Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy Wednesday! I started on a blog yesterday but then one thing led to another and I got busy. Then I had a doctor's appointment. That led to us going out for lunch; after which then took us to Ms. Kate's sister's house. By the time we got home we had other things to do and I never got back to my blog. So, I deleted my paragraph from yesterday and I am doing my blog first thing today before I let life interfere.

What took up most of my time yesterday morning ws simply sitting and staring at my IPad and reading aand watching video of the massive fire and destruction of Gatlinburg TN and the surrounding Smokey Mountains. Hundreds of businesses and cabins have been burned to the ground and so far three lives have been lost. With God's help, it is raining there this morning and is supposed to rain all day. That should really help to not only put out the fires but also clean the air. The picture people took as they raced off of the mountain were terrifying. I have a cabin rented for this coming June for our family reunion. I have no idea at the moment if the cabin is even standing now. I certainly lift that community up in prayer.

The backyard aviary and buffet is busy this morning. There is a flock of robins migrating through which is always a pleasurable addition to the mix. They mainly just use the birdbath and clean up seed residue, bugs, and worms from the ground. They don't eat from feeders. I also have a pair of blue jays here this morning and three varieties of woodpeckers including a pilated. Unfortunately, all of the bark butter feeders are empty but there is plenty of suet and seed cakes out there. I'll go out afterwhile and fill all of the feeders when the temperature climbs a little.

Today will seem a little strange and a reminder that I am retired now. I have no bulletins to go run, no church sanctuary to set up for Sunday service and no choir practice tonight. I guess I will finish signing and addressing the Christmas cards today and we already have the laundry going this morning. Time to adjust to new routines.

Speaking of Christmas --- Ms. Kate's plan every year is to be totally ready by the 15th of December. Well, the tree is up, the outside decorations are up, the cookies are all baked, her cards are all made and mostly addressed and sent, and the packages are in the mail to the kids. So, we are two weeks ahead of schedule. That is a good thing because next Tuesday we fly out to Las Vegas for a week of vacation.

I pray you will have a most wonderful day. As I sit here and look out at my yard full of birds, there is little color other than the fire bushes in my yard now. Everything has gone dormant for the winter. But the cardinals and the blue jays offer great contrast to the brown. And --- the sun is shining through the fire bushes adding a brilliant red to the north side of the yard. Just a subtle reminder that God is always giving me a blessing of some kind or another. For that I offer Him praise. Peace!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday, November 28th, 2016; --- first full day of being retired. I need to process that and figure out what it means. I "retired" once back in 2001 after being in the Air Force for thirty two years. At the time Ms. Kate and I were buying a new home and moving boxes in to get our new home set up. We spent a lot of our time out in the yard, arguing about what plant went where and what flower bed was going where. Her ideas and my ideas were miles apart. The neighbors probably wondered what kind of lunatics were moving in. Just FYI, it was the most we had ever argued about anything so it might as well be about flowerbeds. But that was fifteen years ago and the yard is "in".

That first retirement lasted not quite a year and I got restless and had to do something with my mind, so I began the United Church of Christ Licensed Ministry training program through attending classes and mentoring. Then in 2004, I began as the pastor at the two United Church of Christ churches in Ft. Branch, Indiana, where I have been for the past twelve and a half years. It has been the most mentally and spiritually satisfying thing I have ever done in my life, and I feel so privileged to have been able to do it. But --- now I'm older (72) and knew that it was time to retire from that career too. So --- here I am, sitting in the sunporch, watching a squirrel try to climb a wet pole, and wondering what to do next.

 I had a lot of people yesterday ask the same question I ask of others, "What are you going to do now?" The first thing Ms. Kate asked me this morning was "What are you going to do today?" Yesterday afternoon, after we got home and the girls had all headed back to their homes, we sat there in the family room and listened to the silence and we both voiced the same sentiment; "What do we do now; --- just sit and look at one another?" I once heard a woman describes her husband's retirement as "half as much money with twice as much husband."

The problem is --- people who have worked hard all their lives really look forward to retirement but they actually have no idea how to be retired. Nor, do they know how to fill the void in their life that was once occupied by "work". I have things that I want to do and have been promising myself I would do but I'm not sure how to get started on them. I have four novels sitting on the end table next to my recliner in the sunporch that were just waiting to be read when I retire. But the idea of just sitting and reading for enjoyment as opposed to doing research for a sermon is still a bit foreign to me. I have writing I want to do, including revising a full two inch binder of short stories I wrote many years ago and maybe looking at getting them published. I'd like to get back into doing woodworking again but I have a garage to clean out first so I can work. Next week we are heading to Las Vegas for a week, --- so we have things to do.

But not today. Today I'm going to sit and learn to do nothing. Well, --------- I do need to go through the cards and gifts we received yesterday and make a list and write Thank You cards. And --- I also have the Christmas cards to sign and address and get ready to mail. And, we have the Christmas boxes to finalize to send out to the kids. And we need to go to the post office and get stamps and to Target and get some package wrapping tape.

It sure is great being retired! Have a most enjoyable day my friends. May God fill your day with blessings. Peace.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Day after Thanksgiving! Are you still full? Are you maybe looking in the refrigerator and wondering what you are ever going to do with all of that food now that company has left? We could easily serve fifteen people with what is left in our refrigerators. Our company is all still here. Julie and Jim, (and the dogs), & Lisa and Amanda. It made for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day; lots food, lots of conversation, and lots of love. I do love it when we actually get all of the family together or at least when we can get some of the family together. I'm now looking forward to summer when we all go to Gatlinngburg, TN for a week.

It has been a couple of days since I last wrote. That is because Ms. Kate and I have been scrambling around trying to get things done for this holiday, and we got a lot done. Besides just the normal shopping and stuff, Ms. Kate got the Christmas cookies baked. There are now containers of cookies all over the dining room table. Ms. Kate intends to bag cookies up for each of the girls to take home to their family and she will also be sending some off to Heather and to Josh. That will leave just enough around here that I can have some and not over indulge.

Thanksgiving meal around here consisted of all the things a meal should; turkey, oyster dressing and regular dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, green bean casserole, freshmade rolls, coffee, and a bottle of Biltmore Estate wine. I don't think any of us ate more than one plate of food which hardly seems to justify all of the hours of planning and cooking Ms. Kate put in to the preparation. But, we didn't really need to gorge ourselves and frankly I felt as though I had eaten a ton of food. Ms. Kate is a marvelous cook. But --- Dr. Jackson has given me until March to get my blood sugars down or he is going to put me on pills and I don't want to even think about adding any pills to my diet. So, I guess I better start exercising and watching my food intake a little. Tough to think about during holiday season.

But yesterday wasn't about food or football. Yesterday was about being thankful for our blessings and I certainly am. I and my famiy are relatively healthy. We have homes, we have jobs, we can buy what we need and we are a family that genuinely loves one anther and loves to be around each other. We care for other and do what we can to serve our fellowman and we each have some variety or level of a relationship with God. What else would a person need? So, as we continue on through this holiday weekend, I pray that the kids will all make it home safely. I also pray that this world can have a day of total peace. I also offer you God's blessings and peace.

Until next time --- shalomn.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. Julie and Auggie the dog have arrived as of last evening. She didn't bring the other pup; Jim will bring that one with him when he comes over on Thursday morning. Lisa and Amanda will arrive on Thursday night. So the week slowly marches on.

The temperature has moved up up forty degrees alrady this morning. The day will be mostly cloudy as a front moves in and eventually is supposed to bring about an inch of rain. We can still use it. I hope it is all our of here by Thanksgiving day and I really don't want Lisa and Amanda to have to drive here in rain.

We three are mostly just sitting around with our technology this morning and gabbing and playing let the dog in and out. We are an unambitious group this morning and just enjoying being together and having our coffee. Life is good like that. Ms. Kate mixed up three different kinds of cookie dough yesterday and I think today there will be baking going on. That is going to make the house smell heavenly. She mixed up the Springerlie cookies first. If you have never had them --- they are an anise based cookie from Germany and German heritage. I love them but they are also an acquired taste. They have a slight licorice taste to them and if you do't like licorice you certainly won't like these. My Grandma Heumann used to make them and they were a favorite of my dad. I don't honk my mother ever made them which is just as well because she would have screwed them up anyway. But --- Ms. Kate makes them because I love them. I always say that without Springerlies, there can't be Christmas. You see, I think there was a fourth wiseman on that most holy night --- and he brought Springerlies to Jesus. We don't hear much about him because the Bible was written by people that didn't like Springerlies.

Ms. Kate has also mixed up some special oatmeal crisp cookies that I like. She got that recipe from a sweet lady at church, Ms. Georgia Ann. They are so good. Georgia Ann always brings me a batch at Christmas. Unfortunately, she has cancer now and just shouldn't be doing all that extra work. So, --- Ms. Kate is making her some this year. That is just the kind of sweet lady I am married to.

Lastly, Ms. Kate has the first batch of snickerdoodles mixed up. So, that leaves the peanut butter cookies to mix up and I think she is also going to mix up some fruit loop cookies for the girls. I think Ms. Kate is and has built herself a legacy much as our grandmothers did. It will be a legacy that someday the kids and grandkids will set around and talk about and have fond memories of grandma making this or that. Our kids and grandkids will have the advantage though that they already have Kate's recipes in a cookbook that she put together many years ago for them. That means the family recipes from years back will also survive for decade to came.

Time for me to shower and get this day moving along. I offer up prayers for all of my friends and loved ones this morning. I ask for safe travel for those millions of people that will be driving across country. I ask for those without homes to find someplace for shelter and a place that will provide them nourishment and love. If you can help in that process, I urge to you to do so. Peace.

Monday, November 21, 2016

November 21st! This is Thanksgiving week; and it feels like it outside. We have a whopping 36 degrees right now which is quite a bit up from when I first got up. But the sun is shining brightly and the sky is a clear brilliant blue. I haven't plugged in my electric birdbath yet so there is a skim of ice on the water. It's going up to the low fifties or upper forties today so it will melt quick enough.

It is going to be a great week. Julie and he pups are coming over either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Jim will come over most likely Wednesday night. Thursday we will have Thanksgiving meal and also Thursday Lisa and Amanada will be heading out to out house and will be arriving on Friday. Friday, I reckon Jim will head home so he can go to work on Friday night. Then on Sunday I will hold my final worship service at a combined parish worship service and begin my retirement. Sunday afternoon, all of the kids will head back home and Ms. Kate and I will take a nap!!

Yesterday was my last worship service at St. Paul's. I laid the keys on the desk and closed the door behind me. Yeh, I admit it did choke me up a bit; especially when a couple of my parishioners came through the line with tears in their eyes. Pastor / parishioner relationship is a very special relationship, or at least it is to me. Some of these folks have relied on me to get them through some tough times and bonds are strengthened often through tragic and or stressful situations in their lives. Doing so will give you a deeper understanding of that person. I had a lady a couple of weeks ago that came to me and told me through her choked voice that I had been her pathway back to the church and to Christ. As a Christian and as a pastor I don't think I have ever heard more beautiful words. As I told her, I was just the conduit; she and God did all the work.

Yesterday was our middle daughter Heather's 46th birthday. Good Lord, --- where did the time go? Another month our youngest daughter Lisa will be 45 years old. If our daughter have reached middle aged status --- I reckon somehow we have truly become "senior citizens". We don't particularly "feel"like senior citizens ; ----- however, I am retiring Sunday ---- for the second time! It does make a person a bit more aware of their own mortality.

Ms. Kate has finished making the cards for Christmas. Now it is my job to get them addressed and sent out. Maybe I'll go down to my office this afternoon and work on that. I think Ms.Kate is going to be starting on making cookies soon and I need to be out of her way. I have the laundry going so I can get that done while she is busy doing other stuff. We make a pretty good team. I think she is mainly going to be mixing up the dough today and rolling it up. Then we can slice it and bake it maybe tomorrow after Julie gets here. I probably just gained a pound thinking about all of the cookies I'm going to be eating.

Take time this week and focus on your blessings. God does so very much for us and we need to share that with others. Peace.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Grab your hat and hold on to it this morning or it will be in the next county. It is 40 degrees with a stiff wind this morning. We knew it was coming and it is about time. This is right on spot for a November day. It rained yesterday afternoon and evening. We picked up about six tenths of an inch. That certainly isn't a drought buster but it will help settle the dust.

Cardinals, finches, and red-headed woodpeckers are my guests this morning along with one squirrel that just shot up the poplar tree. There must be a cat in the yard somewhere. It is cold enough this morning that the birds are paying more attention to the suet and bark butter than they are the sunflower seeds. Although --- from here it appears that several of the sunflower feeders are empty. I guess I'll go out and fill those feeders a little later this morning after I'm done with my coffee.

Ms. Kate and I got a lot of stuff done yesterday. She is about half way through with her Christmas card making. It is one thing to sit and address and get all of the Christmas cards out; but she makes each persons card individually and it takes weeks of work to do that. She is one dedicated little elf! While she was doing that, (and she is back at it again this morning), I was out in the yard. I got the yard mulched and mowed for the last time this year and the back yard John Deere is put away in the shed. Then I worked on my garage some trying to clean it up. I made some headway in just one corner. Once I retire I'd like to maybe go back to doing some wood working again but at the moment every wood working tool I have is covered up with stuff and I can't even get to it. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff; we have too much stuff. But, I'm going to take care of that problem too.

Besides all of that, we went grocery shopping yesterday afternoon and got started on the list of stuff that Ms. Kate needs for Thanksgiving and company meals. She is also planning to start baking some cookies. I can help with that and in fact I enjoy that.  The girls are coming in for Thanksgiving or at least two out of three are and she wants to be ready for all of that. Their visit will be so short that it will fly by and they will be gone. Lisa and granddaughter Amanda will be here next Friday and leave after all of the retirement stuff on Sunday. Julie will be here either this coming Monday evening and stay through the week and also leave after the the retirement stuff. By evening on the 27th, life will be totally anti-climatic and we'll be sitting here wondering how it all came and went to quickly.

I finally have a visit from the pilated woodpecker this morning. It is out there making having a meal of bark butter and loudly announcing its presence. I'm thrilled. I haven't seen one around here most of the summer. I'm glad that I filled the bark butter feeders yesterday. Maybe it will stick around for awhile. So, while I'm offering up thanks for my blessings this morning; --- I'll throw in an extra helping of gratitude for its visit. Blessings don't have to always be large grandiose things. Blessing more often than not come in micro-packages and one has to take time to recognize them.

Time to fill the coffee cup again and check on Ms. Kate's cup too. Take time to enjoy your day today no matter where you are or what you are doing. God has something good in mind for you today. Knowing that should in itself brighten your weekend. Peace.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Good Friday morniing to you! It is already 69 degrees on this Novemebr 18th and the wind gusts are coming in around 30 mph. Mss. kate and I are a bit bleary eyed this morning. We went to the late show last night to see the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them". It was another J.K. Rowling story and was really well done. I have no doubt we will buy the DVD when it comes out so we can watch it again.

I'm sitting here looking at our row of fire bushes that run along the southern fence. When we moved in here back in 2001, those bushes were just barely tall enough to crest the fence. Today they at least twice as tall and as the sun hits them, the leaves glisten with their red color. I probably should cut them back by at least four feet, but I'm worried that if I do, I might kill them. Although, I have cut my snowball bush back almost to the ground twice since we lived here and it has come back every time. One of the problems with the fire bushes is that they are now providing so much shade that they have caused a couple of my big azelias to die off for lack of sun.

Ms. Kate and I took advantage of the seventy degree weather and sunshine yesterday and decorated the family headstones for winter. It seems a little early to do it before Thanksgiving but I rather do it in seventy weather than in cold twenty degree weather. We are to get thunderstorms yet today and the wind is dragging a massive cold front along behind it. Tomorrow the high will be around forty. But, I guess it is fair to say "it's about time" that winter weather started to settle in. The weatherman said that we may get around a half an inch of rain with the cold front and we really do need it. As wet as the spring was -- we are now in a moderate drought condition so a little rain will be good.

There were a lot of folks out yesterday with their lawn mowers mulching up their leaves. I need to get out there an do that one more time and then I can think about taking the mower deck off of the John Deere and putting on the snow blade. It seems the list of things that need doing just never ends.

My coffee cup is empty and I need to go check on Ms. Kate's cup too. Then I need to get busy. Ms. Kate and I have a long list of things we need to do to get ready for a week of company next week. I feel so blessed because part of the family is coming in for Thanksgiving and my retirement. There are few things more precious in this world than having a family that truly loves one another and wants tobe around one another. Ms. Kate and I are blessed with that; --- what more do we need?

I hope your day and your weekend is fully blessed. I also hope you will take time to do something for someone else this weekend. Sharing ourselves and the blessings that have been freely given to us is a Godly thing to do. Peace.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sunny and breezy and the wind is definitely blowing the wrong way. I know this because Ms. Margaret's maple tree leaves are blowing from the trees into my yard. I thought I was done with all of that and had put the John Deere in the shed. But, I reckon I'll be getting it back out today. I guess I should have waited. But, I was anxious to see if I could even get the mower into the shed. That's the way it goes when I get my mind set to do something. I generally end up re-doing. Patience has never been one of my virtues.

It is November 17th and I can hardly believe it is already 61 degrees out this morning and going to the mid to upper 70's today. And --- by this week end the highs are going to be back down in the 40's. It is no wonder that a person's best friend these day is the Kleenex box. But --- winter is going to come soon enough and we will remember 70 degree November days very fondly.

Ms. Kate and I did go to the church yesterday and we ran the bulletins for this week and next week. I also cleaned out all of my personal stuff from the two Pastor's studies. The only hing I need to pick up yet is the refrigerator from my St. Lucas office and one robe. We also attended our last choir rehearsal. We left early because we had finished practicing for this weeks song and they were working on the music for December. I didn't see any reason for us to sit there for another forty five minutes.

So now I have a car load of stuff that I need to bring in and store "somewhere". As I said yesterday -- we look like a bunch of hoarders. My "storage room" downstairs is now just a stack of stuff, much of which  we haven't looked at or touched for at least five years. We have stuff from deceased family that while it might mean something to Ms. Kate and I --- will mean nothing to our kids and certainly nothing to our grandkids because they all have their own stuff. Prime example though of trying to get rid of stuff; ---- I have a beautiful Whirlitzer console piano sitting in my living room that I'd love to sell. It's 25 years old but looks and plays as good as the day I bought it. Why do I want to sell it you might ask. Well, because there is also a baby grand Kurzweil keyboard sitting in the same room. But I can't find a single person that wants to buy it. Oh well, I'll find someplace to stuff the new pile in to.

With that, I'll drop off of here and get busy. I hope your day is filled with sunshine and blessings. God loves you and that alone makes the day worth living. Peace.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

When I sit here in my sunporch each morning I can usually find something that sends a note of excitement or inspiration to get my day going. This morning is no exception. I have had two red-headed woodpeckers out here most of the morning dividing their time between the sunflower feeders and the bark butter feeders. Although, there isn't much left in the barkbutteer feeders at this point. And --- while they were interesting and nice to watch, --- they weren't my inspiration for the day. What caught my attention the most were the five beautiful cardinals all sitting around the bird bath and three more on the feeders. The sun is just right to light them up brilliantly. Those eight and a few more have been busy out there all morning. But the sudden appearance of them sitting around the birdbath at the same time was just a wonderful sight. God does such marvelous work with His creation.

I'm once again reminded that these are the days of  "last times". It is Wednesday and of course that means it is bulletin running day at the churches. But --- this will be my last time to do that at the parish. Because Thanksgiving is next week and we will be doing other things, we will run the bulletins for this week and for next week today. Next weeks bulletin is of course for my final service. Tonight will be the last choir practice for Ms. Kate and I. The choir sings for the final time while I am pastor, this coming Sunday. I also need to gather up my few remaining items in my two church offices and bring that stuff home. I don't have a lot left; some pictures and a couple of card tables that we loaned to the church, and a small office refrigerator. Lisa will take that refrigerator back to North Carolina with her when she comes up next week. I gave Julie the other small refrigerator that I had in one of the offices.

I got the results back from my blood tests that I had yesterday. --- My doctor is not gping to be pleased. My glucose/A1C numbers etc. are high. Ms. Kate says that it means I need to start walking regularly or start taking pills regularly and knock off some of the sweets. Dang! --- and here it is, just getting to cookie season. I must admit --- I am a sweet-a-holic, and I could be the national chairman for "Carbs Are Us". I guess I better change a bit of my lifestyle.

Time for the birdfeeders to be filled so I neeed to vacate my recliner aand get busy. I pray your day matches the sunshine that is so brilliantly warming up my back yard and continuing to spotlight my back yard visitor. I wish you God's peace.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Welcome to a Tuesday afternoon post. My morning got started off with a doctor's office visit. I had to go get a little blood work done. I went yesterday to have it done when Ms. Kate had hers done; however, I didn't know it was a fasting test, so I had to go back this morning. The doctor wanted me to have another test done to check my blood sugar levels. My last numbers came in higher that he liked.

So, ---Ms. Kate and I went out for breakfast after my blood work. Then we went to Target and did some shopping. When we got home I started working on my garage. It is a disaster with stuff just stuck everywhere.  I got one area straightened out so I can at least walk through it without tripping over stuff. It is amazing how quickly one can go from organized to looking like a hoarder. But --- I discovered by going through that one grocery storage area that we have enough green beans and mushroom soup and french onions to make green bean casserole for the world.  ----- ok maybe that is a slight exaggeration.

The sun is dropping rapidly in the west and will be gone in a moment or two. It sure does get dark early now. Last evening I made sure I was out to seee the moon rise. I was disappointed because I thought it would appear bigger in the sky that it did. But it certainly was a brilliantly lit night again last night. It was an amazing phenomenon.

We've got a lot of house cleaning and stuff to get done before we have company next week. Lisa and Amanda are coming up from North Carolina and Julie and Jim are coming over from New Albany for Thanksgiving. Last year we spent Thanksgiving at a cabin down on the Ohio River with Julie and Jim.

I guess I should go see what I can do to help Ms. Kate. I know she is working her tail off to get some special cards made for Christmas so I need to pick up the slack around here. That's the way we work here and it goes well. Until tomorrow --- have a blessed evening.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday morning and the start to another busy week. But we are starting off with a sunny 34 degree morning. Last night we had what they call a "super moon". It was a full moon and the moon is as close to earth it will be until the year 2034. It was brilliantly bright. I got up at 0230 for a "necessary call" and I could not believe how bright it was outside. I went out to the sunporch and just looked around for a bit. It was like I was looking at a black and white photo of my back yard. I could see everything totally clear. There were literally shadows from the moon shining so bright. We are supposed to have one more night like that tonight as the orbit changes. God's universe just never ceases to amaze me.

Good things are happening at the churches. Yesterday was the trial sermon for Dave Marshall to be my replacement. He was received very positively and will start as my replacement on the 28th of November. I'm retiring whether he was selected or not --- but I feel better knowing that they will have someone in place. Ms. Kate and I love those churches and want only the best for them.

I'm also so very proud of the churches. Yesterday was the collection/boxing day for the annual Operation Christmas Child drive. The parish boxed up 124 OCC shoeboxes yesterday which is a record for the parish. I had purchased 100 new shoeboxes and we had some left from last year and they ran out out of boxes totally. That is so wonderful that 124 children somewhere in the world will receive possibly tthe first gift they have ever received. The churches have always responded so very well everytime I have asked them to do something mission oriented. We are going to miss being around those folks.

It seems now almost impossible that I will be retired two weeks from today. I have only two more worship service to do. I am so glad that Julie and Lisa will be able to attend our last service. I wish Heather could be there too but that just isn't in the works. I recall that when I retired from the Air Force, Julie and Lisa both were planning to attend my retirement ceremony and I knew that. What I didn't know was that Heather was sneaking into town for it too. I was shocked. We had planned to go to a resturant the night before my retirement to celebrate --- and there she sat. Ms. Kate and I have raised three very wonderful daughters. It must be their mother's influence.

Despite the sunshine I have very few birds out here this morning. There were a few cardinals out here a little earlier but that has been about it. Maybe the moon wwas so bright that they alll came out for a midnight snack.

I'm sure there must be some work for me to be dining around here so I better finish up my coffe and get too it. I pray you will have a most wonderful day full of peace and love. Shalomn.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saturday morning, and it has climbed up to 44 degrees. These wind gusts will keep a "wind-chill" factor I'm sure. But it is beautiful outside and my bird friends don't seem to mind what the temperature is. The cardinal was taking a bath and pruning himself like it thought it was in a hot tub or something.  I had a squirrel or two that were in the poplar trees and planning to come down until the neighbor's cat came through and sat there and stared at them for a while. Now the squirrels have moved on and the cat has too.

We had a hard working day yesterday. I went and pickup 3 cubic yards of horse poop compost to put on Karen's flowers. That's three full bucket scoops. I generally only get two scoops but the truck handled it just fine. Karen thought that maybe I was going to leave my truck with her and she would take a few days and unload it and spread it around. But, I had every intention in helping her spread it. It worked out very well. She has a small cart that she pulls behind her John Deere lawn tractor and it holds quite a bit. So we would fill that up, drive it to where we needed it and unload it. All told --- it only took us three hours to do the work. But, my arms and wrists are sore today as I expected they would be. That was my second truck load this week. It really helped though not having to do it by wheelbarrow load and push it around like I had to do with my yard. Thank goodness neighbor Dan helped me with mine.

Today we are heading over to Julie and Jim's house and will spend the night. Tomorow is the trial sermon for my replacement and I'm not supposed to be there so Ms. Kate and I are taking advantage of a free weekend. We'll do some geocaching, visiting, neck hugging, coffee drinking, and pup petting. It will be good practice for retirement. LOL. One must work their way into these things gently you know.

The after effects of the national election are stil going on. Young people are protesting and marching and rioting and burning American flags because the election didn't go their way. That's what happens when you have a generation of kids that have never been told "no" and assume that things will just go their way because everyone has given in to them all their life. The president -elect represents a big change and they want everything to remain the same --- pay for nothing, get everything, accept no responsibility for their actions. I still daily pray for peace.

Time to get ready and head out. Have a blessed weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Aaah Thursday. Where have you been all my week? The sun is shining brightly. The wind is blowing with occasional gusts. It is 55 degrees going to 63. Ms. Kate is sitting here beside me in the sunporch and life is just fine. I've said it before, I'll say it again --- I love my life.

On the national level, of course college students have taken to the street and are marching and protesting because their candidate didn't win the election for President. I don't know what they think their marching and shouting hateful vulgar chants will accomplish --- the election is over. Are they going to march for four years??? But --- this is the entitled generation that has always been allowed to say what they want without repercussion. This is the generation that has been allowed to throw tantrums so they will "feel better".  This is the generation that has eight and ten valedictorians per graduation and gets participation trophies so they don't feel bad. This is the generation that has never heard; "You lost". ---- Unfortunately for them -- this time they not only lost the ball game --- they don't even get a participation trophy. But, they do have a chance to learn a little more, play a little better and play in the game next time.

The cardinals are all here, the wrens are here, the nuthatch and the titmouse are all here --- it is a great day at the buffet and I see that many of my feeders need to be filled again, I reckon I better do that as soon as I finish my blog today. I don't want them to get discouraged (in in fact they can) and not come back. But they come here every year so we have become a habitual stop for the winter. I'm surprised that my squirrel population seems to have dropped off. I only have one in the yard today so far and it is being very cautious. I wonder if the fact that we have several "visiting" cats that pass through the yard has anything to do with that. A couple of those cats don't hesitate to chase a squirrel right on up the tree; and yet the cats don't seem to bother my birds. Hmmmm.

I was planning to go get another load of composted horse manure today and take it to Karen's house. But she is busy with doctor's appointments and having company today, so we will do that tomorrow. That means we'll do laundry today. We also need to go to the grocery store and pick up a couple of items. And --- given time, I need to start bringing in some of the boxes of stuff that we packed in from relatives that passed away. We have boxes and boxes of pictures that need to be gone through. I'm going to bring my shredder out here and shred all of the picture that are of people that I either don't know or particularly care about.

So, my cup is empty and I need to shower and start my day. Go outside and suck in some fresh air today. It will do your body and your mind a world of good. And then, give God a big "thanks" that you are alive. Peace.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Good morning! My eyes are a bit bleary this morning and I wish the day held the possibility for a nap but it does not. I sat up and watched the election results until the end. Was I satisfied with the results? ---- yes, I was satisfied that the candidate I voted for was elected. Whether or not "my side" won or not remains to be seen though, doesn't it. The only things I really know at this point is that the demeanor of the candidates in this election was horrible; and obviously all of those media folks who were polling and polling, and polling with all of their results slanted towards one side --- got it wrong and are scratching their heads this morning. I repeated heard them saying last night; "How could we have been so far off of the mark?" So --- my morning begins with prayers this morning for our nation and our people.

Ms. Kate and decided yesterday that we would wait until about 10:00 am to head out the door and go vote. Our reasoning was that maybe by then all of the people that had to be at work yesterday would be through and maybe the lines would not be as long. We got to the polling place and I couldn't believe it. We were in and out of the polling station in eight minutes. There were no lines as had been shown on television. It was quiet and calm and neighborly. So, we cast our ballots, proudly put our "I voted" stickers on our shirts and headed out and went geocaching. It was a beautiful day to be out. It had rained first thing yesterday morning but that didn't amount to anything. It was a cloudy day and a bit cooler now that the cold front has moved in, but all of that is gone now and it is a sun shiney day this morning.

Since it is such a pretty day we are going to meet our friends, Bob and Georgia Ann at a local favorite tavern out in the country and have lunch. We all like to eat their deep fried mushrooms of course we like a good cold beer too. We like to meet with them about once a month; they are really wonderful people. We are going to miss seeing them at worship every Sunday morning once I retire.

I think my birds and critters must have set up all night too  because I haven't seen very many of them out there this morning at the buffet. I had a few cardinals out there and a few finches and one or two woodpeckers, but that is about it.

I'm sitting here now waiting  for Hillary Clinton to come on television and give her concession speech. With that I am going to sign off for today.

Pray for our country. Pray for our newly elected president. Pray for our transition in power. Let us never forget that no matter who is in charge of the country's leadership--- God still controls our life and destiny. Stay humble and give God all the praise and glory. Peace

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

It is Tuesday and I think I will call this Citizen's Rights Day. Tooday we get to exercise our right as an American citizen too go vote for who we want to lead our country for the next four years. If all of the nasty campaigning over the last year has done nothing else --- it has energized people to actually get out of their house and go vote. Unfortunately though we'll also find out that some how a lot of people must have gotten out of their coffins too to go vote and voter fraud is rampant among somee states and at least one of the political parties. Many states require that you show a government issued ID to vote but this get challenged constantly because somehow --- people decry it to be racist; --- a challenge that doesn't meet even the most basic principles of logic. And so --- you end up with counties that somehow have 125% of their citizen come out and vote. But, having said all of that --- I wouldn't trade our right to vote for any other system in the world. Ans --- I think we mmay have the largest voter turn out in decades.

Well, I finished one more step towards completion of my fall yard preparation. We went over and got a pickup load of composted horse manure and I got that spread on the garden and the flowerbeds yestrday. Neighbor Dan came over and helped me do it. I still need to put down a layer of mulch but if that doeesn't get done, it won't be the worst thing in the world. I guess I should put down some fall/winter fertilizer too on the yard. We are very fortunate that the weather is holding out and God is giving us days to get this kind of outside work done. This morning we actually got a few drops of rain although it isn't going to amount to much. It might help to settle the dust and make it a bit miserable to stand outside in a line at the polling place for a couple of hours; but that is about all. Then it will be back to sunshine by this afternoon.

Time to head to the voting line --- I'll get back with you when we get home.

I apologize for not getting back to you. It is now 2330 hours and I'm glued to the TV for election results. We'll talk tomorrow. Peace.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday morning and we start the week all over again. This however will be a historical week because we will elect a new president of this country tomorrow, as well as a new governor for this's state and new senate tours too. We will either elect the first woman president of this country or we will elect the first truly non-political person to be our president. Ms. Kate and I will go vote tomorrow first thing. I'll be so glad when this election is over. Last night I came out the the sunporch to listen and watch some You Tube gospel videos and every video was preceded by a political commercial; and none of it was a positive --- just more slander and hate mongering.

We had a really nice worship service yesterday to celebrate the 95th birthday of St. Lucas church. I had asked four members to speak about their experiences at St. Lucas and how it had affected their lives. They each did a wonderful job. It was a combined parish worship service and we had a fairly full church with about eighty or so people there. This coming Sunday I actually get an extra day off because they are having a candidate come in and do a trial sermon to be my replacement. I think we will take advantage of it and go over to Julie and Jim's house.

Saturday I got that 140' flowerbed along the west fenceline cleaned out and trimmed back. Yesterday I got up on the roof and blew the leaves out of my gutters and off of the sunporch roof where they collect so bad. Today I need to do a little more raking and mulching and my back yard will be done except for getting composted manure  and mulch spread on it. I've done so much yard work in the past two or three weeks that Ms. Kate declared that I should maybe have retired six months ago. But, my poplar trees have finished dropping their leaves and I have them almost all cleaned up. It looks like we are pretty well prepped for winter. I do still need to trim the black raspberries and tie them up properly. The red ones are a lost cause. I think today rather than mulching upthe remaining leaves, I'll just collect them and put them in my compost pile. It will be a little more work but it won't be near as dusty and the compost pile need s some more stuff on it.

This changeover from Day light saving time has changed my ability to watch my birds in the evening. Four to four thirty in the afternoon is the time that the Cardinals come in for their evening feeding. But now it is almost dark when they come in because of the time change. That makes the very hard to see. It's a bummer.  I can barely make out their flitting around out there.

Two cups of coffee are done and gone so I need to get off of my duff and get busy. Once again I pray that you will have a great day full of God's special blessings. Please stop and pray and then go out tomorrow and vote. Peace.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

It is a cool one this morning; 44 degrees at the moment. But the sun is shine brightly and that will make it seem warmer. The cool snap brings in the birds and critters. The squirrel (so far only one) is munching away on sunflower seeds from the feeder that we allow for them. Yes, I know they eat from all of them but we have one feeder that we call the squirrel feeder. Lots of cardinals are in for breakfast again today as is a couple of different varieties of woodpeckers. The junkos are hopping around under the feeders picking up ground stuff that the others knock out of the feeders. The cardinals do a job job of keeping that cleaned up to.

I got zero work done aroud here yesterday. Instead Ms. Kate and I went on an all afternoon geocaching run. We picked up nine new ones and tried for two more but could not find them. After we got home last evening, I went on to and printed out another dozen for us to look for. Yesterday we went down to the bottoms of Union Township. What I printed last night and put in the Garmin GPS will take us north and a little west. There are just so very many out there. About the time we think we have gotten all of them in an area, somebody puts some more out; --- thank goodness. But we did clean out Union Township yesterday except for one.

Since I played yesterday, I have to get those jobs done today, starting with filling bird feeders. From there I need to do my yard work. It will help to maybe work the kinks out in my body from yesterdays fun. Ms. Kate and I are both sore today. I had leg cramps most of the night. My body doesn't do as well for me as it used to. Hmmmm.

I know this is short but my coffee is gone and I need to unwind from my chair and get myself dressed for the day's activities . I hope you have a wonderful weekend and can get out and enjoy the world that God has given us. Until Monday, I give you God's peace.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Man-o-man! It is Friday already isn't it? And -- it is a beautiful Friday morning too. The sun is shining, it is 55 degrees, a slight breeze is blowing and bringing down more of the leaves from my poplar trees. Right now there are several "I should be doing" items running around in my head but I think I'll stick to "what I am doing" and have another cup of coffee before I get busy. Although --- I still haven't defined in my mind just what"get busy" will entail today.

Ms. Kate and I went out yesterday and placed flags on the graves of our loved ones that have served in the military. All of her uncles on her dad's side were WWII veterans except Uncle Jack. Uncle jack though was a career Air Force NCO. He and I were actually stationed at Clark Air Force Base at the same time back in the late 1960's, although we never actually ran into one another.  We also went and put my sister's saddle wreath on my father's headstone. He was also a WWII veteran.

The birds and the squirrels are having breakfast at the backyard buffet this morning. For what ever reason, that silly squirrel was having trouble climbing the pole this morning.He kept getting about half way up and sliding back down. That often happens in rainy or snowy weather but it is a long way from that today. It finally got up there but only after about the fourth try. I admit I am tempted to shoot it in the butt with a BB so that it jumps off and has to start all over again. After all, as long as the squirrel is up there, the cardinals can't be; and cardinals trump squirrels everytime. It appears that I need to refill the bark butter paste feeders and I also need to put out more safflower seed fo the cardinals. And --- the bird baths need to be emptied again and all of the leaves cleaned out of them. I also see that he smaller feeders in the Pussy Willow tree are empty. It just never stops does it?? LOL.

Ms. Kate and I went out and did some geocaching again yesterday and we plan to do some more today. Today we are going down to "the bottoms", which is way out in the country by the Ohio River. Ms. Kate grew up in that area and we like to drive around down there. There is very little traffic and we can just "toodle" along at our own pace. There are maybe ten geocaches down there that we haven't looked for yet. Our favorite geocaching locations are in cemeteries. Caches there are always placed either in a tree or at the very edge of the cemetery. Cachers are respectful of the "residents" and never bother graves but there is also a lot of history one can learn from caching and visiting local cemeteries. For instance, I would never have associated people buried here in Indiana with the Revolutionary War; but we have run across graves of veterans of that war. I find that fascinating.

It is a beautiful day and it again reminds me of the beauty and grace of God Almighty. It also reminds me to humble myself and ask forgiveness for any ways I may have not only offended God but also offended my fellowman. I pray today that I will be a better person than I was yesterday and tomorrow I will do better than today. Take time today to give thanks to God for your bounty of blessings and give thanks for the soul-saving grace of Jesus. Peace.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Gooooood Morning! Do you have a World Series sleepy head this morning? I certainly do. I think that may be the first World Series game I have watched in years and it is certainly the most exciting game I have watched in years. I'm not a watcher of sports events but each of these two teams had so very much on the line and they totally played their hearts out. So congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for their first World Series championship on 108 years. And congratulations to the Cleveland Indians for their dynamic effort to win their first championship in 60 years.

It is a cloudy 65 degree morning. We were supposed to get rain last night or today but if it did rain, it certainly wasn't much. The sidewalks and street look to be a little damp and that is about all. My Weather Channel app shows one light rain cloud that might brush over us but that is about all that is coming down the pipeline.

There isn't much on my list of things to do today. I do have to go get my truck from the garage. Hopefully they have that window fixed this time for good. I was supposed to get it yesterday but they called me to say it was ready as I was heading out to the church yesterday afternoon. We have a couple of places to go today so I'll pick it up on the way back home from our running around. I think we need to go to either Walmart, Target, or Meijer's for some stuff; hopefully not all three places. And we need to go out to put a saddle wreath back on my father's grave. It is a patriotic themed one that my sister bought and I want to put it back on his tombstone for Veterans Day.

There are lots of cardinals here this morning or at least at the moment. It is "their time" of the day to be here. I'm also glad to see that the first of the junkos has arrived. They are a staple when it comes to winter birds. Of course it doesn't look or feel anything like winter out there but it is great to see them. Maybe there is hope for cooler weather after all.

Well, that rain cloud I told you was on the radar passed over and all twenty drops of rain fell from it. I'd really like it to rain just enough to dampen the ground and knock down the dust when I go out there and mulch up the leaves with the lawn mower. However, I don't want it to rain so much that when I go get a load of manure compost and mulch, that is wet and heavy. I try to wear a dust mask but if I do, then my glasses fog up. If I take my glasses off then the dust all gets in my eyes. I know --- I'm whining and being picky about things over which I have zero control.

As I have my morning discussion with The Lord this morning, I'll certainly be praying for our nation. Our national election is just now days away and the candidate's campaigning has gotten even nastier. I expect civil unrest regardless of who wins. I also lift up the Native Americans in North Dakota who are protesting the building of a massive gas line that is going through what they consider sacred ground. They are peacefully protesting and as usual, the government is trying to break the treaty in the nterest of big money and big corporation. The Native American tribes are protesting because they are trying to protect the water supplies. The government has gone in with police and private security firms and tear gassed them, beat them, shot some of the horses, and arrested them while the people were doing nothing more than praying. I find it amazing that the mainstream media hasn't been out there and are not covering what is going on. This is totally reminiscent of the reaction to the sit-ins of the 1960's. So, I lift up prayers in support of what the Native American peoples are trying to do --- protect the land.

The end of the week is coming fast. I hope you have good plans to relax and enjoy what God has to offer you in your life. Think peaceful thoughts and remember loved ones. Have a talk with God. It will do wonders for your soul. Shalomn.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wednesday, mid -week, half way through, hump day; all of that stuff. I just call it "bulletin day" because that's what we do on Wednesdays.

It is a beautiful Wednesday though.m The sun is shining and I think we are ging to have another record high temperature today. Not that it is going to be all that hot, (82), but for the second of November, --- that's way too warm. The weather man says that tomorrow we will have a cold front come through with a little rain and it will cool things down a bit. Although we still won't be in any danger of frost or snow or even heavy jacket weather for another three or four weeks according to his report last night.

The Chicago Cubs won big last night and tied up the World Series games. I'm not a fan of either of the teams that are playing this year but this is a historic series. The Cubs haven't won a series in like 90 years or something and the Cleveland Indians haven't been in a series since like 1945. So this will be monumental for which ever team wins. I'm rooting for Chicago.

Ms. Kate and I went and got pedicures yesterday. The place we go has people that do a good job. My biggest problem is that my feet are so ticklish. If they just trimmed the nails and didn't do all of the whatever they do to the bottom of my feet, I'd like it a whole lot more. After we finished up with the pedicures, we drove up to Haubstadt, had lunch, went to the butcher shop, and then we did some geocaching. We went after three geocaches and only found two of them.  Drats!!! But that happens some times. This one was supposedly hanging in a cedar tree but I sure couldn't see it.

I also had to take my truck back to the shop to have that darned window looked at again. They said the motor and regulator on the door was bad. They have to order the part but should have it fixed today. Another $250.00 gone! That's about $600.00 spent on fixing automatic windows on my truck doors. Would have been a lot cheaper to have windows that I crank down.

Today I need to do my end of month reports for the church councils and then take care of some personal business. This afternoon we'll be heading to the church around 1600 hours. We'll run the bulletins and then stay for choir practice. Our choir director won't be there again to night and that means that I'll be doing choir director duties again. Ms. Kate and I have only one more time to sing with the choir.

Time to get busy. Time goes by too quickly when I get involved here on the sunporch. I hope your day is fully blessed and filled with nothing but good thoughts. I'm lifting you up in prayer. Peace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Good morning to you! It is November 1st, 2016. There are only 60 days left in this year. Wow! That is hard to believe in some ways and in other ways it seems like this has been a waaaay too long of a year; especially when I think of all of the election stuff that we have had to deal with this year. A week from today the nation will elect a new president. As bad as it has been so far --- I can't imagine how nasty it is going to get this week. I'm very ashamed of the picture that we the American people have painted to the rest of the world about our politics. There are 321 million people in this country and we have two of the nastiest, most corrupt people possible to chose from as our elected leaders.

This seems to be the day of departure; --- at least in terms of leaves falling from my trees. It almost looks like it is snowing when the breeze picks up. There will be a lot of raking to do this week again. And I'll need to walk the roof line and blow off the gutters. It is supposed to rain (finally) on Thursday, and I want to blow the gutters out before the leaves get all wet and matted down.

Halloween was fun. I found the mask that I have used forever yesterday --- after we went and bought new ones of course. So once again I put on my costume and sat at the bottom of the drive way on my John Deere lawnmower with my basket full of candy. I'd venture to say that I had 200 plus trick or treaters. They came in two waves. Early, before dark, moms and dads brought the little ones out. There were a lot of princesses, and star wars  characters, and minions and other cute costumes. They are so adorable and I don't mess with them or try to scar them. They get the "friendly version" of The Monkey. Come dusk, the second wave starts coming out. They are what I call the double digit crew, meaning ages 10 - 15. They normally come in groups of three or four and are full of bravado from the boys and girl giggles and laughter from the girls. This is the group I mess with. I sit totally still and never say a word  so they can't tell "is it real or is it fake". They find out when they reach for the candy and I suddenly move. The screams can be heard to the delight of the watching neighbors and occassional parents that are accompanying them. But --- I must say that all of my kids were polite and they only would take one or two pieces of candy and then say thank you. It was refreshing to see.

This will be a confusing week. Yesterday was a holiday but not really a holiday. Julie and Jim came over on Sunday afternoon and stayed over until yesterday afternoon instead of their Saturday and Sunday arrival and departure. So, Monday seemed like Sunday, except I didn't have church; and today seems like Monday. Yep, it is going to be a confusing week.

I hope your week will be less confusing and I hope your week is full of blessings. Take time to pray for our nation and please don't skip out of voting. Regardless of how disgusted we might be with the campaign --- voting is a right and a privilege not afforded to much of the world. Pray and vote. Peace.