Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Storms: When Your Mother Heart Gets Rained On

   I wanted to share a cheery missive in one of my July posts about how wonderful our summer is going, and I still plan to do just that. However, along with my joys, I also feel called to share my burdens with you. Sometimes I really need to write out those sorrows to find the blessing. Sometimes, you relate, too. 

   My heart was recently broken by finding out that an opportunity I had dreamed of for Little Mister wasn't going to work out. Even worse, I found out the bad news completely by chance. No one even told me. I had spent a delightful day up until that point, and suddenly it was like hearing thunder in the night. The kind where you wake up and realize that all the windows are down on every vehicle and the wash is still on the line. I won't go into the details of it for privacy reasons, but it all left a bitter taste. Is there anything that makes us more nuts than striving to do something for our children and falling short? Seeing them saddened or disappointed by something beyond our control? Yes, there will be great injustices and things we cannot protect them from, but in this instance, I have chosen to trust God, His plans for us, and to focus on all of the wonderful blessings that my child does enjoy and those that still await him. Mothers, we're already doing the most important thing that a child needs, we are BEING THERE. Being present in their lives, holding their hands on nature walks and errands, eating meals together, and saying "I love you". We are round the clock Directors of a ministry where we are counted on every minute of the day, and we can't do it all on our own. God fills the gap. Moment to moment, we may not see it and I know there are times I can't even feel it. It's there when we step back from the canvas and behold the big picture. Then we can see where a Master Artist filled in the spots we missed. 

   There are some immediate blessings that come when our children face disappointment, too. It nurtures our hearts as mothers, makes us more protective. Ultimately, it may free us to find greener pastures for our children. It shows us that we have choices, and freedom, and if something doesn't work out, maybe we can do something else entirely. Although we may stumble, free will is a gift. 

   Although deeply disappointed, I had also remembered another time when I stepped out of my comfort zone a couple years ago in order to make a similar opportunity happen. It didn't take off in the intended direction, and I felt like a bit of a failure. However, when I recently mentioned that same situation from a couple of years ago to my son, he had no recollection of it at all. It was something that had been important to me, but not him. In the big picture, the fact that it went nowhere didn't really matter. 

   Today, I'm finding hope and grace in the big picture.

   In other news, I'm very pleased with how the raised beds are working out. Everything is growing well and there is a lot less weeding to do than ever before. Sometimes a pirate shows up, though. It's a little disarming at first, but you get used to it. 

   We were recently blessed when an overly optimistic neighbor went to the produce auction for cabbage to make sauerkraut and came home with 80 extra heads of cabbage. When his wife got up off the floor from her fainting spell, it was suggested he disperse the excess goods amongst the brethren. I picked out one nice large head of cabbage and made an old favorite called Pepper Cabbage

   For some of my readers, this is very familiar and you've seen it your whole life. 

   It's a pickled cabbage salad made from finely shredded cabbage, a nice addition to meals in the summer, or anytime. We could eat it year round. I've heard it called "Amish Slaw" or variations on that idea and sometimes made with grated onions or celery. I like it simple, and recalled that our Minister's wife once brought a very good Pepper Cabbage to church, so I called her for the recipe. Naturally, she didn't really have one but she gave me basic instructions and I was able to make a perfect recipe that was just as worthy as what you would get from the salad stand at any Dutch market. 

Pepper Cabbage

1 large head of cabbage, grated

1 medium or large red sweet pepper, finely diced
Combine in a large bowl or stock pot.

In a separate bowl combine:

1 cup vinegar
2 cups sugar 
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Stir until sugar is dissolved, then pour liquid over cabbage mixture. Using a spoon or spatula, work the syrup through the cabbage until the vegetables have been saturated. Allow to stand before serving. This will keep in the refrigerator a long time and also freezes well. This recipe makes about 4-5 quarts. 


  1. We used to make a Cabbage Slaw similar to this one, which was probably the Ohio version.

    1. Probably. I noticed Ohio has their own take on many of the homemade goodies I've always known. There's a lot of good food in Ohio, too.

  2. Monica, I am so sorry to hear of your disappointment. I hope in time it will become apparent that there was a different plan for the Little Mister. He is blessed to have you for his mother.

    Pirates in the garden... I remember that so well! Enjoy it while it lasts!

    1. Thanks for your kind words and understanding, Saloma. They mean a lot.

  3. Sorry, Monica, David was signed into the computer, so his profile came up instead of mine.

  4. Sometimes it's just baffling why things don't happen the way it seems they should - when something sounds so right, so perfect, and the exact thing you want, but it doesn't happen. Sometimes it's not until years later that you see how life couldn't have occurred the way it did, if that thing had actually happened. And it always seems for the better, the way things really turned out. Eventually, you learn to trust that things are just happening the way they are supposed to, whether we understand why or not. But it really does sound like quite a disappointment, and that the way you learned about it was just not quite the way one would have hoped. So sorry!

    1. Exactly right about how many years later we can see why something was or wasn't, and many days I told myself, if not for this, then something else. The specific disappointment I mentioned in this post has since turned around, ,much to my surprise, though instead of being delighted I'm cautious.

  5. I agree with others who've said that disappointments are blessings in disguise- you know that, but I've found it harder to juggle when it involves my children. We want what we think is the best, don't we? Sending you and your family support and prayers. We know it will work out.
    Pepper cabbage is my favorite- thank you for posting that.

    1. Thanks for your prayers, Megs. The situation has kind of turned around, but I'm not counting on it as much as before, which I think is a good thing.
      Also, I'm glad you said that about the pepper cabbage recipe. I almost didn't post it because it seemed too mundane! Hope you are enjoying your summer.


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