Why does Christmas come earlier every year? Is it because I'm moving a bit slower and it takes more time to get things done? Makes sense. In any case, it'll be here in a couple of weeks and my lists are getting longer rather than shorter.
During Thanksgiving, with Christmas only four weeks away, I decided not to host my annual open house - was overwhelming myself with all that that entails. Relieved that I would be ahead of the game, so to speak, there was still the family Christmas gathering to plan. No big deal I thought, nothing like the all day event, people coming and going, never sure if there would be enough food - besides, the idea of just family eliminates some of the stress of trying to have everything perfect. In other words, I can cut a few corners, use the smaller tree and replace the centerpiece punch bowl with Coke and Sprite right out of the bottles. My family will understand - we know each other well after all this time, and after all, Mom isn't as young as she used to be (this going unspoken of course).
Since this was going to be more of a causal and relaxed get together, I decided to cut a few corners on the decorating as well. Do I have to put out every piece of holly, bunch of berries, every ornament collected over the span of a lifetime, every Santa or anything else glittery or Christmasy? No, I thought, I'll just do a little this year, make it easy on myself. But it really wasn't any easier since I had to go thru all the storage boxes in order to see what I wanted to use. Sorting thru all this was no easy task - I began to wonder if this was such a good idea after all. I started on the mantle first and saw it gradually coming to life with 'just a little' Holly and berries, my angel grouping, a candle and a couple of my favorite Santas. As I started to close the box marked 'mantle', I couldn't do it. I've come this far, sad to leave all the less favored things stored away and not be a part of the festivities. And so, out they all came, once again taking their rightful place on the mantle.
Reminded me of how we sometimes 'cut down' on other things - the time spent with family and friends - neglecting to see the needs of others - maybe look away as we pass the Salvation Army bell ringer. If we are to call ourselves Christians, we must be willing to do more than just a little. God expects more than that, more than whatever is left over - time or money.
I will think on this as I enjoy my mantle this Christmas season and as I make my resolutions for the New Year. In fact, I need to check out the pantry snd see if I have the makings for another pound cake - want to be sure to have enough, even tho it is 'just family.'
Peace on earth, good will toward men. 🎆.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
When my son gave me a hanging basket of geraniums for Mother's Day, I had the perfect spot for it outside the dining room windows. It has done well in its new home and as I do every couple of days, I was pulling some brown leaves off at the bottom and seeing if it needed watering, when I was grazed by a flying object coming out of the basket. Startled wasn't the word for it. It took a moment to process what had just happened, then realized that I had some new 'nesters' — and this time, while mama was away, I peeked in and there they were, three tiny oval eggs lying gently on the perfectly rounded little nest. They looked so fragile, almost unreal, as if a mere touch might break them. How long had they been there? How long had mama bird been working on this perfect little nest? It mustn't take too long — I am outside a great deal of the time now and I never saw a sign.
Again, I stand amazed — how this tiny creature first dug down into the soil, then gathered and arranged each little piece, making sure it was just right. There is so much I don't know about my tiny feathered friends with whom I co-exist in the spring and summer, but thats okay. I guess all I need to know is put out the food, make them feel welcome and they will come. The only downside is that Maggie and I have to tiptoe around, pick and choose our time outside, so as not to disturb our avian visitor. That's okay too - they aren't here for long, only until the little ones are strong and can begin to test their wings. I am blessed to be a part of this mystery of life - nature is a wondrous thing if we just take time to see it.
Some may think this an insignificant, trivial thing to spend time talking about, but I see this as one of those special times God sends our way — a serendipity to lift our spirits and let us know He is paying attention. God knows what we enjoy and in turn enjoys blessing us with these little miracles. In the midst of all the chaos and turmoil that is a constant in today's world, sometimes just the awareness that God resides everywhere, even in my little backyard bird sanctuary, is a miracle in itself........
Be blest and be encouraged.
“.......each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” 1 Corinthians 7:7b
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Thought this little story would be appropriate today, after a week of incomprehensible hurt and sadness suffered by so many.......
This photo made just a couple of hours ago of mama bird feeding her new babies.
My last post was about a month ago telling about my little avian visitor preparing her nest, and today as I went out to enjoy the cool, sunny afternoon, once again there came the loud chirp that I at once recognized.
Looking toward the trellis where the little house hangs, I saw her - something dangling from her beak - couldn't tell what it was, but in a moment as she flew into the house, I knew at once when I heard those screechy little chirps, it was feeding time - they had arrived.
When mama bird left, out scouting for more food most likely, I quietly tiptoed over to the house. As I attempted to peek inside, I was amazed at how dark it was in there! Oh, how I wanted just a glimpse of these little ones - even thought about getting my flashlight, but decided against it. This was their home and I had no business intruding - besides, I didn't know what a bright light might do to them, to the natural order of things. And so, I went inside to get my camera, found a good spot far enough away, zoomed in and waited. In perhaps two or three minutes she was back and I got the photo.
Where do they find their food I wondered? How do they know what their babies like? Does she sleep with them at nite - I assume so. So many questions......... and then a song came to mind, one I used to sing with the primary children when I helped out in their Sunday School class many years ago - I believe the title was "Who taught the bird to build its nest" - or something similar. Strange, I should remember that - something so insignificant at the time, but then - it must be 45 years, it's so clear in my mind.
And of course, we know how mama bird can do all these things to take care of her young - that's how God created her, along with all the other creatures on earth - born with instincts - of survival and the need for continuity of their species. Amazing, I think, just amazing!
I don't know how long they will stay in their little dwelling, but how exciting if the Lord would let me 'just happen' to look out one day and see one of them perched on the edge, ready to try their wings. That would be awesome!
Be Blest and be encouraged ......... God Bless the USA!!
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Today was one of those days I can't stay inside. I told myself I needed to write - but I answered, 'not while I have a chance to sit outside and catch a few rays - I can write when the sun goes down.' So along with Maggie, who also enjoys basking in the sun, and I went out into our little backyard retreat. It may be small, but the birds love sharing it with us. They have all they need - food, housing, jasmine vines and a climbing rose bush from which they can oversee all that's going on in their little domain.
It's been amazing these past few days the songs coming from these little creatures. I imagine it as their rehearsal, preparing their voices that have recently awakened to announce the long awaited arrival of Spring next week.
Maggie was dozing under the rose bush from which the bird house hangs - and as I sat quietly meditating and pondering the gift of this day, I was startled by a loud, almost irritated chirp close by. At first, I couldn't see where it was coming from - but then in a few moments, I spotted her sitting in the rose bush a short distance from the bird house and couldn't believe all that noise was coming from such a tiny bird! On looking closer, I saw that she had some small twigs in her mouth - how she was able to hold onto them and yell so loudly I have no idea, but it was then I realized we were keeping her from her appointed task - building her nest.
It was not easy waking Maggie from her comfy afternoon siesta, but after getting her inside, I stood at the door and watched - sure enough the tiny bird wasted no time going about her duties as a mom - preparing a home for her babies who will be arriving soon. What an unexpected gift on this quiet, ordinary day - a blessing of the smallest kind - but aren't those the ones that make life so special! God pays attention to the details in our lives as He does to His smallest creations - 'His eye is on the sparrow....'
I believe this is one way God speaks to us, and in order to hear Him, we must be aware - be still and know.... it's the little things that add up to make the extraordinary times in our lives. I am reminded of something I read recently - we do not remember days, we remember moments.
So, be aware when you're outside enjoying these early Spring days - listen and watch for the sights and sounds of the earth coming to life in this season of renewal and rebirth. The wellspring of life lies in our heart - that is where, if we but listen, we can hear the voice of God.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens... Eccl: 3:1