Death and Life...and the Coyote.

The circumstances are slightly hilarious...especially if you had seen it in person...

- Coyote attacks our chickens in the middle of the night. One chicken dies. Husband runs around house in boots and shorts with a gun before sunrise, seeking to destroy the predator. Dead chicken is used as a trap to lure the coyote back to be shot. Three year old finds dead chicken trap and asks, "What's wrong with my chicken?". Husband explains the predator vs. prey cycle. Chicken trap doesn't work. Coyote gets dead chicken without getting caught. Three year old's heart is a little wounded from the whole ordeal. So Husband takes girls on a date to get new chicks. -

Having chickens in the country kind of asks for early conversations about life and death, and cycles, and food chains. We know what we're getting into every year when a new batch of chicks find their way home to our little "farm".

But it's the unexpected conversations, as a mother, that catch me off guard. It's the expression on her face as she is told what happened. It's the sadness she feels for a chicken she helped feed, water, and gather eggs from everyday for a year. It's the fact that death is now a physical visual in her mind.

And as these little ones of mine continue to grow more aware of life around them, I find myself wanting to scoop it all up, take it away, shield their eyes, and shelter them from knowing any sort of death or pain...even in little incidents with country chickens.

As my husband brought in the new chicks they had chosen on their daddy-daughters date, I thought about the new life entering our home. I witnessed the spark in their eyes as they gently patted and held the little babies. I saw the delight as they all chirped in unison.

And I remembered...without death, there wouldn't be life.

In a literal sense, the death of one chicken allowed for a whole new batch of chicks to find a home. From these chicks, my girls experience the beauty of a life. They learn responsibility and gentleness. They watch with wonder as the chicks go through different stages. And when that first egg is laid, they will see the fruit of caring for life well.

The death of one bringing home the lives of many.

As winter turns to Spring, the trees awaken, fresh and green. The flowers bloom giving life to bugs and birds. Nests are laid. And rain brings nourishment. My girls witness green specks of life coming from the dust of the earth, bearing fruit for our little garden.

Death and decay nourishing new life.

And while the flowers and plants spring forward toward the sun. The life held in my belly twists and turns into position. Months turn into weeks. And another baby girl gets ready to meet the world, as a season of preparation and anticipation is laid to rest.

The death of a cherished season bringing forth sacred life.

My girls hear of the death of their Savior on a cross. They are told how He died, how He took on the sin and shame of the world for us, and how He was laid to rest in a tomb. But they are also told of the Savior who defeated death. Rising victoriously, bringing forth eternal life.

Death defeated, grace abounding, the gift of life eternal. 

In my best attempts, I cannot shield them from the absolute of death and sadness. I cannot keep things the same forever, and each stage must be put to rest.

Innocence will give way to experiences, and shelter will open it's doors to knowledge. Seasons will change, bringing new responsibilities and challenges. But through the death of one season, a new season awakens and blooms.

Death brought life, as a daddy took his girls to the feed store, bringing a box of little yellow chirps home. 

Death brought life, as the dormancy of winter budded into new growth.

Death brought life, as a womb holds life for the last time, and a season of four turns to life as five.

Death brought life, as the stone rolled away, linens were folded, and a familiar voice spoke Mary's name.

Without death, there wouldn't be life.

That little three year old now knows the reality of death. It is defined in her mind by what she has seen. It is final. It is sad, and it hurts.

But just as she knows death, she also knows the reality of life. She finds wonder in it. She is inspired by it. And that sparkle, that zest, that appreciation for life is ever-present and ever-beautiful.

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My Tribe.

I don't know about you, but I walk into church most Sundays, see a group of moms enjoying the day at the zoo with their kids, or watch viral videos of two best friends talking mom-life in the front of their car...and immediately I'm reminded that I don't belong to a tribe. 

I don't have the cool "mom-tribe" t-shirt. I don't have a group text between moms, talking about what's coming out of our kid's face, or the rash on their belly. I don't have someone to simply call up and say, "Hey, I'm wearing yesterday's pants, Monday's hair, and I'm in desperate need of a coffee. Wanna meet at Target?"

Sure, I know plenty of good people and sweet moms, but I haven't found my place in a tribe...at least I didn't think so.

Last weekend, I drove five hours west to my hometown. Within hours of arriving, my parent's home was full of almost fifty people. In laws of the in-laws, friends of friends, clients turned mentors, sorority sisters, students turned sisters, friends turned spouses, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, parents- Four generations of people laughing, talking, eating, playing, and worshiping together.

Towards the end of the night, those people, all of whom I love so much, surprised me with a shower for our third baby girl. With every gift opened, it was as if they knew I worried if she'd be treated as special as our other two girls. Every gift was so carefully considered that I was so overwhelmed it was hard to speak. For the rest of the weekend, I lived in the glow of that night. A night set aside for family and friends, fellowship, and worship. 

When we left town on Monday, my eyes welled with tears. I didn't want to leave. Life out west was full of so many people. But life headed East seemed isolating and lonely.

As the dust and dirt turned to green and lush, the Lord impressed upon my heart- I don't have a mom-tribe or a squad by the modern definition, but I do have a tribe, bound by much more than children of similar ages and proximity.

My tribe consists of a friend from my sophomore year of high school, who met her husband, my "adopted" brother, at my wedding. She now teaches with my mom. My tribe consists of a girl from choir, who often was the ONLY girl who treated me with kindness my senior year of high school. Together, we've sang karaoke on the beach, and she was there as I fell madly in love with my husband. My tribe consists of a sorority sister, whose first night spent with me resulted in a wreck (not my fault!). She now shares a special bond with my curly-headed girl! And another sorority sister who made me cry the first time we ever met. We've done everything from wearing flower crowns at a Justin Bieber concert, to highlighting each other's hair in my bathroom. My tribe consists of a group of TEN girlfriends from high school who still group text every week, despite the fact that we are spread out through five different states. 

They have loved me, loved my husband, and loved my girls with wild abandon. 

My tribe includes a voice student turned sister-in-law, whose encouragement guides me through every family function. We've chopped our hair, stayed up watching Friends while eating bags of gummy bears, and talked well into the morning. My tribe includes a cousin, whom I have always loved as a sister, and an aunt, whose laugh I share. My mom whose heart I long to reflect. Who has dropped everything to come care for my sick husband, as I was pregnant and caring for our one year old.

And standing beside me, no matter the distance, is my sister. The one who was there when no one else was. The one who has checked on me everyday for weeks and months. The one who has been on her knees before the throne, praying on my behalf. The one who has been a friend every place we've been and every journey we've walked.

I don't get to plan play-dates or girls' nights with my tribe. In fact, most days hundreds of miles separate us. We don't have special t-shirts, and some I haven't seen in years.

But proximity doesn't determine depth, and miles never negate worth. For though my tribe can't always physically be here on a daily basis, they always show up when I need them most. Whether it be a girl's trip to the ocean, or a simple text to say I looked beautiful in my latest post. Whether it be a meme that perfectly describes us, or a trip to pick out a gift special to the baby girl I carry- my tribe shows up. 

And when I sit on a stretch of highway, isolated and lonely, with the brown dust of the Earth blurring my vision, I am reminded, those women God has placed in my corner, are there even when I can't see them. 

They are my friends, my sisters, my family, my warriors- My tribe.

And I couldn't be more blessed.

Friday Favorites 1.

I've always wanted to dive deeper into blogging, simply because it's a fun creative outlet for me, but I often only write when inspired. So I've decided to hop on the Friday Favorites bandwagon, to stretch myself, to share more than just the inspired words, and to give you a peek into my life beyond motherhood and writing! 

What better way to celebrate another week than to list and share a few of my favorite things! I'll share some favorite moments, favorite goods, and even a few favorite foods here and there! 

1. So first on this list of favorites is SPRING! While some of the country still deals with snow, we are blessed in Texas to experience the warmth of the sun. My girls have played in the sand everyday, driven their gator, and rode their bikes, while I've soaked up plenty of Vitamin D! Our yard is starting to come together, and Spring decor just lifts my spirit! These tulip pictures were taken a week ago, at Texas Tulips in Pilot Point. It was an adventure to say the least (ie. better for a date than with toddlers!), but the pictures sure are worth it!

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2. I have a thing for nice pens, markers, strollers, and BAGS. All the bags. It's slightly a problem! With another baby on the way, I have been looking for a lightweight diaper bag to just throw on and go. I've had the same Petunia Picklebottom for three years, and it still looks amazing and has plenty of room, but given the material, it can get a little heavy. So I decided to buy this skip hop bag. It's lightweight, cute, and the reviews are awesome! Plus, for less than $40, it's perfect! 

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3. Another item I've quickly learned to love has been my new point and shoot camera. As a photographer I know it almost seems backwards to get a point-n-shoot, and with so many mirrorless DSLRs on the market it doesn't quite make sense, until you begin to check prices. Truth is, like every average person, I use my phone A LOT for photos, but they get lost on my phone. Whereas, my camera photos are always imported and edited (mostly lol). I have also found how easy of a rabbit hole the phone is...even if I just take a few pictures. There's the pressure to upload as it happens, choose the perfect caption, and get distracted from those I love most. But with a point-n-shoot, it takes a little more time. For me, I import, weed out my least favorites, edit, and then post. This is all usually done on my own time, while the babies are asleep. Which means a more present mama with her little ones. I have been looking into cameras for a while now and settled on this Sony Cybershot because of the features- a digital viewfinder (LOVE!), a flip up screen for selfies with my girls, the sharpness, the options, size, and price! This one fit the bill for wayyyyyy less than other cameras, without sacrificing quality! I'm looking forward to the freedom from my phone this gives me, as well as the room it adds to my diaper bag! 

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4. These hydrangeas have given me so much joy every time I've stepped outside! We planted these three weeks ago and they've already grown so much! Our flowerbeds mainly sit in the shade and it's taken some time for me to find plants that I wanted to plant in each bed. I knew I wanted perennials that encouraged butterflies and bees. So we planted hydrangeas with our scarlett sage, gardenias, and I'm starting some ivy trellises this weekend! Perfectly southern! In our sunny bed, we planted pink jasmine and lantana among our knock-out roses. As summer comes, I'll add a few annuals to beef up the color! Just getting my hands in the dirt was therapy! 

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5. This photo is my favorite of the week. Everything I love most in the world standing beneath the most beautiful display of God's promises. There is nothing sweeter! 

 

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I pray you all have a wonderful weekend! Come back next week for more reflections, favorites, and photos! Happy Spring!