February 22, 2010

Just breathing...

I breathe a little bit differently when he is here. I sleep differently when he is here. Life slows downs to a sluggish grind when waiting for daddy to come home. Oh, things are still happening. Schedules are still being met (ok, kind of) but without the deadline of "the daddy" coming home from work, it is not the same. My youngest son, Josh is not pleased at all with the willy nilly lunch and dinner that have been happening since dads departure. He is threatening to boycot his family if he doesn't get a "real meal" soon. If you have actually looked at the date, he has missed only one official cooked lunch and dinner. Boy is he high maintenence. Oh....kind of like his mama.
"The daddy" is not here to listen to my next, newest “hare-brained” idea for the farm. Ok, he would on the phone but I can’t see his facial reactions on the phone. I can’t feel his warm breath close to my face when he says “ok, let’s do it.... but how about like this (think Taj Mahal)” or mine on his face when I ask “how much will that cost?”
Yes, all of this is a little silly because he left only yesterday-Sunday- and will be back on Thursday. He is on a business trip. I remember not too long ago, before children, what it was like to have him gone 6-9 months at a time on a tour in Iraq or Japan. But that was a life time ago it seems. Since having children, I need him more than ever. They need him more than ever. Let’s face it. We need “ the daddy” in this house. He brings the fun and flexibility that we all need. In reality, I have always needed him, even before I became "the mommy". He is the missing piece to my puzzle picture.

So here we all are, learning to take more shallow breaths without him here. When he returns, I am sure you will all hear this part of the Long family breathe deeply again “Hurray, daddy is home”!

The photo above was taken after several days of camping-Doesn't he just look like he keeps us all together?

February 8, 2010

So...how do you measure growth?

That is a question often asked to groups of people. The group could be fellow Christians, family, friends or even business relationships. Logically, one would think that to measure growth it would simply be counting the number of people at the beginning and when the number of people increased that would be growth. Logic does not always apply to people. In fact, rarely does it do so. We all know some families that are very large in numbers but quite dysfunctional in their relationship with each other. Their lives are often filled with competition, judgment, strife, and ultimately pride. There are some small families that are so beautifully woven together in spirit and truth with each other that you can hardly wait to be in their presence again to take in the beauty of the wonderful tapestry of their lives. I would like to think that most of us know at least one family like that, whether from our childhood or adulthood. They are rare but such a drink of water in a dry and thirsty land. So the conclusion is that the mere number of people does not indicate quality of growth, just quantity. That then changes the original question. It changes it from the vague to the specific.

How do you measure the quality or depth of growth? What is the” measuring stick” that we use? Is it the fruit that we can see walked out in their or our daily lives? If we can’t see growth, does it mean it doesn’t exist or that it is just buried under the ground in darkness …waiting for new life to spring forth out of its former shell/old life? I think that only saturation with the water of God’s word, the life giving light of the sun/son and time will bring life and show growth. Just as plants grow at different rates, so do people. God "the farmer" does whatever is necessary to ensure that growth. It is certainly not always pleasant. Sometimes the farmer has to use drastic and often very painful lessons for growth to continue. The pain is caused in the dying process- dying to self, selfish ways, the need for justice, even dying to the need or feelings of self preservation. Only from that death can life return.

And then soon…the evidence of life...growth returns. Evidence of growth can manifest itself by someone reaching out even after they have been wounded. Someone sharing scripture (the watering of God’s word) and teaching you about what breaking bread together is truly about. Someone choosing to live life to the fullest with their Holy Spirit convictions intact. Someone choosing to stay and fix what has been broken in the relationship, whether with spouse, friends or family. Someone choosing forgiveness over justice. Let us not forget, let me not forget that all of this is possible because Christ did it first. He chose the very painful road of death so that we could even have the possibility of life. The evidence of true life...growth...can only happen and be seen if we are totally surrendered to His will for our lives. Who knows what the best measure of growth is anyway, the seed or the farmer?

Do chicks eat french fries?

Woot Woo! I have chickens again. Well, they are not full grown chickens, just chicks. One dozen Araucona chicks. They are too cool. Their eggs will be green when they begin laying. That should be about June or July. I will post cool green egg pictures then. The kids are excited to have green eggs in the refrigerator.

On the way back home we stopped by for some lunch at a burger place (man, I like cheeseburgers and french fries way too much). The thought crossed my mind that we had been in the restaurant quite a while and the trip had been kind of long for the chicks without any water or food. I wondered-do chicks eat french fries? I might share one of mine with them. But then the rational side of by brain kicked in. If french fries are not good for people, chances are that they are not good for baby chicks. Oh, maybe, I should listen to the rational side of my brain more often. Yah, cause now I have a gut ache from eating the big, fat, bacon cheeseburger and the whole carton of fries. Oh, but I washed it all down with a frothy diet pepsi. Wait, that stuff is bad for you too. Holy cape crusaders batman I am going to have to exercise quite a bit to make up for this weekend’s romp through the bad food buffet. Maybe chasing some chicks around their pen will do the trick-probably not.

No, if you are wondering, I am not new to chickens. I have raised chickens for the last six or seven years. I have been without a flock since last fall though. We gave away the old girls because we thought that we were going to be moving and they were not worth their feed any longer. Here at the Long family farmstead, as an animal you must at least bring the value of your feed to the table. Value could be monetary, a food source, or critter control. I will be adding to this beginner group of chicks shortly. Their new house is my garage for right now. We have some hen house repairs to make. The farm that I picked them up from has a lot more to choose from so….I will be back.

I have been out of my farm and garden “sorts” for a couple of years. The new life is returning and I am beginning to feel like a farm girl again.

Note to self…..do not feed chicks french fries.

Extra note to self…..that applies to big girl chicks when eaten with a large greasy cheeseburger.

February 3, 2010

Change, Change, Change

“Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.”-Leo Tolstoy.

Change, Change, Change. “The only thing in life that is constant is change”

“I can’t change others, only myself or my reactions to others”

Today is my birthday. It is not just any birthday. I am turning 40. I guess I thought that I would feel different about turning 40 but so far it doesn’t feel any different than turning 30. Well, except that I am 25 lbs. or so…..heavier. I definitely have a lot harder time losing those unwanted pounds than I did at 30. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying. It’s just going to take a lot more effort to achieve a healthy weight for my body. I really love to bake (…ummmm pie) and eat. I just need to eat smaller portions of what I normally eat. Really people, are you really going to not eat sugar or flour or butter for the rest of your life like some of those special diets suggest. Certainly not ME. The bottom line of any weight loss Endeavour is to take in less calories/fuel than you burn. So moderation and more movement is the key for me. There you have it-change number 1.

Why are some people so brutally cruel? Holy cow, whatever happened to honest communication? Why can’t you just say to someone-“hey, that something you did or said really hurt me or made me angry” or whatever feeling it caused? Or maybe “I don’t understand what you are doing?” Could you explain to me your position on that? My sinful human nature wants to lash out and say or write hurtful remarks back, but….then that would be no different than what they are doing. Then I came across a couple of scriptures.

James 3:8-10
but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise out Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
So, change number 2 for me will be-to change my perspective:

2 Timothy 2:23-26
don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

James 3:18
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Man, I don’t feel like making peace but God certainly knows that I need to learn about righteousness. So, until the Holy Spirit says otherwise, I will be sowing peace.

Those, dear reader, are the first couple of changes that I will be working on as I enter my 41st year. I have many more, I am sure, to work on.

But for today this is my start.