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

God’s Countless Outfits of Beauty

Outfits of Beauty

Beauty dresses in countless ways
With outfits never the same.
Sometimes she sweeps across the skies
With heaven’s own hues unfurled,
Other times she drapes the landscape
In breath-taking mountains majestic.
But sometimes beauty comes up close
Approaching on butterfly wings,
Granting a glance at her delicate side
Displaying miraculous design.
No end can be found
To the outfits of beauty
They’re as infinite as their Creator,
And he shares them all
With all of us—
His gift dressed in countless ways.

“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all . . .” Psalm 104:24 NIV

*What outfits of beauty have you noticed lately?

*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.

*My photo

A Spring Poem: Morning Symphony

Morning Symphony

Much is reborn in spring,
Among them the morning symphony.
Nature’s music long muffled
By cold days and closed windows
Now greets me with gladness again.

The sweetness of the birds’ songs
Sends my spirit soaring,
Those pure, clear notes that nature sings
Point me to the Creator
To the grand Conductor
Of the magnificent morning symphony.

The cheep-cheep-cheep, the caw, the coo
The sliding chords and yodels
Take their turns with who-whoo-whoos
And leave me marveling at the glory.

Other sounds add different layers
Add interludes and accents,
A dog’s frenzied barking, a chattering squirrel
A train whistling in the distance
All keep me guessing what more
The masterpiece holds this morning.

And then soon I hear
The flutter of wings
A bird whooshing by overhead,
Next chiming church bells create a chorus
To which I’m compelled to add my voice.

No two days exactly the same
New music unfolds with each sunrise,
The morning symphony no longer muffled,
The voice of God,
A life-giving melody
Renews and inspires my spirit.
Yes, much is reborn in spring.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”
Psalm 40:3 NIV

*What do you like best about spring?

*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.

*Flickr photo by Jacob McGinnisCreative Commons License

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

The Wonders at Home

Several years ago, not more than a half-mile outside of town, unexpected movement not far off the roadway captured our attention. In a split second, Don and I both saw it—a fawn leaping through an overgrown field. No momma in sight, just the baby. Our first wildlife spotting of the trip.

Here we were headed to Colorado to surround ourselves with the beauty of the mountains and to see the wonders of God’s creation when we saw a little miracle bounding through a field not five minutes from home. We had to laugh. In that moment, God reminded me that sometimes the wonder is at home.

Not only did he give that reminder as we left for our much-anticipated week in the mountains, he bookended our trip with the same reminder as we traveled home. Believe it or not, less than twenty minutes from our house, in the light of our headlights we spotted four or five deer dashing across the highway in front of us. After a week filled with exciting encounters with the wildlife of the Rocky Mountains, God seemed to say again, “Remember, sometimes the wonder is at home.”

Even though over the next few days I experienced the normal let-down most of us feel after a vacation and even though the beauty of the mountains feeds my spirit like nothing else, what comfort I found in the knowledge that wonder and beauty can be found at home, too. What comfort in knowing that God—and the beauty of his creation—are ever-present, no matter where I am.

How about you? Are you in need of such a reminder? Take a moment and consider your life. Consider the world around you. And remember—sometimes the wonder is at home.

“I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.” Psalm 9:1 NASB

*What wonder have you seen right in your home area lately?

*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 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.)

*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 Jeffery™Creative Commons License