Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh I Had a Little Chickie

Oh I had a little chickie and it wouldn't lay an egg, so I poured hot water up and down it's legs. And it giggled and it giggled and it giggled all the day, and my poor little chickie laid a hard boiled egg. Can I just say that I wish somebody had told me that boiling water won't cause a chick to lay eggs! Oh stop it, I kid! Don't ya'll go calling PETA on me!

For your viewing pleasure as well as for those with prying minds I've provided some updated chick photos and some other photos that detail just how they fit into our lives at this point. Never fear, their integration into our family has been seamless. The kids are loving having additional playmates in the sandbox:
Four Wheelin' Chickie (look closely)

Construction Chickie

(This is Jordan one of two by the way. The kids have named the chickies in pairs)

Bad Girl (again, one of two)

Chickie Feet

Over Easy (get it?)

And I can't end this post without mentioning that my dear, loving, dedicated hubby spent his ENTIRE weekend slaving away on a chicken coop. And it aint just any old coop. It's a mighty fine humdinger of a coop. I guarantee pictures of the coop as well as before and after photos of dear husband! You do know that coop contruction causes before and after effects, right? Hang in there to see what I mean!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Storms of Life

Late afternoon storm over Jackson Lake, Teton National Park

Bear with me ya'll, this is undoubtedly a bit deep and not so light-hearted...

This morning (it's 5:44 a.m. and not a creature is stirring) my heart is filled with gratitude toward our Heavenly Father. The circumstances that bring about this heart condition are a bit complex to explain but I'll give it the ol' college try.

A friend of some acquaintances of mine was recently diagnosed with acute leukemia. Not only does this hit close to home because of my own battle with cancer, but I feel a special kinship to this woman because she is a young mother of two small children, both girls. Her children, too, attend a private Christian school (the only other one in Bozeman) and she, too, is a stay-at-home mom. For some time she had been feeling unwell but repeated visits to her physician revealed nothing. Finally, after months and months of seeking answers she was diagnosed with end-stage leukemia, was air lifted to a Seattle hospital, and is now in a fight for her life.

This woman's perspective is one to be appreciated. Unfailingly she has said that God is good ALL the time, and that she has peace about the entire situation. This doesn't mean that she hasn't been scared, or hurt, or lonely, or unsure of things. This means that the LORD is her rock and that with that foundation there is no room for shifting sand! I find myself asking whether I, in the same circumstances, at this point in my life, would boldly proclaim what she is proclaiming?

What many of you do not know is that I recently had reason to consider the above question. Although I have been cured of cancer for nearly three years now, the possibility of recurrence does exist, albeit that the risk is slight. I also learned in the recent past that current research reveals that the occurrence of Osteosarcoma (my cancer, although it feels weird calling it mine) rends a seven fold greater chance of contracting another form of cancer during my lifetime. Add these components to some recent alarming blood results and I had an equation that summed fear! I trust God, I do, but the unsurity of the situation led my mind down paths that ended in places I cared not go. Did you catch that in the previous sentence I said, "I trust God, but..."? This my friends, is why I find myself in awe of this leukemic woman's outlook.

The fact of the matter is that I've been there, done that. The fact of the matter is that time and again God revealed himself mighty and powerful and sovereign over all during my fight against Osteosarcoma. The fact of the matter is that in a time that could have been wrought with sadness and pain God granted me absolute times of beauty and offered me grace like you couldn't imagine. The fact of the matter is that my time through cancer was TRULY one of the most blessed times in my life. So why do I fear? I fear because circumstances are different from the year-and-a-half I spent in the hospital undergoing surgeries and multiple rounds of chemo. I am now married with three small children and loaded with responsibilities that aren't negotiable...or so I think. Isn't God LORD over all? Isn't He bigger than the "impossible"? Isn't He good no matter what?

To the relief of many, myself among the most relieved of all, I learned at an appointment on this past Monday that I do not have cancer. Praise God! And you know what - praise God for the outlook of one seriously ill young mother that puts things into perspective for me (easy for me to say, I know)!

When the storms of life come (and they will my friends, they will) where will God find you? Will you be tossed about by waves of uncertainty or will you be found standing firm on the Foundation that is indestructibly built? I pray that both you and I can boldly stand firm in the LORD, no matter the circumstance. God is good, all the time!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Slip Slidin' Away

Here in Big Sky Country it seems we're stuck in eternal winter. Let me explain: Monday it was up to nearly 70 degrees, Garrett was convinced he was done with snow pants and snowsuit for the year, and we actually had to cool off using the A/C in the car. Well wouldn't you know it, we woke up on Tuesday morning to snow and lots of it. And again today, Wednesday, SNOW! I find myself thinking, 'Enough already, bring on the sun!!!!!'

HOWEVER, and this is a big however, I now want to rescind my lament. Why? Well because after sorting through more pictures on my hard drive, I came across the above photos. While the green grass, warm weather, bright sun, and outdoor fun are ever-appealing I find myself no longer wishing the days away. Wishing the days away means one day further from where we currently are. And one day further from where we currently are means being one day closer to the kids being grown up and gone.
The above photos are from two years ago this coming June. TWO YEARS, people!!! I look at this slip slidin' fun and feel time slip slidin' away. Spring, you can stay away....just as long as it means I get to hold my babies and keep them little forever!
Good night ya'll. I'm off to look in on my sleeping cherubs...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Day in the Life

In no particular order, I'll share with you today a few pictures that give you a peek into a day in my life. Enjoy! And if you're anything like me you'll love this. I'm one of those freaky peeping Toms who likes driving by people's homes after dark because with lights ablaze and blinds wide open I get a bird's eye view of the inside of their house.

Margarita Cupcakes

French Bread

Ready to Accost Chicks (not those chicks, get your mind out of the gutter!)

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Lasagna Rolls

Pico de Gallo

Dress Up Time

And ta-da, there you have it. What's that you're asking? Do I always cook the above all in one day? Of course, it has nothing, nothing, to do with the fact that I was bringing friends dinner. Where would you get a silly idea like that?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Brahmas, and Leghorns, and Chochins, OH MY!!!

Reader folk, listen well! I want you to be aware of the sacrifices I make for you. Yes, you! And why? Well because I love you so. Do you know how I started my day? With chick poop. Not just chick poop, but chick poop in the palm of my hand. All for the above photos. Alas, the sacrifices required for blog fodder!

So my latest conquest has become to raise laying hens. But laying hens start as sweet adorable chickies, right? And so, I bring you...sweet adorable chickies! For years I have talked about raising chickens and have expounded on the value of organically raised, hormone free eggs. Finally it's no longer just talk!

As of yesterday we became the proud owners of six little puffballs. Oh they're cute! Stinky, but cute! My laundry room is now an incubator. My laundry room is now filled with the cheeps of two week old chickens. My laundry room is now the very most interesting room in the house and the room that is occupied most.

Chicksitters? I've got 'em. The kids are at their post most of the daylight hours and are ensuring that the poultry are well fed, well watered, well groomed, and well harassed! Never fear, these little chickies won't be neglected!

I'll be keeping you updated on the progress of the little gals. Hopefully in six or so months I'll be reporting on the deliciousness of home-grown eggs. In the mean time wish me luck. I'm sure the chicks will be flying the coop (aka laundry room) all-too-soon. Oh, and anyone know of any good chicken recipes? Kidding, kidding, I'm sorry....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Assigning Value

Funny, isn't it, that while doing some hard drive spring cleaning I'd come across this photo and that it would make my heart jump into my throat? How could such a mundane photo cause such emotion? Let me attempt to explain.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, witnessing the end of George's life on earth has profoundly affected me. Not only has it affected me but it's given me a perspective that I was overlooking previously. What do we know of life? For one, it's temporary. Two, it's God-ordained. Three, the days of our lives are numbered. But most sobering for me, life is brief, it's but a breath!

Last summer our entire family embarked on constructing a paver patio and the project lasted nearly the entire summer. It was grueling, at times frustrating, and most definitely a labor of love. More than all this, however, it was a family project! See those three green, red, and blue specks in the background? Those are our hooligans. Even they were allocated duties and put to work (what do you mean kids aren't intended for forced labor?)! And the funny thing is, they LOVED it.

I look back at this photo and it says to me the following:

1) This summer project is one that we will never have the opportunity to embark on again. Well, unless something should go terribly wrong with the design. But shhh, don't even tell Zack I mentioned that. In no way am I insulting his engineering skills! :) Hi honey, just a little shout out to you... No really, there will probably never again come a time when we will work on a paver patio as a family for the entire summer. This was a precious time.

2) This summer, while enjoying the fruits of our labor, we can fondly look back on the good, the bad and the ugly of this project knowing that we, as a family, completed it.

3) And here's the kicker: When it comes down to assigning value, what is it that holds value in your rating system? For me it's family. For my father-in-law it was family. At the end of his life, George seemed most concerned about where he was at in his relationships with each and every member of his brood. It wasn't about his to-do list, it wasn't about how much he had accomplished, it wasn't about how he looked or the condition of his body. It was about family. Period. This patio project, and this photo in particular, represent to me the most valued way to redeem my time - as a family. I will look back on this photo fondly, knowing that the five us worked together, shared together, and grew together for the duration of the project.

What a precious gift!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Brody Dean

This my friends, this is my little Deanie. My only middle child, the one child of my three who exudes the most joy, lives most unabashedly, and revels in life to its fullest. All the previous is absolutely true unless - UNLESS - he has low blood sugar. Then? Well, let me just say that he's a whole 'nother animal (emphasis on animal).

Renowned Christian counselor Dr. James Dobson says the following of middle children:
"The middle child does sometimes find it more difficult to establish her identity within the family. She enjoys neither the status of the eldest nor the attention given to the baby. Furthermore, she is likely to be born at a busy period in the life of her parents, and especially her mother. Then during her preschool years, her precious territory is invaded by a cute little newborn who steals Mama from her. Is it any wonder that she often asks, "Who am I and where is my place in life?"

I'd love to hear from all of you out there with middle children, to see whether you find the above to be true for your family. In our case I truly don't sense that Brody has any trouble finding his place in life. Call me blind, call me ignorant, call me what you will but really, he seems very well adjusted! Brody is boisterous, outgoing, fun-loving, most affectionate and truly, truly so joyful. I think I can best communicate this joy by relating a story from the very recent past.

While in Colorado during the end stages of Zack's dad's cancer, the kids and I established ourselves as permanent fixtures in George's hospice room for a day. As difficult as were the circumstances, the unending supply of ice cream in the family freezer, the doting nurses, the portable DVD player set up in the room, and the general kid-appeasing character of Zack and I caused the kids to find hospice fun. After spending an entire day camped out we began packing up to leave. Brody, deciding to use the potty before hitting the road, began taking quite some time in the facilities. I went in to check on him and found him humming away on the potty. I helped him finish up, got him reclothed and opened the door for him. As he ran out of the bathroom he gleefully cried, "Mom, this is the best place EVER!"

Hospice the best place ever? Really, this eight room facility geared for those at the end of their lives? Fun? All I can say is praise God for the perspective of a four-year-old. Actually bigger than that, praise God for our little Brody Dean!