Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring rains this morning. Tomorrow we'll call them April showers as month four of 2017 rolls in. But it is cool today. I stepped out to fill a feeder and it was cool enough to notice and it isn't supposed to get much above the mid-fifties today.

Yesterday we did get up to Princeton to visit with Georgia Ann in the hospital. She seems weak, as would be expected, but she is eating well,, and they are pumping her full of antibiotics. I expect her to be there for a few more days. Ms. Kate cut a bouquet of flowers from our yard and took them to her.

We were set to have severe storms last evening but it either went aroud or fizzeled out by the time it go here. Fine by me for sure. But, it rained on and off for most of the night and has today so far.

Ms. Kate and I have spent part of the morning putting together the Easter cards for the grandchildren. I know they are all getting much older but heck, they stilll need cards and a $10.00 bill sent to them once in a while. It is hard to believe that my oldest granddaughter is going to be 21 years old next week. My youngest grandchild is sixteen and all of their parents are banging up against the door of that 45-50 years old place. How old we get too soon.

I had a squirrel guest at the feeder this morning with a broken tail. It was bent at a forty-five degree angle and sure looked funny. I wonder how that happened. It was still doping the swishy tail thing that they do but it sure looked funny with half of the tail just flopping around.

Well, that's it for today. I don't have a lot on my mind and I'm going to just sit here and watch my guestsfor a little bit, and then start my day. I had a rough night with stomach and intestine problems and am tired this morning.

Have a blessed day. This is the beginning of the weekend so take some time and enjoy it and don't skip out on church this week. We all need the special reassurance that come with worshipping the Lord. Peace.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

It is a warm cloudy Thursday morning and it would appear that the first round of storms we were to get have dissolved and or just passed us by. That's fine by me, I wasn't anxious to have a storm anyway. We are supposed to have another round of more severe stuff this afternoon so I'm hoping to not see the sun peak out today. The more sun, the stronger the atmosphere gets stirred up and the stronger the storm. (Do I sound like a weather person??)

I filled all of the feeders again last evening and this morning the buffet has a lot of guests. The squirrels are feeling frisky this morning for sure. They are high in the trees and are chasing one another around and leaping long distances between branches. And there is frantic tail swishing going on everywhere as they chase one another around and round up and down the poplar trees. They are amusing.

I'm glad to say that the Bluebird is still with us and has been at the buffet this morning. At least one blackbird has been here this morning gathering up pieces of straw and flying away with it. There must be a new nest or two being built somewhere in the local trees. There is one out there at the moment carrying around a leaf as it goes about pecking at other stuff on the ground. I think it is facinating how the birds and animals know how and where to build their nests etc. Every year a robin will build a nest where the downspout meets the house on the north side of the house. It's always made strong with twigs and leaves and straw and mud to hold it all together. God had to have planted that knowledge as instinctive into their DNA. I don't think there was a learning curve of trying this method or that method. And --- they do it every year. They don't "go back to the house" and lay their eggs again in the same nest they used last year. Like I've said many times; God's world fascinates me.

Our cantata practice went very well last night. We basically went straight through it without a lot of hesitation or stops for too many corrections. Bless Marilyn's heart (she's our director), she is worrying that it just won't be right. But I have no doubt that it is going to go very well. We still have a couple of weeks of rehearsal to shine it up. I think it is one of the better cantatas that we have done.

I need to get ready and head out to the hospital to go visit with Georgia Ann. Her health is rapidly declining and she gets weaker every day. If she makes it through the summer, I will be very surprised.

Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hard to believe but we are already in the middle of another week. It seems the weeks sometimes fly by. Then other weeks I lose total track of what day it is; and numeric days of the month --- forget about it. I seldom know anymore because I have no suspenses to meet or deadlines to beat.

But, God has provided a beautiful Wednesday. It is currently sixty six degrees and there is a fairly brisk breeze blowing. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. The Corinthian chimes are playing as they swing in the breeze and the only other sound I hear is Ms. Kate gently snoring in her recliner where she has dozed off with her IPad in her lap and her earphones on. She said she had a rough night and kept waking up so I'll try not to disturb her.

My guests at the buffet this morning are the wrens, the cardinals, a lot of Goldfinches, a downy woodpecker, and a fat squirrel. I see I am going to have to go fill several feeders again this morning. I filled the bark butter feeders just two evenings ago and they are already empty. Most of the sharp beak birds love that stuff and once in a awhile the squirrel manages to reach one of them and will set there munching away. I think they would eat mud if you put it in a feeder for them.

The yard is really greening up here in the backyard. In my front yard I have Zoyza grass and it is still pretty brown.  The grass I planted earlier this year has taken hold and looks good. My daffodils are on their last but now the tulips are blooming so it is pretty out there.  My tulip poplars are starting to leaf out too so before long my yard will be covered with shade once again. I have a four foot brick sidewalk from the house through flowerbed as I go out the back door and it is covered with pussy willows this morning. Thewind has blown off a lot of the "blooms". It too will be in full leaf before long.

That's my world this morning; nothing exciting and yet full of God's handiwork and beauty. What more could a person ask for? It's time for a bit of meditation here in the quiet and peace. I hope your day has started off as wonderful as mine has. Peace.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I'm running late today but I'll take time to jot down a few thoughts for the day. My reasoning for running late is that we had a funeral to attend this morning  and I was asked to do the eulogy for the deceased. She was a former parishioner of mine when I was pastor at St. Lucas and the current pastor has never met her. So, Her daughter asked if it would be possible for me to speak. So, Ms. Kate and I went to the funeral this morning. After the funeral, we went to our favorite restaurant for lunch. We could have stayed for lunch with the family and friends at the church but that would have been crossing some ethical lines. That might sound silly to say so let me explain.

The ethical rules of conduct of the denomination, (actually many denominations) are that when you leave a church as the pastor, you are not to return to that church or involve yourself in the affairs of that church or any of the members of the congregation generally for a period of two years. The stated purpose being that your presence might be considered interfereing with the ministry of the new pastor. I've even been told by the the local Association's Committee on Ministry that I should delete all of my former parishioners from my Facebook account so as to not have contact with any of them. The thought being that people might second guess the new pastor if the old pastor is still there to turn to. I've even heard of pastors that had been at a church for twenty and thirty years that were told not to return by the new minister. However, this usually isn't a problem because afterall, most pastors that leave a church are probably moving to a new assignment or a new church.

In my case, as a Licenced Minister of the UCC, the rules are that as opposed to an Ordained Minister, I no longer have any standing as a minister once I leave that church unless I do accept a call to another church and get re-licensed to that new church. So, as a result, Ms. Kate and I are church hopping every Sunday as part of our "stay-away" duty. We are "on the roles" of my home church but due to three decades of military service and another dozen years as a pastor ---- we no longer really consider it "home".

Thankfully, the new pastor of my former parish has confidence in his own ministry and an ability to see through the pettiness of the bureaucracy. He has allowed Ms. Kate and I to come to the cantata practices and we will sing in the Sunrise service cantata this year. And when this family today asked if I could speak at the funeral he was conducting, he readily agreed. But, Ms. Kate and I will continue to church hop until an appropriate time and then we plan to apply to transfer our membership back to St. Lucas.

So that is the saga of my day and why we went elsewhere for lunch. And it is more than you wanted to know. Have a most wonderful day.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Well this rain isn't going to do anything to make all of my farmer friends happy! And the forecaster says it is set in for most of the week. The good news to me though is that it will disolve all of the fertilizers and anti-bug and grub stuff that I have spread and get it into the soil. And, -- it will help the lettuce and radishes grow that we planted on Saturday.

So Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Ours was mundane and just as exciting as we wanted it to be. We stayed home and did some work around the house and yard.  We went to church yesterday morning at St. Peter's United Church of Christ just five minutes from the house. It was an "OK" service with a mostly a traditional venue. Not the most dynamic service we've been to nor were the folks all that friendly. That's twice I've visited there and the experience was the same each time. We probably won't go back.

I have to write a short memorial today for a lady from St. Lucas church who passed away this weekend. He daughter asked me if I would speak at the funeral and I'm honored to do so. She was a nice lady and I enjoyed knowing her when I was her pastor. She was just shy of her 97th birthday when she passed and her best friend passed away a year ago at 102. Several years ago (maybe five) when they were both still living in their own homes, these two would call one another and talk for an hour or more every night while they each rode their exercise stationary bikes. I'll bet that would have been a hoot to watch and hear.

The Redbud tree back here is really blooming out now and Ms. Margaret's Flowering Crabapple tree gets prettier each day. We are under a threat of severe storms today and I hope all of the blooms on that tree don't get blown off. One year, (I think it was 2000) we went to Washington DC to see the infamous cherry blooms and they were absolutely overwhelming to see. That night we stayed in Fredericksburg and was going to go back and see them again the next day. But during the night we had a terrible storm and almost all of the cherry blossoms got blown off. What a shame.

The rain has let off for a little bit now and the cardinals are flying in for a quick meal between showers. And of course, the starling thugs also came swooping in. They are a bunch of bullies. But they usually don't stay too long. They act like a bunch of robbers in a bank heist; hit and go. And --- they fight with one another as much if not more than they do the other birds. Good entertainment.

God's spring season is turning out to be a good one. Most of my daffodils are about done but my hyacinths are blooming and the tulips are still coming. When God paints a picture, all we should do is just sit back and enjoy it. It is amazing to me how just being out here enjoying what goes on in my back yard can just remove any stress that I might be feeling and put me at peace. I hope you have a place like that in your life.

Welcome to a whole new week. Make the best of it. Peace.

Friday, March 24, 2017

It is sixty degrees outside and it is sixty degrees inside here in the sunporch. Not bad at all. The sun is shining bright and I don't see any rain clouds in the sky at the moment, although we are predicted for late night rain and again tomorrow. But, I think it is going to be an enjoyable day outside.

The starling gang is here at the moment, fussing and pecking at one another. They fly in here in flocks of about six or eight and disrupt everything out there with all of their nasty antics. The blue jay was just here and took a splash bath. I don't recall a blue jay ever doing more than drinking from the bird bath. But it splashed water all over the patio. And, it just keeps coming back again and again. It looks so silly when it get the top of its head wet because the feathers stick up like it had a Mohawk haircut or something. But, it has probably splashed half of the water out of the bird bath. From what I can tell from here, I need to do a full round of feeder filling this morning. They will be knocking on the door so. Yesterday morning I actually had a squirrrel scratching at the bottom of one of the glass doors. I don't know what it thought it was going to accomplish.

It rained most of the day yesterday but after it quit I got out there and put down the Scott's yard stuff that I needed to. That ought to make stuff grow and hopefully it will crowd out the dandelions and other weeds in the yard. Today I will get the last of those leaves raked up that I've been promising to do. The weather is going to be so nice that I can't waste the day.

The blooms from all of the Bradford Pear trees are falling off rapidly and in turn the trees are leafing out. So far they are about the only trees that are leafing. It won't be long though before the "helicopter" seeds start falling from the Maples and the Tulip poplars  and filling my flowerbeds with tree seeds. Just another thing to try to keep ahead of. I spend a lot of time around here pulling up saplings. I know it is all part of God's plan, I just wish they'd land somewhere else.

It is a wonderfully peaceful morning out here aside from the occasional siren or loud car on the street over the hill. In the distance I hear the trains whistling and it is a pleasurable distant sound. These kind of morning give me pause and I stop and reflect on the goodness and blessings God has provided in my life. I've said it many times, my life is far better than I deserve and I owe it all to the grace of God. I think what makes me the happiest is that I have reached the stage in my life where my needs and wants list has become minimal and my recognized blessings list has become huge. There is a lot of satisfaction in being in that situation and maybe it only comes with our senior years. I think learning to just "sit and see" is in fact a learned behavior. But there is so much to observe about the world that God has created that we can never take it all in.

It is Friday and the end of the "work week" for most folks, or at least it is supposed to be. I hope you've had a great week and I hope that you take the time to attend your local house of worship this weekend and join with other of faith to raise up praise to the Lord God who is responsible for all of thee blessings in yur life. Have a great day!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The robin was here early this morning for a bath. I think it splashed about a third of the water out of the bird bath and then it sat there and preened and tweaked its feathers and fanned itself for at least five full minutes as it dried out. I thought for sure it was going to jump back in the bird bath again because sometimes they will do that. The rest of the Backyard Buffet and Spa is doing well too. I have a lot of guests once again. Just the regular crowd basically. The cardinals are here and I know they will be in the bird bath soon too. And I have several additional junkos this morning. Perhaps they are migrating through. And of course, the starling gang is here. Those guys don't miss a free meal. The best thing about them is that they aren't afraid to move the squirrels out of the way. But they spend more time fighting and pecking at one another than they do eating. And speaking of fighting, the cardinals are acting awfully sassy this morning too.

Good Thursday morning to you. It is sprinkling right now which is a good thing. I hope it doesn't last too long but I need it to just get the grass good and wet and then I can go out and spread my fertilizer/weed preventer on the wet grass. Then --- it can rain again. You notice how I want my weather on my terms there don't you. But that is what the directions on the package call for so I'm waiting.

I see Ms. Margaret's flowering crab apple tree is starting to bloom pretty good. The problem is that the blooms are so light in color and every thing else in that direction id just kind of a "blah" grey/brown that is is hard to really se the blooms especially on a cloudy day like today. But that tree has really grown in the sixteen years that we have lived here. Of course, so have all of the other trees. My two tulip poplar trees have grown at least twenty feet since we moved here.

We had a good cantata rehearsal last night. I think we had a dozen people there and pretty well nailed down at least two of the songs. We have been through all of the songs individually several times now and in my opinion, it is time to start working our way through the cantata as a whole. But --- I'm not in charge and am just glad to be allowed to sing in it this year. It is only with the blessings of the new pastor that we are allowed to go up and be a part of it. Thank goodness that he is more open minded than the local church association or the denomination. According to them, I shouldn't even speak to anybody from the two congregations for two years so it doesn't interfere with the ministry of the current pastor. What a crock.

Mr. Bluebird has become a regular visitor these days and I really hope it stays. I moved the bluebird house yesterday to a more secure location and took it off of the tree it was attached to. I was tired of the squirrels using it as a park bench. I knew that as long as that squirrel kept getting on it, no bird would use it.

I guess I need to close up for today and get on about my business. The good news is that I smell sausage cooking in the kitchen which can only mean Ms. Kate is fixing breakfast. As I go, I offer up prayers for you, herever you may be or who ever you may be. God has blessed each and everyone with another day to do God's marvelous work and I pray I do something today that will give God glory. I look through these two walls of windows and admire what God has provided for us to take care of and work with and I'm humbled to be allowed to be entrusted with the care of God's handiwork. Take a few moments today and give God praise. As we work our way through the Lenten season, remember the sacrifice that we celebrate; the physical life of the very Son of God.

Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy bright and sunny and cool Wednesday morning. The sky is a brilliant blue and the closest thing I see to a cloud is the jet contrails overhead. The buffet is a busy place again this morning. The cardinals crew is here, the finch family has shown up, and there are a couple of wrens that are keeping the place lively. The Starling gang came through and bullied everybody around for about five minutes and then they took off. There is one squirrel sitting on the blue bird house staring at me. I'm going to move that blue bird house today so the squirrels leave it alone or I'll never get the blue birds to nest in it.

We went to Lowes yesterday and bought the yard stuff we needed. I spread the anti-bug and grub stuff in the yard but not the fertilizer /weed preventer. The grass has to be wet to use it so I'm waiting a couple of days and thinking it will rain. I also got the backyard John Deere out of the shed. The battery was really low and it wouldn't start so I had to get my charger and run an extension cord all the way across the yard but I got it started and it did just fine. I didn't get my raking done though that I had planned to do. Maybe today I'll tackle that. And then again --- maybe not.

I went to the movie last night by myself. I don't remember the last time I did that. I think it was probably the last time I was deployed over seas and that would have been twenty years. But, I had asked Ms. Kate if she wanted to go see Beauty and the Beast but she said she had television she wanted to watch. So I went to see Kong; Skull Island because I knew she's never want to go see that one. It was a typical King Kong movie. They haven't changed much since 1945 when the first one came out. At least this time Kong didn't die and he did still save the girl. But it was a lot of CGI and special effects and loud explosions and stuff. It was worth the $9.00 price since that included free popcorn.

Tonight is cantata practice at St. Lucas so we'll be going to that. I think it is coming along pretty well.   It seems we have so many people missing every week that it is hard to get a good pracrice in. But this year it isn't my problem if it isn't ready because I'm not responsible for the service. But, we'll all give it our best and hope it is pleasing the The Lord.

That's about it for this beautiful day. I hope your day is as bright as mine is. I always think a bright sunny day is just a reflection of God's smile. Peace.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It is a grey Tuesday and currently fifty six degrees. But my newly blooming daffodils are doing an excellent job of making the yard bright this morning. The cardinals and the blue birds are taking turns at the feeders and are also hopping around on the ground picking up residue. Down there though, they are competing with the junkos. One fat squirrel sits over on a feeder and is making himself at home. Other than that; --- it is a nice quiet morning at the back yard buffet.  The feeders are all still mostly full so I won't have to fool with that today.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day that Ms. Kate and I decided to go decorate the family tombstones. T was time to get the winter stuff off and put on some spring flowers. So, we decorated her grandparents and her parents and her aunt and uncles graves. We went out to check on may parents graves but the flowers looked good and my sister has some flowers on there that she wanted so I let them be.

I think I'll get the "backyard" John Deere out of the shed today and maybe mulch up some more winter residue. I never did fully clean up one area in the fall from the falling leaves and it wouldn't hurt to do that now that it seems winter's worst may be over. So, some leaf raking and mulching might just be in order today. It will be good exercise and help the yard too. I should also maybe go get my yard fertilizer and anti- grub stuff and spread that. I think it is probably about time. That of course means a trip to Lowes because I have several gift cards from Lowes and why pay for it somewhere else?

The sun is coming out a bit more which will warm it up a bit more and I reckon God is saying, "Get yourself out here and participate in My creation." I pray your day will be a good one and I hope you get to experience the love and power of God's Holy Spirit today. Well, --- actually I know. The opportunity will be there --- please take time to look for it and take refuge in it.

Have a blessed week. Peace.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome to the first day of spring!! It is sixty one degrees and going to seventy-seven today or so it is predicted. That would be wonderful. I've already been to the Cadillac dealer this morning for our oil change etc. I had to be there at 0800. Then I came home and fixed myself an egg and ham muffin and now I'm getting around to the blog.

We had a good weekend. Saturday was "Chicken Pie" making day at St. Lucas. Even though we aren't members there we still love to go and work with the folks on this annual project sponsored by the Women's Guild. We made 243 pies and they are all sold. People really love them and it has been a long standing tradition of the church and how the Guild has made money that they then use for things  to support the church. We had thirty-three people there to help including some pre-teens. It was a great day.

Saturday evening Ms. Kate and I decided to attend a new type of church service and went to the Celtic Music celebration and worship service at the Trinity Anglican Church. We both really enjoyed it. This particular service was done in honor of St. Patrick's Day and they had twenty three guest musicians playing dulcimers and harps and bagpipes. All of the hymns were Irish hymns and it was a great service. The Anglican Church is a good cross between the Catholic and the Lutheran churches and uses tradition from both.

Yesterday Julie and Jim came over for a while. Jim and I changed out the snow blade for the mower deck on the John Deere. The snow blade went unused this year. My only regret is that I wanted the new JD because it has more power and I wanted to see how it was going to handle the snow removal. But --- the day will come and maybe I should be careful what I ask for.

I've filled up the buffet and I have a lot of happy customers this morning. I have a couple of squirrels out there and most cardinals right now. There is just enough bright sunshine to highlight the cardinals. The Godfinches are turning more and more yellow with each passing day. They are a great contract when the cardinals and the bluejays are out there.

The daffodils have bounced back nicely; (Consider the lilies of the field) froom the severe temperatures. The hyacinths and blooming, the forsythia  is blooming, and peonies are coming up nicely  and it is going to be a lovely spring all thanks to God. I'm not sure what I will do outside today but I will be out there. I think the garden is still too wet to turn over but if I was a potato planter, now would be the time to do that. I think they are supposed to go in the ground by St. Patty's day.

I hope your day is fully blessed. God has blessed us with continuing life and seasons and we need to use every single talent God gave us to better the world around us. So, do something good for someone today. Peace

Friday, March 17, 2017

Good morning! I hope your Friday, and therefore your weekend, is off to a good start. It is indeed a gloomy morning out there. The sky is totally overcast and it looks as if it could rain any moment. As a matter of fact, it is supposed to rain on and off today. But it is dark enough that I could almost use a light on out here. The good news is that while it is only 31 degrees at the moment, the temperature is supposed to move into the upper fifties today. That will be a nice change from the bitter cold we've had all week.

Ms. Kate and I went to the movie last night to see The Shack. I've read the book a couple of times and we even did a Bible / book study on it a couple of years ago. Most of the people in our book study liked the book but some could not get past the characterization of the people in the book. After all, I suspect vey few white people ever pictured God as a black woman. But I found that if you drop your religious dogma and preconceived notions (notions that we have no way of proving anyway) --- it is a great book about faith and hope, and an abundance of love. The movie followed the book very well. It is a tear starter but then I think the joy found in faith should bring a tear to your eyes. So, I recommend the movie highly and if you haven't read the book, --- pick up a copy of that too and read it.

It is St. Patrick's Day. It's that day of the year when all kinds of people suddenly feel the need to be Irish and declare that they are "part Irish". That never made a lot of sense to me. Of course "getting pinched" because I didn't wear green on St. Patrick's day never made a lot of sense either.  On the other hand I also get amused at how many white people declare they are "part Indian" as if that makes them ---- what??  I don't know. I've found that the quickest way to turn that conversation off is to ask --- "So, you're bi-racial??"  Or --- "Which one of your grandparents was having sex with a Native American?"  People are some funny animals.

Well, it has started thundering and raining an I need to get ready for my doctor's appointment. I hope your day is bright and filled with the love of Christ. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Good Thursday morning to you. It is another cold morning with clear blue skies. There isn't much of a breeze this morning so that should keep "feels like" and ambient temperature about the same. My weather app shows that it should be warming above freezing by 1030 or so. Don't that just make me feel warm and fuzzy all over!!! The poor flowers are really looking droopy today. I really hope they will snap back out of it.

Ms. Kate and I both have dental cleaning this morning. I never mind that because my teeth are in good shape. Actually, I've never really minded going to the dentist at least in my adult years. I've even been known to doze off  in the dental chair. What I don't like is when they do the gum check with that probe. But, I think they did that last time so I won't need it for another six months. Today that will most likely do X-rays but they have improved the way they do those too so it isn't so bad.

Tomorrow I have an early morning doctor appointment. Doctor Jackson wants to look at my blood sugar levels again because they are higher than recommended. He doesn't know I'm bringing him a congested chest to do something about. I don't know if it is my asthma or something else but my wheezing and breathing are getting worse again. I spend a good part of each morning coughing and carrying on. You may recall I ended up in the ER out in Las Vegas for a breathing treatment and I still haven't fully recovered from that bout and that has been almost three months. So it is time to do something about it.

I filled the buffet again last evening and have a lot of guests this morning. I brought the electric bird bath in and scrubbed it up again and refilled it. Of course --- they all still go to the other one that is frozen over and peck on the ice. Even the squirrels were up in that one this morning walking all around it on the ice trying to get a drink. I just had a squirrel grab a whole slice of the bread that I put out two nights ago and scamper up the tree. I've not seen one do that before. I don't know where he stashed it but he is back already and I know he didn't have time to eat it.  ---- Just look at the free entertainment I get by sitting out here in the morning.

But, sitting time needs to be over and I have to get ready to go to the dentist. As I do, I offer up a prayer for you, whoever you may be or wherever you may be. I wish you peace and the love of God as you go through your day. Shalomn.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Happy Wednesday. It is a deceptively beautiful morning outside my sunporch this morning. The sun is bright, there isn't a cloud in the sky and there is enough breeze to keep the Corinthian Chimes sending out a melody. It is also 20 degrees!! When I open the door and step out --- these cold slaps me in the face. We had a hard freeze last night and are expecting another tonight. The blooming flowers looked hopeful by yesterday afternoon but today they look sad. I can only imagine what they will look like tomorrow. But there is no use to worry or stew about it. It will be what it will be. God just builds in all sorts of little miracles and designs in the plants and they just might pull through. And if they don't; --- well, I'll just give thanks for the beauty that I got to enjoy from them and wait another year.

I don't have a lot of guests at the buffet this morning. One fat squirrel is out there on a feeder and a cardinal sits over in the firebushes. Last night I through out two loaves of stale bread to the birds. I haven't had a lot of takers yet but I did have two large either ravens or crows come in and tear off a couple of large chunks of bread and fly away with them. I suspect hey will continue to return until they have cleaned it all up. The crows are interesting to watch because they will use their feet to hold the bread down while they tear off pieces to eat. Othe birds will just kind of stab at it or peck at it to get what they want. Most generally, when I throw bread out, it will be the blackbirds and starlings that will come in and clean it up.

Ms. Kate and I got out to Meijer's yesterday and did our grocery shopping. Then we went up to Karen's house and took her some of the oranges and grapefruit that we brought back from Florida. But that was enough running around for a bitter cold day. We stocked up on a bunch of "healthy" supplies. We are putting ourselves on a healthier eating routine after our trip to Florida. I refuse to use the word diet. But, we ate a lot of calories while we were on the road and we need to do better. I can hear the tea kettle whistling on the stove right now which tells me Ms. Kate is making jello. We bought fruit yesterday for that purpose. I love jello; except for green. Green jello is for hospital use. But, jello needs fruit in it or cottage cheese. Yeh, --- that's pretty much the extent of my gourmet cooking.

The buffet is now alive with guests. Cardinals, finches, two varieties of woodpecker, junkos, chickadees, and robins are all here and the squirrel has come back for dessert. It is so peaceful to sit here and watch these things. I can't help but wonder as I look at the difference in the beauty of birds and their colors and mannerisms; and I can only wonder what the true wonder and splendor of heaven will be like. God made all of these creatures beautiful to the extent our human mind can process. What will it be like when we come into our full potential as we once again become spiritual beings. Do you ever stop to ponder thoughts like that??

I pray your day will be blessed and full of the love of God. Share your blessings today and share your love today. Until next time ---- Peace.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I don't think that robin could possibly puff itself up anymore than it has. He has almost made himself a round ball as he sits out there on the branch of the Pussy Willow tree. I know it is thirty degrees outside and all of my guests have themselves puffed up to keep warm. God certainly built in some intricate mechanisms for our bird friends to keep warm. Back when man was living in caves we were a lot hairier species too designed to keep us from freezing to death.

We have one more week of winter and Mother Nature is certainly taking advantage of it. We officially had .7 inches of snow which is next to nothing and it was gone by afternoon. But the bottom has dropped out of the thermometer and we had a hard freeze last night and will again tonight and possibly again Wednesday night. The poor daffodils are all hanging their heads as if they have just given up or maybe they are praying for some warmth. But, daffodils are hardy and they may in fact bounce back come Thursday when it is supposed to warm up. The east coast of the country is under blizzard conditions and my grandson Josh is expecting from 12 - 18 inches of snow. The whole northeastern region is basically paralyzed. So, I offer up prayers that they are all safe and can find a warm place to be. I can't help but think of the homeless people that we have often seen lining the streets in places like Washington DC. Locally, the white flag is out at the shelters which indicates that regardless of who you are, come in and get out of the cold.

Ms. Kate and I need to get out to the grocery store today. I know she wants to make a pot of vegetable soup so we need to go get the ingredients. We also need some other stuff so I reckon we better bundle ourself up and go do a little shopping. Plus we are out of some basics like milk and bread. I'm a late night cereal eater and I can't do that without milk. Well, I guess you could put water on it but doesn't that sound horrible??

I see some empty feeders out there so I reckon I'll need to do something about that too. So far this morning it has just been the birds that are here. The squirrels are not yet to be seen. I've mostly had cardinals although a few finches and a wren or two have been here. Mr. Robin  is darting all of the years snatching up something. While we are out, I need to pick up a couple of the smaller seed cylinders.

The sun has finally come out and is shining brightly. It makes the day look warmer, even if it isn't. I guess I better vacate my chair and get busy taking care of today's business. I urge you to take the time today to give God thanks for your blessings and to also pray for the millions of folks in the path of these winter storms. May the presence of the Holy Spirit bring peace to your life today. Cheers!

Monday, March 13, 2017

A glorious morning to you! Happy Monday and all of that. Ms. Kate and I are home and are back in the routine of being us. We got home Saturday afternoon; got the car unloaded and most everything put away. Yesterday we simply crashed and burned and still managed to do four loads of laundry, and pick up all of the branches and twigs that had blown down while we were gone. I also got the buffet refilled and the guests are plentiful this morning.

I had been worried that we would run into bad weather as we traveled home but we had perfect travel weather and dodged all of the storms both ways on this trip. I give thanks to God for our safe travels.

As I set here this morning it has begun to snow and the grass and bushes are turning white. Of course that also means that the bed for of daffodils are getting fresh white coats this morning. But, this band of snow is a narrow band and it will be followed by rain. So what ever is out there will be washed away. The pussy willow tree outside my sunporch has a bevy of visitors at the backyard buffet. Most noticeable though are the six or more cardinals and a pair of bluebirds. I'm thrilled that there is a pair of bluebirds and I hope they take up residence in the bluebird house hanging on the tree out there. That would be fantastic.

Our vacation was wonderful. It was very relaxing and we did little more than just relax. Sitting on the balcony of our room and watching the waves come in and hearing them crash on to the beach was a nice hypnotic sound and sight. We had some reaally great sea food and we also went to a botanical gardens in Vero Beach. It was fantastic. It wasn't huge, (18 acres) but the flowers were magnificent. The paths were wide and smooth and there were a lot of benches that a person could just sit and meditate. It wasn't crowded at all and the people that were there were quiet. It made for a very pleasant experience. It is just so overwhelming to sit and look at the intricacy of God's handiwork. All of the different kinds of foliage, and the vast array of colors of the flowers and the birds that were there can certainly make a person feel humble in the presence of God and God's handiwork.

But --- it is wonderful to be back home too. As much as we love to travel, --- there is no place like home. That's why I'm sitting here enjoying the cardinals, and the bluebirds, and the snow flakes, ---- and that silly robin; --- taking a bath in the middle of a snowfall. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday; it rained last night and has sprinkled on and off most of the day. That's really OK with us. We most likely won't be walking back over tp the beach anyway. It is a good 500 yards t the beach and Ms. Kate has an awful time trying to walk in the sand. She fell yesterday in the process. She's fine because the sand was loose and soft. I guess walking with a replaced knee makes it hard to do.

This morning I went out on the balcony of our room and sat for awhile. As I said, it had rained and the smell of the fresh rain combined with the smell of the star jasmine that grows all around us was intoxicatingly delicious. I can literally reach off of the balcony and touch the trees and there were birds coming in and out right there within an arms reach. As I went out on the balcony last evening I looked up and there was a big tree frog of some kind sitting on the top edge of the hurricane shutter looking down at me. It was cool. I wasn't sure it was real at first but I could see movement under it's lower jaw as it breathed or maybe it was its heart beating. It was still there when I finally went to bed; but it was gone this morning.

We had a good complimentary breakfast here at the hotel this morning. Then we decided to go exploring and see what was around us. We did some geocaching along the way and then found the Vero Beach Outlets. Ms. Kate checked out the Coach outlet store but they didn't have anything that she already has or at least nothing new that appealed to her. Will wonders never cease?

We stopped at a place where we were hoping to see Manatees but there were none there this morning.  We'll check it again. I hope to see some. I've never seen them in the wild. They are such a gentle creature and they are endangered. Their only natural enemy is man and his boat propellers. They are just another example of the wonderful nature that God has created and like so many of God's creatures; man is slowly destroying them out of existence. Last year the last Black Rhino was killed. What a sad state of affairs that is.

We plan to start for home on Friday morning. We could make it in two very long days but I think we'll take it easy. For one thing, we are supposed to get snow at home this weekend there is no telling what the roads will be like. So, we'll spend an extra day on the road and take our time. And --- just maybe there will still be enough snow on the ground for me to use my John Deere a little. Our other option would be to leave here tomorrow and head out but I think not!

I think tonight we are going to walk down this street to a local pizza place and have pizza for supper. We eaten too much "foo-foo" food and it is time for a pizza. Last night I had a pasta dish that was OMG fantastic. It was a 8oz lobster tail, with ten huge shrimp, and a dozen clams all over a bed of pasta that was cooked in calamari sauce. Yeh, time to go lighter fare this evening.

So that is my story for today. I hope your day has been as relaxing and good as mine has. Peace be with you.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Yes, I think it is Tuesday, but I'm not too sure. I love being on a do nothing vacation.

We have left Melbourne Florida and driven down the coast about 50 miles to Vero Beach. We are staying at the Caribbean Court Botique Hotel until Friday morning when I think we will be heading back to Indiana. So far we have had a great vacation with only a couple of annoyances. I don't recall if I told you about the weatherstripping on the door at the Double Tree. The first two days we put up with this terrible whining noise and had no idea wher it was coming from. I thought it was coming from the front door but couldn't really feel anything. Two night ago I got up around 0530 for a nature call and could see light coming in under the front door. So I took a towel and placed it in front of that door and the noise was gone instantly. When we went down to breakfast I told the desk clerks about it and said they would send someone immediately to fix it. By the time we finished breakfast and got to the room --- viola' -- new weather stripping had been installed. Unfortunately it lasted through about four openings of the door and was off again. So --- back went the towel. But  it kept the noise out. We told them about it again this morning as we checked out. Hopefully they will use better stuff before the next people check into that room.

The other detractor has been the wind which has really put a damper on the beachcombing. There were people out there in swim suits and bikinis etc it they weren't in the water. Most of them had beach recliners and wind blocking tents so they could catch the rays. Beyond that --- it has been really nice.

Our hotel we are in now was an old hotel that had been beat to hell by a hurricane a few years back. The guy that owned it was going to just bulldoze it to the ground. The current owner though saw a diamond in the rough, (really rough) and bought it for like a hound red dollars with the stipulation that he want to try to make something out of it but if he couldn't, he would spend the money to have it bulldozed and hauled away. he has turned it into a really charming place surrounded by lots of vegetation and the walls to the facade are covered it's star jasmine and it is just starting to bloom. The smell is heavenly. The ocean is across the street and down a little path between a couple of condos, and it is maybe 500 yards from our room.

Now that you know all of that -- I think it is time for me to put on my shorts and walk over to see it. Have a most blessed day. I already have had.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What a great way to start off the day! I'm sitting on the balcony of our hotel watching the surf role in and listening to the ocean sounds. The waves are crashing and the seagulls are screeching. Of course below me the construction workers are hammering as they make forms to pour concrete for the new patios they are building down there.

We arrived in Melbourne yesterday afternoon and checked not our hotel. We are staying at a Doubletree by Hilton and are on the fourth floor right on the beach. We spent a few hours yesterday up in St. Augustine doing some tourist stuff. We went to the famous St. Augustine Lighthouse which is the oldest lighthouse in America. I decided to forego the 237 steps up to the top. I've climbed other lighthouses in the past and the view is always great but these days I'm a couple inhalers and forty pounds past doing that.

After the lighthouse we went to the Castillo de San Marcos, the Spanish fort and walked all around that; and watched them do the firing of the canon demonstration. It was very interesting and we took a lot of pictures. From there we headed to Melbourne.

Our hotel is nice with a couple of quirks that drive us nuts. We have this constant --- and I mean constant whining sound that sounds like a gale is blowing out side of our door. That is because just over the railing in front of this tower is the air conditioning unit for the place. It runs always and creates that sound. But, it didn't keep me from sleeping well. Our only other complaint is that every other lamp seems to have a bulb out. Maybe they do that as an energy saving thing; --- I don't know. But the sun is shining and we need to get ready and go down for breakfast and maybe go for a walk on the beach. It is windy again but that is not going to stop until maybe tomorrow afternoon so, I'll throw on a sweatshirt to defuse that problem.

Back home it is 33 degrees this morning and I suspect by now all of the buffet has been cleaned out. That won't keep them away though. There is enough seed on the ground to feed them until I return and refill all of the feeders for them.

That is it for today. I hope your weekend is a glorious one and that. You are feeling fully blessed. My prayers of thanks go out this morning that no one got hurt in the tornado that touched down in Ft. Branch this week and while some of my former parishioners had some damage; they are all OK.

Stay in touch with The Lord, and have a peaceful day. Shalomn.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thursday night and we are in St. Augustine Florida. It has been a great trip so far and we have out run all of the storms and severe weather that have plagued the Midwest and lower parts of the country this week.

We left on Tuesday afternoon and headed south hoping to get below Nashville, TN, which we did. We made it as far as Monteagle, TN and stopped at a quaint older motel. We enjoyed it and had a good meal there for supper. Yesterday we got up and headed to Macon, GA where we had reservation for the night. Today we got up and headed on down here to St. Augustine. Tomorrowwe plan to look around the old historic city and then head to Melbourne where we will be staying for the next four nights. We are looking forward to just beach-combing and being tourists.

That is all I have for you tonight other than say that we just love traveling this country. There is so much beauty and by our count, most of the people that we run across are friendly. I don't know where all of of the people are that we see on TV demonstrating and rioting and frankly I hope I don't ever run in to them. But, what I do know is that if we treat each other with respect regarding any issue, we could sure turn this society around. So I would just urge anyone who reads this to stop and think about that when dealing with their fellowman. In the meantime ---- I send you prayers for peace and love. Peace out! I