Five CRAZY Things About Chickens

by Sally Matheny

Six Chicken Nuggets?
     Whenever my children and husband go to an animal feed and seed store or an animal sale somewhere, I get a little nervous.      
     Every so often, they will call home and say something to the effect of “We bought you a present,” or “we’ve got a surprise for you!”       
     See, I don’t know why they think by saying they have something for ME, how that's supposed to sweeten me up for the load they’re about to drop.
     Five horses, three goats, a very fat miniature pig, three dogs, two cats, four turkeys, a couple of goldfish, and a handful of chickens are enough, don’t you think?
     So, when Z-man and Dad go grab a bite at MickeyD’s after swim practice one night, I’m a bit surprised with the six “chicken nuggets” they bring home.
     Nevertheless, one look at my son’s face, and a peek at the peeps, is all it took. Absolutely adorable! What kind of mother would I be to say no to those seven sweet faces?
     Our family loves fresh eggs, and we were down to two laying hens, so it was time to replenish the chicken coop. We’ve raised baby chicks before but this is new stuff for Z-man. I thought I would Google some interesting facts about chicks for him to learn (always homeschooling!)

Adorable Baby Chicks
     Interesting facts is putting it mildly. Let me just preface this by saying I’m a big supporter of poultry science and agriculture programs. Our middle daughter attended poultry science institutes and considered majoring in poultry science.

     However, the “Top Ten Facts About Chickens,” posted by The Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas, left me puzzled. The following are five of their (crazy) facts followed by my comments in italics.

1.    “Chickens will be less ‘flighty’ if while tending a pen or chicken house the caretaker walks backwards.”

Okay, I will try this in order for the chickens to be less “flighty”. However, I may be less “walk-y” if I am trying to navigate backwards in a chicken pen. Hopefully, I will not slip on chicken poo, step in the food or water dishes, or upset the occasional black snake that makes its’ way in. When I walk backwards and land on top of a chicken, I agree, he will be less ‘flighty.”

2.    “It is thought that the nearest relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex is a chicken.”

 Pleeezze…don’t get me started on this one. Seriously?

3.    “Christmas has different meanings in different countries. Christmas Eve in Japan is a good day to eat fried chicken and strawberry short-cake.”

There’s only one meaning of Christmas for me, which is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
However, I think ANY day of the year is a good day to eat fried chicken and strawberry shortcake!

4.   “A chicken's gizzard will likely have gravel to help "chew" the food for digestion.”

Some people eat chicken gizzards, right? I searched and found three ways to prepare chicken gizzards. None of them mentioned removing the gravel before cooking. I guess you should go for the fried recipe to avoid noticing the extra crunch.

5.   “You can literally hypnotize a chicken by holding it and drawing a line in the dirt over and over. The chicken will stay still right there as long as you do this.”

I can’t help but wonder if the chicken is staying still because 1) you are holding it, or 2) he thinks you’ll eventually reach the worm you’re scratching for, and he would like first dibs on it.

Pardon me, University of Arkansas, I think Z-man and I will do a little more in depth research and come up with our own Top Interesting Facts about Chickens.

Join in on the conversation! What do you think is an interesting fact about chickens? Or maybe you just know a crazy one!


Be Secure--Love Never Fails

Birds of a Feather Flock Together
Where I live, the mere mention of snow will ignite response teams for our “homeland security.” Adults will travel wherever necessary to retrieve survival supplies such as bread, milk, and chocolate in various forms. Committee members quickly communicate strategies for early dismissals from schools, churches, and workplaces. In addition, young people make sure all sledding equipment is ready for deployment as the need arises.

However, I live in the isothermal belt, which means the weather forecast is not always accurate. Most of us get excited about a snow prediction but usually snow doesn’t appear very often.

Therefore, many of us tend to doubt the weather forecaster’s enthusiasm.

When a mini-blizzard of two inches occurred yesterday, some of us were caught by surprise. Trying not to panic about the lack of milk and bread in the house, (the chocolate stash is always maintained); I headed outside to take some photos of the beautiful snowfall.

Swirling, white cotton candy fluffs were coming down fast. I perched on a corner of my front porch and watched the birds flitting about on the bird feeders. They took turns on the feeder. Some even pulled out seeds for those waiting on the ground. Their brown and white feathers blended with the snow quickly covering the ground.

A bright red spot appeared among the white limbs of the tree. The stately cardinal was not pushy, but persevering in hopes of acquiring some food for his beloved.

He does have a beloved, you know. Cardinals mate for life and stay together all year long. Sometimes they sing together but usually they take turns singing to each other. The male sings to his mate while she makes the nest. She enjoys the variety of music. After all, he knows at least two dozen songs.

Red Cardinal in the Snow
His mate also feels his protection. He will defend his territory against other males. She also appreciates his provision; when she is sitting on their eggs, he brings her food.

I watched the cardinal for a long time. He never fought for a place on the feeder but persisted in retrieving seeds from underneath it. He didn’t linger as long as the other birds but hurried home with his gift of love.

Jesus was right about the birds. They don’t sow, reap, or store up, and yet God takes care of them. (Matthew 6:26)

Sometimes the unexpected happens in our lives. We may feel inadequate and unprepared.

The Truth says we’re more valuable to God than the birds. He loves us and provides all we need. He will never fail us. If we trust Him, He will be by our side for eternity.

 “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.“  Corinthians 13: 6-8




Expressions of Love-Valentine's Day Ideas

Regardless of whether you agree with the commercialism of Valentine’s Day or not, you may want to be thinking of a special way to express your love this Valentine's Day.

Why? Well, women tend to like this special day. In fact, 53% of women in America told the U.S. Census they would dump their boyfriends if they did not get them anything for Valentine’s Day.
You can’t really blame people. Valentine’s Day specialness is ingrained early in childhood. Remember poring over the whole box of valentine cards and selecting just the right one for each classmate? It’s estimated over 41 million children will exchange valentine cards this year. Maybe the boys outgrow Valentine’s Day specialness but the girls don’t. Trust me.
Women are more sensitive to this holiday. I didn’t find any statistics about men breaking up with their girlfriends if they didn’t receive a gift on Valentine’s Day. Face it, the ladies like to be treated special.
For some it may be a material thing, but for most, I’m guessing it is merely a reaffirmation of love. Perhaps many days slip by before women hear a sincere “I love you.” Or they feel unappreciated for the daily juggling act they do to keep the home and family intact.

Flowers, candy, dinner…all those things are great. But, I bet most women would be just as blessed, if not more so, by expressions of love that don’t cost a penny. They have to be real, though. Women have a keen radar for what’s sincere.

One of my favorite memories is a time when my hubby and I were dating. It was raining and we were driving to some event. I can’t even remember what event, but I do remember he suddenly pulled over on the side of the country road and hopped out of the car. A smile slowly spread over my astonished face as I watched him run over to a wild, pink rosebush. Pinching through the thorns, and in the soaking rain, he picked me a small bouquet.
Over the years, he has bought me beautiful flowers but none compare to that spontaneous bunch of rain-soaked roses.
The same with cards. There have been fancy ones and funny ones. All were appreciated but there was always something more special about the hand-written love letters. It was the time invested that made the impression.
Gifts are great but are more meaningful when thoughtful consideration has gone into them. Most women can tell if something was picked up at the last minute.  Cherished is the man who is attentive and searches for something he thinks will make you smile.

So, put a little thought and a whole lot of heart into your expressions of love this Valentine's. I’m not saying never buy flowers, cards, or gifts. Just make your gesture a sincere expression of your love.
What is something she would love to hear from you? Are you able to say it genuinely from your heart?  Remember that keen radar—she’ll know if you’re for real or not. If you haven’t told her sweet things in awhile and feel awkward—it’s okay. She’ll love it as long as they are heartfelt sentiments.
While this post is geared mainly for men, I challenge all the women out there to be just as diligent in their expressions of love. Remember, it’s not all about serving the ladies. Love is a two-way street. Men like to hear sweet things from you, as well.

Perhaps, there’s not a sweetheart in your life this year. I hope you know how special and loved you are. You have a different purpose this Valentine's Day. Seek out others you can bless with expressions of love. Is there a child craving  attention? A lonely, elderly neighbor needing a visit?
You may still be wondering what to get someone for Valentine’s Day. There will be plenty of ads and you may even Google ideas. Want to try something really radical? Pray and ask God the best way to show your love. That may be something new for you. God is awesome and has huge ideas about love so be prepared for some incredible suggestions!  





Balancing Work and Family- Writers Share

The past six months of interviewing published authors and editors for the Write2Ignite Writers’ Conference has been an educational blessing.

Remember when Boaz told his servants to let Ruth glean grain from the fields? He even ordered them to pull out some of the good stuff and drop it for her to use.   

Like Ruth, I am eager to glean from others. Those I interviewed graciously pulled out and offered the “good stuff.”

Some of our conversations relate to the world of writing and publishing. However, a great deal of what I’m gleaning is lessons from their life experiences. Whether you are a writer, or not, there’s something of value to be picked up here.

That’s why I’ve decided, on the first Monday of each month, to share excerpts from some of those interviews with you. Get your basket. We’ve got some grains of wisdom to gather.

How many of us strain balancing work and family? Even homeschooling moms like me grapple with the needs of our family, church, and community in the midst of maintaining our homes and teaching our children. If you google about this dilemma you'll get thousands of responses.

I asked these authors how they did it.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter
Joyce Moyer Hostetter, a multi-award-winning author of historical fiction said,

 “I’m not sure how balanced I’ve been but I’ve chosen not to work at another job.  I prefer less money and a lesser house to the stress of two jobs.  So I write from home and I venture out for research and school visits.
Helping with the grandchildren, taking care of an elderly parent, etc. can definitely reschedule my writing life.  But I’ve learned from godly parents to make faith and family my priorities.
I do get frustrated about postponing writing for yet another day. Balancing it all is an ongoing struggle.  But as a Christian, I think it will always be that way if I respond to needs around me - as I think I should.”

Vijaya Bodach, author of several non-fiction books, said,

Vijaya Bodach
 “Balancing everything is hard. The needs of my family come first. I also do a lot of work-for-hire and this tends to be on tight deadlines. I do the teaching and work-for-hire first. Some days I do not get to my own writing (the works of my heart) but that’s okay. I always scribble away in my journal.

My husband helps me a great deal.  I am blessed to have a family that is excited and supportive of my writing.”

Cecil Murphey, author of over 120 books, including 90 Minutes in Heaven, shared his heart about balancing family with work.

That’s always been the tough part for me. With my children grown, I’ve often wished I had given them more time. I apologized to them, and they responded graciously and said they had no complaints.
Cecil Murphey
Our middle child, who gave us the most trouble during her teens, said to me with tears in her eyes, “You were always there for me when I needed you.” (Then my eyes filled with tears.)
Although I wish I had been a better parent (and I assume most of us feel that way), I know my kids love me. They come to our monthly family get-togethers, even though I frequently tell them, ‘If you get a better offer, take it.’ I want them to come only because they want to be with us and not from any sense of obligation.”

Another thing I learned from talking with Cec is he stays focused on his work during a set time each day. Unless there is a looming deadline, he stops at 5:00 p.m. My own husband sets a good example of leaving his work at the office.
I guess we moms need to learn how to do that. Stop “working” at a certain time each day. It’ll be there tomorrow to pick up again. That just sounds easier said than done!

We hear all too often of parents doing their own thing and “losing” their children. There are also dangers of centering your whole life around the child’s—allowing his desires to be the primary focus.

I think all parents struggle with this from time to time. Keeping our priorities in order requires self-discipline. Essential in balancing work and family is devoting the matter to continual prayer. Should we maintain an even balance between work with family? Work is important but, to me, people take precedence.

Our sinful selves can rationalize all day long the choices we make. The worldly voice shouts daily, “Have it YOUR way.”

My conclusion is even if we try our best, there are days when we’re going to mess up. Tipping the scales to either overindulge our children or overwork ourselves. Or overwork our children and overindulge ourselves! (Is that even possible?)

Constantly seeking God’s grace and wisdom is our only hope. Jesus Christ must be the center foundation to maintain stability at work and in our homes.