My daughter and her friend find a new robin’s nest by the house. The robin sits there, staring at us peacefully. She makes no alert calls.
“Maybe she’s laying an egg,” we reason.
We return an hour later to find the robin away from her nest. She’s left her first egg unattended without her incubating warmth.
Oh, no! How terrible!
But what looks unwise actually represents something so wonderful.
I learn that the robin must leave the nest to “cool” her new egg to suspend growth until she’s formed a full clutch of eggs. Then, she stays on her nest full time so every bird hatches together.
How smart! How aware of timing!
I think of growth in human communities and families and how, maybe, God slows some down so we all catch up and hatch into new things together. When some new initiative feels cooled down or suspended, I remember the robin and the perfect timing of hatching all together.
I find David’s request in Psalm 141:4: “Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil.” It reminds me of a similar prayer in Psalm 119:37: “Turn my eyes from worthless things.”
This I pray for my family–for my daughters, my husband, and myself (and even my friends and students): Draw us to godly things! Draw our hearts to worthy things! Incline us to You and Your desires for our lives!
I know my own heart, and I know it needs this prayer each new day.
As the last writing class wraps up, I ask some debriefing question that I think work for all kinds of experiences. Debriefing solidifies the experience and helps me glean valuable insights.
So we eat chocolate, and I ask:
1. What was your favorite lesson or memory from our weeks together?
2. What work you created are you most proud of why?
3. What do you hope to use in the future from this class?
After we share our answers, we actually clap and cheer out loud for each other to celebrate our hard work.
Then, we play one final name game, ending how we began:
Tell us your summer plans and one measurable goal you have.
Then, as always, I recite the Irish Blessing and try not to cry.
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
And then, it all ends. We shake hands. We slowly leave the space that will never house the same combination of people, in the same way, again.
But all great courses begin the day they end.
Onward! Onward with vivid verbs and semicolons!
We’re drinking more water because of this lovely little water dispenser. Today, it’s mint, lime, raspberry, and strawberry.
Tomorrow, we’ll try apple and peach.
I invite the neighbors in for a cool, fruity drink. It’s wonderful!
We found it for $19.00 at Bed Bath & Beyond. I think this makes a nice Mother’s Day gift idea! You’re welcome!
I loved today. I just loved every minute of it.
I loved walking to school and meeting the new Brindle Boxer puppy who is just learning how to take a walk. She’ll walk with us more and more. I’ll watch her grow all summer. Her name is Pearl.
I loved talking with my friend about bird nests and the way we searched the woods for signs of new nests as the children walked beside us.
I loved another friend sharing news of God’s great work in her heart.
I loved then meeting with professors over coffee as we read Psalm 18 and shared all we were learning about God and His faithfulness.
I loved my office hours as students came to talk about writing and their lives.
I loved teaching writing classes. Oh, I don’t have words for the joy of it.
I loved calling my sister for our afternoon chat and then another friend to check in.
I loved shopping for fruit to bless the children who will join us for after school snack.
I loved sneaking under the great arms of the Weeping Cherry to see if the Robin has begun nest construction. According to the data I’ve collected from years gone by, nest construction should begin May 4th (but I wanted to check anyway).
I love this day.
I want my daughters to remember the simple pleasures of a neighborhood: of walking with neighbors and puppies and children; of observing the seasons together and becoming naturalists; of sharing from the heart; of reading God’s word because our lives depend on it; of working in a profession; of connecting to family; of grocery shopping for fruit.
I want them to sneak inside a Weeping Cherry and look for nests.
When they are all grown up, I want this for them, too.
I asked a wise man and father his best parenting advice. He said this:
“Extend the same grace to your own children that you show to other children.”
He explained that when other children make mistakes or act out in embarrassing ways, we often show massive amounts of love and grace. We respond with understanding and patience. But when our own children act in disappointing ways, we can scold and rebuke out of our frustration and embarrassment.
At these moments, I remember to treat my daughters with the same grace I would someone else’s daughter.
I’m in San Antonio, and I discover hundreds of little plants that seem to float in the air. I’ve heard of airplants before, but I find myself so intrigued by these little plants that have no roots and require no soil.
I learn that the leaves have structures that gather moisture and nutrients from the air.
I’m so inspired as I consider how things thrive in strange conditions. The airplant knows how to nourish itself from the air around it. I think about gathering up all I can of anything beautiful, good, and joyful in this environment.
We’re learning how to stay comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It’s a critical life skill, especially for children learning it’s OK to have hard days. It’s OK to be in new situations that make you nervous or unsettled. If “comfortable” is the test of whether we should do some new thing, travel somewhere, or befriend new people, we’d never leave the couch.
But what if we all learned to embrace discomfort? Instead of freaking out and doing whatever it takes to feel comfortable again, we realize we can grown in our comfort with discomfort.
I’m learning this more and more and finding a new strength when I feel uncomfortable.
I’m traveling, and I first meet Millie, a dog with three legs whose owner pushes her in a cart. They are companions traveling to Mexico. Millie’s recovering from cancer and probably the sweetest dog I’ve ever seen. She lets everyone pet her. Her owner says, “Your love keeps her living.”
Then, I meet Barney on my flight. He’s on his way to have leg surgery to repair a hip joint. He’s a service dog who identifies bombs. He’s also adorable. His owner says, “He has to be cute to work the crowd so nobody moves away from him.”
Barney and Millie made me smile, and I felt thankful for dogs who serve–through companionship and service.