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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, February 27, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

~ Sam, 'herding' sheep ~
 "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good: his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." ~ Psalms 100:1-5 ~

"If God asks that you bend, bend and do not complain.  He is making you more flexible, and for this be thankful."  ~ Terri Guillemets ~
"Let God's promises shine on your problems."

"Young man, young man, your arm's too short to box with God."

~ James Weldon Johnson ~

"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame."


Every evening I turn my worries over to God.  He's going to be up all night anyway.  
~ Mary C. Crowley ~

"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."  

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."
~ C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain ~

"The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too."  

"Weave in faith and God will find the thread."  ~ Author Unknown ~

"He who kneels before God can stand before anyone."   
~ Author Unknown ~

"When we lose God, it is not God who is lost."  ~ Author Unknown ~

"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 4: 4-7 ~

I'm breaking with tradition and ceasing "blessings" on Sabbath Keeping. Now, there will be a "Prayer Keeping" section; if you'd like your name, or initial, added to this list, please let me know either by commenting on this post or by a private e-mail. God knows you by name and knows your needs so just your name, added to each Sabbath Keeping post, will let me and others remember you in prayer. I still keep my private prayer list but will not post your name, or initial, publicly unless you request.


Prayer Keeping ~  Roy ~ Tonya ~ Dave ~ me ~


Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Life: It's Just So Daily...

 ~ Sadie, ever watchful ~
There's more than one thing fabulous about living in the Cove but, in the above photo, I love how the clouds threaten the mountain with darkness. Yesterday, it never rained but, all day long, clouds would sweep over the valley, from every direction, and then sweep out again. I had this visual of the Archangel Michael, wielding a broom, sweeping before him from one end to the other! When we went to the barn, a piece of black plastic caught Sadie's attention; I believe she thought it was another animal and loved how she went quite still, surveying the matter. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are both sight and scent hounds and originally used for hunting lions, herding cattle and guarding farmsteads. Sadie is our second Ridge, Shaddie was the first and if I were any younger, I'd breed Ridgebacks. They are magnificent dogs, especially when you buy from a professional breeder who is concerned about conformation and health.
~ chicken stock, ready to cook ~
As Dave and I settle into a new normal routine, Dave's primary jobs are to eat, sleep, exercise; as much of the first two as possible with a dash of the latter every other day. My job is everything else and let me tell you rightly, it's not easy but, with God's help, some of it is getting done. This past week I cooked some chicken stock. If you've never made stock before, it's easy but, like everything good, just takes time. I use a five gallon stock pot and fill it with a pound of celery, a pound of carrots, a bag of onions, a bunch of thyme, fresh cracked sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and two chickens which I found on a good sale. The vegetables are rough chopped because they'll cook down anyway. The chickens are cut up and the breast meat is wrapped in wax paper then in freezer bags. They will be used later for wiener schnitzel while the hearts, gizzards and liver were fried up for the dogs. If the nasty bits are used in the stock, it makes the stock sharpish and not as good tasting.

The pot is brought to a boil and then cut way back to simmer. And simmer and simmer and simmer. That's the first day. It's left to cool overnight and the next morning the cooking process begins anew. There are those who shy away from leaving the pot out overnight but it's always worked for me; then again, I only make huge amounts of chicken stock in the colder winter months and our house is kept cool. The pot is brought to a boil and simmered, each day, for three or four days; enough so the stock boils down and becomes extremely concentrated. By the time it's ready to use, the stock is quick thick and rich. Tomorrow, I'm making chicken noodle soup and, probably, some corn bread and will take it around to neighbors to be left on car hoods. Then, I'll honk the horn and they can come out and get their lunch. Influenza has been sweeping through southwest Virginia, especially our county and folks have been terribly sick. I figure a batch of chicken noodle soup won't hurt and might actually help. Dave and I will keep some for ourselves as I'm trying to help him gain some of the almost thirty pounds he lost in hospital. We counted it up tonight and he's spent some nineteen nights in hospital and it's taken a drastic toll on him. Yep, chicken noodle soup will help, a lot.

As I'm typing, some beef bones are roasting in the oven. It was hard as the dickens to find beef bones but, finally, I found a grocery that carried them and cleaned them out of a dozen bags. Beef bones are inexpensive, about $2 for two pounds and, yep, they do make a difference. The bones are put into a roasting pan, sometimes with celery, carrots, onions, a few bay leafs, cracked salt and cracked pepper, and roasted in a slow oven. The bones will sit in a two hundred degree oven all night and, in the morning, I'll see if they are done. And, truthfully? I forgot to put the vegs in with the bones so the bones are roasting solo tonight; tomorrow, I'll start another batch of bones, add the vegetables, etc. and, in the end, all will be well. 

Dave has been hankering for some beef barley soup and the bones will be used to make that soup but also I'll can or freeze some beef stock. When I begin to make the soup, I'll spoon and scrape out the bone marrow and that will make the soup quite concentrated and nutritious. The dogs will, eventually, get the bones to chew so everyone ends up happy, happy.
~ spring Tom turkeys ~
It's spring gobbler season so these fellers are in danger of ending up on someone's supper plate. If you've never tasted wild turkey...please note I said tasted and not drank -smile-...you've missed out. Nothing, nothing can compare with the flavor of wild game, especially turkey. Those poor, pale imitations raised in squalor have meat that makes one's teeth stick together and the flavor is pallid, at best. Did you know Ben Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be the new nation's symbol of freedom? He felt eagles to be creatures of laziness and sloth while turkeys were "birds of Courage". I've seen turkeys alight in tree tops thirty feet from the earth and I've seen eagles soar over the valley; both are respectable and beautiful.
~ our sugar maple tree, early morning sunlight ~
So, can you tell when I'm exhausted? My writing gets down homey -smile-. Words like hankering seek their way into the post and I'm happy to let them. In closing, some questions and final comments.

If you're following Thistle Cove Farm and I'm not following you, please let me know. I get so confused with that Follower thing, found at the bottom of my blog, and I'm afraid I might have missed some kind folks. That just won't do! So, let me know and I'll come visit you and follow.

Also, does anyone have any idea where to fine, in alpha order, the folks who are following you?

That's about it; it's almost 9 p.m. and my tired bones are weary and wanting to make their way to bed. This new normal is, just about, killing me and it's a daily struggle to keep up. Some days I don't keep up, I just do what I can and then stop. I suppose it's a lot like farming; the work is always there and waiting. It's a wise woman or man who knows when to stop, smell the flowers and take stock of life. Yes, life is so daily but it's also so wonderful, especially when I get out of my own way and look and listen.

Blessings ~ a daily life ~ chicken stock ~ beef bones ~ wild turkeys ~ soup ~ corn bread ~ Sadie ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Crazy Good Life...

 ~ O What A Beautiful Morning... ~
 The wind has been fierce but, today, the sun is shining and it's another perfect day at Thistle Cove Farm. No, of course not, life isn't perfect but the day is and, in between all the home health visits, we're enjoying it fully. I really want to put up a new photo header, perhaps this one? but it's not spring...yet. We've still got a snow, or three, in the coming but will take this spring teaser, gladly, and with a cup of tea. As Goerthe said, "He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home."  Dave and I find peace, sanctuary and happiness at Thistle Cove Farm, in all seasons of both time and life.

~ faithful Ranger, working companion ~
Night before last, Daniel, the dogs and I went on the mountain to cut some cedar trees. I feed fresh cedar trees to the sheep as they like a bit of green in their diet and it helps de-worm them, naturally. Can you tell how wonky the Ranger is sitting? My heart was in my throat as I followed Daniel, in his 4-wheel drive full sized pick-up truck, up the mountain. I, strongly, dislike the feeling of tipping over and as soon as was able, I baled out of the Ranger but after the dogs, of course. In fact, I baled out and left the door open in my haste to get away from the falling down side of the dratted thing!
~ Sadie, supervising Daniel ~
The dogs were in ecstasy at their freedom on the mountain. They are never, never, left unsupervised outside our doubled fenced yard as folks around here set out snares and poison for the coyotes.
~ Daniel, barreling down the mountain ~
Eventually, Daniel got tired of hearing me whine about the steepness and he offered to drive the Ranger to a flat section. I could barely look and he either wasn't frightened at all or it was a guy rescue gal type thing. God bless Daniel anyway, for whatever reason he put the Ranger on flatter ground.
~ timberrrrr! ~
We figured we'd get as many trees as his truck and my Ranger could carry. We're getting on toward greener pastures and all animals would rather eat green and growing as opposed to just cut.
 ~ does this look steep to you? ~
Daniel cut six trees so the sheep will be happy, happy for a week, perhaps two, before they finish eating the cedar trees. It saves a bit on de-worming meds and, I believe, natural is always healthier than pharmaceuticals. Cedar trees are a bane to a pasture's existence so the farmers don't mind if they are cut down. Just after Christmas, I go 'round town and gather up the Christmas trees - those without paint, stain and icicles - and feed those to the sheep as well. It's a treat for them and tickles me to see them happy.
 ~ the sheep of my God's pasture ~
We're adjusting to a new normal life but, bless God, we're both here to make the adjustment! It's a daily struggle and along the way we've both made some mistakes, forgotten some birthdays and, in general, been hugely overwhelmed with and by the process. If you've any suggestions on anything, please let me know as we're, still, babes in the woods. When I've been overwhelmed, which has been often, it has helped greatly, knowing there were folks standing in the gap for us. When I was too overwhelmed to pray, it helped, greatly, knowing there were folks praying for us. So many times, the Holy Spirit has soothed my soul by reminding me, "Not only are people praying for you and Dave, Christ intercedes at the right hand of His Father." Then, and now, I cling to that thought and God bless each of you, greatly.

Blessings ~ home ~ Cove ~ cedar trees ~ an evening of work and fun ~ Daniel ~ prayer ~ praying people ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Monday, February 21, 2011

Doctors, Nurses, Hospitals...OH MY!

~ morning at home ~
Since this journey has begun, Dave and I have picked up the jargon of hospitals, doctors and nurses. It's been of great help as, quite often, it felt we were speaking different languages. I wouldn't wish what Dave, nor I, have been through on my worst enemy and in the interest of self-preservation, I'm giving you some helps that have seen us through some dark days indeed.
In the South, we speak the Queen's language, although she might not recognize it as such. It is though and the rest of the world, northern USA especially, speak something else at times, hardly recognizable. 

Let me know if this is of help to you and yours.

Southerner's Medical Dictionary
Artery..........the study of paintings
Bacteria..........the back door to the cafeteria
Barium..........what doctors do when patients die
Benign..........what you be after you be eight
Caesarean Section..........searching for Kitty, Cauterize.....made eye contact with her
Colic..........a sheep dog
Coma..........a punctuation mark
Dilate..........to live long
Enema..........not a friend
Fester..........quicker than someone else
Fibula..........a small lie
Impotent..........distinguished, well known
Labour pain..........getting hurt at work
Medical Staff..........a doctor's cane
Morbid..........a higher offer
Nitrates..........cheaper than day rates
Node..........I knew it
Outpatient..........a person who has fainted
Pelvis..........second cousin to Elvis
Post Operative..........a letter carrier
Recovery Room..........place to do upholstery
Rectum..........dagone near killed him
Secretion..........hiding something
Seizure..........Roman emperor
Tablet..........a small table
Terminal Illness..........getting sick at the airport
Tumor..........One plus one more
Urine..........opposite of you're out

Someone sent the above via e-mail so I have no idea of the author; I'd love to know so they could be properly credited!


Blessings ~ Dave, out of hospital ~ home health nurses, PT, OT ~ home cooked food ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ Samuel Shepherd ~
"To keep God's door 
I am not fit.
I would not ask for more
Than this - To stand or sit
Upon the threshold of God's House...
To wait and watch 
The gladness on the face of those 
That are within:
Sometimes to catch
A glimpse or trace of those
I love the best, and know
That all I failed to do,
Has not sufficed To bar them from the Tree
Of Life, the Paradise of God,
The Face of Christ"
~ John W. Taylor ~
A vexation arises, and our expressions of impatience hinder others from taking it patiently. Disappointment, ailment, or even weather depresses us; and our look or tone of depression hinders others from maintaining a cheerful and thankful spirit. We say an unkind thing and another is hindered in learning the holy lesson of charity that thinketh no evil. We say a provoking thing, and our sister or brother is hindered in that day's effort to be meek. How sadly, too, we may hinder without word or act! For wrong feeling is more infectious than wrong doing; especially the various phases of ill temper - gloominess, touchiness, discontent, irritability - do we not know how catching these are!
~ F. R. Havergal ~

"Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." ~ Romans 14:13 ~

Prayer Keeping - Roy ~ Tonya ~ Dave ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Saturday, February 19, 2011

3 Moons Later...

Sooooo much news...to begin, Antmee won the embroidered pink elephant and Jacque won the cup, lid and saucer. Lisa, A Whimsical Bohemian, has done it again! What a fabulous time was OWOH2011 and I'm happy to have taken part four out of five years. Lisa is retiring the OWOH name, asking no one use it as it was/is her "baby", but is planning more great things for 2012. Visit her blog for the One World Our Art 2012 tour; it sounds like it's going to be even better than OWOH...how is that possible, you ask? I don't know but I do know Lisa and if she says it, it's going to happen.

Dave is home!

Yes, it's true; Dave came home yesterday. Long story made shorter: last Friday, Daniel drove to Richmond to help us pack and return home. Daniel drove our truck and Dave and I our car and we all left at 10:00 a.m. Saturday. Dave was, what we used to call, puny; not feeling terrible, just not feeling good. He and I discussed our options and decided MCV had done all they could and any further appointments could, just as easily, be made with doctors at home, certainly in our region. He wanted to get home to see his regular doctor who knows Dave as a person, not as a packet of papers in a folder.

On the way home, Dave began to slip, just a tad. By the time we reached Wytheville, I was worried but Dave said, "keep going". Bluefield was thirty minutes away and I took him straight to the ER. I drove up to the door, walked in and said, "my husband is in the car; he's a patient of Dr. A.'s and an oncology patient and I think he's crashing." Within five minutes Dave was on a table and being stabilized. The decision was made to admit him to the ICU where he stayed for a few days, spent one day in a private room and came home yesterday. Thank You, God!

Some folks have questioned me putting our personal life on my blog. It's a good question and my answer is this: when I chose to follow Christ, I chose to believe what the Bible says, even when I don't much like what I read or even when I'm being convicted over how I'm living my life. As a Christian, I choose to live a life that's vulnerable and open to speculation. If we can't be honest with each other, if we can't trust each other, if we can't share our Christian walk...then what good is it to call ourselves a Christian? Not every Christian wants to be as open as I; that's okay. God doesn't deal with us all the same; He treats us as individuals and will also judge us as individuals. We'll not be judged on the basis of what someone else has done but what we have done, solo. Bless Him!

Karen, I think, asked me why Jeremiah 29:11 as my Bible verse for the year. In a word, choice. Yes, I've had bad, terrible things foisted upon me by others and yes, it took me years to forgive but, eventually, I forgave. Yes, I've been unkind and said unkind things to others; I hope it doesn't take them years to forgive me but it's their choice and some friends or acquaintances are no longer around. From my vantage point, it looks like they wanted tolerance from me but were not willing to grant such a gift. They want to state their opinion as truth but not willing to listen to my statement, "our opinions don't much matter. What does matter is: what does the word of God have to say about the matter?"

Back to Jeremiah 29:11; KJV says "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Or, the Modern Language, "For I know the thoughts I think concerning you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of hurt, to give you a future and a hope." Or, the Living Bible, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." And, finally, the Revised Standard, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

God gives us good, Lucifer gives us evil. As Joseph said to his brothers, "you meant it for evil, God used it for good." A mistake I, too often, make is forgetting this season, this time is not what life is all about. We, as Christians, are being prepared for a future and eternity with God and these trying times are meant to strengthen us, fill us with the love of Christ, the comfort of the Holy Spirit and in doing so, to uplift each other and to help each other on the straight and narrow path.

So often, I get it all wrong. I'm a lousy Christian; just ask anyone who knows me and doesn't like me. -smile- Yet, I keep trying. I keep calling on the name of God, expecting Him to answer and He always does. Maybe not by giving me the answer I want; after all, so often I want God's permissive will and not His perfect will but He knows best for me. I choose to believe and trust God. Even when circumstances say otherwise; God knows the plans He has for me, to give me a future and a hope.

Love is a choice and I choose Christ. No one else has ever done for me what He's done. No one else died so I might live; not Buddha, not Confucius, not Mohamed. No One. Is it difficult? Sometimes. Do I get discouraged? Sometimes. Do I want to quit? Never!

During these past months, you will never know, this side of the veil, what your notes, cards and comments have meant to me. One or more of three things is true and, in turn, has kept me steadfast and true:

*someone, somewhere has said a prayer for Dave and I
*someone, somewhere is praying for Dave and I
*someone, somewhere will pray for Dave and I

Isn't that what this Christian life is all about? Praying and loving one another; helping one another on the straight and narrow. All my life I've run across people who say in one way or another, "religion is for the birds. Look at those so-called Christians and what they're doing." And, those folks are right. Religion is for the birds and "so-called Christians" do un-Christian things because we're human. Only Christ was perfect and able to live a perfect life and that brings me to the crux of the matter. It's not about religion; it's about Relationship. When a person decides to have an intimate relationship with Christ, they begin to understand and to live a life that's fuller, more joyful, richer, happier and when struggles come...and they will come... when that person calls upon Christ for help and Christ helps, the Holy Spirit comforts and God answers prayers. As Einstein said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

I choose to live that, because of God, everything is a miracle; even when I don't understand...especially when I don't understand.


Oh, as to luck...Lucifer can keep it. I'll take God's grace, mercy, love, compassion, judgement any day!

Blessings ~ prayers ~ Dave ~ home ~ YOU! ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday Tidbit - U Care

 ~ heART ~

** Love One Another **

Blessings ~ love ~ each other ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ stark beauty ~
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand, 
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." 
~ Isaiah 41:13 ~
 "I Take Thy hand, and fears grow still
Behold Thy face, and doubts remove
Who would not yield his wavering will
To perfect Truth and boundless Love!"
~ Samuel Johnson ~

"Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves -
regret for the past and fear for the future."
~ Fulton Ousler ~

"Without an end or bound
Thy life lies all outspread in light
Our lives feel Thy life all around,

Making our weakness strong, our darkness bright
Yet is it neither wilderness nor sea,
But the calm gladness of a full eternity."
~ F. W. Faber ~

"Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop." ~ Usman B. Asif

"What Thou shalt to-day provide,
Let me as a child receive
What to-morrow may betide,
Calmly to Thy wisdom leave.
"Tis enough that Thou wilt care,
Why should I the burden bear?"
~ J. Newton ~

"There is much in the world to make us afraid.  There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid."  ~ Frederick W. Cropp ~

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; 
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

I'm breaking with tradition and ceasing "blessings" on Sabbath Keeping. Now, there will be a "Prayer Keeping" section; if you'd like your name, or initial, added to this list, please let me know either by commenting on this post or by a private e-mail. God knows you by name and knows your needs so just your name, added to each Sabbath Keeping post, will let me and others remember you in prayer. I still keep my private prayer list but will not post your name, or initial, publicly unless you request.

Prayer Keeping ~ Dave, he's in ICU ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Drink Up, Creamsicle Recipe

 ~ beverage of choice ~
So, how much water do you drink? Do you know your body weight in water? Are you drinking sixty-four ounces of water each and every day? Or, to make it easier, take your body weight, divide in half and that's how many ounces of water you should drink. Hmmm...for me, it makes sixty-four ounces way more likely to happen; after all, I'm built for comfort, not for speed -grin-.

Most of us aren't drinking enough water and, if we wait until we're thirsty to drink water, we're already dehydrated. Recently, at the hospital, I heard, "well, drinking coffee, soda, milk, etc. counts as drinking water." Now, I've never pretended to have M.D. or R.N. after my name but I do know water is water and if it's not water, it ain't. Water doesn't have a diuretic effect while most everything else is a diuretic and it takes eight ounces of water to break down one ounce of alcohol. Our bodies are approximately seventy percent water and in order to operate efficiently, our bodies need water. About one hundred pounds of water is in the average one hundred eighty pound adult; the brain is seventy-six percent and lungs are eighty-six percent water. Water is to our body as oil to a vehicle. 

Those commercials on television make me laugh...are you going to the bathroom too frequently? If so, take our little pill. Hello Nimrod! If we're drinking sixty-four ounces of water a day, we're going to go to the bathroom! It's Gods way of flushing toxins, preventing constipation, dizziness, headaches and a slew of other good things for the body. If we're exercising properly, we're going to be ridding ourselves of both excess fluid and toxins. BTW, prior to exercising, please drink about two cups of water two hours prior to beginning any exercise routine. 
 
When we drink twelve ounces of water, we absorb about eight ounces. When we drink a regular soft drink, non-diet, our body absorbs about one ounce of water. Our farm well is about six hundred feet deep and, we think, we might have hit an artisan aquifer. Our water is crystal clear and, because it runs through limestone, is sweet and, I truly do believe, when I drink a glass, I can feel it sourcing throughout my body, rejuvinating me and giving me the sweet kiss of life. Fanciful? Maybe, maybe not and, even so, I always let the water run for a minute before drinking first glass in the morning. No sense in drinking pipe water when I want to drink pure water and that pipe water is saved to pour on my flowers and herbs. I prefer cold water and while it does quench my thirst faster, my body utilizes room temperature water more easily.

Generally, there's a case of bottled water in my car and, while it seems paradoxical, when I'm driving I drink a lot of water. My spring water of choice is, widely available, Deer Park from Maryland. I like 3300 Artesian Springs from next door neighbor Bland County but it's more difficult to find and I couldn't find a website for them either. If you'll check your bottled water, there's a good chance it's recycled tap water but packaged more "sexily"; frankly, I'm more interested in good water than packaging. In the summer, I drink sweet ice tea that I make from tea leaves and a simple syrup but it's not as good for me as pure water. I'm a good Southern gal and drinking sweet tea is my dirty little secret but beats drugs or alcohol, eh? -smile-

For a special any occasion or when children visit, sometimes I'll fix a Creamsicle Punch. Remember those orange Creamsicles? Oh lawz, were/are they ever good!

Creamsicle Punch

8 cups cold orange juice
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons freshly and finely grated orange peel
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 quarts orange sherbet
3 cups club soda

Blend the first six ingredients and refrigerate a day or two to let flavors blend. 
When you're ready to serve, put the sherbet in a large bowl and set aside.
Pour the club soda into the refrigerated mixture, stir until well blended.
Pour this mixture over the sherbet and serve immediately as the carbonation won't last long.

A lot of these tips came from "The Wizard of Food", Dr. Myles H. Bader's 5,001 Mysteries of Liquids and Cooking Secrets while other tips came from some arcane place in my brain, picked up over the decades. All this to say, drink more water; it does a body good!

True confessions and an update: God willing, we're going home Saturday. This week finds me taking Dave to his last doctor appointments, making new appointments with doctors at home, making sure he has his medical needs met to tide him over from Richmond to the farm, etc. Words fail me at saying thank you for your prayers, your kind notes and comments, your good wishes, thoughts, etc. If I appear strong, I assure you, I am not strong but God is strong and He has brought us this far and will be with us as we continue the journey. I don't feel strong; indeed, I feel like a faker who, at times, has lost my temper and been rude to someone who didn't deserve my rudeness, pushed hard for someone to do their job, said an unkind word or thought dark thoughts. Some folks have sent e-mails saying, in effect, 'you don't have it so bad, here's my story' and, you know, they are right, I don't have it so bad but, I'm sorry to say, that's cold comfort. This has been hard and, unless God intervenes, in time will probably get a lot harder for Dave and I. Even so, we trust God; the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

Blessings ~ water ~ your prayers, kind notes, good wishes and thoughts ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

~ the road home ~

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

"God wants us to lay our burdens on Him and rest in His love. It's His responsibility to work out the purpose and plan in our hardships. ..." ~ Helen Keller ~
Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future.
     It's  simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.
   
         ~ Joni Erickson Tada
~
 

"I would rather err on the side of faith than on the side of doubt."  ~ Robert Schuller ~

"The great lesson is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." ~ Abraham Maslow ~

"The Lord will either calm your storm or 
allow it to rage while He calms you." 
~ proverb ~

Above all else, know this:  
Be prepared at all times for the gifts of God and be ready always for new ones.  
For God is a thousand times more ready to give than we are to receive." 
~ Meister Eckhart ~

"God is even kinder than you think." ~ St. Theresa ~

"Fear knocked at the door and faith answered. No one was there." ~ proverb ~

"Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:13-14 ~


Blessings ~ faith ~ prayers ~ the gift of both now and the future  ~ God ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

Friday, February 04, 2011

TGIF...finally!

 ~ happy family ~
Mary Q., the talented photographer who took this photograph, had it enlarged and gave it to us as a Christmas gift. Dave and I opened the box Christmas morning...it seems someone else's lifetime ago... and immediately took down one of the apartment paintings so this could be hung. It reminds us our situation is temporary and we'll, hopefully, soon return to our beloved farm and, albeit a new normal, way of life.

Do you like that term..."new normal"? Linda said it to me first and then I read it in some informative literature dealing with cancer. It seems each day, some times each moment, has been a new normal for us while all I want is the old normal back. This week has been horrible and, yes, that's why you've not heard from me. A new doc dealt some stunning blows, some hard news, a "new normal" and it's taken me, at least, a while to be able to slowly stand on wobbly legs and wonder, what next? I cannot imagine how Dave felt, hearing his precious life being so cavalierly negated. This new, young buck doctor who was dismissive in his assessment of not seeing this year out or if you do, you'll see it from the view of being in a wheelchair. This new, young buck doctor, with his vantage point of health and youth, not considering, apparently, that compassion and kindness would temper his words; not considering, apparently, that words have power, powerful power, and can make or take life. Or, at the very least, hope. Then, the very next day, that terrible, horrible, wretched news was tempered with grace. Another doctor, our radiology oncologist, giving us the same news she's always given us but tempered with compassion, kindness and grace.

Ahhhhhh, grace. What an absolutely underrated, beloved word that gives, just enough, breathing room; room to suck in some air and think, just possibly... another breath, another day, another week, another month, another year.

Just possibly another.


That's all any of us truly have - the possibility of another but there's something about cancer, indeed, any horrible illness, that forces us to deal with the immediacy of possible. To look eternity in the eye and consider what if. What if we die today? What if the cancer grows at an alarming rate? What if we get hit by a bus? What if we don't choose Jesus?

What if?

We've had to add another week onto our stay; we can't go home this week and, frankly, if we can't go home in another week, I don't know if I can stand it. I'm already so heart sick, so soul sick at being away from the farm. Yes, we're doing what needs to be done and have, thus far, done it cheerfully and willingly but I have reached the end of my tolerance and am left empty and wanting. There's an incredibly empty space at my center that needs filling and only God can fill it but I'm so empty I can hardly breath much less ask. Asking is so totally overwhelming right now and has been all this week. Even breathing is an imposition on my overloaded body.

My word for this year was "breath"; little did I know how appropriate it would be for my life. My thoughts are still until they aren't and I realize I need to take a breath, to replenish my lungs and blood with life giving oxygen. To breath. To pick up and carry on with laundry, meals, hospitals, doctors, medicines, support; the dailiness of life.

I never knew, until this week, how much sheer energy emotions can suck out of a body. How totally deplenished one can be simply by hearing bad news. How much sleep is needed, nay demanded, by the body so it can merely catch up, much less recover. How much can a body take before recovery isn't possible? I pray to God I never find out.

There are some things I've found out that I think I always knew but wanted to keep locked up in a cupboard where darkness never sees the light of day. Mom has always said if a person could count their true friends on one hand, that person lived a successful life. Mom and life have taught me, friendship is a precious gift albeit a rare gift. In this "journey" with cancer, Dave and I have both found out there are lots of people who call themselves friends but whom we've not heard from, much less seen. There are people who have called me their "new best friend" and said, apparently convicting themselves, "love you". Perhaps they do mean it but it's beyond my understanding. As soon as some most heard the word "cancer", they are seldom seen. Do they think cancer is contagious? Do they think if they are in the vicinity, the "cancer gods" will notice them and BOOM! they'll get cancer? Do they think?

Hard times give us the opportunity to be large but too many are small, so know this: if you have prayed for us, bless you. If you've sent a note, bless you. If you've thought kind thoughts, bless you. Because whether we want to believe it or not; whether we understand it, or not...we are all in this thing called life together. And, if we call ourselves a Christian, we will be held accountable for our actions or lack thereof. Every major religion of the world has some sort of "what goes 'round, comes 'round" belief. Some call it karma while the Bible says, "cast your bread upon the water and it will return to you." If we cast moldy bread, guess what we'll get in return. If we cast good bread, we'll receive good bread. What we do, or don't do, matters; what we say, or don't say, matters. Indeed, it could be argued that's all that matters: what we do or say or don't do or say. The rest will be left behind when we die; all else will be eaten by moths, decayed by rust. 

For my abject weariness and exhaustion, I apologize. When I've said or done something that has hurt your feelings, I apologize. It is never my intent to, deliberately, hurt your feelings but sometimes I let my mouth run off without my brain. Truly, I apologize. Right now, it's all I can do to put one foot in front of the other, to get the laundry done, the meals fixed, the dishes washed. It's just about all I can do to breath and some days I don't do that so well either. Add to all that, yet another week of staying in Richmond so we can see more doctors for problems that have cropped up due to cancer complications. Add to that, more visits in thirty, sixty, ninety days and on into the immediate future. We're doing what we need to do and I'm trusting God even though I feel like a big, dumb ox standing in the field. The only thing I have left is my faith and I hang onto that with a tenacity that surprises me.

As Julian of Norwich said, "...but all will be well, and all will be well and every kind of thing will be well."

Blessings ~ kind, compassionate, gracious doctors ~ faith ~ hope ~ prayer ~ all will be well ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra