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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. present. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, books, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. jam, bread maker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. writer. traveler. homebody.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Girl With a Dream Becomes a Women With Vision

Everywhere I go (feed store, library, post office, church) people ask, "Can you believe it's already the end of August?" My answer is, "I can't believe I've lived, actuarially, two-thirds of my life much less it being the end of August already."

Perhaps it's due to the ennui of Autumn's fast approach...Dave always said my blog posts had a bit of ennui to them and while that's probably even more true since his death, I'm still not sure I agree with him. These past almost five years, I've lived in Dave's shade and not his shadow and have learned contentment. The struggle has been real but I've learned to make a life out of what I now have and not what I'm missing. I'm allowing, even encouraging, myself to be myself and know how to be quiet and listen for God's whisper although that's fairly easy since I don't have the intrusive noise of radio or television. If I do listen to either, it's XM preachers or DVD's that are of my choosing and not what subscription throws at me and calls "entertainment". I chose to give up subscription television because I object to porn coming into this house. Yes, I do know I can change the channels but I was tired of having porn thrust upon me when channel surfing. It's a small way I can honor God and myself. I'm too important in His eyes, and my own, to see anyone devalued for the sake of a cheap laugh or 'filthy lucre'.

(Marti sent the above to me, it arrived at a much needed time and I am grateful she heeded God's whisper. If I knew whom to credit, I would be delighted.)

Perhaps the bittersweet, but not ennui, is due to the aches and pains of bones, joints and muscles that receive hard use even though they protest...or perhaps it's due to the skeins of Canada geese that have returned.

I know I've lived in one spot for a long time when the geese voices tell me they are coming in for a meal or when they are gathering strength to fly to the nearby pond. I know I've lived in one spot for a long time when I glance at the clock and know to grab my camera because the geese are due any minute.

The days are languid, still full of heat but the dark hours before dawn have a chill that say winter is hard pushing autumn who urges summer to pack and leave. Garden weeds are taller than me and, once again, my ambitions have exceeded my abilities. Heck, I can't even remember to go to any of the farmers' markets that dot the landscape and am lost among all the work. A glance tells me the hay bales are lined against the fence, waiting pick up and there are bales under storage being kept dry against the weather for my beasties when pasture wanes and snowballs fly.

I cry a lot these days but it's out of happiness, or at least contentment. How can I be homesick for heaven when I live here? If I won the lottery, I'd keep this place, hire an on-site farm manager and spend winters near my family and summers here. Then again, as someone told me, in order to win the lottery, I must buy a ticket. There's always a catch, isn't there? -wry smile-

The apple tree is loaded and promises pies, cakes, butter and out of hand eating but only after a hard frost. That's when the apples are sweetest, that's when they release their best. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong it is until it's in hot water." I say it's like a Christian...when God allows trials and troubles, He, and we, find out what we're made of. We can either turn to Him or away from Him; it's always our choice but, sometimes, people forget it's not about the here and now, it's about the hereafter. Just recently I said privately to Becky, a blog reader, "Christians haven't any idea what the Bible says about anything; therefore, they'll believe anyone and then say, "In my opinion...". AS IF a Christian has an opinon...WRONG! Christians are to have a Biblical world does the BIBLE SAY? THAT'S what a Christian believes...what the Bible says. If we think we won't have to stand before God and answer for every word, thought, deed, vote...we're in for a very unpleasant surprise. We're so consumed with the here and now, we've forgotten about the hereafter. Because we only see the here and now, we can't envision the hereafter and that's so sad. The Lord God who created Creation has such enormous, glorious plans for us and we sit here, quibbling over non-essentials."

Similar to the old song about if you want to have roses, you put up with thorns, at Thistle Cove Farm thistles comes with thorns and a wild, regenerate beauty that promises "beautiful one day and perfect the next". In response to a six year old girl's dream, God gave me Thistle Cove Farm. He has allowed me to be a steward here; He has grown me into a woman with vision; a vision that doesn't end here but will continue where He wills both while there's breath in my body, then into eternity.

God doesn't abandon His plans, and His plans for all His children who accept Him are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. 

Because God can be trusted, 
I choose to trust Him.

Ponder this ~ "I am not afraid. I was born to do this. ~ Joan of Arc ~ "

What were you born to do?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?"

"I am convinced that the jealous, the angry, the bitter and the egotistical are the first to race to the top of mountains. A confident person enjoys the journey, the people they meet along the way and sees life not as a competition. They reach the summit last because they know God isn't at the top waiting for them. He is down below helping His followers to understand that the view is glorious where ever you stand." ~ Shannon L. Alder ~

"In feature films the director is God;
in documentary films God is the director."
~ Alfred Hitchcock ~

"Your current circumstances are part of your redemption story He is writing."
~ Evinda Lepins ~

"There are no 'if s' in God's world.
And no places that are safer than other places.
The center of His will is our only safety -
let us pray that we may always know it!"
~ Corrie ten Boom ~

"Doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans."
~ George MacDonald ~

"When you are convinced that everything that happens is the will of God,
what is there to do but wait until God has mercy?"
~ Maaza Mengiste ~

"in many cases, our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in His work." ~ Dallas Willard ~

"The will of God is not something you add to your life. It's a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God...or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world." ~ Elisabeth Elliott ~

"In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three
 times that a certain cup might pass from Him.
It did not."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"Your spouse, your children, your job are part of the plan. 
They are not the plan." 
~ Sandra ~

"Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter - you are just there in front of the fire. You don't have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you." ~ Desmond Tutu ~

"We are weak Christians simply because we have refused 
to be bondservants of Christ." 
~ Dr. Paul Gitwaza

"It will be very interesting one day to follow the pattern of our life as it is spread out like a beautiful tapestry. As long as we live here we see only the reverse side of the weaving, and very often the pattern, with its threads running wildly, doesn't seem to make sense. Some day, however, we shall understand. In looking back over the years we can discover how a red thread goes through the pattern of our life; the Will of God." ~ Maria Augusta von Trapp ~

"For everyone who calls on the name of the LORD
will be saved."

Prayer Praises ~ Lori ~ Heather ~ 

Please keep in prayer ~ Vicki ~ Alicia ~ Nancy ~ Julie ~ Stephanie ~ Rainey ~ Diana and her Hero ~ Brenda ~ Bonnie Jean and family ~ Pat ~ Joe and Mandy ~ Anita ~ Faith ~ the people who have been attacking me these few weeks ~ Sandra ~

Monday, August 08, 2016

Quinn's Kiva Giveaway

It's August and if the old folks are correct, there's a snow for every morning fog this month; thus far, four fogs have been noted. This morning is beautiful...but aren't they all when one wakes up above ground? and the promise of a new day looms large. Yesterday, I went to the birthday celebration of a 90 year old woman, a cousin by my marriage to Dave and saw a great many people I've not seen since Dave's wake. Pretty much, I've barricaded myself on the farm as it's simply easier to apply myself to the urgent, what needed to be done and to protect myself from scoundrels, rounders and the like. Unfortunately, I've not been totally successful but I still try.

Betwixt the scoundrels, rounders and the like, there have been glimpses of good and kindness, reference the birthday celebration above. Included is Quinn, Comptonia blogger, who recently had a giveaway wherein a $25 donation was made to Kiva and the giveaway winner could choose the person to whom the money was donated. In the process, my name was chosen and I've spent pleasurable that I get caught up in reading about the folks, worldwide, who are in need and why...and find myself praying for them.

For me, practicing Christianity is a daily process and one at which I not always successful but I can, and do, pray over everything and everyone. That, and the aforementioned reference dealing with scoundrels, rounders and the like, is why I'm delinquent in choosing a recipient.

The Kiva loan had to a woman who was either in agriculture or had a sewing or textile business. Catherine, a young woman in Columbia, was my choice; she has a sewing business and wants to enlarge her business. Quinn, thank you for the win of your giveaway contest and thank you for allowing me to fund Catherine. You've made several people very happy.

Ponder this ~ let your moderation be known to man and your desperation be known to God ~

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you."
~ Isaiah 26:3 ~

"Faith don't come in a bushel basket, Missy. It come one step at a time. Decide to trust Him for one little thing today, and before you know it, you find out He's so trustworthy you be putting your whole life in His hands." ~ Lynn Austin ~

"We have very little faith in the Lord, very little trust. If we trusted the Lord as much as we trust a friend when we ask him to do something for us. neither we as individuals nor our whole country would suffer so much."
~ Thaddeus of Vitovnica ~

"Fear is the glue that keeps you stuck.
Faith is the solvent that sets you free."
~ Shannon L. Alder

"Trust God or worry. Those are the two choices you have in every situation. Trust God and be at peace. Worry and experience stress. Your choices are that simple and you will make you life as peaceful or stressful as you choose to make it. Trust God and be at peace. This is all that is asked of you."
~ James Blanchard ~

"The hardest part of letting go is the "uncertainty"--when you are afriad that the moment you let of of someone you will hate yourself when you find out how close you were to winning their affection. Every time you give yourself hope you steal away a part of your time, happiness and future. However, once in a while you wake up to this realization and you have to hold on tightly to this truth because your heart will tear away the foundation of your logic, by making excuses for why this person doesn't try as much as you. The truth is this: Real love is simple. We are the ones that make it complicated. A part of disconnecting is recognizing the difference between being desires and being valued. When someone loves you they will never keep you waiting, give their attention and affection away to others, allow you to continue hurting, or ignore what you have gone through for them. On the other hand, a person that desires you can't see your pain, only what they can get from you with minimal effort in return. They let you risk everything, while they guard their heart and reap the benefits of your feelings. We make so many excuses for the people we fall in love with and they make up even more to remain one foot in the door. However, the truth is God didn't create you to be treated as an option or to be disrespected repeatedly. He wants you to close the door. If someone loves you and wants to be in your life no obstacle will keep them from you. Remember, you are royalty, not a beggar." ~ Shannon L. Alder ~

"One may have an abundance of faith in God,
but do we trust Him when we don't understand?
What good is faith without trust?"
~ Danny L. Deaube

"The reason some of us are such poor specimens of Christianity
is because we have no Almighty Christ.
We have Christian attributes and experiences,
but there is no abandonment to Jesus Christ."
~ Oswald Chambers ~

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 

I do not give to you as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled,

trust in God and also in me."
~ John 14: 27 ~

Please pray for ~ Nancy ~ Anita ~ Alicia ~ Vicki ~ Joe and Mandy ~ Sandra ~ 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"If racing against mere men makes you tired, 
how will you race against horses?"
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?"

"Our labor preserves us from three great evils - weariness, vice and want."
~ Voltair ~

"Negative people need drama like oxygen.
Stay positive. It will take their breath away."

"A work is never completed except by some accident such as weariness, satisfaction, the need to deliver, or death: for, in relation to who or what is making it, it can only be one stage in a series of inner transformations."
~ Paul Valery ~
"When everything feels like an uphill struggle
just think of the view from the top."

"As I thought of these things, I draw aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, so as many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams." ~ W. B. Yeats ~

"Nothing can wear you out like caring for people."

"I am old, Gandalf. I don't look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-reserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right. I need a change, or something." ~ J. R. R. Tolkien ~

"When fearful, we have a choice:
Forget Everything And Run
Face Everything And Rise"

"God doesn't need more critics.
He needs more encouragers."

"You are brave, strong, capable, loving, kind, caring, faithful
Because God Is."

"Do what is right.
Not what is easy."

"God shows us He's in control
by putting us into situations
we can't control."

~ Neal A. Maxwell ~

"For the one who is tired:
Dear heart: God does not say today, "Be strong!"
He knows your strength is spent;
He knows how long the road has been,
how weary you have grown;
for He walked the earthly roads alone,
each bogging lowland and
each long, steep hill He can understand,
and so He says, "Be still and know that I am God."
The hour is late and you must rest a while
and you must wait until life's empty reservoir's fill up
as slow rain fills up an empty upturned cup.
Hold up your cup, dear child, for God to fill.
He only asks today that you be still."
~ Grace Noll Crowel ~

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. 
We do not know what we ought to pray for, 
but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 
And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, 
because the Spirit intercedes for God's people 
in accordance with the will of God. 
And we know that in all things God 
works for the good of those who love Him, 
who have been called according to His purpose."
~ Romans 8:26-28

Please join me in pray ~ Alicia ~ Nancy ~ Anita ~ my family ~ and you, as God brings you to our minds ~

For more encouragement, please click here. A. J. Gossip, a Scotsman, wrote "BUT WHEN LIFE TUMBLES IN, WHAT THEN?" after his wife suddenly and unexpectedly died. A long read but well worth a moment of your time, especially if you are exhausted, tired, weary.

We Christians have the Trinity - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - to help, heal, guide, intercede, strengthen. This week has been intense for so many (myself included)...Christians, in the name of Christ, coming against each other; satan coming against Christians; exhaustion and weariness overwhelming so many. We are in trying days and times; evil is on every side and sometimes we become so weary in 'fighting the good fight' we forget it's not in our strength that even the next breath is drawn.

In Him, we are able because God is able. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Unpacking Summer

A recent visitor to Thistle Cove Farm is still here. This fawn and mother were in the hay pasture when Mom decided to jump the fence. For some reason, the fawn wasn't comfortable following, stayed behind and, eventually, made her way to the yard. To allow the fawn access to pastures, I opened gates and she made way to the upper pasture, "helped", I'm sorry to say, by Sam P. Spade. Hopefully, Mom is able to find the baby but if nothing happens, this fawn should be old enough to make its way. It's really too young yet but I've done what I can do.

~ Good Golly Miss Molly ~

"To lie sometimes on the grass
under trees on a summer's day,
listening to the murmur of the water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is by no means a waste of time."

Dog days are winding down as Sirius, the Dog Star, wends its way across the night sky. The traditional time period is July 3 - August 11 due to the ancient Greeks interpretation of the Canis Major constellation. Sirius is the dogs nose or dog star and chases Lepus, the hare.

Sadie and Sam just think it's hotter than Hades and spend their days finding the cool spots. I'm spending my days mowing and moving hay bales.

To each their own, Dogs. I wear bib overall's that are too tall for my shorter frame. Fortunately, each leg can be rolled up and snapped to shorten the legs. Recently, someone told me to cross the straps in the back and that will take up a little more fabric which will, hopefully, help. Behind me is a stand of thistle that was mowed down; in fact, the entire field was mowed. Some folks wanted to bale the hay in this field, change their minds and I mowed everything down. It took me about 3 days 9 days...1 to mow, 2 to recover, 1 to mow, 2 to recover, 1 to mow, 2 to recover. Knees are wrapped like babies in swaddling clothes bandages yet still manage to feel the pain of working the clutch, brake, gas. When using the tractor, both hands, both feet are called into use and all feel the agony. Usually I wear a visor but lost it somewhere along the way; haven't found it yet.

Not a bad day at work...good scenery, nice breeze, great equipment and God's strength to keep me going. The fields haven't been sprayed since 2009 but this coming spring, they'll be sprayed for weed control. In case someone wanted to buy USDA 'organic status', not spraying chemicals is important but I no longer care. The weeds are terrible and I'm too old to keep up; I'd rather have a good field of hay than weeds.

 This morning, a heavy fog covered the valley, making the round baled hay resemble Shredded Wheat in a field of green. This cutting yielded 33.5 round bales 5x5 feet and weighing about 1100 pounds. Even before cutting, someone asked to buy so they'll be contacted to bring their trailer and, using the tractor, I'll load their hay straight from the field. My bales will be moved to the barn lot, stored under shelter, waiting for winter.

Thornless blackberries have a good harvest; enough for several cobblers or one cobbler and some to freeze. Some years ago, Dad gave me the slips and this is the first year they've born abundantly. The apple tree is going to have an abundant harvest as well...delicious apples, I believe them to be Punkin Sweet, a heritage apple that, after a hard frost, eats well out of hay, makes delicious pies, cakes or can be dried, canned or frozen.

Soon, very soon, I'll have a Youtube site where videos of Thistle Cove FarmLife! will be shown. Last week was my 21st wedding anniversary and I left home, thinking to take myself to lunch. Instead, I found myself at Sam's Club where I bought a GoPro (expensive non-lunch!), brought it home and managed to take a video of me doing tractor work. One of my errands is to stop by Studio Addison, take a cake, my GoPro and some other things to wheedle them into helping me ask them to help me.

Leaving you with a photo of Sadie, above and Sam, below

Happy Dog Days.

Ponder this ~ make the least of all that goes and the most of all that comes ~

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"A fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps himself under control."
~ Proverbs 29:11 ~

"Anybody can become angry, that is easy - but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy." ~ Aristotle

"You will not be punished for your anger,
you will be punished by your anger."
~ Buddha ~

"The greatest remedy for anger is delay." ~ Seneca ~

"Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding." ~ Gandhi ~

"When angry, count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred."
~ Thomas Jefferson

"For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
~ Emerson ~

"I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him."
~ Booker T. Washington ~

"Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one." ~ Ben Franklin ~

"Anger is not the opposite of love, for the opposite of love is indifference. To be angry is to care tremendously. It is a signal that your caring extends beyond polite conversation, and that you are willing to risk a confrontation to share how you feel."
~ Doris Moreland Jones, God's Gift of Anger

"It's important for people to keep in mind that while anger is a feeling that everybody has, aggression is a choice." ~ Carole D. Stovall

"Don't rehearse your anger."

"Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear,
little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure 
to give you the Kingdom."
~ Luke 12:32 ~

Please pray for ~ Nancy ~ Bonnie Jean ~ Patty and family ~ Stephanie ~ Donald ~ Dori ~ Jim ~ Steve ~ Sandra ~ 
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