The Sound of One Peep

One peep in a sea of cheeps. Photo Credit Creative Commons Kabsik Park

One peep in a sea of cheeps. Photo Credit Creative Commons Kabsik Park

 

I was just talking about this memory of mine with my mom who said she had no idea what was happening as we stood at that chicken farm so many years ago. Then I remembered I’d written about the experience a few years ago and decided to repost it, just in case you missed it the first time around. And yes, you can truly hear one peep in a concert of cheeps, if you have a connection that is. ;)

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Although there a lot of people around the area where I live who raise chickens, usually for their eggs, I’m not really a chicken fan. I’m not sure why, but the birds have never appealed to me, but all the changed for about an hour when I was younger.

My parents were looking into buying a chicken farm, and moving us all out to start a new life in a different state. Although their plans ultimately didn’t come to much, we did visit a farm that mass produced chickens so they, and by extension I, could see how the farms were actually run.

It was a far cry from the picture most of us have of chickens running around a farmyard, scratching away for their food and sleeping outside or in their chicken coup. This farm was amazing in its organization, its knowledge of chickens and just the overall way it was run, raising chickens from the time they were hatched in the hatching buildings to the time they were loaded onto the trucks to be taken away.

What I remember most about this farm was one of the buildings we went into which was where newly hatched chickens lived. Now, there were several of these buildings for this age of chick, and when we stepped inside and the door closed behind us – because not one chicken could be allowed to get out – there in the dim light with its close, warm and humid air was a sea of little yellow balls all chirping away.

The sound rose up from the thousands of chicks – I couldn’t even see the end of the building it was so large – in what could only be called a symphony of peeps. They all blended together and wove themselves into one great big sound that filled the place.

Yet, after a moment, I heard a little cheep that didn’t fit in with the rest. It came from the far end of the building and its quality was more piercing than the rest. It rose lightly above the concert of peeps and floated towards me. I was a teenager at the time, and I looked at the adults who were busily engaged in conversation about the technical details of the building and realized they didn’t even notice it.

As I stood waiting for my parents to finish their conversation, the little cheep started to move towards me. First, it was on my far left, then as its little owner doggedly made its way through the crowd it veered right, all the while getting a little louder and a little louder as it zigzagged this way and that through the throng of cottony yellow.

Then I couldn’t hear it for a moment or two and strained my ears wondered where it went, when all of sudden that distinctive cheep came from my foot. I looked down and there was its owner, all three inches of baby chick perched on the strap of my sandal cheeping away excitedly and looking up at me as if he belonged to me.

“He sure likes you,” the manager of the farm said as he looked at the little chick before going on to comment that he’d never seen anything quite like it.

Until recently I’d forgotten that experience of mine, but as I thought about it, I began to think about prayer and the sheer numbers of prayers that go to the LORD everyday in a cloud of praise, worship and request. Yet, just like I knew the cheep of that chick through the cloud of peeps, the LORD knows our voice among the multitude when we make our way towards Him and perch on His sandal cheeping away to Him because we are His and He is ours and no crowd of others will ever get in the way of that.

“Because He has turned His ear to me, I will cry out to Him as long as I live.”

Psalm 116:2

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A Sea of Red Jell-O

All of us love red Jell-O. Photo: Creative Commons Ray Bouknight

All of us love red Jell-O. Photo: Creative Commons Ray Bouknight

An instructional pamphlet in my hands, I looked over with dismay at the containers filled with all varieties of red Jell-O that sat on my kitchen countertop. There were red Jell-O jigglers cut into perfect 2 bite squares. There were small red ramekins filled with red Jell-O. And, there were larger cereal bowls of red Jell-O, just in case.

Looking back at the pamphlet I hoped that somehow the words on it had changed, but no, they were still there.  Under the “Recommended Fluid for Hydration” section the words were in parenthesis, but clear enough to not  be mistaken by anyone who read them, “(clear fluids – nothing red or purple)”. The problem was I hadn’t read them.

I was preparing my mom’s non-food for a day long fast before a colonoscopy. For those of you who have never had one, this isn’t fun, but it’s somehow even less fun if you are a foodie. Non foodies don’t really stress too much about going for a day without food, just clear liquids and Jell-O. Foodies, on the other hand, do stress about that day long fast. My mom is a foodie, so I was trying to make sure there was enough Jell-O, broth, 7-Up, apple juice, etc. to take her through the day.

The thing was, I had actually read the rest of the list, but for some reason the whole red, purple Jell-O part of the instructions escaped me. When I read the list and saw she could have Jell-O my mind immediately went to her stockpile of red Jell-O boxes that just seemed to be waiting for the opportunity to be used.

And use them I did. Without a care in the world there I was mixing hot water with the contents of those boxes in Pyrex bowls, concocting some crazy red stuff in the process. - I don’t know why making Jell-O produces the mad scientist in me, but it does. I always feel like I should have beakers and test tubes along with the gelatin based sweet liquid that turns into a solid. Go figure!

Now, I was faced with the product of my overzealous desire to make enough Jell-O for my mom and use the red Jell-O she collects too. A win-win, or so I thought. The problem was compounded by the fact that I actually didn’t have enough time to make more Jell-O for her. My own schedule was way too tight, this coupled with the fact that it takes at least 3 – 4 hours for Jell-O to set – which would be far past the time my mom would want to eat it – made the idea of making more, correctly colored Jell-O, not even close to being feasible.

Putting down the pamphlet, I sighed before I carefully put the red Jell-O horde into the refrigerator then headed out to the store to buy premade Jell-O in hues of yellow, orange and green.

As I walked out the door, my son was just coming in from a run. “There’s red Jell-O in the fridge,” I told him. “Eat all you want.”

“Really?” he replied, an instant smile on his face. “I love red Jell-O.”

 

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Remembering the Others in the Family

june, aug 2010 266

Normally I don’t repost other people’s blogs here, but this is a very cool blog from a sister of a special needs child – it’s written by Elaine Marchenko the 15 year old daughter of Gillian Marchenko author of “Sun Shine Down”. As I read it, I thought of my own son and the small things I can do in the situation we’re in as far as taking care of my mother. Yes, caretaking and having children with special needs are very different circumstances, but making sure to take care of each family member who is left in the wash of caretaking anyone young or old is something we all need to remember.

What about us? A sibling to kids with disabilities shares her needs

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