West Virginia Morning: Red-shouldered Hawk

There is a pair of red-shouldered hawks mating in the meadow behind our house. This morning, as I poured the coffee, I heard the distinct key-yeear, key-yeear, echoing in the sky. I quickly put down my mug and moved to the bay, searched the sky for the wide-winged soar. I spotted him just in time to see him land in the top of one of the walnut trees, where his mate awaited. I watched for several breath-stopping moments as they stilled, side-by-side, communicating who knows what kind of intimacies?

Hawks are monogamous and red-shouldered hawks often nest in the same area from year-to-year, sometimes reusing the same bundle of sticks labored over strenuously in past years. As far as I know, this is the first year this couple have graced us with their presence, so I was careful to stay still, out of sight, in fear they might determine our little meadow a lackluster place to raise their brood.

I watched, barely daring to breath, until they departed—the male with his boastful cry, the female in smooth silence. Even after they left I continued to search the sky, willing their return, longing for a closer glimpse of feathered beauty. This is not the first time I’ve seen these lovelies. Last week, before we took Ted back to school, he came clamoring down the stairs one afternoon.

“Mom, did you see that guy?” he asked, pointing out the window into the back yard. There, perched in the maple tree, was the Mister, greedily eyeing all my little finches who were enjoying my feeder. He was so close I could see his red shoulders. I could see the individual feathers on his rusty breast. I must have swooned because I could see the precise moment he noticed me watching through the window. It was an almost imperceptible twitch of his eyebrow before the most magnanimous lift-off. Suddenly, I was the air under his wings, lifting, lifting, until full in flight.

This is what it means to be fully present in a moment. How can I keep my eyes from searching the sky?

This is Living

When I told my husband this morning that I want to stay in my PJs all day today, I wasn’t kidding.

There have been too many interruptions of the quiet lately and I find I just want to sit at the kitchen table and watch my birds through the bay. I’m finishing up the sermon and it feels like worship as I sift through words and thumb thin pages.

Jeffrey has been running with me on the mornings that I don’t have to work. He is in earnest to grow and do good and his golden heart makes mine stronger. While these days seem to hurl by me in a blur, summer for him is a deep breath. I breathe deeper when he is with me.

I’m reading a new book for this work that I do and in the very beginning pages the author says this:  <

Where in your life do you say, “This is living!”? If you don’t have something in your life that regularly inspires adventure, risk, and passion, beware. Because if you don’t, you will seek the counterfeit.

Every Sunday feels like an adventure to me now. It’s like surfacing from a deep pool and watching the heavens open up before me. As much as I have loved the Lord and church and Bible study all my life, I am asking myself…why is this so different? And I know it’s because my faith is being stretched. And I’m depending on God in ways I never have before. And this is the good news: the possibilities for growing my faith this way are endless.

Where are you leaning on God these days?

Just wondering. Because it sure feels good to me.

Here are a few of my favorite things this week:

I made this pasta salad for dinner with my mom last night. This dill dressing is amazing. And the avocado? Sooo scrumptious.

My neighbor gave me this tip to squirrel-proof my bird feeders: slinky! If you use a shepherd’s hook to hold your feeder, simply thread the slinky over top and it secure it by looping one of the wires over the hook. I have a double shepherd’s hook, so I had to actually wind it around the pole—which sounds laborious, but it didn’t take much time at all. Also, I used a staple gun to secure the slinky to my wooden feeder that sits on a pole. It sure is fun watching the squirrel try to get past this one! So far so good…

See that little booger sitting down there? He can’t get up!!

Jeffrey and I made this for breakfast this week and it was so simple and delicious. I’ve pinned it on my Pinterest page too.

And I can’t wait to try this with some old wine bottles I have saved. They will make beautiful vases.

Here is my [un]framed picture of the week:

This poor little nest was blown down during the windstorm that left us all a bit worse-for-the-wear. Won’t you share some of the beauty you’ve caught this week? It sure has changed the way I see things. Join us over at the [un]framed Facebook page with your shots.
Sitting with my Sandy today. Love to you all.