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.

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.

Without

That would be “as opposed to with or not having”

The definition of without can be defined as a preposition, an adverb, or a conjunction. In this situation it is a preposition and used as “not having the benefit of…”. In my life today on my walk through the neighborhood near my daughter’s home, it was walking without the benefit of a real true helping canine. Ahhh, but the tears flow fast.

There are many different types of grief, many different kinds of losses. Mourning takes all kinds of shapes, sizes, and emotions. But this is not going to be one of those “this is what happened and now I’m going to shave my head” type of writings. Nor is it the “I will just go eat worms” of the century story.

Today at church our pastor shared the second sermon in his series on the life of Job. He also gave an excellent children’s message on bad-awful-terrible-days. I go to church mostly for the children’s sermon. It’s the most relatable. Sorry, pastor. We did not leave town immediately, as my husband’s folks needed a few little errands done. They experienced one of those everything-went-wrong-mornings that pastor talked about in the children’s sermon. After figuring out the keyless entry to a vehicle and completing those little “save the day” items, we headed home to pick up the dog and go for lunch with our daughter number two and her hubby, our son-in-law number two. That is no indication of our feelings for them. We love them both the same!

After our lunch together the father daughter duo went to work on their plumbing project and I made the awful decision to go for a walk with the ditzy doodle Honey. It might have been a good decision if there were not so many factors that play into our unhealthy relationship.

We made it back to the house in one piece. And my anxiety attack did not land me any worse off than previous panic experiences. But here is the gist of it all.

A few years ago, I had a rescue dog I named Seymour. For some reason, when I put the harness on him to do the guide dog work, He just GOT IT. As a person going blind, there were moments that we did a few minutes of training and Seymour amazed me. His ability to grasp what I needed was just there. Then gradually, he got lazy in the house and because of his 95 pound stature , he would take up half the floor space. I began tripping over him in the house. He worked for me outside the front door, but slept like a baby inside the house.

And rather than making the changes to accommodate him and his “allergy” inducing episodes with family or friends, we decided to re-home him. He is happy in his new family.

But today on my walk with Honey, I realized once again exactly how gifted Seymour was in guiding me. Recently, my husband saw some statistics that stated even if the bloodline of the dog has a propensity for guide dog characteristics only about a quarter to a third of the dogs actually turn out to possess the qualities of an excellent guide dog. I did not know these statistics when I decided to trade in one dog and get another.

Seymour was trained as hunting dog, and probably failed the test. He was either abandoned or a run away. In his rescue days, he spent time healing from a trap wound on his foreleg. When he entered our family, we enjoyed the fact that the puppy was all out of him. Then, the days came for him to “guide” me.

His knack for learning about trees, hitches, the names of places, people, objects and such was uncanny. But more than his ability, there was the feeling of security that he gave me. Now that I have Honey, I can really grasp what I lost by giving him away.

Going blind, and being blind are two totally different things. But going blind is being blind in a new way all along the road. Some days I am more aware of my losses than other days. Some times it hits me literally (like when I run into the doorframe or something). And some days, like today it hits me in the gut. Hard.

Honey just does not have it in her to serve my need for security or stability. When she sees things or observes changes, her first reaction is “there is someone that I want to go jump on and that should love me because I love them!” Seymour gave me signals that were completely different. Honey gives me anxiety with changes. I never know if she is going to jump, bolt, or love with doggy exuberance. Seymour would have pushed me towards the person rather than drag me. This relationship is so different. And so hard to explain.

There are things about having a “helping” canine that you can never really explain to other people. These feelings of security and anxiety reduction cannot be fully expressed in one writing. If you have ever had a relationship with a dog like this, once it is gone, feelings of grief and loss arrive at moments least expected.

Today, was one of those days.

Honey might be sweet. But she’s a little sticky once she gets all over your fingers. After awhile, I just want to wash my hands of the whole affair. I want to trade her back for Seymour. But that’s not an option.

Just like it seems our family could only have one really good family dog, and his name was Furbie. Well, that’s a whole different story of a little Shih Tzu crossed Border Terrier that even had a toy he named “the worst Christmas ever.” That dog was one of a kind. Seymour was one of a kind, too. And Honey is absolutely not any thing like Seymour.

The anxiety over my eyesight was not given any relief by having anxiety over my hyper doodle. If anyone wants a dog that loves frisbee and flying fast on all four paws, you can have her. While she has all the best qualities of a really good dog, she just has not picked up on the “service” thing yet. And if she does not “GET IT” soon, she might just get replaced.

(Here’s the deal: I can only afford to go through so many sets of underwear, before I’ll have to get some fancy ones to catch the results of all this adrenalin dump that she is creating in my life. And, I really do not want to just sit around all the time, when I once knew what it meant to have a dog named Seymour that could help me for REAL!)

So there.

I said it.

I’ll try not to cry myself to sleep tonight because I miss my dog.

Or maybe, I will anyway.

Get out the new tissue box. I might be using the whole stack up tonight.

Best of the worst

Or is it the worst of the best?

Some days, my memories take me on journeys. This week while recollecting the days of my second daughter’s arrival into the world, I remembered myself stuck in a lazy boy chair.

There are a lot of memories I could have focused on. The joys, the deep brown eyes of my newborn. The inquisitive nearly two older sister that drove me crazy. The sadness I had to overcome as I put the crying infant into her crib and listened to her settle herself to sleep. I loved rocking my babies, and this one would not have it. So many thoughts tumble through my mind. But the memory that stuck for me was the day I was settled into the lazy boy to nurse the infant and read to the toddler. They both fell asleep. Yay!

Then I realized that part of my cesarean recovery was the inability to use my stomach muscles to kick the chair back down. Now what? And what if I had to go to the bathroom suddenly? The moment is frozen in my brain. The stricken feeling of not being able to move. My two daughters had just become a strap over my legs, arms and stomach. I had never been strong enough to kick the lazy boy down with just my legs anyway. Figure it out-I am a tiny person. So there I say. In the days of no cell phone, no remote next to me, and a sinking sun. They would eventually wake up, right?

That’s my best of the worst of the memories from the days following my second daughter’s entrance to the world. It’s not much to complain about. There are other semi-awful memories. It is no wonder I struggle from mild claustrophobia. Part of me still believes that my mother use to hold me down to get me to sleep. (Though I did have stitches twice and optic surgery once all under the age of five-so I was probably strapped down then.)

Celebrating birthdays of adult children is different than the fancy cakes and family gatherings of yesteryear. As an adult myself, I took to calling my parents on my birthday instead of them calling me. It’s something of a change when leaving home and parents don’t do the grand parade for you anymore. I simply call and state that I am ready for my greeting. There have been a few times the greeting is not given. Oh, well. I am still happy to celebrate another one and be able to call my dad or my mom.

Today was a sad day for some in the family. My sister-in-law will never get a warm hug from her sister this side of Heaven. The week of gathering and mourning is not the end of grief. It will come unexpectedly and often catch us off guard. How do we capture the best of our memories when the worst has finally arrived? Lots of conversation will end in tears and sometimes even in laughter. It is the age old circle of life. Others have done this also.

I think especially of my Grandma Millie. She saw all but one of her sisters buried before it was her time. And she was the oldest and held them all as wee-little ones. Oh, the precious memories of holding babies. So for us, we look forward to two new babies in the family this year. And our church is holding a baby shower for the newest infant in our midst. Babies do help us think futuristically.

And so for the best of the best!

My little 19 month old granddaughter is picking up new words daily. The funniest thing she says right now is telling me the Winnie the Pooh characters. There’s “Pooh, and Owl, and Llelele.” That would be interpreted piglet! This morning with our subzero weather, she wanted to know if I was “cold?” And was “cocoa (the horse) cold?” And the “kitens?” And “Honey (the dog)?” It was almost a conversations. Next thing you know, she’ll be asking me about some family recipe or something!

Okay, I know, life does not march by quite that fast. But knowing that moments of yesteryear have escaped our grasp, today becomes pretty special.

While the COLD wants to snap our noses off, I will keep trying to think of the best of the best, Leaving the worst of the worst for it’s own moment in time.

Here’s a sample of what the fingers have been busy doing lately. I purchased a basket that I just had to have, and then tried to make one like it. Now, I know that I can do this, there will probably be more. I was not super pleased about the color that I had to practice with, but it is still functional!

If I say nothing at all

Letters become words

My little grand-daughter is in the “walk and talk” stage. I know, I told myself when I had children there would never be stages. No particular thing that I was hoping to get through quickly or without some mishap. Yet because my vantage point is more in weekly coffee break doses,the changes that she has are more in stages and more hops, and skips and noticeable. The new words that she learns, the mobility that she gains is different when I am not the mommy in the trenches.

The new words are fun: Swing, Nite nite, Josh, Yes, Mom, Huh?, and Dad are all part of her vocabulary tools. The sign language she knows helps immensely on communication. Things like more, food, wash, all done, oh no, too loud, and peek-a-boo make being around baby enjoyable. But when she learns to stand up from sit and won’t stay down for a nap, that’s on her momma. So to me she is still the cutest thing ever.

The last few years being unable to “drive” away from my isolated country life has been so hard for me. There are days when the empty black pit seems to come along and swallow me whole. Few people know what I mean when I mention that “black hole.” I am not talking about some space odyssey either. Not long ago, I had a series of books on my talking book library that put into action what “Stomping Out the Darkness” was trying to teach me years ago.

Spiritual warfare, mental battles, mind over matter is never a subject others prefer. Most people just want to avoid matters of the mind. Spiritual health and well-being are considered topics best dealt with on a clinical level. So while this lovely little one year old is learning the power of words, and language, dealing with my own mental battle with the strong words and weak thought-life… here we go.

When I was a young girl things happened within our family that would best be forgotten. Words that cut through marrow were flung and spewed from the figure in my family that should have been loaded with coaching encouragement. Dealing with verbal abuse for so many years left a mark upon our family. I am not playing the shame and blame game. This is just how it was. Being a girl as the offspring of the “incapable” should have been an obvious mirrored image to the tongue that spat, but those feelings were never-the-less planted.

So today when I deal with the spiritual topic of ask and receive, my mind does a complete 360 while I consider all the possibilities. It makes me dizzy to think of the people who have come and gone in my life. As a child we learn to say please and may I and thankyou. As an adult we learn that asking others often leads to be “shushed, ” “turned off,” “told no,” or simply considered a burden and ignored. Several times in my journey towards lost eyesight, people have asked if they could pray for healing for me. Then within a short period of time told me they could not give me rides places. As if praying for my healing gets them off the hook for not helping. This kind of response led me to quit asking. So perhaps I am much too human, but this turning away has taught me that perhaps God the Father says “No” more that He says “yes.” Mentally I tell myself that God is more loving than people. Yet, it’s hard to ask and be rejected so many times.

Words are creative. Or destructive. And yes, sometimes words are like creeping bindweed. Like the boa constrictor of weeds, it wraps around the soul, the mind, the will-power, the heart and these words and feelings are difficult to root out. And like russian thistles, their barbed thorns take flesh and soul with them as we try to deal with the ugly past. Right when the field is all cleared out, some nasty ragweed finds it’s way back into our daily existence.

Because of my library of book reading, I spent years training my brain how to do battle with these nasty weeds. Knowing that the power of scripture to overcome these old thought patterns is key, I have an MP3 Bible that I plug into at night. The words of the Father Creator are far stronger than any insult, or abuse ever endured. This keeps me going on the path to uprooting the dark matter.

I also know that giving the demons voice is the worst thing that I can do. So silence often invades my life. I say nothing at all. Trying to speak good and light in the face of evil dark thoughts is the hardest thing ever. Most times all I can manage to mouth is “Jesus, help me.”

By nature, I am a creative person. I like to see crochet art take shape. I like to watch the yearn take cloth. I like to hear music fill the space. Being creative has always been part of who I am. As a child I made cards, and wrote poems. I was always singing and soon began to play the piano with passion and possibility. When I wa not turning letters into words, I made music.

That girl that I once was, letting my voice ring in noisy play, or pounding away at the keyboard seems lost to me. Often I wonder if she is still under all this skin. The tent that covers me, is it really still me? Remembering how I once sucked nervously on a strand of hair, makes me wonder what anxiety do I let rule me now? Taking another step today sends me farther away from who I once was in that little girl.

So I cherish watching our little one learn how to blow kisses goodbye. The teacher in me rejoices when she discovers imaginative play and puts “Scout” in the box that she was just in, doing for the stuffed puppy what we had been doing with her. I treasure her little fingers learning how to put the lid on the cookie tin. I want to memorize how she plods back and forth figuring out the tupperware basket for her little three inch ball. I am amazed at her ability to put sounds into words. Yeah, the cycle of life tells me this is all repetitive. But to her- Everything Is New.

If I say nothing at all, that does not always mean that there is nothing good to say. Sometimes letters become words. But just like my little one year old specialty, letters can sometimes just be magnets that stick to the front panel of the dishwasher. Sometimes words just get all jumbled up and things come out wrong, like calling the giraffe stuffy a “zebra.” Sometimes there is not even any music that comes to mind when my fingers rest on the ebony and ivory. Sometimes I just watch other people, hoping I don’t forget what they look like. Sometimes it’s easier to just copy an old crochet pattern than to learn a new one. Sometimes… I say nothing at all.

If I say nothing at all…

Will you still pick me up when I fall?

will you still carry me?

Will we still walk hand in hand?

If I say nothing at all…

Will you still sit with me?

Will you feed me?

Will you still care?

If I say nothing at all…

Will you still take me to the zoo?

Will you still show me the ocean blue?

Will you sing to me “You Are So Beautiful?”

If I say nothing at all…

Will you still tell me about your day?

Will you still say you love me?

Will we still be best friends?

If I say nothing at all…

If I can no longer call…

If I cannot help when you fall…

Will you

Still

Love

Me?

-written by Yovnne Annette

Pouring it all out

Or is it spilling?

Psalm 62:8, “Trust in Him at all times you eople; Pour out your heart before Him, God is a refuge for us.” NKJV

As much as I love this purple iris patch, I will never wear purple. Years ago a study was done on the colors that most put people at ease, and at distrust. People who wear purple, drive purple cars, or wear purple lipstick are best seen as not worthy of trust. I have never thought of this deep lavender color as untrustworthy until my children came home touting this study. Why would purple be such a symbol of false motives? And for the most part people who chose this color are good people. Women who look good in purple are not meaning to put people off. This color it its rich vibrant hue is still going to be my garden favorite.

The garden boxes out front of the house gave me a pleasant surprise. While it has been nice enough to plant some flowers in the rectangular holder, the trip to the greenhouse has not happened. So while I cleaned out the weeds, I found this lovely perineal gracing the otherwise empty space. Okay, I told myself, maybe I really should get some pretty flowers to go with you. Now, if I can just find some more like this one.

Tea doilies are not popular anymore. Women do not spend all their free time managing a household, preparing for socials, and being the members of some group society. Therefore, the tea doily that lays on the saucer beneath the tea cup, is not necessary. The tea doily is out, by about 100 years, I do remember once upon a chrch social when paper doilies were set out beneath all of the coffee cups. The time to wash and iron these fancy little linens had gone out by atleast 50 years at that point. I thought it odd that the paper piece rather than a napkin was giving a nod to the past.

Pouring it all out anymore is not popular either. When someone really wants to share their heart and gain counsel from a few good friends, we now have to pay a counselor anywhere from fifty dollars to one hundred twenty-five to get the counsel that good friends once gave us.

When there is no way to get to the counsel, there is always some one-eight-hundred number that has someone who will listen. I have seriously considered being one of those numbers. Just so someone would call me for advise. Wisdom is not cheap, however. The school of hard knocks taught some of us a thing or two that will never be written in the books.

Spilling your guts to family, friends, or relatives does not happen much anymore either. Too many people are afraid of the “social” effect that being vulnerable affords. We get either condemned or avoided if we are too much of an open book. Closing the door on others does not do much for the whole self preservation. It just bottles things up.

So when, I see the people as all wearing purple, and the empty boxes represent their feelings, I’ll try to remember that sometimes they see me as an outdated tea doily. Oh, well, my refuge and safe haven will continue to be my Lord and Savior. I will spill it all out at the foot of the cross. I will let Christ carry my burdens when they are too heavy for me. I will trust in the shelter of my soul’s salvation.

Empty rabbit hole

At too yellow

Where I am at is not where anyone else wants to be. I find myself in an empty rabbit hole, running around in circles and never finding my way out. The only way out is up. Reaching up for the ladder that is just out of touch. Being too short to touch the bottom rung, then I will need to jump. Jumping up to grasp what is just beyound reach. My attempts to be anything but the rabbit that I once was leaves me exhausted,. No one wants to pretend at life. The whole idea is that Halloween costume party might just exist everyday for some…

At this point in my existence, I am at covering up who I am now by who I once was. Learning to deal with the change in my abilities to navigate the normal life that everyone else still lives has left me faking the smile. Pretending to be okay in my rabbit hole. The world goes on. The people around me have left. The others have their daily interactions with others. I have a rabbit hole.

Pushed over a cliff. That’s me. Sitting on a ledge with a large rock wall just before me. Open the door for me and push me first. The anxiety and the fear that surfaces from the unknown because of my eyes inablity to adjust to the change form outside to inside or from inside to outside. Might as well push me over a cliff. Who pushes a blind person first? Lots of people don’t understand. This anxiety from new and the constant flow of people in a group setting, continues to set me face value with a rock wall in front of me. Finding the face level of an outstretched hand is like asking me to go first. This anxiety of meeing new people or new situations has left me sitting out on a ledge with a rock wall in front of me and a deep cavern heading off in all directions.

Chasing a bunny tail around in circles. That is me. The less one goes to experience new, the more life is just chasing the owner’s tail. Round and round the sun travels. Round and round the familiar circles go. Yet with the blindness that comes my way, the circle grow smaller. The never ending expansion of one’s life and experiences, has now reversed direction. Until all that remains is the beginning of the line. And now all the bunny does is chase his own tail. Not a very fun day actually.

Socially deprived dogs will develop anxiety or elements of acting surprised at every thing that happens. Whether it is the door bell, the phone ringing, or a neighborhood child that cries out, a dog that has not been exposed to lots of experiences will overreact. Never mind the dog, my days are now turning into the socially deprived mutt-hood. Without the proper training and constant repetition of social skills, they become lost. Empty days in the country turn the hermit into an angry mutt. This is not the me that I want to be. The country bumpkin I used to be longs for sitting on the busy corner of a street and do some good old people watching.

An empty planterbox sitting in front of the parked car reminds me once again where I am at. The days that coming home to the pretty plants adorning the parked vessels are so long ago in the past. Filling the boxes so that someone else can park there and enjoy the view as they arrive… Nope. My life is that empty planter box. I do not take that vessel to wherever I so chose. Filling the boxes just reminds me that I no longer have the choice to go away and return to an enjoyable view. It is not an enjoyable view when it is all that I ever see.

Open the door to a brick wall that stands in front of me. Outside my daily empty rabbit hole there is a brick wall. Seeing a future ahead is getting harder and harder. I do not see a future without the view of delapitating buildings around me. Living on an acreage where things are just left to fall apart, reminds me that my eyesight is failing. It is very depressing to imagine a future filled with the view of buildings crumbling. While others leave and do not see the crumbling status, who wants to imagine this view as the last days of their eyesight. I do not want to just watch buildings crumble, while my eyesight fails me. These images will be burned in my brain. I want to watch things being taken care of. I want to see neighbors fixing their roofs. I want to see people planting their gardens.

Lacking social skills is attributed to children who do not slpend time with peers. No one understands the value of an active life more than sn inactive life. Not having peers or people to go do things with has left me empty and lacking in social skills. I still know how to ask someone else all the right questions, but having no experience outside of my rabbit hole makes me an empty person to be with. Therefore, no one comes

Gas tank on empty usually gives a driver a little red flag or red signal on the dashboard. When I look in the mirror agter the same empty start to each day, I see a signal eep in my soul that the gas tank is on empty.

Not many days ago, I found myself tired of not having expressed anything about myself to for so long a period of time around a group of people, that when I finally did, there was an audible “shushing” that escaped someone next to me. The feelings that followed the experience were undeniably awful. Everyone has feelings, and when left to never express those feelings eventually they ooze outward. Being shushed in the midst of the expressing left me collaping into

Too yellow

Who would tell a dandelion she is too yellow? Lots of people do this very thing every day. Telling the dandelion not to shine so bright in the sea of green grass. Telling the expressive soul not to be soo loud, or the nonconformist to be more like everyone else around them. I begin to wonder what the world would be like without Picasso, Rembrandt, Mozart, or Debussy. What would the new world have looked like without Columbus, or Sacagawea, or Madison? Why do we shush the abortion debate, the political issues, or the holocaust? Will there even be any history in the history books? Maybe dandelions are just yellow. Not too yellow.

Just yellow. Not too expressive. Not too passionate. Not too wordy. Not too loud. Not too boisterous. Not to excitable. Not too Impressive. Not too intimidating. Not too dramatic. Not too bright. Not too dreamy. Not too hopeful. Not too flamboyant. Not too artistic. Not too creative. Not too inventive. Not too different. Just yellow.

Argumaent for air

The battle for breath

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord, Prase the Lord.” Psalm 150:6

No one wants to hear mumbling, complaining, or about my life the past week battling for breath. With the onset of spring budding and abounding, comes the allergies to the trees budding and the season of grass clippings. My life takes on an entirely different focus. Breathing.

Asthma is not my friend, my enemy or my relative. It is my life in the misery alley and honestly I wish I could forget that it exists. But considering that some time ago, people use to die form an asthma attack, I count myself lucky or blessed to still be alive.

I remember as a teenager, giving up my love of exercise because I could not breathe. Just as my growth spurt ended, my struggle for air entered summers. Each spring as the world woke up from its frozen slumber, I would take to my bed for nearly two weeks and duel with the new season. My birthday would soon herald another year of the wrangling with the airways. My mother insisted on airing out the house from the winter bugs, and I would fall sick once again.

Why do people insist that the outside air is better? I never put the two together until much later in my life. The argument within about whether to give in to the idea of fresh air, or give up on the hope for cleaner air usually ends with a quarrel within me about whether to get mor medicine for the asthma and visit a doctor or lock myself in a bubble.

Then there was the allergy doctor that argued with me that I did not have asthma. That asthma does not hurt. That allergies don’t cause asthma. That my allergies were far from being my real trigger. That anxiety over the skirmish to come was my real problem. I quit going to him.

The scrimmage that worked itself out in the edging of the about shawl is worth more than a little photograph. It took me nearly two months to work out the border of the pattern. Hundreds of images, pulling out hours of stitches and redoing my work until one day- the conflict over how to end the piece was complete. Much more interesting that the idea that ash trees bud out and put pollen in the air that chokes my throat until my voice turns into a bass “kermit the frog.”

Rainy season also brings me a battle for the breath. Rain use to clean the air. Well, maybe it is dry and dusty. But with the last year and a half of overly saturated ground, it turned our world into an inclosed swimming pool that has never seen any cleaning. The ceiling seems to growing with stalagmite molds! How can you not smell that when walking outdoors.

Warmer weather arrived just in time to start growing other allergy irritants. And I am so glad that I don’t live in a swamp. We are about a half mile from the stagnant water holes, though the south end of our property is pretty soggy. The water table is quite high. That’s why I want to load it up with trees. More allergy irritants.

Fighting for air when the temperature finally reaches a more comfortable sweater zone, is just not fun. Fishing for things do do that won’t zap my energy is hard. But when I got to the point where lying around and watching videos or movies was barely manageable, it was time for a doctor visit.

Relying on a nebulizer just to make it through the day is not blog–worthy material.

Did you notice the butterflies in the yarn grid above. Not quite the same as the finding Willus puzzles, but they are more obvious, I thought. It’s crazy how some people can not imagine elephants in the sky, or a little flighty being within a square. Good luck there.

I want to write about the good book I read of an ultra-marathon runner. But that made me jealous and frustrated that someone else is living life, and I just fighting for air.

I should write about my lengthy prayer list of people fighting for life because of cancer. But then I feel ahamed to even complain about the inactivity that comes with allergy induced asthma.

I should write about the amazement that I felt watching my daughters turn into beautiful young women. The sense of pride as I observed my youngest on the very stage that inspired her to even play an instrument was overwhelming. But then I feel guilty again for not pursuing my own dreams with more focus.

I should write about my adorable grand-daughter, grand nieces, and grand nephew. And then my contrition confuses me for not keeping in better contact.

I should write about my hopes and plans. But all I can do is get through today.

Sometimes, that’s all we have to do. Just breathe.

From 114 to 112

But don’t ask my age

If you have ever watered a tree that does not grow or a flower that will not bloom, then this one is for you.

The geraniums barely weathered the winter. First they were in the greenhouse and almost to full bloom, and then the winter freeze arrived. We moved them to the garage to maintain through darkness and frigid timeps outside. Only to have them put on full bloom a few more times. Back to the greenhouse they went. Finally. But with the continuing wintery bluster, they nearly collapsed into nothingness and frozen tundra. i lost three of the eleven. Oh, well.

When the cold snap took the tulips back into dormancy, I decided to crochet this tulips in a row afghan garden. Of course, it is the first pattern study and I am using some old used up yarn. So the colors are a bit like the memory of our drab winter.

And now for the numbers. Winter in it’s harshness did not exist at my table. We have always had more than enough. Just giving away pounds though is not easy. And so for the first time in about half of my life ago, my weight soared up to an unacceptable high for me. They say it is just “the change.” Well, change doesn’t have much to do with it other than the fact that taking walks with winds at more than 12 mph is really quite uncomfortable, in fact it usually hurts my ears, or my eyes, or my face in some fashion. So my common from of keeping myself fit wind wherever the wind listeth! I am on my way down. I hope.

The shadow of things to come often means that I am about to collide with a tree, fencepost, or sidewalk sign. Using the walking mobility cane (my “moses”) crosses my mind some of the times. But around the place, having a dog by my side is better. I am usually carrying something and she does fine with a slip leash.

Some people say that crossing the half century line is difficult. I wonder how much of it really is psychological. This grand- parent thing came at a real good time, I tell you. She is quite the distraction.

My birthday came and went with not much pomp. Circumstance ruled the day as I nursed my hubby back to health. And washed dishes, laundry, floors, bedding, et cetera. Perhaps, I thought, if I did all the cleaning on my birthday, then I would not have to do any the rest of the year. Ha. Fat chance I told myself. Then I looked in the mirror and cried at my reflection. This poor old house is settling into the foundation something awful.

Spending time with our little Isabelle is the highlight of each week. We have watched her grow up into a little toddler and soon her little legs will carry her running to another room. This past week whe learned the actions for “So Big!” It is such a joy to watch her learn and discover. Now if only getting up so early to ride with my husband up to the big city where she lives would not throw my heart palpitations into such a tizzy. Coffee has been on the back burner for some time now. I don’t like the dull taste of caffeine free. Nor do I enjoy the fact that my little frame has gotten “so big!” Good for the little ones, not good for this old one.

The gardens are calling my name. The yarn projects are whispering to me. The food in the fridge- not so much. I’d still rather have a piece of cake. We will see if the new probiatic helps any of my ailments. While a friend of mine just recently got a pacemaker to help her aging heart, they felt mine did not need such an update last year. So a trudge on. More than likely I will just have to help myself. More water, more walks!