Nora – 39 Days Old

Rewind to May 1997. Just home from work and ready to take on the weekend, my life was suddenly and forever changed. My sister Sarah sat on the back porch gazing lovingly into a box labeled as fax machine paper — obviously not at fax paper. Sarah had a reputation for bringing home orphaned or needy pets. When I peeked inside I saw a tiny bright yellow beak peeking out from a bundled blue towel. Its eyes weren’t even opened yet. To make a very long and beautiful story short, I took over the care of that helpless naked baby bird with the intention of releasing her once she was able to fly and eat on her own. However, she had a deformity on one of her feet which caused her rear toe to point forward. Her life span out in the wild would potentially be shortened because of this condition. As her feathers gradually appeared we determined that “it” was a “lowly” little house sparrow. A female that I ended up naming Ava.


I was informed that there are no protection ordinances for house sparrows because they are not native to the United States. Legally I could keep her as a pet. She went everywhere with me, especially in her early years when I had to feed her with a syringe every 20 minutes for 16 hours a day. (Fortunately birds sleep at night!)  Working for a small family owned business I was able to bring Ava to work with me every day. I know people thought I was crazy and wondered why the heck I was even bothering. In the beginning I too wondered if my efforts were futile. She was such a fragile little thing! But I persevered and so did she. As she grew older she continued to come to work with me every day. She went on vacations with me as far as 10 hours away by car. The only time she spent in her cage was when she was traveling, at work with me or if I had to step out for awhile. Otherwise she had free reign of my bedroom when I still lived at home, and then free reign of my apartment when I moved out. At night she slept in a little blue fleece tent on a hook next to my bed.


When she was tired, she knew to fly in there and she expected me to be quiet after she had done so. It was always a source of amusement to who ever I was on the phone with when I had to apologize on behalf of my sparrow “yelling” at me in the background. I could go on and on and on about all of Ava’s endearing little quirks, her “nests” that she’d build, her sun “comas”, her bird baths, her “clicking” at us, her bird songs. This bird had so much personality! For nine incredible years Ava lived with me and then “us” after William and I got married in 2001. She was our first “baby” together and he loved her just as much as I did.


As Gavin and Greta were born into our family they thought it was completely normal to have a sparrow flying around their house sharing breakfast with them. She was just another family member. She passed away in early January of 2007 leaving behind a huge impression on our hearts and maybe an invitation for God to recognize that we’d be the perfect family for another special little “bird”.


Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. (Luke 12:6 NIV)

39 thoughts on “Nora – 39 Days Old

  1. Oh dear God, Aleisa. When I first “met” you on-line through the bluebird forum, Ava was a huge part of your life. We talked daily about her antics. I sooo remember her eating ice cream bars standing on your shoulder. You were still at Copy Cats and you would tell me about Ava’s day with you. And now you have another little sparrow – Nora Rose. Tears fall as I think about your love for Ava and how it paved the way for your love of all of your children. I am so proud of you and how you step up to the plate to deal with whatever life throws you. I love you Aleisa!!!

  2. Beautiful, just as you are. The Lord specially bless you today as you care for His/your little angel!
    missionary to Hungary

  3. What a precious, endearing story Aleisa! You are an amazing woman, with an amazing family, with a beautiful gift of expressing yourself. It would be a great story on its own but you have such a way with words and tying everything together. All of it being part of God’s perfect plan and divine providence! I feel so blessed that me and the rest of the world are able to experience so much of this journey with you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for sharing your gift from God with us…your sweet, adorable, and precious little sparrow Nora Rose!


  5. I don’t even know what to say. This has got to be one of my favorite posts. How loving and determined you were and REWARDED! I knew God knew what he was doing! 😉 lol. What a wonderful Momma bird you are! Take care my dear and very missed friend. God Bless.

  6. Seriously, thank you for sharing this story. Especially for those of us who haven’t known you for that long. Love this story and pics…especially of that last one 🙂 So precious.

  7. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing- I LOVE the picture of Nora in her little nest! I think of you and your strength each time I see a goose, now I will think of your family each time I see a little sparrow. Thank you for sharing this beautiful journey with us all.

  8. I really enjoy reading your blog each day! It is such an inspiration to me! God really knew what he was doing when he brought Ava to you years ago to take care of then HE blesses you with precious litlle Nora! Thanks so much for sharing with us!! Love the pictures!!!

  9. Love this story so much and reminds me so much of my sister and me, saving animals and then loving them, I especially heart the pic of William in the car with the bird on the back of his seat 🙂
    To say “full circle” seems cliche, but thats what I think of after reading this beautiful story. Nora in her “nest” is absolutely adorable btw!!!

  10. Awww….Aleisa the bird whisperer! You are the person responsible for me loving sparrows. Well, actually YOU and AVA. I remember staying at your apartment one night and waking up to Ava pecking at my acrylic nails :). When I tried to rescue a mockingbird, I called you. Evidently I didn’t have your touch…:( Anyway, I loved Ava and I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new baby bird even more!

  11. I’m laying here (really slept in today) wiping some tears as i read this entry just remembering our little Ava. I never thought you were crazy. I remember thinking it was so sweet. She was one of the reasons I married you. Not the main reason, but certainly one of them. I made sure she was with us on our picnic the day I proposed. I felt like she was already family but I needed to make sure I locked you both in. Even through this entry people have know idea just how beautiful, sweet, and funny our little Ava was. Amazing what a little love can do for even one of God’s tiny little creations. She was so loved……. So are you…… I’m so blessed.

  12. Hi Aleisa,
    WOW, I’m speechless, utterly speechless. How does that feel to be so in tune with God and His work in you? This difficult journey for you and your family makes more sense now, THANK YOU for sharing with your friends all over the world. God has given you such a gift in writing that I’m hoping for a book someday! Save these blogs, Nora Rose has only begun to make a difference, that little angel!!! I LOVE the picture of Nora Rose in the little blanket!! Feel our love, support, prayers, gratefulness, and respect for you today, dear sister ~ and please try to get some rest and enjoy the holiday weekend.

    Psalm 39:7: “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in YOU.”

  13. Beautiful!

    Your eye is on the sparrow
    And Your hand, it comforts me
    From the ends of the Earth to the depth of my heart
    Let Your mercy and strength be seen

    You call me to Your purpose
    As angels understand
    For Your glory, may You draw all men
    As Your love and grace demand

    And I will run to You
    To Your words of truth
    Not by might, not by power
    But by the spirit of God
    Yes I will run the race
    ‘Till I see Your face
    Oh let me live in the glory of Your grace

  14. What a beautiful story!!! I love the picture of Ava sitting in her fleece nest while William drives!! That made me crack up! I read your blog everyday and for me it’s a moment where I can sit, pray for your family, and reflect on mine. Thanks for sharing and touching so many lives. I love the Nora nest as well. Such a sweet sweet picture!

  15. This story has melted my heart!!!! I was just looking for that verse you posted at the end this morning in my time with the Lord. I was pretty sure it was in Luke, and I was not finding it. But I moved on to business with kids. etc. And now the Lord used you to bring me back to it. He knew I needed it and wanted me to find it.

    That is SO sweet that you cared for the sparrow. And look at the gift you have to care for now. That picture of Nora looking like she is in a nest is priceless!!!!

  16. I love your story.. sitting here with a smile on my face. My nickname from my daughter is “Mama bird,” which started as we laid in her bed together at night, watching one of those projection “mobiles” of sort, that shone mama/baby bluebirds on her ceiling. And to this day, I still make her “nests” on the couch in a blanket.

    Feel so much hope and love for you all… William, you are as sweet as Eleisa… I can just tell.
    Hugs and prayers for all of you,

  17. What a beautiful story and prelude to your future family. 🙂 And your love for the sparrow reminds me of something I wrote earlier this week about a family of sparrows on our front porch ( – it’s the last little story in the post). I love when God uses creation to teach creation. We are blessed by the fact that you keep your eyes open to it and are obedient to the call to share!

  18. What a lovely post! I’m humbled by your love for and care of the little sparrow, Ava. What a wonderful life she had with you! And now your new little “sparrow”, Nora, is having the best little life she can, thanks to your love. God is truly good.

  19. In so many ways – God was preparing you for the sweet baby that He has given your family. The story about the sparrow is so appropriate. Your ways with words are like a book that God has written to you and you give to those of us to be blessed, challenged, humbled, and I thank you so much. That little nest for Nora Rose is so like what I imagine the womb that God prepares for His loved ones. Thank you.

  20. I’ve been reading your blog for weeks, and I cry every time. My “baby bird” is Jack. He was born three months early and suffered bleeding on the brain. After a month on the vent, the doctors offered us the option of taking him off and letting him “slip away.” They predicted he would be in a vegetative state due to cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. Seven years later, our Jack just finished first grade. He’s nonverbal and relies on a wheelchair, but he laughs with abandon when he hears an inappropriate joke. He is our gift from God. Thank you for sharing Nora.

    • You also are a beautiful mama bird!! Men and women of courage and love that only our God can supply. May God bless your family too!

  21. I think this is my favorite post so far! How blessed you are. I’m inspired every time I read your blog. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  22. I can see why God chose you! You are such a beautiful child of God!
    I so enjoyed reading this and the beautiful photos and sweet little Nora!

  23. you are amazig, really… i have no words… you are such a beautiful person, i wish i could meet you! love love love, silvy

  24. I love this story! Jim and I had a pet hedgehog before kids. I am scared of Birds (pretty sure from my dad having me watch that scary Alfred Hitchcock movie…) Anyway, you are making me change my mind about them…. 🙂 You are such a great mommy!

  25. Pingback: Sparrows | iwillcarryyou

  26. Hello! I know this posting is a few years old, but I just came across it and just had to leave a note! I was so delighted to read your wonderful sparrow story. I currently have a “rescue” female House Sparrow (name is Squeaky) who just happens to have the same foot problem. Me and my boyfriend raised her and her sister (they fell out of their nest in a dangerous location) since they were featherless babies; her sister has since flown away, but miss Squeaky refuses to fly except in downward flutters – I think due to her foot problem, she can’t land properly so is fearful to take full flights. Anyways, we’ve had her for about a year now and she is the sweetest little thing. I would love to get some advice from you if possible since your sparrow lived so long. You can contact me through Facebook if you want or but no pressure. 🙂 Many blessings to you and your family!! -Charmian

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