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, July 29, 2019

Meanwhile, While We Wait...

Good Morning!
(I started writing this early this morning, but it's been a busy morning full of interruptions, so now it is almost lunch time and I'm still working on this...)

One of the views of our pond at our "new house"...still beckoning me to hurry up and get moved over there...

Scripture:  Isaiah 49:13
"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth! 
For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones."

We are in a kind of holding pattern, 

 Like this bumblebee, hovering over the flowers, looking for his best next place to light and slurp his breakfast...

waiting for the next big move.  

 (Isn't this an interesting spider face, looking so winsome as he hangs in space from his spiderweb trapeze?)  Glad I didn't walk into this spider web as we took our morning walk today...

So thankful for this time of rest and preparation. God has been so gracious to us, giving us this wonderful place to retreat, here in our church's parsonage.  I was thinking back over the years as to how many parsonages we have actually lived in over the course of almost fifty years...each one was unique in its own way, and every place had its own peculiar responsibilities calling us to service. (I counted seven actual parsonages, but there were several other houses that we either owned or rented as we served in a pastoral role). I told my husband after we moved in here that I was feeling kind of guilty that we were enjoying this lovely place without any real responsibilities...no church leaders are calling for us to "get to work" to visit the sick, preach the sermons, attend to the funerals and weddings and myriad of other needs that come with the territory of the ministry.  But we know that with church membership there are also responsibilities incumbent upon each member to perform within the scope of their own personal gifts and abilities.  Once we get settled into our own house I expect we will be getting pretty busy with the people of our congregation in one way or another.

Speaking of our church, our church yard/property is currently being reduced in size due to the construction of an additional two lanes to the highway that runs in front of our campus:

 The white building you see here is our educational building. As you can see, the new lanes of the highway will be pretty close!

We did have a front yard full of these lovely big old live oak trees, but these are all that are left now:

Thankfully, the main  part of our church facility is actually facing another street, and will not be affected by this:

It would be terrible to lose this old historical building, so we are thankful it is still safe for now:

Perhaps by having the new road come so close to our church more people will see us and want to come and visit.

They would surely be welcome with open arms.

Here is our Call to Worship from the Evening Service last night:

"With friends and strangers,
with family and neighbors, we gather:
Come among us, Healing God,
with that love which never ends.
With faith reaching out to touch,
with hearts straining to trust, we hope:
Come among us, Friend of the broken,
with Your compassion which makes us whole.
With word and wonder,
with silence and song, we wait:
Come among us, Dryer of our tears,
to lift us to our feet to follow You."

So, back to our move in progress...we are still waiting for everything to come together so we can close on our "new house".  Closing is currently set for August 12.  Meanwhile, we are lining everything up so that once the closing happens, work will begin immediately to make necessary repairs and then we can move in.  Hopefully we will be moved in by the end of the month..."Lord willing and the creek don't rise!"  This morning we took a little ride over to the "new house", just to touch base. I like to walk around the grounds and enjoy the atmosphere. We can't get inside the house unless the realtor comes with us, and I don't want to bother her.  But we did have a "visitor" waiting for us when we arrived:

 She was resting under the front deck (one of the things that is going to be repaired/replaced), and when she saw me she found a quick route under the house and out the back to the woods on the other side near the pond:
She is a pretty kitty, but I am assuming she is feral and probably won't let us get too close...although I was surprised she stood still long enough to let me take her picture. I just hope she doesn't have a litter of kittens hiding somewhere under the house...we'll cross that bridge if we come to it...

Here is a glimpse of our back yard and woods and pond on the right.  The steps/deck you see will become a part of a much larger deck that will span the back of the house from where you see them now to all the way back towards where I am standing and will end at the utility room door.  That will give us a nice viewpoint for enjoying the pond.  Our back yard isn't very deep, but the lot is wide...where you see those trees in front of you is a wooded lot that is part of our land. That is where I plan to clear out an area to put "The Secret/Memorial Garden", overlooking the pond.

Here is the back looking from the other direction. The new deck will go from the sliding doors all the way to the utility room door, and be about 32' X 8'.  We won't be able to cover it with a porch roof at this time, but maybe sometime in the future. Yes, the house needs to be pressure-washed and freshened up on the outside.  I will keep you posted as we make progress on this...

So that is enough info for today.  Thank you for hanging in with me. I am trying to get around and visit you all more this week since things seem to have calmed down a little bit. 
(Famous last words! Ha!)

Have a blessed and wonderful week!  May God bless you with His steadfast love and kindness and mercy every day. Amen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Closed Doors, Open Windows to our New Life

First of all, let me say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have taken a moment to read and respond to my previous post HERE.  It has been such a busy time, and there just hasn't been time for me to reply to each comment, but I have read them and cherish your thoughts and each and every one of YOU.  Likewise, I haven't been able to get around and visit everyone else as I should, so I pray you will forgive me. Once this move is completely over there should be more time to visit.  It seems my brain, like this wind spinner,  is going in too many different directions right now, and I can't seem to focus on any one thing long enough to compose my thoughts.  So bear with me. It's going to get better soon. 

This is my reminder to "Rejoice in each new day"...even when I'm bone weary tired! Just sit down in the back yard of the Parsonage and relax with a cup of tea (when it's not too hot to be outside...) and let God restore and revive my weary bones and spirit...

So here is an update on what's been happening since we last visited. We finally got all of our stuff out of the old house and got it cleaned and ready for the new owners. I wish I could say it looked as good as new...but in reality, it looked pretty sad and in need of some new carpet (or no carpet at all...which would have been my choice!) and probably some fresh paint.  I didn't take any pictures of the house after we completely emptied it...it just looked too "sad".  But I must tell you that I was not sad...just very glad...and thankful that God had finally "Closed" that door...and has now "Opened" a very lovely large window into our future, and we are extremely thankful and rejoicing in what He has done.

We did bring with us some very special things and "critters"....This beautiful bench that my sons made for me for the Secret Garden...which will soon have a new home in a new Secret Garden at our new home...

These few plants from the Memorial Garden, especially the Rose of Sharon bush that my daughter in law selected because of its purple flowers, and one of the climbing Don Juan rose bushes that my siblings gave me for the Memorial Garden. I have since cut them back and am keeping them well watered, and praying they will survive thee move.

These little bunnies look like they are kind of unsure about where they are and what's going on, but they will also soon find a new home in the new Secret Garden...

Along with Mr. Froggy_Splatt...who seems to be quite pleased right where he is. I think he will love the new pond setting at the new house...
 And of course we couldn't leave behind Bobby the Squirrel...He is making friends here in the back yard...well, maybe not...I can hear the resident squirrels in the treetops scolding him for just sitting there and not coming up the tree to play...

Yesterday was the final closing for our "old" house, and the new buyers signed their papers and paid their money, and we are now totally free from that house. I can only say to you that we feel a profound sense of relief and thanksgiving. I do pray they will love it and enjoy it and make it their own very special home.

Meanwhile, we are getting prepared for our next move into our new home. Our closing there will not be until August 12, but we have many things to take care of in the meantime. Lining up quotes for some of the repair work that we need to do to make it our own home, as well as making sure all of the paper work is done prior to closing.  This keeps my brain swimming with details, and many lists are being made.  I am so glad we have this interim time to accomplish these tasks. God certainly had it all timed perfectly.

And speaking of God...the whole purpose in making this move was because we fell in love with this community and this church and these people.  I know I haven't shared any Sermon Notes in a while. Let me say that our new pastor is doing an excellent job in preaching to us exactly what we need to hear...this past Sunday was about us being the "Temple of God"..taken from I Corinthians 3:16-17 and I Corinthians 6:19-20.  Interestingly, our Sunday School lesson was on us being the "Body of Christ"...so between these two lessons we are understanding even better just who we are in the grand plan of God...we are His Temple, where He dwells, and we are Christ's Body, and we each have a very important purpose in being here...to love one another and to encourage the other members of the Body of Christ...to share the love of Christ with the world, and to worship and honor God with all that we do....

And one more beautiful part of this is that now we are able to also attend the Sunday evening service at church. We couldn't go before because it was just too far for us to travel two times in one day, but now we are about a mile from the church and have no good excuse! So we were blessed by the evening service, filled with music and praise and prayer...I told our friends there that I felt like I had been to "Camp Meeting"...it was so refreshing and filled with joy.  We are looking forward to adding this to our Sunday worship each week. 

Now to end on a funny note...this past weekend my hubby made the mistake of throwing something up in the air and it landed in this big tree beside the house (the parsonage).  Well, it got stuck in the tree, and so he tried to find something to knock it back down. Before he was done he had brooms, pipes, rakes and even a small shovel stuck up in that tree! I kid you not!  That tree has branches that grasp anything you throw and refuses to let go! SO, last evening our kids came over to visit and brought pizza for supper! (Another reason for our being so happy here...our kids live just a couple of miles away)...and they all took their turns trying to knock all these things out of the tree...it finally took a few hits with a large plastic bottle filled with water to knock most of the items down...there is still a broom that refuses to let go, however...and so we will save that for another day...

 Here below our daughter in law is throwing a Bocce Ball into the tree to see if that would knock the items down...she had a good arm and I think she was more successful than the guys at getting things knocked down.   We had to quit because a big storm was brewing and we didn't want to get hit by lightning....which soon became quite close and frequent...

After the storm and after the kids went back home, hubby and I took a walk and enjoyed this sunset...

And thus we come to the end of another day...but a day filled with joy and promise and hope for our new life here in this new "Open Window".  It won't be long before we will be moving into our new house and will have many more new adventures to share with you.  But for now, if you don't hear from me regularly, just pray that God is giving me the strength to keep up with everything each day. I know He will...but it's nice to know you are praying.

Have a blessed and glorious day wherever you are and in whatever adventures God is calling you to do.  Remember, God is with you wherever you go...He will never leave you nor forsake you...just trust in Him and He will guide you and keep you safe in the palm of His loving hands. 

"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." 
Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

First Post from Here

I can't believe it has almost been a week since I last wrote to you HERE. And that was my "Last Post from" There...our now "old house".... a lot has happened since then...we have managed to make not just one big trip with the biggest UHaul truck from there to here, two trips in two days with the biggest UHaul truck, plus several other vehicles and trailers filled to the brim, and we still have one more trip to make tomorrow to with our car and our son's truck/trailer to hopefully finish up, clean up, and close up that chapter of our lives for good! Our closing on that house will be Friday for us as the sellers, and Monday for the buyers.  And then we can concentrate on getting ready for closing on our new house and preparing to move everything again in about a month!!! Wow...you think your head is swimming from all these details...you should be sitting where I am right now! So you may be asking, "Where ARE you sitting right now?"  Well, if you follow me on Facebook you will know that through the blessing of God and the kindness of some wonderful people, we are staying in our church's currently empty parsonage.  Empty only in the sense that no pastor is currently living here. Full in that we are able to store all of our belongings in this lovely house and 2 car garage, and I will tell you it is full to the brim!!

Fortunately, this is a large home, and we are able to set up some living space in the family room with room for our recliners, computer, and TV.  And we also have a bed in the master bedroom and our son, who is with us, also has a room, 
so we are comfy cozy

 And if it wasn't so hot, we could even have a fire in the fireplace...

But I prefer to relax in my recliner under the ceiling fan:

So we are so very thankful to be here, rejoicing in God's perfect timing in that this house became available for us when our former pastor retired and moved out, and the new pastor already has his own home nearby and doesn't need the parsonage.  God knew all along that our house would sell at this precise time, and He already also knew that we would need this place for a temporary shelter until our new house is ready for closing.  What a wonderful God we serve!!

 So here we are on our first morning walk here, enjoying the beauty of this lovely home and setting...
 "The Parsonage"

Beautiful crepe myrtles blooming against a magnificent blue sky

Lovely garden spider in the garden, of course...

Such a wonderful hydrangea blossom...

And...well,here's hubby doing whatever...fixing his hair? When I told him I wanted to take his picture on our new walking road.   Yes, this is a lovely, peaceful, quiet place...a perfect spot for us to rest up for our next moving adventure in a few weeks.

And speaking of our next move...last evening we took a ride over to our new house to just walk around and get the feel of it in the evening. I was hoping for a sunset, but it was too cloudy, but God blessed me with this amazing view anyway:
 Do you see the heart in the picture above?  I put this on facebook last night, and everyone saw it right away...it is a picture of love from our Heavenly Father, smiling His blessing upon our new home. That is what I believe, anyway...
 I am really looking forward to waking up to this view every morning and enjoying it throughout the day.

Today we went back to the new house to meet the "Inspector", who was giving it the whole house/4 point inspection. We will get the results in a day or two. We are trusting there are no major issues that cannot be readily addressed. We know there are a few things we are going to have to take care of before we move in, but hopefully there won't be any other surprises.  We enjoyed meeting this very knowledgeable elderly man, who has led an extremely unique and interesting life. He is a widower, and we could tell very lonely, as he just seemed to enjoy talking and sharing his life story with us. He apologized for talking so much, but he said, "I've got two chihuahuas and one Pit Bull at my house, and although they are wonderful companions, they aren't very good conversationalists."  Hubby and I have determined that once we get moved in and settled in our new house, this gentleman will be one of our first house guests for dinner, along with our very sweet realtor lady here, who is also an elderly widow and such a wonderful person. No, I'm not "matchmaking"...I don't think they would be that compatible, but they would make entertaining house guests...so that is something to look forward to in our new home.

Many have asked for pictures of our new house, and so far I have not shared any of the house itself, because it is going to need some cosmetic work on the exterior (nothing major...just some refreshing) before we move in, so I want to save that for later.  However, I will give you tiny glimpses of some things I was looking at today:

 Above is the view from the dining room (front) window.  Yes, we were about to have a big thunderstorm, so we had to cut off the conversation with the Inspector so he could get back to inspecting and we could get on home...but I liked that view of that magnolia tree across the street.  You can also see that we will now be living on a paved road...which is new to us after many years on dirt roads out in the country.  We are still not too sure about our walking route in this new neighborhood...we shall see how many dogs bark at us...that usually determines where we want to walk. We may just drive back over to "the Parsonage" and walk there where it is real quiet...we'll see. Some adjustments ahead for us you can see.  (We are more accustomed to watching for deer and bears when we walk...)

And above is a view of the back of the head of The Inspector, and also the light fixture above the island in the kitchen, and some of the kitchen cabinets.  Interestingly all of the upper cabinets have these glass doors.  They are pretty, maybe a little dated, but I'm okay with them,  as I have had to give up my big white china cabinet and these glass cabinets will give me a place to display my dishes.  There is also this wallpaper in the kitchen, which also may be a little dated, but I do have a lot of blue accents in my things, so again, I'm actually happy with this.  If I get tired of it I can always paint...but for now I am very happy with the interior of the house and look forward to sharing more of it with you as time goes by...
 Here are the rest of the cabinets in the kitchen..and you will see below that there is a gas range...which will be a FIRST for me! I have never cooked on a gas range before, and people tell me I will love it...but I just pray I don't blow up the place.  Better pray for me...I am truly a little nervous about it...

Well, that's all I'm going to share tonight. Need to save something for another time.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement during these stressful days of selling one house, moving out, buying another house and moving again all in a month's time. So very thankful for this time of rest in the meantime  as we wait for the next move. Oh, but wait, tomorrow we still have to go finish cleaning the "old house"...and believe me, that is going to be a chore! I never realized how much dust could accumulate behind and under and around things that we couldn't move in over seven years...  I am also determined that when we move into our new house we will only be moving in what we really want and what fits. I expect to be sending a lot of extra stuff to the church thrift store before we are through with this move...or giving it away to whomever walks through the door and says I'll take it!!

Here's a thought for the day from our devotional reading this morning:

Our Bible is our "EOB", "Explanation of Benefits", much like the explanation of our health benefits we receive from our insurance health plan...only the Bible gives us our "Spiritual Health Plan"...

"Bless The Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!  
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; 
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, 
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Psalm 103:1-5

Our souls have wonderful benefits from the Lord, who guides and strengthens us along life's way. There can be no better "spiritual health plan", which has been given freely for life, both for now and for eternity! Be sure to read this "explanation of benefits" every day for a healthy soul, mind, and body!!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Last Message From Here

Well folks, today will be our last day in our house in the woods...

This was the view on our front porch on the 4th of July, when rain was threatening in the skies and we decided our flag was safer on the porch than out on the pole...

There I am taking this last picture on our front porch...

This week has been a busy week of packing, taking care of paperwork for the sale of our current home and the purchase of our new home...

I was washing these pretty silk flowers before packing them, and I set them on the dishtowel to dry, and realized that they matched quite perfectly!  Just a little bit of whimsy while I work...

So this is the scene in our dining room and kitchen right now...(actually, this was yesterday, but it doesn't look any better today...more boxes...)

Much of the work that has been done in the dining room has been accomplished by my two dear friends Maura and Marian...They came and worked two days in a  row to help pack the many china dishes, teapots, cups and saucers and general knicknacks and paddywacks from the curio cabinet and two china cabinets...
I don't know what I would have done without their help. I praise God for these special friends who have been with us through thick and thin over the past seven and 1/2 years.  They have truly blessed our lives with their love and willingness to give of themselves to bless others. Thankfully we are not moving all that far away, and we will be able to stay in touch and hopefully see each other often.

 Since we decided to move the majority of everything this weekend instead of waiting until next week, I've been put into turbo mode to get everything done on time. We will rent the largest UHaul truck on Saturday to take the furniture, appliances, and whatever else will fit.  Then we will make little trips next week with our son's pick up and covered trailer to finish up with whatever is left over and clean up and close up and say good-bye to this house...
Once the pictures and personal items are removed from the walls and shelves of a house it kind of loses its "homey" feel and becomes a shell of what once was...a place where much laughter, joy, some tears and sorrow, many memories were made with loved ones and friends and our wildlife neighbors...

We haven't had much time for walking this week, but when we did Mr. Osprey was out there to greet us:

And one day there were three of these kinds of planes flying very low over our house. I think this may have been on the 4th of July.

This ladybug was enjoying its breakfast on the leaf of this wild kind of milkweed plant growing alongside the road:

This is what the buds looked like a few weeks ago on this plant:

And I guess I didn't get a good picture of the flowers, but now this seed pod is growing on the plant, which is strange... I never saw this stage of it before...Oh well, I will miss watching this plant grow back each year...it is all alone on the side of the road, and it disappears in winter, and then comes back each spring!

But I will soon be on a new road of adventure...staring tomorrow we will be staying in our church parsonage, which is a very lovely home and we are blessed to be able to camp out there for a few weeks until we close on our "new house".
The Church Parsonage
I apologize that I did not post the sermon notes from our new pastor this past week. Yes, our new pastor and his lovely wife began their ministry at our church on Sunday, and his message was powerful and wonderful, and I did take copious notes, but I just couldn't get my head organized to sit down and share it with you. I hope to do better once we get settled.  In case you are wondering, the parsonage is available to us to use because our new pastor already has his own home within a close enough distance to commute, so he will not need this house.  The church plans to use it for special meetings and events throughout the year (after we move out in a few weeks, of course!)
This is just one of many blessings from the Lord in this move.

Once we get our internet back up and running next week, I will keep you updated as much as possible on our comings and goings.  We are so thankful that the Lord, and our church, have provided this lovely home for us to stay in during the interim. It will be a peaceful haven in midst of the chaos of moving.

Oh, those of you on my Facebook already know this, but all you may not know...we got to meet the new owners of our current home yesterday. Remember, they had purchased the home sight unseen, and yesterday was their first look up close and personal at what they had bought. I was a little nervous that perhaps they may want to change their minds once they saw it for real...but again, God proved to me that my fears were unwarranted.  They LOVED the house and were delighted with all of it interesting character and points of interest. They are moving here all the way from Idaho, and are quite happy to be escaping the cold winters and heavy snowfall there. They didn't even seem to mind the 100% humidity and hot muggy atmosphere here.  

So, thank You, Lord, again...for preparing all of this ahead of time, in YOUR time, exactly as it should be.  I know that You are with us in this move...and today I am relying on Your strength to help us get all of the work done so that we can be ready to roll when the truck arrives to take us away to our new adventure! 

Okay, duty calls... I must get "moving" or we'll never make it...

God bless you all, and I'll see you later...