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, October 30, 2017

Nighttime Visits

I thought you might enjoy these pictures taken on my wildlife camera late last night. Please realize that this camera is attached to a tree in our yard, and it is triggered by motion to take the pictures. No, I am NOT outside watching this bear from behind a tree. I was safe inside the house, sound asleep in my bed.

This young bear came trotting through the yard around 11:00 p.m.  He seems a bit wary of his surroundings...like he's on the alert...

Apparently he hears something in the background...see how his ears are perked up as he turns his head?

There definitely must be something over that way...he is watching very intently...

Maybe it went that way...

No...maybe it's back there again...

Something is definitely back there...
 He must have stood still for six minutes before he decided it was safe to get a drink... (note the times)
 He was very thirsty...
 Uh Oh...There IS something back there...if you look very carefully in the dark shadows behind the bear's rump, you will see the dark outline of another bear walking across the yard...
 Can you see him back there?  Looks like he has stopped in his tracks to watch this bear...and this bear isn't hanging around...
 Looks like they are both leaving...perhaps they will rendezvous somewhere back in the back yard...
So much excitement going on in my front yard while I am sleeping!! So thankful their little stand off was quiet and peaceful, and I am safely tucked inside my bed...

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

And in case you still aren't too sure about that and can't quite quiet down and sleep, rest assured:

"The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, 
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will QUIET you with His LOVE,
He will REJOICE over you with 
Zephaniah 3:17

Sweet Dreams.
God is watching over you.
I think I can hear Him singing...
and Good Night."

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Foto Friends~Cozy Memories

Come sit beside my fire with me.... 

The cocoa is warm...and the friendship is free...

"A man ( or woman) who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." 
Proverbs 18:24

"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another,
just as you also are doing."
I Thessalonians 5:11

"And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 
love will cover a multitude of sins."
"Be hospitable to one another without grumbling."
I Peter 4: 8-9

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three;
but the greatest of these is love."
I Corinthians 13:13

Welcome to Friday Foto Friends...inspired by the first cold snap of the season here in Florida...a wonderful excuse to turn on the "wood stove" (yes, it is electric...but still warm and cozy...with no mess to clean up!)...and bring out the old fashioned stacking cocoa mugs that I grew up with, first as a child on the farm in Pennsylvania, and then in our home in Florida...(where we moved when I was six years old) 

 There were originally six of these cute little cups, one for each member of our family.  When we were settling our parents' estate, my sister and I each took three of these cups because we had such happy memories attached to them of homemade hot cocoa with marshmallows on a chilly day...and family gathered around the fire enjoying Mom's homemade cookies fresh out of the oven,which made it perfect...(wish I had some of those right now...)

I believe my mother bought these sturdy little cups from a local restaurant in Clarion, PA.  They have to be at least 70 years old...and not a crack in them!

Mom always made the hot cocoa from scratch using Hershey's cocoa.

I assume this is the recipe she used, but she most likely doubled (or tripled!) it for our large family:

Recipe for Four Servings from the Hershey Cocoa Can:
Combine 1/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa, 1/2 cup sugar, dash salt in a saucepan.  Blend in 1/3 cup hot water.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir two minutes.  Add 1 quart milk, stir and heat.  Do NOT boil.  Remove from heat.  Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.  Beat with rotary beater until foamy.  Makes about 1 quart or 4 servings.

Nowadys I make Hot Ovaltine in the microwave...that's my favorite hot chocolate and the quickest way to do it!  

What are some of your favorite family traditions on a chilly fall evening?

I hope you've enjoyed these cozy memories with me. They have certainly made me smile in a nostalgic happy way.

Now let's all mosey over to Deb's place at Breathing in Grace (HERE) and check out what our other Friday Foto Friends have been up to...
Have a blessed and happy Friday...and go ask someone to come and share a cup of hot cocoa with you!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Take Time to "Smell the Roses"...or Apple Blossoms In This Case...

The other day I posted a couple of pictures on my Facebook page of some apple blossoms on our little Golden Dorset Apple Tree!
  I was amazed to see it blooming in October!

Someone asked me if the apple blossoms smelled good...and I had to admit that I was so busy taking their pictures that I never stopped to smell them. 

So I went back outside to smell the apple blossoms, and discovered this little dragonfly had already beat me to the punch!  Of course, he's probably doing more than just smelling...I expect he's enjoying a sip of apple nectar at the same time!

I thought to myself...Life is passing by so quickly...here it is almost the end of another year... Fall is upon us already, when most things are dying and preparing to go into hibernation for the winter...but this little apple tree thinks it's spring time and decided to bloom one more time...to give us another chance to embrace the beauty and smell the lovely fragrance of spring...

I wonder...could this be a foretaste of something really wonderful about to happen?
New life springing forth when we thought all was lost?

I don't know...but this little apple tree and sweet dragonfly give me hope
for tomorrow...the promise of spring even in the midst of autumn...

Perhaps there is someone else out there who needs a fresh breath of spring in the autumn of life...new hope for tomorrow...

Psalm 16:8-11
8. "I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand
I shall not be moved.
9.  Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10.  For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11.  You will show me the path of life;
In Your Presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Romans 15:13
"Now may the God of hope 
fill you with all joy and peace
in believing,
that you may abound in hope by the power of 
the Holy Spirit."

Now...take some time to go smell the roses...or apple blossoms...or whatever sweet fragrance the Lord places in your pathway...and 
rest in Hope!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Strength and Honor Are Her Clothing - Revisited and Updated

Jeepers, it's been almost two years since I originally wrote/posted this...but I was thinking about eagles today and was looking for something that I had written about them in the past...and rediscovered this post not only about eagles, but about my favorite flannel shirt...Yes...it is still my favorite...just haven't had a chance to wear it YET this fall...but we hear tell that cooler weather is on its way perhaps even tonight...so I need to go find it and get it ready to wear!!  Meanwhile...get a cup of tea (or coffee), pull up a rocking chair on the porch, and let's just visit a while.  Fall/winter is our porch time here in Florida...I can hardly wait!!!  I hope wherever you are that you are having a blessed and beautiful day...

"Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come."
Proverbs 31:25 NKJV
Original Post 1/27/2016

It seems like I just read this verse not long ago...oh, yes! I did! And I even wrote about it:
(Click HERE for THAT story)...but my emphasis was a little different. Today instead of the "she shall rejoice in the time to come" portion of the verse, I am thinking more about the "strength and honor are her clothing" section.  Why? Well, maybe because I got a new flannel shirt today and I wanted to show it off.  (That's true, but that's kind of a silly thing to write about, don't you think?)
I did actually get this new flannel shirt today. I don't know why that has evoked such sentiment and drama for me...but it has.  

You see, when my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas I told him I really wanted a nice soft, cozy flannel shirt to wear around the house.  He didn't take me seriously and didn't realize that I truly wanted a flannel shirt for Christmas! So, needless to say, I didn't get one. Now here it is a month later, and I told him today when we went shopping at Walmart that I was going to buy myself a flannel shirt if they still had any. I looked first in the women's department, but didn't see what I wanted there, so I headed to the men's department, and lo! and behold! They had flannel shirts on sale!  I had to shuffle through the stacks to find one that would fit me in the color I wanted, and finally found the one and only one left.  I grabbed it and put it in my buggy before someone else came along and got it first!

When we returned home the first thing I did was pull off all the stickers and labels and put it in the wash so it could get washed and dried and ready to wear as soon as possible. This was such a special moment I asked my husband to take my picture in it.  I think he's still scratching his head over how I could be so thrilled over a simple thing like a flannel shirt.  Maybe next year he'll listen to me when I tell him what I want for Christmas!  

But this post isn't really about my new flannel shirt or getting what I want for Christmas. It's about Strength and Honor...the clothing of the "Proverbs 31" woman...that marvelous, amazing, blessed, strong, intelligent, faithful, godly woman that we all would love to be, but doubt we'll ever reach her level of "perfection".  Reaching a level of perfection in this life is not really my goal, and probably isn't yours either. We are just striving to make it through life one day at a time, dealing with whatever stresses or sorrows or unexpected issues that come our way and making it safely to the other side. 

I like what God said to the children of Israel in Isaiah 40:31~

"But those who wait on the Lord
shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

And again in Isaiah 30:15, God tells us:

"In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence 
shall be your strength."

Further in Isaiah 30:18...

"Therefore the Lord will wait,
that He may be GRACIOUS to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, 
that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him."

I love these thoughts today...my strength comes from the Lord...

He has clothed me with His strength, 
His love, 
His mercy, 
His honor.
Sometimes we have to wait on the Lord for the best gifts to arrive...like my new flannel shirt.  
If I had received this new shirt on Christmas day I doubt that I would have thought so much about its significance. I might have missed this special deeper gift that God wanted to give me today.  I am glad that He waited to show me the hidden message of being blessed by waiting on Him.

Oh, by the way...did you see that magnificent picture of that eagle above?  That was another special "gift" from the Lord this past week.  Last weekend we had traveled on that same road and saw that gorgeous eagle perched high on that same tree. The problem was I had forgotten to take my camera along that day. Needless to say, I was quite frustrated with my lack of foresight.  Living in a national forest you would think I would have learned to always be prepared with a camera to capture pictures of whatever might happen to appear. Yeah, well...lesson learned.  So, a few days later we planned to travel back on that same route again.  This time I went prepared with camera in hand.  Sure enough as we approached the exact same area and tree, there he was!
That marvelous creature was perched and waiting for me as if to say, "what took you so long?".  I made my husband pull over and stop the car and I jumped out and started snapping pictures as fast as I could, fearing that the eagle would suddenly take off in flight and I would miss my opportunity again.  Thankfully he seemed to be quite content to stay right there and let me take as many pictures as my anxious to get going husband would allow....

Dear Friend...What are YOU wearing today?  Are you clothed in the strength and honor of the Lord? Are you waiting on HIM to show you His plan, His will, His love and strength and grace for your situation?  Oftentimes the best gifts of all come to us as we wait on the Lord.  Yes,

"Blessed are all those who wait for Him."

POST SCRIPT 10/24/17:  After "revisiting" and posting this earlier today I wanted to add an update on our vehicle situation. So many of you had been praying regarding our search for a "new" vehicle to replace the old car that was towed away a couple of weeks ago.  (More about THAT HERE) Well, after a long and frustrating search, I am so happy to report that today we found the "perfect" "new" (1997) Ford F150 Pickup Truck...Yes, that's right...this vehicle is for our son, who needs it for work, and it's a long story, but we are so thankful that after several disappointments God directed us to this truck...perfect for what he needs and in the price range we had pre-determined...
 So, thank you for your prayers...and I must say again:

           "Blessed are all those who wait for Him."  Amen!!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Foto Friends: Nature's (God's) Art Work

Here it is...Friday Foto Friends day again!  In keeping with the "season"....yes, fall is upon us, but I was thinking more about how "nature" decorates for Halloween....I don't have to do any decorating for that spooky day..."nature" does it for me!  Well, actually, GOD is the Master Designer...He is the One Who gave all creatures the ability to build their nests or webs or wherever they live. Have you ever thought about that?  Well, think about all the diverse creatures throughout the earth (and sea!).  If you ever watch any of the magnificent nature programs that National Geographic does, you can't help but marvel at the magnificent artistry and design of all creatures big and small...and their abilities to capture food and build homes for their young...

Today I will just share some of the "artwork" of our "arachnid" family...better known as spiders.
I know some of you won't like that...but it's all a part of nature! God created them along with all the beautiful creatures out there.  (Genesis 1:20-25) So let's just sit back and be glad we didn't walk into these spider webs as we journeyed through the yard and woods...

This is a 'photo-shopped" version of the spider web in my front yard:

And here is the real picture in our front yard.  Yes, so glad I didn't walk through this!

We saw this lovely golden silk orb-weaver along the road, which appears to be hanging in open space...but his intricate web is there to support him...just not visible to us that day because the sun wasn't shining through it for us to see!
 This is what it looked like....

 And here are some other examples of a very large Golden Silk Orb Weaver web:

 Look at that intricate design!!!  Amazing!!!!

Here are a few other interesting webs from around the neighborhood.  Maybe not as neat and tidy as the ones above, but they still get the job done!

These next pictures I took a couple of years ago at our back door under the light one evening. I was just amazed at the many layers of these masterpieces:

These remind me of a galaxy far, far away...

Here is an interesting Proverb I discovered about the spider:

Proverbs 30:24-28

"24. There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: 
25.  The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer;
26.  The rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags;
27.  The locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks;
28.  The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings' palaces."

I know this hymn written by St. Francis of Assisi didn't mention spiders specifically, but it still fits:

  1. "All creatures of our God and King,
    Lift up your voice and with us sing,
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    Thou burning sun with golden beam,
    Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
    • Refrain:
      O praise Him! O praise Him!
      Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
  2. Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
    Ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,
    O praise Him! Alleluia!
    Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
    Ye lights of evening, find a voice!
  3. Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
    Make music for thy Lord to hear,
    O praise Him! Alleluia!
    Thou fire so masterful and bright,
    That givest man both warmth and light.
  4. And all ye men of tender heart,
    Forgiving others, take your part,
    O praise Him! Alleluia!
    Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
    Praise God and on Him cast your care!
  5. Let all things their Creator bless,
    And worship Him in humbleness,
    O praise Him! Alleluia!
    Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
    And praise the Spirit, Three in One!"

Okay, here's a couple more pictures that have nothing to do with spiders.  These were taken on our ride to take our son to work  (yes, the car situation is still a work in progress...the old car is "toast"...cannot be fixed, so it is being taken to the junk yard as we speak. Now back to search for the "perfect" vehicle for a very low price!)

The Sand Hill Cranes enjoying their morning walk and "Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag:

 These two Sand Hill Cranes were enjoying a different walk along the pond in the neighborhood:

And this was the sky yesterday morning along the road:  (more of God's Artistry!)

Okay, that's all folks! Hope you enjoyed this web of God's natural artistry today!!

Now, let's follow the web over to Deb's place at Breathing in Grace (here) to see what our other Friday Foto Friends are posting!  Have a blessed and beautiful day...and watch out for those spider webs along the way! Don't get tangled up in a web of mystery...but stay focused on our Master Designer/Creator and enjoy all the beauties He has displayed for us to behold!!