Friday, November 30, 2012

our little country Christmas tree

Ryan and I have made it a tradition the last couple years to get our Christmas tree from the wild and overgrown fields near his farm.  We love that the trees are free (!) and that they are fresh and rustic. 
The process is really a hunt.  We're looking for the diamond in the rough.  The beauty that has an unusually lovely shape and character given its rough surroundings and environment.  

So last Sunday Ryan and I piled into his big truck and took off for the field.  I immediately spotted what I thought was a good candidate.  But after some deliberation, we decided to keep going.  And on and on we rolled...through waist-high weeds and thorny brush, past countless cedar trees.  Our conversation went about like this -

"Hmm, what do you think about that one?"  "It's a little thin...let's keep going."
"See that one over there...the tall one...what do you think?"  "Hmm...I think we can find better."
"Now here's an option."  "It's not bad, but I'm not sold yet."  

And here's Ryan enthusiastically partaking in the hunt...

This went on for a good 15 minutes.  When we were about ready to go back to one that we'd passed a bit before, we stumbled upon "The One"...Somewhat petite, symmetrical, and green.  Looking closer, it even had a few blue berries.  That's the One!  
(It looks like she's got a crazy top, but that's just another tree behind her)

Here we are together. :)


Did I mention that one benefit of a wild cedar is its open branch structure and light weight?  
But of course, this one was very, very heavy.  It just looks light because my man's so strong. :)  
yep. that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. 

So anyway, we brought her home, cleaned out a few of the dead branches and things that tend to compile when you're a tree in the middle of fallow field, and set her on the stand.  

After a few lights, some ribbon, and ornaments, she has lit up our home and hearts. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Carpe Di-HEN

Many of us are familiar with the latin phrase "carpe diem" meaning "seize the day."  

'Round these here parts, we Carpe Di-hen...this is how the chicks "seize the day!" 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Faithful One

So back in September, one of our black lab mixes was revealed as the true terrorist that she is - hunting down and consuming two of our dear sweet hens.  (See here for the back story.) It's not that we don't love Kinzie, but she had to go.  
So, as some of you know, Casey, the faithful and meek lab, remained with us and the chickens.  

Casey now has three hallmarks of an only dog.  

First, she expects copious amounts of attention.  This manifests in a very specific pattern of behavior - when Ryan or I walk outside, she scampers ahead, throws her body on the ground, contorts her back and legs to ensure optimum belly is exposed, and waits expectantly for a belly rub.   More often than not, Ryan and I will indulge Her Sweetness with a quick scratch on her belly or chest.  I realize this is only reinforcing the behavior...operant conditioning at its finest.  But what can I say?
I'm Lindsey. And I'm an addicted dog belly scratcher.

Second, when I get home from work or from being away, Casey is my shadow.  She'll greet me at the garage, scamper ahead to the lawn, throw herself down for the above-mentioned belly rub, then after I go in the front door, she'll race around the front of the house, onto the porch to meet me at our kitchen/deck door.  
Here she is on Saturday, after I got home from getting groceries.   
I wove wou. 

And finally, Casey likes to be as close as possible to Ryan and me at all times.  Besides greeting me at the kitchen door (where she then lays down to curl up), she sleeps in the corner of the house closest to our bedroom.  While some may think this a coincidence, I believe otherwise.  When both Casey and Kinzie were here, they both slept out in a shed on the other side of the house.  Casey continued sleeping there for awhile, but eventually moved to the corner of the house outside of our bedroom.  It's sweet...for an outdoor dog, it's the closest she'll ever get to sleeping at the foot of our bed.  

Now, if we could only get her to stay there all night rather than waking up and barking at the non-existent threat that seems to capture her attention between the hours of 2 and 4AM. 
Hmm...we'll have to work on that.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

In the Spirit...

This morning, Ryan and I got our bodies out of bed (him before me) and headed west to Missouri.  Yesterday he had started using the turbo disk to till the fields his dad farms over there.  When those fields are done, that will wrap up the tillage work they plan to do this fall.  Here is my beloved in front of "Big Blue" and the turbo disk this morning.  

As it would happen, I had been doing some tilling of my own.  Albeit, on a far smaller scale. Here's the "red devil" I used to till up the garden yesterday afternoon.  

I'd like to be able to say that I showed her who's know...Mad Dog style...really tore her into the ground...
but, then, that might not be completely honest.

So anyway, Ryan and I had an interesting conversation on the way over to Missouri about why we till the ground.  Having a degree in Agricultural Science, he talked about microbes and chemical processes...the importance of nitrogen, etc., etc.  But the gist of it is that tilling breaks up and turns over the old "residue" (whatever's left of the old crops - stalks, leaves, etc) in order for it to be broken down into organic matter that will provide nutrient-rich soil for next year's crop.  God's handiwork at it's best...the waste naturally turns into the food...pretty cool.  

Fast forward to this afternoon.  Things were just not going my way.  I will spare you the details, but it was just one of those times when you feel like everything...seriously...e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. is not going according to plan (*Holla out to all my homies with Type-A tendencies...Here! Here! to To-Do lists, schedules, and plans!).   

Put plainly, I was struggling to keep a good attitude.  While driving home (after I had finally gotten all I needed from the grocery store..the 2nd time), I was at a juncture..."two roads diverged in a wood"-type stuff...
My thought process went about like this...

*deep breathing* 
Ok, if I let [my frustration] go, it's going to ruin the rest of my day.  

I really didn't want to lose the day to my frustration.  By God's grace, I remembered the Bible study our small group did last spring - Lord, Change My Attitude (highly recommended!).  In it, James MacDonald proposes replacing certain attitudes with others.  Namely (and most applicable to me in this moment of acute emotional distress), replacing a complaining attitude with a thankful one.  

Ok, I thought. How can I cultivate a thankful heart?  

I began thinking of things I'm thankful for...especially related to the things that had "gone wrong" in my afternoon.  

And then my spastic brain made a the farming world, cultivating is essentially tilling.  That got me to thinking...what does tilling up our hearts look like??  

From my time in the garden yesterday, I knew how vicious the red devil was in taking down old stumps and turning over the soil, making it ready for new growth. I imagined the part of my heart that is prone to be easily frustrated...I imagined it being ripped out and violently buried in the soil...being broken down by God's Spirit...and prepared for new growth.

So, in the Spirit of ...

Fall Tillage


and most importantly, Christ Jesus

This Thanksgiving I am tilling up the soil of my heart and asking God to produce from it a harvest of gratitude.  

Thank you, Lord, for saving my day and for saving me.