Tag Archives: courage

The Duck Index

My yoga instructors offer a wealth of material for blog posts. 

Boomer explained a concept I must share with you. Something she learned from her yoga instructor. A practice called the Duck Index.

image by cursedthing, creative commons license

image by cursedthing, creative commons license

Many years ago, Boomer’s instructor gave her this advice: only do what brings you the joy of a three-year-old feeding a duck. 

“We all have to do things we don’t like to do,” said Boomer to my class. “We can’t only do the things we enjoy.”

True. We all deal with dirty dishes, smelly laundry, complicated tax returns.

“But imagine the happiness of a three-year-old feeding a duck,” she said. “We can choose to do more things that give us that kind of joy.”

Boomer put the joy of a three-year-old feeding a duck on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the greatest. She called the scale the Duck Index and began measuring experiences against it. She started saying no to as many things as she could that didn’t rank six or more on the Duck Index.

No to another volunteer opportunity when her volunteer hours were already maxed out. No to lunch with a demeaning colleague. No to a last-minute dinner with friends when what she needed was a night off.

“I could have done those things,” she said, “but someone would have paid for it. Either I would have paid for it in resentment and fatigue. Or those around me would have paid for it because I didn’t really want to be there.”

Sometimes saying no without guilt is difficult. But the more I do it, the easier it gets. The more it makes sense. 

Do I want to do this? Do I have to do this? 

If I don’t want to and I don’t have to, who will pay if I do it anyway? 

Can I say no to this, so someone who wants to do it can say yes? 

Can I say no, so I can say yes to what I want to do?

“Shoulders back and down. Don’t wear them like earrings,” said Boomer as our class continued. “Pay attention. You control where your shoulders sit.”

I am not the center of the universe. I am not in control of all the events in my life, but I am not a martyr or a victim either. I can place my shoulders back and down. I can say no without guilt. I can say yes to what brings me joy. So can you.

Pay attention. Your duck is waiting to be fed. 

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1 NIV

Wake on up from your slumber, baby, open up your eyes.

What scores 10 on your Duck Index?



Filed under life, women's studies

No One Told the Grasshopper

True story.

Last Friday evening, we were on our way to dinner when a grasshopper hitched a ride on our front windshield. He wasn’t smashed to oblivion like other, lesser bugs. He landed alive and held on.

He surfed through traffic and stoplights with us. As we turned onto the highway entrance ramp, I expected him to jump and fly to the grassy prairie. Instead he remained planted on the glass.

grasshopper on windshield

our brave passenger

His olive-colored, stick legs stood sturdy as we accelerated to 70 mph. He was motionless, except for his bright yellow antennae waving in the wind.

How strange, how remarkable he would not be blown away.

We exited the highway. The grasshopper rode through another intersection or two with us. Then he sprang into the sky and disappeared to wherever grasshoppers go.

No one told the grasshopper he couldn’t ride on the windshield. No one told him our car is thousands of times larger than he is.

Grasshoppers are referred to in the Bible in two very different ways: as small, squashable creatures and as powerfully destructive creatures. The grasshopper on our windshield was a little of both. Tiny and fearless.

He seemed at ease with his station in life. Apparently, no one told the grasshopper otherwise.

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in. Isaiah 40:22 NIV

Room at the Top by Adam Ant. The ants know; the ants are industrious.

What extraordinary things have you done when no one told you couldn’t or you didn’t know different?

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Filed under faith, life

The Room Next Door

room next door

room next door

Must have been around 9 p.m. when it began. Shouting rattled our hotel room.

My husband turned up the volume on the TV as the argument continued, peppered with expletives. I picked up the phone.

“Yes, there’s a hostile conversation in the room next door. Well, I think it’s next door. Can you check? It’s really loud.”

We waited. The yelling permeated the walls. My husband called this time.

“Will you send someone up to our floor right away? Sounds like a fight.”

I stood on my toes and watched through the peephole. A man in a uniform appeared and knocked on our neighbors’ door. “Security. Open up.”

A sing-song voice answered. “Everything’s all right in here.”

“Open the door!” said the security guard. He knocked some more, but the door was shut tight and the yelling inside escalated.

“He’s gone!” I said as they guard left. My husband held our wide-eyed son.

elevator going down

elevator going down

The voices cut loose, cursing and screaming. Then we heard what sounded like fists punching a feather pillow in staccato jabs. Thump, thump, thump! 

I grabbed the phone again. “This is the third time we’ve called! You have to do something! Call the police! It sounds like he’s hitting her!”

Through the peephole I watched four officers rush the hall.

“Police!” Bang, bang, bang, they pounded on the door. “Open up!”

“I’m scared,” said our son.

Finally our neighbors opened their door. A middle-aged man dressed in pajamas marched out into the hallway. The police checked his identification.

glasses and cup in the hallway

in the hallway

“Who’s in the room?”

“My wife.”

“Were you yelling at your wife?”


“You argue with your wife a lot?”


“You ever hit your wife?”


An officer entered the room. Minutes later, he came out of the room, released the husband, and the police left.

Guess she didn’t want to press charges. No law against punching pillows, right?

clean up, exit

clean up, exit

The room next door was quiet the rest of the night, but our room lost sleep.

Our neighbors were gone by morning. Our business-class hotel was apologetic. No harm done, right?

You keeping things on the down-low? Think no one will ever find out what’s done in secret? Don’t kid yourself.

Sin is never a private affair.

Our behavior impacts those around us. Boils over. Burns bystanders as well as those in our line of fire. Leaves us all in dire need of redemption.

You spread out our sins before You—
our secret sins—and You see them all. Psalm 90:8 NLT

In America, one in four women and one in nine men will suffer physical or emotional violence at the hands of an intimate partner (Centers for Disease Control, 2008).

If you or someone you know is being abused or is an abuser, please reach out for help. Contact local authorities, your pastor, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

What does it mean that secret sin isn’t really secret?


Filed under America, women's studies

Along the Way

The day before the Tony’s, I watched an interview with actress Judith Light. Remember Judith from Who’s the Boss?

Judith Light

Judith Light, image from wikipedia

She shared how she started her career with preconceived notions about the types of roles she would and would not accept. When her expectations were unmet and she wasn’t offered the roles she desired, she began to look at what was being offered to her. What doors were open.

A soap opera. A sitcom. Eventually Broadway.

She stopped fighting the current and sailed on it instead.

A day after the interview, Judith was awarded a 2012 Tony for her performance as Silda in Other Desert Cities.

You and I may never win a Tony, an Oscar, a Pulitzer, or a Fortune 500 ranking. But we all sail this current. We all run this race.

There is much to be gained along the way.

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. Acts 20:24 NLT

Only Love by Wynonna Judd. Out of all the flags I’ve flown, one flies high and stands alone.

What’s being offered to you? What doors are open?


Filed under life

Milk Wars Becomes Top Post

The past week’s traffic boosted Milk Wars into first place as the most read post on everyday epistle.

beautiful calf in Milk Wars

beautiful, image from Troxel Dairy Farm, Indiana

Milk Wars unseated I Like My Bike to take the top spot. I Like My Bike was featured by WordPress on their Freshly Pressed page last August.

Milk Wars was first posted more than a year ago. Besides being our most read post, it’s also our most shared post with 528 Facebook shares and counting.

Apparently, the message still resonates.

I know that You can do all things;
no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2 NIV

10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman, a new favorite in my house: Let me be singing when the evening comes.

See what all the fuss is about in Milk Wars.

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Filed under blogging, food & farm

A Banner Day on the Blog

Yesterday was a banner dayThank you for reading and sharing.

open for comments

open for comments

To any new readers, welcome aboard, folks. Fasten your seat belts.

A few things you should know. First, this isn’t a farm and food blog. If it were, it’d be called Farmilicious or Chick & Biscuit or Butterbean Babe.

I’m a suburban girl who didn’t grow up on a farm and doesn’t live on a farm now. I write all sorts of things. You never know what’s coming next, and neither do I.

This isn’t a devotional, although there are Bible verses that apply to the posts.

This isn’t a music blog either, but I really like music, hence the links to songs. Like a soundtrack for a movie.

Now about yesterday’s post Food Fright. Your response encouraged me to take inventory. Lo and behold, a pattern emerged.

Posts about what’s true and what’s not true about farming and food matter to you.

field of dreams

field of dreams

Since Milk Wars exploded a year ago, I’ve met a lot of cool people. Yesterday reminded me there are stories waiting to be told. Questions begging for answers.

Is my food safe? Are farms ruining the environment? Who’s behind all this? Will there be a Madagascar 4?

So among the posts about the dog, the family, the ups and down, the cosmetics and clothes, the social issues and flashback hits, don’t be surprised to see more about farming and food.

Chick & Biscuit can take a hint.

Let them praise the Lord for His great love
and for the wonderful things He has done for them.
For He satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:8-9 NLT

Something to Say by Matthew West.

The floor is now open for suggested post topics or anything else you’d like to say, serious or otherwise.


Filed under blogging, food & farm

Get on the Bus

Some things should go without saying. When in doubt, you can usually find a sign to help like this one I spotted last week.

no boarding after bus leaves curb

no boarding after bus leaves curb

Cracks me up. Of course there’s no boarding after bus leaves curb. Theoretically, it would be moving! Doors closed. Game over.

Life’s like that.

We have one life and one death. No reincarnation. No do-overs or second chances from the grave. We die and face judgment. We face God.

But Christ also died once. In Him there is salvation without condemnation, the assurance of eternal life.

What? No one ever told you?

Consider this is your sign. Your ride is parked at the curb. The doors are open. Get on the bus.

And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 NLT

Funk musician Frankie Smith says, “Get on the bus!” The Double Dutch Bus.

Will you sit with me on the bus?

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Filed under faith