Tonight’s View From My Deck

This is tonight’s view from my deck.

The Mr. checking on his young stock.

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And to the west….God’s magnificent, amazing, glorious artwork, free for the viewing.

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See the bird flying into the sunset.

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It just kept getting grand”er”!

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The sky looked like a rolling wave of fire.

Doesn’t it remind you of the wave of water I took in Maui?

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“Be exalted, O God above the heavens, and your glory above all the earth.”

Psalms 108:5

Pigeons

Pigeons are everywhere. It is probably the most popular, unwanted bird in the city and they can also be a messy nuisance on the farm. But, I love pigeons.  I love to watch them, I love the cooing noise they make and I love their colorful feathering.

Pigeons will make a mess in an old discarded barn or silo. I remember as a child daddy would occasionally find a nest of pigeons in the hay barn.  We would have pigeon rice soup for supper.  Just in case you don’t know, pigeon is very good to eat!

I have occasionally photographed our wild pigeons here on the farm.

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I also have a pen of Tumblers-have had them for years. Tumblers fly in circles and then do a head over heel tumble or somersault out of the sky. Just between hitting the ground they soar to fly again. It is so neat to watch. I used to fly my birds but I had difficulty in retrieving them all back to the pen because of the wild pigeons. If you notice in the flock of wild pigeons on top of the silo there are some brown hues. I had a brown Tumbler that would not come back to the pen but was attracted to the “wild side” of town!  The effect is still noticeable.  Now I  just enjoy the beauty of their colorings of blue, brown, white and everything in between and listening to them coo.

Short clip of my Tumblers cooing and protecting their nesting area from other intruders.

 http://youtu.be/dnWCFVWE_z0

Baby pigeons nurse by inserting their beaks into the throats of their parents-yes, male and female. As you could see in the video clip the adults are very protective of their nesting area and when another pigeon invades the area will peck at it until it leaves.

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Wanta Shoot Basketball?

I was barely in the door yesterday when Ryan wanted to know if I wanted to shoot basketball. Now I haven’t played basketball for years upon years upon years. It gave me flashbacks of Junior-High PE at John C. Myers School in Broadway!  My knee was hurting like crazy but I bravely said, “sure”.  His next comment was, “Do you wanta play horse, pigs, grandma or….”.  Now I realize we were not just shooting baskets, we are playing a game and knowing Ryan, he will be very competitive!  I chose pigs-I decided it was the safest as it was the shortest.  Maybe I could make it through. My strategy was to get this game over quick and then I could go act like a grandma with a swollen knee.

When we got to the concrete pad outside the garage door I was given detailed instructions on how to dribble, do layups and shoot. I told him I used to love to play basketball and I was pretty good but it had been a long time since I had played.

His first instructions were to practice shoot a few balls and I could choose my ball. We both bounced our ball and randomly shot numerous balls “towards” the hoop. All missed.  He decided to lower the basket so I could do better! He showed me how to aim for the top of the square painted on the backboard and it would go in. His didn’t.

All of a sudden I hit my groove and we decided to start playing. It did not matter if I shot from the left or right, straight up or a layup of sorts, I was sinking the ball and he was missing more than he got.  I smiled to myself when he decided he needed to raise the basket!  We had fun and he was a good sport even though I skunked him at “p-i-g-s”.   As we put the balls away he said, “Grandma, you are better than I thought!”  I felt a twinge of guilt for beating him so bad but it did feel good at the ripe old age of 63 to still be able to sink the ball in the hoop.

Budding Musicians

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Today we spent the afternoon with our Hostetter grandkids. They love playing with Legos and have been collecting sets for quite a few years. They have put together quite an impressive spread.

They both are taking music lessons; Karla the piano and Ryan the drums. And the best thing is these kids do not have to be prompted to practice! This grandma was very impressed!

Karla showing me her piano playing skills. Her goal is to play for the Jazz band at school in two years.

http://youtu.be/wiJ5cf7oB_c

Ryan showing me how he is learning to play the drums.  You can hear him humming along as he plays.  I do believe this boy has budding talent!

http://youtu.be/jKup-eNS1Sw

I love the counting and head bobbing on this video.

http://youtu.be/nsEpPJtzGqg

Lindale Mennonite, here are some future worship leaders!!!

Once in a while a grandma just has to brag on her grandkids!  Way to go, Karla and Ryan. Keep up the good work.

Hometown USA

Recently another local family-owned business passed down through two generations, Davis-Merchant Equipment, was sold. We started thinking about the hometown businesses that are left in Powhatan. One by one they are quietly disappearing and in their place is Haley Chevolet, Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply, Food Lion, Advanced Auto, McDonalds, Wendys, Sheetz (Powhatan now seems to need 2 of them), Pizza Hut, Subway, C&F Bank, Essex Bank and the list goes on.  All the local gas stations have been sold to foreigners.

I remember when Al’s Market was owned by a real Powhatanian, Al, and Red Barn by Larry and Juanita Adams. There was May’s Hardware and May’s Grocery where they knew you by name and the meat was actually cut and packaged in the store. Remember…. The Bank of Powhatan, Yates Ford, Maxey’s Store,  Adam’s Pontiac, Nichol’s Store, Powhatan Farm Supply, Dr. Bradley, Powhatan Locker Plant, Bloxton’s Pharmacy, Gene’s Auto Parts and there was a Chevrolet car dealer… I can’t remember the name.  Did you notice how many of these business carried family names?

Bloxton’s Pharmacy was sold to another Powhatan Family, Jim and Carol Gregg, and morphed into Powhatan Pharmacy and Powhatan Plaza Pharmacy.  Yates Oil was sold to the Adams family-another Powhatan long-time name, but one by one, most have simply disappeared.

Have you ever stopped to count how many family-owned businesses are left?  Goodwyn’s Lumber was started in 1932 and is now managed by the second generation of Goodwyns.  Frisby’s Convenience Store was started by the Moore family in 1978 and about five years later their daughter opened the side-door restaurant. This is a favorite hangout of the locals. The chicken & dumplings and fried chicken can not be beat by Wendys or McDonalds. Hertzler Farm and Feed had it’s humble beginnings in an old dairy barn in 1983 and has grown into a full-fledged retail store.  Henry’s Market was started by Henry Ford Harris in the mid 80’s along with Powhatan Station Shopping Center which is filled with local-owned businesses: Sign Design, Country Food and Furniture and Flat Rock Glass.   The County Seat Restaurant, featuring southern style home cooking and hospitality, is run by 4 generations of family members and Dr. Spaur is still a small one-man dentistry in the village of Powhatan.  There are numerous other local-owned businesses but the well-known older businesses are quietly slipping away, replaced by box stores and national name brands.

Time moves on and change comes to every community but is sad to see the big, mega and national names replacing hometown.  Please remember to shop and support the local businesses and let them know you appreciate their contribution to the community.

Note: There are numerous other family-owned businesses that are making a significant impact on Powhatan community.  I can not list them all but if you send me names I will add them to this list.

  • Byerly’s Auto Mart
  • Higley’s Chiropractic
  • Napa (owned by Rick Barden)
  • Ollie’s Computer

Spot’s Birth Annoucement

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Spot, one of our favorite cows because of her unique coloring and personality, has a newborn calf born yesterday afternoon, March 9. Spot is part Simmental, part Angus and part…. who knows what.  She looks like a Holstein but according to Gene, her mother was black Angus and so was her daddy.  It amazes me how he knows and remembers all this. He doesn’t keep records; he just knows. She was bred to a Hereford; thus the white face on the calf, and this is her sixth.

Congratulations Mrs. Spot!

To read more about Spot check out my blog post: Spot

Maui-2015

Aloha!

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This was our second trip to Maui, the first was in 1991.  This was a gathering of Purina dealers from all across the US who qualified with increased sales. We were one of the lucky ones to earn the trip. There were approximately 500 of us there. 0304152101 (2) We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Lahaina, on the west side of the island. Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 727.2 square miles. (46 miles long and 26 miles wide).  Lahaina was the capital of the islands until it was moved to Honolulu, Oahu.  The climate is tropical and hovers between 70-85 degrees year round. It is truly a lush, tropical paradise with colorful birds, flowers, palm trees and beaches.

Our view from our hotel room.

View from Hotel

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IMG_7455 IMG_7454 They have very fertile soil and grow coconut, macadamia nuts, cocoa, pineapple, coffee, tropical flowers, sugar cane and papaya.  The agriculture is dwindling due to high cost.  I am not sure if I remember what all our tour guide told us but even if I am wrong, you will get the picture. In years past they planted close to 150,000 acres of sugar cane. This is now down to 37,000 acres and within ten years they will plant their last crop and the land is being sold to a developer. They can import from other countries cheaper than they can grow, process and sell in their own markets. They are now growing only 1000 acres of pineapple. They have developed a sweeter pineapple than is grown anywhere else in the world but again it is no longer feasible to grown their own. IMG_7482

Sugar cane growing in the field.

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Aging sugar cane mill.

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Cocoa Pod

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Slimy cocoa beans inside the pod. It is a fascinating process they go through to make coco.

Maui is the leading whale-watching center in the Hawaiian Islands due to Humpback whales wintering in the sheltered ʻAuʻau Channel between the islands of Maui county.  Since this was prime season you could catch glimpses of spouts and whales flipping out of the waters. The whales migrate approximately 3,500 miles from Alaskan waters each autumn and spend the winter months mating and birthing in the warm waters off Maui, with most leaving by the end of April. The whales are typically sighted in pods: small groups of several adults, or groups of a mother, her calf, and a few suitors.

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I happened to have my camera focused on this boat when the whale rose out of the water.

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I never got a picture of a spout. By the time you saw them, it was too late to take a picture.

One of the fascinating attractions in Lahaina is the famous Banyan Tree, taking up a whole city block. It is the second largest of it’s kind in the world. The largest is in Egypt.  All the different trunks represent one tree.

The Tree

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A sampling of other pictures around the hotel.

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The island in the background is  Kahoʻolawe. It is known as the deserted island due to it’s lack of fresh water and wood.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States military used it as a training ground for the military and navy.  It is now owned by a billionaire and there is a beef ranch and a deserted leprosy colony. Before they had a cure for leprosy, persons contracting the dreaded disease were banished to this island to live out their days.

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Yes, they even had penguins.

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No place is complete without a pink flamingo!

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Their doves have a black and white checkered band around their necks.

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Tiki Lanterns

My love of tiki lanterns started when we were here in 1991.

Breakfast view

Their Polynesian culture and religion is part of the uniqueness of the island but it is so sad to see their worship of gods. Do you see the face in the waterfalls? (One of the ancient gods).  See the closer view below.

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A lot of their livelihood is based on tourism and water.  Some of the things you can do is whale-watch, snorkel, suba-dive, fish, take a submarine, sail, surf, kite-board, etc.

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I loved watching and listening to the waves crash onto shore. One day I went to the beach by our hotel and sat in the sand by these rocks and let the waves crash over me. It was so refreshing.

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I was going to sit on one of the rock and just as I was in the process of sitting I spied a “thing” that made me change my mind!  It was the same color as the rock-barely visible, and I don’t know if it was a spider or a crab. It looked like a spider body with crab legs. It was maybe 3-4 inches across. I am not sure what made me even see it but I was so grateful he did not end up inches from my down-sitter! I was wishing for my camera but I hadn’t taken it along to the beach.

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So there we are folks. I enjoyed sharing glimpses of our trip with you.

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To read about our submarine tour: “Just Like Me”.

Just Like Me

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On our recent trip to Maui, we took a very interesting submarine tour of the coral reefs.  At 125 feet below the surface there is a whole different world of God’s grand and glorious creation.

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As we peered through the port holes, we saw brightly colored schools of fish, an eel, several sharks, different kinds of coral plants and a submerged ship being used as a reef and habitat for fish.  The plants can only grow as deep as sunlight penetrates and small fish can only live where the coral plants grow.  When the sub moved off the reef, there was nothing but dark, murky ocean water.

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In the sub there were 47 molded seat indentations on the bench going the length of the submarine and they fill it to capacity-47 people.  You could not scoot down a few inches to give your seat mate additional space. So there I sat, squeezed in between “the man” and my husband, shoulders hunched with my arms pulled in towards my middle trying to make myself smaller. It was not a pleasant ride.   I kept glancing sideways at “the man” who was head and shoulders taller than me with his arms crossed, resting on his ballooning, well-endowed mid-section. I knew he was feeling the squeeze but I only felt sympathy for myself.  My cynical, critical mind critiqued him well!

Later I was thinking about this obese man and several others I encountered along the way.  There were people on our airplane that could hardly navigate the aisle much less fit into a seat. The thought suddenly hit me. They were just like me at one time.  Just like me!  I can not pride myself with thinness. The only thing I can smugly say is “I am not like them”.   I admit I  am “a little” overweight. I know it and am seriously, actively working on it.  But because I did not see myself  like them, I bestowed on myself the credentials to judge them. Hummmm.

The liar didn’t start out intending to lie and the murderer probably never dreamed he would kill. The prostitute was once pure and the list goes on. We choose, through a series of many decisions, to let ourselves become who we are; often unintentionally, often never imagining we will become who we are. Very few obese persons really desire to be overweight.  If we don’t stop our destructive habits before they get bad, they will control our lives. One lie does not make a person a habitual liar nor does 10 pounds make a person obese but it sure can put us on that path.

Usually I will strike up a conversation with a seat mate but this time I sat there miffed that I was the one who had to sit beside him and his equally oversized wife. I did not say one word to this fellow Purina dealer. The Apostle Paul said, “Those that compare themselves among themselves are not wise” (II Corinthians 10:12).   Jesus had some sobering words, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1-2)

“Just like me” may not be the safest yardstick of measure.  Paul says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.  The yardstick needs to be against the truth of God’s Word.  “Against such there is no law”. (Galatians 6:22-23)

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 Other pictures of our Maui trip

Softly and Tenderly

Last Sunday we sang one of the beloved old hymns, “Softly and Tenderly” by Will. L. Thompson, 1880.  The words are soul-stirring and soul-searching.

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,

Calling for you and for me;

See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,

Watching for you and for me.

***

Refrain:

Come home, come home,

You who are weary, come home;

Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,

Calling, O sinner, come home!

***

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,

Pleading for you and for me?

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,

Mercies for you and for me?

***

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,

Passing from you and from me;

Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,

Coming for you and for me.

***

Oh, for the wonderful love He has promised,

Promised for you and for me!

Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,

Pardon for you and for me.

As I thought about and have sang this song over and over this week, I am reminded of the urgency in  responding to the wonderful mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. Jesus does not barge his way in but tenderly He stands at the heart’s door and knocks (Revelation 3:20-21). We have to invite him in and oh the sweet difference it makes when he does.

Jesus has plainly told us that He is the only way to heaven, the only way to the Father,  the only way to receive forgiveness from sin. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me”  (John 14:6).

If you do not want to believe that Jesus is who He says He is, you do not need to.

If you do not want to pray, you do not need to.

If you do not want to obey His commandments, you do not need to.

If you do not want to take time to read His Word, you do not need to.

If you do not want receive Jesus as your personal Savior, you do not need to.

If you want to spend your life denying the existence of God and the truth of His Word, you may do so.

Jesus never demands, but He does warn. He does not barge in but He does come near; patiently waiting to be invited in. Jesus does not manipulate but grants freedom of personal will to do and believe as you please.

It is your choice, your decision.

Jesus pleads, with outstretched hands, to come to Him, the Messiah, and He presents the opportunity over and over and over.

I thought about the snow storm the other evening. Each little flake of snow flurried to the ground, softly and tenderly, without a sound. The evidence of one flake might be questionable but as it began to pile up measuring inches its presence was undeniable.  Over and over Jesus is making himself known to humanity; the amazing complexity, diversity and beauty of creation, a stunning sunset, the changing of seasons, the joy of a changed life, the incredible development and birth of a baby, the power of the reading of His Word, answered prayer, miraculous healings, the testimony of believers whose lives have been changed, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and the fulfillment of prophecy. The evidence mounts deeper and deeper and scripture says that one day ALL will be held accountable. No one will be able to deny that they did not know (Romans 1:20). At the moment of death you will fall on your face before Jesus and the question you will face is, “What did you do with my Son, Jesus”?  (Philippians 2:9-11). Being good does not get you to heaven. Being good only counts when it flows out of a heart of love and obedience to Jesus.  Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior and living a life of obedience and surrender to Him, guarantees you eternity in heaven (Romans 10:9).

Remember, your choice, your decision, determines your destiny.

Softly and tendering Jesus is calling.

Will you answer that call before it is too late?

 

Scripture References: (Words of Jesus in red).

  • Revelation 3: 20-21 “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with Him, and he with Me.”
  • John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
  • Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) so that they are without excuse.
  • Philippians 2:9-11  Therefore God has highly exalted Him (Jesus) and given Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and those on earth, and of those under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.
  • Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

 

Here is a beautiful rendition of the song.

Cheesy Potato Soup

If you are looking for a very good potato soup recipe for a cold, snowy day….this is a winner that I got from my friend, Miriam Haarer.

Sauté: 3 strips bacon fried and crumbled. Saute 1/3 c. chopped onions in bacon grease. (Or can just use 2 T. butter & 1/3 cup onions).

Add to sautéed mixture and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

1 T. flour

1 cup milk

1 tsp. salt

Pepper to taste

Dice and cook 4 medium potatoes in 2 c. water until tender.

Add cooked potatoes (with the water) to sautéed mixture and add an additional 1-1/2 c. milk and 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese. Heat thoroughly but do not boil.

 

 

 

 

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