Lessons: Patio Wildlife Edition

I live in a midwestern subdivision, so my version of wildlife might be quite different from yours. Yet I find the chipmunks, cardinals, and a few others to not only be delightful, but wise little teachers who inspired a few recent lessons.

Don’t gift your mistakes.

Chipmunks don’t like stale pretzels. I can’t blame them, neither do I (hence my present to them). I wrongfully assumed that my failure to put pretzels away (resulting in their stale nature) would mean a treat they would appreciate.

I came home to untouched stale pretzels.

There is a difference between a well loved hand-me-down that still serves its intended purpose, and giving someone what is over-used and leftover.

I have also been guilty of giving the most important people in my life what was leftover (typically after a day of work) instead of giving them my best. Chipmunks don’t like stale leftovers, and neither do most people. I can’t really blame them, but I can learn from them.

Feeding birds means cleaning up poop

I’m sure there’s a bigger lesson here. Something about responsibility or thinking about the possible outcomes of a decision. But at the end of the day, I like feeding the birds. They also poop a lot. So now I clean my porch more often.

As messy as a 2 year old.

You are unique and it’s beautiful.

Most mornings and evenings from spring through fall you can find me on my front porch or patio. And I’m not alone.

After multiple seasons of sitting outside I noticed the song the male cardinal sings. Of all the birds making all of the noises in the morning, I can pick him out of a crowd. I can follow the sound and find the tree he is in while he sings or speaks (or maybe even praises the God who created him). It’s beautiful. It’s unique. He doesn’t sound like any of the other birds in my neighborhood.

God loves variety. There is beauty in the diversity of the world he created. You and I are a part of that. You are uniquely created by God and that’s beautiful.

Rolly pollys are still cool

I pronounce it roll-ee poll-ee, and I’ve heard other people call them pill bugs. They are these tiny little dark grayish brown bugs that turn into a little ball if you lightly touch them on the back. There were so many in my neighborhood as a kid. Seeing them on my porch brings back memories with my grade school friends… riding bikes, picking up caterpillars, rollerblading, the creek… It’s cool how something so small, which I’m sure has a purpose in the ecosystem of nature, serves a bigger purpose for me, reminding me to take joy in the memories and the little things.

If a wasp lands on your bible, it is ok to throw the Bible.

This scared the snot out of me. It was 6am, I’m drinking coffee on my porch, reading the book of Luke and watching the sun rise behind the trees. Then it landed. Silent, stealthy, and what seemed like the size of my hand (possibly exaggerating). My first reaction to this silent stinger wielding monstrosity was to jump up, throw the Bible toward the bushes and run into the house with my heart pumping. I’m pretty sure I injured the wasp. I miraculously did not injure my bible nor spill the coffee sitting next to me.

Often when I’m in my quiet time I ask God what he wants me to see today that He sees. I ask him to force me to slow down, to see what I’m otherwise normally too busy to notice, so I can focus and learn from it. I really hope the Holy Spirit wasn’t telling me to appreciate wasps, because I really failed that test.

Look for the artistry.

My husband is not a fan of spiders. I’m not a lover, but I appreciate their web building skills that deceive and kill other bugs that typically annoy me. So unlike the wasp on my bible that I see as an eminent threat, my response to most spiders is curiosity and a desire to observe.

I’m told it’s a baby wolf spider. He is the guardian of the porch table.

When we observe the world around us with curiosity we see beauty in details that God created. This little friend is fuzzy and striped, and mesmerizing. He’s observing, too. Beautiful. I wouldn’t see that if I didn’t pause to look. Beautifully painted like the butterfly I saw while driving home, and the racing stripes on the chipmunks under my porch.

Artistry is more than photoshop and filters. It’s more than the graphic design we do at my company, and the amazing creations of the artist galleries I pass by downtown. Artistry was created by the God of the universe and it’s revealed in big ways like a sunset at the Grand Canyon, and small ways that can only be seen under a microscope or with a zoomed in camera phone.

In the middle of the day, look for the artistry, and you’ll find joy.


So I sit on my porch, staring at uneaten stale pretzels, surrounded by fresh bird poop, taking measures so bugs don’t drink my beer, and praying a retaliatory wasp doesn’t come to avenge his beloved.

I am thankful. For this space, and this moment, and the sounds of the cicadas as the musical score to the sunset. Look for the artistry, it is unique and it is beautiful, just like you.

Bug deterrent device

One thought on “Lessons: Patio Wildlife Edition

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  1. “If a wasp lands on your bible, it is ok to throw the Bible.”

    I choked on my cigar! LOL My girls would agree, too.

thoughts go here... be nice... be thankful...

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