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!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Rejoice With Us!

Romans 12:15 a. "Rejoice with those who rejoice..."


Psalm 28:7
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; 
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, 
and with my song I will praise Him."

Psalm 30:11
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness."

Psalm 30:5
"Weeping may endure for a night, 
but JOY comes in the morning."


What is all of this about? You may not fully comprehend the joy that I feel today!  Our oldest son has announced his engagement to a lovely young Christian woman...and we are rejoicing!


 Rejoicing because  this is definitely something to be happy about!  Rejoicing because this is an answer to many years of prayer! Rejoicing because God is so gracious and loving and kind...



You may not understand why this is such a big deal...but it is...and we give God the glory and honor and praise...for Great Things He Hath Done!!!


"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh..." 
Mark 10:7-8
The engagement ring they have chosen is a combination of both of their birthstones, each cut into a heart shape. Very beautiful and uniquely their own.


P.S.  The two roses came from our Memorial Garden. Kind of an "engagement gift" from Benton's brother Matthew in heaven ....Roses for Rose and Benton...the first blooms of this year on this bush.



"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad!" 
 Psalm 126:3

Rejoice with us!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Rainy Saturday Family Fun

"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth shall praise 
You with joyful lips."
Psalm 63:3-5

Things to do on a rainy Saturday...it's the little things that mean the most...

As the storm clouds, thunder and rain roll in...

Our family is safe and dry inside...and my heart was blessed to see my "boys" playing together as in the days of yore...

 Daddy and #1 Son playing a game of "Foosball"

#1 and #3 Sons challenging each other
And Daddy and #3 son engrossed in play as #1 son watches.  This is serious business!
And I'm loving it!

And then, the power blinked off for a minute, and the wifi/internet/cable went down,
so the whole family decided to play cards for a while! Sometimes it's a real blessing when storms roll in and make families do things together again!!! (Even if we do look a little crazy!)


Yes, it is good to enjoy these special moments while you can....we know all too well that life can change in a matter of seconds and families can be torn apart, lives shattered by disease, accident, or other heartbreak...or even positive things can move families in different directions...job changes, marriage, moving away to a new location and independence...whatever the reason, we need to grab these moments while we can and spend time together...laughing, living, and loving!!

So...don't wait for the storms to come and shut down the cable, internet or wifi/cell phones to make time to "play" together and enjoy time as a family. Grab these precious moments anytime you can and focus on being a family!

"Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants all around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord."
Psalm 128:1-4

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Foto Friends: Then Sings My Soul!

Hello Friday Foto Friends!  I just woke up after a very restless night, and then remembered that it was Friday, and I didn't have anything ready to share with you. But the 2nd verse of the beloved hymn, "How Great Thou Art", has been buzzing through my head lately, and that just came back to me as perhaps an appropriate way to display some photos from my forays into the woods and hills, both recent and in the past.  So here we go.  Sing along with me...I'm sure you know the tune:

"When thro' the woods

and forest glades I wander,

and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;



When I look down 
from lofty mountain grandeur,

And hear the brook

and feel the gentle breeze;


Then sings my soul,

my Savior God, to Thee;

How Great Thou Art!
How Great Thou Art!

Then sings my soul, 

my Savior God, to Thee;

How Great Thou Art,
How Great Thou Art!

Amen.

Deuteronomy 33:26 (NKJV)

26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.

I hope you've enjoyed singing along with me this morning.  These pictures are from all around my home in Florida, thus, there are no "lofty mountains grandeur" or any real "brooks" to hear babbling...but God's glory shines through these beautiful places just the same.  Have a blessed and glorious day, my friends.

Now please skip on over to visit our other Friday Foto Friends at Deb's place, Breaking In Grace, and see what others are sharing today!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Does God Do?

During our morning devotions today I was struck by several things that God does (among many other things, but I will only list a few here today)


Exodus 3:7 (While speaking to Moses from the burning bush)

"And the Lord said:
  • I have surely SEEN the oppression of My people who are in Egypt;
  • and have HEARD their cry because of their taskmasters,
  • for I KNOW their sorrows."
So, we have a God who can SEE, HEAR, and KNOW His children...


And from Psalm 103:3-8, We have a God who....

  • Who FORGIVES all your iniquities,
  • Who HEALS all your diseases,
  • Who REDEEMS your life from destruction,
  • Who CROWNS you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
  • Who SATISFIES your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
  • The Lord EXECUTES righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
  • He MADE KNOWN HIS WAYS to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
  • The Lord is MERCIFUL and GRACIOUS,
  • SLOW TO ANGER, and ABOUNDING IN MERCY. 




There Is None Like You Lyrics (By Lenny LeBlanc)
There is none like You,
No one else can touch my heart like You do,
I can search for all eternity Lord
And find, there is none like You.

There is none like You.
No one else can touch my heart like You do,
I can search for all eternity Lord
And find, there is none like You.

Your mercy flows like a river so wide,
And healing comes from Your hand.
Suffering children are safe in Your arms,
There is none like You.

There is none like You, ( There is none like You, Lord)
There is none like You.

I can search for all eternity Lord,
There is none like You.
I can search for all eternity Lord,
There is none,( there is none,)
There is none Lord,
There is none like You.
Amen

I Kings 8:22-23
"Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven;
And he said: "Lord God of Israel, THERE IS NO GOD in heaven above or on earth below like YOU, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts."

What a mighty God we serve!!


(Photos from our walk this morning)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Some Morning Retrospection

ret·ro·spec·tion  (definition via internet)
ˌretrəˈspekSHən/
noun
noun: retrospection; plural noun: retrospections
  1. "The action of looking back on or reviewing past events or situations, especially those in one's own life."

My morning "retrospection" is a reflection on thoughts, actions, and "dreams" from yesterday that have lingered into today.  I will elaborate as we go...


We took a little ride yesterday, and as we passed by this old "Florida Cracker-style house" , I begged my hubby to pull over so I could take a picture. He did so, a bit reluctantly, because there wasn't much room alongside the road to do so safely, but he finally managed to stop, and I stepped out of the car for a brief moment and snapped this photo. Why? Because I love the style, the historical value, and the enchanting charm of this old house with its rusty tin roof and rambling front porch overgrown with sprawling vines and summer grasses.  Something about this old homeplace just spoke to my heart as I contemplated the memories of days gone by and the lives of those who lived, laughed, and loved in this place and called it "home"..."be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."    

Of course, when I got back home I immediately placed this picture on my Facebook page, and mentioned how much I'd love to "explore" it further and perhaps get a picture of the side view of the house, as I could barely glimpse a back extension of a breezeway and an  attached summer kitchen--a typical type of structure for that day and time. I further stated that it didn't appear to be inhabited. Several of my friends commented right away about the charm of this place, and a few even had further insights into the historical significance of the summer kitchen...
From my friend Mirl: "They would build the kitchen away from the house in case of fire. Also to cut down on the heat!" 
And regarding the double front doors on the porch... 
From my friend Lonnie: "Notice two front doors. This was to allow the parents access to the porch after the young'ins went to sleep."

Also about the front porch:
From my friend Judy: "Shelled peas many times on a porch like that." 
Others gave good advice about being careful for "critters" and/or "snakes" in the grass...which is a real possibility here in Florida.

But one friend made a comment that rather caught me off guard and kind of spoiled the happy mood of the moment.  
She said, "Do you own that property? Aren't there No Trespassing laws in every state?"   

My first thought was not kind, so I had to pray before answering, but even that came with some difficulty.  Finally I just responded this way: "No I don't. Yes there are. I merely said I would "like" to explore and take more pictures. My Goodness! Can't a girl dream?"

She later retracted her comment, so perhaps she realized that she came across rather strongly...but I must admit, it made me think.  Was I wrong to want to "explore" this place?  Was I truly "trespassing" by stepping out of my car to take pictures?  I realize that sometimes in my zeal to get the best pictures there are times that I may "step over the line" to get a little bit closer, or to get a better perspective...but I guess I never honestly thought I was trespassing!  So this morning I am doing some internal retrospection into my heart, my motives, and my thoughts.  I certainly don't want to give even the appearance of doing something wrong or inappropriate at any time, even if my intentions were honest and noble...or just wanting to get the "BEST" shot!!  (hmmm, maybe a little pride there?)

Here are a few scriptural passages that came to my attention on this subject:



"Test all things;
hold fast what is good.
Abstain from every form of evil"
I Thessalonians 5:21-22

"Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor what is evil. 
Cling to what is good."
Romans 12:9

"Be of the same mind toward one another.
Do not set your mind on high things, 
but associate with the humble. 
Do not be wise in your own opinion."
Romans 12:16

"If it is possible, as much as depends on you,
live peaceably with all men."
Romans 12:18

"Love does no harm to a neighbor;
therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."
Romans 13:10

Okay, Lord, I get it.  Pride is something I need to work on, as is my own opinion of myself and what I think.  Perhaps this friend, even in what I considered to be an unfair judgment, was sent to remind me to be more careful in my "zeal"...watch out that I do not "step across that line"... not just in taking the "best pictures", but in all of my life.  It is so easy to sometimes blur the lines a little bit here and there, and before we know it we have stepped too far out of line.  

Romans 13:12-14 says:

"The night is far spent, 
the day is at hand.
Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness,
and let us put on the armor of LIGHT.
Let us walk properly, as in the day,
not in revelry and drunkenness, 
not in lewdness and lust,
not in strife and envy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make NO provision for the flesh,
to fulfill its lusts."

 So, I may never get that perfect picture of the backside of that house...unless there is someone to give me permission to do so.  Perhaps the Lord has given me this little "warning" to protect me from harm!  Who knows? There may be some critters hiding there after all!
  
Thank You, Lord, for your watchcare over my body as well as my soul.  Amen.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Day to Celebrate and Be Blessed

Today was a day to celebrate!  And so we did!  First of all, today, July 15, 2017, would be my father in law William G. Steiner's 100th birthday.  Here's just a smattering of pictures from throughout his life:






 He has been celebrating in heaven since 1995...but today we paused to remember him and the wonderful father, father in law and "Granddaddy" that he was to our family.  To commemorate this day, my hubby planted a Drake Elm tree in our back yard...not far from the one we planted a few months ago to remember my father on the 6th anniversary of his passing into heaven.




May this tree grow tall and strong and provide shade and beauty to our home for many, many years! And may we never forget the sacrifices my father-in-law made for our country and our family throughout his life.  He loved his family and would have given the shirt off his back to be sure they were taken care of.

Then, today was also a day to celebrate my mother-in-law's 94th birthday! Her actual birthday isn't until July 23rd, but due to family schedule conflicts, we had her party today at the nursing home where she currently resides.  Here are a few pictures of the friends and family that attended that celebration: (I won't identify everyone, but you get the idea...grandkids, kids, niece, friends, and people who love and care about her!)










She obviously had a great time, and was so pleasantly surprised!!!  What a blessing she is to us.

And then, after this celebration, the rest of us headed over to Cody's Roadhouse for lunch and to celebrate my husband's cousin Janice's birthday:


The pillow Janice is holding has a special story.  This is the gift that I made for her.  The cute embroidered young lady with a poodle is a vintage table scarf from the treasures I found in my mother in law's home...and I believe it was actually embroidered by my MIL's mother, "Nanny Martin", who would also be Janice's grandmother.  When I saw this table scarf, I immediately thought of Janice because she had always had poodles as a little girl as well as an adult.

The only problem with this table scarf was, in its original form, there were two ends, each having this same design.  But the other end was badly stained, and I could not remove the stain:


So, after much thought I came up with the pillow idea.  To create the pillow case itself, I used three cloth table napkins from my own table linens:

This is the back side of the pillow, where two of the napkins overlap to make the pocket where you slip the pillow inside...




And here is the front side, where I sewed the modified table scarf to the third napkin, and then sewed this to the other two napkins.

Janice was very surprised and pleased to receive this specially made gift with this link to her own grandmother.  And I thank the Lord for giving me the idea. I am not usually that creative or thoughtful...I'm being honest here!  I normally don't do that much sewing or crafts, but I truly believe the Lord gave me this idea, because He knew it would bless Janice...and in turn, it also was a blessing to me to be able to do this for her.

This was a wonderful lesson for me....to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit to show love to someone else who needed that extra blessing. You see, Janice is a recent widow, following the death of her husband from cancer...and she also lost her only son to a sudden illness a few years ago. Her sweet little poodle, "Rocky", also passed away not long after that.  My husband and his brother and their mother are her closest family here...and they share this common family history.  To be able to share this bit of her own grandmother's treasures with her brought a few tears to her eyes and a smile on her face...and it didn't cost me a dime, but its value is priceless!

This reminded me of a favorite old hymn:

"Make Me A Blessing"

"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.

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, every moment you live.

Refrain

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:

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."

Thank You, Lord, for being at the center of our celebrations today...for blessing our family with dear parents, and for helping us to be an encouragement and "blessing" to one who is in need of such comfort.  I give You praise for providing the means and the ideas that became the blessing. In giving, I am also blessed.  Thank You, Lord, for teaching me this lesson today.  Amen.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Foto Friends: Heeding the Call

Here it is again friends! It is Friday Foto Friends day, and I can tell you that I woke up this morning feeling very frustrated that I didn't have any particular new, good photos to share with you.  I was so restless that I told my hubby I couldn't sit and wait until after our morning devotions and breakfast to take our walk...there was an urgency in me that said, "Go Now!"  Have you ever had that feeling? Not just about taking pictures or taking a walk...but maybe on a deeper, more spiritual level...a restlessness in your spirit that seems to be pushing you forward, drawing you out and away from the mundane, safe, ordinary places and encouraging you to "step out of the boat" and take a step of faith in a new direction?  I'm sure we've all been there at different times in our lives, and lately it seems like I've been feeling it more and more often...maybe because I'm finally feeling stronger since my recent surgery, and I'm getting anxious to go do things again...or perhaps it is a deeper thing...maybe it is something the Lord is saying to me...get ready...be prepared to take a leap of faith..."follow Me..."
Who knows? God knows...and in our devotions this morning (which I read AFTER my walk...) God is calling to Jacob in Genesis 46:1, and Jacob responds in verses 2-3, 
2.  "Here I am".  
3.  So He (God) said, "I am God, the God of your father;
Do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there."

Well, that's a long, winding introduction to what I wanted to show you today, but it was significant, because I kept feeling this urgency to go take that walk much earlier than usual...and so I grabbed my camera and went...

And I came to my favorite little spot on the pond in our neighborhood, and the first thing I saw was that hawk that I showed you last week...and he took off from this tree
and flew to the other side of the pond as soon as I arrived. No time for a picture, so I thought, "well, there went that opportunity!"

So I stepped down to the little dock (that my friends so graciously have given me permission to use) and looked around to see if there was anything worth taking pictures of...

I thought the clouds above the sun rising over the marshy area looked kind of interesting...kind of like a deer kicking up his heels...

And then I took this picture of the reflection of the clouds in the water...
But I still felt dissatisfied, like I was missing something...and I hated to head back home without any good pictures....

And then something caught my eye back out on the marsh:

First there was one...

Then there were two:

Then there were four...

And one by one they started moving out of the marsh, following their mother...

And even though they are hard to see and they are quite spread out, there are actually five of them..

These two paused for another look at the strange creature staring back at them...


And eventually they all followed the mother into the thicket at the far right...

They seem to be varying sizes and ages...

Soon the mother is seen leading the youngest fawn up onto the bank on the other side of the pond, with big sister not far behind...

And here come the rest of them, frolicking up the bank to catch up with the rest


This one kicks up his heels to run and catch up...kind of like that cloud at the beginning of the pictures, don't you think?!!

There they run, around the other side of the pond...

Hurry up and catch up with the rest of the family...and this was the last picture I was able to capture as they disappeared into the woods on the other side of the pond...
Well! I can tell you that I felt so exhilarated, so thrilled, so happy after this encounter that I just couldn't stop thanking and praising the Lord for spurring me onward to see this great sight this morning!  I practically ran all the way back home and couldn't wait to tell my hubby what he missed by not going with me...but he was comfortably sitting in his chair, working on his devotional post that he puts together every day on what he calls Simposious.com, which is a daily compilation of several different devotional readings from various organizations...and although he was happy for me to be so happy...he wasn't the one who had felt such an urgent "call" to go out...it was something especially between the Lord and me....

Then I sat down and read our morning devotions that we do together each day, and another of the scripture passages that we read were from Psalm 37:

3.  "Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4.  Delight yourself also in the Lord,
and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5.  Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
and He shall bring it to pass.
6.  He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7.  REST in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him..." 

Wow!  
Don't you just love how God works?  
As for me, I am delighted in the Lord, and He has truly given me the desires of my heart today...not just in these pictures,
but in just knowing that He hears our cries,
He answers our calls...
and He also expects US to answer HIS call when He calls...

Lord, may I always be ready to heed and answer Your call. 
Help me to have faith to step out and follow you, knowing that You will always do what is right and good for Your children.
Amen

Now please leap over to visit our other Friday Foto Friends here