Pretending smiles

Kids discovered a little patch of wonder on top of a dingy storm drain during an afternoon walk. This stopped us in our tracks as we long marveled at this micro world. It looked nothing like its surrounding hard and tough exterior. Beauty is found if we look deeper and closer.

This sight was what I needed that day; it’s been one of those weeks where unexplainable sadness swept over me again and I dreaded its effects: crying randomly, withdrawing, insomnia, oversleeping, feeling unworthy; the list goes on but I’ll stop there.

UNDERFACE
“Underneath my outside face
There's a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me.”
- Shel Silverstein

It was an ironic turn of events, because I was half-done writing a positive post about how glad I felt my depression was finally lifting. I’ve been more proactive taking care of my mental health by meeting with a psychiatrist that began 6 months ago. It’s a tumultuous emotional and mental process that is hard to describe. It doesn’t look like anything is wrong from the outside, but inside it’s a tangled mess of questioning, accusing, and belittling myself. This kind of stuff is not something you bring up lightly during dinner or mention it in passing without getting raised eyebrows.

I’d rather hide it under a smile and not get into it. But this pretending takes a lot out of me. It’s at these times that I need to turn to God for help, but I do the exact opposite. I turn away deliberately filling my life with distractions. I refused to read or even get close to opening the Bible during this time. Sometimes the misery is familiar and getting better is frightening. You want to share to get some support, but it’s hard to be vulnerable and to feel like you are burdening the other person with your problems.

Anyways, that’s how I’ve been feeling these days. I felt better after reading God’s word, which I have been avoiding, and reminding myself firmly that God has a purpose for me. He encourages me when I least expect it and reaffirms that depression does not disqualify me from love. What a journey! When I feel sad, I don’t know why I have to explain that I’m not faking the funk. It’s a vicious cycle of ups and downs.

Isaiah 40:31
"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
How did this grow there?
Lush and vibrant

This blog is a snippet of my life journey and this messy bit is a part of it.

Readers, I appreciate you being here and reading my posts! I feel extremely blessed for this blogging community and for family and friends. God encourages me through them and I hope to do the same for them.

Feeding the busy builder birds, at least trying to

Few years ago, one of our windows was thoroughly streaked with bird poop: only that window. Turns out it was a bird who converted the overhang into its own cozy condo. I called a local office (can’t recall the specific place) to have someone remove the nest, but I was advised to leave it undisturbed till the nest was abandoned. Dismantling the nest was illegal.

It stayed and they continued to leave daily presents for us on, under, and around the window.

So it wasn’t a surprise when recently we noticed berserk activity from a group of random birds; zipping from tree to tree. They weren’t a flock: it was just arbitrary flying around of different sized birds. When they were camouflaged inside the tree branches, we could hear little “beep” sounds, similar to a home smoke alarm that is low on battery. They’re probably building nests for spring hatching. Hopefully the nests will be built only in trees and not in the previous condo space above our window.

Hypothesis: birds are building nests for the winter; they will lay eggs soon

When we discovered small v-shaped nests in several trees, we wanted to feed them, especially during this busy building season. A quick search about healthful foods for birds explained that bananas are beneficial to birds’ healths. Perfect for using up bananas that are starting to brown.

I chopped up 2 bananas into pieces and strung it through the middle (I cored it with a small straw) with twine. Ellis crushed up nuts using a mortar and pestle, which she sprinkled over the banana. 

Strung pieces of banana through twine to hang on the tree branches
Lots of birds flying around this particular tree. We were certain the birds or squirrels would eat this nuts-banana treat, but when we checked the next day, it was untouched. We removed this treat after 2 days and put it out for the neighborhood squirrels.
A potential spot to leave our treat. When we saw the nest, we agreed to hang it on this tree. You can see the nest higher above the blue circle. The banana treat is circled in blue. I overestimated my height and underestimated the tree’s height.
Day 2 of checking on this banana treat. It was half-eaten.
Day 3. Safe to say the bird/s loved our treat. All eaten.

We enjoyed the process since we could follow up and see whether a bird had eaten the treat. It wasn’t easy going unnoticed by the birds with all the crunchy leaves littered on the ground. Although it would’ve been delightful to see the birds eating while we looked, it wasn’t going to happen with 3 pairs of eager eyes staring at them.

Conclusion: one treat by a nest was consumed. The others were pulled off the tree branches and given to squirrels. At least the leftover was consumed by a happy squirrel. Yay, we all win!

This picture was posted yesterday for “Silent Sunday” before I realized I would write a post about it.  That’s the context of this picture; kids perched on the rails calling birds, squirrels, any critter would do, to come and eat the banana treats.