God's Canvas

God's Canvas
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.~~John 15:13

Thursday, March 31, 2011

We make plans...and God just laughs...

I have often said that we make plans and God just laughs. Although I have few followers, there are those who are faithful to continue checking now and then to see if my blog has been updated since...swallow...July of 2010, as I squint my eyes, bunch up my shoulders and let a a huge "sigh!" So much has happened since that time and not much of it has to do with quilting, sewing, knitting and/or crocheting. I am therefore hesitant to share all of the details, for I know you do not visit my blog to read tales of woe, but to be enlightened, to be shown something pretty, and perhaps to maybe...someday... see a free pattern!   I had such designs for the coming fall and winter, especially Christmas, for making this a better blog, but I guess the Lord had other things on the agenda. I will do my best to make you want to return again to read future updates.

There were things on my horizon in July of 2010 that I knew of, but there were also things I didn't see coming. Those are always the things that I believe shape our lives into what they truly are, not always what we would want them to be. When I last posted, I was preparing to undergo a total knee joint replacement in early September, which was very successful but sometimes challenging. The Lord was so precious to me in that He did not allow great pain and suffering, nor did it take me long to get back up on both feet and proceed on with life. I did, however, require much more physical therapy than anticipated and this continued into January of 2011. The first six weeks involved home physical therapy with a wonderful lady whom I miss a great deal. It looks like I'll see her again soon, though, because I'm facing another surgery on my left foot. More--and I promise only a little more--on that later.

On November 13, 2010, it was to our shock and heartbreak that we found our 21-year-old parrot, Quillie, perched and bleeding in his cage. He apparently had caught his foot in something, which we've never been able to determine, and ripped his foot open causing him to lose the toes of his right foot. He was hospitalized for three weeks until early December, as well as intermittently since then several times for a week at a time. His complications have included an infection, which has been quite daunting, in his only good foot, for which he is STILL undergoing treatment. For three solid weeks, I went to see him every day for 100 miles round-trip each time. As many of you know, we live in a remote area of southeast Georgia and most amenities require driving great distances. Those who do not live with parrots do not often know how very relational they are. In their hour of need, they can require the same attention as a two-year-old child on a perpetual basis without demanding a thing other than the most basic of needs, such as eating and being kept clean. Still, this requirement leans heavily on their "person" and the stress can be tough.

Quillie hatched in my hand the day he was born, and I was blessed to be able to hand-feed him into his adult life. He has moved with me from Virginia and made a wonderful transition into life in Georgia. He accepted my husband as his "daddy," although it took him a few months, and seems to be the apple of everyone's eye to include those at the Exotic Bird Hospital in Jacksonville, FL. In fact, I was beginning to feel a little nervous in leaving him there much longer as an in-patient for fear he would be "adopted" by one of the veterinary staff on board! Quillie is quite the celebrity there. He does have a way of wrapping those little "toes" around your heart, I must admit.
Quillie just three days prior to November 13, 2010
As evident, he is a gorgeous little guy and I can tell you that he remains to this day as happy as...well...a lark! While he was found in shock and had nearly bled to death, he recovered enough in just three days after we prayed and trusted the Lord for his life, to the point where he was responding to us by dancing and chirping. It was not our desire to see him suffer, nor did we wish him to have any less a quality of life than he had lived his 20 years leading up to that fateful date. The vets kept assuring us that Quillie would be none the worse for the wear and that he would adapt to and adopt his new way of life as though nothing had happened. They were right! Quillie required about a week and a half of recovery before surgery could be done to remove the already necrotic toes of his right foot. He tolerated the surgery quite well and we visited him faithfully, finding him improved a little each time as we prayed and trusted God with his life.

Quillie post surgery
Quillie wore an Elizabethan collar for several weeks after the injury for fear he would chew at his surgical site. When the collar was finally removed and he was allowed freedom, he showed no signs of chewing at his wounds and was released home to us. We took him back for several post-op visits and he was seemingly fine.

On Valentine's Day 2011, we awoke to blood spattered all over his cage. Again, the fear that gripped our hearts was gargantuan! We rushed him in to see the vet. Come to find out, the blood was coming from his "good" foot where he had knocked the callous off the foot while climbing all over his cage. Further examination revealed a very bad infection in the foot. Back to square one. He has been on antibiotics since then, three of them oral, and one intramuscular--yes--that's two shots daily into his breast muscle. What an amazing trooper he has been! He is now down to one oral antibiotic and several other medications for inflammation and pain, and maintainence of his good blood count (at least the red blood cells for now are good). We are looking forward to another full recovery for Quillie and pray that God will restore a quality of life to him that will render him a happy little guy once more!

Quillie being hand-fed his favorite formula!
We have trusted the Lord with him thus far, and we'll continue to do the same until such time as Quillie is fully healed and leading a happy and normal life. Many of my blog readers and friends, family, etc., have prayed for Quillie and us as we've walked this path, and we are eternally grateful to all of you for it! God bless you!

As you can imagine, Christmas was a solemn time for us and we just sort of stayed close to home and praised the Lord for His birth and for the re-birth of our little bird. I did make one thing I adored and enjoyed very much for our Christmas tree. I try to make a hand-made ornament every year for our tree.  I crocheted a sweater and made a hanger for it as well.

As far as other needlework is concerned, I am honing up on my knitting skills a little more this year, while trying to meet the requests of those who have asked for things to be made for Easter, or just in general. I knit a lot of dishcloths for our church basket ministry and try to sew a few things here and there for that as well. I have studied, whenever possible, Elizabeth Zimmerman's teachings and writings and also received a gorgeous set of knitting needles that are interchangeable for Christmas! What a delight to never have to worry about going to Michael's in Jacksonville or on line for every knitting project. I have the perfect size needles at my fingertips! I also decided to try and spin my own yarn, so this year I received a beautiful spindle with which I have managed to muddle through some Alpaca wool. I haven't yet plied the yarn, and that's the next step. I haven't really had adequate time to sit and do this properly, so I'm not really investing in the time as I would like to right now. I have too many other priorities at the present time to pursue this as thoroughly as I'd like.

Two commission scarves and the spindle (right)

I had been working on three commissioned scarves (two are above) when Quillie first had his accident, which really slowed me down, but I finally finished them. The one on the far left has pompoms for "fringe" and the middle scarf was made with the Noro yarn that I fell in love with. The spindle is to the far right and there's a little Alpaca wool to the right of the spindle. I think I will find spinning as comforting as knitting...no doubt!

My other projects have been few, but I have a few photos of them. My sister asked me to make a sweater set for a little baby girl (left). I also about that time finished up a little purple dress for our basket ministry.

I did manage to get a few other miscellaneous items done in the meantime, most of them crocheted.

Baby boy ensemble

Baby girl bootie
I am going to be having major foot surgery soon and will be non-weight bearing for a minimum of three months. I dread this, but it must be done or I may not be walking much longer. This is why I have done so many small projects and no quilting. I cannot stand to bear weight for long periods of time. I am praying that I will be able to quilt again in the coming years, for I miss it dearly!

I do have a few projects to finish on commission and then I plan on knitting a pair of socks. I've located a lovely lady through a website called http://www.betterfly.com/ which helps connect people looking for help in several areas to include knitting, crocheting, or even piano lessons, etc.  I highly recommend it to you! It is very user-friendly. You simply type in your interest(s), and then your zipcode, and...voila!...you are in touch with those in close proximity to you having those skills.   If only birdie toes were available on that site...I would surely conjure up a pair for my Quillie!