Thursday, May 28, 2020

My Source

For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. Psalm 33:21-22 (KJV) 

These verses remind me that I have a source of certainty that I can depend on in the midst of all the COVID-19 uncertainties.

What comfort that gives me. My prayer is that you experience that comfort, too.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Keep Going

As Hubby and I have aged our motto has become "Go as far as we can for as long as we can." 

Walking our community's beach walk or our neighboring city's fishing pier is one way Hubby and I keep moving amid the shutdown and stay-at-home recommendations.

Weather challenges our "going" plans.

As we drove across the bridge on our way to the fising pier, dark clouds had me questioning whether we should return home.  

Hubby reminded me, "Let's go as far as we can for as long as we can." 

So we did. 

The dark clouds stayed on the other side of the bridge we had just traveled. 

We enjoyed the sea breeze, sunshine, our walk and the view.

May you keep going and experience joyful moments.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Garden Oops!

Accidental leaf lettuce

Hubby says I like to grub in the dirt. He is right.

I enjoy puttering around with vegetable gardening. 

Although the first year in our new home was busy with settling in and traveling, I did manage to start a compost pile.

Our home in the woods has few sunny spots. It is also on sloping terrain that is not friendly for navigating with my rollator. 

But going on our fourth year in residence, and with the days of cool weather slipping away, I was determined to get at least some leaf lettuce seeds planted. 

No space prepared? No problem. Just drop a few seeds in the compost pile. 

I was sure I could do that with my rollator within reach if I needed help maintaining balance.

I found a packet of leaf lettuce seeds at Walmart.
Back home I cut the top off the seed packet. With my rollator locked and within reach, I bent over to sprinkle a few seeds in the shallow furrow I had made. 

A gentle shake and Arghhhhh! 

All the seeds dumped out, every one of them. They were so black I couldn't differenciate seeds from compost. I scratched around a bit hoping to spread them out.

I missed.

Even after my awkward mishap the lettuce finally appeared--a 3x6-inch patch of bright green leaves. Although those leaves did grow bigger, they still fell short of providing the quantity we consume in salads.

But their contribution was beyond nutritional. I had actually planted and harvested something. And even better was  laughter that erupted every time I glanced toward the little clump that was my "garden." 

I will soon be ordering Red Sails lettuce seeds. No more mystery seeds!

September or October at the latest I hope to be planting lettuce again. And Hubby has been busy preparing a larger space for veggies. 

I hope "grubbing in the dirt," even as I face challenges, will continue to be part of my life!


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Mall Walking

Sculpture created out of wood salvaged from hurricane debris

Edgewater Mall in our region has reportedly reopened. Prior to COVID-19, Edgewater Mall was a great venue for Hubby and me to walk indoors for exercise. Whether weather was hot and humid or frigid, the mall was always a good temperature.

Our mall walking will probably get back on our agenda when soaring temperatures and blood-sucking insects make walking outside a challenge. 

Then we will enjoy the mall's mild temperatures and comfortable seating areas that offer rest stops when my energy runs out before we make the full circuit.

There is also the entertainment of people-watching and art and photo displays that feature people, places and businesses that are part of our coastal Mississippi history.

The stallion in the photo above was created with wood salvaged from mountains of debris left behind by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Katrina's winds and giant storm surge ripped structures apart and pushed the debris far from the original locations.

In earlier decades, a Friday jaunt to the mall was a treat for our family. These days we walk and occasionally shop at the mall. But most of our shopping now is online or at Walmart. 

I wonder if our mall will survive. There are already empty spaces, and the days are gone of shoppers young and old thronging the stores.

The only other indoor mall on the coast closed a number of years ago. One store remains in operation. That company was not a mall tenant. It owned its site. The rest of the mall structure was demolished. 

Were there ever any indoor malls in your area? If there is one still in operation, do you shop there?


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Walking Songs #2--Acoustics

We are going on our fourth year in our downsized home.  

I love our acid-stained concrete floors. When we were planning our home, we knew the concrete floors and high ceilings would magnify sound. 

We proceeded anyway. 

We also knew that carpet or area rugs for sound aborption weren't an option with my walking challenges. 

We proceeded anyway.

Likewise we chose to limit window treatments, which also absorb sound, to our two bedrooms. We just liked letting the natural outside in through unobstructed views.

Friends and family suggested various sound absorption installations on the high wall that reaches up unadorned to our cathedral ceiling. 

But we had found the unbroken expanse soothing.

So we proceeded without changes anyway.

No surprise that the sound of my "walking hymns"  was magnified when I exercised with my rollator inside. 

I proceeded anyway.

I wasn't entirely heartless, though. When Hubby was inside, I did my joyful noise softly or silently in my head. 

He eventually developed a stealth strategy. He would get a cup of coffee and head outside with his laptop to one of our two porches. 

At first I was so focused on making sure I didn't drag my left foot and topple me and the rollator that I wouldn't even realize he was no longer inside.

Eventually I wised up. Now I check on his location. As I walk I can see him out there with his computer, a book or enjoying a snooze. He has the ceiling fan on in warm weather or is bundled in a blanket in cold weather. 

Seeing him on the porch is my go-ahead signal to unleash enthusiastic noise-making full blast.

I am thankful for Hubby's determination that nothing will discourage my efforts to maintain mobility. 

For now, that also means leaving the interior of our main living area as is, regardless of the acoustics. 

We continue to enjoy our "big room." It serves for food prep, dining, living well, and hanging out on window seats with our computers or watching birds and other wildlife. 

Right now weather is great for walking, so making my joyful noise outside is usually an option.

And since our home is nestled on 1.5 acres of wooded property, our neighbors' ears are safe, too!


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Staying Sane in a COVID-19 World

Staying sane in the COVID-19 world requires a bit of creativity. 

We are fortunate that our home and property offer soothing and interesting varieties of Mother Nature's handiwork. Sometimes, though, I just want to GO. And Hubby's itch to go is off the charts compared to mine.

I satisfy my itch to go with occasional Sunday drives with Hubby or accompanying him on runs to Walmart for fresh produce and whatever else we have on the want-to-buy list. 

I am in that group of elders labeled "at-risk," so we are extra careful. I wait in the van. He shops. My Kindle or iPad Mini keep me company. If he is a little longer than my attention span for reading, people watching offers a break.  

Pre-virus we had scheduled a departure date of April 29 for a driving trip out west. That date is long gone, and my love's patience has been wearing thin. 

Although his sense of humor is alive and well, he is occasionally emitting growls at the actions of the invisible virus and the limitations instituted as a result.

I'm not sure if the pix below is an example of staying sane or going looney. Hubby called me into the bathroom to share his re-creation of a meme that had made him laugh. 

That was during the week when toilet paper was flying off the shelves, and there were even reports of tussles over packs of toilet paper. 

Hubby's handiwork gave me a laugh. Of course I had to have a record of his efforts: 

Best wishes to all. Stay safe and stay sane.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Walking Songs #1

Since my physical therapist introduced me to using a rollator more than three years ago, walking with it has been my primary source of exercise.

It gave me more freedom and independence. But eventually my enthusiasm diminished. Unless we were traveling or walking the beach or some other area away from home, I was mostly bored. 

I had been counting my trips up and down the ramp from our entry-door landing to the end of the ramp and back again.

Or when weather was too cold, too hot or too rainy, it was around and around inside our downsized home. I also tried setting a timer. But eventually those strategies got toooo boring. 

My distance decreased as my enthusiasm and stamina waned. 

Then in a flash of brilliance--okay, it was really a spasm of frustration and desperation--I tried another strategy. 

I had been reacquainting myself with a couple of favorite hymns from my teen and early adult years. I had only relearned the first verses of a few, but I tried belting them out as I walked.  

Wow! Energizing! I added more songs. I have never been good at memorizing, but I persevered. 

Each additional song also upped my time and the distance walked. Now sometimes I even do two miles a day counting both rollator time of walking for exercise and rollator time doing regular activities like chores or, guilty sigh, getting snacks. 

The walking prepared me for a July 2019 camping trip where I even made it up to three miles in the campground one day. 

That has happened just once, though. I haven't hit even close to that target since then but that possibility is still calling. 

Of course, I am discreet about where and when I belt out my songs. The same hemorrhagic stroke that zapped my left side also affected the muscles for breathing. In conversation my voice is acceptable . . . I think. 

A generous description of my singing, though, is "a joyful noise." In reality it is a disturbing croak. 

But issuing forth with that joyful croak has renewed my enthusiasm for my walking helper, christened Rolly the Rollator with the help of some fellow bloggers. 

Bye for now. I have to go make some noise.


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Joy in a COVID-19 World 1

 We were well into the virus shutdown when the words of one of my "walking songs" struck me with this sentence:

"Ever singing, march we onward, 
Victors in the midst of strife."

Wow. I latched on to that expression of God's promise to his children in scary times. That entire hymn had already become one of my favorite hymns.

But the encouragement I found in the idea of "victory in the midst of strife" also ignited my curiosity and sent me to Wikipedia. The melody of "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" is Beethoven's "Hymn to Joy." Lyrics are a poem penned by Henry Van Dyke in 1907. 

What a blessing the entire hymn is for me in the midst of our world's terrible COVID-19 news and political strife.

Our Lord and Savior cares for his children. He showers us with blessings, even when we haven't asked for them specifically and even when we fail to recognize and acknowledge his care.

May you experience joyful moments today.

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee*

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love.
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee,
Op'ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav'n reflect thy rays.
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow'ry meadow, shining sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living,
Ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother
All who live in love are thine:
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals join the mighty chorus
Which the morning stars began.
Father-love is reigning o'er us,
Brother-love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward
Victors in the midst of strife.
Joyful music leads us sunward**
In the triumph song of life.

*Some words differ in various hymnals. The verses above are from the 1975 Baptist Hymnal, Convention Press.

**I always mentally change "sunward" to "sonward." It  seems more worshipful to me.


Hiking Trail for Me

On the handicap trail near Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Smokies 

On a 2016 camping trip Hubby and I were determined to explore a handicap accessible trail that we had noticed before but never stopped. 

Usually we passed by because the limited parking spaces were taken or evening and darkness were approaching.

The paved pathway was perfect for my navigating with the help of a hiking stick. The trail was also long enough to be a challenge, but  also had strategically placed benches.

My biggest problem was keeping my balance when trying to get my nose close enough to read the signs about the plants and history of the area. 

Happy trails!