Passports to world travel

Building a Home

It’s been almost 20 years since we moved from Massachusetts to Virginia and into the place we now call home. This was the first time our family ever lived in a brand new house. We watched it being built, from a hole in the ground to move-in day when we were handed the keys.

It was a far cry from the 110-year-old Victorian we left behind with all its character and charm. Also left behind were the memories of the blood, sweat and tears it took to rehab almost every room. We were weekend warriors back then, investing every moment and every dime in our home.

As we begin looking toward retirement, we are now planning our next home . . . where it might be, and what it might look like. For once we can dare to dream about life outside the boundaries of work, and living each day according to our own plans. What an amazing concept!

Memories of past, present and future homes have occupied my thoughts recently. But this past week I had to add a new item to my growing requirements for our next destination: close proximity to a quality medical center. My mom fell and broke her hip on Friday and I was so grateful that she is living nearby, and no longer in a remote town in southwestern Maine. She was able to reach the hospital quickly and had hip replacement surgery on the same day. Two days and many prayers later, she is back home and will be receiving home health care during her recovery.

Amidst the chaos of the past two days, I was captivated by another home being built, this time in our own back yard. A tiny pair of White-breasted Nuthatches began building a nest in an abandoned birdhouse. I stood at the kitchen window, binoculars in hand, and watched one of the birds trying to fit a long piece of bark through the hole. It turned the bark one way and then the other. It hung upside down on the perch and tried again. It was almost painful to watch and I was literally cheering the little bird on. “You can do it! Don’t give up!” This went on for several minutes before it flew to the ground, dropped the bark and went searching for another piece.

These little birds are on a strict timeline to get their nest ready for their young. There are no blueprints to follow, contractors to call or building inspectors to wait on — only God’s plan which was designed specifically for them. And they will toil without complaint until it is done, one piece of bark at a time.

As for me, I am grateful for each house I have lived in, and the memories I will carry with me from one to the next. But I know in my heart that nothing can possibly compare to the majestic and magnificent place that will be my forever home.

Passports to world travel

His Eye is on the Sparrow

This morning as I parked my car and headed into church, I heard one of my favorite, long-awaited sounds of spring. I know what you’re thinking . . . it must have been a bird, or a sparrow as my title suggests. Well, no. This was actually a man-made sound. It was the distant hum of a lawn mower engine. It is one of the three sounds I anticipate as we move from winter to spring: migrating songbirds, the lawn mower, and the first cricket . . . in that exact order. I’ve now heard two of the three. The third will still be a few weeks away, but I know that spring is well underway.

My title today, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” is a reference to what is a familiar hymn to many.  Unlike some of my friends, it’s not a hymn I learned as a child. In fact, I only recently learned this beautiful song during choir rehearsal a few months ago.  My heart soars — much like a sparrow — during the refrain:

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Last night I attended a Christian concert with some lovely ladies from our church. It was a wonderful night of friendship, fellowship, laughter and great music! The headline band, Mercy Me, led the crowd in an a cappella rendition of the song during their set. I was so glad I knew the words and was able to sing along. What a special reminder about how God cares for all of his creatures!

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? — Matthew 6:26

As we welcomed Song Sparrows back to our yard this week, I’ve also been seeing other signs of spring.

Our peach tree and Redbud are both blooming! The trick will be to keep the deer away — especially if we spot any tiny peaches in the coming weeks.





Julie now works at a local nursery and has been doing lots of planting at home. She started an herb garden for me that sits on the steps leading to our patio. The rosemary was beginning to wilt in the house so Julie re-potted it and is hoping to coax it back to life. She also planted parsley, tarragon, thyme and cilantro.

And finally, we are trying a new crop this year . . . strawberries! I may have to battle some of my feathered friends once we have some fruit on the plants. 😉

I hope you are enjoying some signs of spring around your yard and garden too. Have a blessed week!