July 31, 2009

Chance of Showers

I don't give my kids an allowance. They have certain chores that are their responsibility, but those are simply their contribution to our home. If they want to earn some money, they know they must do extra tasks that are above and beyond the daily chores. Their favorite money-making opportunity is cleaning my car.

My boys have learned to wash and dry the exterior as well as vacuum, wash surfaces, and clean windows inside the car. They like having an opportunity to earn some money; I like having a clean car.

At any rate, they recently asked if they could wash the car. They gathered the supplies and went outside. Later I stepped out to check on them and found this:


My oldest had my umbrella from the trunk. Had a sudden rain shower begun on this sunny July morning? Hardly. The source of the rain was my youngest who was busy directing a steady stream of water over the umbrella.


Naturally I ran to get my camera, laughing as I went. I thanked God that I have hard-working little boys who know how to enjoy their work.

July 28, 2009

Clutching to the Vine

Welcome to "Clutching to the Vine"!

There are two very good reasons behind the name of this blog. For one thing, it is a word picture of how some of the difficult days of mothering feel. Sometimes I feel like I am nearly drowning in piles of laundry, toys scattered on the floor, and the feeling that everything I do will soon be undone. It is as if I am hanging on by a thread...or a vine. If I could draw a cartoon, it would include me sinking in quick sand in the middle of the jungle. I would be frantically grasping to a vine hanging from one of the trees.

Since I can't draw, I asked my ten-year-old son to illustrate it for me. He is all boy, though, and he thought a tiger would be much more exciting. I considered it and decided he was on to something. Here's his picture:

As I thought about it, I decided that the day-to-day struggles of motherhood are like quick sand. However, there are other things that are our tigers. Sometimes it is medical issues. Other times it is family problems. It can be a bully who torments your child, the house on the market that doesn't sell, or something that should be simple but isn't--like potty training. Ugh.

The second reason behind "Clutching to the Vine" is the remedy to the first. It relates to something Jesus said in the book of John:

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."--John 15:5 (NIV)

These words are a picture of my desperate need for Jesus. It is a beautiful way to say that I am a mess without Him. Some days it is a matter of "remaining" in him--continuing on step-by-step in sync with Him. Some days, though, I'm clinging in desperation to Him with the certainty that the Vine is all that stands between me and complete disaster.

That's what it's all about--clutching to Jesus. Moment by moment, day by day. It is my hope that this blog is a reflection of that, and that with each post I learn to trust Him more. In the meantime, I need to remind myself of the following:
  1. Don't let the quick sand bog you down.
  2. Watch out for tigers--they'll sneak up on you!
  3. Hang on to Jesus. He's holding on to you.

July 13, 2009

got milk?

IMG_5437 PN

IMG_5434 Picnik

This is Raven. She is a dogie--a motherless calf--on my parents' ranch. She has to be fed with a calf bottle twice a day. It's a treat for my boys to feed her because they don't get to very often. It's the sort of thing that can quickly become a chore when you have to do it all the time. I suppose lots of things are like that--the novelty wears off quickly and becomes ordinary, even mundane. What do you think?

July 10, 2009

Aplomado Falcons


These are young aplomado falcons. (Aplomado is Spanish for "dark grey".) They were bred in captivity in Idaho by The Peregrine Fund as part of their Aplomado Falcon Restoration Project. Local Peregrine Fund biologists drove to Idaho to get the falcons as well as several freezers full of quail to feed the birds.




A large group came to see the four birds that were going to be released on my parents' ranch.


The biologists built two hacks for the birds. The hack is a ten-foot square platform fifteen feet off the ground. A box for the birds is on the top. The biologists added mesquite branches as well.


The biologists, a photographer, and special guests climbed up on the platform. One by one, the birds were placed in the box. Two hack nest monitors will feed the birds and record data relating to the falcons.

After several days, the birds are released from the box. They learn to fly and begin to hunt, although the hack nest monitors will continue to provide quail for six weeks.

The four falcons shown here were later joined by four more at the other hack. Two more groups of birds will be released later this summer.

This has been an incredible experience for our family. Not many children have held an endangered species in their hands, but my boys have. They now have a better understanding of the need for us to be caretakers of the land, and it has given them a glimpse of one of the amazing wonders of God's creation.