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, February 27, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles: Moments of Grace ~ A Benediction - Updated

2/27/17 Update:  As I sat in the Secret Garden today I kept thinking about this place...the Methodist Youth Camp (now called the Warren W. Willis Camp), where I first learned how important it is to set aside a special time each day to reflect/meditate on God's Word and focus solely on the Lord.  We would start each day at camp at the "silver benches" on the lake shore, and have our morning devotions.  Read on for more about this...especially see the note at the end of this post with the picture of the cross on the lake.  

Here is the original post written on 1/9/2016:

"The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

When I was a young girl...many moons ago, I spent several weeks each summer and many weekend retreats at the nearby Methodist Youth Camp, now known as the Warren W. Willis Camp, named after the director who served there for so many years. Upon my graduation from high school, I spent the entire summer there as a camp counselor...an experience that I count as the turning point in my life.  It was during that particular summer that I totally recommitted my life to Christ, and made some decisions regarding my future that forever changed the direction in which I was headed. Not long after that I met my husband and God subsequently led us into full time ministry, and the rest is history. (A long story for another time).

What has all of that information to do with the above verses from Numbers Six?  Well, let me tell you. The verses above are also known by Bible scholars as the "Aaronic Benediction", when the Lord spoke to Moses and told him to (in verse 23)

"Speak to Aaron (his brother) and his sons, saying,
'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel."

This "benediction" became a way to bless not only the children of Israel, but countless followers of Christ throughout the ages.  In our youth group, we always closed our gatherings and meetings with this particular benediction, as we crossed our arms and joined hands in a circle with our entire group, so that we were one in our purpose and prayer and blessing.

This little ritual always stuck with me as being a very special moment...

to be blessed by the Lord...
to be kept by the Lord...
to feel His radiant face shining upon me...
to know His Gracious GRACE was being bestowed upon me...
to know the beauty of His Divine countenance beholding my face...
and to be given His PEACE, which passes all understanding.

Wow! What a glorious moment of grace! I didn't fully comprehend how precious that moment was at the time. I just recited the words from memory with the others, not realizing that speaking those words was an actual blessing being spoken upon my own life and purpose. God was literally blessing me with His face, His grace, His Divine Countenance, and His peace. How beautiful...How marvelous...Such amazing GRACE.

Perhaps you are in need of a Benediction of Grace spoken over your life right now. I invite you to speak these words out loud, to yourself, or as you join hands with another who may be in need of a blessing today. Practice praying these words and claim them for yourself.  God intended you to hear them and to allow His radiant face to shine upon you...to feel His grace and peace washing over you...and to be blessed.  Amen.

This lighted cross floats on the lake in front of the Warren W. Willis Camp.
I used to sit on the shore on the
Silver Benches (a place for morning devotions) and pray and read God's Word early every morning and again in the evening.  

New note 2017:  Such a peaceful, restful place. I believe this is where the inspiration for my Secret Garden actually began...now some almost 50 years later the seeds sown then have produced much good fruit in me today.  We never know just how significant something so simple can be in the life of a young person...never underestimate the power of God to perfect that which He has started!

Psalm 138:8(NKJV)

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;

Your mercy, O Lordendures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

the Secret Garden Chronicles - Speak, Lord, In the Stillness

While sitting in the Secret Garden this afternoon, the Lord led me to discover this song in my old hymnbook.  It was not familiar to me, so I found this version on You Tube, sung by Andy Pratt. His words are the modern version, replacing the Thee's and Thy's with You and Your, etc., but the message is still so serene and comforting.  The tune is named "Quietude"....which is exactly how this feels...quiet, peaceful and as if you are in a holy place...which is where we are when we enter the Presence of The Lord...whether it be in a garden, or your prayer closet, or maybe a quiet sanctuary after the close of the services, kneeling before the altar of the Lord...  I hope you will turn on your sound and sit quietly and prayerfully sing along with this beautiful little song. You will be blessed by it, I assure you.

written by E. May Grimes


Speak, Lord, in the stillness,

  While I wait on Thee;

Hushed my heart to listen,
  In expectancy.


Speak, O blessed Master,

  In this quiet hour;

Let me see Thy face, Lord,
  Feel Thy touch of power.


For the words Thou speakest,

  They are life indeed;

Living bread from heaven,
  Now my spirit feed!


All to Thee is yielded,

  I am not my own;

Blissful, glad surrender,
  I am Thine alone.


Speak, Thy servant heareth,

  Be not silent, Lord;

Waits my soul upon Thee
  For the quickening word.


Fill me with the knowledge

  Of Thy glorious will;

All Thine own good pleasure
  In Thy child fulfill.


Like a watered garden,

  Full of fragrance rare,

Lingering in Thy presence,
  Knowing You are there.

I think I will close with these verses from Psalm 63

1.  "O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You,
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You 
in a dry and thirsty land
where there is no water.

2.  So I have looked for You in the Sanctuary...
to see Your power and Your glory;

3.  Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You,

4. Thus will I bless you while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your Name.

5.  My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips."

Praise the Lord!

I hope you've enjoyed this time of "quietude" 
in the Secret Garden with me today. 
May it bring peace and solace to your soul.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles Word of God Speak

This has been a busy week, and there has been no time to spend here in the Secret Garden until today.

As soon as I said to my hubby that I was headed out to the Secret Garden to sit a while, the song "Word of God Speak" popped into my mind...and I found myself singing it as I sat down in the garden...as a prayer...so perfect for this moment.  Here is the link for this song and a copy of the lyrics for you to sing along with me:

Word of God Speak, By Mercy Me

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would you pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty

To be still and know
That you're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice


Word of God speak
Would you pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty

To be still and know
That you're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay

Written by Bart Millard, Pete Kipley, Peter C. Kipley • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
Here are some of the "words" that God spoke to me in the stillness of this place today:

Psalm 119:89-90
"Forever, O Lord,
Your Word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations.
You established the earth, and it abides"

Psalm 119:105
"Your word is lamp to my feet,
and a light to my path."

Psalm 119:114
"You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word."

Psalm 119:130
"The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple."

Psalm 119:160
"The entirety of Your word is truth;
And every one of Your righteous judgments
endures forever."

Psalm 119:169
"Let my cry come before You, O Lord;
Give me understanding 
according to Your word."

Psalm 119:170-171
"Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.
My lips shall utter praise 
for You teach me Your statutes."

Psalm 130:5-6
"I wait for the Lord, 
my soul waits;
and in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning...
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning."

Psalm 103:17-18
"But the mercy of the Lord 
is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear Him;
and His righteousness to children's children.
To such as keep His covenant, 
and to those who remember His
commandments to do them."

Thank You, Lord, for speaking to me today in this place.
You know the concerns of my heart...and You have 
addressed them according to Your Word.
In You I place my trust...for myself,
and for my "children's children",
and for ALL generations.

Perhaps this was a quiet moment for the "Word of God" to speak to your heart today as well.  I pray so.  Have a blessed and glorious day my friends.

Friday Foto Friends: At The Beach

Good Morning Friends!  Here it is Friday again! And that means it's time for "Friday Foto Friends", so after you visit here, fly on over to my friend Deb's place at Breathing in Grace and see what others are sharing today.

This past week we had the joy of visiting with our grandson, who was here from Maine (click HERE for that story). One of the highlights of the week was our trip to the beach.  Along with watching our grandson swim in the 62 degree water, I mostly watched the birds along the shore.  Thought you might enjoy a little bird watching with me, so here goes:

"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers...
The birds of the air, 
and the fish of the sea
that pass through the paths of the seas..."
O Lord, Our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!"
Psalm 8:3, 8-9
There certainly were a lot of birds congregating when we arrived

Here's the one lone Sandpiper working his way among the tiny little crabs down in the sand...

He has some competition it seems

Perhaps a LOT of competition...

Aren't these TERNS interesting?  

Not sure what these are...anyone know?

More Terns, preening and admiring their reflection in the sand

This white heron seems a little tentative about going into this cold water

He tests the water with his toes...

He turns around and heads back to the sand with a look like, "Nope, not today...this water's too cold for me!"

This Plover doesn't seem to mind at all...

"They went thataway...No, they went thataway..."

The sky was cloudy and full of mystery...

I don't think I've ever seen a Black Pigeon before!!!

On closer look, he's really quite pretty and iridescent

"Gotta keep a movin'"  

Ahoy There!

Now that's an interesting bird!

What do YOU see in these clouds???

"O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!"
Psalm 8:1

And look at that bird!  No wait! It's a Navy Fighter Jet!  And I stand and salute you and say "Thank you!"

And that's all folks!!! Hope you enjoyed this little visit to the seashore!

"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, 
they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You."

Psalm 139:17-18

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thankful Thursday-The Secret Garden Chronicles -I'm So Out Of Touch!

Dear Friends out here in Blogland...I apologize for being so OUT OF TOUCH lately...

but most of you know that we were enjoying entertaining our grandson here from Maine this past week...or should I say, "we were enjoying our grandson entertaining US?"  Probably that would be more to the point!  What a delightful, wonderful visit we had...and yes! He was very entertaining!

And so, for my Thankful Thursday, I'd like to thank the Lord for sending our grandson to us...he is God's gift to us from our son Matthew, who departed this world much too soon almost three years ago.  Here are a few pictures from our visit...needless to say...he kept us happily busy...and nearly  ate us out of house and home as only a 17 year old "growing young man" can do!  If you are on my facebook, you may have already seen most of these pictures...so bear with me as I relive our happy times together.
Here he is...straight off the plane and right to the restaurant for some FOOD!
When I asked him if he was hungry, he replied, "Yes, Grandma, I am always hungry".
Truer words were never spoken! LOL

When we got home, our grandson and "the uncles" started building a bonfire so we could have s'mores and hot dogs...this, after a full meal at Cracker Barrel...

Of course I was right there in the middle of that!!

Next day he helped his uncle sell signs at the flea market, a.k.a. "Ben's Wood Signs" (seen on this link at his ETSY shop, "Rustic Forest Studio"  When told that he would have to get up at 6:30 a.m. to go to the flea market, at first he demurred on the idea...until I mentioned that there is a breakfast buffet at the restaurant where this flea market is held..., and then he said,
"Okay, I'm in!!"

Then we had a birthday party for my hubby, with lots of food, friends, and fun!

We took a family hike on one of the many hiking trails in our part of the woods...

Yes, that's me on the end..."pack horse pammy"

Two tall handsome young men, our grandson on the left, and our youngest son on the right

Here's the guys at one of their many outdoor games...Bocce Ball

Then we went out to eat at one of our favorite places on the St. John's River...had to keep him fed... LOL

The guys played a lot of chess...

And then played a lot of corn hole

Even I got in on the act, with my grandson watching and making faces in the background.

The photo bomber is stealing the show...

and again...

and again...while I am totally oblivious...

Next day we went to the beach...but had to stop at Larry's Giant Subs
for lunch first..."The home of the Big One"

And then we watched him swim in the 62 degree ocean water...which was no problem for him
"cause I'm from Maine, Grandma!"

One last chess game before he had to leave to catch the plane...after a big "brunch" (1/2 way between breakfast and lunch) to tide him over...and then a stop at McDonald's on the way to the airport for a "Grand Mac" to seal the deal...

In thinking about this week, one verse came to mind:

"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."  Matthew 5:4

That pretty well sums it up...interestingly that verse comes from the book of Matthew...our son's name who is in heaven...and this is his son who came to comfort us...and to bless us with his presence.  

So, on this "Thankful Thursday", I am thankful that God does not leave us comfortless...and that He provides plenty of food to feed the "hungry".  Amen.