Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is It Spring Yet?

We did the Christmas with the pretty snow. We tolerated January and most of February with sub-zero temperatures out here on the Great American Desert. Yesterday the ducks got to go swimming, and now the question remains, "Is This Spring?" No, it is not! We still need to experience mornings of snow mixed with winds of indeterminate velocity(I don't want to be out there long enough to set up a wind gauge)plus, mixes of rain and sleet. This is all in keeping with the season which is proving so far better than most. This year we have an event! Easter will(not in my lifetime)come so soon again! I don't worry about this too much since I know that the world has a different time table than it did 2,000 years ago. That's alright. Everyone in politics has messed with the calender in one way or another. This past year they changed the "daylight" savings time to better accommodate folks out on the road really early. Why don't we make it mandatory that the sun come up at a predesignated time and if it refuses to do so fine it for being late? This year Easter is going to come very soon. I look forward to the traditional celebrations of breakfast and worship(or is it the other way around? I was never really certain if this was a superimposed fund-raising event or a mandate of my Creator). This is the other time of the year when we get to meet(as clergy)folks we haven't seen for most of the year. Just try to remember 300 names of folks that you don't see but twice a year, I dare you! Anyway, the hint of spring is in the air, and for that I am verily thankful. It means that soon, and very soon, I shall be free once again to roam the highways and biways of our country on two wheels in search of the lost. I prayerfully submit that they are always out there. And who are they? Good that you might ponder. They are amongst the throngs that in our world today do not know Christ as their personal Savior, and His Father, my Lord God, of course! "Taste and see that the Lord is good!" In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today Was Just Ducky!

I could not resist sharing the first sign of the weather actually breaking here on the Great American Desert. The ducks were attempting spring baths in their water dish so I figured I should get the "tub" up and running. God bless, Preacher.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy Sunday!

This is a foggy overcast morning on the Great American Desert. Yesterday, on the other hand, was a perfect winter's day. The sun blazed through the great window which face south providing all of our plants with enough rays to continue growing and blooming. Snickers spent much of the day laying in the sun on his new "bed" a black and red ladybug that my wife could not resist at the local Walmart. We have only two grocery outlets in our fair city, the Walmart "superstore," and HyVee. When I first purchased this home in 1993 there were five grocery outlets and an independent meatmarket. Progress, I have heard, is good for the economy. There are times, though, when "progress" simply limits our choices. Personally I like a lot of choices. So does the little Chihuahua, Snickers, who has adopted Cheryl and I as his "people." Cheryl purchased the ladybug pillow after Valentine's Day for a pittance of what it had sold for a few days prior. Her logic extended to providing Snickers with another choice to make concerning where to veg out. He has a carrier which is employed for travel and home confinement when he gets too excited about guests. Then there is the fully insulated indoor house which looks a little like a small footstool, chair and couch pillows if they happen to be in the "right" place, our bed if the door is open, and that was about it until the ladybug arrived. It is so soft and cuddly that I really can't blame him for enjoying it when it is right there in the sun up off the floor which is invariably colder than the rest of the house this time of the year. But, I'm losing track of the thought I wanted to share. I don't do that much of the time these days! Yesterday Gordon and I had many choices, they all concerned the music that we were going to rehearse. One of the agents has decided that we need to "put something together" so he can have us performing on the road for the endless summer days that are awaiting us. I suppose we are going to have to make choices. Everyone has to make choices about their lives. I'm one of those folks who truly detests change. I know, it is inevitable, unavoidable, and that in the greater scheme of life I'll be able to look back and appreciate change for what it truly "excercise" in choices! Each of us has to do that with our faith, as well. Today, for instance,I could have chosen to sleep through the morning and avoid the dreariness of the outdoors, not to mention the damp(that word has a "p" in it)cold. But what about church? My mind yells through the fog my morning coffee will assist in clearing? During the season of lent maybe I should have sacrificed my presence in Sunday worship to make space for another person just waiting to take their seat in the congregation.
Choices! We all make them every day. Some are imposed by the world we live in, others by the circumstances surrounding our lives. Most importantly for enjoying this life we have been gifted with the choice of living in faithful response to our loving Creator. I pray this is verily a "Happy Sunday" for you! In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stairways - Fantasy versus Reality

We shot all of my grandson's graduation pictures in the house we are in the process of building\refurbishing. The stairway made an absolutely beautiful backdrop for the pictures, that and the pair of oak pillars that frame the colonade area leading to the "parlor." Everything is on hold at the present time awaiting the breaking of the sub zero temps. There are times when my patience wears thin and I feel as though I am climbing that stairway on top, one built on fantasy and dreams. Days like we have been having keep me close to my piano and the entertainment that surrounds this 'puter. My mind rambles along on projects that I can see moving forward. Most of those concern the choices that have to be made concerning wall and floor coverings for the addition to the victorian home we have chosen to become our new residence. It feels this past week as though I'm trying to dig a hole in the water and it is not frozen. That's when I have to lean on my faith and the gracious goodness of the loving God that I worship and pray to each day. The presence of the Holy Spirit infuses me with fresh resolve and patience that is well beyond me. When I think of it in these terms I can only say that the fantasy will become reality and the dream will come true. I don't, at this time, have any idea of the time line, I just know it will be. That is the best of feelings, knowing that everything is going to work out according to God's plan and in His time. So, I'm looking at all of the project files and pictures, drawings and dimensional stuff and all I can say is, "It is good!"
In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Our Nation, One Nation Under God!

I received an E-mail three days ago requesting that I participate in a movement to suppress the use of the new dollar coin because it does not have the words, "In God We Trust" emblazoned on it's surface. I'm still pondering that request. If track records prove anything at all it is that our government has never minted a dollar coin that has "caught on" with the general public. This one probably won't catch on either. Coin collectors, a group of folks that I enjoy rubbing elbows with from time to time, have informed me that the coin will not initially be worth more than a dollar, but in time, say 50 years it may increase in value. LOL....Like I'm going to be around to see that happen! I suppose if there was a political party that I might have whole heartedly aligned myself with it would have been the Silverites. They stood on a platform of hard coinage and "NO" paper money allowed. They wanted what was in your pocket to be worth something. That would be a good thing today, but not really feasible. I would, however be supportive of coinage that was in the $50 and $20 range just for the ease it would give me in my itinerant life style. Think about it.....You could pay for a tank of gas with something the size of our old silver dollar and get some change back. A couple of those coins and you would be ready for grocery shopping or, in the case of my adorable wife, a stop at Walmart. It wouldn't make a lot of difference what they made the coins from in terms of metallurgical content, but the transport of money from place to place would just be more fun. I'm certain that George Washington probably is not denigrated in any manner shape or form by the issuance of this new dollar without those famous words, but I don't really think he would approve either. Any way you cut it we are never going to be able to make everybody happy all of the time, so I think the rest of us should have fun. Maybe even a One Hundred Dollar coin for doing that dinner out with a couple of friends. That type of coinage might catch on and we'd even see a decline in the number of folks using credit cards. Think about it....remember pitching pennies, and how about those friendly neighborhood poker games where it's table stakes and one has the coins to place on the table. We have casinos issuing their own coinage all over America and there are now collectors that have betting materials dating back well over 150 years. That's only a handful that I know personally, but "coin of the realm" has always been very important to people dating back well before our "modern" times. Anyway, I'm looking forward to picking up a few of these new dollars to put in the box with some of my old ones. I wonder if the old ones will be surprised to see that God has been removed in the pursuit of political correctness? In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


You Can Never Build Yourself Up By Tearing Someone Else Down!



Since I was a very young boy I remember the times when "politics" would become the most important topic discussed at the table, in the barn, at the billiard parlor, and all around the card tables in our little town(second class city for sure)out here on the Great American Desert. There is only one thing that I learned growing up in the midst of democrats and republicans. When it comes to people we all can be very abrasive. Here it comes, my big thought, "You can never build yourself up by tearing someone else down." In Christ's Love, Preacher.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Kickin' Back

This has been one of those totally frozen days out here on the Great American Desert! It never ceases to amaze me how one day(yesterday)the temps can be around 30 for the daytime hours, and the next we drop forty degrees down to, "I'll bite you if you go outside." That is what we contended with today. Every few hours I take Snickers(as seen in the above photos taken this evening)out for what has become a very short walk. He runs out the door, finds his spot and does his business, NO lolly gagging. Do people still use that particular phraseology? I have no clue where it came from, but it aptly describes the opposite of what Snickers does when the weather is nice. My wife, Cheryl, has been a bit under the weather today so she's taking some of her sick time which she never does. She told me tonight that in the past few years she has accumulated 1,000 hours of unused sick leave. To me that sounds like a vacation just waiting to happen. Somewhere really warm and balmy with the Ultra Classic on a trailer behind us all the way to southern Texas. We're only 1,200 miles from Dallas, and it has got to be a lot nicer there than here. None of this has anything to do with what I stopped in to blog about, though.
I wanted to mention comfort zones, and the one that Snickers found on the coffee table. He is not supposed to be on tables, but tonight was an exception. I'm the one responsible for that comfy pillow being on the table. I slipped out of my jeans after the last outing and curled up in the chair to put my feet up. Then I got busy playing the piano and the next thing I knew Snickers had commandeered my cushy place. The same thing goes on in the greater world, too. We have our eye on the perfect parking place and someone gets there before us. I rarely get my favorite place at the restaurant, but that's because it happens to be everyone's favorite place to be this time of the year, right in front of the fireplace. Sometimes things just aren't the way we would like them to be, but that's okay, if we have learned to be happy for others instead of grumbling. How many folks do you know that always seem to be a little bit happy concerning the misfortune of others? I know far too many, and I try from time to time to share my happiness over others blessings. We live in a world where the media covers so much of the bad stuff that is going on that I think some of it rubs off on people and they dwell in the same pit of bitterness that seems to pervade our planet. So, enough already! How about we all look for the little uplifting things that are going on around us all of the time? Even if someone takes our cushy pillow. God bless, Preacher.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ironies Of Love

This Dairy Queen ice cream cake didn't stand a chance once it arrived home from the drive through! I had hoped to get back to my blog much sooner than this, but circumstances have prevailed concerning love stuff. At the present time we have a young lady sleeping on our couch that is going through her second divorce. In the midst of yesterday we sat down with a couple for an hour and a half to do the first of what will amount to several get-togethers prior to their wedding on April 26. This is the beginning of "wedding fever" season. For some reason it always begins right after Valentine's Day. There are folks who plan these things well ahead of the appointed time and then there are the ones who just get that inescapable urge and it must be satisfied. I suppose my take on this would have to lean very hard on the circumstances surrounding the union. If a couple has been together for a number of years and they share several children which they, as a couple, produced, it is a good thing to consider getting all of the last names in the house to match. I know that may sound a bit "old fashioned" in light of the era we live in, but it is true out here on the Great American Desert that kids have a much easier time in the public school system if they have a family unit that is dependable as the day is long. All too often we deal with the difficulties a single mom or dad have raising children those 12 years of education. Children and young adults can be extremely cruel. Anything that is "different" about folks we seem to have the propensity in our early years to point out with hurtful indifference. Perhaps there might be an explanation in there that could explain(not rationalize)the episodes of peer killings we have seen this past decade. Violence has become the means to an end that may have started with the earliest of experiences on playgrounds.
One of my eldest daughters(the "twins" is what we started out referring to them as)used to state unequivocally that she wanted most of all to be "Different", like everybody else. I thought it funny at the time because the kids were wearing colors that made me gag, not to mention mismatched socks were the "in" thing. There is a point in there. The values of my generation have been thrown, for the most part, out the window, but the cultural mores are the same when it comes to "peer groups." I'm watching this first hand with grands, now. They want to dress the way everyone else does so that they do not stand out. They often choose to be a part of some activity not because it is what they want, but because it is the place to be, thing to do, way to act, etc. When we had the second set of twins(boy & girl)23 years ago we stopped referring to the older set as the "twins" and never did put that one back into the family vocabulary. Each one of them is as different as the day is long, and I'm thankful for that. PKs have always had a tough time growing up. Mine were no different, but they all made it and so did I. The question is, What is happening with people that causes them to go off on their peer group and slay them in bunches? I'm certain there are many in the fields of psychiatry and sociology attempting to figure this one out every day. Is there an answer? Personally I believe it all has to do with the "love factor." Somewhere along the line these folks didn't connect with love the same way most of us do. I think that is another reason why we so desperately need God in each of our lives. That one that will love us without reservation. That one who will always be there for us. That ONE Creator with so much love for humankind that He gave His only begotten Son so that each of us might walk in the light and delight in creation. Love, it's not a simple thing. God bless, Preacher.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Rest Of The Tale Of A Broken Car

The auto repair and towing bill amounted to nearly $300, but that included two new tires and four new lugnuts. LOL.....Some days we can't win! Yesterday was not one of those days, though. I took a bit of time to wander through the aisles of the floral\antique shop\boutique that is right across the street from my present home. I haven't been there in awhile, and I took the pictures you see above in the shop. Since I had plenty of time to spare(that's a tire joke)I shot pics of stuff in the store and wandered aimlessly about the place. During my meanderings I came across a dear friend helping out at the shop by taking phone orders for flowers. What a surprise! I suppose I've known the owners for at least 9 years(since we moved to this locale)and never knew that we shared some of the same friends. In some ways it is a very small world and in others, not so small. It always amazes me at how God works at providing the right inspiration at the exact time that it is needed.
This Valentine's Day was spent getting the car back home, and playing the grand. The time with the piano was needed. That is one of the top ten relaxing times I can have. Then there was the pleasure of cooking for my honey. Roast chicken, mashed potatos, steamed carrots, and mushroom stuffing(I made hers without the mushrooms). Desert was comprised of a heart-shaped ice cream cake that Cheryl picked up on the way home from work last night. We sipped tea and ate(after praying, of course)and ended up dining together for at least an hour. That is a good thing! It's wonderful to spend time with my honey, play the piano for her, and sing, of course. God has blessed me with so much that most of the sting is taken out of the financial bite of vehicle problems.
I guess one has to expect that sort of thing as the cars get older. The newest in our little fleet is a 1995, but everyone of them does what it is supposed to do. There again I can only say that God has continued to bless us, at times in spite of ourselves. Tonight there are many folks in need of prayer, maybe you know some, as well. Our spiritual muscles, just like our physical and mental muscles need to be excercised regularly. Take note, we, like God are comprised of three main parts.
In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Day Off

Everyone needs a little time off from time to time. Today was one of those weird, unscheduled breaks from life's pertinent tasks. Until 9:30 in the morning I thought my only really important things to do were getting to the courthouse by 11:00 to be there as moral support for my daughter(there are times we all make poor choices, this one was hers)and getting my wife's valentine present + a card(she really likes those even when I create them on the 'puter). To make a really long story short Cheryl had a call at work that the time was wrong and that her presence in court was required as well as mine. I got the call from her at 9:30 letting me know that I had to be ready to walk out the door in ten minutes. That meant no shower or shave, but what the hey, I can go anywhere looking just like I do now and people can think what they wish, I am the same person no matter how I look on the outside. We made the appointment with a minute to spare and the next hour was blissfully spent trying to understand the legal jargon employed in courthouses all over our nation. My wife had to get back to work(she could only take one hour of vacation time for this emergency without providing a full explanation. Company policies, ya know)so I remained in the courtroom with the expectation that our daughter could drop me off back at the house and I could get on with my day.
Ha, ha, was I in for a surprise. I arrived home, jumped in my trusted 1989 Oldsmobile Toronado only to pull onto the street and realize the right front tire was flat. No problem, or so I thought. I got the mini tire out and the jack and lug wrench last used in 1998. One of the lug nuts on each wheel is a locking unit so I got out the little jobberdo that takes care of that. Four lug nuts later I placed the lock piece on the final nut and lo and behold the thing broke. Mechanic told me later that this was probably due to the freezing temperatures. But at that moment I sat next to the wheel and prayed for patience and an idea that would get me out of the neighbors driveway before someone needed it. I gingerly backed the car back to my driveway and parked it facing the street(forgot the jack was under there and had to walk back for that)and then came in the house poured a not so hot cup of coffee and prayed about what my next course of action should be. After a host of telephone calls I lined up someone to take the car to a place where folks know how to handle these situations for a sum of money as yet to be determined. The first truck the rescuer brought could not move the car because of the flat, so he had to go back and get a big car hauler flatbed thing that can lift the whole vehicle. He was not very happy about the situation and all I could do by then was laugh and wonder what it was God was attempting to communicate to me. My experience has led me to believe that there is always a lesson to be learned. This incident was no exception, and tomorrow I shall share that portion of this story. Needless to say, the best part of the day was spent in prayer, and worst part of it was spent wondering...Why me Lord? Tomorrow will be better and our world will celebrate a day of love. Perhaps we need one of these days like Valentine's Day every month. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Geez It's Cold!!!

Saturday morning arrived with a "Norwester" close on it's heels. Winds picked up speed across the flat plain creating windchills that now have us at minus 40 degrees.
I've put together a "leanto" for the ducks and placed their water dish out of the wind. It's anyone's guess if they will take advantage of the shelter, personally I don't think they have the sense God gave a goose! I will try to encourage them to use the shelter with bribes of food, but I'm still uncertain as to whether or not they will take the hint.
As for our new shelter, work has concluded for this week with the completion of the siding and the final pouring of concrete. The interior will take shape this coming week when we set the interior walls and begin the process of wiring the whole place. Now, if I had the sense God gave a goose I would tuck my tail in and stay our of the weather until this cold spell ceases. Unfortunately I too have a lack of sense so very soon I will be venturing out on the roads(severe weather report has it that open areas are experiencing a lack of visibility due to blowing snow-winds hitting 35 mph)to do the business of the day. It's getting to the point where I want to set up an on site office and a cot where I can sack out on an "as needed" basis. I could have one of my 'puters out there and a comfy little area to work from until the move is completed in June or July. We have to be done by then because the Sturgis Reunion\Blackhills Motorcycle Rally takes place the first full week of August. Not that we are at a loss for souls to save around here, it's just that we have better odds 400 miles east during the rally. Close to a million people will pass through the event and only about(this is just an estimate based on 19 years of experience)15% are truly saved individuals. That is always an exciting time! I give thanks to God that we have this project under way. This old bed & breakfast will become a stopping place for Christian Musicians and Evangelists from all across the USA. That is the dream that Cheryl and I are entertaining. A beautiful dream it is!
One of our bits and pieces of dream has to do with that huge front porch and turning said porch into a fully functional bandstand from which to share our gifts and graces in music, song, and witness. I can see it now with brothers and sisters from all over coming together to share their faith with anyone wishing to listen. Ah, well, that is a ways off as yet. We must never lose faith in our dreams no matter how much cold water is thrown in their direction by others. That's why we refer to it as faith! When I think about it I guess I can think of no more powerful force anywhere than that simple single syllable word, "Faith." In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away From Us?

It seems to me that time is moving much faster than it usually does. I know for certain it is not because of the shortness of our daytime hours, it is the result of an all-consuming desire to complete the project. I wandered far astray in the process, but seem to be back on track the past ten days. Praise the Lord! It is good to be getting back to some semblance of order and regularity. I'm certain that as the days continue to lengthen I'll be doing better at every turn. It doesn't help to get rejection slips. I should look at those as one step closer to an acceptance. Now that is a truly positive attitude which I am often guilty of not maintaining.
Relating this to faith in our lives I would be of the opinion that these feelings are not unlike those everyone has from time to time. We are the hardest on ourselves, and we become our own worst enemy. There have been days when I have thought that this must be one of those times of testing such as I have encountered in the Bible. I do not discount that it could be, but I think It's more a matter of me learning how to cope with my mental meanderings. I have discovered that with the help of this 'puter I tap messages out on and store music, pictures, etc. on, that there were the right tools for the drawing and layout difficulties I've experienced with the construction.
I really enjoyed putting together the interior wall plan with all of the templates and itty bitty appliances and cabinets, not to mention the chairs and tables. What a hoot! This was an entire world I never dreamed existed. God never presents us with a question for which the answer is not discernible. In Christ's Love, Preacher.