Artiste #5 thread “Natural”

(Or Planting Only Flowers)

No more doilies for me. This soft thread is being crocheted into a “virus stitch” shawl. And am I ever so happy that is turning out so well! The soft fabric that the #5 thread makes just was not working out for doilies. It never stiffened up even with the fancy store bought starches. So my love for the shawl found another home.

And no, I am not making new curtains!

Sometimes thread or yarn tells us what to do. Just like wood working, or pottery, art is often about listening to the medium before the project is defined. Old world crafting has become a passion of mine over the last year or two.

I love watching a woodworker turn a new bowl, or build a log house. True craftsmanship is such an art. watching a potter make a vase, or bowl is another amazing art. The process of carding, dyeing and making wool thread is amazing to me. All of these crafts are “old world.” Some of the artis actually revive old ways and do things they way they use to be done. Dyeing wool from plant berrys or woody nuts is not a new concept.

Recipes that are passed down from generation to the next fascinate me. How can I get back some of the peace and quiet, the calm and gentleness of the old world in my life?

Maybe that’s actually not the right question.

Lately it seems motivation is the driver. What motivates me to do things? This little Bright Stripes Backpack was made with the apache tear stitch. It is my first mosaic stitch that I learned. I am so pleased with how the little bad turned out. It is big enough to fit a standard size tablet of paper.

Below is the Butterfly Shape garden. I tried to make it the most simple flower arrangement ever. But as always getting something to grow in hot, dry, wind was a challenge. The “cat sprinkler” system was goot it two ways. It was keeping out the cats and the motion detector gave the garden a shot of moisture more frequently. So now there are flowers! The birds like the bird bath and I will add some more plants as the un-seasonal moisture dictates. Getting the bottom winds to produce a viable plant has been hard. I might have to do some soil testing or just put in some more well established plants.

Monday morning is usually spent in recovery mode. I must push myself a bit too much with my hubby around on the weekend. We had a full day of rain on Saturday. And enjoyed visiting my niece and nephews at theri house. The sun came out for a little while and we enjoyed an “Arts in the Park” parade of wares. it was hard not to people watch. It seems that has been a bit of a starvation appetite this last year or so. We found a few things to purchase.

Sunday we spend the afternoon in the muddy garden pulling weeds and trying not to pull plants up in the process. At this point I am suppose to let my husband hijack my blog and tell things like it really was…

“The flies are biting me. I can’t tell what is weed and whatis plant. I think I lost the row. where am I? did I get turned in a circle? Now the sweat is roling down my back. How many more rows did I plant of this? Are there any buds on these peppers yet? I think it’s time for a drink break? Can you even hear me? Where are you now?”

“Oh look it’s the zinnias! There is a yellow one! Oh, there you go, now this plant can breath. Flower! Little zinnia! Oh, my goodness this purple one is huge! These flowers are so pretty!”

You should only plant flowers in this garden! weeding would be more fun, and I wouldn’t have to weed any of the rows.”

Blooming where they are planted

A number of years ago, I saw a saying that I adopted as my motto: “Bloom where you are planted”. Sometimes I may feel like an uprooted marigold struggling to rediscover my water source. For the past four years, I stretched my green thumb to the limit. There were times I felt like giving up on the whole garden thing. When we finally discovered the power of blue dawn dish soap to keep many pests at bay, I am no longer afraid to use it liberally. So while this blog could be titled “Flowers Galore”. I chose to remind myself that “Blooming where God has planted me” is in the best interest of my soul, spirit, mind, and body.

The past week was full with special need prayer requests. I think I filled a prayer slip out every day to put in my little jar of prayers. I do this so that at the end of the year we can look back and see how God answered our every need. This week the supplications were all outside of our immediate family. From wee babies to adults with numerous grand children, we laid our requests upon the Lord, thanking Him in advance for each response.

We tackled a couple small projects, but mostly spend the evenings weeding the garden. I really do have to sprinkle some more weed-be-gone on the walkways. A few places that I used it, there was no difference. Gavin says the seed or root was already germinated. I’ll try to keep up. Maybe.

The Butterfly Shape garden displayed it’s first bloom yesterday! Yay! According to the package, it is a giant dinner plate dahlia. So far the only thing giant about it is the height. We raised the automatic “cat sensor” sprinkler in the air on a tomato cage wire because of this plant. The bold burgundy color is a bright spot for sure. The bottom wings did not produce any of the bulbs that I planted. So I seeded in some more variety. After the water system has been set up, now I can plant some personals again. First, I am going to lay out some chicken wire to keep out my furry diggers. Bugger.

My little grand son is learning to blow kisses. How sweet! But not so sweet when his hand is full of sand at the park’s volleyball court. Aww, mommy, that was mean…. I was impressed with his ability to walk just as he expected. He had to show me all his fancy moves this last week’s visit. His sister is learning how “not” to run past him and knock him off balance with her speed.

We mortared the fire pit blocks together in the original spacing this week. Don’t ask us to lay a brick house or chimney. We are pretty sloppy brick layers. I can’t imagine how those people do this for a living. Our “cookie dough” worked. And the result’s have not been tested again. Maybe tonight. This Independence Day Weekend might give us a chance to sit around the fire some evening. I also have plans to do some yummy snacks and foods on the coals. My husband made me a little snowman to add to my collection. I told him to make Olaf, but it’s just three little cement cookie dough’s stacked up!

The spill over flower bed is full of poppies and the other day there were a dozen early morning blooms to greet me. That day of course, I did not have my camera. This morning a put the left over bricks from the fire pit on the outer edge to remind hubby not to mow them off. I keep pulling the weeds out, and the poppies just multiply better than weeds. There are a couple other wild flowers in there also.

The flowers in the greenhouse are still gorgeous. These little black eye Susan’s are from the “viability” sowing way back in February. At least we knew what the ones in the Butterfly Shape should look like then! The potatoes in the compost bin will have to come out this weekend. I might even begin later today. The plants are starting to die back. They bloomed a few weeks ago. Oh, well. The Black eye Susan’s are blooming! Along with the geraniums galore, the pansies that did not get a home, and the wintered over petunia’s that hit me in the face as I enter. Soon the figs will be ready. We are checking daily.

The Butterfly tire finally recovered from the drought last year. I ended up watering twice daily for awhile to get some more plants to rise up. It does not need reseeding as all the wildflowers are perennials. I should have put some chicken wire in it before things sprouted as the cat dug a few bare spots. With the growth and blooms soon there will be no evidence of any holes though. It gets pretty crowded. Thus the “spill over flower bed” on the ground to the southwest of the tire. Big fat smiley face insert!

I achieved the patriotic look that I was aiming for. The flag is new as our old one sprung a moth hole. The red geranium was quite weak the first month with all the wind and lost a few longer stems. But it has toughened up and looks amazing. Happy Independence Day to all of our USA friends and relatives. To my other world readers, we think of you all often during the pandemic health scare. I took my vaccine as soon as I could. Go get one yourself!

Say Cheese!

I think this the most appropriate title for the last two weeks of activities. Two Friday’s have passed since we blew the cameral lady away with our cheeky grins. I don’t know quite what to say of the adorable grandkids that we have. And my lovely daughters paid for the session with the photographer for our thirtieth anniversary. Of course the pregnant bump will be history by the time the holiday cards come out to the relatives. But maybe will do it early and keep everyone guessing on whether grand baby number three will be a boy or a girl!

Our little grand son found his legs this week and is showing off his new skill for the video camera daily. Of course the slippery socks and the wood floors, and the “Man Down!” Make for the best of laughs and quite a lot of bravery on the little guy’s nerves. Mommy (daughter number one) has learned to be a great cheerleader clapping and saying, “Good job, Buddy!” As he crashes to the floor. He also learned the say cheese posture and gets a sheepish grin when he does it. So cute!

The other day, my asthma got the best of me when I was out in the new windbreak area. I was checking the drip irrigation tube for the pine trees and pulling it back into position. Also, taking a whack at some of those weeds. It was fairly early and only seventy degrees out, so heat was not the problem. The humidity was a little high and I forgot to check it before my morning travels. Anyway, I blacked out and went down.

No worries, though, Honey had actually followed me out on my rounds and was not far away. When I felt the dirt underneath me, i opened my eyes. At first my thoughts were, what happened, and now what? Then the training kicked in. “Hone, Come!” I commanded. she perked right up and came immediately to my side and sat. “You have to help me up,” I said, “Brace!” And I told myself, take a deep breath. Honey stood and remained stiff as a statue for me to get to my feet. I was so dizzy, so I kept a hold on her collar. (It took several weeks of training for her to guide me with a collar hold. Most dogs resist the grip and want to get away. She learned that guiding me with the collar hold was not any different than the harness or the leash. My next command was rather airy as I stated “To the House!” But she began walking with purpose. I just kept up my steady count breathing with her steps. When we got to the house, I remained attached until we were inside to “Find My Purse!” Honey did a quick scan and took me directly to it with her nose on the bag. It was at that point that I let go of her collar, dropped down to the floor and began my rescue puffs.

After a few minutes elapsed, I began to realize just how amazing the rescue had been. She remained directly be my side and panted a steady even working dog breathing. I wanted to take some photos of my service dog, but she had her head on my stomach until I was back to normal breathing. So I just waited with her as my guide, resting and getting my airways back to normal. I patted her over and over saying, “Good girl!”

It’s moments like that which tell me I am a dog’s person. Her training came to my rescue. And She did exactly what she was suppose to do when asked. Honey has been a difficult dog for me, I felt like she did not “Get Me” like Seymour did. The training took longer than I expected. But her hyper alert personality, with a lot of patience has been put to good use.

I became pretty emotional after the episode wore off. The asthma came out of the blue for me. I had so few attacks the last few weeks of dry weather, that the humid air caught me off guard. Part the the problem could be the type of coffee that I was drinking. After the allergy testing in March, my asthma episodes became almost non-existent. The shallow breathing that comes with asthma has been less predictable. I did have one attack in May I think with all of the tree buddy and flowers on the fruit trees. That was the last time I remember using Honey to return to the house under breathing stress.

Later in the day, she earned her cheese snack. We did not do much for several hours. I was a little wore out for the surprise asthma attack. And my emotions were all over the place as I realized that my service dog had just earned her keep. Of course I had to brag her up and tell everyone about it. After a broken rib (she was five months old) and a broken nose (she was eight months old) and my daughter’s dislocated jaw (Honey was nearly a year old) Honey still is a very excitable dog. She is not really your nursing home kind of service dog.

However, her heel on a light leash hold for a bicycle ride is amazing. She has never run in front of the bike. The fact that she took to running beside the bicycle like a duck to water was amazing to me. I could sure use a better bicycle. The one I am using was my daughter’s bike from high school. And it needs a full work up to quit making all of those clicking noises. I try to get her out for hard run about once a week on a cool morning. And living in the country is hard to predict when there might too much traffic on the road.

Meanwhile, we put together the smokeless fire-pit on Father’s day. I enjoyed the fact that my dad was trying out his new smoker on some chicken and turkey legs, while I was trying to get rid of the smoke on my fire-pit. I mean who want’s to sit around the fire pit and have to use eye drops just to sleep at night. Out county just issued a burn ban, so I’m not sure we will use it when the company is here this weekend or not. It does keep a very contained fire and the smoke is burned off by the air flow science. Yes, It worked!

I fell in love with a new stitch this month. Learning the Solomon’s Knot was a good challenge for my new hook. I also found some nice fleece yarn to make a winter lace shawl. This one has a 20% wool acrylic and is pretty warm even though it is full of holes. Haha. It was good to learn something new in the air conditioned house during the unseasonably hod afternoons in June.

Now you know what’s been happening and the rest of the time will be pulling weeds out of the garden.

Once upon a summer

Writing on a blank slate is not something that today’s children even understand. Recently I watched a cheaply done movie about a young aritist and a young musician. They had many discussions about working with a purpose in mind. Purpose to them meant selling a message, or telling a message. Most of the movie was meant for a pre-teen audience with it’s focus on moral right and relationship building. The movies had a decent enough platform and did get the point across to question what we do on a daily basis as part of a larger purpose. A couple of time’s I though about the generation predecessor of the great war causes (like WWI and WWII).

Once upon a summer, I buried a pail of cherry pits in a hole, covered it with the dirt and this little tree emerged. I cannot recall whether this summer of ago was the pits but I do remember putting the pits in the hole. In fact, there were three others that produced a little tree. The cherry pits came from Great-Grandpa’s tree just outside our bedroom window.

How is it the summers become blurry in our memory? Summers with children and family are busy times. Summers are for vacations and going places. When the kids have gone and the spouse has a job we find our own ways to make summer busy. Even people who work, and garden, find summer crowded with activity

As a child the emptiness of summer was no problem. The fact that the daus go by ever too quickly and soon the vacation days are over made me long for afternoons. After school book diving became my pleasure. Today, I still find it easy to bury myself in the sands of a really good book. Days speed righ by when a good book is taking us out to another world.

Cherry picking and pitting time is a very busy time and a bit messy. This summer I’m hoping the cherries are right before we want to go on vacation. It seems that the two-day window for picking time lands on the wrong weekend every year. Last summer we got back to them too late. The red juiciness were drying on the tree already

With the windbreak all prepared for growing, we can focus on other things now. Like the garden’s weeds that went out of control. And there is a blank slate spot in the “east of the barn” area that needs to be planted yet. I have some flower packets, and more carrots to plant.

Imagination is the ability to create something out of nothing. I had fun playing pretend “drinking” with my grand daughter one afternoon. She ran to fetch me a drink of water from her play kitchen, only to have me declare that it was “juice” or “vinegar” or some other incredulous liquid besides water. The play went on for nearly a half an hour until she insisted that “apple juice” was better than water. I was finally satisfied with my drink and said “Oh, thank you!”d

The enjoyment of imagination can turn the wrong direction quickly. Like this morning when I was up on in the dark barn to take this picture, and something was hissing at me. Pretty sure it was a possum. I don’t any cats that hiss at me. Well, I managed to take my picture, and then skedaddled back down the stairs.

So, how does your imagination work for you? Do you take a skein of yarn and make something band new? Do you enjoy gardening and watching thins grow? How about those dark places where things make noises at you? Why don’t you take a blank slate and create something enjoyable today!

Reclaiming spaces

Turning the barn into a glorified garden shed. Previously I was using just the grain room for all my supplies. Because the room was dark with no light and a little tiny window for putting the feed in I needed a bigger space.

I’m supposed to be married because I can’t do anything by myself. I was so busy today trying to get the garden ready for watering. But I couldn’t remember which direction the hoses went because each is different length and needs to be in a different area. My husband had to rearrange all my work and get things set up properly. He even found the timer to get some of the watering done automatically.

My husband is amazing He’s not just an engineer at work. At home he’s my go-to for everything. He’s the builder, the plumber, the repairman The Carpenter and so much more.  After 30 years of marriage I’m still always coming up with things to do for him. He kind of told me I can’t watch any more DIY projects unless I can do them myself for sure. His honey do for the list for the summer it’s way too long. And it’s turning into more of a muskmelon or a cantaloupe.

The Northwest room in the barn has a very long history  First a milking station then a sheep jug for lambing and now shelving for my garden tools and planting supplies. And the lights are absolutely wonderful  I think the old grain room will become a great storage place for my bags of potting mix and mulch. Trying to store my garden supplies in that little room was just too small.

First things first. Cleaning up the greenhouse to do some repairs on the North wall and the water tank involves having a place to store all of my supplies. I’m so very glad we spent the day to work on the shelving.

And then his dad found there was tree sale at one of the county conservation services. So we spent the next weekend getting ready and planting 125 trees and bushes. Except that this project is going to drag out into a couple of weekends. He borrowed a skid steer to drill all the holes. And I have been attempting to try to plant some of them myself. And then of course there’s the idea of getting them watered which will involve some drip irrigation tubes.

Meanwhile the shelving project got put on hold. The greenhouse is mostly on maintenance mode. It’s been really hot in our neck of the woods. Most of the seedlings in the garden have popped through the soil. Keeping things watered and hydrated and growing is the focus.

My own little corner in my own little world I’m not very good at doing things all by myself. 30 years of marriage to my husband has taught me if I have an idea he’ll find a way to get it done. And the corner of our property will have it completely different look in just a few years as the trees grow. We even planted a hedge windbreak on the east and the south of the garden.

I have been so busy outside my writing has taken a bit of a nosedive. But thank goodness for the most part falling in a hole or tripping over things in the garden has not really happened. I have been staying upright for the most part. Those sitting on the ground with my head buried in a hole planting a tree or a bush has made me feel like an ostrich much of the time.

Go away dark night

Teaching spiritual warfare at the elemental level. How do we help children make sense of their bad feelings, and what to do with anger, mistakes, and dealing with forgiveness. Teaching the sin nature to pre-schoolers is not a choice. I believe it is a necessity. Children displahy the fall of mankind naturally. It is all about how we name it, how we call it out, and the gentle, graceful, loving explanations that we give. We can break a child’s heart, or mold and make a child’s heart to be after God’s own heart.

The song on the CD titled “Go Away Dark Night” was written in the pre-school years of my two little girls. Sisters have a way of finding the right buttons to push. But maybe it’s that way with any sibling combinations. It’s up to the parent to be the “adult” and react in approriate manner to the situations at hand.

Words to the song Go Away Dark Night , the tenth song from the CD Are You Ready by myself go like this: (Chorus) “Say, Go away dark night, go away! Come again, Jesus Light! Fill me up with Your love, give me strength from above. Say, Go away, dark night, go away! (verse one) The evil forces of this world will lie and cheat and steal God’s word. They’ll tell you what you want to know even if it is not so. But here is something that you can say do get them running the other way. (Repeat chorus) (verse two) When a tongue turns to enemy, their tongue says things that should not be They tell you what you don’t want to hear, Even perhaps that God is not here. But here is something that you can say, to get them running the other way. (Chorus)

What was happening then before we lived here? We had purchased a fixer-upper for a house. I hear that song on the Frozen sound track and just cringe. There is nothing really romantic about a fixer-upper. And Romance that is based on the scheme is doomed to fail, If I dare say so. The trash in the house had been removed by someone, the repo people maybe. But they only piled it all in the falling down shed/garage. We were fortunate to believe it was just a great snow sculpture upon our moving in.

A nice scarey fire took care of that problem. The propane tank was just feet from the fire and the fire just yards from the house. The spiritual warfare that followed out move in was not so easy to remove.

What is spiritual warfare at a physical manifestation? My husband suffered from debilitating depression. My ITP and platelet levels dropped to record lows. Our children suffered from nightmares that were incredibly vivid. During the most difficult month or so, we also found ill-tempered church going problems. Finally we found a church in another town that understood the battle we faced was spiritual.

Prayer walks in the Battle of Jericho became our game plan. We had several conversations with the head Pastor and he invited his elders to come over to our place for a prayer walk. Each room, including the basement would get prayed over. And then we would walk around the house and pray at each corner of the propertay also. Bringing a hedge of protection back over our family, our home and our property.

Multiplying the power of prayer, not praying in multiples or chanting. The prayer walk was so successful. Where two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, the Father answers! I cannot recommend enough the power of prayer in one’s life and the power of asking others to take up our needs to the throne.

My children still squabbled. My husband still had a thyroid crash a few years after we moved away from that house. My ITP still required surgery to remove my spleen druing those formative years. The important thing, is that we knew God was sovereign over every decision that we made. We knew His omnipresence through all of life’s challenges following that difficult dark hour.

How I choose to apply this today. The night’s still come with darkness. I struggle with sleep at times. There are things that happen whether of our making or of other’s doing that cause change, difficulty, and trial in our lives. Finding the peace that passes all understanding during the hours of darkness, is all about knowing the LIGHT. Knowing Jesus makes all the difference in how we react to these happenings.

Some days with my asthma, I long for the Sweet By and By. Other days, I look forward to watching my grandchildren grow. And being the voice of reason, logic, calm and assurance is often my best job with my grown daughters, or with my husband, or with another family member, or friend. Prayer is my first response to almost everything these days.

I still have my little jar with the “lay at the feet of Jesus” prayer requests. I know that while physically I may be growing weaker with age, my soul is growing stronger. Where I am weak, Christ is strong.

I John 1:5-7. “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we way that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowhsip with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”(ESV)

Another update

Okay now I really don’t like my word press blog site. They updated it again! AND I really hate change. The whole look and the way I want to write has been changed. So, yep I once again am completely hampered by the change.

This block editing is totally not my style. Not sure that I have a style, but this is definitely not it. I think of myself as a semi-professional writer. Maybe I am an amuteur at web paging, but writing is something I am suppose to enjoy. Insert emoji loudly screaming baby face!!!

So along with this unwelcome change, life moves on. April showers were non-existent but May flowers are still blooming. There has been some rain in the last week enough to chase the drought away. But if you dig down six inches in our garden, the soil is dry. Somehow the corn is up about 10 miles to the south of us.

We are in the middle of “Birthday Month.” And so that is keeping us busy with celebrations. It seems that in our family the spring really sprung! From March through June there are equal birthday numbers to the Octoberfest that slides into November.

Meanwhile, I hope that at some point I can get my blog set up back to what it was. (The change is permanent, so I have read.) I can’t even find how to add photos to the blog. My husband had to poke around for me and show me what to do. Nobody quite comprehends what screen changes do to someone with Retinitis Pigmentosia. Once that little curser runs away, there’s no hope of finding it again. The icon changes, and the like… well, I ought to quit my belly-aching and just write.

I am pretty excited about my upcoming logo design. I made a few contacts but so far no one has answered me. So I am patiently or not so patiently waiting. In a lot of ways, I feel like these three ladies in waiting. Haha.

Next time you see these two images, I hope to have the logo on the creamers at the greenhouse. They will sit in the rocks of the landscaping. The dairy cans are waiting for another coat of colored paint, but the weather has not been cooperating. I have the flowers for the top of them already also. Keeping them growing in the greenhouse has been enjoyable. I am aslo trying to figure out how to make the cans a bit more self-watering. They are so tall the bottom half does not even get used as a potting soil source. I will be filling them with riverrock.

Meanwhile… The garden has been all mapped out with the seedling plants in the greenhouse included in the key. There will be treasures galore as the summer comes on! I was also blessed to supply the Mother’s day plants to our church. The baby geraniums did very well. Of course those statrted in november did better than the February shoots. And I have some for myself that are taking their own sweet time at rooting out.

Well, there is my update. I am also putting together a song that I wrote based on Psalm 36. The melody is so catchy. I am always humming it.

The latest greenhouse project was the dinner-plate arrangements. Parsley, oregano, cilantro, chives, and basil work just as well in the planter as they do in the pantry. It’s crazy how seeds planted at the same time grow at different paces. It feels much like walking completely different dogs!

These pretty little geranium babies all found new homes on Mother’s Day. It was such a blessing to give them away. I only had a few left overs. Those are finding new homes this week as the days roll by. Soon the rest of the plant babies will all head out to the garden. The greenhouse will have to get it’s shade cloth on for the summer, so that everything does not get scorched from the heat. Judging the water needs is hard to do when there are so many different size planters and pots.

Yesterday’s tether

An asthma journal entry

When pain follows better than my shadow, the ibuprofen bottle takes a hit. I use to take one naproxime sodium every day. Then I decided to reduce all of my medications and find out what I was truly allergic to. That cost about $3,000. Thankfully we have insurance. But I am not allergic to money. If that grew on trees, it would be much better than whatever is budding right now. Between that and grass season, I may have to make some changes around here. Another week and the sneeze and wheeze will be history for a time again!

My asthma is doing much better after I found out malted milk shakes and white potato french fries were on my “no-no” list. Eating out is somewhat easier. Chocolate syrup will just have to be on it’s own in the milk from now on. Until the trees broke out in “bloom” song, my astham was at bay. Until… And to top it off, we had a bit of that badly needed moisture move through.

It just moved through. I’m not sure there was much rain in the clapping clouds. Enough to get my asthma going in the night though. Not enough for the dry land in our neck of the woods.

Yesterday has a tether on my tomorrow.

Today I am feeling the pain from too much yesterday. Anyone else get what that means? No, I do not mean that life is long. It is this “muchness” that often pulls us down. Gravity has a very downward effect. It’s that binge exercise plan that gets me every time.

How do we take the day after slower than the day before? Slowing down is just simply what comes of age, right? Yet it is not really age that makes us slow, it’s what happened the day before. Yesterday’s tether has a very long lead line into my tomorrow. Some people have arthritis. Some people have old injuries. Some people have disease. Some of us just did more than we should have. It’s that extra step that was the do-zie! Thus the slowing is much like a tether on the tomorrow.

Tethering tomorrow.

I found a leash that was still good and tied a loop in the middle. That way dog walking involves a tether. Eva is not so sure about being on the outside. But Honey gets to be the lead dog and take us both for a walk. Sometimes shopping for me is much like a tethering process. Going out and about these days with a mask on adds to the hampering of eyesights. My husband said that a few people at work had accidents the first month or so while mask wearing. With my tunnel vision, putting another barrier in the visual field makes things worse. I simply prefer not to shop. Never really liked it anyways.

Going shopping with little kids, a blind mother, and studying a phone app sounds like a recipe for disaster. Try giving a toddler a tiny basketball to hold on too. This photo opportunity was taken while I enjoyed the little gripping hands and plump little fingers holding on tight.It just seemed like the ball should have a tether on it. But it made for an interesting spectacle to see my daughter chasing after the the little round object, when shopping was the real object . This is one of my favorite pictures from the past month. I could not resist sharing it.

How does asthma feel? Asked the doctor who did not have such. And another doctor said that’s not asthma, you don’t have pain with asthma. How does he know? Once upon a time there was a television commercial that gave a little kids description of the feeling. “Like a fish out of water.” Asthma literally is oxygen deprivation. That doctor has never ran right after lunch with all of his might and then thrown up. I think that would hurt.

The first thing that tells me that I have asthma is the feeling that I just want to sleep. So I go to bed early. My heart begins to skip beats. These palpitations are not calves skipping in happiness through the spring grass. It usually catches me off guard, and then I feel nauseous or angry. (Ask anyone married to a person with a bad heart, and they will tell you their spouse gets angry without reason.). Because I want to control my fits of rage, I also want to just got to bed and leave people where they are. (If you wear strong perfume and I choose not to visit and act like I am trying to escape- it is the perfume, not you.)

Now that I have gone to bed and not taken care of the oxygen loss, the sleep hallucinations begin. Maybe they are dreams? Or maybe they are night mares. Many times the dreams are about people I have not seen in ages. So it is kind of like dreaming about the banquet hall in Heaven. Last night I saw Stene and Gladys from our home church in Minnesota. Wow! Do I ever miss their wit and wisdom. It was so exciting to see them.

Then this massive migraine hit me in the back of the head. I woke up from the feeling that my head was being used as a slam dunk object. Yeah, it hurts. I was hot or flushed much of the night, Using my inhaler there by the bed did not seem to help. I rose several times in the feeling of panic, sucking in air, and then downing cold water. That did not help much either.

Hiding under the covers all day is not really an adult option. Though I know some adults who do that. Getting up means the day has arrived. Yesterday is officially over. I am not tethered to the post at the head of the bed. Sometimes we have to do that to the dog. She does not have much “stick-to-it” with her bed at night. The wandering and the loud thump is just too distubing for a decent night’s slepp.

Never the less, the oxygen depraved migraine did not work to remind me that asthma was calling my name. There was no “lazarus come forth” moment for me. It was a phone call. The sound of my husband’s ring tone barking at me drove me out of my banqueting hall visit with all of the special people of faith that I long to see.

So today, I long for glory-land. It might be a “Gaither” kind of listening day. The Statler Brothers are another old hymn sing favorite. No death is not romantic. Death during sleep is not a wish most people receive. I am not making light of this past year when I talk about this. Falling asleep and rising up on the other side of “Joran” is not just a beautiful song that people sing about. But the asthma does bring on a lot more though about the sweet by and by than my husband wants to hear.

Asthma kind of takes the fight out of life. Asthma takes the fun out of life. Asthma takes good nights rest with it too. Asthma steals my joy for spring. Asthma takes me back to the house right after I go for a walk. Asthma sucks the air out of me bit by little bit.

Asthma is only one part of my life. It is not all of my life. Asthma is not really the enemy. Some days it sure seems that way.

And if you are a doctor that never ran until you collapsed and lost you stomach’s contents on the beach like Jonah’s whale… Well, I have news for you. Asthma hurts. And sometimes it is that little nagging nausea that tells me I better get some help or dizziness and darkness might win the race.

James 4:14 “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow, For what is you life/. It is just a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

An Eremite’s Journal

“Wilderness Journey”

This past year was a challenge of epic social proportions. The mandates to stay home, the office dispersions, the canceled events. All of the changes in behavior that some people found unbearable. For me staying at home was a choice I made nearly 28 years ago. However, not getting out and about on the weekends or spending time with extended family was a new part of life during this quarantine season.

An eremite is someone who chooses the hermit life in response to seeking a more peaceful and focused spiritual life. Many of these people choose the social distancing as a way to find complete harmony within their soul, spirit, body, and mind. I do not believe in this hands off approach to the Christian’s life. There are too many scripture passages about loving others and Christ’s work through us for the perpetuation of the gospel. Being a recluse during a worldwide pandemic was dictated by health reasons. I am not claiming to be an eremite in the full sense of the word.

Being an eremite is sometimes in response to the character flaws that drive one to sin when living with others. The belief that Christ empower’s us to become better people should drive us towards others not away from them. How can we really show God that we love Him unless we love one another?

However, this barren landscape, involves very few people for me this past year. While I tried to reach out to some in hopes of rekindling friendship, being snubbed a few times in a row, convinced me move on to the next person on the list.

Writing for me is in direct defiance of solitude. The act of putting words into sentences and thought process into journal entries concludes that there will one day be a reader. Being alone while writing is reaching out to another and defies the very act of separation from others. Writing is a forward motion. The pen is hope for the future.

Wasted wanderings would be putting these paper scraps with their ink blots in the trash. While the paper itself is tossed away, the thoughts continue to collect. Like the person in my corner of the world that did not want to “waste his cancer,” I do not want to waste these jottings.

In search of that which lies in plain sight, I find myself studying the great desert wanderings of the faith. There was Moses on the mountain receiving the ten commandments. My favorite because there was an active writer of the event. Of course, Jesus in the wilderness ministered to by angels is another favorite. And don’t forget the Israelites in the Sinai for forty years. The Sinai church or Saint Catherine’s Monastery is the oldest community of “eremite” lifestyle. Separating from the world yet still being in the world, this kind of life often attracts travelers and guests. The ministry to the world thus is done on the terms of the monastic community rather than the expectations of the world. The solitary confinement within the walls of these abbeys is meant to be a “40” hour, day, or week spiritual journey.

Returning to the Cd to listen to the song, brought back many emotions this past week or two. We all really truly experience our own life alone. The life that we live is ours alone to make conclusions and decisions upon. Our burdens are ours alone to carry heavily or to lay down at Jesus feet. We either choose to carry life’s weight alone or to share it. thus in the sharing to lighten our burden and find relief from the load that we bear. This is the basic theory behind grief counseling and support groups.

Finding encouragement alone is nearly impossible. Finding a support group for your particular burden is easier than you think. It’s the actual going. The reality of attendance that makes support groups difficult. One actually must GO somewhere to be ministered to by the group. To receive the support one needs involves being needy. This is the hurdle many do not cross.

This blanket poncho is not as wide as the others that I have made. I actually had to add some border design to make it cozy properly. The yarn was also a nightmare spool bobbin that did not come off the cardboard bobbin without tangling into a hundred knots. This was definitely a colossal alone time accomplishment. And it is one of my favorite warm buddies when there is nobody to give me a hug.

Affirming feelings is not something I remember through my childhood. And I don’t think I was very good at it as a parent either. Watching my grandchildren have their feelings named and affirmed at such young ages makes me think of the cliche psychological counseling statement, “How does that make you feel?” I found that most of the time I have to tell myself, “Feelings lie.” A fact sheet is helpful in those instances.

Out of the darkness and into the night is more of my life wilderness experience that I might care to share. Especially when I talk about my eyesight problems. But that makes me a needy person and others don’t want to be around “needy” people.

When the night light goes out in the bedroom it actually gives me a momentary panic. Then I remember that there are rugs, and walls to search for. My feet and my hands do the “seeing” and I can find my way around okay. The light switch is on the other side of the room for me, and I do not want to wake my sleeping spouse. Though my thrashing limbs usually makes the door hit the furniture and the noise wakes him up anyways.

Yesterday felt a bit like the alarm from a tsunami or hurricane happenings. My emotional state felt like perhaps there was a “coming deluge.” This flood of thought process and the avalanche of words left me shaking. Literally, I was having the day after soy sauce asthma response. The headache, the lack of oxygen, and the allergic reaction made me just want to stay in bed. Thank goodness thereis a dog to keep me going. The pets still needed attention, so I forged ahead. One step in front of the other.

Today, I am doing better mentally. Taking the time to sort out all of the jottings. Some of the ink blotches are indecipherable. Some I just scrapped because they don’t fit with this entry.

I am pretty much done with the eremite living. No, I don’t really live alone. I have had both vaccines and am ready to go back to church social life. Being a self-possessed Christian recluse in persuit of religious piety is not for me. Spending time with my little grand babies will continue to be a “well” opportunity. That’s hard but less disparaging than rare. I will continue to journal during my alone quiet times. At one point I wrote a whole study on forty day silences. Forty days, or forty wees, I don’t think that this quarantine year has transformed me into something that was not. This is not the time for an eremite’s journal.

“Walking through the wilderness When all around is emptiness, I forget the One who fills my cup. Seeing all this barrenness Where once was abundant fruitfulness I turn away and do not look back up. AND God says, ‘You must go through the dark to see the light. You must remember day follows the night. You must run the race to win the prize. For when you’ve passed the test of this life, you will receive the gift, The Crown of Life.’

“Searching for the peacefulness Found in His great faithfulness I forget the One right by my side. Striving to cope with thankfulness When the only hope is His promise I turn back to Him Who Will Provide. AND God says, “You must go through the dark to see thelight. You must remember day follows the night. You must run the race to win the prize. For when you have passed the test of this life, You will receive the gift, The Crown of Life.'”

from the ninth song on the Album “Are You Ready” Wilderness Journey by Yvonne Annette age 29.