For His Birthday

I bet God was excited.

Incalculable millennia ago when existence as we know it was still only in His mind, I bet God looked forward to March 21, 1985.

Because He knew, you see. He knew on that day at 3:28 pm you would show up, and I bet He smiled. Smiled because you would be His. Smiled because of all you would do. Smiled because He could see the man you would become.

How could He not? He designed you.

You may think I make too much of a fuss over your birthday, but it really isn’t any wonder. Your birthday was a promise to me before I was even born that I would not walk this earth solo, and I treasure that. All of those years worrying I would always be alone and He had answered my prayers even before I had lips to pray.

So yes, I make a big deal about it. And I’m excited too.

Excited to be your wife. Excited to see who you will become and what you will do. Excited to be with you until the end.

And I’m so, so proud of you.

Happy birthday, Mr. Awesome.

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New Budgies: The First Weeks

Both Robin and Tuck were much older than Giacomo was when we brought them home. Robin (green budgie) is the oldest having hatched April 2013. Tuck (grey pied budgie) is nearly three months old and hatched December 29, 2013. When we got Giacomo I believe he was newly weaned.

In a room full of budgies, I think we both noticed Tuck right away. Something about him grabbed our attention more than the other young birds in his cage. Despite a million distractions, he seemed to notice us.  He was plucky and clearly had attitude. Scrappy, even.

Robin was in  larger aviary with older birds. To be honest, I thought he was younger than he was, and that was a big reason I expressed interest in him. But he was big and beautiful, with that regal English budgie profile. I said I wanted him.

As we loaded our new charges into their carriers and made our way out the door, I couldn’t help wondering at the sanity of our decision. These were older birds, both parent raised and hardly handled by humans. Going on my previous experiences with American budgies, I assumed we would be bit frequently and often in the coming days.

Perhaps we should have waited longer to test the waters, but impatience won out. The next day after bringing Robin and Tuck home we decided to try some human/budgie interaction. They were wary at first and clearly did not know that fingers were for stepping up on, but putting millet in my hand helped, and for the first time in weeks I got to feel budgie feet on my hand again. We kept the session brief. No one was bitten and the budgies didn’t panic. I thanked God and considered our first “meeting” a success, mentally noting that work on step-ups was needed.

The next two days I spent some quiet time with each budgie alone. They were not used to being offered a finger to step up on, so that was what we worked on. Robin grasped the concept a bit more quickly than Tuck, which surprised me considering his age. With Tuck I had to worm my finger under his toes a few times while saying “Step up” for him to get the idea. But it didn’t take long. As of right now, both budgies are, if some what reluctantly, stepping up to come out of their cage… and it turns out my fears of being savaged by two little beaks were completely unfounded. The worst we’ve experienced has been Tuck making some warning pecks/light nips when he seems annoyed. Robin is even more docile, preferring to snooze on your finger rather than lunge.

The budgies are learning to cohabitate. As far as I know, they had never met each other before we brought them home, something I wish I was more sensitive to before putting them in the same cage. Not thinking, I assumed they would just be comforted by the presence of another bird after being moved to a strange place. But there has been very little aggression, none of it dangerous, and most of their confrontations are strictly verbal. When they aren’t arguing or competing over a food dish (they have two to choose from), they sleep very peacefully side by side.

So now we are all  in the process of getting to know each other, learning to trust, and learning to gain trust. It will be a slow process, but I am thankful for the answered prayers and how well things are going thus far.

A Post Revisited

The last couple of days have been gorgeous, weather wise. Sun. No snow. Temps above 30 degrees.

And then I wake up this morning and feel like I’m living in Narnia, pre-Aslan’s return. It’s bearable, though. Friday the temp is supposed to get into the mid 40s. One of these days spring will show up and hang around for a while.

The whole crazy weather situation reminded me of a post I wrote years ago for another blog when I was single and waiting. I wrote it when I was going through the nasty winter part of life. It was nice to go back and read it while basking in the sunshine of better days. I thought I might post it again here (with a couple of alterations) as a reminder that no matter how dark everything seems, with Jesus, there is always light after the darkness.

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I was born and raised in the Midwest. Except for a relatively brief stint out in New England I have lived in America’s heartland my whole life and I must say, the summers here can’t be beat. They can enchant the most cynical of people: crops maturing slowly as the days pass, butterflies performing their aerial courtship dances between the wildflowers, cloudscapes so grand they could make mountains blush with envy, fireflies igniting the fields at dusk, and sunsets that shatter the heart. The summers here are downright seductive, and you lose yourself quickly in the joy of it all.

Midwestern winters, on the other hand, quickly become smothering and oppressive. Days and days string together without a wink of sunlight, the cold, the gloom, the dark. It folds you in its hands and dribbles into your heart. What you see outside your window becomes what you feel inside your soul and you begin to wonder if you’ve ever felt God’s presence at all.

Life with God seems to often have these sorts of ups and downs. One day we are at the pinnacle of Sinai, head back and arms splayed before the glory of the Almighty. The next we are in the pit, wading through mire just trying not to sink. We feel utterly alone, tricked into thinking our Maker has left us.

But of course, He has not:

 If I say, Only let me be covered by the dark, and the light about me be night; Even the dark is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day: for dark and light are the same to you.

Psalm 139:11-12 (BBE)

 As I write this I look out my window into the blankness of February. Snow is beginning to fall and the sun will be setting shortly. It was another day in a long line of days spent waiting on God to fulfill the promises He made me. Still, post tenebras spero lucem: I hope for light after the darkness.

And the light is so much more beautiful for having gone through the dark days. If you’re still waiting, don’t give up. He is faithful and will bring you through.

Then There Were Four: New Budgies

Mr. Awesome: “Do you think you’ll want another bird?”

Me: “Eventually.”

Thus began our conversation that afternoon after losing Giacomo. I have to admit, my “eventually” could have simply been a solid yes, and I could see in Mr. Awesome’s face that he felt the same way. Over the past six months we adapted our lives to accommodating a bird, and neither of us were ready to give that up.

Mr. Awesome: “Have you thought about two birds?”

Yes, I had thought about two birds. I’d been thinking about two birds since before we got Giacomo. I liked the idea of having even more activity in the house, and even though I am a stay at home wife, there were some days when I felt I just couldn’t give Giacomo the interaction he demanded (whether rightly or not). And of course, there were times when neither of us were at home. Two birds could be good.

Or it could be bad.

Two birds meant more noise, more poop, and more little feathers floating around our hard wood floors. Two birds probably wouldn’t learn to talk. Two birds might bond strictly with each other and not give a hoot about us. Having relayed what I thought were the benefits and downsides to both options (and remaining fretfully indecisive), Mr. Awesome pointed out that if we didn’t try two birds, we would never know what it was like and always wonder.

We were getting two birds. The end.

But what species? Should we go bigger? Or should we just stick with what worked the last time? In a week we would be going on vacation for five days, and it would probably be a bad idea to bring birds home before we got back. So we had time to look. No need to rush.

That Saturday we made a two hour drive to attend a bird fair and stopped by a bird specific store. After looking around, talking to some people, and both of us getting chomped on by a couple of green cheeked conures, I announced on our drive home that I thought we should just stick with budgies.

But this time, I really wanted to try English budgies.

I had two American/Australian/wild type budgies as a kid (at different times). I remember the owner of the pet shop my mother used to work at gave me a book about budgies. Looking through it, I was surprised to learn that there were two different types of budgerigars. At one of the bird club meetings, I won a box of old American Budgerigar Society newsletters in a raffle and poured through them.  When we were looking for Giacomo, I wanted an English budgie, but didn’t find what I considered a decent prospect. And, I believe we were meant to have Giacomo when we did.

After a whole lot of praying, Googling, emailing, a few phone calls, and a Saturday spent driving two and a half hours each way, Mr. Awesome and I are happy to announce that our nest is no longer empty and have welcomed Robin (the green bird) and Tuck (the grey/blue pied) into our home.

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