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, July 21, 2013

A Tribute to My Mother-in Law

For my Mother-in-law's 90th birthday celebration we were asked to write or tell our favorite memories about her life.  Since I have been her daughter-in-law for almost 44 years, I have so many memories from which to choose...and for a rather verbose person like me, it is very difficult to sum up 44 years of memories on a 3"x 8" index card provided for that purpose...so here is what I ended up writing...in Honor of My Mother-in-Law:

"Nanny Steiner" with 4 of her 5 grandchildren at her 90th birthday celebration

Vivian Ruth Martin Steiner
Happy 90th Birthday
July 23, 2013
"Mother Steiner" with her two sons at the beach circa 1960
My husband to be John on left, and little brother Billy on the right

What can I say about my Mother –in-law, Vivian Ruth Martin Steiner? She likes to tell the story about when I first became her daughter in law and I said to her that I wasn't sure what I should call her.  I called my own mother, “Mom”.  So she suggested that I just call her “Mother”.  That worked for me.  Then a few years later we started to call her “Nanny Steiner” (not to be confused with her mother, “Nanny Martin”)…when she became a Grandmother to her first Grandson, our first son, Benton.  Then along came Matthew, and then a few years later, Scotty…and then many years later her first Great-Grandson, Noah…and then she was blessed with two more grandchildren from her son Billy and his wife Peggy; Nicholaus and Shannon.  So now we all just call her “Nanny” to keep it simple. 

My first memory of “Nanny” was when I had just started to date her oldest son John, (back in 1968) and he took me to a football game to watch his “little brother Billy” play.  I was a bit nervous as we climbed up into the bleachers and sat down behind his parents.  When he introduced me to them, I
"Mother Steiner" with her two sons today, circa 2013
was awestruck by how pretty she was…and my first impression was that she looked like a very wealthy and sophisticated lady! Her beautiful blond hair was styled in a modern French twist, and she was wearing a stylish light tan rain coat.   When she smiled at me I knew immediately where John got his wonderful smile from. I thought to myself that she reminded me a lot of Jackie Kennedy when she smiled, only she had blond hair instead of brown!  Needless to say, she made quite an impression on me. Oh, and her friendly, down to earth way made me feel very much at ease right away.  I was only too happy to become her first daughter in law several months later.
Me with my sweet mother in law and her baby doll "Pearl"
having a fun time together.
(I don't have any "old" pictures of us handy, so these recent pictures
will have to do)

As I got to know “Mother” better, I began to realize that she was a humble but exceedingly generous woman, who loved her family more than anything.  I soon learned that she and my father in law were the kind of people who would literally give you the last shirt off their backs if they thought you needed it.  There was not a selfish bone in their bodies.  I was to see that truth in action over and over again throughout our years together, especially once the grandchildren came along.  As a young mother, I was pretty dogmatic about doing things “my way”, and I wasn’t always receptive to a lot of “advice” and what I thought interference from anyone else, including my own parents.  So when my in-laws often showed up on our doorstep on Sunday afternoons with bags full of groceries and special things for the grandchildren, I tended to be a little frustrated.  But God was teaching me about love and family relationships…and about the ways He chose to provide for us.  He knew what we needed, and He often provided through the loving generosity of my
My In Laws coming to visit the Grandkids on a Sunday Afternoon
mother in law and father in law. They were not wealthy people, but what they had they gave joyfully.  It gave them so much pleasure to spend that time with us and to feel like they were contributing to our welfare…and I began to understand that I needed to learn humility and to accept the gifts with grace and thankfulness. 

Easter Sunday with the family
We have shared so many experiences throughout the years…she has been there throughout our many moves…always ready to lend a hand in packing, unpacking, helping with the kids, the cooking, the dishes, the laundry, whatever I needed.  She has been with us through the good times and the difficult times…don’t know what I would’ve done back when our son Matthew was having brain surgery if she had not come up to spend that time with us.  She has been our sons’ greatest cheerleader and advocate when they played sports, graduated from school/college, and a constant support and voice of wisdom when they’ve gone through some difficult times as well.  

My mother in law is full of funny stories and laughter…and still has that beautiful smile. As I look back over the almost 44 years of being a part of the Steiner family, I can say with all honesty that I have been marvelously blessed to have been the daughter in law of Vivian Steiner.  She has become more than just “a mother in law”, she is my “mother –in –love”, and I am honored to be her “daughter –in-love”.   

Happy 90th Birthday Mother!

Love Always,
Your “#1” Daughter in Law



  1. What a blessing it is to live 90 years and I'm sure she is a blessing to each member of her family. She sounds like a very loveable lady, Pamela, you did a great post about her.

    1. Thank you Sylvia. I have been blessed to have had two wonderful "mothers", my own, and my husband's. God knew I needed a lot of "mothering"!


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