Friday, December 23, 2016

Give Us This Day

Today the chickens weren’t the only ones feeling stuck in the coop – they had me for company. I knew it would happen one of these days. The hinges on the wooden door would sling shut behind me, the rope and knot to prevent such incidents would snap, and there I’d be – trapped in with the feathered fowl, looking out at the world through wire holes. 

Meanwhile, the only human to rescue me was far away at the food market buying Christmas dinner groceries (and probably snacking on free samples), so enduring the cold in this pen could have been my fate for the next several hours. Even the chickens seemed perplexed. They cocked their heads at me and flapped their wings as if to question what to make of this uncommon situation.

As panic subsided, I put my genius to work along with the luck of finding a tiny scrap of metal, which I bent into a tool to pry the lock open…freeing myself as well as the birds as we all tumbled out into the freshly fallen snow in our backyard. 

Well, I should rephrase that. Indy turned around as soon as she saw the snow and wanted to stay in the coop. But the longer she watched Winnie fearlessly stamping around and nibbling away at the green grass poking through the snow, Indy couldn't stand being left behind and finally lifted her wings and took a leap out of the coop. 

We love dirt! Cluck, cluck.
Ah yes, another day with the chickens! As they scratched and dug their beaks into the wet, brown soil of the garden beds to forage for worms and other tasty proteins, they clucked gleefully now to be free-ranging. I watched them as large, fluffy snowflakes descended all around us from the heavens, engulfing the world in white.

Two fresh, brown eggs daily. That’s what we’ve counted since fall. And there’s no let up. These birds just keeping giving more.

And so do we. Four months into married life and counting, we discover fresh love daily as the Lord sustains, nourishes, and gives us this day all that we need. It comes down from heaven in the simple things: the daily work we do, the daily meal we share, the sweet sharing of life and dreams and humor, and the tender care received from one another after dental surgery and vicious flu attacks. As he brings in firewood and stirs the flames higher to heat up our home (it being our main source of heat), I pull out the ingredients for our next meal.

This one’s a recipe from the San Francisco quarterly called Remedy (Stories of food, recipes for feeling good) which Robert found and collected the ingredients for, so all I must do is try my hand at it: grate 2 cups of sweet potato, grate fresh ginger, mix in applesauce and add the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl; then drop a spoonful of batter into each waiting muffin cup. 

The raw mess of the baking process - didn't stage this.

Twenty minutes later, here’s the result. Only I forgot to add the sunflower seeds, so here comes the innovation. I spread a layer of cream cheese on top and then sprinkle the seeds on for a final cupcake perfection. Ta da!

Never underestimate the little things - that is what St. Therese of Liseux would say according to her "little way of love." They are the threads that hold us together like a well-sewn, maybe goofy-looking, but always lovable Christmas sweater.

We're turning the page now to 2017 and to my 30th year. To give the year perspective, we've each decided to choose one word to hang on our hearts...a word that we'll plant and watch grow over the next 12 months. My word is GIVE. Give us this day our daily love, give without holding back, give freely and with joy. The hubby has chosen a fierce word, a self-sacrificial kind of word - DENY - the word that hangs at the crux of the Christian life, in the center of the cross...Deny thyself, take up thy cross and follow me...

Here's to life outside of the coop!