I was busily teaching Shakespeare to my son about two and a half years back and blinded with chronic pain with a severity level that was incomprehensible to me. My arms and body literally were shaking from the pain of unhealed acid reflux, throat and esophageal spasms and other various severe symptoms. While we joked around with the famous quote: "To be or not to be–that is the question!" I was full throttle trying to escape the pain I was in, and Hamlet’s lines to me became part of my life story. I planned, I plotted and I contemplated my choices. I wished I could say that my faith held strong and constant, but truthfully it was tested and the relentlessness and knowledge of very little pain control in my future tore at me.
So many with chronic pain understand this place; this is a place of struggle and inability to rise above real physical circumstances and is quite to be expected. It is not a place of shame or blame, but simply a place where our resources are not enough to with stand the pain, which in my case was mostly physical, though it did surface after a period of personal loss. I still don’t understand all the "whys" and all the suffering present on earth in my loved ones or myself. Though hope and healing to me now are in the resilience of continuing on in the journey with God when the answers do not come, and it is found especially in this place of darkness of not knowing all. Some times I think it’s simply all about what God has to offer during the suffering, rather than healing. His love is extravagant, but I do believe He is much more interested in our souls then our temporary temples.
I learned that the Light may dim, but will never, ever, go out. The very worst of my darkness lifted a while back, but I do naturally struggle at times when pain and symptoms progress or uncertainty rears it’s ugly head. I’m happy to say that these times are less and are fleeting, that I know God is present and has imparted hope to me, and although I may be fragile at times I’m much stronger in several ways now. My physical suffering is worse, but my mind and spirit are rejoicing in Truth and in the shared experience of others who understand and have walked this same road. It is their brave testimonies that have helped me understand the Holy Spirit’s continued goodness and our worth in His sight. I know now that I can experience love and life during the pain which is just one part of me, not who I am. Thus, the reason why I am beginning to share as I have found that there is much power released in the Spirit through transparency and it is like a chain reaction of love, this lifting one another up.
I also offer this song by Natalie Grant, In Better Hands Now, as I listen to it almost daily amongst my eclectic mix, as it encourages me. I choose this particular video of it as if you look closely, there is a little girl with brownish-red long hair in a field. The lyrics there say "I am safe" and upon viewing it the first time, it took my breath away as though it was me back in time. My fields were my safe place as a child and a place that still remain a refuge of renewal and peace for me today. That clip really warms my heart and also reminds me of my sister and my sister-cousin whom spent our childhoods together roaming in our fields, which were really our safe playground together. "To be" is really all that is for me and now is no longer a question.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I'm certain by now if you are seeing this you may be getting *really* tired of our bunnies, but I'm not. This is us loving on them on a good day--a "no doctor visit" kind of day. Little One is holding Tina and I've got Cuddles and you see when you name them is when the truth begins to take hold. By that I mean I think they are staying right here rather than leaving, so us girls are in a bit of trouble and seem to need another double hutch, unless we can find some homes that we can TRUST will take the finest care of my babies and soon.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I had a hard time waiting until "Wednesday Photo" day to post this one. First of all, I'm anticipating a really busy and challenging week. Also I'm aware that it officially will be spring, on the calendar at least, very soon. So, I thought I'd share one of my special fields with you. I have many that I go to for gathering up quiet moments, but this one is actually across the road from me and is very special even though it is not my own. I affectionately refer to it as "my" peace field and it is so soothing at sunset. I am notorious for slipping away from the house without anyone knowing and fleeing to this little refuge. I'm not quite sure what any of the neighbors think when they see me there leaning on that top railing with my arms and supporting my head and I gaze outward for a good half hour or so a few times a week, but it is renewing to me. I often think of it as my own personal Meeting for Worship place. Therefore these words come to mind:
"Be still and cool in mind and spirit from your own thoughts. Then you will feel the principle of God turn your mind to the Lord God." (Fox 1658)
Monday, March 9, 2009
My diet includes copious amounts of fruits and vegetables and I am constantly searching for ways to entice my children to share in this habit. It’s not going well, but this is one of our success stories. Every year, though my girls are getting older they still want to do a "winter garden" project for part of their science class and I thought I better post this before it is officially spring. It’s very simple, as we just purchase any available root vegetables locally such as turnips, parsnips, carrots, yams and rutabagas.
We gather clear glass bowls, toothpicks and cut off the tops of the vegetables. Next they get placed in the separate bowls using the toothpicks to hold them up level with the water underneath. We observe the changes of green foliage sprouting upward and those that take root downward into the water. It’s interesting to note the differences and some years we really feel like they are over taking our windowsill like a jungle, they grow so fast. I have the girls draw and report their observations for 3-4 weeks.
As to not waste any remaining vegetables, we always peel, cut and wash the rest and roast them for dinner. It’s interesting how when kids are involved in the project they seem to be a bit more likely to eat them. We sprinkle the vegetables with a good amount of olive oil, sea salt, dill and parsley. Any seasonings you wish would work and we bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. I usually add a few white potatoes to the mix to mellow out the stronger tasting vegetables.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The growth of bunnies is just so fun to watch, as every day there are changes that are observable even to the most active child who cannot stop twirling around the pen, which seems to be in our kitchen right now. We are having a real cold snap here with temperatures in the single digits, so they were moved from the hutch, to a pen in the barn and now that pen is in the middle of my kitchen. Let me just say, I am allergic to them, and the cedar chips in their pen are even worse. I have to admit, it's worth it to me to watch this stage. The first photo shows their eyes just opening into little slits on day seven. At that time, they began to venture out of the nest, but still returned back in and burrowed for warmth. By day nine their eyes were wide open and they wobbled around the pen a bit more, but always coming back to one another, as if they were inseparable twins. The last photo, is day 10 and you can see they are picking up weight, which is fascinating as the doe only nurses once or twice per day. Today is day thirteen and we have been thoroughly entertained yesterday and today, as while they still wobble a bit, they are hopping all over the pen and landing in their momma's food bowl and doing all sorts of antics. They no longer need their nest, but sleep together for warmth. Mother rabbits are not as nurturing as I've observed cats or dogs to be at all, but like their freedom and a good break to run around outside of their pens. It's fairly safe to say that the little siblings are quite co-dependant and it is so sweet to watch! Only about 4-6 more weeks until they can be separated from the mother to be given away. The bargaining conversations have begun already.........