Monday, December 5, 2016

Mary Had a Choice

This time of year, many of us turn our thoughts to the birth of Christ.  Most of us know He was born to the virgin, Mary.  A lot probably even know all of the details surrounding His conception and birth.  But did you know Mary had a choice?  I hadn't really thought about it, but it was the topic of the sermon at church yesterday.  It really resonated with me as something to ponder, and I want to share my thoughts with you.

In Luke 1:34, Mary says to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”  In verse 38 she is found say, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word."  That's where she chooses.  She questioned-as any of us likely would-how this plan could possibly come to pass, since in the physical world in which we live it would be impossible.  Once she hears what God's plan is, she fully submits to Him.  

In the sermon yesterday, John 2:5 came up as well.  Mary had some advice that all of us should heed.  She and Jesus are at a wedding feast in Cana.  The hosts run out of wine.  She calls to her Son and asks Him to do something.  He replies that His time has not yet come, but she says to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”  It's that simple.  Whatever Jesus says to us to do, we need to do it. 

I'll say this, many of us think simple means easy.  It doesn't.  One definition is, "readily understood or performed."  Whatever Jesus commands is readily understood and performed.  Easy means, "causing or involving little difficulty or discomfort".  If you've been a believer for any length of time, you probably already know that there are still difficulties and discomfort.  Do you think Mary experienced any difficulty or discomfort after accepting God's plan and submitting to it?  A young, unwed woman, pregnant?  Do you think her family and neighbors believed her when she told them how she had conceived?  Probably not.  She faced plenty of trials after choosing God's plan, and we should expect no less.

More of Mim (Even though there's less of her)

She's a wonderful cat, full of spunk, love and curiosity.  I'm sure glad we spent the money to amputate her arm and keep her around!  Every morning when I get up, she runs to her food dish, expecting me to stand there and watch her eat.  If I take even one step over to turn the tea kettle on, she thinks I'm leaving and stops eating.  When I'm not the first one up, she still waits outside my room for me to watch her eat.  Tell me I'm not the only cat owner whose cat insists that they watch him or her eat.  Anyone else have a cat like that?

After that, she's revved up and ready to play!  A missing front leg has done very little to slow her down.  I don't think she'll ever catch another mouse or lizard-and not because she doesn't go outside much-but because she can't sneak up on anyone or anything with her limping hop movement.  As we sit on the couch, kids on the floor, reading from our Bibles, she's running around looking for the next thing to attack.  It might be the foot of an unsuspecting, trustworthy child, or a dangling robe tie, or sometimes nothing at all.  If we fail to interact with her enough, she'll entertain herself-sitting on a dining table chair, she'll pretend there are things through the rails to grab, or run around in circles chasing her tail.  Sometimes I'll get a ruler and run it along the back side of the rails and she'll poke her paw through each rail trying to get it.  She waits at the end of the couch, hiding and ready to pounce on the next unsuspecting passer-by.

What I enjoy about this process is seeing her former personality shine through.  It confirms for me that we did the right thing, that she still had plenty of life in her and a desire to live after her electrocution.  I'm grateful to God that my husband acquiesced his original position that we not spend that much money on an animal.  He's glad we did it too, and says so often..  In the short time in the morning when I'm awake before my kids, sitting on the couch to read, she comes along waiting to attack something up there.  Her eyes are amazing!  The pupils will be narrow slits while she just sits there, but I know when she's ready to attack because the pupils enlarge and the BAM!  That one good leg, with claws out, is reaching for my hand!

Like most cats, she spends the rest of the day lounging.  If she sees me go to the kitchen, sometimes she'll run in to get a safe bite to eat.  We've gotten to a point where we let her go outside for short periods on her own.  She prefers the dirt outside to the litter in her box, and we prefer the smell stay out there too, so we just make a mental note that she's outside and usually she comes back to the sliding glass door to let us know she's ready to come in.

Most nights she cuddles on the couch with us while we read or watch our current favorite TV series on Netflix.  She aims for one more chance to eat while I'm in the kitchen, and then curls up on the bed with us.  I used to be careful not to bump her when I moved, but then realized that she doesn't care if I do-she'll just come right back and plop down wherever she pleases.  Sometimes she ventures away and sleeps with one of the kids, and they always love waking up and seeing her on their bed!

This past weekend, we were gone a lot and I think she missed us.  Every chance she had, she was curled up right next to me.  She brings us great joy, amusement and entertainment, so glad we still have her!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Do You Love Planners?

I do.  But I don't always love using them once they're set up.  I tend to enjoy the set up process more than the day to day use part.  I've found that to be true in several areas of my life.  I can plan a fabulous layout for my garden, researching what plants will do well together, when to plant each one, etc.  I can even get the seeds into the ground.  But go out and pull weeds on a regular basis?  Not so much.  Or filing-I absolutely LOVE the process of setting up a filing system.  I've lived in my current home for 4 years and I brought a stack of papers when we moved that needed to be filed.  Want to know where they are to this day?  Uh huh, still in the little basket they were in on my desk at the old house.

Knowing my tendencies better now, I try to exercise a bit of constraint when I see planners.  There's no point in buying one and filling in the first few pages of details if it doesn't get used.  However, I know I need a way to keep a running to do list and a calendar to mark activities that have to happen at a specific time.  Keeping track of kid's sports and other activities, church functions, my occasional outing with a friend, and my husband's music gigs means it has to be written down.  Sometimes that even fails-it doesn't do me any good to write it down if I don't look at it each morning!

I've seen some very beautiful planners and tried very hard to justify their price because they are so beautiful, but I can't.  There's a frugal trait within that usually wins.  However, I'm not quite willing to just use a spiral notebook either.  I like having the dates filled out for me.

What about keeping track of that schedule when I'm not at home?  Should I take that planner everywhere I go?  Maybe once upon a time, but we all know the digital age means there are oodles of  calendar apps.  OK, so how do I find balance between what I can see on a small phone screen and what I can see on paper?  What about knowing that if I have to pick up my phone every time I want to add to my to do list, see what's next on the list, or check something off means that I will get sidetracked by all the distractions that go with this digital age?  Where's the balance of using both types to benefit me?  It's in choosing the right paper planner and the right digital calendar.  What works for me might not work for you, but here's what we do.

We find the free Cozi app to be quite useful.  Tony and I both have it on our phones and I use it on my laptop often too.  Everything that has to happen on a certain day or date and at a certain time goes into Cozi.  Of course, it instantly syncs with all the devices we use it on, which means while Tony is away working and gets a call about another job, he knows right away if he's available.  We don't clutter it up with daily activities that we know will happen for precisely that reason-we both need to be able to see the scheduled activities quickly.

Each person is color coded so that we can also quickly tell who's involved in this activity.  Recurring activities are easy to program, as are reminders.  They can be set up to two weeks early, and as little as zero minutes before start time.  Notifications can be set up for any user with a smart phone or email address.  At this point in our life, that means Tony and me, so when an activity is just for one kid, we have to also mark which parent is responsible for getting that kid to his or her activity so that the app will send a notice to that parent.

The calendar portion has a place to record notes for the event (such as, 'don't forget to take_____' and the location, which will of course link to a map app to help you get where you're going.  The Cozi app also has a to do list, shopping list, and place to record meals.  We used to use the shopping tool more often, but now I simply use it as a way to keep track of things I want to get at various places some day in the future when I happen to be in an area that has a better selection for shopping than where we live.

Then there's the paper planner.  For the last two years I have used The Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner.  I was drawn to the cover AND the individual pages.  Many times a planner has a beautiful cover, but the daily pages are quite plain.  Since it needs to be open to be useful, that means the cover is rarely seen. Having pretty pages inside is a big selling point for me. Clearly, the set up works for me in this season of life, or I wouldn't have just purchased my 3rd one.  Because I like it so much, I recently became an affiliate with the Homemaker's Depot, which is where the planner and a few other useful books are sold.  If you use the link above to buy a planner or anything else at The Homemaker's Depot, I get a small commission, but your price doesn't change.

For the next couple of weeks you can save 20% on your total order and get free shipping on orders over $49.  Details-

20% off at Homemakers Depot (Expires 11.22.16)
Coupon Code: nov2016
 FREE SHIPPING on Orders over $49.00

2017 Planner (fall) w/menu

I like the tabbed dividers for monthly and weekly pages, plus the sections for tasks, projects and shopping lists.  Those are even perforated so that I can take just the small list with me to the store, not the whole planner.  Sue, the creator of this planner, had the brilliant idea to make the monthly pages with tabs that make it easy to get to a particular month, but don't stick out as far as the divider tabs.  The weekly section even has an indication on the upper right to cut off that corner so that you can quickly turn to the current week.

There is a Bible verse or inspiring quote on every page, and there is a theme to the verses that changes each year.  This year all of them utilize the word 'let', and there are some amazing verses with that word in them!  I like the size too.  At 8.5" by 5.5" it's big enough to be useful, but not so big as to be clunky.

The weekly pages are 2 pages per week, and the upper left of the layout is a two column to do list section.  Monday through Friday are equally sized, with Saturday and Sunday being about half that size.  Each day has a space for that day's menu, and a blank area to use however it best suits you.  I found it useful for recording income from egg and milk sales, or cash expenses that I had no other way to track.

Right now, Sue is giving away her menu planning worksheets that match the theme of the 2017 planner, and that's a $4.95 bonus for you!

I know the current trend is to use colorful pencils or pens, washi tape, and/or sticky notes to personalize events and activities, but our schedule changes enough that I need to be able to easily erase and rewrite.  I love the idea though, and maybe one day I'll utilize it.  For now, I use my coloring books as an outlet for that colorful and creative side.

Do you love planners and planning?  What's your preferred method, or are you still looking for one?  I'd love to hear from you!

PS-I'm creating a whole new blog, AZFarmGirl.  Look for it soon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Vanilla Chai Oatmeal

This morning I chose as my tea flavor of the day, Vanilla Bean Chai.  It's warm and robust with flavor, and no caffeine.  It's made by my new friend Michelle at Blooming with Joy Tea and contains  South African Rooibos, vanilla, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon pieces. (If you click over and decide to buy something, I get a little bit for referring you.)

As is my habit, I was getting ready to brew a second mug of tea from the once used leaves when I realized that this tea flavor would work wonderfully as the cooking water for the pear oatmeal I was planning to make for breakfast.  Let me tell ya, this was no ordinary oatmeal!

My oldest son, who pretty much loves anything I prepare, but doesn't really like oatmeal, pronounced it to be good.  In this scenario, that says a lot.  My youngest son loves oatmeal and almost always wants seconds, this time seconds was a bigger portion than firsts.  I enjoyed the deep flavor the tea imparted, and the texture contrast between the pears and the oatmeal.  If you want to try this at home, please do!

Vaniila Bean Chai Oatmeal

Makes 4-6 servings

1 cup already been brewed once Vanilla Bean Chai Tea
3 cups water
3 cups organic oats (not quick cook)
2 firm, ripe pears, any variety (I had Bartlett, so that's what I used)
Approximately 1/4 cup sweetener of your choice

  1. Bring tea and water to a boil.
  2. Stir in oats and reduce heat to medium (we like our oatmeal thick).
  3. Set timer for 3 minutes and dice pears into bite sized pieces.
  4. Turn off heat when timer goes off, but leave pot on burner (I have an electric stove, if you use gas, leave the heat on for 5 minutes).
  5. Stir in 1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice and the pears.
  6. Scoop into serving bowls and top with a bit of butter.
That's it!  Enjoy!

PS, if you like the tea pot in the picture, you can get one at Blooming With Joy Tea.  It has a handy little infuser that fits right into the pot for brewing loose leaf teas.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Miraculous Mim, Part Two

She meowed all the way home-good thing it's not a far drive.  And you know how crazy sounding a cat's meow can get when they're upset, especially riding in a car.  She kept trying to poke her head out of the cardboard box, so I set the box on the living room floor and let her out.  I can't remember exactly what happened next, but she spent the majority of her time sleeping under my bed.

The vet's office staff had requested that we bring her back the next morning so the primary veterinarian could see her, so I took her back.  I even set my alarm and got there for the first appointment of the day.  Those who know me know what a sacrifice that is.  ;-)  Back in with the cumbersome box, because we can't find our small animal carrier.  More howls.  Me talking to her the entire trip, trying to keep her calm.

The vet was pleased with her appearance. After having read her report from the substitute vet, he was expecting far worse condition.  She was responsive to him, seeking attention, purring at his touch.  Basically she melted everyone's heart with her quick return to an aware, loving, attention seeking cat.  She still had a long way to go though.

They sent us home with a pet carrier that had been donated, and that made it a lot easier to drive her back and forth.  The time between bringing her home Tuesday morning and her return to the vet's office Friday morning is a jumble of memories that I'm having trouble putting in order, so I'm simply going to share what I recall, in no particular order.

We had to drag her out to give her the prescribed eye drops 4 times a day.  Sometimes she held still and one person could put them in, other times it took Tony and I and all four of our hands to hold her little head and get the drops in!  It also gave us a brief view of her facial wounds, but never enough to really see what was happening.  The pads of her paws had been burned when she was shocked, so she probably didn't want to walk any more than necessary

Her eyes were cloudy, the whiskers on the right side of her face were scorched and and curled, her nose was just not right.  I didn't take any pictures of her during this time, I guess because it was hard to get her to stay out from under the bed.

Her left paw, at the wrist, was limp and bent in.  The vet wasn't sure if it was permanent damage or simply still contracted from the electrical shock.  As I'd pet her and scratch her head I noticed bumps getting bigger on her scalp.  Do you see the outline of an M on her forehead?  The bumps seemed to follow it.

She reluctantly ate the expensive cat food, but not until about 24 hours after bringing her home.  I tried soaking her preferred dry food in homemade chicken broth, but she wouldn't eat it. After a couple of days of the expensive cat food, she didn't want any more of that either, so I had to find the aisle in my grocery store that sells baby food.  She liked the chicken and sweet potato, but nothing else.

The bigger problem I noticed was that she wasn't in need of the litter box-at all.  I told the vet's office staff this each day when they called to check on her.  They said as long as she wasn't throwing up, it wasn't time to be concerned yet.  It was Wednesday night, before she finally came out and used the litter box.  It took a while for me to recognize it, but she had a distinctive pattern to her walking as she accommodated the injured paw.

She must have walked toward the outer part of this pole?

Thursday night she started licking her paw.  When I got up early Friday morning, she had licked away all of the skin at the wrist.  I called the vet and he got us in right away.  Back into the cat carrier.  More yowls, more pressing her nose against the fabric trying to get out.  By the time we got there, she had peeled away a flap of skin from her nose!  

The vet looked at the paw and said she'd need to have it amputated.  Ugh!  No!  He saw the flap of skin on her nose and trimmed it off.  If only he could just trim the dead stuff away from her wrist...

So the dreaded question, how much do we spend to keep her alive?  Prior to this event happening, I would have said no more than $500.  Since we had spent almost that up to this point, I was very distraught over what to do.  The vet suggested I leave her there and let me go home to discuss it with Tony.  He'd give me an estimate of the costs and then we could call him to give our answer.

Tony said no.  We aren't spending thirteen hundred dollars on a cat!  I understood his perspective, but I couldn't bring myself to deny her the surgery that will keep infection out.  This would be a good time to inform you that the whole arm would have to come off, not at the wrist, but at the shoulder.  The vet said if he amputated just above the wrist, she'd walk on the stump and create callouses that would then slough off and leave her open to infection.  It had to come off at the shoulder and that meant more money.

I pleaded with my eyes, knowing that if God hadn't wanted her to live, she would have died from the shock or the fall.  Yeah, $1300 is a lot of money, but we don't think twice about spending it on a vacation.  I'd just cut back on spending elsewhere.  He still wasn't convinced.  I told him I couldn't call and tell the vet not to do anything, so he did it.  He sat the kids down and told them that bringing her home without the surgery meant she'd be dying soon.  Big tears, in FOUR sets of eyes.  I was writing notes to him while the kids asked questions that he answered.  I reminded him of all the ways she was showing us her will to live.  Yes, the 4 of us got our way (I should say 5, Mim's vote has to be counted!) and Tony called the vet and said he changed his mind, please do the surgery.

Four hours later (he had other things to do first, the surgery didn't take 4 hours) he called with the news that it had gone well and she had come out of sedation quite well, but he wanted to keep her overnight to ensure that everything else was working.  I picked her up late morning Saturday, with her fur shaved from the mid section of the left side of her body, all the way up under her chin, and a row of stitches across where her shoulder used to be.

See how long the incision was?

Cloudy eyes and curled whiskers.

Once home, we let the cat out of the bag (sorry, I had to say it once) and she hobbled down the hallway to my room and crawled under my bed-again.  Only now she was more willing to come out and eat, use the litter box, 'allow' us to pet her and then return to her hidey hole.  She was eating a lot of food!  Lots of repair happening within.

The bumps on the top of her head were definitely burn marks that worked their way out and killed all the skin, almost exactly along the M on her head and that eventually fell off.  The skin on her nose sloughed off again. Her curly whiskers grew out and straightened.  She's missing parts of her nose, but it doesn't seem to be affecting her.

I'm thrilled to report that her personality came through intact and she has regained her playfulness.  She still bats things around on the floor, even if it is with one paw, and she still waits to ambush an unsuspecting passer by.  She gets wiled eyed and frisky every morning, and then repeats again almost every night.  

She's no longer eating huge quantities of food, so I think everything has healed.  We thought she might never want to go outside again, but she tries to trick us into letting her out.  I've caught myself a few times mindlessly reaching for the door handle as she stretches up the door, indicating she wants out.  I do take her out with supervision.  She prefers to do her duty out in the dirt, rather than the litter box.  She likes watching what's going on outside, but I'm not ready to let her have free time outside just yet.

The other day, my youngest was watching her, and she got away because she's too fast for him-even with 3 legs!  We thought she had gone back across the fence, but about 15 minutes later, she showed herself again, and had not gone over the fence.  I don't know if she can remember what happened to her the last time she went across the fence, but I hope she knows enough to not do it ever again!  With one missing leg, I don't think she can outrun predators, or climb trees fast enough to get away.

So, $1700 later, we have the best 3 legged cat in town!  She's valuable to us in more than just financial means.  She brings us joy and she's content in our family.  She still has a distinctive sound as she walks down the hallway, but she can jump onto the bed or couch and back down again as though nothing every happened.  I'd say The End, but I think it's more aptly said, To Be Continued.

Hunkered down between the couch and end table, waiting for the best time to reach out with her remaining front leg and attack me!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Is it a Zukin or a Pumpkini?

First, a little background.  I finally figured out why it's hard for us to get a garden started, despite my deep desire to grow lots of food, both for my family and our farm animals.  I know why it's hard to keep it going once we do, but I finally realized what makes it hard to start.  Tony, my husband, is a musician and is very busy in the spring.  He's gone a lot more and that leaves more for me to do, and it doesn't even cross my mind during those times.

So this year we finally got seeds into the ground in mid to late June.  We don't usually get early frosts, so we figured it was worth the effort.  About a month before, I did get greens planted in a shady area, and then we moved westward from there to plant corn, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, sugar pie pumpkins and carving pumpkins.

The seeds sprouted and the plants took off, putting out flowers all over the place!  A few years ago, this particular bed was occupied by 2 pigs we were raising, and the cows and goats have been allowed to graze there from time to time as well, so it is thoroughly fertilized!  It took a little longer than I expected for the fruits to appear, but we were sure harvesting a lot.  Then there was a bit of a slow down, but new flowers were still coming out.

The vines were mingling, growing together and trying to beat out the bindweed that is impossible to get rid of.  We started finding zucchini and yellow squash that had turned back in on itself making the squash look round.  We thought it was from the crowded conditions, but I learned more when I tried to cut one for tonight's dinner.

It was hard to cut and the flesh slightly orange colored.  My brain instantly realized they'd been cross pollinated by the pumpkins and that explains the round growth!  I had to peel it to cut it up for dinner, and then had to cook it a lot longer than I would have if it were normal zucchini!  One bite confirmed the theory, it had a bit of pumpkin texture and slight flavor, but it was good.

So, is it a Zukin or a Pumpkini?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Miraculous Mim! Part One

I've been wanting to write her story for weeks.  I know it needs careful thought to make it the best story, and time to write it properly.  I keep waiting for a time that I can sit down and write it all out and that just isn't happening, so I'm going to start.

It was August 8th.  It was early in the morning-and I mean the kind of early where most normal people should be asleep.  Murphy, our dog, barked that kind of intense bark that says something is wrong.  I leapt out of bed to go let him out to protect the farm animals.  Normally my husband does this, and I can't remember why it was me this time.  Usually, when he barks, there are coyotes off in the distance and he's just trying to show off.  This time, I stood at the back door, listening to...silence.  Not a single sound could be heard.  No distant coyote yips, no strumming emu, no honking geese or quacking ducks.  Nothing.  No rustling sounds in the grass on the other side of our fence-which is Forest Service land.  I called Murphy back in and got back in bed.

Fast forward 5 or 6 hours and Tony, my husband, who was outside doing farm chores pops his head in the door and asks if any of us have seen the cat this morning.  None of us had, but that isn't too unusual, she likes to stay outside at night during the summer.  He said she might be in trouble then, because he could hear distant meows, but couldn't determine where it was coming from.  We all went out to help locate her.  The meows were strong, but the volume was faint.  I walked the direction I thought I heard the sounds coming from, but she wasn't there.  I went back the way I'd come and climbed over the fence to go search for her in the "wild".  Again, I was drawn the same direction as I stood to listen for her.  I got back to the area I'd been, but on the other side of the fence this time and just stopped.  As soon as other noises quieted, I knew.  She was up.  Only she was way further up than we could do anything about.  We have a bunch of mesquite trees behind our fence, which are not very tall.  If she'd been in one of those, Tony could have easily rescued her.  No, she was at the top of the power pole looking eager to get back to the ground, but with no knowledge of how to move in reverse of what she'd done to get to the top in the first place.

This is where my brain starts putting things together.  Whatever Murphy had barked at last night must have scared her up the pole and she'd been there for those 5 or 6 hours.  She probably didn't mind much while it was dark out, but as soon as the sun started coming up, it was HOT!  She wanted down and she wanted down now!  We knew we couldn't do anything on our own, so we guessed it, the fire department.  I didn't want to call 911, because technically it wasn't an emergency, so I looked up the number to the administrative office.The conversation went something like this:
Voice on other end:  C___ V_____ fire administration office, how can I help you?
Me:  Hi, my name is Kelly Cook, and my cat is at the top of the power pole behind our house.  Is that something the fire department can help me with?
Voice:  Um.  Well.  I think so, but you should call the dispatch office to ask and they'll send a truck over if they can.
Me:  Thanks, so just dial 911 or try another number?
Voice:  Here, try this ___ ___ ____
Me:  OK, thanks a lot!

When I called the dispatch number, they weren't even sure they could do anything, but about 10 minutes later, a ladder truck arrived.  I need to pause from the main story here to tell you that our house is on 3 acres of land, and we have a long driveway.  The firemen PARKED ON THE ROAD AND WALKED IN!  Where's the bravery in that??  When they said they couldn't get the truck back here I responded, "So we shouldn't even bother calling you guys if the house catches fire??"  Their response, "We have long fire hoses."  Seriously?  That one still gets me a bit riled up.

They got to the back of our property and shrugged their collective shoulders.  "There's nothing we can do."  "We can't work around live wires."  [I get that one, I didn't want anyone risking their life to save my cat, but she is important to our family, as you'll learn from the end of the story.]  "I promise you, we've never had an animal skeleton at the top of anything high like that."  "When she gets hungry enough, she'll figure out how to get down."  I finally said, "So maybe we should call the power company and they can do something?"  They agreed that it'd be worth a try.

Yep, that's what we did.  Customer service assured us they'd get someone out as soon as they could.

Knowing it'd be a while, we all went back to our tasks.  At least Tony and I did.  The kids watched from a distance to see what happened.  They'd been warned not to hang around where their presence might cause Mim to try to come down on her own.  About 20 minutes later, my oldest son ran in to tell me she was down.  I thought that was good news and went out to see her.  Only it wasn't.  Tony, who'd been working about 200 ft away, heard a loud pop, then heard the kids hollering.  We met outside on our way to see what had happened.  There she was, lying on the ground, about 10 feet away from the pole, panting heavily.  That seemed natural, since it was hot outside and she'd been in the direct sun for a few hours now, but it was more than that.  The whiskers on the right side of her face were singed and curly.  Her claws were out, stuck in that position.  Her tongue appeared to have no life and was hanging out, but stiff.  Tony quickly hopped the fence and worked to release her claws from some wire that used to be part of the Forest Service fence.  At this point, we still hadn't quite realized what happened-we couldn't see the singed whiskers until we brought her in, which we had done to get her cooled off quickly.  We thought she fell while trying to get down, but as we examined her, we realized she'd touched the wrong wire combination while up there and had been shocked and thrown down.

I called the mobile vet we use for our farm animals, no answer.  I called his office number and learned he was out of state at a veterinary conference.  We got into the car to start driving to another vet's office, which I called while Tony drove, to advise them of her condition and request that they be ready to receive her as soon as we got there.  Mim stayed on his lap while he drove because her unnaturally extended claws couldn't be removed from his shirt.

We arrived at the same time another family did, who was bringing in their dog with a swollen face with no known cause.  Because we had called in, they took us in first.  The kids walked back with us, but were quickly sent back to the waiting room because they were getting emotional.  The vet tech took her temperature while the vet looked into her eyes and felt for broken bones and internal damage.  I don't recall the exact temperature reading, but it was several degrees over what'd be considered high for a cat.  They determined that the best way to cool her down would be to move her to the grooming area and run water over her while a fan blew on her as well.  I took over the job of holding the hose on her while the vet and tech proceeded to give her an injection and something by IV.  They then went to the other 'patient'.

It took about 20 minutes to get her temperature down into a high normal range, at which point her breathing also slowed to nearly normal.  The details after that are kind of sketchy in my memory.  the urgency was abated, and she didn't have any internal injuries to address.  It was suggested they keep her for the day to monitor her and then we could bring her home.  What I do remember is the vet who was working on her was subbing for the one that is normally there-because he was at the same conference.  They shouldn't be allowed to leave at the same time!

Her prognosis was a guarded 'good'.  During the exam we could see that her right ear was bent back, as it would be if she was mad and hissing at some unseen enemy, and her front left leg was contracted and bent in.  Her tongue was curled up at the end and she had a horseshoe shaped burn on it.  Only time would tell what healing could happen there.

When the vet's office staff called to let us know we could pick her up, we also learned that she'd need steroidal eye drops four times a day to ward off cataracts.  She needed to be on a nutritionally dense diet because it'd be hard for her to eat and she needed a lot of good quality calories to heal.  Of course, she is the first picky cat I've ever owned, and she only likes her ocean delights dry food we get from Trader Joe's.  Even when she smells the fresh cow or goat milk after we've milked the animals, she'll meow as though she's really interested in getting some, but she drinks about 3 drops and walks away.

I paid the bill, adding in 4 cans of expensive cat food for her healing.  Suggestions were made about soaking her dry food in broth to soften it and make it more nutritious, offering her cooked meat, giving her baby food, etc.  All the employees in the office were pleased with her condition and surprised by how loving she was-especially after what she'd been through.

Stay tuned for part two, coming soon....
If you just can't wait to read more, check out this story about Purrsy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Sometimes what we have to do gets in the way of what we want to do, and sometimes that's a good thing.  Sometimes we're waiting for the perfect set of circumstances to start this or do that, when we realize that the circumstances will never be perfect and we need to make the most of the moments we're given.

This is very easy to type, but putting it into practice is challenging for me.  I've long held this notion that if everyone would just stop for a couple of days, I could get my act together and then things would run more smoothly and we'd enjoy life more.  Of course we all know that we can't snap our fingers and cease time while we do this, so what's a wife and mom to do?

I'm still working on it.  I do notice that we go through seasons, not just the 4 on our yearly calendar, but phases in which some activities are easier to accomplish than others.  As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes chapter 3, there is a time for just about everything.  As I seem to get one set of circumstances or a situation under control, a new series appears.

That would explain my long absence from writing here.  Nearly a year and a half!  It would take me that long to write it all out, so I will simply summarize.

  1. Finalization of the adoption of our two youngest children.
  2. Crazy summers in which we try to continue lessons in our homeschool AND enjoy all the activities offered in our community (summer reading programs with awesome field trips, vacation Bible schools, Jr ranger camp and an assortment of other fun things).
  3. A brief period in which I felt we were settling into a new normal.
  4. A good upheaval when we welcomed another foster child into our family, and the adjustment period that goes along with that (such as figuring out how 6 people were going to fit into the space that a couple of years ago was seemingly inadequate for just 3 of us).
  5. The holiday season-rehearsals for the church Christmas program, preparing for Thanksgiving and Tony's birthday, days away cutting firewood for the winter, furniture rearranging so that a Christmas tree can be put up and decorated, and the celebration of TWO birthdays right after the new year starts.
  6. Another new normal that includes 4 children and Tony working out of town (and sometimes even out of state!) for days at a time.
  7. A not so good upheaval when said foster child was relocated.
  8. Spring on the farm and the anticipation of new baby farm animals!  We missed the births of all of them, lost a couple during labor & delivery, and had to bottle feed one.
  9. With spring comes little league baseball, which rolls right into summer vacation and another crazy fun summer similar to number 2.
  10. Which brings us to the period we're in now-a new first for all of us-youth football and cheer leading, with practice 3 nights a week and games on Saturdays.
In my attempts to bring order from chaos, I've decided I need several things, and one is a creative outlet, so here I am again.  The ideas swirling in my head may now have a chance at making their way out, and that, I believe, enriches the brain, exercises it, making it stronger for those things that need to be done.  When those things get done, there is more time for intentional, authentic living, and that has been my aim for quite some time.  Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope to 'see' you again.