A Metal Rooster

Maybe you don’t know of my love for chickens. This time of year farm supply stores have an abundance of baby chicks, bunnies, and ducks for Easter. The children love them, and my daughter was no different.

The first time we stepped inside a farm supply store, she was 5 years old. Seeing all the babies, there was no way I could deny her a few baby chicks.

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What I thought I was buying for her, turned into a long time passion of mine. For years I had chickens, and loved having fresh eggs everyday.

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I had chickens that laid a variety of colors. Some of my most healing moments were spent cleaning the chicken coop while listening to music. It was where I would escape while building up the courage to leave my 25 year marriage. Being there brought me peace in difficult times.

Chickens got me through it. What looked like caring for them, was really very soothing for me.

They all brought me joy, but there was one that followed me around the yard. Her name was Reese. She knew my life was in turmoil, and she would show up throughout the day like she was checking on me.

She wouldn’t come in the house, but she would get as close as she could. Here she is sitting in a planter by the front door. She laid her daily egg in that pot.

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Isn’t she beautiful? She’s a Polish hen.

I’m speaking in past tense, because none of my chickens are with me anymore. I brought them with me to our new life on 40 acres, but we had possums that would come at night, and get into the coop.

I tried everything to keep the chickens safe including moving the coop closer to the house. It was up on the deck by the back door, but the opossum wasn’t deterred.

I won’t put another life in danger for my happiness. I worried over those chickens every night, so the joy was already gone. I was now in ‘protection’ mode to see if I could keep them safe and I couldn’t.

A metal rooster is what I have today.

It reminds me of my time with them, but it doesn’t need my protection. It braves the elements all on it’s own.

 

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For My Daughter

I woke  up very early this morning with a mind full of my daughter. She is sleeping in her room across the hall, but since this Blog began with her in mind, here’s one for you.

You have watched me your whole life and know my every mood. When you were around 12 years old, you saw me standing in the backyard, staring into the abyss. Walking up and sliding your hand into mine you asked, “Are you ever going to smile again.?” I wasn’t sure at the time if that was possible, but I knew something drastic was going to take place.

We had a farm called Hope Tree. You named it, drew the logo and we met with a graphic artist to bring it to life. We opened it up to the public and brought in families that have never held a chicken, or seen a baby pig. We educated them about farm life, the kids got dirty, and we went on to host birthday parties. Three years later, people still call wanting to visit.

We had ducks, and you took a Vet Science course, so we incubated their eggs. I still recall how mesmerized we were watching through the little window of the incubator as they broke free from their shell. Then we had a huge cardboard box full of baby ducks. That was the noisiest box ever, but a friend of mine saved us and took almost all of them to her farm.

That farm was the last good part of our life while married to your Dad. It got me through so much, and kept me sane as my marriage crumbled. I don’t know which broke my heart more. Finally walking out of the marriage, or saying goodbye to every animal, and leaving Hope Tree. The very best part of it all was taking you with me. God has led us through it all.

We knew it was past time to leave, but didn’t know where to go. Being homeschooled, we were not tied to any school district, so we could live anywhere. You found an ad for a house on 40 acres in McDade Texas. I looked at you in dazed confusion and asked, “Where the heck is McDade?” It was an hour away, and I’ll never forget the look on our faces as the road to the little house got smaller, more treacherous, and finally ran out of pavement onto a gravel driveway.

Mr. Rick was waiting to show us the little house. It was so beautiful out there, and I recall how everything was so green. Rick and his wife Patricia lived on the 40 acres as well, so it wasn’t like we would be alone. I had asked God to make it crystal clear if this was our new home. We had looked at quite a few, but nothing felt quite right. Mr. Rick was standing in the dining area, by the bay window, and looked at me and asked, “Is this your new home?”

My heart swells when I think of that little house. It was our new beginning.Walking this path of life together, with God at the lead, has been an amazing journey. Rick and Patricia were so sad when we left, but a year and a half later, we were ready to fly the nest, onto a little bit bigger one. It was like God has chosen them to watch over us, just like where we are now.

You found this house too, and again, a lovely couple own it. We downsized and moved to 5 acres, but Mr. Pete has his woodworking shop on the land, so we’re never alone. God always puts the right people in your path as just the right time. The house in McDade was a safe place for us to grow and learn how to depend on God for every little thing, but there were three things we yearned for. Things we took for granted before. Do you recall what they were?

The house was a one bedroom, but it was a massive room. We shared it which I wouldn’t have had it any other way. At the time, I don’t think we were willing to be separated by rooms. We were ready for our own bedroom, a bathtub to soak in, and a washer and dryer.

You learned the ins and outs of the laundromat for a year and a half. We were grateful, but tired of going every week. We had a shower, but no tub, and you couldn’t very well go hide in your room from me, because we shared it. This house on 5 acres has all that and more.

This is probably the longest Blog I have written in a long time, and I could go on and on, but I don’t need to. You remember it all, because you experienced it all with me. I am so grateful for you and how brave you have been your whole life, but especially these last 3 years. You are moving toward adulthood quickly, and I couldn’t be more pleased with who you’ve become.

Don’t ever forget your worth. You wrote about it here right after we moved into this house. You are beautiful inside and out, but way too hard on yourself. You get that honestly, but I hope you see me being kinder to myself and will follow suit. You have told me, “You’re my hero”, since you were five years old. I hope you know that you are mine too.

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Plug Into Community

Whenever I mention attending a public event to my daughter, she says, “No. I don’t like people.” We laugh after she says it, but there is a lot of truth in it. I hear other people saying it too. God wants us to love; He doesn’t mention like.

The word ‘love’ is mentioned 365 times in the Bible.

That would signify enough love for each day of the year. It depends on what version of the Bible, but I can see where that might be true. God wants us to be filled with love each day. Where we get hung up is spilling it out on others. The amount of love we give will be the amount we receive.

I went to a community event lastnight. Living in small town Texas, I have not taken time to plug into the community.

They had their annual tree lighting in the square. Not sure you can call it a square, more like the grassy area near the four-way stop. This town consists of one intersection, a Post Office, Fire Department and one gas station.

It was windy and misting rain, but I felt led to go.

There were probably 30 or 40 people there at one point, and the atmosphere drew you in. They had a bonfire blazing with colorful metal barrels placed around it for seating. An old pickup truck pulled up near the fire, opened the doors and let the stereo blare Christmas music. We learned to talk over it.

There was a table with hot chocolate and cans of whipped cream. A young lady was walking around with a container of homemade cookies, holding them under our noses. I sat on one of the barrels and talked to the people around me. It was nice to sit and listen to their stories and to laugh.  A few knew that it was God who brought them here.

It was my first time in the community, and being in a small town, everyone knew I had moved there. I had become known as the lady with the giant Rooster in her yard. When they asked where I live, and I pointed down the road, they would gasp and exclaim, “You live in Pete’s old house and have the giant Rooster!” Well, I guess I could be known for worse.

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As I said my goodbyes and turned to leave, a man yelled, “We need volunteers at The Community Center.”

I stopped walking, turned toward the man and started walking back to the group of people. I gave him my number and told him I would be happy to help. His wife was standing next to him, and she said she would call.

I asked God earlier in the day to use me to serve others. The day was almost over, but He did.

Just Be Held

Sitting at my desk early this morning, I heard the chickens by my window. That would mean they were in the front yard, instead of the side. They had jumped the fence, looking for me because they had a need. I walked them back through the gate, gave them food and made a note to replenish their water.

Isn’t that how life should be?

To be cared for. The only being I have found that consistently cares for me is God. There are no strings attached, no ultimatums, no scenarios, just seek Him and He’ll care for me. He provides my every need and loves me flaws and all.

I was driving home the other day, and Casting Crowns came on the radio. Driving down the road, I listened closely to this song entitled, Just Be Held. It made perfect sense to me. I had been where the song is describing, and I’m there again now. The song says, “Stop holding on and just be held.”

That sounds simple, but it’s not easy.

The rest of the chorus says, “Your world’s not falling apart it’s falling into place. I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.”

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Learning To Live

We are getting much needed rain here in Texas. I have three chickens in the side yard that have not witnessed rain in a long time.

When it began pouring from the sky, they freaked out and started running around. They have a coop to provide shelter, with the door standing wide open, but are huddled up against the house instead. They are called chickens for a reason.

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Maybe we forgive, and forget how things feel.

Forgiveness has to come first, or the forgetting will not take place. It will haunt us and make us miserable until we forgive. God wants us to forgive others for wrongdoing, but we often forget to forgive ourselves.

The house my ex-husband lives in is the same house we shared. When I left, I only took a few things, so you couldn’t tell at first glance, that anything was missing. The furnishings remained the same as I left them, with a few replacement pieces. I don’t know how he has lived there. I guess he hasn’t. It has just been sheltering from the storms of life.

I saw that house as a slow brewing storm.

My ex-husband blames himself for the dissolve of our marriage. It’s not true, but that is how he sees it. Recently, I sent him an email asking him to forgive me for hurting him. I don’t know that he can because he is going to have to find forgiveness for his soul first. He needed to leave that house.

His favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” His life is not reflective of his favorite verse. When you are stuck in the past, there is no future.

I started praying for God to move and show my ex His goodness. It was passed time for him to leave that house, and all the haunting memories it stored. Last weekend, my ex took our daughter to look at a house he saw in the newspaper. She showed me pictures of it, and it’s the perfect house for him! He is moving in November!

When my ex and I first met, he lived in a condo on a lake in Virginia. This house is reminiscent of that condo, and is overlooking a lake! God is restoring the years lost, by placing him in the last place he was his happiest. Now he can have a beautiful shelter, surrounded by God’s goodness and start the forgiving process. Let the healing begin.

No Matter What

There is something about the weekend, that gives me a deeper sense of pleasure. It’s when I take extra time, walking through my world and noticing every little thing. What needs some extra attention and what grabs mine. Then that ADD moment when one of my fave songs comes on,  Somebody Like You, by Keith Urban.

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The first thing that needed some love was my chickens.

I raised Exotics and Layers a few years ago, but today, I only have three. Could I handle more? Why sure, but three is enough for my daughter and me to enjoy. When you start to have more, there is more money and maintenance involved. Plus, they lay eggs and for two people, you don’t need many eggs. That is when you have to start selling them and it turns into a weekend business. Uh, no.

After the chickens, I turned on the sprinkler.

The ground is dry and they enjoy scratching the earth. I caught myself standing in my kitchen, staring at the sprinkler for several minutes. There is a trumpet vine growing along the fence that I would love to see bloom one more time. The sprinkler will make the chickens, the vine and the earth happy.

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I fertilized the Bougainvillea yesterday going for one more massive bloom with it as well. There are two of these hanging from my front porch and they have been a labor of love. I have learned a lot watching these guys grow from twigs in the planters to the size they are now.

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While enjoying everything on the porch, I forgot the water I had turned on for tea. Have become quite attached to Rooibos. Once it was ready, a full cup came with me to sit and write.

My daughter is at her Dad’s this weekend, otherwise today would look somewhat different. We would be enjoying the moments together, but probably in town instead of home. After spending many years driving her to swim, dance, martial arts, various activities and those weekend birthday parties, it’s nice to enjoy my world today.

It’s never too late to stop and start over.

Our life together hasn’t always been easy, but it is still beautiful. How many 16 year olds say, “Mom? We are a great team. We have each others back no matter what.” Not many.