My unique view of a procession

funeral procession in Knoxville
funeral procession in Knoxville (picture not mine)

Today I had a unique view of a funeral procession. The funeral procession of a hometown hero and the last soldier killed in the Afghanistan war – SSG Ryan Knauss.

funeral procession in Powell heading toward Halls

I stood on the side of the road and waited for the funeral procession like hundreds of others. I didn’t have a bird’s eye view or anything special like that. But I do have a background that affords me the view of this funeral procession like few others. I saw this funeral procession today as a veteran, father and a citizen.

As a veteran, it is hard to watch a funeral procession. In the back of a veteran’s mind there is always the thought – that could have been me at one time. Veterans serve our country with no guarantee that we will return in the same manner that we left. That is a forgone conclusion. And to see a fellow service person come back home in a hearse just doesn’t sit well with most. It is a deep understanding of the sacrifice that was offered.

As a father it is sobering to discuss with your family – my son in particular. Austin graduated high school with SSG Knauss. They were not that close of buddies, but his cousin and friend were close with Ryan. When we speak of Ryan I can tell that my son is pondering these conversations in his head. For a classmate to die is still fairly unique to these young adults. They still do not have the proper perspective to process it all. I also know that he is thinking of his cousin and friend who are really having a hard time processing this loss. Only thing I know to do is to talk honestly about these situations.

Lastly I watched this funeral procession through the eyes of a citizen of East Tennessee. I saw all walks of life stop their busy Thursday to stop and watch this funeral procession pass by. I saw hundreds of people put all their differences in this world aside to pay respect to a young man who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their freedom. All walks of life stood in silence, waiving flags or saluting as the motorcade slowly passed by. I saw my community stand together as Americans which made my heart swell with pride.

My view was not totally unique, but it was one of thankfulness, humbleness and pride. The emotions were hard to describe and hold back.

Today I was reminded of the blessings I have in my life and thankful for those who realize the ultimate sacrifice paid by so many others.

Book Released!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have released my book. This book has been in the works for several – repeat several years! I would start and stop writing over the years. A silver lining from COVID is that I had time to stay home and write. More importantly I was able to schedule time for me to write.

This book is a tribute to my grandmother Ellis Troutman, but also a desired help to young adults who need someone to speak wisdom into their lives.

I am delighted to share what I feel the Lord has given me, and look forward to where this book will take me!

If you want to order you can find on Amazon here.

my first copies of Blackberry Wisdom

Keep your mouth closed

No, this is not advice that you should consider in public settings; however, it is not a bad idea at times.

I am talking about pulling weeds in your flower beds. Last night I was out digging and pulling weeds from my front yard flower bed. I was going to town just pulling weeds like there was no tomorrow. Then all of a sudden a big clump of dirt landed right on my tongue.

When I am working at something hard I have a habit of opening my mouth as part of the strain. I don’t know why. I really don’t.

What I need to focus on while pulling weeds is just to keep it closed! Keep my mouth closed so I don’t wind up with dirt where it is not appreciated!

Do you have little tics or habits like that? Do they ever get you in trouble or wind up with things where they don’t belong?

So if you see me out working and I have my typical open mouth facial expression just do me a favor. Kindly remind me to keep my mouth closed.

Podcast launch – Corryton Bible Consideration

I am so proud to announce the launch of a new podcast – the Corryton Bible Consideration!CBC logo3

A close friend and fellow disciple of Jesus – Bryan Wright and I started this Bible study to share with fellow believers during this time of being sequestered at home and away from church families.  Our desire is to walk through the Bible in prayer and study, with the intent of becoming more like Jesus.

We have started in the book of James, and will consider the scriptures in about 15 minute segments at a time.

In each episode we will pray through a Psalm by reading a passage first and then pray to God what He reveals.  We invite you to read along with us and see what it is that God might say to you through His word!

Please give a listen, and subscribe if you enjoy.

Apple podcast – Corryton Bible Consideration

Libsyn – Corryton Bible Consideration


Zoom – Tips and Tricks

I started using Zoom back in the Fall of 2019.  It was a convenient way to meet with the officers of my Toastmasters club.  We would meet in person and then alternate the next month to online.  And was a pretty good little setup for us.

Then COVID-19 hit!  And it forced us to use Zoom as a means for meeting in the club as well as officer meetings.

So I am no expert at Zoom, but I have used it a fair amount.

I put together a short video with some tips and tricks on using Zoom.  I hope you find it helpful if you are new to Zoom.

To download Zoom to your device go to .  You should use the application instead of running from a web browser.  I don’t even think that is an option, but want to point it out as some have asked how to properly view a Zoom meeting.  So that is the first step.

With the free account you can share have a meeting with up to 100 participants.  They had a 40 minute limit on each meeting, but have lifted that restriction during the virus lock-down.

The best thing to do is download and start using it by yourself to get comfortable with the settings.  Test your video and audio from the settings menu.  You can even record yourself to see if your background, lighting, audio and camera view are to your liking.

Give it a try.  Let me know if the comments below if you have any questions.

Happy zooming!


Peace All Around Us

After the rain today I was reminded that in spite of all the chaos in our country right now – the seasons will change, just as He has ordained.  Not everything has been upended!

The rain falls, sun shines, the moon reflects and the ground is starting to awake with new colors.

We have to turn the TV off and find peace around us.  Where do I find peace you ask?

  • By listening to the birds chirping outside in the trees
  • Watching the grass as it is starting to grow
  • Watching as my grandbaby as she smiles when she sees my face
  • Music excites and soothes me – just depends on the music
  • My Bible is full of truths, some I still haven’t discovered and some I am still trying to obey – so much to be learned
  • My wife still kisses me at night
  • Friends and family laugh when we talk

Yes there is peace to be found all around us – seek it…….

If you can’t find peace right now, reach out to me – I will be glad to share with you some of mine!

“When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him? You made him little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭8:3-6‬ ‭

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baby’s breath blooming

Image may contain: plant, flower, grass, outdoor and nature
Grape hyacinth

‘‘Tis blackberry season

It is July in East Tennessee – and you know what that means? Yep – it is blackberry season.

You will find me in out of the way fields in the early morning and late evenings. My goal is to pick as many berries as our freezer will hold – a quart at a time.

I made a little video to show you where I pick berries and a few pointers. Check it out …..

First No Till Garden

I just finished my first no till garden and decided to make an instructional video.  If you are interested in how to make a no till garden, or want to see how I did it then please go watch the video below.

No Till Garden video

I have made a few raised bed gardens this year, but this one is just a bit different.  It really wasn’t that hard, but in retrospect I wish I had more green items to include before I added the papers.


More organic material would make for a more rich environment quicker.  I know by adding adding compost in the years to come the ground will be built up, but I wanted to plant cantaloupes this year.  We will see how it goes.



Greenhouse – Regulating Temperatures

My greenhouse has become a favorite place for me to work on most days. From watering, seeding to transplanting there is a lot of activity in the greenhouse.

But I am struggling with keeping my temperatures within an acceptable range.

When it was cold I had to add a heater to keep the temperature above 40.  I let the temp drop into the 30s one night and lost the tomato plants I had in the ground.  This of course is a manual process and adds the cost of electricity to my gardening efforts.

heater on a metal chair so I don’t burn the place down

When the temperature gets too hot I have another problem.  The greenhouse will heat up in a hurry and the extreme temperature will kill off any tender seedings, and even some things in the ground.

I have a window that opens when the temp gets above 75 degrees and will leave the door open for ventilation.  I have a small fan in the greenhouse to help with air flow, but it is not really big enough to keep the temps down.

what a great invention – opens and closes around the 70 degree mark

Today I added a shade cloth that is supposed to block 70% of the sun’s rays.  Too early to tell if it will be helpful, but got to try something!

10×20 shade cloth covers most of the greenhouse

I also have a thermometer that registers the high and lows.  This is helpful as a reactionary tool, and give me some insight as to what is happening in the greenhouse.

I can set the indicators to show the last low (green) and high (blue).  Actual temp is red arm. 

These are my attempts and regulating the temperature in my greenhouse.

I would love to hear what methods you use to keep things around an optimal temperature.  Drop you comments below if you would……


Plant Based Diet – Greenhouse

I have enjoyed the new foods I have found and eaten on my plant based diet. I do like a good variety of fruits and vegetables.  The only thing that will make me feel better about my plant based diet will be to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables from my own garden.

So to increase my possibilities of fresh veggies that I know are grown organically, I built my own greenhouse.

This rest of this post is to show some of the stages on how we built the greenhouse.  I want to thank a few folks who helped make this dream a reality.  My dad helped me more than anyone and worked tirelessly with me till it was finished.  My son helped weld the cattle panels.  And lastly I got the inspiration and blueprints from TexasPrepper2.

We started with a 2″x8″ foundation that is 16’x7′

The framework is made of 4’x16′ cattle panels

My son welded the 4 cattle panels together and then we stapled them to the 2x8s.  I also have some rebar drove in the ground and attached to the 2×8 for stability.

We started our wooden framing with a window on the south wall and a door on the north.  Notice we also have wood chips down so we can work without getting so muddy.

The trench for both water and electricity in the greenhouse.

We used pallet boards for the shelves.

All ready for the plastic!  The edge of the cattle panels we cut a used water hose to be sure the plastic doesn’t get caught on the wire and tear.

Finished product!  My dad and I spent over 12 hours building this greenhouse, and it ain’t perfect but it sure will suit my needs!!