Monday, March 31, 2014

Another God-given beautiful morning. It is so nice to not sit out here and whine about the weather. I think it is actually supposed to go to 71 degrees today. Hopefully I can get caught up on my work long enough to go for a top-down ride somewhere. It doesn't matter where --- just ride in the sunshine.

The squirrels are running free and wild this morning. I can't begin to keep them off of the feeders. I wear myself out getting in and out of my chair and opening and closing the doors to pop them with my BB gun. So they will just eat their fill and then they will leave for awhile and the birds can enjoy a brunch in peace. What the heck. I don't mind as long as they aren't chewing up my feeders or breaking something.

Yesterday was a good day at the churches. I had my last Confirmation class yesterday evening. We went over the questions that I will be asking the kids this coming Sunday on Examination Sunday. They did OK, but they also have a lot of work to do to not embarrass themselves in front to of the congregation. I give God thanks because I made it through a challenge with this class. One of my confirmands is a rather head-strong young girl who is blind. She is smart as a whip but still immature enough to have not learned a lot of patience and self discipline. I wasn't sure how I was going to teach her or handle her as I have never dealt with a person in that condition. But --- I'm glad to say it all has worked out just fine In fact, as we went over our questions yesterday --- she was the one that was most prepared. I pointed out to the rest of the kids who were relying on their notes to answer question that Jessica did not have that luxury and or option, and she had every bit of her stuff down cold. It was a great object lesson I think.

Yesterday I also baptized four of my confirmands during church at St. Lucas. What a great thing that is. I guess the sad thing about this being my last class is that I don't know if I will stay at the churches long enough to have another class. I'm thinking I may not since it will be three years at least before the next aged group is ready to go through a class and I don't know if I want to stay there that long. We are coming up on a ten year celebration in another five weeks and I'm not sure that it isn't time for me to fully retire. But ---- then what would I do with myself? So --- God and I need to talk. Ms. Kate knows that I wouldn't be worth a crap just being around the house. I'd drive her nuts as well as myself. We'll see where life takes us I reckon.

Time for me to get my work done. Have a blessed day --- I already have.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Its a rainy, rainy morning. I think it will be the norm for most of the day. April showerers bring May flowers they say but it isn't April just yet.

The squirrels have been running rampant through the yard and feeders this morning. The dogs haven't been up until just now so they have been pretty free to do as they please. I've been popping them with my BB gun but its an old game. They just run back up the tree and wait on the back side until they hear the porch door close. Then they run right back up the feeder.

Julie made it safely back from Florida last evening. The pups were happy to see their mom. They were also happy to snuggle in with her at bedtime. I suspect they won't want her out of their sight for awhile. She and the pups will head back to home today.

I have lots and lots of Cardinals out here this morning as well as Finches of all variety. It does make for a beautiful sight. They don't seem to be bothered by the rain in the least. Again though, they are doing a lot of ground feeding this morning. That's fine by me. They need to clean up after themselves and get some of the residual out of my grass.

I give a prayer of gratitude this morning for Julie's safe passage yesterday and pray she will have a safe drive home today in the rain. I also offer a prayer for strength to the families locally that are having funerals for loved ones lost in accidents this week. I hate rainy day funerals because it only adds to the depression of the day. I also offer prayers of condolences to the families in Washington state that lost loved ones in the big mud slide this week. So much tragedy in the world and it is so easy to not look for God's blessings amidst all of it. But God is good, not just on sunny days but on rainy days as well. God is good --- all the time.

Have a blessed day. I know I will.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm "up before the dogs" this morning. That sounds like something that should become "on old saying": Up before the dogs. However, it is literally true. The pups are still sleeping soundly. It was my turn to be out here in the familyroom with them last night. They woke at 0345 wanting a pee run. So I let them out for about five minutes, and they came back in, settled down and are still sleeping. So, it was an easy night.

It rained lat night about an inch. The word looks refreshed this morning. The buffet is open for business and all the critter patrons are making their way in. Only a couple of squirrels have made their way in so far and at the moment they are satisfied to eat from the ground. In fact, as I look around the yard, almost all of the birds are ground feeding this morning. That's interesting. Perhaps the rain has made the spilled seeds easier to open and eat.

The world out there in the back yard is changing little by little every day. The Maple trees are starting to leaf out. All the daffodils are up about nine inches now. The early ones are already in bloom. The plumage on many of the birds is starting to change too with the change of the seasons as mating time starts to roll around. Some of the Goldfinches are now bright yellow. The male Cardinals are a brighter red, and the orange breast on the Robins is brighter. We are having more sixty degree days and fewer thirty degree nights. I feel as if spring has finally arrived. God's world continues on with the assurance of eternity. The earth turns at the same speed as it did the day God set it in motion. People are born and people die and the earth and the seasons continue on without notice.

My prayer this beautiful morning is one of gratitude. Ms. Kate just came through the house for her first cup of coffee. It made my day brighter an I thank God for putting her in my life. I also ask for prayers for healing and strength for our loved ones and friends who are dealing with cancer issues and various other health problems. I pray they may have only bright days filled with the light and love of God's peace.

May your day be filled with peace too.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Afternoon sunshine and afternoon birds; that's where we are today. I have no idea where my day went but I'm late getting to the blog.

It is a lot quieter out here this afternoon than it is in the mornings. The squirrels have filled their bellies for awhile at least. I did go out and fill everything up again this morning. We are supposed to have rain this evening and tomorrow morning so I wanted everything full. Yes, I do spoil my critters even though they have no concept of that.

We did spend some time out at all of the local craft stores. We were looking for a dye cutter to make a cross. We plan to etch a cross on the communion cups that we give to the confirmands for their first communion. But no luck. So, I think I may have to free-lanse it. We did that before and it came out fine.

I'm sitting here with Auggie dog on my lap. He misses his afternoon nap with his momma. Ms. Kate has slept the last two nights on the couch in the family room to pacify the dogs. I have volunteered to take her spot tonight so she can get a good nights rest. They are so used to waking Julie up at zero dark-thirty to go out and here we have nocturnal visitors like opposums and raccoons in the back yard that drive the dogs nuts. We don't want them tangling with the night visitors because they would lose any battle they engaged in.

It is starting to rain some showers and the feeders are starting to get crowded with birds grabbing a bite before the storms come in.

Our prayers today go out for Christine's mom, Jean. Her chemo is starting to kick in and she has been admitted to the hospital. Our prayers also go out to Pastor Ferrell Hardison. He is Lisa's pastor in North Carolina. His son died this morning from a drug overdose.

Julie flies home tomorrow afternoon. It isn't supposed to very good weather, so we pray for a safe journey.

Have a blessed evening.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

No time yesterday morning yesterday morning for blogging as I had a breakfast to attend first thing. By the time I got back and settled in --- well, I got lazy. I admit it.

We certainly have different weather today than we did yesterday. It started snowing, --- yes, snowing on the 20th of March. We only got a good dusting and it was gone by afternoon, but come-on --- enough already. This 70 degrees one day and 29 the next is getting old.This morning it is 20 degrees but sunny which is good because we got to go out later today to the churches and get a bunch of work done.

Our dog sitting is in full swing. The dogs go out -- the dogs go in --- the dogs go out --- the dogs go in. In between --- they sit and look at us and bark. Julie understands what they want but we don't. Mostly, I think they want their Mom and some petting and cuddling. Jules will be home from Orlando on Friday afternoon and the pups will go berserk when they see her. They always do; whether it is a four day trip like this one or just to the store and back.

The pups are doing a fairly good job of keeping the squirrels up the tree although even they get tired of chasing once in awhile. There is a squirrel out there on the feeder right now and the pups are like --- "yeh, maybe later." I get good knee exercise though just getting up and down from my chair to let them in and out.

I'm seeing mostly Goldfinches this morning along with a couple of Robins. I hung a new feeder for the thistle seed and the Goldfinches love it.We counted 17 Finches on it a couple of days ago. I think I have discovered a fact though about bird feeders. Many of the birds do not seem to like red colored bird feeders. We bought a new feeder that is red and white and looks like a light house. It has been up for almost a week and the only birds that seem to go to it are the Finches. It is full of black oil sunflower seed so the bigger birds should be feeding from it. Maybe it will just a a little time.

My thoughts and prayers this morning go out to my brother-in-law, Byron, and my sister Sheila. Byron got a bad report from his oncologist this week. His PSA level has gone up by ten times since his last visit. He has Prostrate cancer but it has been somewhat in remission with treatment. I don't know what is going on now but I know they are scared and worried about it, with good reason. It is yet another reminder to all of us that our days are numbered on this earth and we are not given the tally. Therefore, we should use every opportunity to love those around us and make good use of the blessings and talents God has given us. Life is entirely too short to fill ourselves with negative energy and bad thoughts. Those kind of thoughts just drag us down into an unending spiral of despair and cause us to reflect on things that happened years ago and are long passed. Take the benefit of lessons learned, look for the joys of today and run with it.

Smile at someone today that you frowned at yesterday. It will make your day better and their's too. Have a blessed day --- I know I will.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunporching this morning with Ms. Julie. She and the pups are down for the weekend. Tomorrow morning she flies out to Orlando for a three day business trip and Ms. Kate and I are going to puppy-sit. So far this morning Julie and I have been on the porch for about 45 minutes and the pups have been in and out no less than eight times. I wouldn't call them spoiled --- I 'd call them rotten! But --- they are the love of Julie's life, so what ya'gonna' do?

We had a great Sunday, albiet busy as heck. But then most Sundays are at least through the Christmas, Lent, and Easter seasons. We had good attendance at both services yesterday. Then last evening I went back up for Confirmation class. We are coming to the end of Confirmation. The kids are at the point of cramming for examination Sunday. This coming Sunday I baptize four of them. Then on April 6th they have Examination Sunday in front of the congregation. Then on Palm Sunday they get confirmed. The question then is --- will they continue to attend church? So often the parents don't make their kids continue to come and we don't see them again untill they want a wedding at the church several years later. Its a systemic problem church-wide.

Its a cold morning and promises to get colder through Wednesday. The forecaster even used that four letter "s" word for tomorrow morning. It won't amount to anything but I want my Spring!!! The country is really tired of cold weather. They are even predicting blzzard conditions up where Josh lives, and that just crap for them.

On the other hand, I can not help but be thankful. I continue to be blessed With a family full of love and relatively good health all around. I have no right to ask for more but I'm sure I will. My prayer this morning then is for folks looking for work and who are worrying about how they are going to feed their families. I pray the economy will turn around for folks and they can find work. It puts so much stress on people.

Say a prayer for those less fortunate than you today and share your love with those around you. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Happy Saturday! Indeed it is too. The sun is shining, it isn't raining or snowing, but the wind is going to keep the temps in the low fifties today. It isn't exactly convertible weather but a nice day anyhow.

Entertainment mode is in full swing this morning. Julie and the pups are here and the pups, mainly Auggie, have been driving the squirrels nuts. There were as many as seven squirrels circling around here trying to figure out how to get to the feeders and not get caught by the dog. Auggie has finally come because he is tired of chasing them around. This battle is going to continue for the next seven days since we are pup-sitting next week.

Yesterday was a productive day for us. We got the last of the rose bushes trimmed back and some other raking done. Unfortunately there is still much to do. But maybe if I get off my chair and keep at it, I'll shrink this gut a bit. I also bought a post-hole digger yesterday and re-established my two bird feeder poles in concrete. They have been out there a few years and were leaning way over. Now they are firmly planted and standing straight and tall.

The breese keeps the birds on the move this morning. They land, grab a seed or two and fly away. We put the new feeders out there but have not gotten a lot of action on them. It generally takes a couple of days before they catch on to and get used to the "new or different thing in the enviroment".

My prayer once again today is a prayer of gratitude for the blessings in my life. I am so fortunate to live the life that I do. I'm also so thankful that Julie decided to move to southern Indiana a few years back. She comes down as frequently as she can. Back before I retired, we were in a similar situation with Lisa and her family. They lived about three hours from us and she and the two kiddos came up almost every weekend. Several years before that we had an opportunity for Heather to move back home with us for a year or so after she graduated from college. What a blesing to have kids who love us enough to want to spend time with us. So, -- Lord, I thank you this morning for my family and all of the love that surrounds each of us.

Have a blessed day.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The coffee's good, the sun is bright, and such a day is a total delight. ---- My attempt at poetry is getting any better is it?

Gosh what beautiful morning. Yes, indeed spring is here. Ms. Kate and I drove the back roads yesterday and there are daffodils and crocus blooming out there in people's yards and some even growing wild along the roadside. We went to the churches yesterday to run our Sunday bulletins and we have daffodils blooming along the cemetery next to the edge of the woods. It does make for a small picture of serenity.

The Doves are swooping in this morning along with all varieties of Finches, Sparrows, Robins, the Cardinals, and Woodpeckers. The pussy willow tree was a blur of activity and noise for a bit as the Starling flock flew in for breakfast and a morning round of fussing with one another. They come, they make a mess and peck at one another, and then they fly off for a few minutes --- then repeat the process.

We went feeder shopping yesterday. We bought two new ones and a bunch of different kinds of bird food. I love sitting here on the porch watching all of this back yard activity, but it certainly isn't a free show. I need to give all of these critters a name so I can write them off on my taxes. I mean -- I am supporting them, right? Or maybe I could write off the cost of all the food and feeders etc as one big donation to the "Sunporch Wildlife Foundation".

Our thoughts and prayers this morning go out for our daughter Heather and her children, Lauren and Jon. Heather called us yesterday afternoon and told us that Jon's large dog, Champ, had attacked Lauren's little dog, Maggie, and killed it. I don't know the particulars beyond that. We don't know why Champ attacked, and we don't know if they are going to have to have Champ put down or not. But they are all devastated and heartbroken. They did love little Maggie and they love Champ. So, say a prayer for their comfort and grief. It is the first death that the kids have had to deal with, and we all are familiar with the bond of a beloved pet.

I hear a Woodpecker busily boring into a tree somewhere close by. I hope it isn't one of mine. It is so nice out that I need to get busy and make use of the day God has given me. I have feeders to fill, new ones to hang, a rose to trim right quick before the trash man comes, (oops, I just missed that one) and we need to put down some mulch where it isn't too wet to do so.

Life is good, my blessing abound; and I give God praise for every bit of it. Think thoughts of peace today and have a blessed day.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First day of spring--- first day of spring! I love that is the first day of spring. Just being able to say that brightens up the morning. The fact that it is also a beautiful, although cool morning, is icing on the weather cake.

I had a really good class yesterday although I only stayed for the morning half. It was a class on building a meaningful worship service. And, while I enjoyed the presented concepts, --- I only stayed for the morning part because I know in reality that the ideas presented would never fly in either of our two congregations. The dogma and tradition are simply too entrenched to envision or accept a new and modern style of worship service.

The back yard is full of bird song this morning. There are lots of the smaller birds here today. The Junkos, the House Finches, Sparrows, Goldfinches, as well as a Pilated Woodpecker and a couple of Downy Woodpeckers are all eating at the buffet. The fuzzy tailed rat gang is all here too. What they don't know is that Julie is dropping off the dogs tomorrow for a week while she goes on a business trip. We'll see who gives up the chase game first --- dogs or squirrels. As a minimum it will be a week of aggravation for the squirrels. And there is nothing wrong with that.

We have chores to do today. I need to go up to the church and run the bulletins. We need to go get a bag of black oil sunflower seed and a new feeder. We need to go to Target and maybe even Rural King just on principle because who knows what is out there that I can't live without. And of course, I have writing to do too at some point. That often gets put off until evening or even late at night. It is amazing how much time it takes me to put together a worship service and sermon every week. My sermons only run about 15 minutes. I can't imagine what these pastors do that go on for 45 - 60 minutes. But I spend a lot of times looking things up and trying to find good interpretation of the scriptures I'm using. Admittedly, I get easily off track and just keep reading beyond what I need; but there is some good reading out there and somebody put a lot of work into writing it.

I don't know how one could look at the beauty of a day like we are having today without acknowedging the wonder of God's grace and love. Scientists this week are all excited becasuse they have yet another explantion for "the big bang" that they say began the earth. Alledgedly the explosion occured at about twice or more than lightspeed. Well, duh!!! What they maybe discovered, is a hundreth of the power of God. We people of faith have been knowing that forever. Silly scientists!

Be kind to people today. Share your blessings. God doesn't give them to you to hoard and be selfish with them. Have a blessed day, --- I know I will.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wow, it is 5:30 in the afternoon and I'm just now etting to my blog. I lazed around too long this morning and then had to get busy with my day. But it has been a busy day and a productive day.

It is unusual for me to be out here at this time of day. But the same suspects are out here. I just filled the feeders about 30 minutes ago and the locals all took notice. The squirrel is having a hey day running from feeder to feeder. So far there is only one. The Cardinals are swooping in to get their share as are the Finches and the Downy Woodpeckers.  They will all eat until just around sundown and then be back up in the morning.

Tomorrow won't afford blogging time because I have an all day class to attend, and then we have choir practice in the evening. I'll miss my sunporch time. It gives my brain time to either get started in the morning or down load in the afternoon. Either way is good for the spirit.

My prayer today goes out to the family of a young girl named Hallie Cunningham from Ft. Branch. She was cut down at the age of I believe eight years of age by an extremely rare cancer. Her death has affected the entire area. Her funeral is Thursday afternoon. I'm glad I'm not the one who has to do it. I'm positive that God does not cause such tragic things to happen and I'm also sure that many people are asking why God would allow such a thing to happen. But life is life and death happens to all of us. I pray her family will accept the comfort that God has to offer them. Everything I hear tells me that this little girl spread nothing but joy to everyone with whom she came into contact. Perhaps she had finished the job that God put her on earth to do. Despite the sorrow and tears that the community is currently sharing; God is good, all the time.

Monday, March 17, 2014

28 degrees and yet another blanket of snow. Winter is having last gasps of breath. Two days ago we were out geocaching in 70 degree weather, yesterday we get rain, sleet, and snow. However, it is supposed to get to forty today so most of the snow will be gone within two days.

There is plenty of food on the backyard buffet this morning and the birds are taking full advantage of it. I did have to go out and refill the Finch feeders. The Starlings are back and forth to the feeders this morning. They are such ornery birds to one another. They flit and peck at each other like a couple of three year old kids fighting over a single toy. Generally when this is going on the rest of the birds just sit up in the branches until they fly away.

I have four squirrels here this morning. Saturday I changed out one of the sunflower seed feeders because the squirrels had chewed it up to where seed just fell out of it. I replaced it with an older feeder but the older feeder doesn't have a tray and the Cardinals really need a tray. I guess I'll look for a new feeder this week.

It is St. Patrick's Day. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who legend says drove all the snakes out of that country. It is a silly legend of course --- but as good of a reason to have a beer as any, which seems to be the main celebratory event of the day.

Ahh! I see Mr. Rabbit has come calling this morning. . It hops around out by the garden shed and hides under there. I don'know if it delivers it's litter of bunnies under there or not. In fact, I don't know if it is male or female. I know that in a couple of months, when the lillies get tall, I'll have young bunnies running and hiding under the lilly leaves. Its an annual event that I get to enjoy from the sunporch.

Once again I must stop and give thanks to God for all my blessings. My family is healthy and we all love each other. Our faith family at the two churches is also healthy for the most part. Ms. Kate and I are so blessed to have our church friends and paritioners in our life. In about six weeks we will celebrate our 10th year of serving the two churches. God has indeed blessed us.

Relax, take a deep breath, be grateful for your life, and share your love with someone today.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy beautiful, sunny Saturday morning. Its 39 degrees out but promises once again to head on up into the upper 60's.

My first visitor this morning was a Pilated Woodpecker. If you don't know them, they are huge. I think this one has an eighteen inch wing-span. They have an easily identifiable call that sounds like a jungle bird of some kind. I suspect it is what I saw yesterday circling overhead that I originally thought to be a hawk or eagle. I need to do a little research on them because they almost look like a mini-Terradactyl. I wonder if they are genetically related. I think that I read though that they were the inspiration for the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker.

Ms. Kate and I are not overly motivated this morning although we've had our coffee and she fixed us a wonderful yogurt, banana, and blue berry breakfast. Yummmm! We need to go to Sam's Club today and get more fresh fruit and also some bags of spring yard ammendment stuff. I probably need to swing by and pick up another fifty pound bag of Black Oil Sunflower seed for the critters too.

There are seven Cardinals sitting in the pussy willow tree just outside the window and a half dozen Goldfinches. It makes for a nice combination. I also have a Hairy Woodpecker on the bark butter feeder. I don't know why they are called Hairy Woodpeckers because there is nothing hairy about them.

I give God praise this morning for such a beautiful day and pray that I will make the best use of it possible. Days like this are simply peace for my soul. I hope your days will be full of God's peace too. Share your love and your blessings with someone today. Be the reason they smile.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Its all quiet on the western front this morning, (literally, since that is the direction my porch faces). There was an extremely large Red Tailed Hawk or Bald Eagle circleing around overhead which might have something to do with it. There was one fat squirrel sitting on a feeder when I first came out and that was it.

Today is supposed to be another nice one; sunshine and lower 60's. Maybe we'll get a bit more yard work done. The biggest problem is that the flower beds aren't really dry enough from winter freeze yet to not leave footprints. Where there is grass on the yards it is alright. But, we don't want to be stpping on and mudding down any bulbs or plants. Patients grows short at the first signs of spring. Tomorrow, however, is supposed to be a total washout with rain and then Sunday evening they are again saying that nasty "snow" word.

Well now the gang is all arriving. About a dozen Cardinals, my Goldfinches, a pair of Robins, several Junkos, Sparrows, a couple of Titmouse, and a Downy Woodpecker to round out the crew. Its always interesting to see how much smaller they all look in warmer temperature when they don't need to fluff there feathers out for warmth. Even the squirrels look thinner, although there is no way they weigh one ounce less with all the sunflower seed they eat from my feeders. Speaking of feeders, several are once a in empty so I know what one of my tasks will be today.  I see Mr. Mockingbird just showed up. He's late to the party as were the Chickadees.

Today my prayer is a prayer of gratitude for my mother-in-law, Adelia Parton. Bless her heart, she passed away in 2002, but she was a huge influence on her family. She was "Granny" to all of the grandkids and even to great grandkids who never knew her. This sunporch that I sit in everyday is a direct result of money that she had set aside for her girls after she passed away. She absolutely loved to watch her birds too and kept several feeders going outside her kitchen window. All of my critters today get fed in honor of Granny and I suspect she is pleased. She would have loved to sit out here with me, and in reality --- I know she does. So today, I say "Thank you God for putting this wonderful lady in my life."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Woodpeckers and Robins and Cardinals , oh my; Finches and Sparrows and Doves how they fly!

Just my crude attempt at poetry but it does depict what's happening in the yard this morning. I have lots of friends stopping by for breakfast this morning. And why not? It is a beautiful albiet chilly morning. It is 23 this mornng and the temperature is supposed to double by this afternoon. The best thing is that the sun is shining brightly and that makes things at least seem warmer than maybe it really is.

Speaking of sunshine, --- we were at church yesterday afternoon running the bulletins for Sunday's services and the sun was shining through he window so brightly that it knd of hurt the eyes. And yet --- it was snowing huge flakes at almost blizzard conditions. Everytime I think I have about seen it all, God gives me another wondrous thing that makes me smile! How great is that?

The pussy willows are blooming brightly in the sun this morning. From my recliner, looking across the yard it looks like branches adorned with pearls on them. The daffodils out back have grown at least three inches since Monday. There is a bunch of them out front that might actually bloom this week. They are taller and have blossoms that appear ready to open. Our rhodadendrum has huge buds on it too. Yep --- I think the harsh winter is done and spring is almost here. Praise God.

Yesterday was busy and today will just as much so. I have a meeting this afternoon but we also have a bunch of running around to do. Ms. Kate and I need to put our game plan together for the day. I almost always take her anywhere she needs to go. I'm not sure why do that; its not like she can't drive or needs my help with the shopping. Truth be told, she'd rather I didn't go in the stores with her because I make feel rushed. So, I generally just go and sit in the car. Some times I grab a quick nap, but mostly I just sit and watch people in the parking lots. It does make for good thinking time. But, isn't strange that I feel it necessary to drive her where she wants to go?

My prayer this morning is again a prayer of gratitude. God has so fully blessed me. As the 23rd Psalm says; "My cup runneth over". I'll bet your cup is running over too if you stop to think about it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Well, today is a far cry from yesterday. It is a blustery morning out there and all the critters are hanging on for dear life. At 0630 this morning it was 53 degrees and is dropping rapidly down into the low thirties. Hello March weather!!

Ms. Kate and I got a lot of yard work done yesterday though. We spent about six and a half hours our there raking and trimming. The Knockout Roses in the front flowerbed were out of control but we did a good job of reigning them back in. We still have the ones in the back flowerbed to do.

Speaking of the Knockout roses in the back yard. a couple of squirrels got into a scuffle this morning and one chased the other up into the roses. It was pretty funny. The chaser -- just sat there at the bottom of the rose bush until finally the chase started all over again. As much as I hate that the squirrels eat all of my bird seed, they are fun to watch with their silly antics.

I'm seeing a lot more "pairing" of the birds these days. The Robins are now a pair and I see them picking up a little mud and flying off too. There will be a nest somewhere soon; probably on the curve of one of my gutters. The Goldfinches are paired up too it would appear. This morning there are a lot of male Cardinals out there but I haven't seen many of the females.But the male Cardinals are starting to put their mating display on by pushing up their crown as high as it can get in order to attract a mate. I don't know if they mate for life or just waggle their wiggle until they get a jiggle. In the past though, while sitting out here, I have seen the male Cardinals actually passing food to the females and I thought that was pretty neat.

We have a lot to get done today including the laundry, going to the churches and running the Sunday bulletins and then staying around for choir practice. We are blessed to have about a dozen members in the St. Lucas choir and they love to sing. Right now we are preparing for the Easter Cantata. Also we sing this coming Sunday and I'm looking forward to that. They do sing proudly and joyfully for the Lord.

Today, I pray for a day of world peace. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a day or even two where nobody killed anybody out of anger or greed? Wouldn't it be a glorious day if all words today were spoken in love and kindness? It starts with you. So, my friends and family let me simply tell you; "I Love you". Now pass that on!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wow! It is 53 degrees outside at 0900. Admittedly we slept in this morning so we got out here a bit late. I think we are sdtill catching up with this silly daylight saving time.

Yesterday was a beautiful day too although I didn't see much of it. I spent most of the day down in my office working. Ms. Kate got the raspberries trimmed back and also some of the roses. We plan on today being a yard work day too as soon as we get off our butts. We have a lot of rose trimming yet to do and also a lot of flower beds to clean up. Tomorrow is supposed to be either rain or snow or both. So we need to get it done while we can. Temps are going to be on a roller coater for a while. We did take advantage of the weather yesterday for awhile though. We took the convertable out, went to the birdfood store and then to Cold Stone Creamery for an ice cream. It felt like summer time.

It is very quiet out in the yard toady for what ever reason. There aren't many birds out there and still no squirrels. Maybe they have found someone else to feed them this morning.

So, this morning I give God thanks for yet another beautiful day, for a family that loves me, and for my good health. I also pray that the people that are searching for that missing plane with 237 passengers will find it today. I pray God will be with the families that are desparately wondering what has happened to their loved ones.

Be kind to one another today and share nothing but love. Have a wonderful day --- I plan to.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy New Week! It is beautiful out side the doors of the sun porch today. It has been two days since my last visit out here and it is obvious from the empty feeders everywhere. The Cardinals don't seem to mind, they are finding plenty of spilled sunflower seed on the ground. Most of the other birds are finding residual food too. I will go fill everything as soon as I finish my coffee.

The squirrels on the other hand are just honked off. They have run circles from feeder to feeder to feeder only to find them empty. Then they sit there for a few moments rapidly shaking their tails and looking straight into the porch. I don't speak "squirrel tail" but the message is obvious. They have all left the yard now but I suspect they haven't gone too far. They will know the instant I start filling them up.

Saturday we were on a road trip and I never got time to be out here. Sunday of course is church time and is always a long busy day, hence again no time for the porch or for blogging. I miss it when I can't afford the time to sit out here. I would love to be able to write my sermons and stuff out here but I also know my easily distracted mind. I would spend more time sitting and watching than writing.

God gave us a beautiful weekend. It is hard to believe that just a week ago we had to cancel church because of all the ice and snow. Spring really is coming of course because it is inevitable. God made a world that has continual design. Its only human impatience that makes us continue to wish for something more. Today I give God thanks for those spring flowers that are now up about three inches throughout the flower beds, and for my wonderful Ms. Kate who planted them there. I know that in just a couple of weeks they will be fully up and ready to spread a blanket of bloom to see each morning as I sit out here. God is good and God's blessings are consistent.

Well, the lone squirrel has come back again and is checking all of the feeders once again to see if I have done my job. Several times it has come to the pussy willow branch closest to my window and stared in. I think it just called me an asshole with that angry flip of its tail.

Until tomorrow, have a most blessed day. Think good thoughts and be gracious and grateful for what you have.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wow! We get to actually start the day with the temperature above the freezing mark. How great is that? I can see large portions of grass instead of snow. We are supposed to hit fifty degrees today.  So ----- nice day, and my day off, --- Road Trip!

Ms. Kate and I are going to pack an overnight bag and head over to the home of Superman; Metropolis, Illinois. Its only about a three hour drive --- but on the other hand --- its a three hour drive. Its a micro vacation. We'll take our pennies and give them to the slot machine demons. Some people would criticize us for gambling, but we consider it the price of entertainment. Gambling would infer that one has an expectation of winning and we know that doesn't happen!

I am out of some of my bird friends favorite delights. Tomorrow when we get home I need to go to Wildbirds and Things and restock the bird pantry. See --- another cost of entertainment , only this is guaranteed to pay off. How's that for flawless logic? Mr. Spock would be proud.

Our paritioner who had her knee replaced on Wednesday is doing very well and should be going home tomorrow. How amazing is that? I never cease to be amazed at what God has allowed us to do and learn. Ms. Kate has been through a double bi-pass surgery on her heart, had a knee replaced, and made it successfully through a stroke. People somtimes say that miracles are a thing that happened only when Jesus walked the earth but now we don't have them. I say God uses man to accomplish miracles every day through the things that God has allowed us to discover and learn. And for that. I offer up my prayer of gratitude this morning.

I hope your day is filled with recognition of God's blessings and miracles. Who knows, God might use you today as a blessing or a miracle just through a kind word or a smile that you pass along to someone.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thank you Lord for sunshine and bright skies this morning. It is beautiful out there in critter land albeit a bit cool at 23 degrees. I filled the feeders that hang just out side the door in the Pussy-willow tree. The Cardinals are happy, the Finches are happy and the danged old Starlings are gobbling up the bark butter like it was their last meal on earth. I put that bark butter out there mainly for the woodpeckers --- but it is definitely a favorite of the Starlings and the Mockingbird. Although the Mockingbird actually expends more energy trying to eat it than it gains.

Yesterday was a capital day. Ms. Kate and I did the taxes (finally had the time), then I went to the hospital to see Ms. Mavis and say a prayer with her and her family. Mavis had her left knee replaced yesterday. Bless her heart, she had the right one done many years ago and had to have it redone about six years ago. Now it is the left one.

Finally, last evening we had our Parish Ash Wednesday service. We had around fifty people there. It was put together and conducted by my seven Confirmands and they did an excellent job of it. We are now only about six weeks from their Confirmation  Day. This coming week they will be sitting with their mentors and writing their personal Statement of Faith. They did an excellent job of writing a class Statement of Faith. We used it last night in the service.

So, I have some end of month reports to finish up today for February reporting and the bulletins to run for this week.

I hope your day is full of smiles and love. Remember, if you go out today -- smile at a stranger. It will brighten your day as well as theirs. You have a choice everyday as to what kind of day you are going to have. We have a finite number of days on this earth and we have no idea what that number is. So treat every day as though it were your last and you want people to have happy thoughts of you once you're gone.

God bless you!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From the conditions outside I'd say the thaw has begun. We have lots of fog this morning. My weather guy said last evening that we seem to be headed in the right direction and the artic cold appears to be going home where it belongs. That's not to say no more cold nights --- just not low single digits like we have been having.

Today is Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of the Lenten season. That also tells us that we are only forty days from Easter, which will be April 20th. I have a busy day today. One of my parishioners, Mavis Kruse, is having a knee replaced this afternoon. I need to be there before her surgery to say a prayer with her and the family. Then at 1730 I need to be at the church to get the confirmation class ready to conduct the 1900 hrs Ash Wednesday worship service. Wednesday is generally the day we go to the churches and run the bulletins but I don't see that happening today. Once again the weekend snow and ice screwed up my weekly schedule.

The fog is now lifting as the sun tries to burn through. The normal suspects and entertainers are all out there doing their best to clean out all the feeders. I intend to let them empty everything before I refill. They will do that before today is over, I'm sure. Making them clean out everything ensures I don't have wet and moldy seed in there. So, they have to be part of the "clean plate club" if they want more.

Our granddaughter Amanda called us last night to tell us that she had a job at Cold Stone Creamery, which she knows is my favorite ice cream chain. Frankly, she is lucky to have gotten a job because jobs for high school kids are scarce across the country. But, she graduates from high school on June 6th and already also has two semesters of college under her belt. She is such a fun kid to be around. She's funny, she's lively, she's smart and I think, also full of the Holy Spirit. We're all proud of her.

Its time to leave my porch and get busy for the day. As alwasys, I give God praise and thanks for my abundace of blessings. Right now I need to go in and give one of those blessings another cup of coffee and a good morning kiss.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It is a brisk and brilliant thirteen degrees outside. I went out after dark last evening and refilled my feeders. This morning I can't keep the bushy tails off of them. But then, I expected nothing less.

I spent much of yesterday out front clearing snow. My plan for my driveway worked pretty well and all of the pretreatment did what I had hoped it would. Between some actual shoveling and the John Deere and blade I got my driveway and walks cleared, as well as two of my neighbors and the street / hill in front of our houses all cleared. Of course, I could have simply waited a few more days when the temperatures climb back up to the forties and fifties. But this is the winter that won't quit and who knows what is really coming down the pike?

There is a stranger in the mix out there today. I have a Redwing Blackbird. We get a lot of varieties of "black birds" but not many of these. I've opened the doors and shot my squirrels in the butt several times today just to keep them off the feeders. I have hit them so many times over the months that it has become routine. They position themselves on the feeders so they can watch my doors and they listen for the click of my Red Ryder, and they will try to avoid getting shot. I guess it is an aggravation to them because I know they aren'getting hurt. I would love to use a pellet gun on them but the proximity of houses and the lack of total accuracy on my part prevents that. So we play our little game. I sting their butt, they run up the trees and peek around the branches and wait until they hear the door close, and then come back down to eat again.

I was glad to see Julie writing in her blog again yesterday. If you are reading mine, you should check out hers; its called "An attitude of gratitude".

We didn't get the taxes done yesterday but to we must "render unto Ceasar" today and get that off of our minds.

Look around you today. See all of those blessings that are filling your life? A warm home, food on the table, clothes to wear, friends an family that love you --- your life is full. Take time to be thankful to God who watches over you. Share those blessings with others and give something of yourself to someone else today.

Have a great day --- I know I will.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Its a 14 degree white morning out there in the yard. It looks like we got about three inches of sleet and snow last night. But the sun is shining this morning and if nothing else --- it brightens the spirits.

The trees and feeders are busy this morning as the buffet continues to be visited. We have redbirds, bluebirds, blackbirds greybirds, yellowbirds and a whole bunch of mixed varieties of colors hopping and flying and fussing for the best spot at the feeders. Its like a Las Vegas casino for birds.

I reckon at some point today I need to try and shovel off the drive and sidewalk. I'm hoping that my treating the driveway will make the removal easier. If so then it will be John Deere time. The other job today is taxes. Ms. Kate wants to get them done this week.  Yuk!

The porch is brighter today cause Ms. Kate has come out to watch the birds with me. The sun is really glistening through the ice on the limbs. As usual --- God did good.

Time to refill the coffee cup. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Well, well, well --- hello winter. It has been almost two days since we saw you last. I was really hoping that winter was fading out the back door but we keep getting one more "hurrah". At the moment we are getting rain or freezing rain --- I can't tell the difference. The trees are already ice covered though. Hopefully we won't get too many limbs down or lose power.

The back yard critters are not happy. The feeder poles are ice covered and the squirrels are really having a hard time trying to climb them. The birds on the other hand are glad that I topped off all of the feeders yesterday. They need all the energy they can get today. It would appear that we are in for it until tomorrow sometime.

We cancelled church services today, as has every other church. As Lisa says, worship where you are, and as I sit here in a warm home, watching God's creatures out there --- I have no problem giving God thanks for my blessings.

This current storm has wreaked havoc all across the nation starting with torrential rains in California and now ice, rain, and snow across the midwest. It will be on the eastcoast by tomorrow. A lot of people have lost property and some deaths have been reported across the country. My prayers go out for all of those folks and their families.

And --- despite what is happening weather wise right now  --- a Starling is taking a bath in the birdbath. There is never a dull moment from the sunporch. Have a blessed day. I know I will.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It is a sleepy, snoozy, and grey Saturday morning. Even the backyard is relatively quiet. There are two squirrels up on feeders and two eating off the ground, but none of the frantic running around that we've seen earlier this week.

It is March 1st and 43 degrees right now. The area, in fact the whole middle of the country is bracing for the projected winter storm that will be upon us twenty four hours from now. I'll need to top off feeders again today to make sure all my backyard friends have food available. Then we'll hope the feeders don't get too ice covered to use.

As I sit here, activity is picking up. There are now seven squirrels out there and the chase has begun. Each one tries to protect its area and steal from the others at the same time. Like basketball players, they do offense and defense at the same time. They are fun to watch but they are also expensive to feed and destructive to the feeders because they will do what ever is necessary to get at the food. I reckon that is called survival.

I reckon I have set here long enough for now and should get up and do something productive. Besides, the coffee cup is empty. Whether you are a friend or one of my wonderful family members reading this --- I hope you have a wonderful dy. I know I will because you are in my life.