Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sunshine again on this Saturday morning. It was pretty nice most of the day yesterday but of course, eventually we had another storm come through. I did have time to get the front yard mowed again this week and Dan's too. I can't believe how much it grew in just a couple of days. I hope someone got the church yard mowed. I was up there Wednesday and it looked terrible, and of course it has rained everyday since. I would have mowed it myself but I could not figure out how to get that mower started. It is a rather large John Deere ZTR and I've used it before but it has been a couple of seasons ago. I did everything I knew to do but I wonder if the battery might have been almost dead. I'll have to ask one of the guys at church tomorrow. There is someone signed up to mow this week, but I was just going to try to help out. I'm not crazy about ZTR mowers. They take practice to master for sure.

Tomorrow is the last day of July and that means that I only have 120 days until I am retired. On one hand, I'm excited about retirement because it will free up Ms. Kate and I to go and do and not have to worry about being home for this or that. That scenario has been fifty years in the making. But I am really going to miss being there. By the "rules" of the denomination, Ms. Kate and I are supposed to avoid contact with the church and the parishioners for a minimum of a year so as not to interfere with the ministry of the new pastor. That will be hard on us because we truly love these folks. I hope they never get a pastor of that considers it just a job or a paycheck. They deserve much better.

But I am also excited for the churches. New blood and new leadership is good for any organization. I hope they get a pastor that loves them as much as we do and someone who will challenge them spiritually. You know, opening up the Bible and discovering the mysteries that lie within is like looking into the vastness of space. The answers to life that are in the Bible are just never ending and are so open to interpretation. I know people who tell me they have read the Bible several times over and yet, they still will read it again because something in that book will speak to them in a different way and bring new life and new meaning. In our United Church of Christ denomination we say "God is Still Speaking". And that still speaking God is exactly what I hope a new pastor for the parish will continue to introduce to the members. I believe that every day we meet God, we are meeting God for the first time because every time is a whole new experience.

I didn't mean to get into a sermon today; sometimes that just happens. I need to finish up this cup of coffee and go do a few things, the first of which is to fill my bird feeders AGAIN because these flying pigs have cleaned out everything. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Peace.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sunshine in the morning! It has been a few days since we really saw that with any consistency. Of course there are no guarantees that this will last, although my radar app shows a clear sky. The birds seem to be celebrating it though. we have lots and lots of them out here this morning; mostly sparrows and finches, but what the heck, every bird doesn't have to be a cardinal or a wren for me to enjoy it.

Happy Friday! I know some people say TGIF, Thank God It's Friday, but it doesn't make a lot of difference to me, unless I have something special I have to do. I just give the Lord thanks that I am allowed one more day on His precious earth and hope I use it to the best of my ability.

It isn't as hot this morning temperature wise but boy is it muggy out there. And -- one can tell that it is the end of July by the drone of the cicadas. I seem to recall a horror story that I read one time and the drone of the cicadas played a central role in the story. Or, maybe I didn't read it but thought about it when I was writing some short stories several years ago. I don't know ---- but the idea just popped into my tiny mind while I was outside getting the mail.

So, it is Friday, -- my day off and what shall I do with myself today? Besides sit here and listen to Andre Reiu on my Bose that is. I do need to get the string trimmer out and walk around the yard cleaning up some areas. I also need to put some stuff on my tomatoes and I need to spray for poison ivy and poison oak again. That darned stuff just keeps coming back. The biggest problem has been that I spray it but it rains and washes it off I guess. We need a bit of a dry spell. The weatherman said last night that next week it should dry out ---- but of course that means rising temperatures again, Man --- I'm just never satisfied am I?

The Republican and Democratic Conventions are now over and now the two candidates can get on with the serious mudslinging and name calling and empty promises until Novemebr 7th. Frankly, I'm very worried about what the results of this election will bring to the country. One candidate appears to have no real clue as to any solutions to our national problems other than to call people names and bully people around. He has never held a political office of any kind, and frankly the single biggest draw to him by the people is that he is not part of the political system or part of the "politically correct" establishment that has taken over this country. The other candidate is so corrupt and above the law that she has literally gotten away with things that the average citizen would have already been sentenced to life in prison for. However, everytime a key witness is ready to testify against her --- they suddenly commit suicide or "have a fatal accident".  Neither candidate ever mentions how they are going to pay for all of the things they promise. I have to vote for somebody because it is my right and my duty as a citizen to vote, however this election gives us a choice between drinking from poison cup one or poison cup two. The people of this country need to put a lot of prayer time in before casting their ballot this year because no matter who wins this election --- it will only be with God's help that we survive their time in office. Nuff said about politics.

I have a cantaloupe in my refrigerator that I think I need to cut. I think some fresh fruit sounds good for lunch, don't you?? So, let's jump off of our techno-gadgets and get on with enjoying our Friday. I hope you have the best weekend possible. Peace.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A very good Thursday morning to you. I don't know where you are but here out my sunporch, there is no sun. It has kind of been dripping rain drops all morning; not really what I would call "raining" but I can here the water drops come and go on the roof. We have a front stalled to the south of us and it is dropping buckets of unwanted rain. One town down in Kentucky got seven and a half inches yesterday and they are getting hit again today. As of yesterday, this was the seventh wettest July on record for our area.

The hummingbird has finally discovered the new hummerbar. I'm really glad. Now it needs to tell its buddies that we can feed as many as 24 hummingbirds at a time on that thing. Wouldn't that be something to see? I don't but a couple of hummingbirds but I know people tat get a lot. When I bought mine, I bought two extra for Christmas presents.

I had several doves walking aroun the yard, a couple of robins grabbing worms, some finches, woodpeckers and a squirrel or two, out there. I also had Mr. Fuss-a-Lot, the bluejay out there. Then a stray cat showed up. Mr. Fuss-a-lot sounded the alarm and birds and squirrels went everywhere. The old cat moped on out of the yard with his cover blown. So now everybody is coming back to the buffet.

I need to finish working on the sermon that I have started for the 14th of August.  It is amazing how I get these little bursts of stuff to write and I think it is really going be good; but then I write it down , -- read it to myself, and into the trash can it goes. No wonder it takes me so long to get something done. But, I need to get on it. There is always another one to write when I finish this one.

The rain has stopped for now and the air is totally still. I went out for a couple of minutes and the air was thick and made it tough to breathe. I reckon that defines my outdoor activities for the day and so off to the basement and my office I go. I hope that you have a most blessed day, full of the glory of God. I'll talk to you tomorrow. Peace.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Birds and butterflies, and bees; it's a great combination to start off a sunny Wednesday morning. It is fairly quiet in the backyard buffet this morning despite the fact that I filled the feeders last evening. I really expected that the blackbirds and starlings would be all over the bark butter feeders this morning since I filled them last night. IIt is most likely a case of they haven't discovered them --- yet!

I was sitting out here in the sunporch a couple of nights ago around 12:30am listening to some music and despite the fact that it was pitch dark upside, I could see that one of my feeders was moving around a lot  out there in the pussy willow tree. It wasn't swaying like it would if it was windy, it was kind of jerking around. So, I turned on the outside light and there were not one, --- but two very young raccoons up in the branches of the pussy willow trying to get some sunflower seed out of a feeder. I opened up the back door and fussed at them thinking that would shoo them away. But, the one just sat there resting its little head in the crook of the tree and looked at me, while the other was slowly trying to figure out how to get out of the tree without falling. It was so cute that I was tempted to grab my camera and take a picture of it sitting there; but instead, I grabbed my BB gun and shot it. That hurried them along across the yard and out of the light. It scared them so bad that it was almost five minutes before they came back after I turned of the light. LOL. So, I turned the light back on and shooed them off again and this time they stayed away.

Yesterday was a day of running around and taking care of some business. Ms. Kate had to go to the dentist and have a tooth filled. It was the one that she had a root canal on a couple of weeks ago and they had put in a temporary filling. Yesterday she had the permanent filling put in. We were really glad that she didn't have to have a crown put on. After that, we went to Cold Stone Creamry and had "our lunch". I belong to their birthday club and had a coupon for a free ice cream with the purchase of a like size. And if you know me, --- you know that I don't waste a chance at free ice cream.
We finished our ice cream and then headed out to one of the local hospitals for a visit with one of my parishioners. She seems to be doing fairly well and really hopes to be going home today. I pray she can too.

After we came home I mowed the yards because the grass had gotten thick and tall with all of the rain that we have been having. We are supposed to have more today and tomorrow. We really do not need more rain but that certainly doen't mean we won't get it. But, --- if God could shift it out to California and drop it on some of the forest fires around Los Angeles area and I think it would be a better thing.

I've set here long enough now for the gang to come flying I. I have several cardinals, lots of finches, a couple of woodpeckers and a Robin or two. I guess someone put out the word that the buffet was in fact open for business. A breeze has picked up; I don't know if that has anything to do with them suddenly all flying in or not. But what ever the reason, I'm glad to see them and I thank God for them and the joy they bring. I think I will stop and enjoy them and drink my cup of coffee and offer my word of gratitude to God who made everything possible. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, July 25, 2016

What would we do without a day of thunder and rain and high heat and high humidity. already had one cloud burst come through and out is sun shiny and thundering. It is supposed to be this way all week long. I don't think that is a good thing at this point.

It's afternoon and I'm just getting around to writing today. I haven't accomplished much except a little office work and I'm helping Ms. Kate do the laundry. It generally doesn't take us more than two loads to get it all done but today we are adding bedding to the mix so that will be an extra load or two including the guest bedding.

Sunday was the usual busy. We had the combined parish worship service, then that was followed by a congregational meeting for the second of my two churches. Then we went home, ate some lunch while Ms. Kate whipped up some deviled eggs for the evening social at the church. We grabbed the eggs and a couple of peach pies that Ms. Kate had made and we went back to the church for a meal, some games, and an evening of fellowship; and then there was just enough time left for me to get back down to Evansville for a hospital visitation before visiting hours were over. It was a satisfactory Sunday.

I have lots of cardinals flying in and out this afternoon. Mr. Fuss-a-lot is here but he has been fairly quiet today. Last evening I was sitting out here after dark and I could see one of my bird feeder in the pussy will trees was moving around quite a bit. I knew there was no wind so I turned on the outside lights and there was Randy the raccoon working hard at a feeder. I opened the door and he quickly took off. At least I caught him before he tore something up again or stole another feeder. The stinking thing!!!

Well, I think I will sit here and listen to a little Gaither on the Bose and the rain on the roof. If that doesn't set up a nap session, I don' know what will. In the mean time,mI hope you have a wonderful afternoon.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ms. Margaret's mowing crew is out early this morning trying to beat the heat I reckon, although it is already 81 degrees this early in the morning. I think she has a different crew this week. They appear to be a family outfit; a dad and a teenaged girl, maybe 13 years old and an teenaged boy about the same age and they are using self propelled walk behinds. Their dad is using the weed eater. I can't remember the last time I saw young kids out mowing lawns. It's actually a very refreshing sight. And, they are making quick work of Ms. Margaret's yard.

The heat wave is back on again today. Yesterday we had a spot of relief because it rained all day on and off. That kept the heat down. This heat and humidity is supposed to last through Sunday evening and then it's back to more darn rain etc. I don't think my yard has really dried out yet this summer because it rains every two or three days. I know I certainly haven't quit mowing grass yet and neither has anybody else around here.

There isn't much activity in the backyard buffet this morning. It has been very sporadic with mostly sparrows, finches and a wren or two. There are a couple of cardinals out there but they are just sitting and trying to stay cool I think. A couple of butterflies are the only constant motion today. I haven't even had a squirrel here this morning.

I need to go pick up my truck this morning. I decided to go ahead and let them fix both windows since they already had the vehicle. Then I'm going to take it to the car wash and get it cleaned up. It has been a long time since I had that done and the inside of the windshield really has a lot of whatever that film is that clouds them up. I think it is just "exhaled stale air" that collects on them. But, everytime I try to clean them I just streak them up because my arms are too short to really reach it and do a good job. I also have to go to the hardware store and get a one gallon sprayer. We have some but they have all had poison in them and I need one to mix up a batch of "Stop Rot" to spray on my tomatoes. All of this wet weather causes them to get leathery and rot at the bottom. It is a lack of calcium in the plants that does that.  You spray it directly on the plants and the calcium is absorbed through the leaves. It is good for the squash and cucumbers too.

Ms. Kate and I went to the 10:15 pm movie last night to see the new Star Trek movie. I've been a Trekkie since 1965 when the first series started. We got home around 0100 hrs. And, we didn't really get to bed any later than we normally do.

That's my Saturday. What are you going to do with yours? Hopefully you'll get time to relax and rest and take advantage of a Sunday church service somewhere and refresh your soul. C' ya' on Monday I hope. Peace.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thunder, lightening, and rain were my alarm clock this morning. It had Ben a steady rain for the past hour but the sky is getting brighter now so perhaps we are getting to the back edge of the storm. Although my Accuweather app says rain for at least two more hours, and my Weather Channel Radar app shows a lot of green yet to pass by. Yeh, I'm a bit weather anal I guess.

The rain is light enough that it hasn't stopped the business at the buffet so far. I filled up a bunch of feeders again last evening and the birds have been swooping in and out all morning. It has been mostly small birds; finch, sparrows and downy woodpeckers. The first of the cardinal clan has just arrived and more will follow shortly, I'm quite sure. It seems the send out a scout each time to see if it is clear or not for them. Although, --  I have no idea whether they work in a community fashion or not. I do know that many times I have been filling feeders and I will hear a single Cardinal up somewhere tweeting and then will see more come in for food.

My yard looks great here out back this morning. I went ahead an took the trimmer to it and mowed it yesterday evening after the sun had dropped some. It was looking pretty shaggy and I wanted to get it cleaned up for the weekend. We are in the middle of the third heatwave for the summer and it isn't supposed to get any better until sometime Sunday evening. So, -- I decided to go ahead and get it done as the sun was setting. It didn't take that long and now I can sit back and enjoy.

One of my agenda items today is to go get my truck from the shop. Both of my automatic window switches have gone bad. I had the first one replaced and they called me this morning and said that the other one was bad too and it would be another $250.00 just to fix that one. My truck is under a recall from Dodge for something, I think it is the airbag issue, so I will take my truck to the dealer and have them look at that second door and see also if they have what they need for the recall issue. My local garage is a good shop for oil changes, tires, and that kind of thing, but I don't have the biggest confidence in them for some other stuff. I know we took our last Cadillac to them for an issue and they really hosed the job and I had all kinds of issues with that repair. But, I try to support local family businesses when I can. And, like I said, they are a good family.

"Woody" is back again this morning. That makes every day this week. I can't tell you how glad that makes me. Pilated woodpecker are rare and to have  regular is wonderful. Not, only is this one sitting here, I hear another one up in the tree --- and it just flew down as I was typing. So, I'm going to just sit here and watch them for awhile and give God thanks for an extra handful of blessings this morning. In the mean time I hope you have a wonderful day full of peace and love.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21st; --- Mr. Larry Sullivan's birthday! And just who is that -- you might ask? Larry was a civilian employee who worked for me back in the 1988 - 1990 time frame. He was a retired Air Force   MSgt and he ran the information security program for me. I only remember his birthday because it was the day after mine. So --- Happy Birthday Larry, where ever you may be. Isn't it strange the things we remember??

The backyard buffet has been busy this morning. Mr. Pilated Woodpecker, (I'm calling him "Woody") has been back everyday this week, sometimes twice a day. I'm really pleased at that. What I am not pleased about is a danged starling that sat there and destroyed a feed cylinder. It sat out there just gobbling as fast as it could, pecking away at it until the cylinder broke in half and fell on the ground. Then it just flew away. It was pecking put large chunks trying to get to certain pieces that it liked best I guess. It reminded me of my middle daughter Heather and how she used to do a pizza; pick though what she wanted and leave the rest. But, the rest of that cylinder certainly won't go to waste. The wrens and cardinals will eat it and what they don't eat, a squirrel or some other critter will. But --- all of the birds seem especially hungry today. Maybe they are eating early before the heat really kicks in today. It is supposed to get to 111 degrees heat index. Maybe they are eating now and will be hiding in the shade later, --- just a guess.

We didn't go run the bulletins yesterday like we normally do on Wednesday. Instead we enjoyed my birthday. We were supposed to go out to a certain tavern for lunch with our best friends but they were both sick. We go to this place because they have the best deep fried mushrooms. So, we went by ourselves for the mushrooms. Then we went to O'Charley's for lunch because it was "Free Pie Wednesday". Lunch was good but they have quit selling their peach pie which was my favorite. So we each had a piece of lemon that will now be my new favorite when I go there. Next we went to Lowe's and bought a new arbor to go over our mailbox. The one I made fifteen years ago needs to be torn down because it looks so bad. After that, we came home and Ms. Kate made me a peach pie because I hadn't been able to have some earlier. That woman is just a walking love bug!!!

So, --- that means we need to go run bulletins today and get that done. I also need to mow the back yard but that can wait another day or two. Oppressive heat and humidity and I just don't get along.

Now that I have written about it --- I'm hungry for it; so you go have yourself a most wonderful day and I'm going to go have another cup of coffee and a piece of peach pie. Peace!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday, the 20th of July! Happy birthday to me. Yes, I turned 72 years old today. I find that amazing because I always talked about those old guys, "you know, in their seventies." And now I am starting my third year into my seventies. And, yes, I am getting ready to retire for the second time, I don't really feel "old"; which only goes to show that age is as much a state of mind as it is anything else. Of, course, being blessed with pretty good health is certainly a blessing, and I know that I should lose about forty pounds to help maintain that health. But I give praise to God above for the blessed life I am allowed to live.

In my 72 years I have come from being an orphan in an orphanage home; (the reason for which will never be known because the records were sealed), to being adopted along with my sister into a middle income home. I served my country twice -- once for four years as an enlisted airman and then again for 28 years as an officer where I retired as a Colonel.  I fell in love with the cutest young girl (Ms. Kate) at Reitz High School at the age of 17 and married her when I was 21. And --- she still loves me and puts up with me 50 years later. We've raised three beautiful, intelligent, successful daughters and quasi-raised a fourth one who is the BFF of our daughter Heather and adds so much joy to our lives. We are the very proud grandparents of five wonderful grandchildren of whom we could not be more proud. In 2001 I promised Ms. Kate I would retire and we would settle down and enjoy life --- and then promptly started a whole new career and became a Licensed Minister for the United Church of Christ and have now been successfully serving two churches as their full time pastor for over twelve years. Over the years I have become a fairly proficient musician, writer, woodworker, traveler, and avid reader. ------- Am I bragging about my life? -- No. But some times we wonder where the time has gone. How did we get to be this old and when did it happen? The answer of course is --- one day at a time. One day just blends into another and time marches on. One day you are having babies and the next thing you know, you are holding grandchildren. For me, --- the cable of steel that strings all of those days together is prayer and a relationship with God. The neat thing about that is that there are many periods in my life that I didn't think about my relationship with God --- but God  never forgot His relationship with me; hence the life full of blessings, unearned and freely given.

So, Happy birthday to me. I have birthday gifts beyond imagination: Ms. Kate is in the other room, I've heard from all of my kids, I have a home, I have health, I have friends around the world who care about me, and I have a faith family that I love. God allowed me to wake up this morning to start a new day and a new year. I promise to do my best to use that gift to my full potential.

Stop and take stock of your life; you'll quickly realize just where the time went. Peace.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

There are at least nine feeders out there that combined probably hold twenty five pounds of sunflower seed. All the squirrel has to do Isi shinny up the pole and sit on the feeder and eat. So, --- one would wonder why the silly squirrel has to go through all of those gyrations of hanging by its toenails and stretching horizontally to eat from the barkbutter feeder? They never cease to amaze me with their antics. I also wonder what a man would look like if he was as strong as a squirrel is for its size.

It is another hot one today. It was 80 degrees already at 0730 and there isn't a lot of air stirring. I've had a lot of visitors at the buffet this morning already and I'm happy to report that Mr. Pilated Woodpecker is back again this morning. He is gobbling down on a ground corn seed cake. I generally know a minute or two in advance that it is coming in because it announces itself before it actually lands. It's call is unlike any other bird that I have. I don't know if it is signaling a warning to other birds to get out of the way or what. But I will hear it's call as it moves in through the trees and finally here it is, eating from a feeder. It most generally eats either suet of some kind or bark butter.

Little hummingbird is here again this morning too. We cleaned out the one feeder and refilled it which it uses a lot. And it visits the phlox too. I took the "hummer-bar" feeder down yesterday so I could clean it up. I need to go get a couple of ant guards to put out there. The hummer bar was full of dead ants and unfortunately, I still haven't seen them go to it. But, I'll refill it and put it back out there. All it takes is a bit of sugar and water. I have an ant guard hanging for my other hummingbird feeder and it is so cute that the goldfinches and the little wrens like to come and drink out of it. Is it any wonder that I enjoy my back yard so very much?

The Republican National Convention has started in Cleveland, OH and will go through out the week. Next week the Democratice National Convention will begin. The potential for a violent bloody shootout is only a spark away in Cleveland. Ohio is an "open -carry" state; which means if you want to walk around with a gun hanging on you, it is legal to do so as long as it is visible. Add to the stupidity of that the fact that the militant black group called "The Black Panther Movement" and about 1000 weapons carrying bike riding Vietnam era "Patriots" are coming; it is a scary situation. All it is going to take is one idiot hothead and it will be worse than a match in a dry forest. This country has gone nuts! This has been the absolute worst presidential election campaigning that I have ever witnessed. I pray that God will lay a calming hand on this nation, but I don't see it happening . So I would ask you to join me in prayer for this nation, its leadership, and its future.

I guess I should get busy. I've spent enough time watching birds and critters this morning . I hope your day is full of good things; and if it is, take time to thank the Lord for those good things because that is where all blessings originate. C' ya'!  

Monday, July 18, 2016

What better way to start off a new week than with a heat index of 105 degrees and no breeze. Even the squirrels are already draped over the branches this morning and or walking slow. They aren't too happy anyway because the feeders are all empty and I haven't bothered to go fill them yet this morning. Although, I have one out there that has and is going through all kinds of stretched out gyrations to reach a couple of feeders that they don't normally go to. It was literally hanging on to a small limb by a couple of toe nails and stretched out to reach a bark butter feeder. I guess I'll go put some sunflower seed in all of the feeders so they can all eat in peace again. I also need to hose out the bird baths again and refill them. It is important this time of year. It is definitely "the Dog days of Summer."

We had a good weekend. Saturday we drove over to New Albany and had dinner with Julie and Jim at Joe Huber's Farm and Resturant. It's a couple hour drive for a meal but the company was great and the food wasn't bad either. There are a lot of good places to eat here in Indiana, a person just has to look for them. One of the things Ms. Kate and I intend to do once I retire is to do "day trips" and find unique and neat little places and hidden gems of this state. When I retired from the Air Force back in 2001, we had promised ourselves we were going to do this but now fifteen years later we still haven't gotten around to it. Last night I spent some time on the internet looking at the smaller van type of camper/motor homes. It was quickly made obvious that we could stay in a lot of five star hotels for the $60 - $120,000 that it would cost for a new one. I guess Motel 6 better keep a light on for us. LOL

Yesterday we had our Associate Conference Minister in for our worship service. She gave the sermon and it was pretty good. After the service we had a meeting with her and the members of the two churches to talk about my retirement. Ms. Kate and I stayed for part of the meeting and then we were excused so they could "plot my demise" so to speak. There is a lot of things that the churches need to do to even begin to search for a new pastor. And I guess there are things that I need to do too. I have already begun working on a bit of a continuity folder for my replacement. Staying out of the process and not asking a lot of questions is going to be hard for me. I'm a guy that needs to know what is going on, but in this case I'm not allowed to influence anything. And me asking questions without rendering an opinion is next to impossible. So, I just need to keep my mind on my work and let them do theirs.

It is clouding up now so I guess I better get dressed and go fill the bird feeders before it starts raining or storming or something. I hope you have a wonderful week filled with warm and loving experiences and the joy that is brought by your relationship with the Lord God. Until next time ---.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What a beautiful Friday morning. The sun is shining brightly in spite of the fact that my Weather Channel app says it is mostly cloudy. God has the spotlight shining through the tree branches highlighting the phlox this morning. How beautiful that is. The yellow and black butterfly is combing over the phlox gathering nectar.

I'm back in my recliner this morning. I fell asleep in it last night. Ms. Kate and I were out here listening to some Gaither Homecoming music and we both fell asleep in our recliners. I woke up at 0445 and she was gone to bed, but I think it was her getting out of her recliner that woke me up. So, I trudged on off to bed and was probably asleep again by the time my head hit the pillow. I don't remember much beyond pulling the sheets up over me.

It is my day off today. I wonder what I will do when I get fully retired? How do I take days off from days off? Will those be the two days a week that I do something? And what about holidays? How can you take holidays off when you aren't working. Will I even know there is a holiday or will I miss them altogether? Wow, this is going to be confusing.

There was another terrorist attack yesterday in Paris. I assume that is what it was; I haven't watched the news beyond the announcement that it happened. Some body ran a large truck into the crowd that was celebrating Bastile Day. At last count, I heard there were 80 people killed. It is so hard for me to understand the rage and mentality of people that do these thing. I was a professional military man for 32 years. It was my job to fight and kill the enemy if the situation arose and I was fully trained and prepared to do that. None of that has anything to do with the slaughtering of innocent people because they don't agree with your specific idealism.

That isn't a war -- that is simply murder in the first degree. And to say you are doing it in the name of God is beyond reprehensible. The root of the problem lies in the cultural definition of God. Christian ministers and such say that God and Allah are not the same. I disagree.There is only one God. It is the difference in definition of God that is tearing the world apart. As Christians we believe (for the most part) in a loving God. The radical Muslim faith define Allah or God as a God of vengeance that demands that all those who don't believe in him should be put to death. It is indeed a sad commentary on the people of this planet. Enough of my rant and soapbox this morning.

I have birds at empty feeders that are probably wondering if the buffet is closed so I better do something about that. I hope your day is fully blessed and your coming weekend is filled with love and peace. Shalomn.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

There is a saying that says "If you don't like the weather in Indiana, just wait five minutes because it will change." Of course, I have heard that same saying about every place we have lived I think. This morning, (Happy Thursday, by the way) we had a thunderstorm. It wasn't severe weather. There was no lightening, and barely a minimum amout of a shower of rain; --- just thunder. The sky was a dark grey and at first you could barely hear the thunder off in a distance. Then it got louder and louder as the storm came through and moved on to the south east. The thunderstorm lasted almost an hour. Now --- the sky is clear and the sun is shining brightly. God sure puts on some interesting displays for his people to enjoy.

Ms. Kate and I have several places to go today and get a little shopping done. Yesterday we went to the churches and took care of business there, and then we went to the orchard and picked up some more peaches. High on the list Odem items is Pillsbury pie crusts. Ms. Kate makes a great pie crust; I think she uses my Grandma Rath's recipe. However, these ready made Pillsbury crust are just as good; (sorry Grandma) and eliminate the mess. I admit that no one would ever taste the crust and talk about how "light and flakey" it is like they always did when Ms. Kate makes them from scratch. --- but heck --- it's just me and her eating them. So, we'll end up at Sam's and possibly Target and maybe even a craft store or two.

Mr. Fuss-a-lot the bluejay is here this morning making a racket and trying to run the other birds away from the feeders. He isn't having a lot of success with it though. He's up against a mockingbird and starlings, all of which tend to hold there own. Meanwhile, the smaller birds like finches, downy woodpeckers, a couple of cardinals, and some sparrows sneak in and out quickly, grab a bite or two and flit off to safety. And --- over on the "squirrel feeder" two fuzzy tails are chasing one another off of the feeder, up the tree, back down the tree to the ground. Then one will climb back on the feeder and the process starts all over again. There is mucho entertainment in the backyard this morning. No wonder I lose so much time sitting here watching these critters. I think about my log departed mother-in-law and how much she would have loved to sit here and watch all of this. It would have made her day. She had a few birdfeeders too but none of them were located where she could sit and enjoy the, She could only really enjoy them while standing at her kitchen sink which wasn't much fun I reckon.

I have other business I need to get on to so I need to wrap this up for today. I hope your day is as spiritually bright as the sunshine I'm seeing right now. Peace.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Good Wednesday morning to you! The day is starting off bright with lots of sunshine. It is already 82 degrees this morning and going to 91. The forecast calls for more scattered thunderstorms today and tonight. We certainly don't need more rain. The sidewalks are still damp from the last one that must have happened sometime during the night.

There is a squirrel climbing around in the pussy willow tree trying to decide which feeder he can rob the easiest. There is only one that he can get much out of and he really has to stretch and balance to eat from it. I have a feeder out in the yard that we call the squirrel feeder. It hangs on a hook about five feet from one of my poplar trees. They go to it all the time but sometimes it just seems they want a challenge. This guy will sit there in that pussy willow tree and stare in at me trying to determine whether or not I am going to get up and come shoot him with a BB gun. If I get out of my chair, it will take off. If I don't; --- it may or may not stay there. Some times they get all stretched out to eat from that feeder and along comes a big ol' Grackle and chases them off. That's why my sunporch tends to be entertainment central.

On the south side of the sunporch windows, I have had a wren clinging to the screen, looking around and checking the area out for safety reasons I guess. Then it drops down into the potted plants and roots around in there. I don't know what it is about the potted plants that tends to draw in some of my birds like the wrens and the cardinals. They seem to be eating something out of the dirt in them. Who knows --- maybe they are addicted to Miracle Gro dirt.

The phlox looks nice this morning with the sun shining brightly on it. It is fully bloomed out now and provides a good source of pollen etc. for the bees, the butterflies, and the hummingbirds. ; although I haven't seen my hammers in a couple of days. I bought that new multiple port hummingbird feeder bar and I don't know that I have seen them use it yet. We bought a new Butterfly bush and planted it out here. Our last one just died out a couple of winters ago. They really tend to make good food for the butterflies and the hummingbirds too.

Since it is Wednesday, we know that means go to the churches and run the bulletins and set the pulpit up for Sunday. It is really going to be strange not doing that every Wednesday after I retire, or not working until 2300 hrs or later on a sermon like I did last night. I'm going to have to find new challenges to keep the old brain active and working. Of course, if I used some of that time being outside and walking or moving around --- maybe I'd lose a little weight and stay healthy.

My cup is empty and I need to get ready for my day's activities. I feel blessed again this morning  and I thank the good Lord for that. I pray for peace in this country and peace in the lives of my loved ones and friends. That includes you! Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When I first came out this morning it seemed the sky couldn't make up its mind as to whether it was going to rain or not. We had the sound of sporadic rain drops hitting the roof but nothing connecting the dots on the sidewalk. Well, obviously a decision was made some where up the chain because it has been coming down pretty darned good for a while now. But --- Happy Tuesday anyway!

It is a good thing that I decided to mow my back yard yesterday afternoon. It sure would not have gotten done today. I also filled the bird feeders again and despite the rain, I've had some customers at the buffet. Most of my visitors this morning have been finches, a couple of wrens, a couple of downy woodpeckers, and one or two cardinals. The sky is getting a little brighter and my Weather Channel radar app shows me thata the rain is just about done. The birds will come flocking out of the trees and bushes as soon as the rain passes.

I went out yesterday and had to re-tie the tomatoes up. They are getting taller  and more gangley and are also putting on several tomatoes which will pull the branches down even more. I had done a fairly  good job of keeping the branches within the confines of the cages but some how they got away from me, I also had to put up something for the cucumbers to climb on. It won't be too long and we'll be getting fresh produce and I'm really looking forward to that. Even the okra is starting to put on. We like to add a little ookra to our veggie soup and we both love fried okra. I usually will order okra when we go out to Cracker Barrel for a meal; ( unless of course, I'm ordering breakfast).

I ordered material for our two fall mission drives yesterday. We do the Operation Christmas Child drive and we do the Making a Change drive. I'm really hoping we can get 80 OCC shoeboxes filled this year. That would b fantastic and a record for the parish. There is such a need in this world and so often it is the children who suffer the most. Reverend Franklin Graham started this Christmas Child program several years ago and the people of this world have given millions of shoeboxes to needy children around the world. I believe it is best ways to show the love of Christ without standing around and shouting about it. Afterall, you can catch more bears with honey than you can with a bear trap.

My computer down stairs is calling my name. I need to get busy working on my August sermons and services. August will be here before I now it and I'll be behind again. Our rain has ended and the sky is clear, the birds are coming in for breakfast and I also need to go throw an English Muffin in the toaster. An English muffin with a little of Ms. Kate's strawberry jelly sound delicious.

So --- you go have a great day and celebrate being alive one more day. Better feet above ground than below I always say. Take comfort in knowing someone said a prayer for you today --- and that someone was me. Shalomn.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It is currently 77 degrees. The high today will be 90 degrees, and I have no events for today. --- My IPad has just described my life for today. What would I do without technology?? What it doesn't tell me is that I have writing to do, bird feeders to fill, bird baths to clean out and refill, a back yard to mow, sticks from the recent storm to clean up, and laundry to help Ms. Kate with. I guess Mr. Apple IPad doesn't know everything afterall.

The fact is that it is a beautiful morning. The phlox in my flowerbed is fully in bloom and the good news is that not only is it great to look at, the butterflies have found it it. I don't know one butterfly from another except I do know that these are not Monarch Butterflies. In fact, I don't know the last time I actually saw a Monarch other than on television in the series "Under the Dome" where it was a prominent feature. Our butterflies are most the yellow with black variety, and I love sitting here watching them flit from one flower to the next. The phlox is also a great alternative for the hummingbirds.

Yesterday was first Sunday after the announcement of my November retirement. The reaction was pretty much as expected; folks are supportive, sorry to see us go, but understand. We had the St. Lucas summer congregational meeting yesterday and as I mentioned to Ms. Kate; --- the "lasts" are already beginning. That was the last congregational meeting we will attend with St. Lucas. St. Paull's will have their congregational meeting on the 24th, and that will be our last one with them. I ordered material last night for a fall misson project that we started doing last year and realized that we won't be there this year to see the results of their work this year because we end the project on Christmas Eve. It is the small things that tug at your heart when you make life changes. However, I have no regrets and know this is the right thing.

Julie came over with Auggie dog for the weekend. It is always wonderful when we have one of our children in the house. We relaxed a lot and even went to see a movie on Saturday night. "The Secret Life of Pets" is a cute movie and every grandparent should take their grandchildren to see it. Ms. Kate and I just took our 49 year old "little girl" since we don't have any grandchildren close and wanted to see it ourselves.

It is second cup of coffee time which entails me getting out of my chair, so I might as well close up for today. I pray your day will be a fully blessed day; full of sunshine and the blessings of life. Until next time --- Peace.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Good morning indeed! It is a beautiful Saturday morning. The sun is shining, it is 73 degrees, the wind is calm, Julie is here with Auggie, my coffee is hot and life is good. The best news of all is that Stephanie made it through surgery just fine and the doctors do not think the tumor was cancerous. She even texted us this morning and said she is doing well. I give all praise and glory to God as His hands guided the hands of the surgeons and we pray for a speedy and full recovery.

We have lots of visitors this morning at the backyard buffet. I filled all of the feeders yesterday afternoon so we have had a great variety of birds today. At least I don't have the problem that Ms. Kate's cousin has; he has wild turkeys eating out of his bird feeders. He posted a picture of them. It might be fun to see once or twice, but I suspect that might get old after a bit. I would think they would go through a lot of food.

I'm going to quit now. I may or may not get back to you today. I need to get to the local butcher shop and pick up some fresh chicken to fix on the grill today. It is a perfect day for it. Have a great weekend. Stop long enough to give praise to God and be grateful for God's blessings. Peace

Friday, July 8, 2016

My heart weeps for our nation once again as societal madness has once again run rampant. Within the last 36 hours two seemingly innocents black males were shot and killed by police and eleven policemen were ambushed and gunned down as they stood and monitored a peaceful demonstration that was being held because of the first two shootings. Four of those officers have died so far.

What has happened to our national thought process of living as a peaceful nation where we take care of one another, where we look out for one another, where we don't profile people because they are a different skin color? When did we throw away 50 years of social progress and jump back to the 1950s and 60s? I went through those years and I remember well the race riots and the hatred, but I somehow convinced myself that maybe we had advanced in our civilization rather than regressed. I know I sound like an old white guy conservative but I think the answer is that when we threw God out of our lives, out of our schools and daily thought and language for "something less offensive"  --- God took the best of our humanity along with Him and left us to try to regain our purpose as a people. We have become like the Hebrews following Moses around in the desert, and once again we are looking for the promised land.

Our family is a all standing by in prayer today across the country as "4th daughter"
 Stephanie goes into surgery this afternoon. I think she is scheduled for a 1230 surgery and it is supposed to take a few hours. Her husband Chris will let us know as soon as he knows anything about results. We would appreciate you joining us in prayer for a successful surgery and a complete recovery.

In the short amount of time that I have been sitting here writing this blog we had a storm come and go complete with thunder, lightening, and heavy rain. It is now over for the time being and my Weather Channel app shows the radar to be clear for the next while. I can see that my feeders are all empty for the most part but the back yard is too sloppy right now to deal with it. I guess all my feathered and hairy friends will just have to wait a while longer. There is still some food out there; they just need to be less "picky" if they want to eat from my buffet this morning. I just had a squirrel actually get up on a feeder, check it out and find that it was empty, and then come bounding over to my sunporch door and look in at me. Yeh, they know I work for them!!!

Between storms, Stephanie's surgery and national societal madness, I've had enough bad for today. I need to regroup my thoughts, put my full trust in the Lord and turn my frown upside down. My wrens are hopping around on the porch being cute as a button and just maybe that I'd a sign from God that things are going to be better. I pray for peace in this nation and in my life and in yours. God bless you today.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

It is 1400 in the afternoon and Ms. Kate and I are sitting in the sunroom in the middle of a severe storm watching it pour and blow and thunder like crazy. Should we be maybe in the basement ---- perhaps. But here we are, --- trusting God will take care of us and looking at the radar that says the severe portion of this storm will be short lived. There isn't a lot of lightening with this storm and that is a good thing. We have really had enough rain to last us for awhile but we are also fortunate that it hasn't been worse. Sixty five miles south of us in Madisonville, KY had major flooding last night from this same storm series. So, I give God my gratitude for our blessings and protection.

Ms. Kate and I had a busy morning. She had a beauty appointment this morning at 0900 to get her hair trimmed so I went along and went across the street to my barbershop and got my hair cut. Then we went and did some banking, then we had pedicures done. After that it was time for brunch so we went to Denny's for our meal. By then it was time to come on home.

For my personal news --- last evening I met with the combined councils of my two churches and I tendered my resignation as their pastor. It is a very bittersweet moment for us. I have been there for twelve years. But, I decided about six months ago that it was time for me to quit working. In two weeks I will be 72 years old. After thirty two years in the Air Force, two years of training to be a licensed minister, twelve years in the pulpit, --- I'm tired. I love the people of the parish and they have accepted us as family since the day I started there, But even the best things must come to an end at some point. So, my last service and sermon will be November the 28th, 2016. After that I will no longer be a mnister at all. Certainly --- I could maintain my standing as a licensed minister and do occasional "supply or fill-in" work, but that would totally defeat the purpose. So, --- I will just simply be retired and on a permanent vacation. The hardest part is that by rule, we must "divorce" ourselves from the members of the parish and we are going to miss them terribly. I reckon we are going to have to find ourselves a church to attend come December.

What am I / we going to do with ourselves? Well, we're going to get back into geocaching, we're planning some "day-trips", I'm currently four Stephen King books behind, and I may try my hand at writing. Many years ago I wrote several short stories that aren't too bad but could use a lot of work. I'm thinking I need to get those back out and re-write them. They were written on a Brother Word processor to begin with so I will be starting all over again. I think it will be fun.

I said the storm would be short lived and it was. There is still some light rain happening but the thunder and wind stuff has passed. My best clues are that the birds are back out and singing. The squirrels have come back out of hiding and peace reigns in the back yard. Thank you Lord for good things.

Have a blessed day my friends and keep us in your prayers as we plan for our next adventures. Peace.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 6th has begun with a bright and sunny morning and it is 82 degrees, neither of which is a particular good thing. There are terrible storm brewing up north and they are working their way here rapidly I'm afraid. We are planning on having lunch with our good friends, Bob and Georgia Ann today and I really would hate to see them get out in the weather if it is pouring rain. My weather radar app shows a lot of rain headed this way but hopefully there won't be any severe storms attached to it. Bob called me a little earlier and told me he was going to bring us a dozen ears of corn because his patch of corn got flattened the other day with the storm that came through.  What a shame. We've seen a lot of field corn knocked down by that storm. Once it is down, it doesn't stand back up. I think it was about five years ago that our farmers had so much trouble getting their corn harvested because it had been flattened by the wind..

Ms. Kate had her root canal procedure yesterday. She seems to be doing fine this morning. She will need to be on antibiotics for a week and then has to see her general dentist in four to six weeks, most likely for a crown on that tooth.

We have lots on the adgenda today of course since it is Wednesday. After we have lunch with Bob and Georgia Ann, we'll need to go to the churches and I need to run the bulletins and I need to run off my annual report for the congregational meetings that are coming up this month. Our first one is this Sunday. Then we have another one on the 24th for the second church. Then is evening I have called for a combined council meeting to discuss things that will be talked about with the congregation at the meetings.

I'm still lifting up prayers for Stephanie and her surgery this Friday. I know she is scared; I certainly would be. But, bless her heart, her attitude is; "let's get that sucker out of there." In the realm of possibilities of things that could go wrong --- I'm glad she has that attitude and I'm so praying that everything will be fine when it is over.

I guess I should finish up my morning "play time" here on the porch and start getting ready for my day. I've had very few birds here this morning for what ever reason and have had no squirrels. I've had a couple of doves, a sparrow or two and my wrens. That is about all. Maybe they all feel something in the air that I don't know.

I pray your day will go well and you will be surrounded by people you love. Take an opportunity to meet a new friend today if you can. It will expand your world. Peace.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tuesday, the 5th of July! The Independence Day celebrations are all done, with the exception of people still shooting off their now bargain priced fireworks, and the communities having late fireworks because the performance had to be cancelled because of the rain. We have had a good four plus inches here and some areas have had as much as double that. Winds and storms have flattened a lot of corn that I doubt will stand back up. That isn't a good thing. We are under the threat of more rain and storms all this week. I conducted the funeral I had to do yesterday but we couldn't have a graveside commital because the cemetery was flooded.

Today is Julie's 49th birthday. That just doesn't seem possible. But, our girls are all hitting middle age. Julie is 49, Stephanie just turned 46 and became a grandmother, Heather will turn 46 and Lisa will be 45. Jon is our only grandchild left in highschool and if Josh would hurry up and marry that lovely Christina, we'd have two great grandchildren. It is a good thing Ms. Kate and I are making the most of our lives because they sure are passing by quickly.

I went outside for a few minutes last evening to see some of the neighborhood fireworks. Because of the dense air from the clouds and rain, the air was full of the smell of sulfur. The area sounded like a war zone with all of the fireworks cannons and firecrackers going off. I could hear people laughing and shouting when an especially loud one went off or a particularly pretty one went up in to the air. People were indeed having fun. But --- I couldn't help but think that probably not but one in maybe a hundred of those people had even a thought of how frightening all of the sound and smell is to a large part of the world, where that same sound would have been the sound of death and destruction and IEDs and mortars going off and bombs dropping from the sky and bullets whizzing through houses. We are so very blessed to live in a country where those things are not an everyday occurrence; where we don't have to worry where our children walk or play because of IEDs and land mines planted everywhere. I pray we will never ever again have that kind of thing happening in this country. I love living in this country. I love being an Ameerican citizen. Having been in war torn areas, I just can't fathom that kind of destruction in this beautiful country. But --- I also know it can happen or could happen if the people of this nation don't quit rattling their sabers at one another and back down from their stupid pride and feelings of entitlement. I just read last night that one political party in congress is calling for their party members to be "disruptive as possible" when the other party begins to speak. I suspect our founding fathers of this nation would look at our national leadership of today and would think they totally failed in their mission. I pray daily for this country and I hope youo do too.

Enough politics. I need to sit and watch my birds and enjoy this morning of beautiful sunshine. Go has provided yet another beautiful morning for us to enjoy. I hope you have a very blessed day. I need to take Ms. Kate for a root canal today so keep good thoughts for her. Also pray foro Ms. Stephanie who is having a serious operation on Friday. And never forget --- God is good. Peace.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy beautiful Saturday morning! It is a sunny 70 degree morning and I have lots of guests at the backyard buffet this morning. I've had several cardinals and downy woodpeckers in and out of here this morning. I also have a lot of the small birds like finches, sparrows, and wrens. I put out a larger seedcake and the ladderback woodpeckers are having a fuss with the starlings over that one. I haven't seen any hummingbirds around to try out my new hummerbar, but they will show up; --- eventually.

I mowed the years's again yesterday. I just love riding that new John Deere. It is so comfortable to drive and I just tool along enjoying life. The yards were not really in need of a haircut but they do look better not that I've done it.

The wedding rehearsal went very well yesterday afternoon. Generally people are late getting there or they are rowdy when they get there and don't want to settle down. But my group yesterday was on time and prepared to listen and get it done. The wedding is at 1600 hours today and thankfully, it looks like it is going to be a perfect wedding weather day too. The high today will be 79 degrees and low humidity. A couple of years ago I did the ceremony for the groom's sister and it was a hot muggy day and for some reason --- the area around the church lost power about 30 minutes before the wedding. There was a lot of scrambling going on to get a generator to the church and hook up the organ to it at least. But --- about three minutes before the wedding was to start -- the power came back on. We can do without that kind of drama today.

Around midnight last night I finished writing the funeral I have to do on Monday morning. We are predicted to have storms on Monday and I really hope they hold off until after the funeral. Funerals are a sad enough occasion; a bad weather funeral just makes people even more miserable. But, I think I have put together a good one considering I have never met the fellow. Thankfully I got some good input from his daughter-in-law.

Tomorrow after church, Ms. Kate and I plan to drive over to Louisville KY and have lunch with Julie and Jim at Joe's Crab Shack. She had planned to come here for the weekend but with my schedule of events for this weekend there wouldn't be much visiting time. Even tomorrow, we'll have to basically eat and run. I'll need to be back home in time to go to the funeral home for the visitation, and Louisville is going to get packed in the evening because they will be having the fireworks display tomorrow evening right there on the river front where we'll be, and I don't want to get into that traffic mess.

That's about it for my first cup of coffee. Time to do a refill and enjoy my morning. I hope you have a great weekend. Peace.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy 1st of July!!! It is a bright 72 degree morning now although it was cloudy when I first came out and looked like maybe it had rained a little. 2016 is now officially one half gone into the history books and I wonder what the second half of the year will bring. As a minimum, in the next six months this country will elect a new president which should end one of the worst presidential campaigns between two candidate front runners that absolutely represent the bottom of the barrel in morality and honesty. One candidate is an overbearing bully who acts like a rich spoiled kid standing in the middle of the classroom calling people names; and the other is only concerned with being the first woman president of this country regardless of who has to die in the process, and has been under FBI investigation for three years. I weep for the future of this country and pray God will get us through. ---- But enough of my grumps this morning.

Ms. Kate and I went to the various bird feed stores yesterday and stocked up again. I received my "Hummer Bar" feeder yesterday in the mail. It is a two foot long, 21 port, horizontal hummingbird feeder that I saw on Facebook. Of course that meant I had to buy a couple more shepherd's hooks to hang it from. I got it assembled and hung up. Ms.  Kate is going to mix up some sweet water and we'll put some in and see if it in fact attracts any hummingbirds. This backyard birdwatching gets to be expensive. I didn't take long to drop $150.00 yesterday on all of the different bird foods and paraphanellia. But --- sitting here, watching these cardinals, and wrens, and woodpeckers and yes, even those stinking starlings and blackbirds, brings me peace and joy so hang the cost, and just enjoy what God provides.

My chores for today are to mow my back yard, work on a funeral for Monday, and then do a wedding rehearsal this evening. I had a call from a friend yesterday wanting me to do the funeral for her father-in-law on Monday. I guess the man has no church and so she and her husband were hoping I would do the service. It is a little different doing a funeral for someone that (a) I don't know; and (b) doesn't attend a church. But --- I believe that everybody deserves a decent rememberance and funeral when they pass. It helps to bring closure for the family, and Ms. Kate and I really like this family.

July brings birthdays for the family. Stephanie's birthday is today, Tuesday will be Julie's birthday, and on the twentieth I'll turn 72. Lots of good life to celebrate. It is hard to believe that I'll be 72. I remember when 72 was "old". But one never knows about life. Heck, the man I'm doing the funeral for was only 61 when he passed. So, I just give God thanks for each and every day God allows me to continue to enjoy this life and all of the people that I'm blessed to have around me and love me. I'm certainly surrounded by undeserved blessing.

Have a great weekend. Take time to praise God for the blessing of living in a free country as we celebrate our Independence Day on Monday.  Shalomn.