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!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Friday Fotos - Welcome to a Special Tea Party!

 These "Friday Fotos" are a little different from the norm. Please come and join me as we journey into Pamela's dreamland...

This little girl is tired of winter and is looking forward to spring, when she can have a tea party in the garden with her friends.

As she sits there day-dreaming about how lovely it would be to invite her favorite playmates over...

She also thinks about her little garden friends who would dearly love to be welcomed to the tea party:

Even the children at Pamela's Victorian Cottage are ready for a tea party!

Won't you come and join us?

Such a pleasant little daydream, don't you all agree? 
I wonder who that child might be...
and looking all around...
Oh my goodness, I do believe 
that little girl is me!!

I hope you have enjoyed this little journey into dreamland with me.  It won't be long before we will be able to enjoy our tea time in the "garden" once again.  I do hope you will come and join me whenever you can!

Have a blessed and beautiful Friday and weekend.

The little poems came from the tiny book, "A Child's Tea Party", copyright 1995, Brownlow Publishing Company. It was a sweet birthday gift to me "With Love From Your Sister" Doris, 1999

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Kind of a "Whimsical Wednesday" Post

Good Morning from Sunny and Beautiful Florida!  I must apologize for those who are not enjoying a "sunny and beautiful" morning.   And to be perfectly honest, right now while I am writing this it is still dark outside, so I don't know if it is going to be sunny or not, and I just looked at the thermometer and it says it is 38 degrees!!!! I am totally in shock! I guess I wasn't paying attention to the weather reports as I had no idea it was going to be this cold this morning. And I just looked at my I-Phone weather report, and we are going to get rain later today! So no sunshine either! So now I must really apologize for my opening words. They were totally wrong!!    It is 6:40 am here...so what is the weather where you are?

My friend Terri over at "Your Friend From Florida" is doing a post called "Whimsical Wednesday". It's a lot of fun. Every week she posts pictures of some kind of interesting attire for women, and then we have to select the shoes we would wear with that particular outfit. You may want to scoot over there for a minute to see what the outfit is for today and make your selection between the three choices of very "lovely" boots to go along with the lovely black velvet jacket.

I am not going to share those particular pictures here, but thought I would do my own whimsical kind of post about my choice of attire on a day like today. Some of you may have already seen this on my Facebook page yesterday, but I thought I would write about it here today just because I wanted to.

This picture popped up in my "See Your Memories from four years ago" on Facebook,
Yes, that's me, sitting at my desk in my "office" at our previous home in 2016...

And I literally almost spit my tea out when I saw it, because of what I was wearing, because this is how I was dressed as I was reading my morning messages yesterday morning:

 Yes, you are correct, I am wearing that very same flannel shirt, sitting at my computer in my "new home office" in our new house, doing the very same thing as I was doing four years ago on this very same day!

I mean, I must love this shirt a lot, because one morning I noticed it on the chair in our bedroom, and I liked the way the colors matched our bedspread, so I took a picture of it:

 And not too long ago hubby took this picture of me on our deck, wearing this favorite flannel shirt:

This is the very same flannel shirt that I devoted a post to a few years ago, when I first received it as a "post-Christmas" gift.  You may want to revisit this as it probably has more less whimsical things to say...
Yes, that's me, in my favorite shirt, sitting on our porch in our previous home...

I don't know what I will do when this shirt finally wears out. Someone suggested yesterday that it would make wonderful dust rags.  Yikes, I can't imagine using this favorite shirt for dust rags someday...because dusting is something that I really don't like to do, and it would be such a waste of a beautiful shirt to tear it up into dust rags.  I may have to make it into a pillow or something. Or a teddy bear. Before I die. I know many people make pillows or teddy bears out of a loved one's favorite shirts after they die. But I think I'd like to make mine before I die so I can enjoy it too. Crazy huh? Yeah, maybe, but this is "Whimsical Wednesday" and I am feeling quite "whimsical" as you can see.

Oh, yeah, I forgot about the shoes!! We must select which shoes we will wear with our outfit:

Not these shoes, because I finally threw them away not long ago. They were my favorite pair of Skecher's shoes that I wore around the house until they finally just couldn't be worn anymore:

Maybe you'd like these better, another pair of Skechers that I am now using for my "house shoes", which means I don't wear them outside so they will stay clean...

Or maybe you'd like this pair of Skechers, my favorite pair for walking, as you can see it helps me to identify the size of pine cones that we find...which this pine cone would be a size 9 women's shoe size. LOL.

Okay, there you have my "whimsical Wednesday" offering. My apologies to Terri for doing something totally different than what I was supposed to do. But this is what I love to wear on these chilly winter mornings here in Florida.

I am my father's daughter. Daddy always had a favorite shirt, pants and shoes that he wore all the time and when we were his "caregivers" we could hardly get him to take them off to wash them.  You may not totally appreciate or understand this, but when my daddy died, the undertaker wanted to know what we would like for him to be dressed in.  We knew that Daddy was going to be cremated, so it really didn't matter what outfit he was wearing since we would not be having any kind of "viewing" before his burial.  So, my sister and I were together at that moment, and we looked at each other and we both knew that Daddy would want to be "buried" in his favorite shirt, pants and shoes, so that is what we did.  Sometimes I wish we'd saved the shirt to have as a keepsake, but then again, we both knew that Daddy would be most comfortable traveling into heaven in his favorite clothes, so that always makes me smile when I think about Daddy's heaven-bound outfit.

However, truly, what "outfit" are you wearing on your way to heaven?  There is really only one outfit that will do, and that is to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Isaiah 61:10 (NKJV)
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God; 
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, 
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, 
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, 
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Philippians 3:9 (NKJV)
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

So whatever outfit you are wearing today, be sure to "dress" your heart and soul for the most important event of all...life in eternity...in heaven, with Christ. There is only one way to get ready for that:

John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Not so "whimsical" after all.... have a blessed day my friends!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

First Snow...A Story From the Past Updated

My friend Annie at Cottage By The Sea is doing a "Tuesday Four" questions blog today, entitled "Do You Want To Build A Snowman"  (click on the link to see the questions and her answers...

Well, I didn't exactly do the four questions because we don't live where there is any possibility of snow anymore. However, that hasn't always been the case. For many of our adult years we lived in various parts of the frigid north in the winter, and I have had many wonderful experiences with snow...(and some NOT so wonderful!)  We are thankful to live in Florida now, our home state, and not have to deal with snow and ice and all that goes along with that.  But Annie's questions reminded me of a time when we had first moved up north to Ohio, and our three sons were little, and this was their very first experience with snow.  I originally posted this story here many years ago on one of our "Random Journal Days", as it comes from my own personal journal.  I thought perhaps you might appreciate this little story from our past today.

So here is the original post from 2012:
Little Scotty at Our Big Old Interesting House in Winter

HERE IS MY RANDOM JOURNAL DAY OFFERING FOR THIS WEEK.  The following story is a continuation from last week's post  "Alarms, Sirens, Whistles, Bells and Things that Go Bump in the Night" These stories all come from my personal journals written when my husband was attending seminary in Ohio many long years ago. I hope you will enjoy the:  
"Part IV of the continuing saga of the Steiner Family Giant Leaps of Faith and other crazy moves..."

Proverbs 31:21 "She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet."

I'm not sure what "scarlet" has to do with clothing for the family for winter. Scarlet usually means red or bright red colors. Red denotes warmth, so perhaps that is what is meant. Anyway, I think the idea is to be prepared for winter! Make sure your kids have their mittens, scarves, hats, boots, jackets, snowsuits, etc. all ready before the first snowfall!

From the beginning of autumn in our new Ohio home we watched for snow everyday! All summer long we had scoured the garage sales for winter clothing for all of us. Little by little we found all of the articles we needed. I found for myself a full-length wool coat with a hood...it was two sizes larger than I normally wore, but for $2.00, it was a great deal! I figured I'd fill up the gaps with lots of sweaters underneath. We had visited some friends from New York State who spent their winters in Florida, and they provided my husband with a wonderful men's black wool overcoat, and gave me a nylon ski parka and some ski boots! The boys were outfitted with ski masks, boots, mittens, and garage sale jackets. We were able to purchase some snowsuits reasonably as well at a great sale. My husband even bought a couple of used snow shovels from a family moving to the south! So we were well prepared when the first snow fell.

Scotty and big brother Benton-first snow!!

Matthew and Benton enjoying their first icicles!
I'll never forget that day! It was November 1st. We woke up to a winter wonderland! Fortunately, it was a Saturday, so we could go out and play all day! The boys made their first snowman, and Scott, our two year old, ate as many hands full of snow as he could get in his mouth! We were all so excited, we hated to go back inside, even though our hands and toes and noses were practically numb.

We were soon faced with the grim reality of winter weather. Upon entering the house, the phone rang. It was one of our church members informing us of the tragic automobile accident of one of our elderly couples early that morning. The man was killed instantly, and his wife suffered from multiple injuries. Someone had skidded on the ice and hit them head-on on a bridge. Suddenly our beautiful winter wonderland looked formidable to us. We hadn't yet tried to drive on it. It's one thing to be physically prepared for winter with all the right clothes, and have the pantry stocked with extra supplies in case you get snowed in, and have plenty of wood for the fire stacked and easily obtainable, but it's quite another thing to be mentally prepared for the realities of what winter can really do to you if you aren't experienced in the art of survival on the roads.

But more than that, the importance of being spiritually prepared to meet our Savior at any time comes more into focus in the wintertime. I have probably prayed more fervently on the roads in the wintertime than at any other time of the year. I've prayed more diligently for my husband and loved ones as they'd travel to and from work or school during a snowstorm or worse yet, freezing rain and sleet. I've had my own close calls several times, and discovered the protective power of God and His angels over me as I narrowly escaped serious accidents.

The way our big old interesting house looked after the first snowfall

The thought occurs to me now as I write this (many years later) that the "scarlet" mentioned in this proverb may not be clothing after all. It may be the covering of the Blood of Jesus Christ over my family. As I pray for them daily, I pray that His shed blood will cover their sins and keep them in His divine care eternally. Therefore, I need not be afraid of snow for my family (or any other problem)…they are covered and clothed with the scarlet blood of Jesus Christ…wherever they go, or whatever they do.

*Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me of this to me today. It is a tremendous comfort to my heart as we are currently in the midst of a kind of storm in our lives. I am so thankful to know that my children, even though now grown and on their own, are still covered by Your precious blood, wherever they go, and whatever they do...no matter what. Amen


Note 1/28/2020: *We were in the midst of a storm when I wrote this...one of our precious sons was battling cancer, and he eventually succumbed to it, but he was covered with the Blood of Christ, and I know where he is today...and I will see him again in heaven one day. Praise God for that hope and promise.

Back to the present:  Since we don't still have the "Random Journal Day" group active anymore, that link above may or may not lead to any other entries. If it does, then enjoy what my friends in that group wrote at that time.  If not, well, then just enjoy this one! Have a blessed day wherever you are and whatever you may be experiencing at this time in your life.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Joy Comes in the Morning

I noticed as we walked by the place where these wild plum trees were blooming that they were looking kind of "pink"!  

I had never noticed that before so I had to go have a closer look, and what it is is the centers of the blossoms and the stamen and pistils are actually pink, and the white petals are starting to drop off. Soon they will begin to form the fruit! I will be watching for this now that I know where these trees are!  The wild plum is rather small and I don't know how sweet they are, but they might make some good jam or jelly! We shall see what develops. (And how energetic I might be when the fruit ripens...if there is any fruit!)

I just think they are so pretty, and they are growing wild all around through the woods where we like to take our walks. This sight made me smile today after a rather sad weekend.

After our walk we came back to our house and I noticed these little yellow flowers growing along the fence on our property boundary.

Upon closer inspection I realized that this is a wild "Carolina Jessamine", a type of jasmine.

This gives me great joy also, even though I know it is wild and the blooming season will be short lived, but it brings color and beauty to our "landscape"...and some surprising flowers that I did not know were here! These are the little things that God does to make me happy! Such a blessing!

I rather liked this picture of this solitary Canadian Goose relaxing on the pond. She/he really wasn't alone. His/her (?) mate wasn't far off, but I liked this particular "pose".
 Kind of goes along with this picture below:

 Now, I know you are wondering how many more pictures of these Ring-Necked ducks are you going to have to endure! Well, I don't know...Today there were at least a dozen of these ducks out there all at the same time...I think that is a record! I couldn't just ignore that, could I?

Especially when they started standing up and flapping their wings for me, showing off a little bit!

Speaking of a dozen all gathered around, flapping their wings and showing off for us...on Friday we were pleased to be invited over to a couple's home for supper and to "play Scrabble".  These are friends from our church, and we were truly looking forward to the fellowship and playing games as well.  However, our plans got a little bit changed as our friends are grandparents to a lovely little family that has five beautiful, darling children. I've written about this family before HERE.  Due to some family issues, our friends were asked to babysit for the kids for the afternoon, and so our quiet little get together with this couple went from the four of us playing scrabble and having supper together to, before the evening was over, there were TWELVE of us sitting around their dining room table, enjoying a wonderful meatloaf dinner that the grandchildren actually helped prepare, and such laughter and fun and antics...(we kind of looked like that flock of ducks above)  Well, we never did play Scrabble, but we had such a great time that we didn't even miss it.  I love it when spontaneous fun and fellowship happens! Don't you?   And our friends promised that we WILL play Scrabble together soon, but we really don't mind one way or the other. We were blessed to be a part of this beautiful family for a day!

As I've probably shared before, we only have the one grandson, and he is now 20 years old and lives 1500 miles away, so we don't often have the opportunity to spend time with him or with little ones around. These kids ranged in age from 13 years down to 3 years old...and every one of them is so full of love and sweetness they just blessed our hearts.

I love how God brought beauty and laughter and joy into our lives this weekend, in the midst of some sad news about our friend who died so unexpectedly, (at least it was unexpected to us). 

Psalm 30 seems to go along with this...

 A Song at the dedication of the house of David.

1I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
3O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
4Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
5For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
6Now in my prosperity I said,
“I shall never be moved.”
7Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
8I cried out to You, O Lord;
And to the Lord I made supplication:
9“What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth?
10Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;
Lord, be my helper!”
11You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12To the end that my glory may sing praise to You
and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
How about you? Have you experienced these special times of joy after times of sorrow? Have you seen the ways that God does not leave us in our sorrows, but "His favor is for life...Weeping may endure for a night, But Joy comes in the morning."  Sometimes it takes a while before we are even able to think about singing praise and dancing again after a great loss...but God in His mercy, knows just what we need and when we need it. We need to be open to His love and being clothed with gladness...and open our hearts to sing praise to Him and not be silent. I pray for those who are grieving right now, that their hearts will be softened by His loving Presence, and that joy will flood their souls to overflowing.  Amen.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Another Friend Enters Heaven's Gates

Today another of my dearest friends entered heaven's gates.

My dear friend Judy, in this picture above, the last time we were together in person, at my son's wedding in the fall of 2017. She and her husband Russ moved away from Florida to their dream retirement home in the hills of northeastern Alabama the following spring. We've chatted several times since then, and talked about us traveling up to visit them in their new home, but just haven't had the opportunity to do so. The last time I spoke with Judy was in October, on her birthday. She was happy and loving their new home, and proud that Russ finally had his tractor and could ride all day on their 10 acres of woods and fields and hills. She had a lovely little porch with a swing and a secluded garden area where she could enjoy the birds and flowers and spend time in prayer and communion with the Lord. Their adult son was living with them and helping them get settled and they were enjoying having him with them after his years in the Marines away from home.

We've been good friends with Russ and Judy for over 40 years. Our children used to play together as young children, and their oldest child, Jennifer was such a beautiful, gifted and precious Christian woman. Sadly Jennifer passed away after a long battle with cancer about 4 years ago...just about a year after our middle son Matthew had also passed away from cancer.  Jennifer left behind a lovely family with two beautiful young daughters and a loving husband.  Our son also left behind a wonderful son and loving wife.  So our families had the grief of losing a beloved child in common, and we two mothers often shared our deepest thoughts with each other of what it felt like to lose a child. It is a kind of bond that no mother ever wants to have to develop.

Sometime after Thanksgiving of this past year we received a message from their son that Judy had suffered a mild stroke following some kind of ordinary procedure that should not have had any such risks. She was in the hospital, having difficulty with her speech and right hand. But her prognosis seemed hopeful at the time. However, as the days and weeks went on apparently she wasn't progressing as expected, and was not able to eat.  A temporary feeding tube was installed, and they were still hopeful she would be going home soon. Her son gave up his job to be there to help take care of her.  But apparently Judy wasn't getting better, and today Jesus called her home.  Her son sent us the heartbreaking message that she had "peacefully left this earth to be with my sister in heaven....She is no longer in pain and no longer suffering. We are relieved that she can finally rest now." 

I really am at a loss as to what to say and how to feel. The last I heard she was going home. And indeed, she has "gone home"...to her heavenly home where she will never weep again...and I can only imagine the joyous reunion she is having with her beautiful daughter and with the Lord right now.  But in some ways I am very sad, and in other ways I am so happy for her...and maybe a little envious. My heart breaks for her husband and son and granddaughters and other loved ones who are also in shock and missing her now.

Maybe I wouldn't be so sad if it hadn't been for the fact that in the past several months I have now had my oldest brother Russell (not the same Russ as seen above) and three very dear "girl" friends leave this earth for heaven. Two of my friends were both named Sharon, and now Judy.  These are the special kind of friends whom you know you can trust with your deepest hurts and secrets and know that they would love you no less and would guard and protect you no matter what others may whisper behind your back. And they would never be the ones to whisper. Women of wisdom and deep character and devotion to the Lord.  These kinds of friends are very hard to find, and then to see them leave this earth all within a few months of each other...each one with their own difficult physical issues and heartaches...and yet they left this earth ready to meet Jesus with no fear. None of these women knew each other here on earth, coming from different parts of the country and from different time frames in my life so that they never had the opportunity to meet...(I take that back...one of my "Sharon's" was also at my son's wedding at the same time as Judy...but I don't know if they got to meet each other). Perhaps they will all find each other now in heaven and get acquainted. I know they would love each other as I loved each one of them so very much.

I recently sent Judy a card and a little note with some words of encouragement and prayers for her healing and comfort.  I don't know if she was even able to read it but now I pray that her husband and son will read the verses that the Lord led me to share. Perhaps this was for them after all:

"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

This morning I started the day with the sunrise on Still Waters Pond and the little song "Arise, Shine, and Give God the Glory, Glory".  Tonight I end with the sunset on the same pond, and the comforting words of Christ as He prepares His disciples for His death and resurrection:

"Let not your heart be troubled;
you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and receive you to Myself,
that where I am, there you may be also.
And where I go you know, and the way you know."

Jesus said, 
"I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me."
John 14:1-4, 6

And these following words I have marked in my Bible that I read on the day that my son died...

"I will not leave you orphans;
I will come to you.
A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, 
but you will see Me. 
Because I live, you will live also."
John 14:18-19

I can think of no better words than these above to close this message today.  Tell your friends and loved ones that you love them and appreciate them now, while there is yet time.  None of us is promised tomorrow.  Good Night my dear friends.

Rise and Shine

"Rise and shine
and give God the glory, glory
Rise and shine
and give God the glory, glory;
Rise and shine and (clap!) 
Give God the glory, glory,
Children of the Lord!"

 The Red Shouldered Hawk is in the treetop, rejoicing to see a new day!

The sun is rising in the east and reflecting on Still Waters Pond

          Isaiah 60:1 (NKJV) 

"Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you."

Hope your day is filled with the joy and the Glory of the Lord!

 Sailing away into a beautiful day!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Friday Fotos and Just Ducky Stuff

 Tomorrow is Friday already! Wow! Where did this week go?  Seems like just yesterday it was Sunday!  I hope that your week has gone well. Ours has been fairly uneventful, except for some very cold weather (for Florida), but other than that it's been pretty normal.

Sometimes I feel like these Ring Necked Ducks on our "Still Waters Pond":

All day long they swim around in circles, and they look like they are having the best time ever...

But in reality they are doing what ducks are meant to do...they are swimming, diving, and gathering food all day long.  They work hard for their food...diving and pulling up the roots of the water weeds.

 They arrive early in the morning and don't fly back out until it's almost dark. I wonder where they go to spend the night. They must have a special place to huddle together and sleep in peace and safety until morning.

It has been interesting watching them throughout the week. Some days we have had a group of seven or eight at a time...and the members keep changing. Some times there was only one male and three females, then there was two males and one female, and then four males and three females.  Today there were two males and three  four females. (just found another female).  We don't know if this is the same group that just keeps rotating around or if different groups are flying in and out. But whatever it is, we've enjoyed the show and hope they will keep coming back! 


 Don't you sometimes feel like you are like these ducks? Just going around in circles, constantly working to feed and take care of your family?  Others may watch from afar and think since you are retired you don't really do anything all day but play around and dabble at this and dabble at that.

But there is usually a reason for everything we do...it may not make sense to others, but we do what we know we need to do to take care of our own situations in life.

 Like these ducks, sometimes we may be feeding just ourselves, and other times we may have others, who are in need for one reason or another, to feed and look out for.  Ultimately it is from God, whether we think we are feeding ourselves or helping others...it all comes from the hand of God.

 Psalm 145:14-16
14.  "The Lord upholds all who fall,
and raises up all who are bowed down.
 15.  The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
and You give them their food in due season.
 16.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing."
Psalm 145:3
"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable!"

I guess that is all for this week. I apologize if you find these photos a bit repetitious or difficult to look at with all of the reflections on the water and the lily pads. Somehow I just find that watching these ducks is very relaxing and entertaining.  Even though they are busily working to find food, they are putting on quite a show for us to enjoy.  They are beautiful and amazing creatures, created by God. They are very diligent to do what they have been created to do, and they don't even complain when the water must be very cold, or when the sun isn't shining, or when it is windy and even rainy. They just go about their day, faithful to care for their young and protecting their families. I think we could all take a good lesson from the ducks!

Okay, let me see if I can find something else to look at before we go...

I've been changing the look of the kitchen counter top from the Christmas decor to a more springy look... (Welcome back to Pinky Flamingo, who flew south for the holidays and has now come back "home" to roost for the summer)

I added this favorite "plate" to the collection:

This is what it says:

"Cherish your family for they are your treasure.
A storehouse of riches...wealth beyond measure."

That seems like a great place to stop for the night.
Good Night friends...
Go spend some time with your family...