Encouragement from a Squirrel’s Nest

Saturday morning at our porch party, the wind whipped around the house, bending the frail-looking Georgia pines. My husband and I wore heavy coats and were covered in blankets. We sat rocking and drinking coffee together.

Of course I was thinking about lots of things.

Some family issues.

The small group at church we’re going to be leading soon.

Writing ideas.

And I was drawn to the strangest sight–

A clump of leaves way up high in the top of a hardwood.

I’d noticed them several weeks ago.

“Look at those leaves in the middle trees. Why are they there?”

“It’s a squirrels’ nest.”

“Isn’t that weird? It didn’t fall–even with all the wind and rain.”


“And the poor squirrels had to build it with the only things they had. Leaves and twigs.”


“I bet they didn’t worry or complain. They probably didn’t say, ‘I wish we had a nice box lined with a soft blanket instead of these dumb old leaves’.”

Rick looked at me like where do you come up with this stuff? 

I didn’t care. I had that sweet, warm feeling God was talking to me. 

Later that day, I did some research on squirrels’ nests.

They build their nests with green leaves in the summer. After packing them in tightly, the leaves die and turn brown, and their nests grow even stronger in the winter–just when they need them the most. (Here’s more info on Wikipedia.)

You wouldn’t think squirrels’ nests could possibly work.

A pile of sticks and some leaves.

But they do.

It’s exactly the way God planned it.

When He calls us to do something seemingly impossible–a job, a dream, or even to love someone–He gives us everything we need at just the right time.

And not a moment sooner. 

Have you ever experienced one-leaf-at-a-time kind of faith? Tell me about it! I’d love to hear.



All You Ever Needed to Know about Hospital Waiting Rooms

We’ve made lots of trips to the hospital recently to visit family members. We spent time in ICU waiting rooms not knowing. Praying. Everybody’s okay, or will be soon.

Mother called this morning. “Remember when somebody brought us a watermelon? It was July 1983. Right before your daddy died. The woman almost dropped it coming in the front door. We got so tickled, we doubled over laughing. It felt wonderful. I thought I’d never laugh again.”

“Yeah, I’ll never forget. I took one sweet bite and my mind left our circumstances. At least for a few minutes. I thought about childhood. Barefooted summers. Sprinklers in the backyard.”

“That was the moment I began to believe everything was going to be okay,” Mother said. “And somehow, life would go on.”

We chatted some more about how to help a family through sickness. About what matters most…

1. If you can laugh about anything, laugh. Difficult situations don’t always have to be somber and serious.

2. Bring someone a really good cup of coffee or a fountain drink with crunchy ice and a straw. Don’t ask first. Just do it. I love Starbucks Sumatra, real sugar, and half & half. 🙂 A bag of Hershey’s kisses is wonderful too, or a few pieces of fruit. Something small with lots of love.

3. My friend Robin from All Things Heart and Home suggests toothbrushes, toothpaste, pretty wash clothes and face wash for those who spent the night in the waiting room.

4. Share a happy memory–something you both remember.

5. Smile with your heart. The nurses who helped us never stopped smiling–genuine smiles from way down deep inside. The kind that lingers.

6. It’s not about what you say, but how you listen.

7. The tiniest things matter most. I promise. A four dollar watermelon brought hope.

Any other ideas?