24
Feb
14

2.24.14 … ” Sure enough, from above my head, again that Red Bird called … and called … and called … again and again. A-tweega-tweega-tweega, a-tweega-tweega-tweega. He sounded near enough to touch, and inside my closet, I walked to the spot directly under his song and stood, marveling at our miraculous closeness.” …

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Photo by friend and wonderful photographer Mark Fortenberry

cardinals, hope, joy comfort: I had to search a bit to find an old blog post by Cary Campbell Umhau on cardinals. I thought you  who have noticed cardinals would enjoy it.

And finally, as I neared the end of my circuitous route and was musing about all I had seen, I saw my own personal sign of hope, a cardinal.  Several years ago in a particularly dark time, when I’d asked God for a sign of hope, a cardinal darn near dive-bombed me.  And since then I’ve appreciated seeing them and chuckled over how obvious God made his answer back then.

So today, I saw a cardinal.  And that’s not all that unusual.  But this one was stubbornly standing on the doormat of a pretty yellow house.  Hopping around.  As if he’d rung the doorbell and was waiting to be asked in. Which perhaps he was.  Because hope does knock, persistently, even in the disastrous times, especially in the disastrous times.

As I smiled at that persistent red wonder, I glanced at the next house on my route.  And — I kid you not — a female cardinal was not just standing as if she had knocked but was flinging her body against the glass storm door, begging to come in.  And when — naturally — no one answered her plaintive request, she went to two separate windows and did the same thing.  I watched a while.

God was answering some of what I was asking today: “Can we keep hoping even when things around us look, well, not so hopeful?”   “Yes, hope endures.  Don’t lock the door against it.”

So if you are my neighbor and you saw me staring at your house today, I wasn’t casing it out; I was laughing in wonder at how God shows up, bidden or unbidden as Carl Jung said… but especially when bidden, for then we have our eyes open and expect to see Him.

Every time we put one foot in front of another and march off to work, we are hoping for a future.

When we dare to acknowledge our dreams, we are participating in creation with God, taking steps towards doing what He wants done on earth (since He’s the ultimate dream-provider).

When we feed someone, we are saying that we want them to continue to thrive.

When we water plants or tend gardens or nurture children or teach science, we are investing in the future.

When we try again and again to nurture relationships, we are living into the longing for community that God has set within us.

And when we wander and pray, we see wonders, for they are there.

via We Keep Showing Up | Holy Vernacular.

And I knew there was a followup by another Davidson friend. You must read them both!

Guest Post by Diane Odom Cooper

Yesterday I requested “cardinal stories” from readers, since several told me (in response to a post on hope on Tuesday) that they’d had cardinal encounters recently (what’s going on?)  So for the next couple of days, I’ll stick with the cardinal theme.

Here’s a post from a college friend, Diane Cooper.  Let me tell you a little about her first:

Diane Cooper is the mother of four children, including sweet David Cooper, her seventeen-year-old son who died suddenly two years ago from Athlete Sudden Cardiac Arrest while rowing with his crew team at McCallie School in Chattanooga.

She wrote this about the piece below:

My son David was an identical twin and ALWAYS dressed himself in his favorite color — red — to visually distinguish himself from his brother, Reid. By doing this, he helped people greet him by his name rather than by “Hello Reid or David.” Since David died, cardinals have shown up in my life in a big way – too many significant instances to tell. I’m attaching one of the stories I wrote for a newsletter that I do for bereaved families in Chattanooga. Hope you enjoy it. Those cardinals are cheerful little guys!

Back to School

The beginning of August rolled around this year, and I found myself, once again, face-to-face with School Registration. This has been a difficult day for me the past two years. Our family had some longstanding  ”back to school” rituals with our three sons, and the boys, who are twelve to fourteen years older than their baby sister, were so looking forward to sharing the traditions with little Brett when she finally reached school age. David, in particular, talked about this for years, anticipating the time that Brett would begin kindergarten, and he would be launching his senior year of high school on the same day.

I thought back to all the “First Day of School” photos that I have of my three sons – three darling, fresh-faced boys, looking earnest in their new school clothes and their neat haircuts, standing proudly in front of the local coffee shop where we always began our “First Day” traditions with breakfast of waffles and bacon. David was always dressed from head to toe in red – his favorite color and the only way to distinguish him from his very-identical twin brother, Reid, who wore blue.

The past two School Registrations have reminded me of those bittersweet, innocent days, and at the first one after David died, when I went to register Brett for kindergarten, I cried all the way through the registration process — the principal and the school secretary crying right along with me. Last year, for Brett’s first grade Registration, I was just numb, and I rushed through the process as quickly as possible, trying not to make contact with anyone beyond the most basic, necessary exchanges.

This morning, however, I woke and hoped that things would be better this year — after all, I had arranged to work Registration for Brett’s choir teacher, and since David’s death, I find I do better, socially, if I can have a purpose and a reason to reach out to other people. I greeted the morning with slightly over-zealous courage, as I contemplated my intention to have a joyful day.

The warm morning sun was streaming through the bedroom windows as I walked to the back of the master bedroom and into my dark, cool, windowless closet. It’s a big closet, and it’s always very quiet and peaceful in there — a weird thing to say about a closet, but it is. I stepped inside and closed the door behind me and just as I did, I heard a cardinal start calling — loudly. I stopped and thought I must have imagined hearing it, since I was inside a closed closet that has no opening to the outside of the house. Sure enough, from above my head, again that Red Bird called … and called … and called … again and again. A-tweega-tweega-tweega, a-tweega-tweega-tweega. He sounded near enough to touch, and inside my closet, I walked to the spot directly under his song and stood, marveling at our miraculous closeness.

I finally realized that this sweet Red Bird must have been perched on the low, sloping roof, exactly above where my closet lies. His call of greeting and encouragement made me smile, and I thanked my son-who-loved-red and the Designer of this wonderful universe for the “thumbs-up” on my decision to create a joyful Registration Day, and I moved forward and got on with things.

… And it WAS a joyful day.

via Guest Post by Diane Odom Cooper | Holy Vernacular.

defining ages, This is 45: The Eye of Life’s Storm | Emily Mendell:

Forty-five is the eye of life’s storm. The emotional drama of growing up is behind you, the physical perils of aging are still to come. In these years of quiet, it is easier to be grateful… and fearful. You are an expert on more things than you care to be, and you realize that most of your life has been of your own making. Yes, you are dealt cards that are both good and bad, but you are the one who plays them. With that realization comes a feeling of late great responsibility. You come to terms with how many moments, days, months have been squandered. You vow to do better; you know that you won’t.

via This is 45: The Eye of Life’s Storm | Emily Mendell.

Brené Brown, Bear Hug!, RSA Short Animated by Katy Davis: I really, really enjoy Brene Brown and her work (read her books, watch her TED presentations), and I love these animations. Well done!

via ▶ RSA Shorts – The Power of Empathy – YouTube

So grateful to The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts) for inviting me to speak in London this year and to animator and illustrator, Katy Davis, for this amazing short on empathy! Beautiful. #RSABear

via This Gives New Meaning to Bear Hug! An RSA Short Animated by Katy Davis – Brené Brown.

Vibram FiveFingers CVT Hemp | Covet | OutsideOnline.com, kith/kin:  I actually know someone who wants some.  🙂

Most of us know Vibram FiveFingers as the shoe of choice for runners who are serious about minimalism. Now the company is introducing its first hemp casual lifestyle piece—the CVT Hemp.

The CVT is a far cry from the other FiveFingers, whose colors tend to fall on the euro-fluorescent-techno end of the spectrum. Birkenstock wearers might be temped to convert.

Made from a blend of hemp and polyester that’s supposedly breathable, durable and sustainable, these slip-on shoes have the same sole as the other casual FiveFingers. You can even fold down the heel and wear the shoe as a clog. Take note that unless your toes are perfectly aligned, the shoes still take some effort to get on.

The CVT hemp will hit shelves this August.

$100, vibramfivefingers.com

via Vibram FiveFingers CVT Hemp | Covet | OutsideOnline.com.

The Haunting Reality,  Captain Phillips:  I really enjoyed this film.  Aspects are haunting …

Captain Phillips is a draining cinematic experience.   The director of Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass, is an expert at building tension.  He employs handheld cameras whenever possible, from the chase scenes in The Bourne Supremacy to the hijacking of United 93.   He tends to recreate the events as they happened, focusing upon the workmanlike elements of people simply doing their job.   His cast often include non-professionals who enhance the feeling of cinema verite that distinguished the director’s breakthrough feature, Bloody Sunday.   Consequently, the searing intensity in Captain Phillips felt achingly accurate.  It elevates the everyday heroism of Navy Seals and negotiators as well as the hard choices made by sailors on both sides of the standoff.

The desperation driving the Somali pirates to pursue a huge tanker overlapped with the motivations of those who hijacked Scott and Jean’s boat.   In the movie, we are invited to empathize with Somalis like Muse who are responding to economic pressures and brutal overlords by taking up arms.   Barkhad Abdi deserves the kudos and awards that have accompanied his performance.   He helps us understand that piracy is a by-product of almost no viable employment or alternatives.   His menace is fueled by grit and resolve.

via The Haunting Reality Beyond Captain Phillips.

2014 Oscar Best Picture Movie Nominees, kids, Video | TIME.com:  These kids make us look silly.

via ▶ Kids Reenact the 2014 Oscar Nominated Films – PEOPLE – YouTube

Okay, just admit it: you want to be able to say you’ve seen the more serious Oscar contenders like 12 Years a Slave and Captain Phillips, but you don’t really want to sit down and watch them. But if they were acted out by adorable children, well, then you’d totally want to grab the popcorn and go see them.

So watch here as some really cute kids offer their best reenactments of all this year’s best picture nominees — besides Philomena, which for some reason got left out. But all the others — from Her to Nebraska to American Hustle — get the adorable kid treatment, and we’re willing to bet that the full versions would be better than the originals.

via Kids Reenact 2014 Oscar Best Picture Movie Nominees: Video | TIME.com.

‘Downton Abbey’, historical drama, period dram, accuracy:

Edith and Michael’s marriage scheme makes sense, though she’d be required to become a German citizen.

Men could not divorce women for reason of incurable insanity and women could only divorce their husbands, if they were able to prove they had been excessively beaten. Laite said that it would not have been until the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1937 that things like adultery would be grounds for divorce. Unlike British civil code, German law did allow for divorce on the grounds of incurable insanity, however, it would have required both Michael and Edith to become German citizens, which is a important issue considering the prominence of nationalism at the time.

via Ask A Historian: How Accurate Is ‘Downton Abbey’?.

Yes –  Jesus Would Bake A Cake for a Gay Person | RedState, marriage equality, religion in the workplace, discrimination: I know where I come down, but I can see both sides of this issue when it is framed this way.  Originally I had a long quote from this article, but I do not want to have a political fight with my readers.  I clip and save here for me.  I think and rethink issues.  I am strongly in favor of the rights of all humans to live a life of respect and opportunity.  I am not a fan of Big Brother.   So do not jump on the attack.  I am thinking.

The disagreement comes on one issue only — should a Christian provide goods and services to a gay wedding. That’s it. We’re not talking about serving a meal at a restaurant. We’re not talking about baking a cake for a birthday party. We’re talking about a wedding, which millions of Christians view as a sacrament of the faith and other, mostly Protestant Christians, view as a relationship ordained by God to reflect a holy relationship.

This slope is only slippery if you grease it with hypotheticals not in play.

There are Christians who have no problem providing goods and services for a gay marriage. Some of them are fine with gay marriage. Some of them think gay marriage is wrong, but they still have no problem providing goods and services.

Other Christians, including a significant number of Catholic and Protestant preachers, believe that a gay marriage is a sinful corruption of a relationship God himself ordained. Because they try to glorify God through their work, they believe they cannot participate in a wedding service. Yes, because they believe they are glorifying God in their work and view it as a ministry, they view providing goods and services as a way to advance, even in a small way, God’s kingdom.

Herein lies the dispute of the day. The latter group does not stand in the way of the former group providing cakes, flowers, and pictures for a gay wedding. Some of the former, however, believe the government should compel the latter group to violate their conscience. They only see the transaction through the customer’s eyes as if the vendors are passive participants.

That’s the problem.

Christians should serve. But the government should not force them to.

via Yes, Jesus Would Bake A Cake for a Gay Person | RedState.


0 Responses to “2.24.14 … ” Sure enough, from above my head, again that Red Bird called … and called … and called … again and again. A-tweega-tweega-tweega, a-tweega-tweega-tweega. He sounded near enough to touch, and inside my closet, I walked to the spot directly under his song and stood, marveling at our miraculous closeness.” …”



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