Life Lessons


Courtesy of Freeda Baker Nichols

Awhile back, I wrote about friends posting pictures on Facebook of bluebirds, my bemoaning the fact that we didn’t have the proper habitat, and how a friend’s suggestion spurred me to buy a bluebird house. Read it here, BLUEBIRD HILL.


My heart nearly thumped out of my chest the day I spotted a bright blue bird on our deck. But wait. He didn’t have a rusty breast. I looked him up in my bird book and found he was an Indigo Bunting—our first. Isn’t he beautiful?

Courtesy of Freeda Baker Nichols

The bunting continued to visit—for which I was glad—but in truth, my heart was fixed on bluebirds.

Finally, after another week, I looked out to see a male bluebird perched on top of the birdhouse. His mate was peering inside. Each day I watched, hoping to see them, but they showed up only one more time.

I pushed back sadness.

While I continued my vigil, Baltimore Orioles and a Rose-Breasted Grosbeck dropped by. One day, I found our cats mesmerized by two tiny gold and black birds resting outside the patio door—Blackburnian Warblers—the first I’d ever seen.

Blackburnian Collage

We fed yellow and purple finches, titmice, cardinals, mockingbirds, wrens, waddling doves, and red-winged blackbirds.

A Moment of Truth

We were bird-rich.

So why did I feel poverty stricken?

The answer rocked me.

I was ungrateful.

I was as ungrateful as a toddler, demanding his friend’s toy truck when a fleet of new ones lay at his feet.

Only instead of trucks, I wanted bluebirds.

Shame crept over me as I thought of all the amazing avian gifts God had so recently sent us.

Bird Collage
Cardinals, Mockingbirds, Baltimore Orioles, and Blackburnian Warblers visited us.

More Questions

What if bluebirds never nested in my handsome birdhouse?

Could I not rejoice in the bejeweled creatures that regularly frequented our deck?

I could.

I would.

With a sheepish prayer of repentance, I released those bluebirds to God, resolving to simply concentrate on whatever riches He provided each day.

And I’m making progress. Occasionally, when I glance at the bluebird house, hope rises for next year. But I’m leaving that to the Lord. When I find myself obsessing, I’ve found it helps to sing or quote a familiar verse: This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in IT. (Psalm 118:24).

Could you be missing God’s blessings because you’re focusing on the wrong thing?

If so, I invite you to pray with me: O Lord, give us grateful hearts for the gifts you send. Deliver us from ingratitude.

And you might want to sing that chorus.

In the meantime, may your day be bluebird rich.

. . . in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I Thessalonians. 5:18 [NET] 



Beaches, Life Lessons, Navarre Beach



Navarre Pier

I  haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been in Florida relaxing, sitting, reading, and sometimes just staring. Except for jotting down observations in my journal, I haven’t written a thing beyond a few short posts on Facebook and necessary responses to email & messages by iPhone. I guess you could say, I’ve mostly been offline. It was a restful time, but I’ve missed blogging. So here I am again with reflections from early one morning.


Quiet Beginnings

It’s early as I step out on the balcony, coffee cup and journal in hand. No breath of wind, the sea below is a glassy aqua.

Where waves pounded the shore this time last week, only lulling swells lap against the shoreline in a chorus of swish-swoosh. Each swish drapes the shore with ethereal white lace that dissolves with the next swoosh.

In the distance, small birds rock on blue water looking for a seafood buffet. A barge towed by a small tugboat works its way across the gray horizon, and I idly wonder what their business is this early morning.

The same breeze that cools my cheek and bare arms glides across the ocean below, producing more rickrack than ruffles on its surface.


A line of pelicans flies by overhead.



Another bathwater day as Terry calls it—calm, gentle—perfect for small children or for Mom to soak away the weariness in her soul.

A father, mother, and preteen daughter pause at the end of our boardwalk for a picture of the girl, and she throws out her arms, tilting her head in such a way that I although I can’t see it, I know she’s smiling. They make their way down the steps and across the sand to the water’s edge, where they proceed in follow-the-leader single file, heads tipped down, probably looking for shells or that Elusive Sand Dollar.

Within minutes they switch directions, angling back across the sand toward the boardwalk. Daughter gravitates to Dad, momentarily clutching his upper arm. As they pass beneath my perch, I want to call out, “Enjoy her company. The time is fleeting. Too soon, she may elect to sleep-in instead taking of an early morning walk with you.”

Caroline Day, Norcross High School 2017 Graduate

Having just attended my youngest granddaughter’s graduation, I’m almost painfully conscious of the rush of time. I couldn’t help wondering if her dad’s short, solitary sojourn on their back patio just before our departure that morning was his way of putting on his armor.

Later when we teased about handing out tissues for the ceremony, he grinned and declared, “I’m happy!”

We all echoed, “So are we.”

And we were happy to celebrate her accomplishments and pleased she’ll be going to college in the fall.

Still, it was bittersweet as is any change of season.


See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19



Brothers, Life Lessons

A Message From Will

The Boys

Today is my brother Will’s birthday. If he were still with us he would be 73, but in our hearts he will be forever young. I think I heard him say something to us yesterday.


Remember me, but don’t be sad. Why not

Look back on the good times we had?

Recall the day we hiked to the bluffs, or

Carefree moments of childhood stuff like

Skipping rocks on the river and taking a swim,

Climbing the big tree with Judy and Jim.

Consider the nights we cruised the court square then

Back to the Delight to see who was there.

Choose moments of laughter, the best memories and

You may hear me whisper in the rustling leaves, or

Catch my wink in a firefly’s flickering light or in the

Big Dipper. Keep the North Star in sight.

Don’t think of boundaries or beginning and end, for

One day you’ll step through a curtain ever so thin

Where I will be waiting and it will be clear

I didn’t desert you but always was near.

Until then, live with abandon. I hope you’ll be free,

Just promise to smile when you think of me.