What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Foto Friends - Reflections of God's Strength and Peace

"You visit the earth and water it,
You greatly enrich it;
The river of God is full of water..."
Psalm 65:9a





Psalm 29:3
"The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.


Psalm 29:4-5
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon."



"The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
and the Lord sits as King forever"
Psalm 29:10



"The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace."
Psalm 29:11




Because our weekends are very busy caring for my 93-year old mother in law and other family/church activities, hubby and I try to take at least one morning during the week to take a ride or walk (weather permitting) to someplace nearby where we can spend a few moments to reflect on God's beauty and peace.

 It is my prayer that you will experience that sense of peace that we enjoyed as you reflect upon these pictures taken along the banks of the Ocklawaha River this past week.

Truly He has given "strength to His people" and has blessed "His people with peace."

May your reflections of God bring strength and peace to you today.

I am linking up with Deb and friends over at Friday Foto Friends #47 today.  Please click on this link and check out what others have captured in their "fotos" this week!  Enjoy and be blessed!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Glorious Sunset

"Praise the Lord!


Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!


Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!

Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away."

Psalm 148:1-6

Just couldn't let this lovely sunset disappear without sharing it with you! Praise the Lord, indeed!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An "EnDEERing Moment"





video


This morning I witnessed a most "enDEERing" moment.  I hope you can click on the above video to see the touching moment between the mama deer and her fawn.  The little fawn had strayed away from the rest of the herd and was wandering dangerously near to the strange woman with the camera.  Little Fawn was very curious and did not realize her danger...(even though the strange woman with the camera - me - would NEVER harm such a dear little deer.)

Soon Mama Deer came looking for her baby, and recognizing the peril she was in, Mama deer stared severely at the strange woman with the camera for quite a spell while waiting for Little Fawn to come running back to her.  When little fawn ran up to her mama, there was a tender moment of nuzzling and kissing, and then it appeared that Mama Deer admonished her Little Fawn with a few words of reprimand.  Suddenly Little Fawn leaped away to join her siblings and the rest of the herd, and Mama quickly took off after her.  They joined the rest of the group and headed off to graze in safer pastures away from the strange woman with the camera.

Well! It was definitely a touching moment and I feel so privileged to have witnessed this today. I couldn't help but think about one of the parables that Jesus taught His disciples about another herd or flock of animals...the sheep.  Let me share it with you and then see if you can see the similarities:

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep,
if he loses one of them,
does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, 
and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?
And when he has found it, 
he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing!
And when he comes home, 
he calls together his friends and neighbors, 
saying to them,
'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'
I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven 
over one sinner who repents 
than over ninety-nine just persons
who need no repentance."
Luke 15:4-7

How often have we been like that little deer...or that lost sheep...wandering away from the fold, perhaps not evening realizing the danger that was lurking around us? Sometimes the danger may be more insidious than something physical...it could be a peril to our minds or spirit...a false teaching or a temptation to explore areas of thought that could lead us away from sound doctrine and the safe harbor of our faith in Christ.  

It could be the liberal philosophy of "political correctness" that is nothing more than a smokescreen for the unholy teachings of the enemy of our souls...much like that cunning old serpent in the garden when he tempted Eve with the apple, saying "Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden..."


Well, anyway...not wanting to venture into that arena right now...but the main point of this post is that when we do go astray, we can expect our "Mama Deer" (Heavenly Father)  to come searching for us immediately.  God will not allow His precious children to wander so far away that they cannot be retrieved.
 We may get ourselves into mischief, yes, even into deep, dark waters of sin and despair...but when you belong to Jesus...He will not stop searching until He has found you and gathered you up into His loving arms, placed you on His shoulders and carried you home...REJOICING!!!

An "EnDEERing Moment"

video


This morning I witnessed a most "enDEERing" moment.  I hope you can click on the above video to see the touching moment between the mama deer and her fawn.  The little fawn had strayed away from the rest of the herd and was wandering dangerously near to the strange woman with the camera.  Little Fawn was very curious and did not realize her danger...(even though the strange woman with the camera - me - would NEVER harm such a dear little deer.)

Soon Mama Deer came looking for her baby, and recognizing the peril she was in, Mama deer stared severely at the strange woman with the camera for quite a spell while waiting for Little Fawn to come running back to her.  When little fawn ran up to her mama, there was a tender moment of nuzzling and kissing, and then it appeared that Mama Deer admonished her Little Fawn with a few words of reprimand.  Suddenly Little Fawn leaped away to join her siblings and the rest of the herd, and Mama quickly took off after her.  They joined the rest of the group and headed off to graze in safer pastures away from the strange woman with the camera.

Well! It was definitely a touching moment and I feel so privileged to have witnessed this today. I couldn't help but think about one of the parables that Jesus taught His disciples about another herd or flock of animals...the sheep.  Let me share it with you and then see if you can see the similarities:

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep,
if he loses one of them,
does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, 
and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?
And when he has found it, 
he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing!
And when he comes home, 
he calls together his friends and neighbors, 
saying to them,
'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'
I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven 
over one sinner who repents 
than over ninety-nine just persons
who need no repentance."
Luke 15:4-7

How often have we been like that little deer...or that lost sheep...wandering away from the fold, perhaps not evening realizing the danger that was lurking around us? Sometimes the danger may be more insidious than something physical...it could be a peril to our minds or spirit...a false teaching or a temptation to explore areas of thought that could lead us away from sound doctrine and the safe harbor of our faith in Christ.  

It could be the liberal philosophy of "political correctness" that is nothing more than a smokescreen for the unholy teachings of the enemy of our souls...much like that cunning old serpent in the garden when he tempted Eve with the apple, saying "Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden..."


Well, anyway...not wanting to venture into that arena right now...but the main point of this post is that when we do go astray, we can expect our "Mama Deer" (Heavenly Father)  to come searching for us immediately.  God will not allow His precious children to wander so far away that they cannot be retrieved.
 We may get ourselves into mischief, yes, even into deep, dark waters of sin and despair...but when you belong to Jesus...He will not stop searching until He has found you and gathered you up into His loving arms, placed you on His shoulders and carried you home...REJOICING!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Box Full of Memories -- Updated 9-25-2016

Today is my birthday, and it has been a weekend full of blessings and joy and celebration with family and friends. I am always amazed at how God brings sweet surprises out of the woodwork on my special day...and this year was no exception.  I may write more about that later.

In scrolling back through things that I wrote on previous birthdays, I came across this one that always brings back special memories.  That "box full of memories" is close by to peruse and enjoy whenever the mood hits me. It is always a joy-giver and tear-jerker to go through...but the memories are all pleasant and bittersweet.  I am so thankful for the precious heritage God has given me. Read on and enjoy.


Original Post 9-23-13:
My birthday isn't for a couple more days, but we celebrated over the weekend so we could have family and friends together to share in the fun. As you can see, I was blessed with two apple pies and one Cinderella Princess cake...and a lot of candles to blow out.
I closed my eyes and listened as my family sang the familiar strain of 
"Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear (Pam), (Mom) (Aunt Pam),
Happy Birthday to you!"

I was actually enjoying the moment so much, and directing the choir as they sang,
It sounded like the angels were singing.


And then I had to blow out the candles...all of them, if I wanted my wish to come true!

I started at the pies and went all the way down to the cake...and I almost made it...but not quite. 
I guess my wish won't come true...but that's okay.  God is working on it. He knows exactly
what I need and want...and He'll take care of it. He always has and always will.

So, after the singing and the blowing and cheers I opened gifts and had a marvelous time.
We were at my sister's home. I was sitting in front of my grandmother's antique china cabinet,
that was passed down to my mother, and then to my sister 
after both my parents joined each other in heaven.
My sister's house is the only place left here in our home state where we have actual
memories of having our parents with us in that place. My parents' home has been sold to strangers, and it wouldn't be the same anyway without them and all the familiar things that we enjoyed in their home.
So being in my sister's home, with my mother's china cabinet behind me, I felt somewhat at home.
I kept waiting to hear my parents' voices join in the singing...that was one of their favorite times...birthdays.
Never a birthday went by that they didn't call us up and sing to us over the phone if we couldn't be
together in person. It was a family tradition...one of the best kinds.
I missed them...but I could hear them singing in my heart.

Well, after the gifts were all opened my niece placed a plastic container in my lap and said,
"Aunt Pam, here is a box from Grandma and Grandpa's house that has your name on it."
Well, I kind of knew what it was, but I wasn't prepared for the flood of memories that
I was about to have hit me.
My parents were great "savers".  They saved cards, letters, pictures...and much much more.
Actually, I had told my mother many times over the years when we lived far away from
them to be sure and save my letters that I wrote them, because someday I would
need them to write a book!
My mother did just that.
She saved them all.
I only wish I'd written more!
Be sure to click on pictures to enlarge for viewing.


But the ones she saved were all very special...letters written to them when I found out I was pregnant with our first child, and I was one state away from home, and very sick.  I spent the first three months not holding down anything...and missing my mama so much. But I sounded brave in my letters. I even told them how it felt the first time I felt the baby move...and how big I was getting and how I was making maternity dresses.
I never realized I had written so many details...what a thrill to find these letters again. I read them to my now 42 year old son...the one I was carrying when I was so pukey sick that I wound up in the hospital for a week on IV's....He said he was sorry.  I'm not sorry. He was worth it.



Then there were letters from when we went away to prepare for the ministry...and I shared a little of the hardships we endured while in Bible College...but I also shared the joy of opening our home for a ladies' Bible study with unsaved women in our apartment complex...something I said I had never done before and I said how wonderful it felt to share Christ with my neighbors. I'm so glad she saved that letter. I'd forgotten how special that time was...



Then there were many pictures...pictures of our babies, newborn and sweet, growing and cute, pictures from all over the country, wherever our journeys took us as we served the Lord in the ministry. There were even little hand written letters to Grandma and Grandpa from our boys...so sweet and scribbly, and priceless.

Yes, this was the best birthday present ever.  A gift to me from my wonderful Mom and Dad, who held these letters as something to be treasured...the letters to home from their baby daughter.

I know why they saved them.
Not just because I asked them to.
They would've done it anyway.
Because they loved me and cherished me 
and my little family. 
They brought me into this world,
and they loved me until they left this world.

Just like Jesus loves me and cherishes me
and my little family.
I'll bet He saves all my letters (my prayers to Him)
in His heart
and He answers them one by one.
(I noticed my mother often put a little note on the envelopes of my letters
with a date showing when she replied to my letter)
Why? Because He loves me.
He truly brought me into this world
and then
He gave His life for me.
He made it possible for me
to join Him someday in heaven
and be with Him for eternity.
My parents are there too...
they'll be waiting for me at the gate I am certain.

The box full of memories is something to treasure.
But even better than that is the knowledge that this is not all there is to life.
My "treasure is in Heaven ~ 
where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do 
not break in and steal."
Matthew 6:20

Even so, 
this was a pretty special birthday present 
from my Mom and Dad.
Don't you agree?
Thanks Mom and Dad.
I love you.






Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Foto Friends #46 and My Pics of the Week

Happy Friday...and Happy Fall y'all!!!  Fall is my most favorite time of the year! Even though here in Florida we don't have the pretty leaves like most northern states have...we do have fall-like weather from October through at least March...so how could anyone complain about that?  It sure beats the heat of summer and frozen months of winter!

So, this past week we have been on a little "stay-cation" with a friend visiting us from up north (Ohio).  The days were actually a bit too warm and muggy for very much outdoor activity, but we managed to fit in a little bit of fun here and there, which also led to some great opportunities for my "pics of the week".

 One evening we went out to eat at a seafood restaurant along the banks of the St. John's River. From our vantage point on the deck of the restaurant, my hubby kept saying he could see what appeared to be an eagle across the river in the trees.  This was with his naked eye...no glasses.  So I started zooming in on the trees with my camera, and sure enough! There was an eagle perched up in the tree, watching the water below for his fish supper!  Good eye, hubby!


 After supper I walked down on the dock and watched some shrimp fishermen casting their nets.  I wanted to call out to them like Jesus did to His fishermen disciples so many years ago:

"Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No."  And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some."  So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.  John 21:5-6

But they were busily casting their nets and I didn't want to disturb them. They were kind enough to allow me to take their pictures.


As the sun was setting
behind us in the west it was thrilling to see the reflections of these boats on the water. Such a peaceful, glorious evening.

The next day we determined to take a little "cruise" on the river at the Fort Gates Ferry

And so we followed the directions above, and waited, and waited, and waited. I did a few jumping jacks on the "wooden ramp", hoping to attract some attention... (no picture of that, thank goodness!)
And finally after we about ran out our car battery on the headlights and I about ran out my energy jumping around like a Mexican Jumping bean, we saw the ferry barge slowly making its way across the river.

 When the ferry hooked up to the ramp, my hubby very carefully drove the car onto the ferry, and off we went...right onto the river...
 This is the little tugboat that actually did all the work pulling us across the river!
 It was a lovely ride across the river...

Here we are playing "tourist" with our sunhats and sunglasses...
Hubby was even enjoying himself once he got the car on the ferry safely...


And after about 20 minutes of riding on the water we finally made it across to the other side.

 Next we drove to a local restaurant for lunch, and saw this classic 1956 Cadillac parked in the parking lot! Now that was sweet!!
 After lunch we headed back to the ferry, and were greeted by this white heron...
 And this Anhinga drying her wings in the sunshine,
 And also this alligator waiting in the water for someone to throw him some fish... (not me!!!)
 Soon we made it back across the river to our home side...

And off we go again safely back home! Whew!

I hope you enjoyed this little "stay-cation" with me! It's always fun to do something a little different and spontaneous now that we are retired! It helps when company comes on vacation and that gives us an excuse to "play tourist" and see and do some things we probably wouldn't do on our own! So thankful for the good weather, good health, and God's amazing creation here for us to enjoy!

Here are some thoughts from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 that seem appropriate for us retired folks:

Verse 1:
"To every thing there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven..."

Verses 9-13
"What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?

I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.
He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.
Also He has put eternity in their hearts,
except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,

And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--
It is the GIFT of God!!


I take it from this that our retirement time is a "gift of God", and we are meant to enjoy it! Therefore, I hope and pray that we will be able to do just that all the remaining days of our lives, and give thanks to the One Who made it possible! Praise God!

I am linking up with Deb and friends over at "Friday Foto Friends"  Click on the link to see what fun
 and interesting photos others are sharing today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Living or Fading? - Updated

9/20/2016:
Interestingly enough, I wrote this post one year ago today...and as I re-read it today I was struck by how similar things are right now in my life. I haven't been doing much current writing because we have a guest with us this week from out of state...a woman who lost her husband very unexpectedly due to a heart attack a couple of years ago...a different woman than the one mentioned in my post written last year, but with very similar needs and sorrow.   It seems as we age, we very sadly can expect this to happen to more and more of our dear friends.  May the Lord continue to give us wisdom and compassion as we give counsel and comfort to those who are grieving.


Original Post 9/20/2015
It's Sunday afternoon and I haven't written anything new lately.  Sitting here wondering about what to write...I need some new inspiration I guess. I'll be back later. Going to go take walk-about outside. Maybe I'll get some ideas.  If I do, you'll see it here later. If I don't...this won't get published. Bye for now.

A little later......

Okay, I'm back.  Went outside...took a little walk with my hubby, tried to talk about "life" in general while we had a few minutes to ourselves away from the folks inside the house...but it was too hot to stay out for long...so he went back inside to watch football, and I sat on the front porch for a few minutes and decided to take a picture of the first thing that struck my fancy.  Here it is:



What do YOU see in these pictures?  Same view, just two different perspectives.


I'll tell you what I was thinking while I was looking at this view.  Recently I was visiting with a friend who lost her  husband to cancer a little over a year ago.  It's been a difficult year for her in many ways. I won't go into any details or betray any confidences...but I thought to myself that I wouldn't want to trade places with her for anything.  I looked at these trees and thought that the dead tree in the background is how my friend must feel...stripped bare, broken, and alone. Exposed to the elements without any shade to cover and shelter her from the storms of life.

The tall pine in the foreground is how I feel having my life-mate still with me.  Alive and
strong, able to withstand the tempests that come and go, knowing that I do not have to face those storms alone...and so thankful to the Lord that that is the case.

In the second photograph you might notice the Sycamore leaves in the foreground. They are starting to change color with the upcoming autumn.  Soon they will fade into a golden hue and then turn brown and blow away.

This coming week I will have a birthday...my sixty-fifth! (new note in 2016---that was last year. Gonna be a year older this year! Old age is creeping up on me).   I don't mind telling you because it is a significant age. I am thankful to have reached this "great age" and still have my health...and my husband.  I don't say this boastfully, but thankfully. So many of our friends our age have already lost a mate and are having to enter their "golden years" alone...something they never thought they'd have to do.

I didn't intend for this post to be depressing or sorrowful.  But it is facing a reality of life.   Our golden years are already upon us...and it is only a matter of time (and/or unexpected illness) that we, like those Sycamore leaves, will begin to fade, dry up and blow away.

Even the Bible tells us about this in Isaiah 40:6-8:

"All flesh is grass,
and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
because the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the Word of our God stands forever."

The Psalmist continues this theme in Psalm 103:15-16:

"As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it,
and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more."

But I like what the Psalmist goes on to say in the next verses (17-18):

"But the MERCY of the Lord is from 
everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to children's children,
to such as keep His covenant,
and to those who remember His commandments to do them."

And look at these encouraging words  in the final verses of Isaiah, chapter 40 (28-31)

"Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives POWER TO THE WEAK,
and to those who have no might 
He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men shall utterly fall,
BUT THOSE WHO WAIT ON THE LORD
SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."


This wonderful passage tells me that my friend who feels alone is NOT alone.  And for those who feel weak and powerless, they have the everlasting God holding them up and giving them strength. 
No matter what our age or current status in life, whether we are getting old and dried up, or are alone and feeling empty, we need to remember that we are never alone.

I am also reminded to count my blessings daily.  Not one of us knows what each day will bring...so we need to live each day giving glory to God and trusting Him to see us through whatever may come our way.

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
and saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all."
Psalm 34:17-18