When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Thursday, September 30, 2010

no good with sparrows

I’m no good with sparrows. I can recognize the perky little chipping sparrow and I know the big house sparrow but that is the extent of my ability to differentiate among the species. Most  Ohio birds, I can name at a moment’s notice. Even if I only catch a glimpse of them I can make an excellent guess at what they might have been. But sparrows are just ‘sparrows.’ Now that might impress the backyard neighbor, but any true birding aficionado will be scandalized. I’m sorry I just cannot tell the difference between, or rather ‘among’ them. Oh yes, in the bird book I can read all of the info and say to myself, ‘next time I’ll remember this’ but it never happens.

( This isn't my own photo, but just so that anyone interested can see what a chipping sparrow looks like)
I got started thinking about them as I had lunch on the deck with the dogs and the birds today. Rachael has two bird feeders and several cakes of suet hanging on the little tree right off the deck. The sparrows did not appreciate my sitting at the table not ten feet away and having my cold pizza and apple slices. They all came flocking into the tree several times but never could work up the nerve to land at the feeders. Finally, wouldn’t you know, a cheeky little chipping sparrow hopped first to the big square feeder. When he found it was empty he flitted over to the smaller cylindrical one. It had a bit of seed left and he proceeded to help himself. No one else was brave enough!

I finished my coffee while I watched him and then began getting my things together to come inside. By the time my crutches and I had navigated from the door to the kitchen window, the feeders were flooded with larger sparrows, acting as though they owned the spaces. The little chipping sparrows flitted through the others still getting there share of the seed.

I enjoyed my time outside. If I had thought to bring my laptop along I might be there still. The weather is quickly down sizing into fall and the last few nights have been downright cold. Today it was just pleasant to sit out. Had I been in the sun it might have become uncomfortable but where I sat at the table in the shade it was really nice. Wish some of my kids could have been there with me.

On another note, Michael’s sister Megan and her husband left for Greece this morning at 9:00. They drove in last night to stay with us because we happen to be only about five or ten minutes from Port Columbus. How neat it is to think about going to Greece. I’ve never had any desire to go to Europe except to see Scotland maybe. But the more I think of Greece, the more I think it might be interesting. They are simply flying over and they must have reservations at a hotel, but from there they plan to wing it and do their own thing. That’s the way I think I’d like to go.
Rachael and Michael are hoping for a trip to Alaska in the next year or two. They’ve not had a real vacation for—well, since their wedding trip. The last two years, they have used most of their vacation time to come after me and haven’t had the money to do much else. Rachael begins her management job here in a couple weeks and Michael is looking at a really decent raise so they plan to stash part of those raises in a Vacation Fund. They have friends in Alaska who have promised a place to stay once they get there! WOW.

Okay, I’m all involved in looking at the birding guide I just found online so here it is: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search.aspx If you like birding, check it out.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

There is not much more to be said!
Except "Thank you, Lord."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the desert sky

Notah sent me a text; “Warm NM night. Sky’s desert color. Dark blue n east changing to last pale red orange n the west.” Such a few words can evoke such a feeling of the desert. We are desert people, not the ‘live in the city and talk about blue skies and hot baking sun while you sit by your pool” desert people but desert desert people. We live amid the sage and rabbit bush and pull goat’s heads from the dogs’ feet and carry water in the car all the time.
All I had to do was close my eyes and take a deep breath and I was back. I could smell the odor of sage and sand. I could feel the hot sun (that we do have occasion to complain about, love it or not) and turn my face into the wind (even if it has sand blowing through it).
It makes me angry when I ride through towns and see green green lawns and pools in back yards. It makes me angry when I know that millions of gallons of water are wasted flooding into golf courses and gardens for the tourist/ retirement areas so easterners can brag to their friends how wonderful the desert is. If you want to live in the desert then live in the DESERT. Don’t try to turn the desert into little pieces of Ohio. If you don’t like the sand and rocks and sage brush and shaggy desert grasses, then don’t come to my desert!
Meantime let those of us who DO love it keep it for future generations to enjoy.
I found this picture that describes the word picture Notah sent me… I just clicked to put it in my screen saver pictures, so I don’t have the photographer.    So, Someone-in-Albuquerque, thank you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Daughtry Sings National Anthem Cardinal Game 9-14

I always get goose bumps when I hear the Natinal Anthem sung in a crowded stadium, but lots of times the vocal quality isn't the best and you wonder if the singer really knows the melody of the song he's supposed to be singing. 
I found this rendition by Chris Daughtry.  The vocals are  beautiful and the melody really is that of the Star Spangled Banner instead of some modified version.  If there is ONE song in the world that doesn't need to be adapted to the "Artist's Style," it is the National Anthem
Great Job, Chris Daughtry!            

Friday, September 10, 2010


Sometimes we are blessed with little bits of beauty that we walk past and never think about.  Today a ran into one of those.  But I had to stop.

Rachael and Michael's house has a big corner of the living room that is all window. It is the front corner, facing the street and also facing east.  When I got up to send Michael off to work this morning it was dark.  Well, not really dark dark, but only dim and gray. 

I made his coffee, got his "Bagelful"  ready for the microwave, and packed his lunch. (Lazy Rachael is off today and stayed in bed!  :-)  )   I also fixed myself some breakfast.  He left. 

When I had finished eating I got myself another cup of coffee and headed back to my room.  As I came down the short hall I was hit with a blaze of sunlight.  It was streaming through the trees off the reservoir and sparkling all across our living room.  It was so bright it reflected off Rachael's wall of photographs.

I had to stand just a couple minutes and enjoy it.  God didn't have to make such a beautiful world! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

thinking about suffering and obedience

I cried this morning when I read an email I received from a young sister who had written me when she was needing help and prayer and a little godly advice. I answered her back after some time spent waiting on the Lord for something to give her. Her message this morning was in gratitude for the words of counsel. That sounds a little stuffy and a little sanctimonious, but I don’t mean it that way at all. It is just that the words to say it differently aren’t available in my head. When the Lord gives me something to say to someone who needs His Help, the words flow out so smoothly and without any thought on my part. When I try to describe my own feelings in the process, the words awkward and, more than a little, ignorant. I write it with all humility, acknowledging in every fiber of my being that what bit of help I can offer her only comes from the Lord. Over the last few years since I’ve been retired with plenty of time, I’ve been surprised at the number of people I’ve met online and in person who are looking for help and counsel. I’ve never answered them lightly or tossed out advice off the top of my head, but only when I felt the definite leading of the Lord. Some of them the Lord has led me to talk with over a long period of time as they worked through hard times in their life. Others, God has said clearly, “This person isn’t looking for ME, he only wants to be pandered to and have his own sinfulness excused.” I’ve had a hard time in those situations. Part of me wants to soft pedal the message since I’m normally a pretty diplomatic person; but God has said, “Say this.” And I’ve had to say it,  being as gentle as I can while still delivering a message of judgment from Him. And maybe that is why He sees fit to use human messengers—He realizes the message of judgment is hard and cutting. Only a loving human can deliver it with the element of gentleness and kindness He wants. I don’t know.
A couple times I’ve wondered why they are being sent to me ( of all people!) or why they have felt led to me. And finally it has come to me. Paul tells us in Hebrews that Jesus, “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” If Jesus! Our Lord and Savior learned obedience through suffering why should we be any different.  Here's what I mean...maybe it makes sense.

Shortly after Louie died, perhaps a year, someone in our congregation came to me and asked if I would visit a young mother who had just lost her husband and was having a hard time dealing with the grief. When I visited I found this overflowing well of empathy and compassion. I was surprised at the words that came out of my mouth. They did stem from my own grief and the loss of Louie, but more than that they poured out from all the hours of holding on to God for help and direction and strength! That was when I began to understand the scope of Paul’s words.

During those years of trial, of the heartache losing Louie, of being castigated by a false minister, of having to stand for the Word in the face of apostasy, of lies and bitter words from those I considered brothers and sisters in the Lord, of other battles with pain and verbal abuse, of losing friends and family to distance and apostasy and death—during those years I didn’t have much time to counsel anyone else… I was working on my own spirit. But suddenly with age I find in me through the Lord, the source of counsel. I’ve learned obedience to the Holy Spirit and now, after so many years of tears, I have something to pass on to others in need.

I’ve sometimes met young men and women who feel they have great spiritual insights that they need to give others. And a few times they do have that insight when they have been raised to know the Lord and His Will and have walked in it carefully seeking to grow closer to him. But with others I’ve looked that their countenance and found nothing of the Savior and I’ve wondered just how they got that insight and counsel. I won’t gainsay their spiritual standing, but I will say that generally speaking that kind of understanding and insight and depth only comes with heartache, pain and, yes, age.

I’ve known many men and women of God in my life. I could name them yet today. I was never raised to look at ‘role models’ as is such a popular concept today. I was asked once who my role model was and it stopped me in my tracks. I was raised according to Peter’s direction because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: ( I Peter 2:21) It had never occurred to me that I should have a ‘role model.’   I already had Jesus.  But because of this question (it was on an application of some sort) I started thinking about just who I would choose if I had to specify a human being as my role model.

I concluded that there were two pastor’s wives who I would most like to be like: Sister Green and Sister Craig. When I was a young woman, those two sister had the greatest impact on me. To me they epitomized Paul’s directions to Titus The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 1:3-5)

I’m not there yet,(and my husband has  been gone for thirty years now so the 'obedient to husbands' part is a little difficult)  but by the grace of God I am endeavoring to live such that someday a young woman can look back and say that of me. If someone must follow a human, and I’ve learned that many honest brothers and sisters need a human “role model,” I want it to be evident that they can only “Be . . followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

I hope I’ve made sense without sounding self-righteous or proud in myself because 'all the praises most definitely should, must, be given to the Savior. '

Monday, September 6, 2010

He is the Lord

God forms the mountains and creates the wind.
He reveals his thoughts to humans.
He makes dawn and dusk appear.
He walks on the high places of the earth.
His name is the Lord God of Armies.
Amos 4:13