The view from my window is a bird watcher's paradise. All kinds of small birds live in the maple trees across the way. Some of them have come to feed at the bird feeder on my balcony which has replaced the original finch sock. It has been so relaxing to sit and watch them, it's been well worth cleaning up the mess. UNTIL...

...until the day I settled in, ready to bird watch as I ate my breakfast, and was horrified to see a young pigeon (no older than maybe a pre-teen in human years) sitting on the railing. I had never seen any pigeons in this neck of the woods before, and in total shock, mindlessly shooed it away. All I could think of at that moment were the swarms of city pigeons in NYC, and all the talk of them being dirty birds, disease carriers, and such.

That afternoon, in the courtyard, I saw the same pigeon standing forlornly by itself while the smaller birds gathered together on a different patch of grass, totally ignoring him(or her). After a while he turned around and just slowly hopped away to the shade of a tree.

Now I know a bird is not a person, but my heart went out to him and I felt so bad for having shooed him away. He looked so lonely and out of place, I vowed to be kinder if he ever visited my balcony again. Nevertheless, I was secretly glad he only paid me one more visit. I'm hoping he's found his family and rejoined them some place far, far away.



It started while reading Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson, and was fueled by two very thought provoking posts--40 Day Fast - HEART, and The 40 Day Fast: How To Be A Rock Star. Surely the Lord was speaking straight to my heart, convicting me of something that is way out of my comfort zone.

Communication has always been difficult for me. It's a skill I never learned growing up, and I'm often at a loss as to what to say and when. That's why I like to blog. When I blog I can write about the things I wish I had said but didn't think of until after the fact.

On the other hand, maybe there's a greater problem at the root of this, a heart problem, a love problem. Unconditional love is something I've never experienced, and I find myself floundering in my attempts to practice it. Maybe that's why I give in ways that don't involve any real investment of myself. I never thought about it that way before. What an eye opener.

Maybe if I stop trying to do the things I don't think I can and let the Lord do them through me, all the rest will follow.

Pray for me, please.



Today I decided to clean out my e-mail In Box, and read those e-mails that have been accumulating unopened, for months and months. Mostly an overwhelming number of daily devotionals that I obviously have not been reading on a daily basis.

In the interest of time, I started quickly skimming through them and deleting, until I got to this one by Ron Hutchcraft, which I would like to share.

No Paper Plates - #5615
Friday, July 18, 2008

A couple of times this week I ordered out for lunch and it came on a paper plate. Guess what I did with the paper plate when I finished my lunch? No, I didn't wash it; I didn't save it for later. In fact, I've never done that with a paper plate. Now, look we've never had a lot of money, but I've never in my whole life saved a paper plate. I throw it away, of course, like you probably do. And I don't feel any great sense of loss or regret, "Oh, I can't believe I lost my paper plate." No, it doesn't bother me. But we have these other plates at our house, we keep them in a cabinet in our dining room and we save them for special occasions. We wash those when we use them, because it says "fine china" on those. At least that's what my wife wrote with a magic marker on the back. It's the best we've got. And when we're done, we put those plates away very carefully. In fact, if you drop them you're out of the family. What's the difference? Paper plates are cheap, practically worthless, right? You throw them away. Now, fine china on the other hand is expensive; it's too valuable to throw away. Do you know which one most people feel like today?

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "No Paper Plates." I think most people feel like paper plates.

They've been put down, they've been hurt, they've been neglected, they've been compared, they've been ignored, backstabbed, abused, and they feel pretty worthless. And they are throwing themselves away. Maybe you've been doing that. It's a lot of waste to throw yourself away. You could throw yourself away socially by the friends you choose, or academically by not trying or just giving up, you could throw yourself away alcoholically, chemically, romantically with the people you date, sexually, musically - by the music you listen to, or even suicidally. And here's what's so tragic about that. God didn't make any paper plates! If you think you're not worth much, you're wrong about who you are. Anyone whose treated you like you're not worth much doesn't know who you are either. The one who knows what you are is the One who gave you your life in the first place - your Creator. And here's how He feels about you.

Our word for today from the Word of God, Exodus 19:5, "You will be," God says, "my treasured possession." God says you are a treasure; you are fine china! You're not trash! You're too valuable to throw away, but there's more in God's appraisal of what you're worth. Ephesians 2:10 says, "We are God's workmanship." Now, workmanship isn't thrown together, it's no accident, it's not random. You're a masterpiece; you're a handmade creation of a God who only does beautiful work. And then it goes on to say in that verse that you are designed, "...for good works He prepared in advance for us to do." You are uniquely designed to make a unique difference in certain people's lives. But there's more. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, "You were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body."

God says you're His treasure, His workmanship, and the one He paid a lot for. You can tell how much a person values something by how much they're willing to pay for it. Well, God paid for you with the blood of His one and only Son, Jesus, and even though you had left His Creator plan for you and sinned, He wanted you back so much He sent His Son to pay the death penalty in your place. You are very expensive!

So don't believe the lies in your brain that keep telling you you're a paper plate, that you're worthless, that keep tempting you to throw yourself away. You are fine china! You're to be reserved for special purposes. If you feel like you're not worth much, then it's time to pay a visit to the cross where Jesus Christ died for you. That's how much God thinks you're worth - the life of His Son.

You know, the reason we feel so worthless is we are away from the One who gave us our worth in the first place. The wall between you and your Creator could come down this very day, if you would in your heart get to Jesus and say, "Jesus, You died to bring me back to God, and I am Yours." We'd love to help you get started with Him. Our website is set up really to do that. It's yoursforlife.net. I hope you'll visit us there right away today.

And please, live like the treasure that your Creator says you are.



The other day, just out of curiosity, I took the "Discover Your Sins" test on Rachel's blog. What I expected to see confirmed is that I am a glutton, but much to my surprise, it was ENVY that got the highest score.

That got me to thinking, and I found myself transported way, way, way back in time, dredging up some really early memories. Memories of not fitting in, of feelling "different" (like from the rest of the class), of being made fun of, of being embarrassed by some of the things my parents did.

I'm sure my parents meant well, and my sheltered upbringing was their attempt to shield me from harm or pain, but the result was quite the opposite. The secrets and the lies confused me, and I longed for family ties, for roots, for unconditional love. What I wanted more than anything was to feel included instead of always being the odd one out.

Things have changed since then, but maybe my actions haven't. I guess it's something I have to work on, and not feel so easily slighted.

Greed:Very Low
Wrath:Very Low
Lust:Very Low

The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on 4degreez.com



Not long ago, I posted about some birds who had come to feed at my finch sock. There have been quite a few since then, but none are yellow. And yet I was told that only goldfinches have thin enough beaks to be able to eat from the sock.

Does anybody have any idea what my hungry little visitors are?



This has to be one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It's the Chinese Ballet Circus' unusual interpretion of Swan Lake. The skill and strength involved in what they are doing is phenomenal. And don't stop watching after the frogs. It get's way more incredible after that.



"...to him who is able to do immeasurably
more than all we ask or imagine..."
(Ephesians 3:20)

It seems like only yesterday that I was a young widow with two small children and a real concern about what would happen to them if anything happened to me. My fervent prayer was that I would at least be there to see them grow up.
Not only did the Lord answer that prayer, but he has enabled me to see two grandchildren grow up, four more in the process, and even blessed me with two great grandchildren.
Welcome to the world little Dominic. I love you so, so, so much.



A while back I visited a friend who introduced me to goldfinches and finch socks. I can't recall ever seeing a goldfinch before, and was fascinated by these colorful little birds feeding on thistle seed from the finch socks in her garden.

Well I live in an apartment, so I don't have a garden, but I do have a terrace, and on the way home I picked up a thistle-stuffed finch sock to hang from the rafters. Then I eagerly awaited the finches, but none came.

Days passed, followed by weeks, and at the end of a month I was wondering if maybe the frequent storms in our area had made the thistle seed unpalatable, or if, perhaps, finches didn't live in this neck of the woods. What to do.

My thoughts turned to a loving God who cares about the most minute details of our lives. Nothing is too small to bring to Him in prayer. And so I prayed that He would send one little finch my way.

I guess the picture speaks for itself, even though I could not get close enough to capture their colors on film.