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Archive for January, 2013

There’sP1010642 nothing quite so peaceful as watching the birds eating at the feeders on a snowy winter’s day.  It can actually be quite distracting for me.

Today the snow began by mid-morning and has been quite steady ever since.  It is white and bright outdoors as well as chilly, but it’s cozy and warm inside and I find that every time I pass a window (which is quite often) I feel drawn to stand and watch the glory of the Lord’s hand happening right outside.P1010641

I love seeing the variety of birds—all the different shapes, colors, personalities and languages—and yet they all get along gloriously in one yard.  Some are more greedy, some more gracious.  Some are downright selfish, pecking at everyone who comes near and others move over to share their spot with the next one that lands nearby.  Not only are they beautiful and entertaining to watch, but I see such lessons in their behavior.  We don’t have to look alike to enjoy the bounty God provides in one area.  We don’t have to be the same color or even speak the same language (although that helps immensely).  The important thing is to P1010643remember that we’re all hungry and not to be greedy.

Hmmm…I sound almost political although I didn’t mean to.  I was thinking actually of missions and the need to share what we have with those in need.  Whether here at home or in another setting, it’s not only the ‘food’ that brings fulfillment, but the sharing.  And no matter what we look like on the outside, we all have the same need of God in our hearts, so let’s share every opportunity we get!  I think we’ll find we will be more ‘filled’ in the long run.P1010638

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Old Man Winter

P1010633My guess is that I’d be safe to say that winter is very few people’s favorite season of the year.  The days are short and dark and the weather is cold.  We are more secluded inside as we try to keep warm and sometimes don’t really see our neighbors much at all throughout the cold, dreary season.

In spite of all the negative aspects of the gloomy, shadowy season, it happens to be very close to my favorite season of the year.  It is filled with cheery holidays from Thanksgiving and Christmas to even Valentine’s Day which give us reason to celebrate in spite of the short, dark days.

I can’t help wondering, in spite of my love for flowers and gardens if I am not really a gardener at heart at all, because I love winter for the very fact that it gives me a break from the hard work of my gardens and I love that.  I love having weeks that I don’t need to mow and weed and deadhead and sweat.  I love that I get a break from my sore back and tight muscles.  And I love the bright cP1010086heeriness of snow.

Since moving to Virginia a few years back I’ve learned to love snow more than ever.  We don’t have nearly as much snow here as we did in Indiana, and it is so much warmer and more humid so the cracked, dry skin is not an issue here at all.  We have a lot more rain and dark, gray days, but because of that, the brightness of a snowy day has even more value in my estimation.

Yesterday afternoon the rain of the past week began turning to snow.  First the rain looked more like sleet and then there were large, wet flakes mixed with rain and then finally the air was filled with huge fluffy flakes that accumulated on the wet ground vP1010089ery rapidly.  By the time I started home from across town I had bumper to bumper traffic to deal with going no more than 15 miles an hour and stopping for long periods of time quite frequently for no apparent reason.  I’d forgotten my coat (an easy thing to do for me, since it never feels completely cold here), so I simply turned up the heat in my car and the music and hunkered down to enjoy the drive.

Yes, I said enjoy.  It was fun watching people’s courtesy as they motioned cars to pull in front of them and kept their safe distances between cars.  It was fun sitting and watP1010636ching the snow as it sifted down through the darkening skies shown beautifully in the streetlights.  With cell phones readily available these days I was able to stay in close contact with Rick.  It took me more than three times the normal time to get home, but I enjoyed every moment.

This morning I looked out at a pristine world of icy branches and blue skies.  The ground was white and bright and it all looked perfectly magical.  I found myself humming more than once as I did some housework, and noticed as I walked by the mirror that I just couldn’t stop smiling.  Yes, the snow slows us down, but what’s wrong with that?  After all, isn’t that what winter’s all about?

So, crank up the fire, light a few candles, find a good book and snuggle down for a rest.  Before you know it, spring will be here and it will be a long, long time before we will sit by a warm fire again.P1010637

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Music of Life

When I was a very little girl we had an old pump organ in the back (unheated) room of the house.  I don’t remember exactly when it arrived, but I remember discovering how to make sounds come out of the thing.  Before long I figured out that if I pressed those white and black things in a certain order, I could make it sound like a song that I’d heard.  I was much to short to sit on the stool that went with the thing, so I could really only pump one of the pedals at a time, but I soon began to play our Sunday School songs on it.

When Daddy discovered my interest, he acquired an OLD upright piano somewhere and soon had it sitting in our front room.  Oh, that was fun!  I could sit on the bench because it made sounds by simply pressing the keys and I didn’t have to push up and down on those heavy things with my feet.  Before long I figured out how to play chords with my left hand and a tune with my right.  It was lots of fun until Mother and Daddy decided my sister and I should be taking piano lessons.  Suddenly it was no longer fun, but work.  And those notes printed in the books didn’t make fun tunes like I could come up with on my own.

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love tunes and music.  It all spoke in different ways to me.  My mother’s lullabies meant all was safe and I could rest.  Mother’s humming in the kitchen meant all was well with the world.  Our Sunday School and church hymns meant that we were thankful for God’s love for us.  When Daddy got out his violin and started tuning it up, we knew he was happy and content.

Some songs make you want to tap your feet, while others make you want to weep.  Some make you want to dance, others help you with your work.  Some relax you and others tend to irritate and annoy.  I cannot fathom a world without music and singing.  Loving music as I do, I can’t help comparing my life to a musical composition.

There are parts of my life that have been discordant and irritating and other parts that flow along merrily.  There have been the sorrowful sections as well as the energetic and eager parts that move on hurriedly and industriously. There are parts that are repeated time and again and other sections that are merely transitional for the sole purpose of moving on.

Music speaks to us in differing ways.  My husband loves an evening filled with fiddles and tapping feet while I prefer violins and richly flowing music that makes me sway or breathe deeply or even weep; music that fills my heart and speaks to my soul.  I think of the Negro Spirituals and how they expressed the sorrow of a people that had been burdened more than any human should ever have to be, and yet they worshipped God and clung to Him.  Those songs spoke to them in a way to make their lives bearable.   They gave strength and even security to a certain point.

The important thing is to be in tune.  A song is not pleasant if played on an instrument with a note out of tune.  And if several instruments are playing together, they must be tuned to the same pitch or it is nothing but irritating noise.  So also, for our lives to make beautiful music, we must be in tune with the master musician in particular, as well as with those around us.  Then not only will we enjoy the playing, but we will also be blessing all those who hear.

As we begin a New Year once again, I pray that you will be aware of the music around you.  I pray it will bless you and make your life enjoyable and productive.  And I pray that there will be no sour notes for you this year!

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