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Grace. Monday February 27, 2017

One of my daily delights is to watch the birds enjoying the food we put out for them. This abundance of food – over and above any expectations of the Season – is a simple example of 'grace'. Grace is 'unmerited favour'.

Our lovely winged friends don't 'deserve' this gift. They haven't 'earned' this gift. I, for one, am somewhat 'offended' by the thought that they should have to 'earn' their gifts from me. For me, it is a great pleasure just to give. You may argue I am expecting something in return, but let's agree to disagree on that. I get pleasure from seeing them enjoying this abundance, for sure, but they are going to get the gift whether I see them enjoy it or not.

My pleasure is in the giving to creatures who cannot return the favour.

The Moodscope blog is a great place to be honest and bare one's soul. Honestly, then, I am not sure anymore whether the Universe is a friendly place or not, or whether there is any higher power particularly active at the moment, but I do know there are many gracious people on the Planet. These are the people who enjoy giving without expecting anything in return, and I am grateful for them.

My point today? If the Universe is a friendly place, is it possible that it might get pleasure from bestowing on you today a gift that you haven't had to earn, a kindness that you don't particularly deserve, and an enrichment that you don't have to pay back?

I hope so. And I hope that, today at least, you'll be as open as the birds to the surprise bounty of abundance that could be coming your way.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Eva Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 6:30am

Hi Lex, I never thought of looking up the meaning of grace, I had wrongly assumed that it went hand in hand with graceful which to me seems to be a kind of elegance coupled with a peaceful demeanour. I like this meaning I'm going to think about it some more. I can't feed the birds here, there are so many cats that I would just be feeding the cats! And although they also maybe deserve grace, I'm sure they get that at home.

I have left a note for the Gardener and Kristen on yesterday's blog.

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:24am

Hi Eva! Grace, like so many words, has many levels of meaning. Each has its own reward. May you be rewarded by 'grace' today! I loved your point about the cats!

Orangeblossom Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:03am

Thanks Lex. As ever, I loved your blog. Feeding the birds is a new interpretation of grace for me! Hope that you have a grace-filled day.

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:25am

Thanks, Orangeblossom - it is an interesting journey for me at the moment, and, as ever, I shall find food for blogs in it! Grace and peace to you.

Karen Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:07am

Your words "I am not sure anymore whether the Universe is a friendly place or not, or whether there is any higher power particularly active at the moment" ring very true with me at the moment. It seems a lonely place when you realise a higher power may not be navigating your life with for you, so I draw comfort in the idea that grace is not just relevant in theology, but can be found, appreciated and applied in more concrete forms. Thanks for your words.

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:27am

You're so welcome, Karen. To find grace where I wasn't looking for it or expecting it has been a great comfort... especially when my theology has some holes in it!

Mary Wednesday Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 1:52pm

In the midst of depression, theology is not much help. Hanging onto the rags and remnants of faith is sometimes all we can do. If we hang on, then the sense and logic of theology can and will return, even if it is a changed theology (and how can it be otherwise?). Like Leah's blog on change, we have to be prepared to change our view on faith and theology - change our view on God. His ways are mysterious and not our ways. (And - please, if I sound "preachy" remember my desperate clinging on just a few months ago. Been there and oh, I feel for you. Hugs and blessings to you both)

Dawn Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 9:28pm

We need to keep on hoping and believing and staying near to God and we will feel Him near us. We may move away, but God is still the same, today, tomorrow and always. I'm praying for fresh revelation for you Lexi and peace for your heart and mind. Love Dawn x

Lex Tue, Feb 28th 2017 @ 7:53am

Thanks, Dawn. I think an element of my message is that when hope and faith seem faint, grace can still win the race x

Hopeful One Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:15am

Hi Lex- a profound blog.The key thing seems to give without ANY expectation of something in return and then to keep one's mind in a state so "you'll be as open as the birds to the surprise bounty of abundance that could be coming your way" Maybe this is one way for Karma to do its job?

To continue our wry look at life.

11.Some days you are the bug, and some days you are the windshield.
12.If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
13.Don't squat with spurs on.
14.Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.
15.Good judgement comes from bad experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.
15.Never miss a chance to shut up.
16.Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your mouth is moving.
17.Anything worth taking seriously is worth making fun of.
18.Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
19.Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it. 20.The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

17 seems particularly apt for the Squadron as it sometimes gets flak from the PC brigade when some of its jokes appear close to the bone. The the Squadron retreats with grace( pun not intended)

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:33am

Hi Hopeful One, thanks for the funnies... truly brilliant! As for Karma... I'd need to shift my understanding of Karma because I think that is usually used in the sense of the Universe giving you back what you deserve, isn't it? By 'Grace' - I'm really meaning getting what you don't deserve (in a very good way).

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:38am for 17, I agree! I've had the privilege of working with nurses over the years. As a generalisation, their humour is very dark, but it really does help them cope with the trials of life that would leave lesser souls in ruin. Keep up the good work, HO!

Jul Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:53am

Hi Hopeful One. I like these! No 18 stands out for me."Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes" I always try but often don't succeed, to put myself in other peoples' shoes. I find with Moodscope, often we just do not know what is going on in each of our lives. If we read the blogs etc regulaly, we can get an idea but so often there is so much more we may never know about. If only we could walk a mile in Moodscoper's shoes. Having said that though, I think we all do a very good job of understanding each other. Julxx

Hopeful One Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 5:33pm

Hi Lex.- I thought Karma worked on a debit/ credit format in the reincarnation cycle So if one built up too many debits in this life one came back in a lower life form than the previous one in the reincarnation cycle and if one built up enough credits one came back in a higher life form until one could get no higher and reached Nirvana. So feeding the birds would presumably incur a credit which Karma would take into consideration when deciding which life form to award ( setting aside the issue for the time being) whether deserved or not. This is serious stuff so one can apply rule 17. "Welcome to the Karma Restaurant. We have no menu. You get what you deserve" Thanks for the "good work" sentiment.

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 6:09pm

You're a genius... I'm coming back as a slug...

Leah Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 9:17pm

Hopeful One, Just wanted to say I was touched by your remarks yesterday and my thoughts are with you. I only hope one day to be as positive as you. The list today- am working on 15 but not successfully. 18 is good advice and have tied it.15there are two 15s!! The first 15 I can relate to. Enjoying this list.

Hopeful One Tue, Feb 28th 2017 @ 9:26am

Hi Leah- when I became depressed the psychotherapist assigned to my case happened to practice CBT. Now I accept that this is not everyone's cup of tea but for me it worked a treat. He told me to think ABCDE. A= Activating event ( in my case the loss of all my dreams hopes and ambitions as I approached retirement and realised I would be a long term carer instead and not do the things I had planned with my wife as she had succumbed to Alzheimers Dementia).B = belief( this is the critical step.) I could develop a belief that all these things were sent to punish me or that I deserved it in some way . But I could also look at it in a different way and say well I never learnt how to cook but now I could teach myself that,or running a home , or getting the best of what was left to us )This leads to C= consequences in that your belief dictates the mood you will have. Look at it in a negative way and the mood goes down but looked at another way it kept one positive.D= dispute /debate. At this point the one's Inner Critic is screaming. So to still him/her one drew a line down in the diary which I was advised to keep and put down each negative thought and balance it with a positive one. E= evaluate look at that list and the next day and see what actually happened. I kept doing this (it was not easy as motivation is low in depression) but gradually the fog lifted. I now had a 'new positive tape to play in my head and replace the old tape and that is how I learnt to remain positive even in the face of some really bad stuff.Apologies for such a lengthy reply but there you have it.

LP Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:27am

Hi Lex,
I believe that the universe is nature and it has a way of balancing things out eventually. If I put bad energy out with force it will come back at me like a wave. If i put good energy out that too will come back. If I don't put any energy into what I want nothing will happen.
I didn't know the meaning of grace either, but I like it!

A very timely blog for me this morning. I woke up feeling anxious and panicy about a row that I was drawn into and what will happen as a result. I stood up for what I believe to be kindness and fairness. Your blog has calmed me down and for now at least I can relax and let nature take it's course. I certainly am open to any grace that may come my way today! I'll look out for the little things that mean alot and not dwell on any negatives. I have faith in myself and in the universe. Thank you so much Lex. I hope that you too are blessed with some grace today. Peace and love to all, LP xx

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:49am

Hi LP, always glad to be a means of grace! Actually, 'grace' has multiple meanings which means there are sorts of ways you and I and our family of Moodscopers could experience grace today. May your calm continue, may your faith in yourself and the universe grow stronger, and may your openness to grace open the door to its manifestation! xx

Jul Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:45am

Morning Lex. Your blogs bestow a nice feeling in me. You write with grace today. We too feed the birds and get great pleasure from watching so many different species land on the feeder. Some birds wait in a queue to get a space. It's a simple pleasure. Like LP I too woke feeling anxious with a blinding headache. I feel better already and more able to face the day. Thank you for your bogs Lex. You've no idea how much they help. Julesxx

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 8:51am

Hi Jules, thank you for your kind and encouraging words - a means of grace to me... If I may borrow your own words, "You've no idea how much you help others." Exit anxiety, exit headache, and have a grace-filled day xx

Angela Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 9:22am

This is lovely, it reminds me that the nicest things in life are the simlest. Interacting with nature is such a good way of grounding ourselves. Hugs for my fellow 'scopers xx

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 9:52am

I so agree, Angela - may you have a day filled with the simplest of life's nicest things! xx

Angela Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 9:24am


Tilly Mint Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 9:56am

Hi Lex. Loved your blog. I absolutely adore birds. I love looking out of my kitchen window to see who's about. I always smile inside, especially when I see my Robin and now there's two who don't fight so I'm hopeful they're a happy couple! Maybe they'll have chicks! Nature is soothing for me and I like to feel needed without demand so to have a bird table and keep my little feathered friends happy is a real pleasure or gift to me. For me feeding and watching birds or looking after a pet or gardening has such a positive affect on me. Apart from minor expense such as seeds or garden tools etc it's free to do and what you get back is endless and free and a gift. You can't buy it. I still think of 5 millionaire moments each night when I get in bed. I guess it's a version of giving thanks if you've a faith. One is always my birds and garden and Betty Boo my cat. Betty Boo came and sat on my window ledge two weeks after my last cat died. I was planning when I was ready to get a dog as my next pet but knowing this poor cat was the local stray living on its wits and nerves, that was cut and bruised and hungery and in poor health and in a word, terrified and exhausted, I couldn't not help. Me and Betty Boo have been together now for a year and a half. She was definitely a gift. She's happy, healthy, confident and affectionate and no longer scared. Without her knowing it she's helped me more than I can put into words.

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 10:38am

Oh Tilly Mint, this is beautiful... if I was a cat, I'd be purring...

DAVE Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 10:13am

Hi Alex,
Nice to see that other Moodscopers also feed the birds and enjoy nature, animals and birds seem so much more appreciative than some humans.
Like Jul, 18..I have very 'one or two pairs of ther people's shoes in my cupboard' that don't belong to me...When we keep giving and don't expect anything in return, we are sensitive enough to embrace empathy, that is, I believe how we realise grace.
Sometimes though it can backfire, and in those instances if we stay focused upon continued giving, perhaps because we have no wish to become like or lower our standards to that person level.

I supported a friend yesterday and felt a bit 'miffed' at his response, searching my thoughts and actions on his behalf, I felt no guilt, even though I receive a little flak myself from third parties. Stand firm in the right and your belief, then we fear no one , I still have my friend !
Thanks again Lex.

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 10:39am

Hi Dave - hadn't realised 'empathy' as one of the most helpful outcomes from grace - a lovely insight, thank you!

The Gardener Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 11:19am

HO - how you have cheered an awful morning. Mr G so rude to nurse (I could hear the racket downstairs) I sat him down and got him to actually admit that it was not very nice - then I sent an e-mail of apology to the organizing nurse, Moodscope and nurses two of my lifelines - I leave my live-in misery in a warm bedroom with classical music - a choice of a five nurse rota arrives - often have had to get up and scrape their windscreens of frost - I stroke the cat, get a cuppa, check e-mails, go for the bread (positive pleasure on a fine morning, smiles and the sun shining on our 12th century church). Birds, my passion (was my business in teens early 20's). I've said before how I felt real 'grief' for the loss of my birds. Next door had five cats, would not let them in the house. I had a bird 'restaurant'. We had breakfast together - lots birds less than 2 metres away. The cats came in at crack of dawn and decimated the fledglings - and many adult birds - chilly and in need of food early mornings they were very vulnerable - we lost the lot except for wily blackbirds and sparrows. In Australia and the USA it has been found that feral cats are reducing bird life and actually driving some small mammals to extinction. Even Chris Packham says that there are far too many cats in the UK.

Hopeful One Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 5:36pm

Hi Gardner- charmed and delighted it lifted an awful morning.

The Gardener Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 11:22am

PS to birds - the ground feeders like chaffinches and greenfinches were wiped out completely

Suzy Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 12:27pm

As someone who struggles hugely to accept kindness shown to me, I very much like your paragraph that begins with 'My point today...'
Thanks oodles Lexi,

Mary Wednesday Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 1:55pm

Suzy - so lovely to hear from you! I know it's you: nobody else says "oodles" like you. Huge hugs!

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 6:41pm

May oodles of grace be yours in abundance today, Suzy, and throughout the coming week! Oodles are delicious, and so are you!

Suzy Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 11:02pm

Heehee! Love that you know me by 'oodles'. I also use the word flapdoodle a lot and so I now have a friend who calls me Doodles. :o) Having been away for so long I'm kind of out the loop but I'm getting the feeling from your comments that you've had it super rough in recent times Mary. Ahhh m'lady. And yet, somehow, your tenacity and joir de vivre still sparkles through - even though I know the windows are currently blacked out (or have been). Sending ooooodles of Soooozles love to you xxxxxxx

Suzy Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 11:05pm

Thanks Lexi! I'm full of oodles of flapdoodle for the most part. :o) I think I've replied mary's msge to lex and vice-versa:o/

Mary Wednesday Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 1:57pm

I am in need of grace today Lex, so thanks for your timely blog. I hope it's not the new drug, but I am angry and irritable for absolutely no reason. My blog on Wednesday is (indirectly) about a bird. Great minds as always, my darling. Huge hugs.

Lex Tue, Feb 28th 2017 @ 8:38am

We are aligned! (Well, at least a little bird told me so!) It seems a lot of people had challenges yesterday, so I'm hoping you'll get some sunshine and relief today.

Mark Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 6:25pm

Yet another illuminating post by you, Lex, and always expressed with such originality and clarity, thank you! Amongst others, I associate 'grace' with dignity and being unhurried. The notion of acts of 'grace' reminds me of 'random acts of kindness' = perhaps they are close siblings. I do enjoy and learn much from your posts; thank you for sharing your perspectives on life.

Lex Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 6:42pm

He who talks about grace is one most in need of it! Thank you, Mary... we are all on this journey of grace together! Big hug to you and all...

Leah Mon, Feb 27th 2017 @ 9:20pm

Thanks for a thoughtful blog as usual. Alas I don't feel as smart as others who have replied so will read it again later and am sure will understand it more.
Grace used to be a popular girls name and is popular again- is that a oood sign?
I always associate grace with being cultured and refined-2 things I lack!! Thanks again.
PS RATG in case you read this, sending hugs and kind thoughts .

Lex Tue, Feb 28th 2017 @ 8:29am

Hi Leah, 'Grace' is a lovely, name, isn't it? One of my grand-daughters is called, 'Charis' - a Greek name for 'Grace'. 'Graceful' is also such a wonderful word and 'state'. I'm up for all aspects of the word! As for being 'cultured' or 'refined' - I'm pretty sure that depends upon the eye of the beholder!

Tilly Mint Tue, Feb 28th 2017 @ 7:19am

I saw Chris Packam giving a talk for charity. Lovely bloke. He was simply talking us through a photo album really but he had us all transfixed. I remember him from tv when I was little. He did mention his love of domestic cats...... fortunately my Betty Boo is so grateful for the processed stuff I buy she completely ignored the birds and indeed they do her! I can't dislike animals of any type even if they do things we as so say civilized humans don't like. We're expecting them to abide by our rules which have changed over the years because of our life styles and values. Rats are a pest. Sea Gulls are a pest. Why are they venturing out of what we demand is their natural habitat? Because we've created a new environment that suits them. We all have a right to be here. If you love nature you can't pick and choose.

Lex Tue, Feb 28th 2017 @ 8:36am

Hi Tilly Mint, I love the Ecological Intelligence in what you've written here. We've got two cats who Penelope loves. We've structured the way we feed the birds so that the cats physically can't get near them. They still, of course, bring in what they've killed from time to time, which is very distressing, but then I still eat meat because I choose not to think about how it got to my plate. My three sons, however, have all become vegetarians.

Rosemary Tue, Feb 28th 2017 @ 1:31pm

Hi Lex
I loved your blog and it made me smile as it brought back memories of my Mum. She always used to feed the birds on her way out to Dialysis and I used to say to her 'why don't you leave it until you get home and then you'll get the pleasure of watching them eat' Her reply was always that she fed the birds because they needed food not so that they could put on a show for her. She pointed out that she had the pleasure of watching them all the time whether she had just fed them or not and so the two did not need to be connected. Mum really understood the true meaning of Grace x

Di Tue, Feb 28th 2017 @ 10:37pm

Dearest Lex ~
This may well be my all-time favorite most meaning-filled post. From my heart, I thank you. I find my depth of hunger ~ which many times stays unspoken, aching, and scorched ~ softened, full of hope, and once again childlike in its ability to trust humanity.

Thank you.

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