Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Under His Wing

We’re in what I call “hang time”.  
The “dog days” are sliding into late August, but I know winter isn’t far off.  You can’t quite enjoy summer, because of the excitement of autumn awaits.  At least that is the case for me.  
I’ll be heading into our local Sport’s Store this week (Lord willing) to buy my hunting license for deer season.  Not sure which “combination” I’ll go for yet.  Last year, I sat in my simple blind watching a buck dance around for circa 20 minutes.  I had the tool to put him in the freezer (Barnett Crossbow), but I lacked the correct license.  So I watched him strut before me, and around me, until he moved on.  This year, I hope to be ready on all levels.
Last week one of our hens hatched out an egg.  Actually, she sat on several, but only one hatched.  It’s a little yellow chick, with lines and blotches of black showing future beauty.  

We have another hen who has been sitting on a nest for way more time than necessary.  Through the hot days and cool nights, she won’t move.  She is determined to hatch out a chick, even though Russ and I shake our heads each day knowing she won’t give up the dream.  She refuses to move.  If you have never been around a “broody hen”, then you may wonder why we haven’t just gone ahead and moved her.  A hen is determined to “take out” anyone or anything that interferes with her beloved eggs or hatched baby.  I don’t want to be the recipient of that anger and fury.   
A third hen also is broody now, sitting on the nest.  It cuts down on egg production, as they are “out of the mix” during this 28-day process, but it provides us with the replacement chicks for our flock.  Our flock is less than 10 now, including our rooster, so it is important to keep these numbers up.  We enjoy seeing them go through this process, and the hens are truly driven to do so. They need no human intervention on this yearly event.  
I love watching the new-mama-hen with her chick these days.  She is so attentive.  She takes the chick throughout the property, staying close to the core cabin.  She walks her by our cat, who wouldn’t dare pounce on a chick.  She takes her on a daily tour, starting at dawn and ending at dusk.  When I put down corn scratch the other day, the Mama called and clucked to her chick to dig in and partake.  Of course, the other hens hear this and come running.  But the puffed-up Mama, feathers expanded and full, are designed to show strength and power and keep the others at bay.  It works.  Everyone, including me, gives this Mama hen a wide berth.  Lord help me if I forget and walk too close, as she will come at you – all in the name of protecting her young.  
I thought of this yesterday, as I heard once again about a child left “by accident” in a hot car.  This nearly one-year old girl was rescued by a police officer, who pried the door open, to save her from a 115 degree car located in Pennsylvania.  Her grandmother and an aunt had gone shopping and “forgot about her”.  Had she died, she would have been the 27th child this summer to do so.  
So…we have a hen who won’t let a chick out of her sight and fiercely protects her…and humans who are so “distracted” they leave their children to die.  I cannot comprehend.  Simply cannot do it.  The only saving grace for these poor children is to know they are in the arms of Jesus – another beautiful flower in his bouquet.  For eternity.  
For we have a promise.  Jesus will never be distracted…we are told he will NEVER let us go, once we know Him.  Of course, we may get “distracted” and walk away, and therein lies the rub.  We must be obedient.  We must not fall away with the world's distractions.  
Jesus said:  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  John 10: 27-28   

Keep focused on the Good Shepherd.  It’s a beautiful thing…knowing we will be protected like our hen protects her beloved chick.
For Jesus said:  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  {Matthew 23:37}
Until next time, Lord willing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mancy in the Middle

Mid-August.  It’s hard to believe summer is sliding into fall.

Before long, my game of “Mancy in the Middle” will end. 

I live in Mancy.  Mancy is not the correct name.  Mancelona is.  Mancelona was the daughter of the town’s founder, hence the name.  But many folks call it other names.  Man-ce-tucky is one.  Man-ce-tucky describes the “redneck Appalachian ways” of our small town.  One stop light.  Across road on one side, a military tank sits on the lawn.  If you happen to get a red light while heading north or south through the Mitten state, you might see a horse or two at the local Dairy Delight across and up the road from the tank, complete with cannon, next to the post office.  

The town fits us well.  In many ways.  We’re a town where the folks at the local hardware know your name.  Post Office also.  And the local Feed Store.  We’re not fancy.  We’re just Mancy.  You’ll find men with beards and work-stained hands.  They wear their hard work for all to see.  Lumbermen, farmers, ranchers, and roughnecks, etc.. 

Since April, I have been leaving our “40” each week to head north to assist with aging family.  My home town is a beautiful town…always many degrees cooler as I crest the hill at the foot of the bay.

It’s a resort town, on Lake Michigan – Little Traverse Bay.  The town swells each summer with what we refer to as “Fudgies”.  Fudgies are those who buy and consume “fudge” made by many confectioners in the area.  Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Fudgies invade.  Traffic swells – both vehicle/bike and foot.  It has always been this way, and always will be this way.  Cottage living, restaurants, art shows and events are geared for this summer season.  Well-groomed men with pastel shirts and khaki shorts are found in the “organic” section of the various stores.  Chatty starched-white tennis-skirted women and even chattier chic children are to be found.  Topics of tennis and organic this – organic that.  It’s a swirl of people and action and everyone seems to have one thing in common – they seem to adore their hand-held god (little g).  {The cell phone - aka computer -  in the palm of your hand}. 

Until Labor Day, the “Fudgies” blend in with the locals.  After that, life returns to normal.  This is what I grew up with, and it benefited me as I worked in beautiful places “on the water” like Little Harbor Club and Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, just to name a few.  Old money…new money.  But always money.  It’s an amazing place, this northland. 

Summer also finds me more mobile.  I find the truck heading south, sliding into my Old Order Amish community.  Earlier in the month, while sitting in the 3-hour Sunday church service reverently belting out German hymns of persecution (the Loblied in particular), I felt at home.  A “carry in” dinner followed, where each ‘fork full’ was truly heavenly.  But more importantly, the conversations during the dinner and the fellowship that followed filled my soul.  People were connected to each other, with the center of the conversation Godly.  No hand-held gods here.  Only the true God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.   

So…from Mancy an hour south to Amish, back to Mancy.  Then Mancy an hour north to my home town on Lake Michigan.  And then back to our secluded piece of land in Mancy.   And so it goes. 

As I walked through the woods this morning, scaring Pats into flight and picking blackberries, I felt the call of Autumn.  Today the woods were still, as our precious family vacationers left for home the evening before.  I can’t imagine a place I would rather be, than in the woods.  Soon, I will be more “in the middle” than not. 

Until then, have a wonderful end of summer.  And I’ll check in soon, Lord willing.