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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, January 31, 2013

My Thrifting Antiquing Kit

ADDED NOTE: Sandra, my SC friend and S2 as Dave called her, reminded me a magnifying glass is ever so useful in my kit. She's correct; thanks, Sandra, one has been added!

For years I've been saying I needed a little kit to take with me when I visited thrift stores, auctions, consignment or antique stores. Here it is! It's jam packed with little goodies to make it easier for me to make wise buying decisions. It's small enough it can fit into a purse or, better, my backpack which is what I try to carry so my hands and arms are left free. My camera is also part of this kit but lives in its own little case and hung around my neck. I'm sure to have forgotten something but, for now, it's perfect. You'll need to look carefully as I took these photos on my Chinese checker board table. I've got my skates on and am beavering away on the Preparedness Training book so am slinging up this blog entry in the hopes of giving my thrifting kit a trial run soon. The Muse has been lashing away at me with her whip and I'm encouraging her mightily! grin
From the upper left corner...a small notebook with pen to keep measurements, sizes, styles, colors, fabrics, make notes, etc. Next, a red mag light to peer into dark corners and drawers. The yellow sticky pad and black magic marker are used to write SOLD on something to keep others from wishing in vain and to prevent me from having to make several trips to the cash register. smile 
Continuing clockwise: several packets of eye glass cleaner for my eyeglasses and to clean glassware in order for me to better see scratches, imperfections, etc. A red-tipped magnet allows me to tell if something is metal...or not. Scissors take small, out of the way snips of fabric or yarn so I can run outside and do the burn test to ascertain fabric content. Wool will only smolder, it won't burn; everything else will burn. Above the scissors are wet ones to clean my hands. While I dearly love to shop at thrifts stores, I always feel in need of a shower when I leave. The anti-bacterial wipes give me the feeling of cleanliness. 
Above the wipes is a screwdriver with two different sizes of flat head screw driver and two different sizes of Phillips. 
Lastly, a tape measure on a lanyard. The tape measure has a button so it can be stopped in place; very helpful when I'm not shopping with a friend to lend assistance by holding the other end of the tape measure.
That's it; if you have a suggestion for something you find necessary, please let me know.
By the way, the 1 Wife to Widow blog has a new post. I'm telling you, the Muse is working overtime today! smile

"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." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles ~ snow! ~ ice ugh ~ the sun is shining even though I can't see if for the clouds ~ safety when going to the barn to do chores this morning ~ fire in the wood stove ~ cookies, recipe tomorrow ~ 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One World Our Art coming up...

Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party; giveaways here and drawing Feb 1; hurry, sign up now!

OOPS! Due to unforeseen circumstances, Lisa is postponing One World Our Art until Spring 2013. Information remains the same, please visit her blog for updates.

Next month, Lisa, over at A Whimsical Bohemian, is hosting One World Our Art. In year's past, she's hosted One World One Heart which has been a lot of fun and another great way to meet bloggers who are artistic, creative and have fabulous blogs. OWOA is "an international celebration of the arts and artisans" and an opportunity to showcase your artistic passion. Lisa calls it "an international Blogwide Artistic Event."
Click here for more information but the blog event essentials are:
*sign up February 11 through 15
*you must be an active blogger
*no social media sites...only blogs (yay!!!!!)
*you must have a giveaway
*ends on Feb 25

Visit Lisa for "the rest of the story" and hope to see you at One World Our Art.

"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." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles ~ art ~ generosity ~ One World Our Art ~ bloggers ~ Lisa ~

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Hiding Place

~ my daily view ~
Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party here; there are giveaways!

Moses had his desert. Abraham had the pagan city of Ur. Joseph had his prison. Esther had her harem. Mary had her pregnancy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer had 
his prison.
Dave and I had Thistle Cove Farm.
Where is your hiding place? 
Does God have you standing behind a sink of dirty dishes or pails of dirty diapers? Does God have you in a dead end job, working for a boss who is conniving, manipulative or coarse? Are you sitting at the sickbed of your beloved? Where is God hiding you? Are we, daily, ready to do His will, the job He has for you that only you can accomplish? How is He preparing you? 

These are questions I ask myself every day. I've a good idea of what God wants me to be doing now but haven't a clue about the future. I know my past has brought me to this place, this time, this farm and God uses it all to prepare me for doing the job He has set before me. 
~ Sandra and Dave, Azores Island ~
Some of you know, Dave, my husband, died, very suddenly and unexpectedly, in November 2011. He had cancer and we knew his time was short, p'raps six months but were hoping for another year. Our plans were to sit down on a Monday and he'd tell me everything I needed to know to live life without him. We didn't get a week, God called Dave Home on Saturday. 

Thistle Cove Farm was, for both of us, A Hiding Place and for me, over the last year plus, also about the grief. Throughout the years, Dave has been woven in my blog posts to the point it's difficult to tell which is the man and which is the myth. smile We'd found each other in Richmond, lived next to each other and, after six years, decided to marry each other. His first wife, Cathy, had died of cancer and Dave was a basket case. He was smoking too much and drinking too much but only enough to make him miserable yet not kill himself. 
~ Dave, headed to London ~
I know God sent Dave and I to each other and then, to this farm. Thistle Cove Farm was our hiding place, where we learned to trust and love, where we grew in our marriage and in our walk with God. Dave didn't accept Christ until the last few days of his life but he was always searching, seeking and finding Him on this farm. In the morning, Dave's favorite thing to say was, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." It was always a beautiful start to our day and, whatever happened,we knew God was already there.

Dave and I brought baggage into this marriage and, those first years, it weighed us both down. We struggled to make "us" stronger than "me" even while we had other people living with us. Those first 18 months, two contractors lived with us and, every day, I cleaned for and fed four people. It was exhausting and exhilarating. Even with all our baggage, I knew Dave was a man worth the wait. A man who would grieve so heavily and so long for his first wife, was worthy of his namesake, David. Very soon after meeting him, I knew I'd have gone to hell to fetch him; as it was, I only had to go to the gates and wait. I feel his presence and his absence each and every day. Never am I unaware he's gone. Never does the black hole readjust to allow his space to be overtaken. Never is a long time.

It is within your power to change your marriage because it is within your power to change yourself. Only you are able to decide if you want God to change you and thus change your marriage and your life. Once, someone complimented me on something I'd written and asked if it'd been hard to write so honestly. My response, "No, not really. All I had to do was cut open my heart."

And, so it is with marriage. It took Dave and I a long while to trust each other, fully and completely. While I was the first to say, "If you want to leave, then leave now but if not, never bring it up again." Almost always, Dave was the first to say, "I'm sorry, let's not argue, life is too short." It took time for my fear to subside and for me to trust with my heart. Too much with too many had paved my heart path with shattered glass.
I had to learn trust before I could accept cherish.
In order for me to stand in the light of Dave's love, the shadows had to be dispersed. In my case, there didn't need be shadows to prove the light. I had to, willing and freely, cut  open my heart to allow trust and love to grow. That's what I did with Dave; that's what I'm doing with God. It was within my power to change my marriage because it was within my power to change myself; to allow God to change me I, freely and willingly, cut open my heart again.
I want "us" more than I want "me".

Linking with Jen at Finding Heaven Today and the Soli Deo Gloria Party.

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

Today's Miracles - memories, good and bad ~ free will ~ Dave ~ hiding places ~ God's love, grace, mercy and kindness ~ Jen ~ change ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

~ view from my front yard ~
"...But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me."
"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness." ~ Maya Angelou ~
"Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering.
And it's all over much too soon." 
"Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better." ~ Henry Rollins
"Pray that your loneliness may spur you 
into finding something to live for, 
great enough to die for." 
"Language has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone." ~ Paul Tillich ~
"Loneliness if the poverty of self;
Solitude is the richness of self.
"Loneliness and the feeling of being wanted is the most terrible poverty."
~ Mother Teresa ~
"I want to be with those who know secret things 
or else alone." 
"If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company." ~ Jean-Paul Sarte ~
"They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars--where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.
"The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone."
~ Mitch Albom ~
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, 
whom the Father will send in my name, 
will teach you all things,
and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names must be given weekly and will be kept for a week; no anonymous requests, please. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Townsend family ~ Timi and family ~ Weaver family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Jane and Lance ~ Debbie ~ Katie ~ persecuted 
Christians ~

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Saturday

~ back porch woodpile ~
Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party is here; giving away five gifts too!
Above, is the woodpile or what's left of it. Although autumn lingered...and lingered and lingered...the only really cold weather we've had was the Halloween snowstorm and since Christmas. Winter has arrived with all the sound and fury of a scorned woman and makes her presence known with high winds, low temps, icy rain, snow and sleet. If that's not enough, the sun is trying mightily to let his face be shown through the gray clouds. I wish he'd try harder wry smile.
~ Ranger, loaded with wood ~
Using my Polaris Ranger, I went to the barn where wood is stored and loaded the bed. The dogs thought it was all fun and games until they realized I was serious about hauling in a couple loads of wood. You know the old saying, "it's warm until the furniture is gone." Well, taking advantage of a beautiful day, I loaded the Ranger twice and brought, maybe, two weeks worth of wood to the back porch. I'll save the furniture for an emergency! grin
~ back porch wood pile ~
It's not stacked very straight but it's as straight as it's going to get. From here on out, it's downhill anyway; hopefully, this will last me a couple of weeks and then I get to do it all over again.

I had some dribs and drabs of yarn left and wanted to make a throat cozy. Our, meaning the dogs and my, bedroom is Very Cold and even though we pile together like a litter of puppies, it's still COLD! A few weeks ago, the bedroom thermometer read 48 F above zero. Trust me, I enjoy cold weather but 48 F above zero isn't all that much above every sense of the word! But, flannel lined nightgowns, wool socks and blankets almost keep me warm. What was needed was something around my throat. Anyone else have the problem of a cold throat means they have a sore throat in the morning? There were some mornings, I could barely swallow because my throat was so cold. I had some left over yarn from the pink hat ugh, I HATE pink! and thought I'd knit a throat cozy. The yellow was waaaaayyyy too large but makes a nice ear warmer head band; second from left is still too large so, using the rest of the left over pink as well as yellow yarn, I knit another throat cozy. This one is just right; fits over my big head but still small enough to encircle my throat without being too tight or too loose. So, if anyone wants a size large yellow head band...chirp. Likewise the smaller, child size pink headband and the pink hat. They're all up for grabs...leave me a comment and I'll randomly pick names on 1 Feb...same day as the other giveaways from Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party. When you comment, let me know which you want, please.
Now, I'm taking a glass of tea, a Vince Flynn book and going to the sun room where I'll spend the rest of the day, sitting on my blessed assurance. BTW, if any of you are familiar with the Mitch Rapp books written by Vince Flynn, it might interest you to know Bruce Willis will play Hurley in the upcoming movie. Mr. Flynn's website says they are still looking for someone to play Mitch Rapp. 

I've earned a rest, please agree with me! smile

"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." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles ~ two loads of firewood on the porch ~ flannel lined nightgowns ~ a well earned rest ~ another beautiful day ~ healthy animals ~ warm boots ~ dog sweaters ~ the good guys ~

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oh Lawz, It's Nasty Cold

~ frozen laundry ~
It warmed up ten whole degrees today...woohoo! It was around seven above zero when the sun came up, not sure what it was when I got up, around 5:30. Like a lot of folks, I shudder to think of my oil and propane bill and the wood stove hasn't cooled down in weeks. It's a real drag and, yes, that's meant literally. Going to the barn, in wind chills well below zero, is rough; even the dogs look at me like I'm crazy and seem to say, "Are you sure those stinkin' barn cats need food?" They think it's okay to go out in the frigid temps to have fun but to do work...hmmm, not so much. And some folks call them dumb animals.
~ Daddy John going to feed his cattle ~
Around here, most farmers wait until, at the bare minimum, daylight to do chores but it's an individual decision to wait until it warms up, the sun shines, the wind isn't howling...there are a  bunch of reason to make the choice and generally based on the safety factor. I hate to get on the tractor when the wind is howling, yet, that's when the animals need hay most. Due to the wind, we have deep snow drifts and huge areas where there isn't any snow; also, these photos were taken on different days.
~ Dandy Man, background with HayJ, left, and Bo, right ~
A combination of factors enter into when I put out hay. Obviously, the most important factor is if the animals are out of hay. That makes it an easy decision. If the wind is howling, that's another negative factor and if there's any sort of moisture...I get the hay out as quickly and safely as possible. Usually, the hay has a round, metal ring around it to keep it from being trampled, but, it's been so cold, I put this round bale closer to the house...better for my safety. Horses produce heat from the gut out and need protein to produce heat in order to stay warm and healthy. All my animals have free choice shelter, water that's warmed with a de-icer and free choice hay. As with humans, it's easier and less expensive to stay well than get well. 
I set out three round bales of hay and do other necessary chores; all that takes me around three hours. Daddy John could do it in a lot less time but he's more comfortable on a tractor than am I; I tend to go v.e.r.y. slowly and carefully. I'd rather take longer and be safe than hurry up and risk a doctor or hospital visit. 
~ barn door trench ~
A couple of weeks ago, it was warm enough to dig out the tractor; the door being frozen due to ground heave. Ground heave is caused by freeze thaw cycles and the mud had frozen to the door, and, using a mattox, I dug a trench so I could open and close the barn door. Freezing weather and door locks do not a good partnership make and, next, the door lock froze. I tried a lot of things before resorting to boiling water poured over the lock. Someone said, "weren't you afraid you'd break the lock?" Trust me, that was the least of my worries!  The same measures were used to open the lock on the wood barn and, tomorrow, I'm going to bring a couple of weeks worth of wood to the back porch. 
When we first moved to the farm, I asked Dave for three things: a well for drinking water, a gas stove for cooking and a wood stove for heating. Our well is 650 feet deep and produces 75 gallons of sweet limestone water a minute; our Acorn cook stove has gas burners and I've written about our beautiful wood stove that heats a portion of the house.
~ mud season ~
There are five seasons on a farm, winter, spring, summer, autumn and mud with mud season happening, on and off, all year 'round. There are times the mud is so deep and thick, my Muck boots are sucked off my feet and not something that bears too close a look when one considers muck...manure, urine, crap and...what about the 'k'? -smile-
~ l to r, Levi, Gypsy, Tippy ~
Back in the house, Levi, Gypsy and Tippy have to be shooed out of the bathroom tub so I can have a bone warming hot soak. After being in the cold for so many hours, my knees feel like shattered glass and only a hot water soak alleviates the pain...well, hot water and a few aspirin. Today was a red letter day; Dr. Ann removed Levi's nubbins so he'll  spend his life healthier although p'raps not happier but he'll never know different and a loving family member. 
~ l to r, Sam, Sadie, Sophie ~
The dogs crowd on the sofa, in the living room where the wood stove keeps all toasty. At the moment, the bone sucking cold is making life difficult and I've heard a "super storm" is headed our way tomorrow. I'm not sure what that means but it sounds like more cold, more snow, more winds and more pain. ugh. Tuck me into prayer, would you, please?

"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." ~ Albert Einstein

Today's Miracles ~ sunshine ~ heathy animals ~ successful surgery ~ tub of hot water ~ aspirin ~ good boots ~ round bales of alfalfa hay ~ 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't Just Do Something...Be STILL!

~ Sam and Gypsy ~
To read Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party post, click here.

If you're a female reader, them's fighting words, eh? Women are trained, from girlhood, to not only be busy but to multi-task. In my experience, and I've had a fair share, multi-tasking simply means we I reach burnout faster and more deeply exhausted. If you're a female Christian, and practice your faith, not merely go to church occasionally, you've probably been taught to, always, put others first. You know...JOY, Jesus first, others second, yourself last...and that's good...except when it isn't. Yes, always put Jesus first by having your devotions in the morning to prep yourself for the day and whatever is allowed to cross your path. You also need to get them out of the way.

She didn't just write that, did she? Yep, I did. Again, in my fair share of experience, when I don't have my devotions in the morning, before most everything else, they usually get pushed to the nether regions of the back, back burner and, at bedtime I tell myself, "I do double tomorrow." That's just not good business or practicing Christianity because, throughout the day, I'm left with the nagging feeling (could it be my conscious? wry smile) that I could have done better, accomplished more and been more gracious or calm. 

Thistle Cove Farm has taught me some wonderful lessons...some terribly hard and others wonderfully grand. When Dave and I first moved here, I worked seven days a week because there was always work. This farm had not been owner occupied since 1948 and decades of tenants and no funds by the owners had left it looking sad and shabby and not in a shabby chic sort of way either. Also, in 1899 the house burnt to the ground and this replacement was built during the years of 1900-1902. Most of the barns and outbuildings were built in the 1800's and they looked worse than sad and shabby; they looked like they were standing on last legs. The fences were neglected and standing solely due to God's grace and lack of imagination on the part of the livestock.

Each morning, I'd fix coffee and breakfast then head outside where I'd work eight hours a day. It wasn't long before I was feeling a trifle resentful because it seemed the job was huge and I was small. Barns were filled with junk, the house was filled with junk and the carpenters were spending eight hours a day renovating the house and living here. Not only was I working on cleaning up the farm and house, but because we'd torn out the very old kitchen appliances, I was fixing three meals a day for upwards of fifteen people, using a Coleman two-burner camp stove, a charcoal grill and several large coolers. My sense of being overwhelmed came to a head very quickly, mostly, because I wasn't putting myself first. I was doing my own work, the work necessary to keep the workers working and it felt like I was putting in sixteen hour days!
So, I stopped.

Oh my yes, there was grumbling but you know what? No one starved, they ate breakfast and supper at home like they should have been doing in the first place. I still fixed three meals a day for Dave and I and lunch for the workers but I stopped fixing the rest of the meals. We still had two carpenters living with us but when I stopped doing it all, Dave stepped up and started fixing supper and that left me a lot more time to work on the farm and in the barns. He and I reached a place where our efforts were put to good use; I'm better in the mornings, he was better in the evenings. I'd fix coffee and a big breakfast; we'd have sandwiches for lunch and he'd fix supper. 

Dave died in November, 2011 and the work load doubled immediately. All those things he'd been doing now were my jobs as well as the work I already shouldered. Even so, the admonition of "don't just do still" serves me well. Sundays are reserved for devotions, church and, sometimes, catching up with friends. The rest of the week I work but Sunday's are kept deliberately holy...remember the Sabbath and keep it holy...a time of rest, renewal, relaxation, recreation and a lot of porch sittin' time! Some Sundays, if I don't go to church, I'll spend the entire day without speaking to another human being; that can be a good thing, probably for all of us. wry smile

God has given me the gift of being, mostly, comfortable with myself and I enjoy His, and my own, company. On Sunday's, I don't do much other than keep still in order to face whatever He has in store for me in the coming week. If I have a bona fide emergency, I'll deal with it but that's all; I'll keep the rest of the Sabbath holy. I don't just do something, I stay still so I'm better prepared for the rest of the week and life.

Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Party.

"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." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles ~ blue skies ~ clean air ~ hay for the animals ~ wood for the stove ~ groceries in the pantry ~ food for the journey ~ stillness ~ 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

~ Levi, Lover Cat ~
"The Lord is slow to anger, 
abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. 
Yet, he does not leave the guilty unpunished." 
~ Numbers 14:18

"When someone loves you, 
the way they say your name is different. 
You just know that your name
 is safe in their mouth." 
~ Billy, age 4

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore...So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."  ~ Rebecca, age 8 ~

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." ~ Karl, age 5 ~

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." ~ Chrissy, age 6 ~

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." 
~ Terri, age 4 ~

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay." ~ Danny, age 7 ~

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas 
if you stop opening presents and listen." 
~ Bobby, age 7 ~ 

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."  ~ Emily, age 8 ~

"If you want to learn to love better, 
you should start with a friend who you hate."
~ Nikka, age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day." 
~ Noelle, age 7 ~

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling...he was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."  ~ Cindy, age 8 ~

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." ~ Clare, age 6 ~

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."  ~ Elaine, age 5 ~

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
~ Mary Ann, age 4 ~

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." ~ Lauren, age 4 ~

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."  ~ Karen, age 7 ~

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
~ Mark, age 6 ~

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. 
But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. 
People forget." 
~ Jessica, age 8 ~

"Love is like a little old woman (Sandra) and a little old man (Dave) who are were still friends even after they know knew each other so well." ~ Tommy, age 6 ~

An elderly gentleman's wife died and his four year old neighbor saw him crying. The little boy went into his neighbor's yard, climbed into his neighbor's lap and just sat there. Later, the little boy's Mother asked what he said to the neighbor.

The little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

For all of you who have helped me cry, prayed for me, loved me this last year, since Dave died...may God bless you richly, well beyond your deserving and so much that your life overflows with blessings to give away.

"My command is this: love each other as I have loved you."
 ~ John 15:12 ~

To read Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party post, click here.

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names must be given weekly, no anonymous requests, please. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Stephanie and family ~ Timi and family ~ Jane and Lance ~ Debbie ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Steve and Gwen ~ persecuted Christians ~ 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grow Your Blog Party!

Today is The Day! It's Vicki's, at 2 Bags Full, Grow Your Blog Party...WOOHOO! I'm excited, can you tell? What? You forgot to sign up? NO WAY, surely you didn't!? Oh gee, I am so sorry...   Please visit Vicki's blog to see all the participants and to leave a nice comment for Vicki...the hostess with the mostess...yeah, it's cheesy but hey! I'm in a party mood and, down on the farm, it's simple pleasures that please best.

Welcome to Thistle Cove Farm where it's beautiful one day and perfect the next. Yes, the header photo is the view from my window, photos change seasonally, and, yes, I am greatly blessed. Dave, my husband, and I bought and established Thistle Cove Farm in 1995. We've spent our time renovating the house, re-siding the barns with rough cut hemlock and, in early days, I bred and raised rare American Curly horses and Shetland, Merino, Romney and cross bred sheep. The Curly horse link is for information only.

Our lives took a turn when, in 2004, I had an opportunity to teach in Russia and that jump started our traveling adventures. Since then, I've taught in Armenia, Georgia, Morocco, at fiber festivals in the USA, at Concord University in Athens, WV and on the farm where I held workshops and conferences. I'm in process of putting together my curriculum in a book, Increasing Farm and Small Business Income, that teaches how to develop your farm or small business by using tourism and networking and partnering with other folks to increase profits. Essentially, it's a how-to manual to help you succeed.

In November, 2011, Dave passed away and the ensuing months have been spent on a very steep learning curve. He and I were going to sit down, me with a three-ring notebook, and I was going to compile "everything" he needed me to know. He died, very unexpectedly and quite suddenly, two days before. Since then, it's been a Very Steep Learning Curve and my hard earned and hard won experience is going into another book...Putting Your Affairs in Order ~ "death comes to us or for us, it's best to be prepared". I'm not trying to be morbid but there's a ton of stuff to know and it's best knowing it and preparing before you need to so you don't waste or lose so much money. Trust me, the only people who couldn't possible use this information are the Gates or Buffet families! -wry smile-

This blog is about life in general and, in particular, life at Thistle Cove Farm. I try to encourage and enable people to do their best work, live their best life and, whenever possible, prepare for the future. You'll find blog posts on how to DREAM LARGE, PDS or Pretty Darn Smart Goals, and, sometimes, You Just Need to Know where I push you in the direction of other folks who offer excellent advice or simply fun stuff worth knowing.
There are posts to your good health -Coconut Oil and Lower Back Pain Relief
and, every Sunday, there's Sabbath Keeping dedicated to the wise words of other folks and each Sabbath Keeping post ends with Prayer Keeping where we pray, one for another.
I am a practicing Christian and, even so, life is still hard; it's been a lot harder since Dave died. I'm just trying to lighten your load and help us both along life's path. I invite you to sign up on the follower's side bar on the right; you're very welcome here!

Okay, more good stuff...there are 5...FIVE...giveaways on this post! Yep, five people will have their choice of goodies starting with ...
~on the left, a skein of purple, blue, muted red Socka, 75 percent virgin wool with 25 percent polyamid yarn made in Austria! It's 30 meters and would make a lovely pair of baby socks, trim for a pair of adult socks or any number of beautiful things.

~on the right, a skein of red Sunbeam Aran Double Knitting Pure New Wool, made in the Republic of Ireland! There are approximately 1 and 3/4 ounces or 50 grams and it's vintage. It's enough yarn to make a small hat, neck cozy or add some color to a pair or socks or fingerless mitts. Then again, it's your choice as to how you use it.
Creating Keepsakes is a scrapbook magazine from May/June 1997; yep, another vintage prize! Along with great ideas for scrapbook projects, this issue still has the "FREE cut and Copy Insert from Design Originals". The magazine is intact, as far as I'm able to ascertain. 

~Summer Cottage magazine is from Summer 2011 and is lovely. The photographs are beautiful, the recipes are delightful...last week, I went to town to the library so I could copy the tearing out of pages in this Special Collector's Issue! It's from the publishers of Southern Lady Presents Tea Time and Hoffman Media Publications. You will treasure this special treat!
~Quilters...attention, please...the last prize is a Collins Sneak Peek Preview of 5 Charm Shapes. "A charm quilt is traditionally made of pieces all cut from the same shape, and each cut from a different fabric." The Sneak Peek Preview may be used to design quilts by using as is or rotating designs for varied interest and impact. You may also make special effects with border prints, stripes and florals or develop your own patterns by alternating prints and solids or lights and darks. The templates include the following shapes: Tumbler, Hexagon, Diamond, Equilateral Triangle and an Apple Core. You'll have unending fun using this charming collection.

Winners will be notified on February 1 and chosen randomly. These prizes are open to everyone...domestic and internationally; you only have to leave a comment and a way for me to contact you. No anonymous comments and your e-address has to be linked with your name or in your comment. 
You're invited to follow my blog but it's not a requirement to win and your kind, thoughtful comments are most welcome.

"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." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles ~ Vicki, 2 Bags Full ~ you, a visitor ~ prizes ~ American Curly horses ~ my wooly sheep ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Love My Garage!

~ fabulous driver! ~
Back in February, so much has happened since then! my pre-made garage was delivered. It was made by Mennonite folks down in Statesville, NC, Old Hickory Buildings, and it's been a gem! It's gone through some changes, for the better, and yesterday, Daniel and his brother David, came up and gave me some additional help. Farmer John has a dump truck and, a few months ago, he and I went across the mountain where I purchased several tons of gravel for the driveway. Eventually, more gravel will be purchased to fill in the empty spots and make it less muddy to walk from garage and driveway to the house.
The garage was turned from facing down the driveway to facing the driveway. When I approach the building, I come up the driveway and turn right, into the garage. WOOHOO! It may not seem like much to you but, trust me, it's been doings around here! The dual lights are dusk to dawn...lovely...and Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent, approves...very important!
I've spent a considerable amount of time, putting things to order and...should I be ashamed to admit, my garage is in better organized shape than the house? 
Fiddle dee dee!
No, the building isn't listing but I was so excited and didn't take good care when taking the photo. My apologies. The shepherd's hook pumpkin is to let me know when I can, safely, turn toward, or away from, the garage. I'd hate to run into the concrete block wall and damage my vehicle. A garage was something on the "to-do" list Dave and I were constantly amending. Unfortunately, prior to his death, we never got around to it, but having it now is lovely, warm, dry and safe. My tools have a home, the car is put to bed every night, there's light enough for the garage, driveway and walk to the house. It may seem like a little thing but it's a huge thing...and I am so grateful!

Today's Miracles ~ perfect weather ~ I sat out a huge round bale of hay, safely ~ dogs and cats enjoyed the day as I did chores ~ simple pleasures ~ sweet, cold water ~ Daniel ~ David ~ John ~ 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

~ Levi ~
"I will praise the Lord who counsels me."

"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us,
we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
~ C. S. Lewis

"Nothing is small or great in God's sight; whatever He wills becomes great to us, however seemingly trifling, and if once the voice of conscience tells us that He requires anything of us, we have no right to measure its importance. On the other hand, whatever He would not have us do, however important we may think it, is as nought to us. How do you know what you may lose by neglecting this duty, which you think so trifling, or the blessing which its faithful performance may bring? Be sure that if you do your very best in that which is laid upon you daily, you will not be left without sufficient help when some weightier occasion arises. Give yourself to Him, trust Him, fix your eye upon Him, listen to His voice, and then go on bravely and cheerfully."~ Jean Nicolas Grou

"My father, teach us not only thy will, but how to do it. Teach us the best way of doing the best think, lest we spoil the end by unworthy means."
~ Rev. J. H. Jowett
"God will not look you over for 
medals, degrees or diplomas, 
but for scars."

"True holiness consists in doing God's will with a smile." ~ Mother Teresa

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"Now it is you alone that I love,
you alone that I follow,
you alone that I seek,
you alone that I feel ready to serve,
because you alone rule justly.
It is to your authority alone that I want to submit.
Command me, I pray, to do whatever you will,
but heal and open my ears
that I may hear your voice.
Heal and open my eyes
that I may see your will.
Drive out from me all fickleness,
That I may acknowledge you alone.
Tell me where to look 
that I may see you,
and I will place my hope in doing your will.

"And when the earth shall claim your limbs, 
then you shall truly dance."
~ Kahil Gibran

"Let us go and wake up the universe...and sing His praises." ~ Mariam Baouardy

"The will of God 
will never take you 
where the grace of God 
cannot protect you."

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.
I just wish He didn't trust me so much."
~ Mother Teresa

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
~ Romans 8:37-39

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know but no anonymous requests, please. Names must be given each week; around the world, people are praying, one for another.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Townsend family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Timi and family ~ Jane and Lance ~ Steve and Gwen ~ persecuted Christians ~

Friday, January 11, 2013

Coconut Oil - To Your Good Health

Again, no photos because you need to see this!

A while back, a friend sent me this video but, as some of you know, I have to go to town in order to use the library's DSL bandwidth.
The following information, and more, may be found here.
In the USA, there are approximately 5.4 million people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and, as we baby boomers age, that figure is expected to increase. In an interview, Dr. Mary Newport says that Alzheimer's "...appears to be a type of diabetes of the brain and it's a process that starts happening at least 10 or 20 years before you start having symptoms and it's very similar to type 1 or 2 diabetes in that you develop a problem with insulin.  Apparently, when brain cells use glucose as their fuel and when they don't get glucose, they eventually die.
Ketones is an alternative fuel and are metabolized in the liver after eating medium chain triglicerides. Ketones are found in coconut oil and coconut oil also improves cholesterol levels and has helped people with Parkinson's, ALS, epilepsy, autism, dementia and schizophrenia. Coconut oil is a natural antibiotic and kills bacteria and helps defend against viruses like herpes and HIV.
At England's Oxford University, Professor Kieran Clark is leading a team of biochemists in developing a ketone ester that is ten times greater than coconut oil. Clark says, "it's very expensive and we can't make very much of it ourselves. What we'd like is funding so we could actually scale up and make it. But of course there's no real profit in manufacturing stuff like that, and so people really don't want to fund that sort thing."
Do you find that as outrageous as I? 
If President Obama is truly interested in health care, optimal, health care for USA citizens, I suggest he spend some of our hard earned tax dollars in support of Professor's Clarke's ketone ester. Instead of sending gifting f-17 fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt...take that same money and fund developing Professor Clark's ketone ester.
Oh wait. That makes sense's not going to happen, right? It's enough to make me weep.

Today's Miracles ~ warm weather ~ soft earth so I could dig out the barn door ~ Carly, my old ewe, is still healthy and on her feet, bleating for corn ~ Levi, the little love kitty ~ rain, for a thirsty earth ~ 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Lower Back Pain Relief

This is a quick post, no photos, but the information is fantastic! Steve, my brother and I were talking last night about his on-going back pain. He'd been to a chiropractor who was either a charlatan or smoking some serious stuff and, after x-rays, told him, "crushed vertebra, bulging discs, months of healing and you must come to me twice a week." Yep, you guessed it; those twice a week visits for this year were going to cost north of $5,000.00. Steve said, "I'll think about it" and went off to think evil thoughts of her instead. 
Well, maybe he didn't, but that's what I'd have done! This chiropractor had just opened her business and was giving away the first two visits free. Ummm, I believe that's called shady business practices, don't you?
So, Steve goes to another chiropractor, who has been in business more than three decades, and this man talks to Steve, does a few minor adjustments and says, "You're having hip pain, aren't you?" Steve confirms and the doctor says, "Well, if you do what I tell you and do it faithfully, you'll only need to see me one more time." 
*Each morning, before leaving the bed, lie on your back, pull your heels up to your buttocks, close as possible and touching if possible, then lower both legs to the right, to the left, to the right, to the left. Do this a dozen times, going lower each time.
*When walking up stairs, don't walk straight up but zig-zag up.
*When you rise out of a chair, first, raise your head a couple of inches and look UP. 
I've tried all these things, albeit only since last night, and it's amazing! It is helping my back pain and I anticipate more relief as I do these simple exercises more faithfully and for a longer period of time.
If you're having lower back pain, you try these three exercises and let me know if they  help you. 

Today's Miracles ~ good night's sleep, again! ~ warm house ~ dog treats ~ quiet ~ electricity ~ hot coffee ~ flavored creamer ~ 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

YOU need to know...

Are you familiar with HomeGoods store? It's part of the TJMaxx and Marshall's chain and focuses strictly on goods for the home. It's a fun store and their website has a fun design personality test. I'm The Traveler with a Touch of Country. It says "The Traveler is curious about all the corners of the world, whether she's visited them or dreams of going. She welcomes stories into her home through the finds of hidden bazaars and curio counters the world over. She doesn't just look forward to her next trip; she lives abroad in her own home everyday." Click here to start your Stylescope design personality test.
Yep, that's how it is here on the farm; each room is filled with things Dave and I picked up all over the world. We didn't start traveling until 2008 but, since then, I've managed to visit twenty-nine or thirty countries. When the traveling bug bit, it bit hard smile.  

His Word is a Lamp Unto my Feet, Glenda Hancock's Pinterest page is a blessing. I don't know Glenda but appreciate the work of her hands and heart. 

Susan Branch, my, almost, daily dose of happy is found here. A visit with Susan always leaves me feeling happier and more cheerful.

A Bowl Full of Lemons is a site I recently found and the author is doing a incredible 8-week study on Emergency Preparedness. I don't live in an earthquake, tsunami, tornado or hurricane alley but I like being prepared. Lists interest me, being prepared interests me more and I highly suggest you check out her site for Emergency Preparedness as well as Home Organization, Budget and other fine articles. She's an advocate of a cash life and did an interview with 

Dave Ramsey. Dave was a millionaire before his 30th birthday and lost it all before his 30th birthday. He and his wife had two of their three children when he declared bankruptcy and since then, have built a multi-million dollar company. Late last year, I took Dave's Financial Peace University and those classes taught me so much. Some of you know Dave, my husband, died suddenly and unexpectedly, in November 2011. We knew he was sick but thought he had another six months to year to live so we thought we had time to prepare. We were going to sit down on a Monday, me with my three-ring binder and he was going to tell me where everything was, what I needed to know, etc. He died on Saturday morning and I spent 2012 learning about finances, budgeting, buying property, taking care of vehicles, animals, the farm, the house...doing it all! Without the good advice and wise counsel of people like my lawyer, CPA, financial consultant, friends and family, I surely would have sunk. I've been working on a book, compiling all those hard won lessons learned since and started a blog here. That first year, grief ruled my life and the blog wasn't kept up but the information is still good and can help save you time and money. "Death comes to us or for us; it's best to be prepared." My goal is to have the book ready by April and, I think, will e-publish first then see what happens.

For a free download of Dave's Guide to Budgeting, click here.
I cannot suggest strongly enough that you find and take a Financial Peace University series of classes; it will be one of the best things you could ever do for yourself and your family!

St. Paul's Church in Auckland, New Zealand has some fabulous videos that tell the Christmas story in a fresh new way. Click here for an Unexpected Christmas.

Women Reaching Women is a Gospel for Asia program. It sends women to minister to women in areas like South Asia where 50,000 female children are aborted each month!

Click here to visit the Innkeeper by John Piper.

Last, but certainly not least, please don't forget Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party which is happening 19 January. She's been working on this party since June...amazing!...and it promises to be the biggest thing this winter. 

Today's Miracles ~ great weather ~ strength to do the work God has set before me ~ a great night's sleep ~ healthy animals ~ Vicki at 2 Bags Full ~ Financial Peace University ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Pinterest ~

Monday, January 07, 2013

Semper Fidelis = Always Faithful

~ USMC War Memorial ~
Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government's right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime.
You ma'am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man. 

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.
We, the people, deserve better than you.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joshua Boston Cpl
United States Marine Corps

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
~ Mark Twain

In other news, "My Wife is a Hero", click here

and the Battle of Athens, TN, click here.

Today's Miracles ~ United States Military ~ Joshua Boston Cpl, USMC ~ freedom ~ patriots ~ the wife/mother who protected her children ~ patriots, then and now ~
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