A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sad day on the farm

It has been a long couple days since the surprise birth of the baby goat, and at 4AM last night, after a very long night of tending to him, he passed away. Not only was I crushed, but the thought of telling the children and seeing their faces was just heartbreaking. I still don't know how to say it, but I feel like I let everyone down. I didn't do enough, or try hard enough, or did the wrong things. I did everything I knew to do, I don't know what else could have been done. But the feelings are still there. How do we deal with grief, and maybe the major component of the grief is guilt?

Steve just read me a news blog about an artist in Great Britain (forgive me if I get the details wrong) who committed suicide after aborting her eight week old twins. Her note indicated that she died when her babies died, that she didn't want to do it, and that her babies needed her and no one else did. I cannot imagine first of all, why she went through with the abortion, but second of all the extreme guilt when it really comes home to her what she has done. I may have failed the goat, but I didn't actively kill him. I didn't seek to take his life, didn't willingly take life. I may not have done the correct things to save him, but I did not want him gone. And the guilt I feel is over an animal, not children. If I feel like this, then how devastated was this woman?

Once again, there are several victims of abortion - the babies, the mother, and the father. What will it take to make us realize it? Maybe the victims don't always realize it right away, or ever, but they are carrying that weight. That guilt. At this point, I am praying and hoping for another chance at a pregnancy, what a different place to be from that mother. I am constantly watching my body to determine if I may have conceived. Careful about what I am eating, taking all the right vitamins, avoiding whatever I can that might be harmful or questionable for a baby. And I very likely am not pregnant. So right now I have to view it as a gift to myself of better health. And if I do discover that God has blessed us again, then I know that I have done whatever I know how to do.

I look back to the days I considered myself "pro-choice". Though I always said that I would not choose it, I thought that it should be a choice. What a fool I was. Before I even conceived my eldest, my mind had started to change, maybe God once again working on my stubborn heart. And as soon as I saw the double pink lines, my heart was forever changed. That was a baby, my baby and it deserved life more than I did. I had made my choices, the baby had not. It had not made mistakes, willingly done bad things. The baby was the one to be protected in that relationship. How do you go and make that life the villain in the situation? Where in any kind of logic is it the baby's fault? Is it the baby's fault that this pregnancy is an "inconvenience" or "problem"? Or that it will cost more to raise a child or whatever the argument is? Where does that logic fit? If you choose to have sex, protected or unprotected, within or without a relationship, pregnancy is a very likely outcome. Sex creates babies. That is the fact. It might not every time, or most times, but that is the biological purpose of sex. So, if you don't want a baby, don't have sex. Period. Whether or not you use "protection" or not, whether or not you think it is your fertile period or not. That is it. So, if you don't want to be pregnant or for your significant (or not so significant) other to be pregnant, for parenthood, or for choosing to give the baby to another family through adoption, then don't have sex. That is it.

What a strange way to end a blog. Fits with the day. Time to head out to feed chicks and watch for the hay delivery, and to continue to ponder.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What a day!

Well, yesterday was an eventful day in many ways! First Kiley got her cast off - finally!!! It was amazing and sad to see how thin that one arm got in just six weeks - no muscle definition in her hand or forearm! It was almost eerie to see her hold the two arms together so you could really see the difference. We are working with her on stretching out the tendons and muscles that have been immobilized for so long. But, she is a hard worker and will keep at it!! Thank goodness! When we left the doctor's office he said something about "call me if you need me" and I had to laugh - with five kids, all very active, somehow I am thinking we may very well be seeing him again! Oh, well!

Then, it was Solly's first day of drum lessons - what a great thing, I think. As I write this, Solly is upstairs practicing with his snare drum. I am letting him use it without the "silencer" because his sisters need to get up, and I am not totally fried yet. We did discover that drumming while Mom is making dinner - the end of the day, and the witching hour for everyone, that drumming then makes Mom's head vibrate and spin around, so I am working on picking and choosing when I say "enough!". At least it is just one drum, just the snare at this point. The boys are all working on the drum, the older two are observing the lessons and then practicing at home, so we can make the most of the lessons! They all want a full drum kit - I am thankful that it is not at all in the budget right now, so I don't have to think too hard about that! When things are in the budget, then I will have to think about it. I have always before said that I don't want a drum kit until we have a new garage/barn (in the plans for someday, somehow) where they can have a room for it, where I can escape it!!! LOL! Constant drumming could totally send me over the edge, but you know, I got used to the trumpet practice while we had that going, so maybe I could get used to it also. The drum teacher heard us talking about the guitar lessons (all three boys), violin lessons (Kiley), and piano lessons - all five kids, and commented that we could have a worship band at some point with all the instruments! We really could. And Kiley definitely needs to do vocals. She certainly has inherited more from her dad than her mom in that area. The others have varieties of vocal abilities at this point, but I certainly am not the expert in that. Kiley works hard at it, so that is the difference.

OK, so the cast, the drum lesson, getting feed for the animals, and then we got home and started to feed. Well, a couple of the goats and one sheep were out! So, while we were working on getting them in, Buddy (Newfoundland/Lab mix) was "helping". It was probably funny to watch, but frustrating at the time. Once they were all contained, I went on a search for how they were getting out. I didn't find what I was looking for, but did find another surprise!!! I was poking my head in the middle stall, and over in the plastic "hutch" that the goats like to snuggle in, was something that didn't look quite normal. As I got in there, it is dark, I could see that it was a newborn baby goat! We didn't even know which goat was pregnant! The baby was very cold, still wet and partially covered in afterbirth and placenta. So, given that he was cold - what do you do when faced with that??? I followed gut reaction - get him warm - so tucked him inside my coat (ugh) and wrapped him all up as I headed out of the stall. About then Kiley was coming to tell me that Nana (one of our pygmy goats) had blood coming from her back end - so we knew who the mother was! It was normal afterbirth, they drip for a couple days (thank goodness for previous experience!). You should have seen the kids' faces as they realized what I had tucked in my coat!!! Alex even cried (Nana is his, and the only buck on the place, Skippy, is also his). We rushed the little guy in, wrapped him up, warmed him up and cleaned him off. He was shivering and crying, but we got him so he was much more vibrant than the nearly frozen little guy I had found!! Thank goodness we keep the kid milk replacer on hand, so we got some warm food in his belly and got him sort of stable.

And then just laughed! In the middle of all that craziness - imagine five excited kids running around, mom covered in mess trying to decide what was best to do, and a tiny bleating little goat - when the phone rang and it was one of the companies I work for!! LOL! Thank goodness they are already convinced I am crazy, because while Alex answered the phone and was trying to get it to me (imagine a great deal of hubbub), Solly pushed talk on the other phone, so it was conferencing to two different rooms now, with shouting, bleating and mass confusion!!!! Agh!! When I finally got the phone, after getting Solly off and and conferencing off, my boss was laughing her head off!!! I am apologizing, holding the goat, trying to hand it off to Kiley and there is just so much going on! Her comment was that I had my hands full and it was very funny! I told her that it would be even funnier if she could see what was going on! It is funny now, but generally I prefer that people don't see our times of mad chaos! People must know that it happens, but I try to keep the illusion that it is always calm and collected! Agh! So, yesterday was the day of showing how crazy our life can get. But the reality is that those moments of craziness are really generally short, not all day or every day or anything - really! I'm not just saying that to try to convince my mom that we aren't crazy! Well, we have our moments, but most days are calmer! What an experience!

So, we have a baby goat in the laundry room in an old playpen, with a heating pad, and are bottle feeding the little guy. We tried to get him back with his mom - first time baby for her - but it was not successful, she had no clue and was totally uninterested. We will try for the next couple days, because bottle feeding a baby goat in the house is not really on my agenda! We don't need to confirm to everyone that we are crazy. Though my rural friends just look at me and say "of course you did" when I describe all this.

I had wanted to put in something about music, messages and growth, but that got bumped for another time! I will try that later! For now, I need to do my part of the morning chores - drums, piano and guitar are all being practiced by different children right now! My head is spinning!

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Good Morning!!!

It is a beautiful, snowy day here in WI again! Today we are only expecting a little bit of snow, about an inch or so. Whew, after all that has come, I am relieved. But, today we don't have to go anywhere, so that means it won't snow anyway. Now, tomorrow.... Well, we shall see. This has been a winter for the record books, and it reminds me of how much the cold and winter makes us appreciate spring, summer and fall here in the frozen tundra.

When my Ethiopian sons were very confused about why Mom was trying to throw them outside in the fall, when they really didn't care, well, now they understand! I tried to tell them that we would go months where we would not go out much, so go out NOW, but they just didn't understand it. Now they do!!! On nicer days everyone is outside burning off some steam, but it has been such a winter that we have had everyone inside a great deal of the time, and the closeness has gotten wearing a bit. Hence the words "cabin fever". We have worked on lots of ways to keep everyone busy, and happy, but you can only knit so many hats (it was fun for the first ten!), sew so many pairs of pajama pants (that is the most recent, but actually has been fun - one pair almost done, and one more pair cut out then all the kids have new pajama pants in patterns that they like), play XBox so much without disintegrating into a pile of mindless goo (XBox is my desperation measure to get a few minutes to myself), watch educational videos so much before you give in and watch mush - good mush, but mush non-the-less. The kids have all worked really hard in schoolwork - Kiley is now on her sixth novel - think I better look into how she can send them to someone, Alex is mastering King Lear, Faith is zooming and reading everything in sight, and Solly and Zeri are zooming in math and learning English and learning to read.

We have started winter sowing for our spring garden - part science and part mess! You put seeds in a container, like a milk gallon jug, cut the top almost off so you can open it, put several inches of soil in it, water the dirt pretty well, then put the seeds in. You then tape it shut, it won't be totally airtight and isn't supposed to be, and put it out in the snowbank (we have lots of those!). It will go through freezes and thaws just like a seed would naturally, and with the shelter of the container it makes a mini-greenhouse. The seed will germinate and grow when conditions are right. (Isn't God amazing!) As the weather warms you cut more holes and open up the container so it gets more of the natural environment, and when it is open, you transplant it into the garden! Ta-da! We make a huge mess on the kitchen table, use all sorts of containers (yay recycling) to plant whatever makes sense (not lettuce or potatoes or carrots, things that grow below the ground or are harder to transplant). It keeps the kids busy, gets my mind on spring, and gets everyone involved in an activity!

This has been such a week or two between the snow, the surgery, and all the emotions. I am so ready for life to sort of get to "normal". I haven't even gotten to my Bible studies and I really miss it. I so need to reconnect on a very direct level. I have gotten into reading the Bible at lunchtime to the kids - it is one time when everyone is together and sitting still and somewhat quiet as they eat! I know that it doesn't all sink it, but I want them to hear it constantly, to have it infused into their minds. I so look forward to painting the walls so that I can paint verses from Scripture on the walls again like we did at the old house - the verse about having them on our doorposts, to see scripture as we rise and as we go to sleep. I am terrible - I remember the gist of many verses and sometimes where about to find it, but don't have it memorized word for word. I need to work on that. But at least when I read the Bible I find much of it very familiar, which is good. I am working on it. I always find myself so refreshed when I actually spend time in the Word, it is so important!

Well, off to the pile of laundry! I am hoping to get through part of the pile today. We have gotten so behind, I couldn't even walk on the floor in the tiny laundry room! But now I can, though I moved sorted piles into the dining room!!! I think that is cheating! My goal is to get enough done so there is no more in the laundry room by bedtime! But bedtime might end up being 3AM!!!! Oh, well! Today is a day to choose to view it in the positive, to have more laughter than scowls, to smile rather than frown.
Love to all!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quiet in the Middle of NOISE!!!!

Wow, we shall see how this goes! If anyone actually reads this, I will be so amazed! So, I am trying to do my first blog with the kids playing upstairs and wonderful hubby washing dishes! I told him he didn't have to, but he decided to do it anyway, and I have to admit that I am grateful!!! Sometimes I think it would be wonderful to have a dishwasher, but on the other hand, with the size of our family, I think it would run constantly!! LOL! Just like the washer and dryer! So, anyway, I am always grateful for a hand with the dishes. I prefer to wash them, have the kids dry and put away - this way I know that they are clean!

Anyway, I am preparing to try to share a bit about our life here and the things that are important to us.

First of all, our Savior. I am forever grateful for my Lord, and at times just cannot believe where He has brought us. God has directed us down such an amazing path, one we never would have believed had you told us about it a few years ago. So, that is the most important, and influences everything else.

Second of all, our family. I think we are approaching being a "quiverful" family, but we only have five children right now! We thought we had stopped with three children, then really wanted more, so became foster parents, and after years of that, and children coming and going, we were looking to adopt. But, of course, domestically, and from foster care. Well, then two sentences in a sermon brought our Ethiopian-born sons to us. I still am amazed that they are actually here, that we were able to raise the funds to bring them home, that all that paperwork actually got done, that we passed, and that I actually traveled to another continent!!! I am definitely a home-body! So, we are a family of seven. Steve, my wonderful, talented husband works in computers and keeps quite busy, though we are blessed that at least part of the time he works from home - though he may not always think it is such a blessing! Then our eldest, Alex, is 13, an avid musician - guitar, piano, singing, as well as all of his other activities!!! Zeri is 12, and a very structured individual, tries to keep his things in order, follow the chore charts exactly, practice every guitar and piano piece to the letter. Kiley is 10, type 1 diabetic since 6 years old- so that is always a challenge, and she is a very driven person, focused and goal-setting. Music is an important part of her life also - violin and piano, but she is not interested in lessons in piano, so she is teaching herself!!! Unbelievable!!! Solomon is 8, and a very active young man. He is always going, and I am just counting the days until he breaks his glasses! He is rarely sad, always upbeat, and just "bounces". Faith is also 8, and very sweet. It is hard to find another way to describe her, she has been easy going since the day she was born.

So, that is the crew as it stands today. May there be more? Probably, one way or the other. After eight years post vasectomy, we decided that we made a mistake, should have left our family size in God's hands - if we trust him with all the other areas of life, why not this area? And we know that we want more children one way or the other. I thought that this meant that we would do another adoption (though that isn't out of the question at all either), but hubby wanted to truly put things back the way they were, if you know what I mean. Whew. So, he is recovering. What an experience! And now we shall see what God does from this point. So, if you get an announcement that we are expecting again, don't be surprised!!! But, the hard part for me, is that if, after all this, God's answer is "no", then I need to be OK with that. I need to accept it gratefully. That may be hard for me, but our point in doing this was to put things back as God designed. I wish dearly that we had never made the original decision, I think we did it for very selfish reasons, and we certainly weren't where we are now in our faith walk. So, I highly recommend to others that they don't sterilize, but I know everyone has their reasons. Wow, that was way off topic!!!

So, with five kids, one with medical issues, two learning English, we are also a homeschooling family! We have been since Alex was in first grade, and love it, most of the time. I cannot imagine how else we would have managed Kiley's medical issues, or the boys learning English and a whole new culture and life. It would be ridiculous! So, that keeps our days quite busy.

We live on 9 acres in rural WI, kind of in the middle of nowhere. We have only been out of the city for a year and a half now, learning our way by trial and error. It has been very funny, our friends and neighbors sure do laugh! We have had chickens in the dining room and basement (in a brooder), a goat in the laundry room (I thought she was about to have her babies and it was -39 degrees and the heat lamp was broken in the goat kidding stall - what else do you do?), washed chickens before the county fair, learned to butcher chickens, lived for a week at the county fair as the kids showed animals in every barn except the cow barn, and in general learned about homesteading and being self-sufficient. We have horses (mostly ponies), dairy and pygmy goats (yes, we do drink the milk - it's great!), chickens (eggs and meat are awesome!), three sheep (didn't plan on that but they are here), three dogs, and seven cats (five live outside and keep the rodent population down!!). Oh, yeah and a whole bunch of rabbits - my Angora rabbits for fiber and sale, and the kids' rabbits for show. Our old garage is going to be converted to a rabbitry this spring and summer. And a crested gecko and one guinea pig. I think that covers it! This summer will be a big time for the garden as I hope to put aside lots of food for the winter!

Hee, hee! Four of the five kids are upstairs - very loud, but Alex is playing his guitar and they are all singing "One Way Jesus"!!! How cool is that!!! Very loud, but they are all working together (yaayyy!!) and having a good time that does not involve bodies slamming against anything - wrestling and rough-housing are big things with the three boys.

We are going to take photos of our baby Angoras to put on the website that Steve is putting together for us. I am hoping to put some fiber on the market and one of my cute babies! I will try to post one here.

Hey, did anyone else watch Extreme Home Makeover last night??? The family with the very talented blind musician? It was so amazing. I have worked with children with disabilities for so long, and have always been open to having a child of our own with disabilities. I was really reminded by the show that our culture misses so much as we focus on just the perfect. There is so much that folks with "disabilities" give to us, that we would not recognize without them. Maybe I am naive, but I really get on my soapbox about how we only value the perfect and the pretty. We miss so much when we don't open ourselves up to something else. Can you tell that at some point I would like to adopt a special needs child that needs us? We shall see, that isn't up for too much discussion this month. Maybe later.

Well, this was my first rambling attempt at a blog. I will try to post more often, if anyone ever reads it, but maybe just to clear my own head a little.
And we hope to pay back to the world and community. We have been so blessed, with health and family, with our lifestyle, our faith, we want to pay it forward.