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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Brand New Day

I woke up thinking about the fact that it has been one year since we sold our "old" home and bought this "new home", and oh! what a journey this has been!! I have attached a couple of posts here from last year when we were going through all of that, in case you missed them or just want to go back and remember along with me:

This was the "view" of "Still Waters Pond" when we first saw it a year ago.

Click HERE for "Exciting News"  This particular post was written when we finally had buyers for our previous house and we also had found the home of our dreams and were able to go ahead and sign that contract to purchase it. 
This is how "Still Waters Pond" looks today. 

In that post I also talked about the last Sunday for our former pastor, who was retiring.  What is interesting, here we are again a year later, and the "new pastor" we received last year was truly only serving as an interim and was part time (actually serving two churches at the same time, and we greatly appreciate his ministry to us for this past year), and now this week we will be beginning another new chapter in the life of our church with another new pastor, who will be full time. We are very excited because he is a person that we already know and love and we believe this will be a very blessed season in the life of our church. But that is another story for another day.  Please pray for our church this week as we plan to reopen finally after being closed all these months due to Covid 19. 
A welcome message from our new Pastor.

Perhaps you will remember when I wrote  this Last Message From Here.  Kind of a bittersweet post as we began packing up all of our belongings in preparation for the very big move to our new community and home.

The front door and porch of our last house on the 4th of July last year.

And then I wrote this "First Post from HERE" after we got moved into our church parsonage for a temporary stay until we could close on our new house and get moved again...
Here's our selfie in front of the church parsonage after we had moved in all of our stuff to stay temporarily for about 6 weeks.

Not our front door...but you should read the post linked above to get the "coincidence".

And this is how our front door looks now:

Anyway, I've just been walking back through the past year and all of the ups and downs and good times and not so good times, and I wanted to pause and say, "Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings!"  As we all know this year, 2020, in particular, has been filled with many difficulties for our country. When we were in the process of moving last summer to our new home we never could have imagined all that would be taking place here less than a year later.  But we are very thankful that we are here. We are surrounded by God's beauty and have our family and friends nearby. Our little church has been closed for a few months, but we are getting ready to begin a new chapter there as well...a new beginning in many ways besides the fact that we are getting a new Pastor.  We will be meeting in our Fellowship Hall so we can be more "socially distanced". We will wear masks, and there won't be any congregational or choir singing for a while. There are still many challenges ahead for all of us.  But one thing is for certain, God has not changed.  He is still in control. He will continue to be with us and go with us through whatever challenges lie ahead.

Here are some words from the Psalms that give me comfort today:

Psalm 4:6-8
6.  "There are many who say,
"Who will show us any good?"
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
7.  You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
8.  I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."

Psalm 5:11-12
11.  " But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy,
because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.
12.  For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield."

The sun is rising on a brand new day in our lives. Let us rejoice and put our trust in the Lord!


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Contemplations and Exaltations

Psalm 89:1
"I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known your faithfulness to all generations."

It is Sunday...the Lord's Day. A day set aside from the beginning of time for rest, worship, and praise to God, our Savior, Lord, and Coming King!

Since the onset of the Covid 19 (I strongly dislike that name/word/and all that it implies), we have not been able to gather together for Sunday worship.  I know many churches have had "drive-in services", and online/streamlined services. Our church has had online services...and as much as we appreciate all the effort put forth by our Pastor and other church leaders to make that happen each week, it still does not take the place of gathering together for worship and fellowship with our fellow believers and friends in Christ. 

The following verses are an encouragement and exhortation to believers to not neglect the gathering together , so that we can encourage and teach one another from God's Word how we should be living during these difficult times:

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. 

Since we have not been able to assemble together at our church all these weeks and now months, several of us have gathered together for a Sunday morning "brunch" at our local restaurant (once it opened again for service), just so we could be together and spend some time enjoying the presence of our beloved friends and encourage one another that way.  But then this week the restaurant had to close again because an employee was showing some symptoms that could be "the virus", and so they were being tested and the restaurant shut down until further notice. Of course that leaves us all wondering if we were also exposed, but until that person receives the test results no one knows. And so today we did not gather together as usual.  Our church is scheduled to reopen next Sunday, but with the current uptick in virus cases here in our state recently, we are not sure if that is going to happen or not. And so we retreat back into our homes and await the verdict.

However, I am not going to just sit here idly waiting. No, I am going to bake blueberry bran muffins for breakfast.  They looked and smelled so good as they came out of the oven I just had to take their picture! Then I ate a couple while they were still warm.

Then I told hubby I was not going to sit around all day and do nothing. Since it was a perfectly beautiful morning for a kayak ride around Still Waters Pond, that is what I did. Here I am, ready to go!

As I paddled around the pond of course I paused to enjoy the scenery along the way. There weren't any birds to startle away this morning...I think they got scared off by this "Loch Ness Monster" that showed up in their pond this past week! LOL.

The cattails remind me of roasting a hot dog over a campfire. Hmmm, something I love to do, but when it is a bit cooler so we can have a fire.

The pond is so covered with lily pads it looks like you could walk right across the tops of them. They are pretty hard to paddle through too, as the stems go down to the bottom of the pond and they are quite thick under the surface. I am getting a good workout paddling through these things!

I love this little sanctuary from the rest of the world. But if you look through those trees, you can see the sign for a handy store across the highway that is just on the other side of those trees.  But, except for the constant noise of traffic, you'd never know it was there...However, I have learned to tune out that noise and enjoy the peace and solitude of my special refuge from the turmoil outside my little sanctuary.

See what I mean about lily pads so thick you could walk across them?
Don't think I'd try it, however.

The morning sun was a bit bright so the pictures are not quite as pretty as before, but you still get the idea.

There's one of those bees I've told you about!  That lily pad looks like "pac-man" coming to eat him  up!

I finally made it all the way around the pond and back home. I always try to bring back at least one lily as a souvenir of my trip. If you notice the long stem in my hand, that tells you how deep the water was where I picked this flower. I measured the stem and it was 4'3" long! So that is how deep the pond is in the place where I picked the lily. There may be deeper spots, but I haven't discovered them yet.

I know I look kind of goofy here. I had taken my hat off so I could pull my camera over my head and hand it to my hubby so he could take this picture. I didn't realize the hat strap was covering my face! LOL.  You should have seen me getting out of the kayak, if you really want to see something goofy! LOL.

As I was writing this just now I looked out my window and saw this Great Blue Heron land out there in the pond. I am glad to see him come back as I thought I had scared him away for good!

He must be eating pretty good because it sure looks like he's getting bigger!

To finish with a few more verses from our morning Psalm 89

Psalm 89:13-16

13.  "You have a mighty arm; Strong is Your hand, 
and high is Your right hand.
14.  Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face.
15.  Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.
16.  In Your name they rejoice all day long,
and in Your righteousness they are exalted."

I hope you have found a place to have peace and rest and a refuge from the noise and strife of the world around us. God truly knew what we would need when He created a day of rest for His children. 
Until next time, have a blessed day, my friends!!

Friday, June 26, 2020

A Peaceful Interlude

I decided to take another kayak ride around Still Waters Pond today. (Friday). It was a beautiful, peaceful morning, and the pond was filled with fresh new water from last night's rain storm, so I was anxious to get out and enjoy the beauty.

As I rounded the bend in the pond, I heard a lot of screeching from the trees and also saw the flapping of giant grey-blue wings pass by...if you look very closely you can see the wings of the Great Blue Heron as he flew away from my presence. I guess I was interrupting his morning fishing for breakfast.

He flew up and all around the pond and eventually flew off into the distance. I shouted my apologies to him, but I don't think he heard me. He was a frustrated fisherman today...

He probably couldn't hear me over the cries of this Red Shouldered Hawk who was sitting up in this tree overlooking the pond.  He was not very pleased with my presence in his territory either.

He kept calling out as I passed underneath his perch. I prayed that I wouldn't become his "prey". Again, another frustrated bird because his breakfast was probably interrupted. They sure were grumpy birds this morning!

Of course, I was just out there for the joy of enjoying the beauty of the water lilies on the pond and feeling the fresh air in my face as I paddled around on the peaceful water.

"First keep the peace within yourself,
then you can also bring peace to others."
Thomas A Kempis

Don't you just love the way these lilies reflect on the surface of the pond?
"Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is a nobler art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials."
Lin Yutang

I think I could look at these beauties all day.
"Nature is the art of God." 
Thomas Browne
I did have to keep watching out for the bees that were buzzing in each of these flowers. 
You can't see them in these pictures, but trust me, I was well aware of them and making sure I didn't make them mad too!! Actually, they did just like the heron and the hawk and flew away as I came near.
I almost hated to paddle back into shore, but knew I couldn't stay out there all day.

Later this evening I looked back outside at the pond, and noticed this haze in the air. That, my friends is the Saharan Desert Dust that is blowing across our land right now.  It has been very hazy all afternoon and the air quality is not very good. It is also quite warm and humid, so better to stay indoors and write to you from my nice cool room....

I am reminded of the words of this Psalm:

Psalm 121:5-8
5.  "The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6.  The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7.  The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8.  The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
from this time forth, and even forevermore."

I am very thankful for the Lord being my "keeper", and for the knowledge that He is by my side, shading and preserving me from all evil forevermore.  
What a joy and blessing to be so lovingly cared for by our Lord.

I hope you will be at peace in your heart and soul during these difficult days.
May God be with you, always!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Birds, Bugs, and Summertime

Here it is Thursday evening already...I cannot keep up with the days anymore. I think I will have to start making and X on each day of the calendar so I can keep up with the date. Does anyone else have this problem? Be honest!  I know I can't be the only one!  I can't believe we are just a little over a week away from the 4th of July! We haven't made any plans yet for that day. Have you? I wonder what people will be able to do this year. It certainly is a different time these days...

We are into summer full swing...hot humid days, frequent afternoon thunderstorms, and daylight almost until bedtime! I find myself waking up earlier because the sun is rising...and then going to bed later because the sun just doesn't seem to set.  But we are thankful for the rhythm of each day....thankful to be alive and well and praising God for His protection from the storms of "life".  

Since tomorrow is Friday, I might as well show you whatever photos I have managed to take this week. Not a lot going on, but then again...God's creation is always active all around us...we just need to be observant!

This Red Shouldered Hawk was sitting up on the top of the biggest pine tree, minding his own business, and that Blue Jay kept pestering him, flying all around and making lots of noise because he didn't want him there.  After quite a few minutes of this, the hawk finally had enough and flew away. Don't you sometimes wish you could just fly away from all the noise of this world?

One evening this week we had a pretty severe thunderstorm right about suppertime. So we had to wait awhile to go take our evening walk.  I'm glad we did, as we arrived just in time to see this young deer coming out of the woods...

And actually there were two of them! This is the other, which I believe is the mother to the younger one above.
She gave me a good look before she ran on into the woods in search of her youngster.

I saw this "Florida Deep Digger Scarab Beetle" crossing the road this morning. I thought he was pretty interesting. He stopped dead in his tracks and waited on me to examine him and take his picture, and then he went on his way. Pretty cool!
Seeing that this beetle is called a "Scarab Beetle" reminded me of my paternal grandmother's "Scarab Bracelet" that I was given after her death.  Have you ever seen one of these before?  Each of the stones has a "Scarab" design etched into it on the top:

and then the back side is flat, but has these special little x's or stars etched into the stone.
Here is some information about the "meaning of a Scarab Bracelet":

"In ancient Egyptian religion the scarab was also a symbol of immortality, resurrection, transformation and protection much used in funerary art. The life of the scarab beetle revolved around the dung balls that the beetles consumed, laid their eggs in, and fed their young represented a cycle of rebirth."

"Amulets in the form of scarab beetles were very popular in Ancient Egypt from 2,000 BC onwards; soldiers often wore scarab beetles into battle as the insects were thought to have supernatural powers of protection against enemies."

Interesting, huh?

I don't think my grandmother used her scarab bracelet for any kind of "good luck", as she was a Christian woman and certainly not superstitious. This was popular jewelry back in the 1950's, which is when I think she may have received this bracelet. I remember her wearing it a lot, and I was very pleased to receive it in memory of her.  Interesting...this is the same grandmother that I am doing so much genealogical research on right now.  Remember me telling you about her HERE? As an update, I am making very good progress and believe I am truly zeroing in on who her birth parents were. I have also contacted the authorities in the location where she was adopted and have requested  to have her adoption file opened if at all possible.  There are some genetic issues in our extended family that are being researched and this information could be very helpful for some of our family members. So please say a little prayer with me that they will consider this request. You would think that after 125 years it wouldn't be such an issue, but apparently it is.

Back to nature...This cute tiny little dragonfly was flying around the edge of the pond this afternoon.
"As Nymphs, the dragonflies eat mosquito larvae, other aquatic insects and worms, and for a little variety even small aquatic vertebrates like tadpoles and small fish. ... The adult dragonfly likes to eat gnats, mayflies, flies, mosquitoes and other small flying insects. They sometimes eat butterflies, moths and bees too."

So these little guys are eating mosquito larvae around the pond, and I say, "Be my guest! Eat all the mosquito larvae you can!"  The dragonflies are our friends!

Here is a Psalm for us to meditate upon as we ponder life these days:

Psalm 61
"A Psalm of David"
"1.  Hear my cry, O God;
attend to my prayer.
2.  From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3.  For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
4.  I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of your wings.
5.  For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
6.  You will prolong the king's life,
His years as many generations.
7.  He shall abide before God forever.
Oh prepare mercy and truth,
which may preserve him!
8.  So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
that I may daily perform my vows."

Have a blessed and beautiful day my friends.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Summertime, And the Living Is Easy

Welcome to Tuesday 4. 
Here is this weeks meme in honor and memory of our blogging friend Toni Taddeo...

When I saw this particular list of questions my mind went back in time to the good old summertime, when the "living was easy"... so I thought I should join in the fun and share some of my favorite summer pastimes from my past...


1. What activities did you enjoy as a kid in the summer?

Primarily I loved being out of school for the summer.  I could play all day and not have to worry about dressing up and wearing shoes.  Our local school sponsored a Summer Recreation Program where we could go to the school each day and go on special field trips to the area swimming places, like Alexander Springs, Sanlando Springs, the area pools, or stay at the school and play ping pong and other games in the old gymnasium.  It was a lot of fun and a great way to stay active instead of doing nothing at home.  

2. Did you go on vacations? Where did you go?

Oh yes, we went on vacations. Every summer we would pack up the car with the car carrier on top of the car with our tent, air mattresses, luggage, cooler, Coleman Grill, food..  My mother would bake cookies before we left so we had snacks for on the road. There were no McDonald's or other fast food places along the roads back then. There were little roadside picnic areas, oftentimes alongside a mountain stream, and we would stop and Mom would fix our lunch /sandwiches, while my sister and I would explore the stream to find some good rocks to take home for souvenirs.  There were six of us packed into a rather small car, and no AC...we had the windows wide open and our feet sticking out the windows. (and no seatbelts!) Yes, actually my dad sometimes pulled a little cargo trailer along on the back of the car to hold all our camping stuff.  He would choose a different route north through the Smokey Mountains every summer, and we would stay at whatever State Parks or other cheap camping locations he could find for us to stop for the night.  

Some times we got to stop at some tourist attractions. This was "Ghost Mountain in the Sky" in Maggie Valley, NC.  It is truly a Ghost Mountain now as I hear it is no longer up there. There was a Six Guns Territory on the top of the mountain with shootouts and all kinds of old western themed activities and stores.  Here we are going up the side of the mountain on a chair lift.  That was kind of scary, but fun. That is my sister and her girlfriend Mary Jane in front of me. That summer my oldest brother Russell was working, so he didn't get to go with us, so we took Mary Jane instead, along with my brother Cliff, sister Doris, and my parents. 

Here is my brother Clifford, Mary Jane, Doris, and Me, all on the back of that poor old horse! Of course he was made out of cement. This was somewhere in S.C., and we used to stop there every year and have our pictures taken on that horse.  Notice my sister and her friend had their hair in curlers with a scarf over it. My hair was a mess, because we had to ride with the car windows open...but I was only 12 in this picture, so I really wasn't that concerned with my looks yet...LOL.
I had to have my picture taken alone..."Ride Em Cowboy!"

The reason for the trips north each summer were so that we could visit our relatives in Ohio and Pennsylvania. I always looked forward to spending some time with my cousins and Grandparents.
My Grandpa Tedlie is on the far right, holding "Monkey, the Cat".  I believe my grandmother was in the house as she was not well and unable to join us outside. I must have taken this picture as I am not in it. My sister Doris is on the far left, my cousin Cheryl, My Mother, My Aunt Belle, cousin Robbie, my Dad, and Grandpa Tedlie. 

Another favorite activity for me was going to our youth camp each summer. I loved it so much that I was a counselor at that same camp the summer after I graduated from high school. It was there that I truly committed my life to Christ, and began the journey of faith that would later lead me to my husband and eventually the ministry with my hubby and family.

But in the meantime, I just enjoyed making new friends at camp and meeting cute boys. LOL. I wasn't too concerned with spiritual things at this stage of life. Thankfully, God was watching over me all the time! 

3.Do you have a favorite summer time dinner? Share it with us please?

Favorite summertime dinner, well, that would be on the 4th of July when we always make home-made ice-cream...that's an old family tradition. We usually use the hand crank churn, but lately us old folks have started using the electric one instead.  We love hamburgers/hot dogs/chicken cooked on the grill. I love baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob.  Not sure if we will have such a picnic this year or not...depends on who is brave enough to come!

4.How often do you sit outside and enjoy an iced tea or coffee?

Most every day I like to sit out on my garden bench in the shade and sip some iced tea or water, or eat a popsickle, and watch the birds...and take pictures.

Male Wood Duck in Still Waters Pond

Great Blue Heron fishing for his dinner.

Although I wouldn't say that summer is my favorite season due to the heat and humidity, I must say that I have some of my best childhood memories from summertime. Those trips with my family through the mountains and up to visit our relatives were filled with many memories of fun games played in the car to help the time pass..."The Alphabet Game", "The Horse Game", and many other fun things. Seeing such beauty as we'd drive through the mountains, although my worst memory is always getting carsick.  But the excitement of packing up and getting ready to go and finally getting on the road was so exciting to me as a little girl. I always marvel at how my Dad and Mother were able to put it all together to make it into a wonderful vacation that we'd never forget.  We didn't have much money, hence the reason for camping and cooking our own food. My sister and I always had saved a little bit of "allowance money" for souvenirs...we had to bring home some special thing from our trips, even if it was just a rock. I still have one such rock in my bedroom that I have saved all these years.
I have used that rock through the years as a doorstop, but lately we've decided that we have stubbed our toes on it too many times, so it usually is sitting somewhere out of the way.  Gee, that rock is well over 50 years old in my possession. No telling how old it really is!

Thank you, Ann at Cottage By The Sea, for setting up these weekly Tuesday Meme's for us in memory of our friend Toni.  I know she is smiling down at us each week as we remember her in this way.

Have a blessed day everyone! Go out and make some Summertime Memories!