Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Spring Things

It's a rainy Wednesday morning here in the Four-States Area and spring has sprung on every front!

Spring Beauties

Least Bluets

Common Violet

Tiny spring flowers dot the landscape (spring beauties, least bluets, and violets), with sunny-faced dandelions dancing prominently among them.

Bridal's Wreath

Red Bud

The bridal's wreath bush and redbud trees are in full bloom and the lilac buds are big and swollen purple...ready to burst forth at any moment. 


In addition to the blooming of flowers all kinds of other spring things are happening. Bees are buzzing, frogs are croaking, and birds are singing. They are also building nests and laying eggs.

Bumble Bee


Robin's Nest

Spring is a glorious time of year! Everything is so fresh and soft and green! New life abounds on every front! I pray that you and yours are enjoying spring wherever you are. What changes have you noted taking place?

Until next time...

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Monday, April 5, 2021

Master List and Menu Plan Monday - April 5, 2021

Greetings, Dear Ones! It's the first Monday of April and, here in southwest Missouri, spring is in full bloom! ๐ŸŒท

Spring Beauties

It's beautiful outside this morning! 60 degrees and sunshiny with a high of 76 expected! I don't think it could get any more perfect than that!!! ๐ŸŒž

How was your week and weekend? Did you have a nice Easter/Resurrection Sunday?

Variegated Pink Tulips

Ours was absolutely lovely here! I will share a few pics throughout this post.

Dyed Eggs

Rabbit marks the anniversary of my Grandma Maudie's birth 126 years ago. She was born April 5, 1895. You can read more about her HERE.

Maude Belle (McCann) Brown Graham

A quick update on my husband...

He has his ups and downs, but, overall, John is doing so much better than he was a week ago! He's here, he's alive, and, praise God! He's been made whole, healed and cancer-free, by the power of the blood and in the mighty name of Jesus! He is still experiencing bloating, abdominal pain, and other digestive issues, but the swelling is down and he looks like himself again. We are so thankful for all that the Lord has done, and is doing, on his behalf. He's been through a lot physically, mentally, and emotionally and your continued thoughts and prayers his way (our way) are much appreciated!

Traditional Italian Easter Egg Bread

I'm not going back to work until John is able to keep up with nutrition, hydration, and medication on his own. I'm hoping that maybe by Saturday that will be the case. In the meantime, we will continue to take one day at a time and take things as they come. Nothing is set in stone, but I will share my tentative plans for the week ahead.

Homemade Matzo Bread

This week's master to-do list...

- clean house
- do laundry
- wash bedding
- wade through and organize the Van Gogh room (with all the comings and goings of this past week and a half, out-of-town company, Easter, and more it's become a literal's a mess and I can't find anything.)
- call the hot water heater company and see what can be done (the hot water heater has been acting up for weeks and we've only had it a little over a year...this is the second one in five years...I do not recommend Richmond brand hot water heaters at all!)
- spend as much time outside as possible

13 of Our 20 Grands
They had a ball playing and hunting eggs together!

This week's menu plan...

We have an abundance of fresh vegetables leftover from the weekend so will be looking for ways to use them up throughout the week.

Monday - Beef stroganoff over mashed potatoes or pasta with sautรฉed celery, oven roasted carrots, and salad
Tuesday - Broiled salmon with baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, Sue Gregg's Good Earth Rolls, and salad 
Wednesday - Baked chicken breasts with steamed broccoli, oven-roasted carrots, biscuits, and salad
Thursday - Michelle Duggar's Tater Tot Casserole with green beans and salad
Friday - Broiled salmon, baked potatoes, brussel sprouts, and salad
Saturday - Vegetable beef soup with biscuits
Sunday - Leftovers

Well, that's it for today! I hope you and yours are doing well and I wish you blessings for a great week ahead! 

Until next time...

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Latest Updates On My Dh

I know that some of you are awaiting updates on my dh. Here are my latest updates on Facebook...

John and I

Monday's post (March 29, 2021)...

"...They did the gallbladder scan today and it was clear, so no surgery! Praise the Lord! They had planned on doing the endoscopy today, too, but, due to a conflict in scheduling, it has been put off until tomorrow. They are planning on doing it around 11:00 and, once again, we are praying for a good report.

As a result of the massive amounts of IV fluids they've pushed, John has a lot of swelling. The doctor has ordered lasix to help pull it off.

This has been a wild and incredible few days with many emotions and lots of twists and turns. But, believe it or not, the doctor said she anticipates that John will be home within 24 to 48 hours. We give all the glory to our great and mighty God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think!..."

Today's post in full (March 31, 2021)...

"It's 8:20 a.m. and all is quiet. Things have been in such a whirlwind that I didn't even get a chance to post an update on John last night, so I will do so now. Again, I hardly know where to start.

John still has a lot of swelling due to the massive amounts of fluids that have been pumped into his body over the past few days to, not only, hydrate, but to keep his bp and heart rate normal. Both were very low at times, but stabilized completely by Monday morning.

Two additional abdominal scans were Monday night; the other yesterday make sure that they didn't miss anything. Nothing was found.

The endoscopy was completed yesterday morning. They looked at the stomach and pancreas. When the procedure was over, the doctor who did it came in to talk to Amber and I and brought pictures. He said that John had a couple of non-bleeding ulcers, which was no bid deal, and that there had been a teeny tiny cyst in the pancreas, which they removed. He said he sent it to pathology (results within three days), but that it was not cancerous. He said he didn't know what it was, but that it should not have been there and that none of this made sense...that the numbers and initial tests didn't match with anything they were finding. He seemed a bit perplexed, but confident that everything was good. John could go home...provided that the other doctor agreed.

The other doctor agreed. She went over the final report with us and ordered up meds to be taken at iron pill, a good multi-vitamin, probiotics, something to coat the stomach before eating due to the ulcers, and a water pill to pull the rest of that water off. Next thing we knew...we were on our way home!

Amber knew of course because she was will us at the time, but we wanted to surprise the other kids. Two of the kids called to check in while we were driving, so of course, I told them what was happening; the rest of them found out upon (or shortly after) our arrival. Tears of joy and celebration!!!

What a great and mighty thing the Lord has done! We can't explain it. THE DOCTORS can't explain it!!! But it's all documented and it's all true.

Even at that, though, John's body has been through a lot and will need time to heal and recover. He's still got a lot of water on him and that's got to come off and he needs a lot of good nutrition and to stay hydrated. He's got an appointment with our primary care doctor tomorrow and a follow-up with the gastroenterologist in April.

Throughout this experience I think our family has experienced every emotion known to man from one extreme to the other and more. We've witnessed a mighty move of God and miraculous intervention on every front as He has begun a work that will carry us through these dark and troubled times. What a testimony!

It is now 11:20 and I have still not got this post out. One of the gals at the hospital just called...I forget her title, but she is the one who calls after release to go over discharge instructions, medications, and follow-up appointments. Anyway, she was all abuzz! She rejoiced in being a witness to this "modern day miracle" (her words) and spoke of the goodness of the Lord.

People, it's real! God is real! And He loves each and every one of us soooo incredibly much! If you don't know Him is your time! Put aside your fears and doubts and just reach out to Him. Ask Him to forgive your sins and make Himself real to you! He will do it! Now is your moment! Time is super short so don't delay! We love you all!"

Monday, March 29, 2021

Master List and Menu Plan Monday - March 29, 2021

Greetings! It's the last Monday of March! ๐ŸŒท Can you believe that a quarter of 2021 has already slipped away? Wow! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Being that we're in the midst of Holy Week and Passover, normally, our family would be counting down, and celebrating, the days leading up to Resurrection Sunday. Unfortunately, my husband is in the hospital and we've been on one of the wildest rollercoaster rides over the past few days that we've ever experienced. 

To save time, I will post here what I posted on my Facebook page Saturday evening. I said...

"John has been having issues for weeks now. He was hospitalized in late January/early February with low sodium, low potassium, dehydration, and COVID-19. Since then, he's been to the doctor twice and had an ultrasound of the upper abdomen. His liver enzymes went from being elevated to off the charts and he's had a terrible time with eating and gastrointestinal issues. Everything culminated yesterday morning with a trip to the emergency room at Barton County Hospital.
After a CAT scan and several hours of waiting we were told that John's gallbladder was enlarged, that there was a possibility of something going on with the pancreas, and that there was liquid in his belly that might be blood. He was then transferred to Mercy in Joplin via ambulance.
After running home to shower, change clothes, and grab a few things to take along with me, I arrived at the hospital in Joplin not too long after John got there. Upon entering the building a notification went off on my phone. It was a message on my MY MERCY app saying that John had been admitted to Mercy due to a mass in his pancreas. WHAT??? I saw it, but I didn't say anything. I wanted to wait until the doctor arrived.

When the doctor came in, he wanted to know what we had been told at Barton County. I told him and he said no...that he and the doctor at Barton County had had an hour and a half tele-conference concerning the mass that was in my husband's pancreas. The test...a CAT scan (without contrast because John has had a bad reaction following one WITH contrast before)...revealed a mass in the head of the pancreas that was blocking, and had crimped, the tube that is shared by the gallbladder and pancreas, cutting off the flow of the bile and sugar created by each. He told us that the mass could be cancer and that he had ordered up a couple of blood tests to check the cancer markers.

After further testing was done a different doctor came in to visit with us. She told us that the cancer markers were extremely high (should have been under 30; his were at 2,680) and that it looked like John was in the advanced stages of pancreatic cancer and that his life expectancy was extremely short.

In disbelief I said, "Wait! What are we talking about here?"

As gently as she possibly could, the doctor floored us by announcing that, in all likelihood, John only had two to four months to live. She told me that things were going to get very different very quickly and that they would be quite difficult, but that she was in it with us for the long haul.

Today they did another CAT scan...this one from the neck to the pelvis. Doctor wanted to see if there was anything else hiding out somewhere. The test didn't take long and results were expected before lunch. I'm glad that our oldest son and daughter-in-law were here to witness what happened next.

The test results were not delivered before lunch time, but a gal came in to draw blood. She said that she was doing a timed test. She was taking blood now and again in four hours.

Around 1:00 or so the doctor came in and brought two copies of the CAT scan report. One was for us to keep. She read through the results one by one in order. When she read the results concerning the pancreas we were floored...again. It was like...wait! What are you saying...again!

She said, "THERE IS NO MASS!!! And the numbers are going down, down, down!"

WHAT??? What happened? She said she could not explain it. What they were seeing today did not match what they saw yesterday and the numbers were dropping. There was no mass and the tube that had been crimped off was no longer crimped...nor blocked. She showed us the numbers and said, " are the numbers from February (near normal) are the numbers from last Tuesday at the doctor's office (elevated) are the numbers from yesterday (off the charts!) and here are the numbers from today (drastically reduced)." She said, "Something significant happened between yesterday and today and I cannot explain it. I'm not even going to try." She also said that she had never had this happen before.

Folks, you can call us crazy if you want, but I'm telling you...the Lord heard and answered the many prayers that have gone up on John's behalf. John does NOT have cancer! There was a mass there yesterday and it is not there today...and it is documented!!! If anyone wants to see the proof all of the test results, records, numbers, and documentation are in our My Mercy app and we'd be more than happy to let anyone that wants to go through them see them.

That's one reason that I was so glad the kids were here. They witnessed all of this first hand. I even told the doctor to tell them what she told us the day before and she did.

I'm telling you people...we serve a mighty God and He is still in the miracle business! Your prayers have been heard. God CAN and DOES answer prayer!

Now...John is still having some issues and is still in need of prayer, but we are in a so much better place tonight than we were last night! Praise God and thank you so much for praying! Keep them coming..."

That was Saturday night's report. Here was Sunday's...

"Just got home from the hospital. They bent the rules last night and let me stay, but not tonight. I had to leave by 6:00. I feel fortunate to be able to be there at all and am thankful that they're not only allowing me to be there, but they've totally bent the rules and have allowed our children and their spouses to come in in shifts, as well. Amazing!

John had a rough day yesterday and throughout the night. They've had quite a time keeping his blood pressure and heart rate up. They practically had to stand him on his head several times yesterday and he's on so many different medications right now that I can't even keep track. It's been determined that the low bp and heart rate is due to the Benadryl that was administered to counteract the dye that he had to take in order to have the CAT scan with contrast. That all seems to be straightening out now and seems to be stabilizing.

On the other hand, John has terrible bloating and a lot of swelling. He just messaged and asked that everyone keep praying. He is flat-out miserable and, at times, is in quite a bit of pain.

Tomorrow morning they do the endoscopy to take a closer look at that pancreas and they're doing a test on the gallbladder. If it comes back abnormal they will remove it.

The good news is that the numbers that were elevated and shouldn't have been keep dropping and the numbers that were too low and should have been higher continue to rise. Cancer of any kind has been ruled out completely. Praise the Lord!

Please pray over these tests tomorrow...that they will reveal the source of all this bloating and other issues that John has going on. Pray, too, for wisdom and direction over the doctors and other members of the medical team involved...that they will get clear answers and come up with a good plan..." we's Monday morning. They just took John down for the gallbladder scan and I am sitting in his hospital room...waiting...and using this time to write to you. The photo above is of a free printable that I printed off for decoration and the jonquil that I picked and brought to him Saturday. The "vase" in which it sits is the container from which John drank the contrast dye before going to the CAT scan. The endoscopy (and a possible biopsy) will take place a little later in the day today. We are believing for a good report concerning all.

As for my master list this consists of taking one day at a time, spending time with John and our family, praising God for His incredible goodness to us, and focusing, as much and as often is possible, on our risen Saviour (the Lord Jesus Christ) and all that He really did for us when He laid down His life for us on the cross. Do you know Him? If not...message me and I'll be happy to introduce you to Him.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

My menu plan for the week is to eat whatever whenever wherever as the week progresses.

I pray that, wherever you are, that you and yours are having a nice day and that you enjoy a beautiful, glorious, and wonderful week ahead! Happy Easter/Resurrection Sunday! ♱

Until next time...

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Monday, March 22, 2021

Master To Do List and Menu Plan Monday - March 22, 2021

Greetings, Dear One! Happy First Monday of Spring! ๐ŸŒท


How was your week and weekend?

Our week and weekend here were good. I worked on Monday. Our youngest daughter and her family arrived Tuesday evening for our annual gatherin' o' the clan on the 17th. Since they weren't going to be able to make it over on Wednesday, our next-to-the-youngest son and his family came over to visit Tuesday evening, as well.

St. Patty's Day Flowers

By noon on Wednesday most of the clan had gathered for our traditional feast of corned beef and cabbage with baked potatoes and Emerald Isle Cake. Most of the clan stayed and visited through supper. John and I were tired by the time everyone left, but we greatly enjoyed getting together with everyone...especially after having to cancel it last year due to COVID! ๐Ÿ€

 The Littlest Leprechaun at This Year's Gatherin' O' the Clan

Thursday and Friday were spent working around the place and running errands. Then, I worked again on Saturday. It was a beautiful first day of spring!

A Trout Lily
Blooming at Prairie State Park on the First Day of Spring

Now, it's time to get ready for the week ahead! Let's get right on into this week's post, shall we? Then...I'm heading to work!

This week's master to-do list...

- work
- clean house
- do laundry
- walk
- do an inventory of fresh food, freezer, and fridge (menu plan accordingly)
- doctor appointment (dh)
- grocery shop
- mix up some hummingbird food and get the feeders out (first hummers have already been spotted in Missouri)
- finalize Easter plans and shop for it
- go through clothes in closet (trade out winter for summer)
- bake bread
- host a WLMO movie night (I Am Patrick)
- celebrate Palm Sunday

White-Tailed Deer

This week's menu plan...

Monday - Chicken ala king over rice with leftover brussel sprouts
Tuesday - Breakfast for supper
Wednesday - Vegetable beef soup with salad and Sue Gregg's Good Earth Rolls
Thursday - Middle Eastern lentil soup with cornbread and veggies with curry dip
Friday - Chicken fajitas and salad
Saturday - Dh's night to cook (chef's choice or leftovers)
Sunday - Leftovers

Well, Ladies, that's it for now! Have a great day and enjoy this beautiful first full-week of spring!

Until next time...

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Spring Bucket List 2021

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest,
and cold and heat, and summer and winter,
and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22).

It's a chilly morning, for sure, but, praise the Lord, winter is officially over and spring has arrived! Normally, I'm content in any season, but this past winter has been particularly long and quite difficult. Personally, I'm glad that it's over! ๐ŸŒท 

Here are a few things that I hope to accomplish this season and some of the things that I look forward to seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and experiencing, as well...

1. Write my spring bucket list. ๐Ÿ“œ
2. Plan my spring menus (these will be posted each Monday in my weekly Master List and Menu Plan Monday posts) ๐Ÿ“‡
3. Observe a bright and beautiful full spring moon ๐ŸŒ•
4. Get back to doing programs at work ๐Ÿž๐Ÿพ๐Ÿข

(Due to the COVID pandemic and the closing of the nature center, the last program that I presented was a year ago this month. The nature center reopens April 1st and I am working on spring and summer program ideas now.)  

5. Enjoy a Russell Stover's maple cream egg with my oldest daughter on her birthday (it's tradition!) 
6. Pick a bouquet of pretty yellow daffodils ๐Ÿ’›
7. Dye eggs 
8. Make a traditional Pana di Pasqua (Italian Braided Easter Bread - It's been many years since I've done this and, since I don't remember what recipe I used to use, I've got a couple of new ones that I'm considering.) 
9. Host an egg hunt for the grandlittles
10. Celebrate Resurrection Sunday (church and lunch with family and friends afterwards) ♱
11. Listen to spring peepers ๐Ÿธ
12. See a prairie chicken 
13. Plant a vegetable garden ๐ŸŒฑ
14. Celebrate spring birthdays with the grandlittles ๐ŸŽ‚
15. Attend KCM's Branson Virtual Victory Campaign (April 8th through the 10th) ๐Ÿ’ป
16. Observe Indian paintbrush blooming on the prairie
17. Eat fresh asparagus 
18. Celebrate May Day with a basket of fresh flowers ๐Ÿ’
19. See a brand new baby bison ๐Ÿงก
20. Include fresh dandelion greens in our spring salads ๐Ÿฅ—
21. Celebrate Mother's Day by sharing flowers with the ladies at church, my daughters, and daughters-in-law ๐ŸŒธ
22. Eat fresh strawberries ๐Ÿ“
23. Honor my husband with something special on Father's Day and wish our sons and sons-in-law a Happy Father's Day, as well ๐Ÿ‘ด
24. Observe a birds nest with eggs in it (and hopefully observe the babies until they fly away) ๐Ÿฆ
25. Put up a new hummingbird feeder 
26. Take a walk in the rain ☔
27. Spend a few days at the lake with dh for a belated anniversary getaway ๐Ÿ’‘
28. Smell lilacs ๐Ÿ’œ
29. Start a 2021 nature journal and record at least three new things in it ๐ŸŒต๐Ÿ๐Ÿ
30. Spend a couple of days with our youngest daughter and her family ๐Ÿ‘ช
31. Visit a state park that I've never been to before
32. Hike a new trail ๐Ÿฅพ
33. Create and complete a spring cleaning list ๐Ÿ“œ
34. Put up a new clothesline ๐Ÿ‘š๐Ÿ‘–๐Ÿ‘•
35. Get on a serious walking schedule ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ
36. Lose 20 pounds ⚖
37. Schedule eye exams for dh and myself (get new glasses) ๐Ÿ‘€
38. Lay tile in kitchen, hallway, and bathroom ▩ 
39. Shampoo carpets (has been on my list for a while now) 
40. Reroof the house (at least check into the costs of doing so and coming up with a plan) ๐Ÿก

How about you? Are you as happy to see the arrival of spring as I am? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below! ๐ŸŒท

Until next time...

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