Friday, September 28, 2012

Cleaning the Coop With Grace

I did something I really enjoy doing yesterday.

I cleaned out my chicken coop.

I don't know if it's the satisfaction of seeing something so utterly filthy become tidy and livable again.

Or, if it's the fact that I spent several hours outside.

Or that I completely exhausted myself with a physical job.

Whatever it is I LOVE IT!

I get this feeling every time I clean the coop.

My chickens on the other hand do not appreciate my efforts.

They peer suspiciously at the fresh bedding and refuse to enter their clean home.

It looks different.

It might be scary.

The dry bedding might feel weird to their little chicken feet.

They liked the manure-filled mess they were living in better than the fresh redeemed home I offered them at no personal cost.

Why does all of this sound vaguely familiar?

Jesus daily offers me a fresh portion of grace at no cost to me personally.

I ponder it suspiciously, and wonder, am I good enough for this beautiful gift?

I didn't do anything to deserve it.

It might feel scary to my heart.

I think I would rather wander around in the "manure" of yesterdays mistakes.

 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"

Ephesians 2:4-9

By the way, I only feel this way about MY chicken coop I would get no wonderful sense of accomplishment from cleaning out yours. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Signs of Autumn

There is something about morning light filtering through the trees onto my bedding that reminds me of autumn.

Our slowly filling woodshed is another sign.


 Have you seen any signs of Fall?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012


See that little blond fellow on the far right?

Well, he just turned two, and he is out to prove it to the world.

He threw all my baby bottle nipples in the trash yesterday.

I had JUST WASHED them.

Given a chance he will sit in mud puddles--

flush bathtub plugs down the toilet--

stop the dishwasher mid-cycle, 

and generally cause chaos wherever he goes.

When you scold him for something his response is to shout "All right!"

He recently discovered that wacking people with a fly swatter is much more exciting than killing flies.

But when he asks me if he can kiss the baby, and gently brushes her tiny cheek with his pudgy lips..........

my heart melts. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Angel in Jeans

I am a pretty sluggish person by nature.  My husband and I joke that if my blood pressure was much lower I would be in a constant coma.  I combat this with a good multivitamin, and coffee.

I've tried different brands of vitamins over the years, and rejected them for one reason or another.  Then a couple years ago a friend told me about these, and I LOVE them.  They have a lot of B vitamins in them which help with energy, and enables me to handle stress well.  I don't like to ever be without them.

I can buy them locally, but if I purchase them online they are half the price--so I get four or five bottles at once.  I knew that I needed to reorder them soon, but in the back of my mind I was sure I had one more bottle.

On Saturday morning I tossed down my vitamins, threw away the empty bottle, and went to the cupboard to get the new one.  Imagine my irritation when I remembered that I had sold a friend a bottle, and it was my last one. 

I immediately ordered more online, but typically it takes about four days for them to arrive.  My husband kindly offered to buy a bottle in town that afternoon, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  

Due to a number of delays by the time he reached the health food store they were closed.   I was frustrated, but resigned myself to wait for my order to arrive.

On Sunday night my baby started coughing and running a fever, and by Monday afternoon I knew she should see a doctor.  In our town there are no 24 hour clinics so the only option is the emergency room.  I made the required call to my caseworker, and waited for my husband to come home and watch the other children.

By now my lack of vitamins was catching up with me.  I felt like I was wading mud, and I threw up a desperate prayer that the health food store would be open on Labor Day--

It wasn't.  

Then I remembered that my friend takes the same vitamins, and I called her to see if she had an extra bottle.  She did, and we agreed to meet when I got done in the emergency room.

When you live in a small town--with no walk in clinic, and you take your baby to the emergency room--on a holiday you will be there




 Four hours later I walked out of the hospital and gave up on the vitamins. It was too late to meet my friend.  I will just have to be tired for the next four days I thought.

I drove home, fixed a bottle for the baby, and settled in the corner of the couch.  

My dear husband had fed the other munchkins, and tucked two of them in bed.  

My laundry sat unfinished, there were dishes waiting in the sink, and my baby was still sick.

As I sat there thinking of everything I needed to do yet there was a knock at my door.

My son opened it and there stood my friend, and her husband, with the bottle of vitamins in their hands.  

To fully appreciate this story you should know that my friends husband is a tow truck driver.  He had worked two 24 hour shifts over the week-end, and was finally heading home to sleep.

He drove out of his way to go home and get the vitamins, and then come back and bring them to me.

He looked terrible--his eyes were bloodshot--his shirt had been slept in, and his jeans were dirty.

But to me he looked like an angel.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Night Owl

I love sleep, and I need quite a bit of it to feel my best--7 to 8 hours a night.

However, as a mom, I rarely sleep a full night without interruption.

Currently my baby has a cold, and her congested breathing often wakes me with a start.

I used to dread this.

I would go to bed at night praying "Please help them sleep--so that I can too!"

I have learned some strategies though for "night prowling" with a baby or toddler that make it easier.

Prepare--if you know that your baby will need medicine, a bottle, a drink etc during the night put it beside your bed so you can grab it quickly if they wake up.

Relax--if you are walking the floor with the baby resist the urge to look at the clock and repeatedly calculate  how much sleep you are missing.  A tense mother doesn't help a baby go back to sleep.

Enjoy--snuggle your little one while you can--before you know it they will not need you during the night.

Distract--sometimes I read a book with a low light on, and before I know it my little one is snoring again.

Pray--I do some of my best praying at night--often at night I think of some of our friends who live (literally) on the other side of the world, and who are awake and working at that very moment.

What are some of your strategies for coping with wakefulness at night?