Angry Birds acrobatics?

blogIMG_0316 (2)It looked like a scene right out of Angry Birds.

Birds plummeted through the sky like they were being shot out of a slingshot or a rocket.

Last evening after dinner, hubby went outside to finish mowing our two-plus acre yard.  I plunked down on the front porch swing, enjoying the cool evening air and engrossed in a book.

I didn’t pay much attention to hubby’s mowing job, but the steady roar of our trusty John Deere lawn tractor sounded in my ears, as well as a car or truck passing by.  An occasional car horn toot to sound hello greetings from a friend driving past caused me to raise my head from my book and wave.

Suddenly the droning stopped and I heard my husband yell for me.  I stood up, turned around because he was in the side yard behind me, wondering what was wrong.  He was just sitting on the tractor with a goofy grin on his face and I couldn’t figure out why he wanted my attention.  And then I saw them.  Birds!

The birds were going crazy!  A flock of birds were swooping, dive-bombing and coming awfully close to my husband’s head!  They circled around him; they flew straight up into the air and then made a beeline for the ground.  They quickly darted through the air, floating and turning, soaring and swerving.

Hubby laughed, “Look at the bird acrobatic show!”  I watched as they catapulted through the air, lunging and plunging, flying and diving each time.  I felt certain they were attacking him because they flew extremely close to him.

“What’s going on?” I asked.  “Why are they angry at you?  Is there a nest nearby or what?”

“No,” he replied.  “This happens every time I mow.  I think I’m stirring up all the bugs in the ground and the birds are flocking in to eat them.”

A feeding frenzy.  Not angry birds, hungry birds foraging for a tasty treat, thanks to the human on the noisy mower.

Hubby shrugged, started up the tractor, and proceeded with his lawn manicure job.  And the birds kept up their acrobatic performance.  I imagine there were some satisfied songbirds with full tummies.

I sat back down on the porch swing, picked up my book, listened to the tractor’s constant hum, inhaled the scent of freshly cut grass, and a big satisfied sigh escaped from me.  Ah, life in the country…. no annoying noise, no loud neighbors, no steady stream of traffic, no distractions, no addicting games like Angry Birds.

Just a simple evening enjoying the simple things in life, including a few hungry birds.  In my Opportunity book, Chapter 8, Page 26, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Counting birthday blessings instead of calories

blogDSCN0122I’m parked on my front porch swing absorbing the beauty of a sunshine-filled day with baby blue skies dotted by fluffy clouds while being cooled by a balmy, light breeze and I’m contemplating life.

Why such a serious subject on a gorgeous summery day you may wonder.   Simple answer, my birthday’s drawing nigh.

I think when you pass a significant number of years in age, you really begin taking stock of your life, how you’ve lived it thus far, and how you want to live what years remain.  Let’s just call that maturity.

Someone once said, “We know we’re getting old when the only thing we want for our birthday is not to be reminded of it.”    I don’t necessarily relish birthdays any more especially when I stop to calculate how old I really am.  But I do like to reflect on years past and consider the future when my birth date rolls around on the calendar.

A friend and co-worker deposited a lovely polka-dotted gift bag on my desk yesterday.  She inquired whether I’d be savoring birthday cake for my special day;  I replied negatively.  There’s really no sense in having cake for just hubby and me here at the empty nest.  We’d end up eating the entire thing ourselves and goodness knows, neither one of us needs all those calories!

Besides, if I’m going to indulge in sweets for the day commemorating just how close I’m creeping towards the big 6-O, then I’d much rather have a big ol’ vanilla cream-filled powdered sugar doughnut.  Yep, I’d go for the sugar gusto of a doughnut over cake any day.  So, even though cake is yummy, no cake for me this year.

No cake, no candles, no party and I’ve told hubby to not spend money on gifts either.  Really, material things don’t matter much to me anymore, and receiving gifts, while lovely, just doesn’t fill up my love language tank.  What floats my boat is spending a wonderful time with those I love most.

As I reflect on birthdays past, that’s exactly what I’ve been given for every birthday I’ve celebrated –  blessings in the way of family gathered around me.   Until I passed my 9th birthday, I not only had my parents and sisters in my life but also my maternal grandparents.

Eventually, brothers-in-law were added to the family and then baby nieces and a nephew were born.   And God blessed me with a true love, a husband who has never, ever forgotten my birthday and makes me feel special and loved.

By the time our beloved three children came along, we didn’t live near our families, but my own little family made my birthdays memorable and so blessed.  Add a vast assortment of friends to my birthday blessings and I realize how much joy I’ve been given over the years.

So now at this juncture of life, when I have been the recipient of so much, it’s way past time for me to commence identifying what I give back in return and how should I increase that measure.

What impact do I make on others’ lives?  In what ways can I bestow joy to someone else?  How can I encourage and lift up someone who’s heart is breaking, someone who faces the uncertain unknown, or someone who needs a faithful, listening friend?

Today in Chapter 6 (already!), Page 2 in my wonderful book entitled Opportunity, that’s what I’m contemplating – looking back at how far I’ve come, yet seeing how much farther I need to go to fulfill my purpose here in this world.

I have always been a person of good intentions, but too often have not followed through on them and that is something I need to change.   When God plants a person’s name in my mind, I need to stop what I’m doing right then and pray for him or her.  When He gives me an idea about how to bless another, I must ensure that idea comes to fruition.

Years ago, someone gave me a perpetual calendar with quotes and a Bible verse for each day of the year.  For the last several years, the calendar occupied space on my workplace desk.  As I turned the page to my birth date, the quote greeting me seemed appropriate for my special day:

“I expect to pass through the world but once.  Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now.  Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”  ~ Attributed to Stephen Grellet, Quaker missionary

I want to make this my birthday prayer.   Next year, Lord willing, on my birthday, I hope I can say that I’ve given many more blessings than I have received.


A firefly in the dark

blogDSCN7880I awakened this morning with so many thoughts rambling through my brain, I fear my synapses are going to overload. 

So let’s see if I can make sense out of all the electronic firings going on in my head and put some of them into written words.

Lately it’s been hot and humid where I live, but that is very typical for the month of July. 

However, a few nights have cooled down sufficiently so that I can open my windows at night and sleep with delightfully fresh air and that makes me happy.

Last evening, it was cool enough to venture outside to my front porch and plunk myself down on the porch swing.  While I was doing so, I also had a phone conversation with someone near and dear to me who is going through an unnerving glitch in life right now.

As we spoke, my desire was to encourage her as much as I could.  Our conversation turned to the things of God, as it should.  We were discussing how hard it is to wrap our minds around our infinite God, more specifically how we can not seem to truly comprehend how much He loves us.  As in “amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

We turned a corner when we started discussing priorities in life – how we make things, people, events the center of our lives instead of Jesus being the center of our world.   As my dear one shared that God is teaching her to rely on Him, depend on Him and make Him her number one priority, something amazing occurred to me.

So here it comes, true confession time.  For many years, I thought Jesus was my first priority, but I have come to the realization that actually I placed my family in that number one spot.

Ah ha!  The light bulb comes on!  Actually while I was contemplating this, evening had descended on my yard and the fireflies (or lightning bugs as we call them here) started twinkling everywhere.

Talk about a light bulb moment! As those fireflies lit up the dark night, and it is really dark out here in the country at night, with their little bits of light, God’s truth was sparking in my mind and soul.  Because of my displaced priorities, letting my now adult children go bravely into the world has been difficult for me.  I’ve struggled over the last few years with this “empty nest” thing.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t really want my children to stay child-like, depending on us.  I’m proud and thankful that they’ve managed to grow up well, be responsible and accountable young adults, and are capable of taking care of themselves quite nicely, thank you very much! But the mama in me misses the old days sometimes, when our house was filled with young ‘uns and their antics and laughter….and they needed me more.

Now that the college days are over, my young adults are all moving out into homes of their own.   And I have such mixed emotions about that.  Happy, excited and thankful for them…..sad and a little melancholy for me.  In a lot of ways, this past year has been my year of loss and this just seems like one more loss to withstand.

So my revelation last night has given me a new perspective.  Because I’ve placed my family first, instead of giving my Lord his due,  it’s no wonder I feel like I do.  A little restructuring of priorities is in order.   Which brings me back to my brain in overload mode.

Quite some time ago, a close friend gave me a book entitled Praying for Purpose.  It is sectioned off into 60 days worth of reading.  I still haven’t completed it even though it’s been long past 60 days when I started the book.  I pick it up, put it down, pick it up….you get the picture.

Well, this morning I picked it up.  And on this day, the subject is “How Do You Prioritize Your Roles and Goals?”  The author quotes someone saying “…if you don’t prioritize using God’s Spirit and his Word as your plumb line, you will lose your peace, feel like a failure, and end up doing nothing well.  And that is never God’s purpose….”

Good thoughts, way to get your head on straight and prioritize those goals, but I’m going to take it one step further.  I must not just use God’s Spirit and Word as my plumb line,  I must place my Lord God — Creator of the universe and those tiny sparkling fireflies, Savior and Lover of my soul — where He belongs, the holder of the plumb line.  He must be first, so that all the rest, including my family whom I hold so dear, fall in line.

And that is my firefly moment.