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!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Tuesday 4 The Music of Home

 The Music of Home


Hello again! You are very welcome here at Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4.
From the play Greenwillow comes the song The Music of Home:

Tis the music of home
The music of home
Full of wonder as angel song
All the music of home
Thе music of home
Singing, "Home is wherе I
Belong"

There is a music to home.. let's talk about the music in your home.

1. Was home always your safe place? Or did it leave a lot to be desired? What would improve the music in your home today?
Yes, the home I grew up in was a safe place. I am very thankful for the home and parents God gave me.  
What would improve the music in my home today?  Hmmm, well, I am not really sure how to answer this...my hubby and I are both very musical in our minds and hearts. We don't play instruments, but we love to sing.  My hubby tends to always be humming some kind of tune, many of which he actually creates.  I wish that I had kept a tape recorder going throughout our life together, because he often comes up to me and says, "Listen to this song that I just made up".  Sometimes he gets me in on it by teaching me the harmony while he hums the melody that he just created.  Sadly, they've never been recorded or written down, and so they are all long gone by the next day, or even the next hour.  But to have music constantly flowing in one's heart and mind is a lovely thing, don't you think?  I am not creative like he is, but I do get a lot of music "stuck in my head" throughout the day and often find myself singing tunes we are practicing in the choir at church, or something I might have heard on the TV or radio.  However, we really don't listen to the radio much anymore. I find it too distracting to the real music that is all around us.  I don't think I answered the question about what would improve the music in my home today...

2.Do you like coming home at the end of a day? How about when you were a kid?
Oh, yes, "there's no place like home."   When I was still working I couldn't wait to get home every day, even if it did mean I would have to get to work cooking and/or cleaning and taking care of the house and family, but still, it was home and there's no other place I'd rather be.  When I was a child I also loved coming home. After school I could be free for a while to run outside and play or stay inside and play...however, of course there were always "chores" and homework to take care of, but still, I was at home and happy to be there.

3. What is the music of your home? How would you describe life in your home growing up.. in the middle of your life and right now? Is there a song that might fit your home?
Picture above: At my family home with my family. If you notice the clock on the mantel behind me (in the middle), that clock was the backdrop of "music" every hour in our home.  No, it didn't play the Westminster Chimes or anything else so melodic. It basically just sounded out the number of hours in a most loud and awakening way...especially during the night, but it was a sound of home.  I miss that old clock today, but thankfully my niece Sandy in North Carolina has it at her home and she treasures it. Some time ago she sent me this video of the clock chiming at 3:00!  I'm glad I found this to share with you today.
To describe my home growing up, I would have to say that it was a pleasant place to live. Even though we didn't play musical instruments, well, I take that back...my parents bought an electronic organ when they retired and they enjoyed playing it...as did all of the grandkids:
Our son Scott playing the organ at Grandma and Grandpa's house

And playing it again later, when we were packed up and moving, hence all the boxes in the background...he still plays it today. It is in his bedroom here, and that is the first place he goes when he comes home to play music that he makes up as he plays. It's actually very good, and again, I wish it was recorded.

Back to my original home, our family did love to sing...well, at least my parents and my sister and I did. My brothers weren't really into singing, except on Christmas morning when we lined up by age, (me as the youngest got to go first!)  in the hallway and had to sing Jingle Bells before we could enter the living room to open gifts...but anyway, my parents both sang in the church choir and my daddy also sang in a Barbershop Quartet and chorus.  My sister and I both sing in our church choirs to this day.  At our home it was a requirement to watch "Lawrence Welk" on Saturday nights. LOL.  Oh, and my mother did take violin lessons and really wanted to be a violinist, but she never really progressed very far in that desire, except for a recital or two. My dad loved music and had quite a large record collection, which he enjoyed playing until he was too old to manage it by himself.  Then we watched a lot of "Gaither Homecoming" programs together up until his very last days.  He loved gospel music.  So yes, music was a big part of my home growing up.  

As I said earlier, my hubby and I both enjoy singing and used to do a lot of solos and duets in church during our younger days. Now I still sing in the choir, and hubby and I still do an occasional duet.  I wrote about the first day we met HERE a few years ago, when we sang the song "Getting to Know You" to each other. We discovered then that we both loved music and it seemed to set the tone for our whole life together.

A song that might fit our home is "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine"...Most people know the chorus as "This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long."    This little magnet on our refrigerator reminds me of that song every day:


My favorite t-shirt speaks to this theme:  "The earth has music for those who listen"



4. Like a symphony, home has it's ups and downs as the picture to the side illustrates. What are your homes best ups and worst downs?( stories of happy times, busted water heaters, goofy things that have happened, etc)    

I loved that picture at the beginning of the woman locked outside her front door in her nightgown, with the newspaper and milk, calling to someone to come and open the door for her!  I can well imagine such a crazy thing happening.  As far as stories of goofy things, happy times, etc., gosh, where do I begin?  I may not be able to answer this in one post, there's been so many.  Instead of trying to answer this, I will just post a link to one funny story that I wrote about many years ago HERE, entitled "alarms-sirens-whistles-bells-and-things that go bump in the night."     That's the best I can do without writing another whole book! LOL.    

Yes, all homes do have their ups and downs, and I can attest to the fact that we have had our share of them, some funny and many not so funny. But through it all God has been with us, walking beside us, before us, and often times carrying us.    Since this is about music, here is a great song to sum it all up: Through it All, by Andre Crouch, sung here by CeCe Wynans and Andre Crouch.  


You can join in with Tuesday 4 HERE

Sunday, February 25, 2024

It's A Special Day

Today, February 25, 2024, would be our son Matthew's 51st birthday! That in itself doesn't seem possible, but the fact that he has been celebrating his birthdays in heaven ever since he arrived there in May of 2014 means that this is his 9th birthday spent in heaven.  When I try to wrap my brain around that I really can't. So I don't actually dwell on the number of years since he left this world for his eternal home. In some ways it seems like it's been forever, and in other ways it seems like he was just here with us yesterday.  Time is relevant...or is it irrelevant? I'm not sure, but all I know is every year that goes by puts us another year closer to being reunited with him in heaven, so from that stand point, let the years fly by! This world is not our final home and we are just passing through.  The sooner we can reach heaven's shores the better off we will all be.


 So in the meantime we do things to pass the time and to also mark the day in some way so that we can focus our attention on his life.  We don't always talk about him, because I think in some ways that is like peeling off a scab that has finally started to heal.  It stirs up emotions that we find difficult to contain, so we just try to do something positive and pleasant and family oriented to mark the day.    

Therefore, today, after church the "kids" all came home to our house for Sunday dinner.  Scott came down from his place and Benton and Rose and the grandpups came over.  I don't always cook a big "dinner" on Sundays anymore due to the fact that we have to leave the house by 8 a.m. for Sunday School and then church, so there's not much time to prepare anything.  But today I wanted to do something a little more special than sandwiches, and we didn't want to go out to eat.  I had a pork tenderloin ready to roast, and the nice thing about that is they only take about a half hour to cook in the oven at 425 degrees.  So that is pretty easy to do after church and still eat at a reasonable time.  I did go ahead and peel and cut up the potatoes and put them in water before we left for church so they would be ready to cook as soon as we got home so we could have mashed potatoes.  I also prepared fresh carrots and broccoli, and had it ready to start cooking as soon as everything else was cooking. I actually par-steamed the carrots in the morning since they take a little while longer than the broccoli to steam cook.  I don't like overcooked broccoli.  When we got home from church I put together a tossed salad while we waited for everything else to cook.  We sat down to eat by 12:30. (we get out of church around 11:20).  We also had a homemade chocolate pie to eat for dessert that I made yesterday. (with a little help from Marie Callender's frozen pie crust!)  Our sweet DIL Rose had to work some long hours yesterday so I didn't want to ask her to help with anything.  But everyone pitched in to help get things on the table and then clean up afterwards so we could do some other special projects after dinner.  (I'm calling it "dinner" because it was more substantial than what we normally do for "lunch"...does that make sense?) Believe it or not I didn't take any pictures of our delicious meal.  Just try to imagine it. LOL.



So after all of that we went outside to do our "special projects".  I recently purchased some plants to put in our butterfly garden and hadn't planted them yet.  Then on Friday I found a beautiful rose bush and decided that would be a lovely addition to the garden, and that would be our "memorial plant" in memory of Matthew.  It isn't going into the "Memorial Garden" per se, because that area is too shady and I've found that roses and other plants just don't really grow very well there. The wonderful rose bush that had produced so many beautiful blooms over the past almost 10 years finally seems to have given up. It made me very sad to have that happen, but I think it is because of where it was planted, so I wanted this new rose bush to get more sunshine.

Below is a previous picture of a blossom from the "old rose bush", or "the Memorial Rose Bush" that we have had ever since Matthew passed away. It was originally planted in the first Memorial Garden at our old home in Salt Springs, and then we brought it with us when we moved here almost 5 years ago, and until this past year it has always bloomed on special days.  I have cut the stems back and it is starting to show some signs of new growth, but I still wanted to have a "back up" rose bush.


So today the "boys" helped us plant the new rose bush along with the other new plants in the Butterfly garden.

Here "Daddy" is showing the boys where to put it.

Scott and Benton did the digging and planting and watering

And here it is all planted.  I wanted it where I can see it from inside the house and enjoy it's lovely flowers. Now let's pray it grows and thrives here!


After this project was done we had a few other little jobs that the boys could help us with, like finding the big tote filled with the spring/Easter decorations in the shed and bringing that into the house for me. It was under a stack of a lot of other heavy totes and other items and hubby and I just could not manage it alone.  I also found my Valentine's Decorations that I couldn't get to in time for Valentine's Day so I had to pick up a few new things at the Dollar Tree this year.  Hopefully next year I will be able to find everything and not have to buy anything else! LOL.   Anyway, now I have my work cut out for me to get the spring decorations under way this next week.

After all that work we all came back inside and relaxed for awhile before the "kids" had to head back home.  Sugar and Spice were especially worn out from all the excitement and activity:

Oh to be able to sleep like a Puppy again!  (of course they aren't really "puppies" anymore, but don't tell them that. LOL)


All in all it was a fitting and special way to honor the memory of our dear son Matthew.  He would have enjoyed the day and being with his brothers and family doing projects together.  Someday we'll all be together again.

This was the last time we were all together, for Matthew's 41st birthday.  He passed away exactly 3 months later after a 4 year battle with cancer.
L to R: Daddy, Benton, Noah (our grandson and Matthew's son), Matthew, and Scott


And again, l to r: Matt's wife Nicole, me, Benton, Noah, Matthew and Scott

and one more time:
front row:Daddy (hubby), Me, "Nanny Steiner",
Back row: Noah, Benton, Scott, Matthew and Nicole

I will close with this comforting passage from John 14:1-6

14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 
2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 
4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

I am thankful to know that our Matthew is there with Jesus in our Father's House, and because we know that Matthew loved Jesus and believed in Him for salvation, we will one day see him again.  That is why I can spend this day with joy in my heart and a peace that passes all understanding.  This home is not our final home...and someday soon Jesus Himself will come again and receive those who believe in Him to Himself, that where He is , there we may be also. 

Today we sang this song in church, "Oh How He Loves You and Me".  You may enjoy singing along with us...

Lyrics:
Oh, how He loves you and me, Oh how He loves you and me. 
He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.

Jesus to Calvary did go, His love for sinners to show. What He did there brought hope from despair.
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.

Copyright:
1975 Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)

Amen.


Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday Foto Friends~More Excitement on Still Water's Pond and Beyond!

Happy Friday everyone! I have some exciting news!
There are two eggs!!  Yesterday morning, on George Washington's birthday, our early morning view of the Sand Hill Crane nest showed TWO eggs!  So now, my plan to name the new "colts" in honor of President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln is going forward as stated earlier this week on President's Day, when we discovered the first egg.    I think we will call them George and Abe.  I know we don't know if they will be male or female, and it is actually quite difficult to tell the difference even when they are adults...but we could call them Georgianne and Abby instead. LOL.  
This picture was taken early in the morning, hence the lighting is not great, but I could clearly see the two eggs with my binoculars.

Mr. Sand Hill Crane continued to stand guard while Mama rested on the nest. Once in a while they would actually change places so that Mama could go get something to eat and stretch her legs a while.
As you can see, the Canada Geese are still out there swimming around, occasionally getting too close for comfort and Papa Crane takes off after them with loud shrieks and flapping wings...

They both continue to maintain the nest, adding more sticks and mud and repositioning the eggs to keep them in the best spot.


Yes, watching these proceedings pretty much occupies a good portion of our days right now.

And yes, the geese are still here...mostly just relaxing in the water, but with occasional forays into the Crane territory just to keep things popping.





It seems like they are gathering together to plot their next move to harrass Mrs. Crane!





I still don't know if the geese are building a nest here or if they are just hanging around to be pests, but either way, they keep things interesting and we enjoy all the activity.

So what else do we do with our time besides watch the birds?  Well, let's see, 

 We take walks in the woods and notice the contrast between life and death you might say...

This fungi is growing on this dead tree branch...the fungi is a living organism that actually feeds on decaying wood.

The woods are full of this Deer Moss, which grows on top of the sandy leafy soils of our woods. The deer do eat it apparently, hence its name, but it is really a type of lichen.

Just another way that God provides for His creation!


Amazing that this cut section of an old tree is still laying there in the woods...


Same photo from 2020...when I thought it looked like a baby in utero, a child waiting to be born that was cut off from the living before it had a chance to be born...some poignant thoughts...

And here is another fascinating dead tree, reaching up to the skies, surrounded by living trees. The woodpeckers and insects also find this as a good food source and/or a place to build a nest.
Amazing the natural beauty that we can find around us when we open our eyes to God's wonderful creation.

Besides our walks in the woods, we also took a nice ride through the woods yesterday afternoon and had supper with some dear "old friends" from our previous neighborhood in the Ocala National Forest. I forgot to take any pictures, but we enjoyed a delightful dinner of homemade chicken and dumplings, and/or chili...salad, cornbread, biscuits, and a delicious cinnamon and nut Bundt cake for dessert. I was told not to bring anything, but I still took a couple of containers of fresh strawberries, which we enjoyed along side our cake with some whipped cream.  It was all wonderful. Our friends live on a small lake where I used to take a LOT of pictures back when we lived there.  And guess what? They also have a Sand Hill Crane couple nesting right now in the middle of their little lake!  It looks just like ours!  'Tis the season for new life everywhere!

This is actually a picture I took of a Sand Hill Crane nesting on that same little lake back in 2018.  Their current Crane Mama and nest looks pretty much the same now. It may even be the same family as it was back then. They do come back to the same nesting grounds over and over again!


Here's some thoughts for today from Proverbs chapter 3:24-26

24 
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.


This morning's sunrise!

Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
Isaiah 60:1

Well, It is now nighttime and about time for me to start shutting down for the night.  Thank you for visiting here, and I apologize if I haven't gotten around to visit you yet. I am still trying to get caught up with everyone as I can. I probably need to quit watching the activities around here so I can read your posts!  Thank you for your patience!

God bless you all, and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Wednesday Treasures...Where Do I Begin?

Where do I begin?  Here it is Wednesday afternoon, and there's so many different pictures to show you I may have to break it up over the next couple of days. Let's get started and when I think you've had enough I'll stop! LOL.  

Remember on Monday I told you about some excitement on Still Waters Pond? (CLICK HERE if you didn't see that post)   Remember that I told you about Mrs. Sand  Hill Crane laying an egg and all the Canada Geese were hanging around bugging them all day long?  Well, they continued to do so for the next couple of days, making a lot of honking noises and splashing and just being regular pests.  But then they kind of moved around into the little cove around the other side of the big island in the pond and stayed there, but they were still making all kinds of noise, so I decided to go see what was going on:

I was hiding in my little hideaway spot behind the bushes so they couldn't see me, and they didn't seem to be bothered by my presence at all.  They were pretty much concentrating on whatever was going on amongst their little group there on the island and in the water around the island.  These photos are pretty amazing to me, and I hope you will enjoy them.
What I have deduced from all of their noise and activity is that perhaps they are also in their mating season, and this couple up on the island appear to be the older members of the group, perhaps the parents of the others, and I'm thinking they just want some privacy and time alone without the others bugging them...

I thought perhaps they might even be starting to build a nest up on the island, as that has been their nesting location in some years past...of course who knows if this is the same family or not?  The last couple who nested here a few years ago ended up with 3 living baby goslings...the fourth one died before they could leave this area to go to the big lake nearby.  The moved to the big lake and that is where they seem to live for most of the time, except when they fly over here and swim around for a while and entertain us.
But I'm wondering if this is that same family...Mom and Dad and three younger geese...it could be...


And if so, will they build a nest on the island and stay and start a new little family?  If so, what will the "kids" do while Mom and Dad are nesting? Seems like they should be old enough to be out on their own, but I really don't know how the goose family does things...
Aren't they a lovely couple?

And here's two of the kids, and the third one in the next picture...


They keep bugging the parents, 

but then eventually the three decided to swim away and give Mom and Dad some privacy


But that was yesterday...and this morning they were still out there in the pond, harassing Mr. and Mrs. Crane for a while, and then suddenly they all took off and I haven't seen them again this afternoon. We shall see what develops.  Never a dull moment here on "Still Waters Pond", that's for sure!


Meanwhile, I thought you'd enjoy seeing how Mr. and Mrs. Crane are living out there on their tiny little island!  It amazes me that they have chosen this small little scrap of marsh to build their nest on, but they seem quite happy with their accommodations.  

And as far as I can see, there is still just one egg in the nest.  It is hard to see when the sun is so bright, but what I have seen looks like one very large egg.  Time will tell if there is another one...






Thought you'd enjoy these views of Mrs. Crane keeping vigil until time for her baby to be born.

Mr. Crane is never very far away, and he will come and give her a break now and then so she can get something to eat and stretch her legs.

Meanwhile, back on shore, the bluebirds are still busily working on their nest. I haven't forgotten them, but I've just been distracted by all the other stuff going on! 

And then today the Goldfinches started showing up at their special finch feeder! They aren't pretty and golden yet, but they will continue to turn yellow as the spring progresses and as they travel further north for breeding.





And I enjoyed trying to follow a beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly around as he was enjoying the nectar from the Carolina Jessamine flowers that are blooming so beautifully.





We've been working on this song in choir practice, "I Know He Watches Me".  It's a blend of "His Eye is on the Sparrow" and "God Leads His Dear Children Along"....and I kept thinking about this song while sharing all these pictures of the geese, cranes, and other birds.   You might enjoy listening to it while you look at all the pictures above. I guess I should've put this first, but either way, you might enjoy it.  It combines parts of two familiar songs that give us a sense of comfort and peace while we navigate this world filled with difficulties and surprises. Perhaps this is a good way to close this post. I hope you enjoy the song.


Here are the lyrics to both of those old hymns, not exactly the way they are sung in this choir anthem, but it gives you the idea...
His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Why should I feel dis­cour­aged,
Why should the sha­dows come,
Why should my heart be lone­ly,
And long for Heav’n and home,
When Je­sus is my por­tion?
My con­stant friend is He:
His eye is on the spar­row,
And I know He watch­es me;
His eye is on the spar­row,
And I know He watch­es me.

Refrain:

I sing be­cause I’m hap­py,
I sing be­cause I’m free,
For His eye is on the spar­row,
And I know He watch­es me.

Let not your heart be trou­bled,
His ten­der word I hear,
And rest­ing on His good­ness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He lead­eth,
But one step I may see;
His eye is on the spar­row,
And I know He watch­es me;
His eye is on the spar­row,
And I know He watch­es me.

Refrain

Whenever I am tempt­ed,
Whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sigh­ing,
When hope with­in me dies,
I draw the clos­er to Him,
From care He sets me free;
His eye is on the spar­row,
And I know He watch­es me;
His eye is on the spar­row,
And I know He watch­es me.

Refrain



God Leads Us Along

1. In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.

Refrain:
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

2. Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along;
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.
Refrain

3. Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose,
God leads His dear children along;
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,
God leads His dear children along.
Refrain

4. Away from the mire, and away from the clay,
God leads His dear children along;
Away up in glory, eternity’s day,
God leads His dear children along.
Refrain

Hope you enjoyed this visit to Still Waters Pond today!!