Thus far

Struggle bus rather than sleeping is one of my common life challenges. So the other night when my brain took off on it’s highway robbery, I found myself thinking about all these things once again. Setting up stones…. Our acreage is full of really large rocks. Many of them were picked up from the fields around and placed in the “rock pile.” Once years ago, someone lined the driveway with the rocks to keep drivers off of the lawn. My father-in-law still hates to see the rocks even in landscaping. My preference is to put them into the landscape and garden areas, rather than a pile that grows weeds and trees.

Not many people know what an Ebenezer stone is. Or even have ever heard of such a thing. Milestones are more commonly recognized, like growing and walking, driving, graduations, etc. Middle of the night statue building and laying stone walls while sleeping? Never.

My favorite Bible verse is from I Samuel 7:12, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name [a]Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” What makes this verse a Milestone Marker for me? The idea that one thing is ending and another beginning has always intrigued me. Marking transitions in life, whether they be new jobs, careers, or life changes is important. But most important is recognizing how you got there and how you will accomplish the next. “Thus far the Lord has helped us!”

New phones are never easy for the visually challenged. But for me, I simply put the new one down and it takes weeks rather than days to learn everything. We get use to doing things a certain way, and when that way “expires” life moves on in a different manner. Sometimes rather slowly.

Brain fog that follows a sleepless night is probably the worst The ability to function well and do anything with precision is hard. So I spend the majority of the time crocheting some pattern that is very repetitive. The past two weeks I finally finished my virus stitch shawl that I started two years ago. It is quite beautiful. And yes, it makes me look like I was born in the wrong century. I don’t care. I love making and wearing shawls

This little area of the yard is passed by daily. It is very strongly and “Ebenezer” for me. “The bridge that once was…. “. Has such a story. The wood was once a fort over the sandbox, then the fort in the trees, and now the bridge on it’s own island (haha). The wheel was found in the lilac bushes. The only wagon wheel we found on the place so far. The basket that came from my sister’s driver’s mother’s attic. The stones that were brought in years earlier from the field. Each piece has it’s own history. Then there is the tree stump planter we just made from one of the sixty plus year old trees in the grove that are falling one by one. This year being three years into drought, many of the trees are simply hallow and tired of standing up.

“Thus far…”. Birthday celebrations are in the works for both of our moms this year. My mother at eighty and his mom at ninety. Celebrating life is so important. “The Lord has helped us”. We can see the elderly living this even more so than ourselves. For them, it is sometimes hourly that the Lord helps them. Each day holds it’s own Ebenezer as they march from sunrise to sunset. Waking each morning requires a call to the Lord for help just to rise out of the sleeping chamber. Of course it is because of the tale of Christmas and Ebenezer Scrooge that many of us think of old as grouchy. But sometimes I make a mental list of all the challenges our mothers face each day just to remind myself that my milestones are few.

Last night I survived an allergic reaction without an EpiPen. And we made a symptom checker that told us “NEXT TIME” these things occur, it is time for the epinephrine. . It was rather scary, and though I new something was not right, it did not occur to me at the time that it was an allergic reaction. Now I know. Thus far the Lord has helped me, but my husband says, next time the Lord will have to remind us to use the EpiPen!

When Mother Cannot Sleep At Night

For my daughters from my garden of prayers, here’s a poem from the midnight hours by yours truly -love to all -mom.

When mothers can’t sleep at night

They pray until their hearts are broken

They sow seeds of tears

They write letters to hide away in drawers

When mother cannot sleep at night

She reads her Lord’s words

She whispers her cries for souls

She spreads blankets of love and mercy

She lifts her praise to the Almighty

When mother can’t sleep at night

She swaddles her little babies

She soothes her feverish toddler

She comforts her dreaming daughter

She consoles her fitful son

She sends heavenward prayers of hope

When mother cannot sleep at night

She weeps for dreams now lost

She aches for arms once filled

She writes lists of to-do’s and wish lists and gift lists and plans holiday meals

When mothers can’t sleep at night

They tend prayer gardens

Hold candle light vigils

Read old leather bond Bibles

And they hold fast their faithful watch

Inside outside

“therefore encourage one another with these words.” I Thessalonians 4:18

Whether or not the weather cooperates is usually how outside gardens survive.  Farming and springtime become a constant weather watch in our neighborhood. There’s always the few who do things no matter what. But the seeds never lie. Frost that kills the cherry blossoms means one less pie. 

The other day I made it out to the gee-oh house just before the rain came pouring down.  “Guess I’ll be here for a little while or get soaked on the trek back to the shoe-box house.”  We spent the previous weekend re-sealing the joints and the polycarbonate glazing with more weather proof materials. So this week will be a test to see if we finally found the answer to the leakages.  Wind and rain, ice and water find their way through cracks of any size. Hopefully by the time we finish the outside–we’ll have an inside that is outside!

Finding therapy that works for our ailments can sometimes be more challenging than we expect. For some acupuncture helps.  Others turn to the essential oils.  Still others release, toxicity through sweating via sauna or excercise. I chose to go to my greenhouse. Sunshine provides me a tropical zone right in my own green field.

Suffering from pain and insomnia creates a cycle of physical pain that must have a checkpoint. I have full understanding that there are drugs-medicines that can aid my troubles.  A number of years ago though my husband decided to reward my once upon a time motherhood  nap time reading to my children by purchasing me an MP3 bible.  

When I was just nursing my firstborn child, my mother handed me a tiny Gideon New Testament. So I began reading to my children. When my second daughter arrived I had learned to balance my full scriptures award Bible from my own childhood on my arm and hand .  In that way I was able to read through the Bible and continue my own rapid reading schedule during her toddlerhood. It was during that timeframe that she claims I read through numbers and chronicle just to get her to fall asleep.  It was admittedly more successful than my later attempts to read Chronicles of Narnia for their bedtime story reading.  However, we all believe that Lennea’s abilities in remembering names might be gifted by God to her simply from these nursery days.  

My grandmother, the girls’ great-grandmother had a gifted memory also.  She could remember dates and birthdays like no one else! Although she did not pass this incredible memory on to me, her love for dried fruit has nevertheless been passed on.  Therefore when I studied the geodesic greenhouse and understood that I could host up to two tropical fruit trees in its space, I began begging for a fig tree.

Perhaps I wanted one so much because it’s delicate nature is one that I can really relate to. My temperature intolerance has led me speak out loud that I’m allergic to the cold.  It’s icy winds feel like knives slicing through my skin.  Because the anesthesia that they used on my first caesarian did not function as expected I can say with full clarity that I know what it feels like to have knives slice through my skin. It was traumatic. 

Recently we had a family meal with some extended family members.  During the meal my little nephew began his frequented mealtime temper tantrum.  Following this occasion we discussed the child’s feelings as “delicate.”  This reminded us of a classic psychologist’s movie Inside out  We recommend it for children and family’s who struggle with verbal expressions of feelings.  Learning to communicate at an early age one’s self-awareness is so important. 

It is in that spirit of self-preservation that I am sharing this with my readers. Sleepless nights are the trials of many that I know personally.  Whether turning to medicine, natural therapies, or prayer and Scrupture–know that this battle for sleep and adequate rest is not just yours alone.  Pain is part of this world we exist in and most likely will not  be conquered during this life. Finding hope in small things and in the bigger picture can help.  In the end it’s my faith in Christ and our eternal home that keeps me going.   

My crochet grandmother’s favorite book in the Bible was Thessalonians’s.  She had many verses underlined in the two part letter. This one after the description of  our future hope and home is one of my favorites.  Chapter four verse eighteen-

“Therefore encourage one another with these words.”