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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ beauty, splayed before ~
OWOH 2011 below this post.

 "Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil doing. ~ Psalms 37:8 ~

"Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts. Never fret at any imperfections that you fear may impede your progress. Remind yourself, as often as necessary, that you are a creature of God and have the power to achieve any dream by lifting up your thoughts. You can fly when you decide that you can. Never
consider yourself defeated again. Let the vision in your heart be in your life's blueprint. Smile!"
~ Og Mandino ~

 "It is the little bits of things that worry and fret us. 
We can dodge an elephant but not a fly."
and
"To finish is to win."

"Fretting is wicked, if you are a child of God. Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God?" ~ Oswald Chambers ~

"We consume our tomorrows, fretting about our yesterdays." 
~ proverb ~
 
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:6-7 ~

Blessings ~ no need to worry or fret ~ dreams ~ pleasant thoughts ~ prayer ~ home ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

One World One Heart 2011

 ~ tealightful! ~
Remember my One World One Heart post earlier in the  month? Today's the day and here are my offerings: a delightful blue and white lidded mug with saucer. As a little surprise, there will be a tea bag or two tucked inside and, perhaps, a bit of chocolate love as well.
 ~ flower power ~
Another, handmade, gift is this embroidered, pink elephant. It's on burlap and ready to either hang, make into a pillow or, perhaps, put in an art quilt. It's your choice.
 Lisa, hostess of One World, One Heart 2011, says this is the fifth, and last, year for OWOH. She puts untold hours into the effort and asks only that we play nicely and by her rules. Not so difficult, eh?  In years past, my offerings have been all hand made; this year is different. Life and time have been consumed with making sure Dave receives treatments for cancer and we've been living off the farm which means away from the studio. Please accept my heartfelt apologies for the beautiful, yet mass produced tea cup and, let's face it, the pink elephant is rather loud -smile- but the love poured into the package when sent, is no less heartfelt.

Come back soon, we return home in a few days and my mind is reeling from ideas to put into my heART.
I think I'll start with aprons...

How to win? Leave a comment and your e-mail before midnight, 16 February. Winner will be notified 17 February and gifts mailed post haste. I'd love for you to follow Thistle Cove Farm but it's not necessary to win; indeed, the only hoop you must jump is...leave a comment and a way to contact you within that comment. Easy peasy.
Now, I'm off to wander the blog world; see you around! -smile-

Blessings ~ OWOH 2011 ~ Lisa ~ small delights and treasurers ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - U Care

~ busy, busy, busy ~
Well. You know how everyone is always telling you, you need to take care of you? And yeah, we probably all agree, women need to take better care of themselves. In most households, if the wife/mother goes to her sickbed, the entire household comes to a grinding halt.

Lately, that's something I hear a lot: "you need to take care of you, the caregiver needs care also." I agree, totally, but it's rather dang difficult to squeeze in "me" time when there's so much Dave needs right now. His is the pressing health concern and we're in the last two weeks of treatment. He's still receiving radiation daily but has only had three chemo treatments. Other things have prevented him from receiving the rest of his chemo and it's looking like he'll, probably, not have the other three. We're trusting God.

So, let's see...I've been to the gym once in the last three months; I eat after I've made sure Dave eats but there are a couple of things I'm doing right...I drink a lot of water each day and I, usually, get eight hours of sleep a night. Women who get by on less than eight hours of sleep are, I think, burning the candle at both ends and the middle and, in time, the ole bod will rebel.

In the interest of making sure you're doing something for you, here are some tidbits for you to do for you. Now, y'all know I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on television. I've been known to vet my own animals but these are suggestions only; I'm not making any claims other than what's worked for me. You don't have to do them all but, please, do at least two, within the next twenty-four hours, to remind yourself you're important too. Yes, you're right, "physician, heal thyself" so I'll pick two and treat myself.

~ Eat more protein. I've been reading and hearing that women don't eat enough protein. We tend to eat our fair share of carbs -smile- but we don't eat enough protein. While you're at it, eat more veggies and fruits.

~ Drink! The general rule is drink at least one half gallon of water a day or divide your weight, in pounds, by two and drink that many ounces of water. There are a lot of advantages to drinking more water - you may lose weight, your skin will look better, possibly you'll have fewer headaches and less constipation.

~ Go to bed early and get eight hours of sleep at the bare minimum and, if you can, sleep nine hours. Trust me, it will make a huge difference in both your outlook and your energy. Laundry and dishes will wait on you; trust me, I know this to be true.

~ MOVE! You don't have to take an exercise class or go to the gym. Walk for thirty minutes around the community or, if the weather is bad, walk around your home. Heck, walk in place but move! Stretch your body as well. Watch how cats and dogs get up...they always, always, always stretch when they get up.

~ Chew on ginger root or ginger candies, or drink ginger tea, to lesson nausea.

~ Fill a tub with warm bathwater and pour six cups of Epsom salts into the tub to help relieve muscle tension, soreness and draw toxins from your body. The bathwater may be poured on your garden and some plants because Epsom salts is great for the garden; check out the link to see more tips and info.

~ Devotions help center you so whether it's Biblical or secular, take some time to read something uplifting that will give you a positive attitude. While you're at it, turn off the television.

~ Pray or meditate. I pray because I truly believe, "cast your cares upon Him for He careth for you" and I always feel better after praying. I pray like it all depends upon God.

~ Breath! Practice four square breathing: to the count of four, breath in; to the count of four, hold your breath; to the count of four, breath out; to the count of four, hold your breath. Most of us don't breath enough or correctly. What? Yep, that's right and an under supply of oxygen can leave us feeling groggy, dizzy and it just plain takes a lot of energy to focus and make decisions. If we chronically short ourselves on oxygen, it can lead to fatigue, stress, anxiety and Lord knows what else. While I'm harping on breathing, breath from the gut and not from the chest. Sit or stand straight and breath deeply.

~ Stand up straight, watch your posture. Slumping is bad for your back and contributes to not enough oxygen being taken into your body. My Grandmother, bless her, was a 44EE and she always said, "stand up straight! If I can, you can, so stand up straight!"

~ Light is in short supply in the winter and a lot of people, by necessity, are trapped in a corporate environment and never see the sun.  If you're able, go outside for lunch; walk to work and get in your thirty minutes of exercise or, at the least, wait for the fifty percent off sale at Joann Fabric and buy an OTT light. They range from, about, $80 to $250 but with the sale, they are more affordable and, yes, they do help. Especially if you do any kind of handwork, sewing, spinning, knitting, crocheting, weaving, embroidery, stitching, etc. Now that I've used one for years, I couldn't do without it, especially at night.

~ Eliminate the unnecessary. This one is easier than it sounds, but when you've done it a few times, it becomes even easier.  I developed various tricks when I worked for an overbearing company and south end of a donkey boss who told me, "well, if you can't get your work done in sixty hours, perhaps you should find another job." It never seemed to dawn on him the reason I couldn't get all my work done was because a lot of it was his work. Gee, I still don't wish him well. Anyway, I would ink in "me" time and when he, or other company bosses would say, "Can you meet with us on Saturday?", I'd say, "Oh, I'm sorry. I have a conflict." That was a lot easier than begging for a few measly hours off the job.

~ Listen to something soothing like your favorite music or the wind whistling through the trees or bird song. My favorite music is God song and there's nothing I enjoy more than porch sitting and listening to the animals, birds and sighing wind. I've been doing a lot of that this last year at Thistle Cove Farm and I intend on doing a lot more this year.

~ Scents are a lovely aid to what ails you. There are those in the religious arena who claim aromatherapy is "not of God" and to that I happily say, "you're crazy!" God made scents and and everything else for us to use as long as we don't abuse it; says so in the Old Testament so it must be right, eh? Lavender is very calming and a nice addition to bathwater prior to bed. Peppermint is great as a wake-me up in the morning shower as is eucalyptus and other mints. Right now, I'm on an almond kick because it centers me and leaves me calm. No one uses a lot of heavy scent around chemo patients but almond is soft enough that it's unobtrusive. It's also difficult to find so if you know of a good source, please let me know.

~ Schedule a thirty minute break in your day, every day, to have a cuppa and a cookie. There are a lot of herbal tea companies around but my favorite, Celestial Seasonings, has been around the longest. Not only do you get an excellent cup of tea, you also get positive quotes on the box. I'm all for more positive in my day, how about you? My goal is to sit down at 3:00 p.m., daily, and enjoy a cup of tea and a small snack and it's even better when Dave is able to join me.

~ Write a thank you note. It doesn't even have to be to someone you know personally. I've written thank you notes to people because I enjoyed a performance in a movie or heard someone speak at a conference. Just today I received a thank you note and have already read it several times and will keep it handy so I can read it again and again. In time, I'll stop reading but, until then, those few simple lines written from someone's heart to my heart gives me great pleasure. What an absolute gift!

So, nothing earth shaking in this post but small changes add up to a better you and me. Small changes are the first steps towards seeing more positives in our lives and that's always a good thing. Let me know which two you decide to do in the first twenty-four hours after you read this post. I'm headed upstairs now to enjoy a warm bath, lighted candles, a good book and tomorrow I'm writing a thank you note. Be well.

Blessings ~ we all have the same amount of time ~ wisdom ~ a warm bath ~ almond scented bath wash and lotion ~ herb tea ~ stretching ~ water ~ gratitude ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Monday, January 24, 2011

Apple Cobbler

 ~ yummy apple cobbler ~
Hopefully, your weekend was as good as ours. We had a quiet weekend, filled with family and good food. Is there anything better? I think not.

Mom and Daddy came yesterday, after church, and Mom made a huge kettle of beef roast, carrots, potatoes and onions. The beef came from a WV slaughterhouse and the beef came from the agriculture department at WVU. Most of the veggies came from Daddy's garden and while the biscuits baked, Mom and I used the broth to make gravy. I'd already made an apple cobbler but didn't have a recipe so I "cobbled" together the one pictured above. Yeah, yeah a bad pun but I couldn't really resist; could you?

Because we're living in furnished corporate housing, I don't have the things available to me that I have at home. So, I make do with what's available and, so far, it's turned out all right unless you count those three small white spots on the cobbler. That's where I didn't mix in the baking soda so swell but it didn't affect the wonderful taste.

Speaking of baking powder, Rumford has been around for well more than 100 years and made by Clabber Girl Corporation out of Terre Haute, IN. The reason I like Rumford is it's aluminum free. I'm slightly wonky thataway; I try and stay away from things I don't think are good for me and research I've read says aluminum isn't good for a body. Rumford Baking Powder is a good thing.
 Two sticks of butter were melted in a Pyrex dish.
Two tablespoons of brown sugar were sprinkled on top.
A batter of one cup self rising flour, one cup sugar, one cup milk and two teaspoons baking powder were poured over two peeled and sliced apples. I used the apples at hand - one Granny Smith and one Gala. After baking at 350 degrees F for about thirty minutes and, after saying "grace", it was time for dessert!

This is a really simple recipe and can be used for almost any fruit; I've used it with peaches, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, virtually any fruit that works well with sweet and not savory. Yet, come to think of it, I've never tried citrus fruits so not sure how that would work.

Fruit Cobbler

About 2 cups fruit
2 sticks butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons Rumford baking soda

Clean and slice, if necessary, the fruit you're going to use while melting 2 sticks of butter in a 9x13 baking dish. When butter is melted, sprinkle brown sugar over melted butter.

Arrange fruit over melted butter and brown sugar.

Mix flour, sugar, milk and baking powder and pour over sliced fruit, sugar and butter.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about thirty minutes or until it's deep brown.

French vanilla ice cream would have been wonderful but we didn't have any so had to enjoy without ice cream. Not a chore, I assure you. If you make this, let me know what fruit you used and how it turned out.


Blessings ~ family ~ beef roast ~ potatoes ~ carrots ~ onions ~ apple cobbler ~


Soli Deo Gloria,

Sandra

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

~ children's Bible ~
"One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them 
and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: 
"Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me. God's kingdom 
is made up of people like these." After laying hands on them, he left."

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose".  ~ Robert Byrne ~
"Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.  
If you're alive, it isn't."

"Life is like a blanket too short.  You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night."  ~ Marion Howard ~

"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can."  ~ Danny Kaye ~


"Life is like a coin.  You can spend it any way you wish, 
but you only spend it once."


"He who has a why to live can bear almost any how."  ~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~

"There are two ways to live your life. 
One is as though nothing is a miracle. 
The other is as though everything is a miracle." 


"If you don't know -your family's- history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree." ~ Michael Crichton ~


"Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born."
~ Ronald Reagan ~

Sanctity of Life Week ~ January 21-28, 2011 ~


"Republicans are against abortion until their daughters need one, Democrats are for abortion until their daughter wants one. " ~ Grace McGarvie ~ 

"If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want." ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta ~



"Abortion stops a beating heart." 
~ unknown ~


"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, there are more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with thee."  ~ Psalms  139:13-18 ~


~ Blessings ~ forgiveness ~ life ~  love ~ purpose ~ God's love ~ sanctity of life ~ miracles ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Comfort of Books

 ~ for deep growth ~
Are you a reader? Do these words ring true? "Hi, my name is _____ and I'm a reader." I think it's fair to say only readers understand other readers. The need to have reading material at hand, a stack currently being read but also to be read, along with magazines makes me a happy, satisfied and content camper. Thank God for thrift stores and books to be had for pennies on the dollar; too bad magazines aren't as thriftly hand. Generally, I tend to pay full price, minus ten percent, at BAM because that's where I can find what I like to read.

The stack of books above are, from bottom up, the KJV Bible. I have and do read other versions but the KJV is my favorite and the one I find most comforting as well as the most difficult to read and understand. It stretches me, makes me think and ponder which are both mighty good things.

Joyce Meyer is a prolific author and i dare you admonishes you to Embrace Life With Passion. That's something I've always strived to do although I've not always known what it was called. From the time I was a toddler, I've run toward life, full tilt boogey, arms open wide and skinned knees to prove it. Yeah, I've had my share...and then some...of hurts, misfortunes and even a tragedy or three but, through it all, God has provided. Even when I had no clue, even when I was running without acknowledging Him, He has always provided. Now that I'm older, I can see where my life has been spent running with and toward HIM even when I thought I was running alone. Do you understand?

My Daily Journey With My Utmost For His Highest is a companion to Oswald Chamber's classic.


The Women's Devotional Bible 2 is the New International Version and an enjoyable read. It's not a tough a read as the KJV but still enjoyable.

Exceeding Gratitude for the Creator's Plan by James P. Gills, M.D. is written from an eye doctor's point of view and is extraordinary. God blessed me with an attitude of gratitude but I can always use a boost. Dr. Gills writes on how to have a  more satisfying life,a more useful life, simply a better life by learning how a loving Creator has had your picture on His refrigerator since before time began! Okay, maybe God doesn't have a refrigerator but He has had you on His mind since before He began time. Now that's an awesome thought and I rarely use the word awesome!


We Brake for Joy is a devotional written by Patsy Clairmont, Thelma Wells, Luci Swindoll, Marilyn Meberg, Barbara Johnson and Sheila Walsh. If you're not familiar with these women, you should be.

Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham, wrote Do I Know God? I love the subtitle, Finding Certainty in Life's Most Important Relationship. That says everything that needs saying.

Is any bookshelf complete without Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest? I think not.
 ~ fun and entertaining ~
Decades ago, Rachel Ashwell wrote Shabby Chic and spawned an entire industry. Shabby Chic is still a beloved favorite, well thumbed by folks who like the cozy, put your feet up style of cottage.

Another beloved favorite for decades is Alexandra Stoddard. Living a Beautiful Life is my idea of a cup of liquid comfort: hot, sweet, milky tea in hard cover. Some of her more recent books show she has a bent toward Eastern philosophy and that's not in keeping with my belief of Christ and His Father's plan of salvation but it's okay, I still read and enjoy her writings.

Do you remember a television movie staring Angela Lansbury called The Shell Seekers? I'm drawn to those types of movies: languid, a great story with wonderful actors and scenic location. Some of my favorites have been The Whales of August, The Big Fish, Harold and Maude, Trip to Bountiful, or Simon Birch; have you seen any of those? Anyway, back to Rosamunde Pilcher; a Scots woman who writes lyrical, well woven stories of people and how, essentially, the six degrees of separation come into play. Of course, she was writing well before Six Degrees of Separation but the idea is the same.

Wind in the Ash Tree is by Jeanine McMullen and I've lost count of how many times I've read this and her other books. She, an Australian, writes of buying a small country holding in Wales and her efforts at taming that small farm in the Welch countryside. No matter how many times I read this, or one of her other two books, I still laugh like a crazy woman and cry with the same abandon. Anyone who has farmed, ranched or had livestock will know, deep inside that place of knowing, what it took for her to follow her heart.

Michael Korda wrote Country Matters, his story of finding, buying and moving to an established, but decrepit, farm in a Duchess County, NY community of families with deep roots. He even provided the drawings that adorn the book, cover to cover.

Myrtle Beach Pavilion by Lesta Sue Hardee and Janice McDonald recounts the hey days of Myrtle Beach and, more specifically, the Beach Pavillion. Lesta Sue is the sister of my name sake friend, Sandra K. Hardee, and I've known the sisters and their families for decades. Photos and writing bring back a day that will never be again as the Pavilion was torn down for "modern commerce". Do you know how to Shag? And, no, I don't mean the rude term used by the Brits, rather, the dance begun in Myrtle Beach, at the Pavilion, and now the state dance of South Carolina. I've always wanted to learn how to shag; it's the coolest dance ever to the best music ever!

When we first came to Richmond, I found two little thrift store books to help me cozy up corporate housing. Chris Madden's Guide to Personalizing Your Home and Beautiful Home on a Budget by Barnes and Brogger have given me a few pointers on how to turn this townhouse into our home.

Dr. Laura - love her or hate her, she's a bright woman and, imo, on target more often than not. The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands probably won't set well with those of a feminist bent but I like the book.  Her premise is, men are simple creatures. They want, so Dave my husband, tells me to protect and provide for their women and family; some would add be a spiritual leader in the home as well. I like Dr. Laura although I don't listen to her on the radio...does she still have a program? I don't like listening to stupid callers belittle their husbands, talk rudely and, generally, act like they are sitting on a gold mine when, let's face it, if it's been used once, it's second hand goods.

CAN SHE SAY THAT?!!! Just did, didn't I?

Let's face it: if there's discontent in the home, there's going to be discontent in the world, workplace, etc. And, vice versa.

My last book by Monica Larner is In Love In Italy - a Traveler's Guide to the Most Romantic Destinations in the Country of Amore. Dave and I have been to Italy but want to return and stay a while, put our feet up and breath deeply and long. We have high hopes and big dreams; God willing, we'll get back to Italy again.


So, there you have what I'm reading, have read or will read; what's on your bookshel?

Blessings ~ good books ~ devotionals ~ favorite books ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vintage Thingie Thursday

 ~lovely mixing bowl ~
Coloradolady hosts Vintage Thingie Thursday which is a lot of fun and causes, or may cause, severe envy, depending upon what thingie your heart loves that is vintage. I adore old stuff which used to be called antique but is now called vintage. Most of the farmhouse at Thistle Cove Farm is full of old stuff. We've stuff from Dave's family, my family, Dave's previous homes, my previous homes, thrift stores and consignment shops and stuff picked up alongside the road put out for trash pick-up. One man's trash is another woman's treasure, eh? -smile-

The beautiful bowl, above, is a Kitchen Kraft, proudly made in the USA by the Homer Laughlin Company in West Virginia. The HLChina Company has been in business since 1873 and has produced quantities of lovely, functional china. Depending upon what, and where, you read, Kitchen Kraft was introduced in 1937 or 1939 but was discontinued by 1945. I have never seen this pattern; it looks to be Japanese in flavor with a pagoda and geisha women standing on a bridge, waiting for a ship or boat to sail into harbor. This fascinates me as I've always associated both Kitchen Kraft and Homer Laughlin with more traditional patterns such as gold filigree, nautilus, roses or other florals, solids, equestrian and many more designs.

In earlier years, the HLChina Company was known for a variety of china, now they are known, primarily, for Fiesta Ware. Perhaps it's just me but I find the Fiesta Ware of earlier years to be preferable to the Fiesta Ware being produced now. The colors of yesteryear are muted, softer and more pleasing to my eye while the colors today are...in a word, garish.

Sorry. It's true though, the colors today are a bit harsh, loud, crass and in your face. They tend to make the supper table scream, "have a good meal!" while yesteryear's colors murmur, "so pleased you're here, enjoy our hospitality."

The most interesting thing, to me, about the Homer Laughlin China Company is their Food Service Division's ability to do custom designs for restaurants, hotels or anyone else who wants china with their own logo. I can just imagine a set of dishes with a thistle, the logo for Thistle Cove Farm!

I did a web search but couldn't find anything about my particular bowl. It's about a three quart mixing bowl and has two, quite small, chips that in no way effect the usability of the bowl and will, probably, be put on the shelf and simply enjoyed visually. Oh, the best thing about my Kitchen Kraft bowl? I found it at a thrift store for less than two dollars! Someone else's trash is my new treasure -smile-.

Blessings ~ little things that bring such joy and pleasure into my life ~ Kitchen Kraft bowls ~ thrift stores ~ thistle ~ Homer Laughlin China Company ~


Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Gardening

 
 ~ the sun is always shining, always! ~

You've heard the saying, "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." That's how I feel these days; my mind is missing and I'm struggling just to remain upright. With all that's going on in life just now, I'm going to take on Tidbit Tuesday. It's where various tidbits will be posted to help make your life a tad easier, give you a chuckle, let you share your "secrets" that help you on life's path. Yes, it's crazy because a lot of you know what's going on in Dave's and my life but, you know what? Perhaps having something to think about, blog wise, to pull together and post will help me regain some focus, some goals, some control in my life. And, if it doesn't, I'll stop doing Tidbit Tuesday, it's not writ in blood, ya know -smile-.

We've got a mini-laptop we used for traveling and, let me tell you, it's pretty darn difficult for me to see this tiny screen much less catch spelling errors, etc. When I try and respond to e-mail, the tiny screen let's me see one side of the note and then have to move the thingie at the bottom so I can read the other side of the post. You can just guess how difficult this is on almost sixty year old eyes -LOL-. All that to say, please forgive me for errors.

Tidbit Tuesday - Gardening

Let's face it, January is the best time, although February is good also, for thinking about the garden. There's not much actual work to be done, not when your farm is covered in two feet of snow...or so I'm told...so sittin' and thinkin' is work best done in Jan and Feb.

Do you have an old mailbox that's not in use, perhaps you've been too lazy to take it to the dump? At garden's edge, plant a pole and attach the old mailbox. When you've finished gardening for the day, put your trowels, gloves, spades and other small gardening tools inside. They are always handy and, better yet, dry from the elements.

Glancing at your laminated seed packets, stapled to a post placed at the end of each row, allows you to see, fast and easy, what's planted in that row. A lamination machine is some of the best money I ever spent and not just in the garden!

Leftover tea leaves can give your garden bed a boost of nitrogen if you spread over the soil and work it in. Coffee grounds are especially good for azalea or other acid loving plants.

Club soda gone flat is good for house plants and water from cooked pasta, potatoes or vegetables are good for plants. If you have soapy dishwater, it can be used both in your garden and on your houseplants and will kill aphids and other bugs. BTW, don't use the soapy water on African violets...not good for them.

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys is a favorite saying of my friend, Max. Peanut shells are good for adding nitrogen and may be added to either your compost pile or directly to the ground. I've never had a compost pile because I prefer to dump "whatever" directly onto the garden. It works for me.

Slugs love beer. If you fill a bowl with beer and "plant" it in the garden, you'll attract slugs who will crawl into the bowl and drown. Make sure you leave the bowl lip just above ground level so the slugs can't crawl to and walk out on the lip ledge.

If you're having problems with 'coons, 'possums and other night critters use your blinkin' Christmas lights in the garden. There's something about blinkin' lights that disturbs critters; me too, for that matter.

Put a bar of soap in the toe of a leg of panty hose; hang this next to the garden hose and you've got a ready made wash up station. Don't bother taking the soap out of the hose as the exfoliating effect is great for the hands.

Don't throw away broken clay flower pots. The edges may be used as a sharpening stone for garden tools.

Nasty plastic bags may be cut into strips and those strips used to tie up beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. Let's face it, the plant will be finished giving forth fruit or vegetables before those bags decompose and the softness of the plastic won't hurt the plants.

Time to get back to the hospital; here's an update before signing off: Dave is doing much better, thank God! Less than an hour after I spoke with the ER resident doc, Dave was moved to the oncology ward where he receives his meds when he's supposed to take them, he's receiving food three times a day along with snacks...did you know there's no food service to the ER? Then again, I supposed folks aren't supposed to be in ER for twenty-two hours so food isn't, usually, an issue. Dave is being taken to Radiation Oncology, or Rad/Onc as it's called, each morning so he can receive radiation treatments and the list of good stuff just grows and grows or, as I prefer to think, prayers go up and blessings come down! Thank YOU for praying.

Today is a l.o.n.g. day. I've got marching orders from Dave, he's given me instructions on doing some "bidness" for him, then I have to get to the hospital and tonight there's a tax seminar for cancer patients and their families. The tax seminar is across town and I'm not looking forward to driving that great distance, especially as it's raining and might be sleeting by then. But we do need this information so I'll go and pray the whole time.

The photo of clouds parting and the sun shining through reminds me the sun is always shining. It doesn't matter if I can see the sun or not, it's there and doing what it's supposed to do - give light and heat. God is always there, doing what He said He'd so...love us, take care of us and, if we've accepted Christ as our Savior, we'll spend eternity with them in heaven. Yep, the sun is always shining and the Son loved us enough to die for us; prayers go up and blessings come down. Bless His name, forever.


Blessings ~ gardens ~ plants ~ God's love ~ Christ's salvation ~ prayers ~ 

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ Samuel Shetland ~
"Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good." ~ Romans 12:9 ~

"Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep...wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you're just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky he is to have you... The one who turns to his friends and says, "that's her". " ~ unknown ~

"For it was not into my ear you whispered, 
but into my heart. 
It was not my lips you kissed, 
but my soul."  
~ Judy Garland ~ 

 "I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
~ Mother Teresa ~

"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread."
  ~Mother Teresa ~

"This is my beloved and this is my friend." ~ Song of Solomon 5:16 ~

“Love is patient; love is kind
and envies no one.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
never selfish, not quick to take offense.
There is nothing love cannot face;
there is no limit to its faith,
its hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things
that last forever: faith, hope, and love;
but the greatest of them all is love.”
 ~ Corinthians 13:4-7 ~

Blessings ~ love ~ hope ~ faith ~ 

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Roots and Fruits

 ~ is this a hawk? ~
Do you ever stop to think that as deep as the roots grow, the fruit, vegetable or plant develops accordingly?

It's January and the seed catalogs are coming in the mail; thank God for snail mail although I'm not home to cast a longing eye upon those catalogs, it makes me happy knowing they await. I hate looking at web sites when I'm trying to decide what to purchase by way of seeds, vines, brambles, seedlings, etc.  Do you enjoy looking at catalogs, circling what looks enticing, deciding what new to you or heritage seed you want to plunk into the ground come spring; the hope that springs eternal with seed catalogs, seeds and spring?

Here are a few websites you might enjoy; they all offer heritage, or vintage, if you will, seeds collected from all over the world. I've met some of the folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they are good people. Jere Gettle, the founder, started gardening when he was three and when he was 17, in 1998, he printed his first Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog. Every time I think about Jere, his focus, his knowing at such a tender age what made him happy, his striving to make his life his own and the world a better place in the process, there's also a tad bit of green involved. And, no, I don't perxactly mean the growing kind of green but being kindly envious of someone who so firmly knew, and then claimed, their place in the world. Most of us struggle through life, making our mistakes, scraping our knees and, eventually, being one of those, as Milton said, "who also serves by standing and waiting". Or, as First Thessalonians 4:11 says, "Also, make it your goal to live quietly, do your work, and earn your own living, as we ordered you." Truth be told, I'm better some days than others at "living quietly" -smile-.

The Heirloom Gardner focuses strictly on heirloom seeds both fruit and vegetable. At $12 a year, it's a grand buy and no, I'm not being paid to say these things -smile-.

Seed Savers is in Iowa, I believe, and is another, so I'm told, fine resource for heritage seeds. I don't know much about them so no warm, fuzzy words of faith and inspiration.

Southern Exposure is in Mineral, VA and just up the road a few miles from where we're currently living. I've never visited them but have heard good things but, again, no personal recommendation.

The Amishland Heirloom Seeds is owned, operated and managed by one woman, Lisa Von Saunders and is in the midst of Pennsylvania Dutch country. She specializes in rare varieties grown in her area and only sells seeds from her own small plot of land. She also offers seeds from plants grown on her land from seeds exchanged with others around the globe. There's a wealth of information on her site and she looks like the kind of woman you'd love to sit down with a cuppa at the kitchen table.

El Dorado Heirloom Seeds, in Kansas, offers a package containing sixty-seven seeds that looks interesting but again, no personal recommendation.

Down the road from me, in Bristol, VA, the Urban Homestead offers heirloom apple trees from Virginia. I've never met this family but have known of them for decades; one of these days, I'm going to order a tree or three from them.

This site has a listing of NC farms growing heirloom apples but the one I'm familiar with is Big Horse Creek Farm.

The Cloudforest Gardner has a wealth of information, the most recent, Jan 5, being an introduction to sourdough starter. Sourdough starter fascinates me as it's basically, a mixture set out to rot so it can turn into yeast, a one cell plant that's, essentially, a fungus. Yep, and I adore sourdough bread and cakes and anything else that uses a starter so, please, read more about a fascinating and tasty topic.


Heirloom Seeds, and their sibling site, Heirloom Tomatoes, are both in Pennsylvania and offer, as do the others listed, open pollinated, non hybrid, non GMO seeds.

For those who don't know, GMO is corporate's way of taking over and controlling the world which is just my not so humble opinion, mind, but think about it. Genetically modified seeds means only a few companies...Monsanto, DuPont, Archer Daniels Midland, etc., will own seeds and that means...whoever owns the seeds, owns the food supply and whoever owns the food supplies controls the people. So much research is being done in India where there's a population that's, for the most part, poor, rural and relatively powerless.

The WSJ article states, in part, "...As for India, its $1.5 billion seed industry is the fifth largest in the world, with the private sector accounting for three quarters of it, of which Missouri-based Monsanto controls more than 60%. ..."  Hmmmm...

Ah, you think I'm being paranoid, do ye? As Winston Churchill said, "Even a paranoid has real enemies" and he was right then and he's right today. Seeds of Deception tells more of the GMO story; read it and be concerned; be very concerned.

So, what's your favorite heirloom seed company? Why? Let's get a list going so we can be better informed and take a more active role in our food production. And, while you're at it, make a few loaves of bread...one to eat, one to freeze and one to give away. Share your blessings and pass the joy along.

Finally, for your enjoyment, click on The Beauty of Mathematics. I love this, really!

Update on our situation: Dave was admitted to hospital this past Sunday but they couldn't find anything wrong...other than the already known although there were some distressing symptoms. He was released Thursday at 5:00, with a high fever and that worried me enormously, then and now. At 5:00 Friday, early evening, I was told to take him back to the ER where we were until 7:00 this  morning, fourteen hours later! until I left to drive to our RIC home and have some "me" time, meaning four hours sleep and some food. Dave is still in ER, the diagnosis is now "pneumonia" and they are waiting for a bed somewhere not in ER. I'm not going back to the hospital today; I'm not in a good mood and am pretty darn upset at the whole debacle that's passing for "quality care". Dave has a maxim: "any thing that's repeated a lot is, more than likely, going to be a lie." And I add...a big fat lie.
Dave is in the largest teaching hospital in the Commonwealth of VA and that means they receive, mostly, indigent patients. That means, those not even on Medicare or Medicade and no insurance but those who have absolutely no resources, no power, no voice and who are told to "go there, sit there, wait here" by people who have, just about, no possibility of ever losing their jobs for any reason. I mean, they'd have to do something pretty darn incredible to lose their job and then would, probably, sue so, as with a lot of government employees everywhere, Job Security reigns...securely.Yes, I do know government employees who are doing their jobs but, it seems, those who spend their...tax dollar!...time surfing the i-net, chatting on the phone, etc. are in the vast majority.
Yet, among all this manure are still bright spots of RN's and docs who do their best to render assistance, "environmental specialists" who clean up the vomit, feces, urine, blood and other gross bodily ejections that happen constantly in a hospital and ER setting and who, mostly, keep their compassion and care level tuned high. I try to focus on those folks, the folks doing their best in a situation that's sometimes frantic and all the time stressful.

I have many, many concerns with the top most being Dave is not receiving his meds in a timely fashion. When I spoke with one of the ER resident physicians, and yes, thank you, I do have his name, he told me, "your husband's meds have been ordered." "Wonderful!" said I, "because he was due them four and a half hours ago.

I try to remember that because my roots go deep with God that my fruits should be love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Truly, I am trying but I am also confessing, it's terribly, terribly difficult when confronted with someone who is doing their dead level best, and generally succeeding, to get me out of their face. Oh, I hear a LOT about "you are to be your husband's advocate" and "you're to look after your husband and see he gets the care he deserves and we promised" but when I do those things...the looks I receive are dark, very dark, indeed. Today, I've been holding on the phone more than twenty minutes because...because...my guess is, someone didn't want to be bothered with getting me more information than they had at their fingertips. They wanted me to be satisfied with the pittance of information they gave me and, not only, be happy they took time out of their horribly busy schedule to be bothered with me. Oh yeah. I called back and got name, rank and serial numbers...okay, maybe not serial numbers but I did ask for names and ranks.

HELLO! If there weren't patients...like Dave and all the other poor sods lying in their beds...hospital staff  would NOT have a job. The only reason you have a job and some self perceived sense of power is there's a sick person who needs your "TLC". So get up off your "blessed assurance" and do your stinkin' job...please!

Oh my. Perhaps I shouldn't be so open about what's going on, I don't know. I do know Dave still has more than three weeks of treatments and that's the carrot dangling in front of my face. In three weeks, God willing, we can go home and, if need be, he can get the chemo treatment he needs at home. The radiation treatment is specialized and can only be gotten here but the radiation department is spot on! Most of those people not only know their stuff, they are compassionate, kind, caring, and doing their job with a smile on their faces. Bless you, Radiation Department, bless you!
Yes, there have been other folks who are kind, caring, compassionate and, just as importantly, have walked us through this maze and done so with a smile and joy. Bless you as well; if Mrs. S.A. hadn't met me that first day, if she had not put me in touch with the wonderful people who are full of knowledge and information, I'm quite sure I'd have crashed and burned by now. When days, and staff, are dark and dreary, I focus on those beautiful souls who have been guiding lights on our path. I focus on them and pray for them and their families and, the most powerful thing I can do for them is call upon God to bless them and their offspring...I call upon God to reward them in kind for their goodness, kindness, caring, love.

As for those folks who aren't so chipper, helpful and do their dead level best to throw me off track, I pray for them also...just like Paul prayed for Alexander.I also try not to think of myself as the hawk pictured above and them as the prey. I do try, really hard, to be considerate of them and keep in mind that none of us ever know what personal hell someone else is going through. Let's face it though, some days I'm just trying.

Blessings ~ caring and compassionate medical staff ~ Dave has been diagnosed and is now being treated accordingly ~ four hours of sleep ~ some me time on the computer ~ folks saving heritage seeds and plants ~ God's beautiful Nature ~


Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Weaver bookmarks


 Robin and Penny, you've won the bookmarks. Please send your snail mail and bookmark will be mailed soonest.

It's been a stressful week but, thank God, I had a few days last week to bolster me for the storm, no pun intended, that followed. On Sunday, Dave went into hospital and, hopefully, will be released today. He's had problems associated with his pain medications along with other complications. He's still receiving radiation treatments but chemotherapy was suspended this week.

Please, forgive me. I owe so many people a note, a 'thank you' for commenting. Life is overwhelming yet God gives us love gifts each day to let us know we're not forgotten. As if! Must run, need to get back to the hospital. Bless you for remembering us in your prayers.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Monday, January 10, 2011

One World One Heart 2011

Do you remember One World One Heart from previous years? Have you participated? No? Gosh, you're missing out on a lot of fun! Lisa, of A Whimsical Bohemian, came up with this brilliant idea and this year makes the fifth year. It also is the last year, probably because it's grown to enormous proportions; last year, I believe, there were more than one thousand participants!

Lisa calls it a world wide meet and greet event where people visit blogs they, might, never run across otherwise. It begins 30 Jan when people go to her blog and sign up. Have you ever thrown food into a koi pond and watched the fish churn the water as they fight for the food? That's what it's like; I'm surprised her server doesn't have heart failure that first day. It ends 17 Feb when you announce the winner or winners of your gifts.

There are a few rules so you need to visit Lisa's blog to read further. Bloggers who participate aren't supposed to make blog readers jump through hoops but...but...there are always those few idiots who...what, do you suppose? feel they are above following rules? are egotistical? are rude? and say, "must become a follower, must subscribe to my blog, must visit my shop" or something else they aren't supposed to say. It's all about visiting, commenting and, above all "meeting and greeting". Cool!

I've been participating since 2008 and have loved every moment. I can travel the world without leaving my beloved farm -smile- and meet so many terrific people, see their art work, peek at their lives...I'm telling you, it's fantastic!

For my latest gift-away, please click here.

Blessings ~ in the midst of winter, OWOH ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

 
 ~ the grave cannot hold him, nor us...~
" Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: 
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

"Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection." 
~ Arthur Schopenhauer ~


 "Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime." ~ Martin Luther ~
 
"The supernatural birth of Christ, his miracles, his resurrection and ascension, remain eternal truths, whatever doubts may be cast on their reality as historical facts." ~ David Friedrick Strauss ~

"No one else holds or has held the place in the heart of the world 
which Jesus holds. Other gods have been as devoutly worshiped, 
no other man has been so devoutly loved." 
~ John Knox


"I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful but I never read in either of them, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden." ~ Augustine ~

"Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. 
Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. 
Yet Jesus Christ claimed 
to be the true and living God. 
Buddha simply said, "I am a teacher in search of the truth."
Jesus said, "I am the Truth. 
Confucius said, "I never claimed to be holy." 
Jesus said, "Who convicts me of sin?"
Mohammed said, "Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope." 
Jesus said, "Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins." ~ unknown ~

"Fundamentally, our Lord's message was Himself. He did not come merely to preach a gospel. He himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely to give bread. He said, "I am the bread." He did not come merely to shed light. He said, "I am the light." He did not come merely to show the door, He said, "I am the door." He did come merely to name a shepherd; He said, "I am the shepherd." He did not come merely to point the way; He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." ~ J. Sidlow Baxter ~

"Jesus Christ. The meeting place of eternity and time, 
the blending of deity and humanity, 
the junction of heaven and earth." 
~ unknown


"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." ~ Acts 16:31 ~

Blessings ~ the promise of eternity in heaven ~ Jesus Christ ~

note: please pray for Dave

Soli Deo Gloria,Sandra

Saturday, January 08, 2011

My Little Secret...

 ~ some of my small flock ~
Tuesday morning, after Dave's radiation and lunch at a Japanese restaurant -sushi for him, fried rice for me as I don't eat bait ...chuckle, snort, laugh... - I filled the car with gasoline and left for HOME!
 
"Peace, that was another name for home." ~ Kathleen Norris ~

"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke ~

 ~ Abbie, ready and willin' ~
The pups were glad to see me yet no gladder than I to see them. We went out and played in the snow storm, visiting neighbors as they were feeding their cattle and sheep. In general, lovin' being together.
~ Sadie, riding shotgun ~
~ Clinton, my sheep shearer ~
In our valley, we have several families whose families have been here for generations. Clinton is the eighth generation farming the land and Dave's cousin, Rees B. VIII, wife and son, Rees IV, are living on the family farm. Roots go deep in this valley and, like so many people who farm and ranch, we try to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. Of course, the men around here say I'm a really, really good steward because my sheep have names, they die of old age, are long wool sheep, etc. -smile-
~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent aka Skunky Sam ~
The test of a mom's love is if she'll sleep with her little boy pup after little boy pup has tangled with a skunk. The answer is yes, especially if little boy pup has had time to roll the stink off, just a tad.
~ neighbor Russell ~
Russell works at a neighboring farm and was feeding cattle this morning. I asked him what kind of fish he'd fish for with that hook and he laughed and said, "a big 'un!"
~ creek, flowing out of a cave ~
Our valley is the largest karst area in Virginia and one of the largest in the country. Limestone caves and caverns mean hard, sweet water though and our well water is the best I've ever tasted! If you've never tasted limestone well water you're missing out and, nope, there's nothing to compare.
 ~ mortise and tenon cabin ~
This old cabin still looks pretty strong; it's standing long after the men who made it have passed away. Mainly, it's used for storage but the mortise and tenon building technique ensures it's still here, generations hence.
My American Curly horses have fabulous coats and, although they have shelter when they want it, they'll stay outside in all save the worst weather. It has to be wind chills below zero, blowing snow and sleep and low temps before they'll choose the barns for shelter. Click on the link above if you'd like more information about these hypoallergenic, gentle, curious creatures who were called "big red dogs" by the Lakota Sioux and only ridden by Chiefs and Medicine Men and, it should be noted, by the winning side at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
 ~ three butts ~
The sheep, like the horses, tend to eat the center first because that's where the best, still sweet smelling alfalfa is located. They eat from both sides, eventually meeting in the center when the top will collapse, and they'll continue eating until all the hay is gone.As the hay is eaten, more sheep can squeeze together and, towards the end, sometimes there will be four fannies to be seen as the heads are in the bale center.

"I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world."
~ George Washington ~

Probably, while you're reading this post, I'm on the road to Richmond. I've picked up my eyeglasses, accomplished some business for Dave and am ready to have Sunday to R&R before Monday and treatments. Yet, as said
~ Emily Dickinson ~ "Where thou art - that - is home."

P. S. for the gift-away, click here, there's still plenty of time to enter.


Blessings ~ treatments going well ~ Dave, feeling strong ~ our pups ~  our horses ~ our sheep ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ home ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Weaver - Gift-away

 ~ The Weaving, bookmarks ~
"My life is just a weaving
Between my Lord and me.
I cannot change the color
For He works most steadily.


Oft times He weaves the sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.


Until the loom is silent
And the shuttle cease to fly,
Will God roll back the canvas
And explain the reason why.


The dark threads are as needful
In the skillful  Weaver's Hand
As the golden threads of silver
He has patterned in His Plan."

The two bookmarks in the above photo will be given away, by random choice, to two individuals who leave comments. The only hoop you must jump through - you must leave a way for me to contact you via your comment. The gift-away will close Friday, midnight, a week from today, and I'll have them in the mail by the following Tuesday.

Blessings ~ our times are in His hands ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Kindness Guards the Entry

 ~ rear end of a goose ~
Tears, ever close, threaten to bruise my eyes and spill over the dam of lids to slide down my face and drip drip drip from my chin. Every person a has story: a past, present and a hope for the future. Some stories are held tightly, choking the dismal thoughts at bay. Other stories are close to the surface and sift through fingers wide open held close to the heart.

We're one-third of the way through chemo and a bit more with radiation. Every day we see some of the same folks and, always, new folks who clutch their blanket of hope as they wander the maze of the hospital system. Some people have friends or family to help guide them; others sit, alone, as they wait for someone to collect them for their next step or consult.

There's no privacy, none, meaning, there aren't any patient/staff rooms where one can go to hear what the next step will be, the next treatment, the bits of good news, the bad news tsunamis. It's impossible not to overhear - the clinical, sometimes dulcet, voices of the nurses or staff and the wistful hopeful prayerful pleadful tones of the patients. It's gut wrenching and I am in awe of the capability of the staff to both do their job and, generally, do it with compassion and tender care.

Why is it, do you suppose, the architects and other building planners, seemingly, have absolutely no concept of the needs of the people for whom the facility is, ultimately, designed? The waiting room and adjacent seating areas are one huge space...one huge loud noisy space where, even on the quietest of days, voices clammer to be heard...by each other and by staff. The din is amazing but, even so, overshadowed by the voices not heard. The voices of people who are withdrawn, consumed in their own thoughts while the white silence threatens to overshadow the actual noise, to bring noise to his knees. The white silence is deafening, a white blanket that is densely weighty and threatens to suffocate yet is not sufficient to prevent one from hearing the hope, always hope, lingering around and over the crowd, unseen but felt, sometimes warm and welcoming, other times shunted aside because it's become cold and foreign. Hope is an angel of tender mercies sent to comfort but sometimes hope isn't enough. Sometimes the news is so weighty a gut punch that one can hear the breath being sucked out of the body. I find myself holding my breath, tears gathering for someone I don't know, the only prayer being "Jesus, help" said over and over and over as a mantra until, bodies realize they need breath to sustain even the nightmares, breath sucks inward and the process begins anew.

So many of us can handle the bad news. It's then we muster ourselves, our prayers, our hopes, our family, our friends and begin the battle. The good news is even more easily handled, carried joyfully to the heart, sounds of exclamation of "thank God". There have been many kind people on this journey, as well as some not so kind people, but everyone is entitled to an off day. I'm finding out what  means a 'help meet'; taking the admonition "for better and worse" truly to heart, stepping up to the plate and...some days doing my absolute worst simply because I'm human and fall down on the job. But I'm here and will always be here and, surely, that counts against the times I fall down. There are too many stories of both men and women who walked away from the bad news, who "couldn't take it" and left. I cannot imagine. I can't imagine how one would sleep at night or face the day should one just walk away. I can't imagine not having the Holy Spirit to comfort, Christ to intercede or God to hear. I can't imagine trying...wry smile...to do any of this on my own. Why? What could possibly be the use?

It's hard, it's difficult and, even on a good day, there are still bad things happening. We soldier on, gallows humor and all, sharing a kind smile with others on the same journey, saying a prayer for those who are in evident, immediate need, squeezing in life and love and joy and laughter amongst the tears and, yes, even on those days when we feel like the rear end of a goose.

But, above all and always, allowing kindness to guard the entry to our heart.


Blessings ~ MCV ~ staff ~ volunteers ~ family ~ friends ~ prayers ~ ever present hope ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ God tends His flock ~
"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the
breath of the Almighty hath given me life."  

"Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God. "  ~ Hildegard of Bingen ~

"Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours." ~ Swedish Proverb ~

"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." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~

~ Amy Grant ~

"...and human hands can't serve his needs--for he has no needs. 
He himself gives life and breath to everything, 
and he satisfies every need." 

Blessings ~ Christ, the breath of heaven ~ new year, new beginnings ~ life's plain common work ~ a feather on the breath of God ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra
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