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, April 4, 2020

It's a Beautiful Day for a Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day for a beautiful day!! 

From the Psalms of David, 
"A Psalm of Unmixed Praise" (per my NKJV Bible)
Psalm 103:1-5
1.  "Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2.  Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits;
3.  Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4.  Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5.  Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

We took a little ride in our own neighborhood. We had kind of forgotten this beautiful place was there, practically within walking distance....(but not quite yet for me)
 Hubby is on the lookout for a quiet, safe spot to have our own personal Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday Morning.  Since we can't gather in crowds or groups, we are looking for a  secluded spot where we can just sit and praise the Lord at sunrise on Easter.
 Although this is a public boat ramp in our neighborhood, there was no one there today. So we are hoping perhaps it will be the same on Easter Sunday morning, and perhaps we can go there
to spend that quiet time rejoicing in the Risen Christ.

We shall see. If it doesn't work, then we will do our time of rejoicing here at our own home, but
we were kind of hoping to see the sunrise from a special location.

Maybe people from all over will also be rising early wherever they are to celebrate
the risen Christ at sunrise on Easter Sunday.

Perhaps something to think about, if you haven't already.
We would be celebrating together across the land, even if it is at different times for the different time zones, but it might be a special way to celebrate together.  
So, why not set your alarm clocks next Sunday morning to be sure and rise early enough to watch the sunrise wherever you are...and spend that time rejoicing in the fact that Christ is Risen!
He is Risen indeed!

Meanwhile, back at home, I am preparing for another special "celebration." Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Our Pastor will be speaking to us online, and he has also promised that we will be sharing Communion (The Lord's Supper) together, since it is also the first Sunday of the month.  So we are each to prepare our own elements for observing this wonderful Sacrament together.  
I decided this was a good reason to bake some bread.
Yes, I know, I do cheat a little by using this bread machine. It was a gift from my parents many years ago, and I honestly don't use it often enough anymore...but felt this was a good opportunity to put it back into service...to prepare bread for our remembrance of the Lord's Supper.
For a complete personal Communion Service Please click HERE and share in this service with me.

So, what special plans are you making for the observance of this Holy Week? It will be largely up to us as individuals to set apart a special time to worship and remember the Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His Last Supper, His brutal death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His glorious Resurrection three days later.

If nothing else, during these difficult days, let us remember what Jesus said to the sleeping disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed:

"What? Could you not watch with Me one hour?
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 26:40-41

May Jesus find us awake and watching, for we do not know the hour that He will be returning to take us all home.

Have a wonderful, beautiful, blessed Holy Week.  Remember, it's not really about the Easter Bunny, or the eggs or the baskets  or the dresses...It's all about Jesus. Let us never forget.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday Fotos - Awake and Sing Praise!

Psalm 108: 1-5
"O GOD, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise,
even with my glory.
2.  Awake, lute and harp! 
I will awaken the dawn.
3.  I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples,
And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
4.  For Your mercy is great above the heavens,
and Your truth reaches to the clouds.
5.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
And Your glory above all the earth."

Good Morning Everyone!! Wake Up!! There was a beautiful sunrise out there. Did you see it?  We can't always see much of the sunrise because of the trees, but I was so glad we opened the front door in time to see this beauty in the skies this morning!

I was also thankful that I took the time to take pictures of the water lilies opening up on the pond this past week.  So far, I have only seen them open this one day...and then we had a bit of a rain storm in the night, and the temperatures dropped and they have not opened back up again.
So here again, the Lord blessed me as He showed me these glimpses of His beauty for the moment:

The pond is getting very low since we have not had much rain in several months. I was getting concerned that the lilies might just dry up...but no, here they are in all their glory:

I may not have Easter Lilies this year, but I do have pond lilies...and that's just fine with me!!

While I was out taking pictures of the pond lilies, I also noticed these little yellow flowers blooming along the shore on bushes that I had not noticed before! 
 They had many buds waiting to open, so I will gave to go back again and watch them.  I bet the butterflies will love them.

We've had some lovely days to sit out on the bench in the back yard...

And also on the chairs on the deck...

And our local Ace Hardware store had some plants on sale this week, so we stopped by after our morning walk and socially distanced ourselves from the people as we went to the garden area and selected a few new plants to add to our garden.  Hardware stores are considered essential so they are staying open.  I think having some pretty flowers for the garden is essential for my mental health, so there you go...

I also put out the Hummingbird Feeders this week.
I haven't seen one at this particular feeder yet, but I did see one at the one in the back yard yesterday afternoon!

He was too quick for me to get a picture, but at least I know now they are here and they have already found our feeders!! I wasn't sure if we'd have any here or not since this is our first spring in this house. But I guess they have radar when it comes to finding food! I am so happy!!

Some of these plants also attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so that is the other reason for planting them.

Well, that's it for this morning.  I pray that you and yours are enjoying some beautiful spring days wherever you are.  Even if you can't get out and about, look for the signs of spring around  your own yard and enjoy whatever the Lord has given you.  You may be surprised when you open your eyes!!

Here's a few words from our morning devotions today:

"I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
So shall I be saved from my enemies."
Psalm 18:1-3

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wacky Wednesday

God Bless America! (The view from my front porch this morning)

Some of my blogging friends do a Wednesday Hodgepodge, and some also do a "Whimsical Wednesday", which usually displays a lovely evening or wedding gown with choices of shoes to match for you to decide...and I love all of the above reading and entertaining posts for the middle of the week.  Not to detract or distract from these wonderful posts, but I thought I would do  my own version of all of the above, and have a "Wacky Wednesday", for today only (maybe). 

Our friend Debbie from "Breathing in Grace" is currently somewhat inactive on her blog, but she stays pretty active on her Facebook Page "Breathing In His Grace, Breathing Out His Praise", and today she posted something pretty funny.  See the lovely ladies below:

Now, I just love this picture...as a matter of fact, I loved it so much that I wanted to join in the fun.  I hope this will inspire you to consider the same idea and share your new "Easter Dress" for online church this year. I think in light of the fact that we are all having to sacrifice being able to attend church services on Easter (and the rest of the month), it's quite all right to have a little fun with this. We could all use a few good laughs, don't you think?

Little did I know when I was preparing for my hospital visit last month (one month ago tomorrow! Wow!), that the lovely aqua blue duster with the pretty pink roses on it would actually become my new Easter dress!

  Just needed to add an Easter bonnet and my lovely white gloves...

Oh, and my matching socks, and I am all ready for our Easter Sunday online service!! 

So how about you?  I hope you will be bold and daring enough to share your Easter outfit for this year. Let's have a little fun in the midst of the craziness of this current situation.

Meanwhile, of course we are not forgetting the true meaning of Easter, and that it is the very foundation of our faith.  What Jesus did for us on Calvary, when He sacrificed His very life so that we might be set free from our sins and have eternal life forever with Him in heaven...well, that is the most amazing and wonderful gift we could ever receive.  Regardless of where we are, Easter is a time for celebration.  As Christians, we celebrate the resurrected life every day we live.  The whole idea of having a new "Easter dress" originated from this celebration of new life...all things new, because in Christ we are a new creation:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

So wherever you are, my prayer for you today is that first of all you are well...and that you are safely protected in your home (as much as possible), and that even in the midst of all this enforced isolation from the world, you are spending time with the Lord and celebrating the blessing of freedom from sin and death...yes...death. In Christ, we have eternal life...we may have to cross through death's door from this life to the next...but because of Jesus, we have the hope of everlasting life with Him...no more sickness, no more sorrow...no more isolation!  We will be set free from the cares of this world forever.  

John 11:25-26 says:

25 "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. 
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. 
Do you believe this?”

Jesus may have been talking to Martha, the sister of Lazarus, in this particular passage, but the question is still there for you and me today:  "Do YOU believe this?"  That is possibly the most important question you will ever be asked in life.  My prayer is that each and every one of us can strongly say, "Yes, Lord, I believe".  

Have a blessed and holy and happy Easter season, my friends. 

Now, let's see those Easter dresses! Come on...be a sport!! 
You have from now until Easter to decide and share!!  

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Thankful Tuesday!

I kind of took a few days off from blogging...just needed to rest and refocus for a while.  But today I am up bright and early and feel like chatting with my friends.  I know we are all getting weary of this enforced isolation, even though we understand the need for it and pray for those who are suffering and working on the front lines for our behalf.   Today I am very thankful for many things, and thought I wouldn't wait until "Thankful Thursday" to express my thanks. So this will be a "Thankful Tuesday".

 I am thankful for the beauty that surrounds us every day. The birds that sit and sing sweetly in the trees...

 The joy of watching our Canadian Geese come and go, and in this picture, flying back out to his perch on the pond where he keeps guard over his mate as she sits on her nest (out there somewhere but we can't see exactly where)

The signs of new life on our trees...Pine Cones!

And their new spires reaching up to the heavens to praise the God above Who made them. You may notice a few of the pine cones on the new growth make little crosses on the trees...this is a phenomenon you will see every spring just prior to Easter...

Isaiah 55:12
"For you shall go out with joy,
and be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills 
shall break forth into singing before you.
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

I am thankful also to be able to take short walks with my hubby again.  I am not quite up to speed yet, and mostly just walk around a little bit and look at things while he takes his longer walk, but I like to see what is growing new each day.
 These are "Paw Paw" flowers blooming on the wild Paw Paw bushes in the woods. 
 Not sure what kind of insects those are enjoying the nectar of the Paw-Paw flower, but they both seem quite content to "stick together" and enjoy. No, they are not practicing "social distancing", are they? LOL.

I was so happy to see the wild plum trees are loaded with little wild plums, and they are growing every week...

I was also thankful to NOT bump into this lovely little white flowered plant...We call it a "Stinging Nettle", or a "bull nettle".  They grow about ankle high and if you bump into it, you will be very sorry. It will sting like crazy. Good reason NOT to go barefoot in Florida... (among many other reasons that I won't go into)

But back to the list of thankfuls...

I am thankful that I am starting to feel much better and day by day I can see good progress. Thank You, Jesus!

I am thankful for the wonderful bag of books that I was given to read...and am continuing to read every day!! I am up to #10 already!!! (they are quick reads)! I still can't get over how God nudged my friend to bless me that way!

I am thankful that we are retired and on a fixed income (albeit small, but adequate) and not dependent on the stock market or hourly wage jobs to survive during these difficult days.  I pray for those who are not so fortunate that God will provide their every need.

I am thankful that our children are also able to continue working and except for our son's carpentry business, which has slacked off in sales a little, they are still doing well and God is providing their every need.  I am also thankful for the dishwasher they gave us...it is working very well! What a blessing.

I am thankful that so far, as far as I know, all members of our extended family are staying healthy and have not been adversely affected by this virus.  We do know people who have contracted it, but thankfully even they are recovering and God has taken such good care of them. Praise God!!

I am thankful for our church and for dear ones who have taken the time to call or send messages of encouragement around to everyone to stay in touch and keep our faith strong.  Our pastor has sent us good messages of hope, and we are blessed to be part of the Family of God.

Of course we are disappointed that we won't be able to have our usual Easter services, but one of our church family members made an interesting comment the other day that blessed me:

"We are Easter Christiansnot Easter Sunday Christians.  We should be celebrating His resurrection everyday. Celebrating the resurrection is celebrating God's love for us. "For God so loved the world". It is also a time to celebrate our love for God. We can show our love through salty service, which is reaching out and helping others. What a great opportunity we have during this "stay at home time"to phone or email a neighbor to see how they are or to just chat. Be creative. How can you use this time to honor God? I look forward to the day we can all gather again at the church and CELEBRATE His love. Remember that we, God's people are the real church, not the building."  Barbara Thorick
I also love that this same friend did exactly what she was encouraging others to so, and called me on the phone just to visit and check up on me to see how I was doing. I love it when people don't just give "lip service" to doing good deeds, but actually follow through and live what they say.  That is a good lesson and example for us to follow as well.

And so, with those thoughts in mind I will close this little post for today.  It gives us some good food for thought...and also a challenge to live out our faith by encouraging others who may be lonely, discouraged or perhaps not doing so well during these days.  We may not be able to visit in person, but we can encourage one another with calls, cards, or other creative ways.

May God fill your life today with His peace, joy, and blessings overflowing. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Fotos and What's Happening?

I am beginning to feel so out of touch with the rest of the world. This "social distancing" certainly is important, but when people like me stay cooped up too long we begin to get "antsy".  Just to do something.  Of course, I've been physically unable to do much of anything anyway since my surgery almost five weeks ago (really? That long already? Yikes, even I didn't realize it had been that long!)  No wonder I am getting "antsy".

So we've done a few little things.  Nothing too exciting.  I'll just post the pictures and tell you that way.

Talking about "social distancing".  The excitement of the "mating game" between the Canadian Geese and their battles over territories (previously talked about HERE) seems to have come to an end. Lately we have just seen this lone male goose coming up on our shore in the mornings by himself. He often just stands there, watching and listening very intently, but doesn't seem afraid of us at all.

Then he just saunters up to the bird feeder and helps himself to the seeds scattered on the ground.
 You can't see him, but there is a squirrel in that tree above him, watching and switching his tail back and forth, obviously not happy that the goose is getting his morning snack!
Apparently the female goose is sitting on the nest somewhere now, and the male is out taking care of himself for awhile.  I don't know where the nest is, but I hope it is not far and that we will get to see the goslings when they appear.

Speaking of "social distancing":
This sparrow seems to be turning his back on Bobby the Squirrel and pretending he isn't there.

 Some good things have been happening while we are staying here behaving ourselves.  Our "kids" decided we needed a dishwasher.  I don't know why. Maybe because every time they come over and eat with us (which hasn't been often in the past few weeks 😔), they end up doing the dishes. Which they really didn't mind doing, but they decided that when things get back to "normal" around here we will probably be doing our usual routine of family and friends dinners, and we need a dishwasher.  So they actually found this used dishwasher in excellent condition and bought it for us.  Actually, I am quite pleased and thankful, even though I had gotten used to washing our dishes after every meal since it is usually just the two of us and our son Scott, who washes the supper dishes most of the time, and I was pretty content to stay that way. But hey, when your kids want to do something for you, you don't say no!!  You say, "Thank you very much!"

Another thing we just had done is water-sealing the back deck.  If you recall reading HERE a few weeks ago, we had the front deck sealed and a new storm door put on. Well, the same guys who did the front deck came back and did the back deck (and also installed the DW for us while they were here).  So nice to have competent "handy-men" available to take care of special jobs for us reasonably.  Don't worry. We stayed our distance while they worked.

Speaking of the storm door, if you recall from this previous post, my large wreath that I had for the door no longer would fit between the door and the storm door.  And since I haven't been able to get out and do any shopping for a while, I haven't been able to find anything to fit.  Until today. Hubby insisted that I needed to get out of the house for a while.  And so we went to the Dollar Store, with hand sanitizer in hand, keeping our distance from others, and I found this lovely spring wreath that would fit perfectly between the doors:
 How do you like the reflections in the glass? 

Here's a better picture without the reflections:

Made me happy!!

We also took a ride around to see what our kids have been up to at their house as we hadn't seen them in a while.

My daughter in law (below right) is on vacation this week, and her sister from Minnesota came down to get out of the cold and spend some time together.  As you can see above, they have been busy building garden beds!

 The two farm gals.

Their navel orange tree has lots of baby oranges growing!  

 And the wisteria is blooming!! I miss my wisteria bushes from my old house, but..oh well...You can't have everything!

I guess that about sums up what we've been doing. We miss being with our friends and family and church family. It is good to stay in touch via phone calls and Facebook, but I think we will all be happy when this Covid 19 crisis is over and we can all get back to normal again.  I think we will value our families, friends and churches even more than before.

Here are some positive words from God's Word to ponder and give us comfort during these difficult times:

Psalm 34: 1-8
"1.  I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continuously be in my mouth.
2.  My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3.  Oh magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt His name together.
4.  I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
5.  They looked to Him and were radiant, 
and their faces were not ashamed.
6.  This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7.  The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
and delivers them.
8.  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"

I pray that you and your family and friends are doing well and staying healthy.
We probably all know someone who has tested positive for this virus, and we have been praying for them regularly. We also pray for our President and the task force  and all who have been working on this problem day and night since its beginning. We are very thankful for their diligence to keep working on our behalf.  Also praying for the many doctors, nurses and other first responders, as well as those who are keeping the grocery stores open, etc.  We may feel inconvenienced in not being able to go out to eat or shop when we want to or find everything on our list when we do shop, but we are still so blessed and privileged and cared for. I give thanks to God for taking care of us in so many ways. Let us all strive to be supportive of those who are working so hard on our behalf. We may not always agree with everything and every one, but ultimately it is God Who is taking care of us and we will put our trust in Him. He will deliver us.

Have a blessed and healthy day my friends.