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Valentine's Day Chicks

There is something so magical about hatching chicks. You take your eggs, nurture them in the incubator for 21 days, and out pops this tiny little miracle. I have hatched at least 10 batches and it really never gets old. Knowing that these beautiful babies will grow up to lay eggs for my family, friends, and neighbors to eat makes it all that much better.

Living on a farm has so many benefits, but one of my favorite parts is the way it connects me back to nature. It forces me to slow down, and appreciate all the little intricacies. It reminds me that sometimes struggling is necessary, and is there to build us stronger. Watching a chick hatch is one of those things.

They hatch painfully slowly. Starting with just a "pip" where the beak breaks through. Then they will open that crack slowly, one burst of movement at a time. Between these bursts of energy you can watch them panting, resting, building up just enough strength to open the hole up a tiny bit more. There have been eggs that take over 12 hours to hatch, but they eventually break free, and flail into the world.

Once they are out they do much of the same thing; burst of movement forward, resting in an exhausted heap to build up strength to do it again. It takes time, but eventually, the rest periods grow shorter, and their legs grow stronger. By the time that little chick is 24 hours old it is running around at speeds that seem impossible knowing its back story.

Every time I watch a chick hatching I wish I could help. It would be so easy for me to crack away the shell and help that baby into the world, but if i did, the chick would be weak. It wouldn't have face the trial necessary to build its strength up and face the world the way it is meant to.

It occurred to me as I watched one of these chicks hatching that we are much the same. So often we want to choose the easy path, the one of least resistance, where the going is easy. But is that the path that is best for us? Wouldn't it be better to take the path forward that builds us strongest.

What if like those chicks we took one painful leap forward, and then rested, knowing that even the smallest step in the right direction is still a step. Eventually, we, like the chicks, will have less exhausted moments, and be firmly on our feet and running.

This week I ask all of you to think about what you could get from life if you were willing to be like a chick. What could you create in this world if you were willing to struggle through, because you know that what you have is worth sharing. And maybe even to use a burst of energy to propel you in that direction; who knows where we could be running a year from now if we use our bursts of energy wisely.

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