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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

The Ducks and the Lilies

People ask me, 'where do you get your stories from'? and inside I chuckle because it’s my life, my real life, I can’t make this stuff up – it happens and then I get to write about it.

I told you there would be adventures with the ducks, little did I know it would be so soon.

We had to keep the ducks shut in the coop (not co-op, but coup, like chicken coup), for a week so they would know it was their home. By the end of the week, we had a couple of nicer days, by that I mean above zero so we wanted to let the ducks out. We were not ready with an outside set up and so before Brian went to work, we rushed around trying to make a little duck run.

Brian had made a doorway in the coop from when we had chickens, we simply had not cut it open because those fellas came to us in the cold weather so in they stayed inside.

We got an electric poultry fence to help keep out predators, but the ground is frozen so putting the rods into the ground is not going to happen right now. Brian got some plastic snow fence and we made a makeshift fence and draped orange plastic snow fence around it. We cut out the door of the coop, made a duck ramp and were all set for those ducks to tromp outside.

We waited…they stayed in, like all day. Not one of them ventured out. Not with tempting food treats on the ramp, in the doorway – notta. They would look out the door but that was it. Stubborn ducks!

The next day was too cold again and we are back into freezing or rather frigid, like minus 20 degrees not duck weather, frostbite can be a problem for ducks on their feet and bills.

As Brian and I were draping the snow fence around our makeshift fence boards, I was standing inside the snow fence, by the coop. I said to Brian that we would have to make a gate because I was not going to fit through the little chicken hole into the building and the 4’ fence was too tall to walk over. To prove me wrong Brian walked over and climbed over it, mind you he is 6’5”, for me it is unimaginable that I could lift my leg that high, like on purpose!

I stood there and asked him how I was going to get out and he announced that he had to go up to the shed and get something and left me standing there. I yelled at him to stay and help me get out, he stayed but did not help me out.

The only place that I could see an opening was “under” the snow fence. I dropped onto my knees and tried to scoot under but no I was still too tall so I laid down flat onto the snow and tried to lift the snow fence while rolling under it. I am sure it was a sight to behold! So help me but I did think that Brian might be meeting Jesus that day if he had tried to video that for your viewing pleasure but the man knew better even if he stood there with a big grin on his face.

I have to take the ducks fresh water down from the house a few times a day and fill up a tub of snow for them, they love eating snow. Ducks have to have water with their food or they could choke because the food kibble is too dry. They take some food and then some water together. They also wash out their sinuses with water, they dunk their head in the water and then blow it out. It’s a rude kind of sound, makes a great mess, but they are cleaning and it’s a grooming thing.

On my 5:00 run down there on Sunday I went in and left the dogs outside even though they think they would like to play with the ducks. I pulled the door closed behind me and went in. The dogs were whining at the door. When I was done, I went to push the door open to get out and realized that the piece of wood latch thingy, we have on the front of the door to lock it from the outside had fallen down. The door would not open and I was locked inside the duck house.

It is about minus 17 and I did not bring my phone with me, I know, I know, I should have learned after the moose incidents! But that thought did not help me one bit as I was trying to get out of the coop.

Brian was at work and has not been coming home til midnight or so and I started to panic. I asked God to help me. I looked all over for a tool or something that I could slide in the door crack to push the piece of wood up. Nothing. The man of a thousand tools did not leave one in there.

I looked around at my options.

One was the tiny duck door – nope, I could see myself getting stuck half ways through that thing and if you remember the holiday trailer incident with me climbing through a little cupboard…. I did not want a repeat performance.

We put a window into the duck coop and I wondered if I could get it to open enough with the turn handle to allow me to slide out through and not let 19 ducks out at the same time because I just knew they would try to get out this time!

I looked back at the door and tried to push on it some more with more “umph”. The fear was rising as I wondered if I would make it to midnight when Brian got home and how long would it take for him to find me. I wondered if the dogs would freeze to death or their paws get frostbite sitting in the snow waiting for me til then.

Totally in a moment of panic, I decided to do the tv show style door slam with my shoulder and took a “little” run and hit it as hard as I could, one slam, the door opened and I even pulled the screw out of the wall on the block of wood. I was free and I was happy.

I am wondering if I had some divine help as my shoulder never felt anything and even the next day it was not tender.

When I was safely in the house, it was about an hour before the “shaking” stopped in my body. I get like that when my adrenaline has taken over in the flight or fright mode. When your body thinks that it is in danger, whether physical, mental or emotional the “sympathetic nervous system” takes over.

This system was designed by our Creator to help us when we get in dangerous or stressful situations and being stuck in a duck house would qualify! The sympathetic nervous system is a part of your automatic nervous system. The automatic system is the one where your body functions without you thinking about it, like breathing or your heart beating, it is automatic.

The sympathetic nervous system is designed to help you get out of dangerous situations, your brain sends out stress hormones that make your heart speed up, you breathe faster allowing for more oxygen in your body, your eyesight improves because your pupils enlarge to let more light in, your muscles will tense and you can even break out in a sweat. It allows you to react quickly and faster than normal with more strength. It is why you hear stories of people lifting up a car when it falls on someone, they get so scared, the adrenaline gives them the super ability to do something beyond what they can normally do.

The thought of being stuck somewhere that we do not want to be is a frightening thought for anyone.

It is a medical fact that if you live a lifestyle where you are in constant fight or flight, you will eventually wear down your body. This is why stress is indeed a “killer”, the stress hormones released at flight or fright are designed for infrequent short-term boosts, not a continual lifestyle.

Staying in a constant state of “stress” has been proven to increase your blood pressure, can help make artery clogging deposits, contributes to changes in your brain, it can affect your weight by either loosing weight in an unhealthy way or the opposite it can contribute to weight gain.

I have to purposefully work at slowing my “stress” down. We do not have tv here. I do not miss it at all. I often have the radio on, but after hearing a news report say the same thing every hour or so, it often gets turned off rather quickly. The constant talking of negative things on the news wears us down. It is not often you hear “good news” reports. Personally I find even listening to the weather can be irritating or stressful, I would much rather look out the window.

I heard this scripture today and it is a good one to help us “de-stress”. Jesus is addressing a crowd of literally thousands of people, people from all walks of life, not necessarily His followers, He addresses His message to everyone.

Matthew 6:25-31

Jesus says: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Consider the lilies. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."

We worry about all kind of things don’t we? What’s for supper? What should I wear? Will it snow next week? Do I have enough money to pay all the bills? Will I keep my job? What happens if I get sick?

Will any of your worries add a single moment to your life or change the outcome of what will be? The answer is “no” and they only seem to drag us down.

I read something in my "The Book of Mysterys" book by Johnathan Cahn. The teacher instructs the student to walk into a almost violent wind for a while. The teacher asks the student what it felt like and he answered, "it was as if there was a drag, a force to go against."

Then the teacher told the student to turn around and walk with the wind and again asked what that was like. The student said it was "much easier, almost effortless, because the wind pushes you forward."

My ducks do not worry about anything, it is as if they know I will show up with food and water and snow, they cannot open the food bin or carry the water pail. They have to let me do it, they can simply be ducks. We rarely get to simply be “people” because we are so concerned with the “what if’s” in life. The “what if’s” drag us down, they cause our brains to run a thousand miles per hour trying to figure it all out, they keep us on "alert" in the flight or fright stage.

When we focus on the "what if's" and the stressful things in life, it is as if we are walking directly into a forceful wind, it adds a drag to our life, it is hard work to go against the force.

When we stop focusing on the "what if's" and realize that God has promised that He knows what we need, it is as if we have turned around and are walking with the wind.

Think about this: If it is out of your ability to change something, and it is occupying more space in your brain than it should, then hand it over to the One who can change it…. Your heavenly Father knows what you need, after all He is taking care of the birds and the flowers without any help from you, I think He can handle it.

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Mar 08, 2023

Jane! Just what I needed today! Thank you!

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