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, October 19, 2019

"Let Heaven and Nature Sing" Again!

 People have asked where I was going to put this sign in our new house. It used to be the banner picture for my blog until we moved here. (For more history about this sign, go back and visit HERE) It has taken some time to be sure exactly where I wanted to put it. To me, it needed to be over a window that speaks to the subject. Although this particular window in my little den is rather small, it is where I sit to write to you and I can view "heaven and nature" singing all day long, and so this is the place that answered the call. Here on this wall I have put some of my favorite nature photos from our previous home, as well as the little cross-stitched plaque that reads, "When God closes a door, He opens a Window"...the inspiration for this blog (you can read more about that HERE)
And so now that that is settled, I can relax and begin to enjoy all the beauty and joy of "heaven and nature singing" all around me.

One thing that is different here at our new house is we don't really have a good place to walk right in our own neighborhood like we used to. Hubby and I used to faithfully take a walk every morning and evening on our old road, because it was a quiet, peaceful walk through the woods, and nature abounded on all sides.  Here we have more neighbors, more traffic, and not much to look at of real beauty outside of our own back yard and pond.  So we decided we needed to find a place to take regular walks before we get too much out of shape! If you will recall, this past summer while we were waiting to move into our current home, we were staying at our church's parsonage temporarily.  That house is located on a quiet street with more woods surrounding it, and it was a good place to walk. It is about two or three miles from our new house, but not too far to take a little ride over in the mornings and take a walk...so that is what we decided to start doing.  Here are a few pictures from what we saw while on our walks:

 I absolutely love seeing the fall wildflowers blooming all through the woods and along the roads.

And then we came to a spot where someone had abandoned this boat...in the middle of the woods, away from water...no houses around...someone apparently just decided this was a good place to dispose of it. Why? I don't know...but if you know someone who would like a "project" boat...
 I know where you could find a couple of them to fix up...

Back to the lovely wildflowers...

Purples and yellows seem to be the color theme for fall wildflowers...

Oh, big foot showed up...actually, that is MY big foot, size nine, next to this giant pine cone!

Back to the flowers again...

There were so many and so lovely that I decided I just had to bring home a bouquet...

 However, I soon discovered that wildflowers do NOT have a delightful fragrance to go along with their natural beauty...and the scents perfuming the air were actually causing me some sinus distress...so out to the deck they went...and eventually I had to put them even further away outside because the odor was so strong we couldn't sit on the deck near them....so I guess that is why they are meant to grow out in the wild, and not in people's gardens!

However, speaking of people's gardens, the "memorial garden" Don Juan Rose bush is at it again...blooming and giving me such joy...and this fragrance is truly heavenly!!!
You may note in the bottom corner of that picture a little bit of my flannel shirt showing...yes!!! It was actually cool enough these past few mornings to put on a flannel shirt while going out for our morning devotions on the deck and then our walk to the woods....Hooray! Fall has finally arrived in Florida!  Today we are getting some much needed rain from that tropical storm that passed through. I hope it isn't doing any serious damage anywhere else. We are very happy for the rain. Our pond was starting to evaporate!! Now it looks much happier.

 This giant blue heron was walking quite close to shore the other day...and I could tell that the water was getting rather shallow by where he was able to walk...

Our resident hawk continues to keep a watchful "hawk eye" on everything that happens around here.

The hawk may have even noticed that we had some lovely visitors pop in for a delightful visit this week:

You may recognize Barb and her "beloved" husband Tom from her blog, "Sweet Tea and Sandals", located HERE.  If you know Barb, you know that she and her hubby love to take little day trips, and they often link up with some of our other blogging friends in the process. We were so blessed to have them visit...this is actually our third visit within the past year! Now that they are located just  a little over an hour away, we hope to get together more often.  We would also welcome other blogging friends to join us! We may have to plan a meeting at a location that would be more central for some of our Florida friends, and have a real "blogging-gab-fest". 
It's always nice when friends go out of their way to make something special for you...this banana nut bread, baked by Barb, was delicious!!! Thank you so much!!!

This was our view the other evening as the sun was going down across the pond. In the early mornings and the evenings we can truly hear "heaven and nature sing" around the pond...in the mornings the birds are eagerly awakening and calling to one another as they seek out their food for the day, and in the evenings the frogs and the cicadas and night birds call out that the evening has come and it is time to settle in safely for the night.

I will close with these words from Psalm 105, which we read in our morning devotions today:

1.  "Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
2.  Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
3.  Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
4.  Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face forevermore!"

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!"
Psalm 150:6

Have a blessed day, my friends.
Perhaps you can looks for places where you can hear
"heaven and nature sing"...

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Wonderful Celebration of Life

Dear Blogging Friends:
It appears that I am becoming a "once a week" blogger these days. Seems like we have been staying so busy (in our retired life) that I just don't have the time I used to have to read and write.  Maybe that's a good thing, but then again, I miss my time with you! I do try to get around and read what you've been writing a little at a time, but it seems like I just can't keep up...so please know that I value each and every one of you and look forward to hearing about your events and projects as well...so please don't give up on me!

This past weekend we had the joy and pleasure of traveling north to North Carolina for a family reunion.  This is the second year in a row that we have made this trip to where my brother Clifford and his family lives within a mile or so of each other...and we have had such a great time that it may become an annual event...as long as us "old folks" can keep going!  It was fun to see the younger generation enjoying being together, so we hope they will keep it going even when we are no longer "available".

Here are some highlights from our trip and gathering:

The whole gang gathered together around the firepit (before the fire was lit...that came later...), and here was where we shared a lot of special memories...

A special part of our gathering was to have a "celebration of life" for my older brother Russell, who passed away this past April after battling leukemia for several months. This casual family setting is exactly what Russell wanted us to do. He knew this reunion was planned before he passed away, and he suggested that this would be the time for his memorial rather than some other time. And so we honored his wishes and gathered together to enjoy being family, doing the things that our family loves to do together:  (Warning: Lots of photos to check out!)

Making homemade ice-cream

Some people really get their whole body into the action...
 Everyone has to take a "turn", literally, if you want to eat some of the ice-cream!

We also celebrated my brother Clifford's 75th birthday,

along with a viewing of the old family slide show...a family tradition from way back when...
Where it all began... The Mursch Family circa 1953 (I'm the redhead in front) We were all dressed up in our Easter finery, having dinner with family after church

A Horseshoe Competition:
 Again, this is serious business and strong tradition:

And then a newer addition to the traditional competition is Corn Hole...

Something for all ages...ping-pong competition:

Also hammock "hiding"..


Lots of visiting, preparing food, eating the food...

And of course, eating the ice-cream...

Firepit time and s'mores...

And time to let the fire burn down and say good night...

Yes, it was a celebration that my brother would have loved, and we truly missed his presence...but we felt his presence there with us in a way...in the way his children/grandchildren laughed and played...his wife relaxed and enjoyed the time with the extended family...everyone knew it was exactly right. 

Here's a few pictures of my brother enjoying life with us in the past:  Playing corn-hole (with my hubby); (2012)

Cooking the Christmas turkey in his smoker (2012)

And the beautiful boat he was building the last couple of years of his life...it was almost completed, but now Russell is sailing away in the glassy seas of heaven. 

Yes, it was a wonderful celebration of life. I found myself rather tongue-tied when it came time to share special memories, and I only told one silly story from childhood.  But in reality, I truly appreciated the man my brother became. He was a person who truly enjoyed life and accomplished many wonderful things. He was a man of integrity and what I'd call a man with "true grit".  He is truly missed by all who knew and loved him.  I look forward to seeing him again someday on heaven's shores.

I guess that is all for tonight. We've had some other special things happen this week, but I think I will save that for another post...maybe I'll actually write more than once this week!! Thank you for hanging in there with me in this very family photo'd post.   As you can see, it was a special time, and we are so thankful to have such a loving family. We don't always agree on everything...does any family? But when we come together, we know how to laugh, love and live like families should. I give all the credit to our godly parents, who set a very strong example of Christ-likeness in how they taught us and raised us.  They would be proud to see that we honor them in this way as well.

Good-night...and go hug your family while you can...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Week in Review and Into the Future!

Hello Friends!! I hope your week has gone well since we last visited. Ours has been busy and interesting to say the least, but I won't go into ALL the details...just hit some of the more pleasant highlights.  Number one, I am very thankful to finally be feeling MUCH better and getting back to wanting to do things again. It seems as though the last few weeks have been a blur of illness, hubby also having some physical issues, and both of us just praying that we will regain our strength and be able to get moving in a more positive direction in our new home and life.   Praise God we seem to be on the upswing, and looking forward to better days ahead.

That being said, I wanted to show you a few things that have been going on.  
I acquired this lovely little wicker table from my son, who found it somewhere, and he and his wife were going to just try to sell it in their business or re-purpose it somehow...but I had a plan that kept bouncing around in my head and made them an offer they couldn't refuse...so now it is mine.  
This is in our kitchen, in an area that seems to be a kind of wasted space.
(This was my first option, between two regular dining chairs)

It is kind of a long narrow area on the other side of the sink/island, with not enough space for a big table or any real wall space because of the windows for any other kinds of furniture...so I've just kind of lined  up some extra chairs there and wanted some kind of little table to break it up a bit...

My first option was here at this end, and please note the needlepoint sign on the wall, created by my paternal grandmother many years ago, which says:

"Come into my kitchen and chat with me while I prepare a pot of tea."

And then at the other end of the area there is this favorite old painting of two sweet little old ladies, sitting in their chairs and visiting. There used to be an engraved title under the picture, which is worn off now with age, but it said "The Gossips"... one of my most favorite pictures which came from my maternal grandmother's home.

 I've always loved having a rocking chair in my kitchen, so that anyone who comes to visit has a comfortable place to sit and visit with me while I am preparing our tea or supper or whatever...and actually I find myself sitting there frequently while something is cooking on the stove that I don't want to venture too far away from...so it is a good spot to sit and read or drink  a cup of tea while I wait for the "pot to boil", so to speak...therefore I moved the little wicker table down beside the rocker, so that there is actually a place to put a pot of tea and a tea cup for my guest or even myself...and even though it may feel a little crowded in that space...it is a comfortable place that hopefully will be welcoming to whomever wishes to visit a while...

 I will leave it there for now and see how that works out. But don't you agree? It really needed to come home with me.  Yes, I know I'm supposed to be downsizing...but sometimes we have to compromise with our ideas...And this was all in the spirit of being more hospitable and practicing hospitality...

Speaking of words that are similar to hospital...hubby actually made a couple of visits to our community hospital this past week...well maybe more than a couple now that I think about it. Once for some x-rays because of some severe back pain (which has now subsided, praise the Lord, but may need some further investigation and treatment in the future), and then one evening via ambulance because of what felt like a heart attack...which turned out to be nothing wrong with his heart, praise God, but apparently some kind of spasm of the esophagus that very much felt like a heart attack...and caused his BP to escalate severely.  Folks, any kind of pain in the chest is worth checking out.  I'd rather have a false alarm but be in a safe place than to ignore the pain and find out it really was something bad and it be too late to get help.  And then the third visit was to have a scheduled colonoscopy:  Which turned out fine...here he is in pre-op waiting his turn.

 One thing we have both agreed upon this past week: we are thankful that our new home is within about 11 miles from our community hospital, and it is a very easy straight ride to get there.  We hope that we don't have to visit there quite as often as this past week, but we are thankful that when we needed it, it was easy and convenient to get to.   Our previous home was at least 25 miles from the nearest hospital. 

Switching gears a bit...this morning I was rejoicing in this beautiful new day, and then even happier when hubby was able to come out on the deck and enjoy the morning with me.  We are truly blessed and very thankful that the Lord has given us this time together. This is nothing to take for granted.

Switching gears once again, we had to drive into Palatka today (our county seat), and we parked near this old Coca Cola bottling building.  I know there are many such old Coca Cola bottling buildings in many cities throughout the south. This one is no longer used by Coca Cola...but the engraved signs still remain on the iconic brick building:

 The sign in the window above says Azalea City Brewing co., and I noticed some big vats in there, so maybe a brewing company is taking it over...not sure, but I just thought it was interesting.

We went into town to pick up a lease vehicle, because we are getting ready to go on a little trip this weekend for a family reunion.  We have discovered that we are better off to lease a vehicle when we have any long-distance driving to do than to risk our thirteen year old vehicle breaking down on the road somewhere.  We were pretty amazed at this fancy hi-tech vehicle...doesn't even use a real key...I know many of you have these already...but for us it was like something out of the future...it has so many fancy buttons and screens and things that I hope we can manage to drive it without flying into outer space...
So, now I need to concentrate on packing and getting ready to leave early in the morning.  Thankfully our kids are traveling with us so we have a spare driver if we need it.  These young "whippersnappers" understand these new-fangled modern vehicles better than us old folks from out in the sticks. LOL.

With these thoughts in mind I will leave you to contemplate and consider your blessings, as I have been doing mine. This week could have turned out very differently than we'd like, and I want to go on record giving thanks to the Lord for His gracious mercy and grace toward us, His children. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, therefore we must be prepared for the future and eternity at any time.

Here is a verse that gives encouragement and hope:

"For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, 
plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11 

Thank You, Lord, for Your great love and promises.