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 Time for Selah

Spring is shaping up to be a very busy season in our house. In addition to the usual garden preparations, we are in the early stages of laying down a new hardwood floor upstairs. I say “we”, but I’m certain my husband will be doing most of the work.

My life is equally busy, as I am simultaneously participating in two Bible studies, and leading a 6-week Lenten PraiseMoves series at my church. I am also just finishing up a Board position within my local DAR chapter, and will be taking on several new roles in the near future.

Yikes! How will I ever juggle it all, and when will I find time to rest?

Press Pause

As I was contemplating all these commitments this week, a particular Psalm presented itself on two separate occasions. The first occasion was during a beautiful memorial service for a friend who departed this earth much too soon. The second occasion was just this morning while reading my Lenten devotion.

I don’t know about you, but it’s not often that the Lord strategically places one specific scripture under my nose twice during the same week. That is a generally good indication that He wants me to read it.

And so I did.

Psalm 84 begins . . .

The Blessedness of Dwelling in the House of God.

How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah”
‭‭- Psalms 84:1-4

One Little Word

Did you miss it? That last word keeps catching my attention. Selah.

I did a bit of research today and learned that the meaning of Selah is often debated. This Hebrew word appears 71 times in Psalms, and 3 times in Habakkuk. Many believe that it is a musical term meant to create a pause. The musicians and those singing the psalm were given time to pause and reflect on the words they were singing. Often this was during a long journey or pilgrimage to the Holy Temple.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion. O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah” – Psalms‬ ‭84:5-8‬

There it is again. Give ear! Listen.

O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”‭ – ‭Psalms‬ ‭84:9-11‬

During this season of Lent, when so many activities are demanding our time and attention, it is important to pause. Take a breath. Reflect on the blessings our Heavenly Father has given us.

Spring is God’s gift to us all after a long, cold and dreary winter. Take this season slowly. Breathe it in. Watch the buds opening each day.

Above all, pause and enjoy!