Just Half-An-Hour (or how to get myself to do work I don’t want to do)

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One day last week I was perturbed that I had yard work to do. Usually I enjoy being outside in the warm weather, but not that day. I think the reason it bugged me is that I wanted to do some writing on the computer. But a look at the tall grass and weeds around the shoots of the peony bush confirmed I needed to spend time trimming and weeding.

At the moment the tug-of-war between the two activities escalated in my mind, the thought came, Give the trimming and weeding half-an-hour. If you don’t want to do anymore, that’s fine, you can quit. You’ll have been able to make some progress on it, anyway. But give it half-an-hour.

With that thought, along with a prayer for God to work on my attitude, I grabbed the grass shears and set to work. An hour-and-a-half later, I stopped, happy to have a nicer-looking front yard as my reward.

Since then I decided to use this tactic with other tasks which I need to do but don’t want to do. A half-hour is long enough to allow for some progress but not so long that a lot of time is tied up in a project I don’t want to do in the first place. At the end of thirty minutes, I can reevaluate where I stand. I can either continue, or quit and do something else.

©P. Booher

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Friday Photos–A Walk on the Trail

All photos: Author’s collection.

P. Booher

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Hang in there!

I wanted to pass this along.

Knowing Jesus in Confusing Times

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(Image courtesy of quotesgram.com)

Waiting for something can be quite difficult. The more important that something is to us, the harder the wait usually. Maybe it is that long-awaited get-away vacation or the opportunity to reunite with an old friend. Perhaps, like often happens here in the Northeast US, the waiting for warmer temperatures seemingly takes forever. The wait for these types of things, hard as they can be, hold the promise of something positive when they do arrive.

But what about the waiting when the outcome or result is not known? I am thinking know about those of us who spend time praying for the healing of family, friends, co-workers, etc. We pray, seeking God’s mercy for these folks, but often we see little to no change for the better.

If this describes you, may today’s short blog entry serve as encouragement for you to hang in there. Reading…

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Timely Lyrics

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

As I reflected on the things this past year has brought—wearing masks in public, phrases such as “lockdowns” and “social-distancing”, distrust, uncertainty, anxiety—I thought of lyrics that are so appropriate for these times:

                                                        Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,

                                                       With many a conflict, many a doubt,

                                                       Fightings and fears within, without,

                                                       O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

(Third stanza of “Just As I Am”, words by Charlotte Elliott, music by William B. Bradbury. Copyright: 1849). 

 A hymn I might regard as “old” speaks to the conditions of people today. There is nothing old about “conflict, doubt, fightings and fears within, without”; they are always around; that fact doesn’t change. Just the same, the One Charlotte went to for relief doesn’t change either; the Lord Jesus is steadfast; faithful. As Charlotte counted on Him, so can I.

©P. Booher

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Friday Photos, and a Hymn

I thought I’d try something a little different for Friday Photos.

Photo Credit: P. Booher
Photo Credit: P. Booher
Photo Credit: Author’s Collection.
Photo Credit: S. Craig
Photo by Johann Piber on Pexels.com

This Is My Father’s World

by Maltbie D. Babcock

This is my Father’s world,

And to my list’ning ears,

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world,

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world,

He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me ev’rywhere,

This is my Father’s world,

O let me never forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the Ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world,

The battle is not done,

Jesus who died shall be satisfied,

And earth and heav’n be one.

Copyright 1901

This Is My Father’s World is one of my favorite hymns. I read a comment somewhere that some people think it’s a “soft hymn” because it speaks of nature. Consider the last verse, though: it speaks of “the battle is not done”, so since there is yet fighting to do, this hymn is not “soft”!

P. Booher

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A Mini-Retreat And a Dilemma

A week ago Sunday while feeding the birds and squirrels, I noticed a limb had come off a wild-cherry tree. The limb jutted into the yard, a problem because we have people mow that section of the yard for us. The limb hadn’t been down long; the beautiful pink blossoms were still on the leaves. I thought, “Well, I need to take care of that. I know what I’ll be doing the next day or so if the weather’s nice!”

Although the mowers had come earlier in the week, I wanted to take care of this little project soon. Not only because of the mowers, but also with spring here, every day brings new growth and ground cover, which makes it harder to see where you are walking while trimming a tree. Warmer days, more ground cover, and the abundance of rocks make that area attractive to snakes–another incentive to get started!

The next day , I took my trusty pruning saw (I don’t have the physical strength to use a chainsaw), my ice tea, chair, lopping shears, and cart to the limb and settled in to work. The weather was pleasant–temperature around 65 degrees, low humidity, and sunny. The birds sang cheerful accompaniment as I sawed, clipped and picked up the fallen sticks. I got the smallest part of the limb (the part which protruded) cut off, but decided I wanted to cut more off Tuesday.

Tuesday, I gathered my supplies and walked up the hill. The weather was perfect–warmer and than Monday, but still with low humidity. I took the pruning saw and cut two foot-long pieces from the limb and picked up some stray twigs, being careful to watch where I put my feet, in case a snake had come out of hiding. When my legs and back started complaining, I sat down, drank some ice tea, and enjoyed my time in God’s creation. With the warm breezes, blue sky, bird songs, and the knowledge that I was on my own schedule and didn’t have to answer to anyone, it truly was a mini-retreat.

As the afternoon progressed, the gentle breezes became gusty winds, and I realized I had a bit of a dilemma with my wood-cutting project. Part of the limb was caught on the main tree by a piece of wood, and when the rest of the limb came down, it didn’t fall on the ground. It came down on a rotted branch sticking out from the limb, and the branch was on a rock, so the branch was in the air between the limb and the rock. I wanted to get more of the 5-inch to 6-inch round limb cut off, but every time I cut more off, the whole dangling limb swayed slightly. Since the limb was curved, I wondered how much more I dared to cut off. If the limb fell, would it fall straight down, or would it roll off the rock when the rotted branch broke under the weight, and come towards me?? I didn’t know what particular law of physics would apply in this case, but I did know from watching my father cut trees down that you can’t always tell how a tree will go. The wind picked up even more, making the situation more uncertain. Dilemmas, dilemmas!

I finally solved this particular dilemma by calling an end to the project. I had cut the limb back far enough that the mowers could cut the grass without any problems, and that was my original intent. God, through nature, could take care of the rest.

©P. Booher


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Friday Photos–Gulf of Mexico

Just one photo today–a picture of the Gulf of Mexico. A relative enjoyed visiting her sister who lived on the Gulf side of Florida. This is a picture from one of her visits. I thought this was so beautiful, and wanted to post it. Enjoy the view!

Photo credit: Author’s collection.

P. Booher

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Nature Notes–Coming Event!

Every spring, around April 20, chimney swifts–little, cigar-shaped brownish-black birds– come to my area in the Eastern US. They migrate thousands of miles from their wintering grounds in Central America. I look forward to their arrival; I even have April 20 marked on my calendars with a notation about the birds. Their arrival marks “spring” for me, despite the calendar saying March 20 or 21 is the start of spring for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere.

I enjoy watching the birds dive and climb in the sky. I know they are really doing that to catch insects, but to me they look as though they are flying for the sheer joy of it.

Chimney swifts, along with bats (which the birds are sometimes confused with) are natural insecticides. They eat hundreds of mosquitoes and other insects every day.

Here is some additional info. about these aerial acrobats: www.allaboutbirds.org.

If you live in the Eastern half of the United States, look out for the chimney swifts’ flight, and know they are doing the job of killing insect pests.

©P. Booher

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Friday Photos–Pictures of Perseverance

Daisies blooming in the driveway, amidst gravel and pebbles.
Maple tree growing; the roots probably go under the rock.
Buttercup growing in poor soil.
Tree Roots amid Rocks.
Little pine tree, growing from a crevice in the rock.
Same pine tree as above, but growing, in spite of a rocky environment!

All photos: Author’s collection.

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Two Smart Cats

Cinder
Abby — Here I am, ready to write my story!

In celebration of National Pet Day (today), I decided to highlight two of the many pets who’ve lived with my family. 

Cinder’s mama, a feral cat, moved Cinder and two of her siblings to our pumphouse to stay. Apparently, Cinder’s mom decided their home across the road (underneath the neighbor’s porch) was too noisy to raise her family. So she moved the kittens one by one to our side of the road. As the kittens grew, Mama Cat took Cinder’s brother and sister hunting, but left Cinder behind. Eventually Cinder came into our house. She proved to be a “people cat”, and adapted quickly to inside life with humans as her family. She also demonstrated her intelligence different times.

One day Cinder knocked over the small cardboard box which held the cats’ toys. She checked out all the toys, found the one she wanted, picked it up, and started playing with it! The only thing she didn’t do was put the other toys back in the toy box! That episode puts a smile on my face even now, years later. She had a specific toy in mind, and looked for it until she found it! If I hadn’t seen that with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Our current feline, Abby, displays her intelligence in understanding human language. For instance, one day she strolled into the living room. You could see by the way she looked around that she was looking for something. My mother told her where her toy was. Abby went right to the spot and started playing with the toy! On another occasion, I left a cardboard box in the living room for Abby. Later on, I moved the box. Abby came into the living room. She looked all around. My mother wondered if she was looking for the box. I said, “Abby, I moved the box over there by the fan.” I pointed to it. She walked right over to it, as though she completely understood what I said!

Over the years, we’ve had many pets—more cats than dogs. Each had his or her own personality. Each provided the blessings of companionship and unconditional acceptance wrapped in fur coats.

©P. Booher

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