God with Us

Have patience with me.  I’m going through some stuff.  I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but I have no idea how to sugar coat how hard it’s been.

Like always, I’ll just write my way through it.  Many dear friends have been asking how I’ve been doing since David’s new diet that restricts several foods and put my world upside down.  I’m not sure how to respond.  The rhythm of my day looks kind of like this:




freak out on everyone.

guilt.  apologies.


yell at everyone, over everything.

guilt.  apologies.  numb.

You get the idea.

Last friday, it was chicken butchering day.  A team of butchers came out to our farm and Knut and his cousin were busy helping them outside, and I was busy inside with the kids, and swatting the 186 flies that had come into my kitchen the day before as Knut was working on fixing the rotted front door frame, and let a bunch of flies in.  All day on Friday, as I went around, swatting flies, my chest just hurt.  It was a physical hurt, and one I’m familiar enough to know what it means.  It meant my anxiety was not in control, and a panic attack was looming.  That made me fear, which made the pain worse.  It’s how this whole anxiety cycle works.  Some of you know exactly what I mean.

My go-to in managing this chest pain is some medicinal tea which works the majority of the time.  I have tried several things, and this is what works.  I was drinking cup after cup after cup of this tea and I couldn’t shake it.  Swat!!  Slap!!  Flies were everywhere.

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IMG_3249There’s a thought that’s been circling around in my head the last few weeks, perhaps longer, about dependence.  I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess this is an especially big problem in America.  I think it’s rooted in the idea of charity or welfare, and our destain for it.  We don’t mind giving charity as long as it’s temporary, with measurable improvement.  We don’t mind welfare as long as we are certain that the recipients are worthy, and it’s temporary.  (Emphasis on “temporary.”)  We want them to be working to get out of welfare.

And yet, this post isn’t about welfare or charity.  Though I could easily follow this rabbit trail for a few thousand words.  This post is about how we let our view of them effect our view of dependence on a very, very personal level.

I was sitting on my porch the other day, looking out over our yard and watching the kids ride bike and chase the dogs.  I was thinking about how I’ve needed God so much these last few years since my car accident.  I’ve been so very dependent.  I haven’t always been able to get food on the table, and God provided.  I didn’t always have childcare for my doctor appointments.  God provided.  Sometimes I would walk into an appointment, not knowing what my kids would do in the waiting room by themselves but I was literally left with no other choice, and one of my friends would be waiting for me there at the office, saying she just felt I needed her that day.

My work ethic, patience, pain tolerance, teaching ability has essentially been broken and I’ve been left with no other choice to depend on God for very, very practical needs.  As my strength has been improving these last months with some physical therapy, and continued treatment, I finally see light at the end of the tunnel that it won’t always be this way.  I will be myself again.

I won’t need God so much.

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I’m Blessed

Good Morning, Friends.

We had such a good weekend.  Knut and his family finished planting the corn, and they are onto the soy beans.  The weather could not be any more obliging for planting season.  This means we see very little of Knut.  Of course, I didn’t get my garden in last week like I had planned, but the garden prep is going well.  It feels late because of this glorious weather, but in fact I’m still early.  I’m trying hard to not let it mess with my head.  It’s that time of year where there is massive amounts of work all around me that will likely take all summer to mostly complete.  It can either be exciting and inspiring, like a blank slate, or overwhelming like an army of grass invading on every side.

Speaking of armies of grass, the kids and I have named our gardens.  I told David as he was helping me prep the “old garden” that this area was actually the country of “Gardentopia” and it was being invaded in a brutal war from the country of the grasslands.  We were soldiers sent to fight for the territory of Gardentopia.  The kids liked that.

The kids really liked this story, so we had to come up with a name for “the new garden” which are the French style beds that we added near the chicken coop last year.  I named that country “Versailles” after the famous palace just outside of Paris with it’s vast gardens.  Elias really wanted to name a garden “Bloom” so that is the name of our front flower bed.  The country of Bloom is in really bad shape in it’s war against the grasslands.  However, we must fight for Gardentopia first, because we have a vested interest in that country because of it’s export of vegetables which takes priority over Bloom which has an expert of flowers, though I plan on putting all my herbs there this year, so it’s not like it’s just completely frivolous.  Once martial law has a firm hold of Gardentopia and Versailles, we will turn our forces to Bloom.

As you can tell, we’ve been having some fun.  But I’m totally not showing you pictures of the garden yet.  I can’t bear to.  It’s too depressing.  I do not want to record and remember how slow it is going.

I am so relieved to be done with April.  It was far too busy, and I feel so ragged from it.  May promises to be extremely busy, but just a hair less.  At least I hope.  Those are famous last words.

This last weekend we got to grill hot dogs and vegetables.  I had a playdate with one of my best friends who I never get to see because she’s even busier than even me, but she’s one of those people who you feel is just like balm for your soul.  I don’t have to carefully word my conversation around her, or wonder if she is secretly judging me.  And every time I meet with her, I feel like she pushed me more towards Christ.  I feel uplifted, and full of hope.  I know she’s probably not aware that she even does this for me, but she is the definition of a kindred spirit.

Sigh.  I haven’t always had a friend like this, with so many years of feeling completely lonely, it makes me feel the weight of the blessing of having even one friend like this.

I’m Blessed (Affirmations)

The weather is simply gorgeous.  Knut’s parents invited us over last night to their house overlooking this lake, and the kids got to go canoeing and kayaking on the fine, fine day.  I stayed home on Saturday and got as many things done for this week as I could, but then I realized yesterday when I looked at the forecast that we have a gorgeous week ahead of us, and you know what that means…
I’m going to be in the garden this week.
There’s already weeds growing in my garden folks.  Already.  
I haven’t even…  
I just can’t…
This is so not fair.
Just give me a chance, this year alright?  I’m trying to move towards a no-till, mulching type garden, similar to “Back to Eden” gardening as it’s being termed.  My garden is so obviously in desperate need of it.  I’m honestly a little afraid.  I’m afraid of physical labor.  Last year was my best gardening year ever, but I’m still nervous.  My injury is like a shadow standing over me saying, “If you do that, you will hurt.  You won’t be able to move for days.  You will be stuck just putting on the t.v. for your kids and snapping at them for 2 weeks.  Go ahead.  Put in seeds.  Move some mulch.  Wield that wheelbarrow.  You’ll regret it.”
Having experienced chronic pain from a car accident, even though it’s slowly getting to a place of being managed now… it leaves an impression of fear.  I’m not sure what is more crippling some days: the pain, or the fear of pain.  
I could give up.  I don’t have to garden.  There are grocery stores near us.  But I love it.  I love the fresh food for my family.  Our whole budget revolves around it.  Our health is managed through it.  I could list 1,000 reasons I press on.
Mostly, though, I press on because I refuse to live in fear.  Well, I can’t say that.  Sometimes I’m just afraid and I can’t control that.  I refuse to let fear make decisions for me.  I refuse to live by fear.  I don’t want to run my life according to fear.  This pain will not steal my life.
I’m an overcomer.  I am not a victim.
(Hear the need to pump myself up in my words?  I’m saying this to myself people.)
I’ll start small.  I’ll prune back the raspberries, and make space for the asparagus to come in.  I’ll weed and mulch the cutting flowers in the old garden, and…maybe we’ll just start there today.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll be ready to put some seeds in the ground.  We’ll see.  I’ll bring my kids alongside to help.  I’ll be wise and listen to my body. I have worked up to a mile on the elliptical at the YMCA and I’m doing my physical therapy.  I can feel my muscles getting stronger.  
This is going to be the best gardening year ever. 
I’m blessed.