Project – Bandana with Hair Ties (Stand-in Medical Mask)

Dollar Tree still has dozens of hair ties. You can also substitute rubber bands. I can sew, but with everything I am doing in the garden I’d rather not. This is a great tip for making a stand-in mask during the Covid-19 crisis. You can use a bandana or fabric if you have a stash on hand. Even a shirt, cut into a square, a sheet, or a pillowcase…any type of covering is better than nothing…and remember…wash after just one use to get rid of germs.

Phun – Beary Nice Day

Did you hear about the Teddy Bear Scavenger Hunts? I don’t always follow the crowd, but this fun idea is too wonderful to miss participating in. Children, walking around neighborhoods, are going on scavenger hunts. Teddy Bears are fun to hunt! Since I have Teddy Bears in the house, I placed them in my front window. Two are very old, passed down to me from my grandmother. Since this is the grandmother who told wonderful stories about dolls and stuffed animals coming to life, I know she would approve. What a good distraction from all the mess surrounding us right now.

“God Bless Us, Every One!” ~Tiny Tim (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol)

In the same token, this activity reminds me of an amazing show I’ve begun watching, ‘The Chosen,’ on PureFlix.

Through this trying time of dealing with Covid-19, I want to live with the pure faith of a child.


Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
~ Matthew 19:14(NIV)

Perspective – Choppy Waters

Life’s a little choppy right now, are you anchored? Jesus is the ‘Anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll.’

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.                                                                           ~Hebrews 6:19

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Savior’s hand;
And the cables passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy the blast, through strength divine.

It will firmly hold in the straits of fear,
When the breakers have told the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.

It will surely hold in the floods of death,
When the waters cold chill our latest breath;
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the veil.

~Priscilla Owens

Pheathers – Cornell Lab Live Bird Cams

Every year I like to include links to these amazing bird cams courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Nesting birds, feeders with frequent visitors, exotic locations, bird lovers will find these sites addictive. Enjoy.

If you have Youtube through Amazon Fire TV, or another means, you can watch the Bird Cams in large-sized format. My cat watches quite often and is so content if he finds a patch of sun to lay in while the bird feeder cams are on the television. Fun!

There are many more bird cams available on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

 

 

 

Project – Natural Birdhouse

The weather has warmed up. The birds are beginning to nest. It’s time to create a few birdhouses out of the gourds I’ve been drying throughout the winter.

I bought two large varieties in late Autumn, and grew the small one myself. They hung from my porch rafters through the colder months and grew some interesting molds on their surfaces. After brushing them with a light bleach solution, and leaving them in the sun for a few hours, I began my crafting.

I cut a small hole with a craft knife, pushing it in carefully at tiny intervals. Removing the seeds was easier than I had anticipated. I used a paint paddle, swished inside a few times, and all the seeds and fluff fell out. Two holes at the top were easy to drill for the hanging wire.  I also drilled several small holes in the bottoms to allow any collected rain to drain out. To stop larger birds and squirrels from raiding the nests, I used my glue gun and glued a border of pennies around the opening. I like the way the copper sets off the color of the gourds.

I placed one birdhouse on a tripod of sticks near my back window,  two are hanging on thin twigs. I am hoping the close proximity of the house, and the thinness of the twigs will keep squirrels from tampering with the houses. I’ll update later in the season.

This post is part of Skywatch.

Praise – I Stand Amazed…

Writing this post brought me to this beautiful A Cappella version of ‘I stand Amazed.’  As I listened to the YouTube version below, I began to sing along, and was so blessed by the truth of the words. Although meeting together for church is not something we can do in the midst of a quarantine, we can still worship and lift our voices in praise. If you know this song, sing along, the words are beneath the video. If you don’t know it…it’s a good time to learn it…the words are full of the truth of God’s Good News and his gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ. May his Holy Spirit bless you this day.

I Stand Amazed in the Presence

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner condemned, unclean.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

For me it was in the garden,
He prayed: “Not my will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat-drops of blood for mine.

In pity angels beheld Him,
And came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows
He bore for my soul that night.

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calv’ry,
And suffered, and died alone.

When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
’Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.

~Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

 

Phlowers – Coleus Sprouts/Leaves of Many Colors

This is a leaf from one of my favorite indoor coleus. Have I  mentioned that in late summer, I choose a few favorites, take cuttings, and then grow the rooted coleus all winter? This gives me many pots of colorful plants and a good head start on summer color. The one above is a favorite. The leaf is large enough to cover my palm. The colors are a great mix, Kelly green, lemon yellow with touches of chartreuse green, and purest pink. I enjoy the textured growth of this leaf, and also the fringed edges. The leaf has a slight downward curve, giving it a graceful swoop as it grows from a strong stem.

Twelve months ago, the large coleus looked much the same as this year’s sprouts. Perhaps a few of them are offspring of this particular plant. The sprouts are just beginning to color and even display different shapes and sizes. I see one in the front that shows promise of interesting texture and color. I planted these coleus using my small seed technique. They are well-spaced, giving each one plenty of room to grow and giving the soil adequate airflow to combat damping-off disease.

The good news is these sprouts are only beginning to develop. They will become prettier, fringed, and deeper textured with each passing day. In about six weeks they will ready to plant into their final pots to wow the borders of the yard with their colors.

 

Phlowers & Perspective – Cracked!

When I was much younger, and someone mentioned something that was without merit or totally crazy, the slang I would use to address their idea was often, ‘You’re cracked!’ Or if someone did something funny I might say, ‘You crack me up!’ Honestly, doesn’t it seem that suddenly so much we take for granted is CRACKED…and I mean that as crazy, broken, and out of sync due to the Covid-19 virus.

Right now, Covid-19 is all over the world, people in most civilized areas have had their normal routines shattered. As I think about this unexpected crack-up in my own life, I’m reminded of the Autumn 2019 moment I found a beautiful treasure in the cracks of my front sidewalk. As I walked over the cement blocks, little glimmers of green, and spots of color caught my eye. When I looked closer I recognized small plants, offspring of front garden coleus, growing in the bare minimum of earth gathered in the cracks. Being the scavenger that I am, I removed chunks of the dirt, plants intact, with a putty knife, placed them in a lidded produce package, and brought them indoors.

This week, which is months after I first gathered and planted the scraps of earth and small plants, my husband remarked that the sprouts growing in the cracks of the sidewalk had become the perfect arrangement.

Even better hidden beneath the larger plants are these gems:

What treasure can you find or discover in this ‘cracked’ time of  ‘social distancing?’ A new hobby, a garden, a pen-pal, blog posts, songs of praise, more time to pray; the list is endless. I hope we all find something new and special to occupy us during this time of change.

Perspective – Remembrance

Today I say goodbye to one of my ‘forever’ people, one of a handful of people who I have loved since I was born. Last week, my Uncle John, a minister of God’s Word for decades, passed over from this life into his new life in the presence of Christ Jesus. My spirit is aching, but also rejoicing, because I feel assurance that he is with our Lord and Savior. My uncle lived his life, and preached God’s Word, with great enthusiasm. He is an example and witness to me of how to live a life in such a way that everything you do is a testimony to God’s love. I know we will meet again one day in Glory. God bless you all.

Quirkiness & Perspective – Unexpected Rainbows

A week or so ago, on a day when I had made some major changes in everyday goals, amid constant prayer for a loved one struggling through the last days of a battle with cancer, I walked into the room I craft in and found an unexpected rainbow across a good quarter of the ceiling.

I have prisms in my window, and these cast small rainbows about the room when the sun shines, but never have they cast the rays upward to the ceiling in such a large fashion. You can see the shadow of my hand in the second photograph.

There is truly something awesome about a rainbow above your head in close focus. I felt like God was giving me assurance that truly, all things would work out for the good, no matter what my circumstances.

I eventually found the source of the rainbow, but it made the experience no less precious. God’s light shone through my window, onto a CD laying on a craft table, the light reflected and beamed upward…creating a rainbow. I needed that rainbow and the remembrance of God’s love. I’ve since found a good article that explains how to make your own rainbow with a CD. If someone you love needs a lift or a bit of light, create a rainbow for them with an old CD.

Check out this great article on creating rainbows: Rainbow Science

Perspective – Unexpected Witness

In the year 1939, my grandfather, William, gave my grandmother, Leona, a small devotional book. Eighty-one years later, the book is treasured by me. I love the inscription inside the front cover that reads, ‘To my “Beloved Buddy,” 5-14-39, Bill.’ I’m sure that my grandfather never guessed when he gave my grandmother the devotional that someday a grand-daughter, eight decades in the future, would use a verse within the pages and post it around the world on a thing called the Internet.

The eternal possibilities of the witness of Christian lives reminds us to continue telling the world about Jesus, the Son of God, and the Salvation he offers to all mankind. Who knows, perhaps eighty-one years from now someone will read this post and be touched by the Lord. You never know! For certain, my grandparents never knew that the gift of a devotional book would one day become a way to witness to hundreds of people.

I have renewed my WordPress blog for another year, so hopefully, even if it might be hit or miss, and certainly not the daily post I wrote in the past, perhaps I can think of some new ways to spread the Good News. God Bless You!

Phlutters – The Final Three

The final three chrysalis opened today. Each butterfly emerged while I wasn’t looking.

I think I just missed this one crawling out of his tight confines into the light; his wings still had a slight curve.

They have all flown out into the yard and are now seeking nectar. My crusade to add to the butterfly population isn’t over. I have a large pot of dill on my back porch and there are eleven caterpillars on its tender fronds eating and growing rapidly. What fun!

Perspective – A Beachy Day/Part II

I’m riding my bike in one of my favorite Delaware Bay towns.

I pass by a nicely decorated home and yard. Oh what pretty birdhouses.

I’ll write a birdhouse-themed blog post I decide. I focus my camera and click.

A man is suddenly peering over my shoulder at my camera screen.

The situation feels menacing, an utter stranger standing way too close.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Making sure you’re not part of the riff-raff around here,” he answers.

“Do I look like riff-raff?” I ask.

He mutters something more about watching out for neighbors and walks away.

I am over sixty, I look sixty. I am average height, average weight for my age. I was wearing a hat, sunglasses and had reading glasses on a string around my neck. The man, in my opinion, purposely tried to intimidate me for taking photographs. I was in the street, I was not on private property. We live in an age of people indulging in bad and rude behavior if they feel their cause is good. I, for one, am SICK of it all.

Here’s the law about photographs for anyone who takes photos to use on your blog, You can take any photographs you want if you are on a public street or public property. If you step on private property to take a photograph you are breaking the law and can be prosecuted. You can find an informative article here: When photos break the law, and an updated, but harder to understand article here: Photography and the Law.

Photo Challenges – The Challenge of One/A Beachy Day

These photos of ‘one’ are part of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. The fish above is the one that didn’t get away. It was the prettiest catch of the day. We catch and release so he/she is still out there in the Delaware Bay waters.

While we were enjoying the beautiful day a reminder of those who serve our country graced the sky; a large military plane from Dover Air Force Base flew over the beach. I think it is called a Galaxy plane.

This beautiful patriotic display of flags was flying close to the beach we were fishing on.

One flag was a reminder that there are still many who are MIA and possibly POW’s. These men and women who have disappeared or been imprisoned while serving our country still need our prayers.

I love the perseverance of this one plant growing in the midst of a large swathe of sand.

One oyster perfectly mirrored the blue of the sky above it.

One bird and birdhouse was the catalyst to an encounter I would rather not have experienced, but that is Part II of this post, and hopefully I can put it in the proper perspective tomorrow.

Phlutters – Here We Go Again/Part V

SUCCESS!

The first butterfly emerged today. I came home from an outing and found the newly born winged creature on the screen door. When I did swing the door open the butterfly flew away so quickly I knew he/she was healthy and without any flaw that will keep it from sipping nectar and reproducing in the next few weeks.

And a little sidenote…

My pots of dill have at least eleven new black swallowtail caterpillars munching away. Here we go again…again!

Photo Challenge & Phavorites – Smile

“Raindrops on Roses, and Whiskers on Kittens…ummm…Bunnies?”

~ Oscar Hammerstein II

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge for this week is Favorite Things. For me, as is true of most of us, God, family, and home tops the list. After these three there are hundreds of items, situations, places, that I love-the list could go on and on.

It’s pouring rain today. Most of the Northeast coast of the U.S. is experiencing rainfall. I thought it a perfect day to photograph a garden rose wearing a veil of raindrops as a favorite thing. When I went outdoors, instead of a dewy rose, the sweetest vignette presented itself: a bunny using my hanging plant as an umbrella. I think this clever bunny is guaranteed to bring you a smile.