The Great Wall


The Great Wall of China. 🈸

One of my first pictures with my new Pentax (my first “fancy” camera 🙂). I really didn’t even know how to use it yet. 

But I had just traveled to China to teach English for a year at Zhengzhou University at the ripe ol’ age of 23. It was 1986, and I had to say goodbye to my new fiancé for an entire year!😭

Great Wall
Great Wall
#adventuretime #casettetapecommunication

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HOPE and the Beach

Only home a second day from Panama City Beach, and I’m already thinking about how to move to the south, sooner!

Panama City Beach, Florida Holiday Inn Resort

I have a countdown going on in my head.

See, Hubby can retire in three years, and my grandkids are sure to arrive in the next few years. There might be a slight problem in that my son just got married and lives here, in Indiana, but my daughter is in Georgia and was married in 2015.

I guess it’s a race to see who has their kids first. 😉



If you’re at all interested in my fam…here’s my daughter’s wedding video. And a post about the wedding day: HERE

 

derek-and-heidi-wedding

And, we just got my son’s video!:  HERE



Regardless, I just can’t handle winters, anywhere, anymore! Even if my kids didn’t live in the south, I would eventually have to move there, for sure.

Or Hawaii.

I LOVED Hawaii. It was like the Garden of Eden.

I’m still trying to talk my husband into retiring there, as well. 😉

Okay, so a loaf of bread costs $5.oo.

Hanalei Bay Resort in Kauai Hawaii with beautiful flowers and trees overlooking the ocean.

INDIANA WEATHER

Don’t get me wrong, I love the change of seasons and the area where we live is known for its vivid, fall colors.

As for winter, I actually love the snow and don’t mind the cold here.

It IS pretty and it does make it feel more like the holiday season has arrived.

Some of my favorite times are going out to take pictures at night when the snow has fallen. It’s SO peaceful.

⌈The neighbor’s house.⌋

My neighbor's house in the snow in Indiana

Heck, I’ve even been known to run errands without a coat during 37º days…menopause or no menopause.

The cold, winter woods after a big snow.

And when this little, Cali girl visited grandparents one midwestern winter, she was totally obsessed with seeing snow, playing in the snow, laying in the snow…not coming in from the snow, period.

I even have fond memories, while living in southern California, of my dad driving us up to the mountains of Big Bear. We’d drive around for hours listening to Christmas carols hoping to see even one flake of falling snow.

We were thrilled to find on one particular visit there was enough snow for snowball fights and sledding. Sledding down steep mountainsides ladened with huge, snow drifts jumping a foot or two in the air and then careening down onto curvy mountain roadways. (My brother actually hit a parked, car’s wheel that trip. That wheel kept him from going under the car and over the mountain cliff. TRUE STORY.)

So the past winters have been fun, but not anymore… they are really taking a toll on me now!



PRAYING/FIGHTING for HOPE

Sadly, my body has developed worsening health “issues” where the winter just really does a number on my eyes and skin, (diseases) and it’s getting worse each year. Truly, these last eight years have been a literal HELL for me, with the last three almost unbearable. The pain has been torturous. Pure. Torture.

Yep, my hope has waned, many times.

I have continually prayed for God to restore my hope especially when the pain didn’t let up for months on end. And prayed he would protect my sanity. (Those with chronic illness/disease or chronic pain will get this.)

And I have to continually fight my mind about looking too far into the future because my 40s & 50s have been the toughest years of my life. I have to tell myself to refocus and just live out today. Many times it’s been a refocusing minute by minute, quite literally.

I have to determine to lean into God hard, TODAY, and praise Him for what I can find that’s good, TODAY.

It’s not easy, I assure you.



HEALING in the SUN

So, hubby suggested a break from winter.

My eyes and skin started feeling better within a couple of days and thankfully, I didn’t have any major reactions like my last trip- uh, YAY!

Just not having that forced heat hit me all day, brought much relief and healing. And leaving the bleak, cold, overcast days just felt GOOD for the soul.

It wasn’t an easy drive for me, with this continual back pain, (It’s been a year now.) but I was sick of so many gloomy days I finally said, “I’ll chance the drive; let’s get outta here!”

I was glad in the end that we made that L O N G, 11.5 hr., drive. (I would’ve rather flown but it allowed me to use all my heating pads, medical devices, etc.. Boy, I sound OLD! (I’m a walking medical lab, now. ha.)

And luckily, my daughter and her husband were able to drive over from GA, joining us for two days. So, it was great to see them, too.

morgan-and-logan

Playing with the sand, feeling the warmth of the sun soaking in, and just having face-to-face conversations with my daughter, just the two of us, as we waded in the water was just what the doctor ordered.

I also realized this was the FIRST time, in YEARS, I could go on a vacation and not fear the sun due to getting off my immune suppressing drug. YAY!!!!!  (*Sun exposure is not allowed due to skin cancer risks.)

That alone makes a vaca a VACA! 🙂

beach-pic

Seashell and hope bracelet found on Panama City Beach, Florida

Digression: I bought this bracelet one night at a restaurant and earlier that morning found this cute, little shell… had to dig down into the water to grab it before I got knocked over by a wave. My daughter was right by my side when I spotted it. 🙂

Didn’t find any more shells quite this perfect. 😉



REALITY

Now we’re back.

And the heat is blowing.

And my sweats and socks are back on. 😦

(going from shorts to sweats=just not cool)

I’m physically suffering again. UGGH.

Yeah, I might have (or might not have) told my husband I may be moving ahead of him.

I leave you with the sights and sounds of the beach. ENJOY!

 

 

 

Biking & My Back

Eight months ago, I developed yet another physical problem.

It seems to be every time I turn around…geez.

Severe back pain with pain in both hips, a knee, and sometimes down my thighs.

It felt like I had been run over.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Even my lower ribs would hurt to touch.

Biking, cycling, walking in Farmland in Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington Indiana bike trail

 

Oh, I’ve had back issues throughout my life, and saw the chiropractor every month,

But this was…

can’t walk, can’t sit, can’t sleep, can’t even focus..because the pain was so bad.

PAIN all day; all night.

I did everything and went everywhere trying to  find an answer.

To. Everyone.

X-ray, MRI, CT scan, back therapy.

Nothing had helped. 😦

[I thought maybe Magnesium, Potassium, upping my Vit. D, multiple Epsom salt baths…oh, I don’t know, ANYTHING???]

I hate opioids for pain. So, I just tried my best to cope.

But, I wasn’t coping very well.

I’ve been grasping at straws.

I’ve carried hot water bottles, tucked into the waist of my pants, used hot and cold compresses, wore a back support brace, smelled like Ben Gay, bought up heat activated capsaicin pads at the $store, tried foam rollers, a Thera Cane massager, tennis ball…

You get the idea.

Nothing was helping!

I’ve come to learn these last few years that chronic pain is a whole other ballgame.

I pray a lot for those people. It is plain torture.

I get it.

It takes a lot to want to do anything, and I sure feel for people who deal with it.

Bless their hearts!

They’re heroes in my book, that’s for sure.


So, for me to go on a long, long, L    O    N    G  car trip, (over 2,000 miles) was a real act of faith!

(I was tagging along on a business trip with my hubby Story Here)

But, to not only get home in decent shape but to then go on a bike ride today?

NO FREAKIN WAY! 
But I did just that…

On my beachcomber. It felt so freeing after not being able to ride since last year at this time.

img_6211

The trip east, the bike ride…

It was no short of a miracle. LITERALLY!

(Let me also say, I HAVE had a lot of prayer going up for me!)

I had a little pain in my knee today, when I woke, but hey, what a victory it’s been for me these last couple of weeks!

img_6200

Can we say, HALLELUJAH?!

I sure hope I’m on the upswing.


In honor of getting back on my bike today, and answered prayer…here are a few pics of a trail near our home.

Rails to Trails.  Link HERE

The colors are a changin’!

Bike hike or cycle bloomington Indiana trails.

We thought about upgrading to gears, but these beachcombers really make us work harder. 🙂

You should see the way these young kids look at us as they speed past us on their geared bikes. I want to yell, “Yeah, I’m huffin’ and puffin’ but I’m 53 and doin’ this without cheating like you, ha! ;)”

Do any of you ride? Where are your favorite places to ride?

Rails to Trails Bloomington, Indiana

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img_6198img_6190Taken with my iPhone 5, all pics property of ©thentherestwo.com. Follow me on Instagram! NOTE: I will be posting more info on particular trails in the area, come on back!