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!

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hurricane Ian Update

The "calm" after the storm...

Although you can't see it in this picture, those trees are still moving back and forth in gusts of wind as they pass through, but thankfully for all practical purposes, Hurricane Ian is pretty much over and done here in our area.  We are very very thankful for all the prayers and well wishes that helped to see us through a long rainy, windy night.  We never lost power until this morning around  9:00, when a tree blew down on the power lines down the road a little way from our neighborhood. Power was knocked out for a very large section of our community, including our son's house.  He's still "batching" it while his sweet wife is visiting her family in Minnesota...so when we found out that our local Nanna's Country Cafe' still had power and they were open for business, we decided to meet there for "brunch"...(Benton and I had breakfast, hubby had lunch).  

Afterwards we drove past our church and discovered that a large tree had fallen on our ancient log cabin structure on the property.  That building is now used primarily for storage of lawn equipment and other maintenance items, but it once was a Boy Scout Hut, and then our Thrift Shop was started there many years ago.  The building is over 100 years old, and is built from palm tree logs, which are very very sturdy.  It is a landmark in our community.

But this also very old oak tree was rotten to the core apparently, and it could no longer withstand the winds of a very strong hurricane, and so it fell and landed on the roof of the log building:

Apparently the roof is caved in. We've been discussing in our church board meetings that something needed to be done with this old building because it is getting beyond repair, etc., and I guess God decided to take matters into His own hands.  It will be sad to see the old building go, but we've been realizing that we actually need the space for parking because our little church is growing...so we shall see how it goes. We are very thankful it was this building and not our church buildings....

The other item of interest today has been the temperature!  60 degrees is pretty nice for a change, even if it did take a hurricane to bring it down to that level...

We later took another ride (ostensibly to charge my cell phone since we still had no power), and discovered the power trucks down the road from us, repairing the lines that had been broken.

What a wonderful sight to see!!!

These fellas were busy cutting up the downed tree and directing traffic, etc...

We are very thankful for the linemen, who put their own lives on the line literally to take care of these dangerous missions so that we can have electricity restored once again. There have been many linemen traveling here from all over the country to help out with the massive cleanup that will be required throughout the whole state. Over 3 million people have been without power...and many will have to wait several days or even weeks before it can be fully restored because of all the damage from this storm.
Our thoughts and prayers are with so many who didn't fare as well as we did. Many are flooded out of their homes or have other serious damages that may never be fully repaired. This was a brutal storm. I haven't heard the total death toll, but even one person is too many.

And finally, around 4:00 this afternoon, our power came back on! Hallelujah!

This is the worst damage that we sustained in our yard...our son's "carport" over his Camaro didn't quite survive the wind...and that special cover on the car itself had to be weighted back down several times. The winds were quite vicious, and we are only on the outer fringes of the storm.  You can only imagine how terrible it was for those in the main eye of the hurricane.  Yes, we are very very thankful.

And so with that I will close down for now. Tomorrow is a new day. We plan to open Dixie Cottage back up for those who just might want to do some shopping. Thankfully the store never lost power and there didn't appear to be any damages there either. We are so very very blessed.
I am trying to add a couple of other pictures, but I keep getting a message the blogger.com server can't be found. So now I don't know if this will publish or not. I will go ahead and try to publish as is, and that will explain why it may seem "unfinished."  Is anyone else having such issues?
God bless you all, and thank you again for your prayers over the past few days.
You are the best!!


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Waiting on the Storm to Pass By

Today has been a day of waiting and preparation for Hurricane Ian to arrive.
The outer rain bands have been gradually building throughout the day, along with the winds.

The real storm has not arrived here as of yet. It only made landfall this afternoon way down on the southwest Gulf Coast near Ft. Myers, as a Category 4 (almost 5) hurricane. It is a huge storm, but thankfully is beginning to gradually weaken in strength as it slowly works its way north east across our state. We are on the northern edge of its projected path and the impact will not be nearly as great here as it is further south, for which we are very thankful. However, I fear there will be much damage to those who are closer to its eyewall. 

I woke up this morning around 5 a.m. in hyper hurricane mode. My adrenaline kicks in when there is impending danger of any kind, and my main thought was to try and get as much done as possible today before we lose power...which is most likely inevitable possibly sometime tomorrow or tomorrow night, but I keep praying it won't.

For those of you who remember our sweet "Lily Grace", this is quite an adventure for her...Her first hurricane! But sadly I've been too preoccupied to help her write her own posts lately...however, she is very concerned about this storm and is watching all of the news/weather updates with us.  Her puppy Bailey keeps her company.

So some of the things I did today were:
1. Three loads of laundry, including our bedsheets.
2.  Cooked beef stew in the crock pot all day.
3. Baked a meatloaf to have for tomorrow's meal/sandwiches.
4.  Searched until I found the power cord for the generator, which was lost behind a shelving unit in our shed...It had slipped down behind the shelves and it took some praying and seeking God's help to direct me to find it.  Now we just need someone to come and hook it up when and if we need it if the power goes out. We do not know how to do that.  It requires someone with more electrical expertise than we have to do it correctly. I'm still praying we won't need it.
5.  I baked biscuits to go with our beef stew for supper. Our son Benton came over to join us as his sweet wife Rose is still visiting her family in Minnesota.
We have some biscuits leftover for breakfast tomorrow.  Maybe with applesauce?

As most of you know, I am looking forward to going to a special "tea party" this coming Saturday..., but now that is up in the air depending upon what is going on with this hurricane by then. It should be further on up the coast and away from us, but if we are without power then of course they will have to postpone it.  Already one of my friends who was planning to attend with me is not going to be able to come because they've been away on vacation and can't get back into the state because of the storm.  The southbound lanes of the major highways have been closed to southbound traffic so that people can evacuate to the north and get out of harm's way.  I am hoping that if they do have to cancel it for this weekend they will reschedule sometime in the near future.  And with that in mind I decided to work on my hat design today while I still had power to operate the hot glue gun.  Here is how it looks...

So my hat and gloves and little purse and fan are all ready to go...let's just hope it will still happen in the near future.

In the meantime, here's a song that is going through my mind that expresses my prayers and thoughts as we wait for the storm to pass by...

Till the Storm Passes By
sung by the Gaither Vocal Band

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place.
'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Many times Satan whispered, "There is no need to try,
For there's no end of sorrow, there's no hope by and by"
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies.
When the long night has ended and the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore;
In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.

Music and Lyrics by Mosie Lister (1958)

I will try to keep in touch as I am able, but if the power goes off it may be a while before it is restored since as of right now there are already almost a million people in the state without power, and they can't do anything to repair it until the storm is over.  So we will just stay as safe as we can and pray.  God is with us and we are very very thankful.  Thank you for all of the prayers for our people in this state...there are quite a few of us bloggers here and all of us will be affected in one way or another by this storm.  Praying for each and everyone to be safe.  

Monday, September 26, 2022

Birthday Blessings

Warning! Photo Overload!  This was a BIG weekend for me and so as you well know when you are dealing with me, "a picture is worth a thousand words"...so I will try to limit my words and just show you pictures of this wonderful birthday weekend.  I am still feeling overwhelmed with joy and blessings from so many who took the time to wish me a happy birthday on Facebook...that's truly one of the "good things" about social media...the way we can bless each other on special days and lift up one another during the difficult days. For that I am truly thankful.  And so, without further adieu, let the pictures and story begin...  
This butterfly started our day out when we took our early morning walk at Dixie Cottage.

My real birthday was on Sunday, but on Saturday we drove about an hour + to my home town to meet my sister and her hubby and my husband's brother and his wife for lunch at a fun restaurant on the shores of Lake Dora.  My little old hometown has turned into a kind of tourist destination for seaplane enthusiasts, where seaplanes can land on the lake and people can "fly in" for lunch at several different restaurants along the shore.  
Anyway, before we got to our destination we took a scenic route along the "Lake Shore Drive" of Lake Eustis...yes, there are many lakes in the area of my old hometown, because it is actually in "Lake County"...and there are lakes every where you look.

There are many lovely old oak trees lining the shore...

And in the distance you can see many sailboats...there is a sailing club in that area and I guess they were out enjoying the beautiful day on the lake...

We finally made it to our destination, and here is the view from our table:

It was a very special day as there was an event scheduled to have a group of retired Army Rangers parachuting down from planes onto the lake, and then boaters would come and pick them up.
This went on for several hours...

It made for a very interesting and entertaining lunch with our family...

Speaking of "entertaining"...
My brother in law loves to cut up...but you can see below he's really quite handsome, like his brother (my hubby). Can you tell they are brothers?

And my pretty sister Doris was enjoying the "entertainment"...

While her hubby tried to maintain his stoic composure:

And my lovely sister in law just beams...

And here I am with my hubby and my sister...I call her my "little big sister" because she's my "big sister", but she's much littler than me. LOL.

Now here Peggy and I are trying to figure out how to light the candles on the apple pie that my sister Doris brought. There was a fan overhead and it was blowing out the candles as fast we could light them, so we just gave up...

And they sang to me without the candles lit:

Happy Birthday to me..

And the BIG BLOW! LOL.  We have to have one of these pictures every year. It's a family tradition. Even if the candles can't be lit...

So that was that, and then on our way home we drove by my old "Alma Mater".  This building of my high school hasn't changed much, but the rest of the school is totally different. I'm glad they saved this historic building...

Speaking of history, my sister brought this old book to me that she found among some boxes from our parents' home that she has stored in her house and is gradually looking through...

This little devotional book was a gift to me from my Pastor and his wife for my high school graduation. I was so happy to get it back after all these years.  Pastor Parsons was also the pastor who married my husband and I 53 years ago.  He was a very strong and godly influence in my life and I am very thankful to God for bringing him and his family to our church when I was a teenager. I once even wrote a theme about him in high school as my most memorable character.  I may share that with you sometime, but not today.

This inscription means so much to me...

And now moving right along to Sunday, my "REAL" birthday!  Of course we went to Sunday school and church and it was a blessing as always.  These sweet little children from our "children's church" sang a song for the congregation, "I'm In the Lord's Army"... They were marching as they sang:

"I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the cavalry
Shoot the artillery
I may never shoot for the enemy
But I'm in the Lord's army!
I'm in the Lord's army!
I'm in the Lord's army!
I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the cavalry
Shoot the artillery
I may never shoot for the enemy
But I'm in the Lord's army!"

I have very sweet memories of my own sons singing this song in church when they were quite small.  This brought some tears to my eyes.  (happy tears).

And speaking of my sons...Here we are after church and lunch, which we had gone out to eat together with a few of our church friends as well, but I forgot to get a picture of that...but afterwards just the boys and us came home to finish off that apple pie.  My sweet DIL Rose is out of town currently, visiting her family up in Minnesota.

And hubby was there too of course...

And this time we really were able to light the candles:

It was a wonderful celebration and I am so very very thankful to God for my family and friends...and for all these years of blessings and good health and home, and for YOU.

And now we are getting things ready for the potential hurricane that may be coming up our coast later this week. We are pretty far inland and north and are praying that we will not have much of a bad impact here, but you never know with these storms.  They still don't know for sure which way it will go, so we have to be ready just in case.  And so with that I will say so long for now and will keep you updated as things "develop".

Thank you for visiting today, and I hope to get caught up with reading your posts throughout the week. It's been a whirlwind of activity these past few days so I've been a bit behind.  Sending love to you all. Bye bye for now.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Thursday Thankfulness...Friday Foto Friends: Fall Has Arrived!

Good Morning, and Happy Autumn, Fall, Autumnal Equinox, whatever you want to call it, it's finally here and we are so glad!  My calendar says that actually the Autumnal Equinox isn't until tomorrow, but everything else says that Fall begins today, and so I am going to accept that and run with it! I will never forget the first time I remember hearing the term "Autumnal Equinox" used was by my then 5 year old grandson Noah. We had just arrived in Maine on the airplane from Florida and they came to pick us up at the airport. As we were driving out the gate and down the highway I was remarking about how beautiful all the fall leaves were and I asked Noah what he thought about it being "Fall".  He promptly corrected me and said, "Oh no, Grandma! It's the Autumnal Equinox!".  I about fell over with surprise! Out of the mouth of babes should come such big words! LOL. He was very precise in his pronunciation of those words and I was totally stunned that a five year old would even be able to say such words, let alone know what they meant! LOL.  He always was very good with words, and even to this day when he is now almost 23 years old he has a very rich vocabulary. (I just wish he'd call and say Hi more often...)

So today I am thankful for the beautiful weather we are having...it has finally started to cool down just a tad, and the rains seem to have let up for a little while so we can dry out and not be quite so humid.
And so hubby and I decided that on the mornings we go to work at Dixie Cottage we will get there a bit early and take a walk on the beautiful walking trail that starts right outside the door of the store:
There he goes...hey! Wait for me! LOL.  Anyway, this lovely walking path follows the old railroad track line through the old historic section of town, and it is a perfect place for us to take a nice morning walk before we open the store for business.

I was happy to see a variety of wildflowers and Beautyberries along the trail...

A perfect place to catch a glimpse of a Zebra Longwing butterfly sipping its morning nectar from the flowers:

It was quite elusive to my camera's eye...I had to keep trying to follow it as it fluttered and flittered by me:

You can tell that his wings were fluttering in this photo below:

And finally he lighted on this Firebush plant so that I could get a good picture:

I finally also caught up with hubby so we could take a selfie:

We are both wearing our "Dixie Cottage" t-shirts so you know we are "official". LOL.

I loved seeing these Turk's Cap Mallow flowers, which is kind of like a Hibiscus that never opens up. I remember as kids on the school playground we would pull out the flower and suck the nectar out of the end of it...it was SO sweet! Yes, the butterflies and hummingbirds love this flower too!

The view across the highway from where we were walking...a beautiful little lake

We turned around and headed back towards the store, and then I noticed these
beautiful Coral Vine flowers blooming all over the bushes and up on the trees along the road:

Even though they are beautiful, they will take over wherever they are if not kept pruned back...

Oh, another butterfly on the wild lantana bushes:

And there were lots of bees and Skipper butterflies on these wild Coreopsis flowers, (see picture below) also known as "tickseed". I thought this was an interesting comment in the Wikipedia explanation and description of these flowers: "Coreopsis is a variable genus closely related to Bidens. "  Here is the definition of that:
"Bidens is a genus of flowering plants in the aster familyAsteraceae. The common names beggarticksblack jackburr marigoldscobbler's pegsSpanish needlesstickseedstickseeds and tickseed sunflowers refer to the fruits of the plants, most of which are bristly and barbed, with two sharp pappi at the end. The generic name refers to the same character; Bidens comes from the Latin bis ("two") and dens ("tooth")."[3]

Without getting political, I'll just leave that information right there...LOL.

Okay, switching gears a bit, something "new" is developing in our neighborhood.  At the entrance to our subdivision is a large 3 acre tract of commercial land that was nicely wooded. It had been for sale for a while, and finally was sold. So this week they began to clear the land.  Being the good nosey neighbors that we are, we stopped and asked the foreman of the land clearing crew if he knew what was going to be put on this land. He said a "Dollar General Store".  I about choked. I said, "You've got to be kidding!" He said no he wasn't...   Well, here's the scoop on that...we already have a Dollar General store 2 miles to the east of this location. AND, we have another Dollar General store 2 miles to the west of this location, and about a mile beyond that one is a Family Dollar Store that is also a Dollar Tree store since they merged.  Our little town is overrun with Dollar stores, gas stations and thrift stores and one grocery store.  We need restaurants and other kinds of businesses...not another Dollar General Store! And especially not in the entrance to our subdivision.  I contacted our County Commissioner to verify this and he was actually surprised himself, but did some research and found out it is true. So I asked him to please make sure they put a traffic light at that intersection because it is already a dangerous intersection trying to get out onto the highway, etc.  We'll see what happens with that.  

So here are the pictures of the work being done...

These were taken a couple of days ago. The property is mostly clear now. Thankfully they left a boundary of trees around the edges that connect to our housing development.  We live about 1/8th of a mile from this.  I am not a happy camper. My husband actually is a huge Dollar General fan, and now he can just walk there if he wants to. LOL.  Life goes on...trying to keep a positive attitude.

And so here's something funny.  I am working on my outfit for the "High Tea with Mrs. Henry Flagler" that is coming up next weekend.  It was suggested that we come in "period style clothes" of the 1890's, etc.  When I called to get more information I was told that the hats should be large and have lots of flowers. Please don't laugh. I was just sticking some fake flowers around the brim of the hat, but they aren't fastened yet and I didn't know my hubby was going to take my picture or I would have fixed it better.  

A friend from our church gave me the beautiful turquoise colored hat and said I could keep it and do whatever I needed to do with it. So that became my color guide for figuring out the rest of the outfit.

This is definitely still a work in progress.  When the outfit is finally complete, I will take some better pictures to share with you.  Meanwhile, I am excited that one of our friends who comments on blogs occasionally but doesn't have her own blog and who lives in this area is going to come and go with me to the tea.  Then today I heard from another friend in the area who also plans to attend.  It's going to be a lot of fun.

Here is a brief history of Henry Flagler, and HERE is more information about his third wife, who loved to throw lavish parties and was the one who loved the big hats and lots of flowers. It should be a very interesting and fun tea party!

 I guess that's enough stuff for today and tomorrow.  I am thankful for how God watches over us in so many ways.  Oh, and I am also thankful that I did actually hear from our grandson today. I sent him a text this morning to wish him a "Happy Autumnal Equinox Day", and he wrote back a text and told me what he's been doing and apologized for not staying in touch better. Of course I'd love to have a real phone call, but for now I'll take whatever I can get. I know he's busy working every day, and that's a good thing, and he's healthy and safe...and that's an even better thing.  So that was an answer to prayer.

"To everything there is a season, 
A time for every purpose under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1