Different Songs, Different Gifts

I went bird crazy a decade ago.

That’s right. Since then I’ve spent time looking for them, listening to them, and taking pictures of them. Pretty amazing coming from me since I’ve been afraid of having birds fly near me in the past—which, by the way, might have something to do with watching Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds when I was young. Did that scare anyone else silly?!

I’m not sure what started my fascination with birds. Maybe it was the birds’ contribution to the beautiful morning symphony I enjoy so much each day, or maybe I can blame it on the new camera I got for my birthday the year my bird-craziness started. It was just a point and shoot but it had a great zoom lens. So I went on the prowl for opportunities to zoom. And birds made the perfect subject.

While trying to capture some good shots, I also began tuning my ears to listen more closely to the various birds’ songs. I’ve always loved the sound of birds singing but until then I had not paid attention to their particular sounds and melodies. It was so much fun beginning to recognize a few.

I discovered that not only does each type of bird have its own signature look, it has a distinctive song as well. Some warble, some coo, some chirrup, some tweet. Some may be more pleasing to the ear than others, but it’s the variety that makes the symphony so amazing. It’s the differences that keep it interesting.

The same is true in our lives, isn’t it? We each have our own singular appearance and unique voice. We each have our own God-given abilities. Some create, some serve, some organize, some teach. Some may garner more attention than others, but it’s the variety that makes our world work. It’s the differences that keep us intrigued.

Yes, the birds have their various songs and so do we. Are we using the abilities—the voices—God has given us? Have we embraced the roles we’re gifted for? Let’s sing our different songs!

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” 1 Corinthians 12:17 NIV

*How has God gifted you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regular issue, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. 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

The Sounds of Spring: Sounds of Life

Early in the mornings, when I stick my head out the door or step outside for a few seconds to take in the beauty of the day, the sounds that greet me often capture my attention first. And right now, it’s the sounds of spring that fill the neighborhood. Yes, the sounds of life are once again in full voice.

These lively spring mornings stand in stark contrast to the silence that met my ears this winter during my early morning checks of the day. The sounds of nature seemed to freeze right along with the icicles hanging from the eaves of our home. Even God’s creatures knew when to hole up and snuggle in rather than venture out into the bitter cold.

But now the world has come to life again. Spring has turned up the volume, and I for one am loving the concert it gives each day.

The sound of birds may be my favorite. With their various melodies and calls, they soothe my soul or sometimes surprise me with sounds of a brawl. At other times, I’ll hear squirrels chattering or the steady background noise of a spring shower, and occasionally thunder will announce a coming storm. On other days, the sound of the wind tries to drown out things of lesser notice. And, of course, we humans add to the symphony with our excited proclamations of spring’s arrival and our too-early-in-the-season lawn mowing escapades.

Yes, winter is past. Spring is here. Life has begun anew. What a perfect accompaniment it was to our celebration of the Easter season. May our voices of praise to our Creator and Redeemer add to the sounds of spring, add to the sounds of life!

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad . . .  let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them . . . ” Psalm 96:11-12 NIV

*What’s your favorite sound of spring?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Amazon and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) *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.

*Flickr photo by timsackton, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Glory Surrounds

13026815355_9cecd5489a_z

May is here and the glory of spring surrounds us, doesn’t it? Green is not just peeking any longer. It’s in full swing, setting the perfect emerald backdrop for the bursts of color the spring flowers are treating us to. Yes, glory surrounds.

Leafy fullness adorns our trees once again. No little buds just teasing us with what’s to come. We listen and hear the leaves swish in the breeze, we are energized by their testimony to life. Yes, glory surrounds.

Spring has brought more of our favorite birds back to us as well. They sing, they dash to and fro, busy with building this season’s homes. They remind us of the wonder of nature, the miracle of creation, and the mighty God who is responsible for it all. The loving God who shares it all with us. Yes, indeed, glory surrounds.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers . . . what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him.” Psalm 8:3a,4

*What’s your favorite part of spring’s glory?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my inspirational quarterly newsletter, came out earlier this week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License

In Spite of the Fog

2057431392_f8278c42fbWhat’s the first window you look out of each morning? With the blinds still closed in my bedroom and no windows in the adjoining bath, I usually head over to the next room (my office) before glancing out at the new day. I love to lift the blinds there first to get an early morning view of the birdfeeder. The other morning, however, I had to do a double-take.

Instead of clear skies and the soft morning light I expected to see, thick fog met my early morning check of the day. What’s up with this? The weatherman hadn’t mentioned fog on the late news the night before. But then again, Mother Nature outwitted the forecast last week as well.

I left the fog in all its ghostly glory for a short time to attend to a few little tasks before heading to the kitchen. Since it was still cold outside, I poked my head only out the door to bask in some early morning moments with the world around me — and with the Creator of it all.

The fog certainly obscured my vision, cutting short the distance I could survey, but I couldn’t help but notice that this unexpected weather phenomenon had a beauty all its own. The pure white of the cloudy visitor felt soft and gentle and welcomed me to relish it in a new way. With not being able to see the vibrant images I’m accustomed to, the sounds around me seemed to ring out more clearly. The melodies of the birds quickly captured my attention. As ever, their songs lifted my spirit and made me smile.

And then it dawned on me. In spite of the fog, in spite of obscured vision and the uncertainty of the beyond, the birds still sang. Their voices rang out strong and unhindered. They didn’t let the fog stop them from singing.

How much more should I continue singing the praises of my Creator, the praises of my Savior, when the fogs of life’s situations envelop me? Oh, that my voice will ring out in praise and thanksgiving even when I can’t see clearly, even when I’m confused or uncertain. And maybe, just maybe, my song will lift the spirit of someone else. Let it be so, my Lord!

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1

*When have you sung praises to God in spite of fog in your life?

*I hope this revised encore post from March 2009 was a blessing to you today!

*The latest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by mysza831, Creative Commons License

Summer Photo Fun: More Caption Fun!

IMG_5408How about a little more caption fun before Summer Photo Fun, comes to an end next week? I always love the caption challenges. Hope you do, too!

What do you think the little fella (or gal!) above might be saying? I posted this photo several weeks ago in the batch where I featured the Gray Catbirds who have been frequenting my backyard this summer, but now it’s time to let you give him/her a voice.

So go ahead and share—what’s the first thing that comes to mind? And hey, thanks for playing my games with me! :)

“A cheerful heart is good medicine . . .” Proverbs 17:22a

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photo