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 19, 2020

Let the Fun Begin

I think I've hinted around that next week is my birthday, and it is going to be a big one...a new decade!
And so it only makes good sense to spread out the celebration over a longer period of time, especially with "social distancing" and long distance between families.
So today was the beginning of the "celebrations". We knew it was going to be a fun day when we saw this sign as we entered the Ocala National Forest on our way to our destination.
I hope our friend Diane from Lavender Dreams sees this picture, because I was just telling her in my comment on her blog this morning that this is the season for high bear activity...and guess what sign we saw flashing at us as we entered the forest!:

Yep! Proved me right! And then the next announcement flashing on the same sign said:

Oops! Too Late!  We had to stop to take this picture! But there wasn't any sign of bears around at that location, however...

When we reached our destination guess what we saw?

Yep! Some "High Bear Activity" all right! LOL.

My hubby decided to swap secrets with this bear:

And the bear told him a few bear tales...unbeknownst to them there was a photo bomber:

I think they were discussing the "Appetizers"...

Thankfully they didn't become the appetizers! LOL.
At least this is a patriotic bear. 

Yes, that is our son, who came along for the festivities. Unfortunately his wife had to work today, so we took lots of pictures so she would be able to see the fun.

While waiting for the rest of our party to arrive we enjoyed looking at the many different old pictures on the wall in the lobby of the restaurant.

This one in particular caught my eye, because I knew most of those men in that picture. You see, my mother used to be a secretary in the Sheriff's Office  many years ago, and this was the infamous Sheriff Willis V. McCall and his deputies. Sheriff McCall is the one in the light suit with the big hat. These deputies all worked in the office at the same time as my mother worked there, and so we heard a lot of stories of things that were going on.  My mother had to close her ears to some of the goings on of the Sheriff and crew.  Anyone familiar with this man and his reputation back in the 50's and early 60's will understand why. She was thankful to have a job, but some things were difficult to handle for my "Yankee bred mother" in a very different kind of old southern "dixie" atmosphere. Law enforcement tactics were much different then, and what was considered "acceptable" then would never be acceptable today. It was a very different time and place.

This was another picture that caught my eye. This man had just wrestled this alligator. I am sure that alligator was a real prize for both his hide and his meat.  Again, times were very different then.

Back to the present. Our party finally arrived, and we had lunch with our family.

Below is our nephew Nick, my hubby and his brother Bill.

Here are the cousins:
Shannon, Ben, and Nick. What's interesting is Ben and Nick were born on the same day, only 31 years apart.  They are each the first born child of their fathers, who are the brothers above. So they are first cousins, just pretty far "removed". 

And here we are:

And here is my brother in law and his family.

Please keep these young people in your thoughts and prayers. With all of the covid 19 issues surrounding going to school, etc., they are having to make some pretty difficult adjustments in their lives. Nick is a senior and Shannon is a junior. They are missing out on a lot of the normal activities that should be happening with these last years of high school and the transition has had some major consequences in their lives. So please just lift them up in your thoughts and prayers, along with all young people who are struggling with all of the changes in their lives these days.

We had a wonderful time together. It is always great to be with family. We haven't seen them since February, so this was a grand reunion.  We are hoping it won't be that long again before we can be together. The kids are growing up way too fast.

Some thoughts and a prayer for our young people:

Jeremiah 29:11-13
11.  "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, 
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

Hope you are having a great weekend so far! 

Oh, we received an update for another young person we have been praying for, my friend's grandson Jimmy.

"The bad news is progress is slow.  The good news is there is progress.
Jimmy opens his eyes and moves his arms and legs but until yesterday did not respond to stimulus. Yesterday when they applied pressure to pressure points he reached to try to remove the source of the pain.  This has renewed our optimism."

Thank you for your prayers! There is a link for a gofundme.com account on Jimmy's behalf. 
Here is the link if you are interested:

Thank you again.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Friday Foto Friends~God's Promise

"I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant 
between Me and the earth."
Genesis 9:13 NKJV

This was our view on the way home from our walk last evening, following a very heavy rainstorm.
I love that the picture above looks like a cross standing next to the rainbow.
Another sign of God's "covenant" with the people of the earth, through the death of Christ on the cross.

During these turbulent times, we certainly need all the hope and encouragement we can get.

I am so thankful for God showing His love to us in so many ways, even through the storms and His protection over our loved ones and friends when it could have turned out so differently.

We will see rainbows again in heaven someday.
Revelation Chapter 4 is considered by most theologians to describe the viewpoint in heaven by John the Apostle, when he is caught up "in the Spirit" (see verses 1-2), "and as the word  "Church" does not appear again in Revelation until chapter 22:16, the catching up of John from earth to heaven has been taken to be a symbolic representation of the translation of the Church as occurring before the events of the tribulation described in chapters 6-19." (Per footnotes in my Scofield Reference Study Bible) 
In other words, many Biblical scholars believe this to be when the "Rapture of the church" takes place.

Revelation 4:1-3
1.  "After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. 
And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying,
"Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this."
2.  Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

3.  And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance;
and there was a rainbow around the throne, 
in appearance like an emerald."

With all of the things that are happening in our world today, many are watching and preparing for the very possibility of the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His Church.  We know that no man knows the hour or the time of when He will come, but only God the Father knows:

Matthew 24:36-39, 42
36.  "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, 
but My Father only.
37. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38.  For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39.  and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be..."
42.  "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming." 

And here is what we can expect on that day:

I Thessalonians 4:16-18
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together 
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
and thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18.  Therefore comfort one another with these words."

I really did not intend to get into a theological discussion today on the Rapture of the Church, but somehow that is where these pictures of the rainbow led me.  I know that there are many interpretations of when and even if the "rapture" will take place, and I do not want to get into any kind of debate over what some believe or do not believe will happen.  I am mainly sharing scriptures that tell us of the hope that we as believers have when we look forward to that day.  The most important thing to remember is, no matter when it happens, we need to be ready to meet the Lord one day.  Many of us will meet him when we pass from this life into heaven...but only if we have first accepted His free gift of salvation.

John 3:16-17
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, 
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, 
but that the world through Him might be saved."

I, for one, am thankful for God's gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
And I am greatly looking forward to meeting Him in heaven one day, face to face.
Whether or not He comes and calls us up into the clouds through the rapture of the church,  or whether He calls me home through death from this life into eternal life in heaven,
I will be with Him forever.
My greatest prayer is that all of my family and friends also have this same assurance and hope.

Have a blessed and beautiful day dear friends.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Thankful Thursday~Special Blessings

So much to be thankful for in these turbulent times. Thankful that Hurricane Sally, that went nearby yesterday, did not cause us any harm, and as far as I know, the people that I personally know in the panhandle area were not seriously affected, but there is much devastation around them. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who may be dealing with the effects of this storm.

I was blessed and thankful to see this little rose blooming in the Memorial Garden yesterday.

It is reaching toward the sun and the pond...

and toward the sign that is there in memory of our son. I am always thrilled to get a flower from his garden. 

It is like a special gift from heaven, usually close to some special event. My birthday is coming up in a week, and as I don't see any other buds forming on the bush currently, I will accept this as my birthday rose from my son.  Thank you, Matthew!  I hope it will last all week. Sometimes they do.

Not sure what kind of bugs these are,* but they seem to be a pair and both are enjoying the nectar of this little yellow wildflower where we take our walks:

I am thankful for these special little blessings from nature. Always a treat to see something new and interesting.  Another amazing part of God's Creation.

Another special gift this week, as I was sitting inside at my computer in my "room with a view", all of a sudden this hawk flew up onto the porch railing outside my window.  I wish the pictures were a little clearer, but I had to use my phone camera and zoom, and the shadows were kind of dark, so it isn't as clear as I'd like, but what a neat surprise!

I've never seen one come up this close to the house before. 

At first I thought it was our usual Red Shouldered Hawk, but after looking at it more closely, I believe it is a Cooper's Hawk, because of his white throat and hooded forehead.  Whatever he is, he was a total surprise and a blessing to me.

Another blessing was lighting this little fireplace the other night...
No, we didn't turn on the heat..., just the flame for the ambiance. The nights are getting darker a little earlier,
and it was fun to pretend it was cool enough for a fire:

We were celebrating the fact that our kids made it home safely from their trip to Minnesota.
Here is our sweet daughter in law Rose (right), with her sister Sherri, who came with them to stay  for awhile.

Here is our wonderful son Benton:

And my handsome hubby John:

Thankful also for our son's help in spreading some dirt in our back yard.
We are dealing with some erosion issues because of all the rain, and adding dirt is a temporary solution, while we figure out a more permanent fix.

Just so thankful to have strong people to help us!

I am also thankful that my cold seems to have pretty much gone away. It really acted more like a bad allergy/sinusitis attack. Whatever it was, I am glad it is going, going, gone!

Our Psalm of praise from this morning's devotion came from Psalm 118

1.  "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever."

14.  "The Lord is my strength and song,
and He has become my salvation.
15.  The voice of rejoicing and salvation 
is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
16.  The right hand of t he Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17.  I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the Lord.
18.  The Lord has chastened me severely,
but He has not given me over to death.
19.  Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
and I will praise the Lord.
20.  This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.
21.  I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
and have become my salvation."

29.  "Oh, give thanks to the Lord,
for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever."

What are some things you are thankful for today?  I hope you have a blessed and beautiful day.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Wednesday's Treasures: Autumn Days at Pamela's Victorian Cottage

It's been quite a while since we visited at "Pamela's Victorian Cottage". 
I thought perhaps today would be a good time to call on them for my weekly "Wednesday Treasures".
(which I did not do last week, sorry!) 

Like the rest of us, our little family has been pretty much staying at home.

Home schooling, social distancing, working at home, 
playing with their toys, and going about life as best as possible under the circumstances.

Now that Autumn is here, Mama has been busy working in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and preserving their harvest for the long winter months ahead. She's trying to decide whether or not to cut up that pumpkin and bake pumpkin pies, or let the children have it for a Jack o' Lantern for Halloween.
But since that is still over a month away, she opted for the pies, because she heard company was coming.

The little children from the farm down the road came by to play. It's been a long time since the children have been able to play together, due to the "pandemic".  

Looks like they brought some of their little woodland friends with them.

Even found a sweet little fairy out in the woods who was looking for some friends to play with.

Mr. and Mrs. Owl and Friendly Fox came along too...

Mama decided this would be a good time to pick some apples, while they have some extra helpers.

(Please note these paintings are from the John Sloan "Country Seasons" calendars that I collect each year)

In case you are wondering where the Daddy in this family is...he's pretty much always outside working on the farm, especially now that it is harvest time.  He sees that big old harvest moon up there in the sky and knows that he'd better work a little faster or it will soon be dark.

After the harvest, He takes the wagon loaded with produce into town to the farmer's market to earn a little extra money to help support all those  lovely children.

Each week one of the children is chosen to go along for the day to help out and also perhaps do a little bit of shopping in town. That is always an exciting time!

The rest of the family waves as they leave and watches them go, each one looking forward to the day that he or she is the one chosen to go to town with Papa.

I hope you enjoyed this special visit with our little family at 
Pamela's Victorian Cottage.
Until next time, 
Enjoy your loved ones and friends, and be blessed!

Psalm 128
1.  "Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
2.  When you eat the labor of your hands,
you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
3.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants all around your table.
4.  Behold, thus shall the man be blessed 
Who fears the Lord.
5.  The Lord bless you out of Zion,
And may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6.  Yes, may you see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel!"

In light of this week's historic "Abraham Accord" Peace Agreement signed between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates, we pray that this blessing will be true, 
"Peace be upon Israel!" We know that in the Middle East peace has always been a dream and yet one that has been difficult to come by. Our thanks to our President and those who have worked so hard to help bring this agreement about. 
And our prayers go out that this will truly bring about Peace.
And now if we could also have peace within our own country.
We truly have much to pray about these days.

"Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways."

May we seek to always walk in His ways,
and then maybe there will be peace.

Update on my friend Rhonda's grandson Jimmy:  As of earlier this week he was breathing on his own, opening his eyes but not seeming to see anything yet, and he is on a feeding tube. But he is making progress and is a long way from being "brain dead", as originally thought. So we praise the Lord for this good news and continue to pray as he still has a long ways to go. Thank you so much for praying.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Good Sunday Morning!

Good Sunday Morning! Welcome to our worship service today. Won't you join us as we praise the Lord and study from God's Word?

I hope you enjoy our Praise Team starting out the service singing "I'll Fly Away".
Please join in and sing along:

Some glad morning when this life is o'er, 
I'll fly away; 
To a home on God's celestial shore, 
I'll fly away (I'll fly away). 

I'll fly away, Oh Glory 
I'll fly away; (in the morning) 
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, 
I'll fly away (I'll fly away). 

When the shadows of this life have gone, 
I'll fly away; 
Like a bird from prison bars has flown, 
I'll fly away (I'll fly away) 

I'll fly away, Oh Glory 
I'll fly away; (in the morning) 
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, 
I'll fly away (I'll fly away). 

Just a few more weary days and then, 
I'll fly away; 
To a land where joy shall never end, 
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

I'll fly away, Oh Glory 
I'll fly away; (in the morning) 
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, 
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

I enjoyed watching our Praise Team singing this today, and yes, I am the one in the middle singing alto. However, I am not really there today singing at our church. We pre-record these ahead of time for this online service, and then yes, we do sing again in person on Sunday mornings, but I am not there today.
I seem to have caught a cold or am having a seasonal allergy sinusitis, so I stayed home from church. No, I don't have a fever, and I don't have Covid 19. This is my typical seasonal change sinusitis, and I just need to rest, drink lots of fluids, take lots of Vitamin C and stay home.  I made some jello, and I may just have some chicken noodle soup for lunch. I like the Campbell's chicken noodle soup for a quick lunch when I don't feel good. Yes, I am sure homemade soup would be much better, but when you don't feel good, who wants to mess with cooking a chicken, peeling carrots and cutting celery and onions and boiling noodles for homemade soup? Hmmm, it does sound good, doesn't it? But if I felt well enough to do all that work, I probably am well enough to go to church. So Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup will have to do for today. At least I made jello. LOL.

Here's a little "Chicken Soup for the Soul" from God's Word today:

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 will lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5.  Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

Praise the Lord!
Have a Good Sunday Morning!