A Little Improvement

Well, Mercy made it to work today, but she was still in a lot of pain all day. She came over this afternoon and I massaged her shoulder to the best of my ability in hopes of relieving it at least a little.

Other than that, I went to Walmart, did some laundry, and had to shorten the ties on my apron because they were too long. (They don’t actually “tie;” they buckle together and they were just way too loose.)

This afternoon I made it to Hobby Lobby to buy some fabric I need for a project. I may also have picked up a couple of other things . . .

My evening walks are a little less enjoyable now because my walks always seem to coincide with volleyball practice in the gym. Those girls are very loud! But it still beats walking outside in the heat.



First, the good news—Lina arrived safely in Lusaka today and will be there until Friday, when she flies to the town of Solwezi. From there she’ll go the rest of the way by road. She left us at our hottest time of year and she is getting back to Zambia just in time for the hottest time of year there too! At least she will be coming back in the winter.

This morning Mercy contacted me to ask if I had a heating pad she could borrow. She woke up in excruciating pain and couldn’t move or go to work. Her neck has been bothering her for some time now, but this was the worst yet.

I changed my plans and rushed over to take her a hot water bottle. Our heating pad has died and I haven’t got around to replacing it yet. Once I got the hot water bottle under her head, I dashed off to Walmart and got a heating pad. Poor girl was so miserable. I helped her sit up so she could take some pain meds, but they didn’t help.

At that point she wanted to stay at home, but this afternoon she needed help. She has just started a job picking up a professor’s daughter from school and taking her home every afternoon—except that today Mercy wasn’t up to driving. So I drove the car and she sat in the passenger seat with a pillow under her head so that the girl would recognize the car and her in it.

After dropping off the girl, I brought Mercy back to our house and got her installed on the couch. Daniel got here about the same time we did, so he was able to keep Mercy company while I did stuff in the kitchen and then took Jasper to youth group. When I returned to the house, I made a big salad and finished cooking supper and then left it for Walter and James and Mercy and Daniel to enjoy while I went to go walking in the gym. I often walk while the others are eating as it helps me avoid temptation!

Mercy was getting around a little better by the time she and Daniel went home, but was still in a great deal of pain and found it difficult to move her head. If she is not greatly improved in the morning, she will be seeking medical help.


Being Creative

So, we did do some school this morning. I also had some more research to do for tonight’s presentation, and some critiquing for my critique partners.

After missing the last two months, I was determined to make it to the watercolor group today. My skill is not increasing, yet my enjoyment is not diminishing, so I will continue to go! Today I worked on a “practice run” of a painting I hope to do soon. I also met a homeschool mom who is new to our area and was able to give her some information about local homeschool groups.

This evening we had our critique group meeting, followed by our regular writers’ group. I shared my research with the group—a list of nearby writers’ conferences and online educational resources aimed at writers. I found a lot of good material.

A Baptism, a Departure, an Arrival—and Four Bags of Coal

Yesterday, as I mentioned, Jasper was baptized. It was a spur-of-the moment plan in response to the fact that Mary was here and Lina also, and we liked the idea of having as many family members here as possible. So Jasper’s baptism, which was scheduled for next month, was moved up to accommodate our situation.

It ended up being a really weird time to do it. It wasn’t an integral part of the service. And the service was more of a church meeting. At the end, they had a service fair where people were signing up for various services and small groups, and they kept ringing bells and giving out prizes, and while this was going on, our family and a few others were huddled around the baptismal tank which had been set up off on the other side of the sanctuary.

Jasper was baptized by his youth leader, Jeremiah Williams. He (Jasper) hadn’t been briefed ahead of time so didn’t realize he’d be expected to share his testimony! Then, because he is a big guy, when Jeremiah put him under, water splashed out in every direction! Quite a few of us got our feet wet. But we were all so happy to see Jasper take this step in proclaiming his faith publicly.

Afterward, we all gathered at our house for a celebratory lunch. The rest of the day was quite busy as Lina was still packing and I had a big dinner to cook and guests to prepare for.

Our guests, Don and Gwen and their son James, arrived late in the afternoon. We had eleven people around the table for supper and could have had twelve if Janet had come. It was a late night as we stayed up visiting with Don and Gwen, and James went with Spencer to see his apartment.

Don and Gwen and James slept in the living room while Lina finished packing and the rest of us went to bed too. We were up at 6:00 this morning to get ready to leave for the airport. That is too early for me to even drink tea, so I made some in my travel mug and took it with me.

Meanwhile, Don got up early too because one of their vehicles was acting up and he wanted to make sure James had reliable transportation since he started classes today. He is learning diesel mechanics at our local community college.

Walter and Lina and I took off for the airport and arrived there without incident. It took a long time for Lina to check in, but going through security was relatively quick. We waited for the final wave before heading back to the car. This goodbye was perhaps a little easier since this time we know she’ll be back in December for good!

From the airport, we headed to the farrier supply place to get some more coal for Jasper. Gotta love a kid who spends his money on coal! He could only afford four bags again, but the last four bags lasted him a couple of months, so maybe this will tide him over for a while. Walter enjoyed looking around the shop and like me was rather gobsmacked by the sheer number and variety of horseshoes for sale.

We stopped for a quick lunch on the way home, and a trip to a kitchen supply store, since the one we had here in town has closed down. I picked up a few things but not the knife I had hoped to get. My “good” big kitchen knife never made it back to the house after Mercy’s wedding, and the cheap replacement I got is not even worth what I paid for it. I found a nice one in the store today, but at $85 it was definitely too pricy for me! So the search continues. A good knife is so important.

When we arrived back home late this afternoon, we found that Gwen was still here. Don had worked on the car all day and then taken James shopping to pick up a few things. So we visited a little more when Don and James got back, and I also finished getting the guest room cleared of Lina’s things so that James could move in. James will be living with us for this fall semester, which is one of the reasons we worked so hard to get the room ready, because he was arriving the very day that Lina left!

Since Don and Gwen had intended to leave in the morning, I had not given any thought to lunch, and had in fact forgotten that we were out of bread. But Jasper rose to the occasion and made quesadillas for everyone. So glad he could think of something to make! After my walk this evening I went to buy more bread—and also a big plastic trash can for Jasper to keep coal in. We’re hoping it will stay protected from the weather better that way.

Tomorrow, we finally get back to a more consistent school schedule.

Nothing But the Blood

This hymn was the only song I learned to play pretty well on my harmonica. I had a chromatic harmonica I bought in Germany as a kid and I loved playing it, but I never got good at anything except this hymn. I wish I knew what happened to my old harmonica . . .

But that memory is not the reason for featuring this hymn today. I chose this hymn to celebrate the fact that our youngest son Jasper was baptized today.

Nothing But the Blood

Robert Lowry

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Last Weekend

This is the last weekend before Lina leaves to return to Africa on Monday. So I got up “early” this morning and trekked up to the “good” donut place to get donuts for the family for breakfast. And since Mary is here, we also had a mother-daughter lunch outing today. I very rarely have all four of my daughters together! So we went to a restaurant that had a fairly good selection of gluten-free (and low-carb) options.

8-25-18 girls' lunch

Unfortunately, Mercy had to leave early, but it was still fun to be all together. In the future hopefully Tiffany can join us!

After lunch, Lina and I went to Walmart so she could get some last-minute items and I could get a doorknob for Jasper’s room. He doesn’t like not being able to latch his door.

You might possibly remember that the week before the wedding, our “overflow” refrigerator died. It was just one of a long string of mishaps that have plagued us this last month. It has been rather stressful trying to cram everything into one fridge, but it’s not like we could afford to replace it. Except that my heroic husband actually located a discarded fridge that still works just fine, so today he installed it. Finally there is room for my sourdough starter and some fresh veggies.

Since Mary is here, I made a nice gluten-free dinner and it went over pretty well. (It wasn’t something I can eat so I had to depend on reports from others.) I also made gluten-free cherry crunch for dessert. And I boiled some eggs. In fact, I used my Instant Pot three times in quick succession and was glad to have it.

The kids went out for one final round of drinks at their favorite coffee shop this evening. I love that they love hanging out together so much.

Tomorrow’s going to be a big day too.

Here & There

First of all, I want to assure everyone that Lucy’s situation has been resolved. My husband had to make three trips to the admissions office, papers that had already been submitted had to be re-filled-out and signed, but it ended with Lucy getting to stay in school. Whew!

Today was all about running errands, starting with my weekly trip to Aldi. Aldi moment today: a woman saying to her husband, “Don’t go over there! We don’t need any ice cream!” From the look on the husband’s face, I think I can confidently say he believed they DID need ice cream.

As soon as the groceries were carried inside, I had to leave again so that Lina could return the car she’s been leasing from Missionary Tech Team and then ride home with me. I dropped Lina off at the house so I could go to Walmart for a few things, but then when I brought those groceries home, I picked her up again. Then she came with me to the health food store, where I needed a couple of items, and to Kroger, where I had found gluten-free corn dogs and felt compelled to buy them for Mary.

I really wanted to sit down and have some tea by then, but I needed to go in the van with Walter to pick up the chair I bought at the thrift store yesterday. It was a very hot ride because the van has no air conditioning—but it was good to get the chair here.

Moments after we pulled back into the driveway, Mary drove up! She drove down specifically to go to a concert with her siblings at the university tonight. Everyone went except Lina—Mary, Mercy, Daniel, Spencer, Lucy, and Jasper. They had a great time and afterward they came to get Lina to go out to Sonic with them, and then dropped Jasper off at the church so he could be there for the tail end of a youth group prayer event.

Walter had the day off again, and needed it to rescue Lucy from her threatened doom, but he also made some great headway on painting the tiny closet in the guest room. That was the last thing that still needed painting. Tomorrow we should be able to finish it and put the door back on.

Oh, and I have a guest blog post up at a friend’s blog today. Here’s the link:

How to Lose Weight

A Snake, A Lock, A Van Problem, An Excursion, and A Crisis

What a day we’ve had! So many things going on. Walter had to start the day working on our stopped-up kitchen sink. Fortunately, he was able to borrow a “snake” from the university plumber, and that was able to clear the blockage without his needing to crawl under the house.

Meanwhile, it got to be kind of late in the morning and I hadn’t seen any sign of Jasper, so I knocked on his door. He was up and hungry—but trapped in his room! The door knob/lock had malfunctioned and he couldn’t get out. I couldn’t do anything from the outside either. Walter had to get some tools and go to work so poor Jasper could escape and eat some breakfast.

With the kitchen sink back in business, Walter was free to take the van to the shop at the university where he could work on it. He thought he would have to replace the water pump, but once he got a good look at the situation, he discovered that he only had to replace a hose. Wow. It almost never happens that the problem is less serious than we thought!

However, it was a good thing he finished with the van so quickly, because we have another crisis on our hands. Lucy has been getting threatening emails from the university all week. There is a glitch of some kind in the paperwork required for her to be awarded her tuition waiver, and the university said that if they don’t have the documents they require by noon tomorrow, she will be kicked out of school and dropped from all her classes. (!!!)

Of course they offered her the choice of paying the full $15,000 for this semester, but even if she could (which she can’t), she shouldn’t have to. My husband’s thirty-plus years of working at the university more than qualify her for the tuition waiver. What makes the situation so frustrating is that she did not do anything wrong, and there is nothing she can do to resolve the situation. Walter spent an hour in the office trying to resolve it, and was unsuccessful. Apparently there will be no “grace” offered until this snafu can be taken care of—so PLEASE pray that she will be able to stay in school and get her tuition waiver. If she is ejected, she would have to pay a fee to re-enroll once the issue is resolved, and she can’t afford even that. It is a very serious situation.

This afternoon, Lina and Mercy and I ventured out to a couple of thrift shops. I was on a two-pronged mission. First, I wanted to finally get rid of the bags of clothes I’ve been carrying in my trunk for the last couple of months. I had three large bags of clothes that I can’t wear anymore because they’re too big. Lina and Mercy had some things to donate too. Secondly, I wanted to find a chair for the guest room. We have a desk chair, but I wanted to find a chair that would be more comfortable just for sitting in.

As it turned out, the first thrift store we visited had everything for 50% off! And I found a suitable chair the minute I walked in the door. The second thrift store had a nice little side table to go with the chair. We brought the table home but we’ll have to take the van to pick up the chair tomorrow, as it wouldn’t fit in the car.

Speaking of the guest room, I got the rest of the curtains up this morning. This evening, we cleaned out the closet to prepare it for painting tomorrow. That might be a bit of a challenge because the arthritis in my fingers has really been painful the last couple of days, but I’m sure we’ll manage somehow.

P.S. Don’t forget to pray for Lucy’s college situation.


My Diabetes Miracle #16–Mighty Magnesium

So, it’s been a tough summer, just trying to maintain the weight loss I’ve already achieved. I’m gearing up for some extended fasting in September to see if I can break through this plateau.

But meanwhile, I feel the need to talk about magnesium. When I started doing my research over a year and a half ago, everyone said to be sure and take magnesium supplements to help with sleep problems, constipation, and joint pain (and several other things).

So I have been faithfully taking magnesium every day. The only problem is that I couldn’t see any benefits. I’ve been experiencing severe insomnia since early this year. I have been chronically constipated since starting the ketogenic lifestyle. And my arthritis continues to flare up painfully.

Last month I saw a post in one of the health forums to which I belong, and the person was recommending the use of topical magnesium “oil,” which for some is more effective than pills or capsules.

Well, what did I have to lose? I got the spray and began using it on the first day of this month. I made no other changes to my routine because I wanted to be able to tell if the spray was doing anything. Each night before I go to bed I pump five sprays on each hip joint and five on my backbone (my most painful joints) and rub the liquid into my skin.

The results have been nothing short of amazing for me, a person who normally sees no benefit at all from substances that are effective for everyone else. My sleep issues have improved dramatically. I still have some rough nights, but they are becoming less and less frequent. My longstanding chronic constipation disappeared almost overnight.

My joint pain is still pretty severe, but still—two out of three positive outcomes isn’t bad!

I have no idea why the topical solution is so much more effective for me, but I sure am glad I tried it. And because it has improved my quality of life considerably, I just had to tell you all about it! Maybe it might be more effective for you too.

Forging, Remodeling, and a New Problem

This morning I did some more editing and Lina went to buy donuts with Jasper before heading out to her massage appointment. She still has the muscle spasm in her shoulder that is an ongoing issue which makes it hard for her to do almost anything without pain. Massages help a lot! The good news is that she went to the podiatrist yesterday and learned that the boot is working!  Her tendonitis is finally beginning to improve. She still has several weeks of wearing the cumbersome boot, but hopefully when she returns for Flynn’s wedding in December she will only need a brace.

Jasper spent all morning and part of the afternoon in his forge. This is what he looks like after several hours of sweating over a coal fire:

8-22-18 sooty Jasper

You can’t really see in the photo, but his shirt was soaked with sweat and his arms were also covered with soot!

Daniel came over this afternoon briefly to help Jasper move a dresser and a bookcase into the guest room. Both belong to Lina, but they have been upstairs in Lucy’s room for years because that is where Lina has always stayed until now. It was a tricky job getting that very heavy dresser down the stairs, but they managed it.

I also drove up to my “old” Walmart and found the other curtain panels I needed. The room is slowly coming together. Walter worked on cleaning up the desk and it should be ready to move in by tomorrow.

But meanwhile, calamity struck in the kitchen. With no warning, the kitchen sinks clogged up and refused to drain. A large bottle of drain opener did not solve the problem. Walter taking apart the pipes under the sink did not solve the problem either. This means that tomorrow, which he took off for other reasons, he will have to crawl under the house and try to figure out what’s going on with the plumbing. It also means we have no water in the kitchen and can’t run the dishwasher.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s drama . . .