Monday, June 30, 2014

Our Orphan

We have a doe with a single fawn that we have posted pictures and videos of on Facebook. We also have a doe with twins who are never far away taking refuge in the coolness and shadows of the woods that surround us. The  threesome is a little more cautious, but we see them from time-to-time.

As of late we also have an orphaned fawn that has been hanging around The Shire. I believe I saw the babies mother crumpled on the shoulder of Route 27. Yesterday, as our son, Josh, was putting bikes on the bike rack, the little orphan came bounding out of the woods, across the lawn, and stopped about ten-feet from Josh and began bleating like a little lamb at him. Needless to say the little one has our sympathies.

This morning around six a.m., Sandy and I were sitting on the front porch having coffee. Our little orphan came sprinting across the field looking confused and terrified. No wonder. Behind it was a large coyote giving chase. As the coyote came into the wide-open space of the pasture it became wary and slowed to a stop. I stepped inside the house and grabbed my .308. I had the coyote in the crosshairs, but once again, I would have had to shoot toward Holland Rd., so I didn't fire. I yelled at the coyote, and it broke off its chase and chose to get out of sight as fast as it could. I continued scoping along the wood line and across the edges of the pond. No sign of our little orphan or the predator that was trying to kill and eat it. I ran out of time and had to leave for work.

Before I arrived at my first company, Sandy texted me. I was relieved to hear that our little orphan had escaped and made it all the way around the pond and was standing less than ten feet from where Sandy sat finishing her coffee.

Now, I am officially on a mission… it's time for the coyote to bite the dust. I told the story to someone at work, and they told me that the coyote was just doing what its nature demanded. I responded in agreement, but added the caveat, and I am just going to do what my nature demands, protecting the helpless. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mamas And Their Babies...

I like reading stuff like this, so I post it for others who may find the same delight and pleasure in simple things that I do….

This morning, we had some visitors: a doe, its hair lightened due to its thinner summer coat, accompanied by its single fawn with its dappled natural camouflage. Then another doe, and her matching set of spotted twins, fed along the wood line and at the edge of the pond. The single fawn was so care free that it browsed in the lantana for a few minutes, barely more than ten yards from our back windows. After a bit the mamas led them into the dark and cool shadows of the woods and along the trickling Standing Boy Creek. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Faith, Friends, And Family

Faith… For the foreseeable future, First Baptist of Phenix City is where Sandy and I will be gathering for corporate worship. I am grateful for the privilege that is mine to speak from God's Word to this body of Believers on Sundays. Each week we are seeing new faces, and we have ten new believers that will soon follow the Lord in baptism.

Friends… Following the service we went out to eat with our good friends, Don and Terri. Both of them are fully committed Christ-followers. We click as couples, share a mutual desire to maintain a vital relationship with Christ, and always enjoy an easy flow of conversation about advancing the kingdom. Good people.

Family… Our son, Josh, is here with us at The Shire. This afternoon he jumped on the RZR, I got on the 4 wheeler (both vehicles graciously provided by a generous friend), and we took to the woods to do some trail work and riding. A stand of three trees, each about eighteen inches through the butt and too big for the small chainsaw we have to cut through, were blown down across the trail in the last storm. We had to cut the tops out and winch some of the bigger stuff out of the way. A slight detour. Miles and miles of undulating paths, that switchback and criss-cross hundreds of privately owned land, surround The Shire, and we have permission from the landowner to explore them. It was great time for father and son.

Now Sandy, Josh, and I are chillin' and eating hot-out-of-the-oven blueberry muffins! The plump purple berries were grown right here at The Shire on our own bushes.

P.S. And we saw the end of the Sox and A's game. Yay, Big Papi!  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hearing, Seeing, Telling...

We cannot stop telling about everything we have heard and seen. ~ Acts 4:20

Before the sun had risen above the tree line, Sandy and I made several trips up-and-down our drive that is 1/5 of a mile long. We wouldn't be able to get a bike ride in, because we wanted to get some yard work in before the blazing first day of summer started creating dancing heat waves. A brisk walk would have to suffice. It was 78 degrees before first light.

Three descending tiers of flower beds--that are about three feet wide and twenty five feet long--need to be reclaimed. For many years they went unattended and lay fallow and buried under a half-foot of pinecones, pine needles, deadfalls, and decaying leaves. In no time at all our clothes were as soaked with sweat as if we had just waded out of the pond. We are winning, and the beds are taking shape. Soon the beige will be a colorful  palette of beautiful flowers, red mulch, and lush, green signs of new life.

This morning's physical labor is somewhat of a metaphor for the new spiritual labor God has graciously called me into. The rest of the day I have been reading, writing, and thinking through what I will speak about tomorrow at First Baptist Church of Phenix City. For an unspecified length of time (God still sets the boundaries of man), I will be the interim pastor there. At this point, I will lead the Sunday morning worship services. It seems best that I stay focused the on the Book of Acts. FBC has been through a lot of change and struggle, and a numerically downward trend. Their last pastor of thirty years died in December.

It seems that the time is right to look to the Book of Acts, a thrilling testimony of the presence of Jesus Christ working through the Spirit of God and His people, and expect that He will continue to create something new... 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day...

Shredded Wheat was a popular cereal around our house when we were growing up. It used to come in a box that contained layers of large, rectangular, crumbly blocks of shredded wheat that were separated by white, rectangular card stock. Dad used that card stock to take sermon notes on at church. I vividly remember him holding a colored pencil that was red on one end and blue on the other. Dad had the thickest hands I have yet to see in my fifty-eight years--his wedding ring was a size twenty-one--and the pencil looked like a toothpick between his massive fingers!

A while ago, Sandy gave me a bundle of just such pencils. Today, in honor of my father, I brought my hand written notes to the pulpit. Major points underlined in red. Sub-points underscored in blue. When I extended an invitation at the end of the message, a young couple, Hannah and Hunter, came forward to profess their faith in Christ and to be baptized. It's been a great Father's Day…

Added this pic of the full moon reflecting off the pond just because it's beautiful...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Shire

Real-life can be real tough... hardly idyllic. But where we live in Cataula, Ga. we experience moments that come close to Utopia. I never feel like I am exaggerating when I speak of The Shires tranquility and beauty and uniqueness. It seems that everyday, we experience something a little different: today, a Summer Tanager, something we had never seen, perched on the railing that leads down to the pond. Its plumage is a beautiful muted red. Somewhat like a cardinal, but different. Smaller. Young fawns, along with their mother, curiously romp along the banks of our pond, and browse for morning and evening meals. Coyotes make a fateful trip through The Shire from time to time. I have diminished their population...

Today, Sandy and I planted flowers, spread mulch, and removed debris from the recent storm that hurled gusts of winds that brought down any branches that were not healthy and well established in our pines, oaks, and sweet gum trees.

Tomorrow, I speak at First Baptist, in Phenix City, Alabama. I will be doing an interim there for an undetermined amount of time. In the afternoon, after the service, we will pick up Sandy's best friend from Jr. High, who is flying into Columbus, to spend the next four days with us. Sherran is a delight.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

New Family...

Every spring new families arrive at The Shire. Late this afternoon a mama deer and her little fawn were feeding along the pond. This morning another mama, with twin fawns, hustled her little ones into the woods when I walked outside.

A couple of mornings ago, Sandy and I were having coffee on the front porch. A doe came busting out of the pasture to the west being pursued by a pack of coyotes. The deer continued across the pasture, but the pack stopped on the edge of the woods. I got Joshes 22 and tipped one of them over. I know I hit him, and I am fairly certain his hunting days are over. Buzzards began circling later in the day….