Hummers unite! (or starve, whichever.)

hummingbird-691483_1920I finally have hummingbirds as regular neighbors.  Finally!  I love these little guys, so much so I have three feeders specifically designed for them hanging in my garden, (by my patio, so I can watch them, of course.)  Each feeder has a different type of feeding port.  I even went on the internet to find out how to make my own “nectar”.  I also make a bit of sticky mess, but it’s well worth the effort.

Then there’s the ants, who also like the nectar, naturally.  I talked with my dad about options to keep them at bay: adhesive paper on the pole, insecticide spray, a homemade “ant moat”.  Gruesome from the ant’s point of view, but I want to protect the food meant for the hummers.  Continue reading “Hummers unite! (or starve, whichever.)”

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Bird-brained, or not?

It looks like I may have some resident woodpeckers in my yard.  They are certainly welcome here; my house and garage are sided with aluminum, so unless they want a sore beak, they will hopefully stick with the trees.

I really do find them fascinating.  I’ve put out one of those hanging cages with the suet they like.  It’s positioned on a garden shepherd’s crook in the back yard so I can enjoy observing their feast.  This morning, one little guy swooped in for breakfast, but just took his time trying to balance on the shepherd’s crook instead of digging in on the goodies in the cage. Continue reading “Bird-brained, or not?”

Another alternative lifestyle…

wedding-626020_1920Do you ever wonder at the Christian tradition of being married at an altar?  Here is the bridegroom all decked out in formal finery gazing wistfully upon his beautiful bride in her white satin and lace while everyone is trying to see around the photographer and Aunt Judith is loudly blowing her nose.  Happily ever after is just waiting to enfold the sweet couple at the end of the aisle.

I mean, historically an altar was a blood-stained place of sacrifice… 

Okay, on second thought, anyone married for more than one year (how about one week?) gets the connection. Continue reading “Another alternative lifestyle…”

Extreme Corn Pickin’

hot-159386_1280I’m sweating.

I know I’m not alone.  Dot-gov says it’s 74 F., (and it’s not even eight o’clock in the morning), with an expected high of 94 and heat index of 105. 

Of course, drinking my delicious hot tea probably doesn’t help.

But I love my tea, on the patio, in the morning.  If I waited for perfect conditions I’d be inside all day most every day.

corn1
Eclipsed by the corn!

My dear brother and sister-in-law from Minnesota are visiting.  It’s been terrific, but the high heat and 2000% humidity doesn’t suit them either.  We took them over to a friend’s place to pick some sweet corn, thankfully right before this life-altering weather took hold. 

I’m thinking of heading over there again myself this afternoon when they go visit their daughter nearby, to get some more for them to take home tomorrow.  I’m starting a new sport: Midwest Extreme Corn Pickin’. 

Life’s too short to wimp out.

Of course, the farmers here in the Midwest don’t wait for perfect conditions either; I’m really happy about that.  I like to eat. 

I’m also really appreciative that God didn’t wait for me to get my life together before He invited me into His home.  In fact, I didn’t even have to wipe my feet!  Here’s how one of His early saints put it:

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners…But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

I suspect lots of people still think of Christianity as achieving some perfected state.  It’s not about my perfection, however, it’s about His.  He doesn’t even want me to wipe my feet before I come inside the door.  Instead, Jesus has this habit of washing our feet Himself!  In other words, my sin is the “perfect condition” for the application of His perfect righteousness. 

He also makes it clear that it’s His washing that gives me the capacity to be clean.  There’s definite partnership in this situation, but it’s not until He washes my spiritual condition that I can clean up my act. 

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”

So there’s no waiting for this relationship to get going, or it may not come to pass.  It’s like waiting for perfect conditions to make picking the corn more comfortable—instead, it’ll just rot in field.

“Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.”

As far as the sweet corn is concerned, I’ll just wait for the heat index to get a little higher.

[Postscript: In the interest of honesty, our farming friends picked corn and brought some out to us this morning so I wouldn’t have to endure the heat.  There’s another whole analogy there…)

Romans 5:6,8; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Corinthians 6:2  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Preparing for impact

SASWe’re traveling quite a bit recently, seeing family and all.  Our children have dispersed globally—if there were reasonably inhabitable colonies on the moon, at least one of my kinder would be there.   Even our nearest kin are out of state.  I told our youngest daughter, (the one currently residing in Scandinavia), that her software engineer husband needs to hurry up with that transporter beam.  Until then, however, it’s the car or the airline.

I’ve flown plenty, but Bob still gives me the window seat.  There’s just that wonderful rush when the plane speeds noisily down the runway, then the cabin gets quiet as the ground just falls away.  I love it. 

Of course, not long after that happens, the flight attendants begin their little demonstration that no one pays attention to, but should.  Instead we go back to staring out the window or reading the magazine in the seat pocket.  I think it’s somewhat comical when they instruct us on how to put on the life jacket under the seat when we’re flying from Missouri to southern Cal…?? Continue reading “Preparing for impact”

Color blindness at Walmart

paintbrush-24251_1280It’s getting time to repaint the downstairs of “this old house”.  I’m not terrible adventurous when it comes to paint, so I’ll probably just stick with white.  I was checking out some options at the paint department.  Do you know how many shades of white there are? 

Neither do I…

Interestingly, the definition of “white” (in terms of paint, anyway) seems to have more to do with comparison.  Pick just one, and yeah, that’s white.  But put it next to a “whiter” white, and I can see that the original looks more blue, or green, or whatever. 

And the names they give to these infinite variations on a theme are pretty funny: Rarified Air, Intimate White, Big Chill…etc.  (You know, people are paid to do that.  Someone must have a sense of humor.) Continue reading “Color blindness at Walmart”

High tech vision

eyeglasses-30168_1280I’m one of those unfortunate visual myoptics that had to start wearing glasses in fourth grade.  I remember my first pair—we called them “cat-eye glasses”.  No, they have not returned to the fashionable scene, thankfully.

My most recent pair of glasses, yeah, multi-focals now, supposedly has some kind of hi-tech, anti-glare feature.  Only I think they forgot to include things like car headlights, snow on a bright day, and sunsets. 

Okay, so maybe that’s being a bit unreasonable.  Continue reading “High tech vision”

Bird-brained behavior

IWAA7I just finished repairing and reinstalling one of my bird feeders, and this morning I stopped in my tracks when I saw a bright red cardinal enjoying his breakfast with a smaller white-striped bird I didn’t recognize. 

Then I saw him feeding the little guy—ah, what a good parent!  Daddy even aggressively chased off a sparrow from the breakfast table so his growing kiddo could eat privately. (Poor sparrow.  He was just trying to quietly go about his morning also…)

It was fascinating to watch, this avian culture!  But I just wanted to be sure I was identifying it all accurately.  Thus, I turned to that incontestable resource—the internet—and guess what?  It wasn’t a juvenile cardinal Daddy was feeding; it was a juvenile cow bird! Continue reading “Bird-brained behavior”

Pass-downs, and other investment strategies

stock-exchange-738671_1280Clearly, Bob and I are not financial moguls.  Our newest car is an ’04 (or is it an ’03?  When it’s that old, who cares?) But it runs, and it’s paid for, so that.  I say we’re the Joneses that no one tries to keep up with.

Bob’s parents were likewise not investment wizards.  Frugal and responsible, yes, but they were not big names on Wall Street.

However, Bob’s grandfather worked many years for a particular company in which he was able to acquire personal stock.  This “stock” continued to “split” (whatever that means), and through the long time of continued reinvestment, grew somewhat impressively. 

To see his grandparents’ home, one wouldn’t think much of their investment strategy, the financial legacy of which was passed down to their two children and was then passed down to Bob and his brothers on the death of his parents.

My (also very frugal) husband has chosen to invest this share, with the intent of not only passing it down to our children, but with the hopes to adding to it for them as well. 

Which means our newest car is still an ’04…

Nevertheless, we both have and continue to realize the benefits of a financial inheritance in ways we’re probably not even aware of to this day, including while growing up.  Likewise, we have both been reaping the even more important benefits of a spiritual legacy passed down to us through both of our families.   

 “The priests will not have any property or possession of land, for I alone am their special possession.”

What a countercultural statement for back in the day!  Land acquisition was all that!  Property was your security, your status, and a major part of the financial legacy to hand down to your family.  What I hear God saying here is that knowing Him is a far more necessary and sufficient inheritance than anything else.  Then this:

“I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Jesus is talking here about a kingdom harvest of souls for God, but I’m thinking the principle applies to the spiritual pass-down in our lives as well.  And what do I do with it?  I can squander the spiritual and physical resources I have, which are largely due to blessings of our parents’ godly obedience.  Or I can invest them for further growth (the dividends of which never fluctuate with the cultural moral tide) to be passed down to my children and beyond. 

My own dear parents have discussed with us some investments which they someday intend to leave with “no strings attached”.  In my usual levity I quipped something like,

“So, you mean I can go buy that bright red Ferrari?”

“Well, if that’s how you want to use it,” was the sincere reply.

Nah.  The ’04 is fine. 

(For some practical and encouraging info on passing down the spiritual blessing to your children, you might find this interesting:)

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/passing-along-a-blessing-to-your-children

Ezekiel 44:28; John 4:38 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Because enquiring minds want to know.”

newspaper-2874482_1920The above title was the advertising tag for one of those insipid tabloids from years past that grace the check-out counter at the grocery store.  They tend to be right there with the candy bars to make it more convenient to rot your body and soul at the same time.  In my mind, tabloids rank up there with Harlequin romances and other forms of mental/emotional snake oil. Continue reading ““Because enquiring minds want to know.””