Monday, March 31, 2008

Guest Post - How to Grieve

How to Grieve
By a guest writer
March 30, 2008

Kristy and I met on-line ten years ago. For a long while we were quite close, and she even visited me from across the seas, but we then drifted apart as girlfriends sometimes do. We were "reunited" on-line in the past year, and I was so excited to learn that she'd found her love and they were getting married. We were both surprised to learn the coincidence that, upon her marriage, we would be sharing the same surname.

They had just 10 weeks together as husband and wife when her beloved Steve was suddenly, tragically taken away. It isn't fair, and nothing can make it fair. It doesn't make sense, and no one can make sense of it. It is not natural, never has been, and never will be, for someone to suffer so great a loss.

Not a single solitary person knows how Kristy feels. No one has ever felt what she is feeling, and no one will ever know how she is feeling. Only she can possibly know how Kristy feels to lose Steve. All the rest of us can know is, whatever she is feeling, the pain of it all is hell on earth for her right now.

Kristy's church family has stepped in to take care of her day-to-day basic survival needs...things like food and home maintenance. Her dearest sister is flying from Texas to Australia this week to be by her side. People all over the world are thinking about her, praying for her, and sympathizing with her. This is all any of the rest of us can do.

But there is other "help" being offered. People whose hearts are most certainly in a place of genuinely wanting to give comfort, but they are offering that comfort in the way of instruction:

"I know how you feel,"
"I have felt the same sort of loss,"
"Read this book,"
"Pray this prayer,"
"Think these thoughts,"
"Watch this movie,"
"Confess these sins,"

Trust, believe, pray, do this, do that, think this, feel that.

There are also those who simply admit the fact that there are no words, that all the rest of us can do is pray, and that there is no right way to grieve.

Bless her heart, Kristy, in the midst of all this, has issued a thank you for "each and every" comment she has received. She, even in her own private tempest, is extending grace to the well intentioned souls around her. She, while not trying to "do the right thing" but just trying her best to survive this nightmare, is exemplifying the behavior that can only abound from a character being fashioned in the image of Christ.

For me, this is a reminder that our first thought toward our brothers and sisters should never be what we might teach, but what we might learn.

I just wish everyone would realize that no one can tell anyone how to grieve.

Our hearts are broken for you, Kristy.

Click here to visit Kristy's blog

~ Lacey

Sunday, March 30, 2008


We found some young, grass-ready GoatNots for sale, calculated the per pound price, put the stock racks on the truck, and set out this morning to make ourselves the owners of two GoatNots.

When the back straps of the stock racks started flipping in the wind, we pulled off the road to tie them down, and that's when Charles heard a telltale hiss and spied at the top of one rear tire a bit of rock peeking at him. Since this discovery was made a couple of hundred yards from the turn-off for Wal*Mart, we turned around and drove to the auto center for repair or replacement. Were we ever grateful then for those flapping straps, because we would have been in a world of hurt with a flat tire and a thousand pounds of disgruntled GoatNots in the truck.

Yes, this is THE rock.

While the fellows coaxed the tire off the truck, I went inside the store to entertain myself, and I'm really good at that.

I could buy this yarn to make a baby blanket for my friend. Oh, I'll have to buy needles too. I have every size at home. Should I do this? Yes, I should, because they're at home, and I'm going to be in a truck, hauling cattle. Oh, and I've always wanted one of those yarn keepers. I'll get a yarn keeper. I HAVE to have a yarn keeper, if I'm going to knit while hauling cattle. Who ever heard of not protecting one's baby yarn while hauling cattle?

With the tire back on the truck, and I happily knitting like crazy, we were on the road again. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the ranch and met the young GoatNots.

They were scary.
They were dirty, and they were scary.

They were also scared. They were scared of the fellows who had walked up to the tiny pen for a closer look, so they scrambled to get away from them.

That red heifer saw me. Those boy GoatNots were too busy keeping an eye on the men, but the heifer saw me.

Then the boys saw me. And they stopped in their tracks. I don't know what GoatNots think about, but I was very afraid they were thinking about whether or not they could make it through those bars and TAKE ME DOWN. I was scared. I took a blurry photo. Wait,that heifer is crisp. She liked me. She wanted to go home with me. Those boys? Well, those boys are blurry, because they were moving again...toward me. I think they wanted to RUN ME OVER.

"How much for two?"

"Heifer for $X and steer for $X," each X equaling three times more than we'd calculated, based on the only published price we could find. (What do we know? We've never bought a grass-ready GoatNot.)

"Yikes! We must have been looking at the wrong figures."

"You sure you don't want all four of them?"

"All 4 of them? Mmmm. Hmmm...." Standing in a steady drizzle, threatening to dissolve and ruminating on three times the expected cost, now times four instead of times two, while a sweet heifer and 3 seemingly maladjusted steers stared me down, I suggested we take the rancher up on his offer to deliver and call him back with a decision after we'd ruminated some more.

So we ruminated (that's bovine talk) all the way home. And we decided on a price to offer for one red heifer and three cranky steers. Then we called the rancher. And the rancher didn't like the offer. He said we could call him back if we changed our minds. I don't think we'll change our minds. Maybe he'll change his...before next weekend...when we have an appointment to see some bottle babies. Babies aren't scary.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. ~ Genesis 1:25

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Loon in the Lagoon


"There's a loon in the lagoon."

That was the pronouncement made a couple of days ago, and when repeated today, I sent the young herald to the lagoon with the camera.

THERE'S A LOON IN THE LAGOON. It just rings Seussish or appeals to my anemic and basest [read: uncultured] appreciation of poetry.

But it wasn't a loon. And it wasn't alone. In fact, there were 6 blue winged teals paddling about. I'm happy for the wildlife identification foible, which brought me poetic pleasure, however erroneous were the reports.

I can understand a loon [read: crazy] in a lagoon, but a duck? Are ducks supposed to be crazy? Do they not know what a lagoon is?

The lagoon has never before looked so lovely.

All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. ~I Corinthians 15:39

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cat Whiff

Son3: Wow, Purrle's head smells like cookies!

CarolineNot: Ohhh.

Son3: It does! It smells like cookies. Smell it ... smell it ... smell it...

CarolineNot: (tiring of smell it, smell it, smell it, smell it, ad infinitum) -- *sniff-sniff* -- (and receiving a snoutful of cat whiff) -- That doesn't smell like anything I'd like to eat!

Son3: It smells like cookies!

Nice, normal family.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yuck Soup

Let's Hear it for the GOP - by Chuck Baldwin

I'm pretty sure I don't believe in the concept of choice based on lesser of evils, and I liked this article highlighting the one and only man whose platform was in keeping with Christian principles and practices and stepped on the constitutionally free toes of no one; a man very effectively sidelined by mainstream media outlets.

May I take your order? And will that be arsenic or anti-freeze in your soup today?

Same cooks in the same kitchen, stirring the same pot of swill soup for the same boss. Lost my appetite and won't be ordering. I left the restaurant many months ago anyway, and I'm getting a little bit grumpy with the thought of anyone suggesting I have a duty to get back in there and place my order. Seems like a sin to me, and I'd expect (hope for) a large block of missing patrons in November. I won't deny that I still find it all very interesting...from the outside, looking in.

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. ~I Chronicles 29:11

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Little Fire on the Prairie

Sometimes Spring Is Black

Son3 keeps the perimeter of the north pasture mowed -- a welcome mat, he says, for the deer. Indeed, their tracks have been easy to spot and in no short supply. That mowed perimeter also makes a good firebreak, and my fellows do love their fires (the pyros). Soggy ground and a slight wind out of the north lured us to the pasture with matches.

When the fence row burned so nicely, it was like feeding 'em half a chocolate chip cookie. There must be more!

Charles setting things ablaze
Happy Happy Charles

It's on the move.

But that fire has a long way to go.

I helped.
I made a fire.
The fellows' fires were *grrr*-*grrr*-*grrr*.
My fire was pretty.

It's gettin' there now.

It got there.
Sometimes Spring Is Black.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? ~ Matthew 6:28-30

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Charles worked with Son4 to create a crawdad trap from a 2-liter pop bottle, and it was set in the pond. The next morning, the boys strode into the kitchen, Son3 holding this in his palm, with a couple of fingers wrapped around the backside of it, and declaring, "I caught a crawdad!"

It looked pretty big to me, and as I moved closer I noticed its pincers looked strange. I looked at one, then the other, then back to the first, and with brow furrowed, I was about to ask what had happened to the critter, when Son3 admitted, "It's not a crawdad," then he picked it up by the tail end and held it rigidly upright -- a root.

Sure fooled me.

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. ~I Chronicles 29:11

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stellar Moments

The boys stayed home while Charles and I made a quick trip to town. As we pulled back into the driveway, we saw Son3 cross to the nearest barn, from whence the music was to come, as we were greeted at the gate by Son4.

Then he left.

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 18:1-4


Son3: Look at my flake. I could sell it and get rich.

CarolineNot: Mmm ...... South Carolina?

Son3: Kosovo!

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. ~Matthew 7:24-25

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

The 2 year old SugarPlum has become a slightly angst-ridden backseat driver, which was a recent surprise to Poppie and Nana: "Whoa! We're going so past!" (fast)

While maneuvering the S-curve at a clip, "Oh no, we're gonna crash!"

On our way to see Horton Hears a Who, "We don't know how to get to the movie. We need a map. We can get one at Wal*Mart."

Nevertheless, she was a happy front seat passenger when Daddy took her for a spin in the go-cart. There's no go-cart trail, and we're still not sure what sort of trail he blazed when they motored out of sight, but some of us thought the little darlin' probably should have been coughing up some instructions to her driver:

"That was pun!" she exclaimed as she climbed out of the go-cart.

Indeed. Me thinks Daddy gave the little darlin' quite a ride.

And what muddy little urchin doesn't want to be carried?

She walked.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. ~ Colossians 3:16-17

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Baby CowNot Wranglers

"Do you want Daddy to catch you a baby CowNot?"

" I'll get you one."
[Note the relaxed, follow-the-CowNot posture.]

"Okay, I can catch this one."
[It helps to set one's jaw.]

"SugarPlum, Uncle Son3 caught a CowNot for you."

"Here ya go."

"Thanks, Uncle Son3."

"Here, you can have it back now. Where's Daddy?"

Daddy's stalking baby CowNots.
It's been nearly 20 years since Daddy last wrangled CowNots.
He's not on his game yet today.

"Hey fellas, help a guy out here."


"I'm on my game now."

"Thanks, Daddy."

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. ~ Isaiah 55:10-11

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chicken Fashions

Kandi and crew came to visit this week. The weather was unseasonably warm, so Kandi and I had sauntered onto the driveway island to sit a spell, while 7 children climbed trees, captured tadpoles (all of which we had to drippingly admire), and played hide-and-seek in the woods.

Instead of taking her seat on the island, Kandi slowed her pace and began bending ever-so-slightly at the waist as she walked beyond her chair. She kept moving, continued bending, and her head seemed to be approaching the ground (hey, I was just watching this peculiar behavior and wishing I was agile enough to assume such a posture) when she finally said, "That ... chicken ..... is wearing ......... tissue ... as.............. a scarf!"

I followed her unflinching gaze to the base of the lilac bushes. "Oh. That's not tissue. It's a Wal*Mart sack," I said. I'd noticed the adornment, myself, earlier in the day. And while the sight of a decorated chicken was novel, it wasn't nearly as amusing to me as having watched Kandi crouch lower and lower as she moved across the island or listening to the halting sentence, with a disbelieving intonation, coming forth from her as she crept along.

A couple of people have asked now if I'm not going to get the self-styled scarf off the chicken, and I can only suggest that anyone who believes they can catch the diva, is welcome to come strip her down. Personally, I think we should just let the girl have her fun.

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. ~I Timothy 6:8

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Goat Milk

[or Watermelon Jello: I was 8 or 9 years old when I begged and begged for watermelon flavored Jello, new to the shelves around that time. How could I know watermelon Jello wouldn't taste like watermelons? I could know by pestering long enough to receive some. I tasted it, said I didn't like it, then threw up in my bowl when I was told I had to eat it. Any sort of pineapple had the same effect on me.]

All the bulging CowNot udders around here brought me to the realization that my dream of fresh, free milk was at the door. Well, not exactly at the door, but in the pasture and available for me to coax into the refrigerator...if I had a mind and body and spirit and zeal and insanity to do so. Would it be worth it?

Would it be worth it? Hey, or hay, I wasn't born yesterday. I could pop the nearly $4 for a quart of goat milk from the store and at least be certain the stuff is palatable, before building a milking station, hauling warm water to the barn, squeezing flippy little pygmy CowNot parts an hour each day, sterilizing buckets and bottles, and so on and so on. Four dollars well spent, because...

That evening, I poured a glass of the liquid gold, and I told myself I was going to like it: I'm going to like this. I'm going to like this. I didn't want it to follow the full route of watermelon Jello.

My, oh my, oh my. That stuff tastes just like Willie smells. I'm one of those people who have a greater than average number of tastebuds and can detect flavor nuances in foods. Listen, I wasn't ruminating with the slightest, expectant thoughts of Willie, but he was in that milk, and it warn't no nuance!

Willie! Ewwwww! (I did swallow, and it didn't come back up. I've matured over the past 40+ years.)

Goat milk is good for a body. It's the best. If you can drink it and enjoy it (i.e. you've never smelled Willie), do so in great health. My hands and mouth, however, will be busied in pursuits other than wresting and drinking baa-juice from flippy little pygmy CowNot parts.

We used that weensy egg yesterday in a pre-flouring wash for fried chicken livers.

Mrs. Piecrust, fret not. I bought the livers at the store. All hens and hennots present and just being chickens.

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. ~ I Peter 2:2, 3