Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Watch Cat

Remember this guy? If you ever watched Looney Tunes much I'm sure you do. I think his name is Sam. Remember how he would sit and watch his herd of sheep?
Remember how he would clock in every morning along with his nemesis, the coyote? I loved how he would cleverly and stealthily protect his herd. He never got overly excited or upset, he just simply did his job.

Well, I have a sheepdog too! Only they come in the form of cats. Two of the weirdest, most eccentric little calico cats I've ever known. (I hope Rain doesn't read my blog because I might get a good head butting for posting this picture of her underside)
So, these kitties hang with the goat herd. I've never seen them clock-in in the morning but they are diligent and consistent none-the-less. Sometimes I wonder if they just think they are, in fact, a goat, or if they actually have a sense of responsibility and are doing their job.
One thing is for sure, they like their job.
Or they are just really confused about their inherit nature. They are mice catchers and, unfortunately, bird catchers. So I figure the goats are safe from any rabid mice lurking about or a goat-eating bird of some sort. It just warms my ol' heart to witness little things like this and even warmer still to get to share them with my friends.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Ok, so imagine your busy doing household chores. Your actually getting a few things done, a little laundry, some dusting, even some organization. Then imagine you are casually strolling through your living room, you glance over at your couch and see this..
And now, your heart is welling up, your knees grow weak, you feel flutters in your tummy and are of no use to anybody anymore.

For a person with a raging case of A.D.D., a puppy can do more than just interrupt your life, it can bring it to a screeching halt. 
The roll of skin under his neck is enough to make me melt into a puddle. And now I must get back to what I was doing, what was it anyway?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I went and did it again

Well, after about 6 weeks of thinking I was just going to be content with my Schnauzers and forget about having a big-outside-guard-walking-dog...I went and got me another one. The thought of doing this was frightening and I just about talked myself out of it, wanting to keep my life simple and secure. Simple and secure turned out to be boring and so I started researching possibilities for a new recruit to the farm staff. Let me introduce to everyone my newest critter, Eddie. Eddie is  Boxer and I'll explain why I decided to go this route. 
First of all, look how cute! This picture makes my heart hurt. I researched the boxer breed quite a bit and this is what convinced me to get one. The first word in the description I read about them was HAPPY. Well, I don't know many dogs that aren't happy, except maybe the homeless ones, but lets not go there. They are highly intelligent, high spirited, playful, curious, energetic, loyal and affectionate. What else could you possibly want in a dog??
Here is a good example of that high-spiritedness. But wait, it gets better. They are excellent watch dogs and noted for their courage and are very athletic. Their smooth, short coat is easy to groom and they are very clean and groom themselves like cats!! I was very excited about the cleanliness aspect. 
And, again...look how CUTE!
Eddie and Charlotte are already becoming exceptional playmates...and I love this photo! When I uploaded this batch of pictures to the computer, this one made me make an "awww, gasping" kind of noise, that is always a good reaction. 
The only reason I added this picture is so I could pick it apart in a public platform. Ok, I look at this and think, I need to mow my lawn, I am still sporting nail polish on my toes from the pedicure I got in January, the goats are still IN MY YARD and I'm sitting in the grass with my camera playing with my puppies. Eh, Oh well. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Journey Update 4-23-09

I was sitting here trying to figure out how to make you all think I am really progressing but so far this week has been very challenging as far as the weight loss goes. Monday was my only day so far this week to walk. Tuesday I was in Texarkana ALL day with Mom and Dad and the last two days I've been working with Dad at the construction site in Gillham. I thought I could get up early enough to walk before we left for work...I figured it up and, with the time it takes me to walk, I would have to leave my house at 6:00 am. 
Gosh I sound like I'm making excuses. The exercise program I'm on this week is called "work in the heat like a dog and sweat your butt off". I don't know if it's working yet because I have resolved not to weigh myself for at least a couple of weeks. The evenings are slowly changing into more active ones but I forgot about how the longer days make it hard to eat before 7:30. So, I've switched my cut-off time to 8:00. The goal is not to punish myself but to set reasonable limits and attainable goals. I have a quote I want to share that has given me much encouragement. This is from Kim who is a contestant on "The Biggest Looser" and she said..."losing weight didn't make me happy — getting healthy and happy helped me lose weight." 

Monday, April 20, 2009

A New Direction

I've decided that I'm going to include all of you on a very important endeavor of mine. I am on a mission to loose 25 pounds and I need some sort of accountability so I've deemed my blog as my platform to do so. Along with my updates and antics about farm life, I will be posting my progress. My reasoning behind this is not to bore you all to death with weight-loss melodrama, but hopefully to try and inspire anyone who wishes to join me on this quest. 
I have been very successful at weight loss in the past but have been so caught up in the captivity of activity that my health and weight have taken a back seat to everything else. 
So, here is my plan and what has worked for me in the past. This is mainly information that I've gleaned from Bob Greene, Oprah, Jillian Michaels, and many other experts. 
  •  First of all, and I know I will be able to hear groans and sighs all the way from Texas on this one...but number one is EXERCISE. My plan is, rain or shine, I will walk my 2.8 mile loop 5 days a week, maybe 6. 
  • Second white stuff. This means no white bread, no refined sugar, no white rice, candy, anything with corn syrup in it. 
  • Thirdly, I will give myself a cut off time. This means no eating after 7:30. Not a grape not a nut - nothing. 
  • Number four is drinking plenty of water. 
  • Five is finding time to do something fun every day. Ride a bike, color in a coloring book, pick a fresh bouquet of flowers, take some pictures, do yoga, anything creative and cathartic that will bring me joy. 
  • Lastly, I am planning on changing my evening routine. Right now it consists of plopping down in the living room with a glass of wine and staring at the TV for hours. I have a bow-flex and a treadmill (and several other pieces of strength-training equipment) in my room that could be put to use. Not to mention that I could keep up with my house chores a lot more consistently if that box in my living room were not a constant distraction. 
I won't give you my starting weight because, well I'm sure you know why. I'm sure I will be posting any and all successes as well as what I'm struggling with and what I find most helpful. Like I said, my goal is to inspire and also to have a platform of accountability. My prayer is that this will be a jumping off place for any of you struggling and that hopefully we can support each other. Now, I'm off for a walk. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A major inconvenience

I have a vision in my head of peering out at my pastures and lovingly watching my goats graze, somewhat like the picture above. The major problem that I have is that I don't have an adequate fence to keep them in the pasture and out of my yard. We have plans for fencing off the yard with a goat-proof fence it is just a matter of finding the time to get it done. Meanwhile, my yard is occupied for several hours a day by munching, destructive little goats.
The buck, Mo is by far most aggressive when it comes to destroying things. He head butted this poor planter until it was good and demolished. The good news is that he seemed to enjoy himself. I would much rather it be full of flowers than cascading rocks and dirt down my back steps. 
Speaking of flowers, I have none. Not even my shrubs have had a chance to leaf out much. 
I am questioning whether or not this hydrangea bush will even be able to survive this violent an attack. 
There are no leaves on my trees below goat height. Peach tree leaves must be especially yummy. 
This is the worst thing of all. Now I've always appreciated that goat poo comes in tidy little nuggets but when stepped in, it is still just poo, and it is everywhere. 
But look how cute! I'm so torn. By the way...that is my new bunny in the cage. I love to put her in this little portable kennel so she can graze on the fresh grass too. 
The baby goats find her interesting. Sometimes I wonder if they could be whispering things to each other. 
We will get our goat fence up soon out of necessity and not just convenience. I really love my goats but not quite this much. They love me too and follow me where ever I go. I think they would come right on in the house and have tea if I let them. 
Just look at him. No remorse, no pangs of conscience as he nibbles on my rope swing.  
I have to pause for a moment just to say how completely adorable bunnies are. Their ears, their soft fur and if you look at this picture long enough, I know you will find that furry little belly almost irresistible, or is is just me?
I've always said that when I get to heaven, I want a little cottage in the country and not a mansion. Except in heaven, the critters running around my yard will refrain from eating the flowers and will find a more appropriate place to poop. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Mighty Spirit

Taylor went to the prom on Saturday night. Sigh...when did she become this person? I spent about 2 hours with my hands in her hair and was thankful that she appreciated it and was happy with the results. This chore also got me out of some of the chicken house work which I was not ashamed to admit I was happy about. 
The process of getting a woman ready for a formal event is quite a production. Thankfully, we don't have that many formal events in our neck of the woods which keeps these affairs far from routine. We don't even get too fussy in our preparations for Sunday school. We keep it pretty simple around here, at least as far as our attire goes. So, getting to play dress-up with Taylor for a few hours was quite fun and indulgent. 
I have always admired Taylor's flamboyance. She has a remarkable ability to balance feminism and strength, pretension and power, elegance and backbone. There is no questioning how beautiful she is, all she has to do is smile and the room lights up. The most enchanting thing about Taylor, is her spirit. I've never been around anybody's spirit with which I feel more attuned. She carries it in such a way that it is almost visible to the world. So bold, so brave, so unashamed. 

I remember when I realized that she was completely different from me, the first time she expressed her own opinion with such force and tact that I couldn't even begin to argue with her. This occurred soon after she had the ability to speak. It was almost a bit shocking but quite admirable. One thing my mother told me when Taylor was just a little bitty thing was, "don't ever do anything to break her spirit". So, I have very carefully thought through every discipline I've ever had to place upon Taylor, asking myself, "is this going to break her spirit?" Thankfully, there have been very few times that she has ever needed stern discipline because she is harder on herself than I ever could be. Taylor gets a lot of her gumption from her Granna. My prayer for her is that she is always this strong. As careful as I have been in my endeavor not to break her spirit, I pray that no one will be so flagrant as to try and wound her. I'm afraid they would soon be picking themselves up off the ground, dusting off their knees and saying, "what hit me?"

Friday, April 10, 2009


I am sitting here with my heart in my throat. Last night, Taylor and Kyle went to Mena for Kyle's Martial arts class. I am always prayerful when they are out and about without me and last night was no exception. Rodney and I had started settling in for the evening, getting supper ready and doing our end-of-the-day chores. While I was outside putting the goats up for the evening, I looked to the north and beheld a sky I've rarely seen in my life. In my gut, I knew that was dangerous weather system. Immediately, I got on my phone to try and get in touch with the kids to make sure everything was ok, only, my phone wasn't working. Come to find out, nobody's phone was working. 

My prayers became even more diligent and I started to panic a bit. When I got back in the house, I turned on the weather channel and the panic grew into sheer terror as I watched as Mena was being circled and pointed out as a tornado warning area. The feeling of complete helplessness was one I don't wish to feel again soon. Rodney and I kept trying to call with no avail and, when the lights started to flicker, we both said, "lets go get em". We jumped in the car and headed out to go find our babies. I was driving and Rodney was still calling and calling hoping to get ANYTHING. By the time we reached the railroad tracks a call finally went through and I heard my Taylor's sweet voice. Oh, thank you God. 

I listened to her as she described the situation. They (Taylor, Kyle and Erica) were in the Martial arts school when the tornado went right over them. The buildings across the street were hit, the roof of the school was partially ripped off and most of the cars outside were badly damaged...all of them except Taylor's. They were instructed to stay-put until the police could verify that the downed power lines were not live. Rodney and I decided to come back home and wait for them. This was not an easy decision. We kept ourselves busy even going to check our neighbors heifers which have been calving. As we were making our way back home, another neighbor showed up on his four wheeler so we stopped to talk. While we were talking, we saw headlights coming up from behind and I heard Rodney say, "I sure hope that's my babies" was. I jumped out of the truck and kids piled out and the hugging and crying started. The relief that I felt was overwhelming. 

All of this was so overwhelming that it was hard to take it all in. It didn't really hit until this morning as I watched the news and surveyed the damage, that I realized how very dangerous the whole thing was. From the news and video I've seen so far, it looks like a war zone in Mena. My babies were there in the middle of all of that! This is when it hit me that things could have very easily gone very bad for this family last night. I've always said that Kyle has a whole fleet of guardian angels and I'm sure that they were on full-alert last night as they vigilantly protected my precious children. 

I am praying this morning for those who have lost loved ones because this tornado did leave death and injury in it's path. Please pray for them too. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fanned Embers

A fire has been rekindled in this soul. The past few months have been tough and I really can't blame it on anything in particular, not the weather or my losses or my family or any such has just been tough. I could feel my spirit of heaviness oozing out on everything and everybody in my path and I was really beginning to dislike myself for being such a big fat bummer. When I went to get my hair cut yesterday, even Sherri who I have always considered a trusted counselor said "your spirit feels sad". So, I pasted on a smile and tried to put out an air of love and joy, I don't think it worked. She even reminded me that this was the year of the Ox, which I had completely put out of my mind. Gosh, was this what was wrong? Were all my misfortunes due to the Chinese calender? Was I doomed to live the next 8 months of my life in misery? At first I decided that I would just succumb to it and be miserable but I felt a fire start to grow in my spirit and a voice saying "take control".

Well, lemme tell you what happened to me last night. Kyle has been taking this Martial Arts class for the past couple of months. We started this whole thing for disciplines sake. He missed a few weeks because he was cheering non-stop during the basketball tournaments and now that ball is over, we are pursuing Martial Arts a little deeper.

Last night when I went to pick him up, there was a test going on for one of the students and this is when it happened. When I walked in the room it was filled with an energy I can't quite describe. I stood in complete silence as this young boy was going through, what looked to be, a very strenuous test of strength, not only of body, but mind and spirit. While I was watching this, I could feel the fire inside me growing. I had a mental image of myself being beaten down, of literally laying on the mat with my enemy standing on my head and neck, and I lying there in defeat, just accepting my fate and letting myself be beaten. The teacher, Doug, came over to talk to me and I can't even remember his exact words but it had something to do with self-improvement, not being defeated, being strong, yet being humble. So this whirlwind was going on inside me. I was looking in the face of a 60 year old man that had this incredible energy, enough that I felt like it pierced my soul, I was watching a young boy being tested like I had never witnessed and my soul began to feel an intense fuel to stand up and fight. I had a decision to make, am I going to lay here in defeat or am I going to take back my life? I was feeling like a child hiding under the covers, afraid of nothing, yet fear was the driving force in my life. Remember in the movie "Home Alone" when Kevin finally decides to get out from under the bed and claim his house, he steps outside and proclaims "I'm not afraid anymore, do you hear me, I'm not afraid anymore." As silly as it sounds, I kept saying this to myself.

I was even afraid that when I awoke this morning that the fire would be gone, wasn't. One of the many things I've been afraid of is to take my hike in the mornings. I love my hike, I've been around that loop so many times it is like an old friend and I had neglected it so but, I'm here to tell you, this morning, I took it back. I put one foot in front of the other and I conquered it like a woman on a mission. I'm not afraid anymore. This woman has stood up to her enemy, and is now standing on his head and neck and proclaiming that this is MY life and I'm taking it back!! There is no question that God positioned me to be in that classroom last night and there is no question that he used these images of strength to encourage me. I don't doubt for a second that he used Doug's words to inspire me to be strong. He said to me that our only competitor is our self and that is who we must measure ourselves against. The only person that can change my circumstances is me and I am ready for the fight now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mother's love

These new baby goats are completely my new favorite thing. I find any and every excuse to go out to play with them. My mommy goats don't seem to mind a bit when I step in to steal away a moment or two (or three) with their little ones. 
I have been around cattle for years and have witnessed the way a mother cow will tend to her baby. For one, they become very protective, some more than others, but they all inhabit an instinct to protect their helpless little babies. 
The sweet thing is how they not only protect but nurture. I looked up the word nurture and the definition stated this: care for or encourage the development of; cherish. My mommy goats have so impressed me with their nurturing skills. There is just something that bonds us mothers, be we human or beast. 
I certainly feel a deeper connection with Salty and Rain now that I have been a part of the birth of their babies. Salty has been a mother to several sets of twins and is an old hand at this whole child-rearing thing. Rain is a first time mother and has touched my heart with her natural ability to nurture.  
I love to watch the mothers lick the babies. The babies seem to enjoy it and the process seems to bond them. I remember when my babies were fresh and new and how I would smell their skin and hold my face to theirs...I never considered licking them but I think I did everything but lick them. It is such a sweet time to have new little ones running around. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Encounter with God

Anybody who knows me very well, knows that I love God. He is a constant companion of mine and I look to Him for everything in my life. If you keep up with my blog at all, you will know that I have had some hard blows in the past couple of months with the loss of my puppy, Wilson, and then loosing another dog, Jerico. The whole time this was happening, I kept thanking God that he wasn't teaching me whatever lesson he was teaching me by the loss of a child or my husband, but just with dogs...although this was painful. 
Last Monday, my mother went through a very extensive surgery that very well could have ended her life or left her paralyzed. As I was praying for her, I was begging God to keep her here, this was not a loss I was ready for. Somehow, tragedies for me seem to come in sets of threes and I was praying that she wasn't the third. I left the hospital on Tuesday and came home to spend the night. On Wednesday I took my baby goats to the vet because I wanted to get them de-budded, a process that keeps their horns from ever growing. I noticed that one of the babies was very tired and not wanting to nurse. So, our vet visit turned into an exam and antibiotic shots instead of doing anything that would stress them any further. The little one that was sick just continued to sleep and didn't show any signs of wanting to nurse. Late on Wednesday evening, I went to check on him and he was shivering and looked very weak. I scooped him up and brought him in the house, hoping to warm him and possibly get him strong enough to recover. I wrapped him in a blanket (one of Wilson's old blankets) and just held him close to me trying to warm him. Within about 5 minutes he was breathing funny and it was clear that he was dying. I had already been talking to God and asking him to please spare this precious little life but I would understand if he needed to take him. I held him as he took his last breath and then just wept. Then, I started to question God, WHY, why does this keep happening? Am I being punished? Did I do something wrong? Do you want me to feel pain for some reason? Do you still care about me at all?
I am going to make a point, I promise. So, then I had to do something with the baby. It was raining outside, Rodney had my car at the shop and he wasn't answering his phone. I couldn't leave the poor thing in the rain, and I didn't want to have to bury him myself...I needed my husband. He would know what to do. So...I got my umbrella and put on my rubber boots and, baby goat, blanket and all, walked down to the shop in the rain. This was a very reflective, prayerful walk. Mom was in the hospital in agony, Dad was worried out of his mind which worried me, I was exhausted physically, mentally and now, emotionally. So there I was, walking in the rain carrying the limp little body of a week old baby goat. When I got to the shop and Rodney saw me, he hung his head in despair and came to comfort me. He took the baby from me and told me that it would be ok. I got in my car to head home and was still asking God if I was being punished. In the car headed home, tears still welling up and a heavy tired heart, I was asking God to forgive me for whatever it is that is causing this streak of loss in my life. Suddenly, the light outside began to change. From behind me the sun was peaking out from the gray clouds and it was enveloping me like a hug from God himself. 

I couldn't even believe that it was happening. I turned and saw the sky behind me and couldn't even catch my breath. 
Then when I turned down my driveway, I saw this. The tears just fell like the rain outside and I could almost hear the words as God said, "oh honey, don't you know how much I love you? Don't you know that I would do anything for you?"
God was speaking to my heart and saying "You are loved, dear one. I will never take anything from you unless I am prepared to give you something better. Baby goats just die, puppies get sick and nothing man can do can save them, but YOU dear child are precious and loved."
I turned back and looked at the sky and could feel God around me like never before. It was so intense that I seriously could NOT catch my breath. Now, I hope that somebody else got to see that sky and the rainbow that appeared that evening, but I will forever be convinced that God was speaking to me and comforting me through his mighty power and that he was being kind to my tender heart. He knows me like no other and He knew that a rainbow was just what I needed.