Monday, June 30, 2014

It is Monday night and we are back in Las Vegas. We are staying at the Wynn/Encore hotel complex. These rooms are spectacular. We are on the seventeenth floor over looking the Las Vegas strip. They offered us a room on the 59 the floor but Ms. Kate said no way. That was just too high for her. It would have been a great view though.

We drove down from Mammoth Lakes, CA today. As everybody knows by now, Lauren had her innaugral motocross races this weekend as a professional rider. We were so proud of her. She came in fourth overall and she was estatic.

Kate is feeling so much better now. Her migeaine has passed along with the motion sickness. I'm not sure she didn't have a bout with altitude sickness too. We were at 8000' for three days. It really hampered my breathing too. I took my grandson Jon out geocaching and I was huffing and puffing all the way. Of course sitting in the bleachers for two days sucking up track dust wasn't the best thing for my athsma either; but there was no way I was going to miss it.

So, we are here in Vegas for nine days. I'm not sure what we will do with ourselves. One can only play so many penny slots and eat at so many buffets. I have a Stephen King novel with me and I intend to get that 563 pages read. Julie says she will be bringing my Father's Day present to me and I'm betting it will be the new novel by Stephen King. I am the avid fan.

My prayers go out for one of my parishoners that just had serious back surgery. She is in rehabilitation for the next few weeks. I also lift up thanks for one of my parishioners who filled my pulpit this past weekend. God gave him the courage to do so even though he didn't think he could. It kind of reminds you of Moses, doesn't it. I continue to lift up Byon & Sheila as they daily deal with the frustrations and challenges of Byron's cancer.

It is now close to midnight here so, I suspect I should go to bed. I hope your tomorrow is a bright and blessed one.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gosh what a beautiful mountain Saturday morning. I'm out on the deck, cup of coffee at hand, just enjoying the gentle breeze and a 67 degree temp. Heather an Ms. Kate are visiting at the kitchen table and Jon is still sleeping. Heather got a text that Lauren's fever broke so she is doing better. Ms.Kate is doing well this morning too so the blessings just keep coming my way.

I'm still not seeing a lot of birds around here. However, we are sitting at 7000 feet in altitude and it is cooler weather so that may account for it. There is snow still at the top of the mountains that I suspect never goes away. This area is one set of condos after another to satisfy the winter ski trade. Right now it would be mountain biking season and we see a lot of them. This motocross event that Lauren is in is just an extra benefit to the economy.

I am seeing only one kind of flower that is currently blooming. It is a tall blue flower that could be a wild delphenium or maybe a mountain laurel. I just don't know. But they are nice to see. My challenge is to keep Ms. Kate from gathering up a bunch of the large pine cones that "she could do so many things with". Just what i need to do is mail a box of pine cones home. I know there is no room in her suitcase!

It is blissfully quiet out here. The silence is broken only by the occasional voice coming from some other condo, and the wind blowing through the pines. I'm also hearing bird calls off in the distance, but just seeing them. We know there is wildlife in the area because Andy's parents were told not to leave food in their vehicle because the bears would get into their car.

I don't think it would be possible to sit out here on the deck, look at all of this beauty, and listen to the peaceful sounds of nature without one's thoughts turning to God. Well, at least not for me. There are simply billions of intricate details that go into maintaining the balance of  nature just for this little piece of God's universe to even exist. God is so great.

I lift up my prayers of gratitude this morning for this wonderful world and the people he has placed in my life. I also lift up my loved ones going through dark and frustrating times with their battles with cancer. God's will be done is what I know I should pray, --- but I admit that my prayers are often more selfish than that. Count your blessings today and take the opportunity to share them with someone else.

Friday, June 27, 2014

It was a long dusty and extremely noisy day at the track. Most of you have seen the picture and seen the comments on Facebook from the track. The track was amazingly tough. There were several severe crashes on the track where the riders had to be taken off the track. Thankfully Lauren wasn't involved in any of those. She was involved in a crash the day before during practice. She got the front wheel crosswise on a jump and ended up being thrown over the handlebars and hurt a knee and her head. Today she did well on her first moto but then got extremely sick to the point of throwing up before her next race. But --- despite attempts by us to convince her not to race, she did the race anyway. So today's outcome was a fifth overall in a gaggle of forty racers. Now her amateur racing days are done and Sunday begins her career as a professional Women's Motocross Racer.

It was a mild mid eighties today and the sun was high and hot. Despute putting on lotion, I picked up more sun than I needed to. Heather got sunburnt too. Tomorrow is going to be a relaxing day for all of us. Lauren needs the rest and Ms. Kate can stand to not do anything tomorrow too. We are fairly sure it was a migraine that took her down along with the car/motion sickness.

We've eaten out twice while here and so far --- the food has been just sort of "okay" but not great. But at least we got to pay a lot for it!

My thoughts go out to the young man I watched take a horrible fall on his bike today. I have no idea how badly he was hurt but they had to work on him a long time right there on the track before they they loaded him on the backboard and carted him off. I pray he was not seriously hurt.

I also give God thanks for Ms. Kate and my girls. As I have had the opportunity to be with my grandkids these past few weeks, I'm extremely proud of the young adults they are becoming. Each one is as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. They, (my grandkids, my daughters, and Ms. Kate) are all a blessing to me and everyone they know.

This is a late blog. Maybe tomorrow I will go sit on the deck and survey my tempory kingdom. In the meantime, I hope you feel as blessed as I do and will take the opportunity to give God thanks for them.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

And a good afternoon from the deck of the Juniper Springs Resort in Mammoth Lakes, CA. It is  breezy, and I do mean breezy --- 59 degrees out here. But the view is great as I sit here and look up the mountain at the ski lift about 200 yards from us. So far the only birds I have seen are Magpies. They are just another version of a crow and will get in the trash in a heartbeat if it is left open.

The trip over was almost uneventful; until Ms. Kate got car sick that is. Bless her heart, we had two sets of mountain roads to cross and they were narrow, winding, twisting, with lots of dips. She finally took a Dramamine but it was just too late. We had to make three or four emergency stops along the road. She was a miserable gal by the time we arrived here and had to spend the first couple of hours laying down until her head could quit spinning. She will need to take her medicine before we leave here on Monday for sure. Or, ---- I need to find a better way back to Las Vegas even if it is 100 miles out of the way.

It rained here this morning but Lauren said the track is great. I talked to a couple of the riders as I was bringing in the luggage and they said too the track is great. They said it was miserable though with the rain because it was just enough rain to be a mist and that messed up the goggles. Hopefully we won't have that tomorrow.

I heard from my sister this morning and they had no good news at all from Byron's oncologist. The cancer continues to spread entirely too rapidly. I certainly lift them up to God and pray for continued strength for him, for her, and for all of us.The doctors says he is amazed that Byron continues to feel as well as he does. Maybe --- just maybe that is the manner in which God has chosen to answer our prayers. I don't know and it is certainly in God's hands.

I hope all of you are having a good day full of smiles and joys. There are dark valleys ahead for some of you and us; --- but Christ is the light to hold on to. In the mean time --- hug the people you love and smile at those you don't. You never know which one is an angel coming to give you hope.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

And a good morning from Las Vegas, Nevada. No sun-porch this morning. No birds singing, no flowers to look at, just a view out my hotel window of the Spring Mountains off in the distance. We are staying in the Rio All Suites Hotel for a couple of nights and then head out to California tomorrow morning. We are excited about getting to see Heather and the kiddos.

 We had a good flight out, albeit a bit bumpy with the hot air convection coming up off of the desert floor as we landed. The pilot did good though or maybe it was the auto-pilot that worked well. Which ever, it was a smooth landing.

Nothing in particular on the agenda today. We may have to find the Coach Store outlet, (as if Ms. Kate doesn't know exactly where it is.) It is going to be hot today, so that will require a banana split from my favorite ice-cream place out here. First off though, we need to find a little breakfast. We had a big supper at the Rio Buffet last evening so we are not ready to hit a buffet again just yet. We may have to just run down to Dunkin' Donuts or over to Whole Foods for some pastry. We have stayed at the Rio often enough to know that they have a single cup Kuerig coffee maker in the suite so I bought a couple of boxes of Kuerig Coffee with me;, we have had our coffee already this morning early. We were up at 0530 this morning as we adjust to the two hour time change. That will require a nap later on I suspect.

OK, enough jabber. I hope you have a blessed day and remember to take time to give thanks to God for your blessings. I consider all of you to be some of my blessings and I thanks God for each of you. Until tomorrow ---.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's a cloudy 73° this morning and I'm up early of course because it is a travel day. Kate and I both are up having our coffee already. The car is packed already so there is no reason for us to be up but that is the way it is.

Of course, I fully realize that it is only "early" for us. Most folks are already on the way to work or have at least had their breakfast. But, I am a lazybot in the mornings since I don't have set hours that I have to be anywhere or do anything particular in the morning. On the other hand, I'm often still working at midnight and usually go to bed around 1:00 a.m. so, I reckon it all works out even doesn't it!

We had a pretty good pop up storm yesterday. I wanted to run over to the recycle drop off yesterday afternoon and as I left the house I noticed how dark the sky was getting. By the time I got to the landfill, it was pouring. So, I waited it out in the car. From there I headed to North Park area and Target, and the streets were flooded and there were limbs in the street. I just noticed that I have a piece of a dead limb down in my back yard. I suspect we may be driving through rain this morning as we head out to the airport down in Nashville, TN. However, I'm not complaining, but rather, I give God thanks for the rain because we really needed it.

The cucumbers have started to put on as well as the summer squash. We had a bunch yesterday and then I took some over to neighbor Dan and told him he could take what he wants as it comes on in the next week. There is no use for it to lay there and rot and go to waste. We have a lot of tomatoes that will be ready by next week most likely. They should be ripe by the 4th of July and Julie and Jim can have fresh tomatoes when they come. I did get one last picking of my black raspberries. We promptly ate those with some vanilla yogurt. It was good stuff.

My blogging will probably be a little sporadic for the next two weeks. It will depend on wifi availability in the hotels etc. Of course they all have wifi but I'm to cheap to pay an extra $20.00 a day for it. Ms. Kate and I both have "wifi hotspots" on our phones but some hotels have figured out how to block that so you have to pay for it through them.

They say "the early bird gets the worm", but it looks like the worms arepretty safe around here this morning. There is many birds out there so far with the exception of a couple of Carolina Wrens and the occasional Cardinal, and the little bunny. Beyond that, it has been pretty quiet out there.

It is time to give thanks and credit where it belongs and therefore I turn my thoughts to God. Again I thank God for the needed rain, and the fact that no one was hurt during our storm yesterday. I lift up my loved ones and the loved ones of others that may be ill, physicalky or mentally, and I ask for God's strength to be with them. I give God praise for my abundance of blessings and I ask for safe travels.

I hope your day gives you time to stop and count your blessings too. Have a good one. Its time to hit the road.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Good morning world! What a bright and beautiful world God has blessed us with again this morning. The feeders are swarming with birds this morning, mostly Sparrows and Red House Finches at the moment. Only one squirrel is currently gorging itself out there so far. It has come and gone several times up the tree which tells me there must be another squirrel up there that needs to be kept in check.

I love the way the sun gllistens off of the flowers at this time of the morning. The hydrangeas are a brilliant white in the morning sun and there are so many blooms. From where I sit, I can probably see a minimum of forty blooms and they are so big. The lily bed is glowing in the sunlight with all of the golden and orange flowers that are in the bed. At the other end of that flowerbed, we sat one of Ms. Kate's containers that holds a really nice purple petunia that has grown to be a bush. As Ms. Kate says; "we have a really peaceful back yard".

The Robins have flown in for their morning bath in the different bird baths. The Blackbirds have also come in for the same thing. I'll have to refill them in a bit. There doesn't appear to be a lot of water to splash out any more. Even one of my squirrels came by a few minutes ago and just plopped itself down in the water of this shallow bird bath outside the window. I've never seen one do that before.

Today will be a minimalistic day of hurry up and wait. Tomorrow is our travel day as we begin our vacation. So,  today we do laundry, finish packing, go to the store to pick up a couple of things, do a few errands around the house and then wait. I'm caught up on all of my "work ahead" stuff. The bulletins are run for the next three Sundays. My end of month reports are done and sent off to the church council   members as well as my mid-year report for the summer congregational meetings, and I have my sermon done for my first Sunday after vacation. There is a lot of work involved in preparing to relax!

My thoughts and prayers go out once again for friends and loved ones with health issues. We just learned of a new health issue yesterday with a loved friend and pray for resolution to her issue. I also ask God for safe travels for Ms. Kate and I as we venture off. I also give God praise and thanks for my world full of blessings. What a blessed life I'm allowed to live.

Take time today to say "I love you" to those in your life. God put them there, just for you. That makes the bond between you and them a holy one. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy first day of summer! It currently 90° with 97° heat index, and it feels every it like summer.

I'm doing an afternoon blog on this warm Saturday. I had poured my coffee and settled in my chair first thing this morning only to find that my Nook was deader than a doorknob. So, I finished my cup of coffee, said my morning "thanks be to God", and took my Nook and plugged it in.

I got my yard all mowed and trimmed today. I also went over and mowed Dan's yard. He and I then took time to solve all of the world problems over a cold beer. He will be mowing the yards while I am gone. Of course, if the heat continues with no rain --- there won't be any mowing to do.

I had to fill up the bird baths yet again. The Robins were trying to do the splish and splash and not having a lot of luck. I maybe got ten feet away from it and the Robin was back in there. There are now birds from all around coming in for a drink. I done a good thing. I will need to fill all the feeders on Monday afteernoon. That shouuld get them through a few days and then they will have to wait until Julie and Jim come doown over the 4th of July to be fed again assuming the kids feed them.

I haven't much else to talk or think about today. Maybe it is because I'm sleepy. It is extremely comfortable out here and I stayed up to 0100 hrs  listening to my ipod. So, I'm signing off for today. I hope the remainder of your day is filled with blessings from God. I also hope you will stop and give thanks to God for them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

I'm here mainly with the Sparrows this morning. That is noteworty only because I was listening to the Gaither Homecoming Friends sing "His Eye is on the Sparrow" just before I went to bed around 1:00 this morning. I frequently close my day out by listening to some good gospel music.

I have one lone squirrel out there this morning. It is being very cautious and sitting on the feeder so it can watch for movement here in the sunporch or maybe see the door open. It knows that if the door opens there is a sting from a BB coming its way. So, it will eat two or three sunflower seeds and then stop and watch for me. I'll catch it off guard here in a few minutes and pop it one. Then it will run up the tree, wait five minutes, and be back up on the feeder.

I did get the most harsh spot out by the north fence cleaned out yesterday. There was rose bush, and clematis, and oak tree, and poison ivy and raspberries and snowball bush all entangled and intertwined with one another. It was a mess to try to get through. I save my empty 50# sunflower seed sacks just to put stuff like that in. I stuffed three of them full from just that spot. The trash man will be hauling them off shortly this morning. That is only a beginning of what I need to clean out over there but at least I won't have to deal with that wild rose. I need to also take the RoundUp sprayer out there and spray the poison ivy.

We are supposed to get rain today. We currently have some high clouds in the area but certainly nothing that would threaten rain. I'll need to water stuff around here this evening if it doesn't. I also need to fill all the bird baths again. The Robins and the Starlings have been lined up on them this mornng taking turns with their baths. Water was flying everywhere. There is a Carolina Wren hopping arounnd just outside my window. They are one of my favorite birds simply because they are so tiny and qiick. They also have a pretty song.

This morning visitors now include a Brown Thrush. We don't often see those in the yard. They are ground feeders and there is plenty of discarded food out there for it. It and the Robin are hopping back and forth across the brick sidewalk eating stuff.

Its Friday and my day off. We plan to go out and visit my mother this afternoon for a bit. We have some copies of Amanda's graduation pictures to give to her. We went to Walmart yesterday and bought some clothes to pack along for our vacation. We'll need to run them through the wash before we pack them.

My prayers this morning are simple. I thankful to God for my life and the millions of blessing God has put in my life. I ask for nothing today Lord, except for your presence as I proceed through my day. I also pray that you, my friends and loved ones, will have a wonderful day and a blessed weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

This is a day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. The words of the Psalmist David certainly ring true on this beautiful Thursday morning. The sun is shining brightly, there are birds on most every feeder and in the birdbaths getting cooled off and cleaned up. The hydrangeas and petunias are blooming brightly and two squirrels are playing chase through the yard. All in all, it is a perfect start to my day.

I had to fill the feeders again last night after I watered the plants and the garden. The rain that is in the area keeps going arounnd us so I need to keep watering. I picked the black raspberries last evening too. I think they are just about done. I have no complaints though. This was my best crop since I planted them. My little patch is only about a six foot by ten foot plot and I've gotten a dozen good pickings off of them this year. I may have one more good picking this weekend, but then I will be on vacation for two weeks and the birds can have them. My red raspberries that are planted on the north side of the yard didn't do squat this year because I haven't taken care of them. That's one of the two last areas that I really need to get under control because it has become over grown by sapplings. The snowball bush is over shadowing the raspberries and preventing them from getting sun. There is a red thorny wild climber rose that stands guard over the whole thing . I need a knight's shield and sword just to hack my way in. Well, maybe that a bit of an exaggeration, but it seems that way everytime I go over there. If I went out there for about an hour this morning, I could get some good done and would feel like I accomplished something today.

Our Julie says she is about 75% better than she was with her RA flare up. I give God praise and glory for that. She has another Orientation Weekend at the college and has to keep the bookstore open extra for that. It is already tough work and long days and adding the pain of RA to it is exhausting for her.

I offer up my prayers of gratitude for undeserved blessing this morning. I also ask for healing and comfort for my friends and loved ones dealing with life affecting illnesses. May God lay his grace and comfort on all of them today and give them pain free days. I also pray for you who may read this. I pray you will feel the touch of God's grace in your life today too.

My coffee cup is empty and I shall now get dressed and go tackle the north flower bed and earn my second cup of coffee. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It is already 80° at 8:00 this morning. Methinks it will be another hot humid day. Birds are already in the bird bath, either driking or splishing and splashing. There is a nice breeze going out there though. My backyard is covered with about 80% shade. I did go out yesterday morning and work on the west perimeter fenceline flowerbed. I'd say it was a minimum of 15° cooler in the backyard than in the front.

My flowerbed I worked on yesterday looks so much better. It looks loved this morning. The one on the north side of the backyard though is going to be much more difficult. And then --- there is the front southside bed to do. Do you get the idea that just maybe we have too many flowerbeds? The problem is that we don't work on them consistently and then they get out of control. One would think we would learn to do better. Ahh well, --- old dog, no new tricks.

I am amazed at the number of blooms our hydrangeas have on them this year. Last fall we really cut them back because they were not blooming all that well. We had heard that they weren't supposed to be trimmed but decided that they couldn't do worse than they had been. Obviously we did that right thing for them. They have exploded with huge flower heads this year. So, thank you, Lord, for helping us accidently do it right.

The lady behind us has her mowing crew out there already this morning. She has a shady yard too so it is a good time to be out there. Ours don't need it yet. I may wait until Saturday afternoon and mow it. I know my neighbor Dan will mow it while I'm on vacation at least once and if Julie and Jim come here to spend the 4th of July, maybe Jim will knock it out for me. Then again, if it stays hot and dry, it won't grow much anyway.

There were more bad storms in the upper mid-west yesterday with many tornados. I heard that there were two deaths, including a five year old girl. My heart breaks for the family. So my prayers again this morning are for God's comforting hand to be with them. I can not imagine that sense of loss they must feel.

I also pray for our nation and our military families this morning. Once again our Marines are being sent into Iraq to beef up security at our embassy there. There is a huge religious civil war going on in that country and the insurgents are particularly violent. All of this is being done in the name of God. God must be weeping.  I pray we will not lose any of our people in the battles between Iraqi citizens.

Let's all pray for peace today and rather than fighting and killing each other on this planet, I pray we can stop and count our blessinngs. I hope your day is wonderful.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It is a beautiful warm morning outside my sunporch windows this morning. All of my friends out there are active. I have several Cardinals vying for food, a bunch of Finches of different colors and kinds, at least three Downy Woodpeckers, and a couple of Robins so far. I filled the bird baths last evening and the Robins are taking full advantage of them. Water is being splashed everywhere. One lone squirrel sits out there on a feeder daring any attempt at landing there by the feathered community.

I have four birdbaths out there of different depths and it is interesting to note that the birds of different sizes seem to know which one will best suit them. The Robins and the Blackbirds and Starlings take the deeper ones and the Sparrows and Finches always go to the more shallow ones. ---- And humans think they are the only one of God's creatuures that have a reasoning brain! I think not. Heck, squirrels solve puzzles like how to get into a "squirrel-proof" feeder a lot quicker than I could.

I'm not sure what will be on the adjenda for today. It is to be a humind 91° day so I suspect that working in the flower beds is out of the question. I woke up this morning at 0545 and should have gone  out then but instead I went back to bed. I worked out in one bed last evening for about an hour but there is still so much to do. The west and north perimeter of the yard is out of control with saplings and out of control bushes and weeds and flowers. There is a wealth of trimming to do. That trimming then requires a lot of hauling and carrying. I could really use some one to help me but would have no idea who to ask, so I'll just have to figure it out and "man-up" and do it myself.

There is much to be thankful for today. I talked to Julie last evening and she is feeling better, or as she put it; "no worse for the wear". I suspect that being able to be back to work may actually have helped her. I just continue to pray she will have this RA flare up over with soon. I also pray for the victims of the latest storms that ran through the upper mid-west part of our country yesterday. Once again families lost homes and property and I heard that one life was lost. May they feel the comforting and strong hand of God with them as they work their way throught the chaos.

Time to stop for today and get busy doing something. I hope you have a truly blessed day.

Monday, June 16, 2014

There is nothing cool nor crisp outside this morning. It is already 78°, promises to go above 91° and that will fire up some thunderstorms most likely. We are in for our first muggy week of the season. If it doesn't rain, I"ll need to water the garden and the patio containers.

Even the critters are feeling the effect. The squirrels are just walking to the feeders rather than running and there aren't a lot of birds out there this morning either. But I'll take whatever comes along and enjoy it. Afterall, we can't expect God to always lay a grandious blessing on us. Some times they are small and just big enough to make you smile.

I've already received one confirmation of answered prayers this morning. Julie said that she is up and walking today, albeit with her cane. Her rhumatiod arthritis flare up has about 40% subsided and she was able to go to work today. She said her joy today was being able to get her sandals on her feet. But she says it will be a day of delegation of the work to be done. Bless her heart. I do pray this flare up will pass quickly for her. She's grateful that it has been quite awhile since she has had one. As I have said before she finds the positive in almost everything.

Yesterday was Father's Day and I heard from all of my girls. Life is good. Ms. Kate and I went to the movie to see Maleficent. I'm sure I enjoyed it much more than Ms. Kate did. I thought it was a good twist on an old Disney story. There was a cute Adam Sandler / Drew Barrymore movie showing at the same time that we could have gone to see but Ms. Kate gave in to my Father's Day wishes. Yes, I am a spoiled husband and father.

A week from tomorrow we take off for a two week vacation. That means I have a lot of things to get done before I go, both around here and for the churches and services. At some point this week I need to go run three weeks worth of bulletins which will take a few hours. I also need to get my sermon written for the Sunday after we return. About the time I think that I'm ahead, I usually find myself getting behind. I work well under pressure but I don't like to.

  • It is time to stop and give my prayers for today. I give God thanks that our prayer list at the churches is back down to only one name. God has bestowed his healing touch to all of those who were going through surgery recovery and rehabilitation. Others who had illnesses have gotten well too. We continue to offer prayers for comfort for both Diana and for Kathy, both of whom lost loved ones. I also continue to lift up Byron and Sheila as they deal with Byron's cancer issues. 

God is so good. And it is so very easy to find peace for your mind and soul if you just turn it all over to Him. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

It's a cool crisp morning out there. A sharp breeze is blowing and it almost feels like a fall morning. But here in the sun porch it is very comfortable as I survey my little piece of the world.

I got my lawn mowed yesterday evening as well as Dan's yard across the street. I think the Robin must like it because it is racing back and forth across the yard. It doesn't fly across, it just runs really fast and then stops. Then it is off again to another spot. I have no clue what is going on with it. The young bunny is kind of doing the same thing; back and forth, back and forth. I think this must be a second young rabbit because it is smaller than the one I saw on Wednesday.

I topped off the feeders last evening so there is a full buffet waiting for all the critters this morning. So far though business is slow. I have a few Cardinals and Finches at the feeders and one brilliantly blue Blue Jay keeps visiting the bark butter feeder. It will grab a couple of bites and then go sit and wipe its beak on a branch. The smaller birds are interesting to watch because they will grab a sunflower seed and then go sit on a limb and crack it open on the limb. I just noticed that I filled the mealworm feeder last night but forgot to hang it. I have no idea what eats those things but they are expensive to buy.  They do have a rather pungent oder, especially when I first open the container.

A rather large Red Tail Hawk just flew in and is sitting in the tree at the edge of the yard. That might explain the sudden absence of birds and no squirrels yet the morning.

We got a call from our sixteen year old granddaughter Lauren  last evening, telling us that she received her Professional Motocross Rider license. We are going out to Mammoth Lake, Calfornia in two weeks to watch her ride in her first professional race. I know it will be exciting. She already knows most of the other woman professional riders out there and they are good friends. But she was very excited and we are excited for her and very proud of her. That makes the second of our grandchildren that is a professional in their chosen sport. Our oldest grandson Josh is a fourth degree black belt in his chosen karate discipline, and has been teaching it for several years.

My prayers go out this morning for comfort and a pain-free day for our oldest daughter Julie. She has been in the midst of a horrible flare up of her rhumatoid arthritis the past few days. She is a woman of remarkable courage with the way she manages to keep going and working despite the pain that she always has.  No matter how she feels, she is the one who is the cheerleader for others.

The coffee cup is empty, but the bladder is full. Time to quit for the day. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's an overcast morning on what was predicted to be a sunny beginning to an equally sunny weekend. I reckon we will see what God has up his sleeve for us.

I have lots of birds out there this morning. The brilliant red of the Cardinals contrasting with the deep black of the Grackels makes for a neat picture. I can hear the beautiful song of the Song Sparrow along with the "get out of my way" cry of the Blue Jay. And --- I have a couple of squirrels out there trying to decide which feeder to rob while at the same time trying to keep each other from getting too a feeder. I do love my view from my sun porch.

I guess it rained last night at some point and I know the power was off too. All of the clocks were blinking this morning which means I need to go around and reset them. It's not a big job because most everything resets itself or is battery operated. My alarm clock is on battery too, but then I only use an alarm one morning a week. It wouldn't be good for the pastor to oversleep and miss church.

I spent an hour and a half out in the flowerbeds yesterday morning dead-heading peonies annd iris and pulling weeds. I only got one area done and have an awful lot more to do. But where I worked looks so much better. Ms. Kate has tons of lilies that are starting to bloom and I don't want old blooms to detract from the picture. Our hydrangias are in full bloom and they are wonderful. The bloom is made up of hundreds of little individual flowers, that creates a single bloom nine inches across. Some people like to amend the soil around hydrangias to change the colors of the blooms from white to maybe blue or pink. We prefer to let them just do what God made them to be.

It is breezy out there this morning which is a good thing because the clouds are being moved out and the sun is starting to peek through. Mowing the yard is on my list today and the breeze will help to quickly dry the grass. I didn't make it to the church yesterday so I must do that today too. And --- I should go out and visit with my mother for a few minutes. This I how I will spend my "day off". Don't I have a tough life?

It is time to get my day started but not before I stop and give thanks to God for another week of blessings. My life is so full of positivity and God's grace and love. I have done nothing to deserve it or earn it. God, out of his love for his children, has simply provided it. I give Him praise and glory. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Welcome to a brilliant, blue, cloudless morning --- at least here. North of us it appears they may still be having storms. The weather fellow on television last night said that it has rained on seven of the last eleven days.  As green and lush as everything is right now, I can easily believe it.

It is Thursday and I have a lot to do today, not the least of which is get a haircut. I need to take Ms. Kate grocery shopping and I also need to go up to the church and get things prepared for Sunday service. And --- we have to get out in the yard and get some deadheading done on the iris and the peonies. They look horrible when they aren't properly taken care of. God provides some beautiful blooms, but then we must tend the plants. (Hmmmmm! I think I just found subject for a sermon there in that thought. Thanks God!) Speaking of sermons, I need to write next weeks sermon too. Oiy veh --- too much to do.

I have a lot of the small birds here today. So,  there is a lot of chirping and flittering around. Most are common House Finches and Sparrows. I'm still noticing that we don't have a lot of the Goldfinches around. I guess they are finding their food in the wild now. As we traveled, We noticed that the wild thistle is blooming, so they may be eating off of that. Some times I have to remind myself that they aren't my birds, God just loans them to me for my enjoyment. One lone squirrel has shown up and I'm wondering if it may be new to the yard. It doesn't seem sure about how to get up on the feeder. It keeps climbing the pole, sliding back down, climbing up again and being very tentative about reaching over to the feeder to get a seed. Mostly it is just eating off the ground.

My prayers today are sent out as prayers for hope and strength for several loved ones and friends who continue their battle with cancer. I learned this morning that one long time friend not only has cancer but is also having severe heart problems. So, I pray they will find strength each and every day to continue to fight. I lift up my brother-in-law once again and continue to pray that his treatment plan is slowing the progress of his cancer. I fully realize that we must all pass through the veil at some point and move on to eternal life. But I would pray that we can do so with a good quality of life and peace until the moment comes.

My coffee cup is empty, my Nook battery is almost dead, and my leg is asleep. I got to get moving. Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

And a glorious good morning to the world this morning! I'm back in the sunporch, back to my recliner, having my coffee and watching the world outside. We've just spent a week on vacation. We went to see our oldest granddaughter, Amanda, graduate from high school. We had a wonderful trip, good relaxing times, and a great visit with family. But --- I'm an old horse, and my most comfortable place is in my own stall.

One of the first things I did yesterdy evening was refill all of my feeders. There wasn't a bit of food left in any of them, which I expected to be the case. However, the word has gotten out through the squirrel grapevine that there is food to be had. This mornng I have more Robins than usual hopping around  out there. I had a Bluejay too for a bit but it has since gone. Other than a few Finches, there hasn't been much activity. It will pick up as the day goes on.

We've had around five inches of rain since I have been gone, or at least that was what was in the rain guage. The plants have exploded with growth. From my chair I can't see much of the actual yard because the phlox, the hydrangias, and all of the patio container plants have gotten so tall. The garden has really grown too and is looking wonderful. So, despite the fact that many weeds have also grown, I give God many thanks for the rain. I'm also grateful for all those little tomatos, and squash, and cucumbers that I see coming on my plants and vines. I will be grateful again after while when I go out and pick my raspberries from bushes that are loaded with fresh berries this morning. Everywhere I look, I can see yet another blessing that God has bestowed on me.

My rabbit is back this morning and it has grown too in the past week. The Cardinals and the Downy Woodpeckers have by now discovered that the pantry is open for business again are flitting from one feeder to another. I knew all things would get back to routine if I just sat here patiently. God works in God's own time.

My prayers this morning are prayers of gratitude for the safe travel we just experienced. I'm also thankful for my neighbor who watches over our place anytime we are gone, as does my sister-in-law Karen, who came at least twice to do a walk through. I'm grateful to a loving church congregation who offered up their prayers and kindness to one of our parishioners who lost her mother while we were away. I'grateful to and for Pastor Barb Gaisser who fills our pulpit when I take time away. I have such a blessed life, and I owe it all to God's goodness and direction in my life.

I hope you can find time in your busy day today, to stop and count your blessings and then give thanks to God who gave those blessings to you. Have a wonderful day.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sunshine and warm Carolina weather on tap for today. It is Amanda's high school graduation day and we are all hoping for no rain yesterday evenng it rained a lot.

I've been out to smell the gardenias several times today. The sweet smell is almost breathtaking. I think maybe God created that flower just to perfume the universe. I picked three blossoms last night and put them in a vase in our room and the oder permeated the whole room. It was heavenly.

We had Safelite come this morning and replace the windshield on the Caddy. I'm glad they were able to get it done so quickly. We didn't want to drive 750 miles with a cracked windshield. The guy doing the work was quick and professional.

We are in a pattern of hurry up  and wait right now. Most of us are dressed and ready but we are still two hours out from the graduation. Gary still has to get home from work. Other than visit and take pictures, we haven't accompished much today; but we are on vacation so what do we need to accomplish?

I love Lisa's yard. Besides all of the azelias, camillias, and gardenias, they have about thirty, forty-foot tall yellow pine trees. Looking out her sunporch windows is like looking out on a park. They have a large gazebo in the back yard and have put in a really nice fire-pit. They hold a lot of gatherings with their church friends out there. And --- being in North Carolina, they can do that fairly well year around.

And so, as I look around, I see the wonderful handiwork of God. And as I sit here, I can certainly feel the presence and peace of God. I am so very blessed to have the loving family that I do. God has been so very good to me. I hope you have that same feeling about your family and that you have that kind of relationship with the Lord God.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm sitting in the sunporch, but not my sunporch. Ms. Kate and I are in North Carolina for a few days as we celebrate our oldest granddaughter's high school graduation. Where in the world did the time go?

I'm sitting here looking at a beautiful lawn full of gardenias all in bloom and the smell is heavenly. She also has over a hundred azelias but they are about done. They only have a couple of bird feeders and it appears that they mostly get Chickadees at them. I may have to go sit in the gazebo in the morning for my morning conversation with God.

Our trip has not been without incident. Before we even got on the road, I went out to put the suitcases in the car and found out I had a flat tire. I aired it up and went down to our local garage and they found a nail in the "no repair zone" up by the rim. So, I had to get a new tire. Then --- this morning our windshield got hit by a flying rock and a long crack started down it. Once we got here to Lisa's I called my insurance company and I have to have a new windshield put in tomorrow. Yuk!

But, all of that aside, it has been a good trip. We spent some time in Old Salem, NC yesterday. It was settled by the Moravians in 1766. It was nice to see some of the antiques they have.

As always, I give thanks to God for my blessings. God is so very good. Have a blessed evening.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A little cloudy and grey this morning. It looks like it could rain. I'm hoping it will hold off for a bit. We are heading out for a vacation this afternoon. Our oldest granddaughter is graduating from high school this week in North Carolina and we must be there. We are very proud of her.

All is quiet in the back yard this morning. The squirrels are of course doing their best to empty the feeders. But ---they will have to look for another buffet when they get them emptied since we won't be here to restock. I know though that when we return and I fill everything up --- it will take about five minutes and everyone will be back.

So, my blog is to be short today so we can get packed. I probably ought to start that process about now. But before I go, I must offer prayers for our parishioner who is to be induced for labor today as they have their second child. Ms. Kate and I both wish her and her family good luck.  I know God will be with them. We also send prayers of concern and strength to our parishioner whose mother has taken a real turn for the worse. I pray for my brother-in-law and sister as they work through his cancer treatments and the waiting periods between them. Patience and strength both come from God's hands. And finally, I ask for God's blessings for a safe trip for us.

I hope you will have a blessed day. My blogging will be sporadic for the next week. Just keep checking.