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

A Quick Morning Encouragement

Good morning friends. In life, we use analogies to help us create mind pictures in understanding a purpose that is beneficial for us. Kind of like Jesus using parables to help people understand His teachings. In today’s devotional with Oswald Chambers he stated :

“God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us.” Oswald Chambers

In other words, God’s purpose for man is not to develop us into wonderful people but to show how wonderful we can be when we allow His purposes to come out of  us.
So, be a grape today and allow the sweetness in you to flow out to others.

And remember to be kind. Its the sweetest attribute of Jesus.

Flash Back – For the Love of Dogs

When I first started blogging in 2018, this was one of my first posts. It was before I started adding pictures and scripture references. I am a firm believer in a picture being worth 1,000 words. Some will look through to just see the pictures and if I can get the message in the pictures as well, then we may reach that one person that needs reaching with a message showing kindness.

I was reading back through some of my old post and thought this message was still very relevant, so I have revised it by adding pictures and scripture references. Last month, I lost one of my precious babies, Mimi, and I firmly believe she did have a soul. I could see it in her eyes.

July 2018

You know that look you try not to show when someone makes a really stupid comment, or maybe they just need to be slapped back into reality for other reasons. You want to do the honors of the reality slap but you reframe due to the kind person that you are so you just walk away shaking your head.

I react this way when I hear people make comments about dogs or animals not having a soul. Hey, they were created first. Okay, so what defines a soul. After much research I found three “definitions”, and I use that term loosely as the soul comes from God and who can ever know the mind of God. So below are the three definitions that I thought described this concept of a soul the best:

  •  The spiritual immaterial of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.(immortal meaning not dying but crossing over to God at death)
  • The principal of life, feeling, thought and action from those attributes.
  • my favorite – The part that consists of  mind, character, thought and feeling.

Our soul is what makes us who we are. The ability to analyze a situation, and act on it through our personality or character with compassion. Now that compassion can be either gentle or strong. In scripture, the bible is descriptive in explaining God creating all life and gave it as a gift.

It is important sometimes to understand the original language the scriptures were written in so that you have a better understanding of the words used. 

The above verse describes animals having hayyah (life). However, in the Hebrew it also has the word nephesh in combination with hayyah, which is the exact same wording as the description of the soul in the creation of Adam. In other words, though nephesh is only translated as “life” here, the Hebrew speaks of the soul. Animals thus have a nephesh hayyah just like Adam. Marianne Widmalm

Think of the things dogs do for us, not only with their protective abilities but all things. Think of your worst day and your dog comes to you to quietly sit by your side, sometimes with its head in your lap or they pushed under your arm to let you know “I am here”. How about the occasional lick on the face to wash away the tears you shed. Dogs KNOW the feelings of people and are especially tuned into their masters. They laugh with us when we are happy by bouncing around. Picture this, you just get home from work and are greeted with 100% tail wagging, circle turning unconditional love. How about if you trip and fall. You are immediately surrounded to assure all is well. And if you are hurt, they are by your side offering assistance.

Think of the times when this is all reversed, your dog is terrified of the vet or a thunderstorm. Now they are looking to you for love and support and when you give it, it strengthens the bond. Even when dogs are mistreated by their owners, they remain loyal. Dogs reflect God’s love for us. Always there, always protecting (even though we may not see it) and ALWAYS loving. Even when we don’t deserve it.

I saw a video on FB the other day of two dogs, one on the floor and one on the sofa. The one on the sofa had a cookie and as he bit into it, it broke in half. After eating the half in his mouth, with his nose, he pushed the other half over to the dog on the floor. Now I know not all dogs would do this but why would even one? Because of its inner being, the soul.

Think of the times our dogs let us know of dangers heading our way. We understand that the dangers may not be real for us but still the dog sees something they feel is not right and they let us know. How many times has your dog looked at you asking the question “Do you not see this?” Yes, we do. But we know how to handle the wind tossed scary plastic bag that is moving up and down the street. We laugh at them sometimes but they are always in protective mode – some more and some less – because of their love for us. And the more we love them, the more they love us. An ever evolving circle. Kind of like hoe God loves us..

My whole point of this is to remind us (in my opinion) of dogs and all animals having the gift of a soul. Everything that has breath is a creation of God and the soul is a gift given out of love to all living things. All of it reflects God’s love for all of creation.

And to help drive my closing comment – even though I know it is a controversial point – how can any creature who shows love and shows kindness NOT have a soul. Its part of the inner nature of God.

Afternoon Smiles for a Rainy Day

While we in Iowa are not suffering from Ida, we are having the typical summer rainy day. I am not complaining as we needed it badly. I was able to do my chore for the day before it started which was laying out some repair sidewalk pavers from a plumbing catastrophe from this spring. But since about 11:00am it has been softly to occasionally raining hard. I was thoroughly entertained by watching my birds. First it was the daddy cardinal that was still somewhat in molt. He looked even more stressed as what feathers he had regrown were not wet making him look like what we call down south “a drowned cat”. I found an example for you on the internet…

Now this cat is obviously getting a bath but you can tell how much he hates water. He just looks bedraggled, like the bird I saw. But I was very touched by this daddy bird. He was trying to train one of his fledglings how to eat from the feeder. He would show him, then he would feed him to make sure he understood the process. It was interesting and made me smile as all creation understand kindness. Mankind was the one that broke the system…in Eden…but that another story for another day. Today we are smiling.

The birds that were the most fascinating on this rainy day were the hummers. They were unfazed by the rain, sitting out on top of the other feeder hooks as it rained down on top of them with only occasional shaking of their feathers. My hummingbird feeder hangs under the eaves of the house so it is somewhat protected from the rain.

They usually always feed from the outer hole where she is about to land but as the rain would roll around the edge of the gutters above, it would drip right on her head. Boink! This young female would look up at the gutter and you could hear her say “What the hey!”

The wind and rain come up the hill from the river below and blow between mine and my neighbors house and that can sometimes create a strong tunnel of wind. After a few minutes she caught on and moved to the inside feeder hole giving me a better chance of closer pictures. They have gotten use to me always being there so they don’t shy away too often. Especially when I put out fresh food, like I did today.

All of nature is so fascinating and I have really gotten into the backyard birdwatching, well actually this is my front yard but you get the idea. So I post this so that even on a dreary day, if you look hard enough, you can find something to smile about. Maybe its nature, or a good book or what ever you desire is, just let more smiles out. I promise it will make your day brighter.

And as always, I remind you to be kind. It will make you feel more like smiling which makes you beautiful.