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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, November 27, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

~ sunrise over the valley ~

"If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest
of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment."
~ Job 36:11 ~


"Nothing on earth can make up
for the loss of one who has loved you."

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
~ Timothy 6:6 ~

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda and Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Two weeks


Oh dear God. It's only been two weeks. 

Blessings ~ God's strength, grace, mercy and love ~

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tapadh leibh

~ Thanksgiving Day, 2011 ~
Today, Thanksgiving Day, was beautiful...bright, sunny, warmish and such a delight. We've had cold rain and high winds much of this week and today was a gift! Much of last week was sweater weather for the dogs and jacket weather for me. It's a foretaste of what's to come and I think, and have been saying for months, it's going to be a harsh winter. In more ways than one.
~ Abbie, warm and toasty ~
The dogs don't put up much of a fuss when it's time to put on their sweaters. All I have to do is let them out the door and they rush back inside as if to say, "Mom, did you forget??" 
~ stylish Sadie ~
Abbie feels the cold because she has old bones and Sadie feels it because she has a short coat.
~ manly Sam ~
Sam isn't wearing his sweater yet; he has a longer coat and doesn't feel the need to don his cold weather togs.
~ Sophie Lauren Butterball ~
We have a new household member; she's a seven year old broken coat Jack Russell by the name of Sophie Lauren Butterball and she's a handful. Dave and I had planned on adopting Sophie and just because Dave passed away is no reason not to give Sophie a home at Thistle Cove Farm. Sophie's human Pa had cancer and died and her human Ma had to find homes for Sophie and the other dogs. Sam, Abbie and I first met Sophie at the vet's office where Sophie dragged her Ma over to meet Abbie. That was the first test; Abbie was fine with Sophie and Sophie loved Abbie. Perhaps because she saw "one of her own kind"? I wonder. Anyway, here it is a few months later and Sophie now lives with us and appears to be adjusting very well. She loves doing chores, loves sniffing around, loves the beef bones I roasted for them for Thanksgiving and loves sleeping with the pack all in one bed. Well, okay, maybe she doesn't love this as much but she's okay with it and we'll take that for now.
~ ready for chores ~
Sophie has been good for us, I think. Sam was, still is a little, depressed and it's been good for all of us to "get outside ourselves". A few days ago, I told someone the most courageous thing I've done lately is get out of bed in the morning. Your prayers have aided me and God has given me His strength; for all I am so grateful. Please forgive me for not saying 'Thank You' more frequently. When God brings you to mind, you're tucked into prayer; when you do a kindness for me, you're tucked into prayer. I so greatly appreciate each of your comments both here and on your blog. So many people have left so many kind notes; truly, it brings me to tears. 


My heart has been broken and your prayers are the glue that's putting me together. I'll never be the same, not sure I'd want to be the same, but please keep praying. When I'm in a puddle on the floor, sobbing my heart out, God hears your prayers; He sees you standing in the gap for me and He answers and we are both blessed. Oh, don't think my halo isn't tarnished; I've said a few bad words lately; sometimes the emotions are just so blasted overwhelming the bad words act as an outlet and I succomb then tell God I'm sorry. No, I'm not proud of failing but also don't want you to think my halo is on perfectly straight and hand polished. Ahem. It is not.


Friends came over today to make sure I wouldn't be alone and to share the meal. We had such a good visit! They are all animal people and don't mind the dogs loving on them and Jo and Mel even took home the latest kitten I rescued. Another blessing! 
~ it's good to be alive! ~
Tapadh leibh to each of you! My prayer is your Thanksgiving was full of joy, laughter and love, shared with family, friends or both. If I never get a chance, this side of the veil, to look you in the eyes and say 'tapadh leibh', know that I'll be looking for you in heaven to let you know what a difference you've made in my life. 
Tapadh Leibh!

Blessings ~ Lord, for those past, present and yet to come, thank You ~

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sabbath Keeping


~ in tandem ~ 
"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food, 
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior."
~ Habakkuk 3:17-18 ~

"Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in the faith, strengthen thou me. I am cold in love, warm me and make me fervent that my love may go out to my neighbor. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust thee altogether, O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in thee. In thee I have sealed the treasurers of all I have. I am poor, thou art rich and didst come to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner, thou art upright. With me there is an abundance of sin, in thee is the fulness of righteousness. Therefore, I will remain with thee of who I can receive but to whom I may not give. Amen." ~ Martin Luther ~

"Nevertheless, though I am sometimes afraid:
yet put I my trust in thee."
~ Psalms 56:3 ~

"Do not be afraid to throw yourself on the Lord!
He will not draw back and let you fall!
Put your worries aside and throw yourself on him,
he will welcome you and heal you."
~ St. Augustine ~

"He gives light to the sun."
~ St. Patrick ~

"You have led me through my crowded travels of the day
to my evening's loneliness.
I wait for its meaning through the stillness of the night."
~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

"For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen."
~ Romans 11:36 ~ 

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda and Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thank you...

Perhaps this seems a strange photo to place on my blog but, from where I'm sitting, thanks are in order. Each and every day, brave people, truly brave people, put themselves on the front line for you and me. Soldiers, medics, EMT's, police, sheriff's and deputies - they all put on their boots and go to work in the morning not sure if they'll be home to eat supper that night.
Thank YOU!
And, thank you if you've prayed, thought kind thoughts, sent a note, e-mail or card, thank you. The outpouring of love, sympathy and Christ-like caring and concern are all most welcome, needed and appreciated. I'm stunned, in the truest sense of the word and each day brings new opportunity to grieve. Most nights I can sleep but there are those nights, like last night, that are bone crushing weary in their length and exhaustion is no guarantee sleep will come. Or, if sleep does come, it will be restful. Is that an oxymoron? Perhaps.

I'm treading all over the first rule of blogging: blog every day. I cannot. What I can do every day is, remember to take deep breaths, count my blessings and I try to get two things done that move me forward. It doesn't sound like much but, most days, two things are such a large number and I'm happy, very happy, when that goal is reached. The paper work is nothing short of staggering! I'm keeping notes and want to write a post later about what and how you can prepare you and yours for such an eventuality as a beloved leaving you behind. 

Oh, did I just lose someone? I'm sorry, but it is meant to be helpful and trust me, if any of us are able to learn from someone who has walked this path, it's better to learn than, maybe, make costly mistakes. 

Blessings ~ another day ~ prayers ~ family ~ friends ~ furry friends who keep my feet moving forward when it would be so easy to slip behind ~

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

~ the sun is always shining, somewhere ~
"For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one;he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help."
~ Psalm 22:24 ~

"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?"
~ Kahil Gibran ~


"The pain passes but the beauty remains." 
~ Renoir ~

"Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell."
~ Emily Dickinson ~

"There is no grief like the grief that does not speak."
~ Henry Wordsworth Longfellow ~ 

"If you're going through hell, keep going."
~ Winston Churchill ~

"Grief is a process, not a state."
~ Anne Grant ~ 

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief... and unspeakable love."
~ Washington Irving ~

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal". ~ From a headstone in Ireland ~

“Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted. Said a wise man to one in deep sorrow, ‘I did not come to comfort you; God only can do that; but I did come to say how deeply and tenderly I feel for you in your affliction."  ~ Tyron Edwards ~

"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted."
~ Christ, Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:4 ~

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda and Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~  me ~

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dear Dave,

~ untethered ~
I slurp when I drink hot coffee or tea but you already knew that, didn't you? You were just too kind to mention it to me. That's one of the things I, already, miss most. Your kindness. Oh, don't get me wrong; you could be meaner than a two-headed snake when provoked but, ninety-nine percent of time, you were kind. In fact, I'm having trouble remembering those un-kind moments...so I won't try.

Today is the first week anniversary of your death. Will it always be thus? Counting the days, the weeks, the months, the years, the decades? Will it always hurt this much? I hope not. It's easy to see how people make really dumb mistakes when under duress. I find myself telling people things that are totally stupid, perhaps even, unintentionally, hurtful but my brain doesn't suss it out until later then I apologize only to have someone give me the gift of grace and say, “It wasn't meant that way nor did I take it that way.”

Although Melvin performed, heroically, CPR for more than half an hour, you died instantly; your great heart simply stopped. Another gift of grace; bless the name of God. Daniel and Charles heard their pagers go off and they came quickly; they helped keep the dogs calm. Melvin told me Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent parked himself at the bathroom door entrance and watched, carefully and intently, as you kneeled over Dave. Elizabeth and Mike, along with the rest of their EMT team came and they also did everything they could. It wasn't enough; God's love for you was greater than my love for you and you went Home. You were needed there more than here...how can that possibly be? God granted you those last two gifts you so desperately wanted. He spared you the agony of the worsening pain of cancer and you died at home. For some reason, He choose not to give me my request; to be at your side at the end, yet I trust Him. His ways are not my ways...still, Beloved, I am struggling.
I was preparing for Mom and Daddy's 60th wedding anniversary party when Melvin got in touch with me. Until I understood, it was chaotic but there was nothing I could do at home so I stayed to do what I was asked to do for Mom and Daddy. It was surreal though, Dave, and I felt split in two, at one and the same time, floating and wading through mire. Beloved, I am struggling. 

Stephanie came home with me; we drove the truck back, loaded to the gills with furniture picked up along the way. Your Grandmother's pink, horsehair Victorian era sofa is now in our parlor just as you wanted. I'm not having it, nor the matching chair, re-covered. Perhaps, in time, I'll change my mind but now, for the immediate future, no more changes, please. No more changes. Steph and I also towed the new to me 1965 Scotty “canned ham” vintage camper. You know I'll never sell it, don't you, Dave? We bought that, sight unseen, when we were in South Carolina last month. Steph called me to say, “I found it!” and you and I bought it via e-mail, telephone and snail mail. What fun even though I knew you'd never go camping with me. You said, “We'll buy it for you because that's been a dream since I first met you but I'm not camping. The last time I camped, Uncle Sam paid me.” 

Looking back, we crammed as much life into living these last few months as anyone could have done. Did you know? Did you have some sort of premonition? I didn't. I thought we'd have until spring, at least until my birthday before we'd say good-bye. His ways are not my ways...Beloved, I'm struggling.

Dave, I kept my promises to you; no open casket and no public histrionics. There were almost one hundred people at visitation on Tuesday night. The casket was re-claimed barn wood made by the Amish and draped with the first quilt I ever made. When I'd complained about my mistakes, you'd say, “It's beautiful to me” and, towards the end, you asked if I minded draping it over the casket. Now I wish I had a picture but what I do have is the rocking chair they made from the same barn wood. It's in the kitchen where you used to sit; it brings me comfort.
You remember all those photos you picked out when you found out you had cancer? Kyle was here and he made it so we could see them on a television at the visitation; I think that was the first time they'd ever had photos on television at the funeral home. Everyone love watching the photos; the funeral director did a fabulous job. Bob and Joan said, “Dave's was a life well lived!” Wasn't that nice? It was also wonderfully true.

I've always hated those little pieces of paper at funerals so Kyle and I put together a program, he had it printed and it was made available at visitation and graveside service. We used a Celtic knot border and, in each corner, the Trinity symbol. Kyle did a great job; it was lovely.

Dawn, a blogger friend, gave the surprise gift of doing Sabbath Keeping last Sunday; the first quote was by J.M.M.Barrie from Peter Pan, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.” You like that, eh? I can see you chuckling now. That was on the second page of your program; Dawn had so many wonderful quotes; they blessed me so much! So many from Tazewell and the e-community have written nice notes. Misha sent a lot of them and Timi, Jane and Lance have kept in touch via e-mail; they know you because they know me. What a wonderful gift you gave me this summer...that trip to Eastern Europe where friendships were made and forged. How you have blessed me all these years!

Graveside service at Hollywood Cemetery was, dare I say it, lovely. The day was beautiful; warmish and the overhead canopy of trees still shedding autumn leaves as sunlight flitted through almost bare branches. JW drove me, another gracious gift, and when we arrived, you were already there. There were so many people who came to show their love and respect for you. Jerome, of course, was late but only a minute or two. I loved it, such a sense of “normalcy” because he's always late. After the piper played “Going Home”, Jerome opened the service and then you would have laughed. Jerome said while he didn't know you well, he knew enough to know you were a man of strong character and will, secure in your masculinity and loved living with me on the farm. Then he said he knew these things because he knew me and it would take such a man to marry me. Everyone laughed; it's all true.

Dewey spoke next and talked of the times y'all had as stock brokers. He said, “Dave was steady and consistent, no one had to worry that the Dave they saw on Thursday was a different Dave they saw last Monday.” He said you had a moral compass that was true north. When he said that, my universe tilted, again, because I realized I was your magnet and I'd lost my bearing. God is my help meet now but I'm still tilted, still struggling, still off center and trying to find true north. Although you tried to prepare me, time and time again, the lessons didn't take as well as you'd hope. Beloved, I am struggling.

The American Legion folded and presented the American flag and thanked me, on behalf of a grateful nation, for your service. They gave you a 21-gun salute and played taps then Tom, the piper, played Amazing Grace. At the third verse, he turned and began walking away; we were left with the lingering notes of the pipes wafting across the graves. Everything, save the most important thing, was perfect. You were there but as the guest of honour, not by my side as you've been lo, these many years.

As many as wanted went to O'Tooles for sharing, caring, a meal, a beer or ice tea. I didn't want anything but then saw Carol had a dark beer; that piqued my interest so Joe ordered me one. It's called Legend by a Richmond micro-brewery; how appropriate!
So, here I am back to the first week of firsts. Daniel comes, almost every night, to check on me, yet another gracious gift. Gaynell just called to check on me, Steph calls every day and others call and send cards. People are so kind but my heart is torn. It's almost too much to bear yet I don't want them to not come by, to not call. Again, there's that feeling of being split in two, at one and the same time, floating and wading through mire. You were right, the loneliness is unbearable but I was right too. The dogs, although grieving, still need to be fed and I try, as much as possible, to help them grieve. I'm taking life slow and am hunkering down for the winter. Thistle Cove Farm will nurture and hold me close against the cold winds of winter; God will nurture and hold me close against the loss of you. Beloved, I'm struggling.

Blessings ~ Dave, a life well lived ~ people who came to visitation and graveside to show their love and respect for Dave ~ God, who holds me in His righteous right hand of mercy ~

Monday, November 07, 2011

Dave Bricker

TAZEWELL, Va. — Forrest David Bricker, age 66, of The Cove in Tazewell, Va., died Saturday, November 5, 2011 at his home on Thistle Cove Farm. Born May 7, 1945 at Ravenna Arsenal, Ohio, he was a son of the late Forrest Davis Bricker and Mary Crockett Bowen Bricker. He was a graduate of Beaver High School and graduated with honors from West Virginia University. Dave was a U.S. Army Veteran, honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. He was a retired stock broker, and currently served as President of Sibley Coal & Coke Company, Manager of Sibley Communications & Energy, and was Director of Logistics for Sibley Communications, all of Bluefield, W.Va. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Catherine Wirtz Bricker.

He is survived by his wife, Sandra Bennett; one sister, Carol Bricker Pharr of Earlysville, Va.; many family members including, nieces, a nephew, cousins, an uncle, in-laws and friends.

The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at Peery & St. Clair Funeral Home in Tazewell, Va.

 Graveside services and interment will be at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Va. on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 with Pastor Jerome Hancock of the Southside Church of the Nazarene  and Pastor George Ferguson officiating.

In lieu of flowers, Dave's request was that you take someone special out to dinner.



Blessings ~ me, for having twenty-two beautiful years with Dave ~

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rest In Peace

Dave passed away earlier today; more information to follow as I'm able.

Your prayers and good thoughts are welcome.

Sandra