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!

Hobbling the Hobby Horse

The vocational calling is a magnetic pull towards a specific course of action that is believed to be be of Divine design. Most people consider calling in relation to the ministry or medical field. Few consider what they do everyday to be a “calling.”

The fourth song on my CD Are You Ready is titled “Dear Lord, You Have Called Me.” This calling was in the nature of being. Called to BE and called to DO are entirely different callings. Yet who we are and what we do could not be more intertwined than when someone is a believer.

The first twenty years began with bustling pitter patter of feet through the house. whether the noise of children or pets, life alternated between hectic and peace. The last nine years were rather still. Being still and Doing still nothing is entirely different also. It is during the stillness that we find out most what we are made of… And quite often I find myself lacking.

Searching for a new vocation found me unsuccessful. My wanderings of late led me to a new author. She put it this way, “Novels are written out of the shortcomings of history” -Penelope Fitzgerald. The fact that she came to her career as a writer later in life is not lost on me. I find it very hopeful.

Fitzgerald’s life is full of mishap, adventure, and difficult life circumstances. Her belief in the underlying strength of women buoy’s me up. These days of the “fool’s spring” have me in quite the state of perpetual allergy induced asthma. When I should be out finally enjoying the balmy weather, I find myself indoors sucking on the nebulizer pipe. And taking up smoking is the last thing I have on my mind. Penelope Fitzgerald also suffered from asthma and COPD later in life. The fact that she pushed forward with her writing is very inspiring.

During my youth I was quite the bookworm in the family. The calling from my mother to come and help with the supper preparations often found me buried in pages. One time in particular, my mother called me from the bottom of the stairs to fetch the potatoes in the cellar. Yes, we had one of those. With a pine box full of sand, carrots, and potatoes and shelves lined with jars of preserves, we braved the damp, dark hole in search of the daily sustenance. This day in particular involved a hasty response, a slip of the hand across the banister pole, and a crash through the window at the landing. The stairs make an about face which I neglected. My mother’s voice still ringing in my ears, was now clouded with the sound of broken glass. She returned to her post at the bottom of the stairs to find that I was unharmed. The window, however, would need to be replaced.

This hasty response whilst in the midst of my reading was probably delayed by the “finishing of the paragraph.” Who would stop mid-sentence? My feet could not make up the time lost in the book. Sometimes, I feel like my whole spiritual journey can be summed up in that instance.

Indoor gardening began in middle January. This little lavender sprout is now one month above ground. I was successful at nine seeds. Not really sure how many I put in the soil. Touching them is the best aroma therapy. The greenhouse is is ready for spring planting. and the greanium planters number over 50! Flowers are abundant year round in my life.

For nine years now, life seems a tug of war between doing and being. The parenting years come and go so quickly. For just a brief moment in time we are gifted with little souls to teach being and doing as Christ ought. Then the birds leave the nest and mothering seems completed. Is it ever really complete? Now as a distant cheerleading section, the sidelines are ever so quiet. The calling to motherhood is such a blessing.

What am I to do now?

I face that question frequently. From my place in the library surrounded by the books that made us, I wonder what am I to do now? Being a wife, a mother of grown children, an Oma to my grandchildren, why does my heart yearn for something more? I want to do and be more than a pet parent, a gardener, a crocheter, or a prayer warrior. Why am I so unsatisfied with my life now?

Is this discontentment at it’s ugliest outcropping? Have the weeds of this world taken over the garden of my mind?

Crochet. Here are the first six suqres for my temperature quilt afghan. I am getting so excited about the project. Doing all of the strips in season will be next. Then the strips in between the seasons. I will be doing the months in intervals of three. So these are Jan-Feb-Mar and Apr-May-Jun. I still have my “crojo” on the plan so that is good.

Writing…

Writing my thoughts is part of my self preservation. If thoughts are not written they will blow away in the breeze. If self-analysis does not involve writing, then how can conclusions be made? Am I stuck being me and doing written self-analytical jottings just for me?

The fourth song on the CD is more about being than doing. It is in my doing that I discover my lowly ME will never measure up to God’s calling. “Be Holy” is impossible without Christ living through me. Some people love to sign off their writing with “In His Grip” but do they really understand what being in the mighty hand of God means? Sometimes it means that we are last years zinnia blossoms and He is crushing the dried blossom so that He can bury the resulting seeds under some soil and have new bushes.

I Peter 5:7. “Therefore humble yourselves under the might hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.”

“Dear Lord, You have called me. Called me to be, to be holy. You have called me, called me to be, to be yours only. You must know what You are doing, to have made me so lowly. You have called me so I ask that You would make me Yours only.” -Yvonne Annette 1998

Here I have added July-August-September. And while taking a break from this blog, I completed October. Only two left. Stay tuned for the finished project. Mosaic crochet is my newest hobby.

My avocational hobbies have turned into my full time contemplations. Hobbies are often hobbled like a little pony in need of discipline. Much of my hobbled hobbies comes from the fact that my visual capacities are failing. Dwelling on the past hobbled hobbies could bring me much grief. And for nine years, trying to discover what I can still do is often lassoed by my failing eyesight. These moments will probably continue to cause me pain and humble me to a lowly state. Learning from my disability requires being humble as well as doing with aids and help. Tools are not always as readily useful and letting go of doing is never easy. Physical ailment and the gradual decline of the body is part of living. Every day we die a little bit.

Father, daughter

Reflecting back on the third song from my CD

Is it a parent thing or a child thing? This relationship building as an adult is not easy. And is it really so tough to raise parents these days? Mother and child pictures are the most precious images. But those father daughter dances at weddings just about break your heart. The father – daughter dynamic in a family can be a fulfilling lifelong connection. Sometimes however, it takes a lot of work.

The third song from the CD Are You Ready? Published in 1999 by yours truly (Yvonne Annette) is titled Father, You Are My Father

“Father , You are my Father, And You have made me And in Your image We are the same. Father, You are my Father, And You have made me,And I will proudly carry Your name. You are my Father, You are my Father…”

This song was written as the witness song to my Bible college years of study. During which I finally understood that my view of God was colored by my own experiences with my earthly father. These circumstances caused me to put God at a distance and think of Him more on the angry wrathful and temperamental. The concept that a God who truly loved me and wanted good for me was brand new. Finally, I could clean the windows with the cross of Christ and see my Heavenly Father in the right perspective. Now I could really pray the prayer of my Lord’s example: “Our Father, which are in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name…”

Nothing like My Fathers’ Eyes, the song by Amy Grant, to line up my spiritual thinking. Her song written about the time of my college awakening, was not that influential to me. I still did not really want my earthly father’s eyes. However, I had no choice. My dad had gifted me with his eyes, literally. Now it was time to take my vision to a whole new level. What about my spiritual vision? I did not want my soul and spirit to be blind.

“Father, You are my Father And I will trust You, And I will gladly learn to obey. Father You are my Father, And I will listen And I will learn to follow Your way, You are my Father. You are my Father.”

This song was written during the rocking years. As a mother that was one of my favorite things to do with my daughters. Mother and child could be found in the glider downstairs for hours after morning’s first light increased to full brightness. Mother and child could be seen in the little granny rocker at bedtime in the old house on Nettle Avenue upstairs. Daughter on mommy’s lap could be found in any number of rockers. There is one for each room. I loved reading and singing my girls to sleep.

My second daughter was the inspiration for many of my song writings during her toddler years. Those peaceful moments were such a blissful memory. Who would have though that leaving that house behind would bring such rocky years to follow in our new residence a state away. Leaving the acreage where we prayer walked to gain peace from the past that hung over the land still puts a little twinge of pain in my heart.

My creative bone did not come from my father though. My mother is the creative juice in the family. She sews. Her seamstress career has taken her from exquisite gowns to heritage quilts. She sewed all of our clothing when I was a child. The most beautiful gown that she made was one my second daughter was blessed to wear for her senior recital in college. The details on the pale yellow dress are some of her finest workmanship. Today her handmade quilts for the grandchildren can be valued at two to three thousand dollars.

When does a father fall in love for the second time? The answer is the day his daughter is born. (For some grand-daughter). If daddy is blessed to hold baby within minutes of birth, handing over this second love to his first one usually means a heart bursting with love and pride. Asking a father to hand off this daughter to some one else’s son is also loaded with emotion.

My wedding day did not include dad passing me off to my new love. My father did not come to my wedding. I walked alone down the aisle. This act was so foreign to many of the people in our lives, that they did not understand it’s significance to my blubbering groom at the end of that walk. He and I talked about that moment beforehand. He knew that the one walking me down that aisle was the Invisible, Omnipotent, Ever-present Heavenly Father. I could not have walked that aisle alone without God’s presence in my life.

But now? Now, I have a father in law who is very creative. We have collaborated on some projects together, like my greenhouse grow beds. Others like the little wood turnings that he does these days, are just so inspiring to me. Each item is proof that the creative mind from Our Heavenly Father is alive and well in many people today.

This little kaleidoscope is a recent wood turning that he made for the great-grand children to enjoy. I swiped it up for my grandkids. The wood markings on the outside are so unique. Each little toy is different on the inside also.

This picture is from the large opening, the end that you are supposed to NOT look through. The hexagonal shapes are produced by the two mirrors and one felt side triangulation. The inside kaleidoscope was a kit purchase.

The correct view shows the coloring of the little glass pieces that are in tube. Of course, I watched a video on “How is this Made” after bring the toy home. There a times I just want to sit and stare though the lens and do nothing else. The tumbling glass objects are never seen in the same way twice. It is a very distracting object. Teasingly I told him, I would not get a thing accomplished the following day after bringing the toy home.

Then the inspirations arrived! Back to the world wide web of inspiring motivations I went. Crochet is my thing, so here is the kaleidoscope blanket that resulted.

The item is now complete (after this picture date). I took an old blanket that I did not particularly care for and did a MakeOver! Doing this is half of my time spent in creativity. Sometimes that’s the whole point. Fixing something so that I am completely satisfied with the outcome.

Malachi 2:10 “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us all? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?” NKJV. My version would be something like this: Have we not all one Heavenly Father? Has not one God made us all in His image? Why then do me deal so harshly and un-lovingly towards one another? This unkind behavior is like cursing profanely and denying that God gave us fathers and mothers made by Him. Honoring our earthly parents blesses our Heavenly Father. Loving one another blesses God and our parents. It is treacherous to our soul and our lives to act profanely towards anyone.

Everything in my life is like adding a little shard of glass into the tumbler of the kaleidoscope. Who I am comes from all these broken pieces to make a thing of beauty with creativity and joy. I hope that when others look through my mirrored toy (this blog, and crochet projects that i do) they see some reflection of my Heavenly Father’s image.

A Rock And A Hard Place

Designing my temperature blanket this week. Yep, South Dakota has quite the variety of average temperatures. From a low of 5 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 85 degrees Fahrenheit requires ten different colors based on increments of ten. The first few times that I tried to set up the colors, it seemed wrong. After about five jottings, I think each month will turn out okay. There are a few months that look quite similar. Time will tell if the blanket turns out nicely.

Choosing average temperatures for each month, I decided to just do twelve blocks. The Mosaic Hope Square by Tinna T. T. From Ravelry is my choice. After learning it last year it is a favorite of mine. Thanks Tinna!

The second song on my CD is God Rolled the Sone Away. Rolling away stones today is a little out of the ballpark. Maybe I could go out and roll up some snowballs to make a snowman! I took some time to listen to the music and here is my take away.

Shame

“For shame, for shame” I can hear my Grandmother’s titch, titch as she says this phrase. Today is seems no one has any sense of guilt of wrong doing. People seem to think that just clearing the news feedon their social media account will clear the path to a whole new life. I am thankful that the stupid decisions that I made as a teenager are not plastered all over the social networking sites.

But shame never-the-less still was part of my teen into twenties experience. Some of the shame was placed on me from others, some just my own doing. The thought that someone could clear the slate and give me a new start really found home in my heart.

Jesus rolled the stone of guilt and shame away for me. Knowing His obedience to God meant that I could now have a direct link to the Father up above was important to me. I needed the shame that I felt for wrongs done to me and by me to be lifted away from the heaviness in my soul.

Blame

This was something most people ignore. Genesis chapter three goes through the account of the Fall of man from the Garden of Eden. In the story, each one casts blame on the other. This blame game has been going on ever since then. How do I relate to this epic fail? First, blaming anyone else for my problems or challenges becomes obsolete.

I could no longer blame my peers and classmates for their bad behavior. I found being me meant that each and every day I choose to ignore the taunts and jeers. Lashing out like a viper from the fruited tree would do me no good. I also had to learn not to blame my family heritage for the genetic disorder that would someday cause me full blindness. Tough bananas. Let it go.

And finally,m I could not resort to anger with God for the rest of my life for the hand that He had dealt me in life. Blindess was a result of the fall of humanity, not God’s fault. So blaming God for my eyesight is not an option either. Asking Him for help however, is an everyday plea!

Name

Naming names of those who have done me wrong?s. Nope, not going there. But you know, their grandparents were all on my paper route. Their grandparents were my friends. Even if old Frank at the Cafe never tipped me a dime and clanked his coffee cup with a spoon to get another cup. It just made me understand the bad behavior of the grandchildren that much more.

Being called by a new name means that I pray others will see Jesus in me. I remember my most disliked classmate having to write the “future” for me. He wrote that I would be a missionary like Mother Teresa. I never lived up to that calling. But at least he had sensed my heart in some way.

Choosing not to cast stones when others do me wrong is hard. Sometimes if feels like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Saying nice things about others even when Penelope throws a rotten egg my way, well that is hard too!

Stones or stitches is the choice here. I’d rather cast stitches for good. Lots of people have wounds from the fallen rocks in life. How can I choose to cast stitches on their behalf?

In college I made a beautiful rainbow pastel afghan for my roommate only to have the relationship dissolve into shame and blame. It was such a rough time for me. I vowed to never choose friends over family again, if that perhaps was indeed what I had done. To this day I am not really sure exactly what went wrong. Except that I was weak in the friendship ring and let myself be walked on

In the end, I learned that even good people can do wrong things and choosing to love did not mean that I could give up on me. I am glad that i made the afghan. I hope it is well used or falling apart by now. Casting stitches was a good plan.

January is done. The temperature scale was the low end. Pink Blush and Aran represent the first 20 degrees on the thermometer. And January was cold, but not as bad as this week here in February. The sad part is skipping a color for the February square. Don’t worry it comes around in March or April, I can’t quite remember right at the moment.

Between a rock and hard place for me belongs to choosing colors that are so close in light reflection. The above square is so close on the color spectrum that my retina cannot decipher their differences any more. Shades of colors are like that in this disease. Navy and Black should be eliminated from he options. Along with shades of red, or colors without enough contrast.

Once upon a time I took some leftover yarns and made a shawl that I was quite proud of. Wearing in public was my mistake. The first person to comment on the item asked about the line of yellow in an otherwise cream colored garment. The statement hurt my feelings considerably and I simply responded that the colors all look the same to me, because I am blind. My intention was not to look like a bag lady.

But since then, this happened.

“Dear JML,

We received your mail the other day. I am not sure if that was your plan or if you are trying to scam me. Anyways, since their is no return address, we are keeping the grocery shopping containers.

My apologies if you are a veteran.

For the mean time, the sacks have been filled my some of my yearn stash.

If I find someone in need they will get your gift for the donation.

Why did you use our address, anyways?

Thanks,

YAC”

Most of the casting stones letters that I have written should have been burned. I can remember a few of them throughout my life. My age has taught me the error of my ways. And on occasion my attempt to cast stitches towards others has also been met with jab from a knitting needle. Yes, it did hurt. I have never given someone a crocheted item with the thought that scorn or scoffing will be returned. Those unaccepting people will just have to live the rest of their lives without a stitch from me. A stitch of prayer? No I still pray for them. But the item goes to someone else.

The second song from the CD

“GOD ROLLED THE STONE AWAY. HE ROLLED THE STONE AWAY. HE TOOK AWAY MY SHAME. HE CALLED ME BY HIS NAME. HE ROLLED THE STONE AWAY.”

Ezekiel 18:31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have commited, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die O haouse of israel?” NKJV. I usually put my own name in place of the transgressor. In this case the verse ties to Romans 6:23 where it states that the wages for sin is death. My favorite part is the second half of the verse that confirms John 3:16 “but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen! Thanks, for the gift of life, God.

Below is the continuation of my temperature blanket. February’s square is done now. It’s yellow and white displays how very cold this month has been. Who.would ever have though one week ago that the deep freezer dor would get left open and the whole country in such an icy mess. The stories of devastation have made me feel so sad, I decided to start work on July’s square!. The other quilt-afghan block completed is April. That’s my birthday month, so of course I had to do that one.

Disclaimer Alert! In knitting one will cast on a stitch in crochet we yarn over and hook through. The use of the term “casting stitches” is used loosely here in this writing. I have never picked up a knitting needle except to prepare my hair style. The hooks that I use are all crochet and if there is a needle involved I am usually complaining. So my plan for the quilted-afghan will involve stitching the blocks together with a crochet hook. If a darning needle is required, it might be just that. Uffdah.

Color My World Pumpkin

John 8:35 “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.” NKJV. Abiding freedom that comes from Jesus the Truth brings us up out of slavery to the past, sins, and bondage to world views that are not His way.

In actuality, this blog was written nearly twenty five years ago. At the time I was putting together the song track for my music debut. The result was twelve songs that told my life story. Each one shared a slice of both my spiritual journey and my coming of age. While the music continues to sneak back into my thoughts now and again, the sharing of these songs came to a standstill at some point. Perhaps looking at each one still give me some peace. So for the foreseeable future, I am planning a “focused writing clinic.”

Right now the creativity in my life has gone into fast track. Keeping up with all of the ideas has forced me to start making lists again. I have lists for everything: what I want to write about, what I plan to crochet, what books I want to listen to, what music I should look up, what plans I have for the garden and greenhouse, and anything else that comes to mind. And for some reason, I am not wore out before I even get started. Yay!

First up Stained Glass Windows. This song was written in my college years as I sought to understand my early growing up years. Originally focused on the first ten years, I think that it actually goes clear through my teen years. what the words mean to me now is different than what it meant at first writing.

Sundays during my childhood always meant church. This past year when church has become a time on Sunday when we sit and watch a live feed, is simply not quite right. All those years of pretty dresses, fixed up hair, shiny shoes, and church music really had a strong influence on me. I loved the music part of church of course. The clothes were just a bonus. (However, getting me to put on a dress these last few years requires summer temperatures.)

The churches that we went to always seemed to have stained glass windows, and so did the houses that we lived in. Old buildings have a history to them that is undeniable. These windows were not my focus as a child. Though they were beautiful works of art and I can picture them in my mind’s eye to this day.

It is what happened during my thirteenth and fourteenth year of life that changed me to the core. I had already had my “Come to Jesus” moment by the time that life would change me forever. I knew who I was, or so I thought I did.

Then came the “mean people” years. Mean classmates, mean men, mean peers, mean parents, mean church people, mean friends. Though I guess if they were mean, that would declare that they really were not my friends in the first place

God chose to color my world pumpkin.

Color my world pumpkin?

Yep. And being a spring baby (birthday in April) this was not my favorite color. I remember when I asked my parents to let me have a yellow room. All was not really my choice, as they proceeded to put up pink wallpaper and gold carpet, and my Grandmother made me a pink with grey bedspread. I never liked any of it. The room was just not quite cheerful enough. Of course, I also lived in one of those houses with a tower room and the windows were at sky level. Talk about the real life “Tangled” experience.

I suppose if you mix pink and yellow, you get orange.

And so that’s what happened.

About the time I could get a drivers’ permit (in my state it was fourteen) my mother decided it would be best to get my eyes examined first. Off to the eye doctor she took me. The only local doctor that had any experience with Retinitis Pigmentosa was alarmed at the progression of the disease in my eyes, and he took drastic measures He prescribed pumpkin colored spectacles.

Well, that about sealed the deal with any hopes for friendship that I might have with my peers. Growing up in small town America meant that since I was no longer athletic material, I was out of IN. Yeah, I said that just the way I wanted to. Mean came into my life more that it had ever been before. I was picked on, teased, called names, and basically treated terribly by everyone who had a capacity for ruthlessness.

Coloring my world pumpkin may have saved my eyesight so that I would be able to drive for the next twenty eight years, but it gave me an “orange tinted” view of all those around me. Some people are simply rotten clementines. I hope they grew up.

Everyone has rose colored glasses. You really can’t deny it. No matter what has happened in your life, all of these situations and experiences effect one’s worldview. Knowing this about yourself, and about others is what makes us human.

It’s when we can take off our pumpkin colored shades and put on someone else’s color for just a moment that makes us relatable, friendly, and healthy.

I don’t know what color glasses you look through. Maybe like me life has handed you some very difficult set of circumstances. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, with the “rosie” view of the world. I doubt it. Everyone has stained glass windows in their worldview. We don’t have a choice about it. It’s what window pane we choose to look through at others that matters.

Sometimes we have to take the spectacles off. Sometimes we have to put the glasses on. Sometimes we have to clean the lenses to get a better view. Blindness is not always a physical disability. Sometimes blindness is in the heart and soul. Sometimes pink blends with yellow and makes orange.

Disclaimer Alert! I don’t really like pumpkins. Okay, it is fun to watch them grow and it is cool to watch them change colors. I use to love the taste of pumpkin pie, but these days even that does not agree with me much. I would rather have a “squash” pie that tastes just like pumpkin only better-because it agrees with my system. And I am not a fall lover, so the loaded pumpkin decorations are not really my thing either. So it is now obvious to me why my CD failed. The picture was taken in the fall and the coloring is fall. For this “forever spring” garden lover, the CD should have had a spring picture and it should have been color toned to my spring palette with some yellow on it. Oh, well.

Ready Or Not

Life happens

Thoughts following my album from 21 years ago

Today is a mental battle day. It is common for these days when I am also fighting my right to breathe. Yesterday my asthma snuck up on me after a warm bath. i did not even know my breathing was labored. It become so shallow that I blacked out twice. I sent my dog out to “find dad” and convince dad that I was in need. (She simply went back and forth until he followed her.

That’s another one of those problems with living in a glorified hallway. Someone in the back eighty can holler all lungs depleted and the front room occupant will never hear a thing. On a couple of past occasions people have come to the front door and i never knew knew they came. Of course, for me being in the back end and partially deaf does not help much for the matter.

Anyways, asthma is like that for me. Sometimes it catches me off guard. My trusty Honey was sticky enough that her “find dad” worked and the nebulizer was administered. I lived.

This picture below was taken in November after Coca’s bi-monthly nail trimming. We were teasing that we could paint his nails pink. It seemed to lighten the mood and make Isabelle less scared. Until Coca tried to tast her little boots. The moment was funny to me, not so much to the two year old.

So this morning, once again the air pump was used before the days activities. Today it was an appointment with the local horse shoeing specialist. Cocoa was amazignly well behaved for the sub-zero weather. Today I did not hunt him down. I simply said, “Come on Cocoa, Bradyn is coming today. You know that I can’t see very well. We are the same that way aren’t we buddy? So you come and put your halter on nice and easy. I’ll give you some oats and an apple if you behave. Now that’s a good boy.”

It worked. All went so smooth. And the good little pony received his apples and oats. I’d like to say with gratitude. But he devoured the apple so fast, I’m not sure the juice even squirted on the oats!

I have been watching a new Amazon prime series that was put together in the late nineties . “Dogs with jobs” continues to impress me. Sometimes it seems it is really all about the inteligence of the handler rather than the good senseof the dog. Other times it is obvious the dog is superior in intelligence and their sixth sense. So from now on I am just going to expect more out of my animals. If a horse can be used to lead a blind person around New York City, well, then my horse can put his halter on nice and easy. And Honey can learn to fitch my inhaler. (Now, how do I teach that, again?)

Every one of the dogs on the show works for some sort of reward . My daughter told me that there is a new style of parentying that removes the reward system. That’s the stupidest idea that I ever heard. Really? I grew up with one parent taught motto, If You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat!

Really! Even as a small child, we were taught to help with the meal. From settign the table, to picking up the dishes, to simply putting away our toyw before the meal. As soon as a child can dump out the blocks, they can also put them away. My mother made games out of so much of what we did, it hardly felt like work.

So today the mental battles loom large. I find sitting and resting very heavy. Not only is my body weighted down by it’s lack of oxygen, then my mind gets to going into the past mistakes until I want to scream or cry.

So then, I tell myself to pick up the prayer list. but concentration is hard. I have to force myself to think about other people. Composing a compassionate thought for someone else makes me remove myself from the “woe is me” trap.

We all have cages and kennels to break free from… perhaps yours is more fiancial, or spiritual, or physical than mine. I believe that God gave us dogs so that we can learn lessons and know true unconditional love at some point in our lives. The capacity of a dog to go from extreme abuse to full trust is so amazing. I wish I could remove my inhibitions and trust in God like that.

Why do I find so much comfort in the company of animals? Maybe it’s because they do not talk back. Because they simply do what you ask of them. They do not whine at the task you give them. the love to work their reward drive is so strong. I have been trying to “promise” myself things more. Like when this blog is complete, I’m going to have a chocolate covered blueberry. Not before!

I am so tired.

I took a break the other day and it is now Monday morning while I revisit this journal entry. Morning is usually my favorite time to be in the library or office. Today it was subzero weather for my morning rounds. It looks like the cold will hand around for a few days. what this week holds will probably be more of the same asthma struggles as my lungs tend to twinge in pain when the cold air hits them. Even with a mask, a scarf and limited time, trouble will arise. Teaching Honey to retrieve something that is not “hers” will be quite a challenge. I’ll have to tie the inhaler to a toy for a few sessions.

Twenty one years ago I put together a music CD that I titled “Are you ready?” It was a music business flop. But the history is still there. The melodies still find their way into my mind on occasion. The song that is a one hit wonder is for another blog. But the title track was such a “God-thing” for me. I remember constantly asking what the Lord’s will for my life was and this song being His answer.

“Are you ready?

Are you ready to do My will?

Are you ready?

Are you ready to do My will?

When you seek Me

The you’ll find Me

You will know My will.

Search for Me, Watch for me. And be still.

And she listens,

yes, she listens for the voice of His word.

Oh, she listnes,hush! She listens for the voice of His word.

When He speaks out her name,

She’ll rejoice at His word.

Search for Me. Watch for Me And be still.”

-Are you ready? Written by Yvonne age 30 in 1998

Today, I have a new thought…

Ready or not…

Yep, ready or not, God’s will for our lives is done. Whether we recognize Him or not.

Isaiah 55:6. “seek the Lord while he may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.”