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, July 28, 2017

Life IS Better in the Woods - Updated for Friday Foto Friends

NOTE: THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 7/10/2015, SO "BEAR" WITH ME...SOME OF THIS INFORMATION HAS CHANGED SINCE THEN, but this has been a week that has been too hot to get out and take many new pictures, and here it is Friday Foto Friends day, and I don't have anything new to share. So, I will update this "old" post and re-share! I hope you don't mind!  Some things have not changed at all, and then again, quite a lot has changed!!

My son creates these wooden signs...you can learn more about that  on his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BensWoodSigns - BUT UPDATE 7/28/17: Lately he hasn't been doing signs as he has a full time job AND is now engaged and is spending most of his "free" time with his lovely fiance', planning their upcoming wedding in November!!  Once they get settled he does hope to get back into the sign business "on the side" as time permits!

What this particular sign has inspired in me is a sense of thankfulness for the fact that yes, MY life IS better in the woods!  We moved out to the forest about 3 1/2 years ago, (NOW 5 1/2 YEARS) and since then life has truly been one adventure after another.  We've discovered myriads of interesting wildlife, as well as receiving the blessing of many new friends.  (Click on the links for more about those stories).  But the greatest gift has been the peace that comes over me each afternoon as I leave my busy job in the city and enter the quiet sanctuary of the forest woods    UPDATE:  This post was originally written about four months before I retired...so now I get to live in this "quiet sanctuary" all the time!!!  And sometimes it isn't so quiet, but I still love it!
and country roads that lead me home. I really don't even mind the fact that I must drive over 30 miles each way to and from work.  The ride is a time of thankfulness as I enjoy the scenes and sights of nature surrounding my journey and listen to delightful songs of praise and worship all the way. This always helps set the tone for my day on the way to work...and again on my way home my heart is prepared for the tasks that await me.  UPDATE:  I don't miss that ride to and from work every day now that I am retired, but I do miss the times of listening to the music as I drove along...now I take rides with hubby and we talk, which is nice....and sometimes we make music together as we ride, which is especially nice.

Some people don't really understand how we could enjoy living so far from "civilization"....it is at least 20 miles to the nearest Walmart, and we currently don't have a viable grocery store in our community  (UPDATE: We now DO have a small grocery store that reopened earlier this year, and it is great for meats and necessities, but we still travel to Walmart at least once a week for the BIG stuff!)  and only a couple small restaurants in the area that serve a limited menu at limited times. We DO have a small hardware store, post office, Dollar General and a gas station/handy store. We also have a wonderful Saturday flea market where my son sells his signs each week to the weekend visitors and locals.   (UPDATE: See earlier note about this...he's not selling his signs at the Flea Market right now, but may do so in the fall again as time & fiance' permits!  Ha ha!)

 We also have several excellent small churches, including our own home Bible Fellowship that meets in our home every Sunday morning for worship and study of God's Word.  UPDATE: Our Home Bible Fellowship is now meeting on Wednesday mornings due to changes in everyone's schedules. 

And so wonderfully, we have God's great outdoors and many opportunities for enjoying nature via hiking, boating,

fishing, hunting or simply watching the birds,



and butterflies.


trees, berries and interesting insects
of every kind abound.

There are so many places to explore...(if only it wasn't so hot right now...but fall is on its way)

I find myself longing to strike out on my own in search of adventure...but I am reminded that there ARE bears

in the woods, (and right in front of my house!)   and I need to be safe.

Anyway, I want to pause and give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to us in providing such a place of refuge for our family.  There was a time when we didn't know how we were ever going to find an affordable home to help us ease into retirement...but God truly surprised us when He opened THIS window of opportunity.  He proved to us that not only was HE able to provide for us, but that He had prepared special people to be kind and generous and willing to take a chance on us until we could stand on our own again. And now He has enabled us to do just that, and we want to say thank you. (No names needed, God knows).

"O Lord, YOU are the portion of 
my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me 
in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand
I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your
Holy One to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your Presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand 
are pleasures forevermore."

Psalm 16:5-11

I suppose there may be some who will say that this is all well and good for you, but what about me? When is God going to show ME some pleasant places and a refuge from the world?  I cannot answer for God, but I can only say that when we put our trust in Him, He promises in His Word to show us the "path of life", and that "in (His) presence is fullness of joy".  For you it may not be in the woods, but it might be in a different neighborhood, or job, or place of worship.  It could be a new friendship or relationship that brings joy and fulfillment after a long wait.  It could even be finding that place of contentment right where you are when you realize that God is with you and that He will never leave your side.

I read a verse in my morning devotions a couple of days ago that stood out to me and also caught my husband's attention, so much so that he asked me to find it again the next morning and read it again.
The verse is found in Psalm 17:15 ~

"As for me, I will see Your Face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I 
awake in Your likeness."

This is complete contentment and peace...to be satisfied when we awake one day in heaven, and to find that we shall be like HIM.  Knowing that helps us to endure our trials here. That, and the knowledge that "in Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Thank you, Lord, for Your Presence here and now...
and forevermore!

UPDATE:  I hope you managed to read through all of the "strike-through's" as I attempted to update this post and bring it up to date. I guess I didn't realize just how much has changed since I originally wrote this two years ago! So much can change in such a short amount of time...so we need to live each day as if it could be our last...and give God the glory and praise He is so worthy of every single day!

Now, let's hop on over to Bev's place at Breathing In Grace  and see what our other friends are posting today for Friday Foto Friends.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer Reading Adventure: "Revenge!"

If you have been following along with my summer reading book reviews of the The Glade Series written by Martha Jane Orlando, you may recall that in the last book in the The Glade Trilogy, The Moment of Truth, we left off with the thought that "The Moment of Truth" had come, and when the truth finally came out, peace reigned once again in The Glade."   However, the story didn't stop there!

Not too long after finishing that book I received all three books in the next series, "Adventures In The Glade",  and I couldn't wait to sit right down and dig into them.

The first book in this series, Revenge!, picks up where The Moment of Truth left off.  I may have thought that "peace reigned once again in the Glade", but I have to tell you, that peace was very short-lived! 

While Davy "The Chosen One" and his family, along with all the "Old Ones" in the Glade were rejoicing that evil cousin Ronnie's plans to take over the land surrounding their Sanctuary had been thwarted by quick action, Ronnie is plotting to get his revenge. His greedy and vengeful actions end up causing much sorrow and distress to not only the inhabitants of the Glade, but also for himself. Swift action by the wise old owl,  better known as "Reverend", may have miraculous results for Ronnie, but has placed the sanctuary of the "Old Ones" as well as Reverend's very own life,  back in serious jeopardy.

Now it is left up to Davy, "The Chosen One" to try and save "Reverend"....but will he be able to do so in time to keep the Glade and "The Old Ones" from disappearing from the face of the earth?

Revenge! is definitely an action-packed adventure, which shows us up close the battle between good and evil...light and darkness.  And the development of trust, faith and forgiveness aren't just for young Davy...but also for his mother and step-father and the rest of the family.  Reminders from the past found in step-dad Jim's Bible give courage and comfort to them when they need it most:

Psalm 138:7
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life;
You stretch out Your arm against the anger of my foes, 
with Your right hand You save me."

Without knowing this truth from God's Word, Davy and his family and friends would be without much hope in the midst of all the tragedies around them.

I can only say that I was extremely grateful to already have in hand the next book in the series, Redemption, when I came to the end of this story. 

I hope you will tune in next time to hear more about the continuing saga of Davy and his friends.  I can tell you one thing, Martha Jane Orlando is a master of suspense and keeping the reader on the edge of her recliner! Or porch swing, or rocker, or wherever you happen to be reading this summer. For me, right now it's in the cool house in the recliner! Thank you, Martha, for providing such wonderful reading adventures for me this summer! It has been a delight to enter the world of Davy and "The Old Ones" in the Glade. 
Until next time, keep believing!!!

Wednesday's Wisdom

We've all heard the saying, "The early bird catches the worm", right?
Well, this Cardinal is proving that true, in a sense...
We observed him sitting on top of our car early yesterday morning, 
which is parked right under the sycamore tree.
Hanging down from the tree was a spider web with some kind of insect attached.  
This innovative and intelligent Cardinal discovered that by sitting on top of the car he could actually dine on this captured feast without having to strain his wings at all! 
Not too sure that the spider was very happy about this confiscation of his "goods", 
but, like the old proverb says,
"The early bird catches the worm!"

Another good proverb, from the 
  Book of Proverbs 20:13 says:

"Do not love sleep, 
lest you come to poverty;
Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread."

(or worms..or bugs caught in spider webs?)

I hope you enjoyed this bit of wisdom taught to us today by Mr. Cardinal...
with a little help from King Solomon!

Have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"Go Out With Joy!"

"Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters..."
Isaiah 55:1a

"Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live..."
Isaiah 55:2b-3a

"Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near."
Isaiah 55:6

"Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord;
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with His truth."
Psalm 96:12-13

"For you shall go out with joy,
and be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12

Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great
and greatly to be praised;
He is also to be feared above all gods."
I Chronicles 16:23-25

"Let the heavens rejoice,
and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations,
"The Lord reigns."
II Chronicles 16:31

I hope these verses have brought peace and joy to your heart today. No matter how difficult our lives may be, or how terrible things may seem in the world...it is encouraging to take time to remember and proclaim, "The Lord Reigns!"  We need to "proclaim the Good News of His salvation" every day...and tell everyone we meet of God's excellent greatness and His love for us. Jesus is coming soon...let us not grow weary, but rejoice in this Good News! 

If you've been reading along lately, you know that our family has some exciting days ahead as we prepare for the upcoming wedding of our oldest son.  So we have lots of additional reasons to rejoice. No firm date has been set yet, but it will probably be sometime this fall, so things could get very interesting around here!

I know I've shared this song before, but it seems appropriate to add it today. Sing along with the Gaither Homecoming group and enjoy!!  "The Trees of the Field"

For a similar previous post CLICK HERE!  
Have a blessed and glorious day my friends!!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Rejoice With Us!

Romans 12:15 a. "Rejoice with those who rejoice..."

Psalm 28:7
"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 30:11
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness."

Psalm 30:5
"Weeping may endure for a night, 
but JOY comes in the morning."

What is all of this about? You may not fully comprehend the joy that I feel today!  Our oldest son has announced his engagement to a lovely young Christian woman...and we are rejoicing!

 Rejoicing because  this is definitely something to be happy about!  Rejoicing because this is an answer to many years of prayer! Rejoicing because God is so gracious and loving and kind...

You may not understand why this is such a big deal...but it is...and we give God the glory and honor and praise...for Great Things He Hath Done!!!

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh..." 
Mark 10:7-8
The engagement ring they have chosen is a combination of both of their birthstones, each cut into a heart shape. Very beautiful and uniquely their own.

P.S.  The two roses came from our Memorial Garden. Kind of an "engagement gift" from Benton's brother Matthew in heaven ....Roses for Rose and Benton...the first blooms of this year on this bush.

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad!" 
 Psalm 126:3

Rejoice with us!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Rainy Saturday Family Fun

"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth shall praise 
You with joyful lips."
Psalm 63:3-5

Things to do on a rainy Saturday...it's the little things that mean the most...

As the storm clouds, thunder and rain roll in...

Our family is safe and dry inside...and my heart was blessed to see my "boys" playing together as in the days of yore...

 Daddy and #1 Son playing a game of "Foosball"

#1 and #3 Sons challenging each other
And Daddy and #3 son engrossed in play as #1 son watches.  This is serious business!
And I'm loving it!

And then, the power blinked off for a minute, and the wifi/internet/cable went down,
so the whole family decided to play cards for a while! Sometimes it's a real blessing when storms roll in and make families do things together again!!! (Even if we do look a little crazy!)

Yes, it is good to enjoy these special moments while you can....we know all too well that life can change in a matter of seconds and families can be torn apart, lives shattered by disease, accident, or other heartbreak...or even positive things can move families in different directions...job changes, marriage, moving away to a new location and independence...whatever the reason, we need to grab these moments while we can and spend time together...laughing, living, and loving!!

So...don't wait for the storms to come and shut down the cable, internet or wifi/cell phones to make time to "play" together and enjoy time as a family. Grab these precious moments anytime you can and focus on being a family!

"Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants all around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord."
Psalm 128:1-4

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Foto Friends: Then Sings My Soul!

Hello Friday Foto Friends!  I just woke up after a very restless night, and then remembered that it was Friday, and I didn't have anything ready to share with you. But the 2nd verse of the beloved hymn, "How Great Thou Art", has been buzzing through my head lately, and that just came back to me as perhaps an appropriate way to display some photos from my forays into the woods and hills, both recent and in the past.  So here we go.  Sing along with me...I'm sure you know the tune:

"When thro' the woods

and forest glades I wander,

and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;

When I look down 
from lofty mountain grandeur,

And hear the brook

and feel the gentle breeze;

Then sings my soul,

my Savior God, to Thee;

How Great Thou Art!
How Great Thou Art!

Then sings my soul, 

my Savior God, to Thee;

How Great Thou Art,
How Great Thou Art!


Deuteronomy 33:26 (NKJV)

26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.

I hope you've enjoyed singing along with me this morning.  These pictures are from all around my home in Florida, thus, there are no "lofty mountains grandeur" or any real "brooks" to hear babbling...but God's glory shines through these beautiful places just the same.  Have a blessed and glorious day, my friends.

Now please skip on over to visit our other Friday Foto Friends at Deb's place, Breaking In Grace, and see what others are sharing today!