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!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Celebrating a Special Day

What a wonderful day!!  My birthday!! God is so good, He's so good to me! We started out the day by going to breakfast....but wait...this rose is still blooming after a week:
I couldn't believe it!  Some evenings it droops its head and looks like it is dead, but I've been snipping off the end of the stem each day a little and giving it fresh water, and it keeps reviving and blessing me every day! I first told you the story about this rose here, last week. It truly is a "heaven-sent blessing" for my birthday! In case you are wondering about this lovely green vase, that belonged to my mother, and she always kept it near her kitchen sink/windowsill, ready to receive roses from their flower garden too. This is the same kind of rose that my parents grew, "Don Juan" climbing rose, and I absolutely love it.

Okay, so back to the day.  Hubby and I took off for Palatka, the closest "big" town near us, our county seat, about 15 miles from here, (big, in that they have Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, stuff like that...) and we went downtown to their old revitalized downtown area and had breakfast at the Magnolia Cafe'
 We had a delightful table in the front windows, overlooking the street...

I asked for hot tea, and look at the choices!

It was a difficult decision, but I finally decided on Tazo Wild Sweet Orange.  I mean, it's my birthday...so why not be a little daring and wild?  It was very good...especially with lemon and honey.
 My breakfast was more than I should have eaten...but I did eat the whole thing...(didn't eat any lunch to make up for it...)
 Omelette with spinach, cheese, peppers, onions, sausage, and a side of bacon and home fries and toast. Wow...I was stuffed!

Then we stepped next door to the "Urban Farmhouse" vintage and farmhouse style furnishings.  Our son and his lovely wife, working as the team "Ben & Rose's Country Woodshop", create lovely tables and benches in the farmhouse style, along with refinishing vintage tables and dressers, etc., like this one below: and they sell them here on consignment...

And this one:

They didn't make this one, but actually I see one they did do on the corner of the picture and I didn't even realize it at the time:

They did build this one below:

When I told the lady who runs the store who I was, she told me that our son and daughter in law do great work and actually she had just sold two of their items the day before that they aren't even aware of as they are away on a little vacation!  So they will be excited to hear that good news...which helped pay for their vacation!!

For supper our other son, who lives here, grilled some delicious steaks for us...and that was a wonderful way to celebrate the day.  But then I decided I needed to do one more special thing "just for me"...I finally took a bath in my very own bathtub in my very own bathroom! I've been saving this little pleasure for a special day, and I figured my birthday was exactly that...so I filled up the tub, added some delightful bubble bath (lavender scented) lit a candle,  and luxuriated in the tub until the water got too cool...Such a relaxing way to end the day!

If you decide to come for a visit, you are welcome to take a bath too..."Hot Bath 25 cents, Soap and Towel Extra"....Ha ha...no you won't have to pay...it's just a fun little sign that my son painted for me some time ago...

To continue the celebration, some family and friends from out of town are coming over on Friday for lunch and to see our new house for the first time. I've still got some work to do before then, but have decided not to stress over it.  It's not perfect...but whose house is?   I know mine will never be perfect, but we are enjoying it and looking forward to sharing it with others as time goes by.

So I end this special day with a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, for His great kindness and blessing in my life for all of these years...and yes, they are getting to be "many" years...but praise God, I have been blessed with good health, and a wonderful home and family and many friends. What more can we ask for?

I like what this little devotional calendar says for today:

"Don't let the abundance of God's gifts cause you to forget the Giver."

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom 
and knowledge of God!"
Romans 11:33a NIV

Wonderful reminder. Sometimes we get so caught up in the blessings that we forget to thank the One Who made it all possible. I don't ever want to be guilty of that.  God has been so good to us...but even greater than all these "things" are the "depth of riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"...Our salvation in Jesus Christ is the greatest gift of all! Without Him...we would be nothing at all.  So I give thanks to Jesus for His love and saving grace...and for the abundance of life in Him that overflows in joy and gladness.  Praise God!

Have a blessed day tomorrow dear friends. I'm fully relaxed now and ready for bed! Tomorrow is another day to praise the Lord and serve Him with gladness!! 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A Dream Come True

For those of you who have followed along on this journey into a new chapter of our lives, you may have gotten the idea that we are pretty excited about our new life living "on the pond".   There are so many facets of this move that have brought us such joy and delight that I am only beginning to be able to list them all...and maybe I won't be able to list them all at all!! God has been so very gracious and kind to us, and we are extremely thankful and glad.

The picture above is a kind of fulfillment of many dreams and little answers to prayer...to finally be able to sit down beside our own pond (well, not really our own pond....we don't own the pond, but it borders our property so we feel like it belongs to us...) and enjoy the sights and sounds of pond living.
 (The male and female wood ducks were together above...but I am sorry this isn't real clear. They were pretty far away).

We frequently hear the keen shrill cry of the red shouldered hawk as he warns the other birds of his presence and stakes out his territory.  He is flying across the pond to the trees on the other side:
 And there he is, watching whatever is below.   Actually, I should tell you, that on the other side of those trees there is a highway...and we can hear the sounds of cars rushing to and fro to work each day...so it really isn't all peace and quiet here on this pond.  Some cars, trucks, and motorcycles just love to see how loud they can be as they take off down the road...and that can be a little disconcerting because it drowns out the sounds of the hawk and birds calling...but I've learned that after you live here a while the noise of the traffic kind of fades into the background when you focus on what is better and more pleasant rather than on the negative.

Like this little Chickadee who was visiting the bird feeder while I sat and watched him from my garden bench.  He was oblivious to the noise outside of our little sanctuary, and just went about his business of gathering seeds for his supper and making his high pitched "chickadee dee dee" sounds as he flew about calling to his family and friends...

And as the sun was setting across the pond, the sounds of the frogs and cicadas in the trees took over, and the bats began to wing their way about, drinking in the mosquitoes as they flew...which kept them from finding me as I sat and watched from my chair on the shore...and the sounds of the highway faded into the distance and I was taken away to a place of peace and joy and total relaxation and thankfulness that God has chosen to bless us in this special way. 

When I say it is a "dream come true" for me...let me show you a little of what I mean.  Several years ago I picked up this little book at the gift shop at Cracker Barrel.  I fell in love with its beautiful paintings by Darrell Bush, and the Psalms, Scriptures, quaint verses and poems, thoughts and reflections, and even recipes for lakeside living scattered throughout its pages.  Here are a few examples of what is in the book..."Beside Still Waters...Refreshing Moments to Restore Your Soul". (published by Harvest House Publishers)

You might recognize this picture from a previous post...this is my calendar, and the paintings in it are also by Darrell Bush, and many are similar or the same as the ones in this little book...just another example of my love for this kind of "life"...

 See any resemblance to my photo up at the top?  Yes, this has been a "picture" in my mind for some time of the kind of place that I wanted to live someday...Many times I would pick up this little book and read it through again and just kind of sigh and whisper, "some day, Lord?"

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "Thank You, that would suffice." Meister Eckhart

Well, tonight I want to say "Thank You" to the Lord, for hearing the dreams of my heart and understanding how this would be such a joy and blessing to me and hopefully to those in our family and our friends. 

The Bible says:

Psalm 37:3-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

"3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday."

Please don't think that if you "do good", that God will automatically give you what you want.  That is not what this means at all.  We should never be doing things to "bargain with God" or to try and influence Him to give us what we want.  No, the important part of this passage is to "Trust in the Lord...feed on His faithfulness...Commit your way to the Lord..."  In other words, live for Jesus, trust Him with all your heart no matter what comes your way.  Be faithful to God, bloom where you are planted ("Dwell in the land").  When you trust in the Lord and DELIGHT in Him...He will actually delight in you and take care of all your needs.  We should never say, "If I do this for God then maybe He will give me what I want."...That's a sure way to run into all kinds of trials and tribulations and temptations that will test your faith and cause you to sometimes question just where is God anyway!  No, we must TRUST in the Lord to give us exactly what is BEST for us...to lead us in the paths of His choice for us because He will never lead us astray.  When we delight in Him, we find that life takes on a whole new meaning.  Our desires of our hearts become Godly desires that cause us to serve Him with gladness no matter where He leads us.  This I know from many experiences in life.

However, for whatever reason we have finally reached this destination that has been a dream for a long time, we pray that God will indeed bless our home and help us to use this gift to share Christ with others and to love our neighbors as He would want us to do.   There are many lonely, unhappy people on the other side of that pond...as a matter of fact on the far side of the pond beyond the trees there is a bar, and we can hear the noise from there a little louder on Friday and Saturday nights. Thankfully, it isn't real loud, but enough for us to know that it is there, especially when the motorcycles drive in and out... But I thought about that today and said a prayer for those who are over on the other side of the pond...that God would guide them to a place of peace and trust in Him, and that they would find restoration for their souls perhaps as a gentle wind of the Spirit moving across the pond to blow across their hearts when they come outside for a breath of fresh air...God is able to do that, you know?  So as I sit in my Adirondack chair or on the Secret Garden Bench or on the deck overlooking the pond, I pray for those on the other side.  Maybe that is a reason why we are here...who knows?  God knows...

So now you know about my little "dream come true".  Sometimes it isn't everything it may appear on the surface, lest some may be prone to covet the beauty of this place...there is always a hidden purpose or cost or challenge...but that is life...especially when we choose to "Trust in the Lord, feed on His faithfulness, and Commit our way to the Lord." But He is right here with us to guide and lead and bless us, yes, even with the "desires of our hearts".  Praise God!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

It's About Time I Wrote Something!

I know, it's been a long time since I wrote anything...and I apologize for not being more attentive to everyone else's posts as well.  All I can say is, if you've ever moved, you will understand...and if you've ever moved at this stage in life...(late 60's early 70's, 50 years of marriage) then you should understand even better.  It's slow moving...literally...our bodies just can't do what they used to do, and the struggle to figure out where to put things, how to move them, what to do with many things, waiting for others much younger and stronger to help...the struggle is real...moving is NOT for old folks or sissies!

All that being said, I guess it's about time I give my dear blogging friends a sneak preview of what's been going on here...this is an exclusive just for my blogging friends.  Most of these pictures have never been seen before on Facebook or elsewhere...they are brand new, hot off the "press" so to speak. So where should I begin? Let's see:

Well, I do spend a lot of time looking at the pond, and that is probably another reason why this settling into the house is taking so long...I'd rather sit outside and look at the beauty surrounding us...the reason we bought this particular house...So here's a lovely look at the lilies on the pond as they opened up their blossoms to the sun...

And this is a lovely female wood duck seen paddling around on the pond early in the mornings and in the evenings...

This is the silhouette of our resident hawk who keeps a "hawk eye" on everything that goes on around here...

Today this Downy Woodpecker was pecking its way around the pines...

They are so small and quick, I was fortunate to get these photos...

These are "phragmites" on the island in the pond.  If you don't know what that is, here is a link to some information: https://www.fws.gov/gomcp/pdfs/phragmitesqa_factsheet.pdf

I think they are pretty waving in the sunshine, but I guess they are a bit invasive and apparently not a desirable thing to have. Oh well...I still think they are pretty.

My view from the "Secret Garden" bench...no I haven't exactly established the "secret garden" yet, but this is the closest thing to it for now, and I love to sit here in the evening looking at the pond.

This evening while I was sitting there I noticed something large fly in across the pond:

It was this giant blue heron...

See how tall he is when he stretches out his neck?  I guess he was looking for his supper...

The following pictures have already been shown on Facebook, but many of you haven't seen them...this rose is a blossom from the Memorial Garden rosebush that I dug up and brought with me when we moved.  I have been nursing it along all summer in its pot of dirt, and this week it rewarded me with this lovely blossom.  For those who may not be familiar, the "memorial garden" was established in memory of our son Matthew, who left this world for his eternal home five years ago.  We built a special Memorial Garden at our old house and planted special plants there in memory of him.  I brought this one with us and also the Rose of Sharon bush that we planted. It is also doing well, but no flowers right now. They usually only bloom in June and July.  I hope to plant these in a new "memorial garden" here at our new home, once I figure out where is the best spot to put it.

The wonderful blessing of this particular blossom is that my birthday is next week, and it always seems that this rose bush has bloomed on or around special days of our lives. I consider it a gift from heaven from our son...and I feel extremely blessed and thankful. God knows exactly what we need...

Switching gears a bit, many have been asking and waiting to see what the inside of our new house looks like.

I should have warned you that this post would be photo overload! But this makes up for the last few weeks that I haven't posted anything! Thank you for hanging in there with me. I don't know when I will be posting again, so might as well enjoy it while we can!

These pictures are of our kitchen cupboards.  I know many will say it's too cluttered. Others wonder why I didn't get rid of all this stuff.  I've been trying...I actually have gotten rid of quite a bit...but, well, what can I say?  I asked my hubby if it was just "too much" and he said "No".  "It's our home and these are things that make it special".  So there...he actually made me feel so much better. But I am still trying to eliminate quite a few things...it's just not as easy as one would think...

Having all glass door upper cabinets does make it look a bit busy, but actually I am enjoying them now that they are filled.

Since I had to leave behind my big white china cabinet where I was able to store and display so many special dishes, these cabinets have helped to provide a place for the special dishes and tea pots, tea cups, etc. (Even a place for the Pink Flamingo cookie jar..that was supposed to be a "joke", but it's still hanging around...it may become a gift to someone else one of these days...)

The Tea and Coffee station

I forgot that my blogging friends haven't seen this new pantry cupboard that my son built for me.
I really needed a place to put canned goods and some large items that wouldn't fit in these smaller cabinets. Plus, I am too old to get down on the floor to look for canned goods anymore. This has been a life saver.

Here's my sweet son and his wonderful wife. They do have a furniture building business in their home, so this was a natural thing to do...(after I presented the idea with a big "please, please please?")

Here it is filled up:

Welcome to the foyer...please be sure to sign the guestbook when you arrive...

And the buffet has to be in the living room/great room. This house does not have a formal dining room, so we are innovating...

Here's the dining room table, trying to look like fall...

Around the corner in my little den...yes, the doll house made it without too many bumps or issues!
 These cabinets are all in my little "den"/office/tea room...it's a bit crowded, but there was no other place to put them...and I can't get rid of "Nanny's Hoosier Cupboard" or the lovely hutch cabinet that my son built for me at our old house...

Remember, "the room with a view"? 

(my view on a sunny day:)

But all this stuff had to go somewhere...so as I twirl around in my rolling office chair, these are the things I see around me..."Nanny's China Cabinet" (remember the one I broke the curved glass in when we moved into our other house?  Thankfully the remaining glass survived this move).

Now, on to my bathroom...yes, "my bathroom"...I've never had my very own bathroom before that I didn't have to share with my hubby...but this house actually has two bathrooms in our master bedroom...one with a shower, sink/vanity and toilet, and the other with a large soaking bathtub, sink/vanity, toilet (remember the three toilet story HERE?) and then an additional bathroom for our guests on the other side of the house.  But here in my bathroom (the one with the tub) I hung the picture of the "Angel of the Woods" that I took back at our old home...I thought she would enjoy living here and watching over these "woods" too....

 Our living room is still a work in progress. We haven't been able to hang too many pictures, etc., yet, as I am still trying to make sure the furniture is where we want it before we start hanging things. But I think we are about ready to get pictures hung...it's just so time consuming and you have to be so careful to find the studs and line things up straight before you poke a hole in the wall.  So I am taking my time with this...

The other side of the living room, looking back toward the foyer and front door.
I probably should have cleaned up a little before taking pictures.  But if you have to wait for me to clean up you will never see any pictures...

So, let's go back outside before we close for the night...Last evening our kids came over and helped us set up the new patio tables and umbrellas.  We got an extremely good deal  at Home Depot on their end of the season patio furniture sale. We were able to purchase two round tables and umbrellas basically for the price of one...and now we are ready to start entertaining on the back deck...

as soon as these pesky "lovebugs" go away.  (You have to live in the south to understand just how nasty these things are...we are definitely ready for them to leave...usually here for the month of September and May...)

And the front deck is decked out for fall and ready to welcome guests...

So here we come to the end of this day and time to say good night...
But like Motel 6, "We'll keep a light on for you"...if you want to come and stay a spell...
(Just let me know in advance...the guest room is one room that is NOT ready...but I am working on it a little at a time...it's just a kind of catch all room right now for things that we don't know what to do with...and there's still a lot of that...but if we know you are coming we will get it ready asap!)

So thankful that the Lord always keeps a light on for us too...His guest room is always ready and He will never turn anyone away empty...

Here are some thoughts from the Psalms as we close for this evening...(actually this is what we read in our morning devotions this morning)

Psalm 111

"Praise the Lord!
I will praise the Lord with my whole heart,
in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
The works of the Lord  are great,
studied by all who have pleasure in them.
His work is honorable and glorious,
and His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
He has declared to His people the power of His works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of His hands are verity and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They stand fast forever and ever,
and are done in truth and uprightness.
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has commanded His covenant forever;
Holy and awesome is His Name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever."


Here is a little worship song we have been singing as our "call to worship" at church lately, and I find myself singing it over and over again as I enjoy the beauty of each morning out on the deck overlooking the pond...

All that we have is a gift from God to give back to Him in honor and glory.  Our home is to be a place to honor Him as we open our home and hearts to encourage others.  We are just the caretakers of God's house here on earth.  Our real home is in heaven, where neither dust or moth can corrupt or destroy. (Matthew 6:19-20). 

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of our new home on the pond.  We are loving our new community and church and being so close to our kids...who are such a blessing to us. We are thankful and blessed beyond measure.  Now may we give back to the Lord all that He has invested in us for His glory and kingdom.

Have a blessed and wonderful weekend my friends. I hope to get caught up with you all very soon.