Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Marble Lessons

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." ~Angela Schwindt

A few days ago, my daughter was busy building a castle.  She'd found some old candlesticks, marbles, vases, and various other odds-and-ends and was carefully joining them together.  "See what I'm making, Mommy?"  I knelt down to get a closer look.  It was amazing to see her imagination, and patience, at work.

I sat there for a moment, watching as she carefully balanced the orange, blue and white marbles atop a few old candlesticks.  Not an easy feat, but she was persistent.  Every time the marbles tumbled down I found myself wanting to take over.  I just wanted to show her the best way, the right way... my way.  I said, "Here, let Mommy show you..."  She just looked at me and said, "It's alright.  I'm not mad."  Not mad?

Suddenly I realized what she meant... I'm not mad like you.  I admit I was starting to feel slightly irritated.  I just wanted to help her succeed.  I wanted her to reach the goal... if those marbles would just stay where they were meant to stay, she'd accomplish the task.  Surely I, the adult, could manipulate those stubborn little things.

As I sat back, contemplating my strategy, guess what happened?  My daughter's patience and persistence paid off.  "Look at what I did, Mom!  Isn't it beautiful?"

Yes, it was beautiful... to see a daughter teach her mother a thing or two.  What pleased her most wasn't the end result... she demolished her creation soon after construction was complete.  No, she was pleased that she had accomplished the task in her time, her way... the best way.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.-Proverbs 3:5

Lord, help me be patient and enjoy life as I live it.  I don't know the exact plans You have for me, but I know they are plans for welfare and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  Help me loosen my grip on the reins and entrust You with my life.  You're already in control, I just have to admit it.  Thank you for always being there, even when the walls... or marbles... come tumbling down.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Mother's Love

M Is for the Many things she gave me,
O Means only that she’s growing Old.
T Is for the Tears she shed to save me,
H Is for her Heart of purest gold.
E Is for her Eyes with love light shining,

R Means Right and Right she’ll always be.

Put them all together, They spell MOTHER.
A word that means the world to me. 

The first time I heard my mother sing those words was several years ago, when I was a child.  It was just me and her, mother and daughter, swinging back and forth on our old porch swing.  She told me about her mother singing this song for her, when she was a little girl.  I could tell it was special, although I'm not sure I was even old enough to spell the word 'mother'.

Just because you can't spell a word doesn't mean you can't understand it.  Probably from the time 'Mama' formed on your lips, you knew who 'she' was, and what she meant to you.  I didn't understand many of the words to this old song.  What made an impression was more in the way she sang the words.  I could tell it was special because of the way her eyes smiled when she glanced at me.  I would listen, then request, "Again, Mommy!"  

Only one line concerned me... "O means you're getting old?  Are you old, Mommy?"  She laughed, and while still swinging, explained that we're all getting older.  She said something like, "Someday you'll be a mommy too, you know..."

That seems so far away now, and yet I can still remember the sound of her voice and the creak of the swing.  I can still picture looking up at her, feeling in my heart just how much I loved my mommy.

The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.
~William Goldsmith Brown

Now that I'm older, and a mommy myself, I appreciate the words of that old song so much more.  I live to be an example of love to my children... as my mother was and is to me.  God, help me hear their little voices, care for their needs ~ no matter how big or small ~ and love them as you love me.  Unconditionally.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8

As I sing this song to my son and daughter, help me convey the overwhelming love I have for them in my heart.  They'll understand the words someday... when we're all a little older.

MOTHER~ A word that means the world to me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fabric Scraps and Button Jars

 I love both of my grandmothers.  One has passed on, and one is still going strong.  At times they seemed very different, but they did share at least a few common threads... 
and sewing was one of them.

As the mother of seven children apiece, money was stretched as far as possible I'd imagine.  Back then it was common for children to wear outfits their mothers had sewn themselves.    Clothes were handed down child to child, worn until there was just no more use left in them.  Scraps of fabric left over after the pattern was cut out were saved for another day.  Buttons were taken off tired garments and placed in jars...


My Grandma Ross is very well known for crafts she's made through the years.  She's an artist, a seamstress, a natural in the garden, and a savvy business-woman.  She's tough, and I didn't always know what to think of it, but I respect and admire her for it now.  

One thing I remember from my childhood, is that every time we went to visit I was allowed down in the basement, where she did all of her sewing.  There was a room where she'd lead me and say, "Here you go, have fun."  She'd hand me huge bags (well, they were huge to a kid anyway) of fabric scraps, and I'd pull them out; stringing them all over the floor.  I can still remember admiring all the colors and patterns... they were just so beautiful, even if they were little pieces.  She'd say, "Take all you want, they're yours!"  I'd gather my favorites in to a plastic bag as if I were hoarding jewels...


My Grandma Leasure was a quiet woman.  She was a seamstress mostly out of necessity, but a pretty good one at any rate.  One Christmas my mother asked for a Barbie.  Specifically a real Barbie, not a knock-off.  Christmas morning came... without the Barbie my mother had so longed for.  Instead, my grandma had handmade outfit after outfit for the 'other' doll to make up for it.  Mom knew why she didn't get the Barbie.  When six other children needed gifts, not everyone could get what they wanted.  The disappointment was softened by her mother's extra time and effort put in to the outfits...  

I've always loved Mom retelling that story.

After Grandma passed away, we came across her sewing notions.  Alongside the tomato pincushion, bobbins, and needles, was a jar full of buttons.  Some very old, others new.  Mom thought she recognized a few buttons from a coat she wore as a child.  Some came from my Grandpa's work shirts, or the boy's dress clothes.  Each was a shiny treasure with a story to tell...  


Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.  ~Confucius

Treasures aren't always tangible, like my grandmothers' shiny buttons or pretty scraps of fabric.  They can be more than that.  Your memories are the real treasures.  Today, make the most of what you already have.  Focus on what matters most... the here and now... and spend it with those who really matter. 

Tomorrow's cherished memories might just be in the making ~ today.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Country Style

To each his own.  My own is simply country.  I love decorating with worn, weathered, neglected things.  It's wonderful to wash away years of dirt and grime to reveal something beautiful... to give something a second chance.

Of course, not everything I decorate with was covered in dirt.  Although, as I'm sitting here thinking of what wasn't I'm finding myself mostly at a loss for words... besides the appliances, couch, mattresses... yeah, I've done a lot of cleaning!

My headboard (pictured above) was once an old white farmyard gate.  I discovered it covered in dirt and cobwebs from years of sitting in our barn.  My garden planters are old galvanized buckets, also from the barn.  There's a huge section of architectural gingerbread from a 100 year old porch hanging on my living room wall.  Canning jars hold flower arrangements.  There are so many ways to make a home unique with a simple country twist.

Here are some of my favorite, budget friendly ideas that anyone can do.  Why not try bringing a little 'country' home today?  At least take a fresh look at what you have around the house, or out in the garage.  You might be surprised what you can do with what you already have!  I list the main 'ingredient' below, and then what to do with it further down.  Have fun!  


  1. Baskets. 
  2. Canning jars, clear and blue with or without zinc lids.
  3. Galvanized pails or metal buckets.
  4. An old dresser.
  5. Large white cloth napkins.
  6. Vintage handkerchiefs.
  7. Old wooden chairs, any style.
  8. Muffin tins.
  9. Terra cotta pots.
  10. Metal coffee cans.
  11. Pieces of wood.
  12. Quilted pillowcase shams.
  13. Old, extra or broken metal rake.
  14. Old greeting cards, brown grocery bags, wrapping paper.
  15. Vintage suitcase.


     So here are some of my suggestions, but feel free to let your own imagination run wild!
    1. Baskets-  People were using them at least as far back as 7000 BC, and for good reason.  They still are probably one of the most versatile items in your home.  Use them outside for planters, in the pantry to organize kitchen staples, under the sink to gather cleaning supplies, or on the kitchen table filled with dried flowers.  Make your own gift basket filled with goodies to give away.  I stock up at the local thrift store for decent quality and cheap prices.
    2. Canning jars-  Originally used for preserving nature's bounty, these glass jars are useful, cheap, and easy to find.  Store dry goods, such as pasta, in them (with zinc lid) and display on your kitchen counter.  Group an odd number on a shelf and place votive candles inside.  For a beachy look, place sand and shells around the votive holder. Wonderful for casual floral arrangements.  Tie a pretty ribbon around the top for an added touch.  They come in several sizes, earlier jars have glass lids, and blue jars usually cost a little more.
    3. Metal buckets-  The buckets I have started out in the barn and have some dents, something I prefer to call 'character.'  The kids like use them to hoist toys up to their playhouse.  I also like to place a canning jar or two inside to make larger flower arrangements.  Others have drainage holes (I use a hammer and nail) for container planting.  Just place gravel in the bottom, fill with moist potting mix, and fill with plants.
    4. Old dresser-  Dressers aren't only for the bedroom.  I keep one in my living room that is a lower version, with 3 long drawers.  It holds my magazines and books, and some art supplies.  I could use it in the kitchen to store extra kitchen supplies, linens, special occasion dishes, etc.  If you had the space in a bathroom (I don't!) it could be used to hold towels and other supplies.  When choosing one, look past the surface and make sure it's a sturdy piece that will fit in your space.  Sand, prime, and repaint or strip and stain.
    5. Large white cloth napkins-  There are other colors of napkins to choose from, but I like white because they're cheapest, easiest to replace, and versatile.  Use them between two large curtains as a quick 'valance' draped over the curtain rod, so that they form triangles.  Overlap as needed to cover the entire rod.
    6. Vintage handkerchiefs-  Using the same technique as with the napkins, lay the dainty hankies over a curtain rod, or over a simple lace curtain.  Beautiful feminine effect for a girl's room.  Stitch together for a simple table runner.  Frame with an old picture in front.  Place one under a vase of flowers (use one that you don't mind possibly staining).  
    7. Old wooden chairs-  Look for a chair with a removable seat, or one with a cane seat that is torn, and remove.  Paint the chair if desired.  Find a container that will fit firmly in the hole, or buy chicken wire and staple around the hole and line with moss or coconut liner.  Fill with moistened potting soil and plants.  Make sure you decide if the chair will be in the sun or shade, and choose plants accordingly.
    8. Muffin tins-  Fill with votives in glass holders for an easy centerpiece.  Paint if desired by first priming with spray paint then applying acrylic paint.  I recommend getting old muffin tins from a thrift store, new non-stick coated pans won't work w/paint.  Use in a drawer to organize jewelry or small craft supplies.
    9. Terra cotta pots-  Something that comes in so many sizes for so cheap... yeah, I can work with that!  The inside and outside of the pot can be painted with acrylics and sprayed with sealant.  You could use it for planting, or place a candle inside.  Group several together at different heights w/candles for an outdoor party.
    10. Metal coffee cans-  I made luminaries out of these last year with a hammer and nail, and then with a drill after my husband found out what I was up to.  I suggest starting out making holes in 2 or 3 straight lines inside the grooves.  You'll figure out more pattern ideas as you go.  To paint you can either spray paint, or use my gritty version to give a nice smell and texture: after a base coat of spray or acrylic paint is applied, but still wet: sprinkle cinnamon on the paint.  Let dry completely, then paint your final coat.  Spray with an acrylic sealant.  Use a candle in a glass container to complete the project.
    11. Pieces of wood-  Make your own signs.  Find a piece of scrap wood or buy a board from somewhere like Lowe's.  Have it cut to the size you want if necessary.  Sand the edges and paint with an acrylic paint as a base coat.  Let dry.  Stencil or free-hand your saying.  I like to paint a line in the color of the words around the edge, and then sand away some paint for a worn look.  Spray with an acrylic sealer, especially if the sign could be outside. 
    12. Quilted pillowcase shams-  Use these 'mini-quilts' under a centerpiece on your kitchen table, or under a side-table display.  These can be found for a dollar or two for a pretty pair at thrift stores.  Even if they don't match your bedroom scheme, they might look nice somewhere else in your home. 
    13. Old, extra, or broken metal rake-  Make an original place to hang items in your garden shed or garage.  Take the metal end of the rake apart from the wooden handle.  Turn the prongs so they're facing up, so you can hang things from them.  Figure out where you want it... place it where no one will run in to it.  It's nice to have an extra set of hands when putting it up.  Use nails or screws to fasten securely.
    14. Old greeting cards, brown grocery bags, wrapping paper-  Make your own gift tags from things around the house.  Cut out with plain or patterned scissors and use a hole punch to string a ribbon through.  Could also make bookmarks from the greeting cards.  Around Christmas, use the grocery bags to make paper chains to go with a natural decorating scheme.  Use wrapping paper as an inexpensive material for scrapbooking.
    15. Vintage suitcase-  Set the stage for seasonal vignettes.  Look for a large suitcase with a lid that stays open at a 90` angle.  Use old books to boost your display items to different heights.  Bring in an electric candle or string of Christmas lights to highlight special features.  Remember everything looks better in odd number groupings.    

    "To think creatively, we must be able
    to look afresh 
    at what we normally
    take for-granted. "

    ~ George Kneller ~

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    A Lasting Legacy

    My Grandma Leasure, as a child growing up on the Hildebrandt farm outside Logan, Ohio in the 1930's.
    I love this picture.  Little Helen looks so happy with all those kittens in her arms.  My grandma, Helen Louise, was born to Alvin and Clara Mae Culbertson on August 24th of 1928.  She was the youngest of her siblings.  When she was about 9 months old, her mother, Clara Mae, died tragically as the result of a fire.  Her older sisters filled in as a mother figure, even after her father re-married.  I can only imagine how she might have felt, never really knowing her mother.  One thing I can say is... that loss never made her bitter.  In fact, she was one of the most loving people I've ever known. 

    Helen grew to be a beautiful, shy young woman.  She met a handsome man, Clarence Donald Leasure, who was 12 years her senior.  Once she told my mom she fell for his "dark hair and nice blue eyes."  They were married, and the following year had their first of seven children.

    Two days after she turned 30, she had her sixth child and second daughter, Sherry Jean.  My mother.  By the time she was born, the Leasures were already settled in a home on Oak Street in Bremen, Ohio.  Helen was a homemaker while her husband worked for Stuart Burial Vaults.  His job required long hours and often he came home bone-tired.  She always looked after him and was there for her children as well.  I don't know how she did it.  I find it's hard taking care of my husband and 2 children, let alone 5 more...    

    Dad, Mom, Bobby, Ricky, (twins) Larry and Gary, and Sherry in the 1960's.

    Grandma loved being in the kitchen.  In the summer she'd send her children off to pick berries for pie before they could go swimming.  She'd bake several pies at once, and they'd disappear in no time.  When making pancakes, she'd stand endlessly mixing, pouring and flipping.  She never ate until everyone else was full.  That could take awhile considering all the stomachs she was filling.  Even when supplies for baking were scarce, she'd make a simple pie with a filling of milk, flour, and sugar.  Few of her recipes came from cookbooks, and she didn't use timers.  She cooked and baked with her intuition.

    Me and Grandma
    I remember Grandma Leasure as a kind, loving, selfless woman.  She would do anything to take care of you.  She always kept a fresh supply of homemade chocolate-chip cookies stashed on top of the washing machine (I never questioned why).  She'd offer us one or two after coming in to the kitchen.  Come to think of it, most visits centered around that room.  When we left her house, I always gave her the biggest, tightest squeeze I could manage.  It was a child's simple expression of love towards her, and I always knew she understood.


    That's how I choose to remember her.  When at the end, she could not remember me, or anyone, I chose to remember the woman she was.

    Grandma's favorite hymn was "The Old Rugged Cross."  My mom would sing it to her in the final days as it was one of few things that brought her comfort.  The final verse:

    To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
    It's shame and reproach gladly bear;
    Then He'll call me some day to my home far away,
    Where His glory forever I'll share...

    There is so much more to my Grandma, Helen Leasure's story.  She wasn't famous, or wealthy in the sense of money.  Few knew her.  Those who knew her though... they were truly blessed.  I hope someday to leave behind a legacy of love that lasts for generations, just as she's already done.  Whenever I hear or sing "The Old Rugged Cross" I think of her.  I know why this song comforted her, as it now comforts me.  I know in heaven someday, His glory forever we'll share.  The only difference between us is... she's already wearing her crown. 

    So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
    'Til my trophies at last I lay down;
    I will cling to the old rugged cross,
    And exchange it someday for a crown.                   

    Love you Grandma...

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Great Un-expectations

    It was the end of my shift at the hospital.  I wasn't on my usual floor, and so was unfamiliar with most of the staff.  As I finished some charting, I happened to overhear a nursing assistant talking with another RN.  She was enthusiastically talking about her recent experiences in nursing school.

    I had to chuckle when I heard her say, "My instructor says it's best to see all of your patients within the first 10 minutes of getting report on them.  You introduce yourself and see what their top 2 concerns are.  Then you tell them you'll be back later to do a head-to-toe assessment.  That's how I'll do it someday as a nurse."  I remembered an instructor giving me practically the same advice 5 years ago.

    The other RN patiently listened to this, and with a smile said, "Yes, that would be a good plan for a perfect shift.  Unfortunately, you don't run in to those too often.  You've got to plan for the unexpected and be able to improvise.  Take the shift I came in to one day.  I had a patient just being admitted, another being discharged, and a few minutes in to my shift, another one coded.  Those are the days you just do the best you can."  The nursing assistant-future nurse considered this, and said, "Well I guess I'll learn along the way."   

    I'm glad I 'happened' to overhear that conversation; it really got me thinking.  How many times: at our job, as a wife or mother... do we plan for perfection, but are unprepared to handle the unexpected?  Life is anything but perfect.  Life is anything but what we expect.

    More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope... -Romans 5:3-4 

    Lord, You know what I need.  You know what I can handle, and what will help me grow.  It may not be what I want, or think I need.  It may be uncomfortable.  All I ask, is for Your light to follow through the darkness.  Guide me on the right path, so I can do the best I can.  Help me learn from You along my way.

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Home Sweet Home

    Making a house a home should be much like preparing and enjoying a wonderful slow-cooked meal.  Love goes in to preparing that meal for your loved ones, and so love should go in to preparing a home for them as well.  Season your home to reflect your unique tastes.  A home, and the ones in it, should develop over time; their flavors mingling to yield a rewarding combined result.  Remember it's going to be awhile until it's done, so be patient... and enjoy it while it's bubbling to perfection.  Just don't rush a good thing.

    "Home, the spot of earth supremely blest,
    A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest."
    ~Robert Montgomery

    So, how do we make our home a dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest?  By focusing on loving one another, and doing everything in love.  Nothing is insignificant.  Sometimes I've wondered, what difference did I make today?  I stayed home, took care of the kids, and got the usual housework done.  What was so great about that?  Well, I helped to make a house a home by singing and dancing in the kitchen with my kids, reading them a favorite book before nap time, getting the dishes done and putting supper on the table.  Love is shown in our daily interactions with one another.

    Let all you do be done in love. -1 Corinthians 16:14

    Let your home be a unique reflection of you and your family.  Don't worry what others might think.  It is your home, and if something strikes your fancy, go with it.  I often thumb through magazines for inspiration in decorating my home.  At some point I usually find myself thinking: what were they thinking?  The point is, who cares?  It's their home, and if we all were the same, imagine how mundane life would be.  So, just surround yourself with what makes you happy.  

    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness.  Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."  ~H. Jackson Browne

    Nurture your family relationships by spending time together.  When you spend time together, you grow together.  This can be as simple as taking a walk down the road and back, or sharing a cup of coffee with your spouse before work.  It doesn't take much, except action.  The result is a close-knit family, where everyone knows they are loved, no matter what.

    "The smallest deed is better than the best of intentions." ~unknown

    Patience... it all takes time.  It's fun to watch the kids when I'm baking cookies, and they're almost done.  The kids just can't wait for that first taste.  They have their noses to the glass, and when the buzzer sounds, they jump up with a, "They're done Mom!  Can we have one now?"  I respond with a "Not yet, you'll burn your mouth!"  Some things just take time.  Like a batch of cookies, or that delicious home-cooked meal bubbling in the oven...  Making a house a home takes time.  So take it slow... and don't rush your good thing.


    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    These Are A Few Of My Favorite... Seeds

    The first year I started gardening on my own, I went against my dad's advice and bought all kinds of seeds.  It's easy to get drawn in by the beautiful pictures on the front of the packets.  Standing in front of the huge display, visions of beautiful flowers danced through my head.  

    Needless to say, when few actually came up, I was pretty upset.  Dad never said, "I told you so."  Instead, he said all new gardeners go through an 'unrealistic phase' in their gardening.  

    So, after doing some research, I realized you can't take all seeds and expect them to grow directly in the garden.  Some require very specific conditions to start growing.  Fortunately, not all seeds are this way.  You may be asking, "Why mess with seeds in the first place?"  It's more cost effective... cheaper.  If you can get a dozen plants to grow from a .99 cent package vs. a flat of plants for $10... well, you see.  So here are a few tried and true, easy to grow, money saving seeds that you won't regret buying for your flower garden this year.

    1. Bachelor button
    2. Zinnia
    3. Cosmos
    4. Morning glory
    5. Sunflowers
    6. Sweet alyssum
    7. Sweet william
    8. Marigold
    9. Nasturtium
    10. Hollyhock  

    A few notes on flowers listed above:
    1. Bachelor button- does best in full sun, in a location somewhat sheltered from wind, as they flatten easily.  They were discovered in King Tut's tomb, woven in to a wreath (from 1340 B.C.) so, yeah, they do pretty well in dried flower arrangements...
    2.  Zinnia- does best in full sun.  Keep the leaves dry when watering if possible.  Great in flower arrangements.  Deer resistant.
    3. Cosmos- thrives in full sun and poor soil.  Don't fertilize and you'll have more flowers.  Doesn't need much water or attention. 
    4. Morning glory- vigorous climbing vine that does best in full sun.  I grow this as a 'screen' for the side of my porch.  Soak the seeds in warm water overnight prior to planting.  Requires some maintenance of the spreading vines.  If you don't mind spending a few minutes each day guiding the vines, the flowers are worth the effort.  Blue ones are my personal favorite.
    5. Sunflowers- just about everyone has grown a sunflower or two in their life.  Plant in full sun, and space according to packet directions.
    6. Sweet alyssum- does best in part to full sun, in poor soil.  Low growing flower in white, pink, or purple that makes a sweet-smelling border for a flowerbed.  Re-seeds itself for flowers the next year.
    7. Sweet william- does best in part to full sun.  Fragrant.  Another re-seeder.  Many interesting theories of where the name originated.  In England the flower was known as 'Sweet William,' while in Scotland it was 'Stinking Willie' or 'Sour Billy.'
    8. Marigold- does best in full sun.  Grew these in my garden last year. They looked great from Summer through Fall.  The yellow ones look like dandelions to me, so I just stick with the orange and rusty reds.  As the flowers dry up you can take the seeds and spread those for even more plants.
    9. Nasturtium- does best in full sun, in poor soil.  No need to fertilize.  The flowers and leaves are edible; my kids loved eating them.  They're very pretty in salad and taste 'peppery.'  May be bought as a plant, but does better when started from seed right in your garden.
    10. Hollyhock- does best in full sun.  Bought a few plants at a greenhouse for $8 each.  They did alright, but the hollyhocks I got from seed were huge and did just as well or better for a lot less money.  Hollyhocks grow very tall, and are useful as a backdrop in a flowerbed.

    "One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides."  ~W.E. Johns

      Friday, April 1, 2011

      April Showers

      Today is the first day of April.  We all know the saying about April and what it brings... May flowers of course.  This wise old saying helps sustain us through the rainy, sometimes gloomy days of Spring.  The promise of a reward worth waiting for.

      Now, I'm not saying we wish all the rainy days away.  Rainy days serve many a purpose.  They cleanse the air we breathe.  They help transform the landscape from brown to green.  Have you ever noticed little songbirds during a rain shower?  They love it.  Look for them hopping in puddles, cleaning their feathers, and searching for worms.  Listen to their beautiful songs.  They rejoice even in the storm.   

      We could learn a few lessons from the birds.  Rejoice even through the storm.  Don't worry or be afraid; this storm will pass, just as the last one, and the ones before.  Make the most of rainy days... 

      When do we grow?  During times of comfort, or through stormy trials?  Even as April's showers bring May flowers, life's trials bring out a wiser, stronger, more beautiful person in each of us.

      Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4

      As we patiently await the glorious promise of May flowers, may we also see the opportunity for growth that our rainy days bring.  Our promise of a reward truly worth waiting for.