Monday, April 27, 2009

Spiritually Molting

Lately I've been challenged by shifting hormones, hatching eggs, broody hens, active roosters, a darling baby who's no longer content to just sit in her swing, a testing 3 1/2 year old who must determine if "no" really does mean "no", an independent 6 year old who is out of here quicker than a whip and wants to do everything by herself, a vocal "your-rules-are-dumb-and-that's-not-how-Dad-does-it" 8 year old who is smart enough to hide gum in his room so he can have it anytime he wants without asking mom, a busy husband who's selling eggs, chicks, and ducklings, running a business during a terrible economy and trying to salvage what he can from a burnt up building and then there's that noisy donkey who thinks it's appropriate to call out at all hours of the night! A dear friend pointed out that perhaps I'm not getting enough sleep. Honestly, it hadn't dawned on me. I realized (during the middle of the night) that she was right on! In my sleep deprived, hormonal state I've been less than gentle spirited and I doubt any children will be rising up any time soon to call me blessed, let alone my dear husband who may be wondering where the lovely lady he married went.

I'm reminded of the hens when they go into molt. Molt is an ugly time. A time where they lose old feathers and their porous red skin shows through all over. They look like they've been attacked by a raccoon or were on the losing end of a chicken fight. When you look at them, you can hardly help but be taken aback and gasp, "OH! What's wrong with her?" Also, they don't lay as well, if at all, during this time, so they're kind of useless. I relate to these molting hens. I don't feel productive right now and it seems like all my ugliness is just out there for everyone to see, especially those closest to me.

The great thing about molt is that I know it does come to end and what comes next is a beautiful thing. Egg production is up, in fact, right after molt seems to be a high egg production time. New feathers fill in beautifully making the hen look her best. Molt is just a temporary part of a hen's life cycle. I appreciate that the hens don't hide out in their nesting boxes waiting for it to end. They're out there pecking and scratching, foraging for food and socializing with the other hens (even if the other hens are all filled out with beautiful feathers!).

I'm hoping that this season of life will slough off some more of the old, cruddy attitudes and behaviors and will reveal a more beautiful spirit. I'd like to be an effective Warrior for the Lord, a blessing to my husband, a leader to my kids, and a good friend. During my spiritual molt I need God more than ever. I need his word for direction, correction, and encouragment. I need the Holy Spirit to remind me of the truth when negative thoughts creep in. As I read today with the kids, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made, (God's) works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Lead me through this time Lord, it's ugly and discouraging, but I trust your end. There are many ways to go, but my plans will fail. Through these tumultuous times, I will cling to your truth. Help me to cast away worry. You are in control.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So... Who is Who?

And the answers are...

1. Sierra

2. Mia

3. Josiah

4. Eliza

If I had plenty of time I would have cropped them all the same size and done them in black and white. I think that would have made the similarity even more dramatic. How I love those sweet faces. All the pictures were around 3 months old. It was fun to look back at them and remember what they were like and how life was at the time. I'll have to do another one when Eliza is a year. Thanks for guessing... that made it kinda fun for me, too. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Who's Who?

Seriously, I think we have a baby mold! I love it though!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He's Got Style

Josiah has wanted to grow his hair out for quite some time now. Quite frankly, he has nice thick hair and I think it would probably look nice. He's been overdue for a hair cut for several weeks now so I decided to take the leap and allow him to grow it out. I decided before I even had kids that I would not battle them (too much) on issues of clothes and hair as long as they were decent and cared for. There are occasions where I have overridden some choices, especially around the holidays, etc. And I have been known to voice my opinion on some outfits and to gently direct wayward colors to a better match. But, the deal on his hair is he has to keep it "styled", not just mop topped. This means he has to brush it and wash it and generally care for it. If he doesn't, then I will take him to get his hair cut into something more manageable. Right now it actually looks pretty cool. He usually flips it back to one side and I have to admit I like it! But, when I was meeting with a friend recently, the kids were there and his hair was uncombed, tweekin' here and there, not up to snuff. I was telling her about our hair deal and I said that maybe I'd take him in to at least get it trimmed into a real style. Well that got his attention. "Mom!" he protested, "I have a style. It's called bed head." Nice.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good Dog

I've been having an extra amount of problems between Sierra and Mia lately. It seemed that most of it stemmed from Sierra so, in a quiet moment, I tried to get to the heart of the matter.

So I gently said, "Sierra, God made you Mia's sister and that's a special thing. It's so important for you to be the best sister that you can be. I want you to try to be kind and play nice with her. Don't whack her or take her stuff. It's very special to have a sister and so you need to be nice."

During my little speech Sierra started to tear up and I was so satisfied that I had touched her heart and that this could be a turning point in their relationship. (Or at least stop some of the fighting!). After a moment I asked her, "What's wrong Sierra?" Through sniffles and tears she looked at me and said, "I don't want to be a sister..." Oh no! My whole pep talk had taken a terrible turn, now she didn't even want to be a sister. My brain raced trying to think of how to encourage her in her role. All I could do was say, "What?"

"I don't want to be a sister," she repeated, "I want to be a dog!"

Uggg. "Well," I conceded "At least try to be a good dog."

Friday, April 3, 2009

What a Day!

Despite the sign we actually had a few customers come in. One of the salesmen came back into the rubble to announce he'd sold a jacket! The front of the building which is primarily retail was fine, the middle portion which is offices, sewing and embroidery had minimal damage but will take some clean up. The back area, which is screen printing, was completely destroyed. You can see the dividing wall here between the middle section and utter destruction.Here's Andrew surveying the rubble. The sun is shining through a hole in the roof.

Here's a destroyed printing press. This is just peeking into the back area, you can see the door frame is charcoal.
The employees were amazing. I really appreciated their support and attitudes. Some came in the middle of the night and stayed until after the fire was out, assessing damage and trying to grasp the reality of the fire damage.
Here's Chad sorting through damaged orders so we could immediately call customers. Sadly these orders were in the finishing department! You can see how the canvas rolling cart was melted away.
The Statesman Journal came out and did an article and took some great pictures. Keep in mind that, as all newspapers do, the article had a few facts incorrect and there is some drama that may not be accurate, etc. Also, we've received some very kind comments online but also some that are borderline slanderous. It's sad that people feel obligated to kick us when we're down. I definitely appreciate the people who've reacted to the negative by supporting us.
We are still in shock from this but given what we've come through in the past we are confident that we will come through this as well and are so thankful that no one was hurt. It definately reinforces that stuff is temporary, one minute you've got it, the next it's gone. In this economy I know many of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Also, we have to give a huge thank you to Salem Fire Department. They did a spectacular job in containing and extinguishing the fire quickly. I was so amazed at the care they took in protecting the other parts of the building.
So, *deep breath*, after surveying the scene, the kids and I went out to lunch and as we were pulling up to Carl's Jr. we see a little bantum rooster right in front of Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits Restaurant on Hwy 22 (not a great location for a chicken to be on so many levels!). So, being the chicken people that we are, we went right over and Josiah caught him as he got tangled up in the bushes. Since Carl's Jr. provided the box for us we decided to name him Carl.

The funny thing is we found out he's a celebrity. The chicken was briefly on TV tonight!!! You know what? I needed that laugh. What a day!


I don't have pictures at the moment.

Early this morning, 1 am to be precise, we were awoken by a call from the security company telling us the smoke detector was going off at the business and the fire department had been dispatched. Minutes later a friend and neighbor of the store called frantically telling us the building was on fire. Andrew hurried out the door. The next call was from an employee who lives near the store as well. I had already prayed many fervent prayers by then. I called my brother for multiple reasons. It was hard to decide if I wanted him to go support Andrew or stay home with his scanner and give me updates. I asked him to go help Andrew. Actually through my adrenaline induced indecision I don't think I ever got around to asking but he actually offered to go down there. Then I called my mom and she offered to come here so I could go down to the store. By the time she arrived, around 2:30am, the fire was pretty much out and Andrew said they were just standing around. So, I decided to stay home and pray some more.

From the statesman journal site I learned it was a 3 alarm fire. Andrew said that screen printing was hit the hardest and the rest looks fine. No one was hurt which is a huge praise. I'll update more later but just wanted to get the news out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Tribute to Logan

I met someone today, but only for a little while. His time with us was too short. He's made an impression on my heart, praise God, as only little ones can. He reminded me of my own child that I am waiting to hold again: tiny, sweet, soft... What a privilege to be allowed to experience precious moments with someone who's moments are known to be few. This is a treasure I will always hold dear, a gift I've been given today.
I witnessed a mother who bravely walked through painful waters and led her children safely through as they said hello and goodbye to their baby brother all in one day. She soaked in every second with him and took her time making beautiful memories and allowing others to make their memories, too. I watched a father, who's heart, I'm sure, is full of grief for a son he can not save, being strong for his wife and family. There were so many different broken hearts in that room, grandparents and friends, enjoying the moment and holding sadness at bay. It was the time to enjoy little Logan, and we did. Even the nurse was touched by his life. I caught her outside the room, releasing her emotions, tears flowing down her face as she expressed her admiration for her patient. Pictures were taken, hand and foot prints made, but all of these things are really just extra... he will never be forgotten.
Thank you Jesus for Logan, I accept your answer to our prayers but we'll all need help walking through our grief. I pray especially for his parents, bless them for trusting you and allowing you to control this outcome. Sustain them through this painful time. We leave Logan safely in your arms until we can see him again. In Jesus name, AMEN.
Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff