The Measure of a Miracle

Almost a week ago my girls brought me a little chick that hadn’t hatched properly and even though the situation looked quite hopeless, we tried against all odds to save this one little chick. I was quite frankly amazed that it survived through the night. When it began chirping I was astounded. When it began trying to stand and then walk, we cheered it on. When it began to drink a little water I knew there was a real chance. We were witnessing a miracle one little chirp and step at a time.

Yesterday, I saw a change and even the kids noticed. I realized that after all our effort, the chick would likely not make it. This morning I discovered I was right. I had to tell my children who were disappointed as we had all hoped for the best. What unsettled me the most was the nagging thought, “So, it wasn’t a miracle after all.” That lead me to wonder what the measure of a miracle is.

I will have a devotion time with my children this morning about the matter. I want to impress upon them several truths. I’d like to share those with you.

First, it is okay to care about one little chick that didn’t seem to have much of a chance. That may seem an odd thing to say, that it is okay to care. But, in this day and time I think it is something we need reminding of. I think that far too many people are comfortable with not giving a care about situations that seem hopeless or too risky. Too many times folks avoid getting involved.

Second, it is okay to try when there are no guarantees. The effort, the compassion, the investment of time and energy is still worth it even when the results aren’t what we hope for. When we pour ourselves into another life (even the life of a little chick) we don’t get to control the response or the end result.

Third, it is okay when our hopes are disappointed. Disappointment is a part of life. If you are going to care and if you are going to try, you can be sure you are going to have times of disappointment. What we do with that disappointment is a matter of choices. There will be those who recoil from the chance of more disappointment and withdraw from the race. There will others who take a deep breath and willingly take the deep plunge into caring again, trying again.

Which person are you? Have you determined to play it safe, wade in the shallows, stay close to the shore? Are you willing to take a chance and care when there isn’t much of a chance, try when there are no guarantees and hope again instead of past disappointments.

The measure of a miracle is not necessarily how we might determine it. The measure of a miracle is a little chirp than was never expected. The measure of a miracle is in the difference it made in the lives it touched.

“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin ? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”
Matthew 10:29 NLT

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Backyard Betsy Joins the Flock

The following is the first of a series of children’s read-aloud stories that are a part of _The Homestead Adventures of Pumpkin Swamp Cove_ . As a foster-mom for fifteen years and as an adoptive mom, I have seen the process it takes for children to adjust to change. I pray this story will comfort a child who needs it. This story is based on a real chicken and my real homestead. 🙂

This story is dedicated to my daughters, Nicole and Ruth Denise, who came to us at ages 6&7 and had to learn to fit into the brand new world we offered them. They are brave and beautiful.

Later, illustrations will be added to enhance e reading experience. For now, use your imagination.

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The Homestead Adventures of Pumpkin Swamp Cove

Backyard Betsy Joins the Flock

By Stephanie Rodda

Backyard Betsy was a big, beautiful, black chicken who had been raised in a backyard all alone. She had never seen another chicken. She had never been a part of a flock. It was not the best way for a chicken to live. Things were about to change for Backyard Betsy. Changes can be scary even when it is for the best. She did not know what to expect.

She was gently put inside a large cardboard box. It felt as if the ground were moving under her as she was taken to her new home. She was very nervous and cackled her loudest cackle. Then she laid a nice brown egg in the hay at the bottom of the box. When the ground stopped moving and the box was opened, she wanted to stay in the box. She finally came out for some tasty scratch grain that was made with cracked corn. She found herself in a new place. She did not know what to think.

There were children everywhere, it seemed. She had seen children before. They seemed glad to see her. The children were very impressed with the egg she had laid. It was the first of many she would give them. There were chickens, lots of chickens. She had not seen other chickens before. They did not seem glad to see her. She was not sure she was glad to see them. There were goats and dogs and cats too. Backyard Betsy did not know what to do. So, she sat down and was very still and quiet. She needed some time to get use to things.

It was not easy being the new member of the flock. She did not understand the way they did things. She did not know the rules. She did not always understand the language of the chickens. She did not understand pecking order. Pecking order lets all the chickens know which chicken is in charge. If she forgot and needed reminding, she would get a hard peck on the head. She felt very alone even with so many chickens around her. She didn’t know if she would ever fit in.

Some days Backyard Betsy felt sad. Some days she got a hard peck on the head. Some days she wished for her old backyard. It might not have been the best way for a chicken to live but, it was what she was used to. Other days she was so busy learning new things and having new experiences she found herself enjoying her new life. Backyard Betsy wanted to be happy in her new home. She wondered if she ever would be.

Soon she began to find her place in her new flock. She learned to trust Jethro, the rooster who led his hens to tall grass and juicy bugs. He protected them from danger by warning them with special chicken sounds. He watched over them carefully. If he called she came running. Once a chicken hawk was flying overhead in the sky where the flock was. Jethro led them to safety. She decided it was a good thing to follow the rules.

Backyard Betsy would go to sleep each night feeling warm and snug with the other chickens on the roost beside her. She would wake each morning as Jethro crowed when he first spotted the sun. She enjoyed taking dirt baths with the other hens. She could rest in the sun and not be afraid because she was a part of a flock. Backyard Betsy was safe. Backyard Betsy was glad. She would never be alone again.

Points to Ponder with your child:

1- Why did Backyard Betsy’s life need to change?

2- Have you ever had to learn a lot of new things all at once?

3- What was the most important lesson Backyard Betsy had to learn?

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