Planet of the Turtles/Tortoise

It all started with these two.

Our three gifts for Christmas include a gold gift, the pies de resistance. And, for Christmas 2013, the boys’ gold gifts were these little guys (which we later discovered were actually gals).

turtles 2 in yard
Yup. The little one there chomping on the weeds in my yard is named Jones. She’s a she despite her name (named after Indy, of course). I got that little lady off Craigslist from a middle school boy whose mom told him he had to sell off part of his zoo. $25 and a 45-minute drive got me a Western box turtle with tank, heat rock, light, and so forth for my middle school boy. But, the thing was…it was like September when I got him…and Christmas is in December. So, little Miss Shell moved into my laundry room for the fall because my children would never dare go in there. In fact, I’m pretty sure they don’t know the laundry room in the basement even exists and that the tooth fairy visits their rooms occasionally to deliver their clothes clean again.

As I was mysteriously taking pieces of tomato and such downstairs every so often, it dawned on me that the other boy would really like one of these things too for his gold gift. So, back on Craigslist I went where I saw that someone had an Eastern box turtle who needed a new home…but they lived about 90 minutes away…but very near my sister. So, my brother-in-law went on mission to pick up the above larger turtle from a very nice man who was happy to hand it off to a new home for free. A late night drive to meet up with my sister and another turtle (now Timber named after the struggle Mark and I had bringing the tank up the stairs Christmas day) had moved into my laundry room.

Christmas morning did not disappoint as the boys went bonkers over their new roommates and all they came with. And, while the girls were excited about their gold gifts as well, theirs weren’t breathing. And, apparently, breathing gold gifts are all the rage. It didn’t take long for the girls to start begging for a boy box turtle to call their own because…of course…no turtle farm is complete without turtle eggs (and not just eggs, fertilized eggs…because we have also learned through experience that female turtles will lay eggs but that’s all they will ever be without a boy turtle to finish the job).

So, this mama did what any turtle-loving and child-loving mama would do. I put an ad on Craigslist titled: Desperately seeking box turtle. I got a few responses from people over time–most, however, had some cute shelled creatures they were offering up but no male box turtles. We even had a Facebook crowd following along (aka. thinking I had lost my mind) helping us hunt one down. But, alas, no male box turtle.

Then, at the end of last week, something magical happened and an email was delivered into my inbox.

We have a Russian Tortoise named Fiona that needs a new home. She loves attention and will eat from your hand. I can send a photo if interested. Michelle

I’m not kidding. Her name was Michelle.

So, yes, photos were sent. And, despite the fact that Fiona is seemingly yet another female and unable to breed with box turtles anyway, we welcomed her into our family. I mean, how could we not? She was free. And, despite what you may think, she is pretty cute…and very hard to photograph with her new turtle friends.

turtles 3 in yard
Turtles sorta do this (note Timber bolting for the great wild).

turtles 7 walking away
unless you do this and sorta hold onto them. Believe me when I say they are shockingly fast and we’re all not surprised at all that the tortoise beat the hare.

turtles 8 in hands
We met Michelle half way to assume custody. And, we also got this massive tank complete with everything a tortoise could ever want, extra bedding, a bag of organic farm-raised vegetables that are reported to be her favorite and bottled water, a heat lamp and cold UV lamp, and special nutrient rich food for extra treats. And, I may have seen a tear in Michelle’s eye as she explained Fiona’s (now Aslan) preference for women and how she bats her eyes at a gentle voice spoken to her directly.

turtle in attic
Oh, dear Fiona, now Aslan, I’m sorry you have left Club Med and have now entered the Raudy house where you are being trained with a bell (not kidding) and will get a whole lot of attention from this little one in particular…and I’m fairly certain it won’t be in a gentle voice.

turtles in cage
But, she’ll love on you a whole lot because you are way more engaging than her Lego turtle she insisted on bringing outside with the others for some exercise (and it apparently has laser vision).

Wonder if I can find one more turtle on Craigslist?

It’s a legitimate question

So, we have an ant problem. Little tiny black ants in my kitchen, on the counter, on the floor, wherever they want to go, openly mocking me as they walk directly over the ant traps I put out for them.

Knowing “tis the season” doesn’t make me hate them any less.

All that prefaces this little snippet…

Lydia: I have a question.

Me: Yes?

Lydia: How do the ants get in our house when they can’t reach the doorknob?

No, there are not any adorable clipart pictures I can find online of a ladder of ants climbing up to open a doorknob and sneak in our house or cute little ants knocking on our door. Instead, I will leave you with this picture of the adorable child who says adorable things and makes my heart just melt with all her cutiepieness.



We interrupt the otherwise significant, thought provoking programming to bring you this.

Just because.


I’ve heard it said pray until you pray. There’s no time requirement, no special number of minutes or verbiage that must be used. But, there is something to praying until you find yourself really praying, not just stringing words together but actually communing with God. You can apply the same principle to studying God’s word—study until you learn something.

Here’s the thing.

I’m so bad at that.

I do. I’m much better at doing than being, at list making than peace making. So, this summer, I asked some peeps for some help.

Help. Please hold me accountable. I’m on summer vacation but I don’t want a vacation from God. And, making me feel way less isolated and unable, they wanted help too.

Every Wednesday morning at 6:30am, 7 ladies meet for coffee (and maybe sometimes donuts). We sit in the corner of a Dunkin Donuts and share.

Did you read this week what you told us you were reading?

Share one thing you actually absorbed from it, one thing that stuck with you, one thing that you remembered after you stood up from where you sat reading.

And, it’s working. Knowing that we are gathering midweek and reporting to our sisters is enough to hold us accountable and keep us on that path of walking with Him and not on our own which we silly ewes tend to do. There’s no preaching to each other—our lessons shared are sometimes deep theological truths that are hard to explain or very simple Sunday School ones like Jesus period. It doesn’t matter what they are as much as the fact that they stuck, that we didn’t get up from our comfy spot to fix cereal for our kids and then forget all about the time we spent with our Maker. And, there’s no judgment at all when someone says, “I didn’t open my Bible at all this week” or “I just can’t believe in prayer.” No one gasps or shakes their head. Instead, we listen and then we say in one way or another: We accept you where you are because He accepts you where you are. But, we aren’t going to leave you there because He doesn’t want to leave you there. Where do you want to be next week? 

I just finished reading Micah. Today, I started Philippians—the church that started with one brilliant woman whose life changed by a stream when she met two men who loved the Lord. I am not using a guide or a commentary. I don’t have a daily reading plan I’m following. I just want to read it little by little, a little everyday until I feel like I’ve got something I can cling to that day. And, when I get that, I want to stop and dwell on it, sit with it and let it soak in.

Today, I only got through 5 verses.

July 11 devotion


As I start this new book, I decided I’m going to try to share my little kernel of truth everyday on my blog Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram—the places that serve as my corner in Dunkin Donuts with my faraway friends and blogosphere peeps. Would love for you to look for the images and hold me accountable if you don’t see one that day—a little “looking forward to seeing your pic today!” may be just what I need. And, feel free to join me. I’d love to see your pictures of what you’re reading too.

Warning: If it becomes another item on my to-do list, something that is feeding my Type A craziness rather than working within my personality to keep me walking with Him, you may stop seeing any images at all. We’ll see how this goes.


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