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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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blog questions, stuff and our latest Snow Storm

 
~ red berries ~
Please, some of you savvy bloggers out there, I've a question or three but I'm afraid they aren't posed very well. I'm not a high tech blogger and am in need of much help -smile-.

1. Other than physically clicking on each follower's button and writing down the information, is there an easier way to ascertain who follows one's blog? I'd like to follow those who follow me but can't figure out an easier way to find out who follows me. Clear as mud, eh? -wry grin-

2. I'd like to match up my Followers with my Cozy Reads; make them one and the same, for the most part. Oh, some of the folks I like to read don't have the Follower button on their blogs but I enjoy knowing when they have updated their blog. What's the simplest way to match up Followers and Cozy Reads?

3. Is there a place to find out those whom I follow? I've lost track if ever I was on track to start!

4. Out of sheer curiosity, why do you blog? 

Lately, I've been reading about blogs, women who blog, women who write about blogging, blog conferences, etc. I suppose BlogHer is one of the oldest, having been around for a number of years now. I joined BlogHer a while back but, truth be told, I'm not at all sure what it's all about and, more often than not, forget to keep up. Now that I think about it, I've joined a number of "communities" and am still clueless. I probably shouldn't admit that, eh? But truthfully, don't you find it a bit, or more than a bit, confusing? There's talk of Twitter, ShoutLife, Linkedin, Facebook and, probably, dozens more; I haven't even mentioned the ning social networks! I'm overwhelmed and feel the need to focus but how?! And on what?!

Blissdom 10 conference just ended in Nashville and there were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women who attended. The workshops looked amazing, quite interesting and, more than likely, very worthwhile both in terms of participation and learning.

Tara Frey, Typing Out Loud blog, has released a new book called Blogging for Bliss and I'm finding it an intriguing read. The subtitle, "Crafting Your Own Online Journal - A Guide For Crafters, Artists and Creatives Of All Kinds" grabbed me. It's chockablock full of useful information, great photographs and wonderful blurbs and links to all sorts of blogs. I'm finding it enjoyable and am gleaning all sorts of information both regarding blogs, artists, arts, crafters, crafts and creative types. Perhaps she has the answers to my first questions and I've not read to that point...time will tell.


There is one thing she's written that makes my head tilt sideways and my mind go, "HUH!?" She writes about being authentic and genuine, paraphrasing, then goes on to write on page fifteen, "Keep in mind that creative blog readers come to your journal to escape, so it can be disappointing or uncomfortable for them when they see political rants, religious overtones, or foul language. If you want that type of blog, you may be in the wrong neighborhood."

She has a point but how can one...I...separate myself from God, my Creator? Not that I want to but my point is, on the best day I ever lived, I never had a creative thought, word, deed or action. It comes from God, all of it. ALL. If you don't believe in God and I visit your blog, I'm not offended by your lack of belief and am still able to glean information and enjoy my visit. But how can I be authentic and genuine and never write about my faith? How is it possible for me to blog about my bliss yet never mention my Creator? I maintain it's not possible nor do I want to try. Truly, it's not my intent to dismay or make you uncomfortable but better you than God, eh? -smile- As to question number four, I'm still working on my answer.
~ red berries covered in snow, a Valentine's offering ~

Dave and I have just returned from Richmond, VA where he had a business meeting. While he was in his meetings, I took the opportunity to shop at some thrift stores. Pickings were slim but I still managed to find a few treasures, some of which I'll, hopefully, show you tomorrow, vintage Thursday.
 
~ Byrd Lake, a WPA project ~

~ Carillon, another WPA project ~
 
~ Boulevard Bridge ~
Have you ever listened to old folks say, "I remember..."? I just know you have; heck, some of you are those "old folks". I certainly am an oldster and well remember when the Boulevard Bridge was called "Nickle Bridge" because...yep, it costs just a nickle to drive across. Now you have to throw seven of those same nickles into the catch-all just to cross the bridge. Thirty-five cents to cross the nickle bridge; why, it just ain't right. It ain't right a-tall! the old gal is mumbling to herself...again. -grin-

On Saturday I was able to get to Amelia County to visit my sister, her family and Mother and Daddy came as well and I took a few side roads to take the above photos. There weren't many cars on the roads, making for easier driving and I tended to drive about five miles below speed limit so other cars could zoom around me. I'm more of a "get there safely" kinda gal as opposed to the "get there fast" kinda gal. You know the kind...built for comfort and not for speed kinda gal.
 ~ reminds me of Narnia, I've no idea why ~

Dave and I came home late Sunday night, long story there I won't go into but suffice it to say the journey is supposed to take half of the plus eight hours it took. There's another storm approaching so we went to the grocery while we were able and today woke to lots of snow, huge drifts, high winds and this:
 
~ Feb 2010 snow storm ~
Snow drifts are above my knees but the good news is, it doesn't hurt when I fall. I fall a lot in deep snow because it's just so dang difficult to motivate from one step to the next. Or something like that. My bones ache, my joints seem frozen in place and my fingers are numb. I'm building up an impressive set of face wrinkles from squinting in the snow blindness and, now, completely understand why Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Ray didn't bathe but about three times a week. When you live in an old farmhouse, it's downright painful to get totally nekkid and that's the way you've got to be to get washed off really well in the shower. As much as I LOVE getting in the tub, my body just whimpers at the thought and the bedroom is hovering at the not quite balmy temperature of 49 above zero F. That's sure to change though; winds are picking up and the wind chills are robbing my dear little bedroom of its measly 49 degrees.

O Lordy. Is it okay for a grown woman to cry like a puppy? 
 
~ Dani Girl, Meri Go Lightly, Dandy Man ~
There are four horses in this lot and pasture but you only see three. Why, you may very well ask? It's because Peaches is a royal witch and she stands just inside the barn door, preventing the others from entering. Sometimes, but if and when she feels like it, she'll let in Dandy Man, her son, but for reasons known only to her and she's not telling. It riles me but I figure it's just something they all have to work out amongst themselves. Just like humans...why can't they share?
  
~ sheep feeding at round bale ~
The sheep have a free choice round hay bale and feed as their stomachs dictate. From the looks of it, I'll have to put out another round bale by Friday but if the storm keeps up, will set out a bale tomorrow.
~ Sadie and Sam, playing chase ~
Sadie and Sam love playing chase in the snow. Abigail...not so much but she has old bones and it takes more energy for her than the puppies. The puppies haven't reached their first birthday and Abbie has seen 14 years on this farm and was an adult when we found her. She's entitled to her comforts.
 
~Chewbacca, Sadie style ~
We run a relaxed household here at Thistle Cove Farm and it's a good thing. In early evenings, the puppies tend to go on a tear and Dave and I step aside and laugh like loons as they play chase in the house. We'll open up the doors so the puppies have access to front and back stairs and watch as they chase each other through the house, across the furniture, playing chase and tug of war with an old rope. If laughter is good medicine, we've a daily dose. I suppose there are those who think us insane for not only allowing the dogs to play chase but allowing them in the house and GASP! in the bed with us. But I shrug and know we'll not live forever in this veil of tears and the more happiness I can gather, the happier I'll be.

It's not the house that makes it a home, it's the love produced therein. 

Until next time,

Blessings  ~ puppies ~ plenty of hay ~ warm clothing ~ snow boots ~ traveling safety ~ home ~

Sandra

21 comments:

  1. Sandra!! I have to stop and leave a comment to say that I absolutely enjoy your blog, rants, raves, ramblings, tears, pictures and most of all your shared blessings from God that you so freely write about. I happen to be a believer as well so that may leave me a bit biased but hey at least one person out here in blogland visits often and enjoys every bit of your posts!!! Just had to answer at least that one questions from your list today. :) Thanks for being a bright, bright light! Oh, and I must add to the list your down home humor is especially appreciated. Keep up the good "blogging" as while your are keeping the faith. Your sister in Christ.....Kate from "The Quilter's Kitchen".

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  2. I very much enjoy and look forward to your faith bloggings! I think that rather than try to be "appealing" to readers by leaving out one's faith...I would say let the reader opt for what they want to read! There are plenty of blogs out there w/o mentions of faith they can read. Don't change!

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  3. Sandra, Your comments reminded me of me. J knows to the sound down on the TV or radio if a terrible news story comes on. I just cannot take it. It happens so much now it seems. I have had such a heavy heart since my Mom called to tell me of this. Maybe because it happened where I grew up or maybe because it is the breed I have always worked with.
    I just had to write about it to try and get people to write a letter to the editor. So the suffering of those poor souls is not in vain...
    You are a wonderful writer. I so enjoy reading your journal. I wouldn't take Miss Freys comments to heart. You have a wonderful following, so you are doing something right! If you left out God and politics then you would not be an "authentic" writer! It is part of who you are :)
    Just keep on keeping on! (just my humble opinion though)

    Hmmm. As far as all the tech ?s
    I am not very blog savvy!
    I do know if you want to know all your followers, go to your Dashboard.The list there is every blog you have clicked on to follow.

    As far as people who do not have a followers gadget on their blog, I just copy and paste their blog .com and add into followers in my gadget thing in layout!

    If you use the Help button at the top of your blog site, it has a plethera of stuff you can search. I use this ALL the time.
    I have a couple of sites that use to help with blogging. I will get back with you on those!

    Have a blessed day, Sandra. You are special to me!
    xo, misha

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  4. hi there
    just wanted to say that I come to your blog to be encouraged in my faith in Jesus! i love your blog's "religious overtones" :)
    i disagree also with that blogger's advice that you quoted. if it's inside of you and you are passionate about it, write about it! (or rather, write about HIM!)
    blessings,
    lora

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  5. Sandra...Can't help you with the teckie stuff, as I have no idea how this whole blog thing even comes together! Been blogging for 4? years now and barely can find my way around! I CAN give you my opinion on mixing your faith with blogging...GO FOR IT!!! I do it whenever possible, as it is who I am. If the folks who visit my blog don't like the Christian overtones, then they don't have to come back! Those who do not share my faith in Jesus have never complained, and the blogs I visit are not necessarily "Christian". There are a few blogs that I have taken off my sidebar...mostly because they either have taken the name of the Lord my God in vain, or they have simply gotten too racy with their subject matter.
    I say, write about what you are comfortable with, and be true 1st to HIM, and also to yourself.
    I love your blog, just the way it is!!!

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  6. I always enjoy your posts. Hopefully sometime on a visit to Richmond we can meet - in fairer weather! I sort of got stuck at the point in your post where you mentioned your 49 degree bedroom. I am too much of a baby to be able to handle that!

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  7. sandra...i had no idea how much snow you have...well, i do have to say it is pretty...

    you made me laugh, though...

    too funny

    as far as the blogging...i don't know how to load more than 4 photos..and i don't know how to write under the pictures..

    i ordered blogging for dummies from amazon for 4 bucks..i hope it gets here fast...

    more later, my friend,
    and stay warm
    kary and buddy
    xxx

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  8. sandra...just saw the part about taking a shower with your clothes on..you are funny, my dear...

    i'll be watching the weather tonight and i'll be thinking of you....

    sending warmth
    kary
    xxx

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  9. Sandra, you have posed a passel of questions here and I'll try to help you with a few. I blog because I enjoy it, I take lots of pictures and it helps to have victims to share them with...teehee! I don't know all the technical stuff, like you and I just blunder through and do the best I can and sometimes by accident I find the answer to my quetsion by stumbling into it or some other kind blogger will share what she knows!

    I enjoyed the book "Blogging for Bliss" but aside from the foul language, I don't "censor" myself and I've found plenty of friends to read my daily posts. I think that to ask me to take God or politics out of my daily conversation would make my blog a photo blog ONLY because I just don't know how to do it.

    I enjoy reading you BECAUSE of your lovely kindred spirit that also looks to God for answers, comfort and wisdom. I know that your spirit is sweet and I know that because you let God and ocassionally, politics, come through. I like it. If I were to disagree, it wouldn't make me stop checking in...after all it's YOUR blog and you can say what you want to, right?

    In fact....I have a political post coming up real soon, I shot the photo for it today and I'm working on the text of it tonight!

    I love coming here and "visiting" and I love hearing about your life and reading the end of your post where you list what you're thankful for...so sweet!!!
    XOXO
    Joni

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  10. Sorry I don't know how to do the technical stuff you mention either. I do it the one by one way myself. I wanted to say something about Tara Frey's comment. If there is a judgmental, negative, exclusive or hateful tone to a bloggers posts, I would probably choose to go elsewhere. For me it isn't the bloggers opinion (even if they are different than mine) that matters as much as how they say it. You (or anyone) should never stop sharing your love of God and sharing his blessings, that is what makes your blog so beautiful and wonderful to visit.

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  11. What I like about blogs is authenticity. A blog should be whatever the blogger wants it to be. So I say share your everything and I am certain everyone will still be visiting. As has already been said, you can find your list of followers on your Dashboard.

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  12. Hi Sandra,
    I don't know how to do the stuff you ask about. I follow blogs but cant remember either. I have the blog feed on the side and read from there. I love your rants and don't think it would be the same if you removed the "faith" from your message. I started blogging because I thought it would be a great way to follow our progress on the farm. I would love to find a way to have the whole blog made into book form for us. Family from out of state enjoy reading it. I make paper coppies and send to Alex's and my mothers who aren't computer savvy. I love your pictures and stories. It's funny with blogging your group of friends expands. We feel their pain, joy and grief. I admit that I have been driven to tears with a few posts. We share a common joy. Take care, keep warm and snuggle with the pups every chance you get.
    Kelly

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  13. I really and truly enjoy your bloggings, musings, feelings, pictures, life and sharing yourself with us. Carry on!

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  14. Not sure on the others, but you can see who you follow by going to your dashboard. They should be listed on the left bottom. The right bottom should show the most recent posts of those you follow.

    As to the content of your blog - this is your blog. Say whatever you want.

    I enjoyed the photos and it looks so cold. I have to say I'm glad I don't live in it anymore. And in regard to your response to my post? Yes, my husband once told me while I was mired in staying home with three kids that I needed an organizer. That his at work allowed him to keep track of everything, get places on time, etc. I remember looking at him and asking if the organizer had a place for dirty diaper changing or spill cleanups or sibling fights or, or, or...

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  15. Sandra,

    The comments above pretty much said what I was going to say.

    I wouldn't love your blog as much as I do if YOU weren't being YOU. The part about being authentic is critical and true.

    The part she writes about worrying about not offending people is horsepoop. Trying to censor who you are and not blog/talk about your life and God's role in it would change everything about your blog. I think it would also stifle your creativity if you had to censor everything you put out there.

    Keep shooting straight and don't let a book or anyone change your voice.

    PS. I have to confess that I do censor myself when I'm blogging as I tend to have a pottymouth at times! I am working on it though - reference horsepoop above. Not the word that would normally pop out of my uncensored lips... :)

    I blog because of the connections I've made. I love to write and I love the feedback and support that I have received from it. Sharing with others is so important for all of us. It is immensely rewarding to know that you may touch or help someone you've never met, just by the words or images you have sent out into the universe.

    Love to you, Dave, the bedhogs and all the other Thistle Cove critters

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  17. I like you and your blog just the way you are and it is. We need to be ourselves here and not conform to what some others think we should be. I love that you can share your faith and views of what ever you want. I feel much better to know that I am not the only one who can't figure this blog thing out...I thought maybe I was getting to old and forgetful. You are a wonderful women and I have enjoyed visiting your blog just the way it is. If I don't like it I don't have to read it but I find a kindred spirit here and have enjoyed every minute. keep blogging

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  18. Sandra, I really do like your blog, for whatever reason you blog for. The photos of the snow storm are relaxing to me. Because my home state is Wisconsin and was just there, left Tuesday during that nasty storm. I managed to make it home that day.
    Why do I blog? In the beginning I journaled. With some family tree stuff. I have loads of photos of family and history and more old old photos that I have posted a while back. Then I began to go off my beaten path. I was starting to feel a connection with other bloggers. That's the part I love about this. Since we moved to the southwest, btw, it's like another planet here, I have no friends or family except my son his wife and our grandchildren. So I have substituted community friends with blog friends. Know what? I love my blog friends. They stop over and chat so to speak, I stop over to their blog and chat. We just don't see each other face to face. Maybe someday we will. But for now this is my life line. Thanks, Sandra for stopping by REB and visiting my bloggy house, it means alot to me in this chapter of my life.

    Linda =)

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  19. OMG, I sense a book coming on.

    1 Whenever someone joins my blog, I join there's. I do it right away before I forget. I no longer join anyone's blog until they join mine first, because the majority never return the favor, and then my feelings are hurt. I know, poor baby, right? hehe...

    2 I always return the favor when I get a comment. I get my comments in my email, and they stay there until I comment back, and then I delete them. If I comment several times on a blog and never hear back, I stop commenting. I'm not much for a one-sided friendship.

    3 And now for the God question. My heart is all about unity in the body of Christ. God told me to start a blog (and write a book) with humorous devotionals. I believe the reason He did that was because humor helps the medicine go down. I don't want to be overly religious, because frankly, that turns people off. Do you know what I mean by that? I'm not into 'religion' I'm into 'relationship' with Jesus Christ, and I am not ashamed of Him. So I will say what I need to, but in a way that is said in love, not judgment or overly opinionated.

    Your sheep shearing day sounds like a blast!!!

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  20. I love reading your blog and wouldn't change anything about it! I agree with Seth about authenticity and my feeling is that you are writing from the heart.

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  21. I love your blog. I love how it reads like a letter from an old friend. I love your unbridled passion and unedited rants :) I've read the book you mentioned and I really enjoyed it and took away a lot from it. But I agree with you: if we can't be wholly ourselves, fully honest, what's the point in a blog? I understand she's talking about a business blog, but my business is entwined with my soul. I simply can't promise I won't make some mention of religion or politics.

    Happy Monday,
    Jen

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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.