Monday, September 22, 2008

Is Jesus your All in All?

I think everyone from time to time experiences times of discouragement. People let us down failing to meet our needs and expectations. Sometimes it is groups of people. I have been going through a time of discouragement myself. All around me people I count on have not been able to be counted on for one reason or another.

Friends, family, employers, my church has all been either going through disappointment together with me or they have disappointed me in some way. While I would like to have a human comforter, it just seems that no one really understands but the Lord alone.

Here is my challenge. There is no doubt that this world is not my home. My home is with the Lord in heaven. Will I give in to the disappointment around me or can I trust my Lord to be my all in all? The answer is yes, of course. Jesus Christ is the only trustworthy one and he is the only one who can know my heart. The challenge is will I? My comfort doesn't need to come from human sources, but I can rest in the knowledge that I am the Lord's and He is mine.

I am studying in Bible Study Fellowship how because Pharaoh had hardened his heart against the Israelites, God came to redeem his people with signs and wonders to reassure the Israelites that God heard their prayers and to confirm to the entire Egyptian nation that God is greater than any man and he will not be mocked. Pharaoh's sin brought doom to his entire nation. Untold numbers of people and animals suffered and died as a result of the plagues God brought to Egypt. Some disappointments are a result of sin, either committed by me or against me.

I don't want to be like Pharaoh who would not yield to God and paid the price. We haven't gotten there yet, but the Israelites had their time as well of rebellion and disbelief, but God was merciful and kept his people in his care. I am so glad that my Lord cares enough to correct me when I am in error and brings me back into fellowship if I will confess my sin.

For those who sin against me, my challenge is to discern my place in encouraging them to make right choices, to pray for them, but not intervene in their choices. God will have to deal with their hearts alone and I must not play the role of Holy Spirit. My Lord is omnipotent and he cares deeply for me his child. I can trust him to keep me and my loved ones in his care.

I know these are rambling thoughts to someone who does not know my heart, but I write this for myself as much as for others to read that my Lord cares no matter what we go through and the circumstances and disappointments we face today are just the thing required for us to really let go of every source of comfort and pleasure we look to apart from Jesus Christ our Lord. He is allowing us to go through times of testing and trial to see if we will really trust Him.

I hope that I can report of deliverance soon, but if not, I know I can entrust my entire life in the Lord's care.

The Battlefield of American Economy

A few years ago Larry Burkett wrote of a coming "economic earthquake" that would forever change our American financial landscape. After this month's financial devastation with the government takeover of so many of our financial institutions, there is no doubt in my mind that our economy will never be the same again.

This has the potential to usher in not only a deep recession if not a depression for Americans, but its tenticles extend to virtually all developed and developing nations. I don't know that I am a pessimist as much as I see how the exact same practices have played out in the lives of American families who come to me for budget counsel.

The United States Government is solving a liquidity crisis by use of debt. Families I have counselled when they find that their spending goes beyond the scope of their income (regardless of the reason) first tend to look to credit cards for short term boost to carry them through and then to the equity in their homes for bigger debt.

Financial counselors who are my peers have historically even recommended using debt to support lifestyle choices (rather than using savings) so that the savings could be invested for longer term and to roll credit card debt onto their homes as an equity arrangement so that it could be deductible for tax purposes. Both strategies are just plain bad practice in my estimation and are not supported in scripture.

The result of these practices, families continue to live higher on the hog than their income would allow and mortgage their future to pay for their perceived needs in the present. Ultimately, the failure to make wise choices with spending result in mounting crisis that presents itself in the future. Families become more and more constrained in their discretionary dollars as debt takes a larger and larger percentage of their take home. Without either a modification in the spending choices or an increase in the income financial failure results.

Our government is trodding that path right now. Every government bailout and program requires funding. Our funding comes from you the taxpayer. Our politicians are prone to short term financial thinking; they do what will serve them best to get them re-elected. Right now, our politicians are saying that governmental intervention is necessary to keep stability in the markets.

This is a free market system, or it used to be. Investors recognized that when they invest, that they are taking risk. When things are going well, everyone wants to invest where they can get the most gain. They take more risk because they don't perceive that market cycles may take their investment down or that some financial crisis like the one we face can degrade the value of the investments. It is the nature of investing and if we remove that risk from the markets, we are no better than any other socialist nation where the government controls all aspects of our financial welfare.

The United States used to be known as the home of the free; but I would venture to guess that it is no longer free. We are at the mercy of those creditors and they will exercise control, because they can and they must protect their investment.

For years I have felt that the Lord's return may be very near. More and more signs point to his returning. Some days I just find myself looking to the clouds for my Lord's return. If you study your Bible's there are predictions of financial hard times during the tribulation here on earth. I believe that we are moving closer and closer to that time. Every news article points to the financial upheaval that would be necessary to institute a one world financial economy. Last week even during the liquidity crisis we faced here in the US the central bank was diverting cash to foreign countries. The Lord told us to watch for the signs and to be prepared for his returning.

I don't believe in doom; I do believe that we should be preparing our hearts and boldly witnessing to unbelievers while we can. God has a grand plan to demonstrate his sovreignty; we Christians in America have been spoiled with pleasure and ease for many years. The days of the Lord's returning are shorter than they were last week. We need to put on our armor and be praying for our fellow believers who are serving in all kinds of conditions. Some are being oppressed and some have new doors opening for witness to them. Pray for those who have committed their lives to serve the Lord well.

Will you be one of the virgins with their lamps kept full until the Lord's return? The wait continues, but we don't know but what it may be today that he comes back for his people.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Armor of God

This summer, I felt like I needed to understand better the principles that were being presented in the section on the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. I had begun feeling like my prayer life was somewhat ineffective and that I was feeling defeated in the face of a lot of opposition around me.

In doing this study, I was reminded that these commands are for all Christians. We are reminded that we are in a battle. It is a spiritual battle against a strong enemy. The enemy is devious and coniving. We know by the end of this passage that the battle is conducted on the prayer field. The elements of armor help us to get our thinking straight and assess the battle correctly.

These pieces of armor are not like the spiritual gifts we may have been given. EVERY Christian is in this battlefield and we are engaged in battle for our Lord. If we are not engaged in this battle, we have chosen to sit on the sidelines and have not clearly chosen our team. If we are on Jesus' team, we join him in his work.

I have heard Christian friends say that they are blessed by some wonderful thing that God does to make their life comfortable or strife free. I have prayed myself that the Lord might remove some strife from my life, but the more I study the Bible the more I am convinced that strife is common to the Christian and that if we are living a life without opposition or trial, we are not exercising our faith well and we are not effectively witnessing for the Lord. The Enemy may not be engaging some Christians because they are not engaged in the Lord's work around them. Peace that we have as Christians is not because we have stress free lives with all our desires met; it is a peace that comes from knowing that we are kept in the Lord's care and that we are fighting on the side of righteousness. Nothing can come against us apart from the will of God and even the Enemy's schemes only serve to refine our character and make us more like our Lord Jesus Christ. Satan is building up rather than tearing down his opposition.

Another thing that I learned in this study is that our goal is not to attack or take over the Enemy's territory; we are commanded to STAND. Three times in the passage we are told to stand. We merely stand firm against opposition that comes our way. We correctly look at the situation and see the truth about it and the truth that we stand for. Jesus told us; "I am the way, the truth and the life". We must look at our strife the same way our Lord does; with an eternal focus and not momentary. We also see correctly that this battle is not against people, but against the wicked forces that influence people.

We know that we have no righteousness of our own, but the only righteousness we have is that which the Lord has given to us at the point that we became his. It is HIS righteousness that is our breastplate. It is our protection against the Enemy's schemes; it protects us against the fiery darts that are being lobbed against us.

Our feet are shod with the Gospel of Peace. We have wonderful news to share with the ones on the sidelines watching the battle and for the people who are engaged on the wrong side of this battle. There is a hope we have that is greater than anything physical we face. This battle demonstrates where we have chosen to spend eternity; it is on the side that will be victorious in the end even though it may appear otherwise if you only have a view of the physical circumstances without faith glasses to see what is happening big picture. We humans are prone to getting lost in the details of our lives without seeing the eternal, but thank God, he has given us his word and his spirit to give us a bigger view of this battle. We are witnesses if we say nothing at all, because the world see us engaged differently, demonstrating the fruits of the spirit in the midst of trials. They see we are a strange people when measured by worldly standards.

We have the hope of our future salvation that the Lord has promised. Even though we are saved as Christians we also know that this salvation is both present and future. We have the knowledge that we were saved, but also the hope of the future salvation to come.

Our faith is built on nothing less than Christ alone. The Lord continuously grows his people in faith who will apply his word to their lives and act on what they say they believe. Faith is not so much belief, but acting on belief. How many of us stop at believing and rest in our salvation without becoming engaged for the Lord. I think that in the end, those believers will find that they are like the virgins who did not actively prepare for the Lord's return for the wedding. They will be the ones without the oil and are disappointed in the end. The shield stops the darts of the Enemy. It protects and is sufficient to stand against the opposition.

Finally, we have the one piece of armor that infiltrates the other side. It is the word of God. The Bible is the sword of the spirit that is able to penetrate the other side and to reveal to those who are engaged for the enemy that they are on the wrong side. If we are not faithful in applying this word, learning it, memorizing it, and giving it out we will not be able to be effective witnesses to the men and women who have been deceived by the enemy and are looking at the wrong measurements to determine their success. We don't need to share our story as much as we need to share God's story and allow the Spirit to infiltrate the hearts involved. It is the work of the Spirit and not ours.

Too often, I have not shared the word I know with people who are engaged on the other side because I feared their judgment. In doing so, I demonstrated my lack of faith in the work that word could do. I adopted the world's measurement of acceptance rather than my Lord's measure. It is humbling to see how I have not served the Lord well. I want to redeem this lost time and to never repeat this sin now that I have seen it in my life. The word is not just to build me up, but it is effective for witness. How many people have said that they didn't know how to share the gospel thinking they needed to have a special word of their own. All they need is to have the word in their hands.

The battle we do is on the battlefield of prayer. The end of this passage tells us that we need to be faithful in praying for the saints... all those others who are engaged in spiritual warfare. We can actually be a help to them in their effort to stand firm by praying for them. Paul also asks for prayer for himself for boldness. He knew that was the possibility that he might not share the gospel. The first and most bold missionary I know of was afraid that without prayer that he might not be effective in his witness. Also, I think that we need to pray that the word would have it's full effect in the life of the recipient. The enemy is strong, but the weapons we have are stronger and the Lord we serve will be victorious.

I am continuing to learn more about this battle and based on the opposition that seems to surround me, I know that I am not on the sidelines, but I am in the battle. Pray that I will stand firm and be a bold witness for my Lord.

Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. 11 Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. 13 Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. 14 So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, 15 and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.

16 In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18
With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones 19 and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ice Cream

We got to sample some homemade ice cream being churned by this one cylinder engine. Kenny was amazed by the engine so he just watched it for nearly 40 minutes as we shopped through the flea market. This flea market is the largest I have ever seen. They also have an auction house on site with several auctioneers calling in the same building. Beautiful antiques being auctioned. The flea market had to have over 1000 booths. We couldn't see it all in one visit. We will have to go back.

Farming the Amish Way

As we were traveling we saw this three teamed horse pulling a hay mower.

Amish Buggies

The Amish don't particularly like to be photo graphed so we took pictures of the buggies in their parking spaces at the flea market in Shipshewana and there was a place giving buggy rides to tourists that I took as they were passing by.

Visiting Amish

While at the RV rally we enjoyed a home cooked Amish meal, and enjoyed seeing the Amish homes and gardens. We sampled some of the baked goods and I even picked up a cookbook with recipes to try. Dinner was like thanksgiving. They sent down large bowls of mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fried chicken, a meatloaf with a gravy, coleslaw and three kinds of pies. With the bread they served a peanut butter/marshmallow fluff topping or apple butter. All was wonderful. You can see we were well satisfied. They served about 70 of us in all.

Bea on Vacation

After doing some of our obedience training, I was interested to know if Bea would actually settle down some while travelling. In March when we went to Rayne, LA Bea was a bea-st! She tried to attack dogs walking by and was basically on high alert the entire time. I have to report that she did pretty well. She wasn't completely off high alert, but the difference between our March trip and our July trip were remarkably improved. She really enjoys traveling and I hope we can do it with her for a long time.

Flying Pigs in Cincinnati

I visited the link on my blogpage (Roadside America) before we left on our trip to see if there were oddities that I might want to see while traveling. To my delight Cincinnati has an oddity that I was thrilled to hunt down.

Cincinnati has a park on the riverfront near the ball parks. We found our way to it and what to our wondering eyes should appear but a FLYING PIG! When someone tells you "when pigs fly" you can let them know that they really do in Cincinnati!
There were also some beautiful vistas as well near the river.

Creation Museum

I was excited to visit the Creation Museum again this year. I think we saw some aspects that we hadn't really had a lot of time for last year. I cut up some apples for lunch, but Kenny didn't think it would be funny if we ate them in their Garden of Eden that they have on site. I am glad that he knows better than to challenge God that way. We ate the apples outside their restaurant.
If you ever get a chance to go; it is well worth the trip. Here is a link to their website. It is a well organized museum sharing how science and faith do not have to be mutually exclusive and that the conclusions that we draw from the evidences of science depend in part on our worldview. A humanistic scientist will tend to draw humanistic conclusions based on the evidence they see. However Christians come to the evidence knowing certain things about the creation story and it is marvelous to see how God confirms his word over and over....

National Radio Telescope Observatory

Ever since I took my first astronomy course at the College of Charleston, I have been fascinated by how God shows his majesty in the vastness of space. I had heard about the National Radio Telescopes that were being constructed and how they can give a better picture of space than the optical telescopes. In the first picture is the largest telescope on the planet. We are looking at it from approximately 1/2 mile away.
The location in rural Green Bank, West Virginia was selected because of the limited interference of other electronic equipment. Car motors, microwaves, cameras, radio transmitters all interfere with these very sensitive telescopes that are mapping our universe with the radio waves emitted by the stars. We could not even take pictures of the close to ten telescopes they have there because of the interference of the cameras.
Kenny is standing next to one of the first radio telescopes built in the scientist's back yard and later relocated to the observatory. The white frame you see is all constructed of wood. Very impressive. You can get a sense for how large it is based on the pictures of the trailer next to it.
The people there were so hospitable. They let us camp the night in their parking lot. I didn't know my microwave would interfere with them so I hope we didn't bother them too much. It is just a beautiful location with so many new discoveries being made. If you are interested, there is a very good website that shares some of the ways they are using the telescoped and the discoveries they have made:

Vacation Underway

Well, this is a little delayed as we didn't have Internet access along the way for vacation, but Kenny decided that since he could not obtain the parts he needed to repair the axles before leaving that he would run them as is and monitor them along the way.

The manufacturer of the axles was located in Goshen, Indiana where we were headed. The manufacturer came to the fairgrounds where we were located and replaced the faulty parts. They also checked the other wheels and found that there was another that was also affected. They think that our issue was just a fluke (bad day for whoever installed them) as they have not had any issues like ours reported otherwise.

We did arrive safely and our issue is corrected I believe so we couldn't have had a better outcome.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

On the first day of vacation my true love said to me....

Did I say we were "finally" going on vacation? Well, it is vacation, but we aren't going anywhere. I understand that we have an issue with the trailer axels. THANK GOD Kenny found it before we left and we were not stranded somewhere along the road. He tried to reach Holiday Rambler's 24 hour help line. It is a message machine that says they will get back to you during business hours :)

Anyway, I am content where ever we are. I will take the dogs for a walk and enjoy the day regardless of our surroundings. The video has some commentary by Kenny on the cause of his issue.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hi ho, Hi ho, on a road trip we will go~

This is the day we have been waiting for! After spending most of the month working long hours and responding to SEC requests for an audit, we are FINALLY going on vacation to rest. Destination, somewhere in Indiana. I will let you know when I get there. It is the annual Holiday Rambler RV rally. Smaller this year I understand with less than 500 units. Historically we have had as many as 1200 together. Gas prices are really taking their toll.

Kenny and I recently hosted a Bible Study on the Armor of God. I learned a lot from it. If I could get one application to apply it would be that we need to have our thinking straight before we pray. We often view our circumstances out of context and we don't keep an eternal perspective. Also, it was encouraging to remember all that Jesus did for me and my position in him (completely protected) as I go out into the world each day and witness for him. I need not fear for the Lord is all around me and has provided me tools to meet the challenges if I will use them. Bible Study is important but application is key!

Well, I will keep you up to date as I move along.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Kenny sliding a tree

This tree limb fell recently after a storm. It was too large to pick up for sure and rather than cutting it up and taking it piece by piece to the curb for trash pickup, he decided to take the entire limb and then cut it up once it was at the curb.

B goes to Summer School

Here we are at obedience classes. This was B's first night. We are making progress at getting along with others, though this first night she was rather distracted by all the other dogs.
She still is very stubborn about following commands. She knows what to do, but just refuses to do it.
I was proud of her and she was proud of herself the next week when she actually began participating in some of the exercises. She could tell she was getting it and was being like all the other dogs. I really believe she is going to be a sweet dog once she works through her demons.

New Ram Charger

Kenny is very proud of this new Ram Charger he purchased on Ebay. It has a manual transmission and will be his latest in the collection. You can also see B standing by in the picture.

Club Camping

Some people ask what is the attraction we have to camping as part of a club. What do we do with our time there?

Well, here is just a sample from our recent campout at Jellystone Campground in Emporia. We had some former campers who came by to visit with us and join in our pot luck supper. Carl and Carolyn are dear people who had RV'd and belonged to our club for over 30 years.

We go for walks with our dog friends. Here is Captain, a Maltese owned by one of our members. Captain went on vacation with us last year and will be going again this year!

The children that were at the campground enjoyed playing. Captain joined the fun for a while.

We had a pot luck dinner followed by make your own Sundaes in honor of Mothers Day.

The men sometimes get together to form a thinktank to solve all their operability issues and to re-engineer their units to make them spiffier!

One of our members sadly had to leave us during the weekend, but thankfully they left in time as she had to have her appendix removed that night!

We took a ride on the hay wagon with Yogi and had a great time!

Bluegrass Weekend

The weekend after our return from Louisiana we went to the Bluegrass weekend at American Heritage Camground in Williamsburg. They have this weekend twice a year. Essentially, people who are bluegrass enthusiasts camp there and musicians roam from group to group, joining in and playing and singing through the weekend. We just went as spectators, but had a great time. Below is a video to give you a taste. We had several of our friends from the Virginia Penninsula Campers club were there as well as Sonny and Linda.

South of the Border

South of the Border! My favorite cheesy place to visit! I was a little disappointed that so much of it was not open when we were there. A huge rainstorm came through in the middle of the night and left our entire campsite under water.
Of course, I was outside with the dogs who were taking a potty break when the heavens opened up and drenched me. Not a great picture of Pedro's, but maybe next time we go I will get a better one.

The cougar was a statue in the playground for the children. B thought it was real and was prepared to defend herself to the death!

And another Ruth

After visting one Ruth we went on to another. I got to know this Ruth when she was a client of mine. She was so kind to let our dogs have the run of her house. B was still not very mannerly, but Pru thoroughly enjoyed romping with Pumpkin, their dog.
Ed, Ruth's husband is former Navy and had a lot of commonality with Kenny and I being a Navy couple. Actually only Kenny was in the Navy, I stayed home and did all the work!:)
I would have loved to have stayed longer, but Kenny wanted to make time on his way to Charleston to pick up his refurbished motor for his Ram Charger. He now has 5 of them.

Oak Mountain State Park

Our friend Ruth said that Oak Mountain State Park was very close to where she lives. And it is.... When we talked by phone she mentioned that one entrance of the park was closer to the campground and it would be the best route to take. We entered by that entrance. There was a very steep and winding road taking you to the park then once at the gate, we mentioned that we were going to the campground. The ranger pointed the direction to us and we followed the road. It took you along the breastwork of a dam which made for beautiful scenery, and then we saw that the road dipped down into the overflow of the dam. Wow! Never saw that before!
I wish I had taken some pictures of the actual campground. It was a beautiful park and I would love to go back. If you do try to go there please know that you cannot make reservations by phone during the weekends. They only have one person that works the registration and it is a popular spot, so they can't stop checking people in to answer the phone. Call during the week day for your reservation. By the way, I recommend one. The line for check in was lengthy.

Trip home from Louisiana

I have really fallen behind in my posts....

On our way home we stopped to see Ruth from our former church. She met us in line for a pot luck and commented that we didn't sound like we were from Virginia. As it turned out, she is from the same area of New York that we are and her deceased husband had been related to my uncle in New York. Small world.
We had a great time catching up. I always enjoy her company.
We got to have dinner with her and chat then had breakfast the next morning before heading out to our next destination.
Ruth and I also have both Emmaus and BSF in common so it is so easy to fall into conversation with her.
The picture on the deck is from her house. She has a gorgeous place in Birmingham AL. I had no idea it was so hilly there!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Liberty Theater

If you ever get a chance to visit Eunice, you really should plan to visit the Liberty Theater on Saturday night where they feature the "Rendez-vous Des Cajuns" music show. Each Saturday different Cajun bands are featured. The show is broadcast on the local public radio and TV. I believe you can listen to the show by visiting

We saw Geno Delafose and the French Rockin Boogie Band... a grammy nominated Cajun band that was absolutely fantastic. The theater has a dance floor in the front and people just had a wonderful time. The show runs from 6 -7:30 every Saturday. You can buy tickets, but seats are available first come first serve. It didn't really matter though because most of the people were enjoying dancing so they didn't stay seated.

While we were there, there was a Cycle Zydeco group. They are a group of bicylists touring the Acadiana area. For four days they cycle through Cajun country and visit local tourist attractions. They were dancing and having a wonderful time.

Eunice, LA

The town of Eunice was founded by Eunice Duson's husband. He settled the area and when it came time to name the town, he named it after his beloved wife. What a romantic.

This is a statue of Eunice in the town square with a listing of all the women of the town who have made their mark. This is a town who really knows how to honor their ladies.

Friday, March 28, 2008

B's accident

Our new bassett "B" has her list of phobias... one of them is that she is afraid of the noise that the chain we use to tether her to the trailer makes against the metal steps. Our first night at Rayne, she didn't wait for me to unhook her before she went in. As she went up, the chain rattled against the steps. B was attached by her choke collar. When she heard the noise she pulled harder against the chain and broke her choke collar. That had to hurt! I keep telling her that she would do so much better if she didn't strive so much...

I have been thinking that there is an object lesson for me as well. How often do I strive in my flesh trying to accomplish what I think is best when the Lord calls me apply his precepts and trust him for the outcome. He longs for us to choose his way and so often we strive to accomplish things and only look to him when we have failed and are wounded from the strife we bring to ourselves.

B is really a wonderful dog, but she has not yet learned to trust us when she is fearful. She creates her own chaos and then finds that she is in over her head quite quickly. Lord, help me to trust when I can't see the end, but know that you love us and keep us in your care.

Ripley's Believe it or not

This cemetary is featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not as the only Judeo Christian cemetary known where people are buried facing north to south. Christian tradition positions graves east to west (the east metaphorcally representing the beginning of life with the sun rising and the west metaphorically representing the ending of life with the setting of the sun). Another oddity in the great state of Louisiana.
It is not clear whether the positioning of north to south of graves was an accident or intentional.

Make way for the house

Kenny and I were just touring about the countryside when lo and behold a house came at us down the road!

Rice and Crawfish

In Louisiana, they have Crawfish farms where they grow rice in the same pool of water that they use to grow the fish. Rice and crawfish seem to cohabitate well together and allow the farmers a way to make their land even more productive.

Here is a picture of a farmer harvesting some of the crawfish in a boat as he moves through the field. Even the birds joined in to help them out.