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 23, 2013


How many of you lisped this sweet table grace as a I child? I did. Brings back precious memories. It kind of covered everything, don't you think?  Might be a good way to pray today as well...who said praying had to be elaborate and full of deep theological words that only deep theologians understand? Keep it simple...get to the point...

"Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..."  
Ephesians 5:20

Gotta start somewhere...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Come Boldly

These happy little faces make me smile! Who can stay stressed when you
see God's beauty all around you?

"Our soul waits for the Lord; 
He is our help and our shield. 
For our heart shall rejoice in Him, 
Because we have trusted in His holy name.  
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, 
just as we hope in You."  
Psalm 33:20-22

We've been having some stressful days lately.  I've mentioned it a couple of times, but not with too much emphasis.(see previous post "Great Is Thy Faithfulness").  In "Praying My Way Back Home" a few days ago I mentioned that I spent my trip home from work one day praying out loud all the way home to keep from falling asleep at the wheel.  Well, today, I prayed my way TO work not to stay awake, but because my heart was so burdened over the swelling tide of frustration and discouragement that was fomenting within the confines of our home. Two weeks without transportation for two of the three men in our home was beginning to take a huge toll on their spirits and attitudes. (Not to mention the fact that for one of them, it also meant the loss of employment.)  Lack of funds to solve the problem adequately and no reasonable solution in sight was rapidly spiraling into a major tidal wave of pent up anger and thinly veiled hostility aimed at each other for lack of anyone else on which to place the blame. I could feel the tension mounting last evening, and I knew it was about to spill over the dam this morning...so I was actually thankful I had a place to escape...i.e., work.

Have you ever felt the urgency to bind the forces of evil that seek to destroy the peace of your otherwise happy home?  Even without knowing what was erupting under the surface, the sudden compulsion to pray boldly overwhelms you...and you have to cry out to the Lord and tell Him the facts...as if He isn't already well aware...and plead with Him to take control and "fix" the problem right now!

I wonder if God doesn't mind this at all...that He actually wants us to get serious with our troubles and bring them to the Throne of Grace with boldness.  Perhaps this is what He meant in Hebrews chapter 4:

"For the word of God is living and powerful, 
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,
and of joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him
to Whom we must give account.

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest
who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus Christ the Son of God,
let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize
with our weaknesses,
but was in all points tempted as we are, 
yet without sin.

that we may obtain mercy and 
find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:12-16

Yeah, I think that is exactly what He meant when He directed these words to be written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  He expects us to come BOLDLY before His throne, lay our heavy burdens at His feet, implore Him to bring healing, solace, answers that make sense and within His divine will.

I can tell you truly that today this is what happened...and even though there was a major eruption from the smoldering volcano of frustration, the lanced boil brought forth healing. Although the actual reason for the distress is not yet fixed...the tension caused by the situation has been relieved...the flames have been doused with the cooling waters of God's mercy and grace.

And in the midst of this tsunami of roiling surf of emotions, a ray of hope came shining through the clouds. Help is actually on the way!  Hooray!!! Praise God!!! Amen!

Dear friend...listen to me...don't waste time in discussing, arguing, and venting your frustrations at each other. Take them directly to the ONE Who can do something about the situation...take it to Jesus before it ever gets that far along!  
He is ready to help you. 
He is expecting you to come. 
He already opened the door when He spread out His arms on the cross and died there for you, forever removing the veil that was blocking us from His throne. 
It's okay. You may approach Him boldly.  He said so.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Smell Bread Baking...

Yesterday I told you about our "spare refrigerator" dying on us...(Click to read "Great Is Thy Thankfulness")...among other things going wrong and going good.  Today when I got home from work I had to finish cleaning out that fridge before we totally shut it down. It was still barely cool, but not cool enough to keep it going.  We ate lots of extra vegetables with our supper trying to clean out the crisper before they started to wilt.

Old Gold Medal Flour Cookbook, circa 1917 (click on pictures to enlarge and read)
(Click here for a close up of this recipe with other information about this cookbook)

One of the things I had stored in the freezer was my bags of bread flour.  Now, mind you, I am not one of those suzy homemaker types who bakes her own bread and makes cakes from scratch (well, maybe sometimes, but not very often).  I mean, I still work full time...and I have to choose my fun homey things carefully.

Anyway, you know the old saying, "If the world hands you lemons, make lemonade?"...Well, if the bread flour needs to come out of the freezer because the freezer is dying...bake bread.  So that is why I smell bread baking...and I LOVE the smell of bread baking.

Don't get too excited over this... I cheated a little... I have a bread machine...and it does all the hard work...but I still get to smell the bread baking.  That's almost as good as the eating part....you know?  Eating hot homemade bread fresh out of the pan as soon as it is cool enough to cut?  With real butter and jelly?  drooling...i can't wait for the bread to get baked...how much longer...?  Hopefully soon enough for me to have a snack before I go to bed...if not, I will wait for it before I go to bed...it's that good.

Hey...I may have some competition...my #1 son just said to me, "That bread sure smells good, Mom! I can't wait to have a hot piece of bread with some butter and jam".... My #3 son just said the same thing..."that bread sure smells good, Mom!"...
Hubby hasn't chimed in yet...he's not a real homemade bread connoisseur....doesn't know what he's missing. He prefers store bought bread. Something wrong with that...

I wish it would hurry up and cool! 
Well, now that we are all drooling, I'd better go check the bread...I think it's just about ready!  I'll let you know how it turned out. Later.

If it tastes as good as it smells...we'll all be happy!

I'll have to report back tomorrow.
Right now I'm going to go eat some bread.

"She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants." Proverbs 31:15

"She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.'  "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates."  Proverbs 31:27-31

Yes, It IS GOOD!!!!! YUMMMY!!!
(Excerpts from the "Portrait of the Virtuous Wife" found in Proverbs Chapter 31---a role model for all women still today.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Me and My Hubby---blessings and more blessings
Praise God!

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not. 
They are new every morning;
Great is Thy faithfulness.
'The Lord is my portion, says my soul,
Therefore I hope in Him!'
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him."
Lamentations 3:22-25

This past week had its challenges...first my husband's little pickup truck broke down and seems to be permanently broken.  Next, our "spare" refrigerator stopped freezing, causing us to throw out a lot of defrosted meat. These are challenges...expensive issues to repair...and we have been frustrated by these events.

BUT, last weekend, just ten miles down the road, a wildfire swept through the forest, leaving ten families homeless and many others had to be evacuated.  Those ten families lost everything.  They don't have any refrigerator, stove, roof, walls, furniture...nothing left but ashes.  Many of these people were poor and struggling to begin with. Some did not have any insurance on their dwellings.  They have nowhere to turn.

So how can I complain? I really cannot.  We also live in the forest. When the wind is just right, we can still smell the smoke from those fires that are smoldering   It is a reminder to us of how fortunate we are that we are not the ones consumed in the fire. Makes us really stop and think...

"Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord;
Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven."
Lamentations 3: 40-41

To quote a favorite old hymn:

"Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided~
Great it Thy faithfulness,
Lord, unto me!"

On a more positive note: This past week my husband had a Doctor's appointment to get the results of his recent lab work. He had not seen a doctor in over two years due to the loss of employment and medical insurance. Since he recently reached his 65th birthday, he is now on medicare, and able to once again get medical assistance. The doctor was amazed when he read the lab report, showing absolutely nothing wrong in any area tested...pretty wonderful for a 65 year old man I'd say! Praise God!

Our 40 year old middle son has cancer. He had a doctor's appointment this past week also to get the results of the CT Scan and other tests recently conducted to assess the current status of the cancer in his body.  The wonderful news was that there was no sign of any new growth in any area, and the existing tumors seem to be standing still and not progressing. This is excellent news as well. He continues to be on an aggressive round of chemo...but we are hopeful that it is bringing some measure of control over this horrific disease.

"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."

Oh, one more thing...we had a visit from a mechanic friend this afternoon...and he believes he just may be able to fix the little truck afterall...it won't be cheap, but it will still be better than having to buy a new one and make payments again that we cannot afford.

Now, just to figure out what to do about that refrigerator before the next round of friends and family come to visit...the thing we love most about living here...being able to enjoy the people God sends our way...
I know God will provide.

Thank you, dear Lord,
for Your blessings on me.
I don't deserve them.
But You love me anyway.
Thank you.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Praying My Way Back Home

"Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily."  Psalm 102:1-2

Actually, I don't think this day was any different from any other day, as far as being a "day of my trouble" goes.  No particular trouble beyond the normal stuff.  My biggest issue today was that I was having difficulty keeping my eyes open as I drove home from work.  This happens frequently, as I have quite a long drive before I reach my destination.  The first ten miles aren't so bad as they are primarily in traffic with lots of action to keep me alert and focused on the other guy.  But the next twenty miles of my thirty mile commute is through the rustic beauty of the scenic roadway of the Ocala National Forest, where I rarely pass another vehicle going either direction. I love the peaceful quietude of the tall piney woods on either side of the road.  However, some sections of the forest are mostly what we call "scrub", the short, scrubby wild oaks, palmettos, prickly holly trees and bushes too numerous to name. These tangled masses of viney briars and overgrown weeds aren't particularly attractive to look at, especially in the late, bright, warm afternoon sun when my eyes are tired from a day spent in front of a computer screen.  Hence, the difficulty in keeping my eyes open.

Today I found myself pinching my cheeks, slapping my face, stretching my neck and forcing my eyelids up as wide as I could muster, and I was still having a very difficult time.  I started talking out loud, trying to keep myself awake.  And then I began to pray...out loud.  I said to the Lord, "Lord, I may as well talk to You since there is no one else here to listen...and I do have a few things on my heart, so here goes..."  and I prayed (with my eyes OPEN) for each and every member of my immediate family and their individual needs, (which are many)...and then I moved on to my extended family, friends, co-workers, my job, my church, neighbors, facebook friends...anyone and anything I could think of received a word of prayer before the Throne of Grace..out loud.  If anyone did pass me I'm sure they wondered just WHO I was talking to so boldly.

And guess what?  My eyes stayed open all the way home!  When I came to a lull in the prayer conversation, my eyes would start to droop, and then I would remember someone else who needed prayer...and off I'd go again, practically shouting my prayers to the Lord as I drove on down the road...and finally safe at home!

I arrived at my destination re-energized and feeling as though I had just had a long, lovely conversation with a dear friend with whom I had not visited in a long time. There is something about actually speaking the names of dear ones out loud and lifting them up to the Lord with my voice that seemed to have a more lasting impact on my own heart and soul. I truly felt as though God was listening to me...and maybe even taking notes.  I don't know...maybe I'm crazy. But it sure was a pleasant way to pass the time as I traversed the lonely trail home.

I do not tell you this to brag about my spiritual prowess in praying for everyone...no, that would not be accurate in the least. I am way behind in spiritual prowess these days.  No, I am sharing this with you because it was something beautiful that God did for me. He helped me find a solution to my immediate problem of eyes going shut as I drove...and also reminded me of the way to find solutions to my bigger and more serious problems...take them to the Lord in prayer...any time, any place, and any way I can. I don't have to kneel in a closet or sit in a pew to spend time with the Lord in prayer. I can connect with Him wherever I am...and so can you.

The next time you find yourself stuck in traffic, or drooping as you drive on a long journey...lift up your voice and give praise to God...pray, sing, shout to the Lord! Rejoice and give thanks for all His blessings. Bring your loved ones and friends before His throne.  You will see, as I did, that you will be blessed...and perhaps your prayers will be heard as well.  What do you have to lose?  Maybe it will save your life in the process...

I like praying my way back home. I may have to do that more often.

Sunset in the forest...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Just-Happened to Events

This is another excerpt from the "book" I've been wanting to write about our life in ministry..."Giant Leaps of Faith and Other Crazy Moves".  It's been put on hold for now, but I see no reason not to share some of these stories with you in the meantime.  I would like to add this to the Random Journal Day entries for this month. (Check out other Random Journal Day entries here.)

Romans 8:28  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

When we were newlyweds we moved to our first little apartment in Orlando, Florida. It was a charming upstairs “garage apartment”, but underneath in what I guess used to be a garage was another apartment.  Mrs. Bell lived downstairs, a sweet elderly widow who just loved to talk to us “youngsters”.  The funniest thing I remember about that place was that every night when we would go to bed, Mrs. Bell would start to play an electric organ rather loudly.  Our bedroom happened to be directly over her living room, which was where the organ happened to be.  It seemed as though she was attempting to “serenade” us to sleep…or maybe she was drowning out our “snoring”?  Anyway, she was funny and always chattered away at us every time we’d come downstairs, as if she was trying to keep from laughing about something. I guess we probably had embarrassed grins on our faces, being “newlyweds”.  It is a funny memory to this day.

 My husband John was in his senior year of college, and I was working full time in the accounting department of an insurance company.  The first major decision we faced was where to attend church.  Coming from two different denominational backgrounds, we began our search by attending different churches each week, looking for one that would help us both to grow and worship the Lord together in harmony.  After several weeks of "church-shopping", my husband “just happened to” run in to a distant relative of his who “just happened to” live nearby, (which we did not know about before-hand, and whom he had not seen in many years) and she suggested we try the "First … Church", which “just happened to be” down the street from us.  So we did...and we knew that our search had ended!  This church had everything we both needed and longed for in a good church.  We joyfully entered into the fellowship of that loving church family. 

Not long after we started attending this church, we noticed each Sunday that the older lady who lived across the street from us was going to and from church at the same time we were.  Then, lo and behold! We noticed that she “just happened to be” going to the same church! So we introduced ourselves to her, and our friendship with Esther P. began. 

Now, Esther was no ordinary neighbor and friend...she soon became like one of our family!  Her quick and intelligent mind found kinship with my like-minded husband rather rapidly.  Esther would come over to our house, and I would sit amazed as I listened to the two of them sharing Bible stories back and forth and discussing spiritual issues that I was only beginning to understand.  I came from a more liberal church background, and my spiritual growth was just beginning to mature since we started attending this church. So I mostly sat and listened, and learned.  Esther was a gifted teacher and a godly example to me.

Toccoa Falls, GA
During that first year of our marriage, Esther became more and more dear to us.  We looked to her for guidance in many matters, primarily...what to do with our lives.  My husband was graduating from college with a degree in education.  Esther “just happened to” know Dr. Julian Bandy, who was then the President of Toccoa Falls College, in Toccoa Falls, Georgia.  She told us that “it just so happened” that he would be in town later that week speaking at the "Youth for Christ" meeting, and that she was aware that there “just happened to be” a teaching position open at the High School Boarding Academy at Toccoa Falls...so to make a long story short, her kind introduction paved the way for us to begin our career in service to the Lord at a Christian school in the beautiful foothills of northeastern Georgia.

Thank You; Lord, for “just happening to” send Esther to us so early in our journey with You. Had it not been for her faithful witness, pointing us to You from the very beginning, we may have gotten off on the wrong track.   Help us to always be watching for the messengers and signposts that You “just happened to” have placed in our path throughout the rest of our life’s journey.    By the way, Lord, We know there are no “just happened to” coincidences with You!  Looking back, we can see Your Divine Plan in every “chance” meeting!  Thank you.