Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chickens 101

We got chickens.
I've wanted chickens for close to a decade. And then out of the blue my friend sent me a text and said... "I've got 9 laying hens for you if you want them".
And after we stressed for a few days about where the chickens would sleep (the camper seemed like an idea although not an exceptional one, but the only thing we had available).
So Jason, being the builder of all things, started dreaming up ideas for this coop.
Within 24 hours he started building a house for our chickens.
After some late nights and stressful moments of trying to get the Residence Inn ready he produced a pretty sweet looking coop.
Making the Mrs. happy.

Since their arrival we have been watching their peculiar ways.
I've never been around chickens before and they fascinate me tremendously!
Like the fact that the first night they all slept under the stars while their new Straw filled  home sat empty because they were too afraid to go up inside. (it was late and we were tired so we just let them stay in the pen. ((Stupid Chickens))
Or the fact that there is a bully in the bunch who makes all the chickens do what she says or she pecks them until they bleed. And the word "Henpecked" all of a sudden made more sense.

Today the Coop builder and I were talking about how this cluster of hens is so much like other social groups.  For Starters,
1. People that are in confined spaces for any length of time can start peckin' at each other. Maybe because they're the group bully or maybe they are just bored and need something to do. Perhaps they see the person beside them as an easy target, So they pick at the weaker one until at times they wound them and draw blood.
2. Competition exists among hens just like humans. It's called the "pecking order". Who goes up the ramp first. Who gets the best roosting spot. Who gets to eat first.. At times 2 fight for the position with the show of  flapping of feathers and squawking until one has declared herself the winner. Without fail there are always  2 left outside the coop alone wondering around. Poor Agnes and Gerty!
3. Chickens are really fearful. That's all I need to say about that.
4. We have been told that the happier chickens are the more eggs they produce. Which again is not unlike us. We produce best when we are in jobs and ministries and homes where there is peace, love  joy and encouragement. (Along with plenty of food):)

Who knew We could find so many parallels between us and chickens?

It's a little more than sobering that far too often we, like chickens, spend time being negative and picking on each other, sometimes until the person beside us is bleeding, yet we keep peckin', peckin', peckin'. How about we  give it a rest.
While it's easy for us to remember that we are on a journey that isn't complete, let's not forget that the one traveling beside us is on his own journey and may need encouragement more than an ongoing peck on the neck.

Or maybe we like to be the bully hen who lets the other hens know we are the most important one, pushing others out of our way in our zeal to climb our way to the top. Making sure we are taken care of with no thought of others around us.
How about we intentionally begin to look to the weak ones. The children, the Elderly, the ones with no voice. The loner who stands in the corner and needs a smile or a hand to lift them. The stranger who needs a friend.

Perhaps we are filled with fear, even when we don't need to be. We think everyone is out to hurt us or we run away from anyone we fear could wrong us, because we've already decided in our mind they can not be trusted and will eventually hurt us.
Maybe we could reach out when we feel like pulling away. Giving love instead of hiding. A spirit of adventure and Whimsy that makes life full of flavor and excitement seems like a better way to live out our days than one that is tied up with imaging the "what if's" and "I cant's.

Chickens seem pretty dumb.

I don't want to be like the chicken.
Afraid. Mean Spirited. Small brained. Cowardly. Squawky. Smelly. Peckin'.

I bet you don't either.
I think I'm going to stick to just liking them for their eggs and maybe try to be a little more intentional about not following their bad habits and chicken behavior.

And now you have my  chickenology for today.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Everything is not always as it seems

I love this time of year.
I love opening up the windows and letting the breeze join us on the inside.
 I love the  blooming trees and flowers and how The sun is warming up the dirt and I am plowing through it like a child in a sandbox.
The smell of freshly cut hay and grass sends me to another time and place when I was just a girl.

I was never a farm girl but I did grow up on a country road without a television, Ipad or Smart Phone, so the great outdoors always has been my friend and I have never outgrown it.

Digging in the dirt is like therapy to me. My creative juices start to flow and I have all kinds of ideas about where I want to move that now overgrown perennial or how I could make gardening seem like fun even in July when it's hot, hard work.
So you would think by now I would have gardening things figured out. I ask a lot of questions to other gardeners and have picked up tips though the years but I still have a lot to learn.

Last year I bought a small azalea bush. I was so excited to get it in the ground and watch it grow.
But this spring while everything else was greening up around that bush, there was no sign of azalea life happening.
I have been eyeing it daily for about a month and decided last weekend to start wrapping my mind around the fact that I was going to have to dig it up and replace it. Stink.
It not only had cost me money but I had high hopes for that little bush.
I had strategically placed it so the beautiful blooms would be seen up front and center.
I was inwardly grieving my little bush.

And then this morning as I was working out in my flower bed I looked over and saw this.

That's right tiny green buds are peeking though.
There is hope for this little budding bush after all!!

Everything was not as it seemed.
I thought it was dead. From every appearance it was showing me death... but underneath there was life!
Things were happening even though I couldn't see it.

God used that little bush to remind me of this...

You can still Hope When all looks Hopeless.

Just like my dead looking bush sometimes we view our situation to be hopeless, lost, dead, over.
We may wonder what's the point of hope, or prayer, or optimism.
It may even take us down a road of cynicism, anxiety or depression.

The temptation I often have is to sweep it away or try to fix the problem, then we can all hold hands and sing "Kumbaya"!
 But the older I get the more I realize there are tons of things that I can never fix. And sweeping it away often makes me miss the opportunities for deep growth in the pain.(recognizing my issues is at least a start right?)

Whether it's the death of a dream, a relationship or a vision, sometimes we are ready to just cut our losses and move on but in our haste to get past the dead or the pain we remove the bush too quickly instead of waiting for the healing and new growth that can take place inside.

We forget that in the waiting God is doing something underneath. 
A greater work that no one may be able to see and perhaps we may not even recognize is happening until all of a sudden one day we wake up and we see some green shoots springing forth.

My hope for you and I as we travel this road is that we can truly learn to trust and wait on the one who gives hope to the hopeless, strength to the weary, sight to the blind, healing for the broken, and new life to the dead.

Today Maybe you need this reminder along with me,

I will Keep waiting in eager expectation, continuing to hope and pray for that day when life will shoot forth from the dead, The old will pass away and a new day will come.