Bird Nests, Birds, Creation, Life Lessons, Spring

QUESTIONS FOR THE AGES

 

Fern2

The valley below is greening. A kaleidoscope of spring hues soften winter’s drab silhouette. Birds serenade their sweethearts then zip across the yard with sprigs of straw and bits of trash destined for their woven nurseries.

I watch as they pause on the deck for refreshment then rush off again, intent on the age-old ritual of bringing forth another generation. Unlike man, they neither question nor resist their roles in God’s glorious creation.

Nestlings

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?  Matt. 6:28

My Questions

Why do we insist on writing our own script when His plan is perfect?

Some think it’s for wimps.

Others may say, “Bor-ing.”

Or maybe, “I don’t do that religious stuff.”

My Thoughts

If you could ask the men and women who have dared take God at His Word through the centuries, I doubt even one would describe the journey as wimpy, boring or religious stuff. Sometimes

Challenging

Hang-Onto-Your-Hat Exciting

Frightening

Downright Hard

But never ever

Boring

Wimpy

Religious Stuff.

What Ifs?

What would we say if just once we caught so much as a glimpse of all the wonders God has stored up for those who love and seek Him?

What would our world be like then?

A Reminder From Dorothy

WinterCasualty

Then I notice the winter casualties in my flowerpots, the brambles infringing on our lawn and the weeds invading my flowerbeds and recall a line from the Wizard of Oz.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

There’s my answer. Like the Pop Culture says, This ain’t Kansas, Toto.

And this ain’t the Garden.

 

Our Creator knew we needed a Savior.

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What is man and woman that you bother with them; why take a second look their way? You made them not quite as high as angels, bright with Eden’s dawn light; Then you put them in charge of your entire handcrafted world.

Hebrews 2:6-7 MSG

Bluebirds, Hope, Life Lessons, Perseverance

SOMETIMES YOU CAN

 

 

 

Debbiesbluebird2a
Photo courtesy of Debbie Hoffman

 

The continuing saga of my fascination with bluebirds. For the whole story, check out WHEN BLUEBIRDS DON’T COME.

COMING TO TERMS

I had come to terms with it.

Mostly.

If the bluebirds didn’t build a nest in our little birdhouse, I’d be happy with their daily visits to our deck.

Maybe like Paul, I needed to learn to be content in whatsoever state I found myself.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12b-13 

Although I hadn’t quite given up, I was working hard at being content.

BluebirdbribesCollage
I admit I was reduced to bribery.

As sometimes happens, a song came to mind–an old Rolling Stones tune that was probably about drugs and 1960s politics, both light years removed from my application. Still the chorus ran through my head over and over.

Maybe you’ve heard it.

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime
You’ll find
You get what you need

ALMOST GETTING THE MESSAGE

OK. Maybe I was too obsessed with those bluebirds. Maybe I needed contentment more than bluebirds nesting in my yard.

I’d work on that right after I tried one more thing.

Perhaps if we moved the house down a little way from the big azalea bush, they’d reconsider this year. After all, that Daddy Blue really looked it over last year. I know he liked our house.

Birdhouse MoveSo  Terry moved that cute little birdhouse down a few feet. While he dug a new post hole, I checked its interior and found a huge wasp nest hidden out of sight of the casual observer. Could that have kept the birds away last year?

I cleaned the house out, and Terry planted it firmly in its new spot.

Then I watched and waited, but in truth without much hope. I reminded myself that I needed to be content with those daily visits.

And I was.

Almost content.

Still, I watched and waited until one morning about a week later, I noticed Daddy Blue sitting on the deck. Then he flew down to the little house.

BluebirdVisitor

HE WENT INSIDE.

I took up my post at the window.

Was that Mama Blue going in?

YES!

I tell you, I did a little dance and confess to shedding a couple of tears of joy when she landed on the deck rail with a sprig of grass in her beak before heading down to her new home. (I swear she did that for my benefit.)

They were moving in!

BLUEBIRDS HAVE MOVED INTO OUR BLUEBIRD HOUSE!

 

Bluebirdad
I haven’t been able to get a good shot of the couple going in and out. But this is their new home.

PRESSING ON

Isn’t that how it is sometimes? We long for something that may seem inconsequential, even silly, to others. Yet, the longing won’t go away, so we press on.

I’m sure glad I did because from now on bluebirds will remind me that when we think we can’t have what we want,

Sometimes it turns out we can.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Still, I remind myself of a Dr. Seuss quote:

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t.”  —Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

May bluebirds always remind me to press on with my dreams.

To Reach higher.

bluebird in oak

 

Yet if those dreams are delayed or don’t come to fruition, I hope I will remember that I get to decide how I’ll respond.

I hope I will always seek to be content whatever comes my way.

 

I hope you will press on with your dreams, too.

And if they don’t materialize as quickly as you would like, I hope you will find contentment while you wait.

 

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — Viktor Frankl

Church Life, Life Lessons, Spring, Spring Flowers

SIGNS OF SPRING

 

Bradford PearsDid it feel like a hard winter to you?

It did to me.

About all I did was snuggle beneath a soft, warm throw and wait for spring. But I realize now, I waited with limited expectations.

Maybe that was because I was still recovering from fairly serious health problems that laid me low.

Or perhaps I was too focused on the distant view outside my back window instead of my own front yard.

Whatever the case, spring caught me by surprise.

Our yard seemed so bleak that I was astounded to see a row of forsythia bushes in full bloom outside a local business a couple of weeks ago.

How could that be when I hadn’t seen even one bud on ours?

But when I got home and gave our forsythia a closer look, to my delight, I found it filled with buds and a few stray blossoms.

Forsythia 2018It was the same when a friend posted a bouquet of daffodils on her Facebook page. Although we have lots of those buttery beauties in our front flowerbeds, none was in bloom or even budding.

Or so I thought.

But when looked closer, I found several buds, and I began to watch. Sure enough, one morning there was the first blossom. Then another.

daffodils 2018 Each day more opened up until a bed of tiny jonquils defied leftover leaves and fairly shouted, Rejoice!

I hadn’t been paying attention.

Spring had sprung.

Spring CollageSuddenly I saw flowers everywhere–Tulip trees, Bradford pears, hedges of forsythia, japonica, and bridal wreath—all blooming on bare wood and waving as I drove by. Daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths danced in the March wind.

Every day their splendor brightens and lightens my heart.

Isn’t that just like God to transform barren limbs into loveliness? This bursting forth of flowers reminds me that life resides in the starkest branches and most barren ground.

 

In me.

In you. 

However, at times, I felt as bleak as those bare branches. Even writing, my usual therapy, seemed lost to me. I produced nothing beyond an occasional journal entry, Facebook post, and thank you note.

But the truth is, even when I felt my worst, Jesus was with me, asking me to trust Him.

I sensed Him each time my good husband dropped everything to take me to a doctor’s appointment or pick up meds. He accompanied the friends who brought flowers and food, insisted on helping with laundry, stopped by to visit and pray. I felt his presence in the encouraging notes they sent by text, Facebook, email, and pretty cards with uplighting messages.

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matt. 25:40

He was there each time sweet Timmy slept in my lap while I read my devotionals or just stared out the window.

TimmyBFFEven when I was all alone, I knew He was with me.

Still that period wasn’t much fun.

But Hallelujah! Seasons faithfully change.

Now I think of the past winter as a time of rest, healing, and preparation for a new season of growth and fruitfulness.

For all of nature.

For me.

For you.

So if it feels like your spring is way late in arriving, don’t despair.

You'll bloom again

Watch for the signs.

He is faithful.

He will show up just when you need Him most.

Before you know it, your spirit will burst forth in full bloom.

… for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. 12 The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come,  Song of Solomon 2:11-12 NIV