Friday, January 10, 2014


Yesterday began and ended with drizzle and heavy fog.  However, around lunch time I returned home from an errand, and while the skies were still gray, the fog and mist had temporarily lifted.  I got out of the car and decided to walk down to the end of the driveway and pick up my soggy, plastic-wrapped newspaper.  As I walked, I began to notice bird song in the air -- something I hadn't heard in a long time.  I looked up and saw birds all round my little neighborhood.  There were tiny birds swarming in the bare branches of a mulberry tree, but they were so tiny and so fast I could not get a photo nor could I clearly identify them.   Doves were pecking beneath the bird feeder in my backyard, but I could not get a photo of them either because they attracted the notice of my little dog Luna, who raced out and barked at them in a very offended manner.

My neighbors' yard was filled with robins.  By leaving Luna in the house, I was able to get photos of a few of them using the zoom on my camera.
We live too far south for robins to be the first heralds of spring -- it's spring when they go back north.  I'm not sure where they spent the month of December, though.  We had a very icy, cold December -- the polar vortex reached all the way down to Texas -- and yesterday 40 degrees felt downright warm. 

I thought so anyway and so, apparently, did the birds.  This little fella is enjoying a puddle.
Winter is actually a pretty good time for us to see birds.  The usual winter birds of cardinals, chickadees, titmice, bluebirds and dark-eyed juncos are around, as well as lots of blue jays, crows, mockingbirds, starlings/grackles, doves, ducks and geese.  We also live on some kind of migratory highway.  Birds pass through on their way south to Mexico for the winter and then again when they go back north in the summer.  Every year for a few days we enjoy flocks of cedar waxwings, Mississippi kites, killdeer, and goldfinches.  More ominously, our entire town gets covered up in starlings/grackles (I'm never sure of their official name) at certain times of year, to the point you begin to feel you are personally inhabiting an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Anyway, it was nice to see so many birds out cavorting around because this past month has been a month to hunker down in the house.  The Christmas season seemed very short, partly because  Thanksgiving was so late and then an ice storm hit my county and lasted through the first week of December.  School didn't finish until December 20th and then my mother arrived for an extended visit on the 19th.  Blogging had to fall by the wayside to make room for parental and filial duties.
This was the first time my mother had visited me in five years.  She got to spend Christmas with us and we had a great time making candy, thrift shopping, and generally just lounging about.  I took almost no photos of the holidays -- when I'm with other people I seldom think to stop and take photographs -- but sometimes that's okay.  While it's fun to have documentation, it's not always necessary.  It's okay just to live:)

I feel like I should have something more profound to say about the changing of the year from 2013 to 2014, but I'm past the point of thinking I know everything and I'm not yet to the point of feeling like I have a lot of wisdom to impart.  I will say this about 2013 -- I lived through it, with its good parts and its hard parts.  I hope to say the same about 2014.  Of course I cannot read the future, but from this vantage point it doesn't look to me that it will be an easier year.  In fact, it looks like a year of hard  work.

I have a friend who chooses -- or feels that God chooses -- a word for each new year.  I don't usually do that, but this year the word "diligent" keeps calling my name.  The Lord has helped and will continue to help me persevere, but at the same time He is calling me to be diligent:  that is, to keep doing faithfully those things that I know to do.  I will leave the results to Him.  I guess it's like the old song:  "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey."

I'm not trying to be gloomy and pessimistic.  Although many sad and hard things happened in 2013, many good things happened, too.  I'm sure the same will be true of 2014:)

In any case, I wish you all a belated Happy New Year!


  1. I often feel there is a word for the year, too. Last year our Community Bible Study class studied the book of Hebrews, and it was all about encouraging each other to stay the course; stay focused; be diligent in the race.

    It's a "long obedience in the same direction" (good book, BTW, if you haven't read it). So here's to a year of staying on course, and enjoying the small roses along the way.

  2. Sounded wise to me, my friend. So glad that your mother was able to visit over Christmas. What fun to be together baking and making memories. Those robins are wonderful harbingers of hope!

  3. Happy New Year to you too! Sounds like you've been busy with family fun. December WAS busy for us too. January seems a good month to be still and recoup. Glad to see you back here :)

  4. Your thoughts on the holidays and the coming year are lovely and they feel so true and real to me. "Diligent" was my word for a year in the recent past. The word that has been bubbling up for me for the coming year is "transcend." All the best to you in the new year.

  5. I was amazed when I saw American robins for the first time as they're so much bigger than ours. You're right that life has its phases of good and bad. I'm hoping that 2014 will bring your a greater share of the former. x

  6. Those robins are so pretty. We have them here in Dallas County, too. I've been hearing the cheep of cardinals but I can't get to the window quickly enough to spot them. HA! Keep your chin up and I hope you have a good 2014.


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