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.