Sharing Gifts

As I scrolled through a preview of the photos in this post, I thought to myself, “Wow! All seven kids are in this post! That doesn’t usually happen.” Then I remembered that actually, there are eight of them. The weather seems like it has warmed up for good, and everyone is spending lots of time outdoors. The goats’ fence was completed, and a gate hung. Jonny is almost finished with his small chicken coop and we got it set up to house our chicks. Next up, he’ll work on our large portable coop. I’ve been working on spring playsilks, perfect for lining Easter baskets! I’ve also dyed a bit of yarn and I’ll be updating my shop on Friday, March 31st at 11 a.m. EST  11:30 a.m. EST with the yarn, playsilks, and goat milk soap!

Keats and Gabe were both confirmed over the weekend. Jonny and I led their confirmation team through all the required service projects over the past year and a half, and we are pleased and somewhat relieved that the boys passed this milestone!

All three of our older boys attended a youth group over the weekend for the first time. To say that they didn’t like it would be an understatement. Afterwards, Seth shared with me all the reasons he’d rather not go back, convinced that it isn’t going to benefit him or his brothers. Today, in discussion with me and my friend Eve about it, she turned things around by asking Seth if he had thought about how he might benefit others by being there. “Have you thought about what you might have to offer them?” It totally stumped him. No, he hadn’t thought about that.  He didn’t argue, knowing she had made a valid point. Another friend and I exchanged glances, “Whoa–that was good.”  It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about how we can get our kids involved in this or that, with only their benefit in mind. As parents we are constantly asking ourselves if we are making the right choices for the good of our children. Sometimes we might make the right choices, but for the wrong reasons. I need to step outside that mindset and work harder to remind each of my kids that they have gifts to offer. “It’s not just about you!” Yeah, youth group may not be their favorite thing, maybe they didn’t connect with anyone their first time. Maybe they don’t even want to right now. But what if there’s a kid there that could benefit from what one of my boys has to say? Tonight we got into another discussion about this and my boys all claimed that they don’t have any gifts to share. So I started naming their gifts. The little girls overheard, and of course they wanted me to tell them what I think their gifts are as well. I was a little surprised by how much they needed to hear these things. Sometimes we all need a reminder. Every single one of us has gifts we can share with others. Right now, I need to focus my gifts on helping my children uncover theirs and learn how to use them for the greater good. I’m definitely going to work on that.

Wild and Slow

Small Things-2984

We are in the home stretch of animal and creature moving. The bees are here! Jonny and Gabe moved them late one night last week. We kept them confined for a couple of days before releasing them, and placed obstacles in front of their entrances to force them to re-orientate. Hopefully all will be well with them. We’re having stupid crazy weather here, and after all this warmth, it will be freezing and even snowing this week. SIGH, SIGH, GROAN.

We typically do everything backwards because I am on the compulsive side (maybe, a little) and Jonny supports me in that. (ha!) So, he will be frantically working to finish our big portable chicken coop this week after work each day. In the cold. I really thought it was going to be warm. I should have taken the groundhog seriously!

In all our years of keeping chickens we have never had any “fancy” ones. I don’t know if cochins are considered fancy, but those feathered feet seem pretty fancy to me. Our little blue cochin chick is the cutest thing ever, and she’s so calm! We’ve got a couple little Brahma’s too. Seth and I have been a little obsessive about chicks this year. We want one of every kind. Not happening, but we do have more breeds of chicks than we have in the past.

I took my little boys for real haircuts last week. They are such wild, messy little guys, and in addition to wanting to neaten them up a bit (Job actually had gum stuck in his hair) I want it to be easy to check them for ticks. (Still waiting on Silas’ recent bloodwork results). The woman cutting Silas’ hair made me promise that I wouldn’t cry if she cut it short, and then commented on their good behavior. She then started to compliment me and my parenting skills. I set her straight. Those boys are so crazy, and were mainly behaving because I promised them burgers and fries afterwards! It was a lot of fun to have a date with just the two of them. After we ate, I took them to the library. I want to make this a regular thing for the three of us, despite having to work really, really hard to keep them in line while we were checking out our books. I honestly can’t remember if Seth and Keats had this much energy when they were little. I do know that I am more than ten years older now and that makes such a difference. I am much slower to lose my temper with my little guys now, but I am also much slower in general. Slow can be good, I think, as long as I don’t need to chase anyone down.