Friday, February 3, 2017

The Scrub Jay of Scrappiness

This tough native bird knows how to survive year round.
Scrub jays don't help with housework. I need bluebirds. 


I've never seen a blue bird. The closest we have around here are blue jays, except that our blue jays aren't real blue jays, but scrub jays, named after the scrub oak that carpets our foothills.  

Related to crows and magpies, scrub jays eat everything. They have a particular love for the walnuts off my dad's tree and the peanuts I put in the feeder.

Like much of life, these birds are mostly grey, but like the bluebirds of happiness and Disney movies, they also provide flashes of brilliant blue.

Too much happiness is rare and can be dangerous. I so was excited about feeling better last week, that I overdid it and hurt myself. During the multiple painful days it takes to recover, days I want to die, I am most aware of the value of each bright flash of joy.

I am also reminded that life is meant to be a struggle, a test, with moments of joy to make it all worthwhile. LDS president Gordon B. Hinkley compares life to riding on a train.

I'm not allowed many "thrilling bursts of speed" and most of the beautiful vistas I see these days are on a screen, but my family and friends make the ride worth taking.

The original metaphor of the "bluebird of happiness" is also one of flashes rather than constancy. Hope may "perch within the soul," but happiness circles overhead. It is something we have the right to pursue, not the right to keep in a cage by the window. 

In troubled times and grey days of late winter, joy can seem to be in short supply. That is when we need to create our own. 

Bright color helps me with this. So I've added green back to the blue in my hair. I also bought a US flag to hang on my front door. just looking at it makes me feel stronger and happier.

We all have battles to fight--work, health, politics, family. When storm clouds aren't overhead, they are on the horizon. 

But to survive, we have to feed ourselves with moments of joy. So grab a peanut from the feeder. Rewatch your favorite movie. Buy an ice cream cone. Read Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings.

 Sit on the bed and sing to the kids about your favorite things so you, and they, will be ready to face the next thunderstorm, and even bigger challenges to come.

When you have enough peanuts, please share with the rest of us.

Although it was inspired by my scrub jays, I call this "Bluejay." It is available in my shop.


I planned the bluejay shawl before the yarn was even made. I received a bag of blue and grey wool through a subscription from and bought additional wool in a natural grey from Spun together, they created a yarn that looks quite a bit like my favorite noisy birds I used a "cherry leaf" lace pattern, meant to look like feathers.

The other shawl I want to show off is made from gradient shades of green in a super soft merino and cashmere blend. I call it "Wrapped in Summer"--how we always wish we could feel. It would be the perfect cover-up for a prom dress. Of course, it is available in my shop.


  1. We have plenty of Blue Jays here in Indiana. They also hang out all winter. Just the other day I saw one chasing the squirrels. Yes mean indeed.

  2. You are very talented at knit ting and writing. I always enjoy your blog posts.