Out of sight, out of … hands

Version 2.0 on the “out of sight” installments. Last one was just onee year ago on January of 2021. Perhaps I am getting closer to a title for my book. Haha

Out of min…

Some people think that loosing one’s mind involves not being able to find the car keys. For me it was the carrot smoothie in the fridge…. I spent nearly 10 minutes trying to locate the drink. I had taken it to the library, right? No, then I went to the living room. Oh, yeah in between all that i had used the restroom. Okay, where are you little carrot smoothie? I found it in the fridge.

Or maybe I had not lost my mind altogether. I was simply distracted. Until the book I was listening to brought up another entire area of loss that most people never think of. Gestures and facial expressions. Here’s my story and I am sticking to this one.

Out of memory…

A long time ago when I was just a teenager, I remember an incident that shook me up quite a bit. We were at one of those famouse birthday luncheons at the church where I grew up. This particualr evening, my dad was into his famous story telling moods. And whenver there was an audience to be had, he seemed to think that he was the center of everyone’s attention. So, when I ran about to fill up the coffee cups as my waitress heart deemed necessary, the next few moments were very much a tell tale of the RP digression of his eyesight.

The coffee was delivered, and the speaker was not attentive the the surroundings. I waited, and waited and waited to get his attention and let him know that the drink had been refilled. Suddenly, the story teller gave an unexpected hand gesture that upset the apple cart. But that was not even the pretty part. The surprise of the spilled beverage, the demeaning words and the angry expressions by my father in that particular setting (church) made for a memory tattooed on my hearts emotional being. Yes, the negative response is a memory somewhat repressed, but nevertheless not forgotten.

Out of words…

Years later, a friend of ours said that one’s emotional explosions and expressed words after an upset hot beverage are really what the person is really truly made of. When the coffee spills, how do we respond? Surprise and shock do not necessarily mean bad words. Sometimes, choosing words of blessing and apologetic behavior matter much. I always felt that my spilled milk was always followed by yelling and angry words. No reason to cry over spilt milk? Well, being blind and having the spills happen so frequently either makes one wise up and sue sippy cups, or find some other solution to the frequent spillages.

Out of mouths…

Dealing with an eyesight loss can mean a whole new change of character. My uncle lost an eye as a result of an unfortunate farming accident. I remember visiting with him about the changes in his life. One particular change was finding moved objects in his path with toes and shin bones rather than his eyes. Now he found himself frequently cussing and fuming. It was both exasperating to himself and to those around him. Apologizing for his surpised outbursts was becoming far to regular. Ahh, how eyesight loss changes the way we must move and the way we react to surpises. There is no more laughter at the jack-in-the-box events that happen. One soon learns to live in a constant state of tension while moving for the possibility of those awful little “weasels!”

Out of hands…

My gesture loss happened during my children’s high school years. I was done teaching club at church due to my hands constantly hitting an unsuspecting child. Pointing across the room only to poke a child in the eye was so distressing. The gesture loss was hard for me. I use to talk with my hands all the time. Who does not want to point a certain thing out while talking? This abilbity to throw my arms about during speech actually began to decrease the amount of speaking that I would do. It is really hard to stop acting out like a stage professional during a good story. But waving my hands about was not an option with the peripheral vision loss. How do I visit with others in group settings without being able to point or gesture in some common way?

The next obvious loss for me was the facial expressions and hand gestures of others in group settings. It is also hard to tell, who might want to jump into the topic next with a speech that they deem very important to give. While I may be able to view the person across the way, the others around the table disappear from my view. This might allow for greater focus, but moving my eyes around to catch the others reactions to a speaker is exhausting. This large group silence at times is really unbearable for me. Expecially when I still remember so much.

Except where my smoothie is…

It was during this loss of “circle movement” by the others in a group setting that I noticed some other things happening. More often then not, I was getting “shushed” by those around me. I had missed some conversation cue of eye, or gesture that indicated who was next in speaking. My thoughts that were so ready to blurt were getting stoppped up by those around me. This too was hard. I began to feel like certain people were treating me as if I were a misbehaving child. Becoming blind day by day, year by year does not mean that I am reverting in my behavior. Simply put, I was now out of the circle…

So now, I find myself listening more and more during group settings. When I am so desperate for interaction with people, I find that interaction being stolen by my loss of vision. The surpise of a cake plate upset on my lap or on the floor feels like a common occurrence while at family gatherings. Coupled by the deafness in my left ear, the abiltiy to even hear the oncoming delicasy, is hampered by the lack of sight. Plate on the floor. “Oh, no!” Learning to live life in a perpetual motion of “i’m sorry!” Is not very fun. Embarrassment and humility do not always gather closely. Sometimes the embarrassment is overwhelmingly sad. The feelings of loss and the inability to even help with the cleanup are so frustrating. Playing statue is not that easy!

I really don’t like surpises any more. Boo! Is not fun like the peekaboo of babies and little children. The last few times that we had Christmas present openings, I lived in a state of perpetual “what if the coffee spills?” And not knowing what was in the presents or trying to figure the item out in the semi-dark was exasperating. Having the person next to me tell me what each item was supposed to be and trying to find the right facial expression after my completely confused confoundedness was not enjoyable. I began to really dislike opening my gifts. Watching the others was somewhat more enjoyable. But oh, how I needed a little parrot on my shoulder telling me all the happenings about me. It makes one feel very alone in a crowd.

And that’s the last experience that I want to share on my way towards becoming invisible me. The last time that I went to a church event without a close family member was very painful for me. Extended family that has not grown up with a “blind father” does not really understand the needs that arise as the Retinitis Pigmentosa progresses. While I could walk a straight line down the sidewalk, I could no longer navigate a crowd of people carrying plates at a potluck. Attending the church without my husband had turned out to be a “fatal” choice for me and I had become invisible. No one in my current church was familiar with the challenges of RP and I was left sitting in a corner throughout much of the meal event. I finally left the crowd and sat in the sanctuary alone. Truly alone. My ability to “flow” through the plate bearers left me feeling very disabled. I cried without end over the potential of “spilled milk.” I called my husband, and he was able to come and pick me up. The rest of the day was spent in tears. The people that I had gone with did not understand my needs, were busy and had not ever checked on me. I felt unable to express myself and ask for help in a situation that left me feeling so invisible.

Recently I read “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien and found it very full of forward motion. The adventures of the hobbit keep one listening just to see what happens next. In the book the discovery of a magic ring gives the little fellow the ability to become invisible and disappear from danger and tribulations. Honestly, being invisible and feeling invisble are two totally different phenomenon. Choosing to shrink from view within a public event and loosing the ability to see who all is there in the public setting are two opposing feelings. Being blind in a community setting makes everyone present invisible to the blind person. Not a very fun feeling when you walk into a group of people and all of the talking stops. This has happened to me so many times that I cannot count. I can begin to imagine however what it is like to walk into a room that feels full of people but seems empty until someone addresses my presence. My father’s ability to get the group to burst out in laughter helps to break the ice about his blindness and lets him know just how many people are really in the room. I don’t see myself ever being “on display” as that-blind-lady. I don’t see myself breading the ice with bad jokes just to count the voices of laughter within the space. i don’t see myself as others see me. I cannot.

My position in a group setting is usually at the piano with the whole commune behind me. Sometimes I wish I could turn the piano around so that the people were in front of me instead of behind me. Maybe that’s the next change in my life. For now I’ll let them see my hands while I play piano since I cannot. (P.S. My therapist said that I am not supposed to use “can’t” in my speaking or writing anymore. I asked her if she still could drive a car… I said, “I cannot.”)

Silly Oma! Opa…!

“My new stage name is ‘To Be…!'”Truth from a two year old can be hard to take. The innocence of little children is the power of looking right through the motives or objectives of adults. Even a three year old can surprise someone with their observant reality. So the old saying “Oh be carefull little eyes are watching you” should apply during all phases of life.The other day my three and half year old granddaughter surprised us with a declaration. “My new stage name is ‘To Be…!'” So I asked like “the number two and the bug a bee?” No she replied. I queried again, like “to be determined, or to be announced?” YES! She agreed. Wow, I thought that is a smart little girl. A little girl waiting for a new sibling and letting her mind go to imagination in other area’s of life. Whether the baby will be a boy or a girl is yet to be determined.So when that little one arrived safe and sound as her little sister. We soon began to hear many little “grown up” phrases from the excited big sister.Opa is really fast! Until he is not. Or until little legs carry the body above it faster than it should. Children enjoy running. Grandparents do not, usually. So when Opa is fast it is in relation to how quickly he can pick up all the toys, or throw the stuffies into the box. Relativity is important here. Oma is slow. When we take the stuffy puppies for a walk little legs tend to run circles around the aging grandparent. For me, however, it is the empty peripheral that brings with it the surprises of little children that make me go so slow. Toppling over those little less that two foot statues usually brings with it much apologetics as said statue suddenly finds it’s voice.”Hush! -the baby is sleeping!” From a two year old is rather cute. But from the three year old argumentatively with her eighteen month old brother can cause quite the stir. And suddenly you would think the whole neighborhood of puppies were wakened by the raucous! What fights can take place between siblibngs during the learning-about-compromise years. And though little sister fresh home from the hospital, might hear the above quite frequently, two busy little toddlers forget quickly and are right back at it.”Let’s go to the ocean!” Use to work for the two year old’s nap-time siesta. Now, it is the play time plane ride of the sofa. How can a little mind remember so much? Sleep sounds were never an option for my children. Sometimes I feel deprived. Then again I feel like this poor little ones will never know even how to really quiet their minds on their own without the aid of technology. I am glad that when I go out into my garden or greenhouse, I can easily get lost in the sounds of the world. The air-breaks from the local semi-drivers do not sent me into a barking frenzy. But then again the fans in the greenhouse really do sound just like the white noise on that little electronic whale.”Silly Oma!” That’s the response I receive much of the time. Especially when I started asking my grand daughter (after potty training) if she swallowed a wiggle worm, or if she had ants in her pants, or if she was doing the potty dance. Little bodies are so wiggly when they are awake. Her brother on the other hand can sure sit still for a snuggle much longer.”Lecka play the dog gone song!” What she really wanted was the Alexa device to play the Mickey Mouse version of “Oh Where oh where has my little dog gone.” But learning the commands and the politeness of the echo dot machine has taken nearly a year. Then suddenly just as fast, this little Isabelle has grown up enough to get alexa to play the right song listing and just as simply the little three year old mind forgets how to get the music to stop. That was rather funny and frustrating at the same time.

“Be right back!” At just two years old is so adorable. Though it took me an entire day to figure out what she was saying. And we say the same thing so frequently. Of course if you are the one in charge of said two year old, it might be best to count to fifty or less to make sure she comes back, or you go to figure out what said child is getting into now!Isabelle-isms in our family are things she says sweetly. Learning to say a three sylabble name can take a lot of practice. At first she called herself “Belle.” Then it came out as “Ah-belle. And finally she could put it all together and say “I’m Isabelle!” Especially when trying to give her character trait nicknames, she would pipe right back with her declaration of name. Are you silly? ‘No, I’m Isabelle.’Behaving like a little person is very common of the first child in a room full of adults. The first child picks up on prayers at meal time and will learn to say, “we need to pray!” The second child just keeps right on eating, because waitng for the meal was so long. It only took a few months of word grasping before little Isaac began to holler, “AMEN!” After the prayer.”I saw a mouse!” Must be followed by, “where did you see the maouse?” The answere was a clear “there” with a pointed arm at the window. For my tunnel vision, I often fave to ask several times to get things all figured up. “In the window?” Was my next question followed by a fearful face yes. After a little explanation, we understood that the mouse was the bright reglection of cat eyes peering though the kitchen window as the picni table outside gave easy access to the most “pet” pet cat that we have. Watching the movie ” lady and the tramp” with it’s dog chase rat scene under the cradle had given way to the imagination of the two and a half year old.”The dinosaurs are upstairs!” and other imaginations… When a mother hears then nearly two year old let out a blood curdling scream from the basement, we think perhaps someone is hurt. My daughter recapped the story later and hearing that her momentary nine months pregnant body had not fallen down said stairs in such quick response is now funny. Little minds have strong imaginations, and momma’s lumberjack treading upstairs can sound like dinosaurs if you are all alone playing downstairs. She does not like to be downstairs by herself much anymore. Having a good imagination does take some training , I suppose.Reality skewed by the two year old mind seems funny. Until the little ones stay over night and little brother wakes up crying in the middle of the night too many times. Thank goodness my imaginations has been well trained and I can try to be in their place. Little brother forgot where he was and woke up crying because it was not his bedroom and sister wasn’t nearby. A few minutes of soft talking about being afraid and going home soon and how his sleep buddy puppy “Scout” was scared now that Isaac was not in bed, and soon little eighteen mont old was snuggling his stuffy and headed back to sleep.”Look it’s a rainbow shadow!” That one took me awhile, but soon I found the prism’s effect laying across a chair in the kitchen. Indeed, it was a rainbow shadow and quite pretty. The sun hit part of the glass from a wind-chime and the reflection had landed right where little eyes caught it. Moments like these are so precious. Even though the busy-ness of the moment did not allow for any more lesson time. I’ll be looking for the rainbow shadow every time the sun shines through the morning glass.”My cry is gone!” That one took a bit to comprehend also. Knowing that. Little girl is homesick for mom and dad and putting it into relatable terms is hard. Ten o’clock in the evening cries are different that ten in the morning. But it’s best just to give the feeling a name. We talked about that really strong “family” feeling and how it was good not bad. This is family love, I explained. I am so glad that you love your mom and dad so much and that you miss them. That will make having a new sister easier. It’s okay to be homesick, but we still have to eat and drink and take care of our bodies. It’s okay to cry because you want your mom and you dad. God wants families to be together. Should we pray so that Jesus will help you take your sad feeling to be glad that you now have a sister to love? And within fifteen minutes said home sick child was sleeping. So at ten in the morning when little girl declared “My cry is gone!” On her way home, the tears ready to burst the damn of emotions, we were happy to help her express that her “sad was gone because she was going home!” And little borther who missed mom and dad in his own way, became a little parrot and proclaimed “Sad Gone!”

Is Hindsight Really 20\20?

When we remember things with a skewed sense of reality…

Here is the thought that got me considering hindsight, and I’m not talking about the butt end of a roast or anything else of that sort. This year is in fact 2020, so why not think upon all of it’s various connotations.

Recently my mother started the whole sibling group on a “remember when” game and the focus was the earliest snow in our state. The consideration was in September, but now we are already into October. Snow is expected for our area within the week. The northern part of the state had snow and ice this week.

What each one remembers is truly based on the strength of that persons memory. I do not remeber any snow earlier than October 31st within the first year of our marriage. Then just a few years ago we had snow that landed the bean crop in disarray. That snow was earlier than Halloween, but the exact date just does not stick in my head. Lots of people lost cattle during that snow.

When considering the whole vision thing (20\20) is really about how well one can see on things put in front of the eyes. This has nothing to do with the foresight of whether to plant corn or beans for the best harvest value. If one sees best at close up or and distance we have names for that kind of vision. Well, in life experiences, some people are truly better at foresight, while others are good and hindsight. I will try to explain later.

Even more skewed in my mind is the memories that I have of our families first home in the northern part of the state. I vaguely remember running under the old metal table from the late sixties. I was so short and so young, it was a great spot to hide from my sisters. Funny how I do not remember the moment that stopped my under the table “cross country” home runs!

And answers that we were seeking are no longer questions to be asked. We can see clearly now. Hindsight brings us clear vision and the view is nearly 20\20. Is this the thought that we will have some years down the road? A few years from now we will look back. Right now we simply try to look forward and all that we see is the moment. The difficulties of the day seem insurmountable.

Foresight tells me that this is the plague that is taking away our history. So many elderly people are being lost to this virus. This disease seems to be taking the people that gave us our history. They are the ones of our past. The gray haired populous is considered at risk in this pandemic world that we live in. But hindsight is telling me they are not the only ones at risk of this disease. Some younger people suffer and just this week the world news exploded with the news of a 38 year old dieing in flight because of the virus.

We all have so many opionions about everything, and yet there is still only one breath between all of us and the future. The next breath could be our last. We never know.

But here’s a look at the past few weeks here in my neighborhood.

Our outdoor living space is complete. We made a 2×4 slat bench to add to the collection. The recitation bench along the east wall of the house came from our old grain shed in Iowa. The place that we lived had three delapitating buildings: the grain shed, a small animal barn and a garage. The garage was the first thing to go. After the spring snow melted and we discovered it was full of the trash from the previous occupants, we lit a match to the whole lot. Of course the fact that the propane tank was less than ten feet from the building was quite a frightful thought. The grain shed and the basement held a number of pieces of furniture that still grace my home today.

The swing is an old crib remodel. Haha. The crib was the one that Gavin’s dad and siblings all slept in when pre-toddlers. Today it would not fit the safety regulations as the bars are too distant in measurement. It makes an amazing back porch nap zone.

The focus of all the pets attention is the deck box. It contains their food. We have had to discard of a few wild critters in the past as raccoons can figure out how to lift the lid and help themselves. Thank goodness for the new addition to the family. Eva has kept them away since her arrival.

The slat bench has wood that came from the top of the barn. All the pieces were well over fifty years old and rough cut lumber. We spent quite some time getting each piece to the correct measurement. The staining of the top pieces made the construction of the slat bench really pop. It is a pretty good nap zone also. However, these cooler temps are not the best for such things. The finish is an old oil based recipe from Aussie Timber care. It has kept my benches and other outdoor pieces in tip top shape.

This mosaic crochet afghan is now complete. It does not have a new home yet. Because I was born in the spring, I prefer bright and bold colors more than fall. I have a perpetual spring in my greenhouse and could bore you with my pictures of flowers.

The pattern on the blanket is “What comes around, goes around.” The square spirals were really quite fun to crochet. The border and the separation lines are a simple steppe pattern. I think they kind of look like “z’s” and that makes it a good sleeper’s warmer! While I thoroughly enjoyed the process of crocheting the afghan, the colors just did not thrill me. So if there’s a friend of mine in love with it, they better holler quick. Otherwise my sister will find a home for the burnt orange delight.

Lately, I found the cold a bit too nippy on my fingers. So I decided to remake a couple of my hat and mitten pairs. I started with my everyday set that keeps me from the frost while doing the morning rounds. Honey and I go out to greet Eva. She sleeps in the heated hut outdoors. We scoop a bowl of kibbles for the cats then head out back to do the business. Next we run to the greenhouse to check the temperature. I give Cocoa a can of oats. Then we run like mad to the house because the north wind is so bitey.

This little whimsical hat was part of my creations from last spring. It is a scrappy hat. In other words, I used some scrap chunks of yarn and made a hat that was one of a kind. So the other day after perfecting my mitten pattern on a different set, I sat down and pulled up some yarn chunks to make my “whimsy set.” Something of the Oma in me enjoys wearing such a silly little dunce hat. The ball always gets a lot of attention either from little kids (while shopping) or even from other peoples pets (they can’t take their eyes off of the ball dangling from my head). Well, with a Grandmother name like Oma, why wouldn’t I enjoy a little whimsy in my life? My favorite books were the Dr Suess and I still can’t resist buying one even if I can’t read them anymore.

People with foresight always seem to get things right. They dream forward. They plan ahead. They look to the future with hope and ideals. People with hindsight are always talking about the past, looking into history with new perspectives. Trying to discover the truth about how things really happened. Maybe even considering the latest conspiracy theory. Ahhh, now I don’t believe that’s all a blanket approach to the whole of living.

My vision into the distance has always been a little poor. Having someone else to explain exactly where the moon is has made it much easier to find. Even if I can’t see the “man on the moon” I can still imagine it. And now my closeup vision has gotten a little more challenged also. Losing the peripheral view of the world, does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on in the world around me. It just means that I run into things far more frequently than I would like. It also means that my husband has to sort my little yarn chunks into the right color coordinations. White and yellow seem to be so close in color these days.

Whether you like to look ahead and dream of the future or whether you are an avid history book reader, one thing is the same. We all breath the same air. We are all fighting for another day another breathe. Today I want to aknowledge that I believe that breathe of air comes from my Soveriegn, Invisible Source. God the Creator who breathed into that first man Adam the breathe of air,

Psalm 144:4 “Man is but a breathe of air, His days are like a passing shadow.”

These days I do not visit my grandchildren as frequently as I would like. The fear of covid probable keeps me away more than I would like to admit. Being high risk in the health area is not something that I want to frequent in this blog. So I will just say that looking to the Author of this vapor does give me meaning and purpose to make each and every visit of high value and very enjoyable. They bring me so much joy, even if it is just during a phone call with childish squeals in the back ground. Looking at each day, week, or month as a passing shadow is one thing, considering my life to be but the passing shadow is another thing entirely. For now seeing these little faces as a small token of my shadow cast into the future is almost too deep a thought for consideration.

Thanking my Creator for every breath of air. Looking to a brighter Future tomorrow.

Learning something new

Log cabin or summer campfire blanket must be one of the ugliest projects I have ever crocheted. Putting all those colors together in such a bold design, makes me wonder why? Why did i choose those colors? Maybe the sharp contrasts are easier to see. When I am working on a pastel or light colored yarn gathering, then I wonder why? Why do my eyes have to think a pink and yellow look the same? It’s all about how they reflect light.

But this is not a writing about the the property of color. Mh grand daughter really loves colors and it surprised me one day to learn that she even knows “gray cat” color. Wow. She really loves to paint and watch the colors change. It is fun fo watch the neighborhood dogs pass by and ask her what color each one is… She always knows.

Mixing up colors until they all turn brown? Well, thank goodness crochet is not paint. Sometimes however, the projects look better on a filter than they do in real time.

Finished and folded

This log cabin design received a mosaic rectangle border that is a new stitch process for me. Mosaic is actually quite easy on the stitch learning. Nothing like trying treble or cluster stitches found in doilies. It’s the reading the patterns part that is getting me stumped. No log in my eye, really. Thank goodness that YouTube has so many ready teachers. The free things to learn can be endless. I am pretty specific about my youtube rabbit holes.

Finding the right edging was actually part of my learning some of the mosaic techniques of various teachers. This rectangular or square is a piece of the larger labyrinth of mosaic maizes. Some of them make me dizzy. This edging is also done on the double line mosaic, forward and reverse. The original Apache tear pattern is a right to left orfront facing only crochet. Studies of what to do with all of those loose ends kept me watching vids for a day or two. The best way to cover them is to simply hide under the twin double crochet border. It seems to be my favorite cover up.

My summer campfire blanket is now complete and will probably get a lot of use. The air conditioner always tend to cool the house down a few degrees colder than is comfortable for sitting. While the greenhouse keeps me busy and the garden calls my name (actually it is the weeds that holler), I might still be sitting under the comfy stitches of crochet.

And staying warm…

Doing another project… like this one perhaps… It is called the Hope square. And yes, I found it on the YouTube. One of the crochet sites that I follow about mosaic crochet had the new pattern. And the little hot pad or condensation catcher only took me a day! Yay, crochet!

Log cabin blankets vs summer campfire cozies

Out of Orbit

Our changing world

Office sounds in my house, white noise cafe chatter, constant keyboard clicking, and a new normal… what a changing world we live in now. This past week has been one for the history books. My son-in-law read a social posting from one of his friends that stated, “Does anyone else think that a fourth grader got ahold of our world leaders and is writing the news head lines right now?’ While it does certainly feel very surreal, our connections to the whole world through the social media outlets helps us to understand that we are not alone in this thing.

A friend of mine teaches on-line English lessons and was given the low down on Covid-19 from an eight year old. Along with the pantomimes and the demonstrations. It sounded something akin to the game Telestrations. Of course I remember our older version of Pictionary that use to bring us to the floor in laughter. These connections to international students and relatives around the globe help us to comprehend the needs of our time. They are also the reason the whole mess has happened.

Genesis chapter 11 is the story of the Tower of Babel and the Creator God who confuses the languages. In the story, the people decide to make a name for themselves and build a tower to the Heavens. God sees that His creation has forgotten Him in less than five generations from the events of the world wide flood. So He puts an end to the togetherness by confusing their communication. Imagine the chaos as workers in one part of the project do the exact opposite as another group. Imagine the driving discord as bosses and employees no longer understand the acronyms and decisions of the corporate leaders.

This whole week, I have been listening to the four or five chapter in Genesis and the beginning of Exodus at night. The Scriptures are always applicable to our day. We just have to open our ears and our eyes to the message behind every story. Why have I been so drawn to these two stories about the masses. The first is the story of God’s decision to spread people throughout the earth. The second story is His gathering of His chosen people from Egypt to the promised land. The next story that I am focusing on is the book of Acts. In this book the spread of the gospel is taken from the apostles to the Gentile world of that day. Acts tells the acts of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were only the tools of God’s flaming tongue. Each of these Bible passages have this in common: God is writing and making His story.

Today, we are a world on the fast track of travel to wherever, whenever we want. God has brought out planet of people to a screeching halt with a little tiny bug. This is not the story of “Because a little bug went Kachoo!” Or is it? Because a little virus makes people sneeze an cough-Oh, my!

How quickly a virus spreads has nothing to do with how the gospel is shared…well, maybe. My thoughts also turn in amazement and awe to the gospel of the Billy Graham era. Back when mass amounts of people gathered in woodstock fashion to hear someone from a stage tell them the need for a savior. Today the masses have been sent home to hunker down and what? They all spend time on the internet still trying to connect with others. People need people.

Gratitude ripples through the air as I hear people calling others on the phone. Sending text messages of comforting words. Sharing in the use of technology to gather via streaming church, conference prayer meetings, and on line portals. Thank God I live today instead of during the plagues of 1918 or earlier pandemics.

In my life, I have gone from home school teacher and kids club leader to the moment when my driver’s license could no longer be renewed. My eyesight gradually changes who I am on a slow eroding process. My feelings of loss and impending identity crisis plague me. However, I have never wished that everyone else could feel as I do. The sense of grief and the constant shift in my world often brings me to tears. I would never wish this lonely, exile, isolation upon anyone. Yet here we are. How can I be there for others?

Many people I know have immunity disadvantages. They have just fought cancer or some other illness and will not be able to fight this virus. Staying home away from other people who might share the bug inadvertently is their best option. Wow! Now there are people all over the globe in isolation. Now there are people everywhere trying to come up with things to keep themselves busy. Preoccupation is the best weapon we have against boredom. How long will the work last? Hopefully families can reconnect and learn the art of communication and proper scheduling disciplines. Those that are home schooling now? Well, there are even more resources than ever on line. Parents will be doing a little more homework, I suspect.

Today, if you feel like the planet Pluto once again taken off the planetary list, look for a new hope. Hope in Jesus. He often challenged his disciples to get away from the demanding crowds and pray. Now, once again the prayer warrior in me has taken up the battle cry for God’s story to be told. While the world waits for a hero (a vaccine against the virus) we who know Christ Jesus as our Lord can proclaim His name.

I already have my hero. I know whom I have believed in! Below you will find a beautiful rendition of one of my favorite old hymns. This hymn written by Daniel Webster Whittle from the late 1880’s. His story includes time in the Civil War army. His New Testament scriptures that he carried with him during wartime was given to him by his mother. Check out his story in The Story Behind the Song. Then go find the New Testament that someone gave you, or look up the Bible readers on line. Wow! We have so many tools available. Praise God!

I know whom I have believed!

Oh, yeah!

Leap year reactions

Learning to delight in the little things and find positive rewards in life’s moments

The other day we had a random lunch date with our daughters, and grand-daughter. The little one spent much of the meal hugging on the elders rather than eating. Her sweet touches and loves were enough to burst our hearts. But she was the one that let a moment of pleasure ring out across the restaurant. Her little voice emptied the silence when she declared “Oh, yeah!” -at her delight in the french fries. If only we could all declare such delight in spontaneous form.

My days in solitude are numerous. Having a dog in my presence fills the void sometimes with unexpected canine reactions. Honey is not as reactive as some others I have witnessed. So I spent the last month or so watching all the dog training shows on my Prime account that I can find. The rescue shows can be pretty disheartening, so I learned to avoid those. Besides there are children with higher value that need more attention than all those dogs out there. The multiple dog homes about drive me up a tree. I feel like a raccoon just trying to rest and the coon hound is circling. One dog seems to be an abnormality. Wow! Some times there is just too much “muchness!”

Makes me glad I only have one dog. Besides my eyesight has about all it can handle with just one. Playing canine games with Honey takes about 20 minutes out of my day. We do the walk and outside, and frisbee, and all the Happy squeaky ball fetch. But Find toy is her most rewarding. She is exhausted after about ten retrieves, and then I can sit down without interruption.

Of course naming each toy that we play with for Find is very important. I don’t think she’ll ever be as good at naming all of her toys as Furbie was, but she only has one trainer. Dad does not play this game. He’s more of an armchair dog handler. No apologies. It’s the truth.

We are looking for a harness that would fit her. She has a medium girth, but her shoulder/breast length is so small. I hope that when I do get her into one again this spring, she will make the connection to “work.” Right now when I try to do the guide commands with just a leash, she is just to hyperactive. I have even tried frisbee first and then the guide time training. She just wants to follow when on the leash too much. The handkerchief over my eyes when a nice day arrives should help.

Maybe I just don’t trust her much. She probably senses that.

This week we had an ambulance instance in the family. While all is well for now, it has put the family all on communicative overdrive. Just trying to keep everyone informed and at peace with all the goings on… We are praying more specifically as the call merits.

The warmer spring weather is on it’s way, along with the mud. A little flurries overnight left the pebbles sticking to the bottom of shoes again. More cleaning, and more dipping paws into the clean pail.

Yesterday it was almost warm enough for my grand-daughter to video chat with the horse! See how I rate. She starts asking about Coco before I even get a chance to say hello some days! The horse does love to ham it up on the phone, in videos or pictures. But the poor boy forgot about the electric fence between us and got angry enough at me that he would not turn around again. We had to turn the fence on because there is a young doe sleeping in our grove. I see her about every other day. This morning we actually did some scent chasing and I let Honey follow her trail about a quarter mile to the south. She is pretty brave. But has not knocked the fence down since we turned it back on.

From all the animals around to the house cleaning, my life stays boringly consistent. I finished another crochet project, but I really do not like it. It might be a stay home thing or another redo.

My thoughts and prayers have gravitated more towards children in need lately as I watch all of the dog-hype shows. It saddens me that people spend so much money on canine toddlers and less on children. The humane society advertisements to sponsor pet saving is just so over-rated. We have kids within my fifty mile radius living in such poverty. The passage that seems to fit the best comes from Matthew chapter fifteen and verse 26:

“And Jesus answered, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.'”

This leap year we are jumping forward over a new challenge. For twenty some years we have sponsored a child through the ministry of Compassion International. We chose them because over 95% of the money goes to the child’s needs. And the majority of the program is teaching the child about Jesus. Our sponsored child from Dominican Republic has moved out of the system. Sponsoring her cost less than our pet food each month. I think we will sponsor two children next.

In your stocking feet

Wool, cotton, nylon or spandex?

Now is not the time to dilly, dally around. The weather outside is frightful indeed. Get some warm boots on or grab your furs, those warm socks will be full of snow and ice in no time, child. You get your shoes on by the time I count to ten and close that door. You’ll catch the death of ye, chillin’, what are you doing out in your stocking feet?1

Rant and rave all you want mother-mine, but sometimes a child has to get cold before they appreciate warm.

Where is your favorite place to be this time of year in your stocking feet? And how well do you like the static shock of wool socks? Do those spandex compression socks even work to keep your toes warm? Who wears nylon stockings to the knees anymore, anyhow?

While some prefer inside fur boots strapped into snow shoes or skies, I prefer the carpet. However, with the new trend towards hardwood flooring, I am more often then not sitting in a chair that leaves my stocking feet wanting for slippers. These floors aren’t that warm you know.

I haven’t tried walking a mile in another person’s stockings before, but even if the shoe does not fit, trying to understand where another person’s trials is still relevant. There are so many kinds of stockings these days. One’s for heart problems, diabetes, pregnancy, drug addictions, cancers, and the many different occupations that there are in this world. My mind is so analytical, I am always trying to see the other person’s point of view. But guessing where someone’s heart lies is the business of God.

In my stocking feet is how I spend the majority of my days. In the comfort of my own home next to my doggie. There are times I strap on my boots for a jaunt outside, but the inclement weather drives me indoors. So life here in the frozen land doesn’t seem like much of a wonderland to me. Except for me wondering every morning just how cold it is outside and how many layers I need to put on to survive without frostbite.

This week I’ll be sending greetings to our many friends and relatives through the mail. We started receiving the Holiday Cheer just after Thanksgiving. It is so enjoyable to gather these people near to us once more. One night at a recent supper outing, I wore a plush jacket that felt like a teddy bear. So I offered all the ladies I greeted a “teddy bear hug.” It was effective. I reached my quota of seven hugs per day that evening. I made the decision that I should become a new kind of super hero: Super Soft!

The cabin socks have found their way into our bedding. Even though we have flannel sheets at a wool blanket, and an afghan across the foot of the bed, that initial shock when climbing into bed is not so bad with socks on. So we sleep in our stocking feet also! My mother thinks we should give up the sufferance with an electric blanket. But I can sense the electricity coursing through my body and I just can’t handle that feeling. Being falsely warmed has always bothered me. I can’t handle sauna heat, or hot tub temperatures either. An electric blanket in the arm chair is so addicting that I would never get up and do anything. Give me a hot cup of Joe, or tea, or milk. That works better.

In your stocking feet you might find that you would rather be able to put your shoes on. In your stocking feet you might find a whole new appreciation for summer sandals. In your stocking feet you might be getting waited on while you would rather be serving others. In your stocking feet you might be relaxing with a good book by the fireside. Wherever your stocking feet find you, may you know the warmth of another’s thoughts towards you this Christmas season.

Take up some tea, Thank God for the post man bringing you those greetings one by one.

What next?

The crochet hook moves on…

Perhaps switching to a different thread number for crochet was not such a good idea. Especially since now the newest doily that I finished did not fit on the blocking wheel that I have. The thought never occurred to me that the doily once complete would be too large for the board. Now what?

Maybe I need a bigger blocking board.

Maybe I should quit doing doilies for a time.

Perhaps, it’s better off not mentioned that I made so many mistakes in the pattern. I am not exactly pleased with my failure on this project. Not sure why counting has becoem such a difficult thing. Distraction seems to lurk around every bend.

So this past week I comforted myself under the lightweight log cabin afghan. It’s super easy design and double crochet stitch let me watch another movie or two. I also began a very riveting English murder mystery in my Talking Book Listening. I am fascinated that all the best murder mysteries happen in London or such. It must be the language difficulty, I mean the difficulty of listening to that broken tongue that keeps us so befuddled. The Lap-Ghan turned out very warm and cozy. And now it’s time to get some other loose yarn projects cleaned up around here. The next log cabin lap-ghan will be of a much better color scheme.

These two little hats, well, actually they are too large for my head, did not take more than a few hours. Making a warm stoking hat at the onset of winter wonderland weather is always fun. They turned out quite charming. The lefties of yarn can really make an adorable project if I can plan it properly. The prime colors hat has a new rib stitch that I learned one day while crocheting away on the lap-ghan.

The move that I watched this week of some report was found on Amazon primes kid friendly and family genre. “33 Postcards” turned out to be quite the tear jerker. Needless to say I watched it the one day the moisture was up to 89% and the drizzle made my nose drop incessantly inspite of the sad/happy film. The idea that just having sponsored a child in an orphanage could change the heart of a prison inmate was quite distracting to my stitch counting.

Perhaps there are more yarn projects buried away in the cabinets and baskets than I imagined. The ideas keep coming. The season marches on towards the holiday run. With family gatherings, food preparations, and decorating, who knows what crochet hooks will be kept occupied at this house. The days the phone rings and I am called away from the monotony of endless hook movements is perfectly alright by me. Somedays I make the calls myself and put them on speaker phone so that my fingers can stay busy. Other days I force myself out of the easy chair and clean up the house after the dog just to get some exercise.

Can’t wait for the warmer sunny day to use one of those hats and take a walk!

Finding the giggle bug

And the lost kitten and the spectacles

This week we have been busy finding things. Not that all were lost, some were, some were not and some just played hide-and-seek for awhile until someone clever found them out. Here is the whole story.

We recently picked five kittens from a neighbor that lived five miles to the west of us. It was just enough distance with a creek bed between that the blood line is quite different than ours. Pleasantly colorful, the kittens are a wonderful contrast to the boring black that had plagued us for the past five to eight years. Having a different color scheme we though might help me enjoy their presence a bit more.

So a few days later when one, and then two of the kittens disappeared, I was pretty sad. How could a raccoon or fox be that quick to discover my new found little treasures? This country life was getting me down. The following morning, my husband did a little investigating and found one of the the errant kittens in the deck box where all the food was kept. (The first lost one is no where to be found.). Was I ever happy to see my four little kittens all paired up at their food dishes. Yay! We will put them in a crate at night until they refuse to fit in there.

One Kitten found.

Once a week I get up before the sun does and join my husband on his route to the big city. He drops me off to play with my granddaughter all day, and them continues on his drudgery to work all day. This week she had a routine doctor well check-up and had to have a shot for her vaccination schedule. Needless to say her giggle-bug got lost in the event and she shed a few tears. And frustrating as it is sometimes, she also had a slight reaction to the shot that required a Benadryl and Tylenol dosage. So while her mama was trying to contact the doctor and fix some lunch, we went out to the swing for a moment of distraction.

While at the swing, my silly noodles got ahold of me. The leaves are beginning to drop ever so little bit and I found some rather large leaves at out feet on the lawn. So I began talking about UP and DOWN and telling the leaves to “get back up on the tree where they belong.” My little grand-daughter thought that was the funniest thing ever. She laughed so hard that she coughed up some of the phlegm that she has had from a little runny nose cold with her teething. It was the kind of laugh that can never be repeated, nor captured accurately. A day later, she was still picking up leaves and throwing them up to watch them fall down.

One giggle-bug found.

Over the weekend my husband also finally got after the tall lawn with the lawn mower. It had been al least two weeks or more. And with the weather that we have had, mowing grass seems to be the biggest past time this area has found to do consistently. After the mowing and a late afternoon motorcycle ride to the local state park, he discovered his glasses to be missing.

We overturned all the pillows, the blankets, the sofa cushions and were still not successful in finding the lost. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday passed with no sign of the runaways. What could have become of the spectacles. I felt bad for not helping him look for them, and bearded myself for not being more thoughtful. Sometimes not looking is the best way to find such things.

So this morning after the dog danced and pranced to take a walk with me, I obliged her. The weather has taken a drier turn, and the early morning moisture was more bearable for my lungs. Off we trotted to take a mile to “smell the roses” that she finds so appealing. When we arrived back home, the driveway greeted me with a glimmer of reflecting sun. The sun’s reflection is not supposed to be there, I thought. I should be brave and see what shiny thing that is. In a few more steps, my courage was rewarded with a pair of scuffed up eye glasses. Bother, I’m not sure they will be so pleasant to wear, I thought, these things have been run over a couple times. But they straightened up some when I picked them up.

One pair of eyeglasses found.

Yay! What a successful or eventful week we have had just doing ordinary things. Perhaps the week is going to shape up into being a pretty good memory. The giggle bug was probably the best find though.

I thought of the widow her found her little coin and asked all of her neighbors to celebrate with her. The parable comes form a period of time that we do not really grasp well in out understand of the culture. The last coin from her ornate veil and dowry from her wedding week, does not seem like a treasure that needed sharing with all of her friends. But if we consider that it was the last piece of pleasant memory from years earlier, and a something that would keep her from being a beggar, maybe the knowledge will help us comprehend her joy at the found object. None of the things that we found this week had that much significance to our lives. But I thought that perhaps my neighbors would still enjoy rejoicing with me over our found things.

Thanks for letting me share with you. I hope you will find something new along with your find of something lost in the next week or so. And remember to grasp the joy that comes with that find for a long enough time to add it to your gratitude list!