Tuesday, February 09, 2016

This is the Day!

Whenever I have the opportunity to lead worship, I greet the people who are gathered with these words; "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) I begin with these words because (a) I do believe that each day is a gift and (b) that the appropriate response to a gift is joy and (c) I am eager to set a tone of gratitude and joy for the service as it begins. But there is more to it then that. Many days are joyless. Frederick Buechner has written the following which begins to get at the depth of the meaning of these words better then I can.

It is a moment of light surrounded on all sides by darkness and oblivion. In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another just like it and there will never be another just like it again. It is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious it is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.
"This is the day which the Lord has made," says Psalm 118. "Let us rejoice and be glad in it" (v. 24). Or weep and be sad in it for that matter. The point is to see it for what it is, because it will be gone before you know it. If you waste it, it is your life that you're wasting. If you look the other way, it may be the moment you've been waiting for always that you're missing.
All other days have either disappeared into darkness and oblivion or not yet emerged from it. Today is the only day there is.

~originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Super Bowl Sunday!

Saturday began cloudy and cool and gave in to pouring rain in the afternoon. We drove through the grayness to the Pioneer Museum in Dade City. http://pioneerfloridamuseum.org/

Mary wanted to attend the annual quilt festival that was taking place this weekend. Despite the rain we had a nice visit. Mary saw many beautiful quilts while John and I watched a horse pulling competition. It was amazing to see the strength of these animals even in muddy conditions. Later we went into the town and had lunch at The Blackeyed Pea.
Following lunch, Mary visited her favorite quilt store while John listened to music and I napped in the car. In the evening we played cards and listened to Prairie Home Companion as the rain continued.

Super Bowl Sunday dawned with blue skies, cool temps, and a brisk wind. The days activities included church, lunch at Moe's, grocery shopping, Super Bowl, wings, pizza, salsa, chips, cheese, and restoring John's I-Pad that crashed. I also squeezed in a short and cold bike ride. 

Friday, February 05, 2016

Betty Boop, Biking, and Stumpy the Gator

We experienced a fine Florida afternoon. Bright sunshine and 60 degrees. We met Dewey and Elizabeth at the Rexall Drugstore in Inverness, Florida. In the back of the store there is a classic 50’s style diner with good food at reasonable prices. Here are some pics from in the store and restaurant. 
 John as Uncle Sam
 Elizabeth and Mary
 John, I, and Dewey
 John with new girlfriend

Me with old girlfriend

Following lunch we went bike riding and walking on the Withlacoochee State Trail.http://www.travlinmad.com/blog/cycle-withlacoochee#.VoLTFhBv6xA.facebook= 

Before leaving Inverness; Mary, John, and I walked the boardwalk at Cooter’s Park and sighted turtles and a very active alligator. 

Ahinga drying his wings
 A Cooter turtle
 Stumpy the alligator is missing right foot
We had to visit the local physician!

On the way home we stopped at our favorite fruit stand to buy some citrus and the very best orange juice. http://ferrisgroves.com/

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Changeable Weather

The weather has changed dramatically as it often does in February in Florida. We had been experiencing the Sunshine State (80 degrees) to the ominous clouds, pouring rain, thunder and lightning state (40 degrees tonight).
Mary, John, and Elizabeth joined me yesterday for a late morning walk in the park. There were no manatees in the water but we did see a lot of fish including a school of mullet swimming by. The sun was shining and it was a nice day to be outside. Following the walk we returned to our house for BLT sandwiches.
In the afternoon, John accompanied me on some errands with the understanding that I would treat him to a Happy Hour milk shake at Steak and Shake. Of course, I couldn’t let him drink alone. I had chocolate and John had cookie dough.
Still feeling guilty about the milk shake, I cooked a healthy supper of salmon and steamed carrots. Later in the evening Mary and I watched a few episodes of “Sirens” on Netflix. We find it to be very funny even though it can be a little raunchy at times. It was created by Denis Leary and one of the guys behind “The Wedding Crashers”. It follows three Chicago EMT’s as they go about their jobs and relationships. 
This morning I was able to get in my walk before the rain started. There were two manatees in the swimming area. Both had prop scars on them. One had a scar in the form of the letter F. You rarely see a manatee without damage from boats.
I took a nice long nap this afternoon as the rain poured down. A late afternoon trip to the library proved successful as I brought home four books. One is on my “Reading Across America” list.  It is “Once Upon A River” by Bonnie Jo Campbell.

For supper I made Tortilla Soup and chicken and cheese quesadillas. Tomorrow morning we plan to go bicycle riding with Dewey and Elizabeth in Inverness. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Day One in the Sunshine State

Our first full day here certainly lived up to its reputation as the sunshine state with blue skies and a high of 84 degrees. It was in the 50's when I went for a walk early this morning in a nearby park. I was the only one there and was treated to the sight of manatees, wood storks, and an American Eagle.
 I love these gentle creatures.

One of three congregations of wood storks I saw this morning. 
The eagle was sitting atop the lookout tower that I climb every morning.

This is the view looking west toward the Gulf.

In the afternoon we traveld 20 minutes south to eat lunch at Sweet Tomatoes. http://www.sweettomatoes.com/ The best selection of salad, soup, baked potato, pasta, and baked goods. With a coupon, which they scanned off my kindle, the cost was nine dollars each including unlimited beverage and food. After lunch we shopped for groceries at an Aldi's across the street from the restaurant. Our pantry and refrigerator is now full. After all the supplies were put away, John and I washed the car. 1400 miles of salt and dirt and grime were washed away. We finished unpacking this evening and have John's Wiii and Netflix working on all tv's. All in all a fine day.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Safely Arrived in Weeki Wachee

We arrived at our rental in Weeki Wachee, Florida at five o'clock this evening with the 1400 mile road trip completed. On Sunday morning we attended worship at Our Redeemer Lutheran in Columbia, SC. Many of the folks there remembered us and it was great to share memories. Martha Allison took us out for lunch with a few others including Alma and Wally Shultz. Wally will be retiring this year and we invited them to visit us up north. I think they might.

I saw two signs along the roadside in Florida this afternoon. One was a billboard advertising a morning radio show. The sign read, "Get up with Chuck and Miss Mary". I wish I had gotten a photo of that. The second sign was small and simply stated, "The loneliest thing in the world is barbed wire". I'm not certain what that means but I don't think I will ever forget it.

We stopped for a brief visit with Dew and Elizabeth in Homossasa Springs. They are about 30 minutes north of Weeki Wachee. Elizabeth had graciously invited us for lunch but we were not able to arrive until three o'clock. It was so great to see them and anticipate sharing some more time together.

The car is unpacked but we didn't have the energy to do much else. Went out for pizza and some groceries. We will slowly unpack and settle in over the next few days. It was 80 degrees when we arrived and will be in the 50's tonight. We love arriving here and being able to sleep with window open.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Like Coming Home

Long travel day for us today. Arrived in Columbia, SC after six this evening. Driving pretty easy except for some delays north of Charlotte. There was snow covered ground all through the state of Virginia and in the mountains in North Carolina.

It was 64 degrees when we arrived here in South Carolina's capitol. We lived here from 1979 to 1983 while I attended seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary on Main Street and whenever we return it feels like coming home. Our two oldest girls, Carla and Susan, remember our time here with fondness. This evening we ate supper at "Rush's" which was one of our family favorites. http://www.rushs.net/history/

Tomorrow we will attend worship at the church, http://www.redeemerlutheransc.org/, where I served as an intern for one year and as a pastoral assistant for the second year. The people there were so supportive of our family and the experiences in that congregation shaped me as a pastor.

Much has changed about the area and the traffic is very congested now. We did not stop at the Seminary campus this time but just being in the neighborhood brings back many memories.