Fly Away, Little Bird

It started as an annoyance. I could hear my husband’s voice from the living room and kitchen, punctuated by the dog’s agitated barks. But it was still fifteen minutes until my alarm would go off, so I pulled the covers over my head and squeezed my eyes shut.

When I finally made it out of bed, I got the explanation.

“There were two birds in the house,” my husband said. “We got one of them out, but I don’t know where the other one went.”

I noticed the broom in the corner. Apparently his choice of apparatus for bird chasing. I padded into the kitchen to make coffee. (In case you hadn’t noticed, I don’t talk much in the mornings.) Then he let the bomb drop.

“I think it might have fallen behind the cabinets in the kitchen.”

Now, not only am I mute in the mornings, I also have a hard time getting my brain to perform any function, so while I heard the words, they really didn’t register much. Until it was time for him to leave. For New Orleans.

Standing in the kitchen I heard the flapping of wings, a sound not uncommon to my ears from my usual chair near the fireplace. Birds tend to congregate on our roof near the chimney. But this was in my kitchen. Behind a cabinet.

“What are we going to do?” I asked my husband as he rolled his suitcase toward the door.

“I don’t know.” He left to catch his flight. The bird flapped again.

Now I’m not a huge animal lover by any stretch of the imagination. I’m all for nature taking its course. But when you are standing there listening to a panicked bird try to rise up a small, tall space and can’t, and you know if you don’t do something the flapping will eventually stop and the thing will die, well, it’s kind of creepy. It seems cruel. And yet, did I really want to spend a bunch of money and ruin my beautiful cabinetry for a bird that some cat could snatch from a branch tomorrow?

I called my dad, who didn’t want to tear up my cabinets, either. Then I emailed a friend in construction. And I waited. I kept thinking if the flapping stopped, then there was nothing else I could do. It would be awful, but I’d be in the clear. But when my friend finally called about 6:30 that evening that bird still hadn’t given up trying to escape. 

Our friend arrived with a drill-type tool that cut a perfect circle from the back of my cabinet. Then he stuck his hand in and pulled out a bird with a tiny body (smaller than my fist) and long wings (probably six inches). He set the bird in the yard. In a moment, it was gone, just a streak of brown over the neighbor’s roof.

I don’t think I could have gone to sleep that night knowing that bird was still in there, fighting for its life. I would have felt like a murderer. And I’m so glad I didn’t have to figure out what to do with an injured bird hobbling around on my lawn. Thankfully, the Lord watches over even the sparrows. It’s obvious He had his eye on this one the whole time.


A Tiny Glimpse

So many of you, my friends, have listened to me talk about revising and revising and revising again my current novel, so I thought I’d let you into the innermost sanctum of a writer for a tiny glimpse, lest you think you’d enjoy the process!

I’m on my fourth major revision of this book. I’ve tweaked plots, added characters, subtracted characters. I’ve moved whole sections from front to back and back to front. Trying to remember what’s been added or deleted or where that detail/conversation/episode now resides in the book is like trying to herd cats! If only I could de-claw them somehow first! Instead I chase this tail and that one, round and round and round, until I can’t see straight. Hopefully when I reach the end once more the entire book will be a seamless finished product, a line of sleeping cats purring in contentment.

And you thought a book just came out of a writer in one whole piece, didn’t you? No, it’s more like a 50,000 piece puzzle where only 30,000 of the pieces actually make the picture. Kind of makes you want to be a writer, doesn’t it?


Vintage Baseball Game

We went to a vintage baseball game yesterday. They played by the rules of baseball from the 1860s. Yes, you read that right. 1860s, like during the Civil War.

It was fascinating, really, like watching baby movies of a grown up you know. You see bits and pieces of the person that is familiar to you, and yet it is so very different.

How was it different? For one thing, they didn’t use gloves or any other protective equipment! The ball was a bit bigger and softer than it is now, but playing baseball with your bare hands isn’t easy—especially for the catcher! Because of that, the rules were a bit different than now. A ball could be caught for an out not only straight from the air, but also on one bounce! That included foul balls and foul tips.

The pitcher had a bit more leeway then. Besides pitching underhand, no count of balls was kept. The official only called strikes when the batter swung and missed. Even foul balls weren’t counted as strikes!

Of the two teams we watched play, one regularly plays in these types of games and one was formed for this event. It took the newbies a couple of innings to get the hang of things, but they did. And it really was fun to watch. Our hometown rookies even ended up winning by one run in the ninth inning.

If you enjoy baseball and ever get a chance to see a vintage game, I highly recommend it. It isn’t often you get to “experience” a bit of history, so take advantage of it when you can. 


Woe is Me

My sinuses are at war with all the time I’ve spent out of doors lately. This is unusual for me. First off, until a couple of years ago, I didn’t have allergies. Secondly, I rarely spend time outside, unless I have to. But two track meets and five baseball games in the past two weeks have started me sneezing and clearing my throat. Then the achy eyes, and an itchy-scratchy-tickly throat and wimpy cough set in. And on top of it all, I’m just plain exhausted. So it’s hunker down on the coach day for me. Hopefully with a little rest and a lot of hot tea and inside air, I’ll be back to myself before I have to hit the ground running once more.


Whirlwind Week

So it took me until Tuesday to replace my Saturday Psalm. Hm. Can you tell what kind of week this is? Yes, it is that horrible week when all the springtime sports wrap up. It’s a whirlwind of a week, so forgive me if I’m not around here much. I think things will slow down a good bit come next week. At least that’s what I’m counting on!


A Saturday Psalm

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.

--Psalm 105:1-4


Missing My Movies

I miss movies. Not new ones, necessarily, because that is always an iffy proposition for me. I mean I hate to waste an hour and a half or more on something that I won’t remember when I wake up in the morning. But I really miss my movies. The ones that up until recently I watched and re-watched on a regular basis.

But life has been busy. Too busy for a two hour standstill. And yet I long for that combination of story and character and images and music, the ones that linger with you long after the screen has gone dark. Some of those I own. Some I don’t—at least not yet. Like my “to buy” book list, my “to buy” movie list extends far beyond my current means.

I know this season of life won’t last forever. In fact, once baseball and track reach their 2010 conclusions, I’ll be able to breath. And who knows? Maybe I’ll even find an extra couple of hours to sit back and enjoy one of my favorite flicks.


Those Creative Types

I love my daughter. I really do. She has become such a joy to be around. We talk more, connect more. But it is still difficult for us to live in the same house.

I’ve pondered the reason for this and come up with more than a few. But today, as I am once again drowning beneath a mound of dishes, I’ve identified a new one: creativity.

You see, creativity is messy. For her, that literally means a mess in the kitchen. The kind it takes more than one person to clean up. For me, when I’m writing, that means leaving some household things until they absolutely have to be done.

Can you see where this is going? When I’m working, I’ll leave the dishes in the sink a couple of days. When she is cooking, that’s impossible, both because the pile is so high it must be dealt with and because eventually every single dish in my kitchen will be in that pile. So her creative pursuit gets in the way of my creative pursuit. And because I’m the mom, mine gets relegated to back-seat priority.

So while I love having her around, it is hard when I have writing work I need to get done. And yet that is exactly what keeps happening. Somehow we have to find a way to co-exist. I guess we’ll have an entire summer to figure it out!


Warning: Worshipping Driver Ahead

I’m a radio girl when I’m tooling around town in my SUV. When I’m on short little trips, in and out of my car, I can deal with the spurts of music that I find on the dial. But when I have to go any length of way on the highway—especially alone, I plug in my adapter and fire up my ipod. Driving and listening to music is good for me. And most of the time it doesn’t cause a problem. Except lately. You see, I’ve discovered the Genius feature.

Oh my.

Now I can play whatever is my favorite worship tune on that particular day and press the Genius button and it will pull all the similar songs on my ipod into a playlist. Now that should be a good thing. But here comes the issue: it gets hard to drive when you’re having a personal revival meeting in your car! Keeping my hands on the wheel becomes a problem. Tears cloud my vision. I’m even tempted to close my eyes! But surely the Lord will put His angels on high alert when that happens. Right?

So I apologize if I cut you off or ride up on your tail or do any of those other annoying things on the highway. I guess maybe I need a little sign on my back window: warning, worshipping driver ahead.


Another Asking Lesson

I learn a lot about God through parenting my children. Recently I received another very clear object lesson on James 4:2b: You do not have, because you do not ask God.

I have a son who rarely asks us for anything. And I mean anything! Not for birthdays or Christmas. Nothing. We try to do for him, but he doesn’t seem to care one way or another. He doesn’t sulk when he doesn’t have what he wants and he doesn’t beg if there is something he wants.

The other day I found out he’d wanted to go out of town with a friend over Easter weekend. They were going to visit family, but they were also going to make two college visits. The trip had been mentioned to us by the parents, but not in a “can he go with us” sort of way. We mentioned it to our son, giving other alternatives, thinking he didn’t want to go visit his friend’s extended family who he doesn’t know. But never once did he say, “I want to go.”

Until the day before they were to leave. His friend mentioned the trip in front of me. I later asked my son why he didn’t want to go.

“Because I thought I couldn’t go” was his answer.

“Did you ever ask?” I said.

“No.” (He is a very truthful child as well!)

“I can’t read your mind, Son.” Then I paused. “Is it too late for you to say yes?”

As he called his friend, I literally cried over the fact that here was something his heart desired and I couldn’t give it to him because he hadn’t asked beforehand.

As I grieved for my son, I realized how God must feel when He is ready and willing to give me my heart’s desire, but I simply do not ask. I assume I shouldn’t want it or won’t get it. So I stay silent. And if my heart hurts as a parent in this situation, can I assume God’s heart hurts any less?

In a happy ending to the story, we were able to work it out for him to go, even at the last minute. And if we in our finite ways can sometimes manage such a thing, how much more can God make a way, even if we’ve waited to ask until we think it is too late.

Forgive me, Lord, for not speaking my mind and letting You decide the answer, not assuming I have all the answers myself. Please let both my son and I learn to open our mouths and reveal our hearts’ desires clearly to You and to the people who love us. 



A Saturday Psalm

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure, because You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will You let Your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life, You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.

Psalm. 16:9-11


No Sin Too Big

What I love about reading straight through long passages in the Bible is that I invariably see some new progression or timing of events or ideas that I hadn’t noticed on earlier readings. Today’s revelation hit me in Acts chapter 3.

Peter is preaching Christ to the Jews in Jerusalem. Listen to the progression of what he says:

“You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Author of Life, but God raised Him from the dead.” (Acts. 3:14-15)

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19)

“When God raised up His Servant, He sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” (Acts 3:26)

It’s easy to forget at verse 19 and 26 that Peter is speaking to the very ones that delivered over Jesus and clamored for his death. Yet Peter tells them to repent and have their sins wiped clean, to receive a time of refreshing from the Lord. And he tells them that God sent Jesus to them first, to bless them by turning them from their wicked ways.

If this is possible for those that physically rejected Jesus and sent Him to the cross, what sin that we have committed can remain beyond the realm of His forgiveness and grace? God promised these people refreshing and blessing through repentance. And if Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, can we expect any less?