Category Archives: assignment

A View From The Bird House

life-experiences-quotes

 

 

I am taking a cue from Jeff Goins on this post. His challenge to write something from a life experience got me to thinking of all the different life experiences this Grama has had, and there have been many.

 

Some life experiences were amazing and some frightening; some brought dreams to reality and some turned dreams to nightmares. But I have come to realize that every experience had its time and place in my life, each one brought with it life lessons and greater wisdom. Each one had a part in making me who I am today and none of them slipped in without my heavenly Father knowing it was coming. Many of them caught me by surprise but not my Father.

 

I am very much aware that people can have the same basic experience but have a very different view of what that experience holds for them, therefore some may react very differently than others do. But as I share my experience I will be sharing my own “View “From The Bird House” (also the name of my blog).

You see, my last name is Bird and has been since 1965 when I married the love of my life and so I have quite a collection of memories, both good and bad, that I could write about. Some of those memories of experiences were not appreciated as much when I was younger but with age I have begun to see God’s wisdom in bringing them and/or allowing them. Yes, for most wisdom, does come with age!

They brought wisdom for raising children, strengthening my marriage and so much more. Most of all they brought me to a closer relationship with my God!

But enough of the deep-thinking stuff. I would rather share my favorite experiences, the ones that just simply made me smile and even laugh out loud. Retelling those stories at family gatherings is one of our family’s favorite things to do. And when we do we all laugh like it just happened yesterday and some of these stories are over forty years old. They are those stories that bring on those deep-down-belly-laughing fits that bring tears to your eyes.

Love them!

Now as you all know there are experiences that we laugh hysterically about now but weren’t all that funny at the time they happened, but over the years we begin to see the humor in them (another advantage to ageing).

The one that stands out in my mind the most is and experience with our first-born grandson, who was three or four at the time. His mother, our daughter, had recently given birth to her second child, a little girl and they were all visiting at our home. Our daughter had gone to do something in another room and I was tending the kids.

I was holding the baby and began a conversation that I would soon regret and never forget. I asked my grandson how he liked his little sister and reminded him this is the little baby that was in mommy’s tummy. His response blew me away and it was my first lesson as a grama about being careful what you ask a toddler.

He got very serious and looked me in the eye with his eyes growing bigger and said “I know and I used to be in my mommy’s tummy too!” Not knowing enough to quit while I was ahead I continued this “cute” conversation and it went like this:

Me — I know, what do you think it was like in there?

Grandson – Getting more serious and raising both arms in the air making a big circle he said; “Grama, there was sperm everywhere and I was afraid, but they said” as he changed his voice to a gentler tone “Don’t worry little boy we won’t hurt you. We are going to help you get out of your egg. But then I got stuck in my mommy’s gina and they had to cut me out of her tummy but my sister didn’t get stuck so she came out of mommy’s gina.”

I was speechless! And that doesn’t happen often.

I immediately called for my daughter and shared this revelation that her son had shared with me. Her explanation was that she and her husband had been watching a program called Nova a few days before and it was showing microscopic films of sperm traveling to the ova, or egg, and how they penetrated the egg to release the embryo. Added to that; our grandson had been asking how his sister got out of mommy’s tummy and our daughter, believing you should use correct anatomical terms, explained in simple terms her birth. When he asked if he got here the same way they explained that he kind of got stuck so they had to make a cut in her tummy to get him out.

That grandson will be 29 this year and that story is still being told much to his chagrin. But he is a good sport because he has a little boy and knows he will soon have some stories of his own to tell.

Lesson Learned: Don’t underestimate the ability of a toddler to put one and one together and get two. And take note of what your watching on TV with your toddler there, they are much smarter than you know.

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Looking For A Leader

Hard questions

Over the last year young and old of every race and every religion have been looking for a leader. This past years election cycle will probably go down in history as the most unusual election cycle in our nation.

The election is over now but as I think about all the different opinions I see that everyone is really looking for the same thing.

We are looking for a leader who is radically different.

A leader who will:

* stand up to the establishment

* Look out for the needs of the masses as well as the individual and provide for those needs.

* Put the needs of others ahead of their own comfort

* Give all people real hope and change for a better future

* Provide a resting place where people can feel safe and secure

* Provide justice and mercy, fairness and forgiveness

We all want a someone with a proven track record in all of the above. Someone whose plans, when followed, never failed.

Sounds impossible but that leader we are looking for has been right in front of us for over 2000 years. The most radical leader of all time, who has never been equaled – not even close. It is Jesus Christ!

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”                                                                                                                                                                 John 1:1

He is not an establishment figure

His message was and still is definitely one of hope and change

He never wavers in the truth and exposes the lies

He knows our every need and has the ability to meet every need and His resources are unlimited

His desire is to reach out to and meet the needs of every person of every race, gender and nation

He is always just and fair

He has a purpose and plan for every life and there are multitudes who have followed Him and give testimony to the details and outcomes of the plans in real-time for years.

His “super pack” was twelve men who spoke truth, His truth. They served and took care of others ahead of their own needs. They defended the weak, widowed and orphans. This super pack stood firm in their faith and in the truth even where there was personal insult and injury, standing up against the establishment for what was right and what was truth.

We have a new president-elect now who will soon take over to lead our country and we should be praying for him as he leads. Things are still somewhat unsettled and probably will continue to be even into the next election. It will always be that way with men!

But no matter what our political views are, with God we can always have that hope and change we long for. Christ is the Leader of leaders, the King of kings. Christ alone can bring us the peace we need in this crazy world we live in if we will follow Him.

He is the only leader I  know with the perfect resume.

Why not follow the Leader!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Intentions Are Not Enough

 

writing

500 Words a Day Challenge

1/3/17

Good Intentions Are Not Enough

My intentions for over ten years has been to become a writer. I thought about it, talked about it and read about it and did a Bible study for Christian writers. I even started a blog, View From The Bird House, and wrote several blog posts. But the one thing I didn’t do was build a writing habit and think of myself as a writer. It was what I wanted to do but didn’t really believe I was good enough to do it or to call myself a writer.

Because of my age I thought it was to late to start writing. After all I was not well known except in my own family, friends and church family circles. I was a nobody and who would want to read what I wrote anyway.

As a retired nurse, wife, mom, grandma and great grandma what would I have to write about that others would be interested in. Had it not been for a writer friend I would not have even tried, I thank God for her because she opened up the joy of writing for me. And after much prayer and meditation on Scripture God confirmed in me that He was calling me to write and share a message of hope and encouragement to others.

God had given me a gift and desire for writing and he confirmed that through that close friend who is a writer, others who have commented on my blogs and most of all because I find real joy when I write.

So, now I am struggling to learn how to write and to develop a writing habit so that I can develop my blog. That is what brought me to accept this challenge to write 500 words a day for 31 days.

My long-term goal is to one day finish a book I started (barely, I think I have the dedication and intro done). A book that I hope will bring hope and encouragement to those who are struggling with regrets over choices made in the past, discouragement with the present and feel there is no hope for their future.

The book is based on a true story of one who went from favor to fear, from fear to failure, from failure to forgiveness and a fresh start. It isn’t my story, although it could be.

We all struggle at times, we all have fears and failures, and we all need a fresh start at times so I hope to take my readers down the path from regrets over fears and failures to victory and a fresh start in whatever area they are struggling.

These are my intentions, my purposes for writing. But they will never happen if I am not writing.

So, I join you fellow writers in this challenge and I welcome your encouragement and your critique because I need that to help me become the best writer I can be.

Because intentions are not enough!

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To Whomever May Relate

 

communications

???????

COMMUNICATION


To Whomever May Relate

Errors in communication have been the source of many a problem for centuries. At times they have caused down-right disasters. But in the Bird household they are often just a source of irritation, inconvenience, and sometimes laughter. And they often produce stories that are passed down from generation to generation.

The following conversations show just a small sample of the result of mis-communication. All of the incidents are true, but names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Ice Cubes

MOM – (all set for a cold drink on a hot day and now agitated)”Who took the last ice cubes and didn’t replenish them?”

SALLY (teen age daughter, seemingly oblivious to Mom’s agitation) – “I did.”

MOM – ( more agitated) Why didn’t you put the ice cube trays back in the freezer to make more?

SALLY – (seriously trying to defend herself) “Because they were empty and you told us not to put them back in the freezer empty.”

??????

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Out of the mouths of Babes

After a discussion where my husband and I were complaining about paying taxes our daughter, a kindergartner at the time, asked what happens if you don’t pay the taxes? We responded, they will take away our house.

SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER – “Does anyone have any prayer requests today?”

NANCY – “I do, if we don’t pay our taxes they are going to take our house away from us.”

After the service: We were approached by the Pastor.

PASTOR – (Very concerned)”We would like to offer some assistance to help you financially.”

ME – (very confused) “Well things have been tight but we are ok, really.”

PASTOR – (Very convinced) “I know it is hard to accept help but your daughter shared the concern that you can’t pay your taxes and may lose your home with her Sunday School teacher.”

I tried to explain but I’m not sure I ever really convinced him it was a mistake?

???????

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He Said, She Heard – She Said, He Heard

ME – (to spouse) “I need your help getting the garage cleaned today, winter is coming and we need to be able to out the car in.”

SPOUSE – “We can do that tomorrow.”

ME – “If we don’t do it today it won’t get done.”

SPOUSE – “Remind me tomorrow.”

Next day:

ME – “Don’t forget we are cleaning the garage today.”

SPOUSE – “I know, you don’t have to keep reminding me.”

???????

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BEST OF ALL! Telling on myself.

SPOUSE – (out of town/on the phone) “Don’t forget to check the oil in the car.”

ME – “I don’t know how to check the oil in the car!”

SPOUSE – “You just pull the dip stick out, wipe it off, put it back in and then pull it back out and look to see how many marks the oil is below the full line. Then put that many quarts in using the spout that is by the oil.”

ME – “What is a dip stick?”

SPOUSE – Hesitates, then explains where it is and what it looks like.

ME – (later in the day on the phone to spouse) “Something is really wrong with the car.”

SPOUSE- “Why? Did you put the oil in?”

ME – “Yes, but it wasn’t as easy as you said. The spout you told me to use was way to big and some of the oil spilled. It wouldn’t hold the quart of oil the stick said it needed. And when I started it to go to the store it started smoking under the hood terrible. Something must be wrong with it.”

SPOUSE – “Have Joe (our mechanic) look at it.”

JOE – “There is oil all over the motor.”

ME – “I know, the oil spout thing was to big for the opening where the oil goes and some spilled.”

JOE – “Which opening did you use?”

ME – “Well the one where the dip stick is. That’s where the oil is, duh!”

JOE – laughing uncontrollably

“Was it something I said??????”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What About Bob?

What about Bob

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”
― Flavia Weedn

 

For a writing assignment I was asked to do a character study of the most interesting person I had met in the last year and to shape that study into a portrait, not with paint on a canvas but with letters forming words on paper. As I searched my memory, which would resemble searching a card catalog in the library at my age, I thought of those I have met. There was the past president of World Hope, the missionary couple from Sierra Leone, Africa and a well known Fox News contributor, but my heart and mind kept saying, “What about Bob?”

I have picked the pseudo name, “Professor Bob” to protect the privacy of this individual.

I actually have never had the pleasure of meeting Professor Bob in person. I had signed up for his correspondence course on Christian Education as my last requirement for my studies in the ministry. As in all the course work I was given his address, email and phone number and been invited to call or email if I had any questions or concerns about the course. But it wasn’t until that first phone call for help that I really met Bob.

When he answered the phone I could sense in his voice there was a smile on his face. When I told him who I was he responded with the excitement he might have had when hearing from an old friend he hadn’t spoken to for years. Now, I have never had an instructor be unkind but this extravagant greeting caught me so off guard I almost forgot why I called.

As I explained to him my questions and concerns about the assignments he listened intently interrupting only to encourage me to continue. He thanked me for calling and responded by reiterating what he felt I was saying, validating my concerns. His voice was pleasant, caring and cheerful. He set me at ease immediately as he asked me a few questions and then went on to explain just what he was looking for in the assignment. He also shared some of  his own experiences in Christian Education, both his success and failures and what he had learned from them. Professor Bob took time to listen to my struggles and promised we would work together so that I would not just pass the course but would be able to develop an effective Christian Education program as a result. After that first conversation, I believed his promise!

I could tell that this man was dedicated to going above and beyond his duty to help his students. Though I had never actually seen him, his voice gave me the picture of a man who had it all together and was fulfilling his dream of doing what he loved, teaching. A jolly fellow of sorts. His words assured me I could feel confident in my abilities to succeed. He was, in my mind, full of life and joy and was living out his dream.

What I didn’t get from at our first encounter, but found out later, was the fact that Professor Bob had some struggles of his own. He did indeed have a passion for teaching and in fact had worked in youth ministry for many years teaching young people, he had become a leader in Christian Education and now was teaching at a college level. But his passion had been sidelined to some extent by some extremely difficult physical challenges due to an incurable illness. He felt he had been “put on the shelf” for a time but then shared positive lessons he had learned while sitting on that shelf.

In later conversations he  related some of those physical challenges to me. And as time passed he also spoke of some of his struggle and fears because of them. But he would always finish the conversation on a positive note by touting how much he had to be thankful for and how many opportunities his illness had given him to encourage others in their faith. And always at the end of the conversation I went away encouraged by him.

My course work took nine months to complete and over that nine months there would be many conversations where we would share our victories and our defeats, both professionally and personally. In that nine months we became friends. We connected on Facebook and I would finally get to see and know my friend even better in photos posted of his family and hobbies and through the post made by other friends, and there are many. But never once did he voice complaints and often I would see where he encouraged others in their struggles even though they paled in comparison to his. There were many, including me, who thanked him for taking the time to listen and encourage them over the years.

Professor Bob remains a friend and we continue our conversations even though the course work is completed. I am inspired by this man who, in the midst of physical struggles and uncertainty, puts others ahead of himself. How in spite of his physical limitations and uncertainty about his future he still finds joy in living and serving the Lord as he seeks to reach out to encourage others.

This man has “moved my soul to dance” and awakened me “to a new understanding with a passing whisper” of his wisdom. He has left his “footprint” on my heart.

Thank you Professor Bob!

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

 ~Author Unknown

 

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Trashed to Treasured

 

trash can & papersI love walking the path through the city park on an early fall day. The trees are alive with colors of bright orange, red and gold. Some leaves are stubbornly clinging to the branches against a blue sky, but some are brave enough to let go and dance with the wind over a, still green, carpet of grass.

As I walked along the path my tranquil mood was interrupted as a gust of wind formed an eddy that lifted a piece of white, rumpled, lined notebook paper from the wire basket meant to be the home for unwanted items of those passing by on the path. The bright white paper landed directly at my feet and as I bent over to retrieve this rogue piece of paper and return it to it’s rightful home the greeting at the top of the paper, “My Dear Charlie” in beautiful cursive writing, seemed to beckon me “continue reading”.

The message to Charlie seemed to be a farewell message. Not like a “Dear John” letter but one of painful defeat, frustration and retreat into solitude by someone who wanted to “disappear”, to “go where no one even knows my name.”, to “not have to get up one more morning and be looked at in disgust by you (Charlie) and be told I am a worthless. I want to go to a place where I am not made to feel unworthy to be taking up space in this world.” As I read the letter I could feel the anguish, fear and doubt. I could see the tears and hear the questioning as to whether these labels were valid. However, this letter revealed a spark of courage, a desire to be free of the verbal battering of self esteem on a daily basis.

But, the letter was unfinished, in the wire basket, not signed and never sent. It was torn from the notebook, crumpled and tossed. Did the writer ultimately buy into the lies and manipulation by one who made himself judge and jury, condemning another to  a life of defeat and feelings of being worthless, hopeless and void of any self esteem? Is there a soul wandering somewhere convinced this is the final analysis of their life, not worth keeping, to be torn, crumpled and tossed in the garbage. Or is there another letter, signed, sealed and delivered?

I long to find the author and to let them know there is value in their life. I want to tell them “Charlie is wrong!” I want to tell them how God sees value in every person. I long for them to feel loved, appreciated for who they are and valued.

I will be walking in the park again and I will enjoy the beauty of God’s creation but I will also be watching for someone with a notebook and when I find them I will encourage them to write another story. A story of hope, strength and healing. And then I will be writing another story written in my own notebook!

 

 

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“Music For the Soul”

This is my story 9 21 14Writing 101

Each piece of music tells a story. Even if there are no lyrics the melody, crescendo and tempo tell a story. The stories may be about an emotion or and experience; about the person writing the music or the person listening to it, one connecting with the other. We all have a story,  more than likely we have many stories. Songs often help us express our experiences in life situations in ways we are not able to otherwise. When I listen to a song that speaks to my soul I find myself saying, “Yes, Yes, that’s my story!”

The three songs most important to me tell the story of my journey from isolation, fear and rejection to forgiveness, peace and joy.

The first song, Amazing Grace by John Newton,  is a well known song among both the secular and Christian communities. The song is well know but, not as well known is the history, the “story”, of the writer.

Newton had a very painful childhood when at age 7 his mother, who had nurtured him in the Christian faith, died. He became bitter and angry and by age 11 boarded a ship to become a sailor.  After years of hard drinking, moral abandon and struggles of many kinds  he became a slave trader.  “I sinned with a high hand,” he later wrote, “and I made it my study to tempt and seduce others.” Finding himself on a ship during a sever storm, that threatened to destroy the ship and those aboard, Newton recalled the teachings of his mother and. believing his life was ending cried out to God for mercy and forgiveness. After finding himself safe at the end of it all he committed his life to Christ. After  his conversion he wrote the words to many hymns and not the least of which was Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

His story, like mine, is that forgiveness and redemption are possible no matter how far one has journeyed into the depth of depravity. It was my story in 1978. I was in the midst of a storm in my soul. I  was in the middle of a spiritual storm of regret and guilt of the past. There was a heaviness of heart and I cried out to the God I heard about as a child. In His grace and mercy, he rescued me and from the storm and lifted a heavy burden of guilt as I committed my life to Him.

The second song, It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford, is another well known song but, again, not many know “the story” of the author of the song.

Spafford’s story is much different than Newton’s, although both their stories took place on a ship. This man had lived out his faith and was blessed with a family and a successful career. However over a period of about 3 years he lost his only son from scarlet fever, his 4 daughters in a ship wreck and his business. Spafford’s wife was spared and not long after losing his 4 daughters while on his way to meet his wife, as he passed over the area where his daughters were lost he wrote this song, his story.

It Is Well With My Soul

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

His words describe in a way I never could my story after my commitment to follow Christ. Life didn’t suddenly get and stay wonderful. There have been many blessings but there have also been many challenges over the past 36 years. Some of those challenges carried heartaches, frustration, pain and anxiety but as I leaned into the one who loved me and changed me it was and still is “well with my soul.”

The third song, I Love To Tell The Story was taken from the second half of a poem written by Arabella Katherine Hankey, daughter of a London banker and set to music by by William G. Fischer, the son of a german immigrant.

Hankey had a place in her heart for the poor and hungry people in the poorest parts of London. She and her father were devout Christians. She organized Sunday School classes through out London and taught each week while also publishing poems, and tracts to hand out in her classes. Her hear for missions prompted her to volunteer to go to Africa as a nurse to assist her invalid brother who was a missionary there.

Fischer had his own story. Because of his love for music he practiced, played and eventually taught music at the university level. And eventually started his own music store, featuring the best made pianos in the world. He built his business up to become one of the most properous piano stores in the country.

Verse 1 I love to tell the story Of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love, I love to tell the story, Because I know ‘ tis true; It satisfies my longings As nothing else can do. Verse 2 I love to tell the story, More wonderful it seems Than all the golden fancies Of all our golden dreams. I love to tell the story, It did so much for me; And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee. Verse 3 I love to tell the story, ‘Tis pleasant to repeat What seems, each time I tell it, More wonderfully sweet, I love to tell the story, For some have never heard The message of salvation From God’s own holy Word. Verse 4 I love to tell the story, For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting To hear it like the rest. And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, “Twill be the old,old story That I have loved so long. REFRAIN: I love to tell the story, ‘Twill be my theme in glory To tell the old,old story of Jesus and His love.

This is my story, about His glory and the wonder of His love!

 

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