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!

Monday, February 28, 2022

Tuesday 4 and More

 Here it is the first day of March already!!! Where did February go?  I guess it is "Gone with the Wind"!
As I turned the page on my calendar, I see this lady working in her garden already.  The cat is sleeping in the wheelbarrow, and the Robin is sitting in the tree, probably laughing at the cat and saying "He can't get me!"

I would  love to have a garden shed like this, but I probably wouldn't fill it with gardening things...that would be my sister's shed. (Especially since it has daffodils around it, her favorite flower!)  I just would like to have my own "she-shed" to "play in".  Maybe I could be inspired to do more gardening...or maybe inspired to make it a painting or writing studio...who knows?  

Anyway, seeing that lazy cat reminds me that we've had a very "active cat" in our yard lately, stalking our birds every morning. He loves to lay under the birdfeeder and just wait and see if any birds dare to come that close to him.  I keep trying to shoo him away, but he just gets up and saunters toward me, meowing as if we know each other and we should be friends!  Well, I do like cats, but not neighborhood cats who have no business in my yard preying on my birdies.  I won't be mean to him, so don't worry, but I really don't want him there.  I'm not sure who he belongs to or even if he does belong to anyone. He just kind of wanders around the neighborhood, but he looks well fed and healthy, so someone must be taking care of him. I would just prefer that he didn't wander into my yard and under my birdfeeders!  Okay, rant over! LOL.

March Weather or Not!

Welcome back to another Tuesday 4 in honor of Toni Taddeo it's founder.

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
 Sometimes it is the reverse. March has a
lot of happenings like March 1st the start of Mardi Gras, the 13th is Daylight Savings Time, the Ides of March on the 15th, St Patrick's Day on the 17th, the first day of Spring on the 20th this year March 29-31 are the "borrowing days" when weather is traditionally rough or stormy.

1. Do you celebrate Mardi Gras or St. Patrick's Day and how do you celebrate them?
I have never celebrated Mardi Gras nor have I ever been to New Orleans. Doesn't sound like something I would enjoy much.  But now St. Patrick's Day is a little different.  We always are certain to wear something green so we don't get "pinched"...and although I don't always cook any corned beef and cabbage on that day, I certainly won't turn it down if offered.  

2. Do you decorate for the spring in any way at all?

Yes, I do decorate for spring. I usually put a spring wreath on the front door and some kind of spring flowers on the table and around the kitchen area.  For St. Patrick's Day I like to have a little extra "green" in the decorations.  And I bring out my little Madame Alexander dolls from Ireland to add to the decor.

And last year was the first time we had Lily Grace to add to the festivities...

Of course I also decorate for Easter as we get a little closer to it, but since that isn't until April, we will save that for later.

3. Daylight savings time doesn't make the day longer. Experts say it puts kids heath at risk as well as contribute to heart problems for adults. Arizona and Hawaii don't change times. It began as "war time" so war workers in WW2 could come home in the light. What about you though? Are you happy to see it return or not?

I really am not too thrilled with the time change each spring and fall. It always takes me more than a week for my body time clock to make the adjustments. However, I do enjoy the longer hours of daylight in the summer. It gives us more time to take evening walks when it isn't quite as hot, or do some yard work after supper. But that's about the only good thing about it that I can see. I'd be just as happy if they left it alone.

4. How has the weather been in your neck of the woods as March approaches. What would be your ideal for weather?

Well, this past week was beautiful. Cooler mornings and warm, sunny afternoons, but not too humid or hot yet.  Today was different...cloudy and chilly and we finally got some much needed rain. It will be a little cooler tomorrow, and then I think it will warm up again as the week progresses. Here in Florida March can be a little mixture of everything...rainy, chilly, warm, sunny...and yes, it is usually windy too.
My ideal weather would be 50's-60's in the morning, and 70's up to 80 in the afternoon, with sunshine and breezes and low humidity. But we can't leave out the rain. Our flowers and trees and grass and even Still Waters Pond depend upon the rain to grow and be healthy!

Speaking of Still Waters Pond...on Sunday morning I woke up early in the morning feeling extremely dizzy. So dizzy that I literally got a little sick to my tummy, so I had to stay home from church. I went back to bed and slept a while longer, laying very still to keep the room from spinning around.  Finally when I woke up again I was not quite so dizzy thankfully, and I managed to get up and have a cup of tea and went and sat in  a recliner in front of the glass doors looking out over the pond. It was kind of a foggy morning, and it was as if God orchestrated the birds to put on a show for me so I could enjoy sitting there watching them.  Here's a few pictures that I managed to take.

Yes, the bluebirds were very actively working on building their nest in the bird house...
Well, Mr. Bluebird was standing guard while Mrs. Bluebird was busily building the nest...

The Ring Necked Ducks were swimming and bobbing up and down in the water, having a great time. Thankfully they were closer to shore where I could see them a bit better:

The female is the brown one on the left, and the male is the black and white one on the right.

There are lots and lots of these little birds...is this a warbler of some kind? Please tell me if you know:

Oh, there's a striking pose by Mr. Bluebird:

He is a handsome fellow, isn't he?

Mr. Squirrel was resting in the tree for a while, but usually he was chasing his brothers (or sisters) around through the trees and then also raiding the birdfeeders every chance he could:

Now, I am assuming these are Goldfinches in their winter plumage, which is not as bright as their spring and summer colors. But then again, I'm not sure. If you know for sure what these are, please tell me:

Mr. Red Bellied Woodpecker came knocking...

And playing "peek-a-boo"...

There were two of them, but I am not sure which is which:

And last but not least, Mr. Cardinal came calling too...Isn't he gorgeous against the foggy and diamond studded  background?

Yes, I thought this was a marvelous display of beauty from God's creation...just for me!  What a blessing. I certainly started feeling better after watching these lovely creatures...

Then I listened to our choir singing "Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul", which we pre-recorded last week, followed by our Pastor's Sermon from Luke 9:28-36, on the "Transfiguration of Christ":

I felt like "heaven came down" and filled my soul with God's glory as I watched the birds and thought about how much He loves us.  Here's the words to the song if you want to sing along: 

"O what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met
O what a tender, compassionate friend, He met the need of my heart
Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart!

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul. When at the cross the Savior made me whole.
My sins were washed away, and my night was turned to day.
Heaven came down and glory filled by soul!

Born of the Spirit with life from above, into God’s family divine
Justified fully thro’ Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine
And the transaction so quickly was made when as a sinner I came
Took of the offer of grace He did proffer
He saved me, O praise His dear name!

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul. When at the cross the Savior made me whole.
My sins were washed away, and my night was turned to day.
Heaven came down and glory filled by soul!

Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time
I have a future in heaven for sure, there is those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day when at the cross I believed
Riches eternal and blessings supernal
From His precious hand I received.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul. When at the cross the Savior made me whole.
My sins were washed away, and my night was turned to day.
Heaven came down and glory filled by soul!"

I hope you enjoyed this visit today, and that you also enjoyed watching the birds with me. What a joy and blessing.  And yes, I am feeling mostly better, but I think I have some sinusitis or something of that nature brought on by allergies and the pollen, which is becoming quite "active" right now, both pine pollen and oak pollen, among many others.   So I am taking allergy medicine and trying to stay indoors away from the pollen as much as possible.  That is one of the downsides of spring here in Florida, but without the pollen, there would be no lovely trees, flowers, grasses, etc., so we have to take the good with the bad. 

Okay, now, please go over to "Tuesday 4" and see who else has something to share. Happy Springtime!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Saturday Catch Up

Happy Saturday!  I promised in my last post that I would tell you about where we went yesterday.  
But first, I want to thank you all for the very kind comments on my special memory post HERE yesterday.   Your compassion  and thoughtfulness truly touches my heart.  I trust you all understand that sometimes we just have write about those we have loved and "lost" to help keep their memory alive.  I find that looking at those pictures helps me to feel like it wasn't that long ago, and also that our son is really not that far away.  After all, heaven is only a breath away...think about it!

Now on to what we did yesterday.  We took a little ride over to St. Augustine to meet up with my cousin (who is actually a second cousin, the son of my first cousin...  First cousin, once removed? I get so confused on that part of genealogy)..but I won't give the whole genealogy list here, LOL).   He is in Florida on a little vacation and wanted to meet us over at my son's store, "Dixie Cottage", in St. Augustine. But more about that later.  On the way over we took the "scenic route" to avoid a lot of traffic, which took us past many acres of farm land.  I think most people who think of Florida are not aware of its rich agricultural history.
This particular part of Northeastern Florida (St. John's County) is well known for its vegetable farms, primarily potatoes and cabbage.  These are acres and acres of cabbages...

As far as the eye could see in many different directions there are fields of cabbages, ripe and ready to go to "market".  That's a lot of coleslaw!

Probably good for some "Corned Beef and Cabbage" on St. Patrick's Day too! LOL.  Anyway, I thought you'd be thrilled to know about where your cabbage comes from! 

As we got closer to the coast, we had to cross the Intracoastal Waterway, which I didn't know actually runs all the way from Boston,  MA, all the way down the Atlantic coast of the U.S., around the southern tip of Florida and up the Gulf side and all the way around the Gulf to Brownsville, Texas!  Wow. I will have a little more respect for this waterway the next time we are stuck on the road waiting for the drawbridge to go back down...which is what was happening here, although in this  picture below the bridge was already back down and we were crossing it after waiting for about 15 minutes:

This is why we had to wait...there was not just one...

but TWO sailboats with their tall masts (but no sails up!) that needed to pass under the bridge!

But I really did not mind the wait as it gave me ample time to sit and enjoy the view on either side of the bridge. I believe the tide was out as there were many sand bars and little islands exposed that you can't always see completely when the tide is in...

And, happily for me, I was able to also capture a few pictures of some pelicans flying over and around the bridge ...

My sight was limited by being inside the car and not able to get out and get better pictures, but I feel pretty happy that I got any pictures at all!

They were busily flying about and swooping down to catch a fish for their breakfast...

Do you see him on the far right side of this picture below?

And here he kind of blends in above the houses:

Finally we were on our way and my hope was that we could cross over to the beach side and perhaps drive a little ways on the beach before we had to continue our journey to our destination.

The first opportunity we found to go down to the beach had this warning:
We turned our car around on this little "ramp" street because we could see the sand was way too soft/deep for our non-4x4 vehicle.

So we drove further down the highway until we found another location where we could access the beach, and the sand didn't look too bad there...

Well, until we got down onto the beach, and the driving area was in one direction only, no turning around, and no place to park our vehicle where we wouldn't get stuck.  As a matter of fact, we almost did get stuck!  Hubby was not real happy with my "ideas" at this point and just wanted to find a place to get back off this soft sandy beach and back to "terra firma!"

Thankfully we made it. Next time we will go a different direction where we know there is a parking lot where we can park our car and then walk to the beach across a long pier. We were just in too big of a hurry on this day to do that. But it was still lovely to see the ocean and hear the surf pounding on the shore.  

We finally made it to our destination in plenty of time. My cousin arrived shortly after we did. This is the same cousin who recently sent me that box full of old books and those pictures of my grandparents. (I told you about it HERE)

Here we are: L to R: my cousin Grant Moss, me, hubby, and our son Benton.

If you read Grant's t-shirt, you will see that he "turns wood into things..." and yes, he certainly does! He creates the most beautiful items with select pieces of hardwoods...the type of craft he uses is is called Intarsia woodworking  Here is a small example of what he does, and this was his gift to me:

Yes, that is a hummingbird, created out of many different pieces of different kinds of wood to give it dimension, depth, and its unique coloring. He sells a lot of his pieces at a shop where he lives in Tennessee, but also will take orders from people online. And one of the reasons for meeting at Benton's store, "Dixie Cottage", was to talk about offering some of his pieces there for sale. He is going to prepare a lot of new pieces using a coastal theme, in keeping with the design of the store.  Here are just a few other examples of his work:

Pretty amazing, huh?  I am excited that he is going to be working on some special designs to sell here. I'll be sure to show them to you when he gets them done.  His "wheels were turning" as they discussed lots of ideas for special designs, like Lighthouses, Fish, Sea Turtles, Whales, Mermaids, etc. Should be fun!  
So that was a wonderful visit and we were so glad we were able to get together. 

After he left to head back to where he was staying with some friends for the week, hubby and I headed to our favorite little seafood restaurant not far from Dixie Cottage, called "O'Steens". We were blessed that there was no long line to wait for a table, which was a small miracle on a Friday at lunch time! Their food is that good!

This is what I had, although this picture came from their menu online. I was too busy eating to remember to take a picture! LOL.

It was a lovely day and we enjoyed getting out and about, but of course, it's always good to get back home again, safe and sound.  Traffic was getting pretty heavy!

So, this morning our son Scott was off from work, and he helped finish up our flower project for the Memorial Garden.  We picked up some bags of mulch at the hardware store this morning, and Scott spread the mulch around some plants for us, including the new "bottlebrush" we had just planted:

He also added some new mulch to the little azalea bushes we planted last year.

I guess that about covers it all. 

"The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him."
Exodus 15:2

Have a blessed and wonderful rest of your weekend, my friends. And thank you again for your kindnesses.  You are a wonderful bunch of friends to have!!!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Remembering Someone Very Special

Today is a special day.  It is the 49th birthday of our son Matthew.  However, Matthew is celebrating his 49th birthday in heaven, where he has been "living" for the past almost 8 years.  I am not writing about this to ask for sympathy...mainly I just want to remember a wonderful son on his birthday. I want to continue to celebrate the life he lived and give thanks to the Lord that we were allowed to have him here with us for 41 years.  During that time he blessed our lives, and the lives of everyone who knew him, with so much joy.  His life was a constant testimony to the love and grace of God, because there were so many times that Matthew could have been taken home to heaven long before his 41st birthday. But God, in His mercy and grace, had a wonderful purpose for his life here and we were the thankful recipients of that blessing.

I know I've shared this family picture many times before, but it is the last family portrait we have of us together, taken in February of 2014, when we celebrated Matthew's 41st birthday with all the family.

This was our immediate family at that time, including my sweet mother in law, Nanny. (She entered heaven's gates in August of 2018).
Front row is my hubby John, me, Nanny.
Back row: our grandson Noah, our son Benton, our son Scott, and our son Matthew, and his wife Nicole.

It was so wonderful that much of our extended family on both sides came to celebrate with us. This picture is the Steiner side of the family. My hubby's brother Bill and his wife Peggy and their two children Shannon and Nicholaus were there too.

And this picture is the Mursch (my side) of the family. I was so pleased that both of my brothers and their wives and my sister and her husband and their two kids were also able to be there. My brother Russell (2nd row, far left), has now also joined heaven's band, in April of 2019.

Here's Matthew blowing  out the candles...

And here he is, after he blew out the candles on his birthday cake. He was always the cut-up.

I love looking at these pictures because it brings back all the happy memories of that day. We had a wonderful time together, never allowing ourselves to think  of the possibility that just three months later, on May 25th, 2014, he would end his battle with cancer and enter heaven, totally set free from the pain and suffering he had endured for the previous four years.

You can't really tell from the previous picture of his birthday cake, but this little fisherman in the boat was a decoration on that cake. Matthew loved to fish, and that's why I wanted to save this little figure to keep on my kitchen countertop in front of one of my favorite pictures of Matthew.  

Here's a few pictures of him when he was visiting us a couple of years before the previous pictures.

He was enjoying the rare opportunity to fish with his brothers:

Happy Memories.

This is one of my favorite pictures of when we went to Maine to visit Matthew and his family. This was in 2013:
John, Me, Noah, Matthew, and Nicole
We tried to take a picture at this same scenic overlook every time we visited up there.

I guess I should stop with the pictures now...I could fill up the whole internet with pictures if I keep it up. I guess this is one reason why I love to take pictures so much. Our families are important to us. And someday, when pictures are all you have left to remember them by, those pictures become pretty important.

One thing we have tried to do each year since Matthew died is plant something in memory of him in our Memorial Garden. However, we moved a couple of years ago and so we had to leave a lot of things behind. I've talked about this before so I won't go back over it, but anyway, yesterday hubby and I planted a little bottlebrush bush in memory of Matthew.
Here's hubby digging the hole in the ground to plant it.

And there it is. It doesn't look like much right now, but hopefully it will grow and blossom this spring and summer. We chose a bottlebrush bush because it will attract hummingbirds and butterflies once it starts blooming. I will keep you posted on its progress.

This is looking back toward the "Memorial Garden". It looks pretty dry and unproductive right now. Hopefully this summer I will be able to get some more flowers and things growing there to make it worthy of being a true garden. HERE is a link to when we established this Memorial Garden at this house a couple of years ago.  

Okay, it's time to publish this post and get ready for bed. It's been a long day. We actually had a very nice day, and took a nice ride to St. Augustine, but I will save that story for tomorrow's post.  I just wanted to do this today in memory of Matthew.  It's probably more for my sake than for any other reason. It helps me to keep track of the years better if I write about it.  Thank you for reading and sharing these memories with me.

Here is a favorite scripture passage that has comforted me throughout these years...God comforts all who mourn... see Isaiah 61:2-4  

"To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

And Psalm 30:5 says:
"Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning."

I am thankful for the joy that comes in remembering the good times and the sweet memories of our son's life. He will always be missed, but I know He's alive and well in heaven, and that gives me great peace.

Remember to forgive while you can...and always tell your loved ones that you love them every opportunity you can.  Make the opportunity. You'll never regret that.
Good night my friends.