Category Archives: WEATHER-OR NOT

Stories and posts which revolve around the subject of weather.

Great News! Praise God! “The Buzzards are Circling!”

Hi Friends:
It’s funny how you can take one “old saying,” and apply it to two different circumstances, and it mean two totally different things.

All my life, the saying that “The Buzzards are Circling” was a bad thing.

A very bad thing.
In fact, it always meant that, as bad as things are now … they were about to get worse.

That is … until I moved into the North Country.
To the Great North Woods.
A place where even words like “Spring” have a totally different meaning than from anywhere else in the Country.

A little over 2 weeks ago, our version of “Spring” arrived.
As with a lot of things “up here,” what things mean “everywhere else” means something different here.

Please don’t take this as “always negative,” either. It’s amazing the difference that even something like “an old saying” can take on a totally different meaning … based solely upon the attitude of the person who is saying it. That’s the case with this “Buzzards are Circling” phrase. All my life, it has meant that things were going to go from bad to worse … and, that fact was so evident that even the buzzards knew it.

We all know what buzzards do. Like so many things we may consider as “undesirable,” they have a purpose and a benefit.

I’m thinking that the saying “The Buzzards are Circling” came from the Old West, here in the United States. My earliest memories of hearing the phrase came from watching those old Western movies, where, at a really bad time, the characters, always in a desperate situation with no hope for rescue, would look up to the skies … where, sure enough, the buzzards would be circling. We all knew what they were waiting for. What they were expecting to happen.
So, this phrase, it just went without saying, meant that all hope was gone. It’s over. I mean … things are so bad, that … well … the buzzards are circling …

Enter the Great North Woods.
Literally.

The land across the road from our house is wooded.
Tall, tall pine trees.
Thick branches.
Perfect for roosting.
Guess what roosts every year in the top of those big pine trees?
Buzzards.
Guess when they begin to gather and roost in these trees?
At the end of Winter.
Not, necessarily, at the beginning of Spring.
But, at the end of Winter.

I honestly don’t know where they stay during the Winter months.
I really don’t.
I mean, I see them all Winter, all over the countryside.
But, they don’t roost here.
I don’t know where they stay all Winter.
All I know is that they show up, like clockwork, at Winter’s end, a couple of hours before dark.
First, only a couple of buzzards are seen circling around the trees.
Then, as we get closer and closer to dusk, the number increases.
Increases greatly.
You see them circling … first, in wide circles … then, gradually, the circles get smaller … and smaller … until, one by one, they land in the tops of the trees.
You can hear their wings ruffle as they get comfortable in the trees.
You can see them, through the branches, as you hear them “settle in for the night.”

Again, they only start doing this at the end of Winter … and, they continue to roost there all Summer, and deep into the Fall.

So … after such a long, long, cold, cold, seemingly never-ending Winter … last Wednesday, the last week of March … they started to arrive.
What an allegory this is … they arrived Wednesday evening … only a couple to begin with … but they were here!
Praise God!
The buzzards are circling!
Let me say that again:
Praise God!
The buzzards were circling!

Remember that early line about how even an “old saying” can take on a completely different meaning, based solely upon who was speaking it?
I clearly remember, last Wednesday evening, being on the front porch, and saying this, out loud, and I mean out loud:
“Thank you Jesus!
The buzzards are circling!”

God is so good.
So good!
He can even take something like that old saying, those words, and turn them into a praise report!

Oh yeah?
Yeah!
“Well, how is it now?”

Well … I’m looking out the office window, at 5:00PM on Friday, April 6.
What do I see?
Not buzzards.
It looks more like “blizzard.”
Good ‘ol North Country.

That’s ok.
We’ve been blessed.
So it’s snowing.
Hard.
This morning, when I left for School … it was 12 degrees.
But … the buzzards are circling!
It didn’t feel that cold.
Ok … that’s because we just finished a wind storm (good ‘ol high gusty winds with below freezing temperatures), and,
because the wind had subsided, it felt warmer.
How high has the wind been?
One of our neighbors, at School today, asked if we’d lost any trees.
So, 12 degrees, with no wind, was a blessing.
Plus … the buzzards are circling!

Man! I’m still looking outside, and it still looks like a blizzard.
Good ‘ol April 6th!
But … a few minutes ago, about 4:30 … through the snow … as I stood on the front porch … I could make out … through the snow … yes it was …
A buzzard circling!
I saw, and heard, him land in the treetop across the road, and heard the ruffling of his feathers …
Any minute now … more buzzards would be circling through the snow …
We’re at the end of Winter!
I look outside the window again:
Man, those are some big flakes!

I just looked out the back window.
Those are some big flakes!
I rush back to the office to make sure I read the calendar right. Yes … and, this last Sunday was, in fact, Easter.
Yep … Today is April 6.
Baseball season has started.
I gotta get back out to that front porch …
I gotta see more buzzards!
I also gotta make sure I’ve got gas in the snow-blower …

I write of all this, because we have readers all over who just find it so hard to believe that the weather is really “like this.”
It is.
They always ask questions like “How do you handle it?”
(I know they really mean something like “What are you, crazy???)
Anyway, when I left for School this morning, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Beautiful.
What does this mean?
Stick around … it’ll change.
Enter the Great North Woods.

Here’s how we “handle it” in the North Country:
When I left School this afternoon, it had already begun to snow.
I left the School parking lot, and up ahead, a couple of blocks away … through the snow … I could make out an image …
A student, who lives a couple of blocks from the School, was shooting hoops, out in front of his house.
Keep in mind that it is snowing.
This student has a basketball goal at the end of his driveway, so he has to “dribble” in the street. There he was, shooting hoops …
as the snow continued to fall … wearing the “hoodie” which we up in New England have come to love … big deal … he was outside, Friday
after School … snow falling … big deal … he was playing basketball, and hitting layups …
Did he know we were officially at the end of Winter?
Did he know the buzzards had begun to circle?

A couple of streets down … snow falling heavier now … I glance off to the right … the baseball field …
Yep … there they were …. as the snow continued to fall …
Baseball practice.
Baseball practice.
Looks like everyone showed up.
Baseball practice.
As the snow falls.
Did they somehow know that it was the end of Winter?
Did they somehow know that the buzzards had returned?
Did they know, for a week now, that the buzzards had been circling?

For our friends “all over,” who are complaining about the cold weather, this is how we “handle” the weather “up here.”
Yes … the buzzards are indeed circling …
Let’s grab our bats, mitts and gloves … let’s get out there and practice our layups …

For … Praise God … “The Buzzards are Circling.”

Wow! Those are some really big flakes.
That’s ok:
The buzzards are circling!

Just so you know … we’ve used 6 tons … plus 20 bags of wood pellets, in our stove … so far …
For those keeping score … that is 12,800 pounds of wood fuel pellets …

But … Thank you, Jesus … The buzzards are circling!

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Looking Back at Winter (Through the Rear-View Mirror): Blue Lights and Badge of Blessing

Hi Friends:

We’ll never forget the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We had days, in a row, where the temperature didn’t make it over zero. I mean we had day-time highs of -4. As it always does, when you’re in the middle of these, it just seems like it’s never going to end.

One of those days, when the high temperature was well below zero, and the wind was really whipping … I had a flat tire. Not in the driveway or garage. That would have been too easy. I was on the way home. It was in a 25 mile-an-hour zone, and I felt the tire go flat … that jerking motion of the steering wheel, and then I could hear it. Anyone who has driven with a flat time knows that sound … I was only a half-mile or so away from the Tire Company where I had bought the tires, so I tried to make it. I tried. It didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t going to make it without losing the tire. In no time, the rim was scraping the ice and sand covered pavement. Anyone who has heard that sound has also felt that helpless feeling that the only place you’re going to make it to, is the side of the road. Yet … and you know what I mean … it was -4, the wind was 40 miles an hour, and, well, being stranded on the side of the road just didn’t seem like an option … I had to try to make it to the Tire Company! Even if it meant pulling in on “all rim.”

Well … the tire and rim was making a terrible noise … and, that’s when I saw the Blue Lights in my rear-view mirror. It was our City Police! I wasn’t going to make it to the Tire Company! Never mind what I said!
It turned out to be a great blessing. The Policeman was one of the nicest, kindest men I’ve ever met. For safety reasons, he had pulled me over. Here’s what he did:
In the freezing, freezing cold, he asked me if I had a jack, and we’d try to change the tire. We found the jack. Those of you who have a truck know about the jack. It’s placed underneath the back seat (a club cab) in a compartment. And, you’re right: They must place the jack and accessories in that small compartment … and then build the truck around it. Tight fit! Don’t worry, I wasn’t able to put it back correctly, either! As an old-time, independent do-it-yourselfer, I was ashamed of the fact that I had to look in the Owner’s Manual to even find out where the jack was. Good ’ol AAA! I must have known at one time, when I first read the manual, but that was a while ago, and I’ve got AAA! Anyway, part of the jack handle is used to “uncrank” the spare time from its holding cell, underneath the truck bed. It’s not really a “holding cell,” just chains, to slowly let down the tire, as you twist the jack handle around and around.

At least, that’s how it goes in the manual. As we said, the spare tire isn’t really covered, under there. It’s completely exposed to the elements of rain, ice, snow, salt, and more rain, ice, snow and salt. What condition do you think the chains and pulley were in? I guess … if you kept your truck in a garage … and, only drove it in 100% dry conditions … not even allowing exposure to dew … this idea of putting the spare under there, uncovered, is a good idea. But, that would be the only way that could be a good idea. Needless to say, the spare tire wouldn’t budge. The Policeman tried multiple times (he had some really good gloves) to get it to drop, but it just wouldn’t. At first, we’d go back to the manual, making sure we were doing it correctly, but it wouldn’t budge. The Policeman said it was probably rusted, and would probably have to be “torched” out. Of course, he was right, and, when I did get the truck towed in, they had to use a torch to remove the spare tire. The chains had all rusted out, and the tire was, literally, welded to the underneath of the truck bed.

So, we couldn’t change the tire, and I would have to call AAA to get the truck towed. The Officer gave me a ride home. I got to ride in the front seat! Near the heater! I will never forget this act of kindness from our local Police Department. I thought of the tremendous responsibility Police Officers have. See, this Police Officer, in a way, was like we as Christians are. We represent our faith, and for those who “run into us” along the way, to them, we represent all Christians. This particular Police Officer was not only an example of our local Police, but an example, to me, of all Police Officers. He was so nice, so caring, and so willing to do everything he could to help me. Yes … he was doing his job (a job, by the way, a lot of us are unwilling to do) … by pulling me over, as I was definitely a safety hazard. But, once he stepped out of his Cruiser, he became much more. Much, much more. As, he did much, much more than “his call of duty.” It’s so easy to say he is a credit to his job, his profession, and our city. Well, if it’s so easy to say … why haven’t I written that letter to the Police Chief? It’s long time I did. As the writer of “Wealth Stored for the Righteous,” in which I write of so many blessings we enjoy every day, and, so often take for granted … have I just discovered another blessing we so easily take for granted? I know that, on this day, this one Police Officer, in below-zero temperatures and a howling wind, would not leave me stranded … would not leave me “out there alone.” Without hesitation, he asked me where the jack was. Without hesitation, he worked and worked, in that brutal weather, trying to get that spare tire down. Without hesitation, he gave me a ride home, and let me sit up front. Near the heater. Without hesitation, he asked if there was anything else I needed.

The only thing I needed, on that day, at that time, was to thank him.

Which I did, and, am attempting to do now. Again, to me, he exemplified not just our local Policemen, but all Police Officers.

As I think back to that cold, miserable day … Ok, I’ll say it, because it’s true … as I look back, I am reminded of something else I am grateful for … something that I don’t thank God for, enough. It’s something that I heard a Christian Brother say as part of a testimony: “I’m not the man I want to be, or am going to be, but I thank God that I’m not the man I used to be.” That’s powerful, and something else I think we take for granted so many times. I’m so glad, so thankful, that when he pulled me over, “I had nothing to hide.” That, alone, is a great feeling, And, a tremendous blessing. Again, think about that statement just a moment. How God has done a great work in us, to change us. Perhaps never is that more evident than when we are dealing with Police Officers. And … I’ll say it … When they are dealing with us. It’s just different, in such a great way. Again, allow me to let that sink in for a moment. God changes us for our benefit, so our lives will be better. And, ready for this … think about it … it makes their life better, too! Think about that.

How many times have we seen on a television show (or maybe even thought ourselves), the person who gets pulled over says something like, “Why are you bothering me, instead of trying to catch criminals?” Let’s just say that, on this day, I am so glad that this Police Officer was right behind me, stopping me, and, yes, blessing me, instead of … being anywhere else.

Often, when I write, I use the term “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

I’ve battled with whether I should mention the Officer’s name. I’m a private person, and I don’t wish to invade anyone else’s privacy. I believe it’s the right thing to do, in this case, to mention, at least the last name of this “Blessing with a Badge.” A man who reminded me that, just as he represents, to me, all Police Officers, that we as Christians also represent “all of us,” a “Royal Priesthood,” at any given time we deal with others. There is that saying that “we may be the only Jesus someone may see.” If we meet a Police Officer, that, too, in a similar way, may be the only Police Officer we may ever meet, and, we may base our whole opinion of the entire “group” just on that one Police Officer. In one case … shall we say this one “cold” case … I’m ok with that. Here goes:

The Police Officer’s last name, who reminded me of my own walk … his last name was:
Priest.

That cold, miserable day, I was so thankful to have Officer Priest in the Hood.

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Looking Back (Side) at Winter: Race to the Road

Hi Friends:

As we anxiously awaited the arrival of Spring this year, we couldn’t help but think about how tough this Winter has been. Yet, through it all, we’d always, every day, hold onto that “promise of Spring.”

I don’t think I’ve seen the snow as deep in the back yard as it is now. The snow bank, next to the driveway, which is where we throw the snow, is 5 feet high. I have friends who just don’t have anywhere else to put any more snow. But, that’s how our version of Spring’s arrival looks.

I don’t remember having as much ice as we’ve had this year, and, by that, I mean how the driveway has “iced over” so many times. I remember one Monday, taking the trash barrel out to the road, I didn’t make it down the driveway … at least on 2 legs. About half-way down, I just couldn’t half-stand any farther. I was doing the ‘ol surf-board bend, my left arm extended, and the other hand grasping the handle of the trash barrel, when gravity took over … I ended up sliding, on my backside and side … down the second half of the driveway … ending up in the middle of the road. Me and the trash barrel ended up in a dead-heat at the road, both arriving at the same time. No … I think I made it to the road first!

For a moment, I knew how those guys in the Winter Olympics feel … Unfortunately … it was that guy who symbolized “The agony of defeat.”

And, speaking of “de feet,” I felt even worse, because I had a pair of “crampons” attached to my “big boy boots,” sitting there by the pellet stove. What a life-saver these are. Carol had gotten me these for Christmas, and I have used them a couple of times, when clearing out the ice and adding dirt to the driveway. These are the “strap-on” crampons, with rubber “soles,” which you just stretch over the bottoms of your boots. If you are thinking about buying these, they are worth every penny. It’s like a tool you buy for a particular job, and don’t use very often. But, when you use them, they are well worth whatever you paid for them. I even saw the mail carrier wearing these. I was concerned that there was no way she could walk up the driveway, on a day when the whole driveway was a solid sheet of ice. She got out of the mail truck, and without flinching, proceeded to walk up our driveway, without batting an eye. When she first started up, I was amazed … it seemed miraculous … it was like she was walking on water, which if you think about it (think about it in context here), she was … frozen water. So, anyway, they are worth the money.

So, why didn’t I just slip my boots on, this particular morning? I mean, I walked right past them on my way out the door to take the trash down, and then leave for work. You know why. Because, as I always do, when getting ready for work, I cut it as close as humanly possible to leave at the last possible moment. I mean, like many of you, I have it down to a science. Every second really does count. I don’t wear “tie-up” shoes, slip-ons only, so I won’t have to “waste” 2 minutes tying shoes. Most of my school shirts are of the “pull-over” variety. I’m not mandated to wear a tie, which would be difficult because of what I may have to do, on any given day. This saves me precious seconds spent buttoning a shirt. I have my clothes ready, and lunch made, from the night before. I am constantly trying to find new ways to save time in the mornings. So, I did think about putting on the boots with crampons, but that would have “cost” me precious time, having to deal with the boot laces, and then, having to untie the boots to swap into my school shoes (slip-ons, of course) would have cost me maybe, just maybe, 3 minutes. So, I made the decision to “risk it” and walk/crouch down the driveway, to get the trash to the curb. 3 extra minutes! What would you have done?

While it could have been much, much worse (I know people who broke bones in less of a fall), especially if there had been any traffic at all, I still got my palms and arms bloodied up a bit, but, since I was running late for work … I waited until I got to work to “clean up” and check to see if my clothing had suffered any tears. On the way to work, I used what paper towels and tissues I had in the truck, to get the bleeding stopped and clean up enough to make the walk from truck to building without attracting any attention.

The next part I must place in context. I had slid a pretty good distance on the ice, and, if there was any damage to my clothing, it would be in a place I couldn’t see. When I reached the Library, there were a couple of staff members, which are trusted friends. One of the ladies, yes ladies, had suffered a serious injury from a fall on the ice, a couple of years ago. I mean, she had gotten really hurt from the fall. So, I knew she would understand. She is also a friend of Carol’s, so it seemed ok to politely ask. So, in the best, mild-mannered way I could, I briefly explained what had happened, and would she be kind enough to check out … I mean … take a look at … I mean … well, it wasn’t comfortable, but necessary under the circumstances. I had to make sure my pants weren’t ripped … They weren’t, and only my pride had been injured.

As I flew (I guess you can fly on your rear end) down the driveway, I could really sense God’s hand on me. I really could. The thoughts of so many people, friends I’ve known, who have been hurt by falling on ice, I must admit, raced through my mind. Which made the fact that nothing was broken, or badly injured, mean that much more to me. I may have come close, but, yet again, when I’ve done something stupid, God’s hand was still on me.

Yeah, it’s been a tough Winter. Yet, that’s all the more reason to be thankful. Thanks, literally, to God’s protective hand, we’ve made it through. Yeah, there is still more “weather” to go through … I mean … If I hear one more person tell me how they remember when it snowed on the 4th of July …

Like so many situations in our lives, it is God’s faithfulness in the past, which gives us hope for the future. As David said, the same God which delivered me from the bear, and the lion, will deliver me from this …

Again, I can’t remember a time, ever, when I have looked more forward to Spring and Summer …
Yet, as I remember this Winter, what God wants me to remember is that it is a memory … of times past … when He kept His hand on us, and gave us confidence and assurance in the future. A future which He has made possible, and, He will be with us in the middle of Spring and Summer, too.
See, the weather will improve.
I need to improve.
He doesn’t.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Trees, the Truck, and Parking with God’s Protection, Providence, and Placement

Hi Friends:

We can always be sure that God makes it where we always have something (s) to pray about, and, just as important, we always have something (s) to be thankful for. When it comes to the weather, I think, regardless of where we live, we always have things to be to be both about.

It’s said that the weather is always something we can talk about, and, again, true regardless of where we live. While it would be easy to write about the weather “up here” for the last few weeks, with record-setting cold, I look back to one particular night, late last year, when we got a taste of what a lot of the country had been facing for so much of the past year: Rain, winds, storms, and more rain, storms, and wind.

It was the end of October/first of November, when the rains came. We are blessed up here in the North Country to be “shielded” from things like Hurricanes, Tornados, and the like. Occasionally, however, we’ll get the tail-end of a real monster, which ends its devastating trek across the country up North, before it heads out to sea. Of course, we’re speaking of rain-storms, and not the snow-storms, the ‘Nor’easters, which can make headlines … and make people wonder why anyone would want to “live up there.” The cold that we’re still experiencing (it was -15 when I went to bed last night) makes many wonder the same thing.

Anyway, it was the end of this past October, when the wind and rain was forecast to hit us, and, what followed, really made us appreciate/understand, first-hand, what our friends way-down South, and up the Coast, had been experiencing. Not since Irene and Sandy approached, were we facing a storm like this one, with the potential of damaging winds and flooding rain. And … hit, it did.

While we all like to think we are prepared for such an event, there’s just no way to accurately prepare for a storm’s onslaught, because you just never know what it will hit … and, what it will miss. You just have to do the best you can … and, pray.

The storm, as predicted, hit up here, in the middle of the night, on the first Monday night of November. Many friends told me they were awakened in the middle of the night by the high winds and pounding rain, the sound of limbs and trees falling. Didn’t I hear it? I didn’t. I guess that’s one of the “benefits” of going to bed so late … you sleep through just about anything … Anyway … the power had gone off, sometime during the night, and the heavy rain was still falling before dawn. I stepped out onto the front porch, but it was too dark to see anything.

I could see my truck, where I had parked it on Saturday, where I park it alongside the porch, so that I can just walk up the ramp with the groceries. Yes, I do the grocery-shopping (up here, they call it “food-shopping). I have three places I park the truck, in non-Winter months: Either down off the driveway, below (our house is on a hill, or maybe better put, within a hill, with the garage way down below, and the floors of the house progressing up the hill, if that makes sense), underneath a cedar tree, right behind a stand of sumac trees (not the poisonous ones), which shield the house from the road. That’s my normal non-Winter parking spot, as I like to walk around the house, up the hill to the back yard, to enjoy the yard and flowers, making my way around, behind the house, to the front porch. I could also decide to trek up the 3 flights of steps, separated by level walking paths, up to the front porch, but I like the long walk around back. A second favorite parking spot is way out back, behind the house, past the yard, “up in the trees,” where I’ll park under one of my favorite trees, a beautiful blue spruce, with wide branches, perfect for parking underneath, especially if rain is forecast for the weekend. The third spot is up by the porch, and, sometimes, like this particular weekend, I’d just left the truck there. It is a shady spot as well, as, just beyond the truck, is a large bank, which is topped by several large spruce trees making the property border. The trees cover the entire property line, all the way to where the bank drops down to the street. I anxiously look forward to parking at any of these three places, because that means it’s not Winter. It is a big moment in the Spring when I can park outside … it is a statement of sorts, that Winter is finally over, and I can park outside! Only those who live up here know what I mean when I say we have a “Summer entrance” and a “Winter entrance,” meaning the steps going from the driveway to the porch. Of course … I could shovel all of the 25 steps, constantly throughout the Winter, but … I’m ok with just parking in the garage …
Anyway, it’s a really big deal to be able to park outside!
Back to the first Monday morning in November:

I knew that there had been a large storm, the power was out, and I had to wait until daylight to see if there was any wind damage. I could see from the porch that 3 of the sumac trees, down off the driveway were down … they were large enough to cover an area from the cedar tree, where I would have normally parked, to halfway across the driveway. We had lost some of these trees before in a wind storm, but this was more intense. Had I parked underneath the cedar, as usual, they would have landed on the truck.

Once it got to be daylight, I then was able to see beyond the truck, to the bank of trees. The last two trees in the row closest to the street had fallen … these were huge spruce trees … huge … and, they had landed … perfectly … between the truck and the bank. You just couldn’t place them any better. They had fallen, side-by-side … not down the bank (which would have gone through the house, crushing the truck, as well) … but, had fallen long-ways, along the center of the bank … perfectly between the house and truck, and the bank. The edge of the limbs had missed the side mirror of the truck by a few inches. Perfectly placed.

It was only when I was leaving the house, that I looked in the back yard, as I passed by the back garage door, and looked out its window: That beautiful blue spruce, which was my favorite tree, which I was so proud to park under, had been blown over. It had been uprooted by the high winds, and was stuck in the limbs of a tall pine tree, leaning over, waiting to complete its journey to the earth. If I had parked there, as I would normally have in the case of a rainy weekend like this one, it would have come down on top of the truck.

It is so true, that old saying we’ve all heard, especially in times of great anguish:
“Jesus doesn’t promise there won’t be storms. He promises that He will be with you in the storm.” Yet again … once again … I had to report, as I’ve done so often: If there was ever, any doubt that God’s hand was on me … this proves, beyond a doubt … How many times have I, and you, said the same thing? So often, we see God’s protection. This was just another great example.

I had to get to town to buy a chainsaw. For the first time, and I’ve seen some pretty bad storms up here, roads were blocked. A stream, on the way to where Carol works, had flooded, and I mean it was over the bridge, and across the road. No one I know had seen that before. There were other sights I saw which was a first was for me, and for those who had lived here their whole lives. I saw water up to windows. I saw streets become streams … but … I had to make it to Wal-Mart! Some may get offended by that statement, but please understand the humor there … I mean, we don’t have 100 stores to choose from. Often, we have no other stores to choose from … anyway, Walmart had no electricity, and the generators weren’t working, so they were closed. On to Tractor Supply! Tractor Supply was open, sort-of … their door was open, but they had no electricity. But, they had employees with flashlights, and could take cash or credit (no registers), using the old “slide” manual credit card “machine.” And … they had one chain saw left … not the brand I would have chosen, but a chain saw with a 22” bar!

So, I was able to clear the driveway of the sumac trees, that afternoon. The power finally came back on. I knew many who didn’t have electricity for a week, and, the damage from the storm was far-reaching and immense. I was blessed in so many ways. It would take me a couple of weeks to clear the big spruce trees from the bank, and, don’t you know … I had to do it between snow-storms (this was November, after all!). It would be the weekend of Thanksgiving before I could cut up the spruce trees from the bank. I made 9 beautiful stacks of split wood. The big, beautiful blue spruce in the back is still hanging on, suspended. There’s been too much snow to work on it, as I’ll need the truck to help “yank it,” which I’ll have to handle when Carol’s not around to witness. I have a plan, though … I’m glad she wasn’t there when the chain came off the saw, and landed in the middle of my right thigh!

In the meantime, that’s just an example of God’s protecting hand. There were other cases this past year, and, even a miracle or two which I experienced over the Christmas break, in the middle of all that record-breaking cold. But, for now, I’ll report this one incident, as I continue to wonder … what has God kept us from … that we don’t even know about?

Once again, I am so thankful to report that God’s promises are true. That there isn’t anything He can’t do. In any kind of weather. I’m thankful that we always have something (s) to be thankful for.
In any kind of weather.

Blessing to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

“Thank God for the Promise of Spring”

Thank God for the Promise of Spring.

Here we are, only 5 days away, and this song, and thought, has been on my mind a lot lately.
A lot.

“Thank God for the Promise of Spring.”

Let’s see: Last night, it was 6 days away from Spring, and we were in the middle of our latest big snow storm. I was snow-blowing the driveway at 8:00 PM. I caught a break in the storm, and got rid of about a foot of snow. If I had waited, the snow would have been over the top of the snow blower. This morning, only 5 days away from Spring, at 8:00 AM, I was snow blowing the driveway.

The sun was out … not a cloud in the sky … the driveway looked beautiful … what does this mean?
At Noon, it was snowing again.

Thank God for the Promise of Spring.

This is March. In the first days of March, we have had plenty of nights below zero. And, I mean, way below zero.

Thank God for the Promise of Spring.

Last Saturday, the high temperature was 3 degrees. That was the high temperature. In the middle of the day, sun beating down, I looked at the thermometer on the deck, and, just once, I thought I saw 5 degrees. Nope … just the angle I was looking …

Carol and I traveled on Sunday … got out of town … it was all the way up to 12 degrees.Felt like wearing a tee-shirt.

I just realized that I have featured this song before.
I’m not surprised.
This idea of thanking God for the promise of Spring … comes every year.

Every year.

Thank God for the Promise of Spring … every year.

It just seems like, every year … we look forward to it more.
Don’t you?

Since I have featured this song before, I looked at what I had written previously, about Winter, about Mama’s words, and about this song.
I’ll include a couple of links to stories I’ve written before about this song.

Maybe I’m getting older, but, it seems, each year, I look more and more forward to Spring.

God’s promises are true.
Including the one about Springtime.

I’ve written much about how God used the songs of Cynthia Clawson to “pull me through.”

Here is the ink to the original “Thank God for the Promise of Spring” Post on May 18, 2016:
Thank God for the Promise of Spring

Here is the link to “It Won’t Rain Always” from January 20, 2016:
It Won’t Rain Always

This is from one of the Bill and Gloria Gaither television programs, as Cynthia Clawson, surrounded by “Homecoming” cast, sings “Thank God for the Promise of Spring.”

This is exactly what Gospel Music should do … what writing should do … what singing should do … what our online ministry strives to do … to bless, inspire, and encourage … How better to do that, in the midst of our latest snow storm … to be blessed … to be inspired … to be encouraged … by God’s promises …

Thank God for the Promise of Spring …

Click Here for Cynthia Clawson Website

 Click here for the Gaither Website

 

The Power of “Posts:” Part Three

I can’t wait to “turn the calendar!”
A new Scripture message, a new promise … however …

I must say, this time of year, right now … there is even more to be excited, expectant about … about just turning the calendar over to a new month …

As I write this, it is one degree above zero, with gusty winds. Which would put the wind chill well below zero … turning that calendar over … I can’t wait … We do get a break tonight: Instead of the originally forecast -15 … it will only be near -10 … We had a snow storm yesterday … the day before … with more snow tomorrow, Saturday … and, then, it gets serious for another storm expected to roll in on Sunday, and continuing until sometime early Monday afternoon … I read the forecast again … and again … and five words stand out: “Storm Total 1-2 feet.” I know, I know, don’t worry … we may, just, only, get a foot … I can’t wait to turn the calendar!

Next time, when I “turn the calendar,” there will be one word that stands out: “Spring.”
I can’t wait to turn that calendar … There is also another set of words which make next month greatly to be anticipated: “Daylight Savings Time Begins.” For those in the rest of the country, that means it won’t start getting dark at 3:30 …

By now, I must admit that I have fallen to the temptation to “turn the calendar” RIGHT NOW.
Thank God for the promise of Spring.
We’re making it through another “Tough New England Winter.”
Thank God … period …

The Scripture for next month, March, just happens to be from Psalms:
“The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works (145:9).”
Hey … that’s a good one!

I want to be reminded … I love to be reminded … and, yes, I need to be reminded that “The Lord is good to all.” I love to read, and see, in writing, words about His tender mercies.
Since this series all started with what was going to be one, simple “post” about last year’s calendar, I can’t resist looking for what the quote was for last March’s calendar.
It was a quote from Nikos Kazantzakis:
“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
That’s pretty good to hear anytime.

By the way … I cleaned the pellet stove last February 24 … I look ahead to last year’s calendar, the month of April, and guess what? It features a scene with mountains, and yes, there it is … a lake …

God has just impressed upon me how a calendar is a microcosm of our lives, in direct relation to His promises and His Word: Yes, there will be Winter, but Spring is promised to come … Summer is promised to come … Some Winters may be harsher than others … but, the promise of Spring, of Summer, is always there … Sometimes, even Summer can be harsh … but, it will only last for a “season.” Even Spring can have its bad moments, but, just look ahead … And, it’s not just looking ahead … How about behind? Here it is, February … Storms coming … Storms just left … Didn’t God just pull us through January? We made it through January. Yes, we did. Proof that God is with us, helping us every step of the way.

Guess what? God ordained the seasons. Yes, He did. So, Who better to lean on? He was the One who put Spring, and Summer … directly after Winter …
Guess what? God even gave us the Autumn … the Fall … to get ready for the Winter ahead. If we’re not prepared for what’s coming … well … whose fault is that???

So, the calendar can serve as a daily reminder of what God has done, what He has brought us through, and then … also … at the same time … regardless of how rough a season we are going through … He reminds us of the promise of what is to come … Isn’t Heaven just like that? The promise of Heaven? God certainly, yet again, knew what He was doing, in just setting up the seasons …

I enjoy looking at the history of certain phrases we use in our everyday language. I tried to find out the origin of the phrase “turn the calendar,” but I couldn’t find anything about how that got to be such a popular phrase.

For reasons I can’t explain, the words of the classic Byrds’ song came to my mind … I can’t explain it, but there they were …
“To everything there is a season … turn … turn … turn …”
This song was quick (and unashamed) to give Scriptural reference to Ecclesiastes 3:1.

I love the idea of a calendar being an example of our lives as God’s children. The look back at what He’s already done. The look ahead of future promises. Both just as sure. Both just as true.
And, the realization of what He is doing now. Below zero, and all I can do is think about how blessed I am, right now. What He is doing for me, in my life, right now.

Yet, because of God’s Word and His promises, I can “turn the calendar,” even now … even with “1-2 feet” on the way … I can sit here, warm and safe … and, turn the calendar to what lies ahead in March … in April … in May … in June … in July … in August … God is there, on every date … regardless of what the date is … regardless of what the season is …

All seasons hold the bounty of God’s blessings.
All seasons hold the promise of God’s Word.

I hope this helps. I know that many of our friends would be happy to just have a simple snow storm to go through, instead of the weather they have gone through.
I hope this helps, in some way, to encourage you. That this will fulfill the words of Proverbs 15:23, that “a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”

I continue to encourage you to, every day, especially first thing in the morning, as you “turn” your daily calendar, to read your Bible, and pray:
“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned (Isaiah 50:4).”

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

The Power of “Posts:” Part Two

Hi Friends:

There is just no way to understate the significance, every day, day-to-day, day-by-day, of “posting” God’s Word around the house … where you … and, others, visiting … will see it … You just never know …

How often I have caught a glimpse of a profound message, even a bumper sticker on a passing car, which seemed to be “just what I’ve needed to hear” … Needed to see … at that exact moment in time …

One of the great things about “posting” these messages around the house is that, not only does it encourage you, but, it can also be a “witness” to someone visiting your home. Don’t ever … ever …. forget the power of that.

I just want to pen a few words about how large an impact, such a “small thing” as just having a calendar with Scripture verses, can have. There is a multiple-blessing potential here. It blesses you, and it blesses your visitors. Plus … I can’t think of a better gift you can give someone, than a calendar … something they will actually use-and see-every day of the year. Yes, a calendar with Scripture verses. Another set of multiplication comes into play: You bless them, the fact that you have blessed them blesses you, they have a constant Scripture reminder in their home, and their visitors will see the verses, too! Think about the power of that! You just never know.

Every year, I am blessed to receive a calendar with Scripture verses. As soon as January 1st hits … it goes on the wall. Now, I know that puppies and horses are cute … and a ton of other calendars are available … but, I look forward, every year, to getting that calendar. Often, it is a calendar featuring Psalms. Awesome! Sometimes, it is a mix of Scripture verses and inspirational quotes. Both “hit home” for me. Plus … they always have a beautiful background.

For example, my new calendar, for January, has a beautiful mountain scene, with snow-covered evergreens in the forefront, huge mountains in the back, and has this verse from Psalm 65 (verse 11): “Thou coverest the year with Thy goodness.” That’s a good one! Perfect for every day … day-to-day, day-by-day …

Whoops! That reminds me: I still have January’s calendar showing, and, here it is, February 3. That’s ok. It’s a beautiful scene, with a beautiful verse. OK! OK! I’ll turn the calendar over:

Beautiful! A lake, surrounded by mountains … with, you guessed it … the reflection of the mountains … in the lake!!! “Posted” above the mountain peak on the left is 1 John 3:1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.” Hey … that’s another good one. Yeah, I could go all month looking at that … reading that … being reminded of that … being blessed and encouraged by that … Get the idea?

Man, I never get tired of the old “mountains reflecting in the lake” scene.

I never get tired of reading how much God loves us.
Get it?

Boy, am I tempted to look at March …

Well, the whole idea for this series came from a message I read from the back of last year’s calendar … looks like I’m not going to get to that right now …

Man, I never get tired of the old “mountains reflecting in the lake” scene.
I never get tired of reading how much God loves us.

By the way, this calendar is the one I use in the office, here at home. It’s the one I am “posted” in front of, for so many hours a week. It’s the calendar I write in front of, including this. It’s the calendar we use to note important appointments … even a “pay-by” date of certain bills … it is the “go-to” calendar. It’s the calendar I sit in front of as I work on “the business.” It’s the calendar I sit in front of as I check the weather, online. It is the “office calendar.” I’m glad it has Scripture verses. When I am doing all of these things, here in the office, I am glad I always have something so beautiful to look at. Things like mountains, lakes, snow-covered trees, and, later, sun-drenched landscapes and sunny scenes. Things like God’s Word. Things like God’s promises. His love. His grace. His mercy. So, it’s not just today … but, every day, in the future … every day of this year … I have all of this to look forward to …  

By the way … I have a dental appointment, I see, on February 22.

I need God’s Word. I need to be reminded of His promises.
I want God’s Word. I want God’s promises. After all, they are for me, too. Every day.

After a long day at work, sitting here, I sure love looking at that calendar. I sure love God’s Word. I sure love looking at the beautiful world He created. By the way … He created it … by His Word …

So far, upon returning home from School, to “the office,” I’ve done business in Washington State, in Utah, and on the East Coast. And, it’s early, yet. I have also worked on two loads of laundry. I’ve swept the snow off the deck … I can’t remember how many times … I go back in, I work a little, go back out, and I have to sweep the snow again … Are you sure I can’t look ahead to June???

I look now at the calendar. I see the beautiful scene, with the mountains reflected in the lake. That never gets old, does it? I look up and read God’s Word. I behold God’s beauty … I behold his love … I “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.”

I have proof … I see it every day … many times a day …that God covers the whole year … every day … with His goodness …

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.