My Life With Gracie…Seasons Of Friendship

“What are you doing?” asked Gracie.

“I’m making some pencil sketches of you and the others.”

“Why would you do that?”

“So I won’t forget any of you.”

“You aren’t forgetful. You always remember to feed us.”

“Well, sometimes people forget even though they don’t want to forget especially when they get old. So I want some words and some pictures to help me remember just in case that ever happens to me.”

“What will you do with all these words and pictures?”

“I will put them in a book and maybe share the book with other people.”

Gracie thought this over carefully. “Do they need to remember us too?”

“No. They just need to know how special you are and how much wisdom you have.”

“I don’t know if I have any wisdom.”

“Well, you do. You have taught me more about life than I can ever write or draw.”

“Are you sure? You’re so much bigger than me. You’ve got to know a lot more than me.”

“There are a lot of big people who need your kind of wisdom. You know heart things, Gracie. That’s what really matters.”

“Are you going to tell about Bessie and how she likes to cook?”

“Maybe in another book.”

“Are you going to tell about Pearl and how she puts on comedy shows for all of us in the backyard?”

“Maybe in another book.”

“Are you going to tell about Amelia and how she wants to be the first chicken to fly to the moon and back?”

“Maybe in another book.”

I could guess what her next question was going to be because she was too hesitant to ask it.

“And as much as I want to tell about how you dance ballet, I will do that in another book too. I want that to be the most special book of all.”

“But you promise you will?”

“I promise, and we can work on it together.”

I could tell there was still something troubling her. “What else do you want to know, Gracie?”

“In the ballet book, can you draw a picture of me dancing with you in the streets of Paris? I don’t think we will ever really get to dance there together.”

“Of course, Gracie. Drawing lets you do things you would never be able to do any other way.”

“So what will this book be about?”

“It will be about how our little family came to be. It will also be about the most important and wisest things you taught me about friendship.”

“I like that,” she said approvingly.

“I thought you would.”

Today’s post is the Introduction to a book I’ve been working on titled “Seasons Of Friendship.” There are still some final tasks to complete before it is finished. Hopefully within the next week, all will be ready so I can share it with you, our readers and friends.

Our plan is to make it available as a free ebook download during the week leading up to April 25th. Why April 25th? That is the “Hatchday” celebration for Bessie and Gracie! It is also a way of saying “Thank You” for reading and liking and commenting.

You are a seriously huge part of helping to make “My Life With Gracie” what it is. In fact, even the title “Seasons Of Friendship” is based on a comment made by a regular reader who wrote, “I wish I had a friend like Gracie.”

My Life With Gracie taught me a writer without readers has no idea what he’s pecking at or scratching for!

My Life With Gracie…How To Draw Friendship

How To Draw Friendship

“What are you doing?” asked Gracie.

It was an unexpectedly warm spring evening, and I was enjoying being outside with my chickens.

“I’m reworking some of the drawings I made of you.”

“That’s odd. Why would you do that? Why not just work on something new?”

“I need to redraw them so they can print better. The ones I’ve been making will print too fuzzy, and you aren’t a fuzzy chicken.”

Gracie tilted her head, trying to figure out what a fuzzy chicken might look like. She didn’t understand digital graphics and the printing process, and I don’t understand it all either.

“Can I see?” she asked.

“Sure. What do you think?” I held up my iPad and she studied my drawings carefully.

“Is that supposed to be me?” she asked. “And is that supposed to be Bessie?”

“Yes. Don’t you like the drawings?”

“Well, I guess they are okay. If that’s what you’re going for. I like it better when you draw on paper with a pencil.”

“What’s the difference?”

“You’ve got everything in there and it doesn’t fit together. Too many big colors. Too many little shapes. Too many of everything! People aren’t going to be able to find us.”

“You’re sure? I took art classes, a lot of art classes.”

Gracie shook her head sadly. My drawings just weren’t going to receive her approval. But I did trust what she had to say. I wanted her to be pleased with my drawings, even if no one else was. These were drawings of her and for her.

“So what do you suggest?” I asked.

“Well, the colors are the main thing. You’re picking colors you like, not colors we like.”

“I see. So what colors do you like?”

“Colors that go with our feathers. Colors that go with our eggs. Soft colors. Hen colors, not rooster colors.”

“I think I see what you mean.”

“So why is it important that they print better?”

I was hoping she would have forgotten that part, but she is a very curious chicken.

“It’s a surprise, Gracie.”

“For me?”

“Yes, it’s a surprise for everyone who knows us really, but it is especially a surprise for you and Bessie. Your Hatchday, the day you and Bessie hatched out of your eggs, is next month.”

“Well, I don’t want to hurt your feelings or anything, but these drawings need to be good, and not just good for printing.”

“What makes a good drawing?”

“A good drawing makes people feel something when they look at it. A good drawing of chickens has to make people feel something good when they look at it.”

“What makes you feel good, Gracie?”

“Friendship.”

“Like with you and Bessie?”

“Yes, exactly. Draw Bessie and me and our friendship. Use colors that go with our feathers and go with our eggs. People will like those drawings.”

“Anything else?”

“It would be nice if there were little flowers sometimes. We are girls, and girls like flowers. Girls especially like flowers we can eat.”

“I understand.”

“That’s all. Just draw friendship. Chickens know a lot about friendship…and nice colors.”

Gracie had said all she wanted to say and went off nonchalantly to find something to eat before going up for the night.

I knew she was eager to see the new drawings I would make following her advice. She just wouldn’t let on about how eager she really was.

As I was securing the coop for the night, I asked, “Are you sure you didn’t take art classes, Gracie?”

She chuckled. “You’re being silly again!”

“You’re right. I just got carried away with adding more and more because…well, because so many good things come into my heart when I am drawing you. I didn’t realize all I needed to do was simply to draw friendship.”

“And…?”

“And I’m not going to tell you what your Hatchday surprise is!”

Then it was my turn to walk away nonchalantly.

My life with Gracie taught me girls like flowers and especially little flowers they can eat.

(I just would NOT recommend following this advice when choosing a gift unless it’s a gift for a chicken.)

You will notice a few subtle differences in today’s illustration. Perhaps the greatest is the use of highlights in their eyes which give the drawing an extra bit of “life” not possible with the crayon tool I was using before. Gracie has seen and approved today’s drawing. (Deep sigh of relief!)

How To Draw Friendship

Pearl’s Life Coaching Flowchart #2

Pearl's Life Coaching Flowchart #2

With spring slowly coming to our part of the world and daffodils blooming in our little backyard garden, Pearl thought it might be good to offer a little help with answering one of life’s most challenging questions: “How can I have more joy in my life?” So she has prepared her second flowchart as a “Life Coach.” (You can read her first flowchart here if you’d like.)

It’s also a great opportunity to wear her new Daffodil hat. If you don’t have a Daffodil hat of your own, you may consider making one. If Pearl can do it, so can you!

Please keep in mind this is all from Pearl’s unique chicken perspective. Whether or not this carries over to a human perspective is something you can decide for yourself.

Special Note: Pearl is planning to have “Ode To Joy” from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony playing in the background when she delivers this message at our local university.

Let’s get started. Go Beethoven! Go Pearl! (She will be using Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” as her flowchart test item.)

“Can you eat it?”

Since Pearl is a chicken, and eating is something chickens and people both have in common, this seems to be a good place to start.

You’ll notice Pearl doesn’t ask whether it tastes good or not. There are very few things a chicken won’t eat, and what they won’t eat, there’s almost always another animal that will eat it. (You would be amazed at the number of things chickens will not eat but which people will eat!)

Pearl’s Bottom Line: Things you can eat are definitely a reason to jump for joy!

You cannot eat a song like Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy.” Well, I guess you could eat the sheet music if you were truly desperate. But you can eat something else while listening to Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy.” To be fair, we should count that as a “No.”

“Will you be able to eat it later?”

This is more important than you might think. Just because you can’t eat something today, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat it tomorrow. Never forget shoelaces can turn into earthworms!

Often things just need a little time to get soft and mushy and ripe. For example, a hard green tomato will turn into a soft red ripe tomato if you give it some time.

So if your answer is “Yes,” you have a reason to jump for joy. Even if you can only give it a “Maybe,” don’t despair. There’s always tomorrow.

Pearl’s Bottom Line: Everything deserves another chance to become food for chickens.

Nevertheless, you cannot eat Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” or the sheet music no matter how many times you say “Maybe” and wait. Looks like another “No.”

“Can it eat you?”

Now we are getting to the flip side of this whole eating thing. Just because you can’t eat it, doesn’t mean it can’t eat you!

So if it can’t eat you, that’s definitely a reason to jump for joy even if you can’t eat it. If it can eat you, proceed with caution!

Pearl’s Bottom Line: If you can’t eat it, and it can’t eat you, then you are safe even though everybody’s stomach might be grumbling. Jump for joy just a little, and then go find something to eat!

Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” cannot eat you…unless it is being played on an accordion by a very gifted bear. If that is the case, continue on with “Yes.”

“Has it eaten you yet?”

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve got reason to celebrate! You haven’t become someone’s dinner! Jump for joy…and then run!

Pearl’s Bottom Line: Just look around, and you’ll probably find more reasons to jump for joy than you can count! Pearl’s own “Ode To Joy” has triumphed in the end!