have you seen our bumper?

Last week I walked into CarTime and explained our situation, "Last Saturday during the blizzard, my husband went to Aldi and somehow lost half of our bumper. We're not sure how, but he thinks it may have happened right here on this frontage road. So I just wondered if you could give me a call if it ever turns up. Like when these huge snow piles begin to melt, maybe it's been plowed over and is under all this snow."

The guys working behind the counter looked at me and nodded a wee bit condescendingly.

"If we have to get a new bumper it's going to cost us $400. What a stupid way to spend $400, you know? I can think of lots of other ways I'd rather spend that money. So will you call me if anyone happens to see it? Here I'll write down my name and number for you."

I left, sort of embarrassed but more hopeful than actually embarrassed. It was worth a shot.

Next I drove to Aldi to do a week's worth of grocery shopping. I unloaded my entire cart onto the belt and told the girl working the register, "Three things. First, my last pineapple I got here was pretty awful. I don't need a new one, but can I just get that money returned?" "Absolutely. It will be a separate transaction. We'll take care of it at the end." "Great. Then my second question. Do you take checks?" "Nope. Just credit or cash." I panicked, "Oh my word. I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry. You have to stop scanning my food. We just cancelled my credit card because some guy in Florida ordered Boston Market with my card. I only have my check book." She was calm and kind, though not impressed with my Boston Market true story, "It's okay." I quickly problem solved, "Can I come right back and get my groceries? I could run home and grab my husband's card." She replied, "I'll just finish this transaction and put it on hold. You can come back later tonight and get your groceries. We'll hold your cart in the cooler." I was so impressed, "Wow. That's very helpful. Thank you so much." Then she asked, "And what was your third thing?"

I wanted to disappear as I said very ridiculously, "Oh. Well, we think we lost half of our minivan bumper here during the blizzard. Has anyone happened to turn it in?"

church parking lot snow piles

Our church was cancelled on Sunday because of the blizzard, but Monday we went to a special prayer time and my kids saw the huge snow piles the plow had left. They begged that we come back and play on them sometime, and on Wednesday I made it happen. Here was the blizzard on Saturday and Sunday. It was the real deal:
So since it is April and we have the snow, we decided to go and play in the snow. And it was so fun for them. They played hard for an hour and I drove in circles around the parking lot, trying to sooth Alden who was not into this activity as much as his older siblings. Hattie happily sat in the passenger seat as we drove round and round and round the small lot.
So we got one last hurrah out of winter snow. Seize the day, I say.

Elsie came downstairs this morning in a tank top and shorts and said cheerfully, "I'm just going to start wearing summer clothes now." I loved her attitude. She didn't have an ounce of annoyance or complaint in her. Just an announcement that she is moving on. Good call, Elsie, let's all move on now...

prodigal pottery

Oh this is so fun. I can't wait to introduce you to this ministry. Since Miracle became a Miracle, I have had a few back and forths with a blog reader (and now friend) in Alabama. Isn't that so fun? Unto itself, I have always loved the relationships and connections I have solely because of this blog. It's amazing to me.

Susie asked if she could send us something and on Saturday, during the blizzard, this arrived in the mail. A darling little lamb ornament in honor of Miracle. I love it so much. It will be hung on our wall as a darling reminder of all we have seen.
So the lamb alone is adorable. But the best part is that it is made by women who are fleeing domestic abuse or homelessness, finding their footing and living in safe homes across Alabama.  The ministry is called Prodigal Pottery and you really should go and bop around their site. It is beautiful and so inspiring.

The website says, "Prodigal Pottery's mission is to provide a safe and therapeutic work environment for women in need that develops healthy professional skills, interpersonal relationships and spiritual depth. We transform the lives of at-risk women by providing them with meaningful employment, while equipping our staff with the entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed."

The scripture just above their mission statement is, 'For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.' And they began to celebrate. 

I love that last part...they began to celebrate! Amen! I want to celebrate this good work being done in Alabama too!

So check out their etsy shop. I  love the leaf soap holders. What a perfect gift. And the oval platter. Their products are truly gorgeous and completely unique. (It also makes me want to start playing with clay again!) So check them out. And thank you so much Susie (and Jamie!) for such a thoughtful, heart-felt and surprise gift. It really means a lot to me.

Miracle is back in the house

Tuesday morning I went out to the barn to take pictures of Rory and Miracle and when we got out there it was obvious that Miracle was not well. He had been slowly showing signs of poor healthy over the previous 24 hours, and when we went out for morning chores he was barely able to stand on his legs.

Rory called the vet and immediately she suspected pneumonia. She said there are many cases of barn animal pneumonia this spring because the humidity and temperatures have fluctuated so greatly for such a long time. She recommended a special medicine that they only carried at their Owatonna office. So Rory brought Miracle back in the house for extra warmth and care and then made the drive to Owatonna.

We were very worried about Miracle and unsure if he was going to rally. But the little kids were so pleased to see their pal back in the house.
So Miracle is hanging out with the family once again. Which means he will not be lacking for entertainment. This week Ivar and Elsie have been building a kitty cat club house for the kittens out of boxes and tape. It is darling and hilarious and very, very entertaining.
Now Miracle has been in the house another whole day and has had two doses of antibiotic and b-complex. And he's looking better. I will tell you what, this is one very well-loved lamb. And he's got quite the life story to tell!

an update on Miracle

This may be a bit redundant for regular readers, but Shepherd of the Valley is going to do a follow up on Miracle for their Good News for Kids this Sunday...so I'm sharing an update here. Their text for the morning is The Good Shepherd. Here's my thoughts on our shepherd here at the Grovestead who loves his sheep.

Also, I wrote this out on Monday night. Since then a whole lot has happened and I will be back this afternoon with a big follow up. It has been quite the week with Miracle. 
We just began our fifth week of bottle feeding Miracle. The first week he lived in the house. The second week he moved back out with the sheep where we continued to bottle feed him every 3 hours. Thankfully that week there was a bright full moon to guide my walk out to the barn for his 2 am feeding. The third week we wisely dropped the 2am feeding. Something had to give. The fourth week we made our way out to the barn in a 48-hour blizzard, every three hours. And now we're moving into the fifth week, greatly reducing the bottle feedings as he transitions to hay.
We really love this little lamb and Rory is a really great shepherd. He knows his sheep and his sheep know him. When he walks into the barn with the bottles for Miracle, Miracle jumps up and runs right to the place where Rory feeds him. Miracle loves his shepherd, and his shepherd is trying to do what is best for Miracle: to help him integrate into his herd. This will be best for everyone once they are led out to pasture. We want Miracle to know that he is a sheep, afterall, and not a human. But he still has this memory of life with the family, trotting around our living room, having four kids love and adore him all day long.

We keep an eye on him all day long through the Lamb Cam. He is always being watched over, even when he feels very alone. He often looks very sad and lonesome.
But he has a twin sister who we named Big Sister because she is so much bigger. And she adores Miracle. She bounds around on all four legs, jumping around with joy, nuzzling Miracle and snuggling with him when it's time to sleep. She lays her head on his body. It is darling. She is a gift to him.

Just this week Rory noticed a change in the Mama Ewe's behavior. She was boxing Miracle out when the hay was given and pushing him around with her nose at other times. She was rejecting him. It is interesting that she did not do this from the start, but now she isn't being kind. So Rory, wanting to protect  Miracle and keep him safe, built him his own special pen with his own personal heat lamp. And that's where he is now.
It all makes me wonder about our own lives with the Good Shepherd. Do we all know or feel, on some level, that there is a heavenly home out there where we are fully seen, cherished, cared for in every way and loved in a way we crave every day? Do we remember that there is a Lamb Cam watching over all of us every day, aware of every hardship and trial, joy and success. (Except that behind that Lamb Cam is the one who created us. A Creator Cam). He sees every moment and wants what is best for us, withholding no good thing.

Rory is a very good shepherd. He knows his sheep well. It is sort of a funny thing, but all of our sheep are totally different to us in temperament and looks. To an outsider they would likely all look very similar, but to us they are each completely unique. I recently read The Shepherd's Life, a memoir of a shepherd in England who shepherds hundreds of sheep and knows them all, one from the other. Even after months of grazing and being up in the mountains. He knows them all!

Beginning the day of the blizzard, Miracle began acting very differently. By Tuesday morning he was hardly able to stand on his legs...