Tag Archives: nature

The Sparrow Life

SparrowLately I’ve begun to notice birds. I mean I know they’ve been there all along because of all the chirping and singing. However, here in TN, I’ve become aware of their physical presence. A vivid splash of red often dances by me on my morning walks, and I revel in the cardinal’s splendid coloring against the harsh reality of winter. Suddenly, a blue brilliance appears like a Where’s Waldo discovery among the brittle brown leaves. For a moment, their beauty and the simplicity of sighting them along an ordinary walking path awes me.

But there’s another aviary friend among those beauties. However, its brown and tan hues camouflage it among the leaves. In fact, I don’t think I’d even notice it, if it weren’t for its digging and rooting around in the leaves. Household Sparrows (as they are known) are everywhere. So much so that their constant presence outside my door makes them easy to overlook. Yet, this is the exact bird that Jesus mentions in Matthew 10:29-31 (AMP) — the common and barely noticeable sparrow.

29 Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent and notice. 30 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Although I’ve read this verse 1000 times, I suddenly identified with the little easy-to-ignore birdie. While the cardinal and blue jay always caught my eye with their fancy plumage and rich coloring, I rarely appreciated the sparrow. As I walked the path that day, I realized that I was a sparrow. I lived a Sparrow’s Life.

I am common, like sparrows. They are everywhere just as millions of people inhabit the earth. I have needs like the sparrow: shelter, food, safety. The Word says God sees and cares for each sparrow but He values me more. I’ve never seen a starved and dying sparrow. I’ve never seen a sparrow flitting around anxiously, desperate for food. They don’t stress because they know their needs will be met.

I began to see my life as a sparrow’s life. Knowing God is involved in the details of their lives confirms He is infinitely more involved in the details of my life. I’ve experienced some radical life changes in the past 6 years, and as I look back, I can see that every detail has worked out in ways I never imagined, in ways I never expected.

Recently, my husband and I went on a 20th anniversary trip. We headed to the same location where we spent our honeymoon. The first day as we settled into our beach chairs, he received a message that some old church friends were staying at the same resort. We hadn’t seen or spoken with them in at least 10 years. We made plans to meet up the next day just to chat.

The following day, we met up with our friends and shared what God had called us to do in our new missions adventure. Their excitement and pride was evident, and before we left, they asked if they could pray with us. We, of course, agreed, and they prayed for us among the sand, sea, and beach umbrellas. As we started to leave, the wife put her hand on my shoulder and spoke words of encouragement, which she felt the Lord asked her to share with me. She had no idea that the exact words she spoke over me was a hidden worry that I had voiced to no one, not even my husband.

In that moment, I knew I was God’s most valuable sparrow. He was working out the details, taking care of my worries, before I could even speak them. He knew my heart and hadn’t forgot about the things that matter to me. I was truly valued and He let me know in a most unexpected way. It reminded me that the Sparrow Life is the only way to live.

canoeing

Previously published on June 24, 2010.  For those of you planning a little summer fun with the family in the next few months, this is for you.

noun. a water activity involving a long slender boat maneuvered by paddling with oars.

This past Saturday Keith and I decided to spend some quality time with the kids that would create a lifelong “memory.”  After a little discussion of what activity to do, we headed towards a nearby state park that featured a river as its main attraction.  There was much fun to be had on this river and a plethora of activities awaited our simple choice: we decided on canoeing.  We had never enjoyed a diversion such as canoeing (at least as a family), so it appealed to our adventurous spirit.  We all agreed canoeing would be FUN.  However, by the end of the day we had spent a great quantity of time together on the river but I’m not so sure that the quality went very high on the Family Fun-O-Meter; the only memories that will linger from this trip are the lessons learned about canoeing.
TOP 9 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO “FAMILY CANOEING”
Lesson #1: Be sure to check the river’s water level before heading out for a 4 hour trip.  Note to Novices: If the water is low, your canoe will move slowly and often require you to exit the boat, drag it over rocks to a deeper section, and gracefully (Ha!) re-enter the boat.
Lesson #2: Flip flops are not an acceptable form of footwear for aforementioned activity. Note to Novices: Flip flops do provide protection against the rocky river bottom, but unless your toes can work as vice grips, you will have serious trouble keeping flip flops on your feet.  On the positive side, flip flops do float, but the current will wisk them down, and you must chase after them barefoot.  There’s only one word for that: “OUCH!” (Although I’m sure there are many other words that could be used, I’m running a family friendly blog here!)
Lesson #3: A fresh pedicure will be ruined if you don’t learn from lesson #2.  Note to Novices: While your chasing your flip flop down-river, you will slip, slide, and stub your toe on a rock (or rocks) and it will chip your polish or your toenail and then have the audacity to not even apologize!
Lesson #4: The maximum canoe occupancy is 2 people, even if the canoe-trip saleslady says, “Oh, you four can fit easily into one canoe.”  Note to Novices:  4 people can FIT in the canoe but the added weight presents a problem, especially in light of lesson #1.  Needless to say, Soccer Ace developed his mantra for the day: “Man, I wish I had a kayak!”
Lesson #5: There is no need for towels or extra clothing in the boat unless you plan on soaking up the water in the bottom of the boat.  Note to Novices:  It’s easier to wring out water-soaked towels with 2 people OR you could just leave those towels and clothes in the vehicle and they’ll stay dry and provide comfort once the ordeal family bonding time is over.
Lesson #6: A Styrofoam cooler is not sturdy enough to survive the rigors of canoeing, especially if you accidentally sit on it at the beginning of the trip.  Note to Novices:  Invest in an Igloo cooler before you head out, and when you get parched, you’ll actually have a cold beverage to quench your thirst.
Lesson #7: Anyone sharing a canoe must take a full dosage of a chill pill before setting out on the trip. (Those of you born after 1985 might not get that but think Zanex or Prosac.)  Note to Novice:  If you’ve recently prayed for God to give you more patience, do NOT– I REPEAT– DO NOT,  go canoeing!
Lesson #8: You will recognize the trip’s halfway mark and no you have not passed it even though you’ve been on the river for a good 10 hours for a 4 hour trip.  Note to Novice: You will think that you’ve passed the halfway marker on several occasions but you didn’t — it’s just your mind is doing some wishful thinking.
Lesson #9: The ride home is likely to be more enjoyable than the canoe trip altogether.  Note to Novice: You WILL reach the canoe exit site. The drive home will be pleasurable and full of laughter simply because the stress of canoeing is over and everyone can begin to have fun.
Hope those tips help in some small way.  I’m sure that I’ll go canoeing again, ( I am moving to the Amazon River Basin) but at least I’ll be more prepared.  My boat will be loaded with an Igloo full of chilled bottled water, towels and dry clothes will wait safely back in the vehicle, two canoes will be rented, and I won’t forget to take my chill pills!
Happy Canoeing,
Ali C

(Pictured at right The Happy Canoeists: Soccer Ace and Sassafras.  This was taken after the trip – thus the smiles)