Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Mocking’s

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A really cool thing has happened on our porch. A mocking bird has made a nest in my hanging plant and hatched four baby birds!

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The plant hangs just outside our dining room window, so we have full access to their show, morning, noon and night. It has been awesome watching an empty nest become a full house.

Seeing that they’re “mocking” birds, I’ve named them all after comedians. We have Lucille Ball, Robin Williams, Steve Martin and Jim Carey. I’m assuming Lucy is a girl because she’s the smallest. Robin, Steve and Jim are all about the same size but Jim is my favorite. He’s got spunk.

I must admit, I am intrigued. Without a thought, I find myself staring out the window alongside my cat, Miss Fortunate. I think we could stand and watch for hours.

Of course, I don’t suddenly slam myself against the glass with a forgetful pounce like she does, but it’s fun to watch nonetheless.

This morning I couldn’t stop watching them; I seriously think they grew over night. They still sport fuzzy Mohawks but their feathers are finally thick enough to make out the distinct mocking bird pattern, and they’re starting to flutter a bit.

Jim is quite the handful–or beakful, I guess would be more appropriate. He is always perched a bit higher than the others. He knows Momma has gone in search of breakfast and by golly, he plans to be the first one fed. Sure enough, when she returns he’s there waiting with beak open. That’s him eating in the picture.

He does this a lot, even climbing over his brothers and sister to get the best view of Momma. If she flies off to the left, he goes to the left side of the nest. If she flies right, he moves right. Wherever she goes, he watches and waits for her return.

This morning as I watched, he got a little overzealous and almost fell out of the nest. Of course, Momma wasn’t too far away to save him. I gasped as she swooped in and caught him just in time. That was close!
The thing I like to watch most is when they all stick their necks out and open their beaks wide, waiting for Momma to fill them. They’re so confident she will, they sometimes sit there for minutes on end with their mouths hanging open. They want to be ready; they never miss an opportunity to eat. Especially Jim.

I also like how they’re so tiny and helpless, how all they can do is sit there and wait for Momma. They are completely dependent on what she does for them. These babies have absolutely nothing to offer her except their song and she seems just fine with that.

They chirp, call out to her; she hears them and returns. Sometimes immediately, sometimes not, but she always responds.

The other thing that’s cool is watching Momma gather food. She perches at the tippy top of my kids’ playhouse and scans the ground for anything that moves. In no time she spots something, swoops down, scoops it up and lands back at the nest. Better not blink or you’ll miss it–she’s fast!

There are times, though, when nothing moves and she has to wait a bit. But hearing the hungry cries of her babies she flies to the ground and begins hunting for produce rather than protein. She finds what she can and returns to them.

Although Jim sees each beakful of food as his own, his high position doesn’t fool Momma. She loves all four of her fuzzy babies and sees to it that each gets fed. Jim just usually gets to go first.

As their breakfast wrapped up I decided it was time for my own. I turned to leave my front row seat when suddenly, we had action! Steve, Robin, Lucy and Jim began making the loudest, noisiest little screeches I’ve ever heard!

I turned to see a strange bird perched on the basket. I don’t know where she was, but within seconds Momma pulled a Top Gun and buzzed the tower! She heard the screeches, too and knew her babies meant business.

Scaring off the bird, she then perched herself on the back of our rocking chair, right in front of me.

Nobody messes with her babies. Nobody.

She stood at attention for a few more minutes on her swing-set lookout, then returned to the nest. I watched as she got down inside the nest with her babies, smoothing their feathers. It was almost as if she hugged each of them.

I just love these birds. And though I know one day The Mockings will fly away, I’m attached. Somehow I’ve been allowed to witness the miracle of their beginning; their unfolding feathers and story.

I wonder how many times Momma has done this same show? Surely she’s laid more than four eggs in her lifetime.

Regardless, she knows what she’s doing. Whether this is her first or fourth or fortieth nest full, she never seems tired or annoyed or stressed. It’s what she does, what she was made to do. Sure, she does other things like sing and fly, but for now her focus is here in this basket.

I can relate to this momma; I see so much of myself in her. But watching the whole, I am overwhelmingly reminded of The Father.

Part of me wants to be like Jim, sticking my neck out for the Lord, moving to get a better view of Him; willingly taking risks in my search because I trust Him to catch me.

But then I admire all of them, how they’re content in their helplessness. How they don’t fight Momma but allow her to do her thing because they know it will benefit them in the end.

Like Jim and the gang, all I can really do is sit and wait for God’s provision, trusting He will give me what I need when I need it, even if I feel like little Lucy at the bottom of the nest.

Momma Mocking is proof He will defend me. Get down in the nest with me. Soothe me. Cover me with His wings.

No matter how many times He’s done it before, The Father takes delight in caring for me. He knows exactly where I am, whether I can see Him or not. He hears my cry and, even if it takes a minute, He will respond.

I have absolutely nothing to offer but my song, and like Momma Mocking, He is perfectly fine with that.

~Jessie

“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” ~Matthew 10:31

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
~Psalm 91:4

“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
~Zephaniah 3:17

Fight or Float

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“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”~1 Corinthians 16:13-14image

Last week I was able to visit my literal Happy Place–the beach!

The water was clearer than usual for this particular Texas shoreline and we could not keep ourselves out of it. It was non-stop wave-riding all week!

One day the waves were a bit rough and the current was super strong. Seriously, it was a workout just keeping yourself vertical! I had to hold tightly to my son and his blue boogie board and fight the current to maneuver him through the waves.

After a few minutes of said maneuvering, I noticed how hard I was working and how tired my muscles were. Sheesh! Who needs a gym? Just try standing in the water for 30 minutes!

Stevie-P was feeling the burn, too, as he helped our daughter with her board. Though he’s no doubt stronger than me, his struggle was just as difficult. We were both out of breath and exhausted in no time.

I decided to take a rest and float but the moment I stopped fighting, the current carried us away. FAR AWAY from our original spot. We’re talking thirty seconds and as the Robertson’s say, “she-gone!”

Isn’t that like our walk with God?

We’re either going against the flow of sin or we’re going with it. There is no standing still. We’re constantly moving, either closer to Him or further away. Stop fighting the current altogether and we find ourselves farther than we intended, faster than we anticipated.

It happens in a second. We set out intending to get closer to Him, but it takes SO much effort.

Or, we finally make our way to Him and, feeling we’ve earned a break, decide to float a bit. We let down our guard and that’s when it happens:  Temptation’s pull is too strong. We lose our footing and Sin crashes down.

Even trickier are the days we don’t feel a thing. The current doesn’t seem strong–but it’s still there. Just grab a board and float a bit. You’ll drift.

Staying close to God is not easy for anyone, especially in today’s current. It doesn’t just happen; we’ve got to fight for it.

Maybe, like me, you’ve been fighting the current but you’re getting tired and want a break.

In the immortal words of Happy Gilmore, “Now is not the time, Bob!”

As Believers, God will put The Fight in us. He promises we can take hold and stand firm in Him!

Deep or shallow, strong or weak, we are all in the same waters. The difference is whether we choose to fight or float.

~Jessie


“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” ~1 Corinthians 15:58

“Stand firm, and you will win life.” ~Luke 21:19

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” ~Exodus 14:14

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” ~1 Timothy 6:12

The Broken Chair

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The dining table and chairs that grace our home have seen A LOT. The set has belonged to some member of Daddy’s family since the 1930’s. It’s the table I grew up at, so it tickles my heart to see my babies’ smiles bobbing above it.

It’s seen everyday breakfasts, lunches and suppers. It’s hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter feasts. It’s even held up under the pressure of tax returns and final exams.

It’s bore witness to 9 decades of “progress”, enduring the weight of change and birthdays and anniversaries. Surely it’s been the congregating piece for countless conversations, perhaps even a squabble or two.

Yes, our beloved table and chairs have been through a lot. Sure wish they could talk. I’d love to hear stories of days gone by and learn more of family I never knew.

Some may see just an old wooden table set in need of repair but to me, it is so much more. It’s like a member of the family.

A few summers ago, Momma and I gave it a little TLC and painted it. I was hesitant and put the task off for years, afraid the sanding would remove more than just the scratches and the paint would cover more than the dings. I was afraid it would lose its character, its history, but what it actually did was give a renewed spunk.

And I loved it even more.

Now, one of the chairs is broken. And I mean BROKEN. Like, Daddy can’t even fix it. This repair will require the skilled hands of a wooden furniture repairman as one of the legs has splintered and come completely off.

Of course, I keep the broken chair around the table with all the others. It just looks strange without it, like it’s missing a limb. The chair sits proudly in place, sporting an index-card sign that reads “I’m Broken,” with a little frowny face to finish it off.

Without the sign, the broken chair looks just like the others–until you try to slide it from under the table. WHACK! The broken leg smacks the wood floor with a crash, startling everyone. So whenever guests join us at the table, into the closet it goes to be replaced with a newer, sturdier wooden chair. But when the party is over, it comes right back out to resume its position.

As I walked past that chair this morning, I wondered what that must feel like.  To be put away instead of being used. To be replaced by one stronger. To miss all the fun. To no longer serve your purpose.

I’ve definitely felt broken a time or two in my life, and when I think back to those times, I guess I wasn’t really useful either.

Whether a trial beyond our control or the burden of unconfessed sin, brokenness hurts and causes us to miss out on things: Celebrations and joy; serving or supporting someone; everyday life.

Like the chair, we, too, lose our purpose. We may still fill our place or position, but we bear a frowny face or make a loud commotion that startles others.

Without help, we eventually find ourselves marked with a “Broken” sign, alone in a dark closet.

Fortunately, we can do something about our brokenness that my chair cannot: We can take ourselves to the Master Craftsman for repair.

Nothing is beyond His wisdom. His skilled hands mend our brokenness with precision and love. He replaces our missing parts with His power and reinforces our weak spots with His embrace.

But we–as individuals and as a nation–must seek His help; willingly lay our broken pieces before Him and ask for redemption and restoration.

We cannot be afraid of the process, painful and humbling as it is. Sanding smooths our rough patches and paint gives new life.

And, we just might find that He loves and uses us even more than before.

~Jessie

“…Then if My people will humble themselves and pray, and search for Me, and turn from their wicked (broken) ways, I will hear them from heaven and forgive their sins and heal (repair) their land.”  ~2 Chronicles 7:14

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You. Then I will teach Your ways to other sinners, and they–guilty like me–will repent and return to You.” ~Psalm 51:12-13

“It is a broken spirit You want–remorse and penitence. A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not ignore.” ~Psalm 51:17

“I will…transform her Valley of Troubles into a Door of Hope. She will respond to Me there, singing with joy as in days long ago…” ~Hosea 2:15