Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday afternoon and I'm sitting by the pool at the hotel. Julie and Lisa are sitting in the hot tub and I decided to come down and do my blog. We are also waiting for Ms. Kate's sister, Karen to arrive at the hotel. The wedding rehearsal is at 1530 so everything is on track.

The weather here is cool but sunny. Unfortunately we may have to dodge some raindrops just in time for the wedding. But, if we do, it will just be moved inside. But regardless of of what happens, the wedding will go on and life will continue to be good.

California is a beautiful state and Ms. Kate and I loved living here the two times that we were stationed in the state. Having said that --- I don't think you could pay me to live here again. There's just so much traffic and noise and people everywhere. It is hard to find a quiet spot. One has to literally head out into the deserts and hill tops to get away from all of it. No thank you! Even here in the hotel it is hard to find a quiet spot. There is another bridal party here tonight. The bride and her entourage came in this afternoon. They looked like character's out of "The Stepford Wives." Everyone of them was tall, blonde, tanned to perfection, wearing their tattoos, skinny jeans and high heels or boots. No doubt in my mind they are all sorority sisters. The bride was wearing the train part of her veil and the others were wearing their smiles and giggles and haughty disapproval of all things not them. I couldn't help but think --- yeah, you might be hot in some one's world but you're still carrying a Bud Lite and celebrating at a Comfort Inn.

Ok, I was interrupted for a few hours while we attended to wedding business. By tomorrow evening  all of the excitement of pre-wedding will be over and I'm sure that exhaustion will begin to set in. Rehearsal went well. Everybody was on time and behaved themselves. The rehearsal dinner was very good. Come Sunday, Julie, Jim, Lisa, & Steph will all be getting on a plane and heading home. Karen will head back over to Las Vegas for a couple of days and then on Monday, Ms. Kate and I will head to Las Vegas for a week.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I hope you take time to go and give God thanks for the blessings in your life. Knowing that I am performing the marriage ceremony for my daughter and new son-in-law tomorrow is such a multitude of blessings for me. It will be the highlight of my career as a pastor and and an overwhelming honor as her father. God has truly blessed me. I give God all praise and glory. Peace.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday got here rather quickly. I'm certainly not in my sunporch but rather setting in Heather's outdoor patio. We left Evansville as soon as church was over on Sundaya and then stopped for the first night in Jolin, MO. The second night we made it to Amarillo, TX, but the third night we decided to push it and put in 600 miles and made it to Flagstaff, AZ. Then yesterday we pushed on inn to Menefeee, CA and to Heather's place. It was a 2024 mile trip.

The girls are all here and they are at the moment folding napkins for the reception. The sisters and Lauren surprised Heather earlier with a surprise wedding shower. It has been a constant "gab-fest" ever since we got here. I do love having all of my girls and Ms. Kate in one place and hearing the chitter-chatter between them.

We are hoping it is going to warm up a bit by Saturday. It was down-right cool this morning and at 1:00 p.m. It is only 61 degrees. The sun is out but barely. It is amazing that back home it is 78 degrees and here in Southern California we are running around in jackets.

These are just a few of the flowers that are being delivered today. So part of our job is to set and wait for UPS delivery trucks. I think Heather said that another 200 Roses are supposed to arrive yet today. 

I know this is short but I did want to reach out. I also want to take a moment to lift up all of the people who have been affected by the terrible storms in the mid west part of the country in the past few days. Indirectly affect is neighbor Dan, Some fellow didn't stop in time yesterday and far-ended their car at about 45 mph. They are sore but alright. We give God thanks for that. 

I'll try to write again tomorrow but promise nothing. Have a great day. Give God praise today and then go hug someone you love and smile at someone you don't even know. Peace. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cloudy, grey, and 54 degrees to begin day that had been advertised as a sunny start to the weekend. The weather fore-guessers missed it once again. Oh well, no use trumping about it; it is what it is.

I got the yards all mowed yesterday and it looks nice out there. I suspect that by the time I get back home things will look pretty shaggy around here. Hopefully, neighbor Dan will be able to get out there and mow it. And, --- we are going to miss the flowers  like the Iris blooming. I hate that part because Ms. Kate does have a lot of beautiful iris around here. We've taken many bouquets to the churches over the years to decorate the altars. And -- she has given away a lot of iris to members of the church to plant in their own gardens. I think that is kind of cool because it creates a bit of a legacy between people. We have flowers in our yard that are passed down through the family and it is neat to walk around the yard and remember the person that gave this or that flower to us. I planted a redbud tree a couple years ago at St. Paul's church and it is doing well. It had come up in one of my flowerbeds here at the house and we needed to replace a tree that had died in our "Grove of Rememberaance" at the church. So, I gave it a shot and it has now taken off.

Our job today is to get the car packed except for absolute last minute things. We have the "big stuff" packed, i.e stuff we won't touch until we get to Californis, but now we need to wedge in and pack the incidentals such as travel snacks, shoes, jackets, and things like that. We plan to hit the road as soon as I finish my last service in the morning which should put us on the road by 12:30 pm. We want to make Joplin Missouri by tomorrow night. That shouldn't be a problem as long as the weather is clear and the traffic is fairly light and there isn't a lot of road construction. As you can plainly tell, we are excited about this trip. Not only are we going to see all of our girls again but we are gaining a new son-in-law who, from all we know and have seen, is just a super choice for Heather as a husband. Heather's kids love him, Gary and Jim, my other son-in-laws seem to like him as do Julie, Lisa and Stephanie. I just hope we don't overwhelm him too much. It is a first marriage for him and he has been pretty much on his own for a lot of years. The fact that I get to perform the wedding ceremony is just a blessing from God to me, and I am thrilled beyond words.

My blogging is going to be sporadic for the next three weeks so bear with me and hang in there. I'll try to keep you posted and you can travel vicariously with us across America, spend a few days with the family in California, then go with us to Las Vegas, then up through the Colorado Rockies and back home again in Indiana. In the meantime, I'll ask for your prayers as we travel and I offer prayers for you in whatever you will be doing. Have a blessed weekend. Peace.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Gosh, this is Friday already isn't it? My week that I thought was going to last forever has almost ended. Only about 48 hours until we get on the road for our vacation. And --- I still haven't finished packing, nor was I able to get my hair cut yesterday like I planned. My barber shop is closed for vacation. They could have waited a week and gone while I was gone. They obviously just forgot how really important I am. LOLOL  So, I guess I'll go to my alternate place but I don't like them near as well.

It is cloudy again this morning. We had a good bit of rain yesterday and yesterday evening. Most of the weather has moved on but now we are getting the wrap-around effect of the front. It is still too wet to mow the grass. But this stuff is supposed to move on and the sun will break out. I moved another one of our plant containers from out of the sunroom to outside yesterday afternoon and let it get some rain on it. It already looks healthier this morning. It is amazing how much better stuff looks when God waters it instead of me.

I have mostly starlings here this morning so far. The cardinals will be here soon. I did have a pair of nuthatches come in a while ago. They had their breakfast and moved on. We're just the Comfort Inn of Birdland I guess. I also had a new cat in the yard out by the south fence line. It was a huge yellow thing. If it hadn't had a long tail, I would have thought it could be a Bobcat. We have some of those in this area although I've never seen one. Every once in awhile, someone will post a video of one in their back yard, but it is always in much more rural areas than what I live in. But this cat didn't stay long. It jumped the fence and moved on south.

I re-filled the bark butter sticks again yesterday because the Pilated Woodpecker kept showing up and was looking for it. Of course, now, I haven't seen it since; --- and the starlings and mockingbirds are rapidly depleting the feeders again. They are worse than crack addicts about that stuff. What hasn't gone down too much is the sunflower seed feeders. But, by the time we get back from vacation, you can bet that everything will be empty and the critters will be picketing at the windows.

We got our route back home planned out yesterday. I really hope we have good weather because it will be a beautiful drive coming through the Rockies and the Denver area. I'm also hoping the desert areas have had some good rain because when that happens, the desert comes alive with wild flowers. We have been lucky enough to see that a couple of times and it is overwhelming. God does such marvelous work with creation.

Ms. Kate is fixing breakfast so, I'm jumping out of here. I pray you will have a most blessed day. Go out and surprise someone with an unexpected hug today.  Peace.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I know it can't be bright and sunny everyday and all of the time. If it were we would be living in the desert. So these light April showers this morning are fine by me. As long as we aren't having severe storms or flooding issues like they are having in Houston, Texas, it's all good. I pray for the folks in Texas. Several lives have been lost due simply because people drive into what they think are puddles and they end up being washed away. I've heard our weatherman say a thousand times; "Turn around -- don't drown." But people think that bad things can't possibly happen to them and they lose their lives over their bravado.

My Pilated woodpecker was here again today and the bark butter feeders are empty. When the showers quit, I'll go out and fill them up. It's been around here enough now to earn a name and I think I'll call him "Mr. Longbeak" It is amazing how he can twist his head and neck around to get food from the feeders. God seems to have given each and every creature the exact abilities they need to maintain themselves. Human creatures are the ones that seem to waste their special God-given abilities the most. That's what happens when you exchange instinct for thought. Since the bark butter feeders were empty, he decided it was fine to eat from the seed cakes that they make specifically for woodpeckers. The poor thing.

The bird baths are busy again this morning despite the rain. I guess sometimes a shower isn't enough and a bird just has to have a bath. At least the robins and the starlings seem to think so. They have been in and out of all three of the bird baths this morning several times.

Ms. Kate and I got our trip out to California all mapped out yesterday and the motel reservations made. Today we'll plan out the trip back but since we are taking I-70 home I don't think we'll make the hotel reservations just yet in case the mountains get a lot of snow. We have seen deep snow as late as June on some of out trips.

We had choir practice last nigh and it went very well. We only have one last time to sing this season and that will be on May the 22nd. The song we are singing is short enough and easy enough that I suggested that they can skip choir practice while Ms, Kate and I are gone. There were no complaints about that.

My pink azelias are pretty well bloomed out and now the red ones are coming along fine and beautiful. The it is are starting to bloom as are the poppies. The front of our house is lined with red and white azelias and a pink dogwood  and a white dogwood. Everything is blooming and it looks beautiful. It has been am amazing spring.

Time to refill the coffee cup, then get ready to go to the barbershop. I've se here and loafed long enough. Take time to snif some flowers today and maybe do an April walk in the rain showers. It's only water you know, and I didn't say you couldn't take an umbrella. Go on -- go out and touch the face of God!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Happy Wednesday! It has been a battle of the "sharp beaks" this morning. The starlings, the mocking birds, the woodpeckers, the bluejays and for good measure, a brown thrush have all been at one another this morning fighting over position on the feeders. By and large, I think the starlings won because they gang up on the other birds and run them off, and then they fight with each other. They are like Appalacian clan folk; "it us against them, and then me against you." And through it all, they have just about cleaned out the bark butter sticks AGAIN !!!! The cardinals and the other birds just kind of sit back while all of this fussing is going on. Then when it is all over, they will come on in.

I had to change out the water in the birdbaths yesterday; or al least what was left of it. They had all gotten full of those flying Maple tree seeds, and there was hardly any water left in them. So, I scrubbed them out and refilled them with fresh water. This morning I'll need to do it again because the starlings, robins, and cardinals have all been in there splashing and taking their baths. They are fun to watch as they splash and flutter out there. Seeing the cardinals do that is a new thing as I told you last week. I'm sure they always have, --- I've just never observed it.

As you know, Wednesday is generally our day at the churches getting things ready for Sunday and then having choir practice. I also had a pre-marriage counseling session scheduled for this evening but the groom is wrapped up in planting corn etc and that means we will reschedule. and, since we are caught up and ahead with our bulletins, we don't have to go up until this evening for choir. I had planned to get a haircut today but then I remembered that the barber ships are closed on Wednesday. So --- now what??? It isn't like we don't have any work around here to do. It is just a matter of doing it. But, I think we need to get the maps out and finish our trip planning today and maybe make some reservations. We know that one of the stops we hope to make on the way out is Gallup, New Mexico. We stayed there on a trip out west once before. I don't remember the motel, but I'm sure it would have been a Choice Hotel chain motel; anyway, --- we found a resturant close to the hotel that served an Indian Fry Bread burrito. It was delicious and we hope to be able to do that again. I know it sounds silly to plan your trip around a burrito --- but hey; --- that the kind of thing we do. We had toyed with doing our return trip on I-80 just so we could go through Laramie, WY and go to a certain steakhouse that we love. When I eventually retire --- there are a lot of resturants in this country that are just waiting on our arrival. Somewhere in our future is a trip to Nova Scotia because I've read they have the biggest and best lobster to be found outside of South Africa; --- and that's too far to drive. LOL
The bucket list is still long even with all of the traveling that we have done in our lives.

My second cup of coffee is about gone so I need to get out of my recliner, quit watching the birds bathe, and get busy. Life is abundant and God is so good. There are Roses to be smelled out there and I'm wasting time. Have a blessed day.

Monday, April 18, 2016

It is a brilliant start to a brand new week. It is 64 degrees already this morning and going to the mid-eighties. The cardinals are looking brilliant in the sunlight with their red coats on. They are flitting back and forth from feeder to bird bath to feeder again. There looks to be maybe six or seven this morning. It is often hard to tell because they move around so much. Two squirrels have joined the mix this morning already. And then, we have the starlings that are rapidly depleting the bark butter from the feeders, along side of the downy woodpeckers. I must go to buy suets and bark butter and bark butter bits today as I am totally out of all of it. Say good bye to my $100.00 bill.

We had a really good weekend. Church was as well attended as I expected it to be considering that corn planting has started. Folks will be tending to that business for the next few weeks. So as they head out the door early each morning I offer up a prayer that their season will be a good and safe season while they get the seed in to ground. We all know that these guys tend to work too many hours a day until they get the seed in or the harvest out. Tired bodies and fatigued minds cause accidents.

This is packing and planning week for Ms. Kate and I. We have stuff that needs to be taken to Heather's house and I'm not sure yet how it is going to fit in the car. I don't think it is all that much but some of it is a bit bulky. Since some of it a small furniture, we need to keep it from rubbing against each other. Taking this stuff out is the reason we are driving instead of flying. Although we do like driving across the country. I just wish the trips weren't rushed. We are doing the trip in four days each way and that does make for some long driving days. I know some folks would do it in less but we don't like to do more than 450 miles a day and that won't cut it, so we're going to stretch that a bit each day. I think today we need to go to AAA and get a trip-tik done as well as a bunch of other stuff.

Our azelias just continue to be more beautiful each day. The pink ones are huge along the west fence and the red ones back there are now stating to blossom out too, Unfortunately, I don't think a couple of them are going to do anything at all. There is too much shade where they are and I think they have died. I need to get those dug up and out of there sometime this summer. Our Rhodadendrum has finally died out too. Last year it was so beautiful but this year it hasn't started to even look the least bit green. I'll let it go until we get back and if it hasn't done anything by then, I'll take it out. I think though it just reached the end of its life span.

So, I need to refill my coffee cup and get busy. I hope your week is full of God's blessings and I hope your week is full of God's peace. Stop what you are doing and go hug someone you love. It will do you good. Peace.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Good Saturday morning I'm having a hard time waking up this morning and so is Ms. Kate. We are both out here in the sunporch with our coffee cups but we keep dozing off . I think the fact of the matter is that we have had a very busy week and today there is nothing on our must do list. Certainly there are things to do and we will get to them today but not at the moment. Z-z-z-z-z-z!

Yesterday we did the funeral for one of my parishioners and it went well. I think the family received some closure. Then we had to go to hospital for a pastoral visit because one of our parishioners was having surgery for a severely broken leg. After that we went to Ms. Kate's sister's house for a bit and then to shop for a wedding present. While we were shopping I got a call about another parishioner who lost the baby she was carrying. Bless her and her husband's hearts. It was their first and they were so looking forward to having this child. And -- last night I had more church business to take care of; so it has been one of those kind of weeks. I think we are sleepy this morning because the adrenaline has finally worn off.

As I look out in the yard I can see several things that are calling my name, not the least of which are my lawn mowers. Since it is going to be a 75 degree day, I just can't ask for a better day to do some yard work. I also have bird feeders to fill again and some trimming to get done. Ms. Kate and I also have a couple of weeks of bulletins to fold and stuff today so we can take them to the churches tomorrow. The day will not go idle. But, we are just about at the point where we can concentrate on just getting packed and ready  for our trip. We need to be at that point because we leave a week from tomorrow as soon as the church service is over.

My cousin Debbie and her husband leave for Cancun, Mexico today. I know they are really looking forward to the trip. I'd like to see that part of the world but I know that we would never travel there. I've done enough foreign travel to satisfy my soul. It is one thing to travel to foreign countries on military orders and have known American systems to back you up. But going off on your own without known back up just isn't going to happen for us.

The yawns and stretches are all done and now I'm awake enough to get busy and be productive. I hope your day is blessed and full of God's goodness. Peace!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Blue skies and sunshine a mile wide: what a beautiful morning. It is currently 54 degrees and climbing. It is going to be a good day to get out of the house. The first thing on my agenda today is to meet our good friends Bob and Geotgia Ann at the St. Joe Inn for lunch. We get together there to celebrate birthdays over plates of fried mushrooms and a good cold beer. Today we are celebrating Bob's 83rd birthday. Georgia Ann and I have the same birthday, July 20th. Come that date she will be 87 and I will be 72. They are really great people. She played the organ at St. Lucas for fifty years, and now her daughter Brenda plays and is as good as her mom. I love to listen to her play. They both "understand" music; and if you aren't a musician, that statement won't mean much to you I guess. Brenda and I are going to do a keyboard/trumpet duet this summer again.

Unfortunately, my afternoon and part of my evening will be spent at the funeral home. I had a parishioner pass on Sunday and his funeral is tomorrow morning. I'll meet with the family at 1500 today to see if there are any last minute arrangements they want for the funeral such as extra speakers etc. . Funerals are the worst to prepare for. I do good funerals and I spend a good deal of time putting one together. But almost always the emotions of the family come into play and at the last second people seem to realize that this is the last time I'm ever going to be able to do something for my loved one and they come and want to insert stuff into the service. That is what has already happened to tomorrow's funeral. So, after I leave the visitation this afternoon. I'll come home and pare and tailor the service to meet their wishes. It's all good; it's just part of the business. If it gives the family closure --- it's just time on my part and time is something that I have to give.

The sun is really lighting up the azelias out by the fence. They are a light pink and the bushes are huge. It makes the red tulips look even more brilliant. I just never cease to be amazed at the work of God and the creation God put into motion. There are people who deny the existence of God and I don't understand how they can look at the flowers in my yard or anywhere else and even possibly think that all of this just "accidentally" happened. In fact, I think their denial of the existence of God is an oxymoron. To deny that God exists means that one must have an idea of what God is or is not. If you have that --- then you would have to accept the fact that the concept you have of God is based on something or your logic is false. So --- just trust me when I say that beautiful scene I see out my sunporch with all the flowers and birds --- that is a Heavenly scene; brought to you by the one and only ---God! Now --- go have a perfectly heavenly day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It is a bright, blue-sky, sun shining day that greets me this morning. It is only 45 degrees but I'll gladly take it. I'm getting an earlier start on this today than I did yesterday. However, today is going to be crammed with work. Yes, it is Wednesday and today, Ms. Kate and I have a lot of bulletins to run. We have several weeks worth to run because of our up coming vacation. I also have a luncheon meeting with our Associate Conference Minister, and we have choir practice tonight. Unfortunately that means no nap today!

I have a lot of birds and squirrels out there this morning. I've been watching one squirrel out on the feeder that we kind of allocate to them and it hadn't stopped eating for at least 30 minutes until all of a sudden another squirrel showed up. Then the fight was on. It jumped from the feeder over to the tree and the chase was on; across the yard, up the pussy willow tree, across and around my sunporch roof, back down the pussy willow tree and to the yard --- and they just stopped. Now one of them is back on the original feeder, but the tail is swishing as fast as it can. They are entertaining to say the least. They mocking bird, the woodpeckers, and the starlings are all apparently glad to see the bark butter feeders are full again; although at this rate, they won't be full for long. I was checking my stock of stuff yesterday afternoon and it appears I will need to go to the feed store again soon. I'm totally out of suits, I'm on the last container of bark butter and the last bag of bark butter bits. They sure go through stuff quick.

Neighbor Dan finally got home last night. It will be good to see them. They were talking a back to back trip and maybe leaving for Washigton DC right away but I think that trip got put on hold due to his wrist surgery. Besides, it is his time to watch the fort while Ms. Kate and I go off to have fun.

It looks like Ms. Margaret's flowering crabapple tree has just about finished with its blooming. I'm sorry to see that because it really made for a beautiful picture over across the fence. It's hard to believe how big that thing has gotten since we moved here.

Well, I have enough work to do to keep me busy today and I need to get started on it. But first, I must take time to give thanks for such a beautiful morning. I pray your day will be full of joy and happiness. I pray your worries will be small and that you will take them and drop them off at the cross of Jesus, and turn them over to God. God is so good! Peace.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Oh yes, it is late in the day for me to be starting on my blog. And, I suspect it will not be as long as usual. But, --- it has been a busy day.

I had the monthly Pastor's Circle meeting this morning to attend. That is normally a three hour deal and today was no different. But we had a very different and interesting program for it today. Some folks presented a program on therapy dogs for use in nursing homes. The two dogs they brought were so gentle and well behaved. I'm sure they are very good at doing what they do. This program ties in ministry and compassion care with the dogs.

I got home a little after noon and we went out to lunch and then to the doctor's office for Ms. Kate to do her monthlyy blood draw; then to the CVS Pharmacy; then home and took a short nap. And now --- here we are.

I've been sitting here watching two rabbits out there in the yard. They are using the daffodils for cover and have been in and out of the yard for a couple of days. My bet is that in a few weeks I'll have baby bunnies again this year like I did last year. While we were sitting here though, a squirrel came along and started chasing the rabbits. I've never seen that happen before. I don't know if they were playing or the squirrel was claiming territory. My bird feeders are empty, as I told you yesterday. So, in a few minutes I'm going to go fill everything up again. In another hour the cardinals will be in for evening feeding and I need to make sure they have something waiting for them. It is such a beautiful afternoon that I don't want to miss seeing them because of laziness on my part.

The lilacs and the azelias aare now coming on strong. Some of our larger pink azelias on the west fence are at about the 50% point of being in bloom. The tulips are blooming well and the Virginia Coral Bells are blooming too. The yard is lush and green but unfortunately the weeds are quickly getting ahead of us due to the rain. The peonies are really coming up too so we will have flowers of some kind blooming around here for the next couple of months. God does marvelous work.

OK, time to go fill feeders and make happy bird. The cardinals are already starting to gather. Have a blessed evening.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Welcome to a warm, rainy, April morning. It is 57 degrees this morning and the showers ar light, and the sky is overcast of course. But there are a lot of birds singing this morning to welcome the start of a new week.

I started my Monday morning off with an early call from a funeral home. One of my parishioners passed away last evening. It was not an unexpected passing. The man has been in really bad shape for the past few months and has been bed -ridden for at least three months. He was ready to die and God has blessfully answered his prayer and taken him away from his pain and suffering. God is good --- all the time.

Today's rain will give way to a much nicer and hopefully warmer week. I think everyone is ready to see some sunshine for a few days in a row. I know all of my farmer friends in the church are chomping at the bit to get out there. A few of them got out yesterday and did some ground working. Ms. Kate and I went to Metropolis, IL on Friday and canme back home via the country roads rather than the interstates and all of the farm ground we saw looked pretty dry. I was surprised that there weren't a lot of tractors in the fields. But --- it is still too cold for them to be planting corn. The seed would just sit there and not germinate. We did, however, pass a few trucks that were hauling anhydrous ammonia tanks for spraying on the fields. So, the guys are doing their prep work and getting ready. The last few years we have had really good harvests around this area and I hope that continues.

I see I have a few empty feeders out there today. I guess I'll fill stuff up after the rain stops. There is a big red-readied woodpecker out there at the moment and he has two choices; he can eat sunflower seed or he can eat some suet. The bark butter feeders have long since been depleted of the last possible morsel, thanks in large part to the starlings and red-wing blackbirds. There are a couple of cardinals here this morning but most everybody is still under cover some where from the showers. I think I need to change out the cylinder feeder too. They have quit eating off of it for the most part. It is in a cage that protects it from the larger birds and I guess I don't see a lot of the small birds these days like I do in winter.

I just poured my second cup of coffee and I think it is time to quit writing and just spend some time in thought and prayer. I have a funeral to put together and a week full of church business to take care of. So, I need to ,are good use of quiet time. I hope you have some quality quiet time this week too. Take time to listen for the voice of God in the silent periods. Peace.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Happy Friday morning! It is just another gloomy looking day. This reminds me so much of my days I spent in Germany. As I look back on it, many of the days there were cloudy and grey day. I was only there for 7-10 day stretches at a time but it was a fact that many of the US personnel assigned there suffered from depression simply because of the lack of sun shiny days.

it is another cool morning with a wind. Winter is not giving up easily. It was so late in arriving but now we are having to keep the sweatshirts out. We have another freeze warning for tonight. that's why it isn't a good idea to plant stuff too early. I know all of the big box stores put their potted plants out early and everybody rushes to get them on the first warm spring day. But --- this kind of weather will just make you go out and have to re-purchase unless you take the time to cover up your plants.

It is laundry day around here. Ms. Kate already has one load washed and in the dryer and the second load in the washing machine. There will be a third load today because we bought some new clothes and stuff and it needs to be washed before we wear it. I never thought much about that until I read an article one day that talked about the making of our clothes. It said that the stuff might look totally clean but we really have no idea about the manufacturing process of the item. In that much of what we buy is from third world countries, (and much of it in sweatshops frankly) the health and cleanliness standards of the workers in those countries may not be what you want them to be. So, wash your stuff before you wear it.

We are going no to take a "wild kids" day today and head over to Metropolis, IL and spend a night at the local casino over there. Yes, Metropolis is the home of the creator of the original Superman comics. They have a Superman statue that you can have your picture taken beside. We haven't taken a  day trip like this in a long time and we are caught up enough to do so. Maybe that third load of laundry will have to wait until we get back home tomorrow afternoon. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, I'll be sitting by the Ohio River watching the barges go by. There is also a couple of resturants that I heard about over in Paducah, across the river, that are highly rated and I want to try one of them out. What can I say; Ms. Kate and I are just wild and crazy people.

I hear the dryer buzzing so I better go switch the load out. It's Friday --- do something wild and wonderful for yourself this weekend. When you leave work today --- turn it off mentally. You'll be so much better off when you return. Have a blessed day my friends. Peace.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

No sunshine again this morning; it's just a grey, somewhat warm (54) and windy morning again. my cousin Debbie who lives about 130 miles west of me posts a sunrise almost every morning on Facebook. I look forward to seeing them because she actually gets up early enough to see the sun rise. And -- she lives out in the country with no houses around her to block the view of the sun coming up over the horizon and their pond. I took those kind of hours off of my clock. But, she didn't have a sun rise this morning either.

We had severe thunderstorms role through yesterday afternoon so we canceled choir practice and Ms. Kate and I didn't go up to the churches and run the bulletins. The storms were way worse up there than they were here at home. The wind took trees and roofs and power from some people there. None of my partitioner were affected that badly, I don't think. This has been a turbulent month with the wind so far. I don't recall this being "typical" for April but the weatherman says it is. We are in what they say is a 13 week severe weather watch period. We go through this every spring and every fall which mean that we spend 26 weeks of 52 under a severe weather watch. What's up with that?

Each and every day the yard looks more and more lush as the flowers continue to grow and the trees continue to leaf out. I was looking at Ms. Margaret's big Maple tree yesterday and it won't be very long and all of those millions of "helicopter" seeds are going to start flying through the air. I think we need an east wind so they land on her roof and gutter instead of mine. Unfortunately, neighbor Darrel, next door to the south also has one just as big. So, since the majority of our winds come from the south and the west --- guess where everything lands.  No wonder I have so many volunteer trees in my yard and flowerbeds.

I have now finished all of the worship services that I need to get prepared so I can go on vacation. I still have to finish one last sermon for the Sunday that I return but that won't take too long. Then, Ms. Kate and I need to spend some time at the church one of these days just running and stuffing bulletins. It isn't hard work, it just takes awhile and our backs get sore from sitting there folding and stuffing them. Most of the times things go well; but when things go wrong with the copier, it really gets frustrating.

So, having said that, I need to get ready for my day's work. Ms. Kate and I also need to go go the grocery store for a few things. She is out of half and half for her morning coffee and we don't want the world to come to a screeching halt. LOL

Only a few birds have come aeound this morning and no squirrels. Maybe I'm just not here at the right moment today. But, a couple of beautiful cardinals did stop by the bird bath for a drink, and that always brightens my day. It is just kind of my morning messenger from God saying "Nice to see you  this morning." On that note I bid you a blessed day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

High winds n this Wednesday morning and they are bringing in a storm that is pushed by a cold front.  There is nothing better to cause a headache than a low pressure front carrying a storm along with it. The chimes are ringing in the wind and it is a pleasant sound. 

I saw a first this morning. There was a cardinal in the birdbath taking a bath this morning. I've seen many robins and starlings and blackbirds do that but never a cardinal. I've seen sparrow taking both water and dust baths but was surprised to see a cardinal splashing the water around this morning. I had to fill my bark butter feeders again this morning. I'm going through a 2lb container of this stuff about every ten days at $12.00 a container. But --- it keeps my birds coming back. The nut hatches were literally landing on the one I had just filled as I was hanging up a second one. My presence didn't bother them a bit. 

Wednesday of course means an afternoon and evening at the churches for Sunday and then staying around for choir practice. I don't know what we will work on for choir now that the cantata is over. I would love for them to sing a couple more times before the summer schedule starts. We generally don't have choir during the summer. I try to get individuals to sing or play an instrument as a solo during the summer. We have a young girl who does interpretive dance and I had her do her recital dance one time. I don't know if she is still doing that or not. Parents seem to want their kids doing everything these days. I know she is doing basketball and soccer these days so maybe she's not doing dance. We have several musicians in the congregation at St. Lucas but one would think they never heard of music when I ask them to do a solo. I have done solos several times but I always feel like I'm being a show off or being "braggy" if I do it myself.  I just don't understand --- God gives people beautiful talents but they want tpo hide it and not use it. But then, I have played music and sang solos in front of people forever. Sometimes I do really well, sometimes I could have done a lot better. But if you want runs on the scoreboard --- somebody has to pick up a bat. 

The sky is getting darker rather than lighter which I reckons means the rain is moving this way. It is supposed to be over by this evening which is fine by me and it isn't supposed to be more than a half an inch. I've set here through both cups of coffee and now I need to head to my "real" computer and get some writing done. I pray your day is fully blessed and full of goodness for your mind, body, and soul. Peace. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The blooming trees and flowers tell me it is spring. The temperature being 32 this morning and a skim of ice on the bird bath say it is not. What's up with all of that?? But, yesterday turned out to be a very nice day. I spent about five or maybe six hours outside working in the yard. I started out in a sweatshirt but quickly changed to a tee-shirt. I finished up cleaning away my branch/twig pile from the winter and got the area raked clear of the leaves from last fall. Then I started giving the fire bushes a "haircut". Every year or year and a half I go trim off all of the lower new shoots and branches so they remain manageable. If I don't do that they get so thick that no light gets through them at all. Ms. Kate came out and helped me and we got most of three of them done. We still have three to do and one of them is going to take a while. They grow so that it hard to even get the pruner in there to trim them. And, I got my back yard mowed as well as my front yard and neighbor Dan's yard. He and Minh get back from California tomorrow night. They have been gone for five weeks.

The feeders are all full this morning since I filled up everything yesterday. The first run of birds was nothing but blackbirds and starlings. But -- they are now moved on and the woodpeckers, cardinals, mockingbirds, doves, finches and robins are all now here. What a joy to sit here and observe them. The Robin didn't even mind the skim of ice that was on the bird bath --- it jumped in for its bath anyway. We've been watching the goldfinches and I think they are a brighter yellow this year than they have been in the past couple of years. I don't know what would make that true, but I think it is. Perhaps it is just that the sun cresting the roof of the house seems to shine especially bright on them in the morning. The same could be said for the red of the cardinals. God does create some beautiful creature though and His lighting effects are often pretty spectacular.

I finished up my worship services for the two weeks that I'm going to be on vacation and got them sent to our guest pastor for a sermon title and any scripture changes. Today, I need to put together a couple more services and write a sermon for Pentecost Sunday. Being caught up for me means several weeks ahead. A person never knows when an emergency might come up and rob you of time to get things done, hence, I work ahead when ever possible. It will sure seems strange to not have to do that kind of stuff when I eventually retire.

Time for me to read my morning devotional from Max Lucado and stop and have a chat with the Blessed God who makes all things possible including the showers of blessings that fill my life. I just remain amazed at what a good life I have been allowed to live and how fortunate I am. We don't have "money" but we have everything we need and the world hardly seems big enough to contain the amount of love I feel myself surrounded by. I have no doubt it all starts with God's grace. I pray you can feel that way too. Peace.

Monday, April 4, 2016

I saw a meme on Facebook this morning that I thought was quite appropriate. It was a child wth a scowl on his face and the words were; "Winter, you had six weeks to show up and you were late! Now move on!" That's a bit how I feel about the weather this week. We are still having freeze warnings at night and the 60's during the day. This morning it was 43  and is going to 63. But --- the sky is cloud covered, and it is sprinkling rain. However, typing and griping about it all is just an exercise for my fingers; so, I'll just hush and eat my piece of peach pie for my breakfast.

And a very happy Monday to you! As I look out the porch this morning I see that the Bradford Pear and other early blooming trees are about 90% done and the wind has taken the blossoms away. However, The Redbuds, and Flowering Crabapples are now blooming beautifully, and the Dogwood trees are just now starting to put their blooms on. The daffodils are "past it" and are drooping and looking tired. But the Tulips are looking good and the peonies are now up abut a foot and the early Azelia's are getting a few blooms on them. I might gripe about the weather etc., but God has indeed given us a beautiful spring this year. So, I send a heaven-bound Instagram full of my apologies.

Ms. Kate still isn't feeling well. She says it is her diverticulitis that is keeping her down. Bless her heart, there isn't much one can do about it except watch your diet and suffer with it. I had that for several years and can attest to what she is going through. It will flat double you over in pain.

The robins are a hoppin' and boppin' his morning around the yard and in the bird bath. I bought a new container /feeder the other day for mealworms to put out for the birds. It is a small glass jar that is maybe two inches wide and a half an inch deep. The wren loves it. It keeps the container empty as it darts back and forth grabbing a worm. These meal worms are dried and they stink. They are also expensive. They weigh practically nothing for a container of them. But cardinals like them and so do my wrens. I guess I need to fill up my little container again as well as the bark butter feeders. These guys sure do have me trained.

Yesterday was a busy day but I got some good work done. The best part for me was that I finally got my slate of candidates filled for the up coming election of the Evansvile Tri-State Association of the United Church of Christ. Now I can relax about that. When I accepted the position as the Vice President as a fill-in back in December, filling that slate was my only real job that I had to do and there were seven positions that needed to be filled. So, I'm patting myself on the back because one of the jobs that had to be filled was mine! Now I have a couple more worship services and a sermon yet to write before Ms. Kate and I are ready to leave on vacation. But, it is all coming together.

Time to wrap this up and get on with having a Monday and doing something productive. Never forget that God is good, all the time, and the Holy Spirit is your constant companion. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

It is a bright 43 degrees out there this morning and is going up to 61 today with sunshine all day. It is hard to know what clothes to plan on day by day right now. It's Tee-shirts one day and sweatshirts the next. The weather guy said there will be a freeze warning for parts of the tri-state area for tonight. What gives???

The feeders are full of visitors this morning. I filled everything up yesterday afternoon. I especially wanted to make sure my bark butter feeders were full because the Pilated woodpecker likes that and generally comes in on Saturday morning. I really want to keep it interested in coming here. So far this morning I've neither seen nor heard from it. I do have at least a half dozen cardinals, three, maybe four robins, several goldfinches, and a couple of other woodpeckers here. And of course, the dang starlings are here. They come in and spend more time fighting each other than they actually do eating.

I have told you before that my yard is surrounded by nine large trees. Two huge tulip poplars are in my back yard and everything else is just on the other side of the fence on the south, west, and north sides of me. Also, my south fence is lined with six large fire bushes, a huge Rose of Sharon, and a Crepe Myrtle. Each day, it seems that all of these trees and bushes are leafing out more and more. That helps to account for all of the birds and squirrels, that I have. Everything feels safe because there is plenty of shelter and cover. It also accounts for the fact that within a month, My back yard will see very little sunshine because of all the shade. The detriment is that it quasi-limits what we can plant for flowers back here. On the other hand --- it sure cuts down on my air conditioning usage.

The ground has dried out much but I think I can get out there and mow today. I have a lot of weeds to pull out of the flowerbeds already. We pulled some out yesterday but the beds are too muddy to be walking around in. That also means that we can't work up any ground yet for doing any planting. Early lettuce and radishes should already be in the ground and coming up. But, all we have is our asparagus. Potatoes should have been planted o/a St. Patrick's day but it was cold rainy and nasty so that didn't happen. Ms. Kate even had some that had gone to sprout in the bag that we were going to use. They went to rot and compost instead.

God has given us a beautiful but cool day and we need to put it to some good use, so I think I'll drop off now.  I better check and see if Ms. Kate has anything on my schedule that I don't know about yet. I hope your day is filled with good things. Tomorrow is Sunday, the day we typically reserve for giving praise to God. But hey, ----- you don't need to wait. Go ahead, give God glory today.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The rain has washed away all of the clouds this morning and brought in a big ol' ball of sunshine. It is a beautiful cool morning out there. We have a breeze going this morning that keeps the chimes ringing and the feeders swaying. It looks as if I need to fill all of the feeders again this morning. The starling trio are here and they are going after the suet feeders and what is left of the bark butter. The goldfinches are on the thistle feeder. I don't have to fill the thistle feeders very often. The small birds kind of eat that as a last resort for what ever reason. I don't mind it because it is pretty expensive stuff. But I don't want it to sit there and mold either.

I don't have a lot of my plate today, just some odd jobs to be done; cut the asparagus, maybe mow the front yard if it isn't soggy, maybe break up some of the rest of the limb & twig pile. I for sure need to go get a haircut because Ms. Kate said I'm getting shaggy. I hadn't noticed it yet. I can generally tell when I need one because it starts to tickle the tops of my ears.

The black and white cat is back patrolling the perimeter of my yard. I'm intrigued because it is being very stealthy out there and watching the ground, and is paying zero attention to the birds that are all around out there. If I didn't know better, (and I don't) I would think it is looking for moles or voles. If that is the case, it is welcome in my yard. I know there is a mole run out there in the area where it seems to be stalking and it is working back and forth on both sides of the fence. Then it comes back out toward my yard barn. It maybe stays under there. It looks very well groomed so maybe I'm just the playground for when who ever owns it lets it out for the day. Oh well, as long as it leaves my birds alone, I don't care. If I see it take a bird out --- it will be BB gun justice time.

Ms, Kate and I got the bulletins run yesterday and then did some run-around shopping. I am looking for a specific kind of three-ring binder and have not been able to find it. A company named Mead used to make them but I am at a loss as to where to find one. Office Depot doesn't carry them, neither does Staples, Walmart, Target or anywhere else I have checked. I even went on line last night and couldn't find one. It is just a simple three-ring binder for holding 5 1/2  by 8 " paper. And they are only 1/2 inches thick. I found some that are "close" but not exact and it is driving me nuts now. I'm going to stop at Dollar General today and see if they have them.  It is just probably one of those products that they don't make anymore. I even went to Best Buy yesterday and asked the clerk there and his smart-assed reply was, "Sir, we don't deal in paper here."

Well, it is time to get busy and go have my hair cut. That will give the yard and ground time to dry out the yard a bit and I can do some stuff out there. Maybe I can talk Ms. Kate into going with me and we'll grab us some breakfast. I'll admit it is hard t leave my chair because I have seven bright red cardinals out there on the feeders and the bird bath and they are a joy to watch. Have yourself a most blessed day!