Last night my son asked me to come out and see a Mockingbird in one of our trees.  Around here Mockingbirds are common, as in all over the place.  I think they’re pretty cool birds…any bird that make all the sounds it does has to be awesome.  However, he asked while I was having a conversation with DH, who’d only been home from work a few minutes.  Plus, the same child and I had watched the same mockingbird in the same tree just a few hours earlier.   As a result, I wasn’t overly thrilled to go running outside with him.  Thankfully I’m sometimes wise enough to go with what my kids are excited about and I went outside.

Part of the scene when I got there was just what I expected…a Mockingbird singing beautifully in the tree where he sings every day.  However, the scene in our driveway was gorgeous.  Leaning on the recycle bin stood my oldest son and on the pavement next to him lay my two younger children.  All three were just hanging out watching/listening to the bird.  It was a precious thing.  I smile just thinking about it.  I’ve heard lots of birds sing; sometimes I listen carefully, often I don’t.  But I’m so glad I took the time to listen last night.  I got to see my children enjoying God’s creation, which was more beautiful to me than any bird could ever sing.

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Several years ago I developed a passion for bird watching.  It’s a simple thing I found to be really centering, so to speak.  I discovered bird watching was a way to find beauty anywhere because they are everywhere.  For example, it might seem like a dirty part of the city, but birds are still there.  An empty field…more birds.  Near my hometown there’s a wastewater treatment plant that is a great place to see unique types of birds!  Spotting a bird reminds me of the beauty God created.

This morning I went for a walk around the lake pond near our house and discovered a visitor.  I didn’t have a camera with me other than my phone (which is horrible for pictures), so I went back later with my 3 yo.


One of the awesome things about being a parent is introducing your child to the world.  Helping them discover is truly an amazing experience.  I don’t usually try to ‘bird watch’ with my kids around, other than in our yard, because kids generally don’t love to sit quietly.  Or walk quietly.  Especially if they see a pine cone.  or a bug.  or a stick.  or a leaf.  or anything else remotely interesting.  While this trait is absolutely fantastic, is doesn’t lend itself well to bird observation.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  It does allow one to see how quickly birds can scatter and hide….

On our way to the lake my son and I had several discussions about being *quiet* so we wouldn’t scare the big white bird. I also gave him a pair of binoculars so he could study nature on his own.  I have to say, despite being three years old and generally loud, he did very well on our walk!  I was able to get a few pictures of this beauty:


American White Pelican


American White Pelican.
And turtles.



…until my sweet boy forgot to be quiet.  Here is the Pelican flying away.




So we looked at the turtles instead.


My fellow birdwatcher.



Bird feeders aren’t just for the birds

Yesterday morning I was so excited to see a fairly big woodpecker on my feeder.  I never did see him again…maybe he figured if the paparazzi was here he’d better stay away.  However, last night I spied this on my bird feeder:


This beauty was also on my deck yesterday afternoon!


Have you noticed some days it’s hard to find beauty and other days it seems to ooze out?  Hopefully today will be an oozing day for you!


I love babies.  Big ones, little ones, bald ones, and furry ones.  This year we’re blessed enough to see many babies.  Not only do we have an adorable one living with us, we have a bunch in the neighborhood.  They are so fun to watch!  These babies were near our apartment today.

Momma keeps a watchful eye on us.  Two reasons: 1. make sure no ones threatens her babies and 2. see if we’re offering any food!
I love this pic.
The grown ups are NOT very good looking to me (though these parents are better looking than the others around), but they start out SO cute!
And they’re off!  See you soon!


Recently we’ve had house guests.  So many I’m losing count.  We even had a family of six staying with us. Technically, it was just a family of two when they moved in but then they had quadruplets.  

I’m not sure what our lease says about the maximum number of occupants, but I’m guessing our family of five plus a family of six is too many. However, technically this family lived on the porch, so maybe we’re in the clear.

Daddy feeding his kids.
Practicing their GQ pose.

They have all moved out now, but they do come back to visit…and eat our birdseed.  Someone has added to the nest since the kids left.  We’re hopeful someone else may try it out.

K always asks about the birds on our feeder, “Is that the momma bird or the daddy bird?” or “Is that the K bird?”  For those of you not up on your bird terminology, a K bird is a juvenile.  Check your Audubon guide.  I’m sure it’s listed in there.

Today we had another family stop by.  S and K were excited about this group too!

There are fifteen babies total, but some were still trickling in at this point. 
Momma kept a watchful eye the entire time.  I took all the pictures through the window; I figured either they’d take off or momma would have some ‘words’ with me if I opened the door!

We don’t have a yard, which we really miss.  But between the birds on the porch and the tadpole in our dining room, we’re still able to experience some nature.  I really enjoy nature when it doesn’t involve bugs the size of a small dog!

Busyness, bugs, bills, and brawling

Life around here is settling back into routine. I love routine. LOVE it. I also love a break from it. And then I love getting back into it. Last week was S’s spring break and I was reminded how three children can make life BUSY. How some of you do it with four, five, or more children is beyond me, but kudos to you!

We spent spring break around home. We went to parks a couple times, to the zoo twice, the science center once, and even had lunch at Dad’s work. We did some other activities around the apartment. We also went on a ‘photo walk’ at the Birmingham gardens, though the kids did more walking than taking photos. I’ll post more on that later. All in all it was a busy, fun week. S spent half of one day cleaning his room, which I’m sure he wouldn’t list as ‘fun’ though I was impressed how fast he cleaned it. He really wanted to get to a kids craft group they had that afternoon at the apartment complex. It was a great motivator!

The weather has been absolutely fantastic. If you’re in the north you’d be incredibly jealous. However, you need to know, the bugs are back. The big, ugly ones. EWWW. Gorgeous weather has it’s price.

Ever since J has been born we’ve had bills coming and going from our hospital stays. Some of them we haven’t even seen yet (such as the NICU bill…shudder-cold chill-shudder). Last week we received one from J’s NICU doctor and insurance company completely rejected it. We got another one a few days prior, I think for my epidural (something I regret on several levels), where insurance paid a whopping ten percent. We’ve already been paying on a few others. So the bills pile and we haven’t seen the worst of them. I need to battle it out with the insurance company, but I haven’t had the mental energy to do that. I dread it so much; I haven’t gotten far in the past, but this NICU doctor bill really should be covered in my opinion. If you think of it, I’d love your prayers for insurance to cover some of these expenses (preferably more than ten percent! though ten is better than zero percent!)

In the last two weeks there has been tons of controversy regarding Rob Bell’s new book: Love Wins. It has been stressful for me and has stirred all sorts of questions rolling around my head. The hardest thing for me has been the way people have disagreed with Rob and his book. I have read comments from people who were rude, opinionated, and convinced they have the Bible all figured out. In all honesty, it’s been an embarrassment for me to be considered ‘in the family’ with them. What if he IS a heretic? Does that give us license to slam him and the people who go to Mars Hill Bible Church? Before we label him the new antichrist shouldn’t we find out for ourselves what he is saying rather than basing our opinions on blogs about what he is saying?

To be fair, I have read a couple commentaries/posts that disagreed with grace. They are in the minority. I’ve seen a lot of people throwing verses around. Nothing quite like watching Christians duke it out. The people who are supposed to love like Jesus ripping into each other like a bar room brawl. It makes me want to scream. And fight….hmm…maybe I have a ways to go myself. 1 Corinthians 13 has been going through my head a lot regarding the whole subject.

I don’t want to get into a discussion about the book, hell, etc. I’m weary of it. It’s been bogging down my brain. I received the copy of the book I ordered, though I’m not too far in. I doubt I would have ordered it if it wasn’t for all the chaos, but I want to find out for myself what is written. I’m both looking forward to reading it and dreading it. I don’t know what I’ll think when I get to the end.

I do want to say this: I LOVE Mars Hill. I miss Mars Hill. I ache with longing for Mars Hill. Every Sunday I shed a tear that I can’t be there with the people gathered. There is no place quite like it. During my years there I heard great teaching (yes, from Rob Bell, along with others.) I experienced spiritual and emotional healing. God grew my faith tremendously. I got to know some of the most amazing people on the planet. I learned about how to live out Christianity in all aspects of my life. I learned tons about social justice, something God cares a lot about. I learned about caring for God’s creation. I learned about loving people different than me. I even learned about how to love people I disagree with (though I still do that badly. What am I saying? I still have a long way to go in all those areas!) Matt is a Christian today because of God using Mars Hill. By the way, I’m also married to Matt today because of Mars Hill. I love Mars Hill. It is by far not a perfect place. But a lot of good happens there and through there.

Mars Hill may end up going down a wrong path. Lots of great churches/people have. And some were considered the wrong path at the time and now we hold what they did/believed as a tenet of our faith. I have no idea what the future will bring.

I wish those who disagree would do it with grace and with doing their homework first. I probably won’t tell you what I think of the book when I’m done with it. But I’ll loan it to you. And maybe by the time you’re done reading it I’ll be emotionally ready to discuss it. And we’ll help each other maintain an atmosphere of grace, even if we disagree.

–Wow, a light blog post turns heavy! My brain has been full and jumbled the last couple weeks between spring break, controversy, and laundry (which is never ending.) Thankfully I’ve had great weather and lots of giggles to help me keep a touch of sanity. By the way, there is nothing better than getting J to giggle. Except maybe watching K or S get him to giggle.

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