Wednesday, September 30, 2009

That's More Like It!

It has been the warmest September since we moved to Montana almost 7 years ago. Bordering on hot. Ugh! I love fall! I want fall!

And my boy wants snow! He's been praying for it! And this morning he got his prayer answered!

Just a dusting, but it is still falling.

It was so cute because after celebrating with song and dance, J suddenly said: Oh mom, now I feel bad. I prayed for snow, and now Ellie's mules are going to starve to death because they don't have any hay."

After I assured him that this is not so much snow that mules can't get down to the grasses underneath, he went back to celebrating.

Medical update: I do not have Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Now continuing the testing and the hunt for an explanation. Blessing is, I'm feeling a little more energetic this week - the power of prayer, I'm certain of it! And emotionally I'm tired of focusing on being tired, so I'm trying to turn my attention to activities - doing my business, photography, and art. These are things I can do when I have the energy, and don't have to feel bad if I need to set them aside - except I'd really like to keep my business at a certain level!

Anyway, I'm slogging through, but working to keep my spirits up above the functioning of my body.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Before and After Photos

I'm shooting raw, and learning to use the cannon conversion software. I've got the opportunity to do some fixing up before I save the photos as jpeg - options I would not have in PSE. So, here are some before and after photos(all taken yesterday morning in my garden), using only the cannon software - no PSE at all - not even a crop!
Yesterday we had frost!
This is the state of my very neglected garden!
Fortunately there are some beauties among the weeds and seed pods!
Speaking of seed pods, they are sometimes quite amazing!
Thistles are so bad either!
Not a lot of apples on the tree this year, but we'll take what we get. And frankly, I just don't have the energy this fall to deal with tons, so maybe the small harvest is a blessing in disguise!
I want to point out that today, September 29th, is the 12 year anniversary of my mom's death. I am so glad that as I talk to J about her I can assure him she is in heaven. We've talked a lot about heaven and death lately, and really, it's beautiful to see him beginning to understand the difference faith makes on these issues!
Have a great Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today I am . . .

  1. Copying Sharyn Tormanen's blogging idea!
  2. Glad to feel up to the planned events of the day - not bonging off the walls with energy, but better than most of last week!
  3. Excited to get a pampering hair cut this afternoon.
  4. Dreading Andy leaving on a business trip tomorrow morning.
  5. Glad Andy doesn't travel for business very often.
  6. Feeling like I accomplished something because I folded two loads of laundry (but still have two more to go).
  7. Grossed out by the number of flies that died in the upstairs guest room since I last swept that room - eeewwwwww!
  8. Pleased I found a book I want to read on the "new arrivals" shelf at the library yesterday!
  9. Starting the Dave Ramsey materials Andy brought home last night.
  10. Contemplating trying a no dairy diet for a month in hopes of gaining more energy.
  11. Thankful for our local Christian radio station that had some inspiring discussions this morning.
  12. Proud of J for all the improvement I see in his school performance so far this year (yeah, I know we're just two weeks into the year, but it is nice to see him back at it with a better attitude than most of last year).
  13. Considering that part of J's lack-luster performance in school last year might have been because he was stressed and distressed by some unfortunate events he experienced
  14. Thankful for the wonderful wise Christian counselor who helped J to deal with his feelings about losing his dog and thinking his dad was dying.
  15. Needing to leave for the haircut in time to bring Andy the lunch he left on the kitchen counter this morning.
  16. Hoping to get some Senior Photos processed - and starting to believe I might catch up on them if my energy levels don't plummet!
  17. Praying my energy levels don't plummet!
  18. Wishing you a wonderful day!

Friday, September 11, 2009


It's been awhile! Fall is here, although our weather has seemed more like summer. Considering that summer was more like spring, I guess this was predictable. Just this weekend we are starting to get some grey clouds and cooler temps, and even a thunder storm.

With fall we've had the advent of school, and the accompanying running in and out of town to take J and pick him up. It's basically two hours of the day gone. But Andy has helped me quite a bit, taking J on his way into court or the office. I can't tell you what a blessing that is.

Football also has started, and our J is loving that! He's playing center most of the offensive plays, and Andy tells me he's quite a good snapper. He's also playing some defense, but I have to be honest here, he has never yet pulled any one's flag. He's just not that fast. But, he is a good blocker, and I guess that counts for something. He loves playing. This is the last year for flag, and he's looking forward to next year in pads. Me, well, not so sure about that, but what's a mom to do? For those of you with inquiring minds that want to know, Leo The Stupid Dog is recovering well from his fight with the chain saw. His purple stitches are still there, but he's done with antibiotics and he seems his normal happy self. However, just to keep the money flowing to the vet, Spider the cat is having some problems. Nothing as dramatic as biting the chain saw, but she's showing her age a bit sooner than we hoped. Let's just say, I've gotten quite good at giving her liquid medicine over the past ten days or so.


Ten days ago Andy and I took a big adventure to Billings - largest city in Montana. Oh my gosh! Made me feel like Bozeman (the big town in our county) is the tiniest little town. But I know it's not. Every little tiny inkling that maybe I could live in city again was destroyed. No way!

Anyway, we were headed to the Billings Clinic for my rheumatology appointment. Now, you have to understand that this "clinic" is in a new building that opened this year, and I am afraid - yes, very afraid - because that building makes me feel like I'm going to the Star Trek clinic. Yes, I know I'm dating myself with that reference, but Oh My Gosh! I couldn't believe it. The waiting rooms for the various doctors are more like an airport terminal than anything else. Not much sign of a personal touch anywhere to be found. One receptionist desk for the rheumatologist, physical therapist, oncologist, radiologist, and several other "ologists" all in that part of the giant building. It was crazy! No way the receptionist is going to greet you by name and ask you how your family is in that environment. My town may be tiny, but I like that it is also personal.

The doctor was nice, younger than me, but nice. That "younger than me" thing is a bit weird. First time that's happened, but Andy assured me it will be more and more common. Apparently I'm not exactly "classic" of any particular disease process, so there is lots of testing and hemming and hawing going on. Hoping to know more, but not very optimistic that there will be answers when the test results get back. But, that's life, I guess! I'm beginning to think maybe I'm just insane. That would be a fun diagnosis, don't you think?

That's it for updates right now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stupid Dog!

Theory: If we get a little unexpected money to use on some of the long term projects we have in mind or just to give us a little breathing room, Leo the Stupid Dog will get sick or injure himself so that we use the money at the vet instead of on our goals. I call it the periodic transfer of money to the vet, and it has been going on for about four years now.

<Context: Andy got some unexpected but much appreciated income through the office this week, and we have been chatting about all the different places we could apply the money and put it to good use. It was nice to think of having the luxury of needing to decide the best way to use a little extra, instead of talking about how to make what we have cover the absolute necessities.

<Task: Start the chain saw to see if it is in good working order for our planned wood cutting later this month.

<Proof of Theory: Leo, the stupid dog, bit at the chain saw when it was running, and . . . you guessed it, cut his mouth. Lucky for him he didn't cut off his whole nose. The real kicker is he's done this before. The previous injury was very minor, just a scratch really, and no need to go to the vet. So, you would have thought he'd learned his lesson and would stay away from the chain saw. Oh, but wait, remember, this dog is part Catahoola, a very stubborn breed of dog; a breed that is absolutely determined to conquer everything, including in this case, the chain saw! Stubborn dog = stupid dog!

<New Task: Take Leo to the vet and give the vet all our money. So, he's at the vet this morning, probably going to need antibiotics at least, and maybe stitches, although there isn't much left to stitch together, so he may just have to live with a 1.5 inch notch in his lip for the rest of his life, and let it heal without stitches. We know about this kind of injury because way back when we had this incident. Life can be interesting around here!


<1. Leo does not want us to have any extra money, EVER! Either that or he really wants our vet to be wealthy!

<2. We must really love this dog, because he's been out of budget for a long time, but we keep paying for all his stuff anyway. This may have to end someday.

<3. I am probably not going on our annual trip to Flathead Lake this weekend (but Andy and J will go), because somebody will need to stay home and give Leo his antibiotics - and I'm not asking a neighbor to do this when Leo is injured in his mouth and probably pretty grumpy. I don't need a law suit because Leo bit someone - which I'm sure Leo would just see as another way to help us spend any extra money that comes our way.

<4. Leo is not allowed to be outside when the chain saw gets started. In fact, as an extra precaution, maybe it would be best if we made a rule that the chain saw cannot be started on our property at all. Because, with this tire popping, chain saw eating, super stubborn dog, you never know, he might like burst through a window just to get at the chain saw and seek his revenge.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Getting Real

I don't know how many blog readers I have left - probably not many since I've been so unreliable as a blogger this past spring and summer. But, for those of you hanging in there with me, it's time for a little "true confessions."

Reality is hitting.

I'm exhausted.

Yeah, kind of like Leo here.

Really, I think the technical/medical term is "fatigued."

I'm also achey in the feet, ankle, fingers, hands and wrists - with nodules growing on some of my finger joints.

The hard part of the reality is that the reason for this fatigue is probably health related and not likely to go away in this lifetime. The likely big cause of the achey fatigue? An autoimmune disease. At this point not sure which one, but have some ideas on that issue. Trying not to speculate though, because . . . well, because I don't like to be wrong, and this area of medical issues is a super complicated one where I'm likely to really get everything all wrong. I'm hoping to learn more from the Rheumatologist I'm seeing next week.

One reassuring thing is, I don't expect to die from whatever is going on, although some days it feels like I could just go to sleep and never wake up because I am just so very very tired.

I feel like a total goober for all the things I've not accomplished, done poorly, or somehow let somebody down just because I was tired.

I haven't met goals I set for myself.

I haven't done everything that I know would make my husband more comfortable in our home.

I haven't played with J as much as he and I would both like this summer.

But, I'm learning:

  • Learning to manage fatigue.
  • Learning to accept that I can't do everything that pops into my mind.
  • Learning to prioritize.
  • Learning to live a simpler life.
  • Learning to take rests in the middle of the afternoon.
  • Learning not to put two busy days in a row on my schedule.
  • Learning to lower my expectations in some ways.
  • Learning to grow despite the fatigue.
  • Learning to trust God that the things he wants me to do can still be done with this condition.

And despite the fatigue, God is blessing me with so many opportunities. I've had four or five photo shoots scheduled for Senior Photos - I'm spreading them out so I don't get overwhelmed or too tired. I've been able to use some or my necessarily less active time at the computer to educate myself more on photography and photoshop elements. And many other things.

Heck, I've taken up reading again because although my body is exhausted and needs those afternoon rest times, my mind goes a million miles an hour. To prevent it from going a million miles an hour at guilt for what I'm not up and around doing, I read. Fiction is a good distraction.

My son and my husband have been wonderful about accomodating the new achey, tired me - most of the time. They didn't mind the camping trip where I just sat and read a book with my feet in the creek most of the time. J is picking up a few more chores around the house - I've even got him helping with dishes.

So, despite the reality that limits the amount I can get done every day, and requires that many things get placed on the back burner, I'm not depressed.

In fact, I'm inspired in many ways:

  • Inspired about art, with so many many ideas, just needing to find the energy to get to all of them. Even got to start one last week.
  • Inspired to find a good pace for my Mark Kay business that allows me to rest when I need, but still help meet the family goals.
  • Inspired to allow God to work through this situation and show his strength in the weakness I'm now experiencing.
  • Inspired to simplify my life so that all the things I do count for something.
  • Inspired to do the things I can do and do them well.
  • Inspired to celebrate the accomplishments of my son - including this:

Yeah, a bull's eye for my boy. He was so excited!

So, that is my reality. If you stayed with me this long, thank you! I hope to blog more often, but right now I just do it when I can.