rain

It started raining on Saturday.

Today is Wednesday.

With but a few brief breaks (notably the four hours on Saturday that we needed in order to host a wedding for our friends — thank you, God!), it’s been raining the whole time. The whole time. Five days.

I feel positively mildewed.

The dog has cabin fever. The cat has cabin fever. Both want to go out and then both want to come back inside — wet — three minutes later. The cat has developed an attitude. The dog is sad. I need a long walk and some serious Vitamin D.

And still it rains.

I thought I’d left the non-stop spring rain behind when I moved out of NJ in 2002. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this rainy for this long in Idaho. But there is a first time for everything.

I hope this is the last time for this.

Even Jack Norman, our robust roo, has been quiet. Depression amongst the poultry is not pretty. Egg production is down (seriously!). The girls need some sun. Hoping Mother Nature delivers soon ….

Theology

“Jesus, draw us close.
Closer, Lord, to you.
Let the world around us fade away….”

A much loved chorus from many, many years ago. We sang it yesterday in worship and it never fails to comfort me.

Been thinking over some things theological lately. I’m no theologian, when all is said and done, but I do enjoy the process. Going deeper with God secures my faith, providing a strong foundation on which to stand even when the dark things of life are pressing in. The world — including the Christian culture — is difficult on so many levels. Focusing on God is the best reminder to move graciously and gracefully through this life. Reading the Word of the One who loves me best is a peerless way to start every day, setting the tone for remembering that I am His, pushing the hours of my daily life to reflect just that.

I’ve been considering love and grace a lot lately. It is dismaying to see how divided the Church can be; so divided that at times it is unrecognizable in its absence of love and grace for each other. Each side of this disagreement always devolves into assertions that the other side’s interpretation of love and grace is cheap and shallow, even un-Scriptural. Fundamentally, if we cannot agree on the definitions of love and grace, as demonstrated in Jesus life and throughout the entire Word, then we cannot come to an understanding. More importantly, if we keep digging in our heels that our own interpretation is the only one that could possibly be correct — i.e. that I am Right and you are Wrong, and that’s that — we will never have peace within the Church. The Church is the Bride of Christ, but she is wracked with turmoil and even, at times, vitriol. What must Jesus think as He views our continuing selfishness and narcissism toward each other?

If the Church’s main purpose … here … is to further God’s kingdom … here …, then we’re setting an incredibly poor example for those souls we are trying to reach … here.

There are no easy answers. My personal defense against the unlovely underbelly of Christianity is to seek God’s will on a daily, even hourly basis. To focus on His provision to me and on how much I owe Him for all He does and has done so that He and I can be reconciled forever. To aim at surrendering every minute of my day to what He would have me do. I believe that He desires peace among His people, and that I am responsible to Him for my conduct. It’s the only sanity I get as I watch the struggle among the believers to prove who is right and who is wrong, petty squabbles within a Body that is already so perfectly beloved by God and has attained, through His mercy, the highest pinnacle humans could reach.

And still there are souls in this world who desperately need to be told about Christ, to be saved from absolute separation from God, to be loved as Christ loves everyone; all the while the Church remains distracted within itself, fighting (not arguing, not debating — but actually fighting) over who is Right and who is Wrong.

I’m not saying my interpretations are always correct. But I am saying that even in our disagreements, we must remain Christ-like in our conduct, because that is what God has commanded of His people and that is our best witness to a wounded world.

Banana

She’s all cute and fluffy and yellow. She’s tiny. She’s Banana Brave, the Baby Banty.

And she’s broody.

Again.

The littlest of all the flock of 16 hens, she is also the only one who gets broody from time to time. In these cycles, she sits on a nest continually, trying to hatch every single egg she can get underneath her.

Every day I find her sitting squarely and squatly on the same nest. I have to move her aside to get the day’s eggs out from underneath.

And it occurs to me as I write this that I don’t know how she actually collects all these eggs. Every day I get 5-7  out from underneath her. Only one of them is hers. How does she do it?

Maybe when I’m not around she steps off and cunningly invites her sister chicken wives to lay their eggs, obligation-free, in her nest, with the added assurance that she will see their embryos through to fluffy chick-hood.

Maybe I have the used car saleswoman of chickens in my coop.

Then there is the scream. Miss Banana actually emits a scream as I gently pull the eggs out from underneath her warm belly. It is a very tiny scream from a very tiny chicken, but heart-rending nonetheless. Along with the scream comes a distinctive look of desperation on her little chicken face. I’m convinced that she’s trying to make me believe I’m killing her.

Just as she tries to make the other hens believe that she will singlehandedly make sure their eggs hatch. Right.

She’s the littlest of the hens but I’m thinking she might be mighty diabolical.

Anna holding Banana.
Anna holding Banana.

Hank

Life is hard.

Our 11-year old lab mutt, Hank, had to be put down this past week. Hip dysplasia and arthritis. Pain that, even with painkillers, would never go away. As difficult as it is for us to be without him, euthanasia was the kindest thing to do.

But it was hard. Hard to say yes to euthanasia, hard to hold him as he peacefully died, hard to walk out of the vet’s office with an empty collar.

RIP Hank. You were a faithful companion and a quirky canine, and you are much missed.

That’s Hank on the left:

L to R: Hank, Catherine, Tim, and Charley
L to R: Hank, Catherine, Tim, and Charley

Farm

When my daughter was a toddler, one of her favorite books was titled Baby Animals on the Farm. We read it over and over and over again. A lot. So many times that I think I could have recited it by memory.

Well, now we’ve had our own “baby animals on the farm” moment this spring. Our mare gave birth to a beautiful Palomino quarter horse on April 8 at 5:45 a.m.

I got to watch.

So. Freakin’. Cool.

Here are a few pics:

20150408_061426
Just after the sac was removed.
Mama and baby, just after delivery.
Mama and baby, just after delivery.
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Three hours old

In our state of sleep deprivation, we thought the foal was a filly. We were wrong, and thus I am still outnumbered by three to one when it comes to gender of the mammals on this farm.

But I digress. This foal is a colt, and this colt is awesome. So say I.

In other farm news, our rooster, Jack Norman, continues to eye my feet longingly, hoping for another opportunity to try to mate with them.

Really weird.

But I’m on my guard. When he gets too close, I reach out to pick him up, intending to carry him around like a football under my arm. Of course he skitters away because no self-respecting roo wants to be carried around by a woman.

And if he doesn’t skitter fast enough and far enough, I run his little rooster butt all around the place, reminding him that I am in charge here.

in living technicolor
in living technicolor

So, mostly, we have a truce. And when he’s sitting up on the fence, he will occasionally allow me stroke his feathers a couple of times.

But I look into those beady little eyes and my mantra remains the same: never trust the roo.

Reunion

I graduated from high school in 1976. The year of the Bi-Centennial. The year today’s 39 year-olds were born. The year I had mononucleosis.

Our class has a rather unique bond. We always have had a core, but it’s even more pronounced now that we’re older. We’ve all had ups and downs. We’ve all had successes and failures. Despite the teen-aged segregation into who was “cool” and who was … ahem …. less cool (me), we middle-aged folk all put on our pants one leg at a time.  Thirty nine years of life is a great leveler.

I like that. I like seeing who we’ve all become. We have much more in common now than we did as teens. It’s comforting and grounding. As one classmate put it so beautifully, “these are the people we started life with.”

These are people whose existence still frames mine. These are people I enjoy knowing.

I did have an ever so teensy moment of panic as I sat alone in the bar waiting for someone else to arrive. What if this was like team selection in 8th grade gym class all over again? What if it became known on Facebook and throughout the universe that I instigated a reunion and not one single classmate attended!? Gah! For a hot minute I was in crisis, clad in my old red gym suit, haunted by my gawky teenage self.

Then I recovered and remembered that no matter my cool or non-cool status in high school, we’re all cool now. We’ve grown – into our looks, into our lives, into who we are individually and together. Plus I had on a truly great pair of ankle boots, and what could be cooler than that?

There were eight of us in all – a mini get-together. We talked for hours and caught up. I learned something new about each and every one of the disparate personalities at the table. I learned some back stories about things that had happened in our collective class past, gaining perspective on my own past in the meantime. I liked it. It was cool.

It really was.

Re-entry

It’s time.

Time to return to the world of blogging, but with a new look and a new .com as the host.

Same old blog title, though, because I like it so well. Time and Tide. It speaks to seasons of life, and that, I think, is a good perspective.

For nearly three years I avoided blogging. I just could not bring myself to write anything at all – couldn’t think of anything to write that wasn’t either negative or snarky. I think I just couldn’t express a whole lot of joy after so much blogging about grief after my mother’s last illness and death. I’ve grown since then – time and tide (!), and most importantly, the wisdom and comfort that comes only from God. Grief occasionally steals in now and then, but there is joy in abundance that I can once again express in full.

It’s good to be back.

So, I’m a few years older and am now eligible for many senior citizen discounts. While my wallet appreciates it, that’s not my favorite thing about life. What I really, really, REALLY like about life is: my family, my friends, my music, my family history research, my pets, my horses and my chickens. Not necessarily in that order. And don’t let me leave out my everlovin’ husband. A good man. No, better than that. The Best of Men – a man after God’s own heart. I couldn’t ask for more and am happy to have been his wife for 14 years.

I will reiterate that he is the Best of the Best. Let me say that again – my hubby is the Best of the Best. Understood?

But I might be just the teensiest bit bitter about my hubby’s current hairstyle. With my agreement, he has not had a haircut in 12 months. I hate it. I love him and I wanted him to be able to have this little item on his bucket list, but that hair is crazy. William H. Macy crazy. The year will be up next month, but given that his students have responded so well to their long-haired teacher, I agreed to an extension (a hair extension?). Thus the Great Haircut Appointment has been made – by me — for May 26. I will see to it that he gets there, if I have to carry him across town on my shoulders. I gave him a year, and that’s that.

But I digress because I was really saying that life is good.

In other news, I took up sewing about a year ago. First I decided to get back into doing embroidery, but as so often happens, one thing led to another and I ended up purchasing a nice sewing machine and making my first full-size quilt last spring. I made a second one in the fall. I’m currently working an embroidered cover for my prayer notebook. It’s good to be creative and to learn things that require patience and new neuro-pathways (or whatever those things are called).

I also took up the ukulele and became a “chicken mama,” but that’s another blog post or two.

I’m having a blast.

And how have you been?