Posted by: christinelaennec | February 6, 2016

Staying calm

Thank you to everyone for your very kind and encouraging comments on my last post.  The Dafter really is a special person, and although I can’t take credit for that, I am extremely proud of her.

Predictably enough, the morning after her birthday party she woke with a stonking cold.  This got worse, and the past two weeks have been an anxious time.  I remember the days when coming down with a cold was an inconvenience.  But when your child’s health already hangs on such a slender thread, it is a major threat.  I will do another post updating you on where she is with her ME/CFS, but suffice to say we have all been working very hard to do everything we can to avoid yet another winter relapse, and to keep her from slipping behind at school.  Fingers still tightly crossed.

Winter trees

Winter trees

There have been other things on my mind as well – it seems to be a time of people being unwell and dying.  A man in the prime of his life is on a ventilator with pneumonia.  Yesterday was the funeral of Michael’s beloved professor; the lovely locum minister of our church, who fell ill six weeks after retiring in September, is not long for this world.  And my dear friend Roobeedoo has lost her First Love, after years of battling his cancer with him.  I have tried to support her as best I can from here.  I have been so focused on keeping my heart positive for all these things, that I haven’t been able to knit much.  (Gasp!)  Instead, I have found great solace in puzzling:

Tilly helping me with my puzzle, by the fire.

Tilly helping me with my puzzle, by the fire.

As I’ve written here before, I find doing jigsaw puzzles very healing.  Another worry has been sorting out what the Dafter will be able to do next year.  There are not very many options for courses at college if you are only able to concentrate for an hour and a half a day.  Michael and I have been meeting with people, and the Dafter has visited one college, which she found quite exhausting.  Doing a puzzle reminds me that things will work out.  It’s not possible to sort everything out all at once.  Certain pieces have to fit into place before other pieces will find their spot.  But if you just keep plugging away, the picture will emerge.

The other thing that Thomas Kinkade’s paintings remind me of is how different the pieces seem when they are isolated, compared to when they are in the right place.  I think I’m looking for a peachy-yellow piece, and in fact what I thought was more of a rose is exactly right.  Life is like that too:  we can’t see everything for what it is, all at once.

Finished puzzle of a painting by Thomas Kincaid.

Finished puzzle of a painting by Thomas Kinkade.

I have been so distracted that for the first time in 28 years, I clean forgot to honour our tradition of buying spring flowers for our wedding anniversary.  I just couldn’t believe it when Michael mentioned it to me!  I think partly this was because normally I am longing for some spring colour at this point in the winter, and I eagerly await the joy of picking out our flowers.  But this winter has been so mild that I’ve found the very early appearance of spring flowers in the garden somewhat disturbing.  “Go back! It’s not time yet!” I want to say to them.

Very early spring flowers.  4 February 2016, Glasgow.

Very early spring flowers. 2 February 2016, Glasgow.

But perhaps it’s partly that we now live in the tropical south rather than in Aberdeen.  I was reassured when a friend there told me he’d been out to have a close look at his garden, and there is certainly no sign whatsoever of anything coming up yet.  Glad to hear it!

This past Tuesday, the Dafter managed an hour of school, and then as the sun was out, she decided to come out into the garden for a bit, and paint her nails:

Outdoor manicure!

Outdoor manicure!

Soon she couldn’t feel her fingers, so went into the summerhouse, but she and Tilly and I had an enjoyable half-an-hour outside.

Birch-bark cherry tree in some winter sunlight.

Birch-bark cherry tree in some winter sunlight.

I had a grand time clipping back dying crocosmia and cleaning out leaves from the little pond.  Miss Tilly is very much a fair-weather-garden cat.  Some raindrops fell just as I snapped this photo of her venturing out from the porch – I caught her in mid-veer as she darted back under shelter!

Tilly thinks twice about enjoying the great outdoors.

Tilly thinks twice about enjoying the great outdoors.

She has had some very cosy and happy times inside, though:

Happy cat.

Happy cat.

Alongside worries and sad things, of course there have been many good things happening.  For one, the Dafter now seems to be getting better, and for that I am hugely grateful.  This past week one of my dearest friends from Aberdeen was down in Glasgow and we had a lovely catch-up together.  Choir and church have been a joy.  And look at the beautiful gift that Michael gave me for our anniversary:

Beautiful anniversary gift from Michael.

Beautiful anniversary gift from Michael, next to crocuses in a bowl.

When running an errand in an unfamiliar part of town, he’d stumbled on a car boot sale, and found this lovely Caithness glass vase for me.  I think one can never have enough small vases.  It’s so satisfying to bring just a single bloom inside from the garden.

And soon we enter the season of Lent.  As Easter is early this year, Shrove Tuesday is this coming week.  I’m looking forwards to buckwheat pancakes (galettes) for main course, and crêpes for dessert!  The Dafter’s IBS is beginning to settle down with help from the FODMAP diet which she began in August.  Last night she said to me, “Good news!  I can eat cream crackers with Nutella!”  That really is excellent news.  So maybe a wheat-flour pancake with Nutella will be possible.  We’ll see!

Thank you for your friendship, and for reading.  I wish you all a very good weekend!




  1. You’ve not had your troubles to seek have you. I’m so sorry to hear about all the illness and death in your circle, sometimes there seems to be so much to deal with, we had a similar spate last year, Jill was becoming quite neurotic about the C word! My own world has been filled with busyness and drama too, but alls well again at the moment. I hope your daughter manages to get back into her school routine and I’m sure there must be ways and means for her to attend college or would Open University hold any interest for her? I’m not sure what the criteria is for that. Happy anniversary too! Wishing you well and good luck doing the jigsaws, we used to do them alot too but not recently. xx

  2. Sending you a hug, I feel that you need one. Glad to hear the Dafter is on the mend. Maybe some short part time courses might be the way forward, doing one subject at a time. Beautiful vase, belated greetings for your anniversary.

  3. Sorry to hear the Dafter has been down, but hopefully will continue to improve. It sounds like you could use a nice cup of tea and a hug too. ♥
    There’s not a peep of spring anywhere here right now, but I’m looking forward to it. Lovely vase and wishes for many more happy years together.
    Enjoy your weekend!

  4. There is a Thomas Kinkade puzzle on my table that some in my family just finished this week 🙂 I took a photo of it for my next post which I hope to publish today. I have a photo of Mt. Hood for you, too, Christine. Life is a magnificent puzzle, but living the sad, tragic, mourning, frustrating and worrisome pieces is difficult. Imagining how those pieces can ever be a part of a beautiful picture is difficult. Sending you love and hugs as you and your loved ones live through some of the most difficult pieces, and believing with you that you that the Lord will enable you to find beauty in the big picture they are creating. Last night my oldest SIL’s mom who is a part of our household had to go to the emergency room and will soon be having surgery for a hernia. We are asking God for healing for her and thanking Him in advance for loving her best and most even while we puzzle wondering how He will bring good out of this. Some in our household are reading through the One Year Bible. Psalm 30:1-12 especially encouraged us this morning! xx

  5. Hello from a rainy and windy south of Norway. I am having problems reading, worse than in a long while, so I couldn’t read the whole post. Just wanted to say hi and wish you all the best. Lovely pictures. Blessings, Pam in Norway

  6. Chère Christine, merci pour ce bel article plein de courage et de sagesse ! J’espère que votre fille va vite se sentir mieux et vous avec ! Oui, beaucoup de gens sont malades autour de nous et nous donnent souvent de belles leçons de vie. Bravo pour le puzzle, je comprends que ce soit un double plaisir d’y travailler devant une si belle cheminée. Ici aussi c’est le printemps alors que nous devrions être sous la neige… Mais on l’annonce dans quelques jours ! Passez une aussi bonne semaine que possible !

  7. Not sure if I can post this because I have problems commenting on WordPress blogs because they want me to be logged in to my WordPress account for which I’ve forgotten the password. If it doesn’t work I’ll email you!

    Have you looked at Glasgow School of Art’s portfolio preparation course if the Dafter wants to pursue her art further? Might be worth speaking to them to see if they will do an extended version that would fit with the Dafter’s stamina.

    You are doing such a lot of supporting of others that like all your readers I send you hugs and support for yourself.

  8. Lots in this post that should have a comment. I really enjoyed your words about the puzzle, and what a pretty picture. Hope you are able to figure out the issue with school for your daughter. It seems there have been lots of good comments on that. Also happy anniversary a few days late, lovely vase you received, and I am jealous of your garden already. Have a great Lent season. Hope to keep in touch…

  9. It was sad to read about those who are gone. It’s always hard to lose a loved one. It brought a smile to my face to see Tilley sitting right in the middle of the puzzle; exactly what my Lilly would do! I do hope the dear Dafter is feeling better this week. My children and grandchildren are getting over the flu and it has been a bit scary for the little ones. I wish you happiness and sunshine this week. We are having strong Santa Ana winds and very warm temps this week here in southern California. Hugs to you, Pat

  10. Following along in a mostly silent manner, but with prayers too. When I was reading your post, re classes, why not try what they call distance learning or now perhaps online classes? There would still be a deadline, but there could be interesting classes and she could at least earn a few credits here and there.

  11. Thanks so much to everyone for all your comments. The Dafter is picking up now, and we are continuing to work on possibilities for next year. The most important thing for her is that whatever she does be outside of the house and with other people, if possible more or less her own age. Most of the part-time courses are held in the evenings and designed for people who work – but we are good advocates and the disability officers have been helpful.

    Yes, it is really hard when those we love are suffering. Sometimes we just wish we could take their place rather than witnessing alongside them…

    Marksgran, I’d never heard that phrase “haven’t had your troubles to seek”. It reminded me of one of my Granny’s favourite expressions: “Don’t trouble trouble til trouble troubles you!”

    Pam I do hope you will find relief soon. Thanks for making the effort to read and comment!

    Gracie and LillysMom, I hope your loved ones are much better now.

    Annie j’espère que la neige est bien arrivée chez vous!

  12. I realise I am retired and out of date, but when I was still working University courses had already been modularised so that they would be more flexible and accessible to students. I know teaching and learning has to be somehow charged and accounted for, but I would hope it isn’t impossible to arrange for somebody with health problems to have a study programme based on taking one module at a time.

    • I don’t think it will prove to be impossible, but you have to request on a case-by-case basis. Further Education is quite different from Higher Education, as well. But we will find a way!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: