Thursday, February 26, 2009

Squirrels! ~ For Marie

It seems like eons ago that I promised my dear friend Marie a blogging suprise. Here it is! I've been stalking the squirrels in my yard for you. These are the cutest shots I've captured....

Sneaking food from the bird feeder...

Oops! I've been caught!

Double trouble!

Three's not a crowd! It's a party!

Last but not least, this is an older picture captured using a phone. The squirrels don't hold back when diving into the birdfeeders for food! And bonus...this picture comes with a story.

It was a cold and rainy morning, and when I looked out my window, I saw something strange. A squirrel had fallen into the tall feeder. Imagine with me: "I... just... want... one... last... whoops! Oh no, I've fallen in!" With me?

The feeder is pretty tall, and the inside surface is completely smooth, so there is no way that squirrel was climbing out. So after having a good chuckle (because who wouldn't?), I decided to have pity on this poor creature and set it free. I walked outside, in the rain, lifted the feeder off the hook, and laid it on the ground.

The squirrel, plainly terrified, bolted toward the tree in front of him. But right when his little nose reached the tip of the feeder, he stopped and snapped back as if he came to the end of a very short leash. Have you seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" You know when the main character gets up to walk across her travel office, forgetting she's still wearing her headset? It was a moment just like that.

Being the kind, compassionate person I am. I simply tipped the feeder completely upside down and gave it a good shake. The little dear was hanging by his tale, and wasn't going anywhere. He was also really scared, and thought I was going to eat him or something, so he kept backing further into the feeder. Which wasn't helping at all.

I was puzzled for a moment, and then realized what had happened. The birdfeeder was springloaded to make it "squirrel proof." Of course, you see how that stopped the squirrels right? "You're going to make the perches close if I put weight on them...fine! I'll pop off the top and feed straight from there! Ha!" ...I digress. When the squirrel had fallen in, and probably tried to jump out a time or two, his tale had become entangled in the springs at the bottom of the feeder.

So after having yet another good laugh, I unhooked all the springs, and left the little dear to figure it out. It was a chilly, rainy morning. But he at least had the comfort of a "roof" to keep him dry.

When I checked back later that day, he was gone. So even though the rescue operation didn't go as smoothly as I had originally imagined it would, it was a success. And as you can see from the newer pictures at the top, we've gotten rid of the nasty, squirrel-eating feeder.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wisdom of Hagrid

"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." (Pro 25:11).

You ever have something hit you *right there*? It was exactly what you needed to hear? I had a moment like that yesterday....while listening to Jim Dale read Harry Potter.

"What's comin' will come. an' we'll meet it when it does." ~ Hagrid

Simple. I know. But sometimes the wisest things are....

Monday, February 23, 2009


I read The Glass Castle on Saturday. It’s a memoir by Jeanette Walls about her very unique upbringing. Suffice it to say that this woman is a survivor. For those out there who are readers, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, it got me thinking. There are some people who “go far” who have been given much. There are those who go far who haven’t been given much at all. Subsequently, there are people who have been given everything in the world, and yet seem to go nowhere. And those who never break out of the negative cycle into which they were born. Why? Because a lot or a little (and I’m not just talking about financial support here), it seems to be a mysterious outside factor that makes the difference. Some people just have an inner…well…"rrrooooaaarrr" for lack of a better or more eloquent word.

No matter what life throws their way, they find a way to keep going. To keep their head high and their options open. To rise above and not become bitter or discouraged. It reminds me of a story I come back to every now and again.

Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.

A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants. The race began.

Honestly, no one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. People in the crowd shouted statements such as: "Oh, WAY too difficult! They will NEVER make it to the top." or "Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

The tiny frogs began collapsing one by one. Except for those who, in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher. The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult! No one will make it!" More tiny frogs got tired and gave up, and eventually only one continued higher and higher and higher. This one wouldn't give up!

At the end, everyone else had given up climbing the tower...except for the one tiny frog who (after a big effort) was the only one who reached the top!

Naturally, all of the other tiny frogs wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it. A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal. It turned out that the winner was DEAF!

The frog story reminds me of the power of words. Everything you hear and read will affect your actions! Likewise, the things you say will have an effect on others’.

*A lightbub turns on somewhere in Regina’s head* You know, The crowd doesn’t have to pull you down. I remember, in High School it was actually useful to have a rambunctious crowd…whether or not they were cheering for our team. If they were, it fired us up. If they were cheering for the other side, it fired us up. Either way, the noise of the crowd drove us on. And in the same vein, we would all huddle together before the game and get our collective ROAR on. And even if, as individuals, we weren’t feeling all that fantastic, by the time we hit the field we were all ready to take down any tower that stood in our way.

But sometimes you don’t have the luxury of a team. Sometimes the crowd won’t help you. Sometimes you just have to realize you have a ROAR all your own and you have to just keep climbing your tower – whatever that tower is. One of my favorite quotes is: “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost.” (H. Jackson Browne) And you know, it’s good to remember that just because you’re not on someone else’s road, you’re not lost either.

Sometimes we all need to remember this little frog: Turn a deaf ear to all the criticisms. Don’t be lazy if you’ve been given much. Don’t be held back if you’ve been given little. Let the roar of the crowd fade to the background and encourage the inner “ROOOAAARRR” of your heart. Just keep jumping toward that tower.

Don't ever give up on a dream due to the amount of time it will take to achieve it. The time will pass anyway. ~ Russ Ebsen

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tossed and Broken? Me too.

I love stories. I also love when a familiar story gets a new spin or reinterpretation or when someone can reveal a new layer that I may not have seen before. These are two of those that I’ve been mulling over for several days. I hope they can encourage you too.


There’s a well-known story in the New Testament of Jesus driving moneychangers from the temple. It’s one of the times where Jesus is truly angry, and he takes action. Anyway, I have always kind of taken it as a given that the merchants in the temple were no good, very bad people. But in a sermon a few weeks ago, the pastor said that they were most likely just trying to make things convenient for the worshippers. It would be easier for a person needing to make a sacrifice to be able to take care of things all in one place. It most likely started out as a good thought. (How can we serve our people?) But like fingers on a keyboard, there was something out of place. When Jesus comes into the temple, he tosses the place upside down, but he sets things right.

The lesson: We are told that our bodies are the temple now. So when you feel like things are being tossed around, thrown out, and messed up…it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It may just be a sign that Jesus is cleaning up his house and setting things right again. That thought lines up with something I think is true. Holiness, Christ-likeness, is not something that happens overnight. It is a lifelong goal. And if we become complacent in that journey, we can start taking advantage of convenient ways of thinking or living that may not be bad…but are out of place in the temple. So when the Jesus in us wakes up and takes a look around, he may have some spiritual spring cleaning to do. But like all other cleaning and reorganization…things get messy before they get neat. But once things are cleared out, it all feels bright and new again. That’s a happy thought.


I read Rob Bell’s newest book earlier this week. I read it in one night 1) because I couldn’t put it down and 2) because it was a library book…I wanted to make sure it was worth keeping and re-reading before I got one of my own. (I’m trying to be better with money and books.) Suffice it to say, that Amazon will be hearing from me very soon. And this is one of the ideas in the book that gripped my heart and mind.

The last supper. Jesus takes bread and wine. Breaks it, pours it out, offers it to his disciples, and says, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Bell reminded me in the book that this was a picture of what was to come on the cross: Jesus body is broken and his blood is poured out for the healing of the world. But then Bell expanded the picture. Because just as our body is a temple…Christians called the body of Christ. Bell quoted Paul who says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”…”We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

The lesson: Being broken and poured out should be a way of life. As we give of ourselves for others, we can be a picture of Christ and help people find healing. When we love people who are hard to love. When we give to people who have a need. When we are patient with those who fray our nerves. When we hold our tongues when we have choice words to say. When we stand up and do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing. It costs us something. It’s not comfortable. It’s not convenient. But it’s good and right, and as Paul reminds us, “Our light and momentary troubles are working for us a weight in glory that far outweighs them all.” By being broken and poured out, we’re living in remembrance of him.

"Me Too"

It also brings to mind the word “compassion.” I’ve heard the most powerful sermon in the world is two words: “Me too.” To quote a bit of Rob Bell’s book:

Me too. When you’re struggling, when you are hurting, wounded, limping, doubting, questioning, barely hanging on, moments away from another relapse, and somebody can identify with you – someone knows the temptations that are at your door, somebody has felt the pain that you are feeling, when someone can look you in the eyes and say, “Me too,” and they actually mean it – it can save you.

I think this is why we’re told that God uses our weaknesses for his glory. Because it’s where we have scars and struggles and pain, and yet we make it through, we keep walking, we hold our heads high, we function from a place peace and joy even if our hearts are hurting, and even when we question and don't understand and have to lean heavily on faith because not much else makes sense….that’s what people need to see. They need to know that they’re not alone. That they can make it. That there’s a hope. And for those of us who know Jesus, we should take every chance we have to share the hope that we’ve found. To say “me too.” Life sucks sometimes. I know what you’re feeling. But there’s more. Let me cry with you. Let me walk with you. And let me introduce you to the God who loves you. So then you can say with me, “Me too.” I’m whole, forgiven, broken, tossed, reordered…free. Me too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Do you ever look up while you’re typing and see something like this --> Jo/ ,u ms,r od trhoms/

Your fingers were typing the right thing. The motion was accurate. …but your hands were just in the wrong place.

Location, location, location, right? Sometimes something can be the right thing to say, but just not the right time. Or it can be the right thing to do, but not the right place.

It’s a good reminder to look up every once in a while and make sure your fingers are on the right keys.

Js[[u yu[omh…er…Happy typing!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Falling Down

Monday morning, I ran into one of my favorite coworkers in the elevator. We talked about how lovely the weather was over the weekend.

He said that he used the sunshine to try and teach his daughter how to ride her bike. I asked how it was going. He said, “Not that well. She hasn’t fallen yet. She’s so afraid of it, and once she falls she can get back up and move on.” I giggled and shared that in the biker world, some people won’t consider you a real rider until you’ve laid your bike down. (Ironically, I earned my stripes in the parking lot at work. I was going to park on a hill, but faced the wrong way – my kickstand was uphill. But I discovered that day that I can pick my bike up on my own (hoo rah), hurting only my pride in the process.)

Anyway, it got me thinking: How fear can keep us from moving forward. Even how a fear of falling short of perfection can actually hinder us from the joy of the ride. I wonder if we get in our own way sometimes because we’re afraid of that fall. We forget that until you realize that you *can* fall, and get back up again, you really haven’t learned to ride.

Most of the time, falling isn’t failing. Getting scraped up, and having the courage to get back up is all part of learning and growing. Failing is refusing to get back up (or maybe even refusing to take the risk).

I did a quick search and found a few quotes on the subject:
  • “If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.” ~ Woody Allen
  • “Good counsel failing men can give, for why? He that's aground knows where the shoal doth lie” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

What fall do you fear? Can you find the courage to let go and ride?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sir Francis Drake's Prayer

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

To echo the sentiment of another blogger: "What a prayer! I find myself praying the same along with him - dreams, adventure, and wild seas."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Seven Things

Marie tagged me and asked me to share seven things about myself ~ "wonderful, weird, whimsical, serious-whatever we're comfy with." So here you are. I think my list ended up more whimsical than serious. I’ll just have to share the deep stuff another time. Enjoy!
  1. My favorite story is Lord of the Rings. I love the themes, the relationships between the characters, the story, the movies, the music…I love it all. If I could name a child something from LOTR without having to worry about them getting constantly ridiculed, I would. I may just have to settle with a dog named Pippin…or Gimli.
  2. I collect keychains. I have well over 400. They hang together from the ceiling in our guest room. Part of me is just waiting for the day when the ceiling gives up and the whole thing comes crashing down.
  3. I love sunlight. Both of “my rooms” have had two windows to let it all stream in. (Somewhat related, I think I’m solar-powered. When the sun wakes up, so do I. And when it goes to sleep…I want to do the same. However, when around night people, I stay up with them because I’m afraid to miss a moment. You never know when something exciting may happen!)
  4. I find it easier to concentrate if I’m juggling many things at once. (Also, I do my best writing just before a deadline.)
  5. Something weird: You know when a cluster of people will “cheers” each other? I think it’s silly for each person to have to directly clink glasses with everyone in the cluster. The group “clink” should suffice.
  6. One of the wisest things uttered by Dumbledore? – “Ahhh music! A magic far beyond all we do here” Music has, and will continue to be a major part of my life: from violin, to singing on worship teams, to playing in folk music jams; from orchestras, to the music of laughter shared between friends, to random song bites sprinkled throughout my day…I love (and live) it all.
  7. I wish I could cook like the Dali Twiga. She is my current culinary hero.