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!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Sweet Times Together

Since I promised HERE a couple of days ago that I would report on our Valentine's Day activities, I guess I'd better keep my promise.  I already posted a lot of pictures on Facebook, but I know that not all of you are on there so you may wish to hear about our day.

As you recall, we were expecting my siblings and their spouses to come for lunch on Friday, to celebrate Valentine's Day as well as an early birthday party for my hubby and also my sister in law.  My brother and wife came down from North Carolina to visit with some of her family in the area this weekend, and also to spend the day with us on Friday. So my sister and her hubby also came over from the Orlando area to spend the day with us as well.  Here we all are:

 My brother Clifford and his wife Caryl, whose birthday is next week

 My sister Doris and her hubby Art (and they were also celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary this week)
Our son and his sweet wife - just celebrating their 3rd Valentine's Day together!

And my sweet hubby and yours truly, celebrating his birthday (tomorrow) and our 51st Valentine's Day together!
You may have already seen this picture of us before, on our first Valentine's Day together 51 years ago, when we celebrated his birthday and our engagement.  I guess we've changed a little in 51 years! LOL.  Someone said that my hubby doesn't look so scared now as he did then! Ha Ha. I was concerned about the way he was holding that knife in his hand and that look on his face...but he only cut the cake, I promise! 

After a delicious lunch we enjoyed visiting with each other in and out of the house:

 My sister and my sister in law enjoying the view of Still Waters Pond from the deck...

My hubby and my brother walking about the property and talking "guy talk"....

My sister looking pretty in her flannel shirt (it was an unexpectedly cool day, and we all ended up in flannel shirts before the day was over...)

And then we came back inside to celebrate the
birthday "kids"....

(I never realized how tiny my sister in law was until she stood next to my hubby!)

Then with our cake and ice-cream (and/or strawberries with pound cake again...), some of us gals had a little tea party, using the delicious "rooibos tea" that my cousin brought me earlier in the week.

Rose is enjoying her cuppa tea in the lovely "Rose" tea cup that my grandmother gave me...(I have promised this teacup to Rose someday when I am no longer using it because it has little rosebuds all over it. She loves teacups with roses on them...I wonder why?)

My sister Doris is enjoying a cuppa tea too...

And so am I...
the rest of the gang preferred their iced tea...

So after such a wonderful day together we wished them all a safe farewell as they headed back to their respective places, and we sat down and rested...
Well...the youngest members of the group just couldn't wait until everyone left to take a little snooze...but these kids aren't retired like the rest of us and they'd been up since the crack of dawn working before coming over to "party"...so they were "pooped out"... (they'll probably kill me for posting this picture...but you really can't tell who they are, right? LOL)

This morning dawned bright and beautiful, so I walked around the yard taking pictures and enjoying the coolness of the dawn as the sun was rising and the moon was fading into the sky:

 The geese were already out there swimming around, but the light was still kind of dim and the picture is kind of blurry:

The morning sun was shining on the tree tops as it came was rising over behind me...
 and then looking back in that direction across the pond...

Then walking around to the front yard
 There was the sun rising up over the trees and houses..

What a glorious day!!
I couldn't help but sing this little song that we sing in church at our Sunday night service sometimes:

"Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?"

The chorus says:
"Have you seen Jesus my Lord?
He's here in plain view.
Take a look, 
open your eyes,
He'll show life to you."

I love the sweet simplicity of this song, and the truth of the message.  Jesus is here in plain view...just take a look around, and you'll see Jesus My Lord.  (I just realized that I have shared this song with you before HERE, but in a different context, so you may want to check it out)

And with that thought in mind, I will leave you with these pictures of those tulips that I bought at the store the other day...  

Here is how they look today:

"The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love. Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry their own significance. Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love, while purple symbolizes royalty. The meaning of yellow tulips has evolved somewhat, from once representing hopeless love to now being a common expression for cheerful thoughts and sunshine. White tulips are used to claim worthiness or to send a message of forgiveness. Variegated tulips, once among the most popular varieties due to their striking color patterns, represent beautiful eyes."

Personally, I see a cross in the middle of these tulips, Reminding me of Christ going to the cross for us because of His great love for us...

  For more information you can look at this:   https://www.proflowers.com/blog/history-and-meaning-of-tulip

So I leave you with these thoughts today..."Have you seen Jesus my Lord? He's here in plain view...take a look, open your eyes, He'll show life to you!"  

Have a blessed evening and a beautiful SONday tomorrow!!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thankful Thursday and Counting Our Blessings

Image result for knit by gods hand thankful thursday

What am I thankful for today?  Well, right now I am hearing rain on the roof...and we need it so badly! Thank You, Lord, for sending the rain! 

Today we had a wonderful visit with our dear friends from our former home. These folks were a part of our Home Bible Study that we held in our home for several years at that house. They became very close and precious friends, and it did make it difficult to move away from there, but they only live about 30 miles away so we can still get together as often as we can. Today they came to help celebrate my hubby's birthday (which isn't until Sunday, but we are celebrating all weekend long)

Hubby likes pound cake, and so we had that with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  We also had Banana Pudding, his other favorite dessert. Most everyone had a little of each!!

Here are our friends who came to celebrate with my hubby:

Here we are, we three "amigas", enjoying a wonderful time together...

 Not only did they bring most of the food, but they washed and dried the dishes too!

Service with a smile! I sure do love these gals...

I am also thankful that tomorrow we will have a "repeat" of today's festivities, with a different crowd...my siblings and spouses and our kids...again, here to celebrate birthdays and just enjoy being together. So I will probably have more pictures to share after tomorrow.

Another nice thing happened yesterday and then again today...this really astounds me in a way. Yesterday I received a text message and then subsequent phone call from one of our newest people in our church here in our new community. Yesterday's call was to check up on me, to see how I am feeling in light of the fact that I will be soon having surgery. What's neat about this person is that she and I both share the same first name...and we both have reddish hair (well sort of...mine was red and is now faded, and hers wasn't red but now is...so that counts doesn't it?) She is also a newcomer to our community, and we have sort of "hit it off" because we share the same first name. I was surprised to hear from her, and so thankful. 

And then tonight we got a call from another newcomer to our church and community! She also wanted to check up on me and also on my hubby because he had an eye infection last week and she wanted to know how he was feeling as well. (He's fine now after going to the ophthalmologist and getting some antibiotic eye drops) What we have in common with this new person is that she also looked at our house here before we bought it and really liked it and thought about buying it, but decided it was too big for her (as she is alone) and then we came along and bought it, and she bought one across the highway from us about 1/4 mile away...and as soon as she moved into her house she came and visited our church and joined the choir immediately and joined the church a couple of weeks later! When we introduced ourselves to each other we discovered that she had actually toured our house and knew all about it and wondered who had purchased it and painted the door and shutters that lovely bright blue! LOL!

(This is how our house looks now with the bright blue shutters and door...)

And this (below) is the house BEFORE we bought it:   Those shutters and that door were very faded and dingy, and the deck was rotten and we had to repair and replace most of it. We also replaced the roof and the skirting. (This house was a repossession, so we were thankful that it was actually in pretty good shape inside and most of the work that had to be done was outside). It has been a labor of love (and money.)  I just noticed something...the grass is green in this before picture...so I am hoping our grass will come back in the spring after the rains and turn green again!!!  I'm glad I looked at this picture again. It gives me hope and encouragement and much thanksgiving for all that the Lord has helped us to do, with His blessing, since moving here last August.

Yes, we live in a small town and everyone seems to know what's going on every where, and we love it that way...and I LOVE that these two ladies who called are both brand new to our town and our church and yet they are calling on us to check up on us! Folks, that just doesn't happen everywhere you go nowadays!  Oh, and one of our neighbors brought us a delicious pineapple cake last week, she said as a "welcome to the neighborhood cake!" She apologized that it had taken her so long...but really...she has already been over here before, and I've been over to her house too...and she has truly been very neighborly...and that is SO refreshing!!!!!! 

All of these sweet blessings from neighbors, newcomers, and old friends have really blessed my heart and taught me a valuable lesson about reaching out to others and being a true friend and neighbor.
We started this month of February out by saying it was the "Love" month..., and I must say that it is living up to its reputation already.

Here's a few verses of Scripture about being a good neighbor and showing love to others:

Romans 15:2 (ESV)
2.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, 
to build him up.

Galatians 5:14 (ESV)
14.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 6:31 (ESV)
31.  And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Galatians 6:2 (ESV)
2.  Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

John 15:12 (ESV)
12.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Hebrews 13:1-2 (ESV)
  1. Let brotherly love continue. 
2.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, 
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Have a blessed and Happy Valentine's Day friends!
And don't forget to count your blessings!
You may be surprised at all the Lord has done even this week alone! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Abundantly Satisfied...

Here it is Wednesday night already...this week is flying by...

Just like that Great Blue Heron, whose wings you may see spread out way over on the other side of the Still Waters Pond...He flew so fast I had a hard time getting a picture:

But when he finally landed, I was able to zoom in on him and get a closer look:

He stretched out his neck as if to say..."Well, if you must take my picture, at least let me stand up tall so you can see me better!"

Something else that is flying around in our back yard is this "lovely" rooster sitting on top of the weathervane... (if you can call a black iron rooster lovely, that is! LOL! At least he doesn't crow every morning and wake us up at the crack of dawn!)
 The weathervane was actually an anniversary gift that we bought (with gift money) for our Golden Wedding anniversary last August. (Hence the gold decorative balls on the post).  Our intention was to perch it atop a cupola on the top of our new shed. (see the Pinterest picture below to get the idea.)
Cupola w/weathervane, Pinterest picture
However, after pricing the cost of a cupola we decided that will have to wait awhile, maybe until our son can find some time to build us one some day. So in the meantime, the rooster weathervane has been patiently waiting to be set up somewhere...and finally this past week we decided to put it on the deck where we can see it and can watch which way the wind is blowing out by the pond.  It makes for a good conversation piece if nothing else!

On another note, Valentine's Day and my hubby's birthday is coming and we will be having some company for lunch actually two days in a row...tomorrow some dear friends from our previous home neighborhood (and our home Bible Study we had there) are coming and actually bringing the food!  We are really looking forward to seeing them.

And then on Friday my sister and her hubby (from the Orlando area) and my brother and his wife (from Charlotte, NC) are coming for lunch...and we will celebrate my hubby's birthday and also my sister in law's birthday is coming up next week so we will celebrate her birthday too. So this will be another very special day. We don't get to all be together very often! We are thankful to still be able to do this since we lost our oldest brother to leukemia last year. These times together are very precious.

These tulips were so pretty at the store today, so I just had to bring them home to decorate the table.

And we've finally been trying to start doing some "landscaping" in the front yard. This is just a small start, with some pretty flowering plants to bring some color to a very dry and drab looking yard.

It will take some time to get things green and pretty as this home never had any kind of landscaping or flowers before.  Seems like that was what I had to do at our last home too, and then I left it all there. So now we are starting over again little by little.

But when I really want to see something pretty, I just look out the back door in the evenings and see this gorgeous sunset, and then I remember why we bought this house in the first place!

We give thanks to the Lord for providing this lovely dwelling place for us. Yes, there is always work to do to maintain a home and help make it attractive.  But the most important thing is to always remember to honor and praise God for how He has blessed us...and to use this home for His glory.

Psalm 36:5-9
"Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord; You preserve man and beast.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life'
In Your light we see light."
(The full moon this past week)

I hope that you are having a blessed week. I know some have had difficulties with too much snow or rain and possible flooding. Others are grieving the loss of a dear loved one or are battling illness or caring for those who are ill. May the Lord give you peace and comfort and strength for whatever issues you may be facing each and every day. And may we each put our trust "under the shadow of God's wings...and be abundantly satisfied with the fullness of God's house..."

Monday, February 10, 2020

Oops! I Almost Forgot! (Sermon Notes and Weekend Wrap-Up)

Here it is getting to be late Monday evening, and I still haven't sat down to write about our weekend. Probably because it was busy today as well as yesterday...and I know you may be wondering about how things went...

If you read my post last week HERE about getting ready for company, you are probably wondering how our guests liked the guest room, etc., etc.  Well...that's another story...Oh, yes, they loved the guest room...they just didn't get to spend the night there after all!  Their travel plans met with some unexpected delays due to weather, and they were not able to get here Saturday night as originally planned.  So instead they traveled here to visit with us on Sunday afternoon, but had to keep going as they had other commitments further down the road, and were unable to spend the night. We still had a wonderful visit over lunch at our local "True Grits" restaurant, and then they came here for the grand "tour" of the house and guest room. Sadly, we forgot to take any pictures while we were together! We were just too busy visiting and talking and reminiscing, and totally forgot about pictures!  However, my cousin did bring me a "hostess gift" from their recent visit to New Orleans...
She knows how much I love tea, and so she brought me this bag of very delicious "Rooibos Tea" from the "World Famous bottom of the Cup Tea Room".

We didn't have time to share a cup of tea together yesterday as they really needed to get on the road, and so tonight I treated myself to a very special cup of tea...and it really was delightful!
I didn't realize until after I sipped my cup of tea that I was drinking from a beautiful little tea cup that our grandmother gave me years ago. I am sure Grandma would have been pleased to know that her two granddaughters were still staying in touch and carrying on the family traditions that she inspired.

It was our mutual Grandma who created this lovely needlepoint picture many years ago!

So thank you, cousin Becky, for thinking of me when you were in New Orleans! I only wish we had taken the time to drink a cup together...but maybe next time!!

Now, before I forget...I wanted to share the sermon notes with you from our Sunday message.  The title, or actually the theme of the message was "Mastering the Spiritual Discipline of Selective Recall".  I know, that's a mouthful, but you will understand it better if I can "recall" all of the important details!

We all have memories that we'd probably like to forget...or that are just really hard to "let go of".  
Selective Recall means that there are some things that we need to forget and some things we need to remember.

Things that we should try to forget:
  • Past hurts, unkind words, unkind actions:
          Let it go! If it can't be undone, then let it go!
          If remembering hurts  you...forgetting might help you!
  • Our Own Mistakes...Past sins...If you are struggling over guilt of your past sins, do what God has done...Forgive Yourself!
Philippians 3:13-14 says:
"13.   Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 
14. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
We often play the "if only game"..."If only I had done this", or, "if only he/she/they had not done that..."

Hanging on to what you think is sin...Is Sin!  You are putting up a wall between you and God.
Look at the scripture above...Paul was practicing "selective recall".  
  • Forget what is behind.
Things to Remember:
  • Things that God has done for you. 
  • Every blessing, every gift, every answer to prayer.
Deuteronomy 8:10-11:

10.   When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

11.  “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today,

A Good Suggestion:
  • Each day write down three things you are thankful for.
  • Put it on your calendar or in a journal
  • Remember what God has done in your life
  • Remember what others have done for you
Philippians 4:8-9

8.   Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 
9.   The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

  • Whatever is noble
  • Whatever is right, pure, lovely
  • Whatever is admirable, excellent, praiseworthy...
The choice is yours...what you choose to remember and forget.

You can't control what comes into your head, but you can control how long you dwell on it.

Martin Luther said:

“You cannot keep birds from flying over your head. but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair”

So it is a matter of choice what we choose to remember and choose to forget. It takes persistence and obedience to Christ...a daily discipline.

God chooses to forget and forgive our sins. 

Hebrews 8:12:
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Isaiah 43:25

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions 
for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins."

God also chooses to remember His promises to us.  When we read through the Old Testament and Psalms, we see many examples of how God remembered His promises to His children, and were always followed by something that He did for them.  

Back to Philippians 3:13-14..."Forget those things which are behind...and reach forward to those things that are ahead...and press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus..."

This is a powerful message to REMEMBER!!  

Sermon Notes: FUMC, Interlachen, FL, Pastor John Bennett, 02/09/2020

Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given. I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously. Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said. Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear... That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts. So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

"Getting to Know You"

Someone posted a link to this song "Getting to Know You" (from The King and I) on Facebook last night, and it sure brought back some sweet memories for me.

A little over 51 years ago I met my hubby at the community college where we were both attending. I was a new freshman, and he was finishing up his second year there when we met. We were introduced by a mutual friend, who quickly disappeared, leaving us to converse and get acquainted. As our somewhat funny, enlightening and very interesting  conversation progressed, we discovered many things that we both enjoyed, music being one of them. This led to a walk to the music building on campus, where we somehow (? details escape me as how that happened) discovered a copy of the music for this song, "Getting to Know You", and we both proceeded to sing it together!  At the time I don't think I thought about the fact that this song was from a hit musical movie, "The King and I", and that "Anna" was singing it to the children in her care.  It just seemed like an appropriate song for two young people who were just getting to know each other to sing to each other...and one thing led to another...and before the day was over I had accepted a date with this tall, dark, handsome young man...and now some 51 years later I am sitting here, with that same tall, dark, handsome "mature" man sitting in the next room while I write...
Here are some pictures from the college yearbook at that time: John, working really hard!                                                                        
                           ⤋                                       ➷
"Finals means burning midnight oil for John"

That's me, busily working in art class........
              Me, during "Rat Week" ,                 the ritual all new freshmen have to endure as initiation to college

and then if you read below, within about four months from our first date this happened:


I wrote more about this last year at this time HERE, and my intentions at the time last year were to post more stories leading up to our wedding, which on last August 16th (2019) we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary!  Well, my good intentions were quickly put aside as we were in the process of trying to sell our house this time last year, and my scrapbook was packed away and things just got really busy, and I wasn't able to continue this saga.  Perhaps I will try again this year...I may have more time in the near future to reminisce a bit, and now I know where the scrapbook is (I found the box in the guest room closet when cleaning for company)...so I will try to continue the story a little at a time at appropriate moments. Valentine's Day is coming up next week, along with my hubby's birthday, so that got me to thinking about this, especially after my friend posted that song on Facebook last night!  I wish I could have recorded us singing that to each other 51 years ago. I don't know that we would sound quite the same today...but then again...maybe we should try!

So, as you get closer to Valentine's Day, does this bring up some happy memories for you? Or is there a "special song" that makes you think of your beloved? Would love to hear your stories!

Getting to Know You
It's a very ancient saying
But a true and honest thought
That if you become a teacher
By your pupils you'll be taught
As a teacher I've been learning
You'll forgive me if I boast
And I've now become an expert
On the subject I like most

Getting to know you
Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me
Getting to know you
Putting it my way
But nicely
You are precisely
My cup of tea

Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me
Getting to know you
Putting it my way
But nicely
You are precisely
My cup of tea

Getting to know you
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you
Getting to know what to say
Haven't you noticed
Suddenly I'm bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I'm learning about you
Day by day

Songwriters: Oscar Ii Hammerstein / Richard Rodgers
Getting to Know You lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC