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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.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

5 Months...but who's counting...

Here we are, in the tropics of Alaska, also known as Barrow. When we were packing for this trip, I told Dave, "Honey, you need to take a jacket or sweater." He barely glanced my direction. "Oh no. I'll be fine; it's not going to be that cold." I looked askance. "Dave, it's Alaska and not only Alaska, we're going to Barrow, the northernmost point in Alaska." Did he listen? Oh no. So, when we got off the plane in Barrow, the first thing we did was go shopping! Let me tell you something, shopping in Barrow, Alaska is swift and sweet because there's only one store and if they don't have it, you don't need it.
So, he bought his black hooded zippered jacket and wore that baby constantly! It looked great on him too -smile-.
It's five months today and, guess what? I'm okay. I'm actually doing okay; nothing great or fabulous but, mostly, I'm remembering to breath normally, I'm eating one decent meal a day and I've been on a mile walk because Sophie decided to go walkabout and I had to chase the dratted thing!
Grief is funny and strange. Sometimes I natter on because I'm so overwhelmed by grief that I need to pour it all out. I also need your comments; I cherish your comments and your prayers and know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that a lot of days, it's your prayers that keep me going forward. Today, I'm talking about grief because, unfortunately, some of you will, eventually, need to know.
Grief is funny and strange. It's a visitor that shows up at will; like an On/Off switch but I haven't a clue where to find that switch. Grief comes, me, totally unbidden...stays as long as it wants, does what it wants, is as terrible as it wants, extracts whatever price it wants, and then, suddenly, one morning it's gone. Gone for how long, only God knows.
Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about; you've been there, before me, and you know you do the best you can, most of the time, and sometimes even that isn't good enough. Still, one struggles and muddles through, knowing God is carrying the load, when we allow.

If you're interested, you can do something to lighten someone's load. Send a card, bake a casserole, take someone to lunch, offer to clean house, take their car to be washed, return books to the library, buy stamps or take their mail to the post office, take lunch and tea to their house and share a quiet hour or two. There are hundreds of ways to tell let show someone you care! Why should you? Because one day, dear heart, it's going to be you waiting, waiting, waiting and if you've sown sparingly, you'll reap sparingly and who wants or needs that? Sow with abandon, broadcast good works and deeds among everyone you know and yes, even that one person you don't really care for but s/he needs someone to care. It could be you making the difference between them making a stupid mistake in their life. Some of you have sent cards, e-notes, e-cards and all have blessed me. Sometimes those cards have arrived at a time and made the difference between grief and despair; bless you mightily for doing not such a small thing!
Last week someone mentioned to me they were out of town when someone they know passed away. This woman asked me, "I haven't called the family or sent a card and it's been a month. Is it too late?" Bless her for asking! No, it's not too late and if a phone call makes you uncomfortable...what shall I say, what if they start crying, what if, what if, what if...then, by all means, send a card. It's safe and easy and, from personal experience, know your card will be kept in a special place and read, re-read over and over and over... Is there anyone who gets tired of knowing someone cared enough to send a card? Not me! I told someone, "If God can't get me through this (grief), I won't go!" But He will, He's faithful and I choose to trust Him.
A few minutes ago, I looked at the statistics for this blog. More than 100,000 people have visited my Thistle Cove Farm blog and I am shocked; thank you so much! I started TCF blog in May 2005 and it's chronicled our life on the farm and our travels. It's been a great way to meet so many wonderful people both virtually and in person. Bless you; God bless us, everyone!

Blessings ~ TCF blog ~ travels ~ friends ~ faithfulness ~ a good few days ~


  1. Hello Sandra:
    How wonderful it is that you have these amazing photographs and, of course, your personal experiences to remind you of the trip you made to Alaska with Dave. It really looks to have been a great adventure and, how marvellous it is that you shared this together.

    You are so right that one should give as freely as one is able to in times of plenty and happiness since in the lean and difficult times it is so very reassuring that there may then be people who can give one support and encouragement in return.

    We are so happy to read that you are feeling more positive in this post. Of course, there are still gong to be many rough times ahead, but you are doing your best and we are full of admiration for you!

  2. I enjoyed looking at the pictures you shared...and I appreciate your advice and wisdom....

  3. Your Alaska pics are so pretty,love water, but as always, your banner pic is the best. I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better (an answer to my prayers!) The grief section of the journey is long and hard, but He always walks it with us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lessons learned with us. I'm storing it away, 'cause it's too hard to think about it now. I now the time is coming --unless I precede.

    OBTW, I appreciated the Dumb Plumber essay. :-) Some truth in there, for sure.

  4. Oh, how those precious moments carry one thru on the toughest days, the gentlest moments of love to warm the hearts. I cannot add any words of wisdom to yours ... other than savor every second.

    Happy Easter my precious friend,
    Love you Sandra ~
    TTFN ~

  5. I'm glad that I could offer you some comfort from my own experiences with grief. You are doing so well...I know that feedback like that comes with mixed emotions. But, you are. Plus, you are reaching out and helping so many others. One thing I learned at such an early age...people don't want to talk about grief...pain...fear...loneliness. But, it is part of life. We need mentors to help us negotiate our way out of despair. You should be proud. Your husband is proud! God is proud of you!
    Bless you!

  6. Anonymous7:48 PM EDT

    Sandra I want you to know I look at your blog daily. I "met" you through Susan Branch's blog. I have not been through this grief cycle of losing one's husband. I can't imagine. I have lost my parents and my dear sister. Please know that you are in my prayers and send you hugs!
    Martha Ellen

  7. Anonymous7:56 PM EDT

    Thankful for your memories! Love that shot of the two of you under the jaw bones!

  8. I an new and I am on vacation, but I would love to know your story on going to Barrow Alaska for 5 months and what your grief is. I saw you on Ginny's post on Happiness. sandie

  9. I think you are an amazing woman. And you're so right, all of us are going to go through this at one point or another. We only pray to do it gracefully.
    Best to you.

  10. Easter Blessings Sandra! He is risen!

  11. Anonymous9:49 PM EDT

    I really enjoyed seeing photos of you and Dave in Alaska. I am happy you found that "one store" and he found a hoodie to keep him nice and warm. I like seeing you sitting together, smiling . . . happy. Memory gifts always yours . . .

    So right you are . . ."listen up" we will all be there at some point. . . so in this time of awareness . . . be there . . .
    care . . . send a card . . snail or e . . . reach out . . . stand beside . . . be a help, friend, stand up, be there.

  12. Not sure why they said I was anonymous. . . . my name is Lynne . . .

  13. Oh, Sandra, I am so, so glad you are doing a little better right now.

    I hope you have a good Easter, with lots of family and friends around you just LOVING the heck out of you.


  14. Hope you have a happy Easter! Glad you are doing so well, too.

  15. It is always so good to read a story about you and Dave....♥ Thanks for sharing with us!!!
    You are in our hearts!!!And prayers!

  16. I love that shot of you under the jawbones too...thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts on grief and for that sweet reminder on taking time to lighten up others' sadness because time will come when each of us will be wanting someone around to cheer our soul...smiling here about your honey not listening to you about having to take a jacket...God bless...I am glad I came by here today...

  17. Sandra, my love, I think you have a book in you. What a wonderful way you have of describing feelings and trauma. Every person alive could benefit from your very profound feelings. Maybe our Lord wants you to do this, you know?
    Love you...

  18. We've been talking about a trip to Alaska for years...maybe it's time for a vacation! It does look cold though...LOL

    As to grief, giving, taking and healing.....we all eventually face the same.

  19. Yes, sadly there are people who will stay away from acquaintances and friends when tragedy strikes because they don't know what to say. It makes them uncomfortable. And to them I say that they are hurting their friend more then they know.They need to get over themselves! It is better to call or visit and just say NOTHING than to do nothing at all. In my times of need, I know just who was there for me and who wasn't. People need to get over themselves, life is not about them, it is about OTHERS! Grief does sneak up and will come out all at once in the most unexpected of times. I do think being able to blog and talk is a help. I am so sorry for your loss and will be praying for you!!!!

  20. Great post...And a great reminder. I had no idea your loss was so fresh, so new. My heart goes out to you. And, no, I don't know what to say. I am great at listening and hugging, but not talking.

  21. I'm so happy you're having a good week. And I loved seeing your Alaska pictures - one place I've not been (well lots of places I've not been but that's one of them LOL). Big hugs to you today!

  22. Thank you for sharing these practical ways to help someone who is in the midst of grieving.

    I love the pictures of you and Dave.

  23. Thank you so much Sandra for sharing your photos of you and Dave. I truly loved seeing them!


  24. I found your blog today, and it is a blessing to me. I love your honest outspoken manner.
    I have spent the last 2 hours reading, and reading out loud to my husband as we ate lunch. I really don't know what to say, being a total stranger, but needed to let you know How blessed I am by your honest emotions, by your sharing your true heart, and by your lovely photographs too.
    You don't need to hear this from me, because you already know it...
    God Bless and Happy Easter,

  25. Hi Sandra- you sound good here- really good- and it warms my heart. I know your grief is buried forever in your heart/ but I am amazed at the strength that imminates from your words here.

    Your photos are wonderful- thank you for sharing them. I hope you have a blessed Easter.

  26. Thinking of you, and praying for you. Blessed Easter! I appreciate the way you share with all of us. I love the thought of dropping by for an hour or so with tea. If only I was closer.

    Alaska has always interested me. My sister and her hubby went a few years ago. It sounds like such a fun trip- and a cold one!

    Blessings as you celebrate our Savior.

  27. Blessed Easter, Sandra.
    You are so open, so willing to share your heart. Saying a prayer for you right now.


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