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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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Christmas Season

~ creative use of round hay bales ~

We're entering the Christmas Season, the period that gives us Advent, Christmas Eve and Christmas followed by the Twelve Days of Christmas and the Epiphany. It's time, now, to make a decision; to have hope, or hype, for this Season; to focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas at all.

You've read about A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp's blog and, hopefully, have visited and have her blog on your side bar. Recently she wrote about Faith Comes By Hearing Military Outreach, a project to get into the hands of our military personnel a Military BibleStick 

~pre-loaded with the entire New Testament ~ rugged enough for tough weather conditions ~ for use in low-light situations ~ sized to fit easily into uniform pockets and an MP3 disc of the entire New Testament along with response cards for service members to have New Testaments and KIDZ Bibles sent to their families.

There are many of my family in the military, the all volunteer military, and the Military BibleStick is something that speaks to my heart. It's something I can do that's not knitting or quilting or crocheting; it's something I can do, now, in this Christmas Season, to say "Thank You" to a service man or woman and their families. We usually give money to the local food pantry but this year, I'm feeding one of our own somewhere halfway around the world; I'm feeding their heart and the hearts of their families. Military chaplains are asking for 12,000 BibleSticks and I'm sending four. It's only four but it could be many more; will you, please, join me and send as many as you're able?

Ann also talks about Buy Nothing Christmas. Most of my Christmas gifts are hand made although I like to think of them as hand crafted. They probably aren't, you know, hand crafted, but they are made with lots of love and prayers for the recipient.  I don't buy a lot of gifts and I will recycle gifts; if someone has given me something I'll never use, I don't feel a bit bad about passing it forward to someone who will love and give "it" a good home. I mean, do we really need to buy a lot of stuff just to celebrate Christ's birthday? To give others gifts in order to, perhaps, avoid giving Christ the gift He most wants...ourselves? Buy Nothing also has a wonderful Bible study for youth, although I think a person of any age could benefit from the soul searing questions.

Uncommon Grace has great ideas for Christmas giving and is a lovely blog to visit. Especially, I enjoyed their Michaelmas celebration; I've often wondered about Michaelmas and knew it had something to do with the archangel Michael; after more research I now think this festive celebration will be added to our calendar.
A New Dream has many ways of obtaining a simple Christmas Season in their thirty page PDF document. This is a wonderful reference, suitable for printing and sharing.

 Christmas Change is "a season of change, a life of return"; surely this change appeals to all of us. Their blog is a cozy visit, full of yet more grand ideas for change, both in ourselves and in the way we celebrate the Christmas Season.

Kiva makes micro loans to folks who, in time, pay the loans and the cycle starts anew. Interest rates are incredibly small, enabling people to repay the loans and most of whom are women.

Salvation Army: Doing the Most Good is a charity both Dave and I hold near and dear to our hearts. Unlike so many other "big charities", the Salvation Army operates on a shoe string, relying on those bell ringers to bring in much of their Christmas funding. Perhaps you didn't know, the Salvation Army Director makes about $35K a year, far, FAR less than the $200K+ made by the Red Cross director; even if things such as housing, vehicle, insurance, etc. are included. The Army re-builds lives in SO many ways: working with elderly, working with children and child care centers, working with drug and alcohol rehabilitation, fighting human trafficking, youth camps and, of course, Christmas Kettles.

Charity Navigator is the, independent, place to review the financial health of more than five thousand charities. Not every charity in the USA is listed but there are plenty to review. For example, Salvation Army isn't listed; nor are many religious organizations because they are exempt under the IRS guidelines from filing Form 990 yet I have no qualms about giving to the Army. I've seen them in action, have known people who were "in" the Army and I believe, truly believe, they are doing God's work. And if they aren't, they have God to answer to, not me.

It seems the need is so great and our ability to help is so small, in comparison, but when we give collectively, God can make something wonderful out of something small. Remember the five loaves and two fishes story? With only five loaves and two fishes Christ blessed and fed more than five thousand people. I'd love to see how He's going to work through all of us. Ah well, we'll find out soon enough, if not this side of the veil, then certainly the other side.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ being so blessed we can help others ~

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

~ Morris Knob, Thanksgiving day, partially covered with snow and clouds ~

 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
~ Psalm 46:10 ~

“There is immense power in stillness. A great saint once said, “All things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent.” The words are pregnant with meaning. A knowledge of this fact would immensely change our ways of working. Instead of restless struggles, we would “sit down” inwardly before the Lord, and would let the Divine forces of His Spirit work out in silence the ends to which we aspire. You may not see or feel the operations of this silent force, but be assured it is always working mightily, and will work for you, if you only get your spirit still enough to be carried along by the currents of its power.” ~ Hannah Whitall Smith ~

 "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." ~ Isaiah 40:30-31 ~

"An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind."  ~ Walter Bagehot ~

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."    ~ Albert Schweitzer ~

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." ~ Psalms 28:7 ~

 "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein ~
 "In quiet places, reason abounds." ~ Adlai Stevenson ~

"It's about the journey--mine and yours--and the lives we can touch, the legacy we can leave, and the world we can change for the better." ~ Tony Dungy ~

Until next time,

Blessings ~ change ~ quiet ~ strength ~ stillness ~ the journey ~ our legacy ~ another beautiful day ~

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Thistle Cove Farm, just before dawn ~

Hopefully, everyone had a delightful Thanksgiving, filled with family, good food and great memories. We spent the afternoon with friends who took pity on us, being orphans this Thanksgiving. For many years, our table has been open to anyone who dropped in; we'd share whatever meal we prepared, lift a glass of whatever to toast. I wasn't able to cook this year but the eye injury didn't seem to inhibit my ability to lift a fork...yet another blessing in my life -smile-. We shared a traditional meal complete with a wonderfully moist turkey and all the fixin's and are grateful to Nelson and Dianna for their kindness toward us.

The eye is healing but quite slowly; it still looks dreadful, all bloodshot, red, watery. I'm spending a lot of time sleeping and wear an eye patch in the cold, windy weather. Melanie asked what is it God is trying to teach me and I wonder. My block head doesn't seem to be able to figure it out...yet. Christmas is headed at us like a freight train and I can't see well enough to finish my sewing or knitting projects. I'm hopeful this won't prevent me from going to Russia, time will tell.

For each of you who read this blog, for those who comment...I am grateful for you. Your visit is a kindness in my life and greatly appreciated. God bless you.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ slow living ~ a good eye ~ great friends ~ HolyDays ~ Dave ~

Monday, November 23, 2009

Man Plans, God Laughs

~ the Cove, looking from the head of the valley ~

How many times have you made plans only to have them changed by "circumstances"? Yeah. Me too. This weekend is a case in point. We had plans but early hours found me moaning and groaning, stumbling along the hall, clutching at my left eye and thinking, "Oh No. Here we go again!"

Do you remember the Gary Larson, The Far Side cartoon where the spider, or perhaps insect, is standing beside the big foot, toes pointed upward and the caption read, "I don't know what happened. All of a sudden it was just coming toward me!" Apparently, someone was stuffing their foot into their shoe where a family of spiders or insects...for the life of me, can't remember which...had taken up residence. Their world turned upside down when "this thing", meaning the toes and foot, came at them like a freight train so they did what Nature means for them to do...they bit. YEOUCH! Man plummets like a stone and the little family is safe, again, for the time being. Some of his cartoons may be seen here although I didn't see "mine". Then again, it's all I can do to see this print so there it is.

Early hours, when my eyes opened, all I saw was a Big Foot coming at my left eye and before I could slam my eye s.h.u.t. BAM! that Big Foot was in my eye. YEOUCH! This time we weren't even horsing around, so to speak, we were coming awake, stretching to greet the day. It's been mentioned Sadie is a Large Dog and Large Dogs, generally, have Large Feet. As soon as her foot connected with my eye, I knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, the cornea was scratched. This has happened three times over the years, the most recent being in 2004 when a different dog paw, but same Ridgeback breed, connected with my eye. The first two times were decades ago when I was trying out a pair of hard contact lenses and found out, the painful way, my eyes didn't want to wear contact lenses.

If you've never cut your cornea, count your blessings. If you have, you know the intense, sheer Pain such an injury brings to the forefront of your consciousness. As soon as we were able, Dave took me to the emergency room where --- Thank YOU, Holy God --- we were the second people in the E. R. AND the E. R. doc was a person who spoke English as a first language. Yeah, I know that's not P. C. but it is the truth and I much prefer living by the Golden Rule than living by P. C. The later changes with the whim of a society while the former stands the test of eternity.

Doctor G. confirmed my diagnosis as cut cornea and eyelid then put in some drops for the pain, followed by some soothing antibiotic cream. He asked if I wanted a pain shot with pain pills to take home. I told him, "probably not" and he said, "I'll give you a few minutes to think about it." Lovely, wise man. In about twenty minutes I was asking Dave "find the doctor Right Now and tell him I WANT the pain medicine everything!" About that time, a nurse came into the room and I told her, "My stupid twin has left the building, Please give me pain medication!" I couldn't see and didn't realize it was a different nurse; Dave said she looked startled and he explained what I meant. Lovely, wise woman brought me a shot of something that covered the pain with fluffy white clouds. Ahhhhhh. For someone for whom aspirin is a Major Medication, her stuff was "interesting" say the least.

Today I went to my eye doctor and he said my eye has begun healing nicely and I should be fully recovered by this weekend. It's difficult to see, mainly due to the ointment and pain medication drops I use so I've been listening to audio books, thinking about projects and doing sa bit of web surfing until my eyes becomes too weary to bear the load.

Joni, Old Centennial Farmhouse, had a lovely post about various charities. She had blog hopped to Meadowbrook Farm where she read about Compassion International, I think because Meadowbrook Farm had written a post. Please, forgive me if I erred, it's due to vision difficulties. World Vision is another good ministry that reaches to folks simply because it's what Christ would have us do. Like Joni, I've participated in the Samaritan's Purse Shoebox Blessing and love the fact it gives useful gifts, as well as fun gifts, in a shoebox.

Generally, I keep my charitable giving closer to home but this year, Operation Smile keeps coming to me in various ways, so, I'll send "a piece of money", as Dave's Mother used to say, to Operation Smile.

I followed Joni's lead and visited Meadowbrook Farm --- funny aside, my high school was named Meadowbrook, no relation, smile --- and on to My Farmhouse Kitchen were I read of a young entrepreneur raising money for Heifer International. Heifer is another good charity but without a Christian slant. I know that's called non-partisan in political terms but it escapes me what it's called in this instance. I tend to support charities with a Christian focus for what good does it do for a man to gain the world and lose his soul? At any rate, I'm proud of Miss Helen, the young entrepreneur, for selling lemonade and cookies to raise money.

Next was a visit to Flower Patch Farmgirl where I enjoyed her tale of 'husband with camera stalking wife'. I'm almost always the stalker with a camera so it was fun reading her version and visiting a bit with those cute little kidlets.

The Keeping Room has changed her header photo and this one is Beautiful! It was with great sadness I read of the death of her nephew, Michael. My nephew passed away a couple of years ago and while the pain becomes easier to bear, it is never easy; you and yours are tucked into prayer.

Continuing my blog trek, I visited LuLu to enter her give-away.

Sew, Mama, Sew! continues Handmade Holidays III and Giveaway Day! If you have a giveaway, they will post it on their Dec 2 blog entry. It's a cool way to meet and greet in Blogland and I'm joining in. If you're not familiar with Craft Gossip, check them out...lots of great information to be had there. Edward and Lilly, one of my favorites, is having a lovely give-away as well.

Feedsack Fantasy is my kinda gal; she's sending Christmas cards...and to the ACLU no less! What a sweetheart and I'm going to join in! Also, Xerox is sending Thanks to our Troops.

My nephew, Wesley, is in Afghanistan now and I'm knitting Helmet Liners for he and some of his buddies. I found a Patons free instruction pamphlet at Michaels store but there's also a pattern on-line. I picked up a few extra, if you want one and would like to send it to Wesley's unit, let me know and I'll send you a hard copy. If you do knit one for Wesley's unit and want me to include it in my goodie box, send it to me and I'm happy to forward it on to him with a note saying you are the knitter.

David Wilkerson always has a thoughtful entry; well I remember him from his Cross and the Switchblade days in NYC. He ministered to drug addicts in the day when people weren't really quite sure what that meant, exactly, and he also founded World Challenge.

Ann Voskamp always, always touches me with both her pen and her camera. A Holy Experience is just that...holy and an experience. Recently she quoted St. Augustine in Confessions:

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, every new, late have I loved you!...
Created things kept me from you;
yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all.
You called, You shouted, and You broke through my deafness.
You flashed, You shone, and You dispelled my blindness.
You breathed Your fragrance on me: I drew in breath and now I pant for you."

Doesn't that just make you absolutely weak?

There are so many other bloggers I'd like to tell you about but it will have to wait for another time. My eyes are weakening so I must use my medications and then rest my eyes. You are special and your visit is appreciated So Very Much; your comments even more so. God bless you.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ Doctor G. ~ vision ~ pain meds ~ antibiotic ointment ~ St. Augustine ~ helmet liners ~ our troops ~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

~ His sheep know His voice, John 10:1-10 ~

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." ~ Nehemiah 8:9 ~


"A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live." ~ Bertrand Russell ~


"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."  ~ Galations 5:22 ~

"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"Learn to enjoy what you do; rather than do what you enjoy. It is not always possible to do things that one enjoys. But if you learn the art of joyful living, even seemingly boring chores can bring you joy."   ~ Author Unknown ~

"We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world." ~ Helen Keller ~

"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?" ~ Kahil Gibran ~

"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with." ~ Mark Twain ~

"Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning."  ~ Psalms 30:5 ~

Until next time,

Blessings ~ joy ~ a full life ~ friends ~ sunshine ~ everyday miracles ~ quiet ~

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Acorn Cook Stove, circa 1914

~ Acorn cookstove, circa 1914 ~

This isn't the greatest photo I've ever taken but it does show our cook stove; an Acorn, made in 1914. The stove stop has seven burners, one of which is a sauce simmer and all are propane gas. The three ovens are electric and the warming oven is at top left. One of the ovens is hot, one cool and one is a roasting oven and all work. It's a great stove and I've loved using it even though when our electric goes out, only the burners work. In the winter, when a storm comes, I try and make sure I've got bread made so we're not without if the electric goes out...which it does with great regularity.

Acorns were made in Albany, NY during the last century...the same century in which I was born. Like the way that was phrased, eh? -grin-

While we didn't purchase from the Good Times Stove, they do have a great selection of antique, refurbished stoves. Their blog talks about antique stoves as well as a bit of everything else. Barnstable Stove is another good source of antique vintage stoves.

I don't believe the place we bought our Acorn is still in business but we found the restorer in an issue of This Old House magazine. They did an article on David and his business, we saw the article, called him in January '96 and put in our request. Six months later, he called us back to say our stove was ready. David told us he knew of only two such stoves in existence and the other was in Ralph Lauren's Colorado home. Such things impress some people but I'm not one of 'em; I'm just happy to have such a fantastic stove and can only hope Mr. Lauren loves his old stove as much as we do ours.

Suzanne hosts a Vintage Thingies Thursday and I decided to participate. It's been a lot of fun, visiting other sites that are showcasing vintage things. Funny, that. We used to call it antique but, apparently, now the name has morphed into vintage. At any rate, I see my house belongings in so many of these vintage posts. I suppose that what's happens when you've been housekeeping for as long as I have -smile-. I hope I remember to do this again next week, participate in VTT; it's been fun, talking about our stove and doing a bit of research. Perhaps next week I'll talk about my Romanian fiber and textile artifacts.

Right now, I need to post this so I can bake some Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares for Quilting Bee tonight. I've been a slackard today; time to get something useful accomplished! In the meantime, here's the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares. I wish I could remember where I found these but, at any rate, I've changed the recipe just a tad so, perhaps, the original author wouldn't want to be referenced anyway.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups pumpkin or 15 ounce can
1 cup chocolate chips plus another cup for frosting

Butter or spray a 13x9 inch baking dish and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugars.
Add eggs, stir.
Add pumpkin, stir.
Mix together dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture; blend.
Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes, more of less, depending upon your oven.
Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over baked goods, let melt and then spread as frosting.

P. S. If you're looking for the book give-away, Gift From The Sea, it's in the post prior to this one. 

Until next time,

Blessings ~ our old Acorn stove ~ antiques ~ tripping down memory lane ~ quilting bee ~ home baked goodies ~

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ennui and Give-Away

 Lately, there's been a sense of ennui around here. Nothing definite, nothing I can, quite, put my finger upon but, a very real, air of ennui. The dictionary says ennui is "a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom". I am not bored nor do I have a lack of interest; in truth, I have so many interests I tend to be scattered without focus or concentration. As to "satiety", that's not true either except in the idea of being satiated with work. There's always work to be done and I am overwhelmed with work, to the point of being so far behind, I feel I'll never catch up. I owe people yarn samples, have for some time, and am kicking myself to 'just do it!'

Perhaps the ennui stems from the political scene: it seems so overwhelming and unbearable. We, the voters, are so divergent, so contrary in our opinions and beliefs and seem to have a hard core idea of where, how and when the direction this country should be headed. We don't seem to listen anymore, especially our "elected representatives"; they especially seem to be listening solely to WIIFM radio. They only want to know, "What's In It For Me" and no one else matters, especially constituents.
I'm fearful. For us all.

Perhaps the sense of ennui comes from living in a haphazard state. Regardless of what I, or Dave, wanted, our house is still not finished from the water damage of eleven months ago. We're headed into winter with things left undone even though I asked, begged, pleaded and, eventually, demanded the work be accomplished. All for naught but I'm still going to "fix up" like everything has been accomplished to my satisfaction. The dining room will have furniture moved in, hopefully, this week and the drapes and sheers have been hung. I'll unpack those many, many boxes of porcelain, china and "precious goods" that Dave's mother left behind.

Hmmm. Wait a minute. Perhaps that's also a cause of ennui. Dave's mother passed away a year tomorrow. I wouldn't be surprised if my body is responding to what my mind pushes away. That was a time fraught with overload; she became ill on 3 Nov and passed away on the 19th. A short, furious illness that was caused, essentially, by old age; she was well beyond 95 when she passed away. She died on Wednesday, a few moments before midnight, and was buried on Saturday; that time was full of details, details, details that are now, mostly, forgotten. Not the day though. That Saturday was bitter; the temperature was about 24F, wind chill was around 15F above, snow snugged the ground and sleet split the sky. The only good thing about that week were the people, family and friends who gathered to support, pray and love us through that time.

~ Mrs. Mary Crockett Bowen Bricker ~

Yesterday, we took Boscoe to the vet and there's yet another mystery. He wasn't getting better as quickly as he should have and a vet visit was in order. Dr. Anne hasn't a clue what the underlying cause of his epizootics are but she thinks environmental. She also thinks his immune system has crashed and his paws look like he's been "introduced" to chemicals that have eaten away the top layers. He was full of ear mites and fleas - both signs of a compromised immune system - and she stuffed him full of antibiotics, flea treatment, ear mite treatment and steroids. She thinks he'll pull through, we should know in a week to ten days. Bos is already feeling better; he greeted me this morning as a cat should, by stretching and taking notice of what was going on around him. His appetite is excellent and he's shown an enormous appreciation for the canned tuna we've been feeding him. Bos is eating dry cat food but we felt he could do with some pure protein as well; he agrees. He also thinks he should be allowed to go outside but, not yet, perhaps not ever again.

~ Bos Man ~

In the past week, I've mailed a baby quilt, three hats and a fleece throw to folks; have almost finished the quilt top for my nephew's Christmas gift and have knitted two mobius scarves.  I'm thinking some serious studio time might put me to rights or, at the bare minimum, leave me with something to show for my time. There are several quilts to finish as Christmas gifts, some more knitting, some mini-art quilts and a few other smaller projects. I'm having to plot my time carefully so things will be finished and received by folks by Christmas day.

~ Deer quilt, in hunter's colors, for nephew ~

Two days after Christmas I leave for Tomsk, Siberia where I'll spend time in an orphanage and then go to Moscow where Christmas will be celebrated with Russian Christians on Epiphany, 6 January. I love celebrating Christmastide, more so than just Christmas. It's an entire Season from Advent, 1 Dec., through Epiphany, 6 Jan., and prepares us, Christ's disciples, to look ahead to world missions in light of the Nativity.

In the western world, we've gotten away from the Christmas SEASON and are focused solely on the material aspect of the day - the buying, wrapping, giving and receiving of gifts - and not The Gift that makes the rest possible. Christmas begins what Easter finishes: God's Divine Plan.

One suitcase is being filled with little gifts for both children and adults and it makes me so happy to open it and think of the joy they will bring. The Children's Home, as orphanages are called, houses children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Down's Syndrome and those with physical handicaps. Gifts include small hand lotions, vinyl shopping bags, stuffed toys, balls, packets of flower seeds, bubbles, New Testaments, yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks and whatever else can be found before Christmas. If you'd like to send a little something, let me know and I'll give you my snail mail address. I'll try to blog from the road so pray that and the trip will be a success.

A bucket of walnuts, soaking in water, will be used to dye some naturally colored Thistle Cove Farm yarn. I always enjoy using walnut dye on dark yarn as it gives a richness and depth of color that caresses the light in a way man-made dyes cannot.

~ Nut Bucket ~
I visited family this last weekend; we met at Mother and Daddy's cabin in Webster County, WV and rode over to Randolph County to visit my brother. Fairview Farm, his farm, is for sale and is absolutely beautiful! It's about 130 acres, bordered on two sides by National Forest, about 19 miles from Snowshoe, has some pasture, some wooded, all fenced, a pond, outbuildings, two-vehicle garage and much, much more. It's Very Private, with a quarter mile driveway that juts off from a dirt road that juts off from a two-lane, un-lined secondary road.

 Probably, the house and other buildings cannot be seen, photo on right, but this is from the top of the mountain, looking down upon the house.
The house and other buildings are in a small enclave, photo left.

 ~ Fairview Farm ~

It's not good, I don't believe, for me to focus upon myself too much; self reflection tends to result in too much belly button gazing and serves to compound what niggling little problems I think I might have. I much prefer to use my blog to focus on the Good Things but, if you've read this entry and said a prayer, please know you have my gratitude. That's one thing I enjoy about blogland - "meeting" other folks and tucking you into prayer as you are brought to mind throughout the day and week and, hopefully, y'all do the same.

If you're interested in having a first edition copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift From The Sea, leave me a comment and your name will go into the drawing. Please note there is a name and address on the inside cover and that, probably, detracts from the value but it's still a free book, shipping included.

From Gift From The Sea:  
"...I want first of be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact - to borrow from the language of the saints - to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible...By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony...I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God..."

I'll take names until midnight Friday; draw will be Saturday and book mailed Monday.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ Advent ~ Christmas ~ Epiphany ~ Christmastide ~ giving ~ spiritual grace ~ dyeing ~

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Politics: Bend Over, Please

~ SW Representative Rick Boucher voted YES to Cap and Trade ~

RE: Cap and Trade - Don L. Blankenship, Chairman and CEO of Massey Energy, fourth largest coal company in the USA notes, "In Spain, an economics professor calculates that green job schemes have destroyed more than 110,000 jobs in that country, of 2.2 jobs destroyed for every one created. The CEO of the world's largest renewable energy company, Eon, is warming the EU that further cuts to CO2 emissions will only raise the cost of energy, putting the region at a competitive disadvantage and driving production overseas."

God knows what the figures are in the USA but if you're a small business owner, between Cap and Trade and ObamaCare - Bend Over, Please.

So, you don't think a coal company has anything to do with you? Au contraire, Dear Voter! If you've flipped on a light switch, turned on your computer, read a newspaper, magazine or book, driven your vehicle or ridden public other words, if you're a member of the 21st century, living in the USofA, indeed most of the civilized world, coal affects you Every Single Day and you should thank a coal miner. If you've eaten today, thank a farmer.

RE: National Health Care Socialization Plan - Dick Morris and Eileen McGann are two writers appearing on The Hill, a website aimed at keeping up with the "Inner Circle" madness that has spilled over into our everyday lives. Will Rogers said, paraphrased, of President Calvin Coolidge, "He didn't do nothing much but nothing much was what we wanted done." We, the plebes that pay taxes and vote those folks into office, used to could say the same about our "representatives". No longer.

In their recent article, ObamaCare Endorsements: What The Bribe Was Morris and McGann lay bare the ugly truth we weren't supposed to know until after the fact. Please read the entire article but, as a teaser, know this: the President, AMA and AARP are in in a cozy little threesome and you and I are the losers.

"The American Medical Association (AMA) was facing a 21 percent cut in physicians' reimbursements under the current law. Obama promised to kill the cut if they backed his bill."


"The AARP got a financial windfall in return for its support of the healthcare bill. Over the past decade, the AARPhas morphed from an advocacy group to an insurance company (through its subsidiary company)." --- "Obama solved their [AARP] problem. He eliminates subsidies for Medicare Advantage. The elderly will have to pay more for coverage under Medigap, but the AARP -- which supposedly represents them -- will make more money." 

You don't recognize Medigap? Gee, me neither. Wonder who owns them?

THANKS AARP...not. When it's time to renew my membership, guess what? It's not happening! Oh, and by the way, you may stop sending all those requests to support a "national health care plan" 'cause that's not happening either. As a matter of fact, I've already sent my Senators a letter asking them to vote NO. As soon as I finish with this blog entry, I'm going to telephone them, just in case they've forgotten my request to vote NO.

Instead, I've telephoned American Seniors, an organization that advertises itself as a "conservative alternative to AARP". Stuart Barton, President of American Seniors, has written ObamaCare No, Targeted Reforms, Yes and, in part, states,"The American Seniors Association, which represents hundreds of thousands of members nationwide, has several major concerns. First, any government-run plan is bound to limit patient-doctor choice. Second, the House bill includes an employer mandate that would kill jobs and lower wages. Indeed, the current House legislation attacks baby boomers and seniors -- in fact, every American-- by underwriting the $1.5 trillion healthcare price tag with new taxes and by cutting $500 billion out of Medicare over the next 10 years."

Mr. Barton quotes Camille Paglia, a liberal Democrat writer for Salon, in which she "eviscerates Obamacare perhaps more shrilly than any conservative pundit to date. Consider:

"You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you're happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually leads to rationing.

"Paglia's specific criticism of Obama, which ASA shares, is withering. "Frankly," she writes, "the president gives little sense of direct knowledge of medical protocols; it's as if his views are a tissue to hearsay and scatter-shot worst-case scenarios."

YEOUCH! Can you hear us now?

And, while I'm on a rant... I don't want to forget the Golden Boy of Environmental Causes...most especially those that will make him a Billionaire...he passed the Multi-Millionaire status long, long ago: Al Gore. Smart boy that he is, he has positioned himself to receive Billion$$$$$ in government fund$$$$$ when, yet more, global warming legislation is passed.

Do I believe in global warming? I'm not sure but I do know Michael Crighton didn't believe in it; he researched for three years and then wrote State of Fear as his response to what he believed was a hoax. In an ABC interview, he said,"I'm saying that environmental organizations are formenting false fears inorder to promote agendas and raise money."

OH NO MIKEY, say it ain't so! Surely not!

Weather keeping has only been done for about the last one hundred years. Of course there are fluxuations in the weather, always have been, always will be but Global Warming...? Ummmm, who knows Beyond A Shadow of A Doubt? The answer is: no one. Not Al, not O, not Teddy, not you, not me. No One. That doesn't mean I don't turn off the lights when I leave a room but that's, primarily to save money and the side benefit is, I don't use more than necessary.

In's a truth No One can get around: You Cannot Take It With You. Period. Nothing goes - Nada. Zilch. Zero. All that lovely lolly you told uncountable lies for and spent years amassing and, in some cases, sold your soul to obtain - it Stays Behind as does whatever name you've made for yourself. After you're gone, it becomes Someone's Else's Money and what's left behind is the old maxim: Liars figure and figures lie. Oh, and global warming? Well, that's going to pale in comparison to the Hades hot it will be down below.


Until next time,

Blessings ~ canoes ~ paddles ~ coal ~ energy ~ Camille Paglia ~ Don L. Blankenship ~ Michael Crighton ~ American Seniors ~

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Place Where Morning Gathers

 ~ the place where morning gathers at Thistle Cove Farm ~

 Are you familiar with Rich Mullins? He was a extremely gifted Christian song writer and musician who passed away in 1997 but left behind a legacy of music and words that are haunting in their beauty and are being sung still today. He played several instruments and was best known for his skill on the hammer dulcimer; you've probably sung his songs in worship services. Sing your Praise to the Lord and Awesome God are two of his songs. His last major work, Canticle of the Plains, was loosely based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

In 1993, he founded the Ragamuffin Band, taking the name from Brennan Manning's book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, written in 1990 where Manning defined ragamuffins as "the burdened, the wobbly and weak-kneed, the inconsistent, unsteady disciples. the smart people who know they are stupid. the honest disciples who admit they are scalawags".

ouch. um. That would be me. Trying hard but, mostly, trying. A practicing Christian because I can't seem to get it right. In fairness though, I'm not that inconsistent because there's one thing I know and that is I'm a child of the Almighty God; it's what keeps me on the straight and narrow, heading forward with eyes upon the Christ prize in heaven. I know there are folks who don't embrace Christianity, nor indeed, any faith. I'm good with that; it's between them and their God but when ya know that ya know that ya's a really great thing!

Back to Rich...he wrote a song...and I'm ashamed to say I can't remember the words...but he's playing the hammer dulcimer and the song is s-w-e-e-p-i-n-g in its grandeur. He starts with the words, "in the place where morning gathers..." and goes on to talk about "those wild Dakota hills", "there's fury in a pheasant's wings...". There are only a few songs that, when driving, I'll chance blowing out the speakers; this is one of them. I'll throw open the moon roof and, I'm telling you...I can feel God. Right there, just above my moon roof, sitting on His throne, tapping His toe, swaying with the music and...this is the part that stings, just a tad...smiling because He's got Rich there in front of Him, singing to his own CD.

Way cool. When I saw sunrise this morning, I thought of Rich playing his hammer dulcimer, singing his heart out and the sheer joy he derived from what he did, when he nailed "it" and knew it. The sheer joy I feel when I listen to his music or the music of The Ragamuffin Band or read the Ragamuffin Gospels and know we're all in this thing called 'life' together; we're all struggling, we're all pressing onward toward a goal of our own choosing.

At the barn, Dandy, scratches his head against the door handle before coming over to say good morning. I love the way the light streams in, casting long shadows against the dirt floor and the old timbers.

Peaches, ruler of the pasture...or at least her pasture and her three "youngins".

I've separated the eight horses into four and four so the two geldings are apart. HayJ, the big'un was beating up on Dandy which wasn't a good thing. Not a-tall.

~ wagon wheel, framing sunrise ~

The gardens have played out but there's still beauty to be found in the leftover flower heads.

 This is one of three suns hanging on the studio; he holds birdseed as an offering to the little ones. This morning I noticed there are three suns hanging on the studio; all different, all with a benevolent smile, each with a different job; it would appear I have a thing for the Son.

~ stacked, creamy thread and yarn ~  

~ pinks and reds ~

 There's no place for the eye to rest without seeing something beautiful and meaningful. Some might think it crowded, cluttered and too busy but, for me, it's restful, peaceful, exciting and invigorating all at once. It's a great place to simply "be".

Boscoe has become my studio cat. Without going into a long story, after we came home from the beach, I found Bos staying at the barn but he's not a barn cat. He's a back porch cat and when I brought him back to the house, he was in pitiful shape. Something has been pounding on poor Bos with regularity and with power. Bos is not a fighter, he's a lover and has always been a cuddlekins. We weren't sure about bringing him into the house...too many kittens and puppies and things would go wilder than usual, so, last night, he was put into the studio with litter box, food and water. The studio has heat and he's been, safely, ensconsed there ever since. He's happy, has been a perfect gentlecat and shows no signs of wanting to leave so he doesn't have to leave; he'll stay until he decides he wants to mosey back outside. In the meantime, he has several perches, this one with a stunning view.

---not sure what's going on with the italics, can't return the font to plain...sorry--

Are you familiar with Stampington and Co.? How about Somerset Studios? The later is published by the former with a slew of terrific, inspiring and inspired magazines including Artful Blogging which is a collection of "visually inspiring on-line journals". In other words, eye candy. Zowie eye candy. A place where like minded folks are gathered to be showcased, to strut their stuff and, perhaps most importantly, to show the rest of us we're not alone in our quest to make things with our hands, our hearts, our minds. To bring beauty, coziness and comfort into our worlds and our homes. To celebrate our a-likeness, to accept our differences, to gather ideas, to be stimulated and to stimulate, to share. I believe it's a quarterly publication; when a new issue comes out, it's my constant companion and goes where I go. Okay, not in the shower but, certainly, in the bath and most definitely to bed. 

Other of their magazines are HandCrafted and Life Images but I've not found either one in the bookstores so I'm going to have to order them both. Seriously. My mental health demands it.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ being able to see the place where morning gathers ~ the barn ~ sunrise ~ Boscoe ~ inspiration before me, in print and on the web ~ Rich Mullins' music ~ ragamuffins, loved by God ~

Monday, November 02, 2009

November - Full Beaver Moon

 Hallelujah! Daylight savings time is behind us for a few brief months. It's not that I mind it during the spring and summer but for whatever strange reason, by the time we slouch toward October, my body rhythms are totally skewed. Yesterday, I woke up and felt approaching normal; this morning I work up and felt like I was reborn and does it ever feel great! I skipped exercise class, opting to give the house more than a lick and a promise and, while I didn't finish, the start was enough to make me happy.

We call the November full moon a Full Beaver Moon because there was still time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze. Daddy has set his share of traps...and please, do not leave me testy little messages about cruelty to animals, etc. That was a different time and a different place and there were, and are, Appalachian folks who put bread on the table with what their trap line provided..meaning they trapped the beaver, fox and other small animals and sold their pelts. Not to mention ate the meat. I still know folks who hunt for meat and between what they kill and what others give them, they'll eat half dozen deer a year. If you've not noticed, times are hard, especially for the working poor and, in total contrast to what hear from the media, unemployment is inching, countrywide, to the ten percent mark and beyond. Frankly, I have no problem with people killing deer all year long when it's for the table; it's the "sport hunter" that tend to raise my hackles.

 ~ horse herd, other end of the Cove ~

There are three hard surfaced roads leading out of the Cove as well as one dirt road that also crosses a mountain. This dirt road is the only primary road, Route 91, in the Commonwealth of Virginia and dang near impassable in the snowy winter months. A vehicle has to have four-wheel drive in order to, safely, traverse the mountain and there are several switchbacks, S and U turns. It's terrifically exciting driving back over that dirt road, across that mountain especially when it's pitch black with no moon. One's mind can go a little crazy thinking dire thoughts, remembering there's no cell phone service and the only way to get help, should help be necessary, is to walk in either direction. At the top of the mountain, you'll have to walk a good few miles in either direction and then chance no one being home when you get to the bottom. Needless to say, I don't travel that mountain very often in the dark.

There's another road leading out of the Cove; it's through Smiley Ratliff's property at the head of the Cove and you have to have four-wheel drive, engaged, to cross that mountain. It's not even a dirt road, rather it's a grass path that animals have made and, sometimes, humans have used. It's never even crossed my mind to try that road.

 ~ going toward Paintlick ~

At the far end of the Cove, there's Paintlick; it's where the American Indians painted on  stone outcroppings and those paintings may still be seen; click on "Paintlick" and you'll be at the start of a slide show of those interesting paintings. They are going the way of all flesh, that is to say, fading but are distinct enough one can still allow the imagination to take flight. Across the road from our house, when the field has been cut and in winter, there's a definite dark circular impression in the earth and this is where an Indian village was once established.

 ~ the horses are in a huge field, a few hundred acres, running back and forth... ~

~ Deer, grazing amongst the geese ~

At one end of the field, corn has been cut and all sorts of wildlife graze, including white tailed deer and Canada geese. I counted half dozen deer but the geese were too numerous to count.

~ Full moon hanging over the Cove and Morris Knob ~

 I feel the need to nest, to prepare for those cold, dark, winter months where one hunkers down and tends to home and heart. I made apple butter from our Granny Smith apple tree and it's delicious! I'll hot water bath it tomorrow and, hopefully, there'll be a tad left over to slather on some cat head biscuits. I think I've got some home churned butter in the freezer so sounds like there's a feast in the making.

As to knitting, I've been turning out wash and dish cloths that will go for Christmas gifts. I still have a ton of stuff to mail folks...seems there's more work than time to accomplish it. I want to spend some time wandering around Sew, Mama, Sew! Handmade Holidays III; I "found" a fabulous fruit pie that's made in half pint wide mouth jars and want to make some of those as well and am sure to include my peanut butter and chocolate fudge, shortbread, lace cookies and a bunch of other goodies. The Christmas countdown as begun, the gauntlet has been thrown down and I'm off to a, reasonable, start.

What about you?

Until next time,

Blessings ~ kitchen gifts ~ full moon ~ sun time ~ a smidgen of time to visit fabulous blogs ~ clean night clothes ~ sweet sheets ~ vanilla scented lotion and bath wash ~ 

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ Live Within Your Harvest, church sign ~

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
~ I Timothy 6:9-10 ~

"Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time."
~ John Rohn ~

"Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil." -~ Henry Fielding ~

" But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth." 
~Deuteronomy 8:18 ~

"What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more." - ~ Seneca ~

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." ~ Luke 12:34 ~

"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like."  ~ Will Smith ~

  "The art of living easily as to money is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means."
~ Sir Henry Taylor ~

Until next time,

Blessings ~ harvest ~ time ~ money as a tool ~ church signs ~ what you already have ~
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