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.

Belief Without Question

This time and thus far

“Many have said that they do not believe,

“Many have said that they do.”

The eighth song on the CD is titled, “Why Lord?” While the words have been floating through my head for the past two weeks, the struggle to reach some conclusion has eluded me. Until today, I struggled with the conclusion for the previous entry. Letting go of the post began an emotional reeling within me akin to considering the death of my favorite pet. No I was not thinking of one of the dogs, rather, the age and difficulties of our family pony.

A few weeks back,he began a hobbling that seemed unnatural to his usually jolly old self. When the family gathered for our Easter celebrations, the call to come was denied. Cocoa simply remained planted in his stationary position as if he turned into a statue. Not use to the steely attitude, we searched for a reason for his lack of response.

Twenty years old for a horse did not seem good enough for me. A visit with the vet, and some physical investigation proved that his back leg with the previously split hoof was showing signs of arthritis and pain. We ill keep his hooves trimmed at a shortened time frame (down to six weeks) and are giving him some anti-inflammatory relief for the rest of the week.

Considering the death of the longest living family pet was much to depressing. Cocoa has out-lived all of the family dogs and cats.

I wanted to make a little backpack bag for a while now. the continuous in the round crochet makes for some real fun juggling the tails. Somewhat of a dog and pony show, keeping the two untangled is half of the project! Never the less, the project was successful and I learned a thing or two about sizing and attaching the straps. Using the familiar patter was helpful. I could watch movies and listen to books without many mistakes.

These three little sedum’s are some of the easiest succulents to keep alive. Once weekly moisture spritz and once monthly watering of the soil should do the trick. The exciting part is the log-planter that my husband’s dad turned on the wood lathe for me. The project was a bit big for his porch projects. My hubby actually had to hold the lathe down one day so his dad could finish the project. I put a bread sack inside the container so the log will not rot.

One day while dreaming of log houses, I though, perhaps this is as close as I will ever get. So perhaps, my little plants can have a log house. Dreams are a silly sort at times.

These beautiful geraniums went back to their summer home. Over wintering in the greenhouse the pretty blooms were constant. I was blessed to have four or five other hanging baskets from these two originals. And there are nearly a dozen offspring. I am so grateful to the ladies who donated to my “forever spring” collection. Many days I do not think life would be very enjoyable without my greenhouse.

I look back at the time that this song was written and wonder what was I really questioning? What was going on in the question of “Why?” For me? One day recently my dad and I got on the topic of name changing. I told him that I have never wanted to change my name. I have always liked Yvonne Annette. Many people have commented what a pretty name I have.

The move I watched on the life of Lincoln by Stephen Spielberg, sparked many thoughts for me. One was the chose of birth. Free will is something that some consider self-evident truth. Yet free will does not involve birth, color of skin, or sexual identity at birth. Today some people choose to fight every identity given to them at birth. As if in so choosing they can change the course of nature be anything that they are not.

Again, I state that we cannot choose birth for ourselves. Even a mother if she lets the natural order of things resolve, cannot choose the moment of her child’s birth. Some of us have been more influenced by the meddling of man’s ways than others.

I would not be here if a doctor with a scalpel had not plucked me from my mother’s womb. I was placenta Previn. Until the recent past, these children died at birth, and often the mother with them. My mother and I did not choose the date of my birth. Nature did. The gravity of this day has not lost it’s seriousness upon me or her. We are alive.

One generation later, and I also could not choose my children’s sex, nor their birthdates. Had I known the incompetent cervix was the result of my many bicycle accidents and trick jumping, perhaps the bike would have stayed in the garage more frequently. Needless to say, my daughters are both alive and so am I thanks to modern medicine.

How can I question my Lord’s hand in my existence and consider this momentary difficulties to be afflictions unbearable? How do we let the oppressions of mankind defeat our spirits and demote our souls? How do we choose to deny our identities ride the waves of windless tides? How do we stoop the questions?

But in the end it’s not just what you say…

“but what you do, That proves the truth.”

Every time that I plant a seed, in my life at least, I prove that God exists. Every day that I crochet, I confirm my family identity. I am my grandmother’s granddaughter. Every day that I listen to a book or learn something new, I prove that my mother and father once made me. They were both avid readers, and to this day love learning. Every day that I communicate with a sibling is proof that God intervened in my mother’s life the day that I was born, and let her live.

Every day that look in the mirror, I choose to be me.

Mark 9:23-24, “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately, crying out with tears, the father of the child replied ‘Lord I believe; help my unbelief.'”

Unless the Seed Dies

Song number seven

Good Friday traditions in our area involve much about gardening. The one that sticks the most is planting the seed potatoes, onions, and asparagus. Of course many others plant radishes, lettuce varieties, and peas also. Any kind of bulb plant can be buried on Good Friday here in growing zone five with a lot of success. But most tulips, crocus, and daffodils are planted in the fall.

Why do we plant the seeda potatoes on Good Friday? The holiday follows the lunar calendar and means that the chance from hard frost before the plants peek out of the soil is not likely. But there are some very strong spiritual reasons for planting the seed potatoes on Good Friday.

Being a Christian and following the Jewish back drop to the Easter weekend holds much sway on my belief system to life and gardening. Tradition has it that the Messiah would be the final passover lamb to abolish the old system and fulfill all prophecies. The sacrificial Lamb would die and be raised on the third day, much like the story of Jonah being spit up from the belly of the great fish on the third day. The Old Testament stories and prophecies all point to Christ Jesus. I believe all of that to be true.

But why potatoes? Remembering my Irish heritage and my maternal lineage means that the potatoes were the “bread” of the land and the reason for my being on this continent. The potatoe famine sent many starving people to the New England to find new fortune. When the people settled in America that came both for the freedom of land and the freedom of religion.

Having their own gardens to plant their own potatoes was just as important as being able to go to the church of their own choosing. Planting potatoes on Good Friday symbolizes all of the family heritage that I can remember. But it also symbolizes that Christ was buried on that day for a freedom of consciousness that no one can ever make any rules against. Because of Christ I know that I will go on to eternal life with my Heavenly Father. And Praise God that for me, many of my earthly father’s will be their also.

Looking forward to Sunday, to Someday is what it is all about. We know that the cross was not the end of the story. We know that this earth is not the end of the story. Just like our hope that the potatoes will send forth a shoot out of the ground, Christ came out of the tomb. He is not there in the ground. While we may wait longer that three days to harvest the potatoes, our hope for the spuds to feed us through the winter months will be rewarded in the fall harvest time.

The title of the song lends to a sad reprise. Good Friday was a sad day for the disciples and friends of Jesus. All funerals are sad. Saying goodbye is never easy. It’s the hope of reunion that keeps us looking forward. The song uses the words of Jesus, “unless the seed dies, it will never multiply.” The passage is found in John chapter twelve.

(Here I find that in the sleeve of the CD, the passage is written as Luke chapter twelve. It is little errors like this that I feel aided the failure of the music to thrive on. Proper editing even at this insignificant level provides the dismissal of relevancy for the reader. I am sad that these errors were not noticed.)

What makes a funeral procession remembered as Good? Has anyone ever commented on the goodness of a funeral? Yet we remark on the Friday of our Lord’s crucifixion and burial as Good! Sunday. Easter Sunday! The answer is the resurrection.

Potatoes, onions and asparagus are now in the ground on our acreage. Once again we are growing food that we do not eat that much of, but the kids will take the potatoes. The onions will go in the salsa, and the asparagus will go in the freezer. We do eat that.

New hats, new shoes, and new dresses might not only be for the children at Easter. All those potatoes make little bodies grow up taller, so the new dress-ware is welcome for the little boy whose pants are far above the ankles by spring time. At some point I will have to go into the storage containers to find all of the hats from Easter past. I am rather sad that Easter hats are not “welcome” anymore. They are my favorite spring thing. Now-a-days I just wear a baseball hat all the sunshine season. Maybe I’ll find myself a new “garden” hat this year, Complete with a tie to keep it away from the wind! Haha.

Sunrise services for Easter Sunday have gone out of style. Today the breakfast, baptisms and singing is all rolled up into one service. People don’t sit still as long anymore. Half the service is done standing. Yet Easter Sunday is still my favorite Sunday at church of the whole year.

Remember the leavening? Okay some people don’t even know what I am talking about because they have never made bread. But the idea behind yeast and bread rising goes right along with the story of Easter. Without the leavening, the bread is flat. It you bake the bread before it has a chance to raise. (In a hurry, like the passover celebration was done because they were packing up to leave Egypt the next day).you will have flat-bread.

Some people make flat bread on purpose. My husband’s family has a traditional Christmas flat-bread. My daughter taught us how to make pita bread for gyros. But back to the lesson at hand. We made “Resurrection Rolls” this year for our family gathering. The baking powder biscuit bread is not allowed to rise, but rolled out in sheets like the cloth that was used to roll up the dead. (Jesus was wrapped with linen cloths by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arymithea). Then we take a pure white marshmallow,baptize it in water, roll it up with spices, and wrap it up with the dough. All the symbolisms of Christ life, baptism, death and burial. The quick bread is put into the oven (tomb) and baked for 12 minutes. The delicious roll is devoured after a short stroll outdoors. Symbolizing the run to the tomb on Sunday morning by the disciples. Of course one person is left to guard the tomb and take the rolls out when the timer rings.

The empty roll is a favorite of every one in the family. The sweet cinnamon treat is such a good reminder of all that life with Jesus as Savior has to offer us.

Baking these resurrection rolls as a family is going to be one of our family traditions. This year our little two going on three grand-daughter got to help with the making of the rolls. I am so glad that I insisted we make the rolls as a family and read the Bible story from the book of John.

When I wrote this song, miscarriages had become a fact in my life. The dream to have more children and raise children of faith was a hope that I coveted. The thought that because I had ITP, my body would begin to turn against me and my dreams of more children was so devastating. Not very many people even knew that having more children was one of my strongest hopes and dreams. Letting that dream die was the hardest thing that I thought I would have to go through. And moments when conversation turned to babies and expectations was painful and difficult to swallow. I did not know that my own husband would soon get his “two is enough” reality and even after my spleen was gone and the hope for more children would again have to dies, as his thyroid took a crash.

So there’s our ‘two is enough” story and more discussion bout the marital chambers than I ever thought I would share.

Needless to say, that was my dream and the heartfelt cry of wanting more family that I was letting go of while I penned that song. Other dreams would have to find life. God would have to give me different desires.

Some dreams, wishes, and wants are not as secret as this. But my heart aches for those for whom the womb lies barren. For those families with multiple children, God bless you! May He grant you grace as you raise children of faith. Our two girls are such a blessing to us, and now that we have grandkids my arms are blessed to hold the little ones while they still can be held. They grow up so fast. Putting them down is the hardest thing sometimes.

Now, my hands stay busy with crochet. My fingers play in the dirt with seedlings and plants that have multiplied beyond reason sometimes. The process of plant reproduction is such a joy to me. I can hardly believe how many geranium babies I have from the 15 or 20 plants that I had last fall. I think there are well over 50 plants. I have learned that it is okay to prune the fig tree so that the fruit will come on.

The Lord was busy pruning me all of those years ago when I wrote that song. Multiplication is still my favorite math lesson. Don’t get me going on the teaching years. That will come later.

I have sat on this entry long enough. The conclusion seems to painful to attend. Something akin to a funeral or a memorial service. I am in the depths of despair today for some very unknown emotional reason. This day, April 15th, I chose to watch Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” For some reason it just seemed appropriate to commemorate his death that way.

We do not chose birth. Death also by God’s design should not be an act of the will. Life however, holds many decisions of our making. In choosing, choose life.

Wee Hoursof Motherhood

Was I a brave mom?

This song on the CD is music only. I’m not really sure if I can get the song recorded and put on this blog site. The disc fromt he makers is not online anywhere, so the legistics of getting it up on this site is not easy. I own the copyright, so we’ll see if I get creative.

The song was written in the wee hours of the night on my Clavinova with head phones in my ears. It was also one of the few pieces with actual music on paper. We lived in an upstairs apartment complex and when we moved out the neighbors said they would miss us. We never saw the neighbors. I guess we were both pretty quiet.

The song that should have been on the list is one that i wrote during pregnancy. It was written in the “hope” stage and the weapy emotional thoughtfulness that comes with not knowing what lies in the future.

Today

Today, as I thought about you

I began to cry

I am not sure why

But I began to cry

Maybe it’s because you are mine

Maybe it’s because you are special

Maybe it’s because God knows your time

Maybe it’s because I love you

Or maybe it’s because

You are you…

But today

As I though about you

I began to cry…

-written in February of 1993, by Yvonne Annette

The melody and the words were written in such a raw emotional state, that I have not shared it much. But there it is.

My first daughter came at the midnight hour. We did not find out whether she was a girl until she was born. Because of my health condition called ITP, the doctor’s decided to do a caesarean birth shortly after my water broke. It was somewhat of a rush job. Though we had to wait for the anesthesiologist to come from thirty minutes west. And then the pain meds did not work for me. I felt the sharp cuts so horribly. They were somewhat dull, but still ever nerve was on fire. I am so thankful that my husband was there to hold my hand. As soon as the doctor said, “It’s a girl!” And I said, “I have my little Yolanda Marie.” They put me to sleep for the rest of the stitching up. So I did not really get to meet her until two hours later. I can still recall the feeling of the surgeon’s knife.

But she is truly a blessing. And recovery went smoothly. She was such a good baby. I had trouble functioning at night, so daddy would bring her in to me for nursing. I was so glad when she slept through the night at 12 weeks old.

My second daughter also came in the sixth year of my ITP disorder. By the time I was less than a month from due date, the doctor’s decided to test her platelets. We went to the cities to a very impersonal OB-Gyn. He did the procedure in quite a blur and found her to be perfectly fine on the blood work. Never the less our fears were still heightened and we did not know if my count would remain up for the delivery. After three days of attempting to get labor to begin, the doctors decided once again to do a c-section. This time it was because our little baby’s heart rate had begun to show stress.

My second daughter was born in better pain management for the surgery. The doctor stated, “You can begin with a Y.” Instead of saying ‘it’s a girl.’ She would not have a Y at the beginning of her name. And it took us a few hours to decide what her first name would be. We had the names reversed until my husband looked at the newspaper to see how many Meghan’s there were. So Lennea Megan she is! And she also was such a good baby. A little bit of jaundice from being two weeks early, I remember having to waker her up every two hours to feed her.

So my daughter’s came into the world on their own special days. They are in their own special ways the joy in my life. Even after they have grown and gotten married, I still tear up at the amazing young women they have become. God has surely overflowed my cup with these two lovely ladies!

I love being their mom.

I loved motherhood.

And I am so glad their dad and I were given two beautiful daughters.

Disclaimer alert. The girls did not like this picture. Maybe it was the clothes they had on or the cool fall weather. It is still one of my favorites though. Maybe it’s because no matter what the season or the time in life, daughters are sisters that share secrets that even mom does not know. But for me, it’s the fact that no matter the secrets or the challenges that life throws at them, they are still my little girls and the joy of them just being themesleves sparks raw emotion will always bring a tear of happiness to my eyes.

The verse that I put in the folder for the sixth song is from I Timothy chapter 2. Verse fifteen states that the mother is saved during childbearing years by her continued faith, love, holiness and self-control. I believe this is a “working out of salvation” not a saving grace. It is more of the “fruits” of the Savior’s work in a person’s life. The idea that childbearing is part of the covenantal salvation puts an emphasis on the the womb of woman that would be very devastating when a woman cannot bear children. Later on when miscarriage marked me with emotional scars, this verse became a haunting voice. I had to learn to trust in Christ all over again and find faithful women who had not had children to lift up my spirits.

My mother says that the mothering nature was in me even as a little girl. Maybe that’s why I cannot live without a pet. I have to have someone to care for. Life is so empty if a “body” does not rely on me for daily sustenance. Still yet, mothering is special.

Much past the “momma” years, being a mother is something I do not take lightly. And I am so blessed to have both my mom and my mother-in-law as dear examples to me all of these years. There is really too much to say on this topic so I must close with these thoughts.

This being the week of Easter in the Christian calendar, I find it so very endearing that among Jesus’ last words upon the cross are these parting words to his mother. John 19:26-27, “He said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple John, ‘Behold your mother.” And at Jesus’ word, from that hour on, the disciple took Jesus’s mother to his own home and took care of her.

10,950 days

And What of the Nights, my Love?

Every day, Every hour, How do we count the ways?

Only one love for me, but all 12 months, all 52 weeks and all 365 days for the past 31 years, I have been his, and he has been mine.

All twelve month squares are done for my temperature blanket. I started putting them together, and then we went to the eye doctor. I left my readers to get new lens, and unfortunately the lab broke my frames. I am kind of grumpy about the whole thing. I had that gut feeling that I should just buy new frames since mine were three years old. But my mother has had the same frames for the past 10 years. Surely, mine were not very old. Ugly thoughts. But I will keep my writing sane.

How do I count the days, my Dear? And what of the nights, my Love? We will never tell, my Sweetheart. We will never tell.

Am I to consult the stars? Or the sand? Could I count the raindrops? How can I tell others how much I love thee? Shall the hours apart take you from my heart?

Oh, my love, my one and only ever love

The fifth song on the CD is dedicated to my Only Love. Written during the poetic year of engagement, it is the melodic theme of our romance. How do I talk about the one who holds such sway on my being?

Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty days of wedded bliss will soon be ours. I though 25 was a special year. Maybe for the significance of our children going off into the sanctimony themselves, but thirty? How do you some up thirty years with no less words than the days we have spent together? It seems so impossible.

Think of holding hands for nearly 31 years. The first date ended in the hours of darkness. The advantage of blindness meant holding hands on the very first date. It’s like we never let go.

Once upon a time, my first daughter was in conversation with one of her elder professors at college. He attested to the fact that her parents were so cute always holding hands. She stated in matter of factness, “Well, it’s because my mom is blind.” The gentleman protested her bluntness. She continued in factual manner. “No it’s true. She can’t see in the peripheral, so he holds her hand., That saves her from getting lost.” Honestly, my husband would rather she replied, “Oh, but he rather likes holding her hand.”

Nah, kids will be kids. They never look at the romance involved with their parents. Until their time comes, romance is disgusting. Holding hands does keep me from tripping, or otherwise loosing my way!

This is why we don’t marry our brothers. One time I went to a hospital visit with my brother to see my uncle. At one point in the maze of hospital halls there was a split. I went one way and my brother went the other. He was not into holding my hand I guess. He did come back to get me though. At a later date, I was with my youngest brother to the zoo with his family. He had no problem holding my hand. I was very grateful for the face saving gesture. And there have been a couple of times at night that my son-in-law has had to grab my hand to keep me from finding a pole in the dark of the night. Thanks! But all the same, I rather like having my husband help me.

How can you remove the cream from the coffee? Especially after the beverage has already been processed? Once the black turns cafe latte, it is not going back. Creamed soda could never return to its seltzer water and syrup. Once the two have blended they are unchangeable, completely integrated and the fizz though it return to air, cannot take with it the taste. Thoughts of the worst soda ever that I tasted remains in my memory. One of the children’s medicine bottle, the bitterness of illness and happiness of recovery exist altogether as one.

Here are the first three months of the year in a quilt strip. January, February and March are put together with a mosaic triangle pattern. I decided to use a more contrasting color scheme because the ones close in ….. are hard to see. Making it easy on the eyes makes the project fun rather than a chore.

March is nearly half past. Like an hour at thirty minutes, it seems the time goes by too quickly. The herbs are up. And some are ready to go into the next size pot. Some were a fail and needed to be resown. Today is St. Patrick’s Day. It seems a good time of year to sow something green! So I will probably spread some more grass seed out in the dry patches from last fall.

Recently, my second daughter purposely misquoted a familiar statement.

“Spice is the variety of life!”

I decided that it is probably a better motto than the real quote. Sometimes it feels like life is so full, you can hardly stand up. Other times, life feels incomplete and missing much. While considering this song on the CD I decided that one other little story ought to be told.

When we were still in our honeymoon phase, our kitchen spice cabinet had five spices. Salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and cinnamon. I really had not had my own kitchen up until that point, so spice variety was not something that I knew. My mother-in-law laughed at me to see such a simple palette of spices. Now, years later, I have more spices that she does. And much of what I cook with regularly, I grow. I cannot imagine cooking without parsley, oregano, cilantro, or marjoram. And the benefits of cumin, turmeric, and ginger are not lost on my cooking. And who would have though that nutmeg goes in meats?

Anyways, spice is the variety of life! And Spice must surely add variety into our lives. Even though we do not cook meals as often as we use to, spices are still a big part of our kitchen experience. It is pretty difficult to remove too much pepper out of the meatballs also. That day was a migraine day for me and who would expect a six year old to read the recipe properly. My husband was the lifesaver once again and took us to the drive inn for hotdogs that night. The many experiences that we learned from in life keep us together.

I am so glad that the rough patches were just a little sandpaper to smooth the surfaces. The many woodworking projects that we have done through the years have taught me that also. Not only have we done life together, we enjoy it. You can’t compress 30 years into one blog any more that one tree with all of its memories can be just a wooden table. That project is still waiting to be completed.

So now you know. We enjoy being married. We recommend it. And 10,950 days went by so fast that it seems like only just yesterday we were posing out behind the church for our pictures! We smiled so much that day that our cheeks muscles hurt. Haha!