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, May 31, 2019

Friday Foto Friends...As Dawn Awakens

It's Friday morning, and this week has been one for the record books in heat and dryness here in Florida.  I haven't been able to get out much since it has been so very hot, and plus we were dealing with our air conditioner breaking down right at the worst of it...after several days of suffering and waiting for our AC man to figure out exactly what was wrong and finding the right part to fix it, we are finally now back to normal and I can breathe again!  So thankful for the invention of air conditioning. I grew up in Florida without it, and let me tell you, that is not a pretty sight! But we were young and played outside most of the time anyway, so we didn't know the difference. No one else had it either, so we all sweated together!!  But now that we are so accustomed to having it, even one day without it is miserable.  But after seeing what others are dealing with around our nation...horrifying tornadoes, floods, and even fires, I must count my blessings and give praise to God for His protection over us, and for being with us even during times of a bit of inconvenience and discomfort.  God is good...all the time, God is good. 

So, I woke up this morning and realized that I didn't have any new pictures to share with you today, so I hurriedly took a little "walkabout" the neighborhood to see what I could see before it got too hot to go out.  Won't you come along with me?

Okay, this is the one picture I took earlier this week, one hot afternoon as I went out to get our mail.  I looked above me and saw this squirrel spread out on this perfect Y branch, trying to keep his belly cool... at least that is what I think he was doing.  He never even budged when I walked under him and stopped to take his picture. He was really relaxed and happy...

So happy to see that the crepe myrtles are starting to bloom in the garden!  I love it when they bloom...they brighten up the yard and brighten up my day...

When I got to the pond, the sun was just rising up behind this big cloud...Isn't that beautiful? And the reflection in the water is actually a better view of the glow around the top of the cloud...

As I surveyed the water to see if anything was out there, I discovered this bird having his breakfast.

At first I thought it was one of the Sand Hill Cranes, but when I got a better view here on the computer, I can see this is something totally different...but I'm not sure what.

Okay, I just looked it up. It is a "Limpken", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limpkin, and I discovered that it is actually a threatened species. 

Here is a video about it,  and now I know that I was very privileged to see this bird in action here this morning.  (This video is from YouTube, not my video, but it also tells more about it this bird in the info underneath the video.)

After watching the bird, I moved on around to the other side of the road, and wanted to take a picture of this little vacation home, aptly named "Reality Check". 

Next I headed back toward home, and just snapped a few more pictures of some of my favorite picturesque spots along the way.  Many of these vacation homes are hardly ever used, which I think is so sad. But at least I can enjoy the beauty of their views while the people are away. 

My favorite little red A-frame in the morning light:

Back to my own yard again, and these trumpet vine flowers are blooming...I used to call them "witches fingers" when I was a little girl. I remember them growing at my Uncle's farm in Pennsylvania, and my cousins and I would pick the flowers and stick them on the ends of our fingers and call them "witches fingers".  Silly kid stuff. Did you ever do that? 

And one of my favorite views, the early morning sun in the Secret Garden...

Psalm 63:1-5
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 as 
with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips."

I pray that you and yours will have a blessed and beautiful day and weekend.  Thank you for sharing this special time with me today.  You are friends that I cherish greatly.  

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Thankful Thursday/Friday Foto Friends

I know, I know, I haven't written a thing this week, and I haven't even been around to visit all of my blogging friends. Please forgive. It just seemed like a busy week, and I couldn't make my brain sit down and settle down and write or read. 

Sometimes you just have to give yourself a break...you know?  I know you all know because many of you have been taking some breaks here and there as well. We need to step away sometimes and give ourselves room to breathe and grow and view things from new perspectives

...or something like that.  Anyway, I am sorry to be so "distant" lately...I hope you are all still out there and haven't gone away...

So, tonight I want to start out by being thankful.  It has been a busy week, but in good ways. We've had some "things" going on, decisions being made about things, steps being taken to begin the process of "downsizing" and cleaning out extra "stuff". 

God has been very gracious...giving us wisdom when we asked for it...patience when we needed it, and hope and reassurance that He is still working on our future plans...His way, not ours.  (That's the BEST way).
(Deer pictures courtesy of my friendly neighborhood deer visiting my yard at noon today)

Let's see, what else has been happening?

Well, last weekend our son and his wife had a yard sale, and we went to help out a little bit...
(and thankfully, the sale was fairly successful...they reached the goal they hoped for and then some...and are going to have another sale THIS weekend as well!)

And one of my friends at church asked if they had a little desk for sale.  I told her no, they didn't, "but I have a little desk that I would be happy to give you".  She was so surprised that I would give it to her and offered to buy it, but I reassured her that I did not want anything for it...just that they would come pick it up.  She was more than happy to do so.  She was thrilled that this desk was exactly what she was hoping for and had actually been praying for.  God answers prayers in mysterious ways sometimes, doesn't He? 
 And then I asked her if they would mind also picking up this sewing machine in a cabinet and take it to the church, for the ladies'  "Sew and Sew" Quilting group.  I've been promising it to them for a while, but didn't have any way to get it there. She was very happy to do so.  Now, I am not telling you this to give myself a pat on the back or from you either...

But I did this for somewhat "selfish" reasons, and some not quite so selfish. 

  1.  It felt good to give something away to someone else who truly needed it and appreciated it.
  2. It helped me to begin the process of "downsizing" and cleaning out and getting ready for our hoped for and expected upcoming move (sometime in the future!)
  3. These were items that I was not really using, and they needed to go where they would be used.
  4. The "Sew and Sew" quilt group makes lap quilts for Hospice House, Ronald McDonald House, and the VA Hospital.   They can use this machine to help make the quilts. I have not been able to participate in the group since we still live too far away to make many trips back and forth during the week, but this is one way of doing my part and helping.
  5. The lady who wanted the desk has the ministry of sending out get well cards, birthday cards, and sympathy cards, etc., from our church to people in the church and community. This little desk would be a way to help her with her ministry
My thoughts were as I donated these items that maybe this would be like planting a seed that will grow into opening the doors for us to finally be able to sell our house and move to the community where our church is and where we want to be able to help serve better in our church and make new friends in that community.  May God bless and honor this prayer and desire of our hearts...in His time.   

Oh, and actually...we did have an offer on our house this week...however it was an extremely LOW offer, one that we could not consider in good conscience,  so we gave a counter offer, but the person was not able to raise her offer...so we will be patient and wait for the Lord to bring someone else.

Now, after all of that excitement, I also got a little creative this week. (I started taking vitamins again, can you tell? I think it's helping...)  Anyway, in removing that sewing machine cabinet from our laundry/utility room area, it left an empty space where we had been storing our containers of soft drinks and bottled water on top of and under that cabinet.  Now I needed something to hold those items still rather than just stacking them on the floor.  I know, I got rid of something, and now I want to put something back, you are saying?!  Well, this is where I got creative.  I decided to create something out of items that we already had taking up space in our workshop/shed.

This is the iron base for an old sewing machine cabinet that I had for many years. The wooden part of the cabinet was falling apart and finally had to be removed/destroyed.  (No, this isn't the one that I have in my house that belonged to my husband's grandmother...this is another that I've had for years).
It was collecting dust in the shed, waiting to be used for something. The treadle and wheel have been gone for years, so it is basically just the "legs". So I cleaned off the dust and spray painted it with a flat black rustoleum paint.

Also, in the shed was this lovely panel of wood, already stained and varnished, which used to be the top to a bench that the bottom got broken off of, and it needed a new home...It just "happened" to fit perfectly on the top of this iron base:

 And so now here it is, the new "beverage bar" in our house...yes, that is "Fresca"...the original grapefruit flavor. My hubby loves that stuff. The coke is for those who don't love that stuff,  and the bottled water is for those who don't love our sulfur tasting well water here...

This little table will also make a great table to hold my portable sewing machine whenever I do get the urge to sew something again...

So, that was my creative project for this week!  I did this all by myself!!!  I am very thankful for the tools, miscellaneous pieces of odds and ends, and the basic skills to do these things.  I am blessed.

And this picture is of my breakfast this morning...yes, those are eggo waffles with syrup and fresh blueberries (cooked for 30 seconds in the microwave to heat them up), sausage and scrambled eggs.  It was delicious...and yes, I DO rejoice in each new day!!!

I especially enjoyed my breakfast, served on this beautiful tray, made on reclaimed wood by my son, at "Ben's Country Woodshop".  This was my one purchase from his yard sale last weekend, and I have been enjoying serving myself breakfast and lunch on this tray as I carry it into the living room where hubby and I often sit and enjoy watching the news (not really enjoying that) or some other interesting program together.  This tray was originally designed to be a laptop tray...but since I don't use a laptop (gasp! I sit at a desk and write on a desktop computer the old fashioned way! LOL), I enjoy it for my own personal dinner tray.  Doesn't take much to make this girl happy!!
Another thing to be thankful for...Ben's Country Woodshop, our son's home business with his wife Rose, along with their online Etsy shops, BRCoastalRusticDecor and Rustic Forest Studio, are really doing well.  They had some real encouragement this past week, as a result of meeting people at the yard sale, that has led to some new opportunities for sales in the local area as well as the online business!  This is a WONDERFUL blessing and answer to prayer...so I just want to give God the glory and praise for all that He is doing in our lives!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Friday Foto Friends...Flora and Fauna

We are not doing a "formal" Friday Foto Friends anymore with a link up to other blogs, but if you check out my list of blogging friends that are listed on the right side of my page, you may find others who also like to post special photos on Friday.

Here are some beauties from my evening walk, taken on Thursday evening:

You may recall seeing this little a-frame cottage from previous year's pictures:
I love to photograph it especially in the morning when the sun is rising over the pond, which is in front of the cottage.  This photo was taken in the fall:

Well, this lovely little A-Frame has recently received new owners, and they are giving it quite the makeover:
 I love it!  I especially love that they painted it barn red! The contrast against the green foliage is so striking...and the new windows with their white trim really stand out, making this, what once was rather lonely, sad and dilapidated, is now a bright and cheerful place to embrace new families and memories!
 (Did you notice the magnolia blossoms in the tree above?)

This wild trumpet vine is growing on my fence (and in a lot of other places)...but it is heralding in the days of late spring and almost early summer...

You may remember seeing  my sweet kids (a.k.a. "The Newlyweds") from my Mother's Day post...but did you notice the lovely pot of flowers they gave me?

Well, just in case you missed it, here are a few pictures to show you how it is blooming more and more every day...another one of those sweet gifts that keep on giving!

My sweet daughter in law picked out each and every flower to put in this pot especially for me. I love that they are also flowers that will attract butterflies!!

 I also love the many vibrant colors and variety of different flowers.  I am truly blessed to have such a sweet daughter in law...(and of course her hubby, my son, is pretty special too!)

I inspect these apples every day when we walk past them, and yes! They are growing!!!!

Now, if you are not familiar with the southern saw palmetto plants that grow everywhere in Florida...and you cannot kill them even if you burn them, they will come right back...anyway...they are now in full bloom! Did you know that they had such lovely flowers? And did you know that they also have an extremely strong fragrance...rather sickeningly sweet?  My hubby says it smells like tear-gas...Wow!! I can see how that could knock you out!! 
 Anyway, as we take our morning and evening walks, the air is filled with this ultra sweet perfume.  Did you also know that this is where the saw-palmetto berries come from? Yes, they are in high demand for the treatment of prostate issues.  We often see people coming into the area when the berries are ripe to pick them and sell them. I don't think they are supposed to be doing that, (without a permit) especially here in the National Forest...but...well...not much we can do to stop them. They are quick and elusive...(Click here for a news article about harvesting saw palmetto berries)  Also, the berries are a main source of food for the black bear...so if you intend to go picking these berries, better watch out for the bears!

Now back to our own back yard and the Memorial Garden...The Rose of Sharon bush is starting to get full of blooms. I love this.

Do you know what this is? This is the blossom of the Mimosa tree. It is a kind of "weed tree" here in Florida, as it seems to be very invasive. But the flowers are lovely. They remind me of a fairy ballerina skirt... (Hasn't everyone seen those?)

My walk to the pond this evening was later than usual, and I was happy to see the Sand Hill Crane Family already back on their little island, bedding down for the night! Yes, this is where they nest every year, and where they sleep at night. They are all over the neighborhood during the day, but they fly back to this tiny little slip of a sand bar with foliage on it in the middle of the pond to sleep. It seems to work for them, so that makes me happy!

Looks like there is a full moon tonight...so I guess it is time to bring this little walk about to an end for now.

We read these verses from Psalm 89 this morning in our devotions:

5.  "And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; 
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
6.  For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?
7.  God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
8.  O Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
9.  You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
10.  You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
11.  The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all its fullness,
You have founded them..."

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Why not take some time to take a little walkabout your neck of the woods and see what you can see? Or take a ride in the country...or the city...whichever you like best! There is so much beauty out there for us...it is a shame to miss it!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Such a Wonderful Treat!

Today we were blessed to be the guests of some very dear people...actually people that some of you here in blogland may already know, or will certainly recognize:

Yes! We were the very happy guests in the lovely new home of our dear hostess at Sweet Tea And Sandals, none other than our friend Barbara and her Beloved Husband Tom.  
If you have been following Barbara's blog, you know that she and her hubby have just recently made a very big move from one part of the state to another, to a wonderful newly constructed home in a marvelous retirement community...which happens to be within an hour's drive from where we live!
If you are like me, you have been watching the progress of them settling into their new home with much interest...and you can imagine just how thrilled my hubby and I were to actually be invited to come and enjoy a delicious lunch and tour of their new home today!!
Actually, this is not our first meeting...if you have followed my blog, you will remember that our friends visited in our home a few months ago as they were passing through from their "old home" to their "new home in progress"...(Click HERE for that story!)...so now we are feeling like we really are "old friends"!

 Barbara is woman of many talents, one of which is quilting.  There were many beautiful quilts throughout her home, and I wish that I had taken the time to photograph every one, but I didn't want to be too overly nosy and zealous...however this quilt above graces the entry hallway to their home, and I found it to be so interesting, with little extra "trinkets" attached  all over the quilt, which each stand for some of Barbara's specific interests and hobbies.

I asked permission to take this picture of her little computer nook, which is just off the kitchen area, and is so very handy and compact...a perfect spot to check emails, write her blog, check new recipes, visit on Facebook...all while keeping track of what's cooking in the kitchen... So very clever. Her hubby built the desk specifically for this space, and it is perfect! Such a great idea!

Now, if you have been following Barb's posts, you know that this master bathroom shower is the main attraction for all guests to their new home! Even before the house was completed, anyone who came to view the progress had to have their pictures taken inside this ginormous shower stall!!

So, of course, I told Barbara that I would not leave her house until we had this same opportunity and privilege...and she was only too happy to oblige us!!  We discussed the fact that since they are living in "horse country", apparently the builders thought their homes should have a shower large enough to give a horse a shower!!  And it certainly could!!! 
 Giddy up...let's move on...

I'm sorry this photo is a little blurry, but I wanted to take a picture of this particular quilt, as Barbara calls this her "moose in the woods" quilt...You will see there is a moose in the middle of all those trees.  Since we have lived in moose country before (New Hampshire and Maine), anything regarding a moose always catches our attention.

I love this Word Wall...with many interesting messages.
Barbara and I both seem to  love signs...so that was a good sign that we would be good friends!

Here's another "sign" that we would be good friends:  Below is Barbara with her "staff", as she calls them...her cute dolls and teddy bears and furry friends who supervise her work in the sewing room.
I don't have a sewing room, but I do have dolls and other kinds of "staff" who keep watching me too.
Probably a good thing...I always need help staying on task.  I would love to introduce Barbara's "Staff" to my "Staff", but they may all conspire together against us and who knows what kind of pandemonium might happen! 

After our wonderful tour, we had a marvelous lunch and a nice long visit.
Thankfully, we remembered before we left that we still had not taken a picture of us together!
So here we are:

One of the other things that makes us have a special connection is our love for the Lord. Perhaps I should say that is "the main attraction".

These verses came to mind as I was thinking about this:

Philippians 2:1-2
"Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, 
if any comfort of love, 
if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

Oh, one more picture on the way out the door.  This is what they call their "mud room".  I can assure you, there was no sign of any mud in this cute little hallway leading out to the garage...just a very clever arrangement of cubbies and a hat rack and storage bench.  What a wonderful idea! 

There were so many beautiful features in this home that I wish I had taken pictures of, but if you visit Barbara's blog you will see different aspects as she welcomes you to visit.  All I can say is, their home is very lovely and so lovingly decorated and designed with family and fellowship in mind...and we were welcomed so kindly and graciously...Barbara and her "Beloved" Tom have certainly mastered the art of southern hospitality in record time!!

Thank you, Barbara and Tom, for this delightful day today.  Now I know everyone out here in blogland will be waiting for their invitation...I may have started something here...but knowing Barbara, she would be more than happy for you to come visit!

This is one of the reasons I love blogging...I have met such wonderful people here...most are still friends through our connections here in "cyberspace"...but what a great joy when we are able to actually meet face to face and realize that we like each other even more in person!! I hope that we will each have that opportunity to meet in person someday.   God bless you each and every one!!!