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!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

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!

    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."


    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!
    She is standing in front of that beautiful antique flow blue china platter that belonged to my mother.

    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!

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    The Serpent in the Garden

    "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.."  Genesis 3:1a.

    I've just had one of those sad lessons from nature tonight.  Recently I posted a blog entitled "After the Rain~ New Signs of Growth" and included a picture of a mother cardinal sitting on her nest.   I have been watching her progress from a little distance, not wanting to disrupt the natural course of events.  Tonight I couldn't help but notice that the baby bird had definitely hatched, as he was sitting up in the nest calling for his mother to come feed him.  I was able to get a couple of pictures of him with my telephoto lens, watching out of the corner of my eye for the mother bird to come swooping down on me and chase me away.  When I heard the father chirp chirp chirping nearby, I quietly stepped away and went on about my business. 
    Baby Cardinal in the nest, chirping for it's mama.

    He was so fuzzy and cute!

    If you look closely you can see the Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, a
    female Cardinal, and a red flash of a male Cardinal in the tree.
    A few minutes later I came back out into the yard because the birds were making such a racket...mama and daddy Cardinal and aunts and uncles too...they were all fussing and squawking and flying all around the nest, hopping up and down and generally having quite the fit over this baby bird, or so I thought.  I stayed back out of the way, not wanting to interfere and cause them to become more upset.  I figured that either the baby had fallen out of the nest, or another bird may have come to attempt to steal it away.  It seemed as though the whole bird nation was getting in on the action...little warblers, the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, hummingbirds, and a whole family of Cardinals were all crying out and flying around very frantically.

    Not wanting to make matters worse, I stepped back inside and kept watching from our sun porch.  I noticed one of the male Cardinals flying around by the fence and hopping up and down and still calling frantically.  The other birds seems to have disappeared back into the foliage, and just this one brave father kept trying to keep up the fight...but what was he fighting about?  Why was he so excited? 

    And then I saw it...something very sinister and creepy was winding its way along the bottom of the fence and around the base of the trees. The frantic father bird kept flying toward him and screaming with his loudest voice. It was as if he was crying, "What is this you have done? What have you done with my child? Please release my baby!"  As I looked more closely I couldn't help but see that the belly of that cursed snake was bulging in the middle...it was already too late.  The damage had been done. The serpent had inflicted another strike against God's creation.  The baby bird was gone, and the nest was bereft of it's charge.  As the snake slithered away I fought back the urge to destroy him. I wondered if there was any way the baby bird could still be alive in the belly of that snake, but even if he was, he wouldn't be able to survive even if released. It was too late.  I thought about what God said to the serpent in the garden:
    "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."            Genesis 3:14-15
    Witnessing this event in nature left me feeling sad and defeated.  Why hadn't I noticed the snake in the garden when I was out there taking pictures of the happy little baby bird innocently calling for his mama from the nest?  I was so focused on the baby that I never saw the danger that apparently was lurking nearby even while I was so close. 

    Isn't that just like human nature?  So often we are so focused on our happy little life and doing what we want to do that we are unaware of the tempter sneaking his way through the garden of our life, seeking whom he may devour and destroy. I Peter 5:5-9 says:

    "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
    Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
    that He may exalt you in due time,
    Casting all your care upon HIM, for He cares for you.
    Be sober, be vigilant;
    Because your adversary the devil walks about
    like a roaring lion,
    seeking whom he may devour.
    Resist him, steadfast in the faith,
    knowing that the same sufferings are experienced
    by your brotherhood in the world."

    The good news is that when Christ died on the cross, that old serpent, Satan, was dealt a death blow.  Satan thought that by sending Christ to the cross, he, Satan, would finally be able to rule and reign on the earth. What he didn't count on was that Christ did not stay in the tomb...He conquered death and all its foes when He arose victoriously from the grave three days later.  Christ is alive today, and is ever interceding on behalf of His beloved creation.  Satan will get his final just desserts in the end...read Revelation 20:10...when he is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where he will be tormented day and night forever and ever...

    All this because a baby bird got eaten by a snake in my garden?  Well, that is just a microcosm of what the serpent Satan has been trying to do to humanity ever since he was expelled from Eden. But we can rejoice, because we know the bigger picture...and the end of the story.  If this life is all there is, we are of all people most miserable. 

    "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable..."       
    I Corinthians 15:19...
    "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep..."
    I Corinthians 15:20

    After witnessing this tonight, I came inside and read on my facebook page that another parent had lost a teen-age child in a tragic accident today...and again my heart ached for this time a real person and a real family, and a young soul taken away too soon.  Satan may think he won another victory...but he's wrong.  I don't know if this young man was saved or not, but I am praying he was...and claiming true victory in Jesus for this family.  Because Christ lives, they WILL see their child again. Satan did not win. He will NOT win. He is alread a defeated foe.

    Mama and Papa Cardinal may never see their little baby birdie again, but we have this hope in Christ for our future.  We will overcome this life and live victoriously forever in Heaven, where no serpents can sneak in and destroy ever again.  PRAISE GOD!!!!!

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Random Journal Day #11-Remants from the Past Revisited

    Here it is again..."Random Journal Day"...and I just stumbled upon a journal entry written on March 23, 1991, that links to one of my earlier blog posts: "Remnants of the Past".   Back in 1991 I was bold enough to actually submit an article to "Country Living" Magazine...which was in essence the same story I have written in the above blog post.  Here is what I said about this back in 1991:

    Saturday, March 23, 1991, 10:26 p.m.:

    "Kind of late already!  Just wanted to record some milestones from today...
    1. I mailed a story to "Country Living" magazine today ~ "The Old Whelchel Estate", submitted to the "Reader's Corner".  I pray they will accept the story for print in the magazine.  But even if they don't, I enjoyed writing it~it was a step of faith for me to actually send it~kind of like a fleece to see if the Lord will encourage me to write.  Although this wasn't much of an inspirational writing...but it was something from my heart~a starting place to help me get going in all the writing I long to do.
    2. Today we submitted our resume's to _____college.  We mailed them to ____(the President of the College).  This again was a BIG STEP OF FAITH.  We've been rejected so many times before.  And really things are going pretty well here now~God is blessing our church and ministry so much, so we aren't trying to escape a bad situation.  We have good jobs.  I have a job where I can do all the things I love to do.  My husband has some positions in the district (denominational), and we recently got a wonderful pay-raise, etc.  So no, it's not an escape~but it's the long standing desire to go back to ____ and teach that keeps driving us onward.  It's been the reason behind all of the further education over the years.  We believe now is the time~if ever there will be a time.  Next fall we will have two sons attending college full time there."
    I went on to say:

    "And Lord, we commit our future into your hands.  We don't want to ever step out of your will~for anything~no matter how long we've desired it.  So, please Lord, hear our prayer...and know our hearts.  We want to do what is pleasing and acceptable in Your sight."
     A couple of weeks later I wrote again in my journal:

    "I received a letter back from "Country Living" magazine today. They couldn't use my story.  I guess I figured that.  I believe God wants me to use my talent solely for His honor and glory~and not my own.  So, in His time~I hope to do just that."

    And no, we did not get the position we hoped for at the college. For some reason known only to God, that dream was never fulfilled.  We knocked on that door so many times that I am certain there are knuckle dents on the door...but God never allowed the "Closed Door" to be opened to us.  God had other plans for our lives...other places and people (and "Open Windows") that He needed us to minister to. This is probably one of those questions I would like to ask God about someday when I get to heaven...but it won't be necessary...because on that day I will understand with the mind of Christ.  He will show me the "bigger picture" that I can't see now, and it will all make sense at that time.  Until then, I will keep trusting and following my Savior in whatever way He leads.  He has never led us astray...He just hasn't taken us exactly where we hoped to go.  But that's His business, not mine.

    And the writing...well this is it. May God be honored and glorified today. Amen.

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Fresh Southern Country Living Scents and Scenes...

    Freshly washed Quilt drying in the summer breeze...

    Mingling with the scent of magnolia blossoms nearby...

    a delicate, light lemony fragrance delights my senses...

    Fragrance of clean linen dried in the sunshine relaxes my mind and body...

    I'm gonna breathe deeply and let the fresh southern country living scents permeate my soul tonight...

    Sweet Dreams...

    Postscript:  I have discovered that placing one Magnolia Blossom in each room provides a wonderful fragrance that is not overpowering and smells fresh and clean and lemony.  If you have access to a magnolia tree, pick the blossoms just before they are ready to open, leaving enough stem to draw water, and place them in a glass or dish of water on a table in each room of your house.  You will be delighted at the aroma and you will also be able to witness the blossom opening up on the second day.  Blooms may last a couple of days and will then will begin to turn brown. 

    I never knew how delightful magnolia blossoms were until now!  I guess because I never had a tree in my yard before this.  Even though the seed cones are a mess to deal with once they drop on the lawn, enjoying this fragrance now makes it worth the effort later!


    Friday, June 1, 2012

    Transported Back to A Genteel Age...

    Hello Friends...It's time again for the Random Journal Day!  If you haven't followed along on these journeys back through time you have missed out on a few pleasant memories.  Scroll back through my list of blog posts and find the other Random Journal entries that I've shared over the past couple of months...and then click on the link for Random Journal Day and visit some of my other blogger friends who have also shared from the hidden pages of their past.  It has been a very enjoyable ride back in time. Maybe you'd like to join us and share some of your long lost "secrets"!

    Today I am returning to the year 1985, and the date was September 24th, the day before my 35th birthday! Wow! My youngest son is now 35 years old...time sure flies when you are having so much fun in life...and I have been.  Let's look in on my memories of that day and find out what was going on, okay?

    We had recently moved to a new home and ministry in Georgia, and had finally settled in. I was beginning to relax and enjoy my new friends, church, and surroundings.   I wrote in my journal that day:

    "Our yard has many lovely trees and shrubs, and just now, as fall begins, we rejoice in the changing colors of the leaves.  Today I went out and picked marigolds, purple mums, and a beautiful miniature Tropicana Rose, blooming just in time for my 35th birthday...which is tomorrow. 
    Tomato Curry Soup
    Today I felt like royalty.  This very dear lady, whom I'd never met before, but who occasionally attends our church, Helen Barksdale, invited me and another dear lady from church for lunch in her home. What a delightful afternoon we spent!  For lunch we had a delicious home-made cream of tomato soup, with chopped green pepper, onion, and curry.  Then for the main course we had "Seafood Raft", a delicious seafood and cheese concoction served on a large cut deli-hard roll.  Dessert was home-made apple crisp (I think she called it that) ~ Very delectable!  We each had cups of hot tea served with lime wedges.  Her table was formally set with what appeared to be an old English Ironstone china set.

    I felt transported back to a more genteel age ~ where ladies enjoyed formal luncheons and "tea", and polite conversation.  Mrs. Barksdale is very interesting...and truly enjoys talking and entertaining!  Very spry for an octo-generian (I'm guessing). 
    This is Mrs. Barksdale's actual recipe book that she gave me after our luncheon together. I feel honored to have been given this, with all of her favorite recipes!  As I said, she was a remarkable woman!
    I concluded with this thought...

    "I thank the Lord for allowing me to have such a wonderful experience."
    What an honor and privilege to be welcomed into the home of God's precious and interesting "characters".  These special people don't come around very often...and are rapidly disappearing from our society.  I am quite certain that Mrs. Barksdale has already gone on to meet her reward in heaven...but how marvelous that her memory lives on in the hearts and minds of those to whom she opened her home and heart.  The recipe book that I pictured here she had created especially for her children and grandchildren, so that they would have those family recipes to share with their loved ones and friends for years to come.  That was her legacy...her "claim to fame".  Although I barely knew her, she included me in her legacy by sharing something that was important to her...not just her book of recipes, but her home, her hospitality, and a part of herself.

    I've been chatting with one of my other blogging friends this past week about how we need to leave a legacy to our children and grandchildren...and this blog is a part of that. Unfortunately, if we don't take the time to write it down or print it in a form that can be passed from one generation to another, it may be lost forever.  I don't trust our current computer technology to still be available to future generations. We tend to think that handwritten journals and printed books are obsolete.  But when all is said and done, the only real evidence of our writing will be what is on the printed page...something that can be held in our hands and cherished in our treasure chests. Cyberspace blogs and journals may disappear when the technology advances beyond this current age.  If these writings are not saved to a permanent file that is easily transcribed to the next level...they will be what is termed obsolete. 

    I say all of this to suggest that we need to think seriously about the legacy we are leaving for our children. Many of us are sharing our faith, our hopes and dreams, our ideas and life experiences through this media of a blog.  My prayer is that this will have some positive impact on those who take the time to read...and that God will use these messages to inspire and encourage and perhaps even bring some laughter and joy to your day. 

    However, if this blog is the only legacy I leave behind, I have missed the boat.  I need to be involved in the lives of people around me every day...whether through hospitality, prayer, encouraging words, or whatever way God leads me. It may be by cooking for my family or for friends in need. It should be by using the talents and gifts that God has given me for His honor and glory, no matter how small or great they may seem to be in the eyes of the world.  Helen Barksdale used her gift of hospitality and cooking to honor me when I was a new young pastor's wife in a strange community. I don't know if she even knew it was going to be my birthday on the next day, but she did something that she enjoyed doing to make me feel welcome, and I was truly blessed. That was how many years ago?  Twenty-Seven years!  And I still remember it! Why? Because I wrote it down...yes, that's partly why...and I'm sure I wouldn't have remembered so many details if I hadn't written it down...but also because she took the time to make me feel loved and special...a total stranger. I honestly don't believe I saw her too many times after that day...but that one day has been captured in time forever because she shared her legacy with me, and it made a difference in my life.

    Why not make a difference in someone's life today? Use whatever talents and gifts God has given you to bless someone else...maybe someone who doesn't receive too many blessings in life...or someone who is lonely or new to the community or your church.  Go out of your way to share your legacy as soon as you can. You'll be blessed in the process probably just as much if not more than the recipient!  Try it and see!

    Something as simple as a "Seafood Raft" could change a life!
    Maybe you have a special recipe you could share to bless someone else!
    It doesn't have to be fancy...it's the idea of sharing time and love with another
    that makes the difference.
    Remember, clicking on a photo will enlarge it so you can read it better!

    These are the original recipes written in Mrs. Barksdale's own handwriting!
    What a treasure!

    Blessings to you, my friend!!!
    Postscript:  When I was putting Mrs.Barksdale's Recipe Book away after writing this, I discovered a little note tucked inside that she had written to me when she gave me the cookbook. This is what it said:

    "Dear Mrs. Steiner,  This book cover was made by Sharron Stubbs last Christmas to put my favorite recipes in for my granddaughters.  Just three people besides them have a copy.  I want you to have this one.  You have made me so happy talking to you this afternoon.
    In Christian Love,
    Helen Barksdale"

    Now do you understand what I meant about the giver of the blessing being blessed in the process?  I believe Mrs. Barksdale was probably lonely...and she did what she did to bless me, but also because perhaps she needed to be blessed as well.  God works in mysterious ways.  I'm so happy I have this memory in writing to share with you today. This is why we need to write journals and remember these precious people and pass their blessings along to others.  Go and do likewise my friends!!