Daniel Zopoula

The Digital Musings of a Bushman, Speaker, Author & Trusted Advisor.

Category: More Life (page 2 of 2)

Whatever you just cannot categorize. This is all that stuff.

Under His Wing

While farming, my husband was out on his tractor in the field when he accidentally ran over a partridge. She was killed, but left behind was a nest with her eggs.  He thought the kids would enjoy seeing the nest, so he brought it back to the shop.  Days later, after having forgotten about it for a while, he was bringing the nest home to show the kids and an egg fell and broke open.  He was so surprised to discover a live chick inside! Despite days with no heat and no mom sitting on the nest, there was still life.  So he decided to throw the nest with the eggs under a lamp in the shop. It was less than ideal conditions for the eggs, as sometimes they would have heat from the lamp, and at times be forgotten again while the lamp was used for something else.  But after a time, another egg was opened to check for life. Another chick inside was still developing- still growing, still fighting to survive.

Eventually the nest made its way into our back entry, where it was placed under a heat lamp, and a little home was made around the nest to hopefully welcome some baby partridges.  We took a video as the babies began to break their way into the world.  It was so exciting to watch this passage take place, and we were delighted when two little babies survived, peeping and bobbing around.  We had food ready and we fed them every three hours with a little dropper.  I learned how to hold their little tiny heads and how to put just the right pressure, in just the right place so that their little tiny beaks popped open. Then I would drop the little drops of food into their mouth. Just a few drops and their little bellies were full!

It was so fun to learn all about them. We learned what kind of home to make them, what to feed them, and how to set them free into the wild when the time came.  I was tired from getting up even in the night to feed them and it was a big responsibility to be there every 3 hours to make sure they were nourished.  But I loved them.  They were exciting, strong, and yet fragile little beings, so dependant.  I felt very important in my role of keeping them alive, yet realizing that their life was a miraculous gift from God.  They would not be breathing, unless God has made it so.  The next step was to teach them how to eat on their own.  It was recommended that I get little baby chickens so that the partridge could learn from the chicks how to peck his own food. It was also time to move from the “baby formula” to a seed.  Sadly, one of them died.  He had some issues from the start and was not able to survive. But we still had one, and it was time for him to learn to eat.

We brought five little chicks, into our back entry and we placed the feed on the floor.  Then we placed the partridge with the chicks.  The chicks were busy eating already, completely consumed by it actually.  But when we placed the partridge in their midst, he bee-lined over to one of the chicks, and nuzzled in close. He continued to push and squirm and nuzzle until he had gotten under the chick’s wing.  The tiny chick looked quite huge in comparison to our baby partridge.  The chick didn’t even seem to care or notice, and just kept on eating.  The little partridge just kept step and kept himself tightly tucked under the wing.  It was so precious!  I saw that although I provided heat, and safety, shelter and nourishment, I had not been able to provide this much needed contact, this much needed wing.  Watching our little partridge nuzzle under the wing was like watching it find home. It found what it had been longing for.  I realized how sad his life had been without his mom.  And soon he learned how to peck and eat.  He became quite pro at it.  We no longer had to feed it and he was happily finding his place in his new family of chicks.

I really thank God for this picture.  The Bible talks about us being safe tucked under the wing of the Almighty.  But until I saw the little partridge bury himself there, I don’t think I valued that picture much.  But after that, I saw how there is this place we long for, this home, this momma bird, this touch, this comfort, this belonging that all of us crave so much.  We can have food, and shelter and basic needs, but until we find our place, tucked under His wing, we are so vulnerable, so fragile and so lacking.  But once we discover it, we will nuzzle in, and wiggle and keep step, just so happy to find this great spot to be.  All the other needs are secondary.   Sometimes now, as I am afraid, or sad, I think of this picture.  I think of my Father, lifting His wing and offering me His comfort, His protection, His love, Himself.  I think of how I am welcomed to nuzzle in and enjoy His presence.

I also think of how so many of our lives are like the life of this partridge. We are meant to have a certain environment to thrive.   A man who worked in a partridge hatchery was absolutely amazed at our story of our little survivor.  He said partridges are so hard to hatch. They need just the right heat at just the right intervals and the eggs need to be rotated.  And even with all the scientific strategies working for them, partridges are hard to hatch. I think of how we are meant to be in our nests with our mom’s right there, protecting us and feeding us and tucking us under her wing. There are so many stages and details that need to go just right so that we can thrive. We are meant to have these ideal conditions, but I think most of end up more like our partridge.  There are detours, and disruptions, and we get tossed around.  And even as we survive it all, and maybe even have our basic needs like food and shelter, we will just be scared little birds until we find our Wing.  I think too, of how much we love finding that wing, and how we are left for a time to develop that hunger and deep desire for the Wing. Some of us experience the wing, but then decide to check life out, without it.  It feels a bit invasive perhaps.  Or we feel a bit too sheltered.  But usually we discover that life lived outside the shadow of His wing, is not a good place to be at all.

I think what I learned is that I take that place for granted.  I learned that I have stopped appreciating how great it is, and how much I need to be nuzzled close to my Heavenly Father.    I got to see a beautiful picture of how important that place actually is… and I love it that my Heavenly Father lifts His wing and offers me a place close beside Him.  Unlike the chick who wasn’t that interested, the Heavenly Father is interested in showing us our need for that place, and then offering us the shelter of that place.

Contributed by Mara Veldman

Call Me Mara

We stand at the doorway of our child’s room, and tell him, “Clean your room.”  We know if he does all the great toys will be rediscovered. We know they will be taken care and not lost. We know there will be a sense of accomplishment and a lesson of responsibility learned.  We know we are training him to take care of himself.  We know there is even a lesson of submitting to authority. There are so many lessons. Not to mention our own pleasure of order around us.  If he cleans his room, he will learn to value what he has.  He will learn that at times it takes effort, even discomfort to care for things of value.  We are teaching value itself even.  We are teaching organizing skills. To clean a room, often a child has to picture the vision of the clean room and break it down into a step by step process.  He learns so many skills this way!  He will learn he can do what feels impossible!  He will learn to persevere and so then even develop character. He will develop hope. He will be able to accomplish even more. One day perhaps run a household of his own!  Hold a job. Pay the bills. And teach children of his own, to clean their room.

We ask a simple thing really, an ordinary, doable thing.  We have no doubt that the boy can accomplish this task. In fact we’ve even seen him do it before.  We think he will remember last time it only took ½ an hour.  We aren’t saying it to be mean.  It’s not a punishment.  It is simply a passage. It is a small step in a process that will involve many steps.  Perhaps we don’t even want to enforce this. Perhaps we feel unprepared for a battle. We may be distracted by the discomfort of standing our ground, risking back lash and possibly hurtful words.  It seems like a sure way to break peace.  Yet, most of us will go ahead anyway.  And not just for the selfish satisfaction of our home getting organized.

But the child, living in the moment, lacking the ability to see all that this will prepare him for, responds with a whine.  “But that will take forever!”   He begins his battle.  He launches straight into emotional warfare.  If he is a seasoned pro, after many rounds, he may even end with, “You don’t love me!  You never listen to me! You aren’t fair!”

Perhaps if the parent has some training, she won’t respond personally.  No matter how many emotional swords get used, she will understand.  This is just a test.  This is just a process. These are natural murmurings of growing pains. And right before her eyes, a child is becoming something more.  She won’t be fooled for one second, because she knows it won’t take forever, and she always knows she loves him.  She loves him so much that she will stand in the doorway again, knowing he will throw these hurtful words.  He will sacrifice relationship for ease.  But she knows he will understand someday.  Probably not this day.  But he will get it done.  Sometimes she will even help pick up some of the mess… but most days she knows he needs the natural consequence to learn a new pattern. To learn that our choices have outcomes. 

I realize sometimes I am this child still.  The room is bigger. The mess is more complicating.  And it is not as easy to figure out who to use these emotional swords against.  I feel like it will take forever.  I feel like even ½ an hour is too long.  I feel scared because I can’t vision it clean yet.  I forget that I have been developing these skills for all my life, and those I don’t have yet, God will provide as I go.  I am scared because it just seems like maybe He is asking too much.  He is asking something I am not interested in anyway.  I don’t care if the room is clean. And I am not thinking about going out on my own anyway, so what do I need all those skills for?  I have a long tantrum. I try sacrificing relationship with Him, for ease.  I try asking if He even loves me?  I ask Him what it even matters if my room is clean? Isn’t it my room? Shouldn’t I decide? Is He really being fair?

He doesn’t respond without emotion.  But He isn’t afraid. Not at all.  He understands my childishness and lack of vision.  He knows exactly what I can do, and how it will look when I am done.  He loves me enough to stand in the doorway again and again and instruct me to do this thing even though He knows what I will accuse Him of.  He knows I will feel some discomfort and frustration, and even some fear.  He also knows that He would never leave me untrained, unprepared.  He is not threatened because He knows He loves me even when I don’t understand.  He even helps when I ask!

God, give me peace in this moment…. I will trust you and I will believe you see more in me than I can, and that you know all things.  You aren’t asking me to do something I can’t do, or even to do it on my own.  You love me enough to stand in my doorway again and again. You stand right in front of me, right behind me, right beside me.  I will trust you know the outcome, and the purpose, and even my abilities. I don’t have a clue what reasons you are asking this of me.  Without knowing the reason, I will surrender. I will do my best, and I will look to you as I go, because as of now I am kind of unsure… For now, these are musing of my soul. What is my name?

Call me Mara

The Paste of Life

Took time to muse about Professor Philip Zimbardo. Here he is speaking about how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world. A very interesting commentary on our civilization.

Please let me know what you think!

Daniel Zopoula

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Traditions for a change?


Because of our traditions,
we’ve kept our balance for many, many years.
And because of our traditions,
every one of us knows who he is
and what God expects him to do. – Words from  a fiddler on the roof:

I wonder what we might need to learn from the people of Anatevka, in “Fiddler on the Roof” for our generation

Think about this for a minute:
Without traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof
How does that sit with you? As a people, how do we keep our balance? are traditions synonymous with ‘balance?’ what signs, what rituals & what symbols characterizes your life? What does  the rhythms of our lives say about us? How should we care?

Just Musing about children

Every day, more than 24,000 children under the age of five die from preventable causes. What they need are things we take for granted: clean water, sanitation, medicine, food. What they deserve is to simply be a child, to be nurtured, not tortured, to be cradled, not crushed. $27 will provide 100 meals; $270, 1000 meals. $20 will pay for a child school fee, $15 will pay for a child uniform for the year. Act on this knowledge today. Work the miracle in someone’s life today.  We have 1000 children left who are desperately needing food, clothing and school feed paid by October 15 when they are back to school. Please do what you do so well, help out as you can! Click Here: http://www.thebridgesofhope.com/donate/

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