Winter Paintings

6 Dec

We had a very early snow, both here in the Pacific Northwest as well as across the US. It put me in the mood for winter paintings. I completed these colorful snowy trees last month. Both of them include falling snow with a shining full moon.

“It’s Cold Outside” is an 8″x10″ original that features an old oak tree that fills the hillside behind my house.

It's Cold Outside 2

 

 

“Frozen Moonlight” is a 6″x8″ that features a tree that I look at out my front window. It too has snow falling around a winter bare tree. This one can come matted if you like. It is how I have it displayed in my house while it waits for a new home!

Frozen Moonlight Matted 2

Both are available in my Etsy Shop or you can click on the pictures to go directly to the listing!

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

1 Dec
2004

2004

10 years ago, I had been sick with M.E./CFS and FM for 3 years. Then I had an unrelated surgery a week before Thanksgiving. I was laid out on the couch while my husband took over the dinner preparation with the help of my girls. My son, only 10 at the time, came over to the couch to cheer me up. We spent a lot of time taking “selfies” and giggling and having fun.  It really helped me handle the process of letting go of making the dinner. It became a tradition and we have taken them every Thanksgiving since! (I’m sharing just a few throughout this post)

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I haven’t been in charge of making the Thanksgiving meal since that year (due to health). I’m so thankful for a husband who was willing to take over.

However, this year, one of my daughters offered to host it! She is a fabulous cook, and has been in charge of making the homemade crescent rolls for years. This year, she added the turkey and fixin’s! It was the juiciest, most mouthwatering turkey you can imagine! I am so thankful she was willing to serve us by cooking, hosting and cleaning!

2008

2008

Last week, on Saturday afternoon, 6 days before Thanksgiving, I got a migraine. In general, when I get a migraine, I have them for 3 – 9 days. It’s not just a headache. It causes aura’s , uncontrollable sleepiness, nausea, and all kinds of neurological symptoms. On Wednesday,  I was exhausted and wondering how I would even enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving with the family. Thursday morning, I woke up with no sign of a migraine. I held my breath all day, but I haven’t had one since. I am so thankful for a migraine free Thanksgiving with the family!

In September our son moved to Maui for a year long intern position and wasn’t going to be able to come home for Thanksgiving. I knew it would happen eventually… kids grow up! But I didn’t realize how much I would miss him!2010

2010

2010

I packed up a box of goodies to help him feel like he had a little bit of “home” with him on Thanksgiving. I baked some cranberry bread and made chex mix. I put in a Christmas ornament (that’s been a Thanksgiving tradition in our family) and the Kenny G CD we always play during Thanksgiving dinner. I added a little package of “Russian Tea” (a hot drink we enjoy in the winter, but I thought maybe he could enjoy it cold in Maui). And then I packed LOTS of fudge in every crevice I could fit it in. I topped it off with a bag full of “thankfulness notes” the whole family wrote (another family tradition). It was a nice full heavy box. I am so thankful the box got there just when he was out of food and in time for Thanksgiving.

2011

2011

We agreed to connect with him on Skype. I took my computer to Ellen’s house, and we texted throughout the morning. Hope Chapel was having a family Thanksgiving dinner at the church, and Chris told me there was another meal later in the day for the young adults. (Free food is always a bonus for interns!) So I knew he would be well fed, but it was still going to be very hard for all of us to have him so far away. I am so thankful for texts and skype that keep us close, and for my new ipod that allows me to see his adventures on instagram and “snap chat” with all of my grown kids!

Chris asked, in text, if I would let him know when his other sister and her husband had arrived, so we could have some time skyping with the family. As we were waiting for them to arrive, my husband and I both got this text from Chris…“Distance is relative to the time it takes to get on a plane”. We were both confused. We figured it was a quote from a movie or a book… and we knew he must be really sad not to be with the family. We were really really sad he wasn’t there.

2012

2012

2012

2012

As we both were trying to figure out what to text back, he sent this text… “Seriously though, it’s really cold can you let me in?”

My heart jumped. The dogs barked. The front door opened… and THERE HE WAS!!! I seriously, started crying!!

As an airline employee, he had been able to get free flight home and had actually been on an airplane all night on his way to surprise us! It was the BEST surprise ever!!!

I am SO thankful our family was ALL together on Thanksgiving!

2011

2011

He had to head back Friday morning, but, oh what a wonderful day we had! The only hard part was that we lost one of our family members a few months ago. Hampton, our son-in-laws dear sweet golden retriever always joined us on holidays. It did feel a little empty without her big wagging tail and smiling eyes. But I’m so thankful God has helped them thru their grief and we will all be able to welcome and embrace a new golden pup into our family when the time is right.

Right after the tears

Right after the tears

I’m not sure I can remember a better Thanksgiving. So many things to be thankful for. I thank and praise my God who makes all good things for bringing so many blessings into my life… all in one day!

2014

2014

Now… on to Christmas! Yay! I love Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

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Cyber Monday Sale

30 Nov

Cyber Monday Sale

Forever Adapting

3 Nov

Once again, I am working on adapting to my current level of functionality, which is pretty low. During my stay in the hospital this summer (when I had my appendix out), I discovered shower head style that made showering even easier.

I’ve shared before that taking a shower is challenging. It takes so much energy and usually wipes me out for the rest of the day. I have a shower bench, but there was still a lot of standing and holding my arms up above my head. This is not a good combination with POTS.

I purchased this new shower head at Lowe’s. It was fairly easy for my husband to install and didn’t require any plumbing changes.

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There is a switch that can change the water flow from one to the other shower head, or to come through both. The lower shower head can be turned down fully horizontal which sits right over my head when I’m sitting on my shower stool. I barely have to rase my arms to wash and rinse my hair and I can stay sitting the whole time.  And I can step in and take a quick 2 minute shower without getting my hair wet if I want to. At the same time, my husband still has a normal shower as well. This has been a great adjustment.

I am really in a mindset, now, that I always need to be adapting. Rather than focusing on the things I’ve lost, when a door begins to close for me, I begin seeking for an alternative or how I can adapt myself or my environment to betters suit the situation. I really believe it is one of the keys to, not just surviving, but thriving in the midst of this devastating illness.

If you, too, work to adapt to your limitations, please feel free to share the best changes you’ve made so far in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

Kreativ Blogger Award - Seven Things I Love

Bright and Cheery Kitchen Wall Decor

2 Nov

Before we get too far into winter, I want to share with you, this end of summer harvest painting. I call it “Handful Harvest”.

 

"Handful Harvest" original 8x10  watercolor © Melanie Pruitt 2014

“Handful Harvest” original 8×10 watercolor © Melanie Pruitt 2014

 

My neighbor grows a fun summer garden in the space between our driveways. One day I was harvesting a bunch of cherry tomatoes and when I looked down at the beautiful handful, I knew it would make a great painting! It’s so bright and cheery, I can really see it making great wall decor for a kitchen!

Close-up

Close-up

Close-up

This painting was chosen by EBSQ as the Art of the Day on Oct 8! If you enjoy art, you can sign up for the Art of the Day emails. You get to see a lot of great art that way!

It’s also for sale in my ETSY shop. Do you know someone who might enjoy it as a christmas present? There’s plenty of time to get it matted and framed before Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by!

Kreativ Blogger Award - Seven Things I Love

Synergy Trial

17 Oct

Finally! The first ever double blind placebo-controlled FDA approved treatment trial for ME/CFS is in full swing! And I got to be a part of it!

This trial is a combo of nutritional supplement and a very low dose of Ritalin. I’ve been down the road of stimulants early in my illness. They did really bad things for me and really messed up my ANS. It was acknowledged that stimulants haven’t been good for ME/CFS, but the theory here was that the supplement worked in conjunction with the low dose of Ritalin to help it have a different effect.

I was a bit skeptical, due to my past experience, but at the same time, my brain function has been so low lately, that I had a hope that it would at least help that! And what a great thing to be a part of this study – even if it didn’t work for me.

 

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After the first appointment

 

This is me on the first day of the study. When you have POTS, laying down is the thing you do :-) Plus I caught some nice sunshine!

I am 99% sure I was on the real medication all summer due to some significant side effects. Though it was very difficult, I stuck with it to the end. I had headaches the first few weeks. Throughout the 3 months I had a lot of heart palpitations, tachycardia, chest pain, and difficulty sleeping.

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After the last appointment

When the 3 months was up, I was anxious to get off the medication. Unfortunately, I had a horrible 5 days of withdrawal. It irritated me a bit that they had not warned me or taken this possibility into consideration in development of the study.

But I made it through and coming out on the other side, I can tell I feel much better off the medication than I felt all summer on it.

They said they’ve had some good response to this treatment, but I didn’t. Disappointing? Yes, but I’m still proud I was able to be a part of this study. Let’s hope there are many more to come and this trial will help my doctors understand my body and illness a little more. But…No more stimulants for me… ever!

 

Pairing up Pears

4 Oct
© Melanie Pruitt 2014

© Melanie Pruitt 2014

 

EBSQ is a website that was developed for self-representing artists. We can create a full portfolio, sell artwork, connect with other artists and enter monthly exhibits. But it’s not just a website for artists! It’s for everyone who loves art! For many years, I had a patron account and received the daily art emails. You can check out my artist profile HERE

One of the July exhibit’s was titled “Ripped Off”. It’s a yearly exhibit where we pair up with another EBSQ artist, and use one of their artworks as a springboard for something new that we create. I’ve never joined this exhibit before.

But this year, I finally felt like I’d found my own voice in my paintings, so I decided it was time to tackle this challenge. I contacted a friend and fellow artist name Torrie Smiley . You can follow her on FB here. She does some wonderful artwork and I especially admire her many paintings of pears.

She gave me permission to use her pears as a springboard for my own painting. And this is what I created! You can see it on EBSQ here or on Etsy here.

And be sure to visit Torrie’s pages too… she’s an awesome artist!

He lifts up my head

27 Jul

When my heart is heavy…when I’m tired of fighting to live well…when my body is riddled with weakness and pain and illness… I remember that Jesus is my hope. He is creating me into something beautiful.

The journey is hard. I sag under the pressure of it. But he lifts up my head.

“My soul cries out
My soul cries out for you

These bones cry out
These dry bones cry for you
To live and move
‘Cause only You can raise the dead
Can lift my head up

My soul cries out
My soul cries out for you

Jesus, You’re the one who saves us
Constantly creates us into something new
Jesus, surely you will finds us
Surely our Messiah will make all things new
Will make all things new”

by Gungor from the album “Beautiful Things”

Summer SALE at The Creators Palette

20 Jun

SUMMER SALE

Get 20% OFF thru July 31

Use code SUMMER20 at checkout

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To help pay off the bills for my appendectomy, I’m having a summer sale in my Etsy shop! You can get 20% off any purchase just by using the code SUMMER20 at checkout. Please tweet this out, share it on Facebook, tell all your friends! Summer is often the time that many of us like to redecorate our homes, or decorate our summer cabins/cottages. I have original paintings, photography and prints for sale. Click on the picture above to visit my Etsy shop! (this is just a screen shot of the front page. Many more paintings are available)

Do I look thinner?

19 Jun

10322668_958841114145342_7706456168068472696_nYep! That’s right! I had my appendix out a couple weeks ago!

I was having stomach pain – which I always attribute to my gastroparesis. It eased up and then got bad, then eased up again. Then, on Wednesday, it got really bad. I took something for the pain, and hoped I could sleep. I didn’t. It was a horrible night with severe pain and nausea. But the pain felt like it was right around my belly button. I figured I was having a severe gastroparesis attack.

But then, at 3:00 in the morning, I felt like I was running a fever. The pain meds hadn’t helped at all. So I got up and took my temperature. I had a fever.

A fever is not part of my normal GP issues. So I sat down in the living room, opened my computer, and tried looking up my symptoms. I figured it might an intestinal infection or a real bowel obstruction (they call my bad GP flares a pseudo obstruction) or maybe an appendix (but the pain seemed like it was in the wrong place for that). By 4 AM I knew I was going to have to get to the ER. But Bill was sleeping so peacefully, and I hate the ER so I decided to try to wait it out a bit longer.

At 6 AM, I was in such bad pain I couldn’t take it anymore. Bill stirred, and so I quietly said, “Honey, I think we’re going to need to head to the ER”. Instantly he was wide awake.

We started getting ready and debated whether I should try to see the GI doc or go straight to the ER. But I was in such pain, that I knew if I went straight to the ER they would get me on some real pain medication much quicker than if I went through the doctor channels. So I packed a bag thinking I might be looking at 4-5 days dealing with a severe shutdown of my stomach. I had a horrible time bending down, it hurt so bad. I was dizzy and sick to my stomach. Every bump we hit on the road hurt. We were just past the bumpiest part of our street, when I realized I forgot my ID. So back over the bumps, bill got my purse, and back over the bumps again. UGH!

We picked a great time to arrive, because there were only 2 other people in the ER so everything moved pretty quickly. But it wasn’t until the doctor started pressing on my stomach that I really suspected the appendix. The moment he pressed on my lower right abdomen, I knew. It really hurt! But I’m not a screamer, so I don’t think the doctor noticed.

They sent me for a CT scan and then came the waiting game. Finally, he came back and said that, to his surprise, I had a very inflamed appendix!

Now, here’s the thing that only my ME/CFS friends can probably understand. I felt a huge wave of relief!! I had something hundreds of normal people get and it can be fixed! Diagnosed and fixed within 24hrs! That is SO cool!!

I was treated so well by every staff member I came in contact with. I was able to share about ME/CFS and the current scientific understanding as well as the problems and stigmas, with several nurses, a nurse about to take his exams, and several doctors!

I discussed some of the issues of anesthesia for people with ME/CFS and for those with excessive mast cell activation with the doctor prior to surgery, and he apparently did a great job, because I did fantastic. Yeah, it hurt, but I came out of the surgery great, and I’ve healed well. We’re now 3 weeks out from my surgery and I am just about back to what I was pre-surgery.

Unfortunately, that’s not real great. It’s been a long hard winter, with very little relief from ME/CFS. I’ve had some challenging days and even had to go back and read my own words about the value of my days, and persevering on.

But as emergency procedures go? It’s was as good as it could be. And it’s fixed!! IT’S FIXED! Hahaha…. HOORAY!

 

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