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, June 23, 2017

Friday Foto Friends- A Little This, A Little That

Psalm 111: 1-4
"I will praise the Lord with my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
The works of the Lord are great,
Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
His work is honorable and glorious,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion."

What a great way to start out this Friday Foto Friends...praising the Lord "with my whole heart"...and being reminded that the Lord "has made His wonderful works to be remembered...", and that is one of the reasons I take so many pictures...to remember God's wonderful works!  There is so much to see, study and "have pleasure in them"...for His work is honorable and glorious...

So, some of my photographs this week are of a few of God's wonderful works to be remembered...and others are just a little this and that of what I've done or have seen this past week.  In everything, I give thanks and praise to God.

I will start with the clouds!  With all of the storms we've had this past week, there have been many opportunities to watch the clouds rolling in and out...so here are some that I found noteworthy:

These last two are actually of the sun breaking through the clouds after the rain this past evening (writing this on Thursday night)  The pictures never do them justice...but the sun was so brilliant as it broke through the clouds...again
"The works of the Lord are great!" 

And this is the rain falling down...the sun was actually shining during this little shower and the raindrops were sparkling on the trees, but it didn't show up quite that way. This looks more like snow! But it is definitely rain...I live in Florida, and it was about 90 degrees when I took this picture!

I thought this looked like icicles hanging from the trees!

I couldn't let a week go by without another rose blossom...every few days a new one opens, and I just love to watch them open their lovely faces to praise the Lord Who created them...

And our "bird of the week" is this tiny young ? warbler of some kind?.  He was feasting on the mimosa tree flowers after the rain. Can you find the lady bug?

Now we will change gears a bit.  
This looks like a bar of soap.

It is,...but it is handmade (Rosemary) soap, created by the daughter in law of one of my dear friends.
My friend brought several of these bars for me to try...actually, she had given me some quite some time ago, and it just sort of sat there and I just sort of forgot about it because I've always been  a "Dove" girl.  But lately I've noticed that my skin was getting very dry, tight, and wrinkled! Yikes!
I'm too young for wrinkles! (Ha!) But honestly, as soon as I'd wash my face, I'd have to put a ton of lotion on to smooth it out and relieve the tightness.
So, I thought, why not try this lovely bar of homemade soap? And so I did.
And I have to tell you (this is not a commercial), but I could not believe how smooth and soft and fresh my face felt! It didn't tighten up like usual, and the "wrinkles" seemed to smooth right out...I couldn't even see them in my mirror! Even when I turned the lights on bright and put on my glasses!
So I had to know what was in this soap...and it is Emu Oil and Goats Milk, along with other essential oils.  Now I am trying to contact this lady and find out about other products she makes...and I will keep you informed.  
Have any of you ever used soap with Emu Oil before?
This is a real nice little gift from one of God's amazing creatures...actually two...don't forget the goats!

I was so excited about this I had to tell you!  You probably already knew it and never bothered to tell me...but now the secret is out!

Now, what else happened this week?
Oh yes! I had my four week check up with the doctor today (Thursday) following my surgery. She said I am doing just fine and she will see me again in two months. I am still in the healing mode and not totally back to normal yet...but I am doing as well as can be expected for this time period.  So I give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to me. 
I do not take healing for granted. It is a gift from God.

"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion."

One more thing I did this week. Some of you real seamstresses out there will probably laugh at this.
I am not a seamstress.  Oh, I can sew...but I find it mostly a lesson in frustration...something I don't have much patience for anymore.  But I guess I am getting a little stir crazy being cooped up so much.  One day, as I was taking one of my afternoon naps, I laid there thinking about a nightgown that I've never worn that was hidden away in the bottom drawer of the dresser  
Why? Well, because it had long sleeves and came down below my knees, and here in Florida I just never have needed long sleeved, long tailed nightgowns. I still get hot flashes during the night and just the thought of being trapped in attached long sleeves and tangled up in a long gown is enough to make me break out in a sweat.
So, I got this brilliant idea to make it into a usable short nightgown! I'm sorry I didn't take a before picture, but my husband surreptitiously took a few "during reconstruction" pictures ...I'll show you the ones I approved of.

Here I am in my "sewing room", which is actually in our master bathroom, which is sort of an expanded utility room where our extra fridge resides along with other stuff. (hence the cartons of soft drinks on the floor...they were sitting on top of the sewing machine cabinet) (this picture is looking in from our bedroom....yes, I have dolls everywhere).  
I was diligently trying to figure out how to wind thread on a bobbin on this machine.
 See how hard I was concentrating on this? Actually, I finally decided that on this sewing machine, which is new to me...a "gift" from a friend who has several newer models and didn't need this one anymore, anyway, the bobbin winding mechanism no longer works.  No matter what I tried, it would not do it. I finally found a filled bobbin that was close enough in color to use. I will have to deal with that problem another day when I feel better.

Me, deep in concentration...

 It also took me a while to figure out how to thread this machine...it is a Montgomery Ward machine (that should tell you how old it is), and loads differently than my old Singer.

But I must say I am thankful for this gift from my friend. Once I got all the bugs figured out, it actually did a nice job of sewing!!

So, here is the final product, after I cut off the sleeves to a short cap sleeve, and cut off the bottom to create a shorter gown.

I love it!  I've worn it every night since. Probably need to wash it again...

Okay, that's all for now folks!  We just had a huge thunder crack here...and I think I'll stop typing before the storm gets worse...

"The works of the Lord are great!
Praise the Lord"

Now, let's pop over to Deb's place at Breathing in Grace, and see what all our other Friday Foto Friends have been up to!  Have a blessed weekend my friends!  Don't forget to Praise the Lord for all His wondrous works!  Bye now!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"The Sounds of Silence" - Updated

II Corinthians 1:2-5
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and 
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
Who comforts us in all our tribulation, 
that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, 
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, 
so our consolation also abounds through Christ."

For some reason I've been drawn to this post that I wrote exactly 3 years ago, which was about one month after the passing of our precious son from this life to the next.  I guess because I woke up thinking about a couple of dear friends of ours who said farewell to their precious daughter one year ago today, and praying that the Lord would comfort them as they remember her on this " first anniversary" of her passing.  They say time is a great healer...and I must say that it does help...but the memories of our dear ones never go completely away....nor would we want them to.

At this stage in our grieving process, three years later, we are still hit with memories that bring us to tears, but there are also many moments that bring smiles and laughter as we remember and celebrate the person who our son was. He would not want us to continue in sorrow...why? Because where he is, there is no sorrow!  He is dwelling in the heavenlies with Jesus Christ...and every day is a celebration of eternal life...no sickness, no death, no sorrow, no pain...only joy and hallelujahs every moment!

I shared the above passage from II Corinthians 1:2-5 today because I have come to realize that often times in life, as we go through great sorrows and tribulations , we find that the day comes when the God Who comforts us helps us to also comfort those who are presently passing through their own tribulations.  It is a comfort to know someone else has already walked this type of journey before and can help us deal with the pitfalls and valleys of sorrow as we come upon them.  I know there have been many who have encouraged us along the way, and I pray that we will be able to comfort and encourage others as the Lord leads us.

So, without further ado, here is what I wrote three years ago...perhaps this will bring some measure of comfort to someone else today. I pray so.

Original Post 6/21/2014:

Hello Blog Page my old friend, I've come to talk with you again...   I kind of rewrote that phrase from one of my old favorite Simon and Garfunkle songs, "The Sounds of Silence", which said, "Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk with you again..."   That was the song that just popped into my head as I sat down here at my computer and tried to think about what on earth I was going to write.  It seems as though my mind has been a bit of a blank lately.  Actually, my mind is full of things...I just don't know how to say them. Not sure that I want to say them in public.

Not bad things, just private thoughts...thoughts of grief, sorrow, healing, 
comfort, sadness, memories, joy, longing, 
praying, wishing, hoping, wondering, 
praise, love, wistful, tender, 
crying, laughing....

You see, when you've said farewell to someone you love so much...one of your own precious children...
and even though
 you know in your heart that you will see him again someday
and you rejoice in knowing that he is no longer suffering...
he is fully whole and happy in heaven...

You still have those moments when you wish you could turn back time and start over again...and have things turn out differently...if you had the power to keep the disease from forming in his body...if you could have somehow changed the course of events...but then you realize that you are not God. You really can't see the bigger picture yet...the picture that God sees looking down at us from His heavenly throne.  You realize that now your child can see the bigger picture...and he understands the whys and wherefores...and if he could tell me so, he would tell me that it is all going to be okay...not to worry...God's plan IS the best plan...and I will understand it better by and by.

This morning I took my breakfast of a cup of hot tea, a homemade blueberry bran muffin fresh out of the oven, and a bowl of summer fruit and went and sat outside in the garden arbor that we just built in memory of our son, and I sat there in the garden and thought about these things. And then I allowed God to do His work of healing in my heart.  He knew exactly what I needed. Here are a few pictures that I took this morning as I welcomed God's therapy of peace and quiet to comfort me:

God knew just what I needed. He always does.

I read in today's reading of "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young:

"Wait patiently with Me while I bless you.
Don't rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind.
I dwell in timelessness;
I am, I was, I will always be. 
For you, time is a protection;
you're a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life.
Time can also be a tyrant, 
ticking away relentlessly in your mind.
Learn to master time, or it will be your master.

Though you are a time-bound creature, 
seek to meet Me in timelessness.
As you focus on My Presence,
The demands of time and tasks will diminish.
I will bless you and keep you,
making My Face shine upon you graciously,
giving you Peace."

I needed that message today. I tend to be driven by time and things to do. I haven't allowed myself much time for healing..."The Sounds of Silence"...time to rest, time to appreciate the beauty around me. 

"Therefore I will look to the LORD; 
I will wait for the God of my salvation; 
My God will hear me.  
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy;
When I fall, I will arise;
When I sit in darkness,
The LORD will be a light to me."

Micah 7:7-8

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Another Exciting Reading Adventure/Gift in the Mail!

Well Friends, The adventure continues!!!  If you read these prior posts...Click HERE for my review on "A Trip, A Tryst and a Terror" and Click HERE for "So Excited to Receive a Gift".... you will recall that my sweet friend Martha Jane Orlando sent me her first book, A Trip, A Tryst and a Terror,  to read and write a review...and if I did that, she would send me her second book in the series, Children in the Garden.

I have been "patiently" waiting for this book to arrive, as the ending of the first book left us hanging, wondering what on earth could have happened...and so now I will be able to finally find out!

Here's what the back cover tells us:

So, I hope you will bear with me until I have time to read this exciting little book...and I plan to write another review just as soon as I can!  Of course, you could  order your own copies of these books here: http://gladetrilogy.wixsite.com/theglade or here:  https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=martha+orlando&sprefix=martha+orlando%2Caps%2C200 

And you can find out what happens next for yourself!!!

Okay, Martha!  I'm ready to start reading!! Thank you for this wonderful gift/opportunity!

May the Adventures Continue!

What does this little squirrel have to do with this story?
I guess you'll have to read it and find out for yourself!!

Now I'm going to find a cozy spot in the garden and start reading!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles--"Oh Praise Him, Alleluia!"

Today is the last day of Spring...although it has seemed like summer for a long time here in our part of the country! Thankfully we have been receiving plenty of rain lately to keep the flowers and trees growing.  I am sitting in the Secret Garden this morning, even though it is pretty warm and humid, there is an occasional breeze and it is very pleasant right now.

We read Psalm 146 in our devotions this morning, and here is a part of that beautiful Psalm:

Psalm 146:1-2
"Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God
while I have my being."

As I read these verses again in the Secret Garden, I just had to start singing!  The first song that came to my mind was "All Creatures of Our God and King".  As I sat there in the garden singing this wonderful old hymn, I could actually hear the birds gathering around in the treetops, listening and singing along.  I was surprised that this little Chickadee actually perched above me in the Magnolia tree for a while and sang his happy tune, and then moved over to the bird house, as if to inspect it for further possible use?  

And as I continued to sing praises to Our God and King, I could hear a Cardinal was singing his song from somewhere among the trees, so I got up and looked around until I found him...can you see him peeking out between the branches?

Here is what the birdies were listening to as I sang:  (although I was singing alone, without the accoustical accompaniment...only the music of the birds and wind rustling the leaves of the trees around me for my symphony)

All Creatures Of Our God And King (with lyrics) performed by Maranatha! Music.
Originally composed by St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

  • All creatures of our God and King,
    Lift up your voice and with us sing,
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    Thou burning sun with golden beam,
    Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
    • Refrain:
      O praise Him! O praise Him!
      Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

    1. Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
      Ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,
      O praise Him! Alleluia!
      Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
      Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

    2. And all ye men of tender heart,
      Forgiving others, take your part,
      O praise Him! Alleluia!
      Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
      Praise God and on Him cast your care!

    3. Let all things their Creator bless,
      And worship Him in humbleness,
      O praise Him! Alleluia!
      Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
      And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

    4. My hymnbook includes as the last verse the words to 
    5. "The Doxology", sung to the same tune as above:

    6. "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,
      Praise Him all creatures here below,
      Alleluia! Alleluia!
      Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
      Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
      Alleluia, Alleluia,
      Alleluia! Alleluia!

    7. I hope that you will find some time to sing praises to Our God and King today! I cannot begin to tell you how this little praise time has lifted my spirits. I kind of had a little setback physically over the weekend, and just wasn't feeling up to par for the past several days.  But this morning it seemed that the Lord was telling me to get outside to the Secret Garden and just praise Him! And I did, and I have to say that I feel much better now!!!
    8. Oh praise Him!
    9. Alleluia!
    10. Alleluia!
    11. Alleluia!!

    For another similar post of praise to our God and Father, Click HERE

    Monday, June 19, 2017

    A Kindred Spirit ~ Updated

    Update: This little story was originally posted on 6/21/2010...but as today was a rainy day, and I really didn't have anything "new" to say, this just spoke to me again...so I thought I'd share it with you! It's summertime, and perhaps this may give you some ideas for a fun way to spend an afternoon with some young ladies or even friends and neighbors...do something a little different and fun...and perhaps you will discover some "kindred spirits" nearby!  Enjoy!!

    Original Post:
    Romans 8:16 
    “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

    Sometimes God provides pleasant interludes in our lives from unexpected places and people. During one of our more difficult places of ministry, there was one young lady in particular who was what would I would classify as a “Kindred Spirit”, which means that we shared similar likes and thoughts and dreams. "Kristi" and I shared an interest in the “Anne of Green Gables” series that had been shown on television at that time. My particular interest in this character was due to the fact that I had actually been named after “Anne”. My mother had read “Anne of Avonlea” when she was a young girl, and had always liked the name Anne (spelled with an “e” on the end) and the character, who happened to be a redhead. I also happened to be born a redhead, and thus my mother named me “Pamela Anne” after “Anne of Avonlea".

    So one summer afternoon I thought it would be a great idea to have an “Anne of Green Gables” party. I invited Kristi and a couple of her college friends (Crista and Lily) to come over to our home and watch the video and have a tea party much like the one in the story. We had a delightful afternoon, complete with “Raspberry Cordial” (not the alcoholic kind that was in the story, since I was the Pastor's wife, and these girls were all underage...that would not have been "proper"), butter cookies topped with raspberry jam, muffins, fruit, and of course, tea, which was served with the inherited Nanny Martin’s “Romance China” tea set and I used crystal goblets for the raspberry cordial.

    We laughed and giggled together just like I was "one of the girls", which was especially nice for me as I don't have any daughters and had not had a real tea party since I was a little girl with my big sister way back "in the olden days".  I believe the girls enjoyed it just as much as I did, at least they made me feel like they did.  Although I sadly have lost contact with Kristi, (UPDATE: I have since located "Kristi"...she still lives in that same area, is happily married and the mother of two sons! No little girls for tea parties for her either!) one of the other young ladies, Crista, has remained a special friend throughout the years because of my friendship with her parents, and is one of my facebook friends yet today! (Update: Crista is also happily married, and the mother of two sons and a girl! I hope she has had some tea parties with her sweet Sarah! I'm sure she has!) That is an added blessing!

    Thank you Lord, for “Kindred Spirits” sent to minister to our hearts in special ways. Most of all, I thank you for Your Holy Spirit, sent to minister to my heart in special ways every day. Amen.