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!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Foto Friends - Signs of Seasons

Friday Foto Friends Signs of Seasons

Spotted Horsemint, also known as Bee-Balm
 Hello to all my Friday Foto Friends!  I look forward to this time each week...an opportunity to share some photos from whatever has been going on in our lives.  These are some of the pictures I captured on our walks each day...subtle signs of the changing of the seasons.  The summer flowers are fading and now the late summer/early fall flowers and berries are appearing...preparing for the "cooler days"  of fall ahead. Where I live, in Florida, a cooler day might be when the temperature stays in the low 80's instead of the 90's...but we will be happy to have it.  We get especially happy when the temps drop down in the 70's in the daytime and the humidity drops as well.
God's Bouquet:  Beautyberry  and Spotted Horsemint with a trail of wild grapevine surrounding it.

Ever hear about "paw-paws"?  These are wild paw-paw fruits...almost ripe and ready for the wild animals to enjoy. They are edible for humans too, but these aren't really big enough to get much out of.  They have large seeds.

Close up of the Beauty Berries.  The birds, deer, and bears will enjoy these soon. It is also an edible weed, but very tart, and not recommended.  It can be made into a natural insect repellent!

Not a weed!  This is one of my beautiful Don Juan Roses blooming in our Memorial Garden. It smells divine.Click HERE for more about the significance of the Memorial Garden

Goldenrod is starting to bloom everywhere I look...

This is wild sumac...the blossom will turn into red berries that the birds love.  We have a lot of this growing around us here in the forest. I consider it to be a natural bird feeder! The Cardinals and Catbirds seems to love the berries.

Here is a red-bellied woodpecker pecking away at this old dead tree. Last year the woodpeckers had built quite a nice nest in this tree and then a storm came along and blew the top off, leaving them exposed to the elements! So they just moved to another tree the same day!For more about THAT story, click HERE

This is one of our beautiful mama deer in our neighborhood. She was looking at her fawn, to make sure she was safe since I was hanging around.   For more about THIS story, click HERE

She was just fine...
Listen to the words of King Solomon, written in the 10th century, B.C.

"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Yes, the seasons are preparing for change...all of nature testifies to this.  We ourselves are changing day by day.  We grow, we mature, we get older...and hopefully wiser.  If we look around in our world, we see many other signs of change...change in our culture, our environment, and in our society. Many changes we wish we could stop...some changes are not good...and we oftentimes become anxious about our future.  

But there is one thing we can be sure of:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." 
 (Hebrews 13:8)
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself (God) has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you"

So we may boldly say:
"The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
Hebrews 13:5-6

 As we approach this season of change, whether it be seasonal, personal, or things of the world,  let us put our trust in the Lord and not fear.  He has promised to be there for us, no matter WHAT the changes of life.

Now, jump on over to see what others are sharing on Friday Foto Friends (Click HERE)!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Merry Heart is Good Medicine

"A merry heart does good, like a medicine, 
but a broken spirit dries the bones."
Proverbs 17:22
 Lately I've been feeling a bit stressed by a myriad of things...so it seemed time for a diversion of sorts...

I told my hubby the other day that I wished there was a little cafe' or restaurant around here (closer than 30 miles) where we could go and have a fresh blueberry muffin and a pot of hot tea for breakfast.  When we used to visit our kids in Maine we always found places everywhere we went that served the best blueberry muffins...probably because wild blueberries are so prolific in that area.  We live in the south, and southerners just don't seem to appreciate a good blueberry muffin like they do in New England.

My Tea Cabinet...
So then I thought to myself, "Well, Pam, you DO know how to bake blueberry muffins...and you DO have some fresh blueberries in the fridge...so what are you waiting for?"  And, it's not like I don't have any teapots or teacups or boxes and boxes of different kinds of teas...

So, I just got busy and started baking my own muffins.  Mmmmm, nothing like the smell of hot blueberry muffins baking early in the morning...and I didn't even have to get dressed to go out to eat them!

Click HERE for the recipe for these  delicious Blueberry Muffins from my friend Sandi at "Rose Chintz Cottage"
The recipe I used came from one of my blogging friends, Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage. (See the link above).  Sandi lives on Prince Edward Island, a place on my bucket list of places to visit someday. If you know anything about Prince Edward Island, you should know that it is the home of L.M. Montgomery, the author of the "Anne of Green Gables" series of books. (For more about my interest in Anne of Green Gables click HERE)

 My sister Doris gave me this adorable little "Anne of Green Gables" doll for Christmas a couple of years ago, and this seemed like a good time to invite her to join my little tea party.

Since I was having so much fun with this little impromptu tea party, it seemed an appropriate time to use a very special set of dishes for the occasion.
 This lovely little set of dishes was passed down to me from my mother.  She loved antique dishes, and especially Haviland china, as that is what her mother had.  I don't know if this particular set belonged to my grandmother, but either way, it is very special to me.
 As you can see, this is "The Princess" pattern of Haviland & Co. Limoges China from France.

The adorable tea pot with the little bird on top is designed by Marjolein Bastin for Hallmark. This was a gift from my sister Doris as well.  I think I should have invited my sister to have tea with me...but she lives over an hour away and probably wouldn't have come just for breakfast...would you Doris? Maybe next time...we will definitely need to plan that!!

"A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, 
but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." 
Proverbs 15:13

"All the days of the afflicted are evil, 
but he (she!) who is of a merry heart has a continual feast." 
 Proverbs 15:15

It is my hope that this little tea party has lifted your spirits and given you a merry heart today! 
It certainly blessed my heart!

Click HERE for another post that talks about having a "Merry Heart"

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"A Table In the Wilderness"

"...Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?"  Psalm 78:19

After an unusually difficult weekend of issues, primarily in regards to care-giving for my 93 year old mother-in-law who has dementia, I found myself running out of the door early this morning in search of some peace and quiet.  As I rounded the corner of my favorite walking place I was awe-struck by the scene awaiting me:

This Mama Doe and her fawn were peacefully grazing in the yard of an uninhabited vacation home...

They were just as curious about me as I was about them...so we stood there staring at each other...
Me...gazing at them with such joy and thanksgiving to the Lord for His kindness to me this morning...and them...wishing I would leave them alone to finish their breakfast...

Finally they had enough of looking at my funny face and decided to turn high tail and run off to greener pastures...

My heart was overflowing with joy as I watched them go...because God had heard my prayer...He knew that I needed this gift today...

Mama and fawn may never know just how much they blessed me...

(Don't you just love their white flags waving good bye??)

So, as I watched them frolicking away I felt better equipped to face my day...

Thank you, sweet friends from God's creation...

Oh wait!!! Just as I was about to turn away, here came another fawn leaping out of the woods...and actually there were two of them, but I couldn't get a picture quickly enough of the other one!  They are a part of the communal deer family here in my neighborhood.  There have been three fawns that I've been watching this summer...but I think they came from two different mothers because they aren't always all together:
(This is a picture from another day a couple of weeks ago...notice how much they've grown since then)

So...after all of this excitement, I rounded the next bend in the road and came across the picture featured at the top...here again for you:
And the first words that came to my mind was this phrase: "A Table In the Wilderness"....
I wasn't too sure where that came from so when I got back home I looked it up in the Bible and found the above reference to Psalms 78:19.  This was spoken in regards to the people of Israel when they were wandering in the wilderness and kept 
"testing God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy.  Yes, they spoke against God: They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?"  (Psalm 78:18-19)
and the Psalmist goes on to say in verses 20-29 how God struck the rock so that the waters gushed out and the streams overflowed, and then, as if that wasn't enough, they asked if God could also provide bread and meat?  

God was pretty frustrated with these ungrateful Israelites, but He showed them His mercy again by providing manna, "the bread from heaven; men ate angels' food"  (verse 24-25) and feathered fowl to eat, so many it was like the sand of the seas; and so they "ate and were well filled..." (verse 29)  and it says in verse 32 that
"In spite of this they still sinned, and did not believe in His wondrous works."
So I thought to myself after this morning's adventure and discovering these words that I do not want to be like the ungrateful Israelites.  God demonstrated His love for me this morning by providing a gift that blessed my heart with such joy and peace that I could not keep silent. He spread His table before me in the wilderness and tenderly fed me from His Word and with His Holy Spirit. He gave me "the true bread from heaven," Jesus Christ His Son,  (see John 6:32-58)

With such a wondrous gift, how could I keep silent?  

Dear Friend, Perhaps you are also going through some difficult times and are in need of some "angels' food"... It is my prayer for you that God will direct your path to His "table in the wilderness" that He has prepared especially for you. Your place may be different than mine...His provision may be something totally unique that speaks to you personally.  Take some time out of your busy day or weariness to seek Him out.  He will not fail you.  

"Happy Trails to you, Until we meet again..."
(Roy Rogers and Dale Evans)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Serving With Grace

A place of grace and peace in our Memorial Garden

At the beginning of this year I selected my One Word for 2016...GRACE. (Click HERE for more about that) , and since then I have been noticing all the different forms of grace that God has demonstrated in my life.

Right now I am being tested in the area of "Serving with Grace".  I won't go into all the details, but let me just say that being a caregiver for loved ones and/or friends with physical and/or emotional issues can be very trying and draining. The one thing I am realizing the most is that if I don't maintain my own physical/emotional/spiritual stamina, it doesn't take much to throw me over the limit of my endurance.

How can one maintain her physical/emotional/spiritual stamina when circumstances beyond her control keep pulling away at her reserves faster than she can refuel?  Here are some ideas on this:

  1. Recognize the signs of exhaustion.
  2. Look for opportunities to rest...take a quick nap, short walk, read a book, go outside and get some fresh air. Look at or tend to flowers/plants.
  3. Ask others to take over for a few minutes while you do something for yourself.
  4. If other helpers aren't readily available, then take advantage of the moments when the one you are caring for is napping or quiet. Put on some pleasant music that is soothing for them and you and let it soothe you both.
  5. Start the day spending time in God's Word and prayer. It doesn't have to be long periods of time or reading. Read a daily devotional, a psalm, something from the Gospels or Epistles...or Proverbs.  Words that uplift, encourage and comfort.
  6. Whisper prayers throughout the day...for yourself, your patient, your family, others around you.
  7. When you get the opportunity, do things you enjoy...a hobby, cooking, writing, reading, photography, sewing, knitting, whatever relaxes you.This is being written for my benefit as well as yours.  In order to serve with grace, I must first be full of grace.  This can only come from being tuned into the grace of the Lord...by being filled with His Spirit, and by resting in Him.

This past week I had the opportunity to take a friend to a doctor appointment. We were both feeling pretty exhausted...she from health issues, me from not getting a full night's sleep...and as we were coming down on the elevator we saw a sign inside the elevator car that spoke to both of us at the same time.  I've been trying to memorize this verse all week because it truly ministered to me at that moment:

"I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." 
Psalm 4:8

I knew as soon as I saw this that it would be a verse that would soon be committed to memory...or else it would be written on a sign and put above my bed...(I've put my order in to my son, who is a sign-maker...so when he gets around to it I will post a picture of it...but that may be a while) 

Perhaps this is a verse that you need to learn as well! How many of you have sleep issues...or feelings of anxiety or fear due to living alone or in adverse conditions?  Psalm 4:8 might be for you as well.

"Lie down in peace and sleep....and dwell in safety."
Good Night.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Foto Friends and The "Web"

The "Web"

"Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh?
Can the reeds flourish without water?

While it is yet green and not cut down,
it withers before any other plant.

So are the paths of all who forget God;

And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish,

Whose confidence shall be cut off,

and whose trust is a spider's web,

He leans on his house, but it does not stand.

He holds it fast, but it does not endure."

Job 8:11-15

The Good News is:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6

(All photos from my walks in the woods in the Ocala National Forest)

Welcome to Friday Foto Friends #41! Click HERE to see what others are posting...

I am happy to have found some new friends through the "WEB", specifically the Friday Foto Friends...and it has also helped me to get back in the swing of blogging at least once a week.  It seems as though lately I've been too busy or just too tired to sit down and get focused on writing anything, let alone reading what others are writing.  You would think since my retirement this past fall that I would have all the time in the world...but for those of you who are also retired, you know what happens....it often seems that once you retire you stay busier than you ever did when you were working full time!

I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts from God's Word and pictures from His World.
Have a blessed day, dear friends on "The Web".