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The Wheel Bug Rescue

On the recent jaunt to Charlottesville that I wrote about, when I had to choose between wallowing in unmet desires or seeing the day’s events as Providential guidance, my choice to choose happiness and seeing good paid off before I got home.

At our last stop on the way out of the store, I saw a huge bug on the brick pillar so I went to see what it was. I can’t even write that without thinking back to how afraid I was of bugs since childhood and how God healed that and took it away as I chose to think about God creating them for a good purpose. It wasn’t easy, but after we moved to the woods in Alabama to our home which we called “The Refuge” I realized that I was not going to be able to hate and fear bugs and feel the essence of what a refuge is … not only for me, but other species of Creation.

I’m not talking about mosquitoes and ticks. I think the devil’s in the middle of all of that, but I haven’t spent much time pondering on the evil bugs. I’ve invested time in learning more about the other bugs and the intricacies of their design, which shows me the detail and creativity of God, the Creator.

So, back to Charlottesville. When I got closer to the bug I realized it was an adult Wheel Bug. We had one of these at Bluebird Cove a year or two ago and I studied it and found it’s name and realized it was a very beneficial bug to have around the garden. Here he was on a brick pillar at a shopping center surrounded by asphalt and a nearby highway. Certainly grounds for a rescue.


I didn’t have a bug jar in the car, so I took my quilted glasses case and put him in it. Enjoying bugs and picking one up or allowing it to crawl on me aren’t in the same category, so it’s taken time to go from screaming from a chair to simply grabbing a bug. I still remember that I got an F in my 3rd semester of 9th grade Science because I wouldn’t do a bug collection. My mother was terrified of bugs also, so I didn’t get any complaints from her. I had always had pretty great grades, so somehow we must’ve made it through that. Now, thinking back, it is a wonderful reminder of God’s grace and how we can turn fears into love if we just think differently and choose to look at something in a different way.

I laid the glass case in the car realizing that it was not a sealed or secure container for the bug and if he had any determination at all, he could crawl out the side where it folded down and slid under a fabric tab to keep it closed. Would he remain inside until we made the 25 minute drive home from this last stop? He did.

We got back home and I took him out to a Rose of Sharon bush that had Japanese Beetles on it and released him, blessing him in his new environment and instructing him to be of service to Bluebird Cove. Japanese Beetles are one of the bugs they will eat and we’ve had plenty of them this year, so we thank God for His provision of an added “assassin” to help control the Japanese Beetle population, which is considered the most destructive garden bug.

As I reflected on the event, I realized that we are many times out on a “brick pillar” surrounded by danger and we don’t even know it. This Wheel Bug was surely oblivious to the fact that his odds of surviving in his environment were slim in his current location, and to get to another location across the highway didn’t give him a high percentage of possibilities either since they are not good fliers.

You can probably see why they are called Wheel Bugs. The little rounded and raised area on it’s back looks like a wheel. They are known as one of the Assassin Bugs and are predatory throughout their lives, with nymphs eating tiny caterpillars and insects and adults sometimes consuming agricultural pests larger than themselves. It is a “monster” of the insect world. With its bizarre appearance and deadly beak, it is a dreaded foe of other insects. It spears its unfortunate prey with its sharp beak and sucks up the victim’s body fluids.

Wheel Bugs find a mate in autumn and the female lays a cluster of 40-200 tiny brownish bottle-shaped eggs on a twig and, sometimes after attacking and eating her mate, eventually dies. I’m sure our rescued Wheel Bug had a female already here praying for a mate to come to Bluebird Cove.

Get more detailed information on Wheel Bugs at these websites:

How do we react when God scoops us up and puts us in a dark confined place? Do we patiently wait for release or do we run around looking for any way out that we can get? We moved here to Bluebird Cove hoping to find a piece of land somewhere to build a small home where I could find total stillness except for the sounds of His Creation. With views and running water if we dared to dream so big. And now, here I am, “trapped” at Bluebird Cove.

If you’ve read the beginning of the story of Bluebird Cove in the archives, you know the fulfillment of our dream didn’t work out the way we’d planned at River Trails …. and since then, the command so often given in The Bible to “only believe” has been more of a challenge.

What do we do when we’re trapped in a dark place? Do we continue to believe God is good? Do we find contentment in knowing that God has already provided everything I need for my current and future happiness? Do we wallow? Do we fight?

The Wheel Bug must’ve just decided everything would turn out alright because he didn’t crawl out. He also didn’t bite me while I put him in or while I released him. He must’ve “known” that there was safety and rescue involved in being in that temporary dark place. Do we believe that when we go through the storms of life? That there is Somebody out there trying to get us to a better place in life, if we will only release ourselves into Their care and be content until our dreams do come true?

The bug could’ve crawled out and into some area of the car where I would not have found him. It may have seemed he escaped to freedom, but it would actually have been a slow death of starvation and dehydration since there would be no food or water in the car. Yes, I would’ve tried to find him, seeking after the lost bug, like Jesus seeks after His lost sheep, but sometimes bugs and children of God run away, thinking they know what’s best.

Are you trying to escape some dark confining area of your life? Is it keeping you captive in depression and despair? Why not choose to “only believe” and trust that Somebody greater than you with more wisdom about your life has a plan and purpose for you right where you are. Relax, stop fighting, and look to see what God is providing you. The Wheel Bug’s willingness to be patient resulted in him being placed at the “table” with a feast of Japanese Beetles.

God has prepared a table for us in the midst of our enemies, so submit, choose happy and good thoughts, and find your place at the Table of Life.



Joyful Sparrows

We went to Charlottesville to pick up a piece of necessary equipment for my new MacBook. Although it was maxed out on speed because of all the photo work I do, it was loading websites and anything online at a snail’s pace. After my technical husband, Randal, finished trouble shooting, he discovered that the new computer didn’t want to take signals from the old router.

While he went into Office Depot for the required “upgrades” I stayed outside in the car and listened to “Phantom of the Opera” on CD. Surprisingly, after a number of scorching days, there was still a cool breeze blowing through the car windows at 10 AM in the morning. The music from Phantom was just what I needed to take me away from bad thoughts. After all they are not going to change anything but me. Thinking and rehearsing negative things in my mind only provided me with a bad mood and that affects my health ….. so I chose to be happy.

You see, I had gone to town for two speedy stops, wanting to return home for the breakfast that I did not eat before leaving. Randal had thought of two more places he needed to go to, so now my goal of returning home speedily was not going to be met. Randal often doesn’t think about what he needs to do until shortly before he’s ready to do it. I have plenty of opportunities to convert goals to desires living with this slower-paced husband ….. and I can assure you he gets a lot of blocked goals living with me too. We have choices every day. We work together, live together, garden together and keep house together. We are seemingly total opposites, but if we choose to, we can make those opposites a blessing in our lives.

The first stop we made was not on my mental agenda, so I sat in the shade and timed how long it would take for this additional errand. Surprisingly it was less than 15 minutes, but in those 15 minutes I was able to get pretty darn grumpy and hungry. So, at the next stop, Office Depot, I began again to entertain myself by watching the clock tick by as I let my mind wonder back into the zone of non-encouraging thinking.

Choosing happiness is not exactly easy when you’re a good way into a private rant. It’s much easier to go down the tubes to misery and despair at the circumstances of life around us ….. but I’ve told myself that life around me may never change, but what I do with my own life can. Matter of fact, it’s one of the few things I can change each day. So many things are out of my control and learning to define a goal vs. a desire has been a big help.

You can set a goal of walking two miles a day, not eating after 6 PM, not thinking bad thoughts and negative self-talk, or increasing your sales volume for the next quarter at work. Those are all things you have control over. You can do it. It is truly up to you to choose to.

However, a desire is something that you would like to see, but have no control over. You would like to have a family operating like The Waltons. You want a husband that is romantic. You expect your employer to give you a raise because you know you’ve done a good job. You believe your children should respect their parents because it’s the way things were done when you were a child. You have no real control over these desires. You cannot make them goals for your life or you will be absolutely miserable because you cannot control whether or not these things are going to happen.

I thought of Solomon’s words in Proverbs: “A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Having rheumatoid arthritis, I thought about how much time I’d spent in my life whining about the way things were. Being an only child I was used to having things go my way, but of course even if this is true of our life as a child, it will never be true for us as an adult. Yet another reason to discipline our children and teach them the realities of life early.

I chose happy and began to speak good thoughts to myself. There were two English Sparrows flying about looking for crumbs to eat here and there on the parking lot. God promises to feed the birds and when I see them in shopping centers, I wonder that it’s possible for them to survive. Yet, why would they remain? Why do they build nests there and raise young there? English Sparrows prefer cities and parking lots. We’ve lived in the country for 17 years and I’ve never seen an English Sparrow in our yard where there is plenty of bird food, water, shelter and nesting places, yet any time I see them in parking lots, my mind wants to go wallowing in the muck of misery.

I had a choice. I could be happy or I could be miserable. Something else that Solomon said in Proverbs 12:25 was: “Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop: but a good word makes it glad.”

The birds choose to believe God will take care of them and they go about their day singing and searching for God’s provision. Should I do any less?

We have a choice to choose joy or choose despair and depression. Actually our choice is in what we want to think, because you can’t think about all the wrong things going on in your life and not be depressed. There is good in every day and choosing to see that good, to be grateful for that good, will make the day good by the end of it. Happiness may be based on happenings, but joy comes from within and we have access to it through our thoughts. We choose what kind of day we will have by what we choose to focus on and think about.

Still don’t believe your thoughts and words make a difference in how you feel?

Take the time for this exercise. There are two statements below. Read the first one through slowly three times, visualizing what I was seeing.

#1 — Those poor birds having to scrounge for food all over a dirty parking lot. How sad. Life is so hard for all of us.

Did you feed these words into your mind three times? Now assess how you feel. Did you feel your heart drop a bit? Even your facial expressions will change. You can almost feel your mouth hanging down and the outer corners of your eyes drooping. Now do the same with the second choice of thoughts and words.

#2 — Look at those birds chirping, hopping and skipping around to discover God’s provision for them. Even in this barren parking lot they find food. They are a picture of faith for God’s provision to us all no matter what our circumstances may be. I will choose to have faith also and see that life is good where ever I am.

Do you notice the difference?

You can set a goal to do this. You are in control of your thoughts. Only you! Be diligent and get better at it the more you do it. If it’s been a long time since you controlled your thoughts, it will be quite a challenge, but after all …… aren’t you begging for happiness in your heart? Then, take control of your thoughts and get it! Any time you have a negative thought, replace it with a good one. Make it a habit to think Pollyanna style.

Choose joy! Look around! There’s always a “little birdie” in your life to show you the way.



Letting Go of River Trails – Holding On To Bluebird Cove

My heart was broken and I knew I had to detach myself from the project, but there was still so much to be done. The house had just been framed up and most of the detailed work was yet to be done. We had informed the builder we would not be moving in and since he was discouraged about the whole project, it was agreed that we would take over the sub-contracting and finish the project ourselves. He was kind enough to provide us with some names of people to work with.

We had this huge task before us with no rewards on the horizon for accomplishing it. The property was an hour away so any time we had to meet somebody there, it was two hours just for driving. It was going to be a long road to get this out of our faces and I was not of much help. I visited the place after all the distruction and at that point decided that I couldn’t live there. Randal had no objections since the home had changed so much from what we had designed.

Randal managed the project as best he could while we both kept working at our business. A lot of that time period is foggy to me now. I was so saddened by the event and I knew it would not be easy to begin again after the horror of what happened at River Trails. It had taken a year and a half to find the land and over a year to build the house. It only took four months to sell it and the buyer was a young musician who was soon to have a bride. He would use the porch to write music and got our permission to use it even before we closed. There was some comfort that the beauty and views and the home would be used to create music.

I concentrated my energies on developing Bluebird Cove and we had more and more neighbors moving in nearby so we began to sink some roots into Lake Monticello, but they seemed to be shallow roots for both of us.

Within my heart was the longing for what had slipped through our hands. I became addicted to the real estate magazines hoping each week to find the place that we had moved to Virginia for, but never to find it ….. and possibly never to really know what it would look like.

They had cleared some of the woods behind us to build on to the shopping center. We could now see bright lights in the windows at night during the six months of the year we were without leaves on the trees. The parking lot noise with trucks and loud music from cars wasn’t the only thing that bothered us. The bright stars and dark skies were no longer the same since light pollution had affected our views.

Our minds have been blurred by all these circumstances and the special friends we’ve made here, and the difference we are making for wildlife at least on our one acre of land. We were totally confused on what to do about our original dream that propelled us from Alabama to Virginia.

In the interim, we had battled a development that was to go in nearby behind us on most of that 40 acres of woods. The guy developing it was the same one who said it would never be developed. Matter of fact, he already had plans and various approvals for it before he even told the people buying his homes on this street that it would never be developed. That got our neighborhood together to try to fight the project with many meetings at the courthouse and after many months, Nahor Village was approved for retirement homes and buildings along with an assisted living center.

The project broke ground a few months ago and we are now entertained with the beep-beep of the equipment and the horrible sounds of trees falling to the ground. Since it’s along a main highway, there is nothing keeping them from beginning at 6 AM, so there is little solace available on our porches these days.

We are blessed that there are two pieces of land, each under seven acres, behind us that is between us and Nahor Village. The one piece comes up to the rear of our neighbor’s house and has a home on it. The other lot comes to the rear of our home and it’s for sale. Since it’s long and narrow and is zoned agricultural, it hasn’t sold in the year that the sign has been on it. Of course, we are so grateful, but we can’t help but wonder how long that will remain without development.

The lessons I’m learning at Bluebird Cove are many and if you have been a subscriber to “A Healing Moment” that I write, you will know that God has taught us much as we choose to follow Him and set our hearts on things above that are lasting and not on what will all burn up in the end.

God is faithful and all of these events have taught me that we have a choice to choose peace and joy in the Lord, or restless discontentment in the world. I have slipped into ruts now and then as I choose to not let my joy be determined by where I live …. but God is always there if I choose to focus and meditate on His Word and remind myself that where I live is not who I am and it’s not the priority of my life. God promises to guide us.

We have continued to develop more and more habitat and gardening has been a great solace to me as I see the character and beauty of our Lord in His Creation. The more attached to Bluebird Cove, this one acre of land, that I become, the harder it is for me to actually consider leaving….. but there is still something within me that says, “This isn’t forever.”

Finding our place in this world is key to finding ourselves, which is essential to making the relationships of life meaningful and to remain in good health. Our relationship with Creation allows us to not only know and love ourselves, but also to know and love its Creator and others.

Each of us writes a chronicle of our lives, etched in the universe, as we traverse through our time on this planet. Some take what life throws at them daily without hope for a better tomorrow. Others choose to look ahead to something better. I’ve lived both ways and find that the daily challenge of turning bad into good is far easier than to simply give up hope. What are you yearning for? Do you know? Do you have a dream? Time passes too quickly. Look within! Your true dreams will show you your purpose and fulfillment in life. Often the ones you think of first are not what you really desire. Keep digging and chronicle each step towards the real you and your real world.