Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Things Not Red & Green

In keeping with...
     lists too long - words too many - songs too bright - stores too busy.

Here is my short list of all not red and green:

1) Two roast chickens just popped out of the oven. New recipe to encourage healthier eating. Will try a bite before I end this post and let you know. How many chicken recipes have you tried over the years?

2) Blue and brown in my mantelscape this year. I titled it, "Enchanted Forest."

3) My Chalkboard:

The bottom line says, "Who will dethrone the three year reigning champs Danae & Geoffrey in our family tournament?

The sign is ready for Christmas Day when we play our competitive family tournament. After the noon meal. After the Bible Box Christmas Reading. After the White Elephant Fun Family Gift Exchange. And... after all that we end with Find the Pickle game for the kids with a Christmas buffet & goodies. Whew!

4) Verdict on chicken: on scale of 1-10 I give it a 9. I would serve it to company. I probably wouldn't go back for seconds, but hey, it's only chicken, not mashed potatoes!

5) To all my friends in Blogland. The most important and significant greeting:

Christmas Blessings - I bring you good tidings of great joy...A Savior has been born! (Luke 2)

~ ~ ~

I'm thinking Red and Green are feeling left out. I'll end my post with their cheery greeting from my house to yours, Christmas 2010.

May your list be shorter, your words be well-chosen, your songs bring a quiet, and you get out of the stores!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sparrow's Voice & 22 Mistakes

I woke up at 4:30 this morning with a long list. Just like your long list in the month of December!

So why with a full day ahead would I make my way this morning to my laptop to write? Simply, the Lord placed it on my heart.

Danae, my daughter, asked me Thursday, "So Mom, when's the next chirping coming out?" I told her when the Lord puts something in my heart to share. That is not said with any kind of spiritual superiority - just the opposite is true. In fact, if the Lord does not impress my heart with words, I've got nothin'.

And so, on this 14th post, sparrow does a blog check.

     auto responder
     boosting traffic
     brand management
     RSS Feeds

Oy. Er, make that a weak and pathetic chirp. Another five minutes and I could take you beyond 22 mistakes I'm making (or not doing) with my blog. One of my readings in the land of blogdom and how to do it better suggested that daily postings were a must to be successful. (Oy, oy - whatever happened to saying more with fewer words?)

Back on track. Or voice. The Lord has given all of us one. Maybe your voice is carried onto the gym floor coaching and mentoring; or perhaps your voice carries a basket of food to a shut-in. Some voices are preparing a hot breakfast for little ones around their kitchen table this morning. Or your voice is shared with your friends in a public high school or perhaps you are a mom who is using her voice in the public school system to bring about change. Perhaps your voice teaches, or sings, or nurses, or cleans, or grandparents. There are more than a million voices. In fact, there are as many different voices as there are people.

Voices. Chirping. Words. Blog.

For years I have journaled. Here is a page of my written word from Psalm 16:5-6.

Today, my voice has found its way onto the web log (blog). I have learned so much about the technical aspect of blogging (there is a whole new world out there!). I have been pushed out of my comfort zone. My confidence as a blogger wobbles. I couldn't tell you if my last post had 4 readers, 40, 400 or 4,000. (Perhaps #23 mistake is not tracking stats?)

I write for One. Is the Lord pleased with my words?

And, more important than the words on my blog is my life behind the blog.

It is my prayer that sparrow's voice encourages your voice. In this month of December I can only imagine all the places our voices will carry us.

     to a lonely soul looking for kindness
     to a hospital floor with challenges beyond comprehension
     to our guys/girls in uniform holding onto prayers from home
     to the needy searching for Truth in the person of Jesus Christ

It's a tall order for such short sparrows. A big job to be good stewards of the voice God has given to us. But it is in the using of our voices that brings the greatest joys and delights!

Even if we make a few or 22 mistakes along the way!

Chirp on, in your own language!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gathering of Goodness: A Choice

There is a little "thinking game" the kids say that I'm famous for. If you could only...

Here we are two days shy of Thanksgiving. If you could only choose one food to line your Thanksgiving table, which would you choose?

     Mashed Potatoes?
     Cranberry Relish?
     Pumpkin Pie?

Although it is a tough decision, right now at this very minute I'd have to admit the pumpkin pie is calling my name. And not just any ole' pumpkin pie. The pie we were raised on where Mom added the perfect blend of spices. (And please, please don't hold back on the Reddi-whip topping!)

As we gather with families this week we begin to rehearse our blessings throughout the year. It has been a "good" year at our house. But even tucked away in our year of goodness there have been challenges. Challenges that come to all of us as part of living.

As we pause and gather the goodness, we have a choice. For in even...

     the hard things
     the unfair things
     the sad things
     and the bad things

we drop them carefully one by one into the basket. And somehow, in God's unfathomable way, our gathering basket begins to overflow with great richness. Out of its bounty comes unbelievable peace and new perspectives.

And toting our gathering baskets we can tweet along with the Shepherd Boy David, "While I live I will praise the Lord."
A choice. Not always easy. And sometimes plain old hard to do. But oh- the pile of blessings await!

Sparrow will be enjoying her pumpkin pie with the Mayo side of the family at brother Mark's on Thursday and then host the Deeks' family on Saturday.

Sweet & flaky Thanksgiving blessings,

Monday, November 15, 2010

on sherpas and shelters

50" x 60" of plaid, ultraplush Sherpa lining. Micromink and macrosoftness.

A beautiful luxurious throw to cozy up to the fireplace with in the coming snowy days of winter.

One of my finds on a Saturday sparrow shopping spree using my much anticipated US postal service mailing.

Later in the day I curled up with my new Sherpa throw to take a well-deserved break. Sigh--- the coziness, warmth, and softness were not over-exaggerated.

The sparrow's mind hopped over to another covering. One the songster penned from his own experience in Psalm 91.

About dwelling in the secret place and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.

And I really love this next part, being the scaredy-cat sparrow that I am.

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will take shelter.

Trading in our fears - night terrors and daytime arrows - for a divinely feathered covering.

A shelter you can't buy.

A shelter from any storm you face, or I face.

Winter is coming. I'm covered. Are you?

If you want to know more about God's wonderful love and provision for you, email me at monkjo@live.com. My nest is always open!

A macrosoft Merry Christmas to me, early. (For the record, I got all my Christmas gift shopping done on the sparrow Saturday spree. Chirp, chirp!)


Thursday, November 4, 2010

$1.90 bargain or blessing or both?

Lunchtime. Usually a green salad. And piece of fruit. Or soup.

Today, this hungry sparrow found her way to the Golden Arches. The same arches disdained by mr. sparrow and most all family and friends.

"One hamburger and one small fry," says sparrow. 

"That will be $1.90," muffles the invisible order taker.

So what do you get for $1.90?

A warmed up flattened out hamburger. And wimpy fries.

Opening the bag, suddenly I'm 8 again, where opening up the Golden Arches bag is a highlight of our month. The rules come flooding back: pick 2. You can't have a pop, fries, and a hamburger. Pick 2. Dad's rule. A good rule. A rule I still follow.

So what did I get for $1.90?

Wrapped inside that not-so-tasty-nor-nutritional meal is a link to a treasured memory.

A link to other "rules" - more principles to guide us when we might start losing our way. Remembering Dad's voice. A voice who knew the best advice wasn't his, it was advice found in the living words, the Bible. The Rule Book turned Grace Book.

Grace. Dad's words. My Bible.

I got my money's worth today. And I like to think that if Dad were here today he too would say about the long ago Golden Arch lunches, "so did I, Monkey, so did I."

Just for the record, so you don't think I'm part of the McDonald's clean-plate club, I did leave 2 fries.

Better than a Happy Meal!

Comment or email - monkjo@live.com

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Very Real Tale of a Brown Shoe

Once upon a time a sparrow had a great pair of brown shoes. Brown shoes that had taken her to far-away places, and to work. They looked great. They felt great. And they were tucked away in the sparrow's nest to make room for sandal-wearing days.

The season passed. And by and by the sparrow donned her brown slacks and brown shoes. Surprise! Gone was the nice white stitching and in its place was a rip; a rip which grew one-half inch bigger upon each wearing. (Perhaps no one would notice the ripped shoe, with part of my foot showing?)

Alas, the week finally arrived to do some sparrow brown shoe shopping.

Tale Takes a Turn.

On Friday an opportunity came knocking. I had the privilege of being a small help to a dear ministry couple. It was help that was needed that day of that week.

It was fun to place my shoe money in their hands. A lot more fun than going brown shoe shopping.

The Tale Ending.

The next day mr. sparrow announces he has several bags of hand-me-down clothing given to us.

Yep, or chirp, one bag is full of shoes. Blue shoes, black shoes, taupe shoes - all that I liked and not one fit!  And there in the middle of that pile of shoes lay a perfectly new looking pair of brown shoes. Shoes the style I would have chosen myself for casual wear.

I felt a little Cinderella-ish as I slid my foot down into the brown shoe. Chirp! Chirp! It fit! Upon further investigation, not only was it my perfect size - they were  Aerosoles, a better shoe than I was planning to "spend."

And not only did Cindyrella Sparrow gain one pair of brown shoes, behold! there in the pile was another. One more perfect fit in the whole pile. A pair of beautiful dress-up brown naturalizers, with a small bow!

A sparrow's double blessing! Both brown and both my size and my style.

Is God not amazing? I have four brown shoes to prove it!

4 Shoes go on to live happily ever after, or at least until the next life lesson.

Flying together,

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Or email me - monkjo@live.com

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sparrow No Cook

At least not today. Today I came home from work and this is what greeted me.

Stuffed Pepper Casserole - perfected by mr. sparrow. He makes the best. And when he is not using his building skills in the kitchen, his other favorite spot is here.

Fishing. At his favorite spot-Lake Erie, Camp Patmos on Kelley's Island.

Because on these white pages I want to record some special flight miles to remember, this is one of those posts. This year two thousand ten marks the 25th anniversary of Sparrow's Blissdom!  

I didn't know 25 years ago the fisherman would turn cook. I love this guy.

His relationship was new to the Words of Life when we married. But he chose this as our life verse. "God has done great things for us whereof we are glad."

Glad and gladder!

Time to nibble on the cheesy crunchy top layer of the casserole. It's delicious, already nibbled.

Thanks for sharing the chirp,

PS - Pictures! Thanks Dave A. for your help. A sparrow needs a right hand, er wing.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sparrow's Upside Down

The thermometer reads 58. And I am not hanging upside down today. I'm snuggled under my favorite sparrow covering. Inside, where it is warm.

While I am not standing on my head, I am trying to fly in an upside down kingdom. You know the place? Jesus set it forth in his words written in red. Those phrases that seem contradictory but are profoundly true. Like...

Go down to go up
Let go to receive
Lose to find
Poor are rich 
Weak are strong

I think of all the energy I expend trying to fly right-side-up. Come to find out, I need to be flying upside down.

And before I go and practice more upside-downness, I'll chirp one last thought that I found this past month. A thought most profound for this little sparrow. 

In light of eternity, most of what matters to us now will seem absolutely insignificant, and conversely, things that seem insignificant to us now will seem monumental when we stand before God.

Lord, help me get this right.

Now it's time for homemade chicken vegetable soup chock full of vitamins and minerals that I made for mr. sparrow on this sweetest day.  Because mister is the very best and because I don't know any other mister I'd rather hang (upside down) with.


Friday, October 1, 2010

the tongue-tied sparrow

I wanted to add some words to this white space before I forget how to post. Please forgive my absence.

The sparrow has not fallen out of the nest. The sparrow has not so decreased her calorie intake making her too anemic to write. The sparrow is not taking a very long nap.

The sparrow has been processing some very difficult friend-of-the-family-tragic-accident news.

Praying, Reading. Crying. Running (make that jogging).

A lot for a sparrow to process. A lot for a sparrow to watch her children process.

After two weeks on this journey, here in part is where I end up.

Ask the right question. Although it is not unspiritual to ask "why" - it will never bring hope. Instead, ask the "what" question. Now that this has happened, God, what do you want us to do with it?

There is a world of purpose, hope, and peace in getting the question right.

"My peace I give to you. Don't let your hearts be troubled or afraid."

Sparrow chooses to fly with the What.

No longer tongue-tied. But free to boldly share purpose and hope and comfort and God's greatness in the midst of a sorrowing accident.

To Jeremy - you've got a sparrow praying friend. But better - you've got a very Big God.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sparrow Does the Math

A new equation to address an old problem.


4 fruits-veg/day
2 water bottles/day
15 min exercise/day
1 limit of white sugar-white flour/day

Sounds very simplistic, and easy. From experience, it's not. But it might just help a simple sparrow start! This sparrow who desperately needs to operate under some success, soon.

And 4+2+15+1=22


Yep, 22. Now comes the best part of sparrow's math lesson. Right in the songbook of the Bible in chapter 22 are these words, "But you, O Lord, do not be far from me; O my Strength, hasten to help me."

A smart sparrow always knows where to turn. The Master Creator who has unlimited resources.

Enough resources to cover a chubby sparrow.


p.s. Sparrow reads too, if you care to share your #'s.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Sparrows Fit

Sparrows need a trim every now and then, right?

Today was that day - Salon Trip Day. And it wasn’t a trip to just any old salon. Today was the collecting all my extra money for the fancy schmancy salon where they charge you at least double for a haircut to walk in where they treat you like a celebrity, offer you a hot beverage and dainty cookies (not a chocolate chip in sight). A place I have only visited once before in all my sparrow-living days.

Simple lines, clean white floors, beautiful waterfall (seriously!), and comfy leather chairs. A place where to my sparrow way of thinking, if I spent more money, it surely would make me a better looking sparrow.

I took my place at Seat #4. A seat smack dab in the middle of the biggest floor to ceiling mirror I’d ever seen. And, therein lies the lesson.

Wow! I looked around. I didn’t notice any other sparrows filling up their chairs quite so roundly. In fact, the more I looked around, I didn’t seem to spot any other sparrows. And with every clip, clip, clipping my wee little brain said, “No fit, no fit, no fitting.”

So I say, “How do you like your job?” and “you work some long days,” and “do you enjoy cooking?” and then she says, “Where do you live?” and “how many children do you have?” and then I say, “You really are good with your scissors,” and she says, “I just got them sharpened yesterday.”

And I find another sparrow.

A sparrow named Amanda. Who did give me a good trim. And gave me a better lesson.

the perfect fit,

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Flight

Chirrup. That is sparrow-nese for welcome to my blog! And I guess you only get one welcome in the lifetime of a blog. Make that chirrup, chirrup!

If you found me, it must be pure accidental. 1) this sparrow is too impatient to ask for help (insert Dave/Chris/David) and 2) that anyone would be remotely interested in a sparrow's chirps.

In all my meanderings, I found this.

"Without question, the most deplorable event in the history of American ornithology was the introduction of the English House Sparrow."   W.L. Dauson, 1903 From the Birds of Ohio

Jesus was quoted on the sparrow subject too. "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father" (Matthew 10).

Sparrows vary in color, shades, shapes and sizes. They chirp and twitter, under the watchful eye of the Master Creator.

From worthless. . . to worthwhile. Part of the Grand Plan.

First Flight has landed. Safely.

Thanks for sharing the view.