Archives for posts with tag: birds

DSCN3128

I’ve been making bird feeders again.  “For today” feeders is what I like to call them.  And here’s why…  In the past year, the phrase “for today” has become one of my favorite, favorite phrases. I’ve always appreciated the saying of “One Day At a Time. This quickly became, “one moment at a time” when I was a young mom to more little ones than my arms could hold.  (Our third son was born when our oldest was 2…and by the time our oldest was 8 years old, well, he had 5 younger siblings…no twins…just a little visual for ya to see the necessity of the MOMENT thing.) There were so many needs for the moment. I needed grace for the minutes.  I loved the phrase, “grace for the moment” and repeated that to my heart too many times to count. And there was, grace, that is…and miracle of miracles, we survived and even had our sweet familial blips of total thriving. Thankful for all of it.

So that was then. Fast forward 20 some years and I still so hold on to the grace for the moment phrase and truth. But in the past year ‘for today’ has had deeper meaning for me. A year ago this month, my family had the privilege of four of us spending a week together at a center in Georgia.  Willingway works with those with alcohol and drug addictions.  I am the wife and mom of two people I adore who struggle in this area. Big struggle.  Big consequences. Big fears. Big losses.  I could lose a lifetime worrying, wringing my hands, planning for things that never even occur. Or bemoaning and becoming bitter over things that have.  But it’s a battle in which the victories and the losses come by the choices in the now,  the momentary choices  today. That’s something that I’m learning…and a little visual helped it sink it further.

In one of  our morning sessions at Willingway, a woman named Hope led our family group.  She reminded me so much of what my 22 year old Hope might be in 20 years. Both Hopes are unashamedly feisty, determined, compassionate, beautiful, and bold.  Hope, the counselor, gave a great little picture that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.  She was talking about the need to live in the now. (For the full effect of this, I ask that you do try to visualize it, as it adds a dimension to the story, ha!) She stood up, and said this:  ” If we keep one foot in the past, worrying over regrets of what we did or didn’t do…” (and with this, she stepped her left foot to the far left…), “and then, add to that, that we worry about all the the things in the future that could or couldn’t happen tomorrow, next week, or in the years to come…” (and with that, she slid her right foot to the  far right and squatted a bit…), “then ALL we do is crap* all over today.”

Yep.  But she didn’t say “crap”.  And we laughed…and I teared up through my laughter because I so got it. I literally could’ve cried buckets at that moment because the realization of what she was saying was like a lightbulb to my heart. Yes.  We can lose today so easily. Especially when loved ones are struggling. Especially when we are struggling. I mean, we’d have to be crazy not to be consumed with worry over what has been or what will be, right…? Not necessarily… Because worry just makes things worse.  We so miss the moments in the now when we’ve got one foot in the past or one foot in the future…or both. Worry of what was or what will be eats up, consumes, the now. Life can get pretty full when we’re doing well, but when we add the chaos that addictions and wrong thinking to the whole mix (along with the dominoes that follow..), well, moments, days, weeks, years…can be eaten up in fear, worry, and a focus on loss…

fortoday12

So, when I came home from the week in Georgia, I thought a lot about what Hope has said and so aptly demonstrated. I prayed and thanked God for today so many times. I thanked him for the big and the little and the hard and the good and the in between and tried to trust for today, for the moment.  It was Spring time and the birds were flitting and flying around..and added a whole new dimension to the lesson I so needed to live. I remembered what Jesus said about provision…and to consider… consider the birds of the air…  Consider…look at, think on. The verse says, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”  Matthew 6:26.

I thought about daily need, daily seed, provision for today. Even in the midst of a lot of struggles through the years, I’ve seen God’s hand of provision more times than I can count… I’m so aware that He can open doors that we never even knew were there. He can provide in ways we never imagined, and He can bring people into our lives at just the right time who we’ve never even met.  So…that’s when I started making bird feeders…not that have seed for a week or a month or a season, but food for today.   At night or in the morning, out goes a handful of seed…

fortoday11

and then…they come…

the quiet and serene…

nelsa1

…the sassy…

dscn1865

spare

they come two by two..
DSCN2839

…and they come in all kinds of weather….

and when they come, they remind me that for today, I have what I need. For today, I can do what I need to do one step at a time. For today, I am thankful. I love how Jesus spoke to worry and said (still in Matthew 6) and said, “Let today’s own troubles be sufficient for today.” Yeah, there’s usually plenty to handle for today. And the great thing is, that it sure is a lot easier to handle when I’m not trying to conquer the past and the future at the same time.

Yeah, I can learn a thing or two from birds. And I am …learning that is. (Side note) As I’m writing this, the two mourning doves are on the deck, one in the feeder, and one underneath. They really seem to have this “for today thing down…always together, never in too big of a hurry, (unless I get up to take a photo of them, then they’ll fly and coo in a heartbeat!)  And I’ll spare them. But here’s a photo of them taken this morning.   Yeah, they seem to have the for today thing down. DSCN2976.jpg

Maybe one day, I will as well. But I’m not going to worry about that, right?  Because for today, for today, …there’s provision and grace for today.

Blessings,

Heather

(“For Today” feeders can be purchased at Gifted:Local Artisan Gift Shop and Supply or can be ordered via pm on Facebook )  I love doing special orders with a theme. Am happy to mail them as well.

Blessings for today ~

Heather

P.S. Gotta share a favorite song here…Live It Well <3.

“Live It Well” by Switchfoot

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6: 25-34

Sunday morning with coffee and a lens…DSCN2803.jpgG’morning inquisitive little guy.DSCN2751 (Not) Birds of a feather… togetherDSCN2764SmorgasbordDSCN2772Taking a breather…DSCN2786Statuesque…maybe if I’m super still she won’t notice that I’m here…DSCN2807.jpgEnjoy … No need for napkins here.

silent sunday.JPG

Silent Sunday

dscn1434

…taking turns…

Silent Sunday

spareHere’s a little post script to Morning View from the other day.  The bird feeder seems to be a hit as this pair of mourning doves squeezed into share the space on the plate and still manage to eat.  And there were other birds ‘waiting in the wings’ so to speak! 😉  Even a chipmunk found his way to the feeder but was way too shy for me to get a photo.

 

nelsa3I got up a little extra early this morning, and ventured out to the deck with my cup of coffee and enjoyed the sights and sounds.  There are times when I’m a bit oblivious to all the beautiful details that surround, but this morning, I felt as though I was in a beautiful surround sound and sight symphony.

nelsa10The emerging pink on the mimosa tree was beautiful, and the intricacy of the detail never ceases to amaze me.These whimsical blooms are so unique and made me wonder if Mr. Theodore Geisel  (Dr. Seuss) had a mimosa tree or two which served as inspiration for some of his illustrations.  Pretty soon, the tree will be covered with pink and will draw butterflies and hummingbirds and bees…and more….

nelsa2…sweet little red-breasted blue birds.  This little one looked like he was a little reluctant to be an early riser.  I so know how that feels.

nelsa5The purple pansy, on the other hand, seemed to stand straight and tall in full allegiance.

nelsa14

A little mourning dove tried out the bird feeder that I made this weekend.  She cooed and cooed again and again and tested the balance of the feeder, all the while remaining calm as can be. Her coo was in great contrast to the chirp chirp chirp of the loud bird that has overtaken our birdhouse, and both were so different from the melodic tune of the blue bird. Love that they all have their own little song, and sing it with gusto.  Would that we would do the same.

nelsa20The mourning dove then flew to a branch.  Check out her fancy red feet!  Who knew?!  (I’m sure lots of people know, but I sure didn’t know that they had bright red feet!…Love that!)

 

I don’t know about you, but there are times when  just seeing the amazing design of life all around encourages me to the core.   It encourages me because I so believe that the “Designer”, well, He knows what He’s doing.  With birds.  With trees, with me.  With provision.  For the day.  Provision with sunlight and air and bird seed and beauty.  With the things we need and the wants we have.  There’s provision.  There’s a new day to see what’s ahead.  We can be inspired to have fancy feet like the mourning dove and whimsical blooms like the  pink mimosa. And take a look at the dove…there’s shimmery pink on her feathers that’s so beautiful.  (Pink cheeks and red feet…love it.) We can perch ourselves in our day and observe a bit and be thankful, and rise knowing that God’s got this.  He’s got us.  He loves us….and the details in the surround sound tell ( dare I say, yell!) of His glory.  May we have ears to hear, and hearts to sing out in our own little way.

Blessings ~

Heather

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.”

Psalm 5:3

 

 

 

littlebirds4.JPG

Well, it was kind of a long day. You probably know the kind.  The clock seemed to move in slow motion while  the tasks piled up quicker than I could get them done. I had to be in the car by 6:50 a.m. and still felt like I was running behind.  Then I remembered that I had a meeting that I hadn’t yet completed the paperwork for…at 8:00 a.m. of course.  Note to self:  Never plan meetings for Monday mornings.  Especially Monday mornings at 8:00.  Especially Monday mornings when you’re required to be at cafeteria duty at 7:05.

But even though the day was long and the clock just kind of tick, tick, ticked slowly, I made it through with no major faux pas.(I did however, have a few co-workers not so jokingly ask me to quit yawning.  Yikes.  I was just so tired!)    The meeting went just fine, tasks were completed, and we all made it through the day in one piece. Sometimes  making it through a day  is something to feel proud of. Exhale and be thankful you get a fresh start in the morning.

So,  I walked in the door at home, made a cup of very necessary coffee,  grabbed my Bible and went out on to the deck.  I read a few psalms as I  sipped my coffee, and it was about that time that I noticed this loud bird, chirp, chirp, chirping up a storm.  And when I spotted this very loud bird, I realized it was only about 2 inches long!  It was too cute.  It’s whole little body seemed to inflate and shake with each chirp. It was singing its little heart out and just made me smile.

littlebirds6

She looks pretty subdued in the photo, but don’t let her fool ya.  She’s quite the energetic one.  And she would fly all around but I could always tell where she was because she would sing the loudest.  It was kind of cool, because I thought about how I could hear a lot of birds, but I was attuned to her little chirp. Then again, she was quite the enthusiastic one, while the others seemed a bit more reserved with their chirping.

And then, I see this….it only took the robin about 30 seconds to fly, land, and catch a worm.  Talk about a quick dinner plan. Wish I could just whip  (dig) something up in 30 seconds for my dinner crowd.  This robin went about her business, hop-hop-hopping in the clover without a sound.  She was very efficient and flew off, probably to the nest of little birds that were waiting for their dinner. littlebirds2

And then, out of the corner of my eye came a flash of blue.  It was the most beautiful little blue bird.  It perched itself on a branch in the tree right in front of the deck and was sat silently for a few moments.  She didn’t seem to have a mission like the singing little bird or the ever-so-efficient food-hunting robin.  Nope, she just sat there looking around.  She stayed at one branch for awhile, then moved to another.  Watching the loudly singing little bird had made me chuckle. Watching the robin had made me think I wish I could be as efficient as she was.  And watching this little blue bird just made me …rest.  It just looked really peaceful and beautiful and content to not be flit-flit-flitting about with a mission. little birds3

And after a long day, I was glad to be sitting in the sunshine, resting, with no momentary mission…just resting.  (I think if I had more moments like that, there’d be less driving my coworkers crazy with the yawning.)

So here’s the thing.  We women are all birds of a feather. We just are.  But, our take on things, our approach, can be so very different.  Some of us amuse each other so much.  We’re the loud little chirpers who let everyone know where we are and what we’re doing and keep things moving.  Some of us are the quiet, stately, ever-so-efficient robins who get the job done quickly and move about our way. We are the organizers, the efficient check that off the listers who ensure that things move forward.  And some of us are the quiet bits of blue that come into others lives and remind them of the need to be still  a while. All three birds are doing their thing in their own way, and all three offer so much in different areas.  Love that.

There’s a host of other types of ‘birds’ out there. And each has something to give, to share. And each could, should be celebrated in others’ lives.  Wouldn’t that be great if we women could celebrate our differences, learn from each other, and offer our gifts and abilities without being threatened by them?  I’m so thankful for so many amazing women in my life who teach me, make me laugh, and encourage me to grow. I so need all types in my life for sure.  Watching  others do their thing without condemnation helps me learn from them and enjoy them.  I didn’t see any condescending little birds out there telling the little bird to pipe down or the blue bird to speak up.  They just let each other do their thing. Birds don’t expect to look the same.  I’m thinking we so shouldn’t either.

Just a few thoughts from my back yard.  Now, off to cook dinner.  (Any “robins” out there have any good, quick dinner tips for me?)

Blessings ~

Heather

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

 Peter 4:8-10

Birds Waiting for spring

When I was a little girl I knew the names of all of the birds in the backyard.  Not just birds.  Trees as well.  And fish in the nearby ponds and rivers.  You see,  my Dad is a teacher at heart.  We spent a lot of time outside and there were always a lot of teachable moments that he took advantage of.  I’m thankful for that.

I’m not sure whether it was my Dad or my mom, or both or neither, but as a child, when I saw a robin in the winter, it was said to be a sign of Spring.  So when I saw this robin perched on the branch with it’s little head facing toward the sun, all I could think of was that this little guy looked like it was waiting for Spring.  (Me, too!)

And that brings me to the topic of ……………………….waiting. It’s not an easy topic at all.  I learned that firsthand today as I tried to get some photos of birds. You see, birds can be a bit camera shy for sure.  Especially chickadees.  And the chickadee was the one that I thought was so cute so I really wanted to get a few shots of these little creatures that flit all about.  So, I’d wait.  And wait some more.  And then, there would come a little chickadee landing right at a spot for a great photograph, almost posing, for Heaven’s sake, but by the time I’d find the little guy in the lens and then focus, he’d flit off in the wild blue yonder.  And I’d wait some more.

Well, after a lot of those unsuccessful moments of trying to capture a photo of some birds, I learned something. If I’d anticipate where the birds were landing (all near the birdseed of course), and focus my camera on that area and wait for the birds to fly on into my range of vision instead of trying to point the camera all over creation as it came in, well, I was a lot more successful.

birds dinnertime

And I started to think about waiting, and how we can make things so much harder on ourselves in the waiting.  There’s a verse that says, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint…” (Isaiah 40:31)   T


Life is full of lots of waiting. Sometimes we can be like the chickadee flitting around trying to busy ourselves to fill the time until whatever we’re waiting for finally shows up.  Or, we can be like the blue jay that bulldozes it’s way and takes over the situation and tries to control what it can’t control.  Meanwhile, all the rest of the little birds have made sure to steer clear of this disruptive fellow. 

birds little chickadee

Or, we can be like the bird that pouts a bit and lets everyone know that he indeed is waiting and how incredibly difficult it is.  We can complain with the waiting. And complain and complain and grumble some more.

Birds who's looking at you

Or we can be proud and pretend.  We can pretend that we aren’t waiting and we don’t have a care in the world.  We are just fine and no we are fully in control of ourselves and our surroundings thank you very much.  Proud Bubble. About to pop when the waiting goes a little bit too long…

birds wren 2

Or we can take it to a whole other level and just not be satisfied with anything or anybody until the waiting is over.  We can challenge people to get things going or ….or …..or we don’t know what we’ll do, but it’s so not going to be good!  (The cardinal’s face says it all!)

birds cardinal 6

Or, we can learn to focus on the tasks at hand.  Not looking to and fro, trying to make things happen quicker.  I’m all for hard work, but right now, the waiting I’m referring to has to do with waiting for things that are out of our control, not in our control.  We can be resolved to enjoy the moment.  Do the task at hand and notice our surroundings and the ones who are around us.  Be all in where we are rather than focusing on the next thing.  Funny how it’s easy to always be looking forward to the next thing in a way that makes us not even enjoy the moment we’re in.  I don’t want to look back and think on missed opportunities because I was always focused on the next thing.

birds portrait

This photo sums up for me the waiting process that I think is pleasing to God.  No matter how busy we are, if we can find that place of solitude of knowing that God has it all in control and we can trust Him, the waiting looks a lot different.  It’s the “Be still and know that I am God” kind of waiting demeanor.  Not like the bulldozing blue jay, or flitting about chickadee, or confrontative cardinal.  It’s  the ‘I’m going to fly on wings of eagles’ kind of waiting.  Because why?

birds be still and know

Because….I know who holds me in the shadow of His wings. Right before the verse that says, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength….”, the verses say, “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the Ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.”  (Isaiah 40:28)

In those times in my life when I’ve been able to be still like the above bird, rather than being the cardinal or blue jay, or chickadee, there’s been a resolve of knowing a few things.  God is in control.  I am not. ( I mean, there are just some things …a lot of them…that are not in our hands!)  And last, God is good.  Put them all together, and it’s just trust.  Trust.  Trusting God and His perfect timing can make the waiting for the answered prayers and relational breakthroughs and desire for direction a joy rather than a wrenching of the heart and a wringing of the hands.  God’s got this…

Oh, and I hope I can get a memo out to my little (metaphorical) bird friends. His eye isn’t just on the sparrow….  He’s non discriminatory when it comes to caring for “birds” of any feathers.  Confrontative Cardinals.  Flitting Chickadees, Bull dozing blue jays.  He knows us well and He loves us well.   He gives.  It is ours but to receive.

Matthew 6:25 says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Take heart, little cardinal.  His eye is on you, too.

MorningWatch

My soul waits for the Lord, More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.

Psalm 130:6

Wesson Road

%d bloggers like this: