Monday, March 31, 2008

If only I could rest my feet flat on the floor!

I do so wish my feet would reach the floor!

I mean, my toes can touch, but I can't place my feet flat without sitting uncomfortably on the very edge of the seat and even then, the pressure is most uncomfortable - especially on college seating.

In order to maintain the comfortable upright sitting position resting against the back of a chair, I must push hard against the floor with the tips of my toes to avoid pinching the nerves and blood vessels in my lower limbs. When my feet swing, I can feel the blood pooling and creating pressure. As the feeling of pressure or fatigue of toe increases, I eventually revert to the position I like least in an attempt to thwart the mounting discomfort. Scooching to the mid center of the chair and reclining in a slouch against the back rest, I stretch my feet as far forward as possible in order to rest my heels on the ground instead of my toes and fold my arms to maintain a compact balance upon the chair. But this posture seems to tell my instructors that I am bored. I mean no disrespect, you understand, but I can't help this.
Eventually, even this posture becomes uncomfortable, so I wriggle again to the former pinching, leg swinging one.
This routine continually cycles interrupting my concentration upon subjects as interesting as Urinary Physiology.
I can't stand always shifting position.

Maybe I should bring a foot-stool to class!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Doubt no longer but believe!

I think I finally got it! At least for now. I'll need to be reminded again tomorrow. Strange it is that I must be reminded everyday of the things I confess to be true. However, this fits exactly with what I finally realized today.

I couldn't shake the feeling of guilt this morning. Pretty typical - that's why I absolutely must come to church; to hear that my sins are forgiven despite what I feel. As I listened to the Gospel reading I found myself gazing at my mirror image in Thomas' refusal to believe the Gospel. And then it finally clicked!

Why of course! I am exactly like Thomas. In spite of the fact that I know that I'm forgiven, despite Christ's word declaring me righteous, despite my pastors faithfully proclaiming this forgiveness to me over and over and over again I continue to doubt that I am actually forgiven. I confess that this is my most aggregious sin - doubt - most terrible because it deprives me of the assurance of forgiveness.

Thomas also could not bring himself to believe the Gospel spoken by the Apostles, even through their fervent urgings that Christ had really risen. So what did Jesus do? Did he forsake Thomas? Did he cast him out because of his doubt? Did he even take from Thomas his place as an Apostle? No! Instead Jesus gave Thomas an assurance of His resurrection - and consequently and assurance of Thomas' forgiveness.

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe!" And most blessed they are indeed! But for those of us, me and Thomas, who struggle against doubt, Christ gives a most gracious gift...

He invited Thomas to touch His Body. To put his finger into the wound from whence flowed the water and the Blood. The body from which He 'gave up His Spirit' for the enlivening of the world.

Christ does the same for poor, doubting Truthquestioner: He invites me not only to touch His Body, but to eat it. He pours into my mouth the stream which flowed from his pierced side. He says to me, "This is my Body given for you. This is my Blood shed for you for the forgiveness of sin. Doubt no longer but believe!"

Here is the assurance for the doubter. Here is grace outpoured - pity at it's highest. Mercy in a God who still humbles Himself that I might be certain that my sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!

Friday, March 28, 2008

I am NOT poultry!

Be it officially known and proclaimed through out all the land:

Truth Questioner is NOT a small, cute, fluffy, yellow, bird!

Woe to Aaron Garcia and all others who would adress her as such!

"Hey, chick from my speech class! How's it going?"

I hate loiterers in the Arts Building. They're weird. Loiterers in the science building are normal people. Loiterer's in the Psyche/History/ Philosophy building are somewhat stranger. But the kids that hang around the Arts Building are just....ugh....obnoxious and WEIRD. For the most part. I do know some un-weird people that frequent that building, but for the most part, I wouldn't want to be alone with the ear-ringed, tattoed, guitar-playing, hair-messed-up guys who always seem to be congregated in the little lobby snacking, loudly jesting, and idly strumming guitars. Don't get me wrong - I like guitars. Dad even plays one. But I don't usually feel totally safe around the guitar guys at college.

I had a wonderful voice lesson - the best so far! I even made it up to high F (perfectly, so said my instructor)! And because I had forgotten my music at home, but happened to have my hymnal with me, I was able to sing a good many of these familiar songs I love, plus a smattering of various classical pieces. I think that's what did it. The familiarity really loosened up all the vocal cords and gave me some small bit of confidence.

Then I tried to leave. And as I was walking out the door, 'Mr.' Garcia looks up from his guitar strumming and accosts me in the previously stated manner. I was rather uncertain about what I should do - I didn't wish to be rude. But in my eagerness to be out of that place, I ignored the inquiry and pushed open the front doors just in barely in time to hear that kid tell the rest of the assemby that, "That chick is in my speech class."

When I returned home, The Perfect One gave me a great response which I could have used had I been thinking. I ought to have said that I was unaware that the college allowed poultry in speech classes....

Burning Horns

I don't know how people could stand burnings at the stake. I mean as spectators. (The victims didn't have much choice.) It's not just the sight - the smell of burning flesh is terrible.

You, dear reader, are probably becoming concerned about my mental stability just now, but never fear! I am alright. Only prompted to muse concerning such gruesome odors by the task I performed last night.

Disbudding is one of those things which you'll never enjoy but you just have to do it anyway. If you don't then you'll either be possibly injured by your goat's horns or you'll have to put them through the dangerous and painful surgery of de-horning - a process most vets refuse to do because of the risks of infection to the brain and the grotesqueness of the procedure.

Disbudding involves searing away the hair and skin (right down to the bone of the skull) around a kid's horn bud, then scraping away the bud from the bone and cauterizing the area with the red hot iron. Educational photos *hopefully* coming soon.

It wouldn't be so bad except for two items. First the kid writhes and screams terribly, bellowing out his distress from the depths of his little goat lungs, if not his little goat soul. As if that weren't enought to traumatize any goat "mother" like me, the stench is abominable. Dense loathesome hideous black smoke obscures sight and suffocates you even while you are trying to hold the iron steady so as to not burn the kid further than necessary or brand yourself.

This isn't nice sweet or foresty smelling wood smoke which reminds you of musty Dark Ages in of cold stone or manure huts within deep dank forests. No.

This smoke is the aroma of death. It is the most utterly repulsive odor imaginable.

Last night something pricked my mind of a theological analogy, but I'm still casting about for what it was.

Any way, I succeeded in shooting (with CD&T vaccine) all of my bitties despite squiggles and squirms and managed to burn all the horn buds without branding myself or seriously injuring the kids. They were all rather stunned to receive this kind of harsh treatment from the girls they've looked to "for every good thing" 'till now, but they'll be fine by tonight and their burnt heads should heal within a few months.

I'm just glad to get disbudding done and over with. I was getting anxious about not having enough time with all my homework, but it worked out fine. Yes, I know - if I have a lot of homework I ought not be blogging. {cringes with guilt}

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Christ is Risen! Even When I'm Exhausted...

Rejoice with me! I did it!

It's 2:57am on the morning of March 26th and I'm wiped, exhausted, beyond fatigued. But it's done! The paper due tomorrow, or rather today, is finished! Now I can throw away all that material from CDC on STDs which I so carefully printed out this morning.

I feel anything but cheerful. I guess groggy, headachy, and sleep deprived is the best description.

But even when I'm tired and sleepy and not very excited, Christ is Risen!

So why am I so sad and tired? Christ Lives! I have forgiveness! I am free from Sin, Death, and the Devil!

Um, Uh...I'm going to use that freedom to sleep.....:-)

Good morning! He is Risen!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Toys! (and other stuff)

So I AM doing homework! AM! AM! AM! I just happened to come across this in my research and felt I had to share. I may live to regret posting this link....

Someone please come up with an appropriate Lutheran stance on toys. :)

I think I'm really going to regret clicking publish....but...but... if 'Mostly Harmless' can post pirates and ninjas then can I post really idiotic but laughable stuff about toys and, and ...other things?

I know that's logical fallacy of appeal to the people. Sigh!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

He is Risen!

He Is Risen! Alleluia!

He Is Risen Indeed Alleluia!



Come you faithful raise the strain of triumphant gladness! God has brought his Israel into joy from sadness! Loosed from Pharoah's bitter yoke, Jacob's sons and daughters. Led them with unmoistened foot, through the red sea waters!

Hail thee Festival Day! Blest day to be hallowed forever! Day when our Lord was raised, breaking the kingdom of death!

At the Lamb's high feast we sing, praise to our victorious king, who has washed us in the tide, flowing from his pierced side. Alleluia!

Awake my heart with gladness, see what this day has done! Now after gloom and sadness, comes forth the glorious Son! My Savior there was laid, where our bed must be made, when to the realms of light, our spirit wings it's flight!

Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia! Son's of men and angels say, "Alleluia"! Raise your joys and triumphs high - Alleluia! Sing ye heavens and earth reply, "Alleluia".

Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands, for our offenses given. But now at God's right hand he stands and brings us life from heaven. Therefore let us joyful be and sing to God right thankfully, glad songs of alleluia. Alleluia!

This joyful eastertide! Away with sin and sorrow. My Love the Crucified has sprung to life this morrow! Had Christ who once was slain not burst his three day prison, our faith had been in vain - but now has Christ arisen! Arisen! Arisen! But now has Christ arisen!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
O sons and daughters of the King, whom heavenly hosts in glory sing, today the grave has lost it's sting! Alleluia!

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

They That Sit in Moses Seat.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you - but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger." Matt.23:1-4

Just a thought.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pastors Can Read Minds

Let's just say that Pastors can read minds. Ok, so maybe they can't. But it seems like it. Or maybe it's just that God can read minds and so he gives pastors to speak the Law and the Gospel. And the Law and the Gospel are always eggzaktly what I need to hear. Always and only that. So when my Pastors speak the Law and the Gospel to me, they are giving me the exact medication which I need. They are addressing precisely the sins that trouble my mind and weigh me down.

So then, let's just say that my Pastors are faithful to what God has given them to do in their vocation as "pastor" and in doing such, whether they know it or not, they always speak what I need to hear the most. They answer my unspoken question of "am really forgiven, I've done some pretty bad stuff and not done some pretty good stuff?" with a resounding, "you are forgiven! Because of Christ, you are not guilty!"

Alright, so I'll admit it: I was scared stiff Monday night. Frightened by my sin and scared of my pastor. (uh, yeah. I wasn't sure that we hadn't hurt his feelings.) Running through my head was a continual chant, "please forgive me, please forgive me, please forgive me," so loud I could hardly think. I forced myself to attend to the liturgy and the readings, but as soon as my concentration slipped, the panicked litany began afresh. Then Pastor Stuckwisch started to preach with the words, "Don't be afraid."

I should have kept count of how many times, he said those words. It had to have been at least 10 times. How did he know to say that? How did he know?

"Don't be afraid."
I was.
"Don't be afraid."
Why not?
"Christ died for you."
He did, didn't he?
"You are forgiven."
How do I know?
"He gives you his body and blood to eat and drink."
That's right! Now I'm starting to remember.

"Shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins."
Can I be sure?
...Jesus said so...
Then I guess I can be certain. Hey, I'm forgiven! NOT GUILTY!

And it turned out Pastor wasn't hurt by the parking ticket joke either. Whew!

And tonight. I wasn't feeling the best I've ever felt in my whole life. Not physiologically, though I suppose there's some sort of ailment brewing there also. Spiritually I've seldom felt so impoverished, so panicked, since we started attending Emmaus. It's a mode where I don't think straight - I can't even recall how I'm forgiven. I just start feverishly trying to work out some kind of negotiation in my poor little mind. My thoughts go round in circles begging, entreating, pleading, as if I have forgotten that I'm talking to a Father who delights to forgive me, as if I have forgotten that my pardon is not a result of how well and fully I grovel for my sin but rather objectively pronounced "finished" by Christ at his death in my place.
And the same thing happened again. Pastor Grobien preached just what I needed to hear. Yes, I've failed - that's for sure! But Christ died for all that! Praise God!

I just don't know how I'm going to be able to handle not having church and the Sacrament every night once Easter is over. I think I'll drown.

But yes! That is what I should do! I should "drown"! Drown in my baptism every day in contrition and repentance. Read God's Word and trust his forgiveness. Rejoice in His salvation. Drowning sounds pretty good now.

As does sleep, to which blessed state I should already have proceeded. Alas! I have been remiss in making use of opportunities for this wonderful rest.

But anyway, the guilt of my last post has been well resolved - washed by bread and wine, body and blood. With this confidence, I can sleep in peace.

Grant Lord Jesus that My Healing

Grant Lord Jesus that my healing in your holy wounds I find. Cleanse my spirit will and feeling, heal my body soul and mind. When some evil thought within, tempts my wayward heart to sin, work in me for its eviction, weighted by your crucifixion.

I don't know what to do. I mean, I do, but I don't. It's wrong, horribly, repulsively wrong, but I don't know what to do about it or even if I can do anything about it. I feel soiled, filthy, violated.

Every so often, we watch a movie in Interpersonal Communication to illustrate a concept. Is it just the films we view here or are all movies really so violent, so devoid of godliness, so vile, suggestive and lewd? I don't watch movies enough to know.

What shocks me most is that these films that are so repugnant to my conscience are loudly acclaimed even by classmates who call themselves "Christian" and whose opinions often correspond to my own.

I find myself many times compelled to turn my eyes, to stop my ears at the profanity. I feel my face tensing into a contorted grimace at the disgusting, vile images, words and actions portrayed as entertainment.

How can I as a child of God respond to, and deal with such perversity? I know I have freedom in the Gospel, but contrary to what some might say, that freedom is not freedom to absorb or relish thoughts, sights and words dishonoring to my Father. Should I not come to class on these days? But then I will have no ability to participate in class discussion later. Should I attend but actively turn away from perverse themes and words? Sounds feasible, but in actuality is impossible because every other phrase often carries immoral connotations.

How in the world can I combat this? Oh blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sin is covered! Right now, I do not feel like that one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I am a Universal Donor!

Hey! If any one needs blood here I am!

We just finished blood typing in Physiology Lab and it has been confirmed that I am indeed O+.
As it has been explained, this means that I can give anybody my blood and I can have children (someday) without my blood attacking theirs. Delightful!

My lab partner (also a homeschooler) had O+ blood as well. It must be a homeschooler thing....
Noticing the rich red color of the clumped Rh antibody-attacked liquid, Stephanie commented that she'd like to paint her room that color. I immediately jumped away.... but I will accede that it was a beautiful color. I just wish we could look at it under the microscope.

Dr. Norris poked my finger for me. I don't know what is wrong with me but I've never been able to poke my finger for blood typing. I can poke other people. I can give shots to goats without a hesitation. I can even poke myself with needles and pins without a second thought. But I can't bring myself to use the lancet on myself. Ah, Well. Let's hope I never need an epi-pen or get diabetes or some other condition where I have to "needle" myself.

As an aside, I *adore* Dr. Norris. She has the strangest, dryest sense of humor I've ever encountered, besides being politically incorrect on purpose. Her best comment today was that a Dr. who would overlook Rh factor when giving a patient pregnancy counseling ,

"isn't worth his weight in salt!"

[I'm thinking that this is a cross between "worth his salt" and "worth his weight in gold"]

I've been quite mistaken

I've been quite mistaken, though it definitely wouldn't be the first time. Forget the deal about two bucks and a doe - change it to two does and a buck. Comes from not checking closely.

And then we had a name switch and potentially have another name switch brewing. Acacia's name has been changed to Velvet because of her black/chocolate velvety coat. The unfortunate Robin Hood has not had "his" name changed even though "he" has become "she".

My parents think I ought to change Chemnitz name, though. They seem to think that it is disrespectful to name a meat goat destined for slaughter after a great theologian. Personally, I'm not quite so certain. After all, I've named goats after Duke Fredrick, Cardinal Richelieu, Duke John of Gaunt, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Duke of Wellington, and other historical figures before. But I guess using a theologian's name may be going a little far.

I have another couple names in mind if Chemnitz must be renamed. Erasmus and Cajetan are the other options. Mind you, Chemnitz seems to have stuck already.

I want popular consensus. Please respond with an unbiased opinion as to which name best suits a long eared, brown headed, bouncy little buckling.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


From the safety of their vehicle three noisome vagrants watched the as the gate of the castle swung open and he emerged, heading toward his chariot. Seemingly preoccupied by grave matters, the object of interest remained oblivious to the defect lingering on the decor of his mode of transportation. Opening the door, he might possibly have noted it, but in any case gave no sign. The villians tensed with hilarious anticipation: any moment now...

...but nothing happened. It seemed like an eternity before the driver of the chariot finally slammed the door shut. The conspirators stared at each other blankly. Could he possibly not notice such an obvious cosmetic flaw? The grand plan seemed to have fallen in shambles.

But they disappointedly prepared to vanish from the scene, the small chariot gate flew open and he hopped out. Tearing the marring object from the anterior of the vehicle, he stared at it for a long minute.

The churlish plotters cackled with glee; the only disappointment lay in the fact that half of their fellow conspirators were unable to share this moment. Unable to control their laughter, they watched to see what would follow.

It wasn't terribly elaborate, but was still, in any case, undoubtedly satisfying: He re-entered the chariot, and rolled away from the castle. Oh No! He wasn't supposed to move toward their hiding spot. The guilty parties ducked beneath the rim of their chariot as he flew past. They remained undiscovered.

But if they are ever apprehended and dragged before an inquisition, the only answer to be forced from those lips will be, "Not Guilty"........

The End.

I hope ya'll know what I'm talking about. If you do, this is what "they" saw: I heard it from an eyewitness. If you don't, maybe I'll explain later...maybe not. It's probably not worth knowing.


I have stumbled upon a thought fermenting in my mind concerning the name "Joshua" as it is used in Scripture. I'm going to speculate, so I beg correction if what follows seems extraneous.

There seem to be three "Joshua" type names in the Old Testament which seem to represent, respectively, prophet, priest, and king.

Joshua the associate of Moses: king -ish
Hosea: prophet
Joshua the priest at the time of the return from Babylon: priest

Could these three all be a correllary of "Jesus" the Christ? The thought forces me to pause a moment.

And while I'm speculating, it also seems to me ironic that the witness brought against Jesus was that he would "destroy the temple of God and build it again in three days". Ultimately, by accusing Christ with this charge, his accusers fulfilled it.......or am I wrong?

Maybe I should ask

Surprise!: or Las Tres Cabritas!

Rejoice with me! My predictions have turned out to be correct! I accurately predicted the number of kid and the approximate time of Violet's birth: Triplets and this morning while we were at church.

Yep, Anna came running up from the barn following church to scream out the news of three squiggling, squirming babies squiggling and squirming on the floor of the main pen.

Violet has always delivered her kids without any notice or signs or even any cries of pain. The first year she freshened [for all you non-'caprine' people, "freshen" means to give birth and come into milk] Elle and I watched her calmly eating grass in the pasture, then found 2 kids dumped in a mudpuddle upon our return an hour later. She could have dropped them on the grass or in the straw or even in the dirt somewhere. But noooo, she just had to drop them in the muddy mess where water runs off the barn roof. The second year (last year) Violet delivered in the middle of the night to triplets. That time, she let one freeze, licked one off then let it crawl out of the pen under dad's giant wood pile (Matt had to squirm underneath to reach it). Wouldn't it figure that the only one she took care of was a buck kid? (at the time, buck kids were the least valuable)

This year, however, she's "done me proud": she managed to have her kids on a reasonably warm day, inside the barn, and she cleaned them all off before we even got there as well as delivering the placenta and commencing the work of chewing at said object. [goats do that - get used to it! It gives them hormones that they need to recover from labor] (The fact that Violet delivered the placenta was encouraging to me because we almost lost her last year due to metritis from retained placenta. Raspberrie still hasn't delivered hers and I'm getting pretty worried, especially since Dad shot a possum last night who was trying to get at that foul mess!) In addition, she actually has enough milk to feed them all - a very good thing, but I'm wondering how long it will last: these kids eat like pigs!

These triplets are HEALTHY KIDS! Goodness! Hunky, chunky, loudmouthed, noisy, hungry, nosing, sucking, kicking kids they are. They were almost walking by the time we reached them and they couldn't have been out more than 10 minutes or so. Two bucklings and a doeling.

And joy of joys, they have EARS! True, all goats have ears, but mostly we keep LaMancha milkers who don't have ears longer than 2 inches. Our two Boer (meat) dams do have ears, but their kids seldom do because the buck we use for breeding has a small percentage of LaMancha in him which seems to dominate our kids' genetic makeup.

The doe has floppy black ears to match the rest of her chocolate body, while both bucks have a carmel head and white body in conformance with the typical Boer color pattern. One buck has nice long ears, but the other has short Elf ears. [again, an "elf ear" is a technical term meaning that the ear is longer tha 1/2 inch. Shorter ears are termed "gopher ears"]

Elle, Anna and I each named one. Match the name with the namer:

Robin Hood


Update on Cherry: That tiny midget sucked well for the first time today. After spitting up the feeding tube all over me last night, I figured that she would. I just hope she can take in enough nutrition that way. Mom put her in a larger carboard box which I don't exactly care for since cardboard is absorbent and leaky.......(you finish the thought). Plastic with bedding towels is much easier to clean up.

Cherry should have an opportunity to meet her half brothers and sister in the next few days as she gets a little bigger. Right now they would just run her over!

Now we only have two more does due this week

Photos coming soon to a blog near you!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thank God for Feeding Tubes!

Praise God! Cherry seems to be gaining strength even as we pour milk down her teensy throat. I had opined that it would be rather difficult to insert a feeding tube into the stomach without getting it in the lungs, but to my pleasant surprise Cherry swallows down the tube quite nicely. We try to feed her with the bottle before using the tube, but she still is a very, very poor sucker. She now stands up and tries to walk around in her little box before collapsing again and tucking her little head over her back or on top of a fold of her bedding towel to sleep. We are keeping her in the basement kitchen until she is feeding normally because #1: it's warmer, and #2: I don't want to trudge down to the barn every few hours of the night!

Her dam, Raspberrie, is our chief concern currently as she has not yet passed the placenta. There are few goat medical conditions I detest more than retained placenta; it's smell is repulsive, the goat drags it everywhere, you can't manually remove it or you'll tear the uterus but if it isn't expelled you end up with serious metritis, you have to give shots a couple times a day, etc. But the most annoying part about retained placenta in goats is that it renders the milking process very difficult and not exactly sanitary. Luke goes through a gagging act whenever he looks at Raspberrie, much to my simultaneous amusement and annoyance.

Mom has given oxytetracycline for possible bacterium and Bo-Se (Selenium/Vit E) for white muscle disease and I've given Oxytocin to promote contractions and placental expulsion. There's nothing more we can do, so I'm praying that it works. I'm also praying that the premature death and retained placenta were not caused by Chlamydia: if they were, the other mothers could abort their kids and/or retain their placentas from Chlamydia infection also. The only drug we have that treats Chlamydia is Oxytetracycline, but that antibiotic also causes serious birth defects if used during pregnancy. Grrr.

We've done what we can do, now we just trust God to carry out His plans.

End note: I hope nobody has been offended by these last few blogs. These are the things any livestock keeper has to deal with: this sort of language is commonplace in the caprine community along with other technical language. I've tried to keep it delicate, but as another person has commented elsewhere, this blog is for my benefit and this is the vocabulary used for such events and procedures.

Update from Snap

UPDATE: Friday, 10:45 AM She ate some from a bottle, but we still had to tube feed her.


2:40am Cherry is now able to stand on her own. Thank God! Dad and I just gave her a second tube-feeding as she is still unable to suck. That reflex seems to be lacking in premies. She has quite a tiny "maa"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

From Depths of Woe

From Depths of Woe I Cry To You, Lord Hear my Supplication!

I've seen this limpness, this weakness, this poor edematic condition, the weak, gasping breaths and 'ma s' once before and the memory cuts my heart like a knife - ten minutes after that, I held a lifeless kid in my arms.

That death was the result of both genetic defect and sheer carelessness. The kid had been born deformed and weak, folded pasterns and an overshot jaw set in an enlarged skull. We had named him P. J - 'Prince Jumbo' - because of his 'gi-normous' size and mentally retarded movements. Unfortunately, in the scramble to feed all the other kids my youngest siblings overlooked the fact that P. J wasn't actually drinking his milk. Because of his overshot jaw, the milk flowed out of the bottle and trickled down his neck, not down his throat. By the time the caprine oversight noticed his problem , four days of dehydration had taken its toll and he was a limp, emanciated, recumbent mass gasping for air and almost comatose. Immediately Dad produced the tube and we trickled the vital milk down his dry, starving throat. But even as I watched Dad feed the weak languid young creature, I suddenly realized in my heart that he was dying before my eyes. No amount of food would ever restore him. His vacant eyes plainly spoke to the fact that he had despairingly relinquished the will to live. He wasn't fighting death. I wept over that black soft mass of skin and bones; though siblings and I think even a parent assured me that he would be all right, my heart spoke differently. Checking his box before the wood stove ten minutes later, I found to my torment that my heart had not played me false.

Furiously, I berated myself for his death. I had not watched the kid feeding. True, I was milking three - four does during feeding time, but I ought to have questioned, checked up on the amount each kid received instead of trusting to my siblings, since I was barn manager after all. I promised myself that as far as in me lay, I would never again be the cause of needless, pointless death to one of the creatures God had entrusted to my care. When you are responsible for the death of a little creature whom you ought to have cared for, your heart is twisted in such agony, such remorse, such a thirst for a second chance. I longed to scream, to plead for a second chance, a new opportunity: my Lord told me I was forgiven but my heart taunted, mocked, tortured and condemned me, saying that there was no forgiveness for refusing the instruction of my conscience to the point that a baby died. Eventually, I pushed this memory aside, archived it for future reference in a nice dark skeleton closet along with two box turtles I had also killed by my neglect and a giant rabbit whom I ought to have cared for better.

Now I helplessly see the same scene replayed - with a different twist.

I'm exhausted. I came home hoping to be able to relax, to enjoy the Seder with my Grandparents, cousin and Stuckwisches before plunging into the 8 plus essays that I have to complete over the course of the next three weeks. But God arranged things differently. I don't know why. I'm almost glad that I don't. Trust is painful, yet bittersweet.
As soon as I dumped my school work in my room, Anna yelled that Raspberrie, not Violet was in active labor - already pushing in fact.
Throwing on some older clothes, I incredulously headed down only to find that my sister was correct. But Raspberrie never delivers early and this was a whole week before her due date! Another odd thing was that her udder hadn't yet filled enough for the twins I was expecting from her. Never-the-less, there was no denying that at least one birth was imminent. I envisioned showing delighted young Stuckwisches a model delivery, complete with wild, "ma-ing", rambunctious kids struggling to their feet and walking with in a few minutes of delivery, a perky, motherly mother mothering her kids, and lots of soft fluffy fun.

We dutifully gave Raspberrie sugar water to ward of Ketosis, then I settled down to wait for the appearance of head, hoof, or membrane. I should have known that something was not right. Raspberrie labored at least 2 hours. Down, push, up again, walk some, lie down, push a few minutes, walk again, squat. Clearly she was having trouble positioning the kids for delivery. Though bright eyed when standing, after each hard push she would curl her neck, close her eyes and rest her head against her shoulder to shut out the world for a few moments before rising and beginning again.

She finally presented a bag, then a hoof, then a head. (you can tell it's a head if you can feel teeth!) The wee one arrived at the same time as Stuckwisches. But he (later we realized it was a she) felt extremely limp. No maaa's no struggling. No forceful coughs. Nothing. Just an extremely small blinking little doeling.
We dried her off, suctioned her nose and mouth and introduced her to Monica, Frederick and the rest of the onlookers. At Monica's suggestion, we tentatively christened her "Cherry".
We waited for another. I again should have known something was terribly wrong by looking at the dark color and thick consistency of the fluid that followed. I found myself pulling the head and leg of another kid - but something felt just totally wrong with this kid. I didn't have time too think about it, but in that split second, I remember realizing that the tiny tongue was cold and the muscles were flabby. The next second, I had a large, wet dishrag of a buckling wrapped in a thick sac in my hands. I tried to to dry him, but realized he didn't seem to be breathing. Frantically, I poked the suction in his nose: it filled with fluid. Looking up for another split second, I took in the sight of a third tiny still-born twin. It shook me. Things like that happen if you've raised goats long enough but this cast sudden shadow of fear across my heart for the kid I was attempting to dry. I'm not sure what I said then, but my senses froze. Numbly, yet frantically I called to Mom that he wasn't breathing. She denied it then took the kid.
I knew. She didn't have to try to fool me. No heartbeat either.
Sobs choked me. I don't know why. Maybe it has something to do with getting to bed at 2:30 that morning and almost missing class. I'm ashamed of myself. Not ashamed of crying - No! there is a time for that. I'm ashamed of putting the burden of my own grief on the young children observing. I should have been the helper for them, not the first pipe to spring a leak. I dimly remember Michael gingerly patting me on the back, Mom ordering me to go take a shower, me imploring her not to throw the kid away, then running trembling up the muddy hill to the house. Nikolai standing on the porch innocently inquired whether it was done. "Yes, it's done," I told him.
Mom's shower remedy worked. The Seder was great as usual. The Feast was superb, but I felt like my fingers were lead. My brain kind of froze. The news that I've been accepted into Hope College stunned and excited me for a bit, but then I remembered with fear the way the milk had dribbled into Cherry's limp mouth while Snap fed her just before we joined the Seder gathering.

That same dribble, dribble had been the death of P.J. "Tube feeding" was in my mind as soon as the last guests had left. Karen stayed and helped Mom with the dishes, though she didn't have to do that - God bless her!

Mom jumped to the possibility of Clamydia: I tend to agree with her. Chery received a shot of Bo-Se and Oxytetracycline.
I ran over to our neighbors and got a feeding tube. After Elle finally abandoned attempts to put milk into the tiny doe with a bottle, Dad gave two syringes full of milk through the feeding tube.

But now Chery is limply coughing. She's in a plastic box in the goat kitchen so we can repeat feeding at 2am. I pray that she makes it through the night.

Even though I know she'll be eaten when she grows up anyway, my heart refuses to accept her death as a baby.

I know Karen and Elle both said "No Blogging tonight", but something tells me that I need to write this down, to record it before I forget. Something tells me that I'll need it later. That it's important - even though I'm exhausted.

O Lord forgive my sins. In your mercy, as it is your will, curb sin's effect on creation. Please, please renew the life of this tiny creature because you made and care for it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Close Quote from a Classmate

One of my fellow students said something like this today in such perfect seriousness that I had to laugh,

"I consider myself to be a highly intelligent person."

The humility was terribly comical.

Dry Bones

I don't have time to say as much as I want to, but I just have to tell someone, so I'll tell myself:

It took a few days, but it finally clicked!

Hey! God could have just told those dry dead bones to come alive all by himself without Ezekiel. But instead He worked through the means of his messenger, the man he had appointed to speak his words! So, yeah, God could just give me faith all by himself, He could just speak from heaven to forgive my sins, but instead He uses means. He gives me faith through the hearing of His Word and Baptism: He strengthens that faith and forgives my sin by His Body and Blood. He uses a man to speak his absolution to me. ...

Got it! Ezekiel is the office of the ministry and this story is all about God using means to make me alive....!

yes, I was in a hurry. It is Ezekiel not Isaiah!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Research Papers and NO TIME LEFT

It can't really be 10:30 can it? I just deplore research papers. Why did the computer have to crash and lose all my sources? Why couldn't it have lost the page of sources that didn't matter instead of the crucial one that took me half the morning to write up? Why does the source and content cards (at least 30 of these) have to be due Thursday? I'm not going to get any school work done Wednesday or Thursday with the Seder prep on top of a full day of classes. I know I'm whining. I should cease, desist. I guess I'll check back in on this post after I'm finished rewriting. Who wants to bet that that'll be after 2am? Me! But no - the better bet is that I'll fall asleep and wake up at 8am - too late to get anything done. That would just frost the cake, wouldn't it?

I wish, I wish .....that I could have made the Baklava today - I always make that for the Seder. Mom ended up making it because I had too much work. I hope, I hope.....that Violet holds off on kidding til Friday - I just don't have time to deal with heater-less kids in the cold and a usually apathetic doe. I just want sleep, and church, and more sleep, then church again - forget research papers. But I guess that is my vocation as a student right now, so I'll quite wishing and hoping and get back to work!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

For some Strange, Unsophisticated reason:

For some strange, unsophisticated reason, I feel like letting the whole world know my aspirations for this afternoon. Somewhat curious, don't you think?

Well to begin with, in 15 min. my three youngest siblings will be under my command to prepare the kidding box, goat kitchen, and kidding pen. We're kinda off to a late start in kidding preparations; I hope this isn't an idicator of our effectiveness through kidding and milking season.

This year is a little strange in terms of herd care and management. Before this year, I pretty much took all the responsibility for the herd: I gave medications, I set up the barn, I cleaned the barn, I milked the goats, I put together the kidding box and attended deliveries. Mom was heavily involved in processing the milk, but other than deliveries and medical emergencies, she left me to run the barn end of things.
But since this is the last year I will likely be around for kidding, and since classes are taking up so much of my time, Mom wants the three young'uns to learn to take care of the animals under my supervision. They're fairly good at everyday general care, but they don't quite have the eye to spot potential medical problems or give individual care yet. I wince to think of how my poor does are going to have to put up with milking-learners, but after all, I wasn't an able milker once either.....

Got to go put together old ratty towels for the kidding equipment box.....

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Karen's Letter of Recommendation: Revisited

After discussion (with myself) and considering comments of others, I’ve concluded that the letter of recommendation Karen wrote for me should be revised to something like this:

This letter is to recommend Sarah Harrison for the consideration of the Procrastinator’s Scholarship. Sarah has been a friend of our family since she was in grade school (and she’s still there). I have admired Sarah’s work ethic (wait till the last minute) along with the skills in leadership and decision making she has shown by always being the last person to arrive and the slowest to reach a decision. I highly recommend Sarah as an excellently late candidate for your scholarship. I firmly believe that she has and will continue slowly to merit this belated honor. Please take a long time, and then some, to reach a decision.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Help! Someone save me! Quick!

My face is completely covered with disgusting clay. I absolutely detest it. Why, Why must I wear makeup for the graduation photo? I've never in my life even worn lipstick before! Now, not only am I wearing lipstick, but am smothered in foundation, base, some other unknown powder and touched up with mascara and lipstick. All applied by Mom. I know she knows what she's doing, but the final effect looks anything but nice, despite her protests to the contrary. That nasty clay is cracked and unsmooth. I look so fake it's disgusting! I want to cry, but that will make the paint run. I want to scream, but that will make an already stressed out Mom even more stressed out. I've got one hour to finish all my homework for Co-op. AWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How can girls stand to be smothered with this stuff day after day? I just about suffocated while mom was putting it on! I know that I don't look the nicest with all the acne and red splotches on my natural face, but that is how I am and I'm not ashamed to show people how God made me. But even that not so pretty natural face looks a thousand times better than this smear of brown and pinkish goo.


I'll just have to keep repeating the fourth commandment under my breath to prevent myself from washing it all off.

And lest I even consider such a thing, Mom warned me that if I wash off the make-up, it will leave ugly dark patches under my eyes for several days. Lovely!

I will be soooooo glad to take this gruesome, grotesque, uncomfortable, silly, grimy, clay-y, nasty, abominable, detestable, fake, fabricated, coquetish, useless, pointless, vain, brownish, timewasting, foul, revolting, offensive, nauseating, vile, ghastly, obnoxious, disagreeable, distasteful, counterfeit, bogus, false, spurious, bizzare, ugly, brazen, indiscreet, brash, garish, vulgar, gawdy, shabby, shoddy, low, base, repugnant, despicable, loathsome, odious, sickening, tan-ish, cracking, grubby, caked, encrusted, gritty, smudged, MASK OFF MY FACE!

Uh, just so everybody is clear. I'm rereading this post after a day of reflection and I want to make sure that I'm not saying what I don't want to say. I have nothing against make-up.....on other people. I simply hate it on myself. I hope nobody was offended if they or someone they look up to commonly wears makeup. I was simply commenting on a personal preference. Sorry for any confusion. I most certainly do not attach moral significance to the use of make-up.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A very influential person: ie Mamita

Well, I've been in torment for the last 3o something hours trying to write an essay for the purposes of applying to Hope. Finally, after three different essays and the beginnings of several others, I'm satisfied. I want to share this with all of you, because I know Mom might not let me otherwise.

Many different people and events have influenced my short life to varying degrees for the better or for worse. Pastors, friends, teacher, 4H leaders, and relatives have come and gone, leaving behind their mark on my personality and character. But my parents remain; a solid rock creating an eddy in the rushing torrents of time. Of all the numerous persons God has used to shape my life, my Mother has exerted the greatest influence by not only nurturing my body and behavior, but by honing the knife of my mind also. Her character and the ways in which she taught me spiritually and academically have formed a large part of who I am.

That the most important thing in the world to [Name.] is Christ and his cross I saw clearly by the way in which she cared for Dad and us, her children. Considering our education and growth to be one of her biggest callings, Mom quit her medical practice of 15 years when I was in fourth grade and came home to home school me and my siblings. Firmly believing God’s Word to be the most necessary foundation of life, she strove to ingrain Holy Scripture not only into my mind and memory, but also into my behavior. In addition, Mom held academic excellence in high regard and challenged my mind with new material as quickly as I could master it. Her verbal teaching was not unsupported either, for she also taught by example. As I look for role models of the Christian woman, I repeatedly find myself returning to the image set by my mother.

From the beginning of my life Mom has fostered my spiritual growth. As an infant, my parents brought me to Holy Baptism and faithfully took me to church services to hear the preaching of God’s Word. Eager for my siblings and me to expand our comprehension of God’s love for us, Mom made Scripture reading, devotions and prayer part of our school routine. These practices have stuck with me as personal daily elements, even though I am not often present to participate with the family. Mom exemplified the loving discipline of God. When I was disobedient I knew I could expect swift and effective retribution, but the punishment was always followed by the restoration of forgiveness. From my Mother I learned how to forgive and how to repair relationships with my siblings. She trained us to honor authority and how to respectfully dissent from an elder’s opinion. Always willing to listen, she provided a comforting shoulder to weep on and sound biblical advice after tears were spent.

Only a step lower in the hierarchy of importance to my Mother was academic schooling. She was determined to equip all us children with the knowledge necessary not only to succeed in a career but to provide for ourselves no matter what situation the Lord might call us to. Mom always told us that her primary goal was to teach us how to learn. Forcing me to challenge myself, Mom refused to let me procrastinate, dally or wander in my class work. If I failed to achieve a high enough score on her own or standardized tests, I would be obliged to redo the work . More than that, she instilled in me a desire to acquire knowledge and understand the subjects I was studying. Because of Mother’s persistence and training, my education progressed as fast as I could absorb the material. She fostered my pursuit of interests, buying me dozens of history books and helping me to manage my small dairy goat her. Without her formative influence, I would not likely have achieved such mastery of the course material in my community college classes or [academic distinctions].

My mother’s Christian character, her spiritual guidance, and the academic training she provided have shaped me into who I am. Mom’s love for Christ, overflowing to Dad and her children provide me with and excellent role model that I hope to emulate. Her caring, faithful, spiritual guidance took me through many rough times and instilled in me a love of God’s Word. Because of my mother’s persistent, stimulating academic regime, I have learned how to learn and by God’s grace am ready to face the rigors of a college education. Mom’s influence, especially that of her faith will last far beyond the time I spend under her authority.