Friday, April 22, 2011

A Brand New Baby Blog. Only not for babies.

I just wanted to share with all my blog friends here that I'm involved in a new project. And with a new project, comes a new blog. And with a new blog, comes new blog posts. And... you get the idea!

Even though I'm BRAND spankin' new at it, I've joined a team of ladies who meet up every month to put together Charity Quilts. When we aren't together, we are working on these quilts a little bit at a time from home. You can see the new blog we've got set up over at: Hope And Joy Quilts. My desire is that our readers get a little joy out of it, maybe a little hope, and a whole lotta inspiration. If nothing else, can you pray for this group of women (and their devoted husbands and helpers) to be able to continue to share God's love through our deeds and our actions? It would mean so much to us.

Feel free to "follow" our blog and help by offering encouragement, if that is something you can do.
Thank you so much!

HOPEANDJOYQUILTS.COM

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We have more kids than I thought

I have been telling people for years (a little over 8 years to be exact) that I have given birth to four children. I have photographic proof, medical records, DNA evidence and enough upstanding witnesses to prove it in any court of law. I also have a step-daughter, so when I say "We have five kids..." it's true. At least I thought it was, but the fact of the matter is, I'm pretty sure I'm wrong. I'm beginning to think we actually have six.

I think everyone with two children, should just go ahead and say they have three. People with three, should say they have four, and so on. You might as well resolve yourself to the fact that the number of kids you have is not accurate. I know this to be true, because that's how it is here.

Our sixth child has a name. It's not a particularly glamorous, cute, or delightful name, but it is fitting. His name... is Notme. Now a little history about Notme. He was born somewhere between the births of my second and third child. Which is a miracle in and of itself, considering my second and third children are only 19 months apart. But I suppose it could be done. Notme is a very unsocial child. He has this habit of being quite shy, he never shows himself in public, and has never even shown himself to me. Matter of fact I don't even remember seeing him when he was born, but when that postpartum amnesia set in, I'm guessing it took away more memories than I was expecting. Notme is always hiding out somewhere, and as far as I can tell, my children are the only ones who have actually seen him.

I know my children have seen Notme, because whenever I ask who left the milk out, they say Notme did it. My kids (like most of yours, I'm sure) aren't prone to telling lies, so I'm pretty sure that when they tell me Notme did it, then one of them must have actually seen him do it. Notme has also been spotted leaving the bread bag open all night, leaving ice cubes on the kitchen floor to melt, and drinking so much juice that when he puts the container back in the fridge it only has six drops remaining.

I feel endeared to this sixth child of mine. He probably suffers from some sort of complex due to all the complaining that goes on because of the poor choices he makes. I feel sorry for him. I wish he would just come out and I could see his face. It probably has black marks on it though, because last I heard, Notme was going around coloring peoples body parts with permanent marker.

As a mother, my heart aches whenever I think of Notme making it through his days without hugs and kisses from me. I wish he wasn't so shy. Matter of fact, I never even knew if Notme was a boy or a girl until just a few years back. I had my suspicions for a couple years, but once I found out that Notme had been leaving the toilet seat up - it was pretty clear. Notme also forgets to follow my well-versed advice, "If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie." Obviously - we have another boy on our hands.

Notme is famous for clogging the toilet, leaving forks outside in the dirt, taking dishes upstairs to the girls' bedroom where he leaves them and also eating all of the granola bars. I don't mean to complain about this child, because I really do love him and all of his imperfections, but sometimes I get really frustrated when Notme doesn't do his chores. I often ask who's job it is to do the dishes, and most of the time the kids say, "Notme!" Well, he just never does them, so someone else has to do it. It's kind of a bother.

It's not all bad though. I do feel some sense of satisfaction in knowing that Notme is well cared for, even if he doesn't respond well to human touch. He is fed because he leaves messes in the kitchen, he is well dressed judging by all the dirty clothes left on the floor in the boys' room. He has plenty of activity and play time. Just one look at how many puzzle pieces, legos, sports equipment and books he leaves laying around and it's irrefutable.

I'm so thankful that one day I can look back and say that even though it was difficult to have several near-perfect children and only one challenging offspring, I will smile. I just know that because they have a brother with difficulties, it will be easier for them to raise their children. They will be more caring, more forgiving, more gracious and merciful... and if heredity extends to another generation, they will also have a child named Notme. It just seems to be tradition in our family.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Photographing Chickens - What NOT To Do

Even the best (and the worst) of us can make mistakes when photographing chickens. They are a moody bunch. They don't tolerate directions, they tend to have a mind of their own, and just when you think they are going to be quiet and take instructions, they surprise you by arguing with each other and making weird faces.

Take for example this group. They just didn't pay attention at all. They resemble my children when I tell them to go get their chores done.

"What? We can't hear you."

Then, there's always the grouchy subject. The one who never seems to be able to crack a smile. Just stay away from chickens like this, it might just ruin your day.

"You have now angered the chicken"
Occasionally, you'll be moving in for a shot, and come up with something like the "creepy head on the chopping block" problem. Avoid it at all costs. It traumatizes PETA members.

"Where's my body??"

Then there are the timid ones. You've got to warn them first, or you end up with shots like this.

"What the....??"
Let's talk about the ones who forget the simple things like washing their face. Hello?? You just sucked down yogurt, I would think you'd at least wipe your face before you showed up! And even worse, she has the nerve to waste my time complaining about the ol' biddy sitting next to her.

"Get your butt out of my face"
Whatever you do, when you are taking pictures of poultry, you MUST avoid (at all costs) the really awful eyelid ordeal. It's when they blink, right before they blink. I wish we had an extra set of eyelids like this, but then we'd have a lot more grody looking pictures of ourselves. Forget it.

"If I can't see you, you can't see me"

Class clowns. The roosters who just can't seem to behave themselves. Ever. They're always waggling their stuff around like... oh I don't even know WHAT he was thinking, just forget it. I can't even explain.

"Fail"
If you're going to take photos of chickens, you've got to be patient. You've got to have a big chunk of free time, and most importantly, you've got to have a great backdrop. You also need to have some decent flexibility to get down to their level long enough to snap a decent shot, while not dropping any part of yourself into their... uh... "droppings" at the same time.

BackYardChickens.com "Best Diverse Flock Picture" Winner

BackYardChickens.com - If you like Chickens, you'll love this site.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Farm Tour

Just cruising around my little farm today, enjoying the sights and sounds as everything wakes up from the rainy, cold winter. Hope you enjoy the sights!







Saturday, April 2, 2011

Because It's Been TOO Long

It's time for some chicken love.
After all - that's why I am here. It's why I exist. It's why I breathe...

Just kiddin'. But I am gonna throw some chick pics up for those of you who've been wondering why on EARTH I'm not bragging about my new babies. They aren't babies now, more like adolescents, but here they are when they were pretty new!

Photo shoot!



Chatting around the water cooler


Oh, and for some reason this gorgeous rooster just happened to land here. Pay no attention.


Oh, and so did this picture of my chickie-sitter. He's the best.


Alright people... keep moving. There's nothing more to see here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Marital Suicide

This is one of those days where I really have no business talking about marriage. My own skills at being a wife today aren't looking so brilliant, but somehow I'm feeling tugged to write about the importance of marriage. This might seem trivial at first, but we're gonna go with the basics. I'm not going to say much just yet. Let this list of words speak for itself.

Marriage:
  • a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other as a husband and wife
  • the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies
Vow:
  • a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment
  • to pledge or resolve solemnly to do, make, give, observe, etc
Commitment:
  • a pledge or promise; obligation
  • engagement; involvement
 To commit: 
  • to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge: to commit oneself to a promise; to be committed to a course of action.
  • to entrust, especially for safekeeping;
  • to do; perform
Pledge: 
  •  a solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something   
Promise:  
    • a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one
    • an express assurance on which expectation is to be based
    • to assure
     Faithful: 
    • true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.
    • reliable, trusted, or believed.
    • steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant 
     Honor: 
    • honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions
    • to show a courteous regard for
     Devotion:
    • profound dedication; consecration.
    Cherish: 
    • to care for tenderly; nurture
    • to hold or treat as dear
     Submit:
    • to defer to another's judgment, opinion, decision
    • to yield oneself to the power or authority of another
     Obey: 
    • to comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of another
     Love: 
    • affectionate concern for the well-being of others
    Death:  
    • the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism.
    • extinction; destruction
    Now on the flip side of that... 

    Divorce: 
    • the undoing or breaking of a bond, tie, union, partnership, etc.
    Dissolution:
    • a bringing or coming to an end; disintegration; decay; termination.
     Forsake: 
    • to quit or leave entirely; abandon; desert
     Selfishness:
    • devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

    Irreconcilable

    • a person, especially a member of a group, who will not compromise, adjust, or submit
    • one of two or more conflicting ideas or beliefs that cannot be brought into harmony
    • a person or thing that is implacably hostile or uncompromisingly opposed
    Sin: 
    • a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle
    Suicide: 
    • destruction of one's own interests or prospects

    Seems pretty obvious in black and white doesn't it?

    I'm often torn when confronted with the issue of divorce. Is it right? Is it wrong? It's a "choice", it's a "decision" it's "unavoidable", whatever it is, it's a PROBLEM. My feelings are different than many Christian wives because I've been through a divorce. I felt shame, sadness, regret. I felt like I would never be forgiven because I must have done something wrong. I was defective. I felt like a shadow had been cast over the rest of my life, like I was worthless. Surely God could never accept all of me and all of my broken pieces, and if God couldn't, then how could another man? But I couldn't have been more wrong.

    God has accepted me. God has put peace in my heart. God helped me see through hours of studying HIS word and discussions with my mentors, that my divorce was not a divorce of convenience, or by my stubborn will. It was not a separation made by my choice nor would it be a forever stain on my heart.

    I was abandoned, I was left behind by a man who was not following Christ, I was left free. 

    Free? 


    FREE! 



    1 Corinthians 7:15-16
    But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 

    It wasn't instant. It wasn't all of the sudden, but through the years I have plainly heard the whisper of the Spirit stirring in my soul, "You can not save him. Only I can... go, and live your life. Love your children that I have blessed you with. Share your life with others. Join with another in this life, but only to glorify Me through your union. Share your story. Allow others to see your wounds, but even more importantly, allow them to see your healing.

    My heart has slowly been healed. The gaping cracks and holes left there by what I thought was love, have been stitched together with the true words of our Heavenly Father. You are free. Live in peace.

    This freedom in my heart comes from a loving God. The freedom to feel loved, to feel protected, and to feel right with my Creator. He has given me a new start.


    To those who may be contemplating a divorce, wherever you are on your journey, I urge you to go back to the top of this list. Think about the reasons why you are making your decisions. Are they based on truth, or are they based on feelings? NO WHERE in the list above does it say anything about having mushy, squishy feelings about someone as the basis for being married. And quite honestly it doesn't say anything about Jesus in there either. I kept it that way on purpose for those who would use that as an argument. It's pretty simple that everything we have chosen to do up to this point is a CHOICE, and it's the same CHOICE that can bring you back into a marriage that your FEELINGS have pulled you away from. For me, choosing to follow Jesus meant a new marriage based out of mutual respect, honesty, accountability and choosing to love. As long as we choose to take care of each other, the mushy squishy stuff happens naturally. It's when we slack off, and choose a selfish path, that we find each other disagreeable. The bad feelings grow like weeds, tripping us up along the way.

    Love is a choice, my dear ones. Honor is a choice. Devotion, faithfulness and promises. Serving the one you share a life with before you serve yourself. All are choices. I urge you not to commit marital suicide.What God has joined together, let no one separate - and that one, is you.