Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It is a cool brilliant morning again. I don't see a cloud in the sky althugh the prediction is for clouds and a shower or two to move in later today. But for now I'll enjoy the sunshine and all the morning songs of the birds.

The wind and or breeze has caused the Maple tree seeds to start falling so the sidewalks and everything else is getting covered with those little "helicopter" seeds that whirl to earth. Nature just keeps on giving us presents. A few years ago both my neighbor and I had Sweet Gum trees in our yard. Those things constantly were dropping gum balls in the yard to the point it was dangerous to walk for fear of twisting an ankle if we stepped on one. Fortuntely we have gotten rid  of them. However, I still constantly fight the residual from all of the seeds they dropped over the years.

There is a rabbit sitting six feet from me right now just outside of the doors to the sunporch. Every spring I have one that stays in the daffodils and lilies and has her young bunnies in there. Its good cover and certainly there is plenty to eat. As long as they don't eat the potted plants or the garden, we'll be friends.

Last night I brought in the two bark butter feeders and filled them. But rather than put them out and having the raccoon suck them clean, I waited until this morning to put them out. The result is that I have had a steady stream of what I call the "pointed bill" birds such as Woodpeckers of two varieties, Titmouse, Starlings, Nuthatch, and of course the Mockingbird. This morning I also have three or maybe four Robins hopping around out there grabbing breakfast. As soon as the grass dries some more I need to mow today. The rain really made it grow. It would be great if we could have a week or ten days with no rain about now so we could get the remainder of our planting done. Of course the farmers are saying the same thing. Sunday we only had a couple of the men in church because they were all out in the fields planting corn.

It is time to stop and give thanks to God for the constant blessings that rain down on me. I may be the richest person I know. My life is full of love and loved ones and friends. I have my faith to sustain me and God who guides me and watches over me. I am truly blessed. I hope you feel that way about your life too. Stuff is just stuff; but love is the very essence of life.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wow! This morning is as bright as yesterday was cloudy. What a beautiful morning. I don't see but can hear a couple of Mockingbirds singing their hearts out not too far away. So, the air is filled with bird song this morning singing their own version of praise to God for such a beautiful day.

Friends on Facebook this morning talk of close calls with strong storms and tornados. I thank the Lord that they are safe. This round of storms has caused at least eighteen deaths and millions of dollars in destruction and lost homes. My prayers are certainly with those in the paths of these things. Our area was once again spared, although we have been hit many times in the past. It just shows how powerless we humans really are in the natural scheme of God's creation. Our scriptures tell us that God gave us dominion over the earth.   But --- that is like giving a man control over a wild lion; --- if we feed it and treat it right, just maybe it won't eat us. But, there is never a guarantee. As a species on this earth, we need to take better care of this earth.

The hydrangias and the phlox are really starting to grow out here in the flower beds. It is starting to look like an unkempt English garden once again. The iris are fully up and producing buds and a bloom here and there. The azelias are blooming beautifully, the lilacs smell wonderful, along with hyacenths. The rain has made the earth fresh and clean once again. Sitting here in the sunporch, I am surrounded by beauty and blessings. I love my life.

It is obviously breakfat time at the backyard buffet. The Cardinals are swooping in and out. The Finches of all varieties are here as are the Downy Woodpeckers and of course the Bluejays, and Starlings. I haven't seen a Robin yet this morning but I do have one squirrel out there filling his jaws and belly with sunflower seed. I waded out there last evening and topped off everything, so let them have at it. I'll sit here and enjoy the pleaure of their company and song.

My day has begun beautifully and I hope yours has too. I offer up prayers for my friends and loved ones with health concerns and pray for strength and healing wherever it can happen. God walks with us every step of every day. I hope you feel His presence. Give away your smiles today, afterall, they are free and constantly renewable.

Monday, April 28, 2014

It is again a rainy morning out there and promises to be this way on and off for the majority of the week. April will close out this week being the wettest April on record here in this area.

We are between showers at the moment and as I look out the windows, the picture just could not be more beautiful. The pink and the white dogwoods and the redbud trees are in full bloom across the way; the lilacs are in full bloom and the scent is heavenly. The tulips are on the wane but still looking fairly good too. And --- the flittering in and out of the bright yellow Goldfinches and the Cardinals just adds to the grandeur of the setting. God is so good and I am so endowed with His blessings.

My prayers go out this morning for all the victims of the deadly tornados that went through Arkansas an Missouri. The current storms that are wreaking havoc across the nation have destroyed so many homes and lives and it appears we are going to get more as they continue their path eastward to the Atlantic ocean. I pray there will be no more deaths from them. Heather will be flying to Orlando Florida this morning which means she will be flying either through or at least very close to these storms. So, I pray for a safe trip for her too.

I would like to be able to sit out here for another hour today but unfortunately I need to take the car to the shop this morning for some work. So, I better stop here. May God fill your day with love and blessings. My blessings cup is already running over this morning.

Friday, April 25, 2014

It has been a rainy, cool and windy morning so far as I sit out here with my coffee. But now the sun is starting to brighten the day and the showers have passed. Perhaps today will be a beautiful one after all.

This morning I have four Downy Woodpeckers vying for food where there isn't any. They like the bark butter paste and I'm out of it. There is, however, the same thing in pellet form out there for them as well as a suet ring hanging on a different pole. The suet ring was on the ground this morning so I don't know what got into that. Most likely that raccoon, or perhaps the wind was strong enough to take it down. But --- I'm betting on the raccoon.

It is Friday and that is my "offical" day off along with Saturday. However, my Saturday is ruined this week because I have a class to attend in the morning. But it is only for four hours and I guess I can handle it. This happens five times a year.

I never cease to be amazed at the agility of squirrels. This morning I have one that hangs by one rear foot as it bends around the feeders to get some seed and then pulls its self back up to eat them. They absolutely must have stomach muscles of iron.

My prayers go out this morning for loved ones and friends. I learned yesterday of an aquaintence that has developed alzheimers. He and his wife ran a favorite bed and breakfast over in Eaton, Ohio. She has closed the business down because his condition was affecting the guests. This morning I received another request for prayers for the mother of a paritioner who has severe liver cancer. It has not been a good week for news of loved ones and friends. And yet, I constantly remember that God walks every step of our lives with us. We never walk dark paths alone. That thought gives me comfort and I hope it does the same for all of them and for you too. God is good and constantly showers us with blessings, including that silly old squirrel that sits out there and amuses me.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The day is a bit more normal today as I absord the news from two nights ago about Byron into it's proper niche in my life. Isn't it amazing how we can do that? Once we get past the initial shock of something, I think we create a mental working file to store the data, then read and process each new bit of information as it comes in. This ability is a blessing. Were we not able to do so, then instead of a working file, our mental process would halt to a single object and that would become an obsession, creating a roadblock with no ability to move on with life. Again, God is good.

Something from the nocturnal world of critters has developed a real taste for "bark butter". I have two feeders that are made strictly for that kind of bird food. It is a paste like product made mainly from peanut butter, I think, and is mainly used to attract Woodpeckers. I just filled those two feeders yesterday evening and they were full as late as midnight --- but they are cleaned out completely this morning. I think our local raccoon or opposum has developed a new taste. It would be interesting to watch because the feeders are hung so that it would be precarious to either to eat from them. Hmmmmm! We have a mystery.

Today we go to the churches to run the weekly bulletins and to mow the churchyard at St. Lucas. We are expecting a warm day so it should be pleasant out there on the mower. I'll have to retrain myself on using that church mower. It is a great mower but it is a ZTR type that uses levers rather than a steering wheel. I got off into the bean field with it for a few seconds last year while I was learning to use it. I hope I have better luck this time.

Ms. Kate and I went to the greenhouse yesterday and picked up all of the plants that she had ordered a couple of weeks ago. The wallet is a couple of hundred bucks lighter but the yard and some of these planters will look great. We need to get the weedkiller put on where it is needed, and it is time to get the plants in the ground.

I was finally able to get my thoughts together enough last evening to start on my sermon for next week. I hate to not be at least a week ahead on things because I never know when a funeral or something or another crisis might pop up. I'm just not a last minute guy.

So, the Cardinals are happy this morning as are all of the other critters and birds who are singing their songs today. My prayers are prayers of gratitude. God has again entrusted me with another day to celebrate life and the blessings that surround me. As the scriptures say, "This is the day that the Lord had made. Let us us rejoice and be glad in it.". I hope each moment of your day brings you another moment of peace and happiness.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I'm up earlier than usual this morning, so is Ms. Kate.  While I might tell myself I don't know why, --- I know it is because our hearts are heavier this morning. My sister called last evening with the doctor's report on Byron and none of it was good. The doctors confirmed bone cancer in his ribs, pelvis, and sternum, as we'll as cancer in his stomach and some lymph glands. So my heart is heavy as I share their heartbreak, and feelings of anger, unfainess, frustration, and knowlege of the physical issues that Byron is going to face in the fight to maintain quality of life. They have been through this with his mother and with our father. We have also been through this with my brother-in-law Kenny. My prayers for strength, courage, and peace within their hearts go out to them this morning and in the hopefully, coming years. The doctors have at least told them a "five year plan" is not above a possibility. So, let's take that and run with it. The reality of life is that we have no guarantees of longevity and death eventually catches us all. It is the belief and expectation of rejoining our loved ones on the other side of the veil that separates life and death that provides the peace within our soul. God is good --- all the time.

The notation at the top of my Nook says it is 46 degrees this .morning. but, the sun is shining brightly, the flowers are blooming beautifully, and there are birds and squirrels all around the yard. At least two of our azelias are in full bloom across the yard and make for a marvelous picture. Yesterday I got the snow blade off of the John Deere and the mower deck put on. I mowed our front yard and the neighbor's yard too. Today I need to mow my back yard. I have to do that with my little mower because the back yard is fenced in and I can't get the JD back here. It only takes me about twenty minutes and the walking is good exercise.

We need to go to the landscape garden and pick up a bunch of plants that Ms. Kate has ordered. I'm not sure where all of those are going --- but I bet I'll find out soon enough. Tomorrow's schedule includes mowing the church yard an running the weeks bulletins. It seems there is never a shortage of things that need doing.

So, --- while my thoughts this morning started out dark, my time out here on the porch has brightened them. God has a way of doing that if we will just take the time to sit down and talk it out. I give God thanks for every day I have on this earth and I count each moment with my family as a blessing that was given freely and totally undeserved.

May your day be filled with love and peace.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It is a comfortably cool morning with bright sunshine a a blue sky. A gentle wind is blowing out the showers that we had last night. The earth smells clean. The showers and breeze though are also taking the blooms off of the Bradford Pear trees so it looks a little like a light snow has fallen beneath those trees. The season creeps along and nature changes as it should.

I'm up and showered a bit earlier this morning. (Not early for those who are already behind the wheel or at work) We have the air condition service man coming for our spring service this morning. I didn't think it appropriate for me to be siiting here in my pajamas when he gets here. Besides, I had a good night's sleep.

I filled the feeders again yesterday evening so there should be some satisfied critters today. I have a Downy Woodpecker just out the door that is certainly munching or pecking away at the feeder. The Titmouse takes turns eating at the same feeder as the Woodpecker. The Mockingbird doesn't take a turn, it just bullies in and eats off of the same feeder too. It is a little early, by about half an hour
, until the bigger birds come swooping in. The squirrels haven't shown up either. It truly is peaceful when they aren't here.

There are some chores I need to do today and then I need to sit and work on sermons for the month. I give up a lot a writing opportunity every morning by sitting out here on the porch. But sitting out here in communion with God and His glorious nature is far too important to give it up. It puts my day right and gives me the time to make a conscious decision that I will have a good day and I will be thankful for the blessings in my life. It puts my mnd and soul at peace. I wish everybody had the time or opportunity to do this.

Take the time to make someone smile today. Be the reason someone is having a better day. You are the messenger for God. A kind word, gesture, or smile will speak volumes more than a preacher's sermon.

Have a blessed day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mid level clouds and 57 degrees this morning. The squirrels are doing acrobatics trying to eat out of feeders that they can't possibly be on. I need to fill feeders some time today, but for the moment there is enough food out there to keep the Cardinals interested and of course the squirrels too.

Easter has now come and gone. It was a great weekend though. Julie surprised us by coming a day early which made it even better. The services were full of people and the parish breakfast went well. The cantata went off without a hitch and we received many compliments. Now life will settle down to a slower pace.

The Redbuds are in full bloom and the Dogwoods are popping out too. The scenery out the windows changes daily. The Azelias are starting to bloom, and the Bluebells are in full bloom too. As one flower fades away for the year, another takes its place. No wonder we love spring time. It is just a season of continual blessings and beauty. Before too many weeks the lilies and peonies will be in full bloom.

It is a day to be thankful for life. So many people have real problems in their lives and at best I am lucky enough to have only minor annoyances every once in awhile. Our prayer list at church has grown again with people facing a variety of health problems from cancer to upcoming knee replacements to grief issues due to lost loved ones. I pray each will feel the presence of God's holy touch and healing spirit. Several members of my own extended family are facing these same issues as they wait for test results and doctor's reports. Life seems to not be fair sometimes and that thought can really drag us down without a strong faith base. So this morning I just ask God for another bucket load of grace and love to be heaped upon all His children.

I hope you have a wonderful day full of spiritual sunshine.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The dogs go out, the dogs come in --- the dogs go out, the dogs come in. I 've only been less than a half an hour and they have been in and out at least five times. It's a squirrel in the yard thing, don't you see.

It is another beautiful morning, thank you Lord. More and more of the trees are filling out there leaves. From the look of the Maple trees in my two neighbor's yards, it will be "helicopter" time very shortly as all of those Maple seeds come flying off in the wind, filling the gutters of every one around. This a wonderfull continuous cycle.

We have yet another day with nothing of import on a schedule. I have to slice up a ham for Ms. Kate to fix for the parish breakfast tomorrow morning. And, -- I think we need to go to the bird food store because they have a sale going on and I could use some things. I could also run to Rural King and pick up some five gallon buckets to plant my tomatoes in. I cut the bottom out of them and fill them with a good garden/potting soil and the tomatoes do very well. So, I guess there are things on my list; the question is though, do I want to get off my butt and do them?

The daffodils are about done and will soon start laying over and looking ugly. But then the lillies will be coming on and the yard will turn beautiful again.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and so my prayers today are prayers of gratitude for a faith that sustains me regardless of what is going on in the world or in my life. God just continues to heap blessings on me and my family.

I think it is time to vacate my recliner. The coffee cup is empty. Have a blessed day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Another most excellent morning. I have a day with nothing on my schedule, lots of sunshine, and Julie and the pups here to visit for the Easter weekend. Life is just so very good.

We had a nice Maundy Thursday service last evening. I guess we had around fifty people in attendance. I used a Tenebrae vignette as part of the service and that went well too. It was also first communion for my seven confirmands. They are now completely done with confirmation. As I have said before, the test now comes to see if they continue to attend church or not. My guess, unfortunately, is that of the seven, two will be regular attendees because they are the only two who have parents that attend regularly. That is the sad state of the church universal these days. There are too many reasons to not attend church these days and unless we become an entertainment industry, as so many of the huge churches have, people easily justify to themselves as to why they don't go. I can't be too critical because unfortunately, I didn't bring our kids up in the church either for all kinds of "good reasons". We raised the with Christian values, but failed miserably in the church attendance department.

On a much brighter note, Lauren rode her bike in the World Mini- Grand Prix MX race yesterday. She came in second in yesterday'race. She runs her second race today. The great thing is that it is on live stream telecast and we can watch it on our computers here at home. It was an exciting race. The top three riders were literally within four sconds of each other at the finish line. We will be glued to our computers around 4:30 this afternoon waiting for the next race. Good luck Ms. Lauren!!

With a beautiful day like today, how can I not offer up prayers of thanksgiving. I also offer up prayers of concern for my brother-in- law, Byron who goes in for MRI and CAT-Scan today. I pray for good results and a successful treatment plan for his cancer. I also pray for peace within your mind and spirit. I hope you will have a most blessed day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Brilliant blue and forty four this morning. What a great start to the day. My neighbor across the fence has someone mowing their yard already this morning. I guess I'll finish my computer stuff and do the same this morning.

There are lots of birds up and at 'em today. I really enjoy the fact that we have so very many Cardinals in our yard. They are beautiful birds. When the Goldfinches are sitting in proximity to them it makes for quite a nice picture. The Starlings --- not so much. But, God made them all so we might as well enjoy them. I had a squirrel this morning that was hanging upside down by his toenails trying to get to a seed cylinder that we have in a cage feeder. He finally managed to get a chunk of the food that had come loose. He took it up on top of the feeder, ate it, looked back down at the cylinder and I guess decided it wasn't worth the effort to try again. He ran off to an easier feeder to scrounge from. Rats --- they are just fuzzy tailed rats.

Lauren is riding in the World-Mini MX races today and tomorrow. They are showing it on closed circuit television and we will be able to see her race right her on our computers. It is really exciting to watch and we are so thankful that they have decided to broadcast it like this. Even though she is 2500 miles away, we get to "be there" for and with her.

This evening is the Maundy Thursday service and first communion for our confirmands. This will complete their confirmation experience. We are doing a Tenebrae service with Holy Communion so I hope it will be inspirational to the congregation. We have followed the service with a prayer vigil for the past few years but interest waned, so I'm not doing it this year. I think we will leave the church open though for anyone that wants to come by and sit in silence and pray. They will have brand new pew cushions to sit on this year. We just got them installed within the past two days and they look great and are comfortable.

I'm offering up prayers of gratitude again this morning. Life is good if we just allow ourselves to realize it. We humans grind ourselves down with minutia so very often. If we have our families to love us, friends who care about us and a God who fills our hearts with grace and love --- we should be happy. If we are blessed with good health, and a home, those are bonuses. I count myself fortunate and blessed because I have all of that and I don't have any unfulfilled needs in my life. Everything else is just fluff and stuff that either can be an aggravation or a challenge or a blessing. It depends on us to decide which it will be. I choose to make all of my challenges a blessing.

I hope your day is as good as mine.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It is 34° on this brilliant blue morning. The great thing is that there is no snow like the poor folks up in the UP of Michigan have today. From first look out of the porch, everything seems to be alright. So, Lord, thank you for the continued blessings. As our weather guy said last night, people get anxious to plant stuff outside when a warm day comes along, but he said that we should really wait until Mother's Day to be safe. I do know that when Ms. Kate starts new roses from "slips", we cover them with a jar until Mother's Day, so maybe the weather guy is right.

Well, I got my pedicure yesterday and it was interesting. I have to admit that my feet did feel better afterwards, but I wasn't crazy about the process. Ms. Kate says it will be easier and more pleasant next time now that they have my feet in good shape. Yeh, --- there may be a next time. It does beat bending over and trying to trim them myself.

My world outside the porch is getting greener everyday. I'm going to have to mow the lawn in the next few days I reckon. That means of course that it is time to get the snow blade off of the John Deere and put the mower deck on. It isn't an easy thing to do by myself, so hopefully I can get some help from my neighbor, Dan, from across the street. Next week I have signed up to mow the lawn at St. Lucas. We take turns doing it rather than hiring someone to do it for us. They bought a new John Deere ZTR last year. It does a great job but it was hard to get used to. I'm sure I will have to re-learn again next week since I only used it the one time.

We have lots to do today again. We have to finish running the bulletins for three services. Tomorrow is Maunday Thursday, the celebration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. It is from this celebration that the church universal derived the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Of course not all churches celebrate it the same way and many do not celebrste it at all.

My prayer this morning is for peace during the remainder of the Holy Season. How horrible it is that people fight and kill one another over how to believe in and worship God. So, I pray that the world simply stop and acknowlege God in a spirit of prayer and leave others to do the same. Have a most blessed day. I already have.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax day ---- April 15th, and there is a wind chill factor of twenty seven degrees outside. Brrrrrr!  I'm glad I'm inside with a good cup of coffee.

The wind and the temps have the critters on the move. I filled feeders yesterday and they are busy flying in and out grabbing energy to keep warm. I have one squirrel out there on the feeder we allocate for them. He'll be there all day or until he emptys it. There was a second squirrel out there on a different feeder when I came out here but I chased it off, at least for now.

The tulips have closed in on themselves against the temperature. The daffodils are getting past their prime and will be starting to lay over and be done. But, I give God thanks for the beauty they created when they bloomed. They were the announcement of spring for me. The Redbud trees are now blooming and the Dogwood trees are starting to show their buds. Last week I transplanted five peonys from the north side of the house to the west side so they could get proper sun. They have grown a foot since last Saturday. I was amazed when I saw them yesterday. I hope things don't get hurt tonight as we are supposed to have a hard freeze of 27 degrees. But the bottom line is that God has once again brought forth a beautiful world for us to enjoy. Obviously God is a far better gardener than I am.

Ms. Kate and I have appointments for pedicures this morning. I really need my toenails trimmed because they have gotten long and ugly; and bending over my belly to do it isn't easy. But this will be my first pedicure and I'm not sure about doing this. My feet are extremely tickelish and I'm not crazy at the thought of having them touched. Ms. Kate says it "feels wonderful" so I guess we will chance it. The worst that can happen would be a knee jerk reaction to being touched and kicking the guy or gal off of their stool.

Prayers again go out this morning for Byron who is to have some more tests done this week and also for my nephews wife Christina who is also facing some tests.  God's will be done and may each find comfort and peace with their diagnosis.

Well, the fat boys have moved in but are having a hard time hanging on to the feeders because of the stiff breeze that is blowing. I need to refill my coffee cup too. I pray God's blessing on you this day and throughout this Holy Week, and I thank God for my continual flow of blessings in my life.

Monday, April 14, 2014

April showers for this morning and I suppose, most of the day, at least on and off. But who could complain after the beautiful weekend God gave us. We took advantage of it too. Ms. Kate and I took a convertible ride on Saturday and then again on Sunday we took the convertible to church. So, if it showers today, that's alright. Unfortunately, our 63 degrees this morning is also going to be the high temp for today and by tonight it is supposed to be cold and wet enough for a few snow flakes.

The earth and air looks clean and green this morning. There are more and more leaves on the trees and the flowering trees are magnificent. My next door neighbor to the west has a flowering crab apple tree that has trippled in size since we moved here thirteen years ago. This time of year it blooms beautifully. The great thing about it is that it is in her yard and not mine. I don't have to clean up all of the stuff it drops during the year.

Cardinals and Goldfinches are the most frequent visitors this morning along with a couple of Starlings. The Robins  are still gatering nesting material. At least two of my feeders are empty of sunflower seed and need to be refilled. I'm still surprised that we are suddenly down to only a couple of squirrels. I don't know why, --- and I'm certainly not complaining.

It was a good weekend with the churches and family. We got our casket shopping done with my mother. We know what funeral home she wants to use and a general idea of what she thinks her casket should look like. Beyond that it was pretty much as I knew it would be ;---- lots of talk but no actual commitment being made. That's just the way my mother shops.

Palm Sunday went well. We confirmed a total of seven young children, one at St. Paul's and six at St. Lucas. We had close to 100 people at St. Lucas. Afterwards, we took our our guests to R'z Resturant for lunch. This coming week we will have bulletins to run on Wednesday as well as our final choir practice, then the Maundy Thursday worship service on Thursday, a Sunrise Service with the Cantata on Sunday followed by a Parish breakfat and the normal two Sunday services. Then it will be time to crash and burn!!!

This mornig I give God thanks for spring rains that wash away some of the pollen that comes with the beautiful blossoms. I also give God thanks for this Holy Week and the gift of His Son who was crucified for our salvation. I ask for the continuing flow of words and messages if I am to continue as a pastor of these two churches. Sometimes it seems I have run out of things to present and I wonder if God isn't telling me that I'm done.

So, have a most wonderful Monday. Its the start of a whole new set of days to make an impact on the world.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

It isn't morning, nor am I on the sun porch. Ms. Kate and I sat out there for three hours this morning just gabbing about everything and nothing at all. We went through a pot and a half of coffee.  It was a most enjoyable morning and I didn't want to stop and write a blog.

It was a beautiful morning out there though. There were Cardinals everywhere this morning as well as several Titmouse, lots of Goldfinches, Blue-jays, and Robins. The only thing missing this morning were the squirrels. We only had one n the yard at any one tine the whole morning. That was strange, but it was also very enjoyable.

So, --- today we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a convertible ride. The temp was 77 degrees, the sun was shining, and the wind was mild. We took a small road trip to Vincennes, IN which is around fifty miles from our house, to eat at a place called Montana Mikes. We've eaten there several times and have always enjoyed it; however, today was sorely disappointing. the service wasn't very good and the food was worse. We only go there a couple of times a year, and we may just skip a year. But the ride and being out in a beautiful spring day made it worth the trip.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and it will be Confirmation Sunday. I assume that will mean a larger than usual crowd at the churches as the relatives of the confirmands come in for the big day. We made a lot of extra bulletins. Tomorrow also kicks off Holy Week. We have a Maundy Thursday service this week an then Easter Sunrise service next Sunday.

So, my prayers today are prayers of gratitude for the seven young people that have decided that they wish to become members of the church tomorrow. I pray that they will remember the promises they are making to the church and to God concerning following their faith journey and church participation. So many get confirmed and then we don't see them until they want to have a wedding in the church.

Have a blessed evening.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm up before the birds again today, but just barely. I sat out here for about five minutes before I started even hearing anything moving around or singing. But slowly I started hearing one here and there. Then the birds started flying in. So far the fuzzy tails are still not here. It won't be long though.

There are a lot of clouds this morning. I think we are predicted to have showers on and off today. That will be fine as long as it isn't anything major. Yesterday I transplanted two azelias and five peonys. It wouln't hurt to have them get water today. This is a second move for the peonys. They came from a field behind my folks house before my mother sold the farm. We just didn't have them planted in a very good spot. Now, assuming they survive the move, they will get good sunshine and should be happy.

Today should be "interesting". My sister and I are taking my mother to look at caskets. Mother is 96, and insists that she "wants to be put away proper", what ever that means. I guess we'll find out what that means today. She will want the most expensive whatever that they have to offer. Reeling her in to reality will just honk her off. So, we'll go casket window shopping today. After that we are coming back here for our "Easter lunch". I'm a bit busy on Sunday mornings, especially Easter Sunday. There is no way we have time to drive an extra 100 miles just to pick up my mother for the sunrise service and lunch etc. So, we are celebrating today.

The back yard is beautiful. The daffodils are fully in bloom and we have have lots and lots of them. I should have maybe mowed the yard yesterday but I ran out of time. The grass isn't all that tall but there is a lot of winter left over stuff that the lawn mower could smooth out.

My prayers this morning are again prayers of gratitude. Ms. Kate is sitting here beside me peeling "taters" for potatoe salad, my sister and brother-in-law are in town to celebrate with us, and life is good. God's blessing abound all around me. How could this anything other than a blessed day? Thank you God for my blessings.

I hope your day is as blessed.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It is a "too busy" day when I don't make time to sit out on the porch in the morning. That was the case yesterday and threatens to be the case today. This morning I 'm writing from the front seat of the car as Ms. Kate goes into the doctor's office for he blood work to be done.

However, I still have my coffee, and the sun is shining. But instead of listening and watching my birds and squirrels. --- I'm watching traffic out on Highway 41.

Yesterday we had shopping to do at Walmart, and at Sam's. But first we had to have lunch at O'Charlie's because it was free pie Wednesday. I some times think we are getting as bad as old people with a routine that says we got to go here or there because we can get something free. I've always hated that thinking and mentality. I don't know what bothers me about it, but it does.

We went up to the churches yesterday afternoon and ran the bulletins for this coming Sunday and for next Thursday's Maundy Thursday services. We got started on there Easter sunrise service too but time ran out and we had to go upstairs for choir practice. The cantata is going well.

Ms. Kate is back and now we got to move on.

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How wonderful to see bright sunshine this morning. I was expecting to get up to another gloomy day. So, I say " thank you very much Lord".

The fuzzy butts are at two of the feeders this morning. I don't see how they can be hungry, they were out there all day yesterday, eating as fast as they could. I was concerned about one of my really pretty Goldfinches yesterday. It flew and hit the window really hard. I looked out there and it was flat on it back, wings all splayed out. But about two hours later I noticed that it was gone. I thought it was dead for sure, but, it is the season of the resurrection.

I'm seeing more Cardinals this morning than I have seen in a few days. Of course the rain kind of diminished their appearances at the feeders. It was late yesterday afternoon before the Finches all showed up. The Robins are here of course. Fresh rain equals fresh worms. But this morning the gang is all here, the daffodils are blooming brightly , and life is as it should be.

Last evening Ms. Kate and I went out to dinner for a date night. Our favorite resturant was having a prime rib buffet. The food lived up to our expectations. The prime rib was done perfectly and the desserts were wonderful. We have reservations there this coming Sunday with the family after church. Sheila and Byron, Ron and Betty , and my mother are joining us at church on Sunday.

Speaking of S & B, we are anxiously waiting to hear what his oncologists have to say to him today. Our prayers are certainly out for nothing but good reports. And if they are less than that, we pray for strength, patience, and a proper treatment plan that leads to better health. The bottom line is that cancer is a bitch with no mercy. We've lost too many people to it in our families and are not anxious to lose any more. So, we keep the prayer line open, and trust God to lead us through any and all situations.

My battery on the Nook is down to 15% so I'm jumping off. I hope your day is full of nothing but smiles and blessings.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The daffodils all have their  heads down to keep the rain out of their faces. Yes, it is raining again this morning. It is a light rain though, very typical of what one might picture as "an April shower". However with a total of almost eight inches lat week, I'm thinking we could do without any rain today or even for the next week or so. Its just proof that my thoughts are not always God's thoughts. I do wish, however, that Southern California and the other drought stricken areas of our crop producing country had a rain like this for about three days. That would allow it to soak in rather than run off, and would be a blessing indeed.

There is a Crow, or maybe it is a Raven, (I don't know the difference),  sitting on a branch "cawing" about something. It got the squirrels attention and a couple of them took off. I wonder what that is all about. Who knows what critters are allys or enemies out there. All we need is Jeff Probst to referee my backyard Survivor episode.

This coming Sunday will be Palm Sunday and is also Confirmation Sunday at the churches. My confirmands did an excellent job yesterday during their oral examination in front of the congregations. I was very proud of them.

This evening is "date-night" for Ms. Kate and me. We're going to our favorite resturant for an all you can eat prime rib buffet. Yesterday after church we went there and had a wonderful seafood stew; possibly the best seafood stew we've ever had. We told the owner that it was a definite keeper for the menu.

My thoughts and prayers this morning go out for my son- in- law Gary who has a job interview to teach automotive classes. I think he would be very good at that. I also raise up our friend Betty Harmon who lost her hrother on Saturday. Finally, I offer up prayers of gratitude once again for my blessings. As I sit here comfortably in my house, I pray for those who are out there on the streets of this country and around the world who have no home and no shelter. May God guide them to a place of comfort and peace.

Have a blessed day, I already have.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I love being able to sit out here and see all of those lovely daffodils that Ms. Kate has blooming out there in the flowerbeds. This morning they are still hanging their heads down. It is 42 degrees and still a bit overcast. When, and if, the sun pops out they will be all bright and beautiful. Ms. Kate plans to take a boquet of them to our favorite resturant tomorrow after church. The owner, Candice, does so many nice things for us, it is nice to be able to share our blessings with them.

Our second oldest grandchild, Amanda, turned eighteen today. She is indeed a beautiful young lady. She is smart, fun, and full of love and life. It just doesn't seem possible that she is now a fully grown adult. As I told Ms. Kate this morning, Amanda is now only two months younger than Ms. Kate was when I married her. Where does the time go? Amanda is in her second semester of college as she finishes up her high school. We are going to North Carolina in June to watch her high school graduation. She will be our first grandchild with a high school diploma. Josh finished his schooling with his GED. I'm proud of both of them because they are good people.

I need to go to the pet food store this morning and pick up another 100 pounds of black oil sunflower seed. My birdfood can is almost empty and by now so are the feeders. The yard hasn't even begun to dry out from all of the rain so it will be a little messy getting out there. But if I don't get out there the critters may form a picket line and we wouldn't want that. It doesn't look sloppy wet so if I tread lightly maybe it will be alright.

Tomorrow is a big day at the churches; it is Confirmand Examination Sunday. The seven young confirmands must stand in front of the congregation and answer questions on things we have covered over the past eight months. It isn't as drastic as it sounds though. I have given them each a list of questions to study, so it is more a matter of memorization than anything else. Still and all, it will be an anxious day for them.

The sun is starting to come out and the day is getting brighter. The Golfinches are busy at the feeders as are the Cardinals. The Robins are still getting easy worms that have yet to dig back down deep enough. And so, --- I give thanks to God this morning for yet another day of life. It s a beautiful day, but then God gives me the opportunity to turn any day into a beautiful one. It is all a matter of attitude and decisions. Our blessings surround us all the time. We just need to be able to recognize them. I hope your day will be as blessed as mine is.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Its a tired morning. Our record setting rain fall gave me cause to spend the night in the recliner in the family room. I slept, ---  but was up every hour making sure all was well with sump pumps etc.   We were fortunate that we had no damage from the severe storms that rolled through and the pumps worked per design. I poured an inch out of the rain guage yesterday morning and another seven inches out this morning.

I was up at 0445 checking things and came out to the porch. Despite the rain, it was light enough in the neighborhood to see things fairly well. I noticed there seemed to be a large something in the branches of the pussy willow tree outside my porch door so I went over and checked it out. There was a young raccoon up there eating from the bird feeder. So, --- I hit him with three BBs before he was able to escape.

One of the things though that I count as a blessing from the rain is that the air has been washed. Being an asthmatic getting through early pollen season, I give God thanks for washing the world and cleaning up the air for at least today. See --- one can always find a blessing if we just look for it.

Lots of Finches are hitting the buffet line this morning as well as a couple of the fuzzy fat boys. Mostly everything is seemingly checking out the ground to see what treasures have been uncovered by the rain. The Robins should be estatic this morning because the earthworms have come to the surface to keep from being drowned.  I cleaned up several from the porch floor this morning and tossed them outside to the birds.

I know that a lot of people are goingto be spending the day getting water out of their basements and maybe even their main living areas this morning because of localized flooding. So, this morning I put them in my prayers that they accomplish their tasks safely and don't get too depressed over lost "stuff".

My sky is getting a bit brighter and lots of birds are singing out there to welcome a new day. This is a day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The sky is dark with storm and rain clouds this morning. It stormed and rained off and on most of the night and is currently raining. Forecasters are predicting a severe weather possibility for parts of the Tri-State area. I pray there will be no damage, injuries or death.

The birds are few and far between this morning. I suspect they are under what ever shelter they can find. The squirrels have been here and are currently gone. The limbs  and feeders are rain slick which provides some entertainment. They keep slipping and losing their grip on the limbs and the feeders. I giggled when one litteraly fell off of the feeder and out of the bush a few minutes ago. It was extremely cartoonish.

This rain is messing up the outside of my windows that I just cleaned. But at least it isn't snow and ice. I can hardly belive how dark it is outside. It looks like late dusk. My Nook tablet is the brightest thing around. It would be perfect napping had I not been up for only an hour or so. But it got dark enogh that the solar light yard decorations came on briefly.

My prayers go out to the families of the soldiers at Ft. Hood, Texas. A soldier went berserk yesterday there and killed four fellow soldiers and wounded fourteen. He then turned the gun on himself and killed himself. I pray God be with the families as they grieve and go through the healing process, both physically and mentally. It is a dark day for America, especially since this is the second time in four years an incident like this has happened at that same location.

My coffee cup is empty and my bladder is full so I need to get out of my recliner and take care of business. I hope your day is blessed. Mine is already full of blessings.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Another great morning! How wonderful is that? The sky is blue for the moment but clouds are building in the west. We have a couple of typical spring days coming which means stormy weather.

We can see the back yard a lot clearer this morning. Ms. Kate and I spent several hours yesterday rearranging the room, mopping floors, washing the windows inside and out. The sun-porch is in reality nine ceiling to floor triple pane windows. Five of them are sliding glass doors with five screens. It was built by Champion Window company and we love it. While I'm plugging Champion, let me tell you that if you want a good glass cleaner --- they have the best we have found.

With company coming in a couple of weeks, we had to add a couple of our patio chairs back in the room so logistics was challenging, but it is comfortable and looks good. We still have several large potted plants out there that will eventually go outside for the summer, but for now they are protected from the weather. We leave the porch fairly open to the house most of the year since it is considered a "three-season" porch which means no heating and air conditioning. That's why we don't get taxed on it.

I have lots of Junkos and Finches and Cardinals out here this morning. Of course those fuzzy tailed rats are here. There was a squirrel on the feeder right out side the door and a big ol' Blue Jay almost landed on it. The squirrel jumped a mile.

Today is work at the church day. We have the Sunday bulletins to run and choir practice this evening. Fairly soon, choir will be over, no confirmation, and having only the trips for services and running the bulletins will reduce the mileage. No complaints there. I've been very fortunate that we have had only a couple of people in the hospital and or nursing homes in the last couple of years. (knock on wood) By and large, the congregation is healthy except for joint replacements and physical therapy.

My prayer this morning continues to go out for Jean Holmes and her bout with radiation. I also have a young man facing the removal of a tumor on his pituitary glad at Vanderbilt next week, So I pray they will get it all and he doesn't have to go through radiation. Our prayers too continue to go for a good report from Byron and his doctors, which would relieve some of the stress from my sister, Sheila. My mother (96 yo) lost another friend at the nursing home she is in. Not a day goes by it seems that they don't lose someone out there.

Again, I feel so blessed to have good health. And I feel so fortunate that Ms. Kate does as well as she does with all of her past major medical problems. I can't imagine what life would be like without her. So --- all praise be to the Lord God, who walks with us on our life's journey.

Have a most wonderful day! I plan to.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Snow?? Why is it snowing??  Okay, it isn't. That was my April Fool joke on Ms. Kate this morning. Her response, --- "I hate April Fools."

Actually it is a beautiful morning here on the sunporch. It is fifty-nine degrees and the sun is shining brightly. There is a wind blowing though and unfortunately it is going to blow in a lot of stormy weather for the next few days. We absolutely do not need rain. It would be great if it didn't rain for a week or so and we could get some planting and transplanting done out there in the yard. But, it happens like this every year here in southern Indiana, and the weatherman has predicted a wet spring. That means late planting for our farmers and the corn crops.

I had a yard full of squirrels again this morning. Every large feeder had a squirrel on it. I just shot a bunch of them with my BB gun but they will be back in less than five minutes. They run off to the neighbors trees for a few minutes and work their way back to my feeders. At least while they are gone the birds can grab a bite or two.

I need to take the little shop-vac to the sunporch. The edges are dirty and there are cob webs around. The windows really need cleaning. Julie's dogs leave paw prints all over the lower portion of the doors as they paw at the doors when they see a squirrel outside. It is as bad as grandchildren's nose and and hand prints. So a little spring cleaning is in order before we get company in a couple of weeks.

On the other hand, those paw prints remind of my blessings. We are blessed that she lives close enough to be able to come over at least one weekend a month. We are blessed to have children that want to come and spend time with us. We are blessed that all of our girls have grown to adulthood with good honest moral values and a strong sense of love for their fellowman; and they have each raised their children with these same sets of values. Personality wise, they are such different people, but their love for one another keeps them locked at the brain. I couldn't be more proud of each of them. We do love our girls and their families.

Today starts a whole new month. Let's all use this month as a month to share ourselves and our love with someone in obvious need of a smile or a gentle touch or maybe even a hug. Remember --- our days are finite: but our compassion should be infinite. My day has already been filled with blessings and so has yours. You just need to look for them.