A Time to Abandon Plans and Move On

Remember how I told you in May about the robin I saw several years ago who stayed focused and built her nest in spite of my interloping presence? Unfortunately, the story didn’t end there. Something went wrong a few weeks later.

I’m not sure what happened. She faithfully sat on her eggs during the height of that summer’s 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 it didn’t—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. Maybe some sort of predator got them, but I also wonder if the unrelenting heat we had that summer was the culprit. What a disappointment—for the momma bird and for me as well.

Poor momma bird. If the problem was the heat, 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 mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

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

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

God—Our Gracious Giver of Bounty

“You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 NIV

Thriving backyard gardens. Colorful farmer’s markets. Seasonal fresh fruit offered in restaurants. Just a few signs of summer’s bounty in full swing. And if we’re not quite there yet, we will be soon, won’t we?

As we all get opportunity to enjoy the beauty and the nourishing benefits of growing and thriving gardens this summer, let’s remember the One who makes the bounty possible. And let’s remember he is not only crowning our year with good garden produce, but he’s blessing our lives with abundance in other areas as well.

For example, I’m rejoicing this month in a wonderful blessing God has given our family. Our daughter Kristin and her family are now living closer to us! Our travel time to see them has been cut in half, and that means we can visit for a quick overnight or even make a long day trip when necessary. And by the way, that highway runs both ways. They will be coming to see us more too!

We’ve seen great blessing in the lives of my extended family recently as well. My sister Debbie and her husband celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in May, and our entire family will be gathering for a joint celebration next month in Branson. The whole family has not been together since July 2017 so this upcoming gathering will be a great blessing indeed for all of us.

God has also brought bounty into my writer life this year through my writers group, the Fellowship of Christian Writers. Our group, like many others, has been struggling since the pandemic, but this year he led a core group of us to step out in faith and assume positions we didn’t think we could manage. And as you can imagine, he has rewarded those steps of faith and is growing and revitalizing our group in wonderful ways this year. We give him all the praise!

These are just a few current examples from my life. If I listed the bounty of an entire year, I’d have to do it in installments! Now that I think about it, my gratitude journal is one way of doing this.

What about you? How has God crowned your year with bounty? What abundance has he blessed you with lately? Join me, won’t you, in giving him glory for the good things he’s doing in our lives. I’m all ears!

“They will come and shout for joy . . . they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD . . .” Jeremiah 31:12 NIV

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by juicyverve, Creative Commons License

Guest Lucille Williams: New Book with Important Lesson for Kids—and Adults Too!

When I was in elementary school I can remember feeling extreme panic when the teacher asked the class to read out loud. We would start at one end of the classroom and one by one we’d be asked to read. As the kids each read their portion and it got closer to me, panic would set in. I had trouble reading as a kid and I’d stop at “small” words when I saw “big” words coming up so the kids didn’t know I didn’t know the “big” word, and during the pause try and sound out the “big” word in my head. All this to avoid being laughed at or seen as stupid. It usually didn’t work and the kids would often laugh at me when I didn’t know various words. It was quite shaming as a kid and I had such anxiety and fear surrounding reading. And school in general.

I always felt different than other kids. 

School overall was very difficult for me. As an adult I discovered I had ADHD. No wonder I had so much trouble with reading and schoolwork and paying attention in class. I suffered greatly as a kid feeling like I didn’t measure up to the other kids. Getting help from others and feeling like I lacked the skills other kids had plagued me throughout my childhood.

I felt like I wasn’t good enough and longed to be like the other kids. 

It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized I had great gifting too. I even became a writer–which I never thought was possible. I wish someone had taught me to focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses.

Children can learn this early: We all do not have the same gifting, and we all are special in our own way.

“For You created my innermost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 NASB

As a grandma I’ve watched my sweet grandkids struggle with not being able to master things fast and comparing themselves to others. Instead of comparing our weaknesses to other people’s strengths, we can focus on celebrating our differences and embracing our God-given talents.

This is what Turtle Finds His Talent: Discovering How God Made You Special is all about: Teaching children to focus on their own abilities and specialness and God-given talents. This is a good lesson for us adults too. I have learned to adjust to functioning with ADHD and have learned to thrive in it. There are good aspects to every challenge.

God made each child special and unique. Cheering for and affirming differences fosters confidence and self-esteem. Talking about feelings like joy and sadness helps a child navigate and process emotions. When we read to our kids and then talk about the story we do just that.

“My frame was not hidden from You When I was made in secret, And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my formless substance; And in Your book were written All the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:15-16 NASB*Do you know some children who could benefit from the message of Turtle Finds His Talent? Why not gift them with a copy! 

Lucille Williams is an author, speaker, pastor’s wife, and has ministered to couples and families for over 25 years. As the Women’s Director at Palmcroft Church in Phoenix, AZ she dedicates her time to ministry and writing and providing resources on her blog at LuSays.com. She’s the author of From Me to We: A Premarital Guide for the Bride- and Groom-to-Be, The Intimacy You Crave: Straight Talk About Sex and Pancakes, The Impossible Kid: Parenting a Strong-Willed Child with Love and Grace, and Turtle Finds His Talent: A Slide-and-Find Book: Discovering How God Made You Special.   

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Book photos compliments of Zonderkidz

Focus Helps Us Finish

Focus. A word that most of us need to say to ourselves time and again, right? As a writer, I have to remind myself to focus repeatedly in order to stay on task with my main projects. And that rings true for most projects and goals we have in life.

I witnessed the perfect example of staying focused several years ago. I got to watch a bird build a nest one morning. The photo above is of that very bird at work.

I had taken my camera outside, hoping to spot a photo-worthy sight. I wasn’t disappointed. I spied a robin building her nest in a neighbor’s tree. Lucky for me, it was on a lower branch that overhangs our yard.

As the bird worked steadily, I approached more and more closely, unable to believe how close she actually let me get. It was almost as if she had blinders on. Nothing distracted her from the all-important task at hand.

She even seemed to work in rhythm. She flew to the ground, seeking out the next twig or blade of dried grass to include in her newest home, and then with her latest find grasped safely in her beak, she’d fly back up to her nest-in-progress and place it just so, tamping it down and forming it to her specifications. If she gave my interloping presence any thought, she didn’t let it show. She just worked on.

The qualities that enabled my feathered example to finish her project will help me complete my work as a writer as well. Steady work, ignoring distractions, finding a rhythm that works, using the best materials, skilled craftsmanship, and perseverance will all work together to help me create written works that can touch the lives of others. You may not be a writer, but I’m sure these same qualities help you complete your work successfully as well.

Focus. A quality we need day in and day out. Next time we get distracted or feel tempted to give up on our projects or dreams, let’s remember my little mentor with wings. Let’s keep working on too!

“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” 2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV

*Where do you need focus in your life right now?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out today. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

Bird Feeder and God’s Word: Discovering the Treasure

My dear friend Teri, knowing that I’d developed an interest in birds one summer several years ago—thanks to my desire to use my camera—got me a bird feeder for my birthday that 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 waited to be discovered. I’d glanced out my office window and looked out my back door several times each day, and only once had 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’d done my part. The feeder was filled with food and was even located near a water source. It was all prepped and available, just waiting for a taker, just waiting to be discovered. I figured once that happened, the news would quickly spread by word of mouth—or should I say by tweet of beak!

I wonder if the Lord feels the same way I did 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!

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 NIV

*Yes, the birds did indeed discover my bird feeder before too much time went by. Success!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE! *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo