How to grow a “worry wart”

Satire on growth of an ulcer. The best advice I heard from a blind man was “If you can’t look in the mirror and laugh at yourself, then you have a problem.” Even then, looking at yourself might be more of a challenge. Introspection is the key.

One: Have a family that gives advice instead of encouragement. And then I thought, How much do I give a good word? So I got on the phone and found someone that might actually encourage me. It wasn’t family, sad to say. Years ago, we made decisions based on our “family.” We moved closer to extended family so that our daughters would know their grand parents. We left many close friends behind, but distance has not lessened the ties. Thank goodness many of these friends are still “close” at heart. Many of you, I am sure have families that have developed divisions and “rifts” that the past few years have seemed to accentuate. Mine has also. And unfortunately while many of us are trying to move on, the old battles still get brought up time and again. Then I look to those who have lost siblings these last few years. They would do anything to have one more “row” about some stupid divisive thing.

Two: Live in the country when you are blind. Yep, we still live with move than a mile to the closest neighbor. I’m not sure why that seems to be such a problem. But out here in the country, there are some that simply won’t “go the extra mile.” So, here I sit… Last year I tried to create a reason to get into town and spend time with people. The drought kept the garden on lock down, and we did not make it to the market more than twice. Also, there were times when I wanted to get out of dodge on the farm, and I knew that my husband had spend all week gone, simply wanted to stay home. Our unity of need has gone polar express. So while I desperately want to get off the farm, he simply wants to stay home and avoid the “kind of people that he spend all week working” with. Well, aren’t we a find kettle of fish? He’s the garlic and onions, and I’m the tilapia (in case you wanted to know).

Three: Have children and grandchildren along with aging parents. While any one of the three might make one’s hair go silver, Having all three at the moment in time certainly adds to the stress. Our Parents that are turning into toddlers and keys, and stoves need to be removed from grasp. Toddlers that jump off the backs of sofas and then slide across wooden tables, only to take out the sibling, or the lamp in flight really turn up the heat on the anxiety. Then there are adult children that seem to be returning to the rebellious teenage years though they are married and somewhat responsible career holders. What’s next? Could we just not have another life event “Derecho” and everything on the house and out buildings need to be replaced.

Four: Grow a garden in a drought. Yes, it’s true, our corner of the state set record level drought recordings. And rural water can’t make up for the rain that never fell. Nothing really grew well at all. We do have a plan for keeping the water in the soil better next year. More mulch-tastic ideas coming right up. From leaves, to straw to whatever else we can pile on there. And the size of the garden will be just about as reduced in volume as last year. The cipboards are not bare, so don’t worry. We have enough to eat here.

Five: Have an auto immune disorder that reverberates through your life even though there are “known” cures and helps. So yes, I had ITP for about twelve years. Took prednisone ans such until the spleen was yanked out. Then through the years my immune system has been over taxed many times so more steroids. Finally, a recent discovery that some new allergies had developed made my life change much. At least knowing what allergies I have, makes it a much better guess when choosing off the menu. Allergies can be very serious and life threatening. Scary. Not fun. At least most of my Outdoor allergies are much more manageable.

Six: develop food anxiety because of food allergies. I carry an EPI pen now. And it has been used this past fall. So when I eat food that other people fix, there is a “nag” in the back of my mind for at least fifteen to twenty minutes after the meal. Will I be okay, or do I need to keep the pen handy? However, even just recently I made something for myself and found out that the tin containing the whole wheat flour had been tainted with flour containing barley. That was a rough couple of days. So I have to admit that my diet has not been very good or consistent that last few months.

Seven: Have insomnia for five years or more. Lack of sleep is the best cultivator for an ulcer. Because I do not sleep well, (it’s kind of this hyper awake incredibly aware listening mode) it has made me rather tired. Brain fog is not even a strong enough name for the feeling you get that you are sleep walking all day. LOTS of coffee does not even help. I tried the… well….Those pills did not do me any favors. Summer time busy is a better plan. But winter? I need a gym within walking distance. Haha. So, yeah, coffeee and strong coffee is really bad for the stomach.

Eight: Live in a wold where social media is a prime communication tool. We have all experienced some bad thing on social media if we admit it. Finding out about engagements, babies, family deaths, you name it. When is the world going to go back to good old kitchen table gossip? If you don’t actually talk to the relatives yourself, there is nothing to care about. It feels like the populace has all gone into the “grey rock” mode of relationships. We can talk about the weather, the sky, the new car, but don’t ever tell anyone that we have food anxiety because of allergies. No, no, no….

Nine: Drink coffee by the potful to help stay awake. Maybe I mentioned that one already? Well, you know. When you love coffee and you drink a pot full before breakfast, that’s a problem. Just saying. Try starting the day with water. If you get heartburn so bad that you can’t eat your oatmeal? It’s an ulcer.

Ten: Get heartburn that dictates your meals or lack thereof. I did not know that my bird picking appetite was really the sign of a rooted and growing ulcer. Yes, bird picking. I ate every two hours, just a little bit. Because I am too close to the fridge and the cookie jar, picking at my meals was pretty easy to do. Now, I am force feeding myself the recommended foods on the “heal my stomach-starve the ulcer” diet. As if my food list was limited before, the next two weeks will really be limited. And with the holidays coming up, there might be some cans of chicken noodle soup in the back pack ready to substitute. It’s a good thing I like chicken noodle soup. Hey and those books are pretty good too! Except most of the stories are tear jerkers.

How to grow a worry wart? Plan the seed with insomnia, food allergies, and going blind anxiety. That’s some pretty fertile soil there. Water the ulcer with coffee, black tea, and frequent snacks. Feed the worry wart with more food anxieties, relationship struggles, friendship failures, and family bickering. Don’t forget to shed some light on the little wart with some enlightened political debates, social media discouragement, and silent cell phones. And finally, the best thing of all for the worry wart? Don’t let sleep get in your way.

Girl in the Glass

The looking glass V

Or perhaps “Girl in the Glass at One”. Is the appropriate title. Today is one of those days when we want to capture every moment, and not forget a single happening. My first thought upon waking was “no test messages,”. Then, it’s this little gems birthday. So I got out the video app and looked every one year old’s favorite singer… Elmo.

We had a video conference soon and I think she had more pleasure watching me do morning chores and feed all of the furries. Elmo seemed a little over-the-top for her little mind. Of course, I attempted to sing the greetings also. She has the most enjoyable little giggle. Her “acting” out the giggle is not fake at this age, it’s just how a one year old learns.

Meanwhile, the other day when I was there for a visit, I was able to capture this little play actreess in her element. She loves her sister’s makeup stand. And there is not one day that she does not spend quite a time at the mirror studying her “Beautiful” reflection. I am sure I heard her declare after a makeup session, “Oh, well that the items are all pretend, I am just as beautiful before all those things as I am after. Beauty is as beauty does!” I mean, she did jabber something that sounded like that…

Self image begins at such an early age these days. Little ones see their faces in the phone pictures, the video calls, and the mirror so much. The images that they see shape their sense of the world, self, and so much more. I wonder at the memories that we are creating as we face time and such. Distance may be shortened by the calls, but the moments are still far and few between every day reality.

The girl in the glass of my memory goes back to my nearly one year old self. The neighbor boys had come over to a game of “kick the can.” A version of hacky sack that involed an empty soup or juice can. Quite dangerous actually. And not the can, but another youngster (we won’t name names, but my elder sister by a bit) decided to try her hand at rock throwing. Little kids and rocks are such a magnet. Anyways back to the mirror…

My earliest memory of self is skewed by the reverse image in the mirror. The old brown towel catching the blood dribbling down my face is to this day on the wrong side. Though I know now that the scar is on the left, my understanding the “reverse” was not there and looking at others is not a reverse… If I look at you and we shake hands, your right and my right are opposite sides. If I look in the mirror my right is on the same side, The same goes for dance line learning. Dance moves taught from the front of the sting are done in the reverse. I never could move right and tell kids to move left. (No Christmas program action moves for me!)

Anyways, I have to think hard about which side my scar is on because of the mirror in the car. Yes, even back then we had mirrors on the back side of the visor. Though we won’t discuss the fact that I was not in a care seat, and that I was clearly standing up in the seat to look in the mirror and see the blood trickle down my cheek. And the voice of my mother, “put that towel back up there, or you’ll get blood all over the car.” Wasn’t there blood all over my shirt anyways?

The memory of the mirror is so vivid.

I wonder if my little grand daughter will remember her sister’s makeup play stand. I wonder If she will still see herself beautiful through the years as she looks into the mirror. Most days, I dodn’t even think about my marred eyebrow. Some days, I forget to look in the mirror.

Then, I think of those relatives I know who no longer see their image. The eyes have dimmed, the reflection has disappeared. Do we still see ourselves beautiful when the image no longer speaks to us?

So, here’s to that beautiful little one year old today. May happiness be yours as you look into the image that reflects the uniqueness of a Mighty Creator. May you see yourself beautiful all the days that He has for you!

On the outside (Annyta & Emma)

Looking around the butterfly patch the other day, I found this little flower it it’s escape mode. The seeds are exceptionally viable when there has been a little more moisture. And apparently the little bits of rain and the extra water sessions aided in it’s growth. This made me think of the the year of miscarriages three and four.

On the outside, I was very occupied by writing music, Bible school curricula and home schooling my two little preschool girls. My ITP was sinking to a new low and the doctors that I saw at the time told me that this was normal, and that some people just live with the low numbers for life. While I did not think was acceptable, several rounds of six weeks of steroids would only last so long. My body was in fight mode and my immune system was taxed to the “nth.” Of course during all that season of busy, I also suffered from migraines.

Debilitating migraines. Unfortunately the doctors thought that Zoloft would be the answer. That was one of the worst three months of my life. The head aches knocked me out for half the month, and the zoloft knocked me out the next month for half the month. And the third month a 38 day cycle ended up in horrible cramps like a miscarriage. What more was to happen?

The music I heard in my mind was constant during that time. God the Father was putting His creative tunes into my heart and soul. I almost could not keep up with the whole flow of events. I began to put together my CD “Are You Ready?” During that time of blessed presence, I knew that God was carrying me every step of the way inspite of all the challenges.

Multiplying Gerber daisies in my greenhouse today made me think of the days that I hoped to have another Gerber like baby. My first daughter had such a doll-ful expression I though she should have been the new picture on the little jars. Surely, God did not mean for me to have only two little “sugars and spice.” Yet, now looking back I wish I would have soaked up those years with my girls a little bit more. The challenging time for me of their early years is such a blur.

Annyta and Emma were the dolls that I found next. Though Emma is one who falls asleep while reading, Annyta is a constant mama’s girl. My imagination is strong enough to give them personalities and voices. But that is all I will ever have- a strong imagination.

The Geranium nursery this summer in the tire made me think of the years as a child I had a sand box in a tire. This was my early elementary years. Now i sill love to play in the “dirt.” but growing geraniums is my new love. I think some day people will call me “that crazy geranium lady!” That’s okay, it’s better than being crazy because I had secondary infertility.

Canning tomatoes thus fall has been far and few between batches. The drought really hit the garden hard. No beans. The zucchini’s took on worms and died. The onions were only twice as big as when they went into the ground. The only happy stuff is the cucumbers and the beets. And I am not much of a fan of either. I know that God’s thoughts are not my thoughts. Living through a barren season of “infertility” is not easy. On the outside it looked like my life was productive and happy. But on the inside I was crying for the hope of more children that I would not have. I found only a couple of other women during that season that I could visit about this. That part is hard also. So many just want to push it all aside and say “be grateful what you have.” Finding contentment took some time.

One more year of this ITP thing and two more possible miscarriages were yet to come. If only I knew then what I know now…

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain…” (I Timothy 6:6). This verse would echo through my mind so much. After this season, we left our house in the country for town dwelling. That did not last very long. The inability to see the seasons and the crops in the field brought on a whole set of emotions that I did not know existed. I was a “farm” girl stuck in town. We also had a dig Lady that simply was not happy as a city dweller. She had so much energy. So… we made a decision that would alter the course of life dramatically…

And from now on…

Today the truck traffic on the road is constant. It makes me feel as though I live next to the interstate. They must be topping a local county road with tar and rock. A week ago on our motorcycle outing we found one of the recent toppings and had to take a different route home. The rock is just to slippery. I thought they had changed tactics recently and put rock then tar. But apperentyly one county does it the old way.

Fall is headed our way. The vegetable garden is a disaster. With the drought and the bugs, there is simply not much to harvest. Living in the country with the the insect population sometimes makes us want to just give up. Many of our country cousins have done just that. This year it is grasshoppers and drought ONE and garden ZERO. We have tried to look at the bright sight. But even the flowers are fighting for existence.

My allergies are later on arrival this year. Thank goodness. The headaches and asthma are minimal compared to past years. More vegetables and less of my actual irritants has helped. (Found out that allergy to potato, barley, and almond makes for a limited diet.). I have only had one scary reaction this month. I count that as success. Honey has not had to be on the alert near as much. She’s probably getting out of practice. Might have to stage a training session.

This week we celebrated a special 90th birthday. It was great to see everyone come out and give well wishes. There is also a old neighbor’s funeral this week. Much of the fond memories that we cling to is all of the generous personalities of others. I am buoyed by the show of neighborly giving that I see among these two lives. From the youthful days of each woman’s servitude to the elderly days of others coming alongside to take up the reins. Watching the blessings return is so special.

With the end of one month and the start of another, school is under way around the region. August either rolls into September or blows into fall. And from now on there are a number of significant birthdays to celebrate. Both of our parent sets have fall birthdays. I feel like the odd ball out in that region. (Mine is in spring.). Along with the fall birthdays, however another set of memories come flooding back

Harvest and the end of the growing season has filled the last twenty years with many blessings. Previous to that the second miscarriage loss would flood my mind about this time of year. It happened in our country house in Iowa. I have very clear visions of the day. I was standing in the kitchen when I heard the audible voice of a little girl call out “Mama…”. I replied “what is it honey?” Before even trying to look and see if it was one of my daughters standing there. When the voice replied, “I came to get my little brother.” I felt the wind get knocked out of me as a stomach cramp like no other socked me in the middle. I turned around and slid to the floor crying as I knew exactly what was about to happen. The vision that came to my spirit next while my hands buried my face in my knees was of a little girl skipping through the prairie grass and flowers holding on to the nad of her little tow headed brother. The tears and the pain were so real.

Unfortunately that was a Friday and even by Sunday the clot had not passed. I was having labor pains this time and the tears just would not stop. Sunday the family was supposed to have a birthday party for grandfather and I ended up staying home. Finally after the late afternoon things were looking better. This time however the miscarriage had hid me so hard. We knew this time we would need to wait at least 6-9 months before another attempt.

Every one looks at the hope of spring differently. For me back then it was possibility of perhaps having a third child. Both my husband and I are third children. So we have a special fondness for any child who is either an “oops” third or a “planned” third. I never in my growing up years knew a family with only two kids. That seemed so empty to me.

Praise my two daughters filled our house to the full with their love for music that followed those early parenting years. The “fullness” of those years was such a privilege. I never wanted to complain about my girls to other people. (However, some people took my positive look at my girls as a -negative- and thought that I was being boastful. It was hard for me to hear the awful things people said about their greatest blessings.)

So there, that’s the story of the second little dreamer in my library. Little Dillan plum tuckered out on the rocking horse. Now that I have grand children who laugh and giggle with each other, it’s not hard for me to imagine little Nora and little Dillan sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his stories and giggling as He scoops them up and kisses them rubbing his whiskery chin on their little necks.

Thus far

Struggle bus rather than sleeping is one of my common life challenges. So the other night when my brain took off on it’s highway robbery, I found myself thinking about all these things once again. Setting up stones…. Our acreage is full of really large rocks. Many of them were picked up from the fields around and placed in the “rock pile.” Once years ago, someone lined the driveway with the rocks to keep drivers off of the lawn. My father-in-law still hates to see the rocks even in landscaping. My preference is to put them into the landscape and garden areas, rather than a pile that grows weeds and trees.

Not many people know what an Ebenezer stone is. Or even have ever heard of such a thing. Milestones are more commonly recognized, like growing and walking, driving, graduations, etc. Middle of the night statue building and laying stone walls while sleeping? Never.

My favorite Bible verse is from I Samuel 7:12, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name [a]Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” What makes this verse a Milestone Marker for me? The idea that one thing is ending and another beginning has always intrigued me. Marking transitions in life, whether they be new jobs, careers, or life changes is important. But most important is recognizing how you got there and how you will accomplish the next. “Thus far the Lord has helped us!”

New phones are never easy for the visually challenged. But for me, I simply put the new one down and it takes weeks rather than days to learn everything. We get use to doing things a certain way, and when that way “expires” life moves on in a different manner. Sometimes rather slowly.

Brain fog that follows a sleepless night is probably the worst The ability to function well and do anything with precision is hard. So I spend the majority of the time crocheting some pattern that is very repetitive. The past two weeks I finally finished my virus stitch shawl that I started two years ago. It is quite beautiful. And yes, it makes me look like I was born in the wrong century. I don’t care. I love making and wearing shawls

This little area of the yard is passed by daily. It is very strongly and “Ebenezer” for me. “The bridge that once was…. “. Has such a story. The wood was once a fort over the sandbox, then the fort in the trees, and now the bridge on it’s own island (haha). The wheel was found in the lilac bushes. The only wagon wheel we found on the place so far. The basket that came from my sister’s driver’s mother’s attic. The stones that were brought in years earlier from the field. Each piece has it’s own history. Then there is the tree stump planter we just made from one of the sixty plus year old trees in the grove that are falling one by one. This year being three years into drought, many of the trees are simply hallow and tired of standing up.

“Thus far…”. Birthday celebrations are in the works for both of our moms this year. My mother at eighty and his mom at ninety. Celebrating life is so important. “The Lord has helped us”. We can see the elderly living this even more so than ourselves. For them, it is sometimes hourly that the Lord helps them. Each day holds it’s own Ebenezer as they march from sunrise to sunset. Waking each morning requires a call to the Lord for help just to rise out of the sleeping chamber. Of course it is because of the tale of Christmas and Ebenezer Scrooge that many of us think of old as grouchy. But sometimes I make a mental list of all the challenges our mothers face each day just to remind myself that my milestones are few.

Last night I survived an allergic reaction without an EpiPen. And we made a symptom checker that told us “NEXT TIME” these things occur, it is time for the epinephrine. . It was rather scary, and though I new something was not right, it did not occur to me at the time that it was an allergic reaction. Now I know. Thus far the Lord has helped me, but my husband says, next time the Lord will have to remind us to use the EpiPen!

Beautiful dreamer (Chapter One in Good Grief series)

Sometimes we make plans, but the Lord directs our steps another way. Like for instance, today I very much intended ot sit on the bench in the greenhouse and enjoy the atmosphere for awhile. One minute after setting out my work zone, the “little messes” began to call my name. Soon I was spending an hour of time tidying up the house. I prefer to clean in the greenhouse than in the regular house. The sound of the pond fountain, the plants, and the fig snacks just keep me coming back. Most of the plants are in thier summer homes and so all of the transplanting material needed to be removed. Also, I had done some clean up last week and the garbage was due to be removed. My daughter gave me a phone call break. And becuase the sun was heating up the geodesic dome, I took my water outside to another bench for the chat.

The first time that my positive pregnancy test ended up in loss was in March of 1999. It was a bit shell shocked to have a positive result tun into such failure by my body. Just forty five days into the gestation. Though we already had two beautiful daughters, I hoped maybe a third would make our nest full. Many arrows make the quiver ready, right?

Looking back on those days, brings a rush of emotions welling up. What am I to do with this still small sadness that creeps unexpected? Back then it was something like how the weed night shade entered our garden during these awful drought years. The dust and wind so hot and dry yet powerful enough to bring grass seed, weed seeds, and the invasive night shade. My knowledge of the plant or my allergic reaction to it was unbeknownst to me during those years of failed pregnancies

How could my body decide to fight itself? It began in my early twenties as I was first diagnosed with ITP. The low platelet disorder took me to the hospital twice in the year nineteen ninety. Auto immune disorders come in so many shapes and sizes. Viral infections usually start the process. And the results are little discoveries of physical weakness and limitations that are sometimes not overcomed by any of man’s innovations or medicines.

Nora was one of the names I had in the “nesting” bank for future use. I think the only person other than my husband that even knew that it was a possible choice was my mother. She told me about all six of her miscarriages and how some had to be cleaned out due to mid-term loss. I was thankful that it was early enough no one knew that it had happened.

While I wished for more little ones, God was not to grant this want of mine. Psalm 23 begins with “the Lord is Shepherd, I shall not want…”. Those words were so hard to except. What were my wants? And what if my hopes and dreams never came to be. What was God trying to tell me in this newfound barrenness?

Learning to live without was a new thought process for me. Meanwhile my spleen was on it’s last leg of use for my body. My platelet count continued to drop into the danger zone. The ITP that I was diagnosed with at age 22 was plaguing my system.

Each day I walk by this cemetery cement ring full of flowers. When my father-in-law offered it to me, I knew exactly where it would go. If find it ironic that we have dreams that morph and change through our life and sometimes one dream is whisked away like clouds in the blue sky. Then another day the clouds take on a new shape and we have new dreams. In the last few of years of living with a spleen and suffering early term miscarriages, I would have thought it cruel to use this cement ring as a flower bed that I pass daily. Now? It is just another reminder that God replaces many lost hopes with His flowers of kindness. His mercies are new every morning. And His grace through the mourning process is ever gentle and new each time we need His comfort.

From My Park Bench

The whole month of June flew by and though there are four drafts in my file, nothing made it to print. The month was busy with farmer’s market, purging flowers and geraniums, trying to stay ahead of the weeds in the garden and some much needed family time. The local farmers market saw us twice. Then the work thing crept in and there just was not time to keep up with everything on the acreage and be gone from home for four or five hours on a Saturday morning. When all you have is the weekend to accomplish the acreage cleanup, the hours become precious. Also, the heat kind of kept us away a couple of times. Purging flowers and plants from the greenhouse took all of the month. I planted the last tomatoes when my niece came for camp weekend. They looked pretty worn out from their little containers. But are thriving in their “space” outside. Most of the larger geraniums are outside the greenhouse now. And thank goodness the wind has given us a break and things look wonderful. Staying ahead of the weeds also meant planting the old “potato” box grow bed into the salad box. It was so hot and dry the day I planted it all. But the thought of it gave me so much pleasure. With some appropriate drip tubing everything is up and green.

Family time this last month meant Sunday lunches with Gavin’s folks. I have been playing piano more at church these days. Though it is somewhat stressful to memorize the entirety, my mind wandered back to the day when as a thirteen year old I thought I would never be able to sit at the keyboard without a line of music in front of me. We had Christmas in June with my family and got together for the first time in over a year. It was so good to see everyone. We also celebrated my mother’s 80th birthday that day.

The month of June was also taken up with kitten care. I started a blog about the ferrel beastings and their little broods, but it seems to have lost it’s importance. After the family gathering, I spent much of the night in grief wondering where the years and time have gone. It’s hard to have the holiday blues in the middle of the summer. But thank the Lord, the days are busier and it did not last long. Nevertheless, I have nearly three drafts started all just in that week alone.

Good Grief!

Who ever coined that phrase anyhow? Grief certainly does not feel good. And there are many times grieving amounts to no good at all. This past month there have been a number of women on my prayer list that have had to deal with their share of grief. So, my mind took a play list of memory lane that I have not visited for some time.

The change of life comes in many different shapes and colors. For me, having early term miscarriages one after another for four years told me child bearing was not to be my main lot in life. I should learn to be grateful for the two beautiful girls that God had gifted us with. About the time I began to except secondary infertility, other things began to change the course of our lives.

Each of the beautiful souls that God gave me a glimpse of are commemorated in my library. The next few weeks I hope to spend some time remembering each of the “hopes” that I once had. I am so thankful that God brought Himself ever close at hand beside me during those days and the memories of His hand holding mine are special to recall.

From my park bench…

This July began with a family birthday gathering. God has blessed our girls with beautiful spouses and gifted us with grandchildren. They bring so much joy and pleasure to our days. I am so thankful that I can count the ways of our Lord in His goodness to us. We spent the fourth of July in quietness and in the heat my husband made me this lovely park bench.

We went to Boston the summer of 2010 and while there I ended up taking a walk on the waterfront by myself one evening. I saw a bench like this in repetition with many women in pairs sitting and catching up with each other on their lives. Of course much of the conversation was in another language. I thought that so particular to Boston. Then last summer my hubby and I took a motorcycle trip and found ourselves visiting a garden. There again were multiples of this particular bench.

I know that my hubby probably hated every minute of trying to measure and cut and assemble this park bench. Knowing his displeasure of carpentry makes the bench all the more meaningful to me.

So for the next six entries, come have a seat on the park bench with me as I share how God has been part of my journey form childbearing through miscarriages and into the present day of good grief!

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God ; to those who are the called according to His propose.”(ESV)

Naming Kittens

Boomerang sits guard as Boston, Java, Zorro, and Latte eat their kitten food. These four kittens are the offspring of Lela, the daughter of Autumn. Two summers ago, the result of kittens mostly black drove me to the neighbors to pick up a new color combination. Boomerang and Tabitha are the only survivors of the migrants. We already renamed the little grey one from this litter. She is happily homed at our daughter’s in laws and named Freya. Rightly named as they picked her up on a rainy day from the greenhouse. I worked in there all morning most days and it was an easier place to keep them boxed and on guard.

Latte and Boston are the friendliest of the four kittens. Latte will sit right in the walking path, which is not real wise with a blind lady running about. So I just pick her up and walk around a while doing my chores with a single hand. Java and Zorro are very jolted and playful. They are much harder to catch. At the food bowl is the best place to nab their little fur bodies and get them use to being handled.

This is my last phot op. These six little kitties belong to Stitch. She had them in the bucket and I moved them to this box. It must be roomy as they are still there. Even through all the stormy weather last week, she kept them put! I get a kick out of the markings. Five of them are all yellow and orange. And then this one… “One of these things is not like the other ones…”. We find ourselves attracted to the unusual markings in kittens. And I was already told that we have to give some of these little things away. Of course…. Our acreage is not going to hold more than six to nine cats. I thing these is enough out buildings, but its the feed bill that gets speedy!

Back to the garden…. The butterfly patch received a new sprinkler stand. My husband welded up a horse shoe and ready rod tripod for the sprinkler. It will still be on the sensor. Any animal attendance will set of the motion. It might not be the best option, but I do not want this flower bed to be the litter box! Then there is the “Bridge Island” that we completed the other day. We dug out the soil and put down weed barrier and rocks. This should keep the bridge from rotting in the moisture and soil. For now I sill use flower pots to dress up the “Island.” The storm did some hail damage to our front window frame, siding, skirting and plants. The wind may have done more damage but we hope all remains minimal in nature. This little pansy survived the hail and is looking quite lonesome!

May showers, dusty gusty wind, and unpredictable temperatures are delaying the garden a bit. However, the greenhouse is doing well and those tomato plants will be rather large by the time we get them outdoors.

I spend an entire day planning the garden row by row. One row of flowers, one row of veggies will be the sequence this year. We are slimming down our garden zones and hopefully my husband will be able to help with the drip line system to watering. I wanted to start building growing boxes for the garden but everything is in short supply and a little too expensive. Priorities will have to be elsewhere.

Gardener’s Hiatus

Another litter of kittens found their way into the dog hut next to the house. Our poor old Eva was kicked out once again. She usually sleeps in the hut on the old house porch though. Lela is the mama kitty. She and Stitch were sister kittens a few years back. Both are quite wild. I cannot catch Lela, though she does come for extra milk and fat the last few weeks.

So there are five little kittens to name and play with and pick up. The little fur balls were not too keen on the handling today. A good pair of sheep gloves came in handy. Two of the little hissy-fits were pretty scary. But I picked them up with out much damage to their pride or my fingers.

The “Complete Sherlock Holmes” has been keeping me company this past week. And the last few days I fell ill with some sort of flu bug that gave me none other than extreme fatigue. Of course, I had to look up sleeping sickness and found there is a real thing. So thank goodness it was not that. But after three days and nights of such lethargy, my hubby dragged me off to the doctor for some blood work and a check up. All is well, just busy fighting off some virus or another.

Glad, to say that I have actually been upright for nearly three hours now! The heavy limbs and head ache are a bit nagging, but none-the-less the symptoms are so few, that I was quite nervous at the amount of sleeping one can achieve when fighting off some viral bug. Much fluid intake at least kept me rising to use the facilities.

Upon some further investigation, we presume perhaps a flu bug just had no chance with all my fluid intake and vitamin consumption. I am rather thankful not to suffer the stomach bug as the some other extended family had the misfortune to befall.

So, inspired by the little hats that I conjured up about a month ago, I began this little prayer shawl. Not sure how many I will make after this fashion, but the pattern is an easy one to attempt and does not require much for concentration. My faculties have been in the dull-drums of late, so it was smoothen to do as I work back into my house keeping chores. Even, the laundry lady suffered. She is nearly exhausted jut over the sorting!. (I am the laundry lady and took a short snooze after that chore completed!)

The chief cook and bottle washer have gone on vacation. The gardener left the morning’s work unattended. The maid has not tended to any of the house hold duties. The dog trainer was under the covers for nearly three days and may return by the morrow. The grandchildren’s Oma even lost tuch with reality for nearly a day or two. None of the text messages were answered. And finally, the hubby’s dear even advised perhaps he should sleep in the other room. She thought the flu bug would result in some unpleasantness. However, the capacitor of all those roles survived with nothing more that much work left undone. Only a few days of catch up required.

All those people are one and the same. The roles I play are not stage perfect. And the occupations that call me back to the present life are beginning to scream louder than the heavy limbs that returned me to my cot. On we go in this life of ours. The bell on the washer is ringing out for the laundry lady to rise from her slumbering ways…