A Glimpse of God’s Grace

This week we started out with our first biatch of English muffins on the new stove griddle. And a might bit of smoke and some discoveries of old mistakes. First of all, my Husband got brave and made the bread dough all by himself! Scary, right. It took 24 hours to let the dough rise and make them into the circles and then finally fry/bake them on the griddle. They are so good! My brother gave me his recipe to try.

The third biscuit later, I was suffering my yeast sensitivity. Wow. That is painful. So I haven’t had any more for a few days. Yogurt, carrots and smoothies for me to knock out the yeast overload. Ugh. I don’t like my body somedays.

Then we left the smelly house and went on a road trip to see my mother. It is not that far, but with the winter being a snowy record year, it was the first opportunity we had for the drive. She gave me this book for the “gifting” holiday. And I am glad for it, and it’s rich back story.

My mother claims to have come to the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of the way that I came into the world. Knowing that we both nearly died is quite a tale in itself, but this book tells another one. She was directed after her brush with death, to begin listening to a radio program called “Back to the Bible>”. You know the radio is what people listened to before there were podcasts! The main teacher on the broadcast at the time was Dr. Epp.

This is one of the first books that she purchased after coming to the Savior’s call in her life. It is rich with Bible facts and explanations of the Old Testament covenant. The idea that Christianity has it’s roots in Judaism is not often discussed today. I think the church today is missing out on all of this rich history. So after using ‘ms. Google’ to help me read the first two chapters, I remembered my blog promise.

The Portraits of Christ in the Tabernacle are full of symbolic tradition and hope ofr the believer. While at the same time we are trying to do the Chosen challenge and watch the series, my mind is full of scripture and my heart is being saturated in the depths of God’s great love for the world that He created.

Meanwhile, I am reminded that we all bear His image and His creativity is visible in each and every human being. This blanket does not have a name. The pattern is borrowed from one that I say in another blanket. So I decided to reverse and flip the maze and watch the affect as it takes shape in my lap.

And what better way to stay warm than to crochet an afghan? I just had to remember the “three little kittens!” This image is on the park bench in frount of our house. Kittens: Company, Lava, and Latte are happy to have the snow removed so that they could watch the happenings. I was out with the dogs playing frisbee when I spied them keeping watch on us. And I am also documenting the snow piles out by the greenhouse. It won’t be long and the pile will be as big as the geodesic dome garden room.

Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” has been on my listening pleasuire this week. I don’t know whay I can never remember which on eis playing. So thin I have to repeat one of them to remember the differences. Perhaps it is because though the girls played them in chamber groups, I never did play the music. Just listen. It is always good to remember winter will not last forever. There are truly four seasons in the year even if it seems like one of them gets replaced by WIND. Last year we did not get spring, we got wind. And some of it over 30 mph sustained for days on end.

Glimpses of God’s grace are everywhere for me. I am so undeserving of all the blessings in my life. Yet He gives and gives His creation for me to look at daily. He opens my eyes to be amazed at how everything points to Christ if we just look for Him. I am thankful that while I can look back at history and see The fulfilled Messisah and can also look forward to the Hope of His return.

A dogs tail never lies

Bites of truth

Most people do not understand dog language. Thump, thump, thump, thump…. The other morning when Honey had to stay with me at my daughter’s for the day, the sound was rather loud and annoying. Can’t she just be quiet? The children are sleeping, aren’t they?

Then the pitter patter of little toddler toes told the truth. She heard then talking in the bedroom before I hear their toddling feet. Honey’s tail did not lie. The little bambinos were up for the day.

“A dog’s tail never lies.“. Understanding the teeth, barred, hackles, raised and stiff tail is the sign of territorial challenge in dogs is important. But always look beyond the head to the tail if confusion exists. A wagging tail is a friendly tail, so “they” say.. Unfortunately some people are blind to dog talk.

It is with this is mind that I began this new leftovers mosaic lap-ghan. Some dog tails go side to side, some go thump thump, and some go in a circle. Some just trail behind and pick up all of the weed seeds, sticks and leaves in the path. At this point in our lives we have the thumper, Eva, and the swish-swish, Honey.

I finally decided it was best to pick the rose in the greenhouse and bring it in for our enjoyment. My daughter’s birthday was over the weekend and we chose to make a road trip the other day, so I would not be going to the indoor garden to smell the rose. Best let it be in house and we could smell it each time we pass by the table. It is so beautiful. The yellow is such a pale color and the smell is outrageous.

My husband bough me the last “Christmas wish” gift last week. The new starter station is put together but the plants will be started this week. My seeds in the library are all collected and put in order today, so maybe tonight the little seeds will meet the soil.

The two for one book that I got from the state library is finished. The second title was “Lost in Yellowstone Nat’l Forest for 38 days”. A tale of survivor Truman Everetts. Not something I would want to do. I don’t even handle being alone for 12 to 14 hours some days. That’s one of the strong reasons that I have a dog. So that I am not alone…

Today, I received a “shallow cup of care” in the form of a text message from a relative. I did not answer it. I find I am rather “short” of patience or kindness towards others in my responses. So I simply cannot respond. Went to my audible app and found the book “How to hug a porcupine.” Very fitting for my time in life. Last night we had a possom eating the cat food bits that were left. Hubby tried to shoot the fat thing but had to poke it with a stick to get it where nothing else could be damaged. This morning I found a rat in the bottom of the horse feed bucket. Needless to say the only cat tthat barn hunts was Oliver and he was too late.

So I am on to my blanket some more. Another book. Another week. More seed starts to begin. And Honey took ALL the toys out of her toy basket to entice me to play with her as the weekend was a little short on our play time. It’s Monday and it’s raining in January.

So did I forget to mention that I made it through a whole day of out and about with my girls? The morning was not too bad with the swimming hole outing with the little kids. I did feel rather helpless during the dressing and leaving stage. My poor daughter had to shower and dress all three of her little kiddies and help with me. She is such a good mom and has quite a plate full with her little ones all under five years old. And then lunch was slow going, and we went shopping the rest of the afternoon while my son-in-law did the “best daddy ever” chore of keeping the kiddos at home. It was lovely to have some time with my girls as our Christmas got so mixed up. They really have no clue as to how much I miss them throughout the year. I used my guide cane while shopping to keep me grounded. It is really is hard to miss all ov the facial expressions etc when being with people.

The chicken cooking in the oven is calling me to pull it apart. So I guess this is it for my Monday mumblings.

New year, new journal plan

A couple years ago, I decided to keep the yarn wrappers fro the whole year. 2022 gave me forty five wrappers from finished projects. We won’t count the unfinished symphonies in my repertoire. Haha! It is rather enjoyable to look at the wrappers and know that there is more yarn where they came from.

This year I plan to do more of the read/project/ yarn/ weather journaling than I have in the past. So while the hook size and yarn might not mean much to others putting them all into the journal together makes for an adequate memory bank.

The first of the year took me back to the Ellas Gems Legend pattern that I purchased last year. I have wanted to do a table runner and we liked the yearn that I picked out for it. The Peaches ‘n’ Cream cotton was the choice for a table top because it washed up so nice and can handle being a hot pad of sorts. So off white and summerfield ombre was the choice with a comfortable G size hook. It took me three tries the week end of the New Years Blizzard to get the first row of stitches correct for the pattern. I had no idea I could get it done in just a few days.

Having a book to listen to really helps me pass the time in complete ignorance. The book this time was “Paul A Biography” by N.T. Wright. It is a rather long book with lots of notes into the Biblical narratives. I actually sped it up a bit on my Talking Book reader because much of the content is not new to me. I did recollect however that for my high school senior essay paper I wrote about Paul. I never could have collected near as much information about the era as Wright did. My paper was pretty shallow I suppose. The book is good taking all of the epistles into context of the account in Acts. We also started watching the Chosen series and will have to include some review on that in the month to come.

Weather or not, the project was fun! And there was weather. The snow event gave us about a foot of snow total in one weeks time. My back got plenty of work out scooping all the white stuff off the decks and steps. I am glad we have a little skidster to clean the driveway off. I tried to scoop some of that one day and uff dah!

Meanwhile, I am cleaning up after our daughter’s doggy stayed while they vacationed. We are planning to have our little grand-kiddos over this weekend and the floors and surfaces all need a real good “once – over!” It will probably be more like a seventy times seven over. And hopefully Honey does not get into the presents AGAIN!

Christmas was really drug out this time. We started with a new appliances set for our selves beginning around Thanksgiving time. The television came first. The next new thing was the stove/ oven range. And then we installed the microwave with a miniature kitchen remodel. We just moved the cupboard up a whole foot to make room for the microwave above the range top. I love it! And I am getting used to all the newness.

January is almost to the middle. Our daughter’s birthday is this week and I sure hope I get to see her sometime. Not too long ago someone suggested that we have to lower our expectations so that disappointment is not so readily obtained. My whole mindset as a parent was to set the bar high or your kids would not have anywhere to aim. “You know if you try to jump to the moon, you might get over the barn. If you aim only to jump over the fence, you will land in the manure pile.” Well, I decided rather than expect so much of others to be their best, I would just raise the goals for myself! So here is to aiming for the stars this new year. I hope others will see I am expecting better from myself in my relations to others. I will treat the rest of the world like they need all the help that I can give them. May my attitude change be wholistic!

This year I am using I Corinthians 8:6 as my focus verse. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” I learned in the book on Paul that this is the new “Shamma.” The word Shamma itself is about “brain training” or teaching the mind to focus on eternal truth. The prayer itself from the book of Deuteronomy is the centerpiece of the Israelites prayers and this verse should be the centerpiece of the Christian’s prayer.

Training our mind to focus on God’s purpose for our lives is not new. Though it might be new for an individual to do this. For me this verse has taken on new meaning. Time will tell how high I have aimed.

Wonderland

Not that life is extremely busy or anything, but writing has been a little bit “last” on my list lately. Not sure why. I did not even complete the story board that I put together on the dolls in the library. I did take the time to make my garden planning list. But write on the blog…. Just a little preoccupied, I guess.

White Christmas anyone? December is nearly at a close, and Christmas only two days away. We had some really beautiful snows the last couple of weeks. Some of it came with ice and misery. This last week the snow proceeded a deep freeze for the whole country. My heart goes out to all of the people that have to work out in the weather. My nephew is a line man. Electricity is always essential. My brother is a trucker and rancher. I just don’t know how cows and horses can handle those bitter winds. We had to coax our own hobby horse into the barn with some extra oatmeal and such. He was standing on the back side of the chicken coup through all of the weather.

Santa only goes to town… not the country. Not sure how that song ever got so popular. All those little farm kids and country dwellers have never seen a sleigh running across the roof tops. At least the fact that Santa Claus is coming to town has left us with a peaceful and quiet celebration out here in the barn lands. Honey would never let us rest if the man in red ever came to interrupt our slumber.

These two were not caroling this morning when I got the best picture of the year. Eva now 13 years old was not too happy about trudging through the snow behind me. Her poor little legs are so short, she was following directly in my footsteps. Honey who is five years old now was running around in the crazy eights like the inner puppy that she is always. Thank goodness that the cookie training that I have done all year worked well and it only took four photo takes to get the two in their prime.

The frigid temperatures the last few days are hard on everyone. The best way to keep Eva content is something to chew on, so she gets a rawhide chew to keep her in the heated huts. The cats keep her company. This morning only four or five came out to eat. There are eight regulars…. Autumn, Tabitha, Crush, Latte, Lela, Lava, Oliver, and Company left from all the mishaps of the year. It is hilarious that Eva likes to eat with a partner and Company is the one that she often shares her bowl with.

“Cuddly as a cactus?” Perhaps I might actually know what that means now that my house was gifted with a number of the succulents from a neighbor this last fall. The bunny’s ear is going crazy. The Jacobs ladder is nearly tipping over with height. The ugliest one is the alligator or mother of thousands. I put it in the most unpleasant spot for a plant in the house, directly over head of the dog’s cot. And yet it continues to live true to it’s name and there are hundreds of little babies in the soil at it’s base. Some of the family has been about as cuddly this past year also. Still wish I had bought the book when I saw it- “How to Hug a Porcupine.”

What really makes this the most wonderful time of the year? Friends don’t call, the happy family meetings get canceled, loved ones are only seen on face time, kisses under the mistletoe are few and far between. How do we make this Christmas merry when we miss so many traditional things? This year I decided to call some of the people on my phone contact list that I have not talked to in a year of two. That has been the highlight of my days and evenings.

The toys and goodies that make the holidays special for me this year is the new stove that I have waited a number of years for. And we did it up good with a new tv, and a new microwave to go above the stove. So tonight we will have another meal from our store house. We will use our new stove to five a delicious meal and I can be so thankful that we have our needs met once again.

“Way up north where the air is cold”… has been our life this week. But I do not live in a war town country, I have now run to find refuge in another land, I am not searching for a place to sleep tonight, and I have a family who is all well and sound. God has been good to us. Life might feel like a merry-go-round but each year when the holidays come around I can find much to be grateful for.

What does Christmas mean to me? A time to reflect on the past year’s blessings, a time to tell loved ones how much we love them, and a time to give God glory for all the peace that He has brought into our hearts because of His gift to us. So I promise not to get all wrapped up in the trappings, the boxes, and the traditions and miss the Greatest Gift that God has ever givin…

“And the angel said to them, Fear not! For I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” —Luke 2:10-12

How to grow a “worry wart”

Satire on growth of an ulcer. The best advice I heard from a blind man was “If you can’t look in the mirror and laugh at yourself, then you have a problem.” Even then, looking at yourself might be more of a challenge. Introspection is the key.

One: Have a family that gives advice instead of encouragement. And then I thought, How much do I give a good word? So I got on the phone and found someone that might actually encourage me. It wasn’t family, sad to say. Years ago, we made decisions based on our “family.” We moved closer to extended family so that our daughters would know their grand parents. We left many close friends behind, but distance has not lessened the ties. Thank goodness many of these friends are still “close” at heart. Many of you, I am sure have families that have developed divisions and “rifts” that the past few years have seemed to accentuate. Mine has also. And unfortunately while many of us are trying to move on, the old battles still get brought up time and again. Then I look to those who have lost siblings these last few years. They would do anything to have one more “row” about some stupid divisive thing.

Two: Live in the country when you are blind. Yep, we still live with move than a mile to the closest neighbor. I’m not sure why that seems to be such a problem. But out here in the country, there are some that simply won’t “go the extra mile.” So, here I sit… Last year I tried to create a reason to get into town and spend time with people. The drought kept the garden on lock down, and we did not make it to the market more than twice. Also, there were times when I wanted to get out of dodge on the farm, and I knew that my husband had spend all week gone, simply wanted to stay home. Our unity of need has gone polar express. So while I desperately want to get off the farm, he simply wants to stay home and avoid the “kind of people that he spend all week working” with. Well, aren’t we a find kettle of fish? He’s the garlic and onions, and I’m the tilapia (in case you wanted to know).

Three: Have children and grandchildren along with aging parents. While any one of the three might make one’s hair go silver, Having all three at the moment in time certainly adds to the stress. Our Parents that are turning into toddlers and keys, and stoves need to be removed from grasp. Toddlers that jump off the backs of sofas and then slide across wooden tables, only to take out the sibling, or the lamp in flight really turn up the heat on the anxiety. Then there are adult children that seem to be returning to the rebellious teenage years though they are married and somewhat responsible career holders. What’s next? Could we just not have another life event “Derecho” and everything on the house and out buildings need to be replaced.

Four: Grow a garden in a drought. Yes, it’s true, our corner of the state set record level drought recordings. And rural water can’t make up for the rain that never fell. Nothing really grew well at all. We do have a plan for keeping the water in the soil better next year. More mulch-tastic ideas coming right up. From leaves, to straw to whatever else we can pile on there. And the size of the garden will be just about as reduced in volume as last year. The cipboards are not bare, so don’t worry. We have enough to eat here.

Five: Have an auto immune disorder that reverberates through your life even though there are “known” cures and helps. So yes, I had ITP for about twelve years. Took prednisone ans such until the spleen was yanked out. Then through the years my immune system has been over taxed many times so more steroids. Finally, a recent discovery that some new allergies had developed made my life change much. At least knowing what allergies I have, makes it a much better guess when choosing off the menu. Allergies can be very serious and life threatening. Scary. Not fun. At least most of my Outdoor allergies are much more manageable.

Six: develop food anxiety because of food allergies. I carry an EPI pen now. And it has been used this past fall. So when I eat food that other people fix, there is a “nag” in the back of my mind for at least fifteen to twenty minutes after the meal. Will I be okay, or do I need to keep the pen handy? However, even just recently I made something for myself and found out that the tin containing the whole wheat flour had been tainted with flour containing barley. That was a rough couple of days. So I have to admit that my diet has not been very good or consistent that last few months.

Seven: Have insomnia for five years or more. Lack of sleep is the best cultivator for an ulcer. Because I do not sleep well, (it’s kind of this hyper awake incredibly aware listening mode) it has made me rather tired. Brain fog is not even a strong enough name for the feeling you get that you are sleep walking all day. LOTS of coffee does not even help. I tried the… well….Those pills did not do me any favors. Summer time busy is a better plan. But winter? I need a gym within walking distance. Haha. So, yeah, coffeee and strong coffee is really bad for the stomach.

Eight: Live in a wold where social media is a prime communication tool. We have all experienced some bad thing on social media if we admit it. Finding out about engagements, babies, family deaths, you name it. When is the world going to go back to good old kitchen table gossip? If you don’t actually talk to the relatives yourself, there is nothing to care about. It feels like the populace has all gone into the “grey rock” mode of relationships. We can talk about the weather, the sky, the new car, but don’t ever tell anyone that we have food anxiety because of allergies. No, no, no….

Nine: Drink coffee by the potful to help stay awake. Maybe I mentioned that one already? Well, you know. When you love coffee and you drink a pot full before breakfast, that’s a problem. Just saying. Try starting the day with water. If you get heartburn so bad that you can’t eat your oatmeal? It’s an ulcer.

Ten: Get heartburn that dictates your meals or lack thereof. I did not know that my bird picking appetite was really the sign of a rooted and growing ulcer. Yes, bird picking. I ate every two hours, just a little bit. Because I am too close to the fridge and the cookie jar, picking at my meals was pretty easy to do. Now, I am force feeding myself the recommended foods on the “heal my stomach-starve the ulcer” diet. As if my food list was limited before, the next two weeks will really be limited. And with the holidays coming up, there might be some cans of chicken noodle soup in the back pack ready to substitute. It’s a good thing I like chicken noodle soup. Hey and those books are pretty good too! Except most of the stories are tear jerkers.

How to grow a worry wart? Plan the seed with insomnia, food allergies, and going blind anxiety. That’s some pretty fertile soil there. Water the ulcer with coffee, black tea, and frequent snacks. Feed the worry wart with more food anxieties, relationship struggles, friendship failures, and family bickering. Don’t forget to shed some light on the little wart with some enlightened political debates, social media discouragement, and silent cell phones. And finally, the best thing of all for the worry wart? Don’t let sleep get in your way.

Girl in the Glass

The looking glass V

Or perhaps “Girl in the Glass at One”. Is the appropriate title. Today is one of those days when we want to capture every moment, and not forget a single happening. My first thought upon waking was “no test messages,”. Then, it’s this little gems birthday. So I got out the video app and looked every one year old’s favorite singer… Elmo.

We had a video conference soon and I think she had more pleasure watching me do morning chores and feed all of the furries. Elmo seemed a little over-the-top for her little mind. Of course, I attempted to sing the greetings also. She has the most enjoyable little giggle. Her “acting” out the giggle is not fake at this age, it’s just how a one year old learns.

Meanwhile, the other day when I was there for a visit, I was able to capture this little play actreess in her element. She loves her sister’s makeup stand. And there is not one day that she does not spend quite a time at the mirror studying her “Beautiful” reflection. I am sure I heard her declare after a makeup session, “Oh, well that the items are all pretend, I am just as beautiful before all those things as I am after. Beauty is as beauty does!” I mean, she did jabber something that sounded like that…

Self image begins at such an early age these days. Little ones see their faces in the phone pictures, the video calls, and the mirror so much. The images that they see shape their sense of the world, self, and so much more. I wonder at the memories that we are creating as we face time and such. Distance may be shortened by the calls, but the moments are still far and few between every day reality.

The girl in the glass of my memory goes back to my nearly one year old self. The neighbor boys had come over to a game of “kick the can.” A version of hacky sack that involed an empty soup or juice can. Quite dangerous actually. And not the can, but another youngster (we won’t name names, but my elder sister by a bit) decided to try her hand at rock throwing. Little kids and rocks are such a magnet. Anyways back to the mirror…

My earliest memory of self is skewed by the reverse image in the mirror. The old brown towel catching the blood dribbling down my face is to this day on the wrong side. Though I know now that the scar is on the left, my understanding the “reverse” was not there and looking at others is not a reverse… If I look at you and we shake hands, your right and my right are opposite sides. If I look in the mirror my right is on the same side, The same goes for dance line learning. Dance moves taught from the front of the sting are done in the reverse. I never could move right and tell kids to move left. (No Christmas program action moves for me!)

Anyways, I have to think hard about which side my scar is on because of the mirror in the car. Yes, even back then we had mirrors on the back side of the visor. Though we won’t discuss the fact that I was not in a care seat, and that I was clearly standing up in the seat to look in the mirror and see the blood trickle down my cheek. And the voice of my mother, “put that towel back up there, or you’ll get blood all over the car.” Wasn’t there blood all over my shirt anyways?

The memory of the mirror is so vivid.

I wonder if my little grand daughter will remember her sister’s makeup play stand. I wonder If she will still see herself beautiful through the years as she looks into the mirror. Most days, I dodn’t even think about my marred eyebrow. Some days, I forget to look in the mirror.

Then, I think of those relatives I know who no longer see their image. The eyes have dimmed, the reflection has disappeared. Do we still see ourselves beautiful when the image no longer speaks to us?

So, here’s to that beautiful little one year old today. May happiness be yours as you look into the image that reflects the uniqueness of a Mighty Creator. May you see yourself beautiful all the days that He has for you!

And from now on…

Today the truck traffic on the road is constant. It makes me feel as though I live next to the interstate. They must be topping a local county road with tar and rock. A week ago on our motorcycle outing we found one of the recent toppings and had to take a different route home. The rock is just to slippery. I thought they had changed tactics recently and put rock then tar. But apperentyly one county does it the old way.

Fall is headed our way. The vegetable garden is a disaster. With the drought and the bugs, there is simply not much to harvest. Living in the country with the the insect population sometimes makes us want to just give up. Many of our country cousins have done just that. This year it is grasshoppers and drought ONE and garden ZERO. We have tried to look at the bright sight. But even the flowers are fighting for existence.

My allergies are later on arrival this year. Thank goodness. The headaches and asthma are minimal compared to past years. More vegetables and less of my actual irritants has helped. (Found out that allergy to potato, barley, and almond makes for a limited diet.). I have only had one scary reaction this month. I count that as success. Honey has not had to be on the alert near as much. She’s probably getting out of practice. Might have to stage a training session.

This week we celebrated a special 90th birthday. It was great to see everyone come out and give well wishes. There is also a old neighbor’s funeral this week. Much of the fond memories that we cling to is all of the generous personalities of others. I am buoyed by the show of neighborly giving that I see among these two lives. From the youthful days of each woman’s servitude to the elderly days of others coming alongside to take up the reins. Watching the blessings return is so special.

With the end of one month and the start of another, school is under way around the region. August either rolls into September or blows into fall. And from now on there are a number of significant birthdays to celebrate. Both of our parent sets have fall birthdays. I feel like the odd ball out in that region. (Mine is in spring.). Along with the fall birthdays, however another set of memories come flooding back

Harvest and the end of the growing season has filled the last twenty years with many blessings. Previous to that the second miscarriage loss would flood my mind about this time of year. It happened in our country house in Iowa. I have very clear visions of the day. I was standing in the kitchen when I heard the audible voice of a little girl call out “Mama…”. I replied “what is it honey?” Before even trying to look and see if it was one of my daughters standing there. When the voice replied, “I came to get my little brother.” I felt the wind get knocked out of me as a stomach cramp like no other socked me in the middle. I turned around and slid to the floor crying as I knew exactly what was about to happen. The vision that came to my spirit next while my hands buried my face in my knees was of a little girl skipping through the prairie grass and flowers holding on to the nad of her little tow headed brother. The tears and the pain were so real.

Unfortunately that was a Friday and even by Sunday the clot had not passed. I was having labor pains this time and the tears just would not stop. Sunday the family was supposed to have a birthday party for grandfather and I ended up staying home. Finally after the late afternoon things were looking better. This time however the miscarriage had hid me so hard. We knew this time we would need to wait at least 6-9 months before another attempt.

Every one looks at the hope of spring differently. For me back then it was possibility of perhaps having a third child. Both my husband and I are third children. So we have a special fondness for any child who is either an “oops” third or a “planned” third. I never in my growing up years knew a family with only two kids. That seemed so empty to me.

Praise my two daughters filled our house to the full with their love for music that followed those early parenting years. The “fullness” of those years was such a privilege. I never wanted to complain about my girls to other people. (However, some people took my positive look at my girls as a -negative- and thought that I was being boastful. It was hard for me to hear the awful things people said about their greatest blessings.)

So there, that’s the story of the second little dreamer in my library. Little Dillan plum tuckered out on the rocking horse. Now that I have grand children who laugh and giggle with each other, it’s not hard for me to imagine little Nora and little Dillan sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his stories and giggling as He scoops them up and kisses them rubbing his whiskery chin on their little necks.

Thus far

Struggle bus rather than sleeping is one of my common life challenges. So the other night when my brain took off on it’s highway robbery, I found myself thinking about all these things once again. Setting up stones…. Our acreage is full of really large rocks. Many of them were picked up from the fields around and placed in the “rock pile.” Once years ago, someone lined the driveway with the rocks to keep drivers off of the lawn. My father-in-law still hates to see the rocks even in landscaping. My preference is to put them into the landscape and garden areas, rather than a pile that grows weeds and trees.

Not many people know what an Ebenezer stone is. Or even have ever heard of such a thing. Milestones are more commonly recognized, like growing and walking, driving, graduations, etc. Middle of the night statue building and laying stone walls while sleeping? Never.

My favorite Bible verse is from I Samuel 7:12, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name [a]Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” What makes this verse a Milestone Marker for me? The idea that one thing is ending and another beginning has always intrigued me. Marking transitions in life, whether they be new jobs, careers, or life changes is important. But most important is recognizing how you got there and how you will accomplish the next. “Thus far the Lord has helped us!”

New phones are never easy for the visually challenged. But for me, I simply put the new one down and it takes weeks rather than days to learn everything. We get use to doing things a certain way, and when that way “expires” life moves on in a different manner. Sometimes rather slowly.

Brain fog that follows a sleepless night is probably the worst The ability to function well and do anything with precision is hard. So I spend the majority of the time crocheting some pattern that is very repetitive. The past two weeks I finally finished my virus stitch shawl that I started two years ago. It is quite beautiful. And yes, it makes me look like I was born in the wrong century. I don’t care. I love making and wearing shawls

This little area of the yard is passed by daily. It is very strongly and “Ebenezer” for me. “The bridge that once was…. “. Has such a story. The wood was once a fort over the sandbox, then the fort in the trees, and now the bridge on it’s own island (haha). The wheel was found in the lilac bushes. The only wagon wheel we found on the place so far. The basket that came from my sister’s driver’s mother’s attic. The stones that were brought in years earlier from the field. Each piece has it’s own history. Then there is the tree stump planter we just made from one of the sixty plus year old trees in the grove that are falling one by one. This year being three years into drought, many of the trees are simply hallow and tired of standing up.

“Thus far…”. Birthday celebrations are in the works for both of our moms this year. My mother at eighty and his mom at ninety. Celebrating life is so important. “The Lord has helped us”. We can see the elderly living this even more so than ourselves. For them, it is sometimes hourly that the Lord helps them. Each day holds it’s own Ebenezer as they march from sunrise to sunset. Waking each morning requires a call to the Lord for help just to rise out of the sleeping chamber. Of course it is because of the tale of Christmas and Ebenezer Scrooge that many of us think of old as grouchy. But sometimes I make a mental list of all the challenges our mothers face each day just to remind myself that my milestones are few.

Last night I survived an allergic reaction without an EpiPen. And we made a symptom checker that told us “NEXT TIME” these things occur, it is time for the epinephrine. . It was rather scary, and though I new something was not right, it did not occur to me at the time that it was an allergic reaction. Now I know. Thus far the Lord has helped me, but my husband says, next time the Lord will have to remind us to use the EpiPen!

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)