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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"The eternal God is your [my] refuge and
underneath [me] are His everlasting arms."

As you may have read, last Sunday was a chaotic, epic mess. My morning devotions for that day, read prior to the chaotic, epic mess happening, included God Calling...this is that devotion:

Love Bangs the Door

"Life with Me is not immunity from difficulties but peace in difficulties. My guidance is often by shut doors. Love bangs as well as opens.

Joy is the result of faithful, trusting acceptance of My Will, when It seems not joyous.

Paul, my servant, learnt this lesson of the banged doors when he said, "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Expect rebuffs until this is learned-it is the only way.

Joy is the daughter of calm."

And, on Monday, when I awoke from an exhausted slumber, I read:

No Strain

"Be calm, no matter what may befall you. Rest in Me. Be patient, and let patience have her perfect work. Never think things overwhelming. (guilty!) How can you be overwhelmed when I am with you?

Do not feel the strain of life. There is no strain for My children. Do you not see I am a Master Instrument-maker? Have I not fashioned each part? Do I not know just what it can bear without a strain? Would I, the maker of so delicate an instrument, ask of it anything that could destroy or strain?

No! The Strain is only when you are serving another master, the world, fame, the good opinion of men--or carrying two days' burden on the one day.

Remember that it must not be."

"I have learned to kiss the wave
that throws me against the Rock of Ages."
~ Charles Spurgeon ~

Upset, someone asked me, "How can you believe this is part of God's plan?"

My reply, "Are you upset because I believe or because you don't?"

For everyone, faith and trust are choices. We all have faith and trust...the car will start, the electricity will work, the toilet will flush, our family loves us, etc. God has a plan and I choose to trust Him and have faith in Him that He'll bring His good will and His good plans to fruition in my life for His glory and my eternity.

Not because I love Him so very much but because He loves me so very much.

"In that way, you will be acting 
as true children of your Father in heaven.
For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good,
and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."

Please pray for ~ Regina, who just had surgery ~ Maxine ~ Laura ~ the new leaders of our country ~ Israel ~

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Well, there's bad news then there's good news...

~ 8 inches of snow on top of 3 inches of snow + extremely cold temps ~

Food, shelter, clothing are, or should be, everyone's concerns and once those three needs have been met, we're ready to move to wants. Lately, my concerns have revolved solely around needs; specifically around water...even more specifically, frozen water. Last month, the horse trough froze (several times) and this month, the heating pipes froze, burst, thawed and the resulting mess is epic...I'm sorry to say.

As the insurance adjuster and I are standing in my bedroom, he said, "I just don't see how the pipes could have frozen. Did you have the heat on?" It's a fair question and although the dogs and I sleep together, I still require need heat. My answer was, "Yes, but when the temps are below freezing (-5 degrees F) with a wind chill taking temps into minus double digits...and when the wind is coming from the west, clashing against the west corner of the house (my bedroom), Mother Nature will have her way with mere wood and copper".

~ Sadie, carries her chew treat to keep it from Sam
eventually, Sam returns the favor ~

When we first moved here, we were told the coldest recorded temperature in this county was on the hill to the northeast; a distance of a few hundred feet. In January 1996, Dave and I saw the back porch thermostat at 35 below zero but with no wind chill, thank God!

The bedroom, where the damage originated, had two or three inches of standing water. I began throwing down blankets, towels, washcloths...I managed to retain a modicum of sense and not throw down my red flannel As I was able, I threw things on top the bed, atop the stairs the dogs use to get into bed...Lord only knows what all I did...I can't remember.

To return to the beginning but making this a quick post...Sunday temps and weather were horrible for a lot of the country, including Thistle Cove Farm. The day began normally but as it wore, I noticed it began to get cooler in my bedroom. I raised the thermostat setting but cool became cold and the pipes eventually froze so using a heat gun and hair dryers, I attempted to thaw the pipes but it was a losing battle.

Due to my now complete and utter exhaustion, memory fades and confusion reigns but a vivid memory is of a crashing sound that turned out to be dry wall falling from the ceiling into the dining room. The frozen bedroom pipes had thawed and boiling water was being spewed forth like a geyzer and, yes, it did hurt burn when, using bath towels, I tried to stem the flow.

Immediately, I began running into the dining room, gathering up sewing/quilting supplies, machines, spinning wheels and taking them to safety. The winter after Dave died, I began using the dining room as a place to quilt, spin, weave, etc. as it was safer than going outside to the small building behind the house.

Twice, as I retrieved "something" and turned to run, the ceiling crashed down where I'd been standing perhaps two seconds before. Needless to say, there are no photos of events as they happened, only after the fact. As the ceiling crashed, in order to retrieve belongings, I had to take time to haul wet sheet rock and insulation to the porch...not a pretty mess, eh?

When it all began to overwhelm me, I grabbed the phone, dialed Mary and cradled the phone against my shoulder as I kept hauling stuff out of the room. When she answered, I'm rather sure I wasn't all that coherent but managed to say, "This is the worst it's been since Dave died; I can't cope. I'm afraid I'm at the point where I'll do something stupid." We both knew what that meant. She said, "I'll get Eddie and we'll be there as soon as we can."

Now this is the point where it needs be said what that entailed. Mary (and her son Dustin) had to leave their home in Burkes Garden, drive across a rather treacherous mountain, to Bluefield, WV, pick up Eddie, then drive to my home. That's a distance of about fifty miles...and in the night time low temps, snow and ice and it took them about two and a half hours when normally, it would have taken an hour, thereabouts.

The outside wall is a sheet of brown ice, colored by the floor stain and, yes, the wall will need to be painted in the spring. This process will take the house, and me, months to recover.

As soon as they got here, Eddie took over and Mary took me aside saying, "You need to stop, stand still and let's pray" and that's exactly what we did. Mary and I are both Bible reading, Bible believing Christians and, in the name of Jesus, she prayed for any and all evil (Satan) to leave this house immediately. She prayed for the peace and grace of Jesus to prevail, for any doubts in my mind to be gone.

You may know what the Bible says..."where two or three are gathered together" and for Mary praying I am eternally grateful. Actually, we'll probably never know, until we get to heaven, the full impact of her prayer.

When we couldn't get the water stopped, I called Daniel Miller who came and used rubber inner tube to slow the flow of boiling water. Both Daniel and Eddie are handier than pockets on a shirt and what they've forgotten isn't worth knowing!

Sunday wore on into Monday before things were to the point we could collapse and I'm pretty sure I may have passed out before folks were down the driveway. Even so, that didn't happen until the wee hours.

~ ServPro's heating mats ~

I would have thought exhaustion would cause me to pass out, and it did but only for a few hours. I woke early, sent an e-mail to my insurance company to get things going and, as soon as it was "working hours", I called ServPro and Jeff and Taylor came that afternoon. In the meantime, Mary, her children and Eddie returned and clean up began in ernest. By that I mean, Eddie started tearing down remaining wet sheet rock, moving furniture, etc.

So, what's the good news? Well, God is faithful and this is part of His plan. Other good news...once again, I can see how beautifully and well made is this old house. In the above photo, the mortise and tenon brace is evident and this is only one in the room, there are others along with knee braces and supports. In the attic, the joists are numbered in the Roman Numeral style...the way things were done by Master Builder Thomas Hawkins back in the 1800-1900's. I've always said living on this farm has been the best one-third of my life and nothing that's happened changes my mind. Bless the name of God, I am bowed but not broken.

How am I doing? As Dave would say, "C, C-" for a variety of reasons: I'm not sleeping well due to keeping the house so warm hot to dry out the plus 100 year old wood. I've moved to a spare bedroom and will live there for the foreseeable future but last night it was 85 degrees. The dogs pant and sleep restlessly and I sweat and sleep restlessly; I've been up since 2:30 and it's now after 6 a.m. I'm not eating well...takes energy I simply don't have and am busy talking to contractors (Gillespie Construction), plumbers (Daniel Jones), insurance adjuster, ServPro...on and on the list goes. Also, the machines being used to dry and de-humidify are LOUD...relentlessly LOUD and I've a constant headache. Plus, I can't use the coffee pot, microwave, convection oven or stove oven because the machines are pulling all the electricity and causes circuit breakers to flip off.

Last night, Brandon H. and his crew, delivered two loads of locust, cherry and red oak (hurrah!!), I'll have to order more oil and propane and it feels like I'm burning though money that would give Bill Gates pause. Bless God, today the temps are already in the 50's so the dogs and I will be able to get outside for a nice long gambol after I've returned from town errands.

For your prayers, I am ever grateful and, with God's help, I'll get through this as well (but, sorry to say, I'm sure to be even more negligent in responding to comments). In an effort to be "normal" (whatever that means...) yesterday, Eddie and I began clearing/cleaning the living room which is where the brunt of belongings were stashed while I was frantically rescuing things from the dining room. He then set up my laptop computer on the desk and linked it to my scanner/printer. It's my intent, when clean up, construction, etc. becomes overwhelming, to begin work on the story of the best one-third of my life. The working title is The Thistle Cove Farm Epistles ~ God Has a Plan.

Wish me well, eh?

Ponder this ~

"God has not promised skies always blue 
flower strewn pathways all our lives through 
God has not promised sun without rain
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain

But God has promised strength for the day
Rest for the labor, light for the way
Grace for the trials, help from above
Unfailing sympathy, undying love. 

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden many a care

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide
Never a mountain, rocky and steep
Never a river, turbid and deep."    (here)

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Sabbath Keeping


Friday, January 06, 2017

Jan 6 - Theophany and Three Wise Women

We're well into the New Year of 2017 and, surely, I hope your Holydays were as cozy, special and peaceful as mine. This season was the best in many years; more than five to be exact. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point this last year, peace was the lovely gift given by Abba. Peace regarding Dave's death; peace regarding those who've stolen, lied, cheated me in the ensuing years; peace regarding my animals; peace regarding the house and farm; peace that everything will be okay...Everything's Gonna Be Okay!

Today is Theophany (manifestation of God), also know as the Epiphany; some may call it Three Kings Day, when the three kings visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem. It's the 12th Day of Christmas and, accordingly, my few, special decorations are still in place. Three candles represent not only the three wise men but also the Trinity, of which Christ was the human representative on earth. Those three wise men aren't named in the Bible but it's commonly accepted their names were Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar and represented Europe, Arabia and Africa. Gold (representing money), frankincense (adoration of a consecrated life) and myrrh (sharing in the Lord's sorrows) were brought as gifts for the baby. I believe in two more things...the gold represented the thirty pieces of silver given Judas when he betrayed Christ and the frankincense and myrrh represented the ointments used to anoint the body of Christ after His death.

The other I believe is more practical. The gold was used to pay the way for the family to travel to Egypt to escape the infanticide of Herod while the frankincense and myrrh were used to treat physical problems and ailments along the way. Joseph, Mary's husband, was a carpenter and he would have been used to those occasional accidents requiring ointments while Mary may well have been pregnant again by that time so those ointments would have come in most handy.  
Frankincense is known to relieve stress, used as a disinfectant and in healing wounds to name a few. Myrrh is an antioxidant, anti-parasitic with many uses. I've read some who say aromatherapy is "bad and anti-Christian" but my Bible says God gave us plants to use; like Joseph told his brothers, "You meant it for evil but God used it for good." My God is a mighty big God and I trust He'll sort things out.

Do you observe Theophany? If so, how?

Now for a lighter mood...if Three Wise Women visited the Christ Child, as my new mug says...

"They Who are Wise Women...if there had been three wise women, they would have arrived three days early, swept the stable, gathered fresh linens and had a hot meal ready and waiting when the Christ child arrived.  Yet they come today, bearing three precious gifts...Love, laughter & friendship!"

Marti, a friend of decades (Really! I have so few...any?... friends of less than decades!) gave this mug to me for Christmas. It's by the artist Suzy Toronto (Life is All About How You Handle Plan B...and ain't that the absolute truth!)

and has given much joy in the few days since Christmas morning.

The inside says "Wonderful Wacky Wise Women still seek Him" and so we do.

The Cove is in the midst of a snow storm with more snow expected so I've put together a soup of country ham, potatoes, home canned tomatoes, white beans and sweet onions. The slow cooker, otherwise known as my cast iron kettle, simmers merrily on the stove,

waiting the addition of home made bread with home churned butter and honey from my brother's hives, and sweet milk to round out supper.

Do I know how to eat or what?! lol I wish you were here to share with me; it's going to be grand!

This is a day of large beginnings...but isn't every day? I have a few plans for this year...some delightful travel, visits with family and friends, quilting, knitting some hats, boot toppers and scarves. I'm hopeful my aspirations aren't larger than my! I'm leaving a legacy for family, friends and strangers. I'm trying to be Jesus-like and some days I actually succeed; other days I fail miserably but don't let that stop me from trying again and again and...

There's time enough daylight to throw some hay out for the horses and my helpers are willing although not very able (due to lack of thumbs but their enthusiasm is contagious!). My plans are simple...feed everyone (including myself), keep everyone happy (including myself) and treat others the way I'd like to be treated.

Big plans? Not really, but good, really good, plans.

Ponder this ~ life and time are the world's two great teaches us to make good use of time and time teaches us the value of life ~

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"In the beginning God created..."

"Life has no remote,
so wake up and change it."
~ Sushil Singh ~

"I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's." ~ Henry Moore ~

"It is difficult to live in the present,
ridiculous to live in the future
and impossible to live in the past.
Nothing is as far away as one minute ago."
~ Jim Bishop ~

"One resolution I have made, and try always to keep is this - to rise above the little things." ~ John Burroughs ~

"You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me."
~ Anais Nin ~

"To dress up today in the threadbare garments of yesterday is to create an
impoverished tomorrow." ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough ~

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year." ~ Emerson ~

"He who breaks a resolution is a weakling, he who makes one is a fool."
~ F. M. Knowles ~

"New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time." ~ James Agate ~

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something. So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever." ~ Neil Gaiman ~

"New Year's Day is every man's birthday." ~ Charles Lamb ~

"There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
~ C. S. Lewis

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Please pray ~ praying is a conversation with God. PRAY daily - Praise Him for His many blessings to you and yours; Repent of your shortcomings; Ask for those things that will help you serve Him better, that you want or need; Yield to His spirit as you listen for His quiet whisper. 
Another way to remember is ACT - Ask, Confess, Thankfulness. ~

Sunday, December 25, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS one and all!

~ God bless us everyone! ~

IT'S A BOY! - Sabbath Keeping

"For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and His name shall be called
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace."
~ Isaiah 9:6

"Kneel before the Babe of Bethlehem. Accept the truth that the Kingdom of Heaven is for the lowly, the simple.
Bring to me, the Christ-child, your gifts, truly the gifts of earth's wisest.
The Gold - your money.
Frankincense - the adoration of a consecrated life.
Myrrh - your sharing in My sorrows and those of the world.
"And they presented unto Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh." "
~ A Devotional Diary: God Calling, 1945 ~

Jesus Christ is the only reason Christmas is celebrated; Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. He said, "You must be born again" and "I am the way, the truth and the life." The only way to heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as God's only Son and your Savior. His Holy Spirit will not always woo a person; there will come a time when His Holy Spirit will leave each to their own opinion. When that time comes, hell for all eternity is the future. C. S. Lewis said, "Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unspeakable horror." Choose wisely; your very soul is dependent upon your choice.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

In the Bleak Midwinter

~ click here ~

"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart."
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