Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday, Monday; the last Monday of 2014. Christmas is over. All the hustle and bustle is done. It is almost as if the world has come to a stop. The only event on our schedule today is a routine doctor's appointment for Ms. Kate. It's just an ordinary day. Her appointment is late enough that we will end up going out to lunch and then most likely to Target, since we haven't been there since well before Christmas. For sure, with New Year's day approaching, we must get some black-eyed-peas to have for luck. I don't believe that eating them will bring me good luck; --- but I do like too eat them, especially with corn bread.

It is a partially sunny, 33° morning with an 11 mph from the N/NE which say brisk and cool. The squirrels and birds are all "puffed up" allowing what ever process God gave them to stay warm in the winter to work. So, everything looks fat this morning like they have been on a Christmas dinner binge. And, --- from the looks of the feeders, they have been. I'll need to fill everything probably tomorrow.

My son in law Jim helped me Saturday and we took the mower deck off of the John Deere and put the snow blade on. We have had a very mild winter so far. The only snow we have seen was the storm in November, and it didn't amount to much. But, this area gets snow in January, February, and March. We have even had snow over an April Easter so, I'm hoping that by putting on the blade, I won't have to use it. But, better prepared than waiting until it does snow and then having to put the thing on by myself. It was difficult enough with the two of us this time.

Our Sunday services went well yesterday. I started a program a few months ago in which we gave every person in church a little cardboard bank in the shape of a church. I asked people to put their pocket change in it through the Christmas season and said we would collect them on Christmas Eve and on the last Sunday of 2014. I called the program, "Making a Change". Each church would decide where their money would be given to. I'm very glad to say that the two congregations responded extremely well to this program. There were a lot of boxes collected at each church. I know that St. Lucas voted to give their money to The Ronald McDonald House but I haven't heard who St. Paul's will help suppirt. The bottom line is that it was an illustration that we can do God's work with so little effort, and can help so many people. We can "make a change" in the lives of others simply by dropping our pocket change into a jar and then putting it together with others. God doesn't look for grand gestures; --- God simply looks for people who care enough to help someone else. Focus on that thought as you have a very blessed day.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A solitary squirrel sits out there on the feeders and has been for the thirty minutes that I have been out here in the sunporch. Only a few sparrows an cardinals flutter around the other feeders. It is a cloudy morning and a reletively warm 47° out there which is pretty much stretches the temperature average for the end of December.

The house is quiet this morning, save the sound of snoring pups and a gently snooring Julie on the couch. Jim is up and playing poker on his computer. Ms. Kate I still sleeping back in the bedroom. The silence is wonderful. The fact that Julie is on the couch tells me that the pups got her up in the middle of the night to go pee! The old dog, Harley, does that to her almost every night which means she seldom gets a good night's sleep.

Julie and Jim will be heading home today. It is only a two hour trip but it is supposed to be rainy on and off all day. So, I offer a prayer for their safe travels. I reckon there will be a lot of people returning home from their Christmas visits today and tomorrow. Winter weather and snow and ice are progressing across the nation from the west which will make for treacherous travel for many to the north and west of us. Forecasters are saying we might have an icy winter mix here for New Year's Eve. It is probably good that our party days are behind us.

Ms. Kate and her sister, Karen, went to their consultation concerning their aunt yesterday afternoon and they were given no news that contained hope. The aunt has had two significant strokes, has no use of well over half of her body, has minimal speech capability, and they were told that she is not successfully responding to the physical therapy. It is our desire that she be made as comfortable as possible and it is our prayer that God is getting her eternal room ready, and that she not have to continue to live like this for long. She is a wonderful lady and deserves a dignified passing, at least in my opinion. But, whatever God's plan is, we will trust that there is good in it, simply because God is good; --- all the time.

I've set here long enough that the woodpeckers, finches, and more cardinals have arrived; --- and that squirrel is still sitting on the same feeder. Is it any wonder I go through so much sunflower seed? I refilled all of the feeders yesterday and probably put at least  twenty pounds of sunflower seed out there in them. But, the enjoyment of my back yard menagerie is why I do it, so I guess I'll just pour another cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy day after Christmas! I wonder if there is a name for today. Christmas Post maybe? I don't know. Maybe we'll just call it the anti-climatic day after Christmas. It is afternoon and our house is quiet. Julie and Jim are out doing a little shopping and I think they are going to stop by White Castle and pick up some lunch because they are horrified that I have never been there or had a White Castle burger. They love them but I've always heard they pretty much taste like saw dust. I reckon I'll know soon enough. Kathy and her mom bought some one time and she said they were so bad that they wouldn't even let the dogs eat them.

Ms. Kate is snoozing in her chair waiting to go to a meeting about her aunt's prognosis concerning her stroke. This will be their first consultation since she was moved from the hospital to assisted living. It will be good to hear where the staff thinks she is as far as progress is concerned.

Our Christmas Eve services went extremely well. We did an infant baptism at St. Paul's at that service.  I played a keyboard solo for the prelude at each church. I did pretty good but I could have done better. We had a fair attendance at each service. In all we had a little over 100 people total. That has been the normal attendance for Christmas Eve for the ten years I have been there. At least this year we didn't have any snow to contend with or prevent people from coming to the service.

Christmas day we spent doing not a lot of anything. We of course excanged gifts with Julie and I'm. Ms. Kate fixed a delicious lunch of shrimp and pasta. In the afternoon we went out to visit with my mother and with Kathy's aunt. Last evening we did movies and popcorn at home. And, --- we talked to the other girls and the grandkids on the phone. All in all, a peaceful day of family and love which is exactly what a Christmas day should be about. 

This morning Ms. Kate and I loaded up all of the re-cycle stuff and took it out to the re-cycle center. I had the boxes from Christmas purchases sitting here in the garage and didn"t want to sit them by the curb to advertise new purchases in the house. Thieves love it when people do that. We also save all of our plastic bottles from water and milk etc. Kate goes through a lot of Disani water and it would be a crime against nature to throw all of that plastic into a landfill.

My prayers today are for safe travel for the millions of folks who are going to be heading out on the roadways back to their homes this weekend. I also offer prayers of thanks for a peaceful Christmas. And, I offer prayers of thanks to God for the gift of his Son, Jesus. I pray the entire world would experience the love and peace that Jesus has brought to this world. Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas Eve! Did you ever wonder why we make such a big deal of the day before Christmas? After all, we celebrate Cristmas because it is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. But -- what is the celebration all about on the day before Christmas Eve?

Well, the answer is simple really. Christmas Eve is, or at least was, the day of preparation for the celebration of Christmas Day. In a much simpler time and age, before society and stores started putting Christmas stuff out in September; people used Christmas Eve to put up their tree and decorate it, and do their bakng and cooking all in preparation for Christmas, so they could celebrate Christmas as a "Holy-Day", instead of a "holiday". Then they would take the family to church or meet as families and pray and sing hymns of praise for the birth of a Savior. By Christmas morning they were spiritually and physically ready for a day of exchanging small gifts with one another as symbols of the gifts brought by the wise men, and they spent a day of sharing their love and lives with one another. --- My, how times have changed.

Around our home we have another reason to celebrate the 24th of December. Sixty-seven years ago today a beautiful young lady named Adelia went into labor to deliver her third child. That child was a little daughter; and Adelia and Sam Parton named her Katherine Louise. I call her Ms. Kate, and I thank God every day that she is the focus of my life.

We are sitting here listening to Christmas Carols and waiting for Julie, Jim, and the "rein-dogs" to arrive. We just had breakfast with my sister and brother in law and now are enjoying the pause of silence. So, I think a quick nap is in order.

With that --- I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Wonderful, beautiful, inspiring, lovely, that was so good"; these were all comments I heard at the end of the combined parish worship service yesterday. No, --- no one was talking about my sermon, they were commenting on the Christmas Cantata that the choir performed. And --- I gladly admit that I agree with every one of those comments. All of the hard work that group of thirteen people have put in over the past three months shows in their their dedication as a ministry of music to glorify God. So I offer prayers of gratitude for everyone of them and I am honored to sing with them.

Yesterday was a busy day of course. We did the service then we went out to lunch. My sister and hubby are here for part of the week and they brought our mother to the morning worship service and lunch. Afterwards, everyone came here where we visited and "did Christmas", with our gift exchange. Then, it was back to work for me as I had to finalize the services and bulletins for the three other services coming up this week. Christmas Eve we will do a service at each church. I expect a full church at St. Paul's because it is the early service and we are not only doing holy communion, we are also doing an infant baptism. The St. Lucas service starts at 9:00 pm and we may have around forty people at that one. Both services will be candlelight services and both will celebrate communion, and both will be beautiful. It is a great way to spend Christma Eve; being with friends and loved ones and giving God praise for the birth of our Savior. Unless of course, --- you are Ms. Kate who has to spend five hours of her birthday sitting in a church pew again this year. Bless her heart; she loses out on celebrating her birthday every single year. But then, she just says that everybody comes to her birthday party to celebrate.

Today is visitation day at the nursing homes and I need to go to the churches and run the bulletins and make sure everything is set for Chriistmas Eve. We also need to go to sit with Aunt Aleen for a while at her nursing home. This week is going to fly by I suspect. Then the week and the year will be over and everything that we all rush to do will be over and done with. Julie and Jim are coming in on Wednesday morning and my sister and brother-in-law are leaving on Wednesday morning.

I'll bet your week just might be as hectic, but, --- let's not forget to stop and give thanks to God for the reason we celebrate this season. God didn't create the hectic schedule we all try to keep, man does that to himself. God simply gave us a gift of his Holy Son in a peaceful little obscure village far, far away, --- long, long ago. So, may your week be full of the peace that came with God's gift.

Friday, December 19, 2014

This is starting to be a trend that I'm not fond of. It is once again late afternoon and I am just now getting to the sun porch and my chair. But my coffee cup is full and it is peaceful out here as always. So, --- if I doze off in the middle of this, well; that's the way it goes.

I did manage to get out here this morning long enough for my first cup of coffee and to watch those run-a-round squirrels. They were hard at it this morning. Three of them chased one another all over this backyard while the fourth squirrel simply sat up on the feeder and looked at them like they were on crack cocaine or something.

This morning we went out to the nursing home and Kate sat and visited with her sister and her aunt. Her aunt looked a lot better today and she said she felt better. She was more conversive this morning. By this afternoon though, fatigue had set in and she really looked tired. But Kate and Karen both had quality conversations with her today. God is good. While Kate was with her aunt, I went upsstairs in the same facility to see my mother. She had said she wanted to go to Walmart and get some stuff so I took her to do her shopping. Then I took her to Wendy's for her chicken nuggets that she likes.

The sun is dipping low in the sky on what has been a beautiful day. The sun has shone brightly in a relatively cloud free day. We haven't had a lot of of those kind of days this month so it was certainly welcome. I thought for a bit that I might actually have to put on my sunglasses.

Tomorrow will be an early morning too. I have a funeral to do in the morning for the father of a parishioner. I never met the man but he sounds like a person I would have liked. My prayers are with his family as they process his sudden death and work their way through their grief.

I also offer prayers of gratitude for the successful surgery that was performed on the mother of another parishioner. It was a serious surgery and she came through it fine. Again, I say, God is so good.

My sister and her husband are coming in tomorrow to celebrate Christmas holidays with us for a few days. He is the one whose PSA numbers have dropped so dramatically and I expect there may in fact be a celebratory libation passed around this place in the next few days. What a great Christmas gift God has given the family with this news.

I hope you have a wonderful, faith-filled werkend. Take time to stop and honor the reason for this Christmas season. Count your blessings and then share them with someone else.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Another busy day here at the Heumann abode. Here it is, a quarter til three and I'm just getting to my recliner. I 've been at the churches for a few hours, then to the bird feed store, then I had to fill all of the feeders. Ms. Kate has been at the nursing home, all day sitting with and visiting with her aunt. She just called here and and is on her way home, and then we are going out to have our first meal of the day.

God continues to bless our family. My sister sent an email telling that Byron's blood count has now dropped to to 25.4. That is a 600 point drop in the last four months. The medical protocol they have him on appears to be everything that we have prayed it would be. The cancer ain't whipped yet but it sure is tucking its tail between its legs. We pray it continues like it is going. I give God praise for leading them to this path. I give God praise for the scientists and doctors who invented this medicine.

I have a yard full of squirrels and Cardinals and an assortment of other birds. It didn't take long for them to discover the feeders had been filled. The four squirrels are playing "ring around the tree". They chase for a bit and then they get on a feeder and eat for a bit. Then it is back to the chase.

We had our final rehearsal for the Christmas Cantata last night and we sounded pretty darned good. It has been hard work and it certainly won't sound professional, but it will give glory to God and that is what we set out to do in the first place.

We keep waiting on it to rain orvsnow or do a combination of the two. That was what was predicted for today but thankfully, so far we've had nothing. It can remain just cold and cloudy and not drop anything from the sky and I will be pleased as punch!

Ms. Kate is home to pick me up and my belly is yelling at me to feed it. So, I'm done for today. I hope the remainder of you day is chocked full of blessings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Yes, I'm late putting out a blog today. It has been another busy day but the work is getting caught up. Actually I was up early because I had to be at the car dealership at 0800 with the new car. They needed to put on the new paint protection stuff and a couple of other things that were to occur after I purchased the car. So, I have a nice loaner in the garage. They say it will take all day to do the work. I hpope it isn't too late when they finish up. I need to get up to the church and get the bulletins run, then a funeral planning meeting, and then choir practice. If they wait too long, then I'll just have to return the car tomorrow and pick mine up. I can live with it.

I finished my writing that I had to do. With the exception of EOM reports to write and EOY reports for the annual meeting in January, I'm pretty well caught up. We are also getting caught up with the rest of the work we had to do. Ms. Kate put the finishing touches on the Christmas Tree today and wrapped some presents to put under the tree. It's beginning to look more like Christmas anyway.

I still haven't had the time to go get my sunflower seed for the old fuzzy tails and my bird friends. Maybe tomorrow I can get to the store and do it. Today is just whizzing by. If it starts to snow then I guess I'll just have to deal with that.

So. I'm waiting to hear what Byron's blood count will be today. I think today was one doctor's appointment and tomorrow is the oncologist appointment. We certainly have the prayers going for another good report.

The weather is cold and raw today and it constantly looks like it could snow. We are to get some "wintry mix" -- what ever that term may amount to over the next couple of day. Those snow lovers just might get their white Christmas after all. And to that I say --- BAH HUMBUG!!!!!

I hope you have a great evening.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It was, I think, about 0145 this morning when Ms. Kate and I finally pulled the covers up and settled in for the night. We did put in a long day yesterday but we got so much done. We found our living room and our dining room once again. They had gone missing under all of the stuff we had carried into them to store during the remodel. So, those two room are back in shape, the pictures are hung in the family room, and the Christmas tree is up with exception of the ornaments which will happen today along with doing laundry and more worship service preparation.

It is a blustery 44° morning with cloudy skies. The weatherman said last evening that we have only had one day of actual sunshine so far this month and he doesn't see any coming any time soon. And, while I could say, "at least it isn't snowing", these kind of days do concern me. December is often a month full of depression instead of a month of joy. People get depressed because they get lonely; they get depressed because they don't have close family or friends that come to visit them, or they don't have enough money and or a whole lot of other reasons. And, --- December then often becomes a month of suicide. And, weather and gloomy days, one after another, is a direct contributor to that depression and suicide. I have read that more senior citizens die duing December than any other month. So, if you have an elderly person that you kknow, --- stop in once in a while and check on them and let them know you care about them.

I really need to get out and pick up another 100 lbs of sunflower seed and some other kinds of bird feed. My can is almost empty out there in the shed and I don't want to wait until snowfall and then try to take care of it. So, just one more thing to add to today's list. I don't seem to have a lot of birds out there this morning; just a couple of Cardinals. But, of coyrse, the bushy tailed rats are helping themselves. They are eating like there is no tomorrow. I could go shoot them off with my trusty Red Ryder but what the heck, let them eat. It is cold and windy and I feel sorry for them. Besides, they'd be back in five minutes anyway.

My prayers this morning must start off with prayes of gratitude for the bounty of blessings that God constantly showers upon me. But I also offer prayers of concern for those who are out on the streets this Christmas. I pray they will find shelter and that they will find oppirtunities to make the lives better. I also pray this morning that this country will come together as a nation. Our streets are becoming filled with crowds of protesters demanding "social justice" for causes that in many cases don't exist, but are stirred up by radical thinkers and then inflamed by a national media frenzy that sesationalizes violence for the sole purpose of money and ratings. Going to your knees and thanking God for what you have is being replaced by going to the streets and demanding more.  If every one of those demonstrators who are screaming in the streets for change actually went out and took food to a shelter, or took in a homeless person for a couple of nights, or took a warm blanket or coat out and gave it to a person who had nothing --- that would be social justice in action. .

Ok, my soapbox is safely stored once again. I hope you have a blessed day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The countdown is on. Ten more days until Christmas, nine more days until Ms. Kate's birthday. One more rehearsal before the cantata next Sunday. All kinds of ways to tell that the month of December and the year 2014 are rapidly disappearing. Time does seem to pass more quickly when we are older. Although my 97 year old mother would tell you that time just drags because there is "never anything to do"; although one would have a hard time finding her in her apartment because she is always gone to some activity.

Yesterday was a first for me in the ten years I have been giving sermons at our two churches. I had finished the first service just fine but was starting to develop a sinus drip in the back of my throat. At the second service I caught a coughing fit in the beginning of giving the sermon and simply could not catch my breath and talk, ---  let alone continue to give the sermon. I told the congregation that I couldn't finish it and invited anyone to come up and give the sermon for me. Luckily I write all of my sermons out. Well, --- bless his heart, Scott Wallis came forward and read the message for me and did an excellent job of it too. I will certainly take cough drops to the churches and store under each pulpit so that doesn't happen again. By the end of the sermon I had recovered enough to finish the service.

It is a rainy morning and is supposed to be that way on and off all day; --- and this will be one of the better weather days this week. It is at least a little warmer today but by the end of the week predictions call for more of a rain/snow mix type of pattern. I know there are people who are praying for a white Christmas next week but not me. I just don't need snow in my life to make me happy or to enhance my Christmas spirit. In fact, snow makes me more of a Christmas Grinch!

I have a lot of things to get done this week which includes getting all of the stuff put away from the re-model, and I still have visitations to do and at least one more sermon to write, plus a funeral to put together for this coming Saturday. Unfortunately my biggest detractor is this recliner and my sunporch. I love sitting out here just watching the happenings in the yard, or writing my blog, or simply taking quiet time with the Lord. The peace of it all is good for my soul; --- but not very good for getting things done. I strongly doubt, however, that my last thoughts on earth will be that I wish I had gotten more work done; but rather --- "thank you God for the peace in my soul."

My prayer then for today is that you too will find that same peace in your life. Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I woke this morning to a cloudy, 41° day and what sounded like thunder. In reality though, it was the sound of a half dozen squirrels running full out across my roof. They have run full speed chasing one another up and down the seven large trees that surround my yard, through the yard, up and down the fenceline. It is amazing how fast they can run and jump from one tree or branch to another. I don't know why they are doing this, but it is certainly entertaining to watch.

I'm happy to report that our aunt has now gotten better enough to be released from the hospital and is now in the assisted living portion of the same place she had been living. At least she is now "close to home". Is it a blessing? We all have mixed feelings on that I suppose. She hasn't passed away which gives us an opportunity to still be with her and share our love with her. She still has good mental capacity and somewhat fair ability to speak. However, she is now paralyzed on one entire side of her body and the blessing of death is her true wish. But, God is in charge and we must often search through the pain and suffering we see and experience to try and find the blessings in each situation; because in the end, the facts are the same: God is good. So my prayer this morning is that she will experience the warmth of God's love and that she can use that as her strength to improve her quality of life. My brother-in-law, Kelly, lay in this same condition for almost fourteen years and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Our contractor and crew have finished their work in our family room and we are so very pleased with the results. Now of course, comes the hard part for of getting everything back in place that we scattered throughout three other rooms. But, if I can get the living room portion cleared out enough to put up at least one Christma tree for Ms. Kate, --- life will be good for her.

I stopped writing in the middle of this blog today for us to run to Walmart. I was very pleased to hear our cashier wish me a Merry Christmas instead of being politically correct. It was just another bright blessing in my day.

I'm offering up prayers today for one of my parishioners who lost her father last night to an anuerism. She has asked me to do the memorial service since he didn't have a church. Of course I said I would. We buried Kathy's mom twelve years ago in this same time period so we know well what that family is experiencing. I pray God's comfort for them. Mingling the joy of the birth of our Savior with the sudden death of a loved one will leave one with mixed emotions for several years to come.

May your day be full of Christmas joy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A very good Thursday morning to each and everyone of you. I'm back in the the sunporch and the cardinals are back on their feeders. I have spent the last hour filling everything up and am just now getting to sit down to my coffee. Life is back on keel.

We got home late last night; got the suitcases unpacked but not necessarily put away. It was 0030 hours when we finally pulled the covers over our heads. But, that is about the same time that we normally go to bed every night so I reckon we are getting back on schedule. I was up early this morning because I didn't know what time to expect our contractors today. I could easily have slept another hour because they still aren't here. It appears they are at the finishing stages though.  The work they have done so far really looks great. I know they have a bunch of electrical work to do yet. The heat vent out here in the sunporch is great. Putting this house back together will take some time and effort. Every room is in some state of disarray. But until the contractors are gone, there is no use to start on much of anything because we really can't get to anything. There is a light coat of dust from all of the sanding on most things regardless of how good their efforts were to seal off the rest of the rooms. It isn't the definition of a "white Christmas" one normally thinks of.

Our vacation was wonderful but marred by thoughts and concerns for our aunt back here. She had a second stroke but seems to be holding her own. We will go up and see her today. My sister-in-law, Karen, came back several days ago to be with her because she is her medical power of attorney. Karen has been up there almost constantly since she returned. The blessing is that Aleen is right with the Lord, and is prepared to move on to be with family that have proceeded her into God's eternal peace. What a great way to feel; --- right with the world and at peace with God.

Visiting with Heather and family was wonderful. We didn't do a lot other than visit and just "be together", but that was all that was required. Lauren and Jon are growing up so fast. We'll go back in June for her high school graduation. And Jon, the youngest of the grandkids, will be starting high school next fall. Heather has a really great love interest in her life, and we really like him. Ms. Kate and I hope good things will come out of their relationship.

I give God thanks this morning for safe passage through our trip. I also sit here and gaze out my windows and reflect of all of the ways God has blessed me. A wealth of God's wonder and beauty flits by my windows in the form of Cardinals and Bluejays, and Junkos and Finches, and I'm reminded that God cares for every creature individually. I also thank God this morning that my brother-in-law celebrated  his birthday a couple of days ago; because quite frankly, we didn't know if he would see another birthday this year. I've said it a thousand times and I hope I never forget to say it: God is so very good. I can only praise His holy name.

Have a blessed day.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A happy Saturday from Menifee, California. We are at daughter Heather's house for the weekend. We drove over from Las Vegas yesterday. It was a nice trip over through the high desert. However, when we hit the valley and the valley bumper to bumper traffic we quickly remembered why we love corn fields and roads where a combine was the only traffic jam.  The traffic was brutal.

This morning Lauren fixed an "eggs-cellent" breakfast for us. She really likes to cook and this morning she got creative and made up a recipe of eggs, bacon, and sourdough bread. It was wonderful. Last night she made home made pizzas for each of us. She is a sweet kid. It is hard to believe that "little Lauren" is 17 years old. It is even harder to believe that her brother, "little Jon" is a week away from being 14. Jon is the very definition of sociable. He could charm the rattles off of a rattlesnake. Heather has done an excellent job of raising these two.

It is a warm sunny morning here. It was foggy early but that has started to burn off fairly well. We don't have a lot of plans for today but will get out a bit. This evening we will have our Christmas exchange of presents and hugs. We do want to go to a couple of places though, including a bike shop that Jon wants to go to. They are have some kind of special deal at the bike shop so I think it is important that we go. We get to share in the kiddos lives so very little because of the distance between us, so if that is what he wants to do --- go for it!

Our prayers this morning are certainly for Ms. Kate's aunt, who is in ICU due to a stroke and a 90% blocked carotid artery. My sister-in-law Karen, was on vacation with us but flew back home early because she is the medical power of attorney for their aunt. We got a call from her this morning saying that her aunt was having a good day so far today. Not one to try and tell God what to do, I pray that our aunt has peace in her body and spirit, regardless of how God defines that.

It is such a blessing for us to be out here to visit with Heather and her family. I always wish that we and they lived closer together, but this is their life and they like living here. So, I just count our blessings and enjoy the time we have together.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It is evening two in Las Vegas, Nevada. We arrived yesterday afternoon and were starved. So, before checking into the hotel we went to a great BBQ place called Lucille's. We are staying at the Green Valley Ranch (GVR) resort which is across the parking lot from Lucille's. The meal was excellent. We went to the resort, checked in and or rooms are great. By 8:30 pm we were beat and in the room.

We started the morning at the GVR buffet. We've eaten there many times and it lived up to the standard we expect from them. Next it was time to go to Kohl's for Kate to do some shopping because she had a coupon that just had to be used because the time period included all the days of our vacation. I held down my parking spot here in Vegas just like I do at home. The location may change but the job is the same.

Next we drove up to Nellis Air Force Base to do a little bit of shopping at the base exchange. I took some deep breaths just to suck in some Air Force air for a change. I commanded the Security Forces Group at Nellis for two years so it was a nostalgic trip. It was nice to be among professional military folks again.

From there we drove the 24 miles from North Las Vegas to the southern end of Las Vegas and the M Resort an Casino where we stayed and played for a few hours, before heading out a favorite resturant that has a weekly special on a whole lobster dinner. We try to do this any time we are in Vegas over a Wednesday evening. Again, we stuffed ourselves with delicious lobster dinner. It is a good thing we only come to Vegas every few months, because I hurt myself eating.

My very exellent neighbor back home has been sending me updates on the renovation prgress going on in my family from back home. It is great to have good neighbors. Dan and I have become great friends over the past decade.

The weather here in Vegas has been foggy and cool the clouds are hanging at roof top and below on many of the buildings. I don't remember having weather like that ever before here.

It is evening now and I'm in the room while Kate and Karen play. I prefer "Cut Throat Kitchen" to a slot machine. So, before I head to bed this evening, I must give thanks to God for our safe travels out here. I also thank God for the rain the Vegas valley is receiving. They need rain so deparately as does southern California.

Have a very blessed day tomorrow..

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy December! The countdown to Chritmas has begun for children, parents, frantic shoppers, and the church too. Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent at which time we begin to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually for the celebration of the birth of the Christ child through reflection and prayer. This is what separates the world of faith from the secular world. Target and Walmart can sell you a whole lot of things, but they can't offer you salvation for your soul. They can't sell you peace of mind nor a heart full of love. Nor, my friends, can the church give you those things. It takes a personal relationship with God, found only through prayer.

It is a gloomy morning. It is or has been raining and the temperature is close to freezing. The backyard gang is filling themselves at the feeders which are almost empty. There is a woodpecker out there fussing at me because the barkbutter feeders are empty. The cardinals, on the other hand, are happy because there is still plenty of sunflower seed in their feeders.

Ms. Kate and I are basically just twiddling our thumbs this morning. We are waiting on our contractor to show up and go over all of the work they are going to do. They are supposed to start tomorrow ripping out the panneling in the family room and doing the renovation. After he comes today, we are picking up sister-in-law Karen and driving to Nashville, TN for the night. Then in the morning we fly out to Las Vegas and southern CA for eight days. I'm hoping the contractors will have all of the wall boarding up, mudding and sanding done by the time we get back. That would save a lot of dust breathing that I don't need. My family room sure looks strange though to see it completely empty.

We had a wonderful ten day visit with Julie over the Thanksgiving holiday. There was lots of visiting and laughing and sharing of ourselves; and between us, --- gallons of coffee drank. She drinks coffee at the rate I used to when I was her age. I'm probably down to no more than a pot or a pot and a half a day, depending on what is going on. Many days though I won't have more than a half of a pot. It never keeps me awake at night so why not.

I plan to take my Nook along with me on vacation, but I suspect my blogs will be spotty for the next week and a half. If I miss you on a day, know that my prayers are still there for all of us. And let me be one of the first to wish each of you a Merry Christmas season. Have a blessed day.