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!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Time to Hibernate - UPDATED 10/30/13

This was originally written one year ago, and I am still trying to do these same things...This past Sunday afternoon I attempted to sit in this exact same spot and write to you on my laptop, and it went into hibernation again, plus I couldn't even find a signal, so I gave up and went inside. I'll get it figured out again soon...I need that space and place for my sanity's sake!  So I just re-read what I wrote a year ago, and relived the moment of peace and serenity.  Thought you could use the same kind of thoughts...although it isn't Sunday yet, so we can't go take an afternoon nap.  Although I do have a little couch in my office that I just might make use of if I get a moment...ahhh, no, better not let them catch me napping...wouldn't look too good. (I'm taking a brief after lunch break at the moment---gotta get back to work now).   Well, enjoy your fall afternoon.  I'll get back to writing in the present time again soon...just been busy and distracted lately.

Original Writing: Sunday 10/21/2012:
There's something different about today...a beautiful autumn day...The Lord's Day ~
"This is the day the Lord has made...we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!"....Psalm 118:24
I'm sitting outside in a little woodsy sanctuary in my yard...an alcove in the trees that has appealed  beckoned to me ever since we moved to this house about 9 months ago.  Of course, all through the summer it has been a bit too warm (and buggy) to sit outside for long, and today is really the first day that was comfortable enough to even try.  (There were a few mosquitoes, but thanks to my sister's AVON bug repellant, I survived their attack).

I thought I could hide away here and write and take pictures of the birds...but someone discovered me and took MY picture instead! (Thanks, John!) 

I did manage to get a few telephoto pics of a Flycatcher taking a momentary rest from his labors:

I am not sure if this is a Great Crested Flycatcher, as he has a yellow belly...but the rest of his markings don't quite match up.  Any birdwatchers out there know what this is? There are several of them flitting around the yard and trees today...very active, but not particularly noisy. 

My laptop decided to go into hibernation so I had to come inside to finish this...and now my desktop is acting very lethargic, and I have reverted back to the laptop, which had to be connected and brought back out of hibernation.  Which reminds me...they say our bears are getting ready to go into hibernation for the winter soon...yes, even here in Florida.  I wonder where they go to hide away from it all?  I guess they have their own secret "woodsy alcoves" where they can retreat and stay out of the watchful eyes of the world while they rest and recuperate from their active breeding and feeding season.

The Lord gave His creation the Sabbath as a day of rest...a day set apart to "hibernate" away from the cares of the world and rest. 

"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."  Genesis 2:2-3

So, that is what is different about today...it is the Lord's Day, His Sabbath...a day to rest from our labors and honor and worship Him.  It was good to be in the House of the Lord this morning...and it is also good to find a place to "hibernate" away and do what brings rest to your body and soul and mind for a spell.  For me, a hidden quiet place nestled on the edge of the woods (no worries...always in view of the house in case a bear seeking his hiding place should suddenly appear)...a sanctuary in which to read, write, or just sit and observe nature and be at peace.  Helps to calm the spirit and repair the frazzled nerves before the return to work on the morrow.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him."  Psalm 28:7

I hope that you have found a place of quiet rest somewhere today.  You may not have the woods, but perhaps you live near the sea, or a park, or maybe for you it is a quiet nook in your home away from the television and noise of the "crowds"...maybe even your own bedroom.  Wherever it is, take time to "hibernate" for a little while and give your body, mind and spirit a chance to recharge and recuperate.  It is a God-ordained plan...it's good for you. God said so. 
"Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good..." Genesis 1:31
So, don't feel guilty when you take that Sunday afternoon nap, or walk, or just sit and do absolutely nothing for a while.  It's OK! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Have a Blank Page Before Me

I have a blank page before me.  This page right here. Of course, by the time you are looking at it, it is no longer blank. It is a finished and published post. I won't let you see it until it is complete, edited, proof-read again, and finally pronounced good enough to publish...in MY mind.

There are times when I have hit the "publish" button too quickly, and then and only then do I spot the very obvious mistakes...the typos, the misspellings, the grammar errors.  However, at that time it is technically too late...I already hit the "publish" button, and the whole world is watching.  Now, fortunately, there is also an "edit" button, and if I am quick enough I can hit the "edit" button and go back and fix the mistakes.  Then I am much more careful before I am tempted to hit that "publish" button again.  I do not like to expose my errors to the world. I prefer to keep them to myself...and erase them before they can do me too much harm and embarrassment.

My life is much like this blank page.  Or, at least is was when I was born.  I started out with a clean page. No big mistakes to fix, no errors to hide, no major issues to correct. And the whole world was watching. Sadly, my page did not stay clean for long. Being human as I am, and not a page in a computer or a notebook, it did not take long to make huge mistakes that could not easily be erased or edited out of my life. Once the unfortunate act was committed, whether by choice or by accident, it was much like hitting that "publish" button too quickly.  It was already "out there" for all the world to see.

Even if no other human saw my folly, God saw.  Even when I tried to hide my mistakes, He already knew. There was no getting around Him. No "edit" button could undo my errors.  There was only one way to fix the problem.

Ask for forgiveness. Tell Him the truth. Tell Him I was sorry.  And what did He do? Did He hide my errors under a rug?  Did He tear up the page of my life and start over? Well not exactly, but then again, yes exactly.

I John 1:8-9 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

I John 1:7 tell us that "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."

When we confess our sins, (errors, mistakes, faults...same thing), God forgives us...and cleanses us from all sin!  He gives us a new page...a blank page on which we can start over!

II Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (blank page?); old things have passed away (been edited, deleted, removed!?); behold, all things have become NEW!"

That is great news!  Yes, I can have a new, blank page before me! Christ has covered my sins with His blood, and has cleansed me from ALL my sins.  Not just the itty bitty mistakes, not just some of them, but ALL of them.  I am a new creation.  Brand spanking new!

And the BEST news is, He can do that for YOU too!  All you have to do is ask!

Now, let me spell check and grammar check this before I hit that "publish" button!  I want to make sure I am telling this great news to you correctly, without error, spot or blemish!  This news is too wonderful to hide!

Okay, let's start writing on that new page...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Autumn Reflections and Reality Checks

I feel so far behind in my writing and reading of other blogs that I enjoy...please forgive me, friends, for not commenting and communicating.  As many of you know, we were on vacation last week, visiting our son and his family in Maine, and then when I got home I had to play catch up at work and here at home. Still trying to climb out from under the dust and laundry and mail, well, you know how it is.  You need a vacation to recover from your vacation!  I'll get there eventually, but some things just have to be set aside and overlooked for now.

Therefore I would like to reflect a bit on the journey I've been traveling for the past few weeks.  I am calling this "Autumn Reflections and Reality Checks".    First for the Autumn reflection part:

Yes, this is a real picture of a real place.  It was so serene and tranquil, I told my son to stop the car immediately and pull over so I could take a picture!  My family became rather accustomed to these sudden outbursts as we traveled through the woods and mountains of the White Mountain National Park in Maine and New Hampshire. Unfortunately, there weren't always great places to pull over and/or the traffic was such that it wasn't safe to do so as quickly as I wanted, but we did manage to capture a few great pictures.

I won't bore you with a travelogue of our entire trip, but suffice it to say, the scenery was magnificent...and the company was even greater.  We were there to celebrate our grandson's 14th birthday and spend time with our middle son and his family. We live in Florida, so the visits with this part of our family are way too few and far between.

And that brings me to the "reality check" part of the journey.

You see, our son has cancer. He is in the fourth year of this battle against the rare "childhood cancer", Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor, (DSRCT) that hit him when he was 37, and the reality is, he's not getting better. I guess you could say he's "maintaining"...not exactly getting worse, but not improving either. And unless someone comes up with a cure or a better treatment plan, he can't stay doing what he's doing for much longer.  Chemo is poison...and although its purpose is to kill the cancer cells, it also kills good cells, and after a while the body just can't take any more of it. Other parts of the body start breaking down and there is even the possibility that other forms of cancer could develop. So it isn't a winning proposition.  Without a miracle, the future is not very bright.  I've had to face this reality, and it isn't pleasant. It hurts deeply. I don't want to think about it...I want to ignore it and hope it will go away, but that's not being realistic. I have to acknowledge the reality that my son is not getting better and that we could actually lose him.  But we are not without hope.

While driving to work one day this week, I listened on the radio (JoyFM) to a portion  of a message from Pastor Francis Chan, who was speaking at a conference for high school and college young people.  Here is the full message: Francis Chan, "God is Faithful" from Passion 2013 Conference, if you want to listen.  The part that I heard that struck me was found around the 26.00 section on the progress bar of the video.  He played a clip from a friend of his, a radio show host, who was talking about death and does man actually have a soul, and how our bodies are just the earthly container that holds our real self, our soul, our spirit...the part that lives on for eternity.  The example this man gave was that he drove a motorcycle, and that he knew that at anytime on the freeway a vehicle could drift over into his lane and cut him off and he could be killed instantly...but he was saying that if that were to happen not to grieve for that broken bag of bones left on the freeway, because that is not the real person, that's just his body.  The real person is the soul, which goes immediately to be with the Lord in heaven.  The amazing part of this story was that just 3 hours after this man made this statement on the radio, he got on his motorcycle and headed down the freeway, and the exact thing he spoke about happened to him.  He was struck and killed that very day.

None of us are guaranteed any number of days or years upon this earth. Only God knows the number of our days. Psalm 139:13-16 tells us that God formed us in our mother's wombs, and that He has known us since we were "skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth."

Verse 16 says, "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."  

II Corinthians 5:1 tells us that "if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Verse 2: "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven."

Verse 4: "For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by LIFE." (MEANING: ETERNAL LIFE).

Verse 5:  "Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, Who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee."

Verse 6:  "So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord."

Verse 7: "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Verse 8: "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."

Verse 9:  "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him..."

Our hope is in the Lord, who made heaven and earth, and Who created us in His image.

II Corinthians 5:17 tells us, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

We have this hope in Christ Jesus. We know that our son is a child of God, a follower of Christ. We are confident that if he were to die today, he would immediately be in the presence of God, in heaven.

Philippians 1:21 says, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  

I know, you are probably saying that it's easy to say all these things now, while he is yet living. But what will you say when that day really comes?

I sincerely pray that day will not come for many years. But the reality is, it could happen any time...to any of us. Those of us who are healthy could be like the man on the motorcycle...perfectly safe and healthy one minute and even talking about it...and go out on the highway and be struck dead in a moment...or have a heart attack...or some other disaster could hit us.  The important thing is to be ready. Always ready.  And to realize that this earthly temple is not the real me, or you. The REAL me will live eternally. So will my son. I can live with that reality.

What about you? Do you have that same hope and confidence? If not, perhaps you needed this reality check as well.  I hope you will think about these things today...and seek God while there is yet time. He loves you and would love to introduce you to His Son. If you need some help with this...let me know. Maybe I can help you find the answers you are seeking.  It would be my pleasure to do so.

Monday, October 7, 2013

This Webpage is Currently Unavailable...due to the "Government Shutdown"...

Mt. Washington as seen from the scenic overlook at Intervale, NH
I know you are probably wondering why you can't find any new news on this "webpage"...it is currently unavailable because of the Government Shutdown....in other words, I am on vacation!  Thankfully the only way the government shutdown has affected our trip so far is this:

After a very long drive through the woods and into the White Mountain National Forest in Maine/NH, we were in dire need of some "facilities".  We finally came upon this hiking trailhead, and noticed that they had some facilities, so we turned around and went back immediately...

As soon as I could get my seatbelt unbuckled and get my body unwound out of the back seat of our son's car, I rushed toward the "facilities" as fast as I could run...

As I got closer to the building I noticed a little printed notice tacked over the "women's" sign, and also a wooden barricade nailed over the door.  This is what the sign read:

After I got over my initial shock and horror, I noticed that there was no such notice posted over the men's room sign, nor was there any barricade across the door...so I became a man for a few moments of great relief.  Then I hurried back to the car to get my camera because I knew you'd want to know about how this Government shut down was affecting ordinary people, especially women (sexual discrimination on top of it all!).  This is just a small sample of what is going on in the country...and my situation is very small compared to the real victims in this "crime" against the people, but I wanted to report what's going on out here in the woods of our nation.

After this brief moment of my rebellion against the government, we climbed back into our car and continued our journey through the woods and mountains.  It was a gorgeous day for leaf peeping and for spending time with the people we love most....our family.  I'll be sharing more about that when I get back home.

I hope wherever you are that you are not suffering too many inconveniences and indignities due to the current government situation.  I pray that our nation will soon quit playing games and get back to governing our country with wisdom and concern for all of mankind.  (Wouldn't THAT be nice for a change?)

For now, here are a few pictures from our travels through the mountains and woods:

At Evan's Notch, Maine

Shelburne, NH

Mt. Washington, NH, at the base of the auto road

When I see these natural wonders and beauties here in our nation, I am able to put aside my feelings of
anger and frustration over the lack of responsible government in our nation's capital, and rejoice in the magnificence of
God's wonderful creation.  I love our country and am so thankful to live in the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave".  Now, let's quit messing around and "Play Ball!"