2018 April 24 Thursday

2018 April 24 Thursday in Liberty Hill Texas

54° going towards 84. I checked the weather in Iowa and it is also 54° but going for a high of 71.

What a bright start to the day. Not a cloud in the sky.

Here are some of the wild flowers in my yard.

It was just Ella and I at ten o’clock at the Georgetown senior center this morning. But by the time bingo started at 10:45 we had ten folks here.

After bingo half of them left again because the lunch menu was salad, grapes and pudding. A lot of them either can’t eat it or don’t like salad. Ella had problems with colitis so she came prepared with a peanut butter sandwich.

The next stop was the doctor so that Ella could get her shoulder checked out and get meds updated.
MUSINGApril 24 2018

WHICH BIRD ARE YOU?

Psalms 1:1-3
Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. Rather, he delights in the teachings of the LORD and reflects on his teachings day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams– a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does.

“A man is known by the company he keeps.”* Birds of a feather flock together.”**

There are so many ways to describe a personality using a bird analogy. Are you a hawk or a dove? Or are you a chicken or am eagle? Maybe you’re a turkey. Do you strut and crow like a rooster? Are you proud as a peacock, or as gracefully as a swan?

Be careful of the friend you choose and the leaders that you follow. There are true friends and honest leaders. However there are also many who aren’t. Examine yourself and your friends in the light of God’s word.

What fruit do they bear? What fruit do you bear?

*Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE.

**In 1545, William Turner wrote “Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.”

All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

_________

2018 April 23 Monday

2018 April 23 Monday in Liberty Hill Texas

50° with calm clear skies going for a high of 84. Altogether a beautiful day. This is the day that the LORD has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.

The blue bonnets have faded away in the Texas hill country but multitudes of other wild flowers have taken their place along the roadsides and pastures. In Iowa the dandelions are starting to bloom. For some reason they aren’t as welcome as other wildflowers.

I like sunrise and sunset photos, as you may have noticed if you’ve followed my blog for a while. I try to start and end the day with skyscapes. Unlike most photography, taking pictures of the sky is a matter of timing. And this is never more true than sunrise and sunset.

I’m an early riser. Usually I awaken around five – no alarm – that’s just when my mind snaps on. Generally I have two to three hours before Ella is awake. I use this time to read, study, and write. And while I’m doing this I keep an eye on the sky. I’m looking for the false dawn*

This is when you get the first glimpse of cloud formations and possibly some color. I may take a series of shots over the next hour. Of those I choose my favorite and move it to an editing app.

Because my smartphone is my camera, I needed to un-correct somethings that it does automatically. The phone “corrects” for the low light level of the original so I need to darken the photograph back to what my human eye perceived. I may also adjust the contrast to better define the edges. And then most important if all. I crop the photo to focus on the most dramatic part of the image.

At sunset I again wait, watch, and take a series of shots. And once again undo the auto corrected images.

I have a separate blog with some of my images. http://tomandellasphotography.blogspot.com/

When we arrived at the Georgetown senior center this morning we were greeted by tables full of baked goods (as usual for Monday’s).

We picked up a couple of items to share with friends at an Emmaus meeting in Marble Falls this evening.

We played games, as usual. But did something unusual for us, we watched television. It is always on at the center but we seldom give it any attention. Today we watched Daniel Boone and Bonanza.

In the evening we drove to Marble Falls United Methodist Church.

The Emmaus fourth day gathering began with a potluck. We all ate our fill and there were twelve baskets left over … Well no not quite, but there was more than enough.

We then gathered in the sanctuary for a time of praise and worship.

Then it was time for that drive home.

Sunset arrived as we were leaving worship.

*False dawn is light that precedes the rising of the sun by about an hour. It is caused by light, bent by the Earth’s gravity, striking extra terrestrial dust and or reflective particles in the atmosphere.

MUSINGApril 23 2018

O BE CAREFUL

1 Corinthians 8:8-9, 11-12
Food will not affect our relationship with God. We are no worse off if we eat that food and no better off if we don’t. But be careful that by using your freedom you don’t somehow make a believer who is weak in faith fall into sin.

In that case, your knowledge is ruining a believer whose faith is weak, a believer for whom Christ died. When you sin against other believers in this way and harm their weak consciences, you are sinning against Christ.”

Though this warning from Paul was about eating food considered by some to be forbidden, it made me think of this children’s song:

“O be careful little hands what you do
O be careful little hands what you do
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little hands what you do”*

There are verses that cover just about any activity.

It is important to be careful how we live our lives. First of all so that we don’t wander from the path that God has laid out for us, but also do that we don’t cause others to fall from the path.

The moment that we accept Jesus as your saviour he also becomes our Lord. Which means our life is no longer our own, we belong to him. Our goal is to become like him. And others are watching. As we become imitators of Christ so will others become imitators of us. So be careful little Christian what you do.

*Author Unknown.

All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

________

2018 April 21 Saturday

2018 April 21 Saturday in Liberty Hill Texas

54° and fog. Less than a quarter mile in some places although probably more like three quarters of a mile at homes.

And home is where we spent the day. We continue to work toward packing what we are taking back to Iowa with us. As well as doing some deep cleaning and straightening in prep for storing our RV. I have cut ½” pink insulation to fit all of our windows in hopes of avoiding heat and solar damage while it sits during a Texas summer. I’ve already covered the larger windows.

This includes the bedroom. Ella said she felt as though she were sleeping in a cave. I’m not sure if she meant that as a good thing it a not good thing. So I know is she slept until around nine.

Around eleven this morning it began to rain. It wasn’t a heavy rain but it sure was cold when I stepped out to unlatch the door so that I could close it.

Long about five the sun broke through the fog for the first time today.

MUSINGApril 21 2018

KNOWLEDGE ITSELF IS POWER*

Proverbs 3:21-26
My son, do not lose sight of these things. Use priceless wisdom and foresight. Then they will mean life for you, and they will grace your neck. Then you will go safely on your way, and you will not hurt your foot. When you lie down, you will not be afraid. As you lie there, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the destruction of wicked people when it comes. The LORD will be your confidence. He will keep your foot from getting caught.”

Seek knowledge but moreover seek wisdom. Knowledge may be power but wisdom is the proper application of that power.

Knowledge is neither good nor evil. Wisdom, however, forces a moral judgement upon the use of knowledge.

There are countless examples of educated fools because, “a little learning is a dangerous thing.”

So I encourage you to learn all you are able. Then pray for wisdom. For wisdom is a gift from God.***
So I encourage you to learn all you are able. Then pray for wisdom. For wisdom is a gift from God.***

*Bacon’s Meditationes Sacrae (1597)

**An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope 1709

***Proverbs 2:6

All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

2018 April 20 Friday

2018 April 20 Friday in Liberty Hill Texas

55°

Our Grandies* group went to Marble Falls to cash in our aluminum cans $23+.

Then it was to the Blue Bonnet Cafe for lunch and pie.

There is always a waiting line to eat here. And we had a group of eleven for lunch.

They did a good job of seating us all at a large round table

We returned home and did some work toward getting the RV ready for storage.

And this sunset to close out the day.

*Grandies is a ministry for senior citizens who have, since it’s beginning, has mailed more than 3,300 greeting cards to our military, healthcare needs, sympathy, birthday, anniversary, and others.

They also work with the schools and other organizations to provide personal items, snacks and meals to children in need.

MUSINGApril 20 2018

I AM SAFE IN HIS PRESENCE

Psalms 23
The LORD is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the LORD’s house for days without end.”

This Psalm can arguably be called the most familiar chapter of the Bible. I have used a more modern version (GOD’S WORD) here rather than the King James that is more familiar. I find that different versions may give me new insights into familiar passages.

I’m concentrating on the following section of the Psalm. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage.”

The first thing that pops out at me here is that the Shepherd doesn’t lead his sheep around or away from this valley. But goes with them through the valley of death. Did you hear that? Through and with. He has no fear and because the Shepherd is with them there is no fear in them. They trust in him to keep them safe even in this dark place.

The Shepherd’s tools reassure the sheep that everything will be alright. The rod is a weapon to be used in defense or offence as needed. So the sheep are comforted knowing that the Shepherd has the strength, ability, and tool to protect them from those that would do them harm.

The staff was a long stick with a curved end that could be used as a weapon if needed, but its primary purpose is to protect the sheep from themselves. The staff corrects the path of wayward sheep by gentle nudges or perhaps not so gentle for those more prone to wander. The crooked end is perfect for lifting those who have fallen or become stuck.

There rod to protect from outside threats and the staff to protect them from themselves.

Truly ,I fear no harm, for he is with me.

All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

___________

2018 April 19 Thursday

2018 April 19 Thursday in Liberty Hill Texas

49° at five this morning. Predicted high was 71°.

As I was sitting, waiting for Ella to be ready to go to the Over the Hill Gang* this morning, the trashmen came to empty the trash container here at the Stocktank RV park.

I didn’t see them but I heard all of the sound associated with this procedure. First I hear the CRUNCH of tires on gravel as they enter the campground. Then there is the KA-CHSSS sounds of the air brakes. Next a dull metallic KACHUNK as the truck connects with the bin. The engine begins to rev and there is the SQUEALIN, toured CRY of metal slowly rubbing on metal as the maw of the truck’s compactor slides open and then a solid THUNK as it stops. Again the engine revs while the bin is lifted high above the gaping mouth of the compactor. The doors make dull plastic sounds as they pop open. Then garbage like an obscene waterfall begins to tumble down. Cans and bottles KLINK and KLUNK. The trash bags come with soft CRINKLE and soggy SPLATS. The operator jams the lever up and down in rapid order causing the bin to BOUNCE and BANG to completely empty its trash. Downward comes the container with the lids falling into place with a RINGING, SLAMMING concussion.
Finally the bin makes an almost soft THOOMP as it settles back on the ground. The hydraulic ram beings to mash, the contents with PINGS, POPS, SNAPS, and explosive BANGS. Once more the truck revs and the tires CRUNCH gravel as it leaves.

I’m so glad I’m already awake when the garbage truck comes.

Then it was of to play and eat with friends at the OTHG*.

After lunch we played Canasta with Debra.

Leaving OTHG we checked our mail box to find… nothing.

Then it was a stop at the doctor’s to set an appointment for Ella.

Busy day so far. But there is still a baseball game to go.

MUSINGApril 19 2018

THIS IS MY SON, LISTEN TO HIM!*

1 John 3:21-23
Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we can boldly look to God and receive from him anything we ask. We receive it because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. This is his commandment: to believe in his Son, the one named Jesus Christ, and to love each other as he commanded us.”

How much is your immortal soul worth to you? Don’t let it become malnourished. Feed it every day. Read the Bible. Listen, I’ll say it again. Read the Bible. Read it all. Read some every day. Find a reading plan to read it through in a year or two or … Pay special attention to the red letters in the new testament, the words of Jesus. We are commanded by God to listen to Jesus*. In case you haven’t gotten the message yet, he speaks to us through the Bible.

Pay special attention to the red letters in the new testament, the words of Jesus. We are commanded by God to listen to Jesus*. In case you haven’t gotten the message yet, he speaks to us through the Bible.

Don’t trust any teacher, preacher, evangelist, prophet, author, or me with your eternal life without fact checking them against what the scripture says.**

Know the truth and be free.***

*Matthew 17:5

**Matthew 24:5-11

***John 8:31-32

All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

___________

2018 April 18 Wednesday

2018 April 18 Wednesday in Liberty Hill Texas

68° at 5 a.m. when I awoke. I started searching my Bible (app) for my morning devotion and was lead to the story of Gideon. (Read the musing below) one of the things that struck me this morning was the parallel between Gideon and a young friend of ours. This friend, call them X, has had some rough years. Family turmoil, upheavals at school and home, being bullied, self harming, and self esteem issues.

The remarkable thing is that X is so bright, capable, and articulate. We see so much strength and depth of character in X that it seems incongruous for them to be so focused on their perceived weakness.

This friend, call them X, has had some rough years. Family turmoil, upheavals at school and home, being bullied, self harming, and self esteem issues.

The remarkable thing is that X is so bright, capable, and articulate. We see so much strength and depth of character in X that it seems incongruous for them to be so focused on their perceived weakness.

Gideon is greeted by the LORD calling him a mighty man of valor. While in Gideon’s eyes he is less than nothing and he tries to convince the angel of the LORD of that by, in effect, saying, “ My tribe is the least in the nation, my family is the least in the tribe, and I am the least in the family.”

The Midianites have been bullying not just him but his entire nation. So when the LORD tells him to go in his strength, he tried to deflect the narrative with questions. The LORD ignored the question and repeats his command to go. And reminds him of who sent him.

And, if course, against all odds Gideon overcomes. I pray that X will come to understand that God sees in them their true nature which is not the weak and fearful person they think themself to be.

Since it is Wednesday, it is Grandies* day. We had 15 in attendance today.

All was quite until chior practice in the chapel in the evening. We did raise our voices there.

*Grandies is a ministry for senior citizens who have, since it’s beginning, has mailed more than 3,300 greeting cards to our military, healthcare needs, sympathy, birthday, anniversary, and others.

They also work with the schools and other organizations to provide personal items, snacks and meals to children in need

MUSINGApril 18 2018

GO SAVE YOUR PEOPLE

Judges 6:11-16
Then an Angel of the Lord arrived, and he sat under an oak tree, which was at Ophrah, and which belonged to Joash, the father of the family of Ezri. And while his son Gideon was threshing and cleaning the grain at the winepress, so that he might flee from Midian, the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and he said: “The Lord is with you, most valiant of men.” And Gideon said to him: “I beg you, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why have these things happened to us? Where are his miracles, which our fathers described when they said, ‘The Lord led us away from Egypt.’ But now the Lord has forsaken us, and he has delivered us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord looked down upon him, and he said: “Go forth with this, your strength, and you shall free Israel from the hand of Midian. Know that I have sent you.” And responding, he said: “I beg you, my lord, with what shall I free Israel? Behold, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in the house of my father.” And the Lord said to him: “I will be with you. And so, you shall cut down Midian as if one man.”

The story of Gideon in Judges chapter six through eight has always fascinated me. I recommend that you read it for yourself. There are a lot of things going on in this account that can reassure you when the odds are against you.

However, the part of the story that intrigues me the most is the greeting Gideon received from the angel of the LORD. The Lord is with you, most valiant of men.” what makes this interesting is that Gideon is hiding in a wine press so that the Midianites don’t see him and come, kill him, and take the wheat.

The Midianites came like a plague of locusts. Year after year an innumerable multitude of men would come and steal or destroy everything, devastating whatever they touched.*

So, with good reason, Gideon was hiding when the LORD appears to him with that remarkable greeting, most valiant of men. Valor is not a common place term anymore so here is what it means, “great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.”

While Gideon viewed himself as the least of the least, the LORD saw him as the right person to free his people. He is sent in his own strength plus that of the LORD’s and it is more than enough.

It is your turn. Go in your strength and the power of God to save your community, your state, your nation, your world.

*Judges 6:5

All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

2018 April 17 Tuesday

2018 April 17 Tuesday in Liberty Hill Texas

58° with gust up to 31 mph at 4:30 this morning. I got busy with other things and forgot to get a sunrise photo.

Around 8:30 we left for the twins one mile drive to the senior center in Georgetown.

Upon arriving Ella and I started a game of Rummikub and invited others to join in. But no takers. Then at ten thirty it was time for Bingo. They have quite a fancy setup with a machine and electric scoreboard. We played six or eight games with the last one being Black Out. It is continued until everyone has won a prize.

Then it was time for lunch.

_MUSING – April 17 2018

THE RIVER OF GOD’S PLEASURE

Psalms 36:7-10
Your mercy is so precious, O God, that Adam’s descendants take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They are refreshed with the rich foods in your house, and you make them drink from the river of your pleasure. Indeed, the fountain of life is with you. In your light we see light. Continue to show your mercy to those who know you and your righteousness to those whose motives are decent.”

The psalmist in a few words paints a beautiful picture of the paradise of God’s presence. In the shadow of his wings speaks to the loving protection of our LORD. Held close and sheltered next to Him no harm can come to us.

We come to His table and are treated to the best foods and drinks. I have dual images in my mind here. The image of a large family gathering around the dinner table laughing and taking and enjoying each other’s company as they eat their fill. The other image that comes to mind is the communion table where we dine on the greatest meal ever prepared, the body and blood of God’s holy Son.

We will be refreshed by the crystal clear living waters of the Spirit that fills us.

As we stand in His light, where no darkness can be found, we see true light for the first time. This light does not cast shadows it destroys the darkness completely.

Oh how I long for this. Come Lord. Come quickly. Amen.

All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

__________