Tag Archives | spring

Just a Bird

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

Together, we hung thin braches on her bedroom wall and arranged colorful birds framed in various sizes above her bed. I printed out Jesus’ words about the sparrows and placed them near her mirror where we brush her hair.

After scrubbing hot pink and lime green paint out from underneath my fingernails, I gave her wall one last look—stenciled outlines depicting birds on a line—and I prayed this whole bird thing wasn’t a fast phase.

When she turned six, we updated her bedroom from toddler to big girl, and she was super clear about what she wanted. Birds. Everywhere birds. Every kind of bird.

In the remaking of a little girl’s bedroom, I caught a peek at her heart’s kindness towards God’s smallest creatures.

But I glimpsed something else, too.

Adorable is her favorite word to describe the common blackbirds and jays that visit our trees in the backyard. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when her fascination with birds began. I didn’t pay much attention to it until last Christmas.

With unshakable confidence, she walked right up to Santa Claus and asked him to bring her a book that would help her learn more about birds. Santa’s face crinkled the same way mine did when she revealed her uncommon wish list. But with a wink, her wish was as good as granted.

To this day, she carries her prized gift, a North American Bird Guide, in her backpack to school, just in case she spots a bird on the way.

She’s learned how to identify them based on their size, color, and habits. She can tell you which birds hang around all year round and which ones are just migrating through.

I’ve always thought of a bird as just a bird.

The word that comes to mind is hardly adorable when I look out the window and see one perched on the fence out back. Everyday. Common. Ordinary sounds more like it.

But my bird-girl doesn’t see “just” birds. She recognizes each and every feature—from ruby red throats to the color of their bellies—and understands how these distinguish them as completely unique.

Swallows, jays, mallards, wood ducks, starlings, robins, egrets, hummingbirds, chickadee, hawks, mockingbirds, meadowlarks, kingfisher, doves, blackbirds, and sparrows.

We can’t go to the zoo without stopping at the corner where exotic parrots, long-legged flamingos, and peacocks strut their stuff. Eagles and vultures and even the tiniest feathered creatures captivate her heart in ways I’ll never understand.

She bought a bird feeder and wild bird seed with her tooth fairy money, and her daddy hung in from the oak in the backyard. Armed with her bird guide and a pair of binoculars, she sat and waited for them to come. She waited and waited. And waited.

The squirrels found the seed first, but my girl never gave up hope. For two long months, she waited.

Then one day, squeals of pure little girl delight broadcasted the arrival of a full flock of birds to our lawn out back. They rocked that feeder, two at time, with aggressive determination. Red-winged blackbirds and brown, speckled sparrows.

With a beautiful kind of wonder, I watched my girl watch those birds.

I’ve yet to shake the feeling.

They say that artists leave a piece of their heart behind in everything they create. God does the same, I think. I see a glimpse of His kindness right there in the heart of a six-year-old girl who loves the birds He made and cares for.

Jesus’ words refresh my heart today—the very ones we framed and hung in my bird-girl’s room so she’d never forget, the same words my heart needs especially today. Maybe you need them, too?

You are more valuable than many sparrows.

In our house, there is no such thing as “just a bird,” and in God’s kingdom, there is no such thing as just a wife, just a mom, just a daughter, just a (you fill in the blank.) You are so much more.

Jesus loves you,

Kelly

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What I’m Reading: Spring Edition

Spring break is quickly approaching, so I’m making my list and saving space in my suitcase for my stack of books to haul on vacation.

Please don’t tell me e-books are more efficient. I know that. I just can’t part with pages.

One of my favorite places to read is on an airplane. We haven’t traveled by plane a whole bunch with kids, but with the exception of one horrifying flight with one-year-old twins, I can usually relax enough to crack open a book.

One day (in the faraway future), I might experience (rather than daydream about) reading at the pool. Right now, that’s about as likely as reading at the park.

My friend with four little ones and a fifth on the way came over the other day. Between the two of us, we’ll soon have eight. We laughed at our natural ability to pause a conversation (no matter how in depth) a million times from beginning to end.

We have both mastered the art of jumping right back in where we left off.

But reading like that hurts my head. After re-reading the same paragraph for the tenth time, I wind up tossing the book aside in frustration, shaking my head at the naivety that convinced me I could enjoy a good read with little people awake in my house.

On a plane, though, while they enjoy their uninterrupted screen time, I’ll be getting lost in a good story. Uninterrupted as well, I hope.

I’ve got eight titles to share with you, some that just released. You can also check out my Good Reads page for more of my absolute favorites.

{Christian Living}

Missional Motherhood, by Gloria Furman

This is an exceptional guide to discipling your children no matter their age. My favorite quote from the book is this: “Discipleship is like waking up to remember that we are alive in Christ over and over and over again a hundred times a day, until the day when we no longer need to be reminded that we are in Christ forever because we can see him.”

Fervent, by Priscilla Shirer

This book is powerful and bold and everything you need if your prayers feel like they sometimes hit the ceiling.

{Fiction}

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

I loved this intelligent book about race and privilege and love and hate. Picoult tackles the tough subject of coming to terms with our own racial self-awareness in an honest and responsible way. The title comes from a quote by Martin Luther King: “It is through small acts that racism is both perpetuated and partially dismantled.”

Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool

Wise in so many ways, yet thoroughly imaginative, I connected with the theme of story in this book. One person’s story really can change a life. We find power in story, which is why we must all tell ours. This is the heartbeat of this charming novel.

{Spiritual Growth}

The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp

God had been talking to me about the empty hollow inside my heart, trying to convince me somehow that the hunger was a gift, when I picked up The Broken Way. He used Ann’s words to continue that conversation He started in a humbling and completely encouraging manner.

Falling Free, by Shannan Martin

This one sat on my nightstand for three solid weeks before I mustered up the courage to open it. I knew reading it would make me extremely uncomfortable. With chapter titles like Get Risky, Unplan, Have Less, Live Small, let’s just say I wasn’t chomping at the bit. But, whoa. Please read this. Even if you don’t want to or you’re scared. Please read this book.

{Autobiography/Inspirational}

Hiding in the Light:Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus, by Rifqa Bary

Rifqa’s profound story recalibrates what it really means to leave everything to follow Jesus.

{Memoir}

All the Pretty Things, by Edie Wadsworth

In this thought-provoking memoir, Edie describes how she has learned to hold compassion for her Daddy and her wounds from him in the same heart.  She writes, “The heart doesn’t settle easily for blame—it longs to be redeemed.” The storyline of fatherlessness stuck with me long after I read the last word.

 

What are you reading this spring? And where is your favorite spot to get lost in a good book?

 

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