Of Giant and Tiny Blessings

Black-capped Chickadees are my favorite birds. They are so friendly and nosy. They bounce toward the bird feeders like tiny Tiggers in the Hundred Acre Wood. They communicate with up to sixteen different calls, making these North American forests ring with their chatter in any season. After I fill my feeders, Chickadees are the first birds to feed. Soon cardinals, woodpeckers and all kinds of finches follow these entrepreneurs of the neighborhood.

I heard the “dee-dee-dee” in the distance this morning on my walk. I wasn’t feeling particular chipper. I missed our great dane, my walking buddy. He got violently sick a week ago, and we decided to have him put down. He was over eight years old, a ripe age for a dane. When I came across Thor’s giant paw prints in the mud from the last time we walked, I felt a deep sadness. Other waves of sorrow hit me. The loss of a good friend after Christmas, the breast cancer diagnose of a church member, and relationship issues among people I love dearly, all added and fed my tears. My boots hung like heavy weights around my ankles as I drudged through the last bit of ice on the path. Then, I did what I do when I don’t have answers, I talked to God about it. I asked him what I ask him on so many walks,

“Father, help me to know you are here. I don’t want to leave without your blessing.”

Again, I heard the Chickadees in a nearby tree and remembered I had a little sandwich bag full of black oil sunflower seeds in my pocket. I had actually returned to the car earlier to get it. During the long winter months, I often grabbed a handful of seeds and left them for the birds and other critters in the woods. Today, when I heard the Chickadees, I had a better idea.

I took my smartphone out of my coat and searched for Chickadee calls on the internet. Within a few seconds, I played back a call to the couple of feathered friends nearby. I noticed a wooden fence along the path and put out a few seeds along the narrow plank. Then, I filled up my hand with seeds, steadied it on the fence, and waited. Within a couple of minutes a Chickadee hopped along the wood, ignored the few seeds I had laid out, and jumped right into my open palm.

I was ecstatic and held my breath. My new friend took a seed and sat there for a few seconds, looking at me with black, beady eyes and a cocked head. He flew off only to repeat the process two more times. His petite body hardly had any weight to it. His feet were like the tiniest twigs, tickling my fingers. I wanted desperately to pet his downey feathers. How could this beautiful creature be so bold to trust me? We, two different species, both created for a purpose, suddenly connected in this gentle moment. I can’t adequately describe what happened in my heart. One thing I knew, it was a beautiful confirmation of my prayer. It was an unexpected, giant blessing. It felt as if God spoke tenderly to my heart, showing me his creation in a new and lowly way.

God truly sees and knows. He cares for the bird. But how much more does he care for man, who seeks him with all his heart and waits and listens intently in expectation.

“Call to me and I will answer you,
and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
Isiah 33:3 (ESV)


  1. Ahh, I could feel the awe along with you. It’s such an otherworldly feeling! And the timing – such a perfect gift from the one who sees sparrows, and chickadees, and great danes, and those who seek with seeds in their pockets. ❤


  2. This brought tears to my eyes. Such a tender, delightful gift from God, that He would coax a black-capped chickadee to eat rom your hand. The kindness of God to us when we are hurting never ceases to undo me. Your story also reminded me of how God met me so often in nature, as I walked or ran through the woods crying, praying—- Finally I would just sit and watch to see what would show up. It was always different. The beavers chewing down trees and dragging them to their lodge, the slap of the beaver tail on the waters, a bear ambling on the hillside, moose munching willow leaves, deer leaping over logs, the sudden flurry of grouse taking wing, wild roses, “British soldiers” standing tall in the soft, spongy moss. Oh how I long for the Canadian wilderness. Recently, I’ve been intentional about observing what is around me— even here in the city. There is a bluebird who comes every day to the deck railing outside my kitchen window. There are Mourning doves that coo in the morning and evening. I saw a red-headed woodpecker the other day in my neighbors yard. There is beauty here too. I just have to pause…ignore the city sights & sounds–and look and listen. Thankfully there is a lake just 20 minutes from home, the Appalachian mountains an hour away and a beautiful park just a mile up the road. By the way, I’m so sorry you lost Thor. He sounded amazing!


  3. I’ve had experiences when God lifted my downcast soul while on walks. For me, it’s usually a surprise encounter with deer. This was so cool and I am amazed that you were able to preserve the moment with a photo–talent and good timing!
    I pray every time your hit with a wave of grief that the Lord will make His face shine upon you with a fresh ray of hope and daily grace. Blessings Heidi. Thanks for sharing your story.


    • Manette, thank you so much for those kind words. Since then, I have tried many more times to lure my tiny friends with calls and seeds … but none would ever land on my hand. I smile as I recognize how I try so often to explain away the miraculous … those holy moments … the glimpses into God’s beautiful heart toward us. (A few days later I sat in the woods on a stone wall. I pulled my phone out and played the calls, within minutes seven to ten chickadees landed in the trees around me … none of them landed on my seed-filled hand. It felt more like an episode of the “The Birds”) Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. Blessings to as you bless your readers with your words!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Heidi, I am so sorry about Thor! He had a way of sending love to all that were lucky enough to know him! I’m sure you miss him and I remember how you told me that God gave him to you to help with the bonding with your kids. The story you shared touched my heart….I often watch the chickadees and they too bring a smile to my face….So glad God granted one of them to give you a hug when needed! Leslie


    • Leslie, Thor was something else … Looking back, I see how God used him in so many ways. He did help us bond … and helped us all to get over ourselves … mostly me 🙂
      He touched a lot of people with his BIG goofy ways (People would often stop their cars to look at him and pet him). Did you know he worked for the college ministry at Ripon? He was definitely a magnet. I shall give a good whistle when I get to heaven and see what happens. THANKS for commenting, Leslie! Hugs to you.


  5. Those close-up-and-personal encounters with God’s creatures do minister to our spirits in a unique way. He speaks to us through them–without words–of his tenderness and affection toward us. I’m hoping along with you that you and your new chickadee-friend will enjoy more encounters. As for your beloved Thor, I do believe he’s waiting for you in heaven (Romans 8:19-21)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will call for him once I get to heaven and will whistle… and see if he comes running 🙂
      Thanks, friend, for your encouragement. My little feathered friend provided such a huge glimpse into God’s kindness and tenderness. The account left me smiling all day.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alan, this encounter changed me … to think He desires to bless His children with the knowledge of His presence … each time they come … is an overwhelming thought … but we must come in reverence and fear, in humility and awe … Thanks for reading and blessing me with your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How gracious and unexpected God is! I’m so thankful that you shared, and I read, this beautiful moment that you had. And I can relate to the loss of your Great Dane. We did the same a couple years ago to our sweet Dane, Jackson, and miss him still. Thank you, Heidi, for sharing this sweet post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am sorry for the loss of your dog, Heidi! Chickadees are prevalent around here, and their constant fluttering reminds me that there is abundant life even in the darkness of winter. I’m so glad God brought you into nature where His love shines bright, always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David. He was a pretty neat dog (all 160 pounds of him)… I am smiling thinking about the Chickadee in my hand … I headed out in the rain this morning, trying to call them again… but they were smarter than I and must have stayed at home in a warm and dry place. Not being able to find them again, made me think how truly special the encounter was. Thanks, David, for reading and blessing me with your comment.


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