Family PIc April 2015

Family PIc April 2015

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Thief Comes - Part 2

After almost 2 weeks of having diligently sought to capture the illusive thief that was entering our chicken pen each evening (and losing still more chickens)...we finally have some answers.

(read the first part of the story here)

The live traps that we had set up all week were, frankly, NOT working.  We even positioned one of the traps so that the incoming critter would go through it's existing hole that it had dug and go straight into the trap.

Somehow, the culprit managed to trip the trap, then squeeze itself between the wall of the coop and the trap, kill a chicken, and drag it's victim back through the hole. (Sigh.)

Yesterday evening, our family was a little preoccupied with other obligations and activities, and we forgot to enclose our chickens into the relative safety of their wooden coop, as has become our custom over the last 2 weeks. (This actually turned out to be a blessing...) 

So,  Gregg went out around 10:45pm to check on our 14 remaining hens, and found that the thief had already come again...

And gotten another chicken!!  Down to 13 - urgghhh!

Gregg noticed the dead chicken at the base of a tree just outside the fence and heard something in the trees overhead. 

I think - just maybe - a primeval mood came over my dear husband as he called for a flashlight and his Remington 1100 shotgun. 

Without baring all the not-so-nice details, let's just say that my hubby has a pretty accurate shot, and 2 raccoons fell to the ground last night.  There was a also a third coon, but we were unable to find it, and we aren't sure it was endangered - but we hope so.

We will keep the traps and our guard up just in case.

I must admit, that it has been quite a relief to begin to have some closure to this saga.  I have been amazed at the persistence of these raccoons.

"They have eaten well," Gregg said.  And, then he thinned his lips and quoted Luke 11:21 -

"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed;"

Disclaimer:  If you read Luke 11, you will find that this scripture, taken within it's context, means something quite different.  So, Gregg and I had a little laugh about it and talked a little about what Christ really meant as He was referring to Satan's demons being cast from those who are possessed.

I was thinking maybe it applied more than we thought...for I was thinking these little thieves were a lot like little demons.  


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Counting My Blessings...

Here at our house, we get pretty excited about surprise blessings.

And, God seems to just show up with a blessing when we need it most.

Sometimes, it's an unexpected and encouraging note in the mailbox... 

Or someone making a nice comment about our family instead of looking at us like we have three heads and only one tiny brain. 

Sometimes, it's a bag of hand-me-down clothes from a friend who couldn't have known that my 3 yr. old had just grown out of all the jeans in his closet.  And, guess what?  The bag will have "new" jeans just his size! 

I totally love when God does that!  It never ceases to amaze me.  :)

Once, when I was pregnant with our 3rd child, I remember God showing up in an amazing way to me.  We had recently moved to a new city, bought a house, and were still waiting for our old home (3 hrs. away) to sell.  Money was tight.  We budget and simply didn't spend money on anything we didn't NEED... 

At the same time, I was really craving Krispy Kreme donuts...and you know how pregnancy cravings can be!?!? 

But, I did without and didn't mention it to anyone - not even my sweet hubby.  Then, one Sunday morning, we were walking out of church, and a man we didn't even know walked up to us with a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and asked if we would take them.  The man had no idea who we were and couldn't have known that I was craving them.  But, GOD KNEW.  When we got into our van with the donuts, I cried.  I told Gregg, "God gave me donuts!"  (pretty sure Gregg thought my hormones were way out of whack at that point! hahaha! )

It seems a little silly to write about that now.  Maybe you could call it a coincidence.  But, I don't think so.  I think we need to be acutely aware of the many, many ways in which God gives us good gifts.  I just sort of picture Him looking at us in hopeful expectation - just waiting for us to smile and say, "Yippeee!  Thank you!  I love you!"

I really like to do this with my kids.  I like to give them little things and watch them beam with excitement.  I'm pretty sure God is the same way with us - considering we are made in His image and all... 

So, this past week, we had lots of blessings, but there were two that really stood out to me:

The first was on Monday.  A friend sent a special basket of goodies.  She knew I would be beginning the home school year with my little ones.  She fashioned a basket of goodies for our family with some of our favorite snacks - Reese's cups, Doritos, and pistachios.  And, inside was a very sweet and encouraging note.  The basket of goodies was great, but the encouragement and the thought that somebody cared was even better.  Thank you, Lord, for caring friends - and goodies. :) 

The second surprise blessing came on Tuesday.  A friend had contacted me asking if I might be interested in some maternity clothes.  Although I do have enough maternity clothes from my previous pregnancies, I had begun to get a little concerned that I was going to have to buy some new shorts/capris/pants because - well, I'm a little heavier this time than the others.  Such is life, right?
So, here's the thing...she brings FOUR bags of maternity clothes to my house on Tuesday morning.  And, guess what?  There were pants and capris and shorts that fit me!!  And lots of pretty shirts for me to wear, too.  And, although I can certainly wear my older maternity clothes, what woman doesn't like some new pretty things to add to her wardrobe? 
God knew that I could "make do" with what I had, but I have a feeling He was beaming with excitement as I took each article of clothing from the bags.  I have a feeling He just couldn't wait to see my joy and hear me say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  I love them!"
Now, I "get" that these are material things...but to me, it's so much more than that.

God knows me intimately.  He knows my desires.  He knows when I'm feeling alone or down and just need a little surprise encouragement.  He even knows when I'm feeling frumpy in my old maternity clothes.

And, HE CARES.  He really cares.  For me, the basket and the maternity clothes this week were a part of God telling me so.

Thank you, Lord.

I promise to not stop counting my blessings.  For they are many...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Thief Comes

We've had a thief at our house this week. 

One with fur and a voracious taste for fresh chicken.

And, the presence of this thief (or maybe thieves) has had me thinking much about what it all means and what I can learn from it.

You see, our family owns a small flock of chickens.  We have a large pen where we keep them.  The 25 of them have roamed freely, clucked and eaten, and laid some really yummy eggs for our family's food consumption.

This past Monday, several of my children went to gather eggs and came back screaming that there were "feathers and dead chickens" outside.  Apparently, some type of wild animal (presumably a fox or raccoon) had created a hole in the back corner and freely taken several of our chickens.

Gregg repaired the hole and closed off that portion of the chicken pen (we have a 2-section pen).

The next day, it happened again - another hole in the fence...and more lost chickens.  The saddest part is that many of the chickens have been left uneaten.  So the thief is no longer destroying our little flock simply because it's hungry.

Tuesday evening, Gregg repaired the hole and barred the remaining hens in the wooden coop for the night - to ensure their safety.

The next day, we lost 3 more chickens...the thief had actually made it's way into the pen and DUG A HOLE UNDER THE WOODEN WALL TO THE COOP!! 

Persistence - I'll give him that...

Next plan...Gregg went by Tractor Supply and purchased some traps.  The only ones he could find were live traps, and the woman at the counter sweetly asked what he was trying to catch.  He explained the situation and she said, "Oh please just promise me you aren't going to KILL them after you trap them!"


"Um...I can't promise you that."  Enough said.

Whatever the animal's stealing, killing, and destroying our family's chickens.  Our hens are animals that we have fed, raised, cared for, and that supply an important food source for us.  Whatever it is must be destroyed before our entire flock is extinct.

Altogether, in 3 days, we have "lost" eight of our 25 hens.  This morning the traps were empty...and no more chickens were lost. 


Did the thief sense the danger of the trap and decide to stay away for a while?   I certainly can't answer that, but I will tell you the traps are still there, and we mean business when it comes to protecting our tiny remaining flock!

All week, this has lead me to run the scripture, John 10:10, through my mind.

"The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life and might have it more abundantly."   

It's the perfect example...this animal is coming to steal, kill, and destroy our flock.  He is coming when we aren't looking - when we aren't expecting him.  He is finding weaknesses in our structures.  He is making his own way to satisfy his own desires.

In this scripture, Jesus is telling us that the thief - referring to Satan - has a plan.  That plan is to steal, kill, and destroy us.

Jesus reminds us that He came so the thief couldn't have us.  Jesus came so we could have LIFE.  And not just LIFE but ABUNDANT LIFE.  (You know...full, joyful, peaceful, refreshing, to-God-be-the-glory LIFE.)

Thank you, Jesus, for coming so we could have LIFE.  Thank you, that once we commit our lives to You, Satan can't really destroy us.  He could make us miserable for a time if we let him, but HE CAN'T WIN THE WAR.

I've been thinking about how Satan is like this animal I've been describing. 

He has a voracious appetite for our families, our marriages, our relationships, our children - and he seeks to destroy them.  He looks for the weak places in our lives and seeks to slyly slither his way into those places  - often unnoticed until it's too late.

I've been looking at the weak areas where the thief might have a chance to destroy my family...

Discontentment, mismanaged time, technology, apathy, excuses, feelings of giving up, loss of vision or purpose...not to mention some of the more obvious threats like internet use, pornography, drugs/alcohol, premarital sex, and yes - even Facebook.

I've been watching my children this week and trying to be a little more observant with the places the thief might seek to destroy them.

A precious and dear pastor's wife I had growing up mentioned something to me when I was about college age, I guess.  It has always stuck with me.

She was referring to her only son and the turmoil he was going through at the time, and she told him, "I have fought Satan and hell itself for you, and I'm not about to stop fighting and let you go now!"

"The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life and might have it more abundantly." 

I must fight Satan and hell itself for my family, my marriage, my relationships, my children...because the thief seeks to have them.

And I can tell you this... 

If I am not diligent to lift my loved ones in prayer...

If I am not faithful to make the tough decisions that help my family to honor God...

If I am not willing to give up the things that threaten to take us from our true purpose...

If I am not going to be contentedly obedient to God's call for my own life...

The thief comes.