The Parable of Little Bird

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Little Bird, as she called herself, once lived a very full life. She spent most of her time in the air, for flying was her most favorite thing to do. She also loved her bird friends very much – the ones the Creator gave to her as gifts. Together they flew back and forth to their seasonal homes, raised children, and sang beautiful melodies.

One spring day, however, Little Bird injured her wing by flying into a glass window. She thought she’d have to rest just a little while, but spring turned to summer, and summer turned to fall. The shame she felt for her poor flying skills kept her from trying again, and also, she met various animals who kept her quite busy. Mrs. Squirrel always needed help burying nuts. Mr. Turtle liked to be with her watching leaves fall. And the ground birds always had fun dances to attend. Meanwhile, the animals also taught her how to find food in new ways that she did not know about before, and she was thankful. Overall, it was a good life for Little Bird.

But oh, how she longed for the sky every day! Sometimes she caught a glimpse of it through the forest leaves, and wondered if her friends were up there flying. She missed them too. And for the first time, she began to wonder if she was simply afraid of flying after not doing it for so long.

One day the Great White Owl looked down from above and saw Little Bird hopping around. She looked unhappy and lonely to him, sometimes taking a small leap to a low branch, then landing back down on the forest floor. He knew winter was coming, and it was in her best interest to fly home. So he had an idea. The Great White Owl began to hoot really loud during the day, when owls don’t normally cry out, with the hope of calling her to himself.

It worked! Little Bird heard the hooting, and went to look for the owl. She had to turn down an invite to a bird dance, and politely tell Mrs. Squirrel and Mr. Turtle that she couldn’t help bury nuts or watch leaves fall, but her heart was filled with hope. She knew the Great White Owl was wise, and maybe he could help her find the courage to fly again.

Soon she found the Great Owl, regally perched on a sturdy branch just a few feet from the forest floor. He silently looked at her, but didn’t move. She knew what he wanted. She had to go up to him! So with a leap and a small flutter of her wings, she landed up next to him. But immediately he took off to another branch, again a few feet higher, and hooted. She followed him there, too. Branch after branch they did this for awhile, until suddenly, before she knew what was happening, they were both on top of a tree with a breathtaking view of the sky!

Little Bird was filled with excitement. The Great White Owl then spread out his huge wings and leaped off the branch. Around and around he soared on the wind, screeching for her to follow him.

This was Little Bird’s moment. Putting her trust in the Great White Owl who sought her out and got her this far, she stretched out her little wings, took a deep breath, and leaped off the branch.

“Wait for me!” she cried.

Little Bird was flying again.

Lift up your hands (or wings) which hang down,
and gather courage into your heart!
Straighten out the paths of your life,
so that your lameness may not become worse
or prolonged more than it has to.
Remember – is the Lord’s desire for you to be healed!
~ From Hebrews 12:12-13
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P.S. Interestingly the same day I got the story, and after sending this to a friend, he immediately sent back this music video…


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Changing Seasons, Changing Focus

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Frosty Fall - A Change of Seasons, A Change of Focus. Since my Mom’s passing a couple months ago I have really wanted to write an update here, but processing everything has made it hard to have the needed time or energy. For those who knew my Mom, she was a lively and busy 70-year old with hobbies, grandchildren, and a new, loving husband of just 3 months.  So her sudden death was jolting.  I also inherited her massive collection of knicknacks and garage sale “stuff,” both at her new husband’s home, and in a half-dozen antique store booths.  While most of it was, and is being donated, trying to sort through and get rid of it quickly has been overwhelming.

Good progress has been made, however, so it’s becoming easier to rest and grieve now.  But getting back to life at “Our Little Eden” has been, for me, a little slow.  What happened with my Mom’s death is also making me think more deeply about things.  Like what kind of legacy do I want to leave others upon my death?  And what really makes my heart beat fast, to focus on during this short life?  Both Vinny and I are each doing our own soul-searching about these things right now.

Meanwhile when my Mom was still able to talk, and had a sense her time was short, she called together the family to give her last wishes, regrets, and blessings.  It was both difficult and precious.  Afterward we were able to carry out her wishes for her burial, Celebration of Life, and asset allocation, all in a peaceful way that bonded us all together.  I believe she would have been proud.

At that time she also shared some last words of advice. One of them was an encouragement to read the Bible more. Now some of you know there has been a great deal of investment reading the Bible in my lifetime, and verses can’t help but ooze out of my pores.  But knowing the scriptures “by heart,” and “knowing God’s heart” are increasingly two different things for me.  The fact is, outside of knowing God’s heart, the Bible is easily interpreted and used as a tool or weapon in reaction to one’s personal hurts, fears of intimacy, or other dysfunctional needs – and the results can be destructive.  Sadly I’ve done this before, and it hurts when it’s done to you.  However, to avoid the Bible for the same reasons that people misinterpret it, is to perpetrate those negative reasons, instead of helping bridge the gap between God and the various imperfect expressions that can help us know Him better – including the Writings.  I hope this makes sense.  There’s a lot more that can be said about this of course, but sufficient to say that reading more of the Bible can be a very good thing, while seeking a healthy lens to interpret it through.

Also, my Mom shared a positive opinion about my writing, and encouraged me to spend more time in it.  This meant a lot to hear her say, because writing is something that I also ache to do more of, and feel very alive doing. But like most of us, I suppose, it’s so easy to put our passions and childlike dreams on hold, and instead spend our spare time and resources doing things that seem to be more important at the moment.  But when does this become an issue of avoidance and fear?  When do we realize that we are simply continuing to punish ourself, and others; all the while the Spirit is wooing and calling us to take a leap of faith back to Him?

These are some important questions, and ones that are still being answered.

Until next time, THANK YOU again for everyone’s prayers and support these last several weeks.  The valley wasn’t so dark because of you!

Pamela

  

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When Birds Don’t Sing


Spending more time outside in nature than I have ever done (since being a kid, that is), I have been discovering new things.  Strange new things.  Like how the birds have suddenly disappeared and gone silent.

Vinny knows.  I kept bugging him, saying over and over again, “There’s something wrong! Have you noticed?”

Since Spring I’ve been waking up early to the cheerful sound of singing birds.  Now I can sleep in late and not hear any.  Or very few.

Since Spring I have been delighted with visitations of comical Catbirds in the shrubs, Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder, (just kidding – not literally) and all sorts of other birds flying about doing their busy birdy things.

But suddenly the earth has gone quiet.  And not just the birds, but all the obnoxiously loud frogs in our pond have gone quiet too!  The only consistent sound is in the evening, from some sort of cricket mass making a steady unified hum, like a natural white noise.

Today I’m relieved, however.  I found out it’s just August being August.

Yes, it took a several weeks of being puzzled over this mystery, to finally do some research and find out that I’m not going mad.  And the birds haven’t all died.  They are in fact still all around us, but simply resting and doing as little as possible – and August is an important month for this!  In the Spring, (once they arrived here after a long migratory flight) birds sang their heart out to attract mates, and then spent many weeks nest building and child-rearing.  During this time they not only had to find enough food for themselves, but to feed several hungry mouths, too!  It’s all very exhausting.  And, it takes a toll on their feathers.

This is why the hot month of August (also July) is a month when most birds molt.  It’s sometimes not a pretty sight to shed these old, dead attachments, and it’s not easy to fly well during this time, either.  Some studies think birds get depressed during this time, or at least seem to be a bit grumpy.  But the fact is, they are going through a needful transition.  When the season is over, they will have grown new feathers and gained their strength back.  And when it comes time to migrate back south to a warmer place, they will be ready and raring to go!

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There is an obvious lesson in the seasons of nature, that there is a time for work, and a time for rest.  A time for being productive, and a time for being like a seed buried in the ground.   Do people go through seasons like this together, as the birds do?  I believe so.  At least with the people I have been most intimately connected to, my experience is that we are in the same boat going through similar ebbs and flows.  Plus there is another example of something we universally go through together – sleep.

Unlike birds, however, we often spend important times for restoration and growth doing exhausting and unnatural (anti-nature) things that don’t truly satisfy or rejuvenate us.  And then we wonder why we are still tired after a vacation, weekend, or a night’s sleep!  Instead of operating from an inward guidance that is in tune with our truest selves, and our Maker – we often resist the need for “pulling away” and truly resting.  Why?  I think sometimes that when our bodies and spirits suddenly call us to this deeper place, it feels like a “death” compared to the exciting and productive season we may have just come from.   And in death, it doesn’t feel so great, and we have to operate by faith, instead of sight.

Being more like the birds, however, we can accept the darker and more quiet “valleys” of our life with hopeful resolve.  Listen more.  Go inward more.  It might not feel like anything is happening, but if we trust in God’s love for us, and patiently submit to a walk of faith during this time – we will come through.  And not just come through, but come through with renewed strength.

P.S. After recently discovering this information about birds and molting, this verses from Isaiah 40:29-31 may be of new interest!…

He gives power to the faint; and to him that has no might, he increases strength.
Even boys grow tired and weary, and young men collapse and fall,
but those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength.
They will mount up with wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary; and they will walk and not faint.  

 

Shhh! Do You Hear Wisdom Speaking?

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Yikes. It hit me just today that several weeks ago I said I would do a regular Friday post – or try to.   But ever since we moved our house, life seems to be busier, and even more difficult, to some degree. For example, we’ve been digging new water, propane, and drainage ditches, and trying to get them filled back in before any rain hardens the clay in the upturned soil.  I actually wish I had not said I would keep up with this blog.  Not that I don’t want to!  But every week on the same day?  *Sigh*  Really?

Learning to shut my mouth from broadcasting personal goals and wishes is something I have not perfected yet. Why I don’t know, because by now I should have a bad case of “foot-in-mouth disease.” :-o  Even with this property – every time I start to feel good about any progress here, and/or give a good report, it seems like something comes up that slows things down – or even more extreme – makes us change course.  Which happened recently.  One of the big goals this summer was to build a pole barn garage, and the site was partially prepared.  But an expert in the field of permaculture toured our property recently and shed new light on this “go big or go home” plan.  He encouraged slowing down on big ideas, learning to “abide” here first, and most important of all – spending more quality time listening to, and respectfully nurturing all the trees and plants all around us, so that we can be faithful stewards of what has already been given us.

This was good wisdom.  It reminds me of something Jesus said concerning the issue of faithfulness in “small” things:

Whoever can be trusted with very little, can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little, will also be dishonest with much.  Likewise if you are not trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true, eternal riches? And if you are not trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?  ~ Luke 16:10-12

And also, about how I can be more impeccable (i.e. without sin) in my words:

Do not swear oaths by heaven, by earth, or by any other object. Instead, let your “Yes” mean yes and your “No” mean no! Otherwise, you may fall under condemnation.  ~ James 5:12

Come on now, you who declare, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town, stay there a year, conduct business, and make profit.” You do not know what tomorrow will bring, or what your life will be like.  Is it not like a mist that is seen for a little while, and then quickly disappears?  Instead your attitude should be, “If Father pleases so, we will do this and that.”  But as it is, you boast in both your ignorance and arrogance, and all such boasting is evil.  ~ James 4:13-16

As I’ve been thinking about these things lately, it has been interesting that we have a couple of friends on the other side of the nation who are also doing a similar “Back to Eden” work on their property, and we enjoy comparing notes with them via email.  But suddenly a parent of theirs is in hospice, and they are finding many of their plans put on hold for the more important work of love – which also leads to wisdom.  Which sometimes even changes the courses of life itself!

In fact, love is the one thing that ought to guide, adjust, and motivate everything we do or don’t do. For the love of God, I may or may not work like a dog.  For the love of others, I may or may not bother – with the things that are of lesser importance, that is.  It is love – not some personal wish dream – that gives a meaningful purpose to our lives.

So trying to exercise more common sense – and walk more in love – I hope not to open my mouth too much or too often anymore about things that may, or may not be.  Instead, to talk and focus more on the things that come from abiding in the most reliable “dream” of all – the moment of right now.

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~ “Come meet Me in the cool of the day, my beloved, in quiet places we set apart, and we can share together the wonders of My creation, and discover even more depths to our delightful love.” ~

 


 

A Great Moving Day

To say I was excited about today is a bit of an understatement.  It’s been about 8 months since our 350 sq. foot cabin on wheels has been stuck in our driveway, and yesterday the long-awaited day came. The day that things dried up enough, and the right person with the right equipment was located, to move our house to it’s permanent location!
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For more of the story of how this happened, and how it made me think about the concept of “home,” see this post.

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Now it didn’t take us too long to get the house packed up and ready to move.  While Vinny concentrated on outside disconnections, and taking off the insulating skirt, etc., I took everything off the walls, out of the cupboards, etc and put them in a some bins and/or laid stuff on the floor.  Most of the hard things we did the day before.  After that, it was time to just wait for the neighbor to come with his dozer.

We also have a friend staying with us for the week, in our guest camper, and she has been helpful, and fun to have around.  She also brought her kayaks.  It was a beautiful day to try them out in the pond!


We also stayed cool in the pond-side gazebo for a bit, and processed garlic scapes that someone gave us. The bottoms were straight and stiff, and made a perfect (garlic scented) pickup sticks game. :-)



Finally we hear the sound of the equipment coming down the road! The neighbor’s caterpillar dozer moved the house with no problem.  We just have some big ruts to fix, but expected some of that to happen.

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That evening we didn’t have to cook dinner.  Another neighbor put on a picnic and invited all the neighbors.  We brought a salad from our garden.  It was a pleasant time, and I finally got to meet a couple of the wives of the Mennonites that Vinny has been getting to know. :-)

The area here is very pretty.  Right around the corner on the way to the picnic, there are views like this:

 

It was a great day, and I have to say, it feels incredible to have our cabin finally moved.  It feels more permanent now.  And I’m very thankful that all went smoothly!
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