Archive for December 2011

Another Day, Another Year

December 31, 2011

Well, so this is it.  The end of another year.  The beginning of a new one.  Another year to live, move, and have our being in God.  Another year to learn of His fullness and faithfulness.  Another year to learn how feeble our own efforts are.

What is it about a new year that makes everyone want to come up with resolutions, plans, etc, more than any other time?  Well, I guess it’s understandable.  I tend to choose my birthday as a point for review, but if you want to use the new year that’s fine.  I think people may use the new year as a time to turn a fresh page, so to speak, in their copy book (there’s an old allusion for you).  The hope is that we can make each new year better than the last, meaning less mistakes, less blots on the page, less heartache, and more good memories, good deeds, and joy.

Personally, I think the New Year’s resolutions are a faulty method to achieve the goal.  Resolutions focus on what we are doing or not doing.  But we are not the point of this life.  Instead of focusing on ourselves, what if we all made this New Year’s about a closer look at GodHe is the point of each new year, each new day, each hour, each minute.

And I think if we truly focused on Him in whom we find our life, breath, and being, we would find those mistakes lessening, heartaches easing, good memories abounding, good deeds flowing naturally, and joy springing up like a fountain from the depths!  What we could never achieve through our own efforts suddenly becomes effortless when God is doing it in us.

So that is my challenge to you this New Year’s Eve.

Forget the resolutions.

Focus on the Father, trusting Him to work all good things within you.

Have a Faith filled New Year!

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My Christmas Gift to You!

December 25, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Shepherd’s Tale

The city below was hushed and dark,
and starlight lit the hill.
The sheep were sleeping soundly,
and the night around was still.

Then in the quiet came a light,
and we lay in awe and fear.
The angel of the Lord had come,
and we our dooms did wait to hear.

But he bade us be not frightened,
for his tidings were only good.
A savior had been born he said
in Bethlehem which nearby stood.

A sign he gave us ere he left
to help us know the child.
We’d find him wrapped in swaddling clothes
in a manger – and we smiled.

No sooner had he finished
than a multitude appeared,
who sang a song of praise and joy,
and then the heavens cleared.

A moment thus we sat and gaped
then one by one we stood.
We ran as one to find the babe,
and share these tidings good.

We found them, as the angel said,
and gathered round the manger.
With Mary and Joseph we worshiped there,
then ran to tell the neighbors.

Many heard but couldn’t believe
that shepherds such as we
Would ever have been favored so
that angels we should see.

So we went back to find our sheep
all there and sleeping still,
And many nights we sat and sang
the angels’ song upon the hill.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

For the Birds

December 3, 2011

In response to a suggestion from Sister, I realized that I have to write a post about birds.

For not being avid birders, my siblings and I can identify a fair number of birds.  Sister is currently taking a course at college in which she is learning to recognize several dozen birds by sight and sound, and all her practice at home has made this much easier.

Think about it.  How many birds would you recognize if you met them on the street?  Probably a cardinal, or a blue jay, and most people know a crow when they see or hear one.  You might know it’s an owl, but would you know what kind?

Almost as long as I can remember, we’ve had feeders where we feed the birds.  While we get the most birds in the winter, the feeders are full most of the year, and we get visits from the sparrows almost year round.  Yes, we get House Sparrows, aka the English Sparrow, Chickadees (my personal favorites), Cardinals, Blue Jays, House Finches, American Goldfinches, Chipping Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and Juncos.  Not all of them stay year round, but we see quite a few of the smaller birds throughout the winter.

Then there are the Robins who come to greet the spring.  I usually hear these guys before I see them!  Yes, I can recognize a Robin by its song, as well as the Cardinal (who has several calls), Chickadee, and and others.  Summer also brings the Red-Winged Blackbirds, the Cowbirds, and the Starlings.  Grackles are neat looking black birds with iridescent heads.

And don’t forget the hawks!  We saw a Cooper’s Hawk and a Sharp-Shinned Hawk within a couple hours of each other just this past week.   A pair of Red-Tailed Hawks has been nesting in the woods behind our house for years.   We’ve even seen a Peregrine Falcon and an American Kestrel at different times.  And yes, we saw an owl once, being chased by a noisy bunch of crows.  It was too far away to identify exactly which owl it was, but we tried.

Whenever we see a new bird, we hit the bird books until we can figure out what it was we saw.  That happened when we saw our first White-Crowned Sparrow and White-Throated Sparrow, which look very similar.  It happened again when we saw the Kinglet that accidentally flew into our sliding glass door.  And we even had to resort to the internet when some of us saw a Green Heron fly across the back yard.  We see Blue Herons all the time, but the Green one was new to us.

And I shouldn’t forget the Mourning Doves that love to perch on the top of our roof or on the top of our swing set and sing their sad song.  Or they will bustle around under our feeders, looking for the seeds that other birds drop.

We’ve also made sightings of a few rare (for our locale) birds, like a Red-Bellied Woodpecker (normally all we see are the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers), a couple of Flickers, and once or twice some Cedar Waxwings.  Before we moved to our current house, we even saw a couple of Common Redpolls.

Some birds like to feed in the woods, so we rarely see them, like the Rose-Breasted Grossbeaks.  Others visit our pond for a few weeks, like the Mallard Ducks we get in the spring.  Other birds we’ve only seen while away from home, but we know a Bald Eagle when we see it.  And the Gulls that love to occupy parking lots and devour any fast food we humans carelessly leave behind.

I love the many different kinds of birds.  Each one is so different, and each one is so beautiful.  Next time you get a chance, why don’t you take a pair of binoculars or just your own two eyes (or four, if you’re like me) and go to a park or some wooded area and watch for some birds.  Maybe you’ll discover a new pastime.  Maybe you won’t see anything in feathers.

I realize that in some areas of the country, temperatures and ground cover (aka snow) may get in the way, and many of the birds may be gone.  But not every bird flies south for the winter!  Or you can wait till spring, when they’re all at their best.

I don’t know where you live, but I think anyone could benefit from taking an hour or two to just sit and watch the birds.  You’ll see different birds, probably, than I’ve listed, but you’ll have fun anyway.  Listen too, because birds are some of God’s best songsters around.  It won’t all make sense at first, so don’t expect to be able to recognize every bird at once.  Just watch, listen, and think about the amazing God who had not only imagined all these creatures, but made them all just so, so we can enjoy them.

Happy birding!

It’s the Thought that Counts

December 1, 2011

Twila Paris was my childhood singing role model.  Actually, I still copy her quite a bit, both in my singing and my songwriting.  This is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs (as different than Christmas Carols), and I think everyone should listen to it before going out to do any more Christmas shopping.

I dare you to get it stuck in your head before you are bombarded by all the materialistic songs playing in the stores!


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