Friday, July 31, 2015

A Friday afternoon post because we been tied up doing other things. And a happy Friday and weekend to you!

Ms. Kate and I are just sitting here enoying the afternoon chatting and trying to decide what to do about supper. The place that we would like to go to is closed for a couple of more days for vacation. We are kind of hungry for some deep fried mushrooms and the St. Joe Inn makes the best one without driving fifty miles to Vincennes, IN. So, we'll just have to be hungry for something else I reckon. Actually, fried chicken or catfish fiddlers sounds pretty good too. And --- we have a place called "The Log Inn" that serves the best around of either one of those. The Log Inn was an old stage coach stop and Abraham Lincoln actually stopped there at one time. ----- Of course, --- Popeye's has good chicken too and I can get red beans and rice there. Life is just so full of important decisions and choices.

This morning Ms. Kate and I went to see a lawyer friend of ours to talk about re-doing our will. Our last one was done in 1994 and a few things have changed. We need to go back next week and do it some more after I take him some additional paperwork. Part of the problem lies tied up in some land that we are a part of in Illinois and we need to get all of that straightened out and re-titled. Our lawyer friend said the property issue could become a lawyers "pork-barrel", which is never a good thing for me.

After the lawyer, we met Ms. Kate's sister for lunch at The Cracker Barrel. I like to eat there but Ms. Kate isn't crazy about it except on Saturday when they have chicken and rice for their featured dish. I just go and order breakfast no matter what time of the day or what day it is. I could eat eggs, hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy and bacon three times a day.  Of course, then I could also become the new spokesperson for Crestor!!

I got out in the yard yesterday and did a bunch of work. I finally got the new flowerbed area worked up on the north side of the yard and we planted the daffodils that I had dig up in the late spring. Assuming they come up, it will be a beautiful sight come spring. I also got  an area outfront freshly mulched. I still have a big area that I need to work on and get it all tilled up and the iris transplanted in to it. There is never a shortage of stuff to be done if a person is going to raise flowers and gardens. Some time I think I should have just left everything in grass. Our ability to continue taking care of this stuff continues to diminish. But, we'll continue to do it as long as we can.

It is time for my eveningnews so I am going to junp off of here. I pray you will have a blessed weekend.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fantastic! That is the word for describing this morning. The sun is shining brightly without a cloud in the sky. There is a light breeze and it is 72 degrees. Best of all, the humidity has dropped way down. Yesterday was miserable outside. The heat index was up to around 110 degrees, even 115 in places. It really made it hard for me to breathe. It is only supposed to go to 89 degrees today so I think it will be a good day to work in the yard for awhile.

Most of my critter friends are here this morning for breakfast. Mr. Fuss-a-lot the bluejay has been here several times do a snatch and go. He grabs a little bark butter and then he stops at the birdbath for a drink to wash it down. The red headed woodpecker has also been here several times. I put the bark butter "stick" out fresh this morning. I had filled it two evenings ago and yesterday morning it was already empty. So I filled it again last evening but this time I kept it inside and put it out this morning. I think maybe one of my night raiders had cleaned it out before. I fillled my Amish gazebo feeder with safflower seed again. The cardinals really like that and not too many other big birds do. So, that five pounds of feed will last the cardinals almost three weeks. Had I filled it with sunflower-seeds, it would have been empty by Sunday. I have started filling some of my feeders with shelled peanuts and everything seems to like them. I like it because they are cheaper than much of the stuff I buy. Buzz, the hummingbird has already been here this morning to sip frrom the phlox. I told you, --- it is a fantastic morning. Thank you, Lord God, for a morning of blessings.

Ms. Kate and I are so excited and happy for our oldest daughter, Julie and her husband, Jim. She called me yesterday and told us they had been pre-approved for a mortgage loan. That might not seem like it is all that big a deal and we know it happenes for people everyday. However, Julie and Jim have never owned a home, or been in a financial position to buy a home. They have been living in apartments for the thirty years they have been married. We have really been pushing them to try to buy a house and get out of Townhouse living. Her  RA is getting worse all the time and she really needs to be in a one story house without stairs. So, now they can begin to earnestly start the search for a home of their own. I'm not sure who is more excited; them or me.

I need to get out of this chair and into y work clothes and make use of this day that God has provided befoore it gets too warm. Before I do though, I'll first take a moment to offer prayers for loved ones, and prayers of gratitude for the overflowing blessings in my life. I haven't heard from my sister in a week or so as to how Byron is doing with his post-surgery therapy but pray he is adjusting  and doing better. I also lift up the people of my parish and pray for good things for them. God is so very good. I also pray that you who read this are having an absolutely wonderful and blessed day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Good morning! I'm sorry I missed you yesterday. Ms. Kate and I got busy early and I didn't get back to my sunporch until late afternoon after I had filled my birdfeeders. But, I'm here early this morning watching my feathered friends and listening to the thunder overhead. The sidewalk is damp so I assume we had some amount of rain and I can hear the few rain drops that are falling now. The forecast calls for morning thunderstorms and another day of excessive humidity today and some nice and dry weather until next week sometime..

One of our priorities was taken care of yesterday; we went to the funeral home and did my pre-planning for my funeral. We had done Ms. Kate's many years ago and because of cost we said we'll wait until her's was paid for. Of course, we just never got around to doing mine. But --- we are now trying to catch up on all of those "things a person should do". I guess the two recent deaths in the family have prompted us into action. So, --- now both of our funerals are paid for. We bought our burial plots decades ago, so we are all set for the eventual. Friday we go to a lawyer friend and have him update our wills and set up what little our estate may be into a trust. If you haven't done any of this stuff, you may want to think about it. And --- true to who we are; --- Ms. Kate and I have matching caskets! Ain't that sweet??

Today is Wednesday and of course that means we go to the churches and run the bulletins for this coming Sunday. We also have a couple of things to pick up from the store, one of which is another 100# of sunflower seed for the critters. I pretty well emptied the can when I filled the feeders last evening.

The Facebook furor this morning is over an American dentist who when on a Safari hunt in Africa and killed a huge male lion, named Cecil. Cecil had been very popular with conservationist, and with "Camera Safari Hunters. Cecil was wearing a GPS collar and was the pride leader of a large pride of lions. The dentist says his hunt was legal, and it may or may not have been, --- but was it ethical? Cecil was baited to the kill, which wasn't a "clean kill" so they had to track him to "finish the job". He was then beheaded, skinned, and his body and his GPS collar, which they tried to destroy, --- left to rot or become hyena food. As a result, any younger male lion that takes over the pride will kill any younger lion cubs from Cecil's bloodline in order to establish his own pure bloodline. That's just the way it is. I haven't hunted in years, and I would only hunt what I could eat. What this guy did, and I think what all "trophy hunters" do, was a crime against nature and a sin against the Creator, God.

The thunder has stopped for now and my coffee cup has gone dry. The squirrels have arrived to rob the feeders, and both my bunny and "Buzz" the himmingbird have come to the glass doors to peek in. I guess I will quit writing and give God thanks for yet another wonderful day in my life. Have a goosd day my friends. Take time to stop and count your blessings.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Monday! How many people have said that to you today? Probably no one; but it is a happy Monday. We got an inch of rain last night. Ms. Kate said it really came down hard but I never heard it.

I have a lot of searching critters this morning. Almost all of the feeders are totally empty. So the birds and the squirrels are having to actually eat off of the ground this morning. How uncivilized is that?There are peanuts left in a couple of the feeders and still a good deal of finch feed, and there is plenty of food on the ground. But, how dare I make them forage rather than have a perfect buffet waiting.

We finished church and lunch yesterday and came home. I changed clothes and jumped on the John Deere to mow my front yard and Dan's yard. I was going to do that Friday but the battery was dead on my JD. So, I hooked it up to the trickle charger. By Saturday it still was ready and then yesterday when I tried it it  --- it still sounded dead. It turns out that one of my cables was lose. I tightened that up and it fired right up. So, I got the yards done. Some might say I was "working on Sunday", but using my John Deere never seems to be work. I call it productive fun.

We are predicted to have rain and storms and oppressive humidity today through Wednesday. It will be good times to get some writing done. I also got my trumpet out last evening and played a couple of songs on it. I want to play a solo for church in two weeks and I haven't played my horn in years. So, I found a couple of songs in which the notes aren't too high and maybe I can get my lip in good enough shape to play them if I practice everyday for a bit. I think I have only played it in church once since I have been the pastor there, and that was several years ago. We'll see how this goes. "There was a day" when I was pretty good; at least good enough to get a music scholarship; but like all of the instruments I play, I tend to play stuff my way and not follow the music. It never made my teachers very happy.

I was so very proud of our congregations yesterday. We took up a special offering for the family of a young boy who lost part of his leg due to a four wheeler accident. We collected $767.00 to give to the family. Our congregations may be small; they may not be flashy or loud, but they care about one another and they care about the people of their community. We have a "Blessings Jar" at each church that sits in the back of the churches. The purpose is to have people drop money in the jar if they have felt blessed by God in any way during the week or day. We have donated a lot of money to the local food pantry over the years from those two jars. We have also donated money to several local families during times of crisis from those jars and will do so again this coming Sunday. Our two congregations are just people quietly going about their daily lives and doing God's work; and that is exactly what Jesus has tasked us to do. No wonder I feel so blessed to be part of their faith familly.

I offer up my prayers this morning as prayers of gratitude for the people I am surrrounded by. My daughter Julie has been have a really rough time with her RA so I ask for comfort for her. I give God praise for the rain becaue we were needing it by now. I also ask for comfort of spirit for those that are anxious and overcome with worry for what ever reason. God is so very good, and it humbles me to think that God would care about an insignificant person like me. But, it is the knowing that God does care that brings total peace to my soul. Have a goos day.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A beautiful Friday morning waited for my arrival out here in the sunporch this morning. Its 74 degrees outside and the sun is shining brightly, and there is just a hint of a breeze moving the leaves of the plants and trees.

I had a highly productive day in the back and north side yard yesterday. Again, it was a perfect day to be out there and I had a lot of stuff to do. I'm far from finished, but it looks so good. The north side of the house just never gets seen or tended to. It is partially fenced in and in reality, we have no reason to be on that side of the house. So the weeds, lilacs, spirea just totally over took it. It had gotten to the point that Ms. Kate could no longer see out her office window because of the "horse weed" growing in front of it. Well, it's cleared out now; --- and I'm three baseballs and a wiffle ball richer from the next door neighbor kids losing balls over the fence in there.

So, the back yard is all mowed and the birdfeeders are all filled, my coffee cup is about half empty as I sit here and enjoy my surroundings. Once I get to moving, I'll jump on the John Deere and mow the front yard and Dan's yard. The two new feeders are filled and being enjoyed and no critters ran off with any of the feeders last night. The first squirrel just showed up for breakfast. I did some tree trimming yesterday to make it a bit more difficult for the squirrels. Yesterday afternoon they came around and were perplexed that their bridges and travel routes no longer existed. But, it won't slow them down for more than a day or two and they will figure something out.

I'm a bit bleary eyed this morning as I didn't get to bed until around 1:30 this morning. Once again an extended family issue has raised its dark and ugly head and I was busy stewing over that. No, I don't always follow my own advice and just turn things over to God, and yes I understand that Jesus said that worrying over an issue gains not a single thing. I'm working on it through prayer and life priority rearrangement and counting of blessings. I've found that once we can manage to take the emotions out of a situation, peace for one's soul is much easier attained. History can not be changed so we must learn to deal with the new realities and press on with life. ----- And, I apologize for dumping my funk on you this morning.

Ms. Kate has re-filled my coffee cup so I can be a slug for maybe another half an hour. Bless her little heart.  She and my girls are mysanity scratching posts. I hope you have a blessed weekend. Stop by your church this weekend and have a chat with God. I promise it will be good for your soul.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Mystery Continues

Happy Thursday Morning to you. It is a beautiful morning and I really need to get outside and get some yard work done today. This is exactly the kind of weather I've been whining for. See, God answers prayers in God's own time. It is up to me to be prepared to use the time God gives me.

I think I told you a couple of days ago that something, most likely a raccoon had stolen a feeder from off of the hook outside my door. I looked for it and I looked for it some more to no avail. Yesterday I bought a replacement but have yet to hang it up. This mornng, that lost feeder is lying out side my door, fully intact, with most of the feed still in it. I'm a little baffled by it all. That is some strange happening. 

We did a bit of buying at the birdfood store yesterday. They had 20% off on one of my most bought products (the seedcake cylinders) so I bought several. They keep good in the refrigerator. I also bought a new finch feeder that was 50% off. I could still use another 50 # of sunflower seed but will wait. My can holds 100 pounds so I'm good for a couple of weeks on that. 

We got the bulletins and newsletter all run and folded yesterday. Interestingly enough, last evening we were watching "Duck Dynasty".  Willie and his brothers were at their church folding and stuffing the buletins for the coming service. Willie made the remark that stuffing the church bulletins must be the most menial job in the world. I had to giggle at that. I wonder if Jesus thought that as he as washing his disciple's dirty calloused feet??

I've read my devotionals this morning and now it is time to finish this and get busy with the chores list. First I must take a few moments and offer praise and prayer to the marvelous God who has provided this day. I offer prayers of thanks for the slow healing and rehabilitation that is happening with my brother-in-law, Byron. I also give thanks for the slow healing that is taking place with the family that rents one of the two parsonages. The husband is slowly recovering from his broken neck and it appears hopeful he will regain full movement at some point. More importantly, the family is slowly recovering from the death of the child that was killled in that same accident. God is certainly walking them through this process. I talked to the lady yesterday and invited them once again to become part of our faith family as they have none of their own. Whether they decide to come to church or not --- we still hold them in our prayers. 

And, as I close, I offer up prayers for peace in the heart and soul of whomever mght be reading this. We are one together in the Spirit of the Lord. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

 Alright --- who took my Tuesday and what did you do with it? Suddenly it is Wednesday and the week is passing quickly. Yesterday was productive so I guess I'm the culprit in losing the day.

Are you needing a raccoon? We have an extra if you need it. Last night Ms. Kate called down on the intercom asking me if I was downstairs, which I was. She said; "well something is outside then making a big racket." So I came up and went out the sunporch door and sure enough, a huge raccoon was waddling off across the yard. It had somehow gotten up a pole that we hang a couple of feeders on, knocked the cage feeder to the ground and broken part of it just to get to a cylinder of feed that I keep for the smaller birds. We had had a mystery concerning that same feeder last week and I had blamed the squirrels. So, --- now I have squirrels, rabbits, a turtle, possums, voles, and lots of birds, all vying for my birdseed and my plants. That's a lot of critters for one back yard.  I'm also sure now it was the raccoon that actually stole one of my feeders a couple of days ago because they will knock them down and carry them off. I've had to hunt down feeders before.

Being Wednesday, I guess we will head to the church today and run the bulletins and the monthly newsletter. First we need to run to the birdfeed store because they have some of their feed at 20% off and that is a good deal. After all, if I have to feed the entire animal nation --- I need to get my stuff on sale.

The sun is shiing and a nice wind is blowing and it is only 75 degrees this morning. It would be a perfect day to work outside. But by the time we get back from the churches, it will be hot and humid again. Another lost opportunity because I didn't get out of bed at the crack of dawn and get busy. That is what my Grandpa Heumann would have done. He would probably wonder why I'm such a lazy slug. Of course, my grandpa didn't work until midnight and go to bed at 1:00 a.m. either. He was in bed by 8:00 p.m.

It is time for me to finish up my coffee and get ready to head out the door. I hope you have a blessed day. Just being alive and breathing and and sitting here in the sunporch with Ms. Kate has already made my day a day full of blessings.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Its my Birthday!

Happy birthday to me! And, --- it is going to be a great day --- because I said so! My Facebook page has been flooded with well wishes and love  and life is good. It is hard to believe that I am now in my 71st year on this planet. And, it is hard to believe that God is not yet tired of filling my life with blessings. Whether I actually reach 72 or not --- I have had a blessed life. 

It is a cloudy morning and 76 degrees. The sidewalk is wet still. It was raining last night when we went to bed. and is supposed to rain off and on pretty much most of the day. That's fine with me because I have a newslettter to put together today and if it were really nice outside, --- that's where my mind would be. We do need to go out yet this morning and take Ms. Kate to have some bloodwork done. Her blood thinners are causing her problems so we had to go back again for another draw. That won't take very long. Maybe we'll grab some breakfast while wwe are out too. 

We had a great day yesterday. After church we took off for New Albany, IN to see Julie and Jim. We had a cooler full of sweet corn that we had put up on Saturday to take to them. And --- they were going to an open house to look at a place and we wanted to go with them. The house we looked at might have been a nice place at one time but the current owner had really let it run down and obviously had no idea how to prepare a place to sell it or for an open house. Nor was her realtor of any help. That realtor needs to learn that "loose lips sink ships, --- and lose house sales." Needless to say, they won't be buying that place. But, it was fun to go with them. After we finished with that house, Julie and Jim took us out for dinner at PF Chaangs, Ms. Kate's all time favorite resturant. After dinner we zipped back down I-64 and came home. It was a fun day. 

My little bunny buddy was here again this morning, but --- it is going to get into trouble with Ms. Kate. It was up in one of the potted plants this morning having a salad for breakfast when I came out here to the sunporch. I had to literally run it off because it wasn't the least bit afraid of me. The other evening there was a red fox sitting in the neighbor's yard eating something and I thought it might be my little buddy. But --- if it starts eating away Ms. Kate's potted plants, she might just tie it up out there for the fox to come get it. LOL. That fox could get fat if it would just eat a dozen or so of these squirrels around here. We've lived here now for 14 years and that is the first fox we've seen in the neighborhood. 

So, it is time to get ready to head out the door. But first I must offer up my prayers to our Amazing God! This morning I thank God for my 71 years on this earth and for the unimaginable amount of blessings I have been given. I also offer up prayers for sevral of my loved ones and friends and or parishioners who are sick or having severe medical issues. I pray they will find healing and or comfort through the touch of God's hand. God's will be done in each case. I thank God for the little hummingbird that is drinking pollen from the my phlox plants right outside my door. They are just another reminder of the majestic and mystifying work of an Almighty God. And I pray that as I start a new year of my life; God will be my constant guide and that I can serve Him to whatever level God desires.  God is still speaking, --- and I am still listening. Have a blessed day. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

It is good to be back inside. It is only about 10:30 in the morning and already 90 degrees. The heat index is supposed to go to 108 today and I do not want to be out in that. So, I read my email and Facebook first thing this morning and then went outside and jumped on the John Deere and mowed my front yard and Dan's yard before it got too hot. I also picked the cucumbers and the tomatoes. I still need to fill the birdfeeders but obviously there is still food there because there are squirrels on three of them. So, that can wait until sundown.

I have a lot of cardinals here this morning and they are getting plenty to eat. One thing that I do need to do though is fill the birdbaths. One would think that with all of the rain we have had that the birbaths would still be full. But, the blackbirds and robins get in them and splash all of the water out. I had a blackbird out there a few minutes ago and he wasn't getting very far in getting a bath or a drink. In this heat they really need water.

I guess since it is hot outside, this will be laundry day for Ms. Kate and me. I've carried it out to the laundry room. She doesn't like for me to start it because I tend to just throw the stuff in, throw in a soap packet and turn it on. She wants to do pre-treating, separating etc. Oh well, after almost fifty years of being married, if we need something to disagree about, it might as well be laundry. When a wash load is done, I transfer it to the dryer because she is too vertically challenged to reach the bottom of the wash tub. When it is all dry, we fold it together. Frankly, I think people could learn a lesson from folding and doing the laundry together. It is a simple act of doing things together rather than thinking it is one person's job or the other. It may be the most mundane of all household chores but and yet it is an important chore and it is shared responsibility. I  have no proof or study to back it up, but, I'll bet some of the most solid marriages are those in which the couple does the laundry together. I say that simply because I also think that couples who do that, --- most likely do most other things together and also have a good line of communication between them. So, my advice is that the next time you might be in a bit of a spat with your significant other --- go fold the sheets and underwear together.

Except for the heat, it is a beautiful day out there and I give God thanks for that. It is wonderful to have a few days of no storms and rain. The sun is shining brightly on my flowers and makes the whole back yard shine. My little bunny friend was here again this morning peering in to see what I was up to. He is starting to grow quite a bit. I think he must spend most of his day under the shed to stay out of the heat. I think it might just be a small messenger from God;  here to let me know that God is still looking in on me. With that, I urge you to look around your life and see if you can discover when and where and how God is staying in touch with you. I guarantee you God is there, whether you recognize God or not.  Have a blessed day.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Good morning from the sunporch! Its a warm (75 degrees) morning out there already and a breeze is blowing which should make it somewhat comfortable. The sun is coming over the rooftop and beginning to brighten up the yard back here. All in all it is supposed to be a relatively nice day as the temperature climbs to the upper 80's. 

I'm not sure what will be on our agenda for today other than taking Ms. Kate to have her monthly blood work done. I know that I have writing to do today at some point, but, I can do that in the evening if I have to. Since it isn't raining for a change, it might be a good day to take a couple of chairs up to Princeton to a furniture restoration place. We got these from Ms. Kate's aunt and they are beaautiful. However, they are uncomfortable from decades of people sitting on them and the springs have broken down. They also need to be re-upholstered and there aren't very many place to even find new material to do that with. I've heard this place in Princeton does good work so we need to take them there. 

Yesterday turned out to be a busy day for both of us. Ms. Kate spent much of the day making her greeting cards. She does a wonderful job of that and people seem to really appreciate the fact that they receive hand made cards from her. But, it takes a lot of work and time. I'm sure we aren't saving any money by her making them because we are always getting new stamping material in the mail that she has ordered. But then, saving money was never the plan in the first place. Besides making cards, she also cleaned out one of our freezers. It is about time to put up corn and peaches again and we need room in the freezers. Despite what we got rid of bcause it was old, it didn't seem we gained much room. We have another freezer downstairs that is almost as full and we need to do the same thing down there. Obviously we need to eat out less and cook at home more.  

While she was working here at home, I went to the churches and ran my bulletins for the week. I also had a meeting with a parishioner that took quite a while. And I stopped by a friend's place and picked up some fresh corn on the cob. Last evening I worked on worship services and started my sermon for the 26th of July. There is always something to do. I don't know what I would do with myself if I actually did retire; probably just drive Ms. Kate boinkers. 

I've read my morning devotional already this morning and offered up my thoughts and prayers to the Lord so I reckon it is time to start the day. I wish for you who may read this, nothing but good things and peace in your heart and soul. God walks with you everywhere you go and the love of Jesus Christ will sustain you through any crisis in you life. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It really is Wednesday already, isn't it? It seems as if I just got started on this week and the work week is half over. I guess that is the sign of a busy week. 

It is a beautiful 70 degree, sun shiny morning. The heat wave has broken for a couple of days and no rain is predicted for the rest of the week. I have a lot of happy sparrows and finches out there having their breakfast, although I see they have emptied several of the smaller feeders again. The sun has peeked over the roof now and lit up the flowerbed right here next to the door. The phlox is practically glistening in the sunlight. I stepped outside a bit ago and the breeze was carrying the smell of the stargazer lilies across the yard. It smelled wonderful. Most of the lilies have finished blooming and really need  to be deadheaded. Ms. Kate did some of that yesterday. When they are done, they leave a stem  sticking up that needs to be pulled out but they need to fully dry off first. The thing that makes our flower gardens so nice is that there is always something in bloom during the spring, summer, and fall. 

I have a couple of goldfinches out here this morning. I wonder where they have been because we haven't seen many this summer. My guess is that the thistles are blooming in the wild so they don't need my feeders. But I love to see them. Part of the reason too might be that I have pulled up most of the black-eyed-susans around here. They are such and invasive plant, pretty, but invasive. But the finches like to eat the seeds out of them. 

My jobs for today include going to the churches and runninng the bulletins for the week, stopping by a friends house to pick up a dozen ears of corn, and then a meeting at noon. Last evening I put together a couple of services for the next couple of weeks and got them sent off to my liturgists. One of my liturgists is visually impaired and it will be her first time doing this. I sent her the service as an attachment to an email. Her mom says that they can take that email and run it through some kind of translating program that will turn it into braille for her. If that works, it will be wonderful for her and I think an awesome experience for the congregation. The girl is a young high school freshman and her mom was totally surprised when she signed up to be the liturgist. God does work in mysterious ways and God's blessings unfold at every turn in our lives.

I offer my prayers this morning as prayers of gratitude to a glorious and loving God. It is impossible for me to sit here and look out my windows without being grateful for my heaven-sent blessings. I lift up my prayers for friends and loved ones who are going through rough times and pray that they too can feel the presence of God's healing touch and love. I pray they will find peace in their hearts and spirit.Jesus  said "I give you my peace" and that is the peace I have accepted in my life. I have found that the biggest obstacle to having that peace in our lives is that we fail to surrender our lives to God. We try too hard to control our lives rather than just turning our life over to God. So my words for today are to simply relax; breathe deeply, and let go of your worry and frustration and anxiety and let God take control of your life. Have a truly blessed day. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I started early today but am just now getting around to the blog. I'm usually finished up about now. But, it has been a morning of interrupting ourselves to do other things including a bit of shopping and running around and me getting a haircut. I was getting a bit shaggy before vacation and now I needed it for sure. 

We escaped the storms that were promised, praise the Lord. Julie's area got hit hard. I saw her post on Facebook that their television viewing area had over 16,000 lightening strikes last evening. That's a bunch. Here, we had only a light shower for about thirty minutes and then it was all over. 

The birds and the squirrels have been busy at the feeders. Several are half empty already. I think the bark butter paste and the bark butter bits are all gone for sure. All of the "long-beak" birds love that stuff and een some of the litle birds try to eat it. Things are quiet out there at the moment. It is too hot for the birds and critter to be expending much energy. The current heat index is 105. Its not fit for man nor beast. Here in the sunporch it is probably 75 degrees and the overhead fan keeps a light breeze going. It may become nap time real shortly, especially since Ms. Kate just fixed us lunch and now we are both in our recliners. She didn't sleep worth a hoot last night so I reckon she will be ready for a nap real soon.

The phlox is really looking good now and is fully in bloom. The bees and the hummingbirds love the phlox. I've also watched the hydrangeas turn back to green. They start out green, turn white for a few weeks and then turn back to green. Then the blossoms will turn brown and dormant and remain on the stalk until late fall when I will trim them all back. 

I reckon that is it for today. Think kind thoughts; stay in contact with God; and do something nice for a stranger today. Have a blessed day.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Home Again

Hello Monday Morning!

Ms. Kate and I are home again from our most wonderful vacation and family reunion in the Nashville, TN area. It was so relaxing and wonderful to sit and hear a house full of laughter and love for a week as the girls all caught up with one another. The four cousins had a great time together too. They are as different as can be. Amanda and Matt are pure country and Lauren and Jon are pure SOCAL but they had a ball together too. 

Sunday was a day of back to routine around here. We had church first thing, then a congregational meeting for the St. Lucas folks and that was followed by a meal and fellowship. Ms. Kate and I then came home, took a nap, and then we filled the 17 bird feeders that were totally empty. 

This morning, first thing at 0700 we had some stupid robo-call that woke us up so the day is starting earlier than we had hoped. But, I haven't started my sermon for the week so getting started earlier today is a good thing. I need to make sure I don't stay out here in the sun porch too long. 

It is indeed beautiful out this morning. I got the yards mowed when I came home on Saturday so that looks nice. The phlox is in full bloom as are the stargazer lillies. They smell heavenly. The sun is shining brightly and the birds have discoverd that the feeders are full. Of course the squirrels now know that too and are eagerly chowing down on sunflower seed. It is already hot and humid today and we are under a moderate threat of severe thunderstorms later today. I've talked to Julie and Heather already this morning. Julie said they had terrible storm all night there in the Louisvlle, KY area and are expecting more today. Heather on the other hand is still under drought conditions and a mandatory 25% water reduction condition. Our world's weather is really screwed up this year. We had more rain in June than California has had all year. 

As I sit here, I can't help but think how blessed I am. Of course I'm still feeling the vacation after-glow but it is more than that. Life is all about perspective and making one's life what they want it to be. I Know there are many people facing crisis and pain this morning as I sit here all comfortable in my recliner watching the birds. I pray that they will find a way to look through the crisis and find the opportunity that waits for them in the middle of that crisis. I offer prayer this morning for those hurting today, in particular, my brother-in-law who is currently undergoing therapy as he re-adjusts to the complications of his surgery. For he and his family I would offer this prayer; "Thank you, Lord, for this day. You have given us one more day of life,  and the opportunity to be with each other. May we use this day to glorify Your Name."

I offer that prayer for myself and all that I love, and that includes anyone who might read this.  God is so very good. Have a blessed day.

Friday, July 10, 2015

It's Friday morning and the last day of our family reunion vacation. It has been a great week of fun, and visiting, and re-integrating the family and memories. Stephanie left on Wednesday to head back to Oklahoma, Gary left Wednesday afternoon to go back home and back to work. Jim left Sunday night but will be back this evening after work. Right now Heather and her family are out to a place to go zip-lining. Lisa and her kids are on the way out the door to go to a place to play mini-golf and ride go-carts. Sister-in-law Karen just left to head back to Evansville, --- while Ms. Kate, Julie, and I are holding down the fort here at the house with the pupperonies. We come and go at will so everyone gets to do whatever interests them, which makes it the perfect vacation. Best of all has been the opportunity to just be together.

This is a nice place to have a vacation. It is called the Lyric Springs Retreat House and is in Franklin TN. The place is roughly 5000 square feet, sleeps 16 people or so, has four bathrooms, five bedrooms and a great view of the surrounding 17 acres. It is really out in the country or so it seems but is actually only about 3.5 miles from the closest Walmart Supercenter which I guess is the symbol that we are still in civilization. The roads in and out of here are super winding and curvy which can make a mile seem like three when you have to travel at 35 - 40 miles an hour. Since we have been here the property manager came and graded the driveway which really helped because it was a challenge.

We've only eaten out twice since we got here, one of which was at the famous Loveless Cafe. We had breakfast out yesterday and left there stuffed. We've done a bit of shopping but by and large we have just done a little bit of tourist stuff such as the Ryman Theater and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

So, as I sit here for a bit of peace and quiet --- I offer up prayers of gratitude to be blessed with a family that truly loves one another. They are the very epicentre of my world beginning with Ms. Kate. I also lift up prayers for comfort and healing for Byron. He has since been moved to a short term care facility for healing and rehabilitation into the new realities of his life and their lives. God be praised, he is doing well for the severity of the surgery that he went through. His doctor calls him a miracle patient. God is good; --- all the time.

Tomorrow morning we all head back to our respective homes and lives. The next time we will have all of the sisters together will be next April when Heather and John get married out in California. Even then, it will only be the girls because of the high cost of air fare. In the mean time --- we will keep Facebook messenger busy every night.

Have a blessed day and a spirit fill weekend.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

5th of July, 2015! I am sitting at the kitchen island at our rental place near Franklin, TN. Lisa and Ms. Kate are mixing and prepping stuff for the afternoon meal. Ms, Kate is making home made bisquits for strawberry shortcake later on. Lisa is working on making baked spaghetti for supper. Lisa's hubby, Gary and her two kids, Matt and Amanda are all out in either the hot tub or the pool. Julie and Jim have gone to Franklin to the verizon store because Julie accidently locked her phone and forgot her password. Heather, John, and Lauren have gone to the Walmart supercenter and young Jon is sleeping on the couch with strep throat. Here we are for a week of family reunion and I couldn't be happier having all the kids here in one place.

This is really a nice place. It has a few things we don't like but over all is fine. The internet connection is horribly slow and unreliable. With a house full of people with tablets, computers and cellphones, it is frustrating. The other biggest complaint is that the place has no covered porch area. Our place we rented two years ago had wonderful covered porches and we could sit out there and watch the rain and not get wet. We had a big downpour last night and we were all wishing we could be sitting out side watching it.

The house has been full of jabber-jabber and laughter since everyone arrived. Everyone is busy trying to catch up on evryone else's life. Despite the fact that they talk all the time on Facebook, seeing one another for the first time in two years makes a difference. The kids have grown so much both physically and mentally. Before we know it they will all be gone and married and having families of their own. That is the case with Josh already.

And so, we give thanks to the Lord on this wonderful Sunday morning from the mountains of Tennessee. I hope your day will be a blessed one full of joy and love.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It is late afternoon and I am just getting around to my chair and to my blog. It is our first opportunity to stop for the day. Our focus for the morning, plus, was Aunt Aleen's funeral. It was a small gathering as I suspected it would be. That is waht happens when the 90 year olds pass away, She has been confined to her bed and paralyzed since December. As so often happens, most of her old friends have preceded her in death and she was the last of her immediate family. Her remaining family consisted of four nieces and nephews. But --- we sent her off to eternity properly. 

I came home, tried to take a quick nap but couldn't so I got up and went and mowed my front yard and Dan's yard. Tomorrow is going to be a full day of running around like a chicken with its head cut off as we shop and get ready to head off on vacation on Saturday morning. I can hardly wait to see all of my girls and grandchuldren --- minus grandson Josh, --- in one place at the same time for a whole week. We're praying for good weather. 

Have not heard from my sister today concerning Byron. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a message from her. Keep the prayers flowing for them both.

That's it for today. Have a blessed evening.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cloudy, gloomy, sprinkling rain on and off pretty much describes this day for us. It certainly isn"t July weather. To top it off, the air isn't all that healthy because the jet stream is carrying smoke in the atmosphere from forest fires as far away as the northwest corner of the United States. Both the sun and the moon yesterday were partially obscured with a hazy film. 

It is a day of bad news and good news, depending upon one's point of view. Ms. Kate's aunt passed away two evenings ago. Today we will spend about eight hours at the funeral home for the visitation. Tomorrow we will have the funeral, which I will conduct. It is sad news because we will miss her but it is blessed news because she no longer has to exist as a stroke victim, unable to do much of anything beyond lay in her bed for the past eight months. God has now granted her the merciful death she has been praying for. For that, I give God praise.

It is also a sad day because we learned last night and early this morning that my brother-in-law is in critical shape with his cancer. The last we had heard, a couple of months ago, was that his numbers were slowly creeping up again but that he was being put on yet another medicine routine that would hopefully slow that down again. I now know that he had to go in for emergency surgery yesterday for the removal of all of his lower intestines and rectum and be attached to a coloscopy bag. His cancer is bad enough too that at the moment, they can not even close the wound due to threat of infection. So, our prayers are certainly engaged for God's will to be done and I would ask you to join with me in that prayer. If there is any good news out of this tragedy, it is that this was the catalyst to open communications between my sister and me once again. For reasons that will never be published, we have not spoken since my mother's death. But God can use the worst circumstances to accomplish what needs to be done and this morning she reached out, -- we had our "airing" on both sides, and life can now move on. The fabric is still torn wide open and may or may not eventually be sown back together again; but silent fuming only brings joy to the devil and heartburn and ulcers and heart attacks to the parties involved. Again, I give God praise.

Outside the sunporch today; --- I had three pilated woodpeckers at one time here to feed. The most I have ever had is two and that has been only once, I think. None of the feeder they eat from had food in them, so Ms. Kate and I went out and filled those feeders. The woodpeckers sat up in the tree and fussed and barked at us the whole time we were out there. One of them has come back, but I noticed that he didn't tell his buddies that the buffet was open again. 

I have a few things to get done this morning before we heaad to the funeral home so I reckon, I havewatched my birds long enough and  and now must move on to other things. Keep your prayer ooks open and your eyes upon the Lord. You never know when something might be reqquired of you or a speciaal blessing might come your way.