Friday, October 11, 2013

Mother Culture in Snips and Snatches

Mother Culture in Snips and Snatches
     Over the summer the Lady-of-the-House enjoyed adding new bunches of dried flowers to the beams of the keeping room – the room open to the kitchen.

herbs on beams

     It would be quaint to say that she picked bunches of flowers and herbs from the plants in her garden or along the wayside. She had her eye on the tansy (Tanacetum vulgae) growing in the vacant lot, next-door.

     The brambles, however, were filled with plump yellow spiders. They were just as plump as the orange spiders out her back door, except the yellow spider webs were wispy. They draped across steams and twigs everywhere she turned. It was scenic from a nature lover’s point of view - a good subject for a naturalist’s paintbrush. The field guide the Lady-of-the-House opened told her tansy is poisonous. Perhaps it is just a well they stayed in the brambles.  

orb web

     Therefore, she has to admit to something less quaint. At her local flower shop she spied some bunches for sale for a few dollars each. They hung on the shop’s barn beams – available for those who have a flair for arranging dried flowers. Having no flair, and feeling wary about it, the Lady-of-the-House hung them as-is. She likes to pretend she grew them or picked them herself to adorn her house with an autumn harvest of earlier times.

     The rose hips were a gift from a friend last year. As per her friend’s instruction, when the rose hips got dusty she simply took them over to the sink, along with her dusty baskets, and sprayed them clean. Then she let them dry in the sunshine.

dry rose hips

     Little projects of adornment are one of the niceties that get left out of her days, mostly. A conscientious cleaning of the house and getting meals on the table is the priority. But once in awhile some project idea that has made its appeal in odd moments, comes to fruition.

      She has more ideas than she ever gets to. She has learned to live this way. It’s fine, really. It’s fine to entertain relaxing notions about what you might do with any spare time to do it. A little daydreaming is how the domestic artist uses her tired-time wisely. And when an idea grows larger and stays with her awhile, revisiting her while she washes dishes, folds towels, sweeps the steps; she will somehow make a little time for it.

fairy garden herbs

     Some of her friends welcome cooler days. The Lady-of-the-House does, too. Wrapped in a cardigan and cozy feelings of the season, she took a last visit to the grower’s market before they closed for the year. She liked seeing the tiny leafed plants there.

sunflower heads     “They could be used to make a fairy garden,” the grower said. Oh, the strength of an idea. A picture of her girls (when young) popped into her mind, when make-believe was a bigger part of their lives than it is today as married women (creative elements still rise to the surface). They would have had fun with a fairy garden-in-the-making.

     The Man-of-the-House noticed the sunflower heads filled with seeds. His wife’s first thought was: “if I place a couple of these on the big rock beside the house our cardinal couple would have a feast.” But on further thought, she passed. Realistically, the squirrels would walk off with them. The obnoxious blue jays would bully the cardinals out of their wits for them. And the mice, she was reminded, would make a hearty breakfast of the crumbs left by the messy eaters. Speaking first-hand, country mice are cute and round with stubby little noses. House mice – well, they are too nosey. They have the pointy facial features to prove it, nosing their way in where they’re not wanted.

     The cats Lady-of-the-House kept, were mousers. They earned their keep over their lifetime. But she no longer has cats on guard. And having had experienced years (without mousers) with mice and a nest of squirrels in the walls, she can affirm that: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – when it comes to misplaced critters. And so, with this convoluted train of thought, she put off a purchase of fairy garden plants and sunflowers, choosing instead, the pip-squeak pumpkins.

     During the hour that a setting sun lit up a western window, the Lady-of-the-House worked on another project of adornment. Out of her little collection of calico fat-forths she cut out circles in snips and snatches. On summer evenings she made her yo-yos.

     The piles got higher as the sun got lower. She hopes to have the yo-yos sewn together for an autumn centerpiece on the keeping room table. A special supper is planned.

fabric yo yos for fall

Post Script

     I wrote this piece during preparations for our son’s medical treatment in Philadelphia. Nigel has been handicapped with pain in both hands for more than a year. Dean and I are grateful to God that our workplace is our home. Here we can take turns being Nigel’s hands throughout the day. Nigel longs to do website designing work again.

dried flowers on beams

     While reading Luke 5 in my quiet time something dawned on me. With all the rig-a-ma-roll his dad has gone through this long year to find a doctor who could make an accurate diagnoses – (medical hoops come in all shapes and sizes) – Dean is like the faithful men who would not give up on their handicapped friend. They would not be put off or discouraged by the crowd. They carried their friend ‘round back of the house (I assume), climbed up onto the roof in the hot sun, removed the heavy tiles and slowly lowered their friend, through the ceiling, right to the feet of Jesus.

     For those who know Nigel and would like to offer a prayer for the success and safety for these two-weeks of initial infusions for RSD, I thank you . . . from the bottom of my heart.  

Until next time,
Karen Andreola


  1. I am praying right now.


  2. Praying too! We understand medical hoops too. We actually just got home yesterday from child 7of8's seventh brain surgery. Sweet boy isn't yet 2 years old. I've shared on our blog for him about being an advocate for our children. Praying it uplifts you:

  3. Oh yes Karen, praying for your dear Son. Thank-you for this sweet posting.Thankful that your husband would not give up on getting Nigel what he needs.Bless you both as you serve Jesus, and as you are your Son's hands as well. Blessings and prayers to the Andreola Family,Dawn E. Brown

  4. Lovely autumn photos.
    Praying for Nigel.


  5. I don't know Nigel but I am honoured to pray for him. May God grant that thus procedure gives him relief from pain and full use of his hands.

  6. Praying here.
    deb h

  7. Praying for you and your family over the next few weeks - for the Lord's blessings on your peaceful home, and healing. Thank you again for a gorgeous post.

  8. I was going to check with Dean this week to see if Nigel had begun treatment yet. We will faithfully pray and please let us know if we can do anything!

    Love you all, Karen!


  9. I know Nigel only through your words here, but it will definitely be praying for your dear son.
    Oct 14 and onward.

    Bring success to the work of his hands, oh Lord,
    Bring success to the work of his hands.
    Psalm 90

  10. Praying for Nigel and all of you!
    I know what it is like to be a tireless advocate for those who need medical help. I have been through this and are still going through this with my 14 yo ds with Aspergers/ADHD. We finally have an appt to see a Neurologist/Sleep Specialist this coming week after waiting months.
    Thank you for reminding us of Luke 5

  11. Thank you everybody. I'm truly touched. I have thoughtful and understanding readers.

    Today (Saturday) Nigel's treatment was postponed due to complications. Life certainly brings surprises and waiting. We learn to live and work somewhere between the two.

    Happy for your visit,
    Karen A.

  12. Praying for Nigel and your family, Karen. For wisdom for the doctors and healing for him.

    Thank you for sharing these photos in the midst of all you are doing.

    Blessings to you all.

  13. We were away for a few days at a local family economics conference at the WA coast and am sorry I missed this post until now. Karen, your dear son will be in our prayers. Finding a proper diagnosis can be such a difficult thing to do as so many know. Such a wonder are these hands the Lord has blessed us with -- oh, how we take them for granted! Praying his hands will be healed that he might continue in that work he enjoys. :) Many blessings to you and yours, Lisa

  14. Dear Karen,

    Thank you for another beautiful and encouraging post again!

    I'm just reading your post and these comments today, Sunday. Our family will pray for Nigel as well. I also have RSD (as well as Raynaud's), but it is in my foot. I will therefore have an added reminder to pray for Nigel! I have much to be thankful for because of the many prayers of friends and God's faithfulness and answers. I will pray for God's answers, healing, and much grace and hope for you and Dean and Nigel.

    By the way, Nigel does beautiful graphics work. (My husband is also a graphic designer, so this is another family interest.) Praying Nigel can be involved in that work again!

    God's grace and peace be yours,

  15. Yes, of course, I'll pray. And thank you for tender heart and gentleness that permeates your pages. It's been lovely spending time with you.

  16. sending prayers from North Carolina

  17. Praying for Nigel. I do hope he finds relief soon.

    Love your yo-yo's. The colors are amazing. I wish I lived closer, I'd love to stop over for a cup of tea and a chat.

  18. I "know" you as a sister in the LORD; we have the abiding Holy Spirit that draws us together as believers in Jesus Christ. Nigel is your son, and therefore, very important to you, so that is enough for me to know.

    Praying for Nigel; praying for all of you. Be reminded that it is Jesus, our great high priest, who prays for us, even as we enter "boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need". (Hebrews 4:14-16)

  19. It is a privilege to pray for Nigel and for you and Dean. Asking God for guidance for you and the doctors and for His healing touch!

  20. Of course I (like others have expressed) feel like I "know" Nigel from your blog. It is a privilege to pray for him and you and Dean. I have been where you are, and I believe the prayers of others have often sustained me so I could give my whole self to my sons. Keep leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting Arms.

  21. I know you wrote this years ago, but I prayed for Nigel this morning.
    Merry Christmas!