A change in plans…

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As we go further into this time of quarantined, stay at home, I find myself falling into a routine that I really like.   I do miss the interaction with other people, very much, and I miss my students and school but I find that I am able to spend more time in God’s word, and enjoy the little things, that totally get missed in my usual schedule.  I have loved watching all of the beautiful birds in our yard, discovering that we have doves this year, and several families of blue jays, cardinals, and blue birds.  I have enjoyed spending time in the green house, and for the first time this year, I have successfully grown petunias, foxglove and phlox.  I have transplanted, watered and weeded outside, my flower beds, thanks to Howard are absolutely beautiful and I actually have time to enjoy them.

I have pulled out several of my piano books from college and have been practicing the piano, loving the extra time. I have discovered that writing notes and mailing cards to people, especially birthday greetings is such fun and keeps me in the loop.  My mother was the best card sender, ever, always adding little special notes in each one.  I have also had time to actually finish several books, in less than a month.  I have enjoyed following friends on Facebook as they share their special time at home.  I have prayed for them as they struggled with this whole work from home and helping children with school work.  I have rejoiced in their victories, laughed at their mishaps and prayed through their sad times.  Our megsmiles family has encouraged each other on runs and accomplishing new and exciting goals, as well as encouraging each other through life events, major milestones and living life.  I am grateful for the people that God has placed in my life, for this season and for the different things they bring to my journey.

I have gone through old pictures and sorted them and laughed at beautiful and fun memories, and cried too.  A lot of un-busy time, also leads to sad times, with too much time to think.  This also makes me remember the many people who have anxiety and depression and are now stuck at home with a loss of activities to help them move through this very strange time.

Our pastor at Cool Spring, Brad Hoffmann, did a sermon on Faith, and one of the bullets was that we now have an opportunity to express the character of our faith.  When it’s all been said and done – what will my faith have looked like?  Will I have given God all of the glory and praised Him through the midst of this pandemic?  Will I have rejoiced in the fact that HE is the giver of grace and I am a recipient through no action of my own?  I hope so, I hope my actions will always point to the giver of grace and Praise Him every day.

My challenge has been to stay put, my challenge has been to try and ignore the negative and focus on the joy.  Joy can be found everywhere, in the smallest things.  I am so grateful that in the midst of all of this, I can find joy, joy in memories, joy in the nature right outside my door, joy in the extra time with my family.  And the joy of discovering I don’t have to be BUSY all the time.

My life verse since I was 19, is 2 Corinthians 12:9, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  It became my verse when I needed extra strength, as my mom went through breast cancer.  The grace of Jesus Christ is all I need and all I will ever need, his all sufficient grace, which allows me to find strength, when I am weak, joy when I am sad or discouraged, and defines my every action.

It is not easy to always let go and allow God the space to take care of our needs, but if we do, it will be so much easier.  We are strong and we are capable, but we are so much stronger and more able when we let God lead.   The character of my faith is defined in Jesus Christ.

When it’s all been said and done, there is just one thing that matters, did I do my best to live for truth, did I live my life for you?  Lord, your mercy is so great that you look beyond our weakness and find purest gold in miry clay making sinners into saints. I will always sing your praise, here on earth and ever after, for you’ve shown me Heaven’s my true home, when it’s all been said and done.  ~ Robin Marks

A Visit from a hummingbird

Grace can appear in the most unexpected yet welcome ways.  A glance out a family room window and the sight of a familiar friend flying in to stop by, one that whispers..’Hi Pam, I’m here.’  It brings both tears and joy, as if this familiar friend was looking for my Daddy, and then I realized maybe it was Daddy checking on me.

My father loved birds, he always did.  When he moved in with us, after my mom died, we put his recliner beside the window in the Florida Room, so that he could look out and keep up with the farming activities, visitors and the birds.

We have a huge elm tree in the back yard, with a bird feeder high up on a limb.  Many little red and yellow finches, cardinals, and occasionally some lovely blue birds became regular visitors.  Close to the house, I hung a hummingbird feeder, in hopes we would draw some of those beautiful little birds.  Within no time at all, we had so many different little finches visiting and soon after, a little green hummingbird showed up, and after a few days even more.  Daddy was so excited and so was I, one of those special treats God blessed us with.  He would sit and watch them, and always remind me when the feeders got low, so I could make sure to add more food.

In the winter when the tree was bare, he still would watch for those little birds that stayed around, enjoying them so much and making sure the bird feeders were full.

Daddy loved the outdoors and as a child growing up, he taught me to love it as well.  We camped all over the United States, going on three and four week long trips.  Those trips are some of my very happiest childhood memories.  Daddy loved to sit in the yard under the elm tree and keep up with everyone.  He would walk around the yard and down the driveway to get his exercise, taking pictures with his camera and checking on whatever Wirt was working on, or watching his great grandchildren play.  Sitting under the elm tree, I can see him now.

The winter of 2016 -17, Daddy didn’t feel well, and he started to decline.  He didn’t always want to go out to eat or to the store, he seldom went out in the yard to walk, but he still loved sitting in his chair by the window, watching the birds.  Right before he died, we talked about alot of things, things he wanted me to know and just remembering my mom. I would help him get ready for bed and then we would talk.  One night, after we had just brought him home from the hospital, He said, ‘Pam, I don’t think I’m getting better’, and I said, ‘oh daddy, I think you are just tired, you’ll feel better soon,’ trying to encourage him.   He then said, ‘it’s okay, I’m not afraid of dying, I know where I’m going, I’ll be going home,  but I’m just not ready to leave you yet, and my little birds.’

My sweet daddy went home, February 24, 2017, and he took a huge piece of my heart with him, but he also took his little birds.  All that spring I waited for the little birds to come to the feeders, I filled the hummingbird feeders and the finch feeders, but nothing came.  Summer came and went, no hummingbirds, and only a very few finches.  The cardinals didn’t even show up. It made me so sad, because that was one thing to hold on to and bring about happy melodies.

This summer, I filled all of the feeders once again and hoped maybe, they would visit.  One morning, I was sitting in daddy’s room, looking out of the window.   I had put two of those little dancing flowers on the window, and as I looked out the window, there looking in, at those little flowers, was a little green hummingbird.  I was so excited I just started crying.   Since then we have seen three hummingbirds, all different colors and the cardinals are back as well.

I tend to struggle more with sad, during the summer, I guess because my schedule is slower and that was when I was able to spend so much more time with my parents, my boys and with Meg and her children.  It is also all three of my children’s birthdays.   I have more time to reflect as well, on God’s love and care, and those joys and events I was able to share in, with them.  The hummingbirds to me have become one more reminder of God’s extra measure of grace, an extra, unexpected moment of joy and a reminder of how much he loves me.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Isaiah 55:12