to be a new primary cancer and, once again, another surgery was performed to remove the upper right lobe in the first part of 2014.  During that stay, the lung collapsed and an emergency thoracostomy was done immediately right there in his hospital bed.  That means a small incision was made and a tube was lodged into his lung cavity.  It was attached to a machine that revived the lung and prevented a recurrence.  Finally we went home again to another long recuperation period.

In the meantime, during all these years, my husband became and continues to suffer from pain, infections and certain highly personal hygiene challenges that have wreaked havoc not only on his body but to his self esteem and emotional health.  One cannot imagine what this poor man has gone through and only I and a few close friends and family members know the full extent.

In a couple of days, he is going to the big hospital to have several surgeries at once. I won’t go into the details out of respect for his privacy.  He will more than likely spend a week there and, optimistically, should be fully recovered in three to four months.

No one knows what the future holds for us, but I am ever so grateful to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with all that He has. The courage and strength to continue as best we can.  The faith and belief that this world and all its suffering will soon end and the wait for our Heavenly Home so very worth it.  The love that only He can bring into our lives to be compassionate and kind and long-suffering.  And, for me, the patience to tend to my man when our home is rife with tension,  anxiety, frustration and all the many challenges that life in this world is ever so ready to throw our way.

Living the heart-led life does not exempt you from trials or challenges in this life. What it does give you is a REAL inner peace that enables even the weakest of us to get through them.  It gives us the knowledge that no matter what this life has in store, there is something far greater, far better to look forward to.   It gives us the ability to transcend the here and now and all the suffering that might entail.  It makes us truly strong in the knowledge that God IS real.

I shared this with you, dear reader, because I needed to.  I needed to get it all out.  I needed to say it.  I needed to empty all this out of me in one of the few ways I have to do so.  We do not need pity or platitudes.   We just ask for your prayers as we face this next struggle ahead of us.

Thank you!  And, thank You, Lord!

 

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Father Knows Best

As you know, I love to sit on my back deck.  Several years ago, we had a horrific storm (no, not a hurricane) and the wind was more vicious than I had remembered.  At the time, the rain had stopped for a brief second and my husband was trying to hurry over to our next door neighbor’s house to assess some damage that had just occurred.  As he sped over on his riding mower, I heard a very loud cracking sound.  To my horror, I watched a huge top of a pine tree crash to the ground around him.  I couldn’t see him and started to panic.  Was he under that mess?  If he was, there was no way he could possibly survive it.  After what seemed to me to be forever, he called and asked me if I had seen what had just happened.  Though terribly relieved, I hollered at him and asked him to please come home.  Well, the rain had returned and the wind was still howling.  He told me he needed to stay where he was until things calmed down a little.  Maybe the storm would, but it was going to take a while before I would be.

Years have passed, the neighbor has since moved to a retirement community but that tree is still there, although no longer alive.  It stands on the edge of our pine grove, a lone sentinel and witness to the sometimes harshness of Mother Nature.

Back to the deck now if you please!  Anyway, as I was sitting out there a few days ago, I kept hearing the peck-peck-peck of a woodpecker.  It sounded really close, but I just could not pinpoint where the sound was coming from.  Hmmmmm.  Time to saunter out into the yard and wander until I could find the source.  Aha!  There, at the top of the long dead pine, I discovered a male red-bellied woodpecker tapping away at a new hole he was excavating.  Exciting!

Peeking Out

Peeking Out

Fast forward to today.  I heard that pecking sound again just now, so I grabbed my Canon and slowly meandered towards the tree.  I steered to the left of the tree along the edge of the grove and slowly lifted my camera and zoomed in.  Oh, wow!  He has carved quite a hole into the side of the tree.  I wondered where he was, because I had JUST heard him.  And, then, as I watched through the lens, there was his little head peeking out!  That hole must be pretty deep if all of him fit in there.

I continued watching, again through my lens, and started snapping shots as he peeked in and out of his new little home.  I think he thought I was being a bit too nosy and he hopped out and back behind the tree.  I grabbed this shot that barely caught most of him before he was out of sight.

Getting Away!

Getting Away!

I just read that they usually will take up residence in an old cavity or take over one of their smaller relative’s nests.  But this fellow was making one of his own.  They also will continue to reside in the same tree year after year, though will usually build a new one adjacent to one of the old ones.  They use the wood chips leftover from their excavating for nesting material.

Nest holes are 22 to 32 centimeters deep, with a cylindrical living space of roughly 9 by 13 centimeters.  In my speak, that would be 8.5 to 12.5 inches deep and 3.5 to 5 inches wide.  So pretty deep, but not so wide.  Interesting.

I am fairly certain he already has a mate because whenever I hear him make certain calls, I always hear a response from somewhere close by.  In the many posts I have made in this blog regarding my dear feathered friends, it is very rare that I see the female.  It is always the male, it seems, that is digging around on the suet or sunflower seed feeders that I have out.

Although I am sure there are other nests elsewhere in our yard, this is the first time we have actually seen one, much less being built.  Now, we can carefully observe and if we are really lucky, be blessed with the raising of a family in the spring.  How cool will that be to watch those young fledglings when they start to fly?

Man, I want to tell you what.  Father surely blessed me when He brought me to this place I call home.  That in and of itself is a whole other story of how I found this place when I was very discouraged trying to find the then three of us girls a new home.  He really does know best!

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Creation Speaks

I had my new Canon strapped around my neck while I was sitting on my deck.  I really, really wanted to capture some of the birds that visit me at this time of the evening.  Dusk would be coming soon and most of them love to eat right about now.  I wasn’t sure how many would come, but I was going to be prepared for whoever came along.

I keep plenty of sunflower seed in all of my feeders and I keep my two suet holders full so whatever appetites they bring should be satisfied.  My little birdbath is often used as it is right by the feeders, so should they be thirsty or want to rinse off, it is there for them as they please.

I so love my little birds.  Their sweet little songs and goings on just make my heart leap with joy!  They so know I am here.  Some of them still get a little nervous when they see me, but soon they settle down and get down to supper.  It simply amazes me how sweet they are and how Creation speaks to me through their little antics.

I have been a bird watcher since 1973.  I can remember back in the late 70s, when we lived in Iowa, traipsing through the woods in the huge forests on my in-laws land and admiring all the birds that were everywhere. One particular day, there was a sweet little nuthatch flitting from tree to tree.  I was listening quite intently to its little twit it made and attempted to imitate it.  Wow!  That sure got his attention!  He dropped down to the branch just above my head and cocked his head and looked right at me.  From that day on, I found if I made that little sound whenever I was anywhere in some woods, I would get a nuthatch’s attention.  Therein began my awe and adoration for God’s little feathered creatures.

Since then, though I have lived in several places, I have always made sure that I had feeders, feed and birdbaths.  I just can’t help myself.  I am in love with the little guys.  So, I thought I would share some of the pictures I have taken and hope that you will get as much of a kick out of them as have I.  One thing I must confess.  I do have slight tremors, so if they are a little fuzzy, you know why!  By the way, for a better view, click on the photos for a larger version.

This is the time of year when plenty of Robins come through on their way to wherever they go in the winter.  They flock into our yard, running and listening all over the place, looking for a bite to eat.  This one blessed me with a still moment, checking me out.

Robin Checking me out

Robin Checking me out

Speaking of nuthatches, here are the two kinds we have in our neck of the woods.  The one at the feeder is a brown headed and the other is a white breasted one.

Brown headed nuthatch

Brown headed nuthatch

Nuthatch finally looking my way

Nuthatch finally looking my way

 

And my sweet little chickadees and titmouse families of whom there are LOTS and LOTS!

You are just WAY too cute!

You are just WAY too cute!

Yes, I am looking at you, little titmouse!

Yes, I am looking at you, little titmouse!

Of course, I must admit that my darling Carolina Wrens just grab my heart as well, as they bob up and down and twitter their hearts out!

Ok, so is this adorable or what?

Ok, so is this adorable or what?

Though we have a LOT of different kinds of woodpeckers, the red-bellieds visit the most.  This guy moves really fast so I had to take a lot of pictures to get this look.

Look at those feathers!

Look at those feathers!

Of course, the one bird that we always admire since they raise broods every year in the house we have for them is our beautiful bluebirds.  We have been blessed with years of new babies and always have the whole family until the next year when the youngins find new places to raise their own.

Just look at those beautiful eyes!

Just look at those beautiful eyes!

Our cardinals have made our yard their place of residence for as many years.  They love to find some tall bush to build their nests in and always have plenty of food to keep their strength up during those raising their kids times.

Momma filling her belly

Momma filling her belly

Only the house finches were out and about.  We have purple and gold finches as well.  Guess they were dining out at one of the neighbor’s houses!

You lookin at me??!!

You lookin at me??!!

And, last but not least for this evening in particular, the precious white-throated sparrow with its sweet little song, hopping along the roof of our shed, looking for morsels.

Look at that identifying little yellow stripe!

Look at that identifying little yellow stripe!

So, there you have it.  An evening in the life of my precious feathered friends, blessing me with their company while they have their supper.  Man, aren’t they  just really special guests for me?

Creation does speak.  In so many glorious ways, Father displays His love and affection for all of us.  In His creatures, we can find the most wonderful comfort, joy, happiness and profound appreciation and gratitude for all He gives us.  What a wonderful Gift.

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Winter is a’coming

I am sitting out on my deck, looking out over our backyard.  The huge stack of logs, waiting to be split, will certainly come in handy when winter comes.  img_0004The signs point to what might just be a cold and wet one.  We are very blessed to have a friend in the tree business who comes by every so often and dumps a load of logs for us.

We have so many birds right now.  Everyone had bunches of babies and all the family members just love to come visit or never left.  Its just that kind of place.  I make darn sure they have plenty to eat and drink and a nice clean bath where they can rinse off.  And, there are lots of bugs for them to feast upon.  One of the less frequent visitors is our pileated woodpecker pair.  Daggone if they haven’t been visiting a lot here recently.  The pine grove along the side of our yard is one of their favorite spots. pileatedwoodpecker-2   Mister was up in one of the pines the other day and since I have my brand spanking new Canon, I was able to zoom in on him and barely snap this shot before he scooted away, too quickly for me to keep up.  I have this tremor thing going on and since that keeps me from being able to focus as well as I would like, I was very lucky to get this one!

My little flower bed that I told you about in an earlier post ( My new garden ), certainly turned into a beautiful sight to the eyes.  img_0079My comfrey is still blooming despite the opinions of folks around here that swore it would never do very well!  Guess they were WRONG!  The little frog statue used to be my Grandma’s.  One of the few things I have that was hers.  One of the more pleasant surprises that came up in this bed were some volunteer purslane.  Not the native ones that are much smaller with deep pink flowers, but ones that are much larger.  This year, for the first time ever, one of them has more colors of blooms than I have ever seen.  And, I have been growing these babies for YEARS.

Rainbow Bloomin Portulacae

Rainbow Bloomin Portulacae

I so hope it will do the same thing next year!  And, yes, this is just one plant that is showing off all those blooms!  The echinacea is still blooming like crazy.  Such a beautiful shade of purple, isn’t it?  After it has settled in for a few years, I am definitely going to prune off some of its roots and make some tincture.  Luckily I have my dear friend whose blog never fails to provide me with plenty of info on stuff like that.  See Garbling the Dandelion on the right side of my blog for a link.

echiHere’s what that plant looks like.  Isn’t it just as pretty as can be?  My salvia is thriving as well.

Salvia with Butterfly

Salvia with Butterfly

So many butterflies just love it and my hummingbirds go crazy flitting from one bloom to the next!  Am I blessed or what?!!  Here is another shot of that bed from the deck.

Oriental chime

Oriental chime

I bought that chime so very long ago and it just suits itself well tucked in the middle of it.  When the wind blows and all of my chimes are singing, I swear I get lost in all of it and just drift away to that special place I have where nothing can distract me.  I am telling you what.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else.  Got my own piece of Heaven.

As I was mentioning earlier, the birds are many this year.  Here is where I keep my feeders and bath nestled in my Japanese Maples.

Bird's Place

Bird’s Place

The Maples are starting to lose some of their leaves, but there are plenty left just yet.  The feeders are kept full and I keep plenty of suet because there are a host of different birds that delight in that stuff!  It has cayenne pepper in it that keeps the squirrels away and doesn’t bother the birds one bit!  I guess they like their spicy food too!

Many years ago, we planted some Paulownia trees.  They grow FAST and have very large leaves and the most heavenly scented, purple flowers on giant pinacles that fill the air every spring.  Man, you can almost taste that smell.  And do the bees ever love them!  While I was looking up at them the other day, I spotted two leaves that were really cool looking.

Paulownia tiger leaves

Paulownia tiger leaves

Had to grab the Canon back out to capture them.  I don’t recall seeing leaves on those trees quite like that before.  Just a stunning contrast against the normal green leaves, don’t you think?

And, of course, I can’t forget to mention (again) my deer.  They still come to feed on the corn we put out every day.

Fawns growing Up

Fawns growing Up

Since mating season is on or soon will be, that means more mouths to feed next spring.  Fine by us.  It is way too much fun to watch them all come to feed and play and run and chase each other.  Check some of my other posts to find out even more about their little adventures with each other.

Our leaves have yet to really change.  But with the much cooler evenings, I am sure that will ensure they will soon be.  Some folks say the drier the fall, the more colors we will have.  Well, if that is the case, we are doomed for a dull autumn.  We have had more rain in the last month then we have had all year.  Guess we will have to just wait and see.

I trust and pray that you, too, have much to behold where you are.  It is by God’s Grace that we can still see His Holy Creation.  I can only imagine what this world will be like when He finally makes all new again.  Oh my!

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Hurricanes and Weddings

It was twenty years ago today.  B and I were heading for the coast.  The devastation from Hurricane Fran was visible everywhere.  She had wiped out a lot.  From the coast all the way inland, her path was seriously evident.  With wind gusts of up to 90 miles per hour as far inland as our area, power outages were prevalent and long lasting.  Everyone had downed trees, downed power lines and a serious mess to clean up.

Fran had come through on September 5 of 1996.  We lost power for over a week.  My mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary was coming up in three days on the 8th.  Big plans had been made and none of us were certain if they would come to fruition.  Guests were coming in from all over the country and flights were not that easy to come by nor places for them to stay.  But the hotel had a generator and those of us who were locals found rooms to stay in the day before the big day.  The power at the hotel came back on that night. Though not everyone could make it due to the circumstances, we still had a wonderful time.

Six weeks later, most things were back to normal.  Cleanup was still an ongoing process.  B was kept busy, because at the time, he owned a tree business and there was no lack of work due to Fran’s impact.  We broke down and bought a generator that could run the whole house.  After this serious encounter with Mother Nature, we were not going to be caught in that situation again.  Not having power for a long period of time teaches you things!

But we had other things on our mind.  We were going to get married!  After careful thought, we decided we wanted to have our ceremony at the beach.  I had contacted a kind minister in the small coastal town of Swansboro, NC  and we were headed to meet with him  at his home and make our arrangements.  On our way, we stopped at the courthouse in that county and acquired our marriage license.  When we got to the minister’s home, there was a gentleman clearing the yard of debris still left from Fran.  Inside, we were greeted by the preacher’s wife who had on her apron and flour all over her hands.  She was baking pies.

We were not too far into the conversation, when B nudged my knee.  I looked at him inquisitively and he moved his head close to my ear.  “Ask him if he would marry us now” he said.  My eyes opened wide and my mind raced.  Now? I thought.  I am in blue jeans and although I had my wedding band with me, we had yet to buy B’s.  Aloud, I said, “Now?”  I looked into B’s eyes and knew he was totally serious.

So, I asked.  And, much to my surprise, the minister said, “Well, we are going to need two witnesses”.  Handily, there was the gentleman outside and, of course, the minister’s wife!  She was aghast at the idea that she was in an apron and had flour all over her, but we all quickly convinced her that this was a special occasion and no way would a little flour stand in its way!  Ha Ha

With our two witnesses, a valid marriage license and our determination to tie the knot, the ceremony began.  The minister had a lovely altar area in his home and we could feel the presence of Father’s Spirit as the vows were said.  When the words “You may now kiss the bride”, oh, yeah, we did some kissing.  Tee hee.  With special pen in hand, the minister drew a beautiful large document on parchment paper using his talents in calligraphy.

We left as husband and wife.  We were like two kids, excited and ready for our new life together.  Even the destruction along the roads on our way back home didn’t dampen those spirits.  Our hearts were way too full of sunshine for that to happen.

Now, twenty years later, we face the same devastation again.  Nine days ago, Hurricane Matthew left a lot of damage and power outages in its wake.  Schools here are still closed, rivers are just now receding below flood stage, thousands are homeless and heartbroken.

But today, in spite of all that has happened around us, that same sunshine is still in our hearts; the joy and memories of that day so long ago have become many and built upon each other.  Much has happened since then.  Many challenges have arisen, some nature related and others life and death situations.  But we are still here, still together.

Father, we thank You for all You do for us.  Thank You for giving us all we have needed over these years to survive and grow and be.  What a blessing!

Now, I guess I should start thinking about what plans we should make to celebrate…..  We don’t really plan ahead because one never knows what each day will bring.  But today, it is sunny; we both feel good; and it’s early yet.

 

Posted in Faith, Family, God | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments