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, August 29, 2020

Change Is In the Air

There are subtle changes in the air...even though it is still very hot and steamy here in Florida,
there are little signs that we are about to go through a seasonal change.
This little dragonfly has been busily sipping nectar from the ends of these wildflower plants that are just about ready to start opening up.

I've been noticing them every time we take a walk, and there is a particular kind of wildflower stem that has little buds right at the tip top ready to bloom, and these dragonflies love to land on them and get a little sip of something good.

In the tree tops the Red Shouldered Hawks have been very active. This one is in the tall pine tree next to our house.  The Mississippi Kites who were guarding that spot seem to have disappeared, and now the Red Shouldered Hawk has regained his command of this watchtower.

Isn't he beautiful?

He rules the bird kingdom surrounding Still Waters Pond.

Just below his perch is this magnificent holly tree, and I couldn't help but notice how many berries it has! It is fully loaded, and they are beginning to change colors from green to yellow and soon to red. I don't even remember seeing these berries in the top of this tree last year...so maybe this huge crop means we are going to have a colder winter...(In Florida that might mean we'll get to wear our jackets and gloves occasionally!)

This is that same tree as viewed from the porch. It also shades our Secret Memorial Garden.

Around on the other side of our yard overlooking the pond is another big holly tree, and its berries are almost red already!  This seems really early to me.  But the birds are really going to love all these berries!

On the far side of the pond are these lovely maple trees, and they are already starting to turn red!
When we see maple leaves turning color, we get all excited because that means fall is just around the corner...or else it means we are in some other state because Florida really doesn't have as many beautiful autumn leaves as most places to the north of us. So we treasure every rare sighting of them.

I am looking forward to sitting on our porch and obeying every one of these "rules" as soon as the temperatures drop about ten more degrees, with no humidity.

Golf anyone?  I saw this strange sight in our wooded area on our property today, and I thought our son had forgotten to hit this golf ball and left it there on a tee.  Upon closer inspection I realized it was a mushroom!

Sure fooled me! It was even the same size as a golf ball!!

Along the edge of the pond there are a lot of grassy weeds growing. We were going to have someone come and cut them back so it wouldn't look too "snakey" around the pond. But upon closer inspection I found many new buds of wildflowers about to open.

These in particular I've never seen before:

And so I told my hubby that I'd prefer that we don't mow or cut them down until we get to see just what will be blooming there. Last year when we moved into this house we had someone clear that whole area, and so we never got to see what was growing there. I don't want to miss out on the natural beauty that God paints for us with each new season.

Of course, we still have plenty of the water lilies and lily pads in the pond. Even though the lilies are lovely, I wouldn't mind if someone could come and clean out a large portion of the lily pads so that I could paddle around in the kayak again.  Right now it is just too overrun with lily pads to navigate through them.

Do you see what I see?
Look closely....

And this is just another lovely view of the little island in the pond. I'd love to be able to paddle around it again. Maybe when it cools down a bit the lilies will die back some so I can get through.

Many of you were so sweet to wish our son a Happy Birthday. Here he is blowing out his candles after we sang Happy Birthday to him. On the far right is our Pastor and his wife, who came to enjoy the celebration with us.  Left to right: Hubby, son #3, (Scott), Daughter in Love (Rose), and son #1 (Benton), Pastor Dave and wife Carol. She is also our music and worship leader for our church.

And here I am with Rose and Benton.  We had a wonderful lasagna dinner prior to the delicious chocolate cake and ice cream. Rose baked the cake and also helped me with the lasagna. She is a great cook! 

You will notice that the number on the cake is 49.  Next year our son will enter a new decade in his life! It is hard for me to believe that I have a son who is almost 50 years old! How can that be? Where has the time gone?  Seems like only yesterday that I was anxiously awaiting his very late and long delivery. He was 2 and 1/2 weeks late and weighed 9 lbs. 13 1/2 ounces at birth!  Needless to say I was very happy to have him make his grand entrance into the world!  He is a joy and a blessing, and we are very blessed to have him. (along with the rest of our beautiful family too, of course, but this is about him!)

Seems like only yesterday he looked like this! (at 3 months old)

Makes me think of that song from Fiddler on the Roof:

"Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When she did get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be this tall?
Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears"

Thinking about the change of  seasons and seasons of life always reminds me of this passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.  I know it is familiar to most everyone, but when I look at the things that are happening in our world and country these days, these words become even more clear:

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

Personally, I am looking forward to that "time to love, and a time of peace."  I think we've had too much time to hate ,  and too much time to "refrain from embracing". I think we've also had more than enough time to "keep silence"...many of us need to find that "time to speak"...and there has been way too much "time to kill"...we need time to heal and time to build up...no more casting stones...I'm looking forward to the day when there will be no more weeping and we can laugh out loud once again...and then we need to just dance.     Anybody else with me here?  
Praying for our country to heal...and praying that we will soon be able to laugh, embrace, and dance.

Have a blessed and beautiful Sunday tomorrow. If at all possible where you are, please try to attend the worship services of your choice.  If unable to attend in person, then please tune in to a church service online.  Here is the link to our church if you don't have one:

I hope you will enjoy this message and the music at the beginning.
Our praise the team is singing "Soon And Very Soon"

Soon and very soon we are going to see the king
Soon and very soon we are going to see the king
Soon and very soon we are going to see the king
Hallelujah hallelujah
We are going to see the king

No more crying there
No more crying there
No more crying there
Hallelujah hallelujah
We are going to see the king

No more dying there
No more dying there
No more dying there
Hallelujah hallelujah
We are going to see the king

Soon and very soon we are going to see the king
Soon and very soon we are going to see the king
Soon and very soon we are going to see the king
Hallelujah hallelujah
We are going to see the king!

I hope you are ready to see "the King"... the times and the seasons tell us that it might not be long!!


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Friday Foto Friends and Thursday Blessings

 I am writing on Thursday afternoon and sharing blessings and Friday fotos. Tomorrow, Friday, will be a busy day, as it is our oldest son's birthday and we will be having him and his wife for supper along with some other special guests, so I will be busy making lasagna!  My daughter in love will be helping me and she is also baking his birthday cake, so we will have a fun afternoon doing this together.  

That is one of our biggest blessings...having our kids living nearby so we can enjoy doing things together.  Like, for instance, they brought the "grandpuppies" over to inspect the new porch the other night. Sorry, this is just a rear view of Sugar and Spice, but they were busy checking things out and couldn't be bothered to turn around and smile for "Grandma". LOL.

Little by little we are getting the porch furniture back on "deck", and I am trying to think about ways to make it more welcoming and comfortable.

Some pumpkin spice candles on the tables will be nice when the weather cools down a little bit more so we can sit out there and enjoy the view.

I need a few more chairs for when company comes, so we will watch for some Labor Day sales at Home Depot or Lowes to see if they have any good bargains. Sometimes they do have end of summer outdoor furniture sales. That is how we got these tables last year for $15.00 a piece. Yes, that's what I said.  It pays to watch for the bargains! The wicker chairs we've had for many years. They were a gift from a dear friend when we moved into a new house with a front porch many moons ago. More blessings...

Speaking of porch guests...This is "Lizardo"...and he lives on our back porch that used to be a deck. He seems quite content there, but somehow he lost his tail. Poor Lizardo! Now we call him "Stumpy".  These lizards do often lose their tails in combat. 

"The main reason a lizard loses its tail is to defend itself. When a lizard detaches its tail, the tail whips around and wiggles on the ground. Nerves from the lizard's body are still firing and communicating with each other. ... Most lizards can only lose their tails so many times before they can't regrow them anymore." From "Ask Dr. Universe"

And then, not to be left out, we have special visitors on our front deck as well.  This morning I looked out the window, which was covered in steamy humidity moisture, and saw this creature on the hummingbird feeder. I thought to myself, "That's the funniest looking hummingbird I've ever seen".  Of course, it is a green tree frog, and actually there were two of them. One was still on the feeder, and this one acted like he wanted to come inside for breakfast!  

Don't you just love that you can almost see right through these little creatures. I wish you could have seen his heart beating ...I could!  Amazing!

Of course, he left a smeary bunch of footprints all over the window that I will have to go clean up later.

Here he is, up above the window, getting ready to hide and sleep for the day, and come back out tonight to eat bugs.

Moving along to a new less slimy subject...
Anyone need a "new boat"?  This lovely speed boat sits out in the woods where we take our walks.
No, it isn't in anyone's yard. No, it isn't even near any water.

I believe this boat was someone's "Final Straw"...

Yes, whatever happened, it was bad enough that they just dragged this boat out into the woods and left it there to become a collection place for old tires and weeds to grow up in.

I can almost hear someone saying, "Well that's the Final Straw! I'm done with you!"

Isn't it amazing the things you can discover hidden out in the woods? Every day is an adventure.

This is how it looks from the back porch right now as I am writing...we just had a thunderstorm roll through:

Here's a better view of the clouds:

Okay, to finish this up with some words of praise from our devotions this morning...which we read on the back porch by the way! Yay!  

Psalm 145:1-7
1.  "I will extol You, my God, O King;
and I will bless Your name forever and ever.
2.  Every day I will bless You,
and I will praise Your name forever and ever.
3.  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
and His greatness is unsearchable.
4.  One generation shall praise Your works to another,
and shall declare Your mighty acts.
5.  I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
and on Your wondrous works.
6.  Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
and I will declare Your greatness.
7.  They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
and shall sing of Your righteousness."

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were in the path of Hurricane Laura and have been affected by her high winds and water. Praying for those who have lost their homes and possibly even family members. May the Lord be with them in their time of recovery and healing.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Wednesdays Treasures ~ The Hoosier Cupboard

 Here it is Wednesday again...the day I have set apart to share some of my collections or "treasures" from around our home. Throughout fifty one years of marriage you tend to collect a lot of things. In this day of so many people downsizing or becoming "minimalists" in their way of living, one can be made to feel like they must be a "hoarder" or materialistic if they have a lot of "things".  Well, I have struggled with those feelings, and when we made this last move a year ago to a smaller house, we honestly attempted to give away and/or get rid of excess baggage.  But the things that I have been showing you each week are mostly either family heirlooms or special gifts from dear friends and loved ones that have memories attached to them, and so they are just not that easily "disposed of".  What I came to realize was that I actually enjoyed having these pleasant reminders of dear ones who have gone on before us. They each have their own story to tell about the person who once owned these things and how they were very special to me or to our family.  To just summarily dispose of these "earthly treasures" would be like saying those people did not really matter to us or that their memory no longer had any value.   

Yes, I am well aware of the scripture verse that says: 

"19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matthew 6:19-21)"

Well,  trust me, I know that when I leave this earth these things will all be left behind. Whether or not our children want to keep them is totally up to them. They may not have the same memories attached to these things that we do, so for them it may be easier to let them go. Believe me, I will be too busy rejoicing in heaven with Jesus and all those loved ones who have gone on before us...because that is truly where my heart is, to really care what happens to all these things that will remain.  But until then, I will honor the memory of those who have gone on before us and share these things that they left behind when they went on to their final reward. 

 So what I am going to share with you today is my husband's grandmother's, (a.k.a. "Nanny Martin"), Hoosier Cupboard.

If you would like to read the history of this cupboard, please click on this link to a previous post below:


I will summarize it a bit here by saying that we were able to purchase this cupboard from his grandmother's estate way back in 1983.  My husband had fond memories of playing in the drawers of this cupboard as a little boy, as he recalls it sitting in his grandparents' kitchen all of his life. 

His mother also had some special memories attached to this flat iron on top of the cupboard

And that round dent on the porcelain counter top below...

 She recalled that when she was a little girl she was trying to climb up to the top of the cabinet to reach that flat iron. Apparently it was a lot heavier than she realized, and she knocked it over and it landed on the porcelain top, making that dent. She was fortunate that it didn't hit her in the head and knock her out!

When we received this cupboard, it had many layers of paint on it...about six if I recall correctly. My goal was to strip it and get back to the original finish.  I hope you will take the time to read the previous post linked above to hear that whole story. It was quite interesting. And I was much younger then. I would not tackle such an ambitious restoration project today. I would probably opt to just paint over the six layers of paint and let it be a new color! But in 1983 the trend was to have everything back to the original wood. Today people are painting over everything...not sure I agree with that, but it is much simpler.

To give you a better idea...this little chair was also in Nanny Martin's kitchen, and it was painted much like the Hoosier Cupboard. 

You can see some of the layers of paint on here if you look closely. 
I decided to leave this as it was since now the chippy shabby chic is so popular.
Works for me!

I also  meant to mention the two aprons on the right side (below), were both made for me by my mother, and so they are also special treasures.

The apron on the left I think I got at a yard sale, but it is also very special

Of course, when Nanny Martin had this cupboard she actually used it as a real kitchen cupboard. It held her spices and baking goods and probably some dishes and pots and pans, dish towels, silverware and cooking utensils.  I use it more for "show"....it's more of a "museum piece" in the "Steiner family museum."  It holds many old collectible tins and kitchen items that have been collected over the years...some were inherited...some were given to me by others who knew I would like them for this cupboard. 

The sifter above with the green handle belonged to Nanny Martin. The red sifter belonged to my mother. The plates in the background also came from Nanny Martin's home.

The cute little cat handle cream pitcher came from my mother in law's home. The butter dish came from my grandmother's home. The red pitcher was a gift from my parents...

The sifters and spice caddy are original to the cupboard.

The wooden dough bowl belonged to Nanny Martin, as did the Rumford cookbook. Actually most of the cookbooks on this cupboard came from her home.

The dish towels also came from her kitchen...perhaps she embroidered them.

This "Homemaker's Chart" hangs inside the cupboard door with lots of helpful hints.

This is also her meat-grinder. It is rather old and worn and doesn't really work very well now, but I do have my mother's meat grinder that still works quite well, and I have used it often.

 Here is another link to a post that I wrote about all of the furnishings that came from Nanny Martin's house, including this Hoosier Cupboard: 


One thing I was thinking about, as even as we speak some people are facing a hurricane, others have recently had their homes destroyed by fire or tornado or Derecho (in Iowa). Our earthly home could be taken away in the blink of an eye, and all these things would be gone in an instant.  Here are some verses that speak to that:

2 Corinthians 5:1-2

1. "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  2.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven."

And verse 8 says:

"We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."

That is how I feel about all of this...my eternal home is in heaven...a place not made with human hands, but prepared especially for us by God. My heart is in heaven, not here with these things. I look forward to that day eagerly. But until then, I am very thankful for these blessings that we have to enjoy, and I hope you have enjoyed this little tour today as well.

If you are in the path of that hurricane, please stay safe. We will be praying for you.