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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, October 07, 2018

Sabbath Keeping - Keep It Holy

"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

"Is it not interesting that the one Commandment
 that begins with 'remember' is the one
Commandment mainstream Christianity
has forgotten?"
~ unknown ~

"I first found delight in the Sabbath many years ago, when, as a busy surgeon, I knew that the Sabbath became a day of personal healing. By the end of each week, my hands were sore from repeatedly scrubbing them with soap, water and a bristle brush. I also needed a breather from the burden of a demanding profession." ~ Russell M. Nelson

"Keeping the Sabbath day holy is 
much more than just physical rest. 
It involves spiritual renewal and worship." 
~ James E. Faust

"If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation as not as something to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame attentiveness to your life."
~ Eugene H. Peterson ~

"Anybody can observe the Sabbath, 
but making it holy sure takes the rest of the week. 
~ Alice Walker

"On Sabbath, the work is never done but we are invited to set it aside for the moment to dwell in the presence of God, to experience the sacred right in the middle of the secular." ~ Terri Lynn Underwood ~

"The Sabbath isn't about resting perfectly;
it's about resting in the One who is perfect."
~ Shelly Miller

"The Sabbath provides wonderful opportunities to strengthen family ties."
~ Russell M. Nelson ~

"Keeping the Sabbath day holy is a refuge from the storms of this life."
~ Quentin L. Cook ~

"The Sabbath is a weekly cathedral raised up in my dining room, in my family, in my heart." ~ Anita Diament ~

"Sabbath is God's metronome, marking out a weekly rhythm of rest and renewal. It is our reference point for knowing how to plan and live our lives. Without the Sabbath, our lives are a jumbled mess of individual events; with Sabbath, they can be a beautiful balance of labor and rest." ~ Kerri Weems

"The people who misuse the Sabbath lose the blessings of spiritual food and growth promised to those who keep this commandment."
~ Joseph B. Wirthlin ~

"Who turns down a mini vacation every six days?"
~ Sandra ~

"...But they rested on the Sabbath 
in obedience to the commandment."
~ Luke 23:56 ~

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sabbath Keeping ~ Patience

"For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay."
~ Habakkuk 2:3

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer
Always remember, you have within you the strength,
the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars
and change the world."
~ Harriet Tubman ~

"Adopt the pace of nature;
her secret is patience."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"Patience is not simply the ability to wait
it's how we behave while we wait."
~ Joyce Meyers ~

"The two most powerful weapons in the world are patience and time."
~ Leo Tolstoy ~

"Patience is a form of action." ~ unknown ~

"Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, 
waiting and growing,
practicing patience and
being persistent."
~ Billy Graham

"Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success." ~ Napoleon Hill ~

"Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals." ~ David A. Bednar ~

"Be patient and understanding.
Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious."
~ Phillips Brooks ~

"Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past.
Rather it is a spirit that bears things - with resignations yes, but above all,
with blazing, serene hope."
~ Corazon Aquino ~

"Two things define you: 
your patience when you have nothing 
and your attitude when you have everything."
 ~ unknown ~

"Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
~ Romans 5:2-4 ~

Yesterday, here at Thistle Cove Farm we celebrated 445 collective years of wisdom when we celebrated birthdays: Daddy (90), Mom (84), Minnie (90), Helen (90) and Ruby (91). We also celebrated Mom and Daddy's 67th wedding anniversary and Thistle Cove Farm was dedicated because God has a good plan for this farm and for His glory. The day was perfect, temps were in the mid-70's F, just cloudy enough to keep the sun from being too hot, the food was delicious, the company grand, the prayers heartfelt. God blessed us with beauty, love, mercy, grace. One word describes the day: perfect!

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Sabbath Keeping ~ Aliens

"Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst
formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting,
thou art God."

"We meet aliens every day who have something to give to us. They come in the form of people with different opinions." ~ William Shatner ~

"Let's pray the human race never escapes from earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking." ~ George MacDonald ~

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they've looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life." ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson ~

"My folks came to the US as immigrants, aliens and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, and went to Hollywood to become an alien."
~ Leonard Nimoy ~

"Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun."
~ J. R. R. Tolkien

"Our Constitution protects aliens, drunks and US Senators."
~ Will Rogers ~

"Those who belong to God are aliens in this world.
Those who belong to this world are alienated from God."
~ Ephesians 2:12 ~

Peaches died today; she's been a faithful friend, loved by everyone who met her. She's gone to meet Lightly, her first foal, Abigail, Gracie, Shadow and all other Thistle Cove Farm inhabitants who loved her. I'm quite confident Dave met her at the pearly gates. 

Friday, September 07, 2018

The Best Way to Be Prepared is to Plan Ahead - for a Conference

~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent (in chair), Smudge Moonbeam (black cat) 
and Sadie BeauHunkus Ridge (lower right corner) 
three reasons it's hard for me to leave home ~

Over the decades (yes, I am that old - lol), it's been a privilege to both attend and speak at various conferences, conventions and workshops as well as being the event planner. Along the way, useful information has been gleaned, too much for one blog post, but take what you can use and forget the rest.

If you're attending Ruth Soukup's Elite Blog Academy Activate 2018, give yourself a pat on the back for taking your blog business seriously! As best you can, tweak your blog or website before leaving home as it represents you in absentia. You'll hand out business cards like candy on October 31st so making your blog/website look good, if not great, is a priority.

The best way to be prepared is to plan ahead, always keeping a good and flexible attitude. Murphy's Law doesn't take a holiday and, let's face it, if it can go wrong, somehow, someway it usually will go wrong. That's okay because as my favorite philosopher Heraclitus of old said, "It is what it is".

~ mixed with water to boost immune system ~ 

Throughout the year I drink elderberry juice concentrate mixed in glasses of water to boost my immune system thus preventing viral infections or alleviating symptoms. Sambucol is an elderberry syrup developed by a female Israeli scientist and is what I use when I can't find the elderberry juice concentrate. (There are recipes to make your own but I've not tried that yet.) Take hand wipes and use them generously, beginning with those plastic bins at the TSA station. Studies show those bins have more viruses than a bathroom!

Before, during and after the conference, make sure you get enough sleep and healthful food. I take high protein snacks: nuts, protein bars, dark chocolate to tide me between meals or as meals. If I'm exhausted, I'll find a quiet place (my room or restaurant corner or sofa) and recharge my batteries. I'd rather miss thirty minutes or an hour than work myself into illness and miss everything.

Earlier this year, I attended She Speaks Conference and was continually amused at the enormous quantities of suitcases brought in by other attendees. My travel motto is, "Never take more than I can run with" and, as I've aged, the suitcase gets lighter and lighter although when traveling by car, I still tend to over pack.  Before packing and walking out the door, there are other things that make the journey less stressful and the return home easier and more pleasant.

You've made travel arrangements...vehicle has been checked over (gas, tires, oil, windshield wipers, etc.) or plane tickets purchased, airport transfer arranged, hotel reserved and copies made (either hard copies or with your phone), business cards printed with head shot photo (but, if you've got business cards now without your photo...use them!) so now...

Remove everything in your wallet not needed for this trip. Generally, that's everything except photo identification, credit card or two, insurance and/or Medicare cards and money (twenty $1 bills for tips). I take my ATM card but without plans to use it as it's easier and less expensive to use credit cards if they're paid off every month. Make hard copies (both sides) or photo (both sides) with phone and either keep in separate, safe place or e-mail to yourself.

I've a beautiful leather briefcase no longer used because it's a thief magnet and weighs too much but has great sentimental value so I keep it. Instead, I've begun carrying a one strap back pack that's black, lightweight and handles all the business paraphernalia (cards, copies, pens, notebook) as well as a laptop, necessary electrical cords, paperback and a small purse that's put into use once I board my final flight. A dedicated business card holder or a small cosmetic bag contains extra cards; I'd rather bring a few home than run out.

~ backpack, business cards, pen/card holder ~ 

What works for me - a pre-printed list that's checked as I pack. My clothes include a basic, all in black, skirt, underclothes, tees/blouse's with scarves to alleviate the black. A crushable black knit jacket helps with too cold planes or conference rooms. Jewelry is the same for the entire conference: wooden watch (conversation starter as I'm an introvert and need helpful, turquoise bracelet and necklace with silver/turquoise earrings. To supplement the black skirt, one tee/blouse for each conference day plus a black dress. Turquoise or red Ariat boots are the only shoes other than slippers that wear next to nothing and do double duty as pool shoes as I detest walking barefoot in public places. Some women like to wear "killer heels" but I'm over high heels (heck, I can fall off my feet! haha) so "killer boots" are my "thing". Everyone has something (clothes, foot wear, jewelry, cosmetics) that gives them a sly smile making them feel confident or strong or self-assured. Boots do it for me because when I'm on the tractor or working with my horses weighing one or two thousand pounds, I'm in boots. (I take an empty water bottle and, once through flight boarding, begin hydrating.)

In other words...dress the part. You don't have to buy a new wardrobe but leave the clothes behind that say, "I'm a mom or dad" (nothing wrong with being a mom or dad but unless you brought your child, you're YOU for this conference. To get your money's worth, you need to focus on YOU...your needs, wants, making contacts, etc. What would you wear for church service or for a Friday night dinner/movie date with a new person? That's what you'll wear for the conference and, by the way, go light on the perfume or after shave lotion. There are a lot of people with allergies that are triggered by heavy scents; be considerate.

When you've received final materials for the conference peruse the speakers, workshops and one on one time. Match your field with someone who most closely resembles what you're doing or with someone who can assist in taking you to the next level. If you're a Mom or Dad blogger, take a look at all speakers who are Mom or Dad bloggers and choose where the two of you are similar. Or, if you're a fashion or food blogger, match, as best you can, with those in similar fields.

Make a note of people, workshops, 1:1, etc. you specifically want to meet and prepare your questions. What information do you want to receive from them? What can they say or do that will assist you/your blog/your business? When they're speaking, listen for the links between their subject and their talk that gives you an AHA! moment. What works for them and how does it work? How can you use that same information to work for you?

Prepare your branding statement or elevator pitch and keep it short. Be able to state your name, blog name, tag line and your area of expertise. Keep in mind the answers to Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

Talk to people...when you're meeting other conference attendees your opening questions might include: Is this your first time at this conference? If they attended last year ask, "What was your best takeaway?" Other ice breakers: "What's your number one accomplishment this year?" "What's your number one goal for this time next year?" "What's your area of expertise?" "Where do you receive the most exposure or results?"

If you take photos or videos of other people (with or without yourself), ask for their biz cards and make a quick note on what they're wearing. When you return home, it's easier to identify them so you can link with them on your blog or send a quick note. You could also put videos on your blog, YouTube or other sites thus using social media to gain exposure for yourself and others.

Keep all collected business cards in one place. It's too easy to toss a card in a pocket, back pack, purse, etc. and come across them much later but if you go with a specific place to put them, you'll have them all at hand when you get home.

Speaking of home...have a plan for when you return home. When and how will you connect with folks you've met? If a speaker was simply incredible, send a hand written thank you note (and include your business card) or if someone did an extreme kindness to you, send them a note. It almost goes without saying a hand written note is jaw dropping; be the one who causes the dropped jaw!

If you're in process of making a product to market and if you've the time, consider taking a media kit to promote your product, your blog and you.

~ coming home ~ 

Lastly, Thistle Cove Farm is being updated to So many of you have been friends since the beginning, May 2005 (yes, I've been blogging more than thirteen years!) and along the way. All along, and not just when Dave died, you've tucked me in prayer, encouraged me, sent notes of kindness, showered me with grace and mere words cannot express my gratitude. Please know your name is in my prayer journal and on my prayer list; it's a privilege to remember you when I go before Abba God. Thank you.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Sabbath Keeping ~ God calling

"Before they call
I will answer.
While they are still speaking
I will hear."

"The place God calls you to is the place where
your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
~ Frederick Buechner ~

"When Christ calls a man 
He bids him come and die."
~ Deitrich Bonhoeffer

"God did not direct His call to Isaiah - Isaiah overheard God saying, "...who will go for Us?" the call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God's call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude." ~ Oswald Chambers ~

"Do we enjoy our work, love our work, virtually worship our work so that our devotion to Jesus is off-center? Do we put our emphasis on service, usefulness, or being productive in working for God-at His expense? Do we strive to prove our own significance? To make a difference in the world? To carve our names in marble on the monuments of time? The call of God blocks the path of all such deeply human tendencies. We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone. We are not called to special work but to God. The key to answering the call is to be devoted to no one and to nothing above God himself." ~ Os Guinness ~

"Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. ... The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him. ... the men and women our Lord sends out on His enterprises are the ordinary human stuff, plus dominating devotion to Himself wrought by the Holy Spirit. Be absolutely His." ~ Oswald Chambers ~

"Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks-we will also find our path of authentic service in the world." ~ Parker Palmer ~

"Today, in principle, the call of the Lord Jesus has not changed. He still says, "Follow me," and adds, "whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." In practice, however, this does not mean for the majority of Christians a physical departure from their home or their job. It implies rather an inner surrender of both, and a refusal to allow either family or ambition to occupy the first place in our lives." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"The man who is called by God is a man who realizes what he is called to do, and he so realizes the awfulness of the task that he shrinks from it."
~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones ~

"You yourselves say, "we won't come," God says, "You shall come." Yes! There are some here who are laughing at salvation, who can scoff at Christ, and mock at the gospel; but I tell you some of you shall come yet. "What!" you say, "can God make me become a Christian?" I tell you yes, for herein rests the power of the gospel. It does not ask your consent; but it gets it. It does not say, will you have it? But it makes you willing in the day of God's power."
~ C. H. Spurgeon ~

"When you receive a call from God, 
you don't hang up."
~ Billy Graham

"The one who calls you is faithful
and He will do it."

Please pray for ~ Ronnie (his wife passed away) ~ Steve (traveling safety) ~ Paul (health) ~ Ruby (health) ~ Helen (health) ~ 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sabbath Keeping - Good Shepherd

"The LORD is my shepherd,
I lack nothing."

"God has entrusted us with His most important possession...His people. He asks us to shepherd and mold them into strong disciples, with brave faith and good character." ~ John Ortberg ~

"The seaman tells stories of winds,
the ploughman of bulls
the soldier details his wounds,
the shepherd his sheep."
~ Laurence J. Peter ~

"Careless shepherd makes excellent dinner for wolf."
~ Earl Derr Biggers ~

"I am like the sick sheep that strays from the rest of the flock. Unless the Good Shepherd takes me on His shoulders and carries me back to His fold, my steps will falter, and in the very effort of rising, my feet will give way."
~ Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus (Jerome) ~

"Bible study without Bible experience is pointless. Knowing Psalm 23 is different from knowing the shepherd." ~ Kingsley Opuwari Manuel ~

"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not skin them."
~ Tiberius ~

"I (Jesus) am the good shepherd. 
I know my own and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.
I must bring them also,
and they will listen to my voice.
so there will be one flock, one shepherd."

Please pray for ~ Mr. Williams and family (my nephew's grandfather has cancer and hospice is now serving him) ~ 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August is winding down...

This is the new Thistle Cove Farm logo; Gina made this wonderful work and Anita gave input. I am over the moon happy; thank you, thank you, thank you! I thought about centering it, in the header, then decided (1) I didn't know how and (2) I really, really like it off-center. Just like me, eh? /grin/   The Wordpress blog is in process; keep the faith.

It's been a year! No, really. It's been a year since I moved to the new to me farm. I've experienced all four seasons and decided I like winter best. Summer here is hotter than the hinges of Hades and, as far as I'm concerned, may exit now and stay gone a few decades. Or centuries. I'm good with either. The animals are all doing well, as am I and God may be thanked for it.

The boxes to be unpacked are down to fifty. Maybe. I'm still giving stuff away (household goods, books, pictures, clothes, etc.) but need help to hang things on walls; things like mirrors that are so heavy, it'll take a couple of strong men with me as supervisor.

A white crane has been fishing at the pond; Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent, isn't at all happy and barks fiercely (from this far side) to let the crane know he's not welcome. The Canada geese haven't yet arrived but I look for them any day now and the blue heron still visits occasionally.

Mom and Daddy were recently interviewed for the Southside Electric Cooperative member magazine; when available, I'll brag about it again -grin.

Last Sunday the family gathered here for supper (as country folks call it because lunch is dinner) and a great time was had by all. Twelve sat, comfortably, around the table while Dustin and his oldest daughter, held up the island. There's no "fine dining" at my place; we practice boarding house reach with a lot of noise, laughter, conversation, dishes hitting against each other, cutlery scraping away at plates. No, we'll never be contenders as Downton Abbey guests but they'll never match us for sheer exuberance and love.

~ the oldest Little ~ 

~ Daddy and Walter holding down the porch ~

Before the day got away from us, the obligatory photo session with grandparents, grandsons and great-grandchildren.

For the photo from last year, click here for that post (and yes, I'm still happy!).

This is the backyard picnic, fire pit, relaxing area. It's still too warm for a fire but it is getting cooler and the Farm Dedication is planned for September. When Dave and I bought the other farm, I walked the land and prayed God would use it for His glory and purpose and it happened! God and Dave took me to amazing places and I saw and did things I couldn't begin to dream of doing. After Dave died, God and I continued on that journey and I've made friends in far flung places and near. It's not been easy but it has been worth the ticket and I'm excited to see what God has in store for me and this farm. So, toward that end, a formal Farm Dedication will take place in September; we'll play horse shoes, corn hole, blow bubbles and talk of God's goodness to us all. Autumn always offers a lot of wonderful things.

I look around and see what has been accomplished, what needs to be accomplished and, frankly, it's still overwhelming but I'm moving forward, one step at a time, every day, and I'm content.

What about you; any big plans for Autumn?

Ponder this ~ 

~ chuckling out loud ~
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