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Marco Pollo

We have had a new family member since December… his name is Marco.

Marco was a rescue rooster.  He needed a place to stay where he wouldn’t be pecked at, and more importantly (in my opinion) a safe place to learn to use his voice.  Not to personify a rooster, ‘cuz frankly — if it didn’t work out the plan was to put him in the broiler… but the poor thing didn’t even know how to crow.  Now, for some people that would be a marvel.  A beautiful bird like that which won’t wake me up at dawn?  Where do I sign up?

I personally felt a kindred spirit with Marco about this whole voice thing.  Poor, sweet bird.  I am learning how to use my voice too.  It’s been something of a spiritual awakening for me, stepping out and being myself more and more as I learn to trust God in the midst of things that overwhelm me or scare me to death.  So…. as Marco began to slowly work on his crowing, I silently cheered him on, and rejoiced when he not only mastered the crow, but I heard my little kids begin to mimic it.  Isn’t imitation the finest flattery — especially when it’s something we’ve only just figured out?

So, yes…. my kids love him (he’s very friendly… when he’s not hungry).

We’re lucky; our neighbors on one side already have a rooster and our neighbors on the other side were raised with them (when Marco got out the first week he was with us, they fed him and took care of him until we came for him).  So I suppose you could say our neighborhood is already set up for urban chickens (the rapidly-forming online community support for this is astounding).

Why a rooster?  I don’t know.  Less to lose if we don’t get it right — after all,  he was free to us.  Now — the coop wasn’t, but I did get this one for a great bargain (put it together myself with screws and carpenter’s glue, even getting a bit of a refund for badly-done predrilled holes which I had to remedy myself).

My favorite things so far:  I love Marco’s little happy bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk when I put down leftover cereal, popcorn, you name it.  Also, my son (pictured above) has started singing

This little piggy went to Marco, this little piggy stayed home.

Another thing I like: Now I know how to tuck his head down and put him to sleep, and give him a nice luxurious petting.  It’s quite soothing (to me, too).  Who needs dogs or cats?  Marco, and hopefully (when we can get them) his soon-to-be harem, will be not only playful, but productive, with eggs and chicks (when we need them).

So, yes, on to the reason I really want chickens: I love “yard eggs,” as they’re called in my family.  Eggs which have basked in the sun after days of pecking fresh yummy seeds and scratching in the meadow of the back-yard — I’m drooling about this already — are firm and solid, buttery to the taste, with darker yolks and savory finishes on the palate once done over-easy, scrambled, or omelet-style.  YUM.  Every time I visit our family/friends with “yard eggs” in the fridge I walk away a happier woman, feeling like dancing and singing (I’m not kidding):

To life, to life, L’chai-im!

So…. Thanks for reading, Friends!

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Delight in all my Labor

It is easy for me to forget in the daily grind that I am cherished.  Treasured.  God’s special girl.  A princess in the kingdom.

We’re not talking “positive self talk” here.  We’re talking true healing from the frustrating day yesterday, and knowing (and feeling) the tender heart with which God views all my mistakes, trials, and heartaches.

My husband has taught me this phrase: “PROGRESS, not perfection.”  I love it, but it is hard to really step into sometimes.  I do want to be good at my job, my life, you name it.  So, when even PROGRESS seems unattainable, I can be easily and understandably…. erhm…. emotionally constipated or… erhm… runny.  Either one.  Ha!

What I am realizing is that this enemy of my heart works to not only steal my self-worth, he also seeks to steal the joy in my work with this mentality.  I am suddenly just working away for nothing, not appreciated, not worth being appreciated.  The voices start saying: You should never have signed up for this.  You made a big mistake, and you will pay for it for the rest of your life (if you want to be a good wife and mother by not quitting).  

or

Look at the mistake you made.  You shouldn’t share about that with anyone.  They will just look at you sidewise and not want to be your friend.

Then I start filling in: I should quit — to be rebellious against all these voices!

or

I must never make that mistake again.  Let me be as hard on myself as I can so I will learn this time.

These are all tricks of the enemy of our souls!  I know God wants me to just rest in the identity HE has created for me…. it’s all there, in the Scriptures.

I am beautiful.

I am His treasure.

I am His bride.

I am not alone.

There is joy for my work today.

There is new mercy and grace for every mistake I make.

…It just goes on!

Ecclesiastes 2:10b — “My heart took delight in all my labor,  and this was the reward for all my toil.”  Even though the purpose of everything is to know and be known by God, and is meaningless otherwise, I seek to rest in His perspective of today.  I choose to look to Him for the joy and delight in all my labor… as a friend, mother, wife, homemaker (I loved seeing that on our IRS return!), and daughter of the King.

A Question of Conscience

I have concluded that my conscience is untrustworthy.  Or, at the very best, it does not have the “True North” that I thought it did.  In fact, I often am overly sensitive about things that I should not feel bad about at all, at least not by counsel of those in my life I trust.  Other times I realize that I am being careless about things I should think twice about.

For example, I can beat myself up for doing something silly or embarrassing (not wrong), but then I fail at other times to realize that a pattern of behavior is completely wrong.  I might worry about the way my hair or makeup looks as though I am not living up to a social standard, but then I won’t think twice about being thoughtless toward my husband or children and can really hurt their feelings.  Not cool!

I think a lot of things flavor this cup of tea.  My family of origin shows a similar pattern, and can actually be prideful about taking care of others well… but then drop the ball on being compassionate toward each other.  And my history of involvement in the church shows a definite trend toward honoring the legalistic Christian.  Moreover, just this morning I realized I had adopted (or at least, reinforced) a mindset about not apologizing from a movie.  I don’t think we can help these things any more than we can help living in this world, and it’s a life worth living — that goes without arguing, at least in this entry.  🙂

Suffice it to say that I am enjoying the process of stepping back from my values and beliefs to reexamine them as the Lord prompts me to… to make decisions and responses and not reactions, to the situations I face.  It’s a new way of living for me.

Sometimes I feel a strain, as my brain goes, “No, I should respond this way, now!”  But I have consistently found that it helps to occasionally wait a few moments, and look at my default patterns of response.  Or, if the situation passes and becomes old news, I can usually bet that I will likely find myself in that situation again at some point… this time better armed with a response bathed in prayer and thoughtful reflection.  It makes for a much more peaceful existence.

That’s all for now….. just thought I’d share!

Who’s In Charge?

“Time apart with God” — this is what I have taken to calling my “Daily Quiet Time” or “Bible Study Time.”  I did this because  I realized I needed much less-defined parameters… so that I feel less like a failure if something specific doesn’t happen… meaning the ideal: spending a set 15 minutes, or even 5 minutes, following a planned Scripture reading, or getting a paradigm shift, etc.  All of these things are ideas which have become more of an expectation in my heart than a guide as they were meant to be.  At the end of a quiet time, I can easily feel like a failure (and unconnected to God) if I haven’t been able to check them all off the list.

This new approach has become really refreshing, especially on the mornings I am unable to read anything at all before the baby starts to cry.  (The timing is amazing.)

On even the most rushed of my days, I can at least close my eyes, break away from my busy thoughts, breathe deeply, and just whisper His Holy Name: “Lord.”  Then, usually, I stop to lay down my load before Him and ask Him to enter into my day… “Be the Center” of my day.  Sometimes I get as far as singing along with a favorite worship song and glorifying Him with the harmonies in my heart, or even dancing and ushering His presence into my home.  But always… I seek to rest in His presence.

Sometimes I might read what I can of the DAB (Daily Audio Bible) reading for the day… today, this caught my eye:

Judges 8

22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”

23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”

It struck me that in the two areas of my home and my children, I feel such an incredible, at times overwhelming amount of responsibility.  Tension mounts when things go wrong or I make a mistake, or when I haven’t finished my targeted agenda before I have to stop.

I felt the Lord telling me today that I need to put Him in charge… He will rule over my children, even now, and be my leader in the home.  Instead of myself being the keeper of these things, He is in charge.  I am accountable to him for the home, and he is in charge of my family: their health and happiness, their outcome of personality and character, and our relationships.

Finally, He is helping me relax and achieve that rest I crave so deeply in this area.

Maybe you needed to hear it too.