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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.

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 ~


  1. HI Sandra,
    I remember Rich Mullins and it seems like just yesterday I was telling my daughter that he had been in an auto wreck that took his life. She was a Fan of his.

    The man that was in the jeep with him when it wrecked, sings as well and I'm sorry that I cannot remember his name right now. I worked at the Kansas State Fair a few years ago fixing meals for the entertainers and this young man was one of the entertainers.

    God bless you and enjoyed your post,

  2. I like Rich Mullins' songs! They are full with love for God. His songs always encourage me!

  3. Very nice post today..I think I have that ragamuffin band cd It is 2 cds I will have to listen to it today it has been awhile. I have several of his but haven't been listening to them so I think I will put them in the player today and see what happens thanks a bunch for the inspiration.

  4. I have never heard the Ragamuffin Band but will look it up. And I see you too have problems with those italics...once I type in Italics for quotes, I cannot get rid of them! The same holds true for when I type in 'small' font..then my whole post turns to small and I cannot edit it.

    I have seen Stampington and own a few of their magazines. I constantly return to them for inspiration and tutorials.

    Manning's definition of "ragamuffins" sounds like me!

    Poor Dandy, he gets so little respect....good thing he has you to oversee what is goin' on in the horse world there on Thistle Cove.

    Lovely and inspiring post Sandra, thank-you.

  5. Just wanted to say that your pictures made me smile this morning :)

  6. Sandra, I am not familar with Rich Mullins... i don't know too much abbout Christian music. My brother sends me CD's that his church records, it's more what I call pop Christian.

    Love your pictures, the one looing out of the window is really striking.

  7. Beautiful photos as always, great way to start my day.

    I must say, I believe your wonderful studio is now complete. Boscoe is what was missing!

  8. Sing your praise to the Lord and Awsome God or two of my favorites. I can't sing but love to pour myself into those at church. Those WV hills are beautiful.
    Thanks for signing my blog.

  9. I enjoyed your post, it is very inspiring. I am inspired to hear Rich Mullin's music. Sandra, I never get enough of your views or of your inspiring words. Your photo of Dandy with the sun streaming in is beautiful. (I noticed that you always put your blog name on your pictures and I think that is a very good idea).

  10. Hi Sandra,

    I happened across your blog here and enjoyed reading and remembering how Rich affected my husband and I over the years of his life. So much so that my husband picked up the hammered dulcimer 12 years ago and still plays to this day. Here is the link to his website if you or others here would like to listen to some great music. Of course I'm biased.

    Rich reminds me of how the gospel is to be lived out to the world. He didn't worry to much about how he looked or was perceived, he just loved God and others. I know that's very simplified, but then I think the gospel is fairly simple at it's core. Otherwise it wouldn't be a stumbling block.

    Anyways, thanks again and I hope you are blessed by my husbands music as I am everyday.


  11. I always learn so much when I visit you. I look forward to your posts so very much :)
    Sweet Boscoe! Glad he has found his little, cozy haven. I think every studio should have cuddlekins cat!

    Thank you so much for your sweet words about the birth of the filly.
    New life is precious, isn't it!
    Blessings, Misha

  12. When I saw your song title I thought of my favorite song, "Morning Has Broken". Nice!

  13. Thanks for the lovely walk around the farm today. Enjoyed it.

  14. Calling Out Your Name

    Well the moon moved past Nebraska
    And spilled laughter on them cold Dakota Hills
    And angels danced on Jacob's stairs
    Yeah, they danced on Jacob's stairs
    There is this silence in the Badlands
    And over Kansas the whole universe was stilled
    By the whisper of a prayer
    The whisper of a prayer
    And the single hawk bursts into flight
    And in the east the whole horizon is in flames
    I feel thunder in the sky
    I see the sky about to rain
    And I hear the prairies calling out Your name
    I can feel the earth tremble
    Beneath the rumbling of the buffalo hooves
    And the fury in the pheasant's wings
    And there's fury in a pheasant's wings
    It tells me the Lord is in His temple
    And there is still a faith
    That can make the mountains move

    That's one of my favorites. We met Rich Mullins in person about a year before he died. I loved that he lived in a tent and ministered to the Native Americans. Wish I could do that.

    Your horses are gorgeous!

    So obviously you can write. You are a brilliant photographer, an avid reader, farmer, and much more. So much talent in one person, God really went overboard on you!

    Thanks for praying for Aaron. I'll be posting a praise report soon!

  15. Anonymous10:28 AM EST

    So glad I can read your blog.
    You make my day.
    Smiling as I type,

  16. Oh, Sandra....what a beautiful post...Dandy, Peaches..the photos, the words.....the Lord.....and Boscoe, what a wonderful day to wake up to!

  17. Such a wonderful post, Sandra... from the gorgeous pictures to your thoughtful and interesting words!
    Hope you have a blessed week.

  18. Welcome Deanna - sure wish Rich had been wearing his seat belt but, like Rich, our times are in His hands.

    Welcome Timi - so good to see you and we're in total agreement.

    Welcome Woebegone - isn't his music fabulous?! I've only one CD and it gets a LOT of use.

    Welcome KathyB - please do find Rich Mullins' music; you'll truly enjoy it. We're all 'ragamuffins' if we'd only admit it -smile-.

    Welcome Amanda - glad you had a smile on your face...makes it nice for you and folks needing to see one.

    Welcome Katherine - his music is wonderful, I think you'd enjoy it.

    Welcome Jules - yes, Bos is most happy in his new digs and I'm happy he's happy.

    Welcome Donna - don't have enough bandwidth to view your husband's site but the photo is fabulous. I adore dulcimer music so know I'd enjoy his music; many thanks for telling me.

    Welcome Misha - what's the little one's name? Curious minds want to know.

    Welcome Leslie - Morning has Broken is a Beautiful song; I love it!

    Welcome Midlife - you're welcome and glad you enjoyed the visit.

    Welcome Deborah Ann - you're Right! Thanks so much for the song title and the song.

    Welcome Suzy - you've got to visit!

    Welcome Jan - thank you bunches!

    Welcome Farm Chick - thanks for visiting; you're always welcome here.

  19. Sandra,
    your posts are always nourishment for my beauty-deprived soul. I drink them in. This one was no exception.

    The picture of God tapping His foot to the music while you scream down the highway was priceless!! I know He enjoys things with us. I just know it :)

    Boscoe is such a handsome kitty. So glad he's found a wonderful home!

    Happy day,

  20. Sandra ~
    I don't have to explain to you why this post captures my heart ~ Rich was a friend and mentor to me and continues to be (as his music and life philosophy lives on beyond the grave).

    You are a kindred spirit ~ blessings!


Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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