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Friday, February 29, 2008

Bird song

Mockingbird outside window in California

A year ago we went to see our daughter and son-in law in California and they were complaining about a mockingbird outside their bedroom window that was singing, chattering doing its thing all night long. I brought a book to read at the time, Why Birds Sing: A journey into the mystery of birdsong by David Rothenberg. The author stated at the end of his scientific search, “Before we are artists or scientists we are human beings, and when we confront phenomena as enigmatic and tenacious as bird song, no single one of our faculties is enough. The beautiful songs of life are older than our entire species, and they will continue long after all human music has dissolved. If the works of God are to be heard on Earth, there is no better place to find them than in the deep intricacies of incomprehensible bird song.” (P. 218)
I have a Biblically based theory that especially birds, who did not fall from grace as we humans did, are directed, as from the beginning, by their creator for His glory. I also believe that God is sovereign and anything that comes into our lives is for His purpose, especially for those who believe. I've experienced birds waking me up early so I could get up and pray and they did not stop until I did. So I said to our daughter and husband, “There must be a reason why God placed this bird there. Perhaps you need to wake up for some reason. By the way, it is mating season and this is what mockingbird males do.” When we returned to see them this year, we slept on a blowup mattress in the baby to be’s room. The mockingbird had no need to sing near their window but was outside our window. He didn’t start his repertoire until it was past time for us to rise so we could join him in praising God for the new life that will come to our family in April.
To hear the mockingbird: angelambryant Mockingbird song

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sore spots

Yucca at the patio edge

From last time’s blog, I continued to think about what traps me in life. I thought of how often I get too busy, a trap, and don’t ask others for help. Often if I do ask for help, those I ask are too busy and I can’t get the help I need. So I asked God, “What can I get rid of in my life and who could help me with what is left?” The first thing to go was the predisposition to expecting others won’t help me when I ask. “Forgive my "bitter root" expectations. Take them away, Lord," I asked. The very next day I ran into two people who offered to help in the future and another friend that showed up to work in the garden. I seized her and my husband, Neil, and we tackled a job I have wanted to do for at least seven years, hide a sore spot. It is easier to grab my husband when there is another person willing to help.

We targeted to move some sun loving Yuccas that multiplied with too much fun beyond their space to a new place and purpose. The two of us rounded up the long spikes to tie them up with twine so we wouldn’t lose an eye over it or get injured elsewhere. We cleared out the area underneath and cut the connecting roots with a pruning saw, so the surrounding plants would not be damaged when we moved the few. Neil dug them up and moved them below, three of them as well as babies to a dirt mound he had been preparing to hide the generator, the eye sore in our view. I love the way it softens and we hope the yucca love it there as much.

Again, in these weeks of Lent, I look at sore spots. I am thankful, Lord, that you have the answer to dealing with them. All I need to do is ask. Thank you for the quickly answered prayer, the encouragement of a friend arriving at just the right time to convince Neil to help. Thank you for moving me to another spot in life for your purpose, protecting me and keeping me out of the traps.

Matthew 7:7-8

Friday, February 1, 2008

January's over

Our newly refurbished Monarch woodstove

My mother always said, “If you get through January then you’ll live for the rest of the year.” The Januarys she probably referred to were the bitter cold and snow filled Nova Scotia Januarys where she grew up and where we spent summers. Even in the summers the woodstove in her homestead would be lit first thing in the morning to boil the water from the spring at the foot of the hill, and warm up the chill of the night. In January it would burn day and most of the night. We got through January here in the Northwest easily with just a little snow this week. Not so my favorite aunt, Mom’s sister, Aunt Dolly, from Nova Scotia. This last day of January she died of a stroke surrounded by family. She was an inspiration to me, still writing books at 93 and active in her community making a difference. I will miss her.

So the day after she died, today, Friday, I lit the fire in our newly refurbished Monarch wood stove in memory of Mom and Aunt Dolly who cooked on them. I was glad our regular first Friday of the month jam session was at our house tonight. It was fun to gather with friends who also love music while in the back of my head remembering aunts, uncles and cousins in Nova Scotia gathering every summer to welcome us back. They didn’t call it a jam session then or even a ceilidh (music and storytelling gathering) which it was. For the family gathering everyone brought food and drink, and musical instruments, voices and dancing feet. They gathered at the old homestead, with its pump organ, woodstove and warmth of music and life and stories we didn’t want to end.
Today, I believe there is an even a greater homecoming party in heaven for Aunt Dolly with music and singing and stories as she gathers with her nine brothers and sisters including my Mom in who passed before her and my grandfather and grandmother, who read her Bible stories that she now sees for real. The party, unlike January will never end.