Weekends {are for} wanderings...


~ with photos that didn't make the cut

This weekend brings an end to a week that was out of sync in many ways. It began with a lovely funeral (if funerals can be called lovely - and they certainly can be when we celebrate a life devoted to Jesus) for one of the sweetest and most godly women I've ever known. The hope of heaven changes everything, doesn't it?

It's also been a week of monster RA flares, a stomach virus (and more) that kept Emily from boarding that plane to Africa, and an almost trip to the ER (don't ask). I suppose that's a proper opening for a brief health update and then a move on to more interesting, and certainly more delightful, conversation.

Not sure where I left off, so I'll just start in the middle somewhere, and if there are gaps you can't fill and if you really want to know more, just drop me an email.

Back in the late spring, I was referred to a pulmonologist who tripled my prednisone dosage for two weeks in preparation for a high-density C-T scan. Though I dreaded having to start the prednisone weaning process all over again, the benefits of all that anti-inflammatory medication were wonderful.  With more energy and mobility than I had experienced in weeks, I felt like I was on a mini-vacation and could take on the world.

The C-T scan results were not as wonderful. The pulmonologist is fairly confident that I have auto-immune lung disease, however, an open lung biopsy is required for confirmation - and, thankfully, he does not recommend that at this time. What he did suggest is that we see how my lungs respond to the gradual weaning off prednisone (I still have a ways to go), and if my lungs don't flare in the interim, they'll do repeat studies, including another C-T scan in December. If my lungs flare before December, they'll proceed with the open-lung biopsy.

Unfortunately, methotrexate can cause pulmonary issues, so the rheumatologist took me off of it. Should my lungs flare, it would be difficult to determine if the cause was auto-immune lung disease, the methotrexate, or a combination of both. The methotrexate was replaced with imuran, which could take up to two months for positive effects to be measured. I've concluded that a combination of stopping the methotrexate (which was obviously working), combined with the lag in time for the imuran to work and the continued weaning off prednisone, has been the trigger to some of the worst RA flares yet. That encourages me that this is temporary and helps me focus on the positives.

The worst part? Moments outside for photo walks are few and far between these days, and even worse than that - I can't plan sleep-overs with the grand-littles like I really, really want. But it's temporary - I'm sure of it.

Before I move on from this brief (I tried) health update, I want to share a quote my lovely friend Amy (who knows what these days are like all too well) posted last week...
"Nothing shows our ignorance so much as our impatience under trouble. We forget that every trial is a message from God and intended to do us good in the end. Trials make us think, wean us from the world, send us to the Bible, drive us to our knees. Health is a good thing. But sickness is better, if it leads us to God. Prosperity is a great mercy. But adversity is a greater one, if it brings us to Christ." ~ Ryle
Can I get a witness?

Today is Nick and Kristin's anniversary - and I forgot until I opened my copy of My Utmost for His Highest and read the reminder I'd written at the top of today's page. I forgot Casey and Jessi's anniversary in May. Look out Mike and Lizbeth - I'm on a roll. Don't be surprised if I forget y'all's anniversary next month. Maybe I should do like Louis did to me one year (men - *sigh*) and say "Happy Anniversary" now, in case I forget to do so later.

What I do remember is that Nick and Kristin were married two months and two days after Casey and Jessi were married in the summer of 2005, and Mike and Lizbeth were married five months minus one day after Emily was born in 1991. That bit of trivia should count for something, right?

Our former church used to plan a yearly "everyone's birthday party". We sat at tables that had been decorated for our birth months and celebrated everyone's birthday together. I think we should have a yearly celebration for everyone's anniversary, too. That would be sweet grace for those of us with poor memories like mine.

My "didn't make the cut" photos this week reveal my continued delight in both the flamebush, which has yet to attract hummingbirds, and the beautyberry berries ripening plum. The juvenile ibis hunting for grub worms in the wet grass illustrates the difficulty of photographing birds. Birds, like all wildlife, are not particularly cooperative photo subjects. I tried to move around them so I could get the light over my shoulder and onto their faces, but they would just move away and not let me circle around them.

I almost posted the tiny-yellow-caterpillar-crawling-along-the-barb-wire photo to illustrate the "Insignificant" post earlier this week. While it does reflect the feeling, it's not the sharpest photo. I only had my longest zoom lens (and no tripod) with me that day, and though I wasn't that far from the house, my joints were telling me I'd already wandered too far away.

A few summers ago, I hosted a "Through the Window" photo challenge. Because I wilt in the heat and humidity of our deep south summers, I created an inside photo challenge that appealed to my "lets stay as cool as we can" desires. I'm going to resurrect that challenge for the month of August. Anyone interested?  It can be any window - house, car, fake, created by nature - what or where ever your creative bent takes you, as long as you can describe it as a window. I'll post more information the last week of July. All you need is a camera and a way to share your photo(s) with the rest of us - a blog, facebook, flickr, picassa, email it to me and I'll post it for you, etc.

Finally, last weekend I mentioned two new books I hoped to discuss this weekend, but I let someone borrow one of them for the week and have not finished the other. Next weekend. I hope.

Some of my friends have told me how much they appreciate the brevity of my posts - my ability to communicate with photos and a few words. My sincerest apologies to these sweet souls whose friendships I do cherish, despite these weekend wandering posts in obvious defiance of such brevity.

My pastor has challenged us with a Bible reading plan that has had most of us in I John this week. I leave you today with these words from I John 3:1 (NIV)...
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!