Some thoughts on the incalculable worth of voices

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had infrequent times in your life when you’ve temporarily lost your voice due to a viral infection or yelling too much at an athletic event. The larynx—the structure at the upper part of the human trachea that contains the vocal cords—becomes stressed and inflamed resulting in laryngitis. Typically after several days of resting the vocal cords by not talking, your voice returns to normal. 

When our youngest daughter was around eight years old, she had a yellow, male cockatiel named Simba who had quite a repertoire. Simba would recite “Joy to the world the Lord is . . . “, but much to our chagrin, he never learned to finish with the word “come.” He even whistled familiar tunes. Then one day Simba suddenly got very sick and almost died. In fact, it happened a second time before we realized the fresh parsley we were feeding him [homegrown from our garden—no pesticides!] is poisonous to birds. OH NO! We were unintentionally responsible for both of his near death experiences. 😧   Following a prolonged convalescence, Simba appeared to fully recover, but he no longer talked nor whistled—we thought he may have suffered brain damage. Many, many long weeks later, Simba surprised us when he began to talk and whistle again. He hadn’t forgotten a single thing! Until Simba’s extended period of complete silence, I had never fully grasped just how much energy it takes to . . . simply talk.

Birds are recognizable by their unique voices. Even with my eyes closed, it is easy for me to tell if the bird I hear is a crow, English sparrow, mockingbird, mourning dove, owl, scrub-jay, seagull, or towhee. And there’s no mistaking the chatter of a squirrel nor the howling of coyotes—heard again last night—following a successful hunt. God has blessed each creature with a distinctive voice that sets them apart.

In this electronics age, Siri talks for me when requested. An app on my iPhone called “Text to Speech” speaks the words I type. The same app will also talk on the phone; but I’ve been reluctant to use that feature because typing messages on my phone is not a quick endeavor. The person I’m “talking” with would need to be exceptionally patient.

Another communication assist is the Boogie Board—the ALS Association Golden West Chapter gave me one of these nifty devices. It is used like pen on paper. Simply write and push the button to erase over and over again. It’s lightweight and handy in well lit areas; but there’s no backlighting, so it is not helpful in low-light settings.

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How Great Thou Art!

This morning as I was awakening to face a new day, a passage of Scripture came to mind that encouraged my heart. It comes from Isaiah, chapter 30, verse 15 (Living Bible)—emphasis mine:

For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, says:
Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved;
in quietness and confidence is your strength . . .

Chapter 30 should be read in its entirety so that you begin to gain an understanding of the context and sense in which Isaiah wrote these words. Time and again, God demonstrated His steadfast love for His chosen people, Israel. But Israel had utterly forgotten God—they believed they were capable of living without listening to or acknowledging Him. In today’s language you might ask Israel, “How’s that been working out for you?”


1)  O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

2)  When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


3)  And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


4)  When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then shall I bow, in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!”


How Great Thou Art [Wikipedia]

Story Behind How Great Thou Art


I Know Who Holds Tomorrow!

California Native Sticky Monkey Flowers   ~   Sands’ Garden

by Ira Forest Stanphill

1)  I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.

I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow

I don’t seem to understand
But I know Who holds tomorrow
And I know Who holds my hand.

2)  Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver lined.

There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.


3)  I don’t know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the One who feeds the sparrow,
Is the One who stands by me.

And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.


Ira Forest Stanphill

Born ~ February 14, 1914 – Bellview, New Mexico
Died ~ December 30, 1993 – Overland Park, Kansas