Thursday, April 30, 2015

A blessed good morning to you. I hope your day began with a good stretch and a smile on your face. That's the way mine began and now I have added my old friend, the cup of coffee, to the routine, I feel refreshed and ready.

We made it back home from Tennesee yesterday without incident. We did find the location of the house we will rent for our family reunion. It is way out in the country but the area is beautiful. We had asked our On- Star navigation system to guide us to the place as we left our hotel. After it directed us to the location, we realized that we were where we wanted to be, --- but, --- still didn't know where we were. So, we kept driving for a bit and finally saw a fellow that was plowing a garden patch, so I stopped and told him that we were really enjoying the country drive but --- we were totally lost and had no clue as to where we were. I told him where we were trying to go and he gladly gave us directions on how to get "un-lost".

Of course the Pastor part of me tends to see God in most situations and this was no exception because God is still speaking, whether we listen or not. As I see it, we frequently get "lost" as we follow life's gps directions looking for a solution to a problem. We put our head down and keep our eyes "on the road", intently following every turn and direction. But then, when we have reached our goal or our destination, we raise our heads and look around, and we have no idea where we are and what to do next. We don't want to go back to where we were in life so we head off in any direction hoping for a good outcome, but frequently becoming more lost. That is the time to pull off of the road and ask God for direction. Like my farmer yesterday, God responds best when you begin with "I'm lost --- and I need help". So, I give thanks this morning to God for a safe trip, despite all of the setbacks and aggravations of Tuesday, and I offer thanks to my unknown farmer in Tennesee who gave good directions to get us back to civilzation.

Today we need to go to the churches and finish running the bulletins. I ran part of them before choir practice last evening, but still have to finish that project. We also need to go to a nursery this morning. We want to purchase some peony trees if we can find some. I also need to mow today and fill my bird feeders again today. And --- when that is all done, I need to write my mother's day sermon. That's the way it is when I try to sneak out of town for 24 hours; the work quickly stacks up.

Mrs. Rabbit is busy in the yard again this morning. All of the flowers are getting big enough that she can easily hide when something scares her. My pilated woodpecker came in too, but my feeders it likes are empty so it didn't stay long. We have the usual assortment of friends at the feeders even though most of them need filling.  So, I guess I might as well get up off of my duff, and start my work day. I hope your day is filled with love, peace, and God's blessings.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

If the Pope had experienced my day --- he would he would have cussed. Some times a person should maybe just go back to bed. It is now 9:34 at night and soon I will do just that.

The morning started with no internet or phone sevice to the house which required dealing with Time Warner which is always fun. An hour later, that was fixed.

Ms. Kate and I planned to take a rather benign road trip from home to the Nashville, TN area in order to do some scouting out in the area for our July family reunion. Nashville is roughly three and a half hours from our house. We left home around 0930 with hopes of stopping along the way to pick up some new material to refinish a couple of chairs. We got about 25 miles from home and picked up a huge piece of metal in the tire of our brand new Cadillac SRX. Guess what? That model does not come with a jack or a spare tire. They give you a small air compressor and a can of sealant which was useless in our case. So, through a series of calls to Cadillac Road Service and a two hour wait along side of the highway we ended up being towed back to Evansville and our Cadillac dealer. We spent another two and a half hours there while they decided what I knew; --- I had to have a new tire! Duh!!! So, at 1430, we were finally back on the road, $240.00 poorer.

We got to TN and the exit we thought the fabric shop was at and couldn't find it but, --- we did manage to drive all over the area and end up a whole three miles farther down the road than we had been. Just another adventure!

We finally got to our hotel and relaxed for a few moments. Then, we decided to try and find the Loveless Café, a local famous eatery. We had been looking forward to coming here for a meal for some time and were considering it as a place to take everybody for a meal during our family reunion. The meal was a total disappointment. The fried chicken was dry as a bone and the rest of the meal was just "so so".

But --- you know, we got here safely and are no worse for the wear. So, when your day sucks like ours did, stop and look around at the bright things in your life. While I was waiting beside the road I had a chance to pull up Facebook and see a picture of the brand new baby that one of our parishioners had yesterday. It brightened my entire day. God is so very good.


Monday, April 27, 2015

God has opened the windows on a bright new world again this morning. The sun is shining, the wind is calm, the birds are singing, and the squirrels have a hearty game of chase going on from tree to tree and limb to limb. Mrs. Rabbit is again sitting out under a feeder eating grass and sunflower seeds. I don't know if she came out of the nest that she built up next to the house or from one of the other flowerbeds. But, I'm seeing her quite a bit these days. Its a good thing.

There is a woodpecker doing a rat-ta-tat on one of my gutters this morning. I've heard  it there, I heard it in the trees in my yard, and I've heard it in the neighbor's trees. I suspect it to be one of the larger woodpeckers. We have at least three varieties of them; the small little downy, and a bigger version of that one. Then we have one that is more of a grey color with a red head, and finally we have the large pilated woodpecker that looks like a mini version of a teradactyl. That one only comes around about once or twice a week. I think I told you that one morning I had a pair of pilated woodpeckers in the yard at the same time. It was exciting to see.

A lot of the iris and peonies are getting buds on them and we do have one iris in bloom already. I love how the yard transitions from one thing to the next. After the peonies and iris it will be a yard full of lilies. Ms. Kate and I are lining up a whole bunch of work for ourselves though. We need to dig up a lot of the iris and daffodils  and thin them out and clean all of the grass and weeds out of them and redesign and replant. It will be a massive undertaking and certainly not a one day project. We will wait until the iris are done and the ground gets a lot dryer. Surely it won't rain every week at some point. And, as the iris bloom this year we will tag them so we know what are common iris and which are our special ones. Ms. Kate has a small fortune tied up in iris and lilies around here. But, as a former neighbor used to say; "its only hard work and money".

We had good worship yesterday at the churches. Attendance was good and I think the Spirit was alive in folks. They sang the songs a bit louder and the smiles were brighter. The after-church conversations lingered longer and it was conversation that was filled with laughter. I love those kind of Sundays because the congregation truly turns into a faith family and God's love resonates through them.

It is about time to wind this up and get my day started. I have to take Ms. Kate for a doctor's appointment in about an hour. This was a fasting appointment so that means she hasn't had her coffee yet. There is no happy face in that room. But, that's what happens when you mess your coffee up with half and half. But, I'll take her to breakfast as soon as her appointment is over. Hopefully Dr. Jackson will give her something for this cold thing that she has had since March. The problem is that they get to talking about travel and she forgets to ask all of the questions she is supposed to.

So, I know you're busy today but stop to thank the Lord God for your blessing. You got out of bed today and your feet planted on the floor and you were already in the process of receiving an abundance of blessings. Take five minutes of your twenty four hours and say a prayer of gratitude.

Friday, April 24, 2015

And a beautiful morning to you!  It is a bright sunny 46° this morning as I sit down in my recliner. Mrs. Rabbit is sitting under one of the feeders having herself a salad of grass and sunflower seeds about fifteen yards from my chair. The starling gang is here fussing and pecking at one another regardless of which feeder they happen to be at. The downy woodpecker comes and goes to the bark butter paste feeders and there are a half dozen cardinals swooping in and out, flitting from one feeder to another and chasing one other in and out of the yard. We need an air traffic controller here this morning. Ms. Kate hung out the hummingbird feeder yesterday. It is generally around the 21 st of April that we begin to see any of them, although they have really been sparse the last couple of years. We lost our butterfly bush to freeze two years ago and that was always a big attractor for the hummingbirds; far more so an an actual feeder.

My nose faucet is still turned on with this stupid cold. Ms. Kate and I are just kind of passing this thing back and forth. I know a lot of people that are in the same situation. They get it in their household and just keep it circling. Thank goodness we don't have young children at home to share it with. But it does limit some of my things I need to be doing. I know that many of the nursing homes are posting that if you have any symtoms of this thing to please stay out. So, visits to my two parishioners will have to wait. I had planned to go earlier this week but got to coughing and Ms. Kate changed my mind. She's smarter than I am. I did get up to the churches yesterday and run the bulletins for this Sunday.

The dogwood petals are slowly starting to fly from their trees and those darned helicopter seeds are starting to twirl through the air covering my roof and sidewalks and flowerbeds, and landing in my gutters. I have a gutter cover system that really helps but I still need to get on the roof and walk the roof edges with my leaf blower to make sure the gutters don't get clogged up. It is just another one of the joys of home ownership. When we had the new gutters put on a few years ago we probably should have gone ahead and spent the extra money and had Gutter Helmet installed instead of this system but the cost would have been about triple. So, as Johnny Cash used to sing; --- I walk the line.

These two large pink azelia bushes here in the back yard couldn't possibly get any more beautiful. They are my favorites because they have a larger bloom and they just seem to have a glow around them. God really does some good stuff. We have red and we have white but their blooms are more harsh somehow. They are all beautiful, but the pink ones just really catch my attention. And --- the bluebells blooming at the end of the sidewalk just completes the picture. So, I once again gives my gratitude to God for creating all of this beauty and wonder. This is a day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Found --- one baseball! That was my reward for mowing my back yard yesterday. Of course it belongs to the kids next door and I'll return it to them or maybe just throw it back over the fence. I wonder why they didn't come knock on the door and ask if they could look for it. Probably because they have more and didn't care. Or maybe we weren't home to ask; --- it doesn't matter. They will get their ball back.

So, my day didn't go totally as planned yesterday. My yard and Dan's yard did get mowed. Between my mowing and trimming, my yard looks good. Ms. Kate put out a lot of Round-up to kill some of the weeds around here. I got to the store and picked up a 100 pounds of black oil sunflower seed and filled all of the feeders. I even had to refill the bark butter feeders a second time. The dang starlings had pretty well cleaned them out since yesterday morning.

I had planned to go do my church stuff yesterday afternoon. However, this cold that I have been holding at arm's length slammed me hard. Perhaps it was the outside air and pollen, although I did wear a mask, but by afternoon I was a walking, sneezing,  mucus factory with a sore throat. Dr. Jackson already has me on antibiotics so last night I used Afrin spray and slept in the recliner. I got a good night's sleep but at 0700 it all hit me again. Crapadoodle! I had really hoped I would escape this thing. It has had hold of Ms. Kate on and off since St. Patrick's Day. I don't have time for this. I did call my pharmacist and ask if I could safely take Mucinex with the antibiotic and she said that would be fine.

We are having what folks call a Dogwood Winter around here. Last night it got cold enough for patchy frost. I guess it is called Dogwood Winter because even though it is the last of April and the Dogwoods are blooming, we still get a night or two of temperatures in the middle thirties and some scattered frost. I imagine those energetic folks who have early tender plants put out had to cover them up last night.

I think my sister and brother-in-law are heading out to the Black Hills this weekend. That is a great vacation spot. As kids, our parents took us out there several times. Ms. Kate and I have done that trip too. It is beautiful country and I wouldn't mind doing another trip out that way myself. The biggest problem of driving out there is that once you are through Kansas City, there is a long non-changing flat scenery to drive through. But, even that can be beautiful at the right time of year.

God has filled my yard with birds again this morning and the song of the mockingbird fills the air. It is indeed a beautiful morning as the flowers simply glisten in the sunshine. Ms. Margaret's lawn service is back there working on her yard. They seem to do a good job for her. She and her sister mowed it up until last year, but both of them are really too frail to be doing that anymore. I offered to do it for her with my John Deere but I guess she didn'want to feel beholding to anyone and I wouldn't accept pay.

Time for a coffee refill so I'm done here for today. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The chores of yesterday: finish up mother's apartment, --- check! Weed whack around flower beds and drive, --- check! Haul three loads of stuff from apartment to my house and storage unit, --- check! Take Ms. Kate out for a great prime rib dinner, --- check! Get our first good night's sleep in three weeks, --- check and check again! We came home from dinner and I think we both snoozed through most of our evening television watching and still got a full night's sleep. We each began stirring around 0630 this morning but refused to get up for another hour. Life looks normal this morning.

Speaking of morning; I hope you are having a good one. It is a windy 50° this morning and the sun has not yet broken through the clouds. I went out first thing and filled the bark butter feeders so the woodpeckers will have something fresh. In a bit, I will fill up the other seventeen feeders. I suppose there will be little birdie and squirrel happy dances all over the place. Then it will be time to fire up the lawn mowers and make the yard presentable again. I also need to go buy another 100 lbs of black oil sunflower seed. The can is just about empty. That should pretty well take care of my morning. This afternoon it will be taking communion to a parishioner, then going to the churches and running the week's bulletins, and then going to choir practice. All in all, yeh, it will be a busy day.

I continue to be awed at how beautiful this spring has been with all of the blooming flowers and trees. Our area and our city of Evansville really is a beautiful place although we don't advertise it much. Between the pink and the white dogwoods, the redbud trees, the azaelias and rhodadendrums that are blooming just everywhere, it is hard to find an ugly spot. And for the most part, people take a lot of pride in their yards and flowers. This is a nice place to live and I'm glad we settled back here after our three and a half decades of wandering. Although, --- I still don't like snow except that I get to play on my little John Deere in it.

There is a brilliantly yellow goldfinch sitting out here beside an equally brilliantly red cardinal. The contrast is cool. The sun has broken through the clouds now and it is blue skies overhead. God has flipped the heavenly light switch and the whole place is aglow with color. It makes me anxious to get out and get busy but on the other hand, I'm not done with my coffee or my morning conversation with the Lord just yet.

Today would be a good day to stop what you are doing and give thanks for your blessings, and then do something for someone else. I intend to do just that and I hope you will to. Kindness and love are the two cheapest things in the universe because God freely gives them to you. Share what God gives you today and reward yourself by having a blessed day too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It is a chilly 44° this morning with a breeze that talks to you if you happen to be outside in short sleeves. However, my bird friends don't seem to mind a bit. What they do mind is that the sun flower feeders are mostly empty. I haven't gotten around to filling them since Julie last filled them. But everyone is still showing up because there is always residual on the ground. The safflower feeder still has plenty of food in it for the cardinals and there is still suet out there for the woodpeckers and thistle seed for the finches. So, --- nobody is going hungry.

I put the potted plants out this morning first thing and the wrens are all over them exploring them. They love to get down in the pots and scratch around. I don't know what they are looking for but they are enjoyable to sit and watch and their birdsong is delightful to hear. It always sounds like a happy song.

The squirrels have been here this morning checking out the feeders and then purch on the feeders and give me "the look". I have no problem disappointing them. In fact, I will declare this "National Disappoint a Squirrel Day". I mean, why not? There is a national day for everything else.

We made big headway on clearing my mother's apartment yesterday and should finish today and pay her final expenses out there. For her level of care she was paying almost $5,300.00 a month so I don't want to run into another month even at a pro-rated amount just because we haven't finished moving stuff out. Ms. Kate and I went out and rented a storage unit yesterday to put some stuff in that will go to our girls in a couple of months. Neighbor Dan was supposed to help me move furniture today to the unit but has injured himself won't be lfting anything for a while. Luckily, I have a great-nephew in need of gas money who will give me a hand later today. He's a good kid!

I'm hoping that by tomorrow I can get back to doing "normal" stuff again. The yard needs mowing, the flowerbeds badly need a hoe taken to them, I need to get out there with the weed whacker and of course, there are constantly services to prepare and I desparately need to do some parishioner visitation. I'm way overdue in that area, and it is a critical part of being a pastor.

With a busy day ahead I need to stop my blogging and have my morning conversation with the Lord and give thanks and praise for the sunshine and the blessings I woke up to today. God never fails to provide and I must never fails to be grateful. Have a blessed day.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A brand new week greets me this morning and it is a cloudy day with showers predicted off and on for the day. Last week's funeral is over and this week Ms. Kate and I need to finish the job of clearing out mother's apartment. Much of the work has been done through the efforts of my family and my sister and her family. But they have all gone back home and back to their jobs, so, Ms. Kate and I will have to figure out what to do with the rest of this stuff. Anybody need a couch?  Actually, I think we have a plan but this rain will delay moving stuff, and we need to be out of there by the end of the month.

This past week has been an emotional week all around and my thoughts and emotions ran the entire spectrum from thoughts and words of anger to the warmth and hugs and words of support and love. I'm not proud of some things and I'm happy with others. Being human --- is exhausting. The one constant that has leveled the week has been prayer. God has heard a lot of those this week from both me and Ms. Kate. It was prayer that brought light to my dark heart when needed, and it was the prayers of our faith family that provided comfort as we numbed our way through the details that always accompany loss. I have said for years that the worst part of death is what it does to those who are still living.

Today God's demonstration of glory and love comes in the form of the beautiful azaelias blooming in our yard. I think we have around thirty with colors that range from pink to red, towhite. The great thing is that they don't all bloom at once. Most of our plants are well establshed and large and they have a massive bloom count. Right now it is the pink ones that are in full bloom and contrasted with the brilliant white bloom of the dogwood trees makes for a beautiful view out of the sunporch.

I think the season's weather has finally reached the point where I can set all of the potted plants out of the sunporch and back on the patio. This would probably be a good day because it isn't a bright sunny day and they can get acclimated to the outside again and not get sunburned. I'll bet I also have a bunch of asparagus out there needing cutting. Ms. Kate fixes a dish of pasta, usually spaghetti noodles, with fresh asparagus and shrimp that will make your tongue fall right out of your mouth. It is marvelous. Last evening, neighbor Dan brought over a pan of freshly made spring rolls that his wife Minh had made. They thought we might want a snack! She makes the best spring rolls we've ever had. Those folks are just another example of the blessings God has put in my life.

It is time to give my thanks to God once again. I saw a quote the other day that said; "If the only prayer you say today is 'Thank you, that is sufficient". I like that. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

This morning I will bury my mother. In doing so I will be closing a chapter in my life that began back in 1949 when my sister and I were adopted out of the Veach Orphanage home in Rockport, Indiana. That orphanage home burned down many years ago and now coincidently is the site Rockport Re-cycling center. I have said many times that the purpose for use of the land hasn't changed, --- it is just a different product being recycled now. Back then, it was children.

There are many ways I could attribute to the changes in my life since I was adopted but the single most and best contribution that Mervin and Cora Heumann made in my life was the act of the adoption itself. Had I not been adopted by them; the odds are infintestible that I would have ever met Ms. Kathy Parton. So in reality, had that adoption not occured, my children would not exist nor would their children. None of the accomplishments they and we have made and will hopefully will continue to make would have happened. None of the hundreds of friends we have made or the lives that we have impacted would have been made. And so, --- as I bury my mother this morning, I simply say "thank you" for adopting me. Believe it or not, in its own way with that single act, you made a change in the world.

With that all said, I must get myself ready and head on out the door. It is a foggy morning and God has wrapped the covers over the area. I live a foggy morning, so "thank you Lord" for my favorite kind if morning.

Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A blessed good morning to you; and it is indeed a blessed morning. It isn't raining yet and it is 59° with a slight breeze. I'm hoping the grass is just dry enough out here in the back yard that I can get it mowed this morning before we head out to the funeral home. Isn't it funny how a simple thing like mowing your yard can provide a person a "sanity break"? I guess that is because it is a "normal" thing to do in the midst of other more stressful things we have to do.

There are lots of my bird friends out here this morning to sing their songs and have breakfast at the buffet. I still haven't filled the bark butter feeders and the suet feeders are all empty. The sad part of that that I had a pilated woodpecker come in for breakfast and had no bark butter for him. Of course it doesn't get bark butter out in the wild either but I love to have them here and the bark butter seems to attract them.

The redbud trees and the dogwood trees are really getting pretty and the azaelias are starting to put on pretty nicely too. There are others in the neighborhood that are much farther along but ours will be beautiful before long. I do love spring time with all of the birds singing, the flowers blooming, the gentle breeze and soft rain drops on the roof. Of course there is also the smell of newly mown grass, including the onions, as well the pollen and allergy medicines. Springtime is a wonderful time. Ms. Kate noticed that the Virginia Bluebells are blooming today too. Yesterday as we started out the door she stopped to check on the asparagus and then I waited while she went and got a knife and cut that. There was enough for a mess of it for supper last night and still have enough for another meal. At this time of year, we have to cut it every day almost.

Let me start my morning talk with the Lord with prayers of gratitude. We have been overwhelmed with kind words and prayers since my mother had her stroke and has now passed. So I must thank God for all you that have sent prayers and for a host of Mother's friends. I thank God that she passed peacefully. I ask for safe travels for those who may be coming in for the visitation and or funeral. I thank God for my wonderful faith family from whom we draw strength. Every time I think I'm tired and maybe should truly consider retirement; --- they go and do something awesome and just pour love all over Ms. Kate and me. It gets me all full of the Holy Spirit and refreshes my spirit. Love just has that effect on a person.

I hope your day is blessed. Mine already has been. Now --- I gotta' mow my yard.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Another rainy day; I wonder if my backyard will get mowed before the tigers and elephants move in. But, despiite the rain, it is an alright day. The yard has changed so much since my last opportunity to actuallh sit out here for a few moments and enjoy it. The Redbud trees are in full bloom, the Dowood trees are blooming. The roses and hydrangias are all leafed out and growing. The daffodils are done with their blooming and the azellias are with blooming or budding out. All of that happened in just a few short days. God simply said "taa-daa", and there it all was.

I'm up eartly to have mmy coffee before heading out to the funeral home. My mother passed away just 24 hours ago, and we have to meet to go over the arrangements. Her funeral services are all pre-paid but things still need to be done. So, I'm meeting my sister there at 0930.

This afternoon I suppose we will go out to mother's apartment and start the sorting of stuff. It is amazing what people hang on to and keep that other people in the family have no desire for. But, we need to get the place empty so that her estate doesn't get charged another month's rent. When this day comes for Ms. Kate and I; my three daughters, who live east coast, west coast and midwest are gonna have a lot of unkind words for us. Mother has two rooms of stuff; we have 3000 sq. ft. and two sheds full of stuff. My advise to them, --- take what you can haul in one trip and call an auctioneer! And pray it isn't raining.

I apologize for the lack of sunporch notes and the shortness of them but I know you understand and have been there done that with loved ones of your own. This last two weeks have been a challenge but as always, --- God has been good. Mother lived 97 years doing exactly what she wanted including "bingo" on the morning of her stroke. When the stroke took her down she never woke up again but slept through the next ten days while her body shut down. I give God praise for that final blessing in her life.

I hope your day will be a blessed one.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The weather is morning is 180° opposite from yesterday and last night. We've had a week of unsettled weather and last night was the grand finale, at least for us. The storms have now moved north-eastward. But it was indeed a light show. I stood out here in the sunroom for part of it. The wind was fairly strong. There was a measured gust of 66 mph at the airport, which is just a mile or so from us. But the sun is shining brightly this morning and the temperature is only to get to a seasonal high of 65 or so to day as opposed to the 81° we had yesterday.

We are on day nine of hospital room sitting as we watch beside my mother's deathbed. I don't see how she can last much longer; she has had no food or liquid intake for seven days now. So, we sit and wait and watch, and yes --- pray.

There are lots of cardinals out here this morning. There are still feeders with seed in them but most are empty. They won't get filled today. The grass needs mowing, --- it won't get done today. The daffodils are pretty much done blooming but the tulips are a brilliant red and are blooming beautifully. The roses I trimmed last week are all coming out well and the peonies are standing a around nine inches tall or there about. And from the garden, we have had our second cutting of asparagus. It is definitely springtime.

My little wrens are singing happily this morning. But, that is only an assumption because they might in fact be telling the neighborhood what a bum I am for not having the food out there it wants. Well, they will just have to go pick on the squirrels because the squirrels are the ones who cleaned them out. If I just didn't have neighbors, --- I guarantee you I wouldn't have squirrels either. However, there are enough neighborhoods around with stray bullets flying through them that I don't need to add to them.

Ms. Kate and I are both supposed to have optometry apointments this morning. We boh need them so, I'm not sure whether to keep them or change them . Unfortunately I think I need a lens change and so does she. Hello --- big bucks.

My cup is empty and I have things to do before heading to the hospital. Perhaps God will take my mother home today and she can join my dad and all of her other family that are waiting on her to quit fighting the inevitable and come on home. Either way, --- we wait for God to do what God chooses to do, --- and whatever that is; --- will be good. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gosh, it is wonderful to be able to take time to sit out here in the sunporch. Although it is pretty darn early, or at least earlier than I want to be up. I woke up around 0530 and the brain immediately activated with seemingly a hundred different random thoughts. I knew I was not going to get any more rest, but I did lay there for another hour. I think they call that stress; --- and I'm not accustomed to having stress. And --- I don't like it. So, as I said, it is wonderful to be back in the sunporch with my cup of coffee and my yard full of friends.

We left the hospital around six-thirty last night. There has been no perceptible change in my mother's status. I hate sitting there waiting for someone to die; --- it feels so "vulture-like". Many people cherish those last moments and they hang on to their loved one dearly.  I guess I just find it all a bit morbid and frankly, non-productive. We all deal with these kinds of things in different ways and have different needs at a time like this.

From there we went up to the churches and ran the bulletins for this Sunday's service. We generally do that on Wednesday, but who knows what the rest of the week might hold. I probably should take my laptop to the hospital with me and I could do some writing there. However, there really isn't a comfortable way or place to do that. Besides, we have so many of her friends coming through to see her and that requires conversation which equals distraction. (Does that sound cold-hearted?)

So, my morning here in the sunporch includes listening to the rain drops on the roof while seeing the sun peek through them as it begins to brighten up the back yard. It is a lovely and relaxing experience. I could easily drift back off to sleep out here. The air is full of birdsong today. I think they are celebrating the warm spring day too. I see the bark-butter feeders are empty and the woodpeckers are not happy about that. From here in my recliner it appears that most everything else is still ok. I noticed though when I last filled everything that another trip to the feed store is in order as my sunflower seed can is about fifty or so pounds lght. Maybe we will get out of this rainy day pattern and I will go pick up another 100 pounds.

I also see that my yard has gone from winter brown to spring green and needs to be mowed. That danged fertilizer did what it was suppised to do. I still don't have the snow blade off of the John Deere which means the mower deck isn't on it either. So my brain is hollering "danger, danger, John Heumann. You may have to actually walk behind the little mower!"

As I sign off this morning, I give my thanks to God for a peaceful morning filled with birdsong and flowers, and small raindrops mixed with sunshine. It was just the mixture I needed to do a mind dump; or at least clear a space in there for important things like gratitude for my life full of blessings. Have a most wonderful day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Good afternoon from my mother's bedside. Ms. Kate and I have rotated the shift for a bit today. She came and sat while I finished my sermon for this Sunday. Now she is off to get her hair cut and fixed so she is ready for the eventuality. Mother is sleeping very peacefully and the only indication of life is the gentle and seemingly occasional rise of the sheet.

I have been amazed at the number of visitors that have come by to see her. Friends from church and friends and staff from the assisted living facility where she lived have kept a fairly steady pace in and out of the room. All come with expressions of sympathy and love for her. It's nice to know she made an impact on other people's lives. Afterall, I believe that is at least one of the reason's God put us on earth.

The storms have been rolling through the area with thunder, lightening, and even a couple of funnel clouds were spotted. I haven't heard of any actual touch down although there are a few reports of wind damage here and there. That is southern Indiana weather in the springtime though. We have two different thirteen week periods during the year that are considered our "severe weather period"; one in the spring and one in the fall. If we get through them with little to no damage or loss of life; --- it is a good thing.

I glanced out the kitchen window earlier and it appeared as though the feeders were still fairly full. But, since I don't have porch time right now, I guess I'm not too concerned about it.

So, as I set here, I'offering up prayer for loved ones and prayers that God continue to watch over her and then peacefully take her through that invisible veil that separates our life from our death.

I wish for you a blessed day and peace in your soyl and mind.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Is there a nice way to say that you're sitting and watching and waiting for someone to die? I am, along with Ms. Kate, currently sitting in my mother's hospital room basically doing just that. She was brought in last Wednesday, having suffered a stroke. She has not spoken except for a few words since she got here. The first night while in the emergency room she spoke my name several times followed by a long mixture of mumbling because I wouldn't let her get out of bed. Since then she has been totally un- responsive.  Her doctor says she could last a couple of weeks like this as her body completes shutting down. And so, --- we sit, we wait, and we watch; --- the conversations having long run dry.

Times like this can either bring a family closer or they can rip entire families apart. I have it go both ways far to many times. Emotions run raw and easily bleed. It a tough time. And yet, every family on the planet goes through it. Is it possible that dying and dealing with the death is the only common denominator for all of humanity?

We are in for a week of rain and storms, or so it is predicted. I hope not because that too affects a person's mood. A bright sunny day would be welcome and I miss my birds and backyard critters.

There have been several people that have come in to see my mother, each singing her praises and declaring how much they loved her and how special she was to them. I suspect none of us truly recognize or realize the impact we have on other people's lives. And maybe in truth, we never fully realize the impact they make on our lives. We often simply take them for granted knowing they will probably be there if we need something.

I offer up prayers for a parishioner who lost her sister within the last couple of days. I feel bad because she wanted me to do her sister's funeral but I'm not in a position to take that on at the moment.  I hate to turn folks down when they need my help.

I give God thanks that we had three very wonderful Easter services yesterday. The weather perfect, the congregations were full, and the choir offered up a beautiful cantata at the Sunrise Service. It was a morning full of God's love.

My writing is no doubt going to be sporadic for a bit, --- just hang in there and start your every day with happy thoughts and a word or two with the Lord. If my name happenes to come up during those conversations, that would be good too.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

And a happy Saturday morning to you. I've missed sitting down to do my blog with you. My normally mundane world is a bit slanted right now and filled with concern. This past Wednesday evening my mother had a stroke and is in the hospital. The prognosis for recovery is extremely small and at this point she is only receiving "comfort care". At 97 years old, these things are usually fatal.

But, --- at any rate, my time to sit and blog has been restricted and my mind has been a bit be-fuzzeled. I've taken my Nook with me to the hospital but with folks going in and out etc, there wasn't much quiet time. I had a surgeon on my staff at my last military assignment that told me if you want to get rest, stay out of the hospital. I did get half of my Stephen King novel read that first night while sitting in the emergency room.

So this morning, I'm sitting here with one of Julie's dogs on my lap and enjoying a cup of coffee before I get cleaned up and head back down to the hospital. The sun is shining brightly but it is only 38° outside. The terrible rains dropped anywhere from four to nine inches in the tri-state area. Roads are flooded, and the area where Julie lives is even worse. I just read that there is another water rescue going on up in the next county where someone drove into the water over the road. People just over estimate themselves and their vehicles and seem to think the laws of nature couldn't possibly apply to them. How often do they have to be told; "Turn around and don't drown."  I hope they send them a bill.

From the looks of it, I have a few feeders to fill some time today several of the sunflower seed feeders are empty and so are the bark butter feeders. There are a lot of birds singing this morning as they celebrate a bright day. Tomorrow is Easter and I'm so glad it is to be a beautiful day. Easter sunrise servces should be accompanied by a beautiful sunrise. Children should be able to do their egg hunting ourside and not in the house, and certainly not in the snow.

As I sit here and contemplate what's going on in our lives at the moment, I still must give God thanks for the blessings in my life. The imminent passing of my mother only deepens my gratitude to God for the sacrifice Jesus paid to insure us an eternal life. Our bodies are fragile containers for our soul for a limited period of time. Our souls though last throughout eternity. We need to take care of those souls and keep them connected to their creator. So, take some time today and count your blessings and give God praise. Then tomorrow celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as he unlocks the gates to eternity.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"This a day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!". What a most beautiful morning. Again the sun is shining brightly, there is no breeze this morning and it is 54° outside. The birds are singing from virtually every direction. It is a great morning to be alive.

I spent a few hours out in the yard yesterday. I got the fertilizer spread and Epsom Salt spread on the garden bed and the flower beds that required it. Ms. Kate provided direction on that task. The Epsom Salt adds acidity to the soil and some plants like it and some it isn't good for. I also got the feeders all topped off or filled. Several of the smaller suet feeders are "just about" empty. I'll let the birds finish those off before I put in replacement suet. Next, I started in on the roses, and got a dozen of them trimmed back. Several I had to take to ground level to find any new growth. The winter was tough on them. But they will be beautiful when they come out. I still have one more bed with roses to tackle and those are going to be tough. They are a group of three knockout roses that are intertwined and knarly. I'll probaby get out the hedge trimmer and cut it back that way. The trim job won't take all that long; the clean up of the residual will take a bit though. I generally cut my trimmings into small pieces and bag them. Tomorrow is trash day so, I need to finish it up today. And --- assuming I still have time, I need to get my grub and bug killer spread. It is supposed to rain off and on for the next couple of days so all of this stuff I've spread will disolve and start working in the soil.

My day also will incude choir practice this evening and hopefully finally getting my fingers moving on the computer keyboard and getting next weeks sermon written. But first --- this morning includes a pedicure for Ms. Kate and me. Yes, it is an indulgence, but I like having it done. I don't reach my toe nails as easy as I once could. My air supply gets cut off by my belly getting in the way. Getting old and fat just ain't for sissies. It takes stamina and character, and determination.

This is Wednesday of Holy Week. We don't have a record of what Jesus may have done today. I suspect he would have continued doing what he did best; teaching, healing, loving and praying; all the while knowing that by tomorrow night, one of his disciples will betray him, and the end of his earthly existence will come to a close. Don't you wonder what emotions would have been running through him?

With that, I will close for today and offer up prayers for friends and loved ones, and prayers of gratitude for the myriad blessings God has given me already again today. Have a most wonderful spring day. It was your morning gift from God.