Saturday, November 27, 2021

A Trip to The Ozark Mill and Other Weekend Thoughts

I haven't shared a post on "real life" lately. Actually, things are usually pretty quiet and uneventful around here, especially this last 2 years. I don't get out near as much because of the Covid situation, and the fact that I had back surgery last summer. I'll talk more about that in a bit. But I wanted to share a fun outing my husband and I had a few weeks ago...

We live in such a lovely area in southwest Missouri. It has rolling hills and flatlands, rivers, lakes, wooded areas, and a lot of history. South of us on the way to Branson is a gorgeous small town right on the highway with tons of antique and flea markets, shopping boutiques, restaurants and cafes. The beautiful meandering Finley River has long been a place for swimming and recreation and at the same time gorgeous scenery and historical buildings. 

We've all been waiting for years for the opening on the Finley River of an old mill built originally in the early 1800's. It's a property purchased by Johnny Morris who is the owner and founder of Bass Pro which was opened here in Springfield in the early 1970's. In the last 50 years Johnny Morris as an entrepreneur has created many amazing businesses and destination restaurants, lodges, recreation sites, etc. all with his signature style and rustic elegance. 

The Ozark Mill at Finley Farms Restaurant and complex was just opened last month and I wanted to get down there for lunch while the leaf peeping was at it's height. But we didn't make it until early November when a few bad storms and winds had the leaves down within just a few days after their peak. There were still a few trees with lovely color as you can see, but it was a bitterly cold day and my plan for an outdoor tour was botched.

We didn't get a chance to do much exploring of the inside or outside, but did get a few snaps of the interior where we had a early dinner. But, this place is huge as you can see from the upcoming pics. It will open a brewery very soon, a woodsy wedding chapel, overnight lodgings and a few other venues shortly.

If you've ever been inside a Bass Pro Shop you'll see the
interiors with vintage decor, outdoor equipment and photos are very similar.

They have a small gift shop area when you first come in but I only managed to get a shot of the Christmas tree. They were in the process of decorating for Christmas so I know it will be gorgeously decked for the Holidays.

The food was amazing, but the views and ambiance even better. If you live in the area, or are planning a time to be traveling through, put this new spot on your list.

On a sad sniffle-y note we lost our sweet big Maine Coon kitty late this summer. She was a handful, literally, and my helper and photo bomber extraordinaire for years. She had Thyroid cancer and the medication was worse than the disease. She was a sweet girl and loved to be held and carried around. We've had the girls for 17 years. Her sister is still with us. She has feline diabetes but is still going strong. 

Health Update

In a health update (lengthy, sorry) I'm still recovering slowly from the back surgery this last June. My neurosurgeon said it could be a year before I felt "back to normal". I'm not really sure what that will be because I've had lower back pain and hip pain from sciatica for about 25 years. Having heart problems causes every other health issue to be put on the back burner. But I am making slow progress. My autoimmune inflammation has just made this a harder process.

And that's another whole "thing". This last year I found out that even though I've had multiple serious autoimmune symptoms for many years, I couldn't get rheumatologists to diagnose me fully. My lack of antibodies that verify autoimmune diseases were not showing up, yet I was sick and having severe symptoms. I felt like I had low-grade flu constantly with a lot of joint pain. This all started in 2013 when I started being dizzy, fatigued, having blood clots and started migraine type headaches. Anyway... fast forward to this last February when I had scheduled an appointment with a new Rheumatologist here in town. We had a blizzard and ice storm on the weekend and then a Monday when I got a call from the office saying they didn't have any patients and the main Rheumatologist wondered if I'd like to go ahead and be seen by him instead of waiting 3 more months. Yes Please!!!! My hubby was now retired with a Jeep so we made it thru the ice and snow no problem. Let me tell you it was a God-thing; a mini miracle to get me into the best doc in town. 

He thoroughly examined me and asked me a million questions. The main one was "how long have you been sick?" When I said over 8 years he was adamant we'd get this figured out. Turns out I have a condition called Common Variable Immuno-Deficiency, or PIDD, Primary Immuno Deficiency Disease.  I don't make antibodies... to anything. Not flu, pneumonia, autoimmune disease, any illness and especially not to the Covid virus. Vaccines don't work on me at all; I don't make antibodies to the vaccine. None of them. I was sent to an Immunologist/Infectious Disease/Allergist. He put me on weekly infusions of plasma antibodies to help "fill up my empty tank". This will be a lifelong deal where I have a weekly infusion at home. My hubby helps me get it done because it's a bit much for me. Inserting 3 needles and sitting there for 30 minutes while the medication is pumped in. They used to only do this at an infusion center or the hospital in a vein, but now you can do it at home subcutaneously. It's still a bit overwhelming.

Unfortunately I was allergic to the first medication and didn't find out for 3 months. By then I was having all kinds of weird reactions which added to my previous breathing problems, more neuropathy problems and injection site reactions. Basically I'm allergic to Polyethylene Glycol or PEG which is the base ingredient for most vaccines, infusions, many medications and of course the Covid vaccines. (also MiraLax) Bottom line is that I'm one of the 3% of people who are immunocompromised and on top of that, I'm allergic to the vaccine. I'll be wearing a mask for the indefinite future. Unfortunately, many, many more people are immunocompromised than know about it, so they are walking around thinking they are safe because of the vaccine, when in reality their meds have caused them to suppress antibody formation. That includes anyone that has Rheumatoid Arthritis or any other autoimmune illness and takes suppressing medication, besides those with cancer, organ transplants or blood disorders. Believe me, I would get the vaccine if I could. Catching Covid for any of this 3% could, and has been a death sentence. Please know this when you've chosen not to get vaccinated that you could be infected and not know it; spreading it around, which could be disastrous for someone like me. So my life is not the same as before, I'm conscious each time I go out in public, that I'm at risk. This isn't a political issue, or personal rights decision, it's a brotherly love decision. Vaccines help all of us. 

And on a lighter, more fun topic... I'm sharing a link and a couple of pics from last year's Christmas Home Tour that I didn't get out until after Christmas. Sorry this has been a long post. I probably lost a lot of readers after the mill photos. Just wanted to let you know how life is going. I have so many people asking how I'm doing, but it's just too involved to go into individually. Thanks for listening, and if just one person realizes how important it is to get the Covid vaccines, well, it's worth it.


Whew!!! Hope you're having a great Thanksgiving weekend
and I know most of us are decorating for Christmas, too.
Love you guys, take care and be well.
p.s. this isn't a sponsored post,
just like to share the good stuff.

I hope you'll join us Monday evenings for

joining in here:

Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda
All About Home at Common Ground and Follow the Yellow Brick Home
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch 
  Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
   Wonderful Wednesday at LeCultivateur 
Turnabout Tuesday at My Wee Abode,  Share Your Style at French Ethereal
Centerpiece Wednesday at Karin's Kottage
Vintage Charm at Our Hopeful Home,  
Thursday Favorite Things at Follow the Yellow Brick Home,  
Create, Bake, and Grow at Shabby Art Boutique
Farmhouse Friday at The Painted Hinge


  1. Your house is lovely and glad that you have found a Dr. That can help you. So sorry for the issues you are having. Keep up the good work.

    1. thanks Darlene, take care and enjoy your Holiday season!

  2. Sorry for all the issues. Glad you have a good doctor and so sorry about your sweet kitty. It is always so hard when we lose our fur babies. The mill looks like a great place. Glad you could go and enjoy. xoxo Kris

    1. thankyou Kris, I know you know about what I'm dealing with since you're a nurse. take care and have a great rest of the weekend! xoxo

  3. LOVED THE MILL PICTURES!! It's a gorgeous place. I'm glad you gave a health update, and more glad you have some answers. I will mention this to my son who suffers from multiple autoimmune diseases. I do not use the word suffering lightly. I am so sorry for the long suffering road you travel and the courage you show in staying engaged with the world when it so natural not to. You are a friend and inspiration to many here. You have my heart, J.

    1. oh Thankyou, J. I know so many people that have autoimmune illness just do not get all the information they need. Doctors, no matter how "good" just aren't forthcoming with helpful and insightful information. Many of them were trained back in the 70's and 80's and are not up with current info themselves. My husband is a godsend literally because he helps me do so many things to keep my life easier. I hope you're having a great weekend. take care and be blessed!

  4. You continue to be in my prayers. Also, please accept my condolences on the passing of your sweet kitty.

    1. thankyou for your prayers, Briana. we've missed our girl, she was a real part of the family.

  5. Hi Debra! Oh, I'm so glad you got to get out for your day trip and what a lovely place. I haven wanted to ask you how you were doing health-wise but I didn't want to seem nosey. I'm so so glad you've found a doctor who can help you. I pray God will take care of you and get you to feeling better. I'm so sorry about your precious kitty. She was such a beautiful cat. I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving.
    Shelia :)

    1. thankyou dear Shelia, I don't consider it nosey, but it's been difficult to explain easily. For awhile things were changing every few weeks, and it's been quite a while to get it all diagnosed and treatment started. But I'm plugging along, praying that I improve every day. take care and have a wonderful Holiday season, sweet friend.

  6. I am so glad you finally found out your true issue. It's unbelievable that it took so long. I don't often comment but I do love your posts Your decor is beautiful. I especially love that urn. Wow! It's gorgeous. Take care and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  7. That restaurant looks wonderful. I live just north of that area so I'm going to have to check it out in the next month or so. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!

  8. Debra, thank you for sharing your health updates. I pray you can get back to better health - where it's not such a struggle.
    It was good that you were able to get out and visit the Ozark Mill. What a wonderful day!
    That was sad news about your kitty:( I know how hard it is to part with a loved pet.

  9. Debra,
    So glad that you finally got some answers and now know what the problem is and what can be done...I too have auto immune issues but none as severe as yours...I know I have mentioned it before to you that I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, IBS and most likely Fibromyalgia which goes hand in hand with Hashimoto's....I wear a mask everywhere I go but i do not go out much especially in small enclosed places with a lot of people like church...I still watch Mass online.I too was told it would take a year to fully recover from my knee replacement surgery and I can safely say that it was true.But now, I am so happy to say, that i feel better than I felt in 8 years!! After walking around and working on a knee that was bone on bone for 6 years, it is a pleasure to no longer be in that constant pain. I pray that your back surgery was successful and that you will get the much needed relief form your back pain and all the other things that goes along with it...Thanks so much for sharing...I think that sharing our troubles help others see the real people we are and maybe they can learn from what we are going through and get some help themselves...Stay safe, healthy and happy!! PS. Your home always looks so beautiful!!!

  10. Hi Debra....I don't have a google account so I'm forced to comment anonymously...I'm Kimberly Bruhn. I just found you via another blogger and look forward to seeing your lovely home and projects. It took forever for me to get diagnosed with lupus, too. But I have like 8 autoimmune diseases but I think the dang lupus is the ring-leader...I am lucky that I can get vaccinated even though I take a lot of immuno-suppressants...I just don't take the strongest one (imuran)for a week before and after the shots. You are PRIME example why all of us need to take care of our fellow brothers and sisters and wear masks, get shots and stay a good distance from others! I'm amazed at all you do with your home and looks absolutely amazing...wonderfully inspiring! Some days I just don't have the energy to do a heck of a lot so those are the down days that I save blogs like yours to breathe a little life into my staid home life. Thanks for everything! Kimberly

  11. Debra, after reading most of everyone's comments above, wow!!! I didn't realize HOW compromised your immune system is. I'm sure I have some undiagnosed issues but mostly I just ache from osteoarthritis and bicycle accident (and other accident) injuries to my neck, back, and other joints, lol! Ice is my friend. :) My son wants me to get the Covid booster shot but I am really thinking perhaps I don't need it. I am around all the kids who are getting Covid at school and I think the two Pfizer shots are doing their job! I sure hope I am gaining some immunity...

    Anyway, I'm glad to see that you got out to this lovely restaurant on the water... Such a pretty place and I do love going to Bass Pro Shops (went a couple of years ago on Thanksgiving, actually, right after putting out daughter on a plane back to Austin for work the next morning). Great place to shop!

    I love how you've decorated your home and your kitchen is gorgeous!!! Happy to feature a couple of your posts at SYS this evening for you, <3

    With Christmas hugs,
    Barb :)

  12. First--thanks for sharing the lovely pics of your neck of the woods, and the wonderful work of Johnny Morris. My husband has a great affinity for Bass Pro Shop and sadly, the one on the way to our cottage closed recently and he's been inconsolable!

    Amazing the way compromised immune systems are showing up everywhere--just look at your comments. I read every word of what you've been through and are going through, and in reality, Debra, I think it's something that doctors and researchers really need to get moving on. Thankfully you found such a great specialist and I hope all the kinks get worked out. You are a champ- just doing all that you do and writing your blog on top of it! Please know I pray for you and hope you're on the path to better health.❤️

    Jane x


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