Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Foolhardy choices make for difficult days, but still there's beauty...

A 48-hour migraine this past weekend literally took my breath away, leaving me exhausted physically and mentally when it finally subsided early Monday morning. It was all my own fault as I ate some orange in fruit salad two days in a row at the end of last week, and apart from our seasonal hot/humid/cloudy weather patterns which cause most of my pain issues, oranges are the worst of all my migraine triggers. Silly me. I love oranges, but from childhood they have not liked me, and there is always a price to pay.

I thought I'd just indulge the once when adding half an orange to our Thursday morning fruit salad breakfast, but tempted by my tastebuds and ignoring the twitch which had developed in my right eye, Friday mornings fruity bowl also contained a half orange. I knew my head would take me on a path I'd rather not follow, but was fairly sure it would only last 8-10 hours...but this time it reached new heights. So much so that I have no more desire to ever eat an orange. Only took me five decades.

Just before the sun set on Sunday evening I walked around the garden with my camera to capture some beauty, some aspects of gratitude, some miracles that had almost perished over our very long summer, and others which began as tiny seeds. Away from the glare of sunlight which was too much for my head and eyes even as the migraine began to wind down, I was able to appreciate those small pops of colour, the lush green of new life - and to see the results of my husband's diligent work to bring abundance to what was once a rather barren quarter acre.

Lately my sweet man has been spending extra hours after work building raised garden beds from discarded wooden palettes a local firm were happy for him to take away. So far the completed beds are growing burgundy beans, cucumbers, zucchini and chocolate capsicum, with two more ready to be filled with new seedlings later in the week.

He also surprised me with this flower and herb planter which leans against the fence beside the vibrant pink bougainvillea. I was so happy because this is something I've wanted for a very long time...

It's now filled with zinnias and verbena and scattered rocket, coriander, lettuce and chamomile seeds between. So far things are thriving and I pray everything continues to flourish now that the late autumn heat has cooled to an average of 29 C (85 F) every day.

I have planted a lot of coriander around the garden because along with parsley, chives and basil it is our most used herb. Finally the seeds have sprouted and soon we'll not have to buy it at the grocers.

One of spots where baby rocket has made an appearance...

...and a new lot of basil sprouted from last year's seeds will soon be planted out into the garden beds.

In the front yard we have five large Kent pumpkins on the self seeded vine with more appearing every few days. You know, it's been my dream to grow pumpkins for around 30 years now...and finally that dream has come true. It was joy to hand pollinate (thank you to those ladies who shared this technique) because even though we have a lot of bees in the morning primrose bush nearby I wanted to be sure of reaping my first pumpkin harvest.

Finding beauty amidst the pain truly nourished my soul, and as the last of this pain drifted away on Monday morning it was to reading the Bible that my thoughts returned, most especially to the psalms which I sat quietly and read for a long while after my beloved went to work.

"I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure."
(Psalm 16:7-9)

I'm sure there will be more times in the future when my own actions will again result in consequences I'd rather not experience, but perhaps not as often? I pray for the Holy Spirit to keep teaching me, to keep refining my character, to nudge me harder when I lean away from what I know is right.

About an hour before I began to write this post my right eye began to twitch again and I can feel a new tightening behind both eyes, a sure sign the migraine is not really gone but was just slumbering for a while...so I'm going to take a break from the blog for the rest of the week and let my body rest and restore with simple meals, lots of water and chamomile tea. It really has been an extra long summer...September to May...and I'm not so young anymore. Recoveries take a little bit longer these days and that's a good thing I imagine. For in the quiet restorative seasons the still small voice of God is just a tad more distinct.

Loving hugs


  1. Hi Jenny. Thanks for this post even though you are feeling lousy. I pray your head heals quickly now. Take care and drink lots of water

  2. Rest up my darling ! And no more oranges. EVER

  3. I can understand the desire for forbidden fruit. A citrus allergy means I can no longer enjoy what was once my favourite fruit - mandarins. Our self seeded pumpkin plant (also a Kent) has just one pumpkin on it which is very slowly getting larger. The planter looks great!

  4. I bless you in the name of Jesus, that you will continue to embrace his sweet love & companionship during those moments of feeling poorly. Nothing affects the whole body more than a migraine & I pray you will soon feel restored & refreshed. Thank you for your beautiful photos, your garden is a huge transformation now since you bought your home & I do hope you realise that you & your husband are such encouragers to all who read your posts. So thank you and get well soon Jenny xx

  5. Thank you for sharing your insight and the Bible verse and the beautiful pictures. Here where I am it is trying to be Spring and the temps keep going up and down causing much physical pain to this older body. We had snow, 65 degree day after the snow and lots of rain, too much rain. This weather pattern causes my daughter migraines and I pray for you both for healing. Janice

  6. Je vous souhaite surtout que la migraine vous laisse en paix .
    Merci pour vos belles photos et grand bravo à votre homme , c'est un artiste .
    Françoise de France

  7. Dear Jenny. I always appreciate your beautiful thoughts and the wonderful photos that bring me closer to you and your beautiful land, despite being in the other part of the world. I am very sorry for your migraines, I understand what it is because I suffered them for more than 40 years, all my fertile life. Thank God they only visit me a few times a year now. I am praying for you and your dear family. Thank you for sharing your precious granddaughters. May God bless your home. A brotherly kiss from Barcelona.

  8. Hi Jenny,
    Cool ! the leaning flower and herb planter! What a great idea! and easy on the back!
    Listening to your own body when it's giving/showing you signs and signals is hard to learn and do when there is so much we would rather be doing. Enjoy a tranquil week at home.

  9. Jenny My prayers are with you. I understand how chronic pain can really put a wrench in your life. I fight with it as well and weather and food also play a part. Please take time to rest and retreat and let God heal and restore you.

  10. Hi Jenny. We all do it at times. Eat things that cause us upset. Who would have thought that some types of foods could cause pain? I react to almonds, of all things. Goes straight to my joints! Hope it passes out of your system soon.
    Your little planter is cute. Good job, Mr. E! Your husband is multi-talented. You have to love that.
    I love those little Marigolds. I use to plant those years ago. They have a lot of seeds at the end of season. Rabbits love them, though. One time a rabbit ate all the blooms off of them. They came in thicker! Beautiful flower bed.
    Rest is good for recovery. We do slow down as we get older. Well, at least I sure have. But, I stopped fighting it. I just decided that slow has its benefits, too. Sometimes we can notice more, appreciate more as we slow things down.
    God is always good to us. Loves us at all times. I lean on that Scripture, "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4.
    Be well, Jenny. God bless.

  11. so sorry to hear you are having such a horrible migraine. I will pray for it to cease. Mr.E did a fabulous job on the planter. I know you are loving it.

  12. There's always consequences - mine problem child is chocolate - and yet, I persist. Praying for your head, dear Jenny-girl. Your garden is SO lovely. Praying for a week of rest, refreshment, and an end to the pain.....love you girl.

  13. Your garden is beautiful and that pumpkin is already huge. I'm guessing it will be a white one and ready soon. I always forget it's fall for you. We all have our 'downfalls' and mine is sugar. The joints swell and ache with too much of the sweet stuff. When snacking, I reach for celery, carrots, sweet peppers and pure almond butter. Definitely not my first choice but it keeps me feeling well. Occasionally, I succumb and have an ice cream and hope I don't have to pay for it later with health troubles. Have a very blessed and safe day. Patty McDonald

  14. As a fellow allergy sufferer, my empathy and sympathy to you!! Migraines are awful...on of our kids had them a lot. One of my siblings and my husband's mom had them, so I guess they kind of run in families. I have had a few in my life. But not for some time. Avoiding problem foods is tough...I have over 50 food allergies that I know about as well as 50+ inhalents. I was able decades ago to undergo allergy shots which surely made most of the inhalent issues go away. But with food all we can do is avoid things. I had a bad reaction a couple weeks ago...so hurried to take Benedryl. Aw, lovely relief within 20 minutes or so...and then of course, a long nap. Yea, you can stay awake but you are so relaxed and wanting sleep then!! The amazing part was 8 hours later I realized that my injured knee of 18 years which is always swollen and sometimes painful, was better...the next day ALL PAIN and swelling was gone. That has been several weeks now and my knee appears normal which it has not for years. I am not sure HOW the Benedryl did that...but you can bet if the pain and swelling return, I will take a Benedryl capsule again!! I do take a lot of vitamins and minerals and some herbs daily too...magnesium is awfully good for some problems. I hope you have found a few things in vitamins and minerals that help you!! One of my worst allergies is lettuce...the last time I ate it was over 25 years ago and I do not have the slightest desire to have it again...I well understand how you feel about oranges now. Sending hugs!!

  15. Oh Jenny - I do hope that migraine disappears very soon my friend. How nasty for you & so debilitating. Your husband is such a clever man - that tiered planter is fantastic. xx

  16. Thank you for the lovely post Jenny ... in spite of your migraine. Your garden is looking wonderful and the planter is fantastic. Might have to get Paul to make me a similar one ... so much easier gardening where you don't have to kneel on the ground! Such healthy little seedlings - they all look magnificent. I have a few leafy veg in polystyrene containers on the front verandah and we are looking into buying a veg trug to put out there as well ... some have wicking beds and a shade cover - pretty expensive though. We are still on level 1 water restrictions and have lovely sunny days, cool nights and mornings ... beautiful weather for gardening. Couldn't cope with your 29oC! Can empathise over you wanting to eat a favourite fruit ... have had reactions to gluten (nothing like as bad as a migraine) and now nothing would entice me to eat anything at all which has gluten in it ... really hate being unwell. Take care and hopefully your migraine has eased by now. I'll picture you in your happy place in the garden with all your beautiful bird friends. Hugs, Margaret xxx

  17. Hi Jenny, praying for you to feel better soon. Thanks for sharing your garden. I love that herb planter.

    Here in New Jersey, most everything is still shut down. I am working part time filling orders for curbside pick up. We wear masks and sanitize the things we share (computer, phone, etc.)

    Take good care💞

  18. I'm sorry you had that reaction. There is something I'm allergic to, though it doesn't give me those terrible migraines, it just makes my throat itch until I want to scratch it out - two things, actually, but one I can resist, and the other I just eat once in a while knowing I'm going to have a reaction, but feeling that it's worth it. If I were going to have a 48-hour migraine, I might not do it. Or I might. =) I'm stubborn that way. Your yard is looking absolutely beautiful, and I love the fact that you have what we call here opportunity pumpkins! Though you did have to work a little for them. What a blessing! Your herbs are looking beautiful, too. It's a little amusing that you and I can plant the same things at the same time. I didn't plant much this year, though. One pot of orange bell peppers, one pot of cherry tomatoes, and my rosemary that came back for the third year - hurray. Your weather sounds perfect, as long as it isn't too humid. I'd like about 37 with 10% humidity, please. =)

  19. I love oranges too (and several other things that cause acid reflux). It's not fun having to cut those things out of my diet. Hope you have a better week.

  20. Your garden is so lovely, I already took a walk around mine after the 3 inches of rain yesterday. So freshly washed plants.
    I have one food I cannot tolerate. Milk intolearnce is so hard as it often is an ingreadiant in foods you buy. And I love things like cheese. Lactaid does help some but I still bloat and cramp so I avoid milk. Cooking more at home has helped with the stay at home orders we have during this pandemic. I can cook with out milk. Or use almond milk.

  21. Lovee the flower planter ,am going to show my hubby who has just retired!Psalm16.Thanks Jenny xx

  22. Lovely garden. Wow so sorry for the headache. Oranges set you off you definitely need to avoid.
    Stay healthy.

  23. So sorry that you haven't been feeling well. Glad that you're doing better. Will pray for quick healing. I love seeing your little corner of the world. The garden and flowers are lovely. I especially love the tropical birds that live in your part of the country. We live in a city neighborhood and mostly see robins, crows, squirrels and geese flying overhead. But it is home and I'm glad to have it.
    Get some rest and take care of yourself.

  24. I love that planter Jenny! Lots of lovely growth in your garden - I hope you feel better soon. xx

  25. Dear Jenny, I hope you are feeling better. I knew someone that any citrus caused violent migraines. For me it is anything with artificial sweetener and it took a while to figure out. And they re hidden everywhere. Also I have foods I just should not eat and the temptation often gets me. I am working on overcoming these but it is hard.
    I love your garden and your new herb planter! And all you have been planting and doing .... With much love, Annabel.xxx

  26. Jenny, that herb planter is just fantastic. You have a very clever hubby but you already knew that didn't you 😀 I do hope the migraine eases up. I have just been with a friend who is getting them...probably from stress...and I was telling her about yours. How to manage to cope with them is inspiring. Have a restful weekend with your hubby and let's pray that the coming week is a better one for you.

  27. Dear Jenny: As always you are so generous with us today I have thought of you while eating with my mother a very simple dish that my grandmother already made: chickpeas with Swiss chard.
    For two people, 400 grams of cooked chickpeas and a large bunch of chard, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive or sunflower oil and a teaspoon of paprika. Cook the chopped clean chard in salted water. Not too much water, there should be enough so that when adding the chickpeas and cooking 10 minutes it does not dry. Heat the oil in a frying pan and when it is hot, sauté the garlic, separate it from the heat and add the paprica, moving it so that it does not burn. It is added to the cooked chard along with the drained chickpeas. Cook everything together for 5 or 10 minutes so that the flavors mix well and READY! Bon Appetite!!

    1. Thank you Belra! :-)
      We cannot get chard where I live - is there are green substitute that would work?

    2. Hello Jenny
      You can perfectly substitute chard for spinach, borage or any other green leafy vegetable. In Catalonia it is typical to make this dish with spinach, but my grandmother always made it with Swiss chard and, on occasions, adding chopped hard-boiled eggs. I hope you enjoy it.

    3. Thank you - we use spinach a lot, so that will be a wonderful substitute. :-)

  28. Jenny - thank you for such a lovely, thoughtful post, even in the midst of your pain. Migraines are no fun. Thankfully I do not experience them often, but my sister and my daughter are often victims. I think we all occasionally make poor choices and suffer the consequences. Part of life is learning the better way, I suppose. Your garden is lovely. We live in Florida, so I can understand the effects of a long, hot summer, although ours are seldom dry. This has been the most mild spring we've had in many years (even as those to the north of us experience snow - in May!) so enjoyable for me. Our summers usually go May to October, so I'm thankful for a bit of a respite in this very strange quarantine year. Take care. Your beautiful flowers and sweet Psalms were just what I needed today. God bless.

  29. I particularly love the herb planter that your hubby has made. He is rather handy like my dad and brother. Soooo sorry to hear about your migraine. I hope you have enjoyed the weekend migraine free.

  30. I hate migraines. No fun. Hopefully our grocery bill won't go crazy since we now have a whole cow and pig all butchered and in the freezer along with veggies growing in the garden.
    Have you ever tried drinking gatorade when the migraine hits? I read recently they give some relief. Haven't tried yet. My migraines were always hormone or stress related. Take care

  31. I'm so sorry for what you have to endure, just from an orange! I cannot imagine. I've had one migraine in my entire life (due to pregnancy), and think I have only a tiny inkling of what you go through. Still, it's a joy to see your garden and how it's beginning to thrive. Your flower and herb tower is wonderful! Your husband is very talented, and productive. I admire that he could turn those discarded crates into raised beds. I hope by now you're feeling much better, and will soon be enjoy all the delicious fruit of your labors.


It's always nice to receive feedback on a blog post, so *thank you* for taking time to comment!
I will try to reply via email unless you are a 'no reply blogger' which means you'll have to check for my reply in the comments. Of course, life is a rather hazardous activity, isn't it? So if I don't respond to your comment that's the reason why - life simply stepped in...