Birds, Hope and Fern Shaming

The thing about spring in Georgia is that there isn’t one.

It’s cold one day, a little warm tease and then BAM. Hot. So a few weeks ago when we had a blip of a warm day I immediately drove to Home Depot to get some ferns. You see, I have been eagerly awaiting the spring, when the earth wakes up and shows off. Last spring we had the amazing experience of witnessing two different birds make a nest in our front porch ferns and it was incredible. Well, one of them was incredible and one of them was incredibly sad. You can read about last year’s nests here.

So when I heard the little birdies chirping on the this wanna-be-spring day I just knew they looking for a place to make their nests. I joyously parked near the garden area of Home Depot noting how unpopulated it was at the time. I found a bored looking older lady at the outside cash register warming her legs with a space heater. She looked a little surprised to have a customer but I went ahead and asked, “Do you have any ferns?”

She tilted her head affectionately and pressed her lips together prepping me for her response, “Honey, it’s too early.” I hung my head defeated (and embarrassed) “What do you mean it’s too early?! I said in my head. “I heard the birdies this morning! They need to make a nest and so I need to get them a fern AND THERE IS SPRING IN MY HEART!!!”

But I just choked out, “Oh. Ok. Well, when will you have them?” She told me they would have them in a couple of weeks, BUT I should still really wait until mid-April just in case we have another cold snap. I reluctantly thanked her, turned towards the parking lot and imagined her shaking her head slow and watching me walk away, “Poor girl doesn’t know the first things about plants.” Is probably exactly what she said.

So I went home and for the next week I listened to the pleading of the birds. I filled up my bird feeders and assured them that I would provide some more than adequate lodging very soon. I told the kids that we would have a birds nest this year and my husband reminded me of the sadness of last spring- when my middle daughter and I buried one of the nests full of baby birds. The momma was found not far from the nest on the ground-some animal had intercepted her before she made it home.

Yes it was sad, but I think it was this exact sadness that made me more hopeful than ever that this spring would be full of joy and life and baby birds. In fact, just as depicted in my favorite Pixar movie Inside Out, sometimes sadness is the avenue by which you arrive at life’s greatest joys. As exciting as it was to watch the first nest fill up with eggs and then witness the first flights, how much more exciting would it be this time around with a different perspective. A perspective of hope mixed with the reality that sometimes things don’t workout the way want them too. Because that is real life.

But when we give up hope that things can be better we give up on life.

I waited one week and journeyed back to Home Depot walking straight past the Fern Shamer Lady. I looked frantically around for ferns while avoiding eye contact with her. I found a different employee to ask, and he led me inside to a pillar of magical ferns. I swear I heard the hallelujah chorus and heaven opened up to shine a beam of sun on my ferns. I grabbed three and headed to a different register.

But she saw me. And can you believe she actually recognized me, judged me and shouted across the aisle, “Be careful! We may have another freeze!” The nerve! I paid for them and pretty much ran to the car never looking back. You’re not going to rain on my parade lady!! I’ve got spring in my heart, hope in my hands and birdies on my mind! I flung those ferns up on the hooks and even put out welcome home bird seed all over the front porch.

And in just TWO DAYS we had a nest!!  A beautiful, perfect, ready for babies nest. The kids and I were ecstatic. Great job Momma bird! It looks perfect. Welcome to the Clark house. We’ve been expecting you. Because no matter what happens in life our job is to hope and prepare and expect good things. So every day we check our nest, careful not to touch, and we smile with Spring in our hearts. Counting eggs and blessings.

My Unexpected Bookish Blessing

I wasn’t exactly looking for books when I came to The Farm. I heard about Vikki from a friend who told me that she found out about this woman who lives in Ball Ground, GA and encourages women to know that they are Loved, Worthy and Enough just as they are. The friend told me that Vikki had a unique and colorful backstory that included “Olympic bodybuilding” (which is not a thing), addiction and steroids. Well those subjects hit close to home for me- even Olympic weightlifting (which is a thing).

Long story short, I did know Vikki from years ago when we both lifted weights at Coffee’s Gym in Marietta. It had been 20 years and seemed like a past life with all of the changes we had both been through. (Thank the good Lord!) I was thrilled to hear about all the good things she was doing at her farm-Revival 356, and I wanted to go check it out myself. Here is me, Vikki and Lula-mae, the alpaca who likes kisses.

The beautiful red barn was even more beautiful on the inside. It was a chilly day, but there was a fire burning and the smell of incense and earth filled the air. Every inch of the barn invited you to slow down and be loved. There were mismatched chairs and repurposed farm décor, fresh cut flowers and the occasional stray chicken or bird. There was a wall of pictures, bins of scrap metal, leather, and wood. A crafty person’s dream. (They also hold art days and journal making classes at the barn monthly!) But what caught my eye was the books!

Shelves and boxes of books about love, spirituality, relationships and Jesus. My friends who know me know that this is TOTALLY my jam. (I’ve been reading Max Lucado since I was a pre-teen!) Vikki also loves to quote my BFF’s Brene Brown and Dr. Caroline Leaf AND she  “feeds her soul” through yoga and meditation. My friends who know me know that this is TOTALLY my NEW jam! We sat around these piles of books and swapped stories. She showed me around the farm and told me all about her mission to help others discover that they are Loved, Worthy and Enough.

I gotta say I’m not really an animal-lover, but I AM an animal-lover-lover. What I mean is, I dig people who are into animals and nature because they seem to be the kindest people around. I am more of a people lover, but still I enjoyed the peacefulness of farm-life, and these goats are pretty stinkin’ cute. I love how Vikki uses all that she is and how God made her to communicate love loudly-even sharing a beautiful metaphor about a “fence-climber” sheep based from Psalm 23. I was so drawn to the barn and to Vikki that I decided to visit regularly for some “life coaching”. I wasn’t sure what that looked like, but I believe in counseling and getting godly wisdom so I went for my first session and was blown away.

We didn’t even get through the first question on the list that she had me send in before our session. I’ve been to counseling before when I “needed it”, but this was different. I know I’m a work in progress but I like the direction I am headed.  I’m an achiever. A goal-setter. And thanks to Brene Brown and Liz Gilbert I’m not really afraid to put myself out there and risk failing. So, when I told Vikki that I was there to be a “better version of myself”, she said in her soft, sweet southern voice, “that sounds like a doing instead of being”, and BAM we talked for over an hour about THAT.

It’s not that those things are a bad thing, it’s just that life is in the present, the moments, the breaths that we take. I can work on the Better-Future-Bonnie, but if I’m not treating the In-This-Moment-Bonnie with compassion and really being present, I’m missing out. I get that. And I want that. Vikki loves to say that she doesn’t have the answers: “Take what resonates with you and sow it to your heart…And if something doesn’t resonate with you-throw that stuff out the window on your way out!” (She doesn’t say “stuff”.) I love that. I want to be so wise one day (when I grow up), that I don’t give people advice. Just love instead.

Life is such a journey of moments and I am learning to make space in my heart and mind to receive the gifts that come with each one. And every morning I will start all over again because His mercies are new. I am so grateful that He led me to peaceful green pastures- literally. At the Farm. I even stopped to smell these gorgeous daisies (and snap a picture), because daisies hold a special place in my heart, and I knew they were a gift… just for me.

At the end of our visit, Vikki recommended a book that was in her life-changing “top-ten”. I ordered it, because I know that books and conversations change lives. Do you have a favorite book that has made a positive impact in your life? I’d love for you to tell me. I’ll totally read it!

Until our next bookish adventure,


World Poetry Day


I gave you a name.
A beautiful name to start you on your journey, but I know it is only temporary.
A whisper of your true name.

Life is filled with whisper, you just have to listen for it.
Birth is the first. Your welcome to the world.

Did you hear it?

A sunrise, a crashing wave, a perfect harmony. All whispers of who you truly are.
Listen for it when you are young, and learn to fill your life with moments of whisper.

How do you know when you’ve heard it? You will know.
Your heart fills with joy as you close your eyes to memorize the moment.

Listen. Right then, when you discovered what you were made for.
The head acknowledges the heart. A quiet whisper.

My greatest prayer is to help you hear your whisper, because I know when I do, I’ll hear mine too.

One day we will be given a new name. Our true name. Written on a white stone.
The name I gave you will pale in comparison to the beauty of the name that perfectly describes you.

Who else could sum up all that is you in one beautiful name?
The One who knows your heart.

Your true name will sound familiar and complete, and on that day your heart will be content.
As you rest in the fullness of being known.

Listening to the voice of your Beloved…no longer a whisper.


-Bonnie Clark

Interview with debut author Amberly Kristen Clowe

Hi Krissy!

Welcome to Bonnie Clark Books! I am so excited for your debut chapter book Teeny Sweeney and the Moustache Cash. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy and I can’t wait to read it with my kids! So…

Tell us a little about yourself!

“I live in Texas with my husband and two children. My husband and I work in the AWANA program at our church, and we also enjoy teaching a Sunday school class. I taught elementary school before staying home and then homeschooling my children. I have worked in the publishing industry for about ten years. I love, love, love writing the Teeny Sweeney series. My day is totally made when I can inspire a kid to laugh and also grow in his or her relationship with Christ.”

What does your writing process look like?

“With Teeny Sweeney, I brainstorm different story plots that have been floating around in my head for a while. For me, the zanier, the better. I then think about which plot would make sense for the next in the series. I know every author is different, but I’m a total outline-girl, so that comes next. After outlining, I’ll begin the manuscript. I like to write a chapter, re-read to make sure it works, and then continue until completed. Once done, I make a checklist of things that I felt could be stronger and to also ensure I have the needed elements, like enough scripture, interesting characters, and humor. Picture books are similar, but without the outline. The process for middle grade and young adult fiction is a bit longer. I will often even have a document for loose ends that need wrapping up. With all of the above, I like to also make a list of the characters and his or her attributes. I want to make sure that everyone is fleshed out and doing things that make sense for their characters. My writing process may be lengthy, but a polished product is totally worth it.”

Tell us more about your new children’s chapter book Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash.

“I’m so excited to share this story with the world, you guys! It’s all about third-grader Teeny Sweeney. She’s spunky. She’s fun. And she’s figuring out life with God’s Word as her guide. Teeny is tasked by her teacher with creating a business idea, but in true Teeny fashion, she does so much more. Teeny has a tight-knit family, a special best friend, and of course, an arch-nemesis. Growing up, some of my favorite people were characters in stories. I really think Teeny Sweeney can be a favorite of your children or students or family members. And it completely thrills my heart to be part of a series that can help kids see the importance of scripture. God’s Word is the ultimate tool that can guide us all in this crazy life, and I’m beyond grateful for that.”

And lastly, Have you always wanted to be a writer?

“Hmmm. That’s an awesome question. As a kid, the thought never occurred to me. I just loved to read and write. This passion was pre-research papers and essays to prepare for the future. And it wasn’t until college and being exposed to children’ literature again, that I remembered my joy for the art. Now, ten years later, what would I do without my quiet time with the keyboard?”

Thank you so much for chatting with me today on World Book Day!! I can’t wait to read your books and get to know Teeny Sweeney myself.