Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oh rats!

We have a rat.

Which, being an optimist, I like to think is better than having seven rats.

Here's our latest acquisition.

The story is, we were working out in our vegetable garden Sunday. (For you Americans, I know "garden" already means "vegetable garden," but for the sake of the Africans/Europeans/etc., we have to specify this.) Now, I love our garden, and having a beautiful garden area was one of the main reasons I fell in love with this house. But gardens come with an unfortunate feature, weeds. This could have a been a manageable phenomenon, but due to circumstances beyond our control (traveling quite a bit, and other things I'll mention sometime), our veggies have been sadly neglected this summer. The garden has bravely fought back and produced an admirable amount of delightful food, but finally the weeds were getting so tall they were going to seed. It was getting difficult to find the food nestled in their depths.

It was time. We vowed to devote Sunday morning to beating back the invaders.

We were blessed by two wonderful surprises: first, our dear friends Zeke Vasquez and Thomas Beihl offered to come help us, and second, the Klingbeil family offered to come help the same morning! We were delighted.

So we launched the assault. It was a huge success! But after an hour of digging, plucking and ripping out what seemed to be miles of weeds (specifically morning glory vines that had taken over the watermelon patch and suffocated everything else), Zeke called to me that something was squeaking under the weeds. With a little effort we located the source of the protests--a nest of pinkish-gray baby rodents!

We guessed at their identity for a little while (moles? mice?) before I saw the mother's head dart out of the weeds. A rat! Argh!

Squealing babies were strewn around under the weeds, but we eventually located six babies (and later a seventh). Mommy Rat amazed us with her courage by coming out from under the weeds, despite the herd of six human children and a few adults scattered a few feet away. She marched across the bare ground and picked up her children, one after another, five times. Marveling at her chutzpah, we let her do her job. (And now we have seven rats somewhere in our back yard. But we're not thinking about that. Well, actually, we are. What were we thinking?! We DO have seven rats! All outside waiting to invade our walls this fall!)

Her mothering instincts were sharp, but apparently other instincts weren't as well-honed, because when she came back for her sixth child, she looked around and wasn't able to locate it. (This was primarily because she was standing on it both times.) Eventually she gave up and disappeared. We found another hapless guy under the bushes soon after, but both were left in the abandoned nest in vain. Either Mom never finished first grade math, or she figured five kids were enough. Can't say I blame her. Whatever the case, one of those two disappeared sometime during the afternoon. When I went back to check around 7 pm, one pitiful baby rat remained. Foolishly I stooped to examine her wee little face.

And we acquired a rat.

In case you can't tell from the picture, said rat is currently the size of my thumb, from the knuckle up only (plus a tail). What you also can't see is that she has a voracious appetite and is getting me up twice a night to eat.

The rat adoption was met by varying degrees of enthusiasm. Needless to say, the kids were thrilled, and all clamored to hold her. Daddy was less warm in his welcome, though (generous as we are) the kids and I allowed him the glorious privilege of naming her. After several of his thoughtful suggestions, Snake Snack, Drat Zadie made her official entrance into the family.

At least, for now.

And no, you're not the only one questioning my sanity. I am myself. Regularly. Especially at 1 am when I am crawling out of bed to feed a rat.

I never thought I'd own a rat. Especially not such an adorable one.

Friday, August 17, 2012

And again I say, rejoice

Skyler has a perennial problem with being afraid of the dark. We've tried all sorts of remedies for this (light on in the hallway or bathroom, singing, praying, listening to Your Story Hour on CD, etc.). Recently we have tried letting him go to sleep holding his tiny orange New Testament in bed with him.

"Mommy," he pleaded one night, "would you pyeeze read something fwom the Bible for me?"

Not wanting to turn on the light, I knelt beside his bed, took his Bible, and opened randomly. Then I began to recite Psalm 23. Since I was doing it from memory, of course it ended up being King James Version.

When I got to "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." I saw his eyes light up with merriment, even through the darkness.

"Mommy," he sputtered in glee. "Why does it say "Yay!" in the Bible?"

Raising little ministry fans

Last week we went to the ASI convention, a once-a-year grand melee of friends, acquaintances and strangers milling about in blissful fellowship. It's also an opportunity for the kids (and me!) to roam the aisles of the exhibit hall, picking up freebie promotional materials from the many booths promoting their ministries there.

The kids' favorite promo this year was hand-held, tiny mechanized fans from It Is Written. They merrily buzzed each other with them and were thrilled with the lights spelling "It Is Written" on the whirring fan blades.

Apparently other ministries had fans, too. After one trip to the exhibit hall, Skyler whispered to me in awe, "Mommy! I saw some other fans, too. They were the kind from ancient times!"

Prayers from the heart

One of my favorite times of day is when the kids pray before hopping into bed. Yes! Silence on the horizon! Here are some of my favorite recent prayers.

"Help people, like the people in Chatta-noo-ga, to love Jesus."

"Help the Christians to not be in prison."

"Help me to be a real friend, who talks to You and reads Your letters, and really, really be Your friend."

"Hep us to be like the dinosaurs. To eat only plants."

Ladies first

This morning in worship, we read about Elijah and Ahab. Afterward, I talked with the kids about the worship of Molech. "Can you imagine if we worshiped Molech? If one morning Daddy and I came downstairs for breakfast and said that something bad is happening to us, and we need to sacrifice one of our children to Molech?"

Three pairs of round eyes stared at me.

"Skyler," I invited, "What if we decided to sacrifice you? You are the littlest, after all. It would be easiest to catch you."

"And what if something else bad happened?" Anaya chimed in. "You might have to sacrifice Sethie next! And then me!"

"Actually, Anaya, since you are a girl, you might be sacrificed first."

Skyler put in his two cents' worth now. "You know that 'girls first' thing, Mommy? I think girls should be sacwificed first."