Backyard Birds – Red House Finch

Continuing the joy of backyard bird watching – through a window – with little red house finches.

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Birds in the Backyard – Woodpeckers

Last week I shared some wintery pictures of cardinals.

Today, I bring you red-bellied woodpeckers.  I think.  I do not have extensive knowledge of birds and this is the best guess after – you know it – googling images.  As I said before, the pictures are taken through a window so sometimes they seem a little muted. At any rate, the fascination continues showcasing these birds with the orange heads and black and white backs.

Sunrise Surprise

There are weeks when it feels like the world is a little too heavy and the news a little too sad.  Last week was like that. The one year anniversary of Guy’s death and reminders that it’s been 10 months since the loss of Maggie (10 years old) and 7 months since Fr. Tim died along with the news of 5 additional deaths – 3 unexpected, 1 expected, 1 suicide – these made my heart hurt in a big way.

Luckily, I had already planned a retreat which offered me focused time to lift up the repose of all these souls and pray for those left behind who are grieving each of these losses.

How I wish I could take their pain away.

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like enough to pray and yet, my faith tells me it is a great starting point.

Prayer – it’s such a powerful tool and being able to spend time with the Lord – disconnected from the pull of a million things that each day brings – praying for those souls and their loved ones, those who are hurting, those who are sick, those who gave me specific intentions and those I love and just want to lift up was a gift.  A gift to myself, to make that connection with Christ and, I hope, a gift to those I prayed for.

This morning I got up to see the sunrise but my phone said it was ‘mostly cloudy’ so I thought there wouldn’t be much to enjoy.  I decided to go down to the lake anyway just to enjoy the quiet of an early morning.

To my surprise, there was color in the sky.  It was like a little hole was opened in the clouds and I was amazed at how pretty it was.

Then, just like that, the colors exploded and became more brilliant and the oranges and golds turned to pinks and purples.

It was a spectacular display of color and beauty.  I believe it was a gift from God saying – I hear your prayers and I’ve got them. (all those I prayed for by name)

A little bit later the clouds, the wind, and the gray settled in and took over the day.

Thank you, Lord, for your gift.

 

 

Takeaways from a Parish Mission

Our church – St. Jude – concluded a 3 evening Parish Mission on Tuesday night and it was a great way to begin Lent.

Fr. Ron Hoye is an amazing presenter and his joy and passion for life and our faith is contagious. His reminders of what our faith should look like were an inspiration to the packed church he spoke to each night.

A few reminders (in no particular order and not complete)

  1. To be a disciple of Christ I should serve God with joy AND enthusiasm
  2. God wants my heart and my hunger for him
  3. God wants me to be happy!
  4. You’ll never find in the Bible verses that say, “I came so you could barely get by”.
  5. Why did Jesus come? John 10:10 says, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
  6. Is what I’m doing putting a smile of the face of Jesus?  Even if I’m not doing it ‘perfectly’?
  7. Gratitude – for 25 days take a moment to write down 3 things and tape them to my bathroom mirror. As the sticky notes increase, marvel at all for which there is to be thankful. (no repeats)
  8. Sunflowers follow the sun throughout the day – always turning towards the light.  Jesus is the sun – keep turning my face towards him.
  9. The longer meat marinates the more flavor it takes on.  It becomes more tender.  Spending more time with Jesus helps to soften me and make me more like Him.
  10. God Moment App – random reminders throughout the day to stop and say, “Thank you, Jesus.”

www.parishmissions.org – serious, funny, inspiring, thought-provoking Vincentian Priests spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all ages.

Mother Teresa

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

Roku Surprise

Surprise joy came in the form of a Roku TV stick.

Shortly after plugging(?) it in I was walking through the living room and an aquarium filled with beautifully colored fish and coral filled the tv screen.

What was this? Where did it come from? How do I get it anytime I want?

It was so vibrant and colorful and clear – it seemed as if I was looking at a real-life aquarium sitting in my house.

Was this live or was it perhaps Memorex?? (Anyone get the throwback to the iconic 1970’s commercial?)

I guess in today’s world I should say, “is it live or is it a CGI?

Whatever it is I am totally captivated and absolutely mesmerized. I can sit for quite a bit of time watching the fish. And, apparently, it has become a source of amusement to my family that I am so fascinated by the fish tank.

Just in case you are wondering – it’s a screensaver and it slowly scrolls back and forth. It takes about 6 minutes – of course, I timed it! – to go a full length. Not only is it wondrous but it’s the easiest aquarium ever!  I get to enjoy all the benefits without having to worry about the water temp, ph balance or what fish exists good with what fish.  It’s the perfect set-up, very peaceful and relaxing.

I love this thing!

Surprise!  My TV has given me the best of all fish worlds!