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!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Thankful Wednesday!

 Rather than wait until Thursday to write about our "thankfulness", I thought I should let you all know tonight just how very thankful we are for how God protected us throughout Hurricane Idalia.

I kept waking up during the night, expecting to hear the sounds of high winds and pounding rain on the roof, and it was just very very quiet.  But because I was so keyed up about my expectations, I really couldn't sleep very well, and so finally just went ahead and got up around 5 a.m. to watch the news and see the latest updates.  According to the 5:00 a.m.  updates, the storm had been upgraded to a category 4, which is very powerful, and had not made landfall yet.  However, the expected landfall was, thankfully for us, a little further to the north west on the gulf coast, and our location would be out of the worst of the impact. Still, we were expecting to get a lot of rain and some high winds and possible tornado warnings.  

At daybreak I looked outside at Still Waters Pond (below)...

And out the front side of the house looking east (below), and although it was very cloudy and somewhat windy, there was no real rain to speak of...just intermittent showers now and then...

And praise God, we never even lost power except for a couple of momentary flickers that quickly corrected themselves!  Wow! And that was how it was all day long! We have been thanking the Lord all day for His kindness and mercy toward us and our community and as far as I know all our family and friends throughout the different parts of the state.  However, the area of landfall in the "Great Bend area" and also places further south along the Gulf coast, did have some pretty serious damage and storm surge and coastal flooding. Our hearts go out to them and we pray that they have not suffered any loss of life or serious damages that cannot be repaired.  This was a very huge and powerful storm, and we are just so thankful that it didn't come inland anywhere too close to us.

Thank you all who prayed for us and sent best wishes.  You are the best kind of friends ever!!  

We mostly spent the day resting in our recliners and watching the storm news and doing some reading. I actually took a couple of naps to make up for my restlessness last night, and then we took a nice walk about an hour ago to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. I left my computer turned off until now, as I didn't want the power surges to damage it, as it is it is getting kind of old and the power switch is getting kind of cranky...so I'm thinking I need to do some more backing up of my files and be prepared for the inevitable day when it will finally shut down for good. I truly hope that's a long ways off, but like a good Girl Scout, I should always 'be prepared'.  LOL.

We've been singing this song at the close of our Sunday morning worship service  this past month...and I feel like it is an appropriate song to sing now and close this post...as you sing along with the singers below, look at the pictures of the trees outside here along the shore of Still Waters Pond. You can't see them moving in the wind, but it's like they are swaying with the music and clapping their hands with joy because they were spared in this storm!! So let us all rejoice together!

The Trees of the Field (Gaither Homecoming Family)

You Shall Go Out With Joy
And Be Led Forth With Peace
The Mountains And The Hills
Will Break Forth Before You
There’ll Be Shouts Of Joy,
And All The Trees Of The Field
Will Clap, Will Clap Their Hands

And All The Trees Of The Field
Will Clap Their Hands
The Trees Of The Field
Will Clap Their Hands
The Trees Of The Field
Will Clap Their Hands
While You Go Out With Joy

You Shall Go Out With Joy
And Be Led Forth With Peace
The Mountains And The Hills
Will Break Forth Before You
There’ll Be Shouts Of Joy,
And All The Trees Of The Field
Will Clap, Will Clap Their Hands

And All The Trees Of The Field
Will Clap Their Hands
The Trees Of The Field
Will Clap Their Hands
The Trees Of The Field
Will Clap Their Hands
While You Go Out With Joy

(Based on Isaiah 55:12)


Monday, August 28, 2023

Monday Monday!

 Okay friends...This is Monday, and it's not like any other Monday!! Not only is it my oldest son's birthday!!!, but we are also getting prepared for a big ugly hurricane that is headed our way in the next 48 hours.  So if you don't hear from me for a while, it may be because we either got blown away (trusting God that won't really happen!) or we may lose power for a few days and that would make life miserable...but better than being blown away!!  So if I am able to update you after the storm passes by, I will as soon as possible.   Thankfully we live pretty far inland, about and hour or more from either coast, but the predicted path of the storm goes right up and over our area...unless something shifts here in the next few hours.  So your prayers are certainly welcome and appreciated!!  We've been out this morning cleaning up stuff in the yard and making sure there are no "projectiles", and then we just stocked up on bread and water and other essentials...(toilet paper!)  We haven't been ordered to evacuate this area yet, so we are hoping we can just stay put like we normally do for a hurricane.  If not, we may go over to our son's house as they live in a concrete block home as opposed to our manufactured home.  Time will tell...we are about as ready as we can be...so just trying to relax and pray.

Meanwhile, thankfully we did all our "celebrating" of birthdays over the weekend and we don't have to worry about people traveling and gathering, etc. now.  If you are not a Facebook friend, you probably haven't already seen these pictures...and if you have already seen them, then you are free to move on to something else. LOL.  Thank you for all your kind words and Happy Birthday greetings for our son.  It's hard to believe he is 52, and that I am even old enough to have a son so old! LOL.  Something must be wrong...maybe he's really only 25 and we got the numbers backwards. LOL.  

We ended up with cupcakes because we had taken a LOT of cupcakes with us on Saturday for the family gathering, and they didn't all get eaten, so rather than waste them and make more, we were smart and had them on Sunday too.  Some of them were pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! Yes, it's that time again...pumpkin this and pumpkin that...LOL

Of course my mouth is open saying something...or maybe I was singing...anyway, we had a good time.
This was yesterday, after church, and after we had a nice grilled steak dinner, thanks to Rose buying the steaks and Scott doing the grilling.  It was a wonderful treat.

As I told you in last week's Tuesday 4 POST HERE, we had planned to travel an hour or so to a restaurant on Saturday to meet up with our extended Florida family to celebrate August birthdays and anniversaries, etc.  And so we did...and here we are:

This is both sides of our family...my hubby's brother Bill and wife Peggy and their two kids Shannon (and her boyfriend Tristan) and Nicholaus, and my sister Doris and her hubby Art and their two kids David and Debbie (and her hubby and son Jack), plus our kids Benton and Rose. The only one not able to attend was our son Scott, as he had to work.  We were quite a happy big gang of people!

Peggy and Bill were celebrating their 25th anniversary!

Debbie and Darrell had already celebrated their anniversary earlier in the month, but we also celebrated Debbie's birthday, which is this week.

And their handsome son Jack is turning 18 in another week, so we celebrated his birthday too!

And then of course our son Benton and wife Rose celebrating his birthday...

And Billy and Peggy's son Nicholaus is also celebrating his birthday today, on the same day as our son Benton.  He is now 21, but still hates to have his picture taken!  Oh, and he is starting his Junior year at UCF (Univ. of Central Florida), having just graduated with his AA degree from Seminole State Community College. So we are very proud of Nick.  

And this is Nick's sister Shannon and her boyfriend Tristan. She is also attending Seminole State Community College.  

It's not my birthday yet, but my sister in law Peggy gave me this "Squishmallow" pillow as an early birthday gift (later in September), because she will be out of town on my birthday and wanted me to have it now.  I didn't know these special pillows had names and personalities....She picked this one for me because it's name is "Pama",  and her description says that "Pama reads so many books that there are stacks of them everywhere in her home! Pama prefers classic novels and short stories, but she will read anything if you recommend it. This "Mallow" even has a collection of encyclopedias she will sometimes open up and read just for fun!"   LOL.  That's pretty funny! I do love to read, and right now I have a stack of library books I am working through. I used to have encyclopedias that we enjoyed reading, but they became too outdated and are long gone...so now I just look things up on "Wikipedia" when I want to know something.  So this description was pretty appropriate for me...LOL.

And because it was Peggy and Bill's 25th anniversary, we wanted to give them something silver. I actually sent Benton out on a mission the other day while I was having my stem cell procedure done and he was killing time waiting for me to get done (Rose couldn't go with him because she wasn't feeling well that day sadly), so he went shopping and couldn't find anything silver that was appropriate (or affordable).  However, he did find these really cute little trinket dishes with what appears to be the ocean inside and little "silver" sea turtles swimming out to sea.  This was perfect for Peggy and Billy as their home is decorated with a coastal theme!  

She loved them!  (So did Billy, but probably not as much as Peggy. LOL).

Oh, and I wanted to thank all of you for your kind thoughts regarding my procedure that I had the other day.  I am feeling much better, but still it will be a while before my arm is completely healed. I am trusting God for healing and taking it easy and carefully one day at a time. I still have to wear the tummy pressure belt for another week, which is a bit uncomfortable, kind of like a girdle...remember those, ladies?  Does anyone wear girdles anymore??? LOL.  Anyway, little by little things are improving and I am very thankful. You are all the greatest cheerleaders, by the way. I thank God for you!

Well, as I sit here writing this, I have been hearing thunder. It's still too soon for Idalia to make her appearance, so this must be from that other storm out in the Atlantic.  Anyway, it is a warning of things to come, and a reminder that things could be getting crazy around here in a little while. So I will sign off for now and if I can get back to write again in the next couple of days, I will. But don't worry about us if you don't hear anything...just pray...especially for those closer to the coast who may experience much worse weather than we will.  We will hopefully be able to communicate again soon.

"Til the Storm passes by...."

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 use 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

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

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Thursday Thankfulness-You Gotta See This!

Good Morning and thank you to EVERYONE who commented on my post yesterday while I was having my stem cell procedure done.  I am sorry I didn't get back to you yesterday, but it was a long day and I honestly did not feel up to doing much when I got home. I mostly sat in the recliner and relaxed and rested.  I am VERY thankful to have had the procedure, and was MORE thankful when it was finally over!  

These Bluebirds flew by to wish me well.  I honestly think the one above is a juvenile, 
but it could be a young female. Not sure. It just looks younger to me.

Here's a male and the same one in the background. 
The male is wet...he had just taken a bath in the bird bath.

And now it's her turn.
It just may be that she looks different because she's wet.   Anyway, they came and took their baths and flew away again. But it was nice to see them!

 I only have one picture to show you this morning from yesterday, and I asked my nurse to take it for me:  (Caution Alert, this is not for the squeamish!!!)

That, my friends, is what about 250 ml of adipose cells, also known as fat cells, taken from under the skin of my belly, looks like.   Isn't it lovely??? The nurse said it kind of looked like a beautiful sunset! OK, I can see that...sort of...LOL.  Looks like a jar of chicken fat to me.  And they used a very large syringe that would remind you of a turkey baster to remove this fat from under my skin, much like you would suction out the turkey "juice" to baste the Thanksgiving turkey. I felt like I was all trussed up like a turkey for this experience...you should have seen the outfit I had to wear...disposable one size fits all little shorts and a "top" that just tapes over the front of you to cover the unmentionables.  My belly had to be exposed, so it was like a paper two piece bathing suit. LOL. The nurse said they were made in China, and their "one size fits all" was definitely designed with their people in mind...not us very large-boned (and fat-filled!) Americans! LOL. Needless to say, no pictures were allowed of that outfit. 

I hope I haven't grossed anyone out yet...but I thought this was pretty interesting. It's not often we get to see what our fat looks like from inside the body.  We just get to see the not so lovely results of the fat on the outside!  And what is so amazing is, they took this jar of fat cells and mixed it with my own rich blood and somehow came out with stem cells that could be injected into my shoulder/arm to bring about the desired healing that is so needed!!  Without surgery! So now we pray it works.

In the meantime, I have to wear a large elastic "belly band" to cover my belly to help it grow back in place, I guess. I'll be wearing it for two weeks...the first week 24 hrs. a day. and the second week I can take it off at night. I am also wearing a sling on my left arm for at least a week. (although I am cheating right now so I can type this to you. But my arm is resting on the desk as I type, so hopefully that helps). I may not be able to do much writing for a little while so this can heal properly. No pictures of all of this either. I look a bit disheveled this morning. Can't properly do my hair. But I've already been to my PCP for a follow-up at 8:15 a.m. this morning.   

Now I am going to say thank you for all your kind words and prayers for both my hubby and for me...and I thank the Lord for each one of you.  I will write when I can, and try to visit you as well, but now I am going to go take a nap.  😴

(This stained glass picture hangs in the window in my kitchen, as a daily reminder of God's strength and healing when we wait patiently on Him.)

Bye for now!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Tuesday 4 Summertime Easy Living?


Summertime Easy Living?

Hey! Welcome back to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 where we ask just 4 questions each week to give you something to blog about, something to think about and a reason to visit other blogs!

Summer time and the living is easy says the song. So how is summer going for you? Let's talk about it.....

1. How has it been so far?
Here in Florida is has been HOT, HOT, HOT! But that is the norm for us here in the Sunshine State.  However, to me it has felt hotter than normal, and lately it has been very dry as well. (but still high humidity).  This morning when we woke up it was 72 degrees, which is like a cold wave after the mostly 76-78 morning temps we've been having. It should only get up to 92 today, which is better than 97 or 98.  I know many in the southwest and far west have much higher temps than ours, but they don't have the high humidity, which does make a huge difference.  We were very thankful that, if it had to happen,  our AC broke down early in the summer, and we were able to have it replaced before the really hot summer weather got going. It has been a real blessing to have reliable AC for this heat. (However, it was a major expense we were not anticipating, so that kind of put the brakes on any further activities for a while). 

2. What have you been doing this summer?
Nothing special.  Mostly staying home and trying to stay cool. So far we've had one family funeral, my brother in law's birthday, and our 54th anniversary, which you've already heard all about. We've also had several Dr. appointments mostly for my hubby, who is still undergoing some tests and zeroing in on a future treatment plan. That has kind of tied us down this summer because so much of the testing, etc., has been spread out, waiting on different specialist's appointments, etc.  But I think we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully some decisions will be made soon on how to proceed. Thank you for your continued prayers. It's not necessarily life-threatening, at least not at this time, but it's one of those things we cannot ignore.  We are just very thankful to live near a major research and teaching hospital at the University of Florida, and we have excellent Doctors and facilities to work with.

3. What are you going to do? Any plans?
August is a busy month for our extended family, especially this last week of the month. On Saturday of this week we are going to meet up with our extended family at a restaurant about an hour + away and
 celebrate our son's birthday, 

our nephew's  21st birthday 
(also on the same day, just 31 years apart!),

 my husband's brother and wife's 25th anniversary, 
Billy and Peggy then....

And now:

and my niece Debbie's birthday:

(She was our flower girl at our wedding 54 years ago!)

Also, one other major thing I will be doing actually on Wednesday (tomorrow!).  I am having "Stem Cell Therapy" on my left arm (bicep and shoulder).  I have been dealing with a tear in my bicep and shoulder ligament for about a year. I had physical therapy for a few months, which really did nothing for this because it is a tear and a tear does not heal itself no matter how much PT you do.  Thankfully it is a "small tear", or it would have been unbearable. But it is debilitating in many ways, especially because I am left handed, and I always want to use this arm to do everything and I really can't.  So, this procedure will be very interesting, and I pray it works. They will remove via "liposuction" some fat cells from my belly (Hooray! But not enough to make any real difference in my belly, boo. LOL), and process the adipose cells with my own blood, and then return it to my body in my arm where the tears are.  The whole procedure takes about 3 hours. I will be awake. This is supposed to stimulate healing in the arm, so we shall see what develops.  It's not supposed to be painful, but my belly and my arm may be sore for a few days.  I am thankful that Benton and Rose are taking me, since it is about an hour away from home. They can go shopping and out to lunch while this is going on. Hubby would not be very comfortable waiting around in a doctor's office for me for 3 hours, so they offered to take me. They are the best!!!

4. It's been hot in most of the country but here on the Jersey coast (Where Annie lives, our hostess) it's been perfect so far. Not too hot, not too cool but just right with breezes. How are you weathering the heat. Any tips on staying cool on hot, humid days? Clothing, food, drinks, fans, air conditioning? Let us know your secrets to keeping cooler.
Of course we mostly stay indoors in the AC, watching birds from inside the house mostly, taking rides in the cool car when we can't take walks because of the high heat, reading, watching TV, and avoiding going out during the hottest parts of the day.  We try to run all errands early in the morning and get back home before the high heat sets in.
I was watching our Sand Hill Cranes early this morning out on the marsh island in Still Waters Pond. There were only three of them, but probably because Daddy Crane had already flown away. He does that sometimes, and then the rest of the family flies to wherever he is and they spend the day walking around and eating, and then they fly back here to the pond for the night.  

And here they go...flying over our house and away for the day to wherever it is that they go...

I also saw this armadillo ambling along in the yard early this morning, rooting for grubs and ants and whatever he likes...

Off he goes into the shady woods for the day. He will probably be back out at night when it's cooler.

Speaking of bugs...the termites finally destroyed my Secret Garden sign.  Hopefully my son will create a new one for me sometime when he has time...

Oh, another thing we did was clean out from under the deck, where a lot of old stuff was accumulating, like old empty flower pots, misc. junk, and Benton and John took it to the dump. That was nice!

So that's all the excitement from around here this summer that I can think of.

How about you? What fun are YOU having this summer?  I hope you're having a relaxing and happy time, what ever you do!

This song speaks how I feel about how God has taken care of us this summer (and always)...
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
(Carrie Underwood and CeCe Winans)

1 Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed Thy hand hath provided:
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

2 Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest;
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. 

3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow:
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! 


Friday, August 18, 2023

Friday Foto Friends Odds and Ends

Here it is Friday already again! And I found myself scrounging for some new pictures to share!
Well, here's what I came up with...

These lovely fungi pictures were taken on our anniversary ride up to Lake Swan camp. I thought these interesting ruffled petticoats on this old tree were photo worthy.

And look at the beautiful lady with the long curly gray hair who apparently is wearing these petticoats!

Can you see her face? She has very beautiful eyes... It also appears she is carrying a baby in a little papoose on the side of her face...
It's amazing what beautiful things you can see in God's creation if you look hard enough!

You already saw the pictures of this cross on the lake in my previous post, but with each of us standing in front of it.  Here it is without us in the way. I like the sign beside it that says "No swimming without a lifeguard on duty."  When I see the cross and the word "lifeguard", I think of the One Who died on that cross to save our lives from eternal destruction.  By all means, do not "swim" in the waters of this life without Jesus as your "lifeguard".  He's the Only One Who can rescue you from drowning in your sin.

Reminds me of this old hymn
"Love Lifted Me"

1 I was sinking deep in sin,
Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within,
Sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me–
Now safe am I.

Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

2 All my heart to Him I give,
Ever to Him I'll cling,
In His blessed presence live,
Ever His praises sing.
Love so mighty and so true
Merits my soul's best songs;
Faithful, loving service, too,
To Him belongs. 

3 Souls in danger, look above,
Jesus completely saves;
He will lift you by His love
Out of the angry waves.
He's the Master of the sea,
Billows His will obey;
He your Savior wants to be–
Be saved today. 

Oh, I enjoyed singing along with that song! That sounded like a good old fashioned piano player and congregation singing that great old Gospel Song.  If that doesn't "lift you up", I don't know what does!

Last week when I posted this picture of my hubby with his distant cousin at the funeral of their mutual cousin Jane, I told you that John and "Fran" were both in Jane's wedding (over 70 years ago!).  John was the ring bearer and Fran was the flower girl. I mentioned that there is a picture somewhere of that wedding party, and that if I ever found it I would share it with you.

Well, Jane's son's wife sent these two pictures to me the other day, so I just had to share them with you!
yes, that sweet little boy in the white dinner jacket is none other than my sweet hubby, probably about age 4 or 5, and the little girl beside him is Fran. She's a year or two older than him I'd guess.
Isn't this just beautiful???

I am so happy this was sent to us.  They are both precious pictures from a long time ago!!

I will close with a few pictures of our sunset last night over Still Waters Pond.  I am happy that we are getting back into the beautiful sunset season again.  No two are ever exactly the same. God is the Master Designer of them  all!

With all this talk of weddings and sunsets this week...perhaps it would be fitting to end this post with this wonderful song, "Sunrise, Sunset", from "Fiddler on the Roof".  

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he get to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?
Now they must learn from one another
Day by day

They look so natural together
Just like two newlyweds should be
Is there a canopy in store for me?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Sweet thoughts and memories to close out this week of wedding anniversary celebration.

Have a wonderful weekend!