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!

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!

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:


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!"

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 
Glorious Day!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles: Surely The Presence of the Lord Is In This Place

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time in the Secret Garden after a busy day of cooking and celebrating my son's birthday.  It was quiet and peaceful and so very comforting to just sit there in the garden and rest for a few minutes at the close of the day.  I was thankful for my son, whose birthday we celebrated, as he was the one who helped to initiate the whole idea of the Secret Garden when he presented me with the beautifully refurbished garden bench for Christmas. 

Also yesterday afternoon I transplanted some azalea bushes from the sunny, hot front side of the house to the Secret Garden, because they weren't surviving in their original location, and I pray the cool shade of the Secret Garden will be a better place for them to grow and thrive. I wanted to give them a second chance at life...because isn't that what Jesus did for us when we accepted Him as our Savior?  We began life anew when we were born again into His family. 

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 
II Corinthians 5:17 KJV

I hope someday when people come to the Secret Garden they will know that there was a lot of love here...and that they will feel the Presence of the Lord in this place.

As I sat there listening to the sounds of the birds singing in the trees above and around me, I just couldn't help but start singing this song (the chorus is all I knew, but this video has the whole song, which is so beautiful)

"Surely The Presence of the Lord Is In This Place"

Psalm 16:11

"You will show me the path of life;
In Your Presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

I pray you will have a blessed and peaceful, glorious 
day in the Presence of the Lord, 
wherever you are!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Look At the Birds of the Air"

Matthew 6:26-34(NKJV)

26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 
27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 
29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 
30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 

32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. 
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Dear Friends, I thought you would enjoy seeing these three different Cardinals, all of which were sitting way up in the treetops this morning as we took our morning walk...and they were singing and calling to one another across the woods...It was as if they were the watchmen letting each other know that humans were out and about and to be watching for them as they walk your way.  
Perhaps they are like the watchmen in Psalm 130:5-7 

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning--
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption."

When we are feeling down or lacking in faith...maybe even feeling a little blue and like no one cares...Remember the birds...and the lilies of the field...how God clothes them and cares for them...and so how much more must He care for us?  
Oh, dear soul...Wait for the Lord...even more than those who watch for the morning...Hope in the Lord...For with the Lord there IS mercy and abundant redemption!  
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, 
and all these things shall be added to you."

I pray you are having a blessed and glorious day, trusting and hoping in the Lord! He will NOT fail you!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Foto Friends: Just a Quick Bear Update

Image result for a picture of a leprechaunGood Morning!!! Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I hope you are wearing the green today, or I'll have to come pinch you!  :)  I made sure I had on green as soon as I got up, because the people in my house love to have excuses to pinch...  LOL.  

Here are a few pictures of shamrocks that I just found in my yard as I walked around this morning:
 This one was peeking up at me from inside a pot where my green pepper plant is growing!  How lucky is that???  :)

 And these two pictures were actually taken in The Secret Garden!  They just popped up to surprise me and be an extra little blessing to us today!

Yesterday I mentioned that my wisteria vine /blossoms got hit by the freeze we had the other evening. So I went to check on them today to see if there is any sign of new buds forming...and guess what?  Here they are:

 The buds that are sticking out or up are the new buds that apparently were not hurt, so, yes!! It appears there will be new blossoms coming soon!!! That brought a big smile to my face!

Also yesterday I showed pictures of bear footprints in my yard, and pictures of a bear from a week ago walking through our yard at night.  This morning we saw some new footprints, so I checked the nite camera again, and this time we did get pictures of the bear as he came for a drink at the "pool"...

Since today is Friday Foto Friends Day, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share those new pictures with you...We will name this bear St. Paddy, in honor of St. Patrick's Day today:

Bye Bye St. Paddy!  Thanks for visiting!!!

Here's an Irish Prayer to bless your day:

Image result for an irish prayer

And then here is the traditional "Irish Blessing"

So, until we meet again, "May God hold you 
in the palm of His hand."  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles-Thankful Thursday

Today is Thursday...and I am thankful for so many things...

1.  This may seem trivial, but I am thankful that the only flowers that appear to have been hurt by last night's freeze were my lovely wisteria blossoms:

This is how they looked yesterday afternoon:

And here is how they look today...so sad

I hope the new buds will still have a chance to bloom...but if this is all that was damaged, I will not complain.  We are very thankful for the sunshine this afternoon and hopefully warmer temperatures tonight...and praying for all of our northern friends who are still shoveling out of a big blizzard. Praying they have power restored and that they are safe and warm.
That is much more important than my wisteria blossoms!

2.  I had a good report at the doctor this week...all my labs look good and I am very thankful for good health and renewed strength.  Praise God!
3.  Thankful for answers to prayer for several others who have had serious health issues...and progress is now being made in the right direction.
4.  I am thankful that I got our taxes done this week...and we are getting an unexpected wonderful refund!!! Praising the Lord for that bonus we never knew was coming!!!  Much needed and appreciated!!

I am also thankful to see these little bear footprints that apparently walked across our yard last night. There was no picture on our night camera, but at least we know they are still "out there!"
(Pardon the BIG FOOT on the left...just trying to give you a comparison of size...)
These are rather small bear prints, so that means there may be a young bear cub out here....Gotta watch out for mama bear, if that is the case!

These are the most recent bear pictures on our night camera, and that was over a week ago, so I 
don't know if this is the same bear as last night's foot prints or not.  He does look kind of small, but not really a cub.

Now, back to more pertinent thoughts:
One of my goals for this season of Lent was to reach out more to our neighbors.  We have lived in this neighborhood for five years, and because I was working for most of those years I really didn't get around to get acquainted with many of my neighbors.  We actually don't have very many neighbors because this is primarily a vacation/snowbird community, and many of the homes near us are just that...seasonal/vacation homes...and many of the owners have not been back to "vacation" very often at all.  And then our neighbors directly behind us moved back up north last year due to health reasons, and only recently has that home been sold and a new neighbor moved in.  I have been praying about a way to welcome him to our neighborhood and include others nearby as well.   So next week we are having a neighborhood cookout here before some of the snowbirds on the street head back home for the summer.  I am praying it will be a time of blessing for all who participate...and especially praying for our new neighbor, as he seems very lonely and was most appreciative of the invitation. We asked him if he attended church anywhere, and he replied, "No, I like to go fishing...and that's my church."  So, my prayer is that somehow we will be able to find a way to encourage him in his spiritual walk as well.  

This little "prayer-chorus" came to mind as I was thinking about this: (Click on the video for the music and other verses that I didn't have printed)

"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
O Thou Spirit divine,
All my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me."

Then that led me to the following scriptures:

Colossians 1:27
"Christ in you,
the hope of glory."

Galatians 2:20
"I have been crucified with Christ,
it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me; 
and the life I now live in the flesh 
I live by faith in the Son of God,
Who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Galatians 6:7
"Do not be deceived,
God is not mocked;
for whatever a man sows, 
that he will also reap."

Galatians 6:8
"For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption,
but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap 
everlasting life."

Galatians 6:9
"And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."

Lord Jesus, I pray that Your beauty will be seen in me...and that anything I do will be a reflection of You.  Help me to stay focused on YOU and You alone, that You may be glorified in all that I say and do, both here, and in our neighborhood and community. And help us not to lose heart as we seek to do Your will in reaching out to others. This I pray in Jesus' Name, Amen.

A Benediction of Grace:
"Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with your spirit.
Galatians 6:18