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!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Friday Foto Friends: Tavares FUMC--The Way I Remember It!

Note: I originally wrote this post back in 2011, when asked by an old school friend if I would write something for the new website at the church where I grew up.  So I will include that original post here, with a few additions or edits to bring it back to now.  However, please note that I wrote it originally with that dear old church family in my mind..."The Way I Remember It".

"I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.'" Psalm 122:1

Original Post, 7/23/2011

The picture of Jesus and the Lambs I have included above represents to me one of my fondest memories of the old First Methodist Church building that I remember best.  Although this picture of a stained glass window is not one of the windows from that original building, it is the closest depiction of that window I have ever seen. When I found this little postcard it brought back such sweet memories of Sunday morning services as a child, gazing up into the serene face of Jesus as He cradled the lamb in His arms and carried it to a place of safety.  I can honestly say that this was the first impression of Jesus that I can remember...and it has often given me comfort.  As a matter of fact, it was this vision of Christ that came to my heart this past week as I wrote in a previous blog entitled, "My Father's Cane", which was written about my father, Bill Mursch, whom many of you will know and remember from his days as a former member of Tavares FUMC. As a matter of fact, we held his memorial service in your current beautiful sanctuary just a very short time ago.   http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-fathers-cane.html.  (in May of 2011)

If anyone has any good color photographs of those beautiful stained glass windows from the old original church, I would love to have a copy.  I know we all mourned the loss of those magnificent windows when the former "new church" was so tragically lost to fire several years ago. As I recall, the other window was of the "Ascension of Christ" up into the clouds... (see Acts 1: 9-11) and I often pondered over that vision so many times in my childhood and youth...wondering just what it would be like to be "caught up into the clouds" with Jesus someday...a day which could be closer than we think. 

Rev. Ed Montfort - 1960
Steve Sperry in front of Chapel at MYF Camp -1965

I wonder if we truly realize the impression and impact such things as stained glass windows, peaceful sanctuaries, sacred hymns, an open Bible, a welcoming hug from a Sunday School teacher on an early Sunday morning, and a word spoken in truth and love from a dedicated Pastor may have on a young impressionable child. 

I still remember the pastors of my childhood and youth from the Tavares church...Pastor Ed Montfort, Rev. Dick Knight, and Pastor Randall Parsons.  They each played a significant part in my life...Pastor Montfort took me through confirmation and pronounced me a member of the church at the tender age of ten.  Rev. Knight encouraged our youth group and inspired us to reach out to our friends and invite them to MYF and to go to the MYF Camp in Leesburg. (of which I later became a summer youth counselor...my first "job"!)

Rev. Dick Knight - 1965  and
then below....at my sister Doris'
wedding in 1966-----

Our wedding, Aug. 16, 1969- Rev. Randall Parsons on far right with
Organist Louise Caldwell on far left, and soloist, Carolyn Parsons (Campbell) next to her!

And then of course, Rev. Randall Parsons...came along in time to encourage me in my walk with Christ as a young woman preparing for marriage...and actually performed our wedding ceremony in the  "new church building" in 1969.

Thank you to Mrs. Bunny Rapalje for her faithful picture taking of almost every event of my life!!! Perhaps you will find yourself or one of your friends in some of these classic vintage pictures! 
VBS 1957
VBS - 1958

I have so many other memories...memories of Vacation Bible Schools...   and Sunday School classes and my efforts to earn my "perfect attendance" pins each year... My Sunday School teachers that I can remember were: Miss Marion Duncan, Mrs. Virginia Duncan, Mrs. Peggy Matthias...and I am sure there were a lot more. 
Sunday School 1957
Easter 1957

Easter Sundays with our funny little flowered hats, stiff petticoat dresses and new white patent leather shoes...

Easter Sunday 1958?

Children's Choir - 1958

And then there was the wonderful Children's Choir directed by Mrs. Venona Jones, a retired preacher's wife.

Church Christmas Party 1962, with Miss Tripp as our music teacher

Yes, these are just a few of my precious childhood memories from being a part of the First United Methodist Church of Tavares.  There are so many other thoughts, images, and convictions that became a part of my spiritual make-up as a result of these early positive influences.  

You see, one cannot simply sum up early Christian teaching in just one blog.  My life was so impacted by the people, the music, the preaching, the teaching, the youth groups, the Sunday School classes, the Vacation Bible Schools...that I went on to become a preacher's wife myself!  So much of what I learned at Tavares Methodist Church became an integral part of my spiritual growth and development...and God took those seeds, planted and caused them to grow and blossom into mature Christianity...a way of life and a Christ-centered relationship that I have shared with so many others throughout the years...only God knows for certain what impact and how far reaching those early impressions have made on the lives of those with whom I have been privileged to know.

Thank you, Members of Tavares First United Methodist Church, both old and new, for your part in the transformation of my life!  

May God continue to richly bless your church as it continues to follow in the footsteps of Jesus...the "Church at the Crossroads where the Cross Lights the Way..." (or something to that effect I recall was the theme when the church moved to its present location) 

P.S.:  I just found this little Sunday School pin in my very old jewelry box.  I am sure I must have had some others, and maybe even some for Perfect Attendance, but they are long gone.  But this one is a little treasure from my early days in Sunday School. So thankful for those memories:

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

Psalm 119:130 
"The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple."

Psalm 119:105
"Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path."

Been thinking about being salt and light...and thinking that lately I have felt like my salt has lost its flavor, and my light isn't shining as brightly as it should.  Oftentimes we get so caught up in the bad news and the darkness of this old world, and we forget that we are supposed to shine as the lights of Christ in the midst of the darkness.  The things we say and do, whatever we choose to write about or share with others, should be a reflection of the Light of Christ shining through the windows of our soul. When we let the filth of this world blow its dust and ashes in our faces and minds, we become cloudy and gloomy and dingy...and our light begins to flicker and falter and eventually, if not rekindled, it will be snuffed out by too much darkness filtering through instead of light.

I've been feeling kind of dull and uninspired lately, with nothing much to say.  And so this morning I had to just stop what I was doing and pray...pray that God would reignite the fire within me and help me to see the light of His love and the beauty He has created all around us and in us once again.  My original purpose here on this blog was to share the story of what Christ means to me and how He lives in my heart and life.  It doesn't mean I can't laugh and have fun and enjoy the fellowship of friends here...but it does mean that I must not allow anything to get in the way of His light shining forth from this city on the hill of my life.  I must not allow my words to be seasoned with old salt that should be thrown out on the ash heap, but to allow the fullness of His flavor and sweetness of His aroma permeate my thoughts and words and flow out to others who may be seeking strength and encouragement along the way.

So today, I want to let my light shine forth for Jesus...and for you, my friends. Wanna sing a little song from our childhood/Sunday School with me?

If you Google "This Little Light of Mine", you will find many different groups and individuals singing this well loved little song.  This particular video was done by a church group during the pandemic last year...very creatively done.  I love how people are finding ways to let "This Little Light of Mine" to shine in the midst of difficult trials and conditions.
Can we add our voice to this song?
Sing along!!!

This Little Light of Mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine...


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Fanning Away

Well, it happened again! The AC broke down last night, but this time it is a different problem. The good news is, help is on the way! If you live in our area, I highly recommend "Frosty's" for AC repair. Once you are an established customer, they will do their best to take care of you no matter when...including weekends! 

(Pulling out all the fans...this woven palm fan is ancient!  It could be more than 60  years old at least. It came with the buffet from John's grandmother's house, tucked in one of the drawers.  No telling how many years it was in there, but it still works just fine!)

So, as I sit here "fanning away", I am very thankful that God has placed these special people in our midst.  We learned about them through our church, as they take care of the church AC.

This lovely fan was a gift from one of our sweet blogging friends, the same sweet friend who sent Lily Grace to me, all the way from Charleston, SC.  Thank you, dear "Auntie Debbi", from "Debbi's Front Porch".  It would be nice to have a cool front porch to sit upon today, but alas! It is just as hot and humid outside as it is inside. 

I've had this oriental fan and ginger jar forever. May have to break it out as well...

Thankful for our ceiling fans, which are running full blast...

And other standing fans:

This one is in my "Room With a View",  humming away and keeping me somewhat cool, but with the high humidity, I am still in a bit of a sweat...

Here's the view from my window. But it's too hot and humid to open the window...at least it is a cloudy day, with rain promised later on...

Thankfully we do have ceiling fans on the back porch too.  The other day we noticed that a family of wasps had taken  up residence inside this fan. When we turned it on, wasps flew every direction! So there was no sitting out there at that time.  We waited until early morning before sunrise and sprayed it good with that long distance wasp sprayer, and by the time the sun came up we had dead wasps laying everywhere under the fan.  Sorry, wasps...you picked the wrong place to set up housekeeping this time!

Here are the "Porch Rules"...and if I could "Feel the Breezes" I would take a nap out there and then read a book, converse with a friend, listen to (and watch) the birds, sip a cool drink and just RELAX! But there is NO breeze to feel on this sultry early summer day here in north central Florida.

Ahhh!! But I have some GREAT NEWS!!! While I've been sitting here typing this post, our friend Frosty came and found the problem and FIXED IT!! It was some kind of capacitor...and he only charged us for the service call since he'd been here recently two times for a different problem.  We are all hoping and praying that we can keep this almost 20 year old air conditioner running a while longer.  A new one would definitely break our piggy bank and then some!!!!

So now I am beginning to feel cooler air blowing on my back  and neck while I sit here writing. 
The humidity is starting to give way to dry cool air, and I can breathe again...
Praise God!

Now tonight I might be able to sleep well and enjoy my new 
"My Pillow', which arrived yesterday afternoon. I did use it last night, and I must admit I woke up without any neck pain!  The rest of my body was a wreck from tossing and turning in the heat and humidity, but my neck felt great, and still does! So praise God again for an answered prayer! 

I believe I will definitely sleep in peace and comfort tonight...

(from the Devotional book, "Choose Grace")

"I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
Psalm 4:8 NKJV

And now I can put away my fans and stop "fanning away".
So thankful they were here when I needed them most, however!
God is good!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Friday Foto Friends-A little late!

I'm a little late to the party today.  Yesterday was a long day, as I was helping our daughter in love Rose at "Dixie Cottage" all day,  and I slept in about a half hour longer this morning until almost 6 a.m.! Which got me off to a late start for posting anything this morning as we are on a "strict schedule"... that first cup of tea (coffee for hubby), while checking emails/Facebook/blogger. If I want to post anything in the morning, I'd best have it ready to go before 7 a.m., because that's when we read our devotions together and then have breakfast while watching the news (IF I can stand to watch it, which oftentimes lately I cannot so off it goes...), and then we clean up breakfast dishes and go get dressed and ready for the day...walk, shop, laundry, whatever other important stuff we can dream up.
Doesn't that sound like an exhilarating, thrilling morning to you?
Such is the life of two retired folks who are in a "routine". (I won't call it a rut. But it could be misconstrued as such by those who don't appreciate how hard we work at it.)

And so, I didn't really have anything exciting or new to share with you today and my poor tired brain from so much "routine living" couldn't come up with anything too thrilling to share.  Although working all day at Dixie Cottage is anything but dull or routine...just tiring for this old gal. I will share a few pictures from yesterday later in this post. 
But for now to start the day off right (now it is after 2:00 pm....I've dilly dallied enough)
Here we go:

From our walk one evening this week...this gorgeous "Calico Pennant" dragonfly, sipping nectar or whatever she can get from what looks like dried up weeds. She very gracefully sat still long enough for me to get this great photo.

These wild persimmons are growing all along the trail of our daily walk. But I sure won't make the mistake of trying to eat one again!!

Now, if you've already read The Adventures of Lily Grace this week, you've already seen these next few pictures of the bluebirds in the last moments prior to leaving the nest:

Papa Bluebird has just told Junior that he's not going to be bringing him anymore free grasshoppers. He's going to have to get outside this birdhouse and start finding his own!

Junior begs Papa for just one more grasshopper, pleeeeeze?  But Papa Bluebird, practicing "tough love" flies away and leaves Junior and his siblings in the nest to figure it out for themselves...

Junior sticks his head out the hole and looks around and says, "Where did he go?" "He can't do this to me!"  "I'm not ready to fly on my own yet, am I?"

But after a few moments waiting for Papa or Mama to come back, he realizes that they meant what they said. It was time for him to leave the nest and learn how to support himself.

And so, after a great push off of the walls that were securely protecting him until he was ready to fly...he finally took a giant leap of faith and flew perfectly to the housetop nearby. 

Mama Bluebird and a neighborhood friend, Mr.  Tufted Titmouse, were there to cheer him on.

He looked around him in awe at the beauty and freedom that surrounded him on every side.

One by one all of the baby bluebirds left the nest, and soon they were joining all of the other Bluebird community in the trees and world beyond our little birdhouse on Still Waters Pond.
We haven't seen them since, but I know God is watching over them and they are happily on their way to exploring this great big world!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!”

“You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest."
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

And so now I am back to watching the lizards and dragonflies doing their tricks...

I hope it won't be long before God sends us another bird family or something else to watch and enjoy. You never know what excitement may be coming in the future...so keep your eyes open and ready for new adventures every day!

 And now for those pictures from Dixie Cottage that I promised from my visit there yesterday:

They have set up one room of furnishings and decor that they have labled the "Nautical Room"  (no,  not the "Naughty Room" as Lily Grace thought it was called), but a room for all things coastal and beachy.

I liked the stacking whales lamp...

Of course, most of the decor and furnishings in the whole store are considered more "coastal" in theme, but this room is more concentratedly so.

Lots of whales abound in these seas!

And fish shaped tables

They even have whale shaped salt and pepper shakers!

Back in the main showroom they have many beautiful items for sale. This was just one of the newer ones that my son refurbished:

Somehow I managed to take a "selfie" of my feet. No, those shoes aren't green, but they look it. Just gray, and tired feet at the end of the day.

And so I think I will end this post here as I need to get up on those feet get to work doing something around this house today!!!

How about we conclude with a cup of tea and some thoughts from this lovely little Devotional Book, "Choose Grace", that my friend "Auntie Opal" (as Lily Grace calls her) gave me:

Whatever we do, whether it be routine, mundane, or a new adventure, let us frame all of it in the beautiful portrait of living a life in love with our Lord and Savior, filled with all of our "passion, prayer, intelligence and energy."

So, with love to you through Christ our Lord,
Have a blessed and wonderful rest of your day and weekend.
It's never too late to give glory to God!