Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby Bunnies

Congratulations to me, I've got seven little rabbits in my charge. They are so little... too little. In my heart (and because of all I've read on the internet) I know they will not likely survive. But I'll give them all the love I can until they go to bunny heaven.

Friday morning, while it was still dark, I heard Tom mumbling, "Ew, what is that?" His hand ran into a warm fur ball while he was feeling around the floor for his socks. He flipped on the light and said, "Rabbits. There are rabbits all over the floor."

Startled awake, I thought, Did he say rabbits or am I dreaming? Wait, maybe he's dreaming.

No one was dreaming. There were rabbits, closed-eyed, squeaky critters inside our house, right in our upstairs bedroom. Seven of them, scattered all over the floor where they had been deposited on the white carpet by our sweet dog Phoebe -- presumably. Phoebe, caught looking sheepishly proud and hopeful, Look what I found. They're just babies. You should take care of them.

Tom gathered the bunnies in a shallow box and put them back outside near the dug up nest. Silly mama had put them inside the fence, which is Phoebe's domain. Tom put the box on the opposite side of the fence and covered half of it with a towel. Good thing, because it rained sometime that morning while we were both gone. When I came home a few hours later some of the babies were cool. I warmed them up and got a few drops of liquid in them with a syringe. And then researched and read how to care for wild bunnies. Basically, don't. Leave them alone and let nature run it's course.


Two problems. First, Phoebe dug up their nest and the experts on the internet say mama rabbit won't return if an animal has interfered with the nest site. Second, we humans had already handled the bunnies -- Tom to put them in a box. Me to warm them and feed them and cozy them up in a fleecy man-made (actually, woman-made) nest.  When the sun went down and the air cooled off, I couldn't bear to leave them outside over night. So the box came in, the babies were hand fed again and an incandescent light shined a bit of warmth on them all night long.



Three days later, I'm still hand feeding baby bunnies and keeping them warm. They aren't getting fat and strong, I think they're getting weaker. Oh woe is me. My only consolation is this, I tried to save them. I gave them lots of love in their short little lives. I'll keep trying until there is no more hope. But for now, here's hoping.

 
In the end, if they survive will it be nurture or nature?  If they succumb, will it be my faulty attempts at nurture or will it be the strength and wonder of nature? Only God knows. I trust He's watching over me and my little bunnies.
 
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care.
Matt. 10:29

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Installation of Spring 95%

We're at 95-100 percent spring like weather, says me. Spring is here in (almost) full swing. By the end of the week temps are supposed to hit 70...not staying there, going back down to the 40s next week, but hey, this is northwest PA -- gotta expect that. I've heard spring peepers three days in a row (music to my ears) and some of my crocuses have bloomed.

Other signs of winter's passing...







swans on our beaver dam. But of course they aren't here to stay, just passing through heading further north. Such a beautiful spectacle they are whether swimming or on the wing.


And here's a red headed fellow pecking at the last of the
bird seed.









They say the crocuses have to be snowed on 3 times, spring peepers will look through glass 3 times, but what do they say about turtles? It seems to me, once the turtle comes out to sunbathe, that's it...spring is here in earnest!


So goodbye winter. No more snow, we've had our fair share. No more frigid winds, we've had our fill. Just walk away winter, please walk away...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mid Week Good Short Reads

I'm somewhat recovered from last week's drama over the World Vision upheaval. But that matters not -- I pray the innocent victims are also recovered. Innocents like the needy children as well as the vulnerable marginalized people whose status as worthy human beings was trounced.

One such person said, "I’ve been sitting in a swell of sad for a couple hours, because this is what I’m hearing: No, you aren’t even worthy to serve hungry children. You are so deeply unwanted that I will let a child die if it keeps you away from me. From us. From the body of Christ. I will spare no life if it keeps you far away." Those are the words and the wrung out feelings of Benjamin Moberg, on his Registered Runaway blog post titled, When Evangelicals Turn Against Children to Spite Me.

What's that all about? This sadly divisive issue is defined succinctly by Tony Campolo: The Board of Directors of World Vision USA tried to make room within their organization for Christians who do not believe that scripture condemns same-sex marriage, even though the board members themselves believe that it does. They simply were saying that their beliefs on this issue, as important as they might be, do not define whether a person is a Christian and, therefore, a possible employee within World Vision USA.

Rachel Held Evans poured her heart out in her blog entitled What Now? This after grieving... as she updated her followers with the reversal of World Vision's decision to amend their hiring and benefit policies.  valiant effort to encourage unity, stand up for those who are down trodden and persecuted within the faith. An update and apology that she posted after encouraging people to give generously to World Vision in order to stave off financial ruination that would leave desperately impoverished children without support. Because it is after all, not about me or you, it's about the children.

Tony Campolo explains very well -- in Christ we should be able to offer grace and live peaceably with one another despite our differences. The paragraph above is taken from the Red Letter Christians blog, which you can read here: One response to the troubles of World Vision. Tony's humble position reminds me of Jesus. Just my opinion. What do you think?

The key is dialogue, not name calling and judging, just talking, listening, offering compassion and grace because indeed, God's ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Only He knows for sure how to interpret His written word. The rest of us are left to our own devices, which is a scary thought even with the power available to us through the Holy Spirit! We still fall so darn short.

A friend of mine, Susan, put it well: I think most people think World Vision is a good organization. My question now is... If you are in an organization that is doing good, and you want to do what is in your heart that seems right, to be inclusive what do you do with the immense resistance. OR if you are in a church where you see a reputable organization that looks like it is going in a direction you don't agree with, but they are still good, what do you do? It seems like we need to find new ways to dialogue without tearing up the good work our brothers and sisters do. How can we argue fairly, honestly, without hurting those around us? Or can we? 

I loved that she says, "It seems like we need to find new ways to dialogue without tearing up the good work our brothers and sisters do." And I says, Amen, sister!

Must end with a final message from Rachel Held Evans...I’m ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Say It Ain't So...


Thanks to Social networking, even I can Tweet with the best of them, because when it comes to politics – I have an opinion. Religion – I have an opinion. Education, taxes, causes, issues – count me in. I have an opinion, and I hold fast to the belief that YOU are entitled to it.

Just like everyone else.
In the 21st century, how easy and convenient it is to share our opinions far and wide. Shout them out in all caps through email, twitter about one thing and another, and then for good measure, Facebook it. Plus I can send my views around Google circles; Link them in, play Foursquare— all to ensure that no matter what I am thinking, everyone else has Reddit. I hope you’re with me, or at the very least reading me.

Why? To get the word out, of course, because heaven knows, somebody out there needs to hear your – and by your, I mean MY – opinion. Whether my viewpoint is stumbled upon, or merely tumbles onto someone’s screen, gets pinned on it, re-tweeted, or better yet, comes to life on You Tube – it matters not. What matters is I am heard, and known, and understood. I want my stance on social issues, my politics, religious views, values, and philosophies known.
Yours? Not so much. Please don’t debate with me. Facebook isn’t the place and Twitter doesn’t offer enough space. Take up your cause your own way, on your own page, or get Upworthy to back you. Just please keep your viewpoints off my pages, because I’m trying to promote peace, love, and unity. I’m trying to spread faith and hope, dispel darkness, disperse joy. My way.

If your thoughts differ from mine, I probably won’t take your call. And, a coffee date is out of the question. I’m not seeking to console anybody, understand other points of view, overlook or pardon your narrow-minded ways. I prefer to hold tight my good and righteous convictions and blab them across cyber space. Fingers flying, the hazy blue computer screen flickering, press send, hit return and whoosh. I’ve reached into my friends’ worlds. I gave them something to think about, something good and true and of value to me. So naturally, it will be of value to you and to them.
What is that I hear off in the distance? Somewhere out there cymbals are clanging and a gong is sounding. Hmm, it kind of sounds like… me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Little Levity

To relieve the heaviness I'm feeling over this week's news, and World Vision's drama, (I have a post in the works) I thought I'd share a picture of the sand hill crane baby. My sister is in Florida and the little family came visiting Dad's backyard. The first day there was more than one baby. They were a family of four, then just a family of three. In her words, we're pretty sure what that means.

Yep, but let's not think about that.

You'll need a keen eye to find baby crane...

 
 
Babies and little kids can lift the spirits. This did the trick for me.
 
You know what else can make me happy?
 
Tickled my funny bone. Take a few minutes and see if it makes you smile. This one is about learning math, but there are lots to choose from: fast food, cowboys, salesman, cooking were some of my favorites. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Field of Geese

One delightful bonus of having neighboring farmers cultivate our fields -- wildlife sightings! Leftover beans, corn, grasses provide tempting, tasty nourishment for most every critter inhabiting our woods, flying over, or paddling by on the creek. In spite of cold temperatures we've had enough warm days to melt the snow and bring a bit of grass to life. This harbinger of spring greeted me yesterday: a field of big, beautiful, noisy birds...honk, honk.
 






I've seen swans flying over head and heard their soft calls. And a not-so-soft call of sand hill cranes got my attention in time to see a pair zooming past. Friends have spotted bald eagles, but I haven't been that lucky yet. Deer browse at dusk, squirrels scamper continually -- always on a mission those bushy-tailed characters.
 
Fun news from Florida -- I heard that my dad's sand hill cranes have babies. I hope someone will post a picture of the half-pints before they grow full size! Here are the adults from my last visit to Florida.
 
 
 Magnificent creatures they are. I Can't wait to see the little guys.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mid-Week Good Short Reads

There isn't ever enough time to read all the things I want to read. I feel like it's catch as can catch, and sadly I think I miss a lot of important write-ups. I don't like to read or share negative articles or posts...but I make every effort to share what interests me and sometimes what I feel strongly about. I'm especially careful because I don't intend to offend, nor do I care for debate in public written forums. That said, here are a few articles and blogs that touched me:

Let’s make the most of this beautiful day

Sometimes people are good
And they do just what they should.
But the very same people who are good sometimes
Are the very same people who are bad sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me…
Isn’t it the same for you?
Two Freds, two very different outlooks on life and people.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/03/17/lets-make-the-most-of-this-beautiful-day/


New 'religious' group just as deadly as the ones that preceded it

Friday, March 14, 2014

Anticipation...

I'm not sure how this Post Title got published yesterday, all blank and everything. But I hope it did its job. I must admit, I was surprised to see it... I certainly didn't intend to publish a blank post, and now I shall remedy that while I'm thinking of it, and thinking of Carly Simon's Anticipation...

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway, yay
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasin' after some finer day

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'

Makin' me late...
I've been meaning to post for what? Two weeks. In my queue there are no less than 4 attempts. But alas, I lead a very busy life. And if you believe that, and I'll tell you another. My life is just like yours. There are household chores, and activities, and meetings, and family and friends to spend time with, and oh yes, we are in the midst of a remodeling project...



which will start coming together anytime now, I'm sure of it. The hearth needs rebuilt, a couple of doors and windows to be replaced, and then we can have the new floor installed. But first we'll take up these chestnut planks and repurpose them. It's a great old floor except for the gaps and dips and out of level spots.


For the season of Lent I've determined (not promised, but determined) to live life intentionally. You know, like with more focus and less procrastination. The Lenten season is only a time of practicing, the goal is for this to be a life change. I know, I know, it's getting late in the game -- how long will a life long commitment be at this point anyway? (Smile with me, please, 'cause if we don't, we might cry.)

Keeping me waiting...
I'm not the sort that lets go a project like what we've got going. Instead I let go writing. But in my quest to live intentionally, in praying about what that means for me, I've realized that when something left undone nags at me, that's what I should be doing first. Check it off the list and move on. And surprise...I can enjoy all sorts of serious accomplishments and serendipitous pleasures by intentionally doing what is before me. Feeling good about week one and a half of my Lenten commitment. Anticipating more success with week 2, 3, and 4. By then I'll have it. Right? By then I'll have it right!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Transfiguration Sunday


I loved the way our pastor told the transfiguration story to kids in his children's message yesterday. You know, the part where Peter got all excited about how great it was on the mountain top with Jesus -- and Elijah, and Moses -- surrounded by brilliant dazzling light. True to form, Peter began shooting off his mouth (my words, not pastor's). Peter had a plan -- let's build monument-type houses for you three holy people and then we could all just stay up here on the mountain top... forever.

But in the middle of Peter's reckless goings on about his fantastic idea, God interrupts -- as if he were saying to Peter -- Shut. Up. (Pastor did not use those words when talking to the children, but he did use them in the grown up message -- I guess he figured we oldsters could handle a bit of how it really probably was.) When God interrupted Peter, His voice boomed from a bright cloud:
"This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!"
 
I think his message to Peter, and those of us like Peter is...Stop with your own plans already. Stop thinking of yourself. It's not about you, it's about Jesus. Focus on my beloved Son, Jesus. And for heaven's sake, stop talking, because when you're talking you can't listen. 
 
God got the attention of the disciples; they were scared witless. Peter and the others were overcome and fell to the ground, but Jesus told them not to be afraid. Then the gist of what He said was get up, and let's all get down off this mountain. And he told them not to be telling anyone what happened (the appearance of Elijah and Moses, and the voice of God) until after the resurrection.
 
So, they had to come down from their mountain top experience and get back to the real world. Just like we do when we've had mountain top experiences. You've got to come back down to earth and not only face the world, but embrace it, serve it, care for it and for people in it. At least that was my take away.
 
Pastor followed his message with a challenge for us to think and pray about what we could change in our lives to make us healthier physically, mentally, or spiritually. Lent is traditionally the time for giving up, and sometimes our giving up is rather frivolous. In case you don't know, there are good reasons to give something up for lent and there are not so good reasons. Here's a short read to help you sort that out: The Right and Wrong Reasons for Giving Something Up for Lent. But why not consider a deeper view, taking something on. Something that will change us for the better and make us stronger. You might find some good help here: Pastor Phil's blog: 20 Things to Give Up for Lent. Both of these links are from the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in New Jersey.
 
In our church we were each given a card to write down what we want/need to deal with...giving up, or taking on, or both. And if we get it written down and turned in Pastor Brian will pray for us throughout the Lenten season.


Give it up, Take it on!

I have prayed about it and I think ______________ is hurting me and/or my
relationships. I commit to
Give it up!
 
I have prayed about it and I think God wants me to _______________________,
so I can be more healthy, mentally, physically, or spiritually. I commit to
Take it ON!
 
Name  (Optional) _______________________________
 
Of course we don't have to sign our cards, but the only way to get prayed for by name is to sign the card. I'll sign mine and turn it in, but I'm thinking I'll just leave it blank here on my blog. Truth is, I don't know how to fit all the things I think I ought to give up or take on in those little bitty blanks. I'll have to seek God for the answer to that.
 
Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday...
 A last chance to have a blast
before beginning your fast.
 
I think I'll use tomorrow as a practice day for my "give it up, take it on" challenge instead.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One Day... and Another

The frosty air and fluffy snow made for great skiing on Monday.
 
85 degrees and sunshine made for great swimming on Tuesday.
 
Honestly, it's like we're on another planet.
 
And oh, by the way, it's strawberry season here.
 
We came to Florida to have strawberry shortcake with our Brown Hill neighbors!
 
Of course we're here do a few things for Dad and to keep him company, but we're out and about having fun too. We couldn't talk him into the long drive with us to go have a strawberry shortcake at Parkdale Farms. He knew his favorite daughter would bring strawberries back and make him a home made shortcake.  (There's more than one way to find out if your sisters read your blog!)  
 
The shortcake is on the list for tomorrow, along with more swimming for me, golfing for Tom, and believe it or not we'll find time for a few chores to earn our keep. How we can improve upon what he's got going is hard to fathom, but I suppose it's the little things that make it as pristine and beautiful as it is.