Monday, May 20, 2013

A Very Full Weekend

Friday was full of thankfulness.

Thankful that my dear friend Amy, after spending a night in the hospital because of a concern about possible infection, was infection free! Thank you Lord!!

Thankful that, shortly after being released from the hospital, Amy had the energy to make it to, and with her family be part of the survivor's walk in the opening ceremonies of the Relay for Life both of our daughters participated in at their high school.

Thankful too for all of the high school students who participated in this event!

Together they raised $130,000 for the American Cancer Society! Way to go!!

And very thankful that it did not rain!!

Saturday was full of love and encouragement!

With a bit of spur of the moment planning, a group of loved ones gathered to show their love to Amy and her family.

Amy's amazing sister Christy took this group photo as well as many others to document the day.

I brought my camera with the intent of taking lots of photos.

I only took a few. 

Sadly one was of my food.

In my defense the food was delicious! 

The outpouring of love took my breath away! My camera was forgotten and left to hang from my shoulder as I took it all in. Thank goodness Christy kept her wits about her!

Love and encouragement and hugs are good for the soul!

Sunday was full of celebration.

Our sweet Miss Emma Bean turned 12!! Whoop Whoop!!

Happy Birthday Miss Emma Bean!!

Oh how I love that girl! She is a joy! She is tender hearted, and strong willed, and oh how she makes me laugh!

For her birthday, Miss Emma Bean asked to go bowling. Some of us bowled better than others, eh hem, but we all had fun, and we laughed, and we all wore stinky bowling shoes.

 And per her request, we ate Whoopie Pies!

A very full weekend indeed!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Making Progress

While there are times I wish life would just stand still for a little bit, it doesn't. Maybe that's a good thing.

Chickens, like children, continue to grow at an alarming rate! They will need to move out of their brooding box and into their new home soon!

We've been busily working the last few weeks to make that happen.

We had a ground breaking for the coop.

Then it snowed.

We laid the foundation for the coop.

Just look at that mess of stuff we piled in the garden.

And it snowed.

We've been painting the coop.

And then you guessed it...more snow. UGH!

The chickens, unfazed by the snow, just continued growing. I however was getting fed up with snow!

And I should probably clarify, when I say "we" have been working on the coop, I mostly mean the Husband has been working on the coop. 

He has had some good helpers though. The girls and their friends have been very willing to pitch in and help, and we've had a couple of adults lend a hand too. We're very grateful for helping hands!

We're making some very good progress. And by we, I mean, you know, the Husband is making good progress on the coop. 

It won't be long now and the girls can move into their new home.

The girls have already had their first outdoor adventure. While it took them a little while to get comfortable with being outside, they had a few confused, what are we supposed to do now minutes, having room to run around as well as getting to roll and scratch in the dirt made them very happy!

And while we, I mean the Husband, has been working on the coop, I have been busily cleaning out the mess we piled in the garden, putting down a layer of newspaper, and piling on mulch to get the vegetable garden ready to be planted. 

I can't wait to see the benefits of using mulch in the vegetable garden this year!


Monday, May 13, 2013


Suffering is very difficult to understand.

I've heard more than one person ask how a loving God could allow suffering. 

I definitely do not have all the answers, but here are a few things I'm learning about suffering as I walk with some very dear friends through some very difficult times. Times that can only be referred to as suffering.

Amy is one of those dear friends. It was over 4 years ago that she was diagnosed with Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis, 3 years ago that she had surgery to have her colon removed, and 1 year ago that she was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma (cancer) and began chemotherapy. To say it has been a long, hard road for her and her loved ones would be an understatement. It's a road that has only gotten more difficult. It definitely qualifies as a road of suffering.

The first thing I've learned is that people seem to respond one of two ways to suffering. They either become angry and bitter with hearts hardened toward others, or their hearts become soft and their compassion for others becomes great. Those who have soft hearts, full of compassion, are quick to lean into the suffering of others and support them any way possible. It's an amazing thing to witness! Amy and her family have grown beautifully soft hearts!

Second, people often find it comforting to talk to others who have suffered through circumstances similar to their own. It can be very helpful to have one, who has walked the path before you, guide your way. It's also very helpful to have someone say, "I too felt and thought the things you are thinking and feeling now. It's normal." Amazing how soothing that can be.

The third thing I'm learning is how qualified Jesus is to understand, empathize, and have the deepest compassion for us in the midst of our suffering. He too experienced rejection, hearts of bitterness towards Him, the loss of loved ones, the illnesses of loved ones, being beaten and abused, being nailed to a cross, and death. A death that He suffered by choice, to forgive the sins of everyone who would repent and seek the salvation He alone can offer! 

Jesus walked through suffering to make His compassion for us complete. So by His suffering He would know exactly how we feel in ours. So we could turn to Him in the midst of our darkest journeys, knowing that He had already walked the same path of suffering, and trust Him to guide us through ours. So that He could offer the comfort of one who fully understands. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Jesus suffered on our behalf, He allowed His heart to be soft so His compassion for us would be great! That is what a loving God does! 

He also suffered so that, as my dear friend Amy wisely reminds me, "This is the closest we ever have to get to hell."