Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Jewel in Heaven's Crown

I don't know if pets go to heaven, but if they do there is a special Jewel there now.

Jewel was a rescue ... she came to me after a random conversation about sewing lead to the fact that I've had birds in the past, and someone knew a family looking for a home for a bird. You see, Jewel didn't like men very much, and it made it hard for her to get along with families.

I was lonely, having just moved back to Austin, and was always hearing the funny stories about a co-worker's scarlet macaw ... so I thought to myself "Why not? I'll go meet her, and see if we hit it off."

They warned me as I approached her cage on the back porch that she often doesn't take to strangers so not to be offended if she screamed at me. She almost immediately climbed up my arm and made herself at home on my shoulder - and my heart melted.

She could be loud, don't get me wrong, and she didn't talk like many Quaker parrots do. But she sure could communicate. It seems I was always learning a new quirk or trick she had under her wing. And they were right, she didn't like men - particularly men walking dogs? Despite that, Tim welcomed her into his home and even made a tentative friendship with her.

Last week, I came home and cleaned her cage, checked on her food and water, and started getting ready for dinner (we were going to eat with Tim's dad). As I waited on Tim to get home, I sat down to work on something and suddenly had that "It is TOO quiet" feeling. Sure enough, there she was ... fluffed up on the bottom of her cage, trying to lay an egg.

After dinner we reassessed the situation - and she hadn't made any progress. She was alert and aware though, and even drinking water. She knew who we were (she tried to bite Tim and snuggled for a bit with me). She even made her way back up to the place she always slept for the night. The emergency vet in the area didn't serve birds ... so we waited until morning.

We rushed her to the first avian vet that had any openings, and they confirmed what we thought - she was egg-bound. She was given pain medication, and the vet broke the egg so it could be removed. The procedure was successful, but he told us she had some tissue death in her cloaca. He didn't have time then to talk to us, so we made an appointment to come back in a few hours and discuss our options ... reconstructive surgery (which honestly doesn't sound promising when we're talking about a 100 gram bird), giving her antibiotics and seeing how she does at home, etc. Well, she made the decision for us and passed away not long after.

Tim kindly offered to take us to the farm and bury her there. We found a nice spot on a bit of a hill, and Tim said the sweetest prayer. He said he was thinking some kind of "tribute" like a bird house or something would be nice.

Jewel left us with some great memories, and these are just a few of them.

  • The way she would wait to sing her "It's morning and I'm a bird" song until I had turned off the fan when I was sleeping in
  • The way she would dance when someone clapped
  • The way she liked to be covered and then "found" under a towel, and would even cover herself
  • The way she loved carrots and hated corn
  • The way she still made little "baby bird" wings when given a snack
  • The way she liked to cuddle, and ride around in the pocket of hoodies
  • The way she didn't like to be watched when climbing the stairs
  • The way she waddled and followed her humans around the house
She will be missed. As annoying as the noise could be, the apartment is much too quiet without her.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

When It Rains

This afternoon, while waiting for Tim to back out of the driveway, I watched in awe as water flowed ... no, gushed ... from the gutters near our front door. It feels like we have been so long without rain, that even writing about it makes me feel the need to get up and get a glass of water.

Aaah, much better! Recently at one of my Bible study groups we were reading in John about the woman at the well. This time, rather than focusing on the woman and the fact that Jesus told her to turn from her sinful life and sin no more - I really focused on what He was offering. A drink that means you will never be thirsty.

John 4:14 - "but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

My soul will never be thirsty. God has provided for me a bottomless well that will never run dry. He has promised me eternal life. There is peace for my soul. I can trust what He says is true.

I know I've written about trust before, but in my humanness I find I often need to be reminded that I can trust God. Tim and I both wear rings on our right hands that say "Trust in Me" in Hebrew. How frequently I find myself staring at it and shaking my head, wondering how I forgot.

This morning, my straight-razor shaving husband showed me quite a lot of trust I think! After a brief instruction of what angle and what pressure to use, he asked me to shave the back of his neck for him. It was wonderfully intimate and I'm a little proud of how well I did. The short, scraping strokes were a little frightening at first; I kept expecting blood to bloom from beneath my attentions. Instead, short dark hairs just fell away and left smooth, touchable and slightly pink skin behind.

Why do I bring this up? Well, honestly I just wanted to write about it. And because I know right now we're going to have to trust God a little. It seems that as soon as we found we were going to be fine for our mission trip to Nicaragua, and after buying work boots to protect Tim's feet when he goes with some other ACF men to help in Joplin, we are facing another expense (and just plain inconvenience). Thank goodness for Dave Ramsey's first baby step - an emergency fund. We may need to use it.

At the end of last week, we realized I'm going to need a front brake job. Which is quite a feat - as I drove about 80,000 miles before needing on (thank you Honda and thank you Dad for teaching me not to run up on things and cram on the brakes!). No big deal - I'd drive Tim's car to work one day and he'd do it for me - he's done many brake jobs.

But then, tonight, he called me as soon as he pulled in to work. First to tell me our malaria pills are in. Then to tell me (I could tell by his voice something was wrong) that his power steering blew a line or something as he pulled into the complex. Dang it.

Perhaps it is because we've been reading "Jesus Calling" ("Enjoying Peace in His Presence") but I felt a peace about all of this washing over me. God will provide for today. In Matthew, when asked by the disciples how to pray, Jesus only told us to ask our needs for today to be provided for:

Matthew 6:8 - " Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

Matthew 6:11 -  "Give us today our daily bread."

God just doesn't say "Ok, I've got your soul ... now you've just got to tough it out down there till you die or Jesus comes back. Good luck!" He cares, deeply, about my every day needs. That is assurance enough! The God of the universe cares if I have enough to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear. The basic necessities. He cares if I have a safe way to get to work. That may not mean I have a highly modded, race-ready snarling monster of a car - waxed, fully fueled, and ready to rumble. Or rally. No, but I have a car that went 80,000 miles without a brake job (or much of any job outside regular fluid changes to be honest). And it may not mean I know, right now sitting at my desk that isn't really a computer desk ... but inside of our lovely and air conditioned apartment, what the outcome will be tomorrow morning. Or when the cars get worked on. But I do know that we will be ok even if it doesn't look like what we think "ok" would look like. Our wonderful and creative God is all over it.

Matthew 6:26 to 30 - "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?"

Philippians 4:19 - "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."