Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Bird Brothers

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On the front porch in a quaint and meticulous mud nest sit the three brothers with their chests puffed up and ready to take on the world.

They just appear to be a band of brothers as they gaze sullenly and confidently down upon me as I take their picture.

If they were sisters they would be chatting and tidying the nest and perhaps not so messy…

For some reason, their parents chose the column on the front porch, maybe it was because we discouraged their nest building endeavors on the back porch at least three times.  After they informed me of a snake, trying to squeeze the life out of one of the chickens,  by screeching and dive bombing under the porch on that awful morning to let me know there was danger, well, I relented and welcomed them to the fold or the porch rather.

Himself says it’s a mistake,  ” They have friends, lots of them, and these brothers will come back to their original home with their lady friends to make new nests.”   Secretly, I hope so but without the mess.

B and B

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B & B, I dedicate this post to all the incredible and wonderful things you’ve built.  My only regret is that we had to move and leave the shed and the porch swing, but I look forward to all the new things you are capable of building.  Your wives will be amazed and very grateful that you learned how to do these things before you got married.

The Shed
Outside

Inside… all of your tools so meticulously placed.  (I wish you would do that in the garage.. in our new house…soon.)

The Porch Swing

This kind of stings.   I wanted to take it with us.  The new owner wanted it to stay.  You promised to build a new one…

B & B,  Your Mom loves you so very much.  I am so proud of you two.

The Chicken Chronicles: Confessions and Homecoming

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Confessions are always good for the soul and I have a few about chickens that have weighed heavily on my mind.    Please allow this post to serve as not only a confession time but also a happy homecoming for the chickens.

Fessin’ Up First

1.  I gave four chickens away.   There  I said it and I feel better.  I did it after the snake episode because…

2.  I bring the chickens in to the laundry room every night in a great big box…

3.  Chickens stink…

4.  My chickens don’t stink…

5.  Okay, they stink a little…

6.  I sometimes wonder if I gave the good chickens away because…

7.  The give away chickens sound really smart according to the new owners…

8.  My chickens aren’t so smart, but…

9.  A few of them can hug…

10.  Okay,  they kind of lean on me.

Homecoming

This was  temporary housing that we set up because I couldn’t make up my mind on what type of coop I wanted and I secretly felt safer with them in the laundry room at night anyway.   You can peek at the box they slept in and they really like their box or I should say boxes since several boxes became too malodorous to bring in the house and required a replacement.  Malodorous is fancy talk for stinky.

B&B moving the coop which stands for Brothers & Builders or Bradley and Brett, my sons.  They took over the design of the coop that I now call “The Coop De Ville”.  After moving chickens in every night and every morning, they were highly motivated to not have to help their mom move chickens in and out every day.

Coop De Ville, First Floor or Private Sleeping Quarters

Coop De Ville, Basement or Parlor

All this work makes happy chickens!  You know what happy chickens do?  They give eggs, little ones at first,  called junior eggs.   Then you get the big ones like the ones with pepper on them in the skillet.  Those peppery eggs belong to Himself, the man of the house.  The junior  eggs belong to Herself, the lady of the house.

Welcome Home Chickens!  You deserve it for all the beautiful eggs.

About Raising Sons

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First of all, let me begin with, I am no expert.  My upbringing was extremely dysfunctional to say the least, BUT God always redeems what the locusts have eaten and has redeemed my childhood by blessing me with the joyful experience of raising sons. (Joel 2:25, “The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.  “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— …You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.”)   To that end, I want to be careful and intentional to tell you that any credit, or more appropriately glory,  belongs to God for the good things that others see in my sons.  Without God’s direction, I would have passed on the generational curses from my own childhood.  (Numbers 14:18, ” The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.”)   With my oldest about to leave for college, I am feeling those ‘mom only’  heart  pains of seeing my little boy go, but that was my job – to raise a man.  If you will allow me, I thought I might pass on some things I have learned through the years.

1.  Children truly are precious in His sight.  They are a blessing and an inheritance from the Lord.   (Psalm 127:3, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. “)   In other words, I am God’s caretaker of His belongings and that means I am responsible for what I get right and what I get wrong.  The main thing is I don’t get to say, “I don’t know what happened to that child.”  I am responsible, not the church,  for their training in the Word of God with prayer and reading the Bible.  (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”)

2.  Prayer is mandatory.  This job is not easy; therefore, I am a warrior, a soldier on this earth and God hears the prayers of mothers. (II Timothy 2:3, ” You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. “)  My sons know that one of my prayers is, “God show me if they are up to no good.”  There have been many nights that they wake up and find me praying in their rooms.  I pray specifically for their wives who are growing up at the same time and for future generations.  Mainly, I pray that they always choose the narrow path.  Knowing that few may find it and remain, I ask God to keep them there and give them wisdom according to His will.  A book that has been very helpful to me is The Power of a Praying Parent,  by Stormie O’Martian.

3.  Listening is important and not on my terms. (Proverbs 18:13, “He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame.“) It takes time and it usually  takes all day with males to “drag it out” in the open before they share what is on their hearts.  Numerous times I am dog tired and they are ready to talk at the end of a very long and tiring day.  I listen anyway and treasure the times that they share their burdens or sometimes outright silliness.

4.  Have their hearts.  (Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”) When my son was four,  I realized I didn’t really know him.  I traveled extensively in my work and dropped him off with my mother.  I didn’t have his heart.  The person who spent the most time with him did and knew him best.   By God’s grace, and a series of  what I thought were disasters, I was lead to be a stay at home.  This was one of the hardest things I have done in my life.  My whole identity was wrapped up in my career and the world really doesn’t appreciate the work of a mom.   But, I did it and I have guarded their hearts ever since which means I am careful about who pours in to the life of my child.  Unfortunately, we have to be very careful in church settings  because this is a very vulnerable place where we should be able to let our guards down,  but can’t.  Needless to say, we tried youth  group and decided that learning from their peers or a thirty year old who dresses and acts like them would not be God’s plan for learning how to become a man.

4.  Fear is a healthy thing! (Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. “)  “I brought you into this world and I can take you out,” and I meant it with all my being when it came to keeping their commitment to the non negotiable in their lives:  lying, cheating, cussing, tattoos, to name a few.   This is not abuse or punishment by beating, but healthy fear from respect that keeps them in line and they will test that line time and time again.  One son told me, “get off my back”, at five years old.  I calmly took his little collar in my hands, placed my face as close as I could and still move my lips to say,” I will never get off your back.”  Now that they are taller than me by a few feet,  I just say, ” you may be taller but I have crazy on my side.”   They knew if they acted up their punishment  would be swift and just.  Please know that I did not use physical punishment all the time.  There were time outs and creative punishments like pulling weeds or scrubbing toilets that worked even better.  I always explained why afterwards but did not place anything up for discussion on their part.  I was the parent and still am.

5.  By all means BE a helicopter parent.  One of the travesties in the public education system is the favored term ‘helicopter parent’ meaning one who hovers in the life of their child.  To those teachers, feel free to give me your number so that I can call you when they are in the emergency room, out of money, broken-hearted or just plain sick and puking in my hands because there is just nowhere else for it to go.  Here’s another travesty in our society: ‘your eighteen and grown’ so make your own decisions.  The most crucial decisions made by my sons are from 18 to 22.  We didn’t send our oldest off to college at eighteen.  He started a junior college at seventeen, lived at home and now is transferring as a junior to finish up at a university about an hour away.   What college, what degree, finances, and  who they marry are all things that will affect them for the next three-quarters of their lives.    I won’t be making those decisions, but will definitely prayerfully provide them with experience and insight.  When they marry, my job is done and they belong to their wives.  If I am blessed, I will have daughters that will fill that empty place in my heart for the girls I never had.   I am praying that I have a good relationship with my daughters-in-law and know that means I am to bud out.  (God, help me! )  (Matthew 19:5, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.”)

6.  Work is balm to a man’s soul.   (Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”)  Early on, if something was broken in our house and required calling a repairman, I encouraged my sons to fix it with the caveat that if they couldn’t we would be calling someone anyway.   With the internet and trips to home improvement stores, they usually fixed it and learned valuable skills or at least what not to do in some cases.  Having a purpose in their work was always important and being solely responsible for something getting done not just once,  but as their permanent job,  gave them responsibility.   Having the right tools is important too;  and,  we would give them as Christmas presents or buy them from garage sales.   Having a plan and all the details of the project gave them something to look forward to and think about.  Mundane jobs like scrubbing the toilet, taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, mowing the lawn are just as important so they know that participating in their own household makes sense to everyone’s well-being.

7.  Food is the way to a man’s heart.  (I Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”)   My neighbors used to ask how I could I get my boys to work so hard.  I wasn’t joking then and I am not joking now — feed them — it works.  Along the way, make memories of holidays and special occasions with the food you cook.  My father is seventy-four years old and still talks about the food his mother cooked.  My husband is the same way.   Some of the best hugs I have received have involved a thank you for the meal they just ate.   FEED THEM with food you cook.

8.  Love is all that matters and it really is about the simple things.  When the boys talk about memories we share, they aren’t talking about the stuff I bought.  It was the simple things like skipping rocks, going to the library, playing hide and seek, laughing our heads off, silly rhymes, games, picnics, long walks,  and all the free things in life.  Sometimes it’s little acts of love like clean clothes and meals; but,  most of all,  knowing that I love them instills respect and honor from them to me and back again. (John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”)

9.  Forgiveness is so much easier when you apologize.  I have been wrong and messed up more than a few times, but I try to correct myself immediately and let my sons know that I was wrong and I apologize.   They were taught to say, “I am sorry, please forgive me”, with meaning from their hearts.  This is important on. many levels of life and can make all the difference on moving forward or getting stuck on a mistake.  I am not perfect, but I try will all my heart. (Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”)  Easier said than done, but necessary.

10.  Gratitude for the mercy of God and the privilege of parenting is the last, but certainly not the least.  I hesitate to state all these things without mentioning that I don’t have it all figured out and I am counting on God’s mercy to see me through, but I am so very grateful that he allowed me just this little while to raise sons for they truly are a gift.  It pains me to think of giving up a son and can only imagine the love of a Father who gave up His Son for us.  If I can capture the minutest speck of that love, and pass it on to my sons to pass on to theirs,  then I will have the mercy of God.  (John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”)

To God Be The Glory…

Turn Right Here, Left

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“Turn right here, left,” she chimed.  Those are the words Lucile Ball’s character used to give directions to Desi Arnaz, her real life  and movie husband in the movie, The Long, Long Trailer Perfectly understandable to me, and oh how I relate to that movie.  In fact, The Long, Long Trailer is one of my all time favorites and here’s why:

We lived here and then..

We sold here and moved into  a travel trailer for a few months , which turned into 13, so we could build this…

Like the Long, Long Trailer, I miss the trailer and all the mishaps that made funny and wonderful memories like…

No Driveway and Mud…

Loaded up for a new destination, kids, dogs and me at the wheel especially funny since I don’t do backing up…

That’s why “turn right here, left” makes perfect sense to me.   In my own life, I’ve made many turns based on those directions and the only ones who got it were my husband and my sons.  There was the time we went to Beaver Lake,  a mini  Lake Tahoe with mountains to be climbed to get there, and we plugged in  the address on the brochure into GPS and away we go.   We were a little concerned that the mountain was narrow with no railings and rocks sliding down beside us, but we could see water and after all we were going to a marina.  We get to the address all right!  It’s on the mailbox in front of us, high up the mountain, in a “Deliverance” kind of place with one way in and one way  out.  No marina,  just a dead-end, a mailbox and signs with words ominously stating, “All Trespassers Will Be Shot”;  “Survivors Will Be Shot Again”; “We Don’t Call 911 (picture of gun) We Are 911” .   Somehow,  and along with unloading; getting out; hand signals;  praying; and some yelling;  plus , my husband’s awesome backing up skills, we got out.  When we called the number on the brochure, the owner kindly informed us that we had been to his house, up on the mountain,  and why in the world would we go to his house if we were coming to the marina and that’s what I want to know:  “Why in the world would you put your home address on the brochure of the marina?”

The Long, Long Trailer is a movie that embodies all those zany things that we can get ourselves into, survive and laugh about later.   Make one of those “Turn Right Here, Left” memories because life is short and God is good!

P.S.  Or you could just watch the movie.

Independence Day: Unalienable or Inalienable

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Now known and marketed primarily as “The Fourth of July”, it’s important for us to remember the truth about Independence Day as it was intended by our founding fathers.  Remember the well penned words of Thomas Jefferson, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  There was a time when school children were required to memorize these words so that each person may know their individual rights in order to protect our country from a despotic dictator.  A reminder that never again would America be forced to succumb to  a monarchy who wanted to unfairly tax and grossly ignore the rights of the people as it was some 236 years ago when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Let’s consider the definition of unalienable rights and inalienable rights:

Unalienable: incapable of being alienated, that is, can not be sold and transferred.” Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 1523:

You can not surrender, sell or transfer unalienable rights, they are a gift from the Creator to the individual and can not under any circumstances be surrendered or taken. All individual’s have unalienable rights.  Furthermore, we define natural liberty as “the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons and property after the manner they may judge most consonant to their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men;” and therefore it has been justly said, that “absolute rights of individuals may be resolved into the right of personal security–the right of personal liberty–and the right to acquire and enjoy property. These rights have been justly considered and frequently declared by the people of this country to be natural, inherent, and unalienable.” 

Inalienable rights: Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights.

You can surrender, sell or transfer inalienable rights if you consent either actually or constructively. Inalienable rights are not inherent in man and can be alienated by government.

Now, let’s look at the words of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Beginning in 1963,  The Supreme Court has ignored the will of the people by twisting the words of  The Constitution.  In the case of removing prayer and Bible reading in public schools, the ACLU lawyers used a letter written by Thomas Jefferson stating that there should be a wall of separation between church and state.  Taken completely out of context, and not stating why Jefferson used those words, the lawyers  suing to remove prayer were able to redefine the meaning of the First Amendment.   Mr. Jefferson was writing in response to a particular religion being established as the only religion.  What a contradiction to establish atheism over God and now going as far as having Muslim prayer rooms in our schools; but,  Easter has been replaced with Spring Flings and Christmas with Happy Holidays.  The highest court in our land changed  an unalienable right to inalienable,  by their own definition and reinterpretation of the First Amendment, to bow down to the minority who found prayer or mention of God in school offensive to their atheistic beliefs.  By the way, atheism is a religion.  It is a belief system that there is no God; therefore, I am my own god left to govern myself.

In 1973, The Supreme Court or better known as The Supreme Shame, over rode the will of the people again by ruling in favor of “viable abortion” which in simpler terms means that a woman can choose to have an abortion legally when there is no viable chance that the baby could survive on his or her own outside of the mother’s womb.   With medical technology rapidly advancing, premature babies are surviving at gestation periods even earlier than the prescribed three-month viability that The Supreme Shame deemed legal in their ruling.  As the technology advanced our nation has not reconsidered the ruling; instead, we have switched it to the woman’s right to choose.   Did so-called Pro Life Republicans make a difference over their Pro Choice Democrat counterparts ?   Consider the fact that since 1973,  there have been five Pro Life Presidents with a total of 26 years in office.  Being born is an unalienable right that has been over turned by our government to mean inalienable right as they choose who is born by allowing women to choose for the unborn child.

There have been many other rulings over-riding the truth of The Constitution and usurping our unalienable rights.  The latest “Supreme Shame ” was this past week when John Roberts, touted by conservatives as their golden boy, re-wrote Obamacare to comply with the Commerce Act that gives Congress the right to tax the people on their goods and now services.  I thought Obama said, “This is not a tax.”  This is a documented fact when George Stupinoplis (pun intended) interviewed Obama after this colossal mess was passed in 2009.  This has all been so twisted to mean that we are being taxed.  In reality,  we are being forced to buy the goods or services deemed as healthcare.  Since when should we be forced to buy goods and services by the government?  To my friends who believe that some how this is a great social justice giving equal and fair medical to one and all,  I invite you to simply explain who will pay for this?  The rich you say!  Who defines rich?  Obama has kept lowering the amount he considers rich from 250K to 150K.   Who stays rich these days anyway?  And, what if your company no longer offers health care because the government offers it ; therefore, you must buy it from the government and if you don’t you will be penalized and your wages garnished.  Unalienable right to inalienable, when the government consents to spend your money for you!

Our forefathers would have considered these rights non-negotiable and would have begun a revolt for much less than we have ignored all these years waiting for “someone” to speak up.  What then shall we do to remain independent and protect our unalienable rights?

1.  Educate yourself, family and friends by reading history as it was and not how it has been revised in our public school books.  I recommend David Barton’s website:  http://www.wallbuilders.com.  You will find extensive research with documented proof of  the history of our nation.  The revision of our history has removed the truth about slavery, for example, which was originated by Muslims and warring African kings trading their own people.   Another covered fact was the treatment of the Irish and other immigrants to this country.  I am not condoning slavery, but our loss of this history has encouraged the present generation of  blacks to believe that something was taken from them specifically.  Consideration is not given to the pride of the generations who overcame slavery or the non blacks who committed their lives, fortune and blood to the cause of their freedom.   Now, we are all becoming slaves to the government through our collective ignorance of where we came from and why.

2.  Ask your pastor what his position is on these issues.  If he states that Jesus wasn’t political so he isn’t either.  Politely, let him know that the Triune God established the kings and governments of the earth as stated in Daniel 2:21: “And He changes the times and the seasons:  He removes kings and sets up kings:  He gives wisdom unto the wise and knowledge to them that know understanding.”   Your pastor and church should be teaching  biblical wisdom from the scriptures on how to deal with today’s politics.  You should  NOT seek these answers from the media.  This is probably the greatest tragedy of the modern church.  I believe this occurred during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency when he enacted the 501 (c)(3) guidelines that pastors so readily adhere to in order to keep their tax exempt status. (Here is a part of history to research yourself…the Revolutionary War was started in the pulpit…something to think about and by all means don’t take my word for it.  Look it up.)

3.  Check your sources of truth.  Don’t believe the media and stop listening to opinion based news.  Try finding news blogs with readily available sources.  Don’t use factcheck.org which is laughable when you research the facts yourself.

4.  Talk about it with others in a respectful and well-informed manner without insisting on a decision in your favor.  Just plant the seeds and pray for wisdom for that person.  This is something I have learned the hard way after years of debate with my family.

5.  Pray and pray specifically for elected officials.  In 2008,  I felt burdened to pray for John Roberts.  Now I know why and feel that I could have done a better job.

6.  Repent and keep yourself ready.  Matthew Chapter 24 is a good start on understanding what is happening and what is to come.

7.  Find out what the book of Revelation in the Bible says.  The first chapter, verse three, states: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”  The only book of the Bible that contains a promise that if you study it you will be blessed  and it is the least preached  book in the Bible.  I believe that’s why the crackpots who try to predict the end of the world have so many followers.  If they were taught about “end times” they would know for certain that “no man can predict”.   The Bible does, however, tell us the signs of things to come.

On Independence Day, these were my thoughts as I sat on the courthouse square of Mountain View, Arkansas, listening to a fourteen year old girl play her violin and sing her heart out to her Lord and Savior.  With all her hopes and dreams shining on her innocent freckled face, I had tears in my eyes thinking of what her next twenty Independence Day’s would be like without those unalienable rights endowed by her Creator…