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, January 29, 2024

Monday Monday...A Lesson from Nature...

Happy Monday from Still Waters Pond...Thought I'd start off this week with a few pictures of our turtle friends out on the little marsh island in the pond.  We've had some bright, sunny days lately and the turtles are taking advantage of this time to do a little "sun-bathing".  
Today was actually quite chilly here, and I imagine the waters are kind of cold...so that sunshine must feel good to these cold-blooded reptiles.

We really don't get to see much of the turtle population out there in the pond unless the weather is just right and they decide to come up and enjoy the sunshine for a few hours.  I am not sure which ones these are...there are at least two different varieties I've seen here in our Still Waters Pond...the Florida Soft Shell Turtle, and the other is most likely some type of Florida Cooter.  This link will tell you more about these turtles:   https://www.boxturtles.com/florida-turtles

There are two here:

Although I enjoy seeing the turtles out there sunning themselves, I was NOT happy with them a couple of weeks ago, when I believe one very strong turtle decided to try to take on one of our beautiful Ring Necked Ducks for a potential meal.  

We watched helplessly from a distance as the duck swam for his life, apparently with the turtle attached to one of his feet. He swam and swam in circles quite a long time. I seriously wanted to go out there in my kayak and knock the turtle loose, but I learned some time ago not to interfere with nature.  

Eventually we believe the duck freed himself and flew away, although we did not actually see it happen, but from all indications we do believe it was able to extricate itself after a very long struggle.  However, all of the Ringed Neck Duck community took off and left our pond and has not returned since that event.  I hope they found some safer waters in which to swim and dive.  

I have to remind myself that the natural world is not always a safe and peaceful place. There are enemies lurking beneath the surface or along the shore or up in the trees, watching for opportunities to snatch a quick meal.  It is often a battle for the survival of the fittest.  

I don't mean to be gruesome or upsetting to anyone here...just stating the facts of life.  And it isn't limited just to the realm of nature.  We are all subject to the dangers of our adversary, the devil...who according to this warning in I Peter 5:8 ~

"8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

But I appreciate what the rest of the verses surrounding that particular passage have to say to us:

"6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

9 Resist him, (the devil), steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever." Amen.

If we humble ourselves before the Lord, and put our faith and trust in Him, not only will He show us how much He truly cares for us, but He will "perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you..."

Just like that duck, who swam and struggled against a formidable foe for sometime, I honestly believe that he literally wore out the turtle and the turtle let him go.  We could say that God gave him the strength to hang in there and fight and finally the turtle gave up and the duck was able to fly away to join his family.  And apparently the ducks were intelligent enough to know that they needed to stay away from this enemy and have not returned.

When we are faced with formidable foes, whether they be from the "nether world" of Satan and his dominion, or perhaps we are faced with difficult circumstances of health, finances, family or other personal issues, we need to remember to be humble before the Lord.  Seek His face and surrender our heartaches and issues to Him, and He will give us the STRENGTH we need to fight our foes.  I love that part of verse 10 that says "after you have suffered a while"...yes, we all do go through some deep waters as a part of this life, but God will actually perfect us in this process...He will establish and strengthen us, and this is what I love...He will "settle you".    I love that feeling of finally being "settled" after struggling with life's issues...it's that feeling of being tucked into bed by a loving parent after a difficult day, the covers are pulled up snuggly around us, and we are tenderly caressed and kissed goodnight, and we are settled...totally at peace, and ready to drift off to sleep without a care in the world...because Jesus is there with us, taking care of all our concerns.  

As an added postscript...thank you for your prayers for us last week as my hubby had a follow up appointment with his surgeon from the surgery/procedure he had done last fall. The report was very good and encouraging, and we are very very thankful to God for His healing.  He will continue to have periodic check ups just to be sure of nothing changing...but the Doctor was very pleased with his progress.  This was very comforting to us.  

I hope this post has not been disturbing to anyone, but only a reminder to us to always "cast your care on the Lord, for He cares for you." That is the good news that gives us peace and comfort.  

Good night dear friends! Praying you will be "settled" and at peace. Amen.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Thursday Thankfulness and Friday Foto Friends

Good Evening from Still Waters Pond!  I thought I would start out tonight's post with a few new photos from our fine feathered friends here at the pond...This Great Blue Heron was enjoying some peace and quiet out there on the marsh island (what's left of it) yesterday afternoon...

It seems to be a good fishing spot, so he spent a good bit of time there, either watching and waiting for the fish to jump, or maybe he was just enjoying seeing his own reflection in the water!

During the day the Sand Hill Cranes are usually off to other places (and yes, it still is just the two of them, arriving at sundown and leaving at sunup every day...) so the little bit of land in the middle of the pond is still free to whomever wants to land there for the day.  However, if the cranes do decide to build a nest there, they will keep any intruders away day and night.  

So Mr. Heron is enjoying it while he is able.  I guess he saw me looking at him, so he turned his back on me...

And the next thing I knew, he had flown over to this big tree branch along the south side of the pond. That is his favorite spot to sit and survey the pond while he enjoys a bit of warmth from the sun. Can you see him?

Well, let me zoom in on him...better?
He has used this branch for a perch for as many years as we've known him to come here...

Can you see him way over there?   Yes, I am thankful for my zoom lens on my "real camera", not my cell phone camera.  Otherwise I would miss so much out there on the pond.

Not long after I took this picture he flew off to find a more private place to fish.  I guess I was crowding him too much! LOL.

 Also the other day I noticed this "Red Bellied Woodpecker" perfectly still on the side of this pine tree.

I was beginning to think his bill was stuck in the tree or something, because he never moved a muscle for quite a while.

Maybe he was sucking some kind of good bugs or pine sap through his tongue into his mouth and didn't want to stop until it was all gone.
"A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males have longer, wider-tipped tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different places on their territory and maximize their use of available food."  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-bellied_Woodpecker/overview#

Hmm, maybe I was correct in my observation!  Anyway, soon he finished his snack and flew off across the pond to the bigger island, where I am sure he found some other tasty treats in the trees there...

There is never a dull moment living here on the shore of Still Waters Pond. I am very thankful for this gift.  God knew what I needed when He led us here to live.

Speaking of gifts and blessings...

Let's see...I had a good report at the Doctor yesterday, which was a follow up to lab work I had done last week. However, one area was not so good...my cholesterol levels were way up. The Doctor was perplexed since I am supposedly taking a statin for that. Well,  unbeknownst to him I had stopped taking it back before Christmas, because I was having a lot of other issues which seemed to be attributed to taking a statin.  (at least that is what I deducted from my readings, etc.)   I wanted to try some other options, like taking a natural alternative, "citrus bergamot",  and trying to watch my diet.  But unfortunately my levels went sky high and he was not happy with me.  So after further discussion I decided to go back on the statin. He advised me to take some extra supplements, like Co Q 10 and a combination of Calcium, Zinc, and Magnesium, to help with the muscle cramping, etc.  So I am trying it to see how it goes.  I just hate to take medicine, but after some prayerful consideration of my situation, I have decided to listen to my doctor and follow his instructions.  I believe he has my best interests at heart, and I am thankful for his care and concern.  

We are blessed with our little town having this doctor's office. We can get in for appointments very quickly if we are sick or have a concern. They have been very supportive with my husband's health issues as well and thankfully with our Medicare Advantage Plan (Humana Gold HMO), we don't have to pay any co-pay to go there, and we've had no problems finding excellent specialists who take our insurance as well.   Speaking of which, hubby has a follow up appointment with his specialist out of town tomorrow.  We are trusting that the medical procedure/surgery he had last fall has taken care of his issues, but tomorrow will tell us more.  So a little prayer would be appreciated.

Moving right along, and speaking of "moving",  back in November I told you HERE about a friend at church who was getting ready to move, when she gave me a little box full of  treasures from her house.  Well, she hasn't exactly moved yet, but they are definitely getting ready. They have sold their house, and also their mother in law will be moving with them and is packing up her house as well.  The other day they had a little "open house" to come and see things that they wanted to either sell or give away, and they wanted people from the church to have first  choice.  So of course I went to see what was there that I might like to have.  I tried to be reasonable and realistic and not overdo it, and actually I saw a few things there for my DIL Rose that I wanted to get for her, but then there was one thing I really liked for myself and decided to bring it home with me...
Yes, this lovely globe table lamp was just really special, and I thought about how often I've wished I had one after we let my mother's beautiful lamp get away when we had the estate sale of our family home. (Or maybe one of my siblings has it, I really don't know what happened to it).  But I thought this was very pretty and decided to bring it home with me. 
 Of course, when my hubby saw it his first typical male reaction was why? And then he said he thought it was very pretty, but it reminded him of the father's "Major Award" lamp in that movie "A Christmas Story".  I'm sure you'll know what I mean if you saw it.  So now we laugh and call this my "major award" lamp.  But it really is pretty, and the sweet little lady I got it from is 92 years old and moving away and she wanted me to think of her and pray for her when I light this lamp.  And so I will.  Her name is Mary, and she really is a dear lady that I hate to see move away, as well as her son and daughter in law (Donna).  

The other items you see were things I thought my DIL Rose would like, because they have roses on them:

So I will offer them to her if she wants them, and if she doesn't want them now, she will get them eventually when they have to clean out our estate some day! (hopefully in a long time from now.)  

The last item was this sweet little tiny tea set:
My friend Donna had this already packaged to give to me because she thought Lily Grace would enjoy it!  (No, I'm not kidding!  I told you people dote on Lily Grace around here...she's just that special!)

I think it is really sweet with the Dutch windmill and the little swans on it.  
And yes, Lily Grace loves it!

She wanted to have a little party with her dollies right away.

I am thankful for good friends and sweet, thoughtful people.  I feel sad when they have to move away, but my life is so much richer for knowing them for a little while than not ever knowing them at all.

"Nothing with God can be accidental", according to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.   Yes, I believe that is true.  People come into our lives for a season, and then they may be called away...but they were there for that season for a reason...

And Jeremiah said "For I know the plans I have for you..." Jeremiah 29:11

None of us really knows from one day to the next if this will be our last day on this earth or not.  But with God, we can be sure that He will fulfil His plans for us one way or another, and it will always be for our good and even for the good of others around us.

While I was writing this, hubby called me out to the front porch to see the full moon:

It really is beautiful...much better than what my camera can capture.  While we stood there together gazing at the moon, hubby said a prayer of thanks to the Lord for this blessing of the moon in the sky, and for all the beautiful ways He blesses us.  Then he said that someday we will be looking up in the skies and see Jesus Himself coming in the sky, much brighter and more beautiful than the moon or the sun or any star...He IS the greatest Light of all...the Light of the World!  And on that day, every eye will see Him coming in the clouds:

Revelation 1:7-8
"7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 22:20
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

I look forward to that day.  I pray we'll all be ready.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Tuesday 4 Books

Hello Blogging Friends! I am a bit behind in doing the Tuesday 4 for this week. But, it is only Wednesday, so I guess that's not too bad! LOL.  I hope you don't mind my tardiness and will stick around and enjoy the post anyway!  Here we go:

Welcome to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4. We ask 4 questions each week to get you talking, thinking, questioning and seeing how your friends feel about things too. It helps us get to know other bloggers.

Let's think about books and reading this week.

1.Do you have a favorite place to read? Maybe you can post a photo of it or describe it for us?

Here is it:  My recliner, next to a little table, with my cup of tea, pillow, and a book just waiting on me to read. There is also a bookbag on the floor beside my chair, filled with the most recent books I picked up at the library.  This is where I normally sit to read.  My hubby's recliner is on the other side of that table, and he is usually watching sports or working on his laptop while I am reading, so at least we are in the same room together, just doing different things.

The bookbag itself is a special treasure...a gift to me from a dear friend who has since passed away.

My friend Sharon, who is the second from the left in this picture below, created these lovely bags for my sister, my niece, and me Christmas one year. She was very resourceful in using reclaimed leather from old furniture, jackets, any kind of leather that had been discarded, and she made all  kinds of very useful and amazing items.  
She also made this special leather pillow for me after our son Matthew passed away.  She said it was something for me to hold on to and hug when I was missing him. The moose was a special story in Matthew's life, so that is why it was significant for this pillow.  
Little did Sharon know when she made these wonderful gifts that one day I would be holding on to them in memory of her...She passed away in 2019 after a valiant battle against a formidable foe, cancer. But in reality, she is victorious over her enemy because she lives on eternally in heaven...just like my son.

Okay, I know this post was supposed to be about books and what we like to read...somehow I went down a little trail there, but one thing leads to another and some things just need to be explained...

So let's get back to the Tuesday 4 questions...

2.Some say reading makes a person more educated, more informed. Do you think novels do this in any way? Do you learn things from novels? Would you tell us what you have learned?
Yes, I do believe novels can be very educational as well.  I read a lot of historical fiction and and also novels by Christian authors, who often share spiritual insights within their stories.  Actually, my preference is to read primarily from Christian authors because I can be assured that there will normally be that kind of redeeming value tucked into each story.

3. Are there any books on your list to read right now?
As a matter of fact, I just went and got a book from the library yesterday that was mentioned on this meme by one of our other blogging friends, Lori, from Lori's Busy Life,  "Before We Were Yours", by Lisa Wingate.  I started reading it last night, and so far it is looking quite interesting. Thank you, Lori, for mentioning this in your blog!!

4, Which books did you like the most and which did you dislike most?
Oh my goodness, I don't know where to begin on this. Well, I will put at the top of the list the BIBLE. That is THE BEST BOOK ever written and ever read. And it definitely has a happy ending for those who believe what is written in that book!!  

I've loved so many books throughout the years.  If there were some that I didn't like, I most likely either never finished them, or can't remember them now.   HERE is a link to a post I wrote a few years ago about my collection of old books.  You might find that interesting.  
Here's a teaser image from that post just for starters...

Okay, that's about it...here's a few thoughts that suit me to a cup of tea!

Happy Reading!!

Monday, January 22, 2024

Monday Monday

 I know it is late already...Monday is almost gone, but I just now sat down at the computer to try and play catch up with reading my blogging friends' posts and then try to come up with something worth sharing. Soon it will be Tuesday, and I may or may not be able to get the Tuesday 4 post done on time.  But first things first...it's Monday, so here are some photos from over the past couple of days from here on Still Waters Pond to start out...

I had just been thinking to myself that we had not seen much of the Canada Geese lately, and I wondered if the cold weather had sent them further south in search of warmer waters.  I may have been thinking out loud in the kitchen, because my hubby called me to the living room to look out the window and see the flock of geese that had just landed on the pond:

I love the morning light and trees on reflected on the pond...

Yes, there was quite a large flock of geese!  I think at least a dozen of them were out there...

However, when they caught wind of me watching them from the back porch, they lined up in a row and swam to the other side of the pond...

These few stayed a little closer to our shore for a while...they may have been two different flocks...

They stayed out there for a while and then a little later we heard them honking and up they flew to seek bigger waters for the rest of the day...

Now, this evening we observed that there are just two of the Sand Hill Crane family out there on what's left of the little marsh island in the pond.  Yesterday afternoon we saw the whole family for a while, and then just three of them, and then now this evening just these two.  Maybe the time has finally come for the two "colts" from last spring to finally take off on their own, and I am thinking this is Mom and Dad Crane out there by themselves, perhaps getting ready to think about building a new nest...I've been waiting and watching for this for some time, as you know, so I will keep you posted as things develop.  

There really isn't any land left on that marsh island for them to build upon, so I have a feeling they will have figure out something else if they are serious about this.  
I just enjoyed watching them out there this evening until it got too dark to get a decent picture. I love seeing their reflections in the water.

For those of you who aren't on my Facebook page, you probably haven't seen the most recent sunset photos from a couple of nights ago.  It was really amazing!
The photos never do it justice!  But I though you might enjoy seeing more of God's masterpieces with me!

Now these are just random photos of random things going on around here...

A few years ago my "One Word" for the year was "Believe".  Throughout the year it seemed as though the word believe was popping up in all kinds of interesting ways...but there was one way that I really don't believe  I ever actually noticed until just the other day.  I was putting on my makeup and when I pulled out this little eye shadow container and looked at it more closely I noticed that it had the word "Believe" written on the top of the container!  I have had this for several years and honestly I don't think I ever saw this before! Probably because I normally don't have my glasses on when I am putting on my eye make up!  LOL.  I don't wear a lot of makeup, but I do put on a little bit of eye shadow to help my eyes not look so pale behind my glasses.  This container is already several years old, and I've barely used it up, so it will most likely last a few more years! I only use the blue shades anyway. I just thought this was kind of funny that I'd never noticed it before!

For those of you who are "The Adventures of Lily Grace" fans, I must apologize that we really haven't written any new adventures in quite a long time. It's totally my fault, not Lily's. She still has plenty of little adventures, but she needs my help to get them written down in the computer.  Once in a while she makes cameo appearances here on my blog, like she did a week ago when she got this lovely new dress for Christmas from her Auntie Peggy.  

Well, we've had quite a cold snap here lately, and Lily has been complaining a little bit about being too cold even though she loves her pretty party dress so much and didn't want to take it off. So we searched in her little wardrobe box and found this cute pajama outfit with long sleeves and pants, and put it on over and under her dress, and now she is warm enough and can still wear her party dress!
(in case you are wondering, the pajama outfit had been a gift to Lily Grace last year from one of her Aunties!  Yes, there are several people out there who just love to dote on this sweet little girl...so no, I'm not the only one...LOL)
Here she is with all of her sweet friends, having their daily visit and tea party.  She's holding a sweet  dolly that was also a gift to her from her other Auntie Debbi.  Yes, Lily Grace is still very much active and a happy little girl. Maybe we can share a few new adventures sometime soon.  

Speaking of adventures...Our Grand puppies Sugar and Spice were over for a visit yesterday afternoon...oh yes, and their parents came along too...but anyway, I was eating a chocolate chip cookie in front of the pups...and these are the looks I was getting...

Spice just sat there and stared at me, like "how dare you eat that cookie in front of me and not give me any!"

But Sugar, after being told that no, she couldn't have any of my cookie, went and laid right down and pouted...just like this...
It really was funny but kind of pathetic.  And yes, their Mommy Rose had just given them each an acceptable doggy treat, so they weren't being mal-treated at all.   It was just comical to see their reactions...especially this pouty face! LOL.

Well, I guess I've run out of random stuff to share tonight.  It's going to be a busy week with doctor appointments and other "random" activities going on, so I may be kind of in and out throughout the week. At least I think it is supposed to warm back up for a few days, so hopefully we can get outside and do some walking, etc.

Here's some thoughts and a verse for the day: (from tomorrow's calendar devotional)

I love the thought by Elizabeth Barrett Browning...Yes, God's gifts are so much greater and anything I could ever dream up.  The gifts above of the beauty around us in nature, the sunsets, our health, our families, our homes, our churches, our friends...these are all God's gifts to us...so much better than what I could have ever figured out on my own.  God knew exactly who, what, where, everything that I would need for life.  And He is definitely my "Loving God and my fortress...my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge..."   I am so very thankful for God's provision and protection...way beyond my best dreams! Amen!!

Here's a favorite old hymn..."Count Your Blessings"

"1 When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

2 Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. [Refrain]

3 When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. [Refrain]

4 So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end. 

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."

(Author Johnson Oatman Jr.)

Have a blessed and wonderful rest of your week!!