Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve; the last day of 2015; how has this year been for you? I guess it has been a fairly good year for us in some respects and not so good in others like most other families. We lost three family members this year; my mother, Kathy's aunt, and my brother-in-law. Ms. Kate and I are rapidly becoming the senior generation in each of our families. She only has one aunt left, and I have one uncle and his wife left. He is now 90 and in bad health. Ms. Kate's aunt is still doing fair although she has had a series of strokes, but still gets around. Ms. Kate only has her sister Karen left from her immediate family and Karen is my age. I have only my younger sister left. Time does take its toll on families.

But -- 2015 has seen many good times too. Oldest daughter Julie and her husband bought their first home. Middle daughter Heather got engaged to a wonderful man and April 2016 will see their marriage. Youngest daughter Lisa and her husband Gary successfully open a small business and it is doing very well. Oldest grandson Josh is engaged to a wonderful girl and they hope to buy a home come spring. Oldest granddaughter, Amanda is preparing to cut apron strings and move out on her own. Second oldest granddaughter Lauren graduated from high school, got a job, and is preparing to ride the pro-women's Moto-Cross circuit of races this coming year. Second youngest grandson Matt will graduate high school in June and already has a job. And youngest grandson Jon is a freshman in high school and is just enjoying life.

Things have gone well at the two churches and I have been contracted for another year. Being a Licensed Minister as opposed to an Ordained Minister with our denomination, essentially means that I am "self-employed" and contracted to the churches. However my "fitness to serve" must be approved through our local United Church of Christ association. So, every year, despite the fact that the two churches "called me" as their pastor eleven years ago, we have to go through the bureaucratic rituals so I can be their pastor for another year. The association has the authority to ordain me but I've often said that our local association wouldn't even ordain Jesus because he didn't have a Masters of Divinity from an approved seminary; which is a degree I don't have.

The year is ending on a cold note. It is 34 degrees this morning and only going to 36 by this afternoon. It is about time we had winter. However, I continue my prayers for the millions that are going through some terrible flooding and blizzards across our nation. So many have died, and so many more have had homes ruined. Major highways are under water and people are doing without electricity. I pray for their welfare and safety.

I hope your 2016 is a wonderful and blessings filled year. I pray that I will be a better person in 2016 than I was in 2015 and I give God prayers of gratitude for carrying me along through the year despite my many flaws. Peace to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wow, it's Wednesday already; mid-week and only two days left in the year. It is also bulletin day at the church and a day of catching up on some other stuff. My morning began with notification that the oldest member of our parish, Ms. Charlotte, passed away this morning. She was 102 years old, faithful to God, and put her trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. I think that is about as high of a compliment that I could give her. I hope that when I pass that people will say that about me. She will be missed.

Yesterday I managed to start and finish my sermon and worship service for next week. I very seldom can sit down and put all of that together in one day. I reckon God had checked the calendar of today's events, saw that Ms. Charlotte was coming home and knew I'd need funeral prep time. I love it when God puts a plan in motion.

I have a bunch of woodpeckers this morning nibbling at the bark butter feeders. The cardinals are coming back and forth and even a mocking bird is trying to challenge the woodpeckers for a bite or two. The big red-headed woodpeckers are having none of that from the mocking bird. We had a bevy of small birds out here a while ago but right now the back yard is empty. I don't even see any squirrels up in any of the trees. So, it is just me, Montovani playing on my new Bose Christmas present, and a warm cup of coffee enjoying the serenity of the morning. It's cold out but there is no wind to speak of so there is even peace in that.

I'm going to make this short today so I can get started on Ms. Charlotte's funeral service. I generally put a lot of work into a funeral because it is that last thing thata I can do for that person. I try to make them personal and a celebration (a way over-used term when referring to funerals) of their life.

So, I leave you today with prayers that you will have a blessed day and that you will take the time to feel the presence of God as God surrounds you with love and grace. Until our next time together.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It was hard to believe, but I actually saw blue sky this morning. Ok, it was only a small patch and it went away quickly, but it was there. I think that is the first we have seen since last Friday. It actually brightened my day, although I admit that most everyday I have starts off bright. I'm convinced we determine what kind of day we are going to have as soon as we open our eyes to consciousness. I've always heard about "getting out on the wrong side of the bed", and I try to have only "right sides" to my bed.

I began my day by going out and filling fourteen bird feeders as I had promised I would when it stopped raining. We got over four inches here. Indications are that we won't see anymore rain for a week. I guess that means we won't see any rain for the rest of the year! That sounds a bit ominous doesn't it. But the yard was dry enough to walk around in without leaving tracks etc. The birds have come quickly this morning to the feeders. I had a downy woodpecker practically land on the feeder as I was hanging it back up. Since then, the cardinals, titmouse, finches, woodpeckers, and nut hatches have all been here. I think they are keeping it a secret from the squirrels until they get their fill because so far, I have only seen one squirrel and a BB hurried along its exodus. But that won't keep them away for long.

The sun is now breaking through the clouds and is brightening up the back yard. It goes just perfect with my cup of coffee and my round-house of cookies on the plate beside me. I fixed Ms. Kate and I each a plate of cookies consisting of a couple of each of the kinds she made last week. So, I'm sitting here eating oatmeal chocolate chip crisp cookies, Springerlies, peanut butter with Hershey's kisses on them, and the last two of the snicker-doodles with my coffee; all while I listen to the Boston Pops and John Williams play all of the Movie themes that Williams has written. Many years ago, as in about 1987, Ms. Kate and I went to see the Boston Pops when we were stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base. I remember it for two reasons; first of course is that it was a great concert, and secondly, because I was in big trouble with Ms. Kate. I had gone deep sea fishing that day and barely made it back to base in time to catch the bus that was taking us all to the concert. I probably still smelled like fish as we sat there drinking our champaign at the concert hall. Yes, --- in our fifty years I have had a few less than sterling moments. LOL.

My cookies are all gone and my coffee cup is half empty. Time to get busy. I finished my sermon for this week last night but today I need to work on the one for next week. But first I have prayers to lift up; so I am going to end this here. Rest assured that you will have been prayed for today. Thought you just might want to know. Peace.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy last week of 2015! It is 47 degrees with a 17 mph wind constant this morning. It rained most of yesterday, last night, and will again today. However, we are so blessed because the really terrible weather that is ravaging this country has missed us. So many lives have been lost this week due to tornadoes and other weather related phenomenon. I offer my prayers for those who have lost loved ones and those who have lost homes and all of their possessions. I ask that God will lay a calming hand upon the winds and calm them. While it is 47 degrees here this morning, my daughter Heather is having 28 degrees in Southern California with frost warnings. How strange is that? They are going to need swim suits that will cover up goosebumps out there this morning.

We had a good weekend around here. We didn't do much after Julie and Jim left on Saturday morning.  We've just kind of chilled out. Yesterday of course was church and we had a fairly well attended couple of services considering the weather was crappy. Ms. Kate and I usually go to our favorite resturant, (R'z), after church on Sundaay but they were closed yesterday for the holiday. In fact, the owner, Candace and her family came to our St. Lucas service to worship with us. They don't get a chance to go to church on Sunday's because they are always open for business waiting to serve guys like us who want to eat after church. They also came to our Candlelight Christmas Eve Service.

We don't have a lot of birds out there this morning. There isn't much sunflower seed left in the feeders at all. The bark butter paste feeders are empty and I don't have suet out there. I'm just a bad host this morning. The wind is strong enough this morning to give the squirrels a run for their money as they try to hang on to smaller branches as they travel tree to tree, and it is raining again now. It's not "fit for man nor beast" out there and this man just ain't going out there. The safflower feeder is mostly full which the cardinals like and the squirrels don't. There as still a mesh feeder mostly full of peanuts for the woodpeckers, and the caged cylinder feeder has a mostly uneaten feed cylinder in it and the squirrels haven't figured out how to get into either of those. So, there is plenty of food there, but the squirrels are just going to have to find another restaurant this morning.

Today has to be a writing day. I have only finished half of my message for this coming Sunday and have done no work ahead. I guess I lazed around too much enjoying the Christmas season instead of keeping up or keeping ahead. So today and most of this week is crunch time because I also have end of the month and end of the year reports to work on to get ready for Congregational meetings coming up in two weeks. As a former boss and friend of mine once said; "keep it to the Pac Man theory; one bite at a time." So, having said that, I reckon I will sign off, go pour Ms. Kate another cup of coffee and make a fresh pot, and get cleaned up for a day's work. As I do so, I offer prayers of gratitude for blessings received and thoughts of love for friends and family. I pray your day will be fully blessed. Have a great last week of 2015!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Good morning on this rainy day after Christmas. As predicted, it looks like we are in for about three or four days of this wet stuff. Julie and Jim have left for home and I pray for safe travels for them and all others that may be hitting the roads of America today.

I have a yard full of squirrels this morning now that Julie and Jim have taken their dog home. Unfortunately for the squirrels, the feeders are mostly empty and they won't get filled until we have a good break in the rain. There is plenty of food for the cardinals that they can get to. I may have to fill the bark butter paste feeders. There is a big ol' red headed woodpecker out there gobbling up the last of it.  But, I'm not going to slop through a soggy yard to fill the sunflower feeders. I never did find the feeder that the critters stole a couple of weeks ago.

So, Christmas 2015 is over. Unfortunately for many people that is a literal statement. People will take down the Christmas trees and the decorations today. I suspect many already have. Those with natural trees will have tossed them to the side of the street for the garbage man to take away. The wrapping paper and boxes that were wrapped with love, --- are in the trash with no more thought being given to them. For weeks ahead of Christmas, Facebook was full of people reminding us to  "remember the reason for the season"; and to "Keep Christ in Christmas."  Today those voices are silent. I just find that an interesting comment on society; although I'm not entirely sure what that comment is. I need to think about that for a while. But --- I'm willing to bet it will eventually end up being part of a Sunday morning sermon before too long.

What I do know is that the poor and hungry  that were able to go to a church or a shelter or some other place for a Christmas meal because they were hungry and had no place to go, --- will be hungry again today and those extra places won't be available. Those people that were homeless yesterday, will still be homeless today. The people in our nursing homes that had no one come visit them over Christmas, won't see any visitors yet again today. After-all Christmas is over. And far too many people boxed up their Christmas spirit with the rest of the decorations, So my plea today to those who read this blog is to never let your Christmas spirit die. Be generous every day. Share God's abundance of blessings that you have been given with those less fortunate than you. Let the joy of Christmas renew itself within your heart every day. Do something for someone else every day. Afterall, God does something new for you everyday. So, one more time I say, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to all my friends and loved ones. The rush is all over for the season around the country at least until tomorrow when the "take it back" lines form and the after Christmas sales bring in the throngs of people wanting to get the "really good deals". Over the years we have met people that did all of their Christmas shopping for the next year during these sales. They assume of course that whomever they are giving to will still be alive, and will not have changed sizes or taste. I guess there is a method to their madness ; I just find it redonkulous!

I just got a news flash on my IPad that the local police and coast guard are in the process of a water rescue because someone has jumped from the bridge across the Ohio River. How sad is that? But it happens so very often.

The Christmas Eve services went well. We didn't have a large crowd at either church; maybe forty - forty five a each church. But, as one parishioner wrote on Facebook; there is just something about a candlelight worship service and singing Silent Night. We had communion at each service which I think makes it special too. Ms. Kate and I have a lot of "Thank-You" cards to write and send out for the gifts we received from parishioners. I hope to get those written and sent out no later than Monday.  In the mean time, I still have a sermon to write. I'm good for this coming Sunday but the following week is still running around in my head and not on paper. I never understand how I can be ahead one minute and behind the next. I thought I was a better time manager than that. But that's the way way when you live from one suspense to the next. Any project manager knows the feeling well.

Well, as much as I am enjoying sitting here enjoying writing and listening to Christmas Carols on my brand new Bose Blue Tooth portable speaker --- there are things to get accomplished. I may start in the living room and tear down a bunch of cardboard for the recycle. When you get suff from Amazon --- they do box it well. So my recycle bin will be filled quickly again today.

I hope your day is full of Christmas joy. God has sent God's Son to earth for the very express purpose of bringing us all salvation from our sinful way of life. Presents don't come any better than that! Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

     'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the house; the place smelled like cookies, ---    
       thank goodness there's no mouse.
       Ms. Kate's at the computer, her usual routine, and Julie is helping; they make a good team.
       Jim is still sleeping, like a slug in the bed; we all hear him snoring; --- he should cover his head.
       And I'm on the sunporch, writing my blog; being constantly interrupted by this silly of dog.
       He wants out, he wants in, can't make up his mind. He's hoping eventually a squirrel he will find.
       He chases, he runs, --- in wide circles he goes, his feet moving quickly, to follow his nose.
       He looks up, he looks down, while running carefree; but a squirrel he never catches, cause  
       they're up the tree.

Enough of that! Yes, it is Christmas Eve and it is Ms. Kate's birthday. Julie and Jim and Auggie Dog made it over through the storms last evening just fine. Our storm was pretty big and we did get a lot of rain. Although while today is quite pleasant, it looks like it is going to rain for the next five days. But --- it isn't snow!!! Thank goodness.

I've had a lot of birds again this morning. They come in waves and they leave the same way. The squirrels are being driven nuts by Auggie as he goes chasing them away from the feeders. They go up the tree and chatter and chatter at him.  Then when he comes back in, they cautiously make their way back down until he notices them again and wants out.

Of course, it being Christmas Eve, we will be spending the evening at church. I do a 7:00 and a 9:00 pm service. I would love it if we could just do a single combined church service but, the churches have their traditions and the fact that I have changed the times so that we don't have to be there at midnight is a big accomplishment on my part. The first couple of years they had a 7:00 at one church and an 11:00 at the other church which meant that Ms, Kate and I had to sit around up there for three hours with nothing to do but wait for the next service. That was no way for her to have to spend her birthday. The really aggravating part though was that attendance was low especially at the late service, and the excuse always was the same --- "that's when we do our Christmas."

We've a lot to do today, including baking pies so I better get cleaned up and ready for a day's work. I'm thinking we will maybe all go out for a nice meal before the church services this evening and celebrate Ms. Kate's birthday that way.

Remember this is th celebration of our Savior's birth. God loved us that much taht God was willing to give a part of our God's self to insure that we will have eternal life. Focus on that fact for the couple of days. May the peace of the Christ child be with you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

There are storms brewing this morning and we are under a tornado watch until 1700 hours. It stands to reason though; with weather this warm on December 23rd in the Midwest part of the country; there has to be storms. So my prayer this morning includes a prayer for safe passage of the storm so that no one loses their life or home.

The house smells wonderful again this morning. There are containers of freshly baked cookies sitting around the kitchen and dining room. I've had a good share of "samples" and can attest to the quality and deliciousness of each batch. There are more in the refrigerator to bake this morning.

Ms. Kate and I went to see th new Star Wars movie yesterday and I am glad to report that as far as I am concerned --- it is as good as the original franchise. The new "luxury theater" was nice too. The seats were comfortable and the service from the waiter was good too. It was very much like sitting in my family room watching a movie except the screen was fifty feet wide and the sound immersed you.  The matinee price of $11.00 a ticket was well worth the price especially for a first run blockbuster movie.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and it is also Ms. Kate's birthday. The gift I ordered, which she said she wanted, finally arrived yesterday. As for Christmas Eve, --- with this weather, I have never felt less "Christmassy" in my life. As you know, I'm not a fan of snow; but a good frost and some temperatures below forty degrees would at least makes it feel a bit more like Christmas. But, I'm careful what I wish for. With an early Easter this coming year (March 27th) we could easily have a foot of snow on the ground then. I guess I just need to tthe Christmas Carols on , turn the lights on there on the trees and chill out. Julie's and Jim and the pups are coming this evening and it will be great to spend Christmas with them. They will be here tomorrow and Friday and head home on Saturday. Mid-week holidays liked this really confuse my schedule.

I went out and filled the the bark butter paste feeders this morning first thing. Right away the woodpeckers started coming is=n. I've had a half dozen cardinals here most of the morning too as well a a slew of the little birds including a nuthatch couple that have been feeding on peanuts most of the morning. The squirrels are a lively bunch this morning and have run races around the yard and over my house and through the trees all morning. Their energy level is simply amazing.

It is time to quit for the day and sit and give thanks for my blessings once again, I am so blessed to be able to live the life I have. I know I owe it all to God and the ways He has guided my life. For that I am eternally grateful. I hope you take time today to bask in the blessings God has given you today.

Until next time, --- I hold you in my prayers. God is good; all the time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 22nd; --- it is officially winter and now the days will start to get longer because the winter solstice occurred at 2230 hours last night.

If you were here on the porch with me having coffee this morning you would smell a house filled with the wonderful oder of anise, which if you don't know is the smell of licorish (sp?). Ms. Kate made and rolled out the Sprngerlie cookies yesterday. The need to set for a few hours and dry out a bit before they are baked. Springerlies are an old German cookie that I love. My Grandma Heumann used to make them; my Aunt Louise makes them, and Ms. Kate makes them. You can get a version of them at the local Donut Bank but they are not the same at all as for as quality is concerned, and I am very particular about my cookies. Springerlies  are rolled out, and then you use a cookie stamp to make some very intricate designs on them, and cut them into squares. We have several of the stamps and they make beautiful cookies. But -- they are a cookie that you either like or can't stand. I've always claimed that it can't be Christmas until the Springerlies are made and bless Ms. Kate's heart, she makes them for me every year. Now, we can have Christmas! And as my oldest grandson Josh used to say --- "only three more sleeps!"

Today Ms. Kate and I have a "day-date". We are doing lunch and a movie at the "luxury theater" to see the new Star Wars. After that, we have a couple of places we need to run to, and then back home for more cookie baking. I've asked for snicker doodles and maybe some peanut butter cookies yet if we have the time. And --- since I had to make a run to the store for oatmeal yesterday, I suspect that some oatmeal crisp cookies might be on the agenda too. What a perfect season Christmas time is. We have a Savior in the manger and cookies in the oven; I'd call that "Heaven on earth and heaven above."

I had feeders full of cardinals earlier but at the moment the back yard is deserted. Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse, or a squirrel. I need to refill the bark butter paste feeders again today. I also bought some suet the other day and I might as well put that out too. If it ever does get cold enough, the birds are going to need the high energy they get from suet. Ms. Kate has made suet in the past and the birds really gobble that up. But -- at $1.00 for a suet cake verses the mess and time it take to make them, --- we'll go commercial.

Well, I just spoke of it and here come the cardinals back in for another round at the buffet. I think I will just get another cup of coffee and sit and enjoy what God has to offer for a little bit. I hope you can take the time to do the same thing today; stop and enjoy what God has to offer. Just sitting here looking at the brilliant red of those five cardinals sitting over there in the fire bushes just seems to be a "thumbs-up" from God that all is right with the world, or at least in my micro-portion of it. Have a blessed day.

Monday, December 21, 2015

It is a whole new week and it is Christmas week as a bonus. Today is also the first day of Winter and it is currently 52 degrees and raining. What's up with that? And if that isn't enough to celebrate; today is our youngest daughter. Lisa's 45th birthday. 

The back yard is only slightly busy this morning. I've had maybe a half-dozen cardinals here and one red-headed woodpecker has been here several times; but that is about it for my feathered friends. Occasionally some of the junkos, finches, and wrens come through. There is a squirrel on one feeder and two or three are up in the trees surrounding the yards. They have been playing chase for the past hour. The poles that hold the feeders are slick from the rain so they are having a hard time getting up there. They jump part way up and slide down. It's quite amusing to watch actually. The rain (just showers actually) comes in and the birds all leave; then it stops and back they come. 

We had a good weekend although we did nothing extra exciting. Yesterday we had only one church service because I did a combined parish Christmas service. The choir did well with the Cantata and the kids did really well. After last Wednesday's train wreck of a practice I didn't know just what to expect. But it all went off with out a hic-cup. I do love it when a plan comes together. I am so grateful for the choir's dedication to their ministry of music. But, we are an aging choir. I don't know how much longer we will keep them together. The young people of the church are going to have to step up and dedicate themselves to this if the choir is to continue. Of our twelve regular members, I think at least seven of them are over sixty five and our oldest is eighty six. But their dedication just warms my heart.  I wonder if they realize it is only 90 days until the Easter Cantata performance!!!  

The children's performance yesterday went well. It was minimal but they all stood where they were supposed to, said their lines, and had BABY JESUS in the right order. It brought about the expected joy and giggles from the congregation and made parents and grandparents proud. What more can we expect?? I felt blessed to have that many children in church. The lack of a children's Sunday school really bothers me because they are not getting that structured foundation they need. But again, it takes volunteers. The parents need to step up and make it a priority in their children's lives. 

As we approach Christmas, I hope that your heart is filled with the love and joy that comes with the celebration of Jesus. God's gift to the world is so very marvelous. Take time to worship this week and to give thanks for family and friends and the love that comes from a relationship with God. Share your blessings with someone who may not feel as blessed. You and your expression of love might be the only Christmas present someone gets this year. That is an awesome responsibility; and God has passed it on to you. Peace. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

The cardinal is sitting on the birdbath with the sun illuminating its red color. It has its head cocked to the side as it looks through the glass door at me as if to say; "you do realize that this water is mostly iced over, don't you?" And, --- yes it is; however, when it dipped its beak in the water, it came up dripping. So, unless there is an unscheduled pool party that I'm not aware of this morning, it can just stop the attitude. As if that isn't bad enough, Mr. Fuss-a-lot the blue-jay is hacking because the peanut feeder only has about an inch of peanuts left in it, and the red headed woodpecker went to the only bark butter paste feeder that was empty and fussed about that. Boy, God turns the heat down outside and everybody got cranky.  I guess I will go out afterwhile and fill all of the feeders again.

Our youngest grandson, Jon, turned 15 today. He and his mom have tickets to the new Star Wars movie in one of those new luxury theaters where you sit in a recliner and order dinner. Heather pre-bought the tickets a couple of months ago so he could see the opening on his birthday. We have one of those theaters here in town too and had hoped to get tickets for today so we could "share the experience", but it is completely sold out until Tuesday. So I bought tickets for lunch time on Tuesday and Ms. Kate and I will have a "day-date" with lunch and a movie. Yeah, we are a couple of romantic old farts! We've been married almost fifty years and are still dating.

Christmas is one week from today! Ms. Kate's birthday is a week from yesterday on Christmaas Eve. Julie and Jim will be over on Wednesday evening, I think, and then they will head back home on Saturday. She has to get things ready for the upcoming Rush at the university. So next week will be busy, and then the dulldrums will set in as the world settles down with a brand new year. Ms. Kate and I still have one small item to pick up and our white elephant gifts for the party this weekend. That was on the list of things to do yesterday but we never got around to it. That's because we spent on much time just being lazy around here while Ms. Kate got past her jet lag and travels. It was an enjoyable restful day.

The next door neighbor to the north is having a new roof put on today. I don't know where they found the crew that is doing the work, but ---- I haven't heard a word of English yet. Still, --- that is preferable to the constant stream of profanity we heard from the last crew that worked on that roof. I think these folks are the fourth family that has lived in that house in the fourteen years we have lived here and that I'd the fourth roof that has been put on. It is one of those odd shaped "mansard" roofs and they don't seem t be able to put on a roof that doesn't leak or blow off. Better them than me. Hopefully this roof will last.

Well, -- I've read my email, played my computer games, had my breakfast and coffee, and had my devotions all from this chair this morning; and now must finish this up and get ready to meet the day. Bird feeders are waiting to be filled, and last minute shopping needs to be done. Have a great day where ever you are or whatever you are doing. Peace.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Is the sun really that much brighter this morning or is it that my day is that much brighter because Ms. Kate is back home where I need her to be? Hmmmm; I think it is a great combination of both. It is a bright morning out there although it is a cold one. The birds and squirrels have been busy eating to store up some energy for a day like today. We are forecasted to have a two or three day "cold" snap but then the temperatures will rise again and it now looks like a wet rainy possibility for Christmas. Maybe Santa will come in on a bass boat pulled by elves on jet skis.

Ms. Kate got back to town at 12:30 this morning. I picked her up at her sister's house. By the time all was said and done, and we had had a few minutes to talk, we finally got to bed around 0145 hrs. This morning we are back to our normal routines. I'm on the sunporch and she is at her computer. We are each on our second cup of coffee. I may make another pot or perhaps I'll just use the Kuerig if I want another cup. Ms. Kate generally doesn't have more than two cups so maybe a cup at a time through the Kuerig makes more sense than making another 12 cups. I've never figured out how she and I can take a twelve cup pot of coffee and only get two cups a piece from it. Her cup is a little bigger than some but mine seems to be a regular sized cup for coffee. I guess we just aren't drinking from dainty cups. I'd be busy going back and forth to the coffee pot if I had a "1-cup" sized cup I guess.

Last night was our "dress rehearsal" of our Christmas program for this Sunday. There is a saying that if you have a bad dress rehearsal then the actual performance will go well. Judging from what I saw last night --- Sunday will be super because our rehearsal totally sucked last night. One would have thought we had never sang that cantata before. People were talking all through rehearsal, the director changed the tempo of the songs, I couldn't hit a note with a baseball bat;  and the kids were like herding cats. It seemed that everything and everybody was "discombobulated". (I didn't know that was an actual word, but spell check gave it to me.) At any rate, Sunday's performance should be a real stunner. I'm looking forward to it. To God be the glory!

I guess we will go do a little running around today and pick up a few things from Target or somewhere. We need to pick up our "gifts" for the "dirty Bingo" game for the party at St. Paul's on Saturday evening. And, I'm sure we need to get at least some groceries and supplies. But, the most of the day will be spent just relaxing and being together again. Perhaps a late afternoon nap in the family room recliners in front of the fireplace is in order. I know Ms. Kate has only been gone for a week but we need to fill our house with our "togetherness" again. I think we are like an old team of horses; one can do the job, but two just makes it all go right.

With that thought in mind, I think I'll drop off for today. My day has already been filled with blessings; I hope you find that your's has been too. If you are having a rough day, please take the time to stop and remind your self that no matter what else may be happening in your life, God is with you. Peace!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

And Wednesday has rolled around again hasn't it? For today's Wednesday we start off with 50 degrees and a lot of dark clouds looming off in the western distance. We are forecasted for maybe a few showers today with only about one tenth of an inch of rain. It will be just enough to be messy and bring in the colder weather from the cold front. The best part about this particular Wednesday is that Ms. Kate will be getting home from her vacation tonight around midnight.

I have lots of the smaller birds out here today. Sparrows, finches, Downey woodpeckers, chickadees, and junkos are all out there at the feeders or hopping around below the feeders picking up what the others knock down. I only have a couple of cardinals at the moment. They will fly in here in a larger group in probably another 30 minutes. Everything seems to kind of take a turn in the cue; except of course for the old bushy tails that just climb up and push their way onto the feeders. I have one on a feeder right now and two more playing chase all around the yard and trees. It's just all part of my God-given entertainment every day. I love my cardinals though because they bring color and life to the back yard even when nothing is blooming. However, I think the little wrens are the cutest. They are so quick with their darting around and when they sing, their song is beautiful.

Tonight is the final rehearsal for the Christmas program. I trust it will go well. It will be fun seeing the children do their part, assuming they do. They are mostly young enough to get bashful at the last second and either say nothing or mumble through it. But --- regardless of how they do on Sunday --- they will be the star of the show and Facebook will be full of pictures come Sunday afternoon. That is just the nature of things.

It sounds like I'm hearing sprinkles on the roof of the sun porch although I don't see any drops on the sidewalk yet. The sky has gotten a bit darker. I love listening to the sound of the rain on the roof although it can lull a person to sleep in a heartbeat, especially when the house is totally quiet like it is this morning.

We are just a few days from Christmas. It has been long awaited and yet is suddenly here. There will be no white Christmas for most of the country this year as it is too warm. On the other hand, I don't have to worry about people getting to church safely for the Christmas Eve services. We have two services to do; a 7:00 pm at St. Paul's and a 9:00 pm at St. Lucas. If it is like most years, we'll have around 70 people at the early service and then maybe 30 or so at the late service. We do Holy Communion at both devices and close with a candle light song and prayer. I love doing them. The down side is that Christmas Eve is also Ms. Kate's birthday and she doesn't get a lot of choices about what we are going to do to celebrate.  I'm still waiting on her birthday present to arrive in the mail and am going to be honked off if it doesn't arrive in time. I ordered it in plenty of time for it to get here.

It is time to refill the coffee cup and my cardinals have arrived on schedule. Time to sign this off and enjoy my yard full of blessings once again. I pray your Wdnesday will be full of blessing too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday afternoon and I'm just getting around to writing my blog. The sun is shining not quite directly in my eye but close enough to make me rearrange myself in my chair. I have the Bose playing Celtic Woman's Christmas Album at a volume that Ms. Kate would not approve of were she home. What can I say, I like my music loud or at least some of it. Ms. Kate will be home tomorrow night and I will take the volume back down; but in the meantime I'm immersing myself in music as I eat Nutella on breadsticks. --- See how I run wild when not monitored?? I do the same thing on my keyboard. I wonder if the neighbors heard me last night??

This morning early I had to be at the church to meet with a couple of the St. Paul's council people and  the fellow that needs to give us an estimate on either repairing or replacing four of the doors to the church. After listening to him, I'm hoping we will get by much cheaper than we had thought we might have to pay. It may be that he can simply replace the glass in the existing doors and change out some of the hardware. That would save us a lot of money. We hope to have an estimate by the end of the week.

I hadn't been home more than a few minutes from that  appointment when I got a call from the fellow that was to come work on our fireplaces called and said that he was on his way. I actually had him on my calendar for tomorrow but I had a feeling that I had put it down for the wrong day. We changed our fireplaces over to gas several years ago. Mine downstairs is unvented and Ms. Kate's in the family room is vented. For whatever reason we weren't able to light them this year so I called the company and they sent out their service technician. He repaired a couple of things and now we are up and running again. We need to consider getting some new logs for Ms. Kate's as hers are getting brittle from so much use.

One of my smaller bird feeders is missing --- again. That tells me the raccoon has been back and stole it. I'll most likely find it out in the bushes someplace. I had to go out and fill the bark butter paste feeders again. Most of the sunflower feeders are still okay. But the smaller of the peanut feeders is missing.

I talked to Ms. Kate for a while and she is ready to come home. We've found that seven days out there in Vegas gets a to be a day or maybe even two too long sometimes. When you've been to your favorite casinos and you've eaten at all of your favorite places, then it just gets to be repetitive. She said it has been really cold there too.

The sun is almost below the trees now and the evening birds will be coming in. Time for another cup of coffee and then sit and enjoy the blessings that God sends my way. Have a blessed evening.

Monday, December 14, 2015

It is a misty, messy, Monday; not that the cardinals and other birds seem to mind. The wind has been strong all night but I am pleased that I only have a couple of small branches down. It won't take more than a stroll through the yard to clean that up once the wind stops. The wind is bringing in a cold front and our string of sixty and seventy degree days has come to an end. We should be in actual December weather at around thirty degrees by week's end. And --- it should be getting colder, after all, we are only ten days from Christmas Eve.

I had a good Sunday. The services were fairly well attended and then last evening was the Christmas Party at my St. Lucas Church. It was very well attended and there was so much food! Santa came to the party and as usual the kids were really excited about that. Our Santa does a really good job and the kids all took to him even though a couple were a little hesitant at first. This coming Saturday will be the Christmas party at St. Paul's. It has an entirely different flavor to it. No Santa comes because we don't have but a couple of kids. The people bring in a dish and then we play "MERRY CHRISTMAS Bingo". It is called by different names but it is where people get a present and other people can steal it. They have "held this same party" for as long as I have been there. It's like Deja vue   But it's tradition and there is a lot to be said for tradition. What is fun about the Bingo every year is that there is always some package, that for some reason, everybody seems to gravitate to and steal. And, with a $5.00 limit on spending, you know it can't be much. But, it is all in the wrapping I guess.

I haven't heard from Ms. Kate yet but then it is just past 0730 in her time zone so she is probably still snoozing. I don't blame her, I'd most likely be sleeping too.

I don't have a lot on my schedule today although I do need to go do a little running around. We are trying to find a source for new front doors at our St. Paul's church. What we have are aluminum doors with large plate glass. There are cracks in a couple of them, the seals are no longer good, and someone decided to put a couple of pellet holes in them from the highway. Our project person has made some calls to places but no one returns her calls. I have a couple of ideas for a source down here in town and I am going to check them out today. So, I better unseat the recliner and get myself busy. I also still have a half of a sermon to write hat has been left dangling on my computer.

Think good thoughts today, say a prayer and give God glory. Peace.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

And the week comes to a close with a beautiful warm Saturday morning. It seems impossible that it could be 68 degrees already this morning, but it is. The sun is shining but there is a high layer of clouds that promises to thicken as the day goes on. The sidewalks and grass etc are wet this morning. I'm not sure what that is all about whether it rained a little during the night or its dew or what.

I spent a good deal of time outside yesterday. The bird feeders needed cleaning and re-filling. Sometimes I'll notice that food has been in an extended period of time. That normally happens when either the seed has maybe gotten wet and is sprouting or even mildewing, or there is a layer of built up residue blocking the opening. When that happens, I generally take them apart and clean them up and then refill them. I filled fifteen feeders yesterday.  I have a yard full of happy critters this morning.

I also did some yard clean up yesterday. I trimmed back the hydrangeas and got rid of the dead wood there. I also had a good deal of limbs laying around in the yard and got those all cleaned up. We are supposed to have some pretty strong wind this weekend and I'm sure more will come down, But at least for now, it looks better. If it dries out enough today, I plan to do some raking. The last vestiges of the leaves are still out there and I need to get them cleaned up. I might as well do it now since we have a nice day. There is no telling what spring will be like, but, I'm betting it will be a wet one.

I've had a brief "hi" from Ms. Kate this morning as she was fixing her first cup of coffee. The two hour time difference between here and Las Vegas is hard to get used to. I waited an extra hour before I texted her this morning so the message notification ding on her phone wouldn't be waking her up at 0600 or so.

I've set here long enough to get a numb bum so I better get up and walk around. I hope your day is pleasant and filled with nothing but love. Peace.

Friday, December 11, 2015

It is a warm (57*) grey morning to end up the work week. Happy Friday! I've been sitting here watching the squirrels play chase over in Ms. Margaret's yard and tree. There are four of them and they are running circles around the Maple tree and then chasing and jumping from limb to limb and tree to tree. They have stayed out of my yard so far which is fine by me. I'm good with enjoying their antics from afar.

I was out in the yard yesterday and I noticed that I actually had a dandelion blooming and I still have one bloom on my climatis. This is a strange winter so far. A friend of mine who lives in Buffalo New York said the same thing. She said it is really strange to see Christmas lights up and green grass and she has forsythia blooming. I haven't bothered to put my snow blade on the lawn tractor yet. In fact, I should get on it and go out and mow off the onions that are growing in the yard. How strange! Another local friend of mine said he was going to mow his yard this weekend.

I've talked to Ms. Kate already this morning although it is early for her out in the Pacific Time zone. I unfortunately woke her up when I texted her a good morning and it dinged on her phone. See, I can be a pain in the butt from 2000 miles away. She and Karen are transferring from Treasure Island Hotel to Green Valley Ranch Resort today. They get all of these "free" rooms as a result of their slot play, so they hop from one to another. They will be at GVR for two nights and then Kate will move to the Palazzo/Venetian resort complex  and Karen will move to Ceasar's Palace for three nights. That's why I call them "Wild Women on the Loose". I can't keep up with them. I never ask what those "free" rooms cost but I know in reality it is never that much. The points they are racking up on the machine are the same whether the casino is winning or the customer is winning. It is just how many times you are pushing that button on the machine; --- and they push it a lot. LOL Karen had free tickets to the National Finals Rodeo for last night and loved it. Kate could have gone too but we went last year and those stadium seats are worse than an airline seat. But --- it is a good event to see and Karen loved it. When we lived in Las Vegas for two years it was nearly impossible to get tickets to the NFR and now we get them free with our hotel offer. It's a good deal. The hotel takes you there, picks you up, and pays your way in. No fuss, and no hassle.

My coffee cup is empty and the squirrels have now made it to my yard. I may as well sit and enjoy the show here for awhile.

God has given us another week full of blessings. I need to stop and reflect on that for awhile too. I hope your weekend is filled with good things. Take time to give thanks and worship the author of all things. Peace.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It sure is quiet around here with Ms. Kate gone. That is only noticeable because usually she would be in her office and I'd be out here in the sunporch and we would be having any conversation anyway. But --- her absence just makes the house empty.

Happy Thursday! It is a warm day and the sun is kind of shining through a layer of high clouds. I went out earlier and filled the bark-butter feeders for the woodpeckers and others that like that stuff. It was cool enough to warrant a sweatshirt. There is a fairly brisk breeze on and off today.

So, Ms. Kate had a good flight and they got to Las Vegas safely. She called last night and was excited about a fellow passenger that sat across the aisle from her. She said she recognized him as someone famous but had no idea who. There were a lot of country western types on her plane and she said everyone of them that came through stopped and talked to this guy. During the flight people would come up to him and talk and others would pass him notes and he'd sign them. She said he was nice to everyone etc. When they landed, she pointed him out to Karen at the baggage area and they still didn't know who he was. Long story, -- short --- he was the lead singer from Alabama. They saw his picture in the advertisements  and Alabama is playing out there this weekend.  So, she was "riding in the clouds and sitting next to a star".

I don't have a planned agenda for today. I'll probably go down and work on a sermon for awhile. I got a lot of work done yesterday at the churches, so I'm a little bit ahead there. Last night was choir practice and we only have one more before we do the Christmas program. A couple of the songs are still a tad rough and we'll have to work them out next week at dress rehearsal. Then, it will be what it will be. I just appreciate all of the hard work that our choir puts in. As soon as the new year starts, it will be time to work on Easter. Easter comes early this year, March 27th I think. That doesn't give us much time, especially if the cantata is difficult. I don't want to mention it to them yet because they might just shoot me!

I guess it is time to get out of my chair and do something. As I do though I need to stop and give my prayers for the morning. I give thanks that Ms. Kate had a good flight and made it there safely. I know she and Karen will have a good time this week. I also lift up my sister this mornings she faces the holidays alone for the first time in 50 years. Those "firsts" are the toughest. I ask for God's comfort for her and the family. I ask for strength for for daughter Julie as they work through some issues at work etc. And, I give thanks that grand daughter Lauren made it through her wisdom teeth extraction in fine stead. Prayer is great --- Valium is quicker.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Good Wednesday morning. I'm up way too early, --- but that is the way it always is on "travel day". I'm not traveling but Ms. Kate is. I need to have her up to her sister's house at 0900 and they will take off for Nashville, TN. There they will catch a flight to Las Vegas; --- and once again the Wild Women will be on the loose!

So, I'm on my own for the next week; but don't think I'll be starving or eating out every meal. Ms. Kate always fixes enough ahead of these trips. I seldom go out to eat when she is gone. And, --- I know how to cook, I just don't normally because why would I want to eat my attempts when I can eat her successes?

Yesterday morning I attended our local denomination's Tri-State Association Christmas gathering. We had a social  hour with breakfast and then a very short meeting, and then worship with Holy Communion. It was a nice event and was well attended. I have been asked to fill the position of Vice President of this Association temporarily through May. I reluctantly agreed although there are few things I dislike doing more than bureaucracy and meetings. Lord only knows what I've gotten myself into.

Today, of course, is Wednesday and that means run bulletins day and choir this evening. It will take me a little longer since Ms. Kate won't be there to help me. When she goes with me, she does about 70% of the work and she is pretty quick with it. All those years as a secretary have paid off and now she can work for free. I don't think that was the career progression she had in mind.

This morning I will get the Christmas packages in the mail and on their way to their destinations. Ms. Kate spent a hurried evening last night getting everything ready for the mail box. If I get ready in time, we can drop the stuff off at the post office on the way to Karen's house. If not, I'll do it on the way back home.

I'm up before most of the birds get here this morning. They will start arriving about the time I get back from dropping Ms. Kate off. It looks like I need to fill the feeders agin this morning. Several of them are empty. I've said iti before, I'll say it again; --- they are a bunch of flying pigs.

I'm offering up prayers for safe travel for Ms. Kate and her sister today and through the next week. I hope they have a good week of "sister time". It's important to both of them. I also offer up prayers of gratitude for the blessings I've received in constant flow. God is so good and I am overwhelmed by His grace. I pray you will have a greart day!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Good morning and Happy New Week! It is Monday morning and it is a grey one, albiet 45 degrees out there so that isn't so very bad. The chick-a-dees are here, the cardinals are here and one lonely squirrel is walking around in the yard. I think it is doing what I do at a buffet; just checking out the feeding stations before making a choice of where to start. But so far there isn't a lot of activity going on.

We had a good weekend and of course it was busy. But it was one of those busy weekends that it is hard to remember what we actually did; --- just stuff. I know I missed writing my blog on Saturday but for the life of me, I can't remember what kept me away from it. I think we were just busy doing things like running around shopping, going out to decorate the parent's graves, and more running around. Some days, time just gets away from you.

Yesterday of course was Sunday. We had good attendance at one church and fair attendance at the other. Then, yesterday afternoon several of us from church went caroling. I haven't done that in years. We went to a nursing home and sang for one of our parishioners and then we also went to the homes of four of our senior members and sang for them. It was really special when one of our people we went to carol, then sang for us. He sang "O Tannenbaum" in German for us. It was so sweet. I had no idea that he would do that. I now hope I can convince him to do that at church for our combined Christmas service on the 20th of the month. The odds are not good that I can make it happen because he is a very private person. However, I think his daughters can probably convince him to do just about anything, so I'll contact them.

Ms. Kate is heading out to Las Vegas with her sister this coming Weddnesday. We all three did this trip last year and this was the week that we got out there and Aunt Aleen had a stroke back here at home. Karen had to return immediately because she was Aleen's guardian / power of attorney. Hopefully this year they will get to enjoy the full week they have planned. I'll stay home and guard the fort and get my work done. I used up the last of my vacation days over the Thanksgiving. I like Vegas, it is nice to go to but I get bored really quickly with it because my luck at a slot machine is terrible about 99% of the time. And frankly, I'm a cheapskate when it comes to putting my money in a slot machine. But it is always interesting to watch other people as they play. Some get really loud and want to share their fun with the world, (whether we want to see it or not) and other people sit there all mad at the machine because it didn't pay out. To me, at least during the winter months, the best part of Vegas is the buffets and resturants that I particularly like. During the spring and early summer months, I can get out to the desert.

The back yard is starting to fill up now with my birds so I think I will just sit here and enjoy them for a while. Everybody has a place to eat for the moment and even Mr. Fuss-a-lot is quietly having breakfast without raising a ruckus . Take advantage of your week to sit and enjoy something without rushing off to do something else. Take a moment to gve thanks to the Lord for answered prayers and a full measure of blessings. Have a week filled with peace in your heart and soul.

Friday, December 4, 2015

It is a beautiful, chrystal blue, 30 degree morning. The weather guy promises a few days of warmer temperatures without rain or that other four letter word. So, I think I'll just sit here for bit and enjoy the brilliance of God's smile.

The cardinals and woodpeckers  are here bright and early this morning as well as old Mr. Fuss-a-lot. The titmouse is about the only small bird that I see at the moment. I have a quartet of squirrels playing chase all around the trees and the yard, and across my roof. From what I can see from here, I'll neeed to go fill the feeders again today. As a minimum I need to refill the bark butter paste feeders and bring up a couple of suet cakes too. Ithink it is time to buy some actual suet cakes as opposed to the seed cakes. They need the energy that is provided by the suet.

Yesterday was dental cleaning day and get a haircut day and Ms. Kate went and got a perm. That pretty much took up our day with the other running around we did. Today we need to go to the cemetery and put flowers on my parents graves. Ms. Kate had bought flowers to decorate all of the family graves but Karen got a jump on it and did it for Ms. Kate's side of the family. And, I think we need to go to Target because Ms. Kate "has a list".  Of course, havig a list is only a starting place when we go to Target or Walmart or Sam's. If we would stick to the list it would be a lot cheaper but we never do.

I also need to finish up the sermon that I am working on for the 13th. I'm maybe half done with first writing and got stuck last night with a question and ended up diverting off to read and do a little research, then coming up and discussing my question with Ms. Kate; and then I went to bed. I'm no closer to an answer today than I was before because there is no answer to be had to my wonderings. Some questions just don't have "earthly" answers. But I believe that the reading and the research, and the discussion adds strength to the conerstone of one's faith. I love reading what other people have to say and read their interpretations of scripture. I certainly don't always accept their thoughts but it is good to compare and learn, accept some and reject others. My faith is Christ based meaning that I accept the teachings and words of Jesus Christ as truth. Thomas Jefferson would have called this the "Red Letter" edition of faith. In fact the Jefferson Bible is just that. He actually cut out everything in the bible except the words of Jesus. He was convinced that all of the rest of it was just somebody else's interpretation and explanation of what Jesus meant or it was just stories handed down. While I'm not that extreme, I do base my faith on the teachings of Christ and his promise of resurection to eternal life.  ----- And that is more than you wanted to know this morning.

I again lift up the families of those killed and injured this week due to violence and ask for God's touch to land upon the families and give them a sense of peace. I ask God to lay a calming hand upon this world that God created and help us as children of God to learn to deal with one another in a peaceful and civil way. As we sing every Sunday at the close of our service at St. Lucas, "Let there be peace on earth; and let it begin with me."   Shalomn.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I think it is time to start thinking winter thoughts, (what ever those might be). It is 29 degrees this morning and there is a heavy frost out there. Last night we finished up choir practice about 1930 and headed home. We went through two different bands of wintry mix of snow and sleet and rain that was blowing so hard we had to really slow down to see. But -- the further south toward home we got ---- nothing. Such is the life in southern Indiana. I'm just glad I picked up the chains for my John Deere lawn tractor yesterday.

Today is dental cleaning day and Ms. Kate has a an appointment to get a permanent this afternoon. I should probably go get a haircut myself while she is at the beauty parlor. Our places for this kind of stuff are in the same basic parking lot. My hair doesn't look bad yet but it is long for me. A life time of military cut will certainly fashion what you think your hair should look like. Although, in the early 70's I had long hair  and I admit, I looked like a dork; although I didn't think so at the time. It went well with my leisure suit! LOL

The country had yet another mass shooting event yesterday. There are too many unknowns for me to speculate on why etc. but it breaks my heart that our society has gotten to the point that people think it is acceptable to just go kill people because they are angry. In San Bernadino, there were 14 people killed and at least that many wounded. In Savannah Georgia, another workplace violence occured at the same time and a person went in and killed three people. People riot and demonstrate in the streets because their feelings are hurt or because a young thug is killed by the police while breaking the law --- and yet have no problem with mass killings. This makes the 315th mass shooting in this country according to a report that I just read. (I'm not sure what their definition of "mass" is.) But, it seems that we have raised a generation of people that are totally self absorbed  and concerned only about their opinions and their feelings. They have no concept of compromise and or prayerful discussion. The weaker minded can't seem to see a difference between killing on an X=Box and real society. And yes, I know that is a terrible generalization of society; ---- but people doing good for one another doesn't make the news.

So, this morning, I again lift up the families of all of those who were injured and killed due to the violence of a couple of sick people. I ask God to intervene in some way to stop the violence in this country and in this world. I ask you to join me in prayer because I'm positive that God is the answer. I have confidense that eventually love and human kindness will win out in the end. However I aalso remember that it took four hundred of prayer before God sent Moses to Egypt. I pray God won't wait so long to answer our prayers for peace. Have a blessed day. Go hug your neighbor. Go hug your loved ones. Go out and smile at a stranger today. Peace begins with you and me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Good morning and happy Wednesday. It is a Brrrrrrr morning out there at 39 degrees with a steady breeze. I may actually have to put my jacket on when we go out later. The high today is only going to forty five. But, if as predicted, the sun comes out later this afternoon, it will feel warmer.

A bit ago, the wind was whipping through the yard and the leaves were simply flying off of the fire bushes. They have gone from red to pink and have provided about all the beauty they are going to this year. Now those leaves lay under the bushes like a red carpet. The neighbor to the north has a big old Bradford pear tree out front and it is rapidly losing its leaves all over my yard and the street, making a nasty loking mess. Neighbor Dan was out yesteday with his lawn mower and blower cleaning up the fallen Maple leaves in his yard and clearing the leaves off of the street. I jumped on the John Deere and went out and mulched up the leaaves from the Bradford Pear that were in my yard. Between the two of us, we got the area high and tight again; --- Ready for inspection, Sir!!

it is Wednesday, so we all know my routine for today or at least for the afternoon and evening. We'll head out to the churches probably around 1600 hrs and do our administrative stuff and then stay for choir practice. We only have two weeks to get the Christmas program ready, and that means probably not more than three practices. We are probably at about 80% ready but that isn't nearly close enough. And --- I have no idea where the ladies are with getting the children's part ready. For a control freak like I sometimes tend to be -- that can be a headache. (Note to self: deep breaths, relax, let it be what it will be.)

We have a little bit of running around to do this morning so maybe we'll stop and have breakfast somewhere. I think having breakfast is my favorite meal to have out. Of course, in my mind, time of day and breakfast are not mutually exclusive. I could eat a breakfast meal a couple of times a day and be happy. But -- we need to pick up Ms. Kate's prescription at CVS. Tomorrow we are having dental cleaning for both of us and she needs to take an antibiotic before and after her dental work because she is on blood thinners.

My woodpeckers and cardinals, finches and sparrows, are all happily dining at the feeders this morning. The bright red on the Cardinal just happens to be the brightest color in the yard this morning, so, I'll begin my prayers with thanks to God for the bright spot. God speaks to us in so many different ways; we just have to look and listen. I hope that you have the time and opportunity to stop, look, and listen to what God has to offer you today. I think you will find that you have an abundance of blessings surrounding you. Take time to share those blessings with someone who seems to need some extra love today! Peace!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 1st has arrived! Twenty fours more days until Christmas; thirty days until 2015 is a year in the history books. If time were an army, it would be a never ending line marching by; coming from the future and heading into history, and carrying billions of hopes and dreams in the ruck sack on its back.

It's 48 degrees this morning and overcast again. It rained again last night but allegedly, that was the last of it for a few days. Just seasonally cold weather and a brisk breeze reminds us that although it is still a couple of weeks away, winter is here. Fortunately, unlike our upper midwest, we haven't had any snow yet and as you know -- I wouldn't cry if I never had to use my snow blade this year.

we had a good day yesterday. Ms. Kate had to have her monthly blood work done so we went out and got that taken care of. Then we went to the local place we go to and had pedicures done, and ran to the post office and got our Christmas stamps so we can get those cards in the mail. Then we came home and finished decorating the Christmas trees. We only put up two again this year. It all seems a bit silly to me but Ms. Kate wants it done, and it does look nice. But, we are only going to have one set of company; Julie and Jim, and they will only be here for two nights and go home. The days of visiting people's homes at Christmas and having lots company have been replaced by cyberspace, email, and Facebook. For many years Ms. Kate and I would write the annual Christmas letter to bring people up to date about what is going on in our lives. I don't know that we have written more than one or two of those in the past ten years and we receive very few of them.

As I'm sitting here writing this blog, I've received no less than five notifications having to do with this being "Giving Tuesday". Don't you ever wonder who makes this stuff up?? Who decided it is Giving Tuesday for the nation? Who decides it is National Ice Cream day? With hundreds of charities spending a fortune mailing out letters and requests for donations and requests for support for their particular pet project; --- how do we suddenly need a special day be dicated that we donate today? If I don't donate today ---- will you not take my money tomorrow?

Okay, I'm digressing down to silliness so it is time to stop and watch my cardinals and squirrels and get back on track. I have writing to do today or the sermon will be very short this week. The sun is breaking through the clouds solidifying God's promise of better things and more blessings to come. What could be better than plans and promises from God? Have a blesse day.