The sound of men

God, help me to remember the sound of a house full of boys. How many years have I snickered in the other room as I listen to their crazy antics?

When they were small- it was wrestling matches on the living room floor and army outfits and light sabers.
Little Indian buddies racing through my halls.
All they needed was popsicles.

Then came the monstrous thudding feet, loud crashes,
deep voices and sudden screams.
There were drums and banjos, pianos and guitars,
constant ribbing and unspeakable male noises.
All they needed was burgers and pizza and chips, and anything else I could drum up for them to wipe out.

Now… too often it’s the jingle of keys and the zipping of a jacket.
It’s the kiss on the cheek and the slam of the front door…
It’s a bagel in a napkin,
though it’s not really needed.
And a wave from the road.

It’s a new noise. The rattle of dreams.
It’s big plans and carefully, crafted schemes.
It’s girls — no — women.
It’s the sound of men.

Photo credit: Linus Bohman

A tufted titmouse good morning to you…



There is a small wooden box full of seed that sits on the narrow brick ledge just outside my window. This little guy likes to hop down inside the box to eat. He frequently pops his head up to keep an eye out for predators. He is not a bit afraid as he sees me get up from my chair or reach for things so very near him. He makes me smile.

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The Tufted Titmouse

“A little gray bird with an echoing voice, the Tufted Titmouse is common in eastern deciduous forests and a frequent visitor to feeders. The large black eyes, small, round bill, and brushy crest gives these birds a quiet but eager expression that matches the way they flit through canopies, hang from twig-ends, and drop in to bird feeders. When a titmouse finds a large seed, you’ll see it carry the prize to a perch and crack it with sharp whacks of its stout bill.

Tufted Titmice hoard food in fall and winter, a behavior they share with many of their relatives, including the chickadees and tits. Titmice take advantage of a bird feeder’s bounty by storing many of the seeds they get. Usually, the storage sites are within 130 feet of the feeder. The birds take only one seed per trip and usually shell the seeds before hiding them.

Tufted Titmice nest in tree holes (and nest boxes), but they can’t excavate their own nest cavities. Instead, they use natural holes and cavities left by woodpeckers. These species’ dependence on dead wood for their homes is one reason why it’s important to allow dead trees to remain in forests rather than cutting them down.

Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from living animals. The list of hair types identified from old nests includes raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans.

The oldest known wild Tufted Titmouse lived to be 13 years 3 months old.”

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Stay focused…

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:5-6 NIV

You have assigned me my portion. This package has my name on it — the exact provisions and quantities are there. If I take the path you have designed for me — according to your instructions, without chasing after lies, without insisting on more or longing for different, I will succeed in living a rich and fulfilled life.

Stay focused — do not give in to insecurity, greed, lust for power or glory.

Simply inventory my provisions and follow you.

There is something freeing and immensely satisfying about beating the temptation to wish for what is not mine.

Photo from:

Defy Nature



In Matthew chapter 14 Jesus learns that John the Baptist, the one who had known his purpose,  even in the womb — had been viciously murdered. John and Jesus shared a special connection — they were purposed and were purposeful.

Jesus responded to this news by climbing into a boat and heading off to a place to be alone, but when the word spread that he might be within reach, he was followed by people in the nearby villages. Jesus could see them gathering and walking along the lakeshore and he was overcome with compassion. In all his grief — in his probable state of frustration and anger — Jesus still chose to give way to compassion, to engage and to heal crowds.

John’s senseless death only served to propel him forward.
Jesus so emptied himself of fear, hatred, and rage — he so surrendered — that the force of love yielded miraculous results.
That kind of infused love that changes everything.
He healed the sick and miraculously fed the 5000 men, women, and children that had gathered near the shore.

After Jesus dismissed the crowds, he sent his disciples off in the boat and climbed up the mountainside to be alone and pray. When he came down, just before dawn, the boat was a good distance away from shore in rough waves. Defying nature, Jesus walked on water to reach the boat.

All this…  just after the loss of John. The event could have shut him down.
He could have given up or given way, but the circumstances only proved to strengthen him. He hadn’t traded his faith for fear or unbelief.
What was it like that day as he took to the water?
Was there a gentle breeze that touched his face?

He was able to empty himself, listen, and receive the sustenance he needed to survive not only his own grief, but to pour out unfathomable love.

That’s the kind of pure love I want — the kind that banishes all that I could — and maybe should — feel.
The kind that overcomes my rights, my propensities, and my self consciousness.
The kind that defies nature and encourages miracles.

help me see past my feeble eyes.

thank you, God…

to know all you knew — and still press in — whoa.
Photo by House and Garden

Chicken talk


“Madam: This horrid, white matter, which has been hastily strewn about in great excess, just won’t do. We simply refuse to come out until you see fit to do something about it.”

Borfingtina Whittier, spokeschicken


Birds Of A Feather

Catherine Whittier:

Because it’s the little things that carry the weight of meaning…

Originally posted on Storyshucker:

My bus arrived on time in spite of the foul weather. I shook my umbrella, climbed the steps, and headed straight for the empty seat beside Marble Lady. I call her that now because last week she cleaned her purse during our morning commute and we discussed the small green marble she discovered in its zippered pocket. She’d found the marble in her yard, dropped it into her purse thinking it may have once belonged to her now adult son, and thought no more about it until she came across it that day on the bus. After we talked, she realized her sentimental feelings attached to it and instead of getting rid of the marble, she kept it.

This morning she faced the window when I boarded the bus. As I sat down she turned to give a “good morning” nod to whoever it was beside her. Seeing me, she…

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Quietude, which some men cannot abide because it reveals their inward poverty, is as a palace of cedar to the wise, for along it’s hallowed courts the king in his beauty deigns to walk.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

-Jan Karon, Patches of Godlight

Image- Sharla Eck