Thursday, January 24, 2013

Regret, part 2

The story began in the blog post on January 17, Can One Regret a Prayer?

Dealing with the hospitalization, her injuries, and healing were a profound experience for me. I treasured the fierce mother love it rekindled. The outpouring of concern and care cascaded over me like a waterfall.  The whole ordeal excavated my faith to bedrock. I cherish those blessings.

As for Susanna, she came out of the coma with some jumbled word recall, and temporary lack of inhibition. Sometimes the results were funny. Late one night nurses called us to come calm her down. She had repeatedly punched in random numbers on the telephone trying to reach us. 

Each day she made noticeable progress toward nearly-complete recovery. Within a few weeks she was back home. Within a couple of months she was able to return to school, and shortly later could resume driving.

Of course I regret that Susanna was injured. I wish I’d learned those lessons in some other way that didn’t involve pain and suffering for my loved one.  

Did she discover treasure in the affliction?   She persevered when she mastered skills and strategies to tackle the new learning difficulties. She eventually graduated from college and found a job she enjoys and is successful doing. She’s commented on some lessons learned. She believes that the changes in her plans for college put her in the right place to meet her husband and subsequently create their loving family.

 I can see an additional benefit.  Her temper is slower to ignite, and the fireworks aren't as spectacular or prolonged as they once were. She’s less judgmental of others since she’s had to struggle with her own cognitive changes. 

At some point after the hurricane of hospitalization, therapies and support groups I thought back to my original prayer. I knew God well enough to know He hadn't caused this adversity to answer my misguided request. I repented of words that flippantly seemed to ask for trouble. 

Do I regret my prayer?  No, because I do not believe it moved God's hand to cause a disaster. Rather, I detect evidence He lovingly cared for us in spite of my request. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Can one regret a prayer?

The morning my eighteen year old daughter left Colorado on a road trip with her friend W, I told them to wear their seat belts.  Susanna and I stood in the street behind the tightly packed car. The girls promised to call from Montana, their first stop. I kissed my daughter and they drove away.

Susanna and I today
I stood in the street and asked God to use the trip to get Susanna's attention.  

This may seem like a strange prayer. But my deepest desire was that Susanna encounter God in some way on this trip. I wanted her to turn to Him for guidance and make a wise choice for college. I wanted Him to woo her into a faith relationship. 

I also knew that I had sought that relationship when life seemed to take control out of my hands. In my way of thinking, getting her attention would most likely involve some difficulty. But I didn’t want catastrophe, so I irreverently amended the request: "Don't kill her in the process."

Before the day ended an accident catapulted Susanna from the little station wagon. The injuries left her in a coma for fourteen precarious days.

God got my attention.

While she was unconscious but healing, I catalogued innumerable mercies. Even though the girls traveled a typically deserted Montana highway, a state patrolman had been near enough to see the dust the rollover raised. 

Despite small cracks in her spinal column she could move her arms and legs. Although she didn't open her eyes or speak, she lifted a finger when her dad asked if she could hear him. 

So many of our needs were generously supplied. The Ronald McDonald House had space for me to live while she was hospitalized. Loved ones deluged us with long distance calls, cards, and flowers.  Our church raised money to help pay for uncovered costs. 

Hospital staff went out of their way to encourage me. Following their advice I kept a journal and made time to be away from the hospital.  One evening I attended an Alison Krause concert.  When she sang "I'd rather be in the palm of His hand..." I felt like the song had been chosen for me. be continued next week

Have you seen God's mercy during a crisis? Encourage us with a short comment about your experience.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Crazed Motherhood

There are many times in a child’s life when parenting can be frenzied, and the torment seems never-ending.

Truly, a screaming infant is a severe test of patience and endurance. But it usually doesn’t last more than a few months. 

Likewise, changing diapers can push a frazzled mom’s buttons. Particularly if there are two in diapers! I once told my nearly three year old grandson that I thought we were done with messy diapers! He looked hurt. “Grandma, I’m only a little kid.” 

a crazed mom
But the longest-lived, most trying child behavior is when siblings fight. I don’t have an explanation for it.  Normally delightful kids can get cranked up for accusations, unkind remarks, intentionally hurting their brother’s feelings, and disagreeing about ridiculous things.

I knew I had reached the point of crazed motherhood on a particular afternoon when my girls were 5 and 8. 

I picked them up from school and we were ten minutes into the drive when the bickering started. It was low-level at first, and I could ignore them. I didn’t even know what the issue was. 

They escalated to louder voices, the younger one claiming “it” was unfair! She whined. I focused. What was unfair?

The older one tried to out-shout her little sister. She refused to share. I looked at them from the rearview mirror. The seat was empty, except for their two bodies. What was there to share?

Sarah indignantly announced “I don’t have to share my cookies with you!”

 My ears rang, their wrangling was out of control. But I was no more reasonable than they. I had reached the state of crazed motherhood.

“Oh for crying out loud, give your sister a cookie!” I shouted over them. 

They were silent. Maybe they understood the absurdity at the same moment I recognized it.

The last few blocks were devoid of conflict. But I had a doozy of an internal dispute to settle about my own behavior. Did they learn such nonsense, and meanness from me? Did they see their dad and I carry on in a similar way? What would a mature, loving response had looked like? 

It was a pattern of behavior with them that didn’t stop there. By late elementary school I was so tired of it I scoured the library for self-help parenting resources. One suggested that if unreasonable squabbles while driving could not be stopped with a warning, the car should be pulled over at a safe place near the home, and the children ejected to finish the trip home on foot.

Like a hunter on a big game trail I waited for an opportunity. The weather wasn’t too cold. We were within a few blocks of the house. They knew their way home. I warned them of the consequence of continued conflict. They didn’t stop. We put them out at the side of the road, and told them we’d see them at home. We knew they were home safely when the front door slammed and they stomped upstairs.

It never took more than a warning after that to stop car-contained caterwauling. 

Since then parenting experts have defined the problem more clearly and proposed effective solutions to replace my desperate measure. 

Read here, 6 Ways to Stop Sibling Fighting, which explains common reasons for the fracas.

And a blog Family Matters by Britain's super nanny has practical suggestions. 

You don't have to be a crazy mom - there's help at hand.

If you have other ideas that have reduced the friction between your kids, please share them. Or, if you're willing to share your own crazed moment, I wouldn't feel like such a fool!  

Thanks to the following blog for the "hair raising" photo.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How Gardeners Cope with Winter

We're turning the seasonal corner. 

It’s 5:10 p.m. and the orangey pink sun is at the horizon. We had daylight today for 9 hours and 45 minutes. That’s only four minutes longer than the shortest day of the year, but to me, it’s noticeable.  At the end of this month, the day will be 37 minutes longer, and at the end of February, it will be 1 hour and 41 minutes longer. Hooray! 

Still, winter lasts too long. I find it too unpleasant to be out in the garden even though the weeds seem to be spreading just fine.

HOWEVER, I have coldframes. They are situated to catch the sun as it moves low in the sky. Inside the frames it can get around 70, and my lettuce loves it!  So even when we have night time temperatures into the high 20’s, my lettuce thrives. 

I grow several varieties. I tried a romaine type this year, which grows fast and thick, but has a slightly bitter taste. I threw in some lettuces mixes, which are less prolific, but tastier.

 Of course I enjoy picking fresh lettuce. The real value for me, though, is knowing I am growing it in spite of winter. It’s like tricking nature. And it gives me a sliver-wide outlet for my gardening passion.

Dreaming also keeps me hanging on through these bleak months. This is the time of year I get a new seed catalog everyday.

I pick out my favorite varieties, and then look for something new to try. Last year’s newbie was a lemon cucumber. It grows round and yellow and had a delicious mild flavor. We ate them fresh and used the abundance for refrigerator pickles. 

Here’s a link to UpBeet Living, a blog with a couple of recipes for using the lemon cucumbers.

You can buy the seeds from  Burpee , Territorial Seed and Johnny's Seeds . I mention these because I buy from all three companies. I have found them reliable and moderately priced. 

How else do you cope with winter when you're longing for spring?

What new vegetable are you going to put in your garden this year? What did you try last year? 

Share! Share! We want new ideas.