Monday, December 22, 2008

Now the Birth of Jesus Was On This Wise

Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus, filled with less than perfect men and women, less than stellar kings. So filled with such imperfect specimens is this listing that the Holy Spirit then says: “Now the birth of Jesus was like this.” Or “On the contrary the birth of Jesus was like this.”

His birth was so very stellar and other-worldly compared to his lineage that there is no comparison at all.

The “players” in the drama are
Mary & Joseph
Zacharias and Elizabeth
The shepherds
The wise men
King Herod
Anna of Asher
Simeon of Judah
and the inn-keeper

Each had their mundane lives to live:
Mary & Joseph lived in a backwater town.
Zacharias and Elizabeth were at retirement age, having spent their whole lives in a non-
eventful and thankless job, and were childless
The shepherds were caught up in a monotonous and lonely routine.
The wise men – a few of many scholars – were wise by knowledge, but they had no real experience. They were insulated by their books.
King Herod was caught between Rome and the Jews. Not a real king, he was distrustful of everyone, and distrusted by everyone.
Anna & Simeon had spent a lifetime of waiting with only a thread of hope.
The inn-keeper was a little known businessman in a village whose only sense of importance was the claim to the birthplace of King David.

In a two-year period, each had an interesting encounter with God.
Zacharias stumbled into God’s presence.
Elizabeth and God used the same body.
The shepherds and God attended the same angelic concert.
The inn-keeper and God used the same stable to for their lambs.
The wise men and God were interested in the same star.
King Herod and God had designs on the same throne.
Anna and God inhabited the same temple waiting to give thanks and receive thanks.
Simeon and God anticipated the same Salvation for Israel.
Joseph and God had an eye for the same woman – and met in a dream to work it all out.
And Mary’s and God’s “fullness of time” occurred at the same time and in the same place.

And yet, each would have lived a life that was unknown and not-long-remembered by more than one or two others…except…
for the unseen,
cataclysmic events that were occurring

And what of your “mundane” life? And what of the worldly events happening all around you without your control? Could it be that God is doing something
and simultaneous with you?

Could I encourage you today to be an Anna or a Simeon? Could you commit yourself to waiting on God? staying in His presence? not giving up with the passing of time?

Could I encourage you to be a Mary and allow God to do impossible things with you? Could you be a Joseph and allow God to change the course of your life and future history?

Like Zacharias and Elizabeth, would you start life again at what the world considers the end and produce a greater blessing for God – and the world?

Like the shepherds, would you release your hands from this world’s busyness to bow before God in adoration?

Or like the wise men, would you allow God to re-chart your life and send you to unknown places to supply needed gifts for the King?

Today, no one thinks of these first century AD lives as mundane. Instead we wish we had been there. We dream of what it would be like to be one of them. We give God praise that each of them allowed God to invade their mundane-ness.

And we take hope and are encouraged that God is also using us in a very significant way. And He is!

“He that began a good work in you will continue it until the day of Christ.”

Have a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Eagles and Them What Watch

After breakfast this morning, we (Judy, my mother and me) decided to go see the eagles down on the river. At work the day before, one of the men showed me where to look for eagles there on the property (I work at the Port of Muskogee on the Arkansas River). So I brought my family there to see the eagles. We saw about 6 eagles, fairly up close, and were given quite a show of flying and swooping and touching the water, etc. (We need a camera with a greater zoom -- someday.) Here are a couple of pictures of the eagles at the Port. Remember, you can click on the picture to enlarge it.

There are two birds perched in the tree in the above picture, and one is flying in for a landing on the left side of the tree.

We had such a good time watching these birds, we pushed on over to Ft. Gibson lake, just below the dam. Though the birds were not as close, the scenery was fabulous and the weather was better than perfect. We saw 20 or so eagles, they just were not as close to us as the ones at the Port. Here I am breaking off some mistletoe to decorate in our house. I was determined to get some, and with the help of a fallen limb, I was able to break it off and work my way down the river bank to get it off the ground.

We found a road that went way up on the side of the mountain, and found a trail that worked out to a huge flat cliff that overlooked the dam, the lake, and the Neosho river if we turned the opposite way from the dam. We stood very high above the highway below us, actually almost hanging out over the road. The view was phenomenal! We saw many eagles making their way up and down the river, and many groups of geese making their way down the river.

This picture looks down the river below the dam. Wish all of you could go there and see the view first-hand. It just takes your breath away.

Just another pic of the dam and lake beyond without anyone in the way.

My mother was going to stay in the car, but the path was fairly negotiable, so I went back and encouraged her to come look. The path was level and only about the length from our driveway to our front porch (not much walking). Here in this picture the path turns downward, so I felt she shouldn't go any further. She was so glad I encouraged her to come. She could see the river, the dam, the lake and everything just as well as if she had made it down to the flat cliff rock (only another 20 feet). At 85 she is quite a trooper. The Parkinson's medicine works so very well, she is back to her old self. What a joy she is, too.

Last, but not least, the one who made the trip so enjoyable. This girl loves the outdoors and hiking and viewing and sightseeing, etc. And it is very nice hearing all the oohs and aahs she gives out. This spot has become one of our favorite places to visit.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Christmas Lights Are On!

The Christmas lights are on for 2008. This year I put the lights on the roof in early November when the weather was warm (why wait till it gets cold to get up on the ladder). But I waited until the night after Thanksgiving to turn them on. This year we did things a little differently. First of all, I put all the lights up myself. The last 2 years I lost my nerve on the high part and Judy had to do them, but this year I went right up and snapped the lights to the roof. Yea!

For the two Christmases we have been in Muskogee, Judy has not been able to find her Mary and Joseph picture that always graces our front porch. She was sure, sure, sure that we left it in Tulsa. (Years ago, I cut out of wood the shape of Mary and Joseph, and Judy painted it.) I was sure it was "in the garage some place", but was still to be uncovered. Sure enough, we found it this summer. So on the porch it is! Everything is on timers, both outside, and the tree on the inside. All we have to do is enjoy! Everything comes on at 5:30pm and goes off at 11:30pm. What fun! Enjoy the pictures. You can click on them to make them full screen. And have a very merry Christmas!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Olivia

Today is my oldest granddaughter's birthday. She is 5 years old. Now, many grandparents have experienced this event with a granddaughter. However, Olivia's birthday is special to us because she almost didn't have one. She was born premature at 27 weeks, 1 pound and 7 ounces. Well, she made it in great health and strength to her 5th brithday. She is beautiful and brilliant. She lights up our lives and we are blessed to have her. What a joy she is!

Happy birthday, dear Olivia Grace!!

Your devoted and totally enslaved Papa.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Wow! It has been almost a month since I blogged. But I have a good reason. Not only have I taken a church to pastor in Tahlequah (30 miles away), but I have taken a full-time job at V&M Pipe at the port in Muskogee. I am doing data work, it is enjoyable. But last week, my first week, I was way more than exhausted. On top of that we had a guest from South Africa here. So in the evenings, I had to prepare for Wednesday night church and Sunday services, and do things with our SA guest - including taking a fast trip to Tulsa to have dinner with friends of ours there. This week has been much lighter in that I can control my evenings a little more.

Oh! And did I saythat my in-laws passed through town Sunday evening. They got here in time to go to church with us in Tahlequah. We then stayed up late, and I went in to work 1.5 hours late (with permission). So this week I worked 3 days at 8.5 hours to make up the lost time. Of course, I was very pleased to have Dad and Pat drop by. It is always a pleasure to have them. They are the best people ever!

Judy has taken over a lot of my household duties. I am really sorry about that. She even baked a loaf of bread today. She is a great helpmeet.

Friday, October 03, 2008

This is interesting!

My daughter, Kari, asked her daughters (3 & 4 years old) some questions and recorded the answers. I thought this might be a good thing to do with your children or grandchildren. Here is her site, with the questions and answers for both daughters. Enjoy, and tell me what you think. Also, if you ask your children/grandchildren these questions, let me know the answers, please.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Morning jog

Although the picture is a little dark, here we are on our morning walk together. We go about 7:30 am each day, and you can see that the day is still a little dim. Just around the corner we took the last picture, and already the day is much brighter.

We enjoy our walk. It is our time to talk, to encourage one another with scripture, to plan the day (maybe even the week), and especially to see the beauty the Lord has put before us. Judy is my best friend and so much fun to walk with. Her stride is shorter, and slower, so I am always stopping to let her catch up. Of course, stopping to pick up pretty leaves, etc., doesn't help her stride any at all. But it is what makes her so intriguing to be with.

We pass two beautiful ponds, beautiful houses, beautiful trees, and many nice people also out walking. Before long we will have to bundle up, or give up our walk until early spring. There is the mall, but it just isn't the same.

And here is some eye candy for you. It is one of two beautiful ponds we pass, just down the block from our house. Enjoy.

Friday, September 19, 2008


This picture, taken in July, is so out-of-date for Brent. He turned 1 year old on September 9th. He is walking now. But he is still happy as can be, easy going, tender, etc. He is the love of his mom and dad's life, along with their beautiful Caitlyn. Can you tell by the picture that his Mimi adores him and is so happy with him? Me, too!

In a very stressful and terrible time of my life, Brent was born. Shortly after his birth everything in my life blew up, and the pain and experience were excruciating. But just before the blow up, Brent came. So when I think of that time, I think of Brent; so happy, so charming, so warm and accepting. God always knows how to counterbalance and overcome the terrible things of life. This year, just before the first year anniversary of the most unthinkable period of my life ever, Brent turned one. So instead of the grief, I can rejoice in the goodness of God in the land of the living. He gave me this absolutely adorable grandson.

Happy birth month, Brent!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stephie's birthday

Today is our younger daughter's birthday (I won't say how old). Stephanie entered the world in charge of life. From day one, it seems, she knew what she wanted and she went after it. Stymied along the way sometimes, she never was stopped. She just found another route. Sometimes at odds with us, sometimes at odds with God, sometimes at odds with herself. But finally at peace with life and God and us and herself. She always said she would have a handsome, strong husband, two children (a boy and a girl), a two-story house and a dog. She has all of that. I knew she would, just didn't know how soon it would all come to pass. But it came sooner than later, and now she has the time to enjoy it for many years. The family is involved in church and in life in general. God is blessing them abundantly, and they are sure to acknowledge His hand on their lives. I am thankful for that.

After she grew up and moved away, she would often call me and ask my advice about some decision she was facing. I would always answer, "Well, Stephanie, just pray about it. God will show you what to do." (She would and He always did.) But she said to me on one occasion, "You make me so mad. When I was growing up, I didn't want your advice and you gave it to me. Now I want your advice and you won't give it to me." But my greatest advice to her (and anyone) is to pray about it. God is always faithful to work it all out just right.

Here is a collage that her mother, Judy, made for her today. (Click on the picture for a bigger view.) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEPHANIE. My favorite red-headed daughter.

Monday, September 15, 2008

First Fire

Tonight was a special night. In July my girls bought me a fire pit for my birthday. I have been waiting for the first cool night to come along so I could use it. Today began with a 55-degree temp at 6:30 am., and although we had a beautiful, sunny day, the evening came in a little cool. Judy made BLT sandwiches for supper, and we ate out on the patio. So I made a first fire in the pit, and after supper we moved our chairs around and enjoyed the fire till it went out. It was a small fire because I wanted to season the fire pit, and we didn't want to spend too much time outside. But here are pictures of the event.

Another bonus of these pictures is the view of my mother. She has recovered so well from the effects of Parkinson's. Although she is taking medicine to control it, she had gotten down so weak, malnourished and dehydrated before they found the cause. She could hardly walk, wasn't able to get up by herself, and couldn't even turn over in bed. She is now eating well, walking well (with a cane for safety), even going up and down stairs without assistance. So nice! (Click on the picture and you will see a great smile on her face.) We are enjoying her living with us, and God is so gracious in providing everything we need for her care.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Busy Week Ahead

This is going to be a busy week for us. My mother is moving in with us. At 85, she is a life-time Texan who has never inteded to live anywhere else, especially not Oklahoma. But here she comes. Judy has been busy for weeks "re-arranging" the house to get ready for the move-in. I will be going down to Dallas with my daughter Kari to close my mother's apartment and move her belongings. Mother will be released from the hospital/rehab center the day before she flies up here.

I think that once the whirlwind is over and the move-in settles down we will be happy and life will go smoothly. Others may be dubious, but I choose to be positive.

Judy is my hero in all of this. This is my mother, not hers. Of course, I would be happy to have her with me. She has nurtured me from birth. But Judy has really led the charge on this one. She saw the real need for the move, and has been working overtime (literally night an day) to get the house ready and the move done. On top of all of that, Judy has created (again) the most beautiful garden in the front yard and has totally re-landscaped the back yard. She has relocated plants and bushes and trees, dug up horrendous river cane by the roots (ugh!) and re-fashioned the flower beds. My hat is permanently off to Judy; my life, my love, my strength, my encourager, and my pusher.

Oh, and did I say that she strongly and regularly supports me in our ministry with Victory Ground Ministries: designing and printing business cards, editing my new book, and singing and sharing in the preaching.

She has managed all this work by giving up sleeping and eating. (Not really.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ham, Cinnamon and Letters

It has been a fun summer, and I have had opportunity to try new things (for me) on my grill. We have purchased, at various times, brisket, pork roast, and hams. In order to keep the heat out of the kitchen, and to play with my grill, I have cooked these items on the grill. It has been a lot of fun, and a nice diversion from the norm. The outcome is unbelieveable. I cooked them on indirect heat, like an oven, and put some hickory chips in the fire for smoking, plus a special dry rub on the brisket and pork roast, and a "mop" (liquid) on the hams (cooked 2 10# hams - different times). Here I am cooking the second ham.

Back in July, we got to keep Jeff and Stephie's children overnight while they attended a high school reunion in Tulsa. Of course, it was absolutely heavenly. They are the sweetest kids. Brent, about 10 months, was all smiles and fun. Caitlyn wanted to "whing" all the time. She does love that. So does Brent. But the thing I keep remembering is the breakfast I cooked on Saturday morning. I made cinnamon toast to go with the meal. We ate outside, and Caitlyn (3 yrs old) ate very well, but wouldn't touch the toast (guess it looked bad to her). So I said, "Caitlyn, take one bite with me (holding mine up to my mouth)." She did, and before I knew it, she had scarffed the entire piece of toast down. I wished I could have captured the moment on film. It is a great memory.

This is a picture of the letter that Ava sent to me (Kari's youngest, 3 yrs old). She saw a program on the kids channel about sending letters, and she was all about sending a letter to Papa and Mimi. So Kari obliged. Ava "wrote" a letter, they put it in an envelope with a stamp and drove to the post office to mail it. When she got home, she had to call me and say that she had mailed me a letter. It came yesterday, so now I need to write her back.
This Papa stuff (granddad) is pretty cool, and just gets better.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Grandchildren are wonderful!

We have 4 lovely grandchildren to play with, and one to love at a far, far distance. Here is a cute story about one of them, Olivia, who is 4 years old. Kari's blog.

And one about Ava:
This morning I got a call from Kari. She announced they had had an accident. While helping her mother unload the dishwasher (a task she dearly loves), Ava accidentally put too much weight on the top tray, and it broke. Kari asked how to go about getting parts to fix it. I started to tell her what I would do, then realized that she didn't have time to do all that running and fixing when her girls needed her. So I said, "Jim makes good money, call a repairman." She did.

She put Ava on the phone to say hello. She is always so bright and happy when she says, "Hi, Papa!" Today, she sounded quiet and demure. "Hi, Papa!" "Hi, Ava. Did you have an accident." "Un-huh. I broke the dishwasher." (and she broke my heart) Kari said Ava knew she was in trouble. So I encouraged her not to punish Ava when she was so happy to help, but teach her not to put all her weight on the dishwasher.

I am sure I will soon have a cute story about Caitlyn to share with you. Brent...well he is till crawling and saying nothing - the silent type.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I can't believe it!

It has been over a week since I have blogged. I do pretty well for a while, then it is out to pasture. Ugh! I don't have any cute sayings to report (I think), and I don't have any pictures to show (I'm sure). It has been a busy time. My mother came to visit for a couple of weeks. And she returned home on Tuesday.

Good news. My mother is coming to live with us at the end of August. This is very needed and we are glad that she has been able to make the decision to come here. It was a tough one, I am sure. I can't imagine giving up my home and living with someone else. But this way, she can have a better life for longer.

On a sadder note. This is the last day of July - my birth month. I will have to wait until next July which is 11 months away! Oh well, this has been a good one. I have had special visitors and special gifts and special days and special meals and special phone calls and special emails. It is much better to celebrate the whole month than just one day. AND I do have one more gift coming to me - from my dear wife. It should arrive any day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Still my bithday month!

I am still enjoying my birthday month, and am still getting presents. For those of you who celebrate only one day for your birthday, you are missing something great. That may be another post.

Last Saturday, my Texas kids were here for a short visit. Stephanie presented me with a birthday gift from Kari, Jim, Stephanie and Jeff. It was a gift card to Lowes. (and a nice sized one at that). So on Monday, Judy and I went buying. We spent it all but $3. We'll get that done later. Here is what we bought in pictures. First, 3 chairs and a table for the front porch. Now we can sit on the front side of our house and watch the world go by. We eventually want wicker chairs, but this is a nice gift, and we have already enjoyed them tremendously.

Then, the piece we have wanted for a long time - a fire pit for our patio. This allows us to enjoy the backyard further into the fall and earlier in the spring. We are eager to use it, although now is not the time for a fire. While putting it together, the base/fire pan lay out on the patio. In just a short time I reached to get it and join it to the frame per instructions. I almost burned my hands when I grabbed hold of it (it is all cast iron). So no need for a fire just yet. The thermometer registers just a tad over 100 at this time - that is enough. But come cooler weather...

nd here is another view (for my kids to see). It has screened doors that open on two sides to tend the fire. It is 25" across (on both sides) and 30" tall. We were looking for a round pit, which Lowes was out of at the moment. Then we saw this one (the one Stephanie liked, or Kari) and we fell in love with it. Thanks girls, you are so sweet - you too, Jim and Jeff. Come sit by the fire, or on the front porch.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hold on! Time is rushing!

This is turning out to be a tough summer. Oh, not because I have reached the big 6-0. I can handle that. I even do well when I think that my daughters are the age they are, maybe because the grandchildren are so young. But here comes the biggy. My little nieces and nephews are growing up. I don't mean the ones that are my girls ages, but the ones that came after them. With Judy's big family, we have nieces and nephews of all ages, some still just babies.

In June, one of our nephews got married! He was the cutest little boy. I always loved being around him. He was so playful and happy. He truly isn't old enough to be married - not in my mind or memory.

This month, another nephew turns 20. TWENTY! It is just almost too much to handle. The only way they can get married, or turn 20, is for me to get older. Ugh! I am having some real adjustment issues.

Lord Jesus, if you are thinking about coming back any time soon, now would be a good time.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Great Birthday

I celebrate my birth month of July - from the 1st to the 31st - every year. Why limit it to just one day? You get more, and every day there are special things that can happen. That is true for this year, in spades. Judy and I picked a gallon of blueberries and then were given a gallon by a very dear friend of ours. We harvested one of our apples trees and made an apple crisp pie with the apples. (Isn't God good to put us in a house where one of the apple trees - we have 2 - comes due in July around my birthday!) I have gotten cards and money and special dinners and meals out. Every year near my birthday they set off fireworks all around the USA! Wow! What a great blessing. So you see the value of celebrating the whole month. And I still have half the month to go. As I always say, life just keeps getting better.

Yesterday, the 16th, was my actual birthday, and it was great. I turned 60 - a milestone of some sort. My mother, who just turned 85 three weeks before, is here to share with us.

We started the day with a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, fresh tomato wedges, homemade bread/toast, and coffee (I got the breakfast I wanted because I made it myself, including the bread!) We ate on the back patio and lingered a long time enjoying Judy's beautiful landscaped backyard. Finally, around noon we came in and I spent some time studying for teaching Bible Study at Christian Chapel in the evening. (Again, it is so wonderful that my birthday fell on Wednesday, so I got to teach the Word of God!) Mother and Judy took me to IHOP for dinner before church - I love IHOP. At church we had 3 cakes for me and my mother and all the people who have July birthdays. It is what I wanted for my birthday, to have enough cake to share with everyone else. To me the whole thing about a birthday is doing something for others. And my Sunday School teacher made me a coconut pie that is absolutely out of this world. Oh, God is sooooooo good. (The pie I only shared with my mother and Judy!)

Here is a great picture. We have lots of cardinals around our place (and other birds, as well). I have learned the cardinal whistle, and am able to bring them down to the trees near our patio. But yesterday, on my 60th birthday, this cardinal came to the peak of the roof over the kitchen. We sat there for about 10 minutes, maybe more, singing back and forth to each other, face to face. Judy finally slipped into the kitchen through the sliding door (in picture) and went around to our bedroom, got her camera and went to our back door out of the bedroom and took this picture through the glass on the door. (You can click on the picture to make it larger.) Just after she finished the picture, the bird left. He was just waiting for her to get the shot. Again, life just keeps getting better.

A big shout of thanks to everyone who made my birthday so great, and still my birth month (for those of you who still want to bless me!). My girls each called me throughout the day to wish me happy birthday. And Kari blogged about me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


In the last few day, I have mentioned picking blueberries at a blueberry farm and picking apples from our apple tree. Gotta tell you, life just keeps getting better.

Judy made a fabulous apple crisp pie with the apples, which we finished last night. This morning we had some of those apples prepared in the freezer, but not enough for another pie. So I took some of them, added some blueberries, cinnamon and brown sugar, brought them to a boil in some water, then added them to our oatmeal. Oh, my! Now that was sommmme oatmeal!

Like I said, life just keeps getting better. Tomorrow, we are having some friends over. I am cooking a 6# brisket on the grill all day, then adding some corn on the cob. Is this just too good? And Judy is going to add some potato salad with it. Okay, pinch me, am I really alive? Yes!

I have such a good life, in every respect, and it's all because of Jesus.

P.S. You want to read a good, inspiring message from Bodie Thoene? Click here, it's short.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

And more!

(Read my former blog, or this one will not make sense.)

Okay, I'm not through with the '5800 block' of the last blog. I keep wondering:
  • do tall people and fat people have more squares than short and skinny people? Or are they just bigger?
  • if someone loses weight, do they lose squares, or do they just shrink? Same with gaining weight, do they gain more squares?
  • where is the original plat for the squares? How do we know if the count starts from the top or the bottom?
  • I think I am assuming correctly to say that the 5800 block is somewhere near the heart. Obviously, if it were on the leg, someone wouldn't die -- unless they hit a big artery and bled to death.
  • but is the 5800 block on the front or back of the body? Or maybe under the left arm on the side?

Okay, now I think I might be through. Unless someone wants to add something I have missed. That might get me going again.

A Little Fun

Loving English grammar the way I do, I am always taken back when I am reading and find some glaring grammar mistake. Sometimes I write them down, just for remembrances' sake. Here is one that is quite funny, to me. It involves a misplaced modifier.

"Dominque overheard the phrase and slased downward with his quirt, striking the man who had just come to his aid on the shoulder."

Now, in case you don't catch it, "on his shoulder" should come after "striking the man". Unless you really believe that he came to the man's aid standing/sitting/jumping on his shoulder. These are not uncommon in the newspaper, but in a published book? Where was the editor that day, that this error was allowed to get through? Oh, well, none of us are perfect.

I remember one day listening to the news on my way to my office at ORU. The newsman reported that a man had been killed on North Lewis Ave. during the night. Then he said, "He was shot in the fifty-eight hundred block." For the rest of my drive I was wondering if the man's body was divided evenly into numbered blocks, and exactly where was the 5800 block. Then I began to wonder if my body was blocked out, as well. I must say I feasted on that one for most of the day. Still strikes me as funny, but I don't know in which block it strikes me.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Veritable Delight

Imagine my complete joy when I step out of the house of a morning on my daily walk to be greeted by such a lovely garden. Judy does such a beautiful job. All I have to do is keep the grass green and mowed -- much easier, to say the least. Seems like a different part of the garden is in bloom all the time. So every day becomes a real adventure to see what will greet me. Here is what I saw this morning.

These beautiful roses (don't even know what kind they are) and the hibiscus together were so inviting. You should know that the hibiscus are looking at me as I come down the porch steps. What a great reception I had. The rose bush is full, with more yet to bloom. Then they go away and in a couple of weeks, a whole new crop come back.

Here are the hibiscus up close. Unlike the roses, the bloom only lasts for a day or two, but then there are always more to take their place. They are so big. I am just amazed at their size. The house down the street has blood red ones. Imagine!

On another note, yesterday I picked the apples from one of our apple trees and Judy made an apple crisp pie for dessert last night. (Note for the ladies reading this: I peeled and cut them up, she didn't have to do it all!) I didn't spray our apple trees at all this year, so I had to share the apples with bugs, worms and birds. But I still got enough for the pie, and some left over. Yum! It was so good. This made me plan to spray next year! This was our first harvesting since we have lived here.

God is so good to us!

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Beautiful Family

Yesterday, our Texas kids passed through Muskogee on their way to a Juy 4th vacation with other family members. They wanted to have dinner with us, to meet us at a restaurant on their way. What fun to be with them. Everyone should feel good about their kids and their families. We certainly do ours. What a great time we had with them. Caitlyn and Brent are so well behaved. We enjoyed them very much. Caitlyn was asked by someone what her daddy does. She replied, "He goes to work to get me money." And just 3-years old, too!

Here is Brent with Mimi. He is 10-months old. He is so happy and peaceful, easy to take care of and be around. He is the mirror image of his dad.

And here he is with Papa. I am sure he would rather look at beautiful Mimi, but into every life a little rain must fall.

Caitlyn is 3, and very sure of herself. She can easily take control of any situation. I think she will be a great leader some day. She wanted to sit by Papa, she sure is a a good diplomat.

Here they are together. If you notice Brent's black eye, you gotta guess who gave it to him.

And here's Daddy Jeff. Does he ever love these two kids! He is such a good husband and dad. He really is all about leading his family. They are faithful in church, and the Lord really blesses them. I didn't mean to leave Stephanie out, but the only picture we got of her was not the best. I am sure she thanks me for making the right decision.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bible Learning Lab

Judy's long awaited website is finally up and online. Wow! It is fantastic. Here is her description of this website: "Learn the basics of this amazing book! When you understand what is inside, you will soar higher than you can imagine!"

She has worked diligently on it for about 10 months. And in the months to come she will be adding new features to it. But for now, it is up and running with wonderful things to discover.

Check it out! Bible Learning Lab! (There is also a link to her site at the right of this page.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Pear Tree

We have a pear tree. This year, because of the rain, etc., it is loaded down with pears. Every limb has a pear every half inch up the limb. There are lots of clusters of pears, 4 or 5 in a cluster. In this bigger picture you can see how the limbs curve and bend down. The limbs that are close to the ground in the picture were actually touching the ground. This morning, Judy and I tackled the job of removing pears to save the tree. We must have taken 100-200 pears off the tree, and we have probably 300-400 still on the tree.

This picture is a close up of the pears. They are about golf ball size now. When ready for harvesting they will be like hard balls and larger (baseball hard balls). They are very hard and must be cooked to eat. But they make great pear honey, and we are looking forward to making some ourselves.

Another close up. In this picture, we took off as many as you see here, and maybe a few more. Judy was mowing the other day and moved a limb so she could mow under it. It came back at her and hit her. It really hurt, and she was concerned she might get a black eye. She didn't.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day Lilies and Hummingbirds

Got some things to show you. We have two apple trees and one pear tree. At the base of the big apple tree are some irises and day lilies. The day lilies are just now blooming. They like a lot of sun on their flowers. Notice that these day lilies have put up extra long flower stems to get to some sun. They go way up into the apple tree. Here is a picture of Judy with the day lilies in the apple tree, and an apple just to the right of her hair. (Click on any picture to enlarge it.)

Here is a picture showing all of Judy so you can see how tall the flowers are from the ground up. Notice the apple above her head.

Here, just for fun, is one of our ripening apples.

This is the arbor we built to grow our kiwi fruit on. It is the smooth skin variety, no fuzzy stuff, and is sweeter than the regular kiwi. They look more like oversized grapes. It will be another year or so before these produce. Looking up through the arbor, you see a flowering crete myrtle at the back of the yard. To the left of the arbor are some zennias and four-o-clocks. In the foreground is our Dylan statue and a small white crete myrtle. Just behind it and the sawed-off pear tree (which is soon to be cut down, ice storm ruined) is the apple tree in the above pictures. Behind the apple tree is another smaller apple tree, then our pear tree (it is loaded, notice the limbs almost touching the ground). To the right of the apple tree you see the Rose of Sharon in bloom. This is what we see every morning as we sit on the patio and eat our breakfast, read scripture and pray.

In a former post, I wrote about our hummingbird feeder and the birds that finally are coming. Here is the best picture I can get of a hummingbird, so far. I will keep trying, of course.

We are so blessed here. We thank God every day for His goodness and kindness to us. Just Tuesday evening, Judy's parents came in from Albuquerque on their way home to Missouri from a trip to Colorado. They left early Wed. morning. On their way out to the car, they commented about how wonderful it is to stop here and be refreshed by our beautiful house and grounds. This is the Victory Ground Manor.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Last year we had a couple, maybe 3, hummingbirds come to the feeder just outside our den window. It was so much fun to watch them feed. I learned from the Internet how to make their nectar myself. Just one problem. The feeder we had, though very stylish, kept getting air bubbles in it, so in order to feed the birds, we had to go out and work and work to get rid of the bubble -- sometimes multiple times a day. So all winter and early spring, we kept our eyes open for just the right feeder. Finally, design, price and style came together. I bought the feeder, made the nectar birds -- for months, it seems. Judy's dad said they, too, had not had hummingbirds this season. For the past two or three weeks hummingbirds would fly by, come close, but not feed. Finally!! This week the birds are back, feeding multiple times in an hour's time. Hallelujah! They are such an addition to the beauty of Judy's front garden. I have tried to get a picture of them up close, but they haven't cooperated yet. I will soon, and I will post it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Much to be thankful for

We have so much to be thankful for. Judy and I get to sit out on the back patio every morning for breakfast and view our lovely backyard and thank God for the gift to us. I usually fix a breakfast of eggs and toast, or oatmeal and cinnamin toast, or pancakes and sausage -- and coffee. Then we move out to the patio and eat and visit, read scripture and pray -- always enjoying the lovely yard and garden that the Lord has given us. Judy is such a wonderful landscape artist. We have Rose of Sharon, cannas, crete myrtles, four-o-clocks, day lilies, and roses blooming. We have a pear tree that is full and bending low, and two apple trees whose fruit is beginning to turn red. And that is in our back yard.

Then we have these wonderful wall-to-wall windows in every front room, so we can see our beautifully manicured front yard and gardens as we sit at our desks and work. We are so blessed. Just think, in one house the Lord has given ample room for offices, 4 bedrooms for guests, beautiful furnishings and a wonderful outside. It truly is a house of peace; it brings us peace and extends peace to those who visit (you are always welcome) and even to those who drive by. (You should see the cars that drive slowly by and turn around and drive by once more!)

We thank God for what He has done in our lives. He truly blesses us!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Some variety

Today, I have created a new blog just for ministry purposes: Victory Ground. The purpose is to separate my personal musings and everyday life elements from specific Bible encouragement to the reader. So if you want to be encouraged or challenged or exhorted or consoled, etc. see my other blog. It will eventually be a part of my new web page: But it isn't ready to see just yet. Anyway, you can see the blog part now, at the above link.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What a joy to serve the Lord!

Judy and I are going to a church just outside Muskogee to preach this Sunday. We have been there before. We love the people and are eager to be with them again. They have a lovely church building, and have great people inside of it. We are just praying that we will be able to bless them powerfully. That is all we care about. So today and tomorrow (now that VBS is over at Christian Chapel), I am spending time looking to the Lord for His directions for what I am to preach. He has such creative ideas, and He certainly knows His people and knows what they need.

We had a good VBS. Judy taught, and I drove the bus before and after each day. Picked up a bunch of kids. I also helped in the snack-time dept. Mainly cleaning up. Any service you can do for the Lord is so rewarding. Just wiping down tables and chairs is such a joy when you know you are helping the Lord in His endeavors. I wiped with gusto, and left the place clean and ready for the next day's tornado. I even cleaned out the refrig on the last day. We had a kooaid jar that had a leaky valve. Ugh! But it was a lot of fun to take everything out and wipe and wash! Loved driving the bus and getting the kids back and forth. I always waited till I could hear the click of the seatbelt before I drove on. The kids quickly got the idea and responded beautifully.

Hey! My daughter Stephanie and her husband Jeff just returned from a week's vacation in Florida. Check out these great pictures and see my beautiful grandkids having the time of their life. Click here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Angels Everywhere!

Livng by faith is not as easy as it sounds. It strips one of his own plans and purposes and pursuits, and throws him totally at the feet of Jesus IN everything and FOR everything. Having lived by faith for years, and certainly in the extreme for the past 8 months, I can tell you that no one in his "right" mind would stand in line for the opportunity. But in his redeemed mind, where Christ is Lord, he relishes the experience. It is fraught with fear and joy, anticipation and "disappointment", etc. Disappointment when one thinks that God should or would do something one way, but it doesn't happen. Only to discover that God has another way - and so many ways that He is not content to repeat past actions. All of His various ways of taking care of you are designed to show you how personally He cares for you.

At any rate, in my and Judy's faith walk, we have seen good, high, holy days, and days of despair and disappointment. The "trick" is (poor choice of words) to keep your eyes on Jesus and your heart continually stirred by His Word, which never fails. Things fail, people fail, God never does.

So this week I had come to a place that was either "giving up" because there was no hope of being able to pay ANY of our bills, or was total surrender to God and His will. (There is a fine line there.) I hope it was the latter. We have been busy helping in VBS at church, giving of ourselves to bless others. After dinner last night, we decided to walk in the neighbor. As we walked out of our front door, Judy noticed something stuck in the door behind the wreath. It was an envelope with $1000 in it -- all in bills, with no trace of writing. It was exactly enough to pay our bills, buy some much needed gasoline, and tithe on the gift.

Do you believe in angels? We do. We never tell anyone our needs, only God. So we can safely deduce that the money came from God, through the hands of one of his helpers.

And believe me, we are thankful. God is rarely early, but He is NEVER late, if we can be patient and trust Him. He is so faithful to us.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Wonderful Grandchildren

I have such wonderful grandchildren. I know if you have grandchildren, you think yours are -- and you should! It's nice that we can all think that. Here are pictures from when they visited us in May.

Caitlyn is our industrious one, always on the move, always doing something. I think she surely must sleep so soundly when she finally goes to bed, she has had a busy day -- any day. Here she is trying her best to get her napping Mimi to play with her. Judy isn't bothered, and Caitlyn isn't either. She amazes me with her energy.

I chose this picture because it is a picture of Caitlyn on the run (for her that is quite normal). Notice her hair flying to the side as she makes a curve around the kiwi arbor. I think she is in a hurry to catch up with Ava, her pal for the weekend. The yard is just too big with way too much to do. A girl just has no time to take life easy.

Don't you just love this picture of Brent? Not only his expression, but the light play on his face. He is in that intent staring time, trying his best to figure everything out. But there is just too much to understand. Oh, Brent, it doesn't get any better later on in life. But keep trying, you are just too cute when you do.

As I said in an earlier blog, this was Brent's first time to stand at the "measuring wall". I am sure he doesn't know what is going on, but I thought it was a fun picture to get (Judy took the picture). He is still so pliable with all of us. Wonder if that will last?

Here is Olivia going down the slide. Judy and I worked so hard getting that slide ready. This was left in a pile by the former owners. We had to work on it to fix it up, then figure out where to put it. The kids had so much fun running up into the upper yard and coming down the slide to the lower yard. That rock wall was a lifesaver for a place for the slide. Olivia got brave enough to go down, and really liked it.

I taught Ava how to walk on her hands and act like a wheel barrow. She caught on pretty fast. We didn't go very far, but it was fun. She is always up for new things, challenging things, muscular things. I want her parents to get her involved in gymnastics.

And Olivia at the "measuring wall." Being the oldest of the kids, she knew what was going on and just what to do. Brent will soon get the idea, but it wasn't too long ago that Olivia didn't know. Doesn't she look so sweet and patient? Well, she is. She and Brent get the awards for patience.

And finally, a group picture of Kari's bunch on the front porch with Papa. When Stephie's kids come back up in July, I want one with them. Poor Kari and Olivia were feeling pretty ragged with their respiratory problems, but they came out to sit with Papa.

So let's see, that's 4 pictures of each set of kids. I guess that is fair. Hope you enjoyed the pictures (it is Father's Day weekend, you know).

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Busy month

As you can see by the date, it has been a month since I have blogged. What a busy month it has been, too. May is always filled with Mother's Day and Judy's birthday - kind of a double hit with those two very important activities. Then we had visitors for the whole last of the month, good visitors, at that. Our girls and their kiddos came for a visit to celebrate Judy's birthday, and to just be together. It was a fun time, although Kari and Olivia were very sick people. They spent some days in bed, but finally had to go to the doctor and get some help. Little Olivia (4 yrs. old) had an ear infection, bronchitis and walking pneumonia. She had to get a shot in both legs. Afterwards she was sure she couldn't walk. Kari was battling (she dicovered after arriving home) extreme sinusitis. She was going home on a Wednesday, but we insisted she stay till Friday. Stephanie, Caitlyn, Brent and Ava didn't get sick till after they left. Each person had a different kind of sickness, ugh! Here are some pictures from the time with all the group. In a few days, I will show some individual pictures.

These are some traditional pictures. Papa always has to give the girls a ride in the wagon. One day we went around the backyard (above picture). The girls had picked up some pears and apples that had fallen from the trees (I hope without help) and were carrying them in the wagon. Amazing how much fun a wagon ride can be. (You can click on any picture to make it bigger.)

One day we took a front yard ride. Olivia didn't go because she was just too sick. Caitlyn kept asking, "Where are we going?" Just before this picture was taken, I told them we were going to church tomorrow. Oh, how they screamed and laughed and shouted, "We're going to church!" That is the reaction papa wanted from his darlings. (Notice the rest of the family on the porch.)

Notice just up past the arbor, you will see Caitlyn and Ava playing. These two cousins really bonded while together (one from St. Louis and one from Dallas). Olivia was too sick, but these girls played all day every day from sunup till past dark. They swung and went down the slide and dug in the garden and rolled, etc. It was fun to see them together. It was good to see the bonding.

Here the girls are with Brent in the music room. Stephanie is playing the piano and the girls are dancing joyously with maracas in their hands. As long as Stephie played the girls danced. What joy, what noise, what a show!

Here we are measuring Ava. Everytime the kids all get together, we measure them by marking on the edge of the door between the music room and the kitchen. We put their height and age and date. This time we added their weight. Of course, that wall will never get painted. By now the girls pretty much expect to be measured, and they know how to work with us to get it done. It is a fun time. This was Brent's first time.

After the girls left for home, Judy's parents came through to spend a day with us on their way home to Missouri from Guymon, OK. Pat had attended a high school reunion in Guymon. Here we are having breakfast on the patio. We did that on Monday and Tuesday mornings. Judy and I do that every day, unless it is raining. It is a lovely place and a lovely time together. We eat and laugh and visit, then Dad reads the day's devotional and we pray together. It just doesn't get any better. I made homemade blueberry whole wheat pancakes and scrambled eggs. What a treat!

This is Tuesday morning breakfast. I made oatmeal and cinnamon toast. This picture is a timer picture. I had 10 seconds to get back in my chair. It worked!!

On Tuesday, after breakfast, Dad and Pat were off to Missouri. These are the goingest people you ever saw in your life. Dad is a robust 86 years old, and keeps the rest of the family gasping trying to keep up with him. Dad & Pat hardly ever sit still. No mosquitos or chiggers ever touch them because they move too fast. But they are a true joy of our lives. We love it when they come! We are blessed, and May was a blessed month.