What Happened at the Birdfeeder?

Feather Cluster in the grass

            We’d had some gray and windy days, but nothing prepared me for the sight awaiting me one morning. As I began my breakfast, I saw my birdfeeder was missing 4 of the 6 perches at the openings. They lay scattered on the ground and the birdfeeder was empty! One perch had been pecked off before, but not 4. In addition, the bottom was tilting, as if it would fall off.

            I looked at the ground. Where were the piles of birdseeds that would have poured out? Nothing. Since we’d gotten a new, higher fence it didn’t seem likely deer would have jumped over this nine-foot one. The gates were secure as well. What had happened?

            I went outside to look. As I walked around the yard I saw patches of feathers lying in clumps in the grass. A small cluster of gray and white feathers banded together lay near the birdfeeder, a few scattered feathers were farther along, then a large group of feathers were midway in the yard.

            I had never heard a sound. It must have happened during the night. Whatever it was, it was sudden. And the birds must have either fought something bigger than themselves or not known what was coming until it was too late.

            The sudden disappearance and wreckage at the birdfeeder shows how abruptly life can change in an instant. It made me think of what scriptures says about Christ’s return. We will be caught unaware as well. Matthew 24:42-44 says, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Mark 13:32-33 says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.”

Prayer: Dear God, may our hearts and minds rest in you, dear Jesus, to grow in love and understanding of your word so that we are ready when you come again. Amen.


Almost Empty Birdfeeder and Me

The almost empty birdfeeder right outside my dining room window reminds me of myself. Like it, I’m in need of filling too, with daily sustenance, physically and spiritually.

When I read scriptures or do a Bible study as I am right now, on “The Discipline of Grace” by Jerry Bridges, I’m reminded of one truth or should I say, one fear I have. What I’ve read needs to be remembered and acted upon, yet I’m afraid.

Afraid I will take it in, then as the days and weeks go by, I’ll forget or let my life resume its usual path.

And why would that be bad you ask?

Well, it would mean I’ve forgotten what I’ve learned, what in essence, has humbled me. I grip my hands, the reassuring taste of my last gulp of coffee reminding me or my past experience and close my eyes in prayer.

Dear God, please don’t let your words, your wisdom, your teachings fall by the wayside like in the parable of the seeds. May your wisdom NOT be choked out or crowded out by the thorns of everyday concerns or get trampled on the stoney path of reality. Create a new and clean spirit within me, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. Amen.


Christmas Day Face-Off at the Birdfeeder

It’s day 2 of howling winds and frigid temperatures. In fact, it’s Christmas Day here in Pittsburgh, PA. A day of giving as we share our joy in the greatest gift of all- JESUS.

Outside at the birdfeeder birds are feasting on fallen seed and seeds still the feeder. I left it out overnight (my gift to the birds) and expected it would be empty this morning. It wasn’t. Instead, I saw a myriad of birds joisting for the seeds on the ground and in the feeder. Along with Juncos, house sparrows and black capped chickadees, there were tufted titmice and cardinals. Later a red-bellied woodpecker visited for a meal.

I’m not sure if it was the temperature or the wind, but the birds seemed feisty to me. I know they need to eat more for fuel when it’s cold outside, but what I saw was amazing. Usually, smaller birds give way to larger birds around the birdfeeder. Not today.

As I ate my own breakfast, fuel for my start to the day, I saw a house sparrow face-off with a female cardinal. Later another house sparrow (or maybe the same one) went head-to-head with a male cardinal. Not to be outdone, a few moments later two male cardinals faced-off. This time in the air. I wish I could have captured that moment with my camera. They seemed to be vying for territory and access to food.

It reminded me of how we as people get- fighting for territory, for food, for survival. For the birds right now, they need food to survive the howling winds and frigid temperatures.

I wonder what our excuse is. The Bible says there will be wars and rumors of wars before Christ returns. With the fighting in Ukraine, the threat of war looms around us.

Gazing outside, I renew my prayer for God to surround us with this peace and love. May we know God walks with us through the howling winds of war and want. May we walk secure, knowing we can face the future with God by our side. Merry Christmas everyone.


Howling winds, frigid temps and my thoughts

Yesterday, as I sat warm and snug in my great room watching television, I could hear the winds howling around the hills in my back yard. I looked over at our electric fireplace adding heat to offset the winds and frigid temperatures outside and snuggled into a blanket around me.

I write historical fiction and my latest book, Helena’s Autumn deals with life of the early settlers in the frontiers of Massachusetts’ colony. At times like these, I wonder just how the settlers dealt with the weather. They must have been so hardy. In Mary’s Captivity, my recent novella, I just finished writing, Mary Foster is taken captive by Mohawk and lives with them for a year in various villages and long houses. She braves harsh winter weather as well. The more I research and the more I write about people in those time periods, the more my admiration for their hardiness grows.

I’m so thankful for our modern conveniences and the blessing we have. What are you thankful for?


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I got a wonderful Christmas gift this year. I signed a new contract with Heart Song Literary Agency! My agent Patricia Riddle-Gaddis is the owner of the agency as well. I also received my formatted manuscript and the news we will discuss publishers in the New Year!

This Season we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, the greatest gift of all. IN addition, I’m thankful for my family and friends.

What are you thankful for?


Everyone is busy preparing for the holidays, but…

The month of December is busy with preparations, and events around the holiday season. Shopping, decorating, visiting, baking and more. It is filled with emotion.

I have fantastic memories of the holidays as a child. I look forward to the holiday season because of it. But what if you don’t have good memories? Or aren’t able to celebrate with loved ones?

We endured the separation caused by the Covid Pandemic. Many of us have endured sickness and loss as well. But today my focus is not on recent past events, but further back in time.

In my historical novella, Mary’s Captivity my main character Mary Foster has been captured by Mohawks during the American Revolution. She spends her Christmas in captivity remembering past Christmases and praying. When her captor and new husband gives her gifts on that day, she is touched by his kindness but still has trouble forgiving him for the attack and her subsequent capture.

Christmas is not just about giving, but about remembering and showing Christ’s love to others. Even if, as Mary learns, one must forgive first. My prayer for everyone this holiday season is that we remember the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus, our Emmanuel, Savior of mankind. With a gift like that surely, we can open our hearts and forgive others, sharing God’s love despite the hectic noise of holiday preparations.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


When You and Your MC Must Develop Patience

In my work in progress, Helena’s Autumn, my main character, Helena Trevellian, must learn patience as the Revolutionary War continues and she waits for her husband to come home. She realizes that she isn’t a very patient person.

This summer I have kept busy editing my manuscript for my editor. I found I’m not a very patient person either. As I was finishing the edits, I asked my agent when she wanted me to send the revised ms back. She said, in a few weeks. It made me laugh. Just like Helena, I need to sit and wait.

While I waited, I revised and submitted a creative nonfiction story- An Unexpected Angel to Agape Review, a Christian Online Journal. It was published mid-August. (https://agapereview.com/2022/08/14/anunexpectedangel-2/) So just like Helena, I am keeping busy while I wait. She deals with her regular housewife roles and the added work of protecting the farm from deserting British Dragoons and fending off Mohawk and Loyalist raiders. It’s also up to her to do the hunting, fishing and gardening to provide for her and her friend. As the months progress, she learns compassion as she tends to her ill friend. She doesn’t like all the work but learns she is stronger than she thinks.

What do you do when you find you have to sit and wait before you can do something? Please share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.


When to Take a Break

Honeysuckle waiting for the next Fairy Feast

Sometimes you need a break from your other writing. I’ve been buried in the past with my MC Jonathan’s exploits in London in first WIP and occupied with Covid statistics in my other WIP so this has been a welcome change. This morning I asked my friends if I should take a walk in our park and then write or just write. The walk won. Along with this picture my imagination took me into another world as you will read below.

The Fairies of Boyce Park feasted this past week

on honeysuckle oh so sweet.

They danced, they twirled, they sang, unfurled

their wings a light with beauty,

as they held a First of Summer Dance.

You might not always see them

for they like to hide away

they disappear as moonlight fades

until another day.

So take a look around you, you may not realize

the broken petals, discarded cups are all that’s left behind.

Fairy Feast Remnants


Writing Connections

My twin sister and me

I have a twin sister. We’ve always been competitive, yet in each other’s corner whenever needed. I stuck up for her when she was bullied, she encouraged and helped me when I was wondering what career path to take. Early on we both seemed to realize we could compliment each other in what we did and liked to do. We chose different paths – in school I was the studious one, she was the social butterfly.

In college we went to different universities, had different majors and even chose life partners (our husbands) who are totally different. Yet our bond remains strong. You are probably wondering how this relates to making Writing Connections. I’m getting to that.

My twin always encouraged me when I continued on to get my PhD in English Composition and TESOL. She encouraged me when I was given leadership positions within local Three Rivers TESOL and International TESOL. She encouraged me whenever I had articles and chapters published in journals in my field. Now it is my turn.

I am so proud of my twin- Janyce Brawn, artist, author and very creative woman in her own right. It is my turn to encourage her, by helping her make Writing Connections. My advertising and marketing experience as a freelance writer and newspaper editor are coming to the fore (I hope.). Go Janyce, You go girl! I want to shout. She has just published her first book in the Tales of the Teleporting Topsider Series- David and the Drainosaurs.

My granddaughter is enjoying her Aunt Janyce Brawn’s new book!

You can learn more about her in another writer friend, Lyndi Alexander, I met through my connection with Janyce and my writing critique group- Fellowship of the Quill. Janyce Brawn was a guest blogger on Lyndi Alexander’s blog, here’s the link. https://lyndialexander.wordpress.com/2021/05/21/down-the-drain-with-janyce-brawn-and-her-fantasy-hero-david-gonzales/


Be like the Sparrow

Why should a person be like a sparrow? Have you ever watched one? This past winter I erected a birdfeeder outside my great room window. As I sit at my table eating breakfast or lunch I watch the myriad of birds that come to the feeder. The fluttering black capped chickadee, the flitting tufted titmouse, the curious but cautious cardinals, the grouchy blue jays, the pairs of yellow finches and mourning dove and the persistent sparrows all visit. The most common visitor is the songbird sparrow, diligently searching the feeder or the ground, day in and day out, for sustenance.

Today it hit me. Well not exactly hit, but, you know what I mean. We should be like sparrows in our search for goodness in others, in our search for deeper faith, and for seeking what we need to sustain us.

Search God’s Word, search your heart, search your mind. Let Him speak to you in the windy days, in the rainy days, in the cold and harrowing experiences in life, and let God be your sustenance, in essence be diligent and persistent. Be like the Sparrow.



I recently was walking in the park and took a picture of a tree that I was calling a pterodactyl tree because, well because it just reminded me of one with the pointy head. Well, I was so surprised, charmed, amused and enlightened to read what others thought it looked like. Dragons, eagles, flying Griffiths, Jesus’ crown of thorns, Pi, and the letter H were some of the answers. All different from what I had thought.

Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor and nature

This got me to thinking. If one visual image evokes so many different responses, it’s no wonder people see and think differently on so many issues we face today. How then do we find common ground on issues like wearing asks, re-opening schools? These are the hot issues right now and there are many different responses. What do you think? Please post your ideas below.

Rain with a Side of Praise

Drenched, squelched, wrung out to dry-

In my heart and mind, I just want to cry.

I look out at soggy rain-spattered ground-

Seeking solace but none is found.

Just for a moment I lift up my eyes-

Seeking God’s will amidst heavy sighs.

Birds at my feeder come and they go-

Bright spots of color above and below.

May my heart spring anew with bounteous praise-

May your words flow through me the rest of my days.

I felt the Presence of God today

I felt the presence of God today,
and I was humbled.
To see love and sorrow
in faces teaming around me
a chance visit to a friend whose family sees no barriers
to caring for one who is dying.
Amidst the bustle, hustle and confusion
of a crowded place…
I felt the presence of God today
and I was humbled.
To see acts of giving and loving
For one so unfortunate to lay there dying,
someone so fortunate to be rich in friends and caring.
A hospital bed crowded amidst furniture, set near a window
with old and young gathered around
a last chance to visit and care.
I felt the presence of God today
and I was humbled.
From ones so needy in the eyes of the world
yet so giving of place, space and selves
it boggles my mind at times.
World views opposite Christ views,
real examples of Christ’s love in action.
Celebrating a birthday early
not knowing what or if there will be a tomorrow. Yet-
I felt the presence of God today
and I was humbled.

Marker Stones and Living Stones

The stone in the picture above is a marker stone, a natural marker of someone who has walked past this tree on a hike. There are many of them along the path I walk. Memories of someone passing by.

This got me to wondering about how others will remember me as I’ve passed by or in their lives. Ray Vander Laan talks about Christians as being “Living Stones” in his book In the Dust of the Rabbi. Christians, with the Holy Spirit dwelling within, are to be living testimonies of God’s power, and love.

We are being shaped by life experiences and our reactions as we walk among the world with God’s guidance and power teaching us how to react and grow. The good and the bad things we experience shape us. In that respect, we are like a piece of rough stone being sculpted and ground by these experiences into the polished stone as part of God’s Holy Temple of living stones.

You’ve heard the expression “God’s not finished with me yet”. Well, for me, that means God is still shaping me, walking with me and guiding me in my daily life. So how do I, as a living stone impact others leaving a mark upon the path of others? The key is to walk in love, realizing that God is shaping me for a very specific purpose that He has had since the beginning.

Sounds easy, but it is not. We are still in this world, with everyday problems and our usual faults. We need to go to the source of love, through prayer and contemplation, reading God’s holy word. Then let His love shine through us as we serve others with love.

Some may say it sounds trite, but as a living stone, the marks we leave behind will be remembered by others as they in turn leave their marks. It’s how the early church started. Through prayer and sharing of God’s love in acts of kindness and service to those in need.

So, a marker stone that is a living stone is the most enduring, long-lasting stone of all. The next time you walk along a path and see a marker stone, think of a living stone and how you can become one, simply by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. As the Holy Spirit dwells within you, pray for guidance to find other believers and pick up a Bible to start your journey. You too will become a living stone that God will shape for his Holy Temple of love and praise, leaving marks for others to believe and grow from as well. It’s up to you. Are you a “living stone“?

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