The Chicken Run

Here I am again observing behavior in my animals that reminds me of my own real life issues.

These chickens.   Please enjoy this video.  (Also lets give a round of applause to Jesse for helping me with this video.  He was on his way to work and I said, “Please! I need you to open the door so I can video the chickens today!  It will take two minutes!  I promise!”  Well, he changed shoes and headed to the barn only to be met with the fact that the dogs were fighting over a dead rat that Gizmo killed.  It is hard to get a kill away from them, but you learn to do it or else you see that rat again at 2 AM because they are throwing it up on your bedroom floor.  Can I get an AMEN? So the whole video-ing thing took longer than two minutes, sorry honey!)

 

Ok so, my point is this.  These chickens squawk at me while I am letting my sweet duck out, while I am feeding the baby goats, and they squawk at me while I am feeding the big goats.  They use their most impressive voices and puff out there chest all in an attempt to intimidate me into opening their coop first.  To which I say, “You are not the boss of me and until you can use kind words you will be last to get let out.”  To which they say, “SQUAWK!” because they don’t care that kindness is a fruit of the Spirit.  They are geared up, jockeying for position and biting each other to get out the door first.  Then, when I finally open the door,  OFF THEY RUN!  I was watching them a few days ago and just wondered where are they going in such a rush?  They don’t have a plan or direction they just follow each other and run.  They are just “in a hurry to get things done,” like Alabama sings about.  And then you know WHO whispered in my ear, “weren’t you just praying about feeling rushed, and you didn’t know why?”

Oh my gosh, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  My natural bent is to be like the chickens.  Just running with no direction.  No real destination but dammit I’m making good time.

My thoughts are like the chicken run.

My plans are like the chicken run.

My comfort zone is the chicken run.

“Just go, just get it done, faster, more stuff, business, don’t stop,” are what makes up the chorus of my theme song, in my natural state of being.

But Jesus, Jesus comes in and gets in the way of my chicken run and says, “Where are you going in such a hurry?”  “My daughter, you cannot walk in the Spirit and do the chicken run. A fruit of the spirit is self-control, and another is peace, when I see you running the chicken race you look like you are walking in the flesh because I see selfish ambitions, jealousies and bursts of wrath from you, turn around and follow me back to walking in the Spirit because that is a safer place for you.”  Over and over again He reminds me of this.  Over and over again I have gotten lost in the flesh that tells me go faster, work harder, fight more, get ahead of everyone else, and over and over he gets in my way and looks me in the eyes and says, “Stop being a chicken running for no reason, you are a daughter of the King, not a chicken.”

And so, I try to go back to walking in the Spirit.  And I try to capture the thoughts that tell me “hurry up!”  In fact, in God’s humor, or in His good Mercy He gave me a husband who can’t stand to be told “HURRY UP!”  And just to be sure I got the joke, He gave me two kids who actually freeze up when you shout, “HURRY UP!”  (Side note: both of my kids had to have speech intervention because of stuttering.  And BOTH speech pathologists said, “Mrs. Griffith, they don’t start stuttering until you get here.  You HAVE to stop when they are talking to you and look them in the face, otherwise they feel too hurried to get the words out. Got it, thanks!)

What I have learned is that walking in the Spirit is not the absence of “things to do.”  If it was as easy as “do-less-stuff” everyone would do that.  (one more side note:  You know what my most hated phrase is?  “Stop doing so much stuff!”  Oh my gosh, thank you, you just solved all my problems!  Why didn’t I think of that?  I’ll just sit here and do less stuff, but can you do me a favor?  When my head blows up from my anxiety will you mop up the floor?  Because we have already established that we don’t need to let the dogs eat things like that.  Great, thank you.)

Walking in the Spirit is this beautiful dance of learning how to just be with God and let Him direct your steps.  Now some people are going to read that and go, “Oh really? It must be nice to just let the wind blow you one way or another, but I have a job and responsibilities and things I have to do.  But that is exactly what I mean.  It is this awareness in your daily life of the Spirit.  I am learning that when I have that feeling of “Hurry up!” that is when I look to the Lord.  I say to Him, “Lord I don’t want to do the chicken run, help me re-center and not just be running for no reason.”  I do this over and over and over.  I am turning into a “hurry up” detective in my own life.  I am starting to become repulsed by being in a hurry.  I as myself, “Am I running the chicken race here?” That is all Jesus prompting me, and teaching me how to get out of the chicken race.  The schedule has not changed but the heart has.  And when the heart changes that makes all the difference.  Say no the chicken race!  SQUAWK!!!

Sojourn Farm, where dinosaur’s still roam the earth.

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WHAT THE HELL??? Did you know this was a real thing?  This is an alligator snapping turtle.  I believe they originate in HELL!!! This type of turtle got one of our sweet ducks this week.  How do I know it was this resident of Hell that got her?  Because I saw the jerk eating her!!!  It was all very traumatic and I am so sad that our female duck was eaten.

When I saw her laying out in the water I knew it was bad.  Mostly because our ducks don’t go in the pond.  They are love to stand on the shore line and root around in the mud for bugs.  Downton never goes in the water and Cora only goes deep enough to float. They are more into pools and water troughs and things they can see the bottom of.  I made Sydney row out in a kayak and retrieve her body.  Somebody asked me yesterday, “You made Sydney row out there knowing that turtle was in there?”  My answer is, “Yes, yes I did.”  Don’t judge my parenting.  The ducks are my favorite animals and I was not going to leave Cora out there for that dinosaur to eat all day long at his leisure.  It’s not like I made Sydney swim out to get her body.  She had a very sturdy kayak from Costco.  We are not dealing with JAWS here.  As she paddled out I literally thought to myself, “I have my Dave Ramsey Emergency Account fully funded and I will spend every dime of that to save her if there is any chance.”  Well, God heard that and when Sydney finally made it to shore it was clear that there was no chance.  That bastard turtle reached out of the water and snapped her neck.  At least she didn’t suffer but I have a message for the turtle…..

Change “Mandarin” to “Alligator Snapping Turtle”

And another one….. Change “my father” to “my sweet Cora.”

 

I don’t know what Jurassic Park movie you escaped from but your time is up dude.  I have friends with guns, dynamite and one friend that said she would watch the pond from a dear stand…the point is we are coming for you.  Did you enjoy your Duck a la’orange because that was your last meal.

Anyway, the fall out from this loss was one very sad little buddy who had lost his wife.  We comforted him with Kale and a swim in the water trough.  I was ready to hope in the car and drive to Tyler to pick up some ducklings I found on Craig’s List so he would not be lonely.  Jesse put the kabash on that with the point of, “Don’t you think we need to get rid of that turtle first?  I mean otherwise we are just feeding it.”  Right, good point.  And this is why the Lord put us together.  It broke my heart to see him all alone in his little duck hut eating bugs.  I know that animals don’t feel things like us.  I was ready to walk out of Jurassic World when they animated the dinosaur to look like he had a tear rolling down his face.  (Come on!  Reptiles have to lick their eyeballs to keep them moist!)  But when I saw Downton out there calling for her my heart broke.  Also I was so sad that we wouldn’t have anymore duck eggs.  My whole Egg slogan is “Sojourn Farm Fresh Eggs: Every Dozen includes a luck duck egg.” (Credit to my dad for that slogan)  Now we would have to start all over again.

But then, the morning after her death, there was a duck egg in the duck hut!  Now, I had not had any coffee yet so I wasn’t thinking clearly, but my mind went to, “Oh my gosh, she is back from the dead!”  Then I went to, “Oh I bet its a rogue chicken egg.”  I asked Syd if there were any chickens in the Duck Hut when she fed, and she said no.  So then I started to ponder everything I knew about my Jumbo Pekin Male Duck named Downton…..

Side bar, I have a Batchelor’s of science in Agricultural Economics with a minor in Animal Science from Texas Tech University.  I took two poultry classes.  I had to sex poultry in that class.  So why I did not actually check Downton’s sex, is beyond me.  All I can say is that he acted like a dude, he was dude sized and I caught him “on top” of her twice.  Now if living in this day and age has taught me anything it’s that you cannot assume someones gender by the traditional context clues.  Here I was gender profiling Downton.

So as it turns out, Downton is just a bossy, butch, big-boned lady who likes to assert her dominance by jumping on other ducks.  Sydney looked up a video on how to sex Pekin’s just to be doublely sure.  So now our slogan still works because Downtinina is still laying an egg everyday.  I have apologized profusely for congratulating Cora on here egg laying ability this whole time when it was Downinique the whole time!  She also has recovered from losing her “friend.”  She still goes down the shore of the pond like her and Cora use to do, but Downanna has never gone in the water.  We use to tease her about that, turns out she knew something we did know.  We are working on feminizing her name.  The problem is she already comes to Downton.  So that is a whole mess, but I don’t know how to fix it yet.

We are really sad to lose Cora.  And we really are going to have to do something about that dinosaur because I don’t want him getting our swimming Corgi.  Not sure what the plan is for sure, but that pond eco system has gone unchecked long enough.  If we have learned anything from the Jurassic movies it’s that messing with nature is always a good idea.  I’m sure there will be more blogs posts about it.  For now, we are just thrilled that we still get a duck egg everyday.

We are officially a FARM!

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We have an EGG!!!  With the discovery of this EGG Sojourn Farm is officially a farm.  (Dad, stop calling it a petting zoo!)  Now, there was some confusion as to who this egg belongs to.  This egg came into the world amidst animal habitat confusion and many animal complaints.  Here are the facts.  This egg was found in the duck hut.  So you would think we could assume it was a duck egg.  Not so fast.  About two days before this egg showed up, the chickens claimed the duck hut as their own, the ducks claimed the back yard as their own, the big goats claimed the barn as their own, and the baby goats claimed the living room as their own, and the dogs were hiding in Sydney’s room.  The humans who live here were left to pick up the pieces.

With the discovery of the egg, I decided to try to let everyone sort this out.  But the next day things got worse.  I found two eggs in the duck hut.  Downton and I also had to chase the chickens out of the duck hut that night.  They had really started to stake a claim.  I put all my Poultry 101 class knowledge to work.  (I majored in animal science for two years, until we had to slaughter cattle I was all in.)  I figured the chickens had out grown their coup.  I don’t mean to body shame anyone here but our coup says it can fit 12 chickens.  Ah-hem, our chickens must be super-sized because they stopped fitting in the coup a few weeks ago.  We tried to make the best of it and put a roosting bench outside in their scratching pen.  The problem with chickens is that, well, they are chicken.  They are scared of everything and only feel safe at night when they are all together up off the ground.  They were telling us that they were unsatisfied with their house by taking over the duck hut. Saturday morning we set out to rectify the situation.

We took the duck hut, which is actually a dog kennel and moved it into the barn where the original chicken coup was.  We (Jesse) re-engineered the door out to the scratching pen so they could get their chubby rumps in and out easily.  Now the scratching pen is more of a vestibule at this point because they are in there long enough to yell at me in the morning to let them out.  Once free, they roam the whole property like they own the place.   They do have a scratching pen though, in case I have to keep them locked up.  I can’t imaging the chicken profanity that would cause.

We then took the original chicken coup and moved it over to the other side of the barn.  We turned it into the new duck hut.  We had to entice them with something good because they really love the back yard.  I don’t know if you are familiar with ducks but they are way more messy than dogs, so I don’t want them in the backyard around the pool.  Jesse cut a hole in the barn wall to make a way from them to have the coup and a little scratching pen.  We also had to engineer a way for Downton to keep the chickens out of his pen.  Downton totally remembers when he and the chickens lived together as chicks.  He just wanted to be friends and the chickens shunned him because of his big feet.  So now he and his wife have nothing to do with them.  We are working on loving your neighbor around here.  We also needed to keep them separated so we could solve the mystery of the eggs.

A side note on Downton and Cora.  They have a huge pond that they could live in and swim in.  When they were younger we moved them down to the water’s edge with a sub par duck enclosure.  A raccoon broke in and attacked them.  Downton defended Cora valiantly but lost a few feathers and bled like he lost a wing.  Sweet Cora must have been in the raccoon’s mouth or something because she had a huge puncture wound in her chest.  I wasn’t sure if they would survive, but they did!  The residual effect is that they do not like to be very far from the back yard.  They do not swim in the pond.  They get their water time like this….

Don’t ever question what kind of life the animals around here have.  I dance around all day making sure everyone is emotionally groovy.  I will not have ducks in my backyard pool area.  I have to draw the line somewhere.  I have goats in my house for goodness sake!

 

Now everyone’s houses look like this….

And finally everyone is singing my praises again.  The chickens are happy as clams. (There you go Jonathan, that saying just works!)  The ducks are slightly confused but love their new house.  It is right under the night-light so it always has bugs in it.  And now the mystery of the eggs is solved…..

dun dun da….

It is a duck egg!!!  Cora is laying an egg everyday for us!  I’m trying to come up with a marketing slogan for this.  “Sojourn Farm Eggs: Every dozen includes a duck for luck!”  I don’t know, but I crack myself up coming up with stuff like this.  I’m so thrilled because this means, not only that she did not get permanently injured in her attack, but also that we might get little ducklings in the spring!  If I see her or him start sitting on a pile of eggs I will stop taking them away from her.

But for now….

They are delicious!  (I had to try them first before anyone else around here because they were unsure.)

At the time of writing this we have had two random chicken eggs.  I think their little layers are just getting revved up.  The new problem is that they lay them wherever they want.  With the move they are all jacked up and confused.  Supposedly if you put ceramic eggs in the nesting boxes they will “get the point.”  I crack up thinking about what goes through a chickens mind the first time they lay an egg.  “Look what just came out of my butt?!?!?”

I just love our little farm.  I love caring for the animals, even though I complain about it.  I love learning to be flexible and thinking outside the box to fix problems.  I love learning what they need to thrive.  I love what the Lord is teaching me out here.  He is everywhere in all these little creations.  More to come on that later.  For now, just know we are officially a farm, and I’m so thrilled with it!

Happy Birthday to my main squeeze, an open letter.

 

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Dear Jesse,

You turned 41 years old on Monday.  I’m so thrilled to celebrate your birthday.  Don’t worry, I am not at all concerned about the fact that I married such an older man.  41 looks so good on you!  Babe, in the midst of life, and my spiritual gift of being critical of you it may come across that I am not totally over the moon in love with you, or that I don’t get on my knees everyday and thank God we are together, but trust me, I love you more everyday, and I am so thankful for you.  I decided a good way to show you how grateful I am for you would be to come up with 41 things that I love, admire, and like about you.  I added like because as I typed 41 I thought, well that is a long list I better put like just in case I run out.  Now I will warn you, some of these you may read and think, “Is that a compliment or a roast?”  In those moments I will refer you to the 101 times you have “complimented” me by saying something like, “Yeah, I love those shoes they look like something Jesus would wear,”  or “Yeah that dress looks good, it looks like a couch.”  So let’s get started:

  1.  I love the way you love Jesus.
  2. I love the way you love me, and would do anything to be sure I am not feeling any stress at all.  (I do suspect that your devotion to this is more about your well-being than mine)
  3. I love the dad you are to Brock and Sydney, they hit the dad jackpot with you!
  4. I love that you hid behind “all those are Sarah’s animals” but I find you out with the dogs, chickens, ducks and goats more than anyone else.  It says something about the tenderness of your heart that you love animals.
  5. I love that I can let you sleep in on Saturdays, make sure no one wakes you up, and with that one day of sleeping in, you are a new man.  It is your recharge for the week.
  6. I love how mad at me you were when I told you I was kidnapping you this week to take you out-of-town for your birthday.  I love that you were so mad because you did not want to miss the first Monday Man Night at church because you were the one who organized it and you wanted to be there to be sure it all went off without a hitch.  It makes me proud of you when you take ownership of stuff, it means you give a damn.
  7. I love that when you take a shirt off a hanger you hang the empty hangers with all the other empty hangers in your closet.  This makes if very easy for me to put your clothes away.
  8. I love that you love cars, all cars; remote, muscle, fast n furious type, trucks and minivans.  But don’t every try to buy me a minivan again.  Lara Croft Tomb Raider does not drive a minivan.
  9. I love that your car is always so clean but your desk looks like the zombie apocalypse went by.
  10. I love how I have learned that it takes you two hours to wake up.  I now know that I can talk to you after 8AM and you will be sweet Jesse, before that you are jerk Jesse.
  11. I love how you thanked me the other day for asking the waiter to sit us outside because we needed to be away from the busy, crowded, kid filled restaurant.  I got your back babe, I know you don’t do crowds, I will protect your introverted soul.
  12. I love that you told me this birthday get away was your perfect birthday party.  Just you and me, and the quiet, with no schedule.  (Just a side note, that is not my perfect birthday please refer to Ashley, Kelly and Cheryl for more info)
  13. I love watching you fight for structure in your life.
  14. I love watching you try to figure out how to love the Lord, serve in ministry and find time to work on cars, fix up your shop and build and R/C track.
  15. I love that you ask yourself 100 questions before taking a step forward.  I will admit that I did not use to love this about you, but in the years we have been living life together I see how your meticulous planning has saved us from many train wrecks.
  16. I love how you approach money, budgets and family business.  You do it with ease because you know it all comes from God anyway.
  17. I love that saving money is more fun to you than going to Groovy’s and getting a new Umgee shirt.  I love that for you, but not so much for me.
  18. I love that you are always in the moment, always.
  19. I love that you never tell me no, but you say, “Did we budget for that?” or “Lets sit down and plan out how we would do that.”  These are also things I did not love about you for a while but now I see the value in them.
  20. I love that no matter the situation, the crisis, the problem you have a gadget in your backpack specifically for that problem.
  21. I love the mystery that is your backpack.  Is it Marry Poppins’ carpet bag or is it Pandora’s box.  I don’t know.  All I know is that it rides in the car with you buckled in like a baby.
  22. I love that you are always researching how to do things on You Tube, especially when you could have your own You Tube channel on how to do things.
  23. I love that when you got the job of Building Maintenance Man at church you literally came alive.
  24. I love your heart for our church.
  25. I love that you make sure everything is all set up and ready so that people have the best church experience they can have.  Example: Filling in the gap in the worship center doors so that the sound from the lobby doesn’t interfere with service.
  26. I love that you are so worried about Doug being hot on Sunday that you actually go up there on Saturday and early Sunday morning to make sure the thermostats are set.
  27. I love that it drives you crazy that you can’t get the church cold enough for 11:30 service.  It means you give a damn.  I love that you care.
  28. I love the way you talk to service guys on the phone.  You are so kind and caring even-though I am sitting next to you yelling, “NO IT CANNOT WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW TELL THEM TO GET THEIR ASS HERE NOW.”  That is most likely why people prefer to deal with you and not me.  Whatever, I have other gifts.
  29. I love the way you care about maintaining our house.  It reminds me of Papa Johnny.
  30. I love that you told me the other day, “Doug is going to have to bury me in the church because I am never leaving Cornerstone.  I don’t care if I have a job there or not, I’m still working there.”  I love that you love our church that much.
  31. I love that I got this text from Ashley after VBS:

    “Btw your husband was a total gift to me today too. He literally pushed a broom and took out trash all day. I love the way he serves! He just shows up and fills holes. Such a gift to me. Make sure he knows that. Didn’t know if that would be weird for me to tell him 😂”

  32. I love that you will do any job for any one even if it is taking out the trash.
  33. I love that you come home all the time and say, “Hey I heard _______ talking and he needs money to go on his mission trip, I think we should give it to him, where is the check book,” or “I was talking to _________ today and they need a car but I don’t want them to go into debt, lets help them out.”  You have become the most generous person I know.
  34. I love that you come from a banking family and you hate debt–YOU ARE SUCH A REBEL!!!
  35. I love that we share a love for all things Dave Ramsey.
  36. I love how you would pour yourself out to get people out of debt.
  37. I love how you have this ability to get people to do stuff without them even knowing you were insisting they do it.
  38. I love how much you love the people who come to our Dave Ramsey Classes.
  39. I secretly love that you tell me you are not scared of me anymore.  I love that you stand up to me.  Just don’t let’s get carried away with all that.
  40. I love that we share a love of all things Texas Tech and that you let me devote a whole room to Tech in our house.  Lord please be with the Red Raiders today as they play in the College World Series.  (And please be with the football team this year, cuz where were you last year?)
  41. I love you, just you.  Everything you are, all your idiosyncrasies, your introvertedness, your love of beef jerky, your love of Weird Al Yankovic, your love of the 80’s, your love of 80’s hair bands, and your love of  meaningless trivia.  I love all of it.  I’m so grateful you are mine.

Looky there, 41 things I love about you and I didn’t have to use “like” at all.  I love you Jesse Griffith, you are my favorite part of the day.  I wish you could see yourself through my eyes because you would be so impressed with yourself.  You have no reason to doubt yourself or to question yourself.  You are the bomb. com to me.  I love you babe.  Happy Birthday!!

Love from our much younger wife,

Sarah

Well, IT’S TWINS!!

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Introducing Cumulonimbus and Altostratus.  Nimba, the white one, and Alta, the dark one, for short.  They are twin two-week old Nigerian dwarf X Pygmy goats.  To say they have over taken our lives around here would be exactly accurate.  We are drunk on baby goats up in here.  They have to be bottle fed, take naps, and are living in our laundry room unless they are outside in the play pen.  Check out some of the play time….

 

There just is nothing like these little things. So why do we have these cutie pie little twins?  I’ll tell you!  Sydney got all A honor roll and I was trying to come up with a good celebration gift for her.  Also Jesse’s birthday is on June 18th and I needed a gift for him.  Now let me be honest.  I have been accused by my best friend that possibly gifting Jesse with a pygmy goat would fall under the “I wanted a pygmy goat and so I got you one for your birthday,” category.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I am just the best gift giver ever.  Jesse loves his goat.  (For all of you Jesse lovers out there, I did get him something else and I am taking him on a trip so shut up he is fine.)  These little cuties were born on Saturday, June 2nd.  I could have brought them home that week but I knew if Sydney saw them before she left for summer camp she would not go to summer camp.  She got home yesterday and we surprised her.  She was surprised to say the least and she has not left them alone since she got home except when we made her go to bed last night.

I am having flash backs to when I had my human babies.  My freezer is full of (goat)milk, there are bottle warmers on the counter and bottles in the dish drainer.  They eat on a schedule just like human babies and when they get hungry they go hunting for nipples.  They also make the cutest sounds.  It is too hot for them to be outside all the time so they take breaks in the dog crate I have in the laundry room.  However, they will be wondering around the house in no time at all because we got doggie diapers for them last night.  We have become “those” goat people.  (*update: in the midst of writing this blog the doggie diapers got put on the goats.  Because of certian anatomical differances that I will not take the time to explain, the diapers do not work for goats.  Sydney is lamenting this fact and is currently searching for information on goat diapers.  The babies are in the laundry room until then.)

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But also in all this cuteness I am reminded of our Good, Good Father.  In His word he compares us with sheep.  Now I’ll be honest, I don’t see much difference between sheep and goats.  There is a diffrence because at Tractor Supply there is milk replacer for lambs and a totally different bag of mild replacer for kids.  I don’t think the difference is big enough not to make the leap that sheep and goats act the same way.  So just for illustration sake lets say they are the same.  God compares us to sheep and says that he will leave the 99 in the heard to find the one that is lost.  He runs us down to bring us back to the safety of His herd.  He also calls Himself the Gentle Shepard that tends to the flock.  He says He is the Watchmen that stays at the gate protecting the herd. All these things come to life for me as I care for these little girls.  They are weak and helpless just like me.  Without me caring for them and feeding them they would die.  It’s the same predicament I am in without Jesus.

John 10: 7So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

8“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

9“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

10“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

 11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

13“He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

14“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,

15even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.

18“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. Print.

Really I sit in a position right now where I am just so grateful to God that we have property where we can keep goats.  Mostly because it causes this above portion of scripture to come alive for me.  Part of me loves to call myself a shepherd because it helps me identify with a small part of who Jesus is.  But as I watch and interact with these little cuties I see how uphill Jesus’ battle is to keep me focused on Him.  They are such “know it all’s” and “I want to jump up on that dangerous thing,” kind of animals.  And guess what? I do the same stupid kind of goat things.  Jesus is powerful enough to save me from myself.  I am only powerful enough to manage the carnage, and hope they don’t jump out of their play pen.  Thank you Jesus for always keeping me in the fold and leading me to greener pastures.  I love you Lord.

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Prepare to be inundated with pictures of these cuties.  This is what summer 2018 will revolve around!  I am sure there will be many “lessons from the baby goats!”

 

 

 

I survived May…..almost.

LAST DAY OF MAY!!!!  I feel like the “Eye of the Tiger” should be playing all day today!  Brock is already at school and Sydney is headed out the door in like 20 minutes FOR THEIR LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!  Last week I could not think of what to write about and still came up with 1000 words–no one who does life with me is surprised by that.  My friend Jeff calls these my “manuscripts” not blog posts–whatever, I have all the feelings and lots of words, and I just SURVIVED MAY, so buckle up buttercup I have some words to use!

First my daughter tried out for the A Cappella group at school called “Walk the Line.”  Am I living out Pitch Perfect dreams through her? YES YES YES!!! Was I more nervous for her than I was at any of my own auditions ever?  YES!!  But listen, my baby went in there, stood up in front of the judges, a bunch of high schoolers, a bunch of middle schoolers and SLAYED IT!!!!  I could not have been more proud of that girl.  I know what it cost that little body to move her feet, one in front of the other, to stand in front of the judges.  I know she took hold of the microphone even though  her hand was shaking.  I know she forced her body to sing, even though she wanted to simultaneously throw up and pass out.  I wanted to stand up and yell at the judges: “Do you have any idea how much she practiced this?” I wanted to grab them and say:  “Do you know what that just cost her?”  But I didn’t.  I just cried.  I cried because I was so proud of her.  I was so thankful to the Lord that she has this amazing voice and that He has been prompting her to step out of her comfort zone.  And I cried because I knew if she made the group I would be the best freaking A Ca Mom this town has ever seen.

WELL GUESS WHAT?????  She made it!!!!  There are two groups.  Walk the Line is the Varsity group and Sting is the JV group.  Sydney made the JV group. Now the choir teacher told us specifically not to call them that, but she is not my boss and will probably never read this.   (and if you do please don’t kick Sydney off for the sins of her mother) Sting will not be competing and will be doing a lot of community stuff.  I could not think of anything better for my girl.  To learn and get comfortable in a non-competitive atmosphere will be great for her.  It will also give me time to get my A Ca mom game going strong.

And in the midst of all the fun, and watching my girl walk through all the emotions and fear, I thanked God.  I did!  Because its moments like this that she and God develop a relationship that is all their own.  Every stinking time He shows up when she needs Him, she trusts Him a little more.  Every time she faces her fear and tells her flesh NO, she learns what He is made of.  It was the most precious thing in May for sure.  Capped off by this, as we are getting into the car Sydney says,  “Well that was totally a God thing because I could not have gotten through that if he hadn’t been with me.  I just wanted to throw up, but suddenly, when I started singing I was fine and I knew I would still go to heaven even if I messed up, so what do I care about making it if I am going to heaven.  Jesus loves me anyway.”  AND SHE LOOKED OVER AT HER MOM TO SEE HER RESPONSE AND REALIZED HER MOM HAD DIED BECAUSE HER DAUGHTER FIGURED OUT AT 13 WHAT IT TOOK HER 40 YEARS TO LEARN.

THE END

BUT NOT REALLY…..

I also wanted to record that I survived two award ceremonies with minimal feelings of “Not Doing Enough.”  I don’t know, maybe I became a little more mature in the last year.  I just sat there remembering how I am committed to becoming the mom that does life in a God honoring way.  In order for me to be the mom that is not screaming profanity at my children we have to have a “slower than most of Rockwall pace.” That translates into saying no to myself a lot.  I got so run down last week from the month of saying no to myself.  Telling myself NO to food I wanted to eat, NO things I wanted to buy, NO to things I wanted to do, NO to friends I wanted to help, and NO Netflix that needed bingeing.  Telling myself NO wears me out!  However, if I don’t say NO enough I turn into screaming profanity mom and disrespectful wife.  Also, I am an extrovert living with a bunch of introverts that need down time to re-coup.  That means saying NO to always running around doing stuff so they can rest.  Becoming a mom that my kids don’t have to survive is more important to me than anything else.  I know that now.  Everyday I get a tiny bit closer to not turning to rage to cope with stress.  I hate how many times in the last month I have unloaded on them and had to go back and say, “I am so sorry I yelled at you, I was mad about something else and I took it out on you.”  Pride stops me from apologizing because it tells me, “You are right, how dare they, look at all you do for them!” But I did it because Jesus wants me to, and He is more important to me than my pride.  As I walk with Jesus day after day and learn to be in control of my feelings, I will be able to stop myself before I unload, but not yet.  The month of May brought out the worst in me and it humbled me and made me realized I have made progress, but there is still a long way to go.  I just keep telling the kids that I will pay for their therapy.

I have also realized this month that the fight of my life will be to stay focused on the Lord.  I surprised myself this month at how quickly the Bible gets buried under paperwork on my desk.  I believe myself to be someone who is in love with God’s Word and I am often shocked when people say they think God’s word is boring or they don’t understand it.  I’m all, “Are you kidding! It’s alive, its life changing, it’s how you know who God is!!!”  I self righteously think, “Man, I could not go a day without reading God’s Word.”  This month I hate to admit that there were several days that my Bible got left on my desk without being opened.  It shocked me.  My self-righteousness came to roost, so to speak.  I was humbled and realized that this is no joke.  I shut down communication between me and the Lord for several days because I was “too busy.”  I use quotes around “too busy” becasue I find it funny that I used that as my excuse.  If I am too busy to read His word it’s because I have not said NO to enough stuff!!!!  But God, in His loving-kindness is always running down the lost sheep.  His word says He would leave the 99 to find the 1 who had strayed and gotten lost.  At church this weekend I heard this quote, “Base your choices on what God’s Word says, that way  you are thinking like God and not thinking like man.”  I was like, “Oh heck yeah!! That is so good!”  God gently whispered, “How do you think like me if you think you don’t need to be in My Word everyday.”  Oh, right, sorry Lord.  In order to be the mom that doesn’t scream profanity at her kids, to be a respectful wife, to teach bible studies to other women, and to over come depression and anxiety I have to be transformed by God’s Word.  The way that I do that is to read God’s Word, that’s it!  As easy as that!  Except it’s not easy, it’s the fight of my life.

I have had to sit myself down and say, “Self, you are super ready to get on Insta and FB, but you are reluctant to pick up your Bible.  That just shows me that Flesh Self has taken over Spirit Self and we can’t function like that.”  I have had to repent and ask God to help me focused on Him.  I can actually ask God for that!!! Isn’t that cool?  He know’s that I have to battle my flesh in order to sit down and read His word so He tells me to ask for help from Him!  My flesh doesn’t want to be exposed to God’s word because Flesh Self doesn’t like to have change and God’s word will transform me to be more like Jesus.  Flesh Self say’s “No thanks, I just want more of everything!”  Saying no to self, although it wears me out is where the battle is won.  Reading God’s Word teaches me to think like Him and not to let my feeling run the show.

So by, by May.  You were the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  By, by school year and hello summer! I have so many things I want to write about and I am hoping that summer means lots of time to write!!!

 

 

I can’t think of anything to write about.

I literally have no idea what to write about.  However, all the experts say that when you are learning to write you have to just sit down and make yourself do it anyway.  They say that developing your writing style is about consistency.  I am nothing if not consistent.  It is my “time” to write and I am just typing whatever comes to my mind.  Maybe this will feel like a roller coaster and you will get a glimpse of what goes on in my head.  Thrilling and scary as heck.

It’s not that Jesus isn’t teaching me and showing up in all different ways.  He totally is!  I am writing a bible study right now on the book of Galatians and He is showing me so much it’s almost like I don’t even know where to start if I wanted to write about it here.  I’m gearing up and in the planning stages of teaching a bible study this summer which is just about the most fun thing in the world.  The kids get out of school in a week and a half.  May is almost over! I am also really tired and overwhelmed and don’t know what to write about.  Plus I spent most of my weekend watching the royal wedding, and am having to play catch up now.  So I am in this joyful, tired, overwhelmed, allergy ridden, anxious state of mind.  And in this frame of mind I find it hard to think of something to write about.

Right now I am listening to the nonrhythmic pounding of a new roof going on my house.  I feel like this could be some form torture.  I mean if they all hammered in sync with their music I feel like this could be the beginnings of a musical.  “Sarah Faces the Day,” by Rogers and Hammerstein.  BUT they do not hammer in sync.  They hammer at random times, from every direction.  Let’s say this has been a challenge to my anxious mind.  My daughters dog, Abby the Labby, is likewise tortured by the banging.  She is hanging out in the goat pen with the chickens and the goats.  The Corgi’s are out there too.  I’m not going to lie, I have gotten considerable joy out of these creatures trying to navigate being together.

The goats don’t want them in their pen because who rules the world? GOATS  The goats want to do what they want to do and they don’t want anyone on their turf or in their food.  Now the Corgi’s are herding dogs.  So a herders going to herd.  This fly’s with goats for exactly 0 seconds before they turn around to head but the Corgi’s.  Then everyone runs back to their corners to come up with a new strategy.  When the Corgi’s get bored with the goats they go and see what the chickens are doing.  I think the Corgi’s feel super bad ass because the chickens run from them every single time.  This also never gets old, but the Corgi’s have to take a nap about every 30 minutes.  I think it is because their legs are only like 3 inches long.  Abby spends her time worrying about what is happening at he house.  She eats her feelings by snacking all day on the goat droppings.  Think of it as chocolate for dogs.

The ducks.  They come running up from the pond anytime they see a human outside of our house because they believe all humans carry kale around in their pockets.  So about every hour or so I have to chase them back to the pond for their own safety.  Also, they are super fat ducks that might make a good dinner for someone, if you know what I mean, and I don’t want someone to slip them into their truck.  Our General Contractor knows the only thing I really care about is the ducks and I told him to tell everyone who comes on this property to watch out for them.  He said he has nightmares about having to tell me someone ran over a duck.  Rightly so, don’t mess with my ducks.

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My sweet daughter got me this T-shirt for mother’s day.

I am about to have to go shower to take Sydney to the Orthodontist.  I never let them miss school for doctor’s appointments but its the second to last week of school and I am tired of fighting the appointment schedulers.  I also appreciate the schools sending out emails asking for the parents help to maintain discipline in the schools as we approach summer.  Listen, my heart is with the teachers for sure.  I really think school should end after the STAAR test is over, but no one listens to me.  It’s all I can do to get these kids up and into the school building to be counted present.  I am normally such an inspirational speaker in the morning.  This comes with the territory if you are morning person like me.  I’m all “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” and “the best preparation for tomorrow is what you do today!”  But right now the inspiration has left me.  I’m actually sleeping in until 6 am right now.(my friends are gasping right now because I usually get up at 4:45)  I don’t even know myself anymore.  I’m like “I don’t care if you want to go, you have to go or I get arrested, goodbye”  We go get Sonic drinks everyday after school just so they will have to slurp their straw and not complain about their day.  So basically we are winning around here.

Well I have done about all I can do here.  I’m sorry if you read this because you are probably in a bad mood now because of all my inspirational talk.  I had nothing to write about and yet still wrote 1000 words.  I guess the experts are right, you just have to do it. Here’s hoping we all make it to the finish line.  I’m holding on to the fact that my best most inspirational self will resurface in August, at back to school time.  I will leave you with a picture of a Gizmo the swimming corgi and my fat ducks, Downton and Cora.