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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

"Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near."

" are permitted and guided by thy wisdom, which solely is light. We are in darkness and must be thankful that our knowledge is not needed to perfect thy work."
~ St. Elizabeth Seton ~
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
~ Jim Elliott ~
"You're born. You suffer. You die.

Fortunately, there's a loophole."

On a Saturday morning, Dave, suddenly and very unexpectedly, died of a massive heart attack. He was, quite literally, absent in the body, present with the Lord. The Monday prior he'd called me to his side, "How do I get right with God?" was his question. 

The answer still's easy, really, you just have to want Jesus more than you want yourself. If you're like me, you've not done too badly with your life but, there's the nagging thought, it could be better... Yes, it can definitely be better! 

There are many good books written on God, Christ and the Bible but there's only one Bible. It alone is God's Word, it alone tells us how to accept Christ, live a Christian life and, when we die, spend eternity in Heaven with God, Christ and those great cloud of witnesses

God loves you, Jesus loves you and the Holy Spirit wants to be your Comforter. Christ tells us He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father, except through Him. The only way to eternity in Heaven is by saying to Jesus, "I love you and believe You're the Son of God and died so I might spend eternity in heaven with You." 

Yes, it really is that easy! Christ has done the hard work...taking on your sin, my sin and the sins of the entire human race so we might be restored with God, Our Father. 

If you'd like to talk or want a New Testament Bible, please let me know. 

Have a blessed Resurrection Day and, 
if we don't meet this side of the veil, 
I'll see you in Heaven!

"Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. 
No man, or woman, comes to the Father except by me."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names are kept for one week, unless you give me that name each week. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Debbie ~ Townsend family ~ Timi and family ~ Jane and Lance ~ Maa and Petal ~ Sara's Daddy ~ Pastor Saeed Abedini ~ persecuted Christians

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quick! Please Pray

~ my happy, healthy and safe sheep ~
Please pray for farmers and their livestock in Northern Ireland. It's dreadful...sheep are being buried alive only to die with their lambs, born or unborn. Farmers cannot get hay to their sheep and all are in dire circumstances; livelihoods are being torn asunder, lives are being lost, households are without electricity, schools are closed...the weather is brutally bitter...please pray! 

Blessings ~ folks all over the world, praying for Northern Ireland farmers ~

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bean and Sausage Stew

~ Italian cannellini beans ~
On Saturday, I did a lot of outside work and, as usual, came inside ravished with hunger. Dave used to shake his head as I'd stand in front of the refrigerator or chef pantry door, waiting for either food to jump into my hands or inspiration to strike. On Saturday, the former didn't happen but, thank God, inspiration eventually struck.

I'm a huge fan of soups, stews and cassoulets; they are nourishing, healthful, generally easy, keep well and, in the form of soups and stews, relatively quick to prepare. Or can be when the pantry is stocked with basic ingredients. I am not a slave to a recipe nor to tradition, especially when it comes to something like a cassoulet. In colder weather, my aim is to feed myself, or a crowd, with something nourishing, easy and with stick to the ribs intentions. In warmer weather, the fare is somewhat lighter.

~ Le Crueset 3.5 enameled oven ~
On Saturday the pantry yielded fresh bay leaves, white beans (aka cannonelli beans), black beans, home canned tomatoes and the refrigerator gave up carrots and chicken mozzarella sausage. 
NOTE: I forgot to mention the paprika, bought in Budapest in July 2010. It adds such a depth of flavor...smokey, rich...sooooo good! This paprika has yet to be opened because I bought a pound of loose paprika and this is back-up for when the loose paprika runs out.

The sausage was browned in a bit of EVOO then the canned beans and tomatoes were added. Next, most of a bag of carrots were sliced and added to the mix using my French enamel  Le Creuset 3.5 quart oven. This little enamel oven is a workhorse and I've used it on both stove top and oven or, in the case of a lot of my cooking, it starts out on the stove stop and is finished in the oven. Marvelous! My little vintage orange oven, don't think they make this color now, was found at an antique shop for $12; today I found a different color, same piece, on Amazon for $229.95! I love this stuff but I'm not about to pay full price, that's crazy.
~ bean and sausage stew ~
Anyway, my stew was cooked on the stove top until the carrots were tooth tender and I served it with a big glass of cold milk and home made bread. I forgot to mention, on Friday I made five loaves of bread and gave three of them away. The two small loaves I kept are wonderful and, when toasted, were full flavored, toothsome and the perfect addition to the hearty stew. 

~ home made bread ~
Generally, I'm not a fan of leftovers but when they are this delicious, it's a joy to keep eating. There's enough for three or four meals...what a blessing...and should take me through Tuesday before worrying about another substantial lunch or supper.
When I cook for a crowd, this is the enamel oven I use. It's a thrift store find and about 5 or 5.5 quarts and is a knock-off of Le Creuset but still is a workhorse and can be used on stove top and in the oven. Since Dave died, I've given away a lot of cookware, having found a few really good pieces are able to take me through just about anything I cook. My cook ware looks a bit rough and has a few dings and nicks but it still works like brand new. What more could I ask?

Blessings ~ home canned food ~ EVOO ~ enameled cookware at great buys ~ full pantry ~

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, 
reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: 
for it is time to seek the Lord, 
till he come and rain righteousness upon you." 

"Everyone who believes in God at all believes that he knows what you and I are going to do tomorrow." ~ C. S. Lewis ~
"The more we depend upon God the more dependable we find he is." ~ Cliff Richard ~
"If God is your partner
make your plans BIG!"
"What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer."
"The Universe is centered on neither the earth nor the sun. 
It is centered on God."
"The world will never starve for want of wonders." ~ C. K. Chesterton ~
"Only God can fully satisfy the hungry heart of man." 
~ Hugh Black
"I suddenly saw that all the time it was not I who had been seeking god, but God who had been seeking me. I had made myself the centre of my own existence and had my back turned to God." ~ Bede Griffiths
"If you believe what you like in the gospels, 
and reject what you don't like, 
it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself." 
"Were there no God, 
we would be in this glorious world 
with grateful hearts
 and no one to thank." 
"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in." ~ George Washington Carver ~
"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame." ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"God never uses a person until He has wounded him greatly.
The privilege He offers you is greater than the price you have to pay.
The privilege is greater than the price."
"God knows the secret plan of the things he will do for the world, using my hand."
"Without the Way there is no going;
without the Truth there is no knowing;
without the Life there is no living."
"Is your place a small place? Tend it with care, He set you there.
Is your place a large place? Guard it with care! He set you there.
Whate'er your place, it is not yours alone, but his Who set you there."
"To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances;
To seek him, the greatest adventure;
To find him, the greatest human achievement."
"Most of us wait until we're in trouble, and then we pray like the dickens. Wonder what would happen if, some morning, we'd wake up and say, "Anything I can do for You today, Lord?" ~ Burton Hillis ~
"We remain such creeping Christians
because we look at ourselves instead of Christ."

"But without faith it is impossible to please him; 
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, 
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept for one week unless the name is given each week. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Debbie ~ Townsend family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Timi and family ~ Jane and Lance ~ Sara ~ Vickie ~ Kasse and daughter ~Maa and Petal ~ Pastor Saaed Abedini ~ Pastor Thomas Kang ~

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Normal Day

~ Carly Shetland ~
There really aren't any normal days on a farm although each day brings some of the same chores - feeding and checking on the animals, checking water, gates and fences. Each morning, after tending to my needs as well as those of the house cats and dogs, I check on Carly. She's a Shetland, a primitive breed more than 1,000 years old, from one of the more than 100 Shetland Islands and she's upwards of 17; I'm guessing closer to 18 or even 19 years. In a word: ancient. She's been a good little ewe and still loves to be petted and loved upon but, in recent weeks she's been having trouble getting to her feet. Some days she'll become cast, meaning her center of gravity is off and she lies there, waving her legs about and waiting to be rescued. I'll have to heave her to her feet, let her stand against my legs so she can regain her equilibrium and blood flow before she toddles off. For a description that will make you chuckle, read here. A few of my Shetland sheep are as wild and fey as the Islands themselves where the 70,000 or 80,000 sheep outnumber the 22,000 humans by a good bit, or so says Jamieson and Smith, wool brokers. But some, like Carly, are cute and worrisome, especially when treats or nose rubs are slow in coming.

This group of five American Curly horses needed a round bale of hay but this time of year is dicey because the horses would rather graze sparse pickings. We're expecting another snowstorm tomorrow so hay is needed to supplement said sparse pickings and it's rather an involved process to set out hay. First the horses need to be put up in a small lot to prevent them from getting into the hay lot and tearing up a bunch of hay. Then, using my John Deere 45 hp tractor, I get a round bale of hay from the hay lot and take it over the hill to the lower end of the pasture. Frankly, this frightens me to death and I nearly always wet myself...sad truth that...because I'm leaning way too far for my own peace of mind and while toting a 1200 pound bale of hay. Yes, I do use the front end loader to balance myself but my skill level isn't the best and what takes me an hour to do, the men can do it in 15 or 20 minutes. They drive faster than one foot on the brake and the other tapping nervously to the side as I allow the tractor engine to pull me along at a whopping 1 mph. 

When I put down the round bale, then I have to heave upright the metal feeder so it can be rolled and moved to the new bale of hay. I'm not sure how much those feeders weigh but feel confident in saying it's a couple of hundred pounds. Again with the wetting...sigh.
I throw out some hay for the sheep
and alpacas
before taking the Ranger and getting in a load of wood for the stove. I'm not sure how much snow we're supposed to get but it's a nice day and better to do outdoor work in good weather.

The wood is stacked on the back porch where it's kept dry and convenient to retrieve. 

The metal bucket is used to clean ashes out of the wood stove and I keep wood stacked safely out of harm's way. This prevents those cold, icy trips to fetch wood late at night. Safety first!

And, since it's yet a pretty day, I take time to move and stack the plastic pallets. Round bales are stored on the pallets which prevent, or at least slow down, the decaying of the hay bales. 
That's all the outside work I'm doing for the day; now it's time to go inside and clean house after making something for lunch/supper. 
How's your day going?

"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 ~ wood for the stove ~ hay for the animals ~ safety in operating equipment ~ prepared for the next storm ~

Friday, March 22, 2013

How Your Senator Voted

~ F-16 fighter jets ~
The last day of January, 2013, the US Senate voted, overwhelmingly, to send F-16 fighter jets and 125 M1A1 Abrams tanks, to Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood. Some of the F-16 fighter jets have already been delivered and the Abrams tanks are to be delivered in a couple of months. President Obama could have stopped this vile act but he, and the Senators listed below, chose to send a very unstable country weapons of war. A very unstable country whose latest ally is Iran, a known enemy of the US. 

A lone voice of reason, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said, "I think this is particularly unwise since Egypt is currently governed by a religious zealot, a religious zealot who said recently that Jews were 'bloodsuckers' and 'descendants of apes and pigs. This doesn't sound like the kind of stable personality that we would be sending our most sophisticated weapons to. We send 20 F1016's to Egypt - which already has 240 F-16s. What does Israel feel? They've got to have two for every one Egypt has. It escalates an arms race, it makes it more difficult for Israel to defend herself. Today we have a chance to stop this folly."

Then Senator John Kerry's excuse reason was the jets and tanks were part of a deal hammered out in 2009 when the president of Egypt was Hosni Mubarak (who ruled for twenty-nine years and is currently in jail and on trial...again). It was also when the country was a lot more stable, John, or doesn't that matter? Apparently not, eh?

Funny, I've never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.

These 79 Senators voted YES to send both jets and tanks to Egypt...BOO, HISS!

Alexander, R-TN
Avotte R-NH
Baldwin D-WI
Barrasso R-WY
Baucus D-MT
Begich D-AK
Bennet D-CO
Blunt R-MO
Boxer D-CA
Brown D-OH
Burr R-NC
Cantwell D-WA
Cardin D-MD
Carper D-DE
Casey D-PA
Chambliss R-GA
Coburn R-OK
Cochran R-MS
Collins R-ME
Coons D-DE
Corker R-TN
Donnelly D-IN
Enzi R-WY
Feinstein D-CA
Flake R-AZ
Franken D-MN
Gillibrand D-NY
Graham R-SC
Hagan D-NC
Harkin D-IA
Hatch R-UT
Heinrich D-NM
Heitkamp D-ND
Hirono D-HI
Hoeven R-ND
Inhofe R-OK
Isakson R-GA
Johanns R-NE
Johnson D-SD
Johnson R-WI
Kaine D-VA
King I-ME
Kirk R-IL
Klobuchar D-NM
Landrieu D-LA
Lautenberg D-NJ
Leahy D-VT
Levin D-MI
Manchin D-WV
McCain R-AZ oh John, did being a POW mean nothing???
McCaskill D-MO
McConnell R-KY
Menendez D-NJ
Merkley D-OR
Mikulski D-MD
Murkowski R-AK
Murphy D-CT
Nelson D-FL
Portman R-OH
Pryor D-AR
Reed D-RI
Reid D-NV
Rockefeller D-WV
Sanders I-VT
Schatz D-HI
Schumer D-NY
Shaheen D-NH
Stabenow D-MI
Tester D-MT
Toomey R-PA
Udall D-CO
Udall D-NM
Warner D-VA
Whitehouse D-RI]
Wicker R-MS
Wyden D-OR

Those 19 Senators who voted NO - Thank you, for doing the right thing!

Boozman R-AR
Coats R-IN
Cornyn R-TX
Crapo R-ID
Cruz R-TX
Fischer R-NE
Grassley R-IA
Heller R-NV
Lee R-UT
Moran R-KS
Paul R-KY
Risch R-ID
Roberts R-KS
Rubio R-FL
Scott R-SC
Sessions R-AL
Shelby R-AL
Thune R-SD
Vitter R-LA

Senator Kerry didn't vote; could it be because he didn't want to jinx his pending grab at Secretary of State position recently given up by "What difference does it make" Clinton?

My letter to my Senators will consist of one sentence, "Please state your rationale in sending weapons of war to Egypt, an unstable country where the Muslim Brotherhood, sworn enemy of the USA, is in power." If I receive a response, I'll let you know; in the meantime, please consider sending your own Senators the same question.  

"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 ~ Senator Rand Paul and 18 other Senators who did the right thing ~ 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Darn Good Yarn, Welcome Spring...?

Don't you just love it when good things happen to nice people? That's the case with Nicole Mikkelsen-Snow of Darn Good Yarn. Nicole started Darn Good Yarn (DGY) to give women and their families in Nepal and India a chance for a decent living and a better life. At the end of October, Nicole sent me her newsletter wherein she asked folks to vote for her in the FedEx Small Business Grant. She sweetened the pot by hosting a giveaway for those who voted for her and, at the conclusion of the voting, she gave away fifteen skeins of beautiful Darn Good Yarn and a $50.00 gift cards...lovely!

Did I mention the FedEx Grand was $25,000.00 and long story short...Nicole and DGY won...fabulous! Earlier this month, a FedEx crew visited Nicole at DGY in Maine and  filmed Nicole while Greg was hand crafting knitting needles. 
~ sari strips, photo borrowed from DGY ~
What makes DGY different is the yarn; it's recycled and spun from earth friendly materials as well as remnants of silk saris, hemp and other materials. Nicole's original goal was to help others and it's still a primary factor in day to day operations. She says, "For me, the priority is giving fair rates to my suppliers and  helping them live better lives...even if it means less profit for me. I keep business with one of my exporters even though he charges more--he supports his mother and three sisters who live in western Nepal." Is that not kindness itself?

As a woman, I appreciate and applaud what Nicole is doing; as a knitter, using her recycled sari silk yarn is semi-liquid color running through my hands and off my needles. My recycled sari yarn was purchased through one of her NC vendors. If you're not a knitter or you don't crochet, you can still put DGY to darn good use. You could, as The Gifted Blog does, use the recycled sari yarn to wrap gift packages...beautiful! I can also envision the silk sari strips used on colorful prayer flags and waving merrily in a gentle breeze...oh yeah!

The DGY site offers free knitting patterns, cool supplies, lots of other wonderful things and, of course, yarn. Even yarn on sale smile. Nicole promises, "As DGY continues to grow, so will our yarn selections, which we promise will be earth friendly, fair trade, child labor free, unique and fun to craft with. Namaste!" That's a whole lot more than can be said about most yarns.

Another good thing about Nicole is she served in the Air Force; I've a soft spot for our military, past and present because a lot of my menfolk have served and are serving in the US military. Nicole, thank you for serving!

Go visit Darn Good Yarn and, if you're a knitter, crafter or you crochet, consider buying from Nicole. You'll help a woman and her children live a better life, build karma, knit with some wonderful yarn and all that equals...a Very Good Thing!

Today is the first day of Spring; someone should have told Winter. This is what I woke to this morning - snowy cold temps, snow on the ground, stiff breeze and the wood stove needs to be cleaned of ashes so I can lay another fire. Did someone say, "Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy Happy Everything"? Think again but at least it's not a full moon; whatever weather occurs on a full moon and a change of seasons is the weather we'll have until next change of seasons. 

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 ~ Nicole, who changes the world, one person at a time ~ recycled yarn ~ saris ~ Nepalese and Indian women ~ Darn Good Yarn ~

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Open Yourself to LOVE

~ some of my aged flock, l to r - 
Polly Merino, Buffy Suffolk, Easter and Samuel Romey ~

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. (yes, it does hurt.) Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. (don't you mean, probably?) If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. 
~ Sadie, Sam, Abigail ~
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. (but my dear, how utterly boring!) But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." 
(o dear God, not!)
~ Sadie, face to the wind and the sun ~
~ C. S. Lewis
(surely a man after God's own heart)
~ love, the story of Christmas ~

Since Dave has died, there have been lovely people who have gone out of their way to perform a kindness toward me. Jill, at Untie the Ribbons don't you LOVE that name? sent me a card every week! True, there are many, many weeks I don't remember but I still have each and every card. She also sent me two beautiful hand crafted textiles...a felted envelope and a felted box with the Prov 31 "woman" verse. Jill, every time God brings you to mind, you're tucked into prayer; thank you for your blessing of kindness and care!

Timi, in Hungary, sent me encouraging e-notes. Farm Girl Cindy prayed...oh how she prayed! Especially during that first March when I was close to ending it all. God bless you both; you are truly Women after God's own heart!
~ some of my American Curly horses ~
Debbie, at Just Breath, is one of those and her ministry, For Your Tears, blesses folks all over the world. If you've never gone through the grieving process, perhaps you won't understand when I say, there are huge swaths of time that are, quite simply, gone forever to me. I haven't a clue what I did but was, most likely, here on the farm. I just cannot remember huge chunks of time; meaning, sometimes, entire months. That's how it was with Debbie's handkerchief. It arrived in the mail, beautiful!, and I placed it on the table until I moved it somewhere safe. Ahem. Does that sound familiar...somewhere safe? Every now and again, I run across it, pick the box up and cherish the kindness all over again. Earlier this week, Debbie commented on Saint Patrick's Day post and I popped over to visit her and BAM! On her profile page, there it was: For Your Tears

Debbie, I haven't a clue if I sent you a thank you note, sent you a piece of money (as my mother-in-law used to say) or...did nothing...? Bless you, Debbie, God bless you for your kindness in sending me such a beautiful handkerchief. Did you know? Did someone tell you Dave died? I am curious but, beyond curious, I am grateful. God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart; thank you so very much!

P. S. Breath was "my" word for 2012; it was so difficult to remember to breath and, too often, I'd find myself gulping air like I was starving for it. Just Breath...yes!

So many kindnesses from so many people and at a time when I felt totally alone; cut off, adrift, lost. Each act of kindness is noted by God, even though my feeble memory might remember sporadically; He knows. Your act of kindness will return to you, magnified and I bless you all. Thank you; you helped keep me alive.

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

Today's Miracles ~ love ~ LoVe ~ LOVE ~ lOvE ~ Christmas ~ Easter ~ women after God's own heart ~ God is love ~

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

One Cent Solution

~ Tippy, grooming Gypsy ~
Recently, someone asked me if there really was a "Pounding Mill" as shown on my left side weather button. Yes, there really is a Pounding Mill and it's just down the road. What isn't entirely truthful, is the weather shown there. Oh, I expect it might be right for Pounding Mill but it's certainly hardly ever the same for Thistle Cove Farm. Here, it can be anywhere from a few degrees to ten degrees, or more, colder than Pounding Mill. 

Case in point: when typing this post, the weather button said 42 degrees with scattered clouds at Pounding Mill. The thermometer on my back porch says 38 degrees F and the wind chill is bringing it down to around 25 degrees F. The sun is shining but clouds are dark and threatening which suggest we'll have rain, or worse, later today. Hopefully, much later today and only rain. 

There are some, tentative, signs of Spring but as this is only March, we're sure to have a few more snows, sleet and ice before Spring actually arrives. Winter has to be dropped kicked behind us and, generally, Spring is too soft and gentle for such measures. The wood stove fire had gone out because I, mistakenly thought, we were in for a few days of warm. Last night, the weather channel showed a cold front coming from the deep south and that means cold Cold weather. Last night, I started a fire but this morning, due to the southerly winds, the fire was little more than a handful of coals and a lot of ashes. It didn't take long to start another fire; I've gotten rather good at starting fires in the wood stove; cold tends to, quickly, make me an expert. 
~ Levi ~
March has been, again, rather dreadful and I'm blessed if I know why. Last year, March was worse than dreadful and it was all I could do to bear the grief. At least, this year, March has only kicked my fanny and not threatened to overwhelm totally. Thank God for His mercy!

Certainly the state of our union is depressing, as is the fact all  most in DC are acting like petulant, pissy little children who aren't getting their way. I'm fed up with all of them and think they should all be taken to the woodshed. I've not seen a brain amongst them whom I deem worthy enough to change the Constitution yet some of them are acting as if they are God Incarnate. snort! Our Founding Fathers knew from first hand experience and knowledge what happens when a demagogue gets in power; they'd escaped that sort of thing when they left the Old World for the New. At least in the Old Country they had an excellent excuse; their demagogue was royalty and some of us elected ours!  

As usual, those fools in DC want to throw a band-aid on the problem then congratulate themselves for being astute and wise...when they are neither. And, yes, I'm speaking of the Second Amendment being tampered and torn by folks who, apparently, think it's not worthy of mention there are more than 40,000 people killed in vehicle crashes annually with almost 6.4 million accidents but are screaming "gun control" because there were 11,000 murders using guns in 2011 and almost 20,000 suicides.  What two words tell me what's at play here? Lobbyists and Control. A huge portion of the car manufacturing industry is in Obama's back pocket due to the millions of tax dollars he threw at them his last term. More importantly, almost everyone who is of driving age in this country has a car or truck so there's the "not in my backyard" mentality. Not everyone has a gun and the media has done a Fine job of frightening those folks who are ignorant about guns. News flash...guns and cars are completely and totally ineffective at killing people. They have to be USED by someone in order to work. Why not address the more pressing problem of how those with mental illness  are treated in this country? Oh, what's that you say? It's because who wants to control a bunch of nuts when government can control everyone? My rational fear is, first the Second Amendment, then the First Amendment and then the rest of the Constitution. You say it can't happen? A lot of people said we'd never get this far and yet, here we a crossroads.
~ the pot of money is running out, quickly! ~
As to "sequestration", that's been bastardized as well. It originally was a legal term that applied when valuable property was taken into custody by an agent of the court and locked away for safekeeping. It prevented the property from being disposed of or abused before a dispute over its ownership could be resolved. Then Congress, those mighty warriors of idiocy, confiscated the word "to describe a new fiscal policy procedure originally provided for in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit reduction Act of 1985 -- an effort to reform Congressional voting procedures so as to make the size of the Federal government's budget deficit a matter of conscious choice rather than simply the arithmetical outcome of a decentralized appropriations process in which no one ever looked at the cumulative results until it was too late to change them. If the dozen or so appropriations bills passed separately by Congress provide for total government spending in excess of limits Congress earlier laid down for itself in the annual Budget Resolution, and if Congress cannot agree on ways to cut back the total (or does not pas a new, higher Budget Resolution), then an "automatic" form of spending cutback takes place. This automatic spending cut is what is called "sequestration."
Under sequestration, an amount of money equal to the difference between the cap set in the Budget Resolution and the amount actually appropriated is "sequestered" by the Treasury and not handed over to the agencies to which it was originally appropriated by Congress. In theory, every agency has the same percentage of its appropriation withheld in order to take back the excessive spending on an "across the board" basis. However, Congress has chosen to exempt certain very large programs from the sequestration process (for example, Social Security and certain parts of the Defense budget), oh yes, let's penalize those among us who have paid the most into the system as well as leave us open for attack from our enemies...wait, I seem to recall giving the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood 1.5 Billion $$$ and who is Egypt's newest ally? Ummm, that would be Iran! and the number of exempted programs has tended to increase over time -- which means that sequestration would have to take back gigantic shares of the budgets of the remaining programs in order to achieve the total cutbacks required, virtually crippling the activities of the unexempted programs.
The prospect of sequestration has thus come to seem so catastrophic that Congress so far has been unwilling actually to let it happen. Instead, Congress has repeatedly chosen simply to raise the Budget Resolution spending caps upward toward the end of the legislative session in order to match the actual totals already appropriated, thus largely wiping out the incentives that the reformed budget procedures were expected to provide for Congress to get better control for the budget deficit."

Dear God! I would be absolutely ashamed to accept a paycheck for representing my constituents! But then, I have a moral conscious, something which seems, from all appearances, to be lacking in our elected representatives officials. A question for YOU: how long would you be able to borrow, borrow, borrow and live well beyond your means before your house of cards came crashing down? 

And yet, out of every $10 the USA spends, we're borrowing $4 of those dollars from China! Please, tell me, what is so difficult to understand about living within your means...your ability to pay for those things you need, then want? 
~ one penny ~
The US is in process of sending has begun sending 240 F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks to Egypt; why? Because those fools in the Senate okayed the deal! Oh, and for those who say those F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks were being "sold" to Egypt...yes, with the $1.5 billion in aid we've been sending them, yearly, for decades! Aren't you angry over all of this? Senator Rand Paul was the, apparently, lone voice speaking against sending Egypt war weapons and said, "You've seen those pictures of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people rioting in the streets. Does this look like a stable country to you?" Does anyone remember the US flag being burned in the streets of Cairo last year? Does anyone even care??? I'm going to find out how the Virginia Senators voted and then, if they voted to send MY tax dollars to Egypt, I'm writing a scathing, hand written letter to them. I want them to know I hold them accountable; then, I'm going to blog about it and tell folks how my Senators voted. I'll also tell you how you can find out how your Senators voted and urge you to do likewise. It's well, fine and good to blog about the cats or horses or what I had for supper but, folks, let's start being part of the solution and not the problem. Hold our elected "representatives accountable; let them know you're watching. Every time you want to complain, grab a pen and paper and complain in writing. It's only when they know we're watching and writing, they, might, begin to truly represent their and me, the Tax Slaves.

Need more convincing? From Al Hafiz TV (an Egyptian Islamic station) an Islamic cleric, of the Salafi nature said, "Egypt must make the U.S. conform to its own demands; and that, then, all the money the U. S. offers to Egypt in foreign aid can be taken as rightfully earned jizya."  See here for more information on jizya. Earlier this month, Sec. of State, John Kerry announced $250 million in aid was being sent to Egypt. Way to go, John! You're  making Egypt proud; me...not so much.

Is there an answer? Citizens for Restoring American's Financial Future have come up with the One Cent Solution and is, I think, a workable solution, yet the One Cent Solution has been largely discounted, not even up for discussion. It has three parts (which is, more than likely, one reason it's been totally discounted...leaves little room for theft graft and it's simply too easy): 

1.  A Plan that Works by
*Reducing federal spending by $7.5 TRILLION over 10 years (do those figures grab you as absolutely insane? How did we get to this point? One word: greed.
*Reduce the budget by 2019

2.  Legislative Strategy: "not all programs must be cut by one percent. Congress may determine that some programs are too critical to cut, but that would require that other programs be reduced more so that the total amount cut is equal to one cent for every dollar each year for six years.

3.  Public Support. Ahhh, here's where the rubber meets the road. It's well and fine to talk about the greed of DC but when the cuts bite into free mobile phones, free air conditioners, free pork, etc. we become those same petulant, pissy little children mentioned earlier. 

Did you know 50%, or more, of the people in this country are on the government dole? The speed of the leader is the speed of the team.

Ah well, I think I'll go muck out the barn. At least I can do something about some of the manure. Do what you can, where you can, when you can and pray the USA doesn't fall like ancient Rome and Greece.

"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 ~ the USA is still a world power ~ a few Godly minds left in DC ~ One Cent Solution ~ Senator Rand Paul ~ Pounding Mill ~ barn mucking, it's good for what ails a person me ~

Monday, March 18, 2013

Saint Patrick

Unfortunately, what most people know about Saint Patrick is St. Paddy's Day and green beer but the story is one of rich heritage to both the Western World and Christians all over the world. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, has his holy day on March 17th, his death day. Holy days have been bastardized turned into holidays and, for the most part, have lost all religious significance and been regulated to the lowest common denominator. Patrick was actually born in Scotland, at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, others say a place called Banna Venta Berniae, but location unknown now, in the year 387.

Calpournius, a deacon, and Conchessa, his parents, were Romans living in Britain and, around age 14, Patrick was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave. There, he tended and herded sheep amongst the Druids and pagans while learning their language and ways but turned to God in prayer. He wrote:

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

He escaped slavery when twenty and had a dream from God in which he was told he would leave Ireland by coast. He made his way some two hundred miles to the coast where some sailors took him back to Britain and reunion with his family. Another dream showed him the people of Ireland calling to him and wrote: "I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea--and they cried out, as with one voice: "We beg you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us." "

After finishing his priesthood studies, he was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, also one of his masters while studying for the priesthood. After being ordained as a bishop, he was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland and arrived in Slane March 25, 433. By preaching the Gospel, he converted many to Christianity, for a period of forty years. He died March 17, 460 at Saul where he built the first church or is buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down but nothing can be proven.

Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and today it's the national symbol of both Ireland and Saint Patrick's Day. He is recognized as a  man who took a vow of poverty, also a humble and pious man who, like David, was a man after God's own heart.

Saint Patrick is an enormously interesting man of God; more information may be found here and bears further reading but do realize a lot is conjecture. Let's face it, it's been a few years and the story becomes muddled in the telling and re-telling. smile

P. S. for some odd reason, some of my comments aren't being accepted on your blogs. It's only some blogs, the ones with the comment that says, "comment as.....". I've tried commenting as Google account and Open I.D. but no success. I am sorry; just wanted you to know I have been by to visit!

"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 ~ men and women after God's own heart ~ we're one day closer to spring ~ shamrocks ~ saint's days ~ Celtic crosses ~

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

~ Sam, chasing Rooster Cogburn ~
"The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, 
but the one who rejects correction goes astray."
~ Proverbs 10:17 ~

"Discipline is training that develops and corrects." ~ Charles Stanley ~
"Work is doing it. 
Discipline is doing it every day.
Diligence is doing it well every day."
"Discipline is the means by which you can take control of your life." 
~ anonymous ~
"It was character that got us out of bed,
commitment that moved us into action,
and discipline that enabled us to follow through."
"He that cannot obey, cannot command." ~ Benjamin Franklin ~
"Discipline is remembering what you want." ~ David Campbell
"With self-discipline, most anything is possible." ~ Theodore Roosevelt ~
"Many of life's circumstances are created by three basic choices:
the disciplines you choose to keep,
the people you choose to be with;
and the laws you choose to obey."
~ Charles Millhuff ~
"Without discipline, there's no life at all." ~ Katharine Hepburn ~
"He conquers twice who conquers himself in victory." ~  Jyrus ~
"Unless you change how you are,
you will always have what you've got."
"If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self." ~ Napoleon Hill ~
"He who lives without discipline, dies without honor." ~ Icelandic proverb ~
"It's not the work that's hard, 
it's the discipline." 
~ Anonymous ~
"It is one of the strange ironies of this strange life that those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certain pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are the happiest men. When you see 20 or 30 men line up for a distance race in some meet, don't pity them, don't feel sorry for them. Better envy them instead." ~ Brutus Hamilton ~
"Lack of self-discipline leads to frustration and self-loathing."

"For this very reason, make every effort 
to supplement your faith with goodness,
goodness with knowledge,
knowledge with self-control,
self-control with endurance,
endurance with godliness."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept for one week and, each week, you must let me know the name to be added. My memory is terrible -smile-; around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Debbie ~ Townsend family ~ Smith family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Timi and family ~ Angela ~ Debbie ~ Susan  ~ Quinn ~ Kasse and daughter ~ Jane and Lance ~ Maa and Petal ~ Pastor Saeed AbediniPastor Thomas Kang ~
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