Chickens are easy keepers.

Chicken-love is spreading. From the suburbs of LA to the backyards of PA, chickens are the new black lab. Well, not exactly, but if you haven’t considered keeping a couple hens in your yard, perhaps you should. Chickens are an easy, delightful pet that feeds you and your garden. As long as your township or borough gives you the go ahead, it’s hard to go wrong with a flock of your own. And if you can keep alive a gerbil or a houseplant, chickens will be a very rewarding piece of cake. Here’s what you need.

Shelter. Just like people, shelter is a chicken’s basic need. But chickens aren’t choosy. You can DIY or just hit up Tractor Supply for an easy coop kit for a simple attractive coop. But we’ve found that our chickens don’t need much – a dry, draft-free shelter to protect them from wind, rain, and predators like raccoons and foxes. Most chickens prefer a roost, and you’ll want an easily accessible nest box to collect your yummy eggs. You can make your coop as simple or elaborate as you like, but the general rule of thumb says chickens need 3 to 4 feet of coop space per bird. If space is a premium in your back yard, just remember to keep 12 inches of roost space per chicken and one nest box for every 3 hens. Open their door every morning when it’s convenient, and once they learn the coop is their home, they’ll return to their roost every evening at dusk. Just lock the door to keep them safe from nighttime predators. Pine shavings are great for the floor of the coop, just sweep it out every week or so and replace with fresh shavings to keep your coop clean and your chickens healthy.

Need some ideas for coops? Check out these pretty and inventive ideas.

Food. Chicken are easy to feed. Adult chickens will eat about 1/4 pound of layer pellets a day, while younger chicks should be fed starter/grower crumbles. You can order commercial feed from any Tractor Supply, local feed mill, and even If you allow your chickens to wander freely in your yard, they’ll happily snatch up bugs, worms, and caterpillars that wreak havoc on your garden. Slip them your dinner scraps and watch the antics begin – your happy hens will go gaga over stale (not moldy) bread, scrambled eggs, or just about anything you’ve scraped off your plate. It’s a great way to keep food out of the trash bag and turn it into eggs. Give your chickens food and water each morning when you let them out.

Water. Water is critical to chickens and people. You can use a dedicated chicken waterer or a shallow, clean bucket. Just make sure the water is fresh and your waterer is clean.

Chickens are easy! They just need a little food, shelter, and water, and they will reward you greatly with delicious eggs, pest control, and fertilizer for your garden. Some breeds are great foragers while others, like Buff Orpingtons and Silkies, are cuddly and follow you around like a puppy. You can order nearly grown chickens from most hatcheries or find some locally on Craigslist. And while raising chicks takes a little more in the form of supplies and work, it is definitely fun and worth your efforts. Chickens are surprisingly hardy little creatures, but you’ll want to keep a phone number on hand for a vet that will care for them, just in case you need some help. Of course, we always keep an eye on young children around any animal (especially roosters) and always wash hands after handling.If you live in the suburbs or the city, you’ll want to check your local ordinances first. A quick call to the township office will let you know if you are allowed to have roosters and hens, hens only, or sadly, no chickens at all.

That’s it!  The quick and dirty easy guide to keeping chickens in your backyard. With just a little care for their basic needs and comforts, you’ll be rewarded with eggs, fertilizer, bug control, and chicken love. It doesn’t get any easier – or better – than that.

Spring Will Come.

The chickens refused to leave the comfort of their coop, the goats remained nestled in their freshly-cleaned shed. Not even breakfast could lure them from their comfy roosts and cozy straw beds and out into the cold. The heavy snow and frigid temps deterred all but the most stubborn roosters in their well-protected bachelor pad. We should be busy, adding amendments to the soil, fertilizing, tilling, and digging, getting it just right to receive fresh and new, ambitious seeds and sweet potato slips. I should be able to feel the sun, warming the dirt, as I plot and plan where every plant should go. I want to dream of sun-warmed tomatoes and summer squashes and plump snow peas but here and now instead of sunshine, we are blanketed in cold and ice, covered in the weight of a snowy nor’easter. The first day of spring has passed us by but winter refused to release its icy grip on our little farm. This, this is the winter that just won’t end.


Some seasons of life feel that way, like a winter that refuses to go. The bitterness of a lost job, the cold and angst of a lost loved one. The world seems icy and cruel, as the daily grind grinds on and on, and all you want to do is stop and rest and breathe and recover and find the sunshine again. When you wistfully desperately need a new spring and spring just doesn’t want to come. When your energy reserves run as low as the wood pile that burns in the fireplace to keep you warm, and your determination to make it through this wintry season starts to wane. When will this winter of life come to an end? When will the sun break through and bring spring? When will my tired body and my weary heart be ready to grow and bloom again?

The snow falls, piling up gently, quietly. The snow is as peaceful and beautiful as it is cold. Gazing out the window, I still long for spring. I long for relief from the drab and the gray and the never-ending winter. There has never been a year when spring didn’t come. In all the winters I have seen, never once did spring not show it’s beautiful face, bringing warmth and light and newness and hope. I need that fresh new hope. I need that warmth on my face and my bare feet in the clumpy dirt. I do not know when spring might come, I only know that it will. Spring will come.

I take a few vitamins, and take a little rest. I gaze at Johnny’s Seed Catalog and Meyer’s Hatchery catalog and I breathe. Perhaps the ground and I needed some extra breaks this year. A little more time to process and prepare. Space to sip coffee by the fire. Perhaps my faith is being stretched in this time of winter. I cannot see the sun for the snow drifting and falling all around me, but I know that spring is on its way. Seasons come and seasons go and faith is believing, no faith is knowing, that the spring I cannot see is already on its way. Faith is believing, no faith is seeing, that the job we need is just around the bend and the loved one lost is celebrating, celebrated in heaven until we one day arrive. Faith is starting seeds and ordering plants and getting ready and faith is riding out the waves of seasons and the waves of snow. Faith is what is grown in winter time, in the winter that won’t end. Faith is what grows and blooms and bears delicious fruit through snow and wind and waning strength and depleted wood stores. No matter how long the season, no matter how frigid the cold, faith grows and thrives one step, one prayer, one hope at a time. Take a breath and just believe. In your heart, in your life, in your garden, on your farm. Spring will come.

Spring will come.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

 Winter is happening just how I like it – with the cold weather outside, and me, inside, by the cozy warm fire. I don’t mean to complain one bit, but OOOOOH baby, it’s cold outside! My inner scientist can’t decide if this evidence for or against global warming, but I for one wouldn’t mind a little extra warm right now!

Frigid temps mean the animals need some extra TLC. That means trading out frozen water buckets for fresh a couple times a day and making sure they have lots of extra clean, dry bedding to snuggle in. And while the goats and chickens don’t seem to love the snow covered ground, the don’t seem to mind the frigid temps at all. The roosters are outside first thing, happily scratching in their chicken run and cockadoodling the day away.

When frozen padlocks tried to trip us up, we got creative! We discovered a great use for the rice handwarmers on the Tiny Happy Acres etsy shop.  I just heated them up a little extra hot, and my hubby held them on the locks until the ice melted enough to open. So much easier than trying to get a hairdryer out there! It’s definitely worth having a few on hand for that reason.

Speaking of the Etsy, you’re going to want to go sign up for the newsletter ASAP!!!! Don’t wait a minute. Why? First of all, right now you can get a free printable of 10 (Christian) affirmations for kids. We have a great time at breakfast reading and repeating these affirmations. It helps us all start the day on a positive note and helps the little ones learn to read, too.

And the second reason to sign up for the newsletter? So you can be the FIRST TO KNOW about the unveiling of our Tiny Happy Acres Spring product line. I’m so excited I can barely keep that secret, I just know you’re going to love it and right now the office smells so good that I don’t ever want to leave. I’m practically in heaven! So hurry up, don’t delay, sign up for the newsletter! Right here! 

And although it’s January and the ground is frozen, we are busy working on the farm! That’s right, we are planning a major farm expansion for this spring and we are working on our business plans. We are working on nutritious veggies, gorgeous sunflowers, the best eggs around, and we are plotting and planning on bringing you some brand new adorable pets, too! 2018 is a year for growth and I hope that you will jump in and join us in creating an abundant life. I hope we can inspire you to care for your body, your soul, and our planet.

As I look out across the frozen tundra that has taken over my backyard farm, I can’t help but think that even though everything looks dead and frozen, God has instilled life and it is just waiting for the opportune moment to burst forth in beauty and bloom. And even if your life, your dreams, your soul, seem frozen and dead, remember that God is still hard at work. Keep that hope alive and burning within you because at any moment you may find that bloom that changes everything. Take this time to rest, to nourish your body and soul so that you can bloom. It’s our mission and our passion. Nourish. Bloom. Repeat.

Stay tuned because amazingness is in the works!

Check out our Etsy shop!

One of my favorite aspects of homesteading is being earth conscious, taking care of our resources, and reducing / eliminating waste. In an effort to be more sustainable and supplement our homestead budget, we opened an Etsy store! Our store is made up of all kinds of tote bags and containers which have been repurposed from other materials. Check us out at

Some of our favorite items are Feed bag Christmas stockings to tickle the fancy of your fav chicken lady, goat totes, and blue jean bags. Please check us out and happy shopping!

I could learn a lot from a chicken

It’s not uncommon to hear a cackle here, a cackle there, a cackling throughout the day as our free range flock visits the coop to lay an egg. I love to hear them gently announcing the prize for their hard work. Often times, Elvis, our kind-hearted and only free-ranging rooster, will lead a few hens in a chorus of support for the happy egg layer. The egg song is heard often and unobtrusively. Until tonight.

In one of our smaller coops is a very special flock. It’s a coop full of 9 silkies. They are fluffy, they are docile, and they are the teddy bears and lap dogs of chickendom.  They cuddle by day and huddle by night, confined to the safety of their coop and run. These young pullets and cockerels are the highlight of my flock and my friends and family love to gander at these lovely little puff balls. These puffy fluffy little sweethearts often don’t lay until at least a year, according to my research. So they’ve got a ways to go, or so I thought.

Suddenly, in an instant, an absolute ruckus rang across the chicken yard from the cozy coop just out the back door to the free range flock’s house on the other side of the goat pen. I flew to the window to see every chicken in sight had joined in this very egcited egg song. The breeding coops were singing their hearts out, the bantams and the cochins, the speckled sussex and the Easter Eggers, all singing along while the free rangers were crooning at the top of the their beaks. Every chicken near and far rejoicing because 1 small silkie laid an egg.

I could learn a lot from a chicken. Romans 12:15 (NLT) says be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Yeah, on Facebook, it’s easy to show happy and easy to shop weeping, but what about those real days where your friend is giddy over her promotion – the one you didn’t get? Or when my child excitedly built their 457th lego castle that day? Or the friend that is still sighing over the breakup or the loss?

We could learn a lot from a chicken. 

We need to learn to celebrate, even when we don’t feel like it. We need to learn to show empathy, even when our heart isn’t on straight. So we swallow and choke down that pride of ours, and we set aside our broken dreams or our elated hopes and we sing that egg song or we sing that song of mourning. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. It isn’t always easy, but it is always the loving thing to do.

Cackle along, my friends. Cackle along.



I find it splattered on the knees of little pairs of blue jeans and caked on the bottoms of little shoes, ground into the carpet and scattered across the foyer floor.


It’s not that exciting, really. It’s just dirt, it gets washed out, wiped up, swept away, and scrubbed clean. You might not even notice it, unless you don’t have good dirt. Around, the soil is a hard clay clumpy kind of dirt. The water jsut pools and kinds of runs off; it doesn’t soak in deep until it floods. And in the gardens, we have to fix our dirt. So we pile on the compost and we pile on the manure and we pile on the straw and then we set the chickens loose to dig and dig and turn that clumpy clay dirt into rich, healthy soil. And this doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s a process of years of working that dirt until it becomes a life-giving source of nutrients and moisture.

And Jesus said our hearts are just like the dirt when He told His story about the sower planting seeds. The seeds that fell on top of the well-worn path were snatched away by the birds; those seeds never had a chance to grow. And the seeds that fell on the gravel shot up fast, but the lack of roots and the lack of dirt couldn’t sustain the growth. And those tender shoots couldn’t withstand the wind or the storm. And the seeds that fell among the thorny weeds grew up strong but were quickly choked away. But the seeds that were sown into rich, healthy soil grew big and strong and produced much fruit. And if the seeds are like God’s Word, and our hearts are like that dirt, which one are you? Is your seed being stolen away by the distractions of this world or by the devil himself? Is your seed sown into gravel, where you don’t have a strong foundation to withstand the wind and the rain? Or is your seed being choked out by the thorny worries and cares and pleasures of this world?

I hope your seed is sown in good dirt. I hope you’ve worked your soil, and screened out all the rocks, pulled up all the thorny weeds, and fertilized with compost and worm castings and lots of manure. And I hope your seed grows up big and strong and that you can produce fruit, the kind that can only come from being rooted deeply in the Word of God and watered by the love of the Savior.

Dirt. It’s just dirt, but it changes everything. I’m going to work on my dirt.


Sleep, Sweet Babies, Sleep

It’s nearly proverbial, you know. That resistance to sleep that is wholly ingrained in the youngest of people, the ones who always need that nap the most. My gentle reminders for a short restful nap are met with shrieks, and tears, and running, and bargaining, and just about any other tactic or obstacle that my busy toddlers can create to delay the inevitable nap. A little rest. Just rest. It must be ingrained in the mind of a toddler to fend off sleep with the fury of an angry rooster. Some days it seems easier to skip the afternoon siesta, but in reality, it isn’t. Rest, naps, and sweet slumber are critical to the emotional well-being of my toddlers. And of course, to their mom.

But in all honesty, I am no better. At 10:30 pm my fitbit reminds me that it is time to unwind for bed. And yet, at 10:30 pm I am still going strong. Finishing a load of laundry, folding a few towels, setting out the outfits for the following day. Clearing the days clutter so that I can start fresh in the morning. Jotting down thoughts for one more blog, one more article, another piece of music, then scrambling to pay a bill, tuck in the baby chicks for the night, and turning off all the lights. It’s more than an hour later that I finally crash, and yet my mind keeps racing as I try to get my body to sleep. When we are too busy to rest, we are simply too busy.

There is a hush that falls across the homestead in the middle of the day. Funny how it coincides with my own wee ones nap times. The activity in the chicken yard comes to a halt, and I see little groups of hens, snuggled up beneath the goat shed, or huddled under the belly of the van. The goats cease their playful antics, and cuddle up in a mash of straw and bits of left over hay. The silkie chicks pile up in the corner where the sunlight plays across their pen, a heap of fuzz and feathers being warmed in the sun.  My elderly kitty leaves her post on the bed, only to find just the right spot where she can snooze away the afternoon, relaxed in the sun. How is it that these animals know better than I? I, who try to cram every last bit of work and hustle into the hour and a half that my little ones are tucked away in their rooms, racing to accomplish just one more task, while the rest of the world that is my little homestead peacefully rests? The soft chirping of the brand new buff orpingtons tucked beneath their Ecoglow is soothing as I struggle to finish up one more thing before my gaggle of toddlers is jumping for joy to climb out of their beds again.

We are all in dire need of rest. We are all in desperate need of a break from the busy lives of parenthood, where the chauffering of children to their activities is draining on parent and child alike. We are in need of a break from the hectic rhythms of the work day, to slow our pace, and spend time together. We are in need of a break from the onslaught of information that we constantly crave, the status updates, the tweets, and the wealth of Google’s knowledge at our fingertips. We need to let our bodies, our minds, and our souls, find their rest.

I know what it is I need.

I need to still my body from the work, close my eyes, and allow my body it’s sweet slumber so I have the strength to face another task, another day.

I need to still my mind, to shut down the tech, to breathe in the fresh air of the country and breathe out all the cares of my day, and just be, alive, and refreshed, in the sunshine of the day or the stillness of the evening.

And I need to still my soul, to place it’s care into the hands of the ever-loving Jesus, to accept His rest, and allow myself to receive His peace. But I won’t find it if I’m running, I won’t hear the quiet of His voice if I am scrolling and surfing and tuning the world out with my iPad or my phone. If I truly want to find His rest, I need to make some time to be at rest.

It’s hard to shut it down. It’s hard to disconnect from the technology that I enjoy. It’s hard to refrain from googling the answer to every question my children pose. It’s hard to cut myself off form the workload, and lay my weary body down to sleep. But I am no longer a toddler who does not understand the things his little body needs.

I know my little ones need their slumber, so I’ll do the work of calming their little bodies down for sleep, no matter what antics they throw my way in order to thwart their own rest. And if I am going to care for myself so that I can be strong, and kind, and joyful, and accomplished, I need to stop the antics, and cease thwarting my own desperately needed rest.

Turn if off and shut it down. Close it up and pull the plug. Turn off the lights. It’s time to sleep. Sleep, sweet babies. Sleep, sweet mama. Just sleep.


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I wish

I wish we lived in a world where children didn’t have to go to school with empty rumbling tummies, expected to learn and keep up without having enough calories to energize their little bodies and their growing brains. I wish we lived in a world where senior citizens didn’t have to wait around for a government agency to send them dinner, and then fret whether or not there would be enough boxed up meals to go around. I wish we lived in a world where drug addicts could get real help, where they had the support and love and treatment to overcome the situations leading them down the broken path to addiction. I wish we lived in a world where food stamps weren’t needed, and refugees had homes and veterans weren’t out on the streets because they don’t have access to funds or houses or simply basic needs. And I wish we lived in a world where children weren’t lost in the shuffle of broken homes and broken families and broken lives with no choices other than growing up to be broken adults. And I wish single pregnant moms didn’t have to depend on controversial agencies because they already had somebody helping them, loving them, caring for them, championing them. And I wish we didn’t have to fight for equal rights because everyone was already valued, loved, and important enough to already have them. I wish we lived in a world where someone, somewhere, would heal the hurts, feed the sick, help the poor, rescue the lost. And I wish we didn’t have to fight with each other over politics to make these things happen because these needs would have already been met. I wish the government didn’t have to be anything more than just the backup plan when it comes to caring for the underprivileged, underemployed, and underfed. And I really wish we didn’t have to hate each other to help each other make it through this mixed up world.

I wish.

I suppose we all wish for those things, or we wouldn’t be fighting over rights and budgets and health care and meal plans. I suppose we all know the importance of those things or our texts and posts would not burn with passion and fervor and vitriol while we try to find some palatable solution. I suppose we need to find a way to live with ourselves, our choices, and our fervor, and especially, our own agendas and those of both parties of the government attempting to serve us. And I suppose we need to figure out how to live with each other when we fight so hard over all of these important things.

But isn’t it ironic that God has already given us a plan to take care of all these things and none of it involves fighting, and none of it involves hatred for those on the opposite end of the political spectrum and none of it, none of it involves leaving anyone cold, hungry, tired, sick, lost, or alone. Because God has already made a plan to take care of these people and these things and God’s plan is the church.

From almost the beginning of time, God commanded His people to show hospitality to the poor, to care for the sick, to heal the hurts and to feed the hungry. God told His people that there would not be any poor among them because they were to use the blessings He gave to each of them to make sure everyone had everything they needed to live. And when the people faltered, and when the people’s greed and the people’s selfishness overtook the call to care, God wouldn’t hear their worship until they had made a course correction. Because God’s plan for the poor is His people. And when Jesus came and walked on this earth He told His people to sell what they had so that they could cover all of these important needs. And Jesus said that when you give to the least of these even a cup of cold water, you are giving it to Him because caring for the least of these is a special kind of worship that is sweet to the ears of God.

You see, Church, God’s plan to care for the poor wasn’t the government institutions, although government institutions and government agencies make a really great plan B. You see church, God’s plan to care for the poor and the hungry and the weak and the cold is His church. It is you and it is me. We are God’s Plan A for all of these because being a Christian nation doesn’t start with a Christian government. It starts with a people willing to step up for the sake of Christ, a people willing to give from their own budgets to pay the medical bills of the sick. A people willing to share the very food on their very own table when someone else is hungry. A people willing to invite the homeless under the shingles of their very own roof, to support the single mom, to make meals and drive them to the sick and the shut-in. If we have been blessed by God. if we have been loved by God. If we have been saved by God then it is our job, dear church to do all of these things. Oh, sure, we can let the government offer programs and give support and that’s ok but that is simply second best whether you are a democrat, a republican, an independent, or none of these. Because we have been given a holy calling to care for the least of these and why on this side of heaven would we want anyone else, even our good but imperfect government, to take that holy calling away from us? Why would we want to give over our freedom when we can give so freely? Why do we expect our government to act as if we are a Christian nation when we do not even act as if we are the Christians we profess to be?

Dear Church, we can wish and we can fight but if we want to worship in a way that is sweet to the ears of Jesus we will feed, and we will shelter, and we will share what we have and we will show love until there are no more thirsty or hungry or sick or poor or homeless or lonely people left for our good but imperfect government to help on our behalf. And then, dear Church, we will truly be a Christian nation whose God is the Lord and whose worship is very, very sweet.

Homestead Happenings

Grab your coffee and find out what’s happening on the homestead.

With daylight stretching longer and longer, and the sun beginning to warm the soil, I cannot wait for spring planting. My fingers itch to get in the dirt and I am already craving fresh summer squash and tomatoes still warm on the vines. I keep reminding myself it’s not really safe to plant for another 6 weeks! But it is time to be working on spring preparations, starting seeds, and getting organized.

Captain Jack II, Blue Andalusian

As our homestead grows, we are working on implementing some permaculture models. The

idea with permaculture is that you work with nature, not against her. Rather than spending hours tilling up so for our new pumpkin patch and in the garden, we put our chickens to work. Operation chicken tractor is in full swing! Ok, we don’t have real chicken tractors, just small coops that we got for a great deal at our local Tractor Supply. We plunked one small farmhouse coop in our garden, which we’ve mulched with old straw bedding from the goat shed. And it’s new residents are the offering of my original 6 Tractor Supply silkie mixes. These white fluffies are having a blast digging up bits of kale and carrot that overwintered and digging for grubs. When it’s time to plant, they will have turned the soil, fertilized, and debugged the garden. It’s a win-win!

Betty the Barred Rock

Up on the hill, we placed our other farmhouse coop with the first 5 chickens I hatched from my Brinsea Octagon Eco Incubator. They hatched from a mix of eggs from Meyer Hatchery: a blue andalusian cockerel, a Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, Buff Brahma, and and a slightly peckish barred rock hen. They’re still on the young side, but they should have our pumpkin patch free of weeds and bugs in a month or two. Hubby carries out food and water every morning! Of course, we still have our main coop with a mix of hens – silver laced Wyandottes, EE’s, RIRs, astralorps, and a beautiful splash Ameraucauna rooster. Egg production is picking up, and I’m hoping for a broody mama hen or two! We have one more coop of chickens – they’re extra special. I have a tiny coop in my home office with 9 various silkies – beautiful month old babies that I hatched from eggs from Wright Fancy Feet Farm. I love watching them feather out and they are getting so fluffy and beautiful!
We’ve had a problem with hawks, which is a sad reality of free ranging. A good rooster is a great help to the flock, of course, but we also have some surprising new guard dogs. A couple of crows have taken up residence in our trees. I thought they were just a creepy nuisance until I heard them, angrily chasing off a hawk circling our chicken yard. Somebody give those crows a great big hug!

We’re also looking at new greenhouse plastic for our hoophouse, an additional hoop house, an looking for perennials to add to our garden. I can’t wait to plant sunchokes, heirloom beans, and all kinds of squash. We’re hoping to add a Nigerian Dwarf doe to our herd and look into breeding our sweet Maisy as soon as she is old enough. Maisy and Jasper are enjoying the sun and love frisking and frolicking! We are searching for a good goat fence to give them room to forage and to pasture our chickens, and I can’t wait to sell our extra produce this summer. We love our fresh, chemical free veggies!

Since I couldn’t wait any longer to get my fingers in the dirt, I had to bring

Elvis, the silkie roo

some dirt into my kitchen. I planted some 21 day radishes, a pot full of lettuce, started some sweet potatoes for slips, and sprouted a handful of soup beans. It amazes me every time that a tiny seed can become a plant that provides food for my family. Only God’s creative nature could have come up with that plan! Every time a seed sprouts, I see God’s hand at work. If God can bring about delicious fruit from a meager seed, how much more can He do in our lives when we just open up to Him. I can’t wait to see what He and our garden will be up to this spring!

What are you doing new (or old) in your garden this year?

The voice in the storm

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,

15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.

John 10:14-14, NLT.

Perhaps I’m a bit paranoid, perhaps a little too loving, perhaps I’m just carrying over that mom instict a bit too far. But my fluffy white chickens were just learning to free-range after being moved into their brand new coop and I couldn’t help but hover. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing even one. For the first couple of days, they stayed close to the house, close to the coop, and close to my watchful eye. Yeah, I’m a little protective of my sweet little chickens like that. I kept checking on them throughout the day, peeking out the back door whenever the opporunity arose. Maybe it’s just that they are fun to watch, exploring the grass, chasing bugs, and jumping up to catch a blackberry here and there. Maybe it’s the threat of hawks. Maybe I enjoy my little flock a little bit too much. The heat of the summer air was heavy, and a storm front quickly approached, the winds whipping and the leaves blowing and the cold darkness quickly approaching. My 6 little chickens were nowhere to be found. Not in the coop, not by the back door, not on the deck. I started to worry when my other flock made a beeline for the bigger coop, but the silkies were all just gone.

Where could those little chickens be? They haven’t gone that far before. Not knowing what else to do, I began to call them by name. “Daisy, Turnip, Lily, Rose, Iris, and Dhalia, where are you? Here, chickens, come on home.” I called and called, until I heard Turnip crowing aways off in the distance. I called some more, and finally, when the thunder was rattling and it seemed like the sky was about to break open, Turnip led his crew, one by one, out from under the catalpa tree with it’s giant leaves blowing wildly. He made sure those chickens followed the sound of my voice, right back to the house and into the safety of their little coop. Those little chickens knew who they were, they knew whose they were, and they knew the sound of my voice.

  Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd; He called His people His sheep. I can’t possibly love my little chickens as much as Jesus loves His sheep. He gave everything for those Sheep, even His very life. Those sheep may have a bad reputation for not being very smart, but those Sheep know their Shepherd’s voice. At the threat of danger, my chickens heard my voice and came back to the safety of my watchful eye and their protective coop. But do we even hear God’s voice? When we’re off following our own way, chasing tempting morsels that delight us, are we listening for God’s protective voice? Do we listen when He calls us away from trouble? Would we hear His voice in the storm? Do even know what His voice sounds like at all? We need to listen to the Good Shepherd’s call.

Everyday is a new day to learn who I am, and whose I am, and how to listen to the sound of His voice. If even the sheep and the chickens can know their shepherd’s voice,  why can’t I know mine?

Dear God,

Please teach me to know the sound of Your Voice, to listen when You call, and trust in Your Goodness, Mercy, and Love. Amen