Monday’s Musings — Winter Joy & Warm Temps

It seems quite ludicrous that my husband and I have been able to share our coffee on the deck in the sunshine in north-central West Virginia over the last few mornings.

It all began on Saturday:
…slippers and furry bathrobes;
…61 degrees at 9 a.m.;
…steaming-hot coffee with a splash of almond-milk creamer;
…the dog AND the cat slipping outside to join us;
…the big and beautiful sun stretching to get above the trees.

We heard it…a woodpecker was on a treasure hunt in the distance. We saw the last of the icy snow before it faded away later that day (…see it in the background?). We exaggerated our breathing to take in air that was SO fresh—with a hint of woodsy moss—as all of nature seemed to be on alert to enjoy the near-70* temps in the forecast.

Being able to enjoy coffee on the deck on these mornings has been a winter joy. The weather has been on repeat-and-repeat-again for the last few days.

Fifties? Sixties? Seventy-degree temps in mid-January? I’ll take it!

How about you?
How have you enjoyed the weather in your neck of the woods?




Seeking What Sustains through a Lesson from the Birds

My winter view from that leopard-print chair...
My winter view from that leopard-print chair…

Winter’s snows have passed. Throughout the cold, harsh months of winter, I enjoyed watching the birds at the feeders.

I have a set of comfy, micro-leopard-print chairs in my library, one of which sits in front of a window. Between the chairs, a not-really-big-enough pedestal table holds my Bible, tablet and study materials, and also a coaster for the all-important cuppa coffee or tea. The cathedral ceiling rises high to the wrought-iron railing lining the loft, and the ebony oak bookshelves with their rolling ladder dominate one end of the room. It’s a haven for me. The room was once a vision and a dream, but now it’s a respite I enjoy.

The chairs used to face into the room, but the view of the birds was always at my back. It’s amazing how “doing a 180” can change a person’s perspective. Turning around one of those chairs opened up my pondering thoughts in a whole new way.

I can accomplish a lot of talking to God and listening for his “voice” from this place.

The two large feeders just a few feet from the window needed to be filled every 10-14 days during the winter. At any given time, there were a dozen birds there to choose between the black-oil sunflower seeds, the cracked corn or the millet. The finches, cardinals, wrens, sparrows, titmice, chickadees and even the occasional downy woodpecker would come to feast from the feeders, while the other cardinals and the juncos seemed content to patrol the snowy ground to catch what would drop. Now that the weather has turned, the community has started to change and move on, but I’m still blessed to see the cardinal family and their new addition, the towhees, and an occasional goldfinch join in to see what might still remain.

There wasn’t a time when they didn’t have food to eat during the winter. The feeders were always there with an adequate supply for them. On snowy and blustery days, there were dozens of birds flitting to and from the bushes to the feeders; on dreary and rainy days there were fewer birds, but still many who came to eat.

But the sunny days? The ones where the snow shimmered like diamonds and the sun warmed the spirit for a welcomed retreat? There was rarely a bird on these days. I’d go to the chair to enjoy my study time, and there would only be an occasional bird to distract my pondering mind.

It boggled me a little. Those sunny days were the days I felt so motivated to read and accomplish more page turning in the Word. I would SO want to sit there to study and watch the birds, but few would come. These were the kind of days I’d MAKE the time to pray for longer periods of time, take the time to talk longer and in a more focused way with God, and would always accomplish so much more. These were the days I loved getting out to walk in the snow or to take the dog out for her runs. The sunshine would bring light into my days like the bleak and gray winter ones could not.

The overcast and almost ne’er-ending days of snow would be the days I’d have to give myself a pep talk to go anything beyond my daily commitment to the Word. These were the days where the distracting voices or mental to-do lists would interrupt my prayers, and the conversations with God were much shorter. These were the days in which my grumbling “might” tend to increase. 😉

But the birds?…they’d be there in abundance…so much so that they often seemed to be fighting one another for a chance to roost on one of the 12 perches to indulge in the seed smorgasbord.

We share a Creator, so how much are we alike? You know…us and the birds?

How much do we yearn to get outdoors on a sunny day and stay close to home on a dreary one?

For those of you who run (um…that is not me), how much do you look forward to a run in the sun and fresh air as compared to a run on the treadmill on the cold and rainy days?

Don’t we all appreciate the crunch of the snow underfoot when the sun is shining overhead, yet grumble at just another winter’s day when the storm clouds skew our view of the sky?

Where were all the birds on those sunny days? Had they, too, been yearning for the sunshine and mild weather? Had they, too, been looking forward to a flight in the fresh air and sunshine? Were they, too, tired of staying close to home in the warmth of the bushes?

I just have to wonder if, they, too, were a little more motivated to meet with their Creator on the bright and beautiful days…

Spring is here.
The birds are moving on, so the feeders will come down for the next few months, as there are now plenty of chances for them to find their sustenance away from my window and my seat in the library.

Spring is here.
It’s not only time to “do a 180” and turn that chair back around, but it’s time to be obedient as I feel Him moving me with gentle direction and giving me plenty of chances to find His sustenance…not only in His Word and in my quiet time with Him, but also out there…out there where the birds fly.