Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The opening

I have lived a bell curve in my adult life. I moved from my family home into a home with friends and eventually to a home with my first husband. We teetered along a very bumpy path never really getting above the poverty line. We divorced after nine years and three children.

For a couple of years the children and I maintained a bumpy path but with more direction. Then I began dating a man of humble background but more financial stability. We married and for the first time in my life I was not living below the poverty line. We eventually became affluent, though it never felt rich. Money was no longer something I sweated bullets about every week. We had three more children and were doing gardening and chicken experiments. We, thankfully, didn’t have to rely on our efforts to survive at this stage. We owned 20 acres broken up into woods, two flat pasture-like areas and hill and field back to small woods. The land had been sucked dry by the previous owner. My husband bought the property about 5 years before we met. It had sat fallow for those 5 years recovering slowly from the abuse it had endured. We didn’t have knowledge or awareness of permaculture when we decided to build on this piece of land. So we made mistakes. We are working to make adjustments to those and move on. The first thing to learn is to forgive yourself for the ignorance. We had much forgiveness to slog through.

When you realize life is a journey and you are constantly moving to more knowledgeable place, you can more easily forgive the missteps and rest stops along the way.

We took rest stops when things didn’t work. Like when it felt like all we could grow was potatoes and squash – summer types. Nothing else lived or even came up. Some things were eaten by animals, some things just never sprouted and others died of drought or lack of care.

We started and stopped raising chickens several times. As a result we have many funny chicken stories. We learned what we did and did not want in a chicken. A very valuable thing to know. A good reason to encourage – just start – somewhere ! – it doesn’t matter where.

I am much more secure in my journey down the bell curve. What I hope we can do is teach enough people so that others can travel a smoother road down the world’s bell curve. My hope is that by telling our story we may ease you past or comfort you in those rest stops that happen along the way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Wonderful Day!

I had a great Saturday! My dh and I spent a day off the farm with adults! It was wonderful. We went to a Sustainability conference at the Pierce Institute in Hastings MI. The feature speaker was Peter Bane who along publishes Permaculture Activist. He also teaches permaculture certification courses. It was great to meet him and listen to his lecture.
He sat with the dh and I at lunch. I love shocking people with our story. It was no different on Saturday. Peter and the other lady at our table were both shocked when they learn what we have been doing for three years.
People tell us often that we have a story to tell. I would agree but I have been struggling with how to organize it so that I can tell it. After the classes and meeting Peter on Saturday, I finally hit on how to do it!
My adult life is a bell curve. I was poor for all of my 20's and then gradually moved up the ladder. Our fall back down was pretty quick not a slow gradual movement but I am about as poor financially as I was when I was in my 20's. The neat thing is that it doesn't feel the same. I am actually happy most of the time. Except for the stresses of the beginning of this year. This past week we have been blessed with the removal of that debt. Yes, God is very good!
So, I am very excited to see where he takes us next. Stay tuned and I'll try to keep you posted. :)


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Finally - the stress knitting production!

Toasty bear with an entralac neck warmer.

These are a wrap I am working on using our own yarn that I dyed this summer.

This is naked bear to give you some perspective. Plus I had no one else to model for me. :)

Doesn't he look nice toasty? This is a hat and a kerchief scarf for a dear sister.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Another day at the hospital

So yesterday Dh and I went back to the emergency room. He was having some chest pains that wouldn't go away. Our lesson from last time was don't wait. So we didn't. We went in and they ran tests and because their protocol is a 24 hour watch with two more blood tests he spent the night.
Today is our youngest's birthday and Dh usually bakes the cakes. Not this time. He is not thrilled about this. Things are looking good so far. He just has to pass the stress test and he can come home.
Keep in your prayers please. He needs to remember that slow progress is okay.
I will check back soon...at some point I plan to post pics of all the stress-relief knitting I have been doing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Updating - Some days getting out of bed Hazard

So we made it back to the surgeon last Monday and he removed the other drain tube. DH felt much more normal. That night the children were able to give him a hug good night. It was very touching to see for both dad and child. That week progressed fairly normally. We had another follow-up visit later in the week with the kidney doc. That didn't go as easily as we were hoping. We need to get more blood tests done.
Eating is getting better. DH is still finding out what he can eat and what doesn't work so well. I shared with friends that each milestone he makes where he is doing something that he always used to do, I become exhausted. It is an interesting phenomena.
Last Saturday I was trying to do a little too much too quickly and burned my foot. So now I am a little gimpy. It is frustrating but will get better.
I was kidnapped this week by two wonderful lady friends in a true "sister" maneuver. They planned with the family and took me out to a movie and dinner. It was wonderful. It took me a while to stop thinking about what was going on at home and just enjoy myself in the moment. I did manage. It felt very nice to have someone taking care of me. :)
I will begin and finish work on an article for Permaculture Activist. Not sure if they will publish it but I want to try. I have been looking at taking some permaculture classes but don't know how we can save up for that.
I hope you all have a warm and cozy weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A little better all the time

Things are improving - slowly. But improvement is good and speed is relative. One drain tube was removed at our surgeon visit on Monday. We go back and hopefully the other one will be ready to come out next Monday.
His appetite is returning in increments. He lost a significant amount of weight. What I notice is that he has lost a lot a muscle tone. His arms look really skinny to me - not that they were big to begin with but they look smaller to me.
The children are doing okay. The 12yr old son had a melt down on Saturday but we worked through it. Not sure what was the cause. The 10 yr old son hasn't quite pulled his head out of the sand yet. He is trying - they all are trying really hard. We all have good days and bad days. This is how it goes when you experience a major life change. This is that marking moment in the children's lives. It will be things before the surgery and things after the surgery.
On some of the trips to and from the hospital, I remembered the times my dad was in the hospital. Other than just before he died I know of two other times. I know that he had his appendix out when they lived in Detroit. He also had hernia surgery. The hernia surgery I remember. What I remember is before he went in to the hospital. He was sitting on the kitchen floor and couldn't get up. I remember when he came home from the hospital because we decorated the house with a welcome home sign and hid to surprise him when he came in. I don't remember how long he was in the hospital or how much Mom went up to see him while he was there. I wondered how my mom felt during those time. Was she as torn as I was about being in one place and missing either her husband or her children? It was hard for me to leave the hospital but it was good to see the children before bed or at least in the morning.

As time goes on I am sure to hear more from the children about how they viewed this significant event in their lives.

Blessings on you all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Trying to find the good

So yesterday's post was quite depressing, huh? I still feel like my fingernails are just barely holding me onto the edge of the cliff. In the spirit of trying to find something good, as in "Count Your Blessing" or "There must have been something good", we will try to find the blessings that I can remember in all of this.
First - this is the first time since possibly grade school when I have had such supportive and helpful friends. They were the first people I let know that Larry was in the hospital and their first question was how can we help. Not only was that the first question but when I stated how they could help, they said okay and just gave what was asked for. Isn't that amazing? I don't know how many times people will say how can we help and you state a direct answer and then receive - oh well, I am not sure about that.
Not so this time. This time everything I have asked for, I have received. God is truly wonderful that way, especially in such a messy place.
I am thankful that God also gifted me with the most awesome daughter. She has not only stepped up to the plate, she has continued to hit line drives and get things done. She has become my support - for good or bad - the person who discusses things with me because I can't discuss them with the dh at the moment. She is working with me and the younger ones to get a routine going so they are pitching in more and lining up behind her at the plate.
It is still hard and I know it will continue to be hard while he goes through the long recovery. But at least I know that people have got my back. God has placed them there just for me. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy New Year?

My New Year's day was spent in the hospital. My dh had a septic nasty looking gall bladder that needed to come out. I was told several times that he could have died if we had waited one more day. As it was his kidneys were shutting down by the time he went into surgery and then his system suffered another shock when his oxygen saturation level dropped to zero after they put him under.
He also had a pool of blood in his liver. So first they took care of the gall bladder. Then a series of tests were run because he wasn't recooperating well. This finally led to another drain being put in for the pool of blood in the liver. After 12 days he finally came home with drain tubes still attached.

Now we have to learn to adjust to this new life. For it is definitely different than it was before and things need to change. The hard part is that most of it is falling on me at the moment while he recovers. Things I used to be able to share I can't at the moment either because he is not awake or because they are stressers that he shouldn't deal with right now.
My oldest daughter has been wonderful but if we are to survive it needs to be a team effort. It can't fall on me or her or just one person. We all need to pitch in. My 12 yr old son is doing a wonderful job of stepping up and taking some ownership of certain things. My 10 yr old isn't there yet and I am not sure how to get him there. My second daughter is trying.

Right now it is just very hard. I keep praying and asking for guidance and peace and courage. There are moments when I feel none of those things and it feels like I will never have them. We must trudge along as best we can even if it feels like we are moving fast but going no where through thick quick sand. Hoping to be posting better news soon.