W is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartW is for
“What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18,19

A Hymn to Impart“Sunshine in My Soul”

How Our Week Was Spent
If you see a bee working with flowers, it’s probably a drone. It has been told by a scout bee about the flowers and has been sent to collect pollen. The scout bee does a special dance that tells the drone where the flower is (Titus, 10).

The Drones on their treasure hunt.
The Drones on their treasure hunt.

Our Mom hid treasures outside and we took turns being scout bees and doing circular or waggle dances and everyone else had to figure out where to go to find the treasures (Nate, almost 7!).
Mad Hungry Worker Bees digging into their Creamed Honey
Mad Hungry Worker Bees digging into their Creamed Honey

Also our Opa sent us a movie about Starling dances. A flock of a quarter-million birds will do a dance called murmurations all together (Joel, 8 1/2).

Teacher’s Two-Cents
And what is our little kingdom like? To what shall I compare it? It is like a little castle set in a fishbowl. Just like a city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither can a family with 5 active little boys, especially in a third floor corner condo with floor-to-ceiling walls of glass. Yes, we are a small kingdom in a fishbowl. While the condo succeeds in it’s design to take maximum advantage of the beautiful views of the mountains, golf course, lush gardens and even a bit of ocean, it also succeeds in giving everyone else a view IN. Plus, living in a tropical climate where everything is kept wide open to let those coveted trade winds cool things down means that everyone can HEAR what’s going on in our little kingdom as well. And in a neighborhood made up almost exclusively of snowbirds and vacationers our big, boisterous family is certainly an anomaly. There are a few other families with one or two kids each but of course, those kids are in school all day. Except for weeks like this last one when they were all on spring break, only their mommies and daddies still had to work, so our little castle was full to the brim! A couple even did school with us! Curious neighbors really got an eye-full then! “What’s she doing now? Starting a day-care or something?” Thankfully, we have some of the best and dearest and most accommodating neighbors in the world who would rather spoil our boys rotten than ever complain about the extra noise. It took me a while to realize that fact. When we first moved here I was going overboard trying to keep everyone as quiet and unassuming as possible but gradually it dawned on me that these children are a gift to so many of these lonely, older people around us. They are a bright light in a dimming world of age. I was working so hard at keeping that light under a basket, when God wanted it out on it’s stand! Why else would he have put us up here in this fishbowl but to give light to everyone else in the complex? “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

What the neighbors might see on any given day on our lanai.  Just lettin' our little lights shine!
What the neighbors might see on any given day on our lanai. Just lettin’ our little lights shine!


13 thoughts on “W is for…

  1. Beautiful! What a blessing for the old, infirm, may in some cases live alone to see these little lights shine for Jesus! And thanks to Opa, now I know what it is that flocks of birds in their sweeping synchronized flying overhead is called!   What a beautiful order they do have, and I am wondering if schools of fish swimming in unison can be called murmuration also. Blessings, Mrs Barbara Howell

    1. That’s a great question! But after looking it up I found out that fish are simply “schooling” and the murmurations refer to the sound of the birds in the air. There is such a similarity in the movements of the flocks of starlings to the schools of little silver fish we see here in the bay. Mahalo Mrs. Howell!

  2. Wonderful Julie ~ I miss the ‘murmur’s of your wonderful nest and can’t wait to share times together soon! The boys actually have learned to maneuver on the lanai like ‘little-hockey-stars’ . . . however there have been collisions. Hugs to all!!!!

  3. Two-Cents worth from Opa:

    Flocking starlings are one of nature’s most extraordinary sights. What makes possible the uncanny coordination of these murmurations scientists are at loss to say. They’ve even resorted to high powered video analysis, computational modeling and cutting-edge physics to find an answer. But that’s not all. The Common Starling’s gift for mimicry has long been recognized. These birds have been taught to speak whole sentences in Latin and Greek. In his play “Henry IV” William Shakespeare had a starling that was taught to mimic another character’s voice. Mozart had a pet Common Starling which could sing part of his Piano Concerto in G Major. He had bought it from a pet shop after hearing it sing a phrase from a work he wrote six weeks previously, which had not yet been performed in public. He became very attached to the bird and arranged an elaborate funeral for it when it died three years later. Other people who have owned Common Starlings report how adept they are at picking up phrases and expressions. The words have no meaning for the Starling, so they often mix them up or use them at inappropriate occasions in their songs. Their ability at mimicry is so great that strangers have looked around in vain for the person they think they have just heard speak.

  4. Living on a corner, though not in a “glass house,” I remember that same feeling of being on view for the neighborhood when our children were young. And I, too, soon discovered that watching them at play in the front yard was the highlight of the day for our elderly neighbors. Now that mine are all teenagers, it is comforting to know that there are still interested eyes watching our house when I am away. 🙂

  5. Julie, this past week your mother and I visited the little nook in Pinnacles National Park that your sister and three brothers lived in during the ‘60‘s and ‘70‘s. It is a quaint stone castle (less then 1,000 sq. ft.) that was built during the depression by CCC laborers. Carved in a hillside beneath towering digger pines and jagged volcanic breccia cliffs, it served as our “nest” for nine years. We were 30 miles from the nearest town and 12 miles from the one-room school your siblings attended. But talk about “a small kingdom in a fish bowl.” Our front porch looked down on a combination campground-picnic area and trailhead parking lot that swarmed with campers, picnickers and hikers — primarily on weekends, fortunately. But the boys prospered by interacting with the visitors. They sat on the rock wall selling lemonade and rock specimens and offering to guide people without flashlights through the caves for a fee. Jon was the only student in his class when he graduated from the 8th grade, but over 125 people, ranchers mainly, from the San Benito Valley attended the ceremony.


  6. I remember driving through a soulless sub-division and at the end of the culdesac there was a beautiful house with shutters. But unlike the other houses, it looked lived in and loved. There was a wreath on the door, heaps of bicycles and tricycles in the drive, and a Playskool slide tipped over in the yard. Even without anyone being there I could still imagine the 5 kids pouring over everything and it seemed so inviting. I think sometimes we forget the impact a life of light leaves on the world around us. I happen to live on display too, on one of the busier streets in town. But I can’t help but appreciate the opportunity I have to be loud with this life I’ve been given. So I think you have the right idea. And from what I can see, I get the distinct impression my boys should come visit. 😉

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