Friday, January 29, 2016

There is an old song, (probably early 50's) that sings; "There's a rob, rob, robin that's bob, bob, bobbing along." I couldn't help but think of that song this morning as I watched a Robin just hopping all over the yard this morning searching for its breakfast. He hops around for a bit, stops and cocks his head and listens, then goes back to hopping around again. Every once in a while it will come up on the bird bath and get a drink. I don't know if it is getting anything to eat or not; but it's getting its exercise and enough to drink.

I missed you yesterday. As I told you on Wednesday, I had a funeral to do yesterday morning so I never got around to sitting out here in the sunporch until very late last night. Then I just pulled up a Gaither music album video on UTube and listened to that until almost 0130 this morning. This morning I have an Andre' Reiu album playing playing well known movie themes. It is a great album for relaxing. After the funeral, I went to the churches. Ms. Kate had asked me to drop her off at the churches while I went and conducted the funeral since she didn't know the man who had passed. So, while I was at the funeral, Ms. Kate printed and folded all of the bulletins for both churches. From there we went to lunch; then came home and just did "stuff". Last night I did a little writing, and sent a couple of emails checking up on parishioners and one to my sister. Then I was glued to the television through the news. Jimmy Fallon was a repeat so that's why I turned it off and came out to the sunporch. That's my day. Today we need to go to a couple of stores and pick up some stuff. But, we need to do it fairly early this morning because it is Friday and the stores get crazy on the weekends.

This morning I'm visited by a pair of titmouse, a bunch of junkos, the cardinal clan, a couple of downy woodpeckers and a red-headed woodpecker, a mocking bird, and of course the Robin. So, it is a pleasant morning. The sun is shining brightly this morning and the temperature will go up to around 45. That's pleasant to me but Ms. Kate will be cold when we go out.

I'm happy to report that my visit to my doctor the other day was worth the trip. He ended up giving me a cortisone shot in my hip and the pain has gone away. I'm very thankful because I was at a point of really moving slow and having quite a bit of pain. As you know, when you pinch a nerve like that, it causes you to actually bring other pain to yourself because you walk differently trying not to hurt. So I was getting sore muscles elsewhere too. But I'm doing well now. My doctor is really a great doctor and Ms. Kate and I think the world of him. We've been seeing him now for fifteen years. I am blessed that I don't have very many reasons to go see him beyond annual physical and the occasional thing like this pinched nerve or a breathing problem with my asthma. Ms. Kate has to see him routinely due to her many health issues. But we think the world of him. After 32 years of seeing "Dr. Whoever" with the military system, it is a real blessing to have a single doctor, and one that we trust totally.

Sunday is the last day of January and the first month of 2016 will be in the history book. Time just keeps moving on. Ms. Kate and I have several big plans for this year and of course the church calendar is full for the year. I admit that sometimes I ask myself when will I have time to get it all done and I get a little overwhelmed and think that maybe I should just totally retire and relax and enjoy life for ourselves. And Ms. Kate and I have talked about it several times. But, as much as I totally enjoy sitting out here in the sunporch --- it's not something that I could do all day long. And the truth is that I am enjoying life. God just continues to bless me and restore me and fill me. I tell myself one day that I'm going to just stop. Then I jump up and agree to take on yet another challenge like accepting a position with our local church association. So, my prayers this morning are prayers of gratitude to God for health, and the ability to continue to be of use and service where and when I'm needed. I'm so very, very grateful for Ms. Kate who is extremely patient and understanding of who and whatever I am. I've known a lot of spouses that would have kicked me to the curb years ago instead of being dragged around all over the world and then coming home to live and becoming immersed in yet another totally new career for me.

My album is done playing and my coffee cup is empty for the second time. I must get busy. Have a most blessed weekend. Take time to worship the Lord and be grateful for the blessings God has bestowed upon you. Peace.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The sky is a tad bit brighter this morning; not a lot, but some. But --- where are my birds? I've had four or five cardinals flying in and out but staying mostly up in the trees. I've also had one or two red-headed a woodpeckers come in and get a few bites and leave. That is about it. None of the small birds are here and the feeders hang full and waiting.except for the three that have a squirrel chomping away at them. Perhaps there is a hawk in the area that I haven't seen.

Today is to be a busy day. I have to go to the doctor at noon today so he can maybe do something about the pain in my hip and back. I suspect he will give me a muscle relaxer shot. I just hope I don't end up looking like Tim Conway in that crazy "Dentist" sketch that he did. I laugh my head off every time I see that thing. Tim Conway has to be one of the funniest guys on the planet. At any rate, I have a funeral home visitation to do today, and a meeting to attend this evening. If I have the time, I'll also get to the church and run the bulletins and newsletter. If not, that will be on tomorrow's list.

I've been watching the latest U Tube sensation, Andre' Rieu and his orchestra. Obviously he has been around for quite awhile but I had not seen him until someone posted one of his videos on Facebook. His music is dynamic and the crowds he draws are stunning. I think he might be Dutch but I'm not sure. I recommend you pull up UTube and try to find him. I just downloaded one of his albums this morning from ITunes for my IPad etc. and am listening to it as I write. It is very soothing music.

I'm sitting here looking at my yard and I really need to get out there with a rake this spring. There is a lot of winter crapola out there; twigs, small branches, left over leaves, seed pods from the poplar trees. A week of dry weather and sixty degree days would put me in the mood to work off a little winter fat and give me some exercise, and make the yard ready for green grass and flowers to pop through the ground. I'm "spring-ready".

Two weeks from today will be Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season. I have my Ash Wednesday service almost completed. I just need to tweak it a bit. We generally have a good turnout for Ash Wednesday service. But Lent and Easter is coming early this year and there is always the possibility of snow this early.

It is time to remove myself from the seat this recliner and get busy. I need to shower and get ready for my day. The problem is that I am very comfortable and he music is so great to listen to; and the birds are all finally coming in for a late breakfast. But, one must do what one must do. I pray your day will be filled with blessings and I also pray you will take the time to not only be grateful for them but also share them with someone. Pass a little love around. It will make you feel good! Peace.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I always say that we decide what our day is going to be like as we step out of bed and start the morning. My morning started with shooting hip and back pains and then I come out to the sunporch and everything just looks blah and dull. The snow has all gone and there is no color to be seen. The world matches the color of that squirrel hanging off of my feeder. And then, when I'm just deciding the day is going to be a good day to just frump; --- here comes my wandering rabbit hopping across the yard. I haven't seen Ms. Rabbit in a couple of months. I'm not sure but I think it might have been carrying a sign that said, "Get over yourself". At any rate, it improved my mood greatly. So, I just say "Thanks for the rabbit, God! You're always there when I need you."

Between the warmer temperatures and the rain showers last night, our snow is pretty well all gone. I don't think we have any bad weather predicted for a few days. I hope not since I have a funeral to do on Thursday morning. For the family's sake, I hope it will be a bright sunny morning.

I filled all of the feeders yesterday afternoon. I emptied all of the shelled corn out of the feeders because nothing was eating it. I poured it all out on the ground out by the poplar tree. This morning first thing there was a large gaggle of blackbirds out there making short work of the corn. Perhaps it was just too hard to get out of the feeders that I had had it in. What ever the situation was, I won't buy that again. The blackbirds left as soon as they cleaned it up. I also have some stale bread and cookies it there on the ground. But, nothing has come for that yet either. In fact, except for that initial gaggle of blackbirds, I've hardly had any company at all this morning. But then, the only thing that is predictable about my birds is their unpredictability. A large woodpecker, a mocking bird, and a little wren have been my only guests with the exception of one squirrel.

My Tylenol has kicked in and my hip and back pain is less by now. I'll take a warm shower and put some Activeon balm on it and that have me moving good enough to be going up and down the stairs etc. I need to go to Walgreens and pick some Tiger Balm patches. They work really well. But for what they cost --- they should work really well. I think I need to go to the church today and run my bulletins. My day is already crowded for tomorrow. But, I also have a lot of writing to do so it becomes a toss up of when to do what. One of these days I'm just going to retire and eliminate all my suspenses and deadlines I have to meet. Of course, -- the fact that I create all of these timelines myself, kind of gives me no one to blame. I think I suck as my own boss! LOL

My cardinals have begun to show up and that adds just the color to the yard that I was waiting on. There will be no sunshine today so the brilliance I generally see on them won't be there. But they sit out here on a limb or the bird bath and remind me that no matter where we are, there is always beauty to be found because God is in charge of the mix. I hope you find reasons to smile today. I hope you are seeing the world through the love and grace that God has given you. God is good; -- all the time. Peace!

Monday, January 25, 2016

It is absolutely nuts outside my sun porch this morning. I'm sitting here in the middle of multiple flocks of birds. There is a flock of about fifteen starlings, and another forty or so black birds, another 8-10 robins and a half dozen cardinals; and they are all fussing and fighting over feeders that are empty such as the bark butter feeders. I walked out side and looked at my roof and their was another dozen or so robins up there hopping around too. They are in and out of the birdbath and taking baths and splashing water everywhere. There is a squirrel hanging on to a seedcake feeder dodging angry starlings and the place is a chaotic whir of wings and beaks and noise this morning. And, it isn't just here. As I look across the yards through the barren trees, almost every yard has the same kind of thing going on. It is a scene right out of "The Birds". Even more interesting is the fact that all of a sudden they all take off at once and fly up into the trees. Then they sit there for a few minutes and slowly start flying back down to the ground. It's fun to watch. It's obviously a migration of some sort and I'll have to refill every feeder by this afternoon.

Yesterday was a successful day at the churches. During my early service, (St. Paul's) we did a wedding vows renewal ceremony for a couple celebrating their fifteenth anniversary. They had gotten married at a courthouse originally and had asked me if I would do the ceremony because they really wanted a "church wedding". It was beautiful. The "bride" cried and that made the husband tear up and that made the congregation tear up too. It was magic. After my late service, (St. Lucas) we had a lunch at the church and then the second of our congregational meetings. We got several things accomplished and agreed upon in what I consider a record amount of time. This meeting had been postponed due to a snow storm earlier in the month.

This week promises to be a busy week with end of the month reports due, extra meetings with our local Tri-State Association of the church and a funeral on Thursday with visitation on Wednesday. I'll have to miss choir practice this week due to the visitation and association meeting. In between there I'll have the bulletins to run and the monthly newsletter. It all just takes time. Unfortunately I have a sciatic nerve thing going on in my back and I'm moving a lot slower this week. I didn't need that to happen.

But --- the sun is shining brightly and the temperature is just warm enough to melt some of the snow; so, I give God praise for a sunshiny day. And remember the birds from paragraph one ------ they are all gone. There isn't a bird in sight anywhere. God sure created a strange and wonderful world. Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

How wonderful to look out and see not only a beautiful snow-scape, but also a bright blue sun filled sky. It's cold and it's breezy, but it's still beautiful. Despite the fact it is 27 degrees, I'm watching the snow melt and drip off of the feeders. There is still plenty of food out there for the birds and squirrels so I don't have to tromp out through the snow to fill anything up today. Unfortunately, what I do need to do is get out to the Wildbirds and Things store and pick up more bark butter. I used the last I had last evening. Between the starlings, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, a squirrel, and blue jays yesterday; they cleaned every bark butter feeder out. I don't mind going but I know the subdivision is going to be a bear to get out of. The only place the street will have been cleared is in front of my house. I imagine though that the main roads will be fairly clear by now. We got five inches of snow with this storm. But, I got the driveways all cleared and finished clearing the street where Darrel left off with his little John Deere. He did a pretty good job. It is the first time he has done that much.

I had quite a few birds earlier but right now I don't seem to have any; and I just saw why that is. The hawk is back and is sitting in the poplar tree waiting for its breakfast to fly in. As soon as it flies off, the rest will come back in. In fact as I wrote that a beautiful Cardinal flew in to sit in the gazebo feeder that I have filled with safflower seed.

I've had a great morning talking to all three of my girls via Facebook Messenger.  I love the fact that we can do that and I love even more the fact that they want to do that. We spent an hour sharing our week and talking family news and events. I don't think there is a day in the week that I don't talk to one or more of the girls. It is so much better than talking on the phone because we can come and go into the conversation and don't have to sit there and hold the phone. A lot of the time it is just a note or two back and forth but other days we will have a couple of us going, mainly during the evening.

So, I have been in this chair long enough this morning and now must get moving. I lift up all of those folks that are still in the path of this storm that has now moved to the east coast of the country. They are looking at a possibility of up to two feet of snow today. I pray they will be safe. I also pray you will have a great weekend. Take time for worship and being grateful for your blessings. See ya' Monday. Peace.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Things to do to just kill time: watch paint dry, watch rain fall, watch snow accumulate. Today it is the latter of the group. I haven't gone out and opened the garage door yet to see what has accumulated, and I can't really tell from the sunporch because I never cleaned off anything out here in the back. It would appear though that we still have a while before it quits, at least from looking at the radar. But --- we are on the "lucky side" of the storm. Just fifty miles below us, they are going to get hammered with a foot of the white stuff and then as it moves east, it will intensify to as much as two feet by the time it hits DC; not that it will slow down any good work that our nations leaders are doing. We won't be able to tell the difference as to whether they are at work or not.

I do know that I will have a lot of feeders to fill tomorrow. I've had no lack of company in the back yard this morning. Every feeder has at least one bird and or a squirrel on it. Even the Red-Winged black birds came in today. I haven't seen them for awhile. I'm glad that I bought feed the other day. I'm surprised though that they aren't eating the cracked corn. I thought for sure they would. I'm glad I didn't pay much for it. It could be that it isn't easy to get out of the feeder I have it in. But --- Ms. Kate said she didn't think they would eat it. I always thought the cardinals would go right to it. When the snow is done and melted some, I'll pour it out on the ground. The squirrels will eat it for sure.

I just went out and opened the garage and was surprised to see that my neighbor Darrel is out there on the street with his John Deere and blade too. He has most of the hill (street) cleared off. His JD is smaller than mine but it seems to be doing alright. It looks like we might have two inches down by now. But --- it is still snowing and I hope that doesn't just make it more icy with the fresh snow. I'm going to wait until it quits before I go out.

So, that is about it for today. I'm just enjoying sitting on my rump, watch my birds and squirrels. I had a squirrel thaat found out it liked the bark-butter paste. It had my smallest feder held between its front paws and was gobbling to beat the band. All was well until a starling decided it wanted to eat and it pecked the squirrel right on the butt and ran it off. I say "well done starling!"

You folks have a safe and blessed day. Peace.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

There is one squirrel; flipping his tail at the rest of the world as if to brag that he got to the feeders first this morning. That is about the biggest activity in the back yard this morning. Beyond that, --- it is Cardnalville out there, I think I counted eighteen in all. They are not particularly at the feeders but mainly just siting in the trees and bushes at the moment. One lonely downy woodpecker is eating some bark butter paste. But; it is about the time of the morning when everybody will be coming in and the air will be a blur of activity.

The world is of course still snow covered and will remain so for a while. We are expecting the second of the snow storms tonight. This one seems to be highly unpredictable and also seems to be a major threat to much of the country. Our forecasters say the models are all over the place in trying to predict what is going to happen. Last night one of our weather guys said that "the region" looks to get anywhere from a dusting to a foot of snow. It will be what it will be of course and we'll just deal with the aftermath. I just offer prayers for those who have to be out in this whether they be workers or homeless. I pray the homeless will find shelter and a warm bed.

I did get to the church yesterday in time for my meeting/counseling session and I got the bulletins run for Sunday. Hopefully this storm stuff will be over for the weekend. We are having the winter congregational meeting at my St. Lucas church this Sunday. It had to be rescheduled because of the bad weather from two weeks ago. Also, I'm doing a wedding vows renewal as part of my worship service this week at St. Paul's. It is interesting that the couple chose this week to ask if I would do this because my sermon this week is on "Being in Covenant". I believe that marriage is, --- or at least should be, -- our best earthly example of being in covenant with one another.

As predicted, the birds are all starting to come in now. Cardinals, goldfinches, house finches, titmouse, nut hatch, wood peckers, mockingbirds and junkos are all here. The only ones missing were the chickadees and the starlings and two starlings just showed up to join the mix. Oh, and I forgot; my wrens haven't been around yet this morning  either.  Yesterday as I sat here, there was a starling out there eating from a suet feeder when suddenly a huge hawk swooped down and took it right off of the feeder. It happened so close that the Hawk's wing actually hit the window as it came in for the attack. It's timing was perfect and done with precision. It was pretty amazing to watch. Needless to say, the feeders wee deserted for a while.

So now, we just wait to see what wonders and blessings the day will bring. God is always doing something wonderful and for some unknown reason, I seem to benefit from his glory. It's not like I deserve it or earned it. But, I certainly give Him praise and thanks for it.  I hope you feel the benefits of God's marvelous touch today. If you do, or even if you don't, take time to say a prayer of gratitude and lift someone else up. I have just lifted you up in my prayers and I hope you feel better knowing that someone has prayed for you today. Peace!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A happy snow covered Wednesday to you. The weatherman got it exactly right. We got about three inches of the white stuff last night. It is currently 25 degrees which is a little better than it was an hour and a half ago when I went out.It was 18 degrees then. I got up early this morning and it was just barely light out. It wasn't that early, (0630), but the clouds are thick enough to make it look dark. I went out at 0715 and started clearing the driveways. I got our driveway, Dan's driveway and landing, and the hill and street in front of our houses cleared. Folks shouldn't have any trouble getting up our hill this morning now. Those new "Terra-treads" really work well in the snow. This was a "wet snow" which means it was pretty heavy to push around. But my JD handled it. My neighbor Darrel has a John Deere lawn mower too but it is a smaller one than mine. He bought a blade for his too but it just doesn't work as well as mine. I still may have to get myself a bigger JD though. I work this little work horse pretty hard. We are expecting another snow storm tomorrow night. This one could have rain and sleet and snow all mixed. That could be a bit more of a challenge to clean up.

Of course I have a lot of birds out here this morning. I filled all of the feeders yesterday afternoon and I also picked up another 80 pounds of black oil sunflower seeds. They didn't have fifty pound bags this time but had forty pound bags instead and they cost the same as the fifty pound bags did the last time I bought some. I think I got the short end of the stick. It's like buying a gallon of ice cream. The price is the same but the carton is much smaller. I bought a new suet feeder yesterday. It mounts to the Windows via suction cups. I haven't seen any users to it yet but they will eventually discover it.  A few minutes ago I had a slew of birds out there so I got my phone and was going to film it. But --- they all suddenly left and now haven't returned yet. It figures.

It's Wednesday and that means church day. I have a meeting with a fellow at 1500 and we also need to run the bulletins today. Then choir practice is tonight. I guess we'll see if the ladies want to come out tonight or not. I don't blame them if they don't but we really need the practice time for the cantata.

I send out prayers for the family of a former parishioner this morning. He was killed in a farming accident somehow yesterday when a tree fell on him. I don't know more than that but I always worry about out farmers. So often they push themselves beyond their capabilities. For any of my readers that have never lived or worked on a farm, I'll be the first to tell you that farming can be a dangerous business sometimes. You have to maintain situational awareness at all times or you'll get hurt badly and quickly. I have several "three-fingered and stubby-fingered" friends because they took their eyes off of what they were doing.

The first squirrel has shown up and it is trying to figure out how to get to the feeder without getting in the snow. He jumped the five feet from the tree to the pole but slid right down into the snow. Now it is back on the tree trying to figure it out. They eat my food but they are fun to watch.

Time for more coffee so I'm signing off. Stay warm, Love your neighbor, think good thoughts. Peace.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I  have some very happy woodpeckers and mockingbirds his morning. I went out and brought the bark butter paste feeders in last night and filled them just before I went to bed around 0100. This morning, despite the 18 degrees, they are out there happily having breakfast. I also put another gallon of water in the bird bath. It is a pretty popular place on these cold frozen mornings. Today I have sunflower seed feeders to fill, and --- maybe go get another 100 pounds of sunflower seed. The can is getting low.

Yesterday I posted a picture of the flock of robins that had come into the neighborhood and were eating the berries off of neighbor Dan's cedar tree. I'm guessing there may have been 50 -75 of them. They have already stripped the berries off of the holly trees. That is an annual occurrence. But I've not seen them in the cedar trees like that. It was fun to watch. When they are in a flock like that, they are really noisy and they are really messy. They poop as fast as they eat; they are as bad as a flock of geese with their mess. Every time they flock into my yard, my sidewalks end up being a mess.

It is a beautiful day. The sky is chrystal clear without a cloud. It took the mail out to the mail box and it didn't even feel that bad because the sun was giving off some warmth. However, this joy is going to be short-lived. The clouds are to move in this afternoon and bring the first of two snow storm this week. I fully expect to get up tomorrow morning to 3-5 inches of snow. It is supposed to be a night snow event and if it doesn't rain (which it isn't supposed to), removal won't be bad. I'll throw out my snow melt tonight before I go to bed. Round two is supposed to happen on Thursday and into Friday. That one looks like a rain/snow event but the temps are supposed to be warmer. (Yes, I watch my weather pretty close.)

I spent most of the day yesterday at the computer writing. I wrote my sermon for next week, (31st), and I started on a funeral service for the brother-in-law of a parishioner. I don't know the man but he isn't expected to last the week. I talked to the man's wife yesterday for a little bit and got a few particulars about him. I find it hard to write a funeral for someone who I don't know and who is "un-churched". But, I believe everyone deserves a proper funeral and I'm doing it as a favor for my parishioner.

The cardinals have been to the bird bath several times this morning and the sun is really making their plume a brilliant red. They are my constant reminder that God is still in His heaven and is still watching over his creation --- even down to the smallest bird. That's why I keep an electric bird bath and nineteen bird feeders going; --- it's my job. I was assigned this micro-patch of the earth to care for along with all the critters who pass through it. I try to remember that when God gave us dominion over the the earth, God didn't make us "the boss"; God made us "the servant". Have a blessed day.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

What a wonderful lazy Saturday morning this has been. I've done my usual computer games first thing, I've set and watched all of my outdoor friends, and I've spent the morning doing Facebook Messenger with the girls. And --- Ms. Kate fixed us a wonderful tummy warming breakfast of oatmeal with apples and nuts cut up and mixed in and fresh sausage along with some Great Harvest bread of some kind. I may have to make another pot of coffee or just make a cup or two with the Kureg. It will depend on how much longer I decide to sit here. I think it is a bit cheaper to just make another pot even if I don't drink all 12 cups. I find it amazing though that I make a 12 cup pot of coffee but Ms. Kate and I each drink it up with just two cups each. Obviously our cups are not "a cup".

It is another grey day and the air is damp and cold. I was out there for a few minutes and got chilled right away. I need to take some stuff out to the compost barrel and I need to go get the mail. That will be about as much of the outside as I want today. OK, so I'm a wuss.

I did some work yesterday in my basement. I got rid of all of the old computer stuff; two computer towers, three monitors and flat screens, three scanners, a DVD player, two printers, and all of the wiring stuff that goes with all of that. I took it all to the Best Buy store and they take it in for recycling. I generally don't buy from Best Buy because I have never had good service from them and their return policies are terrible; but they do this recycling program and that keeps stuff out of landfills. I think if we can do anything to preserve our land and protect it we are obligated to do so by God who gave us dominion over the earth. The waste management people we contract with have a good recycling program that I am happy to pay for.

So, I decided to make another pot of coffee. I went out and got the mail and there was a book I had ordered in the box, and I may start on it today. Right now I already have two books going that are sitting beside my chair so I might as well add this to the stack. This one is called "Beyond Resistance" and was written by Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, the General Minister of our United Church of Christ denomination. Our local association Pastor's Circle is reading it for a book study. I figured I might as well read it so I would know what they are talking about; no one said it promises to be interesting or exciting. LOL. If I get bored ---- Stephen King is always waiting beside me.

The cardinals are fluffed up today trying to stay warm and there are a lot of junkos hopping around everywhere. Those are what I call my snow indicator birds. Generally I see them when it is getting ready to snow. Maybe that is just my imagination but that is the way it seems anyway. And -- we are predicted for two snow events next week. So, maybe there is something to my hypothesis.  I do need to empty out the bird bath again though and put clean water in it. It is getting a little low and they make it scuzzy fairly quickly.

Enjoy your end of the week and take time to worship the God that has blessed you with life in this world and the next. Shalomn.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Happy Friday once again! Wow, this morning is 180 degrees off from yesterday's weather. It is rainy and windy. No bright sun is climbing across my roof to spotlight a bunch of beautiful birds. Only a couple of cardinals are visiting the feeders and a single squirrel. Well, I don't know for sure the squirrel is single. It might have a wife and bunch of kids, but it is here by itself!

The temperature is warm enough this morning but as the rain clouds get blown through today, cold air is going to return and it will be typical January weather once again. I'm just glad I don't have an outside job and pray for those that do. But, it isn't snowing (yet) and that is to the good. And realistically, we haven't finished even the first month of the winter season yet. We are lucky that we live in an area where we get all four seasons and as a rule each season is fairly temperate. The days that are too cold, or too hot, or too rainy, or too anything --- are just days provided so that we can let our human nature to gripe be expressed. And since we all gripe about a different thing; --- we can all be satisfied. I'll bet you were not aware that God provided "gripe days" just to keep you happy! Count your blessings wherever you find them.

I finished the sermon that I was working on yesterday. My father always seemed to be saying to me; "You got another think coming." Although he had a different meaning --- I guess he was right because I used my "another think" and approached my subject from a different way and it rolled out pretty quickly.

The rain has stopped for now and all of my critters are playing "Come out, come out, wherever you are." Suddenly I have five squirrels out there and lots of birds. The cardinals have multiplied, there are titmouse, finches, and wood peckers at almost every feeder. It is good to see the yard filled with lively activity even though the clouds are keeping the sunshine at bay, and will for the next couple of days.

What to do today?? There isn't much on my schedule and it is "my day off", I really need to try and do something about my basement. I have a wonderful area down there and it is where my office is. But, over the months, we have just been carrying stuff down there as we acquire it from estates and now it is cluttered and hard to get around in in too many areas. I'm sure there is stuff that could go to the Goodwill store down there and I also have a bunch of electronics that I need to dispose of. Old printers and computers, and scanners are sitting around as well as all manner of other stuff that we no longer use. So, maybe I'll try to at least straighten some of it up. I know I can take the computers and stuff to "Best Buy" and they will dispose of it. That would help a lot.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of recognized blessings. God is so good and your blessings never cease to stream to you. Sometimes --- they are hidden, but they are always there. My mantra for you this weekend is: "Be aware -- God is there." Have a blessed day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What a brilliant morning greets me this morning. The sun, -- still on the east side of the house' is breaking across the roof and beginning to illuminate the back yard, My "birds-of-color" such as the cardinal, and blue jays just seem to light up when they fly up out of the shadows and into the light. (Wow! That cued a good sermon thought; don't let me forget that one.)  It is currently 25 degrees outside which is a great improvement over yesterday since there is very little wind today.

I filled the bird feeders yesterday afternoon but haven't had a lot of business this morning yet.  But what I have had has been nice; a few cardinals, the blue jay, and a song sparrow that I hear singing beautifully but haven't seen yet. I'm up a little before they are today so I expect that the feeders will be full of guests before I finish my blog. And so far -- none of those bushy tailed rats have come around. There is a hawk circling overhead so that might account for the lack of smaller birds too. No body want to be breakfast.

Like millions of other people, I stayed up and watched the Power ball drawing last night and as usual, I didn't even come close. But --- three winning tickets have been drawn, --- so that ends the Power Ball craze for awhile anyway. Those three ticket holders will each receive around $500 million dollars before taxes are taken out. Good for them. Their lives will be changed forever and they are going to find out just how many people they are really related to!

There are a few things I'd like to do today but first and foremost I need to finish the sermon I'm working on. When I started it, it seemed I had a lot to say, but the reality is that I came to some roadblocks rather quickly. I keep running these thoughts in my mind but somehow they don't make it to paper. That happens a lot. I also want to take the car to the car-wash today and get the winter washed off of it. All of the road slush and dirt on it makes it a challenge to even touch without getting  dirt on my coat. It is supposed to go up to about fifty degrees today so the lines at the car wash will be long.

Choir practice went well last night. We've started on the Easter Cantata. There are eight songs in the program and we made it through five of them last night. It was a good first run through. I may have to write the narrative for this one too so I need to look closely at it. The cold weather kept some folks from showing up last night and I don't blame them.

I need to go pour another cup of coffee, then sit and just be grateful for that which God has given me. My back yard friends are slowly coming in and they remind me of the wondrous world God had provided. The sun reflecting off of this cardinal on the bird bath is just a flash of God's beauty. I hope you find flashes of God's beauty throughout your day too. Take time to be grateful for your life today. Peace.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It is a brilliant 19 degrees out this morning. The sun is shining and there are only a few clouds around. The high today is to be 36 which with the sun will aid in the melting process for the snow. Our snow, while beautiful a couple of days ago is at the ugly stage now. The ground is showing through in patches and and has been trampled all over by critters. I need to add to the footprints out there today and fill the feeders again. I just hope the wind dies down a bit first. Ha! In the summer we say; "It's not the heat, it's the humidity". In the winter we say; "It's not the cold, it's the wind". Sounds like Mr. Temperature gets off pretty easy.

I guess I better go buy my Powerball ticket this morning. Since it is at a world wide record level of $1.4 billion dollars, why not waste my couple of bucks too. As they say, you can't win if you don't play. The odds of winning remain constant; 1:250 million, but that is better than 0:250 million if you don't buy a ticket. As I have said before though, I wouldn't have a clue of what to do with that kind of money; but I bet there would be a lot of people at the door wanting to show me. I laugh when people say things like "I'd pay off my bills', or "I'd go to Disneyland". I know the prices have gone up at Disney but not by that much, and if you have $1.4 billion in bills you need to pay off ---- you're already in trouble.  Still in all, figuring out what to do with it wouldn't be the worst problem one could have.

I missed my blogging yesterday because I had a Pastor's Circle meeting all morning. Being the resident cynical and probably much more conservative pastor, I sometimes get amused when people sit around and try to "out-deep-think" one another and pontificate. I read a lot, but obviously not like many of the other pastors. Certainly their references are from different authors than I use. I like the every-day common language stuff written by Max Lucado and Phillip Yancey. They sit around and say things like; "Well, so and so wrote this; and who and who wrote this or that." I guess that is why the Ordained Clergy refer to them selves as the "Learned Clergy". I have a book that I use constantly too, --- It's called "The Bible", and I learn new stuff everytime I start reading it.  My only hope and prayer is that my preaching contains sound theology., and I think it does.

I think the squirrels are starting to gather up clubs to beat me with because the feeders they can easily eat from are all empty. There are four squirrels out there that just keep going from one feeder to another  and finding them empty and then they turn and look towards the doors and go back and do it all over again. There is one sitting on a branch of the Pussy Willow trees immediately outside the glass and it is just starring at me. LOL They have expended an unknown aamount of energy this morning chasing one another off of empty feeders. But, I guess I should go on out and fill things up. I mainly need to fill the bark-butter paste feeders for the woodpeckers. The starlings cleaned them out completely during the last two days.

I hope your day is fully blessed and you feel fully engulfed with the warmth that comes from God's love and grace. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ walks with you every step you take. Reach out and take the hand of tthe Savior. You'll be so glad you did. Peace.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Happy 18 degrees! But, the sun is shining and the cardinal clan is here this morning for breakfast and a drink. They look absolutely brilliant out there on the bird bath having their morning refreshment. I had to go out and add water to the electric bird bath this morning. I should have maybe emptied it because it is scuzzy on the bottom with the crap that blows in and that the birds carry in. But there is enough ice out there on the sidewalk  that I don't need to add to it.

Yesterday morning we had to cancel church because of the weather and treacherous roads, and we certainly weren't the only ones. Most of the churches in the area cancelled way before we did. So, I took the time to have my coffee and watch my yard full of birds. I must have had 50 - 60 birds out there all trying to get food. The air was a blur with the birds darting back and forth. We had a hawk in the mix and at least three times it hit my glass doors chasing another bird. But --- eventually Mr. Hawk got his breakfast as he nailed a starling.

I had gotten up at 0600 and went out and shoveled out half of my driveway so we could not only get out but also back up my steep driveway after church was over. I had heard nothing from the church councils so I needed to be ready. I came back in an hour later (yeh, it took an hour for just half of the driveway), poured a cup of coffee and finally called a council member of one of the churches to see if any decisions had been made. They were in discussions with one another at the time but finally decided to cancel. So, I finished my coffee, watched my birds, and then called neighbor Dan and asked if he would help me swap out tthe mower deck for the snow blade on the John Deere. He was glad to help out. Dan and I got the switch out done, and put on the new "Terra-Treds" for extra traction. After that it was fun time. I got both of our drives cleaned off in fairly short order. I usually do the street and hill in from of our houses too but they were just ice due to the rain that had preceded our snow and super temperature drop.

This morning I took Ms. Kate to her doctor's appointment and then we stopped at McDonalds for a bite of breakfast.  Now we're are back home and I need to get to my computer and get started. But, the coffee is good, my music is nice, and the winter picture outside my sunporch is beautiful. As much as I don't like snow; I have to admit that God certainly paints a beautiful picture when it does snow. It fits in with what I can partially imagine the brilliance and purity of Heaven must be like. When I look at a snow covered scene like there is out my door, it is as if God had wiped away all of the touches of humans and put out a fresh canvas. If "peace" had a color; --- this is what it would look like.

I hope you have a most blessed day. As cold as it might be outside of your door, the love of God will keep you warm. I pray for any and all of those who don't have a warm home to be in this morning. I'm not only talking about the "homeless" that we see on the street corners, but also all of those who have lost homes dues to the recent flooding and other storms. Unfortunately we too soon forget that these people are still suffering long after the disaster. Keep them in your prayers and if you can help --- do so. Peace!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Saturday night late; I thought I would wait to write my blog until after the $900 million Powerball numbers were picked to see if I actually had to write it myself. Well, as you can see, I didn't win and am writing it myself. But, I did have one of the numbers they called and that's an improvement in my luck. I generally forget to buy a ticket or if I buy a ticket, I forget to check them. The lottery is obviously a priority in my life don't you think?

Winter is sitting outside the door. It is currently snowing and we are expecting maybe 1-3 inches of the white stuff. I still haven't put the blade on the John Deere although I have had opportunities. My son-in-law just offered over Christmas and again he offered to come over Tuesday. But I had this idea that if I didn't put it on, maybe it wouldn't snow. Silly me! So, now --- neighbor Dan and I will do it tomorrow afternoon. Maybe that will insure we don't have any more snow. In the mean time, as soon as it quit raining I went out and put out some snow/ice melt on the driveway. It had just started doing some sleet/snow. The temperature is supposed to drop drastically with wind chill temps in the single digits tomorrow. I suspect that church attendance is going top be very light ---- if we get to have church.

We had our association meeting today as predicted. Last year we had this meeting and there was about 60 people attending. Today there were 24. I'm not surprised. People are just not into attending a meeting that does not directly impact their lives. In fact that was part of our discussion today. I'm not sure what it will take but we need to do something to make the association viable and meaningful to people.

This evening, I finished baking the rest of the cookies that Ms. Kate had mixed up and in the refrigerator while she worked on her birthday and thank you cards that she makes for folks. Then we sat and watched television together for a couple of hours which is rare for us. Generally we watch totally different shows. She watches cop and lawyer shows and I watch HGTV, and Food Netwaork stuff with a little SciFi thrown in and things like Treehouse Masters. But tonight we were watching Food Network and the Kids Baking Championship.

OK, I gotta check outside and see what the streets look like, not that I can do anything about any of it.  You folks have a wonderful Sunday. Stay safe if you are in the snow storm areas. And regardless of where youo are; --- take time to give God praise for his bountiful blessings.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday morning; end of another work week for people with "normal" jobs. For me --- it is my "day off".. I generally take Friday and Saturday as my days off but lose a lot of the Saturdays due to a meeting or a class or a funeral or a wedding. It's the nature of the job and I chose it; or it chose me. Tomorrow is another one of those lost days because we have an all morning meeting with the church association.

The city sewer crew is back this morning to finish the installation of the manhole in Ms. Margaret's yard. They sure have a mess over there. It doesn't help that it rained some last night either so the tracks from the Bob Cat are going to be a bit deeper. They dug their trench a couple of feet deeper than needed because they were off in their location of the sewer line and were digging beside it by about a foot. But, they located it and all seems to be going well now. I'm just really glad they didn't have to tear up my fence to get to it. I guess when the previous owners of my home initially built the fence they put it within the easement, so there is always the possibility that if the city needed to work in that area, they have the right to destroy the fence, and they don't have to replace it. We have underground power lines running to the homes here in this neighborhood and I know by the red flags out there that those lines run right next to my fence. That would suck if they had to work on them.. But, they are re-filling the trench this morning and all is well on my side of the fence.

It is a bit warmer this morning and not raining now. I had a yard full of robins this morning when I came out to the sunporch. There were at least thirty of them hopping around and running all over the yard. I assume they stopped off for a snack on the way to someplace else. They have all gone now. At the moment, the female red-headed woodpecker is holding court and ruling the feeders. I have three or four cardinals out there and a few finches too. Beyond that it is just a couple of squirrels playing around. I have to fill feeders again today. It looks like everything is pretty well empty and it is supposed to turn really cold by Sunday. I also need to empty the bird bath and re-fill it. They get it pretty scuzzy, and while it might not bother the birds to drink the same water they bathe and poop in, it looks nasty as heck. I sometimes think feeding these silly birds is as bad as raising livestock  on a farm.

I've finished my devotions and contemplation for the morning. I've played my two computer games; Bingo Bash and Criminal Case, and I've gotten caught up on everyone's life through Facebook. And, I've sent an email to my sister. Now it is time to finish off the last of my coffee and get started on my day. One thing for sure I need to do today is get a haircut.

So, think kind thoughts today. Hug someone and go do something nice for someone. It's a perfect way to end your week. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

I'm back! I can't believe it is Thursday already. Our Tuesday and Wednesday were busy days, and somehow I just never got around to sitting out here. I missed it too. 

Tuesday, we decided to run over to Kentucky just east of Louisville to an outlet mall. There is an Under Armor store and I wanted to pick up a couple of things. And of course, --- there is a Coach store there too and Ms. Kate was drawn like a moth to a flame to it. Our wallets didn't get hit too hard; --- we still had gas money when we left there. We came back across the Ohio to New Albany and went to Julie and Jim's house and spent the night there. Jim fixed us a nice supper. Julie was working late at the University because classes start next week and they are busy putting together book orders for the students. So, we didn't have a lot of time to visit with her. But it was wonderful to be able to spend the night at their new home. This is the first time in their 30 years of marriage that they have owned a home and had room for us to stay at their home. And, they have had several visitors spend the night now in their new home. We are so very happy for them. 

My entertainment this morning is all on the other side of my back fence. The city sewer people are in Ms. Margaret's yard putting in a manhole  for what ever reason. We have been on a private sewer line forever here and last fall the city finally took it over. In the process of all of that the city determined that the previous owner had really let the thing deteriorate. As a result, of course, they are doing work on it for which our sewer bills have raised to pay for, for at least the next ten years. But, this morning they are digging up a deep trench. I was just out there watching, (where else would I be) and they are down seven feet and have two more feet to go. Their trench is about twenty feet long. As finicky as Ms. Margaret is about her yard; I'll bet she is fit to be tied. 

Last evening was choir practice but with all the other stuff I had to do yesterday, I didn't get around to  running the bulletins. So, that is on my primary agenda today. Ms. Kate is working on the month's birthday cards and also the "Thank you" cards from Christmas that we still haven't gotten around to writing. It sure doesn't take much to get behind. The Christmas trees are still up and that needs to be taken care of. But, I'm in no hurry to do that. I think they will stay up until the last Christmas cookie is gone!!!

I've refilled the bark-butter paste feeders again this morning and have a bunch of different birds out there eating off of them. It's good high energy for them especially in this cold weather.  But now, it is time to wrap this up and get busy. My time as blogger and "over-the-fence-supervisor" must come to an end for today. I pray your day will be a good one. Regardless of what you have planned for today --- God has plans for you too and God will be there with you every second of every day. Take a few moments today and acknowledge that fact. Peace!

Monday, January 4, 2016

The swimming pool is open for business. I finally plugged in the heated birdbath last evening and it has had a lot of visitors this morning. It is 34 degrees this morning and the water had been iced over every morning for the past week. But today, I have the only open water source around here so the landing zone is full. There is a stiff breeze out there so I'm glad I filled the feeders last evening. I wouldn't want to go out this morning. It is brrrrrville out there. It's a Carhart coverall morning.

The weekend went quickly. Saturday was Ms. Charlotte's funeral and yesterday was church day. We got home around 1430 and then a couple of the neighbor's came by. The Girl Scout next door came selling cookies and of course we bought $20.00 worth. And neighbor Dan brought over a dish full of fresh-out-of-the-deep-fryer egg rolls that his wife Minh had made. She makes the best egg-rolls in the world and it is always such a blessing when she shares. After they all left I came out to the sunporch, turned on some Montovani and I don't think I heard the end of the first song. I awoke to the next to the last song on a 27 song CD. Yeh, --- that was a quality nap. Ms. Kate said I didn't even finish the sentence I was saying; I just drifted off.

There are currently five cardinals sitting on the edge of the birdbath. I wonder if that equates to meeting around the water-cooler at work. I can see another four or five sitting on feeders and in the bushes. What a beautiful sight. All my regulars are here this morning; the finches, the junkos, the wrens, the chickadees, and the mockingbird. By now, the squirrels have discovered that the feeders are full too. But --- they are spending more time keeping each other off of the feeders than they are eating.

It is going to be a busy week. I of course have writing to do, but choir practice starts up again this week. We have a special meeting of our local church association this coming Saturday morning and I have the first of two church congregational meeting on Sunday. The second one will be the following Sunday. And before you know it --- January will be gone. I tend to look down range at the calendar a lot for planning purposes and can see where this year is going to fly by, at least through the first half. Come July we'll throw out the anchor and slow the boat down a bit. In the mean time, I'll just enjoy the simplest of pleasure such as seeing that beautiful Cardinal and that cute little wren that hops around everywhere out here on the sidewalk. God speaks to us in all kinds of ways and my mornings out here are just one of the ways I get to see and hear His glory. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

It's a beautiful morning! The sun is shining, the yard is full of birds, no clouds and 34 degrees. The only downside is that I was up way too early today for some reason.

The great thing about being up this early today though was that I have spent the last hour chatting with my three girls via Facebook Messenger. I do love that. I chat like that with at least one of the girls every day, and generally all three of them although maybe not at the same time. But sometimes like this morning, we set at the cyberspace kitchen table with our coffee and chat our little hearts out. It is so much better than telephone simply because I hate talking on the phone and this way we can all talk at the same time to one another.

I have a metal bird bath in the flowerbed that we turn over in the winter. The base of it is a hallow tube. The wren has decided that that will be his winter home. I've watched it fly in and out of there several times in the past few days or it will just sit at the opening and sun itself. The tube is deep enough that if need be, it can move on up and out of the way of a wandering cat. I love my wrens so I'm glad they have found a safe spot. My branch and twig pile is providing a good spot for the cardinals too. I still haven't plugged in the electric bird bath because it just hasn't gotten that cold.

Today I have Ms. Chaarlotte's funeral to do. Between visitation, funeral, travel the ten or fifteen miles to the cemetery, do the graveside service, and attend the bereavement meal ---- this will be a six hour event. I need to be at the funeral home by 1130 hours, so, my sitting and drinking coffee, chatting, and writing needs to be wrapped up soon. It is amazing how quickly time passes out here when I'm just enjoying a morning.

I hope you will take time to attend a worship service his weekend. We all have so many blessing for which to be thankfulIf you sat up out of bed this morning and your feet hit the floor, you have a bed, a house, and the ability to move freely about. That is so much more than so very many people have. Take time to give thanks to God for that.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A crisp (34 degrees) cloudless, sunny blue sky greets me on this first day of 2016. It is the first sunny day we have seen in a while and it is most welcome. I hope you had a nice New Year's Eve. Ms. Kate and I had a nice evening. We went to her sister Karen's house for supper and visiting with the nephews and nieces. They celebrated their Christmas together last evening and we're kind enough to have us join them. The food was good, thee company was great. We got home around 2000 hrs and then just watched television until the neighborhood exploded with fireworks and people banging pans and shout their Happy New Year into the night.

Our day today will most likely consist of not doing much around here. We will have our black-eyed- peas at some point today just for luck. But so far this morning, we're doing a couple loads of laundry, having our coffee, and doing our respective computer stuff and enjoying the life that God has granted us. Basically, we are just sitting around feeling blessed.

Yesterday we went to the churches and ran our weekly bulletins. First though, I finished up working on the funeral service for Ms. Charlotte. Her service will be tomorrow. Visitation will be from 1200 -1400 hrs. With time for funeral and then drive to the cemetery and graveside service, it will be about a five hour event. Thankfully, while it will be cold, there is no rain or snow in the forecast. I hate doing funerals in bad weather.

Julie just sent us a wonderful, albeit short, video of Jim's brother surprising him with a visit to celebrate Jim's 50th birthday. Jim thought Ms. Kate and I were coming over to stay at their house for a couple of days. he had no idea it was his brother that was coming. It was a wonderful moment to witness. I don't think they have seen each other in a couple of years. The "man-jabber-factor" just went up 1000% around their house. I don't know that Andrew has ever been in this part of the country. When Julie told me he was driving out, I asked her if Andrew realized that this is no longer Indian Territory. Massachusetts folks have a rather skewed vision of the rest of the country. I used to have a picture of the Massachusetts vision of the USA, It showed Massachusetts -- then a big void, -- then California.

It is a good time to start the year off by giving thanks for a whole new set of 365 days to make an impact for the good in people's lives. I trust God to guide me in that process. This year will include big events such as Ms. Kate and me celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary in February, and the marriage of Heather and John come April. The wedding in California and a high school graduation in North Carolina will provide great travel opportunities and "kid-hugging" opportunities of which we never get enough.

Have a blessed 2016. Let God be in charge.