Wednesday, July 30, 2014


My first sip of coffee in the morning is usually consumed just as I step out the back door into the warm sunshine of a morning already in full swing.  The chickens are right there in their coop all pushed up against the side closest to me, almost as if they are happy to see me, probably because they want yogurt.

That time I have in the mornings, taking care of the chickens, watering the garden, cleaning the coop, pulling weeds, observing's so peaceful, my happy place.  I always know the rest of the day will whiz by in a blur of busy but morning moves slower when I can take time to observe growing things.

holding the rain

like peas in a pod

full sun

his work of art

Nuggets, 13 weeks old

There is beauty in a blade of grass.  There is wonder in the opening of a sunflower.  There is a moment of serenity contained in a warm breeze that brushes your cheek just so.  God created in detail.  Slow down, be quiet, and just observe.

Friday, July 25, 2014

like words change me

I read a book.  And it reached in and pulled my heart out then proceeded to stomp it into the dirt.  Then it picked my heart back up, dusted it off and handed it back to me.  And my emotions were raw.  And I felt different for reading it.  Like I can never be the same since those words permeated my soul.

An author, with nothing more than his mind, can craft a work of art that evokes raw emotion from those who read.  In silence they read, and the silence of the written word is such a powerful entity that is can steer thoughts, steer feelings, drawing from the eyes, tears; from the mouth, sighs; from the hands, clenched fists.  And the reader is left a sobbing mess, unsure of what train just hit them.  But it was no train, just words.  Expertly crafted.

Then I heard a song.  And it took my heart and held it in it's hands.  Turned it over and over and squeezed till I felt I couldn't live.  And the wave of feeling washed over me as a tide.

A painter uses color to paint a living picture.  A songwriter paints pictures with words.  And like the author's, those words are so powerful to draw out things from your self that you didn't know, didn't see until it's laying there at your very feet. But unlike the author's silent words, a songwriter's words are audible, beautiful sounds that fall on the ears, weave inside the mind, dancing to music written in time.

All this happened within eight hours, the book and the song.  And I just wonder at the power of words.  And I hope that someday I will wield the strength and power of words with an expert hand, that I will write something that changes a person forever, that leaves them weeping and broken and renewed and full of hope.  Like words change me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

just life

Riding my bike to work makes me feel so responsible, environmentally and fiscally.  It's not far, really, and only takes a few minutes more travel time.  My gas mileage is amazing and I can get a bit of a workout in at the same time.  It's a win-win.

I stopped by the market on the way home.  Picked up the ingredients for spaghetti with meatballs and homemade marinara sauce.  My backpack was full of groceries as I rode the rest of the way home.  Of course we live at the top of a little hill.  But my thighs, rock hard.

This past weekend was an unplanned relaxation retreat.  Our plan to travel outside of the state to a family reunion was cancelled due to lack of traveling funds so we stayed home.  We scraped together interesting foods from the back of the pantry (instant mashed potatoes anyone?).  We spent an entire day watching movies and documentaries on Netflix.  An entire day!  I even got a good amount of yard work in, complete with 15 mosquito bites.

It's a new week now.  A full work week.  A full school week.  We are still finishing up the school year hoping to take most of August off.

Charlie is healthy, although battling a case of fleas, his incision almost just a memory.

The chickens are growing combs now.  12 weeks old.  They love to interact with me and are constantly holding a conversation with each other, or me if I'm interesting enough at the moment.  If they are unsure of something, a new food or other strange thing, they will talk to it, always a quizzical sound, eyes studying.  At some point they reach the decision whether to approach the strange thing or walk away.  And always, very short attention spans and frequent short term memory loss.  I've decided that even if they never laid even one egg I would still be glad I got these chickens, I've learned so much and received so much joy from them that it is already worth the effort, time, and money.

The evening awaits.  Chickens need tending.  Schoolwork needs correcting.  Dinner needs preparing.

Until next time.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

for the one who is tired

Dear heart, God does not say
today, "Be strong!"
He knows
your strength is spent;
He knows how long the road
has been,
how weary you have grown;
for He walked the earthly
roads alone,
each bogging lowland and
each long, steep hill He can
and so He says, "Be still and
know that I am God." The hour
is late and you must rest a
and you must wait until life's
empty reservoirs
fill up
as slow rain fills an empty,
upturned cup.
Hold up your cup, dear child,
for God to fill.
He only asks today that you
be still.
Grace Noll Crowell

Monday, July 14, 2014

from the library

For this moment I'm sitting at the public library, sipping a white mocha through straws because half of my face is still numb from my dentist appointment earlier.  One son is at work.  The other son is getting his football gear issued and fitted.  I don't like to come to the library to spend time with technology when there are so many flesh and blood books eagerly waiting on the shelves but today as I walked the rows of books, fingertips tickling book spines, I felt the urge to visit my little blog. 

The girls (my 5 chickens) were cooped up all day on Sunday so when I let them out on Monday morning they squawked and flapped wings for a little while to vent the pent up energy.  The have their big girl voices now, sounding like real chickens rather than peeping chicks.  And they are big. 

One chicken, our Braveheart, who earned her name from day one when she was kind of a bully, is still living up to her name.  She is a dominate personality, even standing off against Charlie.  This chicken may be bound for the roasting pan as I just don't want to put up with a hen that will nip at people, which she does.  I have surprised myself with this willingness to butcher one of the girls.  It's sort of liberating.

I harvested most of my peas today, enlisting Austin to help me shell them.  We ended up with a few cups of perfect, sweet, large peas which I froze in two batches.  The lettuce was ripped out of the garden also.  It was always bitter but more recently it went to seed which makes it even more bitter, inedible.  In it's place I planted some Swiss Chard.

My Charlie is almost 100% again.  His incision is healing from the inside out and he's medication free.  He got to go to the park with us yesterday where he sniffed the wind and accompanied me on a bit of a walk.  I feel as though our bond took on a new level during this plight.  Maybe I sound crazy.  There is just something more when he looks at me, a deeper understanding and trust.

I wish I had more time to just write.  There is always so much bubbling below the surface, like a flow of lava just underground.  But it takes time to carve away the dirt and rocks, a careful process that I am rarely able to give myself fully to.

Today is no different.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

working, healing, growing

For a couple weeks now I've had the pleasure of working alongside my son.  For the summer, my Austin is a busser/dishwasher at the restaurant where I am a server (the p.c. term for waitress).  This co-worker relationship has been an easy one to adjust to.  He works hard and I try to leave my parenting for off the clock.  The only problem we've run into is how he should address me while at work because it seems a little awkward for him to call me mom (we worked it out though).

It does make me chuckle a bit.  For a time I worked with my mom, she a waitress, me a busser.  We worked at a seafood restaurant in Astoria, Oregon.  Although, if I remember right, we worked conflicting shifts. 

I am proud of both of my boys.  They have had multiple opportunities this summer to earn some money.  They are good workers, strong and determined.  While Austin is earning his paycheck at the restaurant, Blake is earning some money doing work at a friend's house.  Also, a neighbor has hired the boys for yard care.  One of the boys already acknowledged that God is blessing.  Yes, He really is.
First paycheck!!

My Charlie is healing well.  He's back to wagging his whirligig tail and that makes me very happy.  The incision that they made into his lower abdomen is still open and will remain that way at least until next week but possibly just until it heals naturally.  Because of this he has to remain in the cone of shame most of the time unless we are really able to keep an eye on him.  Poor guy even has to sleep in it.  He is no longer on the stronger pain medicine but will continue to take the lesser medicine for a few more days.  If I could change one thing it would be that he could again sleep through the night.  As it is, I've spent the last week with a dog that keeps a newborn baby schedule.  Up every 2 to 3 hours at night to potty or stretch or just to complain to me about that blasted cone.  But he is still here and he's feeling better so I don't mind the lack of sleep too much.

Garden update!
  • 2 tiny green cherry tomatoes have emerged from a plethora of blossoms
  • the zucchini, cucumbers, and spaghetti squash are just days away from showing some blossoms
  • the peas are staying on the vines until the little peas inside are actually big enough to eat - I have no idea what I'm doing with these!
  • the lettuce is huge
  • the carrot-tops are huge
  • one lone sunflower has opened into a beautiful sunny flower, I'm awaiting 7 or 8 more.
  • my husband and one son harvested a few cups of cherries from our tree that I made into cherry vanilla ice cream

And one final thing.  I'm sure you've heard of essential oils, with the recent surge in their popularity they seem to be popping up all over the place.  But, do you know how to use them?  Did you know that you can makeover your entire medicine cabinet with these lovely healing oils? 

I have a dear friend that is holding a webinar this Thursday evening devoted to oils.  She has done her research and knows her stuff.  If you are just starting out on the essential oil journey, plan on being a part of her webinar.  It's free, just register ahead of time and keep the hour between 7 and 8 (Pacific Time) reserved.

Register here: Drops of Health webinar

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

my Charlie

My Charlie dog.  He's my sweet devoted angel and my chicken chasin' devil.  But that dog has my heart and I clearly have his.  So this week as he fell ill I was devastated.  I wrestled with the fear of losing him and the unwillingness to say good-bye.

I waited with him at the vet.  He painfully rested.  I held back tears.  After an hour the doctor was able to see us.  No diagnosis given but suspected trauma to his abdomen.  They wanted to keep him overnight, do some imaging, give him antibiotics and pain medicine.

Leaving him there hurt.  The last time I took a dog to the vet and left without her was permanent.  It was a gut wrenching pain and the memory of it came back to me as I carried Charlie's blue leash out to my Jeep.

He stayed the night.  He stayed the next day.  I went to check on him in the afternoon.  They were ready to release him when we noticed that his injury area was leaking blood and pus.  The doctor immediately sedated him and opened up the area to drain it.  He invited me to come see.

I will never forget the sight of my Charlie,  laying limp on the table, a tube in his throat, an incision in his abdomen.  I don't regret seeing it but it wasn't the easiest thing that I've ever had to hold composure through.

Sparing every detail, we may never know the cause of Charlie's infection.  At this point we don't think he got in a scuffle with our Lab.  The doctor entertained the idea of a Foxtail grass seed embedding itself and then working it's way up his shaft.  The result was a massive pus and blood filled boil.  Gross, I know.

While sedated, Charlie also had an incisor removed.  It had broken and was openly exposing him to bacteria and was probably causing pain that we were unaware of.  Separate issue but easier to address while he was already sedated.

At this point, my Charlie is home.  He has what I only know to call a stint in his incision area to hold it open and allow it to drain.  It's disgusting and gaping and scary.  We have care instructions for the next three days and an appointment on Saturday to check on his stint(?).

I know that an ill/injured dog is not the biggest care in this world.  I know that my troubles could be so much larger.  But that doesn't erase the fact that I LOVE THIS DOG. 

I love his deep brown eyes and his soft black ears and the way his tail wags in circles like a whirligig when he's happy to see me. 

And how his body dances when he can't contain his love. 

And how he'll stare into the wind like a wise sea captain. 

And how I'll catch him staring at me with so much devotion that I'm sure his heart will burst. 

I love him.  And that is all.