Monday, February 28, 2011

Another Picture from Saturday Night

Lynn (the director's wife) just sent me this pic - it's of the current group singing on Saturday night. I had to post it. . .

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Calvary Quartet Concert

Wonderful night last night at the Calvary Quartet 15-year reunion concert. 12 men participated, all past members of the quartet. They sang together at the beginning and the end, and in various groups throughout. It lasted three hours and could have gone on for three more! I didn't get any pictures because they requested no flash photography, so this is the only pic. Andrew is on the left.

And this was released at the concert last night! Now available!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Hole in the Yard

Last night Mike and I took a walk around the yard, and near the end of our little trip I took a step and found my leg in the ground up to my knee. He says the hole is probably where a root was and then an animal burrowed into it as well. I literally went straight down - and then had a hard time getting out because my athletic shoe got stuck. It was filthy when I did get out - fortunately it's from an old pair with a hole in it already, and I was already planning to replace then.

Both knees are a little sore today, but I am extremely thankful not to have injured either one other than minor bruises.
ML is much better and is headed back to college as I write. Tamiflu is good stuff. She's pretty well over it in three days instead of a week, other than still coughing and being a little "peaked." No fever today. We are thankful for that also.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Morning Bird Experiences

Well, things change quickly.

I was getting ready for church when the kids called. ML sick - high fever, flu symptoms - so Andrew brought her home for the day. Therefore I am not at church. Even college age kids can use their mom around when they are sick. She has a 102 fever and we've extended her pass so she can stay here and get better. Thank goodness for a doctor brother-in-law on a Sunday like this - we really appreciate his help!

So, while waiting for them to get home this morning, I watched the feeders, which were a flurry of activity this morning, and even tried my hand at some more photography. I have learned that bird photography is a matter of the right place at the right time, and it takes a lot of snaps to get a good photo. I did get several good ones this morning - about one good one for every five worth deleting.

Here are a male/female cardinal pair. Somewhere along the way we picked up the line that the female is called the "lady with the lipstick," and we have called her that ever since then. It's not as clear on this photo as it is sometimes.

You can see the "lipstick" a little more clearly here, especially if you double click on the photo. I love to see male cardinals, and also male/female pairs together. At the bottom is a northern junco. They are only around here in the winter, and sometimes get overlooked because, when scratching on the ground, which is the only way they feed, they blend in so closely that they can be difficult to see. But with their black backs and white undersides, so distinct that you can almost draw a line between the two parts, they really are pretty little birds.

A full view of a male cardinal at the feeder. I can't quit taking pictures of male cardinals; their beauty is so nice compared to the drab winter landscapes.
Goldfinches absolutely mob these feeders at times. In the winter it is difficult to tell the females from the males as they look very similar. As spring approaches it will be easier because the males will get back their brilliant yellow color and black heads. (The lines of course are the blinds, as I didn't get the camera on zoom very well.)

And here is a nice shot of a pine warbler. At first glance a person thinks it's just another goldfinch, but when observed a little closer you can see that it is a very different bird. It retains its brilliant yellow in the winter, unlike the goldfinches. It also has a much tinier beak, typical of warblers, than the goldfinch's big, more triangular beak.

And these next two pictures I'm a little proud of. Here is the downy woodpecker that has been coming, and I actually got a shot of its red crest, which is not always visible. For awhile there were two of them in the tree, and the male's crest was visible there also, but I couldn't get a shot of that. I don't know what he's trying to get - the suet bag is empty. It had held a mixture of lard, peanut butter, and sunflower seeds.

And this is the red-bellied woodpecker that has also been coming. It's a lot larger than the downy woodpecker above. A lot of people don't understand why this one is called a red-bellied woodpecker when the most brilliant red on it is on its head. Well, I just happened to get this shot - which shows the wash of red, easily missed especially in flight, on its belly.

These days of observing the feeders, the first time in many years, and seeing such a variety of birds on them have brought back a lot of memories of the days before kids and pets when we used to spend a great deal of time, both at home watching feeders and out in the woods and fields, studying birds. That was a long, long time ago. Didn't have the internet to pull up information quickly back then. It's a different world now to learn about birds than it was 25 years ago, when Mike was the eyes and ears in the woods, and I was the book-studier. We actually made a pretty good team back then!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Faith and Values Board Article

I am occasionally going to post the last six months' worth of articles written for the local newspaper's Faith and Values Board. The first one posted, of the seven now completed (will be a total of twelve by the end of the term), was the book review of THE CASE FOR CHRISTMAS by Lee Strobel.

This was in this morning's paper. It can also be accessed here.


Over the years, many philosophers and scientists have tried to convince people that science is the final authority in the world we live in. In June 2010, Dr. Stephen Hawking made headlines with this statement to Diane Sawyer: "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."

Hawking is an academically brilliant man. But brilliance does not always equate to wisdom, or an understanding of the place of the spiritual in our world. It is a serious mistake to put science and religion (for these purposes, Christianity) at odds, because they are actually complementary in their purpose.

Science is a wonderful tool within its realm, which is observation with any of the five senses. I marvel at the advances in medicine, technology, and many other areas. And as a science teacher, I love to see the reactions of junior high and high school students when an “A-ha!” moment occurs and by observing they grasp some great truth of our natural world and its laws.

However, even with all science can do, it also has serious limitations. A few include:

Science makes mistakes. (Think the thalidomide disaster of the 1960s, the Challenger and Columbia explosions.)

Science cannot determine if something is right or wrong. (Gender and trait selection of babies, euthanasia—all doable by science but questionable as to morality.)

Science sometimes deliberately deceives. (The most recent example: January 2011, when the news was trumpeted that studies on vaccination-autism links were forged.)

Science cannot change basic God-ordained boundaries on natural events. (Science can’t change the length of a year, the rotation of the earth, or the direction of a hurricane.)

And finally, and most importantly, Science is not equipped to explain the unobservable realms of our world. Each year I work through an enlightening exercise with my eighth graders. First, we make a list on the board of observable things. That is easy. After writing down about 25 items, we make a second, harder list. What are some of the things in our world that cannot be observed with the five senses? These are some of the answers that they come up with after pondering the question: Thoughts. Prayers. The human soul. Emotions. God. Angels and demons. Heaven and hell. Conscience. Where we came from (origins).

Although not all things fit exactly, the correlation becomes obvious. We have science to deal with observable things; we have the Bible to help us understand the non-observable aspects of our lives.

Science and religion are not in conflict. Science is a partner in the great task of understanding the world. But in the final windup, it is a poor and inadequate substitute for dealing with the unobservable important and deep issues of this life. Even though I teach science, and see the importance of a good education in that field, I do not trust in it for eternal matters. The stability of God’s word, which never changes, is the rock upon which I have safely put my trust – and which I will always direct my students to as well.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


So we've been looking for a vehicle for Andrew, and yesterday Mike found one. Ten years old but only 42,000 miles! Toyota Tacoma, dark green, new tires, local car, no engine problems, lockable cover over the back end, reasonable price. Not four doors but the rest of it was about too good to pass up. When I got home from school he asked me what I thought and I told him to go ahead and get it. Right then the phone rang - the salesman was calling - the owner thought he should sell it to us and dropped the price $600!

So we went to Andrew's play last night and took the truck along. Didn't tell him until afterward - asked him to walk us out to the car. And there it was. He was thrilled - hugged us, ML, Grandma and Papa - anybody in sight. It was a joyous occasion.

Will get pictures as soon as he comes home in it.

This mama is happy this morning.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Supper

This was my Valentine's Day supper tonight.

We haven't had a grill for a few years, since disconnecting the gas line to build the porch. So this afternoon Mike went to the Ace Hardware and bought a small charcoal grill. He then stopped by the grocery store and bought ribeyes and baking potatoes.

He knows I'm running a low-grade fever and haven't felt well for a few days. So when I walked in the house he told me to go to the den and rest - I was not to do anything.

He cooked the potatoes, made the salad, baked some rolls, and grilled steaks. Since the charcoal was still hot, he cooked some chicken as well for later in the week.

Then he cleaned everything up.

And this is from a man who just got off night shift this morning.

What do you think of that!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feeder Birds

Big assortment - Carolina Chickadee, house finches, and a downy woodpecker.

I thought these two male cardinals looking right at me were worthy of a photo.

New this morning - a red-bellied woodpecker at the suet bag!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Email from Former Student

Received this from a former student along with a request for some information. It was an encouragement.

Thanks in advance for the information. I'm doing really well, found a terrific church and have come to realize what a gift my Christian education was. It is true that when you raise a child in the ways of the Lord, when they are older they come back to it. I've had a lot of experiences in the few years I've been out of school, but I'm using my testimony now to teach at church.
I really do appreciate everything you and the other teachers gave us.

Monday, February 7, 2011

For Mrs. Jane

A dear lady from our church is in Hospice right now with terminal cancer - we are friends with her daughter's family and I teach with her granddaughter. Well, we maybe shouldn't have done this since it's not released yet, but we burned a CD from our computer with the songs of Andrew's quartet's new CD on it and sent it for them to listen to at the Hospice House. She lay there seemingly unconscious through most of the songs, until "I'm Just a Sinner Saved By Grace." Then she raised up in bed, lifted her hand, and said "Thank you, Jesus!" Laid back down and was "out of it" again. That touched my heart - thinking of Andrew singing to that sweet lady on her way to heaven!