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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, February 19, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"Call upon me and I will answer you..."

For those old enough to remember prefixes, God's phone number is JER333. Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue; God hears the prayers of His righteous people but the only prayer God hears of a sinner is the prayer of salvation. Tennessee Ernie Ford sang a great song, Give Me Jesus On The Line, here.

"We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us. He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured.
Drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Drudgery is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal-the utterly mean grubby things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13. We see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of drudgery, washing fishermen's feet, and He says--"If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash another's feet." It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing forever afterwards.It may be the most common-place thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Ghost." ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

"Do not forget to meet all your difficulties with love and laughter. Be assured that I am with you. Remember, remember it is the last few yards that tell. Do not fail Me. I cannot fail you. Rest in My love.
How many of the world's prayers have gone unanswered because My children who prayed did not endure to the end. They thought it was too late, and that they must act for themselves, that I was not going to act for them. Remember My words: "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."
Can you endure to the end? If so, you shall be saved. But endure with courage, with Love and laughter. Oh! My children, is My training too hard?
For you, My children, I will unlock the secret treasures hidden from so many. Not one of your cries is unheard. I am with you indeed to aid you. Go through all I have said to you, and live in every detail as I have enjoined you. As you follow implicitly all I say, success-spiritual, mental and physical-shall be yours. Wait in silence while, conscious of My presence, in which you must live to have rest unto your souls, and Power and Joy and Peace." ~ God Calling

The above are today's devotions, along with the last five chapters of Romans, the book of Romans being the story of God's relentless grace. I try and pay attention to God's whisper, His guidance and direction. I don't always know what He means by what He's saying but I do recognize His voice and, these past few days, He's been speaking to me through God Calling, Oswald Chambers, Romans and C. S. Lewis' Narnia and Prince Caspian. There's a point in the film where Lucy alone sees Aslan and he bids her come. Her siblings cannot see Aslan and they deride Lucy, eventually persuading her to turn and go with them and, almost immediately, things begin to not go well. To hear God's call and ignore it is a frightening thing with unknown circumstances, but in even those circumstances, God will be with us.

It makes me ask myself the question...when and how have I gone my own way and, in doing so, missed out on God's blessing, protection, promise? While I never question my salvation, I'm always questioning how I can better follow Him, hear His voice, do His will. 

If you're a Christian, I strongly encourage you to read and watch all of C. S. Lewis' books, especially the Narnia series, either chronologically or published order. When you do, hear God's whisper through the books and apply to your own walk.

The epic mess, begun January 8, continues but the contractors have sheet rock in place and primed and, on Friday, the floors were stained. Since then, my body has all but shut down from the horrific odor. Today, I went to WalMart pharmacy and asked for help; they sold me allergy meds and eye drops and I can see a little improvement. What frightened me most were my eye balls (and lids), irritated, weeping...but the eye ball swelling and the headache since Friday is most frightening. Please pray people men will come tomorrow to work on the camper (yes, the one that's for sale) so it can be moved to the house, hooked up to electric and I can live in it for the next week or two. At least until the poly odor, putting down poly tomorrow, abates. (The dogs and I tried staying at Super 8 but the dogs were good watch dogs...every time someone walked down the hall, the dogs barked...not so good.)

Friends, these more than five years since Dave's death, I have leaned on God as never before in my life. I know God keeps me, the animals and the farm safe; I know He's gone before me, carried me at times and yet, sometimes, I feel abandoned. That lie is from the father of lies and has no place in my home or in my life! You are being lied to as might be health problems, a wayward child, marital difficulties, financial, job, vehicles on the fritz, know your difficulties but, better yet, God knows them. He will never leave you nor forsake you; He has written your name on the palm of His hand, you are the apple of His eye. Do NOT listen to lies; focus on God...His promises, mercy, grace, love, forgiveness. Feed yourself on those things that will encourage you and give you life and a future both now and in eternity.

"For God so loved the world 
that He gave His one and only Son
that whoever believes on Him
should not perish
but have everlasting life."

Please pray one for another.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"Lord, the God of our ancestors, 
are you not the God who is in heaven? 
You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. 
Power and might are in your hand, 
and no one can withstand you."

"The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender."

"There is no such thing as a great man of God,
only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a 
great and merciful God."
~ Paul David Washer ~

"God is in charge of His universe. That He desires to use our prayers to accomplish His will is breathtaking. Without our assurances of God's sovereignty, our prayers would be weak. How could we count on a God who isn't sovereign to offer us help in time of need? Our great strength in prayer, then, is not dependent so much on us as it is dependent on our God who, because of His sovereignty, is able to answer our prayers." ~ Nick Harrison ~

"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance.
It is laying hold of His willingness."
~ Martin Luther ~

"Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we
saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, "God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do." ~ R. C. Sproul ~

"When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head." ~ C. H. Spurgeon ~

"In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery."
~ Augustine of Hippo ~

"That which should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-power and all-loving God. Our suffering has meaning and purpose in God's eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good."
~ Jerry Bridges ~

"God removes the sin of the one who makes humble confession,
and thereby the devil loses the sovereignty
he has gained over the human heart."
~ Saint Bernard ~

"Behind Calvary's cross
is the throne of Heaven."
~ James Stewart

"Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a tyrannical despot, but the exercised pleasure of one who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise, He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous, He will not do wrong. Here then is the preciousness of this truth. The mere fact itself that God's will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice."  ~ Arthur W.Pink ~

"With God all things are possible."

Please pray for ~ Diana and John ~ Bonnie and family ~ Jim ~ Sandra ~ the house is still in total disarray, please pray for people to come together, in agreement, so we can begin ~ 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"Wait on the Lord.
Be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."

"I am thy shield. Have no fear. You must know that "All is well." I will never let anyone do to you both, other than My Will for you.
I can see the future. I can read men's hearts.I know better than you what you need. Trust me absolutely. You are not at the mercy of Fate or buffeted about by others. You are being led in a very definite way, and others, who do not serve your purpose, are being moved out of your Path by Me.
Never fear, whatever may happen. You are both being led. Do not try to plan. I have planned. You are the builder, not the Architect.
Go very quietly, very gently. All is for the very best for you."
~ God Calling ~

"Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is "timing"
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way."
~ Fulton J. Sheen

"If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us; it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord's people have always been a waiting people." ~ Charles Spurgeon ~

"Men trust God by risking rejection.
Women trust God by waiting."
~ Carolyn McCulley

"Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be."
~ John Ortberg ~

"Quite honestly, most people are quick to "write someone off." But our God is a God of the second chance. Learn from One who is patient with you, and you'll learn to be patient with others." ~ Woodrow Kroll ~

"He may delay because it would not be safe to give us at once what we ask; we are not ready for it. To give ere we could truly receive, would be to destroy the very heart and hope of prayer, to cease to be our Father. The delay itself may work to bring us nearer to our help, to increase the desire, perfect the prayer, and ripen the receptive condition." ~ George Macdonald ~

"Fall on your knees and grow there. There is no burden of the spirit but is lighter by kneeling under it. Prayer means not always talking to Him but waiting before Him till he dust settles and the stream runs clear." ~ F. B. Meyer ~

"A man must not stop listening any more than praying when he rises from his knees. No one questions the need of times of formal address to God, but few admit in any practical way the need of quiet waiting upon God, gazing into His face, feeling for His hand, listening for His voice." ~ Charles H. Brent ~

"But how much self-reliance obtains in Christian service. More effort is exerted in planning and arranging than in waiting upon the Lord. Double is the time expended on preparing the division and conclusion of a sermon than on receiving the power from on high because there is so much trust in the flesh."
~ Watchman Nee ~

"Never was a faithful prayer lost. Some prayers have a longer voyage than othrs, but then they return with their richer landing at last, so that the praying soul is a gainer by waiting for an answer." ~ William Gurnall ~

"That world outside there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity, it's waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity." ~ Leonard Ravenhill ~

"Wait is a verb."
~ Sandra

"And while staying with them 
He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for the promise of the Father."
~ Acts 1:4

Please pray for ~ Sissie at Shabby Cottage ~ Diana and John ~ Jim ~ Stephanie ~ Sandra ~

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"I am here to serve you."

As we slide toward January's closing, a few photos to give you a glimpse of Heaven on earth. The above is similar to the header photo; the valley view I see daily and it's always fresh and new.

A volunteer among the Jade plant; the amaryllis came from...? I haven't any idea but it's a lovely, unexpected surprise.

Maiden Spring is absolutely roiling; I've not seen it this full in some years. Please note although road signs says "Maiden Springs" there is but one spring, no more. When I pointed this out to a VDOT employee, I was told, "Well, it'll cost to much to change everything so we won't." I have a hunch this error was made due to the VDOT sign that references the fort that was nearby. That sign says, "Maiden Springs Fort..." and thus the error continues. The fort was established by Reese Bowen, an umpty-umpth grandfather of Dave's, and garrisoned in Dunnmore's War in 1774. Dave's mother always told the story of one of her umpty-umpth Grandfather, c. 1750 who, while on a hunting expedition, saw a maiden deer drinking from the spring and thus the name. She always claimed her kin were the first settlers while I always claimed they were the second as the Shawnee were the first...rightfully. We never agreed to

Whenever I cross the mountain to buy groceries or gasoline, I pass by Maiden Spring, sometimes seeing deer, cattle and, on this day, Canada geese.

Pulling the car to the side of the road, I visited for a while and enjoyed watching them perform their ablutions. 

There were dozens, both sides of the creek, making huge splashes and talking loudly to each other. It was easy to hear them over the roar of the water.

If you're curious as to how the house restoration is's going slowly. Low temps (in the 20's F) and high winds mean the house is cold. Thursday I caved and Eddie and I went to Lowe's where I purchased enough insulation to cover the outside walls.

I'd already purchased two heaters built to heat 1,000 square feet to knock the edge off the cold. Both rooms are about 18x18 feet so knocking the edge off is a very good thing...especially at night while sleeping because the bedroom has no heat save that little heater. The other heater is for the upstairs bathroom which is much less expensive than more frozen pipes.

Now I'm searching for radiators for the bedroom but so many people are going to heat pumps (UGH!) the call for radiators is minimal. I've made inquiries (thanks Ashley!) of two separate folks who might have the old fashioned radiators and might be willing to sell me a couple. Someone else (thanks John!) told me the people who make those outside wood stoves also deal in radiators.

Earlier this week, I spoke with a man who deals in Persian carpets and rugs; we made an appointment for me to take my (ruined) rug to him for evaluation. When that day dawned, it was snowing and sleeting so I called to reschedule. When I apologized for being too timid to drive two hours in inclement weather, his response was, "Please don't apologize. I am here to serve you and we can always reschedule when weather is better."

WOW! "I am here to serve you" has resonated with me ever since that conversation. Have you ever had a stranger tell you, "I am here to serve you"?
Have you ever had a Christian say those words to you? Have you ever said them to anyone? Does the idea of saying them to someone, a stranger, attract or repel you? It's been a clarion call to me and I question how well I'm serving Christ by serving others.

My planner serves me both daily and long term...the calendar pages I use are by Kathy Davis Studios and for each month she has an admonition. For January, it is "Seek Peace"....hmmmm...just can't get away from peace, can I? Nor do I want to get away from

Yes, this month has been "challenging" and the problems, not issues!, continue but, throughout it all, peace has been both blessing and gift. Although there is much to be done to restore house and belongings, I am beginning to slow down. Helpers come and go but I'm here 24/7 and the burden of all that needs to be done is wearing me thin. Laundry has been enormous due to salvaging by washing and drying my quilting materials and supplies instead of simply throwing them away. Throwing something away when it can be saved by some hands-on work goes against my Appalachian thrifty soul. The dining room furniture is being glued and, in time, will be restored to the best of Eddie's ability but there's no need to hurry as it will, ultimately, only hinder the process. Therefore, I believe I'll begin taking weekends off and will focus on doing those things I've been neglecting. Such as meal preparation, sewing, cleaning (notice where this is in and other things to be a balm and solace to ME. In other words, for a while, I am going to add me to the mix and I am going to

Ponder this ~ "Home! And happy to be." ~ Truman Capote ~

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"God changes times and seasons;
He deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise and
knowledge to the discerning."

"I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."
~ Ronald Reagan ~

"To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick."
~ Suzy Kassem ~

"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up. We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt ~

"No man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it. The honeymoon would be as short in that case as any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be ransomed by years of torment and hatred."
~ Thomas Jefferson ~

"It's not doing what is right that's hard for a President. It's knowing what is right."
~ Lyndon Johnson ~

"Ninety-nine percent of failures come 
from people who make excuses."
"The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph." 
~ George Washington

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives."
~ James Madison ~

"I am a slow walker
but I never walk backwards."
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

"I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessing on this house (the White House) and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof!" ~ John Adams ~

"Live simply,
 love generously, 
care deeply, 
speak kindly, 
leave the rest to God."
~ Ronald Reagan

"At the right time, he will make him known.
God is the blessed and only Ruler,
the King of kings and Lord of Lords."

Please pray - for peace to be in the land and in the people ~ for President Trump and his Administration ~ for compassion, mercy, kindness to replace hatred ~

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Air is Heavy and Scent Hangs Deep

~ Girly loves Sam with Gray Lady (rear) and Smudge Moonbeam ~

For a good portion of the last two weeks, we've had warm weather...very warm weather which is in direct conflict with snow, high wind chills of below zero double digits and temps of -5 degrees F we had Sunday, January 8 which caused this. It's been an epic, chaotic mess and had you asked me last night if I was up to it (after almost two weeks) I would have said, "NO!" Today, after a sleep of ten hours, I'm saying, "With God's continued help...". 

But I'm ahead of myself...every morning the air is heavy, pregnant with moisture, some days pouring buckets, other days only misty. The dogs are ecstatic as they chase scent after scent that hangs deep over the ground's surface. Even I see evidence of skunk, raccoon and, many times, startle the o'possum stealing eating cat food on the back porch. 

~ evidence of skunk activity ~

Let's get one thing, I do not feed the possum, the possum is a thief and contrary to what you see on face book...possums are dangerous critters, carrying in their feces protozoan that can cause Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM which can kill a horse. So, I allow the possum to steal cat food because it keeps him/her close to the house and not in the pasture; I'm choosing my evil, so to speak. What I'd really like to do is capture the thing and take them for a nice, long drive across the mountain!

This morning before dawn, at 0:dark thirty, I heard the far away call of Canada Geese. This is a surprise because they aren't due back for another couple of months; apparently, the warm weather is confusing a lot of us. My daffodils are pushing through the ground, trees are budding and all sorts of spring mischief is happening. Even I can smell the scent of fusty, furry little bodies and it drives the dogs in a tizzy as they wander from grass to shrubs to bush. 

The house is, slowly, being put back to right; the dining room is cleared of insulation, sheet rocks, staples, nails, heavy heating and de-humidifying machines (as an aside...cannot say enough great things about Jeff, Tyler and ServPro...I hope you'll NEVER need their services but the Kingsport ServPro is marvelous!) while the floor has been swept (many times), mopped (many times) and the dining room table is upside down, on mats, while Eddie is gluing legs together. The legs need to be attached so the table can be turned right side up in order to determine if the top can be restored. As of now, the top is white, due to water damage...this dining room suite was purchased by my mother-in-law and her husband when they began housekeeping in the mid 1930's and I want it restored along with the rest of the damaged furniture.

When the table is finished, the other pieces will be moved into the room and work started on them but it's impossible to know, yet, how much or what damage has been done. 

~ corner knee braces ~

~ joins to strengthen the length of support beam ~

It's been delightful to see, again, the hand hewn construction of this lovely old home! Dave and I looked at, then purchased this farm in 1995 and the real estate agent told us the house was built in 1900, but as she was wrong about so many other things, I now know she was wrong about this as well. I've been in touch with an employee of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources who says he's convinced this house was built 1850 to 1875 and others brought in to see my home concur. In the National Register of Historic Places registration paperwork for the 1879 St. Claire home, the then owner of my home, Mr. A. (Abindigo) White is referenced proving my home pre-dates the St. Claire home. 

In this photo, the center board has been notched to hang over the support beam below it which adds strength that is unattainable with mere nails. The nails appear to be hand cut.

The technique used above, showing the small piece jutting through the left side board is called mortise and tenon. Woodworkers have used this technique for thousands of years to join wood pieces, adding strength and security.

In the ceiling, original X braces add stability while Dave had the carpenter add other long boards, screwing and bolting them to their adjacent neighbor. The under floor of my bedroom is as beautiful as the top...more so since the top has had the stain boiled away. (The heating system is a boiler system, oil fueled hot water and when the pipes froze, burst and thawed, the hot water was fierce.)

Early days, when we were renovating, we found a piece of wood signed Thomas Hawkins, who was the original builder. We placed it behind the wall and in keeping with his sentiments, I labeled the inside clapboard with this: 

Thistle Cove Farm
Bought May 1995
To God be the glory
F. Dave Bricker
Sandra K. Bennett
married front lawn 
July 22, 1995
Dave died Nov 5, 2011 @ home

Now, not only will I leave my heart here, I'll leave this little testimony.

My hand knitted stockings are hung by the fireplace, adding to the home spun simplicity of candle lanterns, churns and small, wooden box. Probably, it's too much for some but it suits me and brings pleasure every time I see it, especially when there's a fire lit. 

Some spinning wheels are damaged but can be repaired, some Persian wool rugs are a total loss (hand spun, hand dyed, hand woven) while other modern poly are just about good as new and could, probably, survive the Tribulation

When the situation overwhelms, the dogs and I go for a Ranger ride and we see amazing sights, like the eagle above, that restore soul sanity. The peace spoken of here remains although tears have broken through twice. Still, that's not too bad and the men told me, "You're handling this extremely well!" I guess they've seen it all and my attitude is, "Why add to a stressful situation?" That's not going to help and might even hurt, if not me then others and certainly the "little Christ" I strive to be. I'm happy the animals and I escaped injury, I'm happy to have Mary as a BFF, I'm happy to have insurance, I'm happy to have good health, I'm happy Eddie and Faith have been able to help, I'm happy God has a plan.

 I'm happy.

Ponder this ~ God doesn't abandon His plans and made you as He planned in order to use you as He planned ~ 

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 ~
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