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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, February 28, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Van Cliburn

~ photo borrowed from Mr. Cliburn's website ~
And in a world gone made with people jockeying and vieing for attention, no matter the cost, there are bit of news that are worthy. A gentleman who made a dramatic and positive difference in this frosty ole world is no longer with us.

Mr. Harvey Lavan Van Cliburn passed away yesterday at age 78. He won the first international Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 in Moscow when he was only 23 and won only six months after the Soviet's launch of Sputnik 1 which embarrassed the US and pushed us into the space age. Mr. Van Cliburn's triumph helped with cold war conditions between the USA and the USSR and launched his rock star status around the world. This "Texan Who Conquered Russia" returned to a first ever New York ticker-tape parade for a classical musician.

Supposedly Premier Nikita Khrushchev gave permission for Mr. Van Cliburn to receive the award; he was a foreigner winning an award named for a Russian. "Is Cliburn the best? Then give him first prize." This would be the same Khrushchev who, in the 1960's, pulled his shoe off his foot, beat the table with it, or so says "Viktor Sukhodrev, Khrushchev's brilliant interpreter, remembers that his boss pounded the UN desk so hard with his fists that his watch stopped, at which point, irritated by the fact that some "capitalist lackey" had in effect broken a good watch, Khrushchev took off his shoe and began banging."

I well remember Mom and Daddy watching the news and being aghast at such behavior and from a Russian who wasn't all that friendly to the USA. And, if memory serves me correctly, this is the same Khrushchev who said, "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man."

But, I digress. Mr. Van Cliburn made his last public appearance in September, in Fort Worth, at the 50th anniversary of the piano competition named for him. In 2003, he was presented the Presidential Medal of Honor by President Bush. The next year, 2004, he was presented the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Van Cliburn, you, sir, were extraordinarily talented and a gentleman who encouraged thousands. Your talent was a gift from God and you served Him well; you're already missed. 

Oh, those mad folks referred to at the beginning? The Texas "teacher", and I use the word loosely, who made her female students dress in burqa's and call Muslim terrorists "freedom fighters". She was supposed to be teaching geography but strayed into pro-Muslim territory and needs to be taken to the wood shed. It's insane to think Christian children cannot pray in school but this "teacher" forces her students to pander to her wants and wishes in support of terrorists. Hellllloooo!? Remember 9/11? Or, did that not take place, like the Holocaust? As George Santayan said, "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it."

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

Today's Miracles ~ the gift and talent of Mr. Van Cliburn ~ 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

12 Ways to Stay Healthy

~ Levi, staying healthy and well ~
Every time I go grocery shopping, I hear people talking about how sick they've been. Recently, two women were talking and one said, "I've been on antibiotics three times since Christmas and I'm still sick." Needless to say, I gave a wide berth. There are some things you can do to decrease your opportunities to become sick and include:

1. Wash your hands often. Duh, right but do you wash correctly? Do you wash between your fingers, backs of hands as well as palms and wrists? Between the fingers is especially important because moist, heat and dark is a breeding ground for bacteria. And, don't touch your face, all you're doing is transferring germs from your hands to your face.

2. Do you use hand sanitizer when you can't wash? If so, rub your hands briskly; the heat will assist in making the sanitizer work more effectively. Sanitizer can be harsh but a good alternative is Gold Bond Ultimate Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer

3. Change your bathroom hand towels daily. Especially if you have small children who, sometimes, don't wash their hands as well as they should.

4. Boost your immune system by taking Sambucol, drinking elderberry juice or taking Echinacea.

5. Use tissues instead of handkerchiefs. Yes, handkerchiefs look prettier but they tend to retain germs; use tissues once and throw the germs away. 

6. Drink lots of water; the rule of thumb is, take half your body weight and drink that amount of ounces of water per day. Flushing your body of toxins will help keep your healthy. 

7. Exercise every day. It doesn't have to be an hour at the gym but a fifteen minute walk will do wonders for your mental attitude as well as your body.

8. Get enough sleep even if it means you don't get the housework done or the errands run. If you shortchange yourself in the sleep department, eventually, you'll pay for it with illness.

9. Short term, smoking lowers the immune system and, long term, it causes more severe health problems. Avoid second hand smoke, whenever possible.

10. Eat a diet heavy in vegetables and fruits and less red meats. If you do snack, choose snacks that are healthful. 

11. Make sure you have time, each day, for yourself. Do something that makes you happy  and allows you time away from your normal circumstances or problems.

12. If you do work outside the home, if at all possible, please don't go to work sick. There are bosses who would rather you go to work, no matter how sick, but all you're doing is spreading germs and keeping the illness alive. 

If you do feel like you're coming down with a cold, or God forbid something worse, increase your vitamin C and zinc intake. It's difficult to overdose on vitamin C because the overage is flushed out with urine. Cut down on sugar or cut it out entirely; sugar will compromise your immune system.

I'm hoping you'll stay healthy so you can do those things you have to do as well as those things you want to do. A lot of good health is within your power but you have to make right choices for yourself and your family; go and be well.

"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 ~ good health ~ right choices ~ elderberry juice ~ vitamin C ~ zinc ~ vegetables and fruits ~ sleep ~ water ~ 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Five Answers...and more...

~ two sentinels ~
Patrice, over at Everyday Ruralty, hosts Chats on the Farmhouse Porch; today is number 82. Here are today's questions and my answers. 

1. Is there a room in your house you'd like to redecorate or remodel? The living room and hall need painting; that's being planned for spring. 

2. Did you watch the Oscars? A few minutes because my sister called and wanted me to see a beautiful black woman in a ravishing blue gown. Apparently, this woman had cancer and her sister was a match for bone marrow; the woman was stunning and, please God, is doing well. Then Sistah and I talked for a few minutes while various people walked across the screen...we saw Adele and....that's all I remember. I'm not a big fan of Oscar or whatever that music thing that was on recently...come to think of it, I'm not a television fan at all. I'll tape anything I want to watch and that's for two reasons...I see exactly what I want to see and can fast forward through any racy parts and the commercials. For me, that's a win/win.

3. How many pairs of blue jeans do you own? I have no idea but my favorite pair of denims is a pair of black jeans.

4. What was your favorite toy as a child? A black and white stuff panda and I still have it although it's a trifle worse for wear. I hated dolls and am sure that broke Mom's heart; I could never understand the thrill of dolls. Actually, I still don't understand but I do remember my first phone number - MI40273 and GrandDaddy and GrandMother's phone number was three longs and a short. 

5. If you could visit a country in Europe, what would you choose? It's not in Europe, but I choose Mongolia. Dave and I traveled quite a bit and saw a lot of Europe; loved traveling with Dave. Nothing else cemented our marriage and friendship like travel. When you're in a foreign country, can't speak or read the language and have no one else except each learn trust in a deeper, more meaningful way than day to day living could ever teach you. Unless, of course, there's terminal illness involved and that's a story for another time.

"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 ~ good memories ~ excellent Bible study today ~ county library ~ tolerance, going and coming ~ my warm and cozy home ~

Monday, February 25, 2013

YES to Background Checks!

Let's start here...

~ Medina, NY ~
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 Miracle ~ In a world gone mad with gluttony for power and greed for control, nothing happens that God doesn't allow ~ 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

~ looking the long way down the valley ~
"I will send down the showers in their season;
they shall be showers of blessings."
"An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others." ~ A. W. Tozer
"To love God is the greatest of virtues.
To be loved by God is the greatest of blessings."
~ anonymous
"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
"A good memory is one that can remember the day's blessings
and forget the day's troubles."
~ Irish blessing
"All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors." ~ John Calvin
"Some of your greatest blessings come with patience." 
"God will not turn away from doing you good. He will keep on doing good. He doesn't do good to His children sometimes and bad to them other times. He keeps on doing good and He will never stop doing good for ten thousand ages of ages. When things are going bad, that does not mean God has stopped doing good. It means He is shifting things around to get them in place for more good, if you will go on loving Him."
"Prayers go up and blessings come down."
~ Yiddish Proverb ~
"What we count the ills of life are often blessings in disguise, resulting to good to us in the end. Though for the present not joyous but grievous, yet, if received in a right spirit, they work out fruits of righteousness for us at last." ~ Matthew Henry ~
"God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty." ~ Peter Marshall ~
"God will either give us what we ask 
or what He knows to be better for us." 
"Blessed is he who has found his work, let him ask no other blessedness. He has a work, a life-purpose; he has found it and will follow it. Labor is life." ~ Thomas Carlyle
"God has supplied all my needs and not failed me once." 
"I believe with all my heart that standing up for America means standing up for the God who has so blessed our land. We need God's help to guide our nation through stormy seas. But we can't expect Him to protect America in a crisis if we just leave Him over oon the shelf in our day-to-day living." ~ Ronald Reagan
"God bless the good-natured, for they bless everybody else." 
"All God's blessings go together, like links in a golden chain." ~ C. H. Spurgeon ~
"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names are kept for one week unless you e-mail the name prior to the next Sabbath Keeping (my memory is dreadful!). Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Townsend family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Timi and family ~ Jane and Lance ~ Debbie ~ Pastor Saeed Abedini ~ Pastor Thomas Kang ~ persecuted Christians around the world ~ 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Keep Calm and...

In WWII England, the Ministry of Information (MOI) was developed by the British government and was responsible for publicity and propaganda.  After the outbreak of the war, late 1939, the MOI was charged with developing moral boosting posters that would be placed across Great Britain. They would be similar, in that all would use bright colors, and have the crown of King George VI (Queen Elizabeth's father) at the top. 

The first two posters produced were "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolutions will Bring Us Victory" and "Freedom is in Peril" and were hugely effective. The third poster, "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" was never seen as it was only to be used should Germany invade Great Britain. At the end of the war, 1945, these posters were supposed to have been destroyed but almost 60 years later, a book seller stumbled across a treasure trove of these posters when he bought a collection of dusty old books at auction. Others have surfaced, some in the National Archives, The Imperial War Museum and during an episode of the Antiques Road Show. Read more about the auction here.

I think it's wonderful the old posters were found and often wonder if Great Britain has that same sort of enthusiasm and patriotism now. That sort of stiff upper lip and, later Churchwellian bulldogedness, carried them, successfully, through two world wars. For that matter, do we in the USA? I think not or things wouldn't be as horrid as they seem to be now.
The saying KEEP CALM has become a mantra for millions and there are hundreds of sayings. Some of my favorites, above..KEEP CALM AND TRUST GOD...kept the crown but has the Alpha and Omega Greek letters to either side. KEEP CALM AND PRAY HARD is another favorite.
This whimsical KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON KNITTING reminds me busy hands have little time for trouble making. Plus, there's something to show for time that would, otherwise, be lost to watching television or sitting in a mindless meeting.

My travel agent ends her correspondence with KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL ON; cute!
KEEP CALM AND FARM reminds me farming, even on such a small scale as what I do, is a worthwhile endeavor. It's a hard endeavor but keeps me out of trouble, lets me breath clean, fresh air every day, rest  my weary eyes on some of God's best handiwork and sleep soundly at night. 
What's your favorite KEEP CALM poster? Would you like to make one? The Keep Calm and Posters and Keep Calm Studio are both places to make your own poster. Plug in the empty spots and your poster comes to life.

"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 ~ calm ~ farming ~ knitting ~ praying ~ carrying on ~ traveling ~ GOD ~

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Free Speech

 What don't some folks understand about a free market? It enables us to have choices when we shop whether it's for food, clothing or luxury items? 
 I like the Second Amendment, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Do you know that for every $4 the US spends, $3 is borrowed from China? We're borrowing money to give Egypt war weapons! And who is Egypt's new best friend? Iran! HELLOOOOO, the lights are on in Washington, DC but there's no one home! KrAZy!
 Have you seen the photos of Chris Stevens being drug through the streets of Benghazi? He's battered from the beating he's been given and some reports say he was sodomized before being murdered.
 Does it anger you to stand behind someone in the grocery store who is talking on their free smart phone while "buying" groceries with food stamps? Yes, I heard her telling someone about her "Obama phone" and then paid with food stamps! 
What's wrong with coming to this country as a legal alien and then becoming a citizen? That plan has worked for several hundred years and is a slap in the face of all the immigrants who struggled to come here and become legal citizens!

Ah well, daily, I must remind myself that nothing happens that God doesn't allow or control! Like Joseph said to his brothers, "you meant it for evil but God worked it for good." 

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

Today's Miracles ~ God is in control ~ electricity is still on even though we're in the midst of a snow storm ~ Kim, staying with me for the weekend ~ Sara and Jason with new baby Avery ~ hope ~

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tucking Yourself into Prayer

Do you pray for yourself? I mean, really pray for your needs, situation, for blessings, grace, mercy, marriage, parenting, wisdom... That's the question Jen is asking over at Finding Heaven Today and, frankly, it stopped me cold. Do I pray for me, specifically for Sandra? Ummm, sort of. When I'm trying to get the frozen barn door open, I pray for God's strength to be mine or for His wisdom to help me figure out a way to manage. When I'm on the tractor, I pray for safety. When I'm tired, I pray for a good night's sleep, which, by the way, is usually always mine. Of course, doing farm chores for 3 or 4 hours a day helps me sleep like a log at night. (Where did that saying come from? Anyone know?)

Jen is giving away a copy of Prayers for a Woman's Soul; visit here to find out more.

Julie K. Gillies has written Prayers for a Woman's Soul. 52 prayers for 52 weeks and each with a focus...expectations, balance, marriage, focus, identity, walk with God, etc... . I'm intrigued because, like a punch to the gut, I realize I don't pray for me; not the in-depth, focused, specific prayers I need to should be praying. I've never been a fan of reading prayers and don't really have a good reason but I'm feeling the leading edges of mind change happening. I feel God is nudging me into some soul searching, deep digging prayers for me. Since Dave died, I've been content to say, "God, I'm just not that smart and feel so empty, weak and alone. You know what's best for me and I accept Your will in my life." Well, I'm still positive God knows what's best for me and I still accept His will in my life but I'm going to start a new page in my devotional binder. The title is, "Tucking Sandra into Prayer" and will include Very Specific prayers for me. I'm going to write down some of God's promises He gives in His word and I'm going to put my name right there with His promises. I'm going to tuck myself into specific prayer and pray like it all depends upon God. Like Mom always said, "It's good to pray but you have to put feet to those prayers as well." I know not every situation is one that we I need to do something, but those situations that do require me to work hand in hand with God, I'm going to do my part.

Linking with Jen and the Soli deo Gloria Party.

There are 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 ~ prayer for yourself ~ the next breath ~ kittens playing ~ sleeping dogs around the wood stove ~ a car that's safe and has gasoline ~ Tuesday's Bible study ~  clean dishes ~ mind change ~

Monday, February 18, 2013

Miss Mustard Seed and Lucketts Store

~ Mary and Donald's sign ~
Are you familiar with Marian, also known as Miss Mustard Seed? She's a recent blog read for me, a thoroughly enjoyable read and full of good and useful information. Marian says we should "Move Mountains In Our Home" and also has a new book Inspired You 
and it was through her blog I learned of Old Lucketts Store, "Vintage Hip" in northern Virginia.

Recently, Old Lucketts Store had a giveaway, the wonderful sign you see above. They asked folks to write about someone who was deserving of such a sign because they were doing wonderful things. I wrote about Mary and Donald, my friends who adopted three children, saving them from absolute abuse and God alone knows what else. Wonder of wonders, the folks at Old Luckett's Store decided Mary and Donald should have the sign and shipped it to them; Mary took a photo, sent it to me and ta da! 

Celebrate with me, wishing and praying Mary and Donald will raise those three children to be God fearing, tax paying citizens who'll be in church every Sunday, worshiping God. It's only because of God, Mary and Donald those children have any chance in life at all. 

Thanks Marian and Luckett's Store; you've made a positive difference in these lives. God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart!

Please, go visit Marian and Old Luckett's Store; on Monday's the Store has a giveway and it's always grand.

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

Today's Miracles ~ Marian ~ Old Luckett's Store ~ Mary ~ Donald ~ Dalton ~ Kim ~ Dustin ~ giveaways ~ encouragement ~

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

~ Dry Run ~
"...and Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant hears. ..."

God speaks...are you listening?

When your faith is weak ~ Psalm 146 ~
When God seems far away ~ Psalm 25 ~
When you want to live successfully ~ Romans 12:1-21 ~
When friends are unfaithful ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ~
When you seem too busy ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-5 ~
When you are discouraged ~ Psalm 23; 42 ~
When having a good time seems too important ~ Galatians 5:1-26 
When you have a grudge ~ 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 ~
When tempted to do wrong ~ Psalm 19:1-14 ~
When you are jealous ~ James 3:1-12 ~
When you are disobedient ~ Luke 5:1-11 ~
When a crisis comes ~ Job 28:12-18 ~
When you are impatient ~ Psalm 40:1-17 ~
When you are bored ~ Psalm 103 ~
When you want inward peace ~ Romans 8:1-39 ~

"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names are kept for one week and added only if you send me the name again. My memory is a poor do your part, I'll do mine. smile  Around the world, people are praying.

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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Life and Death on the Farm

This latest storm hasn't been fierce but the cold and wind are absolutely bitter. Looking down the valley, the sun is breaking through but only for a few seconds, while the snow is blowing hard but no more accumulation is expected. Fortunately, the sheep have good wool coats, as do the alpacas, and the horses all have shelter. Last night, in the gloaming, I looked out and saw the horses eating hay from last year so I rushed out and set out a new round bale. It's in a bad location so I'll have to move it on Monday but, hopefully, it'll be warmer and not as icy, cold or slick. I always take the safest way when doing farm work!
This deer is eating at Daddy John's silage pit; deer come to feed daily at dawn and dusk and are a pleasure to watch. They drive the dogs crazy but they're a treat to watch.
Levi, here on the tractor front end loader, likes to go to the barn when the dogs and I go down to do chores. He's growing into a fine feller and, right now, is crashed out next to the wood stove.
This is my walnut tree and a favorite tree to photograph. There are fewer than half  dozen trees on this farm and, all but one, are 100 years or older. 
Here, Carly Shetland was just given a treat of bread and Sophie Loren Butterball is looking for a few crumbs. My dogs all think they're starving but all have extra flesh...yes, you can pinch an inch! Carly is so old, nearest I can figure she's around 17 or 18, and just about crippled with arthritis. She hobbles along, voice like a fog horn, and orders me around something dreadfully. If I'm not paying enough attention to her, or not giving her a treat, she'll paw me with her sharp little hooves. It's nothing for me to have a row of bruises up and down my legs because her sister and their off spring do the exact same thing!
Someone told me eagles were carrion vultures -thanks, Charlotte!- with better press and they're right. Earlier this week, I saw eagles in my upper pasture and, when I went to investigate they flew into the tree near the road. Buster Brown, one of my oldest sheep, about the same age as Carly, had gone to sleep and never work up. From the looks of things, it'd happened during the night and the eagles arrived that morning to clean up. I called Daniel and he came at lunch and disposed of the body. All my flock is aged, the youngest is approaching ten and I'll, probably, have one or two more old ones die this winter. People keep telling me to take them to market but I can't. They've been wool sheep all their lives and to truck them to market now is a betrayal on my part; so I won't. 
The eagles weren't too happy when I disturbed them but the feeling was, somewhat, mutual. I don't blame them for doing their job but, thankfully, Daniel came to help me do my job. Or rather, he came to do my job...he loaded Buster into the front end loader and took him away for burial. 
The sun didn't last long and it's now snowing so hard the mountains are but a dim outline. It's frigid cold and when I went outside to take photos, it only took five minutes before my fingers froze and started tingling. Hopefully, the roads will be cleared tomorrow, Kim and I have to go to church and then, she goes home. We've had a very lazy day...breakfast, chores, watching Psyche on television, taking a walk to get the mail and then more laziness. Yes, there's a lot of work we I could be doing but, sometimes, it's just fun to goof off. Like Dave used to say, "goofing off isn't any fun unless there's something else you should be doing." He'd be proud of me 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 ~ Kim, company for the weekend ~ snow ~ eagles ~ Buster, he lived a good, long, happy life ~ sun, breaking through the gray ~ deer ~ Levi ~ 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pass Along Your Blessing

~ morning coffee ~
Someone sent the following story to me and I've revised it a bit...

"I sat with a friend in a high-class coffee shop in a small town near Venice, Italy. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, "Two cups of coffee, one of them on the wall." We heard this order with some interest and observed that he was served with only one cup of coffee but he paid for two. As soon as he left, the waiter pasted a piece of paper on the wall with the words, "A Cup of Coffee."

While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, "Two on the table and one on the wall, please." They drank two cups of coffee but paid for three and then left. This time, the waiter did the same; the piece of paper he pasted on the wall said, "A Cup of Coffee."

It seemed this gesture was normal at this place but something unique and perplexing for us. Since we had nothing to do with the matter, we finished our coffee, paid the bill and left.

After a few days, we happened to visit this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man entered. He was dressed in a manner that did not match the standard nor the atmosphere of the coffee shop. Poverty was evident from the look on his face and his clothing. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, "One cup of coffee from the wall, please." The waiter served a coffee to him with the customary respect and dignity. 

The man drank his coffee and left without paying. We were amazed to watch all this when we also noticed the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it into the trash. Then it dawned on us! The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town welled our eyes with tears.

Coffee is not a need of society, nor a necessity of life. The point is when we take pleasure in any blessing, maybe we also need to think about those people who appreciate that specific blessing as much as we but they cannot afford to have it.

Note the character of the waiter who, with a smile on his face, played a consistent and generous role to facilitate the communication between the affording and the needy. Ponder upon the man in need. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem. He has no need to beg for a free cup of coffee. He only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left. The wall reflects the generosity and care of the town dwellers who show compassion and allow not so fortunate others to maintain human dignity."

There's a "movement" afoot called Random Acts of Kindness and this week is RAK Week. Have you heard of it? I'm of two minds about this...the first being, isn't it wonderful and the second being, how sad we have a website and a week devoted to random acts of kindness. When I was growing up, amidst the unicorns and dinosaurs, smile there was no such thing as "random acts of kindness" because that was simply how people lived their lives. I couldn't begin to count the numbers of times Daddy stopped to change someone's tire, Mom sent money to a missionary, Daddy cut, delivered and stacked a load of firewood for a widow, Mom cooked and delivered a meal to someone in need and the list goes on and on and on... . It was love in action because we were Christians and we did as Christ asked. Regarding RAK, it is at times like this and every other second as well that I miss Dave so dreadfully. He would explain to me why RAK begun in the first place and now has a week of celebration and doing. 

When did we get away from helping each other? When did it become a "national holiday"? And, the more important question...WHY? For you folks who are naturally nice, you may stop reading now but for the rest of us, I ask you to consider...every day, pay a complete stranger a compliment. If you get a chance to pass along a blessing, do it. There doesn't need to be fanfare or firecrackers going off. Do it for the pleasure it gives someone else...and you. Do it to lighten someone's burden. Do it because one day someone will do it for you. Do it because it's the right thing. Karma, what goes around comes around and, my favorite, cast your bread upon the water. Do you want good, nourishing bread or moldy bread? Easy answer, don't you think? 

Pass Along Your Blessing, as soon as possible and as much as possible. God can't bless someone with clenched hands. God bless you, yours and the works of your hands and heart.

"There are 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 ~ hot cup of coffee ~ kindness in action ~ compassion ~ respect, shown to everyone ~ quiet dignity ~ Pass Along Your Blessing ~

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beautiful Things

~ tea pot lamp ~
Last month, I took a AAA trip to Charlotte, NC to see Sister Act which was great except, every so often, the language turn a south turn. The bus went early enough so we were able to stop at Northlake Mall. Now, that might not seem like big doings to you but to me...HUGE and I'm not a "mall person". I took photos of some beautiful things, thinking I might duplicate them, eventually. but, really...probably not -smile-  Isn't this tea pot lamp the cutest thing you've ever seen? I adore it! I so want to make one! Thrift stores, beware, I am on the hunt for tea pots but they don't have to be white. I'm thinking colors would be cute as long as they complimented each other. Or, maybe a couple of colored tea pots with one white one? I like the lamp shade but think it could be better, somehow. Hmmm, I'm not sure, this one just doesn't quite work for me. What do you think?
 ~ beautiful chair ~
This fabric is heavily textured and, again, another piece I just love. I've got similar fabric and am looking around the house for a chair that it would fit. 
 ~ Indian style jacket ~
The back of this jacket has been removed and this knitted piece substituted. It's nubby and fabulous; I'm pretty sure I adore this jacket.
~ tree branch lamp ~
This lamp has a base of tree branches that are nailed together, starting inside, going to outside. I couldn't tell if the lamp was sitting atop the branches or went straight to the bottom but I like it, a lot. Not to sound trite, but the organic quality is so nice...the texture, the brad nails, the way some branches are straight and others curvy...the whole piece is great.

The quality of the photos isn't wonderful but as good as possible, considering I was sneaking around taking them at either Anthropologie or Pottery Barn...I think that's right.    Walking through the stores was interesting; it seems a lot of the stores are selling things that look like they are supposed to be aged but aren't. In other words, new stuff that's been distressed; it's beautiful but I'm chuckling. The newest piece of furniture in this house is from 1972 and the oldest could be the roll top desk Dave's grandfather used when he was in either the Virginia Senate or Legislation (I can't remember which). Then again, the oldest could be the Victorian horse hair stuffed sofa and matching chair. When Dave and I married, we each brought more than twenty years of household belongings to the farm and, later, when his mother moved in with us, she brought fifty years of household belongings. So, every room is packed with history...Hoosier cabinets, tables and hutches, Emes chair and ottoman, roll top desk, maple, cherry and pecan bedroom suites, Victorian sofas and chairs, treadle sewing machines, hand crank sewing machines, Singer Featherweights, iron frame bed...the list goes on and on and on. I'm sure an antique dealer is salivating by now smile but all this "stuff" fits our my 110+ year old home just fine. We're all old here, it's just a series of degrees smile.

Now do you understand why I chuckle when in those high end home furnishings store?

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

Today's Miracles ~ laughter ~ a sun shiny day ~ laundry drying on the line ~ smiles ~ a healthy delivery for Sara ~ a healthy pregnancy for Sarah ~ 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Woman's Spin on Stress

~ me, unstressed, mostly ~
A young lady confidently walked around the room while explaining stress management. She raised a glass of water to the audience. Everyone knew she was going to ask the question, "half empty or half full?" but she fooled them all. "How heavy is this glass of water?" she asked with a smile.

The answers ranged from eight ounces to twenty ounces.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

She continued, "And that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden; holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night...pick them up again tomorrow."

*Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon and some days the statue.
*Always keep your words soft and sweet, because you'll have to eat them, sooner or later.
*Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of reading.
*Drive's not only cars that are recalled by their Maker.
*If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
*If you lend someone money and never see that person was probably worth it.
*It may be your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
*Never buy a car you can't push.
*If you're constantly looking backward, you'll miss where you're headed.
*Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
*Nobody cares if you can't dance well; just get up and dance.
*Get enough sleep, your body knows how much it needs.
*When everything comes your way, you're in the wrong lane.
*When you get kicked in the behind, be glad you're out in front.
*Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.
*Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
*A truly happy person is one who enjoys the scenery on a detour.
*Learn from crayons...some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all live together in the same box. 
*Have an great day and pass it on; someone needs your smile.
*Cast your cares upon Jesus, for He cares for you!

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, lucifer says, "Oh crap, "she's" up!"

Maxine sent the above and I revised it.

Linking with Madge, The View From Right Here.

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

Today's Miracles ~ I'm up! ~ sun shine...somewhere behind the clouds ~ the next breath ~ bird song ~ oil in the furnace ~ God who says, "Sandra, call me Abba." ~

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

~ Levi, guarding his heart ~
"Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life."

~ Proverbs 4:23 ~
"Healthy living is a journey, not a destination, and that journey requires discipline. ... Rest assured that God is taking careful note of your progress...and He's quietly urging you to take the next step." ~ God's Guide to Food, Fitness and Faith for Women ~
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."
~ Benjamin Franklin
"If you don't care care of your body, 
where are you going to live?" 
~ anonymous ~
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti ~
"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." 
"You can build up a set of good habits so that you habitually take the Christian way without thought." ~ E. Stanley Jones
"Healthy citizens are the greatest assets any country can have." 
"Just because you're not sick doesn't mean you're healthy." ~ anonymous
"Begin to be now what you will be hereafter." 
~ St. Jerome
"Healthy is merely the slowest rate at which one can die." ~ anonymous ~
"In order to change, we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired." ~ anonymous ~
"Our bodies are our gardens -  our wills are our gardeners." 
"Health is not merely the absence of sickness." ~ Hannah Green
"Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot." ~ anonymous ~ 
"He who does not overcome small faults, 
shall fall little by little into greater ones."
"Diseases of the soul are more are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body." ~ Cicero
"The part can never be well unless the whole is well." ~ Plato
"The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they'll ease 
Your will they'll mend
And charge you not a shilling." 
~ Nursery Rhyme ~
"The best doctors give the least medicines." ~ Benjamin Franklin
"Each patient carries his own doctor within him." 
"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily."
~ John Maxwell ~
"Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way
 and be in good health, 
just as your soul prospers."
~ 3 John 1:2 ~

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please e-mail that name. Names will be kept for one week unless you tell me the name each week.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Annie's family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Debbie ~ Mary ~ Gwen and Steve ~ Townsend family ~ Timi and family ~ Jane and Lance ~ Weaver family ~ Sonny ~ David and Suzanne ~ Pastor Saeed Abedini ~ persecuted Christians ~ 

Friday, February 08, 2013

Thrift Store Leather Ottoman

~ Levi, checking out the ottoman ~
Dave always hated thrift stores but he enjoyed the great bargains I'd find. Like this ottoman; it was made in Malasia and was purchased at a thrift store for $15. It had a couple of stains on the top but the bones were good and, living in a household with cats, dogs and people who like to actually use their furniture...iow, put their feet up, it was a great buy. 

The ottoman is leather, quite nice leather, and is in the living room which is where the wood stove is located. That means unless I do a monthly nourishment treatment, the leather will age well before it's time. I'm guessing the reason the ottoman was donated to a thrift store in the first place is because of the stains. It's funny...some people see stains and I see character. 
~ neats foot oil that I've had for almost twenty years ~
There are a lot of leather cleaners on the market but I use the same thing in the house, I use in the barn...neatsfoot oil. I also have other leather cleaners but, until this gallon jug is empty, it's neatsfoot oil for me. Neatsfoot oil is rendered from the shin bones and feet, but not the hooves, of cattle. "Neat" is an old name for cattle and neatsfoot oil conditions, softens and preserves leather. If the words "prime" or "compound" are used, it's, probably, petroleum based; not what you want. 
Fat from warm blooded animals, such as cattle, has a higher melting point and becomes hard when cold but not neatsfoot oil. It remains liquid and darkens leather which is not a bad thing, in my opinion. Especially when it's a $15 thrift store bargain!
The sides aren't all that darker but the top is a lot darker.
The more neatsfoot oil I use, the more uniform the top will become until, eventually, it's all the same color. Neatsfoot oil is found at hardware stores, big box stores and specialty stores but I shop at tack shops, places where horse supplies are sold and the price is a lot better. Not as good, mind, as the $6 you see on my gallon jug but still a good buy. 

I'm a crazy woman smile ...posting twice on the same day; this time it's with Miss Mustard Seed and her Furniture Feature Friday

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

Today's Miracles ~ thrift store finds ~ Levi ~ neatsfoot oil ~ Godly women ~ 

Five Minute Friday: Bare

~ freedom to soar ~
These past couple of weeks have been hard and that's an improvement. The months, weeks, days, hours, seconds even, used to be bone crushing, soul sucking difficult. Improvements come in small, incremental steps; sometimes two forward and one back or even three forward and two back. But they come and God's grace is evident even when I
can't see it or, especially, when I can't feel it. For all the unkind comments there have been many more kind comments and I am grateful.

When you are struggling, do you go back and read the kind comments people have made to you? I do. It helps me keep perspective; it also helps me keep perspective to remember God's past blessings in my life. Have you heard the saying, "I want to be the kind of person my dogs thinks I am"? I want to be the person my dogs believe me to be: the loving, kind, treat giving human Mom and not the shrill, screaming, crying, out of control person they, sometimes, see. 

Yes, I'm nattering on again about being a widow (shudder, gasp, scream, cry, sad, pathetic word) and soldiering on alone. There are about three people who can stand to see me at my worst; the rest are uncomfortable, uneasy, disheartened and can't wait to scurry away, hang up the phone or hit the delete button.

Daddy tells a story of a neighbor when Daddy was growing up. This man was a practicing Christian with four sons who were reprobates. They cared nothing for God, Christ, salvation, church nor anyone having anything to do with same. The Christian gentleman was on his deathbed and, as was the custom in those days, his sons were called to his side. He wanted to speak God's grace into their lives but, as usual, they turned a deaf ear yet stayed in the room. As the gentleman's earthly time came to an end, he began to be in torment. He began shouting, screaming, begging, pleading and crying out to God for mercy. With his last breaths he beseeched God for rest from the pain, physical, mental and emotional and then he died in agony.

His sons were stunned! Their Dad had been a Christian all of their lives and if anyone should have an easy death, carried into heaven on angel's wings, it should have been their Dad. An unease settled in the room and on each son as they considered what they'd just witnessed and before their Dad was buried, each one accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. To a man they said, "If Dad had that hard a death and he was a Christian, there was no hope for us outside of Christ."

To be laid bare is to know the One who loves me and carries me through the seconds, then the minutes and the hours, the days, weeks, months, years. At my best, I am barely lovable and at my worst, mine own disowns me.

Dear God, I believe; help me believe.

Linking with Lisa-Jo, 5 Minute Friday: Bare.

"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 ~ rain ~ transparency ~ courage ~ angels ~ God's mercy ~ Christ's salvation ~ forgiveness ~
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