Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Memories .. we all have a few .. "The Window in the Barn"



The Window in the Barn ... 

It's amazing how images..photos spark memories buried in our minds and bring them back to life and allow us to relive those times long ago as though they are today. 

These images of Barn Windows sparked a memory from long ago for me... when I was a wee bit of 7 yrs of age we lived in a small Horse town. We had a small plot of land with a home and a barn and room enough for a few farm animals ( 1 cow, several chickens, 2 ducks, 1 pig, 2 dogs and 3 horses). 

My Dad worked a lot of hours so it left my mom in charge of the house and the garden as well as the animals and us kids. We had our chores and helped out. We had a small red barn.. my dad had shot guns for country shooting and hunting ...and had a re-loading center in the front section of the barn. Another area was for all the saddles and tack .. and a small dark back room maybe 10 x 10 ft. if that was where we kept the feed... 

Back then we would drive the truck down and buy Alfalfa Cubes at the feed store . They would use a small tractor/loader to fill the bed of the truck with cubes .. and upon returning home my mom would shovel all those cubes from the truck bed into the feed room. She was quite the young woman. I remember helping try and throw a few in by hand .. but the door was narrow and she swung that shovel with a mighty strength and she always told me to stay well back so I wouldn't get hurt.

On several occasions as she swing the shovel or had to go inside to push the cubes further back in the room, making way for more cubes ....she mentioned she wished that feed room had a window for some light .. because the mice liked to hide in that room .. and you never knew when one might take a run for it across your foot ...no less in the dark. That happened on several occasions.

Well one day I got it in my head no less at 7 yrs old that I was going to make a window for mom. So I set out to the barn .. picked up the Bale cutters which had one sharp pick style end on them .. and began banging at the wall ..I have no idea how much time had passed but enough for me to get the tiniest hole started in the wall.. when mom came looking for me... She didn't get mad at me ...I think she was shocked I had picked a hole in the barn ...I explained I was making a window for her ... I can't remember much after that other than we boarded up the hole .. and we never did put a window in that room ... I tried though. I was certain then that I could make a window just as beautiful and perfect as these barn windows below ..









 I hope you enjoyed a little memory from my life ..

Photos courtesy of Pinterest:
https://www.pinterest.com/sweetmagsfarm/barn-ology/



Photobucket

Friday, May 27, 2016

Flossies on the mend "Smiley Face" is coming back .. Chronicles of an English Springer Spaniel

Well .. I've held off on giving an update for a while .. being cautious as to not get super excited to only find within a few days the excitement had reverted .. 

So far though we have a lot to not only be excited about but so so thankful for !!!

Flossie as of Yesterday made it back in to the normal range with her blood...YIPEE !!! The number 35 may not mean much to anyone else..but it's been a big number that we were wanting her to make it too and didn't know how long that would be. With AIHA ..there just is no set of rules ..it's a highly unstable disease and every dog depending on treatment and how they respond differs greatly.That # for some dogs can take months...

So what does 35 mean .. it means her blood level is within normal range .. and she is considered stable at that point.  

Woohoo .. doing the happy dance !


(I shot these photos of Flossie on March 16 .. approx 1 month before she was hospitalized.)

So now what ?

Well she's still on 3 medications (1) steroid and (2) immunosuppressants .. 
They began decreasing the steroid 10 days ago .. and started a decrease on one of the immunosuppresants today. Basicly that begins the process of allowing her immune system to begin kicking back in again. What we hope beyond all hope is that her body has quit killing off the the red blood cells and there is no relapse. 

Right now she's doing amazing ..and Dr. Bennett for the first time gave us a ray of hope yesterday that she felt she was going to do just fine coming off the meds. She's dealt with alot of AIHA cases as she is an Internal Medicine Specialist and has several dogs with this disease she is even currently treating. 

I can't tell you how much the prayer's we asked for have meant to us. "Thank You "  
It's given us strength to get through this as this is a disease that is all encompassing and literally takes round the clock care. It's been nights of 2 hours worth of sleep ..endless trips to take her potty, and sitting next to her laying hands on her and praying that God would heal her body. 
 It's also a costly disease to fight and I feel thankful that I had the wisdom over the last 5 years to really work at saving money by being frugal and self controlled. That gave me the opportunity to choose to treat Flossie for this disease as aggresively as possible. My heart aches for those who are unable to do so. This is not a disease for the faint of heart be it in treatment of financial setback.

My little "Smiley Face" ..  is back to smiling, wagging her tail, barking like a maniac at other dogs, and so on. But no she's not out playing and running yet ...not because she might not want too but because she's still sick and too much exertion could cause a relapse. So right now it's quiet days of just laying around, eating, potty breaks, and loving on each other. The fun days of play will return over time ..but right now I'm as cautious as possible .. she's a fine piece of china that I am carefully and meticulously caring for.



I'm just thrilled her face has this big old smile on it again like the day this photo was taken ..

Please continue to pray for her, if you will I would be so very grateful.

And for those of you who know about my Dad's health .. we have good news on that front too.. at least for now and hoping for good. His blood test came back better than any in the last 3 years ..his hematologist and gastrointerologist .. were super happy with his #'s. Now it's a matter of just checking those #'s every 6 weeks or so .. and as long as they hold .. then they will know the lesions they removed from his intestines late 2015 were the cause of his bleeding the last 3 years .. something our  first gastro Dr. then missed for 3 years after many many many colonoscopies and endoscopies before we switched Dr.s for a second opinion. We are praying this is the answer ..oh how lovely it would be for my Dad and for us in general to know that the mystery was over.

Well it's Good News Friday for us .. Thankful Friday and Blessed Friday !!!

Please if you have a prayer request let us know .. we would love to lift you or a family or friend up in prayer .. we can all use each other's help and encouragement in this world of ours.

May you all have a blessed and safe Holiday weekend !

P.S.....

I have a new Sweet Magnolias Farm FB page if you would like to stop in and give it a LIKE and follow my postings ... just click HERE to visit it.



Photobucket

In honor of our Fallen Hero's,our Hero's on the battle field, and those that have given their service to our country.

Have a Beautiful and Safe Memorial Day Weekend !
Here at Sweet Magnolias Farm we Salute our Men and Women in Service ..those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to secure our freedom and those who continue to secure it. We are so very grateful to you all !!!


Pictures via Pinterest from our "Old Glory Farm" board. 



Photobucket

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Good News For Flossie today ...

A "Little" Good News for my Flossie Girl. Since I asked for prayers for Flossie .. I wanted to make sure and keep you all up to date.. not just when things are tough but when we get the good news too.
Today we went in to have her PCV checked (blood percentage) and for the first time her percentage was up 2 points .. that's actually huge .. it means she is making blood for the first time even if it's super slowly. She made that in 3 days ..!

Also her reticulocytes ( baby red blood cells) are now at 90,000 .. not even near enough to what they need to be but so far away from where they were a week ago .. so we are taking all the little miracles we can get today. 

She's looking better and starting to act more normal again .. which is so good.
She still has quite a ways to go .. but the fact she's alive considering it was a 50/50 chance is really amazing.

Thank you all for your prayers and please continue to keep her in your prayers .. we have a ways to go .. and I hate to say it or think it but we are not out of the woods yet .. as they can relapse ..
Hugs and Blessings to you all !!!

Can't wait till she's looking as good as this photo that I took of her back in March...












Photobucket

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A 1yr update ~ it's been a Very Long Year !

~ A Very Very Long Year ~

 First off Hello to all those who have hung on and kept my blog on follow.
Secondly I'm so sorry for being away for so long and not updating you ..

It's a long read below for those of you who are interested in what happened to me the last year.
 If it's more than you are up to reading please know I understand !





It's been quite a year for us. 

Where to begin ... Last year 2015 in January we received on our doorstep a letter letting us know we had 60 days to move out of our rental home. Rewind before that and just a quick little reminder that we had been dealing with my dad's chronic anemia for 3 years and the Dr.s unable to find the reason for it. So when we received the note the best way to explain how we felt is "The bottom dropped out" for us. We had not planned on moving ..had no idea what we were going to do and no less all this in 60 days. For myself and my parents it was so very overwhelming. We lived in our rental home for 8yrs, so for us even though it wasn't ours financially it had become home for us. 

So we immediately began looking online at real estate seeing what was out there. Prices were way up no matter cost of homes and rents ..we couldn't find rent at the price we were paying everything was alot more. And if we bought a home we could do it but it would leave us virtually without anything in the bank to fall back on for emergency or cost's of upkeep on the house. So we decided it was time to leave the state of CA which had been something we had considered for several years but didn't act on because of my Dad's health. Now we really felt there was no choice.

Beginning of April we set out on the Road to begin our search first off in TX ..we had heard alot of good things about TX and thought it might be a good fit. I won't go into all the particulars from here on or this post would be a small novel. About 1 week after arriving in TX ... I noticed my dad looked very pale ..and mentioned this to my mom. She looked up a Blood Disorder Center to take him to, to get his blood level checked and he was vitually bloodless only at 5.6 .. for those of you who aren't familiar with those #'s ..that's about 1/3 to 1/4 of the blood he should have. So his anemia was bad ..his blood loss was great. So they sent us down to the local hospital for a blood transfusion ...and then a few weeks later an iron infusion and a few weeks later another iron infusion .. So much time passed we were not prepared for. Anyhow we decided that TX might not be the place for us due to their high cost of property taxes. Eveyone would tell us well TX doesn't have state tax ..and yes that is true but for my retiree parents and me being self -employed ..this didn't help ..my parents got refunds in the state of CA and I virtually paid little ....so it just didn't add up what the property taxes were coming too. 

So off to our old stomping grounds Springfield, MO... we got to Mo ...and sadly we screwed up .. we got there looked around loved it, but honestly couldn't get over our love of TX .. especially Me. So after a week we headed back to TX to see if we could make it work .. 

Long story short .. Dad became anemic again ...and mom had a jury duty notice that came in January that she asked for the delay in serving thinking everything would go smoothly and we would be in a house within a month after leaving. We called telling them of our situation and the girl told us there would be a warrant put out on my mom for not returning for Jury Duty .. so we were scared and didn't know what to do other than to return so she could serve and with my Dad's anemia growing worse again it looked like he needed to get back with a specialist so, what else to do than head back. The drive back to CA wasn't a good one alot of tears were shed.

Upon returning mom was called up to serve on a jury for 2 weeks ..dad went to his specialist who hesitantly took him back ... and found that he had a bleed but they didn't know where.

Fast Forward to today... After every test imaginable done to my dad ..they still cannot find the bleed that caused his anemia or still causes it leaving us with the life -long situation that we may never know and he just will have to watch his blood level and continue with iron infusions for life. But to get all those tests completed and then waiting inbetween them to see where blood levels were took months and months of just sitting and waiting. We considered just staying here in CA ..but over the summer and fall of last year rent costs sky rocketed along with house prices .. in fact my dad just talked to a couple yesterday who said they are trying to buy a house in our old neighborhood and the houses are getting multiple bids and they have yet to be able to get one for themselves. 

We decided 3 weeks ago .. that we were going to call ahead get a Dr. in MO for my dad and get on the road be there in 3 days ..and we had about 10 houses mapped on the internet we were interested in purchasing. I got everything in place for us to leave on a Sunday ... and Then ...

Thursday of that week .. Flossie my 3 yr old english springer spaniel ..quit eating and acted funny. Well I thought the flu and at 10 that night got a cold cloth for her belly to bring temp. down if she was feverish. Turned her over and she was yellow ( jaundice). Immediately I took her to the local Pet ER ... and she has been diagnosed with AIHA Auto Immnue Hemolytic Anemia... "Seriously this couldn't be" ..anemia we have dealt with that for 4 years with my dad and now my dog. Well AIHA is a bad disease ..and she was near death. Basicly the body starts seeing the red blood cells as enemies and kills them off ..sometimes there are reasons why and other times not and sometimes the reason is impossible to find.  We haven't found a reason for Flossies yet. She was in hospital for 5 days with 2 blood transfusions.. medication etc. She's been home now for 6 ..but is still in chronic condition with anemia. They basicly have to suppress the immune system to get it to stop attacking the red blood cells...and then hope that it will begin making it's own red blood cells again.  So we are waiting for her body to kick in but it's going very slowly and the Dr.s are growing concerned for her.  They are wanting to do a bone marrow procedure this week and I have a consultation tomorrow to go over all that entails before deciding on that being the right choice.




So our plans for leaving have been canceled for now. She isn't healthy enough to travel it literally could mean death for her..and it may be weeks before she is.  So we are once again in waiting mode. 

To say that this has been a trying and difficult year for us is an understatement and I have had to constantly remind myself when getting down, depressed, angry, sad, tears flowing, anxiety ridden that in the big scheme of things this is so small compared to what other people are going through in the world. At least I still have my Dad, Mom and Dog .. and we are blessed to have a place to stay that has really went above and beyond to accomodate us, financially it's been a struggle but God has provided, I have alot of good to be thankful for. It's just getting yourself to see the Good when you feel bad. But I'm doing better now.

It's been hard not having my business and work..   I have been blessed though and been able to work for several of my friends doing anything from photography, computer work, manual labor, design work, sewing projects with borrowed machines, and a housekeeping job at a wedding venue. I guess you can say I have been a jack of many trades this last year.

I am aching to get back to work creating and sewing and designing home goods ..my heart aches ..no yearns for it .. but in the Lord's good time... although I wouldn't be honest if I said that was hard to get to my heart and head some days. 

Our plan still stands the same as soon as Flossie is well enough ..we will be heading back to MO ..to make it our home ..and business will resume at that time. I only hope it's salvageable and that we can get started again even if slowly ..again that's all in God's hands. 

I'll try from now on to get some updates occasionally on here. I'm finally at a point of acceptance .."which has been a long road for me" ..that I feel comfortable sharing our journey this last year. I don't know why but when you're life is turned upside down and you don't have a quote normal living situation you begin to feel embarassed and ashamed as though the world is looking at you shaking it's finger in disdain. I know that's not true but your mind does tell you that. I'm passed that .. and now I'm onto what will be will be.. life's all about changes nothing never stays the same .. no truer words than those from an old Garth Brooks song from the 90's.

Keep us in your prayers ..and if you have a prayer request please share it with me I would love to pray for you too !



You can follow me on FB ... Here  I opened a little photography page "Sara Layne Photography" .. I'm an amateur learning ... I work shooting The Vintage Marketplace at Galway Downs, and then I just do some personal stuff. ....but it's an easy way to contact me if you want too. 

Sending you all ...


Photobucket