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 31, 2018

Friday Foto Friends: Pics of the Week

Good Morning Friday Foto Friends!  Here it is, Friday morning, and I just woke up and remembered that I hadn't done my post yet!!! It's been a busy week, and we had some delightful company here yesterday (but I forgot to take any pictures of that!), and I have to leave here in an hour to head to the big city to have my annual mammogram...so this will have to be short and sweet!! 

I've decided to to try and take a picture every day of something so I will be sure to have pictures to share on Friday.  Here goes:

 Earlier this week we celebrated our son's birthday by going out to eat at one of our favorite places, "Corky Bell's", on the St. John's River. 

 There goes our "newlyweds" (it will be one year in Nov.), walking down the pier.  The birthday boy and his beloved.
 Some sailboats along the shore

The "Maitre Gator" greeted us as we entered the restaurant.  Gators are very popular in this area...our nearest university is the Univ. of Florida, and their mascot is the Gator...so you will see lots of gator things everywhere in the area...and sometimes you will see the real thing, but we didn't see any on this day.

Now I know that September is on its way, as the "purple wildflowers" of September start popping up along the road...here this lovely little morning glory opened it's face to the sun, and right away the little green bee came to enjoy its nectar:

These are called "Beauty Berries", and they ripen in September. Soon birds, deer and bears will enjoy them...(mostly birds, I think...I really haven't noticed the others eating them that much)

Early morning reflection of the skies on the pond

I love how the sky is reflected on the water...

And yesterday morning I was rewarded with the sighting of this young fella:

And his mama:
 They were trying to get around the fence and back to the woods to safety...

and to their other friends who were waiting in the woods... (kind of blurry, but notice the legs:)

Okay, lady, we're leaving you...

And soon they leaped the fence and were gone...

So much fun to watch, although I sort of feel bad for interrupting their morning breakfast.
Speaking of which, I have to get a move on if I am going to make it in time for my appointment. Gotta drive an hour to get there...so see you later Gator!  After while, Crocodile!

Numbers 6:24-26 (NKJV)

“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.” ’
Now let us jump on over to visit our other friends who are meeting at Deb's place at Breathing in Grace  and see what they've been doing this week. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

One of God's Masterpieces

 Before you creep out and turn away because you don't like spiders, please take a few moments to appreciate the artistry and beauty of this, one of God's most interesting engineers and builders...
The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver:
 This magnificent creature was busily repairing/building his nest early yesterday morning...

 Look at the precision of these strands...like a harpist playing his harp...
 Perhaps he is playing a song of praise on this "harp" as he works...

Can you appreciate the precision and symmetry of this design?

Like a perfect figure eight...

I don't know about you, but to me, this is such a marvelous demonstration of God's amazing creative "genius" at work...

I just thought it was worthy of notice today...

"Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God,
Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who prepares rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains,
He gives to the beast its food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy."
Psalm 147:7-11

Monday, August 27, 2018

Why Bother?

One of my friends posted this quote on Facebook today...and it truly spoke to me.
I've been experiencing some "brain fog" lately, in the aftermath of family issues, the passing of my mother in law, and just plain exhaustion.  I haven't felt like writing...haven't been able to really focus my energy into saying anything worth saying, and was even toying with just taking a "Blog-cation"
(vacation from blogging) for a while...and this was posted today: (and I don't know who Todd Kaneko is...I hope he doesn't mind my sharing this)

So very profound...hit me right between the eyes and in the center of my heart.  Still, I'm not sure when I'll be back up to snuff in writing...but at least this gives me some very strong food for thought.
This is why we blog...this is why I blog...as God leads and gives me words to put onto this page...it's not about me....It's about you...that "someone out there with a wound in the exact shape of your (my) words"...

That's why I "bother" with this blog...as long as God gives me "breath"....

My life verse:

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

I'll be back later...

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Foto Friends - Continuing the Saga of the Family Gathering

Hello Friday Foto Friends! It has been a long week for us as we continue to work through the aftermath since the loss of my mother in law. We have mostly been just plain exhausted and have been trying to rest and not do too much.  Hence, I haven't done much writing or picture taking...so I thought I'd go back and finish what I started to tell you about a few weeks ago.
So here we go:
Recently I shared with you a bit about our family gathering/reunion that we went to in North Carolina.  (Click HERE for that story)   In that post I alluded to the original farmhouse and acreage that belonged to the three siblings that had never married and who "adopted" my brother's family/and vice versa...and that after the last member of that elderly trio of siblings passed on, their house and property were willed to my brother and his family, because they had literally loved and cared for them as if they were family until the very end.  Well, today I am going to show you some of the highlights of that original farmhouse, where my niece and her family now live and call home.   This house dates back to the 1700's...and there was even an old slave cabin on the property...which is being donated to the historical society of the area for preservation...

Anyway...this is the view of the house from the outside.  Sadly, that wonderful chimney is no longer functional...but it served several different fireplaces in that old house back in the day...(I wish I had taken more pictures inside...but I was too caught up in looking to get busy "snapping")

This was an old smokehouse that has seen better days...it was built with logs, and is not very tall...

Interesting OLD tree that was apparently hit by lightning at some point in time...makes a good hideout for squirrels, raccoons, and who knows what...

This is my lovely niece giving us a the grand tour...

Another side view of the old smokehouse...definitely has seen better days...

Lovely butterfly gardens...

Part of the garage building..you can probably guess that my niece is a bit of a "flower child"...she loves colorful decorations and all things natural and beautiful...
 Another view of the garden next to the house...

Now THIS had to be my most favorite thing in the whole place...this wonderful old sink was on the enclosed back porch...a great place to wash up when you come in from the garden...

Isn't it wonderful?

I would LOVE to have an old sink like this...

This beautiful handmade table was lovingly created by my brother for his daughter...I believe it was made from wormy chestnut boards that he found on the property.  It is gorgeous...

Remember in the previous post about this story (see link above) I mentioned that the sister in the trio of siblings was crippled by polio, and that she did very exquisite needlework...Well, here is another example. This is a counted cross-stitch picture of this house, and the detail is remarkable. I was delighted to discover that my father had actually drawn the outline for this pattern for her.  My parents had visited these dear people many times on their trips up to N.C. to visit my brother and family. And so my father had taken an interest in this house and wanted to draw it...and then gave it to the lady of the house to create her cross stitch.  It truly is amazing..and quite large.

Now this is something I could not believe!  Here is original carpet that has been in that house for who knows how many years? We guessed maybe since the 1940's or early 50's, because I don't know that they made this kind of carpet pattern much after that era.  It is in one of the large drawing rooms that has never been used much, hence its excellent condition.  It is perfect for this house and is amazing in detail and color...and still feels thick and plush.

Okay...I know you are wondering about this picture...well...believe it or not, this paper wasp nest is on the ceiling of  the back porch, right above the back door.  We all went in through that door and none of us even noticed it...and we came back out that same door and the wasps did not buzz around a single head!  My niece says they just live there and never bother her or her animals as they come and go...

My niece has several dogs and cats...including THIS dog, whose name is "Happy".  And he is a very happy doggy as he belonged to the original owners of this home and has lived here since he was a pup...so my niece inherited "Happy" along with the house.  "Happy" was our official greeter and true tour guide.

And last but certainly not least, as we were finishing up our tour of the house and getting ready to leave, I couldn't help but notice this very poignant setting...my great-niece sitting and relaxing at the end of the day...
 She is a lovely natural young woman with a beautiful singing voice and a promising future using her many talents...

That's all for this post...now let's go over and check and see what's cooking at Deb's place for Friday Foto Friends...

Here is a good thought for today:

Luke 6:38 (NKJV)

Give, and it will be given to you: 
good measure, pressed down, shaken together, 
and running over will be put into your bosom. 
For with the same measure that you use, 
it will be measured back to you.”

My translation: When we give and do for others without thought for personal gain, God will bless us in ways that we never dreamed possible. And that was the case in this situation. My brother's family knew and loved these dear folks who had no other family to care for them.  The two brothers had faithfully loved and cared for their crippled sister, sacrificing their own personal lives for the sake of her life. When the time came that they were no longer able to physically care for her themselves, my brother and his family stepped in and very lovingly cared for them all as if they were their own family, until the very end.  They did not do this expecting to gain anything, but God blessed their kindness by giving back to them in a beautiful way. 
A very beautiful story, don't you agree?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Are YOU Experiencing a "New Normal" in Your Life? - Updated 8/19/2018

I was just going back through some old posts written over the past several years regarding my "mother-in-law".  There were many...and I may just have to compile them into a kind of book someday. As most of you are aware, "Nanny", my mother-in-law, passed away this past week at the age of 95.  She was an amazing woman until the very end.  We are now experiencing another kind of "New Normal" in our lives...adjusting to life after "Nanny".  It will take some time to adjust...she was such a huge part of our lives for so long. I've been a member of this clan for 49 years, and so I feel like a very large part of my life and heart is missing today.  But we know where she is!  And the things I wrote almost eight years ago (see highlighted below) have now come true for her...

Original Post 1/16/2011:

I do hope to get back to some kind of "normal" someday...I guess I just need to adjust to our "new normal"...and I am very thankful for what God is doing here...but I still need His wisdom and grace each day...  

This was going to be my status statement on my facebook page today, but then I thought perhaps it might need too many explanations, so I decided to move it over to my blog instead.  For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, here goes...

A couple of weeks before Christmas my 87 year old mother in law came to live with us. Now, don't get me wrong...I dearly love my mother in law...she is a beautiful and wonderful person... and we have always had a great relationship...one that has spanned over 41 years!  We have been through a lot of trials and joys together.  She has been a strong support for our family during times of illness and trauma.  She was there for me following my two major surgeries...caring for my personal needs as well as the needs of my home and family when I was unable to get up on my own.  She also came to stay with us many years ago when our son Matthew was undergoing surgery for a brain tumor, and I don't know what I would have done without her help during those very difficult and uncertain days.  She has helped us pack and move more times than I care to remember...and was there helping with the unpacking and resettling as well.  When our children were very small she and my father in law came almost every Sunday afternoon with a car load of groceries to help us through some difficult times.  When my husband felt the call to prepare for the ministry, and our plans got turned upside down because our 18 month old son was hit by a car and we had to make some quick decisions about employment and housing, it was my in-laws' support that carried us through the remainder of that very difficult school year so that we didn't have to drop out of school prematurely. 

The list could go on an on...and actually this has been a very good exercise for me to pause and remember just how much genuine unselfish love this dear lady has showered on our family throughout the years.  It actually is helping me to put things in perspective...

Yes, we are experiencing some major adjustments with these changes that are happening in our home presently...but how could I allow it to be any other way?  How could I not open my home to this dear one who has sacrificed so much for me and mine throughout the years? That's what family is all about...when things get difficult for one or the other...we do whatever we need to do to help the one in need.

Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-36, 
"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'"  

And He concludes this portion in verse 40 with His response to the "sheep" who wondered when they had done all of those things with the following words, 

"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"   

My mother in law truly exemplifies the "sheep" in the above passage...she has literally fulfilled all of the examples given in verses 35-36 in caring for our family so completely throughout the years.  I have no doubt that God, the Great King, will one day say to her, "Vivian, come you blessed of My Father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."   And, knowing my dear humble mother in law, she will respond with awe and amazement, "Lord, when did I do any of those things you mentioned?" and He will tell her, "When you so lovingly cared for your children and grandchildren, and for your own husband and mother and father and sisters (and her own mother and father in law as well)...when you always put others ahead of yourself...and when you loved your daughter-in-law like your very own daughter...even when she was not always as grateful as she should have been and was too proud and selfish to understand how much you truly cared... Yes, Vivian, assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." 

Yes, our family is experiencing a new kind of normal these days...we have added the laughter and sweetness of my mother in law to our home.  And even though she is going through some major adjustments in her own mind and heart and body, she continues to try to do her very best to care for the rest of us at the same time.  We are blessed by her presence, for however long God allows her to stay...and we know that He will give us the grace and wisdom we need each day. 

Thank you, Father, for this lesson today.  It has helped me to recognize exactly what You intended all along.  Amen.

This was our son Benton and my mother in law  on "Nanny Steiner's" 87th birthday in July last year. She loved hearing us sing "Happy Birthday" to her!  Such a great lady!!!

How about you?  What kind of "new normal" are you experiencing these days?  My prayer is that God will give you His insight and grace to help you get through each new day.

Postscript 8/19/18:  I know this gracious woman is rejoicing in the Presence of Jesus today...and enjoying all the joys and beauties of her heavenly home.   And we will see her again someday...thanks to Calvary!!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Foto Friends...Bliss or Blessed?

 Here it is Friday Foto Friends day...and I didn't have my post ready this morning! It's been a rather busy and difficult week, as most of you know, and so I haven't really felt like doing much writing.  But I just couldn't let the day slip by without posting something!  So this may be a rather random and disjointed post today...let's just wing it and see where it leads, okay?

Here goes:

Yesterday we celebrated 49 years of wedded bliss!  Well...49 years of wedded blessings...maybe not all bliss, but certainly all blessed!  Like every couple who has weathered many years of marriage to the same partner...we all know it couldn't always be bliss...every couple and family goes through trials and tribulations at one time or another.  But the blessing comes by offering up those trials to the Lord in prayer, and trusting Him to guide, control, and strengthen us in the process of this life.  When we learn to take our troubles to the Lord, we also learn to dwell in peace and have the joy that can only come from trusting God...no matter what the world throws at us.  So thankful that God helped us to build our marriage on the strong foundation of faith in Christ right from the beginning. Had it not been for that Rock holding us up, there were many times we might have given in to despair and sorrow and have crumbled under the strain.  Praise God for that Mighty Rock...
"This rock is Jesus, yes He's the One...This Rock is Jesus, the Only One...Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds, and grips the Solid Rock..."

In Times Like These 

by Ruth Caye Jones

In times like these you need a Savior,
In times like these you need an anchor; 
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes He's the One,

This Rock is Jesus, the only One;
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these you need the Bible,
In times like these, O be not idle; 
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes He's the One,

This Rock is Jesus, the only One;
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these I have a Savior,
In times like these I have an anchor;
I'm very sure, I'm very sure
My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes He's the One,

This Rock is Jesus, the only One;
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

I think I will leave it here for today. Sorry for not having more pictures to share...but this is the message I've been "given" to share with you today.

Postscript:  I thought I would add a couple of pictures afterall...just to brighten and lighten this up:
We had a delicious steak dinner last night for our anniversary, cooked by our youngest son, who is a "chef"...I didn't take any pictures of the meal...but we used our "wedding china" that rarely gets used due to not being dishwasher safe...Ha Ha:

And recently I found these two bowls at a thrift shop, that go with our other "casual" wedding china:

And even though I really didn't need two more bowls to add to my overstuffed cupboard full of dishes, I could not resist them since they belonged to this set and I never had any of the bowls before!

Also, another random photo or two...I recently had to replace my electric tea-kettle, and purchased this new glass one...and it is such fun to watch the water boil! I love how it lights up with that neon blue light while heating...

They say a "watched pot never boils", but this one does, apparently!  Okay, that's all folks. Wanted to come back with a few photos to make you smile. Hope it happened!  Be blessed...and it's never too late to get your life safely on that Rock!!! Just ask Him and He'll be there!!