Practicing for Heaven

I was thinking about heaven a few days ago as I was driving home from an outing.  Hubby was at home, and I was driving along with my thoughts to keep me company.  Suddenly out of the blue heaven popped into my mind.

Thinking about some of the comments and conversations I heard in the past, it seemed as if God put a whole zip file in my mental computer in an instant, and I started un-zipping and unpacking the file in my mind.  I’ve heard comments like, “I believe everyone will go to heaven because God is a God of love.  (Sure He is, but He is so much more than that, and I’m not betting my eternal future on that statement alone!)  “I can’t wait to see the mansion that has been prepared for me.” (I am positive our mansion will be great, but should that really be our main focus?)  And then there is this one. “What are we going to DO all day.  I mean, you can only sing praises for so long before you get tired and want something else to do.”  (REALLY?  Words escape me.  Perhaps some picture heaven as being a place they can do what they want all day as long as they have choir practice first.”  I don’t begin to have all the answers, but my view of heaven is a little different.  God loves us, yes.  And He prepared a way for us to get to heaven, but we need not think you can get there any old way.  There is only one way. Jesus.    Mansion? Great. Streets of gold and gates of pearl? Amazing.  Seeing Jesus and praising God?  Well HALLELUJAH!  Now that’s what I’m talking about.  As for needing something else to do other than praise Him,  God has a plan.  But I really can’t see that plan including us gossiping over the fence with our neighbors or sitting discontentedly in a heavenly corner saying we are bored.

All that was in the first folder in my mental zip file.  Then came this thought.  Practice.  Yes, practice.  Think about it for a moment.  A fine musician spends hours practicing. There are drills and runs to keep fingers nimble and flexible.  There is new music to learn to improve technique.  There are practice sessions to learn and absorb the music until it becomes a natural part of us.  And what about an athlete?  From pro baseball (or football, or soccer or whatever) to T-ball, if we want to get better from week to week we must practice.  The more we practice, the better we become.  Years ago (too many to mention) I worked at a Tastee Freeze  For those of you who don’t recognize the name, it was an ice cream and sandwich fast food dream.  Anyway, one of my jobs was to make an ice cream cone using the soft serve ice cream machine.    The cone had to swirl around and end with a curl on the top.  And it had to weigh an exact amount.  I became pretty good at that, but my first attempts were laughable.  So what did I do?  Practice.  It occurs to me that even though I don’t know exactly all of God’s plan for heaven, I can be practicing now.  I can practice being kind to others.  I can practice being an encourager.  I can practice singing praises.  I can practice worship.  And the more I do these things, the more natural and meaningful they will become.

There was a lot more in the thoughts God gave me that day…far to much to write about in one sitting.  But I have to stop for now.  I need to go out and catch up on a little practice.

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Anticipation

Today is such an exciting day!  Hubby and I are having a new refrigerator delivered.  If I could dance on my tiptoes I certainly would.  Now that is a mental picture right there!

Let me back up a minute and explain our joy a bit. I know I get a bit wordy, but you will get to my point if you keep reading.  A year or so ago, our refrigerator, I am sad to say, died.  And it died at a most inconvenient time.  Now I know what you are thinking.  Anytime is a most inconvenient time for a refrigerator to quit.  And you are right, but this came at a time that money was t.i.g.h.t. and then some.  Oh dear, I know what you are thinking again.  “Do you mean to say you waited 2 years to replace your fridge?  You must have gone through a lot of ice for the cooler.”  It wasn’t that bad, truly.

Instead I read and reread the bank statements.  I checked our piggy bank.  I even looked in my secret fabric discretionary fund.  Yes, I have one and that is all you need to know.  Finally I decided we didn’t need a nice big refrigerator with a good amount of space.  After all, there are only two of us at home now.  A smaller fridge should be fine, and it is hundreds of dollars cheaper.  If we tightened our belts, we could afford a refrigerator.  So off to the store hubby went, and before many hours had passed (I don’t call him minute man for nuthin’) I got a call at work to discuss the refrigerator he had picked out. It fit the criteria, which means it could keep things cold and we could pay the price.  The refrigerator was delivered and the old one hauled away.  And that is the beginning of the story.

It didn’t take many weeks for me to realize that the extra cubic feet in the old refrigerator were very important.  On day 2, I banged my head hard as I reached in the refrigerator and forgot to make adjustments for the difference in size.  Then things started falling out.  I would reach for the bowl of leftover spaghetti, and with it would come the container of margarine.  I would push something in on one side of the rack, and something would fall out as things shifted on the other side of the rack.  You get the picture.  If you don’t, it is probably because you have a nice big refrigerator.

This went on for some time.  I didn’t give hubby my opinion of the refrigerator.  After all, it wasn’t his fault.  We are committed to not spending more than we have, and he did the best job with what we had.  But recently I heard a crash and a yelp when a jar or something fell out of the refrigerator right on my husband’s foot.  And contents went everywhere.  That was enough for me.  I apologized for insisting we get a smaller fridge.  We would have been better off to use a cooler for a few weeks.  Turns out we had the same opinions but hadn’t voiced them.  However, this not being a post about communication, I won’t go into that now.

About this time, we heard of someone needing a smaller refrigerator.  A dorm size refrigerator would be much too small, but a large fridge would be unnecessary and take up too much space.  The light went on and bells rang.  At least I think they were bells.  My ears ring all the time so it might have been that instead.  Suffice it to say that we would give them our fridge that seemed the right size for them, and we could get a bigger fridge without feeling so guilty.  Checking all our funds again, we came up with an amount we could afford.  We did our research and rehashed what we didn’t like about this fridge that we wanted different with the new one.  Hubby went back to the store, picked out a fridge, and came out to the car to tell me all about it, since I had stayed in the car with our dog.  Back in he went…hubby, not the dog, and paid for the fridge and arranged for delivery.  We made our preparations and cleaned the space for the new refrigerator, preparing for the moment it would arrive.  We were ready!

All that brings you up to today, when I am excitedly wishing I could dance on my toes.  We were given a window of time for our refrigerator to be delivered.  So here I am, sitting in my chair.  I hear a noise and run to the door. Not the truck.  I hear a noise and look out the window. Sigh.  Sitting back in my chair, I turn at every sound.  The neighbor decides to cut their grass.  Really?  Now?  At least 20 vehicles go past our house on what is normally a relatively quiet road at this time of day.  And don’t forget the airplanes.  They could have picked a better time. Peering out the window, peering out the door…honestly I think that last noise was the whisper of butterfly wings but it sure sounds like a delivery truck to me!  I watch.  I wait.  Every fiber of my being is attuned to being ready when that truck turns in the driveway.  Finally my watching and waiting is rewarded and the truck arrives!  This time I think I really do dance on my toes just a bit.

Then in a quiet moment I hear the whisper of butterfly wings again, but my heart knows it is God talking.  In the flash of a heartbeat, I hear Him whisper, “Are you looking for the coming of my Son with the same intensity you have been waiting for this refrigerator, this gift I have given you?  Are you excited?  Do you watch at the window of your heart for Him to appear? Have you made your preparations? Are you ready?”

Do I get so caught up in life that I get more excited over a “thing” than I do the coming of my Lord?  Whew.  Something to think about.

 

The Chocolate that Didn’t Melt in my Mouth

This is an absolutely true story.  I won’t even try to disguise it…if you know me, you know this is totally me.

I have never been a fan of cleaning.  Although I love a neat and tidy house, I’m just not good at making it happen.  Mom tried.  Really she did.  She taught me most of the right things.  (She didn’t teach me as much about laundry because she liked doing it herself.  I did however learn how to hand clothes on the clothesline and collect them when they were frozen stiff. Ugh.)

Hubby left subtle and not so subtle hints, and before any one says what is wrong with him helping, let me tell you he did help, and well as working 40+ hours a week outside the home.  The thing is, I don’t mind working.  I just prefer working outside.  Or working on a project.  One year I negotiated with my parents to let me do the gardening instead of the inside chores.  That was one of my favorite years. The sense of accomplishment and joy is still a vibrant memory.

Now my loving hubby tries to do as much as he can to help with the housework since he is retired and I still work part-time.  I really appreciate his efforts.  He also makes sure I have time to work on projects.   What a keeper!

However, I still fight a battle with guilt.  I should do more around the house.  I should be a better housekeeper.  I should, I should, I should.  Then every so often I roll up my sleeves, put my big girl socks on, and try to see what I can accomplish.  Sometimes I pay a price when I can’t move the next day, but I do try.

One such day occurred last week.  When I got up in the morning I felt pretty good.  I made my list (I love lists) and got to work.  I attacked the kitchen with vim and vigor, proud that I was making a difference. Soon it was almost finished.  Then, when I was ready to clean our kitchen cart…you know, one of those metal 3 shelf jobbies on wheels that lots of people had years ago…often red, but mine was yellow…I saw it.  A huge bag of M & M’s that I didn’t even remember sticking on the shelf.  Ecstatic, I reached for the bag.  After all this work, I figured I deserved a reward and I haven’t eaten dessert since Christmas.  Ripping open the bag, a few tasty morsels fell to the floor.  I did what any self-respecting person would do after just cleaning the kitchen.  I grabbed them up and dusted them off.  Since it was a big bag, I figured I would only take a handful plus of course the ones I rescued from the floor.  I could almost taste that chocolate before I even put one in my mouth.  The yellow M & M came closer and closer.  I opened my mouth and…

…and…AND THEN I WOKE UP!!!!  I should have known it was a dream.  I don’t even have a yellow metal 3 shelf jobby on wheels.

Frolicking in the Snow

There is something special about seeing big fat snowflakes swirling around, dancing around on puffs of wind and coming to rest on the ground where it will soon be joined by its sisters and brothers and cousins.  No matter the forecast, they make me smile.  In fact, if no one is around to hear, they make me giggle.  I will sit by the window for hours watching, afraid to turn away in case I miss one.

Today is a snow day. The flakes started their merry dance before dawn, and by the time my eyes finally opened, the ground was covered.  In awe, I watched their merry dance without even being aware of the passage of time.  Occasionally I would leave my post at the window long enough to heat some soup for lunch (what else would we have on a snow day) or to do some small chore. Some VERY SMALL chore.  Every so often, like this very second, a gust of wind would come along and a few dry leaves dropped from the tree and scurried across the snow.  Bit by bit, the sad-looking flower bed became a thing of pristine beauty, made clean by the washing of the snowflakes.

This is the very first snow for our golden retriever, Rusty.  His first time out today, says hubby, he frolicked about as if he were in a pond swimming from one spot to the next.  The second time he was so excited I couldn’t even get a picture…just a blur of excitement.  The third time, we questioned whether he really needed to go outside, but who takes that chance.  Not us!  So out we went.  Hubby had the leash, I had the camera.  Don’t worry, I gave him privacy when he needed privacy, his but the rest of the time was fair game.  First thing he did was to take giant leaps in the snow.  Being about 8 months he has plenty of leap in him. I, on the other hand, am older than 8 months, or 8 years for that matter.  My leap has slowed down to a shuffle.  Standing on the back step, I tried my best to capture him frolicking around frantically, trying to taste each snowflake.  The joy on his face was something to behold.  Finally he plopped down and looked up grinning as if to say, “Isn’t this great stuff?  Wanna come play?” To which I answered in order, “Yes!” “NO”

rusty
Rusty

I admit at one point I did go out and frolic in the snow a bit.  Only for a few minutes, long enough to get proof I was outside.  And since you are friends and believe me when I say something, you don’t need to see that proof, right?  Of course not. Ahem.

Personally, I think God likes to see us finding joy in the snow.  I think He wants to watch us enjoy the good things He has provided for us.  But most important, I think He wants us to look at the snow and remember that His Son Jesus is waiting and willing to cleanse us by His blood and make us pristine, whiter than snow. And that, my friend, will fill you with such joy and gladness you will want to join Rusty in frolicking in the snow.

Making a Difference

This past week or so the news has been filled with the loss of both Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds who died one day apart.  That led to discussions of whether it is possible to die of a broken heart. People were interviewed who told how these two people had impacted their life even though they had never personally met as well as the memories of the films they were known for.

Personally, I am not as familiar with Carrie Fisher, but Debbie Reynolds starred in the first movie I ever saw at a movie theater.  She sang the song, “Tammy” and I still occasionally sing a wee bit of the song.  I was a young girl totally enthralled at seeing a movie with  my cousin.  (Before you start trying to figure how ancient I must be, let me assure you I had seen movies before with my family at the nearby drive-in.  But to be invited to accompany my aunt and uncle and cousin to a restaurant AND a theater was major!)

Having said all that, this piece really isn’t about two well-known celebrities.  It is about making a difference in someone’s life.  It’s about making an impact in the life of those around me.Sometimes I forget to think about how I might be affecting someone by  my words and deeds.  I mean seriously, I wasn’t put on this earth to say HERE I AM.  NOW EVERYONE MAKE AN IMPACT ON MY LIFE.  Certainly many people have made a difference in my life, one way or another.  But while all that has been going on I have the responsibility of being a good steward of the impact I make on others.

Think about this a minute.  If I am quick to offer complaints and criticisms, am I bringing down someone around me?  Do I offer a word of encouragement?  Is my need to be”right” important enough to hurt someone else?  What about my neighbors…are they seeing an example of right living, or do my actions encourage them avoid me at all cost.  Do I even know my neighbors?

In most circumstances I can choose the impact I have on others. Don’t get me wrong, there are times we are blindsided by events that drop us to our knees, and we may stay down for a bit.  But then its time to pray, and get back up.  I remember going through an extremely difficult time in my life, and I thought I hid it well.  Then one day a coworker came to ask if I was okay.  This was a person I would never expect to ask this question.  I didn’t think I had much of an impact on him.  But here he was, wondering if I was ok because he hadn’t seen me smile in a long time.  What a wake up call.  Instead of wallowing on my knees, I realized it was time to ask some warriors to pray that I would get back up, dust myself off, and do what had to be done.  A smile, or the lack thereof, can impact someone we don’t even think is watching.

All this in the news made me remember that I want any impact I make to be positive.  I don’t need anyone to remember my name. However, I do want them to remember that someone took the time to listen when they needed to talk or to be a friend when they needed a friend. I want to smile at someone and hope they will pass that smile on to someone else rather than be so self-absorbed in my own little world that I forget anyone else is even around.

I want to make a positive difference.

Pancakes…a Life Lesson

Recently one of my granddaughters and I were discussing cooking and food.  Nothing new here…we often discuss food.  I remember how special it was one day to tie an apron around her tiny waist, stand her on a chair and let her help me cook.  I think we made mac and cheese in a saucepan or something similar to that.  And of course, before you click your tongue, I had turned the stove off during the time she was “stirring” and I did everything with her safety in mind.  Really, what else would you expect.  I guard my treasure and my grandchildren are some of my treasures.

Anyway, we got on the topic of pancakes.  Both of us love pancakes.  We even both love blueberry pancakes!  With visions of  preparing a family breakfast together, I asked her if she had a special blueberry pancake recipe.  No, she declared.  She only likes blueberry pancakes from iHop!  FIDDLE!  My visions melted away, but it did start a trip down memory lane.

One particular memory stays vivid in my mind.  It haunts me a bit and I hope it always will.  You see, I didn’t always like pancakes.  I remember like it was this morning a time when my frustration with pancakes bubbled over…and frustration bubbling over wasn’t something you did in my family growing up.  We had too much respect for our parents, and had been raised well if I do say so myself.  But this particular day my younger brother and I had been playing outdoors after completing our chores.  It was probably a summer weekday or else other siblings would have been home from their summer jobs.  I’m guessing I was somewhere between 7 and 10 years old. (Age has never been super critical to me so I’m not entirely sure.)  I remember Mom calling out the door that we were to come in for lunch.  With a big smile she gave us each a pancake that she had sprinkled sugar on and rolled up like a jelly roll.  “Take it outside and eat it.”  Normally I would be thrilled to eat outside, but seriously- a pancake?  And not even any syrup?  As we scampered out the door without a backward glance, I remember saying, “I HATE pancakes.”    It seemed to me we had them often, so obviously Mom must love them a lot.

It wasn’t until years had passed that I realized what had probably happened.  You see, we were loved so much that I didn’t realize we were poor.  Never did I realize as a child that other families may live differently than us.  I thought Mom loved sewing so much that she enjoyed making our clothes.  I thought Dad loved his work and that was why he spent so many hours there.  Oh, I knew there were a few kids with more “things”, but I just thought they were probably spoiled kids, you know?  In my heart’s eye I can see my mother looking out the window at her two youngest children, saying to herself, “Lord, what can I possibly feed them today?”  I can see her opening the cupboard doors and seeing a few basic staples on the shelf.  (That woman could make more from a few basics than anyone I ever met!)  I can see her taking out the flour and sitting it on the counter and reflecting that she was blessed to still have some flour on hand.  My heart almost cracks as I mentally see her mixing up batter…enough for two pancakes.  Trying her best to make it special, I can see her looking in the sugar bowl for those few grains of sugar and deciding she didn’t want sugar in her coffee anyway.  Then, my heart cracks a little more as I see her cheerfully calling us to come get lunch, and sending us outside on a little picnic so we wouldn’t see the empty batter bowl and notice she wasn’t “hungry” for lunch.  And then pain slices through me as I hear myself say, “I HATE pancakes!”.  And in retrospect, I can see Dad coming home that night and mom greeting him at the door with a kiss, and a look into his eyes that said how much she appreciated his efforts to provide for his family.

I learned several lessons from this childhood memory. I’ll quickly share three.  One is that poor is a state of mind. The fact that I never considered us poor speaks well to the upbringing our parents provided.  We may have scraped the bottom of the barrel at times, but we never went without something to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over our heads.  We did things as a family, and had fun!  Another lesson is that love is a powerful force that can embrace and protect in amazing ways.  (If you don’t think so, just think about God’s love.) It isn’t about keeping our loved ones from hard experiences, but about helping our loved ones THROUGH hard experiences.  Tough times will come, but we can get through them…together.  And finally, when we dig deeper in trying to learn and understand one another, our preconceived perceptions often change dramatically.

What can I say?  I LOVE pancakes.  Thanks Mom.  Thanks Dad.

Pulling Weeds

Feeling a bit energetic today, I went for a short walk outside.  Of course my first stop was our garden.  Hubby has taken over almost all of the gardening.  I love it, but my knees don’t.  Funny, for the last 5 years I have don’t all the gardening pretty much by myself with the help of some Grandies now and then.  Hubby wasn’t able, so I did the best I could, loving every minute of it especially when grandkids were in the garden with me.  Now my body yells if I thing garden, but Hubby has retired and is now back to gardening all the time!  Hmmmm, sounds a bit like teamwork to me.  But that is a rabbit trail and I need to get back to the main path of my thoughts.

The garden looks great, and I was able to plant a few plants that somehow hadn’t made their way to their permanent home yet. That felt good to my soul; gardeners will know exactly what I mean.  Then I came back to the house briefly to get the fresh nectar for our hummingbirds.  They are such a pleasure to watch that I try hard to make sure their feeder is filled every few days.  Walking back outside, I strolled to the large flower bed planted right outside the living room window.  It probably looks like a strange location to passersby, but it is perfect placement for us to watch the birds, butterflies and bunnies that visit.  I had planted petunias, geraniums, dahlias, marigolds, and a host of other flowers earlier this year.  I took great care to notice which area would get shade and which would get full sun, placing the flowers carefully.  Then I put some shepherd’s hooks with finch feeders and cardinal feeders, along with my hummingbird feeder- spaced just so among the flowers.  Two small bird baths were added, and the fairy garden that the Grandies have been working on was moved close to the hummingbirds.  Every time I looked at that flower bed, I had to smile and reflect on the loving God that made such a riot of color possible.

This morning, however, something didn’t look quite right.  We have had a few bad storms recently and I hadn’t actually been in the flower bed for a week or so.  The plants that had been so beautiful were drooping and fading.  The growth wasn’t what I expected, especially from the petunias which can tend to take over.  Hmmmm, what to do, what to do?  You know, just because I love gardening doesn’t mean I have a green thumb.  And then it happened, standing right there between the petunias and the purply flowers (whatever they are called).  God gently reminded me of a lesson or two He had taught me before and now needed to remind me.  Flower beds, like our faith and our prayer life, need attention.  It isn’t enough to plant the seed and let it go. The seeds and plants need to be nurtured.  They need to be inspected for leaves and flowers that are no longer productive.  My son would say they need to be “deadheaded” and have a haircut now and then. Anything that is hindering them from growth, like weeds, needs to be removed. They need a bit of food now and then to keep them healthy.

Our faith and our prayer life need to be exercised and nurtured.  It isn’t enough to say I have faith and then sit down and dwell on that fact.  It isn’t enough to pray a quick prayer now and then when I remember it.  We need to be intentional in our walk with God.  Speaking to me now, but you can listen if you want, I need to see what in my life is keeping my faith from growing.  Some things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but if they take away from  God’s plan for me, then they are bad for me. What in my life is hindering my prayers from being more regular, deeper, more intentional?  If I’m not growing, then I’m standing still, which is the same as going backwards.  Is busyness keeping me from time in the Word?  Are other interests taking up too much of my time, keeping me from putting my faith into action?

Well, I thank God for the nudges and reminders He gives us.  I believe it is time for me to get out my spiritual food and action plan (Bible) and see what else God has to say to me today.  It isn’t always comfortable when God has to dig around in my heart, especially when He has to use His pruning shears, but it is necessary as He makes me into the beautifully blooming, productive  and growing Child of God He wants me to become.  Something to think about, in a quiet moment.

Turning to gaze out the window one more time before I get busy reading God’s Word and pulling some spiritual weeds, I see the hummingbird perched and looking right at me.  It seems he might be smiling.  And you know, I’m convinced the flowers look just a wee bit brighter already.

A Special Visitor

We have a special visitor this week.  We’ve been contemplating getting a dog so having our son’s dog  visit is a good way to see if we are up to the challenge.  He is a lot of fun and we are really enjoying his visit.

This morning as we were taking our morning constitutional, I got to thinking that Avry and I have some things in common.  For one thing, we are similar ages.  I read an article last week that stated although we tend to think of 1 dog year equalling 7 human years, different breeds age a bit differently.  Makes sense to me. So I used their handy dandy guide and what do you know, a Pekingese year equals about 6 Nana years, so Avry and I are almost the same age, give or take a month or so.  And given our years, we both like to walk at a slower pace with intermittent bursts of energy.

Avry Birdwatching

From this picture, you can see we both like to watch birds.  Avry hasn’t barked at them once, but his head swings right to left to right to left to …well you get the picture.  He swings his head just like me with every little bird movement. After a while he plays with his toy a bit, only to peer out the window again whenever there is the slightest movement. By the way, I don’t bark at the birds either. And you see that toy in the picture…well he sometimes curls up with it when he lakes a nap.  I know you are wondering now if I curl up with a toy like that when I take a nap.  OF COURSE NOT! That is a dog toy…I have my own, thank you very much.  About 12 years ago hubby had to be away for a few days and bought me a huggable stuffed snowman about a foot tall.  I hugged it tightly every night he was gone.  I still have it, and  especially like to have it nearby if I am feeling poorly. I’ll snuggle under my blanket and hug my snowman. No need to laugh or judge…it says nothing on the tag about being only for people of a certain age. And speaking of snuggling, that is another thing Avry likes to do.  He burrows under the covers to get those last few minutes of sleep. I’m sure we would make quite a picture taking a nap, each of us burrowed in our blanket cocoon clutching our toys, but if Hubby ever takes one let me just say he will be in really big trouble.  Really big.

What really connected the dots for me about this whole similarity thing is when I fed Avry after our walk.  I used a shallow pan for his food. (Ok, it was a throwaway pie pan, but I didn’t want to admit I had ever bought a pie.)  I put Avry’s food in the pan and he just looked at me in disbelief.  So I added just a tiny little bit more.  He shook his head and walked away for a moment, came back and sadly shook his head. Finally he took a few bites.  It suddenly occurred to me that Avry likes his “plate” covered with food and since this pan was a bit larger than the amount of food, he felt a bit, well, rejected and slighted.  Not that I feel rejected and slighted, but a small bowl of soup that is full looks a lot better to me than a larger bowl of soup that is half empty, even if the amount of soup is the same.

I know I am rambling here, but really, what else am I to do? The birds have gone about their daily business, it is rainy outside, and Avry is taking a nap.  Wait a minute…what a good idea!  I think I will snuggle with a good book which just might lead to a short nap.  Now where did I put my snowman?

 

 

Top of the Morning!

I haven’t accomplished a single thing today.  Stumbling from my bed, I made it as far as the recliner in the living room where my sweet hubby had a cup of coffee waiting. Three hours later, half of it is still sitting here on a TV tray next to my chair.  Certainly I have things that need to be done today.  It’s too wet to garden, but there is laundry I’m sure, as well as some de-cluttering that desperately needs to be completed. I could write to a friend (wouldn’t they be surprised), crochet (I tried but kept putting it back down), beat my friend Connie in an internet game (I’m not really all that competitive), sewing (I have started our Christmas projects- just in case our children or grandchildren read this and wonder)…the opportunities are endless.

Instead I made the mistake of looking outside my window.  I have a hummingbird feeder, as you know, but I also have some finch feeders.  And a regular feeder.  At first there were about 4 yellow finches.  Suddenly there were 18 finches hanging on the sock feeders munching and crunching to their little hearts desire. Sometimes they paired off in couples.  A time or two, all the ladies came to partake and when they left to go shopping or whatever it is lady finches do, the men came along to catch up on the latest finchy gossip and share stories of their accomplishments. Along with the yellow finches there were some red house finches.  Below the feeders were the mourning doves, Mr. and Mrs.,  feasting on the thistle and seeds that dropped to the ground.  Every once in a while Mr. would catch Mrs. Dove looking his way, and he puffed and preened for her benefit.

We still have a few dry leaves under the feeders and I noticed they seemed to be moving without the benefit of a breeze.  Looking closer, I noticed there were sparrows dancing through the leaves enjoying a lite snack. Suddenly everyone took flight, and here comes the black bird.  Okay, so I don’t know much about bird identification.  If it would work, I would just say yellow bird, red bird, black bird, brown bird.  We even had a white egret one day, but that is another story.

All that to say there is a lot of activity outside my window and I am too mesmerized to leave my spot.  The hummingbird only visited briefly a time or two. I think he is shy and doesn’t like crowds of birds much bigger than he.  Keeping track of how many birds were at the feeders at any one time is keeping me quite busy, thank you very much.  The little stinkers tend to shift around and make me lose count. Right now there are 14 assorted finches…make that 15, 2 doves, 3 sparrows and…no, I don’t see a partridge in a pear tree but I keep looking.  There is another bird that comes to visit the regular feeder, and I just can’t identify him. For now, he is called the Mystery Bird.  I’ve looked on some websites but I can’t come to a firm decision.  Maybe you can help me?  Here he is.

Mystery Bird

In retrospect, I realize that for 3 hours the TV has been on and tuned to political news and views and I don’t even know what they are saying.  My pulse is steady, my nerves are calm,  and my blood pressure is great. I’ve been able to marvel at the complexities and wonder of God’s creation.

Like I said, I have accomplished a lot today!

Happy Anniversary!

Hard to believe it has been a year since I started this blog.  I well remember the fun I had with my niece Bethany (This, That & T’Other)setting it up and actually seeing a dream come through.  My initial intention was to post a minimum of once a month.  Ok, that part of the dream didn’t happen, but I am not finished dreaming yet.  After a very busy year of sewing, I planned to post pictures of the quilts my hubby and I made for our kids and grandies, but that didn’t happen either.  I admit, I was feeling a little down after the project was finished and couldn’t seem to get myself in gear! Then yesterday, on the very anniversary of my blog launch, I was blessed to have the most amazing perker-upper.

Along with gardening and sewing, I really enjoy taking pictures of critters.  I haven’t picked up my camera much in the last year or so…it seemed to take all my energy to keep my head above water so to speak. But last week I put up my hummingbird feeder and a finch sock outside my window.  Nothing new in that, but there haven’t been many visitors in the last 2 years.  Then a hummingbird appeared!  Something about a hummingbird just has to bring a smile.  There followed a string of visitors: some yellow finches, a beautiful male cardinal, and other birds paused in their daily routine to say hello. Yesterday I set my chair near the window, opened the curtain wide, and sat down with a book. And then it happened. That spark deep inside that called out to me to find my camera was reignited.  Where did I put it anyway?

I spent several hours watching the parade of birds and rushing to the door to try to take the perfect picture. Notice the positive side effect of this activity…exercise rushing to the door and back.  God is so good to me in so many ways.

The perfect picture didn’t happen, but something better DID happen.  Getting that “spark” back for however long it lasts is such a blessing.  And I’ll keep trying for that perfect picture!April Hummer