Food For Thought

“Give generously, live joyfully, love abundantly.” ~ Anonymous

We were blessed with some warm days last week. The sun’s rays tapped the sleeping bulbs around the yard, causing some to spring out of bed. One daffodil even has a bud! Upon inspection, I whispered: “You are up too early and will be caught out in the cold” but it ignored my warnings and continued sunbathing.

Daffodil

Early Rosebud

My climbing roses did the same, presenting me with one lone bud in January, an early Valentines present. This week Ol’ Man Winter blew into town bearing his own gifts — frigid temperatures accompanied with snow. Although I could not save the over achieving plants in my yard, I did provide warmth and extra food for Puss E Cat (the Fairfield House squatter).

Puss E. Cat

Puss E. Cat

I also made sure all the bird feeders were full. These animals have come to depend on me to sustain life during hard times. As I watched the birds feed on seed, I thought about people.

Cardinal

Goldfinches

We all go through tough times — financially, spiritually, emotionally, physically — and the world can be cold. Have you ever nourished a starving soul? We may be at that moment, a source of survival for someone. I’m not just referring to a stranger on the street, or the unkept, apparently homeless man, but those people closest to us, the ones we tend to take for granted, the ones that know we care, that know they are loved — your spouse, children, aging parents, siblings, neighbors, co-workers.

Bird Feeder

Feeding Birds

Cardinal Feeding

We are all hungry to connect with others, to be seen and heard. People have a tendency to make grand gestures without hesitation, things that are recognized and rewarded as doing good — feeding the hungry, building habitats for humanity, walking for cures of all types. Yet, many overlook the importance of small deeds. Giving yourself — kindness, patience, understanding encouragement, attention, assistance, time and love — inspires and enables more of the same warming the heart, even on the coldest, snowing winter days.

Fingerprints On Our Hearts

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15 Responses to Food For Thought

  1. Laura Ingalls Gunn January 26, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Oh your words are like a balm to my soul dear one!

    I love the images of the cardinals. Such a beautiful bird. I never saw one in “real like” until just a few years ago. Such excitement. I jumped and whooped so much I scared the bird right off.

    I am also loving the wee bit of holly that was graced on a lovely gift. It is yet another things I have rarely seen growing up in CA and living where I do now. Such a treasure.

  2. Parsley January 26, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    This is really touching to me, Deborah. “Have you ever nourished a starving soul?”…yes and it nourishes your own in the process.

    I am deeply moved to live a life of service and love bigger each day.

  3. Zuzu January 26, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Back when we were struggling, I would stand in the grocery checkout line, embarrassed and scared, counting and recounting in my head what I was about to spend to make sure I had enough food stamps and cash. And someone in line would start a conversation with me out of the blue about nothing in particular. They didn’t know what I was going through. But their smile – their kindness – helped me get through one more day with hope.

    May I quote President Obama? “We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm.”

    Each and every day, people are suffering, wondering what to do. And you are so right, Deborah. Small deeds – holding the door for someone, smiling, waiting patiently at a stop sign for someone to cross the street, listening with care… these are the little things that can make a big difference.

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Deborah. Sending hugs your way – Zuzu

  4. ain'tforcitygals January 26, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    You certainly touch lives Deborah…mine included….and I thank you for that.

  5. kathleen January 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Your beautiful words brought tears to my eyes. You see, at one time I was a starving soul. It was during a period of time when I was watching my Father’s life pass before me, and I was one of two of his Caretakers. After he passed, I walked around with a blank look in my eyes, trying very hard to ward off shaking shoulders and tears streaming down my face in public. I went for counseling, spoke with a Minister – no reply came from my mind, body or soul. My heart was so very broken. Many times I found myself sitting in my living room rocking chair, staring at the big tree in the backyard, where we have a bird feeder. Almost everyday I would stare at the beautiful variety of birds. The roots and trunk of the tree, along with the birds were my saving grace. I associated the roots of the tree with my family roots (Mother and Father), and the birdies who came to feed were me and my siblings. I stared at the strength of that tree trunk for months and months, all the while observing nature at its finest. I thought if that tree can survive and thrive in all types of nature’s elements and what is given to it, then I can survive too. It worked, and I am well again.
    Cardinals are one of our favorite birds. During those dark dark days, there was a male cardinal, much like your beautiful photograph who would perch on a branch, and just stare towards the door, where I was sitting on the other side. He gave me strength when I needed it the most.
    I do my best to help people along life’s path. I don’t hesitate to hand someone a dollar bill, who is short on change in the checkout line. It’s what I do. And I know you are the same.
    Thank you for the bottom of my heart for your beautiful words and photos. Sometimes with blogging, we have no idea how a “post” can affect someone. You are wonderful.

  6. Anne January 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Beautiful post Deborah! Difficulties can come on so quickly and we never know when we could face them. Having said that we have had many difficult situations and always have weathered them with faith and love. I enjoy helping anyone I can with whatever we have! So I like to encourage kindness rather than hatefulness even during these troubling times in our country. Blessings to you and yours

  7. Stephenie from Decorating addiction January 26, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Deborah-

    You’ve done it again. You’ve written another piece that speaks to so many of us. As I read this, I identified with being a starving soul. I remember a cold, dark time in my life when I curled up in the fetal position and felt I couldn’t function. Imani was just a baby and my world came crumbling down – my dreams shattered. But what I also remember is Imani’s grandmother (not my mom) stopping by. I was afraid to open the door. My house was a disaster- I hadn’t taken the trash out, there were dirty dishes everywhere and I was wallowing in my own misery while my child watched TV all day. But I opened it and she came in and picked me up (literally). She wrapped her arms around me and I felt her warmth. She cried when she saw the conditions of my house. She told me I needed to pick myself up and she said we were going to clean up together and get everything in order. She made homemade macaroni and cheese and made me eat (which I hadn’t been doing consistently). She prayed. She gave me hope again. It was a turning point for me during a very difficult time in my life.

    You’re absolutely right. We reach out so much to strangers, but how are we feeding the souls of those we love? Your post reminds me that sometimes when people are going through tough times, I don’t want to ‘intrude.’ I am reminded that if Imani’s grandmother hadn’t intruded, who knows how long my depression would have continued. I will hold on to this and reach out to those who are going through tough times.

    But it also reminds me that feeding our loved ones’ souls doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Are we spending quality time with our kids? Our spouses? Are we really listening when people speak to us?

    Thanks so much for this post. I needed it!

    Best,
    Stephenie

  8. rhonda @ blue creek Home January 27, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    thank you, friend.

    Rhonda

  9. lisa moran/Bilancia Designs January 27, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Beautiful.
    Simply beautiful, Deborah.
    I can add nothing to this gorgeous, thought provoking post…except to say that you transformed my entire Sunday.
    Thank you, my dear friend.
    Warm hugs~
    Lisa xoxo

  10. lisa moran/Bilancia Designs January 27, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    P.S. Your heart is on it’s way. :)
    Not another word! ha ha
    xo

  11. Karena January 29, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Dear Deborah, Like Laura the cardinals always speak to my heart!
    Your images are so beautiful!

    xoxo
    Karena
    2013 Artists Series

  12. Sherry January 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    Thank you for this post. I will be speaking to a group of ladies tomorrow evening and these words and pictures spoke to me ,

  13. Jayme February 2, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Beautiful photos, and beautiful words from a beautiful soul. Thank you for the inspiring reminder on this snowy Saturday.

  14. Emily February 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    So many people who want to do good start with big things; which is great, but they do forget to help those around them. Thank you for this inspiring reminder! :)

  15. Lisa Palmese (me) February 19, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    Oh you get me a Starving Soul !! Thank You for this I will be sharing..
    Excellent
    Thank You
    Lisa

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