Chickens at the Crossroads

Stop signs and flashing lights preside over busy intersections.  Commas and semi-colons mark the collision of clauses.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if there were some ready marker or built-in gulp of air at the major crossroads of life?

Kelly Chripczuk began living the transition from ten years in full-time mothering mode when her youngest children went off to school.  “Who will I be,” she wondered, “in the face of so much open time and space?”  Chicken Scratch: Stories of Love, Risk & Poultry is a thirty-day record of Kelly’s vital signs in the early days of this transition, because one of the first things Kelly did to mark the beginning of her new listening-to-life is to buy ten laying hens.

She soon realized that chickens (like children) are inconvenient.  They get out when they are supposed to stay in.  They are uninhibited with their bodily functions.  Even so, we welcome them into our lives as a reminder that we also are inconvenient at times, and that we refuse to bow down to gods of convenience or efficiency.  Convenience and efficiency are not the boss of us.



In  Kelly’s  longing to join the psalmists at the “intersection between heaven and earth, writing, singing, and praying from the very center of their lives,” her chickens became a symbol for a way of life that was spacious, rooted in nature, and that demonstrates the truth that “there’s no arena of life in which God is not able to be known.”

With equal measures of self-deprecating humor and here’s-what-I-learned wisdom, Kelly shares stories that kindled within me a deep thankfulness —  for the fact that tools and bicycles now inhabit the hen house on this country hill, but also for the glorious reality that life with critters is helping me to see that there are “different ways of being.”  I can’t control our family’s pet St. Bernard’s predilection for using window sills as a handy chin rest, and maybe that’s a good thing because, as Kelly points out, “there’s only so much you can control.”  I need that reminder in as many different contexts as possible.

As she grows deep roots into the person she is becoming, Kelly expands her heart around the ache of life and death (after all, things happen to chickens), and, in the process, she gains a heart that is more open to joy.  In the day to day experiences of love, risk, and poultry, she begins to find the courage to live the life she loves.


This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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33 thoughts on “Chickens at the Crossroads”

  1. Well the title of this book alone should get some type of an award for creativity Michelle! But I love that gentle reminder you left us with today that we can’t control everything. Simple, but important truth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Michele,
    Your title of chickens caught my eye (not that I love chickens so much, it’s just that I keep running into them in my travels!) so this book about thoughts AND chickens sounds intriguing! I love all your book reviews and thoughtful impressions they leave with you, friend!


    1. Thanks, Valerie. The book resonated for me because I enjoy following Kelly’s blog — also, we have had chickens off and on over the past 20 years or so. Right now off, and while they are a lot of work, they are endearing in their own chicken-ish way.


  3. This sounds like a book I would love to read, being the chicken lover that I am. There is something about them that grabs your soul, and entertains too. Enjoyed your review!


  4. Michele- maybe I’ve been looking at my chickens in the wrong way;0) They have been an annoyance in between the random laying of healthy eggs.
    The book looks interesting, you’ve piqued my interest!


  5. This looks like a book I would especially enjoy. I’ve got 25 laying hens, and many of my friends have said I should write a book sharing all the life lessons they have taught me. Looks like it’s already been done, for which I am grateful 😉 Maybe I’ll have to construct a talk or blog post around the subject one day, but a book…I’m happy to know that Kelly has written it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michele,
    I’m not sure how you read through so many books?!?! Quite the amazing woman you are. This sounds like a cute book to help you like change and embrace it. Thanks for sharing it with us all.
    ~Sherry Stahl


  7. This sounds like a fun book to read, Michele. Thanks for the review and for sharing it with Thankful Thursdays.


  8. This is a most lovely review! Kelly cracks me up with the hilarious and poignant examples that she shares on her blog and I’m eager to scratch up a copy of her book for my very own! ♥ Thanks for sharing Michele!


  9. You always review such life inspiring books. I really found this one interesting and could relate to the authors transition time. Thanks for sharing on the #LMMLinkup this week.


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