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, April 29, 2020

Wednesday Wanderings

Good Morning!
It's time for breakfast and some "Wednesday Wanderings"

Won't you come and have a cup of tea with me and enjoy one of these delicious home-made Apple-Bran Muffins? I've shared the recipe here before, except this time I substituted fresh diced apple for the blueberries. I also used "Raisin Bran" cereal instead of plain bran flakes, so these also have raisins them. I guess that makes them extra-healthy, right?

These Sand Hill Cranes said they would be right over for breakfast!  Actually, I just heard them making their morning wake up call and then they flew over the house, so not sure where they are going so early. Perhaps they have now made our pond their headquarters as they have been hanging around quite a bit lately, and the Canadian Geese are not staying here much at all anymore. I think their "nest" must have been a dud, or something got the eggs, because they don't appear to be nesting anymore and there are no goslings either. That was disappointing...probably more so for them than for me. But this is the way of nature, and they seem to pick up and carry on and go on about their lives and on to the next thing, whatever that may be.  
If you'd like to learn more about the Sand Hill Cranes and their "calls", you can check out this link.  Trust me when I tell you they are LOUD!

So now on to our own "wanderings".  Yesterday we had to go pick up a prescription at our Doctor's office, which also has a pharmacy in the same building.  I believe I have told you before that the highway that goes through our town is in the process of being 4-laned. Thankfully they've already completed the east side of town where we live, and now they are doing the west side of town where our church is and where our Doctor's office is, and every day there is something different with the traffic pattern and progress being made. 
 Anyway, when we got to the place where the driveway was supposed to be to enter the clinic, there was no way to get across from the lane where we were directly into that driveway. So we missed it and had to go down and turn around and I had to call the pharmacy to ask them where we were supposed to enter because it wasn't very obvious from the road.
 With all the heavy road equipment moving about, it was rather confusing. But anyway, they told us where to go and how to find the right way to enter, and we finally made it in. Probably next time we go it will be totally different again.  Anyway, hubby had to have his temperature taken before he could enter the building, and thankfully after all the crazy detours to get there his temperature hadn't risen, so he was allowed entrance! LOL.
 I already showed you this lovely picture of the morning glories HERE yesterday, but what I didn't tell you is that where these flowers were located was right alongside that busy highway, with all the construction going on, and I risked life and limb to go and take that picture. Thankfully, my hubby found a safe place to park the car so I could get out and take the picture, because morning glories only last so long...hence they are "Morning Glories", and also, once the construction is done, they will probably be gone altogether. But these were so "glorious" I could not resist taking their picture.

Okay, I like to take pictures of "faces" in trees and such...and here is another strange face I found wall walking the other day.  

Kind of looks like the "Grinch":
Well, maybe just a little. 

So, today we are going to go take a walk in a few minutes, after we do our morning devotions and have breakfast (muffins!!), and then when we come back one of my church friends is going to come over for a little visit, sitting outside in the shade in view of the pond, properly socially distanced. I am looking forward to just chatting with a real person in person!  Praying it won't be long until we can actually give each other a hug in person too...but not just yet...I feel like this virus was a "Grinch" who stole all our hugs!

In closing, I'm looking ahead at our morning devotions, and some of the verses for today are from
John 6:35-40.  Let me share them with you, because they are good for this day and what I just said:

John 6:35-40
"And Jesus said to them,
35.  "I AM the bread of life.  
He who comes to Me shall never hunger,
and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
36.  But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.
37.  All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, 
and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
38.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, 
but the will of Him who sent Me.
39.  This is the will of the Father who sent Me,
that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, 
but should raise it up at the last day.
40.  And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believe in Him may have everlasting life;
and I will raise him up at the last day."

Dear friends, let us be in the "business" of leading our friends and loved ones to Christ, as the day is drawing near when He will be returning for His Bride, the Church, and all who belong to Him.
Let us all be ready for that day!

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Bigger Picture

 This morning I was thrilled to see these two hawks sitting on these posts in the pond, enjoying some sunshine and having their morning "tete e tete" ("Noun. tête-à-tête (plural tête-à-têtes) A face-to-face meeting, or private conversation between two people, usually in an intimate setting; a head-to-head. A bench or sofa that allows two people to talk face-to-face. "
per "Wiktionary.org)

They are just chatting away in "hawk talk", looking out over the pond, probably thinking about "what's for breakfast?"

Perhaps she is looking around to see what looks good,  while he waits to hear the "plan".

They really are a cute couple, aren't they? I was enjoying watching them so much...

That I failed to see "The Bigger Picture"....

 While these two cute hawks are enjoying their morning chit chat, look was sitting out there in the middle of the pond, showing off his wings and acting like he was center stage...perhaps singing to the bullfrogs and fishes..."I Did It My Way"....

This is an "Anhinga", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anhinga, "sometimes called snakebirddarterAmerican darter, or water turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. The origin of the name snakebird is apparent when swimming: only the neck appears above water so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike."

Hmm, I never knew about the part where his name means "devil bird or snake bird".  Geepers...Sometimes we really do need to stop and look around at "The Bigger Picture"...and see what is really going on behind the scenes or even out in the open when no one is paying attention!

Even though the Anhinga is no threat to the two hawks sitting there having their morning coffee break...it just goes to show me that while we are sitting here safely in our homes, enjoying our peace and quiet and thinking we know exactly what is going on...there may be a bigger picture that we can't see...perhaps good, or perhaps not so good...depending on how we want to look at it. I do believe there is a LOT going on in this world that we don't understand or see or perhaps don't think it pertains to us.  Perhaps God in His mercy doesn't allow us to see the "big picture" right now because we wouldn't totally understand it all.

The world is in a lot of turmoil right now, and it causes us to have some concerns as well, because we just can't see exactly how God is going to work all these things out for our good (Romans 8:28)

But listen to these verses as you enjoy looking at these lovely pictures of more wildflowers that I saw today as we took a ride:

Romans 8:35
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"

Romans 8:37
"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

 Romans 8:38-39
38.  "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers,

 Nor things present nor things to come,
39.  Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, 

shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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

I hope this calms your fears and concerns as you realize that God IS in control in ALL circumstances, even the ones we cannot see right now...that "bigger picture" that only God can see.
NOTHING can separate us from the love of God...
and He is good...and His mercy endures FOREVER!
Have a blessed day, my friends.
God is in control!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Gaining Strength

 Maybe I need to do a little check up on what's been happening in the past few days. Not really anything all that much, but then again, maybe it is a lot.

One thing we do every day, weather permitting, is take a little ride to a wooded area where we can take a walk. Now that the days are getting longer, we are trying to go twice a day, morning and evening. It really helps us to feel refreshed after being cooped up so much in the house these days.  And the exercise is especially good for us.  (especially me after my surgery...it is helping me to rebuild my strength and I can really tell the difference when we don't get out and walk)

Most every morning I hear a particular bird calling as we take our walks. I look and look up in the trees but I can never see the bird...until this morning:

It is a "Rufus Sided Towhee"  , and if you want to hear him, Listen HERE.

Also, the past few days we have been passing by this Mimosa tree that is in  full bloom alongside the road. This evening I talked my hubby into pulling off the road so I could go take a picture of it. He's a good sport (most of the time) when I say, "Please pull over so I can take a picture!" 

 These trees are another kind of wild tree, some call them a "weed tree" as they can be invasive, but they are so pretty in the spring when they are blooming.  I'm not so fond of their long seed pods that come later, however.

I also talked him into doing something else we haven't done in quite a while...we pulled into the McDonald's Drive-thru (all that is open), and I got a chocolate milkshake with whipped cream on top! The girl on the order speaker asked if I wanted the whipped cream...and of course I said yes!!! If you are going to have a milkshake might as well go whole hog! It was so good. I may talk him into stopping again and get some fries and a burger to go with that milkshake next time!!! That is the only drive-thru we have here in our little town, so you gotta get what you can while you can! (And all that walking is working up an appetite! Gotta keep my strength up, right??)

I just discovered that my blogging friend Gayle over at "Ventures in Photos"  posted a wonderful scripture verse, photograph, and a praise song that I've never heard before in all my years in ministry in churches... and I've never noticed this particular verse in Psalms before either:

Psalm 18:29 
"For by You I can run against a troop, 
By my God I can leap over a wall."

I highly recommend you go over to "Ventures in Photos" and check this out. I think you will enjoy the song as well as her post.

I love the imagery of that little verse...and I think we are all at that point in this social distancing/isolation/pandemic that we are about ready to go and "leap over a wall."   I probably skipped over that verse before because the ones after it are the more "popular verses" of this particular Psalm. But this just proves that we shouldn't skip around in our reading...we might miss a real gem in the process!

Psalm 18:30-33
30. "As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
31.  For who is God, except the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
32.  It is God who arms me with strength,
and makes my way perfect.
33.  He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
and sets me on my high places."

We had not one but two little deer run along the shore of the pond this morning.
Only managed to get one in the picture.
Maybe we need to be reminded that it IS GOD who arms us with strength...and He does give us the strength to run against our enemies and even leap over a wall that is in our path...but we need the Lord to guide us and we need to remember that He is that shield of protection when we put our trust in Him. Don't go leaping over walls and running against the troops without God giving us the strength and power to do so. Don't try to fight our enemies in our own strength...trust in the Lord! 
And then, He will deliver us from our enemies and lift us up above those who may rise up against us. (Psalm 18:48).

Back to the beginning of Psalm 18:1-3

"I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust.
My shield and the horn of my salvation, 
my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies."

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Be Vigilant!!

 The visitors to our "Still Waters Pond" keep coming.  It is such fun to watch and see who or what will show up next.  Now here, this lone Canadian Goose is swimming around, but he is not really alone. His mate is out there somewhere, possibly sitting on her nest, and he is keeping a close watch over her lest some predator come and try to sneak up on her.

 One of these things is not like the other....Note the goose is vigilantly standing guard on the lower right. But note also that Sand Hill Crane is over there on the left by himself, checking things out around the little island. The goose stood his ground until the crane went away.

And no, you aren't seeing double...here's Mr. and Mrs. Canadian Goose out for a swim together:

 But wait! Now there are four of them! That other "interloper" couple showed up today and dared to come up on our shore to try and get some of the bird seed on the ground. Our "resident couple" played "King of the Mountain" and wouldn't let them come all the way up, so they had to be content eating the grass along the shore...

Everyone was happily doing their own thing...(I love how somehow I managed to get a reflection of the American flag, which is actually on the front porch, and I was looking through the window of the back porch, and the flag reflected on the window. Pretty cool!) But anyway, the geese were minding their own business, enjoying eating and not really bothering each other,
 When suddenly a neighborhood stray cat came sneaking up on them from out of nowhere...(it happened too quickly for me to get a picture)  And then they all flew away:
 Thankfully the cat was not able to get close to the geese, but it sure caused a lot of honking and flapping of wings and off they went...

And then later, who do we see but TWO Sand Hill Cranes on the shore!  I think the word is out that the beaches are open again in Florida! But at least they are maintaining their appropriate social distancing.

On a more serious note, seeing  that cat sneaking up on those geese today made me think about the verses we read in our morning devotions:

"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time,
casting all your care upon Him, 
for He cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; 
because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings 
are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
But may the God of all grace,
Who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus,
after you have suffered a while,
perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever.
I Peter 5:5b-11

Seems like some appropriate words for us today in our current situation.  We are all going through the same kinds of "suffering" around the world these days, and for some it is becoming truly unbearable. Not only are many very sick and possibly dying, but there are many who are watching their livelihood slipping away and they have bills to pay and children to feed and businesses that are closing up...and people are getting weary of the struggle and the waiting for it to be safe to come back out of "hiding".   God is encouraging us here to cast all our cares upon Him, because He does care about our every need...physical, emotional, financial...whatever it may be. Don't give in to the devil...he's looking for the weak ones who are getting weary...and wants to drag us into his traps.  Resist the devil...and look unto Jesus...Who is working all things together for our good, to perfect us, establish, strengthen and settle us.  He will not fail us...so don't lose hope and give up too soon. Stay vigilant and hold your ground like that goose. God will carry us through to victory.  Amen!!

Have a blessed evening my friends and a peaceful Sunday tomorrow. Praying you will be able to set aside some time for worship and study of God's Word on the Lord's Day.  So thankful for our pastors who are working diligently to prepare messages to be seen /heard over the internet or radio or whatever way possible. Praying it won't be long before we can enjoy sweet fellowship again, but until then, "Be Sober, Be Vigilant! And Cast your cares upon the Lord, for He careth for you."  

Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday Fotos Were Hard to Find This Week

Good Morning! It's Friday again...and my hubby and I both woke up thinking it must be Saturday by now...I guess because we had pizza last night. LOL. We got out of our "routine" to make life a little more interesting.

I have been struggling to find some new photos for this Friday post. I guess I already shared them all earlier this week, and there hasn't been much to see since then.  We did stop by and visit with our "Grandpuppies" one day this week:

This is Sugar and Spice, although that is out of order for this picture. This is really Spice and Sugar, but that doesn't sound right, so you know what I mean. Spice is the cute little brown and black pup on the left and Sugar is the sweet white and pink (albino) on the right. They are such sweet doggies and are always happy to see "Grandma".  Glad we don't have to practice "social distancing" with them.

We stopped by to see a custom order cabinet that our son is building for someone, per the customer's color preferences and design.  He was still putting the finishing touches on it and getting it ready to deliver.  So thankful that he has had plenty of work during this crisis. When you are self-employed finances can be pretty fragile during lean times. But God has blessed our son and his wife in that they have stayed very busy and orders continue to come in not only on their Etsy site, but also for custom items like this.    
Here is the link to their  two different Etsy sites: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BRCoastalRusticDecor, and also https://www.etsy.com/shop/RusticForestStudio , in case you want to know what they do.  Our daughter in law also works at Home Depot full time, which is an "essential" job, so she has stayed quite busy in addition to helping out with painting shelves, etc., in her "spare time".  

We thank the Lord for how HE has blessed them during this time.

Hubby and I took a quick walk early this morning between rain storms. We had quite the thunderstorm roll through during the night, and according to the weather radar they are supposed to start back up again a little later this morning, so we hurried up and went to our favorite walking place to get some exercise before it was too late.  I thought the "face" on the hat  on my hubby's back was kind of funny, so I had to take a picture.  There really wasn't anything else to take a picture of. You know it's getting bad when you take pictures of faces on hats...

And these pretty little yellow-gold wildflowers were the only flowers I could see blooming this morning. Not sure what they are...I may have to look them up...
Okay, I found it. It is called "Alicia -Chapmannia Floridana , and here is a link to more information:  http://hawthornhillwildflowers.blogspot.com/2014/10/alicia-chapmannia-floridana.html

I know you wanted to know about it just as much as I did.  So now you know as much as I do. LOL.

So what else have I been doing?  Well, I noticed that our friend Sandi over at Rose Chintz Cottage, who shares wonderful tea parties, was showing some lovely little silver spoons earlier this week. It made me think about some silverware that I have that was in bad need of polishing:

Before Polishing

 And after polishing and polishing, it still doesn't look all that wonderful. I might need some kind of better tarnish remover. I discovered that in our last home we had a lot of sulfur in the air due to having sulfur in the water.  So anything with any amount of silver in it really tarnished badly. I gave up on silver jewelry while there because it just took too much work to keep it clean.  So anyway, these lovely antique silver pieces were in bad shape. I may have to look up what I need to do to bring them back to their original beauty. Any ideas?
After polishing! Help!

 I especially love this little relish fork. This came from my mother's collection, but I am not sure where she got it. She collected some special silver items like this. The front of the fork has a "B" engraved on it.  And the back has the year "1906" engraved on it. It is a 1847 Rogers Bros. Vintage Grape pattern.

I also love the beautiful "compote spoon" (seen in the above photo in the middle). This was actually a wedding gift from my Aunt Margie, which I think may have originally come from my Grandma Tedlie's silverware. (My maternal grandmother).

I love the reflection in the spoon below as I took its picture, although for the life of me I cannot figure out what the beautiful blue thing is beside me on the left.  I have gone back and looked again where I photographed this, and there is nothing in that area that should look like that! Weird, huh?

Proverbs 3:13-15
13.  "Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
and the man who gains understanding;
14.  For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
and her gain than fine gold.
15.  She is more precious than rubies,
and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her."

Reminds me of this song:

"Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and
Nothing I desire compares with You.

And who can weigh the value of knowing You
Oh, who can judge the worth of who You are
Lord, who can count the blessing of loving You
Who can sing just how great You are
How great You are

Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and
Nothing I desire compares with You.
Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and
Nothing I desire compares with You.

Nothing I desire compares with You.
Nothing I desire compares with You."

This seems like a good place to stop for today.  
I hope you are having a blessed day wherever you are, and that you you know that 
"nothing" I or you could desire could possibly compare with knowing Jesus as our Savior.
He is more "precious than silver" (and will never tarnish!). He is more "costly than gold", and so much more beautiful than diamonds.  
"Nothing I desire compares with You." (Jesus).

Postscript: I decided to finish polishing some other silver pieces that I had from my mother. I repolished the pieces from above, and they came out better this time. Here are a few pictures of before, in between and after. I could not get the tarnish off of these pieces in our other house because of the sulfur. I am amazed that they all came out clean again, after a LOT of "elbow grease" and Wright's Silver Cream! Now if they would just stay that way. Any hints on how to keep them from tarnishing again?

My mother would be so proud of me! LOL!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Waiting on God - Updated

UPDATE 4/23/2020:  I like to go back and look at things I've written in the past around the same time of year as the current time, and this was written on 4/24/2018.  I think the theme of "Waiting on God" certainly is appropriate for our current situation today, don't you? We are all waiting on God, for this Covid 19 Crisis to pass, and waiting on God for the okay sign to get back out into the realm of the living again...allowing people to get back to work safely, and for us to begin to slowly get back into the mainstream of life once again.  

These pictures below came from our previous home. I sometimes miss the beauties of that place, but then again, God has given us some wonderful beauties to behold here in our new home as well. We waited patiently for the Lord to sell our house and find us a new home, and I must say that God does all things well. We can trust Him, friends, to bring us through this crisis into a stronger and better place than before. Just keep your eyes focused on the Lord, and He will never let you down.

Original Post, 4/24/2018:

 "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass."
Psalm 37:7

"Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
and He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!"
Psalm 27:14

 "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly 
for the salvation of the Lord."
Lamentations 3:25-26

"The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
and You give them their food in due season"
Psalm 145:15

"You open Your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing."
Psalm 145:16

"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
to all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them."
Psalm 145:18-19

Dear friend, Are you waiting on God today for some answers to difficult questions?
Are you waiting for the Lord to show you His plan for your life...whether it be financial, medical, personal family situations, salvation of a loved one...
Whatever it may be that you are waiting for, you can trust God to meet your need...
He is always there...He hears your prayer, and He sees your heart...
Trust in the Lord...

"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