Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hollyhock Dolls and Railroad Lilies

On my way to school today, I noticed that the wild lilies were starting to bloom. It took my thoughts back to childhood in my little hometown of Red House, West Virginia.  A narrow road and  railroad followed the wide Kanawha River in front of my house, and I often used the rails as a balance beam -- trying to keep my balance as I walked the short distance to my grandparents' house on the riverbank.  As summer approached, the wild lilies, roses, and hollyhocks starting blooming all along the tracks. I especially loved the tall hollyhocks that grew along the lane and spent many wonderful hours making hollyhock dolls.  The wild flowers grew in a variety of colors, and I would sometimes make a whole wedding party of dolls in colorful hollyhock gowns. 
I had never heard of "day lilies" until I got married and moved to Ft. Bragg with Sam.  A columnist in the Fayetteville newspaper wrote about a day lily garden, and I wondered what they looked like.  I was very surprised to find out that what we called "Railroad Lilies" were actually something special.  Because they grew like weeds, I just took them for granted -- not even considering that they must have been planted by God!  My "Godwink" today was a reminder that the Creator of all those flowers of my childhood was still at work, blessing me with little patches of beauty on my way to school.  

“Why take ye thought for raiment [clothing]? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Crazy Cardinal Godwink

       Last weekend, my daughter Sara and I went to a Sweet Adelines concert in Atlanta, and stayed overnight in a hotel in South Carolina.  I took my Kindle, and was looking for something free or cheap to read before going to bed.  An e-book that caught my eye was called ""Confessions of a Prayer Slacker." I hate to admit that sometimes this title applies to me, so I downloaded it and started reading. The first page --the introduction -- started with this verse. "How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep?" Proverbs 6:9  The book reminded me of those church camp mornings many years ago when we started the day by going to a special place outside to have our morning devotions. I had some of the best quiet times sitting under at tree, all alone, early in the morning.  But life happens, and especially in the past few years -- with insomnia and work demands -- I have found it hard to find time for more than a quick prayer in the morning as I drive to school. But as I read this book, the author challenged the readers to faithfully meet with God every morning.  It sounded good -- and I was thinking about trying it -- sometime -- but not sure I would really get up early to do it.
        This is where the crazy bird comes in. I woke early the next morning to a thumping sound at my second story window. I didn't get up right away -- wondering who could be throwing something at my window. Once we locked Andrew out when he went to the car to get something, and he threw gravel at the window for quite a while before we realized that it was not the wind blowing a tree branch against the window. But no one else was with us this time, so I finally got up and went to the window in time to see this red flash.  It was a crazy cardinal, flying into my window again and again. I wondered if he was saying. "How long will you stay in bed, you slacker?"  So I got my Kindle out, read a little more of my book, then turned to the Bible that I also have downloaded. I spent some time reading, and praying -- and watching the bird -- and soon an hour had passed.  Sara was still asleep, so I went back to bed and slept a little more until the bird woke both of us up again.
        Since then, I have managed to get up a little earlier every morning to spend some quiet time with God before everyone gets up.  My Kindle lights up, so I don't even have to turn the lights on to read.  I am just starting, and honestly, some mornings I HAVE hit the snooze once -- but I think about the cardinal -- and the image of Jesus waiting for me to come and spend time with Him -- and I have started to look forward to the morning.  Once more I have found a Godwink in an unexpected place.  My friend Sherry wrote in her blog last week about God speaking through His creation -- also cardinals out her window -- but my crazy cardinal made sure I didn't miss this message!