April 27, 2017

PAINTED BUNTING

I stepped out to replenish hummingbird feeders but didn't go far. On our patio in a little plant box Emily and Dempsey made for my birthday about three years ago were THREE
MALE PAINTED BUNTINGS! Baughman's, "Reference Atlas To The Birds Of North America" said of these birds: " The male painted bunting is often called the most colorful bird in North America." That covers a lot of birds and a lot of colors.

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Male Painted Bunting

We have had a small flock of male and female buntings the last three days. They are eating seeds found on pineapple sage, a bloom hummingbirds love. At this point many of them have gone to seed. That is what the buntings love. We guess they will be gone very soon from the yard.

We still have rose-breasted grosbeak. He is a beautiful creature as well. These birds have wintered in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

Our best sighting yesterday by Ann, Dickcissel, was only a male and female. These folks had come all the way from northern South America. They like the agriculture areas of Venezuela. We wondered if these birds joined up to make their gruesome flight of hundreds of miles.


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Dickcissel Male Singing

The Lord reminded us of God's special creative interest in birds when he said: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? " (Matthew 6)

THINK ABOUT THAT...

April 26, 2017

WHEN YOU'RE UP YOU'RE UP

Many years ago when I directed a pre-school group of kids we had a song they liked to sing. We usually did it first, just after they came in from school. It was "When You're Up You're Up". The kids would stand on "up" and quickly sit on "down" then take a half-way pose for "half-way up". I didn't see anything of a religious nature in that little diddy. It was simply an active exercise-like song we would use to kick things off as these kids had just come from school.

Years later I DO hear something more in that song. It is kinda like life goes for us at times. It is "up" and everything is rosy. It is "down" and everything seems to be dark and blue. Then most of the time we are in=between...neither up nor down.


Awareness of Your Emotions
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I mentioned earlier about the weekend for the youth at our church. Grand-daughter Emily was there. She was tired but "up" when it was ended. Yesterday she was really "down", for death made an unwelcome visit into the life of a friend. Her tennis doubles partner had his dad to die suddenly of a suspected heart attack. He was only forty-nine. Emily is devastated for her friend and his family of mother, older brother, and two grade-school sisters. The higher we climb on a mountain the further we have to climb down.

Please remember this family. I will not share names except her doubles partner is Jake.

April 25, 2017

OLD LETTERS

Searching for something unrelated I came across some old letters I had written to my folks from Germany in 1955. Let me share a bit of one in order to make my blog-point:

" Yesterday we had a platoon problem out in the woods, using blank ammunition, which is real loud and rather rather dangerous up close. In spite of all the warnings about safety one boy fired one round about three feet from my ear and barely missed me with the small charge that comes out. I am about ready for my hearing aid! The ear doesn't hurt much but sounds like a siren inside. I got kinda mad and if I had not been an officer and a "gentleman" I would have smacked him. As it was I shook him real good and let it go at that."

I now have hearing aids furnished by the VA and have had them several years. They do not replace real ear hearing as all users know. No, I did not get a purple heart. Only a red face.

I never knew my folks had saved that letter all these years. It was very interesting in that the event certainly did contribute to hearing loss, along with operating the firing range and doing my own firing.

Letters, no matter their age, can be of great help to us in better knowing about our actions and the actions of others, and how they have affected us in past experiences. You have a Book at your home that is a perfect example of the importance of letters. The Book is, of course, the Bible. There are letters of all kinds. Some written to church folks. Others are to individuals. All are full of truth and guidance for us in our life-walk. When you want to real an old letter with something personal in it just for you.... try God's Book. It will point out times past that caused you to not hear like you should, and what to do about it.


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April 20, 2017

TWO BLOGS IN A DAY...AND TENNIS AGAIN?

Yep! That's right. We went to Tulosa Midway High School today to see the match between Bishop and Goliad. The Goliad kids were getting it because they had not played Bishop at the tournament. It is a new allowable. During the regular season this team had beaten them twice. Prospects were not too bright...no one told Emily and Jack. Even though they were losing games in the first set they were playing pretty good. Just couldn't get the points when they were needed so fell 6-1. Second set started to look a bit better 2-2- 2-3- 3-3 4-3 finally Goliad pulled it out 7-5. Now they are back in and they played like it. The third set in the broiling sun was also hot. Goliad took it 6-3. That moved them to second place in the regional tournnament for 2AA schools. That meant they would be invited to the state, along with seven other 2AA mixed doubles teams. Winner becomes state champions. Were those kids excited, as we all were! They both played well but I must say Emily was absolutely outstanding at times in some of the shots she returned and hit. Jake is a Freshman. He still has much to learn but played well and was a vital part of the win.


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There you have it. The second blog of this day. No more tennis I promise...not until a few day later in May when they go to Texas A & M for the BIG matches.

A LITTLE MORE TENNIS!

Thought I was through with this subject but a fairly new rule from the playoffs arose giving Emily and Jake another game to play. This rule makes it possible for a team to play the tennisgal.pngsecond place team from another division if you have not played them in the tournament. They had not played Bishop so this morning at 10:30 at Tulosa Midway they will have a fighting chance to win, advancing them as the second place team, to play in the state championship scheduled in a couple of weeks. They played the Bishop team twice in regular season and lost both times, so the prospects are not so bright. However you can never know in tennis.

needle.jpgMoving to another subject, I am now scheduled to have the spinal injection Friday, May 5 in San Antonio. If all goes well I will be dismissed the same afternoon. We will stay overnight in San Antonio at a nearby Motel to the hospital.

cardinalbird.jpgA lot of birds on the wing are being seen in various places. Not in my yard, however. The addition of a new motel just yards from us, and the subtraction of a lot of trees just yards from us seems to have thrown the ones who used to drop in to pass us by. Such is the way of things.

gulf20170420.pngWe are scheduled for beautiful weather the rest of the week. Some kind of unexpected and unwanted tropical disturbance is in the Gulf. That will be interesting to watch.

April 18, 2017

HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS - WOW!

It's Tuesday at 7:42 pm. Please allow me to give one more report on the tennis matches our granddaughter, Emily, and Partner Jake have experienced the last two days...and...it isn't over!

I have been following tennis since Laura began playing as a freshman in Wharton. The team there went to state one year. She was in a girl's doubles team. We later moved to Rockport where she and her partner, Stacy Johnson, went to state one year. She had some really good times winning more than twenty trophies. That was long ago in the seventies.. Without influence to play the game Emily began a couple of years ago.

I told you about yesterday and their playing their first match near midnight, winning in three sets. This morning about 8:30 they played again. Their team was thirty minutes late and was penalized three games so they started at 0-3. It took three sets but they won again. Then came the biggie. The number one seed. Win that one and they would be state bound in a couple of weeks. They were playing Moore, a school near Kerrville. These perennial winners at district and state put Goliad away in two sets. We thought it was all over. Not so. Now they would play for third place. They won. Now, I cannot explain this next event but they get to play the second place team from another division. It is Bishop. If they can win they will have second place and a trip to the State Matches in Austin! That match will take place in a couple of days in an undisclosed location where not everyone will be invited. Kinda strange. I would guess it might be in Corpus Christi somewhere. Anyway, the kids played their hearts out and never gave up and it paid off. They have a shot to make the ultimate trip to State at Austin.

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Latest post from Laura

It has been a fun and exciting time even for Ann and I as we scratched for every bit of information we could get from Laura by phone. You know these cell phones don't run forever without a charge! Much thanks to Charles Fake who constantly amazes me with pictures and displays better picturing than what I am trying to share.

I will go ahead and answer: "Yes I did pray about the matches." These are two fine young Christians from First Baptist, Goliad. I prayed for them more than once.....never to win. That should not be the ultimate goal in competition....rather to do their best in a good honest sportsmanship way. The winnings today seemed to be a little bonus that God put with my prayer. "Thank You, Lord."

STRANGEST EVENT I NEVER DID SEE

It was at the Regional Tennis matches for High Schools in 3AAA being held at Texas State in San Marcos. Our grand-daughter Emily Duprie was competing in mixed doubles. She and her partner were district winners from Goliad.

As you must know already, it rained across the State yesterday. Some places had floods. San Marcos caught the rain in the middle of the morning. You cannot play tennis with a wet court. They have two indoor courts but competitors in girl's singles, doubles, mixed doubles plus boys singles and doubles needed to play. There are plenty of courts when usable, For most of the day only the two indoor courts were used. Mixed doubles always comes last.

Ann and I could not go this year. We would receive reports from Laura. After arriving at around 8:00 A.M. at the tennis complex they could see it would be a long, long day with so many players from all over South Texas.

Are you ready for this? At about 11:00 P.M. these kids finally got a court! Emily and Jake won their first set at about ll:50 (6-4.) They began the second set (two out of three) at around midnight and went up 1-0. By 12:15 they were down 3:4. At about 12:33 they lost the second set (3-6!) Now they BEGIN the third set! At 12:50 A,M, they were down 2-3. We had a long period with no reports. Ann and I were both up and waiting for the third set loss. It didn't happen! Those kids won their third set over Falfurrias 6:4. It was 1:20 A.M. on Tuesday! Now, they will play again some time today.Have you ever heard of a high school competitive sports event being played that late? I haven't.

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Laura's facebook post this morning

The ultimate winner will go the the State Championship later this month. That was a super long day for many and most of the kids. I think theirs might have been the last event of the day (or should I say night?)

It will be quiet around the house this morning. I am already up but hope Ann can have a longer stay in bed.

April 14, 2017

GOOD FRIDAY

I must confess I do not fully understand how ancient men of Biblical knowledge came up with the term Good Friday. I think that message could have been conveyed in a better use of words. Anyway, it is a special day of reflection for Believers. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, allowed men of jealousy and hate to try and convict Him for a crime he never committed, then took His perfect life by crucifixion. It was a rush job for a religious event of importance was closing in on them. What a farce!

In the meantime we enjoy an uneasy peace, following our loosing the biggest bomb we have ever dropped, of a conventional kind. Did it do it's intended damage? I doubt it. Some will recall the shellings from ships upon the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. The Japanese had prepared for such an action. They poured out of those caves and tunnels dug and fought almost to the last man. I fear such a response from the Isis fanatics.

These are trying times for leaders, military, and we common folks. It is like we await the dropping of another shoe. My trust remains first and foremost in the Lord. He will see His children through all this. Perhaps not as we would like, but as He purposes. Ultimately, God will win the battle over His ancient Foe. Be assured of that on this Good Friday.


As we emphasize the Cross of Calvary today, let us rejoice in the words of that Gaither Hymn,
"I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary."

Click here to hear it.

April 11, 2017

WEATHER FORECASTING

wx map.jpg I feel for the weather forecasters who get assigned South Texas. We are mostly covered in totally predictable weather. When it comes to fronts and storms from whatever direction they miss it most of the time. Our weather was to be rainy and even stormy this morning. Several hours were predicted for all this. This morning it is blue skies and no rain. Now it is being said "a slight chance" for this afternoon or evening.

With towers and radar and sophisticated machines of all kinds, it is still a guess. My mother and dad were great weather forecasters. It would starts with something like this: "Looks like it's gonna rain this morning". "Headed for another hot one!". "Better wrap up those flowers it's coming a heavy frost in the morning". Stuff like that. Most every day they had forecasts. They were pretty good ones too.

Most forecasters have dropped the use of percentages. They were always in the "tens" anyway. Did you ever hear one say? "There is a thirty seven percent chance of rain tonight?"

Some missed calls are welcome ones. I remember one several years ago. Ann was in the hospital in Corpus with a serious blood issue. They informed the people there was to be a mandantory evacuation of all the patients. That would be terrible for Ann. Corpus Christi also had a mandatory call for all the people. I stayed. I told the hospital folks I would be an unpaid aide or whatever but I wasn't going anywhere. As we awaited the call to move the partients I decided to drive across town to a relative's house. I knew Don would not have left. He hadn't. Driving across Corpus it was strange. No cars movig about. No people. It had happened and I was left behind! The storm changed it's course and we didn't even get rain!

The Bible gives some hints about weather. Here is one: "When evening comes you will say ' It will be fair weather for the sky is red,' and in the morning: 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast'..You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." Matthew 16:2-3

Weather played an important role in Biblical times. The same God in charge back then is still the overseer. That truth we should take warning about.

April 10, 2017

MUSIC - LIFTING US UP IN WORSHIP

It was my first time back in weeks to a Sunday service. I hoped I could last through the music program. I must tell you that presentation of "The Day He Wore My Crown" was so uplifting I almost forgot about aches in my hip and legs! It was the greatest finale Allen Ray could hope for with the wonderful choir we have. I teared up on some of those songs. From the beginning entry to the final a-men the Lord touched me through music.

The strains of music and singing can do so many things. It can inspire or it can lead us astray. It can awaken love for our Lord or destroy love for every one and everything. Today it is being held captive by a band of godless pirates of this great gift. Our youth and adults are their targets. Combined with the primitive sounds of satan it is demoralizing and destructive. I know these are words from an old man of another age....but not one out of touch with what is happening to our great country. I love music! I love to hear the sounds of country music of days past. Now the hard rock bunch have moved over and sounds of Eddie Arnold and Bob Wills are unknown. I have a love for classical music. Great hymns of the church, past and present, still move me when I hear or sing them. The voices of little children singing "Jesus Loves The Little Children" wll touch the hardest heart. Gospel songs new and old have refreshed my soul over and again. Music! God's way to penetrate the heart. How many thousands know the Lord today because the strains of "Just As I Am" reached their ears and heart?

Thank you, Allen Ray and choir, for a joyous, worshipful, uplifting service through God- inspired music!

3-20-16 - FBC cantata.jpg Performance of 2016