His Eye is on the Sparrow

Last week, if you’ve been following along, I posted about using up my leftovers. My Instagram feed shared how I made some little treats for our backyard friends. It turned out to be great timing, because shortly thereafter, we had a wackload of snow dumped on us! I’m sure the birds and the squirrels have tucked themselves away and hunkered down in their hidey-holes to wait out this extreme freeze and snow. Which got us a-musing: How do those teeny little birdies survive this cold? They seem so petite and frail.

Turns out, birds are a little like us humans. Some prefer to give up entirely on winter and fly to the tropics. Let’s just say, those migrating types don’t count. A few of us who can’t afford the time and effort of flying south, choose to batten down the hatches and hibernate for a few days in this extreme cold. Technically, with wildlife, it is called torpor and involves a period of “slowing down” in order to conserve energy. Much like some of us who choose to stay inside and drink hot chocolate on snowy days. I love it when I see evidence of God’s handiwork in nature! It’s all so interconnected and perfectly orchestrated!

This was brought home to me, again, a few weeks ago (before the snow) when I happened upon a tiny clutch of wing feathers. Putting aside the gruesomeness of this tiny winged creature’s demise (discovery and education has a dark side), let’s focus on the science for a minute. Feathers are uniquely designed like tiny, little zippers. If you observe one under a microscope, miniature little barbs link together to keep the fibres tightly attached.

A bird preens and fluffs up to keep the zippers zipped… enabling air to be trapped underneath the layers. The tight barrier allows for flight as the wind gets pushed down, and helps the bird stay warm in extreme weather! Fat build up and specialized body feathers help too… literally the birds wear a down jacket! The piece of wing I found was so small. Perhaps a sparrow? It’s feathers were layered so tightly and knit together so well, I marvelled at the intricate design. Tiny. Perfect.

And so, I am encouraged, again, by the promise in God’s word, that if He takes care of the tiniest sparrow, how much more are we loved? They were uniquely created to survive the harshest winters, knit together and infused with warmth by God’s own breath. As are we. May you be encouraged of that fact, my friends, as am I. Until next week — stay warm!


My backyard goodies were made with leftover gingerbread house pieces and pine cones (from a winter centerpiece) spread with some nut butter and dipped in bird seed! You can also use coconut oil or lard for the “sticky” part if you need a nut free option! It’s a fun Sunday School craft if you need an object lesson on how God cares for us!!

What is Peace?

Peace. Joy. Love. Twinkle stars and green grinch hearts that grow. ‘Tis the season of spreading good wishes and warm fuzzies. But let’s get real for a second. Crowded parking lots, tired bodies, loneliness and pain often marr our Hallmark movie visions of what this season is supposed to look like. Tensions ride high and our often idealistic gatherings end in hurt feelings and anger. We are human — it happens.

Last week, I discovered that December 12th has been set aside by the United Nations as “International Day of Neutrality”. Which got me thinking about this whole idea of peace. Is it easier to just be “neutral” in order to keep the peace? To let things go? To simply sweep tensions under the rug rather than cause a scene? Maybe you’ve faced this delima at your last holiday gathering? A co-worker with whom you’ve had a disagreement? Or in-laws that have become out-laws? The holidays seem to bring out the best — and the worst — in some people. Let’s think about it a little more…

According to the Oxford dictionary, “neutrality” means:

Artwork symbolizing ‘peace in the world’ © United Nations
  1. the state of not supporting or helping either side in a conflict, disagreement, etc.; “impartiality.”
  2. absence of decided views, expression, or strong feeling.”the clinical neutrality of the description”
  3. the condition of being chemically or electrically neutral.

The UN extended this definition even further to: “the abstention of a state from all participation in a war between other states” while still maintaining “an attitude of impartiality toward the belligerents”. Try that at your next party. Belligerents indeed.

All of this sounds wonderful. No one wants war. World peace is a noble goal. But wait. Doesn’t the Bible talk about a time for peace and a time for war? It’s confusing isn’t it? And as much as I appreciate activists waging war on political leaders, and as much as I don’t want bomb threats and lock downs becoming realities at my children’s schools, I must narrow down this idea in my own little world. How do I, as a Jesus follower, take a stand for what is Biblically correct, and still be respected in my community?

I found some insightful views via Kaitlin Garrison and her post on The Barefoot Blog. She has outlined it much better than I can, so I encourage you to read it there. She explains that there is a significant difference between being peacekeepers and peacemakers. Peacekeepers would make the UN proud by avoiding all conflict and simply staying neutral. No opinions must be voiced, no thoughts shared. Peacemakers, on the other hand, are lovingly honest. They lay Biblical truths on the table and discuss the conflict at hand with hopes of resolution and true peace. Jesus was not one to back down from a fight. Yet, His birth is surrounded with this idea of peace. There’s gotta be some correlation.

I’m afraid I may not be making my views crystal clear on this one… and maybe it’s because I am struggling with the practicalities of this myself. I tend to avoid the conflict by keeping my mouth shut. Introverts peacekeep well this way. But maybe it’s time to open up a bit. To peace make instead of peace keep. Perhaps this season, we can be bold together… to be more honest with ourselves and others. To make our feelings known, yet still love our neighbours. It is no easy task. But I’ve got your back. And I wish you a season of true peace this Christmas!

Why I Don’t Give to Charity Anymore

Okay, okay… it’s not that I don’t give to charities anymore, it’s just that I am getting slightly overwhelmed with the amount of options now! Halloween is over and boom… the holiday blitz kicks in, and my mailbox is full of charitable gift giving catalogues urging me to give great aunt Lucy a dozen chickens! Forget great aunt Lucy… I want a dozen chickens! (But that’s a different story.)

We attended three charity events last week. Three. We also turned down two more invitations for the same week! Is it just me, or does everybody seem to be raising money for something now? And believe me, we are not being targeted because of our large paycheques. In fact, I work for a charity… so I can give a portion of my paycheck away right from the start! My local cashier has been trained to bequest my donation upon every check out… and my name gets written on the wall for all to see. Sometimes you get more than a token name calling… perhaps you get a free water bottle, or balloon, or keychain or… well, you get my point.

And so I muse… how do we choose? How do I know that my hard earned funds are going to really help people, or the environment, or fight injustices? Do I use my givings simply as a tax break, or an excuse to be greener, or flaunt it in my social media calendar invites to prove I am just so loving? Have we become too accepting of donations that we simply don’t give till it hurts anymore? Or have the bombardments made us callous, so that we are wary of scams and frauds. Or we simply don’t give anymore for fear of having our mailboxes overloaded with letters. Afterall, if they used that mailing budget to fund the charity, more money could be used to help rather than advertise… am I right?

How do you choose your Charity?

My usual quick google search of “charity” leads me to see that it is the “voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need” (Oxford dictionary). Biblical research sends me to 1 Corinthians 13…The “love” chapter. We tend to equate charity with love… especially love towards our fellow humans as a result of our understanding of God’s love and ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. I get it. But that doesn’t really make it easier to decipher who, why and when and how. Or does it?

Have you ever met someone who exudes Christ’s love? That aura, that persona, that embodiment that just oozes kindness and sincere “charity”? Not because they need to. Not because they have to. Not because they got a catalogue in the mail. They just naturally love the cause, and want to see it flourish and grow. I think that is an example of true charity. Passion. What stirs your heart, my friend? I’m asking myself the same question right now. Hmmmn.

Perhaps I will have to rethink my Christmas gift giving. Perhaps I will need to be more frugal with my wishes. My lines are not drawn on this one quite yet. How do I choose? I’d love to hear your thoughts… drop me a note in the comments below or connect with us on social media!


I’ve mused about this topic before! Check out these posts: Charity on the Refrigerator The Green Debate and Legacies