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!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles: Waiting and Watching

I bought this beautiful old antique bowl today at the local flea market....


with the idea of using it for a bird bath in the Secret Garden.  So, I've set it up here


And now I'm just sitting here waiting and watching to see if the birds will try it out.  They probably won't while I am sitting here...and where it is placed it can't be seen from the inside of the house...so I may have to rethink this plan.  It is so pretty...I do hope the birds will appreciate it!

Meanwhile, while sitting in the garden my attention was drawn to Lamentations 3:22-26, which speaks a bit about watching and waiting:

22.  "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed.
Because His compassions fail not.

23.  They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

24.  'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul,
'Therefore I hope in Him!'

25.  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

26.  It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord."

What are we waiting for?

We are waiting for God's mercies and compassions...
they are new every morning.
We hope in the Lord..
We wait for His goodness,
because He is good to those who wait for Him...
We wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord...

In verses 40-41, as we sit and wait on the Lord:

40.  "Let us search out and examine our ways,
and turn back to the Lord;
41.  Let us lift our hearts and hands 
to God in heaven."

If we already know the Lord, we have nothing to fear...but it is good to take time to examine our hearts and repent of any lack of trust, lack of faith, and lack of honesty before the Lord. Let Him cleanse our hearts anew and refresh our spirits so that we are able to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

This is a wonderful time...during the Lenten season leading up to Easter...to prepare our hearts for renewal and revival.

I noticed that one of our local churches is having a revival this week...and I wondered in my mind, "Do people still go to revivals?"  And if they do, who goes...the "sinners" or the "saints"?
It's been a long time since I attended a true revival, and it seemed as though only the "saints" were there...but guess what?  A lot of "saints" recognized that they were also "sinners", and there was a lot of soul searching and repenting going on.  So, I guess a revival is a good thing for both the saints and the sinners...we never know when a "lost sheep" will come home to Jesus and be saved...and perhaps there might be some sheep who truly needs to make things right with the Lord as well.
So I'm praying for this church and its revival services. May the Lord do a mighty work that overflows into our whole community, resulting in a true revival where hearts are changed and souls are saved.

While sitting there reflecting on the words of the prophet Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations, 
I couldn't help but start singing this favorite old hymn:

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

1 “Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Refrain:
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

2 Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Refrain

3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Refrain

Amen!

Oh How Great is the faithfulness of our Lord!!! Yes, we who know the Lord are truly blessed with all that we have ever needed...and beyond!  May we watch and wait for Him every day with hope and faith!  

Back to the Secret Garden....after waiting all that time to see if the birds would try out the new bird bath (note the pictures of the birds above...they were all watching and waiting for me to leave)...I decided to go back inside, but I moved the birdbath to a location where it could be observed from inside the house.

And then I came in the house and started writing this into the computer...and it wasn't long before my attention was brought back to the window...


And there was Mr. Catbird...taking a drink from the new bird bath.  I had put a smaller bowl of water inside the large one, which is also filled with water,  in case the birds were fearful of the deep bowl.  After he took a drink from this one, he then flew over to the other smaller birdbath that is in the garden:
And there he sat and took a bath...even though it sits a little cockeyed.  Then Mr. Cardinal also came and drank from this birdbath:

And so I decided to go back out and take out the smaller bowl from the new birdbath and lower the water level a little bit to see if they will try it out that way.
I'll keep watching and waiting!
Meanwhile...
May your day be filled with the joy and blessing of the Lord!!

For another post on this topic, click HERE

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles~Love Thy Neighbor

Ahhh, The Secret Garden is so lovely and peaceful today! There's a cool breeze, the birds are singing in the treetops, butterflies are flitting about...it's a beautiful spring day! Oh, and the wisteria is blooming again! Remember how upset I was that the little freeze we had a week ago killed all the blossoms on the wisteria vine?  Well...here it is today:



I was so happy to see them revive!  That brought a smile to my face today!

We had our neighborhood BBQ here last night, and it was such a delightful time getting acquainted with new friends!  I can't believe I didn't even take one picture!  We were having such a good time that I totally forgot!

We ended the evening in the Secret Garden (which everyone now knows isn't really a secret anymore!).  I was sharing the story of how it all began.  It was a beautiful moment...and then everyone enjoyed being scolded by the chickadees as they arrived back at their birdhouse/nest and shooed us all away so they could go in and tend to their babies and/or eggs.  I don't know how far along they are yet as I can't see inside the birdhouse, so I'll just have to wait and see!  Anyway, it was a fun way to end the evening and everyone went home with smiles on their faces and promises to get together more often in the future.

This morning's devotional reading was from Mark 12:28-34, and the verse that stood out especially for me was verse 31, in which Jesus says:

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

I mean, how appropriate is that after spending a wonderful evening with our neighbors last night?

But, sometimes neighbors can be difficult to love, although I must say, this group we had here at our house last night was quite "lovable".  However, it hasn't always been so with the whole neighborhood.  We had one set of neighbors (actually, since we've lived here 5 years, there have been several different sets living in the same house, one after another) who were quite difficult to endure.  I won't go into details, but let's just sum it up by saying that no one was unhappy to see these different sets of "tenants" leave the neighborhood.  There were many times over the past few years that I'd find myself praying they'd move away and take all their junk, noisy trucks and screaming inhabitants and give us some peace and quiet.  And then I'd have to pray and ask God to forgive me for not "loving my neighbors as myself"...and ask the Lord to help me try to love them and see them as He saw them...through His eyes.  But I must admit, I was not the most kind-hearted neighbor. I truly just wanted them gone.  So now they are gone, and we have discovered that new people have purchased the house and do not intend to rent it out, and from what I am able to ascertain, they should be a "bit easier to love".

That does NOT let me off the hook, however.  God didn't say that I should only love the lovable neighbor.  He said to "love your neighbor as yourself."  No qualifications included. So all the nice things I may do in the future for my new and/or current neighbors doesn't really excuse my previous dislike for my former neighbors...but it is at least a place to start.

We may not always be able to go back and undo or rework our previous prejudices or uncharitable thoughts and/or actions, but we can strive to do better in the future.  We can pray for forgiveness for our lack of compassion, and move forward with positive intentions and actions in the future.  When we run across difficult neighbors in the future, we can approach them with the love of Christ in our hearts and on our lips.  

As I stood up from the bench in the Secret Garden today, I looked around the neighborhood and prayed for my neighbors, and for me to be a better neighbor. 

One thing I thought about was this gate that stands at the back entrance to our property, blocking entry from anyone coming in from that street. 

 We rarely use that gate as we have another entry on the front side, but this is the only section that directly leads to the street where our neighbors live.  When our neighbors were walking over to our house last night for the BBQ, some were unsure as to whether or not they should come into our yard through this entrance, even though we had opened the gate early in the day to make sure they knew they could enter this way.

Lesson learned for me personally...Open the gate of my heart so that others know they are welcome... My prayer is that my neighbors will know they are welcome anytime...not just to our home, but to us personally.

  As I continued to pray about these thoughts and feelings today, this particular song came to my mind:

Make Me A Blessing

1. Out in the highways and byways of life,
many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
making the sorrowing glad.

Refrain:
Make me a blessing,
Make me a blessing,
Out of my life
May Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.


2. Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love;
Tell of His pow'r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
true ev'ry moment you live.

Refrain

3.  Give as 'twas given to you in your need;
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed;
Unto your mission be true.

Refrain

Yes, this is my prayer today...not just for my neighborhood, but wherever I may go:

Make me a blessing,
Make me a blessing,
Out of my life
May Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.
Amen!

Sing A New Song -Recycled and Updated for Friday Foto Friends

Here it is, Friday again!  And therefore today is also "Friday Foto Friends", where we share our meaningful fotos with friends!  This has been a rather busy week for me, and therefore I didn't get out to take too many new photos.  But here is a post from a little over a year ago that speaks to me today, and I hope it will you also.  I pray that you and yours are enjoying this first week of spring, wherever you are!  May the glory of the Lord shine round about you, and give you peace!!!  Have a blessed day my friends.


"Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise from the ends of the earth..."
Isaiah 42:10


"Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice...
Let them give glory to the Lord..."
Isaiah 42:11a, 12a


"...O Lord my God,  You are very great;
You are clothed with honor and majesty,"
Psalm 104:1

"You cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain..."
Psalm 104:2
"He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,


"Who makes the clouds His chariot, 
Who walks on the wings of the wind..."
(Psalm 104:3)

"The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds make their nests;"
Psalm 104:16-17

"O Lord,
How manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions..."
Psalm 104:24




"These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.
What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good."
Psalm 104:27-28



"I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God
while I have my being.
May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord."
Psalm 104:33-34

Amen


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It's "Demo Day" at our "Fixer Upper"

Someday I am going to start a new blog all about our "Fixer Upper"...with all the before and after pictures along the way.  Most them are already in here somewhere, but I'd like to be able to set them apart in one big file/blog so I can access them more easily...and also maybe we'll get our own TV Show when they see what all we've done!  Ha ha!!

Lately I've been watching a lot of the HGTV series of "Fixer Upper" with Chip and Joanna Gaines...and I must say I am totally in love with them both and their sweet little family.  Every time I watch their show, however, I start getting "ideas" for more projects at our personal "fixer upper" home...and then my hubby and my sons get a little nervous...and sometimes just plain disappear!   Can't say as I blame them...because usually Mom's ideas mean lots of work for them!

So, if you ever watch the "Fixer Upper" program on HGTV, you will know that Chip's favorite day is "Demo Day", the day when they tear down all of the old stuff and make way for the new.  There is just something about ripping out old walls, cabinets, carpet, floors, or whatever is in the way or in need of replacing that totally makes you feel great!  It's a great stress reliever...just grab a hammer and start pounding on some boards or ripping down an old fence for example...Well, let's start at the beginning and you will see why this fixer upper fence needed to be fixed!

(This is the Memorial Garden for our son, which is a part of the enclosed courtyard)

One of the features of our "fixer upper" home is the enclosed courtyard/backyard, which exists not only for privacy, but for the practical purpose of keeping out the bears

and other critters in our neck of the woods.

You've seen some pictures of this area throughout the years...we've made some improvements here and there, but the fence itself has been in need of a lot of work for quite a while.

And HERE are some pictures of the gate and front side of the fence, which help you to see 
why it needs to be replaced.  We decided to start with this section below, and will repair other sections a little at a time.  




So, last night our son brought home two sections of fence to replace this front section...and the gate will be built by hand. (By my son)


 So thankful for strong men to take care of these "deliveries"....above my two sons and hubby

And so today it was MY turn to get involved, besides just taking pictures!
"DEMO DAY"


I must be related distantly to Chip Gaines! Put a hammer in my hands and let me go to work.


I also couldn't help but think about our beloved former President Ronald Reagan,
when he said to Germany:

"TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!"


And then hubby wanted to get in on the action:



And suddenly there was a new view of our back yard appearing...


And we both stood back and said, 
"Gee, It's kind of pretty without the fence...maybe we shouldn't replace it...
But then again, we do love our privacy here...and the security of no 
bears or other wild critters in our immediate back yard..."

And so....this story is to be continued
Stay tuned for further developments.

Some thoughts about being in a safe place:

"He who dwells in the secret place of the 
Most High shall abide under the
shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord,
'He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.'
Sure He shall deliver you from the snare of  the fowler
and from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday."
Psalm 91:1-6

I know a fence is not a secure item to keep out the enemies of our home and/or souls...We need the security that only God can supply...

"He IS my refuge and my fortress; 
My God, in HIM I will trust!"

Amen!!!
And Goodnight!
Sleep Tight!


Monday, March 20, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles-A Glorious Day!

It's the first day of Spring, and it has been a glorious day.  Right now I am sitting in the Secret Garden, and I just noticed two tiny baby squirrels watching me from the tree above!  They are so cute and so little!  I wonder where their mama is!
What a special treat for the first day of spring!!
I'll bet she told them to sit right there in that tree and wait for her to come home...and don't talk to strangers...but she didn't say they couldn't look at the strange lady in the garden!

I've also had fun watching a couple of bunnies romping around in the early morning & evening...doing what bunnies do....after all, it is springtime...and soon it will be Easter!


Not that bunnies truly have anything to do with the real meaning of Easter...except that Easter is a celebration of new life...the Resurrection of Christ from the dead...insuring all who will believe that we, too, shall one day be resurrected from the dead and live a new life eternally in heaven...free from the curse of death...no more sickness or pain, no more sin or sorrow...but a brand new life in a brand new body!  What a glorious day that will be!!  (Click this video for Casting Crowns' song "Oh Glorious Day")



Jesus said to Martha in John 11:25-26:

"I am the Resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me,
though he may die, he shall live...
And whoever lives and believes in Me
shall never die..."

And that is the real meaning of Easter!  We are given new life through Christ...just like in the spring...life begins anew...that which was dead and brown and turning to dust...springs forth with  new life...and begins life anew.  New flowers,
leaves on trees, wildflowers...

so much beauty everywhere...where once it was dark 
and dreary...

New life in Christ...Lives made new...hope restored...all because of Jesus...and that Glorious Day!

Happy First Day of Spring...
Looking forward to 
that 
Glorious Day!!!