Reason to Live (the final installment)

Finishing the CD review or renew or remembering

The last four years has been one of much change in our lives. The last three more so. Empty nesters is not a term that I like to use in my description of ourselves in the most recent past. After the girls off and left me, okay, really, they just got married and added numbers tot he family, right? Well, still redefining motherhood is nothing like descovering sainthood, that’s for sure.

So once the nest is empty, we soon find ways to fill the void. And for us it was a little 22 foot growing dome. Learning how to make things grow is a little different than watching kids grow and and become adults. But really much is the same. There are plant babies. Then little plants that leave the “next” and find new homes. And some get so stay and become tomorrows foddor.

Five years ago? It really does not seem real. Five years ago, I saw a video of this little geodesic dome greenhouse and wanted one so much that I cried. Now, plant babies leave very frequently and the empty nest never stays empty very long.

Having a “reason to live” means purpose and planning for one’s tomorrows. whether as in the song, the morrow is eternal or as in the greenhouse these seems to be forever a spring, purpose keeps life moving forward. I am so grateful for something TO DO!

Relatives of relatives and friends of friends are our connections throughout the circle of life. People help the world go-around. Looking at these connections through the “triangle” is easy for me. I know you. You know another person, and soon that other person then knows me. And just like that we are connected in a triangle of friendship.

This triangle of connecting one to another is key through our lives. It helps us to get where we are going, or perhaps we help another person get to the path in life that they lead. I am always fascinated by the connections that we have with a random person. My daughter once sat by someone on an airplane that was a shirt-tail relation. But they were only four people removed from knowing each other!

We used my daughter’s family connection to get the logo set up for Greenfield Greenhouse. It was so good to put a bit of “finality” or maybe a seed of beginning to this five year incubation phase. It’s time to let the nest be a home to more plant babies. I hope the business side of this building does not get so overwhelming. But I am so excited to do some plant seed harvesting. More geranium baby production and to see how the overwintering building will do this next year.

And I am also glad to do the final installment of this CD remembering. 1998 seems like such a very long time ago when the music was all created. I hope that the family that inspired this song has done well since then. I think of them often.

Go away dark night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Eremite’s Journal

“Wilderness Journey”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belief Without Question

This time and thus far

“Many have said that they do not believe,

“Many have said that they do.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unless the Seed Dies

Song number seven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wee Hoursof Motherhood

Was I a brave mom?

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

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

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

Today

Today, as I thought about you

I began to cry

I am not sure why

But I began to cry

Maybe it’s because you are mine

Maybe it’s because you are special

Maybe it’s because God knows your time

Maybe it’s because I love you

Or maybe it’s because

You are you…

But today

As I though about you

I began to cry…

-written in February of 1993, by Yvonne Annette

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love being their mom.

I loved motherhood.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.