From My Park Bench

The whole month of June flew by and though there are four drafts in my file, nothing made it to print. The month was busy with farmer’s market, purging flowers and geraniums, trying to stay ahead of the weeds in the garden and some much needed family time. The local farmers market saw us twice. Then the work thing crept in and there just was not time to keep up with everything on the acreage and be gone from home for four or five hours on a Saturday morning. When all you have is the weekend to accomplish the acreage cleanup, the hours become precious. Also, the heat kind of kept us away a couple of times. Purging flowers and plants from the greenhouse took all of the month. I planted the last tomatoes when my niece came for camp weekend. They looked pretty worn out from their little containers. But are thriving in their “space” outside. Most of the larger geraniums are outside the greenhouse now. And thank goodness the wind has given us a break and things look wonderful. Staying ahead of the weeds also meant planting the old “potato” box grow bed into the salad box. It was so hot and dry the day I planted it all. But the thought of it gave me so much pleasure. With some appropriate drip tubing everything is up and green.

Family time this last month meant Sunday lunches with Gavin’s folks. I have been playing piano more at church these days. Though it is somewhat stressful to memorize the entirety, my mind wandered back to the day when as a thirteen year old I thought I would never be able to sit at the keyboard without a line of music in front of me. We had Christmas in June with my family and got together for the first time in over a year. It was so good to see everyone. We also celebrated my mother’s 80th birthday that day.

The month of June was also taken up with kitten care. I started a blog about the ferrel beastings and their little broods, but it seems to have lost it’s importance. After the family gathering, I spent much of the night in grief wondering where the years and time have gone. It’s hard to have the holiday blues in the middle of the summer. But thank the Lord, the days are busier and it did not last long. Nevertheless, I have nearly three drafts started all just in that week alone.

Good Grief!

Who ever coined that phrase anyhow? Grief certainly does not feel good. And there are many times grieving amounts to no good at all. This past month there have been a number of women on my prayer list that have had to deal with their share of grief. So, my mind took a play list of memory lane that I have not visited for some time.

The change of life comes in many different shapes and colors. For me, having early term miscarriages one after another for four years told me child bearing was not to be my main lot in life. I should learn to be grateful for the two beautiful girls that God had gifted us with. About the time I began to except secondary infertility, other things began to change the course of our lives.

Each of the beautiful souls that God gave me a glimpse of are commemorated in my library. The next few weeks I hope to spend some time remembering each of the “hopes” that I once had. I am so thankful that God brought Himself ever close at hand beside me during those days and the memories of His hand holding mine are special to recall.

From my park bench…

This July began with a family birthday gathering. God has blessed our girls with beautiful spouses and gifted us with grandchildren. They bring so much joy and pleasure to our days. I am so thankful that I can count the ways of our Lord in His goodness to us. We spent the fourth of July in quietness and in the heat my husband made me this lovely park bench.

We went to Boston the summer of 2010 and while there I ended up taking a walk on the waterfront by myself one evening. I saw a bench like this in repetition with many women in pairs sitting and catching up with each other on their lives. Of course much of the conversation was in another language. I thought that so particular to Boston. Then last summer my hubby and I took a motorcycle trip and found ourselves visiting a garden. There again were multiples of this particular bench.

I know that my hubby probably hated every minute of trying to measure and cut and assemble this park bench. Knowing his displeasure of carpentry makes the bench all the more meaningful to me.

So for the next six entries, come have a seat on the park bench with me as I share how God has been part of my journey form childbearing through miscarriages and into the present day of good grief!

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God ; to those who are the called according to His propose.”(ESV)

Table manners

Book review A None’s Story

This is my opinion. If you don’t want dessert, just say, “No, thanks.”

This book review is on the talking book library 88037 “A None’s Story” by Corina Nicolaou.. And yes I spelled it correctly, you silly smart device spell checker. Remember how I once wrote that I don’t particularly like book reviews. well, sometimes, it’s because I don’t like the book, but I can’t help myself and have to read it to the end.

Perhaps a disclaimer to begin with. The book is a “journal” of the author’s own experience. Therefore the attraction for me to discover how she constructs the memoir. The author did not write about the events at their time and is relaying on hindsight to fill in the memory gaps. Hindsight always has a “clear” vision for the individual employing the task. Her vantage point does not necessarily make her opinions perfect, but they are her own.

First of all, Corina explains what a “none” is: someone who if the chance were given them to fill out some religious survey goes to the bottom of the list and marks “none.” No census or survey has ever been my pleasure either, but hearing the term made me feel like somehow I had been born in the dark ages.

Everyone wants an identity. Or rather everyone wants to identify with others. Being alone makes one feel very vulnerable. Just ask the little calico that I put out with all of the other black cats. She A feels alone. Her singleness leads her to continue to search for food in a separate location than all of the others. We do not know if she refuses to eat with the pigs (the other cats) or if they will not led her dine with them.

Being alone causes a searching, a seeking, or an inner desire be part of a club, a group, or a family. Single people in their twenties will search out some bonding to give them a sense of fulfillment. Married couples often just find that need nourished in each other or in their career. Church in the larger metropolitan society lost it’s grip on the singles and the yuppees- the career builders. Small communities are following this suit surely also.

In the book, it seems that Ms. Nicolaou moves from the family unit into the career days of life with a loss of identity. Her search for meaning through the tale as told in the book made me think of a lost child searching for a family to dine with each evening.

She tells of her going from church to church, to synagogue and so forth as if she were searching among the fast food restaurant chains looking for God at the tables. And it made me think of a book I read one time that taught me about table manners.

My first address is to Corina’s search to identify with some religion or another. Looking for God is not the same as looking fro your favorite Campbell’s soup can. God is not in a soup can. While you might like one thing or another better and choose one soup as your favorite, God can not be condensed into a soup can. Neither can you find Him by church hopping. Eating Chicken noodle one week and then clam chowder the next will surely leave you empty, hungry and unable to identify with any of the Progesso soup mixes. I felt so sorry for her as she wanders around like a lost sheep in search of her “soul.”

Changing family dinner tables every night of the week, does not make you a member of that family. If I were to go eat with the Anderson’s one night, the Rigano’s the next night, and the Qualin’s the next, I am not any more an Anderson or Smith than I was the day before. Identifying with a religion does not happen because I visited their santum.

It was saddest of all to me that no one ever explained John chapter 3 to her. She seemed like such a lost Nicodemus. One that never heard Jesus’s statement about being born again. The only thing that makes me beholding to my maiden name is that I was born into my father’s house. But the amazing thing about my Father in heaven’s family is that I was adopted in. His adoption of me was like a being born again.

No matter how long the book goes on (I think I have five hours of listening yet) I am sure she never gets the table manners. Even my dog has to learn the table manners expected of her in my home. God has table manners also.

Going from church to church and building to building and meeting to meeting, I am surprised by the fact that they all make it so complicated for Corina to understand the truth about God through all of her searching. Explaining a relationship with God like table manners is about the best way I have ever heard.

God gave us everything we need to know in one Book: the Bible. It’s like the manual on life. Some people call it Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The simplest way to look at is table manners. If we want to dine at His eternal banquet table, we have a few table manners to learn.

The invitation. God does not stuff us like turkeys at thanksgiving dinner. He invites us to come join Him. It’s as simple as “would you like dessert?” Yes or no. God gifts us with His love. Do we except or reject? If Jesus was who he said, do I believe it or walk away.

Once we accept the invitation to life as He offers it, then it’s all about learning to behave properly at His table. His table is here now as well as in the future at His eternal mansion. Behaving with table manners is our whole lot in life. Learning to say please pass the rutabagas, and thank you and your welcome and so forth. Do I need to say more?

Table manners from the vantage point of the none’s story is more like picking all the spices in the world and putting them into one dish. Uff dah. There’s my grasping of my husband’s Norwegian heritage. Maybe one should consult the recipe book written by the Creator of all those spices before cooking a dish that will end up like dog food. Or worse. I wonder how well a None would be educated at my dinner table.

How about your family celebrations? Do they include a blessed view of the Creator? An invitation to the future banqueting table? Someone might just be watching you next time you eat out.

Once when our family went to a home school convention, after the event while we out to eat at a restaurant, someone payed our billl. It was an amazing surprise for us. We felt God had blessed our weekend and our family. Our dinner table conversation, the way that we all interacted with one another was just given a stranger’s approval. I am not seeking a stranger’s blessing. I am seeking the approval of the Creator. And knowing that I will never really get it without Jesus standing in my stead.

Yes, I will finish the book. My disappointment in the lost sheep not finding a “fold” in Christ is evident. I am sorry that she did not find this verse.

Isiah 64:4 “For since the beginning of the world

Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear

Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,

Who acts for the one who waits for Him.” (NKJV)

When Mother Cannot Sleep At Night

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

When mothers can’t sleep at night

They pray until their hearts are broken

They sow seeds of tears

They write letters to hide away in drawers

When mother cannot sleep at night

She reads her Lord’s words

She whispers her cries for souls

She spreads blankets of love and mercy

She lifts her praise to the Almighty

When mother can’t sleep at night

She swaddles her little babies

She soothes her feverish toddler

She comforts her dreaming daughter

She consoles her fitful son

She sends heavenward prayers of hope

When mother cannot sleep at night

She weeps for dreams now lost

She aches for arms once filled

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

When mothers can’t sleep at night

They tend prayer gardens

Hold candle light vigils

Read old leather bond Bibles

And they hold fast their faithful watch

When Day Dawns Dimly

The looking glass IV

When one hears a train whistle-there is a train.

When one hears “see-Bob white!” Ther is a quail

When thunder rolls, rain follows.

Warning signs are usually obvious. Like the flickering lights just before the symphony begins. What concert is about to begin in my life?

This morning the sky was ominously dark off to the northwest. The radio repeated its emergency weather signal twice already. The summer storm season has been here for a few weeks now. If my county is not on the list, it can be easy to ignore the signals. But there obnoxious blasts is still there.

While we enjoyed taking Honey for an evening outing with people a week ago, this week visitors kept us preoccupied. We also needed to prop up those wild tomato plants that the rain has so amply helped grow. One plant was already loaded with lots of little fruit. The visiting evening of the night before, got me to considering the path ahead.

There are signs for construction and signs for weather in abundance these days. But what about those dreaded signs of aging?

No one enjoys the hunt for grey threads in the upper levels. But the light seems to be gleaming off the top more these days than it use to. Would they be some platinum strands I detect , or can I just blame it on bad eyesight?

When the days dawn with darkened skies, finding humor in the mirror is more difficult than ever. Recently a relative of ours was pictured grasping for a good view of the television screen. Like a five year old trying to block out distractions from his favorite cartoon show, the man was seen less than five feet from the large picture visual. Remembering my grandma and grandpa with their television wars soon followed in my brains bunny trails. Grandma was always trying to get him to turn the volume down. The phone would ring and she had to yell over the sound to get the entertainments box sound reduced. I am always fascinated when an elderly person whispers something, when if you whisper back they respond with “what?”

A friend of mine use to respond to every catastrophic event with the declaration “The end times are coming!” The days of Noah… have they really returned?

When a child wears shades, we tell them: Your future is so bright. When an adult wears shades, we assume they have a hangover. When I wear shades, it is to keep what is left of my eyesight. Wearing orange shaded lens as a teenager gained me the nickname “pumpkin face.” I still don’t really care for anything Halloween related because of their taunts and jeers. There are multiple other reasons to avoid the candy shrine, but I will just try to keep mine mummified.

When Praise band Sunday rolls around these days, I am suffering from anxiety more frequently. This past weekend there were some major panic attacks that I dealt with even during the service as I attempted to play piano. It made me think that the day had dawned dimly, in-spite of the sunshine and the days’ celebration plans. The music/eyesight stress has clouded the morning over for me. Rather than enjoying the time to play piano, it begun causing me stress. Reminded me of the days I use to play for choir and left the events in tears and complete exhaustion. I am so not ready to quit playing piano. Something giant print could be ôdone, perhaps?

Knowing that God sees my plight does not always bring me comfort. Sometimes I just want to see what I used to be able to see. Like others who mourn the grievous plight of their bodies downward spiral I long for the good old days. God knows. He knows e more than I can know myself. He sees beyond the surface of the water and it’s dim reflection. God sees deep into the darkest places of my soul. And yet-he still longs for the day when I shall behold Him. Face to face, I will stand with my Maker. With My Savior in beloved embrace, we shall one day be face to face. No more dim whitted guessing of the things which I shall never know this side of the looking glass of eternity.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Looking Glass

Olde words and old sayings

“The wind blows where it wishes” -John 3:8

This morning after I hit my head several times trying to clean out the kitchen cabinets, I told myself, “self- go sit down a spell.”

Sit down a spell? What am I saying? Bother this getting old. Now I’m using the same phrases my grandmother did. Next thing you know I’ll be saying “Awe shucks!”

Playing Frisbee with Honey is a constant motion from the moment I go out the door each and every time that we go out the door. Considering the wind is priority if I don’t want to climb a ladder and retrieve it from the roof of some building. Clocking the gales of air is also important if I don’t want her to slam into some vehicle on her focus retrieve. There have been occasions that she has slammed into trees, or bricks or tires in her dive after the prize.

This exuberance is not just felt by her though. The other evening, she greeted Lennea with one of her discs and the cellist soon found herself nursing the fist that found the open car door. Considering space and aim before throwing often makes an impatient puppy. But our safety and wellbeing must be considered. Good thing Lennea has no weddings this week.

The other morning my mind could not help but focus on the gusty breezes that changed the disc’s flight in mid-course. I have tried to watch Honey while she runs only to loose her in my barrel-view. So now I try my best to follow the rainbow’s arch and be assured that the little pot of gold will be there to meet the end of it’s curve whenever it lands in her reach. Be it the ground, or 10 feet in the air, our flying fur buddy will not miss the end of the course. Often she returns to me like the boomerang before I even take a few steps forward. She’s so fast.

The wind in the winter time is my enemy. My skin simply can’t handle being cold and feeling the driving knives of air pierce through me. But the wind in the heat of summer? It is the friend that cools the world off a smidge. I love the sound that the trees make as their leaves rustle. I love the clapping cottonwood. I love the tinkling wind chimes. it is like the wind instruments of God in their finest composition.

The wind blows where it listeth. Wow, that’s an olde English word. What does it really mean? List making and the wind listing are not the same are they?

So many words in our languauge have lost their true meanings. We have digressed in our ability to understand the full meaning of something because we choose not to know where things come from. The idea of the wind listing or having a bordering edge like broad cloth or blowing in a particularly line or row across the earth isn’t something I generally think of. However, this weekend there were several situations that showed the power of the wind in it’s own pretense.

Friday as we drove across the Springfield area both in Nebraska and in South Dakota, the temperature dropped markedly. Only on a motorcycle could one experience this incredible listing of the wind. At one moment we are baking from the hot pavement and the dry wind. The next there is this defined cool breeze that makes one wish to stay there always. It felt so cool and refreshing. Then the heat returned in it’s blast of open-oven-door force. Uff. Let’s go back there, we both commented on the cycle.

We crossed the river and snacked at the Casey stop in Springfield and were pleasantly surprised by the return of the cool “listing” on the South Dakota side. Spring fed breezes! The idea of the wind being like a sheet of broadcloth with a border line hit me much when I considered all the dictionary meanings this word had to offer.

Do I listeth? Do I set up lists and boundaries and go where I plan to go, do what I plan to do? James chapter one says “As a wave of the sea is driven and tossed by the wind, so is the one who doubts. So have faith when you ask God for wisdom because He gives generously to all who ask without doubt” (verses five and six, a paraphrase).

Friday was our 27th anniversary. Sometimes it amazes me that it’s been that long, other times it only seems like yesterday. We were not even four miles from home when I first glanced into the cycle’s rear view mirror and thought of the looking glass. Who ever uses that phrasing for a mirror anymore? “The looking glass does not lie” is an old proverbial statement that mother’s used when telling there children to go wash up after they had already done so.

Many people take time to go to serene water settings that reflect the sky like a mirror. Our view on Friday however was the muddy Missouri washing up river moss on the somewhat sandy shores. The wind came across the river strongly enough to make the boating scarce. The wind was driving water from the south to the north across the surface of the river. Though the flow of the water is west to east in that area, the turbulence kept the fun at bay.

The most serene “looking glass” view of the water I discovered was in the rear view mirror of the bike.

And later the same weekend, we would stop the bike several times for the ornery wind. Twice for a bee sting, once to retrieve my cap. And when the bee stings, you do not automatically think of your favorite things. I tried to be a distraction for my dear spouse after the initial pain was over. But when the bee stings or the dog bites, one only thinks of getting rid of the pain! Just ask Gavin.

“I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me to see I was looking back at you when you were looking back at me.”

Most people are really just concerned about their own mirror. We might have a routine “list” of how we go about our mirror time. However, as I have sat staring into my little sleeping grand-child’s face I thought of the mirror that our children become of our lives. I praise God so frequently that He was the wind that blew across our lives and drove us into the people that we have become. Looking back, there were times we felt like the rocks on the shore were too harsh for us to ever feel peace and serenity again. But God is faithful and His driving force continues to be the looking glass in which we check our lives. His boundaries and His guidelines give us the feeling that we ride on the cool breezes of spring fed air. Just beyond the listing is the world’s heat and hot, and bothered stinging bees. We will continue to return to the looking glass of God’s word to be driven by His Holy Wind.

Sometimes we just have to take a break from the everyday.

So glad my husband of 27 years and I were able to take so time to reflect on the passing years and ask God for His wisdom for the years to come. May you too find faith to ask God for His insight into your lives.

Five fingers and toes

A pinch of pink to come

This last week we were blessed to learn that our new little grand baby will be a girl!

While we overdid the pink thing with her mama some 24 years ago, the “Mama Llama” has informed us that a pinch of pink will be just enough.

Sunsets, and sunrises are the closest thing we have to ocean waves. Waves of grain. Mountains of corn and beans.

And the nursery theme for the little loved one has been chosen as baby whales.

In South Dakota? This land locked state? Taking a peek into the family lineage might give a clue as to why baby whales would be an adorable theme. There are Island genes from Hawaii, Japan, and Ireland. There is Viking blood, Norse blood, German Blood and English blood. Perhaps whaling is in this grand-daughter’s future!

The last five minutes of one day in December I finally caught a glimpse of the sun that was suppose to shine all day according to the forecast. Waiting for the sun to shine can seem endless when the days keep getting shorter.

thank goodness the days are now on the lengthening side.

While everyone else has been enjoying the fancy moon these last few days, I was sleeping in trying to chase away a sore throat. Either the sleep or the hot-salty water did the trick. I was thinking a lot about the ocean and whales each time I gargled. Though I have never seen a whale, the videos from planet earth and the BBC have been a big help. Trying to crochet a little whale has proved to be another challenge altogether. The above gem was trial number 20! God did not have to try twenty times on me or my daughter or her pinch of pink to come. He gets it right the first time!

Five fingers and toes on each little hand and foot could already be counted on the sonogram photos that we saw. Though perhaps all that she hears sounds something like “whale speak,” we know that somehow she will know the difference between mommy and grandma even at the earliest days. The photos don’t do here beauty justice as we anticipate what she will look like. No matter what, she will be absolutely beautiful. Psalm 139:13 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You crocheted me together in my mother’s womb.” Yes I know the actual word is knit, but since I am a crochet enthusiast, I prefer crochet. My mother would probably prefer quilt. That’s all beside the point. My prayer for this beautiful little soul is that she will know her creator from an early age. And that she will be happy with the way that He chose to put her together.

Four paws-minus one


We have a three legged critter for a few days. I was so worried I made Dad take her to the urgent pet care. It’s just a bad sprain. She’s suppose to rest for three days and take her anti-inflammatory meds at bedtime.

Honestly it hasn’t slowed her down much. She’s just not jumping three feet in the air now. Haha. She’s a little more “clingy” than usual, so we’ll use the opportunity to teach her the word ‘heel.’

When life asks for a pause, how do we take it?

“What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Each year as the New Year comes around, January brings with it the bitter winds of winter that demand a different lifestyle. For some people this month is for puzzle solving. For some people it’s a month of catching up on all the episodes of an old favorite television show. For others it’s a chance to read books while laying under layers of blankets. For me, it’s a variety of things.

Reading is not as easily done anymore with the lack of giant print books. One of these days i might actually get that library app on the iPad and read some old books that I enjoyed. But I do have a favorite Bible reading schedule that returns to mind this time of year. There are several reading schedules that are quite simple to remember. Here they are:

Ecclesiastes has twelve chapters. One for each month of the year. It’s easy to remember what month number it is, if you read the first chapter of this book near the first day of the month. Each chapter is full of wisdom and great things to contemplate.

Proverbs has 31 chapters. These can be read in succession with each day of the month. So even if you miss a day of reading, picking the chapter for the day, eventually you will read all the chapters at least a few times throughout the year. It is also packed full of wisdom and common sense.

Psalms has a little more complicated reading pattern. This may require a bit of math! Reading a chapter each day, there are 150 chapters, so it will take five months to complete the book. Or you can read five each day just jumping through the books in multiples of five for the day. Another way is as follows: today is the 20th, read chapters 20, 50, 80, 110, and 140. The 25th day would be five additions of thirty. It’s not too hard. I make a cheat sheet marker of 150 and just cross off the already read.

Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I try to read them by seasons as follows:

winter is for Mark, because it’s the shortest and daylight is short. Spring is for John because I love his account of the Easter Resurrection story. Summer is for Matthew. And Fall is for Luke because I want to read his account of the nativity several times before the holidays.

There are many different reading schedules for the sciptures. Some people use apps or a 365 Bible. I just really enjoy being creative with my reading patters.

While hop-along (the dog) and I spend the days in a more restful mode, I also like to inventory my yarn piles. But on a nice day, i don’t neglect to get some fresh air. So it was a pleasant surprise to find a ball of thread out in the yard while I marched to and fro picking up sticks and other debris. I decided at that point that my puppy was a thief. The thread was none the worse for it’s trip in the elements. I threw away about a yard of the outer strand. Must be time to work on a doily again, I thought.

My crooked nose cannot be straightened. And the above verse came to mind shortly after I began vainly studying my new look. The swelling has finally abetted, and now the sinuses are trying to discover the new breathing tube! Apparently I have begun sawing the logs through the night. I even woke myself up the other morning.

When something is missing it simply cannot be counted. And though i inventoried my yarn supply and pulled out some projects to finish, I hadn’t even missed the ball of yarn the little thief took. Kind of makes me wonder what else she has stolen. We are well aware that she ate the roll of stamps shortly before Christmas. There were only two left to count that remained stuck to her paw. We have really no idea how many stamps that she ate, fo the lacking cannot be counted!

Four paws minus one, makes our eight month old doodle a bit of a silly noodle right now. Watching her hop isn’t easy, but it’s kind of hard not to laugh when she “acts” like life is misery. She had no sympathy for my broken nose. I took her to the urgent care for a sprained paw but wouldn’t go to the urgent care for my broken nose. Go figure that one out.