Lucky Explores Her New Yard

Now that the sod is established we have created two tie outs for Lucky, front and back. She cannot be in just a fence as she digs to escape. This morning while I was working to clean the front step, sidewalk and front door I tied her out front. She has been really good about staying out of the flower beds so far!

When I went to the garage to get the window cleaner I noticed she was jumping around nosing at something in the sod. Upon exploration it was a large crawdad!

Not my photo because no phone handy.

She was not liking that thing. I got the poop scoop and scooped him up. Took him to the water flowing along the side of the street. Guess the rains are bringing out every creature! Lucky went on exploring the yard, but seemed more wary than usual. I was delighted it was not a snake 😦 Yuck to snakes. I know they eat small rodents but they freak me out.

Her favorite yard thing seems to be eat a little grass “salad” and rest in the shade. That is a behavior improvement. A few weeks ago she did not seem to have the sense to get out of the sun, even when she was panting and obviously uncomfortable!

I went back to work on the entrance. Needed a little soil where it had washed away from a plant. Bent over to scoop some up and there was a toad! Oh glory! They eat lots of bugs. The one I saw was about 2-1/2 or 3 inches long. It was as black as the composted soil and manure. Wikipedia information digest says: “The color and pattern is somewhat variable, especially for the females. Skin color can change depending on habitat colors, humidity, stress, and temperature. Color changes range from yellow to brown to black, from solid colors to speckled.” There was a brown toad in my garden on Siesta. So glad to have this new friend!

In early spring I bought as inexpensive fragrant rose bush wrapped in paper and plastic, I moved it to this house that way. Following Jeff’s example, Bob drilled a few holes in a five gallon bucket for the new rose. In the bucket it leafed out, but some of the leaves did not survive. It sent up a few sturdy new shoots. We cut off the dead shoots and waited for sod and gardening area. Bob and Jeff planted it for me the weekend of July 10. This week I was delighted to look at the flowerbed and voila!

It obviously needs some rose food with bug resistance in it, but I am amazed it has made it this far! The other larger bush was bought here is five gallon bucket. This is it’s third home. And so fragrant! No Knock Out roses for me, thank you!

There is still a thick layer of mulch to go in the flower bed. Hopefully they will bring our shrubs, Astilbe and mulch soon!

Garage Door

The garage door has been making a clunking sound. It is a loud clunk as it rumbles up the tracks to the ceiling. We called the warranty people.

A young man come out to adjust and inspect it. The spring was too loose. The spring was too tight. (Oh my goodness that sounds like me!) He drilled, he adjusted, he finally was working to a point where Bob thought perhaps he had gotten in over his own head? The door was down and Bob needed it up to have enough light to work on his project.

Yes, way beyond me! A few days after he left Bob noticed there is a gap on the bottom of the door on one side only. Guess we need to call the company and have them out again? We do give thanks for repairmen who come to adjust things in the house, tweak this, seal that, etc.

It does not clunk anymore and that is a relief! Bob has worked without stopping the last nine weeks. We are very, very close to getting both cars in the garage! His workbench is filled. He hung the extra lighting over it, a nifty little LED unit that has a motion detector on it. When we walk into the garage it turns on! Our last door lift did that but our new one does not. Compared to the last house it will be tight with both cars in the garage since we have so much more in the garage sans basement! First world problem. We will make it work or get rid of more stuff.

Come winter we will be delighted to have the cars out of the weather!

Muddy Bubbles

Until our neighbors get sod, I have been enjoying a phenomena during rain showers that I call Muddy Bubbles. Writing in the Wall Street Journal Helen Czerski says:

“When things are just right, the [raindrop} splash rebounds off the bottom of the puddle and the circular wall reaches up even higher than usual. The surface of the water acts as if it’s an elastic sheet, so that as the elongated crown travels upward, it also bends inward to form a dome. The edges collide in the middle but stay intact, leaving a hemisphere of air trapped underneath a watery shell and creating a nice big bubble. In a typical outdoor puddle there is likely to be a bit of organic material that will stick to the bubble’s surface, helping the bubble to last long enough for us to see it.

The organic material in this case is clay, plant material, insect detritus, etc. And Helen is right. These are BIG bubbles. I have not however deliberately ventured out in the rain to try to capture a photo – yet. Below are photos of the puddle area a few hours after a rain.

Walking around our backyard you will find we likely have more water than that trapped under the growing sod. Taking these photos I was sinking over the tops of my flip flops. I do not think having a garden across the back of our property line will be an option. The wild Queen Ann’s Lace is about four or five feet tall due to the water!

Other than the drainage problem the sod is growing, we have had some rain (alleviating the twice a day watering Bob had to do) and the yard is coming along swimmingly!

How are You Discerning and Enhancing ?

This is a portion from a devotional entitled Connect the Testaments, by John D. Barry

Unless we know God, we’re incapable of successfully doing His work. We must be willing to talk to God honestly about our relationships, as the psalmist does in Psalm 119:69–72. The psalmist acknowledges that he needs God’s help in all matters of his relationship with God and all matters of his relationship with others. He understands that he cannot even begin to know God without the power of God helping him.
“We must be empowered for action, both in the intimacy of prayer and in the reality of relationships. And we must support what we believe with our works, as the letter of James call us to do: “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (Jas 2:14–26).
“Reflecting regularly on how God has worked with us and is working in us allows us to recognize that everything in our lives has a purpose. God often works in others through us, and that great calling requires us to have knowledge of Him and discernment about His workings in our world.
How are you discerning the great work of God in your life? How are you enhancing your knowledge of God?

A soon to be neighbor was in town touring her home being built across the street from us. On occasion we have traded texts or emails. She has shared a bit about her faith and a prayer group she was involved in for decades. We have occasionally taken photos for her showing her the progress of the house she and her husband have planned. Having recently moved, I am acutely aware of how easy it is to get caught up in the details and the utter work involved in relocating and forgetting to ask the Lord not only to be involved, but to keep me aware of His interest and care.

After she left the neighborhood I felt compelled to write her an email affirming that the Lord knows her heart and is interested in helping her pack and move. I did not respond to that prompting immediately. When the Holy Spirit reminded me again I decided I had better get on it. So I wrote her a quick note encouraging her to turn to Him. By her response it seems I heard correctly and helped her turn her eyes towards Him in this relocating matter. We used to live 8 miles from our new home. She lives about 150 miles away. So besides the sort, store, give away, sell, pack and move, she cannot just take a break and drop in to see the progress. And then we are turned to Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

 in all your ways submit to Him,

    and he will make your paths straight.

(or direct your paths)

Trust, lean not on your own, submit or acknowledge and He will direct your ways. As the commercial for cereal used to say, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

The Prince of Peace is able to quiet and comfort our hearts like no other.

Remember this?

We have gone from this:

To this!

The sod is down. The order for plants was messed up so we did not let them put in the plants they brought us. Landscape company called today and said they will hold our plants until the sod takes root ( about 2 weeks). The buckets along the sidewalk are things we brought from the other house.

Right now it is 81 and feels like 87 with 74% humidity. We could tie Lucky out in the grass, but she will not choose to lie in the shade! Heads for the sun every time, even if she gets overheated! Maybe it will cool off in a few days?

For now we are doing watering twice a day all about the house 20 minutes in each area. The water bill will be tremendous, but we will have a yard. The subdivision will mow it. Up to us to feed, weed, etc.

And Now for Our Next Trick!

So the inertia is gone (as too our energy) and our belongings are all set in a new house in different room layout and wow! The tablecloth was jerked away but only one or two things that we wrapped poorly were broken.

Here we are at 27 Platform. The sun just broke over the neighbor’s house. In a few minutes it will be caught in the living room window prism. An entire rainbow of opportunities lies before us.

The black bags are full of straw and scattered where ever the construction is going on to stop run off. The entrance has a lot still being built upon!

Life as a Picnic

Imagine your life spread upon a picnic blanket. You have the picnic of tasty foods (or bucket of chicken). There is a small cooler of chilled drinks (be they alcoholic or non-alcoholic). There are serving pieces and napkins. Perhaps in one corner some bug repellant if you picnic in that sort of terrain. Everything is laid out for a lovely time of retirement.

Or in their case, just peanut butter sandwiches. He does not look impressed!

And then storm clouds roll in (call them Covid-19 and aging). For the picnic scenario, everything is hastily packed, albeit not as neatly as when you left home, the blanket is taken up and shaken to remove cut blades of grass and any critters and you run off to your vehicle.

2020- 2021 was similar for my husband and me. We were holding our own against Covid-19 entering our household. We wore masks, washed our hands, kept our distance from others and prayed for no infection.  There was less success with the aging challenge.  We were comfy in our ranch on the edge of the woods; however, the steps to the basement proved an increasing challenge for reaching the laundry, sewing room, storage and work bench area.

Those factors worked together to motivate us to shake off our inertia. (inertia: Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change OR tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.) I had been putting forth the idea since 2019 that we need to downsize before we get any older!

The search began for a newer ranch house with a laundry room located on the ground floor. There just was no available real estate fitting that description!  So, we were led to build a new house with those requirements. We did not pack up hastily as with the thunderstorm image, but we did pack up, give away, throw away, donate, store a little bit and basically pare down all our belongings!

We found a small new subdivision, with mostly retired but not totally older folks. Sidewalks and the ability to walk to the post office. If we change banks we can walk to the bank, too. Best of all an award-winning donut shop is within walking distance, too!

Update continues tomorrow!

So far

We were grieving having to leave our woods on the back hill. In this, too, the Lord took care of us! The neighbor (Angela) has a lovely yard. Turns out she was in grief when they built our subdivision and removed the trees that used to stand on the edge of her property before the farmland began. Told me she came home from work one day and was in shock that the woods were just gone. I shared with her that we are grateful for her large trees and the wildlife that likes her yard.

Now I am rejoicing in her giant maple trees. There is marshy ground that runs between our property lines. She said it got much worse when they took all the trees down. Have no idea how we can garden there? Maybe a weeping willow and some pussy willow shrubs? I think day lilies like wet ground, too. Time will tell.

View from our dining room table.

I know that is not a good photo because of the screen, but we were delighted to see a Doe and Fawn in Angela’s yard one day. The rabbits abound out there. I now understand better the saying about breeding like bunnies!

We have seen rabbits, several hawks, song birds, squirrels, four spot pennant dragonfly and many damselflies.

Cautious Doe watching out for her Fawn. The stake is the corner of our lot.

We already had gutter guards put on due to the abundance of maple seeds clogging the gutters. In southwest Ohio when you do not have a yard yet and it rains really hard, this is what you get!

The landscape company came today, but they had the wrong plants for us. Shucks!! We are hoping to get plants and sod soon.

Lord of rain and sky and Ohio clay, we thank You for this home and the challenges of moving and meeting new neighbors.

Moving In

Here are a few photos from our moving in experience. The piggy my mother used as a cookie jar made it in tact. Ellie and I had packed it and hoped it would be fine.

Thank goodness for bubble wrap and tape! Lizzie helped unpack and Lucky loved that!

Jeff had uprooted plants for us and planted them in buckets that he drilled holes in. I was uncertain if my 20+ year old rose would transplant again?

She made it!
This is where walkway meets the driveway. Lucky thinks this water tastes best!

So yes, there is more photo material to share with you. I usually have a start and stop reentry. Hope to be more consistent soon! We are so grateful for our new home!

Chronic Pain Coping

Around 2013 I copied this from a library book. I have tried to find the title and author online and cannot, thus I have no author to credit.

These are not based on 12 Steps, but steps for coping.

  1. Accept the fact of having chronic pain. (That is enough to make one gag.)
  2. Set specific goals for work, hobbies and social activities toward which you will work.
  3. Let yourself get angry at your pain if it seems to be getting the best of you.
  4. Take your analgesics on a strict time schedule, and then taper off as directed until you are no longer taking any.
  5. Get in the best physical shape possible, and keep fit.
  6. Learn how to relax, and practice relaxation techniques regularly.
  7. Keep yourself busy.
  8. Pace your activities.
  9. Have your family and friends support only your healthy behavior, not your invalidism.
  10. Be open and reasonable with your doctor.
  11. Practice effective empathy with others having pain problems.
  12. Remain hopeful.

My first response after typing these steps is “I will with God’s help.” Over the years (since diagnosis in 1990s) I have tried to learn and practice these things. Would love to brag I have mastered them all. I have NOT!

Yep, something like this during a fibrmyalgia flare!

Like Paul I continue to try to learn to yield myself to God and stay responsible to bring my flesh under control. God will not magically take care of this for me. He requires my cooperation.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27 NKJV

Along with my body, I must discipline my mind, my will and my emotions to bring honor to God as long as I live!

In the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayers you can find the Baptismal Covenant. After each declaration the congregation says, “I will with God’s help.” I believe that coping with chronic pain requires my focus upon the goals of this covenant too if I am to be truly successful.

Celebrant	Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and
fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the
prayers?
People	I will, with God's help.
 	
Celebrant	Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever
you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People	I will, with God's help.

Celebrant	Will you proclaim by word and example the Good
News of God in Christ?
People	I will, with God's help.
 	
Celebrant	Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
your neighbor as yourself?
People	I will, with God's help.
 	
Celebrant	Will you strive for justice and peace among all
people, and respect the dignity of every human
being?
People	I will, with God's help.

May the Lord bless you as you face your own struggles. We are all broken and need His help!

Consistent self-care is not selfish. Consistent self-care for me is a holy obligation. "These skills protect us by building inner resilience that shields us from most problems and enables us to bounce back from the rest."  Just do your best and lean hard upon the Lord.

So we moved and by the second day, May 13, I had trashed my back. Really did it the worse than ever before.  That slowed down unpacking for certain! I had lots and lots of help, but I did not pace myself well, I did not remember not to bend over. I did lots of things wrong. Degenerative disc disease is one of the reasons we moved. On June 15 I had another epidural. Trying to behave now. Time will tell if that is all the treatment I need. Please pray for me!

Hope those coping steps help any of you who also suffer from chronic pain. Twelve step programs often repeat, "It works if you work it!"