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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.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grow Old Along With Me...

Remember Robert Browning's poem...
"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be.
The last of life, for which the first was made:
our times are in His hand
Who saith, the whole I planned,
shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid."
How do you feel about growing older? What do you think about growing older? Is it frightening to you? Recently, someone called me "middle aged" and I laughed. I've reached senior citizen status, and no matter what I want to think, the numbers tell the truth. Let's face it, there's no way I'm going to live to be 120 and I'm pretty sure I don't want to. Especially with the present administration in the White House!
But, there are some fine looking women who have reached their seventh, eighth and ninth decades that make aging look pretty dang good! Are you familiar with Iris Apfel? She's 90 years old young and still has IT. Whatever IT is. -smile- As they say in the trade, Mrs. Apfel is a doyenne of fashion, both making and wearing fashion. Read the articles at the NY Times and Into the Gloss for interviews with Mrs. Apfel and be encouraged!

~ Iris Aphel, photographer unknown to me ~
Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen was released a few weeks ago to rave reviews; he celebrates the style and worth of older women and men. Mr. Cohen asked the question, "How do you feel about aging?" Go, visit his blog and let me know what you think; I could spend hours and hours wandering around, reading and celebrating Women of a Certain A.G.E. -smile-

~ Advanced Style ~
Rita Marcus, an 80-something Very Old Grandmother blogs from England and is on page 28 of Ari's book. A small sampling of more eye candy blogs: Style Crone, Idiosyncratic Fashionistas "growing old with verve", A Femme d'Un Certain Age, Not Dressed as Lamb - btw, I LOVE the play on words with this blog title...are you familiar with the adage "mutton dressed as lamb"? It means an older woman who dresses much, much younger. For me, this is a fine line...I like to see women dress the way it pleases them, makes them look good but I detest that "little girl look" of bows and ribbons and, especially, the way some women will stand with one toe pointed inward, lilt to the leg as if they are four years old. UGH! That's not sexy, it's not sensual, it's sick!
A couple of years ago, Daddy and I were talking. He was thinking about running for his third term as his district's Board of Supervisor's representatives. He said, "I want to run but if I'm elected, I'll be in my mid-80's when my term expires." He paused and there was silence. "So, Daddy," I asked, How old will you be if you don't run and get elected?" Daddy is serving his third term and his constituents love him, but the other politicians...not so much. -smile-
So, what is it you want to do? What's your dream? What are you allowing to come between you and your dream? WHY? What's keeping you from living your dream? Remember, the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. Try on some Courageous Risk; plan your work and then, work your plan. GO FOR IT!

Blessings ~ this anonymous prayer found at Healthy Spirituality

Dear God,
Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots, may nots, and might nots that find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all, dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the am nots that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

~ God's message to Glenda ~
"I have been young and now am old 
and have not seen His righteous forsaken 
nor His seed beg for bread."  
~ Psalm 37:25 ~
"Worry compromises your joy, 
cramps your peace 
and confines your freedom." 
~ June Hunt ~
"Worry is like a rocking chair. 
It gives you something to do 
but it doesn't get you anywhere." 
~ anonymous ~
"Worry is the darkroom where negatives are developed." 
~ anonymous ~
"There is a great difference between worry and concern. 
A worried person sees a problem 
and a concerned person solves a problem."  
~ Harold Stephens ~
"Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength-carrying two days at once. I tis moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." ~ Corrie ten Boom ~
"If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep."  ~ Dale Carnegie ~
"Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow." 
~ proverb ~
"You can't start worrying about what's going to happen. You get spastic enough worrying about what's happening now." ~ Lauren Bacall ~
"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due."
~ W. R. Inge ~
"Worry is spiritual short sight.
Its cure is intelligent faith."
~ Paul Brunton ~
"Every evening I turn my worries over to God. 
He's going to be up all night anyway."
~ Mary C. Crowley ~
"The more you pray, the less you'll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You'll feel more patient and less pressured." ~ Rick Warren
"When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened." ~ Winston Churchill ~
"If we are worried about the future, then we must look today at the upbringing of children. ~ Gordon C. Hinckley
"Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around, Faith looks up." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own." 
~ Matthew 6:34 ~

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list or, if you've had an answer to prayer, please let me know. Your name, unless you let me know otherwise, will stay on the prayer keeping list for a month. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping - Maxine ~ Cindy ~ Robin ~ Becky ~ Webb family ~ Linda ~ Sandy ~ Chris ~ Cindy ~ Ann ~ Jill ~ Jane and Lance ~ Yvonne ~ Clint ~ Courtney and family ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Colson family ~ Lynne ~ Quesenberry family ~ Pruitt family ~ Lora ~ Stacie ~ Annie ~ Val ~ Kary ~ Mary ~ Kerrie ~ Ray ~ Ruth ~ Kathy ~ Anne ~ Andrienne ~ Karenna ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Mildred and John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry, Angela, Penny and family ~ Miller family ~ Susan ~ Stephanie and family ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Gwen ~ Leslie ~ Misha and J ~ Ryan ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Friday, June 22, 2012

License to Chill

~ coffee cubes ~
Joining Ann Kroeker for Food Fridays...
Some may remember when I posted about making iced coffee and using coffee cubes. I dislike waste, although am as guilty as the next, but one way I found of being thrifty is making coffee cubes from left over coffee. Dave was a coffee drinker...make that a Coffee Drinker! He loved the stuff and would drink a pot, or more, every day. Invariably, there would always be a bit left over and I hated pouring it down the drain or on the ground. So, when I found these cute little ice cube trays on sale for, maybe fifty cents, I would pour the coffee into the trays, set them in the freezer and a while later, iced coffee! Generally, I use decaff coffee to make my iced coffee as I don't want, or need,   the extra caffeine? I like to sleep at night! -smile-
Do you like flavored coffee? For me, it's the best and easiest way to drink coffee. The Starbucks in the photo is a bag of coffee beans someone gave us. I save these beans for when they come to visit as it's a French Roast and much too strong for my stomach. I also like flavored cream but stopped drinking it when I, finally, got around to reading the ingredients. My motto is, if I can't pronounce it, I'm not sure I want to drink or eat it. Nestle got smart and now sells "Natural Bliss"; it's milk, cream, sugar, flavoring. I know some will decry the use of sugar but ,as little sugar as I use, I don't think it hurts.

Just recently, someone asked for a recipe but I'm one of those people who use a recipe only as a suggestion. In other words, I usually wing it. Hey, I've got five...count 'em...FIVE dogs and there are no mistakes in the kitchen; only happy accidents! So, my "recipe" for iced coffee is make a twelve cup pot of decaff coffee, let it cool and pour in a bottle of Natural Bliss creamer. Put some coffee cubes in a tall glass, pour the coffee over the cubes and enjoy. For once in life, it's easy and simple! Plus delicious smile. Sometimes I'll even eat store bought cookies...gasp! LOL

Yesterday morning I received a telephone call from Ashley; she's the wife of our Assistant Fire Chief. An up the valley neighbor's house was on fire, could I go? Yes, of course, although I was filthy from hoeing thistles, chasing calves and doing general farm work. All this, mind, before 11 in the morning! 
~ tamping down the flames ~
Mrs. Webb, her sixty year old daughter and a grand-daughter were sitting on the front porch when Mrs. Webb thought she smelled smoke. She went into the house to investigate and saw smoke coming from the second floor. She hustled her daughter off the porch and, in short order, firemen had responded to the call. Folks, this was a SIX ALARM FIRE! As you can see, it's a total loss; Mrs. Webb and her daughter got out with the clothes on their backs. Mrs. Webb didn't have time to grab her insulin medication or anything else and the daughter is special needs, mentally retarded. Mr. Webb, the father and husband, passed away earlier this year.
~ near the end ~
The Red Cross will put them up for three days, not the five days as I originally thought, and will give them a clothing allowance. Once again, the community is pulling together to give assistance in the form of household goods, clothing, food and finding shelter. Our local television station, about 35 miles away but local for us smile, is WVVA and they did a story on the fire. If you click on the link and look for "fire destroys a Tazewell County home" you'll see the interview. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph's reporter, Greg Jordan, did an excellent story and impressed me a great deal and then he called me twice last night to fact check! Now, there's a reporter who knows his business! If you read his report, you'll get more information and a better idea of what this family is up against.

Generally, I handle traffic and, since I'm in the road anyway, stop drivers, tell them a short version of what's happening and ask for a donation. Yesterday, people gave over $200 and that will be delivered today, when I go to town for errands. People are kind and want to help; asking them for specific help gives them a purpose and helps those in need. 

I'm so proud of our community! Ms. Shepherd, at the nearest convenience store, gave cases of bottled water so our firemen could quench their enormous thirst. Daniel Ingram, owner of Stanley Steemer, bought extra water for the same purpose; donations are being accepted at Crab Orchard Vet on Main Street. People rallied knowing " whom much is given, much is required...". Like Mother Teresa said, "if you can't feed a hundred, feed one." Don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed like me sometimes of the enormous needs of people. Focus on doing what you can do for the one before you and don't forget to ask God's blessings on the work of your hands and heart. Our Father hears the prayers of a righteous woman and man and if you've accepted His Son as your Savior, you're a righteous woman. 

Sobering thought, eh? 

Blessings ~ iced coffee ~ coffee cubes ~ water ~ firefighters ~ reporters ~ volunteers ~ 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Longest, Saddest Day of the Year

~ early sunrise ~
Mercy! Is it hot where you live? It's h.o.t. here and makes anything take longer, I use more energy, drink more water and even naps aren't all that interesting. Did I mention it's HOT? I'm getting up around 5 or 5:30 so I can feed the kitten, get treats for the dogs, read my Bible, sometimes listen to preaching but, more than likely, go to the pastures so I can chop thistles in the cool of the day. Dave used pesticides but I'm not a big fan. As a matter of fact, they frighten me no matter what I'm told. When Dave would call me a cynic, I'd tell him, "a cynic is a realist with more information." He'd laugh but, I don't know, I'm willing to be wrong but doesn't it seem like there's a huge increase in life threatening illness of all kinds? What's the connection? Is there a connection?

Anyway, I take a hoe and the dogs, go to the pastures and start chopping thistles. My attitude is, it's good exercise, I'm getting rid of thistles and working out anxiety. It's all a good thing.

I'll chop thistles for an hour, perhaps a bit more, before coming to the house to eat breakfast. Then, it's computer time, working on the estate, making telephone calls and doing desk work. Last month, I had a computer outage and can't access my photos so, on the agenda this week is, hopefully, getting the desk computer up and running. 
Some of the dogs and, sometimes, Gypsy sit on the sun room porch and sniff the air. I'd love to know what they smell, at least, I think I'd love to know. Two nights ago, the coyotes were closer than they have ever been; even the neighbors said they were concerned. We're not sure what the coyotes were doing, it sounded dreadful and imagination doesn't bear working.

I hope you're staying cool, not getting overheated; it sure seems like summer is early this year. Summer solstice is today, and it is a day early because of 2012 being Leap Year. The North Pole is tipped more toward the sun than at any other day during the year, it's the exact opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. This means there's more sunlight today than any other day, making it the longest day.

What makes it the saddest day, for me anyway, is this is the longest day with the most sun. That means tomorrow we start losing daylight. Anyone else feel the same way?

Of course, there's plenty of summer left for gardening, putting up hay, gathering in the garden harvest, putting up the garden. 

"Summer afternoon, summer afternoon. To me, those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language," so said Henry James. Although American and born in New York City, James settled in England and became an English subject where, I suppose, those shorter English summers were more greatly favored. Had James spent a summer in the South, he might have revised his opinion. 

There's a proverb that says, "Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever." Ah, there's more truth in that statement. My mother used to say if a person could count their friends on one hand, they were blessed. She's right. If you've got folks you can call at 3 a.m., folks who'll answer the phone and either listen or come over, you're blessed indeed. How many such people do you have in your life? Not enough, I'm willing to bet; none of us have too many of those kinds of friends.

Blessings ~ summer ~ light ~ my companions ~ friends ~ gardens ~ honest work ~

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"Honor your father and your mother
so that you may live long in the land
the Lord your God is giving you."
"It is a wise father who knows his child. But maybe it's a very wise child who takes time to know his father." ~ anonymous ~

"My daddy, he was somewhere 
between God and John Wayne."

"I just owe almost everything to my father [and] it's passionately interesting for me that the things that I learned in a small town, in a very modest home, are just the things that I believe have won the election." ~ Margaret Thatcher ~

"I cannot think of any need in childhood 
as strong as the need for a father's protection."

"Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad." ~ Anne Geddes ~

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, 
and let me watch him do it."

"A man's children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season." ~ anonymous ~

"In the baby lies the
future of the world.
Mother must hold the baby close
so that the baby knows it is his
world but the father must take him to
the highest hill so that he can see 
what his world is like."
~ Mayan proverb ~

"My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn."

"A father is always making his baby into a little woman. 
And when she is a woman he turns her back again." 

"My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply, "We're raising boys." ~ Harmon Killebrew ~

"Our Father which are in heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list or, if you've had an answer to prayer, please let me know. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping - Becky ~ Sandy ~ Linda ~ Maxine ~ Chris ~ Cindy ~ Ann ~ Jill ~ Jane and Lance ~ Yvonne ~ Clint ~ Courtney and family ~ Colson family ~ Lynne ~ Quesenberry family ~ Pruitt family ~ Lora ~ Stacie ~ Annie ~ Val ~ Kary ~ Mary ~ Kerrie ~ Ray ~ Ruth ~ Kathy ~ Anne ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Sandra ~ Andrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Mildred and John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry, Angela, Penny and family ~ Miller family ~ Susan ~ Stephanie and family ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Gwen ~ Leslie ~ Becky and Rick ~ Misha and J ~ Ryan ~  Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Courageous Risk

"You are never too old to set another goal
or dream another dream."
~ C. S. Lewis ~
Dave watched as I carried household goods from one side of the street to the other. Probably, I was an interesting diversion for him; now in his eleventh month of mourning. Cathy, his wife, had died of cancer and those last six months were dreadful, horrible, awful, almost too much to bear for Cathy and for Dave as he watched her slowly slip from the land of the living to the land of shadows to the other side. Theirs was a love born of youth when they’d met in college and neither had dated many, if any, people and certainly none very seriously.

Five years prior to Cathy’s death she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. Once diagnosed, she and Dave fought it together; side by side they would sit in various doctors’ offices or the hospital, listening to the latest news, considering their options, making decisions, being brave soldiers always together. From my, now distant, vantage point and experience, it’s the “being brave soldiers always together” that made any of it bearable. For either of them. For either of us.

In October 1987, Cathy walked onto the plane, destination an Arizona business trip. A week later, she was wheeled off the plane, never to walk again without assistance. The cancer metastasized and the fight renewed with a vengeance, and, in February March she died but Dave’s descent into hell had already begun. He lost himself in the quiet darkness of their home, in the bottom of limitless cans of beer and endless cartons of cigarettes. Night after night after night he would drink, smoke and wait for his end, pray for his end. It didn’t come; at least, not then.

I was living across the street in a small two room apartment but, in true urban fashion, had never met any of my neighbors. One day, just to be friendly, I took notes around the small community and invited all to my apartment for tea. Living two doors down from Dave, two little old ladies showed up, blue hair and white gloves, to sit and chat while we drank tea and ate homemade cookies. They told me Miss Campbell had passed away and her little cottage, the one between them and Dave, was for sale. They put me in touch with Mr. Campbell, the brother, and in a few weeks, I was the proud owner…me and the bank…of that little cottage. It was a cozy cottage, one thousand square feet, room enough and then some, for me and the cat.

From his front window, Dave watched as, through the February snowstorm, I trudged household goods from one door stoop to the other. On one trip, he ventured onto his front porch and called to me, “Would you like some help?”

Puhlez! Free help?! I like to think I was charming as I, through frozen blue lips, called back, “Yes, and thank you!” In a minute, he, wearing a blue down parka, met me at my little apartment. I sized him up and gave him a small lamp to carry; surely he could manage a small lamp…please God! He did and made about three more trips before I took pity on him. “Would you like a cup of coffee?” From the tobacco smell, he probably needed a cig break as well. smile He did and he did so we sat and chatted while he drank a cup of black coffee and took hard drags on his cigarette. His accent told me he was from West Virginia while he admitted he thought I was stealing from Miss Campbell. That floored me! I asked for clarification and he said, “Well, I could see you carrying stuff and, knowing Miss Campbell had died, I thought, perhaps you were robbing the place.”

Choking back laughter I said, “But if I were stealing, wouldn’t I be carrying things OUT of her house and not INTO her house?” The look on his face was priceless! “Oh yeah”, he admitted. “That’s right.”

Our courtship began as friendship. We both needed the safety net of someone who didn’t place demands, who didn’t want anything other than to share a meal or a cup of coffee. I carried the scars of so many disappointments; Dave carried the scars of losing his best friend and love of his youth. So, having nothing much to lose, we were totally honest with each other and that honesty carried us through our life together.

That first week, Dave invited me for a meal and took me to a neighborhood restaurant. He said, “Order anything you want” and I looked at him like, “is there an option?” Many years later we would, often, talk about that first meal; I ordered steak, salad and potato and then, so did Dave. It pleased him I didn’t order simply a salad and use some “female excuse”, as he put it, to say, “Oh, I’m not really that hungry. I’ll just have a salad.” I told him, “I should have been military. I eat when it’s there and I sleep when I can and, by the way, don’t expect sexual favors for this meal.”  He had a hearty laugh and nodded his head, affirming what he’d heard; it was a while before I found out, he’d been a Captain in the Army.

As time went by, we introduced each other to family and friends. One person, when I introduced the two of them, told me later, “What on earth do you see in him? He smokes and he drinks and he looks terrible.”

Interesting question but it told me more about the one asking the question. What I saw in Dave was a man who, eleven months later, was still in deep mourning. A man who loved more faithfully than I’d ever know possible. A man who was willing to die but committed to living because his life wasn’t his own. Even then, he would say, “if there is a God, I leave God’s business to Him; it’s enough I take care of my own.”

Therein is the crux of the matter. If Dave loved that deeply, that faithfully, that truly the wife of his youth, I was willing to wait for whatever he had left when he came out the other side.

Eventually, I taught Dave how to love again and he taught me how to trust again. We made a formidable team and people always thought of “Dave and Sandra”; almost never “Dave” or “Sandra”; that was right and telling.

Now, from the vantage point of almost six decades, I listen to young wives and husbands and wish I could tell them, “You can’t possibly know what you don’t know but know this…most of what you’re talking about, fighting about, arguing about simply Does Not Matter. Better a loaf of bread made with love than a meal eaten in anger. Better a glass of ice tea shared on the porch in companionable silence than a bottle of champagne sipped through clenched lips and bitter words. Better memories of love than memories of strife. Look beyond the obvious, look beyond the physical and look with your heart. Better yet, look with God’s heart. Be the man, or woman, after God’s own heart and it…life…will fall into place. Yes, you’ll have tests, trials and tribulations but being brave soldiers together will, not only make life bearable, it will make life wonderful. Trust your eyes but listen to your heart; your heart will guide you in a courageous risk.

Blessings ~ God's own courage ~ Jack Lewis ~ Cathy ~ trust ~ love ~ loyalty ~ Dave ~ 

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Quiet Insanity of 3 A.M.

~ 3 A.M. or 0'dark thirty ~
Someone once said if all the women in the world who were awake at 3 a.m. got together, they could rule the world. Do you think there's verity in that comment? I do but then I wonder, what if all those women weren't Christians, as we know they aren't? Then I'm reminded of a man I once dated who said, "I'd rather rule in hell than serve in heaven." We broke up shortly thereafter -smile-. Now that I'm on a memory trip, that same man would also quote Shakespeare's Polonius, "This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst then not be false to any man." Unfortunately, when he said them, they were just pretty words as his business dealings weren't, always, on the up and up. The good news is, when we broke up, the decks were cleared for Dave's, eventual, arrival.

Yesterday, Sunday, I went to church then shopping which I am loath to do on Sunday. I "justify" it by saying I'm saving resources...making more than one trip so I don't have to go off the farm today. Yeah. I know. I'm not kidding myself, just playing foolish mind games. Anyway, after coming home I got in the laundry that had been hanging on the line since Saturday, spray painted a small bamboo ottoman...yeah, yeah, more non-Sabbath keeping but, in general, had a lovely afternoon, mostly on the back porch. Oh, by the way, I'm also one of those women who won't wear pants to church; only skirts, blouses or dresses. I don't care if women wear pants to church, it's just that I care if I I don't. Throughout the day, I worked on my weekly to-do list; it's the only hope I have of accomplishing anything. 
~ bamboo ottoman ~
Some years ago, I bought a Franklin Covey calendar system and have yet to figure out how to best utilize the dratted thing! So, I use a small notebook and struggle along. smile One wish I have is those Franklin Covey folks would recognize my complete and total inability to effectively use their calendar system and take me under wing. Yeah, and I want to win the lottery as well. wry smile Their tagline is "we enable greatness"; well, I'm already great because my Abba is the Creator of the Universe so I'd be happy if they would just enable me to effectively use their product...for which I paid Perfectly Good Money...and a lot of it, in my humble opinion! So, Mr. Franklin, or is it Mr. Covey, do you hear my plea for help?

The to-do list for today includes, but isn't limited to, making bread and shortbread, making some business telephone calls, paying bills, wrapping wedding gifts, re-potting some plants, going through my closet and Dave's closet to select clothes to give away and all this after doing my usual farm chores. Some of these things bring worry and, sometimes, it's a struggle to "cast my cares upon God because He cares for me." Sometimes, I find myself holding onto those cares, woes and worries and then I wonder, "WHY?" It's far easier, for me anyway, to cast those cares upon Him in the daylight hours; it's then I'm busy and can hustle those cares, woes and worries right to the sidelines. 

It's not so easy at 3 a.m. At 3 a.m. all the weight of the world can cause my neck to tense, my shoulders to ache, my back to bow and a blind panic takes over my mind. 
~ sometimes the Light is cloudy ~
What if, what if, WHAT IF?! I am not qualified to make business or financial decisions; I am not qualified to handle this farm; I am not qualified to tend to these animals; I am not qualified, I am not qualified, I AM NOT QUALIFIED! My mind reels with these thoughts, over and over and over and... until, long after the struggle begins, exhaustion sets in and my body concedes what my mind won't relinquish. In minutes, or so it seems, it's daybreak and time to begin my day, exhausted and muzzy headed from lack of sleep. 

Prayer helps as does reading Psalms. Both help me remove the wrong focus and see the right focus. It helps me put life, and eternity, into perspective. Truth be told? Some nights it's easier than others...but...BUT!

God is qualified; He is able. He is also strong, wise, tender, merciful, righteous, loving and filled with wisdom and grace toward me. He has plans for me; He wants me to succeed! He wants us to succeed! 

What's your worry? How do you handle it? How do you handle the quiet insanity of 3 a.m. when darkness threatens your eyes, your heart, your very soul? Pilgrim, say this out loud: the quiet insanity of any hour of any day pales in comparison to the God who created time.

The same Abba to whom I turn, is your Abba as well. He has plans for you; he wants you to succeed; He wants your focus upon Him. The next time you're awake at 3:00 a.m., think of me, then talk to your our Abba. Abba God never, never sleeps.

God is able, He is listening, trust Him.

Blessings ~ 3 a.m. ~ to-do lists ~ Psalms ~ prayer ~ plans ~ God's work in each of us ~

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you."
~ Hosea 10:12 ~

"Children are innocent and love justice, 
while most adults are wicked and prefer mercy."
~ G. K. Chesterton ~

"The quality of mercy is not strained, 
it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath, 
it is twice blessed - 
it blesseth him that gives and him that takes." 
~ Shakespeare ~

"Fire, water and government know nothing of mercy."
 ~ unknown

"I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice."
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

"All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word:
 freedom, justice, honor; duty, mercy, hope."
~ Winston Churchill ~

"Sin is the dare of God's justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power and the contempt of His love." ~ John Bunyan ~

"For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
~ Romans 9:15 ~

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, or, if you've had an answer to prayer, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Sandy ~ Linda ~ Maxine ~ Chris ~ Cindy ~ Ann ~ Jill ~ Jane and Lance ~ Yvonne ~ Clint ~ Courtney and family ~ Colson family ~ Lynne ~ Quesenberry family ~ Pruitt family ~ Lora ~ Stacie ~ Annie ~ Val ~ Kary ~ Mary ~ Kerrie ~ Ray ~ Ruth ~ Kathy ~ Anne ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Sandra ~ Andrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Mildred and John ~ ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry, Angela, Penny and family ~ Miller family ~ Susan ~ Stephanie and family ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Gwen ~ Leslie ~ Becky and Rick ~ Misha and J ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~ 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Food With a View

~ supper on the porch ~
In conjunction with Food on Fridays, hosted by Ann Kroeker, I'm writing about my food with a view. At Thistle Cove Farm, meals revolve around porches...usually, breakfast in the sun room, lunch on the back porch and supper on the front porch. Dave and I used to do the same although breakfast in the sun room is a new beginning. I changed some furniture around, first time that's been done in fifteen years, and now have a table and two chairs set up in the sun room. It's delightful, no matter the weather, although when the sun casts its first glow over the far valley, it's doubly delightful. 

Breakfast is yogurt over granola and topped with blueberries or other fruit. Lunch is usually the heavy meal of the day and, when there's energy, a hamburger grilled. Supper is catch and energy level dictates which is to say, mostly, cheese and crackers but when given a quick melt in the microwave they are, almost, a meal. Other times a quick fry up is in order just because sometimes fat and salt do make a meal. -wry smile-

Dave enjoyed drinking white wine and we experimented a lot. Vinho Verde, literally, Green Wine, is a Portuguese wine from the Minho region in northwestern Portugal. That's the part of Portugal that's snugged up against Spain. The name Vinho Verde has come to mean young wine and gets the name because the wine is made from the first, green grapes of the season. All the Vinho Verde I've drank has a slight effervescent, or sparkling, quality and the lightness dances rather lightly on the tongue. This, combined with the light, very light, green coloration, as well as the price, makes this a wine that can be drunk "just because it's Tuesday". Dave and I did that a lot...we didn't believe in "saving for special occasions"; to us, each day was a cause for celebration, simply because we were together.

The other good news is, a decent bottle of Vinho Verde will cost under ten dollars; a great buy for a decent wine. This, mind, coming from someone who rather likes her full bodied whites - Conundrum and white burgundy comes to mind. 

If you take only one thing away with you today, take away today is special. It's specially special if you have someone you love to share it with. All those petty problems...forget them. Focus on the reason you married him or her in the first place. Focus on the friendship you have in each other; remember the good times, try to learn from, but forget, the bad times. Treat your loved one like a precious object, don't place your children before their father or mother. Oh, don't misunderstand, love your children but your marriage is holy. Treat it, and your mate, as such. Leave room in your day for your spouse even if it means setting the clocks ahead and tricking the children into going to bed early! You'll never get this particular chance again; take advantage of it NOW!

Blessings ~ good memories of Dave ~ Vinho Verde ~ Food on Fridays ~ food with a view ~

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Gardening, Mowing and Waiting for Mom

~ Sophie and Abbie ~
Any time I'm gone from the house, even for twenty minutes, the two Jack's rush to the upstairs window, plant themselves there and wait, anxiously, for my return. I'm sure Sophie has separation anxiety; her human Pa had cancer and died and her human Ma had to give away all the animals. Sophie has been here seven months and she's still a bit anxious. Abbie, my heartbeat, just misses me and I miss her. Already.
~ Sophie howling ~
Sophie will howl, throwing her head back and letting loose with a vengeance. Abbie uses her energy to wait and that's to be expected, she's, at the minimum, 17 years. If I'm home, the dogs are with me, no matter if I'm mowing, gardening, tending to the horses, cattle or sheep. Today, I mowed and that takes me about four hours if I don't mow everything or five or six if I do mow everything. The dogs sit, watching, as I go 'round and 'round on the mower. They act bored to death -smile-.

After mowing, I did some computer work while waiting for the heat of the day to dissipate then planted fifteen or sixteen tomato plants, watered them and weeded part of the garden. I've got a good crop of weeds as well as some volunteer tomato and corn plants. My days aren't too exciting but that's okay. The steady work, the fresh air, sunshine, the animals are healing and I am being healed. God is doing His work.
~ Miss Emma ~
Miss Emma has disappeared and I figure a fox must have gotten her. A fox or an owl but, probably, not a coyote as they don't come too close to the house and barns. Miss Emma was a sweet girl who found a home here after I found her in the middle of the road. She was so little and starving; I figure her mother had been killed and she was a mite of a thing, waiting to die. Instead, she came home to Thistle Cove Farm and lived here happily. She is missed.

There's so much to tell you...we had a Cove Trail Ride and people came from all over to ride their horses for four hours and then have a picnic cookout. We've had a Bingo Benefit for our Cove VFD and that was hugely successful...thank God! All those tales will have to wait...but they are worth waiting for, especially if you like normal -smile-.

Blessings ~ power steering on the mower ~ volunteer plants ~ a wagon to carry water to the garden ~ friendly, four legged companions ~ volunteers ~ 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Comfort Read Give-away

Do you have books you return to time and again for a good read? I call them comfort books for comfort reads and one such author, for me, is Alexandra Stoddard. I'm re-reading Living Beautifully Together. Seems strange, perhaps, because there's no together since Dave has gone ahead but now, more than ever, I need the cozy comfort, the peace, the serenity of h.o.m.e. 

The subtitle says "How to Live Graciously in a Hectic World by Finding Time to Love Your "Family, Your friends, and Yourself. There! At the end...loving myself. Dave was sick for a long time and all my energy, efforts, prayers and time was spent, willing, on him. So now it's time to think of myself and begin to build my life, all over again. Baby steps all with room to be stationary as needed; even regress a bit should need be.

My giveaway copy of Living Beautifully Together was published in 1989 and is the older willow plate with glass of red wine and yellow flowers in a basket in the back ground. This book has hundred of ways to touch lives and make a difference. At the end of each chapter, Ms Stoddard offers up Grace Notes as ways to add more to our lives. There are 3 parts, each with different sections:
Part 1: Nourishing Yourself
Part 2: Living Together, Twenty Points to Remember
Part 3: Enjoying Others, Children, Friends, 
Relations, Unknown Others

As Ms Stoddard says, "Nothing of value comes quickly. Everything is a great deal easier, however, if we open up and know ourselves better by letting our defenses down, understanding that we are all equally vulnerable.' and "The difficult struggles we've all experienced--our losses--are our muscle and strength. We learn through loss not to hold on too tightly." Yes, I am learning.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "scatter joy."

You've encouraged me to both open up and scatter joy; for that, and so much more, thank you. Your prayers have been my constant companion, along with Jesus, and keep me standing, whole even though bruised, tattered and worn, while I navigate new and uncharted waters. That's what I want to do...scatter joy so if you'd like a chance to win this book, please leave a comment and tell me one of your favorite authors, one of your favorite books and why you like both. If you'd like two chances to win, tell others about this give-away on your blog, then come back and leave another comment. I'll give it a week, then draw a name via on Wednesday next at 5:00 p.m.

It's my hope Living Beautifully Together brings you as much joy and comfort as it has me.

Blessings ~ Living Beautifully Together ~ joy ~ grace ~ comfort books ~ 

Monday, June 04, 2012

I'm on the porch...

~ Abbie, Sam, Sophie ~
"On the first day, God created the dog and said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."

The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"

And God saw it was good.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?"

And God, again, saw it was good.

On the third day, God created the cow and said, You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed it was good.

On the fourth day, God created humans and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years." 

But the human said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

So that's why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.

There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I'm doing it as a public service. If you're looking for me, I'm on the porch. Where are you?

Blessings ~ porches ~ PORCHES ~ PoRcHeS ~ porches, use yours well and often! ~ and the person who sent this to me ~ 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

~ tethered to Him ~
"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other."

"Don't cry because it's over, 
smile because it happened." 

"For every minute you are angry, 
you lose sixty seconds of happiness."  

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." 

"Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." ~ Robert A. Heinlein ~

"People as just as happy as they make up their minds to be." ~ Abraham Lincoln ~

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier'..."

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~ Marcel Proust ~

"Success is getting what you want, 
happiness is wanting what you get."

"Rules for Happiness -
Something to do
Someone to love
Something to hope for."

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broken into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."
~ J. M. Barrie ~

"Happiness makes up in height 
for what it lacks in length." 

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile." ~ Mother Teresa ~

"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. 
Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." 

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, or, if you've had an answer to prayer, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ please, hold Linda and Skip close in prayer ~ Maxine ~ Chris ~ Cindy ~ Ann ~ Jill ~ Jane and Lance ~ Yvonne ~ Clint ~ Courtney and family ~ Colson family ~ Lynne ~ Quesenberry family ~ Pruitt family ~ Lora ~ Stacie ~ Annie ~ Val ~ Kary ~ Mary ~ Kerrie ~ Ray ~ Ruth ~ Kathy ~ Anne ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Sandra ~ Andrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Mildred and John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry, Angela, Penny and family ~ Miller family ~ Susan ~ Stephanie and family ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Gwen ~ Leslie ~ Becky and Rick ~ Misha and J ~  Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~ 
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