Sunshine and Songbirds

Happy, rainy Sunday!

I’ve enjoyed both restful and productive days for the past two weeks while I took a short break from writing. Sometimes I need to force myself to take time out for rest, and I’m always glad when I do.

We have so many projects going on at home, so there is always something to plant, paint, repair or update. That said, I’m happy to report that we have finished flooring and painting one of our guest bedrooms. (Only four more rooms to go!)

My husband is beginning to wonder what we were thinking when we undertook this project. It’s clearly going to last many months at the current pace, but the results are amazing. I am truly blessed to have a spouse who is so talented!

Green and Growing

Our garden is planted and already full of cucumber, zucchini and tomato blossoms. We’ve been enjoying fresh spinach and fennel fronds in our salads since last week. A longer and earlier growing season is certainly one of the advantages to living in the mid-Atlantic region.

And although I am rapidly tiring of the rain, it has helped wash away some of the pollen. Everything is green and lush and vibrant! It’s also a peaceful sound on the roof at night.

A (Bird)Song in My Heart

I was delighted to discover that we have a pair of American Goldfinches in our neighborhood.  They visit our thistle feeder daily. The male is a striking bright yellow color, especially against the backdrop of spring greenery. Their song is lovely too. During the long winter months, I miss hearing the songbirds more than anything. (Click this link to hear the American Goldfinch’s song!)

This is a photo of our Crimson Honeysuckle taken earlier today. It’s drenched, but ready to welcome our hummingbirds when they arrive. I had expected them by now, and it’s possible that they are already here. They are so tiny and quick that I often miss them at our feeder. You need to stand very still and watch the feeder for several minutes at a time. It takes patience, but seeing them flitting and darting and hovering mid-air makes it worth the wait. They are truly amazing little birds!

Tomorrow’s forecast is looking sunny. That’s always welcome news to start my Monday.

May your week ahead will be filled with sunny skies and cheerful birdsongs to fill your heart with joy!

A Delicate Balance

Do you remember a game called “Don’t Spill the Beans”? It was always one of my favorite games to play when I was a kid. As I recall, the beans were evenly divided into trays, then each player took turns adding one bean at a time into a little pot. The pot was suspended in a plastic holder that tipped a little bit each time a bean was added. At some point, one too many beans was added and the pot spilled over. The player who spilled the beans had to keep them all. The game ended when one lucky player was able to get rid of all their beans without spilling the pot.

The Tipping Point

I’ve had days lately that felt a lot like that bean pot. New problems kept piling on each day, threatening to tip the balance. Every time I thought things were finally settling down, another bean was added to my overflowing pot. My days were spent trying to keep things balanced and in control.

I’ve learned that whenever I feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges, it’s time to step away. It’s amazing how even a small change of scenery can give you a whole new perspective!

Simple Joys

Yesterday was a good day to visit Mom. She is always so happy to have visitors, and I love to see her smile. We took her outside to get some fresh air and sunshine before returning to her room.

My cousin sent her flowers last week, and I marveled that they were still fresh and colorful on her windowsill. And the spring bulb garden I brought three weeks ago had finished blooming, but the leaves were still lush and green. All the flowers and plants brightened Mom’s room, and they bring her so much joy. It’s really that simple. My brother told me how her roommate and all the nurses love the flowers too. They change the water daily and pinch off the dying blooms. Clearly, the flowers are thriving with all the attention — and so is Mom.

Fresh Perspective

My drive alone in the country is always enjoyable, as I get to sing along with my favorite Christian artists on the CD player.  (Here is one of my favorite tunes from For King and Country.)

Shenandoah Valley is coming alive again with green grass and grazing cows dotting the hillsides. The parking lot at the Appalachian trailhead at Bear’s Den was overflowing with hikers. The median on the road I travelled was carpeted in blooming daffodils. Sometimes God answers our prayers through scenery and song. “See, my child? I am still here.”

Later in the day I spent time weeding our garden beds. Their roots were deeply embedded in the winter-hardened clay soil, but I persisted until the task was finished. It was satisfying work for a  warm Saturday afternoon.

All-in-all, it was a better day. A smile and a hug from Mom, and a good dig in the garden, then suddenly my bean pot was balanced again.

We never know what weeds the next day will bring, but we can always find a moment of joy when we take the time to seek it. Let it wash over you!