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, November 29, 2019

From Thanksgiving to Christmas...

Yesterday was a wonderful day of Thanksgiving!

The new flag in the yard was a gift from my sister to welcome our guests into our front door:

And welcome them we did! From near and far...family from both sides of our family tree came together to share the bounty of what God hath provided...
The Steiners and the Hutchinsons and their offspring

My sister Doris Mursch Hutchinson had most of her family here, and I had most of my family here
The Mursch Sisters: Doris and Pam

And the Steiner brothers also had most of their respective families here...
The Steiner Brothers: John and Bill and our families below:

It was a grand day in every way, filled with much joy, laughter, and good food!

And Grandma Mursch's Orange Cookies (my mother's recipe (Click HERE for a link to that recipe)), enjoyed here by her youngest
Great-Grandson, Jack.   It's a family tradition!
The cookies were baked by my youngest son Scott, seen here mashing the potatoes:

And there was a new member of the family, "Snuggles" the dog, who was sniffing out all the goodies. Seen here with his loving "keeper", our niece Shannon.

So after the day was over and everyone returned to their respective homes (no, no one opted to stay over in our "guest room"), and the food was all put away and everything cleaned up, 
I woke up this morning and decided it was time to "put away Thanksgiving" and start preparing for Christmas.  I know many of you have already put up your trees and have done other decorations even before Thanksgiving, but I am a Thanksgiving "purist" or "Puritan", preferring to keep the two holidays totally separate. (Click HERE for previous posts written on this topic) I have a difficult time multi-tasking with the two major holidays of the year, so I have to keep them separate for my own sanity's sake.
But today we started the day out quietly and peacefully, spending some time on the deck, reading from God's Word, watching the Wood Ducks swimming around the pond:

 Aren't they beautiful???

And as I thought about all the wonderful blessings of yesterday (and this whole past year), I was suddenly filled with the joy and energy to begin the Advent and Christmas season anew...
Starting from the outside and gradually working our way inside...(that will come in the days to come...again...one thing at a time...)

And I knew that this year, in our new house in our new neighborhood I wanted our Christmas message to the world to be about the true meaning of Christmas.
 And as we took a little ride to go take our walk in the woods this morning, we passed a place on the side of the road where a man was selling these wooden Nativity silhouettes! I've long admired them and have wanted one for the longest time, and I told my hubby that was all I wanted for Christmas this year...and so he turned around and we went back and bought this to put along side our original little wooden tree with the message: For Unto Us a Child is Born"

And then we got home and I started getting ready for Christmas!
 Our little front porch tree is all decked out and lit up to spread the joy...
 And the front door is ready to welcome guests...
And we are ready to welcome the Christ-child...The Savior of the World!
Christ is coming!  Time to start preparing our homes and our hearts to receive Him!

Isaiah 9:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Guest Room is Ready

I've been talking about getting the guest room ready for quite a while. It was the last room in the house to get organized and set up for "action".  My goal was to have it ready in time for Thanksgiving, just in case someone gets a big dose of turkey "tryptophan" and needs to take a nap after dinner (or decides to spend the night rather than drive home in the dark...)

If you've known me for a while, you've probably already seen this little sign from  an earlier guest room, or also from our more recent home and guest room, which I called the "Bear Crossing B & B":

and I've been rather anxious to hang it up again in our new home and be ready to welcome any guests who may want to come and stay. 

If you could have seen this room before I finally got it set up, you would appreciate it even more today.

Yes, there are still a few boxes stacked up here and there. And yes, there is a lot of furniture in this little room... But honestly...It's come a lonnnng way, baby!!  You should have seen it before I went through all the boxes of photos and condensed them into containers in that lovely cedar cabinet below

And then, once all those boxes were removed, there was the matter of setting up the bed... When we moved into the house this room became the catch-all room for anything and everything that didn't have a definite place to go.  So there was no room to set up the bed. And only the frame and box springs were brought into the house. Someone had the bright idea to put the mattress in the storage shed, way in the farthest back corner, behind two heavy file cabinets and boxed in by other shelves and boxes and tools...so that the only way to get the mattress out of the shed was to practically remove everything else from out of the way first! 

Well friends, I've been asking and asking the men of the family to please bring in that mattress so I could finish setting up the guest room.  My requests were usually met with, "Okay, when you have the rest of the room ready we will get it...", and then when I said I was ready, it became, "It'll have to wait until someone can help me get it out of the shed...", or "When I get home from work one night I'll do it" (from #3 son who lives here), but then when he gets home it is already dark and he's exhausted and needs a shower, etc., etc., etc.  and then hubby got sick with this cough/fever bug that's going around (and I had it all last week, except no fever for me...just lots of coughing...) and the clock keeps ticking away with just a few days left until Thanksgiving...and my goal was to have it ready by Thanksgiving by hook or by crook!

So today I quit asking and just went out to that shed and started moving things out of the way, one box of tools, one chair, two sets of plastic shelving that had boxes on them, more boxes, etc., etc., and then when I could finally get to the mattress, it was so well wedged in between the very heavy file cabinets and the wall of the shed I was ready to give up.  But I kept wiggling and tugging and pulling and working at it until presto!  The mattress was out from behind the file cabinet.  At this point I decided to call my married son who lives a mile away and ask him if he had a few minutes to come help me get it into the house (remember, hubby is still sick and not supposed to lift anything anyway, even if he was feeling good.)  Thankfully, #1 son was available within a few minutes, and between the two of us we managed to pull and push it up the deck steps and into the house and finally on top of the box springs on the bed in guest room!!! Sorry, no pictures of this wild frenzy of activity...just the final results!  Now I am resting...(I actually laid down on the guest bed and took a brief nap just to be sure it was comfy after all that work!)

I actually worked on a few more projects over the past couple of days.
Do you remember when I first got this lovely lady? You can re-read about it HERE
Well, after we brought her to our last house, a strange phenomenon began to take place. I don't think I have any pictures to show you, but little by little this lovely lady started to change color, until her whole face and hair looked like someone had painted her silver. I tried everything to clean her while living in our last house, but nothing would remove what appeared to be a kind of tarnish. This happened to some other painted items and anything silver (all my silver jewelry turned black) in our house, and we decided it was because of the sulfur water, which gives off hydrogen sulfide gas, which causes corrosion and other issues. I am thinking this lovely lady is probably painted with lead paint, and that may be why she turned silver.  Anyway, I'm still alive, so don't get panicky.  Since moving to our new home, where we now have city water, I noticed that this lovely lady was starting to look a little more normal again. So I got busy yesterday and washed her with some Dawn dish liquid, and then also used some silver polish cream on her, and all the "tarnish" disappeared!

The next project was this lamp:

Likewise, all of the brass on the base of this lamp had turned black with corrosion. I originally wanted to use this lamp in the guest room, but it needed some work. Not only was the brass black, but the light switch no longer worked and there was no way to turn the lamp on.  So, today I was determined to fix this lovely, very fragile antique porcelain hand painted lamp so I could put it in the guest room.  First I had to find a new electrical cord and switch/light bulb base. I decide to remove the cord/switch set from another old lamp that I wasn't using, but it did work, and put it into this lamp. Figuring out how to take it all apart and rewire it was the first task...but before I could do that I had to clean the brass base. So I got busy with some brasso cleaner and cleaned the brass. You should have seen it before...amazing what brasso and elbow grease can do!  Once that was done, I had to figure out how to do the rewiring. That was tricky, but I finally got it all back together again, put in a new light bulb, and "Voila!" It worked!  That is, until I tried to turn it off.  The new (used) switch that I put into this lamp turned it on automatically, but could not turn it off. I don't know why...it worked fine on the other lamp...so in order to turn off the light, you have to unplug it!  Well, that would never do for a guest room. I can't be asking my guests to unplug a lamp to turn it off! How inconvenient! 

So, I put it in our bedroom, next to our bed on my side: (Oh, there's Baby Elva! Yes, that is where she's been hiding ever since we moved here...)  Anyway...I will purchase a NEW electrical set for this lamp and redo it eventually, but not today. I'm tired.

I realize this is a long post for a Saturday night. I do apologize. But I wanted to get all this down in writing for my own remembrance as well as for your entertainment.  And now that the guest room is ready...I wonder who the first guest will be to actually use this little room?

I am very tired and getting ready for bed now, but before I do, let me read a few portions from Psalm 16:

Psalm 16
1.  "Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust."
5.  O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup.
You maintain my lot.
6.  The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.
7.  I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons
8.  I have set the Lord always before me;
 Because He is at my right hand 
I shall not be moved.
9.  Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10.  For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11.  You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Thank You, Lord, for Your kindness and love.  Yes, "You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup."   "I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel."Yes, You have shown me the path of life and "in Your presence is fullness of joy!"   Praise the Lord!!  Amen.
Good Night!!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Thankful Thursday Reflections

One week until Thanksgiving!  I am going over my lists and checking them twice...gonna find out who's naughty or nice...No wait...that's for Christmas! That list can wait another week! Right now I'm concentrating on the grocery list and the guest list, and making sure we've got everything covered! Gotta get to the store and pick up the turkeys, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, stuffing ingredients and various other things. Our guests are bringing the rest of the dishes...and I am sure we will have more than enough of everything.

So very thankful for friends and family, and most of all for how God has blessed us and taken such good care of us this past year.  When I look back over the year and all that has happened, I just have to stop and thank the Lord for His amazing grace, protection, and provision.

We've moved into a new house...

 and new community and are establishing new friendships and enjoying our wonderful little church and family.

We've been blessed with good health, although right now hubby and I are working through a siege of coughing/sinus issues. Praying this will pass before next week's festivities.  Seems like a lot of people have been afflicted with this lately, and all this good "fellowship" with others just seems to keep it going around...

This past week's cold/rainy spell kept me housebound for a while, but this morning is gorgeous, and I just had to get outside and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. Here's a few pictures from our pond taken over the past week:

 Here's our beautiful Great Blue Heron...

I love seeing his reflection in the water, don't you?

I wonder if he ever notices his own reflection and wonders if his feathers are laying just right. Or if his beak is pointed and sharp enough to catch the fish?
Probably not. Birds are more sensible than we are about such things I am sure...

Here are this morning views on "Still Waters Pond":

from one of my favorite vantage points...

Way out there across the pond I could see these wood ducks swimming by, but they were pretty far away, so the pictures aren't very clear.  There are quite a few of them swimming around together:

They swam around behind these bushes on the island, so I lost sight of them. I am tempted to get a kayak and start exploring...but I probably should just leave them alone so they can eat and take care of their own little family...

This picture gives a better perspective of how far away they were:

Back along the shore of our "Still Waters Pond", I am delighted to behold the lovely wildflowers growing in "God's Garden".  It is "God's Garden" because He planted it.  These flowers grow naturally at His direction...I don't have to tend them at all. They belong to God, and He provides the soil, water, and sunshine so that they will grow and give beauty along the shore. They only come up and bloom in the fall, but I've noticed them around all of the ponds in the area...and they come back every year without man doing anything to help them.

I am reminded of the passage from Matthew 6:25-34,  where Jesus was teaching His disciples (and us today) wonderful words that seem to go along with these thoughts:

25.  "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink;
nor about your body, what you will put on.  
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

26.  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  
Are you not of more value than they?
27.  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28.  So why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow:
They neither toil nor spin;

29.  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these...
30.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,
will He not much more clothe you, 
O you of little faith?

31.  Therefore do not worry, saying,
'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 
'What shall we wear?'
32.  For after all these things the Gentiles seek.
For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.
34.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

So the reminder to us today, as we prepare for Thanksgiving next week, is don't worry about all the details of food, who's coming, will there be enough to eat, will the house be clean, will there be enough room for everyone...what shall I wear? How shall I decorate?...etc., etc., etc....Yes, we plan, we make our lists, and we prepare...but don't worry about it!  Enjoy the wonderful time with family and friends...make memories together, laugh and sing...and most of all,  remember to Thank the Lord for all His bountiful blessings! 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving!

I know we still have about two weeks before Thanksgiving, but it is coming up on us quickly, and it is time to start getting ready!

So I brought out all the "lil' pilgrims" salt shakers, the Big Pilgrims who are gathering in the harvest,

The old farm couple is reading from the Bible and praying for all...

And even the little children are praying and thankful as they pray the so familiar childhood prayer:

"God is Great,
God is Good,
Let us thank Him for our food...
By His hands we all are fed,
Thank You, Lord,
for our daily bread."

I remember hearing this grace said in my grandparents' home:

"The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
and You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Come Lord Jesus, 
Be our Guest,
Let these Your gifts to us be blessed.
(excerpts from Psalm 145:15-16)

Does anyone else have a special table grace that is traditional or that you remember from your childhood?  Would love to have you share it here as we prepare our hearts and homes for Thanksgiving.

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord,
for He is good! 
For His mercy endures forever!"
Psalm 118:1

Have a blessed and wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Snowbirds Have Landed! And other Events...

 Imagine my surprise the other morning as we heard a honking in the air, and all of a sudden these two lovely Canadian Geese dropped down from the skies and landed right on our "Still Waters Pond"!  These are our first official "snowbirds" arriving from the snowy, frigid north,  taking a little break here as they continue their flight south for the winter. (Or maybe they will decide this is good enough and stay?)

However, after a while they flew away again...perhaps to find a bigger pond on which to spend the winter. I do hope they will decide to come back as they were a lovely addition to our peaceful pond.

We were in the midst of some other projects when they arrived, and perhaps we didn't give them a warm enough welcome.

 We recently had this dump truck load of dirt delivered, for the purpose of leveling out the gullies and "valleys" in our back yard where the erosion of rain run-off over the years left a very uneven back yard.  (Not sure if you can see gullies below, but they are there, trust me)

And so, on this particular morning, when the geese arrived, we also had a man on a tractor spreading this dirt all along the back yard, next to the pond. (I forgot to get a picture of him working on the tractor, so these pictures are the result of his work)

Hopefully, now that we have also added rain guttering and downspouts to our house, we won't have the same run-off problem that was here before. And we have scattered some winter rye-grass seed over the ground, with the hope that it will sprout soon and help hold the dirt in place until the other grass underneath can work its way back up through the dirt.  Thankfully we got a little rain last night to help the seeds get a start.  So we shall be watching this progress and hopefully we will see some grass sprouts soon!

Another project that I have been working on recently was finally completed in the past couple of days:

I mentioned in this previous post found HERE that I found something that I was going to be doing as a project, but I said that I would save that for another post so I can give it more time and space...

So here is what I found:

Yes, this is a very old, faded and rough looking cedar wardrobe, that needed some "love" very badly:

The inside really wasn't all that bad and just needed to be cleaned up. I didn't want to put any kind of finish over the cedar as that would take away its cedar fragrance.

But the outside needed to be sanded down to remove all the old varnish so that a new clear coat could be put back on to bring out it's natural cedar beauty.

So here I am, mask and all, sanding away on the door...

And later I did sand all the sides of the cabinet itself, but we forgot to take pictures...

Finally this week the job was completed, and hubby and I carefully moved the cabinet into the house all by ourselves, with the help of our trusty "dolly", up the steps, and into the guest room.
I know you are saying to yourself about now, "Why on earth did she want this big old piece of furniture for her guest room, when she keeps saying they are "downsizing" and had to give up so much stuff, blah,  blah, blah..."    Well, you are right to question my sanity, but hear me out...

The last room to be set up and finished in our new house is the Guest Room. Why? Well, because we just had too much stuff sitting there in boxes that needed to have a place to be properly stored...mostly boxes full of pictures...you know...photo albums and boxes of photos that were never put into albums, but are organized into smaller tubs by years...and photos cannot be stored in the shed or an attic (which we do not have) because of the extreme temperatures. And after 50 years of marriage and 3 kids, you can imagine that we have lots and lots of pictures.  Add to that  family photos in frames that used to hang on walls in my parents' home and my inlaw's home, that came back to us after they passed on... and anyway, long story short, this cabinet has become the storage cabinet to house our photos:

We installed shelves, and purchased plastic tubs that would fit on the shelves to hold the photos. I still have all the pictures in frames that need to be gone through. I think I will be taking most of them out of their frames and putting them in manila envelopes (or clear plastic sleeves) and then storing them in the tubs...or do you have any better ideas? I'm still thinking that through. 

I must say that a large part of my day was spent actually looking through old pictures that I hadn't seen in quite a while...lost in the happy memories.  Having the photos in this cabinet I hope will make it easier to pull out an album or a tub of photos and enjoy them again. I may write more about that at another time. I certainly saw some old photos that could make for an interesting post someday...

So now that this job is pretty much complete, I can begin to concentrate on getting the rest of the Guest Room in order.  I hope to have this done by Thanksgiving...at least that is my goal. We aren't planning on having any overnight guests that I know of, but then again, you never know! Someone may be too full of turkey to feel like driving back home and they may need a place to stay! That would be just fine with me! That gives me the incentive to keep working on this project until it is complete!!

Okay, that's it for today! Now I am off to our church ladies' UMW meeting.  Always wonderful to fellowship with other women, and encourage one another by sharing the love of Christ together.  So thankful for this church and these precious souls. 

Have a blessed day my friends!! I'll catch up with you all later!!!