Thursday, January 11, 2018

Cozy Winter Giveaway

Dear friends, it's been so cold here lately. I just thought that it would be nice to have a giveaway here on the blog--giveaways always warm my heart, even though my fingers are freezing . . . :-)



I pray that this giveaway would bring joy to someone and that it would be fun for everyone who enters-- 

My desire is for this blog to encourage each one of us to embrace the Lord's perfect will in every sphere of our lives; I pray that the items included in this giveaway would be an encouragement toward that end! --

What the giveaway includes:

  • A beautiful print from my dear blogging friend Sarah, who blogs over at The Wholehearted Home. This print is a framed Elisabeth Elliot quote that reads: "It is impossible to love deeply without sacrifice."
  • My sister Alicia Ruggieri's 3-in-1 A Time of Grace Trilogy. This softcover includes all three of her novels in one volume. Her words will surely touch your heart deeply and bring you near to the cross of Christ in a real and profound way.
  • A french vanilla scented candle
  • French vanilla coffee mix (for those who are tea drinkers, I apologize--I just can't break myself from encouraging the coffee habit . . . ;-))
  • A delicious chocolate bar--necessary winter sustenance for warming the body and heart ;-). I confess; I chose a caramel one because I love caramel . . . I promise it will be intact when it arrives ;-). 
And there you have it. :-) Blessings through our precious Lord as we embrace His perfect will in this winter season . . . 

Much love in our Savior,
Rebekah



a Rafflecopter giveaway











You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter Wednesday

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Great News to Share!


Friends, I have some wonderful news to share! :-) My sister Alicia Ruggieri's A Time of Grace series (I know that many of you have enjoyed reading the individual books in this trilogy) is now available as a 3-in-1 softcover or Kindle edition. These beautiful, poignant books have touched the hearts of so many people and I am excited to see them available all in one book. If you have never read her books, here is a wonderful opportunity to purchase all three of her books in one volume or on Kindle. If you are looking for a wonderful book to sweeten and enrich your winter days and to speak to your heart, this is the one! It would also make a beautiful gift for a friend who is going through any kind of heartache or loss or who just enjoys a good, clean, romance with substance in it and that draws one's heart closer to the Savior. 



I highly, highly  recommend these books and am so excited to see them now offered as a 3-in-1 edition. You may click on the links below to learn more about Alicia, her writing, and these encouraging, delightful books:




You can find the 3-in-1 edition of the A Time of Grace Trilogy HERE




Alicia G. Ruggieri writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction, including the A Time of Grace Trilogy, the first book of which was a Grace Award finalist. Born and raised in little Rhode Island, where some of her books are set, Alicia and her husband now live in a tiny town in the Midwest, where they hear the clip-clopping of Amish buggies pass by on Sunday evenings, where she tries her hand at gardening, and where she laments the lack of New-Englandy coffee shops. And where God continues to show His love and mercy in both good times and bad.







You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter Wednesday

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Keeping Things Simple With Little Children

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The other morning I asked the Lord for an idea of what to write about on this blog. Lately, I've sensed the Lord urging me to write more so I came to Him for wisdom.

That same morning I had a conversation that sparked the idea for this blog post. I believe that He answered my prayer for a topic to write about and so I want to share what was placed upon my heart with you. 

I was talking with my Mom about a subject that led her to encourage me as a mother to keep things very simple with my children. Her words really struck me, encouraged me, and convicted me to wholeheartedly pursue what I believe the Lord has called me to as the focus of my life right now--to be present with my young children physically, spiritually, and emotionally. My calling right now is to raise my little ones up in the ways of the Lord. Sometimes I feel that calling like a burning in my bones and sometimes I pursue the calling out of a desire to obey and then the feelings come, but regardless, I pursue it. 

My Mom encouraged me that morning to "keep things simple" with my little children. She reminded me not to get caught up in the rush of activity or the pursuit of things other than what the Lord has called me to do at this time. Her gentle words of wisdom stuck with me and I found myself thinking about them during the day. We are surrounded by distractions, things that are not necessarily wrong, but may keep us from fulfilling the Lord's will for our individual lives with all of our heart. The world that we live in with its fast-paced rush of activity, the distractions of social media, the ins and outs of day-to-day life, among other things often try to rob our focus away from what is vitally important and what will truly and deeply nourish our souls and the souls of our children. We are better off living a simple life in the light of His presence than a fast-paced, distracted, stressful daily existence in the pursuit of things apart from the Lord. We can begin that kind of Christ-focused life with our children . . . What does it mean to keep things simple? Here are some thoughts that I had that I'd like to share with you.

How do we "keep things simple" with little children?


~Pray about what you take on. Not everything is ours to do. As we prayerfully bring ideas before the Lord, wait upon Him for an answer of whether He wants us to take on an extra responsibility or not. Or even a business venture, as small as it may be--because it will probably, in some way, take away from the precious time that the Lord has given you with young children. Make sure that the idea is from Him before you pursue it. As a stay-at-home mother, I am often looking for ideas to bring in extra income for our family. To be bluntly honest, I often worry about ways to bring in extra income for our family. And even through that worry, I always see how the Lord provides for us, even at the last minute. He has always been faithful to provide for our family as we have taken steps of living by faith here in the Midwest. I know at this time that the main focus that the Lord has called me to is to be present with my children in every way while they are little. If something distracts me from that focus, I believe that the Lord wants me to lay it aside for a time. Maybe in the future He will give me the "go-ahead" to do it--but not now while my kids are very little. It is not worth it in the long run no matter how appealing it may seem at the time. It is better to do a few things well, things that He has called you to, and let the other things fall to the wayside. You will be thankful in the long run that you did. Live for Him and don't let anything distract you from your main calling, whatever that may be at any given time in your life.

And I want to add here that it is certainly not wrong to have a small business or a hobby or another outlet or enterprise when one has little children. What I am saying is that we have to ask ourselves if these things are distracting us from our primary calling or if they are supporting our calling and enriching it. My Mom often took on part-time work once we were school-aged, at times bringing us with her. But it was always very evident that her heart was anchored in her home and that the part-time work was done in support of what she believed to be her primary calling. The important thing to ask ourselves is when we pray about it, sincerely and honestly before the Lord whether His pleasure is upon us or not. And if it is, then take joy and pursue whatever it is that He has called you to in accordance with His will. If not, surrender it to the Lord in submission and trust.


~Connect everything back to the Lord. In my life with my children (they are ages 3 and 5 right now) I have tried very imperfectly to connect all of life back to the Lord. What do I mean by that? I mean that as I walk and talk and go throughout the day, I bring the Lord into the conversation, even in trivial matters. We begin our day with Him and we end our day by kneeling beside our bed at night. I play hymns on a CD at times during the day. We are very careful with what movies we watch--I try to protect them from the deluge of sarcasm and triviality in the media that I truly believe is killing our children spiritually and causing them to think lightly of the things of God. When we talk about different subjects during the day, I try to connect them back to the Lord Jesus. For example when it snows out I try to point out that the Lord gave us snow today; how beautiful it is! He is present with us all the time and so I try to bring that reality into focus with my children. The more I am distracted or if we are too busy as a family, it is a lot harder to consistently do that. And so I try, by the grace of God, to keep our activities simple and limit the time that we spend "out." I really believe that children benefit deeply from a home-focused life and that it is within the sphere of the home that they experience the workings of the Lord through every aspect of daily activities and through a mother (and father when he is home from work) talking all along the wayside with their children and bringing the Lord consistently into the conversation, not in a way that is forced but as the outflow of a Christ-focused life. 



~Have (even) young children help you with daily tasks. This will slow everything down (believe me :-)) but it is worth it.  Having your children learn alongside you to sweep or vacuum or load a washing machine and dryer helps them--and you in the long run. Doing simple things together helps build a relationship of closeness with one another and fosters an attitude of hard work and helping. This has been an area in my life that I have fallen short of many times as I try to clean things up "quickly" without interference. I love to clean and sometimes it becomes a fetish with me. I am working on allowing and requiring my little ones to help me in day to day tasks. It is worth it to slow down and include your kids rather than always just letting them play or read while you work or clean. I am not suggesting that you always do it (there are times when you just need to get something done quickly and can give your kids something constructive to do while you work) but do endeavor to bring them alongside you at times throughout the day to build closeness in a simple way.

~Get out of those stores and stay at home more. 
Don't get caught in the trap of always running in and out of stores. Be organized and focused in your shopping so that you are not always constantly dragging your kids into stores (they will get sick less, too! :-)). Keep meals simple when kids are young.  Keep toys simple. Keep holidays simple, beautiful, and Christ-focused. A child is content with very little if they are trained from when they are little to be content. Use the outdoors as a school to train your kids up in the ways of the Lord. Be outside with them in the Lord's world. There are myriads of simple, wonderful things to do outdoors with your kids. Grow a garden, walk in the woods, play in a field, draw and read outside. And do these things at times with your kids--don't always just unleash them into the backyard with barely any interaction with you. Be present in and out with your kids; talk to them along the wayside as you do your work. This is an area that I am working on in my life with my kids. One of the things that has helped me in this area tremendously and I am grateful to the Lord for it is having to share our minivan with my husband. It just keeps me home more and eliminates some distractions for me at this point in my life. 

~Stop worrying about money--trust in God
I write this one especially for myself. Make sure that you are doing what He has called you to do and then trust Him to provide for your family. Has He called you to stay at home with young children? Then do it with all of your heart and He will provide for your family; I promise you that. You may have to eat simply, live simply, and make sacrifices, but it is all worth it. Or maybe your children are school-aged and He will provide a way for you to make money doing part-time or other work. Whatever your situation, pursue the Lord. Don't chase after money or financial stability in a way that takes matters into your own hands apart from His counsel to your heart in the best interest of your family and children. Make sure you are doing His will and then trust Him. He will faithfully provide for your family, even in unexpected ways. I have seen this time and time again in my life. George Mueller has long been one of my examples in the faith and I have sought (again very imperfectly) to walk by faith as he did with finances. I cannot begin to tell you how the Lord has miraculously provided for our family many times as we have waited upon Him.  He is faithful to provide. We have this false idea in our minds that we always need more--kids are very happy with very simple things. My kids are fascinated with packages of rubber bands for example and can be occupied for vast amounts of time with simple thing like this! (rubber bands are very cheap, you know :-)) They also love to bake with me and as my Mom says, how expensive is a little flour and sugar? :-). Again, hours of wholesome fun. Use free resources like libraries, parks, and nature trails. Keep things simple, creative, and fun. The Lord will bless you and enrich your lives through them. 

And I would add here, just as a side note--be generous. Give in the ways that the Lord shows you you can. We are so afraid with parting with our money when we have little. Do the best you can with what you have, don't go into debt, and give as you are able. George Mueller used to pray that the Lord would provide him with funds so that he could give them away to support other believers. His mindset was a heavenly one and this showed in the way that he was able to easily part with the things of this life. He lived simply and generously for the Father's glory. Our lives become simpler when we leave provision in the Lord's hands, do what is ours to do, give generously, and wait upon Him. . . 




These are just a few of the ways that you may encourage a simple, Christ-focused life with your kids. There are many other ways as well--the Holy Spirit will direct your heart as you pursue Him and seek to please Him in raising your children. Remember, Satan wants us to be distracted, to live undisciplined, self-focused lives so that we don't accomplish anything for the Lord's kingdom. Our own flesh craves busy-ness and distraction. Seek the Lord. Follow Him. You will never regret pursuing a simple, Christ-focused life with your children. And they will bless you for it in years to come. You have one opportunity to build a legacy for your children. Don't waste it, but take His grace day by day and He will teach you how to live for Him with your children; I promise you that. 

Two Resources that you might find helpful and that have encouraged me:

Edith Schaeffer: The Hidden Art of Homemaking
Elisabeth Elliot: The Shaping of a Christian Family 




You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter Wednesday

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Having a Daily Quiet Time with Kids





You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.

Deuteronomy 11:19-21 NKJV

Something that the Lord has pressed upon my heart since my children were babies is the importance of having a daily "Quiet Time" with them. This is a focused time in which we read the Bible, pray, sing a hymn and memorize Scripture. All of my life, I watched my Mom have a daily Quiet Time with the Lord; hers was always early in the morning. This made a great impression upon me. She stressed through her words and actions the significance of having a daily time with the Lord and I witnessed how that focused time of prayer and reading the Scripture deeply impacted her life. 

As a little girl, my Mom encouraged me and my sisters to daily read the Bible and pray as well as keep a prayer journal. Actually, she set aside a certain amount of time that we were expected to do this when we were elementary-school-age. I balked at the notion at first, and then later grew to crave that time with the Lord and to choose to do it of my own free will without any prodding. This habit has stayed with me into my teenage years and now into my adult life. Children learn by example. Children want direction. Children need to be guided; they will not naturally "evolve" into a Bible-loving Christian--they need to be led. This is why we are figuratively "shepherds" of our children. Watching my Mom's example and being required as a child to have a daily Quiet Time with the Lord, helped me to be disciplined as an adult to keep this sacred time with the Lord consistently. I watched a Mom who was full of joy in the Lord's presence and I wanted the joy that I saw in her. This yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness in my life as the Lord worked in that desire to bring grace through His Word, through prayer and through the memorization of Scripture. 



We need to lead our children in this area; I cannot stress it enough (Deuteronomy 11:19-21). It is of vital importance. Children are only little once. We have one opportunity with them; we have a responsibility before the Lord. Lay tiredness, lack of motivation, lack of desire, or even the perceived lack of time aside and do this. You will be glad that you did and not have any regrets. 

When my two children were little babies (they are age 3 1/2 and 5 now), I held them on the floor in the morning and read from the Bible to them. I sang a hymn to them and prayed. We did this consistently every morning at around the same time each day. A few years ago, I noticed that my daughter knew phrases from many, many hymns. This was a gift to me from the Lord to encourage me to continue to have this daily time with my children. We have continued the same practice over the past few years, with my children participating more and more in our daily Quiet Time. Sometimes we read from a children's Bible, sometimes I include a devotional and then we sing a hymn and pray together. We work on memorizing Scripture verses. At night, after dinner, I've begun to read from the regular Bible and to sing a hymn after we've eaten. I have tried to be very consistent with this by the grace of God and my children have come to expect it and to love the Bible stories. 



Something that I think is so very important as a parent is to gently enforce schedules, rules,  and expectations--it is something that I am learning and growing in as a parent and that the Lord is teaching me in my life with my children. If I do not guide and lead my child, who will? And of course this needs to be done in a loving, Christ-like way--never in an authoritative "You WILL read your Bible" attitude. Because that will drive your children away from the Lord and cause them to resent the Bible. They need to watch from example. It is important that they see you reading your Bible, not only studying it, but reading it because you love to read His Word. It is important that they see you on your knees, humbling yourself before the Lord. It is important for them to see you bring your worries and problems and needs before the throne of grace. Lead by example; lead from a sincere desire for them to become godly adults who love His Word--not just because you want "good kids"; if you don't feel this way, pray that the Lord would give you that desire in this area. I promise you; it will have a profound impact upon your children. 

As children grow older you may encourage them to have their own Quiet Time. Set a timer (I love timers--and so do kids, even if they think they don't! ;-)) Give them a special prayer journal. Make sure that they have their own Bible that they can carefully outline and keep on their desk or by their bedside. Be consistent. Keep a schedule and follow it diligently, as well as you are able by the grace of God. Don't allow the cares and distractions of this life to keep you and your children from this practice. Years from now, you will be so glad that you encouraged and practiced a daily Quiet Time with the Lord. 



And if you don't have a daily Quiet Time or are not consistent, begin now! The Lord will reward you; the Lord will bless your obedience. It is never to late to begin--the Lord is able to redeem all things. Make Him first and He will honor you and bless your family and use you as a blessing to others (I Samuel 2:30). 

Below are some resources that have encouraged me and my children in our daily walk with the Lord and with having a daily Quiet Time. I would also encourage you to purchase or acquire a good hymnal--many times churches will be happy to give your family one if you ask. I have found hymnals and devotionals in local thrift stores as well for an extremely low cost. Seek and you will find! :-) 

The following are a few devotionals from authors that have blessed our family and that I would recommend highly:

God's Good News:  A Bible Storybook, by Billy Graham

The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes, by Kenneth N. Taylor

Big Thoughts for Little People, by Kenneth N. Taylor

My First Bible in Pictures, by Kenneth N. Taylor 

Every Day with Jesus: 365 Devotions for Kids, by Charles F. Stanley

Note: I especially love the older Kenneth N. Taylor devotionals for kids that are sometimes available at thrift stores, the Goodwill, etc. If you find any of these, they are treasures, as the older versions are so good and out of print, I believe! They usually include hidden ladybugs on each page that the children can search for. 




You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter Wednesday


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How Nabeel Qureshi's Death Spoke to Me

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV



Lately, the Christian world was saddened to hear of the passing of Nabeel Qureshi, a Muslim-turned Christian apologist for RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries). He died of stomach cancer, leaving behind his wife and two-year-old daughter. He was only 34 years old--

34 years old--my age

The news of his death jolted me. In all honesty, I hadn't been following his story closely. But my sister kept bringing up his name for prayer in church and so I gradually became more aware of what was transpiring at the end of his battle with cancer. 

Recently I flew with my husband and our small daughter to California and sat on a crowded plane for 5 hours with people from all different walks of life and backgrounds. I was struck strongly on this trip of how very dark the world is without Christ--for one thing, I was not aware of how powerful the hold of all forms of media have become, strangling out human interaction and flesh and blood "realness." I watched men and women sitting on a plane for nearly five hours, completely immersed in their own worlds and completely distracted by various forms of electronic devices. And I realized how very lost humanity is without Christ, how very lost I would be without Christ. 

And we are a light to this dark world. Because we hold the light of truth.

Nabeel held that light; he was not ashamed of the Gospel.  

And his light burned brightly, only for a brief hour--but it burned. And many were changed through his powerful, bold, unceasing witness. 

He was only 34 years old. 

And we, and I am compelled to ask ourselves--am I holding His light? Is it burning brightly? Or am I so consumed and concerned and immersed in the comforts of my world, of my cozy Christian world, that I am failing to see and connect with the dying world around me on a deeper level than wearing a cheesy Christian t-shirt and eating at Chik-fil-A? 

It is so easy to become comfortable. 

Nabeel wasn't. 

And other dear, faithful saints come to my mind--men whose entire life was Christ and who died very young by this world's standards--David Brainerd (29), Oswald Chambers (43), Jim Elliot (28), and the list continues. 

They counted all things loss--to gain Christ. And their lives, although so very short have had an amazing impact upon the church and the world--and even being dead, their testimonies still speak. 


Do our lives speak Christ? Are they the aroma of life to some and of death to others? 

Are we burning brightly or just flickering in the shadows? 

For me to live is Christ . . . and to die is gain. 

Gain. 

Because there is a way of living that we gain the world and lose our eternal soul . . . 

Are we burning brightly? 

And so I thank the Lord Jesus for Nabeel's life, and with sadness, for his death--because his death has caused me to ponder my own life and it's devotion to the One who gave all for me. 

One is never too young--or to old--to give all for Christ. 

This world is passing away--

We hold the light--may it burn within our hearts and pierce the darkness of whatever sphere the Lord has placed us in. 

And may our lights shine. 






You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter Wednesday

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Feed the Birds . . . and the Creatures, Too!


Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
~Robert Grant


Lately, I've been marveling at our Lord's provision for His creation. For those of you who follow this blog, you know that our family re-located from New England to the Midwest. Fairly recently, our family purchased a home in the country for the purpose of ministering to the Lord's people. The Lord has opened my eyes to so many wonders of His beautiful creation here. There is something about being out in the country that focuses one's eyes upon the Lord's handiwork in all that He has made. Truly, we serve a marvelous God and a Father who is abundant in His provision for all that He has made--as James Herriot would say, for "every living thing." 

My Mom instilled in me a love for birds and for living creatures when I was a little girl--she taught me and my sisters that it was good for the soul to preserve and to take care of our Father's creation in the best way that we could. She taught me about "birding" and gardening and gave me a taste for joy in what the Lord has made. 

One thing that my Mom always reminds me of is --leave that plant up! Don't cut it down yet--wait until the spring--the birds will eat the seeds in the cold winter months when they are struggling to survive. 

I've seen juncos (snowbirds) eating the seeds of perennials in my Mom's garden when we lived in RI. The flower heads were sticking up out of the snow on their stalks and they were aiding in the junco's survival. 

This has taught me to be a "messy" :-) gardener. I am trying to leave flowers up for as long as possible so the birds and animals can get the most out of them that they can. 

I believe that part of our purpose here is to take care of the Lord's creation, and this is just one small way that I am able to. It brings me joy--and I love to see the little animals given a touch of God's mercy and provision in the coldest months. 

The following are pictures and some descriptions of some of the Lord's bounty where we live--



The goldfinches love these seeds . . . they fall in our driveway and these little birds in particular enjoy them so much!


An apple from one of our trees . . . helpful for deer and chipmunks . . . 




 Hollyhock seeds . . . the ground squirrel loves them!


 


Hollyhock seeds--the flower heads become very dry around this time of year and the seeds are easy to access . . . 



Some various seeds in the field . . .





Dandelion seeds are a favorite of the little chipping sparrows and finches . . . 



An abundance of acorns for the squirrels, deer, and chipmunks . . . 







More seeds . . . 





Berries growing near the fence . . . 


The hummingbirds love the nectar from these flowers that grow on a vine against our house . . . 


 The squirrels eat this huge nut--it is funny to watch them greedily trying to hold it . . . 


I love pinecones . . . so many birds and animals benefit from their seeds--bluejays, squirrels, woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees . . . 




More berries--it always fascinates me how different berries ripen at different times for the birds and animals and the Lord provides for them throughout the seasons . . . 







A huge flock of Cedar Waxwings has been visiting us to enjoy these berries . . . 


 Animal/bird habitats in one of the pine trees . . . 



Finches love the seeds from Echinacea (Coneflowers) once they dry . . . 



More berries . . . it is true that some berries are poisonous, but most will feed some kind of animal or bird . . . 






Hostas attract hummingbirds--I never realized this, but their fluted flowers draw the sweet little birds . . . 

The butterflies and hummingbirds love the nectar from these blooms . . . 



This picture is a little blurry, but I wanted to include a picture of our neighbor's sunflowers--because the birds love the seeds from these! 


Milkweed pods-- monarch caterpillars and butterflies are drawn to these--



Something that I've also learned is that birds and animals love to live near a water source, so if you are trying to attract various kinds of songbirds into your yard, a birdbath (or two) is a very good idea. Just be sure to continually break the ice off the top in the winter or purchase a heater for your birdbath. And try to keep it full! :-)




And there you have it; I hope that you've enjoyed these pictures. Now, go and feed the creatures and take joy! 





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