Friday, November 28, 2014

Twas the day after Thanksgiving, and all through the house,
People were still sleeping; it was quiet as a mouse.
Julie & Jim had gone shopping at the first break of dawn,
And at every store they passed, all the parking was gone.

Today is Black Friday and there are shopping deals galore,
If you don't mind being trampled as you squeeze through the door.
So they went straight to their destination, and picked up their prize,
They stopped and bought donuts that will increase my size.

So now they are home resting, and with the pups snuggled up.
And I'm in the sun porch having my third cup.
Ms. Kate's at the computer playing bingo and such,
And lfe is just perfect because we're each loved very much.

As you can tell, among my array of talents that I am blessed to have, being a poet is not one of them.

And a good morning to you! It is a beautiful day out side even though it is only 32°.. the sun is shining brightly without a cloud in the sky. I'm quite sure it will brighten the spirits of all those people that are out trying to get in on all of the great deals that the stores are offering today. I tbought we were going to stay out of all of that but Ms. Kate says she wants to go out after while, when the mad rush is gone down and pick up a couple of things. So what the heck,

Well, that's my tail for today. I hope your day is a blessed one.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It is Thanksgiving morning. Ms. Kate has lunch in various stages of preparation in the kitchen and the house has been smelling wonderful since last night when the very first of the preparation began. I anticipate a very full tummy before this day is over. All of the usual suspects of turkey and gravy and the sides and desserts will grace the table.

We are fortunate to be having this day with at least part of the family. Julie and Jim are here. I'm going out to pick up my mother, and my sister-in-law Karen s coming over too. Karen is bringing the oyster dressing so she is officially my favorite sister-in-law. She also will be leaving on vacation with us Tuesday when we head out for Las Vegas and southern California to visit with Heather and the kids.

We had a skiff of snow last night; just enough to be aggravating and messy. Jim just arrived from New Albany, about 100 miles from here, and said the roads were clear and not a lot of traffic except for the 18 wheelers. So, hopefully, there won't be a lot of highway deaths this year from people rushing and driving stupid to get to their destination.

I had to refill some of the feeders again this morning. I have a squirrel out there that has been like a yo-yo up and down the tree. It comes down, looks around to see if the pups are out, and then climbs up the pole to the feeder. I wait until it gets good and settled, --- and then scoot the dogs out the door and the chase begins. It is quite amusing. We've played that game for several days now.

I give God thanks again today for a off filled with blessings. I pray your day will be or has been, filled with blessings too. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

James Whitcomb Riley once wrote a poem called "When the Frost Is On The Pumpkin", and that term certainly applies to this morning. And, --- I guess that only surprises me because with all of the cold weather, rain, and even snow, --- we haven't seen very many mornings with frost. God's world never ceases to amaze me with the intricacies of nature. While the sun is now streaming across the roof and lighting up the back yard and overhead are brilliant blue skies, the weather reporter just promised us an afternoon of rain and an evening of snow. (Big sigh)

All my feathered friends are certainly fluffed and plumped up this morning as they sit out there on the limbs and feeders. They look like they are about twice the size they are on a warm morning. I have plenty of suet out there for energy food for them although they still prefer the black oil sunflower seeds of which we have gone through fifty pounds of in the last week.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am thankful that we will be celebrating it with family in a warm home. I know I mention it often in my blog but I just feel so very blessed to live the life I am fortunate enough to live. My journey has taken me from an unknown situation and home as a toddler to an orphanage for a couple of years, to a home where I was given the opportunity to learn music and an introduction to the church and faith and the beginnings of a faith journey, I have indeed had an interesting life. I've married a lady; without a doubt the finest lady I have met in my life, and she has absolutely been the rock of our family and has stood beside me through raising three daughters, often by herself while I was deployed for extended periods of time. I've been fortunate to have had two overwhelming successful careers; first as a military man, going from Airman Basic and retiring thirty two years later as a Colonel. Then, rather than retire, as I promised Ms. Kate, I began another full time career as a pastor for our two rural churches where I have been for the last ten years. We have three wonderful daughters, each with successful careers of their own, and we have five wonderful grandchildren. So, is it any wonder that I feel as if I have lived a totally blessed life?

As we go into this Thanksgiving holiday, I also must thank God once again for the overwhelming improvement in Byron's health in his battle with cancer; and I also thank God for Julie's continued strength and resolve in her constant battle with RA. Her constant battle with pain makes me ashamed to even think about complaining about anything.

God has been the constant in my life whether I acknowleged it or even recognized it over the years. I know that nothing in my life could have been possible without God being the guiding and directing force nudging and supporting me all the way.

Count your blessings today and take time to walk back through your life. I guarantee you that you will find God playing all the important roles in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A cool Tuesday morning greets us as we step into the sunporch this morning. It is a bright, sunny 31° outside. The pups have been in and out enough to be aggravating. But, they are true to their mission to keep the squirrels on the run so all is well.

The focus of much of the nation this morning rests on what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri. The grand jury last night ruled "no indightment" for a policeman that shot and killed an unarmed black teenager several months ago. The anticipated reaction to a verdict of that nature became a reality as once again certain portions of the population of that area decided to loot and destroy their neighborhood. In all fairness, the majority of the protestors came to protest peacefully as is their right to do. But there is an element of people who came there specifically to loot businesses and destroy property under the guise of civil protest. These are people who were going to destroy property and loot businesses regardless of what the verdict might be. They are thugs, they are criminals, and they couldn't care less about the young man who was killed. So this morning, Ferguson Missouri has an even larger unemployment problem because black owned businesses, in a predomnantly black populated area, have been burned to the ground by young black gangs of thugs, because they are "angry". There is no rationale that can justify that. Fortunately, no one was killed last night or injured. So my prayers are for the honest citizens of Ferguson who have lost property and the honest people who no longer have a job due to the protests and civil unrest and lawlessness. I pray God will help in the healing process of what are some major societal problems of inequality and injustice in not only Ferguson Missouri but underlying in the fabric of this nation. As a society, we are a long way from obeying the Golden Rule in this country.

I refilled all the feeders yet again last evening. There is plenty of food to be had and there is a good gathering of participants at the feeders this morning. Evdry once in a while another squirrel will try to sneak down the tree and get to a feeder. But it is quickly soied by a pup and then the whining and scratching at the door begins. It makes for a fun game, for them at least. Auggie came close to actually catching one yesterday because it took a wrong turn. It finally ran under the shed.

It is almost Thanksgiving and people are going to hit the road "to grandma's house". I pray for safe travel for all of them.

Have a most blessed day.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The wind is blowing a steady 25 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph. It is all the birds can do to fly straight and hang on to the feeders. The squirrels aren't having much better luck. But then they also have to worry about these two pups that are standing at the doors. We've had several mad chases through the yard already this morning. It is quite entertaining to watch. We had a storm go through the area about 0530 this morning and the rain was torrential. I think most of that is supposed to be gone but the wind advisory will continue until tonight and the nice 65° temperature we had yesterday will be come a high of 35° by tomorrow. And, while we might grippe about the weather, we are so blessed to not have some of the weather that is playing out in the rest of the country. So, it is a day to count the blessings once again.

It is Thanksgiving week and Julie has the week off and is spending it with us. We had well attended services yesterday at each church and the congregations each decorated their sanctuary after the service. We stayed to help with the decorating at St. Lucas. The St. Paul's folks decorated while I was conducting the St. Lucas service.  The choir sang a nice number for the service yesterday. It was a Bill Gaither number called "Mansion Over the Hilltop". Last evening we went to my sister-in-law's house for a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Thursday she will come have Thanksgiving with us.

The wind we are having right now has completed the de-nuding of the trees and bushes. Yesterday the firebushes were almost totally in folage. Today there is hardly a leaf on them. I'm hoping the wind will also dry them out so they will be easier to clean up.

Today has to be a day of writing. I still don't have this coming Sunday's sermon done and I need to work on the service and sermon for the week after we get back from our vacation. I'm about twenty five percent done with this week's. I have a good theme for it but sometimes the development gets lost in translation. We are entering the Advent Season so of course the focus is on the coming of the Christ Child. And, while it is a marvelous story, telling it in a fresh way for four weeks in a row is a challenge for every pastor I suppose. However, I am so very thankful for the opportunity that God has given me to serve these congregations. So, I'll rely on God to provide the words and hope I interpret them correctly.

I also once again give thanks for my family and loved ones, and our faith family. They are such a blessing and the support I receive from them is overwhelmimg. It is a total validation of what I hope to be doing. I hope you have that kind of support in your family and friendship. I also pray you will have a most blessed day.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

It's a sit around, drink coffee, visit with our daughter Julie, Saturday morning. It doesn't get a lot better than that. Of course if the rest of our girls were here that would cream off of the top! But, thankfullu, Julie will be here through Thanksgiving with the pupperonies. Jim will join us on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, depending upon his work schedule.

Last evening we had dinner with my nephew and namesake, John Neil, and his family. We don't get too see them very often so it was great to visit with them. They had come in town to visit with my mother.

Its much warmer this morning; 42°, and the sun is shining brightly. I fille the feeders yesterday and right now they are fairly covered up with Finches. There have been a few Cardinals out there. Julie said there were more earlier. But they come and go. The pups are continually going in and out and that is keeping the squirrels at bay. Julie has a sweater on each dog so they are very comfortable being out there.

We need to go to our meat market today, Dewig's, to pick up our turkey for Thanksgiving. They are such a great family to deal with and their place is always spotless. It is no wonder they have won National titles consistantly for years. I'm sure there will be more places to travel to once the car is in motion.

So, this is just a short blog today. My world is full of peace (except for a certain two dogs that constantly want in or out) --- and love. What more can a person ask for. My prayers go out this morning in thanks to God for a great week. I also pray for the folks up in Buffalo New York today. That six or seven feet of snow they got is probably going to start melting today with the onset af a couple of days worth of warm weather. That will cause some major flooding and then when the temperatures again drop to below freezing it will all turn to ice. I pray God will protect them and keep them safe.

Ms. Kate is ready to head out the door which means I'm running behind and better get busy. Have a great day.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sunshine and Cardinals; what a beautiful combination to start a person's day out. Add a warm cup of coffee, an easy chair and a light blanket, and you have the makings of what one might call "snuggled-in". That pretty much my situation at the moment, although it must be short lived this morning. I do have stuff to get done this morning before I head off to a class that starts at noon. However, there will be time to have a second cup of coffee and time to sit and be thankful to God for yet another day that I have no doubt will be filled with blessings.

Today I have to attend my "Boundary Training" class that is sponsored, required, and given by the denomination. The class is required of all ministers of the United Church of Christ every three years. It is designed to remind us of what is considered "appropriate and legal" conduct around our parishioners and co-workers. I fully understand the intent of the program and the message they send. But, --- I also recognize that it is a program designed to protect the denomination from law suit should a minister act inappropriately. They can cover themselves by showing that we were "trained differently". The class will take four hours to tell me what I already know, and could boil down to no more than ten minutes. "Keep your hands off of the parishioners and the co-workers and obey the Ten Commandments. Now go have a nice day."  Seems pretty simple and straight forward to me.

Today is our daughter Heather' birthday. Where did the time go that this little girl is 44 years old already? Next month our youngest, Lisa, will turn 43. My little girls all now have grown children of their own or at least their chilren are close to being grown. Time does march on and often we forget to take advantage of the time we do have. That is why Ms. Kate and I have started having our family reunions. It is worth every penny  we spend to insure the cohesivness of the family. We think that is too important to lose. Our three girls and their families are literally spread from coast to coast. I fully recognize that is because of the lifesyle of being raised by me being a career military officer, but sometimes I do envy those families that have their children "just down the road".

So, today my prayers are prayers of thanksgiving again. I give thanks for my family and the love we all share. I give thanks for good health and I lift up those in my family that have health problems. May God give them the strength every day to continue on with a positive attitude. I give thanks for my faith family and I pray that God will continue to show me how to serve them, and the wisdom to know when it is time to step down. I also pray for those families in the northern part of our country that are buried under so much snow. May God keep them safe and warm. And finally,  as you read this, know that I have prayed for you today too. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Good morning! It is 30° outside this morning, but with a 15 mph breeze, the wind chill is still 14°… not a lot of help there is it?

The back yard looks like the Atlanta airport this mornng with all of the birds flying in and out. I think I've counted fifteen Cardinals out there. There are at least that many Junkos hopping around grabbing the dropped seed from under the feeders. Everybody eats a bit then they come and get a drink from the bird bath. I need to dump it out today and put in fresh water. It has a bunch of leaves and stuff in it. I don't know if it bothers the birds or not. Afterall, they drink out of street puddles and worse. But it would look better to see clean water.

Ms. Kate and I are tired and sore puppies this morning. We spent the majority of yesterday moving furniture from one room to another. We are having our family room renovated starting the first of December. We had decided that we needed to swap some of the furniture from the master bedroom to the family room and vice versa. None of it is light or small. In fact it was a job getting the stuff through the doorways. So, of course, one doesn't simply pick up and just move the pieces you want to move, one must move all of the other stuff that is in the way of what you want to move. So, it was a day of pushing, and shoving, and twisting, and turning, and lifting and grunting; all of which left us worn out and sore with some pulled muscles. Now at least, Ms. Kate can chose her paint colors. But ---- before the construction can begin, we do have Thanksgiving happening, and company coming. So, everything is in place to facilitate that, and then we get to move all of the stuff from the family room to store in the living room so the contractor can come in and start tearing out panneling etc. The good news is that we will be gone for nine of the first days they will be working in here and they can get all of the tearing out done, and the wall boarding up, mudding and sanding done while we are gone. It will save on my athsmatic lungs, for sure. When we moved into this house in 2001, we told ourselves that the panneling in this room had to go as well as all of the popcorn ceilings in the house. Well, every room in the house has been renovated to some degree except this one, and the popcorn ceilings have all been taken care of except for one bedroom. So, it is time to get the panneling out and some other work done. We are also putting a heat vent out here to the sunporch. Now, --- you have more information than you ever wanted about our home and activities.

Its Wednesday again already and that means a day at the churches. We are just a week away from Thanksgiving and the year is fading quickly. Christmas is just around the corner and before we know it, it will be 2015. I've always heard "old people" talk about how fast time seems to pass. Now that I am up there in the senior years, I can see what they meant. So, I think it is best that we simply enjoy every day that God gives us and take advantage of every opportunity to show our love for one another. After all, the closest thing we have to leaving a legacy is how we are remembered when we are gone. Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In my whining moments about weather, and snow in particular, I always say that I don't mind snow as long as it is "convenient" snow. Just put snow on the grass and fields and stuff but not on the sidewalks and streets. Well, from my pespective, this snow we have out there is actually "convenient"snow; so once again, thank you very much, Lord. I did go out and clear my driveway yesterday morning, --- I told you that. But, within two hours the sun had been bright enough that the street was clear and so was everyone else's driveway. Basically, once again, I created work for myself that God would have taken care of had I only been a bit patient. I think I do that a lot with more than just snow. Maybe we all do.

It is a cold, 13°, windy morning. But it is still beauttiful out there. Much of the snow that was on the bushes and trees has blown off and the limbs are free to stand back up. I was concerned about my fire bushes as they were bent almost in half from the weight of the snow. But most of the snow is now off of them. The azaleas are still pretty weighted down because they are backed up against the fence and the wind doesn't really get to them. Hopefully the sun will help the snow melt enough that the branches won't break. I have to go to the scripture where Jesus said something to the effect of; "Consider the lilies and the trees; they neither toil or work and God takes care of them." It will all be fine.

At 13°, the feeders are a popular place this morning and the heated bird bath is working great. There have been many, many birds at it this morning. There are birds on every feeder right now. I refilled everything yesterday afternoon, so there should be enough food for a few days depending on how many of those fuzzy tailed rats show up, and how long they sit on the feeders. I only have one out there at the moment and it is sitting up on a branch with its tail covering it in order to keep warm. I really don't understand how they keep from freezing to death in weather like this. But I feel the same way about the birds, and the cattle in the fields and all the other animals. Once again, --- the intracies of God's universe are just so overwhelming. To sit and try too analyze it will just boggle your mind and leave you staring into space. That is why we have this thing we call "faith". We simply trust that God put a perfect plan in motion, and like God, it will last for as long as God wants it to last.

This morning I thank God for the sunshine that at least makes the world look a bit warmer out there, even though I know it isn't. I thank God for all my birds and yes, even those darn squirrels. I thank God that I have a home and I pray that those who don't, --- are finding shelter and warmth somewhere. I thank God for my family and the love we share. And, --- I thank God for you who may be reading some part or all of my blog this morning. Whether I know you or not, you have just become part of my extended family. God has already blessed each and everyone one of you today. I trust you will give God thanks for those blessings.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What a fantastically beautiful view out the sun porch this morning. God has laid down a two to maybe two and a half inch blanket of snow on everything this morning. It is one of those "quiet" snows, meaning that it is a wet snow and therefore deadens sound. It is a picture of silence; ---- except for the galloping of the squirrel menagerie that is running back and forth across my roof. It sounds like a soccer team up there.

Needless to say, the feeders have a lot of visitors this morning and the heated bird bath is the star attraction. Before the day is out I will have to go refill all of the feeders. But, the Cardinals against a backdrop of snow does make for the perfect winter picture.

Saturday as I sat here there was a large Woodpecker out at the bark butter bits feeder. It would grab a pellet and fly away over to the top of the door on my yard barn. I watched it as it did that over and over. Saturday afternoon I carried another 50 pound bag of sunflower seed out to the yard barn to put in my storage can. When I opened the door, I got rained on by bark butter pellets that the Woodpecker had spent the morning storing up there. And --- that Woodpecker sat up in a tree above me calling me all kinds of unhappy things.

I've already gone out and shoveled the driveway this morning. Unfortunately I haven't put the blade on the John Deere yet this season. So, I had to do it the manual way. I treated my driveway last night before the snow came so it was an easy shovel this morning. My hope is that the sun will now dry it off before the wetness from under the snow turns to black ice and creates a bigger problem. Our temperatures are going nowhere quickly. It is 21° out there now and that will be the high for the next two days. Winter wonderland came one month early.

My prayers go out this morning for the family of my friend John who is being buried this morning. I hope the roads are clear enough that they can travel safely back and forth. The cemetery where he is to be buried is on a hill. On the bright side, I hope the family can see through their grief this morning as they are out there at the cemetery and take in what will be a beautiful view. The cemetery overlooks a lot of pasture and farmland and the snow covered fields and trees will be reflecting the light of God. God is still speaking to us every day and today I know he is speaking peace to their souls through the beauty of the nature surrounding them as they say "until we meet again" to their loved one.

I know God will speak to you and I today too. We just need to listen for the message. It will speak of love; and who doesn't want to hear that. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Some thirteen or fourteen years ago, when my granddaughter, Lauren, was around three or four, we were driving them back to Louisville to catch a plane back home to southern CA. Lauren was looking out the window and was amazed at all of the trees along the roadside because they simply don't have that terrain where they live. She began telling us the difference in what she saw. When we would come one bunch of trees, she. would tell us, "that's a woods". Then maybe the next place she would say "that's not a woods, that's a forrest". She did this for several miles of the trip. I never knew what made her distinction. Perhaps it was the density of the trees and whether she could see through them or not. Today --- I know the distinction.

Yesterday was a miracle news day. Byron had his PSA testing done and his number have dropped wonderfully again this month down to 46.4. Three months ago his numbers were way up in the 600's. That was the forrest with very limited vision of a way out. It is very easy to feel lost and alone when trudging through the deep vegetation of a forrest. So often, one has to literally hack their way through, while only hoping you are going in the right direction.

Yesterday's reading has put him in the woods. He's not free, but he can see the sun streaming through and the path is clearly visible. Even more importantly, he can see that there are many of us walking that path with him and we are following the light of God Almighty as God leads us all through. The goal is to reach a point where he is simply walking through a "stand" of trees where everything is clearly visible and the walking is truly easy and friends and loved ones bring picnic baskets and lean against that one large oak tree and relax. That oak tree has always been the tallest tree in the forrest, in the woods, and in the stand. It is the power of God. Its branches are the prayers you have sent. When we lean against the power of God, we can always find comfort and peace.

Byron has asked me to help spread his joy and his gratitude through my blog. I will do so again through my sermon message for next week. He sends his love and appreciation to all of you who continue to support and pray for him; and he acknowledges that it was your prayers that have brought him to this point. The journey is not finished. There are still some muddy streams to cross and no doubt the occassional briar patch to work through. So, keep those prayers coming, and God bless you for the ones you have sent.

It is a 22° morning and the sunlight is streamng across the roof and on to the beautiful red leaves of the firebushes. The Cardinals and other birds are busy eating and flitting around. What a glorious morning! I hope your morning is the same.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The sky is a clear brilliant blue this morning and the air is a crisp 22°. The air is still too so maybe my birds will have an easier time hanging on to the feeders. It would appear that I need to fill a few feeders today at some point but I think I will wait another ten degrees.

The window washing crew is coming at 0800 so we are up early, or as Ms. Kate calls it, "church time". In that we seldom go to bed before 0100, we usually get up around 0800 except on Sundays. When I first retired from the Air Force, I was getting up and ready like I had a staff meeting at 0700 or something. When I was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, I would be on the running track at 0530, walk my five to seven miles and then head to work. But those needs and requirements are long past.

Well,  it would appear our being up early was proper because our crew just showed up a half an hour early. It will be interesting to see how those guys clean windows in the outside when it is 22° . I told them that we have the drop down/tilt in windows for easy cleaning but they said it takes them longer to do that.

Robins, Cardinals, Chickadees, Finches, Titmouse, Red wing Blackbirds, Sparrows and Woodpeckers of three varieties are all at the feeders and the birdbath this morning. There are three, maybe four Robins out there and three of them were sitting on the birdbath. It will be interesting to see if they elect to take a bath or not in this weather.
They are doing a lot of moving leaves and stuff this morning looking for what ever it is they eat, I guess. This is exactly why I enjoy sitting out here to write in the morning. Life and God's world is just so very amazing and interesting.

I made my visitations yesterday and got my work done at the churches. I also ran into my first snow flakes. We had flurries on and off all afternoon yesterday. I'm not a fan. If I never saw snow anywhere except in a picture for the rest of my life --- I would be fine with that. But some folks love it and they long for a White Christmas. I'm not a fan of any weather that I have to shovel. But, God created it so it must be good. But I'm willing to give some of that goodness to those who really desire it.

Time for prayers of the day. Of course no day is complete without giving thanks for my family and the love and support they give to me. I also pray that brother Byron has good results today from his PSA testing. That would fall right into the category of miracles. I lift up those folks who are grieving today from the loss of a loved one. I ask God to lay a comforting hand on them. I lift up those who are homeless and hungry today. May they find shelter and food and the help they need to live a better life. I lift up the members of our military today where ever they may be stationed. May God guide them safely home. And I have prayed for you today, whoever may be reading this. May God touch your soul today and bring you peace in your mind and in your heart.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The gates of heaven opened last evening and my friend John, of whom I spoke yesterday, walked through to his eternal home. So I send my condolences to his family and prayers for their comfort. But isn't it comforting to know that God always keeps the light on for us.

I didn't know John really well; he was a brother-in-law to three members of the church, and he was a cousin to my brother-in-law Byron. He and his wife have come to church and we have worshipped together, and in my book, when you have shared the word of God and prayed together and even perhaps shared the Lord's table together, you have become friends and brothers and sisters through Christ. But I think John sticks in my mind because I have seen the power of prayer and the grace of God at work with him. Even up to the last moment, God's grace was in that room. John had recovered sufficiently to be able to have last conversations with his family. He had expressed that he hoped that his heart would simply stop and that he wouldn't die from drowning from his lungs filling up with fluid. And as I understand it, that was exactly how he passed. His heart stopped, --- and John went home. I will say it again; God is so good.

It is a balmy, breezy 29° outside. We have lots of birds out filling their tummies this morning. The is also a rather large Red Tailed Hawk sitting on a limb about thirty yards from here. It is just watching what is going on. I would love it if it would swoop down and snatch up one of these two squirrels for its breakfast. I also have a rather large Red Bellied Woodpecker out there fussing about everything in general. There are at least nine Cardinals and a host of Finches and Sparrows here today too. The cold weather and wind has brought them all in to the buffet.

This morning we go for our dental appointments and then we need to go do the visitation and work at the church that we didn't get to yesterday. See how quickly I can get behind? Sluff off one little bit and then its play catch up. We did make it to choir practice last night. We are still working on the cantata for Christmas and it really isn't going all that well. So, we are going to change tactics a bit and pray it works.

Brother Byron goes in for a PSA test tomorrow so my prayers this morning are that his numbers are low again this month. That will give us all a sense of hope that just possibly he is going into remission. So readers of my blog, I ask you to hold him up in prayer too. I also lift up all of the other folks that are currently on our prayer list, almost all of whom are afflicted in one way or another with cancer. Surely God will one day show us how to beat it.

Remember to smile today and share God's love. God sent you more than enough and you can never use it all up. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

According to an early morning post from my friend Judith Powers, it is 34° with a feels like temperature of 29°. However, that hasn't stopped my neighbor's lawn service from being out there mowing at 8:00 in the morning. Yikes! That guy doesn't even weat a ball cap on his head. He's got to be cold. I may do the same thing here in a bit and mulch up the leaves from yesterdays wind and rain. But, I'll have my head covered for sure. I can't be getting a cold.

There is my usual morning gang out there this morning at the feeders. Ms. Kate was in the kitchen with the mixer going first thing this morning and I thought maybe she was making some home made sausage. But, alas --- she was making suet cakes for our feathered friends. I've already had one of the Downy Woodpeckers come and sample it. The sketch cakes are good for energy for them.

Today is Wednesday and that means a busy day of visitation, going to the churches and running the bulletins, and then this evening we'll do choir practice. It may be cold out but at least it isn't raining. Yesterday afternoon was miserable out with the major temperature drop, wind, and rain. We attended a nice program at the Ft. Branch Community School in honor of veterans. The kids presented the whole thing and they did a good job of it. Their choir sang, their bell choir played, the band played and some of the 8th grade students read essays or poems they had written. It was a picture straight out of mid-west Americana where children are taught the value of their history and heritage.

The rest of our week is semi-benign. Tomorrow is dental cleaning day; not the most exciting part of my life. Friday we are actually having a crew come in and wash the windows in this place. That sounds like a really extravagant thing to do and maybe it is a bit over the top. But these guys come in and wash and clean all 29 windows in this place, inside and out, in about three hours and only charge about $175.00. Well worth it in my books. I think it took almost an hour and a half for us to just clean the ten floor to ceiling windows inside and out  here in the sun porch this past spring. Oh yeh, where is my checkbook!

Our friend John of which I wrote a few days ago is now out of ICU and in a regular hospital room. I am just amazed at the progress he has made. God has indeed performed great things with him. I haven't heard a report in a day or so, but, I credit the power of prayer and God's intervention to his current condition. Is he still terminal--- probably. But then we are all terminal aren't we. But God has allowed him to be able to have some extra time to be able to say his good-bye to the family and to take care of what ever spiritual residual may be remaining between him and God. That, my friends, is what we call God's Grace. May your day be filled with the Grace of God today too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I'm running late today with my writing. It is mainly because I do my blog out here using my Nook. But --- I forgot to take it back and plug it in yesterday so this morning the battery was down to about 8%. That's not a good start to the day. I could write my blog on my PC of course but it just isn't the same sitting in the basement and not having my porch windows to look out of when I'm writing. I guess I could also use my laptop but I forget I have that most of the time except when we go on trips. Soooo --- my name for today must be "total geeky dork".

I'm now sitting here with a fully charged Nook and I'm watching a cold front come in. We have a narrow band of rain that is being pushed by some pretty strong wind. There are almost whitecaps on the bird bath with this wind. I changed out bird baths this morning because we are supposed to see a very dramatic drop in temperatures with several nights well below freezing. My heated bird bath does wonders at keeping water available for the birds in even the coldest temps.

The fuzzy tailed rats are back. There are three squirrels out there on the feeders at this moment. I figured they would return in force as soon as it got a bit cooler outside. There are a lot of birds of all kinds out there too. They have instincts that tell them that cold weather is coming and they need to build up their body fat. The weatherman even used that four letter word--- "snow" in his forecast last night. But, as warm as the ground still is, it won't amount to anything more than an inconvenience.

Today is Veteran's Day and we are attending a program up in Ft. Branch At the school. But, we need to go to our favorite restaurant first for some lunch. After the program, Ms. Kate want to go to a couple of stores so, that will be my afternoon.

Before I go, I must give thanks to all of the Veterans who have served this nation in order to preserve our freedom. I also give thank to God who kept them safe. Have a blessed day.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What kind of day do we have today? Well, let's just say this. There is a "throw" that drapes across the back of my chair for when it gets really cool out here. If I were to get off of it and put it across me; I think I would be snoozing by now, despite the fact that I slept in this morning. So, I guess it is a lazy, snoozy morning. That will happen when one stays up until 0100 hrs to watch Cut Throat Kitchen.

Actually, it is a beautiful morning. It's breezy, sunny, and 46° out there and supposed to go up to around 60° today. Our young weather gal last night said today would be "the pick of the litter" for weather-days this week. It is supposed to turn cold and stay that way now for a couple of weeks. The first day of winter is still a month off. Oh well,, we will adapt to what ever God send down the chute.

We are on day two of the Veteran's Day celebrations. Tomorrow is actually Veteran's Day but today is the day I think it is "celebrated"; which in reality means the banks and government offices and institutions are closed to accommodate a three day weekend. I did part of my worship service yesterday in honor of our veterans and tomorrow I'm attending a Veteran's Day program at a local school to support one of my young church kids who is taking a part in the program.

I'm very proud of my congregations this morning. We have been colleting items to fill Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. The collection period ended yesterday and we spent a couple of hours sorting and filling boxes. We filled 59 shoeboxes. We had fifteen people show up to help fill the boxes and we celebrated our efforts with pizza and soda after we finished. What is really neat is that I had a young 16 year old girl who volunteered to run the program for the parish this year. She did a great job. So congratulations to her and to the parish. I love seeing how God inspires people to do something for some one else.

So, I just did a "2nd cup of coffee run" and I suddenly remembered that I have a great bathrobe to slip on for chilly mornings. I wondered what might have happened to it. Well, that would be robe that hangs directly in front of me and I brush up against everytime I walk into the closet. Sometimes --- no one is so blind as those who can see.

This morning I once again give prayers to God in praise of his marvelous creation and manifold blessings. I also ask God for his healing power for both daughter Julie and brother-in-law who are down with bronkial stuff and making them miserable. Neither of them need a single thing added to their heath plate. I also lift up all those on our church prayer list. May the Lord watch over them and provide comfort to them. And I pray for anyone who may intentionally or accidentally be reading this. May God shed his blessings on you.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

An overcast, 42° day greets me this morning. The sun has yet to burn through the high clouds but I suspect it will before too long because I see it reflecting off of the neighbors windows. Now that the trees are almost totally bare I see a lot more of the neighborhood than I do in the summer.

Yesterday was a good work day out in the yard. And, --- I'm a bit stiff from it this morning. There is, of course, more to do; there is always more to do. I could work out there every day and there would still be more to do. But it is obvious where I worked yesterday and that's all I ask for. What I don't have a good plan for is grass removal without digging up flowerbulbs or killing good plants while spraying weed killers. And --- we got a lot of both, flowers and grass in and amongst them. The other thing that constantly pops up in our flowerbeds is trees. Between the redbuds, the tulip poplars, the maples, and the sweet gum trees that surround this area, we constantly are digging and chopping tree sapplings and sprouts out of our flowerbeds. It might take years for a tree to grow and mature but in this yard; --- from seed to sappling is done at warp speed.

Anyway, I got a lot more leaves and sidewalks cleaned up yesterday and also used the John Deere to mulch up the leaves in my front yard and in neighbor Dan's yard. Now we look presentable for the weekend.

I refilled all the feeders yesterday afternoon an my menagerie of feathered friends seems to be enjoying it this morning. The Cardinal clan is all here as well as the Titmouse duo. The Finches are flitting back and forth and as predicted, a couple of Junkos are back again this morning. Yesterday afternoon I was sitting here on a coffee break and there was a large Hawk of some variety sitting on a limb preening and cleaning itself. It not only sat there the whole time I had my coffee, it stayed there for awhile as I went back into the yard. That was awesome. I need to check my book and determine which kind of Hawk it was. The Red Tailed Hawk is our most common, but we do have several varieties. When we lived on March Air Force Base, CA, back in the nineties, we had a Golden Eagle's nest in the top of a tree in in our yard. That was so cool. There were always small fish bones at the base of the tree from the Eagles swooping down to the local lakes and bringing home dinner.

God has presented us another wonderful day full of opportunities to achieve something in His name. That beautifully red Cardinal sitting just fifteen feet from me is my sign that God is alive and his world is well this morning. So, for that and for you, I give God praise this morning. Have a nice weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2014

What a gloriously beautiful morning. The sun is streaming across the roof and into the back yard. There is minimal breeze moving anything around out there. The only detractor is that it is 34°… Brrrrrr! But, I think we are going up to around 50° today so that won't be too bad to get out in. I need to spend some time using the leaf vacuum again from the last few day's worth of gusty wind. I'll get the rake out and pull some of the leaves out of the bushes and run the lawn mower over them.

It looks like I need to also fill some feeders again. Most of the ones in the Pussy Willow tree just outside the window are really low. There is still plenty of food in other feeders but these are the ones they seem to like the best. I could use another 50 pound bag of black oil sunflower seed too. It has sure lasted a lot longer since I haven't had squirrels on the feeders. However, I am seeing them back again. There is one out there right now stuffing his belly. I think it is just about time to put out my heated bird bath again too and put the rest away for the season. It is great to see how well that thing works. I think this will be at least the fifth, or maybe sixth year we will use it. These things run around $50.00 but are totally worth it. When it gets to be freezing out and everything else iced over, we become the only source of water for them.

There are lots of Cardinals here again this morning. I generally have between eight and twelve at a time. There are a couple of Goldfinches here two. They have totally lost their color by now. I guess it helps with their camoflague in the winter as they match the dullness of the branches. I have a couple of Chickadees and an occasional Junko, but their numbers will increase as winter sets in.

I think this will be a short blog this morning. I need to eat breakfast and then get on with the activities of the day. The days are shorter and that leaves less time to get stuff done in the sunlight outside. With the time change, it now is dark by five in the afternoon. So, it is time to reflect for a few moments on the blessings of my life and the goodness of God. No day should ever begin without stopping to be grateful for my blessings. The mere act of getting out of bed this morning is a luxury that many people don't have beecause there are so many in this world that have no bed to get out of. Walking to my kitchen and pouring another cup of coffee is a luxury because so many people not only can't walk, but many more don't have a kitchen to walk to. So my prayers this morning are for those who are struggling in life this morning. May God bless  them and comfort them and help them find food and shelter and health. And, if there is a way that I can be of service to my fellowman, I ask for God to guide me in that direction. Have a wonderful day full of positive energy and a desire to help someone else.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hold on to your hats this morning and for the next week, so they say. It is a windy one out there this morning. It is 46° and that is only two degrees below our expected high for the day. Its not a great day to jump in the convertable and drop the top and go for a ride. But, --- on the other hand, the sun is shining brightly and there isn't a cloud in the sky. So, I'm not going to complain one little bit. We'll just ride with the top up and enjoy God's world as it presents itself.

Ms. Kate and I went on a "late night- date night" around midnight. I had gotten home from choir practice and we had each done some more work; me on the computer and her on the greeting cards that she makes. Around midnight we both got hungry and decided to just go out for breakfast at Denny's. We haven't done that in several years, and it was a great time. As we older people say; "There was a day" when that would not have been unusual for us to do at all. Isn't it amazing how sedintary and "rutted-in" we can let ourselves become without realizing it. I wouldn't want to go out for steak and eggs every night, --- but we sure enjoyed ourselves last night and I recommend it for you too!

I guess the first thing on our agenda today will be to go up to the churches and run this weeks bulletins. We just had too much stuff to do yesterday to do that. I also hope to get my sermon finished that I'm working on. I got a really good start yesterday and I don't want to lose the train of thought.

I must tell you today of an example of the miraculous work of God. A friend, and brother-in-law of three of my parishioners, is in the ICU at a local hospital in critical condition. He has been on a ventilator for a couple of weeks, I think, and his kidneys had shut down three or four days ago. The family has all been in as much as possible and they are all prepared for his imminant passing. Yesterday they took him off of the ventilator, --- and he kept on breathing, not particularly well, but he kept on breathing. And, his kidneys began functioning again. Now, I don't know what all of that means. It could mean that he is on the road to recovery; --- it could simply mean that God is giving him a couple of days of earthly peace to ease the impact on the family before he passes away through death's veil. But, --- what I do know is this. Never give up on God because God never gives up on you. What happened in that hospital room yesterday was an intervention from God for what ever purpose it might serve to give God glory. And for that, I am thankful this morning. Much like Mary and Martha and Lazarus; a family received a very special extra day with their loved one. If he passes away today --- they will still always have had that extra day.

You and I have each received an extra day today also. Let's put them to good use.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

And a very happy Wednesday to you! It is a 42° overcast morning, but the rain seems to have moved on to the east. The sun is trying to burn its way through the clouds, and all is well in the kingdom; or at least my 12,500 sq ft of it. You never know what might be going on, on the other side of the fence and at the neighbor's part of the world.

I can't believe it is Wednesday already. I guess it seems to be coming around quickly because I still don't have a sermon written for next week. There is an idea rumbling around up there but it hasn't broken forth with any consistency. But --- it will suddenly just come spilling out, so I need to be a bit patient. God will provide at the right time. God always does. In the mean time, my cup of coffee is great, I'm very happy out here in the sun porch, the birds are very happy out on their feeders, and life is just good all around me.

I think I have thirteen Cardinals out there this morning. It is hard to count them sometimes because they flit back and forth so much. The Hairy Woodpecker has come in and out several times as well as its little cousin, the Downy Woodpecker. I've also had a pair of Nuthatches swooping in and around at the bark butter feeders. The Finches, the Chickadees, the Sparrows all will be here shortly as the bigger birds go off to the trees. Their patterns are pretty well established.

Yesterday was mid-term election day for the country. The Republican Party gained control of the Senate and they already had control over the House. I wish I thought things would change and the country would stop being so divided. I do think that at least the majority of the people who get elected to represent us actually believe they are going to make a difference. But money talks and ideals walk. Glad-handing, cronieism, and compromise becomes the only way they get anything done. Every politician claims they are going to " change the system and clean up Washington". But in reality, they are just scrubbing a sceptic tank with a tooth brush in the dark. But having said that; --- this is still the greatest country in the world and I wouldn't want to think of living anywhere else.

My prayers this morning go for the nation to come to terms quickly with the election results and begin working together to make this a great nation for all of its citizens. My prayers also go out in gratitude again today for my family and friends, and my parish full of God-loving people. I'm thankful that my sister and brother-in-law have had a couple of weeks of peace in dealing with his cancer. We are all waiting for that "next report" and praying that his cancer might be heading to some degree of remission. I'm thankful for my fine feathered fluttering friends out there on my feeders. Their beauty just constantly reminds me that God is everywhere we look, and is therefore, always by my side. Give God praise today and share God's love with someone. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Good morning! I missed being here on the porch yesterday, --- but I had to take my 97 year old mother to the eye doctor and to run some other errands. After that, one thing led to another and before you know it --- the day is done. So, I'm starting early today just in case the world goes nuts or something.

I think writing is my main task today. But, before I begin in my office, We must get out and vote. It is mid-term election day in America. Locally our biggest race is for sheriff. But even if the only office being voted for was "dog catcher", we should exercise our American right to vote. Our neighbor state, Kentucky, has the hottest national race going on. They are voting for a Senate seat. The political ads have been non-stop and horribly nasty. Millions of dollars have been spent on both sides to secure that seat. Lies and half truths are spread with no hint of shame. We have empty food banks all over this country and politicians and their cronies spend money like it is water for political power to tell us how much they "care about the American people". Well, don't tell me; --- show me. ----- OK, I'll get off of my personal soap box.

It is 51° this morning and cloudy and windy. We'll have rain by noon which is another reason to get out this morning. I'm not a fan of gloomy days
as you can most likely tell. But my menagerie of birds outside does brighten up the day. It is mostly Cardinals and Finches so far this morning, although I had a large Woodpecker come through a few minutes ago. I'm a tad early for the "rush" of birds that will fly in around 0900. That's all good, I'll be here with my coffee cup for awhile yet.

While I was out running around yesterday, Ms. Kate was home doing the laundry and working up the remainder of a buschel of apples for applesauce. We had picked these a couple of weeks ago in the orchard. She had made a few pies for us and now it was time to work the rest of them up. I tried some of it last night and it is delicious. So, this morning I think it will be homemade bread, fresh applesauce, and steel cut oats for breakfast. How yumm is all of that sounding to you?

My prayers go out this morning in gratitude to be able to live in a free country. God has blessed this nation so much and the people seemingly work so hard to ignore that fact sometimes. We bog ourselves down in our personal opinions so deeply that we forget to look up to the God that has made it all possible. So I thank God for what God has done for us as a nation and for me personally. May God continue to bless America and may we always be a nation that cares about and cares for the rest of this world. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Brrrrr to the outside world. Due to another day of running errands etc, once again I didn't get my bird feeders filled yesterday. So, that was the first thing I did this morning; even before my first cup of coffee. It is 34° and windy this morning, so coming back in and wrapping my hands around a steaming cup of coffee felt wonderful. But my birds should be very happy this morning. Everything is prepped and ready for their buffet.

Ms. Margret, (the neighbor across the west fence) has her yard crew out there mowing and mulching her leaves already this morning. The fellow is wearing a lght jacket and no hat on his head. I would think he would be pretty chilly. I have to do the same thing after while, but I intend to dress for the task. The sun helps, but that wind blows straight through a person.

It is a Saturday morning and for the first time this week I don't have to be getting ready to go somewhere away or do something right away. I can sit here and drink my coffee and watch the world outside of the sun porch all I want to. Of course sitting here looking at a yard full of leaves is a bit of a nagger. But the temperature has to go up ten degrees first. But with this wind blowing and gusting to about 15-20 mph that might take an hour or two.

We got the food delivered to to food bank yeterday morning. It wasn't an overwhelming amount but when I went in there, they only had a couple of loaves of bread and a couple of cans of beans. They were happy to get the donation. We can still pair down a bunch of stuff around here and take another load.

We missed the trick or treaters lat night. We tought they would come right after school and we wre prepared for them --- but they didn't. We had to go to the funeral home last evening, and sure as we were pulling out the drive, we saw the first of them coming down the street. They looked cold. It was in the mid forties and blustery. There will be new runny noses this morning.

My prayers go out this morning for the family from my parish that is burying their father this cold windy day. They will be miserable out there in the cemetery. Times like these are hard enough without adding discomfort of weather to it. I didn't know the man, but I watched some of the video they had running in the funeral home and it appears he was a good father, husband, and grandfather. I know he will be missed.

Well, it is time to just sit back and watch the action in the back yard, and survey my micro-kngdom, and give God thanks for all of it. I hope your day is full of love, friends, and blessings from God.