"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hunting - Good for the Soul, Good for Girls

It was actually the hail that woke me up, about 15 minutes before the alarm was supposed to awaken me.

I woke Roo and we lay in my bed, reluctant to leave its warmth and comfort, but also desiring to be out where the deer were. The rain and hail didn't help push us out of the bed.

Then she reported that she could see the stars. I looked and their brightness beckoned us out. So we quickly fried some eggs, bundled up a little, and headed out to the tree house/deer blind to start the youth hunt.

Even if we hadn't seen deer, the glory of the morning would have made the effort worthwhile. The height of the treehouse/deer blind gave us a panoramic view of the sunrising, illuminating the misty field.

The hail had turned to drizzle and fog and it was beautiful. Crystalline drops hung from the pine needles and light reverberated through them as the sun rose, more quickly than one would expect. How a blonde or white hair had gotten got in the needles is a mystery. The clarity of the needles and drops was stark against the morning mistiness. 

Patience is a lesson to be learned well while hunting. Roo's older sisters had composed a "rap" piece describing how they were cold and bored and wished they had gotten a deer. The composition was born in this treehouse. Now Roo was getting the feel of it. As active as she is, sitting quietly is a great challenge and much whispering went on, but she waited, seeing bushes turn into deer and back into bushes again.

Finally one of those deer appeared in the middle of the field...in a place where we knew there were no bushes. She squeezed off a shot and we saw the deer run off into the woods by the swamp. She wasn't too confident about the shot, but still wanted to run right down and tell her sisters who were still in beds. 

More patience was needed as I told her to wait awhile because another deer might appear. So, she stood with gun through the window peering into the fogginess, hoping, yet not sure that anything would come after the noise of her first shot.

Patience paid off as two more deer appeared in the middle of the fog. She held her shot for quite awhile as the fog burned off and she got a much better view of them. 

Let out the breath. Squeeze the trigger. Brace against the kick of the 243 rifle. Watch the deer run clumsily to the left, making it into a hedgerow. Big excited eyes. Mom is confident of that shot, having watched how it ran.

Down the ladder, into the house where sisters are up, having been awakened by the shots. Excitement fills the house as everybody bundles up, grabs knives, and prepares to track the deer, hoping to find two down.

Precious found the second deer, a spike-horn buck, after "gut instinct" told her to turn left at a certain spot and look on the other side of the hedgerow. The first deer was never found, not a trace, which means it was probably not even wounded, for which we are thankful.

It took several of us ladies to field dress the deer, not being overly experienced and not having very sharp knives, but we got it done! And it's good for ladies to do things like that. As we say here, "No fainting couches for these princesses."

And it's good for all of us to realize that for us to continue to live, at least as omnivores, something must die. A part of God's precious creation must die for us to live.

We are so thankful that God gave this creature (and another one shot by Princess the next evening) for us to eat, for good, healthy meat, and the thrill of patience paying off. 

And we're thankful for the ultimate Life given so that we can truly live...in Him.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Painful Judgments

She stood alone on the corner just outside the big store.

She was skinny and tired-looking, but gazed hopefully at the cars slowing down for the stop sign. 

We had noticed her on our way into the store, but had forgotten she was there by the time we came out. So I drove a circle around in order to get back to her and to give us time to get some money out of my purse.

We pulled up next to her and my husband handed the money out.

Her reaction surprised and saddened us.

She started crying.

"Thank you so much!" she wept.

Then between sobs she told of the people in the previous car. How they had shouted out to her that she could at least get a job at McDonald's.

"They didn't even know," she told us. "I've been working third shift at McDonald's ever since I lost my factory job."

"But it's just not enough."

I had to wonder when the poor lady got any sleep.

The pain of their judgment was awful to see.

Sticks and stones and words can hurt. In fact, words may hurt more than sticks and stones.

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Maybe we should have jumped out of the car and given her hugs, but we didn't think of it till we were driving away. I wish we'd had more cash to give, too. 

I asked if she'd tried any of the churches around and she said her own church was very helpful. 

I haven't seen her at that spot since and I hope and pray that all is well with her.

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It makes me wonder about the way we judge people. And we all do.

We make assumptions that a homeless person is a bum, or a needy person is just lazy. 

We think we have a right to make scathing comments - being thoughtless actually, or thinking we're funny, or thinking we have a right to tell them how to fix their lives. 

And we might actually know nothing.

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It also makes me think about giving hand-outs to needy people.

We're often so afraid that the money will be used wrongly - like to buy booze or other potentially harmful things. It might be a legitimate fear. I wouldn't want to participate in someone becoming drunk or high or getting lung cancer from cigarettes. And if I knew for sure that the money would be used that way or in some other destructive way, I wouldn't irresponsibly hand it over.

But God tells us to freely give. Even as He bestows blessings even on the wicked.

He relieves us of the burden of judging whether or not that person deserves the gift or how that person is going to use the gift. And He allows us the joy of participating with Him in blessing others as well as giving us the faith to trust that He can keep that person from using the gift wrongly. Or teach the recipient something important if they do use it wrongly.

Hey, it's all His anyhow.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Living in a "Pot Hole"

The closest Starbucks is a 45 minute drive, as is the mall...

My sister who lives in a "third world country" had high-speed internet long before we did...

Tractors driving down Main Street are not unusual, though ones transporting wedding party members are...

Barefoot is a common way of life daily...

Going to high class theater productions and concerts take some special planning and more travel time...

Television would be available if we bought the converter box or a new TV, but we haven't...

Many of the roads in our neck of the woods are still dirt...

We can't get cell phone signal in our house, or 'most anywhere else on our property...

So why do we live here?

It's not just because it's such beautiful county...

It's not just because there's room to garden and raise some of our own meat...

Or that there is a great river nearby on which to canoe and in which to play...

Or that the lake is so enticing and refreshing on a hot Sunday afternoon...

The reason we first moved to this area was because of this church. These people with whom we joyfully fellowship and worship and who encourage us in our Christian walk. Who weep with us, who rejoice with us, whom we can help now and then.

And we don't live in town, not because we are anti-social, but because we believe God's voice is most readily heard when there aren't so many other noises clamoring for our attention. Often we hear His reminders to serve those who are in town and so we're thankful to be close enough to town to go in to them. 

There are those who are called to be in the inner city and in the clamor and in the midst of the craziness to do their serving and God enables. I remind my country bumpkin children that if He calls them to live in a city, He will enable them to be joyful there. 

But since we're able to be here in the country, we revel in it. 

And we see God's hand in the glories around us. And we get to know Him better.

"I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you the clear remembrance of the Creator."  Basil the Great (329-379) as quoted in "Almost Amish" by Nancy Sleeth.

"Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that he had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?" St. Augustine (354-430) as quote in "Almost Amish" by Nancy Sleeth.

Notice God wherever you are today. He's there.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Outdoor Hour Challenge - Ants

A cool, crisp autumn day greeted us as we set out on our nature study and exercise walk today. Being part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge, we were particularly looking for ants to study this week. 

We were rewarded by finding a bunch of them happily grouped on a milkweed plant, tending their aphid herd. The aphids secrete something called "honeydew" which the ants eat. The Handbook of Nature Study says "...they are, in fact, merely little animated drops of sap on legs." 

So, the ants defend them from predators and care for them as a farmer cares for his milk cows.

 We also turned over some rocks and logs to watch the ants scurry about and into their tunnels. Some had wings, with one having particularly larger ones. They didn't hang around for long, so neither did we.

Then we went into the house, did most of our drawing and reread the lapbook Peanut had made a couple of years ago with the help of the Alpha Bugs lapbooking stuff on the Lapbook Lessons website.

Here are some of the wonderful and crazy nature notebook drawings. (I can't get the last one to be upright. Sorry.)

I'm thankful to Barb at the Outdoor Hour Challenges for inspiring and encouraging us to be more consistent and deliberate in our nature studies.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

John Deere Wedding Party

We couldn't help but chuckle at the sight we saw on our drive yesterday.

A wedding party was coming out of a building and the colors of the bridesmaids dresses caught our eyes, as did the vehicles into which they climbed for their procession to the reception.

Yes, she is wearing John Deere green and her sash is yellow. The front of the groomsman's vest is bright yellow also.

The vehicles were big, shiny tractors. John Deere, of course. 

The bride and groom were in a combine. (We joked that their lives were now being combined.) Three or four tractors followed the combine the two miles through the small town and out to a farm set up with hay bales for benches as well as tents, tables and chairs. It was a fun thing to see.

Can you tell we live in farm country?