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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 30, 2010

Blog Trotting

 ~ summer view from my window ~
Cara, over at Blogtrotting, asked me to write a guest post. She has such a great idea, virtual vacations, and I'm happy to help out. If you're interested in featuring your area, please contact Cara. Recently, I've been to some wonderful places that I'd have missed blasting down the highway. Thanks, Cara!

For the most part, my world is Thistle Cove Farm. It's a small, thirty acre homestead in the southwestern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Dave's Mothers' people settled this valley a few hundred years ago and his cousin, "somethin' somethin' the 9th" lives in the home place just down the road. Things are slow to change and we consider that a good thing. If you live here, you are known as well as you know your neighbors. Good fences make great neighbors but the commonality of living in a rural community makes us friends as well.
We have a solid four seasons and find it's best to prepare for each in the season prior. Especially winter as last winter we had snow drifts of 5 to 6 feet deep and that was in our driveway! Yes, my laundry is frozen on the line but it makes a great photograph, don't you think? The lower right photo is the same shot, different season, as my header photo and the first photo in this entry.
I have American Curly horses, a hypoallergenic, somewhat rare breed, numbering fewer than 5,000 in the world and not to be confused with the Bashkir Curly horses of Russia. They are loved for their gentle, calm disposition and curious nature.
 ~ Peaches, her foal Dandy and Abbie ~
I also have Shetland sheep, another rare breed, and Romney, Merino and crossbred sheep. Their fleeces are used to spin, felt, weave and make warm accessories used in our cold winters.
 ~ Sophie Shetland ~
It's a hard life but a great life; wouldn't trade it for anything else, any place else. While there's always work that needs doing, there's always time for fun stuff like spinning yarn. The sheep keep us company over the back fence while Shadow, my hound, sits beside Leslie to make sure she's doing it right.
On April 9, 2011 we'll host Sheep Shearing Day where people are introduced to a working day on a horse and sheep farm. Leslie comes to help with the fleece skirting and to demonstrate spinning yarn on an antique wheel. Other folks might show how to make a dulcimer, weave a basket, make horse shoes, weave a rug, quilt, crochet, tat or any number of heritage crafts. It's always best to check before driving any distance as sometimes farm emergencies necessitate time changes.
Thanks for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; come back real soon.

Blessings ~ good neighbors ~ four seasons ~ blog trotting ~ rural communities ~


Merry Christmas,
Sandra

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Monday

 ~ yeah, I blend ~
 Just this week, I received the most wonderful e-mail; I'd love to share but will refrain until given permission. Suffice it to say, it brought a smile to the lips and warmth to the heart of  "Granny Sandy".

Ahem. Take a gander at the above photo; what do you see? Let me assist as the light is rather dreadful and help is needed. A chenille pink bathrobe, a pink nightgown (these from the woman who does not like pink!) and shoes. Ah, yes, the shoes. I couldn't find the mates to either pair so wore one of each to the barn this morning. I well remember Aunt Bonnie wearing two different shoes and me asking, "Aunt Bonnie, did you know you're wearing two different shoes?" And, Aunt Bonnie saying, "They fit, my feet are covered so what's the problem?" Oh, yes. What I thought was amusing then, I find par for the course now.

The dogs and I are awake and, usually up, well before dawn. Dawn as in the sun is not yet peeking above the horizon and it's still d.a.r.k. I make coffee, hand out treats and then, coffee cup in hand, settle in to read my Bible and then listen to Pastors Youseff and Begg on XM radio. At some point later, the dogs and I head to the barn to check on the sheep and horses and feed the cats. Frankly, I see no reason to dress for the occasion and will stuff my feet into whatever is available, drag on whatever coat is handy and shuffle on down.

I'm here to tell you, it's a picture! Perhaps, now, you're beginning to understand why I haven't much of an ego. Those things are pesky and just get in the way of living so...best left aside.
~ what is this? ~
 Any clue about the above photo? No? It's frost on the metal gate piece. I'm telling you, when you live a simple life, things like this absolutely Amaze and Astound! People are always carping on a "simple life" but do they really, I mean really, want a simple life? I don't think so. It takes a person of fortitude to admit to being enthralled by frost on a metal gate piece.

Yeah, that or the village idiot.

Blessings ~ shoes that fit ~ frost ~ happiness ~ simplicity ~

Merry Christmas,
Sandra

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ the sheep of my pasture ~


"But godliness with contentment is great gain." 

"True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare." ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton ~

"Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty." ~ Socrates ~

"It is better to want what you have than to have what you want." ~ Proverb ~



 "The world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment.
 
"What makes us discontented with our condition is the absurdly exaggerated idea 
we have of the happiness of others." 
~ Proverb ~

"True contentment depends not upon what we have; a tub was large enough for Diogenes, but a world was too little for Alexander." ~  Charles Caleb Colton


"Not that I speak in respect of want: 
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, 
therewith to be content."


 Blessings ~ contentment ~ happiness ~ a full tub ~
 
Merry Christmas,
Sandra

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Be Thankful

~ Carly and son, Samuel ~

Be thankful you don't already have everything you desire,
if you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times;
during those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations;
they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge;
it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes;
they will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary
it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those
who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings. 
 
~ Author Unknown to me ~

Rebecca Writes of November gratitude; my grateful heart is full.

Blessings ~ November ~ almost, December ~ a full life ~ overflowing gratitude ~ my animals - dogs, cats, horses, sheep ~ all my needs fulfilled ~

Merry Christmas,
  ~ Sandra

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks

~ timely reminder ~
George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Although the Continental Congress had issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1777, George Washington was the first President to issue such a Proclomation. This Proclamation in 1789 called for America's first National Thanksgiving. According to the Congressional Record for September 25 of that year, the first act after the Framers completed the framing of the Bill of Rights was that:

"Mr. [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:

Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer. . . .
Mr. Roger Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving on any single event not only as a laudable one in itself but also as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ. . . . This example he thought worthy of a Christian imitation on the present occasion."

That congressional resolution was delivered to President George Washington, who heartily concurred with the request and issued the first federal Thanksgiving proclamation:

"By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me 'to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

G. Washington."

That same year, the Protestant Episcopal Church (of which President Washington was a member) announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks, “unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities.”

Later, on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for the observance of the fourth Tuesday of November as a national holiday.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November (to extend the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy). After a storm of protest, Roosevelt changed the holiday again in 1941 to the fourth Thursday in November, where it stands today.

Rebecca Writes of November gratitude; my heart is grateful for Godly, Christian men, and women, who were founders of the USA and for current Godly, Christian men and women who interceed now on behalf of the USA. Also, for Rebecca at Rebecca Writes who has brought bloggers together in a November of gratitude. Please visit her and pray for Kezia, another blogger's daughter, whose health is in danger.

Blessings ~ a day set aside to give thanks to the Almighty God for our many blessings ~ Godly, Christian men and women both then and now ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

 ~ latest visitor ~
Answer me this, please and thanks...what bird is this? A type of woodpecker, perhaps? S/he's been visiting the bird feeder, early morning, stays a while and then flies off. I've managed to get a few, not so good, photos but the bird is extremely sensitive to motion at the window. Even so, s/he has brought me much joy and it pleases me to see the feeder being used by lots of different birds. I especially love the cooing of the doves in their soft, gentle gray cloaks.

Most of you are hurtling toward Thanksgiving, probably overdoing and extending yourselves to the point you'll be frazzled, anxious and maybe even a bit testy. Better a crust of bread eaten joyfully than a rich feast eaten in strife...or so says something similar in the Good Book, Proverbs, I believe. Please don't overdo; please don't lower your standards but please do lower your expectations. Let's face it, you will be disappointed because that's who we are as human beings. We are imperfect people who, not meaning to, disappoint others even as we are being disappointed. God save us from ever meaning to disappoint; how utterly cruel and heartless that would be of us!
~ sun bow ~
Of course you know about rainbows but do you know about sun bows? Every now and again, when the sun and clouds are arranged "just so", there's a sun bow. And, no, it wasn't raining nor had it been raining. Just another little God giftie to be admired and appreciated.
 ~ animal cereal ~
We've a barn loft full of square hay bales and two lots full of round hay bales. Words fail me at knowing my animals will eat well this winter. If there's anything I hate to see, it's something hungry and, as Dave is fond of telling me, "no chance of that on this farm!" Going hungry, especially in this country is a sin against God and our fellow human beings. How do we allow such things to happen?

Rebecca Writes of a grateful November; this Thanksgiving my grateful heart includes you folks who stop by to visit, perhaps leave an encouraging word, maybe put us on your prayer list. Recently, I've been hurt by people who want to "know the news" and once they find out, they are seldom seen but they spread "the news" far and wide. Truthfully, I never figured them for friends, mere acquaintances at best, but it still hurts especially when they are so absolutely full of bonhomie and "Christian speak". Well, as it turns out, from my view, it looks like, to put it bluntly, mere b.s.  I'd just soon a person not say anything as slander their Christian witness.

Blessings ~ people who walk the walk but not people who talk the talk ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ sometimes the best thing to do is nap! ~
"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." 
~ Proverbs 31:10-12 ~

"Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family." 

"Be very careful if you make a woman
cry, because God counts her tears. The woman
came out of a man's rib. Not from his feet to be
walked on. Not from his head to be superior, but
from the side to be equal. Under the arm to be
protected, and next to the heart to be loved." ~ Talmud ~

"Do what you can! “If you can’t feed 100 people, then feed just one.”

"Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world."
~ Helen Keller ~

"All that is not eternal, is eternally out of date." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy." ~ Elisabeth Elliott ~
 
Father, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see;
I ask Thee for a present mind,
Intent on pleasing Thee.

I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child
And guided where I go.

Wherever in the world I am,
In whatsoever estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts
To keep and cultivate .


"Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God." ~ Titus 2:3-5 ~

Rebecca Writes of November gratitude; my heart is grateful for Dave, my husband who has never raised his hand to me except in love. I wish all women could say the same about the men in their lives.

Blessings ~ virtuous wives ~ loving husbands ~
 
Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Being Happy

 
 ~ happy butts ~
 Yes, you're entirely correct...it's not nice to say butts, but, in this case it fits so beautifully. All three pups have butts in the air, noses to the ground as they snuffle out voles, moles or some other rodents. They, and I, are so easily entertained.

How has it been today where you live? It's been absolutely wild here; cold, rainy, windy, warm and starting all over again. We're having winds of 50 to 60 miles per hour, the temperature is dropping and rain is lashing at the windows. Sometimes the sheets of rain are so thick, visibility is zero. It's supposed to do this all night long but my bed is warm, clean and cozy and I'm sure to sleep through it all. Like the ole feller said, "I can sleep through the night because I've prepared during the day."
~ see anything? ~
 ~ how about now? ~
We're in rifle season, hunters are after deer. This feller came strolling in, well after dawn, and made his way onto the mountain. I'm not sure if he shot anything or not but my guess is...not. I've noticed the men who hunt for food take their hunting a lot more seriously than the men who hunt for "sport". Although, I've often thought if sport hunters were serious about their "sport", why don't they take the deer on one on one or, at the very least, with a bow or muzzle loader? I don't understand killing for sport; it's rather reminiscent of those sicko Romans like Nero. Or am I being un-PC?

Rebecca Writes is hosting November Gratitude; my heart is grateful for a strong house, warm beds and food enough to share. Maslow was right: food, shelter, clothing; after those three it's nothing but want.

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Monday, November 15, 2010

November weather

 ~ wet November ~

"So dull and dark are the November days.
The lazy mist high up the evening curled,
And now the morn quite hides in smoke and haze;
The place we occupy seems all the world."
John Clare, November ~


I love November even with the lengthening and darkening days, the colder weather, the snow, the rain. It means I'm alive to enjoy it all, snug and cozy at Thistle Cove Farm.

Rebecca Writes November gratitude; my heart is grateful for life! It's the stuff dreams are made of.

Blessings ~  November ~ rain ~ snow ~ cold ~ day ~ night ~ life ~


Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ heart within hearts ~
 
"It may well be that the world is denied miracle after miracle and triumph after triumph because we will not bring to Christ what we have and what we are. If, just as we are, we would lay ourselves on the alter of service of Jesus Christ, there is no saying what Christ could do with us and through us. We may be sorry and embarrassed that we have not more to bring - and rightly so; but that is not reason for failing or refusing to bring what we have and what we are. Little is always much in the hands of Christ."
~ William Barclay ~

"When all you have is sunshine, all you get is desert." ~ Alistair Begg ~

"I walked a mile with Pleasure, 
She chattered all the way; 
But left me  none the wiser,
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne'er a word said she; 
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!"

"No, when the fight begins within himself, 
A man's worth something." 
~ Robert Browning Hamilton ~

"If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow." ~ proverb ~


"Don't pray for lighter burdens, pray for stronger backs." ~ proverb ~

"But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
~ II Corinthians 12:9 ~

Rebecca Writes - November month of gratitude - before being loaded with goods, the camel must kneel. My heart is grateful I can kneel before the throne of God with Christ as intercessor and the Holy Spirit as Comforter.

Blessings ~ God's grace ~ prayer ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How Firm a Foundation

Dave and I were doing errands last week and as we slowed for traffic, saw this bus. Many decades ago, I attended Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA. It's a Pentecostal Holiness college and, back then, wasn't accredited nor was it a four year college. Going to EC wasn't my idea, it was Mom's idea. She wanted me to be in a safe environment, at least safer than she perceived VA Commonwealth University to be in downtown Richmond. I wasn't even out of my teens and perceived myself to be...I'm not even sure now what my perceptions were but I wanted to attend VCU. Mom said, "no". If you're going to college, you're going to EC and so I did but not happily.

EC was, then, quite very extremely strict. Girls couldn't leave campus unless they were in pairs, girls couldn't wear pants unless in gym class or on the athletic field, students couldn't date unless it was approved and the girls dorm mother, Miss Law, was stern and a bit rigid took her duties seriously, very seriously. To show you how much it's changed, click here. You see that boy and girl, back to back, leaning against each other? No way would that have happened "back in the day" much less been made public! That was waaaaayyyyy too much public physical contact!

If you're wondering why Mom chose EC, it's because of her Daddy. He was a Pentecostal Holiness circuit rider preacher and, each Sunday, would minister to a different country church. Some times I'd be allowed to go with him...how exciting!... and well remember him receiving a dozen fresh eggs or, at Christmas, perhaps a ham and these gifts, sometimes often, in lieu of money. Times were more difficult and money less available but people were generous with what they had and they had food. He was a fine man, a Godly man, a man after God's own heart and still missed by all who knew him. He could play the violin and banjo and I like to think of him in the heavenly's playing his instruments for God's glory.

My heritage, both physical and spiritual, is rich, rich, rich. My people are Appalachian, for many, many generations and came here via Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. On both sides of the family preachers are in abundance and Granddaddy Samp, another fine fiddle player, was the first minister in Webster County, WV.

And now? Now, I'm so glad I went to EC and wish I'd stayed the entire two years. I didn't. I went home after the first year and, eventually, was graduated from VCU. I'm not unhappy about any of it but do wish I'd made different decisions. God has protected me from my bad decisions, down through the years, and I just shake my head at the wonder of it all. Bless His name.

What's your heritage? Where do you go and what do you do when times get hard? Times will, you know...get hard. The Good Book says so but it also says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". I cling to that promise and all His promises. The Bible also says it's impossible for God to lie so cling to His promises, all of them. Remind Him, daily, of His promises and not because He needs reminding but because you we do. All of us need to be reminded and the best way to to read the Good Book, daily. Trust Jesus, it's the only way you'll get through life with any hope of heavenly eternity.

Rebecca Writes hosts a grateful November and today always, my heart is grateful for God's promises. They are my soul preserver, bless His name forever.

Blessings ~ KJV Bible ~ God's promises ~ Rebecca ~ EC ~ VCU ~ Godly family ~ Appalachia ~
 
Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

 ~ ready for winter ~
Today is Veteran's Day, formerly known as Armistice Day and set to honor the end of WWI which took place November 11, 1918. In 1954 the word "Armistice" was struck and the word "Veterans" added to honor all those who had fought in all USA wars. 
 "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." 

There are 21 million living veterans and the last living WWI US soldier is Frank Buckles, who served in WWI. Next year, Mr. Buckles story will be told: Pershing's Last Patriot. Thank you, Mr. Buckles, and thanks to all our veterans; I'm proud of each and every one of you, especially those in my family. Thank you for serving!
 
Never lie, steal, cheat, or drink. 
But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. 
If you must steal, steal away from bad company. 
If you must cheat, cheat death. 
And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.
~ unknown ~

Rebecca Writes is hosting, for the fifth year, a November of gratitude. My grateful heart includes all our veterans, past and present. Without you, there would be no freedom in the USA.

Blessings ~ veterans ~ fire wood ~ loved ones ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dribs and Drabs

 ~ cozy mornings ~
Usually, the dogs and I are early morning risers; this morning we left the warmth of our bed at 5 a.m. They go outside, most of the time, as I'm making coffee and readying early morning dog treats, then, we all go into the sun room where the gas logs are lit and I read my Bible. Lately, it's been Job; always welcome and, these days, speaking directly to my heart like an arrow from the sling of the Almighty.
~ Canada geese ~
Almost every day, we see huge flocks of Canada geese, not Canadian geese as that's entirely incorrect. There are times the flock can be counted but, usually, they are too numerous. They have flown so close overhead I can hear the "whomp, whomp, whomp" of their wings and the absolute wildness of it all, stirs my heart and makes me want to jump into the air like a child playing chase. It is that restless longing for true freedom, only to be found in God, for which I long and seek.

As St. Augustine said, "GREAT art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no end. And man, being a part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee, man, who bears about with him his mortality, the witness of his sin, even the witness that Thou "resistest the proud,"(2) -- yet man, this part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee. Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee? Lord, teach me to know and understand which of these should be first, to call on Thee, or to praise Thee; and likewise to know Thee, or to call upon Thee. But who is there that calls upon Thee without knowing Thee? For he that knows Thee not may call upon Thee as other than Thou art. Or perhaps we call on Thee that we may know Thee. "But how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher?"(5) And those who seek the Lord shall praise Him. For those who seek shall find Him,(7) and those who find Him shall praise Him. Let me seek Thee, Lord, in calling on Thee, and call on Thee in believing in Thee; for Thou hast been preached unto us. O Lord, my faith calls on Thee,--that faith which Thou hast imparted to me, which Thou hast breathed into me through the incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of Thy preacher."


Are you familiar with the browser Mozilla Firefox? In a word, it's fabulous! Dave is the high tech geek around here and he found and installed Firefox for us. I wasn't too thrilled one way or the other, as long as the computer will boot up and take me where I want to go, I'm a happy camper. With Firefox, if the font on a particular page is too small, just click Control and the + sign at the same time. The font will enlarge each time you click! If the font is too large, click on Control and the - sign and the font size decreases. Is that cool or what? Another thing...Firefox has wonderful themes that appear around the edges of your screen. Right now, I'm looking at Aslan, peering rather majestically at me over the top of my g-mail. Okay, it's not really Aslan but he is a majestic lion and, as I love Narnia, I pretend it's Aslan. Does my heart good too, knowing Aslan is right here with me both in spirit and on the screen. 

Is it just me and Sarah Palin or have you noticed grocery store prices are, just about, through the roof? Do you know about the National Inflation Association? It's all about "preparing Americans for hyperinflation" and if you're a person, such as I, who best understands things put rather simply, go read some of the articles. Be sure your shoes are tightly tied as you're about to be frightened out of your socks! Food price projections are strikingly obscene! Forecasts of +$23 for a pound and half loaf of bread or +$45 for a 64 ounce container of orange juice...YIKES! Other forecast include, by the end of this decade which is not so very far in the future, a plain white cotton men's tee shirt costing more than $55 at Wal-Mart. NIA expectations are all retailers will soon substantially raise food prices and at the same time, this "will ensure that this Holiday shopping season will be the worst in recorded American history." I urge everyone to run to the grocery and make purchases now, while we can still afford to buy! Stock up on beans, rice and the basics; learn to cook from scratch, prepare yourselves and your families, as best you can, for what is to come.

"Why," you ask, "is this happening?" Because the Federal Reserve has announced they will implement $600 Billion in additional quantitative easing by end of June 2011. Simply put, they keep printing money and that causes inflation! Quite effectively, it steals from the purchasing power of income and savings of ALL of us! As the NIA puts it, "While Americans are distracted by the mainstream media with daily debates by the Democrats and Republicans about taxes, U.S. taxes have almost no where near the effect on the lives of middle class Americans as does the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and quantitative easing. Instead of millions of Americans attending "tea party" events in Washington with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, they should be marching outside of the Federal Reserve building in New York chanting "End the Fed"."

Works for me, ending big government.The Republicans have announced they will attempt to "stop the pork". Now you and I both know, that's not going to happen, not in a million lifetimes but what they, Dems and Republicans, can do is "end the Fed". That's probably not going to happen either but a woman can dream, can't she? I dream of change, real change, and I don't mean chump change either.
~ eye candy ~
These are perilous times and the blessing/curse "may you live in interesting times" is certainly true. In keeping with Rebecca Writes, my heart is grateful that even though I live in interesting times, my times are in God's hands. It is He who holds sway over me and not man. Man may mean it for evil but God is able to work it for His good. Bless His name forever.

Blessings ~ the view from each window ~ Aslan ~ St. Augustine ~ Canada geese ~ cozy fire ~ faith ~ seeking ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In One Day

 ~ first snow ~
It's been a warm autumn and we still have flowers blooming on protected porches although, in one day, I took photos of beautiful blooms and snow. I wonder if this is an indication of the coming winter?
~ still blooming ~
 ~ summer gifts ~
Each summer, humming birds use horse hair to make their nests. God has blessed me with four of these tiny wonders and I keep them in a squirrel's nest tucked into a small basket.
~ a table full of God's provisions ~
Recently, we were able to eat at Mother and Daddy's, joined by my Beloved Sistah, her son and her husband. Mom prepared beans and corn from their garden, apples from our tree, potatoes from my brother's garden, carrots from a friend's garden and hamburger meat loaf from a small, family owned WV slaughter house. The rolls were from Tavern on the Rail Restaurant and the butter and tea were store bought. One subject we spoke about...wonder how many people are eating this close to home tonight? Wonder if most people are eating fast food, prepared food, store bought food?

Mom and Daddy have almost always had a garden; Daddy would work the garden and Mom would can the food and taught me to can the summer I was thirteen. I found some fox grapes, large white grapes, and Mom told me if I picked a goodly amount, she'd teach me how to make grape jelly. All she had to do was say the word! I picked enough for a couple dozen jars of jelly and we had that good grape jelly all winter long. It was delicious and, as you can see, memorable. I've been canning, freezing and drying food ever since and feel rather proud when I walk into the pantry and see how well we're prepared for winter.

How about you? Do you prepare for the winter? How? What is it you do to prepare yourself and your family for hard times? Certainly putting by food is one way; delving into the Good Book is another. Don't rely on someone else to feed you; rely on yourself. Take what God provides and put by for hard times because, I assure you, hard times are coming; with God's help, you can be prepared.

A grateful heart include God's word and reading it every day. The Holy Spirit comforts in so many ways and one, very important, way is to bring Bible verses to me as the need arises. By daily reading the Bible, I find my mind and heart are able to find peace, eventually, by focusing on His promises. It's all I have, His promises, and it's all I need.


Blessings ~ KJV Bible ~ God's promises ~ winter ~ a full pantry and freezer ~ blooms ~ gardens ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

~ the summer view from my window ~

 Then Job replied:
  “Even today my complaint is bitter;
   his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
 If only I knew where to find him;
   if only I could go to his dwelling!
 I would state my case before him
   and fill my mouth with arguments.
 I would find out what he would answer me,
   and consider what he would say to me.
 Would he vigorously oppose me?
   No, he would not press charges against me.
 There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
   and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.
 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
   if I go to the west, I do not find him.
 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
   when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
 But he knows the way that I take;
   when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
 My feet have closely followed his steps;
   I have kept to his way without turning aside.
 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
   I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
   He does whatever he pleases.
 He carries out his decree against me,
   and many such plans he still has in store.
 That is why I am terrified before him;
   when I think of all this, I fear him.  God has made my heart faint;
   the Almighty has terrified me.
 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
   by the thick darkness that covers my face.

A grateful heart for Job's story; it reminds us in dark times there is God's light.


Blessings ~ prayer ~


Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Daily Duties

 ~ Sadie-pup ~
We've been so blessed with fabulous dogs and Sadie is no exception. She'll be two in March so is still a puppy, albeit a rather large puppy, playing and romping with the abandon of an animal who knows she's loved unconditionally. She's trained, but not as well as she will be; she obeys, but not as good well as she eventually will. As an aside...earlier, Sadie was half in my lap when I was typing and I kept saying "good girl, good girl" and now you know I don't multi-task as well as some -smile-. I'm rather laid back when it comes to training. Sadie won't be a show dog, although you can see she has star potential, rather she'll be a companion, protector of humans, home and farm. If she proves to be like Shaddie, her predecessor, she'll be excellent at her jobs.
 ~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent Dawg ~
 Very seriously, Sam takes his protection detail and is, generally, to be found wandering the perimeter, on guard. "Hey! You looking at ME?"
~ Abbie ~
 Abbie, now a senior citizen, watches from the couch. She's earned her rest although she's always first one out the door when it's time to do chores.

It's a rainy, cold, windy day and we're keeping close to the fire. Chores are finished, for the morning anyway, and house cleaning is planned both because it's needed and because it warms me. When I was visiting Mama Craft a few days ago, I noticed the following on her blog. It's worth repeating because it also warms me and, I believe, there would be much more happiness in this frosty world if this sage advice were heeded. Is it just me or does there seem to be a, rather severe, preoccupation with one's self these days? Frankly, my "self", and the selves of others, usually aren't all that interesting. What we do is very interesting, but not because we do it, but because it brings joy to others and joy...Jesus first, others second, your self last...is what brings us closer to Him.

"The best things in life are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, 
flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. 
Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, 
certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life."  

My heart is grateful for daily duties, home made bread, hot soup...food of both the physical and spiritual kind..., rain for a thirsty earth, oncoming winter and God's strength, mercy and grace. He alone knows how much we'll need in the coming days.

Blessings ~ JOY ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Daily Commute

 ~ sheep treat ~
The local WalMart, only fifteen miles across two mountains, has pumpkins for fifty cents. What a bargain so I bought four and brought them home to cut up for the sheep. They like pumpkin and it's a good treat for them...full of the same vitamins and nutrients our bodies ingest and it pleases me to please them. I like to think I'm a good steward of what God has entrusted to me. Dave certainly thinks so as everything on this place is a trifle fleshy. "Best", I say, "to have a little too much flesh than too little. If one becomes sick, the little extra flesh means weight can be lost without too much danger whereas, if one is too thin, it's a faster slide." That's what I tell myself anyway -smile-.
 ~ Run, turkeys, RUN! ~
Today I traveled the one lane, dirt road and saw a large flock of turkeys. I counted seventeen and think there were more. I pulled over to take photos and turned the car engine off; the rustling of turkeys walking through the brush was loud and you could hear them, softly, chirruping to each other. It was, in a word, delightful.
~ one lane bridge ~
It was a lovely day for a drive. Heck, any day I wake up on the top side of the flower bed is a lovely day. This one lane bridge crosses the same river we crossed a few weeks ago when we did the Paint Lick ride. So much fun, so many good memories.
~ daily commute ~
In our agricultural, rural community horses are still used to round up cattle and sheep. Most of the neighbors have ATV's as well and it's a common sight to see them riding to and fro, to one pasture then another to do chores, check to see how many calves have been born, etc. My commute doesn't require the use of an ATV as I walk to the studio or farm office, dogs running ahead, to do whatever is on the day's agenda.

It's not a good life; it's a great life!

Today I'm grateful for clean air and a wonderful drive over the mountains. To see a flock of wild turkeys is a gift, to have a healthy flock of sheep is a gift, to have healthy horses, dogs and cats is a gift and I'm grateful for all. God has blessed me well beyond my deserving and my heart is grateful.

Blessings ~ wild turkeys ~ healthy animals ~ one lane bridges ~ dirt roads ~ pumpkins ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Full clothesline

 ~ grateful hearts unite ~
As yesterday's post ended, a grateful heart was mentioned. I said it was my intent to end each November post with something my heart held in gratitude. And, so I did. Later in the day, traveling around the i-net, I visited Mama Craft who led me to Walk A Mile who, in turn, led me to Rebecca Writes. From there, my journey went to Lisa Notes where she's made the above beautiful button for folks to use.

Rebecca, for the past five years, has "declared November to be the month of Thanksgiving at Rebecca Writes!" As the Preacher said, "there's nothing new under the sun" and were I to not express humility at this point, would say, "great minds think alike." Unfortunately, as my great mind is just now coming around to express a grateful heart in November, I think the word great is, rightfully, stricken from the record.

Ahem.

You are encouraged to join in. Rebecca is posting every day but that's not a criteria. All you have to have is a grateful heart and be willing to say so in every November post.
 ~ blooming iris ~
 My days have been full of efforts produced in the studio. The above panel was doubled, turned right sides together and sew about ninety percent of the way 'round. Then, it was "birthed", meaning it was turned inside out and the opening then hand stitched closed. About two inches from every side, it was sewn on the ole Featherweight in order to produce a nice, mostly even, hem. This is going, I think, to someone whose birthday is next week. I've another fleece throw to sew so it's going to be a toss-up between the two; the one that doesn't go for the birthday gift will be sold at the Christmas Faire.
~ thundering herd ~
Fleece is, as you may know, a petroleum product and High Flammable! It always bothers me to use fleece but it's so warm and cozy that I reserve using it for adults only; rarely do I use it for children. The above "thundering herd" is going to a friend who is an encourager. There aren't many in this frosty world and if you have an encourager, or three, in your life, you are blessed indeed!
~ tri-shawl ~
This acrylic tri-shawl is perfect for a smaller woman or child. A lot of my knitted shawls are made in acrylic as it's easy care, easy wear with no need to worry about natural fiber allergies. Yes, it's bright but as we're going into the shortened days of winter, brightness is a plus.
~ scarves! ~
At church, someone told me when they think of me they think of hats and scarves. I wear dresses or skirts to church, always, and find a nice scarf adds a statement, as does a hat but my summer hats far outnumber my winter hats. My winter hats tend to be hand knitted affairs designed for warmth; I lost the ego some time back. The two scarves on the left are fabric, the third from the left is a knitted woolen blend spiral and the red scarf is my wild child. I love knitting scarves, or even shawls, that make a statement. Every so often there will be someone who isn't afraid to wear them but, unfortunately, so many women think it's too bold and shy away. So sad.

There hasn't been any studio time today; time has been taken up with town errands and voting. Please God, let men and women after your own heart who walk the walk be elected. Those folks who talk the talk only and have been in office for decades need to find gainful employment. They have forgotten, if they ever knew, what real work entailed. They have, for far too long, sucked at the government teat and have become their own masters. They do not serve but strive to make servants slaves of the rest of us.

If you are a Bible believing, man and woman after God's own heart who is in agony over the direction our country has taken and the, so-called, leadership, my heart goes out to you. You, dear saints, who read God's word and speak to Him daily, who strive mightily to do as His word commands and not as you "feel" is right are to be commended. You put aside yourselves and seek to make Him greater and that's not easy to do in this frosty world. Recently, I've been blasted by people who think I'm old-fashioned and out of touch because I  believe what God's Word says...radical indeed! One woman told me she was glad "we each have our own opinions" and I told her "our opinions don't mean spit, it's what the Word of God says that we should agree upon. I am sorry my words angered her but not sorry I said what I said yet, it would seem tolerance is given only when two are in agreement -wry grin-. It's a frosty world and even we Christians have trouble getting along. If we have such troubles in the here and now, what bodes for eternity? I'm sure God's great heart is grieved and I ask forgiveness for my part in grieving Him.

Now, perhaps you understand why my studio receives so much of my time...? I am grateful to have my little studio, my sewing machines, my cutting table, material, scissors, measuring tapes and a modicum of talent to make things to give away and, sometimes, sell. I am grateful for the work of my hands and heart that, sometimes, brings comfort to others. I am grateful God brings into my life folks who are in need of encouragement in the physical form, in the form of a scarf, shawl, quilt or throw.


Blessings ~ Sara ~ Beth ~ Rebecca ~ Lisa ~ You ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Monday, November 01, 2010

Vintage and Christmas is coming...

 ~ hand made Christmas stockings ~
"Oh, good grief", I can just hear you saying. She's not one of those people, is she? And, the answer is, "not really." I don't count the days from 26 December until Christmas, nor do I frequent Christmas shops, but I do make a lot of Christmas gifts as well as buy out of season. Heck, in this any economy, it's the only way to afford Christmas. I've never been one to spend extravagantly but I do enjoy buying something rather grand at a sales price.

Selina, of Selina's Vintage, hosted a Christmas stocking swap and allowed me to participate, thus the wild tear on making stockings. My swap stocking was air mailed last week and I do hope it's well received. In younger days, I had...hmmm...not so good experiences, shall I put it, with my home economics teacher and my confidence levels aren't very high. At least, not when it comes to making and giving away things. My concern is, my swap partners will be some seamstress or knitter or crafter extraordinaire and will look, askance, at my humble offering made with love and prayers.

Now that I'm thinking about it, my experiences with my six grade art teacher wasn't very good either. On the other hand, I've had some fabulous English teachers; a Mrs. Ruby Osborne comes to mind as well as a couple of other most excellent teachers. Perhaps unfortunately, the rest have fallen into the memory abyss and I refuse to try and dredge them to the forefront. Let the dead stay buried is my motto.
 ~ stocking trims ~
Anyway, back to the stockings. Thus far I've made six and still have, perhaps, another six to make. They will be offered for sale at an upcoming Christmas Festival and, if they don't sell, will be given to family and friends after being stuffed with goodies. Each stocking has batting, is lined with muslin and quilted while the tops are all finished with binding or lace or bobble trim. Sometimes the thread is contrasting and sometimes it blends. One was made with the material upside down and has already found an owner who claims her life is just as topsy turvy. Re-thinking here...perhaps I should have kept that one for myself -smile-.
~ Moroccan silk ~
While in my studio, this basket of hand reeled Moroccan silk rests on the sewing machine. Thus far, I've yet to actually use any but simply look at all the brilliant colors and think of the sheer labor that produced such beauty.  I also remember those lovely trips Dave and I have taken to Morocco; one of my favorite countries in the entire world!
~ candle ~

Last week we were in Richmond and I visited a thrift store or three. I'm so blessed because when I visit thrift stores, I'm engaging in satisfying my wants and not my needs and, often, find fun, useful things. This "newel post" is, in reality, a candle and will look fabulous on our back porch as guests arrive for our Christmas party. You bet, it's going to be lit unless there's a sturdy wind and then will be brought inside and used as table decoration.
~ Thermos ~
This Thermos is still in working order and will provide cool refreshment next summer. It needs to be cleaned as it's a bit grungy from being so well loved used but it still provides plenty of vintage cuteness, don't you think?

Here's hoping your needs have been answered and you're working on your wants -smile-.

One last thing - for every post in November, I want to share a grateful heart. For this first November post, I'm grateful for Dave. When we met in 1989, little did I know God was putting my feet on the path to an adventurous life! Little did I know, what a gift He gave me, and continues to give me, in Dave. My life has been blessed well beyond my deserving and I am over the moon grateful.


Blessings ~ vintage ~ Christmas ~ Selina ~ stockings ~ a beautiful day ~ Dave ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra