Monday, April 7, 2014

It's Just their Nature

Take a look at this sweet video:

Brian decided the ducklings needed to learn to swim this morning and then this evening, the girls were sad they missed out, so they had a 2nd swim.  I smile every time I watch these videos! 

As I was watching them take their first dip in their pond (i.e. my bathtub) this morning, I noticed a couple of things:
  • They didn't have to be taught to do what comes natural to them.  Even Itty-Bitty (as I call the smallest black one) paddled and floated right alongside the bigger ones. 
  • Once they realized they could do it, they were diving and swimming all over the tub!  They were so excited! It was as if they thought, "THIS is what I was made to do!"
  • They "get" community.  When we took the little one out to dry it off, the others started peeping loudly at us.  In fact, they all peeped until the 4 of them were back together again under their heat lamp.  They knew when one was missing. And when they all got back together again, all was right in their little world.

I know I sound like a crazy lady!  I can't seem to stop posting about these precious creatures!  I wish I could tell you that my posts were done, but the baby swallows should be hatching soon and Spot, Caroline's turtle, just came out of hibernation, so there will probably be more in the coming weeks.

The thing I keep thinking over and over is how fearfully and wonderfully they are made.  Even things like oil gland and sinuses on these ducklings just amaze me. If God loves these animals that much, how much more does He love you and me??? 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

This Life

Spring is my favorite season.  Even with the rain and tornadoes, I still love it.  I love the green-ness of everything.  I love that I can hear the birds on my porch again.  I love that I get to smell one of my favorite smells--grass that's just been mowed!  I literally get a tad bit giddy when I think of all that spring brings. 

Spring has brought a season of busy-ness to the Royal house.  On top of the 10 chickens we already had (which I have failed to blog about), we added 4 new ducklings.  I know the quality of the pic isn't the greatest, but you can see the first 2 we got sitting on my lap--which I absolutely love to do each night (and have not been pooped on YET--I'm sure it's coming). 

As much as I love our chickens, too, they are in the doghouse right now with me.  A few nights ago, when the tornado was coming our way, I couldn't get them in their house.  Finally, after chasing them in the rain and hail, I had to leave 2 to fend for themselves.  I could just see the headlines, "Crazy lady dies in tornado trying to save her chickens."  Even I draw the line somewhere.

Here are a few snapshots of our life the past month:

Caroline got to celebrate a dear friend's birthday AND ride a horse!
Brian brought 2 more ducks home a week after I talked him into the first 2.  It's amazing to see how big they get in a week!  I was also surprised that they don't quack at first--they "peep."
We actually got to enjoy soccer practice because the weather cooperated. 
I made some fun baskets for the weekly popcorn party Caroline's school does for the kids.  After helping to pop and bag the popcorn every Friday, I leave smelling like a movie theater, but I LOVE that our school does stuff like this for the kids!  It's such a moral-booster!
Brian  planted a few peach trees and a birch tree--AND surprised me with my favorite flower for our front porch.  I heart hydrangeas!
It's been a full month!  For someone who typically looks back and wishes I would have done things differently, I have NO regrets about our move.  I have been surprised at what an animal lover I have become and can't wait to walk outside every morning to see them all (except the ducklings who are still in our laundry room).  I know this world is not my home, but I am so thankful for the temporary digs I've been given and the people and creatures I get to share it with!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago, our sweet granny was having surgery to replace her aortic valve that had been deteriorating for years.  This picture was taken about a week after she got out of the hospital. 

Needless to say, it was a scary time and we all worried that she would not make it through, but without the surgery, she did not have much longer. 

God, in His way of handling all of the details, made is so that out of all the doctors in the country, the one who operated on Granny was the dad of a dear friend of mine.  A friend who had been telling me about this awesome new procedure they did to extend life on people. For those of you who don't believe in God, this is just a big coincidence--maybe karma.  But I KNOW that my God orchestrated it. 

Granny is back in town today to have her one year check-up.  I don't know about the rest of the family, but she surprised me with the way she embraced her exercises after surgery and worked to get back to her "normal" self.  Her 95 year old self has more energy and spunk than most people half her age--she's pretty amazing--and ornery.

So, today, I am celebrating life.  The fact that I still get those phone calls asking me if I've been shopping to pick out curtains and telling me we are too busy and that my "bedspread" is old and needs to be replaced and my kitchen "certainly is very red" and that even though I wasn't born into her family, I am hers just as much as the ones who were--all mean that I have this amazing lady in my life for another day. 

I am celebrating that this crazy Polish lady is still around to stir up trouble (which she does very well).  I am looking forward to seeing her and hugging her neck this weekend and cherishing the time we have together--she will be thrilled to see the small changes we've made to the house since the last time she was here.  I KNOW I will have to explain to her once again how much I hate shopping and haven't made time to do it.  And I know she will shake her head at our chickens and dogs and turtle and tell us the swallows on the porch sure do make a lot of poop. 

But isn't that what 95 year old Grannys are supposed to do? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Birds are Back in Town!

We saw them flying around this weekend, but tonight, we FINALLY saw them sitting in their next!  I can't explain how happy this makes us!  Each (human) member of our family has snuck a peek at them tonight and closed the door with a smile and giddiness.  Ok, maybe Brian wasn't giddy, but he was just as happy to see them.

When we started working on our house last spring, they were flying around, singing and sitting on our roof and porch.  Before they left in the fall, 2 batches of babies had hatched out of this  nest--one of which we got to see learn to fly.  Even though they make a ton of poop on our front porch, there's just something "home-like" about having them live with us.  We missed them this winter and are choosing to believe it's the same family that's back again.  They are just as loud as my girls, so they fit right in!

Then, tonight, as we were sitting in the laundry room talking to the chickens (yes, they are STILL in my house--hopefully their coop will be ready for them this weekend), this one hopped up on Brian's lap.  See that red thing on the side of her beak?  That's new!  We noticed that her waddles are growing in!  Again, we all had to gather round to take a look and she even  posed for a picture for me.  I know they have birdbrains, but they've got some funny personalities, too.  Half of them have been named--Caroline's favorite is "Pecky" (named because she pecks everybody).  The babies are growing up!

Ok, so I just re-read this and some of you might think it's crazy, but yes, we talk to our chickens.  If you saw my facebook post, you know that I even reprimand them and call Brian their "daddy." 

We're just a little wacky  here at the Royal house, but I'm okay with that.  While it's not a farm, we may turn it into one before you know it.  Even though I'm the least "country-fied" (redneck might be a better term) in our house, I find myself constantly amazed at what an incredible Creator we have when I look at animals and see the cycle of life. 

And I'm still a bit giddy, myself about the swallows!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Gentle and Kind

In this day and age, gentle and kind are not words I use to describe many people.  Today, we lost--in my opinion--the gentlest and kindest of them all.  Grandmama Wade finally got to be with Jesus.  While I know she was welcomed with much rejoicing into heaven, my heart is heavy for all those she left behind.

As I was scanning facebook just a few moments ago, I was overwhelmed with the number of posts about her.  She was the most gracious woman I've ever known.

My own mom left when I was a teenager and I was blessed with some amazing women in my life.  Grandmama--who at that time was "Mrs. Wade, my pastor's wife" allowed me to sit next to her in choir and never said an unkind word about my lack of ability to carry a tune.  She had a strong alto voice--not one that she ever used to sing on her own (at least not in all the years I've known her)--but one she used to harmonize with others and make them sound better.

When my dad and her daughter got married, she continued to be as gracious as always to me. Christmas Eve and Easter were always spent at her house and she never made me feel like a "step-granddaughter."  Most of my memories of her are in the kitchen or sitting around the dining room table in her old house--not that she sat much--she was always the first one to hop up and get whatever was needed for the rest of us. 

I think the most poignant memory I will always carry with me is the love story she and Pal (her husband) displayed for all to see.  I've told some friends over the past few weeks that it reminded me of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.  Even Pal--a strong Baptist preacher--was gentle with her.  When her Alzheimer's first set in, I remember him caring for her in the same way she did for everyone else when she could.  The gentleness of it still brings me to tears and I pray that Brian and I are like that with each other in years to come. 

Needless to say, we are sad.  Even though her mind has been gone from us for a while, there was still some hope in the back of my mind that she would "wake up" and remember us again.  And while I know she is in heaven with that sweet smile on her face that I haven't seen in the past few years, I can't help but grieve the loss of such an amazing example of a lady.  A lady who loved those around her, but loved her God first.

She left a large hole on this earth, but I am thankful for the past 30+ years I got to be around her and pray that just a little bit of her legacy is passed on to my children.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Instagram Rules for Moms

I used to think I was really cool and hip (obviously I'm not because nobody says "hip" any more) when I first started using Instagram.  I'm  a witty kind of girl and love posting goofy pictures.

Then I let Hope get an account.  And I learned that I was really not as cool or as funny as I thought I was.  And there are things moms shouldn't do on Instagram.  I thought I'd pass on my learnings to all you other moms out there so you don't have to be schooled by your child.

  • Never, ever, under any circumstance, comment on your child's photo.  Even if they tell you to--don't--they will delete whatever you write.

  • Always "like" their pic.  I don't know why, but I've been told that I am allowed to like stuff and it's a good thing.

  • Never tag your child in one of your photos.  Again, she will have a serious conversation with you about the kinds of photos allowed.

  • This goes along with the above--never post any pictures of your kids without prior approval.  For some reason, they don't like others seeing them in their fox jammies if the braid in their hair is flipped on the wrong side of their head. And NEVER make a collage of all the selfies that you find of them on your phone.  Just. Don't.

  • Be prepared for them to tell you that "you sure do post a lot of pictures."  It won't be said in a mean tone, but the message that you're not "hip" will come through loud and clear.

  • Never, ever comment on one of their friend's pics.  This is even worse than commenting on theirs. Even if you're saying something nice or funny. 
Hopefully, following these rules will keep you in good standing with your child.  Does your child have an Instagram?  What rules did I miss?  Please share them so I don't stumble upon them on my own.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Olympics vs. the Church

A few nights ago, I was watching the Olympics.  And even though I knew which events Team USA medaled in, I still found myself captivated. 

During one point, a snowboarder fell hard--cracking her helmet and not moving for a bit. There was a camera on the other competitors waiting at the bottom of the hill to see if she would beat their score.  While I never want to see someone hurt, I was moved by their reactions.   They immediately gasped and you could see genuine concern.  There was no "Good!  She's no longer in the running to beat me" thoughts going through their heads. 

And when she made it to the bottom of the hill, they were there to greet her and hug her and check to see if she was okay. 

And then a friend posted this story yesterday:

This is why I love the Olympics.  People from all different walks of life come together and the love of a sport binds them.  It creates a camaraderie--even in the midst of competition. 

It gives me hope.  If the love of a sport can do that, how much greater can the love of Jesus do it?