Have you ever noticed?

John and I have committed to once every other month making a large batch of soup for a ministry that serves the homeless in downtown Portland.

It’s not much.

The need is so great.

But, it’s something that we can do – and do joyfully.

Honestly – it’s kind of fun – I get to experiment with all kinds of fun soups that the boys would NEVER in a million years eat – and are all sorts of fabulous – and someone will actually enjoy and appreciate them. I love that.

Today it’s white chili.

I’ve never made it before. What with being allergic to chicken and the boys being opposed to any form of bean – yeah, not high on the menu planning priority list. It smells great, and was – frankly – really easy to throw together. Now it will just simmer while we wait for the very nice lady from church to come pick it up and deliver it to where it needs to go.

John and I have mentioned to one another countless times how ironic it is that whenever it is our turn to make soup for this ministry some event or the other – or just the fact that I’ve worked less than 40 hours since the last of September – these are the times when we find ourselves in our most dire financial need.

Isn’t it funny how that happens?

And it’s not like it’s once or twice it’s happened.

It happens every single time we’re scheduled to make soup.

Yes, the rent is paid. Some of the bills will have to wait. There’s not much gas in the cars. No, there’s no money for groceries.

We’re not likely to starve to death any time soon – ha! If things got really scary, the boys may well break down and actually want to eat beans! I’ve been canning – and beans we have!

It used to really stress us out – “Ugh! Time to make soup! What are we going to do?” And we’d go through the pantry looking for things that could be pulled together to make a nutritious and delicious soup.

Nowadays – we just kind of smile and look at each other and say, “Time to make soup.” It’s almost a challenge to see who can spot what God has or will provide (just in the nick of time, of course) to make that big old pot of soup possible.

Have you noticed that in your own life?

That God asks you to trust – even when it doesn’t seem like the practical thing to do?

There are things we could do.

We could back out – not follow through with the commitment. But then we’d miss out on getting to see the amazing things that we get to see God do each time.

We could freak out. Been there, done that – doesn’t accomplish much.

Lots of options of responses.

But there’s one thing we choose to do…

Only You
by David Crowder Band

Take my heart, I Lay it down
At the feet of you whose crowned
Take my life, I’m letting go
I lift it up to You who’s throned

And I will worship You, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You Lord

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
Be all my delights, be my everything

And It’s just you and me here now
Only you and me here now

You should see the view
When it’s only You
© 2003 Six Step Records

Ever notice how much better it is when you choose to stop – acknowledge that God is HERE – right now… No matter what the circumstances are? In the midst of it all – whatever it all is. No matter how afraid you could or should be? No matter how great the need or perceived need?

…that He does what only He can do…

He shows up.

Without fail.

To envelop with His incredible peace.

His unmatched love.

His beautiful mercy.

His matchless grace.

Ready to do just what needs done.

Ever notice what a delight it is to just step out and obey?

…feeling pretty honored to be a child of the King this afternoon.

Urban homesteading is in my blood…

My Grammy had a green thumb.


[Victory Garden circa 1943.]

She grew up in the garden, really. As did my Grampa – he was the son of a dairyman and a professional cook – both of whom believed in having a large garden out the kitchen door.

I love the old pictures of Grammy as a little girl, playing in the garden. So much of life revolved around the garden of their Booneville, Arkansas home. They lived in town – in a house that my great-grandfather built (he lost his right arm in a cotton gin when he was 11 years old – but it didn’t stop him from doing pretty much anything!) – that had a small barn, a chicken coop, and lots and lots of garden. There were fruit vines and trees, vegetables galore, and lots of “sustainable” living going on in that city lot!


[Tom Thumb wedding circa 1919.]

My Mom spoke of her love of the time spent in her Grandmother’s garden when she was a girl. For her, the love she felt related to her time spent with her Grandmother had very close ties to the amazing food grown, prepared, served, and enjoyed as a family in their lovely Southern California garden.


[My Great-Grandmother and my Mommy circa 1947.]

Growing up we always had a garden in the back yard. Mom and Dad always grew tomatoes, squash, corn, beans, peas, lettuce. Mom always had a patch of strawberries going and there were the plum trees that put out all kinds of crazy quantity of succulent Italian prunes. (Little did we know we loved prunes!)

If something important happened when we were growing up – we’d snap a picture in the garden!


[Grammy holding baby sister, my brother Joel, and I circa 1968.]

In the summers – nothing better than sharing a meal out-of-doors – featuring the very foods we’d grown just feet from our table.

When John and I married it was a no-brainer that no matter where we lived a garden would be involved. Better yet – a garden that could yield enough produce that we could preserve for future use! (I married a man with amazing skills. He’s the one who taught me how to can!)

Some of the sweetest memories I have are of my Grammy out in the garden with my own children – showing them just how it’s done!

[Grammy – age 82, and Jessica – age 2, watering circa 1994.]

When we came across this house that we live in – listed for rent – on HALF AN ACRE just a stone’s throw from downtown Portland, well – our pulses quickened a bit. Could we afford it? Could we even possibly be in line early enough to be in the running to luck out to rent it? We nearly fainted when we got the word that we could indeed afford it (barely), and that we were the first in line with a completed rental application and application fee attached.

:sigh:

A house with a garden. A REAL garden – the kind you can live off of. Just what we’d longed for.

What a gift!

What a blessing!

What an amazing God!

Yes. There is great responsibility. But oh – the benefits far outweigh any sense of burden.

But here’s the thing…

It scares me a bit how little people of my own generation, much less those of my children, understand where food comes from. It scares me significantly more that if you stood on a street corner and surveyed the folks walking by – asking if they could grow a garden given the resources – that the vast majority would look at you with a blank stare.

There are so many deep philosophies at play here – this beautiful thing called urban homesteading represents.

Accountability.

Appreciation.

Availability.

Historicity.

Patriotism.

Stewardship.

Sustainability.

…the list could get very, very long.

For me – bottom line – it goes back to WHO I am accountable to in my life. I believe with every fiber of my being that there is a God and He is Creator and that He has gifted us with this very precious resource. I consider it nothing short of Worship to be able to steward this little corner of the world. We consider it our privilege and honor to take the yield from His blessings and our labors, preserve them, and to gift excesses to those in need in our community.

NOTHING about any of this is new.

It is the way it was done in my Mother’s day.

It is the way it was done in my Grandmother’s day.

It is the way it was done in my Great-Grandmother’s day.

…and for generations prior.

My fervent hope is that my children, my children’s children, and for generations to come – it will continue to be an important part of life. That they will never take for granted the beauty of this thing.

If you’re an urban homesteader, consider joining us in celebrating this beautiful thing we do – and make a stand for the unrestrained right to proudly declare so. There is a Facebook group to check out here. Other excellent posts to read here and here.

What we think we know…

This post is part of the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, hosted by the beautiful, talented, incredibly intelligent, and all-around fabulous Diana!

There’s a really interesting – sad, sort of telling, but really – bottom line – very pathetic – conversation happening over on our PDX Backyard Chickens Yahoo Group.

A member of our group (and one of my own fabulous neighbors!) gifted a loved-one with fresh – just laid, probably not been out of the chicken more than hours fresh – eggs from her backyard flock of chickens.

The loved one – suspicious of the thick shell and brightly colored yolks – threw said gifted eggs in the trash – sure that they were not as safe as the factory farmed eggs she was accustomed to purchasing for a song at the local grocery store. Yeah – you know – those eggs. Eggs like those half a BILLION that were recalled of late due to a very real risk of salmonella poisoning.

How have we – as a society – strayed so far from real food?

From knowing what a real egg from an actual healthy chicken looks, feels, and tastes like?

How can it be that a local teacher has informed her students that backyard chickens are at higher risk for salmonella – which she, I’m assuming emphasized for dramatic effect for her high school aged students, would quite potentially kill the consumers thereof.

UGH!

It makes me mad.

But maybe more than that – it makes me sad.

Remember this?

Do you see the reference to the date there? 1918.

My Grammy was 6 years old then.

For her – growing up in town in Booneville, Arkansas – it was normal, matter-of-fact, routine that they would have a flock of backyard chickens. Some for meat. Some for eggs. In fact, she told a hilarious story about how one day she was left in charge – as a teenager – to prepare a meal for her Father and Grandfather (both of whom worked on the railroad) and would be home for their noonday meal – expecting a roasted chicken dinner. Both men came home to a squawking – beakless – young roo voicing his outrage around their yard – and a vegetarian meal! She’d tried – she’d seen her Mom harvest a chicken several times a week her entire life – but her aim was not what her Mother’s was! (Her Papa came to the rescue, and roasted chicken was on the menu for the evening meal that evening!) She said when word of it got out pretty much everyone in town had a good laugh – with her, of course, but at her too – because – hello!? – who doesn’t know how to take a chicken from the backyard and get it to the table?!

Um – nowadays – pretty much everyone.

Not only can we not harvest a chicken that has been healthfully raised (as opposed to what is the norm – warning this video is graphic).

I’m always amazed when I take Americans to Spain and give them a tour through the Central Market – sort of like an indoor farmer’s market for those who have never been fortunate enough to experience this.

Sights like this:

and this…

are the norm.

Americans are shocked to see animals being butchered – in plain sight – and more times than not – really don’t know how to handle it.

I’ve had grown adults break out in tears – because they’d never put two and two together that the cute picture of the little farm animal in the advertisement had anything to do with the item that ended up on their plate.

How have we gotten to this point?

What can we do to change it?

I – for one – want to make sure my children know and understand that their food comes at a price – and not just financial.

I want them to respect the process that goes into raising healthy food – be it animal or vegetable.

And I’ll continue on – committed to healthy, local, organic, sustainably grown REAL food.

…and pasturing the girls, and keeping them happy, healthy, and hilarious!

August 6, 1993

Funny how 17 years can go by in just a flash.

Seventeen years ago today I was in Columbus, Ohio.

Eleven days prior I’d met John McBride – face to face – for the first time.

We’d met “online” some months before – by chance.

He was a recent widower with a baby daughter named Jessica. When we met he was finishing up his last semester of seminary, was pastoring a church in rural SE Kentucky, and caring for his daughter and mother.

I was a committed to being single young woman who had moved home to care for my Dad, who had a terminal diagnosis, and had asked me to come home and be his primary care giver – with the hope of freeing my Mom of some of the things she’d been having to juggle.

We’d formed a friendship, John and I.

I had an airline ticket that needed used before it expired, and so I was planning a trip to visit my much-loved cousin, Bobby, in North Carolina. As it turned out, John and I met – had a great time getting to know one another, and even went through a crazy adventure involving car keys locked in a car, over 100 heat, multiple calls to AAA, hours and hours of waiting for AAA – and a resourceful Marine who ultimately came to our rescue. Boy was I sun burnt!

I’d always heard, “You’ll know when it’s the right guy!” Yeah – I wasn’t so sure. I’d met plenty of nice guys. Just none that had a commitment and heart willing to go and do ANYTHING that God called them to – from that moment through the rest of their lives.

I think my biggest fear was that I’d marry someone whose love for the Lord would wane over time – and who would cease to be willing to be obedient – no matter the cost. So I’d resigned myself to the fact that I would be single – hopefully contentedly so.

Silly me.

When I met John face to face that first day I knew I would marry him.

No – he hadn’t asked.

No – there was no implication that he would.

No – there were no expectations headed that direction.

I just knew. Not a me thing. Totally a God thing.

My goodness, God is amazing, isn’t He?

So there it was, August 6, 1993.

We were headed to dinner with Brad and Alcy – pretty much life-long friends of John’s, who I’m happy to claim as friends now, as well. (Although – just a warning – take your blood pressure medication if you need that sort of thing before you ever ride in a car that Brad is driving!)

He had a ring, that John McBride.

A lovely little diamond solitaire.

He asked me if I’d consider marrying him.

I assured him that I’d be most happy to.

No fear.

No worry.

No concern.

Just peace.

Joy.

Contentment.

Assurance

Not a day goes by that I wonder anew why God would choose to bless me so. There certainly has not been a single thing that I have done or could do that would merit the blessings of having a husband like John McBride. The man is amazing.

He’s loving.

He’s kind.

He’s hilarious.

He’s my best friend.

He’s exactly the partner I want leading me through the rest of my life.

He’s a man of honor and integrity.

He’s conscientious.

He’s an amazing father.

And above all – he’s a man who is committed to following his Savior faithfully.

So – today, August 6, 2010 – we celebrate 17 years since our engagement to be married.

I am an incredibly blessed woman.

1 John 4: 16b – 19: God is love. Anyone who leads a life of love shows that he is joined to God. And God is joined to him. So love is made complete among us. We will be bold on the day God judges us. That’s because in this world we love as Jesus did. There is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives fear away. Fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect love. We love because he loved us first.

Duh!

This morning in church a candidate for worship pastor led worship. He taught a couple of new songs, and we sang several that are pretty standard for us to sing. Isn’t it funny how a song you sing pretty regularly catches you by surprise?

Know this song?

Mighty to Save by Hillsong Australia

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that’s never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We’re singing for the glory of the risen King…Jesus (x2)

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

My Saviour, you can move the mountains,
You are mighty to save,
You are mighty to save.
Forever, Author of Salvation,
You rose and conquered the grave,
Yes you conquered the grave

I’ve been singing that song for years now.

Isn’t great, isn’t it?

Basic.

Truth.

We sing stuff like this all the time, right?

We should know this stuff – deep down.

How is it then, that this one line nearly took my breath away this morning?

“Jesus conquered the grave.”

Duh.

I know that.

Basic and foundational to the very core of me.

Know what occurred to me afresh this morning?

I can acknowledge day-in and day-out that Jesus conquered the grave – so much so that I’ve somehow lost sight of the fact that it doesn’t start and stop there.

HE is Conqueror.

Of my fear.

Of my hurt.

Of my sadness.

Of my weariness.

Of my lack of joy.

None of it is beyond His notice.

None of it is beyond His reach.

None of it is too trivial or unimportant to Him.

There is nothing that I can’t entrust to Him as Victor!

Why didn’t I remember that?

Amazing to me how – in my weariness – I’ve become such an easy target for the enemy.

Frightening how long it takes me to acknowledge truths that are every bit a part of the fiber of my being as the blood that flows through my veins.

God – keep me close to You!

Be my Sovereign this day and everyday forward.

I pledge you all that I am – even though that amounts to essentially nothing.

Thank you – Maker of the Universe – for choosing to love even me.

He Knows My Name

It used to be that I would go to church, get settled in, pull out my knitting (yes, I admit it – I knit during church), and focus my attention on our pastor – Carl Palmer’s – exposition on God’s Word.

A year ago when I was sick and in the hospital – I would often listen via the church‘s web site. As the year progressed, my illness worsened, and I ended up having surgery, complications, and a lengthy recovery – it became somehow – well – comfortable
not going to church.

Healing enough to get to the place to return to church was a big deal. There were times when I would try to make it through a service – and couldn’t. The past couple of months, it has become more and more routine to feel like being in church was where I belonged.

It’s been a tough year….

…emotionally

…financially

…physically, yes – of course.

…relationally

…spiritually

…at the very least.

I’m often asked, “How are you?!”

You know what? It’s hard to answer that one.

I sometimes answer, “I’m healing. Halluejah.”

I sometimes answer, “Better, thanks!”

I sometimes answer, “Getting healthier all the time.”

Most often, though, it’s hard to answer that one because it’s hard to be HONEST, OPEN, and TRANSPARENT.

Want to know what the real answer is? (Sorry, even if you don’t, I’m gonna tell you.)

I’m weary.

I know! I’m supposed to be the spiritual energizer bunny girl!

Guess what?

I don’t feel that way right now.

I feel battered.

I feel afraid.

I feel very, very tired.

I feel a little bit numb.

I’m sorta mad.

And I don’t like it.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not mad at God.

I’m actually pretty hacked off at he who opposes whatever is True, whatever is Noble, whatever is Right, whatever is Pure, whatever is Lovely – he, who wants me to NOT think on whatever is excellent or praiseworthy. (See Philippians 4:8.) He who has devoted a lot of energy to encourage me to NOT keep the lines of communication with my Maker open.

This morning at church Pastor Carl continued on in our extremely long relevant series from the book of Romans. You should listen to it. We’re at Romans 10:4-13.

I love context.

I love that God knows me.

I love that He’s not afraid of my weariness, batteredness, fear, anger – any of it.

I love that He taught me long ago to not batten down my heart when these storms come – but to open them up to Him without reserve.

At the end of the message the visiting worship leader (’cause CMBC is searching for a new full time worship leader) lead us in a song that I didn’t feel much like singing – until I started singing.

And then I kinda had to smile.

‘Cause God knows me so well.

And He’s near – even when I FEEL like He’s far away.

I KNOW that I know that I know that He’s near.

He’s made that clear to me time after time.

I need to go back there – to remember anew – that He not only knows my name, but that He loves me beyond what I can begin to comprehend.

And I need to say with each breath that I breathe and with each beat of my heart the most important thing of all: Jesus is LORD.

He Knows My Name
by Tommy Walker

I have a Maker
He formed my heart,
before even time began
my life was in His hands.

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call.

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me,
no matter where I go.

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call.

That, my friends, is beauty.

Signs of hope…

(Lilacs blooming!)

A little more than 11 months ago I became very ill.

And honestly, it was my own stupid fault.

Remember I had that ankle reconstruction surgery last March? Well, about six weeks after that surgery – when I was given the go ahead – I began using ibuprofen for pain control. Lots of ibuprofen. Way too much ibuprofen. And long horrible story short – I burned holes in my stomach.

I was in the hospital in May, July, August, September, and then over the New Year’s holiday weekend (yes, even spending my 46th birthday in the hospital – ugh!). I underwent so many procedures I’ve actually lost count. I had a pretty significant upper left quadrant abscess and kept me at a low level sepsis for months on end. I had home IV therapy – antibiotics for more than 4 months, and IV nutrition several times – 9 weeks the first time NPO (nothing by mouth) and 5 weeks the second time.

You may recall that John and I travelled to New York City at the end of January. It was a very quick trip – just about 24 hours – for an interview that I was asked to do. (More on this later – it will air in April some time.) It was during that trip that my health took a bit of a nosedive, and on my return I placed a call to my surgeon, the fabulous Dr. Zelko.


(Jake on the prowl – loving the sunshine!)

As it turned out, Dr. Zelko was literally stepping out the door to head to the airport to catch a plane out of town – he wouldn’t be back for 10 days!! EGAD! He immediately turned my care over to a surgeon who had been following along for several months – and was prepared to step up to bat if anything should become emergent.

Well – things did become emergent, and on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 right around noon I headed into what would be an 8 hour surgery. A surgery that would require the removal of my stomach, my spleen, part of my pancreas, a portion of my diaphragm, a large area of nearly petrified-wood-type consistency abscess, the removal of many, many, many fibrous adhesions so that my intestines could be configured in such a way to help prevent malnutrition in my future life without a stomach.

I don’t have a lot of memories of that first night after surgery… There were brief hazy impressions of nurses telling me to remember to breathe deeply, being checked frequently – my vital signs were not good – I’d lost a lot of blood during surgery, requiring two units of blood to be transfused, and administration of pain medication – there was a lot of pain.

(Hooray! Tulips!)

I normally bounce back after surgery pretty well – I’ve had a lot of surgery in my lifetime – unfortunately! I know the tricks of the trade – you gotta get up and walk – the more you move, the less you’ll hurt! You gotta get lots of deep breathing in – nobody wants pneumonia after major abdominal surgery!

But this time I didn’t bounce back so great… I was running a fever, my blood sugars were really high (not normal for me!), my pulse was in the 130 to 140 range, my labs were horrible, and I required three more units of blood to be transfused.

By Friday morning, the 5th of February it was decided that I needed to be taken back into surgery and opened up again to make sure that I didn’t have a bleed or hematoma that needed attention. So back I went.

(The pear trees are in bloom!)

I remember distinctly coming out of surgery and overhearing that they hadn’t found anything during the 2nd surgery. They did take a chest x-ray shortly before I left recovery – just in case.

I pushed myself to get out of bed and walk once an hour that night. My temperature kept going up – and I felt HORRIBLE – not just post-surgical horrible – but truly wickedly not okay.

The nurses and I realized some time around the wee hours of the morning during one of my hourly walks that the problem was my lungs! So – when the surgeon did her rounds early the next morning, with chest x-ray results to confirm – there was agreement all around that I had a very substantial pleural effusion. This would require the placement of a chest tube – to drain the fluid that had built up in my chest cavity. I could go into the gory details – but I’ll spare you – let me just say – don’t ever get a chest tube unless you absolutely positively gotta get one – and then – only if they’re willing to take you to interventional radiology so that you’re not scarred for life by the pain you have to go through if they place it in your bed – in your room – like they did for me.

Suffice it to say that over the course of the next couple of days they pulled 700 cc’s of goo out of my chest cavity – and lo and behold – I started to improve.


(We started planting the garden today! My green onions are planted – woo hoo!)

Unfortunately, just 24 hours after the chest tube was removed, it was discovered that my surgical incision was infected – and when Dr. Zelko was at my bedside early the morning of his return – he was not pleased to find it so. After 24 hours of careful monitoring, it was determined that my incision would have to be opened up, cultured, cleaned out, packed, and allowed to heal the slow fairly horrible way.

The good news was that I got to go home on Friday, the 12th of February – the hospital is no place for someone with an open incision to be! – and so I was discharged to the care of home health wound care nurses and my amazing, fabulous, brave, wonderful, fabulous, marvelous, wonderful husband – as my wound had to be packed and bandaged twice daily. (The nurses can only come out to your house once a day – so you gotta find someone brave enough to deal with your big huge ugly open wound for weeks on end!)

Something that I’d figured out fairly early on after the incision was opened up was that sitting up was pretty much a no-go. It was incredibly painful – so it was either standing (which was hard because I was so incredibly weak), reclining, or laying down.

Essentially, I was a bump on a log!


(There’s spinach in the ground, too! Hooray! My feet look huge in this picture!)

My ability to do much of anything was pretty much nonexistent. Couldn’t prepare my own meals. Couldn’t bathe by myself. Couldn’t carry much more than about a pound’s worth of weight. Couldn’t even prepare my tube feeding formula – John had to do that, too. (I was on 24/7 tube feedings for the first 4 weeks home.) I was pretty pitiful.

Then, about two weeks ago something fairly remarkable started to happen.

I started to feel better.

Like a LOT better.

Like – I can do laundry and dishes better.

Like – I can walk the length of the driveway enough to chalk up 3/4ths of a mile a day better.

Like – I can sit up without wanting to cry better.

Over the course of that next week great things began to happen!

And I stepped down nearly all of the way off of the pain medication.

And the doctor discontinued my tube feedings because my nutritional status was SO MUCH better.

And my feeding tube got pulled – hooray!

And I got dressed for the first time.

And I went to the grocery store for the first time.

And I helped make dinner.

And I sat at the dinner table with the family for the first time in ages and ages.


(Broccoli starts in the ground! Woo Hoo!)

I like better.

A LOT.

Today was a pretty cool day.

I wore jeans for the first time since 2/2/2010. The bottom part of my incision is healed up enough that I can wear something other than pajamas or sweats with the waistband rolled down.

I went to Coastal with John – and I admit it – I bought 10 more chicks (White Leghorns).


(Peas are planted!)

When we got home I helped to set up the broody mama portion of the coop and get it ready for the new chicks to move in.

And I planted my green onion seeds.

And I helped replant some of the lovely plants I was given while I was in the hospital.


(Aren’t my hospital plants lovely in that planter by the front door?)

And I helped make dinner.

And I got out in the yard and enjoyed the sunshine.

And I watched the chickens and laughed.

(Do you see that? That’s a rosebud!)

Tonight, after I did the dinner dishes John came and said, “Quick – you have to see Jezebel and the chicks!” (She’s been a little out of sorts all day long – she has kind of wanted to mother the new chicks. I actually let her in with them for a little supervised interaction. She was hilarious – she showed them where the food was – clucking her motherly clucks all the way – and then herded them over to the water and showed them how to drink – and then she heard her babies cheeping and took off!)

And this is what we found…

That’s Jezebel – with one baby under one wing, and one baby on her back – on one of the roosting ladders! LOL! Tonight is her first night without access to the broody mama portion of the coop – since that’s where the new chicks are – sound asleep, I might add…

By the time everyone was settled down for the night – the feeling all around was that all was well – and things are going to be just fine.

God is so good to me!

“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” Psalm 57:7

Phew! What a week…. okay – more!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted here since March 3rd! I thought for sure I had! I’d thought through posts I wanted to post! But oh yeah – there was that non-weightbearing bit… the “keep the toes above the nose” thing for all of those weeks. Dang – it’s amazing how an ankle reconstruction can really cramp your style!

So – I’ve had some interesting revelations of late…

First – was in Denver last week (with my son at National Jewish Health – honestly, if you have poorly controlled allergies, asthma, immunology issues – these people need to be your best friends!). Wierd thing happened. I was getting in an elevator and as I turned to press the button for our floor, I caught – out of the corner of my eye – view of a fairly slim lady, and I thought, “Gosh, she’s nicely proportioned!”

Okay – if you’ve been morbidly obese – do you do that, too? Do you think those kinds of thoughts? I do – all of the time! Most of the time it’s doing a mental calculation trying to figure out if I’m larger (which I typically assume) or smaller, than the other person. Not a competition type of thing – but more a still trying to figure out what my shape really IS kind of a thing!

…back to my story… then, I realized – THAT’S ME!

WIERD!

Then, remembering that I recently had the ankle reconstruction surgery and I use a walker for the most part still….

I was walking through a building and came to one of those heavy double doors with the bar across the middle that you push against to get the door to open. With the walker, I typically turn around, plant my back against it, and shove for all I’m worth. Know what?

I didn’t weigh enough to open the stinking door!

WIERD!

According to my scale, I weigh 149 now. My weight hasn’t started with a 14 anything since something like the 4th grade.

WIERD!

Oh – and I had to buy a dress for a court date (long story – won’t go there) – and I tried on quite a few. One of them was a VERY fitted little number – quite pretty – and know what? Size 12 fit very nicely.

So – let me just say. Yes, I’m liking my revision!

And that’s the scoop.

Later, I’ll come back and tell you the sordid tale of what my Mother’s Day weekend was like!

I once fell in love…

I was age 16 – away working at a camp for the summer in the Seattle area – far from home – and had a weekend stretching in front of me with lots of free time – and not much to do. I was a little bummed. A friend said, “Well, you could read the Chronicles of Narnia again…”

“The Chronicles of what?” I asked.

“You know, “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” is the first one…” she prompted.

I looked at her blankly.

Her mouth dropped open and she held her hand out and said, “WAIT RIGHT HERE!” She dropped everything (literally) and went running full speed ahead toward her cabin. She came back at same break-neck speed with a cube-like thing clutched to her breast, and completely out of breath. “Here!” She panted, shoving said cube my direction. I grabbed it, looked at it, and realized it was a set of books. Seven books, to be exact.

Little did I know that day all those years ago that my life would be inalertably changed because of my friend’s generosity.

I spent the day sprawled out on a blanket – part of the day on the floating dock at the beach, the other part in the shade of a tree not far from my own cabin – plowing through the first few books. (Have I ever mentioned I’m a voracious reader?) By the time the weekend was over I’d read all seven books – and fallen completely head over heels in love…

with Aslan… of course!

with Narnia… duh!

with the beauty, the poetry, the symbolism, the justice, the symmetry.

So much to love.

Do you know – that here, nearly 30 years later (it’s true, I’m turning 46 this year!) I still re-read the Chronicles? I’ll be honest, I’m a little ADD, and at one point in time I came across an amazing thing – audiobooks! – and found a lovely set by Radio Family Theatre of the Chronicles – not just narrated – but acted out – and purchased it. (Here’s a link – if you have children – buy it! If you love beauty – buy it! If you have any kind of road trip in your future – buy it!) And, of course, I’ve seen the recently produced movies of “The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe” and “Prince Caspian” – which honestly, are good – but in my opinion, stray a little too much from the original.

Last weekend I attended the Beth Moore Conference here in Portland with two very dear friends. It wasn’t easy for me to go – me in a cast, needing to use a walker and a scooter to get around and through the crowd of 7300 women there, and needing to keep my foot elevated. I was a little tempted to bail. I’m so glad I didn’t.

The past nearly 8 weeks – following the surgery on my ankle, and my time needing to allow my body to heal and graft the donor materials into my body – I’ve felt a little… I don’t know. isolated? Well, it hasn’t just been just since then. Do you ever feel like your heart is getting tired? weary? hard? isolated? And worse – that you don’t mind?

I think that conference last weekend (my first exposure to Beth Moore – shhh… I’m a Precepts girl! I know, Kay and Beth are BFF!) was the beginning of the thaw.

Spring has been helping with the thaw, too, I think.

This afternoon as I was sitting on my comfy bed knitting away, the movie of “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” came on TV. (Have I mentioned yet that I’ve seen more TV in the last 8 weeks than I have in the entirety of my lifetime combined prior to this surgery?!) I thought, “Ah… Narnia.”

Aren’t visual reminders a sweet thing?

I was reminded a new of some important life lessons…

I don’t ever want to be a land or country that falls under the alluring spell of a temptress that turns me to stone cold.

I want to be like the trees – once awakened – who exude beauty, grace, and peace!

I want to be breathed on by Aslan – daily – just in case my heart is hardening.

I want to remember when I see Spring coming to life around me – here in my beautiful corner of the world – that I want my heart to be growing and maturing and bearing fruit.

I want to have an open invitation to bury my hands into the golden mane of the Great Lion – knowing that there is nothing to fear because I have been rescued.

I want to never lose my fear of Aslan – that tinge of it at least – because, you know, He’s not a tame lion.

I want to live my life expectantly – knowing that the Son of the High King is working things together – and will one day arrive.

I know – totally off topic. Not chicken or garden related (much). But it is real life related – for me, anyway. Sorry to be so random. But I’m feeling pretty darn thankful for Spring right now!

I forgot this might happen!

It’s kind of a “duh” but today, as I was walking around I had to do a very annoying thing – a LOT of times…

pull up my britches

’cause they’re getting too big.

That’s a little wild.

I mean, I did have surgery with the hopes of losing some weight, right? I thought some – but honestly, not a ton – about the fact that I wanted the scale to go down. But I think I forgot to think about the fact that my jeans would eventually get a little too roomy.

Go figure.

So – today I’m 4 weeks post-op. On Wednesday I’ll be 1 month post-op. (How DOES that work, anyway?!) The scale still says 175 lbs – that’s 15 pounds lost since surgery. Not bad.

Here are today’s pictures:

I’m still feeling whiney about food. I’ll get over it, though. It’s still more probable than not that I’m constipated – I hate that. And today I realized something really – well, pretty amazing: I’m not sore – at all – from surgery any more. None. Wow – that was fast!

Today I was out climbing in and around the chicken coop, filling the feeder, chasing chickens and it occurred to me – I don’t hurt at all. This after a day that included about five loads of laundry, three loads of dishes, grocery shopping, and taking a sick kid to the doctor.

I’m back up to speed – for the most part.

I will admit to being good and tired at bedtime each night – but not way more than normal.

Wild.

Oh – I went back to http://www.fitday.com/ today. It’s been ages since I’ve used it – bad me! I was just wondering how my intake versus activity level balanced out… This is what I came up with:

The 503 is number of calories consumed today. The 2,837 is the number of calories I expended today. That – my friends is why my britches are too big!

So – that’s my 4 week report!