Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Doing Hard Things

This post may be inappropriate for young people or anyone with a tender heart.

Today I had to do the hardest thing (in my opinion) that you have to do on a farm. I had to put down a baby duck. I have avoided this responsibility for several months as we've had several animals that have had to be put out of their misery. They may have been sick or injured or, like this little duck, were just born with a defect that made it impossible for them to thrive. Rather than prolong their suffering, I believe it's better to end their lives as quickly as possible. I believe that, but I can not do it, that is, until today. The little duck was given a few days to see if any thing would improve. (Improvement has never happened but I think it's in our nature to give things a chance.) Apparently Andrew thought the little duck had died last night so this morning he tossed him in the burn barrel. Unfortunately, this afternoon, Josiah heard him peeping out there. Now this was a bad situation turned awful. Not only were his little feet deformed and his body lacking nutrition and water since he couldn't move right to get to the feeder and waterer, now he was covered in soot. The solution to his dilemma was obvious, I had to "take care of it". That's how I term it when we're discussing the mercenary killing of sick or inured animals. I knew I couldn't bear to watch it die and I wanted to make sure whatever action I took was thorough so the poor dear wouldn't have to suffer any longer. So, I took care of it.

I wonder if there was animal death in the garden of Eden, I mean before the Deceiver embodied a serpent and lied to Eve. Did God intend there to be a cycle of life and death for the animals? Did accidents, injuries, and malformations happen back then? Did anyone have to "take care of it"? It's easy for me to relate our human sufferings (accidents, injuries, malformations, sicknesses, pain in general) to the fall in the garden but I'm not clear on the animal and plant world. Did flowers fade? or fruit rot? One day I'll know these things for sure.

The bottom line is I hate "taking care of it". I hate the thought of "taking care of it". But, I did it. I did the right thing, here on earth, in our fallen state, where things are hard and imperfect and this little duck needed to be put out of it's misery. Even so, I'm sad and I'm sure it will take me a while to recover from this. It's still traumatic. I cried so hard I dripped snot. I even decided to write this post in order to workout some of my feelings. I also tried a bowl of ice cream, that didn't really help, which I knew it wouldn't but at least it was a nice distraction for a few minutes. I know farmers do this type of thing all the time. "Things happen" they say, "things" being death. I call that type of person "farm hearted," they do hard things enough that it doesn't disrupt their day or require a bowl of ice cream. Maybe one day I'll be a little more farm hearted but for now I'm still sad.

Just Do It

I've touched on this topic before but it's come up again in an interesting analogy. A friend of ours has been competing in longer distance races through high school, college and even now as an adult. He's never completed a marathon though. Being a marathon lover, I found that hard to believe. My husband on the other hand, who never runs unless it's just for fun chasing the kids around, did complete the Portland Marathon... barely, but still.

Let's say completing a marathon was the call of God on people's lives. Despite all the talent, ability, and previously logged miles in the world if a person is unwilling to sign up and put one foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles, the marathon will never be completed. But, despite the lack of "natural ability" or even preparedness, a willing and determined person can complete a marathon. Sign up, show up, persevere. Just seems like there's a lesson there. I can also attest to the fact that if you add "train" to the equation the whole experience is a lot more pleasant!!

Just some thoughts... had to share.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

There are some bobble head quail that have been spotted near our house. Well, we call them bobble heads, someone told us they were California quail or Northern quail. At any rate, they have the little bobbley thing that faces forward that bobs when they scurry around in their little groups. So, since we don't have enough fowl around our place, the crew decided it was time to capture some of these wild birds.

Here they are, quail hunting, complete with long sticks for rousing them out of their nests, fishing nets for large group grabs, and boots so that they were prepared for the all terrain chase.Sierra, Eliza and I were the spooking squad. We were to try and spook the quail out in the open by being noisy while everyone else was sneaky and quiet (sort of). We took our job very seriously.
Sierra did get distracted by the neighbors' horses at one point.

After an unsuccessful hunt Eliza thought we should read up a little on these quail and their habits and perhaps reconsider our strategy. She's so wise.
I was happy with just hunting and was glad not to have to deal with an actual capture.
Good times people... good times! You can't buy memories like these.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lessons From the Past

A dear friend is walking a path similar to one I walked myself 10 years ago. So I was reading through some of the emails that I wrote during that time in order to remember where I was at and hopefully find something to encourage her. I came across this insight:

I guess the point of it all is, you put everything in God's hands: your
healthy child, your unhealthy child, your future, etc. Nothing is too big
for Him. You know the people in Hebrews where they talk about the great
faith that they had. A lot of them didn't have faith for just a few
months, it was the long, really long haul. Also, God didn't spare Daniel
from the lions den, but he did spare him from being eaten alive. Or
Shadrak, Meshak, and Abendigo (don't do a spell check). They weren't
spared from the fire, but the fire didn't burn them and when people looked at
them they saw Jesus too. Wow!!

Sometimes our trials are smaller and tedious, like things that come up in relationships, marriage and parenting. Sometimes they're big, life changing trials like job loss or financial ruin. And sometimes trials are huge like dealing with death. The common thread is that all trials change us and require trusting the process or, even more, the Processor, God.

I watched the kids working with clay this past week and thought about how we are clay and the way God works us into his ultimate design masterpiece. Sometimes the instrument for change is gentle pressure and cool water sometimes it's a sharp knife. Trusting our Creator and Savior seems like such an obvious choice for a long time Christian but following through with trust... faith... that's tough. The fact that I have examples of faith before me makes it doable. Jesus hung on the cross and suffered immeasuably, he bore the sins of humanity, and paid our debt. Now that's a trial! But then he rose from the dead, just as he said he would, and now he's at the right hand of God preparing a place for me! The Bible and the Church are filled with testimonies of God's goodness and the critical importance of having a long term, eternal perspective. May we trust God in the short term, immediate trials, however big or small, and may other people see God as we stand in those trials and wait on the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness
of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be
strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lovely Little Ladies

As I went around the van to open the door, gather up my stuff and get everyone out I was greeted by the sweetest sound: Eliza's full blown laughter. A baby's laugh is intoxicating. So sweet! Then I heard the source of her joy: two belching, snorting sisters. Apparently she found the loud and obnoxious sound amusing. I guess I can be thankful that it isn't so common that she's used to it. Here's a clip I got. By the end Mia and Sierra started getting hammy and over doing it and Eliza had moved on to admiring the camera but, for what it's worth, here's our lovely little ladies.

P.S. The roosters crowing in the background are just to add to the effect!

Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff