July has been such a busy month, full of burdens and blessings, surprises and delights. Here I will tell about some of these things. This will probably be done in two posts - part 1 and part 2 - since a lot has happened this month and there are lots of pictures.
One of these surprises and delights was the chance to attend the fireworks in Kings Mountain. A friend took us, and it was a great time. They were really good. We were encouraged about the speeches and the words to some of the songs (though the music had somewhat to be desired). We noticed that they mentioned several times their thankfulness to be able to worship God freely. One lady declared in a loud, confident voice that we were made by God and that He is the one that gave us our freedoms. The songs listed the blessings we have in America, brought out patriotic principles, and one contained the words “Under God.” I noticed they repeated that last song so it was played at least twice throughout the 20 minute fireworks display. This means that four times the affirmation was made that we are a nation “Under God.” That was an encouragement to me that they would choose these speakers and these songs that were bold to bring out these principles. They were not Christian songs as we know them, but just the fact that they were unashamed to acknowledge God in public was a blessing.
Below is a gallery with some of the pictures from the fireworks. Just click on a picture to see it larger.
On Sunday night, July 1st, there was a storm while we were at church. When we came home, we found that about two thirds of the tree behind the house had fallen. We had often wondered as we sat in the bathroom during bad storms, if the tree would fall on the bathroom. Well, it fell at an angle toward the living room. We were grateful to find that it was not quite long enough to damage the house. Although the leaves touched the steps, the house, and the AC unit, nothing on the house was damaged as far as we could see. The Lord was gracious to let it fall then. If it had grown even one foot longer before it fell, it would have broken two windows and damaged the wall and AC unit. The Lord took good care of us, and we are thankful. Here are a couple of pictures that show how big it was and how close it came to damaging the house.
Follow-up Doctor Appointment
On Monday July 9th, I had my follow-up appointment with the neurologist. It was a very good appointment, and we discussed several things – the MRI, the GABA supplement, some exercises she thought I might be able to do, and progesterone.
Due to computer problems and other unexpected difficulties at the doctor’s office, the visit ended up being quite a bit longer than I had expected. However, it was a good visit. The doctor was pleased with my progress. In the past few months, I have been able to get down on the floor and get back up again if I have something to hold onto. I have been able to run twice (though having a dog barking and growling at me did give me a little motivation). It was only about 40 feet, but I did run. There is improvement in my mobility and slight improvement in my muscle strength. Recently I started a new supplement called GABA. It is similar to a medication the doctor could have given me, only the medication is made in a specific way. She said, “GABA is the right medicine for you, obviously.” GABA aids the nerves in functioning properly and has helped to reduce my muscle spasms, thus allowing me to sleep more comfortably at night. The relief of muscle spasms is allowing my muscles to heal. The healing of the muscles is helping me to regain muscle strength.
So far I have been told that I have a heart murmur, enlarged thyroid (though all thyroid tests are normal), and Reynaud's phenomenon. On my paper, the diagnosis codes used for my recent visit were “peripheral neuropathy” and “Other Demyelinating D.” “D,” I am assuming stands for “Disease.” Because none of the tests have revealed exactly what is going on, the doctor cannot really make a definite diagnosis. MS does not show up in tests about 15% to 20% of the time. Also, there are other demyelinating diseases that can cause similar symptoms. There are more tests I could get done to find out precisely what is going on. However, I seem to be stable. I’m not getting worse, and there has actually been improvement in my condition over the last couple of months; so we are not pursuing any other tests or options at this time.
It was exciting to find out I had lost weight from 154 pounds down to 140. I would like to lose about 15 more, but it was an encouragement to find I had lost some already. Due to the improvement in symptoms, the doctor said I only need to come back on an “as needed” basis. Praise the Lord!
Fun in the Garden and Fun in the Kitchen
July has also been a month to have fun in the garden and fun in the kitchen. The Lord has sent plenty of rain and things are growing nicely. There are lots of watermelons and tomatoes, and we had the excitement of giving away the first watermelon.
One of my delights in the garden is to watch the bees. The bumblebees just love the watermelon flowers. We can go out into the garden and watch them and listen to them, and take pictures of them. They aren’t too excited about the camera though. Here are some pictures of the wonderful little bees we get to see and some of the flowers as well.
Fun in the kitchen has included making delicious things such as spinach pie, tomato and squash casserole, brownies, chicken noodle casserole, and other yummies. Two of those yummies are frozen lemon cream and frozen chocolate fudge cream. Here is how to make these delicious frozen creams.
Frozen Lemon Cream
One and a half cups of whole milk sour cream
Three quarters of a can of sweetened condensed milk
The juice of one lemon
Juice the lemon and then mix all ingredients together and freeze. We used this at Christy’s party, and everyone liked it. It is very delicious. Serving size is about two or three tablespoons because it is very rich.
Frozen Chocolate Fudge Cream
One and a half cups of whole milk sour cream
One cup of chocolate chips
Melt chocolate chips on low to medium heat. As soon as they are all melted add them to the sour cream. Mix thoroughly and freeze. This is also very delicious. It is hard to eat just one serving.
One enjoyable thing we got to do this month was go to yard sales. We weren’t able to find the estate sale, which was a little disappointing. However, we did get to a couple of others. At one we found some yarn and some pretty picture frames. They were tiny little frames with a heart shape window for viewing the picture. So cute! I’ve been able to make two scarves out of that yarn and will probably have enough for a third one. It is that fancy, fuzzy stuff. We also got a grater (like a cheese grater) and a metal spatula, and I got a freezer lunch bag. It has a bag of sand in the bottom, and that can be put in the freezer. Plus, I can put an ice pack inside.
Homemade Wet Wipes
I love wet wipes. They are handy for everything – cleaning shoes, doing quick household clean ups, taking in the car to use when traveling or going on shopping trips. The other day I made another batch for us again. This time I used Viva paper towels we got on sale at Walgreens. They came out really nice. Viva paper towels are tough and very absorbent. The recipe calls for two cups of water to be poured over the paper towels. Once the paper towels are wet, the excess is supposed to be poured off. With the other brands of paper towels I’ve used, there was a lot of water to pour off. Well, with Viva there is no water. It is all absorbed! The next time I used a little less shampoo since none of it gets poured off. Here is a link to the picture tutorial I posted on our craft blog about how to make the wet wipes.
New Job for Christy
Another blessing of the month is a new job for Christy. It is right in Shelby, so it does not take as long to get there and the output for gas is much less. The hours are better too, which is great because now Christy has time to rest in the afternoons and evenings. Also, the pay is a little better, though the hours are fewer. I think it comes out to about the same pay as her old job. Thank the Lord for this gracious provision.