Sunday, October 1, 2017

God speaks to me

Here is the story of how God has been working for me and for my church, St. Paul’s. Kind of a long story . . .

We were talking in Bible study, and I told my group that I don’t “hear” God speaking to me the way some people do. But as I write this I believe I’ve just had a message from God.

It began in August with a webinar on “E-giving for Churches” recommended by the Conference. Pastor Dave was at RedBird Mission, so I agreed to watch online. I didn’t learn much about e-giving that I didn’t already know, but the one thing I took away from the event was that our website is old-fashioned compared to modern-day standards.

This brought me to look at a number of church websites, both in our Conference and across the country. I realized that WordPress sites are the norm now. WordPress is a specific platform and content management system for creating and maintaining websites. It’s almost nothing like the html that I learned and that I use on our old website.

The next thing that happened is that our Disciple FastTrack Bible Study ended with a survey of our spiritual gifts. We considered our own spiritual gifts and set a goal for serving God and St. Paul’s in the coming year. Since my top gift was “Serving” and second was “Administration” I decided that the best thing I could do for the church this year was to try to bring the website up to modern-day standards, and part of that would be converting it to WordPress.

I spent some time online, researching WordPress courses, both free and paid. I had just about decided to pay for a course that seemed to be well rated, but thought I should wait till we got back from vacation to sign up.

Within a week of making that decision, I received an email from United Methodist Communications offering a grant for training and a year of free hosting to upgrade to a WordPress site with United Methodist branding. It was exactly what I was looking for at the perfect time! I applied and got the grant!

I feel like God has spoken to me. I finished the course and am now working on the website. To visit the still-under-construction site, click here. Some of the buttons work, so feel free to explore.

Thank you, Lord!

Friday, June 23, 2017

February Flashback

It has been ages since I published anything here--more than six months. And I've seen lots of birdies and taken some pretty good pictures.

So let's flashback to February when we went down to Hilton Head Island for a week. Of course we had to drive through the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge while we were down there. There were some pretty cool birds there.

Surprisingly, some of the best birds I saw were right from the balcony of my sister's condo in Port Royal Plantation.

Anyway, here's what we saw:

This little guy is my favorite, cuz he's so cute! Pied-Billed Grebe at Savannah NWR.

From the balcony of the condo, a lifer, Yellow-Throated Warbler. Didn't even know what I had until I loaded the pics on my computer and enlarged it!

Also from the balcony, a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. There were flocks of these in the trees and on the driveways of the condo area. I've only even seen one once before, also down in Hilton Head. I guess it's their wintering spot.

From the balcony, down in the lagoon below, a Double-Crested Cormorant. Common here in NJ in the summertime. From a distance they look like not much, just dark. But if you can zoom in, they have the most beautiful blue eyes!

At Savannah NWR, a Common Gallinule, aka moorhen. Again, not much from a distance, but zooming in shows the gorgeous orange and yellow beak.

Another lifer at Savannah NWR, a Boat-Tailed Grackle. We have plenty of Common Grackles in our yard, but the Boat-Tailed hangs around the inland waterways. Beautiful iridescent feathers, which you can't see too well in my pic.

Coopers Hawk on the tree right outside the condo. Another balcony pic.

Another Coopers Hawk, this one along the swampy area in Mitchellville Beach State Park. It was just a few miles from the condo, and had a boardwalk through the swamp where there were lots of birds.

At the NWR, American Coots! Again, boring from a distance, but from close up you can see that shiny patch of dark red on their forehead and the ring around their bill. My reading says they're not related to ducks at all, but to rails. New goal: see a rail!

Common but always beautiful, a Snowy Egret in breeding plumage.

Finally, in the lagoon outside the condo, this guy swam right across and climbed up on the bank just down from the condo. The day before, I had walked around the condo on the water side. My sister was shocked! I was lucky the gator wasn't sitting there waiting for me! He was only about 6' long, so I don't think he coulda got me, but I didn't go down there again!

So that's the flashback for this week. Next time I'll show you the eagle pictures we took right here in West Deptford.