Thursday, June 30, 2016

A nice Thursday morning greets me this morning. The sun is shining and making the red on the cardinals even more brilliant. The temperature is currently in the low 70's and only going to the low 80's so it should be a nice day.

My day is starting to fill up though. I need to get ready and go to the Wildbirds and Things for stuff and then to the Pet Food Center to get more stuff. My supply of bird food products has dwindlesd to next to nothing. Ms. Kate handed me  $100.00 bill last night and I said "Now I can afford to go to the bird food store', and she said "then I better give you another one!" Such is the life of a bird lover, and the life of a guy who likes to watch the world from the sunporch.

Some of the phlox is really starting to bloom out nicely now. That should provide more nectar for the hummingbirds. Between the bees and the hummingbirds, those blooms get pretty worn out.

Yesterday was a fun day. Ms. Kate and I got up early and we went blueberry picking. There is a U Pick place about 30 miles from here. We've never actually gone to the place and picked the berries before. We generally have just stopped by their farm and bought from their coolers. But, it was a beautiful day and we needed the exercise so we went. The plants were loaded with berries. Blueberries are so easy to pick and the plants had so many berries on them that we picked about fourteen pounds in about 40 minutes. The next thing we need to check on is the local peaches. They should be coming on about now. We usually put up a bunch of peaches in the freezer, but I still have a freezer full. But a fresh peach pie or two would be good. Or maybe Ms. Kate would make a peach and blueberry pie.

I got a call this morning from a very good friend asking me if I could possibly do a funeral on Monday morning. Monday is they 4th of July and Julie will be here but -- friends do for friends and the man that is being buried has no church affiliation. So, I agreed which means I have a funeral to put together today. Saturday I have a wedding to do so our visit with Julie is really messed up. But --- we take what we can get out of life and make the most of it.

It is time for me to get busy. I hope you have a great Thursday. Take a few minutes today and be grateful for what God has put before you. Peace.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

It's a nice Tuesday morning. My morning started early with a visitation at a hospital for one of my parishioners who is having knee replacement this morning. Her surgery was scheduled for 0730 and the hospital staff was on top of it and took her almost a half an hour early. But we had time for prayer before she went in.

My day really started right when I got about a block from my house and as I topped the hill, there was a large doe standing in the road. That is only the second deer I have seen in this neighborhood in the 15 years we have lived here. She wasn't much concerned about me. She kind of trotted off to the side of the road into a yard and stood there and looked at me. I'm betting somebody is losing their petunias!

I mowed the yards yesterday evening, or at least the front yard and Dan's yard. It really didn't need it but I just wanted to drive my new JD. But now we look manicured out front. I'll do the back yard tomorrow. It just doesn't need it except for a few weeds that are popped up.

So what to do with the rest of this beautiful 93 degree day. I'll probably stay out of it for the most part. I do have some more writing to do; (there's always writing to do and reports to write and services to plan) and I'll no doubt take a nap this afternoon. I didn't sleep all that well last night because I knew I had to be up early. My brain has its own internal clock that makes sure I'm awake. Ms. Kate didn't do any better. I went to bed around 1100 hrs and went to sleep right away. I knew she was going to go play her Klondike game for awhile before bed because that is what she does. But, I woke at 0200 and the light was still on in her office. She had started working on some greeting cards that she wanted to get done and was still at it. I told her it was time to get to bed an she did. Then my alarm went off at 0530 and I got up. She got up around 0900 so I imagine that we will both have a case of the droopy eyelids before long. In fact, mine are already wanting to close.

Julie is on her way to Cleveland, OH for a conference so I ask God for safe passage for her. It is an almost six hour drive but if she flew, it would be a ten hour flight with plane changes etc. So, she has elected to drive. I don't blame her one bit, except that Ohio is one of those states that I hate to drive through. There is always so much road construction that it seems to take forever to get anywhere.

That is my tamale for today. I hope you have a great day. Peace.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Happy Monday. Welcome to another week of opportunities to be of service to God and mankind. I pray it is going to be a great week for all of you. I know my week is packed with activities and things I need to get done. But, for the moment, I 'm sitting here watching my birds and enjoying my cup of coffee.

The Lord sent about three inches of blessed rain last night and it is still cloudy this morning. The radar shows that the rain has pretty well passed us although I can still hear the thunder in the southern sky. Unfortunately, it appears that the rain will miss our farm ground over in southern Illinois. My cousin had to replant the corn on it this spring because it got flooded out and now we can't buy a rain cloud. Tis the life of a farmer. But, the farmers in the parish should be happy. As I expected, yesterday a couple of them said I wasn't doing a very good job of getting rain in here. And as usual, I reminded them I'm in sales --- not production. Yeh, it's an old, old preacher's joke.

I filled all of the birdfeeders yesterday so all winged and furry critters should be happy this morning. I know at least one squirrel is because it has been out there eating for a good long time this morning. The rest of the feeders have birds coming in and out. The cardinal group will be in here in about fifteen minutes. I can pretty well time their arrival every day. The robins are happy because the worms have come to the surface. They are hopping all over the yard snatching up breakfast. A friend of mine sent me a posting on my Facebook page about a new hummingbird feeder that is called a Hummerbar. It hangs horizontally, is two feet long and has a dozen or so ports in it spaced just far enough apart for plenty of birds. I have ordered one now and look forward to getting it and putting it up. We only have one or two hummers again this year but maybe this will bring more. Plus, I just planted a new butterfly bush and they really like those. We'll see what we see. I have talked to several people that say their hummer population has decreased this year. But, thank you to Jean Des Rocher for the heads up about the Hummerbar.

The phlox is just starting to bloom here in the flowerbeds. Now that I cleaned the bed out, it can get more nourishment. The hummingbirds really like tha phlox too and it stays blooming a long time.

The neighborhood was noisy first thing this morning as the next door neighbor had a large tree taken out. Well, I haven't gone out to see if they took it all the way down or not or just had it trimmed. It was an elm tree and had a lot of issues; so I hope they took it out.

Tomorrow morning I need to be at the hospital around 0630 because one of my parishioners is having knee replacement surgery. That will be an awfully early morning for this guy who likes to go to bed late and then sleep late. Ms. Kate and I generally don't go to bed before 0100 and then get up between 0730 and 0830.

It has started to rain again, not hard, but the sound of the raindrops on the roof of the sunroom is sufficient to cause a fellow to close his eyes. I better get up and move or I'll be wondering how it got to be 1000 hrs. I pray you will have a great day full of peace in your soul and mind. God always walks with you, so don't worry about living life alone. Shalomn.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday morning, 82 degrees on the way to 93 with humidity. If you listen carefully, you can hear the corn and the tomatoes grow. We could use some rain. Some of my farmers are getting nervous and I'll bet that is the number one comment I'l hear tomorrow at church: --- "Pastor John, -- we need some rain"; like I'm any closer to the source than they are. LOL

Yes, I missed writing to you yesterday. Ms. Kate and I took a day trip yesterday. We began the morning with taking Ms. Kate for her monthly blood work, then we went to her sister's house and picked up a rose to take to Julie's house. We had a rug that had been here in the sunporch and we took it out and put in a new one a few weeks ago. I had asked Julie if she wanted it for her patio and she did. So, I rolled it up and we took it to her place which is 120 miles from here. I have also been hungry for some Habachi food so wwe went to an excellent place in Julie's area for a great lunch. So, we planted her new rose, carried in her rug, went to eat, then to Lowe's for Ms. Kate to buy a couple of plants for our flowerbed; --- and the headed home. We got home, planted our new plants and took a nap! The day was full enough.

The backyard has gone from really pretty to looking a bit bedraggled. We still have some lilies blooming but their season is about done. The hydrangeas are holding their own but that is about it. With the heat, everything just looks a bit sad. I'm going to go out and spray some weed killer on some poison oak I saw yesterday and I need to fill bird feeders again today as well as the birdbaths. Between the splashing caused by the birds bathing and the evaporatin caused by the heat, filling those bird baths is a daily event. So far the front yard flowerbeds are looking pretty good. Again, we only have lilies blooming but they are hanging in there pretty well. I could mow today although I really could let it go this week. And, since we are in an ozone alert day --- I think I'll just not add to the ozone with my mower even though I did get my new JD back from the dealer.

I had some bread that had gone stale here in the kitchen so I threw it out in the yard for the birds. So far the blackbirds have pecked at it a few times and a couple of finches have tried it but they don't appear to be terribly interested. They are still trying to get the last bits of stuff out of the bark butter feeders. They are indeed spoiled. I still need to go get some more sunflower seed. It is at a good price now too. Pet Food Store had 40# bags for $14.95 the other day. I would have picked a couple up but the back of the Caddy was already full. I can tell I'm getting older because a 40# bag is a lot easier to handle than a 50# bag these days. Or maybe --- I'm just getting lazy.

That's it for this Saturday morning. I pray your weekend will be most excellent. I certainly plan for mine to be. My next week will be a busy one culminating in the 4th of July! So, if you can think of nothing else to be thankful for this morning --- give God thanks that you live in a free country and give God thanks for all of the people that have sacrificed to keep it that way. Peace.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It is already hot today, but there is a stiff wind blowing. The heat index is supposed to reach 100 - 105 by afternoon. There is a heat advisory in effect until evening which means stay out of it unless you have to be out in it. We are also once again told to expect the possibility for a severe storm. So, welcome to a Thursday summer morning in southern Indiana.

I went out first thing this morning and I filled the bark butter feeders. I just ran out of time yesterday to get it done. But, there are very few birds out there this morning. I suspect they may be siting up in leaf protected shade due to the heat. I heard a Pilated woodpecker in the area first thing this morning which is why I hurried up and filled those feeders. But it hasn't come around. So far all I have seen is a couple of cardinals and three or four finches, and one downy woodpecker who seemed quite satisfied that I had filled his favorite feeder. He landed on it as I was walking away from it. Of course the starlings will be here before you know it. They are a bunch of greedy gobblers on the bark butter.

Ms. Kate's nephew, Kevin, came by last evening and we went over the trip he has planned to go on with his girlfriend. They are leaving sometime today and they are terribly disorganized about it all. But, we laid out a route for them that will take them to the Badlands, the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons and back down and to Oklahoma City and then home. We've done that route several times and will travel vicariously with them.

I'm supposed to get my John Deere back today from the dealer. I need to get out there in the garage and make some storage room some place for the new snow blade and its attachments before they get here. In the last couple of years we have just used the garage as a catch all for boxes of inherited stuff from relatives that passed away. The place is a disorganized mess and I keep putting it off hoping a garage cleaning fairy might come along and feel sorry for me and make it all disappear. But it appears I'm left to do it myself. Poop! We keep saying "we're going to have to go through all of that", but never do. Many of the boxes contain loose pictures from the family. They are poor quality at best and frankly, no body really wants them but it seems a shame to throw one's family history away. So they sit in boxes through another generation when really nobody cares and they get tossed in a dumpster.  Ms. Kate is a scrap booker and has created lots of beautiful albums of our trips and family, and my entire military career. But in this digital photography age, even that hobby has died out to a great extent and people just store their picture "on the cloud". I'm glad we won't know what is going to happen to all of Ms. Kate's beautiful hours and days of work. But --- I have no doubt that some day --- they too will become of no value to anybody.

Ms. Kate just fixed my breakfast for me so I'm dropping off and going to enjoy that before I get busy. Have a great day. Stay in a cool place if possible, and thank God for a beautiful day.  Peace.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday has come around once again and I'm very glad. I think it would totally suck if the world ended on a Tueday. It would just leave everything so incomplete wouldn't it??

It is already 84 degrees this morning and going to 95 today. For the third day in a row we have been told to expect the possibility of severe thunderstorms but so far the only water we have seen came out of my garden hose as I filled the bird baths up again and watered the garden. If it doesn't rain today I really need to water again because the weatherman has now said our weather "will improve" and the rain will be holding off for a few days.

I can tell this weather and heat has affected the critters. The birds tend to sit with their wings partly flared to allow for air and cooling, and they sit with their beaks partly open. The robins, cardinals, blackbirds, and a few finches are all vying for time in the birdbaths too. So, ---  I need to keep those full. The squirrels walk differently in the grass too. They seem to be walking more "bow-legged" as if to keep their bellies up and out of the grass. And they spend a lot of time just drapped over a limb. I guess today I will fill the bark butter feeders up again and pull some of the seed cakes out of the refrigerator and fill some of those feeders too. While I'm at it I might as well top off the rest of the feeders too.

But, first, my day is full because it is Wednesday and we all know that means going to the churches and running the bulletins, going to the nursing homes, and then I have a pre-marriage counseling session this evening for a wedding I'm doing on the 2nd of July.  Then, this evening my nephew is coming over to talk to Ms, Kate and I about their trip "out west". They are leaving tomorrow morning and will be gone for two week. They know we've done the "out west" traveling many times and now we are planning their trip for them. With two weeks, --- they can see and do the Black Hills, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons fairly well and then head on back home. I'd like to route them somehow to go through Oklahoma City too so they can go to the Muir Federal Bulding national Memorial. I believe every American should see that. It is the ultimate representation of the destruction and horror that people can do to one another because of hate and ignorance.

So, I need a second cup of coffee and then I need to get myself busy. I lift up prayers this morning for folks who are running from out of control forest fires in the western part of the nation. Many folks have already lost homes. I haven't heard of any loss of life so far and my prayer is that we don't. I also pray that your day will be full of blessings. If you have no other good thoughts today --- just know that I said a prayer for you and your peace of mind. Shalomn.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Avulsion Fracture: that's what has been diagnosed for our Ms. Lauren. I did some research on it and while it is serious, it should completely heal given time and rest. This is the result of the accident she had on her Moto-cross bike . She is now in a sling that completely immobilizes her shoulder and will be for the next four weeks. The "given time and rest" part will be the hardest part for Lauren. We all know that she will be back on that bike at the very first chance. And ---  luckily, her next race isn't until late August.

I'm sitting in the waiting room at the orthopedic doctor's office waiting on Ms. Kate. She's been in there for quite a while. I thought she came in for just another shot in her hand but obviously it is more than that.

My IPad keyboard has been giving me fits. I planned to write this while she was in the doctor's office, but my keyboard quit. I have no idea why but now it is working again and I just saw Ms. Kate come out of the office. So, I'll finish this when I get back home. Now I need to take Ms. Kate to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then to Fresh Market for some groceries.

That was a nice break. We did go to Cracker Barrel. I was in the mood for pancakes  and I love their peach-covered pancakes. Ms. Kate had their meatloaf which in my mind was a waste because she makes the best meatloaf I know of.

The blue jays and the blackbirds have been busy around here this morning. I filled up all of the bark butter feeders last evening and they are totally stripped by this afternoon. When we left the house this morning there were three or four blackbirds out there having at it. And just now there were two big blue jays finishing them off. So, they are just going to have to suck rope because I'm not going out and filling them again today. There is plenty of other food out there. I bought some different cakes for the suet feeders yesterday and was going to fill all of those up. I could easily put out eight at a time. But, when I opened the first one last night it was so soft that I could hardly even get it out of the container without spooning it out. So, I put the rest of them in the refrigerator to let them harden up before I use it. I generally buy the "non-melting" kind but I didn't pay attention that this time because it was on sale. Now I know why.

Enough for today. First, --- I absolutely must offer thanks to the Lord that Ms. Lauren wasn't hurt worse than she was. Her Go-Pro camera caught her shadow as she was thrown across those handle bars. It is a scarey sight because the next thing you see is just a shot of her wrist and hand as she lay there in the dirt motionless. Now I ask for complete healing and a healthy dose of patience to be shed her way.

Have a most blessed day!

Monday, June 20, 2016

It's a double whammy morning! it's the first day of the work week and it's the first day of summer. Add to that the full moon we have and I reckon we are the wonder of the universe this morning. Well, the wonder of my universe anyway.

I'm waiting on our heating and air service people to come this morning. We don't have anything wrong, it is just part of the service package we buy from them. They service our HVAC twice a year; once in the summer and once in the winter. They are a good company and we like their products and service.

I had a Pilated woodpecker here this morning. We haven't seen one in quite a while. It didn't stay long. It just dropped in, had some of the high energy suet and took off. If we go out today, I need to stop and pick up a bunch of the suet cakes. I'm totally out and that leaves a half dozen feeders empty. At the moment, all I have out there is a few finches and a couple of starlings and blackbirds. They are busy cleaning out the rest of the bark butter from the feeders.  I also have a couple of squirrels out there which will most likely mean I need to fill the sunflower feeders again too; so I'll pick up another forty pound bag of sunflower seed while I'm at it.

Yesterday was Father's Day and it was a good one. I heard from all of my girls and Ms. Kate and I spent the day together. What else would I need? Ms. Kate and I watched a movie together here at the house and hen I did a little work for the next Sunday's service. We had the combined parish service again yesterday and I thought it should have been better attended. But, maybe people were out visiting or doing "Father's Day things". We only had about fifty people in church which is twenty or so shy of what could be. Interestingly enough, in this world of social media, it is pretty easy to tell where people are because they post it all over Facebook. I remember the "good old days" when if you skipped church you worried that you might run into the preacher somewhere. Now --- people throw those golf course and and amusement park pictures right out there. LOL. On the other hand, I just thank the Lord for the ones that do come and I wish blessing on the ones that don't and hope they come next week. I'm their spiritual advisor, --- not their soul keeper. I also know that the wheat is being harvested right now and some of our folks were out doing that.

Our Ms. Lauren had a pretty rough tumble on her Moto-cross bike this weekend. She failed to make a triple jump and went flying over the handlebars of her bike during practice and landed on her shoulder. She has pretty banged up shoulder. She is flying back to CA today and will get her shoulder X-rays etc. tomorow. But --- being the professional she is, she still rode in the race despite the injury. She is a touch cookie, and you would never know it to look at her.

It is time for a coffee refill and I need to get dressed. I hope you have an excellent first day of summer. Take some time and look around you and enjoy what God has provided. Peace.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

It is another beautiful morning, although it is already ten degrees warmer this morning than it was yesterday morning at this time. Yesterday we only reached 84 degrees and it is already 81 this morning, going up to 91. But --- you won't hear me complaining. The temperature in so any of our western states is unbearably hot. I think it is supposed to reach 121 degrees today in Palm Springs, CA. I don't know if that is heat index or ambient but it is miserable either way.

I got the yards mowed yesterday. Neighbor Dan had surgery last Monday and is layed up so I took care of his yard. Ms. Kate and I also did a lot of cleaning and weed spraying in the yard,. I cleaned out this flower bed beside me  and got all of the "not phlox" plant pulled out of it. It really looks bare but now the phlox can grow. There is a lot of new phlox that was being crowded out by the other plant. I wish I knew what that other plant is called. So, what had been a jungle, (Julie calls it Auggie's Jungle) looks much more civilized. The one job I need to do today is to get the danged mulberry bush out of the black raspberry plot. I've been fighting that mulberry bush for years and it just keeps coming back. I've cut it back, I've tried to chop it out; all to no avail. I think today after I get it cut back I'm going to spray it good with heavy brush killer and see if that helps any.  I'll also need to water my garden plants today and I have an area on the north side that I need to weed eat again. How quickly the temperature climbs today will determine the amount of work I get done out side.

This morning I have mainly finches at the feeders. I had some robins in here a little earlier. The neighbor's yellow cat came through the yard up close to the house and the robins went after it and chased it away. They must have a nest somewhere I don't know about, although it is late for nesting. There is a bird out there that I don't know what it is. But, it has a young bird with it that it is bringing food to. I need to get my bird book out and see what kind of bird that is. The little bird will sit there on the ground until the mother comes back and then it will flutter its wings and hold its mouth open for the mother to put something in to it. I've also had titmouse, and my hummingbird here most of the morning. I had to fill the birdbaths again this morning because the robins and starlings had pretty well splashed all of the water out of them. I had a Robin yesterday that must have come back for a bath at least a dozen times that I saw.

The lilies and the hydrangea are really looking nice, Ms. Kate said she may cut a bouquet for the church tomorrow. It would look nice on the altar. We figure God provided the plants in the first place and they will be good to use to praise Him.

I think I'll get another cup of coffee and set here for a bit yet. The brown thrush just showed up and the cardinals are here now too. Time to sit and enjoy and have a talk with the Creator of all that I see out there. Have a most blessed weekend. Peace.

Friday, June 17, 2016

TGIF!  What a pleasant, beautiful morning. It is 70 degrees, the wind is just a slight breeze, the humidity is low, the sky is a mix of sun and clouds. I've closed the sliding doors to the house and have opened the doors up here in the sunporch and am letting the place air out! It is an ideal situation and chance to even better hear the birds and enjoy God's world.

I have lots of guests for breakfast in the backyard this morning. Mr. Fuss-a-lot, the bluejay brought a friend. The hummingbirds buzzes back and forth to the feeder. The finches are here and several cardinals are also at the feeders. I filled the birdbaths first thing this morning so I'm sure they will be in full use before long. And, of course, the starlings and blackbirds are flying in and out like it was a drive through or something. I have a brown thrush or two running around here. They come through here about this time every year and then they disappear until late fall. There is a cat walking through the yard by the west fence. It's trying to keep a low profile but every bird knows it's here and they are staying off of the ground while it makes its way across the yard.

My birdsong is interrupted by the clanging of the trash trucks making their way up the street, but that won't last long. There are two companies that have Friday morning routes in this neighborhood, so there will be more noise later. Our guy comes on Thursday morning and generally before I even get up.

I'm going to work outside today. This flowerbed next to me needs thinning out. We have two different kinds of plants in there that compete for space every year. One is a phlox and the other one we have no idea what it is. They grow the same height and about the same rate. But the "non-phlox" is more invasive and will crowd everything out if I don't pull it. Since it has rained and the ground is soft it is a good day to do that. The only way to tell them apart is to examine the leaves of each stalk. I'll also mow today. The John Deere folks didn't bring my new lawn tractor back yet so I'll use the old one and do the yards. Those guys at Hutson John Deere wouldn't last long if they worked for me. They are slow, they are indifferent to their customers, and unfortunately, they have a monopoly. That place is under their third ownership in fifteen years but unfortunately, they keep the same employees who, as far as I can tell, couldn't care less whether you come in or not.

So, --- that's it for this Friday morning. I'm going to pour a second cup of coffee, read my devotional and give thanks to God for everything I see. Days like today should be given praise for. I hope your weekend is a good one. If you are a father --- Happy Father's Day. If you. Still have a father living -- give him a hug or a call. And --- don't forget to take time to worship God the Father. It's the very least you should do. Peace.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy Thursday Morning. Sorry I missed you yesterday. We had a busy morning and day and by night I just generally don't get to the blog. So welcome to my Thursday morning on yet another hot day. It is already 80 degrees out and is going to 95 today. But,today will be a day of all sunshine, we think. Yesterday storms rolled through several times, and some local areas had winds topping 60 mph. I've not heard of any injuries; praise God, but I know there were homes that received damage in the local area.

Yesterday we had dental appointments for our six month cleaning. And, I had to have a tooth repaired. That makes a second tooth in as many weeks. Last week when I broke a tooth and went in, I told the doctor that I had a problem on the other side of my mouth too and he checked it out. He confirmed that I needed repair there too or it was going to break. Many of those fillings have been in there for fifty years so it it is only natural that they will break down after awhile. But -- I got off better than Ms. Kate who is going to have a root canal next month.

After we finished with the dental office we headed out and had some lunch; might as well put those newly cleaned teeth to work; and then we went to the churches because it was Wednesday and as you know, that is bulletins running day. Next we went to the grocery and picked up a few things, and finally home.

My woodpeckers are happy with me. I filled the bark butter feeders yesterday evening. Of course I filled everything else too. There has been a squirrel out there on one of the feeders for a sold hour eating. I'm about ready to close his reservation with a BB on his butt. It is time for him to go to someone else's feeder. The robins are in for a bath this morning, although the birdbath they like the most is almost empty. I'm surprised at that because while we have had several really hard rains, there wasn't much water collected. In this hot weather, I get a lot of birds at the bird baths. I also have a wren this morning that is acting very strange, It has been sitting on the patio floor for some time with its head cocked to one side really far. It has its wings kind of spread out like they do when they are trying to cool off and its little beak is partly open. I wasn't sure it hadn't died out there but then it moved around a bit and did the same thing. Finally it hopped off and then flew away. I suspect it was in fact just cooling itself. I do love my wrens. They are so cute and quick and animated in their movements. They also have some very pretty birdsong.

I'm hoping the John Deere dealer will bring back my mower today. The yards could stand mowing. I won't do it today but tomorrow the temperature is supposed to really drop to the lower 80's and that will be a good day to be out side. Today Ms. Kate and I have some running around to do and I'm doing a good job of getting my writing done. I may try to do some more today. I also need to start practicing my trumpet again. I have a solo that I'm planning to do for the church in August and it will take me that long to stretch my lungs again to make it sound worth anything.

Look out your window today and take in the beauty that God has laid out for you. God has put a whole world at your feet; all you have to do is go out and enjoy it and give thanks for it. Peace!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Good morning! It is 0830 and the temp is at 82 degrees already. Worse yet, the humidity is way up and the air is already oppressive. It will be a good day to head to my basement office and get some writing done.

I woke up this morning at 0500 to beautiful birdsong. I'm not sure what it was but it sounded like a couple of young mockingbirds practicing their voice. I slept in my recliner in the sunporch last night. At bedtime I was still so full from Ms. Kate's wonderful supper that I didn't dare lay on the bed, so I sat down in my recliner, turned on my Bose and listened to some music until I fell asleep. So, when the birds woke me up at 0500, I went on back to bed and got another couple hours sleep. We old people can do that if we want. It's one of the benefits. I think there may be some small print on my AARP card that allows for it.

I'm waiting for the folks from John Deere to come by this morning and pick up my new JD. As I told you , when I bought my lawn tractor I ordered a snow blade with it. The blade has come in and they have to install parts on it for me to attach the blade to when the time comes. It will take them a couple of days to get it back to me I reckon. They are a slow bunch.  It's a good thing I still have the other one as a back up, although the grass hasn't grown much in this heat.

Ms. Kate and I took a walk around the back yard this morning and looked at the flowers we have blooming. I posted a bunch of pictures of them on Facebook. The yard is looking lush again. The summer flowers are in bloom and the spring flowers are dormant again. If it cools off  soon, I need to get out there and cut back the daffodils now that they have layed over. Otherwise they just look ugly. I also need to spray again for poison ivy in a couple of spots. And, I need to get the weed eater out and do some trimming; --- but not today.

I hear another tree being felled in the neighborhood. There is a guy on the next street north east of us that is taking down a whole bunch of trees. Neighbor Dan says the guy is "anti-tree" for what ever reason and is having twelve taken out. I hate that because it upsets the ecosystem balance in the area. But, they are his trees and he can do what he wants with them. I can't imagine how much different it would be to not have my two huge tulip poplars here in my back yard. I know the house would be a lot hotter because our shade would be gone. I even planted a new tulip poplar in the front yard last fall and in a few years it is going to provide some excellent shade from the eastern sun in the morning. Julie put some of her dog Harley's ashes around the new tree and we have named the tree "Harley's Tree."

It is time for a coffee refill and I think I'll have a bowl of jello for breakfast. Ms. Kate made some yesterday and I do love my jello. Then I guess I better get busy before I waste the day away. It is a beautiful day and God's blessings are everywhere. Take some time to appreciate them. That was part of my walk around my yard this morning; just looking at what God does. It just makes my heart swell when I stop to count my blessings. Who or what am I that the Creator of thee Universe should care so much for me? God does the same for you. Have a blessed day.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Ahh, it is good to be home again and back in my own bed, and my own house, and my wonderful sunporch. Traveling is nice but I have become such a homebody. I wonder when that happened???

We were only gone four days so not much has changed around here. The temperatures have been hot and the weather has been dry here. Thanks to neighbor Dan for watering the garden and flowers while we were gone. But summer is in full force. It is 80 degrees already this early in the morning and is going up to near three digits today. The betting man in me says to expect a storm by afternoon.

It's great to see my birds again. The cardinals, the robins, the finches and sparrows are all here this morning. A mockingbird was here a few minutes ago and grabbed a bite or two of some suet, but now he has gone off to the next meal someplace. My one hummingbird is also here for breakfast. Down in TN, as I told you we had some birds, but mostly some blue heron, a mockingbird or two, and the ducks. I woke up a couple of mornings to the quacking of the ducks up on the patio as they waddled their way into the swimming pool area.

My grandson Joshua and his family just moved into their new home in New Hampshire and it is out in a residential wooded area. Christina was commenting on waking up to the sound of birds and how much she enjoyed that. --- Welcome to my world Ms. Christina.

Grandson Matthew did in fact graduate from high school. Now I only have one grandchild left in high school. Jon will be a sophomore come fall. It is hard to believe that the rest of my grandchildren are all adults!

The lilies are really blooming now and the hydrangeas have massive blooms on them. I just went out to check the garden and I think the tomatoes have grown somewhere between nine to twelve inches in the four days we were gone. Obviously they like heat and humidity. One squash has a bloom on it, and the okra is doing fine too as are the cucumbers. This was our last planned vacation until August when grand daughter Lauren comes to Indiana for her motocross race. I know a lot of people have much bigger gardens and their's are probably much further along; but we got what we got. Not going on vacation will allow us to enjoy all of our veggies as they come on. We do tend to miss out on the spoils of our labor. We take vacations and we miss out on flowers blooming that we planted, veggies producing and going to waste.

I guess I will wrap this up. I have a wedding to write and a couple of services going that I need to finish. That means I need to put my brain back in gear and start chugging along. In the mean time, I offer prayers up to God to please intervene in the madness of people in this country. Yet again someone has gone on a massive killing spree. The lunatic walked into a night club and killed at least fifty people and wounded another fifty or more. That kind of madness and evil is simply beyond my comprehension. He claimed alliance with ISIS, a radical Islamic religion that celebrates and encourages this kind of behavior, which in his mind says he was doing this for God. So I ask God to please intervene and stop this madness. I also ask for comfort for the families of all of those involved.  I ask God to heal this nation and not let incidents like this spin into a civil witch hunt or worse, a civil war. "Let there be peace on earth --- and let it begin with me."

Until next time; Shalomn!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A glorious Saturday morning to you. I'm again on the patio of the pool enjoying the morning as it passes me by. There is only one child in the pool with his dad so the noise is minimal; unlike the hordes of people that passed by our room this morning. I'm not so sure thata the "upgrade to first floor" was as big of a blessing as we thought it might be. We are at the intersection of one of the entrances, the doors to the indoor pool, and a stairway. There is a contingent of maybe thirty people here for a family reunion and they congregate and meet one another right outside our door every morning. It literally sounds like they are in our room. Ms. Kate says, "it's bad enough they meet in our room, but they didn't have to lay on the bed and use my pillows". And --- needless to say, if you follow them down to the breakfast area, they are spread all over most of the tables and are talking over one another so it is loud. Ms. Kate didn't want to get in the middle of all of that this morning so I went to breakfast by myself. I heated a couple of bagels and grabbed a couple of packages of peanut butter and brought that back to the room for her to have breakfast. Their noise and taking up all of the tables is my gripe. One the other hand, they are together celebrating family and having fun, so God bless them. I hope they are enjoying themselves.

I don't know what or even if we are going to do anything again today. Our big "outings" so far have been to the pizza place and the ice cream place, and them to Walmart last evening. But, when you come without a plan --- life can be simple. I have a lot of books here in the Nook application n my IPad. I've started several of them and haven't gotten back to them because I never have time. So, that might be my plan today. Being Saturday, traffic is going to be a monster today and there is an ozone alert today because the air isn't moving much. Being out in this isn't the best for my asthma.  I can see from my vantage point that traffic is already heavy. I did bring along swimming trunks; perhaps I'll get in the pool or even the hot tub. That ought to scare the natives away.

Ms. Kate and I decided last night to take a short walk. So we decided to walk around the perimeter of the hotel. However, we were about half way around when we were interrupted by a little black and white critter on the sidewalk in front of us. We decided we would reverse our direction and not cause it to test its stinker button. We have a skunk that hangs around the St. Lucas church area. I've seen it several time when I go out to the parking lot after choir.

There aren't many birds or critters out here this morning. The only thing I see flying are the helicopters taht are taking people for rides. I think that would be fun to do but I would never ever get Ms. Kate in one. Besides, I've flown in my fair share of helicopters during my military career. And I must say, I enjoyed it every time.

I guess that's my tale for this morning. There is a gentle breeze blowing on me as I sit here and it could easily lull me back to a nap as I sit here in the shade. However, I need to go in and see what Ms. Kate might have figured out to put on our agenda. I pray you'll have a most glorious weekend. I wish you God's peace and a life full of blessings. Shalomn.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Good Friday morning to you!  What a glorious morning we have. The sun is shining brightly and is climbing making the shadows shorter. We've gotten up, showered and gone down for breakfast out on the patio. It would appear that the traffic is fairly heavy out there on the main drive. I would expect that, after all, this is a tourist town and the weekend has started. Tomorrow will be worse out there. But, Ms. Kate and I have absolutely nothing on our adgenda that we want to do other than just what we are doing, and that is to just sit and relax. She is, of course, sitting in there playing Klondike on the lap top. I'm out at a table in the pool area watching the stream roll by. I have my headset on and am listening the the Signature Sound quartet music.

There is a pleasant breeze blowing. The ducks are out in the stream and a couple of Blue herons are zooming up and down the stream. There is a Blue Jay flying around eating some berries off of a bush.
And --- course there are squirrels. I think they followed us down here. Well actually, they are way to small to be one of my squirrels. They must have to actually work for their food unlike my freeloaders at home.

We've picked out our place for lunch today. It is just across the street and is a brick-oven pizza place and is connected to a cold-slab ice cream place. How much better can you get than that? Right across the stream is a seafood place that looks pretty good too. I told Ms. Kate that we wouldn't even have to  drive over there; we could just wade across the stream. I mean, it is only a few inches deep, maybe twelve at the most. She just has no adventure in her soul because she just "gave me that look". You know the one I mean ---- the "wife look".

As I look around here one of my favorite views is of the giant American flag that is over by the seafood resturant. That must be a twenty by thirty foot flag on that pole. The breeze is us enough to move it some. But it stirs up my patriotic and spiritual soul and thoughts. How wonderful it is to be able to sit out here, surrounded by the beautiful Smokey Mountains, watching Gods beautiful creation, seeing people just going about their daily lives in a free nation. Children and adults are beside the pool behind me and the air is full of the happy laughter of children without a care in the world. There is a father and his two sons wading out in the stream and I can see that the water is only ankle deep on them so it is more shallow than I thought. These are all part of the blessings that God is showering on people this morning and I also know there are billions of scenes like this around this country. How wonderful it is to live in a free nation. I think people don't stop often enough to realize just what a privilege that is, and they take it for granted. So, I offer up prayers of thanksgiving this is morning to God for blessing and watching over this nation. I pray we, as a nation, will never forget the sacrifice many have paid to keep us free.

I hope you have a great weekend full of God's peace. I certainly plan to.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday evening from Pigeon Forge, TN. I'm sitting on the veranda, maybe twenty five feet from the Little Pigeon River. It looks Mike it is maybe six to twelve inches deeps as it flows gently by over  small rocks that creat mini-rapids. Behind me is the outdoor pool; there is another inside. Both have a bunch of noisy kids in them enjoying a summer evening. God bless them all. It has been many a year since I had that kind of energy.

Ms. Kate and I just got back to the room from dinner. There is a place called the Applewoood Huse Restaurant that we have eaten at before. The food is strictly good home cooking. We each had the fried chicken; I had mashed potatoes and gravy with mine. There was enough left over to to bring some back to the room. If we don't eat it before hand, we'll much on it on the way back home on Sunday.

We were beginning to wonder if we were really supposed to make this trip. First there was all of the confusion as to whether Matt was going to actually graduate high school or not. (He did.) Then there was the last minute appointment that Ms. Kate had with her doctor that was on Monday. I broke a tooth and had to have that fixed but it couldn't be done until yesterday. So, about 1300 hrs yesterday we threw the suitcases in the car and took off. We stayed at Cookeville, TN which is about three hours up the road north. This morning we got on the road around 1030 hrs and headed this way but we ran into upper to bumper; five mile an hour traffic for about ten miles. We never did see what the cause might have been for that. We finally got here to the hotel at 1430 hers and thought we'd see if we could get an early check-in. The girl said that yes they had our reservation but how did we feel about a three story climb because the elevator was broken. I told her that Ms. Kate just wasn't able to do that repeatedly. She said the the repair crew was either here or on the way and since we're early anyway, did we just want to wait. If they couldn't get the elevator fixed --- they would see what else they could do. So --- we waited; we waited, and we waited. Finally at 1545 hours, I checked again and the manager took care of us. He upgraded us to a first floor room that walks right out to the riverbank. So, all is settled down for now.

We have absolutely nothing planned for this short vacation other than to relax, so we can't afford t let a few drawbacks ruin anything for us. Besides --- there is a cold-slab ice cream place right across the street and a Dunkin Donuts just a half block up the street. What more could I ask for?

I give God thanks this evening for a beautiful day and cool evening here on the river. I also give God thanks for safe passage on our travels. I certainly give God thanks that Matthew did in fact graduate high school and he can get on wth his life.

I'll try to remember to blog each day but you know --- being lazy takes a lot of work. Peace!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

And now it is Tuesday. I should be arriving at my daughter Lisa's house yesterday  but instead I'm still sitting in the sunporch. Our plans got changed around rather drastically. Ms. Kate had a doctor's appointment yesterday that we didn't want to miss. So, we delayed for that. Then yesterday afternoon Lisa called and said that the high school had been hit by lightening and that the craduation and everything else to do with the school had been delayed for a day. Well, we could maybe have still made it --- but then I lost the back half of a molar yesterday evening and caan' together in to see my dentist until tomorrow morning at 0900. I think it is actually a busted crown since I don't have pain. So this is turning into a working vacation with Ms. Kate making her greeting cards and me working on services. We are still planning to do the second half of our vacation in Pigeon Forge, TN so it isn't a total loss.

I am loving this beautiful weather!! It is 70 degrees and the sun is shining with a slight breeze. The robins are out having bugs and worms for breakfast. The cardinals are flitting all over the place. The squirrels have come and gone and I need to fill feeders for sure today. I will say they have slowed down on what they are eating around here. There is enough food in the wild for awhile. That is a good thing.

Our grand daughter, Lauren, heads is flying out to Maryland today by herself. She is the professional motocross rider. She will be staying with a friend out there and racing in a pro WMX race on the 19th. Her friend is letting her use a spare bike for the race. This is the first time she has ever done anything like this and her mom said Lauren cried buckets when it was time to get on the plane. In her element she is the boldest, bravest girl I know, but her parameters are pretty limited when it comes to leaving her comfort zone. I really hope it is a great experience for her. She and Heather are driving across country in August and Lauren will race here in Indiana about three hours from our house. Needless to say --- there will be a huge contingent of Indiana family there for that race. Then her dad flys in to meet her and will drive her on up to Michigan for another race and they will then drive back to CA while Heather flys back to CA after the IN race. Yeh, I know ---- it's hard to keep up with them. It is possible that our North Carolina grandkids, Amanda and Matthew, will drive to Maryland to watch her race. It would be an eight hour drive each way but they can handle it. I know it would really thrill her to see family there in a strange place.

Neighbor Dan is grilling again today and says he is bringing some over around 11ish for us. Everybody should have a neighbor Dan.

Time to recharge the IPad; I'm down to 29% battery. It is also time to get some work done. I've had my devotions, I've had my coffee, I've done my blog and played Criminal Case on the IPad. Time to get my bum out of the chair. Have a blessed day.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday the "threeth" of June and time just marches on. It is a partly cloudy day and rain is in the forecast. We had a gully washer here in Evansville yesterday afternoon. I was up the road about thirty five miles at a nursing home and then the churches, and all we had was some light sprinkles. It's amazing how all of that happened. I have seen times that it was pouring rain in my front yard and dry in my back yard.

I think the rain must have stirred up the worms and bugs out in the yard. The robins are having a field day out there; running and stopping and listening and then snatching up a fat worm or a bug. It's not my idea of a breakfast but they are welcome to it.  My idea of a breakfast this morning was celebrating National Donut Day! I picked up a couple of "Tiger Tails" and a couple of custard filled, chocolate covered long johns last evening on the way home. One must be prepared for such national celebrations.

Family news: Stephanie told us that she saw the disc with her MRI from her tumor and unfortunately there are now two. She won't know anything specific until she meets with her surgeon. So we just keep prayers flowing that way. ---- Ms. Kate heard from her doctor's office. Dr. Jackson is ordering a Doppler test for her to make sure her blood is flowing correctly. We don't have a date for that yet but if it is next week, we will cancel our travel plans and take care of business here. So --- I'm asking for prayers on that front too. ----- Heather and John are having a day at sea today as they travel back from Nova Scotia and Canada to New York. Tomorrow they will land back in port and then fly on back to California. They have had a wonderful honeymoon. ---- Lisa and Gary had their cat, TJ, pass away this week. They have had that cat for a long time but it developed diabetes and infection and just didn't make it. ---- Grandson Josh and his fiancé Christina are closing on their house next Wednesday up in New Hampshire. We are all excited for them. It is a four bedroom place on a couple of acres and I hope they are going to really be happy. Now -- if they would just actually get married. I just don't understand family dynamics anymore. It isn't the world I grew up in for sure.

My bird feeders are getting empty and I need to take care of that today and I need to go to the John Deere Dealer and see about getting the cover for the back yard JD. So, with that I'll leave you for today. If I don't talk to you tomorrow, have a great weekend. Don't forget to stop by your local house of worship and give God praise. Peace.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday again already. Seems like we just had one of those last week. This one is a cloudy one and the temp is about 73 degrees. I'm not seeing much beyond an occasional blackbird out my porch Windows this morning. Oh, there are a couple of house finches but none of the cardinals, or robins, or goldfinches to brighten up my cloudy back yard.

Yesterday was a good day because they delivered my new John Deere lawn tractor and it is a honey!! I put the old one back here in the back yard and will use the new one out front. Did I need a new one ---- no. Was I obsessed with getting a new one ---- yes!. I don't a lot of toys but when I do, they take a hunk of change out of my pocket. Now I have to figure out what I am going to do about storage for the old one. It will just barely fit in my storage barn except that I will have to modify the heck out of the doors to the shed. I think I will be a lot better off just going to the JD dealer and buying a cover for it for about $70.00 rather than risk ruining the barn doors. Those doors are designed to hang three inches below the floor boards. It keeps the critters like mice etc. out. If I go cut that off so I can put the ramps up there, then I'll have friends in low places that I don't want. But, I don't want my JD sitting unprotected from the elements either.

I was quite surprised when they called me to deliver it yesterday. Their early delivery became a bit more clear when we discovered that they hadn't brought along the snow blade and the driver didn't know there was even supposed to be a snow blade. I knew the dealer had told me that he couldn't even order it until last Tuesday and then it has to have a bunch of parts installed on the mower so I can easily attach it when I need it. So, when that blade kit etc come in, they will just have to come back and get my mower and take care of it.

Needless to say, I got distracted from my primary missions yesterday of doing visitation and running the bulletins. That will take priority today. Afterall, my lawn is nicely mowed now!! LOL

We are all sending lots of prayers today for Stephanie. She is to have an MRI on her head today. She has a small tumor in there and they need to see if it has grown or not. There is no question that she will have it removed. Today's visit is to determine what their plan of action will be and when. For those of you who don't know, Steph is our "fourth daughter", also known as Heather's best friend for life from way back in high school. She is as much as part of our family as anyone of us is and we love her dearly.

I'm also offering up prayers for Ms. Kate. Her optometrist saw a spot of some kind behind her eye during her examination last week. He was to send a report to our family doctor  It may be nothing, and we hope that, but Ms. Kate is a diabetic and is on blood thinners with a history of two heart attacks and by-pass surgery as well as having had a stroke. And, she also has a rare clotting disorder. We do not want repeats of any of the above. The optometrist thought maybe our family doctor might want to check her carotid artery to make sure she has a proper blood flow. Hence the prayers, and I would ask you to send up prayers too.

Time to wrap this up. --- Hmmm, I wonder if my yard might need mowing again today??? --- I guess not; I'll go get my work done.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I am compelled to begin my morning by saying "Thank you Lord for another beautiful day!" It is 0845 hrs and the sun is shining brightly, the birds are singing loudly, and it is already 79 degrees but only going to 84. I call that just about a God -given perfect.

I had visitors in yellow in my yard this morning and it wasn't a goldfinch. It was the water and sewer department and they were looking for the sewer manhole. I went out and showed them that they were on the wrong side of the fence. It is the new one they just put in over in Ms. Margaret's yard. Their map showed it to be in our yard. I'm so glad it isn't in our yard. They would have had to tear out my fence as well as a lot of wonderful plants like lilies and azelias.

The robins are busy this morning running around and grabbing bugs and worms. I must have a half dozen at least, although it is a little tough to tell as fast as they move around. And they are going in and out of the plants so maybe the one that went in isn't the same one that came out. The robins zip around here and there all in a tizzy and the doves just kind of waddle around slowly, cleaning up dropped birdseed from under the feeders. It all works out fairly well out there. The larger birds, like the grackles and starlings are such messy birds in the way they knock seed to the ground tying to get food, and the other birds then can clean all of that up for their meal. Once in a while though I do have to rake under the sunflower feeders because the stuff stacks up and the ground get mushy. My dearly departed mother-in-law had mounds of seed and hulls under her feeders.

It is Wednesday again and of course that is bulletin running day. I have two weeks worth of bulletins to run today because we'll be on vacation next Sunday. We'll leave for North Carolina after church this week. We'll spend a few days at Lisa's house and then a few days in Pigeon Forge , TN on the way home. That will pretty well use up all of our vacation time for the year. I think we have one more week and we are saving that for when Lauren comes to Indiana for a motocross race in August. If she doesn't get to come here to race I reckon we'll just take a week later in the fall and do something.

I need to go to the nursing home today and check on a couple of parishioners. One is a permanent resident and the other is there for therapy although at her age and mental state, she could very easily remain there. But, hopefully she'll be able to return home to her hubby of well over 60 years. They deserve to be together.

It is time for me to get busy doing other things so I'll drop off of here for now. I hope you have a wonderful day. No matter what challenges you may face today --- God is there beside you. I take great comfort in that fact of knowing I'm never left alone. You can take comfort in that too. Peace.