Stories from the Homestead: Disappointments and Failures

Disappointments. Failures. I hate those two words, and coupled together, they just send my senses to an absolute unmatched level of frustration. In any area of my life, I don’t handle any of these things very graciously. I let the very essence of them creep into my attitude and my thoughts.

Lately, there have been disappointments and failures here on the homestead.

I will begin with the most time-honored failure of mine…my chickens. I love having chickens. I love that my hens are all finally laying. I love having fresh eggs. I love having an abundance of eggs to share with family and friends. I hate when I fail to keep the wiliest of coyotes from picking them off for his breakfast every three days. I have been humbled in more ways than one by this nefarious creature. His latest exploits have had me running through my yard (barefoot) in my pajamas and through the cold rain, all while trying to figure out how I jammed the gun I intended to use to be rid of this nuisance once and for all. I am sure the neighbors shook their heads in shame and pity over the spectacle I made of myself. If you are keeping count with me, the total number for what has been stolen from me is: 2 roosters and 1 hen over the course of the last two weeks. 20 hens over the last year. He is about to send me into the crazy house.

If that were not enough failure and disappointment for one person…

I garden every year. As in, I plant vegetable plants in the dirt every year and try to remember to water them daily in hopes of receiving some yummy and healthy food for me and my family. Well this year, I felt especially valiant in my efforts in that I decided to start my plants from seed. I was nervous at first, but then I saw little seedlings sprout. I saw these sprouts push through little pods of dirt and gloriously declared their existence. They were in such anticipation for the moment of their transfer to The Garden.

See exhibit A:

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Oh, but friends, as the green-thumb cultivates life so does the black-thumb bring death. One day my plants are alive and well; they are the very essence of hope and life. Then in the next day, while in the care of my incapable hands, they are the very essence of despair and death.

See exhibit B:

 

 

It is pitiful, really. The money I spent to start my plants from seeds (you know, so I could try and save some money), has been wasted. I may as well have just burned it up…apparently like I did to my plants.

Yes, I moped and I let agitation fester in my heart because of these situations. I may have said things I did not mean. I may have considered moving because I did not want to deal with the coyote.

But, I press on. I will not let that coyote stop me from enjoying my chickens, even if that means I have to work harder to try and protect them. Soon, I will walk through those garden gates of my local nursery with my head held high as I pick out the vegetable plants for my garden I am so wanting to cultivate and grow. I will enjoy my little homestead and all that comes with it.

 

Stories from the Homestead: The Hope of Spring

The tiniest blades of green pushing through winterized soil, what a beautiful thing. Soil so hard and worn from winter’s wind beating down upon it, is now the soil from which the new begins to grow. Every time I walk outside and see the specks of green, I am reminded of the hope of spring. It is coming.

“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

The hope of spring is fully appreciated by one who has experienced the effects of winter. It is in the understanding that winter has its rightful place, a season to be still; Winter is a season to rest in while knowing there will be a coming spring. So, in appreciation for experiencing the still and sometimes difficulty season of winter, one can also revel in the glorious new that points to spring’s arrival.

While winter has been more kind than usual to us this year, we are still aching for the fullness of spring. We are ready for the splashes of color, we are ready for digging hands in warm and soft soil, we are ready for the arrival of chirping little chicks, we are ready for breathing in the inexplicable aroma that is the sweetness of spring. The winds of change are beginning their shift, spring is coming.

We have, excitedly, begun to prepare for the new season.
   

A week later….


While we are beginning our preparations for the new season, I am reminded of my Living Hope. As I watch whatever may have seemed dead in the winter, now begin to take life in the spring – I am reminded of the One who death has no hold on. With every new blade of green, I am reminded of He who makes all things new. In the onset of this changing of seasons, I am reminded of the One who takes what was once dead and into it breathes life eternal. He is the spring for the winter seasons of our lives and we can hold fast to the hope of who He is.

Stories from the Homestead: Just Breathe

This last week has brought an unfolding within the global community. There is confusion, mixed feelings, strong feelings, love, hate, passion and apathy. It is overwhelming and difficult to take it all in. This, cupped with the struggles and problems of every day life, can leave a person feeling suffocated as we breathe in all the smog of life.

Then, through the smog that chokes and stifles, He whispers “I’m still good”.

The world is swirling. I stop and I look around. I’m gasping for any untainted air that is left.

Here in the middle of a November month, the unexpected grows.

Beautiful shades of not-quite-ready green  to ready-to-be-plucked red.

A rain kissed rose in full bloom.

I think, do they not know they are supposed to be dormant? In this month where fullness of life tucks itself away until the warmth of spring – here I witness the few hanging on…the beauty of living holding on. I am reminded of His gifts. I inhale and in that moment air is clean and crisp.

Another day passes.

There they are – little prints in once soft padded dirt. A reminder of a little one’s free spirit roaming freely and curiously as she breathes in life fully. 
I inhale a little deeper from air that is good.

I can smile; I can laugh.

Little mouths nibble. Little pointed feet remain still long enough to fill belly. Momma goat grunts her impatience at little ones who get in her way.

Wet-milk kisses and nibbling on ears are just fine when coming from one’s favorite.
Another inhale.

I am reminded – His goodness, it is unfolding all around. His gifts are spread wide, lying in anticipation and waiting to be found. These are the moments where my anguished and fear-stricken mind can find reprieve. These are the moments that belong to Him.

When the madness of the world weighs heavy and thick, I breathe Him in.

When the moments of life that constrict and crumble, I breathe Him in.

I breathe Him in.

 

It is then that the choking stops. It is then that the smog is blown away. It is then that I can exhale back into the world His goodness, grace and mercy.

Is that not what we are to do? Those of us who have breathed Him in and felt Him course through our veins, are we not to then breathe Him out into the miasma of brokenness and hate? Not to turn away from and ignore the cause, but yet not to be consumed by it either. What we breathe in, is what we breathe out.

The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7

He is good. He is good. He is good.

So today, as I scroll through the many social media outlets and see the bombardment of discouragement and hate and as I feel anxious and worried for things near and far…I will remember – I am His and He is mine. So today, I will just breathe.