Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ms. Margret, my neighbor immediately to the west, across the fence , has a squirrel battle going on this morning in her trees. And, --- from the rapidity and volume of the chittering, I'd say their language wouldn't be "biblical". I don't know how many are involved as I haven't actually seen them. But, --- it is entertaining to listen to and let my morning mind wander as to what is being communicated between them. It doesn't take much to entertain me.

I'm also entertained by Mr. Buzzwing this morning already. He has come early today trying desparately to get nectar out of the few remaining blooms on the phlox. The blossoms are getting to be few and far between now as probably 85% of them have fallen off. It won't be long and I'll need to cut all of that back and clean up this flowerbed right out my window. The only thing left blooming then will be the knock out roses and the pots of geraniums. Fall is definitely upon us. Before too much longer I'll need to take some of these chairs out of the porch and store them for the winter to make room for the potted plants Ms. Kate keeps in here during cold weather. We are probably four week away from first frost though, so I don't need to rush in to it. In the meantime, Mr. Buzzing has brought a friend or maybe two, for breakfast, and all is well.

I'm just about caught up with everything we need to do before we head out on a week's worth of vacation. I got my work at the church done yesterday but today I have get my weekly visitation done. Then --- I'll be ready to go.

We were blessed with a call from our California daughter, Heather, this morning. It is sometimes hard to stay up with the kids. Julie and Lisa live in the eastern time zone and Heather lives in the pacific time zone and of course we are in the central time zone. It gets interesting when we all do manage to get together because some get up at the crack of dawn and others are getting up at the crack of noon because their bodies don't have time to adjust. But it was wonderful to be able to talk to her. We plan to go to her house in December.

The sun I shining brightly now because I have set here that long, between phone conversations with Heather and my mother, and having my coffee and watching all of my backyard friends. God has given me yet another beautiful and peace filled day. The only angels I hear singing comes in the form of a cricket steadily chirping somewhere outside the porch, and the sweet fussing and chirping of the Finches as they squabble over the feeders. Life is so good and I am so very blessed. I hope your day is filled with God's peace too.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A fresh new week greets me this morning as I step into the sunporch. It is quiet out here this morning and our company has now gone home. We had a great visit , lots of conversation a bottle wine or two and pots and pots of coffee. It was just the way things should be among family members.

The big difference though between having company and sitting here alone is that I'm a morning zombie. I come out in the sunporch and sit in my silence and talk to no one other than a "good morning" to Ms. Kate. She does the same thing only she goes into her office and reads her email and Facebook. So,, we are both morning zombies. However, when you have company, being a morning zombie isn't very polite and you end up talking to people. It should be noted in the rules that waking a morning zombie only tends to dis-orient them further.

Mr. Buzzwing is back this morning. There were two more here late last week. When I was at Wild Birds Unlimited on Saturday, the store owner and a customer were talking about how they each so many Hummingbirds recently.  They indicated that they had heard that to be a sign of a mild winter because they had not migrated yet. Its probably only fiction, but it is a nice thought.

It is a beautiful 63°, sunshiney morning though. I have mostly Finches here this morning. It isn't quite time for the Cardinals and Doves to fly in. I'll need to fill some feeders later today and then again before we head off on our week of vacation. I have a lot of things to get done in the next couple of days before we go including visitation of parishioners and administrative stuff at the churches. I need to drop by and visit with my mother and I reckon, --- I ought to pack a bag. That generally doesn't take me long. My needs are simple and a pair of jeans will carry you a long way when all you are doing is sitting around, driving, and doing tourist stuff.

Attendance at services was slim yesterday. This time of year gives a lot of competition for church attendance. The harvet is in full swing, and yesterday was not only the Komen Walk for A Cure which thankfully brings out thousands of people but that is followed immediately bt the largest Craft Fair in the area and thousands flock to that as the official start to their Christmas Shopping. So, it is what it is. I'm grateful for the steady attendance we generally have. And, after all, I'll be absent next week too.

It is time to get my day started but not without giving God praise for the blessings I receive every day. It was so good to see Byron looking fairly healthy and to be able to have open conversations about what is going on in their lives with his cancer. It just isn't good to skirt around and tip toe away from things like that when reality is reality. If we love and trust one another, we should be able to share all of our lives and feelings not just the smiles and giggles.  So, this morning, I thank God for a great weekend. I pray your coming week will be a great one too.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I didn't write yesterday and I'm late getting at it today. And --- it will most likely be short today since we have company. Sheila and Byron are here for a visit this weekend so now we are visiting our little brains out.

Yesterday was a day of running around and taking care of things on the "to do" list. We finished up and got home about ten minutes before our company arrived. I don't know how much my errands accomplished but, --- Ms. Kate made two apple pies and a cherry pineapple dessert. I've renamed that one "the disappearing cake" because that seems to be what happens to it.

We've been up early this morning and have been in the sunporch watching the birds and enjoying the day. It is now warm enough to open up the glass doors and let a gentle breeze come in through the screens.

Today is going to be doing some running around that Sheila and Byron want to do. They want to go to the family cemeteries and drive around to the farm ground they own, look at the crops etc., so it will be a fun afternoon.

Today I'm offering up prayers of thanksgiving that our company was able to be here. I'm grateful that Byron is doing well enough with his cancer to be able to travel. That tells me that prayers are being favorably answered to some degree.

With that in mind, I'm "off to see the wizard; the wonderful wizard of Oz!"

Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Another fine day greets me this morning with sunshine and 54° temperature. Although, --- I think we had an all out squirrel war first thing this morning. I have no idea what it was all about but there was a squirrel raising all kinds of racket out there this morning. There was loud angry chittering and tail waving. It ran up and down the pussy willow several times and raced back and forth across the roof. I only saw the one, but there had to have been a couple I would think. Then, it came down off the roof, ran out of the yard and is now gone. I have no idea. But it was a noisy and interesting way to start my day.

I had several things on my list to do yesterday but guess what? I blew them off and Ms. Kate and I had a "date day". It has been weeks since we had a day to stop and catch our breath and relax. So, --- we decided to take the afternoon and just enjoy the beautiful day that God had provided. We hadn't had lunch yet so we got in the convertable and just took off. We stopped at a little gas station/ country market at a small town a few miles from here and picked up some corn dogs and egg rolls, went across the street to the little city park and had ourselves a " picnic". Then we just followed the country roads to where ever they would take us. If we came to a "T" intersection, --- flip a coin for direction. We always knew basically where we were and then made our way to our favorite butcher shop and picked up some stuff, put it in the cooler bag and took off again. We finally came home about six hours later, relaxed and refreshed. Today we don't have that luxury as there are things on the schedule to be done. But I think yesterday reinforces what I say when I talk about taking stock of the blessings that God provides. There comes times in our lives that we simply need to stop; look around us, and count our blessings and re-evaluate what is truly important in our life. And as far as Ms. Kate and I were concerned, our afternoon together was the most important thing in the world. Yes, we're going off on a weeks vacation starting next week, but this was precious time that we stole from the "system" and made just our own. Call it a "love moment". Every couple should take as many of them as they can.

Speaking of counting one's blessings; --- as I wrote that last paragraph, one of my poor Housefinches flew straight into the window here next to me and knocked itself silly. Within a minute a Red Tailed Hawk landed on my grill, looked down at that Finch, jumped down and snatched it up and flew off with it for breakfast. That Hawk may have been what the squirrel was all upset about earlier. God giveth and God taketh away.

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'm up well before the sun crests the roof top this morning. It is hitting the Tulip Poplar trees here in the yard, but then they are quite tall. And, --- I just noticed how yellow the leaves are on them. I'll be raking them up before very long, that's for sure.

It is a chilly 46° this morning and our high today won't climb above about 71° . Today is officially the first day of fall and it feels like it. The  year just keeps on rolling along. Not that I want to depress anyone, but that means that Christmas is only about 95 days away. Yikes! I wonder what Ms. Kate would like for Christmas and her birthday? Her birthday happens to be on Chrismas Eve which basically means she gets cheated out of any real chance at celebration, especially now that we spend our Christmas Eve doing two church services. Come to think about it, due to my careers, she has missed out on a lot of holiday celebrations. As a military commander for many, many years, we would spend our holidays either serving the meal in the dining facility to the troops, or we would go be out working the security posts and law enforcement desk so the young married troops could be home for holiday meals with their family. Yeh, --- maybe it is about time I retired and let her have a life too.

I spent the best part of five hours out in the yard yesterday just workng on one flowerbed. It looks the best it has looked in several months but now I need to mix up some round-up and spray all of the weeds and grass that is in there. Then, I need to get a load of mulch and put on that bed. There are places in this country that I could go to the local Lowes or Home Depot parking lot and pick up a couple of day laborers and have some help doing all of this. But, we don't have that availiability. And --- maybe that is a good thing.

There is much to be thankful for on this beautiful day. The sun is shining, the air is clear, Ms. Kate and I have our health, well, thanks to good doctors and better pills, and I have had the chance to sit and message back and forth with at least one of my daughters. We have family coming in for the weekend and my lfe is full of God's peace. It doesn't get much better than that. Not every day is all bright and shiney but most days in my life are just plain good days.

My Red headed Woodpecker is here as is Mr. Buzzwing and a couple of friends. Just two more blessings to add to an already crowded day. I hope your day will be just as full of peace and love. Never forget that God walks with you and will help you over the rough spots along the path.

Monday, September 22, 2014

If there is such a thing as a picture perfect morning and morning sky, today would be it. The sky is a brilliant blue with just the right amount of fluffy white clouds in it. The sun is shining brightly and the temperature is a very comfortable 56°. The coffee is hot, the chair is comfortable, and the backyard friends are abundant. --- Yeh,  I'm going to be here for a bit.

Ms. Kate and I sat out here yesterday afternoon for quite a while. (Rumor is we may in fact dozed off for a bit.) It was very pleasant. There were lot of birds out and we had three Hummingbirds out there fussing and buzzing, and fighting over the phlox. It is getting far enough along that I could cut it off and clean up that flower bed but as long as the birds are enjoying it, especially the Hummingbirds, I'll let it alone. We had three different varieties of Woodpeckers here yesterday too. It will be interesting to see if they will stick around or migrate for the winter.

We had good worship services yesterday. Ms. Kate had come across an article on the computer and given it to me to read. It was perfect for use as my message yesterday. I had a lot of positive feedback about it. Sometimes things just work out exactly right and the intended inspiration comes through. Those days are especially gratifying. It is also those days that I utter thanks to God for the words to use.

There is much to do this week. Sheila and Byron are coming down along with my niece Lori and her family. They are here for a reality based trip of making plans for cemetery headstones and and those kinds of things. These are things that we never want to do, but prior planning for death events is the way to do things. Ms. Kate and I bought our plots and headstones some thirty or thirty five years ago and we have done the pre-planning and paid for her funeral already. We still need to pay for mine and should get that done. It just relieves the family of stress they don't need at a time when the rest of the world is upside down. And, --- it is so very much more cost effective because the family isn't letting their sorrow and emotions rule their wallet.

God has given us a beautiful day so I need to put on my work clothes and get in the front flowerbeds. I got one cleaned out last week but this is the perfect weather to work outside. I can do my writing tonight. Besides, I read the scriptures that I have to work with for this particular sermon, --- and haven't got a clue what to do with them. Maybe God and I can talk while I'm cutting out some of the saplings and weeds from my flowerbeds. In the meantime, I hope your day has no weeds and your spiritual flowerbed blooms full. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A sunny Saturday! How great is that?  I've been sittinng here watching a butterfly as it flits around on the purple phlox. It is colored like a Monarch Butterfly but it isn't as big as I remember them being. Butterflys are something I don't see aroound here very often.  I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I know butterflys evolve from caterpillars, which would indicate that I don't have caterpillars eating on my plants; yet as I recall, butterflys are good for pollinating. And, I wonder, is it just my yard that we aren't seeing them or have we decimated yet another species with pesticides? ---- These are my deep thoughts for my Saturday morning.

The back yard runway is busy this morning with the flights in and out. I have lots and lots of Finches and several Cardinals all staking out territory and a place at the buffet table. Even Mr. Buzzwing has gotten into the act and has driven off several Finches that "were in his space" on a limb.

I'm still not getting squirrels in the morning at the feeders. I can see them in the trees above and at the neighbors as they dash back and forth but there is only one or two and they are a younger, leaner, and browner in color than the fat grey ones we had before. These one or two now come in the afternoon around two o'clock, eat for maybe twenty minutes and then scoot on out. I'm very curious as to what has changed. Perhaps there has been a turf war and a new gang has moved in. What ever it is; the dynamics of the back yard have changed and I'm saving money because I don't have to fill the feeders nearly as often. Yea me!!

We had a great visit with my sister-in-law, Karen, yesteday afternoon. However, she didn't bring her pictures by from her summer trip to Europe. So, I fired her. But, we all went out to one of our local taverns and had catfish fiddlers for supper; good company, good food, and a good cold beer. It is an excellent combination.

I have a wedding to do this afternoon. Maybe we'll go a little early and work on next weeks bulletins. What with it being the end of the month bulletin in which I include extra pages, and having three days of company next week, and --- the following week being a vacation week, I need to get things done when I can. Prior planning prevents poor performance is a motto I have lived by for many years and it has served me well.

The sky is becoming more overcast and the wind is picking up. I reckon a bit of rain through the area wouldn't be a bad thing. It would not make the harvesters very happy though if we get very much.

Time to put this up and get busy. Despite the fact that God has sent a whole bunch of my bird friends to the feeders now, I still need to vacate the recliner, wash out my coffee cup, and get on with gettin' on. Hug somebody today. You'll feel better for it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The sun seems especially bright this morning for some reason. The temperature is 58° but it doesn't feel all that cool when I'm not in the shade.

I had to fill the feeders again last evening. My little flying pigs had cleaned out several of them. I suspect they will be eating more what with the days beginning to be a little cooler. The Finches seem especially hungry these days. Mr. Buzzwing is still here and now has a buddy. Of course, with the nature of Hummingbirds, they will spend more time chasing each other off than they will actually eating. They are terribly territorial. They are a lot of fun to watch.

The Titmouse twins are here again this morning and I'm beginning to have more Chickadees. I always think of Chickadees as "winter birds", probably because so many Christmas cards will have a picture of Chickadees in the snow on them.

We toyed with the idea of driving over to Louisville, KY today for lunch at PF Chang. But that would rip six hours out of a day that we could get some good outside work done. We have company coming for a few days next weekend and there is stuff to be done to ready everything for a visit. The week after that we are going on vacation, so --- we'll play some other day.

Tomorrow I have a wedding to do. It is a couple slightly younger than me. Both are widowed and are nice folks. I'm glad they found each other and make each other happy. They want it to be a small, intimate wedding and that is what we have planned. Then, we'll go to the Log Inn for some fried chicken and extra cold beer. Yes, some preachers do enjoy a cold beer and --- no, it isn't a sin. (Although my mother thinks it is and my father probably turns over in his grave.)

This morning I'm blessed with extra Golfinches. Many have already turned color but some are still as brilliant as ever. I have a special little water dish for them and when they set there the sun hits them just right. It looks like special little blessing drops from heaven.

I need to close this and get busy. Ms. Kate is already busy cleaning house this morning and I'm relaxing out here watching birds and having coffee. The weekend  is here. I hope you can take some time and enjoy God's creation. Take some time and offer thanks to God, who is our only true source of power and strength. Read Phillipians 4:13, "For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Use that as your mantra today. Blessings to you on this wonderful day.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Where is my time going today???: Here it is a quarter to eleven and I haven't even started my blog. The problem is that I can't get my mind focused today and I keep jumping around doing other things. I'll bet you all have those kind of days too. Unfortunately, at the end of those kind of days, I look back and wonder if I got anything accomplished at all.So, it is time for me to settle down and write and clear my mind a bit. I know God likes a busy person but I'm not so sure about a cluttered mind.

It is 61 degrees this morning and I have opened up the doors to the sunporch and am letting the fresh air come in through the screen. It feels wonderful. Of course I had to close of the door to the main house because I'd be hearing from my lady that she is freezing to death. I think she would be cold at the equator and I'd be hot at the North Pole. I hear so many couples say that they are the same way in their homes. God sure made some strange combinations when He made people.

We were up at the churches yesterday after I did my visitation and they were gathering the corn right next to the church. We sat and watched for quite awhile. We love to watch the harvest being done. My farmers probably think we are a little weird but it is a treat to us to get to watch it being done. The technology that is built in to those machines these days is simply amazing. I was talking to Alan Kruse, who was doing the harvesting, about the difference between what he was doing and how I used to watch my Grandpa Heumann do it with his two-row pull-along corn picker and his old Oliver tractor. Now, everything is GPS guided for both the planting and the harvesting. They don't even stop to empty the hopper. They just pull the truck along side of the combine and dump it as they continue to harvest, and it only takes a minute or two to empty the hopper. As a kid in church Youth Fellowship, we used to go out and "gleen" the the fields for the farmers to make money. Now, there is nothing left in the field but ground fodder and ground corn cobs.

Sheila and Byron are back at the doctor's today, I think to have his port removed. So, I'm praying that all goes well. I would think that extraction would be easier than having it put in, but what do I know. I also heard my our friend at the church that we were concerned about and they are gong to have to now go in and do a needle biopsy because they didn't get what they needed last time. I'm not sure what a needle biopsy really entails, --- but nothing about it sounds pleasant. I just hope and we pray it is successful and that they determine that she has nothing to worry about.

Well, I have set here long enough. My back yard friends have all eaten and gone for now. I'll have to refill a couple of feeders again today.

So, as I depart, I give thanks today for this beautiful, cool day that the Lord has provided. It is energizing to be out in it. I also give thanks for my wonderful and loving family. I do wish they all lived closer so we could see them more frequently, but then I also find that many that have that luxury never take advantage of it. So maybe our distance only makes us appreciate our times we do have together all the more.

Have a most blessed day!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wonderful! The sun has come back to brighten the world. I've missed seeing that for the past couple of days. Of course, as the weatherman said; when the cloud cover lifted, it let all the heat out, which is why it is a crisp 52° this morning.

I love it when the sun peeks over the roof and first hits the flowers that bloom back here. Of course the flowers are going into their fall mode and most of the blooms are gone. But we still have some phlox, some knockout roses, and a few petunias for the Hummingbird to choose from. I'm really surprised the Hummingbird is  still here.

I have two large Downy Woodpeckers again this morning. At least, I assume that is what they are. They look identical to the small ones we always have except they are at least twice as big. They really do like the bark butter paste and the bark butter bits.

The color on the Goldfinches is slowly starting to fade. They aren't nearly as brilliantly colored as they were even a week ago. I wonder why they change color? Perhaps it is a cammoflage thing to protect them from larger birds of prey like the hawks. More than once we have had big Hawks swoop down and snatch one off of a limb and sit there and eat it. Such is the world of instinct and survival.

I had to go see my doctor this morning. I'm having a minor problem with my thumb and it is affecting my ability to grip stuff. Doc thinks it is probably just degenerative arthritis. But, I told her it is affecting my ability to hold my coffee cup so fix it. She gave me some pills, -- which is great because I was afraid she would give me shot in that joint. I was prepared to be a woose about it. I bribed Ms. Kate into going with me by promising her breakfast out.

Today is visitation day and I get to go see Ms. Charlotte. They have moved her to what they call "the Cottages". It is the alzheimers/dementia portion of the nursing home. Now that her hip and leg have healed sufficiently to allow her to wheel herself around the facility, they need to insure she doesn't wheel herself out of the place. I hope she has a nice room with a nice view. She does love sitting and looking out the window.

So, knowing I have a lot to do yet today, I better get with the program. My prayers today are for peace of mind and love for all my family and friends. I pray each of you will sit quietly for a moment or two and soak in the power and blessings offered through the Holy Spirit. Just three minutes of mind clearing, uninterrupted silence is enough time to feel God's presence and experience His love. Try it. You will love what it can do for you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Overcast and 59° this morning as I sit down in my chair and take the first sips of my coffee. I certainly don't need the ceiling fan on this morning. While it might look like rain out there, I doubt it will.

Yesterday was a busy one for Ms. Kate and I. We had early errands to run including a trip up to the churches to bring home the remainder of the stuff we had used for the harvest breakfast. But, we also got the laundry done and the yards mowed and back in shape. Today will have to be an all-day writing day for me. I'm not getting ahead like I want to. We have a couple of vacation weeks coming up and that means working ahead. I should have worked later last evening but wasted my time watching Dancing With the Stars instead. I don't know why I watch that show. It isn't particularly good and they don't have any real "stars", but I tune it in every week. I've watched for so many years now that I can predict the judges scores before they give them. And to think, I could have been watching a rerun of Star Trek for the 1130th time.

Yesterday was not a good news day for the folks I wrote about in my blog. Sheila and Byron found out that his "numbers" have climbed again and that they have pushed his oncologist appointment up. They are holding on to the hope that the Provenge treatment just hasn't taken hold yet. So, we all continue to wait and pray. The other person of whom I spoke, met with her doctor yesterday and found out that they were unable to collect enough sample from her tests, so she will have to go back for more consoltation. On the good news front, another person on our prayer list had a successful surgery with removal of several lymph nodes this week and now appears to be cancer free. So, we give God praise for that. At the same time, we ask for continued strength for those who did not get the news they were looking for. The true facts of life are that sometimes, --- reality just totally sucks. Sometimes, God simply says "no" to our pleading and I have to believe it is because God has a better plan or idea. The bottom line is that while none of us want to lose a loved one, --- we all eventually die. But --- death is just one more step in our eternal journey; a journey that began with God and ends with us being back in the presence of God. And, I believe that when we do pass through that veil, all our loved ones will be waiting there for us.

Enough thoughts about that. For now, I think I'll just give God praise for the "here and now". As our friend Betty told Sheila, just keep singing "One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus; one day at a time. Have a blessed day.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ahhh, my recliner and my sunporch, --- I've missed them these past couple of days. This was a busy weekend but it was really a good weekend too. We had great fellowship with our parishioners at the Harvest Breakfast on Saturday morning. It wasn't a large affair, about 30 people or so, but Ms. Kate fixed a wonderful breakfast for everyone and everyone enjoyed it. This was our sixth year to do this.

Yesterday we had good worship at both churhes. Our denomination, or at least our two churches, are not of a demonstrative nature with their worship. We use traditional music, traditional style of liturgical readings and so on. Yesterday I got them involved in a little active participation as we raised our voices in a more boistrous sermon and song celebration. I think most enjoyed it, although they wouldn't want to do it every Sunday. It was simply my attempt to say that worship of God should be joyful and considered an honor to participte in.

I came home yesterday afternoon and noticed that all of my feeders were empty. So, I filled all but one of them and then I ran out of sunflower seed. I hadn't walked twenty feet from the first few and already had five Downy Woodpeckers flew in. I was doing this about 5:30 in the evening which is "second-feeding" time for most everything. I had a Cardinal  land on a feeder just as I took my hands off of it. Before long there were birds everywhere. This morning it looks like the Atlanta airport out there with all of the birds flying in and out. It might have something to do with the temperature being 56° this morning when I came out here..

This is a week of waiting and anticipating. We are waiting for Sheila and Byron to see his oncologist and find out the results of this six week procedure that he just went through. One of my parishioners is to go to her doctor today to hear the results of her testing last week. We are of course praying for good results all around. If, however, the results are not what we want to hear, --- then we must rely on the guidance of our  great God who has the plan we are following. After all, our faith is all we really have. Our faith is the only thing we take to our grave. We have faith that our Bible and God's promises contained therein are true. We have faith that there is eternal life after we pass on. We have faith that what ever happens in this life is by some unknown plan and that God will be beside us through every light or dark moment we experience. I honestly don't know how people without faith survive. It must be terribly lonely in their little world.

So, this morning I give thanks to God for a brand new week that I am sure will be filled with opportunities to be of some kind of service to others. I thank God for my family and my faith family, and all my friends. I thank God for this wonderful gift of an opportunity to serve my two churches. I lift up prayers for strength and peace of mind for those who are waiting on medical test results . And, I lift up those of you who read this and say it helps them through your day. God bless you on this beautiful crisp fall day.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Goldfinches, Brownfinches, Housefinches, Wrens, Chickadees, the Titmouse twins, and Mr. Buzzwing all are flittering and fluttering on my early mmorning feeders on this 56° cloudy morning. The Downy and Redheaded Woodpecker are taking turns on the bark butter paste feeder too. The larger birds such as the Cardinals, Doves, and Bluejay won't be here for at least another forty five minutes or so. We run a tightly scheduled system here in the back yard. I heard a squirrel chittering about something, in some tree but they have quit coming around here for the time being. The good thing is that it does extend my time between feeder fillings. Although, I still need to go pick up another 100 pounds of sunflower seed.

The world is quiet for the time being. I can hear a couple of Crows cawing off in the distance and a few crickets are chirping outside. I'm out before the garbage trucks come or the school busses come to get the kids. It doe make for a peaceful morning.

This morning, brother in law, Byron goes for his last infusion from this cancer treatment. Sheila sent me an article yesterday telling that one of the drug companies now has FDA approval for a like product and they apparently are having great success with it. We cross every finger and lift every prayer that this is going to work for him. I don't know what kind of test they will run to determine success, whether it will be a full body MRI or PSA number testing. God's will be done!

How many three-inch long birds can fit one a seven-inch long feeder? Apparently the answer is at least eight because that is how many are on that feeder at the moment. Is it any wonder that I would enjoy sitting out here in the morning with this much joy fluttering around? God's blessings come in all kinds of packages. Often it is nothing more than the brilliance of a Goldfinch sitting on a small twig of a limb.  Or perhaps it is the rabbit that just ran past my door. Encounters with God are to be looked for and not dismissed as just another thing that happened.

This morning I lift up our nation in prayer. Yesterday was the thirteenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on this country. On that day, thousands of lives were lost, thousands more lives were shattered. On that day, a new nation was born; a nation much more suspicious, much less trusting, and certainly much less loving. Our own politics and politicians have become much more polarized and extreme and mean. Much of society wants to throw away tradition and values that have made this the nation to admire. If you want to know at least one possible outcome of it all; read about the fall of the Roman Empire. So, this morning I pray for our nation. I pray that we can again become a nation with the desire to be a nation that wants to care for the world, --- not police it. As we sing each week in church, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." Have a great day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hello cold front! Welcome to southern Indiana. This morning we have a breezy 67° cloudy morning. We managed to escape any severe storms last and only picked up an inch of rain. However, the sky looks as if it could burst open at any moment. Let it do or let it don't, make no nevermind to me.

We got through much of our "to do" list yesterday and were tired puppy dogs when ee finally got home from choir practice last evening. But I believe that a busy day can often help a person sleep better at night. And --- I almost always sleep well.

The backyard is fairly quiet this morning. There are a few Finches and Sparrows out there, as well as a couple of Cardinals. But by and large, it is peaceful. The air looks clean this morning after God gave everything a bath last night. At this time of year the air has a lot more dust in it because the farmers are beginning to bring in at least some of the corn. We've noticed several fields that have been harvested already. I'm told that some of the earlieer cutting is for silage to store and feed cattle. They cut that when it is still a bit green. I remember "back when" that my Grandpa Heumann and my Uncle Howard used to cut and store silage behind the barn in a big old trench type of place that they had escavated. I always thought it stank. But, I guess the cows didn't mind.

Choir practice has started at the church and we are so blessed to have a dedicated group of people that want to use music as their ministry. We're only a small choir of a fairly steady dozen or somtimes fifteen, but they do sing well and they love to sing. We voted last evening to once again do a Christmas Cantata. This will be our second year to do that. So this morning my prayers include prayers of gratitude for our choir. They add so much to our worship.

I have set here long enough that the birds are starting to come in. Mr. Buzzwing, the Hummingbird is here getting a bite for breakfast. Several Downy Woodpeckers are now pecking at their feeders as are the cardinals. Patience is the watchword for the day. God provides when God provides. And, ---- God provides what serves God's kingdom best. That is sometimes a very hard pill to swallow because it often conflicts with our desires. So, today I pray with you and for you. I pray today brings you peace and a quiet spirit. I pray today brings you an even better tomorrow. Look around you today, and find that person that needs a word of comfort and a word of caring from you. I guarantee you that someone is having a harder day than you are. Share a bit of your love with them. It will make your day go a whole lot better. Blessings!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A very excellent morning to you! I have a cloudy, warm, 75° morning with rain and  storms on the way. We are at the point where some rain wouldn't hurt. Although, the farmers are beginning to bring the corn in so they may be a bit iffy about getting very much rain.

I didn't get to you yesterday. There was too much on the proverbial plate. I spent my morning in a Pastor's Circle meeting and the rest of the day was crowded too. I hate it when I don't get my porch time in the mornings and even have to take my coffee onthe run. But, we all have those days don't we? Today won't be a lot better. But for right now, I'm being grateful for my morning and I think the Goldfinches and Cardinals may be being grateful that I filled all of the feeders last evening.

My hummingbird is back this morning. It is visiting each little flower out there on the phlox, then it buzzez over to the roses, then it will sit up on a branch for a bit. I suspect it will be moving on to where ever it migrates to fairly soon. The fact that I fill so many feeders all year, keeps a lot of birds here year around. I also keep heated bird baths during the winter so they always have fresh water to drink when everything else is frozen over. I just read an article on Facebook that said the upper mid-west, the Ohio valley, and the north east will have record shattering snow this winter and the cold and freezing temps to go with it. I'm hoping that prediction was simply by some alarmist. The article also said most meteorologist are discounting it. But this guy was saying now is the time prepare and stock up on things like powdwered milk and put bread in the freezer etc. Who knows what will happen? As for me and my "weather predictors" --- I've only seen one wooly worm so far this fall, and it was really dark, but the Goldfinches have not yet started losing their color. To me that says we don't need to break out the parkas just yet.

We went to the orchard Monday and picked so apples. They ar delicious. Ms. Kate turned some of them into pie yesterday while I was at my meeting. She is one fantastic cook. Saturday she is cooking for the parish as she and I host the sixth annual harvest breakfast. She has a wonderful menu planned.

Today I do pastoral visitation. Then we go to the church and run the bulletins and get things kind of set up for both the Saturday breakfast and the  Sunday services. This evening we have choir practice. So, it is time to lean the recliner forward and get busy. Of course I must first address the great God that makes my life possible and keeps the abundance of my blessings flowing. With out the presence of Christ in my life, I would be nothing and I am so very grateful for this life that I have been given to live. I lift up each and everyone of you this morning. I hope your day is filled with love and joy and peace.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It is a brilliant blue, sunny, sixty two degrees outside. It feels a bit like fall. I had to go out and fill the Finch feeders and also to clean the little "ant guard" that sits on top of the Hummingbird feeder. For what ever reason, that is where the Goldfinches like to drink. It is just a small plastic "bowl" looking thing but they seem to like it and it was nasty full of dead bugs.

It is such a beautiful day that we may have to take a convertible ride to the orchard and pick some apples. I also need to go to my local Bible store and/or to ToysRUs. I'm looking for some children's instruments like small drums, mallets and blocks for an experiment I intend to do for my sermon this Sunday. Assuming I find them, it will either go very well, --- or as they say, it will " go over like a fart in church." We'll see what happens.

The back yard was fairly quiet today. Sometimes it is that way. I heard Mr. Fuss a lot, the Blue jay a little bit ago but it never stopped here. I have a couple of Cardinals, and a few Finches, but that is about bit. I'm really puzzeled as to why the squirrels seem to be avoiding this place. I'm certainly not complaining, --- just puzzeled. The sunflower seeds last a lot longer when they aren't around.

This coming Saturday morning Ms. Kate is fixing breakfast for the parish as we host the 6th Annual Parish Harvest Breakfast. Although an awful lot of work for Ms. Kate, this event has gone over very well every year. One year we had the confirmation class help out but the rest of the time Ms. Kate has done it all herself. We just feel that it is so very important to begin the harvest season as a faith family giving thanks to God for the crops they are about to harvest. We also pray for a safe harvest. Farmers are an anxious and stubborn lot sometimes and they push themselves past exhaustion trying to get the crops in. So, this is when I revert to my days as an Air Force Colonel, and give them their "safety briefing". Most of the parish members are connected to farming either directly or indirectly. One of our greatest pleasures is to sit out and watch the farmers as they gather in the corn or wheat. They are indeed doing God's work. And, --- as I stand at the pulpit at St. Paul's, I can look out over the field directly across from the church. It is a peacefull scene, even when it is snow coveted.

Today I'm certainly lfting up praise to God for this beautiful day. I also lift up Byron and Sheila as Byron goes through his last blood draw and infusion tomorrow and Friday. I lift up a particular parish member who is having a lung biopsy this week and I pray it is not cancerous. If, however it turns out to be, I pray it is caught soon enough and that she and her family will continously experience God's arms around them. We have several people on our prayer list at the moment, and I ask that God watch over each and every one of them. And --- I lift you up to our blessed Savior as you read this. Know that today, someone just prayed for you. Have a blessed day..

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ahhh, Saturday morning; the weekend has arrived. I recall a time when those would have been my thoughts. But, as a minister, the weekend gets to be whatever couple of days one can put together, and the normal "weekend" is actually the beginning of my work week.

We had a wedding rehearsal last evening and I'm glad to say it went extremely well. The participants were pretty much on time. They were well behaved and paid good attention to instruction and detail. That isn't always the case. Almost always someone is a half hour late and the participants are often noisy and pay little attention, or spend their time joking around. If the wedding today goes as well as the rehearsal; --- it will be great.

It is a cloudy morning and 74° out there. The humidity is low and it feels great. I hope we don't have rain though at wedding time. But, they will be just as married whether it rains or not. It is a Goldfinch morning at the feeders. I love it when bunches of them fly in at one time. It looks like a bunch of yellow lights hanging on the branches and feeders, especially if the sun is shining on them. I filled the smaller of the finch feeders a few minutes ago and there are currently nine Finches on it. That's very cool.

Sometimes I just love the technology of today. I stopped in the middle of my blog to "talk to my family". I've been in a six-way conversation via Facebook messenger. Ms. Kate is on back in her office. Heather is on in Calfornia, Julie is on over in New Albany, Indiana, Lisa is on down in North Carolina, and Josh is on up in Massachussettes. And we are all visiting like we are in the same room. I absolutely love that we can do that.

My Nook just informed me that I am getting critically low on my battery, another part of technology! So, I'll wind this up. I hope your Saturday is full of warm thoughts and feeling the presence of God's love in your lfe. Call or talk to a loved one today. That act has already made my day perfect.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The yard is still relatively quiet this morning. Even the Bluejay came in without fanfare. Most days it loudly announces its presence but today, nothing. Perhaps it is a different one or perhaps it didn't have a prospective mate that it needed to impress this morning. Most likely I'm a few minutes early today and the gang just hasn't arrived yet. They are extremely regular in their feeding habits.

I told you yesterday that I had two things on my agenda; get a hair cut and work on next week's sermon. Well, I got the haircut, which led to eating lunch out, which led to a trip to Walmart. I did finally get around to my computer and began putting down ideas for my message and looking up scriptures, and doing some research for stuff through several of my books. With all of that in mind, I looked at the worship service I had planned; --- and scratched it, --- and started all over again and put together a whole new service. So, while I have a new and I hope better, worship service, I'm still only barely past concept on writing the sermon. And people say we pastors only work one hour a week!

So, today's agenda includes mowing the front yard and Dan's yard and writing. This evening we have a wedding rehearsal and dinner. Although I mowed earlier this week, I had raised the blade a quarter of an inch to prevent leaving a lot of clumps. The grass has gotten tall because of all the rain. Today I'm putting the blade back down and getting us all cleaned up for the weekend, --- and more rain which is to come in tonight and tomorrow. Dan's going to be gone for several more weeks so I keep his yard looking good too. It's what neighbors should do, I think.

Ms. Kate and I are planning on a couple of trips yet this year. Our first one will be to Berea, KY and then up to the Berllin, Ohio area and Amish territory. We love going to Amish areas. We have stayed in several bed and breakfasts in Amish areas and it is alwys so peaceful to sit on the front porch and listen for the clip - clop of the horses hooves on the pavement as they drive their buggies back and forth. Last year we went to Lancaster, PA to experience this and were so very disappointed at how very rudely the non-Amish were to the Amish people. It would appear that they were trying to push out the very reason visitors would want to come to that area. What a shame.

The last of my coffee has gone cold and the morning is getting long and warmer, so I better get busy. The weekend is upon us and that includes the Sabbath. Whether you have taken the time or had the time to realize it, God has filled your life with an abundance of blessings. Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy. Attend a worship service this week and join others who are there to celebrate the gifts that God has given them. There is strength in numbers, especially when it comes to prayer.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I think it was Rogers and Hammerstein that wrote the song lyrics "Oh, what a beautiful morning", and that certainly applies to today. The sun is shining brightly and a gentle 76° breeze is blowing in an on and off fashion.

Between Ms. Kate and I, we spent a total of six and a half hours in the flower beds yesterday. I told her this morning that I'm changing my name to "Connie" today; as in "Connie move" or "Connie not". Neither one of us is in a hurry to bend over to do anything this morning. I'd bend over to pick up a dollar bill but a penny can just lay there until later.

One would think that with that much time spent weed pulling and hoeing that the difference would really stand out. And, yes, she and I can tell easily where we worked. But --- there is so much more to do. Today the temps go back into the low 90's and the humidity range goes to steamy, so this old asthmatic is keeping his hiney inside.

"Mr. Fuss a lot" the Bluejay has been here all morning going back and forth. He sure does make a racket. My main visitor today though has been the Woodpeckers. I've had several varieties of them here on the bark butter feeders. My usual Cardinals and Goldfinches are here in abundance too. There are a few Sparrows and Housefinches too, but not as many as normal. And, Ms. Buzzwing, my Hummingbird, has been going back and forth between the roses and the phlox again this morning. Life is pleasant and serene again this morning in the backyard as I sit here with my coffee and finish off the last of the cookies that my friend Betty made for me last week.

My tasks today are to work on next week's sermon and to get a haircut. I have a wedding to do on Saturday and want to be presentable for that. I talked to the mother of the bride at church last night and their week has been a week of turmoil. The bride has hurt her back and is in pain and the father of the bride had to have an emergency tooth extraction. Bless their hearts --- a little added sress is not what should have been on the menu for the week. So my prayers go out for them. The prediction of a stormy afternoon on Saturday is not going to bring that young bride any joy either. But, she will be beautiful, the groom will be handsome, the wedding will go off just fine and God will be in charge. Anything else is just fluff and stuff.

My thoughts and prayers this morning are as always thoughts of gratitude for the blessings that God showers on me every day. I also send up my prayers for Sheila and Byron as they go in to next weeks series of blood draw and infusion for this particular cancer treatment. This will be the last one of these and we wait and see what the benefit of it all has been. Hopfully it will bring the remission that we all pray for. But regardless of the outcome, I take comfort in knowing that God will be in any process that comes along. Rocky roads are so much easier to travel when we travel them holding God's hand. The bumps will not be eliminated, --- but the path will be much brighter. Brighten your path today and take the hand of the Lord.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm up, --- but not necessarily "at 'em". The coffee tastes especially good this morning for some reason. Maybe it is because I'm not fully awake yet. But, I've read my email, checked the weather report on my Nook, and read all the latest comments from Facebook; so it is time to write my blog and then get busy.

It is a nice sunny 69° morning and I intend to tackle at least one flowerbed this morning and pull weeds. They have gotten so out of control again that there could be tigers hiding in them; well, maybe small tigers. But, you get the point. They look unloved and that is unacceptable.

I have one squirrel out there this morning. That is the first one this week. The backyard is busy though. There are several Cardinals at the feeders and this morning I have several Doves cleaning up the ground under the feeders. There are also several Finches of different varieties, and one lone Chickadee grabbing a sunflower seed here and there. I also have a single Hummingbird buzzing back and forth between the rose blooms and the phlox. What a blessed, peaceful place I have in which to start my day and enjoy God's creation every morning. I have Ms. Kate's dear departed mother to thank for that. We had wanted to put a sunroom out here over the patio but it wasn't in the budget. When she passed on, she left us enough money to be able to build it. She would have absolutely loved this room. I suspect she occassionaly sits here with me as I enjoy this setting. I think of her often. She did love her flowers and loved to feed her birds too. So, --- this is as much "Mom's room" as it is mine.

I'm thinking that Fall may come early this year. I have noticed that the trees are already getting just a tad bit thinner in their foliage. This pussy willow tree right outside my sunroom loses more and more leaves every day. I'm betting in two weeks there won't be a leaf left on it.

As I sit here looking out; there is just so much to remind me of the glory that is the love of God. That infinite blue sky overhead  reminds me of the endless love and grace and blessings that God has for each and every one of us. The myriad of trees and foliage that surrounds this yard remind me of the constant protection of God's loving arms. The constant flitting and fluttering of all my beautiful birds give me a hint of the business of heaven as the angels flit back and forth joyfully doing the work that God has for them to do.

Now it is time for me to do some work and go tend God's flowerbeds. My prayers are for all of us to have a peaceful and Holy Spirit filled day. With God standing by you and Jesus Christ holding your hand; --- how can it be any other way.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Well, the good news is that I didn't have to buy any goats! I got the yards, ours and Dan's, all mowed. The bad news is that it rained another couple of inches last night and the grass is going to grow like crazy. The good news is, --- I get to play on my Little John Deere again this week to keep up with the lawn. The bad news is  --- there is no time in my schedule this week to do that. Ahhhh; the ying and yang of life.

The weather forecaster was pretty spot on as to when the rain and thunderstorms were to hit. I first heard them around 5:30 this morning. Right now it is still outside and the sun peeked through for only about two minutes. But, it appears that more rain is imminent. The sky has darkened again..

Mr. Fuss-a-lot, the Bluejay has arrived this morning and is grabbing up his share of the bark butter and the suet cake. I also see around eight Cardinals out on the sun flower feeders enjoying their breakkfast. Mr. And Mrs. Titmouse were in too. I never see just one; they are always together. I know that some birds mate for life and I wonder if they do. Hopefully I'll remember to look that up.

The Downy and the Redheaded "Hairy" Woodpeckers have been busy on the feeders this morning. I haven't seen a single squirrel in the yard this week. There was one in the neighbor's tree this morning but it is gone now. I imagine they are busy cutting leaves for their winter nests about now. It would be wonderful if they moved to a different county! With out the squirrels, my feeding bill would be cut by two thirds. I noticed Sunday that I need to pick up another fifty pound bag of sun flower seeds. At least it is going for a reletively low price now. It was up to almost $40.00 a bag for awhile.

I have to take the convertible in for a lube and oil change. Unfortunately I also have a wobble in the front end when I apply the brakes. That could mean any number of things; none of which are cheap. But, cars only last if you take care of them. We are very routine about our maintenance. I'll see if Ms. Kate wants to follow me down, drop off the car and then we'll go to breakfast. That sounds like a workable plan to me.

I was able to get my sermon for this Sunday written yesterday. The words finally began to flow, thank you Lord, and it came together nicely. I am so blessed that God continues to give me the ability to write and speak His word. I am also blessed that I was allowed to share God's word at two wonderful family churches. The fit has been perfect these past ten years. They have become such a special part of the lives of both me and Ms. Kate. So my prayer this morning is a prayer of gratutude to God for God's wisdom and guidance. I hope you take the time today to thank God for the blessings in your life. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, September 1, 2014

God must be sleeping in this morning because I heard the rumble of God's snoring as I  woke up this morning.

And a blessed good morning to you! What was to have been a get up and get busy outside for awhile today is instead a cloudy morning with rain drizzeling down. It isn't a hard rain, but just enough to make it muddy out there and the grass too wet to mow. The radar shows that this should pass soon and then we should get sunshine. And --- I'm seeing patches of blue off to the west. I really do need to get the mowing done today or consider buying goats.

So, it is a gentle world outside the sunporch this morning. Hearing the rain drops on the roof of the porch though could easily lull me back to sleep. I'm hearing the sound of crickets out there at various locations. I suspect that before long it will be the time of year to hear the drone of the cicadas. I filled all seventeen bird feeders yesterday afternoon and obviously the word has gotten around. The Cardinals generally visit twice a day, in the morning around 9:00 am and again at about 5:00 pm. I finished filling feeders at 4:30 yesterday and at 5:00 pm they were all swooping in. This morning I have my usual dozen Cardinals out there as welll as a couple of the Downy Woodpeckers. I put a suet cake out yesterday and something has eaten about a third of it already. The Starlngs and Blackbirds really like those but they must have come through earlier because I've had none since I've been sitting here.

We had a wonderful visit up north with my sister and her family. There was lots of laughter and hugs, frank discussions about Byron's health and their plans to build a new home and severely downsize. Byon is handling the cancer treatments very well. We just don't yet know the effectiveness of the treatments. So, --- they have a five year plan and we are grabbing our prayer book and God's loving hand and jumping on board with their plan too.

Yesterday we met Julie and Jim for lunch about half way between our two houses. Ms. Kate had done some sewing on a costume for Julie to use for her character in the haunted house she volunteers at during the Halloween season. She goes all in for Halloween, admittedly, a trait and love she got from me. Our house was "the place to visit" during Halloween when the girls were growing up. So, we met for lunch and Ms. Kate gave Julie her costume. It made for a wonderful part of our day.

Today is Labor Day, marking the end of summer and the official beginning of fall and all that the last third of the year has in store. I have a busy week ahead of me and I'm not ready for it all. But, I have sat here long enough for the sun to come out and brighten up the day. God's brilliant smile of love now encompasses my little patch of the universe and I can only give him praise and glory for that. I hope your day is full of peace and love. I know mine will be.