hello. goodbye.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

hello april, goodbye march
hello spring and long awaited sunshine, goodbye {hopefully} gloomy days
hello flowers, goodbye snow

hello first pedicure of 2015, goodbye neglected, naked toes
hello josh turner concert
hello next egg hatch

hello Easter Sunday and singing He Lives at church alongside my Dad
hello much needed girls weekend
what are YOU saying hello and goodbye to?

When You're Only Left With Sadness

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Not long ago, I wrote this post about a super ouchie, hurtful situation we had endured as a family.  That was nearly five months ago.  In that time the dust has settled, the anger has retreated and what I'm left with is hurt.  Hurt and sadness.

My mind has been spinning lately with where to go next.  What do you do with the hurt?  How do you cope with the sadness?

My first thought it to just put it in a little, pretty jar and place it on a shelf.  File it away and just forget about it.  Honestly, that's what I've tried to do thus far and it just hasn't worked.

Every circumstance God allows in our lives gives us the opportunity to make a choice...will we allow it to grow us and become better, or will we allow it to make us bitter?

Even though I'm hurt, and some days sad, I don't want to allow that to take root in my heart.  Not long ago I walked through a hard valley in life where nearly every drop of joy drained from me. Those days were hard and long. Days when tears flowed easily and I've felt like throwing my hands in the air and just being done. Days where I was withdrawn, building walls around myself and just wanting to stay inside my safe little home.

I can't return there. And with that, I'm on the road to healing my heart.


I'm going to be honest, I'm not a good forgiver.  If there is one thing I'm good at, it's holding a grudge. Actually, I might even be considered a professional grudge holder. Forgiveness, no matter who it is directed to, is something that just doesn't come easily to me.  Add in someone hurting my children as well and it's doubly as hard.

How do you forgive the one who caused such pain. And created those hurt, deep, searing wounds.

What does Jesus say about holding a grudge? He commands us to overlook sins and forgive those who hurt us. He doesn't ask us to do that, the Lord commands us to do that.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

But somewhere buried in our subconscious, we think the rules don’t apply to us. The pain we know doesn't fit the requirements of forgiveness.  

And then we become resentful, angry, unforgiving and cold. 

I am beginning with one simple statement...this is my opportunity to show them Jesus through me.  To be kind and tenderhearted, expecting nothing in return.  

Reaching out

This one is hard for me. Whether I want to admit it or not, this girl can be so proud! That certainly isn't an endearing quality. God’s Word has much to say about pride.

When we love our relationships, we should have no room for pride and arrogance to creep in. Regardless of who is to blame, when we are really serious about reconciling a relationship, we put aside our pride and sometimes that means being the first one to take the step towards restoration.

Forgiveness doesn't always equal relationship

Sometimes relationships flat-line and some are just toxic. I honestly just don’t know how to take a single step forward in a relationship that has dead-ended.  Ones where there is no earthly way of moving forward. Where I just don’t know which way to go.

All I do know is this, we are to love one another.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34

I have to believe that forgiveness and love doesn't mean we're required to have a relationship.  

Love doesn't mean we walk back in. It doesn't mean we forget. It doesn't mean it didn't happen and we aren't thankful that the journey brought us out.

It means we continue to love, even from a distance. We choose the best for them, for us, for this time. We refuse bitterness.  We refuse anger.  We refuse to keep allowing our heart to stir. We become aware of our pain and we seek and find healing.

When you don’t know how to move forward, choose love. When there seems to be no earthly way of moving on, choose love.

Meal Planning Monday

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday - Breakfast for dinner {sausage and hash brown balls, eggs and homemade bread for toast}

Tuesday - Ham and bean soup with homemade bread

Wednesday - Sloppy Joe Bubble Up

Thursday - French Dip Beef Sammy, homemade rolls, corn and onion rings at the request of my youngest little. This is her absolute fav meal.

Friday - Hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and macaroni salad

Saturday - Out to dinner

Sunday - Easter dinner at my Mama's house...ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and cole slaw

What is Homesteading?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I've often wondered what we'd be considered...a farm, a homestead or neither?  I dove in to some research to get my answer.

What is Homesteading?

Wikipedia defines homesteading as:
a lifestyle of simple, agrarian self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.”
But what REALLY is homesteading? What does it look like?

Again, the answer really depends on who you ask. To me, homesteading is becoming self-sufficient and it can be done wherever you live.  And you don't have to have acres on acres of land to do it.

Why and How Did We Begin Homesteading?

I grew up in a little country town with parents who were either raised on or around farms.  All my life, I've heard stories of farming and living off the land.  Even though they were explained further as hard work, the stories always made my mind drift away.  Throughout that, and honestly feeling it was just born into me, I've always had a strong desire in my heart to live off the land.  

In the Spring, you could always hear the familiar puttputt of our 1939 John Deere H making it way out of the garage.  Y'all have no idea how many hours I spent standing on that plow.  We would plow, mark, plant, water and weed our garden all summer.  And in the fall, my Mom would spend hours in the kitchen canning.  That was just our normal.  Once I got married and moved into my own house {right next door}, it was only natural to do the same.  

A few years ago, after a medical issue, I was able to fully retire and become what I've always dreamed of...a stay-at-home Mama. 

And so we began our homesteading lives.

One of the first thing we did was buy chickens. They say chickens are “the gateway” livestock. Well, that statement is the absolute TRUTH. Chickens turned into more chickens this year. With a new, bigger coop on the way. And now serious talks about goats and perhaps pigs {sorry Mom}.

I make 99% of our food from scratch. I can, freeze, dehydrate and preserve. The beginning years of just spaghetti sauce have now turned into canning everything I can get my hands on!  Including being obsessed with making my own stocks {chicken, beef and ham}.  This year I'm going to give making my own "cream soups" a whirl.

It’s a homesteading life. And one I sure do love.

What else is Homesteading?

The beauty of homesteading is it can be whatever you want it to be.  It can be on as much or as little land as you have.  It can be canning the vegetables that you buy at the farmers market or preserving the peaches you buy from the Amish man down the road.  It can be having chickens in your tiny backyard in the middle of the city.  

It's simple living that is hard work.  It takes time and energy to homestead, however, it’s about consuming less and producing more. It’s about cherishing real things such as animals, fresh eggs, fresh milk, vegetables growing on a plant and through it all seeing His mighty creation and knowing that He’s real.

A Legacy of Love {In Pictures}

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Today is the wedding anniversary of two pretty amazing people in my life. A couple I've been absolutely blessed to call Mom and Dad. Fifty one years is a long time y'all, especially in this day and age. To honor their super special day, I'm re-posting a blog I did last year about their legacy of love.

Last week, as I was cleaning my new office space in my home, I came across a box. As I opened the lid and peeked inside, I saw it was filled with old pictures. Instantly my heart soared.

As I've said before, I am enamored with old photos. So much so that it sparked this insatiable craving to take pictures of people. To me, pictures are priceless treasures. I found a box full of moments, perfectly captured, allowing me to travel back in time.

I settled down on the floor, sitting indian style and pulling the box over in front of me. As I started rifling through the photos, I realized what I was actually looking at. A smile graced my lips. I was looking at love letters, in pictures, my parents had sent back and forth while they were dating. My dad was in the military and stationed across the country. So their only way of communication was through letters and pictures.

At first, I felt like I had barged into a secret diary. But I just couldn't stop looking, reading and smiling. This is where the legacy of love began. The legacy that was passed to me and now on to my children.

And now the tears begin.

These pictures, so innocent and hopeful, with no idea of the future. Thinking about all of the highs, lows, and wonderful things they've experienced together over the years brought me to tears. They had no sense of the struggles they would eventually face. They had no idea they would someday have to hold each other through cancer, the death of loved ones and lost jobs. That one day they would travel to another state and adopt the sweetest baby girl ever. They had one thing...love.

Through that love, and devotion to each other, they sat such an amazing example of marriage and parenting for me. Every day, they wrote more of their legacy together. A legacy that will be remembered in lives long past their days on this earth. When we say words like legacy or inheritance, money or heirlooms usually come to mind. But the legacy I’m speaking of is different. It’s a legacy of priceless and intangible things. They've built a legacy of loving God, loving others before yourself and having a selfless heart.

I was given directly by God a family with two parents who are still married. I was given a family where both sets of grandparents were married until their dying day. A family that bonds closer together during tough times rather than throwing in the towel. At times, I wonder how I got so lucky...to be hand-picked by God and placed into this amazing family. Like a whisper in the wind I’m reminded that luck had nothing to do with it. This is part of my story, the one He wrote long before I was born.

They are incredible parents, living out a legacy of love passed down from both of their parents! They have never tried to be perfect, but they have tried to love me and others well and show us the best example of Christ that they could. They know how to fight when the enemy brings the battle close to home and they know how to praise when another battle is won. They are my legacy of love.

More {Book Review}

Friday, March 27, 2015

From Messes to Miracles
by Tammie Head

About the book:
Perhaps you keep wishing your life were better than what you are currently experiencing now. What if more of God is actually what’s missing from your life? Do you encounter the freedom God brings each day? Whether it's a messy life or a messy problem in your life, it can become a walking miracle when we see God anew and wholly surrender to Him.

You were made for more than surviving. Old stale religion never satisfies. Neither do the solutions the world has to offer. What all of us need is an encounter with God that reveals truth and sets our hearts ablaze. Tammie has seen this in her own life as well as in countless lives around her. Join her in More for a picture of how you can move from a life marked by messes to one that is truly miraculous.
I was thrilled when I was asked to review this book, especially since I relate so personally to the subtitle, “From Messes to Miracles”, in my own life. If there is a girl who can make a mess of her life in a hurry, it's this one right here.

Tammie’s book is so truly inspiring. She shares her own experiences from her old messed-up life before encountering God and how blessed her new life is after bringing God into it. She has such amazing transparency about her past, her faith and her journey. Every single one of us has a story, our own journey, and they are all different. The only thing they need to have is common is that they all point to Jesus. She stresses the necessity of inviting God into all the messy places of our hearts so that He can bring about healing. Wide open hearts is where our encounter with God begins!

Here is a Q & A with Tammie, where she answers questions about her life and her book.

1. What do you want readers to learn from reading your book?  

People everywhere are looking for something more. Churched and nonchurched alike. They're in the grocery store aisle behind you, in the nail chair beside you, singing praise songs in front of you, and perhaps in the mirror staring back at you. People feel messy; plagued by looming feelings of ineffectiveness, indifference, depression, and purposelessness.  However, all of us were made for more than surviving. Old stale religion never satisfies. Neither do the solutions the world has to offer. What all of us need is an encounter with God that reveals truth and sets our hearts ablaze. I have seen this in my own life as well as in countless lives around me.

2. Your life was a bit of a mess before you came to know Christ. How has He used your story to advance His kingdom?

I have watched God use my story repeatedly as a tenderizing agent for hardened hearts toward God. People cannot believe what God has done for me. In turn, I have also been privileged to lead many people to Christ, to the One who changed me. People are glad to know God loves and pursues even the messiest of people.  

3. What encouragement do you have for men and women who feel like their lives are too messy for God to use?

If God can use me, He can use anyone! But even more profound than "He can" is this: He wants to! God specializes in taking the most broken of lives and turning them around for His glory. The Bible is full of broken men and women who, after encountering the Lord, were used dramatically by God
and for His kingdom.

4. What encouragement do you have for men and women who are yearning to have more in their lives?

The more we're longing for, at the end of the day, is God. More of His presence. More of His love. More of His power. And so on! What I want men and women to know is God wants "so much more" of us than we could ever want "so much more" Him. The deal is, we must risk making more room for God. The key is sitting with Him, soaking Him in, allowing Him to minister to us on a deep level and, lastly, deeply surrendering our lives to Him day-by-day.

5. What are some resources for readers who are ready to take the next step and start living for more?

I have written a Bible study called Duty or Delight: Knowing Where You Stand with God. I think that would be a great resource for digging deeper into more of a relationship with God.

You can also enter to win a copy as Icon Media has generously offered a FREE copy of the book to one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I will announce the winner on April 1st. Please don’t forget to share this review with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. You just might change a life!

TAMMIE HEAD is a Bible teacher, published author, and speaker. Rescued by God from a life in the sex industry, she works to spread the news that miracles still happen today. Tammie is married to her husband Erin, and the two have two daughters, Peyton and Sierra.

10 God Truths Our Littles Need to Know

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We see every generation fall further and further away from God and essentially away from core family values. There are certain things I want to make sure my kids know. And I want to be the one that teaches them these values and truths. It's either I teach them truth or the world teaches them lies.

1. You were uniquely designed you to be YOU. You are His perfectly perfect creation, handcrafted by the same hands that made the stars. There are billions of us here on earth, but does that make any of us less valuable? Absolutely not! If you found billions of diamonds would they be less valuable because there were so many? Jesus skillfully crafted the body, mind and soul of each and every human being in his/her mother's womb. So the next time your self-esteem is lacking or you feel not as pretty, thin, popular, etc. as the next person, just smile and thank the God who made you, died for you, and wants the best for you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13

2. You will never be perfect. God does not demand our perfection to get His love. God knows there is a gap between His perfectness and our imperfection. It's there and it will always be there. But if you've put your faith in Jesus and received Him into your life then you've been declared righteous. You are covered under His grace, declared righteous and are precious in His eyes and you are held in the hand of His care. You are HIS and he loves you unconditionally.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 3:23 

3. Honor your parents. This is a big one guys. God gave one commandment to children, obey your parents. This is more than just obeying them, it's treating them like important people.  It's treating them with love and respect. Sometimes we are asked to do hard things that we don't understand, don't want to do, don't feel like doing or that anger us. But remember, when we obey God we always know that he will bless us and make us happy.

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:12

4. Guard your heart. You are to keep your heart safe and guard it from attack. Just a little side note...because everyone else is doing it is not a good excuse. There is a real war going on right now over your soul. Every single day satan prowls around and looks for an opportunity to pounce on your heart. You must be a warrior, put on the armor of God and guard your heart against attack. You need to be on guard about the occult, sexual sin, envy, greed, sassyness, gossip, lying, anger and pride. This is just a teeny tiny list of what to be on guard about.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23

5. Learn forgiveness. We are to forgive others just as God has forgiven us. remember, we are all sinners and not a single one of us is perfect. We are literally obligated as God’s children to extend to others His unlimited capacity to forgive.

For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Matthew 6:14-15

6. A monkey is not your father. Evidence of creation is simple, it's outlined in Gods word. God created the Heavens and the earth by simply speaking them into existence. He created the land, seas, plants, sun, moon, earth, lights, birds, creeping animals, and humans. He spoke them into being. He made man and woman in His image. He made us different from the rest of creation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

7. Purity is cool. While the world would tell you differently. Just look around, we are constantly bombarded by sex. When you fall in love, it's natural to want to express your love in physical ways. But you also know God wants you to remain sexually pure—in both your actions and your thoughts. Sometimes it's a tough balance, but showing love for another and remaining pure is possible. Respect yourself, respect your partner but most importantly respect God.

Think of what an amazing gift you would be able to give your future husband/wife on your wedding day. Not only would you be giving them your whole heart but you could also give them your whole body as well. What an awesome gift that would be!

PS...Real love doesn't say "If you love me, you'll do ________". Real love says "Since I care about you so much, I will respect you, treat you with kindness and never ask you to do something you know is wrong."

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18

8. Spend time in Gods word. Although the Bible can be a challenge to read (um, hello...it doesn't read like an ordinary book, was written over thousands over years age by nearly 40 different authors and in several languages) God gave us this for a reason. Every answer you ever, ever need for a life problem can be found in this book. The only way to grow more in your walk with God is to dig in there and get in His word. Thankfully, there are different Bible translations now that make it way easier for us to read and understand.

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 11:19

9. Anger is never the answer. Being angry at someone isn't going to change their heart. Ask God to help you control your anger. It can ruin a relationship quick quick quick. Anger shows your worst side. And often, things said in anger are horrible, ugly and not really meant. And once they are said there is no going back.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 1:19

10. You are loved, always. God is love. God can't help loving because it is an essential part of His character. He goes looking for us when we wander away from Him. He won’t rest until He finds us and brings us back home to Him. He will pursue us tirelessly until we are returned to Him, our loving Father. And He doesn't care if we are messy or missing some parts when He finds us. He welcomes us home to Him just the way we are.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8

Meal Planning Monday {on a Tuesday}

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday - WalMart chicken and mashed potatoes, easy peasy 

Tuesday - Million Dollar Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Wednesday - Hotdogs with Jdawg sauce on homemade buns

Thursday -  Homemade Meat Pie {recipe below}.  It's my hubby's fav meal AND since he's finally back on first shift, we're celebrating! 

Friday - Breakfast for dinner {sausage and hash brown balls, eggs and homemade bread for toast} 

Saturday - Out to dinner

Sunday - BBQ Chicken and Cheesy Potatoes

Homemade Meat Pie

Right away, you'll notice that there aren't many measurements here. That's because the amount of leftovers varies! Just sort of eyeball it.
  • left over beef roast and gravy
  • frozen corn
  • refrigerated pie crust
  • frozen cubed hash browns
Preheat oven to 350ยบ.  Line your casserole or pie dish with one of the pie crusts {two come in a box}.  Although if you're using a casserole dish, it's sometimes hard to stretch one crust over it all.  Just keep at it, trust me, it seems impossible but eventually it will cover it all.  Once I get the crust in, I prick it with a fork a few times and throw it in the oven to cook it a bit before adding the filling.  Make sure to watch it so it doesn't burn.  

For the filling, I heat up the leftover gravy on the stove, adding water if necessary.  Shred up the leftover roast and throw it in the gravy.  I thaw the hash browns out first and put them in the gravy mix.  If it's getting too thick, add more water.  I normally only add half the bag.  I have fresh corn in my freezer that I did up last summer.  So I thaw that and add half the bag, saving the rest to eat alongside the pie. Once everything is heated through, I add it to the bottom crust.  Put the other pie crust on top and cut slits to allow the steam to escape.

Cook for 30 - 45 minutes, until top crust is golden brown.

Judging Others

Sunday, March 22, 2015

This is a subject God has been laying on my heart for quite a while now. And I kept saying "Awwwww God, are you sure? This is a hard topic!". I seriously doubted I could do it and I made a million excuses as to why I couldn't. Honestly, I've been putting it off. It's a risky subject to talk about. It's a subject that every. single. person. in the world likes to weigh in on. As I keep putting it off, God keeps nudging me and has met me at my doubts. He even put a book in my path that was filled with this topic. Finally, today, I'm trusting Him with it.

The topic...judging others.

First of all, let me get it out there: I am a recovering judge. Not the good kind, who approaches sinners in love and addresses sin in a biblical manner. But the bad kind, who casts judgment with a condescending glance {y'all, I have this look down pat}, a whispered tsk-tsk and an eye roll. When I was first married, my husband would say "You think you're so much better than them" and I would promptly respond with "No, I know I'm better than them". I know, I know...not my most shining moment as a Christian. I'm telling y'all, I bet working on this girls heart wore God out some days!

How many times have we all heard ‘Don’t Judge Me’, ‘Judge not’, ‘Stop Judging and Love’, ‘Who am I to judge?’ or other similar ones these days. And I'm sure we've all saw the quote below. I see it just about daily either on a friends Facebook wall or pinned on their Pinterest. While I agree, we all do sin differently, I was curious about this subject from a Biblical perspective.

As Christians, we are often accused of being judgmental. Goodness, poor Phil Robertson created two media crazystorms being accused of being judgmental. As soon as you start talking about judging, the first verse pulled out is Matthew 7:1, Judge not, that ye be not judged.

I do agree with this...tearing others down, judging harshly, judging their hearts, making rash and unkind judgments is all wrong. Totally wrong. It's absolutely not our place to judge others hearts. There is only one person that can do that, God.

But if we were all honest, don't we all judge every day? Don't we all make calls every day based on wisdom and discernment? Y'all, that's judging! As a Mama, don't you judge television shows to see if your kids can watch them? As a wife, don't you judge what actions you should and shouldn't do? Don't we make daily calls on what is wise to spend our money on? And hello, have you ever sat on a jury? Yep, that was all you judging someone. So can we really actually say we should all just stop judging?

Did Jesus judge others? I mean, surely He came into contact with tons of sinners. How did He handle it? When Jesus encountered people who were caught in sin, first He showed them love, (the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery), then He told them to go and sin no more. He never insisted they stop sinning first.

Wow. So before He judged them, He loved on them. He didn't scoff at them, roll His eyes and treat them poorly.  He didn't throw His hands up and say "Yeow, is this one ever a doozy" {actually, He may have said that while working on my heart, ha}.  What did Jesus do?  HE LOVED THEM! Is it easier to hear criticism from someone if they loved on you first? If they said it with kindness and you knew their heart was in the right place? You betcha! It's all about love people. Gods greatest commandment was love one another {John 13:34}.

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

Matthew 18:15

Now let's get to the hard part, the actual judging. The Bible tells us that we are our brothers keeper and we are to care about each other. If we see someone in the church that is struggling, it's our place to go to them in love and talk to them. In essence, judge. Honestly, what our "judging" should look like is being filled to the top and over flowing with love, caring and helpfulness. We all stumble and fall and we all need someone to help pick us up.

Is there a pregnant teen in your church? Take her to lunch, see what she needs, throw her a shower...SHOW her God's love. Is there someone in your church having an affair? Go meet privately with them, tell them you know what's going on and ask how you can help, direct them to a marriage counselor...SHOW them God's love. Is there a new member of your church that is homosexual? Take them to lunch, get to know them, reach out to them...SHOW them God's love. That, my sweet friends, is what our judging should look like.

Let me end this by saying I'm far from perfect myself and sure need lots of reminding from the Lord as to how my walk should be going. But thankfully His grace is new every morning. I just hope to maybe give a little honesty and hopefully open your heart to God's direction.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Chickens

Saturday, March 21, 2015

In this house, we are animal lovin' fools. I must add, I was also born with a touch of farmer in me. So for years, having backyard chickens has crossed my mind. Every time I would bring it up, I was met with a resounding no. But this girl, she's a persistent one! I guess I just wore them down until the answer yes {actually, more like an I guess so}.

I spent months researching different breeds, narrowing down what ones I wanted and one day I just took the plunge and ordered them. I just jumped in blindly with both feet. I kinda roll like that sometimes. I think that might be a quality of mine that drives my Mama nuts.

So, you're thinking you might want to keep backyard chickens? Have you been doing tons of online research like I did? Once you've read all the articles, browsed all the blogs and bought the "backyard chickens for dummies" now it's time for some just honest, self-learned lessons. Some lessons are just plain painful {and expensive} to learn by experience. So hopefully I can share some info here that will spare you from those.

Just do it. That's my first piece of advice. Just take the plunge and get them. But first, check your local ordinances and zoning code regulations. I live in the country, so I didn't really have any I needed to abide by. I know many forbid roosters and some even have a limit on the number you can have. I would also assume if you live somewhere that requires building permits, you might need one to build your coop.

If you’re buying chicks, remember vent sexing is only 90% accurate.  So even when you've only ordered females, you may get males.  I think we've all named a Lucy later to realize it's a Ricky.  Chances are you will discover you have a male at some point too.  So if you live in a city where roosters aren't allowed, have a plan ahead of time.

The average chicken has a lifespan of between five and seven years. This doesn't mean chickens won’t live longer, however. My flock is still young {less than a year old} so I can't speak from experience on this one.

Chickens have to be shut up at night or they will get killed.  We don't allow our chickens to free-range, so we don't have this issue.  They go from the coop into the run, which has a top cover on it.  Chickens are basically the snack food of the predator world.  Think foxes, raccoons and even hawks like to have a little evening chicken snack.  Be sure to lock them in a coop each night.

Some chickens are just mean. In fact, I have two mean witches in my coop right now. And if they don't soon shape up, I have their walking papers ready. They are bullies and just love to pick on whoever is bottom of the pecking order.

Oh yes, let's talk about the pecking order.  Even when they are chicks, you will see them chest bumping and stretching their necks out at each other.  As they grow older, this "fighting" will continue.  They are establishing a pecking order.  Every coop has one.

Chickens can deal with cold weather far better than hot weather. The body temperature of a chicken typically hovers around 102 degrees. Because they are wearing a down coat all year round, they will need access to shade and cool water at all times.  We placed our coop in a spot where all afternoon they have nice shade.

Hens will take a break from laying eggs in the winter months. Generally this is when they lose old feathers and grow new ones. Hens need about 14 hours of daylight to lay eggs consistently.  Although I have to say, my girls never stopped laying completely.  They may have slowed down a bit, especially on the extremely cold days.  But every single day this winter I got at least one egg.

Have what you need before they arrive. If you buy them as chicks, you will need to have a brooder set up. A brooder is a heated container that can have it's temperature controlled. It's used to house your chicks, with their feed and water, until they are 6 weeks old and ready to go outside. Although I will tell you, your chicks can't move outside until the weather is warmer. I waited until the days were in the 60's or better. So if you purchase during the winter months, get ready to have those babies in your house for a good while. Unless you have a heated coop.

Chickens do get sick and die. Good night, do I ever know this. We've lost 2 from our flock in less than a year. Local veterinarians probably won’t be able to help you either, as very few of them are trained to understand poultry diseases. You will have to either read up on your own or find other more experienced chicken keepers who can advise you. What I would suggest is joining a group, like Backyard Chickens. There are also quite a few Facebook group specifically for chicken owners. You have no idea how many questions I ask them. Seriously y'all, I bet they are sick to death of me. BUT that is the perfect way to find out what is going on with your sick chicken.

Chicken math is a real thing. You start out with 8 cute little chicks. Surely that's enough, right? They grow up, move to the coup and start laying. Then Tractor Supply has chick days. And, I mean, you HAVE to go in there to get supplies. Hearing those sweet little chirps coming from the center isle. There is no possible way to walk past them without looking, unless you're the scrooge and don't have a heart! You see those little balls of fluff and instantly, you must. add. to. your. flock. At that point, it's not even a question. Chicken math has already set in, and there isn't any going back. Before you know it you have 8 in the coop, 4 in the brooder and just set 12 eggs in the incubator. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

Chicken math may also branch out into other birds.  Such as pigeons, as we found out last summer.  We now have a pigeon named Tim living in our coop.  Fairly sure he thinks he's a chicken, he gets right in there and fights for food with those big girls.  And I have to admit, I think Tim may need a wife.  I wonder if this is classified as pigeon math?

Your pullets (female chickens under one year) will start laying when they’re between four and six months old. Don’t be concerned if the first eggs will be small, they'll get larger with time.  And let me tell you, those first non-egg months drag on.  Every morning I would trot to the coop, hopeful to see my first egg.  Nothing.  You see, I had this perfect little laying box set up for them.  And that's where I expected them to lay. Then one night I was getting a little heat light set up for them.  I bent down to plug it in and could not believe my eyes.  There was a pile of eggs like you would never believe...13 of them!  They had been laying for days, and I missed it.  So also realize, they will lay where ever THEY want to, not where you want them to.

There will always be lots of poop. You just have to get use to it and not get skeeved out. One day I tended the chicks before rushing out the door to meet a friend for coffee. In all my rushing, I didn't realize I somehow had poop on my jeans. Seriously, get ready for chicken poop for days. I'm still baffled at how one little bird can poop so much. Goodness.

Keep water and food bowls clean and free from funny-looking growth {and poop}. You have to clean their water container daily.  And as soon as you clean it, they will scratch around and throw nonsense back in it.  And usually some jokester will somehow poop in it as well.  I'm nearly convinced they do this as a way to drive me insane.  But seriously, keep everything clean in the brooder and the coop.

And last but not least, you will talk to your chickens. You will name them and talk to them like they are human. You will have your morning coffee with them. Or wait, that might just be me. You will take selfies with them and instagram them. You will notice their little personalities, and occasionally try to talk to non-chicken people about them. Those people have no desire to hear your chicken stores. These chickens will come running when they hear your voice, and your heart will flutter. They love me, they really love me ♡

Why I Write

Friday, March 20, 2015

Why do I write this blog?
The answer is really simple.

I write for Him.
I write because He has given me a passion and a heart for marriage.
I write for broken hearts.
I write because I stumble.
I write to help marriages that are hurting as well as help strengthen healthy marriages.
I write to help you enjoy and grow in the beautiful covenant that God created.
I write to let you know you aren't alone. Ever.
I write because I'm not perfect.
I write to share that we all have our own story and our own past.
I write to share my pain and joy, my struggles and triumphs.
I write in hopes that my struggles will help you in your own walk.
I write to honor God with my words.
I write out of love.
I write because He nudges my heart.
I write because He is still working on me.
I write because He knows my heart.
I write because He has a plan for my life.
I write because He has called me to write.
I write to share love, not anger.
I write to heal, not cause conflict.
I write to share harmony, not criticism.
I write to speak truth that is sometimes hard to hear.
I write because I believe.
I write simply out of my absolute love for Him.

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