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, May 30, 2020

A Day of Peace and Prayer

I wrote this from my "Secret Memorial Garden" this afternoon:
It’s 90 degrees outside and I am sitting here beside Still Waters Pond drinking a cup of hot tea 🍵. I must be crazy. But I am enjoying the peaceful surroundings. In the midst of so much chaos and sorrow in our land I just needed to get away from the world situation and pray. Don’t let my silence fool you. I am very saddened by the events of this past week, especially concerning George Floyd and his senseless death. Praying for appropriate justice to be done on his behalf. But I pray one horrendous act does not lead to further irreparable harm for more innocent people. May God help us to do the right things. Amen 🙏  
And that is all I will say about the current situation. We are all being bombarded with the horrific news from around the country...so much so that I had to turn off the TV and just get away from it for a while.  We did watch the launch of the SpaceEx rocket with two astronauts into space. That was something very positive and "uplifting"...pun intended.  Praying for their safety and successful mission to the International Space Station.

Now on to other things from the past couple of days:

Some of you may remember this beautiful Gloxinia plant that I brought with us from our old house when we moved. It is finally blooming again...and even has another bud ready to open:    This was a plant that I had basically given up on. I had just put it out in the bushes at our old house because I thought it was dead.  And then one day I looked and there it was, blooming like this! And so I paid closer attention to it, and it kept blooming all last summer. So it came with us when we moved, and it went kind of dormant for the winter, and now here it is again!  Just goes to show you that you should never give up on someone just because they don't perform exactly as you think they should all the time. Perhaps they just needed a little rest away from the noise and time to recover and bloom once again!

I noticed this little green lizard climbing on my new garden flag in the front yard today.  It looks like he wants to look at that pretty butterfly:

Or maybe he's just jealous that the butterfly and flowers get all the attention, and he wanted some too! So, yes, he got my attention!!

Something else that got my attention was the Great Blue Heron sitting so prettily on the other side of the pond. I tried to be very quiet as I took its picture....

But he didn't like it and up and up and away he flew! Which was just fine with me, because I rarely ever get a great picture of these birds in flight!  This was pretty good for high noon and in motion!!

My Facebook friends already saw these pictures, but today was "Demo Day" for Ben & Rose's Country Woodshop old shed.  For those who may not know, that is the name of our son and his wife's woodworking business where they build shelves for their Etsy Sites,   BR Coastal Rustic Decor and also Rustic Forest Studio.  They also build tables and refurbish other vintage furniture to be sold in local unique furniture shops.   Anyway, this old shed had a leaky roof among other problems, so our son and a friend tore it down today to make way for a brand new shed workshop.  Their business has been expanding over these past several months, even with the pandemic going on, and they need more room to work!

This story is to be continued when the new shed arrives...

Our sweet Grandpuppies, Sugar and Spice, were supervising the whole demo operation. 

I will close this with the words of this Psalm that we read this morning in our daily devotions. I found it particularly appropriate for our current situation in this country.  

Psalm 11
1.  "In the Lord I put my trust;
How can you say to my soul, 
'Flee as a bird to your mountain'?
2.  For look! The wicked bend their bow,
They make ready their arrow on the string,
That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.
3.  If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?
4.  The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord's throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold,
His eyelids test the sons of men.
5.  The Lord tests the righteous,
but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
6.  Upon the wicked He will rain coals;
Fire and brimstone and a burning wind;
Shall be the portion of their cup.
7.  For the Lord is righteous,
He loves righteousness;
His countenance beholds the upright."
I don't think I need to add anything to this at all...

Have a blessed night and beautiful day of worship tomorrow...wherever you may be to worship the Lord, make it a day of peace and prayer. Our country is in desperate need for both.  Amen.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Thankful Thursday and Friday Fotos All At Once!

Today is Thankful Thursday... and yes I am thankful.
Thankful for the rain that has been falling for the past few days. Still Waters Pond is starting to look like a pond again instead of a mud-pit. The water birds are starting to come back again.
 Can you see the Wood Duck couple above?  And the White Egret below?

This Red Bellied Woodpecker is enjoying a feast in the top of this dead pine tree:

Yes, he's really way up there!! But he doesn't seem to mind.
He can see all over town from way up there.

It is also time for Friday Fotos again, so I may as well add a few pictures from this week's walks:
I am thankful that my hubby and I can get out and walk every day, even in between the rain showers. (sometimes during, but not on purpose!)
Found some new species of flowers while walking this week:  (Do you see that little green grasshopper again? I wonder if he is the same one that was on my rose blossom last week? He sure gets around town! LOL)

 Fungi growing on old dead logs. Kind of like the age spots that grow on our "old bodies". LOL.

One day this week our friend Sylvia, who used to write her blog A Grandma's Blessings, invited me to have tea with her on Facebook. (Sylvia hasn't been able to write her blog since her sweet hubby passed away last year and she has moved and hasn't unpacked her computer. We've missed her here!) She sent me a picture of her teacup and delicious looking cranberry orange muffins. So I responded with this picture of my teacup and an apple bran muffin. Soon a few other friends joined us...I think there was Mary from "Visits with Mary" and a banana muffin, and then Linda joined us from "Simply Linda", along with her lemonade because she said it was too hot for tea up in New York!

We had a great time visiting on Facebook, and you are welcome to join in here if you'd like. I think we are all ready for some kind of tea parties and friendly visits with one another.

I just picked up a little book off my bookshelf here beside my desk.

I think someone else mentioned this book or another by Emilie Barnes recently. I love her books and have several of them.

I turned to the chapter that says: "Fill my cup, Lord...I offer you my cup of loneliness and selfishness, that You may give me Your cup of communion."

I think many of us are suffering from various forms of loneliness during this time of isolation. Even if we have family all around us, we can still be lonely. We are missing our friends and our times of fellowship and friendly visits.  I don't think it is selfish to miss that. I wrote yesterday about missing our times of worship at church and my concerns that even when we go back to church it just won't be quite the same as before.  I've been really thinking about that praying about my attitude toward that today.  You know, "the cup of communion" with Christ is not only talking about "The Lord's Supper" that we share with other believers at church on a regular basis. It is a daily communion with Christ...reading His Word, praying, and communicating with Him throughout the day as we walk or sit and watch the birds, or whatever we enjoy doing that is relaxing and peaceful.  And even though our "communion" with others may be somewhat limited right now, we can still have a kind of communion here, through our blogs as we encourage one another and lift up each other in prayer. As we share stories of hope and faith from our own life's experiences...these are all ways of filling our lives with the "cup of the Lord's communion".  

I am thankful for this group of people here who gather sometimes daily to share their lives with us. This gives us each a feeling of friendship and fellowship that we sorely need.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:19-20

"I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

So in my combined thankful Thursday and Friday Foto post, I want to thank you for being here! Thank you for listening when I share my concerns and frustrations as well as my joys and blessings. I look forward to hearing from each of you and seeing what things are happening in your lives each week. We are a kind of family here, and you are each very special to me. My cup is full because of you!

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."
Philippians 1:3

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Too Many Adjustments For This Old Gal

Okay, so Blogger is playing games with us and wants to change the way we do things here. I am trying it to see how it works so I will know how to complain...or adjust as necessary. I guess that is what is happening in all of life these days...we have the choice to complain, or adjust as necessary. I might as well warn you...I am struggling with the thoughts of all the "adjusts as necessary" we are having to make to adapt to the way things are right now.  

Probably my biggest adjustment will be when we finally are able to go back to church. Even though we are free to go back to church again, we really aren't free. I mean, we are free as long as we can socially distance ourselves from everyone...six feet apart in seating and standing and basically putting an invisible bubble around ourselves.  And then there's the mask...I don't even want to go there. And the offering plate...must not be passed from person to person anymore. Gotta find some "safe way" to give our tithe to God's House.  But even bigger and more difficult than that is the "no singing" policy. They (they being the "experts" on these things) say that choirs should not sing. Congregations should not sing. Singing apparently causes us to breathe out too much air and suck in too much air and it just might kill us.

Yes, I am having a difficult time thinking about all of these adjustments. I am truly having to pray really hard about this. I want to go back to church more than anything right now. But I want to go back to church the way it was. Our church was full of singing and rejoicing and praising the Lord together...and hugging...lots of hugging. Just thinking about taking all of that away is making me very sad and somewhat depressed, I might as well be honest.  Singing especially. That is one of the biggest parts of worship for me. I love to sing praises to the Lord. I've been singing since I learned how to make noise in my crib. I sang "Jesus Loves Me" from the time I could form words. I sang "Jesus Loves Me" to my babies in my womb and then when I held them in my arms for the first time and every time I could. I would still sing it to my grown up babies if they'd let me.  We sang it every Sunday morning in our worship service as the little children would line up to go out for Children's Church. 

I'm sorry. Obviously I am not adjusting to this idea very well. But let me tell you why.
Remember when Jesus was entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before His crucifixion?  Do you remember how as He entered the city on the colt,  (see Luke 19:35-40):
"The whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:
"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!"  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
39.  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."
40.  But He answered and said to them, 

"I tell you that if these should keep silent, 
the stones would immediately cry out."

That's how I feel about this whole thing...especially the not singing part.  There is no way that I can sit through a whole worship service and not sing praises to my Lord. I have visions of myself jumping up from my seat and singing the Doxology from the top of my voice:

"Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Praise  Him all creatures here below!
Praise Him above ye heavenly host!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Much like this Mockingbird was doing this afternoon, from the tip top of the tallest tree, singing his heart out:

I know, it's only an hour or so on a Sunday morning. I should be able to adjust for that amount of time. And I suppose I could if it wasn't the fact that all these adjustments totally change everything about the way we worship together. The new "rules" tend to squash our joy and peace and enthusiasm for being in God's House.  I guess if you are a person who likes to just slip in the back pew and sit there for an hour and not speak to anyone or do anything but sit there, then it won't make much difference to you. But to me worship is active participation in the service. It's singing, praying, partaking in the worship of giving our tithes and offerings, participation in the Holy Sacrament of Communion. It's greeting our friends and visitors and making them feel welcome in God's house. It's filling up the pews with our family and friends and sitting close together, squeezing a hand or putting an arm around a shoulder when you know that person is praying and hurting and needing someone to agree with them in prayer either in their seat or kneeling at the prayer altar.  It's shaking the Pastor's hand at the close of the service as we go out the door, thanking him for his message that touched our hearts and brought comfort to our souls. 

Somehow I believe that God is bigger than all of these "rules" and new "adjustments".  I know what people are thinking and saying..."She doesn't care about health and safety". "She's a rebel and we need to stay away from her because she might burst out singing and breathe on us and give us the virus."
Well, maybe I am a rebel. I'm having to pray about that, because I certainly would never want to be the cause for someone else's pain or illness.  But I don't want to be cringing in fear every time someone comes near me to welcome me. I don't want to hold in the songs that keep bubbling up out of my heart that is filled with the joy of the Lord. I don't want to be the one that makes the rocks cry out because I refused to praise my Lord.  So you might want to pray for me to be able to adapt and adjust to whatever the new rules might be, because above all else, I want to praise my Lord and worship in His house again, no matter what.

Okay, stop the presses a moment...take a deep breath! One of my friends from church emailed this quote to me today...and I just re-read it and realized I should have been doing this instead of ranting.

"Take a deep breath and let the peace of the Risen Christ fill you now."

John 20:19
"Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them,
"Peace be with you."

"Risen Christ,
Breathing out, I release my fear. Inhaling, I receive your peace. Your peace renews my spirit.
Hallelujah! Amen."

(Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor President, The Fellowship Revitalization Coordinator,
Lynchburg District of the Virginia Conference, Lynchburg, VA)

On a much brighter note, as we left the house this afternoon to take a ride and go for a walk after a day full of rain (praise the Lord for the rain!), just as we turned onto the highway we looked up and saw this beautiful rainbow:

And it reminded me that God is with us and has promised to always be with us. Even in the midst of this stormy time of riding the waves of this "pandemic", His promises are true. He will not forsake His children. The rainbow is God's symbol of hope and promise. We will get through this time.
I need to be patient and trust Him with all of these concerns and "adjustments". He knows my heart, and He will help me.

"Just take a deep breath and let the peace of the Risen Christ fill you now."

Now,  concerning the changes in Blogger, I've been using the changed interface to write this post. I am not real happy with the way it handles the pictures especially, and some of the other formatting issues. I know they are going to try to force us to change over, but I did see where the original format will still be available. I don't know for how long, but my first choice would be to stick with the original if possible. But I guess I will have to pray about this too!!! You know, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks! LOL.

I hope you will have a blessed and beautiful week. I apologize for being negative. But these are issues I am trying to work through, and perhaps you are too. Let's pray for one another, okay? Okay.

Monday, May 25, 2020

A Special Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. Of course it is the day that we are to remember our fallen soldiers and those that have given their lives in sacrifice for our country's freedom. It began after the Civil War, and was known as "Decoration Day", when the wives and loved ones of the fallen soldiers would go and decorate their graves.

Here is a link that gives some of the history of why we celebrate "Memorial Day".

(copied from Internet)

Over the years and following the World Wars and other major conflicts, Memorial Day became a day to honor the memories of all fallen soldiers from all the different wars.  It also became a day for families to decorate the graves of their other loved ones in the cemetery as well as the soldiers'. My mother in law was very faithful to put fresh flowers and a flag on the graves of her departed loved ones on Memorial Day.  I regret that we are a little too far out of the way to go and decorate her grave  now that she has passed on.  We need to make it a point to go and do that perhaps for her birthday later this summer, if at all possible.

For us, this particular Memorial Day has taken on a new meaning for remembrance. I know I've already shared this with you in previous posts, but today is the 6th anniversary of the passing of our dear son Matthew, who died from a four year battle with cancer at the age of 41.

A couple of years ago we were blessed to be able to travel to Maine for our grandson's graduation from high school, and we were able to visit our son's gravesite for the first time. It was not long after Memorial Day, and the fire department had placed a special flag on his grave because of his volunteer service to their local fire department.  We were so thankful to see that his memory was being honored in that special way by his community.

This is a picture of Matthew as we took one of our last walks together on his property in Maine. He loved the woods and often retreated there just to think and enjoy the nature around him.

Because our son lived in Maine and was buried there, we, as his family here in Florida decided that we would create a special memorial garden in his memory at our home so that we would have a place to just sit and pray and meditate and remember him.   This was how it looked at our previous home:

Well, as most of you know, we moved away from that home last summer, and we are still in the process of developing our yard and garden areas at our new home.  But one thing I had already determined was that I wanted to set up another special area as a Memorial Garden in memory of our son.

If you read the following post last week https://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/2020/05/some-monday-meanderings.html, you saw that I was attempting to dedicate myself to spend more determined prayer and meditation time in this special area where my garden bench is located. Likewise, the family here has agreed that that would also be the ideal location for our new "Memorial Garden".  And so today we decided to begin that process.

Here are our two sons who live here locally, getting things ready for the garden...

Some of you will remember these items and signs from our previous Secret Garden and Memorial Garden:
This will be a combination of "My Secret Garden" and the Memorial Garden, overlooking Still Waters Pond.  The plants that you see in the pots are the flowers that we brought with us from the other garden...that wonderful rosebush that blooms for every special day, and the other is the Rose of Sharon Bush that our son's wife picked out for the Memorial Garden.  Now that we have determined where the Memorial Garden should be, I will try to get these planted in the ground and properly fertilized, etc., so that they can begin growing once again. I pray they will thrive here as they did once before.

Little by little we will do more landscaping...and pray that the rains will fill Still Waters Pond back up. Today was a great beginning for all of the above.

And as a perfect ending for this day...amazingly that rose that I picked last week from the Memorial Rose Bush is still blooming for today!  Just another of God's special blessings to comfort and cheer us along the way.

I do hope that your Memorial Day has been a day of special reflection and appreciation for those who have given so much for our freedom. We dare not take those freedoms for granted as they can so easily be taken away.

Long may our flag wave "'o're the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave!".

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Friday Fotos : Things Are Looking Up!

 Hello Everyone!  I hope you have had a wonderful week! Here we are again...another Friday already!  (writing on Thursday night, however).  Some weeks just seem to drag by and we get to Friday and I have nothing to share with you...and have to go searching through the archives.
But this week seems to have been a good week for photos.   Or perhaps I've just been more observant than usual. That may be a good sign that things are looking up and I'm feeling more like participating!  Possibly because we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and there is a sense of optimism in the air that everything is going to be okay.

I wonder what Mrs. Cardinal is trying to say to Mr. Cardinal..."Hey Red, Do you think we ought to tell the children where we are getting these seeds from?"

 "It might be easier than us having to keep taking the seeds over to them and feeding them one by one...seeing's how there are three of them over there waiting in the tree for their food!"

And then "Red" secretly showed up on my new window feeder, right in front of me as I was sitting here working. I don't think he told Mrs. Cardinal about his secret stash of the good stuff!
There she was. left on her own to keep gathering food for her youngins.  But they all looked healthy and happy and that's what matters! Things are definitely looking up!

After watching the birds here at home, we headed to our woodsy place to take our morning walk.
I was happy to see this beautiful "Buckeye" butterfly flitting about. He landed long enough for me to take his picture, and then off he went.

Here's another sweet little yellow wildflower, which I will have to look up and find out the name.
 Okay, it is a Piriqueta Cistoides, subsp.caroliniana.  Click HERE for more information.  I know you want to know!

Someone had cut up a tree and left the logs sitting in an area where people like to dump stuff in the woods. At least this is biodegradable.
 I wanted to gather them up and take them home and make stools to sit on in the yard for whenever we get a firepit.  But it would be easier to cut down one of our own big dead trees and do it right there than to try to lift these heavy stumps and haul them home.  Anyway, I appreciated having a little place to sit down and rest for a spell.

And then I got up and started walking again, and this beautiful Gulf Fritillary landed right in front of me and waited for me to take it's picture! I guess everyone was being quite the little "ham" today!!

Then we took a little ride out to the other side of town and down a road that we used to travel a lot before we moved over here as it was one of the routes we would take to come over back and forth. I have taken pictures of this old Florida "Cracker Style" house before, but I was inspired to take a few more pictures today. Now they have it all roped off with "Posted, No Trespassing" signs across the property, so I couldn't get any closer. Probably too many curious lookers have been stopping by.
  Can't you just envision the old folks that used to live and loved here? I hate to see it being let go to ruin, but I suppose it would be too costly to restore it.
 It's the style of house that I would dearly love to have (as long as it had indoor plumbing and electricity).  Here is a link to more information about Florida Cracker Style homes.

Yesterday evening I took this picture of a new rosebud on my Memorial "Don Juan" rosebush. See the cute little green grasshopper on it?

Here is that same rose this morning, and that grasshopper is still munching away.

So I thumped him off and cut the rose and brought it inside where I can enjoy it. This is yet another rose from our son's Memorial Rosebush, and again, it is blooming at another special time. Monday will be  the 6th anniversary of our son Matthew's passing, and I know I've told you this before, but this rosebush always seems to bloom around special dates in our lives. I always consider each blossom a gift from our son in heaven.

Tonight we took another walk, and I thought these clouds were encouraging...they look like rain could possibly be coming...but so far nothing. Please pray for rain! Our area of the state is very dry and that can be very dangerous when it starts getting so hot. Plus our poor little Still Waters Pond is really getting dry, and literally the waters are very still!
Seeing these clouds also reminds me that today is traditionally remembered as Ascension Day,  the day that our Lord ascended back into heaven, 40 days after His resurrection from the dead.  In the book of Acts 1:1-11, we see Jesus giving His last instructions to His disciples, and then in verse 9-11 it says:
9.  "Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched,
He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10.  And while they looked steadfastly 
toward heaven as He went up, 
behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11.  who also said,
"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?  
This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,
will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

I don't know about you, but I am so looking forward to seeing Jesus come back "in like manner" as the Disciples saw Him go into heaven. I pray it will be soon.  Yes, then we will definitely be "looking up"!  I hope we are all ready for that grand and glorious day.

Have a blessed and wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. I will look forward to hearing all about it next week!