Tag Archives: gift

Taking Nest-Building to a Whole New Level

A robin has decided to build a nest in a terrible location–on our house. Somehow, we all overlooked this giant nest in our comings and goings. This bird’s choice of location is by our downspout under an overhang. My husband noticed the nest and swept it down. He took the twigs and grass and sprinkled them in the woods.

The next morning, the nest was back. Apparently, this robin is a quick worker or her mate is a really good helpmate. So my husband once more swept the nest down and took away the raw materials.

That afternoon, the nest was back. As we loaded up in the minivan to visit friends, we watched my husband once more knock down the nest. I said, “Poor bird. She just wants to make her babies a home.” My husband said, “She has 7 acres of woods to choose from, and she picks a metal downspout?” I’m thinking she may not be a very smart bird after all.

My brother and his family arrived the next day for a brief visit. He saw my husband knocking down another nest. His comment was that he had the same problem at his house. He said, “The way I figure it is that we have this whole outdoors to share. There’s plenty of room for their nest elsewhere.”

Yesterday, my children and I were enjoying an Easter Monday celebration with our dear family friends. When we arrived home, my husband informed me that he had knocked down 4 nests. These robins have kicked into high gear! The time for laying eggs must be imminent.

I remember those days when I was pregnant with each child. I would kick into high nest-building gear. My husband would come home from work and find our household rearranged. Large and heavy pieces of furniture would have moved from one room to another without a mark on the floor or walls. I remember him looking at our giant sofa and saying, “You and I together could barely budge this thing. How in the world did you move it into an entirely different room by yourself?” The facts didn’t count when it came to preparing for the new life in my belly. And once those babies arrived, my husband and I spent hours enjoying God’s little gift in our lives, and still do!

I hope that our robins choose one of the many thousands of trees for their next nest which would be a much better choice. I understand they want a safe nest for their soon-to-be baby birds. I think the robins are showing us how much life matters. I wish that every couple would take to heart the perseverance of our robins in creating a loving, safe home for their soon-to-be baby. And then every couple would be able to enjoy this amazing gift from our good God for the rest of their lives.

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The Gift of Tears on St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Although I don’t believe I have any Irish ancestry, I sure feel Irish. My childhood parish was “The Fighting Irish” and we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a big way every year. My husband definitely has Irish in him on his mother’s side. What does any of this have to do with the gift of tears?

Let me explain. I seem to have the gift of tears. What this means is that any time a deep truth is being spoken, I cry. Well, I wouldn’t call it crying, I would just say that tears begin to pour out of my eyes. I know this is a “gift” but at times it sure doesn’t feel like it. People generally think I am sad, which I am definitely not. It’s like having a truth-o-meter inside of you. As you can imagine, most people are not used to this and really do not know how to respond when this starts happening. I have no idea how long I will have this gift. I do believe it is from God. I try not to make a big deal about it, but today at Mass, the water works were in full gear. I sometimes wish my tears were invisible so that no one would be upset or worried or focused on me.

Now, what does this have to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Well, today in the Magnificat I read a “medieval Irish poem” that I would like to share as my gift to you. I just wonder if the author of this poem (it appears to be anonymous) knew what he or she was really asking for?

A PRAYER TO REMOVE THE WOODEN BEAM

Grant me tears, O Lord, to blot out my sins; may I not cease from them, O God, until I have been purified.

May my heart be burned by the fire of redemption; grant me pure tears for Mary…

When I contemplate my sins, grant me tears always, for great are the claims of tears on cheeks.

Grant me tears when rising, grant me tears when resting, beyond your every gift altogether for love of you, Mary’s Son.

Grant me tears in bed to moisten my pillow, so that his dear ones may help to cure the soul.

Grant me contrition of heart so that I may not be in disgrace; O Lord, protect me and grant me tears…

For my anger, my jealousy, and my pride, a foolish deed, in pools from my inmost parts bring forth tears.

My falsehoods, my lying, and my greed, grievious the three, to banish them all from me, O Mary, grant me tears.

 

More or Less Love

I never realized that there was more than one view on love until I was talking with an acquaintance about children. She had a toddler and was pregnant with her second. She was wondering if she could possibly love this second child as much as her first. I think my jaw dropped opened. Hopefully, I was kind enough to hide my surprise. I seriously had never thought that way. But maybe you do? Here are two views of love:

View #1 – Limited and Diminishing
Real people have shared this view with me. If you carry this view of love in your heart, you see a finite amount of love to go around. So, if you are a mom, you think loving one child means having less love for the second child, and even less for a third child. You may even run out of love if you have too many children. If you are a spouse, you think that having a child is going to make your spouse love you less. It becomes a battle over who do you love more? Me or our child? This view flows over into the workplace, the neighborhood, everywhere you go! If you have had to work with someone who shares this outlook, you will know what I mean.

View #2 – Abundant and Growing
I personally prefer this view. I like to use the analogy of a candle. If I light a candle, it brings light to the whole room. Now, if I give each of my children a candle, every time I light their candle, my candle doesn’t run out of light. In fact, it really doesn’t change. And they now have a candle that could  light a whole room and a whole bunch of other candles. This candle lighting and room lighting could go on for a very long time (limited only by the fact that my analogy is based on a finite object like a candle!) This view also flows over and it just brings tremendous joy with it.

I hope your heart prefers to love with abundance! This gift of love will overflow and double back like a tidal wave. Try it sometime!

 

Tiny Teacups

It’s not every day you get invited to a tea party. One of my dearest friends spontaneously invited me to join her for tea. I love her tea parties because you never know what you will be served or who she will invite to join us.

When I arrived this time, I noticed a new tea set. I also quickly sized up the other guests: a well-loved but older gentleman whose clothing looked a bit rumpled, a younger blonde who appeared to have an unkempt appearance, and a very easy-going chap who had an interesting accent.

Once everyone was settled, the hostess began to serve. This time, she served banana-nut-raisin tea with “yummy” cookies. I learned that the honored guests’ names were Teddy, Dolly and Scooby Doo.

As you may have guessed by now, my hostess was a toddler. Don’t be fooled by her age. Within 10 minutes, she had taught me quite a few lessons:

When I asked for my tea, she reprimanded me, “We must say our prayers before we eat!” Thank you for the gift of gratitude.

When I slurped down my tea quickly and asked for more, she gently reminded me, “Let’s wait until everyone has had some before we ask for seconds.” Thank you for the gift of sharing.

When all was done and I made my excuses to leave, she looked at me with such sweet eyes and said, “You can have some more while we let the others finish.” Thank you for the gift of love.

It was hard to pull away from such a wonderful hostess and guests. My hostess even offered to let me make tea the next time! I just wonder who will be at the party and what they will be there to teach me.