Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Good morning and Happy Tuesday. It is a grey "warmish" day, 50 degrees at the moment. I kind of think that what I see is what we will get for today. I think the temperature is supposed to maybe go up another three or four degrees and the breeze we are having will not subside today. Actually, this would be a good day to throw on our coats and do a little bit of geocaching today. 

I just noticed that this is my 772nd post. Who'd a thunk it? There are only about 7 - 15 people that follow or read my posts and I'll admit that they aren't terribly exciting. After all, one can only talk about their collection of birds in the backyard for so long a period of time. But to those of you who do read my posts; --- thanks. I enjoy sharing my thoughts as I sit here with my cup of coffee and watch my backyard buffet critters. I guess if there is any "benefit" to you --- it is knowing that as I sit here, you are included in my thoughts and in my prayers; and it is always good to know that someone is thinking of you and is saying a prayer for you. 

Well, the bad news is that Ms. Kate's fireplace in the family room quit last night. It was burning just fine and suddenly it just quit. It is a vented gas fireplace and I don't know jack about working on it. So, I called Bassemeirs last evening and told them I need it fixed. This is the same company that we just ordered the new fireplace screen and new logs from. They will be here on Friday morning and fix it and they will also bring the new logs at the same time. The screen takes six weeks to be made and delivered. But -- for the next couple of days, Ms. Kate will have to use her lap blanket while she is watching television. She is always cold and I think it is because of some of her medications. I, on the other hand, am always warm. I know a lot of couples that tell me they are the same way. 

The fireplace work has changed our plans a bit for the week. I told you yesterday that we were going ove to Julie's on Thursday and would be home on Friday morning. But now, we'll come on home on Thursday night. It will work out better for Julie too because she is heading out on a trip Saturday morning.

There must be a cat in the yard somewhere that I can't see. The squirrel that was on the feeder just went scooting up a tree as fast as its little legs could take it and now it is sitting the with its tail a swishing and is chittering at something. It's all good though --- it had been on that feeder long enough anyway. I just filled all of the feeders yesterday afternoon. They don't need to eat it all in one day. 

I see the wrens are starting to gather stuff that I assume means a nest is being built somewhere. I love my little wrens. They are so cute when they first come out of the nests and begin to try their wings. They stick to the azalea bushes and just kind of flitter from one branch to another. The next thing you know --- off they go to wherever. It is so much fun to watch. God just does so very many marvelous things with this world He created. I never cease to be amazed. 

My girls have now chimed in on Facebook Messenger so I'm dropping off of here to talk to them. I hope your day is fully blessed. Peace. 


Monday, January 30, 2017

Welcome to a cold Monday and start to the new week. God has the sky all bright and blue and the sun shining brightly. It is a welcome sight. The sun will make it feel a little warmer despite the ambient temperature of 31 degrees. This Thursday will be the day of the "big prediction"; aka Groundhog Day. It is the day that the rodent will or will not see its shadow and based upon that we will or will not have six more weeks of winter. It is all very scientific you know. The fact that it's coincides with the middle of meteorological winter and we actually have six more weeks of winter, --- well that is irrelevant. But, it's nice that it works out that way. God created groundhogs for some reason --- it might as well be to predict the weather.

How was your weekend. Ms. Kate and I stayed fairly close to home because it was too cold to get out and run around too much. This week we have a couple of things that we have to get out and about for including a trip over to see Julie. She is having her Harry Potter Book Night over at the university and we are going to drive over and see if we can be of any help without being in the way. She works her tail off to make this event happen and it is now becoming an annual event. This is her second year in a row and hopefully it will be as successful as last year's presentation. She has spent months creating wands for this thing to give away. People really look forward to getting one of them. Ms.Kate is going to take pictures of the event for Julie. I hope the weather holds out and it isn't a snow or rainy night for her.

We tried out another church yesterday. This was another nondeminational mega-churrch. It was a good service and the pastor had a good sermon. There was probably 900-1000 people there and so it becomes the "Church of Blessed Anonimity". One can go and no one knows you went which may or may not be important to you. My one complaint was that they served communion, for which I was grateful to receive, but there was no explanation really of why. So, if I were a first timer in a Christian church, I would have had no idea why I was receiving this sip of grape juice and speck of cracker. In my way of thinking and training, taking communion requires much more ritual and explanation. I love taking communion beecause it has great meaning to me. Other people, not so much. But this was done in such a manner that I actually forgot we did it. Ms. Kate asked me afterwards what I did or didn't like about the service, --- knowing I'd talk about the way they did communion; and I said I thought it was a good service. That surprised her and she said she just knew I talk about communion; and I said: "Oh, I forgot we had communion." That's not a good thing at all. Oh, well, it meets their needs, and next week we'll try another church.

One of my beautiful cardinals is sitting here having a drink and the bright sun on its red feathers makes a beautiful sight. Just another blessing form God handed my way. Have a great week!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Some days it is less comfortable out here in the sunporch. It is, afterall an add-on to the house and is not a "four season room", although we treat it like one. There is one little heat vent that I had added a couple of years ago but it doesn't really stand a chance because of the soffits from the roof line . Most of the time, we'll leave the sliding glass door open at least partially at night to let some heat in here because we also put the potted patio plants in here for the winter. Last night we (maybe I) forgot to partially open the slider and it was 45 degrees out here this morning when I came out. That's a tad more chilly than even I like it to be. But. --- it is up to 58 out here now and with my lap blanket, I'm good to go. I'm sure glad we decided to add this on to the house. I can't count the number of hours of enjoyment I have had just sitting out here watching the birds and looking at the flowers. We were able to add this on thanks to an inheritance from my mother-in-law. But --- I can't help but think about how much she woud have loved to sit out here too. This would have been just her kind of place. Thanks Mom; --- I miss ya'.

Ms. Kate and I did a "day trip" yesterday for lunch. We like to find new places to eat and I happened to see an article about allegedly great places to eat over in southern Illinois. One such place is the Twin Rivers Restuarant over in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. It is only about 35 or 40 miles from our house so we decided to check it out. It has great reviews on the Trip Advisor. It sits at the junction of the Wabash River and the White River so I was a little worried that the roads to it might be under water since the rivers are up now; but I called and found out they were open and the lady told me the best way to get there. The food was good, the service was friendly and if we are over that way again, I'd go back to eat there. I have a list of three or four more places I want us to try sometime. We like to take our little day trips simply because we enjoy doing things together.

While we might like to stay in the house today, unfortunately we need to go to the grocery store. There are a couple of things that we are out of like milk for my cereal and half and half for Ms. Kate's  coffee. I love to have my bowl of cereal at night and last night I got the milk out and sniffed it, and it wrinkled my nose. And we are down to one case of Dasani water for Ms. Kate so I guess we'll do our shopping at Target.

The backyard buffet was busy for awhile but now they have all left. One fat squirrel is eating sunflower seeds from the ground. There is a breeze this morning which doesn't make the 32 degree temperature out there feel a bit better. But --- God has given us another day full of blessings and opportunities to do something for someone else. Once again I look around at my surrounding and my life and I can't help but be amazed at how blesssed I am. I can only give God all of the credit and praise for that.

Have a great weekend. Peace.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Welcome to a brilliant blue but cold Friday morning. We are setting at 33 degrees and that is about as warm as it is going to get today, If the sun stays out, it might go up to 39. But, --- I am loving the sunshine.

I was surprised to see that I didn't write yesterday. I don't know what had me that busy. Ms. Kate and I did go yesterday to a local place to check about buying new fireplace logs for our gas fireplace. The ones we have in there have been there for a very long time and are coming apart. We also want to get a new fireplace cover. Ours has probably been there since the house was built in 1977. It was there when we bought the place in 2001. It is hard to open and close and looks like it is well worn out. But --- we found out that those things are really expensive. It is going to cost us a couple of grand for the new screen and logs. I reckon that will be our "house purchase" for the year. A very dear friend told us years ago that we should do something every year to improve or up date the property, or house, or appliances and we have tried to do that. Last year we bought a new freezer (because one quit) and we also bought the new John Deere and snow blade. I keep a good record of each of the items so we know when it was done and approximately how long it will be before we have to re-do something.

The sunshine adds a level of beauty to my cardinals this morning. When it is cloudy and over-cast they aren't nearly a pretty as when the sun hits them. I've had a couple sitting out there on the birdbath this morning and the sun is hitting them just right. I also have a large red-headed woodpecker here this morning and it is easy to spot because the sun shining on its head. I think I have to go add water to the birdbaths this morning because they are really having to dip way down to get a drink. I have a really good bunch of feathered friends here this morning too. Mainly I have junkos, wrens, and finches as well as my woodpeckers and cardinals. Only a couple of starlings have shown up so far, and at the moment I don't see a squirrel in sight anywhere. I had one earlier but it left. They'll be back in another half an hour or so.

In the meantime I'm going to sit here and enjoy this day from the inside and have another cup of coffee. God has provided a day that needs to be enjoyed and I need to give thanks for that. I hope your weekend is filled with time to relax and enjoy life. Don't forget to take time to to give thanks and praise to the God who made it all possible. Shalomn.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday, mid-week, hump-day; dare we say "Yea"? The sun is trying hard to peek through the layer of clouds but not having a lot of success. But it is 54 degrees already this morning and I suspect that we won't be getting much warmer than that today. But that is fine. Fifty four degrees in January is a blessing, so we'll enjoy it while we can.

The cardinals have been enjoying it this morning for sure. They have been in and out taking baths aand splashing water around everywhere. At the moment I don't have a lot of activity because the birds have come, had breakfast, had drifted off for a bit. There are a couple of chick-a-dees out there which makes me happy. I've noted before that we haven't had many of them this winter so it a blessing when they do pop through and visit. I can see several cardinals sitting around in the bushes and trees from here but I guess they are waiting for snack time or something. The squirrels were playing high up in the trees for awhile this morning but they too seem to have gone on to someone else's yard.

I didn't get anything done out in the yard yesterday. We went to Fresh Market for Ms. Kate to pick up some meat. Tuesdays they have a sale on ground beef and chicken. And while we are there, Ms. Kate always picks us up some of their cookies. From there we went to Karen's house so I could look for for special kind of screws and bolts for my yard bench. She didn't have much that I needed though. So, I went to Ace Hardware and was able to get part of what I want. But, by the time I finished with those places, --- well it was nap time. LOL What a luxury that is to be able to just stop and take a nap if I want to, or sit and read, or sit and listen to my music. However, today I do want to get out front and do someraking in the flowerbeds. Tomorrow it turns cold again and is supposed to stay that way for at least a week.

I've been reading the news and reading all of the crap that is on Facebook since the new President took office. I like to use social media as much as other people do but I sure get tired of reading the rants and the filth that people say. The worst thing is that I know and love some of these people but they just get so radical with so little fact to back up what they say. Were it not that I use Facebook and Messenger to keep up with my friends and family, I''d delete my accounts. Hopefully, as the country gets a little farther along into this presidential term, and the country settles down, maybe we as a country can go back to respecting what other people say and become a kinder society that isn't focused on "the ME". That's going to be the focus of my prayers this morning; --- peace within our society. Have a good day. Share some love today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday! I like Tuesday because it isn't a Monday. By Tuesday morning I have shaken off the start of the week and have put the week in gear. That doesn't mean I have popped the clutch and have it rolling --- I just have it in gear!Comw Wednesday we'll drive i "over the hump" and start to idle back. A fellow can't rush this life thing or you'll get to the end of it too quick and won't have enjoyed it.

I'm up for the second time today. Neighbor Dan and his wife needed me to take them to the airport this morning at 0430. Of course that means I was awake by 0330. They could have taken a taxi or driven over and parked their car in the long term lot --- but it was no big deal for me to take them. The airport is only about two and a half miles from our house. I dropped them off and was back home and asleep long before their 0530 flight. They are flying to be with Minh's mother who is terminally ill and hospice has been called in. So, -- if I could help them a little, it was my duty to do so.

Ms. Kate is fixing one of my favorite things for breakfast. She takes a can of biscuits and somehow turns them into what I call sugared donuts. I love those silly things. I offered to make a can of cinnamon rolls but she gave me the alternative and I jumped right on it.

It is supposed to be a bit warmer (low fifties) today and the wind will be less sharp. I got the roses here in the back yard trimmed back yesterday, --- so today, I think I'll take the hard rake out front and rake out some of the residue left from the lillies and maybe clean up that area a bit. Tomorrow it is supposed to start getting colder again and I don't think I want to be outside. There has even been mention of snow flurries. I'm actually kind of waiting on a snow (yes, I really said that) because I still haven't gotten to use the new John Deere with the new snow blade. It would be a shame to have put it on and not gotten to use it.

I went to the lumber yard yesterday and picked up some boards. I have a yard bench that I bought maybe fifteen years ago and it has really rotted out. I think I may have paid $125.00 for it when I bought it new. But, I figured I could buy the lumber and replace all of the wood. I wanted redwood but they didn't have it and they recommended that I use yellow pine that has been treated and kiln dried. So, for less than $30.00 I had them mill me down the eight boards that I need. I'm looking forward to working on it. There is no hurry of course because it is too cold to go out and sit on it now anyway. But, it will help get me out of my recliner and off of my rear end. I also need to go to my sister in law's basement and go through her stash of bolts and screws to see if she has what I want to use to put it together.

OK, my biscuits are here so I', out of here. I hope your day is blessed and full of God's grace and love. Well, --- actually I know it will be --- I just hope you will take the time to recognize it. Peace.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Happy new week! It is a far cry from the sixty plus degrees weather I left you with on Saturday morrning. It is a cloudy, 44 degrees with a stiff wind that makes it feel like thirty five. But, it was supposed to rain here Saturday night and a good part of Sunday and we saw none of it; so that is just another blesssing floating our way. Our local forecast calls for a mixed bag of winter-like weather this week including some snow flurries. And just yesterday afternoon, Darrell, my next door neighbor to the south was out riding his John Deeere and mowing his yard. So, welcome to the southern Indiana variety pack of weather. I may still throw on a coat and go out and trim back the rose bushes today. It needs to be done before it get warm and they start to bud out.

How was your weekend? Ms. Kate and I picked out a church within our own denomination to attend yesterday. I've been in that church several times but never in the sanctuary. It was very nice. They have a good choir and a pipe organ that will fill the chancel with music all the way to heaven. The order of worship and liturgy was more like what we are used to as compared to the nondenominational church we attended last week. Next week we will try some place else. There is a church on almost every other corner in this area so finding one to attend isn't hard. But, we are like so many other people. People are cautious about "just walking in the door" when they don't know what to expect ot what the local rituals are. We actually do have a "home church" that we are members of but we haven't attended there for many years except for a funeral or two. They are currently without a permanent pastor too and we know that many things have changed in that church; things that we are not really comfortable with. We were gone for 30 plus years with the military and then I was the pastor of my two churches for another twelve and a half years, so ---- yes, things do change. But, maybe we'll give them a try too.

A few cardinals, a mockingbird , a couple of junkos, a wren, and a couple of fat squirrels are the guests at the backyard buffet this morning. The wind is kind of giving them a hard time. So they grab a seed or two and fly off, except of course for the squirrels. I think they could hold on in a tornado. Speaking of a tornado ---- I must lift up all of those families who have lost loved ones and homes and possessions in the weekend of tonadic outbreaks in the southern portions of the country. There have been several deaths involved so my prayers go out to those families.

Time to vacate the recliner and get something done. I hope you have a a wonderful week. I send along congratulations to my sister who is finally retiring this week from her job. I hope she enjoys the retired life.

God has given us a new week to make use of our blessings to the best of our ability. Take stock of those blessings and be grateful for them. Peace.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

It is 60 degrees out side on this, the first day of the second month of Winter. Unbelievable isn't it? I think it is great because I have a couple of things I want to do outside today and warm weather and sunshine will be an added blessing.

Yesterday was a nice day too and I did get out and find some grass seed to put down in my back yard.  It is called "Shady Lane" and is for yards with a lot of shade. I spread three and a half pounds over about 600 square feet and then layed down two bales of straw on top of it. I hope that will help it germinate. Unfortunately it ground was too wet for me to walk over it with my little garden tiller first. So, I just hope it works. My sister-in-law, Karen had told me that I could really just sow iton top of the snow and it it would work so we'll see what happens. Thankfully, we don't have snow for me to throw it on top of.

There is a wealth of blue sky out there for the time being and the cardinals and their friends have been out there celebrateing I think. I've had several here this morning as well as those stinking starlings. I always have to remind myself that God made them too so they must have a purpose. The wrens, junkos, finches, and downys are all here too this morning. I had a gray squirrel earlier but it took off. Now I have one fat brown squirrel here checking out the feeders. It's been to three different feeders but hasn't stopped to eat yet. They are far enough away from me that I can't if they are empty or not. That is a possibility because I didn't fill any yesterday because it was wetter around them than I wanted to walk through. I'll get everything filled up when I finish this blog.

Did you watch the inauguration ceremony yesterday? I saw parts of it but it really became sensory overload after a while. The channels just show the same thing over and over and over. There were of course some rioter with people breaking windows of businesses and burning cars. But by and large most demonstrations were not violent. Today there is a large "Women's March" in Washington but I'm not sure what they are demonstrating for or protesting against. But, as long as it is lawful and peaceful, I support their right to do so. I saw thaat Film Director, Micheal Moore, was speaking to the rally and could help but think that 10,000 women did not need a man to tell them how to think or what to do. But, --- what do I know. I'm just a guy who believes in generally minding my own business and trying to spread a little love and peace and the word of Jesus Christ. I don't pretend to have all the answers. The only thing I can control is me. I don't even know for sure if my newly planted grass is going to grow. LOL.

The sunshine is waiting so I got to get out in it. Tomorrow is worship day. Please don't miss out on the opportunity. If you can't make it tomorrow --- heck, go ahead and give God some praise and prayer right now. God's time is limitless, I've even heard that God doesn't even own a clock!! Peace.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday morning, the 20th of January; the end of the work week and the end of a presidency as Donald J. Trump replaces Barack Obama as President of the United States this morning. Of course the protestors have already begun and of course the seats for the inaugural ceremony have been filling up. This is a great country and one of the things that makes it a great country is that we have room for  people on both sides of the aisle. Personally I think it is reduculous to protest things that haven't happened and may never happen but it is their right to march and sing and chant. I gave up 32 years of my life dedicated to defending their right to protest peacefully. It is not their right to do it violently or where they prevent other people from doing their work. Again this morning I lift up the nation in prayer and I lift up the elected leadership of this nation and pray for strength and guidance that this nation can achieve its full potential to lead the world in the ways of peace and harmony and in efforts to preserve this earth that God has placed us on. May God continue to bless America.

It is not raining this morning!!! That in and of itself is a reason to celebrate. It did rain last night but I've even seen some blue sky this morning. It didn't last long before the clouds moved in again but it was there and it was beautiful. My weather channel app shows no rain or bad weather on the radar at all and the forecasters say no rain for thr next couple of days. I think today I am going to go to the local co-op and see if I can get some grass seed for shaded yards. I tried a couple of places yesterday but couldn't find any. I want to spread some over portions of my back yard  that have gone bare and then I'll spread some straw on it to keep the birds off of it and perhaps it will germinate by spring.. After all, that JD has to have something to mow come spring time.

There are no visitors at the buffet again this morning. Oh, I've had a few singles fly in and get a seed or two but there aren't any in numbers. Perhaps they are celebrating no rain too somewhere. I can tell that a couple of the feeders are empty and I'll fill those while I'm outside. But there is plenty of food out there for them so I don't know what is going on. Yesterday they did come in later. It was around 10:00 am that they started coming in. That is only about fifteen minutes from now so maybe they will be showing up soon.

I was looking at Dude Ranches last night as a vacation possibility for Ms. Kate and I. I checked some out in Texas and a couple out in the Grand Teton area. I think it would be really neat to go to a working ranch and spend a week. However, I know my mind thinks I'm much younger than my body does. But "kids my age" still want to grow up to be cowboys. I was fortunate enough many years ago to become friends with some ranchers in extreme Northern California and I got to go on a cattle roundup a couple of times in the foothills of the Siskiyou mountains. It was magnificent. There was no overnighting or chuckwagons, just up early and home at dusk.

Time to get the day moving along. I pray your day will be blessed and that you will have a wonderful weekend. Stay in touch with the Lord. It will brighten your whole life. Peace.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy Thursday Morning. I wish I could tell you that it was a bright and sunny morning but I can't. It looks as though it could rain at any moment. We finally did get some sun yesterday as I finished up my blog and was a warm and welcome sight. But now we are back to southern Indiana January weather.

The only activity I see outside this morning is a single cardinal off in the poplar tree and a single squirrel sitting up in the red bud tree. It keeps running back and forth as though it is confused about what it wants to do. Other than that, it is quiet out there. There is just enough breeze to move the pendulum of the Corinthian chimes a little thereby giving me a soft melody in the back ground. A fellow could easily drift right on off to sleep out here.

I was sitting here thinking about the fact that tomorrow we change leadership in this country as the new president is sworn in. I've voiced my thoughts numerous times about my concerns for the country and that I pray each day that the transition will be done with the dignity that the situation demands. I know of course there will be demonstrations by people rejecting the results of our national election, as if the president elect would look out and say "Oh, you don't like me? Well, here I'll just resign then."

But, what I was thinking about was all of the people that work for the current administration that are going to be out of a job as of the end of the day. Transition of power goes a lot deeper than just the top leadership. All of the staffers that have had pretty good jobs for the past eight years are suddenly out if they are "politically" appointed positions. But it also goes deeper than that because the incoming party believes in small government so many of the "departments" and "agencies"  and committees are going to be done away with leaving people to scramble for a job and Washington DC is no cheap place to live. On the other hand, new people will be bringing in their own people and the transition to learning how Washington and government works will be a steep and unforgiving climb. So this morning I'm offering up my prayers for all of those folks who are going to be caught up in this transition and I pray for their well being. People at the top will always find work because of their connection they have made. It is the secretaries and staffers that will be wondering how they are going to make house payments, etc. that I pray for this morning.

Well, I have set here long enough for the rain to start moving in. Predictions are for another week of it and I just got a weather flash for flood warning. Yea!!!! But gloomy day be hanged --- my life is full of blessing and the love and warmth of a loving family and the sure knowledge that God is in charge. So let's take a moment and give thanks for it all and then press on to the weekend. Peace!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Okay --- where the heck is my sunshine? I was promised warmer temperatures and a sunny day today. Instead, it is cooler (41) and clouds are thick. What a gloomy time of the year. One of the unfortunate things about winter is days like today that are strung together. Thirteen out of the eighteen days of January have been cloudy and have had rain at some point during the day. That is a recipe for depression for many folks; especially the elderly and people who are already disposssed to bouts of depression. It is a fact that areas of the world that have a lot of weather like this have a higher suicide rate than other parts of the world. So, my prayer this morning is that if it suits God, we'd really like a little sunshine today.

I received a call last night from an old friend. I have only seen this person one time since 1975, and that was in I think maybe 2003 or 2004. we became friends when her husband and I worked together at Whirlpool Corporation and they lived the next block down from us. I convinced him to use his GI Bill and go to college like I was doing, and he also joined the AFROTC Program and eventually got his commission. They divorced many years ago, and like I said, I saw her once many years ago when she was working at Walmart here in town. At that time I gave her my business card. To make a long story short, She has breast cancer and is now concerned about her mortality and called me to see if I would do her funeral. After a long discussion, I told her that no one has said that her cancer isn't treatable and while I am no longer a pastor, I would "speak" at her funeral ---- unless I die before she does.

Ms. Kate and I went out for lunch with our friends Bob and Georgia Ann today. They are such dear people and we try to get together with them very month to six weeks depending on the weather. They are fifteen years our senior but we became fast friends through St. Lucas churrch. Our place to go is a tavern out in the country where they make the best deep fried mushrooms in the county. We order a couple of orders of mushrooms, a glass of Amberbach Beer each, and the plate lunch. It is hard to beat country tavern food.

My blog has been sporadic today as we have come and gone and interrupted ourselves by doing other things. But --- I'm happy to report that although it might now be late in the day --- the sun is shining in my eyes as I set out here. And you know what --- I'm not going to move. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. I just give thanks for the blessing. And the cardinals like it enough to come on over to the birdbath and take their bath. Just another blessing sent my way.

I hope the remainder of your Wednesday is a good one. Your week is half over and you are on the down side sliding into another weekend. Make the rest of your week a good one filled with the love of God that you share with everyone you meet. Peace!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A blessed good morning to you. It is 55 degrees on this January 17th morning. That is way above normal. It isn't raining at the moment and my Accuweather app tells me it won't be raining for at least two hours. I really like that app because it seems to be really accurate. But, not only is it not raining, --- the sun is actually peeking through for the first time in a week. Tomorrow we are supposed to have the only sunny day in the next seven days. It really poured last night as I was sitting here in the sunporch listening to my music.

This week is the inauguration of Donald Trump as our new President of the United States. I hope and I pray he will be a good president. Certainly the process of him getting elected was frightful. The country was torn apart and continues to be so. The current president ran an administration of "give away and welfare". People got used to the government giving them "help" when they couldn't make it on their own. And --- that sounds like it is a great idea. The problem became that so much of our society decided that they didn't have to work because they could make more money through gov't handouts and programs. College students enrolled in school in record numbers with no expectation of having to actually pay back the money for their student loans, and in fact at least one candidate for president was proposeing that all college should be free and the gov't could pay for it. However, the elected candidate, Mr. Trump, believes that people should stand up and work for a living and benefits.  It is going to be a very tense time in this nation for some time until Mr. Trump proves that he has the best interest of the nation in mind in his decisions. But of course, therein lies the problem --- knowing what is best for the nation. There are only about 320 million answers to that question; one for each citizen. So, my friends, if you have ever prayed for the health and welfare of our great nation, please continue to do so. The new set of leaders is going to need every bit of help they can get.

I don't seem to have a lot of visitors this morning in the back yard. We had some earlier but are in between feedings I guess. But even earlier we only had a couple of cardinals, a wren, and a couple of downy woodpeckers. I had two squirrels here for a bit but a cat came through and the squirrels took off. They know that several of the cats around here will go straight after them; and yet they leave my birds alone. It all works for me.

I can actually see blue sky off in the west. What a great sight that is. I think I will put on my crocs and go out and pick up some of the branches that are down in my back yard. I break them up into small pieces and put them in the trash can and tomorrow is the day to take the trash cans to the street. So, I might as well make good use of quasi warm temperatures and no rain and do something productive. I have a couple of feeders to fill while I'm out there too.

I pray your week has gotten off to a wonderful start. Keep an open line to God and listen for God's voice speaking to you. God has great things in store for you this week and you need to be ready to receive them. Peace!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ding, Ding, Clang, Clang! Someone must have rang the dinner bell here in the back yard. We have a bevy of visitors this morning. Maybe it has to do with the 45 degree temperature without rain. And it is supposed to go up to 59 degrees today. But my radar shows that 59 will be dragging a lot of rain with it.

This morning's guest list includes; red-headed woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, wrens, sparrows, finches, junkos, a bluejay, cardinals (they're taking a bath), a grey squirrel and a brown squirrel, and of course the local bullies -- starlings. But --- God created them all so we will feed them all. There is certainly enough food out there. I filled most of the feeders Saturday after we got back from Wildbirds Unlimited. I spent over $150.00 there and that doesn't count the $75.00 I saved with my discounts. From there we went to Meijers and shopped for food for us and only spent about $50.00.  I think there is something wrong with this picture. Well, yes --- their supply will last a lot longer than our's will.

Yesterday we chose a nondenominational church to attend for our morning worship.  It is one of a couple of nondenominational mega-churches we have here in Evansville. It was different certainly than we are used to. They had basically a half an hour of praise singing taht you stood for, then the pastor (one of many that they have) came in and gave a sermon on Acts Chapter 2. Then he said a prayer and we were out of there. They might have had 1000 people in the service which is really a lot of people considering they have three services on Sunday and a service on Saturday night. The pastor's message was good, the songs were okay, but some how, for Ms. Kate and I it lacked a sense of spiritual connection with the other worshippers. People were constantly coming in and going out during the service, carrying their coffee cups etc. It is a beautiful, well built sanctuary with nicely cushioned theater seats, and perhaps it is too well built. The sound is dead. In small churches, when the congregation sings and lifts up their voice in praise and prayer to God, it fills the church and it fills the soul. Yesterday, people were singing but it sounded like a dull murmur. I couldn't really even hear Ms. Kate who was singing beside me. The other thing that struck me was that not a single person spoke to us. And I understand why. When you have a church of over 4000 "members", spread out over four worship services, who knows who is a stranger and who is a member. It essentially creates four separate churches. We'll try it again, perhaps at a different worship time. We also want to try some of the other churches around town. We have no intention of changing from our denomination, but it is interesting and it is a good experience to see how others worship. As long as the message is focused on God and the living Jesus Christ --- perhaps the ritual and dogma is unimportant.

Today is a holiday; Martin Luther King Day. Dr. King worked tirelessly back in the 1960's to bring a sense of social justice against the racial bigotry and inequality in this country; and it eventually cost him his life. Unfortunately, we are no closer to solving those issues today than we were before. If anything, the situation has gotten worse. Maybe you could take some time today to lift up our nation in prayer and pray that we might see one another and recognize something that you and I could do to be better fellow citizens in the country. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Forty degrees and rain on this Saturday morning. That makes it a fairly cold morning. I went out and put the mail in the box and did a brisk step to get on back in the house since I didn't have my jacket on. But it isn't freezing rain or snow so I guess I should be giving praise to the rainmaker instead of whining about it. It isn't like I have any outside plans at the moment anyway. The most ambitious thing I have done this morning is to go to the mail box and to begin defrosting my little Katchen Aid refrigerator that I have out here in the sunporch.

At some point today, Ms. Kate and I do need to get out and do some shopping at the grocery. I still need to get the birdfood stuff and while I am at that store we might as well go on over to Sam's; although I hate going to Sam's on a weekend. It is always so crowded because that is the day they have the vendors in and are cooking up their "samples". I swear some people just go their to "eat free" off of those samples. I generally don't take any of them and my reasoning is really dumb. I'm the same way about my fellow veteran's that line up for an hour outside of a resturant that is giving "free" meals on Veteran's Day etc. I was raised to think it made you look like a beggar, or someone who always had their hand out. What's dumb about that is that the thought had to have come from my father because my mother was the queen of "I sure wish I had" to people and they would bring it to her. The traits we learn in our young environment are interesting. But my father engrained in me that you don't ask anybody for anything including help. You do your own work and don't bother people. It probably explains a lot about me and my impatience today rather than waiting on someone else to help me do something.

There's a battle going on in the back yard this morning. A squirrel is trying to get to the bark butter feeders and the starlings are having no truck with that. Every time it gets close, the starlings fly over to peck at it. It is quite amusing to watch. The squirrel is really getting frustrated. But it is so focused on getting that feeder that is is ignoring the feeders that are full and easily reachable. People do that too don't they? We get so focused on wanting the blessings that someone else has --- we totally ignore the blessings that God has laid out just for us. The end result is that we miss out completely. We don't get what they had and we don't get what we could have had.

I took down the Christmas tree yesterday and got 99% of the ornaments put away. There are maybe a dozen "special ornaments" that Ms. Kate will have to decide what they go in. Once that is done, I'll put those away too.

Say a prayer for safe travels for Julie today as she travels from Louisville, KY to Johnson City, TN for the weekend. She goes over there to donate plasma once in awhile. There is something about her blood that researchers want to study and are willing to pay for. But, it is supposed to rain over in that area today and having just traveled that route, I know there is a lot of construction on the way over and back.

Time for me to get busy. I hope your weekend is full of love and joy and the peace of the presence of Christ. Don't miss an opportunity to do something for someone and share your blessings with others. The weather might be a bit gloomy but God's love will always bring you sunshine within your soul if you just open yourself to it. Shalomn.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy Friday the 13th. No bad luck here. I'm alive and well and so is my family, so what more could I ask for? Well ----- I guess I could ask that it wasn't dropping freezing rain although I'm not sure that isn't just rain. It is 33 degrees outside and the rain is a "light rain" according to my weather channel app. That is a far cry from the 65 we had yesterday.

My backyard critters are happier this morning since they have food. I didn't get to the birdfood store yesterday but they still have full feeders of sunflower seed. For the squirrels, their challenge is to be able to climb the wet, cold metal poles. They have kind of been like yo yo's this morning; climbing up and sliding down. It's fun to watch. It might have to be a two coffee pot morning so I can set out here and watch my birds etc. The problem though is that it is cooler out here than is totally comfortable. I keep the sliding glass door open from the family room into the sunporch but that robs the house of heat and the temperature is still only 57 degrees out here. That isn't bad for me because I'm always warm natured but I do get chilly sitting here.

As I look around the yard I see the winds have knocked down several small branches that I need to clean up when it quits raining. I also need to cut the hydrangeas back to the ground. I realize that we are only three weeks into winter but spring will get here before we know it. Now that I am retired I will have a lot more time to work outside this spring. The biggest hurdle will be getting my butt out of the chair and actually doing the work.

I think today I need to bring up the containers and take down the Christmas tree. We didn't have time to do it before we left on vacation and we have only been home a couple of days now, but it is time to get it down and put things back in their place. It shouldn't take too long, it is just the getting the tree back down to the basement and put up in the storage. We have so much Christmas stuff. At one point in our lives, Ms. Kate put up several trees and it was a chore and a half to get all of the stuff out and then put back away. But, we only put up one this year and hardly any other decorations. I have already taken down the outside stuff and put that where it belongs.

Here we are at another weekend and God has blessed us all week and protected us. We need to decide where we are going to go worship this weekend. There are lots of churches out there to choose from, we just need to start walking in the door to some of them and try them out. After all --- I've always said that God doesn't have a denomination. But, Ms. Kate and I are traditional in our theology and we like a structured worship service verses what folks call "contemporary services". Besides, we are just "biding our time" until it is appropriate for us to return to Ft. Branch to worship at the churches that I pastored.

Take time this weekend to give honorand glory to God and give thanks for the salvation that has been provided for you through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peace.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ahhhh! Back in the sunporch. It is great to sit back down in my recliner, turn on my music, and sit and watch the critters in my back yard. Although there aren't many visitors today. The feeders are all empty since we've been gone for two whole weeks. I have one caged feeder that still has a feed cylinder in it that the birds haven't cleaned up yet. There is a squirrel going crazy trying to reach inside of the cage to rake out some seed. But -- I have the plate below the cylinder wired down and the cylinder holder doesn't move over to the squirrel. It is really frustrated. It keeps trying, leaving, coming back and trying again. I applaud its efforts and determination. I guess I should get out there and fill everything up. It is warm this morning and has rained some. However, it is supposed to drop to freezing tonight and then ice tomorrow. So, I need to check my stock and see what I have and don't have.

We --- I checked my stock and the larder is empty.  I had enough to put out some suet cakes and the woodpeckers are already all off them. I had just enough bark butter left to do one feeder. So, I filled all of the sunflower feeders and Ms. Kate and I need to go to Wildbirds Unlimited for a total restock. That'll be a hundred bucks for sure. The cardinals have already come back in. I don't know how they know to fly in or that I have filled feeders, but it is a great thing.

I've been writing today's blog in spurts and I apologize for that. It isn't polite to walk out in the middle of a conversation, --- even if it is one sided. But, I'm back again. I went over to Neighbor Dan's house to pick up the mail he had collected for us while we were gone. I sat and talked with him for awhile about his wrist surgery. He's in pretty bad shape. When he finishes up with the healing and PT part of this one --- he has to have the other one done. So, he won't be worth a nickel for help this spring. Next, we were headed out for lunch at R'z resturant up in Ft. Branch. However, we got out on the highway and the sky up ahead was black with rain clouds and we could se that it was pouring. So, we looped back around and went some place else for lunch. After lunch we came on back home. The temperature dropped about fifteen degrees while we were having lunch. It looks like the forecaster was right. Darn it!

It was great to sleep in my own bed last night but I was up way too early. I think a recliner and a fireplace might be a recipe for the afternoon while I "check my eyelids for holes" as my father always said. I hope your day is warm with the love of God and you will feel fully blessed. Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It is 2215 hours on January 10th, a Tuesday. We are on the road to home and have stopped at Morganton, NC for the night. We stayed in this Comfort Inn on the way down to Lisa's house what I think was ten days ago. This has been an interesting trip with twists and turns.

The good news continues to be that Amanda is responding well to her rehabilitation. She is excited and attentive to her treatment. She has another week to go and then the real test begins when she comes home. It is going to take some adult parenting as opposed to adult direction and I think there is a difference. The family is all new to this and there are chances every step along the way to cause a relapse or problems. I continue to pray for them.

We left Lisa's house yesterday afternoon and drove down to Fayetteville, NC and spent the night. This morning we got up and headed to the funeral home for thee visitation for my friend Tommy. It was great seeing the family although going there to conduct his funeral wasn't the way I had hoped to see him again. I last saw Tommy and Anna back in 2001 when I retired from the Air Force. The funeral went well. I did the funeral service at the funeral home and Ms. Kate and I left. The family and friends were gong to proceed out to the cemetery where they would have full military honors presented by the Patriot Guard and a military Chaaplaiin would conduct the internment service. The family was very happy with the service I conducted and it was great to see the family and a couple of the guys that worked for me at Pope AFB 24 years ago. Fortunately, I have had contact with many of them on social media, but it was good to see them anyway.

Ou trip from Fayetteville to here was not without adventure either. We were in the left lane passing a semi when all of a sudden the semi driver started moving right into our lane. I kept honking my horn as I kept moving left. I ended up completely off of the road driving through snow pack and ice for about a tenth of a mile at 65 MPH until the guy was completely by us and I was able to get it back on the highway. My white knuckles and God's steady hand are all that kept us from flipping end or end. We certainly offered up our prayers of gratitude.

Tomorrow we will arrive home if all goes well. It looks like we may be traveling in rain all the way which I'm not looking forward to,especially through the North Carolina mountains. But --- God will het us home; ---- the we can start taking down the Christmas tree.

Have a blessed day. I'll see you on the sunporch. Peace.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday afternoon. The storm is supposed to be all over but I just checked the weather channel radar app and it would appear that we are going to have this light snow stuff for at least another couple of hours. But we are inside and not out in the stuff so what the heck. We don't have anywhere we need to go and so we are sitting here watching a Naked and Afraid marathon, simply because no one changes the channel. Gary went to work and Matt is at a friends house. So it is just Ms. Kate, Lisa and me. We are on pot three of coffee.

I need to open up the flash drive and go over what I plan to say at Tommy's funeral. I know there will be an Air Force Chaplain there too so at this pint, I don't really know if the chaplain intends to be part of the service at the funeral home or what. I'll just write what I want to say and then go with the flow once I get there. I know the Chaplain will do the internment at the graveside, and there will be full military honors and a Mason ceremony as well as something by the Patriot Guard.

We have truly enjoyed our visit with the kids. It makes think we may have to go be a pest to the rest of the girls for awhile. But I think we'll wait for better weather. Come late June, we'll all be together in Gatlingburg TN for a week. I am really looking forward to that. There is nothing I love more than being surrounded by my family. It's bad enough that we live all over the country but now the grandkids are getting old enough to to be off on their own. We already know that it is doubtful that Lauren will be attending this year because she has a moto-cross race up in Mammoth California. I fear that is just the beginning of the "sorry, can't make it" stories that we are going to be hearing over the next few years. Our cabin size needs are going to shrink.

The area was supposed to get a lot of snow here and I guess some areas did get as much as nine or ten inches, but we got a lot of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and now snow. Matt just stopped by with his friends and said the roads aren't all that bad. I hope that Lisa, Gary, and Matt can get to see Amanda tomorrow since it is south of here. Ms. Kate and I won't try to go. The facility folks stretched the rules to allow three of us to see her last week. Five would really push the limits and she doesn't need that hassle. But, she is doing really well.

I guess I will sign off for today. I hope your Saturday is filled with blessings. Peace.

Friday, January 6, 2017

I'm sitting here having my coffee playing my silly computer games of Bingo Bash, Criminal Case as Ms. Kate plays her computer games too and we share a second pot of coffee. Matt and Gary made it back from New Mexico last night and all three of them are at the shop working now. So, it is as quiet as it would be if we were at home in Evansville.

The big news around here though is that we are all still waiting for the first snow flake to fall so we can all run out and buy milk and bread. I was at the Seymore Johnson AFB base exchange yesterday and there wasn't a snow shovel to be found. But of course, that isn't an item that would normally be sold here. While I was there I went to the barber shop and got my first Base Exchange haircut in probably four years. They did a good job although it is a little shorter than I usually wear it these days. The last haircut I got at an Air Force base was out at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas and the gal that did it did a horrible job. Ms. Kate cut my hair for maybe forty years of our marriage but she doesn't do it anymore. Maybe we have gotten to the point where it is just easier to go have it done and it doesn't cost that much.

We have truly enjoyed being down here at Lisa's although I suspect we are wearing out our welcome. Were it not for the funeral next week, we would have left yesterday or this morning at the latest. I've always held that company and fish are good for about three days and then you need to move them on. I know we are truly welcome but I also know that they all have their daily lives to get on with. But they have been great hosts and I'm glad we could be here with Lisa while Matt and Gary were gone. It gave the guys a sense of comfort knowing that Lisa wasn't alone.

We've talked daily to Amanda from down at her rehabilitation program. She sounds very positive and upbeat about her program which is wonderful. But then --- it is easier to be that way while you are being surround by the conditions of the program. We'll just have to wait and see, and continue to pray for her once she has completed the program and comes home. Her biggest addiction (as bad as her drug use) has been the caustic relationship with her boyfriend. She has told him they are through but --- there is no telling what will happen. But --- her support system is firmly in place. I would just ask that you continue to lift her up in your prayers. She is such a good kid and a joy to be around;  but we are all capable of making really bad choices. I've been there and done that's and so have you. So, keep the prayer wheel turning if you would.

Time to throw a coat on and head to Walmart. I pray you will have a blessed day. Take the time to talk to God who has filled your life with blessings. Have a great weekend. Peace.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Good morning once again from North Carolina. It is a bit warmer here today and it isn't raining. However, by tonight tthe bottom is going to begin to drop out of the thermometer and share the cold wave that is sweeping the nation.

I want to share with you this morning another example of how God works in the most mysterious ways. I told you that we came to NC in order to be with Lisa while her husband and son could take the opportunity to go visit his dad in New Mexico. And we are here also to support her daughter Amanda who is going through drug detox and rehab. Our plan was to stay a week and then head on back home, probably Friday or Saturday. I have been kind of watching and listening to weather forecasts across our projected travel area and yes, it looked like we might run into a snow situation. But, we knew if we take our time, all would most likely be fine as long as we got through the mountains.

Yesterday morning I got a "friend request" on Facebook from the daughter of an old friend (Tommmy) from down here in NC. They all live about seventy miles south of here in Fayetteville, NC which is where I met them back in 1988.  Tommy served as my First Sergeant when I commanded the Security Police Squadron at Pope Air Force Base from January 1988 to late 1990. His daughter wanted to tell me that Tommy had passed away the day before. They had seen on Facebook that we were in North Carolina and were hoping that I was going to be here long enough to do Tommy's funeral. I talked to his daughter and his wife and they were at their wits end. They don't have a church that they attend, or a pastor that they could call and told me that Tommy had told them that when he passed away, he hoped they could get in touch with me.

Now, think again about the progression of events. We had not planned to come to NC at all until this stuff happened with Amanda, but we made arrangements to come. That could not have happened easily except that I retired in November thereby freeing me up. So, we come down here and then I get a call that I am needed to do a funeral for an old friend. That will keep us down here long enough to miss the pending snow storm and we'll not have to travel through that. And when I'm kind of wondering if maybe I should not have retired just yet, God, says; "Oh, you are never retired from service to me; I have a small job for you".  I feel so very truly blessed.

Take this thought with you today. God is in control of our life. If we are needed to do something for God, God will let us know one way or another. So, keep yourself open and listen to the voice and the messages that come from God in so very many different ways.

Now ---- I need to go buy some dress pants and a tie.   Have a blessed day. Peace.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A very happy Monday from North Carolina! January the 2nd, 2017 in Goldsboro is a rainy quasi-warm day. Lisa, Ms. Kate and I are sitting here at the table just chit-chatting and enjoying one another's company. She is waiting for the folks to come and install her fireplace logs set and gas system. She has been wanting to do that for some time and now seemed to be the time. So tonight, we'll sit around the fireplace like it was cold or something. 

Yesterday we went to see our granddaughter Amanda at her rehabilitation facility. She has been there now for a week and seems to be responding very positively to the treatment. We had to attend a class first and it was on "enabling" and "Post Acute Withdrawal" symptoms and how to deal with it. It is a great class for those in the patient's support system people. Lisa and Gary will have to attend a class of some kind each Sunday when they go to visit Amanda. I think it is a great thing especially for parents that "are new" to the problems that accompany an addict.

Since the facility is "over on the coast", I was hoping to get some really good seafood. Although, unfortunately by definition, "really good seafood" in North Carolina just means deep fried in fresh oil!!! We located a place on the computer and headed out for there. We finally found it and it was closed; which we should have guessed since it was New Year's Day. So, we ended up hoping to Ruby Tuesday and I had the same shrimp pasta that I could have had back home. Color me disappointed. But, it met the requirement of filling our tummies. 

Gary and Matt arrived in Las Cruses New Mexico just fine and are enjoying their visit with Gary's dad and stepmother. We talked to Matt last night and he was bummed out because it was raining and cold. I had told him it was going to be that way but I think he was hoping I was wrong.  I hope they truly enjoy their trip. 

I hope the showers move out of the area. I'd like to take a walk around the block a couple of times. They have a good neighborhood without a lot of dogs that will eat your butt when you walk by. Lisa has two dogs that frankly scare me. I wouldn't trust them for anything. They are large and untrained and and very territorial. Lisa gets along with them fine as does the rest of the family, but that is about it. 

I guess I'll drop off now and maybe have some lunch. I hope you have a great day and a first week of 2017 filled with blessings. May God enrich your lives this year and fill your soul with the Holy Spirit. Peace.