Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chickens Can Be Fulfilling

Today (Saturday) was the big butchering day for group number two of chickens. Audrey, Ben and I arrived at Shelli's farm at 9 am for our three hour shift. Luke was at my sister's for the morning- which was a huge blessing! The morning was starting to heat up, but not too bad. The first shift, 6-9, was just finishing up. They were just getting ready to cut the head off a chicken and see what it would do, so the kids went over to watch. Unfortunately, the chicken was kind of a dud for theatrics, so we found our stations to work at.
Station 1- catch chickens and give 'em a dunk in soapy water
Station 2- string upside down, cut heads off and drain the blood
Station 3- dunk in boiling water
Station 4- pluck
Station 5- remove innards, cut feet and tail off
Station 6- final clean, rinse and trim, bag

Audrey ended up at the plucking station for the entire morning. I think of all the things she could have done, this was the best place for her. Ben started out with me, holding the bags open for me to put the chickens in after I gave them a final cleaning, but he got bored and moved out to help pluck with Audrey.

What I witnessed over the next three hours of work, was only by God. We had a group of junior highers (maybe 12 kids total?) and only 5 adults for the entire process. How can a bunch of jr. high kids work for 3 plus hours, non-stop, no breaks, no food, nothing and not complain? And they weren't getting paid! And they were doing jobs they never dreamed they would do! Some were catching, some were killing, some were removing hot feathers, some were watching Shelli's little kids so she could work!

Ephesians 6:7- Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.
1 Peter 4:11b- If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 5:2b-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve.
Colossians 3:24b- It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

All the praise and glory really does go to God. You see, these kids are obviously not motivated by something external- there was no food or money or reward at the end of the day. The most they can hope for is that all the chickens will be done, sold (which they are) and the money earned (which they will never see) will help go towards buying Bibles in a language they can't read to people and children they will most likely never meet here on Earth. Their hope is eternal- that the message they understand in English is the same message people on the other side of the world will understand. That the God they serve in small town Iowa is not contained within borders, but reaches to the ends of the earth!!

Wow! I was so impressed and challenged by these kids. Of all the jobs, I had definitely one of the easier ones. I was trying to suck it up (c'mon, Mindy, you're not gutting them!) and be a good example and encourager to them, but they were the ones being the example. I am humbled.

Over the course of the entire morning, 6 am to 12ish, 45 chickens were butchered! It was a lot! I can't imagine doing any more! I can't imagine that some, like my mom and grandmas would do that for their own meat every year!

Ben thought the entire thing was cool. He enjoyed himself, though when he was done, but I wasn't, he was ready to go home. Audrey said she had a good time, but to please not make chicken for supper. :) No way! In fact, I don't think I will be making chicken for a little while. I need some separation time.

I took some pictures, but not of the gross parts.
This is of Audrey in the foreground, with other kids, some who were finishing the first shift and others who were starting the second.

 Here you can see Audrey and Ben beside her still working.
I happened to look out the window above the kitchen sink where I was working and caught this boy, whose name I don't know, sitting with a dead chicken in his lap, waiting for it to be scalded and plucked. It was probably the last chicken and though my picture isn't very good, you can see the exhaust reflected in his posture but also the casualness with which he has the chicken draped across his legs. What can he be contemplating? Was he thinking about the chicken? Was he thinking about his day? Chances are that up to this morning, he had never seen a live chicken, let alone killed one. I bet he went home, tired but fulfilled in some way. Is that not the way of the believer's life? 
"But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me." Philippians 2:17, 18 

Friday, June 25, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Well, there is no winner. There weren't any bids. It's okay. We have had a couple people buy some chickens or contribute money, so that is good.
So, tomorrow, Audrey and I are going to Shelli's farm and butcher chickens. I know neither she nor I are prepared for the entire process. All I remember as a kid was my mom needing all our laundry baskets for when it was time to butcher chickens. I don't know what they used them for. I'm thinking that I don't want to know. 
I'll let you know how things went.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


These are my girlfriends from high school. We got together this past weekend after we found out we all still lived relatively close to each other. We met at Summerset Winery in Indianola for a great afternoon of conversation and catching up. Since there was a chance of rain, the band played inside, but it was too loud and we moved outside (where it wasn't raining).
We each brought a little something to share. I brought a chinese chicken salad, Allyson brought fruit, Nicky had cheese and crackers and Sarah brought shrimp cocktail. Oh, and TWIZZLERS!! Twizzlers became our mainstay food whenever we got together. As a matter of fact, a few years ago, after our class reunion, we all had an impromptu birthday party for one of Sarah's daughters and Nicky and I both gave Twizzlers! Back to the winery, we tried two wines: Kiss Me (a semi-sweet white) and Vino Rosso (a semi-sweet rose), both of which we liked.
What are the girlfriends up to? Well, Sarah is married to a doctor and they have 4 kids. Nicky works in Cedar Rapids for the fire department and rides her bike all summer long. This year is at least her 3rd RAGBRAII and she has also done 100 mile day ride. Allyson is West Des Moines with her husband and cute dog, named Oscar.
We had such a great time. They literally closed the place up, kicked us out and then we stood outside and kept talking for quite sometime. We decided we should definitely do it again! What do you think, girls? Wine tour of Iowa?

Around Here

Do you see this guy? This man, flanked by his beautiful daughter and two boys that somehow managed to sit still for a picture? Yeah, that guy.
He's Dad around here.
He: plays ball the minute he gets home, replaces a popped bike tire, listens to dramatic tales and stories, makes Dad/Daughter dates, gets jumped on, wrestled with, reads through the Bible with each of the kids, reads Chronicles of Narnia, rides motorcycles, plays mini-golf on Father's Day, can make mac-n-cheese and scrambled eggs, goes to the zoo, the capitol, the downtown skywalk, occasionally matches clothes, spends a lot of time listening, guiding, training, counseling, explaining, teaching, coaching, runs a mean grill, builds a basketball court, goes sledding, goes camping single-handed, "loses" in foosball, finishes the end of Charlotte's Web, listens to all manners of music concerts, goes bowling, fishing, removes splinters, goes on bike rides, goes shopping, goes to movies, goes to Advertureland, rides spinning rides and roller coasters, decorates birthday cakes, makes root beer floats, answers multitudes of questions, gives hugs, kisses, pounds, high fives... with us.
We love Dad!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Your Chance for Chicken

As my mom’s told you, I’m taking care of chickens to raise money for Bibles. Raising money for Bibles is very important to me because I have SO many Bibles, but some people haven’t even heard the name of Jesus. When my youth group, 180, raises the money, we’ll have the chance to save someone’s eternal life in Jesus. Think about it. I’m sure that we’ve all had the chance to hear about Jesus, but some people in Africa haven’t. We’re giving them that chance. We will sell these chickens and butcher them to raise some money for Bibles. That’s why we’re holding a silent auction.
If you don’t know what a silent auction is, I’m about to explain it to you. A silent auction is an auction where nobody knows your bid. During a silent auction, you write down your bid on a piece of paper. At the end of the auction, the winner would be the person with the highest bid and they would receive the bidding item. We’re doing a bid for a chicken. The chicken’s name is Alphie.
To place a bid for Alphie, you must do the following:
  1. Be prepared to receive the butchered chicken on Saturday, June 26. If you live out of the Ames and want to bid, please contact us.
  2. Email my mom at by Friday, June 25 at 5:00 pm with your bid amount
  3. Leave a comment under this post saying you’ve placed a bid. (but don’t say the amount)
We will review the bids at 5:00 pm Friday and notify the winner at that time.
If you would like to actually buy a chicken, the cost is $15 per chicken. Please email me (Audrey) at Again, you will need to be able to receive your order on Saturday, June 26.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I would just like to state that 4 year old boys are sometimes wearisome. There is just no other way of putting it.
They can swallow 10 pieces of gum, because they were hungry.
They can talk to strangers in the produce aisle, telling them to "pound it", which means to weigh their produce to see how many pounds it is.
They can bonk their heads under the bleachers at a ball game and then later remark that they should have ducked.
They can experiment with peeing in different places, such as filling the trash can (which is right next to the toilet) with toilet paper and then going in it, standing on the edge of the bathtub and shooting across into the tub (again, next to the toilet, in a different bathroom), pull their pants down in the backyard just far enough to create a nice little arc, go in the garage (technically, in the house), or just simply wet their pants altogether right in front of the toilet.
They can insist on wearing "longs" when you tell them to put shorts on.
They can scare you to death by hiding play-doh during rest time, leading you to believe that they ate a whole ounce of it. (He downed 10 pieces of gum in one swallow, what's to stop him with play-doh?)
They can interrogate an aunt at the door and demand to know if she has any babies with her. When she says no, he can give her the thumbs up and let her pass. Reason why? Apparently he has an issue with another aunt's baby who allegedly hits him in delicate places and he doesn't like that.
They can fall off their bike because he was reaching up with both hands to try to grab a branch overhead and then comment that he should have held on with both hands (all while still having training wheels on!)
They can observe Grandma allowing herself to land in the straw on her bottom (to be safe) after swinging on the rope in the barn and then announce, "Boy, Grandma, gravity really pulls you down!"
They can spend all morning at church day camp, and most of the afternoon playing outside and then later say, "Mom, you didn't take me for a walk today."

Cute wearisome.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Monster Recipe

I recently made a half batch of monster cookies to distribute to friends and the recipe was immediately requested. This recipe is from my mom. My sister and I don't know where she got it from, but she has always had it. You will want it. It works well for feeding hungry ball teams, scores of construction men, crowds of kids and everyone else in between.

A few words of warning:
*it contains peanut butter and I don't know any way around that as I've never experimented with other "butters"
*it makes A LOT- as in over 100 big size cookies, so you must be prepared to deal with 100 cookies (they do freeze well)
*Cream the wet ingredients together a half batch at a time. Your mixer cannot hold a full batch.
*you need a BIG BIG bowl to mix the wet and dry together, and you might end up using your hands to do the final mixing

Here's the full recipe

Monster Cookies
12 eggs
1 pound (4 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 pounds brown sugar
4 c. white sugar
3 pounds peanut butter
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
18 c. oatmeal
8 Tbsp. baking soda
2-4 Tbsp. flour (opt.)
2 bags chocolate chips
1 pound M&M's

Cream together eggs and butter, then sugar, peanut butter, vanilla and corn syrup a half batch at a time.
In a large bowl, combine oatmeal and baking soda, and a small amount of flour. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix. Add chocolate chips and M&M's and mix. Use a large ice cream scoop to make cookies and place far apart on baking sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes at least 100 cookies.
To make a half-batch, just halve the ingredients. If you get started baking and can't finish the entire thing, just cover the dough and refrigerate. I cut apart a brown grocery sack to cool the cookies on. Also, you can change the M&M color to match whatever celebration you want.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where the energies and affections have gone

I haven't been writing much lately. Mostly because I have been busy with the people and things that need me most. Family, end of the year for lessons, laundry, ball games, end of the school year, piano conference, friends and more. I have a lot I'd like to write about. Mostly this has turned into sort of a journal about some highlights of our family life, which is great, but there's more than that.
I haven't told you that this year I said good-bye to three students who won't return next year. I haven't told you that it makes me sad to have them go. I know unique things about them that makes me love them. One is moving away and I can barely stand the thought; it makes me cry.
I haven't told you that Audrey is finished with elementary school and next year is 7th grade and she keeps saying only 6 more years until she graduates and I try to let it bounce off me because I'd cry if I thought about it.
I haven't told you that my sister's niece, Alex, graduated from high school. My mom, Jessica and me helped Beth and Winston have a graduation open house for Alex complete with cake balls. Alex will be going to UNI next year. She has made a couple of cheer squads so we'll probably be going to see a few games.
I haven't told you that Bill spent his entire Memorial Day weekend to build the stairs off our back deck for me.
I haven't told you that the music teachers association that I'm a part of held our annual state conference this past weekend at Iowa State University. I had a couple of roles- I was in charge of the vendors and door prizes for each session, I gave a talk at a breakfast meeting because I hold a vice president chair, and other jobs throughout the conference.
I certainly haven't told you that Bill took the kids to his parents' to give me some space to finish up all the details. Grandpa and Grandma's usually consist of riding motorcycles and 4-wheelers until you run out of gas or the sun goes down, swinging on a rope in the barn, making goodies with Grandma in the kitchen, riding or grooming horses, and general farm life. This time around, however, consisted of Ben being sick, extreme fatigue and finally a trip to the emergency room late at night and crawling in bed at 3:30 am.
I haven't told you that Bill and I had our 15th anniversary. We celebrated by going out for supper with Ben and Luke. We have yet to really celebrate and part of me is okay with that, part of me is not. But we didn't make it to 15 years by stopping the world until we celebrated something.
I haven't told you that Bill had a BIRTHDAY. That's all I'm not going to tell you. :)
I haven't told you that when I got home from my conference and Bill had been Superdad Extreme and Faithful Servant husband, I was completely selfish and did not give his weary bones a rest nor thank him one iota for all that he did for me and the kids. And while I did not tell you that, I must tell you that he forgave me, still loves me and we are good again.
I haven't told you that I want to tell you more. How I have seen God work in my life through many of these circumstances. I want to tell you. I hope to soon. But if I don't, then you'll know where my energies and affections have gone.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Look Who Visited!

The Texas cousins! They came up for a short afternoon visit. It involved basketball, window wells, snakes, toads, chips and salsa and baseball.
Then they stayed to watch Ben's baseball game. So here's our little ball player...

He was been cheered on primarily by the adults. 
Like Uncle Steve and Dad.

And Mom and Aunt Tia.

The cousins watched for a while. Jabin held in the longest.

And Tayla watched for a bit. 

But coach/kid pitch ball can take a while and there was a swing set close by beckoning.

I love this shot, mostly because those are Jabin's feet dangling from the top.

Ben's team gave it their best. It was fun to watch it with family. We're glad they visited!!

Now, because I gave the camera over to Audrey, she got several great shots of Ben and his team in action, cousins, etc. but also of herself, her eyes, her feet, her flip flops, the grass, the dirt, and again herself.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Good Sandwich

So here is a variation of an already good sandwich. It doesn't even need a recipe.

Take a BLT sandwich and add a fried egg to it. That's it. Fry up the bacon and at the end fry an egg per sandwich. Assemble. We call it a BELT.

It is so good. It will fill your man up, which is a good thing since men tend to eat at least 2 BLT's and then the rest of the bacon that you were planning on saving for another meal.