Beautiful Day

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Themes

It is here again!  Spring carries with it so much beauty, great contrasts, and the hope of new life.  I thought I would share some of the themes of our spring so far.
The past couple of years I have tried to do something fun to recognize the first day of spring.   There was a local gathering at a park, but it was a very rainy day and we opted to stay home.  So, we had our little spring tea party lunch and we had fun making these... 
and even more fun eating them!


I have a resident ornithologist, I think.  She very much loves birds and enjoys caring for them (and photographing them).  She made this super-recipe suet for them and we have had hours of fun watching the birds from our dining room table.  Yes, the binoculars keep close at hand.  We think it's especially fun to hear our littlest one say, "birdie" in his cutest toddler way.

This time of year my children are always eager to eat outside.  Yesterday they took their lunch out and were promptly met with a shower.  No problem...just grab an umbrella!  It's also the time of year to catch up on garden work--the last bit of clean-up or pruning, preparations of the soil for this year, weeding, planting cool weather vegetables, and playing with dirt piles in the cul-de-sac until they find their home in the garden beds.
Spring is usually the time of music recitals.  Over the years that has included many piano and choir recitals.  This year....something a little different.  The children (and Daddy) took part in a state fiddle contest!  It was a whole new experience, and a great one!  It was, however, a very LONG day!  We enjoyed the music and the diverse range of talents.  One of the highlights for me was this jam session (above) where a mix of ages played music together.  I really appreciate opportunities for generations to work together and interact with one another.  These long-time members were so helpful to the youth and would even pull them out of their comfort zones, as each one took a turn leading a song.
Another highlight for me.....seeing my husband work with our children in preparation for this day.  He was more nervous than they at his first contest (even though he was not being judged).  I was so blessed to see this daughter of mine take courage and decide to play in the contest just two weeks before when she watched a DVD of last year's contest.  She has not yet taken a single formal lesson or class.  She has absorbed it all by listening and quietly practicing.  And she had to play three songs.  She amazes me.  They all do!

We had quite a storm brew through here yesterday.  It was a short-lived surprise and kind of exciting.  Country Girl snapped these photos and I think this one with the plum tree blossoms and dark clouds shows just what kind of contrasts spring can bring.  I think it is a little symbolic of the storms I've felt in my heart the past couple of days.

After the storms come the reminders of hope.  Isn't that what this iconic symbol, the rainbow, given to Noah after the greatest storm of history, represents?  I think God knows we need these reminders continually.  We are a people prone to forget.
This word is not so unique to spring, but it is a lesson I need repeatedly.  As I am studying/memorizing parts of the book of Romans this year, this verse has been living in my mind and heart lately:
"because although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."
~Romans 1:21-22 NKJV (emphasis mine)
There is something critical about gratitude that changes our hearts.  It also seems to serve to protect our thoughts and hearts.  I have not begun to probe the depths of this verse or its context yet, so I don't want to slap a simple understanding over it.  However, God makes it clear throughout Scripture that gratitude is essential and that its counterpart is harmful.  "Holy Week" always seems to be a time to pay close attention to the state of my heart and examine attitudes and I have been in great need of doing so this week.  Gratitude is closely tied to praise, and this chorus has been echoing in me:
"This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long,
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long."
~Blessed Assurance, Fanny Crosby

Saturday, March 2, 2013

For the Love of.... (Part 2)

Another delight to our family is the time we devote to exploring God's beauty and design in creation and nature.  There are seasons and times where I have done this better than others.  In my romantic notions, I envision spending LOTS of time outdoors, breathing the fresh air, walking slowly, taking in all of the sights and sounds.  And then taking moments to sit down and draw or paint in our nature journals and record our findings.  The reality of life is that I have little time to do said painting or journaling (especially with a toddler or baby strapped to me--but that's a whole delight in itself that is far too short-lived).  However, there are indeed moments where it does happen and oh, how it fills that creative place in my soul.
I confess it is sometimes hard to make the most of living in suburbs and we can get bogged down in feeling like it takes quite an effort to get out into places where nature exploration is possible.  (We still dream of that place with more acreage and open space, while at the same time seeking to be grateful for where He has us now).  Yes, we are fortunate to have a bit of it in a short walk from home.  I think we just get tired of the same thing after awhile.
Thankfully, my efforts when my children were younger have reinforced my efforts now.  For when I am tempted to think it's just too hard to make the effort (even though I love it once we are actually out there), I have children who remind me.   Especially Adventure Girl, who can't seem to live without it either.
One of my goals this year has been to try to make a weekly effort to take a special hike or nature walk.  With such resolution in mind, and the prodding of Adventure Girl's Biology assignment regarding birds (another passion of hers), we set out to a new locale.

What a gorgeous day it was ("balmy" for this time of year, really!) and we just couldn't resist the call outdoors.  And this place we found?  Lovely, indeed.  Wide open spaces full of singing birds and running rivers.  We were quite astounded also at the variety of trees there, such as this ponderosa pine above (we really didn't think those grew here).  So much loveliness was a comfort to our spirits, filling us with an appreciation of the amazing design of our Creator God.

It was a good, long walk and most of our coats were shed by halfway through our hike.  We stopped often to observe birds, to listen to their sounds, and to throw sticks in the river.

and to climb a little tree......
Though Adventure Girl had hoped for far more variety of birds and was tired of seeing so many robins, all were in agreement that it was lovely and we'll have to come back sometime and bring Tender Warrior Daddy with us.
As it is (almost) spring, it is also the season for new chicks.  Since we started our little backyard flock, we have had new chicks about every other year.  As you can see from the header, they are a cute little bunch even if a little scraggly looking as they start to take on feathers.  This is always a delight, from the oldest to the youngest in the house.  Everyone loves the baby "cheeps."

Even on days we are stuck inside due to the weather or other reasons, I try to have little visuals and things to spur our love of nature and creation.  This poster really spurred a recent dinner time conversation when we had some wonderful friends over for the evening.  The man is a scientist and it turns out, a fellow "birder."  So he spent much of the evening quizzing our Adventure Girl on birds because they were both bird enthusiasts.  It made for lively discussion for everyone.
And last, but not least, let us not forget the home library, in which we have many titles to go to when various creation questions arise and we are curious about how things work in God's amazing world.  Home libraries are a "must-have!"  As one of our mentors said, bookshelves make great insulation!

"If we give our children regular opportunities to get in touch with God's creation, a habit is formed that will be a source of delight throughout their lives."
~Karen Andreola, "A Charlotte Mason Companion"
"Like a river glorious
Is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious
In its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth
Fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth
Deeper all the way,
Trusting in Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest--
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest."
~"Like a River Glorious," by Frances Ridley Havergal


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...