Mountainside Ministry Training Center

The Mountainside Ministry Training Center, operated by International Messengers, is located in Libby, Montana and trains international workers who have hearts for the lost in other nations.  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

2022-01-19 Mountainside Ministry Training Center - Photo by Ben FancycameraPhoto by Ben “Fancycamera” 😉

April SNOW!! The Real Thing! Wordless Wednesday.

Last week, , my Wordless Wednesday was “April Snow? Well, Kinda.”
This week Lexington, Kentucky actually got REAL SNOW last night!  With temps in the mid 40s (5-7⁰C) it will not last long, but it is a beautiful “swan song” to the fierce winter past.  (Proof of global warming, too, don’tcha know? 🙄)
For more thoughts on snow, see , , , and .

My apologies to Aarushi Sehgal, it’s melting too quickly to collect to send any to you!

Intermezzo Pics: Snow, Another Night of Miracles

2021-01-28 Snow in Fayette
Another day and night of miracles.  It began snowing late in the afternoon of January 27, and came down in big flakes that made the neighborhood seem almost foggy with the diamond dust.  We went to bed with a lovely light coating on the ground and bushes of about one to two inches, but more came so we woke up to about four inches overall.  The above is from a newspaper report of downtown Lexington in the afternoon.

Below are shots from my back window, with one reflecting our Christmas tree lights that are up until February 1. 😉

As night fell, the snowfall gave a nice one to two inch cover of the ground.  No idea where a neighbor was off too at 8:00pm, but he is experienced driving in snow and ice.  Love what the snow did to his headlamps as they shone on the light white jacket on the road.

While I was asleep we received between another inch to two inches, so in the morning, the miraculous mural of immaculate milk covering the meadows around us was spectacular in the early sunshine.  The view from our bedroom window showed the sun just rising.

On the back porch after breakfast, the sun was already starting to evaporate the snow, but slowly as the temperature was 22⁰F (-6⁰C)!

Out the front of our home, the scene was much the same: alluring alabaster ice everywhere.  The falcon seemed unfazed.

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Out back, the sun was still coming over the horizon, as Anita and I prepared for our morning walk of about 1-1/2 miles (2.4km).

One of our neighbors, like us, still has some Christmas decorations up, which is perfect in this weather!  The walk was cold, but without wind, we actually got warm in our down coats, gloves and hats!

Walking along the blocks around our house, snow sometimes seemed to falling again from the blue sky, but it was just flakes falling from the forest’s fins. 😉  My bride is sooo patient with me when we are walking.

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Almost back home again, another neighbor has an interesting “visitor” that looks better in the snow.  Usually Sasquatch is a rusty brown, to blend in with the trees. 🙂  In the meantime, about the time we arrived back home, wonderful gray clouds began to hide the direct sun.  Yeah, I know the blue is gorgeously grand, but no direct sun is good sun.  Sometime I will blog on my reasons for thinking this.  So after lunch, I think we will head out for another walk, about 2-1/2 miles (4 km) this time.

Today we will stay below freezing, but tomorrow warms up to 35⁰F (1.5⁰C) so all my wonderful snow will soon be gone. 😦  Maybe Heaven has a special place for those of us who love snow . . . Saturn’s ice rings? 😉

Hot Strawberry Pie Beats the Winter Blues

Nothing beats the winter blues like a bright red strawberry crumble top pie served hot from the oven.  Well, after letting it cool down a little.  Not that I get winter blues.  I love the cold weather, the gray clouds and most of all, the SNOW when we can get it!


IMG_1823As with all recipes, I recommend getting together all the ingredients before beginning so that everything is a hand-grab away as you need it.  Read any recipe through before beginning so that you know in advance for which steps you need to be ready when some things have to happen in rapid sequence.

But for this delicious strawberry pie, its a piece of cake . . . actually, easier than cake!  No rushed steps, no surprises, just simple mixing and baking, as easy as anything gets.

4 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon butter

6 tablespoons butter (softened to room temperature)
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger

Prep the strawberries by removing the sepals and pith the strawberries by cutting off the calices.  Removal of the pith will keep the strawberries tasting their berry best. 😉  If you eat half of the strawberries in this step, set everything aside and go buy some more!! 😂

Preheat the oven to 400⁰F (200⁰C).
Make the topping first so that it will be ready when you have assembled the pie filling.
In a medium size bowl mix the 6 tablespoons softened block of butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 3/4 cup flour until it is a fluffy texture.
Thoroughly mix in the nutmeg and ginger.

Next, in a larger bowl whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour and 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
Gently coat the berries with this mixture, being careful not to crush the berries.  Be sure to allow the mixture to get into the pith area of the strawberries, but you need not be obsessive about this.

Pour the berries into a 9-inch pie crust, mounding them in the middle.  Remember, the berries will sink some as they bake.  Spread any left over coating mix around the berries and maybe shake the pie plate a little to settle it in between the berries.
Cover the berries with the topping mix.  Then space about 15-20 pea size blobs of butter over the topping.
Wrap the edges of the pie with foil or a pie shield to prevent it from burning.  I like the one from Talisman Designs (note the “s” at the end of “design” or you’ll find Susan Bucknam, the artist; she’s good, but I have no idea what she knows about pies! 😉 )

Bake the pie for about 20 minutes at 400⁰F (200⁰C), then reduce the heat to 375⁰F (190⁰C) and bake for 40 minutes more.  If you really like sweet, you can add some sugar in the last 10 minutes, sprinkling it over the topping before it finishes baking.  Keep an eye on the top and if it begins to blacken, check to see if the pie is done.  There are significant variations in oven temp performances.
I actually cut the sugar to make this recipe as my sources all had more than Anita and I enjoy.  But the end product is delicious, especially with a dollop of whipped cream or redi-whip on top!  Enjoy as we did after a cooolllld walk when we had some more miraculous snow yesterday!  Even as I type this, it is snowing huge flakes again.  Wow, God is good! 🙂

Intermezzo: It’s A Miracle

2020-11-30 The Miracle of Snow

First Snow Of The Season and it takes my mind to wandering about its miraculous materializing in my morning meditations.

We have a general misunderstanding of what makes a miracle versus what is scientific.  We assume that because we understand a couple of details of a mechanism Father uses to do something, and that He usually does it the same way, well, that is ‘scientific’ and not miraculous.  We have lost the sense of wonder at how God heals disease, restores relationships, transforms personalities, or regulates the universe.

Snow is one of the most miraculous phenomena in the world.  There are so many factors that must be in exact detailed agreement for the cascade of tiny crystals to come crashing to the ground.  Because physicists, meteorologists, chemists and students of many other disciplines have studied, examined, measured and reproduced snow crystals, we think we understand where they come from and how snow happens.

Wikipedia can give you all the details of how frozen crystalline water forms, what suitable conditions are required, how the multitudinous shapes are formed, how they reach a mass big enough to drop out of the clouds, and how the light is refracted through the clear water to become visible, so that the blanket of transparent gems hides the earth in brilliant white.

But it still remains a wondrous miracle that in “nature” all these factors come together at a given moment to deposit the delightful dust over the district.

Sadly, the deeper we go into quantum physics, the further we look through the telescopes into the sky, the deeper we delve into our oceans and below, the more enamored we become of our own brilliance, as if we understand the universe, from where it came, how it is sustained, and what will happen in the future.

But there is a Hand that holds the keys to the storehouses of snow which we cannot see with natural eyes.  He brings the snow out of its storehouses and miraculously gives us a gift of supernatural wonder, if we only have eyes of faith to see more than just crystals of water.