Monday, July 17, 2017

Faith Got Buzzed

I'm so happy with my girl's hairtrim....more aptly, buzz.....she has been sassy since it was cut this morning------she loves it!  Some pics are lighter and more washed-out cuz she is so dark it is hard to get her face to show up, so I fiddled with the lighting setting on my camera.....

I make no apologies for all this fawning over my dog.  I wanted to do it with Dear Daughter but she liked her privacy.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wishful Thinking 1

I was in the grocer's this evening and went down an aisle where something caught my eye.

It was a whoopy cushion.

I wish I'd have purchased whoopy cushions every time I saw one when Dear Daughter was young.  She seemed to love them.  The one I saw today was grand; not one of the flimsy ones but one that perhaps would weather many uses on unsuspecting victims.

I have had many wishes the past two years.  Today's made me smile.  My mind's eye can just picture the fun she would have with this one.  Unfortunately, mostly at my expense. (And I don't mean monetarily.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Faith's First

Tonight is Faith's first 4th of July with me.

For several days random fireworks have troubled her....she's been tearing through the place, looking for the solo demon sounds that threatened her domain.

Nothing I could say stopped her frenzy, until an hour ago when I took her in my arms and let her settle in the crook of my right arm.  That is her definitive safe place.
As I write this paragraph, the town's annual fireworks display is beginning its grand finale.  How satisfying to find her still cuddling in my arm, oblivious to the care she had previously assigned herself to said demons.

If I could just learn to keep myself resting in God's arm.  Oh, the comfort of exhaled, complete trust-rest.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Life-saving Hopeful---THIS IS GRAPHIC in description

     Sometimes I am slow. I mean SLOW.

It can take me years to have an "aha" moment, a moment that can be life-changing yet has been there in plain sight all along.

For me, this one took exactly one year and a day.

    It is uber-obvious that I have been toying with my comments regarding my time at the Cancer Center.  I do so like my privacy.

A few minutes ago it occurred to me that I have the opportunity to possibly save a woman's (or women's) life.  So, open window. Toss out privacy.

     On June 27, 2016, I had a total hysterectomy...a daVinci  procedure.  (The rest of this tale is pretty graphic.)  My uterus, ovaries, and cervix were removed, fortunately vaginally (though I had five incisions for the hysterectomy and 4 others for various reasons).  I had endometrial uterine cancer.  There are many different types of uterine cancer. The most common type starts in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus.

Here is the reason for my tossing privacy out the window....I was pretty suspicious for TWO YEARS that I had cancer. 

    Years ago I was subbing and met a retired teacher who was also subbing.  We were at the school at which she had spent her teaching career.  She was quite venerated.
     The talk around the lunchroom was that she had had "female" cancer.  I talked with her in the hall about it and she explained it to me.  She had recently recovered from her hysterectomy.
     I asked her if she had any signs that she might be ill or that something was amiss.
She said words that would haunt me for those two years.....she said she was sloughing (passing) pinkish tissue.  She had gone through menopause, but she has begun to shed this tissue so she went to her gynecologist and lo, cancer was the diagnosis. 

     The crazy thing is, I had been shedding pinkish tissue for two years prior to 2016.  I'd even talked with people about it.  So why did I let myself go unchecked for those two years?
     Having moved back to the Midwest we lost our health insurance.  I had previously had irregular pap smear results which ended up requiring more tests, but had always proved "nothing serious."  Mind you, I KNEW the pink shedding was serious, due to that teacher-conversation years prior....but I kept thinking of the $$$, and couldn't grasp what that would mean.  I had also begun to wonder if I hadn't hit menopause age 58!  I went TEN YEARS without seeing a GYN.  I was afraid I would fall into a medical-financial abyss.

     I believe God took it out of my hands the night of April 29, 2016, when I began to bleed so severely that I can only call it hemorrhaging.  I have never been in such pain in my life.  I ended up calling 911 because I was so sick, bleeding so much, and ready to vomit a river.  It was an expensive call, but I must add that the EMTs gave me a medication to stop the nausea....said med. also tends to help with pain.  The ER experience (NOT the same hospital that did my surgery) was horrific and nothing was determined except that I should get a biopsy.
Two weeks later I had the biopsy results and it was cancer (told on the phone, I was home alone. Bummer.)  Two weeks after that I was in the surgeon's office at the Cancer Care Center.  The doctor was hopeful and said he felt I would not need chemo nor radiation.  This was good as I am not a chemo candidate, having had the massive heart attack in 2011.
     My surgery was June 27, 2016.  Within a week I had the results-----the surgeon had gotten all the cancer (as shown by the removed lymph nodes) and no chemo nor radiation was needed.  I have finished my follow-up appts. and now only have to go in yearly.

     So why do I tell you this now?  If you, or a woman you know, has these symptoms then by all means available get to a GYN for a biopsy.  Offer to help inquire about financial assistance if necessary.  Though I still have no insurance, I am not overburdened by medical bills.  I have received assistance and can also pay a small amount each month.

     I must also say that I can't believe how much better I felt after the surgery.  I had felt----and been----one sick lady for a very, very long time.

     You now have the corroborating story of two women with the same symptom AND the same diagnosis.  Please, don't hesitate to get help or get help for someone you know who confides in you the same symptom.

I am a slow learner.  Hopefully I am not too late to help someone.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Hodge Podge Posts

     These posts are a bit like summer cleaning----you find stuff where there doesn't seem to be a rhyme nor reason.  Still, it is fun to find it all!
I came across the picture on the top today.  It was taken half my life ago-----I think exactly 30 years ago, give or take a week.
The picture on the bottom is within the last year.  My hair was disheveled due to a nap but I kind of thought it suited how I was feeling about life that day....sort of carefree and wild, after a long season of heavy burden.  It is obvious that 30 years came and went. ha ha

Now on to other things.
I went back to the Amish Bird Guy and asked a few questions about birdhouses.
It is so wonderful to be able to talk to knowledgeable people when you are trying to gain information. 
I asked him about house finch birdhouses.  No such thing, as house finches tend to nest on ledges, or in open sort of boxes.
Then I asked him about the cute wren houses he had (quite cheap).  Not a problem....but they won't eat my birdseed.  (They eat bugs.)
It seems the house finches I can feed, but not house.
The wrens I can house but not feed.
I found this sublimely humorous.
I left with a wren house (pictured below) and am hoping I am not too late in the season for them to nest.  BTW, the purple martins are in jeopardy tonight-----it was a cool day and they can only handle cool temps. for about 24 hrs. before the baby birds freeze to death (as well as adults?).  So I'm hoping for a warm evening!
I also made a second bed for Faith as her other bed stays on my bed.  I think it a tad small but she doesn't seem to mind.

Repurposed wood/plastic, the kind they make patio furniture from....
cleanable wren box, to clean out when they all leave for the winter.
Wish I could join them. :(

Faith is snuggling down in her new bed.  I have since put it in a pillowcase (dedicated to the dog) to help keep the bed clean-ish.  Of course it is washable. 

All set, Mom....what're we doin' next??

Faith, Feeders, and Nesting Fodder

I got my old-fashioned digital camera out.....and have taken a few pics.  So happy to see that Faith's face shows up very well with the camera.

Who can't love this face?

The hanging strings have done the job so far, keeping sparrows out of the feeders.
They get plenty of food from the dropped safflower on the ground...

Eyeing the feeder; the finches can't resist.  The bird hopped on three seconds later.

My other safflower feeder.  Three finches are enjoying a great feast.

Not a salad-----at least not for consumption.  This is cotton fabric cut into very fine strips.  This will be added to a suet cage next fall, along with Faith's brushed hair, to allow the birds to line their nests.  At least it will be used by spring to line nests for the coming spring generation....

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Clever Pillowcase Tutorial

I made these years ago and just stumbled across a YouTube tutorial that explains it so well.  I might just use the many yards of white cotton intended for this purpose that I found yesterday in THE BOX.  Obviously there was no rhyme nor reason to what went into that box. HA.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Some Family History

My mom, Louise, at 12.  She was born in 1925.
A hand-colorized picture after she and my Dad left the altar.
At the reception.  They were married on April 20, 1946.  They remained
married until my Father's death at 88 in 2012.  He was almost 89. 
My mother is now 92.

The woman at the far left is Caroline Zane (first husband, last name Schmid.)
She died in the Influenza of 1918.  At the time of her death her eldest was 12 (my grandmother Emma) and her youngest was 2.  The 2-yr-old was Louise, the half-sister of Emma.  Emma was the daughter of Louis Schmid.  Louise was the daughter of Mr. Zane.
Upon Caroline's death Mr. Zane and the girls went to live with Caroline's family on Morris St. in Philadelphia.   After Emma married, her sister Louise came to live with her.  Emma's firstborn is my mother, Louise.

Waxing Nostalgic

   After I wrote the post about John Smith, I phoned my mother to ask questions about my father's time in the Navy during WWII and the Korean War.  I wanted to know some facts before my opportunities escape me.

   I then went back to the box that had John and Daisy's picture in it and found a notebook I haven't seen in years.  I will post a few entries here.  Those who know me know my Dear Daughter became mine at 12 months, 3 weeks, in China.  Of course what I post here is edited as much is too private to share. 
     I have never really been much for journaling but during the waiting period wrote a lot.  I didn't want to bring my journal on this trip so I just wrote in a notebook. Somehow the notebook got separated from the other journals.  When I found it today and read it, I was amazed at how acutely I remember the below events and emotions. 
     Though these writings took place over 18 yrs. ago it was such a blessing to go back and read how fresh it all seems.  Though at times hard I still am grateful for the stretch.

Here is a post from the day we became a family and then a few days after:

(day of)
     "This is the day you and I will cease to be alone in this world.  It has been hard the past few days.  I am not alone (Grandma is with me) so I do not pray as I would at home.
     I will have you in two hours.  My heart and mind are too small to consider and contain all of this wonder.  I have dreamed for 18 months of touching your face.  Please forgive me if I do it a lot the next 18 or 40 years..."

(two days later)
     "I can't stop staring at you.  You are the most amazing baby I've ever seen.  Today you took five steps by yourself.  Grandma and I were so excited.  She taught you the High Five sign and I taught you PattyCakes.  You sure are pleased with yourself.
     The day I got you was the longest and most incredible day of my life. (Long because we had many official documents to sign and governmental offices to visit.)   I'm so sorry that words can't express the enormity of the moment they placed you in my arms.  Once they handed you to me I wasn't aware of very much else happening in the room.  You cried and threw your head back.  This was a difficult time for you.
     Now, two days later, you hold your arms out to me when I walk into the room.  (Grandma is with you if I have to leave the room.)  I am so astonished by how strong my love is for you.
     Today Grandma went on a tour and you and I remained behind due to you running a fever.  I fell asleep for 15 minutes while you slept.  I dreamed that you disappeared.  I woke up and you were crying in your crib.  That dream scared me so much.
     You have a strong personality but already seem to feel safe with me.  I think Grandma thinks you are the best baby in the world.  Goodnight, dear  _______.  I love you with all my heart.
Oh, one more thought.  When I was playing with you on the floor today, I put a few bottle caps just out of your reach.  You had to stretch to reach your goal.
God spoke to me and told me that's how He grows His children---making then reach further than they have before, to reach the goal He has in mind.  You are one of His goals for me.  Today how very much I love the stretch."

I wanted to make a classy announcement.  The bunnies on the bottom right were hand embossed by me.  All I needed near the end of the wait was her personal information.
I have blurred it all out because we both value her privacy.  Inside the folded announcement was a photo I'd taken of her in China, looking at Goodnight Moon while playing on the floor. 
     This announcement was in the same box.  What a treasure trove I found today.
I still love you, Dearest, with a fierceness that knows no bounds nor expression.

My First Boyfriend

   The story goes that when I was four I walked up the road to see if my friend could come out to play.  He was my first boyfriend.

"Can Johnny come out to play?" I asked his mother when she answered the door.

"I'm sorry dear, but John is napping."

I walked back home.

John was 64.  His mother lived with him and was in her 80s or 90s.

I was also told that "John" was the first word I spoke as I watched him through a window, crossing the yard to our door.

John planted a tree in our yard in honor of my birth.  It grew into a mighty oak within 18 years. 

John and Daisy (his wife) moved to Hawaii by my mid-childhood years.  I can still picture both of them in my head.  I came across this picture a few minutes ago when I was looking for something else.

John Smith married Daisy Jones.  Theirs were the two most common first and last names when they were born.  I don't recall them having any children.  If my information is correct, John was born in 1897. 
They were always very kind to me.

John and Daisy Smith, photo processed by Kodak 1966

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More Second Chances

I can't get enough stories of second chances.....

After pneumonia almost killed her at four years old....move the timeframe to 3:30 to begin her story....

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 17, 2017

This is safflower kernels.....the Amish owner of the bird products suggested I put thread with washers on the ends of the feeder to scare off sparrows.  The finches don't seem  bothered by the strings.  We'll see how it does!

Fabric found at an antique mall.....$2 of fabric created 3 purses, this one the smallest.  Very festive fabric.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Journey's Progress

Those close to me know the depth of grief I've experienced the past 18 months.
I am not cryptic here on purpose, other than for the fact that I choose to protect the privacy of others.  It is a privilege to do so.  For those not so close to me I believe they can handle that.

I had an amazing experience two weeks ago.  I had just texted a friend who is a dear Christian sister to me.  She and her family are making a very noble, life-changing decision.  I texted her that I know the depth of her fears and pain over the situation due to my own recent grief. I wrote that I understand that her pain runs deeper than her ability to express.

After I sent the text I sat at my computer and contemplated what her family is going through.  Out of the blue I became acutely aware of how thankful I am for all the pain of the past two grief as well as life-threatening illness, just two of many circumstances.  I sat here and repeatedly, unrehearsedly told God how very grateful I am for all the heartache.  Not because it is what I felt I was supposed to do, not because the words were rote, but because I feel it with searing sincerity.   Not thankful just IN the grief, but FOR it.  Suffering helps us to conform more to the image of Christ.

I then went on to other things.  I didn't think much about that prayer for a week until it struck me between the eyeballs that THE PAIN OF GRIEF WAS GONE.  My circumstances surrounding The Grief haven't changed....but the pain is absent. 

Some griefs worsen with time.....the farther out they get, the farther those involved have to travel to undue them.  (Translation: cryptic)

To be able to say my pain is gone is something I can't really put into words.  Do I still wish things were different (i.e., The Grief circumstances)?  Of course I do.  However, it is as if I turn my head to look at the past 18 months and I can't feel The Grief because a wall of gratitude has been erected between it and me.

I am not giving a formula here; I wouldn't be so presumptuous.  My grief is not uncommon, and it is, to a point, revocable (though I can do nothing to change it myself).  Most who suffer grief are in situations of "finis loss"-----loss that is final, with no chance of going back in time.  Still, this has been my experience thus is part of my journey.  I do not know what tomorrow will hold regarding the progress......but am so thankful for the change gratitude-with-abandon can bring.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Overdue: Faire fare and Faith

It's been ages since I posted last....mostly due to a busy time readying for an upcoming small Faire locally.

Some items I've been working on are as follows.....

These ear cuffs are a lot of fun to make as well as wear.    Copper is easy to clean; just put it in lemon juice then take out and pour salt on it and rub with a clean cloth.
The tarnish comes off with little to no effort. (Use kitchen gloves due to the salt being so abrasive.)

These are project bags for knitting, crocheting, or handsewing.

I made one of these for myself as a money belt/purse for the Faire.  I liked it so much I've made several to sell.

Faith in all her cuteness

This is our sleeping arrangement.  Under the cloth (which is under her bed) there are potty pads.  She is really good about coming and going through the night.  She spends a lot of time going from her doughnut-bed to the folded flannel blanket at the foot of the bed. You can see she basically takes up half the bed, even though she is only seven pounds.  Sheesh....what doggy-love will do!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Game-Changer: Options

I read an article today that made me stop in my tracks.

A widow was recalling when, two months after her husband's passing, there was an upcoming parent-child event at school.

A friend suggested to her that she take a "stand-in dad."

"But I want my husband here."

"That's not gonna happen."

"But I don't want anyone else; I want him."

Her friend wisely responded, "That's option A.  Option A isn't available.
Let's go kick butt on Option B."

     What is your Option B that you reluctantly stare at, really wishing for Option A?
I have a few As that have been derailed in the past two years...and am left with only Option Bs.
     I can choose to look back and long for the As or gently lay them down (mine are "currently not available") and pick up the Bs and find to my surprise that the Bs aren't nearly as frightening as I had hitherto thought.
     Here's to a B day!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

kits finally done

I finally got the basket ready for the Volunteer Luncheon, set for later this spring.

I like working en masse because you get a chance to learn small tips----no matter how small the nuance-----when you have to make a lot of something. Plus, it makes me feel like I am contributing something sizable.  Goofy me.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Owls and Faith

I took 2 dozen owls to the Cancer Floor because it was Wednesday and they all needed a lift, or so I summized.  It is always fun to give away things you make with TLC.
Nikki, I hope you and DR are enjoying Julia, Gabi, and Adela.  We'll have to further discuss your talent of juggling....and what that might mean for your household. ;) 
Faith likes to go out with me no matter where I go.....tonight I wanted to take out the trash so I loaded her up in a wool-batted is supposed to snow...she looks so funny in the quilt but no longer fusses over it cuz she sure can feel the cold wind at her little nose and eyes.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Says it all

Bottle of Tears was having a sale before Valentine's Day on small French bottles.
I used a coupon from HL to get a shadow box.  The card with the Scripture comes with the bottle.  The same Scripture is inside the bottle.  I have removed the hangtag from the bottleneck so you can see the Scripture card better.
Bottle of Tears is a class act; visit them for encouragement as well as comfort!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

End of March catch up

Busy today gathering more yarn.  The owls have taken over.  I have a few projects that somehow managed to get squeaked in....

New yarn colors-----the owls will be happy!

These chicks(chickens) go over Easter eggs....they are for Michele's class of second-graders.  Fun and easy to do.

The opening of the chickens is smaller than the rest-----so the egg doesn't drop out when you pick it up.  It has to be wrangled out! ha ha ha

Michele's birthday is on Easter this year.  Above is the pair of felted slippers I knitted for her.  They are almost finished; are now dry and the second one needs the gather string woven through it.  These are blissfully!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Catch up--on a rare snowy day


new labels!

The bag was too big for just 24----so 40 looks better....

I saw this on the internet and had to try it----as you can see, the flashlight
really illuminated the water.  This will be great in a black-out!