The (Real) Bird Cage As Design

Home decor stores are full of little fake bird cages. This, I do not understand. Why have an empty, fake bird cage sitting in your home when you can have a beautiful real one, with a beautiful real bird in it?

I have a canary, and a pocket parrot, and I dearly love both of them. A canary, in particular, is the ultimate in low-maintenance pet, with a very high emotional return. A male canary's song is beautiful. I seriously cannot imagine my home without my canary.

I have developed an interest in unusual bird cages lately - an interest bordering on obsession. Most cages, including the ones I own, are very boring and utilitarian. They are wonderful at keeping my birds safe and contained, but don't add a thing, visually.

Much, much research on my part has uncovered this sad fact: you almost cannot find a beautiful, safe, vintage looking, unusual bird cage suitable for a real bird. Well, not for under many hundreds of dollars. My sweet man is very, very close to taking it as a personal challenge to design and build one. Here are some inspiration pictures I plan on showing him:

In this picture, I love the idea of the vintage trunk and suitcase stacked, with the bird cage on top.

This, I am not totally fond of, but I could be, with some design tweaking. Looks almost like a small, upside down table, with a bird cage inside. I don't see anything resembling a slide-out tray - a design flaw which would have to be remedied forthwith.

This image is from Martha Stewart, and is my favorite of the most doable bird cages. This is made from old windows! You simply keep a removable metal tray in the bottom. My man could have this put together in a day, if I get him the windows.

::sniff:: Want! Love! Need! This one is my favorite of "can't ever have" bird cages. Veeeeeery expensive. Don't remember where I saw this one - if you know where, be sure to inform me. I will be thrilled to share the link!

This image is from a blog I enjoy so much - "Dreamy Whites". The blogger's name is Maria, and she has taken the design blog world by storm! I want this cage, so bad!

Bird Cage

This image from - sort of looks like a baker's rack, redesigned and repurposed into what COULD be a bird cage. Thing is...I have something almost just like this, only without the chicken wire. I'm wondering...

Soon, friends, I am going to take you with me to a local design shop I've discovered. Oooooh, this place is A-mazing. The manager brings her two sweet, sleek, graceful dogs to work, and while I was there, I saw the most beautiful, wall-mounted bird cage I have ever, ever, ever seen. Inside this wall-mounted cage, I saw Gloster Crested Canaries. Be still, my heart!

Of course, I struck up a brief conversation, as I pretty much compulsively do everywhere I go.

Bird cage is theirs. Bird cage not for sale. Bird cage not made anymore. Customers have come in her store, seen it, fallen instantly in love as I did, and have offered good money for it, and the birds. No deal.

But I can at least get pictures for you. And I'd love to interview the owner, for blog purposes, along with taking lots of shots of this cool store.

Moral of this post: if you see a beautiful, unusual, vintage looking bird cage, suitable for a real bird, one that could be a design element all by itself, one that is not hundreds of dollars, contact me ASAP!

Linking to the lovely Melissa at The Inspired Room - another blog I love!

inspired room

The Doctor is In

The Doctor is In... my house. At least for tonight.

We have been enjoying the good company of the Doctor and his Missus - having dinner and playing a board game. Doc got an emergency call from the dad of a teenage girl in our church. She'd injured her toe pretty badly, yesterday. After a night of pain, it was no better today, and in fact seemed worse.

(By the way - I am so very proud of our church's Parish Nursing Ministry!)

Dr. Doug knew he had the freedom to tell dad and daughter to come on by my house...where he did an initial (and painful) examination. Being the whack job that I am, I took pictures.

Anybody else need anything? Better come quick....Doc is headed home soon.

Add It To My Resume - I am a Church Planter

(my grandbaby...)
Why is it we tend to focus on what we have not (yet) done, as opposed to what we have done?

I remember when I first realized that I am a gardener. For the longest time I actually thought that since I didn't tend to large expanses of lush gardens, that I was not a gardener.

This sort of bedeviled thinking has crept into my thoughts on ministry. My husband and I have planted one church, so far - the one he currently pastors. We and a few (a very few...a reeeeeeeally, really few) stalwart souls planted it from the ground, up. One church. More than most people ever plant in a lifetime. It has grown to be a thing of beauty.

To think that I am not yet a church planter because I've planted "only" one church is like saying I am not yet a mother because I have had "only" one child. Ridiculous. The fact that I have had four children does not make me more of a mother than the woman who has had only one child.

Now I'm not talking about stretching the truth. I won't be calling myself a photographer just because I've snapped a few pictures, or an artist because I've painted a landscape. (Well, I've almost painted a landscape. I have yet to finish my first painting. Shoot - I am compulsively honest.) But most of us aren't into stretching the truth. A lot of women I know tend to sell themselves too short, rather than the other way around. (There are a few who oversell themselves, but I usually can smell that a mile away, and I avoid those few.)

My daughter is no less a mother, just because her child is yet unborn. Now that is a concept! That concept speaks to all things yet unborn in our lives - things that God sees, but we don't. Much like the way He called Abraham the Father of Many Nations. Much like the way He called Gideon a Mighty Man of Valor.

Because your God has better plans for you than you know, you yourself are more than you realize.

Who are you?

Have You?

Today, I laughed until I cried.

I laughed so hard, I stopped breathing.

I mean, I ugly laughed. (You know - when your face is helplessly frozen in a humiliatingly ridiculous expression.)

I laughed until I thought I was going to die.

I laughed so violently, my whole life passed before my eyes. That made me laugh even harder.

And it made me realize, for the millionth time, that laughter is one of the "sounds of joyful shouting and salvation" that the Scripture talks about. The devil hates laughter with unholy passion. He'd rather you fear him, give him credit for all the bad things in your life, blame him, anything but laugh in spite of his existence.

Being convulsed in a spit giggle is a sign of great spiritual strength. I'm tired of Christians who have forgotten how to unselfconsciously laugh their behinds off. G.K. Chesterton said, "It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light." He didn't mean your bathroom scales, either. I am telling you, it takes real brains to be funny, and it takes humility to laugh regularly and genuinely and so hard your head feels like it will pop off.

Most are too self absorbed to notice the hilarity that surrounds them on a daily basis. Hey - takes a self absorbed woman to know one. When I'm not laughing, I'm not noticing, either.

Going by the hermaneutical principle of "first mention", it is no mere coincidence that the first time laughter is mentioned in the Bible, it was a Great Woman of the Faith who was cracking up. Giggles are surely a sign of impending Promise and Blessing.

I swear, I tell the Lord all the time, that all I want to do is have some fun. He assures me that that is what He wants for me, more than I want it for myself. Its just that, as I'm having fun, He keeps making me do stuff. I guess if I'm giving my life away hilariously, it doesn't seem so awful. Giving my body to be burned is an actual sacrifice when I am absolutely in love with the life He has given me, and the people He has put in it. So the Lord slips in a good punch line, as I set myself on fire, figuratively speaking, again and again. God is good to me like that. If that messes with you, I am sorry.

The way I see it, laughter, at the appropriate things, at the appropriate and even inappropriate time, is one of the permanent expressions of a saint. Every negative emotion you and I experience is temporary. There will be no sad or mad tears in heaven. No frowns. No furrowed brows or anxious faces.

You may have heard of the Toronto Blessing. I'm not sure what I think of all that laughin' in church, ya'll, but I'm fine with bustin' loose at my own table.

The Knoxville Blessing. I'm so glad I had a visitation today. (and I have my daughter Hannah to thank for it, but that is another story...)

"God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me." (Gen. 21:6)

My Anchor Holds...Or, A Strong Consolation

My soul needs strong consolation. You?

It is found in only one place: this gospel of grace through faith in Christ. I marvel freshly at how different my whole perspective is, since re-soaking my heart in the doctrines of grace. Truly, God can take a woman who has walked with Him many, many years (37 to be exact) and change her mind. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul!

So I've been thinking lately, as I look for grace-sightings in the Old Covenant, about how the high priest entered once a year into the Holy of Holies, to make his offering in the presence of God. He was "anchored" so to speak, outside the veil, by a rope around his ankle. If he didn't do it all exactly right, he died on the spot, and was pulled out of the presence of God with that rope.

There is no hope to be found in our performance, friends. We will never...ever...get it all right.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

Because of Jesus, I too am anchored. There is a rope tied to me. And when I don't do it all exactly right, if I stray, if I am faithless, I do not die.

Rather, I am pulled right back to God, rather than away from Him. God pulls me to His very heart, and breathes life into my moments and my days. Because the wrath of God was spent at the cross, I am the recipient of a great, great hope. I experience unmerited favor each and every day. God is rich in mercy towards me, and towards my seed, to a thousand generations. This is a generation-spanning rope, and I am tied securely fast, and in this I find not just any consolation...

I find...strong consolation.

My anchor holds within that veil...where God is, in other words. Anchors have to be tied to something, and weighted down by something. I'm tied to Him, Who is Great, Who alone is consolation, and Who is heavy with His own Weighty Glory. And. And. Because I am tied to Him, all that is tied to me is tied to Him.

You are so blessed, if I love you!

::she smiles::

Because if I love you, I carry you in my heart always, I can't let go, and my Father is always wanting to know what and who is on my heart.

By grace, through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, I am pulled by God, to God. My anchor holds me and draws me into His presence. And there, I bring Him my weakness and my need. I bring Him those I love.

I'm not hoping in hope. soul hopes in God alone.

Strong consolation. A sure salvation.

..."by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil..." (Heb. 6)

Book Recommendation

A few months ago, Tim and I discovered the work of Dr. Stephen Crosby. After giving several of his resources a look and a listen, and reading one of his books twice through, we'd like to highly recommend him to you. I plan on including an excerpt from his book "Silent Killers of Faith - Overcoming Legalism and Performance Based Religion" over the next several days or weeks. It is not often that we come across someone who has been teaching so many of the same things we have been teaching. It is not often we come across a body of work that this closely resembles our own.

He and his wife are moving from the west coast to North Carolina, by the way. We hope to get to meet them - we'll see what the Lord has in store!

"We get it backward. We expect accountability to produce sons. Accountable behavior will never produce a father-son relationship; rather, a father-son relationship spontaneously begets accountable behavior."

"Holiness that leads to isolation or insulation is a biblical counterfeit. Religion without love has been responsible for most of the world's misery. A.W. Tozer said, "You can find more carnal, unregenerate, self centered characters in the church who have religion and are sensitive toward it than you can bury in the Grand Canyon." Separation that begets a spirit of superiority is a betrayal of Christ and His gospel."

"We need to testify to His redeeming hope, not the process of our sanctification."

(how I loooooove that. That says it all.)

"We Americans are so private in our paradigms and so "wounded" from, and resentful toward authority figures, that we are reluctant to reach out to others for help. Sometimes we are comfortable reaching out horizontally to peers when looking for comfort or help, but the real deliverance anointing comes when we reach "up", so to speak, to those who have oversight. We have to reach out to someone who values our future more than our friendship - someone who not only will provide comfort, but will also lead us to that place of discomfort, confrontation, and spiritual growth."

(My note - when a leader is accessible, and becomes a friend - and THEN there comes a time when they must assert their God-given role in a performance-based Christian's life, it often results in a great upset. The performance-based believer would much prefer to think of the leader as their peer...perhaps even their "student". They become offended - sometimes beyond their ability to deal with.)

"A salvation that only brings us to moral zero, moral neutrality, is insufficient. We will all be back in the red in no time. No, we are forever free from the creditor. The state of the New Covenant believer is one of the abundant life, an eternal credit....we are not moral debtors on spiritual probation, trying to earn enough credit to have our death sentence commuted. We are pardoned, not paroled. Our sentence has been done away with."

There is so much more in this book. Can't wait to share more with you!

The Coolest Guitar Amp EVER!

Look what our daughter (Sarah) and son-in-law (Jonathan) got for their dad! A friend of Jonathan makes these:

A guitar amp, in an Altoid's container!

The inside speaker...

Tim, and his Les Paul and his Altoid's amp (playing some ZZ Top)...

You would not believe the sound that comes out of this tiny thing!

Get your own from the maker, Christopher Shibley, here. Please tell him that Tim and Sheila Atchley from Harvest Church sent you...