Holding up her end of the bargain...even before God did

I’ve never considered myself a “cat person”…dog maybe…cow, for sure, but not a cat. Two to three years ago now, Effie and the boys had been begging for a cat for sometime…Matt, nor I, were excited about the possibility. Then, one weekend, on a whim, I told them we would go LOOK…love on some, but absolutely not get one. Turns out, Effie got sick, but we still snuck in and loved several kitties…one was a sweet male cat - about a year old - not known why he was placed, but had only had one owner and kept only indoors. I knew I didn’t want an only indoor cat…we live on almost 70-acres, for goodness, I felt like a cat that was a Ward kitty would need to chase birds when it wanted to. We left and went home, but not before Effie took a “big eye” picture and sent to her daddy — begging for the kitty. When I talked to him later that night (Effie now running a fever), his response was simply, “How can I say no now?”. The next morning Matt arranged for me and Carson to drive secretly into town to adopt that sweet boy, known now as Mr. Fuzzy Pants.

After a few weeks, he started to venture onto the grass outside, and loved it. It didn’t take him long to decide that he wanted to spend some of his time out there, and he transitioned himself to an indoor-outdoor kitty, who would meow to go outside, paw at the door to come in, and never had a littler box from that day forward. Perfection. That sweet boy has spent so many nights cuddled at the foot of one of my kids’ beds almost every night since, and hardly left Effie’s side after she had her brain surgery. He consistently finds me between 4-6 a.m. to go outside to potty. He’s like clockwork.

A few weeks ago, we traveled to the mountains for a 4-day vacation…we had a friend housesit for us…a very trustworthy college guy that Matt has worked with. From day 1, he said Mr. Fuzzy wasn’t super excited about his being there, and never came in to eat while we were gone….rather, he just sat on the ping pong table out on the back porch, peering at him, eating the food he would put out, but didn’t dare to enter. Fast forward to our arrival home…Mr. Fuzzy was nowhere to be found. The kids called and called, I called and called, then a few hours later after some frantic kids, Matt called more and there he came! Such relief! He was sort of stand-off-ish for a few hours. I told the kids he was mad at us for leaving him I guess…but within the next day, he was back to normal and happy to have his family (and his routine) back!

We were home for almost two weeks, when it was time for a planned 4-day beach vacation before school started…I was a little leery about kitty, but figured it would be same as last time, so not many worries. This time, our house sitter said he didn’t see Mr. Fuzzy as much, but did have to refill his feed bowl several times, so he knew he was eating. Arriving home, the kids couldn’t wait to love on their sweet boy, but to no avail, he was nowhere waiting on us. We called and called…nothing…no ringing of his sweet tag and bell on his collar, no meowing, and now his food obviously hadn’t been touched for at least a day. Matt and I both were very concerned (and not super optimistic) when through the entire night he didn’t show up. Even our sweet mini Australian Shepherd, Lola just sort of laid around…I think missing her buddy.

Back at work on Monday, I got several sobbing phone calls from Effie, and some worried texts from Carson - him not knowing how to comfort Effie…who at one point called the kitty for a solid half-hour and sobbed for almost an hour. I told her that all she could do at this point was pray that God would help kitty find his way home. I emphasized to her that if in fact, something did happen to him, that I was positive that he knew how much he was loved while he was with us.

Effie prays, but doesn’t like to pray in front of people, even us (a trait I’m sorry to say, that I’ve probably inferred on her). She does take her turn to say the blessing before dinner, but her prayer is often quiet and short.

That evening, though, we sat down to dinner, held hands and bowed heads, and before Cullen,(the steady Eddie saying the best blessings), could even get a syllable out of his mouth, Effie immediately took over. It was the most fervent prayer I’ve ever heard come from her lips…it was loud, clear and very precise. She took her time to thank God for dinner and her family, and then asked God to help bring their kitty home and keep him safe..that they really wanted him back.

After her Amen, we all just sort of looked over at her…I squeezed her hand, Carson leaned in to give her a hug…we told her how proud of her we were…very confidently, she said “I promised God that if He would bring kitty home, I would say the prayer every night before dinner!” I asked her, “So, you’re holding up your end of the bargain, even before He does?” She looked at me and said, “Yep!…because I know he’s coming home.” Very matter of fact…very confident.

Dinner was finished and table was cleared…a couple of hours later, it was time to dig some extra school supplies out of the coat closet to see what we had and what we needed. On my way to that closet, I was talking to Effie who was in her room, and out of the corner of my eye, I spied something moving at the front door glass…could it be?! It WAS!! It was two precious paws, pawing at the glass to come in. I called for Effie and immediately opened the door carefully and just sat down talking to him. It took him just a minute to come inside and we couldn’t quit holding him and loving him…he was thinner and absolutely starving! That sweet boy loved all over us that night, falling right back into his routine. Effie sat beside me on the couch late that night, and was just so very thankful to God for his return.

Often, as adults, we make “deals” with God…”I’ll do this, if you do that…” God’s will isn’t negotiable in my opinion, but I do believe he knows the desires of our heart, and I think maybe He uses things and times, good and bad, to bring us closer to Him. Through so many of Effie’s stories, I’ve always felt like she had some special connection, and her faith is so strong, even when mine waivers..it always stops me in my tracks and pulls me closer to God to witness her actions.

“To trust God in the light is nothing. To trust Him in the dark…that is faith.” C.H. Spurgeon

Effie held up her end of the bargain, even before God did….are you?

So glad to have this little guy back home!

So glad to have this little guy back home!

IMG_6037.jpg

I just need to stick to knowing about lady parts...

A couple of weeks ago now, there was a full moon...our five bovine and very pregnant girls all look like they're ready to pop, so I just knew we would have babies!  Some of their sweet udders look like my breasts did when my milk came in with that first baby...sweet Jesus, surely they'll deliver soon!  The full moon came...I snuck over through the night with a lamp on my head (multiple times)...there they slept...no labor on the horizon...the full moon came and went...many more days and nights passed by...no babies.  Ugh!  I'm over there talking to them...calling them by name (yes, I name them...our herd is small enough I can do that;) ...giving off some midwife warm and fuzzies...they apparently were not feeling it!

One following morning, there was one heck of a mucus plug from the biggest of the expecting cows, and for those who have ever been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a little one, well, they know what a big deal that can be...I would've bet my life that there would be a baby on the ground before nightfall...I would've been a goner...yep...still pregnant.  As much as I've read and studied signs of impending calving, turns out, I'm not as good as that as I thought, and these mamas aren't nearly as predictable for calving than I thought.

Now, I'm gonna make a U-turn and talk about something completely different, but bear with me and know that it'll all come together in the end.

In the midst of all this baby-waiting, early on the morning of the 10th of July, I loaded a sleepy Effie Rose into the van with me, and headed out to Atlanta for her check-ups with her pediatric orthopedic doctor and her neurosurgeon.  The appointment with the orthopedic doc has been one I've been super anxious about for a good long while.  Since the end of December, Effie has been wearing her Rigo Scoliosis brace, and for the majority of the prescribed 22 hours per day, she is very good at wearing it just like she's supposed to.  Over the past 7 months, she's had some random, and weird, complaints, and I've been worried that her curvature was increasing rather than remaining stable.  And honestly, now that I know it's there, I can't not see it, so I way over-analyze it.  I've spent countless hours reading research, looking at other people's stories, and just flat out imagining the worst possible recheck and x-rays on this upcoming visit.  When I tell folks to stay off of Google for medical stuff...I should be looking in the mirror...I honestly had figured out in my head, what my questions would be when the curve was worse, and how to be as proactive as possible for Effie, and seriously worried we would be heading to some earlier than wanted surgery.

We arrived and signed in, and just a few minutes later, they grabbed her for x-rays...she's matured so much, and doesn't even need me to go with her anymore...and back she was, and there I was sitting on pins and the sharpest needles ever! 

Her curve measurement was actually less than it was previously...her physician praises Effie for wearing her brace so well, and tells her the measurement is a direct reflection of how well she's done!  What?!  Better than before...it's not increased?!  I had myself so prepared and so convinced and ready to make plans for whatever we needed to do..I was shocked!  Praise Jesus!  He did tell us, that if she stopped wearing the brace that very day, that slowly the curve would go back to what it was...that the brace more stabilizes it, but doesn't improve it longterm.  The goal is to wear the brace over the next few years...and when Effie is skeletally mature, that's when we may be looking at surgery.  The biggest changes in curvature will mostly likely occur when she hits a growth spurt...I swear her legs grow, and I know one of these days, her body will catch up with those long legs:) We will certainly have to watch her closely during those growth spurts, as sometimes that curve can change rapidly with fast growth, but for now, she is stable!

The neurosurgeon visit was uneventful...we will repeat her MRI in a couple of months to recheck the fluid that was in her spinal cord before the surgery...if that's resolved, she can get on the trampoline...something she's been begging him for!  I secretly would guess that if he had his preferences, the trampoline would be a no-go forever;)

So, with all of that...I really thought I knew what was coming with Effie's appointment...and I really thought I knew when my cows were going to drop their babies...turns out I don't know squat about either of those things:)  So, maybe I'll just stick to knowing about lady parts as a midwife...that seems like a safe bet...and even then, it's an ever-changing, and ever-learning environment.  This year, especially pushing past my comfort zone and learning lots of new stuff...and absolutely loving it!

As adults, we often think we have the answers...only God knows the plan, and trusting Him is really hard sometimes.  It certainly has been through Effie's venture these past nine months, but fear and anxiousness get me nowhere, so I need to work on that whole trust thing.

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."  Hebrews 4:13

He knows everything...nothing is hidden from Him...not my anxiety about Effie's health, not what the results were going to be, not what her future holds...and yes, not even when those dang cows were going to have their babies.  

Those sweet cow babies started coming on July 13, and just five days later, they were all here...safe and sound...four girls and one boy...and our herd grew by 25%:)  And after all that watching and waiting...I witnessed ONE...just one...baby arrive farm side of this Earth:)

 

This little mama was the first to welcome her little calf, and I was quite surprised by her appearance...a super sweet mama and this sweet girl let us love on her for days before she got a little more shy:)  Sticking with our Disney theme for the year, this little lady is "Tiana".

This little mama was the first to welcome her little calf, and I was quite surprised by her appearance...a super sweet mama and this sweet girl let us love on her for days before she got a little more shy:)  Sticking with our Disney theme for the year, this little lady is "Tiana".

IMG_8865.jpg

Watch out for mama!

This little lady is the only one I actually watched arrive on our little farm...her mama is VERY protective, and certainly had me sprinting the next day!  Meet Moana!

We deviated from the Disney theme for this gal...sweet Hollis...named after my paternal grandfather...her mama is named after my grandmother, Stella.   The mama of this cutie was the last of the offspring from a cow originally from my grandmother's herd.  She is the CUTEST!

We deviated from the Disney theme for this gal...sweet Hollis...named after my paternal grandfather...her mama is named after my grandmother, Stella.   The mama of this cutie was the last of the offspring from a cow originally from my grandmother's herd.  She is the CUTEST!

IMG_8853.jpg

The one little guy...

This handsome dude is the sole little boy to arrive in our herd this time...he was very laid back!  I would've bet my sweet life his mama was hiding two babies in there...but as it would have it...I was wrong about that too:)  Meet Prince Naveen...Tiana had to have her prince here:)

IMG_8879.JPG

And then there were 20...

Being a fourth girl surprised us tremendously , and when she arrived she rounded our herd number to 20!  Introducing Jasmine! 

Just about three years ago, we started with just one cow...Ruby...(not pictured).  Ruby's due to deliver her third calf with us around Halloween!