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!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Birthday Blessings

Warning! Photo Overload!  This was a BIG weekend for me and so as you well know when you are dealing with me, "a picture is worth a thousand words"...so I will try to limit my words and just show you pictures of this wonderful birthday weekend.  I am still feeling overwhelmed with joy and blessings from so many who took the time to wish me a happy birthday on Facebook...that's truly one of the "good things" about social media...the way we can bless each other on special days and lift up one another during the difficult days. For that I am truly thankful.  And so, without further adieu, let the pictures and story begin...  
This butterfly started our day out when we took our early morning walk at Dixie Cottage.

My real birthday was on Sunday, but on Saturday we drove about an hour + to my home town to meet my sister and her hubby and my husband's brother and his wife for lunch at a fun restaurant on the shores of Lake Dora.  My little old hometown has turned into a kind of tourist destination for seaplane enthusiasts, where seaplanes can land on the lake and people can "fly in" for lunch at several different restaurants along the shore.  
Anyway, before we got to our destination we took a scenic route along the "Lake Shore Drive" of Lake Eustis...yes, there are many lakes in the area of my old hometown, because it is actually in "Lake County"...and there are lakes every where you look.

There are many lovely old oak trees lining the shore...

And in the distance you can see many sailboats...there is a sailing club in that area and I guess they were out enjoying the beautiful day on the lake...

We finally made it to our destination, and here is the view from our table:

It was a very special day as there was an event scheduled to have a group of retired Army Rangers parachuting down from planes onto the lake, and then boaters would come and pick them up.
This went on for several hours...

It made for a very interesting and entertaining lunch with our family...

Speaking of "entertaining"...
My brother in law loves to cut up...but you can see below he's really quite handsome, like his brother (my hubby). Can you tell they are brothers?

And my pretty sister Doris was enjoying the "entertainment"...

While her hubby tried to maintain his stoic composure:

And my lovely sister in law just beams...

And here I am with my hubby and my sister...I call her my "little big sister" because she's my "big sister", but she's much littler than me. LOL.

Now here Peggy and I are trying to figure out how to light the candles on the apple pie that my sister Doris brought. There was a fan overhead and it was blowing out the candles as fast we could light them, so we just gave up...

And they sang to me without the candles lit:

Happy Birthday to me..

And the BIG BLOW! LOL.  We have to have one of these pictures every year. It's a family tradition. Even if the candles can't be lit...

So that was that, and then on our way home we drove by my old "Alma Mater".  This building of my high school hasn't changed much, but the rest of the school is totally different. I'm glad they saved this historic building...

Speaking of history, my sister brought this old book to me that she found among some boxes from our parents' home that she has stored in her house and is gradually looking through...

This little devotional book was a gift to me from my Pastor and his wife for my high school graduation. I was so happy to get it back after all these years.  Pastor Parsons was also the pastor who married my husband and I 53 years ago.  He was a very strong and godly influence in my life and I am very thankful to God for bringing him and his family to our church when I was a teenager. I once even wrote a theme about him in high school as my most memorable character.  I may share that with you sometime, but not today.

This inscription means so much to me...

And now moving right along to Sunday, my "REAL" birthday!  Of course we went to Sunday school and church and it was a blessing as always.  These sweet little children from our "children's church" sang a song for the congregation, "I'm In the Lord's Army"... They were marching as they sang:

"I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the cavalry
Shoot the artillery
I may never shoot for the enemy
But I'm in the Lord's army!
I'm in the Lord's army!
I'm in the Lord's army!
I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the cavalry
Shoot the artillery
I may never shoot for the enemy
But I'm in the Lord's army!"

I have very sweet memories of my own sons singing this song in church when they were quite small.  This brought some tears to my eyes.  (happy tears).

And speaking of my sons...Here we are after church and lunch, which we had gone out to eat together with a few of our church friends as well, but I forgot to get a picture of that...but afterwards just the boys and us came home to finish off that apple pie.  My sweet DIL Rose is out of town currently, visiting her family up in Minnesota.

And hubby was there too of course...

And this time we really were able to light the candles:

It was a wonderful celebration and I am so very very thankful to God for my family and friends...and for all these years of blessings and good health and home, and for YOU.

And now we are getting things ready for the potential hurricane that may be coming up our coast later this week. We are pretty far inland and north and are praying that we will not have much of a bad impact here, but you never know with these storms.  They still don't know for sure which way it will go, so we have to be ready just in case.  And so with that I will say so long for now and will keep you updated as things "develop".

Thank you for visiting today, and I hope to get caught up with reading your posts throughout the week. It's been a whirlwind of activity these past few days so I've been a bit behind.  Sending love to you all. Bye bye for now.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Thursday Thankfulness...Friday Foto Friends: Fall Has Arrived!

Good Morning, and Happy Autumn, Fall, Autumnal Equinox, whatever you want to call it, it's finally here and we are so glad!  My calendar says that actually the Autumnal Equinox isn't until tomorrow, but everything else says that Fall begins today, and so I am going to accept that and run with it! I will never forget the first time I remember hearing the term "Autumnal Equinox" used was by my then 5 year old grandson Noah. We had just arrived in Maine on the airplane from Florida and they came to pick us up at the airport. As we were driving out the gate and down the highway I was remarking about how beautiful all the fall leaves were and I asked Noah what he thought about it being "Fall".  He promptly corrected me and said, "Oh no, Grandma! It's the Autumnal Equinox!".  I about fell over with surprise! Out of the mouth of babes should come such big words! LOL. He was very precise in his pronunciation of those words and I was totally stunned that a five year old would even be able to say such words, let alone know what they meant! LOL.  He always was very good with words, and even to this day when he is now almost 23 years old he has a very rich vocabulary. (I just wish he'd call and say Hi more often...)

So today I am thankful for the beautiful weather we are having...it has finally started to cool down just a tad, and the rains seem to have let up for a little while so we can dry out and not be quite so humid.
And so hubby and I decided that on the mornings we go to work at Dixie Cottage we will get there a bit early and take a walk on the beautiful walking trail that starts right outside the door of the store:
There he goes...hey! Wait for me! LOL.  Anyway, this lovely walking path follows the old railroad track line through the old historic section of town, and it is a perfect place for us to take a nice morning walk before we open the store for business.

I was happy to see a variety of wildflowers and Beautyberries along the trail...

A perfect place to catch a glimpse of a Zebra Longwing butterfly sipping its morning nectar from the flowers:

It was quite elusive to my camera's eye...I had to keep trying to follow it as it fluttered and flittered by me:

You can tell that his wings were fluttering in this photo below:

And finally he lighted on this Firebush plant so that I could get a good picture:

I finally also caught up with hubby so we could take a selfie:

We are both wearing our "Dixie Cottage" t-shirts so you know we are "official". LOL.

I loved seeing these Turk's Cap Mallow flowers, which is kind of like a Hibiscus that never opens up. I remember as kids on the school playground we would pull out the flower and suck the nectar out of the end of it...it was SO sweet! Yes, the butterflies and hummingbirds love this flower too!

The view across the highway from where we were walking...a beautiful little lake

We turned around and headed back towards the store, and then I noticed these
beautiful Coral Vine flowers blooming all over the bushes and up on the trees along the road:

Even though they are beautiful, they will take over wherever they are if not kept pruned back...

Oh, another butterfly on the wild lantana bushes:

And there were lots of bees and Skipper butterflies on these wild Coreopsis flowers, (see picture below) also known as "tickseed". I thought this was an interesting comment in the Wikipedia explanation and description of these flowers: "Coreopsis is a variable genus closely related to Bidens. "  Here is the definition of that:
"Bidens is a genus of flowering plants in the aster familyAsteraceae. The common names beggarticksblack jackburr marigoldscobbler's pegsSpanish needlesstickseedstickseeds and tickseed sunflowers refer to the fruits of the plants, most of which are bristly and barbed, with two sharp pappi at the end. The generic name refers to the same character; Bidens comes from the Latin bis ("two") and dens ("tooth")."[3]

Without getting political, I'll just leave that information right there...LOL.

Okay, switching gears a bit, something "new" is developing in our neighborhood.  At the entrance to our subdivision is a large 3 acre tract of commercial land that was nicely wooded. It had been for sale for a while, and finally was sold. So this week they began to clear the land.  Being the good nosey neighbors that we are, we stopped and asked the foreman of the land clearing crew if he knew what was going to be put on this land. He said a "Dollar General Store".  I about choked. I said, "You've got to be kidding!" He said no he wasn't...   Well, here's the scoop on that...we already have a Dollar General store 2 miles to the east of this location. AND, we have another Dollar General store 2 miles to the west of this location, and about a mile beyond that one is a Family Dollar Store that is also a Dollar Tree store since they merged.  Our little town is overrun with Dollar stores, gas stations and thrift stores and one grocery store.  We need restaurants and other kinds of businesses...not another Dollar General Store! And especially not in the entrance to our subdivision.  I contacted our County Commissioner to verify this and he was actually surprised himself, but did some research and found out it is true. So I asked him to please make sure they put a traffic light at that intersection because it is already a dangerous intersection trying to get out onto the highway, etc.  We'll see what happens with that.  

So here are the pictures of the work being done...

These were taken a couple of days ago. The property is mostly clear now. Thankfully they left a boundary of trees around the edges that connect to our housing development.  We live about 1/8th of a mile from this.  I am not a happy camper. My husband actually is a huge Dollar General fan, and now he can just walk there if he wants to. LOL.  Life goes on...trying to keep a positive attitude.

And so here's something funny.  I am working on my outfit for the "High Tea with Mrs. Henry Flagler" that is coming up next weekend.  It was suggested that we come in "period style clothes" of the 1890's, etc.  When I called to get more information I was told that the hats should be large and have lots of flowers. Please don't laugh. I was just sticking some fake flowers around the brim of the hat, but they aren't fastened yet and I didn't know my hubby was going to take my picture or I would have fixed it better.  

A friend from our church gave me the beautiful turquoise colored hat and said I could keep it and do whatever I needed to do with it. So that became my color guide for figuring out the rest of the outfit.

This is definitely still a work in progress.  When the outfit is finally complete, I will take some better pictures to share with you.  Meanwhile, I am excited that one of our friends who comments on blogs occasionally but doesn't have her own blog and who lives in this area is going to come and go with me to the tea.  Then today I heard from another friend in the area who also plans to attend.  It's going to be a lot of fun.

Here is a brief history of Henry Flagler, and HERE is more information about his third wife, who loved to throw lavish parties and was the one who loved the big hats and lots of flowers. It should be a very interesting and fun tea party!

 I guess that's enough stuff for today and tomorrow.  I am thankful for how God watches over us in so many ways.  Oh, and I am also thankful that I did actually hear from our grandson today. I sent him a text this morning to wish him a "Happy Autumnal Equinox Day", and he wrote back a text and told me what he's been doing and apologized for not staying in touch better. Of course I'd love to have a real phone call, but for now I'll take whatever I can get. I know he's busy working every day, and that's a good thing, and he's healthy and safe...and that's an even better thing.  So that was an answer to prayer.

"To everything there is a season, 
A time for every purpose under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1