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!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Quiet Place...."Toni's Creative Adventures"

My friend Toni over at http://treasuresbytoni.blogspot.com/ has prepared these excellent "Creative Adventures" for us to follow and write our own creative adventure. However, due to "lack of interest" she is not going to continue this practice, and I am disappointed. I'll admit, I haven't participated in the past, but this one intrigued me and I thought I would give it a try. I hope that Toni will reconsider and continue presenting these meme's for us to stimulate our brains and get us thinking...

So here is my "Creative Adventure" based on Toni's meme for this past week:


The Quiet Place

1.  While looking for a quiet place to rest my tired body after a bad day at work I stumbled on a: path through the woods that I had never noticed before in my usual wanderings.  The sunlight was shining through the trees, filtering through the branches, beckoning me to follow the light...like a shimmering, glistening angel, smiling down and reaching deep into my weary soul..."Come, follow me..."

And so I did...and as I followed that glorious light into the depths of the woods,


my path diverted and began a descent down through the trees...and there suddenly appeared a body of water...and it seemed as though the woods whispered to me...


I was stunned!  How could this lovely place have been there all along and I'd never known it?


As I stumbled further down the path I gasped at what was there before me...


   2.  It was the most beautiful place that I ever could have imagined!


So peaceful, serene, calm...exactly what I needed...


3.  I turned and spotted what, to me, was the perfect place to just sit and marvel at the works of God...



And as I sat there along the shore of this quiet, peaceful little lake, I felt the cares of the world just slipping off of my shoulders and gliding down into the water, washed away and carried off into the depths of the "sea"....It was as if I could hear Jesus, as He walked along the shore of Galilee...that place where He called His disciples to Him, saying, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men..." (Mark 1:17)...and where He healed so many of their diseases and afflictions...(Mark 3:10)...
I know I heard Him say, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest..." (Matthew 11:28)

4.  After a long quiet while I knew I had to get up and head back home...and as I began my ascent back up the little hill through the woods to the dirt road that led back to the pathway home I discovered something I had failed to notice ever before.  There was a little sign saying "Lake Galilee Shore Road"...



I turned and looked back down the slope toward the water and wondered..."Could it be?"


I declare I could hear Him calling to me..."Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Go in peace..." (Mark 5:34)


What do you think?


  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Thank you, Toni, for coming up with these creative writing prompts. I do hope you will reconsider and continue this!

Although the story may be a bit altered by creative license, the pictures are of a real place along the shores of Lake Galilee...not in Israel, but right here in Florida, not very far away...

"Go in peace..."















































































-~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Quiet Days of Rest and Renewal

This week has been a little different. As some of you who are my Facebook friends already know, I prepared for and had a colonoscopy earlier this week.  For those of you who have done this procedure before, you know what the prep is like, and also know that it's one of those things you don't want to have to do again for a LONG time.  This is my third time, and I am thankful that so far they haven't found anything seriously wrong, but enough to tell me to be sure to stay on a high fiber diet and come back in five years.  This is an important test to determine if one could have colon cancer or any pre-cancerous polyps, etc.  If you are over the age of fifty it is highly recommended that you have one at least every ten years.  Don't let the unpleasant "prep" keep you from having this valuable screening. It could save your life!

My hubby thought I looked "cute" on my prep day...so he took my picture (in spite of my protests) while I sat in the warm sunroom and drank my liquid diet and tried to sit still long enough to read...ha ha...that's enough about that subject...

Before things got too "active" I noticed that the window on the door of this sunroom was rather dirty, so I decided to step outside and wash it, and I noticed something interesting on the inside of the window :



This sweet pair of "lips" smooched on the glass.  I realized then that they were the sweet lips of my hubby, who often likes to watch me from the door when I am sitting outside on the back patio watching the birds and/or reading....

And so, I couldn't wash them off the window....could you? Again, if you are one of my facebook friends you've probably already answered this question, and everyone who took the time to respond agreed that they should not be washed off.  I don't know how many years they will last...but I they will remain there for now or until they somehow get smeared...

Here's one of my curious fine-feathered friends that I love to watch...

 I think HE likes to watch me as much as I like to watch him!!


So now that's all over and done with and I am resting and recuperating.  I have noticed that whenever I have any procedure requiring anesthesia that it takes me a while to completely recover...I tend to have what I call a "fuzzy brain", or brain fog, for a few days (weeks? months?), which causes me to have difficulty recalling words, thoughts, and typing here...if you knew how many times I've had to correct words that I've typed here you'd be amazed.  They just keep coming out backqards or misspelled...kind of dsylexci  (dyslexic)  See? Apparently this isn't unusual, especially the older we get.  I just hope it goes away soon. This is the first time I've felt like trying to write anything new this week and it's an effort to keep going...(and I keep sitting here trying to think of something to say)


Yesterday morning we took a walk to our neighborhood pond and enjoyed the beauty of the sun shining on the water.



We read in our morning devotions about the anointing of King David when he was just a shepherd boy...
I Samuel 16:7
"But the Lord said to Samuel, 
'Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him (regarding Eliab, David's brother). 
For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'"

And I asked myself, 
"I wonder what God sees when He looks at my heart?"
I pray that He sees a heart ready to serve, ready to listen, ready to learn...ready to be renewed in spirit and love...

Psalm 51:10-13

10.  "Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11.  Do not cast me away from Your presence,
and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13.  Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners shall be converted to You."

Amen.

Here is Keith Green singing "Create In Me A Clean Heart"
I include this song in loving memory of my son Matthew. (2/25/1973-5/25/2014) Keith Green's music and life story (who is also now in heaven) had a profound influence on Matthew's life, and therefore remains very special to me.



Here's another song by Keith Green that means a lot to me.   I'll close with this one.  

"Oh Lord, You're beautiful...
Your face is all I see,  
For when your eyes are on this child, 
Your grace abounds to me"

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Being Renewed-Recharged! Day by Day - RENEWED!!

This was written last year about this time, and I was surprised to see that it fits right in with my One Word, RENEW, for this year.  Last year's word was "REST".  God was preparing me for a lot of things by teaching me to REST in Him, and this year He is continuing that process by helping me to become renewed day by day.  Sometimes I have to go back and see where He was leading me last year to help me understand better where I am going today...so here is a "renewed" message from the past that I hope will be a blessing to you as well:

Original Post written 1/5/2017:

"Therefore we do not lose heart.
Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day."
2 Corinthians 4:16

"Being Renewed Day by Day...."   Yes...that is what I long for, groan for, earnestly desire...to be renewed by God's Holy Spirit day by day...even though my outward woman...my body...is perishing...my inward woman is being renewed, strengthened, helped, restored day by day...

How can I make this happen?

Think about your electronic devices...your phone in particular...something that everyone seems to becoming more and more dependent upon for just about everything and anything...from appointments to travel directions, shopping, bill paying, all communication...think what happens when you forget to recharge your phone...it dies, shuts off, becomes useless until recharged.  So, what do you do religiously every day?  Yes, you plug it in to recharge...you set aside a special place in your home or car or wherever you are...and make sure that the phone(s) all get recharged or you know you won't be able to function.

And so it is and should be with our inner person, our soul and mind and spirit...if we don't stay plugged in, recharged, renewed daily by a steady diet of communing with God, we will soon find ourselves unable to function.   As I yield my heart and mind to Christ each day...as I allow myself to REST in Him, by setting aside time and space specifically for this purpose each day, I am being renewed, restored...recharged for service.

That is why I believe God is encouraging me (maybe even pushing me) to set aside this special place for daily recharging...you've already heard me talking about it for the past few days..."The Secret Garden".  A quiet place away from the distractions of the world, the things going on inside the house, the TV, the Computer, the news, the housework...a place where I can "plug in"  and meditate upon God's Word, allowing His Holy Spirit to recharge my spirit as I relax and revive, surrounded by the beauty of His creation.

Now don't get me wrong...I can still commune with God and meditate on His Word in my recliner in my living room, or in the rocking chair on the front porch or in the dining room or sitting on my bed in the bedroom...or standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes...I don't HAVE to have a "Secret Garden" to do this...but for some reason it just seems like this is what I am supposed to do right now...and even the thought of creating this lovely space has energized me in a way that I've not experienced in a while.

Perhaps God just knew that I needed an extra push to get serious about communing with Him...and that I also needed to truly learn how to REST in Him. Whatever the reason...I am grateful to the Lord for taking the time to teach me and show me His abiding love and grace.

I wonder if you may also be feeling the need to be recharged, renewed, restored in your relationship with God?  You don't have to have a Secret Garden to do this...but I would recommend that you find a place that is special for you...a quiet place free from distractions of the world...and get plugged in to the Lord.

Some recommended reading about meditating on Jesus and preparing a secret place to do so is a little book I am currently reading by one of my new Facebook friends:  Live Free ~ The Inner Journey to Healing by Gayle Belanger.  You can also learn more about Gayle's "Live Free Healing Ministry" at  http://www.livefreeministry.org/.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Foto Friends: Being Renewed Day by Day

(Keep reading to find out what this picture is all about)

Hello Friday Foto Friends!  I hope you have all had a wonderful week and that you have managed to stay warm and healthy!  It has been a bit warmer here the past few days...I had to peel out of my sweatpants and flannels and dig out the short sleeves and capris again...but not for long. I hear cooler weather is coming back...Not like your cooler weather if you live north of the "Mason-Dixon Line", but cooler for us Floridians...Here's a few pictures of some of our little friends "cooling off" and peeking out to see if it's spring yet...

This little lizard poked his head out of the pipe he likes to hide in to say hello:

 This male Cardinal had quite a fun time taking a bath...he dunked himself under the water several times and just kept thrashing around in the water having a good old time:





These Robins have stopped over in their travels to rest up and get a drink and bath here in the bear pool...

 The camera caught this one in flight...(these were taken by the outdoor wildlife camera)

The wildlife camera also captured this young deer passing through the yard one afternoon...


But these are not the pictures I wanted to show you today...can you stay a little longer and visit a spell?
"Come into my kitchen and chat with me 
while I prepare a pot of tea..."  
(That needlepoint below was done many years ago by my paternal grandmother, and I just love it...)


You will notice in the picture above several pictures...the one in the middle is what I want to tell you about today:


This painting, painted years ago by my husband's Aunt Dorothy, tells quite a story.  Now, please don't be too critical of the artwork...it may not be perfect  in perspective and shape...but this picture is very special.  This little pink house belonged to my husband's maternal grandparents.  His granddaddy Martin (his mother's father) built this little house for their retirement home not long before my husband was born.  The tall magnolia tree you see in the front was actually planted by my husband's grandmother and  his mother not very long before my husband was born.  It grew to be very tall and beautiful, but sadly was struck by lightning about forty years later and had to be cut down.  My husband's family home was next door to this house, so he spent many childhood days in this house with his grandparents. Sadly, his beloved granddaddy tragically died as the result of an automobile accident when my hubby was just six years old.  His grandmother continued to live there until the day she died many years later.

The little brown doggy you see "climbing the tree" was our own dog, "Dusty", that we had gotten as a puppy.  Because we had moved frequently in our early years of preparing for the ministry, it became difficult for us to keep Dusty, so he went to live with "Nanny Martin" (hubby's grandmother) and he kept her company until she passed away.  Dusty was a very talented doggy.  He loved to chase squirrels, and when we would let him out of the house we would always say, "Go get the squirrels, Dusty!" and he would literally climb up the tree about six feet from the ground to chase whatever squirrel might happen to be (or not to be...he loved to climb the tree regardless!)  He did this at any house where we had lived as well as at this particular house.  Even up to his old age he would still try to climb the tree, but just couldn't quite get as high as before.


Nanny Martin with Dusty, the brown dog in front, plus other dogs Chita and Ringo
The reason I am showing you this painting now is because I just got it back.  Back, I say, because it had left our house for a while, and now it has come back to me.  Originally the painting was given to my mother in law by her sister Dorothy. Then one year my mother in law gave the picture to me for a Christmas present.  I was happy to have it because it helped me to tell the story about my husband's grandparents home and all of the things that we have from their home now residing in our home.  Anyway, several years after giving me this picture, my mother in law, during her time of progressing dementia, decided that she wanted it back and took it back to her house.  When she was no longer able to stay in her own home, she wanted the picture with her at her other son's home to remind her of "home".  Now that she is living in a nursing home, my brother in law graciously brought the picture back to me, (just this week!) and hence this story today.  My brother in law didn't really understand why I wanted it so badly...but I explained to him that this picture tells the story of where all these "things" my hubby and I have either inherited or purchased from his grandparent's home came from...so here are a few pictures of some of the furnishings that all came from inside that little pink house;


This China Cabinet and most of the dishes inside belonged to "Nanny Martin".

This Hoosier Cupboard, which stood in her kitchen and was a very useful part of her kitchen cabinetry: (Click HERE for more about this Hoosier Cupboard) (Also that little white chair came from her house, and our boys loved to see who could sit on it first at the table. It was a little higher than the regular chairs, so was perfect for young boys to sit on)

These are some of her cookbooks, tea towels, and the blue pitcher on the left was also hers. Oh, and that meat grinder on the right as well...

 This antique "secretary" desk was in their dining room,

and my husband can remember watching his grandfather open it up and sit and pay the bills from this...

These are pictures of his grandparents when they were very young...

This old Singer Sewing (treadle) machine, that she used to make many dresses for her four daughters. She also made many quilts to sell as well as to give away to family members... (but those she made by hand)  (To learn more about the history of these items go to The page "A Few Of My Favorite Things")



This Dining table (the original chairs are long gone)...but oh! The stories this table could tell if it could talk....

And this buffet, which held her table linens, silverware and various other items (and it still does that for me, except for the silverware...I mostly store a lot of candles, table decor, napkins, etc. in there, and because I can't fit it in our current dining room, it serves as the welcome center in our foyer, where I ask our guests to be sure and sign the guestbook before leaving!)


So, now can you see why I enjoy having that painting of that sweet little pink house?  I wish I had pictures of the inside of that home before it was sold and totally renovated.  It was so special.  Hubby's grandfather built the house from materials he received from tearing down a very large old drug store building downtown Apopka, FL. (Sheppard's Drug Store).  He used the antique beadboard walls, antique doors with glass doorknobs, heart of pine floors, and it even had a claw-foot bathtub. It was a very unique little house, and it really was too bad that the new owners tore all of that out to create a new "modern" house to lease out to people, who have since pretty much destroyed the house...

However...These things are just that...things...and as I reflect on all these memories and mementos of the past, I am reminded that all these things are temporary...just like that little house, it no longer is the same as it was when family lived there and love reigned within those humble walls.  The dear grandparents who lived and loved inside are no longer there...they have gone on to their eternal reward...where their worn out, ravaged bodies have been exchanged and renewed for new.  Someday all these furnishings will fall apart and eventually end up on the trash heap...but we have a far better future...

My One Word for the year is "Renew"...and this verse sums it all up:

"Therefore, we do not lose heart.  
Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, 
is working for us a far more exceeding 
and eternal weight of glory, 
while we do not look at the things which are seen, 
but at the things which are not seen.
For the things which are seen are temporary, 
but the things which are not seen are eternal.
For we know that if our earthly house, 
this tent, is destroyed, 
we have a building from God, 
a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens.
For in this we groan, 
earnestly desiring to be clothed 
with our habitation which is from heaven,
if indeed, having been clothed, 
we shall not be found naked..."

II Corinthians 4:16-5:3


I apologize for this being such a long post.  I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the family "museum",  as I lovingly call our home...but more importantly, I pray that you (and I) also are building your treasures in heaven,

"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also..."
Matthew 6:20-21

Have a blessed and glorious day, dear friends.

Now, let us all travel over to Deb's place  at Breathing in Grace, and see what "treasures" in photos our friends are sharing!


Just a quick postscript: (I'm always thinking of other things I meant to say after publishing!) I was going to say that each of those pieces of furniture from my hubby's grandparents' home has gone through its own kind of being "renewed day by day"... trust me, most of these pieces did not look like they look today when first received...they needed refinishing, cleaning from years of standing in one little house, stripping of many layers of paint (the Hoosier), and general refurbishing.  God isn't finished with us yet, either. We are also in need of being renewed, refinished, cleaned up from years of standing in one place..stripped of the many layers of years of neglect, not taking good care of ourselves, or whatever the issue/sin may be...and only Jesus can do all of that!  When He takes us on as His special project, He washes us white as snow with His own blood, and gives us a new heart, and renewed spirit and eventually even a new body!!  That's all very good news, amen??  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

This Old Door...Recycled


(Be sure to read to the end)


This old door has been standing up against my garden shed for the longest time. It is weary and worn, weather beaten and riddled with dry-rot. The paint is brittle and chipped, peeling away the layers of time,  revealing a colorful past. Its hardware~corroded with rust, wooden edges and seams~
laden with dust.

Surprisingly the pane of glass is still intact~how? I cannot fathom.

What is so intriguing about this old door? Why does it beckon
me to come near...to take a closer look? Is there a story here?
Some secret it held secure ...a mystery of a life
now long gone?

Perhaps.  Imagine how many human souls passed through
this old door...welcomed home after a long journey....bid farewell at the beginning of a new adventure...hurriedly opened and closed too many times to tell what stories lay behind this sacred fortress.

An anxious wife watched as her husband drove away each morning...did she ever wonder if he might not return some day?
Regretting words spoken in anger, wishing she could shout through the window, "Come back! I'm sorry!"

The young mother watched through this window as her little boy played safely in the yard each day. I wonder how often did she call his name from this same door..."Time to come in and wash up for supper!"

Was that same woman rejoicing when she saw her tall, strong soldier son returning from the war..throwing open this old door and running out to embrace him, showering him with kisses as tears of joy ran down her cheeks?

Did the hard working father faithfully turn the key in the lock each night, sliding the bolt, making sure his family was safe from harm?

How many people knocked on this old door? Who was welcome...who was turned away?

Yeah, this old door has a story to tell, but it will hold those secrets securely just as it guarded this old house from harm for many years.

I can't just throw it away. Could you? Would you?

Jesus beckons to us today, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."  Revelation 3:20


Would you open the door?
I did.



Postscript: This is a rerun post...originally written way back in January of 2013.  Sad to say, not long after writing this, this wonderful old door blew over in the wind and broke to smithereens...we tried to salvage what we could of the wood and door knob/lock, but most of the wood was too rotten with age...it had served its purpose for many years, but after me telling its life story it just blew over and disintegrated.  Such is life...once we have served our purpose here on this earth, we return to the dust from which we were created and our souls are called away to our heavenly home.  My prayer is that when my life's story is written some day, it will tell a story of love and grace and courage...because of my Creator, Savior, and Lord...without Him, my life would be meaningless...How will your life's story read?


Sunday, January 7, 2018

A New Year Dawns With Grace And Hope


What a wonderful way to start the New Year at church today!  
Here is a song that we sang together as a hymn. I had never heard this before, although the tune is the same as "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna", so that is familiar.
The reason this song spoke to me today was because it was all about renewal...Renew is my "One Word" for 2018, and I believe I heard this word several times this morning in the worship service and the sermon.  This was God's confirmation that this word will become a very big part of my life in this New Year.  I pray that it will be used to bring honor and glory to God, my King.



"A New Year Dawns with Grace and Hope"
by Jon Paige and Jonathan Martin

Chorus:
"Rejoice, sing alleluia!
Break forth in joyful song.
Rejoice, sing alleluia!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Rejoice!

"A new year dawns with grace and hope,
A chance to start again.
The past has sung its weary song,
fresh music now begins.
Revived, we stand to face the sun,
We rise at its command,
to work, to serve, to find our place
in God's creative plan.

The morning breaks with golden plans,
awake, the night is through!
The sorrows of the night have passed,
our joy has been renewed.
The winter's sad and lonesome cry
surrenders to new life.
New journeys wait and we must go and dance into the LIGHT.

A new year dawns, let earth be glad,
creation, lift your voice.
Give thanks to God for old and new,
let every heart rejoice.
The valleys that have challenged us,
the undiscovered lands.
And everything is possible when you are in God's hands!"




Hebrews 12:1-2
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by 
so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, 
and the sin which so easily ensnares us, 
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, 
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.."
Amen!