How A Bird’s Song Can Lighten The Heart Of Man ( And Other Gifts In The Mix)

Answering Ann’s call at A Holy Experience dot com after reading her book One Thousand  Gifts, A  Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are, today I am counting gifts of the week.

In a prosey sort of poetic sort of my own weird way.  Just writing gratitude.  Just writing words of a grateful heart.  Just diving in with thanks.

Because when we are up-close pressing hard against the store-front windows of this life, nose cold, nose pushed down with a bit of pain, the focus is a blurry kind of not quite right. Sometimes just too raw in the moment, present yes, but needing a freshening of perspective.  Stepping back.  Looking back.  Past the big window pane of the right now, into the sweet days back. Looking back for gift counting.  For today. And then thanking for this day.

We sit together after the curtain has come down on the stage of his work day.  Club chair facing club chair, mano-a-mano, but not really.  And we are still.  Cracked open wide window, spring air wafting in, and he says, “Do you hear that?”  “She or he is doing his repertoire for someone.”  And we listen mesmorized by the mockingbird running through all that she knows and all that she’s learned and all that she can give– one delightfully perfect song of something in her world after the other.  She mimics baby birds, and he laughs.  He is tired and he is very gray and the day was long.  But the mockingbird singing like baby birds brings child-like wonder to his face. “Do you hear that, now she’s doing a song bird.”  And whatever has transpired in his day in the before this moment, pales beside this moment of wonderment.  Of resting on birdsong.  And she is so loud.  And she is so very determined.  I listen to him listen to her.  I study his face while I listen to her.  He says it may be a male showing off for a female.  And the romantic in me measures the sweetness of how invested he is, this bird, in this moment.  How such volume can come from a creature so small.  And it is oh so simply sweet and then its over.

It is quiet and he is worn out, both bird and man.  I wait hoping this is a much needed break and that he will return with the second act of his beautiful performance.  But it is night and he is tired and he has run through at least once, all that he knows and delivered it, performed it, with all of his power and might.

But he reminds me that we will have all summer with this mockingbird.  I am grateful.  We will park our tired selves by the cracked open window again and wait to be sweetly entertained by one who pours out his gifts and talents with reckless abandon. And the baby bird imitation will always be my favorite.

And I am grateful for this child who took big steps this week farther into his life as a man.  And for his interview next week.  God knows His plan and it will be good and it is a gift to watch Him match up a career to a young man’s heart.  A man who will need provision for a wife and children in the one day off.  Who loves home and nesting like the male mockingbird.  Singing loud after life, about life. Always turning up the story of life with passion on the dial of life.

I see a child sweetly nurturing friendships after desert times, and dry seasons in this arena of his world stage.  Broken and busted up times in the past, healed with the sweet balm of good, kind friends.  Walking in all happy strided after the fellowship.  Calling to report that he’s just being with them.  Learning how to be a good one and invest in others.  Bending an ear to the need of them.  His little tribe, his little community.  Grateful.

Grateful for washing dishes with friends after a luncheon celebrating a community bible study.  The drudgery of dishes and sink and wet sloppy washing can take on new meaning when there is community and there has been such sweet laughter and roasting in love.  Flowers, and fellowship and food and celebration are justified rejoicing–we know God and His word deeper and different after this season of study, of community dwelling in His word.

Today will write her story as she unfolds.  And it will be good.  With its surprise, and mystery and delight.  Its twists its turns, its delightful birdsong.

The bellowing out and proclaiming will be done tonight, looking back on today. The nose pressed  against the glass, looking hard at this today. And counting gifts………

Listening for the birdsong, listening for the JOY. Wrapping it in a word of gratitude.

We Need A Play Date Pronto

How did He know?  How does He always know.  The longing of our hearts.  The intricate wish lists written faint with the flesh tone Crayolas of fear, on the sketch pad of our innermost parts.

Encouragement comes like stumbled upon treasure at fragile times of longing.

When the heart is downcast a bit, and circumstances feel dull and bland like gray day dreary, the one who lifts us up, sends special people to the threshold of our lives to do the heavy lifting.

An encourager with a word or a phrase like cool aloe gel on burning skin, soothing the soul.  Cooling damaged skin.  Healing hurt from the day out under the day sky of life.

Yesterday I sat in a place of need.  Those small stinging word nettles penetrated the heart.  The ache of the empty sat for awhile.

Need sat pregnant.  Waiting.  Expectant. Unspoken desire for the call of a friend. For fellowship.  Knowing that I too could be the one to ask.  But sometimes we want to be extended too.  After tender bruising we want to be nursed back to health by sweet restorative Love.

And  Grace walked in early and as I press in to my firsts this morning of this new day and week a friend sends a text  that spells out my name, including my Maiden, and then I miss your face with an adjective injected about how she sees my face, one any woman would blush over, and then “We need a play date Pronto. xoxo.”

Called by name.  Called out to do life together.  An invitation to sit across a table and just be. Speaking right into the middle of my hollow need.

We sit spell-bound by a nature-show about a tribe of people who eek out an existence in  icey Antarctic region. Everyday a challenge to hunt and gather enough for survival.

We hang on every word, eyes fixed on the screen as a nylon rope is used by a few friends to tether a man to themselves.  Then they lower him over the side, with care. A cliff side of rock is his hunting ground for gathering eggs.  Nutrient rich eggs to mix up the diet of his people. And the voice adds as he gathers beautiful blue eggs from the hiding places of the rock, that many have died gathering here.  But for fifty eggs for his people, he trusts the men at the top and goes down for the needs of his people.

A beautiful picture of trust and going the distance for others.

Sacrifice for others.  Encouragement for others.  Seeking out the need of others.

In the middle of the messy and the Plan B life, in the midst of the tyranny of the urgent and in gray ordinary days we can jump into the circle of life and grab on and be.

Be the friend.  Be the consoler.  Be the friendly neighbor. Be the phone call of encouragement.

I hear him.  He tells a story that speaks to my heart in his sermon about showing, not telling.  Reaches into my insides and carves out places to implant Truth. And I too can show more and tell less.

And I  can show story here on these back lit screens that we share.  Telling falls flat and showing jumps off.  You don’t come here for mediocre and substandard telling. You come for substance and sink your teeth into meat.  Your heart doesn’t long for the dull and the gray but for life giving and life proclaiming.

So as I grow up and grow more, I long to show more of my story and His story through words.  You bless me and you are patient.

I can show you my gratitude by this.  Today I cancelled an appointment with the doctor freeing up time.  I carry a notecard today that says wynnegraceappears reader.  And today I pray for you.  I don’t know your need, but this card represents you and you have my prayers.

We need a play date pronto.  We need fellowship and friendship pronto, injected into the middle of the ordinary.  Linking hearts and lives and doing life together, not alone.  Wired for community, wired for fellowship.

So I can stop in between helping a child who is locked out of her car and helping a child who needs help with a tuxedo rental and helping a child navigate through after college graduation life and jump into community.

Shall we. Shall we circle up and around.  Shall we gather at the river and drink up life together, not alone.  Encourage each other by actions AND words.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 — By yourself you are unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

And I am calling that friend Pronto and saying “You pick the time and the place and I will be there.”

Because I  am not going over the side of the cliff alone.  I need a strong nylon rope and strong friends.  Ones whom I can trust to love hard and hold fast.  To white knuckle that rope while I scale down the sides of this messy and crazy wonderful life.

And I will take my notecard with me today and pray for you. Enjoy your play date with your life and your day.  Make it fun.  Give Grace.  Find someone to Encourage.  You are needed by someone.

Counting gifts with Ann at A Holy  Experience dot com. Boldly thanking the Gift Giver for each one.

* Encouragers after church yesterday, several who spoke kind nuggets into my heart

*Time to talk with man-child about his after college plans and following after a potential offer of career not job with a company that is known for its love of our Lord

*spring cleaning my porch and enjoying time there alone to read and be windswept

*a text of hope from one far off who struggles

*sweet new neighbors who are answered prayer

*two going to prom on Saturday and listening to plans for community and fellowship in their world

*words softly spoken to me over the bread and wine of encouragement at the altar rail so kind so needed

Do You See The Gifts – Nestled and Tucked Away

Nestled – to settle snugly and comfortably, to lie in a sheltered position, to draw or press close, lie or be situated in a half-hidden or obscured position.”
Nestle – To lie or be located in a sheltered spot, to be naturally or pleastantly situated. To house in or as if in a nest.

Do I see them there, the nestled gifts in my life?

Do I count and name and mark as packages of life and love from Him all those tucked away goodnesses?

Do I see myself in that nest of His creation, the secure, safe position of closesness to Him.  The place of resting close to Him.  Of being pleasantly housed in the safety and security of His love and shelter.

Will Trust walk along side and adjust my lense to see my beautifully gifted circumstances, no matter what they are and what they bring.

If I invite him.

Will Trust re-align my heart so that all is always viewed  through the lense of His Grace, pointing and leading toward His plan and His will.  Will Trust do that for me if I soften and release and bend to that place of surrender?

Will I permit my heart and my life to rest in His loving grip? And house my life, my childrens lives in the nest of His provision.

I can see them there, all of them,  most of them right under the bridge of my nose, lent to me, given to me and placed on the silver platter that is His provision.

They are wrapped in laughter, surrendered to sleep, marching defiantly through the door.

They are in need of love and forgiveness and patience.

They are in need of a clean shirt, pants pressed, longing to be clothed in properly fitting and styled garments.  Longing to be clothed in love, mercy, grace and forebearance.

They are belly-laughers, and belly-achers.  They are puffed with pride and laid low by humility.  Hurt and beaten-up.  Loved up and weary.  They are fatigued with fighting and striving.

And they are emptied out and proud, turning back to the heart of Him.

They are seeking and struggling, yearning and longing.  These gifts are hungry and battle-scared.

And like bird in nest, they squawk squeak, cry out beak open for nurishment, sustenance from sustainer- God, provider-God.  Gift-giver-God.

They are dressed in uniform, ready to run the race.  To wear the victory, wear the defeat.  Shed the tear, celebrate the victory with the cries of happy warrior.  Arms flailing, spinning in joy of moment of celebration and song.

And I can hear them.  Gifts all loud and happy.  Loud and mad.  Loud and pressing in with defining self, and growing up self, and finding self.  I hear the flesh asserting, demanding, crying out in hungry need.  For this and for that and for those things.

And I sense like soft, gentle cheek breezes, gifts under nose and gifts covered up.

Lost under shuffle of life and hurry.  Gifts under confetti sky of lunch with friends while fruit trees drop spent blossoms on noses like He  announces His presence, as if we doubted He was there.  Invitation goes out in Grace, Lord be in our conversation.  Lord be in our moment of fellowship.  He came, as He does.

Gift-giver.  Lover of respite.  Lover of community and friendship and linked hearts.

And I see them, these beautifully wrapped gifts,  long like unending jet stream streaks in blue sky, sky streamers, heaven ribboning. Long, conversations. Long, life ponderings and musings. With these soul sisters, red lipped momma friends. Deep down gut laughs.  Deep un-masking, authentic presentation of life journeys. Safely harbored, safely moored in moments of linked momma hearts.

Extending ear, lending heart.  Preceeding conversation with safely guarded sanctuary of trust and acceptance.

And I see these gifts in furrowed brow, angry tone, loving smile, extended ear, apologetic offerings, prayer on phone, sweet good byes, abrupt hello’s, news of pain, and news of joy, moments of correction, parent-speak, momma pleas, disappointment, second chances and messy life.

So my thank you notes, penned, spoken, whispered, muttered, under-my-breathe and out in the open are these words in part —- the gifts are precious, they are many, and I am blessed.

And each is kissed by lips of humility. Written by broken flesh, and unworthy hands.

Yet sealed in the shadows of the cross.

Thank you for all.

Thank you for each.

Grace-fully Gratefully Yours,


Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, But First Count Gifts

Simply counting gifts at the end of the day.

A joy.

A discipline.

An act of worship.

*For Spring in the heart, Spring in the Earth, Spring in the step.

*Friends with deep roots, friends with wide and deep love.

*Fellowship so warm and soothing.

*Belly laughs, wide grins, Precious heart time with women

*Happy children, hearts overflowing in the teenage years

*Very sweet time with” the prom date.”   His gentle spirit and kind smile, clamy handshake shows he cares. A blessing.

*A husband who comes home late from working but still smiling

*Bear hugs at bedside

*Strawberry birthday cake — the best!!

*This one glorious High Definition Life and all its technicolor

*Jesus loving me, this I know