Rats In The Basement

At one point in our house in Bath, we had rats in the basement.  (Did your skin just crawl?  I just got a shiver up my spine thinking about it.)  As you probably know already, there are lots of memories I’ve already shared with you about that place.  But this is a new one that came to mind recently.

The basement of that house was unfinished.  The foundation was there, of course, along with a cement floor.  But the internal walls that kept the dirt at bay under the house only rose high enough to keep it there.  (This was an old house that had been added onto over the years and the basement showed this gradual increase in space.)  It actually provided for a wonderfully cool basement in the summer.

We didn’t give it much thought at the time, but apparently there was a family of rats next door in the neighbor’s barn.  They very rudely saw this as an opportunity to infiltrate our cool basement with the unfinished walls and make it their new home.  Unfinished walls made for excellent hiding places, so they took to it pretty quick.

I was the discoverer of these new tenants when I went down into the basement one day.  As I turned on the light in the main section of it, I saw the flick of a very large tail of something very large itself.  I could see that some behemoth of a creature on top of one of the unfinished walls had literally turned tail and scampered back into the shadows.  I immediately reported this incident to the powers-that-be (namely my Dad).  Then I waited anxiously to see what justice would be meted to these vile and uninvited guests.

It didn’t take my Dad long to come up with a plan.  He borrowed a “live trap” from his brother and set it up in the basement at night.  He then proceeded to catch these rats one by one and dispose of them each morning.  The first rat he caught was absolutely huge!  Then each one got smaller and smaller (I think there was a total of four).  How did he get rid of them?, I wondered.  Well, shortly after this all began, I noticed that a fifty-five gallon rain barrel had appeared outside on the back porch.  And it was filled to the brim with water.  Upon asking my Dad about this, I found out what was happening to the rats.

I could picture this scenario unfolding in my head:  My Dad goes down into the basement and sees that his nefarious efforts to catch a rat have been successful.  With suspenseful music playing in the background, he and the rat look at each other.  The rats shifty eyes lock with my Dad’s as they size each other up.  Dad picks up the trap and the music increases in intensity as he begins the rat’s walk of death.  The rat tries to throw itself into the sides of the trap to break free, but to no avail.  It then lashes out at the handle of the trap to bite Dad’s hand, but that doesn’t work either.  It screeches out in exasperation as Dad exits the back of the house to where the barrel of water is.  The rat sees that its end is near and cowers in a corner of the trap.  Dad sets the trap down and takes the top of the barrel off, exposing the water inside.  The music reaches a climax as he picks the trap up, opens the door and…..

I’ll spare you those details.  Dad drowned every one of those rats.  I hate animal cruelty, but when it comes to rats….well, let’s just say that I would have given that rat the same steely gaze that my Dad probably did.  After this, we all continued to live in Bath happily ever after.  Until we moved, that is.

Turning A Corner

Turning a corner.  Ever been waiting for that to happen?  A figure of speech, yes, but a very important one when you’ve been waiting a long time for something to happen.

If you’ve been walking with me a while, you know that our destination has been someplace very definite.  These past couple of weeks have been very interesting ones in that regard.  I can definitely say that I have been turning a corner!

I am closer than ever to being able to finally tell you the story behind our destination.  And you’re not going to want to miss this!  I know I have been dropping hints here and there.  But that still hasn’t really given you anything substantial to know what it is that I am talking about here.  What I can tell you right now is that any frustration you might feel about that will be well worth it in the end!  Very soon, I will be able to tell you this fantastic tale.

God’s plan for our lives is so much better than anything we could ever ask for or imagine (His Word tells us that in Jeremiah 29:11 and Ephesians 3:20).  It is when nothing appears to be happening and life seems like it’s just a monotonous day-to-day existence that it is the hardest to remember that truth.  But don’t forget this important fact:  When you do finally turn that corner, it makes what you’re going through in the waiting process totally worth enduring!

And there’s also something else to keep in mind.  God’s plan is also about strategy.  Don’t forget that we have a very real enemy who is also watching to see what God’s plan is.  His intention is to interfere with that plan as fast as he can.  Thankfully, God knows this and accounts for it.  Thus, His strategy is far more a significant factor than we’ve ever thought it was.

So when God’s plan begins to unfold and take shape in your life, be ready!  Quite often it comes as something that doesn’t make much logical sense to do.  Don’t over-think it.  Act.  Act on it now while everyone around you–including your enemy–is still wondering what you’re doing.  You act that fast, you’ll find that you are in possession of your Dream before anyone else even realizes what’s happened.

I can hardly wait to tell you why I know what I’m talking about here!  Make sure you’ve got your snowshoes with you, my friend.  They are a part of this more than you know.

The Railroad Worker

This other story is about a railroad worker.  It, too, exemplifies the power of the human mind.  This story came from that same seminar and is also a true story.

This took place in the mid-1900’s at a railroad yard somewhere in Europe.  A railroad worker was working inside a refrigerated boxcar one afternoon.  As he was working away, the door to the boxcar shut itself, locking the railroad worker inside the boxcar.  He knew that there was no way to open the door from the inside, so he tried to make as much noise as possible to attract attention.  He knew, though, that it was late enough in the afternoon that most of the other railroad workers had already left for the day.  This, of course, meant that the chances of him getting someone’s attention at this point were very slim.

He yelled himself hoarse and banged on the boxcar until he just couldn’t do it any longer.  In utter hopelessness and exhaustion, he sat on the floor of the boxcar and leaned against a sidewall.  He knew that he was trapped inside a refrigerated boxcar, which meant that he had no way of staying warm enough to last the night.  He would be dead by morning.  As this reality began to sink in, he thought about recording his last thoughts for posterity.  So he pulled out a marker that he had and began writing his thoughts on the floor of the boxcar.

He wrote things like, “It’s so cold in here.” and “I don’t want to die.”  As the dark hours of the night crept by, he wrote, “I can hardly feel my fingers and toes now.”  Eventually he wrote, “Say goodbye to my wife and kids for me.  Tell them I love them.”

The next morning, railroad officials and other railroad workers conducted a search for the missing railroad worker.  Eventually, someone opened the door of that refrigerated boxcar and discovered the lifeless body of the missing railroad worker.

The death of this man, however, had everyone baffled.  Why?  What the dead railroad worker didn’t know was that the refrigeration unit on that boxcar was broken!  It hadn’t been on at all the whole time he had been inside the boxcar.  Which meant that the temperature inside the boxcar didn’t get below fifty degrees that night!  This man killed himself with nothing but the power of his mind.  What he believed became his undoing.

So this begs a question:  How are you and I limiting ourselves and thus not achieving our full potential?  What are we believing about ourselves or a situation that just isn’t true?  What is it that we aren’t seeing that we should see?

Soul-searching questions, but your answers are crucial to the outcome of your life.  God loves you enough to make sure you see what you need to see to change–if you’re willing to see it.

God’s best to you, my friend.  I’ll catch up with you soon!

The Shoe Salesman

Are you old enough to remember what a door-to-door shoe salesman was?  Yes, I say “was” because obviously door-to-door anything is taboo in today’s day and age, let alone a shoe salesman.  But why am I even talking about this?  Because there is a true story involving a shoe salesman that I want to share with you.


Are you aware of how powerful our minds are?  God certainly created something extraordinary when He designed the mind and the human brain.  I make a distinction between them because, believe it or not, they are very different!  There is a great book on this subject entitled, “Switch On Your Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf.  I won’t go into detail, but it’s packed with a lot of good information about the power and the differences of both our minds and our brains.

So what’s this got to do with a shoe salesman?  Well, this subject was being addressed at a business seminar many years ago.  I heard this story from a guest speaker who was at that seminar and I never forgot it.  He said it was true and I have no reason to doubt his credibility.  It is a real-life example of the power of the human mind!

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, being a door-to-door salesman of any kind was considered a decent profession.  It was during this time that a shoe salesman was driving across the Midwest somewhere late at night.  He had made a wrong turn (no GPS back then) and was out in the middle of nowhere.  He was exhausted and just wanted to sleep somewhere.  Finally, he saw the distant lights of a farmhouse ahead!

He pulled up to the house and knocked on the door.  The farmer and his wife opened the door and the shoe salesman proceeded to tell them his predicament.  “I took a wrong turn somewhere back there and have gotten myself hopelessly lost.  I’m exhausted and desperately need to get some sleep.  Would you happen to have an extra bed somewhere that I could sleep in?  I’ll gladly pay you to do so!”

The farmer said, “The only spare bed we have is up in the attic.  You can sleep there if you like.”  (Another thing that you wouldn’t see happen today, right?)  The shoe salesman gladly excepted , grabbed his overnight bag and followed the farmer up to the attic.  The only light in the attic was a single light bulb in the middle of the room with a pull-string attached to it.  As the farmer left the shoe salesman alone, the shoe salesman quickly took in his surroundings.  There wasn’t much to see–just some old antiques and things scattered about on one side of the attic and a bed on the other with a window close by.

He was so tired that all he did was take his shoes off and set them on the floor by the side of the bed.  He got up and turned the light off and groped his way back over to where the bed was.  But as he sat down on the bed, something significant occurred to him.  He realized that there was no air movement.  He had to have some fresh air to be able to get to sleep!  The darkness in the attic completely enveloped him though.  It would be almost impossible for him to find the pull-cord to the light bulb again.

Suddenly it dawned on him:  The window!  He remembered seeing a window on his side of the attic!  But now he was so tired that all he could think about was getting some sleep.  So he made a drastic decision:  He was going to break the window and just pay the farmer in the morning for the damages!  So he bent over, picked up one of his shoes and threw it in the direction he remembered the window being in.  The sound of glass shattering told him he had hit his mark.  He laid back on the bed to enjoy the fresh air he knew would be flowing through the broken window and promptly fell asleep.

When the shoe salesman awakened the next morning, it took him a moment to get his bearings and realize where he was.  Then he faintly remembered what he had done the night before and looked over where the window was.  What he saw took his breath away.  His shoe had found the window alright.  But the window was completely boarded up on the other side!  He hadn’t had any fresh air come in at all from breaking that window the night before.  It was all in his mind!  It was what he had expected he would experience.

The power of thought.  It really is amazing.  I’ve got an even more impressive true story about this that I will share with you when we catch up again!