As A Bird Flaps It’s Wings

Today is a fragile one, one where the right word, the right song brings trembling hands and a tear. Alas, I am one for routine, after bird watching and trying out my new camera taking shots of fluttering wings early in the morning, I went into my Friday routine. This includes a Tai Chi class, then stopping at the grocery store for lunch meat for the fresh bagels I get at my final stop at our local bakery where they had birthday cake biscotti’s today. 


On the way to the gym for the Tai Chi class, I got some sweet texts from loving aunts, and coupled with the new album I was singing out loud, the tears came. I pulled it together for the Tai Chi class, but during the morning energy flow, the moves we did that reflected bird movements again made my eyes glassy. It just made my morning go full circle, the peaceful bird watching, the reading about Abraham and Isaac and the faithful in Hebrews, and with the praise songs from the new Rend Collective album I have been enjoying, I just felt I was being reminded there are blessings, always blessings, all around. 


Blessings in our lives are sometimes like birds. We can hear their song, but we can’t always see them. It can be frustrating, straining your eyes, looking at a tree, knowing there is a bird chirping a melodic song in there somewhere, but we just can’t see, so we stop looking. Other times, birds come flitting into view, bright and beautiful, we see it, but it flies off before we are done looking. In both cases, we almost resent the fact that we didn’t see the bird more or closer; we over look the little bit of blessing we did receive. 

The ever so hard to get clearly Orchard Oriole

Sometimes we forget, if we really want to see that rare bird, sometimes we have to sit still, be patient and wait. Even then, if we don’t have the right tools, like a lens that can zoom or binoculars, we still aren’t going to see it clearly. A bird isn’t going to just land in your lap because you want it to.


I have been especially enjoying capturing shots of dozens of types of birds this spring because I got a 75-300 mm lens this spring. Finally yesterday, I attached it to my new body I also got, but only charged for the first time yesterday. So, with my Canon EOS 80D and new zoom lens, I was capturing some really good pictures of birds. In this post, I will just be including photos I got today and last night, but with that same lens and older body, I got some okay photos of even more types of birds. 


As I mentioned before, I have really been enjoying the new Rend Collective album, so I couldn’t end this post with out including a song that really applies to today. There are so many little blessings flying and flitting around me, I can’t deny that life is beautiful and up from the ash, up fro the dust, God can recreate us and I will rejoice in the sunshine and the sorrow, and oh, my soul can rejoice. 



Revisiting Why

Making it about the “How’s” not “Why’s”

There are a lot of why’s right now in Shane and I’s life. I have been in a place where why’s can become all consuming. The biggest, most overpowering why of course being why did Scott’s life end so soon? The thing with why’s though is that to get caught up on the why can overshadow the times we did have. The little three letter word can overwhelm and block out the brightness that Scott’s life did bring to everyone. The parts where Scott was in our lives aren’t gone.

I wanted to share some previous writing I had done in regards to my son. I found this entry I did about asking how, not why. It’s curious, I don’t even remember writing it, so I really don’t remember who I am referring to when I give the quote someone gave me about people happening for a reason. Despite the mystery, the words from a previous me was comforting and I wanted to share.

I don’t often ask why when it comes to my baby not being with me. Partly because I know I will just never know in this life. Don’t get me wrong, I am utterly human,and there are days of complete frustration and I wonder why I am not holding my son. But it normally quickly subsides into saddness, and I wonder what I would be doing with him at that very moment.

Someone said to me in the middle of the time I had with my boy that she doesn’t believe in the statement that things happen for a reason, but she does believe people happen for a reason. I appriciated that statement, though there were days where I thought long and hard about it, because I struggled with the concept of it.

Maybe in the days where we ask why, why is this happening? Why did this happen to me?-maybe the best answer we can get right now is simply people happen for a reason. Whether it’s a baby that was only here two and a half days that changed your life, or it is now you, because of what you’ve been through and you have a chance to change someones life for the better.

In my last post I said how we are all beautiful. We are rifined by the fires of hardhsips in our lifes. The beautiful silver and gold could not be as beautiful with out being refined by fire. We are made who we are through time, undergoing the pressures of this life, like a diamond. A lump of something not on the beautiful side of things, made into a beautiful diamond by time and pressure. Those two visuals give me hope for myself.

Because of these trials we each go through, we have a chance to relate to different people and to help them, because people happen for a reason. This is a pretty big deal.

You often hear people say, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Well, trial seems to show what’s really in the heart, and maybe bad things happen to good people because they come out for the better and they are a living example for those who are going through tribulation.

I can say I had a living example of someone who didn’t get bitter towards God when she was going through something terrible. Before I went through what I have gone through I was amazed that she, in her circumstance, didn’t ever lash out at God and just give up on him. She hung on tighter. She gave me hope, and I thought of her when I was going through hard times.

A woman told me that God hand picks us. Just that statement may not sound comforting right off hand. But she followed with He picks us because we are strong, and we will be able to handle what we’re going through and those around us. Now she was talking more about having a baby young, not married, but over all God still hand picks us because knows what we’re capable of.

People happen for a reason. JT, my baby, happened for a reason. That reason affected my life. So why did JT leave so soon I may never know exactly, but now it is the how I have to answer. How will I let what happened to me affect me? How will I let JT, this little person with a little life, affect me? For the better I hope, and I hope I can help other people struggling with the why.

The questions still remain, how will I let what happened affect me? Affect my marriage? How will I let Scott, this person who my husband was best friends with, affect me?

Right off the bat, I know how much color Scott and Shane brought into one another life. I am so grateful for their passion, I am grateful for having gotten to see it in full living color. How will I let Scott’s life affect me, our marriage? For the better I still hope; I know I must keep encouraging that passion and color to continue. I also still hope I can help other people struggling with the why.


“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” -Henri J.M. Nouwen

A Dear Friend

At a loss of words, but what I can say about Scott

It would not be fair of me to kick off this blog with all these recipes, small adventures Shane and I go on, and stories about our lives, and not include a post about what most recently happened in our life. Shane and I are familiar with loss, he lost his mother to cancer, and I lost my infant son to something the doctors didn’t quite know how to label, so they decided on schizencephaly with a case of hydrocephalus. But last Sunday, we received a call  in the evening that we lost his dear, close friend to a wreck.


Last week I personally went through waves of disbelief, heartache, and even anger at the thought of Shane having his best friend snatched from his life. This man who always had a smile to share, the quickest wit of anyone I know, and so much hope for the future as he was making plans with us, other friends, and my dear cousin Leah.


So much could be said about this time, and yet there is still just a level of disbelief and a loss for words. What I will leave you with is what I shared at the funeral.

My name is Catherine, I’m Shane Elser’s wife. You know, when we started dating, I would often describe Scott as our third wheel. In all reality, there were many times I was the third wheel, joining them on some outing where they were doing something they were passionate about. I never minded, because it was always such a joy to witness their friendship. Looking back now, I can say not only was it a joy, but an honor to get to see such a once-in-a-lifetime type of friendship that was so rich, so genuine, and so enduring.

I am going to say a few words for Shane…

“I think that we can all agree that Scott was someone that everyone just wanted to be around. There was never a dull moment with him. He was a friend that, when I needed something, he was there, when I planned something, he was never late, and when I got into something, he was the one beside me. 

Everyone is asking me to tell a story about him or us and all the things we have done together in our lifetime, but I can’t pick one because we had so many, in fact, all of the good stories in my life have him in it, and some probably aren’t appropriate for this setting. I will share one though. I am not sure where we were at, but we were on a creek side somewhere fly fishing, which is when we were the most honest with each other; the big fish stories didn’t come out until we got home. Just him and I tying our flies on to start fishing, he stops what he is doing, looks around at the woods and the water and tells me, “The closest I feel to God is when I am in the woods or with a rod in my hands…” and then goes back to tying his fly. Well, after hearing that, I figured him and God were closer than we even were because his heart was in the woods and on the creek side. 

I think I knew Scott better than anyone, and I know if he wanted to leave a legacy, it would simply be, do what you enjoy, love what you are doing, and have a good time doing it. I will speak for him when I say, whether your fly is in the water or in the tree, just remember where you are and make it a good time, because he always did.”

There aren’t enough words to describe how deeply Scott will be missed. Everything Shane did was with you, Scott. I hardly know a story from Shane’s childhood that doesn’t begin with with “Scott and I…” We know you’d never stop living life to the fullest, so we are going to try to live on, Scott, and carry on doing those things you loved in honor of you, out in God’s nature you loved so much.

Job 12:7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

Scott was the friend that we had gone to the winter rendezvous with, and we had planned to go to many more together. When we went to his committal service, I said to Shane, “Rendezvous means meeting place right?” He said yes, so I told him that I wanted to wear my new rendezvous dress to the graveyard, as it would be the last meeting place we would be at until we meet again in heaven.

Thank goodness for the nice weather of this past weekend. We were able to get out on the lake with Shane’s brother and sister-in-law and just enjoy God’s creation like Scott would’ve. We didn’t catch anything, but the breath of fresh air, God’s air, filled our lungs and gave some peace.