Saturday, December 30, 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006


Faith passed away this evening, but all faith was not lost at True Vyne Farm. Wise One prayed, "God please let Faith have lots of fun running and jumping around in heaven with You."

Losing Faith

I'm afraid to go into the garage, because of what I might find. Faith, our fat grandma goat and beloved family pet is down. Yesterday my son found her star gazing, eyes glazed over and very sick. She stumbled instead of her silly waddle. Looks like goat polio, which is not the same thing as human polio. Goat polio comes about after some other bodily stress and perhaps she has pnemonia or something.

After literally three hours of searching and driving from one vet to another (both my normal vets weren't in) I found a kind vet who let me buy the prescription for Thiamine. It's a super saturated vitamin B, and it makes no sense, other than to keep vets in large animal business, that it's a prescription. Animals simply pee out what their body doesn't use. This particular farm vet met me at a Weigels on the north side of Knoxville, an entire hour's drive from my house, because the local ones refused to see me unless I brought the animal in. Ever tried to lift a 200 pound nanny? And taking her in the van may have been the one stress to put her over the edge. As of her 4 am shot, she's still hanging on. Her breathing worries me.

I don't want to lose her even though she'll never kid again. Faith is just a friend I don't want to live without.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Stealing away for a moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

If anyone asks me, "How was your Christmas?" I'd say, "I spent far too much time being Martha, because Mary was no where to be found. Now I'd just like some time to breathe. In silence." Crazy busy is not how I like to spend my time, but Christmas came in a whoosing whirlwind and flies by even still.

My children grumped yesterday that they are the only children in the United States who didn't get to watch one holiday show. I think it's true! No Frosty, Elf, Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, or Rudolf. Does that make me the Grinch?

One of my most treasured memories of this year were Peace's words on Christmas Eve, "Mom, I don't care about getting presents this year. I just can't wait to see the expressions on everyone's faces when they open their gifts from me." He saved and squirreled away his allowance this year and truly gave gifts to touch hearts. He gave Buck and I the loveliest clock all on his own. Up until this year, my gifts from the children came from the Dollar Store or Buck. I can see that painfully awkward mix of manly maturity in Peace's thoughtfulness and his boyish playfulness in racing cars with his siblings.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Now a Word From the Easy to Please Department

Wise One turned hit double digits yesterday.

He picked out his birthday present with his daddy the day after Thanksgiving and has been sweating bullets waiting to open it since. Finally the day arrived, so he popped out of bed before 7:00 a.m. and began asking every five minutes, "Mom, is it light yet? Can I open my present? When will Dad be out of bed?" Buck has been working mandatory overtime and is very tired these days. I'd rather Buck grab as much sleep as possible between shifts so as to be rather alert to prevent major air disasters, than wake him up long before dawn so Wise One could open his package. Buck rose around 8:30, but Peace still slept. Pooh Bear went in Peace's room and chanted, "It's Wise One's birthday and he can't open his present till you get up and watch." After four or so chants, bedhead and all, Peace shuffled to the couch with somewhat of an-about-to-become-a-teenager scowl across his face.

Wise One wildly tore open his wrapped gigantic Lego Valdorf castle and set to work building. He was particularly impressed with the tiny skeleton Lego man. A little later after the ceremony, I called off Peace and Tater for homeschool. They were not thrilled that their brother not only got a fabulous present but also earned a day off school. Wise One often choose to work ahead to have days off for fun things. Oh, if only the other three caught onto that vision so easily!

I worked with Tater on the Vyne Revolution instead of school for a while (the day before had been one of the worst struggles of the Vyne Revolution ever). If you recall, my dear readers, Buck and I are moving from behavior to relational based parenting, and I've never done such work in my life. Friend Miriam said last night in her best English accent, "Often revolutions are very bloody." Though there had been no real blood shed, Tater gave me the Do you love me test all of Tuesday. With white knuckles and nearly broken teeth from clenching my jaw into a pleasant expression, I passed. However, when Tater began to give me a second new day of the Do you love me test so early on Wednesday, I stood in the kitchen staring into his lovely chocolate eyes and began pouring tears. Tater was moved to love and stopped the test for a while.

Tater wrote the world's best report on animal adaptation report which included an introductory and concluding paragraphs. Things were peaceful and I headed off to the gym around noon.

As soon as I was out of the garage and down the driveway, Tater began to give Buck the Do you love me test. Once again Buck passed though I'm quite certain it was a doosey, and we are both sure the exams aren't over. God help us!

Now a word from the Easy to Please Department. If a family must endure such strife, other members tend to step up and make life less stressful.

Even though we don't have time for it with all the strategies, bombs, and battles of love surging around us, our children still insist on eating meals during the Revolution. Buck scrounged around our pantry and called out to Wise One, "How does Spam sound for a birthday lunch?" Buck fried Spam since he knows he can't get away with the smell when I'm at home. It's not exactly my favorite.

Wise One exclaimed in all sincerity after his first bite into the processed canned meat product, "Now this is a birthday to remember!"

Friday, December 15, 2006


The End by AA Milne
When I was One
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

My very own Pooh Bear turns six today. Is it really the end? Yes, in many ways. Though she's not entirely differently from yesterday, I see something, a sparkle of knowing, in her eyes. Our preschool days as a family are now finished as she's officially entered a new developmental plane. Toddler wonder makes way for more complex thought; and I'm going to miss pure toddler wonder.

She refers to things she used to do not so many months ago as "when I was a little." I whisper into the back wisps of her hair, "Stay here in my arms while you still fit." On Pooh Bear's last birthday, she could have passed for an oompa loompa, but now her willowy limbs spill over my lap like long pieces of spaghetti.

She's missing her two front teeth for Christmas, and she does whistle slightly when she talks. Perfect.

For her birthday present, I located a large and furry stuffed lavender pony with a pink velveteen saddle and silver hooves just about the size of her petite frame. Just now, she's dragging the animal behind her by it's bridle and speaking softly to it, "Let's go."

Six will not last forever, and I intend to make the most of it with my girly. Let's go.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Little Farm Wonder

I had a dream last night that my dog, Ripley, came to me in great concern. When he turned his head on my lap, I noticed he didn't have an eye, just white fur covering the place it should have been. Disturbing. And he showed me his worry about puppies (not his) which had been born in a shallow well in the ground. For some reason, wells in the ground in my dream terrify me.

Perhaps, my dream tells me I'm more anxious than I thought about a hawk which is stalking our chickens. My husband and boys had the horrid experience Friday of finding the hawk attacking our very gentle and sweet chicken, Momma Silkie. She was far and away the most nurturing of all our hens. She constantly brooded and helped hatch and raise chicks. We suppose she died saving one of the newer babies born in September. The Vyne family will miss your tender ways, Momma Silkie.

Now back to Ripley, the amazing dog. A few weeks ago, he was made to take ear mite meds which he hated. So, he'd run when Tator and Buck went to the field holding the bottle. One day, though Buck held the bottle, Rip didn't sprint away. Instead, he voiced the "follow me" bark. Buck obliged and walked behind the big old ball o' fur until they came to a place in the far back corner of the field where a tree had fallen over and squashed the fence. What a spectacular pup! I know if Rip could have handled a hammer and fence wire, he'd have repaired it with his own paws. I can picture him fishing the wire back up the t-post and thinking, "And you coyotes think you had a way in to eat MY goats. Hurrump." The cute thing was that after Buck made the repair and headed over with the medicine, Ripley dashed away

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Time and Christmas

I don't suppose anyone has time to read blogs, much less write posts. However, I find writing sometimes clears my very cluttered mind.

Three of my children have birthdays within the next three weeks. Clever other people might have persuaded their delightful children whose birthdays linger around the holidays to celebrate at a not-so-rushed time of year. I, however, have three dear old friends from my youth who felt completely ripped off and overlooked by the lack of attention their birthdays due to the busyness of the holidays. So, I feel compeled to plan a combined party for my two sons, Peace and Wise One, who like the same things, and another girly girl party for Pooh Bear.

Last year, I talked all three into a swimming party at community pool.

For the party this year, the boys want to see Eragon and eat out pizza with all their buds. Fairly easy party as I'll order a cake, figure out childcare for Pooh Bear, and drive here and there in good company.

Pooh Bear wants a snowman themed birthday party. It's God's mercy, because she wants me to plan and implement a multitude of crafts for her guests, and snowman projects happen to be an absolute snap. Also, though I am not a big decorator (actually it gives me knots in my tummy to deck the halls) I bought a few snowman decorations for the kitchen last year, which is the room I decorate for parties. I'll make a couple of round cakes and gather up my Pooh Bear. She'll have the time of her life slathering on the white icing, forming a ruit roll up a scarf, cutting out a cardstock stovepipe hat, and smooshing in candies for the eyes, nose and mouth. I found snowman party favors for 50 cents a piece at Target. I emailed a simple note to all the moms as I am not interested in the bells and whistles of ecards.

Thursday Buck took over homeschooling which allowed me to Christmas shop. Thursday was perfect because the snippy cold wind spitting tiny ineffectual snowflakes combined with the weeknight made for no crowds or hassles. I went to Ten Thousand Villages, a favorite place to shop for those who don't really need, but I want to bless. It works out nicely in that a third world artist feeds his family and someone dear to me recieves a beautiful present. I also hit Target, Walmart, Dick's, Panera's, Bliss, Borders, Brook's Brothers, B. Moss, and Dillards.

The family has handmade gifts to finish, I'll have a boatload to organize and mail, then Buck has one big purchase for the children to handle, but we are well on our way to being ready for Christmas and birthdays in the gift giving department. Buck and I stayed up very late wrapping just in case curious children found the loot I'd just purchased.

Monday Tator and Wise One's homeschool cooperative teacher took us on a field trip to process gifts for the Angel Tree on Monday. It was a simple and yet rewarding experience for all as we organized a teensy tiny portion the multitude of 24,000 gifts bought for Knoxville children in need through the Angel Tree Project. Not once did I hear a child say of the trendy flashy toys, "I wish I could have this for Christmas." The children from the class all seemed to understand these toys went to children who otherwise might get nothing under their tree Christmas morning. I asked Pooh Bear to walk through the process three times with me, and even she, at five years old, could indepently work. I didn't realize the complexity of coordinating vast amounts of toys between boys and girls clubs, orphanages, Dept. of Children's services, civic clubs, ministries to the poor, etc. When our portion was finished, we all had a proud sense of accomplishment.

When our church group service project for next week fell apart, it was an easy replacement suggestion. We're on at the Angel Tree warehouse Monday.

The Angel Tree reminds me of our struggle to adopt Tator. Since was a foster baby with us, his second Christmas we signed him up to be an angel tree recipent, because his future with our family was so incredibly precarious. We didn't know day to day if he'd be with us, and we wanted to ensure he'd have presents no matter what. He never once had to leave our care, so we still have a colorful Kwanzaa picture book from those early uncertain days. When I thumb through that particular book, it brings me back both to the incredible pain and ultimate grace full joy of foster care.

Another activity which demands my attention lately is that of the dance we are working on for next Sunday's church building opening day. Shelly and Hauna have coreographed a celebratory banner piece for ten women to lead the way into worship. I don't get to observe as I did at Easter; participant must have foot surgery, and I'll need to step into her place on a banner.

I am also working with a small group of advisors on behalf of a friend named Ruby, launching into service of the Kiowa Native Americans in Oklahoma. She's worked there since April 2004 and has the high honor of being adopted into the tribe. Claire and I find our fingers flying across the keyboard typing out informational pamphlets, invitations to support desserts, pledge cards to enable Ruby to quit work and focus on service.

Tonight is the Loudon Christmas parade and walk through the town. Pooh Bear woke up and began to put on layers of clothing at 8 a.m. this morning in preparation for the 6 p.m. parade this evening. However, when I last checked this afternoon, she had stripped to a t-shirt and a thin skirt to run around the house.

Tomorrow we hope to attend an updated version of the Nutcracker with Svetlana and Anna. I wonder what updated means exactly?

My work recently and already formerly known as Shepherd's Stew has morphed into being named Still Waters. I believe the name change occured when some vegans (wink) in Washington, D.C. conjured the thought of the Good Shepherd eating his poor little unsuspecting sheep in the Shepherd's Stew imagery...

Anyhow, Still Waters, a series of themed mini-retreats I've written are offered through The Center for Children and Theology . I've twittered away a little too much time lately dancing with my printer to work up the set titled Emmanuel for Christmas, but it's finally finished and ready for shipping. If there are any profits from this Still Waters venture for me, The Center has generously agreed to designate the money for The Shepherd's Call work.

Someone needs to tell me exactly where homeschool, cooking, and laundry fit in between all this planning?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Adoption Day

A portion of an adoption poem by Monica Palmer concerning a portait of a family painted by God:

He blended dark shadows with subtle hues of Gold.
Using the richest colors, a picture began to unfold.
One very special child, two fathers and two mothers.
The image began taking shape with such beautiful colors.

Splashes of Love outlined colors of Pain.
Shades of Joy and Sadness
were mixed throughout the Picture,
among Stripes of Sorrow and Gladness.

The Portrait was finally complete,
He gently framed it with His Heart
He hung it in the Halls of Faith
. . .A Priceless Work of Art.

I see these things in you my son.

Splashes of love outlined in colors of pain
You are a child who knows exactly what it means to be deeply cherished and yet feels deep hurt all in the same breath.
Shade of joy and sadness
Noone I know abounds in delight like you, but I still notice the grey of mourning doves peeking out from behind the glowing light in your eyes.
Stripes of sorrow and gladness
Evidence of scarring remind me your fragile heart has been wounded, yet I observe giggles, wide smiles, all out laughter mixed into each new day.

A priceless work of art
Nothing compares to you. No glorious painting, no beautiful sonnet, no perfect song comes close the pearl of great price I have in you.

I see you.
I know you.
And I love you.