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, March 16, 2018

Friday Foto Friends - A.K.A.The Things I've Seen This Week in My Neck of the Woods!

I've been saving up a few new pictures to show you...haven't even shared most of these on Facebook yet, so you are getting the very first look!

Let's just move right along here...our Sand Hill Crane babies, a.k.a. "Colts", are growing like weeds!  I captured this darling picture of the two of them Thursday afternoon as they hurried away from the crazy lady with the camera (a.k.a. ME), and rushed through the water and over to the other side of the pond to safety with the parents.

 Hurry kids...let's get moving...

And none too soon...This Red Shouldered Hawk has been keeping a "hawk-eye" on these babies all week long.  He has been flying from tree to tree all along the shore of the pond, watching their every move...and waiting for a moment when he thinks the parents aren't watching...but I wouldn't be too quick to jump on those babies if I were you, Mr. Hawk...Those parents are MUCH bigger than you...and the babies are growing pretty fast too...and adult Sand Hill Cranes can be a formidable foe when you get near their babies...

The Crane family scurried quickly to safety...Hey! If you want to get a front row seat to all of this activity, you could buy this empty lot that's for sale...(I'm not really recommending that you buy this lot...it has "issues" that I won't describe here, so please don't really consider it.)

Now, back to my neck of the woods...a.k.a. known as my backyard...This Pileated Woodpecker was at it again early this morning, pecking away on that dead holly tree in our back yard.  As you can see, he has pretty well poked holes all the way through that trunk...

And here he was working extra hard at the very base of the tree, which weakened the bottom considerably...every day it has been getting weaker and weaker, and we've been concerned that it was going to fall over onto our power lines that are attached to the house...

And so,  our son #3 just walked up to the tree and gave it a big push...and yep! It went right over...thankfully he was pushing it away from the power lines and the house. It came down with a thud and broke into pieces...and here he is, with my hubby's help (and my help too, when I wasn't taking pictures) hauling it away to our burn pile.

I've been watching for the Pileated Woodpecker to show up looking for his tree...he'll be in for a big surprise...

Well, let's look at something delicate and pretty now...these lovely little Louis Philippe roses have been outdoing themselves this past week...

Now, moving out of our yard and down the road a bit, our local electric cooperative is in the process of relocating their offices and equipment to a new building down the road from the old, and although they aren't going to move this tower, they are going to install some new cell phone dishes on it so that we will finally get good cell phone reception here in our neck of the woods! That is great news for everyone!!!  Anyway, we just happened to be passing by when these guys were climbing up on the tower, and I was happy to get a quick snapshot of them doing their work...
 I love that I also captured the American Flag in this photo!!   Anyway, Thank you, electric linemen of the Clay Electric Cooperative, for all the work you do for us...often putting your lives at risk so that we can have better services and for restoring power when we have storms as quickly as possible. We appreciate your dedicated service!

Now here's some exciting pictures...I just know you will be thrilled to see these:

I got some new dish towels at the Dollar General this week!  Aren't they pretty?  They are so colorful and bright...I couldn't resist them!  Besides, I needed them...all my old dish towels are getting very thin and frayed and just worn out. (We do a lot of dishes here...even though I do have a dishwasher...we still dry a lot of pots and pans and dishes!!

These bright colors made me smile!  (It really doesn't take much to make me happy!)
I may just go back and get a few more while they still have these in stock!!

Here's some happy thoughts to start your day right:

Psalm 63:3-8
3.  "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.

4.  Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

5.  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips."

6.  When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.

7.  Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.

8.  My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me."

Have a blessed and glorious day, dear friends!

Now, let's follow on over to Deb's Place at Breathing in Grace, and see what our other Friday Foto Friends have seen this week!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Weekly Sermon Notes..."He Did It For Us"

This week's passage picks up from where we left off last week in Mark 15, continuing with Mark 15:15-29, which is the actual crucifixion of Christ...from the time of being crowned with thorns, being clothed with purple (for royalty) and being mocked, struck on the head with a reed and spat upon...then being led to Golgotha, with Simon the Cyrenian carrying his cross for him...and then being crucified on that cross between two robbers.  This passage stops there, just prior to the gruesome details of His actual death.
Love, Died, Cross, Thorns, Crown, Heart, Bible, Shadow
(Free Internet Photo)

Without going into all the details, I would like to share with you some of the highlights that stood out for me...and perhaps you can apply these scriptures and thoughts to your own life as well...

1.  As Jesus is crowned with thorns, mocked and treated with such scorn we see that He knows what it means to feel small...to be humiliated...  When we feel small, humiliated and scorned, we know that Jesus has already been there...He knows how we feel...He can truly feel our pain.

2.  Jesus volunteered to take the punishment that was meant for you and me...He willingly suffered the shame and humiliation...He literally died for me.  How many others do you know who willingly died for you...suffered for you, so that you would not have to endure such pain and sorrow?

3.  While Jesus hung on the cross the disciples fled...wondering who would be next...
     Judas betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver...Peter denied him three times...Pilate washed his hands...

4.  We have all been guilty of such things...we have all been broken and in need of forgiveness...
Romans 5:8 tells us :

  "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, 
in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us."

"Christianity is the only religion where the leader took the punishment for His followers on the cross..."
"Jesus took the Roman instrument of torture and transformed it to an instrument of deliverance..."

Jesus stood up for us on that day, when He went to the cross in our place...

Isaiah 53:3-6
3.  "He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4.  Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, 
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5.  But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed.
6.  All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

What am I supposed to do with this knowledge?  I can never repay Christ for all He has done for me.
There is one thing I can do...I can share the love of Christ with everyone I meet...I can share His story of love and sacrifice and salvation wherever I go...
I can live for Him Who died for me...

During this service we sang the following old hymn.  My husband remarked to me later that this song brought back such memories for him, and I responded back to him that it did for me also...so many years ago we sang this song and committed out lives to serve God, and we have striven to do so ever since. It just seems that since we've retired, our "service" has been limited...but our heart is still there.  Living for Jesus doesn't stop when we retire...it is a life long commitment that carries us into heaven.

Living for Jesus
By Thomas O. Chisholm

  1. Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
    Striving to please Him in all that I do;
    Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
    This is the pathway of blessing for me.
    • Refrain:
      O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
      For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
      I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
      My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
  2. Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
    Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace;
    Such love constrains me to answer His call,
    Follow His leading and give Him my all.
  3. Living for Jesus, wherever I am,
    Doing each duty in His holy Name;
    Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
    Deeming each trial a part of my cross.
  4. Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
    My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
    Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
    Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.

  5. Refrain:
    O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
    For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
    I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
    My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

(I had a hard time finding a good video of this song, but at least this one has all the words with music.)

Question for me and for you:  What will YOU do with this message?  Will you share Christ's love with everyone you meet?  Will you live for Him, Who gave His life for you?

Sermon notes and thoughts are based on the message given at FUMC, Interlachen, Florida, Pastor A.C. Myers 3/11/18

Monday, March 12, 2018

Toni's Creative Adventures - A Visit to Ireland

So, what did YOU do today, the Monday after the time change to spring forward?  I know what I did...I took a nap!  (I did yesterday too...and the day before that, and the day before that...) I actually look forward to nap time!  I snuggle down with my blankie and pillow and fall asleep within one minute (wish I could do that at night)...and I stay asleep for at least fifteen minutes...sometimes twenty or even thirty!

Well today I must have either fallen into a much deeper sleep, or perhaps something else happened...I'm not exactly sure... but I found myself...

1.   "Walking in a countryside in Ireland,  and I see a strange green glow coming from behind a large tree. Walking up to it I find a large pot of shamrocks...

 They were so lovely, they seemed to be glowing and smiling up at me...

2.   Being the curious kind I decide to pick a little bouquet...

3.   Much to my surprise as I bend to pick them, a sudden gale blew up and whirled me around and round and finally sat me down on a lovely garden bench. 

As I recovered from feeling a bit dizzy, I looked around, and sitting there beside me was a delightful little tea tray, with the prettiest little Irish red haired girl blinking her bright green eyes at me and asking me if I'd like to have some tea!

Well, of course, I said yes!  

And then she asked if I would do the honor of pouring since the teapot was so hot and a bit too heavy for her to lift...and so I did.  

As we sat there together, sipping our tea,  it was so peaceful and lovely in spite of the wind...and I noticed some dainty little wildflowers blooming across the lawn, and thought how perfect they would be for our tea table...

The little yellow flowers looked like miniature dandelions. 

The tiny purple flowers were so delicate and airy...it seemed as though they belonged in a fairy garden.  (Perhaps it was???)

4.   Deciding this must truly be an Irish fairytale, I laughingly think to myself that I must have fallen out of bed or hit my head or something, because how could I really be sitting in that lovely little garden in Ireland, sipping tea with this lovely young maiden when just a few minutes ago I was taking a little nap in my own bedroom many miles and oceans away?

Suddenly I woke up, sprang out of bed, rubbed my eyes and looked around my room. Everything looked just the same as it had before my nap.

And then I got up and went into the kitchen, and there on the windowsill was this tiny little bouquet...

But where did that shamrock come from?...  What do you think?

Well, You have just come along with me on another of Toni's Creative Adventures...  and if you would like to play along, just click on that link and copy and paste the outline to your blog page and see where it leads you!! You might be surprised where you will land!!

Thank you, Toni!  This was delightful!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Voice of God

Hebrews 12:22-29 (NKJV)

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, 
to an innumerable company of angels, 

23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 
24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 

26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 

27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
29 For our God is a consuming fire.

I was so moved by a poem discovered this morning, written by my blogging/author friend Glynn Young  at his blog http://faithfictionfriends.blogspot.com/2018/03/rejoicing-on-mountain.html, that I had to look up the above scripture reference and let it soak into my mind and heart.  Please check out Glynn's poem entitled "Rejoicing on the Mountain" and see if it causes your heart to rejoice as you spend time in worship today.  

Glynn Young is also the author of the Dancing Priest series of books...you can read more about that on his blog.  I highly recommend them to your reading...but be sure to get all three at once because you won't want to wait for the next one to arrive...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Update to the Sand Hill Crane Story

After posting my Friday Foto Friends earlier HERE, I discovered that baby #2 had arrived this morning, so I rushed out and took some more pictures from the other side of the "pond"...
So without further adieu   ado , here they are:

Hubby actually drove me around to the other side of the pond because it was about 33 degrees here this morning and too far to walk.  However, the sun was shining brightly on this beautiful little family, and they seem quite proud of their new offspring:

So now we just pray that the predators will be kept at bay by the ever vigilant parents, and that we will soon see these youngsters soaring in the sky with the family.    I will take more pictures as I am able without getting myself into trouble.  This vantage point was on an abandoned old camp/boathouse property...at least I thought it was abandoned.  A man came out from across the street and gave us a threatening look, so I held up my camera and told him what we were doing and asked if it was okay, and he relaxed a bit and said okay and walked back away... I'm glad for the watchful eyes of our community, and I would have asked his permission had I known he was there.  The other folks who let us in yesterday to their dock didn't have their gate open yet, so I didn't want to disturb them.  So, we shall see how things progress from here on out as I am able...

Okay, that's all for now folks! I knew you'd be wondering!!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Friday Foto Friends-Rejoice!

Well, I was saving some pictures for this Friday Foto Friends post, and then some other stuff happened which was more interesting...so now I will try to post the best of the choices so you don't have to scroll through so many pictures!

First things first...many of you have been wondering about our Sand Hill Crane Family...and I am very happy to announce that Baby Crane #1 made an appearance this morning!  There was a lot of squawking and flapping going on on the little island where the nest is, and I hurried over to see what the commotion was all about, and this is what I discovered:

If you will notice that little tiny fuzzy creature to the right of the parents, that is their sweet little baby:

What all the squawking was about was that Cormorant over behind them to the far right...getting too close to their baby. The Mama Crane actually chase him right off the water...
 After that Mama settled back down on the nest to await the arrival of baby #2.  Papa stood watch and foraged for food on the little island, while the baby "colt" stayed close to mama.
Not only was the cormorant a threat, but we still haven't captured the alligators in the pond, and there are always the other predator birds around...eagles, hawks, owls...

I went around to the other side of the pond to get a closer view from a neighbor's dock (with their permission), but there was no sign of the baby. I think she may be napping under mama's wings, as it was very cold and windy today.  

This was a much better view, but it was quite a long walk and it was very cold today, so I don't know if I'll go that far again. We shall see what tomorrow is like.  (I'm writing on Thursday evening)

So, that's all of the Sand Hill Crane Family for today. But wasn't that exciting news?

Post script:  My friend Terri D. (My Friend From Florida), sent me this link to more information on why Sand Hill Crane babies are called "colts".  Thank you, Terri! http://raptoreducationgroup.blogspot.com/2009/05/young-sandhill-cranes-are-called-colts.html

BABY #2 ALERT: CLICK http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/2018/03/update-to-sand-hill-crane-story.html  FOR THE LATEST NEWS JUST IN!!

Now, on to the other pictures from the week:

This next series of pictures comes from our ride through the historic area of downtown Ocala, Florida this past week. The azaleas and majestic old oaks were so lovely around these big beautiful homes, I thought you would enjoy seeing them.

Looking through the front windshield of the car makes this one a little off color, but it was still so beautiful:

The lighting was better for this one...

So then we came back home and I took a few pictures around our yard:

This dogwood tree is actually in our neighbor's yard, but it is so lovely right now I had to take a picture

Slowly but surely the wisteria are opening up and blooming...I like the shadows on the fence

Some of the white azaleas I planted in the Secret Garden:

A squirrel's nest high up in an oak tree...the oaks are shedding their leaves right now, making the nests more visible

These two Red Bellied Woodpeckers are sitting high on top of an electric pole!  Shocking, isn't it?

And here is one of those same woodpeckers high on top of our dead holly tree in the back yard:
I love the way the morning sunlight is shining through his red head!

And now I bring you back inside the house, through the front door, and into our foyer. This is what you see when you come inside:  "Welcome to Our Neck of the Woods, Where Life is Good...Fresh Air, Star Gazing, Quiet Spaces..."

And this little chalkboard reminds us to "Rejoice!"...As this IS the day the Lord has made...
(from Psalm 118:24)

I can think of no better way to start the day, can you?  Recognizing that this day...no matter what the weather (today was cold and windy!), no matter what is happening in the world or even in our own personal lives...Rejoice!

I had the privilege and joy of taking supper to our dear friend Sharon today. Sharon is battling cancer, and today was a difficult day because the new medication they have started her on was causing some very unpleasant side effects.  This new medicine is a "targeted therapy", designed especially to attack the DNA of her particular strain of cancer.  It is a pill that she must take 2 times a day for 12 months, and then they will determine what is next.  This medication is extremely expensive, and she had to be approved for a grant to cover the cost since insurance would not cover it.  (Praise God! She was approved!!)  This is in place of further chemotherapy or radiation, and the oncologist is very hopeful that it will be beneficial for her.  So, we are praying that the unpleasant  side effects are only temporary and that as her body adapts to the new medicine the side effects will hopefully go away.

The thing I love about my friend Sharon is that no matter how she is feeling, she finds reasons to rejoice.  She is the most beautiful example of God's grace in action I've ever seen. Instead of feeling sorry for herself she is reaching out to so many, sharing her testimony and the love of God with everyone who will listen.  She sings praises to the Lord every opportunity she can...and when you come away from spending time with her, you feel as though you've been in the Presence of the Lord as well.  He IS present there, I have no doubt...and that is why I say it was a privilege and joy to take supper to her and her family today.  "Amazing Grace...how sweet the sound..."  Here is a link to Sharon's Caring Bridge journal if you would like follow her amazing story: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sharonwatson/journal

Well dear friends, I guess that is all for tonight.  I think I will go ahead and post this tonight because it may take two days for you to read it all!  Seriously, I just want to praise the Lord for His kindness and goodness to us this past week (and always).
God is good! All the time!  All the time! God is good! 

Please skip over to Deb's place at Breathing in Grace and see what our other Friday Foto Friends are posting (on Friday morning!)