Friday, November 07, 2008

Birthday Blog

The final days prior to winter on the Great American Desert were filled with a flurry of activity. Today is the 59th birthday I have celebrated, although there were many I do not truly recall with any accuracy. Our project has progressed to the point where all work must now focus on the interior of our new home. We(my wife Cheryl & I)began a year ago on a new journey! I can now admit to my wife and myself that I am weary. I love the old house and the addition I designed. My problem is that I have lost touch with many people that I love as a result of doing the necessary tasks to bring this new location to fruition. Not to mention that the election season had me working the 'puter as often as I was able to assist the party whenever I took a break from the physical endeavors on our home. At the present time on this 'puter I am suffering from frequent "crashes" that take quite a bit of time to get back to where I need to be. I suppose that is the result of building a personal computer from the parts and pieces of the last half dozen shells that crossed the workbench. This one is all "junk" from the bottom up. It was fun to put together, and offered a perfect opportunity to test Vista before using it on my main home computer. Would you believe that many of the pieces were gifts and old stuff that I hacksawed(literally)to fit a Gateway 2000 case that was gifted me by the last church I was preaching in. The whole thing was vintage 1997 so I gutted it to rebuild. It sat in the old cave until March 25th of this year, at which time I built this and the one that is operating in the addition to the home. What a year! Pondering the past 12 months I can only say that God is soooo gooood to us. We have had many ups and downs, cost over runs, and financing difficulties(hasn't everyone with the mini crash of the housing industry)and they have only served to strengthen my personal belief in the power of prayer. I have an inkling now of God's plan for our lives but it is too early on to share. We will go out with our friends this evening and celebrate once again the beauty of another year of life. Where God leads we will follow(wish it were easier at times)and come through to the light of a new dawn in this garden we have been planted. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Project Update

Today it has rained, again, so I don't have to be out riding the Bobcat moving earth! This is a blessing, I'm not certain my bones could take another full day of bouncing around on that particular machine. Night before last I began taking pictures(again)of the work in process. Sunset on our Great American Desert was spectacular. Snickers was done for the day. He was inside, outside, and everywhere he could get to. His job, of course, is very tiring so a nap was in order. Cheryl arrived home to a totally new look on the property. I believe she is pleased and that is a "good" thing. We only have use of the skid loader for a few more days. Originally when this was planned we were to have it on site for two weeks. That would have been plenty of time to accomplish our goals of landscaping and driveways. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate! We had a full week of rain and it is back once again. I think God knew I was in need of a "Snickers" break. I can just see the afternoon snooze now.....Me propped up on our new four-poster queen size bed with my legs up in the air and my paws stretched out in total repose. That just may happen. This fall has been really good, although the distant sounds of shotguns in their attempt to bring down the elusive ringneck pheasant are a bit grating on my nerves. I would much rather be hunting ducks, geese, and other game than riding around in circles on a machine that is quite a bit less than forgiving. As always, I must trust in God's timing. He has never been wrong and I am quite often too busy with my own "stuff" to truly listen to what I am being told. That's one of the difficulties we are each challenged with, knowing when to shut up and listen with our minds, hearts, and the whole of oneself! I pray all of your sunsets are beautifully breathtaking. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Taking Time And Sharing Time

Hey! This was another day out here on the Great American Desert. It began with a "not so spectacular" sunrise and ended with a sunset that was very ordinary. What did strike me as important was the time I spent shooting pics and the people with whom I can share them. The greater part of my day was spent working on the variety of projects I have happening here at the new digs. Construction stuff for the most part. Measuring, cutting, screwing in place and then checking constantly with the levels to see if I'm getting close to right. Right now doors have become very important. I have to get them out of the way so I can begin the process of insulating every nook and cranny of this new basement. It's getting colder with each passing day. The sun reminds me that winter is fast approaching(that and hunting season)and I had better be ready!
Right now I have a daughter that I can't find. Her phone is disconnected. She and one of our nieces were sharing living space in Soo Foo(better known as Sioux Falls, South Dakota)and now both of their phones are disconnected. Usually if things are not good in my daughter's life she calls to talk about stuff. Sometimes money is a problem, other times it has something to do with relationships and the guys with whom she hangs. This time it makes little if any sense, that is, of course, unless she has decided to return to Colorado and work at one of the ski resorts for the winter season. That would be understandable. I guess deep down inside I truly wish she would come to the new house(I want her to think of it as "home")and share a bit of time. I've been praying for and about her, but have not had any revelations as yet.
So, tonight I write about taking time and sharing it because that is where my heart has chosen to take me. I know my wife is concerned, as well. Perhaps tomorrow we will get a message letting us know that she and her cousin and the baby(cousins)are all just fine and just experiencing a little financial setback. God has a way of letting us know when anything is drastically wrong. As near as I could tell from this day between dawn and sunset everything was normal. Right now it is 49 degrees out side and that is probably normal also. I pray your day has been good and that the night provides us all with much needed rest. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Much Needed Closure

We all have a need to find closure for the traumatic events in our lives. The move to a new location is generally in the top ten of stress related difficulties in lives. The old house came down ten days ago, and yet I did not revisit the site until a week later. I did the services and interments for both of my parents nine years ago and still have not made a return to that site. I suppose other folks are like I am in the respect that whatever the change it is difficult. This latest change will get easier as I began using the paneling and other stuff that I salvaged from the old house to the new basement. I've even preserved the house number, 1316, to place above the great stairwell leading from the addition to the basement of our project. Healing will come in time. Hopefully before Christmas. The top pic is looking at the old home from the street on Christmas day 2007. The reason I relate the events of the house coming down and the death of my parents is that I originally purchased the house at 1316 for them in '93 when dad was in a wheelchair and everything needed to be on one accessible level. So, there you have it, my most recent bout with depression.
I've found through the years that my best way of coping with unsettling events is to pray regularly(I do that anyway)specifically for the healing I need emotionally. God answers these prayers in His time and in His way. The positive side of the situation is that I know without a doubt that there will be healing, and prayers will be answered! After that it is up to me to deal with acceptance of the answers. We all have to go through something similar to this from time to time. Isn't it wonderful to know that God has already prepared a solution to our difficulties even before we knew of their existence. That is where the "trust" factor begins.
I cannot imagine what John McCain went through during his five years of captivity! He must have a wonderful trust of our Creator, not to mention the faith to follow his convictions even during the darkest of hours. I believe McCain will be a great president and that our country will experience(under his leadership)a truly needed closure to the difficulties we now share. I am personally offering prayer for the Republican nominees. Sarah Palin has gained my respect, and even though I am registered as a democrat I believe that they don't have the "right stuff" to pull my country back from the brink of depression.
Well, there you have my thoughts and feelings. It's time for me to get back to work on the positive sides of my personal closures. God never closes one door without opening another for those who believe. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Times Have Changed

This week the old house we lived in(originally built in 1947 added to in 1957)was razed. I have been informed via E-mail that even the slabs are gone. Tomorrow I'll retrieve my mom's last auto, a 1977 Oldsmobile Toronado, from the empty lot next door and take some pics. Times change! While in the process of unpacking at the new place I came upon a box filled with stuff mom packed up in 1980 when she truly retired from being a hair bender. The solo cup thing was cool! To think that 19 cents could purchase such an amazing dispenser(for that time)and offer a free 45 rpm record for free. Just include postage. What about those musical choices? It would be hard to choose wouldn't it? I took the pics of this treasure on top of our local grocery store's weekly ad. Yup, it is only one fold out page, and the store has only three aisles! Things have changed throughout the years and not always for the better. We live in an entirely different world today than when the house was built or when the solo cups came out and it will continue to become different at an ever increasing pace.
It is because of change that I write tonight. Everyone of us has a need to grasp that which is unchanging, unfailing, and continues to offer a source of comfort and peace in our fast paced world. Cheryl and I sat out by the 100+ year old wood burner tonight and looked up at the stars. Both of us had moments of prayer and praise for our Creator, God, who has brought us to this point in our lives. Never changing, ever present and always in the process of creation. He is the reason that even when times change life goes on. There are losses along the way. Motorcycles come and some remain, people die and new ones are born, and we are here. One of the most often asked questions is, "What am I here for?" Folks of all ages have posed that one to me, not just out here on the Great American Desert, but in major cities across our country. The answer is always the same. God has a purpose for each one of us. He loves us and is present in the heart of every believer. His Son, Jesus Christ, my personal Savior, came to earth to perform a miracle. He has paid the one price for all time for my sins and yours. He has opened up the gateway to eternal life and offers that path freely to all who believe.
Enough already with me campaigning for Christ. We've got enough of that political stuff going on right now in the media to last us all for at least another four years. I don't do political stuff here, but I do want everyone to know that my vote is for the McCain\Palin ticket in November. That election is 3 days prior to my 59th birthday and I fully intend to cast my ballot for the republican presidential candidate. I'm a registered democrat! My grandparents and great grandparents were democrats! I come from a fully democratic background and I believe the democrats have chosen to *&%$ over the American people with rhetoric that does not engender any of the principles on which the party was founded. Again, enough already.
God is at the forefront of the USA. People can try to take him out of the schools, out the the government buildings, and even out of many of the churches, but He is still present and working to accomplish His will for me, and for you. God bless you this night. So, do you want that 45? In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Everyone Needs To Relax

The photo reflects relaxation in various portions of our world. Now that we have officially moved in we have our "places" to be. The ducks have their same old pond and they are quite content with it wherever I put it. My wife loves her corner windows(we curtained them tonight with rods and everything)they are a replica of her office space at the old house. When we were going through the design phase of the addition I asked her what she enjoyed most(besides me & Snickers)in the home we were vacating. The corner spot where she had her personal computer set up and where she did hours of surfing while enjoying the TV and stereo system was number one on her list of hits. The new corner is great! The point of it is exactly Southwest. Angles have always been a little on the tough side for me. Let it suffice to say I was not very good at geometry. This time, though, I really, really tried to line things up with where the sun and moon are in the sky for the different times of year. The sunlight for the wintering of favorite plants. Moonlight for nights such as this. Windows to share them all on the inside of the house as well as the outside. I suppose that is because we live out on the Great American Desert and for a lot of months of the year we are not outside often. Excluding, of course, time spent "out in it" battling the elements and shoveling snow!
My personal best place for relaxing is in front of a fire. I love to watch the flames dance amidst the logs and listen to the crackle. I often do this in the dead of winter at 20 degrees below zero, and it works! That 100+ year old stove can throw heat like you would not believe. I also love the sky above me. We are now out away from city lights(if you can call where we moved from a city with only 18,437 folks)and the traffic on 6th street. Having been raised on a farm I have always wished to be back in the "sticks" where one can listen and not hear anything. Well, that is where I am now. You can look out those corner windows and there is nothing out there for a long, long ways. Suits me just fine! I have God to commune with and my faith to sustain me plus the opportunity to revel in creation! How much better can it get before I go home to be with my Lord?
Everyone needs to have a place that brings peace to their spirit. Wherever that place is I pray you find it often and enjoy your every moment there to the fullest. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Moving Days

We are down to the end of moving our stuff to the new home. One by one and sometimes eight at a time the boxes are getting emptied. Just a few days ago we passed another milestone. The number of boxes emptied is now greater than the number left to be emptied. We're wearing down at this point. Yesterdays load included the ducks for whom we have now erected a temporary enclosure. They were happy to come back with us. How does one tell if a duck is happy? When I cornered them and boxed them up for the journey(they are in the big boxes Cheryl is examining prior to loading in the back of the van)the mallard was not happy. I was wearing buffalo hide gloves so the hands were spared the uncomfortable feeling of being totally pecked. Usually when moving animals that are cantankerous we used a noose on a stick sort of like they use for snakes. Cheryl worries that it might harm their precious necks so I opted for a combination of noose on a stick and snatch fast. Once their wings are pinned and they are off the ground they become very complacent. Cheryl couldn't believe how quiet they were in the boxes. I didn't explain to her that fear causes that silence. It's like that with people as well. Take any one of us and put a box around us and close the lid we get very quiet. Maybe not right away like the ducks, but eventually silence will reign. Life has a way of boxing us in at times. We have nowhere to turn(or so it seems)and nobody to help us out of the darkness. That is precisely the moment when God has always provided the answers for me. Faith can bring us through the darkness and into the light if we are willing to be patient and make our needs known in prayer. God is faithful and just. He will not allow His children unnecessary suffering.
That trailer appears to be filled with junk of many descriptions. But it is our stuff and for us it is "good" junk. We are God's children! He does not create junk, it's always "good" stuff. The ducks, for the most part, trusted us. Now they are out in their swimming pool splashing about enjoying the new digs. Out here on the Great American Desert there are plenty of grasshoppers and crickets to enjoy plus the vitamin enriched food we provide. And lest I forget---the bread that falls from their heaven many times a week. The big treat for them is popcorn. They love it! So, as God has provided for us we have provided for the ducks, and Snickers, of course. He was happy to see his fowl friends. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tunnel's End Has Light

My last post here shared some of what I have been doing at the old house. This is the first time I have ever moved and taken most of the home with me. Last evening I moved the last of the interior materials into our garage. Yes, it took some time, and yes, I am weary today, but happy as well! The final pic above is of this mornings sunrise. I sent it out to friends far and near via the Email thing on this new computer. The caption read-"Ain't God Grand!" ALL of creation was celebrating this milestone with me, including my wife Cheryl who arose from her slumber at 4:37 to get ready for work(she had to be clocked in by 6am). We shared a few minutes at the table over a cup of coffee and discussed the next cycle in our seemingly never ending relocation. Next is the redwood fence(6 foot high & nearly 200 feet long) and the two ducks that it shields from the elements. I would truly like to eat them but they are my wife's pets and she will not allow it. Roast duck is sooo goood!!!
Then there is the barn that has to be moved(12 foot by 16 foot)and the accompanying potting shed. That plus the flower beds, rocks, bricks, fountain, and other landscaping details we have installed these past nine years in our 6th street location. Amazing how much "stuff" we accumulate. That shouldn't surprise me at all. I came from a "save everything" mother, who came from a "save everything" mother, who came from, etc, etc. I am getting better though. After four years of hanging on to my old IBM typewriter I finally threw it in the dumpster while cleaning out my office. The "Selectric" is history. It will be four years next month since I first began using a 'puter. Now all I can say is that they are fun,great working tools, and with my IBM keyboard I am right at home. Following our settling in process I may sit down at this keyboard and write another book. This time I will write one about performing on the "road" for 40 years. It has actually been a few more than that because the first summer out I was still in high school. It was a 9 piece Rock & Roll band that toured the midsection of the US doing one night stands. The gig only lasted 10 weeks but I did manage to glean some knowledge and get most of the wet out from behind my ears. It seems I could go on and on this morning, but there are other things that need to be taken care of. I pray God is very present in your life and that He is smiling on you as He has smiled on me this day. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Breaking Things Down

I suppose when most people move they do not take their house with them. That probably applies to everyone but me! I am a chronic "saver" of stuff. This move has got to be my last. God only knows what I've been thinking, but I have the salvage rights to the home we sold. After having lived there for nine years(and previously stayed there a lot after I bought it for the folks)I grew very fond of many parts. So, I've been in destruct mode for weeks. The old living room(3\4 inch tongue and groove oak paneling)is moving with us to become the walls of the new studio. The master bedroom is moving with us to become a guest room, and all of the other parts and pieces I can pull out within the next few days will become part and parcel of "The Project." The best part of the whole process happened the other day when Gordon(lead guitar)and I were attempting to salvage the 5' X 9' mirror that adorned the east wall of the living room. It was way heavier than either of us expected. I kicked a bucket out of the way, Gordon zigged, I zagged, and I only wish we had the foresight to have a recorder running! The crash was enormous. It was one of those once in a life time sounds that will never be forgotten. We looked at each other and for the first time since we've been together neither of us was laughing---at least not for a moment. What a relief not to have to find a place for that mirror in the new home. I will for sure cut a piece of it out and save it for future use, but the 45 square feet that really had nowhere to go are now gone. Whoosh!!! What a project! Mirrors are amazing in what they reflect. God also is amazing in the manner in which He reflects His love through us if we are obedient and let it shine. We have to get the project completed. It is already getting very close to freezing at night out here on the Great American Desert, and like the squirrels we have to get our house in order before it is 20 degrees below zero. I've been riding the HD Ultra back and forth to the old place as I tear out the guts of the house. That is a blessing! The early morning air and the crisp temps bring me fully alive. That plus the thunder of the pipes on the road make the day begin sweetly. I am worn and I am tired, but at this point I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps one day God will heal me of my "saving" affliction. As for now I am quite content to save what I can of the past as I prepare for the future, and that includes folks that are lost, also. Many prayers go out tonight for daughters struggling, and friends suffering. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's Been A Long Time

My last entry was July 3rd and I was in the process of an amazing amount of construction. That isn't over, yet! I took a break from the "Home Work" to attach a hitch to our Pontiac Transport Mini Van. I remembered a blog I did a while back while wrenching on the HD Ultra while I was down under the van. The work came out well and the hitch really, really works. LOL.....I do miss being out here on the net several times a week, but that will change. We are almost finished at the old house, except for moving the ducks and the barn. I still have salvage work to do(the plan now is to tear the whole house down in about ten days. I'm sort of glad of that. I bought the home for my folks, and then moved into it because renting just doesn't work well. That was nine years ago this fall. Now we have a virtual palace that has only to be completed. I am now the chief electrician, plumber, carpenter, and all round work person. That is why I saved a few hundred dollars by installing the hitch myself. What the hey, I have the tools and the hands for it. The best part of the whole process has been the umptine reminders of how much God has truly blessed my life.
We did take a few days off for the rally in Sturgis. That led to a booking for our musical talents at the dedication of the Avenue of Flags at the geographical center of America in BelFourche, SD. So we were out west for a short time, and then returned for several days culminating in a rousing performance on Sunday for a church that was sans pastor. That was also a reminder of just how much I enjoy sharing God's word and how good He has been in both of our lives. Moments in time-we all have them. Mine was watching Cheryl perform the National Anthem while I played the trumpet to one of our pre-recorded(I do that, too)backgrounds. Fun! that is what life is all about when it is lived according to God's plan and in accordance with His will. I know we aren't always exactly certain what that will is, but if left to my own devices I know without a doubt I would be lost. I pray that your summer has been a "good one" and that you are living with God's Grace ever in your midst. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Independence Day Approaches

My time has been being burned on the "project" as it has moved toward final phases. We signed the papers on the place Tuesday. It is now ours 100%(and the bank, of course). A fall taken in the basement hall has slowed my ability to keep working 10 hour days. The prayers of friends and family have sustained me in the midst of the healing process. I pray that part is about over. Deadlines were met. Inspections have come off better than expected. Even the electrical got a green stamp of approval. Still there is much to do and a year from now we should have it all completed. This is our moving month. I replaced my old(7 months)drivers license with a new one with our correct new address yesterday. I might not have to have done that right away, but it seems my wife, Cheryl, borrowed my license to validate purchases on my account at Lowe's and forgot where she put it! LOL!!! Anyway that was a well spent few hours yesterday during which I had the opportunity to peruse home magazines and found some wonderful ideas. I pray that your celebration of the 4th of July is a good one and that you and yours are all safe and happy on this holiday weekend. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tried, Tired, Tied!!!

>The thing is never the "thing" or so a pastor friend of mine has informed me. We are almost done with jumping through the financial hoops. It seems that there are a of licensed folks in the world that take exception to a country preacher doing his own wood work. I have been checked once a week to make sure that I meet "code" expectations. Duh.....I grew up playing with unfinished blocks of wood. If one piles them up and they fall down then you try again. Had I had the advisers I have now I probably would have been in group therapy since age three.

So, my exertions have now met the acceptance of the county, state and local officials. Whoosh!!! What a relief. Now I shall remit pics of what has been continuing to happen before I subscribed to an anxiety attack of enormous proportions. Yeah, "I KNOW IT AIN'T A POLE BARN AND IT IS WITHIN THE COUNTY'S JOURISDICTION!!!' Give me a break. I have busted my nether regions making this acceptable, and everyone has a problem. There will come a point in time when I may deign to assume persecution on a faith basis. Nonetheless I continue to persevere.
Many thanks for all the prayers offered on our behalf. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Time: Never Enough

Things we would like to do seem always to take more time than we would prefer. This past week I was too worn and weary to update my blog. The results of too many hours on a ladder and too much time invested making that which is old new again! Once again I am experiencing the fatigue that comes from hours setting walls in the addition to our 100 year old "victorian" home. God has been good to us, and the energy and stamina are holding true to form. Each day that I put behind me shows on the exterior person and the one that resides within. Muscles that have long been forgotten have ceased their daily screaming and acquired a new taste for life at the top of 14 foot ladders. Amazingly enough, the rest of me continues to adapt to the tasks and perform them without undue stress. My greatest pleasure now comes from the light that I know is at the end of this particular tunnel. Life is like that, as well, we look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Should you have any doubts, please know that my Savior, Christ the King, God's only Son, is the light at the end of the tunnel of life for each of us. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Long Days

I can't show you what is happening because I have not had time to take pictures. My right arm went down due to overexertion so the work goes on at a slower pace. Needless to say the expectations and visions I had concerning the old house continue to materialize. It is a wonder to me to walk in and see it coming together. Eldest grandson, Matthew, graduates this coming weekend so progress may be impeded by the deluge of relatives coming to celebrate with us. Many of them have offered to stat a few extra days to assist us in the work so I may have time for photos by Sunday. As always I give thanks to God for His ability to provide for us even when the body grows weak. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

This Is Spring?

We are so at work on the project home! Snickers does not want to stay home, but he is not really happy with the temperatures where we are working. My wife, Cheryl, picked up our electric space heater for the day due to the low temps where she is wall papering. Snickers was quite happy to sit in front of the heater and cuddle up in the blankets, his opinion is much the same as mine: It is "too" dang cool! We are moving forward with the project(although not as fast as my wife would like), really good work takes time and thought. I do both, but not as swiftly as she would prefer. Today is "Mother's Day" and there is a lot that goes with that thought. We all have one(OR HAD ONE)and they are very special for a variety of reasons. Mine was always supportive and loving, even though we had a combined penchant for bourbon after 2 am. Ma was the very best she could be! For all of the folks I have shared time with throughout the years please know that the love for "mom" never stops. We do what we do and then try to stay warm, like Snickers. Love is an everlasting emotion. Praise the Lord we have been given a Savior by the Grace of God that sees each of us in the light of forgiveness. A mother's love is unending. God's love is unceasing. If you are in need of either there is no quicker way to find that love than to open your heart and sit on your knees. They may hurt from the day's extensions, but the reward is worth the effort! In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Wonderful, Wintry Wedding

Thursday the 24th I rode the Ultra Classic over to Volga to work on the project. The sun was shining and our temperatures were in the 70s. Then came Friday with a vengeance! Winds howled as snow descended on the Great American Desert. I had a 6 pm wedding rehearsal scheduled but by that time of the day roads were becoming impassable. Late arrivals due to the weather held up our starting time for 45 minutes. It was a perfect day for four wheel drive. We got through the rehearsal by eight only to find that most of the roads were closed or in the process of being closed. North from here the interstate was off limits as were highways 12 & 212(probably all of them). Schools had closed early in the day so most folks were safe except for the ones in the ditches and stuck on the streets.
I took a couple pictures of Saturday. At our house the depth of the snow was between eight and 10 inches. The Harley was not buried, but a few more hours and it might have been. We persevered and the sun came out to begin the process of eradicating the snow. Temperatures bumped up over 45 for awhile, and the wedding party and guests all had a wonderful time discovering they could get out and about again. The wedding was at 7 pm last evening and I must admit it was a treat to look out the windows occasionally at the sunshine as I shared the reading of scripture and a brief message before Corey and Heather completed their vows. Sometimes being the "Preacher" has a real upside. The young lady pictured above is the daughter of the bride. She played a very special role in the ceremony. The picture was shot before the service began.
Whoosh! What a rush this weekend turned out to be and we still have all of Sunday to enjoy. It is now 3:26 am and I should probably close my eyes for awhile before the alarm goes off. I pray it is another sunny day here on the prairie.
In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Access Granted

Last evening I watched the sunset with regret. Body tired and aching I mounted my faithful Ultra Classic and rode the highway home from Volga. Tomorrow I would begin the process of building the stairway leading to the new basement from the kitchen, utility and bathroom area of the addition. My most challenging task to date. If I could have gotten just a few more hours of daylight I might have been closer to my goal of being able to walk down a flight of stairs instead of climbing down a ladder into what has now gained the nickname of the "pit."
The "pit" is ten feet deep, five feet wide and runs under the southern wall of our victorian home and down a fifteen foot hall to the new basement. Out here on the Great American Desert we are never quite certain what the storm clouds may bring us so I decided when we were pouring the concrete and laying block that the new home would have adequate protection for residents. Steel plate 1\2" thick caps the end of the stairwell, and the whole of the construction is geared to providing a comfortable area to sit out even the worst of storms(excluding another cataclysmic flood, of course)on the prairie. Each of the ten steps is 7 1\4" high and 11 1\2" deep by 5' wide. I know that sounds like a really wide stairway, but if we ever have need of being down there for a protracted period of time there should be plenty of room even if all of the bedrooms are in use. I tell folks jokingly that I wanted the stairway and hall wide enough to get the big HD under the house for wrenching in the winter. It also had to be built big enough to allow the passage of my theater organ, a vintage 1953, and accompanying speakers. I look forward in the next few weeks of setting up that organ and playing hymns to the house. I'm certain that there will be some blues and jazz not far behind as time allows. God has truly blessed Cheryl and I with a home we pray will be a blessing to others. A call came in on my cell phone just as I was preparing to leave to pick up more lumber 7 miles away. The call was from the lead guitar player(I have not had much opportunity to get together with anyone lately). He was in town getting lights repaired on the band trailer and wanted to know if there was anything he could do to help. I may not have gotten back to work today if it were not for his offer and the timely delivery of the needed supplies. When my number was dialed Gordon was only a few blocks from the lumber yard with the perfect means for conveying my 2 X 12s on his way home. There is a promise in the Bible which states that God is busy about the task of filling our every need before we are even aware of the need. Quite often I have been a recipient of this blessing and today was one more for the long list of unanticipated answers to prayers before they were uttered. Tonight I give thanks for all of my friends, and especially for my helpmate, Cheryl, who keeps a positive spin going on everything. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sound on Sound

Whoosh, what an array of speakers and amps! I can only imagine the massive sound they must produce. One of my "sound systems" is a 25 year old monitor setup that I built for doing outdoor concerts. It consists of a pair of Bose design(I borrowed cabinet dimensions from the 501 speakers)and put in 15 inch woofers(JBL), 12 inch midrange speakers by Gibson(they carry that sweet sound of screaming lead guitars quite nicely) and ribbon tweeters for all drum sounds that usually get lost in live performance unless you're sitting less than ten feet from the drummer. It's stereo running 600 watts per side. I don't think I ever missed a lick. When we finally get moved my "boom box" will be placed back in service for the office above the garage. It's more of a loft, but I'm looking forward to it becoming a haven for space and sound. We are continuing to work on the new home. Cheryl is painting bedrooms and I'm doing the little stuff. We were blessed this week by two of our friends. Terry loaned us a four wheel drive pickup, and Brian gave us a tandem axle trailer. Praise the Lord, what a combination. Today I loaded landscaping blocks, pressure treated timber, and an assortment of other materials and got everything onsite without a hitch. That is tongue in cheek, of course there was a hitch, on the trailer. The truck is a sweet 1994 GMC with lots of oomph under the hood. It has 94,000 miles on it but they don't seem to have hurt the beast other than the usual signs of wear. For some reason the person who originally purchased the truck got it without FM. The radio brings in AM just fine, but I do think it's a little weird to not have FM in the vehicle. I noticed that AM radio hasn't really changed much in the past 45 years or so.
God has truly blessed us in so many ways that I couldn't list them here without taking many pages of type. My body continues to argue about the work it is performing. Ah, the plague of pains. I keep telling myself that the more work I accomplish the better shape I will be in and the more I will be able to do. That works in theory, I pray it works in actuality. The day began at 4:45 AM, and by the time I returned home for the evening it was 8:30 PM. It was a productive day, although I could have used some help with the landscaping blocks. They are very pretty, and I got them for an excellent price, but it would be nice if they were made out of something lighter than concrete. Oh, well, I'll be getting in shape soon and my body will not complain. Bet me! Tonight I will once again sleep hard and fast. Perhaps we were created this way for a purpose. I'd still rather be playing music somewhere, anywhere, but for awhile I'll just be listening out here on the Great American Desert where God has planted us and we will be blooming.
That's another thing about the new place. It is quiet. I mean really quiet out in the country! I think I had forgotten that element of country living. I welcome the peace. I've got more time to focus on the projects, and more time to express my faith while working. All I am in need of now is more time, and more energy. Another prayer is in order. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend Winds

We didn't get the worst of the weekend blizzard. Only about 2.4 inches of the thick heavy flakes fell on our portion of the Great American Desert. Further north and west of our location folks had to contend with upwards of 16 inches. Then there is the story of the thirty inches that fell on the US\Canadian border country in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I was out driving between our old place and our new place in the midst of the 35-40 mile an hour winds and driving snow. The little car above did not stand a chance. On that section of highway 14 you have protection in the form of a winrow every mile or so. The thing is the winrow causes snow to build up on the highway and accumulate in sufficient enough quantities to cause a great deal of slippage. Then when you get to where the winrow no longer is blocking the wind it comes across the road full force. I assume that is what happened to this little blue car. I went around to check and make certain that there was nobody in it(that is just South Dakota courtesy when things are not good)and there wasn't anyone around so I headed home. How often do we see folks in trouble somewhere in our lives and never bother to give them a second thought? I can't say as I blame the ladies for not stopping to help someone, but when it comes to us guys making the difference between someone's well being and not so well being we need to make the effort. Maybe because we are a sparsely populated state(less than 3\4 of a million souls out here)that we tend to be a bit more likely to help even the stranger. Times have changed in America. We live in populated areas with more fear than I can imagine. Cheryl worries about locked doors and staying safe. I don't blame her for that, women are targets everywhere it seems. There is a part of me that truly feels sorry for those who must live in fear. And, if we think it isn't good here, we can always look to a country where just going to the market in the morning can get you killed by one of those fanatics without reason. Our world has changed so much in the past few thousand years, and yet one thing remains constant. God is with us today. He was with us yesterday. He will be with us tomorrow, also, if we are willing to open the door of our heart and invite Him in. Then we won't have to worry so much about the weekend winds, snow, sleet, and freezing rain because God will be there to answer our every prayer in accordance with His will. I love that part, His will, because no matter how much I would like things to be my way the only path that can bring me to my goal is through the One who created all of us. I pray you are staying out of the wind and that the snow is not too deep. Here we are watching the weekend's weather melt away rapidly. That's a good thing. Now if we can just get past the mud that accompanies spring(the mini van is covered in speckles from me almost getting stuck on site today)and the hurdle of monsoon season on the plains, life will improve. God bless, Preacher.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Steps In Life This Week

Several of my AA friends talk about their "steps." Since my last blog I've been very busy building steps for the project. First there was a need for a landing and one step from the stairs that go up to my new studio\office. My new space is enormous and it's right over the top of my new cave. Problem was that the garage as it sits on the new foundation is well over a foot higher than where it was on the slab upon which it was constructed. I now have the landing with storage space beneath for a host of jacks and tools. This is good! Then there was the old side door(the guys that bolted this end on the foundation must have been drinking, the whole side is off by several inches. One day I will have to reframe the door to make it fit properly, but for now it will have to do. Here again I ran into the height problem. Easy solution, another step! That's two of the step projects. The third was the steps down from what will become our formal dining room into the new kitchen. These were really fun to build! Did I mention they had to be built sturdy enough to support the weight of my grand piano, and the four fellows who will simultaneously pass through the arch carrying her into her new home in the parlor\sitting room\music room. We are ready for that phase of the move as of today.
Next I will be putting all of the original woodwork back in place. All the bits, parts and pieces of window and door moldings, mopboards, and various other woodwork was removed to facilitate the painting and refurb work. New windows all over the house. I had no idea how many there were until I opened them all up on a warm day two weeks ago. By the time I was knocking off for the day I realized there are a lot more than I suspected. It shouldn't have surprised me since I assisted in picking them out. Maybe it was just all the steps and stairs that seem to lead everywhere. One day I shall count them just to see how many there really are. It seems that no matter where I am headed in the house I am encountering stairs. That's good! I've never really had both feet on the ground except at stoplights and even then it is quite often only one. Today was a restful Sunday. I cleaned the site to prepare for the next set of transitions. Junk was hauled into proper piles and the sawdust, mud, dust and bits and pieces of construction were swept into piles awaiting the return of a garbage can. Cheryl got me a new broom and dust pan for the house. I know, life must be fairly boring when one gets excited about a broom and a dustpan. Quite the contrary, however, I believe we are entering into the most exciting adventure of our lives. God has truly blessed us with an opportunity to build and create. He has given us a vision and a way to work it. Now all I need is a lot more energy, but that will come in time. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Work In Progress

Snow began falling gently on the Great American Desert about noon today. That is when I began the process of converting the old dining room window that originally faced south into an entrance that will one day take a few steps down into our new kitchen. Time passed rather swiftly as I employed several saws, a variety of hammers and a cornucopia of chisels, pry bars, wrecking bars and assorted tools to demolish the area(with great care, of course)while preserving the integrity of the ancient(100 years)oak flooring and support timbers. Only one of the original studs had to be cut off, all of the rest that went was window framing. Time slipped by and by 5 pm I was seated in a chair almost to the front window that now faces the rising sun, taking a break and looking at the change. I suppose I have pictures of that window before it was removed from that same angle(I must have at least a thousand pics of this project so far)before the arch was cut in place. The thought was originally to match up the arch between the living room and dining room with the opening to the addition. I was absolutely amazed at the accuracy of the measurements I made for the cuts weeks ago, and the manner in which the lines came together on both sides to complete the opening. Just for your information, I'm not that great at this stuff, but my boss is. He has been giving carpenters directions on how to build stuff for thousands of years. Sometimes a bit of my faith perspective may come off as sounding "trite" but believe me it comes from a combination of heart and mind that believe and trust completely that what I am doing is according to God's plans and if I am ever uncertain He will tell me for sure that is not the way it works. Noah had many doubts, but no uncertainties that what he was doing had to be done. God's only Son was raised by a carpenter and then at the age of thirty went into ministry. His only lasted three years but it accomplished more than we can ever thank Him for, or His Father in heaven.
As the light began to fade I headed for home through what had now become a full blown blizzard. Visibility was down to about the length of a football field. I won't go on any further tonight. We are "under the gun" with storms coming through. Power is out at my daughter's house about 6 miles east, and eldest grandson is going to stay in town tonight with "grandpa & grandma." I'm sure he's excited about being here. For me it is a grin, we know for certain that he is safe and sound, well fed, and entertained(Cheryl just mentioned using the remote to order one of those pay for view movies. I wonder if she knows just what is available on this satellite thing?)for the evening. I'm also thankful for the progress of the work and the energy that I have been granted for doing it. Some of this stuff was way easier 20 years ago. In Christ's Love, Preacher.