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, September 25, 2021

Living in the Dash

 Today is my birthday! It marks the beginning date of my life here on earth, or at least the day I took my first breath of fresh air!  I began nine months prior to that, which would have been Christmas day!  

The story goes that my mother got a new Sunbeam Mixmaster for Christmas that year,

and she was SO happy, well...here I am, nine months later! LOL.  I always wondered why my parents called me their little "sunbeam". LOL.  Just thought I'd start this off with a laugh!  I never knew that story until I was an adult, of course...

Anyway, moving right along...today, __ # of years ago, I took my first breath...and you know the story about how on a tombstone you see two dates?  The birthdate, and then a DASH, and then the date of death.  The DASH represents all these years in between birth and death...in other words, our LIFE...and what we do with it.   We are all living in our "DASH" right now.  There is not enough room on a tombstone to list all the things we did during our "DASH"... but hopefully we are making an impact for good on someone, somewhere, someway, during our DASH years.  The things we do and say and think about and write about are all a part of our DASH.   That is our legacy that we leave behind us.  We can't take any of it with us...no fancy cars, houses, clothes or things...it all stays behind.  The only thing we can take with us are the things we do here that impact the lives of others for good, for Christ's sake.  

Have you ever heard the quote, "Only one life, twill soon be past; Only what's done for Christ will last." ? I had heard it many times in my early adult years, but never knew who said it.  I just looked it up. His name was Charles Studd, and he was a British Missionary, who lived from December 1860 - July 1931.  Being a missionary, I expect there's a lot of life and blessings in his DASH. Yikes, he only lived to be the very same age as me! Oops, I didn't mean to give that away.  

I just found this picture on Pinterest, but we actually used to have this exact same little plaque on our wall for many years. I don't know what happened to it. It may be in the bottom of a box somewhere. It was very old, but it always meant so much to us, I don't know why it disappeared.  It may show up someday.  But anyway...having a birthday tends to make one think about such things as how one is living her "DASH"...

I can only pray that my DASH will have many blessings attached to "what's done for Christ".

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21

Speaking of moths...that cocoon is still just a cocoon...still waiting on the moth to appear...Meanwhile, deep inside the cocoon, there is life...that caterpillar that became a pupa is developing day by day into a beautiful moth, and one day he will emerge from his cocoon and breathe the fresh air and fly away to live his "DASH"...his life here on earth until he is called to his "heavenly home".   I do hope I will get to witness his debut into this world and see his beauty while it lasts...

Today we took a nice ride down to where we used to live in Salt Springs...just to relax and enjoy a country ride. We always stop at the boat ramp on Big Lake Kerr, (because they have a nice public potty), so that I can take some pictures of the lake and whatever other nature we may see.  Here's what I took today:

Yes...butterflies and moths! September seems to be a good month for these beauties to appear, and they are enjoying the nectar/pollen from these wild daisies while they last...

Oh, yes, I did look at the lake too...

looks like the maple leaves have already mostly left the trees...

It was a gorgeous day for being out on the water...

Oh, back to the butterflies...This Gulf Fritillary was hard to capture, but he finally stayed still long enough for a decent picture:

And the little skipper butterflies were busy too...

And then there was this magnificent Swallowtail flitting around...

Such beautiful blessings for my birthday celebration!

Oh about that...we will be having a "big" celebration tomorrow afternoon with family and friends, but today is just kind of a relaxing do what I want kind of day.  I took some pictures on Still Waters Pond this morning...oh wait...first there was this marvelous sunrise in the east:

And yes...the birthday rose from Matthew's memorial garden is still blooming beautifully today! It has lasted all week long, and every day has been such a fragrant blessing from heaven...

Meanwhile...these lovely Great White Egrets were enjoying an early breakfast on the pond...

Such a peaceful setting...

A little blurry, but you get the idea:

Oh, look who else was out there on the pond!  The Sand Hill Crane family!

And then there were these two Egrets again...they look like Siamese Twins! LOL.

All these blessings for my birthday just thrill my soul and make me so thankful for the ways God has blessed me over and over and over again.  

Yesterday morning hubby and I went to town to do a little shopping and we decided to go out to breakfast first.  The place we usually go to was too crowded, so we tried a new place:
Someone had told me they had the best huge cinnamon buns, and so I thought, "why not? It's my birthday afterall..."

Yes, it was HUGE, and VERY SWEET...

(the underside), and we took most of it home for our son Scott to enjoy later... and yes, we did have other real food too...delicious eggs, home fries, bacon, and home made bread toast. It was very good, and we'll probably go back again...

The decor was cute, and I liked the old style diner tables and chairs and booth seats

After breakfast we went to Home Depot and I picked up some mums:

(looking down at them from the deck)

Well, what else is there to say today?  I know I will have a lot more to say tomorrow afternoon after we have our family/friends gathering.  Right now I have put an apple pie in the oven and it has bubbled over and I can smell burned apple pie juice on the bottom of the oven...great...something to clean up later, AFTER we eat the pie of course.  Apple pie is my favorite kind of "birthday cake", which is what my mother always baked for me.  Usually my sister bakes an apple pie for my birthday, but since we are eating at a restaurant tomorrow I don't expect she will be able to do that and besides, I wanted one today!  My gift to myself! LOL (and the rest of the family who are here nearby).

So here it is! Fresh and hot out of the oven just now. Except for the burnt apple pie juice smell in the oven, the pie smells pretty good!!

Thank you for allowing me to reflect on life in the DASH today, my birthday.
You are all a very special part of my life, even though most of us have never met in person...we share our innermost thoughts and dreams and challenges here...and what we say and do here is all a part of
our individual "dashes".

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past;
Only what's done for Christ will last..."
Charles Studd

May your "dash" be filled with joy and blessings overflowing...until we meet again...good night!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday Foto Friends

Good Morning Friday Foto Friends!
I hope you have been having a good week thus far...and now we are heading into a lovely weekend!
Believe it or not, we are experiencing some lovely fall-like weather even here in Florida!  Our current temperature at 6:49 a.m. is 64 degrees! The high is expected to be 84, and it looks like a perfect sunny early fall day for us!  I would love to spend the day outdoors, but we shall see what develops!

The Sand Hill Crane family came calling again the other evening. They seemed to be enjoying the late afternoon sunshine along the shores of Still Waters Pond, searching for grubs and whatever it is they love so much...

I am always amazed at how big these birds really are!  I told my hubby I could almost get on his back and ride, but I'd have to figure out how to lasso him first. That might be quite a wild ride!

I don't know if this is mother and child, or father and mother, or  father and child...but these two seem to stick together while the third member of the family is over on the other side of the yard pecking away at bird seed in the ground under the bird feeder...

These two are slowly working their way over to meet him, and if you look closely in the window of the birdhouse below, you will notice our resident lizard quietly watching the parade go by:

I don't think he wants them to know he is there, because it probably wouldn't be beneath a Sand Hill Crane to make a nosey lizard his dinner!

Hey! Which way did he go?

This is how lovely the pond looked in the glowing rays of the late afternoon sunshine:

Ah! The family has finally been reunited below...

I was trying to get a picture of the one bird scratching at his underbelly, and this young upstart decided to photo bomb the picture! Must be the youngster, don't you think?

After that they sauntered away out of sight. I did hear them making their usual loud raucous noises from somewhere on the other side of the house as they wandered around the rest of the neighborhood. I hope you enjoyed watching them as much as I did.

We did have a couple of really rainy days earlier this week...one afternoon I sat on the back porch and listened to the rain on the tin roof...and watched our lizard friend enjoying the rain as well.

It was quite a gully washer! I did make a video of the sounds and shared it on Facebook.You can listen to it HERE if you want.  (but you may have to have a Facebook account to access it.)

In my meanderings around our yard this past week I discovered this interesting cocoon on the Rose of Sharon bush in the Memorial Garden:

It's quite large, and I had no idea what it was, but I looked it up on Google, and it might be a Cecropia Moth.  Not sure yet. I am keeping an eye on it to see if I can see it emerge. Here is a video about these huge, beautiful moths. I hope it is one, and I really hope I get to see it!

"Complete Metamorphosis: A Cecropia Moth Life Cycle"

If you read my Tuesday 4 Post earlier this week HERE, you already know the story about the rose that blooms in the Secret Memorial Garden for special occasions...and that I picked this rose the other day and brought it inside to enjoy all week long for my special "heaven-sent birthday gift" from my son Matthew.  I thought perhaps you'd like to see how it looks now:

This was yesterday,

And this is today.  It's been blooming for 4 days now, and tomorrow is my actual birthday! It looks like it will still be beautiful for my special day! Oh, and it still smells just as sweet as it did on the first day!  Thank you for the many kind comments of understanding and agreement that indeed, God does love to bless us with special little gifts that seem to be "heaven-sent", just to let us know we are loved and we haven't been forgotten, even by those dear ones who have gone on before us.  

Yes, tomorrow is my actual birthday, but we will be celebrating with friends and family on Sunday afternoon after church at our local "Hog Wild Country Cafe'" restaurant. It is a fun place to go and we were able to reserve tables for a large group.  It will be fun to see loved ones all together again. It's been a long time. We will also celebrate our son's 50th birthday with the extended family since we weren't able to on  his birthday, as well as celebrate several others in the family who have had birthdays in the past few weeks. It should be a loud, happy and blessed celebration! I believe in celebrating life while we are alive to do so!  Life is just too short to ignore these special occasions.

So my dear friends, I hope that you have a blessed and wonderful weekend! Get outside and don't forget to smell the roses!

Here's some good "food for thought" from the little "Choose Grace" devotional book that was actually a gift to "Lily Grace", but I like it too!

Let us "overflow with love" for others each day!

On another more somber note, please remember our dear blogging friend Mildred, from her blog Laurel Wood.  She has been battling cancer and has now been placed in hospice care at her home.  I know she would appreciate your prayers for her and her husband John and their loved ones. Thank you dear friends.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tuesday 4: Thinking about Thanksgiving!

 Good Morning Friends in Blogland! Today is Tuesday, and time again for Tuesday 4!  You may think it a bit early to be thinking about Thanksgiving already, but it's never too early to be thankful!

So, in memory of our friend Toni Taddeo, and in the spirit of thankfulness, let us  answer these questions today! Perhaps they will stir up some memories for you as well!

Thanksgiving Time

Welcome to Tuesday 4 begun by Toni Taddeo and kept up in her memory.

Here is an old one from Toni's blog from 2019 about Thanksgiving time:

About Thanksgiving

1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving show/animated show?:
My favorite Thanksgiving show is kind of a mixture of Thanksgiving and Christmas: "Miracle on 34th Street" with Natalie Wood. I love that movie and even have a story about our own "miracle on "34th street" house...not really on 34th Street, but a miracle story. Sometime I will have to tell it. But not today.  Our other favorite movie for Thanksgiving is "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" with Steve Martin and John Candy.  I love that movie, but I'm not sure if I want to watch it again this year. We'll see...

2. What is there about Thanksgiving you like the best:
Well, of course it is the gathering of family and friends and sharing that time together, with much thankfulness and love.  So many happy memories of Thanksgivings past when our whole family could be together, before our parents left this world for heaven.  But we still try to keep the traditions going and our home has been the gathering place for our Florida families to gather over the past quite a few years now.  

This was last year:

3. Favorite Thanksgiving/holiday song?:

As a child I remember singing "Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's house we go..."  But my favorite hymns would be:
"We Gather Together to Ask the Lord's Blessing..." and "Come Ye Thankful People, Come".  If we don't sing those hymns on Thanksgiving either in church that Sunday before or together at our home, then I don't feel like Thanksgiving is complete!

4. If you have an all holiday music radio station when do you start listening to it?:

Please, no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving!  And no Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. I prefer to keep the holidays separate and enjoy each one for its intended purpose.  Besides, our house would be too crowded to have Christmas decorations crowding out the Thanksgiving decorations. There is a time and a place for everything, and a season for each...

so there! LOL.

Now for some other news of the day... did you see the full moon last night?  I didn't actually see it until this morning. I knew it had to be full during the night, because the moonlight was so bright in our bedroom I could not get back to sleep! But I was too sleepy to go out and look at it until this morning, and this is the best I could do for pictures:

I am assuming this would be called the "Harvest Moon"?  

I remember my parents singing this song together.  Sweet Memories.  They met during the "Harvest Moon".  You can read more about that at the link just added...

And then one more thing that was VERY special happened yesterday.  I looked out the back door toward the Secret Memorial Garden and noticed there was something red blooming...and off I flew to see if it was what I thought it was:

Most of you who have known me for a while know that we have a Memorial Garden area in memory of our sweet #2 son, Matthew, who died in 2014 from cancer.  When we moved to this house two years ago, I brought with us the rose bush that was planted in the original memorial garden, along with a Rose of Sharon bush.  We re-planted them here...and the tradition seems to be that this rose bush blooms primarily on or around special events in our lives...birthdays, Mother's Day, Anniversaries, etc.  That seems to be about the only time it blooms. Well, this weekend will be my birthday, and when I saw that rose blooming yesterday I knew that it was my special birthday rose gift from Matthew, sent from heaven with love.  You may think what you want, but I can only tell you that it happens this way every special day...so whether or not you believe it...I choose to accept this as a sweet blessing and gift from God and from our son in heaven.  

You can see, it's not a very big bush, but it keeps growing and producing these special roses on special days.

Thank you. Matthew!
And Thank You, Jesus, for allowing this blessing to happen.

Here is how it looks this morning.  It will last all week and still be beautiful on my birthday, which is Saturday.  Just one of God's special mysteries and blessings.

Yes, I am very thankful, and Thanksgiving will again be a time of great thankfulness in our family.

Have a blessed day today.  Be sure to keep a watch for special blessings that God sends your way. They are there, if you just watch and pay attention!