Thursday, May 26, 2011

Elementary, my dear Watson!

When is the last time you had someone read a story to you? When you let the voice of a loved one carry you to a far-away (or not-so-far) place? Do you remember waiting in suspense to see what would happen only to be told it was time to sleep and that you'd have to wait?

Last Saturday, Dan and I took a walk around our local shopping center. We had a few errands to run and once they were completed, we moseyed over to the local Borders store, one of our favorite places. Upon perusing their bargain books collection, Dan found a compendium of Sherlock Holmes stories. How could I say no to that smile, classic stories and a bargain book? :) Besides, why else would you go to a book store?

While familiar with the idea of Doyle's stories, I had never actually read any of them. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, until recently, "The Great Mouse Detective" and an episode of CSI: ("Who Shot Sherlock?" summary here) were mostly what informed my knowledge of the detective at Baker Street. Well, that and the phrase in the title of the post which pretty much everyone knows.

When we got home, I had a tomato plant that needed to be transplanted into the hanging planter so Dan came out and sat on our glider to keep me company. As I worked, he cracked open the new book and began reading the first story to me. Since then, most nights before we go to sleep, he reads to me from the stories of Sherlock Holmes. And I absolutely love it. :) There is something very soothing about listening to his voice as he reads and I love trying to figure out the Sherlock mysteries.

Like most of you, I probably hadn't had anyone read a book to me like this since I was a child. We started out reading to each other in the car to help entertain ourselves during our long car trips over the holiday season. But there's something different about getting all cozy and settling in to listen to the voice of a loved one as you wind down at the end of the day. I highly recommend it. :)

I know I'm also looking forward to doing this with our children in the future. I've already got some must-reads on that list. :) Books are such an important part of our lives and I look forward to passing on that love.

So tell me, dear readers. When was the last time you read to someone or had someone read to you? Do you remember what the book was? Did you enjoy the experience? I'd love to hear some of your own stories about reading with loved ones. :) Happy reading!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Guest!

In my last post, I introduced you to some of my backyard visitors. I mentioned two that I had seen but had been unable to get pictures of. Well, one of them returned for a couple photos and even brought a friend! :)

Gorgeous blue jays! :) Still have yet to see the fox again...but that may be a good thing with all these beautiful birds out back...I doubt he would enjoy just looking at them like I do. =S

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Backyard Visitors

Since we moved my desk closer to the patio door, I have had a lot of visitors...

Our beautiful cardinal visitor. Her mate is a little harder to catch on camera, though I have seen the bright red flashes flying by. And, as I wrote this blog, I was able to get a quick look!
He's handsome, isn't he? :) So glad I caught a glimpse of him finally!

Why, hello, Mr. Robin! :)

I love these doves :) They must have been building their nest this day. They kept coming back and picking up twigs and grasses and then flying off with them.

This is our little black bird that comes to visit. I have no clue with type of bird he is. Any ideas?

This guy is one of our newer visitors. He showed up for the first time last Thursday. He dug in the ground for awhile, probably after a good meal. Again, no idea what kind of bird he is. Ideas?

We also have a beautiful blue jay but he has been camera shy and hasn't allowed me to get a picture yet. I almost got one today but had to open the screen door to get it and he flew off before I could refocus the camera. :\

And this...

This is Ninja Squirrel (NS). He visits me at least once a day (more if I put out stale breadcrumbs). My husband met him the day we moved into our apartment. He was walking on the sidewalk when he startled NS. Instead of running away, NS simply flattened himself on the sidewalk, as if that meant he wouldn't be seen. A few weeks ago, we were leaving the apartment and he was clinging to the brick around our neighbor's door. Since we're in an apartment, that means he was only feet away from me. I totally freaked out while NS just stopped moving and clung to the brick. Even when we shooed him away, he only went and hid under the stairs until we left. I've even seen him up in my hanging flower basket! Thankfully, he fled that spot pretty quickly when I banged on the window.

Just in the past two days, I've also spotted a fox sneaking around! I wish I could get a picture of him, but I can never get the camera turned on fast enough! Hopefully at some point I'll be able to capture a picture and share it with you. I've only seen him once each day so not much leeway in getting a snapshot during a return visit. Fingers crossed that I can get the shot someday! There have also been a couple of stray neighborhood cats but they never seem to stick around long. And not quite as fun (or challenging) to photograph as my other visitors. ;)

Well, I think that covers most of my little visitors. :) Hopefully they will continue to visit and I will continue to get some great photos to share with you, dear readers! Thanks for visiting!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spreading My Wings

When I wanted to rename my blog, I set out several options for friends and family to give their opinions. Buried amongst the options was the name "Faith for Wings" with a verse from the Bible, Isaiah 40:31 "those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." At the time I made this list, none of the names were really jumping out at me, one of the reasons I put it out there for people to read and express their opinions. But as I went on, "Faith for Wings" kept sticking in my mind.

Truth be told, the name did not come from the verse that I later associated it with in that list (see above). Instead, it came from the lyrics of the song that my husband and I danced to as our last dance at our wedding reception, "Fly" by Sara Groves. It's quoted at the top of the blog but I wanted to also share this special song with you here.

My wings are growing stronger by the day. Praise God for His faithfulness! I hope you have the chance, dear friends, to experience His grace as your spread your own wings.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Speak in a summer tone
Pause in the after glow
Tenderly whisper my name
Tell me once again why I am your bride
So I can fly
So I can fly

Pause in your busy day
Look extra long my way
Wink at me across the room
Kiss me longer
Touch my arm when I am by your side
So I can fly
So I can fly

Oh how the little things
Strengthen my tiny wings
Help me to take on the world
When you love me there's nothing I wouldn't try
I might even fly
I might even fly
I might even fly

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Again I say rejoice!

Hello again, friends and fellow bloggers! Hope you are all doing well out there in blogland!

I tell you, I can't get enough of this BookSneeze review program! I'm so grateful that my friend, H, told me about it. I have gotten the opportunity to read some fun books from them, all in exchange only for my honest opinion. :) And not just books! I've already reviewed one DVD and now they've added some more media to the selection.

Just today, I requested to review the new worship CD from the Women of Faith worship team called "Rejoice". And how appropriate is it that I'm wearing my Women of Faith shirt today when they put up the CD for review!? :) I love music and can't wait to throw this one in the stereo in my car and enjoy. I've been to several Women of Faith (WOF) events with my mom and friends and the music is always stellar. And this CD should be no different. Here is the list of tracks:
  1. Beautiful Redeemer
  2. So Good
  3. Forever Reign
  4. Come As You Are
  5. Hosanna
  6. Our God
  7. Glory To God
  8. You Brought the Sunshine
  9. Greatness of Our God
  10. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
So there you have it, friends! Another BookSneeze package is on its way! Can't wait to share my review of it with you!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boundless Talents

Hello, wonderful readers! I hope you are enjoying a restful Sunday. I know we are! :)

I'm a huge fan of Focus on the Family's ministry to 20-somethings called "Boundless". They publish articles several times a week, answer reader questions and maintain a blog called the "Boundless Line". Earlier this week, one of their writers posted an entry titled "Talents for a Season". The topic of the article really spoke to me and so I thought I would repost it here for everyone else to read too. You can find the original post here.

I recently attended the baby shower of a young woman in our church who I don't know very well. As part of the shower (which was for men and women), the host had guests affirm the soon-to-be (fourth-time) parents. Many of the people present lauded the young woman's amazing cooking skills and hospitality.
After the shower was over, I asked her how she became such a good cook. "When I left my job to stay home with my first, I needed a creative outlet; cooking became that outlet." I learned she had worked as a producer for musical theater. When I expressed how impressive that sounded, this was her response:
"I have a degree in musical theater and production. When people at the church hear that they always ask why I don't sing on stage. And I tell them, 'This isn't the season for me to use that talent.'" Instead, she went on to say, in this season, God was using her to cook, raise her children and show hospitality to the people who enter her home.
I think the woman's response shows wisdom and self-control. Too often I take pride in my talents and can feel defined by them. In fact, as a new stay-at-home mom, I am having to exercise completely different skills than I did when I sat at a desk from 8 to 5. Sometimes (in those small pity-party moments), I feel a little less special than I used to — probably because I'm not fully exercising the things I consider myself to be really good at, the things that garner attention from others.
But I want to be like this wise mother, soberly accepting the duties God has for me now, and not clinging to my former identity and talents. "Someday, the Lord may call on those talents again," the woman said, smiling, "but for now I'm in a different season." And very likely, that is precisely why an entire room of people testified to the impact she'd had on their lives.
 Now, before you start thinking that this applies to only women, married, or with kids,  that is most definitely not what the author is intending to communicate. That just happens to be where the two people in the article are in life. Later in the comments, she makes this observation:

Thank you for that. Yes, the point of this post wasn't meant to be the transition from single to married woman with child. I suppose it came across that way since both this woman and I are in this situation. But the point is: Do I dictate to God how He must use me based on my talents? It can be tempting because it's hard to argue with using the abilities God has given you. But I've also seen God intervene and take away a talent when someone wasn't willing to let it go and the talent became more important than the Creator who had given it.
For example, I used to be a singer. My family was (is) known for its musical ability. But when I got an illness during college, I lost my voice. It's never been the same since. God redirected me by taking away that talent. A guy I met was the front man of a band until he was in a car accident that crushed his face. He can still sing, but his opportunities are different now. He told me how difficult that identity shift was for him but how God massively used it in his life.
I think was is beautiful about this woman's example is that she is sensitive to the Spirit and knows God has put some of her talents on hold for now. I should have mentioned she does use her production background to occasionally produce services at our church.
So, yes, this is meant to be an everyone thing, not a stay-at-home mom thing.
 I will say that this article has been very thought-provoking for me. I think it spoke to something I was dealing with but had not been able to put a name to. I hope this speaks to someone else as much as it has me. :)

Soli Deo Gloria,