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.

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.

Ready Or Not

Life happens

Thoughts following my album from 21 years ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am so tired.

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

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

“Are you ready?

Are you ready to do My will?

Are you ready?

Are you ready to do My will?

When you seek Me

The you’ll find Me

You will know My will.

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

And she listens,

yes, she listens for the voice of His word.

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

When He speaks out her name,

She’ll rejoice at His word.

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

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

Today, I have a new thought…

Ready or not…

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

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

Clouds in my blue sky

First ride and a poem

There are clouds in my blue sky. Yeah, I know it’s not really my sky, it belongs to the Creator who made it, but it’s the sky that I see. And there are clouds in my blue sky. Here’s why.

The first ride of the year dawned on a day nearly seventy degrees perfect. We sat in our house all day on COVID -19 lock down trying to warm up. The chill in the air just would not go away. I, in my kerchief, and Opa in his sweater. Well, okay it was not really that bad off. But I was wearing my warming poncho most of the day. And Opa was in his sweater.

The sun was shining and the breeze was out of the south. So the furnace found it’s way into remission and the house just felt cold. The clouds would roll over and then we had to grab another hot cup of coffee to warm up our fingers. Finally at four hours past the noon meal, I called for a truce with the wind and decided to fight the gale for a walk. We made it to the corner and back in record time, with the wind to our backs.

And then, the question was posed, “How about a motorcycle ride?” Of course, after a fast paced walk the best way to cool off is with a motorcycle ride. So cool off, we did. What a beautiful lull before the storm. Never mind that after we arrived home again, we’ll probably have to clean the dog up from her fox hole digging. Who would have thought her idea of stay home means go dig a hole to China!

At this point in the COVID -19 pandemic, our lives have changed in minor ways. We are not shopping at physical stores, and have tried to keep our focus on necessities. We purchase most of our goods at the local stores eight miles from our home. My husband has moved his desk from plant location to the corner of the kitchen. This was the first week he saw a decline in his number of conference calls. His work involved the housing market and until this week most of it was business as usual. Production has just started it’s decline and that will probably show up in his hours and pay at some point. Clouds in the horizon?

My activities outside the home have come to a stop. For the most part, I was pretty stay at home anyways because of my eyesight and no driving. But this week, I did not go see my little granddaughter for the first time on Tuesday. It is hard to think of the possibility of no visits at all. But for the foreseeable future it looks like a halt to visits is best. Since her mother is expecting in late spring, we want to keep her safe from the virus. Thank goodness for video calling and the ability to see her on the screen as she plays and discovers new word meanings.

A friend of mine posted a status on social media that bears repeating, but I will try to summarize in my own way. All my nieces and nephews are now doing school at home or on line. This is not anything like the home schooling that I did with my girls for eighteen years. This is crisis schooling. And finding a new normal for cabin crazy children is difficult. I pray for all of them daily. From my cousins who are juggling children learning at the kitchen table with their own technical careers, to my relatives that no longer have a job because the entertainment has all canceled or gone online, I pray for you all. There are puffy little clouds diluting the suns rays.

All of my relatives that work in front of a screen have moved their offices home. Some find it wonderful and some find it extremely challenging. The environment that one is use to working in has all changed. I pray for you too. The sun is brightening the sky in the parts that there are no clouds, really.

We have not had coffee with the elder folks in our lives for a couple of weeks now. It is hardest not to see them on a regular basis. The phone calls do help. And it seems that for now, most people are spending a lot more time on the phone catching up with everyone. Encouragement does go both ways though. So I think especially of all our clergy friends. Their strength is relative to their faith in God. Thank you so much, to all of you, for your encouraging words through commercials on television, on line streaming of upligting messages and prayer conferences. I pray for you. Pray that you will send rays of hope through sky’s clouded and blue.

And we have relatives and friends in the healthcare field also. You are outstanding individuals and we pray for you most. While the sky is covered with clouds and grey, you are indeed the sunshine in so many days! There are nurses and families that seem torn apart and need our love and support in any way that we can give it.

So, the world has changed and it will never be the same. We are behind the curve here in the midwest. Our natural distance has helped with the social distancing measures that others have mandated for the the hardest hit places. We realize that for us the distancing may be for a longer period of time simply because our population numbers are lower. This can surely make the sky seem like storms are brewing every direction that we gaze.

There are clouds in my blue sky

Some are sweet and low

Some are dark and high

Though I hear them rumble

While I watch them grow

There are clouds in my blue sky

I am glad for the moment

I watch them roll by…

-written by Yvonne Annette March 31, 2020

Painting grey skies yellow

Psalm 107:29-30. “He calms the storms, So that all is still, They they are glad because all is quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.”

“Come see the sky with me.”

The night is fresh with the moisture from the recent rain. The storm clouds pass. Look at the back side of the formations. We are sure that the worst of the rain is further to the east. The sun dips below the horizon. The glow of the clouds leaves an ominous light upon everything. A yellow sky bids us farewell, “good night, sleep tight.” We watch the gray humid forms. There is no longer a shadow’s direction. Everything seems painted yellow. No sun rays focused on any particular world. The shadows all but disappear. The greenhouse seems to glow in the aftermath of sundown.

who had painted our grey world yellow?

“Come see the sky with me.”

Just one month ago the flower bed was bathed in purple. The irises that remind me so much of my Grandma Millie lasted for nearly ten days. This year no wolf-like winds huffed and puffed to blow the flower house down. I wish I could capture them better. Perhaps someday I can bring their essence into my dull winter days with a larger picture or the perfect purple shawl.

Today this sane haven of beauty brought me a plethora of tiger lilies. These are planted in memory of Gavin’s Grandma Edna. She use to have a huge gathering of lilies just south of the garage on the home place. Now there are too many machining tools there. The bright orange blossoms made me so happy this year. It’s the first year we have had thus many blooms since the garden bed was planted.

“Come see the sky with me.”

While I was pulling the vigorous grass and creeping weeds from the bed, one of last years kittens decided to play with me. I did not care for the scratch I recurved. So Cotton got a scolding and he left my flower patch. The playful kittens remind me of all the kitten knick-knacks that my other grandmother had witting around. It seemed she had shadow boxes on every wall. I often wonder if she ever had a favorite,or were they just an nderfoot nuisance. Life on the acreage would not be the same without them.

And so these things still storm-less, are painted and colored by hues that no one can reproduce. Pictures do not dare to display the depth of the beauty real life has to offer. take some time to watch the world today. See what colors the sun paints on your evening sky. Discover the flowers as you pass by.

Come see the sky with me

Let me paint the orange anew

Let’s imagine a world mauve and blue

Come see the sky with me

Can we reproduce that purple hue?

Can we paint the grey into greensand, the red a yellow too?

Come see the sky with me

Let’s watch the sun set down

The horizon with lots of lavender round

Come see the sky with me

The moon is orange and brown

The rainbow is upside down

Come see the sky with me

Have you ever seen such a glorious pink?

Have you ever had so much time to think?

Come see the sky with me.

-written by Yvonne Annette

Clear blue skies

Getting past the weather

When the clear blue sky arrives in the mid-day, the hope is that it will stay all day. Days in which the weather is so beautiful that you cannot feel it. Whether I am cold, or hot, or the sun is full of glare or non-existent. Why do we preface so many conversations with the weather of the day? As if the weather was the catalyst for deep relational connections, we grasp at the clear blue sky.

What happens when there are no conversations that pass through the clearing? What happens when talk is shrouded with the clouds of unspoken feelings? How do I reconcile the loneliness and drudgery of daily life that has no conversation with others? The hermit life of acreage living has reached it’s desperate end. For one like me with no people interaction other than the radio or the reader of my book, the days seems as endless as the clear blue sky.

Quiet and peaceful has become empty and desolate. Becoming mum and numb to the loneliness has made me as relatable as a tree stump. So I have taken up the task of downsizing my belongings. Connections with others is all based on whether any of this junk of mine could become someone else’s treasure. What a bland weather day. The temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit and perfect for morning walking. It turns out to be 76 and quite pleasant most of the day.

So what is there to talk about when another hormone headache has me trying to drown it out with caffeine only to realize that’s not really the problem. The ibuprofen does not even work. Why did I have to be the sister that continues on with this visitor into my fifties? No one cares if I still disagree with my monthly guest. Not everyone gets to yank out body parts and end the cycle of hormonal havoc on my thought processes. Waking miles per day and week was suppose to help, I feel like a rotten host as I head out the door with my doodle. Running from my problems again. But it does not work. She reminds me that I really have no choice in the matter at all. What a beautiful shade of blue the sky is today.

In my readings through the past month I came across a quote that I liked. So I had to look of the quote and the owner just to find out more about him. Roger W. Babson was a twentieth century entrepreneur who died the year before I was born. He was the founder of several learning institutions. The one that gave me the most to chuckle about was Utopia University in Kansas. I immediately thought of the “wizard of oz” and his poor choice of this correlation. Then literally laughed aloud at the institutions failure and the quote that I had discovered.

“If things go wrong, do not go with them.”

Mr. Babson, I think I agree!

The clear blue sky often preludes the windy mid-day breezes. And my body being it’s sensitive self, does not care much for such gales. Walking against the stiff air often hurts both my skin and my eyes. By the time I return to the still air within the walls of the house, my nerves are on fire. So just because it looks like a beautiful day, looks can be deceiving. I check my weather app to make sure my cap will stay on to shade my eyes. I might be chasing away my own blues, but I am not chasing after my cap.

In the night not too many sleepless hours ago, this poem came to my thoughts while I lay counting the hours away. Insomnia might be another of my unwelcome guests during this time of life, but it will not win. Keeping my brain active with MP3 bible reading and prayer vigils has kept me sane. I think. So while things go wrong with my aging body, i refuse to let my brain go wrong with all those other things!

Wind Lends Wings

Wind lends wings

To seeds from trees

To flowers for bees

Wind lends wings

To cottonwood fuzz

To pollen, it does

Wind lends wings

To whispers in air

To secret love affair

Wind lends wings

To papers and caps

To smoke and ash

Wind lends wings

To aromas and smells

To fragrance that well

Stinging eyes and nose

Filling rooms and groves

Wind lends wings

To clouds and mist

To puppy’s flying disc

Wind lends wings

To leaves and wigs

To branches and twigs

Wind lends wings

To melody

To song

-pome written by Yvonne Annette, June 10, 2019

Blurred vision

With the smoke in my eyes

This morning found me in my easy chair clicking buttons on my phone looking for a classic book read. Now as I sit in mhy office with the books hugging me, I realize how much I missed reading and rereading these classic pages. The voices might not always sound as pleasant as listening to the one in my head, but it really was time to find a good quick read again.

“As A Man Thinketh” along with “Tongue the Creative Force” are probably my two most read books in my library. There are other books that inspired me, but these two anchor me and act as homing devices for my thought patterns. Then there are the classic reads…

But I do not want to do a book review at the moment. I simply want to journal the happenings of the past two weeks.

We made it up to the log home show two weekends ago. Perhaps it could be called a dream quest. We met with people from the industry and had positive interactions with one company in particular. We have some work to do on our part before the dream can be realized. More think tank date nights with focused dreaming will have to be accomplished. And the calendar of events set up. Only time will tell if this dream is part of God’s plan for our lives.

The biggest blessing was a visit with old friends in the town where we lived during the early years of our marriage. Our children were born in those days and it was fun to make them guess what house was in the picture that I sent to them. They were jealous of the visit to our good friends.

Then, time simply slipped away from me. Four or five blogs written and trashed. I struggled to tie up my thought life. It seemed as though the smoke in my eyes, entered my brain also.

Having smoke blurred vision is difficult when no matter which way one turns the smoke seems to follow. The past weekend we finally burned up that old pile of dead branches and such. But with the happiness of saying goodbye to the possum home came the smoldering rubble that lasted much too long. And with my asthma, you did not want to hear anything from me during that time.

Happy thoughts flee like mice from the hot flames, when smoke surrounds the acreage. And no matter when the fire is lit and with what wind it is first fanned… the wind will switch the next day and blow directly towards the house. There could be a forecast of perfect breeze and it will turn around exactly the hour the fire reduces to smoldering soot. I do not know where this law came from, but it happens every time we burned a pile of branches.

Asthma and smoke do not agree.

Every time they ask me at the doctor’s office if I smoke or drink alcohol, I want to just stare at them in utter disbelief. “That would be stupid!” Is my customary reply, “I have asthma and allergy responses to both.” So the last two weeks resulted in book reading, crochet projects, mini-series watching, and blurred vision.

The smoke stung my nose and caused my vision to blur. My focus on writing disappeared as I struggled to manage daily living. It took me two hours to clean up my dear Honey from her smokey fur and sooty paws. Then it took me another six hours to clean up the bathroom and attached bedroom where she coexists with us. During the smokey haze, her sense of smell was greatly disturbed and so we have been playing scent games to get it back. She still sneezes vehemently as she attempts to use her nose. So far her finds have been with her eyes.

And more gently training to keep her near me while I am outdoors. With the smoke drift and the present drizzle, it is easy to keep her leashed. We will eventually designate frisbee hours. He attachment to me is welcome even though grey air was the catalyst. Getting her to “sight-dog” status may be an entire summer’s job. I rather doubt she will take to it as easily as Seymour did. But who knows.

The greenhouse suffered from the lack of sunshine and cold. My disheartened spirit has kept me from posting any wonderful spring photos and keeping my hopes up is hard. The poor fig trees are still trying to recover from the hard winter. Proof that the sun is so important.

Classical piano pieces fill my ears while I attempt to regain some focus.

Remember that little nursery rhyme:

“See, see, what shall I see?”

A horses tail where it’s head should be.

I wonder how many times I have failed to back into the stall for fear of tripping or fall? Am I stuck in my ways, unable to sway? Feeling the breeze but frozen stiff, like bricks and stones in my own way? Do I handle the moments that come along, with my head turned wrong?

Listening to an old favorite “bridle book” is a good reminder to take a second look at all that I think and say. It is necessary at times to rediscover our foundation.

It is still rainy and miserable cold out today. But the library holds many good reads that can lift me into a more sunny way. Mother Goose was one of them. (Apologies to the people who hate rhyme time.)

Threshold

The Framework of friendships

This third doorway of the series on “After” involves a phone call that I had with a good friend just the other day. She has asked me to keep her anonymous for her own security. Of course in today’s world, security is important so I have changed her name to Anne.

Friendships have many different shapes and forms in today’s world. Recently another friend of the family was discussing how he had to explain to his 13 year old son that just because you follow someone on a social media account, that does not make that someone your friend. We “be-friend,” we follow, we like and so forth, but it’s the old fashioned friendships that are real and true.

The frame work of a friendship takes many different shapes. Some are work relationships, some church, some school, some family and some are unexplainable. We have to dig around a bit to find the beginning of that connection. And after awhile, we realize all of the things that we have in common with one person or another are the slides that hinge our friendships. As if one is the door jamb and the other the door, the bond is built on these common experiences.

My husband decided to begin glueing my little writing table together for me. Of course the temperature outside made it a bit sketchy on the glue bonding. So he brought the drawer in the house to finish it. The idea that some construction project or machine part might be gracing my kitchen table has never really bothered me. He’s a bit like his dad in that respectt, and sometimes 72 degrees and some newspaper is the best atmosphere to detail some project. Eating with bar clamps and wood glue just has to be overlooked. The result will be worth it.

The framework of the drawer was in need of some help to be more sturdy. Weakness on the corners had made pulling the drawer out or pushing it back in quite a job for the strong. It reminded me of some things that Anne and I talked about on the phone the other day.

When I asked Anne if I could share her story with my readers, her first reaction was no. I understand, most elderly people have a desire to remain private. They do not want others to see them in their vulnerable state.

Age has a way of defining one’s weaknesses in a way that is much too real. My grandmother also suffered from the aging effects of osteoporosis and her physical weakness left her in debilitating pain. Anne has osteoporosis also. There are times when i see her that I worry about hugging her. What if, like a fragile rose or beautiful vase, just a hug is like a crushing grip. But we hug none-the-less. She is so loving and caring and I know that she needs that hug as much as I do.

Anne told me about her memory. How she wished there were things that she could forget. One of the things was the rattle snakes from the ranching years. We talked about strong minds. Ignoring the topic of the weak body. Her recollection of those years is both humorous and vivd. I asked her if the memories ever keep her away with nightmares. No, she said, thank goodness.

I never thought of Anne as “like my grandma” to me. She has always been a good friend even though there are many things she does not know about me. I know there are others that she is closer in thought with. These people that she sees each week at church or in Bible study. It has never bothered me that she has other friends that have suited her needs in other areas. I simply find the phone calls very refreshing. From the talk about the early years, to all of her boasting about the kids, and grandkids, I am just glad to visit with her once in a while.

Years ago, we knew Anne best in the “couple” format. Her love of her spouse and the way that they connected to our family through the many shared experiences makes me want to stay in tough. The framework of all those memories are like numbers in a dot-to-dot color book. Yet the dots continue on into the next page.

Not too long ago I realized that another couple who came along side Anne during the year or so before her husband’s passing,some how just faded out of her life. Anger seized me at their lack of “stick-to-it” -tiveness. I even held a grudge towards then for some time. I don’t understand how friends are so seasonal and disappear like an early spring snowfall. How could they just abandon her need fro friendships after his death. Their connection to him had been stronger than seeing her need after.

After.

My heart ached for her during those days. So many days were so alone. And to have friends that did not stick by after…. She never told me what happened. But I was happy that another couple from her church stepped in to fill the gap.

Doorways and frameworks that need repair rarely happen today. Friends come and go. But the one that sticks closer than a brother… I just hope that I never shut the door on my friendship with Anne. Even if she does not want me to share her stories about the long years of their happily married life. Anne is one of those strong minded, solid, gorilla-glue friends.

Another name for the door’s threshold piece is saddle. Many of our friendships are like that. We saddle the fence and try to ride out the differences that we have, never really taking the true tests of real relationships. Sometimes we have to actually pull the saddle out and put in on the horse and go for a long trail ride just to find out what really makes someone stick. I hope that my sharing won’t put a stop to our long talks. Each time we visit is a passage into another door panel that is like adding a lock rail to our friendship.

Memories. Written by myself in December of 1986, my senior year of high school

…Oh the memories

I could write all day

I could talk until dawn

But what is their use

If only to one day loose

…Oh, the memories

Today

I do not forget

They will not be

Forgotten these

Memories

That I have

Of you…

After

The last word of that so common phrase “Happily Ever After” receives so very little attention. Few people seek to hear the romance in the heart of a widow. Yt she is the “Same Girl” that she once was, just filled with memories and heart ache. Twila Paris put this poem into song years ago.

“She’s still the same girl running down that hill

“She’s still the same girl with her shining smile

“Listen to her story, and your heart will glow

“She’s still the same girl, and she needs you so.”

Link to the video and song is found below. I discovered this song on Mother’s Day years ago shortly after my grandfather passed away.

On Valentine’s Day this year while the world was feeling sorry for the singles, I spent my lonely hours of the day in prayer for the lonely hearts of the aged. All through the years my connection to widows has taught me more than I could tell in one writing. These are the stories of all those whom I found friendships and kinships with through the years. Today I share the beginning to the tales.

When we got married nearly 28 years ago I was truly a princess bride. I believed in Happily Ever After. Once upon a time I thought my role as a wife, mother and teacher-mom, and church pianist was all that there was to my life and calling. I nevert really considered that one day there would be an After.

I was one of those Happily married women. I am still a happily married woman. I also believe that we are one of those Ever couples. You know, the kind that’s married 59 years and no one ever sees them alone, they go everywhere together. We also are not one of those couples with the secret closet that once opened buries all future hopes of love, joy, and peace. Happily Ever After describes me and my dear loved one.

I am also one of those moms that is once a mother always, ever a mother. And now happily I am in the Happily After Grandmother days. My parents are again, and time marches on. Now what?

What about this After thing? After those days of mothering, of trying to straighten wrinkles, smooth out the gray lines and put on the new hoodies, now what? After those days of constant busy and happily fussing ever rushing about, is there really an After?

What am I to do in this ever silent hallway that my children, now happily married, once called home? How do I continue on in the emptimess waiting for the love of my lifeto come home from his long day? How do I fill these ever long, forever boring hours waiting for the After to begin?

As I wait for the days to burst anew with some grand vision or scheme, it finally came to me. Suddenly, I remembered… While I was once waiting for my Happily Ever After I met women in their After. First there was one woman adn then another through the years that came to my mind. Women in the “After ” of life whose friendships filled me with kinship and a sisterly, motherly, grandmotherly bond that could not be met by anyone else.

After. These are their stories.

James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” NLT.

Maybe all these years I did not really understand what my true calling in this world was until now. All through the years I have had a lonely heart connection with many widows. I hope to convey their silent years into the words that will help others understand their hearts the way that I have. When I spent time with a widow woman or man, I always felt so blessed. Some never knew anything about me. But listening to her stories filled me with such contentment. Hearing about his wounds always brought about humor somehow. The strength that they shared with me is undeniable. And now their strength to carry on can be yours. Just listen…