Hope is the thing with feathers

January 9, 2012 | My Jottings

In the midst of a small campaign to give away one thing per day in the year 2012, I also have a few new things to show you that I will never part with.

I like water. I try to drink some every day. That means when I’m out running errands I often take a water bottle from home with me so when I’m thirsty I can keep hydrated with something good, and not impulsively decide to buy some kind of sweet coffee concoction or smoothie with 10% fruit and 749 calories. Here is what I now carry my water in, a travel cup from my dear friend Pat, who’s a fellow SAG.

I’ve never had one of these kinds of cups, and I love it. Most of all I love the thoughtfulness behind it. Pat knows the cardinal story, and in giving me this gift she is helping me hang on to hope. Do you have friends that help you hang on to hope? I really hope that you do.

It’s not that things are truly hopeless, it’s just that every so often I lose my clear view of hope, and need help getting back on the hope wagon.

Pat gave me a boost back on that wagon with this cup. Thank you Pat.

Next, I have a new B.

To be honest, I never had an old B. But that’s not the point. The point is, my niece Lauren and my sister-in-law Debbie sent me this for Christmas.

It’s the first letter of our last name, and it’s about the size of a book. The left side of the B is the spine of a dark blue Bible. Attached to the spine with a taupe ribbon (perfectly matching our living room) are three old keys, with the words “memory, life, and love” engraved on them.

The B is completely covered in scripture. You can click to enlarge the photos if you like. There are pertinent verses and passages pasted all over the letter.

When I opened the gift my eyes filled with tears, because this was such an amazingly thoughtful gift from family members who know what’s important to me, and made something to underscore those very things. I felt known, and loved.

They sent me this letter B to help me hang on to hope. Or to hang on to the Author of hope. 🙂

We put the B on the mantel and it will always be a blessing.

Thank you, Debbie and Lauren.

Right before Christmas I received a package in the mail from an old friend. Shari and I met in Junior High School in West Covina, CA, and were in a couple of classes together with this teacher we both still love.

Shari is a gifted artist and photographer and you can check out her beautiful photo blog here.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and received a large framed print of a photo Shari took of a cardinal.

The day it arrived was the sort of day when hope seems distant or faint. After I gazed at it through tears for a few minutes, thanking God for the timing of this stunning gift and for giving me friends who remind me to keep hoping, I went straight to our kitchen tool drawer and found a hammer and nail.

This breathtaking photo hangs on a prominent wall near our den, where we walk past it and look at it many times a day.

Thank you, Shari.

How grateful I am for friends and family who show their love and care in such personal, thoughtful ways!

I love this quote by Emily Dickenson:

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”

Today I can hear that wordless tune being sung, and see the brilliantly colored feathers of that thing called hope that’s perching in my soul.

And my friends and family help to make sure the tune of hope never stops at all.

What helps you hang on to hope?


  1. Ember says:


    Such a good question, “What helps you to hang onto hope?” I had to stop and think about it for a minute, but I very quickly knew. Miracles. There have been (by now numerous) times in my life where I didn’t know where to turn, where the road ahead seemed to be blocked by landfalls or crumbling over cliff edges or sown with mines. “Help!” went up my silent yell – and help has always come. It is those miracles, those springs of grace in the Valley of Baca (see Ps 84) that keep me hoping and believing.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Amen, Ember. Yes. Me too.

  3. Ganeida says:

    I love your cardinals. No cardinals here but we get small honeyeaters that same lovely red.

    Hope? Hmmm. Memory of past mercies. God is the same yesterday, today & forever. If He was there for me then He is here for me now ~ & all my tomorrows.

  4. Just Julie says:

    Yes! Thank you Ganeida. Beautifully said, and a good reminder to every one of us.

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