‘The poor man thinks money will buy his happiness, the rich man knows it won’t.’  The first time I heard that said it was my pastor (and friend) who told me that.  I am sure it was not his original words.  It is true when you are struggling to pay your bills it is a common illusion.  And not being able to put food on your table is certainly anxiety provoking.  Money can’t replace your sense of purpose.  It is true sometimes your job is a good fit.

You always wonder how it would be not to worry about money.  King Solomon was the richest man in the world, had it all, lacked for nothing and all he could say in the book he wrote was, ‘Vanity, everything is vanity.’  Riches can not buy peace of mind.  If you read Ecclesiastes, the book he is credited with writing in the Bible, and do not read the ending; you miss the whole point.  In it he said the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.  Every person needs a relationship with the Almighty.  It all come down to that.  Money never satisfies.  Ask the billionaire who can buy anything whether money can buy him happiness.  I think you know the answer.

It must be the height of the wild raspberry season.  I just picked another bowlful.  I won’t pick any more.  I will let other creatures (and others) pick the remainder.  Lynelle all ready baked two pies–one we froze.  They are a real treat and the bushes are walking distance.  Maybe my other will bake another pie and we will give this one away.  The season is so short.  The wild blackberry season is next–a few more weeks.  During one season near the end I discovered a patch deep in the woods hard to get to.  There are so many briars.  I will have all the blackberries I want if I fight my way through all the thorns.  Something else to look forward to–my wife’s blackberry pies.  Another treat.  Soon to come.

The latest visitor at our house is a bird that built a nest in the wandering Jew plant hanging from the top of our garage door.  The nest is facing the back of the garage.  We saw a bird fly into it today but we still are not certain what kind of bird it is.  It is probably a small song bird.  She might be laying on her eggs.  Baby birds grow up quickly.  And before we know it they are gone.  We are keeping an eye open for them.

The church is not the building it is the community–invisible but real nevertheless.  And there is one body.  There is way too much division between churches.  I am much more comfortable with the idea there is one body.  You can go anywhere and meet another believer and there is that connection.  I attend a Lutheran Church but I consider myself a Christian.  And I am much more comfortable with that.  Too much attention is made out of issues that don’t really matter.  Every Christian is a snow flake.  To God (and Jesus) every person matters.  The church is an organization where members and non-members are both welcome.  Every person is welcome.  We are all sinners.  There is no getting away from that.  The body of believers is always invisible.  It goes far beyond the buildings they meet in.  Some thoughts on the Church.

Sometimes your woman just wants to be held.  No explanations.  No words–just held tightly when her world has collapsed.  I keep forgetting this.  And have to remind myself.  A hug will just suffice.  And hold her until she lets go.  It is so simple but I forget this.  Hugs do wonders.  Don’t try to help her with your explanations.  Just hug her until she lets go.

Sometimes you need to get physically moving to dispel your depression.  I woke up depressed.  I found out after moving around and doing chores most of the depression lifted.  It helps when you do not stay in one spot too long and face your day.  It is too easy to give in to your depressed thoughts.  Thank God for routine.  It does not give you the privilege of bemoaning your fate.  There are always tasks that need to be done.  And you have to focus on that.  It gets you out of yourself.  And that is a good thing.

How many more opportunities will I have to see my sisters?  We are meeting them both at the PA and NJ border.  My one sister now lives in California and comes East maybe once a year.  My other sister has a second home in Plymouth.  We used to always go to her house for Thanksgiving in NJ once a year.  Now she has it in Plymouth and that is just too far from us.  I just wonder how many more opportunities will I have to see them together.  We never know how much time we have so all I can do is enjoy the time He gives me.  It is really not up to me.  Time is a gift.  And we never know when it runs out.

The grackles are scaring the other birds away in my front yard.  I had to stop putting out suet cakes.  The grackles liked them too much.  And the woodpeckers (red bellied and downy) stopped coming.  And other birds attracted to the suet.  Like the brown creeper and white breasted nuthatch.  More than once I saw a grackle take a bite of suet and go back to grab another and they still had not swallowed the first bite which was still hanging from their beak.  I did not know how to discourage them.  I know they are God’s creatures.

I wish they would go away.  Nevertheless they knew a good thing when they saw it.  They also would feed on the bird seed I scattered on the ground.  I did not mind them sharing the suet cakes with the woodpeckers but they chased them away.  I was going through at least one cake a day.  They are almost a dollar at WalMart.  Even with no suet cakes being put out they are still coming although not as many.  I just don’t know what to do.  I miss the suet feeding birds I used to see regularly from my front window.

It is only 66 degrees outside today and praise the Lord for it.  It is only a week ago we had a short heatwave–temperatures in the 90’s and it was quite uncomfortable.  It was hard even sleeping when it was that warm so I am thanking the Almighty for his “gifts” when they come along.  So thank the Lord for all the small gifts that come along.  This was just one.

You never know what creatures you will see around my house.  Last week I flushed a deer in the woods out back.  It must have been drinking water from the tiny creek there.  It is not unusual to see deer in the area although that was the first time I spotted one in our yard.

A few days ago I moved my mower which was on our front porch and a two inch black toad hopped away and disappeared into a crack between the porch and wall.  I had never seen one that color before although I have seen many toads of all sizes on our porch that are attracted by the bugs the porch light brings.

Just today I saw a chipmunk on the limb six feet up on a branch of our white pine viewed from (???) of our living room.  Usually he is only seen scurrying on the ground helping himself to the bird seed scattered on the ground.  I know they can climb but that was an unusual spot to see him.  You never know what animal you are going to see.  We live on the edge of the countryside.

Coco is one of my “pups”.  I call her that although she is full grown.  Her Mom is our golden retriever and Dad is our Rottweiler mix.  She is totally black with a little patch of white on her breast, long haired with the most adorable fluffy ears.  She was the pup who hung back and observed before doing anything.  She is so different than her Mom, “Sweetie”.  Sweetie will demand your attention.  She will put her paw on you to get petted more.  Not Coco.  Coco is this unassuming lovable dog.  Sometimes she sits there both paws crossed so feminine-like.  She likes her privacy:  often she is the last dog to come inside from the yard.  When she has a bone, she is loath to leave it and will, often, run out into the yard with it in her mouth and return into the house with it in its mouth, too.  I love all my four dogs but she has a special place in my heart.

I am watching the berries.  Within a short walking distance of our house is patches of blackberries and red raspberries.  I surveyed the progress of the berries today.  The red raspberries are still a few weeks off, then a little later there are the blackberries.  I will keep checking them periodically.  There are frozen crusts in the freezer waiting for the berries to be picked.  My wife makes great berry pie and they get consumed by both of us right away.  Occasionally we even give one away.  I will keep checking the berry patches.  I don’t want to miss my wife’s pies.  They are just too good.