Blessings from Above

We have seen a doe and her fawn in our neighbor’s yard. This was an unexpected visit from what I believe is a yearling doe. We were delighted. Not enough time to get another camera!

She was ambling on a walk and decided to check us out!

Closer
Closer yet

She walked right up to Bob who was standing inside the sliding glass door. Then she ambled over to the hummingbird feeder in front of the kitchen window. We were absolutely fascinated! What a delight from the Lord.

As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him?

Psalm 42:1-2

At Cincinnati Nature Center

We went for a walk to see if the lily pads were flourishing. They were not and they probably wont unless the Center replants them. That is not likely to happen as they are planting plants that grow locally and these are really old plants that the Krippendorf family planted years ago.

There were lovely blue dragonflies (perhaps blue dashers?) darting around the pond. Then one perched (lower left corner) and I snapped a photo. Look in the background (upper right corner) at the large bullfrog on the floating log!

So was the bullfrog hoping for dragonfly for lunch? This one was certainly too far away.

Just love those front legs. Toes/fingers look as if he is praying for lunch!

Turtles on the other end of log could not care less! Keep watching for hidden treasure and amusements along your journey 🙂

One of Our Favorite Songs

Years ago we had both kids in college. Bob had promised to take me to Paris for our anniversary, never dreaming we’d be strapped for money due to college bills. We had heard this song and I told him he had to take me to Paris, Kentucky since we could not afford to go to Paris, France. And He did!

Bob still has the song on his You Tube Music and other playlists. A little crude, but it makes me giggle with the memory! When you have been married 50+ years, you gather this stuff! We remember the music of John Prine fondly. Hope it makes you laugh!

Commune and My Heart

Amy Carmichael wrote Edges of His Ways and this little book continues to inspire me year after year. The reading for July 5 is based on Exodus 25:22 “There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat.”

She wrote: In reading Exodus 25 I suddenly saw this, not a new thing, but you can imagine how it shone out: That which comes nearest and dearest of all unhindered communion with our God is based on His revealed will, accepted and obeyed. “The testimony that I shall give thee,” He told Moses, was to be put in the Ark, above which was to be the mercy seat. “And there I will meet with thee and will commune with thee.”

It is the old prayer again: “Teach me to do Thy will.” I want to learn more and more what the small word “do” means as carried out in life. It is so much easier to pray about doing, and to talk to others about it, and to sing about it, than it is simply and honestly to do that very thing. But the prayer is not, Teach me to pray about it, talk about it, sing about it, though prayer and talk and song have their place, it is “Teach me to do Thy will.” Then comes that beautiful, blessed “There I will meet with thee and will commune with thee.”

I am not even going to post an image of the mercy seat. There are images online, but I think the Lord and Moses would see it differently. This song began rolling about in my soul as I read her writing and pondered it for my life.

Teach me to do Your will, my Lord. Mold me and make me into Your image. Help me to yield to Your touch and learn to do Your will, even when I do not like the idea. I know that dislike at first is not the same as disobedience. As long as I follow hard after You, You will help me to do Your will and joy will come in the doing.

True Freedom

There is a saying that we owe our liberty to Jesus and the soldier. The fourth of July celebrates our liberty from England. I want to celebrate my liberty as a servant of Christ.

Reading the notes in my Harper’s Study Bible I came across this comment upon Galatians 5:1. “…Liberty brings believers by voluntary choice into total submission to Jesus Christ and His will for us. The grand paradox of Scripture is that those who are slaves of Jesus Christ have the greatest freedom.” Yeah and amen!!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1 NIV

Andrew Murray wrote Absolute Surrender. It is what I desire with God. Here is one excerpt from Murray.

“Oh, I want to encourage you, and I want you to cast away every fear. Come with that feeble desire; and if there is the fear which says: “Oh, my desire is not strong enough, I am not willing for everything that may come, I do not feel bold enough to say I can conquer everything”—I pray you, learn to know and trust your God now. Say: “My God, I am willing that Thou should make me willing.” If there is anything holding you back, or any sacrifice you are afraid of making, come to God now, and prove how gracious your God is, and be not afraid that He will command from you what He will not bestow.

Murray, A. (1897). Absolute Surrender (p. 9). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.

It has been proven by the experience of Christians over centuries that those who are slaves to Christ are free from the oppressive power of men. Try as they might, the German soldiers under Hitler could not break the spirit of Corrie ten Boom. Those who trust in God as their Master are not broken by men.

Viktor Frankl wrote about that, too, in Man’s Search for Meaning “Everything can be taken from a man but one last thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Molly, for one, has chosen to live by the ways of Christ. Isa 55: 8-9 says,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher that Your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Yes, we are different than our God, but we are to seek for Him. He promises in Jeremiah –

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

My attempt at Absolute Surrender is made possible by the efforts of God. He puts His desire in my heart. He supplies me with strength and determination to pursue His will. He helps me to choose my attitude from His word and His will for me. I pray, Lord, help me to pursue You and grant me liberty in any place, any time, any circumstance. Amen.

Won’t you pursue this Absolute Surrender as the way to eternal liberty with me?

Remember this?

We have gone from this:

To this!

The sod is down. The order for plants was messed up so we did not let them put in the plants they brought us. Landscape company called today and said they will hold our plants until the sod takes root ( about 2 weeks). The buckets along the sidewalk are things we brought from the other house.

Right now it is 81 and feels like 87 with 74% humidity. We could tie Lucky out in the grass, but she will not choose to lie in the shade! Heads for the sun every time, even if she gets overheated! Maybe it will cool off in a few days?

For now we are doing watering twice a day all about the house 20 minutes in each area. The water bill will be tremendous, but we will have a yard. The subdivision will mow it. Up to us to feed, weed, etc.

And Now for Our Next Trick!

So the inertia is gone (as too our energy) and our belongings are all set in a new house in different room layout and wow! The tablecloth was jerked away but only one or two things that we wrapped poorly were broken.

Here we are at 27 Platform. The sun just broke over the neighbor’s house. In a few minutes it will be caught in the living room window prism. An entire rainbow of opportunities lies before us.

The black bags are full of straw and scattered where ever the construction is going on to stop run off. The entrance has a lot still being built upon!

Life as a Picnic

Imagine your life spread upon a picnic blanket. You have the picnic of tasty foods (or bucket of chicken). There is a small cooler of chilled drinks (be they alcoholic or non-alcoholic). There are serving pieces and napkins. Perhaps in one corner some bug repellant if you picnic in that sort of terrain. Everything is laid out for a lovely time of retirement.

Or in their case, just peanut butter sandwiches. He does not look impressed!

And then storm clouds roll in (call them Covid-19 and aging). For the picnic scenario, everything is hastily packed, albeit not as neatly as when you left home, the blanket is taken up and shaken to remove cut blades of grass and any critters and you run off to your vehicle.

2020- 2021 was similar for my husband and me. We were holding our own against Covid-19 entering our household. We wore masks, washed our hands, kept our distance from others and prayed for no infection.  There was less success with the aging challenge.  We were comfy in our ranch on the edge of the woods; however, the steps to the basement proved an increasing challenge for reaching the laundry, sewing room, storage and work bench area.

Those factors worked together to motivate us to shake off our inertia. (inertia: Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change OR tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.) I had been putting forth the idea since 2019 that we need to downsize before we get any older!

The search began for a newer ranch house with a laundry room located on the ground floor. There just was no available real estate fitting that description!  So, we were led to build a new house with those requirements. We did not pack up hastily as with the thunderstorm image, but we did pack up, give away, throw away, donate, store a little bit and basically pare down all our belongings!

We found a small new subdivision, with mostly retired but not totally older folks. Sidewalks and the ability to walk to the post office. If we change banks we can walk to the bank, too. Best of all an award-winning donut shop is within walking distance, too!

Update continues tomorrow!

So far

We were grieving having to leave our woods on the back hill. In this, too, the Lord took care of us! The neighbor (Angela) has a lovely yard. Turns out she was in grief when they built our subdivision and removed the trees that used to stand on the edge of her property before the farmland began. Told me she came home from work one day and was in shock that the woods were just gone. I shared with her that we are grateful for her large trees and the wildlife that likes her yard.

Now I am rejoicing in her giant maple trees. There is marshy ground that runs between our property lines. She said it got much worse when they took all the trees down. Have no idea how we can garden there? Maybe a weeping willow and some pussy willow shrubs? I think day lilies like wet ground, too. Time will tell.

View from our dining room table.

I know that is not a good photo because of the screen, but we were delighted to see a Doe and Fawn in Angela’s yard one day. The rabbits abound out there. I now understand better the saying about breeding like bunnies!

We have seen rabbits, several hawks, song birds, squirrels, four spot pennant dragonfly and many damselflies.

Cautious Doe watching out for her Fawn. The stake is the corner of our lot.

We already had gutter guards put on due to the abundance of maple seeds clogging the gutters. In southwest Ohio when you do not have a yard yet and it rains really hard, this is what you get!

The landscape company came today, but they had the wrong plants for us. Shucks!! We are hoping to get plants and sod soon.

Lord of rain and sky and Ohio clay, we thank You for this home and the challenges of moving and meeting new neighbors.