Archives for September 2012


Remember the robin who stayed focused and built her nest in spite of my interloping presence? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but something went wrong.

I’m not sure what happened. She faithfully sat on her eggs during the height of the heat wave. She watched over her nest and tongue-lashed other birds who came too close. When she wasn’t in the nest, she never seemed far away or gone for long.

When we left for vacation, I wondered if the sound of baby birds would greet us on our return. But no—no cheep-cheep-cheeps could be heard. No little upturned beaks gaped wide for a meal from momma.

Instead, momma bird was there, still faithfully sitting on the nest, still panting through the heat. I was glad I’d be on hand for the hatching. Glad I’d get to witness the birth of new life.

But one morning a few days after our return, the momma bird wasn’t in her nest. I thought it odd but not too unusual. When I checked that evening, again she was gone.

The next day the empty nest met me once more as I made my rounds. Now I feared something was indeed wrong. No sight of the momma bird in the days that followed confirmed my suspicions. The nest had been abandoned.

What would cause such a faithful and focused momma to walk away—or fly away, as in this case? More than likely, something happened to the eggs. I don’t know anything about the viability of birds’ eggs, but I suspect the unrelenting heat was the culprit. What a disappointment—for the momma bird and for me as well.

Poor momma bird. I wonder how long past the normal time she waited, hoping to see her babies pecking their way out into the world. I wonder how many hot days she soldiered through, doing all in her power to succeed. I wonder how she knew it was time to move on.

Some of us have had plans and projects that didn’t work out. A few of us may be in the midst of one right now. We’ve worked faithfully and done all we know to do. We’ve kept trying, and we’ve waited—and then waited some more. We finally reach a point when we know it’s over, when we know it’s time to move on.

Our hearts, heavy with the disappointment of an unfulfilled dream, sometimes want to cling to the pain and nurse our wounds. And that’s okay for a time. But like the momma bird, we need to abandon the dashed plans and move forward to what life has to offer now.

We’ll certainly learn from the experience and grow stronger, but for now—for today—it’s time to lift our eyes to the future and fly away.

“I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

*Have you ever had to fly away from one of your hopes or dreams? Did a future blessing await you?

The Dross Before the Gold

Compliments sure feel good, don’t they? I never dreamed they were in my future as I snapped photos right and left during our vacation to the Tetons and Yellowstone, but that’s exactly what happened after I started sharing my photos.

Much to my delight, several people commented about what great pictures I took while on our trip. What fun to hear people say things like “Beautiful shot” or “What wonderful photos” after they’d looked at my albums on Facebook, Snapfish, or here on the blog.

What they didn’t realize is that I took lots of bad shots in order to achieve the glory shots. They didn’t see the dross that preceded the gold.

Believe it or not, I downloaded over 750 photos to my computer after we returned home. Plus, I’d already deleted the without-a-doubt duds from my camera during the trip. After getting a chance to examine my haul more closely at home, I sent several more shots to my recycle bin. Even with that, I shared only a portion publicly. Bye, bye dross. Hello, gold.

Maybe as I learn more about my camera and put in more practice time, I won’t have quite as much dross to sift through during my next photo-athon. But you know what? I don’t mind the dross so much if I end up with some gold to enjoy.

Photography’s not much different from writing—or any other skill or art for that matter—in the dross and gold department. I write lots of so-so sentences before I finally get some good stuff. I delete and revise certain words or phrases as I type and get rid of others after closer examination. Then I select just the right ones to share with the world. Bye, bye dross. Hello, gold.

Looks like the old saying “practice makes perfect” proves true once again. It’s up to us to decide if we’re willing to put in the practice to perfect the skill, to deal in some dross in order to gain the gold.

Is it worth it? My spirit says “yes!” Does yours say the same? Okay then—what are we waiting for? Let’s go for the gold!

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Colossians 3:23

In what skill are you working to achieve gold?

*Flickr photo by photosteve101

Waiting to be Discovered

My dear friend Teri, knowing that I’d developed an interest in birds this summer— thanks to my desire to use my camera—got me a bird feeder for my birthday in August.Of course, she included a songbird blend of food and also a bird guidebook. Yes, she’s one of those friends who doesn’t miss a beat.

Within days, I had the bird feeder up and filled with food. I even bought a special pole to hang it on in the backyard. I positioned it not too far from the birdbath and also made sure I could see it from my back porch steps. I was all set. Couldn’t wait to see the flurry of beautiful birds that would visit my yard now.

Fast forward a few weeks and my bird feeder still waits to be discovered. I’ve glanced out my office window and looked out my back door several times each day, and only once have I seen a bird come close to it. The tiny sparrow flew away before it landed, almost as if it was afraid to try it.

I’ve done my part. The feeder is filled with food and is even located near a water source. It’s all prepped and available, just waiting for a taker, just waiting to be discovered. Once that happens, the news will probably quickly spread by word of mouth—or should I say by tweet of beak? :)

I wonder if the Lord feels the same way I do as he waits for us to discover the provision he’s made for our spiritual nourishment. He’s given us his Word. He’s inspired and equipped preachers, teachers, and writers to offer sermons, Bible studies, and other spiritual food. He’s done his part and made the feast available.

Yes, I think God longs to see us fly to his Word—to his truths—and to partake of all that he’s given. He waits for each of us to discover his provision.

Let’s not be like the birds who come close but go on their way unfed. Instead, let’s be the ones who discover the treasure of nourishment. Let’s be the ones to share the good news!

“The ordinances of the LORD . . . are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.”  Psalm 19:9b-10

*Before I finished writing this post, the bird feeder was finally discovered! Success! :)

A Winner and a Pearl from the Word

Somebody’s next trip to Barnes & Noble just got a little more fun. You guessed it—we’ve got a winner for this year’s “Back At It” Giveaway.

The lucky commenter this time is Laura! Congrats and enjoy the gift card, Laura. Hope it helps you get something you’ve been wanting lately. Or maybe as you browse, you’ll find an unexpected bargain and treasure. We all love it when that happens, don’t we?

Speaking of treasure, let’s consider a little pearl from the Word of God today. Since the Psalms are jam-packed with treasure, I don’t have to look far to find a real gem.

Psalm 87:7 says, “As they make music they will sing, ‘All my fountains are in you.’”

I love both parts of this verse. Notice it doesn’t say “if they make music.” It says “as they make music.” Making music comes naturally to many of us—that’s how God made us. But I think believers also want to make music and sing because of the joys of knowing God as our Father. Music is an overflow of our hearts, a spring bubbling up that we can’t contain.

That bubbling spring is alluded to in the second half of the verse as the Psalmist says, “All my fountains are in you.” And there’s the real pearl in this passage. The living waters of our lives and the refreshment we daily need are found in God. Life is found in him.

Some of us may be seeking that life and refreshment in other things. If we do, we’ll eventually find that those other things don’t satisfy our thirst the way the Lord does. Sure, our families, our friends, and the activities we love may bring joy and refreshment, but who gives us those blessings? Yes, the Lord is giver of all good gifts.

I don’t know about you, but all my fountains are in him. And that makes my heart sing!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

*What fountain (blessing) in your life especially makes your heart sing?