Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A bright and cheerful good morning to you! This morning is a carbon copy (if any one remembers what carbon copy means) of yesterday. It is 53° and not a cloud in the sky. The wind is a bit stronger than yesterday but it is to blow in some low 70's temperatures today. It will be a good day to trim some roses. We already have the laundry going this morning. Its just an industrious day I think. Great days make a person feel that way. There are some church work related things I need to do like write next weeks message, do my end of the month reports, and do a nursing home run; but, I think God will give me time later to do "church stuff"; perhaps today will be better spent tending to God's green earth.

Yesterday was a good day. Ms. Kate cut a bunch of daffodils for me to take out to my mother. We also cut up a bunch of watermelon and took her some. She always complains that she don't get fruit at her assisted living home. Truth be known, she isn't supposed to have an abundance of fruit because of the sugar. But, --- at 97, what are ya' gonna'do? From there I took her to her church where I was conducting the memorial service of which I spoke in yesterday's blog. It was a full church, and I got to see many old friends that I haven't seen in many years.

The mockingbirds are singing up a storm this morning. I hear them on both sides of the hose so I know there are at least two. They are great music to wake up to in the morning, --- unless of course one is trying to sleep in.

My sister saw her orthopaedist yesterday and he gave her a shot for her knee. I think she said she has a bruised tendon from her fall. We are looking forward to their visit this weekend. We are also looking forward to Julie and Jim coming over. Saturday we plan to do our Easter meal since my Easter Sunday is already pretty full. Sheila and Byron are going home Saturday noonish, but Jim and Julie, and my mother will all be here for supper. I have no doubt Ms. Kate will load the table down with food. Ms. Kate still has that persistant cough but is much, much better otherwise. I talked to several people yesterday that have had this thing and to a person they said it took them almost two months to get rid of the cough portion of this thing. Not good news.

I really don't have a lot of birds out here today. There is plenty of food there but with the warmer weather, they are expanding their search patterns I guess, and that is fine. It saves me a bit of money.

These roses won't trim themselves, so I guess I better finish my coffee and head out there. I don't know what your day holds for you but, --- what ever it is, --- it will go better with prayer. Take a bit of the time God is giving you and use it to give God praise. Have a blessed day.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A beautiful, sunny, 53° morning greets me as I step out into the sunporch this morning. The wind is calm and somewhere over in another yard, a mockingbird is singing it little heart out. Geese are flying overhead and my firebushes are full of cardinals this morning, taking turns flitting back and forth to the feeders. My yard is full of blooming daffodils and the sky is empty of clouds. God did some really divine  work this morning.

The best news is that Ms. Kate is doing really well this morning. Her strength is almost totaliy back and her cough has become some where between tolerable and minimal for her. Thank you God for answered prayers. It really bothered me seeing her that sick and miserable. This thing went a full two and a half weeks. I passed on her thanks for prayers and well wishes to my congregations yesterday but I will echo those here too because several of you who read my blog have also sent well wishes via email and Facebook. Bless each and every one of you for your caring spirit and love.

We are on day two of Holy Week. Yesterday we celebrated the "Triumphal Entry" of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. Today, at least according to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus goes back into Jerusalem, not on a donkey but rather simply walking as he always did. Today there is no crowd, but Jesus causes quite a stir as he goes to the Temple, and drives out the money changers. The Holy Week story truly intrigues me and gives me all kinds of questions, --- the answers to which will only be conjecture based upon the interpretation of who ever is answering the question. After all, as I have said a hundred times, we only have one book, the Bible, to give us the story, and there is no one new to ask because they were not there. But, --- I love to dig into my faith because the farther out the answers get, the stronger my faith becomes. And the bottom line is; without faith, we have no hope, we have nothing.

My sister is at the doctor's office today having her knee checked out. She fell on the steps at work to what extent, I don't know. Hopefully it isn't too bad, so keep her in your thoughts today. Also today, I'm doing a memorial service for an old family friend who passed away about a month ago. He was my Sunday school teacher and youth leader at one point in my life. He was also a good friend of my parents and a stalwart member of our church. He was good people and a good servant of God.

We have a winderful to dosomething good for somebody.  Let's all take advantage of it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

It is a beautiful 26° (wait, -- what???) morning. The sun is shining brightly and the cardinal is wondering why his bird bath is an ice rink this morning. Looks like I may have been premature putting away the electric one. Tonight will be no better. Winter still had one last gasp in it. Its kind of like the end of a horror thriller when you think "the thing" is finally dead; and suddenly an arm shoots up into the air, --- and your popcorn does too! Parts of the Tri-state even had snow flurries yesterday. However, as you may recall, --- several weeks ago I did ask if anybody was taking bets on snow for Easter; --- and Easter is now eight days away. I recall many years ago (1978)  that the Easter Bunny laid its eggs in our yard on Whiteman Air Force Base, MO, only to wake up early and see only a blanket of snow. I pray that's not going to be the case this year.

Speaking of the "Easter Bunny", I told you yesterday that Mrs. Rabbit was spending time in my yard and had passed by my sunporch here several times. Well, I was out filling all of my bird feeders yesterday and found where she has dug her nest, right up next to the house, behind my grill. I think she is even using dryer lint to help line the nest because the dryer vents at that location too. Its pretty awesome, I think. She get nest ling and ground warmth when we run the dryer.  Of course, that may be a "decoy nest" because she also hangs out around the yard barn and that totally protects her from predators. That is where she is hanging out this morning. Every year she has dropped a litter somewhere around here and I'll have a few baby bunnies peering in the doors at me. It just brightens my day when that happens.

Ms. Kate had another rough night with this cough thing that she has. She just doesn't seem to be able to shake it. I know she's some better because she goes longer periods between coughing fits, and she is up and doing more things around the house; but, the cough seems to be as intense. The lack of sleep and rest drags her down just like it would anybody. But, because I'm a loving husband, I went out and bought her four pounds of Jelly Bellies yesterday. That will help cure her for sure!!!

While at the grocery store I also picked up a package of bagels. I like the "Everything" variety slathered with Philly Cream Cheese. But --- here is your ponder question for the day if you have nothing else to think about. How come bagel makers don't slice the bagel all the way through? They slice part way through on one side and they slice part way through on the other side. So, when you take one out of the package, you still have to get a knife and finish slicing the bagel. What's up with that??

It is time to ponder the little world in which I exist and offer up my prayers of gratitude for this treasure of blessings that surround me today. I hope your weekend is full of joy and the love and power of the Holy Spirit. Give an hour of your time to God tomorrow in your favorite house of worship. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. Have a blessed day.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I always consider a day to be successful if during the day I learn something knew. Yesterday was a successful day. I have two finch feeders hanging out there that are similar in design. Both are about two inches in diameter and maybe eight inches tall. They have a fine mesh body to allow the finches to eat the thistle seed through. However, one has a yellow metal top and bottom and the other has a copper base and bottom. The finches will empty the yellow one time and time again and leave the copper one unless I don't fill the yellow one. I've never known why, --- until yesterday. I learned that goldfinches are "flocking" birds and they associate the color yellow with other goldfinches, and are drawn to that color. Who knew???

I have a mockingbird out here this morning singing its heart out. I don't know how many songs it has in its repetore but it seems to be extensive. Mrs. Rabbit is here this morning too. The daffodils are tall enough to hide her somewhat so she goes back and forth into those. The squirrels are going from feeder to feeder because most of them are empty; that's one of my chores on my list today. I bought severak seed cylinders yesterday and put a large one out. The nuthatches and wrens especially like those. The cage I put them in allows wrens and other small birds to easily get through but starlings and other birds can't get through the mesh. It drives the squirrels crazy because the food is so close and yet out of reach. And as we know, there isn't much that is squirrel proof.

Neighbor Dan called me yesterday afternoon and said they were grilling steaks and wanted to know if they could fix us a plate. I of course said yes. I carried over a couple of beers for he and I to drink while he grilled. Then he sent me home with two large steaks, fried potatoes, and a salad that his wife, Minh, had made for us. They are great neighbors. No wonder my John Deere likes to visit their yard. Having permanent neighbors, especially neighbors that you like, was something that we didn't have for our three decades plus in the military. People were always moving in and out of the neighborhood. Ms. Kate and I moved about twenty times during our career. It is hard to develope any lasting friendships at that rate. So I cherish the friendship Dan and I have developed over the past fourteen years we have lived here. And speaking of Dan, he and I need to get the snow blade off of the Deere and the mower deck on.

I need to take Ms. Kate to the doctor's office today for her blood work done and I think I should go get a haircut. It might not be shaggy yet by civilian standards but it is touching my ears, so time for a trim.

Mr. Red, my big cardinal is out here for a drink and reminding me that it is time to wrap it up and give proper thanks where thanks are due. So, my prayers today are for Ms. Kate to continue to improve, --- and while God and I are on the subject of her, I'll give thanks that she is in my life. I don't know what or where I would be with out her. It's not a sentimental or romantic thought but the world would be an entirely different place had she and I not fallen in love and gotten married. None of our children or grandchildren would exist and none of the relatioships they have developed would exist. Try that for a thought sometime. Drop one significant person from your life, as if they had never been part of your life; --- and then try and calculate the changes in your world and the world of others. I think you will be amazed at the change in dynamics. Then, --- take time and thank God for bringing the two if you together.

Have a wonderful day! God loves you, and so do I.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wow! What a storm that was. I had a fresh two and a half inches in my rain guage this morning. We had driving wind and rain and torrential lightning. But, all is well this morning as far as I can tell from my little spot on the planet. It is 43° this morning and that will be our cold damp high. It is still sprinkling and will on and off for most of the day as the temperatures drop for the next couple of days. It is a typical southern Indiana early spring day.

The breeze is brisk and the backyard gang is fully active today. A half dozen squirrels can't seem to decide whether they will finish depleting the feeders or whether they will just chase one another around the yard. The cardinal gang is here, I think I've counted ten but they flit around so much it is hard to tell. All of the easy access feeders are empty, but there is still an abundance of seed and suet and bark butter out there so, --- they will have to just work for it. Some days ya' got to pay to play! The robins should be well fed because this rain was a "worm washer". My driveway was covered with earthworms an nightcrawler this morning.

I was glad to see that the rain didn't drive the daffodil blooms over in to the mud. They look nice out there even though they have their heads bent over so their cups don't fill up. Now just how amazing is that? They are plants; --- no brain, no possibility of self awareness or self preservation; and yet --- when it rains like this, the blooms droop over so the rain doesn't wash out any pollen that might accumulate, and any bugs or bees that need that can still get it. It is the little (little??) things like that about God's creation that just blows my mind. Would someone want to explain to me again how all of this was just a big bang and an accident???

I got a lot of work done yesterday at the churches and we had a good choir practice last evening despite some missing members due to spring break vacation and illness. Ms. Kate was absent due to her cough etc. I think her cough is maybe a little better but still has a long way to go. It isn't quite as severe and breath-stealing as it was a couple of days ago. And, she is up and moving around and has a bit more energy than she did. She even fixed us a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy yesterday morning.

Listening to the gentle rain on the roof of the sunporch, looking at my beautiful flowers outside, I'm reminded of the gentle love of God, especially as we approach this Palm Sunday and then Holy Week, culminating in the resurrection of Jesus. How wonderful it is to know that God loves us so much that God says; "I will do this --- for you". Amazing!! Give thanks today for all of the good things in your life, --- including God's constant presence and help during the tough times in your life. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It is a grey, 55° morning outside as I sit down in my recliner. The sun is trying to break through, but this is one of those times when it might be better if it didn't. We have rain and storms moving in later tonight and the more sun we see, the stronger the storms will be tonight. (Wow, don't I just sound like I know what I'm talking about?)

Ms. Kate is still down for the count. She's on some prescribed pills now and has been for a full day. I don't know what they are supposed to do exactly, but so far I don't see much change in her. I just keep bringing her things that she needs and fixing the few things she says she wants to eat. Although, that hit a low last night when the only thing that sounded good to her was that "gag-nasty" Dinty Moore stew. Of course we didn't have any in the house; but--- I went to the store and bought a couple of cans. But, I also picked up a Marie Calendars frozen dinner for her, and that was what she ate. We have three full freezers and two over stocked, bulging pantries, and she wanted Dinty Moore stew. I think she's coughed her brains out.

I have a lot if work to do at the church today so I will go up much earlier than normal, especially since I won't have my sidekick with me to help. I have four services worth of bulletins ready to run as well as the extra stuff for a newsletter. But, that will get me through Easter. With Ms. Kate down and company coming in next week for a couple of days, plus a couple of extra services, I also need to pick up the slack around here. So, I'll spend today getting some of the admin stuff done today. Prior planning prevents poor performance!

There aren't many of my outdoor friends here this morning. I have one brown squirrel and one grey squirrel out there and the brown keeps chasing the grey all over the yard. It must be a territory dispute thing. But I have only had a couple of cardinals, a dove or two, three or four junkos and a couple of finches at any of the feeders. I guess they are shopping elsewhere today. And why not--- we change resturants frequently. One thing I have noticed iis that the birds haven't begun usinng my new bird bath I have out there. I put away the electric one for the summer and got out my "summer one" but they are going to one of my other bird baths instead. During the spring through fall months I keep four bird baths full at all times for them.

My prayers go out this morning to lift up a friend who lost her husband yesterday. He has been very ill for a very long time and was well prepared to die. But even at that, the loss is no less felt. So, I ask for God's comfort as they grieve and celebrate his life.

My coffee cup is empty and I need to go in and check on Ms. Kate, although I don't hear her coughing so maybe she is getting some much needed rest.  Say a prayer in her direction today, and I'll be including you in my prayers. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

And a very blessed Tuesday morning to you. It is 36° outside. (Say what???) And, it is cloudy and is upposed to rain on and off for the next three days or so. Temperatures this week are supposed to range from 70° to around 25° so it is no wonder people are sick with this flu/broncitus/pneumonia thing that is confining people to their kleenex box and bed. Ms. Kate has hardly been out of the bedroom for a solid week now and her cough doesn't appear to be any better. She finally started on some doctor prescribed stuff yesterday but had another bad night last night. The coughing keeps her awake and sore. By now she is physically drained.

I missed writing to you yesterday and my day didn't seem quite complete. But, I got in a really good day of work out in the yard. All of the front flowerbeds are now raked and the winter leaves and stuff have been cleaned out of them. I spent the best part of seven hours out there. With any luck, I will get the fertilizer spread today and maybe even the grub killer. I also need to spread epsom salts on the flower beds that Ms. Kate tells me to. Some of that stuff, I have to rely on her for; I'm just "day labor". Given time and good weather, I have at least two full days worth of work to do in the flowerbeds yet.

We were blessed with a visit from Julie & Jim and the pupperonis this past weekend. It has been since Christmas that we saw them last. They have both had this same stuff Ms. Kate has and with Julie and her RA it really kicks her tail. Between running the college bookstore through semester change and being sick and having RA, she is a tired kiddo.

I had a chance to talk to my brother-in-law Byron yesterday. His cancer numbers are still under 100 and they are hoping that the new medicine will help and getting back on the infusions in three more weeks will be a positive step too. Other than a constant tiredness he says he doesn't feel too bad.

As I consider just these three loved ones in my family it would be very easy to say things are going to hell in a hand basket. But the reality is that "life" is simply happening. Many months ago I asked God to give quality of life for Byron for as long as possible, and that prayer is answered on a daily basis. His laugh and love of life still rings through and he is determined to live long enough that his children and grandchildren will never forget their days and times spent with their grandpa. Several years ago, I prayed that Julie's RA would progress slowly so that she could enjoy her life to the maximum extent possible; and that prayer continues to be honored. Today she flies off to Florida for a business trip. Will she need to take her cane; yes. Will her back and joints hurt like the dickens; yes. But she's still not in need of a wheelchair. And, --- her infectuous smile and positive attitude will light up every room she enters. I know Ms. Kate will get over this thing she has too. I just need to put on my patience britches and let God do God's work on God's time. In the mean time, I will begin my morning with prayers of gratitude for a God that loves us and cares for us and walks with us through the good times and less good times.

Besides, I have a yard full of blooming daffodils and each one of them is a smile from God. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

It is Saturday afternoon and we have spent most of the day so far waiting on our granddaughter Lauren to run her Motocross races. She is in Texas to race in the Freestone Texas Motocross Women's Cup race. It is raining and the track is a total mud pit. Julie and Jim are here and we've notified all the rest of the family that the race is going on and they are all tuned in to watch. I love it that they run these race on live streaming and we can watch it on line. This is her second big Professional race. She ran a race on Thursday and went down. She got thrown twenty feet over the handle bars and it knocked the wind out of her. But --- she got back up and finished the race to the cheer of the crowd. Her bike got beat up pretty bad but the sportsmanship out there is phenomenal and several other riders helped her get the bike back in running order. How cool is that?

Ms. Kate is still down although she is doing better. She isn't coughing quite as hard and she is eating better today.  I'm thinking this thing might be coming to an end. Right now, her biggest complaint is the sore ribs and muscles from all of the coughing.

So, Lauren has finished her races and can head back to California with a great experience under her belt.  I have no idea where she finished but know it wasn't in the top five. Every rider went down at least once and they were all so muddy you couldn't tell who was who. The good news is that she rode safe and despite all of the falls in the mud, no one in the race got seriously hurt. Congratulations to her. As you can see by the smile on her face, --- she was having a ball.

My niece contacted me this morning asking for prayers for a friend of hers named Steve Rockford, so I am including him in my prayer list and hope you will too. God doesn't care whether you know Steve personally or not. What is important is that you care enough about a brother or sister in Christ to pray for them. We are all God's children. Have a good day.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday morning and it is grey and cloudy and 45°. But the rain has left the area and we are waiting on sunshine. The good news is that today is the end of winter and spring officially begins at 5:45 this evening. However, winter is doing an "out brief" up in the northern Atlantic states and dropping more snow on them on the way out.

The bad news is that Ms. Kate isn't doing any better with this cold/virus thing that has had her in bed since Tuesday night. I know a lot of people that have had this thing and they have all been miserable with it, and it totally zaps your strength. She's on the phone with our daughter Heather right now and our daughter Julie will be here later today. I know that those two things will make her feel some better. Family contact has a way of making things better. Well, it does in our family anyway. With some families it only increases the tension. But we are very blessed to have a loving family. I have no doubt Lisa will be calling later; she does every day. Say a prayer for Ms. Kate please.

I filled a few feeders this morning with suet and bark butter. Later today I"ll go out and top everything else off. There is a good dozen cardinals out there this morning.  The Downy Woodpeckers were here earlier before I filled up their feeders and were going from feeder to feeder looking for food. Several varieties of woodpeckers have come in since I filled them. A single squirrel is on one of the feeders. I have no doubt it will be joined by others shortly. There were several out there when I first came out to the sunporch but a couple of BB shots later and they decided to eat elsewhere. This guy out there seems to be the advance party for the gang. My BB gun doesn't hurt them, it just annoys them. Some times, depending on how hungry they are, they will just sit there and let the BBs bounce off of them and keep on eating. Other times they will take off as soon as I open the door. They have gotten so used to it that they will perk up when I cock the BB gun even though the doors are closed. Its like they are waiting to see if I'm serious or not.

Mr. Mocking bird appears to maybe have a problem with one leg as that is al it is using to stand. I'm often amazed at the fragility and size of these creatures and yet their adaptability to the elements is phenominal. It just alwasys amazes me to sit and truly watch the intricate nature of God's creatures. I simply do not understand how anyone could enjoy the wonders of nature without a fundamental belief in God. I don't understand how anyone could look at the billions and billions of intricate details that make this planet or this universe and the creatures on it work in total harmony and then claim that "it just happened by accident". God is no accident.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A typical spring morning greets me this morning on the sunporch. We had a night of what I would call "typical spring rain". It was gentle, light, and an on and off type of rain. I think we are supposed to have some more of it today. If so, that's just fine, it may come in handy for instigating a nap later today here in the sunporch. There isn't anything quite like the gentle sound of rain on a roof to make a fellow drift off.

I attended a funeral yesterday of my friend Janice. She was someone I have known most of my life although we were not what one would call close friends. She was two years older than me, and her sister, Doris, was in my confirmation class at church and we were in the same classes from first grade through high school. The entire family were and are "good people". I mention her passing because Janice is so typical of one of those people that we put into categories. She always was a beautiful girl. She was popular and had lots of friends and a good job. Janice was one of those people that I'm sure her "aquaintences" would have said; "She sure is lucky". We often put people in the "sure is lucky" category unless we know their "back-story". Janice was married twice, and buried both husbands. Janice suffered from a terrible progressive muscle disorder that threatened her life on a daily basis. We have been to dinner with her and saw her go into a choking spell that we weren't sure she would survive. Janice had to rely on her sister and other family members to take her anywhere because she had become wheelchair bound. To me, Janice's life was a lesson we all need to learn. We humans are quick to judge people from a distance. And, we sometimes tend to judge the status of our own life based upon what we see of the lives of others from a distance. I wouldn't trade the life I have been blessed to live for the life she has had to live for anything. And, while I may never have had the money or looks, or popularity that Janice was blessed with, I never have had to suffer like she did either. The grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence; its just more grass, and we should be content to eat our own.

My blog this morning is being written in spurts, unfortunately. I have had several needed interruptions. Ms. Kate is still sick so I stop to check on her. Then I had a plumber coming this morning to work on a toilet. She had to replace the inner workings of the thing. I might have been able to do that had I known what was wrong, but all I knew was that the tank wouldn't fill and I have been known to cause disasters when trying to do plumbing. I tried to replace a washer one time in our last home and ended up breaking a pipe and had to call in a plumber anyway. That was a $400.00 washer, so now, I call an expert in the first place.

It is time for me to fix us some lunch so I should get to it. Say a prayer for Ms. Kate. She's pretty miserable at he moment. Here's hoping the rest of your Thursday is fantastic.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It is a cooler morning for the first time in several glorious days. It isn't "cold" by any means, just cooler at 43°. The air is a bit more still this morning so it doesn't seem as cold as it could.

Happy Wednesday to you. I assume you made it through your St. Patrick's Day celebrations in a fine style. Ms. Kate fixed corned beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes. Her sister Karen came over and joined us for supper. It was her first time eating corned beef. She says she will come celebrate next year too.

It isn't a good morning for Ms. Kate. She has come down with a cough and constant sinus drippage and is miserable with chills and upset tummy. We initially thought it might be allergies from working out in the yard but I fear it is more than that. Bless her heart, there isn't much I can do to help her except bring her what ever she might need and let her rest. I pray it is just a temporary 24 hour type of bug. I know how it can wear you out when you have one of these things. Just the coughing makes you sore and miserable.

My day needs to be a busy one. I have a funeral to attend first thing today. Then I need to go to the churches this afternoon to do some work and this evening is choir practice. I also need to finish a sermon that I am working on. It is all just run of the mill Wednesday stuff.

It is a grey day and the clouds are supposed to move in later and then rain tonight and on and off tomorrow. I 'd prefer it didn't rain because the ground really needs to dry out some. Yesterday was the day to plant potatoes, but the ground is just too wet. We would have had to "mud them in" to plant them. We generally don't plant any anyway, but I just know that they are supposed to be planted on St. Patty's day. Or at least the almanac says so. Ms. Kate's mom would have said so too.

The yard is rather empty this morning. I have a couple of cardinals here for breakfast and a few goldfinches, and that is about it. Two squirrels are out there, each hogging a feeder. The cute little wren is "gathering" stuff. That means there is a nest being prepared somewhere. I have a little feeder that is kind of a cage that is shaped like a ball. I think I am supposed to maybe put peanuts in it. Instead, I sometimes will put dryer lint in it and the birds will take it out of there to help line their nests.

It is time go check on Ms. Kate and take her a cup if coffee if she is up to it. And, --- it is time to take stock of the day and the blessing the day brings; and then give thanks to God for them. I hop you have a blessed day too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Yesterday could not have been more beautiful. It was very typical of what we get for May weather in this little part of the world. Today will be ten degrees cooler and much windier. That is still very tolerable for working outside, and the wind will help dry the ground out just a little. Unfortunately we are predicted to get another half inch of rain Wednesday night through Thursday. But, that just puts us back to "normal" southern Indiana spring weather. The yards are turning green and the wheat is starting to grow very well. In another month our farmers will be chomping at the bit to get out there and prepare the fields for planting corn. I love living in farming country. I would love to bee out there for a day or two driving a tractor and pulling a disk behind me. But, these tractors today are like spaceships compared to the old little Ford tractor that my dad had and I used as a kid. GPS meant "go plow someplace" back then.

On the prayer front for us this morning is my brother-in-law, Byron, and of course my sister too. His oncology report yesterday was not a good report. His numbers are climbing again and the cancer is as aggressive as it was before. The effects of the "miracle " drugs have become less useful and the fact that he had to stop taking them for dental reasons hadn't helped a bit.  They have yet another new drug they want to try, --- and then the next step would be chemo. It is heartbreaking; and unfortunately it is also a huge fraternity. I'm willing to bet there isn't a person in this country that doesn't know or isn't related to someone who has had or has died from cancer. What a shame.

But --- I never lose hope or my faith in God. God gives us little signs of his love all the time. For example, a week ago I was shoveling nine inches of snow from my driveway, today I am sitting here looking at clear ground and beautiful crocus blooms and a pussy willow tree with hundreds of those little pussy willow buds or blooms, what ever they are, all over that tree. Each one of those buds is a hope and a promise of new life. Those crocus blooms are a fulfillment of God's promise. My daffodils are full of buds about ready to open; more of God's promises of better things to come. My sister just emailed me that Byron is going to be able to get back on the medications and infusions that he had to stop because of needing a root canal and crown. God delivers. I think another pussy willow bud just popped out.

I need to get out of my recliner and out into the yard. We did some good work out there yesterday and I have residual from that to finish. Then I need to go up to the churches and run my bulletins for the week and put a second coat of polyurethane in those pews that we worked in yesterday. It is St. Patrick's Day SO we will celebrate the non-existent Irish blood in our bodies with the corned beef and cabbage that Ms. Kate has in the crock pot.

Some where out there is a rose that needs smelling. Take time to look for it in your life today, and go and smell the roses.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Good morning, brand new week! Good morning, beautiful spring day! I feel blessed this morning to be alive and part of this wonderful world. The sky is blue and no rain clouds threaten. In fact it is supposed to reach about 75° today. A line of low-flying geese are sounding their joy too as they fly overhead. Yep, as the Psalmist said, "This is a day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

There are several things I would like to use this day for, but the day won't be long enough to fit them all in. The one thing for sure I want to accomplish though is a job up at one of my churches that needs to be done. I need to refinish the ends of four or five of the pews. The sun has shown in on them forever and the polyurethane on them has bleached and peeled and flaked. With a little work I can get that cleaned up, and prepped, and a new coat of Minwax Polyurethane put on them. Getting it done today will allow the smell to go away before next Sunday's service. I've been waiting for a good warm day and now that same sun that has made them look bad can help the new sealant dry.

I also need to fill a few feeders today, and if we have time before it closes, I'd like to take Ms. Kate to the orchid exhibit at the zoo. They have extended the exhibit by another week, and I think we would enjoy seeing it. However, if we don't get to the zoo today, we can do it tomorrow. But tomorrow is supposed to be about ten degrees cooler, and I hope to do a bit of raking around here tomorrow.

I'm offering prayers this morning for the families of three of our local high school kids who were involved in a head-on collision yesterday. One young man was killed and two other young kids were critically injured. They were hit head on by a man who was driving on the wrong side of a four lane highway and was drunk to the point of four times the legal limit. He too is in critical condition. What a shame for all concerned in this situation. When I hear of stories like this, I can't help but be thankful to God for watching over me and my family. Back in 1988, I too drove home from a party in that kind of condition and had Ms. Kate with me, and two young daughters at home. Somehow, I managed to make it home without killing us or having an accident, or getting picked up for DUI. But --- the realization of what could have happened has kept me from ever drinking to excess again. I'm pretty much a two beer limit guy ever since and I thank God for God's protection. They say we learn from our mistakes, if we are lucky, and I certainly learned from that one.

Speaking of drinking, my coffee cup is empty and I have work to do so I should get to it. I don't want to waste what God has blessed us with today. I pray your day will be as bright and as enjoyable as mine is going to be.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

And once again it is Saturday! Hello Week End, it is good to see you this morning. It was still sprinkling when I took the mail out to the box but now has stopped. I'm glad of that. That was almost 24 hours of drizzle, sprinkles, rain, a bit of thunder, and more rain. Frankly, in my opinion we didn't need a drop of it. But, it should have washed away the last remnants of the snow from last weekend and hopefully the last remnants of winter.

The joyful news this morning is that the pussy willow is blooming and my sister-in-law, Karen, even has picked some daffodils from her yard. And, --- this morning I actually had a pair of Pilated Woodpecker at my feeders. I don't recall ever seeing a pair of them anywhere. So that is an exciting prospect that they may have a nest around here somewhere and we could end up with more; assuming of course they were male and female and not just a couple of "buddies".

I was sitting here thinking about how our habits and routines change over the years as we grow older and kids move away from home, and interests change. Back years ago when the girls were little, we would be up on Saturday morning watching tv together with such exciting shows like Saturday morning wrestling with guys like Hulk Hogan and Superfly Jimmy Snooka and Gene Okerman narrating. We'd watch Thundar the Barbarian and Scooby Doo cartoons and others too as the girls sat around in their pajammas and or snuggling up on the couch. At some point after the girls were gone, we started watching Saturday morning "build it/ fix it" shows with people like JoAnn Liebler and Dean somebody. I only remember her because she was the first ever female featured on a show teaching us how to build stuff. Then HGTV came along and that genre exploded and I watched people destroy and rebuild yards, and rooms, and bathrooms all in three days and for $10, 000.00. But these days, --- I sit in the sunporch, enjoy the peace and quiet, and watch all my backyard friends. But --- as much as I enjoy the peace and quiet of these days; I do miss the "noisy, chaotic, snuggle days" from long ago.

Mr. Red, my beautiful cardinal is here again this morning providing a great splah of color on this otherwise dull morning. And, I have had five varieties of woodpeckers this morning. For a changee the starlings aren't here gobbling up the bark butter and suet so the woodpeckers can get to their favorite food. Mrs. Rabbit is here again this morning too. God has blessed me with yet another wonderful morning and I must now take time and give God thanks for all I see.  I hope you have time to sit and look out your window today or better yet, I hope you can go out and breathe in some of God's wonderful world. Then, take the time to give praise for all you see and experience. God is good, all the time. Have a blessed day.

Friday, March 13, 2015

It is a rainy, cloudy, dreary day with a cardinal and goldfinch or two added in for a splash of color this morning. Not much is going to change about that situation either until maybe tomorrow morning some time. The ground is already saturated and adding a couple of inches of rain to the ground is going to do nothing but make the rivers and streams rise. I sure wish we could share some of this with the drought stricken portions of the country.

My feeders are all still full which is a good thing. Although, the rain has really diminished the number of birds that are out here this morning. I have a couple of cardinals, a couple of finches, and a downy woodpecker, and that is about it. But, there is no lack of squirrels who seem oblivious to the rain. I wonder on what level the weather registers with animals. I wonder if it registers beyond determing their ability to find food or not finding food. ( On the other hand, I wonder why I'm wondering what a squirrel might be thinking??)

We ran a few errands yesterday; went to Fresh Market and Ms. Kate picked up a corned beef for St. Patrick's day next Tuesday. She'll throw in some cabbage and some red-skin potatoes and we'll be Irish for the day. We both love corned-beef and cabbage but don't have it often. It's an expensive piece of meat. Ms. Kate had an aunt that used to corn her own brisket and I guess it must be quite a "process" to do. I don't know that we ever had corned beef and cabbage when I was young, although we did raise cabbage in the garden.

We also went to the cemetery yesterday and decorated some family graves. The cemetery maintenance folks are doing their spring clean up and it really look strange to look across all of those grave sights and see no flowers. But it is time to get all of the faded wreaths and flags, and "gee-gaws" cleaned up so the place becomes a setting of dignity once again. It is amazing what people will take and set around and on tombstones. It is symbolic, I think, of how people deal with their grief. Some graves never see a flower, others, like our family, will see fresh flowers with the changing of the seasons, and others look like a New Orleans street festival with all of the gaudy stuff people leave out there. Anyway, we got Ms. Kate's parents and grandparents, and brother taken care of yesterday. We'll go replace the flowers on my dad's grave next week after the rain has stopped.

It is Friday and supposed to be my "day off", but I took yesterday off and have work left unfinished that I might as well do today since it is a rainy day. There is always something to get done.

The daughter of a parishioner is having surgery today so I'll begin my morning talk with God by praying for a successful surgery for her. The wife of an old friend had rotator cuff surgery yesterday, so we'll ask for strength and courage as she begins her therapy and pray for quick healing. Life is so full of people who need our prayers and often think no one cares. So, when you are in conversation with the Lord, ask for help for those folk you don't know too. They are God's children too and therefore are also your brothers and sisters. Have a most wonderful day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The question this morning was; do I have my coffee first or do I go fill my bird feeders first? I can just picture my former USI Logics professor putting a question like that on a mid-term with a requirement to defend all positions. That was one of my favorite under-graduate courses. But --- to answer the question, I filled the bird feeders first. You see, I love my morning coffee out here in the sunporch. But what makes it especially enjoyable is to sit here and drink my coffee while watching the birds. Empty feeders do not result in attracting birds. Hence, one must fill the feeders in order to attract the birds in order to be able to add enjoyment to the coffee drinking experience. Logic wins, the birds win, I win, and Mr. Spock would be proud.

There is excitement in the back yard this morning. I just had a new grey cat in the yard. I have no idea where it came from but it is a big mean looking thing. I bet it goes at least eight to ten pounds. It was chasing one of the small grey squirrels all the way across the yard and half way up  the tulip poplar tree. The rest of the squirrel were all chittering and raising heck. These new little grey squirrels aren't too bright. One tried to climb a rose bush while ago by jumping up on it.  It didn't work out too well.

I wrote yesterday about the foggy morning and how much I do love foggy mornings. My friend Scott told me last night at choir practice that I might not have enjoyed it as much had I been with him and his son yedterday morning. They were hauling corn in that early morning fog when the visibility was next to nothing. And --- he's absolutely right; I don't like to drive in it. It is another one of those dangers that my farmers face, which is why I say a prayer for a safe planting and harvest season every year for our guys.

I had a large Pilated Woodpecker come in this morning. The grackles and red-wing blackbirds have gone but a few of the starlings remain. The doves, robins, titmouse, gold finches, and cardinals round out the guest list this morning so I'm glad I took time to fill everything.

Unfortunately, it is time I get busy. I think though, first Ms. Kate and I are going to make some blueberry waffles and put a few fresh strawberries and whipped cream on them. That's a plan I can live with.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mid-week, Hump Day, Wednesday, --- what ever we call it, here we are. It's one of those kind of mornings that I love. It is 45° and it is a foggy morning. I love foggy mornings, --- but then I don't have go out and drive in it. That might be a totally different situation if I had to drive in it. But I love the silence that the fog brings ti the world. The feeders and the chimes are gently swaying in what breeze there is. The deep sound of the Corinthian chimes is a neat single sound as it threads its way through the fog.

I missed writing yesterday. I had an early meeting that went until noon. It was the monthly Pastor's Circle at which the pastors from our local United Church of Christ churches come together and discuss issues that we might have as an association or as indiviual churches. My interest in this group has been sporadic at best. Most of them are much more "progressive" in their thinking than I am. Most of them are far more in tune with the rhetoric and dogma of the UCC denomination than I am too. So, --- I don't get asked for a lot of opinions. But I do find it interesting that we only have one source of spiritual guidance, the Bible, and yet we can be so very far apart in the interpretation of the scriptures written in it. We read the same words and get totally different messages from those words. Its facinating to me and I love it because it challenges my brain. Just last night I was working on a sermon and ran across a new "thought" and immediately started looking for other reference materials, and then ended up ordering yet another book. My library is rather large and I'm out of room on the shelves and have no room for another book case. I probably should pair down some of it, but "you never know when you"ll need it".

This morning is Ms. Kate's follow-up appointment for her problem with her hand. She'll get another cortisone shot and hopefully that will take care oc the problem. This afternoon and evening we do our Wednesday stuff, fun the church bulletins and then have choir practice. We perform the Cantata in just four Sundays and still have a way to go with it. Although, if our practice this past Sunday is any indication, we will do well.

I need to fill the feeders sometime today, or at least some of them. Anything that had barkbutter in it is empty for sure, and all of the four inch suet feeders are empty too, thanks to the starlings. I have lots of cardinals again this morning but the blackbird flocks have mostly moved back to the fields. I'm glad of that.

This morning I lift up in prayer all those folks on our church prayer lists as well as other friends and loved ones. I suppose it is alright with God if I just throw out a general prayer asking for comfort and peace for His children. In that same vein, I also offer up a prayer of constant gratitude for the blessings in my life. I consider myself to be extremely wealthy because my heart is full of love and I am surrounded by those who love me. I hope you have the opportunity to feel the same way about your life. Have a blessed day.

Monday, March 9, 2015

It is wonderful to be able to look out the sunporch and see only the remnant piles of snow left from my shoveling the back walk. The rest has melted and it is already 40° this cloudy morning. We have several days of rain and showers in the forecast but not a single mention of a temperature below the freezing mark. Is it possible that spring weather has actually arrived? The dozens and dozens of daffodils I see up through the ground would give testamony to that fact. So, let's not be bashful with our praise to God for the changing of the seasons.

The lack of snow everywhere has changed the complexion of my aviary guests. Only a few of the blackbirds are here this morning as opposed to the flocks of fifty at a time that come in and clean out the feeders when the snow is covering the ground. Oh, there's a half dozen starlings of course. They go wherever they can eat the easiest, and my buffet tables are some of the best around. I have filled my "post feeder" with safflower seed. It is an amish built gazebo looking thing up on a four by four post. I keep being told that the cardinals really like safflower seed but I have never seen evidence of that fact when we have tried it before. But we'll try it again. The squirrels and blackbirds don't like it, so that is a plus.

Mrs. Rabbit is back. Every spring she comes around and starts scoping out the place. About the time the daffodils are in full bloom and the lilies are in good foliage, she will birth another litter of bunnies up under the lilies and I'll have two or three bunnies running around here again. Its predictable and it is such a pleasure to watch them.

We had a good weekend that was uneventful with the exception of our routine stuff. Yesterday we had church, church, a council meeting and then choir practice at the churches. So it was a long day. The choir at St. Lucas sang an anthem yesterday and did a really fine job of it. Now, all the focus is getting the Easter Cantata ready to perform. We are less than four weeks from Easter now. But we will be ready. I consider us to be so lucky that we have a choir and that they are willing to put the hard work in to do a cantata. Many churches don't do that anymore, either for lack of choir members or because it is considered "old fashioned" worship. But what can I say, I'm a traditionalist at heart.

We need to get ourselves ready and go out to visit with my mother and Ms. Kate's aunt. Her aunt hasn't improved any and I don't know that her condition has deteriorated any. She sleeps most of the time, and like so many stroke victims, especially the elderly ones, she is simply "present on earth". What a shame. But, God is in charge and some purpose is being fulfilled, whether we understand it or not. I do pray she will not have to remain in that state very long. I have no doubt it is her worst nightmare.

So, I'll close with prayers for comfort and peace of mind for her. I hope your day is truly blessed and that what ever might be causing you some amount of worry will be relieved through contact with the Lord God.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The good news is that the temperature is going to rise by 31° today. The bad news is --- that only gets us to freezing. Yes, it is 1° and I'm whining for absolutley no reason. After all, the sun is shining, the sky is a cloudless brilliant blue, and all of my aviary friends are here fussing with one another since the remaining feeders are just about totally empty. I grabbed the two bark butter feeders this morning first thing and filled them. As predicted, the starlings are all over those, fussing and fighting and pecking at one another. My brilliant red cardinal is here again this morning and has a twin. They have been on and off of the birdbath sipping up water.

My concern yesterday was how I was going to be able to clear off the driveway. I needn't have worried. I took the little John Deere with the snow blade out there and cleared it fairly easily. Between my driveway, Dan's driveway and parking area, and the street between us, I probably spent four hours out there. I need to take a tylenol this morning for a sore leg and hip joint from it but gosh, it was fun. By yesterday afternoon, our drives were not only cleared, they were dry. The mail lady gave me a nice "thank you" since I made it a lot easier for her to get up at least our part of this street. But, as much as I enjoy doing that, I'd really rather not having to do it again this year. Like most everyone else, I'm fully ready for spring and nice weather; --- and we certainly didn't get the worst of this storm. Parts of Kentucky had two feet of snow from it.

Sunday begins Daylight Saving Time which is yet another reminder that Spring is on the way. I'm not sure why we still practice this changing of the clocks an hour back and forth twice a year. The initial purpose of it was sound but is no longer relevant. But, I think I need to put a reminder on the church Facebook page to set the clocks ahead so they aren't late for chrch on Sunday. We wouldn't want half of the ongregation showing up as the other half are leaving. With the snow and winter weather events of the past month, it has been confusing enough what with cancellations.

I'm watching these starlings out here trying to eat from the bark butter paste feeders. They aren't birds that are equipped for "clinging" like the woodpeckers are. They expend so much energy trying to eat that I can't imagine there is any "gain" for their efforts. They must constantly flap their wings to kind of hover while they peck at the feeders. They remind me of people with shallow faith running around uttering words to God but never actually praying. Prayer is a conversation with God --- not to God. So they run around with their "woe is me" and their "oh God, help me", without the faith that God is really listening. God heard you the first time you asked. Perhaps your follow-up prayers should be prayers that say "thank you for listening God. I have faith that you will do what is best for me and still brings you to glory."

Enough sermon on for today. Go have yourself a blessed day.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The storm has now ended and the aftermath is an eight to nine inches of snow. It is beautiful but dangerous. Roads are next to impassable but that won't keep people off of them. My daughter Julie lives 120 miles north ad east of us and they got the same storm. She said that I-65 south is closed at Elizabethtown and people have been stranded in their cars now for 12 hours due to accidents blocking the road. I totally realize that some people must be out and about but, far too often, greed and money trumps common sense and safety. So this morning I'll throw up a prayer for the safety of all of God's children, --- even the stupid ones.

I have been out this morning and did a "test shoveling" of the snow. I wanted to see how hard it is going to be to get the snow up and whether or not the John Deere is going to be of any use. The snow is a heavy wet snow and I'm figuring that if I try to use the Deere, it is going to just slide around on that hill I have for a driveway. I shoveled off the back patio and I think the wet surface that was under the snow has already turned to black ice. Some sunshine would do wonders for it. Unfortunately, we have a lot more clouds than sun this morning and the temperature is 20°  and not supposed to rise above 24° today.

The yard is full of blackbirds and starlings this morning of course. Unfortunately for them, they cleaned out a lot of feeders yesterday, especially all of the "easy" ones. And worse for them, my seed can is almost empty. There is plenty of suets out there and there is sunflower seed too, but it is in feeders that are harder for them to eat from. The bark butter paste and bits is of course gone. I put that out mainly for the woodpeckers but the starlings simply devour it. I can get to those feeders rather easily because I shoveled it clear to get to them. But, if I filled them today, the starlings would just bully everything else away from them, so, suck it up butter cups. You guys may have to wait a few days.

Since we won't be going anywhere today, I guess I better figure out what I want to do with my day. Of course I'll be shoveling snow in one fashion or another. But then I guess I'll do a little sermon writing. I'm only one week ahead and with extra services to do this month, that isn't quite a comfort zone for me yet. I try to stay two weeks ahead as a minimum.

So, off I go to get my day started. But before I do I need to offer up my thanks once again to the Lord for this day. I thank God that I have a home and food, and family. And, I thank God for this beautiful bluebird that just came and landed outside my window. It was my heavenly gift of the day. I am so blessed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The sound of a gentle rain on the roof of the sunporch is enough to put one back to sleep. With my lap throw across my legs and my warm cup of coffee sitting beside me, I'd say I'm pretty well set. And since I'm up an hour and a half earlier than normal for no particular reason, other than to check the weather, --- yep, a "drift-off" is pretty much guaranteed.

It is 35° outside and it has been raining for most of the past twenty-four hours. I haven't heard the official totals but I'guessing we have had a minimum of three inches of rain so far. The snow has been washed away and that is a good thing. However, we are just in phase one if a wide winter storm that is again sweeping the mid section of the country. In another couple of hours the temperatures are expected to start dropping and it will then begin sleeting for an undetermined period of time. This will be followed by snow with an accumulation of six to eight inches by midnight. It will be a two-pot day for the coffee maker. Tomorrow will be "dig out day".

I filled the feeders yesterday so there is plenty of food at the backyard buffet. Probably half of what I put out yesterday is still there. Perhaps I should go top off everything this morning before the ice pellets start falling from the sky. These rascals will go through what's left today and then tomorrow there will be no food and six inches of snow and ice on the ground. It isn't raining that hard at the moment so I guess I could go do that, and then come back to another cup of coffee and my chair, knowing I had done the right thing for the creatures that God gave us dominion over. After all, with dominion comes responsibility. One thing is for sure, I won't have to fill the bird bath!

The rain washing away the snow gives me a glimpse of my daffodils for at least today. They continue to grow despite the weather and the cold. God does some amazing things with this earth. Come dry weather though, I have so much yard work to do. Several small limbs have fallen from the trees and there is so much raking to do. It will be good exercise to stretch out the winter muscles that become very used to being lazy.

Let's take a moment and give God thanks this morning for the one "spring-like"day that we experienced yesterday. Despite the rain, it was a bit warmer and the slate has been cleaned off for new snow etc. It's kind of like our souls after a prayer of confession; --- yes, we'll pile more bad stuff on it because that seems to be our nature, but for a brief moment, all is washed clean. And for that. --- I give God praise this morning. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

It has gotten to be almost 1:00 pm and I'm just getting to the blog today. The rain and pending snow storm for today, tomorrow and Thursday have dictated that we do some other stuff this morning. But the bird feeders are all now filled, we have been to the grocery, and yes, we did need bread, and we we've had lunch. Now I am in the office and writing my blog because it is just a dreary day out there that I don't want to look at. It is almost 60 degrees outside and that makes it hard to fathom that we are supposed to get somewhere between 3 and 8 inches of snow tomorrow, and then bright sunny skies and upper forties  for the weekend. I told someone yesterday that I think Mother Nature is trying to birth a child named "Spring" and the labor isn't going well for her. It is no wonder that almost everyone I know is walking around with a Kleenex in their hand to handle coughing and runny noses.

The snow or predictions of it is already having an impact around the area. I sure won't be going out for visitation this week like I had planned to. And, I've already cancelled choir practice for tomorrow night. I notice that several other churches have already cancelled Wednesday Lenten services etc. too. I reckon that I will be out on the little John Deere later this week cleaning out my drive and the others that I I do. Hopefully there won't be a lot of ice associated with this thing. But --- I have no doubt it is going to be a wet snow which will make it a lot tougher to work with. My JD is a great machine but it does have its limits. It will depend on just how much we get.

The flocks of blackbirds and starlings had just about all moved out to the fields since the snow was gone and now --- it will look like a black rug out there on the snow in the morning. This morning the cardinals were all waiting for me to vacate the yard. There was still a lot of feed out there but there were several empty feeders too. My sunflower seed can is almost empty again which means I need to pick up another 100 pounds of feed and fill the can back up. I think I need to start giving all of the birds a name and start claiming them on my taxes as dependents. I spend almost as much on their groceries as I do on mine.

My prayers go out today as prayers of gratitude for the successful dental work that brother-in-law  Byron had done yesterday. They did the root canal and put on a temporary crown to prevent infection. The biggest problem was that they had to take him off of his cancer medications. I don't know if they have started them back now or not. He has to go back in a couple of weeks to have the permanent crown put on. But, we give thanks that it all went as well as it did.

I also lift up prayers for all of the people across the country that are feeling the effects of this latest winter storm. I pray for their safety, I pray for their patience, and I pray they all will have warm places of shelter and be safe. God is good and spring is coming; it always does.

Have a blessed day and stay worm, wherever you are.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday morning and the sun is shining brightly, --- at least for now. It is 28° out there this morning and the breeze made it feel even cooler as I went out to put the mail in the mailbox and carry the garbage out to the compost. The snow is ice crunchy under my feet. It isn't as deep as it was because of the melting. At some point, maybe mid-week, we are supposed to have temperatures maybe as high as fifty degrees, but --- of course those temperatures are an upswing of gulf moisture and will bring rain with it. But, fingers crossed, next weekend currently promises to be beautiful.

Worship services were fairly well attended yesterday despite the fact that the parking lots were treacherous to walk on. But I continue to notice what I guess would be considered a social phenomena. It doesn't matter the size of the church or congregation, people just seem to not want to sit up in the front of the church. I pastor two churches, St. Lucas and St. Paul's. St. Paul's will hold around 120 people if we include the balcony space, and our average attendance is around 19 people. As I look out over the congregation, there will be seven people in the back three rows of the right side, and another dozen plus in the back four rows of the left side. At St. Lucas it is just the opposite. St. Lucas holds about 220 people with an average attendance of fifty people. The front five rows are almost always vacant except for Ms. Kate and one other. Yesterday at St. Lucas, I asked everyone to move up front, and they did. The sound of the congregation sitting close and up front singing the hymns was an occasion to rejoice. I hope the experience enhanced their worship experience as much as it did mine. But, I'm just so glad to have people faithfully attend, that they can sit where ever they wish to as long as they are there. My biggest disappointment is the lack of youth that attend church. Despite having confirmed them and hearing their confirmation promises, so many of them just don't come back, and I lay the blame for that straight on the parents who have not made church attendance a priority. And --- I'll be the first to admit that we were no different when our children were young. Hindsight and age and maturity are big teachers.

We have a batch of young squirrels running around here. They are really small and yes, they are cute. They also need to go find a different buffet. Maybe if I pop a couple of them in the butt with my BB gun now, they wiil chose to leave; ---- not!

It is time to get busy so I better close. I started my morning with my Max Lucado Lenten devotional reading and now it is time to offer up my prayers of gratitude. This morning I simply offer prayers of thanks for this beautiful day and all of the joy and blessings that God has provided in my lfe. I hope your day will be full of love and joy and a sense of the presence of God. If you have all of that, you have no need for anything else.