Saturday, January 14, 2012

Singing from the Sheltering Tree

Good cheer is something more than faith in the future, it is gratitude for the past and joy in the present. ~unknown

I love cardinals.  The brilliant red flash we see as the male flies from bird feeder to tree.  Yes, hands down, it is the male cardinal that is beautiful but wait, the female is pretty amazing, too. Yes, female cardinals dress up in dull olive or brown colors, even the red on their wings is subdued.  But, unlike most northern songbirds, this female sings!

"Cheer, Cheer, Cheer" is one of the song patterns this girl Cardinal sings. Don't you think that's one of the best songs to sing -- one of cheer?  God's Word encourages us to "Be of good cheer."

As I listened to Emily sing praise songs while preparing for her classes this morning my heart was cheered. It made me think about how important music is in the life of a family.

In my childhood memories I hear "Jesus, Lover of my Soul" sung by my pastor and his wife.  I hear my sister's voice singing "Where He leads Me I Will Follow."  I hear 17-year-old RB playing "Stepping in the Light" on the organ (both hands and both feet). I hear the choir RB led and the quartet he sang with.  All through my life, music has been with me.  I hear the Sankeys sing "We'll Be There" for Sarah's dedication and their children sing "Oh Rejoice in the Lord" for her funeral.

I see our friend and pastor singing with RB and his sister, Marsha, around the bed as my mother-in-law entered Heaven. There's 9-year-old Melanie singing for Emily's dedication and at eighteen singing, "It's a Love Letter From Me to You," to Shawn -- the song Janene wrote just for them.  Emily singing for school competitions, and with RB and Melanie down through the years.  My grandchildren singing at seems like every special memory I have is crowned with music.

Music doesn't just bring cheer; it comforts, rejoices and brings us ever closer to the God who created the  stars -- the same stars that sang together (Job 38:7).  It is rising crescendo blended together with clanging cymbals and the soulful crooning of a saxophone. It's the formal oratorio, sung in Latin, and the exuberance of tiny voices singing "Jesus Loves Me."

It's the lullaby sung by Mary to the Christ Child and the coronation of "O Worship the King." It's John Newton's "Amazing Grace" and Laura Story's "The Blessing."  This cheer is a choir accompanied by an orchestra and the A Capella Sunday morning worship voices lifted in praise to God.

It's God-given, this music we are speaking of.  Oh, the allegro, cadence, falsetto -- they are man-made words, but music is anything but man-made. It's God breathed. It's angels singing to announce Christ's birth and our voices joining in musical praise when Christ comes the second time.

So the next time you see a flash of red sitting on your bird feeder or the "cheer, cheer, cheer" of the Lady Cardinal calling to her mate, spread a little cheer.  It's as simple as singing praises to God.  Not only will God find joy in the praise, but those who live with you will be blessed, too.

* * * * *

Winter blahs settle in January.  Gifting shut-ins and young mothers with a cheer project is a perfect way to shelter. Writing the teacher resource materials for Sociology doesn't leave much time for crafting.  However, I did find a few projects for you to use in spreading cheer. We often think of cardinals as a Christmas, but with a few tweaks the projects can become winter gifts.

Think cupcake:  Packaging by Lisa Storm

Children will love this treat-filled log.  Trade the sparrow for a cardinal.

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Renee said...

The cardinal is my favorite bird...both the female and the male, but I did not realize the female is the one singing such a lovely song! We have a pair that grace our backyard and that of the neighbors and we love catching a glimpse. Love the way you connected singing to the cardinal...God bless.

Sharon said...

A special dose of cheer for me this day!

Thank you.

Learning how to sing even in the midst of winter. The Lord teaches our spirits to rise above circumstances and join in the great chorus of all believers...

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.



Since we had our first snow this week, I have been listening to some old time music from Moody Church ... solos with organ etc. Reminds me of so much music from my past.

Happy listening, Pamela.


Doris said...

I see cardinals at the feeder of the elderly couple I stay with. The other day there were 7 at the feeder....a feast for the eyes, indeed!

I grew up in a singing family. We sang A capella or around the piano as my Mom or one of my sisters played. Precious memories. I still sing as I work, in the car and at church. Singing refreshes the soul =)

Sarah (Nikki) said...

These little gifts are amazing...what great ideas! And music is an incredible way to make feel good. Hope you have a great weekend.

Create With Joy said...

Beautiful post!

I hope you'll join me for Inspire Me Monday this week!


Charlotte said...

I agree whole is God breathed! I look forward to taking my place in the heavenly choir,singing praises to my God night and day... when voices (I hope) are fine tuned:) I love music and singing.

I wish we had cardinals here in CA. I saw one when I visited Texas but that was the only time I saw one in person. They are lovely birds.

Your craft ideas are great!

pinks said...

Thank you for the sweet comment over at my place tonight. I love this line, "it seems like every special memory I have is crowned with music." Beautiful post. I know little about cardinals, so the post was refreshing! :)

<3 Kendra

kingfisher said...

Thanks for stopping by my site. We know so little of what Jesus' joy in us is really like. But we do keep seeking that, don't we?

Cardinals don't inhabit this part of the country, but I love looking at pictures of them. I hope to do a painting of a cardinal. However, my heart's desire to do things is much greater than my energy to actually carry them out.

Ruth said...

It was fun to visit all the ways music has played songs in your life. One memory I have as a child, is standing next to my Aunt Loretta in church and learning to sing alto by following her voice.
Sometimes I just wonder at how the human voice can just decide to give the sound and make it be a tune or harmonize with little effort on our part. I'm glad God made this part of his creation of us!...and the cardinal.

Terri said...

The cardinals around our home are beautiful and very entertaining! We love seeing them up in the trees. Once, we had 30ish of them in one bare tree. They were all spaced out among the branches as if they were bright red ornaments decorating it! What a sight!
Your winter gift ideas are lovely. The birdies on the log so adorable!
Thank you for your lovely post about music and hope.

Rina Peru said...

Yes, Pamela, music is God's creation. When His children sing praises to Him, His presence descends. It is through singing praises that we invite His Spirit and we're blessed!

In the Book of Revelation, we read how the inhabitants of heaven sing praises night and day to the one true living God. And so, the redeemed do it also here on earth as the Lord's Prayer goes "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven".

"From the rising of the sun to its going down, the Lord's name is to be praised!"

nannykim said...

What a great post!! EVeryone love cardinals--there color itself is enough to bring cheer! Music is something that has always struck me as an amazing thing. How everyone loves music of some kind--it is another demonstration to me that there is a personal God. Mankind just has to sing!

Lisa notes... said...

Cardinals are my sister's favorite birds; they remind her of God's faithfulness in giving us good parents, both gone on to heaven now.

Music - oh, how often I thank God for that wonderful, wonderful gift!

Karen said...

I loved your post today and the crafts are awesome!

lisa said...

Thank you for sharing my cupcake =). I love cardinals, too ... I always have them clipped all over my Christmas tree! Great blog =)

Nancy said...

We have a family of cardinals which winter in the evergreens around my home. They are a striking source of cheer in the dreary winter days. Music is on my mind today as well, though my post is very different!

Leroy Coffie said...

God Bless from another follower from the inspire me monday blog hop

High Heeled Life said...

Thank you for visiting my little corner of BlogLand and your sweet comment.

The cardinal is one of my favs and I can't wait for spring when they greet the gardens with their sweet songs. xo HHL

Betty Jo said...

"Music is God breathed." I love that, and I love cardinals too. I see them often in the trees behind our home. Thank you so much for your visit and sweet comment.

Laurie Collett said...

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise God for music! I love to sing and to write songs, and I find great joy in my birthday verse, Eph. 5:19: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
Thanks for the beautiful post.

bettyl said...

Isn't it amazing how making a choice to be happy makes all the difference!? I love your birds.

Little Birdie Blessings said...

What a beautiful post Pamela, I always have a song in my heart from the Lord. Interesting how He works in the hearts of his sisters. I had just started writing my next post which will be about music. It has a HUGE place in our worship to Him.

I love cardinals as well although they are a rare sighting in our area. When I moved into our church parsonage I was greeted by a cardinal and I knew I was where God wanted me to be. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your encouraging comment. ~ Abby

Little Birdie Blessings said...

I just had to comment again here and tell you that after I wrote earlier, my husband called to me to look at a pair of male and female cardinals at the feeder. Wow! ~ Abby

A Joyful Noise said...

Music does lift our hearts, whether we hear it or sing it ourselves. God loves to hear praises sung even if it is a Joyful Noise!

Charlotte said...

I share your love of music. I've enjoyed singing in church almost as long as I can remember. I love all kinds of beautiful music. There is so much pretty music in the world that I can't understand how people could enjoy some of the modern rap and hard rock music. Maybe I'm just getting old.
I also love birds. We don't have cardinals in our area (except our football team - the Arizona Cardinals) lol

Laura said...

How I do love that splash of red in the tree! This is such a lovely reflection, Pamela. Music is one of my love languages :). You capture it's importance well here. So very lovely.

Renee said...

Love this sweet, uplifting post! So glad I stopped in from SDG. Blessings!

Anita Johnson said...

I never knew that both the male and female cardinal sang. This week, with all the snow, I bought my cardinals big sunflower seeds. Such a splash of color on a dreary snowy day. Enjoyed your post too. (o:

Shoregirl said...

Lord, Let me be a cardinal and bring God's cheer to others!