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!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

How We Survived the Summer BEFORE AC!

I started writing a response on Facebook to my husband's cousin, who asked the question, "How did people live here 100 years ago?"...speaking of the 97 degree temperatures here in Florida today.  He is originally from New Jersey, and has not had to endure too many hot summers in Florida before I take it.  Although, Florida is probably much cooler today than most of our northern and midwestern states!   Anyway, as I started responding to his question on Facebook, I realized that I was writing much too long of a response for the comment space, and decided I should switch it to my blog instead.  I will make sure that cousin John gets a copy of this response! 

So here goes:

Although I didn't live here in Florida 100 years ago, I did live here prior to AC, and it was HOT. But we didn't know what AC was, so we just adapted. We had fans, and windows that opened wide, and  mildewed shoes from the humidity. We dressed accordingly...for kids that was easy, shorts and halter tops and flip flops.  We played outside all day and cooled down with a water hose...drank from it too, and didn't die from it. We went swimming in the lakes and local springs as often as possible, and didn't get eaten by alligators or bitten by snakes. We built forts in the woods and ran barefoot most of the time.    We didn't have AC at school either, but we still survived and learned a lot of reading, writing and 'rithmetic. (sometimes to the tune of the "hickory stick"...or the teacher's ruler in my case).  We did not stay indoors and play with video games or watch tv all day.  That was forbidden! (didn't have video games, and TV wasn't that sophisticated yet). 

One of our campsites in the Smokey Mountains
Eating lunch at a roadside park on our vacation
(I took this picture, so I wasn't in it. )
Our cars didn't have AC either, but we took vacation trips to the mountains to "cool off" and slept in tents on air mattresses that we had to blow up by mouth! 

We cooked our food on a campfire or a Coleman stove, and swatted mosquitoes and watched out for bears.   We didn't have McDonalds, Burger King, or Wendy's, so we stopped at roadside parks and ate picnic lunches while traveling along the winding mountain roads.  My mother could create the most delicious meals out of a cooler and with that Coleman stove. After eating our lunch we would often wade in a nearby mountain stream or creek, and look for interesting river rocks and stones to add to our rock collection.  Finding places for all of our "souvenirs" in the car was sometimes a bit tricky, especially since there were six people crammed into a rather small car, but somehow we managed to bring our treasures home with us. 

To this day I really don't know how all six of us managed to travel in those vehicles without air conditioning through the hottest months of the year, but we did it. We rode with the windows open and the wind blowing in our faces and our hair, and sometimes we even stuck our feet up in the window to cool them off!   We played all kinds of road games to pass the time, like the "Alphabet Game", the Horse Game, where you counted horses on your side of the road, and got extra points for a horse farm, and lost your horses if there was a cemetery that the opposite side of the car team noticed on your side of the road before you could call your horses safe.  We also ate homemade cookies that my mother had baked prior to the trip, and drank water from a thermos.  I was the youngest, and also the one most prone to car-sickness in the mountains, so there were frequent emergency stops along the side of the road for me to "lose my cookies".   Yuck.

On one most memorable trip we had stopped along the way and purchased a watermelon to eat later with our picnic lunch.  We were hauling a small trailer on the back of our car with our camping gear and luggage. inside. It was mostly empty as we had planned to pick up some of our furniture that was being stored at my uncle's farm in Pennsylvania from our former home and take it back to Florida with us.  So my dad put the watermelon in the trailer with the tents and luggage.  Apparently it did not occur to him that the watermelon would do a lot of rolling around in the mostly empty trailer as we traveled over hill and dale through the mountains.  When we stopped for lunch and opened the trailer to take out the watermelon for lunch, to our horror we discovered that the watermelon had broken open and had smashed itself all over our camping gear and our clothes!  You can imagine what  a sticky icky mess that was! Fortunately, we were near Columbia, S.C., and my father remembered that the parents of one of his old college buddies lived in that area.  He went to a pay phone (no cell phones back then either), and looked up their name and number in the phonebook, and gave them a call.  He told them who he was and about our dilemma, and these dear sweet people insisted that he bring us all right over to their home and they would take care of us!  And take care of us they did!  Talk about "Good Samaritans"!  Not only did they take us in and wash our clothes and feed us, but they put us up for the night, and when we were ready to leave the next morning (after a huge southern style breakfast) they packed a cooler of food for us to take along for the day...fried chicken and all the trimmings!  Can you imagine that?  These people did not even know my Dad personally, but because he was a friend of their son from college (quite a few years prior), that was good enough for them.  They went above and beyond the call of duty and cared for us so kindly...I've never ever forgotten that!  I would hope that I would do the same if the situation ever arose...but I fear I've possibly missed some good opportunities to be such a "Good Samaritan" already.  (See the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37)

The Trolley Car DOWN the mountain from Ghost Mountain
in the Sky...quite a trip!
I guess I have "travelled" a bit away from the original subject of living in Florida prior to AC, but I think you get the picture.  It was such an idyllic time in our lives...I can think of no happier childhood than what I had, living here in Florida before AC.  I feel sorry for kids today who don't know the joy of playing outside all summer long, using their imaginations and playing in the sprinklers to keep cool or going to the local lakes or springs for a day of fun and swimming. We were especially blessed in that we were able to take camping trips up through the mountains...what we didn't realize at the time was that that was the only way our family could afford to travel to go visit our grandparents up north.  We could not have afforded to stay in motels and eat at restaurants the way people do today. And we didn't get to go to all the expensive "theme parks", although we DID have a fun time one summer at "Ghost Mountain in the Sky" in Maggie Valley, NC, I recall.  That was the closest thing to a "theme park" we had back then I guess. 

The chair lift UP to Ghost Mountain in the Sky,
Maggie Valley, NC

I have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane today. It kind of helped to "cool things off" a bit for me, how about you?

Truly, after watching the national news tonight, I am very sorry to see all of the severe hot weather around our nation, in addition to the extremely volatile forest fires out west.  I am particularly concerned about that because my youngest son Scott happens to be out there in Colorado right now.  He assures me that he is safe and on the opposite side of the city from the biggest fire right now...but I still worry.  I will be a very happy mother when I see him step off of that plane next week as he returns home.  Although his trip to seek work out there was unsuccessful, if he is able to escape this firestorm unscathed, that will be a huge success to me.  God will take care of the rest once he is safely back home, I am certain.


So, cousin John, yes, we did survive life here in Florida pre-AC, as our ancestors before us survived much greater hardships than high temperatures in the preceding century.  I fear that each generation gets a little bit softer and less resilient to the hardships of life because we just don't have to endure much discomfort anymore.  I wonder how future generations will survive when life gets really tough on planet earth in the years to come? I don't know, but I don't plan to be here that long!  I got a mansion just over the hilltop, where the temperature is always perfect, and we never to need to worry about AC, heat, freezes,  fires, or floods ever again! Woohoo!  That will be a wonderful day! Amen?  In the meantime, keep cool, my friends.

Friday, June 29, 2012

First Snow...Here's a Topic to "Cool" you off in July!! Updated June 29, 2012


Little Scotty at Our Big Old Interesting House in Winter


HERE IS MY RANDOM JOURNAL DAY OFFERING FOR THIS WEEK.  The following story is a continuation from last week's post  "Alarms, Sirens, Whistles, Bells and Things that Go Bump in the Night" These stories all come from my personal journals written when my husband was attending seminary in Ohio many long years ago. I hope you will enjoy the:  
"Part IV of the continuing saga of the Steiner Family Giant Leaps of Faith and other crazy moves..."

Proverbs 31:21 "She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet."

I'm not sure what "scarlet" has to do with clothing for the family for winter. Scarlet usually means red or bright red colors. Red denotes warmth, so perhaps that is what is meant. Anyway, I think the idea is to be prepared for winter! Make sure your kids have their mittens, scarves, hats, boots, jackets, snowsuits, etc. all ready before the first snowfall!

From the beginning of autumn in our new Ohio home we watched for snow everyday! All summer long we had scoured the garage sales for winter clothing for all of us. Little by little we found all of the articles we needed. I found for myself a full-length wool coat with a hood...it was two sizes larger than I normally wore, but for $2.00, it was a great deal! I figured I'd fill up the gaps with lots of sweaters underneath. We had visited some friends from New York State who spent their winters in Florida, and they provided my husband with a wonderful men's black wool overcoat, and gave me a nylon ski parka and some ski boots! The boys were outfitted with ski masks, boots, mittens, and garage sale jackets. We were able to purchase some snowsuits reasonably as well at a great sale. My husband even bought a couple of used snow shovels from a family moving to the south! So we were well prepared when the first snow fell.

Scotty and big brother Benton-first snow!!



Matthew and Benton enjoying their first icicles!
 I'll never forget that day! It was November 1st. We woke up to a winter wonderland! Fortunately, it was a Saturday, so we could go out and play all day! The boys made their first snowman, and Scott, our two year old, ate as many hands full of snow as he could get in his mouth! We were all so excited, we hated to go back inside, even though our hands and toes and noses were practically numb.


We were soon faced with the grim reality of winter weather. Upon entering the house, the phone rang. It was one of our church members informing us of the tragic automobile accident of one of our elderly couples early that morning. The man was killed instantly, and his wife suffered from multiple injuries. Someone had skidded on the ice and hit them head-on on a bridge. Suddenly our beautiful winter wonderland looked formidable to us. We hadn't yet tried to drive on it. It's one thing to be physically prepared for winter with all the right clothes, and have the pantry stocked with extra supplies in case you get snowed in, and have plenty of wood for the fire stacked and easily obtainable, but it's quite another thing to be mentally prepared for the realities of what winter can really do to you if you aren't experienced in the art of survival on the roads.

But more than that, the importance of being spiritually prepared to meet our Savior at any time comes more into focus in the wintertime. I have probably prayed more fervently on the roads in the wintertime than at any other time of the year. I've prayed more diligently for my husband and loved ones as they'd travel to and from work or school during a snowstorm or worse yet, freezing rain and sleet. I've had my own close calls several times, and discovered the protective power of God and His angels over me as I narrowly escaped serious accidents.

The way our big old interesting house looked after the first snowfall



The thought occurs to me now as I write this (many years later) that the "scarlet" mentioned in this proverb may not be clothing after all. It may be the covering of the Blood of Jesus Christ over my family. As I pray for them daily, I pray that His shed blood will cover their sins and keep them in His divine care eternally. Therefore, I need not be afraid of snow for my family (or any other problem)…they are covered and clothed with the scarlet blood of Jesus Christ…wherever they go, or whatever they do.


Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me of this to me today. It is a tremendous comfort to my heart as we are currently in the midst of a kind of storm in our lives. I am so thankful to know that my children, even though now grown and on their own, are still covered by Your precious blood, wherever they go, and whatever they do...no matter what. Amen

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I hope you enjoyed the Random Journal Day entry for this week.  Please check out this link to find my other fellow bloggers who have also dared to share from their personal diaries and journals for your enjoyment and enlightenment!






Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quaker Oats and Belonging...


What do "Quaker Oats and Belonging" have to do with one another? Good question.   I was thinking about this today for some reason...not sure why it was on my mind...but since it was, I might as well tell you about it.

Quite a few years ago my husband had finally reached one of his life goals: to be a Bible College Professor. We had labored through the many years of seminary, ministry, and all that goes along with that.  He had finally obtained his doctorate degree, with the primary thought of becoming a professor at a Christian college or seminary.  The dream had been illusive and mystifying.  No sooner would he receive one level of education that had previously met the desired qualifications for teaching...and the schools would change their criteria...first a Master's Degree was all that was necessary...so he got that.  Then it was a doctorate...so he got that...then they wanted a Ph.D., not a D.Min....so on and so on, and we knew that we could not keep going back to school trying to reach the impossible dream. 

Then one miraculous day we received a phone call from a friend of ours who had just been named the President of a Bible College out in the midwest.  He remembered that my husband had always wanted to teach at such a college...and he wanted to know if he would still be interested in doing so now...

Wow!  Was this an answer to a long sought prayer?  Was this the fulfillment of a life long dream? Could it be that finally we were going to reach the pinnacle of everything we'd ever hoped and prepared for? Of course he said, "Yes, I'd love to do that!"  No matter that it was 1500 miles from our then present location and our young adult children who would most likely not be able to or want to go with us.  No matter that it was in the very flat, hot, dry, tornado ridden midwest...a place that only Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz" could call home!  No matter that it was a very small, practically unheard of Bible College, and owned by a church denomination that we were not familiar with and had no previous connection to.  No matter!  It was a call to do something we had always dreamed of doing! An apparent answer to prayer.  After all the years of preparation and chasing fleeting butterflies, we were finally going to be able to do what we had set out to do so many years before! Of course we would go!

So, we flew out for the interview with the college administration.  The trip out there was perhaps a glimpse of what we could expect if we made such a move.  The college van that met us at the airport broke down on the way back to the college, and we were stranded in 105 degree heat 20 miles from nowhere! Thankfully a couple of vehicles stopped alongside our broken down van and offered us rides immediately.  Must be the code of the land to help stranded motorists, knowing that in that heat they could perish quickly.  We were most thankful for the assistance, and everything went fine from then on.  My husband passed the interviews, and he was offered the job.  The only thing was, our friend who had called him initially was nowhere to be seen.  Apparently he had decided NOT to accept the presidential position afterall, and was not going to be moving there as expected.  We had to really think about what that meant...were we going there because of him, or because we were being called by God?  We chose the latter thought, and accepted the job.

Once we settled into our new home (college housing, but very nice) and jobs, we then set about to "fit in" to this close-knit, cloistered community.  As I said before, this was a denomination to which we had no previous connection. They were Quakers.  Not the old fashioned "Thee and Thou" Quakers, but a more modern evangelical variety..."Friends".  The people were wonderful and they treated us very kindly. I really can't find any fault in the people. They were friendly, helpful, and good. But they had a bond that we did not share.  We had not grown up in their faith and doctrine and churches. We didn't know any of the people that they knew, nor did we embrace the heritage of their historical church.  We felt like outsiders. 

Once while visiting in the home of one of the other faculty members I noticed that the wife had a nice collection of "Quaker Oats" tin cannisters in her kitchen.  I had admired them, and being a collector of old fashioned tins and other kitchen items, I kind of jokingly remarked that I had finally gotten a set of the Quaker Oats cannisters for my kitchen, and now I could be a "Quaker" too! I think the lady spoke before she really thought, or maybe not, but she replied to me, "It takes a lot more than a set of "Quaker Oats cannisters" to make a real "Quaker".  It was kind of the way she said it almost quietly like she really didn't mean for me to hear that but it just kind of slipped out that made me feel very much like I did not belong, and I probably never would belong.  I felt rather foolish, and my "Quaker Oats" cannisters that I had been so proud of kind of lost their luster in my mind.

For reasons that I will not go into, we did not stay there at that college for very long. The lady was right...it would take a lot more than a set of "Quaker Oats" cannisters to make us belong.  Besides, we were needed back home with our family, and in a few months we were back on our way to be reunited with the people we knew and loved and belonged with.

I've heard it said that people think that going to church regularly will make one a "good Christian". That is no more true than living in a garage will make you a car.  Kind of like having a set of "Quaker Oats" cannisters doesn't make one a good "Quaker".  We sometimes have misconceptions about religion and beliefs and what it takes to be a "good Christian".   Being a "good Christian" does not require conforming to a set of rules or maintaining perfect attendance at church or doing good works thinking that it will earn you a place in heaven.  The Bible says:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

What that says to me is that it is NOT my good works, my set of "Quaker Oats" Cannisters, my knowledge of Bible verses or the prayers that I say loudly for the benefit of others that is going to gain my salvation...or make me a "good Christian".  My Christianity, my Salvation, comes ONLY from the GRACE of God, through faith in Him, in Jesus Christ my Lord, and believing that He is my source, my only hope of ever gaining heaven.  It is a free gift...I can't do anything to earn it.  I can only choose whether or not to accept the gift.  The rest is up to Him.

Does that mean that I don't need to go to church and do good works to prove my faith in God? Correct...I don't "need" to do those things...I do things for my Lord because I want to.  I love Him, therefore I want to serve Him.  I don't have to prove anything to Him.  He has already accepted me, just as I am. I already belong.  I don't have to buy "Quaker Oats" cannisters to belong.  I am His and He is mine. Pure and simple...free and clear.

Whew! What a relief!  I can go back to being "me".  God has already taken care of all the rest.  It's a good thing, because somehow I've lost most of those "Quaker Oats" cannisters along the way.


"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."  Ephesians 2:19-22
One other thought: Church Denominations really aren't a requirement or qualification for heaven either.  The only qualification for entrance into heaven is this: "Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?" if the answer is Yes, you may enter in. If not, well, you'd better start thinking about that now.  There's a free gift waiting for you...all you have to do is accept it.


Things to do on a rainy day...Updated 6-24-12 (another rainy day)

6/24/12: I just updated this post below...had to add a couple more things to the list for a rainy day like today! Scroll down and check it out...thanks!


"Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God,
Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who prepares rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains,
He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens that cry."
Psalm 147:7-9


I love a rainy day when I don't have to go out and do things I really don't want to do...and when my family is all safe at home...and we can each pursue the things we enjoy doing most on a rainy day...

Here are some suggestions for things to do on a delightful rainy day like today...
  • Play a board game if you can get someone to join you.
  • Someone else mentioned putting together puzzles...that's a great idea!
  • I just don't happen to have any right now to take a picture of. I wouldn't mind having some new puzzles...I may need to add that to my list of things to look for.
  • Read one of the many books stacked on the end table...



  • or on the bookshelves...   


  • Clean out an interesting old dresser drawer and sift through the memories stored within...



  • Look out the windows and watch the rain falling on the trees and flowers and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the rain...



  • Write in your nature journal about all the interesting birds, rabbits and flowers you have seen and enjoyed throughout the week...
  • This week I saw a sneezing rabbit, (really!), a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and
    watched juvenile cardinals fledging into their bright colors from their drab
    baby colors right before my eyes...(not sure about fledging as the word..but you
    get the idea)
Take this opportunity to go through the boxes or drawers of old greeting cards, letters, clippings,
I discovered old cards that my children sent me, my parents gave me,
and even some that I sent to my parents and got them back again from their
home when they passed away...special stuff!
scrapbook items, photos...and start organizing them for future display or just enjoy looking at or reading them again...this could take up the rest of the day if you aren't careful...


Or if you are really bored...play "watermelon jenga", like my son did...really!!!!!


Amazing what some people do for fun.....


  • Of course you could do what I did...take lots of pictures about stuff you could be doing, but you are taking these silly pictures instead and thinking about what you are going to write in your blog about all of these things that you could be doing on a rainy afternoon...

  • And now I think I will just have a cup of tea and sit down and read one of those books afterall.


or maybe take a little nap...sorry, no picture allowed of that...those are the ones my husband LOVES to take of me...asleep in my favorite chair with my mouth hanging open and drool coming down my chin...the word picture is bad enough...you don't want to see the real thing! 

So, What kind of things do YOU like to do on a rainy afternoon?
 I can't wait to hear!!!

Whatever you do...enjoy!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~
    Postscript added 6/24/12:  One thing I left out that I love to do on a rainy day is bake! Today I baked my "Aunt Audrey's Blueberry Coffee Cake" and My Banana Nut Bread.  Then I treated myself to a little mini-tea-party to try out the coffee cake! It was delicious! 







    If you'd like to try these recipes, go on over to my blog page entitled "It's Recipe Thyme-New Recipes"...see the link below.  Check out the other recipes there as well.  You might find something you like. 


    Then check out my other page It's Recipe Thyme-My Mother's Recipes, for even more delicious ideas.  You will especially want to try the Orange Cookies and the Home Made Ice-Cream...we are looking forward to making ice-cream again this 4th of July!

    I hope you enjoy these family favorites...and maybe you can share some of your favorite recipes with us some day!

    Thanks for stopping by again!! Have a nice rainy day! I am!


    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Alarms, Sirens, Whistles, Bells, and “Things That Go Bump in the Night” Revisited 6/22/12 for the RJD Entry

    This is my Random Journal Day #13 entry for this week. (Click on the link to learn more about how you can join us...or read what some of my friends are writing).  Again, this is a previous post from my early blogging days, but it comes directly from my journals of the "Saga of the Steiner Family" ...and part of what I had hoped someday would be a real "book"....
    But alas, I believe I have come to the realization that the only book I am ever going to write is right here on this blog...you are my readers...and you don't even have to purchase anything to read it!  I guess you could say it is a kind of an "E" book...easily accessible on your computer! So I am definitely up with the times...

    To give you a brief history...My husband had been called to Seminary...We had three very young sons...and very little money!  Making this move took what I have termed "A Giant Leap of Faith". The links below will give you the two previous chapters of this part of our history.  If you wish to go back and read them now, click on the links below, and then come back here for what is essentially "Chapter Three".  Now, make yourself a cup of tea, and sit back and enjoy the adventure!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Psalm 91:9-11 “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”



    Our lovely, large, old, interesting house!


    The Steiner Family Saga...The Story Continues (Click on these links to get the previous chapters:  Part One: "Trust and Obey",  Part 2: "An Open Door" )

    Since my husband was called to serve as the Assistant Pastor of a church out in the country, which was a bit farther out from the Seminary, we felt like it would be wise to live a little closer to the church, or at least halfway between the Seminary and the Church to simplify things. Besides, the two-bedroom apartment we were renting on the Seminary Campus was extremely small, and with three growing boys we were feeling quite cramped. So we found a very interesting large older home to rent in the little community of Nova, Ohio. It was very convenient for us as the school where the boys would attend was literally right in our back yard, so I wouldn’t need a car to get them back and forth while John was at school. It was a crossroads community out in the  middle of farm country, but it had everything we needed within walking distance, including the only phone booth I’ve ever seen where you could make phone calls for 5 cents! Of course, you could only call people right in town for that price, but it was rather quaint and fun.


    The Fire Station across the street...and the Halloween Day
    parade passing by...I believe one of my boys is waving
    at us...that looks like Matthew!
    There was also the fire department right across the street from our house. We found out about that the very first night we had moved into our house when the fire alarm started blowing around 2 a.m., and kept blowing until all the volunteers arrived to go to the fire! Talk about a “rude awakening”! You should have seen all five of us jump out of our beds and run to the front windows to see the action going on across the street! Our little boys loved it! We just prayed there wouldn’t be too many fires in that region too often in the middle of the night!

    The Fire Station also contained the local tornado siren…I found out about that one evening just as a group of ladies had assembled in my living room for a Women’s Missionary Prayer Meeting, and the tornado siren started blaring! With it right across the street you can imagine how loud that had to have been! But worse yet, what was I going to do with eight or nine women in my house if there was a tornado coming? Our only “basement” was a very small dirt dugout cellar under the house, and it was definitely not a place I wanted to take these women! Not only was it dirty and smelly, but it also appeared to have a small creek running through the middle of it every time it rained! No, we would have to just get blown away in the tornado before I would take them down there! So, we did like any good prayer group should do. We stayed right there in the living room and prayed! There was a great sigh of relief when the siren finally stopped blaring about thirty minutes later. I hollered out the front door to the firemen who had gathered across the street, “Is it safe to come out?” They said that they thought the tornado was a false alarm and we should be ok. Whew! That was a relief! And also an answer to prayer, I might add!

    There was also a railroad crossing right in the middle of our little village, and the train whistle could be heard for many a mile as it roared through the countryside. We loved to run out and watch the train fly past as we waved at the conductor and the men in the red caboose! What fun for our boys! (I kind of liked it too).


    I guess I never realized how noisy this little town was until I started writing all of this down! There was one more sound that I actually enjoyed, and it gave me a sense of peace and calm each day. It was the sound of church bells ringing everyday at noon, and then hymns would play for half an hour from the little church’s bell tower. I looked forward to that each day! We had truly found a perfect home. Or so we thought…



    Psalm 91:5-6 “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”



    One night John woke me up out of a sound sleep to tell me that he could hear something scratching in our walls! I listened carefully but didn’t hear anything right away. Just as I was about to drift back off to sleep, he nudged me again and said, “There it is again! Did you hear it that time?” I very groggily but emphatically said “No!” But I knew there would be no more sleeping for me that night. So I lay awake and waited for the “scratching sound” to come back. I guess I drifted back off to sleep because the next time John was almost pushing me out the bed saying, “Get up! There’s something really big in there! It must be a huge rat! Listen, can’t you hear it?” I jumped up and said, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” He said, “Here, take this flashlight and go see if you can see anything!” “ME?” I cried, “Why me?? What about YOU?” He said, “Well, your eyes are better than mine!”

    Now, remember, this was a very big old house, and it had been empty for a while before we moved in, so there’s no telling what could have been “living” in the walls of this old house. I certainly was not too anxious to go exploring in the dark recesses of the attic storage room that was just on the other side of our closet and over the kitchen below. And why was my 6’3” former State Trooper husband asking ME to go look for this monster in the night? Oh well, I figured I might as well go have a look because it was obvious I wasn’t going to get any more sleep until I did! So, armed with the brightest flashlight we could find, and John tip-toeing behind me carrying his police night stick, we crept through the closet, opened the creaky old door to the attic, stepped down into the very spooky, cold, creepy room and started looking about for our huge monster! I did notice an opening in the wall that separated our room from the attic, so we shone the light in there. We couldn’t see anything but some old newspapers stuffed in the wall for insulation, (circa 1920’s we found out later). I told John I wasn’t putting my hand in there and whatever was in there would have to wait until morning when we could see. However, we did get a mousetrap and set it with some cheese on it and slid it in the little opening in the wall. Then we went back to bed and tried to get some sleep.

    Sometime around daylight I heard a loud “SNAP!” and ran to see what “huge monster” we had caught in our trap. There lay the tiniest, most pitiful looking little mouse I’d ever seen in my life! I called to John, “Oh John! Come see your monster!” Rather sheepishly he said, “Well, it sure sounded big in the night!”

    However, we knew that where there was one baby mouse there had to be more, so that day we set a couple more traps in that same area and one by one we must’ve gotten five or more mice out of that wall! But finally the scratching in the night stopped and we were able to relax and enjoy sleeping again!


    Thank you Lord, for taking care of the “monsters” that terrorize us by night. If only all of our “monsters” could be just tiny mice! But Lord, You are always right there, calming our fears, comforting us, and rocking us back to sleep. Thank you, most loving God.


    Happy days baking cookies together in the large country kitchen of this old house
    Of course, everyone had to lick the batter!


    I hope you have enjoyed this chapter in the lives of the Steiner Family.  It was truly a time of testing and faith, with never a dull moment.  Somehow we survived, and my husband eventually received his degree and we moved on to minister for many years in various places....  I can honestly say that the time spent in this big old house gave us many pleasant memories of how God met our needs and set the course of our lives for future "giant leaps of faith" and other interesting moves.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    This Is One of Those Wordless Picture Posts~Almost

    
    Now, you have to admit, that's pretty!


    What's so special about a cast iron skillet full of cornbread?

    Nothing in particular...I just liked the way it looked

    and couldn't resist taking it's picture!

    You want the recipe you say?

    Oh, no! It's top secret!

    You'll have to ask the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix people.


    Have a wonderful day!




    Scripture for the day:

    "The eyes of all look expectantly to You,

    and You give them their food in due season.
    You open Your hand
    and satisfy the desire of every living thing.


    The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
    Gracious in all His works.
    The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
    To all who call upon Him in truth.
    He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
    He also will hear their cry and save them.
    The Lord preserves all who love Him,
    but all the wicked He will destroy.
    My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
    And all flesh shall bless His holy name
    forever and ever."


    Amen.


    Psalm 145:15-21

    

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Time Out for Tea

    What a lovely surprise today when I discovered a new friend who loves tea-time possibly more than I.  Actually, she has a lovely blog totally devoted to tea time savored with other blogging friends... My friend Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage is someone I'd love to meet in person someday! She lives way up in Prince Edward Island...Anne of Green Gables country...and that is definitely a location on my most desired places to visit list.  You may ask why? Well, I refer you to a story I wrote some time ago entitled "A Kindred Spirit", which will fill you in on the history of my interest in Anne of Green Gables.

    All that aside, I realize that I am a couple of days late for the "Savor the Summer Tea" at Rose Chintz Cottage, but perhaps I can "crash" the party just this once.  It's a little late in the evening here to set out my tea party things, so I will add a few pictures that might be appropriate for the occasion.  Next time I will try to be better prepared. 

    To properly set the mood, why don't you "Come into my kitchen and chat with me while I prepare a pot of tea?"....I love this needlepoint picture created by my Grandma Mursch and given to me after her death. My grandmother and I always shared the love of a good cup of tea together, so I was thrilled when I was able to receive this from her home.  It now graces my kitchen and invites all who enter to sit and visit over a pot of tea.

    I have chosen for my cup of tea this delightful bone china teacup that fittingly enough is named
    "June Bouquet", and is a Duchess Bone China teacup from England. And guess what else makes this cup extra special?  It was a gift from my Grandma! I know she is smiling up in heaven right now knowing that I am treasuring her gifts to me in this way and sharing them with you.

    Remember...click on the pictures to enlarge and enjoy!

    I love the delicate little rosebuds that grace the saucer and the cup.
    Roses are my favorite flower anyway...so that makes this even sweeter.
    Now I suppose I need to also find just the right teapot to go with this little cup.  Let me see....Oh, here's the perfect teapot... one of my Hall Teapot collection...a rose colored teapot...and guess what else? You are getting good at this...you guessed it!  Yes, this also once belonged to my Grandma! You know, I really didn't plan this at all...it just happened this way...or maybe I just needed to remember my Grandma today.  She was such a dear sweet lady.  But then again, aren't all Grandmas sweet?

    My Grandma Mursch's Hall Rose Teapot and my June Bouquet Teacup, a gift from my Grandma when I was a young lady...   To see a few more of my teapots I refer you to the page  entitled "A Few of My Favorite Things" . Be sure to scroll down to see the china closet and a few of the special treasures in my home that I cherish.  Another good place to visit is "I Come By It Honestly", which shows some other of my favorite collections.

    So now, since you are joining me for tea, perhaps I'd better get another teacup for you! 

    This lovely little tea set actually didn't come from my grandmother...it was a gift from a dear friend. I just love the whimsical style of this, don't you?  The pattern is called "Chintz Charming" by Julia Bullmore. It certainly fits its name.

    I just thought of another teacup that you might like to use...

    My Grandma Tedlie's Haviland Limoges China tea cup and saucer and luncheon plate.
    "The Princess" design...perfect for a couple of princesses having a tea party,
    don't you agree?
    This is a very special teacup that came from my other Grandma...Grandma Tedlie...and I just recently received it from my Mother's home after we settled my parent's estate this past year.  Yes, this is a lovely teacup, and I just happen to have two of them, one for me and one for you!  We could do what my sister and I did this past September for my birthday...we had a little impromptu tea party, using these cups in memory of my mother (and Grandmother too)....


    Can you tell we were having fun in our little impromptu tea party? Two sisters, doing what we enjoyed doing as little girls growing up together.


    So now, I've given you several choices...and they are all uniquely lovely.  You know, a tea party should be something that is designed to bring out the best in each of us...it doesn't matter if we use my Grandma Tedlie's Haviland Limoges china, or my Grandma Mursch's June Bouquet Duchess Bone China ...or the newer "Chintz Charming" set.  The important thing is to just do it...have the tea party...you may only have ironstone mugs made in China...that's okay too (although it'd be better if they were made in the USA)...it doesn't matter.  Invite your friend(s), sister, mother, grandmother, the little old lady next door, or a couple of young teenagers who need to feel special...and do just that...make them feel special.  Share yourself with them...whatever God leads you to do...

    "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."  I Timothy 6:17-19.

    We are so blessed with such treasures...let us use whatever we have to honor and glorify our Lord...and who knows...by opening our homes to share what we have with others, we may even be entertaining angels!
    Hebrews 13:2 says,
    "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels."
    This little angel is tuning up the violin to serenade us while we have our tea!

    Now THAT'S a group of Angels! What a tea party that would be!






     Y'all Come!

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    The Last Farewell...Revisited 6-15-12 - Random Journal Day #12

    6/15/12:  I was just thinking about this story this morning and thinking about how wonderful God's mercies and blessings are to us during times of need, grief, anxiety, etc.  The following stories are true examples of the fingerprints of God on my life...and how He chose to bless me through His creation...
    I am going to post this as my Random Journal Day post for this week...it comes from my online journal written just a little over a year ago, following the passing of my father from this life to heaven...the event that took place at the very moment he was entering heaven's gates...A definite "God-wink" especially directed to comfort my heart...Read on....


    A couple of weeks ago I wrote a story for "GoodBlogs.com" entitled "The Owls Whoooo Came to Comfort Me".  (See link below)  If you haven't read it yet, please read it now before you read the following story. (I have also posted a copy of the story at the end of this story in case you can't connect to this link)
     (UPDATE 11-24-15...THIS LINK IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE SO PLEASE GO DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE AND READ "The Owls Whoooo-Came to Comfort Me"  first...and then come back here and read the rest of the story.  I am removing the original link that was here since it leads to nowhere.  Pam)



    And now I would like to share with you the most miraculous and amazing sequel to this story...

    First of all, let me explain that I am not superstitious, nor am I an animalist, or one who believes that animals have a soul in the spiritual sense...but I DO believe that God can choose any way He pleases to comfort and show us His love and power...and that He alone knows the best way to reach into our hearts when we need it the most.  So, that being said, let me proceed with my tale.

    Earlier this week I walked through the valley of the shadow of death with my dear sweet father, and had the sacred privilege of witnessing his spirit leaving his earthly body and being joined with Our Heavenly Father as he breathed his last breath. Not that I physically saw any visible manifestation of his soul departing his body, but I was there, along with my sister, holding his hands as the angels came to carry him away from our presence. Even though we knew he was more than ready to go after his 92 -plus long years on this old earth, it still hurt to let him go.  He was a wonderful father and a dear, dear Christian...but it was time to say good-bye. 

    When the morticians arrived to take his body away from us I could not bear to stay in the house and watch them cover and carry him out of that door forever from our presence.  As I fled out to the back yard that had long ago been my childhood sanctuary, I cried out to God for some kind of sign that my Daddy was with Him and that he was okay.  At the very moment those words departed from my lips, there was a sudden swoosh of wings escaping up out of the thicket of bushes to my left and I was extremely startled to see the very familiar blur of brown spotted feathers emerge and fly up to the trees above me. I could hardly believe my eyes as there, staring right back down at me with his enormous brown eyes, stood a most beautiful Barred Owl...just like the ones that I often watched in my own back yard some thirty miles away.  (Again I refer you to the story mentioned above) 

    Now I was really crying, "Oh Lord Jesus! How amazing! How marvelous! How wonderful You are! How so like You to do something so exactly perfect for me at this very moment!"  Only God could do something this miraculous.  You see, even though others had heard these owls calling in the night in this area, no one had ever actually seen one in my dad's yard before. God knew even before I called out in my grief to Him that He already had the perfect response to my cries.  It was as if this owl was sent directly to me as God's messenger of comfort for that special moment.  Thankfully my sister happened to have her camera nearby so we could capture this event to share with others.

    As we stood there watching, the owl kept looking back at us, as if he was giving us a message of hope from another world.  I found myself rejoicing instead of crying, knowing that my father was truly with the Lord...and that even at that precise moment he was entering heaven's gates and being welcomed by my mother, his other loved ones who had gone on before, and most of all, by Jesus Himself. 

    After a few minutes passed, the owl became a bit restless, as though he was anxious to be on his way.  We, too, realized it was time for us to move on as we had much to do to begin the work of notifying loved ones, and making arrangements for a funeral service.  Reluctantly we started to move away from this place of peace, and the owl flew ahead of us a little way and landed on another tree, and looked back at us as if to say, "Have no fear...I'm okay...I'm finally home..."
    This was the last farewell as he flew away from our presence and departed to his other world...

    Not once, but twice in the past several weeks, God used these beautiful creatures to bring me comfort and messages of hope and love when I needed it most.  You can call it coincidence if you wish, and you may even think I'm a little bit "touched"...and I will say, "Yes, I'm touched alright...touched by God's holy presence and His wonderfully, mysterious ways.  If that is being "touched', then I say, Thank you, dear Jesus, for touching me."  Amen.


    Postscript:  I am adding a copy here of the original blog written prior to this on "Goodblogs" in case that link becomes broken in the future:


    The Owls WhOOOO Came to Comfort Me

    By Pamela M. Steiner | Apr 9, 2011 | 7
    Lately I've been feeling a little blue.  You see, my Daddy is in the last stages of his life, and each day we know we are getting closer to his departure from this earth.  Even though my Dad is almost 93 years old and has lived a long and happy life, I am still reluctant to let him go.   There is a plethora of emotions running through my mind as I think about just what it truly means to say goodbye to my last living parent.  Oh, there is no doubt in my mind as to where he will spend eternity...and I believe with all my heart I will join him there someday. 
    I guess the fact that is bothering me is that soon the home I grew up in will no longer exist as I once knew it.  Once my father is gone from this earth, his earthly home will be dismantled piece by piece and scattered to the four winds...(that being the homes of my three siblings and myself and our progeny...and anyone else who wants a memento of what once was the family estate).   The place where we have gathered as a family for the past fifty four years for holidays, birthdays and special celebrations will be sold to strangers who will quickly put their own personal stamp of character and design on a home that housed all my childhood memories and treasures, and what we once called home will cease to exist.  I find myself wondering if my siblings and our extended families will ever be together again once that silver cord is broken.
    So it was with these kinds of feelings running through my mind tonight that I wandered out into my own yard to walk around and touch base with my true feelings. Suddenly I heard the familiar "Who who cooks for you?" call of our resident Barred Owl...calling to his mate to let her know he had come 'home' and was looking for her.  I looked up into the trees through the dusky light filtering through the leaves and saw the first owl land on a high branch...and then a few seconds later the other glided onto a tree nearby.  They both looked toward each other, but then they also looked down at me and sat there very still, pretending that they were hidden from my view.  So I sat down on my patio and waited to see what would happen next.  Once they felt comfortable enough with my presence there, the one owl flew over to the other, and sat right down beside her just as close as two fully grown owls could get to one another, and then they proceeded to snuggle right up to each other, with what appeared to me to be kissing and hugging and greeting each other as if they had been away for a long time. This went on for several minutes, and I stood there in awe as I witnessed their obvious joyous homecoming and sweet love for each other.  I found myself saying over and over again to myself, "How sweet! How marvelous!  How beautiful!"

    Then the tears started to roll down my cheeks as I thought to myself..."That's just like 'Bill and Dorothea' (my parents' names)...and how happy they are going to be when Daddy finally enters heaven's gates.  My sweet mother has been waiting there patiently for him for five long years, and when he arrives with a hoot and a call, she will be waiting there with open arms and lots of kisses to welcome him...finally...home! 

    And then an astounding thing happened... as I watched them continue to bill and coo with each other, suddenly they both opened their massive wings and silently flew off together to the big trees across the street from my house and out of my view.  But I was no longer feeling blue.  I felt such a sense of peace and joy and comfort, for I knew that my Dad was going "home" and his reunion with my mother would be so joyful...and one day, we too will have such a happy reunion ourselves. 

    Lord, I thank you for the owls YOU sent to comfort me tonight.  It was a picture I will never forget...and when my Daddy finally gets his angel's wings and flies out of our sight, I know he will finally be at peace and at home with YOU and Mama. And I also know You will take care of the rest of us left behind...no need to worry about that anymore.  Thank you...and Amen.



    I hope you enjoyed reading these true stories of how God ministered to my heart during that time of grief.  A few months ago we moved away from that home where our Barred Owl friends lived, and I have really missed my daily 'conversations' with them.  However, it helps me realize all the more that this was a special gift from God for a particular time of need in my life.  My current home has already blessed me with some new and interesting manifestations of God's grace and love...time will tell what other lessons He has in store for me there.  Oh, and by the way, we do occasionally hear some Barred Owls in the woods surrounding our new home...they just haven't allowed us to see them yet. 

    Some of my other blogging friends are sharing their stories from the past on the Random Journal Day linkup.  Go to Beneath the Surface:Breath of Faith and check out the other stories for this week. You will be blessed I am certain!

    Thanks for stopping by!