Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dear God,

To knock the hunger pangs off my starving curiosity, I've decided to compile a list of questions I have for God so that when the time comes, I'll be sure not to forget to ask him anything. And, who knows, maybe He'll answer sooner!

Dear God,

I realize you've used me as some sort of heavenly entertainment. Why else would you have me born into a "city" family and then marry a "farm" man? Thankfully, and sometimes regrettably, I rarely, if ever, voice the phrase "I'm bored." Chasing scattered cows, feeding messy chickens and burning my fingers canning tomatoes....what can I say, God? You have got to have a sense of humor! Please tell me my theory is correct, because in some ways it makes my "crises" feel a lot more manageable if you're up there watching and laughing.

Another mind-boggling dilemma I've got is this: Is there any typos in the Bible? Here's my theory. I think NO. My reason is that you realize that when people see mistakes it really diminishes the validity of things. I have a feeling that if/when a human was making a typo/grammatical error of any kind when transferring information, you decided to use the divine intervention card and step in. Am I close at all?

On a more serious note, I've often wondered why you have blessed me with four kids. You know that we never really planned for family and there are many Godly lovely couples out there that just aren't or can't have any. Why?

As you also know, I've got a lot of growing up to do. I believe, (and tell me if I'm wrong), my kids are your physical tools you use to mold me into the person/mom you want me to be. I resist most of the time, but I can't see any other logical reason for all the messes, arguments, work, urgent care visits, etc., besides training me to have patience, endurance and most importantly, faith.

A simple prayer request: I would love for endless energy. Or, just a button I could push and my energy would inflate/deflate like a balloon when I'm ready ... no pressure, it's just a suggestion.

This is a good start for now. I'm sure I'll have more, but probably/hopefully I'll have more time to add to it before the big day.

Thanks for listening God,


Thursday, September 17, 2009


Come tomorrow, Matt and I will have been together, legally, for five whole years.

And true to the "over-achiever" mantra so bestowed upon me as first-born of the Steve Fairchild clan, I have crammed LOTS into those years. Actually, we have. That's right, there's no more me, just we.

Although we got the cart before the horse when we were blessed with our baby girl, Kadence, our life has since gotten into the typical American routine. We have way more than we need and have lots to fill our calendars. Life is just life.

Since Sept. 18, 2004, three other children have blessed our family, bringing the Matt Oehlschlager family total (including us) to three girls and three boys.

Matt and I purchased our farm nine days before baby No. 3, Bella Rose, was born and life has not been the same. Our backs carry not only the weight of our own lives, but that of four child souls and a mortgage, cattle note and bills and bills.

Our vacations come in short stints when family takes a few kids here and there to relieve us. Right now, Matt has the kids at our pond fishing while I type in blissful, silent peace.

When I look back over the past five years, it feels like a roller coaster, like I'm sure everybody does. But as we embark on the sixth year of marriage, it feels like we're in a different season. No more new babies. No babies at all, actually. Masen (our youngest) is officially a toddler. And our oldest, Kadence, began kindergarten in August.

Our days are filled with noise and joy.

I'm not going to say our first five years of marriage have been a total joy. I don't think we could've had a rougher go at it, what with having four kids in four years, all while purchasing our peaceful little farm. Our obstacles have been many. Our battles have been many. But thankfully, Matt and I have weathered this first storm. Right now we are sailing on calm seas. But sure as the sun will rise, so will another challenge. And I pray that we are able to steady the ship when those storms arise so we can continue the voyage for another 50 years or more, God willing.

In light of our "big" anniversary, here are some words. Some words that don't contain the enormity your presence has been in my life, but hopefully show you a small glimmer of the appreciation I hold for you.
Thank you for your patience. Thank you for loving me when I don't deserve it. Thank you for my babies. Thank you for our farm — a life I never knew I wanted, but now wouldn't be able to live without. Thank you for giving the kids baths and brushing their teeth. Thank you for personifying the calm my freak-out personality lacks. Thank you for your faith. Thank you for calling me your wife and allowing me to call you husband. Thank you for all the diapers you've changed and all the pizzas you've bought.
The little life we've got wouldn't be what it is without your patient presence.

Happy anniversary

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Broiler Boil

*** Warning: The following account is a true story and may be offensive to sensitive folks and just plain disgusting to others.
A broiler’s divine purpose on this planet is to eat and be eaten.
But when it came time for Matt and I to send these chickens on to meet their maker, in turn fulfilling their divine appointment, we were both a little hesitant.
See we both were a bit scarred from our attempt to “harvest” Jerry (the mean old rooster) and we weren’t so keen on the idea of killing nine all at once.
So I Googled it and read and read about the most efficient way to make a chicken into meat for the freezer. I felt as ready as I was ever going to be. No excuses now, it was time to take matters into our own hands, literally!
Walking to the chicken pen I was nervous and anxious at the same time. Our plan: Matt was going to catch one and I was going to hold it “still,” close my eyes and hope for the best while Matt “took care of business.”
That was the plan, one plan I never thought in nearly all of my 26 years on this planet that I would be planning to do. But there was only one way out of this mess and that involved me, once again, demolishing my comfort zone.
So after Matt handed me the first bird, I closed my eyes and waited. When the deed was done, I sceamed and chucked the thrashing bird as far away from me as I could. But the headless chicken got right up and ran towards me!!! AHHHHHHH
And what do you do when a winged creature that is bleeding like an open spigot is running after you? Well run the other way, of course. So that is what I did, took off running and hid until he gave up.
Through tears of laughter Matt summoned me to do the next and then the next and on and on until finally we had a yard full of headless chickens. (They were everywhere because I refused to pick up their adrenaline-pumped bodies until the nerves had passed!)
The next part really didn’t bother me. Matt was the “feather plucker” and I was the “gutter.” While Matt wasn’t that excited to stand for the next hour pulling feathers out of the broilers, but I was stoked for my job.
I got real good at cutting the bird open just wide enough to fit my entire hand up to my wrist, grab a handful of unmentionables and pull them out. By the last few birds it became a game to see how much I could get out in one go-around.
And then we were done. The birds were dead, plucked, gutted and now resting comfortably in plastic inside the freezer.
As I showered, washing away the “evidence,” I realized that I will never be the same. My innocence, if there was any left, was gone. There was then and then there is now.
A now that is filled with the knowledge of how to raise something from a baby to its prime. And then kill it and stick it in your freezer and then put it in your oven and then feed it to your own babies.
Yep, life will never be the same.

As seen in the Lawrence County Record

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It was nice to have such a long weekend. Had time to catch up on little projects and, more importantly, just sit still in lawn chairs and watch the kids play.

And while the kids played, Matt and I were busy catching up and dreaming. One of our most interesting topics was what we would do if someone pulled into the drive and handed us a million dollars.


So we began throwing all of our hopes and visions of what that million dollars could do to transform our current life into a more pleasant and comfortable place. It involved becoming debt free, lots more land and cows, additions and remodels to the house, new vehicles and fences, fat savings accounts and an over-all stress-free feeling.

Because isn't money what causes most issues? It does in this house. At the root of most stressful conversations and heated battles, you can find a pile money (mostly lack of it). So a fat sum of "free" money would certainly come close to answering all our prayers, righting all our problems, making us a happier couple and family. Right? Seems kind of temporary to me.

Because when the dreaming was over, and nobody showed up with even five dollars, it sunk in. That was a dangerous dream to dream. It's a slippery slope that can send this once content mind sailing into space, orbiting unattainable planets of desire, greed and envy. Our seemingly harmless dreams and fantasies plant the seeds of discontentment, making our current blessed life seem less than desirable. And I don't want that.

What most people want in life is contentment. Whether you have a million dollars or you owe a million dollars. All people want is that gut-happy feeling that all is right with their little corner of the world.

So when I saw a sign the other day that said to have more you have to want less. I knew that that was the key: I need to want what I have.

Now when I look around our 1930s house, I see a home that Matt and I worked long and hard to get. Our fence rows made of tree trunks and grown over with brush from decades and decades contain strong and healthy cattle that will provide for our family. We have enough car seats to safely transport our sweet babies and, thankfully, running vehicles to drive them around in. We have refrigerators full of food to satisfy our hunger pangs and light to brighten the nights. Running water and plastic diapers are also keys to this happy home.

This is our paradise. Maybe not by the world's standards, but definitely by ours. Million dollars or not, I've realized contentment lies within each person. It's a personal decision, one that money can't buy for you and others can't decide for you.

So why not today, let's all decide to want less. And then let us bask in the contentment our decision provided.