A little bird told me

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

This verse comes just about in the middle of Chapter 10 when Jesus is sending His disciples out two by two. I take comfort in how many times He told the disciples not to fear. I guess I shouldn’t take comfort in that, that they feared, but I do. Let’s face it, the world out there can be a scary place.

Each day He sends us out too, and we never know who or what we might run into.

I guess that’s why I like birds……they remind me that God takes record of every one that falls from the sky and He is taking care of me too.

When I look at this little guy, a little ordinary brown sparrow, I see a master Designer at work. I see a hundred different shades of grey, brown, tan. I look at how the feathers fold so neatly together, how those little feet can grip just about anything. Perfectly suited to their environment.

God has placed His Own Spirit within us, so that we may be totally effective. Not only that, like this little bird, when we are controlled by the Spirit, we are perfectly suited to go out into the world and be God’s hands and feet. But it’s a battle, no doubt about it. At times I read that list of the gifts of the Spirit and I see where I am glaringly lacking.

There are far too many times I take the Spirit places He should never be, with my thoughts, my words, my actions.

And yet, still He strives with me.

Sometimes I pretend, it’s just me and Jesus. And He’s giving me a pep talk in my morning prayer. That is what it really comes down to, every day.

Me and Jesus face to face. And In that moment when I meet Him, the world falls away, and nothing else matters. When He looks in my eyes, He sees my heart.

He still wants me.

A Song in the Night

It was one of those tossing and turning nights. I seem to have a lot of those lately. A bleary glance at the clock told me it was 2:30 AM. And faintly I heard something that sounded like a bird singing…..Singing, at that hour! At first I thought it was one of those alarm clocks that sound like birdsong. My Dad had one that went through the whole repertoire of a mockingbird. Incredulously I staggered outside into the cool night.

The stars were bright overhead and it was so quiet, except for the unmistakably loud sound of a real live mockingbird singing its heart out in my neighbor’s lemon tree. It was so early the morning commute hadn’t even started yet. Don’t birds only sing at sunrise? This one’s internal clock was surely off, I thought.

Every morning since, I have heard it. The earliest recorded time was 1:30 AM.

At first I was a bit ticked off. I get up at 4 on my work days and every hour of sleep is precious.

But today, God spoke to me as He often does in that still small way He has. He said:

This little bird is singing at my own direction, and who are you to tell it that its not the right time? When is it wrong to sing of My glory, to sing just for the sheer joy of singing. Don’t I welcome any prayer, any song, day or night? Am I ever too busy to rejoice when one of my creatures is singing, do I ever turn away from your song?

And I don’t know if there is such an expression of a heart that pangs, but my heart did pang as I rolled down the window this morning in the dark just to hear my little friend sing.

A tear threatened, when I thought of all the times I have squashed another’s enthusiasm…..a song they longed to share, because I was too busy wallowing in my own problems to open up my heart, my ears, and truly rejoice with them.

And I thought….how I stifle my own song, how I rob someone of the joy of hearing it. Me, for thinking it’s not worthy of singing. Then, and this one last thought is painful……of voices long stilled, and how I would give anything to hear them again, no matter the day or the hour.

Thank you little bird, and thank you God. For using one of your creatures to instruct me once again…..

Wishing you a bit of grace

Not much going on around here…..just hanging out waiting to see if there is anything good coming out of the fridge!

Actually, I am at work. Briggs is the one just hanging out. More than likely right now he is dreaming of chasing mice or catnip…..

Until I can get a bit of time to post, I am at my desk.

Hope your Saturday is going wonderfully……

To all in Rome (and the rest of the world) who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7

The other morning before I left for work I grabbed a Bible CD from my bookshelf. I saw that it was Romans so I put it back, (I thought) since I had just read that. When I got in the car, I heard “Romans Chapter 1”

And I was glad, because you can never read the book of Romans too often.

Happy Saturday fellow bloggers and readers!

Beside the still waters

For the Scripture says: “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed”………Romans 10:11
Last night I stayed up most of the night to take care of a sick little cat. He has been coughing and hiding under the bed. I really thought that today he would be the day to take him in. I know many people, even Christians who make light of the sickness or death of a beloved pet. “It’s not the same,” they say, “as when a human dies.” They make light of the grief…..
But one thing I know. Death feels like death, and grief feels like grief…….It’s the same blackness, the same hell we escaped from….just barely.  It’s the same tears spilling down…..it’s comfort that is needed, and to do anything less is to ignore Holy Scripture…..for this is the truth of it:
“Now we who are strong ought to bare the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” Romans 15:1, 2
And, also:
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
And you just don’t know, there may be an ocean of events leading up to this one thing that brakes the back of the camel……
As I tossed and turned last night, all I could think of was all the other grief, from all the other times. Funerals, memorials, big ugly flower arrangements and holes in the dark cold earth. They all mean the same thing. The thing that should never have been. But the thing we must live with every day until Jesus comes again.
I thought again how very unnatural illness is, how foreign death was when the world was new. And how very wrong.
But on the opposite corner stands Jesus and He is our life……Thanks be to God!
I recited the 23rd Psalm as I waited for sleep to come. I thought of a little white cat lying down beside me in green pastures……I pictured us sitting on the shore, watching the quiet waters lap upon the shore.
I am happy to say, this morning Sydney is still with us. He sat on my lap for awhile this morning and ate and drank water. He is back under the bed but the coughing has subsided for now.
And with the morning came grace for awhile yet.

The Art of Being

 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:1-6

He held us captive, with his antics.
As he went through a whole routine of bathing and grooming, he seemed to know we were watching.

He even gave us a big smile for the camera……
Then he hid his eyes……
As we all watched, enthralled, I was struck by how a group of strangers became friends for the whole time he put on his show. We were unified in our adoration of his antics, his free spirit.
The simple beauty of watching one of His creations just being him (or her) self.
At peace in his world.
And for awhile, we were at peace in ours.
He gave us a gift, this little guy did.
I asked God, if I could keep it, that peaceful feeling I felt on the shore. He said, “Yes, there is plenty of peace where that came from just as long as you rest in me, child.
………just rest in me.
So today I am taking a lesson from the otter, and rest in my place in Creation, just relax in the waves.
Just be.  
(click on pictures to make larger)

Along came a spider

I was driving home a couple of weeks ago when it finally happened. The thing I always dreaded. The “what would I do if this happened scenario.” I was talking to my Dad on the commute home when I noticed something in my peripheral vision……a movement. Say it isn’t so. But there it was, skittering across the dash like it owned the place. A spider. Everyone who knows me knows how I feel about them.

I know they are God’s creatures. I know they are good to have around…..as long as they remember their place…..outside. I know they eat flies and other pests, and that their webs are works of art, especially when hit with morning dew. I really can see the beauty in that. But where there’s a web there’s an occupant. There it is, smack dab in the middle of that glorious creation…….along with all eight creepy legs that I imagine crawling across my face in the middle of the night.

That actually happened to me once and I never forgot it.

Surprisingly, Charlotte’s Web was my favorite book growing up, but no matter how my Dad tried to tell me to “let Charlotte live”  it didn’t matter. It only pulled on my heartstrings for a second…..right before I switched on the vacuum cleaner and sucked Charlotte right into her new forever home.

There it was, dangerously close, on my side of the dash. I held my breath and leaned over as far as I could toward the passenger side. Then it leisurely went across to the other side….I released my breath. It was tortuous. I thought it would help if I stayed on the phone and so I did, never letting the panic hit my voice. I was extremely proud of myself for exercising such supreme discipline and control.

That is, until it started to crawl, in that fast creepy way they have, right over to where I was sitting. Trapped. My hands gripped the wheel and did the only thing I could do.

I sped up.

Then the worst happened, it disappeared! I lost track of the sucker. Any minute I expected it to float down right in front of my face. The not knowing was worse than actually seeing it.

It appeared again by my left shoulder. That’s when all my self control and discipline went out the window. By the time I approached the Wal-Mart off-ramp I was approaching 80 MPH. I was in complete control of course, my hands never left the wheel except for once.

I barrelled around the corner and screeched to a stop in the garden center parking lot. By that time it had managed to make it all the way to the backseat floorboards. I should have let it go but I didn’t. I got a towel from the trunk and smashed it good.

I feel bad for killing one of God’s creatures….

If it just hadn’t been in my car.

Later I told my Dad about it. After the laughter subsided he told me he was impressed by my tremendous display of self discipline.

All Creatures Great and Small

What a wonderful treat it was to come home from work last night and watch my first installment of this series that I remember so well. I used to watch it on PBS years ago. It is so very different from anything you see on TV now…….I smiled when I heard the theme music and saw the old clunky cars and English country roads.

The series is based on James Herriot’s years as a country vet in Yorkshire, England. It was so much fun to see James bump into Helen, his future wife soon after he got off the bus after arriving at his new destination fresh from college.

I heartily recommend it! Pop some corn, get some drinks and settle in. You may have to turn it up a bit so you can hear what’s said more clearly. Some of those accents are pretty thick, but you have to hear what they say to get the nuance of the humor.

Well, that’s all I have for now.

Hope you are enjoying a blessed Sunday!

Lori

Hide and Seek

“God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden… The best gift of the desert is God’s presence… The protective love of the Shepherd gives me courage to face the interior journey.” — Paul E. Miller (A Praying Life)

I almost missed these little guys as I walked by…….Sometimes it is hard to find the beauty in a day, sometimes there is turbulence in the soul that distracts us from it. But it is there all the time.
 
This morning the sunrise made the clouds blush a wonderful pink…….God was telling me, look what I did for you! At every turn, He does something stunning in nature and it never stops. An ever changing piece of His artwork.
 
Life and noise try to compete for it, but we must not let it get the best of us.
 
That’s all I got today. Getting ready for another trip to California to visit the family.
 
Camera ready!
 
Peace and Blessings for a wonderful weekend opening your eyes to what God shows you……
 

pics taken with iphone on a walk in the desert this spring

All Creatures Great and Small

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” Saint Francis of Assisi
Today I honor our animal friends with a photo essay of “Briggs.” I am so thankful for the joy and the laughter our pets bring to our lives, and for the comfort they so unreservedly give, expecting nothing in return. They leave their footprints across our hearts and change us for the better. I am thankful for all those who volunteer in shelters, giving their love and time and extending their compassion to all God’s creatures who have been left behind and abandoned.

“Oh, no she has that black thing out again that clicks and flashes the bright light………must you do that nooowwww?”

“Okay, if you insist on doing that, I will just do my best to ignore you and take a bath……”

“Doing my best to look thoughtful and pensive……how am I doing?”

“This is all so very tiring…..I think I will just lay here and guard my mouse.”

“A cat’s work is never done……”

Thankful today for all the ones I have held and known, run and played with throughout my life. Thankful for a loving God who saw fit to create them for us as wonderful companions in the journey of life.

Briggs is the king of the house and loves everyone…..Sydney adopted me as his own and follows me everywhere, flopping upside down in my lap every night…..

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Cecil Frances Alexander

holy experience

Morning Journal

When morning gilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When you begin the day, O never fail to say,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
And at your work rejoice, to sing with heart and voice,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
German hymn, author unknown
The birds were busy this morning,  as they crisscrossed staccato clouds. Roused from their nightime secrets places of slumber, they now have places to go, things to do.
Bunny is busy too, zig-zagging further down the street. It was a gilded sunrise, everything washed in peach……I had a great night’s sleep and I feel rested, first time in four days.
The moon still hangs lazily above the cloud bank to my right. I guess she is not ready to wake up on the other side of the world just yet.
What a luxury it is to sit here and watch the world wake up.
In my memory, I see myself, my Dad, a group of us standing in a circle holding hands on a green lawn, still damp with dew. We are singing the song, “Morning Has Broken.” Celebration in the air……
It is Easter sunrise.
Today I had another.