I Sing Because I'm Free

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If you feed them, they will come

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Two wren “love birds” on my deck

I can tell I am getting older- because I’m starting to enjoy doing weird things.  Ok, not completely weird– just different.

Like bird watching.

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A wren and a cardinal at my new bird hang-out

 My girls came home the other day from a friend’s house with an entire box full of “bird food”- pine cones, smeared in peanut butter and then rolled in bird seed.  Yes, it was just as messy as it sounds.

Right before our first snowfall, I placed a few pinecones in each of the empty flower pots that sat on our deck.  We woke up one morning to a winter wonderland, and as I cooked breakfast, I heard the sweetest bird singing his little heart out.

Who knew?  If you feed them- they will come.

 Perched on the railing of our deck, he bobbed his head up and down as he sang out into the back yard.

I watched as his friends began to join him on the deck.

It was the coolest thing.  I just knew he was signaling his friends that he found food.  I cleaned up the dishes as I watched through the kitchen window.  Finches, bluebirds, wrens, and even a cardinal came to the feast.

I have begun to look forward to seeing these little guys every morning.  My husband jokingly asked me the other day if I have started naming them…. well, not yet, but now I’m thinking about it!

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Bluebirds are a colorful favorite of mine

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Matthew 6:26

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This little one sings his heart out every morning!!

It makes me wonder what else I have been missing out on all these years.  All it took was a little effort on my part, and the return on JOY I have received has been twofold!  And to think- these birds have been here all along….all it took was a little bit of seed-throwing and now they are a lovely part of my day.

Remember this–a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.  2 Corinthians 9:6

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His mercy is new

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intrigued by morning’s glow

of a winter sunrise

I leash up my best friend

to take him out and feast our eyes

on the beautiful light of dawn

as we watch Him paint away-

once again, I am reminded

His mercy is new today 

I have not been sleeping well lately.  I admit that I have complained a little about this because it leaves me feeling tired.  All the time.

I love how God renews, refreshes, and reveals little things to me- when I am paying attention.  Just yesterday, in our women’s small group at church, we watched a short video of a sermon about being hungry.  The pastor said his very favorite part of the day was at 4 am when he woke up and got to spend time alone with God- all by himself.  He said he couldn’t wait for this time every day!

Yep, I had to gulp a little when I heard him say that.  Because lately, I have been so frustrated that I haven’t been able to get a full night’s sleep.  When I see the clock at 2, 3, and 4am…I have been less than thrilled.

He really gave me grace this morning, because I didn’t see the clock until 5am!  And when I woke up, I kept hearing that pastor say that was his favorite time.

Yes- it could be mine, too… if I commit it to Him…

And so this morning- I did.

Imagine my delight when I walked into the living room, and saw the pink glow of the sunrise coming through the window. I leashed up my dog and took him out with me. It was gorgeous.  And I love that the most beautiful part was hidden behind the trees.  You have to intentionally look for it.

Just like we have to intentionally look for Him!

And the EARLIER in the day- the BETTER!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.  Psalm 143:8

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Ice walk

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a winter wonderland

ice-layered trees

sing for joy

unveiling their frailty,

revealing their beauty,  

 and declaring their

devotion

to the Son

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“Momma, I don’t feel like myself today.”

We all have days when we feel out of sorts.  A Sunday morning at home always leaves me feeling like something is missing.  Due to the snow and ice, the girls had been home from school for a week, and we were all going a little stir crazy. And then church was cancelled, too.  That, alone,  always leaves me feeling a bit “off”.

“Baby, neither do I…” I lovingly told my daughter.  “We are all a little stir crazy and out of our normal routines.”

Since church was cancelled, I decided to take a long walk.  The girls and I bundled up and headed out. We didn’t say a word to each other.  We walked in silence as we took in the ice-transformed landscape.  All we could hear was the sound of ice crackling, water dripping,  and birds singing.  It was nature’s symphony, and it was breathtakingly beautiful.

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I am so thankful that I don’t have to be at church to be in His presence.  I am thankful that I don’t even have to utter a word to spend time with Him.  It’s usually me that’s doing the singing on Sunday mornings- what a treat it was to hear His creation singing for joy!  It was the perfect time for me to be still and silent before Him.  He knows just what we need to feel His peace again.  He is always faithful to meet us wherever we are- and He did just that on our ice-walk!

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;

    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord…

Psalm 96

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No more regrets

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it’s the quality

not the quantity of time

that yields no regrets

I can’t get the word “temporary” off my mind today.  It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that every detail of this day (and every day) is temporary- the snow…the beautiful way it shines like diamonds in the sun…the girl’s excitement over getting to stay home another day-  tomorrow it will all be gone. Our circumstances, those “hiccups” in our daily plans?  All temporary.

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Even my “little girls” are temporary- and who am I kidding? They aren’t so little anymore. My oldest is so big, she’s wearing my coat!  How in the world did she grow up so fast?!  

These snow days have left me feeling a little melancholy.  Sometimes I feel like I missed out on so much when they were little. I was blessed to have taught piano and voice lessons in my home when they were young, but I wish I could go back and do it all over…  

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and clean a little less…play a little more…prioritize my time better

pray more and worry less…and not feel so guilty about everything little thing I did or didn’t do…

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I regret not savoring those special snow days when the girls were little. I used to feel so guilty for having to cancel my music lessons and for not working, that I didn’t allow myself to enjoy those days.

I had a lot of quantity time with the girls- but not much of it was quality time. I rushed them around with me every morning- teaching aerobics, doing errands, make lunch, and pray they napped so I could clean my “office” – which was my entire house.  Every day.

Those “little girl” days were temporary.

Thankfully, those days of rushing here and there are far enough behind me that the girls don’t even remember them- but there are days like today that I do.  I am thankful for His grace, and thankful that He knows how to remind me to slow down and appreciate more of these “moments” now.  Because every one of them are temporary, and we never get them back.

So, now I ask myself this often-

When tomorrow comes, what would I regret not doing today? 

and then I do it.

No more guilt- no more regrets.

Teach us to number our days,

    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

 

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Love needs no words

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love is

a language

where no words

are needed

Sometimes I need an interpreter so others can understand me.  Because I mix up my words. all. the. time.

My husband and I had just started dating, and I was still in high school.  Several nights a week, I worked a part-time job which is where I happened to meet my boyfriend. One evening, my then-boyfriend (now-husband) picked me up from work to take me home.  I was so tired.  Tired from going to school all day and then standing on my feet at work.  I confess, I have never had a lot of stamina, and I am always tired… and sometimes I say things that make absolutely no sense. Ok…lots of times. But the funny thing is- when you really know one another- you just know what the other person is thinking. I remember the rain falling on this particular evening, and I was staring out the window as he pulled into my driveway.

I’m so tall…” I said in the most exasperated voice I could muster, staring out the window with my eyes barely open.

I heard my future husband start to laugh.

And I looked at him, totally confused…

“Babe, don’t you mean you’re so tired?” he said.

I began to laugh as I realized what I actually said.  The funny thing is – I am tall- 5’10” to be exact,  but he knew exactly what I was thinking when my words failed me.

You know what’s awesome about that?  God does the same thing with us. He knows us so intimately that He understands our hearts, and knows the intention behind our words and our actions.  We never have to lament over our words, or worry about how they might come across- because He knows us, and He knows our heart so intimately.

Sometimes I have to remind myself this when it comes to my relationships.  How many times do you read too much into someone’s words?  Instead of misinterpreting them, I need to remember their heart and believe that the best way to receive their words is always with love.

To this day, I still say “I’m so tall” to my hubby… and we both laugh. Because after all these years, all I have to do is utter that phrase… and it takes us right back to that special night- nearly 20 years ago!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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If there were no clouds…

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Our church at sunset…

 if there were no clouds

we’d never see the beauty

revealed when they move

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From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised- Psalm 113:3

 For the last few weeks I have felt clouds looming overhead- obstructing my view. But I am learning to trust Him. He always works things out. Every single time.

 This past weekend, my laptop went crazy.  Just fyi- a blank screen with a flashing question mark on your laptop is never a good sign…

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As soon as I realized that this problem was beyond my limited expertise, I started praying. I really needed this laptop to work. I had an assignment due for an online class I am taking, and all my passwords were on it.  I kept praying, and trusting that somehow He was going to work it out for me.

I couldn’t take it anywhere until the next afternoon, and every time I started to get anxious thinking about this computer issue, I prayed.

 I stood in line the next day at the “computer hospital” and prayed some more.  Continuously.  I stepped up to the counter and they told me it would be 12 to 18 days to have it fixed.  They gave me a couple of ideas of what could be wrong with it.  I kept on praying.

“I really need this tonight.” I told them.

“Well, since we are slow right now, we’ll run some more diagnostics on it.”

I stood there and prayed.  And I didn’t stop. I knew that even if it didn’t get fixed that night, that He would guide me in what do to next, but I couldn’t stop hoping.

They took my laptop to the back room for further testing. I felt like I was in a doctor’s waiting room. After what seemed like forever, he came out from the back room.

“I’ve got good news for you. We can fix it. We just received a shipment of the exact part you need this morning and I can have it fixed in the next hour.”

Praise the Lord! 

As I look back on this, and other things that have been a distraction to me lately, I see how He is using these little challenges to draw me closer to Him. He’s working on me-to trust Him more, to have joy in the midst of any circumstance, and to pray continuously- for everything!

When the clouds come my way- Lord, help me to have faith that You’re gonna use them paint a magnificent sunset!

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  Philippians 1:6

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Connected

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Sometimes I wonder

what it looks like down under

beneath the ground’s soil

they run

The roots intertwine

they mingle and wind

connecting-

becoming as one

IMG_3449We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:5

I went on a wild goose chase the other night. I found a web site that talked about Pando- the world’s largest single living organism- a forest of trees all coming from the same under the ground root system. Trees have always fascinated me.  But here’s a little secret fear I have- roots.  The thought of roots deep in the ground, growing and intertwining creeps me out!

So my husband saw me reading about Pando and he was intrigued.  He already knew all about the Pando, but he was so curious-  Why was I looking this up and how did I find it??

I kind of chuckled.  It made total sense to me how I got there… but I had to back-track the steps-

-I took these pictures of trees from a friend’s yard

-I wondered how old they must be

-I thought about their ginormous, scary roots under the ground

-then thought about how the roots of all these old trees must be connected to one another

In order to de-sensitize myself from the horrific images of roots in my mind, I looked up pictures of roots…

and then popped up Pando on my google.  Made perfect sense, right?

FullSizeRenderI started thinking about family trees and how we can trace back to the “roots” of our heritage. I have a wonderful family, and I have been blessed with some wonderful friends whom are like family to me as well.  My family is like a single tree- and those special friends of mine that are like family- well, I guess you could say that all of my friends have their own “family trees”, but our “roots” are connected under ground.  Our “root” connection is Christ.

Our intertwining “roots” are more like veins in the body of Christ… except it is His blood that brings life to the Body.  We are but little blood vessels and by the blood He shed for us, His Spirit flows through us.

And here’s another little secret- connecting with people is a little scary, too. For so long, I shut myself off from people because of fear of rejection.  But I have learned to let Him be my guide.  In order to connect, that requires a little bit of reaching out- and a whole lot of “Son” light.

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27

And as always, He brings the trees, the roots, and the connections full circle-right back to Him!

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