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, February 27, 2021

Saturday Beauties

Last night's "Snow Moon" they call it...not sure why...we certainly don't have any snow here in Florida, but I know somewhere some of you may still have a lot of snow....

This is a little clearer picture of the moon last night...it was stunning:

And then when I woke up this morning, it was still stunning. 

The clouds added an interesting dimension to it.

I was taking these pictures while standing on our back porch, overlooking Still Waters Pond.
I wish you could have heard the sounds of the bullfrogs and the early morning calls of the birds...I'm thinking it was the Canada Geese talking to each other on the other side of the island, or perhaps some Sand Hill Cranes...I couldn't distinguish exactly what was making the sound, and dummy me, I didn't think to record it, but it was beautiful.

I told my hubby we need to sleep with the windows open so we can hear the pond sounds at night, but he reminded me that we also live near a busy road, and he already hears the cars racing up and down throughout the night, and we wouldn't get much sleep...

I guess I just need to get up really early more often and go sit on the back porch and listen. It was beautifully melodic...and being a Saturday morning there wasn't much traffic noise at that hour.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them...but then again, it's one of those things where you really need to be there to fully appreciate it. It was a glorious start to my day, time to thank the Lord for bringing us safely through another night, another week...

And thanking Him for all the good things He does for us every day that we take for granted...sunshine, fresh air to breathe...and our very breath. This past year has certainly helped me to appreciate this gift of breath.

Once the sun came up the birds began to sing...they are very active right now. They know spring is here, at least it is here where we live,  and it is coming soon to where you live I hope!

I thought this was an amazing photo of this little goldfinch resting on the grasses beside Still Waters Pond, contemplating his next move...amazing how he can sit on such a fragile reed and maintain his balance.  God certainly created the birds with marvelous skills, don't you think?

Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are still very busy either furnishing their house, or feeding their brood...I'm not sure which yet...

There is a LOT of activity in and out all morning long and then again in the afternoons.
Here is Mrs. Bluebird, sticking her head out before she takes off again for some destination outside where she is gathering things she needs for her nest:

This Blue Jay kept passing by, and Mr. Bluebird made sure to shoo him away. I know that blue jays can be nest robbers, so I pray he stays  away from our little family.

Here comes Mrs. Bluebird, with something in her beak...Is it a twig, or something to eat? I'm not sure what, but she was doing a lot of that this morning...

There she is again...

Mr. Bluebird sits nearby in a tree and keeps a watchful eye on the birdhouse:

He looks this way and that...

And he even looks at me!!

Oh, look! There is Mr. Goldfinch...pecking at his feathers...he's finally getting more of his golden plumage!

I love to see these brightly colored birds in our trees. But I know this is temporary. The Goldfinches will soon be headed north for their summer homes...and I don't know where the Bluebirds will go, but I hope they will stay all summer. That would be so nice.

Mr. Bluebird bows his head in prayer...

And Mr. Cardinal says Amen.

Hope you have enjoyed this little visit to Still Waters Pond on this glorious Saturday morning.

Psalm 136:1-9
1.  "Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2.  Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
3.  Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever.
4.  To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His mercy endures forever,
5.  To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
For His mercy endures forever;
6.  To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
for His mercy endures forever;
7.  To Him who made great lights,
For His mercy endures forever..
8.  The sun to rule by day,
for HIs mercy endures forever;
9.  The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His mercy endures forever..."



Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday Foto Friends "Celebrating" A Special Day

Some special visitors on Still Waters Pond

Yes, I can still see you, Mr. Cardinal!

Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are getting quite active these days. I wonder how long before we will see baby bluebirds?

I do hope that these neighborhood kitties will mind their manners and stay away from our birds!!!

Who me?  I call him "Sylvester"...

And I haven't named this one, but he looks like he is wearing a white bib and is ready for dinner...but not in MY yard, Mr. Kitty cat!

Mr. Sand Hill Crane came strolling through one evening...

It is always such a pleasure to watch these colorful birds as they come and go about their business. We are blessed to be able to observe them "from a distance", and enjoy their beauty.  I believe they are gifts to us from God for our enjoyment.  (Not so sure about the neighborhood cats, however...LOL)

Dear Friends, Yesterday was a "special day" for our family. It was the 48th birthday of our dear son Matthew, who was celebrating his birthday in heaven, as he has since he left earth for his heavenly home almost seven years ago, after valiantly fighting the evil foe of cancer for four years.  The last birthday we celebrated with him was his 41st, and we did indeed have a wonderful time celebrating with him on that day.  
Matthew always had a great sense of humor, even when he was in the last stages of that horrid disease. These pictures were taken about 3 months before he passed away, and it was a wonderful time with most of our family together.

Family gathered from both sides of the family tree to celebrate with him.

This was my hubby's side of the family

And this was my side of the family.

I wonder if they have birthday cakes in heaven?  Ah! Perhaps they have "Angel Food Cake" !

So I woke up yesterday not wanting to just sit around the house feeling blue.  So we called our son and his wife, who happened to be off from her regular job yesterday, and asked them if they would like to get together and do something.  And they were more than happy to take a day off from their busy woodworking business to spend some time with us. 
So we headed up the road a ways to a little restaurant for lunch:

Hubby and I had been there once before for breakfast on my birthday last fall.

Some of the scenery and decor of this interesting little place called 
"Florida Cracker Kitchen"

Always wonderful to spend times with our kids...

And with each other:

I just noticed that my son and I are both wearing "Life is Good" t-shirts. If you look really closely at the pictures of our son Matthew up above, he was also wearing a "Life is Good" t-shirt.  I mention that only because I remember buying that t-shirt for him when we were on our way to visit him in Maine on one of our last few visits before he passed away. I saw them on display in an airport store and I remember thinking that I wanted to get a couple of those shirts for Matthew to wear, even though we all knew he was in a brave fight for his life. And he did wear them, even in his very last days in the Hospice house, where he would take his last breath.  
But Life is good, and we need to live it to the fullest and be thankful for every breath we take, for none of us knows when it may be our very last breath.
You see, our breath is a gift from God...with His very own breath He breathed life into us...

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
Genesis 2:7 KJV

And while we still have life,  we should live that life as an offering of praise unto the Lord who gave us life:
"Praise the LORD!
Let all that I am praise the LORD.
I will praise the LORD as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath."
Psalm 146:1-2 NLT

And so that is why we celebrate life, even on the days when we don't feel like "celebrating" in our minds or hearts...we continue to praise the One who made us and gives us life, because Life Is Good, and we are so blessed.  And do you know what is even better?  Eternal life, through Jesus Christ! 

 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."
John 5:24 NKJV

I am so thankful for the life of our precious son, Matthew.  He is greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.  But we look forward to that day when we will be together again in heaven forever. That is our great hope, and because of that hope found in Christ, we can celebrate here today and say
"Life is good".

Lily Grace has some more pictures from our special day to share with you. Please come over and visit her at https://adventuresoflilygrace.blogspot.com/2021/02/friday-foto-friends-with-lily-grace_26.html

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Lead Me in a Smooth Path...(Updated and Recycled for a Lenten Devotional)

This post was originally written in 2013, and then shared again in 2017...I can't believe how time flies! Some of you may have already commented on this twice! But, if you are like me, every time I read the Bible or some scriptural devotionals, I learn something new.  I thought perhaps this would be a good post for my current series of devotions for Lent...some thoughts to ponder and inspire our hearts as we approach the Easter season.  

Original Post 1/20/2013:

"Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies..." 
Psalm 27:11

This is NOT a smooth path...

Have you ever felt like the pathway of your life looks like this?  Whichever way you turn, there are obstacles strewn in the way; twisted, tangled masses of thorny vines, scrubby underbrush, rotting, termite ridden logs barring your passage to greener pastures and higher ground.

No matter how hard you try to cut through the briers and brambles of discord, disappointment, fear, sorrow, and enemy ambushes,  you find yourself constantly having to negotiate detours and conduct reconnaissance missions to survey the camp of the enemy and work your way back to a "smooth path".

That is when we find ourselves crying out with the Psalmist David:

"Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'

Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
do not leave me nor forsake me, 
O God of my salvation."
Psalm 27:7-9

Oftentimes there are warning signs as we begin our journey, which we choose to ignore thinking that we know a better route to take.  

We allow ourselves to get off the beaten path in search of alluring treasures, or we get sidetracked by the trappings of the world, which turn out to be dried up and useless promises, spreading fungi that trap our souls and eat away at our spiritual health, leaving us empty and barren.  

"Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god;
Psalm 16:4

When we find ourselves at a dead end, wondering how we can get back home,  it is not too late to seek the Lord. When we seek His face, He will give us counsel.  He will guide us safely home.

"You will show me the path of life; In Your PRESENCE is fullness of joy;  At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."  Psalm 16:11

The Psalmist then concludes with these thoughts:

"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see 
the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart;  
Wait, I say, on the Lord!"
Psalm 27:13-14

"The Smooth Path"
Dear Friend,
Where do you find yourself today?  Are you lost somewhere on the crooked, twisted path of anger, frustration, sorrow, defeat, anxiety and fear?  Do you find yourself longing to find that "smooth path" again...the Way to peace and comfort and joy?  It's not too late to turn around.  Stop, right where you are and call upon His name. Wait upon the Lord...

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; 
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, 
They shall run and not be weary, 
They shall walk and not faint."  
Isaiah 40:31

Jesus beckons to us today:

"Come to Me, 
all you who labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, 
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, 
and you will find rest for our souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

Come back to the smooth path.  There you will find rest for your soul.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tuesday 4 - All About Moving


Tuesday 4: All About Moving (No, I am NOT moving again).

Welcome to Tuesday 4 kept up in memory of our friend Toni Taddeo who began it several years ago. She would be so pleased to see people keeping up with it!

Let's talk about moving today.

1. How far away are you from where you grew up?

Right now we are about 69.8 miles, according to Google Maps, or about 1 hour, 22 minutes. We moved from a farm in Pennsylvania when I was almost six years old, to a small town in Florida.  I grew up in a little town called Tavares, Florida.  I loved growing up there. I lived there from the time I was in first grade and all the way through high school and until I got married and moved away. My dad built the house we lived in, and he and my mother lived there until they died, which was about 54 years from the time daddy built the house. Then, sadly, we had to sell the house, but a sweet neighbor lady bought it to have for her family to come and stay in when they came down for the winters, etc.   I miss our family home, but because my parents are no longer living there, to me there is no reason to ever go back. I would be expecting to see them waving at me from the front door, and it would just be too sad. I prefer to remember it the way it was...and I know my parents are in a much better home in heaven, waiting for me to come "home" someday.

2. Families sometimes move all over the country. Do you feel that a family should try to stay close together? 

Well, it depends on the family and the circumstances. Every family is different. In our case, my husband was called into the ministry, and that caused us to make many moves, to graduate school, seminary, and then to many different places to minister. It was hard to be away from our families back home, but we knew that we were doing what God had called us to do. It had many, many challenges and there were many bumps in the road, but again, God was with us and took  care of us in ways beyond our expectation and imagination.  And when the time came for us to change from the pastoral ministry to a different kind of occupation, we did come back closer to home so that we could be near our parents in their latter years and help take care of them.  That was a blessing that we were very thankful to be able to do, but we would never change all of the years that we were also blessed to travel and move to new places, and meet so many wonderful people and do what we knew God was calling us to do.

3. How many times have you moved in your life and would you like to share when and where you moved?

When we got married, our soloist sang the song "Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go" at our wedding. Although the song is actually quoting what Ruth said to her mother in law Naomi in the book of Ruth 1:16, the wedding song was intended to be the bride speaking to her husband:

"And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: 
for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: 
thy people shall be my people, 
and thy God my God"

Little did I know when I chose that song to be sung at our wedding just how often I would be saying, "Whither thou goest, I will go..."  It would take a whole book to tell the whole story of all of our many moves over the past almost 52 years of marriage.  As a matter of fact, that is the book that I have always wanted to write, but probably never will.  The title of my book would be "Giant Leaps of Faith and Other Crazy Moves" if it is ever written.  I've shared some of those stories in previous blog posts over the years.  I don't want to give you a number of the times we have moved, because most people would gasp and faint if they knew.  But there was a good reason for every single move, and God was with us in every situation. Some were for better, and some seemed to be for worse, but we were together and we were answering the call of God to serve Him in the ministry, and He was always always there for us and met our needs, oftentimes in mysterious ways.   Let's just sum it up this way:  
  • We started out in Florida, our home state.  Hubby was finishing his senior year in college when we got married.
  • From there we went to Georgia to work at a Christian college and boarding academy
  • We came back to Florida and hubby taught school and also became a Florida State Trooper, something he'd always wanted to do,  and we started our family.
  • We felt the call of God to prepare for the ministry and so we moved to a graduate school to study the Bible in S.C. and also in N.C. for further study.
  • We came back to Florida and began our pastoral ministry
  • We moved to Ohio for further Seminary and so he could eventually complete his M.Div. all the while pastoring in churches and/or working bi-vocationally by teaching. I worked in schools or did whatever I could to help out financially, while raising our three children.
  • We went back home to Florida and then to Georgia and then back to Ohio, where he completed his Doctor of Ministry degree, also while pastoring churches...
  • We pastored a church in Michigan
  • We pastored a church in New Hampshire
  • We moved to Kansas for hubby to teach in a Christian College and I managed a bookstore, but that did not turn out to be what we thought it was going to be and we moved back to New England where our kids were.
  • We lived and worked in Maine for a little while and then eventually moved back to Florida to care for our elderly parents.  Two of our adult kids moved back with us. Our middle son was married and stayed in Maine with his wife and eventually his son was born there.  Sadly, our middle son died after a four year battle with cancer.  We tried to move back to Maine to be near him during that time, but could not find work or any way to make that move. It was a very difficult time for all of us.  But at the same time, we were needed here in Florida to take care of our parents, and there really wasn't anything else we could do.  And God took care of our son in ways that we could not.  He knew what was best for all of us, and we did visit him as often as possible.  I wish we could now be closer to our grandson, who is now 21, but again, God knows what is best and we trust Him to take care of our grandson as well.
  • We are retired now and still live in Florida.  Our elderly parents are all in heaven, waiting for us someday, as that will be our final move to our eternal home.

4. What brought you to where you are living now and are you happy there?

We now live in a small town in Florida, and our two remaining adult sons also live in this town. We moved here because our oldest son met a very sweet young woman who lived here, and married her and moved here. We fell in love with the little church where they were married, and longed to be settled somewhere where we could be a part of a small town church and community. And so we sold the house we were living in, which was about 30 miles from here in the middle of a national forest, and out in the boonies away from everything.  We moved here to this house on Still Waters Pond, which is lovely, and we are much closer to church, stores, doctors, hospitals, etc., and is exactly what we need for our "golden years".  Life on Still Waters Pond is very pleasant to us, and we have our two sons and daughter in law near, and we are very content and happy. 

 Even with all the moves and changes in life, I do not regret one minute of it. We have lived quite an exciting adventure, and have met so many wonderful people along the way that we could never have met if we had stayed "home".  We answered the call of God to serve Him, and He took care of the rest.  

"Then He (Jesus) said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matthew 4:19

"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” 
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Isaiah 6:8

Thanks for joining in!!

Now MOVE over to the Tuesday 4 page and see what others are sharing today about their moves in life!