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, September 22, 2017

Friday Foto Friends - Beauty for Ashes

Good Morning!
It's is Friday again...and also the first day of Autumn! My favorite season of the year! I know many of you have been saying the same thing...and for us here in Florida, autumn isn't quite as thrilling as it is in the north, but it is the beginning of some cooler weather (hopefully soon)...

Many are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Irma here...clean up is tiring and time consuming...and I am tired of looking at all of the fallen, broken trees along the road and in the woods surrounding our home.  I refused to take any more pictures of the desolation and instead have tried to focus on the beauty that is still present after the storm.  Before I go any further, I also want to stop and say that we continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Texas who are still trying to put their homes and lives back together after Hurricane Harvey, and now for those in Puerto Rico and the other islands who have lost so much in Hurricane Maria...we pray for you and seek God's comfort and strength for you. Also praying for the people in Mexico who have been hit with this terrible earthquake...so much suffering...Lord, I know You see them and You are sending your angels of mercy to help them...

Here are some pictures from around the neighborhood taken this past week. I am so thankful for God's beauty in spite of the devastation.

This was a marvelous sunrise early one morning this past week.  I snuck out of the house and ran down the road to try and catch it from different angles... these first two were from The Secret Garden in our back yard.

This is the reflection of the sunrise on the neighborhood pond down the road from our house...
 Sunrise over the pond...
 And again sunrise reflected on the pond...

I love these wild morning glories blooming all along the roadside:

And this Pileated Woodpecker now has a lot of new broken and damaged trees to explore for his breakfast...

He shouldn't go hungry around here...

Last night we took a little ride to Big Lake Kerr to see how high the water was...and it was pretty high. The breeze was blowing and it was so pleasant...hubby and I wished we could just camp out there and listen to the water lapping on the shore all night...

The sun was dropping in the west as we left the lake...and hubby suggested we head to the local Dollar General and get some ice-cream.  The last time we checked they were still out of it after the hurricane, so we thought for sure they would have some by now...

And they did! On our way back home from the store we saw this bear standing beside the road. This picture is a little blurry as we were driving slowly by her.  She ran into the woods and I could see her standing up by a tree and looking right at me, but we were moving too fast for me to take another picture. I was really disappointed that I missed that picture. It would have been a good one!
 The bears have been pretty active this week. A couple of days ago we could see a mama bear and her tiny cub following her across the road, but we were too far away and she was moving too fast for us to get a picture.  The cub looked really small, but it was running right along behind mama and they made it safely into the woods.

The sun was setting over "Little Lake Kerr" as we drove homeward.  Such a lovely way to end the evening, don't you agree?

Psalm 61:1-4
1.  "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
to preach good tidings to the poor...
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2.  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord;
and the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3.  To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord,
That He may be glorified.
4.  And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
and they shall repair the ruined cities,
the desolations of many generations."

Praying now for the Lord to give "beauty for ashes" and "the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for heaviness" for all those who are weary and sad and in need of His comfort. Amen.

Now, on a happier note, skip over to visit Deb and friends at Breathing in Grace and see what others are posting on this "Friday Foto Friends" Day!  Have a blessed day my friends.

Friday, September 15, 2017

"The Perfect Revelation of the Lord"

One of my favorite Psalms...and a "Meditation of my heart" that I pray is acceptable to the Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer."

Psalm 19(NKJV)
"The Perfect Revelation of the Lord"
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament shows His handiwork. 
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge. 
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard. 
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, 

Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. 

Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."


Pictures taken in and around our neighborhood in the past couple of days since Hurricane Irma passed by.  So thankful to the Lord for His protection and care for us...

Post Irma Reflections - Friday Foto Friends

I am writing this on Thursday evening, four days after Hurricane Irma passed through...and since we got our power back on yesterday afternoon, today has been a day of putting things back in place, cleaning up, washing clothes, restocking our groceries, and reflecting on the mercies of God and His power over the storms of our lives.  We are counting our blessings and continuing to pray for those still without power and whose lives have been disrupted by this storm much more than we experienced.  Many will have roofs to repair, trees to remove, floods to dry out and homes to be restored.

 I find myself feeling guilty that we came through this storm so unscathed when others clearly lost so much.  I don't really understand why some have to suffer so much ...but I trust our God Who is in control to have mercy and grace for all...and to make a way for them to recover and come back even stronger than before.

Friday is Friday Foto Friends day...and I wanted to share some reflections from around our neighborhood ponds that are now full of water, thanks to Irma. I found this to be a peaceful way to end this day.

I apparently startled these two Sand Hill Cranes as I got too near their roosting place for the evening...they flew right over me squawking something awful! I about jumped out of my skin!
Maybe I'm still just a little gun shy from the storm after all.

These last two pictures are a "Before and After" set.  This first picture was taken several years ago early one morning as I walked along our road.  I have named this picture "The Angel in the Woods", as it appeared when the sun shone brightly through the trees to be like an angel watching over us. I have always loved this little section of the woods and have felt such peace every time I walked past there.

This is how that same place in the woods looks today after the storm.  Several trees have fallen, and the beauty and peacefulness has been destroyed.  When I discovered this, I felt very sad, like a sacred place had been taken away from me.

But for some reason God has redirected my thoughts on this tonight to read here some final reflections from His Word:

Isaiah 40:27-31

27.  "Why do you say, O Jacob, 
and speak, O Israel;
"My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my just claim is passed over by my God?"

28.  Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.

29.  He gives power to the weak,
and to those who have no might he increases strength.

30.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men shall utterly fall,

31.  But those who wait on the Lord 
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

For those who may be still suffering and struggling under a load of care and destruction...God says to wait on Him and He will give you strength...He will restore your homes and lives.  For those of us who may be saddened by the loss of those special "places" in our lives, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He will give you all that you need to get up and walk...yay, even run again and not grow weary!  This gives me renewed hope and encouragement for the future...and perhaps now when I walk past that place in the woods I will be reminded of these verses and walk a little stronger!  Maybe I will even  "mount up with wings like eagles...(or those Sand Hill Cranes!) and fly!!!

(Friday morning: An added thought after sleeping on this overnight-Perhaps my "Angel of the Woods" was rather busy watching over our home during the storm...and she couldn't stay there in the woods any longer!...To that I say, "Thank you, "Angel of the Woods"...and especially I say Thank YOU, Heavenly Father--For I know it was really YOU all the time!)

Now, let's "fly" on over to Deb's place at Breathing in Grace and see what our other Friday Foto Friends have been up to this week!! God bless you, my friends!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Praise God!! We Survived Irma!

Dear Friends,  It is with great joy that I write to you today, Wednesday, Sept, 13th, 2017, 3 days after Hurricane Irma stormed through our state and beyond...we survived!! Praise God!!!  I have so  much to tell you about how gracious and kind and merciful our Lord is...I hardly know where to begin!

If you read my previous posts regarding this storm HERE (Just A Quick Check In)  and Here (The Calm Before the Storm), you will know that we were as prepared as anyone could be for such a monstrous storm.  After watching the forecasts for over a week of how powerful and dangerous Hurricane Irma was going to be, people would be very foolish not to be prepared as much as possible. But I know that not everyone is able to purchase generators and gas stoves and other items...the most important thing is to just get somewhere safe and stay there until the storm is over.

Irma roared over our community during the night Sunday and early Monday morning, and was still blowing pretty fiercely off an on all day Monday.  Our power went off around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night.  We listened to it howling, with tall pine trees in the forest next to us popping and cracking and falling all night long, which sounded much like a war zone, and just prayed that nothing would crash into our house and that our roof would stay intact. When we got up Monday morning at first daylight we assessed whatever damages we could see, and we were so extremely thankful that no "evil" had "befallen us", (Psalm 91:10-11)...and that it appeared God had indeed given His angels charge over us and our home...and even our neighborhood...and had spared us the worst of the storm.

Soon other vehicles tried to drive down our road, and we all realized that it was impassable due to the many fallen trees.  What I love about our community is that people all look for ways to help one another...
 And soon neighbors who didn't even know one another were out there with chain saws and chains and trucks and pulling the trees out of the road...

And then the real miracle happened for us...one of these neighbors whom we have never met turned out to be a kind of "angel in disguise" for us.  When my hubby mentioned that we needed some help in hooking up our generator to our house so that we could run our well/pump as well as keep our refrigerator going, this wonderful young man spoke right up and said that he was an electrician, and that he had the necessary parts to connect it, and would be right back to do it!
Within the hour he had gone to his home, got the parts, and came back and expertly installed it...and refused to take anything for his work...(but we insisted and paid him anyway).
You, know, I learned something about "don't judge a book by its cover".  Sometimes we have a tendency to look at those who are all "tatted" up and think judgmental thoughts...and God taught me a valuable lesson here...Sometimes angels come with tattoos, beards and blue jeans and ball caps in the middle of a storm...

This huge pine tree (on our property) fell on the power lines next to our property...but did not break them so there was no live wire  hanging, Thank the Lord...

The trunk of the pine tree you see laying down below is right next to our kitchen window/end of house. I have watched that huge pine tree leaning for sometime and was concerned that it could fall on our house. Thank the Lord again...it fell away from our house...

This picture is just typical of the many tall sand pines in our woods that snapped and cracked and fell all night long...

This pine tree tree is just barely held up by a smaller oak tree, and is dangling precariously across the road.  We pray it doesn't fall on any vehicles driving under it.  We need someone with a larger chain saw than ours to cut it.
 This is the tree (below) that fell on the power line beside our shed.  Thankfully it missed the shed.
Clay Electric came and cut it off the line.
Thank you Clay Electric, and all the others who came from far away to assist in getting our area back up and running again...

After the storm, this molting cardinal discovered our new bird bath and decided to take a nice cool bath...
 Isn't he interesting looking with his funny molting feathers?

Our #3 son cooking an omelette on the Coleman Stove for breakfast...

 This Male Cardinal wants to know what all the fuss has been about...
 The butterflies have been enjoying the wildflowers...and don't seem at all concerned about the storm we just passed through...

We had hot dogs and beans for supper...

Hubby enjoying our picnic on the back porch...where it was much cooler than inside the house...

Me cooking our supper and pretending to be 'camping out'.

And today...so thankful that we finally got our phone, cable, wifi back on...and then while I was writing this our power came back on!!! Praise the Lord!!

So many things to be thankful for with this storm.
None of our family members or friends throughout the state suffered any real damage or injuries that cannot be fixed.
God truly had His hand upon us and sheltered us "under His wings" (Psalm 91:4).
He provided everything we needed to get through this time without extreme discomfort or inconvenience.
He brought strangers to our door to help us with the things we needed...perhaps "angels unaware"
(Hebrews 13:2)
and taught us to open our eyes and see how He can provide for us from unexpected sources.

I know this has been a long post. I apologize for being so verbose,
but I cannot withhold my praise and thanksgiving to God for how He has provided, protected, and blessed us through this whole ordeal.

Psalm 145:1-3
"I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
and I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, 
and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable."