How to grow a “worry wart”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful dreamer (Chapter One in Good Grief series)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out of sight, out of … hands

Version 2.0 on the “out of sight” installments. Last one was just onee year ago on January of 2021. Perhaps I am getting closer to a title for my book. Haha

Out of min…

Some people think that loosing one’s mind involves not being able to find the car keys. For me it was the carrot smoothie in the fridge…. I spent nearly 10 minutes trying to locate the drink. I had taken it to the library, right? No, then I went to the living room. Oh, yeah in between all that i had used the restroom. Okay, where are you little carrot smoothie? I found it in the fridge.

Or maybe I had not lost my mind altogether. I was simply distracted. Until the book I was listening to brought up another entire area of loss that most people never think of. Gestures and facial expressions. Here’s my story and I am sticking to this one.

Out of memory…

A long time ago when I was just a teenager, I remember an incident that shook me up quite a bit. We were at one of those famouse birthday luncheons at the church where I grew up. This particualr evening, my dad was into his famous story telling moods. And whenver there was an audience to be had, he seemed to think that he was the center of everyone’s attention. So, when I ran about to fill up the coffee cups as my waitress heart deemed necessary, the next few moments were very much a tell tale of the RP digression of his eyesight.

The coffee was delivered, and the speaker was not attentive the the surroundings. I waited, and waited and waited to get his attention and let him know that the drink had been refilled. Suddenly, the story teller gave an unexpected hand gesture that upset the apple cart. But that was not even the pretty part. The surprise of the spilled beverage, the demeaning words and the angry expressions by my father in that particular setting (church) made for a memory tattooed on my hearts emotional being. Yes, the negative response is a memory somewhat repressed, but nevertheless not forgotten.

Out of words…

Years later, a friend of ours said that one’s emotional explosions and expressed words after an upset hot beverage are really what the person is really truly made of. When the coffee spills, how do we respond? Surprise and shock do not necessarily mean bad words. Sometimes, choosing words of blessing and apologetic behavior matter much. I always felt that my spilled milk was always followed by yelling and angry words. No reason to cry over spilt milk? Well, being blind and having the spills happen so frequently either makes one wise up and sue sippy cups, or find some other solution to the frequent spillages.

Out of mouths…

Dealing with an eyesight loss can mean a whole new change of character. My uncle lost an eye as a result of an unfortunate farming accident. I remember visiting with him about the changes in his life. One particular change was finding moved objects in his path with toes and shin bones rather than his eyes. Now he found himself frequently cussing and fuming. It was both exasperating to himself and to those around him. Apologizing for his surpised outbursts was becoming far to regular. Ahh, how eyesight loss changes the way we must move and the way we react to surpises. There is no more laughter at the jack-in-the-box events that happen. One soon learns to live in a constant state of tension while moving for the possibility of those awful little “weasels!”

Out of hands…

My gesture loss happened during my children’s high school years. I was done teaching club at church due to my hands constantly hitting an unsuspecting child. Pointing across the room only to poke a child in the eye was so distressing. The gesture loss was hard for me. I use to talk with my hands all the time. Who does not want to point a certain thing out while talking? This abilbity to throw my arms about during speech actually began to decrease the amount of speaking that I would do. It is really hard to stop acting out like a stage professional during a good story. But waving my hands about was not an option with the peripheral vision loss. How do I visit with others in group settings without being able to point or gesture in some common way?

The next obvious loss for me was the facial expressions and hand gestures of others in group settings. It is also hard to tell, who might want to jump into the topic next with a speech that they deem very important to give. While I may be able to view the person across the way, the others around the table disappear from my view. This might allow for greater focus, but moving my eyes around to catch the others reactions to a speaker is exhausting. This large group silence at times is really unbearable for me. Expecially when I still remember so much.

Except where my smoothie is…

It was during this loss of “circle movement” by the others in a group setting that I noticed some other things happening. More often then not, I was getting “shushed” by those around me. I had missed some conversation cue of eye, or gesture that indicated who was next in speaking. My thoughts that were so ready to blurt were getting stoppped up by those around me. This too was hard. I began to feel like certain people were treating me as if I were a misbehaving child. Becoming blind day by day, year by year does not mean that I am reverting in my behavior. Simply put, I was now out of the circle…

So now, I find myself listening more and more during group settings. When I am so desperate for interaction with people, I find that interaction being stolen by my loss of vision. The surpise of a cake plate upset on my lap or on the floor feels like a common occurrence while at family gatherings. Coupled by the deafness in my left ear, the abiltiy to even hear the oncoming delicasy, is hampered by the lack of sight. Plate on the floor. “Oh, no!” Learning to live life in a perpetual motion of “i’m sorry!” Is not very fun. Embarrassment and humility do not always gather closely. Sometimes the embarrassment is overwhelmingly sad. The feelings of loss and the inability to even help with the cleanup are so frustrating. Playing statue is not that easy!

I really don’t like surpises any more. Boo! Is not fun like the peekaboo of babies and little children. The last few times that we had Christmas present openings, I lived in a state of perpetual “what if the coffee spills?” And not knowing what was in the presents or trying to figure the item out in the semi-dark was exasperating. Having the person next to me tell me what each item was supposed to be and trying to find the right facial expression after my completely confused confoundedness was not enjoyable. I began to really dislike opening my gifts. Watching the others was somewhat more enjoyable. But oh, how I needed a little parrot on my shoulder telling me all the happenings about me. It makes one feel very alone in a crowd.

And that’s the last experience that I want to share on my way towards becoming invisible me. The last time that I went to a church event without a close family member was very painful for me. Extended family that has not grown up with a “blind father” does not really understand the needs that arise as the Retinitis Pigmentosa progresses. While I could walk a straight line down the sidewalk, I could no longer navigate a crowd of people carrying plates at a potluck. Attending the church without my husband had turned out to be a “fatal” choice for me and I had become invisible. No one in my current church was familiar with the challenges of RP and I was left sitting in a corner throughout much of the meal event. I finally left the crowd and sat in the sanctuary alone. Truly alone. My ability to “flow” through the plate bearers left me feeling very disabled. I cried without end over the potential of “spilled milk.” I called my husband, and he was able to come and pick me up. The rest of the day was spent in tears. The people that I had gone with did not understand my needs, were busy and had not ever checked on me. I felt unable to express myself and ask for help in a situation that left me feeling so invisible.

Recently I read “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien and found it very full of forward motion. The adventures of the hobbit keep one listening just to see what happens next. In the book the discovery of a magic ring gives the little fellow the ability to become invisible and disappear from danger and tribulations. Honestly, being invisible and feeling invisble are two totally different phenomenon. Choosing to shrink from view within a public event and loosing the ability to see who all is there in the public setting are two opposing feelings. Being blind in a community setting makes everyone present invisible to the blind person. Not a very fun feeling when you walk into a group of people and all of the talking stops. This has happened to me so many times that I cannot count. I can begin to imagine however what it is like to walk into a room that feels full of people but seems empty until someone addresses my presence. My father’s ability to get the group to burst out in laughter helps to break the ice about his blindness and lets him know just how many people are really in the room. I don’t see myself ever being “on display” as that-blind-lady. I don’t see myself breading the ice with bad jokes just to count the voices of laughter within the space. i don’t see myself as others see me. I cannot.

My position in a group setting is usually at the piano with the whole commune behind me. Sometimes I wish I could turn the piano around so that the people were in front of me instead of behind me. Maybe that’s the next change in my life. For now I’ll let them see my hands while I play piano since I cannot. (P.S. My therapist said that I am not supposed to use “can’t” in my speaking or writing anymore. I asked her if she still could drive a car… I said, “I cannot.”)

Silly Oma! Opa…!

“My new stage name is ‘To Be…!'”Truth from a two year old can be hard to take. The innocence of little children is the power of looking right through the motives or objectives of adults. Even a three year old can surprise someone with their observant reality. So the old saying “Oh be carefull little eyes are watching you” should apply during all phases of life.The other day my three and half year old granddaughter surprised us with a declaration. “My new stage name is ‘To Be…!'” So I asked like “the number two and the bug a bee?” No she replied. I queried again, like “to be determined, or to be announced?” YES! She agreed. Wow, I thought that is a smart little girl. A little girl waiting for a new sibling and letting her mind go to imagination in other area’s of life. Whether the baby will be a boy or a girl is yet to be determined.So when that little one arrived safe and sound as her little sister. We soon began to hear many little “grown up” phrases from the excited big sister.Opa is really fast! Until he is not. Or until little legs carry the body above it faster than it should. Children enjoy running. Grandparents do not, usually. So when Opa is fast it is in relation to how quickly he can pick up all the toys, or throw the stuffies into the box. Relativity is important here. Oma is slow. When we take the stuffy puppies for a walk little legs tend to run circles around the aging grandparent. For me, however, it is the empty peripheral that brings with it the surprises of little children that make me go so slow. Toppling over those little less that two foot statues usually brings with it much apologetics as said statue suddenly finds it’s voice.”Hush! -the baby is sleeping!” From a two year old is rather cute. But from the three year old argumentatively with her eighteen month old brother can cause quite the stir. And suddenly you would think the whole neighborhood of puppies were wakened by the raucous! What fights can take place between siblibngs during the learning-about-compromise years. And though little sister fresh home from the hospital, might hear the above quite frequently, two busy little toddlers forget quickly and are right back at it.”Let’s go to the ocean!” Use to work for the two year old’s nap-time siesta. Now, it is the play time plane ride of the sofa. How can a little mind remember so much? Sleep sounds were never an option for my children. Sometimes I feel deprived. Then again I feel like this poor little ones will never know even how to really quiet their minds on their own without the aid of technology. I am glad that when I go out into my garden or greenhouse, I can easily get lost in the sounds of the world. The air-breaks from the local semi-drivers do not sent me into a barking frenzy. But then again the fans in the greenhouse really do sound just like the white noise on that little electronic whale.”Silly Oma!” That’s the response I receive much of the time. Especially when I started asking my grand daughter (after potty training) if she swallowed a wiggle worm, or if she had ants in her pants, or if she was doing the potty dance. Little bodies are so wiggly when they are awake. Her brother on the other hand can sure sit still for a snuggle much longer.”Lecka play the dog gone song!” What she really wanted was the Alexa device to play the Mickey Mouse version of “Oh Where oh where has my little dog gone.” But learning the commands and the politeness of the echo dot machine has taken nearly a year. Then suddenly just as fast, this little Isabelle has grown up enough to get alexa to play the right song listing and just as simply the little three year old mind forgets how to get the music to stop. That was rather funny and frustrating at the same time.

“Be right back!” At just two years old is so adorable. Though it took me an entire day to figure out what she was saying. And we say the same thing so frequently. Of course if you are the one in charge of said two year old, it might be best to count to fifty or less to make sure she comes back, or you go to figure out what said child is getting into now!Isabelle-isms in our family are things she says sweetly. Learning to say a three sylabble name can take a lot of practice. At first she called herself “Belle.” Then it came out as “Ah-belle. And finally she could put it all together and say “I’m Isabelle!” Especially when trying to give her character trait nicknames, she would pipe right back with her declaration of name. Are you silly? ‘No, I’m Isabelle.’Behaving like a little person is very common of the first child in a room full of adults. The first child picks up on prayers at meal time and will learn to say, “we need to pray!” The second child just keeps right on eating, because waitng for the meal was so long. It only took a few months of word grasping before little Isaac began to holler, “AMEN!” After the prayer.”I saw a mouse!” Must be followed by, “where did you see the maouse?” The answere was a clear “there” with a pointed arm at the window. For my tunnel vision, I often fave to ask several times to get things all figured up. “In the window?” Was my next question followed by a fearful face yes. After a little explanation, we understood that the mouse was the bright reglection of cat eyes peering though the kitchen window as the picni table outside gave easy access to the most “pet” pet cat that we have. Watching the movie ” lady and the tramp” with it’s dog chase rat scene under the cradle had given way to the imagination of the two and a half year old.”The dinosaurs are upstairs!” and other imaginations… When a mother hears then nearly two year old let out a blood curdling scream from the basement, we think perhaps someone is hurt. My daughter recapped the story later and hearing that her momentary nine months pregnant body had not fallen down said stairs in such quick response is now funny. Little minds have strong imaginations, and momma’s lumberjack treading upstairs can sound like dinosaurs if you are all alone playing downstairs. She does not like to be downstairs by herself much anymore. Having a good imagination does take some training , I suppose.Reality skewed by the two year old mind seems funny. Until the little ones stay over night and little brother wakes up crying in the middle of the night too many times. Thank goodness my imaginations has been well trained and I can try to be in their place. Little brother forgot where he was and woke up crying because it was not his bedroom and sister wasn’t nearby. A few minutes of soft talking about being afraid and going home soon and how his sleep buddy puppy “Scout” was scared now that Isaac was not in bed, and soon little eighteen mont old was snuggling his stuffy and headed back to sleep.”Look it’s a rainbow shadow!” That one took me awhile, but soon I found the prism’s effect laying across a chair in the kitchen. Indeed, it was a rainbow shadow and quite pretty. The sun hit part of the glass from a wind-chime and the reflection had landed right where little eyes caught it. Moments like these are so precious. Even though the busy-ness of the moment did not allow for any more lesson time. I’ll be looking for the rainbow shadow every time the sun shines through the morning glass.”My cry is gone!” That one took a bit to comprehend also. Knowing that. Little girl is homesick for mom and dad and putting it into relatable terms is hard. Ten o’clock in the evening cries are different that ten in the morning. But it’s best just to give the feeling a name. We talked about that really strong “family” feeling and how it was good not bad. This is family love, I explained. I am so glad that you love your mom and dad so much and that you miss them. That will make having a new sister easier. It’s okay to be homesick, but we still have to eat and drink and take care of our bodies. It’s okay to cry because you want your mom and you dad. God wants families to be together. Should we pray so that Jesus will help you take your sad feeling to be glad that you now have a sister to love? And within fifteen minutes said home sick child was sleeping. So at ten in the morning when little girl declared “My cry is gone!” On her way home, the tears ready to burst the damn of emotions, we were happy to help her express that her “sad was gone because she was going home!” And little borther who missed mom and dad in his own way, became a little parrot and proclaimed “Sad Gone!”

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.'”

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.

Is Hindsight Really 20\20?

When we remember things with a skewed sense of reality…

Here is the thought that got me considering hindsight, and I’m not talking about the butt end of a roast or anything else of that sort. This year is in fact 2020, so why not think upon all of it’s various connotations.

Recently my mother started the whole sibling group on a “remember when” game and the focus was the earliest snow in our state. The consideration was in September, but now we are already into October. Snow is expected for our area within the week. The northern part of the state had snow and ice this week.

What each one remembers is truly based on the strength of that persons memory. I do not remeber any snow earlier than October 31st within the first year of our marriage. Then just a few years ago we had snow that landed the bean crop in disarray. That snow was earlier than Halloween, but the exact date just does not stick in my head. Lots of people lost cattle during that snow.

When considering the whole vision thing (20\20) is really about how well one can see on things put in front of the eyes. This has nothing to do with the foresight of whether to plant corn or beans for the best harvest value. If one sees best at close up or and distance we have names for that kind of vision. Well, in life experiences, some people are truly better at foresight, while others are good and hindsight. I will try to explain later.

Even more skewed in my mind is the memories that I have of our families first home in the northern part of the state. I vaguely remember running under the old metal table from the late sixties. I was so short and so young, it was a great spot to hide from my sisters. Funny how I do not remember the moment that stopped my under the table “cross country” home runs!

And answers that we were seeking are no longer questions to be asked. We can see clearly now. Hindsight brings us clear vision and the view is nearly 20\20. Is this the thought that we will have some years down the road? A few years from now we will look back. Right now we simply try to look forward and all that we see is the moment. The difficulties of the day seem insurmountable.

Foresight tells me that this is the plague that is taking away our history. So many elderly people are being lost to this virus. This disease seems to be taking the people that gave us our history. They are the ones of our past. The gray haired populous is considered at risk in this pandemic world that we live in. But hindsight is telling me they are not the only ones at risk of this disease. Some younger people suffer and just this week the world news exploded with the news of a 38 year old dieing in flight because of the virus.

We all have so many opionions about everything, and yet there is still only one breath between all of us and the future. The next breath could be our last. We never know.

But here’s a look at the past few weeks here in my neighborhood.

Our outdoor living space is complete. We made a 2×4 slat bench to add to the collection. The recitation bench along the east wall of the house came from our old grain shed in Iowa. The place that we lived had three delapitating buildings: the grain shed, a small animal barn and a garage. The garage was the first thing to go. After the spring snow melted and we discovered it was full of the trash from the previous occupants, we lit a match to the whole lot. Of course the fact that the propane tank was less than ten feet from the building was quite a frightful thought. The grain shed and the basement held a number of pieces of furniture that still grace my home today.

The swing is an old crib remodel. Haha. The crib was the one that Gavin’s dad and siblings all slept in when pre-toddlers. Today it would not fit the safety regulations as the bars are too distant in measurement. It makes an amazing back porch nap zone.

The focus of all the pets attention is the deck box. It contains their food. We have had to discard of a few wild critters in the past as raccoons can figure out how to lift the lid and help themselves. Thank goodness for the new addition to the family. Eva has kept them away since her arrival.

The slat bench has wood that came from the top of the barn. All the pieces were well over fifty years old and rough cut lumber. We spent quite some time getting each piece to the correct measurement. The staining of the top pieces made the construction of the slat bench really pop. It is a pretty good nap zone also. However, these cooler temps are not the best for such things. The finish is an old oil based recipe from Aussie Timber care. It has kept my benches and other outdoor pieces in tip top shape.

This mosaic crochet afghan is now complete. It does not have a new home yet. Because I was born in the spring, I prefer bright and bold colors more than fall. I have a perpetual spring in my greenhouse and could bore you with my pictures of flowers.

The pattern on the blanket is “What comes around, goes around.” The square spirals were really quite fun to crochet. The border and the separation lines are a simple steppe pattern. I think they kind of look like “z’s” and that makes it a good sleeper’s warmer! While I thoroughly enjoyed the process of crocheting the afghan, the colors just did not thrill me. So if there’s a friend of mine in love with it, they better holler quick. Otherwise my sister will find a home for the burnt orange delight.

Lately, I found the cold a bit too nippy on my fingers. So I decided to remake a couple of my hat and mitten pairs. I started with my everyday set that keeps me from the frost while doing the morning rounds. Honey and I go out to greet Eva. She sleeps in the heated hut outdoors. We scoop a bowl of kibbles for the cats then head out back to do the business. Next we run to the greenhouse to check the temperature. I give Cocoa a can of oats. Then we run like mad to the house because the north wind is so bitey.

This little whimsical hat was part of my creations from last spring. It is a scrappy hat. In other words, I used some scrap chunks of yarn and made a hat that was one of a kind. So the other day after perfecting my mitten pattern on a different set, I sat down and pulled up some yarn chunks to make my “whimsy set.” Something of the Oma in me enjoys wearing such a silly little dunce hat. The ball always gets a lot of attention either from little kids (while shopping) or even from other peoples pets (they can’t take their eyes off of the ball dangling from my head). Well, with a Grandmother name like Oma, why wouldn’t I enjoy a little whimsy in my life? My favorite books were the Dr Suess and I still can’t resist buying one even if I can’t read them anymore.

People with foresight always seem to get things right. They dream forward. They plan ahead. They look to the future with hope and ideals. People with hindsight are always talking about the past, looking into history with new perspectives. Trying to discover the truth about how things really happened. Maybe even considering the latest conspiracy theory. Ahhh, now I don’t believe that’s all a blanket approach to the whole of living.

My vision into the distance has always been a little poor. Having someone else to explain exactly where the moon is has made it much easier to find. Even if I can’t see the “man on the moon” I can still imagine it. And now my closeup vision has gotten a little more challenged also. Losing the peripheral view of the world, does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on in the world around me. It just means that I run into things far more frequently than I would like. It also means that my husband has to sort my little yarn chunks into the right color coordinations. White and yellow seem to be so close in color these days.

Whether you like to look ahead and dream of the future or whether you are an avid history book reader, one thing is the same. We all breath the same air. We are all fighting for another day another breathe. Today I want to aknowledge that I believe that breathe of air comes from my Soveriegn, Invisible Source. God the Creator who breathed into that first man Adam the breathe of air,

Psalm 144:4 “Man is but a breathe of air, His days are like a passing shadow.”

These days I do not visit my grandchildren as frequently as I would like. The fear of covid probable keeps me away more than I would like to admit. Being high risk in the health area is not something that I want to frequent in this blog. So I will just say that looking to the Author of this vapor does give me meaning and purpose to make each and every visit of high value and very enjoyable. They bring me so much joy, even if it is just during a phone call with childish squeals in the back ground. Looking at each day, week, or month as a passing shadow is one thing, considering my life to be but the passing shadow is another thing entirely. For now seeing these little faces as a small token of my shadow cast into the future is almost too deep a thought for consideration.

Thanking my Creator for every breath of air. Looking to a brighter Future tomorrow.

Before dash cam-Dash Lamb

A monitor of a different sort

Once upon a time, there was a shepherd girl whose husband bought her a truck. That truck was actually a Ford Edge to replace the awful eight seater cargo van that she did not like very well.

We got the car the summer of 2010, and then took a family vacation to the east coast. Nothing like putting on thousands of miles right after a vehicle purchase. Other than the serpentine belt going bad this side of Chicago, it was an uneventful trip. The main event was the music camp that the girls attended.

The best McDonald’s toy ever

What is the purpose of those ridiculous Happy Meal toys anyway? Most kids don’t seem too happy after the thing breaks. This little Dash Lamb came at just the right time though. The girls were old enough to drive when we brought this car home. So not long after the first payment was due, they were driving the family truck to get dog food, sheep feed, groceries, and even driving to all of those music lessons.

Once and a while with the food runs, they let me get a Happy Meal. So instead of getting the meals for little kiddos, they were trying to keep their mother happy in the back seat. That was actually one of my requirements for the new car, the back seat had to be comfortable.

When this little lamb came in a meal, it found it’s home on the dash right in a pasture of sage vinyl (PVC). It was the perfect home for this little bobble head creature.

Who put the lamb on the floor?

This was always the first thing said when my first glance at the dash did not find the little lamb in it’s stead. Anytime the dash monitor lost it’s footing, we knew someone was overdriving the conditions. A lamb on the floor meant that the corner had been taken a little fast. A lamb in the defroster vent meant that the breaks had been applied with force.

Before there was ever a dash camera monitor system, we had Dash Lamb. So, it was a little sad when the new vehicle did not have a spot on the vinly for such items. Now there is some little drawer cover to hide the unsightly items.

No spilled coffee here in this family. Dash Lamb never lied. She always told us who was not driving with their eyes on the road or hands on the wheel. She always told mom who was driving with out taking care of her little bobble head. Over driving the conditions could mean a little lamb shaking her head to declare, “no,no, no!”

Poor little thing didn’t even have a name. All of our little special ones got names. There was Lucy, Who-Do, Spot, Moose, Triple-Wide, Smokey, Blackie, and Buck-buck to name a few. The girls had the first fifty or so all named. After that it was just the bottle lambs that received such special treatment. One after the other came and went, season after season the lams came and went. But Dash-Lamb was with us until the day the car died.

Oh, yeah, there was Bam, Bam-the twins that use to come and lift there poor mother ewe right off of the ground. They were the first season lambs that were on the mamas much too long. We learned not to let them be so harsh after those two kept that picture stuck in our minds. Poor mother.

Aside from the fact that the lamb was always rolling her eyes at the driver, or the passengers in their distracting fashion. God is always watching us when we drive, walk, talk, or sit. This little lamb was really a reminder that someone is always watching no matter what we do. But God is the all knowing, all seeing being who really watches me.

Good bye little dash lamb. Tahnks for giving our family car a lot of story time worthy history. We loved having you as part of our lives for ten years. Some things just can’t be replaced. We can get another car. We can get new tires. But a little lamb from a Happy meal? She is really shaking her head now, “No, No, No!”

Taking out the trash

How data banks fills up your memory stores

This past week I discovered that my google memory bank was full and needed back up. Well, before paying for memory (as if dementia has a cure) I started trying to find what was filling up the bank. I found a lot of my old garbage.

I mean really old rotten garbage. Apparently all the stuff that I had put into the trash or tried to delete from my OLD phone had been sent to my my new goggle bank, and phone. Now the notes to self in days gone past have been TRIPLED up in my new data storage. What I though was once deleted has now been stored as deleted, trashed, and created. Three times more, I’ll be spending the next two weeks trying to take out the trash in my new data base.

Thank goodness for my husband. I think I’ll let him do most of the work on his computer. Trying to clean up said trash on my tiny smart phone screen is painful. So apparently, I now have to take out the trash that I though I had take out back in 2014!

What kind of to do list from that summer could just be repeated?

Here’s one: call for a haircut, water the garden, weed the flower patch, pull out meat for supper.

Here’s one best left in the trash bin: allergies a-fright, asthma out of control, order another inhaler. Uff. Life has not changed there any.

Who knows what kind of mess the pictures are in. There are probably multiple pictures in different albums. Googles face rec did that to the pictures I take of the relatives. I really don’t need a full album of my cousin’s child in multiple places. There’s how that data storage gets maxed out. Nope, still not paying.

Finding out that my data group created composting bins rather than actually trashing my old garbage was a little rough on the eyes. Especially when my husband showed me whole files in my junk mail! Oh, that made me mad enough to call the disposal company. Nawh, I’ll just let him clean up the mess. It suddenly does not make me so memory unbalanced with my old fits about him leaving the trash can so full until taking it out. I’ll take out the kitchen garbage and the compost for the rest of our married life, if he will clean up my junk mail and sweep out the data doubled storage in my phone. But the dustpan is gonna be full!

Yesterday was Father’s Day here in our country. We got together as a family and let the greats meet the newest great-grandson. Took a couple of pictures for the memory bank. Of course we have so many pictures just out there in the cloud, I wonder if the greats will ever be able to identify the occupants without the aid of some facial recognition software. Maybe I should just keep those albums of my cousin and her grandchildren.

Today I was trying to call for a haircut for the dog. The system at the dog camp just ended the call when it wanted. I wonder how their business is fairing the pandemic. Not so well, if we cannot leave a message. Maybe their data storage is full from all of the dog pictures they take each week. Haha.

My memory bank is not full. It is happily adding new ones as we enjoy the changes of the little grand kiddos. My grand daughter discovered blowing bubbles this spring. She was able to blow out her two candles on her birthday. So this Sunday, her auntie showed her what else a breath can do. Train whistle, tin whistles, and the harmonica all came out of hiding. We pulled up a video of superb mouth harp on display, and she was hooked. Her parents are thankful the mouth harp stayed at Opa and Oma’s house. Our little grandson did not seem to mind all the noise. Except when the ancient woodwind the flute came out. Our band director son-in-law took a look at it’s tarnished state, found all the pads in working order and then tuned in a scale. Little grandson cringed. The dog began to cry and little grand daughter went back to the harmonica.

Creating new memories was pretty wonderful.

This afternoon I have to visit the dentist. The work was delayed due to the world health crisis. Our family made it through the virus spread without any direct contact. I am thankful for our more distanced living arrangements out here in the Dakota Territory. There are days, it would be nice to holler a “Hello” at a neighbor, but living in the high rise apartment has no appeal to me. We have only been on a subway when visiting Boston and community bus travel goes back ten years to those days also.

Having our own vehicle comes with it’s expenses. Hubby just replaced the thermometer for the engine in our thirteen year old nice car. It’s hard to think that the price of a new vehicle exceeds the price of our motor trailer manufactured hallway. One of these days we will get this money thing figured our. Maybe we’ll grow a tree that produces greenbacks. Not.

Now that the memory bank has been flooded with a variety of new and old subjects, I would say the journal pages will close for the day.

Grab a book, open it up, then slam the covers together. There. That’s the sound entered here.