Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Week

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and it's probably different than any other we've ever experienced.  We hoped to make it home in time for the big day, but when you find tickets that enable your family of four to travel for about the price of one only on Thursdays, you fly on Thursday.  So we'll begin our Thanksgiving Day in Paris, lugging our suitcases packed to the brim with things we won't need for the next year to leave behind in Alabama.  It will be a long traveling day, but if we keep our grateful hearts, it will be fun.

the suitcase situation the night before we left England:  Yikes.
I had a moment yesterday when I felt a little sad we wouldn't be sitting around the table with our family on Thursday, a little sad that in the busy process of moving, we haven't practiced our November thanksgiving traditions as we have in years past.  But you can always start again where you are, and I asked Ella to draw some leaves in our "adventure book" where we record family adventures, and we all filled our leaf with things we were thankful for that day.  Playing Pokemon-Go with Parker was top of James's list.  Netflix and tissues made Ella's leaf because she's had a fever the past couple of days.  

already made an honorary uncle
Ella's fever has made it a very quiet and slow two days in Paris.  It's been very "normal life mode," which has been good.  K.J. has had meetings, I've been to the supermarket, and we even did schoolwork yesterday.  We are staying temporarily with a couple in the city, so it has been good to settle in and feel comfortable, so everyone knows what we're coming back to in January.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  Or, just happy Wednesday for those not celebrating Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Two Waterfalls

When you have a lot to do it seems natural to procrastinate over pictures a little bit, right?  Right.

My parents arrived off their overnight flight, and we set off on an outing almost immediately.  Cool air and waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales are a good remedy for lack of sleep.  It had rained most of the previous day, so Cauldron Falls in the village of West Burton was living well up to its name.

With my injured foot I couldn't walk on uneven ground, but there is a small car park here and a path to the waterfall, so it is easily accessible even when you're not in the best of health.  It's a quiet village, and the kids enjoyed a little play while my dad took pictures around the waterfall.  

K.J. did his research beforehand and took us to Hardraw Force located in the little hamlet of Hardraw.  It's the longest single-drop falls in England, and the fall color made it especially beautiful.  Make sure you wear your wellies.

There's also a beautiful church and a 13th century inn, The Green Dragon, near the entrance to this privately-owned waterfall.  It's just a short walk up a path to the falls.

It's a great place to visit if you find yourself in the Yorkshire Dales.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Tale of a Piece of Glass

Eleven years and three months ago, I was an 8-month pregnant 24-year-old who dropped a glass in our kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky.  I'm sure I picked up the big pieces, but instead of sweeping carefully in all the nooks and crannies to make sure every last piece of glass was off the floor, I took the lazy way out.  I pulled out our red Hoover and set it on hardwood floor mode and vacuumed the kitchen.  #Lazy before hashtags were a thing.

I woke up that night with a horrible leg cramp in my right leg that left me limping to the kitchen the next morning where my left foot found a piece of glass.  I think it went in pretty deep.  I cried and pulled it out and felt that my life was unfairly hard as I was now limping with one leg and walking on my toes with the other foot as I gingerly made my way down the hospital hallway to a breastfeeding class that night.  

The pain from the glass and the leg cramp soon went away and 10 years and 2 months passed by with me recalling that incident every now and again.  It was so painful that I never forgot it.  Last October I went too quickly down our carpeted stairs in sock feet, and I slipped, banging the arch of my foot into the bottom piece of wood on a chair at the foot of the stairs.  I had a little blood blister, and my arch was sore but felt better in a couple of days.  About 3 weeks later I started having a horrible stabbing pain in my left foot, and I saw a soft lump form.  The lump gradually went away.  I rested and iced my foot.  I thought maybe I'd pinched a nerve as well from using a rolling pin to massage my foot with Ella (who was doing that for some heel pain at the suggestion of the podiatrist). 

For 6 months I was aware that something wasn't quite right with the left arch, but the stabbing pains went away, and I wore good shoes all winter, so all was well until spring came.  I wear walking boots and house-shoes most of the time in North Yorkshire, so when the weather turned, bare feet, flip-flops, and flats felt so fun.  But the night before Easter my stabbing pain was back, and I was in tears Easter Sunday as each step felt like stepping on a knife.  I spent our Easter holiday get-away in Whitby sitting on the sidelines, icing my foot and taking ibuprofen.  I assumed that maybe all this pain was plantar fasciitis since it came in the wake of a lot of bad footwear choices.  For months, I iced and stretched and rested and iced and stretched some more.  I bought insoles.  I paid the most I've ever paid for running shoes with good support.  I missed out on family walks.  It would seem to get better, and then the pain would be really bad again.

Sitting at Robin Hood's Bay while the rest of my family played on the beach
Since our family vacation to Scotland at the end of August, it has been horrible.  I've missed walking around town, dropping by friend's houses, taking Ella on her birthday party outing.  September felt particularly discouraging, as after 6 months I was feeling like this was my life now.  

Trying not to let the crutches slow me down
One Wednesday night at our church gathering an army doctor friend examined my foot, and as I was pointing out where exactly the pain was we both felt a small bump.  He said he really thought it didn't sound like plantar fasciitis and looked up the name of a couple of orthopedic surgeons I could call.  It felt like such a lifeline.  Because I wasn't sure about the plantar fasciitis anymore either; I just knew I needed someone to look inside my foot and see what was going on and feeling that bump in the exact place of the pain felt like such a good starting point.  

We fast forward through the initial guess about what it could be, which still didn't have the nicest prognosis, to the ultrasound scan where the doctor and K.J. and I were both surprised to see that my plantar fascia looked absolutely fine.  There was just something there that shouldn't be, most likely a piece of glass.  

Are you kidding me?
Since having a piece of glass embedded in your foot isn't really the type of thing likely to happen without noticing, we really think it's from that broken glass in Kentucky all those years ago.  It's the only time I've stepped on glass, and it was embedded in my foot.  It obviously formed some kind of protective barrier that was dislodged when my foot hit the chair last year.  Ever since it has moved a bit, sometimes hitting all the most sensitive nerves in my foot causing reverberating pain when I put my weight on it.  It's so crazy that something so small, so normal, so routine, could have been the cause of such pain and frustration for so many months.  Yet, I am so overwhelmingly grateful that this is the case!  After living with chronic pain for 7 months, I'm a little hesitant to believe it's all over, but as long as the wound heals well, it should be a distant memory in another few months.  

Moral of the story?  Don't be lazy.  Sweep up your broken glass, or it might come back to haunt you. 

This morning I read Psalm 20-21, and this verse stands out as the cry of my heart this morning:  "You have given him his heart's desire and have not denied the request of his lips."   Here's to a future of walking and being so grateful for every step.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Beautiful October

October 1 - James's Zelda Birthday Party

October 2 - On the Road to Ella's Ballet Class

October 3 - Autumn-Inspired Lunch

October 4 - Wednesday Nights

October 5 - North Yorkshire Beauty

October 6 - Road Trip Stop

October 7 - Whitby Book Shop

October 8 - Apple Day at Beningbrough Hall

October 9 - Photographing #MyCozyFallHome

October 10 - First Selfie on my New Phone

October 11 - Loving the Autumn Sun

October 12 - Pink Sunrise

October 13 - Lovely Autumn Tree

October 14 - Trying to Fall-ify the Front Door

October 15 - A Beautiful Autumn Sunday

October 16 - Christmas Adverts

October 17 - Can't stop the orange soup

October 18 - The 99 Steps in Whitby, Acorns, and Candy Corn

October 19 - Last Book Club Meeting

October 20 - Waterfall Day with the Grandparents

October 21 - Flat Cap, Tea, and a North Yorkshire Landscape

October 22 - Clever Signs

October 23 - "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."

October 24 - The Best Builder

October 25 - Autumn Glow

October 26 - Hospital Appointment

October 27 - A Beautiful Last Night

October 28 - Post Airport Treat

October 29 - 4:15 p.m. after the time change

October 30 - Ripon

October 31 - New Pokemon Cards