Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Joy of the Lord is my....

The concept of joy has such a special place in my heart, as it shoudl to all of us, but it was the worst days of my life, no hyperbole, when the concept hit me square in the chest.
Growing up, all I could see was a life without choice. Regardless of the proclamations of the world around me, the statistics didn't lie. While the teachers and the books said " you can be whatever you want to be," the statistics said that for children from these parents, from these circumstances, these were the overwhelmingly likely outcomes. I didn't see a choice in it; I saw those statistics, and I believed that what I wanted for my life didn't matter...I was just another statistic.
Sure enough, I found myself falling right into that pattern before I knew. Though it was God's leading, I found myself following those statistics dead on, when Mr. SoulFull and I got married just 6 weeks after high school graduation. Though I felt God's leading, and total love, I couldn't help but let those statistics nag, thinking " but everyone must feel like this at the beginning." I felt like I had no control over the longevity of our marriage; divorce was just something that could happen to us, statistically speaking, regardless of what I felt, it probably would.
I then clearly remember the moment when I realize that THAT was a lie. Thanks to Debi Pearl, and her book , I realized that it was my choice. I realized that if our relationship was about pleasing God, and in the process making myself the best version of myself possible, then I could take the worst possible, divorce-inciting scenario I could think of and just decide NO! just because the world tells me that this should mean divorce, it doesn't have to !
Whether that is the decision I would or should make in those situations is up to my relationship with God, but the idea that I could make a decision, instead of falling into the situation, was liberating.
This may not seem so novel to many, but I guarantee that to me, this was truly a turning point. I stopped being worried about something going wrong, and I started just enjoying being in love; in return, my husband has turned out to be more than any Prince Charming I could have dreamed of.
Yet while I had realized the existence of choice in that one emotionally driven relationship, I hadn't recognized the place of choice in other parts of my emotional and mental world. While I had wanted to have control of my emotions, and certainly of my thoughts, I constantly struggled and felt that it was futile. I come from a family with a long history of untreated depression and anger-management issues. Those things I struggle with still. However,I no longer struggle under the belief that I am destined to be slave to them.
When we discovered we were expecting Bumbles, in the fall of 2008, it was unexpected to say the least. I will avoid the details, but even the midwife agreed that this conception should not have happened from a medical standpoint, but it did (and of course I thank my Lord every day). I was not opposed to another child, in fact I desperately wanted one, just not right then, and especially not when I had thought that God was telling me to close that door and focus on other things he was putting on my plate.
Soon we realized though that THAT was exactly why he'd given us this third blessing; the moment I turned my heart's desire over to him, willing to forfeit it to his will and service, he showed his love. He didn't have to, just as a parent that loves his child and loves to see him smile does not have to give that gift he knows his child will love. BUT if that parent has the opportunity, and it will not cause harm, that parent so loves to bring a smile to his child's face. And isn't it even sweeter when that child is truly grateful ?
So once we overcame the shock and the worry over certain logistical issues, we were thrilled, though still nervous about telling family ( really...another one?!?!)
My morning sickness was awful, but I tried to keep my spirits up. We decided to send Man-Child to public school, since we were juggling school and new baby preparations, but we settled into things and felt that we were truly coming into the happiest days of our lives.
That feeling was compounded when we traveled to Southern California to visit family.
It was a wonderful time to bond to family we had little chance to fellowship with. Mr. SoulFull's grandparents are the founders of the family, as we know it at least, and it was special to be with them and share their great-grandchildren with them. I even hand the opportunity to bond with dear Uncle George, the neighbor who'd become family long before Mr. SoulFull or I was ever born. It was lovely; the weather was lovely.
We were staying through my favorite Holiday, Thanksgiving, and I really thought it was one of the most THANKS filled thanksgivings in my life...up until about 20 minutes after dinner.
Then the world dropped out from under me. Sitting at the table, waiting for my stomach to settle in order to avoid the nausea of the yet-to-be announced pregnancy, we heard the family's dog snarl. In that moment, you usually imagine the worst case-scenario, then you quickly take stock, and move on with only half a thought of how bad that almost was.
Mr. SoulFUll moves much faster than I do on a good day, and when I heard his voice from the kitchen, his ever-calm voice, I could hear a tone I had never heard in all the years we'd been together, and I was bad...
My beautiful two year old, the one that had followed her great Aunty into the kitchen, and whom I thought would be fine without me for just a second, had been bitten by their very big dog.
The first thing I saw, and the way I saw Mr. SoulFull holding her, I thought that she had been bitten in the throat. Within seconds, there was already so much blood that it looked like something from a horror movie. Then in my periphery, I recognize man-child, and I hear him saying " he killed my sister," though it felt almost like hearing something while under water. All I could do was grab him, and go outside. I knew I was useless in the house, and all I could think to do was to take him away from our horror, and to maybe, somehow be useful by flagging down the ambulance when it came.
When man0child shares his part of the story, he always tells people how Mama took him into the yard and started praying to God. I do remember having a very clear sense that he was there, and he'd even been there at the moment when the floor had dropped out. What I can't recall for certain, was whether this one message actually came to me in that moment, standing in the street, waving for teh ambulance, or if it just came in tandem with a flashback.
But we had been pondering a certain name if the suprise #3 were to be a girl. The boy name was already decided, long ago picked for a character from a mutually beloved book, but there girl name was tricky. Looking for something spunky, with maybe a British flavor, I thought of the name in question, and I quickly looked up the meaning. The meaning was pleasant, and it added to the allure, but it was only generally meaningful at that point, not personally meaningful.
But standing in the street, or else reliving that horrible moment, I heard God tell me that THAT was the name...that this baby was coming with JOY, because Joy was a choice. Joy is something that we can choose to have, even in the darkest situation, by choosing to reside in God. Happiness is an emotion. Happiness is uncontrollable and situational, but JOY is a state of being, of being in God and accepting his providence.
Grandma and I followed Fi and Mr. SoulFull in the ambulance. I kept pinching myself to try to make the hurt something tangible that I could deal with. I wanted to scream. I was terrified, and at this point, all I knew was that there was so much blood and that the paramedics had only decided not to airlift her because her Daddy had her calm and they didn't want to jeopardize that. One the way, the car that got in front of us had her (lengthy) initials as its license plate number...
I never saw her before surgery. I needed to steel myself before seeing her, and then Mr. SoulFull, knowing the secret that no one else did at this point, thought it was best I stayed in the waiting room, as he instructed the nurses, where he could keep the baby calm.
The hospital was amazed at how calm he was, and they allowed him to go into the OR, all up until the point of anesthesia. By the time I saw him again, they had given him scrubs to change into, and a bag to hold all of their bloody clothes. Grandma left to go check in with the rest of the family, and Mr. SoulFull and I tried to console one another. As calm as he was, I knew he was shaken.
The doctors called us back to perform mid-surgery consult. This was when I learned the extent of her injuries, and it was as though I felt each part of my own face being ripped apart, along with my heart, as the doctor explained. To help you understand the difference between any dog bite, and this dog bite, the doctor likened this to adult having been bitten by a bear.
Her nose was broken along one side like an egg shell. She had a large laceration on her right cheek, that went through the cheek, through the gums, and had punctured her jaw bone. Her left eye lid had been torn apart, clear across her nose ( my husband had been holding her eyeball into her head in the time it took to get her into the OR). At this point, they could tell that her tear duct system was not just damaged but completely gone, and they were amazed that the eyeball itself was somehow intact (he explained how they removed it to check that the whole orbit of the eye was intact). There were several smaller lacerations on her face, including one under the jaw which was probably what had made me think her throat was bitten. None of them, of course, was as bad as the one to her eye. Another surgeon ended up having to be called in, and again, we had a consult. During the hospital stay, the doctors explained that she would have to have an artifical tube put into allow her eye to tear and drain. They also thought that it would take 5 to six surgeries, besides this initial 4 hour surgery that put everything back together, to make her eye appear a normal shape.
When the little girl in her hospital room saw her for the first time, she cried. It broke my heart.
to be continued...

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I was once a major aficionado of Autumn. I liked the crisp air and smells. My firstborn came in the fall, and it made me love the season all that much more. Other than copious amounts of rain, the Spring season held nothing of interest for me. Granted, as everything in my world switched to mommy-mode,I began to appreciate Spring more, if only because it meant that the confining weather was finishing up.
Now at the Micro Farm, I finally understand. I watch things come up from the ground, like gifts buried for us by the previous owners. I've so far discovered a lovely bleeding heart plant and the beauty of rhubarb; while trees bloom to reveal that I was totally wrong in how I'd identified them.
The baby animals are delightful. Though I am still learning the ropes, I am learning to trust my instinct in animal midwifery as I would in my own pregnancies and births. Since I last posted, we've gained two new does, Eliza and Zammy, both of nice heritage. We dealt with some health issues on Dolce's part and have not been able to milk her. However, with Eliza's kidding on the morning of April 10(Dolce's birthday), I think we will be making up for lost milk :o) Her udder is just wonderful, and when I expressed the colostrum to start the kids, it just poured out like melted butter.
The kids are lovely; a little doeling and buckling this time. The doeling is bigger and has much nicer conformation, at this point, but the buckling is polled (naturally hornless) and will make a nice enough sire for Dolce and Zammy' improving on their udder capacity if nothing else. They are both very pretty and roan, and at this point, every member of the herd looks totally different. to the untrained eye, they may even look like different breeds of goats.
Zammy, or Solar Flare, as she is properly called, stands out by not standing out, so to speak. her coloring is the plainest, or as I would prefer to call it, the most subtle. She is white with very light, very round spot of cream, gold, and chocolate. She lost a single buckling do to the cold, just before we got her. She is very loving toward Eliza's kids, more than I could imagine, cleaning them and playing with them. Mr. MicroFarm think it must be good therapy for her, and I look forward to giving her a chance to raise her own as soon as the buckling is ready.
The Micro children chose the kids' names, and we chose registered names to suit and tie them together; we want full-blood siblings to have themed names to make it easier to identify relationships.
Behold: Deliteful HS Poseidon's Dragon and Deliteful HS Serendipity Siren Drago and Mermaid

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We did it !

At 1:03 PM, Thursday February the 4th, we had our first goat kid born here at the micro farm ! We were really hoping for a little girl or two, but it turned out that it was just one big (for a Nigerian) baby boy ! He's such a beautiful little thing, and it is a shame we won't be able to breed him, as his Dad is yet unproven, though from VERY good bloodlines.
If nothing else, we learned a lot of good things. I have an understanding of what to look out for the next time we breed Dolce, and we learned what a good mama and a good kidder she is! She was being very skittish in the days leading up to his birth, but as soon as he was out, she cleaned him up and gladly accepted some baby food (she loves to eat the baby's leftovers !). To top it off, she is even more tolerant of our little Frost-T, now that her own little boy is here.She is even letting the little piggy nurse, which is very unusual. This means that if we ever have an emergency in the future, we know that we have a doe that will readily adopt babies in need !We're trying to separate Frost-T at night to make sure that the little guy is getting enough food,but I'm also thrilled that Frost-T is getting to be a goat's goat...mama raised babies have nicer personalities in my opinion.
I'm just in love with these little creatures. Dolce is like a friend and a helper. I love watching motherhood in all its forms, and she is such a good mother.She may not have perfect show qualities, but she makes up for it in good character. I love the routine of caring for the animals, and I can't wait to start milking in a few weeks ( once we know baby boy is getting his fill). It's so much fun learning; we even witnessed our first vaccines, disbudding, and banding this past Sunday.
So today, our little boy is one week old. t seems his name is Billy Idol. what a silly billy he is :o) He has at least one moonspot on his shoulder, like his Daddy, where Mama's moonspots are on her neck. He also has ticking spot like Dolce, except his are are carmel on white. very cute boy !

Friday, January 15, 2010

Trite but true

Milch means "milk" in German, while Miel means "honey" in French. We come from French and German ancestry. Then, we learned how to be a family while stationed overseas in Germany. Shortly after, God used our 2007 trip to Paris to remind us how dear he holds the desires of our hearts. This is our land of milk and our Micro herd has a name: the Milch & Miel Micro Herd.
Apparently, the Talmud explains that the bible's " land flowing with milk and honey" was actually a diect reference to goats. Goats would forage in fig trees, leaving the fruit's juice, known as fruit honey, dripping down their chins. the abundance of food allowed them to become full of milk. Literally, the land would be flowing in milk and honey. ( Ketubot 111b, Megill 6a, Ramban, Shmot 3:8).
It may not be the most original name in the world; a Google search reveals other farms with variations on the name. So, we became the Milch & Miel Micro Herd, here on SoulFull acres. This place is the realization of our hopes, the fruit of our diligence, and the nourishment for our future.
" A vision without a task is but a dream, a task without a vision is but drudgery; but a vision with a task can change the world " Chief Black Elk

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Here we go again

As my blogger profile can testify, I've tried to get a blog going several times. I thought of deleting those other attempts, but I realized how much I appreciate the documentation of where we've been an how far we've come. Since our first family blog, Beware of the Griff, we've added two wonderful daughters to the family; and Beware of The Griff, Sera, and Bea just doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
We've been abundantly blessed. This past December we had the opportunity to purchase our first home, a modest little place, well within the budget God gave us, with a little over an acre. We knew it was the house when we got here, like the previous owners had set it up with all of our aspirations in mind. With God's help, the process from deciding to buy a house to moving in was just over a month long. Now the fun part begins...
In the middle of all of the other busy busy blessings in our lives (finishing my teaching degree, the military, not to mention 3 bumbling munchkins) we're setting to work turning our visions into realities. As I type, there is a hutch full of rabbits outside (Abraham, Sarah, and Bekah), just waiting to become part of this family's lively hood. I've had a long time to try to reconcile my family's need for meat with our world's wastes and abuses. If we are going to eat meat, we want to raise it ourselves; ethically, environmentally, and healthily. We intend that our children will learn to love and respect God's creation, and how he provides for us through it, by caring for it themselves.
This Saturday, we will be picking up the beginnings of our Nigerian Dwarf Goat herd. Like the rabbits, these goats are meant to aid our attempt at self-sustained living. In return for love and care, we ask them to give us milk, free lawn-mowing, and fertilizer for our future garden. Beyond that, I expect that the children and I will have the pleasure of learning about anatomy, herd management, genetics, and even a little midwifery.
In the main bathroom, the toilet is currently sitting in the bathtub; we can't help but revel in this opportunity to make this home feel like our own, doing the necessary maintenance and adding the less necessary decoration.
" A vision without a task is a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery- but a task with a vision can change the world" -Chief Black Elk. So we are jumping in head first; using the resources God blessed us with to live the life we dream.