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, June 29, 2023

Thursday Thankfulness and Friday Foto Friends Again!

 It seems like only yesterday that it was Thursday and Friday...but a whole week has gone by, and oh! What a HOT week it has been!! After last week's cooler rainy days and nights we have been thrust into the heat of summer overnight it seems. Our temperatures have been in the high 90's every day. 

This was the outside temp a few minutes ago when we went for a ride.

 Every day this week we have thanked the Lord that our air conditioner chose to die last week instead of this week, and we have had our new AC system working beautifully all week long for this very hot weather. God's timing is always perfect!!

However, one thing that was a little inconvenient this week was that our community water department decided to do a system cleaning, and so our water was shut off all day Tuesday, and then we have been under a "boil water alert" ever since.  When you are hot and thirsty it can be a bit of a pain to not have access to potable water from your faucets and not be able to use the icemaker in the refrigerator!  But thankfully, just a few moments ago, this arrived on our door:

(never mind the typo in bold print..."Boll Water Notice") Lol. We're just glad it's over)
So now things are pretty much back to normal, even though it is still so very very hot!
But we found a way to beat the heat this afternoon:

Oh wait! First...another blessing to add to my thankfulness list:
Our kids Benton and Rose made it home from their vacation safely Tuesday night. We sure are happy to have them back home again! And so that brings me to what we did this afternoon to beat the heat:

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago HERE that progress was coming to our little town, and that soon we would have a place for burgers and milkshakes:

The owners of our favorite BBQ place, Hog Wild Country Cafe', have bought this other location for a burger and shakes place.

They've kind of been having a little difficulty in getting things going due to county inspection slowdowns (not their fault), so they still can't serve the hamburgers, etc., but they are open for 
We decided to go pay them a visit this afternoon and meet our "kids" there for some ice cream.  Hubby discovered that they also have toys and fun things for sale:

Here's our sweet DIL Rose deciding what she wants to order:

I found something I wanted, and asked for a cup of ice-cream to go with it for a Root Beer Float!

Benton and Rose decided on a chocolate milkshake for him and a ice cream cone for her:

And here I am with my Root Beer Float.  Hubby decided he didn't want to spoil his supper so he just came for moral support while we indulged in our ice cream treats. LOL.

It was really yummy and refreshing.  Even though the treats seemed a little "pricey" (the owner explained the cost of all things dairy went up considerably just since the time they decided to open this business), it was still worth the time and energy to go and cool off and spend some fun time together with our kids. We sure have missed them!  As a matter of fact, we had them over to our house last night for supper, and they brought the grandpuppies Sugar and Spice, who were very happy to finally come back to Grandpa and Grandma's house after so long. But I didn't get any pictures of them, I guess because I was just too busy enjoying having them all here again.
One picture I did take before they arrived was this:
I baked this lemon-blueberry cake for dessert. It's actually Rose's recipe, but she didn't have time to bake anything since they had just gotten home from their trip and I didn't want her to have to make anything.
We had a pork loin roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked maple glazed carrots and green peas for supper. It was all very yummy, especially because we were all together again. Even a peanut butter sandwich tastes better with loved ones to share it with. LOL.

So what else is going on?
Well, in the bird kingdom here on Still Waters Pond there seems to be some changes going on.
This is Mrs. Bluebird last week.  This week Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird seem to have abandoned this nest. At least I haven't seen them around for a couple of days. I never saw any babies ready to fledge, so I am thinking something went wrong and maybe the high heat has caused these eggs to not develop properly and so Mom and Dad have gone away. I haven't looked inside the birdhouse yet to see what's there. I will wait another couple of days to be sure they don't come back first.
But in the meantime another couple have started checking out the other birdhouse again. I think it's probably the same couple who were there earlier in the spring, as they tend to come back again for their 2nd brood a couple of months after the first batch leaves the nest.  Here's Mr. Bluebird checking out the house:

What's funny is all the while he is inspecting the house he is chattering away in bluebird talk, apparently talking to Mrs. Bluebird, who is up in the tree and out of my view.

I can hear her chattering back, and it is literally like they are having a conversation with each other about the merits of this house.

You can tell he is giving it a very careful inspection, and she's probably telling him to be sure and check for leaks and air flow and safety issues.

He does not overlook a thing.

He inspects the roof:

And then sticks his head inside, and he did actually go inside and come back out after a minute or two.

Again, he keeps chattering away in a sing-song conversation. I wish I could tell what they were saying, but it seems logical to me that it is all about whether or not they should set up housekeeping here once again.

Here he is on the tip top of the pole, staking his claim on this piece of property. I think he likes that it has a nice view of Still Waters Pond, and hopefully they can catch a cool breeze now and then.
I half expect to see the moving van coming tomorrow to bring all their worldly goods. LOL. I will keep you posted on their progress.

Well, I will close with these thoughts from a little devotional calendar from earlier this week:

Psalm 119:105 
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Seeing this also  reminded me of the poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Lamplighter":

This came from my very favorite old book from my childhood:

This also reminds me of another verse, from the most favorite book of my whole life, The Bible:

Matthew 5:14-16

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."

And with those thoughts I will leave you for today.  May we always strive to be that light that is shining before men and women, to give glory to God for Who He is and all He has done for us!  Amen.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Tuesday 4: Summer Solstice


Summer Solstice

Welcome, it's Tuesday 4 time. I keep it up in memory of my friend Toni Taddeo who really enjoyed her blogs.

The Summer solstice arrived and some got hot weather and some got chill and rain. But summer is the time for holidays or vacations, summertime activities and being outdoors more. It's also a time, like winter, for complaints and we realize that people in Texas, Arizona and Florida stay inside in summer.

1. How is summer treating you so far this year? Could things improve? How do you make summer fun in your neck of the woods?
As most of you know we started out our summer with our AC breaking down and having to be replaced.  
Thankfully last week when it broke down the weather was cooler and rainy.  This week we are already having high 90's each day and no rain in sight, so we are very thankful to have our new AC unit keeping things cool. We live in Florida, and this is just the beginning of the summer heat. We mostly stay indoors in the summertime here, and try to stay cool. If we take walks, we try to go in the early morning or later in the evening when the sun is going down behind the trees. Summer fun in our neck of the woods now at our age is when we can be together with our loved ones and friends for a meal, either at our house or at a restaurant.  We sometimes take rides to neighboring communities just to get a change of scenery, but again, because of the heat we mostly stay inside wherever it is cool.

I love to watch the birds and wildlife outside our windows and keeping cool beside Still Waters Pond. Here's a few pictures I took just this morning:
Mrs. Ruby Throated Hummingbird says good morning!

Mr. Daddy Bluebird is bringing food to Mrs. Bluebird and the new brood of babies in the nest now.

Mr. and Mrs. Dove are preening and keeping cool in the shade of the pine tree...

And also taking a drink and/or a dip in the bird bath to cool off...

Mr. Sand Hill Crane has been showing up alone lately. I am not sure where Mrs. Crane and the two colts Pat and Val are these days.  Perhaps they are off on vacation. I hope they are okay, but I don't really understand why he is alone.

It seems very strange. I keep asking him to tell me where they are, but he hasn't given me an answer. Maybe they have found a better place to spend the summer where it is cooler. The last time I saw the whole family the "colts" were both able to fly just as well as the parents...so perhaps they are off exploring and he's here to hold down the fort.

I recently bought this new Log Cabin Bird feeder to replace a wooden one that was beginning to fall apart.  

I've been waiting for the birds to discover it, and finally today they showed up. Mr. Cardinal seems to approve...

But he still likes to stop for a cup of tea before he heads back to the trees...

And then Mr. Carolina Chickadee discovered it and kept coming back for more seeds.

I am glad they approve of the new log cabin diner. 

That would be my choice too, if I were a bird...

2.We give you magic powers! You can change the climate, the surroundings, even your house and anything you like. Tell us what you are doing to make your summer or your entire year better..... GO!
Oh wow...to be able to change the climate, surroundings, etc. for summer would be amazing!! If I could, I'd be in that log cabin somewhere up in the mountains where it is cooler,  perhaps with a little lake or mountain stream right outside to enjoy.  The weather would be perfect for swimming in the lake and/or kayaking down the river/stream.  We'd have a firepit and enjoy sitting around the campfire each evening, roasting hot dogs, making s'mores, and just enjoying the cool, fresh mountain air with friends and family telling stories around the fire.  It would be the kind of place where everyone would love to gather. There would be a hammock to nap in or lay there and read a good book, and a porch to rock in the rockers or a swing where you can just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. That's my ideal dream of a place to spend the summer.

3. The puppy on the boat up above is your new friend. He wants a name. What name will you give him and would you like to be in that picture (if you can't sail we will provide someone for you!)  That puppy is so cute. She looks a lot like Lily Grace's puppy Bailey.  (You all remember Lily Grace don't you?)  So, maybe I would name that cute puppy Bailey.  As far as would I like to be in that picture, well, I know I can't sail, but if there is someone who can take care of that very competently, then that would be fun. I'd prefer a small rowboat in a small lake as opposed to being on the ocean, however.  

4. It's friendship pot luck day at your house this month. Everyone is coming. Please assign us what dishes each of us are to bring to make for a great day.(by the way, you needn't use names. Just name some dishes you would like people to bring along)
Oh,  that sounds like so much fun!  I won't assign names, but here's what I would like others to bring:
Potato Salad, (or a Pasta Salad, if you prefer). Deviled Eggs, baked beans, Watermelon, homemade pies, either cherry or peach for summertime, and we will make home made ice-cream together. I will provide the barbequed chicken and/or hamburgers/hotdogs, corn on the cob, and iced tea and/or lemonade and rolls. We will have such a great time! I can't wait to see all of you!!

I hope you enjoyed this little summer solstice dream time!  But even if we can't do all the things we wish we could do, I hope we will all have a peaceful and blessed summertime right where we are, doing whatever we can do to bring joy to others in some special way.  

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work."
2 Corinthians 9:8

Thank you, Annie, for coming up with some fun questions once again! I hope others will join in and share your summertime dreams!!

Friday, June 23, 2023

Friday Foto Friends and Thankfulness, Part Two

 Hello, and welcome to Friday Foto Friends and Thankfulness, Part Two! If you wonder why I need a Part two, well, if you read  yesterday's post HERE, you will remember that I told you that our 21 year old air conditioner (and heat pump) was going to have to be replaced.  It had finally reached the point of no return, and we knew it was time to bite the bullet and buy a new HVAC unit.  Our repairman managed to help it to keep running for a few more days, but he said with a leaky coil it most likely would not last long. So thankfully we were able to schedule the installation of the new unit for today.  

The original HVAC unit for our house, approximately 21 years old.

Well, this story was not over by any means.  Last night we settled down to bed at our usual time (around 10:00 p.m.) and all was cool and well. Suddenly, around 12:00 midnight I woke up with a start. A thunderstorm had started, and perhaps it was a loud clap of thunder that woke me up, but I honestly believe it was God.  Why? Well, as soon as I woke up I realized that I could smell smoke! 

I woke up my hubby and told him I could smell smoke, and so we both got up out of bed and started walking around the house, sniffing the air, and trying to determine where the smoke was coming from. (Picture two septuagenarians tiptoeing through the house in their p.j.'s , with a flash light in hand and sniffing the air like a couple of bloodhounds). The scent seemed to be strongest in our bedroom, because the bedroom door was shut holding in the smell. However, the smell was evident all over the house, and so we determined it must be coming from the AC vents.

Now, mind you, it was pitch black outside and there was a thunderstorm going on at the same time. It was literally pouring down rain and lightning was flashing and thunder was booming. However, we knew we needed to go outside and check the AC unit to see if it was on fire.  
Now picture those two septuagenarians putting on raincoats and shoes and carrying an umbrella and a flashlight, and checking out the AC unit in the  dark and the rain.  There was no smoke or fire that we could see or smell on the unit. But if there had been, the rain may have already put it out. However, on further inspection, we could see that the coils had frozen up once again inside the unit, which told us that the motor was probably seized up and the friction was causing that burning smell and could erupt in a fire if not stopped.  So we carried our dripping bodies and shoes and raincoats and umbrellas back inside the house and shut down the power to the AC unit.
Oh, we did also consider calling the fire department, but decided that since there was no actual smoke or flame, and the power was off to the unit, there really wasn't any need to do so.
Then we tried to go back to bed. As you can imagine, it was difficult to get back to sleep after all of that, and the scent of the smoke was still very strong in our bedroom, so we left the door to the room open and turned on fans to help clear the air. It was raining too hard to even consider opening windows.
Sleep was fitful, but after praying and asking God to protect us and our home from any further harm, we finally drifted off to sleep.

When the AC repairman arrived this morning, you can bet we had a tale to tell him. He was quite concerned and began dismantling the old unit to get ready to install the new one, and after checking things out he determined that yes, there had been some burning going on inside the motor area...and that same strong burnt smell was very much present once the unit was opened up.

Somewhere inside these coils is where the culprit was.

Well, after a couple of hours of hard labor...oh, yes, there is a "repair woman" as well...

she's the daughter of our repair guy, and does a great job as his assistant!

The new HVAC unit was installed and up and running and our house is cool once again!

We waved good bye to them and said a prayer of thanksgiving for God's protection over our home through the night and for providing good repair people quickly and reasonably.

This is a favorite and appropriate Psalm for this episode, don't you think?

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”


Oh, and by the way, we wondered why our smoke detector had not gone off to alert us. Maybe the smoke wasn't quite strong enough yet to trigger it, or just maybe it needed a new battery? Yep...apparently it did, although it had never alerted us to that either. We replaced the battery, and the test button says it should work now, but I may be looking for a new one next time we go to town.  A good reminder to check the smoke detectors in your houses regularly!

Okay, have a blessed and safe and pleasant rest of your Friday. Thank you for bearing with me on another long tale.  God bless you all!!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Thursday Thankfulness and Friday Foto Friends

 I seem to be combining these two days more often than not nowadays!  Kind of like "killing two birds with one stone", but then again, I really don't want to do that!  How about "two for the price of one?"  That's a little better! LOL.  So anyway, here it is Thursday night, and I do have a lot to be thankful for this week, but it seems as though pictures are worth a 1000 words, so to keep from making you read so many words, it's just easier to tell it with pictures!

Speaking of birds, let's start with a few nature photos around Still Waters Pond! That always seems to be a big hit with everyone!

With all of the rain we've been getting here lately, Still Waters Pond is filling up and looking happy! It seems as though the wildlife around here is happy as well...The Great Blue Heron has been back to do some fishing in the early mornings...

He seems grateful for the abundance of food in the water...

Mrs. Bluebird is also grateful for a warm, dry house in which to raise her young ones. I'm not sure if any baby birds have hatched yet, but she definitely seems to be spending a LOT of time in the house...so perhaps she's still waiting for things to happen.

The Ruby Throated Hummingbirds have been very active at the feeder. This is a female, but the male comes around frequently, and it seems there's at least one other because we've seen three at a time exercising their territorial rights around the feeder. It's kept me busy refilling with fresh food every other day or so.

But I don't mind. It's been delightful to watch them. 

We don't often get to see them in the trees, but this morning Mrs. Ruby Throat spent some time preening herself, totally oblivious to the fact that I was busily taking pictures all the while:

Perhaps she has a date with Mr. Ruby Throat later and wanted to look her very best!

She's so beautiful, don't you agree?

I am thankful for this front row seat to the world of God's wonderful creation right before our eyes!

If you look really closely, you can see her "tongue" sticking out of her beak.

Perhaps she was actually giving herself a "spit bath".  LOL. 

I hope she feels much better now!

Remember when I showed you this tomato growing in our "garden"?

Well, it finally ripened enough for us to eat, and it sure was delicious!
Nothing like home grown tomatoes! Now I just wish I had planted more! Maybe next year I'll get a little more ambitious!

So very thankful for our son Scott, who came on Father's Day and mowed the lawn for us...

And then grilled wonderful steaks for our Father's Day dinner! Since our other family members were still out of town, it was just us here, but we made the most of it and truly enjoyed spending some time with him one on one.

After dinner he put together the new weed whacker that I bought for hubby for Father's Day. We wanted a light weight, battery powered weed whacker that we can use ourselves that won't be too difficult to manage.  

Scott got it put together in no time, and we tried it out the next day and it works great! So thankful for smart kids who know how to take care of things like that for us!

I mentioned in my last post HERE that my brother in law was having back surgery on Monday, and I wanted to thank you all for your kind words and prayers on his behalf.  He came through the surgery well and seemed to be doing really good the next day, and so they discharged him on Wednesday. But he actually wasn't feeling quite as well on that day, and by evening he was so weak and having oxygen level and BP issues, so my sister and her daughter took him back to the ER and they ended up admitting him.  However, today he seemed to be feeling better, and so at my last call to my sister this afternoon they were getting ready to discharge him again.  I haven't heard anything different so I am assuming he has gone home.  Please continue to keep Art in your prayers. I think this surgery was a lot more extensive than expected, and he's not going to bounce back very quickly.

And as I mentioned in another previous post HERE about my hubby having some medical tests done last week and that we would be getting the results this week, well that is what we did yesterday. We are very thankful that the tests did not reveal any new surprises and now we are just waiting for a plan to take care of some issues that we already knew about but just had to wait on the go ahead to take care of them.  We are very thankful that some things are already coming together and we know that God is in control and has a good plan.  Our God is an awesome God!

On our way back home from the appointment we stopped for lunch at a little cafe' in a small town where we have often stopped in times past.  However, this was the first time we had been to this particular place since new owners had taken over.  I was looking forward to trying it out again as our previous experience had not been too good, and we actually kind of know the new owners (sort of, through one of their relatives), so we anticipated it being much better.
The new decor was fun, with some Lionel Trains around the room.  With my love for model trains, thanks to my father who collected them, I was certain this place was going to be really fun and unique.

I decided to order a Reuben sandwich, because I haven't had one in a long time, and I thought this place should have a good one.  Well, sad to say I was very disappointed. It was not like any reuben sandwich I'd ever had before.

I managed to eat it, but decided that it would definitely not be something I would order there again, if I ever go there again.  And that's all I'll say about that! But, still, I am thankful for the time spent there with my hubby, and was happy I didn't have to fix lunch we we got home!  (Trying to keep things in a positive light!)

To finish off yesterday, when we got home we noticed that our thermostat was registering a higher temperature than normal. At first I thought maybe something was wrong with the thermostat since I just changed the batteries the other day...maybe the batteries were bad? But we definitely could tell that the house was getting warmer as the afternoon progressed.  Thankfully, we have an air conditioning repairman on our "speed dial", since we've needed him frequently in the almost 4 years we have lived in this house.  He is always quick to respond and is very fair in his pricing. He was able to come out late in the afternoon to assess the problem.
This old AC/heat pump unit was frozen up good...and after checking everything out he proclaimed it to be too old to repair...parts are no longer available for this 21 year old model, and basically it's time to quit putting bandaids on it and replace it with a new, more economical and energy efficient model.
Cha- ching! But after much discussion and prayer and counting our pennies (LOL), we decided he was right and we need to go ahead and bite the bullet and get it replaced. Because we have already done so much business with him, and also because he also takes care of our church's AC systems and also because we've recommended him to everyone we know here in town...he did give us a very good discount, and so, long story short, he will be here tomorrow (weather permitting) to replace this antique model with a brand new one.  Meanwhile, he was able to put another temporary bandaid on this one to keep it running for a few more days, but we keep expecting it to freeze up again any minute. So far so good, and we are very thankful. And also, the weather, although rainy off and on, has been a bit cooler than normal for this time of year, only reaching the low 80's instead of the 90's, so that has been a big help. Again, God is good...in the little things and the bigger things.  We are counting our blessings for sure!

Well, I guess that about wraps it up for this week. 

Oh, one more thing. This coming Sunday hubby and I and another man from our church are planning to sing this song in the worship service.  Here's another rendition of the song, "Until Then", for you to enjoy...praying God will be glorified in this music as we sing it for His honor.

My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a trail that's winding always upward,
This troubled world is not my final home.

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I'll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

The things of earth will dim and lose their value
If we recall they're borrowed for awhile;
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
Remembered there will only bring a smile.

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I'll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

This weary world with all its toil and struggle
May take its toll of misery and strife;
The soul of man is like a waiting falcon;
When it's released, it's destined for the skies.

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I'll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.