Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Puppies


I'm going to try very hard not to speak ill of those among us who are irresponsible and cruel. Those people who can see no other solution to a problem than to pawn it off on somebody else. Those who's hearts are unaffected as they toss helpless puppies out of their vehicle and drive away. I get that times are tough. I understand that it takes money to feed a dog and take them to the vet and treat them for fleas. But to abandon a puppy? To hope someone else will drive by and pick them up? To think they'll just survive on their own??...that I don't understand.

Yesterday when I was heading home, I saw two little fluff balls running down the road. I immediately knew the story. I've seen it many times. The thing that breaks my heart more than anything is that those babies were, more than likely, running after the jerk that left them behind. This is why I love dogs. They are loyal to even the nastiest of us humans.


I stopped the car and got out, talked to them for a second and they, apprehensively and very wiggly, allowed me to pick them up. We rode home without incident as I reassured them that it was going to be ok. I wondered if I was lying to them but kept on telling them, "it's ok".


By the time we got home, I'd already assessed how completely covered in fleas they were. I recruited Taylor and we immediately began the bathing process. It must have taken us an hour of scrubbing and combing and a good half a bottle of tea-tree oil shampoo to remove the fleas. I'd never seen so many fleas in my life. Then we blow-dried them, treated them with Frontline and removed the remaining ticks. Taylor folded back one ear and had a conniption when she revealed a huge mass of ticks. It was a grueling process but we removed every last one.


They were very patient and even seemed to enjoy the whole operation. I can imagine that it would feel pretty awesome to have all those blood-suckers removed.


We then let Emma in on the action and she greeted them warmly and licked them thoroughly. They seemed to like that too.


They spent the night with Faith on the porch, barked at the goats and kitties, and had a big breakfast this morning. They seem just a little skittish but follow me wherever I go. I'm sure it would only take a little encouragement for them to move right into being a very lovely companion. They seem extremely smart and are so precious and sweet.

If you know anybody that would be kind enough to take them in, please let me know. I'm going to be contacting some rescues and shelters for help in placing them. You can find me on Facebook or email me @ barrettfarm@gmail.com

Thank you for any and all help.

Monday, July 4, 2011

20 years

Nobody wanted me to marry that man. "Go to college! You're still so young. Go and be free. Your going to tie yourself down and regret it later."

We thought that my dad was going to have to be institutionalized. He hated the whole idea. He refused to spend any money on renting a tux (or anything else) and swore he would walk me down the isle in his overalls.

My mom patiently helped me plan the wedding. We shopped for flowers and material for bridesmaids dresses. We called everybody, begging and borrowing for decorations. I wore my cousins wedding dress, another cousin performed the ceremony and yet another cousin was my photographer. The venue was free, the singing was a-cappella, the coordinator was my great-aunt Ollie Bell, and the whole thing was nuts. But, the groom was Rodney Barrett and that was all my eyes could see.

There have been few things in my life that I've been that sure of. I wanted to be with him and nothing could convince me otherwise. We both felt that way from the moment we laid eyes on each other. I can still take myself back to that day and feel it all over again. Seeing him from across the room, our eyes locking and... I was done for. My knees literally went weak. And if eyes locking made me go weak, you can imagine what happened the first time he kissed me (which was about 3 hours later).

We talked so many times after the wedding about how we should have just run away together and saved ourself the grief of all the drama and money. But, weddings are more for the family than for the couple...a concept I've never understood. I've given my children permission to elope.

Today, we celebrate 20 years of marriage. Although, I felt married to him from the beginning. God formed some beautiful master plan and, I'm sure, has enjoyed the show since the two of us have been married. Rodney and I were talking the other night and decided that even the fact that we landed on the planet in the same generation, within years of each other, and then to have somehow ended up in the same room at the same time and fell in love that forcefully, that it all had to be masterfully planned. 20 years is only a drop in the bucket of time, a tiny speck in God's tapestry. 20 years to us is quite a long time and, in the same breath, it has gone by like a vapor.

So, after 20 years of babies, houses, farm, dogs, cats, laughter, tears, fights, make-ups, work, bill-paying, more crying, more laughing, more bills, where-are-my-socks?, blessings, struggling, living with, living without, toddlers, school, sports, teenagers, discipline, and even and little counseling, we are coming around to a place in our life where Jenni and Rodney can be Jenni and Rodney again. We are whisking ourselves away tonight for the first time since our honeymoon. We will attend the big fireworks show and hopefully make a few of our own. And, I hope I get at least 20 more years with that man.






Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy late Birthday, Emma

I was out hanging clothes on the line a little while ago and I could hear the wind-chimes that hang in Eddie's tree. There is a sweetness about those chimes in the field. It doesn't make me sad, it causes me to pause and remember my blessings. As I was reminiscing about that boy and the happiness he brought to our home for the brief time he was with us, it occurred to me that I had overlooked Emma's birthday.

Emma turned a year old on June 8th. I can't believe she didn't remind me. Probably because she knew I was going to put that silly hat on her head and take her picture.


When I made the hat for Eddie, I planned on taking his picture in it yearly. Then, when he died, I had no idea what to do with it. I just knew it would be impossible for me to throw it in the trash. So, it's been sitting in the same drawer that the other birthday stuff resides. The banners and streamers, the glitter and glue, the crepe paper and raffia.


Once in a while when I have to pull something out of that crazy-disordered drawer, I touch the hat and let my heart hurt for a minute and then smile and remember how silly he was and how he was so patient with me while I put stuff on his head and laughed at him, then took his picture and posted it on facebook. Oh the shame of it all.


It doesn't seem so long ago.


Emma on the other hand...


She is not quite as tolerant of my shenanigans.


As a matter of fact, I think she may be plotting some sort of revenge. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking the massacre of some poor stuffed animal and probably a good digging in the flower pots.


She reminds us of Eddie once in a while because she is a boxer through to her core...but she is 100% Emma, and that's a good thing.


Happy Birthday Emma...2 weeks late.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Scariest thing ever

Let me preface this particular blog by saying I fully support the 2nd amendment. My husband is a very responsible gun owner and has taught our son and daughter gun-safety and done it well. We are hunters. We are law-abiding citizens. We have many firearms in our home both rifles and hand guns. It is our right to have them and to use them. Until today, I had no idea of the incredible responsibility that comes with owning a gun.

I will also tell you before I begin this story by saying... nobody died today.

When Kyle was 5 years old, he was playing down at the pond at my parents house. He called me over to watch him walk out onto the old rickety bridge that spans from shore to the "island" on the pond. "look what I can do" he exclaimed. I told him sternly to NEVER do that unless an adult was with him. I'd almost lost him a couple times to drowning because the boy sinks like a rock when he is in water. Anyway, I went back in Mom's house where we were preparing dinner and working on plans for the new church building. About an hour went by and my dad asked, "has anybody seen Kyle?" Then it dawned on my that I hadn't seen him come through the house or heard him outside for a while, so I went to find him. I called, and called, and called and nothing. Mom came out and started to call. Kyle! Kyle! Nothing. Dad came out and began to look.

We started panicking.

I felt my stomach turn over as I thought about him standing on the bridge. My knees became so weak I could barely move. I began walking towards the pond absolutely sure that he would be face down in the water. Rodney pulled up and saw us running around calling for Kyle. He shouted at Dad to go check the house one more time. I was still jelly-leggedly making my way towards the pond, praying to Jesus with all my might.

Please God, please God PLEASE GOD.

Before I made it all the way to the water's edge, Dad yelled from the house, "I found him!"

He had crawled into the dog house in the garage and was sleeping with Dexter, Mom and Dad's old Weimaraner. It took me hours to quit shaking.

Until today, that was absolutely the most frightened I've ever been in my life.

I was sitting at my desk and was on the phone when it happened.

A gunshot was fired in the house.

Kyle was the only person in the house with me and I immediately jumped up screaming.

KYLE! KYLE! KYLE!

It was the only words that were coming from my mouth. There was no immediate response and I knew I was about to witness the most horrible thing a mother can experience. My heart is aching and tears are welling up just writing this.

When he emerged from our bedroom, white as a sheet and frantically asking if I was ok, I embraced him so tightly and wept like a baby thanking Jesus over and over.

After about 5 minutes of clutching each other in panic and thanksgiving, I started to ask what in heavens name he was doing.

He said the gun "just went off". Why in the world he was messing with it in the first place is beyond me but he learned a valuable lesson without the cost of life. He was shaken to the point of physical sickness. My tummy ain't too happy either.

Here are the forensics.

The gun that was fired is the revolver which is always located in Rodney's closet in our bedroom.

When the gun went off it was facing the closet wall. Here is the first bullet hole.

Rodney's only "good" hat.

Bullet hole number 2 went right through the hat rack.

...and then through the wall behind the hat rack.

It came out of the closet wall in the bedroom.

Then it went across the bedroom, through the wall on the opposite side.

it then came out the living room wall and ricocheted off the ceiling.

and finally came to rest right above the front door. It is lodged in the header above the door.

This is the scary part.

I don't know a whole lot about trajectory and angles but this was a crazy close call. It is still not real to me yet.

Rodney came home not long after it happened and went over the events with Kyle. The story ended up being that he pulled the hammer back, it slipped and the gun fired. A long gun-safety lecture commenced while Kyle sat with tears streaming down his face, hands shaking and still pale-faced.

I don't know why this happened. You would think that a 17-year-old wouldn't have to be monitored like a toddler. My emotions are ranging from confusion, to heartache, to anger, to thankfulness. The name Jesus keeps coming from my lips. Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus! I'm sure I'll be processing this one for a while.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inspirational Faith

Please watch this very short video below. When your heart is nice and juicy and about to bleed, then carry on and read the rest of the blog.

video

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown

Faith came into my life by chance. Those kinds of circumstances never fail to remind me that I'm not in charge of my fate.

She is my living example of "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see". We happened to be driving home when she was crossing the road one day and stopped to pick her up. It didn't mean much to me then, just a simple gesture of kindness to help out a stray dog. But, when I think about it now, tears well up in my eyes and my heart stings. For, I've grown to love her, and even my affection towards her pales in comparison to her love for me.

I don't know if she is as happy as she looks, but that face wears a smile 24/7.

She has inspired me so much. Here are just a few reasons why

  • She cannot see. We've wondered if perhaps she can see shadows or something but, after some tests with shining lights in her face etc...she has no vision whatsoever. And, you would never know it.
  • She has to find the bottom step on the porch by reaching out her paws, but, oddly, knows when she's reached the top. This leads me to believe that the girl can count. 1-2-3-4-5...top!
  • When we go on walks, she stays on the road and runs ahead with the rest of my motley pet parade.
  • She knows where all the water holes are on our walk. Does she count steps here too? Or can she smell the water? Either way, it impresses the heck out of me.
  • Hours upon end, she plays with Emma. When the rest of us have had enough of her endless energy, Faith continues to allow that crazy boxer to chase her through the yard, lick her face, and chew on her neck, all the while, wearing that darling smile.
  • She has gotten off the path a few times on our walks and fallen way behind. And then, without fail, she catches up to us or finds her way home by herself.
  • She makes us laugh. It's just awful, however, because the laughter usually comes after she's run into somebody's leg or fallen off the deck or when she does that confused-head tilt when she's listening to our activities in the house. We're just hideous sometimes.
  • She reacts differently to different people. She knows us by our energy, not our outward appearance. This proves so many things to me...not the least of which that we are souls with bodies, not bodies with souls.
  • When I feed her in the mornings, I'm met with anticipation and excitement, not because I'm carrying a cup of food but because she knows she's about to get a shower of affection. She hungers more for this than anything I feed her.
It's almost more than I can stand sometimes when I watch her frolicking happily through the fields. My mind will, many times, wonder what her life would have looked like had we not stopped and picked her up that day. Frightened, alone, hungry, friendless, unwanted, unloved and abandoned. In the stark contrast of her life now with all the joy and happiness she radiates, I can't help but feel such gratitude.

Oh how it makes me appreciate my own salvation. What a pitiful state my life would be if I'd just been left by the side of the road in my dark pit of sin. Thankfully, somebody stopped and picked me up, and brought me home and loved me despite my afflictions.
Sometimes she sits for long periods of time and stares out at the world in which she cannot see with her eyes.

She knows it's there.

She can smell the air and the grass.

She can feel the breeze on her face, the sun warm on her back.

She can hear the birds and the footsteps of us around her.

She senses our presence and knows us, not by our appearance, but by our energy and scent.

She relies on us to sustain her life and knows from where her food, shelter and love comes.

I believe she can see in her dreams. She can see a world that we know not of. I believe that, in our own ability to see, sometimes we are blind to the bigger reality of life. I think our eyes sometimes fool us into thinking that what we see is what we get. We rely on what is in front of us and don't depend upon God for our existence.

Faith has been a beautiful motivator, a little light in my life. Everything happens for a reason. I'm sure she has many more lessons to teach me and I look forward to them all.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Following my heart

I've written before about my love of birds, the love of feeding them, identifying their kind, gazing upon their beauty and talking about them with friends (Hi Sherri!). Once I had a painted bunting eat from my feeder. It just so happened to show up when the battery in my camera was dead. But it really happened. I swear. It was so glorious an event that I got one of those chest tightening, heart-cramps. I tend to get those easily anyway but this one was big. Rodney happened to be here to witness it too. Not only did he see the amazingly colorful bird sweetly eating from the feeder, but he was also here to witness my come-to-Jesus, speaking-in-tongues, hallelujah, praise God, moment unfold before his very eyes. And, amazingly enough, he continues to live with me.

I was watching Oprah the other day. I've always been an Oprah fan but since she is beginning the countdown to her final show (only 24 left), I'm pretty diligent to watch every one. On Wednesday, her guest was Tom Shadyac. He is best known for directing Ace Ventura, Liar Liar, The Nutty Professor, and Bruce Almighty. Definitely my genre of movie. I'll not go into the whole thing, but he was speaking about his new documentary called "I AM" and the principles behind it. He was speaking about following your heart, not taking more than you need, and living in a cooperative community. I was really fascinated by the whole thing. I was also very happy to note that I am basically following all of these simple principles.

The show was still on and right at the point when they were discussing following your heart when I looked out my window and saw an unfamiliar bird.
I ran to find my camera (battery fully charged thank you very much) and zoom lens to snap some pictures. It was so odd that there was a conversation going on about following ones heart while I was snapping pictures of a bird. Photography is, without doubt, one of my hearts desires as is bird watching. God was just having a moment with me, reminding me of this. After I took the pictures, I got out my bird book (that thing is about worn out) and identified it as a blue grosbeak. If it had a little more of a crest on it's head, he'd look like a blue cardinal. I read every detail about him and was fascinated, not surprisingly, that he is only this color during mating season. He's been hanging out in my front yard, and frequenting my feeder. I believe his mate is hanging around too, although she is such a dull brown that she blends in with the cow birds. I'll not expound upon my dislike of those cowbirds other than they are squatters in the most literal sense.

All of this pondering my heart's desires got me to thinking about it's roots. Where did it all come from? I love to hear stories about my ancestors. Like how my great grandmother Green was very creative. I thought of her a lot when I was painting my kitchen cabinets bright red, wondering if she was looking down from heaven and admiring my work. My Dad's mother was a hoot and a half. She was a little Irish woman...and full of herself. Sometimes when my tongue outwits my brain, I pause and pay respects to her shrewd cleverness. This is the woman that, when faced with something fearful or upsetting, would say, "that makes my hiney want to suck a lemon!" And there was no explanation needed. I knew what she meant.

As for my love of all nature, I owe that to this woman.

I still remember so clearly pausing with her to admire every little flower hidden in the grass. There was one occasion I remember being in the back of the pick-up with her when Papaw pulled the truck over just so we could get out and pick wildflowers from the side of the road. There was something so authentically blissful about the way she touched their petals and asked me to look at what God had done. I don't believe that we ever passed up watching a sunset when I was staying with her on the farm. "God is an amazing artist" she would say. There was always a pair of binoculars hanging by the door so we could look out over the land, watch birds, and see what might be happening down at the pond. I keep a pair by my door now.

Remembering all of this also makes me aware of how much I'm missing because of the TV, computer and iPhone. My Papaw never was big on TV. When he and Mamaw were living in the "little house" in Gillham while building the "big house", there was no TV. I stayed a whole summer with them in that little house. It is probably one of the defining summers of my life and probably a big reason why I wanted to live on a farm so badly. When we (my brother and cousin, Jeremiah) would ask why there was no TV, Papaw would say, "look out the window. You don't need TV". And we didn't.

I like to follow my heart. I am thankful that God has allowed me to follow it almost exactly where I've wanted to go. And, I'm thankful for those who've inspired me to be who I am and who continue to encourage me to keep dreaming.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Turning 38

I called my mom on Wednesday in a panic, "how old am I going to be?!" You would think a person would know their age but I'm extremely right-brained (can't do simple arithmetic) and I have this short-term memory loss thing going on as well. I was just out filling the water bucket for the goats and my mind was wandering........

I was 19 when Taylor was born and she is 18 now. I thought the last digits of our age were supposed to be the same. She's 18 so am I 38 now? Am I going to be 39!!? I just posted on facebook that I was going to be 38! Did I just make a big fool of myself to all my friends? HOW OLD AM I??

This is when I called Mom.

How old am I going to be??

In her familiar Mom tone...

Well, lets see. You were born in 1973 and it's 2011. Do you have a calculator?

I actually got out the calculator...

2011-1973=38. Whew!

I breathe a sigh of relief after having just faced the idea of only having a year before I hit forty. Now I have 2!! Two whole years. And I wonder what my life will look like then.

Today, I received one of the best, most thoughtful gifts I think I've ever gotten. A couple years ago, my dad and I were helping my Uncle Larry build (well, rebuild) his house in Gillham. He and my Aunt Mary had recently retired and moved to Arkansas. As we worked on the construction site, I frequently used Larry's rake. It was old and worn but worked incredibly well. The end of the rake was very heavy steel, so when you were pulling it through the dirt/rocks/gravel there was no effort needed to dig into the soil, you simply had to drag it. I went on and on about how much I liked it and asked where he got it. It was one of those unusual finds like at a garage sale or something and he had never seen another one like it since. I was quite covetous of it and found every excuse to use it when I was there working. This is when I stop and wonder about myself.

We were at Larry's house not long ago for a wedding shower and afterwards, we visited. Larry and I started talking about chainsaws, (another tool I'm anxious to get) so we went to his shop to look at one of his chainsaws that he thought would be the right size for me. Oh, the things I could accomplish if I had me a chainsaw! Ain't no tellin what I could do. We went over every aspect of the thing and he even started it for me and made me really jealous. As we were exiting the shop, there, in a beckon of angelic-light was the rake. I went on and on about it again and how I really wished I could find one like it. Again, we went round and round about how one might find something like this. Perhaps I could just have one made?

Then today, I was in my bedroom finishing wrapping a present for Kyle when I heard the dogs bark. I glanced out the window and saw Larry coming up my front porch steps. I could only see a long wooden pole in his hand with a ribbon on it. Then it hit me. He got me a rake!! Rodney greeted him and Mary at the door and I followed behind with my entourage of excited dogs. (it gets crazy when people come to the door). Larry made it all the way to the kitchen before I could see what he had. The chaos of hugging, quieting dogs, and "where do you want me to put the potato salad" kept me from immediately seeing it. When things settled, I saw it. "Is this for me??" Duh, who's birthday party is this?

Not only did he get me the rake I wanted, he took his rake to a welder in DeQueen and had him make one exactly like it.

You can't even know how exciting this is. I can actually feel tears stinging my eyes. Seriously.

Tools are invaluable on a farm and when you find something that works and works well, it is a true gift, a blessing. This gift blessed me in ways I'm not sure I've even comprehending yet.
He even stamped my initials in the handle!! The thought, the time, the love and the care that went into this gift is more precious than the gift itself. I was literally jumping up and down.

My mom and dad got me a rake and a hoe too. The hoe started a whole conversation that had me giggling. My uncle Leland was talking about how valuable hoe's used to be (giggles) and that they used to make hoe's better than they are now (more giggles), in fact, the prison hoe's were the best ones, (burst out in a belly laugh).

I got a rosemary plant from my Aunt Sandy who started the plant from one of her own. We do this a lot in our family, root and share plants. It's always one of my favorite gifts. I rubbed my fingers all over it and felt euphoric as I breathed in the scent.
Sandy also made my birthday cake. Rave Review. It is almost the same thing as an Italian Cream Cake. I really don't know what the difference is but it is go oo ood. My grandmother has made me this cake for at least the last 20 something years. She is getting more feeble and a little more careless in the kitchen so we don't let her cook much anymore. It is kind of sad but it happens. The love of family and the support of each member to take up the slack where others are weakening is just the coolest thing.
I managed to snap one picture amidst the chaos of my birthday party. Sometimes I wish I'd just calm down a little bit and think about doing these vital things, like taking pictures. As I observed my one sad snapshot, I see a million things that amuse me. The syringes in the dish drain because I've been dealing with a sick goat. The two diet cokes on the bar which Larry always brings with him because I don't keep that poison in my house. Rodney, in a semi-coma from having been up all Thursday night/Friday morning selling chickens. The milk pail hanging above the sink. The deer head on the wall in the back. Dad pretending to look interested in what Larry is saying but thinking about Mom who is alone at home, still recovering from surgery. The bar being full of stuff again after I've cleaned it off a hundred times, just today. Mamaw's hand on the bar, probably telling somebody how to do something. The light from the lamps, 4 on just this wall and I still think I need more.

This is what my life looks like now. And now, having reassured myself that I've got a whole two years left before forty, I am content. I always look forward to that which is to come, but I make it my priority to live now. And right now, there is a place for me to lie down, next to my snoring comatose husband. It is my favorite place to be.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Patrick

God gave me a heart for the dog. He gave me a love for all animals but somehow, my heart is geared toward the canine among us. I've known this about myself for probably my whole life. There were seasons that I believed that this affinity was somehow frivolous, that there were better things to do with my time and love than to shower it upon my pet dogs. Don't get me wrong, I love the upright, two-legged people as well especially the ones who live in my house.

Who does God want me to be and what is my assignment here on earth? I can't tell you how many times I've asked myself that. There have been times when I've known absolutely, without doubt of my mission. God gave me two children in the span of 18 months. I think my task was clear here. Girlfriend had a job to do, yes indeed. He moved me to a farm with my husband over a decade ago...girlfriend had more work to do. But, what about my "special purpose"? Surely I wasn't sent to this planet to make sure everybody has clean socks and underwear.

Since I'm very rapidly reaching middle age, I've been soul-searching. Not that it is any shock, I've always been a seeker, a question asker. But lately I've been coming to some actual conclusions about myself. I really don't think God would have given me such compassion and deep abiding affection of animals if I wasn't meant to somehow use it. I don't believe that I'm to ditch my family and go live with the wolves or throw myself into a 24 hour a day volunteer schedule at the Humane society. God simply calls me to move...He also calls me to write. So here is my latest entry in the God-driven gift of rambling on about my thoughts, and rambling on about dogs. A very special one, in particular.

This is Patrick...

Some of you may have already heard his story. If not, I will briefly fill you in. Patrick was found on March 16th in a garbage bag. He had been tossed down the garbage shoot of the apartment building in Newark where his owners lived. By all appearances, he hadn't been fed for months and when the starvation had all but consumed him, he was thrown away and left to die. A maintenance worker, who was emptying the garbage shoot, saw the trash bag that Patrick was in move and opened it up to find the poor lifeless little guy barely alive.

The following picture is disturbing. The first time I saw it I couldn't believe that this was an animal that was even alive. This is Patrick, on March 16th 2011.

Oh, the emotions that flooded me when I first saw this. I immediately went to the place of condemnation of whoever was responsible for such torment. Why? Why in the world would anything like this ever happen? Who could do such a thing?

I've been reading a lot of comments that folks have been leaving on Patrick's now very popular facebook page. Most people, well all people, are angry about what happened. There are petitions being signed to make sure that the responsible party receives the maximum penalty and they are even seeking new laws that would further penalize the tormenter.

It has been weighing heavily on my mind. I've been to the place of "they should lock them up and starve those people to the point that he was starved". Then I quietly hear the voice of my savior whisper, "judge not". I've never been quite so tempted to argue with God. Judge not?? Did you see that poor dog?

So, I'm asked to take another road. The judge not road...

There is a righteous judgement, I've heard this a million times from my mother. I began to think what a righteous judgement would be in a case like this.
This is the woman accused of the neglect and torment of Patrick. I won't divulge her name but you can google it if you'd like. She's all over the internet about this hot-topic case.

I've heard this saying before and it was recently brought back to my attention, "hurt people, hurt people". My heart began to bleed as I wondered what kind of hurt would have to happen to a person to make them so neglectful to an innocent creature. What kind of hurt?

Then as I thought about the judgement that has quickly come down on this woman, I started to think what I would do if I were the judge and jury. Like I said, my first reaction would have been to tie her up and let her starve. But the Holy Spirit never lets me stay in a place like that long.

This would be my sentencing. She would be assigned to work at a shelter for dogs. Daily she would feed them, clean their cages, administer medications, walk them, play with them, make sure they were warm, and clean up after them. She would be made to organize fundraisers to raise money to buy food to feed the homeless dogs. It would be up to her to find the means to feed every dog in the shelter. Sure, there would have to be guidance from those who know how to do such things, but it would ultimately be her who would be responsible for feeding them. I would also require that she sit long hours with the animals that were sick, the ones that need the most attention, like Patrick. Sometimes, people simply have never experienced the fulfillment of properly caring for another living thing. They only know abuse and neglect so that's what they do. We should pray for the people that only know neglect. We should try and find some compassion even when our nature tells us to point fingers.

I've read a lot about animal assisted therapy. There is a children's home that our church supports that assigns the children regular chores involving animals. They are given responsibility to care for them and, in turn, experience that joy and peace that comes with a job well done and the reward of an animal that loves them unconditionally. You can't get better therapy than that.

God gave us the animals. They were provided by an almighty being to give us food, clothes, companionship, and love. They have much to teach us. We have much to learn.

Patrick is a miracle. There is a reason for everything, I know this well. He was saved for a reason, if for nothing more than to give us all hope and to teach us all about compassion. Let not the lesson be about vengeance, but about humanity. God bless us all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Green Thumb?

I am still planning on blogging about why Martha is a necessity in my life, this is just a sliver of it.

I usually don't have time to watch Martha everyday, but when I do get some T.V. time, she is one of my first choices. For a while I've been quite covetous of a maiden-hair fern that sits atop her counter in her "kitchen". There are actually a few of these whimsical plants peppered about the set and I admire them greatly. It wasn't until a show about a couple of months ago when she had a segment on ferns that I even knew what the name of the plant was. See? It's important to know these things, thus important to have an ever-ready supply of Martha Stewart stored in the DVR.

Here is a shot (background) of one of the larger ones on the set.

Martha frequently features these guys too, Sharky and Francesca. And, yes, I am covetous of them as well.

About mid-February, some of us girls were out shopping for a birthday gift for a family member. One of our stops was a local garden nursery. I had been in the market for a maiden hair fern for a little bit, even shopping online where it was more expensive to have them shipped than the plant cost. So, while we were wandering about the nursery, I asked one of the staff workers if they had any maiden-hair ferns for sale. She said she thought so and took me to another part of the nursery, into a lovely greenhouse. We walked all the way to the back and there in the corner, sad and alone was the most pitiful little fern I'd ever seen.

I was hoping to find one that looked exactly like Martha's and bring it home to display it oh-so proudly. But, this was just sad. Now I was compelled to bring it home like a stray dog. It almost said to me, "please take me home and love me." So, I did. In fact, there were two of these pitiful things and, not wanting to leave either behind, I asked if I could have a bit of a discount since they were so scrawny and sad. She agreed to discount them and I gathered them up, paid for them and brought them home.

This is what they looked like when I got them home. Remember, there were two and they both looked exactly like this.

I did some trimming of old spindly stems and then transplanted both of them into one large pot. After doing some research, I found that they like indirect sun and that a bathroom was one of the better rooms for them because they would receive periodic humidity. There happened to be a perfect spot in my bathroom near my tub to keep it while it recuperated and grew from it's sad state.

I've been known to kill even the easiest to care for plants. I neglect them because I forget about them. Then I try to revive them with so much force, they just give up and die. The last few years, I've slowly been adding a few plants to my house. They are good to keep the air clean and really brighten up the house. Amazingly enough, I've done a really good job of keeping all of them happy and thriving. Maybe it just comes with age, or maybe I just have more time on my hands now. Or maybe God is slowly releasing me from my attention deficit prison. Whatever the reason, I'm very much loving having a few beautiful plants to grace my home and to love and care for.

And, I think this one is my favorite!

In just 6 weeks, look what has become of it! I can hardly wait to see what this things is going to do. And, I am pretty sure I need to find another one to keep in company.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Turmeric

I'm all about alternatives. If something doesn't work, there has to be another way. Plan "B" is always waiting in the wings where I'm concerned, as are C, D, E, F, and G. This is what is called, by some, "unrealistic optimism". If at first you don't succeed, try try again. While some people are tempted to quit after the first failure, I usually see it as a lesson in what not to do. Life is one big learning experience, if you let it.

I have moments of defeat. I get tired and weary. Sometimes things feel hopeless. But usually it doesn't last long and then I'm back up and trying my best to conquer the obstacles in my path.

One of my most recent obstacles is pain. Pain in my joints. My family, on my moms side, is riddled with terrible arthritis. Now that I'm bumping 40 and have been working on a farm for over a decade, my body is beginning to feel the sting of it. I've been taking NSAID's for a couple years now and really haven't been amazed at the results. I guess I thought I was going to take a little pill and immediately be pain-free. So, my plan "B" mentality has been kicking in.

Recently on the Martha Stewart Show (I must blog soon about why Martha is a necessary staple in my life), the theme was India. They spoke of Indian cuisine and culture and I was quite intrigued. Martha's niece, Sophie, had recently been to India and brought back a drink recipe that she shared. She explained that her mother had been drinking it for several months and that her arthritic joint pain had been greatly diminished.

So, yesterday, I got the very simple ingredients and have now begun a new ritual to be added to my arthritis management. This is not just for arthritis pain but is supposed to be soothing for many ailments and even help you sleep better.

Here is the recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups milk, almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, or rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ground or freshly grated ginger, or saffron
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • This recipe serves two.


    Place the honey in a cup (a pretty one that is heat resistant)


    I found the turmeric and ginger at a health-food store in Texarkana where I bumped into one of my favorite earth travelers. Hi Sherri!! I almost bought organic cinnamon there as well but knew I had an almost full-bottle at home that I needed to use first.


    Heat the milk (not surprisingly, I used goats milk) over medium heat and add your spices.


    The turmeric is an amazing color.


    Preferably, stir with a whisk to incorporate the spices well into the milk. I just happen to have the perfect little whisk given to me by my dear friend, Rosemary Payne. I think she thought she was being funny because it has a chicken on it but it has proven to be quite the handy kitchen utensil.

    When the milk is warmed, poor it in the cup over the honey and stir.

    Then you have a lovely cup of soothing, magical milk. I like the taste of it quite a bit. It is definitely different but I enjoy different.

    The thing is, it can take months of consumption before you begin to see the benefits of it.
    You can read here for a little more info on the benefits of turmeric.

    This is just one little element in the regimen I have prescribed myself in managing my pain. The other paradox of this dreadful affliction is that you must move. The pain causes your brain to say, "well that really hurts to move so lets sink down into the big leather chair and be still ok?" But then the pain only gets worse. When you exercise the pain is greatly diminished. It is a mind-over-matter thing. So, now I've got to pick my aching body up off this big leather chair and move. And move. And then move some more. And then pray that the promise of relief from this new therapy actually helps.


    Monday, March 21, 2011

    The Thing

    So, this is the thing.

    Here's the thing.

    The thing is this.

    then, then...the thing is...

    I've been busy and not blogging.

    Whew, glad I got that off my chest.

    Seriously, life has just been consuming, but who's isn't, right? I really didn't even know whether or not to blog here or on the Freedom Journey page, but I've got other things to write about there. Sometimes I think that nobody even misses my silly little ramblings, then when I see people in town (when I actually step off the farm) they ask, "what happened to your blog? Why haven't you been writing?" and so on. Then I almost feel like I NEED to do it out of my uncontrollable desire to please people and then I forget why the heck I started blogging in the first place.

    Spring time has come to the farm. Oh how it gives me joy in the depths of my soul. Winter, even with all its majesty and glory, hurts me. The cold hurts, the blah hurts, the cabin fever hurts, my knees hurt and, well, you get it. The last really cold day was just a few weeks ago and I thought it was going to kill me. Just the trip to the goat pen and back in the blustery, cold, damp wind was almost enough to make me break down into a tearful fit. But I didn't, not really. Then, in a heartbeat, spring.

    It happens every year and I still can hardly take it all in. A miracle. I've never denied my ability to be easily mesmerized by the tiniest things, but spring, the whole earth is one big distraction of amusement. The big thing is that baby goats have been springing forth like rabbits. Five were born within 48 hours of each other, then two more a week later, and we are waiting on the final doe to kid anytime now. Seven babies in all and only two of them are girls. Oh well, its two more than I had last year. We are hoping that the babies yet to be born will be girls but I really don't have any control over it. Every other goat person I've talked to says that they are having mainly boys as well. Curious.

    I've dealt with my first case of mastitis this year. This is when the mother goat gets lumps in her udder, clumps in the milk and other not-nice things. If left untreated, it can quickly escalate into an infection that can cause the udder to get gangrene and they can even rot right off. I've spoken with vets, friends, other farmers (the best source of information) and am very happy to say that she is quickly getting better. Although, since I had to give her 5 days worth of penicillin injections and vigorous udder massages, she now hauls ass when she sees me coming. I must admit, this hurts my feelings a bit. She and I used to have such a glorious relationship. I explained that it was for her own good. She listened and considered the facts but refuses to forgive me just yet.

    Spring has also brought with it a million projects. All of them are about 1/3 of the way started and nothing even close to being finished. My attention deficit brain is in complete turmoil. Since I'm supposed to attempt to have an organized schedule, a hundred unfinished projects is a battle, a big one. One thing that I've adapted into my life now is timing myself. It works, by Joe, it really works. I downloaded a "timer" app for my iPhone and have been giving myself a time limit to do certain tasks. Clean the kitchen, 15 minutes. Scrub the toilets, 10 minutes...and so on. It becomes a sort-of game and keeps me on task.

    Usually, things go like this. Begin loading the dishwasher, look outside and think, "oh I need to go water those plants". Go outside and start watering plants. Boots get muddy so I rinse them off. Start to roll up the water hose and it gets stuck out in the yard on a rock. Go move the rock. Come in the house, load a couple more dishes. Dryer goes off, go fold clothes. Begin to put clothes away. Go in the bedroom to put clothes up. Emma comes in, jumps on the bed...play with Emma. Go to the bathroom, gather up some more dirty clothes. Walk through the kitchen with dirty clothes in hand, see that I've not made a dent in the dishes. Throw the clothes in the utility room floor, begin loading dishes again. It's exhausting just thinking about it. BUT....giving myself a time limit somehow becomes a game. The alarm is going to go off any minute...hurry hurry get the kitchen clean. That way, all the other distractions suddenly become a hinderance to me beating the clock and I stay on-task. It's a bit insane but it seems to work.

    I haven't yet given myself a time limit for blogging or set aside a time to do so. And I sit here with a million things to do and am not accomplishing a darn thing. It does feel good to sit and write. I've missed it and shall henceforth attempt to be somewhat more diligent in doing so.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Being Oblivious


    There are so many things I could say about this picture.

    For a few weeks now, I've been bottle feeding a little orphan calf. His name is Damit. I have bottle fed many an orphan in my life and he is, by far, the most irritating but also the most hilarious and fun. He doesn't seem to mind the fact that he gets on everybody's nerves. Even the goats have taken to sleeping right outside the pen, while Damit has run of the whole thing. When the weather dipped down in the teens, they were all forced to bunk together. The goats didn't like it. Damit did.

    Until this morning, Damit would stay behind as the goats headed out to graze. He decided to go along today and I really don't think I could have been more amused by the whole thing. He scampers and kicks almost like a baby goat would. This causes the goats to dart away from him and act as if they are far superior beings. They turn up their noses and prance off. In my head they have british accents and say things like, "how rude" and "well, I never". Poor Damit doesn't even know he is being snubbed, he just follows along enthusiastically. Being oblivious has it's good points. When you're oblivious, you can be in the middle of the ugliest of situations and wear a smile. Ignorance is bliss, yes indeed.

    You can also see the third species in the herd, the cat. There are two of these calico girls and, most of the time, they hang with the goats. For whatever reason, they've been accepted into the herd and are tolerated well by those silly old goats.

    The dynamic between multiple species in a group is not only amusing, but inspiring. If the beasts of the field can live together in harmony, even when they don't like each other much...it amazes me that well-educated, civilized human beings are still fighting with each other over silly things like the color of our skin. I hear the voice of Rodney King in my head at times, "can we all just get along?" It's such a simple question with such a simple, yet complex answer. Let's all be nice, shall we? Let's think of the needs of others before we consider our own selves. Why don't we all become a little more oblivious and childlike and quit trying to always be RIGHT. Can't we stop and help a neighbor, give somebody a ride, say a prayer for an enemy. I used to call myself "color blind" when it came to racism. People are people and we are all God's children. But then I decided that I didn't want to be color blind, I want to be "color BLESSED". I'm thankful that God made a variety of people. We are all so diverse and there is a reason for that. Thank goodness we aren't all red-headed, freckled faced farmers.

    I read something in my new study bible. It was a list of the people that Jesus touched, talked to or interacted with...and here it is.

    A despised tax collector
    An insane hermit
    The Roman governor
    A young boy
    A prominent religious leader
    A homemaker
    An expert in the law
    A criminal
    A synagogue ruler
    Fisherman
    A king
    A poor widow
    A Roman centurion
    A group of children
    A prophet
    An adulterous woman
    The Jewish High council
    A sick woman
    A rich man
    A blind beggar
    Jewish political leaders
    A group of women
    The high priest
    An outcast with leprosy
    A royal official
    A young girl
    A traitor
    A helpless and paralyzed man
    An angry mob of soldiers and police
    A woman from a foreign land
    A doubting follower
    An enemy who hated him
    A Samaritan woman

    We are supposed to, as Christians imitate Christ. No person was is off limits to the love of Christ. So, we too, should love without boundaries.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Faith's rescue

    I posted this on my Freedom blog but thought I'd post it here too.

    I have never been superstitious about the number 13. Its a number. Today, however, I think I'll associate it with good luck, not bad.


    We started off the day fairly normal. The kids left for school, Rodney and I had our coffee and breakfast together, the dogs went outside, and we started getting ourselves ready for the day. It was only 14 degrees when we woke up so we were bundling up extra tight before we headed out.

    I went out to feed the little orphan calf, who, by the way, I've decided to name Damit. (I know I spelled it wrong but this way it isn't actually cursing). The reason I've named him this is because I was constantly going, "Damit, stop it! Get your head out of my butt, Damit. Damit, that hurt!" and so on.

    So, back to my story. I was doing my chores... emptying the huge block of ice from the goat water bucket so that I could fill it with fresh, unfrozen water, giving the bunny feed and water, trying to make Damit eat some sweet feed instead of just milk by shoving it in his mouth, "Here Damit, eat this".

    I noticed only Sophie and Charlotte were with me so I started calling Emma. It was only a couple minutes and she came bounding through the yard. It occurred to me that Faith was not with her but this isn't too unusual, it generally takes her a few more minutes to get home from wherever the heck they go, so I just kept right on about my business.

    Since I was already bundled up, I decided to make the most of the morning and take my camera out to shoot some pictures. This is when the plot thickens.

    I was going to go out in the woods. My mind had been made up that I wanted to hike through the trees before all the snow was gone. But, a little voice said, "you'll have to go through the goat pen to get out there and Damit will follow you the whole way and it's not going to be fun. So I made the very conscious choice to walk across the pond dam.

    Sophie, Charlotte, Emma and I headed out. They are always so excited to go anywhere, even if it's just to the mailbox.


    The pond was frozen over. I thought maybe I'd see some ducks to take pictures of but there were none. I threw some rocks out onto the ice, it makes the coolest sound when it hits and I wanted to see just how thick the ice was. Emma started eyeballing the rocks I was throwing as if she might be contemplating fetching them so I figured I'd better stop or she might just go out there.


    We walked a little further, my mind on a million things when I spotted Emma out on the ice. "Emma, come back! Don't go out there!" I started to freak a little because Emma is not one for listening. "Momma has a cookie Emma!"

    This is how well she listens.

    Then it dawned on me she was headed towards something. I couldn't make it out. At first I thought, "oh no, a duck is frozen to the water or something". So I used the lens on my camera to zoom in and see what it was.


    The picture is blurred because as soon as I realized what it was, I went into rescue mode. Faith had fallen through the ice. She was barely above the water could not get a grasp on anything to get herself out.

    I don't know if I've ever blogged about my inability to handle emergency situations or not but, I'm telling you right now...it hasn't gotten any better with age. My brain went to another place and my body went with it. I started running, no particular direction, just running. I started to rationalize that I was panicking and trying to calm myself so I could think of what to do.

    Call Rodney, Call Rodney. It took me what seemed like an eternity to figure out how to even make a call but I finally got him on the phone. "Faith, gasp gasp, is in the pond!!" He said, "I'm coming!"

    He was just down the road in the tractor so I knew he would be there quickly. Then I thought, "Call 911, Call 911". I really had no idea at this point how we were going to get her out. The 911 operator took my frantic call and said somebody was on their way.

    Then it dawned on me, finally, "we need the boat, we need the boat!"

    I called Mom and Dad and took a few years off of their lives. My voice in a frenzied pitch, "Faith fell through the ice! We need the boat we need the boat!!"

    She was barely hanging on. I kept saying her name, screaming her name, telling her not to give up. At one point I contemplated going in after her but that same little voice that sent me to the pond, said "don't you dare!"

    Mom and Dad showed up in the Yukon and Rodney showed up with the boat on the tractor (he handles these things much better than me). He and Dad put the boat in the pond and then Dad pushed Rodney out onto the ice. We had no ore, so Rodney used a piece of metal that he plunged in the ice and dragged himself and the boat to where she was and pulled her out.


    Once he had her in the boat, he couldn't pull himself the rest of the way to shore because of the thickness of the ice. By this time the rescue workers had arrived and had a rope that they used to pull to boat to shore.

    We wrapped her in my coat, loaded her in the Yukon and brought her home. I called my vet to find out the best way to warm her. They told me to put her in a luke warm bath then get her dry and gradually warm her up. At first it seemed perilous. She was ridged and shivering, unable to even keep her head out of the bath water. I had to make smart decisions to keep her from going into shock (although she might already have been) and get her body temperature back up.

    Once I got her somewhat dry, I wrapped her in a towel and blanket and sat and held her closely. We rocked in the rocking chair and I assured her that everything would be fine. She shivered for a very long time but I had learned from searching google that this was actually a good thing. When the shivering quieted a bit, I laid her on the couch with a heating pad. This is when I took her temperature. It was only 93〫. I got a little more aggressive with the warming until she was back up to normal temp.


    Once she was warm through and through, I gave her a little something to eat and let her have a nice long nap in front of the fireplace.

    I'm gonna start listening a whole lot more closely to that little voice. For some reason it seems for me to want to keep Faith around, that's for sure. I've always said that things happen in threes. This should be number three. I rescued her from being abandoned. I rescued her from the well. Now, I've rescued her from the frozen pond.

    Thank you to my husband and my parents that jumped to her aid. And thanks to the rescue workers for their efficiency and speed in getting here... all for the life of a little, blind dog.