An Evening Encouragement

Good evening friends. This is coming a little later in the week than normal but I still wanted to send out an encouraging hug even though late. For we all need hugs from time to time. Pastor’s sermons for the last couple of weeks have been on Ephesians 6. A wonderful series to assure us of God’s protection that is there for us to use.  After Sunday’s sermon on the Breastplate of Righteousness, I spoke with him on how I knew intellectually I was not righteous but yet we are told to be righteous as He is righteous.  But his series shows us how Jesus’s righteousness is given to us because of His love for us when we follow His lead.  It got me to thinking about the word righteousness – what does it really mean?  The dictionary says it is the quality of being morally right. A Christian layman’s definition is simply standing right with God.

I saw that there were over 520 scriptures in the bible that talk about righteousness, therefore it is important and I need to pay attention.  But my evening devotion Tuesday night talked about another object of righteousness, a crown of righteousness. 

God’s righteousness is there for all of us who love Him. So when life’s trials seem to have run over you like a bulldozer, know that God knows your heart. He has promised a reward that none of us deserve but because we love Him and are eagerly waiting for His return, he has a crown of righteousness to give us. The righteousness we have is not our own by what we do but is the righteousness of Jesus Himself that He has passed on to us. 

When life may seem to be going fast and difficult for you, he wants you to reach up for His hand and He will walk with you through any trial you may face and bring you peace.

May you have a peaceful evening and remember tomorrow to show kindness wherever you can. Kindness given to others creates fertile soil for more kindness to grow.

Always Be Kind

FOTD -“The Penthouse” Doth Fall

Cee Neuner has created a wonderful challenge called Flower of the Day where we can share beauty, amazement…and laughter. Today we are sharing amazement with a hint of laughter. Last week I posted a FOTD called “The Penthouse” where I highlighted my last sunflower that had been taken over by my Birdnest gourd with a gourd hanging from the drying flower. So we are going to give a little history of this summer’s fun time so you can get a better idea of “summer’s last effort” to hang on.

The sunflower itself grew 13.5 feet tall before it created the largest bloom of any of the other sunflowers planted. I thought it interesting that although all the seeds came from the same package…they indeed did not have the same parents. Or maybe its the magic the bees create as they move from flower to flower. Some plants created many smaller blooms and some created one massive bloom.

The picture to the left was one plant with 16 blooms while the picture to the right is one huge 9.5 inch bloom. The plant that created the penthouse was featured in a separate post due to the massiveness of the stalk – 4 inch wide and 13.5 feet high.

Picture taken early summer , now much thicker

“The summer’s last effort was a thunderstorm to mark the end of 90 temps of summer. While I love summer, this was a hot one and I am glad to see the season begin to change. Although if Farmer Almanac and my exterminator are correct – its gonna be a cold rough winter here in the upper midwest.

When you have a huge sunflower, weighing in at 3.5 pounds, two Birdnest gourds, one weighing 2.5 pounds and mix in 35 MPH winds, that is no match for that 13.5′ high, 4 inch stalk, and down she came. The sunflower measured in at 14 inches and while one the gourds is still attached to the the mass of vines, one broke lose and I brought it inside to hopefully finish curing.

The glare on the tape of the first picture did not show its numbers so I added a second photo. You get a visual of just how large these flowers can get and then the gourd is no small fry. This is not even one of the bigger ones, so we will see how they all do.

Now I wait for the cold air to come in and dry out the vines. It will make an interesting Halloween decoration. Not a big fan of Halloween but it is what it is.

In closing I remind you the beauty and power of being kind. It creates a brightness like nothing else.

Always Be Kind

Amazing Stonework, 9-21

Good morning. I bring to you another church in the Quadcities area between Iowa and Illinois. This church, on the Illinois side, seems to be one of the older churches from the late 1800s. If you know of wonderful old buildings with interesting architecture, post them here. I would love to see them and the only criteria is brick, stone or mortar and of course concrete but we are focusing on older buildings instead of the mega concrete structures of today with modern straight lines. The architectures of yesteryear would cost a fortune to replicate today so I share them to show their beauty that I feel we should appreciate. So, welcome to Amazing Stonework. Link up and share what you see.

This church is made of stone block with a central bell tower that is still quite stunning and well cared for. Again we are seeing rounded corners, angled walls and interesting small turrets with spires and other architectural details.

First African (D) Methodist Episcopal Church, 1889

I could not find a reference as to what the D stands for. If you know please let me know. This church’s very impressive bell tower is next to the main entrance that has a door that is painted red. Most Episcopal church have a red doors and the legend comes from England during the Middle Ages noting that the church was a safe sanctuary to come to for protection.

The window designs vary from pointed arches, rounded arches and a few are square. While I could see their colors from the inside you could see their intricate details from the outside.

I want to tie in with Ludwig’s post of Monday Window as his challenge highlights the beauty of windows. Churches have many windows that reflect the light from the sun by sprinkling colors inside of the building. This particular church has many windows and most of them are stained glass.

Look around you area with fresh eyes and see the beauty in older buildings. Oh, the stories they could tell.

I close with reminding you of the value of kindness. In this hurry-up world we often go to fast and forget how to be kind. It’s a simple gesture that has astounding benefits not only for the receiver but also for the giver.

Always Be Kind

FOTD – September 14, The Penthouse

Cee always challenges us to share with Flower of the Day, using most anything that grows…so today we have…”The Penthouse”.

“The Penthouse” will probably come crashing down before it finishes growing as these things are heavy. But the vine was determined to grow ‘hog wild’ to the top of my sunflower plant and now I have a gourd growing 13 feet in the air around the dead sunflower. The sunflower itself is a good 10″ across and the birds are just now starting to peck at the seeds. So hopefully the movement of the birds and wind won’t knock it down too soon.

If they all dry properly without rotting, I will have about 30 gourds for the kids at church to have fun with in painting and making birdhouses. That was the purpose and fun for the project. I will post pictures of dried and painted gourds in the spring.

Remember as you go about your day, try to be kind. Kindness should be smooth and creamy like butter. Spread it everywhere and often.

Always Be Mind

Amazing Stonework, Sept. 13

Its time for my weekly post of Amazing Stonework. A post where I showcase old buildings of interesting architecture that you probably could not afford to build today. If you have interesting buildings that you enjoy seeing, link them here to this post and share the beauty of yesteryear with us with other Amazing Stoneworks. The only real criteria is brick, stone or mortar. Join in on the fun.

I am always amazed with the lives of churches. My church for instance, changed it’s name over its nearly 200 years of life but it has remained a Baptist Church. Some churches change entirely but we really are the same if all share the love of God, we just do it a little differently. One day it will all be one.

Today’s church is a old one and according to the concrete marker out front it started as a Lutheran Church in 1856.

EV. LUTH. Immanuels KIRCHE U. A. C. 1856 1896

I was not familiar with what a Kirche UAC was so I looked it up. This was an orthodox Lutheran Church holding to the teachings of the Unaltered Augusburg Confession (UAC). They combined parts of the Protestantism and Roman Catholicism beliefs.

Today this church is The Grace City Church but I am not sure which doctrine they follow. It is a striking building with many spires reaching to heaven and still very much in use.

The Grace City Church

The artistic details in the brick work are truly amazing and run all along the tops of the walls on all faces of the church. Every corner or point toward the front is topped with a spire of some sort. The back of the church had an hexagon shape to it with more of the intricate brick work and arched windows.

Both sides of the church have beautiful arched windows with detailed brick around them and concrete sills.

The area I live in is rich in history as it is divided by the Mississippi – Iowa on one side and Illinois on the other, but I am amazed at the number of wonderful buildings of the mid to late 1800s that are still standing and being used. So much of our modern mentality is tear it all down and start new with bigger and better. Not only do we miss out on the beauty of the architecture, but the heritage and history as well. If older buildings are maintained, they can be preserved for generations.

Show us the beauty of what you see and remember to always be kind. Kindness is a gift we must preserve for many generations to come. Its how we were meant to do.

Always Be Kind

FOTD – September 8, and Macros

Cee Flower of the Day challenge to day looked to be a macro so I thought I would share some of mine from today’s play in the front yard. September is marching on by and this beauty we now have won’t be around much longer.

First off we have the FOTD star of the day, my last giant sunflower with the rich blue fall sky behind it. And of course the gourd trying to make sure he is in the picture as well.

Lemon Yellow 1en footer

The birds due to their messy eating habits planted 5 sunflowers this year but only two are currently blooming. These are smaller guys at 3-4 feet high.

I have enjoyed watching the different phases of growth on the sun flowers. Due to their size, you can get a good look at each stage of development. The bees are really enjoying these as well so I played a bit with my macro lens. You can see the hair on the bees legs as he gather the pollen to feed his crew.

The breeze was playing havoc in me not getting a good clear shot but his legs are amazing as he walks on top of stamens

The beauty of macro is that you see things you just don’t see with the regular lens.

Check out the stripe of sunlight as it slipped between the petals, the curl of the pollen covered “thingys” and then the star topped “thingys” toward the center of the flower. Can you tell I know very little about flower definition. I know stamens but not which which is which. Regardless, nature is amazingly beautiful.

I am also showing other flowers currently blooming. My baby mums are lovely. And my double dianthus is trying to sneak out from under the gourd plant that has taken over the yard,

Both blooms are small, about 2 inches across but they shine with all their worth. The “bug guy” as we call him jokingly, came by the church today to do the monthly spray for insects and check for mice. He did not have good news for us about the coming season. He was telling us that the wasps, insects and mice are not behaving normal per this time of year. They are all ahead of schedule for their seasonal behaviors. He told us that last time he saw this behavior was the year we here in Iowa had the polar vortex. UGH!!. Even farmers Almanac is prediction a colder that average and longer than average winter. This was a really hot summer this year so it may be followed with a really cold winter. So enjoy the beauty of fall while we can and remember to always be kind.

Amazing Stonework, September 6

Share the beauty of old buildings with me here!

Good morning friends. If you are in the USA, I hope you are having a good holiday. If you were in the path of Ida, my prayers go out to you. Nature can at times be a truly unimaginable beast.

I did not make a post on Amazing Stonework buildings last week as weather was not camera outside weather. As a matter of fact, it cleared a bit on Friday when I was finally able to take these pictures of the First Presbyterian Church of Davenport. Another beautiful made of that colorful red granite.

While this church was started in 1833, the location and style more match that this structure was built late 1800s or early 1900s.

As with some of the other churches from this Hill Top area, it was hard to get far away enough from the building itself to get a full view of the building so there are several picture of the more amazing features.

This is the main front of the building with two entrances. The main one under the portico and then a second one with stairs to the far right. Notice the beautiful curved wall below the three stained glass windows.

In this wall are beautiful stained glass windows as well. You also can see the beauty of the granite from this shot with each block being placed to show off its individual color and details.

The second door into the church has a lovely archway that is delicately detailed.

Check out the cross at the top eve, the details along the eve and around the arch and the leaf details at the bottom side of the arch

There are several turrets on this building showing their own style of artistry.

This one is on the west side and has a pointed roof with octagonal type shape. Its windows and stone structures around them show the beauty of craftsmanship of the era.

The two on the east side are more rounded in shape but still show the beauty and details in the stone.

Check out the windows on them as well. But my favorite windows for this church are between these two turrets. The windows, the stone color, the details of the columns surrounding the windows are all stunning.

Truly beautiful from the onside as well.

With the beauty of the windows of this building, I have to tie in with Ludwig’s Monday Windows. Make sure you review the other post on Ludwig page for their windows – the plane with which we review our worlds. They are quite interesting and amazing. I also remind you to share the beauty of old stone buildings with us here on Amazing Stonework. They can be brick, mortar or stone. My goal is to share the beauty of architecture of old that we don’t really have with our modern structures. Come share what you see here.

And in closing, I remined you always to be kind. Kindness is an attribute that can last a long time, like these amazing buildings. Be amazingly kind.

Share Your World, 9-6

Normally with my blogging I am sharing my world but I thought this would be a fun challenge as I have never done it before. I had a birthday over the weekend and maybe it time to start new challenges. Melanie B Cee does a fun looking challenge called Share Your World where you answer a set of questions and since it is a holiday and I am home, lets play.

QUESTIONS

Do you believe in soul-mates?  (my definition of ‘soul mate’ is the IDEAL partner romantically).

No. I do believe that there are things that attract us to people but if we rely souly on that for a marriage, then the marriage will fail. Marriage is a partnership of respect, work and love.

What are three scents you like?

A summer shower, especially after a hot day. Flowers while still in the garden, lilies are a favorite but roses come close. Christmas trees or evergreen boughs at Christmas time.

What are some things you might be considered too old to do, but that you enjoy?

Going on long hikes through nature. While physically I am sort of able to do that, but due to the stupidity of youth, my knees are shot.

Blowing Rock, NC

What is one food you absolutely refuse to share?

I don’t think I have one. If I find something truly delicious I want to share it so we can all experience it deliciousness. If it is something I myself am making, I make sure I have plenty to go around.

YUM!!! A truly southern delight – pork chop with gravy, turnip greens, black eyes and FRESH stewed tomatoes over buttered bread.

GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)

I am grateful for my health. I told my kids on this birthday that I am not old…yet. When I turn 80, then I may be old. I see may friends who are younger than me who are having health issues usually associated with old age and I am grateful I am not experiencing them.

And in closing any of my posts, I always close with a reminder of being kind.

Always Be Kind

FOTD – Sept 4, More of the Same

Cee’s FOTD shows us again the beauty of gardens even as fall approaches with her post for Flower of the Day. I am adding more photos of my accidental growing hobby, a plant that I did not realize would give Kudzu a run for its money, Birdnest gourds. I trimmed them back some yesterday to cull the attempt for full takeover of the yard, 2 garbage bags worth of cutback. I will not plant them again here out front but in reality I have enjoyed watching them grow. They bloom twice a day. One bloom in early morning and one in early evening, so that has been interesting. Each bloom does not create a gourd.

Here we have the baby gourd
And here is how we look today, the one on the far right.

These average 8-10 inches in diameter but when you take in at the circumference, they are huge, 27-29 inches…and they are still growing. You don’t pick them until their stems dry out on the vine, then you store them in cool, dry and dark place until fully dry and hard. I will be curious to see how much they shrink when they dry.

Three more gourds, We currently have 15

But we do have 1 ten foot tall sunflower still growing, not counting the 3 four foot ones the birds planted by the feeder this year that should bloom in the next week.

Sunflower refusing to be over taken by the gourd.

So I give you fruit and flowers for today’s FOTD. Enjoy them and have a great weekend. And as always, remember to be kind.

Always Be Kind