Monday, February 13, 2012

My Snowy Owl Story

Psalm 139:1
O LORD, you have searched me and known me.

The story of this owl begins with a little girl
sitting at a table with her grandmother drinking apple cider
and eating a bowl of crackers.
This grandma taught her to delight
in the beauty and uniqueness of each bird.
To become fascinated and have wonder
with what is right outside your window.
Precious shared time.

The names were important.
To know their names,
was to identify them as a masterpiece.

Sweet, sweet times of togetherness.
That are a memory today.
I went to school thinking
everyone knew the names of the birds.
I did not realize that it was a
special thing
that my grandma had shared with me.
But it was indeed special.

In 2009,
I was going through a transition
and my heart wandered back
to memories of Grandma & the birds.
I said a little prayer, something like this:
LORD, I'd love to see some of those favorites
that Grandma would have celebrated with me...
a lazuli bunting, a rosebreasted grosbeak, and a Baltimore oriole.

On May 16, 2009,
I called my mom and asked if she had
Grandma's photos--
the ones Grandma had taken of the birds
in her yard.
As I was talking to her on the phone,
a rose-breasted grosbeak appeared
in the cottonwood tree in my yard.
I was so excited I grabbed my camera,
stood on the dining room chair,
while my mom said, with a laugh, to just call her back,
and my son told me, "Mom, you are so funny."
I was so thrilled!
I went for a walk on cloud-nine.
As I returned, there was a Baltimore oriole,
bright like orange-sherbert & shiny black,
on my mother-in-law's birdfeeder.
AWESOME!  Two birds, same day!
That afternoon on my birdfeeder in my yard:
a lazuli bunting: blue, orange & white.

One prayer.  Three birds.  Same day.
It had been 10 years since I had seen a lazuli bunting and an oriole.
I had not seen a rose-breasted grosbeak since I was about seven years old.

Delight yourself in the LORD,
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

A few weeks ago, Jim and I were with a group of neighbors,
some had never heard my bird story.
We were talking about the playfulness of Jesus,
Check it out here:
I am sitting there and in my mind, I hear these words:
Tell them about the birds.
"Really?" I think.  My heart starts to pound.
I think to myself, "They are going to think I am such a nerd."
My heart is pounding, my ears are on fire, bright red, I'm sure,
and my face feels flushed.
And again, I hear:
Come on, just tell them about the birds. Tell them.
So I did.

Prior to this evening of sharing my bird story,
I had posted on my facebook page, that I would love to get some photos
of a snowy owl. 
We live at a little dot on the map, on the South Dakota prairie,
called White Owl.
I wanted to do an art piece to honor our little zip code.
I had heard that the snowy owls were in South Dakota this year.
I had even prayed privately,
LORD, I just am going to dare to ask you for a photo of snowy owl.
You know it is a heart's desire,
and I will know it is from You.

The next morning, our friend and neighbor, Glen,
who had listened to my bird-story the night before,
called on his cell phone and said there was a white owl
along the highway.
It was about five miles away.
I prayed all the way there that I would get to see it
and that just maybe I could get a photo that I could use for an art piece.

I passed the place where he said it would be.
It's probably gone, I was thinking, but I kept driving, hopeful.
Then on top of an old tire hanging on a fencepost, I see bright white.
I hold my breath, slow down my driving, get my camera ready,
and start to take pictures, hands shaking, saying,
Thank you Jesus.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My radio is on...
Chris Tomlin's song, How Great Is Our God,
is playing . . .
How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God
and all will see how
is our God . . .

It's cold and windy.
I get close. 
He flies off, but stops about a half mile away.
For two hours, we do this.
He flies off.  I get close.
He watches me.
I get close, he flies again.

At last, he flies into the sunshine.
And I return home
I think I've taken about 100 photos.
I plug in my camera . . .
almost 300 times, I had clicked the shutter.

Psalm 139:1
O LORD, you have searched me and known me.

He knows me.
Knows my heart.
Knows what will delight my heart.

Whenever I start to wonder or question 
what my role is
in sharing about Jesus,
He says to my heart,
 just tell your stories.

In John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well.
At the end of their conversation, she goes to tell the people
in the village, that
He knows me.  I think this is the Messiah...
It meant something to her, that He knew her.
Everything about her.
She dropped everything, including concern about her reputation,
and told everyone about it.
And the people listened.
They invited Him to stay with them.
At first, many believed because of what she said.
But then this is what happened . . .
John 4:42
Then they said to the woman,
"We no longer believe just because of what you said,
but now we have heard Him for ourselves,
and now we know that this man really is

So that is what I do.
Tell my stories.
Of how I know that He knows me.
And how I know that He is the One.
So that maybe, some will listen for Him,
and then hear Him for themselves and know.
That is my hope,
that each one, as many as possible,
will hear him for themselves and know Him.
Believe Him.
Love Him.
With all their heart.
And receive all He has to freely give.
And forever.

Joining Jennifer of Studio JRU
for the weekly sneak peek:
sneak peek

Joining Jen and these lovely women of faith here:
Finding Heaven


  1. Laura Deuter HeadrickFebruary 13, 2012 at 10:52 PM


  2. Jodene - this is soooo good! I love when He gives us little gifts like this...all of the photos are so stunning...I hope South Dakota makes a postage stamp out of one of these! And how awesome that He told you to share the story so that your neighbor would know to call you the next day! By the way, you inspired something I am making for my husband for Valentines...I linked back to you in my is my photo, inspired by "the work of his hands"...

    Blessings sweet artist friend!

  3. Thank you, this is such a wonderful story. Glad you shared it!

  4. That last picture of the owl flying in the sun, made me cry. oh, the story and everything, especially with the grandmother, but this picture brings it all together - - the brilliance of our God.

  5. You have no idea what level of my heart you just touched. Love you always ~

  6. Oh Jodi... from one bird lover (who also learned from her grandma) to another... this post just touches my heart! Beautiful! I have heard about the white owls on the news. That is so neat that you were able to see one! It is stunning!

  7. This is beautiful. My Mom taught me to love birds and know their names! You have reminded me of that. I have been touched deeply by Jesus & hesitate at times to share my stories. When I do get the courage, I know that is exactly what He wants me to do. Your story encourages me to keep sharing, praying & loving Him always.

    thank you!

  8. Oh my goodness - I'm going to have to share this post with my husband. His grandmother taught him about birds, and I didn't know a thing about them until I met him. Now he is teaching our boys and just last night our 5 year old saw his "first" bird all by himself - a Carolina Wren singing its heart out just outside the church door. We'd been at church for Wednesday night supper and he was right there, so loud. It was awesome. My husband has always called birds "God's ambassadors" and your post demonstrates that beautifully. The last picture with the snowy owl flying into the sun - breathtaking. So glad I stopped by! Thank you.

  9. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your heart. I love all the snowy owl pictures. Just beautiful.

  10. Loved this. Made me cry --- in a good way. :)


  11. Oh, this post made me cry at the awesomeness of our God!! You are so right that He knows us and what we love, and gives it to us in a way that is far greater than what we could think. I'm so glad you shared this story, it touched my heart so much!

  12. Thank you, for listening, heeding, and sharing with us. With my grandmother it was plants (being farmers), but I have noticed in the past several years my heart is also turning to birds as well. Your photography is INSPIRED.

  13. Oh Jodene!!! You have me in tears with goose bumps! What a testimony to God giving you the desires of your heart!!! You have blessed me so much with sharing this. What a reminder that God cares about everything, every detail of what is important to our hearts. Nothing is too small or big for Him to take notice and make miracles happen just for us, because He loves us so. I liked how you said you had been going through a hard time and then thinking about your grandma and what she taught you about the birds is what you prayed could happen again .... So often the trials that come do make us dig deeper and ask God out of our great need for a miracle that He provides. I try to remind myself that trials are important for this very reason...knowing God has a purpose.

    I'm sorry to blabber on and on...but I was just so moved by your story and your birdie photos. I just love it when God shows himself in such a special way.

    Thank you so much for sharing!
    ♥Lee Ann


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