Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chickens with Purpose (by Heather Sunseri)

I trying to remember where I first came across today's guest blogger, Heather Sunseri. I want to say Twitter. Which, for those of you still stubbornly refusing to join, has been an incredible resource for finding some of the best writers on the internets. Just saying, Sharkbait.

Regardless, Heather's a great writer and a great person.

Here's her bio:

I am a Christian, wife and mother of two young children. I have worked as a CPA for the past 15 years for thoroughbred horse farms and in public accounting in Central Kentucky. I spend my free time as an inspirational writer and enjoy the little things in life from long bike rides in the country to homemade pizza and family game night.

Chickens with Purpose

I’m always pondering God’s purpose in my life. You know, the big plan. And do I have enough faith to know when I’m living it?

As a young child, I was taught to smile through most anything. God won’t send you a memo with a bullet-point to-do list on how to live out His plan. You must put one foot in front of another, get your hands dirty, put a smile on your face and get to work. Of course, all that mixed with a heavy dose of faith that God will pick you up when you fall, and you’ll feel Christ’s love as you work. I find it’s easier to do good works–you know the “works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”–with purpose if you keep the faith. Easier said than done, right?

I’ve also been a big believer that God’s big plan lies somewhere in the midst of the little jobs we do along the path of life. And I hope that’s what I teach my kids. The problem? I almost forgot recently. So, thanks, God, and thanks, Mom, for the little reminders to find joy in the little things in life.

One day toward the end of spring break, my mother called to ask me if each of my children could have a baby chick as a souvenir from their spring break with my parents.

I was working long hours, as is always the case January through April 15th for a tax accountant, when the call came. “Can your beautiful children bring home a couple of baby chicks?”

My response to my amazing, caring and generous mother? “Are you insane? Of course they can’t have a chickens.”

“Not chickens. Baby chicks. They’re so cute.”

“I’ll have to think about it.” That, of course, was my way of saying “no” to my mom, but I was too tired (cowardly) to actually say it and listen to all the reasons of why I’m unreasonable, unfair, etc.

I hung up and did what anyone working in an office would do. I pled my case to the people in the neighboring cubicles. And of course, just as I suspected, they all sided with me.

Later that day, I gave my mom all the excuses. “We don’t live on a chicken farm. Sharon, my co-worker, says they’ll die within two days – all baby chicks do. They’re smelly. My neighborhood association won’t allow it. We don’t have anywhere to keep them. We don’t have an incubator.” (I really thought the last one was the one excuse that would do it.)

After my mom countered each one of those excuses, I was worn out so I said, “Call Mike (my husband) and ask him. I’m spent.”

Mike said, “Absolutely not!”

Instead of two baby chicks, my children came one with…

THREE BABY CHICKS, all named, and with a reminder from my mom. “Remember all the things you learned growing up on a small farm. Remember the hamsters, the cats, and breeding Labradors. Remember the baby bunnies we saved one year and the countless wounded birds. Your kids are learning to be caring to all of God’s creatures.” (That seemed like a stretch. We already have a dog, a cat, and fish.)

“But you let the kids name them. Like pets. You don’t name farm animals you have no intention of keeping.”

Alas, after two weeks with Prim, Comet, and Jenna, I admitted to my ten-year-old daughter that I was thoroughly impressed with how well she took care of the chicks. They had grown and thrived. She and my son had cleaned their makeshift cage twice daily, fed and watered them. They even took them outside on sunny days and played with them in the yard.

“I’m proud of you,” I said, trying not to sound too surprised one day while dear daughter fed the chicks water. “You have provided these three chickens amazing care. And you’ve helped your little brother to learn along the way.”

“They’re baby chicks, Mom, not chickens,” she said. “And of course I cared for them. It was my purpose.”

“Your purpose, huh?”

“You know how you’re always talking about doing God’s little jobs with a glad heart, well this was one of those jobs. If I do this job with purpose, He’ll trust me with something even bigger next time.”

“You think so, do you?”

“Yeah, and I’m hoping he’ll trust me with dolphins or a monkey someday.”

My daughter’s a dreamer like me.

But she’s right. It was her purpose at that moment. And she got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if I tackled all of my jobs (toilet-cleaning, carpooling, volunteer work, my current career, writing) with the purpose and glad heart they deserved? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all did?

We don’t get to see the blue print God has for our lives, and sometimes we’re faced with not-so-easy of times. But through faith and love of Christ, we put one foot in front of the other, dig in and get our hands dirty, put a smile on our face, and we just might get a small taste of the big plan.


To read more from Heather Sunseri, visit her at Balance with Purpose and follow her on the twitter at @HeatherSunseri.


Heather Sunseri said...

Thanks for having me today, Katdish! I can remember the exact tweet (okay, maybe not word for word) that led me to follow you forever wherever you go.

Anonymous said...

Great post Heather...and I think I know where you all got the name "Prim" from!

Amy Sorrells said...

Great post, Heather. Sometimes I'm glad we can't see the blueprint. Other times, I want to wrestle it outta God's Holy Hands, Amen? Blessings to you today!

Candy said...

Sometimes I've felt like a mom/kid sandwich, learning from both bookends. Never to old or young to point out our little slices of....hey look, a purpose! Thanks, Heather. Loved this.

Cassandra Frear said...

Yep. Just love those life lessons.


I am not at the age where I am so glad I didn't (and don't) know what will happen next. Right now, I have my hands full.

Heather Sunseri said...

I thought I would share (just in case animal activists are thinking about stalking me to see what happened when the chickens got too big for their "cage") that the chickens did outgrow their habitat and are now on a chicken farm getting even bigger. My father is a veterinarian, and his secretary raises chickens, so, my kids did her a favor by nurturing them in their early days.

~*Michelle*~ said...

oh wow.....

God lovin' keepin it real mama + baby chicks =

a new fan of Heather, right up my alley.

Great post....thank you Kathy for sharing her with us.

T. Anne said...

I agree our plan is revealed in the little things. What an inspiring post Heather! Well done.

Graceful said...

I love this one, Heather. And I must say, kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone and saying yes when your kids walked in the door with those chicks. I have to admit, I would have said No way, and sent those chickens back to grandma. No chickens, chicks, birds of any species in my house! We do have a fish though.

Laura said...

I always meet nice people when I stop by here! Who would have thought such a sweet lesson could be learned from baby chicks? I must admit, though, I'm wondering what happens when they DO become chickens!

Maureen said...

Isn't it amazing what happens when "no" becomes "yes"?

We learn from all living things. It was wonderful of you to allow your children the privilege of that lesson.

Shark Bait said...

Well written Heather.

I would follow you on twitter, if I believed in such things.

So instead I'll just admire your work from afar. :-)

Karen Lange said...

Good post; thanks to both of you for sharing with us:)

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh you choked me up with this one! I am always looking for my purpose and sometimes don't even look around like I should:)

Anonymous said...

Trusting in God's Blue Print for us can eliminate so much stress and worry. I struggle with letting go of my plans. But when I do, the purpose becomes clearer. I love this post, and especially the story of the baby chics. When caring for life, a purpose becomes clear. Beautiful.

Natalie said...

That was lovely Heather. You're daughter is very wise.

Carla Gade said...

What a beautiful lesson and a reminder that I needed to hear.