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.

From animation to art

When disability changes personality

One night last week, my mind found a hundred different sunset silhouettes to keep me occupied through the sleep hours. Wonderment filled me as I woke, had I ever seen any of these pieces in real life? One in particular was a tree swing, only the rope’s obvious use and frayed strings were more evident. Another was a scene from the Disney movie Bambi that is actually a fire in the back ground. One was the two doves on the tree branch, but with more leafage than the one below. And there are the fishing scenes on the lake, and the moored boats next to docks. While three hours looking for any silouettes on the internet was an empty handed fishing trip. The only ones in my dreams that sort of matched were these two. Each one in my vision did not have an ovious sunlight, the sun being off to the side of the actual object of focus. Sunset is implied rather than targeted.

And why would such art images fill my mind so much? I am unable to dissolve their possibilities in my mind. Each one just keeps recurring at some point in the day. What does this thought process mean to me? And why a sunset? I am not a prophet, I don’t think. Are these prophetic in their nature or a symbol of the past?

More revelation has come to me over the days since these images first appeared to me. I see so much more than the setting sun or a tree swing resting from its flight. The waters of the lake have no ripples from the jet-skies, or the breeze. Each item seems quiet, tranquil, peaceful.

At rest.

Years ago, my brother and I would write little plays and act out various performances. Remembrances of woodbox stages, and piano bench theatre fill my memory. We dressed up as pirates, or Indians and cowboys, or maybe Cleopatra, it does not really matter. Imagination was lord and we were King and Queen of the drama world in our home. From those days I learned to mime, to pretend, and to fib my way through our play day.

Throughout my childhood, from my early temper tantrum fits into my teen years, I learned the power of dramatic and emotional hand gestures. These seemed quite effective in the whole of conversation, speech, and relating an incident to an audience.

Until…

One day as a teenager, during my “waitress” years, I learned a valuable less about the tragedy of lost peripheral vision and hand gesturing. My father (who is the carrier for my families genetic retinal degeneration) was telling some story as he often did. While dramatizing his tale to a table of men, he used his hand to gesture some scene. Unbeknownst to him, I was coming in with his refill of coffee. I had tried to get his attention, but everyone knows how difficult it is to get my dad to quit talking. Interruption is not much of an option. Needless to say… the coffee got spilled.

Those were the days of my growing up. Many instances like that very one happened frequently. The challenge was to wait long enough to get noticed. Or to have the patience to wait out the telling. Or to simply never serve. Some chose the later. Gradually my father leaned not to wave his arms about while fabricating his stories. Sadly, it took me a few years to lean this dismembering of my arms and hands from conversation.

And not too recently, a plate full of desert was easily sprung to the floor when because of my lack of sight, my hands reached out for the item only to flip it through the air. Videos of food flying, cakes tipping to the floor, or cups leaping through the air are not funny to me. They are a part of the surprise of visual impairment. Sitting perfectly statue is the best response to the possible “Boo!” Not really so fun anymore.

One example that still frustrates me is my children’s club teaching years. Much of what one does while teaching children is achieving compliance so that the teacher can do her job. One particular student of mine never learned to stay in his designated space. I was actually okay if he did not sit, but the wandering into my space caused acciden after accident. My frustration reached its boiling point each week at lesson. Every night, I would go home in tears because Nathan would get “HIT” every week either by my arm, hand, foot, or another appendage. Could he never learn that I could not see him coming towards my path? I cried every week, because this child made teaching club miserable for me. My eyesight made teaching kids impossible.

Finally we made it to the end of the year and I quit teaching kids club at church. I was heart broken to end on such a sour note. I loved teaching, but children have this nasty ability to move faster than my eyes. Peripheral vision is key to dealing with “needy” children who cannot comprehend another might have some disability that clashes with theirs. I was so sad.

Ending my teaching due to my eyesight.

Yep, It was just one more thing my eyes had taken away from me. Grief set in for some time. I still don’t want to attend a Vacation Bible School program or any child focused event. It hurts. I still want to teach. But it is not possible. These encounters with moving targets still continue. I can’t even read children’s books very well because the text is so unpredictable on the pages. It’s all over the place. Up, then down, then in the middle, and sometimes on the edges. Uff. It’s just too much to feel lost all the time.

So RP changes personalities. Where does the teacher in me go?

What happens to the dramatic, funny girl that once loved to tell a story and get laughs from the room?

One time someone told me, I acted like I did not want to be in a particular place all the time. Actually, that’s not it at all. When someone hands me a cellphone with an image to look at, I simply do not see the gesture. My focus has been on their face, and unless the words indicate their actions… It is not within my perpheral anymore. People in a room throw conversation around like a hot potato. It has become difficult to follow who is talking and where the ping pong ball is now. There are times it gets so tiring, I just don’t try to follow it.

So interjecting appropriate conversation has become difficult when there are more than two or three people in a group.

But just becuase I miss a lot of conversation cues, does not mean I miss every facial gesture. Sometimes I am completely passed up when a “picture” on said phone is shown. This does hurt. Not intentionally, but it does. Sometimes, I see someone roll eyes in my direction at another person because I missed something. Yes, that hurts too.

So I have changed.

From animation to still art form, I have become the unused swing hanging from the tree branch. While everyone else around me is playing baseball, or croquet in the lawn, I miss the whole thing. The ball wizzes right by my head and I haven’t seen a thing. I am lost. And no one has found me.

I am blind, but now I see. I see that I cannot be the same animated dramatic energetic self I once was. Moving too quicly through any space could be hazardous to my health. Having a friend that can’t even sit still for a conversation is not my cup of tea. I had a friend like that once. She was so busy bodied that I would get a head ache trying to figure out where she was all the time.

Now I see that being lost all the time might just be part of who I am. Getting my dog to figure out that she has to be my eyes is the task at hand. If she becomes a new tripping hazard….

Well, the blind fold might have to go up for a day to teach her that she is IT! When I am around people that do not see me as blind becuase there is no blindfold, well, life turns into a still life form in a piece of art. I become a silhouette sitting on the dock while others are gazing at a glorious sunset. The suns rays are not my friend, so I am looking at the silhouettes. The sky has a beautiful orange and pink glow. I hope I don’t forget it.

The Honey-moon is over

Not so serviceable

So after all that training-ha! This highly alert jumping bean tries to turn everyone into fainting goats with her not so delicate response to most noises. We decided the best dogs grow u.p around little kids. Or come from the rescue shelter with a second chance lease on life.

Today, I just carried my good girl down three steps to go potty. They I promised to dispose of the bad stuff just to get her to go in an area that she finally-after two years of yelling- has learned is off limits potty area. Well, she felt bad enough. So I did it. Carried her back up the three steps and let her in the house. Today we have a couch bum.

I know country living is the quiet life, but if I don’t respond with exuberant energy, why does she? Should have named her Kangaroo or springboard or trampoline. Recently met someone else that named their dog Honey an they had the same bee in the bonnet attitude in their dog. That would have been nice to know two years earlier. .

So we are trying the underwhelming approach. Never be excised at much of any thing. Ignoring her when company comes over. That really has not works either. She still annoys to the point of exasperation. Fixation on attention makes me wonder how she developed ADHD. Then I remember that she has never chewed anything up-ever. Hmmm.

No matter what excitement there might be, we are all dull drum when it comes to handling this pickle. Taking her with should be easier. But I think we will have to get another no tug harness. The band at the park outing the other day was difficult. We just have to mny memories if our perfect “Lady” – forgetting age as ten years old at perfection.

So we left her home the other night while we went for a quick ride to gas up the goldwing. She has never followed us before, so what happened in the 45 minutes timelapse,who knows? But when we got home she was obviously distressed. So the yearly trip to the vet for vaccines go moved up a week or two. This morning her paw needed some attention as the pad’s one inch gape needed fixed.

No one has ever pickled honey but some people do add apple aodar vinegar to their tea with honey. I have yet to figure out if this thing is jut the boiling hot water There is no taste to th tea if you burn your tongue first. And there are times, when I feel at my age, my tongue is just burned too frequently with the antics of a young puppy. This morning we met another doodle at 5 years old and they told us ours would get better soon.

Sweet and sour barbecue sauce usually has both those ingredients (Honey and vinegar). Honey, vinegar, ketchup and a whole lot of turmeric makes some really great rib sauce. But this girl does not even tickle the ribs funny. Calm down pickles! Well, today she is definitely down. Just look at her giving up on life with her injuries. Two pads have obvious woulds, and another she licks at, but I cannot sense the would with my probing. We are not being lazy… just resting through the healing process.

Words sweeter than honeycomb cannot be peppered with garlic and jalapeƱo dills. Yet this mutt gives the same effect when she greets strangers. Should have named her Cookies, like the hot spicey barbecue sauce!

While whispering to a hyped up dog does not always work, adding a cookie or cheese stick to the senses surely does. Not long ago she actually pleased us all day and we rewarded her with a McD’s burger. That’s when we found our that she was smart enough to spit the onion and pickle out. So now we know she’ll never get poisoned. She would not even take a treat from the vet this morning. It’s like she said. “Yeah, right, I did not see those two needles, and the scissor, and the iodine. You’re a stranger, I’m not pleasing you.”

Having a not so serviceable dog makes me wonder if this energy can ever be harnessed. Her idea of anything is full bore ahead. So getting her to walk the steps WITH me has been challenging. The service harness that I put on her is something she “puts up with.” It’s not a love, like Seymour considered it. But then maybe loving her through this injury and carrying her up and down these exact stairs will get her to love being with me.

Whatever was I thinking?

And how did she ever begin to choose Pickles for a nickname? I have taken up it’s use for when she is naughty. That way I never use her name “in vain”– the trainer said only use a happy tone of vice with the dog’s real name. So Pickles is the discipline name. So far, she does not care. Either one is good for her.

I haven’t decided yet what kind of pollen our bee used for making our Honey. I am thinking hay or alfalfa because they are my wort allergy. Sweet clover honey often gets too biter. So I prefer garden flower Honey. Just the other day upon arrival home, I was playing tug of war with her upon arrival home, and a bee stung me. That’s what got me thinking about all of this.

One last story about the starts before I carry her out again for another potty break. One time when she was just a wee puppy, we went to visit our daughter at the retreat center. The stairways are long, and at that time dark. Gavin was leading the way, followed by Honey and then me, and then our daughter. Two steps into the dark and this sound greeted us, “thud, thud, thud, thump, UFF!” Honey fell down the dark stairwell. So much for her being a sight dog to help me in the dark and down stairs.

Well, these next two weeks are dedicated to healing pads. We took this opportunity to put all of the frisbees into the deck box. She will not be playing for a while. I will get some muscles carrying up and down the stairs. At least the back deck only has three steps for us to fall down or trip over cats on.

Look square in the eye

Facing the facts of blindness

Square eyes?

Realistically speaking, the pupil of the eye is round, not square. So considering the whole concep of looking something square in the eye does not really add up with the bulls eye itself is round. Whoever thought up such a thing does not seem to remember that David hit Goliath in the square right between the eyes. Locking horns with the bull-elk just might get you square in the bulls’ eye. The fact of the whole matter is that going blind “one day at a time” does not make that hymn become my themesong.

My challenge to myself lately is removing clutter. Some of the things are easy to do. Going through a container full of boxes and old picture frames for example. Other tasks are not quite as easy. In particular, tackling the greenhouse clutter left me nearly in stitches and brokenness. The pathway was getting so bad from the items left there, that tripping over things was a daily event. So I am trying to do one corner at a time.

The geraniums were in desperate need of deadheading and some plant nutrition. An earlier decision to raise them up in the greenhouse left them high and dry, literally! So that job finally god done last week. After my reaction to bug repellent required me to use Benadryl, I decided it was a good time to expose myself to more plant pollens. Rough morning. But if I already had the allergy monster on my side, more exposure to plants seemed natural.

Cleaning the geraniums up is no easy task. With my tunnel vision, I left unseen dead blooms many times and had to turn the pots two and three times around to get them all clean. Then after all nine pots were done, I took a step back to survey and realized I had completely missed one of the nine planters. Thank goodness I did not have to climb the ladder today to get any more down from the high perch. It was so hot in there. Even with all the vents open, the outside temperature is mirrored under the glazing of the timber frame.

Decluttering the yarn scraps gave me some new projects. Just when I think I have a new pile of yarn cleaned up, I find one little scrap on the floor, or remaining in the basket. I don’t curse myself or the object, but it is frustrating. I feel like it takes me three times as long to do anything.

Trying to use up some of the freezer stores, I decided to make a zucchini cake one day. Only to realize there was no cocoa in the house. Then the next day, it is found by my husband. Everything use to have such a well defined home when I was up to putting things away better. Now, unless we get one of those fancy label guns, my husband has decided not to use his memory and put things back where they came from. I have to use my memory to find things. My eyesight did not find the cocoa or cacao powder.

Going outside and down the stair steps of the front deck causes more anxiety than usual lately. The blinding mid-day sun makes it hard to find the steps with my eyes. Even finding the rail in the bright sun is hard. I don’t want to resort to using the mobility cane in my own home and yard. Yet the feeling that I am lost hits me so many times each day. Thankfully, Honey sometimes helps with the stairs. And if I an conscience of what I plan to do, I just have her guide me.

Cleaning the house does not happen as frequently as it should. The clutter makes it treacherous, so that’s why I am trying to clean up some. If the surfaces have less things, then the cleaning is easier. But even while putting things away, I still come back and find something that was out of my range of sight that got left behind. So time consuming, all this clean up.

While recovering from my reaction to absorbing junior (to keep off the bugs) I found more things to clean up and throw away. There was a stash of jars on the counter from the canned goods. There was a collection of spices not put away yet. And there was a stack of towels not sorted to their various homes.

While I soaked in the epsom salt to help the hives, I finally found my sunglasses. I had left them on the dry sink sometime last week. Memory did not serve me very well on that one. Being routine, and scheduled has taken vacation for the past week as I do such un-ordinary organizing routes around the place. So that’s why the sunglasses were set down in the wrong location in the first place. This de-clutter thing is tough.

Making decisions about toss or keep is easy when moth and rust eat up an object to nothingness. Other keepsakes are more difficult. But now I even look at once valuable to me things, as dust collectors and hazards to my health. For instance, the glassware that decorates the tops of the kitchen cabinets. Why did I like things just to clean? Pretty to look at should be in something less dust collecting. So now collectables make me thing only of dust, accidentally knocking something off the edge of the table, and climbing up and down on a ladder. Funny, what is no longer valued.

So, I value my toes, my nose, my head, and my eyes, more than things. I would say that’s pretty normal, right? Just like I use to enjoy some things, now the labor of it is too tedious. It has become easier to sit and crochet than to dust all those silly glass objects. Creating something new is better than removing old dirt.

Every day something finds me square between the eyes. Lately, it is the low hanging branches. Another hazard of the acreage. We took care of those one evening last week. Hubby got out the ladder, the saw, and the skid-loader to haul away the mess. He can do things so much quicker than I can. And even find my lost objects, if I just ask. I spent all day yesterday looking for my yarn bobbin winder. He found it five minutes after being home. Never mind that I hit my head on a wall during my searches. Suffered from the headeache all the rest of the day.

We got the dry sink and the little bench fixed up this last weekend. I am not happy about where to put that writing desk that is now smooth. The next item to clean and refresh is the bench that his dad made nearly twenty years ago. It never had a coat of poly on it, just tongue oil. Me and the smell of tongue oil does not get along. And poly is less dust collecting.

So I have looked at myself squarely, sized up the situation and attempted to clean up some of the clutter. My tunnel vision is not a square tube any more and at times it becomes a pin hole. I do not look forward to my visit to the eye doctor this week. It just feels like a failed attempt at hope to go. Oh, well.

God Above

God above, oh, God of love, be merciful to me.

Be merciful to me, a sinner.

Be merciful, be patient, a sinner, Your servant.

Show me, Lord, show me Thy word.

Be patient Lord with me.

Be patient Lord with me, Your servant.

Be merciful, be patient, a sinner, Your servant

-written song and tune by Yvonne Annette, approximately 1998

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.

Dense fog advisory

De-valued subsistance

Maybe some questions have no answers.

The alarm does not call me to rise up. Neither does duty. Most days it is the dog that signals my rise time.

Having no go-to-meeting alarms makes my life seem empty some days. The work of my hands calls my name certain days. The challenge to keep my fingers occupied keeps me going. Until the days that it does not. Even the idea that keeping house in order needs being done sometimes does not get me out of my corner to tidy another one.

Human being means that unless I find something to do I am not content just being.

There is no convincing that my evolution from some critter that could care less what design his kennel or cage has…. Well, no matter how hard they try I am not buying that by chance the human spirit began thinking up something more complex than a beaver cavern. Nope, not buying it.

More and more it seems that my “doing” has less value than ever to others. A recent scheduled something by one person, was erased by another and then completely overlooked by a third person. My idea or scheduled ability was tossed into nothingness and now I find my mind in a battle for the value of me. Is there anything that I do that is not simply overlooked by others?

The thoughts that want to take root are ones like – no one believes you are worth listening too. This thought especially has plaqued me. I use to write music and sing songs. Songs that I felt had been given to me to share. As time passed it seemed no one wanted to listen. I felt my thoughts turned to songs were waste of time. The supposed gift fell silent. The instrument that once said sung now rots in the forest.

When there is no opportune to share, why bother with the writing. At last love of my own music has left me. In fact not long ago, we burned all but a hand full of the discs that held my failed attempt at the music industry.

Almost the same in it’s gradual death is the joy of my crocheted creations. One person says something negative about one shawl and the happiness I had while making it goes “poof” like a popped balloon. Amazing what the power of words have over us.

My whole being-ness seems to be a finite breath of air that someone has determined to deflate. Rather than being a beautiful flower or grass I have become a small breath. A little peep of a chickadee that has been drowned by a deluge of rain water.

Dense fog advisory

No, the subsistence of self preservation has not boiled over. Self awareness has not rendered me completely speechless. However, the reality of my de-valued life is beginning to rub raw. There are times when it seems people “tell” me what kind of day to have while at the same time stealing all joy in the moment at hand. And the negative comments of others roll through my daily empty hours like freight trains. When one has onle four to twelve hours weekly with outside of the walls world, any little look, comment or other connection cam seem like an overwhelming flood of damnation.

How do I traverse the dense fog?

How do I find value in basic existence? When my life really is nothing more than taking out the weekly garbage and shredding all this junk mail?

This past week it came to my attention that life has been de-valued in several state legislatures. The Old Testament mantra that “Life is in the blood” has not been considered in half a century in our country,. The unborn have no more value that the dollar amount of their tissues for scientific research. What is sickening to me, is that I never heard one ward about it on the radio or in my media feeds on my highly intellectual device. Life no longer has the value it once did. Who ever though that the world would return to the ancient practice of sacrificing human babies to selfishness.

The dense fog of this value system will not be overlooked by the One who designed this breath-filled being. The vapor of a life so snuffed out by such unbelievable cruelty surely will not be overlooked by the Make of such weather patterns. While man thinks that he can control so much by taking life, he still has no power to create life. Life. The heartbeat of a being that will one day choose his or her own doings on an hourly, minutely decision making process.

The oppression of this decision by so many to devalue the human life in it’s existence from the moment of conception to the moment of first breath. How can one person go to jail for the rest of their life for wanting to quiet a screaming infant at a day care and another person has the right to silence the infant before he or she has the chance to cry out?

I do not understand this thinking.

Once upon a time I too had a voice. Once upon a time I made the choice to listen to the voice telling me to do… shall I sit in silence for the rest of my subsistence and never mention my own need to breath clean air? Shall I give up all rights to being someone who loves to do certain things? Or do I let the dense fog fill in every space of my surroundings until I am no longer heard, and no longer seen?

And this is all at the work of someone’s hands. How can this be?

Psalm 139: 2 “oh, Lord, you know my thoughts even when I am far away” even when I siet in my own dark corner and dwell on things too difficult for me and I have traveled into the deep unknown You know what I am thinking about.

Wall flower

Silent, quiet, death

There you hang

Silent

No one notieces

Quiet

Drying

No longer fragrant

Death

But not defining

You were once soft

Silent

You were once fragrant

Crying your pain

Sharing your dying petals

Searching for water

Drinking emptiness

Silent

Quiet

You hang there in defiance

“Remember” you say

“Remember when” you say

“Remember when the day”

You say “the day”

As if one silent, death defining moment

The wall flower wants to live on

The dead, hanging petals cling

Cling to the once vibrant stem

Upside down they cling

Death defying

Silent

Quiet

Wall flower

–written by yours truly this difficult day

The past month has been hard. While the world buzzes around me with activity in preparation. I feel more like a plucked flower. Everyone is busy with something. Trying to stay busy, but never accomplishing any thing, well, just does not amount to anything.

Doing instead of being.

Being instead of doing.

Struggling to write something. I have nearly half a dozen blog drafts and nothing o show for them. The finishing feels like grasping thorny rose bushes. My mind just cannot seem to wrap itself around a complete thought.

Tonight my decision not to cry myself to sleep, resulted in returning to the living room where these hanging flowers on the wall greeted me as I sat in my chair.

In the olden days, a “wall flower” was the girl at the dances that no one ever danced with. I can relate somewhat, as I have not danced with someone on a dance floor more than a hand full of times. I relate to the one sitting in the corner watching the whole world go on dancing having a great time and never really noticing the wall flower.

This “feeling” has happened to me so many times that seeing myself tied up with a ribbon and hanging from some nail on the wall… yeah, you get the picture.

Going blind has it’s defining moments.

Today was one of them for me.

Sitting in a crowded room full of gathered bouquets, who would chose the dried petals over all of the one’s in the vases, or on the bushes, or in the planters? Yet here I am in the world of fragrant flowers, drying up. Clinging to the stem, yet receiving no water. No more life giving, fragrant potions.

The feelings are hard to explain. They are difficult to grasp. The tears come way to easily sometimes. Recognizing the death of a certain way of doing things. Defining myself as that blind lady over there. Some things are best put into poetry.

There.

Now I’ll go cry myself to sleep.

I’ll crush some old rose petals hanging on some nail on the wall. And be mad at myself for not remembering where they came from.

The crickets are singing

Of love songs and moving slow

The lazy yellow moon…

Those days of the lazy moon and the floating breezes have long gone by. Seems more like the the moon is racing to reach the other side. The days really do go faster when you get older. It’s all relative the the number of nights you have already sat gazing at the moon too long and the duties of life call your name.

We’ll be falling in love…

When thoughts of “Our Song” (Fishing in the dark by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) my heart automatically picks up that beat that begins the piece. Summer nights that began our love story so many years ago. Fishing wasn’t anywheres close to the plans that we made each and every time we were together.

Crickets are singing

Each time we take a ride on the gold wing, my mind is left to wander the landscape. My thoughts follow the terrain, the fresh breezes floating past my face, and my gaze naturally turns to the sky. The moon, the clouds, the sunsets, the deep vast endless blue bids me to stay in the space of our togetherness. Until one of us breaks the silence to comment on some passing object or thought.

My boyfriend is here to pick me up…

One Sunday a few years ago, we were blessed to watch one of the elderly couples in our church treat each other with that same “dating” anticipation that a young couple does. While the gentleman had gone home to get the car only a few blocks from church, the wife watched with expectant yearning for his return. And when he pulled the vehicle up to the sidewalk in front of the double glass doors, she quipped, “Well, I better go- my boyfriend is here to pick me up.” We loved that affectionate display so much. My husband and I still talk about it.

Counting the stars…

Only when one cannot get back to sleep do the nights seem long, Summer nights are actually shorter. The lightening bugs that arrive near midsummer signal beautiful nights of gentle breezes. But with them come all the other bugs. While sitting by a campfire might be someone else’s idea of relation, riding on the gold wing where the windshield finds them first, is more preferred.

Years ago I think it was a Honda something or another that we first rode on. We aren’t the typical riders. During our Minnesota and Iowa years, we found. a pedal bike more frequently. Having children to keep exercised was important. Lately we have taken to walking 3-4 miles then riding 10 or more to cool off.

Just moving slow…

The dog might need a run, but even the walk doesn’t seem to be enough to remove the extra baggage we have been packing on lately. So turning the big five-O this year, both of us are into finding what “getting healthy” means to us. My dear hubby seems to be focused on getting fit that involves loosing pounds. For me getting fit is about getting back into my jeans before it gets cold again. Riding the motorcycle into the evening means that getting cold sometimes comes at eight or nine o-clock, rather than in September!

Moving slow happens more frequently than ever some days. Like when I landed on the ball of my foot to hard and could hardly step up to throw my leg over the back seat of the bike. Often, I am wondering if anyone thinks, what do those two kids think they are doing anyhow. Maybe a car would be easier. But moving slowly is better than not moving at all, right?

It’s easy to just let things slide during the summer. The days seem lazy and the clouds roll by in their own gently way. Suddenly, it is four pm and the day almost over, the list has to be rushed through to get anything done. Maybe that’s what fifty feels like. It feels like Sunday afternoon of a relaxing weekend, and the lawn has to mowed and the laundry has to be washed, and theirs a new pile of dishes in the sink.

These days of summer go too fast. Summertime of life when the kids are home yet and the school days are a distant future. OUr love story started in the spring, twenty eight years ago before the June bugs hid the screens at night. Now it seems the cicada’s are drowning out the nice cool evenings. Their song is so loud the frogs can hardly hear each other.

Fishing in the dark…

One year ago in the early days of June we dashed off to discover some new roads in our state. We found the heritage of our state larger than expected. From the statue at Chamberlain to the small back road churches south of Newton Hills, we enjoy touring these open places. Fishing for things will bait our conversations, and keep the romance in us alive. Staying close enough to home, to sleep in our own bed at night is fine with us.

We try not to ride at night too often. For one thing,my idea of fishing is the dark is when I drop something and can’t seem to find it, because it rolled across the floor. (Like the time my grand baby spit out the pacifier and I could find it!). Fishing in the dark for a shoe in the stack of soles by the front door has become a new nightmare of mine. Riding at night is rather a ride by the Braille of Smell for me. It’s the scents, the temperatures and the Lund’s only for me, I can’t see a thing.

Crickets are still singing…

Their noise hasn’t let up much. My sister use to tear the closet apart to get rid of one cricket. I figured that by the time I found it, another would have spawned. If crickets do such a thing. So while my husband and I fight to find what “being fit” means to us, the crickets are still singing. Meaning the days are still long enough to find out perhaps what that means. When and if we ever find it, we’ll let you know.

Or maybe you’ll just figure it out by looking at us. We’re still “fishing” for what that perfect exercise plan looks like. Maybe that’s what makes our love story ours… We’ve never even been fishing. Gavin doesn’t like bugs. Or rather mosquitoes, their mean.

It don’t matter…

That we’ve never gone fishing. It doesn’t matter that we don’t take vacations to tropical islands. It doesn’t matter that dreams don’t always come true. I have YOU! And that’s what matters. That after all that we have been through, we’ve been through it together. Through the good times, the bad times, whether smooth roads or rough trails, it still feels best that I have done it with my beloved.

Feels so good to be with you…

There is not a moment of our togetherness that I would change. We’ve had 27 years married. Longer than the years we were under our parents ponder-inns. While we might catch ourselves turning into our parents the next half-century, it still feels so good to be with you…

Baby get ready…

Open, Empty, Ready

“Open arms are empty arms”

Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call out to Me, I will answer them. Before they even begin speaking, I will hear”

These days when I go to visit my young daughter and my infant granddaughter, I am reminded of this verse. The little infant barely begins to whimper and her mother is there to tend her need. Before Isabelle can even cry out in hunger her mother is there to feed her. The idea that God answers us quicker than a breastfeeding mother came to me as I heard this verse in a book I was listening too.

God, the Deliver.

The one who is so ready to come to our aid. To fill our hungering hearts with his supply. There are days when my heart aches incredibly with thirst for something. I imagine myself as an infant ready to cry out for filling with sustenance of faith, or hope and God gives me just what my longing spirit needs even before I begin to cry.

At the beginning of this year 2018, I made a plan to write a blog each week. To get into the habit of writing. By the time I had reached March, my planner in my notepad was filled for the first half of the year. As more ideas came rushing in, some of those plans got pushed into the second half of the year. I finished June with 29 blogs for the year so far. The plan had been for 26. Half the year, and the cup of inspiration had overflowed. My cup of ideas “overfloweth.” The second half of the year has plans-a-plenty. The idea was that July would begin with the cup half full or the cup half empty. The decision would be made at the beginning of the second half of my blogging schedule.

Half full or half empty?

When people ask for just a half cup of coffee, we often want to tease them and say bottom half or top half? I always want the top half filled. That way I can have a whole cup more! But when years ago God brought me to a an “open arms versus empty arms” decision, my thoughts were not very humorous at all

Open or empty?

Once upon a time I was a young mother with dreams to fill my home with the laughter of children. Many children. My husband said after the first, “one is good.” After the second came along, I told him “two is better.” Then I began praying for a chord, a third strand. It never happened.

For years, after the secondary barrenness arrived, I felt God had responded to my plea with empty arms. My arms had been so open to more children, to more than two. God answered my pleas with a number of early first trimester miscarriages. What was a mother to do? I focused all my attention on the two girls that I was blessed with. Never believing that any stage was something to get through, but enjoying even the teenage years. Our daughters were nothing typical. There was nothing normal to our family years.

Sometimes silence is deafening.

The quiet days that follow a home school mother’s retirement was nearly enough to deafen my heart to any sound that my Lord might try to whisper to me. What…? The days that came after the girls left for college became so empty and quiet. Sometimes I turn the television up just to drown out my own screaming thoughts.

The days that I longed for their company soon turned into challenges to my eyesight. Not long after I got used to nothing ever changing in my environment, then the things that they brought home became stumbling blocks. Finally I became to frustrated that I just sit down and watch then do the cooking when they come to visit. Otherwise, because of my eyesight, I spend all my time looking at the food, the table, the laundry, or the floor for things that could trip me. I soon realized, I didn’t get to see my daughters at all when they came home. I spent the whole time seeing things. These “face-less” visits left me feeling like my arms were empty rather than open to their visits.

How can I move from having that empty arms feeling to an Open Ams attitude?

This same empty feeling hit me one day hard when my emotional emptiness made me throw up verbally on unannounced guests. Explaining the idea of surprise being more like running into a brick wall than being a Christmas present is hard. Having a visual impairment like mine is difficult to explain to others. Another difficult, Christmas presents. But that’s a whole other topic.

Having open arms while walking blindfolded is not the best option. So having retinitis pigmentosa teaches one to put hands out in front (it is a saving face kind=of=move). Lately however, my darkroom expiences have exposed my tired brain’s lack of thinking. I am reminded of one of the favorite lines in one of our family’s favorite movies. ” We’ll just have to use our brains then.” Learning to concentrate on my dance moves while I step away from the sink isn’t easy. Especially since I was never a dancer.

One of the songs that I wrote years ago before the schooling days was titled “Are you ready?” In it the verse from Jeremiah is quoted “When you seek Me then you will find Me.”

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.”

Searching…

That’s something I find myself doing far too frequently. I look for lost bottle caps. I hunt for dropped silverware. I find more that what I am looking for and quite frequently I find nothing at all. Looking down the center of a wrapping paper tube was once an imaginary game as a child. Now it is my daily lot.

With all…

With my whole being I long for a different outcome to my plight. But alas, I already know the end of the movie. The last chapter has already been written for the lives of those with RP. The epilogue is the whole story. The rest of the experience once the days turn to “after.” Right now i am still in the “before.”

Before…

Before I die I want to… This sort of thing is called a bucket list. There was a whole movie written about that. One fellow lives each day like it’s the last, the other like it is the first. One has a mindset of half-full, the other like it is half-empty. One person stands with open arms, another stands with empty arms. Or is it both…?

Are you ready?

Are you ready? / Are you ready to do My will?

Are you ready? / Are you ready to do My will?

When you seek Me, you will find Me, you will know My will.

Search for Me, / Watch for Me, / And be still…

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

(Song and poem copyright 1999 by Yvonne Annette)

So while I sit and listen to this old CD recorded in my “early years” at the fresh age of 30, I think about all that has happened in the last twenty years. Musically, my life has changed dramatically. Family wise well, a son-in-law and a grand-daughter have been added to our lives. Others have answered the call of the Creator to “come home.” What a change.

Have I really changed though? While I sit here, with open, empty, and ready arms I wonder what God will fill my hands with next. At the moment, it is an IPad tablet.

The year indeed has half-passed like the clock at half past the hour, the minutes, moments and years have been filled. Sometimes with what God planned for me and sometimes wasted away in my own lack of planning. Yet our Lord has always been faithful, filling even the lack with abundance. The year has been half-filled with memories and many more await to fill the top half of the cup. Or is it the bottom?

God is no respecter of persons and gives to all liberally (James 1:5). I have learned that to be ready with open arms means that they must be empty arms. I ask that God gives me a half-full attitude, and open heart, and hands filled with His purpose.