Saturday, October 29, 2011

The list

We have lots of chores around the farm. Doing dishes, washing diapers, milking goats, collecting eggs. The list is pretty much endless. Every morning I generate a list on the computer of all the tasks I want to get accomplished that day. As I go through the day, I highlight, on the computer, each of the chores I complete. Of course, more ideas are added throughout the day. It’s a great way to keep track of my day-what I want to get done, what I have gotten done. Anyway, it works for me.

I was reading a blog yesterday that really shook up my way of thinking about my list. In the blog, SteadyMOM, points out that the most important chore of the day is to provide a sense of peace in the home. When all is said and done, our children will not remember whether the dishes were always done or whether the goats got milked on time. They will, I hope, remember that our home was a place of peace.

So, I have begun putting some new chores on my list. “Practice Peace” has taken a place at the top of the list. Cuddling with my wife and child has been dedicated some time. There are items which are no longer just things I want to do if all the chores are done. They are priorities. They are on the list and at the top of the list.

I find that when my attitude is one of peace and acceptance my day seems a lot less overwhelming. Nothing has changed; goats still need to be milked, dishes need to be done, diapers need to be washed, but these tasks can be joyful and prayerful times. Instead of dreading milking the goats in the cold and dark, I can look forward to some peaceful alone time in the barn. Just me and the goats.

Attitude is everything. Blessings.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Midnight Meditation

After a little diaper changing and baby rocking, I am up doing a little reading, meditation, and prayer. Just reading Thomas Merton and listening to a little rock and roll playing softly.

“My intention is to give myself entirely and without compromise to whatever work God wants to perform in me and through me.” - Thomas Merton

Wow! “Entirely and without compromise.” That’s a tall order. I am I really willing to let God change me? Can I really let go to being a vessel to carry God’s peace? Can I really turn my life over to a God I can’t understand. If I do, will I still be allowed to smoke cigars and eat ice cream?

That’s one thing used to have a lot of confusion about. I used to think that if I accepted God into my life that I would become as pure as the driven snow. I didn’t think I wanted that much purity. I realize now, for myself at least, that I can give myself to God and still have a great time on this earth. And yes, that really does include smoking cigars, duck hunting, telling tall tales around the campfire, and listening to a little rock and roll.

God is there in all of it.

So, anyway, I’m excited to go duck hunting tomorrow. That is, if the motor for my boat is ready and I have the money to pay for the repairs. When I say “boat” and “motor”, it might make it sound luxurious. My “boat” is a 12 or 14 foot rowboat, spray painted camouflage, outfitted with a nice but hardly reliable 9 horse outboard. It gets me where I want to go…most of the time. I just try not to go so far that I can’t row back to the launch if I have to.

Tim and I are planning to go to a little bit bigger lake this time. I can be a really fun place to hunt, but not always consistently productive for me. I always see lots of birds, but sometimes they are pretty cautious. Either way though, I always have a wonderful time. Sitting in the duck blind, a half an hour before sunrise, waiting and hoping that the birds will fly.
Jenny’s rocking baby Russell. He’s quiet and happy…for now. We are so blessed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apple Cider

We enjoyed pressing apple cider today. The boys had a blast. The antique cider press we received from my parents as a wedding gift worked great. The press is like a work of art. Hardwood and cast iron. The cider is great. Despite some disappointments in the garden this year, the Lord has been good to us. We’ve harvested about 300 pounds of apples. The refrigerator is full of carrots and beets. I think we will eat through the carrots and beets quickly enough to avoid using the root cellar. We made a great pork rib roast last night that had been marinated in apple juice. The garlic is planted for next year. Life is good.

We will be shoveling the manure out of the pig pen and the section of the barn that had housed them. We will be using the space to house Carissima and a buck goat for breeding. The kind folks at Little Bear Dairy will be loaning us the buck. I’m not sure they want him back although we don’t particularly want him as a permanent resident either. Pass the buck.

There is a constant flow of dirty dishes, laundry, and cloth diapers around here. We are trying to get a little bit ahead of the daily chores. Not really happening. Hopefully Tim and I will have a chance to go duck hunting this weekend or early next week. Recreation is an important part of life on the farm too-as important as keeping on top of the chores. One of my favorite things in the world is to be sitting on a lake waiting for the dawn to come. Waiting for the birds to fly. We enjoy eating duck, but duck hunting isn’t really a cost effective way of filling the freezer. Nevertheless, It is important to keep up with the things you are passionate about and duck hunting is one of them.

From passion comes creativity.

Little Russell continues to enjoy good health. What a blessing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Carry the message...

I have just begun to read an amazing book by Richard Rohr. “Breathing Underwater: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. In it, Rohr explores the parallels between the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and what St. Francis calls the “marrow of the Gospels.”

In skipping around the book, I was particularly stuck by Rohr’s comparison of the twelfth step and two biblical passages.

The twelfth step in Alcoholics Anonymous reads, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principals in all our affairs.” The original wording of this step took it a little further and encouraged recovered alcoholics to, “carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and practice these principals in all our affairs.” I prefer the older version of the step. The reason I prefer to carry the message to others, especially alcoholics, is that the message is not just about the recovery from alcoholism. It is about Redemption for all of us through Grace. It is a message about being welcome to “Come to the Feast” (Fr. Richard Fragomeni) at God’s table. God invites us all to be transformed. We are all capable of having a “spiritual awakening.” Redemption, through Grace, is available to us. Whether our “fall” comes in the form of alcoholism, consumerism, lust for wealth or power, greed, false pride, or of any number of other common failings healing is available to all of us. Alcoholism just seems to be a particularly public type of catastrophe, much more outwardly apparent than other “addictive” behaviors.

So, winding my way back to my starting point…

“What was given to you freely, you must give away freely.” Matthew 10:8

“Simon, Simon, you must be sifted like wheat, and once you have recovered, you in your turn must strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

What then do I have to freely give to others? How may I strengthen my brothers? What part of myself do I have to give?

In the example of alcoholism, I can certainly offer my experience, strength, and hope to other suffering alcoholics. But there is so much more. I am so much more than just an alcoholic. I am a teacher, parent, brother, son, husband, friend, musician, thinker, writer, farmer, homesteader, Christian and so much more. There are so many ways I may be of service to God and my fellow man.

Today’s challenge is to think of how you may be of service. What can you give to strengthen your brothers and sisters? What part of yourself do you have to give to others?

Thanks for reading. Blessings.

Monday, October 17, 2011

This is our beautiful son Russell. I am most truly blessed. Through grace alone I have been granted a life beyond my wildest imaginings. We are all recovering from our little adventure to the hospital via helicopter. Russell seems as happy as a clam. Jenny and I are recovering, albiet a little more slowly.

I took Matty on a duck hunt this morning for a few hours. Nothing out of the ordinary, just an average day in the field. The boat motor wouldn't start, cut my hands trying to start it, stumbled around in the cattails trying to find a shore blind, froze my tuckus off waiting for the sun to rise, and shot no ducks. It was glorious. I love being in the field waiting for the dawn to come.

I've still been meditating on redemption. My own redemption came through grace. Unmerited good favor. I am so truly blessed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

sigh, back again

I don't know if there is anyone out there still reading this. I got rid of home internet bacause of the satelite cost. Hard to blog too much at the local library.

I'm thinking I might try to get back into it.

Anyway, Jenny and I did eventually get married. Our son was born in our kitchen. It's been a beautiful time.

Our son is 2 weeks old and was just airlifted by helicopter to a childrens hospital in a city in another state. He seems to be stable and alright. We hope to go home tomorrow. Having insomnia in a hospital room in a strange city is a bummer.

I've been meditating on the idea of "redemption" lately. I have met a friend who thinks he is beyond redemption. He has lost hope. Just so happens today's reading in psalms covers the subject quite well.

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;LORD, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.

R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.

R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

I trust in the LORD;my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn.

R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Blessed be!