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An Adult Purple Martin

Thoughts on a Big Word

Friday, March 10, 2017

Thoughts on a Big Word

It’s a word that keeps popping up in my heart.

I hope I never forget the importance of it.

It’s integrity.

A large part of integrity is being honest.  Telling the truth.  Being a man (or woman) of your word.

This Thomas Jefferson quote sums up the slippery slope of lying:

He who permits himself to tell a lie often finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, til at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.

-Thomas Jefferson  1785

This slippery slope can be avoiding by simply always telling the truth. Being honest.

Telling the truth is a habit just as surely as habitual lying.

If I’m going to be a man of integrity*, I must be truthful.

Lord, help me to instantly and habitually be a person of truth. Poke me when I have the urge to avoid or doctor the truth. 

In Jesus name. Amen

My favorite definition of integrity comes from John Maxwell:  “Integrity is who you are when no one is watching, and what you’re willing to stand up for, even if you’re standing alone.”

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An Adult Purple Martin

There are many things I enjoy about Spring, but it’s hard to beat the arrival of the Purple Martins.

You can read more about their amazing travels and habits below

This is our second spring in Alexandria and I’ve yet to establish a Purple Martin colony. I wrote this prayer earlier this week.

                                         ‘Purple Martin Prayer’ from Journal #85 March 2017

I wrote this two days ago.  This morning as my Purple Martin Morning Chatter CD blared from my speaker on the deck, two adult Purple Martins circled for fifteen minutes before alighting on my birdhouse.

I thanked God.  I don’t consider it a coincidence. I consider it an answered prayer.

You know, He is in the business of answering prayers.  I’ve seen it this year in the healing and salvation of a worker at our Mill, the restoration of my mental health through your prayers, answers to myriad requests, and insight into thorny problems.

He still answers prayers.

I hope everyday as I listen to the bubbling chatter of my Martins, that I turn to the Lord and simply say, “Thank you.”

Curt

P.S.  Now that I have a pair of martins, the real war begins: keeping them. I’ve got my pellet gun* out ready for enemy English Sparrows and Starlings.  You cannot have Martins and these aggressive birds. Me and my trusty gun have made our decision.

The three things I dislike most about living in a city:

  1. Can’t build a good bonfire in the back yard.
  2. Cannot shoot a .22 or shotgun.
  3. I cannot clearly see the stars at night.  Living in Alexandria is a tradeoff.  There are things I miss about country living, but being with seven grandchildren nearly daily offsets it.  All of life is a tradeoff.

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The following is an excerpt about my favorite bird: the Purple Martin.

Wings and Roots

 

If you ask what I like best about purple martins, I’d reply, “It’s how these birds have wings and roots.”

One of the joys of my rural life is the six months yearly the martins spend as my guests. These migratory birds, members of the swallow family, first arrive in Louisiana in February. Two months later, they begin building nests, and by June, the first eggs hatch.  The baby birds are flying by July, and the entire colony will be gone by August.

When you understand their history and habits, you’ll grasp why I love them. Long before my ancestors came to Louisiana, Native Americans had colonized them after discovering how they devoured mosquitoes by the thousands. The Indians hung birdhouses made from dried gourds attracting these birds, which seemed to prefer living near humans.

Early pioneers also adopted these birds, and martin boxes and gourds were common around early dwellings. This love affair between humans and martins has continued as people expectantly await their arrival each spring.

Read more of this story.

What is your favorite bird (and why)?

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About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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