Friday, June 28, 2019

The Muddy Buddies


Ever since May 2017, I have wanted to do some kind of mud run. At the time, I was going to physical therapy for my shoulder and was still wearing the immobilizer  and had at least another six weeks in a sling when I heard some people talking about Mud on The Mountain at Seven Springs. I decided to add this to my bucket list. Crazy sure, but why not? Something in me wanted that challenge and I was not ready to throw in the towel at age 47, shoulder or not.

May 2018 rolled around and I did not feel like I could manage a lot of the obstacles. I was afraid of re-injuring my shoulder. I was afraid I couldn’t do the climbing, reaching, crawling required. I was afraid that my upper body strength would be the loser on a TV show called, “Can you beat your 5 year old at arm wrestling?” So, I let my dream pass me by for another year and the bucket list was set aside.

May 2019. Would this be the year for that mountain of mud? Well, I was going to a wedding the day of the Seven Springs event, so I had to once again cross it off my agenda. BUT, I had found another muddy event and I signed up for it. This one sounded doable for my beginner self. This one was all about women, princesses if you will, of all ages, sizes and fitness levels. The focus was on fun, not time or what you couldn’t do.

Here we go Muddy Princess Pittsburgh PA!!! With my Muddy Buddies teammates Debby and Heather, and cheerleader Adrienne, we left Salisbury and made our way to Switchback Mountain in Butler PA. The sun was warm, the sky an amazing blue, and with all the rain we have been having, there was sure to be plenty of mud for everyone!

I don’t want to forgot about the other pair of friends that came along: my first pair of official trail running shoes. They arrived at my door two years ago and after all we had been through together, I thought this would be a fitting place to say “goodbye”. They had served me well, never complaining at my whining and mental unloading, and bearing the brunt of my heavy footsteps on the days I carried burdens. This would not be the first encounter with mud, but it would be their last.
Before the race...I’ve got the pink laces...

...and after!

After parking the car, we made our way into the starting place to pick up our packets. There was a mix of excitement, nervousness, and joy. We were totally going to do this!! 
I think we could pass as Charlie’s Angels! What a feeling of empowerment for me to be facing a challenge and knowing I had support and friends to get me through. 
We waited and watched as other groups lined up and headed out and soon we were in the corral. We warmed up and then we were off to the MUD! The first challenge for me was getting past the fact that the water may be cold. I hate cold water. A lot. But I was pleasantly surprised by the tepid muddy water and jumped in feet first! As the mud encased my shoes and hugged my calves, I just hoped I wouldn’t lose a shoe. Debby, Heather and I stuck together as we slogged and slid our way down the rutted path with potholes to surprise you at random steps. 


The laughter was mixed with fierce determination and somehow getting mud in your face was totally okay! We had agreed not to run, but to just have fun and finish and that is just what we did! For each of us, we had an obstacle that was our “challenge” and one we celebrated the most. I have TERRIBLE balance and a simple winding, uneven balance beam that I mostly completed felt like a huge victory. The other one was a straight up tire wall. I am not a fan of heights and have a fear of falling and being injured. So, to climb up and over, clinging to tires that weren’t totally stationary, with nothing but my body keeping me from falling, was an accomplishment that left me feeling like I was a Princess Warrior. Debby conquered the teeter totter obstacle without falling and her joy was contagious. Heather climbed a crazy steep hill, using a rope at the top for assistance, got to the top of the tire wall, and was in general, a BEAST! I couldn’t have had better teammates. 

WARNING: Lots of pictures ahead! May involve copious amounts of mud, contagious joy, and may inspire you to do your own muddy obstacle course. Proceed at your own risk!

Heather nearly losing her shoe at feeling quite stuck! I was there if she needed a hand, but she is  one determined woman! She got her footing and was able to get onto the platform. Go Girl! 

When you are splashed in mud and who knows what else, and it’s in your mouth and you don’t care! And it inspires a friend to say, “ You can wipe your mouth on any part of me that is clean!!” 




“We are capable of doing so much more than we think we can. Our bodies were made for more”~Debby
 

“It was so worth every bruise and scrape...Thanks ladies for the experience...I loved it and can’t wait to see what kind of stuff my future holds...I am so confident now. I want to try so much more! Thanks for the encouragement...You ladies rock!
Heather, YOU ROCK!! 


“I love that we did this, that I did this. Too often I allow my fears and anxiety to hold me back. Today, I didn’t. I faced each obstacle with the mindset of ‘just go for it and don’t hold back’. The top of this wall was a little terrifying for me but I knew I could dig deeper within myself. And with friends there to yell support, I did it and I felt amazing!” 





Today I learned more about these amazing women: 
Debby, you are an encourager like no other. You smiled your way through the entire course and had a kind work for just about everybody we met. 
Heather, you have a gentle spirit and a fierce mama bear heart that lets NOTHING stand in your way. 
I love you both!

Can I just say (in case you didn’t already figure it out) that I loved this experience! It was a confidence building, anxiety reducing, friend strengthening, overall amazing kind of day! And knowing that it also supported a great cause, made it even more fun.

(From the Muddy Princess website:)

Muddy Princess cares deeply about outreach, especially women’s health issues which is why we have partnered with I Go Pink – The Breast Cancer Charities of America. We are so excited to get to work with this national organization creating awareness towards the prevention of breast cancer and offering support to those affected here in the States and in under resourced communities around the world.

Love,

Dianne

P.s. How did our cheerleader, photographer, and general disliker of mud Adrienne survive the day? 

She may have bleached her shoes. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Run Your Race


Two years ago, I began this craziness called “running”. I think I knew I needed something new to get me excited about my health and fitness again, and really just wanted to see what I could do. Even 1/10th of a mile at anything more than a fast walk was a challenge for me. I’d send pictures of my ventures to my two oldest children who both ran some and they’d fill up my encouragement tank. Putting my running out there for them, and sometimes on social media, kept me more accountable to keep pushing on, to keep trying. To date, I’ve run eleven 5ks, one 10k, and on my birthday this year (June 1), I ran my first Half Marathon.

Adrienne and I, along with friend Danae, and our favorite cheerleader Gabrielle, we headed for Morgantown, WV fo the Decker’s Creek Half Marathon. We left early because we needed to pick up our packets and the website made it sound like parking could be a challenge. Can I say how proud I was in that moment as we climbed to the top of the parking garage, that we were literally almost the first ones there?! I am usually just in time (barely) or late. I outdid myself this time. I hoped that arriving first would be a sign of how the whole day would go.

There is always some pre-race jitters for me (aka: multiple trips to the porta-potty) and I was a little more nervous than usual because I know I really didn’t prepare as well for this as I should have. I had  signed up thinking, “Just walk if you need to; it’s your birthday, just do it for fun. Besides, it’s mostly downhill.” 13 miles for fun. Am I losing my mind!?! Maybe, but I was signed up and committed, so we got our packets, and headed for the buses which would take us to the trail head about 20 minutes away.


Walking in to the start, Danae, Adrienne and I were all feeling ready. We would just do what we could. Initially we had thought we would all stay together, more or less, but we literally lost Adrienne in the crowd within the first 1/10th of a mile. Danae and I stayed together for about 5 miles or so, and I tried to find Adrienne, but we finally just decided that she had gone on out ahead and we would see her at the finish. At about 5 miles in, I was beginning to feel some pain in my right hip and had to take a few walk breaks. I was able to catch up to Danae for awhile doing that, but finally it was too much.






And then those little whispers of discouragement started inside my head.

“Who told you that you could keep up?”
“You will never be faster or stronger.”
“Maybe you aren’t cut out for this.”
“ You run funny.”

Now, I don’t have a mile-by-mile dialog of how I felt, what I did to keep going, what I ate or drank, but I do know that I ran the range of emotions and physical stages from joyful energy all the way to wanting to give up. There were moments of humor, like when my Fitbit charge fell off my waistband and was at my knee on the inside of my leggings and I reached my hand down my pants to retrieve it. Danae thought I was working a muscle (like a true fellow massage therapist would!). Then there was Mile 10.

I had come out of the wooded trail and was getting so close to the finish. “Just another 5k Dianne...you can do this.” But I had never done more than 10 miles before. Ever. And the downhill was gone. It had been tough enough with that advantage and now it was gone. I. Was. Tired. My legs felt like heavy bags of wet sand.

“Girl, you’re done. Go home.”
“I don’t think you have it in you.”
“All those people passing you? They even started 15 minutes after you.”
“You still run funny.”

And then, there was Adrienne


I had not seen her since the start of the race, and now, she was right beside me. I thought I was hallucinating. But she was so very real and EXACTLY what I needed right then. She was the voice of encouragement that I needed and I believe God had the timing perfect. She kept me going with her steady pace. She didn’t tell me to stop, but she kept telling me to keep moving forward at my own pace. She believed I could finish this thing. She believed in me. That gave me courage to keep on. She put some fighting music on my Spotify, she made sure I had a drink of water, and a tube of applesauce. It was enough. It kept me moving ever closer to the finish.

Then, there it was. That beautiful, oh so beautiful, finish line. I finished, still running, and could hear Gabrielle and Danae cheering and shouting encouragement. I. FINISHED. MY. RACE.



What did I learn from this experience?
1) During those miles between 5-10, I had to come to grips with something: I needed to run my race, not anyone else’s. I am 49, still fairly new to this fitness and running world. I don’t run every day, some weeks I am lucky if I get one run in, and I HAVE to stop this comparison game.
2) Sometimes you don’t have to run it alone and the right persons shows up when you need them most.
3) Preparing for a race, or anything in life really, is not a bad thing. Sometimes life happens and you can’t prepare, but even having a more solid foundation would be helpful. I needed to be able to combat the enemy (discouragement and defeat) with words of affirmation and positivity. I AM A RUNNER! I AM CREATED BY GOD AND I CAN DO THIS! And actually training with a weekly plan would have probably helped with the sandbag legs and the hip pain. Lesson learned.
4) Sometimes life is more of a mind game. Am I prepared to play?
5.) I need to just run my race even if it looks like I am dancing the Charleston.

That day, I thought, “okay, I’ve done a Half, now I can cross it off my list and never do it again.” But now? I already signed up for another one. Never give up. Onward and upward.

Love,
Dianne












Monday, May 13, 2019

Onward and Upward Part 2



I left you hanging just a bit with the last blog with the massage therapy thing; let me pick up where I left off, but first, I want to give a shout-out to all my fellow nurses. Last week was Nurses Week and I want to celebrate the nurses in my life who have influenced me, and to celebrate what being a nurse has meant to me. As I said in the last post, I don’t love everything about being a nurse, but what is it that I do love?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The people. It’s people like my coworkers and the other team members like physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapists, doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants (yes, healthcare takes more than a village!). But above all, I do what I do because of my patients. I love getting to know them beyond their diagnoses and their current symptoms. I love taking time to hold a hand, to look into their eyes, to listen and learn from them. I have met so many amazing people by being a nurse that I would have never met otherwise. I love hearing the stories that made each person who they have become. But, being a nurse is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s worrying that I did the right thing at the right time, that I didn’t miss anything on a physical assessment, that my phlebotomy skills, my IV skills, wound care, etc are all perfect for each patient. It’s waking up in the middle of the night and wondering if I did everything I was supposed to, and trying to think if I charted everything to the best of my ability because as all nurses know, if it wasn’t charted then it wasn’t done. It’s taking time the night before a work day to look up my patients so that I know about them when I walk in their door the next day. I’m a little OCD and these are the kind of details that I stress about, that I get anxious over. For many, it’s not an issue; for me, it is. That being said, it is the hands-on, looking into the eyes part of nursing that I love, which is what led me towards massage therapy. I mean, how much more hands-on does it get?

To be able to spend 30, 60, or 90 minutes with my focus on the person, providing relief from stress, soreness, and pain is something that caught my attention about seven years ago. I’d applied to the Massage Therapy program three other times before finally deciding that if I am going to do this, then I need to. Just. Do. It. I went to a meeting at the school the day before my shoulder surgery in March 2017. I didn’t know if I’d even be able to do massage after surgery, but I thought I’d at least check it out. I knew that for the Fall 2017 semester, I wasn’t physically ready, so I was patient and then in June 2018, I took the Intro to Massage class and I knew that this was the right place for me. 

I don't believe that God has led me down any of my life’s journey without a purpose and a plan. I am grateful and excited that healthcare is so varied, and has a place for so many to find what connects with them: mind, body, and soul. I never thought I would go back to college. I never thought I’d be so excited about learning and that clinic days could be anticipated without anxiety and dread. Typing that, I am in tears. I’ve found my place and I don’t feel like a round peg in a square shaped void anymore. A round peg may fit into that space, but it’s not quite right, it is not comfortable. Now? I am a round peg in a perfectly shaped space and I fit and there isn’t emptiness on the edges.

What is ahead for me? Well, I have summer clinic in July, then back to class in August as I work towards being a licensed massage therapist after graduation in May 2020. In the meantime, I have enough hours and credits and will be able to take my MBLEx (Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination) and to apply to be registered in the state of Maryland and Pennsylvania. This will allow me to begin working out of a spa, health club, or private business (like out of my home). Once licensed, this will open up opportunities in health care facilities such as nursing homes, clinics, hospice, and hospitals. In the meantime, as an unregistered/unlicensed student, I do Swedish and deep tissue massages at no cost, so if you are interested, let me know!

This group of people? My massage family who have become sweet friends for life!


Love as always!
Dianne

Monday, May 6, 2019

Onward and Upward Part 1




A helicopter drones overhead and I am reminded of another season in my life when flights weren’t so out of the ordinary. Nights working in the NICU were my norm and calls that might end in a helicopter flight to provide care for a sick baby were always a possibility, albeit not a welcome one. While I did not completely conquer that fear, I was able to at least contain it and do what I needed to do. Yes, it was a season, now past.

I see students over at a picnic table and I wonder how I ended up back in college. I had thought this season in my life was over as well. I have been a nurse for 16 years and after graduating at Allegany College of MD in 2003 and then Waynesburg University in 2007, I said, “ENOUGH!” My oldest daughter had informed me at that time that all I did was “go to work, go to school, and sleep.” She was right. (Except I did eat too. I love food. Not sure how she left that part out?) At that juncture in my life, I decided to set my focus more towards family and work, eliminating the school part. Did I really need the Masters degree? No.

Fast forward to 2014. I made the decision to leave the NICU and worked home pediatrics for about a year along with case management for another agency, and then did care coordination from home full-time before burning out, burning up, and breaking down in 2016. I didn’t want to say it. I didn’t want to believe it of myself. I was ashamed and embarrassed that parts of being a nurse, a wife, a mom, a woman at that season in my life caused my anxiety to rise up unrelentingly, bulldozing and destroying who I was. I didn’t fully understand why it left me struggling to breathe, why getting out of bed each day felt like I was carrying twice my body weight on my back, why I wanted to give up. Logically, it made no sense. On the outside, I was “together”, but on the inside, a different story was being told. Anxiety and depression are sometimes sneaky like that. Or I just didn’t want to let others see that side of me.

With my family supporting me, I took time off from working 1-3 jobs at a time, and I took care of myself. I rested, I was creative, I had shoulder surgery to fix a rotator cuff repair, I started running. Yes, I was busy, but it was good. I felt like my brain rewired itself a bit, and after 7 months, I was ready to take steps back into nursing. I was cautious, maybe overly so, but I didn’t want to go back to where I had been mentally, emotionally, physically. I took a job in part-timeHome Health and in June, it will have been 2 years.

In the process of doing Home Health, I have learned much about myself. I have realized that I will always be a nurse in some sense, but that I don’t love every part of being a nurse and THAT IS OKAY! I have seen with anxiety as a roommate, sometimes loud and obnoxious and other times quietly awaiting a moment to pounce, that nursing contributed to that stress in ways I had not anticipated. In that time period of trying to learn to love being a nurse,  I learned that there is so many more ways to bring about a healing environment and that is where massage therapy jumped into my world. And there you have it.
Well, there may be just a bit more to this story and this is just the beginning.

...to be continued...onward & upward...

Love,
Dianne


Sunday, July 15, 2018

So Long Snooze

I always think "I am going to get up early tomorrow!", but then, when the alarm goes off at 6am on a Saturday morning, that little buddy Snooze becomes my pillow-mate. Yesterday morning, I awoke to Francesca Battistelli singing, "Sick and tired of being sick and tired..." The Breakup Song (breaking up with the fear that keeps me in bondage), and the first thought I was aware of in my sleep-fuzzied brain was: "Oh no! I forgot to call my patients for today's visits. And wait, who do I even have on my schedule??" I can't remember at all and I feel a hint of panic. Think, think, think. Then the words of the song break through a bit more and my brain, now less-fuzzy, realizes I am not working today. Relax. A slow smile brings the corners of my mouth up and at the same time, my eyes open fully. That realization, along with needing to use the bathroom RIGHT NOW, had me throwing the covers off, taking a brief moment to flex my toes and feet before planting them firmly on the ground like a woman on a mission. I was going to seize this day!

An early morning run sounded about right, but I don't like running on an empty stomach any more than I like running after a big meal. Soooo...coffee....well, of course....and let's see, an organic brown sugar toaster pastry (do organic and brown sugar even belong in the same sentence??). Perfect! Until I burnt the first pastry that is, and the glaze was melted beyond recognition and it dripped and adhered to my index finger leaving a blister. Ouch. I wasn't going to be deterred though. A second pastry was lightly browned and soon I was all set with a book, some paper, a pen, my coffee, and a blanket and I set out for our pond. Again, I always think about doing this and it has never come to fruition.

But I have a choice, don't I? We all do.









I can hit snooze until 8am and then be a bear about not getting up earlier or I can decide to get up. I have choices all day long that can change the course of my day and my attitude. My grandma had a quote taped to her wall between the kitchen and living room at the junction where it broke off to the short hallway to her bathroom and bedroom. No matter where she was coming from in her house, she would see this tiny snippet of paper with a big saying.

 When my alarm goes off every morning I can stay "sick and tired of... (fill in the blank)" or I can do something about it. One thing I did recently was change my alarm clock song during the week to a song by Bethany Dillon called "Let Your Light Shine". I awaken with a prayer and a blessing on my heart.






Father, let Your light shine down on me. Father, let Your light shine down on me; no matter what the day or night may bring...Father, let Your light shine down on me." 

The entire song speaks to me in powerful ways and I have put the link to a youtube video with lyrics below. Powerful truths and I get the privilege to wake up to this. It has helped when I am faced with those attitude choices that I inevitably do. 




7:30am and I am 1 1/2 hours of blessing into my day. I'm being bathed in the warm rays stretching over the treetops, squinting as the light reflects off the water, and finally just closing my eyes, feeling the heat on my eyelids, and even with my eyes closed, I see yellow and orange light. My hearing becomes heightened and I hear the bullfrogs as they twang and harrumph their choir notes in a pleasant off-key medley with the birds. 



Then, tossing a few leftover pastry crumbs to the blue gill milling beneath the dock, I breathe deeply. Is it possible to smell and taste the colors green and blue? You should try it sometime; it is exhilarating! I think I may have inhaled a tiny glimmer of heaven. 

My run still awaits. I have been nourished physically, mentally, and spiritually. I know that I am guilty of allowing anxiety and my fear of whatever I think the day may hold to keep me from seizing the opportunities that each day holds. I forget sometimes that God has me in His sight, that He wants to go with me, that He has gone before me and already knows what the day holds. He gives me a choice, many choices actually. That is powerful when you really think about it.

Dear Snooze, I am sorry to say we may be breaking up. I am not hiding behind you anymore to avoid facing the day. I am not letting you and Fear conspire to keep me in a bondage. Let my just borrow Francesca's words to say, "I know who I am, I know I'm strong and I am free, go my own identity. So fear, you will never be welcome here.". 




Love,
Dianne





















Monday, May 7, 2018

Conquering the Climb

FEAR
I allow it to own me, 
stopping my dreams in their tracks,
keeping me in a box. 

BUT yesterday? 
I made a decision to do something new. 
Something that made my heart pound and my body tremble. 

I went rock climbing with my daughter,Amy and my almost son-in-law, Joel. 
This is how it went. 
After church at Veritas in Columbus, Ohio we went back to Amy's house and ate chicken alfredo. You know, energy for what the afternoon would bring. Maybe I should have had Wheaties, but Wheaties are gross and alfredo is not. I put on what I thought would be appropriate rock climbing attire and off we went to The Wall. 

Kinda looks like I have to pee. I don't. Not yet. 
"Okay. I can do this. I can. It's not that high. And you have a harness. It's all good."
I keep telling myself this as we watch the others on the wall, waiting for a free auto belay. You know, the thing that will keep me from plummeting to the ground in an ungraceful heap. 

Ummm. 
So, the ungraceful heap? 
My first attempt to go up also involved how to get down. I have this harness around my waist and thighs with one rope attached in the front. And ALL I had to do to come down is LET GO OF THE WALL and TRUST that this auto belay will let me down gently. 

~Apparently I have trust issues.~

I would think "Go, just do it!" and I just couldn't. 
"One, two, three...."
And still there I was perched on the wall, arms starting to feel numb. 




And then I had to let go, and because I wasn't too far up yet, the auto belay didn't really have time to slow down. I landed on my feet with an "ooooff" and then proceeded to bounce back onto my butt, not just once but about three times in a row. Think how a pebble looks skimming across the pond. That was me. Did I mention that the ground was a little bouncy on purpose and my bottom is ample enough that the bouncing was just a natural phenomenon? I am sure it looked natural and will be a move that other rock climbers will now try to emulate. 

I finally figured out how to go up to this little ledge that you could stand on, and pulled myself up, breathless and exhausted. It was the climbing part that the little kids do without ropes. I am having flashbacks to my 5th Grade ski trip and never making it off the Bunny Slope. 
Fear. 
Intimidation. 
Self-consciousness.

NO
Not this time!!
Let's Do This! 

This young woman is my inspiration. Amy, you rock!
(sorry, I couldn't help that!)  

I hook into a different auto belay and try again. I decide I am not going to look down or too far up; my focus is where I am and my next immediate move. I had tried Amy's climbing shoes and I wasn't sure if I liked the shoe or being barefoot; besides the shoe hurt my left foot, making it cramp, so I decided to try it both ways. I'm not sure if that was the trick or not, but this was the only time I made it all the way to the top. If I thought letting go was hard before, this was just as hard. I may have swung around more than I would've liked on the way down, but I did manage to avoid the pebble-on-the-pond look at the end. I landed on my feet. Like a cat.



Speaking of feeling cat-like...
I was feeling a new confidence and as Amy and Joel were conquering another part of the wall, I thought I'd go jump up athletically onto the two foot high rock wall that surrounded the climbing area as I made my way to where our stuff lay on the grass.
I approached the wall with a slight swagger.
Oh yeah. I am feeling this.
Then, as I go to jump up, I trip and instead of landing on my feet, you know cat-like, I sprawl across the rock, my head and arms in the grass, my belly on the rock and my legs still on the gravel. I immediately tried to think how I could make this look like I intended to land this way. 
Ummm, not happening. 
I literally crawled the rest of the way to our gear and then just burst into laughter. 
Maybe I can tell everyone that the bruise on my knee is from heroic rock-climbing. 

I think I was not expecting just how much scaling a rock wall would take out of me.
My arms would feel crazy, both numb and tingling. I learned that if I stayed in one place too long, trying to figure out my next move, it would make my arms and legs lose energy and strength. I was better if I studied the wall for a bit before even trying and then once moving up, to just keep moving. 

Okay, sounds like a life lesson here. 

Fear can hold you back and sometimes that's a good thing, but I need to take time sometimes to explore options, see what the possibilities are and then take the climb. Or the plunge. God is more secure, more reliable than any auto belay. He holds me in the palm of His hand.
I choose to trust in that. 

Love, 
Dianne 



 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Little Red Iris

Ryan has been waiting, some days patiently, other days not so much. There has been a scrap of notebook paper on the refrigerator since last fall with the tentative due dates for his goats, Rosie and Daisy. He has done his research and knows more about the goat birthing process than the goat herself. About a week ago, he slept in the barn next to Rosie, under a tarped-in shelter and snuggled into a sleeping bag.

Just to clarify: He was in the sleeping bag, not the goat.

A week passed and still no babies. Were the dates wrong? Then, when I came home from work Friday evening, he informed me that it would be "very soon" as Rosie had "bagged up". Yes, that's udder talk for you. Rosie was bunking in our old milk-house with piles of hay to bed in, fresh water, and essential oils diffusing to relax the pregnant goat. Okay, so maybe not the essential oils; Rosie thought that was a bit over-the-top. Ryan planned to go out around midnight to check on her, but as it sometimes happens, he fell asleep and slept through the night.

In the morning, Ryan opened his eyes, saw the daylight and headed to the barn, still closing his jacket as he hurried through the cold morning air, his breath streaming out in great puffs of white. Opening the milk-house door, he saw one little red goat, already on her feet. Running back to the house, he found me.

"Mom, Rosie is having her babies; she has one already and it looks like she's having another one."
It actually sounded more like this: "MomRosieishavingherbabiesshehasonealreadyanditlookslikesheshavinganotherone"

I hurried and got dressed, cleaned the spider webs out of my winter barn boots (no, I don't go out there much in the winter) and made my own breath trail as I hurried to the barn. I heard the insistent "baa-ing" of the baby before I even opened the door and then stepping inside, I see Ryan with not just one new baby, but two.


With an old towel, he was cradling the smaller, darker red goat. "Mom, I found this one over there in the corner and not in the hay. I don't know what Rosie was thinking. I don't know if it'll be okay; she's pretty cold."

She was cold, her ears, her feet, her body. I rubbed her vigorously with the towel to try to get some warmth going. Her head lolled to the side and she couldn't even attempt to stand. The other little one was active, walking around, buffing at Rosie to find some milk, but the little one I held in my arms had me worried.

Leo came home from a meeting at the church just then and wise farmer that he is, suggested Rosie and her babies be taken into the basement by the furnace. I stood up with the cold, quiet baby in my arms and Ryan handed me the other baby who was vigorously crying and trying to get away. If I could only get some of her vigor into the other one. I walked as fast as I could and quickly got her onto the top of the warm furnace. While Ryan watched them, I ran upstairs to warm up an old towel. 
(Towels do catch on fire when heated for two minutes in a microwave. Not that I'd know from personal experience or anything.) I grabbed the bathroom heater and got it plugged in and focused on the wee goat who was actually now starting to perk up a bit. 

Little by little, warmth began to infuse through this little dark red goat. Her eyes became more focused, she tried to stand, her crying became less frantic. I kept thinking, "THANK YOU GOD!!" Ryan (and me too!) would have been so sad if Little Red didn't make it. 

Fast forward 24 hours: 


I mean, could they be any more adorable?? One has Boer goat ears, the other has Pygmy goat ears and both are eating up a storm, frolicking about, and already trying to find things to nibble on. 

As for names, I rather like Little Red, but in the end, Ryan went with Iris and Sushi. I think I need to go out and warn all my flowers, shrubs, anything remotely garden or plant related to "Look out!!" because I think, come Spring, these two might be better named Lawn Mower and Weed-Eater.

Love, 
Dianne