Sunday, May 29, 2011

Farewell Chicken Auction as we knew it before.......

Many of you shared in the excitement of the Chicken Auction as you read the cheerfully constructed post about our trip to the auction as well as the pictures we shared. Today I share with you the rest of the story......

One of the most notable things about the chicken auction trip is that you must pass through a mobile home park before you reach the parking lot.

That mobile home park was destroyed by the tornado.

Here is the where the front sign stood, followed by the picture that I took prior to the storm.

While we do not know to what extent they may or may not rebuild it, for now, we will not be able to enjoy the chicken auction any time in the near future.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What is love?

Today we learn many things about "love" how it should make us feel, how we should make "love", how to find our true "love" and how "love" is the end all and be all of our relationships and that once we fall out of "love" then what is there left? We are taught that without this Hollywood portrayal of "love" we are lacking so much that we must abandon all in a fast pace in order to fulfill our one and only need with little regard for others. But wait what is love? Is it really this idea of being on cloud nine for the rest of our lives, the idea of spooning continually in the arms of our "lover", passing away the time in pure bliss with not a want or need for the future or any actions that come in living life?

Could it be? Could it possibly be, that our definition of love is so severely off that we are risking the future of many a union by spreading the lies so swiftly that they are cutting off all opportunity for marriages to thrive? You see, there are not many long standing married couples I have met that will pretend that "cloud 9" type love is prolific in their daily lives as a couple. Some may even state that it is only there for the beginning! Can you imagine that having a deep and engrossed romantic encounter is NOT the real love one must take on as a way to encourage a healthy, vibrant, and long lasting relationship. With that being said what in all honesty is love? Love is best defined as a commitment that views all problems as solvable, resolvable, tasks and bears with confidence even the most evil of actions by one or both parties involved. Love is the moment when you realize that life isn't about you and that your narcissism must be sacrificed to feed the narcissism of another! Love is when you decided that you don't have to be on "Cloud 9" your whole life and yet you will be ok. Love is when you are willing to recognize that all the pain you endure is nothing compared to the pain you have inflicted on another. That my friends is the level of commitment necessary to make a marriage/relationship last. This level of commitment can see you through addictions, adultery, anger and resentment it can bring you to a place of peace, contentment and even happiness. This is NOT a sure fire cure, it's simply but a possible reality. This is in short a love called commitment.

How do we get there? Where do we find the strength to manage this inhuman level of devotion for another, denying our self daily in a way that allows another to feel secure in our love? Well, it isn't easy! It is a daily conscience decision, you will not wake up every morning thinking " I am so in love". In fact those mornings when you roll over and see that special someone in your relationship and think "I am so lucky and they are so lovely!" my friend you have reached "Cloud 9". Cherish it, it will not last! This is what I must affectionately inform you is lust, you can lust your spouse and while it is a wonderful feeling it very rarely can hold up a relationship. You must remember that everyone ages and there will come a day when your dragging gut or her sagging chest doesn't strike you as gorgeous! That's O.K. though you'll find something else to lust over provided you have found the commitment ( i.e. love) that will hold you together. Life is a journey that takes us so many directions and at no point does it seem fair in many ways but the one thing you can rest in for a fact is that a long lasting relationship won't be fair, but that it is worth it. Not because it isn't fair but because each step of the way, the deeper your commitment is the more you begin to understand your superhuman strength that allows you to weather the storms, hold up your loved one and still be able to walk the beaches and smile. For those who are going through a storm, hold on, for those in a moment of "Cloud 9" cherish the moment and commit it to memory ( your going to need it :) ) and for those who now walk the beaches and smile keep walking! It is this moment of your relationship that you fight for, the moment that says here we are, together, despite the storms! No matter how long it takes, fulfilling your commitment is what gives you the strength to do it all again, which trust me you will have to many times over.

In a moment of pure entertainment as I searched for quotes that might inspire my mind as I wrote this blog I ran across a quote by Sylvester Stallone. I thought I would share it as it really does sum up my thoughts.

I learned the real meaning of love. Love is absolute loyalty. People fade, looks fade, but loyalty never fades. You can depend so much on certain people, you can set your watch by them. And that's love, even if it doesn't seem very exciting.

~Sylvester Stallone

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ahhh Accomplishment.....

Here we are, day two of milking the cow and would you believe that we got somewhere close to 3/4 of a gallon of milk this morning/afternoon ( lets just say it took us a LONG time!!!) So excited for the evening milking, hopefully my speed will improve and she will be impressed with my ability :) Props to my rockin friend April who not only helped with the milking put up with our crazy talk while doing it!!! We even did a little tandem milking ( it was worth a laugh ). I will add pics later :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Milking the Cow.....

Today was one of those days when your determination goes before your better sense! I must be honest and say that what we did today should never be attempted by those who are less experienced than we were. WE MILKED THE COW. The crazy loony cow that we bought about a month ago, we finally milked that thing.... We don't have a stanchion or a milking stall, but we have some good pine saplings and a LOT of rope. After a few crazy knots and a TON of sweet feed I'm not sure if we coaxed her or simply pissed her off while getting her into a position that would allow us to milk her but we did it. My dearest friend April was managing the head, making sure it didn't pull back through saplings, Eric stood to the side keeping the saplings pulled together so she felt boxed in and I got the enjoyable opportunity to dodge some very not so nice kicks. Here's the workup....

Cow in rope, sapling stanchion tightened, commence to milking.....

Kick, rub cow, kick, flinch, explicative, rub cow, kick, flinch, jerk, explicative
(and repeat that a few more times, ok more like 50 more times....).

About 15 minutes in it began to rain, and then 30 minutes in it began to POUR. The end result? MILK!!!!

The milk!!!!

US after lots of RAIN!!! But hey WE MILKED THE COW!!!! THANKS April!!!!

When the line is rarely defined.

In a moment of sadness it becomes a revelation to me about the society we live in. We like to focus on gossip, and whose gossiping and how we can gossip about the person who's gossiping about the person who shouldn't be gossiped about. Or even better yet how we can correct the gossiper that we feel is gossiping about us or others. Now if that wasn't confusing enough, here is the cold hard realistic line.
Gossip hurts just as much living a life that hurts others. No one is the exception to this fact and all of us have to learn to adjust to the level of pain we are willing to inflict on others before we can come to grips with our own existence.
To borrow the words of someone I know,

"Gossip: is hearing something you like about someone you don't"

and after this statement this verbage should follow

"Heartache: is hearing something you don't like about someone you do"

It is a long hard road to wisdom and yet wisdom is only beneficial if you heed to the knowledge it offers! The biggest question is what if anything should you do with verbal information, both that which is gossip, that which is fact, and that which clearly is painful to you or another.

Many people choose to share, others confide in an individual or counselor and yet others simply choose to sit by and ignore life as it unfolds. No matter which path you choose there will be pain, there will be ignorance and anger, there will be distances between people and moments that bring others closer. This is called life. Right, wrong or indifferent we must all realize that the pain we experience is often times brought on by others or ourselves, but how we choose to deal with it sits solely in our own lap.

I have learned many things in my short (5 months shy of a decade) marriage and one thing I have learned is that there is nothing more painful than to be hurt by the one you love, and yet the pain is nothing compared to when you realize that you have hurt others who loved you. There is no way to go back and rewind what you do, and there is no way that you can make people accept that what you once were you are not anymore, rather sometimes you must learn to live with the pain. Many people say, this is not a christian perspective but I would argue that living on earth with the pain is the very reason tears will be wiped away in the ever after. Jesus didn't promise us smooth roads or an easy ride, he promised us life.

There is and will always be pain, how we handle it will determine if we cause more or live with less.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Weather or not to talk about it!

The weather outbreak on April 27th, 2011 was an incredible display of grace, sovereignty and sheer power.

I have at no point in my life been so amazed than when I returned home to view the damage. Our home was spared but our next door neighbors did not see the same level in their property. With 8 people in the home, the only walls remaining were those of the interior area, where the family was tucked into the hallway.

Life is short, praying is great but doing is something that you can attach to your prayer!

Today is the National Day of Prayer and we are all as believers encouraged to pray, but rather than just gathering to say a prayer to the Almighty God, take a minute to look at these images.
Say a prayer and DO SOMETHING!!!

Jesus set an amazing example by DOING as well as PRAYING. We should follow suit.

Ways to help disaster victims and other individuals whether it is families of deployed soldiers, those who have lost their job or health, or just someone having a bad day can be found at Red Cross or Random Acts of Kindness
If neither of these are how you'd like to participate then visit your local homeless shelter or church.

This image was a forest!

Here is what most of us take for granted, a trampoline for our kids to play on.

A travel trailer stood here, it is now scattered throughout the woods behind it!

This is the National Weather Services Confirmed Tornado Tracks and Strength Evaluations for Alabama.

All disasters, God made or man made are a time to adjust reflect and stretch. Stretch your faith to greater lengths, your friendliness to broader spans, your habits of selfishness thin, and your pride extinct. For those who have been affected, let people help. For those creating there own disasters, get over yourself there is enough out here without you creating your own. For those of you who have little faith, consider this from the mouth of my 5 year old son as he viewed the awe inspiring damage " God is bigger than the boogie man, He's bigger than Godzilla or the Monsters on TV, Mom!!!!, He's super big because he can bend the trees"