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, May 31, 2017

Just Takin' It Easy

I really don't have anything special to say...just "takin' it easy" since my little visit to the hospital this past weekend.  I guess when I decided to make my "One Word" for 2017 the word "REST", there was something prophetic about that!  You know, getting older has a way of creeping up on us and eventually all our over-zealous activities of youth catch up with our bodies, and "things" find ways of breaking down and needing repairs.  My suggestion to you ladies, in particular, is take good care of yourselves when you are younger and when you are older you won't have as much "body work" to be repaired.   In my case, I had the joy of giving birth to three very large babies, and add to that many years of just tackling any job that came my way without giving much thought to what it could possibly do to me internally. When your mother tells you that you shouldn't lift so much and other bits of motherly wisdom, we should listen.

(This is an OLD picture of me, relaxing in
what is now the Secret Garden, before
it became such a well-known secret!)
But enough about that. What I would like to say is how thankful I am for a successful surgery with no complications, and for a loving family awaiting my arrival at home, ready to tackle the "big" jobs for me and basically make me behave and take it easy in my easy chair. Thank goodness for a good public library, where I keep stocked up on excellent Christian fiction and literature for easy reading and relaxation...as long as I can keep my eyes focused and awake.

 And that's exactly what I'm doing.

I haven't been outside much to take any new exciting wildlife pictures yet.  It's been a bit too warm to venture too far from the AC, and I'm not quite ready to resume my daily walks with hubby.  So he's been walking without me and going to the local grocery without me.  I know he'll be happy when his traveling companion can rejoin him.  I'm looking forward to that as well.

Well, I guess I've got nothing more to say today.
Kind of dull in the brain...(anesthesia brain...at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it!)

I do like the scripture verse on the lily above from Matthew 6: 27-29.  I think this is where Jesus is teaching His disciples not to worry about what they are going to wear or what they will eat, or anything at all...and He closes this little discourse with the following words:

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6:33-34

So, even though I don't have anything particular to say to you today, listen to what Jesus said...and don't worry about tomorrow...or any other thing!!  Seek God's kingdom first...and His righteousness...and He'll take care of the rest!!  And that includes the "rest" that I'm needing...so so long for now friends.  I'm ready for a nap!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Lord Is My Light

Psalm 27
1.  "The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?"

2.  "When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh,
my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell!"
7.   "Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8.  "When You said, "Seek My face,"
My heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek."

9.  "Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation."

10.  "When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me."

13.  "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living."

14.  "Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!"

Dear Friends,  I want to tell you how thankful I am for the prayers and kind thoughts of so many when you saw that I was going to be going in for "some repairs"....Well, I've gone, I went, and I survived...and I am so very thankful to the Lord for His kindness to me.  Yes, it was what would be considered a "minor" event as far as surgeries go, but as we all know, even "minor events" can become major with one slip of the knife or one unexpected "complication".  Praise God, I had no such incidents. God was with me from the first moment I entered until I returned safe at home the next day.  I can honestly say that I am not even suffering what I would consider to be any "real pain"...certainly not as much as I anticipated.  God has been very gracious to me indeed.  

I do want to share with you one special thing that happened...I believe a "divine appointment".  My night nurse, who had the most care of me throughout the long night, checking vitals, changing IV bags and making sure I was comfortable...she was sent there for me and perhaps I for her.  Since I woke up every time she came into the room, we somehow struck up a conversation. It was a slow night on the floor...and she seemed to need to unburden herself a little...although in a very sweet, thoughtful way...not intruding on my issues...but there was just a freedom there to communicate....again, a "divine appointment".  It started when I asked if she had any children at home...and then she began to tell me the story of her family's current situation and some of the heartache she was enduring because of some issues beyond her control.  She made a comment something about "When God closes a door He opens a window..." and I about fell out of my bed! She was amazed when I told her that I write a blog entitled "Closed Doors, Open Windows", based on that very quote....and from then on it just seemed as though God opened her heart to share with me the things she was going through, and I was able to tell her a little about my life and assured her of my continued prayers on her behalf.  

I was sad when her shift came to an end and she had to go home, but she came and thanked me as I thanked her for her sweet care of me throughout the night...and I again reassured her that I would be praying for her family.  

So, dear friends, I would like to ask you to add my sweet night nurse "Tina" to your prayer list, if you don't mind.  I'm sure she wouldn't mind having even more prayer support. 

You know, verses five -six of Psalm 27 says:

"For in the time of trouble 
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up 
above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy
in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing
praises to the Lord."

God hid me in His pavilion...the secret place of His tabernacle...yes, even in a hospital room...and even though the nurse was not my enemy by any means--possible further illness or pain was my enemy...and God not only lifted up my head above that enemy of pain, etc., but He gave great joy in the midst as He gave me words to encourage a sister in the Lord...and to give her hope in the Lord as well.  As I sit here now and reflect on this precious time that occurred in the wee hours of the night when everyone else was sleeping, I just want to offer "sacrifices of joy...and to sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord," for His merciful kindness to me.  Praise the Lord!!!

(Update: after posting this, I went outside and saw this cute baby bunny in the back yard and had to come put him in this post above! Isn't he sweet?  He is living in our back courtyard, I think because his mama told him to stay there where he is safe!)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Random Thoughts and Praises

Psalm 66:1-2

1.  "Make a joyful shout to God, 
all the earth!
2.  Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious."

Ecclesiastes 4
9.  "Two are better than one,
because they have a good reward for their labor.

10.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

 But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.

11. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;

But how can one be warm alone?

"Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation!"
Psalm 68:19

"Cast your burden on the Lord,
and He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."
Psalm 55:22 

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
 And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by."
Psalm 57:1

Just a few pictures, some from the past, but most from this week.  The little squirrels in the tree are the babies who grew up to be the two squirrels on the fence. They are still fun companions here in the trees and all around...such fun to watch.   The Cardinals and Red Bellied Woodpeckers have been active at the bird feeders this week...and again, very entertaining.

I will be off line for a few days as I go into the hospital tomorrow morning for some "repairs"...nothing major...just need to make some "internal adjustments" that come with age... Your prayers will be appreciated...and I'll get back here just as soon as the fog clears from anesthesia and I can sit upright long enough to make some sense.  (Ha! That may be awhile! LOL)  

I hope that you and yours will have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.  So thankful for all those who have given their all so that we can live here in freedom and safety. Praying for our nation, our military, our leaders, and our world.  

"I will praise You, O Lord,
among the peoples;
I will sing to You among the nations.
For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens,
And Your truth unto the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, Above the heavens;
Let Your glory be above all the earth."
Psalm 57:10-11 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Moments in Time - Recycled

I was just looking at this post that I wrote about this time last year, and thought to myself, "How beautiful! And how amazing that I could probably go out and shoot these same pictures again this year right now...as that is exactly what is happening out there right now!  I may add a couple of new pictures at the bottom from this week's photos...but the message is still right on, so nothing more needs to be said!  I pray that you are enjoying God's precious moments in time right now, wherever you are! Just drop what you are doing and look around you and give thanks! You may find something out there that you never noticed before...and be blessed by what God has done!  

Original Post 5/22/2016:

"But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, You are my God.
My times are in Your hand"
Psalm 31:14-15a.

I posted the above picture on my Facebook page this morning, and someone made the comment that she was "jealous...beautiful photo."  I responded: "This was my morning blessing from God! Some days it all comes together just right...some days it doesn't! Today it did!

Do you ever have days like that?  Those days when everything just falls into place ...the timing is perfect...and the result is something to make you and everyone around you smile? I fear that the opposite is more the norm for most of us...or it would seem that way.  But when something unexpectedly wonderful "just happens"...I wonder how many of us stop and recognize the hand of God in that event.  This is something I am learning and striving to do more and more. 

When our own plans fall apart...and we wonder why...and then we see a more marvelous plan than we could ever have dreamed of come together...that's God!

If only we could learn to live as the Psalmist declares above...

"But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord..."

That comes with time...living a life that is full of unexpected detours, twists and turns...which seems to be common to all men and women...and learning to recognize that even in the detours and the disappointments and sorrows of life, when we place our "times" in God's divine hands,  He will guide, protect, defend and preserve us.  He will strengthen our hearts and lead us into a place of peace and joy.

"Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You."
Psalm 33:20-22

Look around in your world this week...and see if you can capture special "moments in time" that are sweet blessings sent from the hand of God just for you.  I try to photograph those special times when it all comes together...and these pictures are examples of some of those moments.  However, there are more meaningful, deeper  moments that are captured within my heart and soul...the sweet, tender, personal moments with loved ones and friends...times spent in reading from God's Word when He spoke to my heart with a word aimed directly at my soul.  Perhaps it is a song that reaches into my being and blesses me...or a marvelous sunset or sunrise...a bird perched in a tree...or even a magnificent flower.

Whatever it is that touches your heart...stop and give glory to God.  Write it down in your journal or in your heart...take time to say "Thank you, God...that was You, wasn't it?"  You may be amazed at how many special "moments in time" you will capture this very week.

Update 5/24/17: Here are the photos that I've just taken in the past few days here in my yard:

 The bees are busily pollinating the holly berry blossoms

This Pileated Woodpecker is finding his breakfast on this dying oak tree in the garden:

The Crape Myrtles are starting to bloom!

And this is a tiny baby bunny I found hiding back under the Confederate Jasmine vines in the garden, probably waiting for his Mama to reappear!

Isn't he sweet?

So, again, my friends...I hope you will find a moment in time today to enjoy all that God has provided for you...perhaps right in front of your nose!  Be blessed today by God's Glory!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Happy Reflections

I entitled this post "Happy Reflections", because I want to reflect on happy times and give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to us!  I regret that I totally forgot about taking pictures this past weekend when we had a family/friends gathering here at our house! I must be slipping! As I sit here and reflect back over the past few days, it makes me want to take notes and try to paint word pictures for the moments I want to remember!

This was one of the highlights of our "celebration"...Yes, a celebration of sorts...celebrating good friends, new friends, old friends, "old" family and possibility of "new" family...Anyway....stop going into so much detail Pam, and without further ado...we had sweet corn on the cob!  Now, how many of you out there just love sweet corn on the cob?  Especially when it is really fresh, really sweet, and really good!!

I do wish I had thought to take a picture of one of our newer friends, Leon, who hails from Nebraska. As soon as he heard that we had sweet corn that needed to be shucked, he quickly volunteered saying, "Let me shuck the corn...after all, I'm a "Nebraska Cornhusker!"  And he proceeded to do an expert job of shucking that corn out on the front porch while visiting with friends...
and even took home the shucks for his compost pile!
(pictures are a "re-enactment" without the people (using extra sweet corn that we didn't cook on the weekend but are having for supper tonight!) since I forgot to take pictures while they were here)

This sweet corn was so good...that in itself was worth a "celebration"!  How many of you remember the first sweet corn of the season, drenched in butter, and seeing how many ears you could eat without making yourself sick?

This corn was so perfect...nothing would do but to serve it hot and fresh on Mama's beautiful antique Flow-Blue platter.  I asked my sister if I dared to use it, because I've been so afraid I'd break it...but she agreed with me that Mama would be so pleased to know that we used it just like she did for our many family gatherings at the old home place.  And so we did... 

I love our special gatherings like this...everyone brings food so that I don't have to do all of the cooking...we usually grill chicken or something else good...and the food and fellowship are always something wonderful. I especially love how God brings the people together from all backgrounds and stages in life, and we blend together with laughter, fun stories and new friendships.
That's what our home is designed to be...a gathering place...a place to make memories...

The foyer of our home...
hopefully it spells

Sometimes I forget to remind people to sign the guest book...so I go back and
write in their names so I can remember the day and who was here with us...

This beautiful magnolia blossom from our huge tree in the Secret Garden gave off the freshest lemony scent as it welcomed
our guests....

The only picture we thought to take was toward the end of the day, as my sister and I sat down to relax and have a cup of tea.  Here we are...

She had told me back when I wrote about this little "Rose-Pansy Teacup"  that the next time she came for a visit, she wanted to drink from this cute little cup.  And so she did!  We enjoyed our Lady Grey Tea, served from a delightful tea pot that I have never used before, although I have had it for many years.

Here it is:

It was ideal for our little impromptu tea for two tea party...and a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Here's some thoughts about the "Rewards of Wisdom" from King Solomon in Proverbs 3 that speak to me tonight as I reflect on this sweet time of fellowship and pleasant times with loved ones and friends...

Proverbs 3

5.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
6.  In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths.
7.  Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
8.  It will be health to your flesh,
and strength to your bones.

9.  Honor the Lord with your possessions,
and with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10.  So your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will overflow with new wine.

13.  Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
and the man who gains understanding;
14.  For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
and her gain than fine gold.
15.  She is more precious than rubies,
and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16.  Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17.  Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
and happy are all who retain her.

I hope you've enjoyed these "Happy Reflections" from a pleasant time of fellowship.  Something I've learned  over the years from having many of these gatherings is what Proverbs 3:9-10 says:

9.  Honor the Lord with your possessions,
and with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10.  So your barns will be filled with plenty,

and your vats will overflow with new wine.

When we choose to honor the Lord with our possessions, our home, our food and friendship...God blesses us with plenty!  Our "vats overflow with new wine" so to speak, the new wine of joy, laughter, lasting friendships that have endured through time and many trials...and I want to give Him the glory and praise for these marvelous blessings.  We have truly been blessed by God...and He deserves all the praise.  Thank You, Lord, for so much "plenty".  Amen.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Foto Friends Day and What Do I Have to Show for It? Let's See...

Well, here it is again, folks! Friday Foto Friends day...and what do I have to show for it?  I must remember to save some pictures throughout the week without showing them on Facebook first, because many of my blogging friends are also Facebook Friends, so I know you don't want to see them twice!  I guess you could consider yourself privileged to get a sneak preview before the rest of Blog World!  Ha Ha!

Honestly, I'm not sure what to show you today.  I may have to dig back into the old photo albums for something fresh!   Speaking of old photo albums and all things old...I think I touched a nerve this week with the post on "National Pack Rat Day"!  Thank you, friends, for so many comments.  I didn't get around to replying to everyone, but I thank you for your thoughts and comments!  I envy some of you who are not as attached to "things" as much as I am...maybe you can come and help me clean out when the time comes!  I need someone who is not attached to help me be fearless!

Speaking of old photo albums, maybe that is what I will share with you today...a little family history.
In the process of cleaning out my mother in law's home, I brought home with us several family pictures.  I won't bore you with all of them, but I thought some of these would be interesting...

This is my husband's Great-Great Grandparents on his mother's side, Hester E. Waters, born March 11, 1847 and died August 20, 1907, and Rev. James R. Waters, Born August 22, 1846 and died November 6, 1903!  Don't you just love the beard?  My husband was surprised to learn that his Great-Great Grandfather was a minister! Which, as perhaps most of you know, is interesting because my husband is also a minister! I guess he had missed that interesting bit of genealogy somewhere along the line.  They were the parents to my husband's Great Grandfather, James Wesley Waters: Born in 1871 and died in 1955.

His wife was Martha Georgiann Jarrard, born  in 1876 and died in 1962.
My husband does remember knowing them when he was a little fella.

They were the parents to John's grandmother, Pearl Sarah Elizabeth Waters Martin: (in addition to 8 other children)

And this was her husband, John Richard Martin

And this is my husband's mother, Vivian Ruth Martin Steiner, when she was pregnant with my husband John, back in 1948.

And this was baby John Frank Steiner, born in 1948.

And here he is with his parents when he was probably about 4 or 5, before his brother was born:

And this is John with his baby brother Billy!

And last, but not least, Vivian Ruth Martin Steiner with her family surrounding her
on Mother's Day, 2017   She will be 94 in July.

So, I guess this is good enough for today's Friday Foto Friends.  I hope you don't mind a little family history here.  

But wait!

So, after I decided to just do the family pictures above for today, I took a quick walk outside and down to the now almost dried up little pond in our neighborhood.  This is the time of year when I usually can see some deer if I go at the right times...early in the morning or late afternoon/evening...and I thought I was going to be too late today...but when I got there I had quite a surprise!  I hope you will indulge me a little longer, as I really don't want to keep these pictures hidden until next Friday!   And this will be our "devotional" pictures for the day:

Excerpts from:

Psalm 42

 1.  "As the deer pants for the water brooks,

(This pond is almost dry...so these deer have made it their hiding place,
while they search for water)
 So pants my soul for You, O God.

 2.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God,

 When shall I come and appear before God?

 5.  "Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?

 Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of 
His countenance."
Yes!!!  That is a baby fawn, who was hidden in the bushes...and now Mama Deer is rushing her to safety away from the crazy lady with the camera!
 8.  "The Lord will command His lovingkindness 
in the daytime,

Hurry little fawn!  Run to Mama!  We must get away from the crazy lady!!!

 and in the night His song shall be with me...
A prayer to the God of my life."
Safe at last, on the other side of the pond, far away from the crazy lady with the camera...for now...

11.  "Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
the help of my countenance and my God."

Now, aren't you glad I didn't just stop with the dusty old pictures from the photo album, as interesting as they are...I'm just thrilled at what the Lord provided for us today...from His beautiful creation and His Word!  I hope this brings hope and encouragement to you today....

"Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
the help of my countenance and my God."

Now please hop over to visit our other Friday Foto Friends at "Breathing in Grace" and check out what interesting things they've been doing this week!! See ya later!!