Friday, February 21, 2014

Worry, Worry, Go Away

Worry, Worry, Go Away
     If you are new, feel free to click-about. I need to pause in writing posts for a while but plan to return before long. 

Large Shadows
     I was a young mother. Worry followed me around the house - all day.  I carried it like I carried the baby on my hip. My husband was laid-off from work and contemplating a career change. We were busy giving the walls of the house a fresh coat of paint, covering over children’s fingerprints; making the place ready for sale. We thought it best to be available to move to wherever his next position took us.

Teddy Bear Mittens

     For the sake of the children I hid my worry under a small smile. It was a forced cheerfulness. By the end of the day I was weary of anxiety and physical exertion. When all was dark in the night I said a prayer. The words seemed trapped below the ceiling. It was a short and sincere prayer. I was saving the scary details, my deepest feelings, for the morning. Exhaustion can give problems disproportionately large shadows. In the morning, in the pink tinged rays of dawn, peeking through white ruffled curtains, I would have a clear head. I decided to make this my worry hour. For the time being I knew God heard my abbreviated message no matter how I was feeling about the ceiling. I closed my eyes.

The Worry Hour
     As a young mother and home teacher, I understood the importance of scheduling set times for things. I learned to give worry its allotted time, too. A set-time is needed to be personal with God and cast all my cares upon Him. I can also acknowledge His greatness, confess undeserved-ness for His redeeming love, glean from Scripture, quiet my heart, and count my blessings. A busy day is ahead of me. And so I need my worry hour. It doesn’t usually take an hour. It might be ten or fifteen minutes. But then, throughout the day, if the gray clouds roll in for the fifth day in a row, if I stay up too late or experience insurmountable fatigue caring for a sick loved one  – I am not haunted by anxiety. I needn’t carry it around. I faced my fears already - during the worry hour.

Ferns in Maine
Primitive rock wall on our property in Maine 2003. Spring Ferns

Simple Pleasures

          We gather simple pleasures like daises - by the way. Louisa May Alcott

     To chase away clouds of worry it helps to “gather simple pleasures.” For all of my adult life I’ve enjoyed writing paper letters and walking them to the mailbox. In Maine the walk took twenty minutes. A Maine spring is much anticipated. The crisp, cool air of a walk is exhilarating. I would notice the progress of the ferns uncurling or the daffodils emerging from the bulbs I had dug into rocky soil the year before.

Daffodils and rock wall
Front Yard. Maine 2003

     The cemetery lawn would be covered with purple phlox come spring. In the woods around it grew a large patch of lily-of-the-valley that rooted themselves there, from a finished pot of flowers flung over the fence, I surmised. Each walk revealed a twittering bird – almost always a cheerful chick-a-dee. Walking among the birds can smooth away a frown. It uses up nervous adrenalin. And it gives us a moment to “consider the lilies.”

phlox in Maine
Cemetery on our property in Maine - Pease is the name of a character in P.P.

     Carol in Pocketful of Pinecones felt herself slipping into the darkness of worry when her husband was out of work. She came across something in her reading that brightly illustrates Mathew 6:30. Because in Maine I had walked along a rutted dirt road this passage spoke close to home. 

I saw a delicate flower had grown up two feet high, between the horses’ path and the wheeltrack. An inch more to right or left had sealed its fate, or an inch higher; and yet it lived to flourish as much as if it had a thousand acres of untrodden space around it, and never knew the danger it incurred. It did not borrow trouble, nor invited an evil fate by apprehending it.  Henry D. Thoreau

     I am no longer a young mother. After decades of changes-of-circumstance I’m a little better at not worrying. It’s a wavering conscious effort. Sadly, our service to Rainbow Resource Center has ended. Dean is actively searching for a position that will take full advantage of his many years of executive management, marketing, and motivational teaching experience.  He has posted his resume on LinkedIn.

Work horse
Pennsylvanian work horse. You never know what will find you on a nature walk.

     Our adult son, who suddenly became handicapped over a year ago, is scheduled for long-awaited medical treatment – not covered by insurance - the first two weeks of March. I am also scheduled for in-hospital medical treatment during the same weeks, but the insurance company has denied the claim - pending appeal. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes. It will be a trying two weeks.

cross stitch alphabet

With my Needle
     Because I am asked, “What are you stitching,” here is the new sampler I started. I’ve abandoned a large project for several portable ones. My married daughter told me she fancies a house sampler. I chose an alphabet (from one chart) and asked her what color she’d like the house (from another chart). I will enjoy fitting in spots of birds and flowers (from still other charts). The house color is a toss up. Will it be red or gold? I’m waiting to hear.     

stuffed mushrooms
Ready to bake in the oven
Comfort Food
     Have you ever made stuffed mushrooms? The Man-of-the-House finds them a delicious treat. I remember watching his grandmother make them. My stuffing is like hers but without the bacon. Chopped onion or shallot is cooked in olive oil along with the chopped mushroom stems and parsley, mixed in a bowl with bread, raw egg, grated cheese - baked - served as an appetizer or in an anti-pasta.   

stuffed mushrooms on fancy blue plate

Say it Isn’t Snow
     Another way I am “gathering simple pleasures” is by displaying an over-sized book on seasons, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. It must be spring. The little girl is wearing a fur-lined jacket but do you see what’s in her mitten? She clutches a handful of pussy-willows, violets and a jack-in-the-pulpit. (Salix discolor, Viola, Arisaema atrorubens). Delightful. After a couple days of this book-cover-of-hope on display, I impulsively reached for a ball of wool. I started knitting a pair of mittens like the one on the girl’s hand, adding a rickrack design similar to it. Books have a way of seeping their influence into the crevices of our lives. Teddy is prepared for a chilly spring with mittens made for him. 

The Wonders of the Seasons illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

Hope Everlasting 
     I love the richness of the old hymns. Contemporary songs – though simple - can also chase away the clouds. Click the album cover to link to Laura Story’s “Blessings” in case you haven’t heard it. Are you weary or worrisome? Could you use words of hope? Dean and I have been conveying a message of hope to our son and ourselves in as many ways we can think to express it.

Laura Story Blessings

     Sometimes His blessings come in raindrops.

I'll be with you again, come spring, Lord willing.
Until then, write anytime,
Karen Andreola

Post Script 
     I placed news with the comments but thought to give the good report here.

     With an appeal to the insurance company my specialist's office got my treatment approved. I will be admitted to the hospital after all. We were previously (and firmly) warned by the nurse that no time is taken (and ever has been taken) for these appeal processes. The chronic pain doctor has thousands of patients.
     I believe God unlocked and opened a door for me.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear of your family's troubles. I will be praying. Your books have always been such a comfort to me. The Charlotte Mason Companion was the first book on homeschooling I read when my now 19 year old daughter was in Kindergarten. May God bless you with health and peace.

  2. Oh Karen, so very sorry to hear of the issues facing your dear family. Please know I am praying.I shall miss your posting's , as they bring much hope and comfort and joy to this lady.So much to pray about, HE IS ENOUGH.
    Blessings,Dawn E. Brown

  3. I'll be praying for you as well. I am enjoying your book right now. My son is disabled, he is 2 years old. It was a terrible challenge and heartache at first but we have seen many blessings come from it. The Lord can truly make beauty come from ashes. May the Lord bless and sustain you.

  4. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Your blog is like a gentle resting place-and always so encouraging-even when you are in difficulty.May the Lord's strength sustain you . JadeMichele

  5. I am continuing to pray for you dear friend! You have often been in my thoughts lately. I enjoyed my visit with you through your blog today.

  6. I pray for you and your family. We've gone through so many similar things and I always try to remember the Lord is in charge. And then I have to repent at the fear I FEEL.

    Last night we had severe storms come through when I knew my husband was driving home in the bad weather and with a driver's windshield wiper not working correctly.

    He had been helping someone move and left the cell phone (we share one) in the van so he had no idea we were under a tornado watch, that didn't help my fear as he did not pick up the phone.

    So all I could do was CLEAN. Even when I'm not feeling well, after praying and getting in the Word, sometimes I just have to move. By the time he arrived home (safely), the kitchen sparkled. ;)

  7. Dear Karen,

    Thank you for your beautiful post and for sharing today. Our family will be praying for all of you. May God give all of you His grace, comfort, and peace. "This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast..." Hebrews 6:19a.

    Love, Denise

  8. "The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Nu 6:24-26


  9. Praying, praying, praying Karen, for God's healing through these treatments!

    You and Nigel will be in our thoughts and prayers.


  10. Karen, my heart is heavy to read of your difficulties. There are some hard, hard knocks in life, aren't there? And even as I write that, I believe (as I know you do!) that it is all from the hand of an all-loving, all-wise Father who is designing everything for the good of His own.

    I will be praying for you much in these next weeks, for I have grown to love you through your writings. May He grant peace and healing and wisdom and direction to your family.

  11. Dear Karen, I will be praying for you and your family. You've been such a blessing to so many and I know the Lord will be faithful to supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. May His peace that passes understanding flood your heart and mind.


  12. Dear Karen,
    Know that you will be bathed in prayer as you endure these next few weeks. And when you come through them it will be Spring! You are much appreciated and dearly loved.

  13. You are truly always in my thoughts and now you are in my prayers. I trust that this time of abiding will fill you with a fuller, richer, sustaining joy. Much, much love...

  14. Echoing the sentiments of the well spoken other ladies here, and joining them in sending you prayer and hope. Also sending gratitude - your influence on this family has been enormous, and still is, and always will be.

  15. My prayers are also with you Karen. With your whole family. I know you will find all that you need in the shadow of our Lord.
    Special prayers for you and your son.
    With heartfelt love,

  16. Praying for you all!
    I've struggled with anxiety and panic attacks all my life, and lately really been focusing on giving it over to the thing He keeps bringing me back to Proverbs 31 woman "smiles at the future" or "laughs at the days to come" (v 25), which I definitely can't do if I'm worried all the time :)
    Our world is so crazy but we can have His Peace that passes all understanding. Praying that for you.

    I have a 15 yo ds with Aspergers who is a constant challenge (and suffers severe anxiety, which is a hallmark of Aspergers) yet like another commenter said, the Lord uses it for good. What a precious promise of our Lord that all these trying circumstances are used for good for those who love Him.


  17. This may sound like flattery or bragging, but I don't care:

    I honestly believe that here at Moments with Mother Culture I have
    The Nicest,
    Most Understanding,
    Large Hearted,
    of blog friends. Thank you, Ladies.

    * * *
    It makes sense to clean during a nervous, restless time of waiting - especially if you don't smoke.

    * * *
    Anxiety attacks are not as rare as we might suppose. Oh, how perfect to "smile at the future."

    * * *
    Karen A.

  18. Praying for you and your son and your husband. Oh it has felt like a long hard winter for so many people. My heart is with you x

  19. I can so relate to the feelings you expressed here, Karen. Especially when medical issues are present. I just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you and your son!

    Much love,

  20. I have a son with special needs although I'm sure our situations are very different. Our son has no diagnosis though. I have taken much courage in knowing that I am raising a choice child of god and that someday, I will meet our sweet Wyatt again in healthy body, mind and spirit. For now, there are rough days but he is such a joy and light to our family.

    You, dear Karen, have been a tremendous source of direction and strength as we've embarked on our homeschooling journey with our daughters. Thank you so much for sharing your time and talents!!

    Press forward with faith, noble , mama!
    Xoxo, Bree

  21. Hi Karen,
    Praying for you and Nigel.
    God bless,

  22. I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles. I'll be praying for your family. God bless and keep you.


  23. Praying for you sweet friend,and for your son. I have always found life so much easier when I cast my cares on him, Jesus! When I am weak...he is strong :) 1 Peter 5:7 God is able to do more than we can ever think or imagine...I am believing he is going to move mountains for you and yours because of your faithfulness toward him. Blessings

  24. I found your blog less than a year ago, and I wish I had found it sooner, because I can't even put into words how your posts have blessed me and comforted me. God has given you an amazing gift of capturing His Spirit in words and pictures. I have a 1 year old girl and am planning to homeschool her, so I have marked many of your writings to refer to in the coming years. I will be praying for your family!! He always provides for His children, even if the ways are unexpected or last minute.

  25. I am new here but love your writings and the peace they contain.

    Will add you and your family to my intercessions.


  26. Thank you, Karen, for sharing your heart, and giving us an opportunity to pray for all of you. Insurance denials can be so discouraging, and we have had our share of denials. Still, I wanted to share with you that I once wrote appeal letter after appeal letter and asked doctors for letters or emails to the insurance company. After almost one year of denials (we almost lost our precious son who has a severe disability) because the insurance company deemed the treatment "medically unnecessary", they decided to cover the procedures. This was many years ago, and I know times have changed in the insurance industry, but sometimes an appeal is in order. I will be praying for healing from the Great Physician for you and Nigel, and also for the Lord's guidance for Dean. Your posts and the all the beautiful photos are such a blessing! Remember, "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." 1 Thess. 5:24

  27. I have been so blessed by you and your family over the years. I am sorry to hear of all the difficult situations happening at once. Just remember they are not too difficult for God! I will be praying for you all.

  28. I'm so sorry to hear of the troubles you are facing. I have been so blessed by your books and blog. I will be praying for you, your husband and son.

    K. Miller

  29. Miss Karen,

    I have your family, as well as yourself, in my prayers and thoughts. Its the least I can do for the year of hope and comfort your book, CD, and blog has given me.

    May God comfort and guide. He never gives us anything we can't overcome if we rely on him. I have been reminded of this several times recently.

    Love to you all the way from Tacoma, WA.


  30. Thank you for your courage and transparency in sharing the challenges you and your family are facing. Please know we are praying fervently for His care on your family and I look forward to returning to this space to see the miracles He Will Perform!

  31. My heart is with you and your family. So many worries at the same time are trying. But soon there will be spring with all it's hopes and renewals, and I hope you will feel the same for your life.
    It's wise to give worries their allotted time and prevent them from influencing all our waking time. I know it's easier said than done... Prayer is that time for me.
    Hoping also for a great and interesting change for Dean, I send you and your family all my love!

  32. Oh, I will miss you and your post. I have the same "Season's" book by Elois Wilkin (a goodwill find). I think I will place it in a chair with a cross stitched pillow. It will help me to remember to pray for you and your family. "But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."
    Psalm 3:2-4

  33. hi just wondering about doing something practical I have always wanted to read your book (the purple one) I thought if I purchased it now it could be a small assistance to your situation but I would want the money to go to you how do I do this I look for the link but it just took me to a review. Very sad to hear about your son, it is much easier for us to suffer than to watch our children suffer. It is 17 years since I became disabled and many things I planned on doing in life became impossible but He is sweeter than ever and gives us soul rest in the mist of great trials. May you all rest in Him at this time Grace

  34. I so appreciate your comments about the ways you continue in hope--one step at a time. Your blog, your books have been a beacon to many.

    Rest and remain in God's love and the love of His people.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Praying for Peace beyond understanding.

  35. Your prayers have already proved effectual. It's remarkable. The first answer to prayer took place yesterday.

    With a telephone call to the insurance company, my specialist's office got my treatment approved. I will be admitted to the hospital after all. We were previously (and firmly) warned by the nurse that no time is (and has ever been) taken for these "time-waster" appeal processes. The chronic pain specialist has thousands of patients. I believe God "unlocked" and opened the door. Praise.

    Practically speaking, when you purchase the purple book from your favorite book supplier a portion of the sale reaches us. Thank you for your practicality and well wishes.

    Gratefully yours,
    Karen A.

  36. So glad to hear your praise report. I always look forward to a new word from you on your blog. It never fails to encourage me and remind me to step back from the duties of life and see the big picture. Enjoying what i see instead of just plodding through. I will be praying and expecting to hear a wonderful report on the restored health of you and your son. Also the perfect job provision for your husband. What a pleasure it is to be a part of His body lifting each other up in prayer.

  37. Dear Karen, while praying for you and your family the other day, I was reminded of this scripture:
    Prov 26:25b and he who refreshes others, will himself be refreshed.
    You have refreshed many, myself included - year after year. Believing for God's intervention and favor in you and your family's lives. You are VERY loved!

  38. Karen ~ praying for you and your family!!! <3

  39. Karen,your blog is always so inspiring and you have such a gentle spirit. I read your books and wish we still lived in a simpler time. Praying for you and your family at this difficult time. God is with you.

  40. Sweet Karen, I will be praying for you and your son. I imagine your husband is carrying extra thought around too, prayers for him and your daughters too. May you each see God as all He is these next few weeks...your Provider, your Comforter, your....

    Much Love, Jill L.

    p.s. and as far as your kind description of your blog friends, I think to you, we'd sing...
    "it takes one to know one" ;-)

  41. I'm so sorry to hear of your bad news. Praying for you and your family. Keep your eyes on Jesus Christ, in only him will you find rest. Lots of love, Elena

  42. Thinking of you and wishing you all complete healing and a future filled with joy and prosperity in every way.

  43. Continuous prayers for you friend. I hope that your hopsital visit is going well.


  44. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers….
    ~a sister in Christ

  45. Dear Karen,

    I saw your post when it first came out, but haven't been able to comment until today. I have been praying for you and your family, and hope that all has been well with this trying time. May the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hands.



  46. Thankful for the praise report you received, Karen.
    You and your family have been on my heart and in my prayers.

  47. Dearest Dear Karen!
    Well it is now April and many days have transpired since you first posted.I am praying that all is falling into place and for wellness.
    Your words (although in the midst of facing challenges) are an oil of calm and peace,that can only be from the trust in our only HOPE Jesus!
    My heart is overflowing with warmth love and prayers for you, your dear son, and family
    Love and hugs,Linnie

  48. Dear Karen,
    Thinking of you and your family. ..Hoping all is well.
    You have touched my heart in an incredible way.
    May God bless you and hold you close.

  49. What a joy to realize that all the troubles we both had at the time you wrote this are past.

    Anxiety and worry have been troublesome to me, also, as my husband has worked many places over the years and has had many months of unemployment. I am thankful that now he is doing something he is good at and is making enough money to pay the bills without anxiety.

    Be blessed my friend. It's good to remember what God has brought us through.
    Your friend,