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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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Struggles and Trust

~ who loves ya, baby? ~
Jen, over at Finding Heaven is talking about choices, hope and despair; about measuring herself against her stats, about forgetting we're not on our own. Her T.R.U.S.T. question is: What are the traps that lure you away from believing God's Truth about you? Here's my response...

The days I'm too "busy" to start with God, His Word, His preachers on XM and my devotions is the day that falls apart for me. Maybe it's an age thing or a season thing but I'm not struggling with traps so much as I'm struggling to do the work He's set before me. Struggling to make, excellent...use of my time, to make it count for eternity. Time is the beginning of eternity and it is NOW. The time I spend wasting here, now, is time I can never re-capture for Him. Since Dave died, my biggest fear is...fear. Am I being a good steward, am I giving enough, am I doing His will. Suppose I screw up and lose it all. 
Daily, God reveals, a little more and a little more, who I am as His child. ouch. Daily, I pray anew to do His will and not my own. It's a daily battle; not a tomorrow battle or a yesterday battle. All I have to tend to is today; yesterday is gone and tomorrow never arrives.

I don't mean to sound like practicing a Christian life is not difficult. It is extremely difficult., at least, it's difficult for me. I struggle with less of me and more of Him. I struggle with my big mouth. I struggle with being impatient, with trying to "help" God. I struggle with my big mouth. oops, said that one didn't I? There's some t.v. show called 'fear factor'; at least, there was at one time. I've never see the show but want to tell them, if you want to see fear, be here at 3 a.m. when I can't sleep and worry has replaced sanity and prayer. I struggle with forgiving those people who have so cruelly wronged me. Instead of forgiving them, I remember what they did, over and over and over...and then I waste more time on playing the revenge game. Sheesh! What a complete and total waste and it only serves to upset me more; it keeps the hurt alive and robs me of happiness and the here and now. 

"So Sandra," says Abba, "how's that working out for you?"

One of the other bloggers visiting Jen has written a post about Jack Nicholson and, in one of his movies he says, "Is this as good as it gets?" Well, yeah, it is if you're not a Christian. If you're not a Christian, this is the only Heaven you'll ever know. By the way, how's that working for you, this heaven? On the other hand, if you're a saved by His grace Christian, not simply a person who attends a Christian based church, this is the only Hell you'll ever know. How's that working out for you? 'Cause I'm liking it, I'm liking it a lot!

I live a quiet life and stay, for the vast majority of time, here on the farm. I have to; it's where the work is and any time I spend away, is time I spend not working. Even so, when I leave the farm, I see so much hurt, bitterness, anger, distrust...and that's generally in church on Sunday morning! I think going to an office everyday would simply overwhelm me and bring me to an early end. So, I focus on what's important and that is...

And that's quite enough.

Blessings ~ Finding Heaven Today ~ participating bloggers ~ Jen ~ God and His Amazing LOVE ~

Monday, April 29, 2013

I'm Grounded!

Twice this month I've run across articles that speak to being grounded, as in, grounded to the earth and thus, the energy from the earth. Some natural type e-zines speak to this and say grounding, aka earthing, helps one live a healthier life. (Note, that is not healthy life! grrrr)

The concept of grounding was "developed" by Clint Ober but, let's face it, people have been going barefoot since the Garden of Eden. These days, there are a lot of folks who think of going barefoot as "germy" but I disagree as long as one dodges the pitfalls to be found on a farm smile. I also don't think there's any new age factor because I believe going barefoot is yet another of God's gifts to us. For me to not take advantage of His gift is to deny myself fabulous benefits whether I understand or not.

Apparently, any part of your skin, the body's largest organ, can connect but the most potent part is in the middle of the ball of the foot. Acupuncturists know this as Kidney 1 (K1) the gushing or bubbling spring. This well-know point connects to all acupuncture meridians and thus to every part of the body. I have experienced walking around and, somehow, hitting on a sensitive part of my foot bottom, with the impact being felt throughout my body. WOW!

A transfer of free electrons is made from the Earth into the body when one is grounded. Free electrons, as you know, might very well be the most potent antioxidants known. When the free electrons encounter free radicals in your tissues, those free radicals are electrically neutralized. Electrons are negative, free radicals are positive and cancel each other out. This article on Dr. Mercola's site explains it far better and in depth than can I and Dr. Weil's site has more to say. Dr. Weil also explains there's a major commercial component to a lot of other sites...something I find highly amusing as his site has a large commercial component of folks trying to separate me from my money. 

Some articles say the perfect location for barefootin' (earthing) is at the beach, either in the water or close to the water. Water is a great conductor and our bodies contain, mostly, water so an excellent connection is achieved. If you're not at the beach, a grassy area, covered with dew, is second best. It's said concrete is a good conductor if it hasn't been sealed or painted. Other materials -wood, shoe soles, asphalt- aren't good at all as electrons are prevented from passing through. 

In the shoulder months, I go barefoot a lot and love it. Going barefoot on the farm presents a special set of challenges...all kinds of thistles, burdock, rusty old nails and, worst of all from a yuck, cattle, sheep and dog manure. Still, I do it because I love the feel of my body connected to the earth. I've been know to have a lie down in the yard, dogs, cats and Carly wandering over to give a nudge and sniff, just to feel the outrageous luxury of feeling connected to God's creation. When I close my eyes and am quite still, I imagine I can feel the earth spinning on its axis. Delicious! 

In the photo, I'm standing in my yard, grass wet with rain, staring down at my "passionate pink" toes. I'm also laughing at myself; I rarely paint my toenails, hardly ever my fingernails, because I've got this negative thing going against formaldehyde, DBP, which is banned in the EU but not the USA, and tolune

There ya have it! Going barefoot is good for what ails you; it speeds up tissue repair, causes beneficial changes in heart rates, causes decreased levels of inflammation, can help ease muscle pain and more. Best of's free so...race you to the beach!

Blessings ~ barefootin' ~ grounding ~ earthing ~ nature ~ 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

"Rescue the perishing, don't hesitate to step in and help." 

"Don't rescue (your) son/daughter from consequences he/she deserves for forgetfulness or irresponsibility." ~ Tim Rogers
"The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power."
~ Daniel Webster ~
"Constant pressure and anxiety lead to depression. 
Have faith in God. 
He will come to your rescue."
~ unknown ~
"What we do not see, what most of us never suspect of existing, is the silent but irresistible power that comes to the rescue of those who fight on in the face of discouragement."
~ Napoleon Hill
"The individual woman is required a thousand times a day to choose either to accept her appointed role and thereby rescue her good disposition out of the wreckage of her self-respect, or else follow an independent line of behavior and rescue her self-respect out of the wreckage of her good disposition." ~ Jeannette Rankin ~
"Whether your child is 3 or 13, don't rush in to rescue him until he's done all he can do to rescue himself." ~ Barbara F. Meltz

"Some want to live within the sound of church of chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell."

"The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed
and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.
To him be the glory forever and ever.

If you have a name to be added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept for one week and then we begin anew. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Kim ~ Debbie ~ Rachel ~ Michelle ~ Townsend family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Timi and family ~ Weaver family ~ Amy and George ~ persecuted Christians ~ Pastor Saeed Abedini ~

Saturday, April 27, 2013

You Need to Know

~ tulip ~
Are you familiar with ICE? No, not ice but case of emergency. If you have a mobile phone or a land line, you should consider putting ICE into your address book followed by the name of someone to call in case of emergency. For example - ICE Jane Doe and her phone number. If you're in an accident, the first responders are able to look in your phone address list and call the person listed. Good information!

Do you drink milk? Dave and I drank a lot of milk and I still drink two to three gallons a week but that's about to change if the FDA approves the addition...but NOT the labeling...of aspartame in milk. According to Natural News and the Blaze, this petition was filed by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and requested the agency "amend the standard of identify" for milk and 17 other dairy products. That includes, but isn't limited to, milk, cream, half and half, egg nog, yoghurt, sour cream, whipping cream, buttermilk, cultured milk, dry's enough to make me weep!

Dr. Mercola says "aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods." I struggle with not ingesting aspartame...I read labels, I don't drink diet soft drinks nor add flavored powders to my water but it looks like I'm going to have to cut down on my milk consumption, a lot. If the federal dummies association allows aspartame to be added...but not labeled...I'll start buying organic milk while cursing the "powers that be". If you drink or eat anything...anything!...with aspartame, I urge you to go cold turkey and give it up now! A partial list: diet soda's, yogurt, cream, flavored water, chewing gum, water, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet n Low.  Here's why.

Natural News says while the country was consumed with the Boston snafu, CISPA, very  quietly and deadly, was passed in the House; 288 Dummies voted for it and 127 Reps voted against. So, what is CISPA? It's the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act that strikes at the core of the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment says: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."  CISPA would give the federal government and businesses "legal protection to share information on cyber threats with each other to enhance the nation's cybersecurity. This means your banking activity, your financial activity...virtually everything you do on the internet will be open for review by "government officials". Hmmmm, not such a good idea, I don't think.

Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) says the Senate will not pass CISPA and Obama said he "may veto it" should it cross his desk.  One can only hope and pray.

Have you heard about Genetic Engineering (GE) which is being pushed down our throats by the FDA and private corporations? Like the "environmentalists", those who stand to gain the mo$t are the ones pushing it hardest. Did you know GE is producing bananas with vaccines, "frankenfish" and other weird foods presented for human consumption. Pharmacia, the same ole devil Monsanto, but under a new name, is pushing bio-drugs and, way back in 1998, Monsanto Phil Angell, Dir. of Monsanto Corp. Communications, told Michael Pollen, "Monsanto should not  have to vouch for the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is FDA's job." 
Oh Dear God, help us. 
Now there's a fox in the henhouse not to mention one of the largest oxymoron's I've ever and FDA. If the word lobbyist doesn't strike fear in your heart, you better check your pulse.

If you didn't know, USA produced foods are banned in other countries because they aren't fit for human consumption but are force fed to us on a daily basis. Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia are all part of 160 countries that BAN US turkey, beef and pork! I strongly suggest you stop eating out of a grocery store and make friends with a farmer to grow and know your own food.

In an effort that would make Dr. Frankenstein very proud, Dr. David Suzuki explains, "Genetic engineering of trees is the greatest threat to the native forests since the invention of the chain saw." So, why is GE being allowed in our food, our meds, our forests?

MONEY! you dear old

Genetically engineered trees have unnatural characteristics; they kill insects, grow abnormally fast, tolerate toxic herbicides or their wood composition. Lignin has to be removed from wood pulp before being made into paper and GE modified trees have lower lignin content which is what gives trees strength and structural integrity. Low lignin trees also decompose faster and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster and contributes to climate change. NOT cows belching and passing gas...low lignin trees!

And, in the "Dear God, can it get any worse" camp, there's this nut  Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso who describes those with most serious illness as "tube persons" and goes on to say, "Heaven forbid I should be kept alive if I want to die. You cannot sleep well when you think it's all paid by the government. This won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die." He later apologized for his comments which were personal and not public policy. whew! At 72 years of age, you'd think he think twice about his words as he's close to the end. On the other hand, should you put Aso and Biden side by side, they'd probably look like fraternal twins. Ya think?

"Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. 
It does so because honor is, finally, 
about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, 
even it it comes at a high cost. 
In our time, that may mean social disapproval, 
public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, death itself.
The question remains: 
What is worth defending? 
What is worth dying for? 
What is worth living for?"
~ William J. Bennett in a lecture to the US Naval Academy, 11/24/97 ~

Blessings ~ Bill Bennett ~ US Naval Academy ~ pure food and water ~ common sense ~

Friday, April 26, 2013

Plum Creek Winery

Brian and Donna, some young folks down the road have started a winery, Plum Creek Winery, because they live near Plum Creek. A few days ago, they had an open house so I stopped in to see how they're doing. 

They've bottled about 1,000 bottles of excellent fruit wines - plum (of course), apple, strawberry, blueberry, grape and pineapple (to name six of the eight they currently bottle). I can attest to the deliciousness of the pineapple reminded me of Portugese vinho verde, a green wine which is fresh, clean and sparkling. 
They have a building dedicated to wine making and tasting. The building isn't quite finished but it's still beautiful with excellent lighting, clean, bright and plenty of space. It would make a lovely reception area for a birthday or other celebration.
Brian is an excellent cabinet maker (he made all the cabinets and renovated the building) and is a dab hand at anything and everything; he uses deer antlers to make chandeliers which are sold in the store. Plum Creek Winery has a Facebook page and are working on their website . 
I love it when young folks prosper. Brian and Donna are two of the hardest workers I know and it's from them I purchase a lot of my garden produce in the summer. I can no longer keep a huge garden and buying from them ensures I get fresh produce and they sell without having to truck their produce to town; it helps us both.

Blessings ~ Plum Creek Winery ~ Brian and Donna ~ 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Live Young

(click on "live young")

Blessings ~ life ~

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wild At Heart

If you have any men or boys in your life...Dad, husband, son, brother, uncle, cousin, should consider reading this book. John Eldredge, the author, director of Ransomed Heart Ministries and blogger, is the husband of Stasi and the father of sons; his is a good perspective from which to write this book. Like all books, if you're a Christian, you need to decide if and where the author deviates from Scripture. I am the first to admit, authors such as Eldredge and Voskamp of A Holy Experience, differ from my very traditional and very conservative view of God, yet I am open to reading and considering what they say. I can always learn, especially when I am the center and they score a direct hit. Some critics do  not write glowing reviews of Wild at Heart; you be your own judge and critic. 

Like all good books, this one is marked with highlight pens - yellow, green, pink, orange - when I want need to remember something or visit again.

For example, this section is highlighted in yellow, "But you can't escape it-there is something wild in the heart of every man." 

I believe this to be true; especially when I see the little boys of today, taught curbed on every hand to, "stop running before you get hurt", "don't play so hard", "be nice", etc. What if they do fall down and skin their knees? Isn't that what knees are for, to break the fall? I fear for the men of tomorrow when I see the boys of today. I fear for the women of tomorrow when I consider they'll be the ones to marry those same boy men. Stop killing the wild in their little hearts; teach them to be adventurers, rescuers, men!

From the book: "I want to be Isabo in Ladyhawk," confessed another female friend. "To be cherished, pursued, fought for-yes. But also, I want to be strong and a part of the adventure. ...A woman doesn't want to be the adventure; she wants to be caught up into something greater than herself. ... I know myself and I know I'm not the adventure. So when a man makes me the point, I get bored immediately. I know that story. Take me into one I don't know." Do you think this is where a lot of men, and women, miss the point? A lot of woman think she wants to be the adventure but I believe she's wrong. Ever since Eden, we crave to be part of the adventure yet we've allowed ourselves to forget our beginnings. 

There are a lot of men and women, sitting in offices and cubicles, standing as check-out clerks, who are running out the clock while wondering what and why. I think urban folks have more problems with this concept than do those of us who live on farms and are faced with life and death on a daily basis. For us, life nor death is wrapped in plastic wrap and tied with a bow. We don't have to wait until someone dies so we can peer down at their lifeless body in a casket. We look out the window, we ride down the valley, we see the vultures soaring overhead, the bodies in the fields. Life is now, life is real and all too short. (I would say tweet this except I know nothing of such things laughing at myself.)

There's a six year old boy in my life who, this past autumn, shot his first ten point buck. Yes, this boy handled a rifle, scoped out the deer, shot and killed the deer then, he and his Dad, took the deer home where they skinned it, wrapped it and put it in the freezer. Most urban folks don't have a clue what that means, here or for the future, and a lot of women reading this are thinking, "OMG, what idiot would let their six year old child handle a gun?" That's the point...a wise father teaches his child right from wrong, teaches him how to use equipment (vehicles, tractors, ATV's, guns, wood working tools, etc.) safely. All those things are merely tools and used for good or bad...depending upon training. That's the point...a wise father is still around, he's not abandoned his family nor his duties and has accepted responsibility for raising wise children. 

Dave blessed Cathy, his first wife, and me by being such a man. He was a man's man and soared when given the time, space and approval. Our lives were filled with adventure - buying this decrepit farm and fixing it up, traveling to Russia, Armenia, Morocco and other far flung places. He gave me permission (so very important!) then urged me to go while giving me the means to travel on my own to Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Austria and other places. We had each other's backs and took each other into stories we didn't even know we owned. 

So YOU: Stop running out the clock and simply using up oxygen. You've got a purpose; a huge, ginormous, God-given purpose and you're not going to be happy until you figure out what He wants from you. Stop the running around, playing at being happy and focus. If you're around 40 years of age, you're middle age. Do you need a moment to take that in?

Go ahead, consider middle age.

I'm 60, newly, and for me that light at the end of the tunnel isn't a train; it's the Shekinah glory and I'm bound and determined to live LIVE with intention and purpose. Granted, I'm still figuring it out but to know I've got a purpose is a huge beginning. Especially in light of Dave passing away a year and half ago; in those early months it was all I could do to stay alive. To be at this point, to know I've got a purpose, again, is a major, major step. 

This thing called life is a great adventure; in Dave's funeral program, Dawn blessed me by doing Sabbath Keeping and quoted, "To die must be an awfully big adventure", which is from J. M. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. That's the next great adventure; in the meantime, this current adventure has my full attention.

Blessings ~ purpose ~ goals ~ Dave ~ adventures ~ Eldredge ~ Peter Pan ~

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Reject...

Today is "Earth Day" wildly promoted and celebrated by those who have NO choice and are easily brain washed...public school children.

I reject earth day, the United Nations, Gorbachev, the Earth Charter and the push for One World Government. While I'm at it, let me include supporters G. W. Bush, Jr. and Sr., Bill Clinton and Obama. Those aforementioned who claim to be Christians are traitors both to their country and to their alleged faith. May God have mercy on their souls.

Gorbachev, former President of the USSR and now head of the Gorbachev Foundation, said of his first 1995 meeting, "Human interdependence must now become our watchword as we move into the global civilization which lies ahead: interdependence with each other, interdependence with the earth, interdependence with the Spirit which perennially guide the affairs of humankind." 

Um, this would be the same Gorbachev who, as President of the USSR, was responsible for "unequaled environmental devastation"?

Quoted from Crossroad: "UN leader Robert Muller, Chancellor of the University of Peace, told me that both he and Gorbachev are active contenders for the role of UN Secretary General. Both have a plan for streamlining and empowering the international organization. Both share a fascination for New Age mysticism and global values. But Gorbachev has the charisma, international support, and organization skills to accomplish his goals.

"The world's spiritual and environmental leaders who endorse him [Gorbachev] seem to have forgotten that Gorbachev's atheist reign in the USSR spawned unequaled environmental devastation. Could his professed concerns for the poor and for nature be mere political stepping stones to greater power?

"At the end of the conference, the publisher of (defunct) Earth Vision magazine shared with me [Crossroad editor] her disappointment over the hypocrisy she sensed. "I don't believe they really care all that much about the poor," she said. "An evening meal here costs over $120 per person, yet they talk about equality, justice, and raising consciousness. Why couldn't they have served just one meal of rice? That would have done more to raise our awareness than all their promising words."

I reject socialism, all forms of government and all leaders that would seek to displace democracy and God with anything else.

I reject the United Naton's Agenda 21 and One World Government plan. Every time I say or hear the Pledge of Allegiance, I place the USA over all other countries and all other forms of government. 

I reject the Vatican's approval of U.N. Agenda 21.

I reject the Earth Charter that seeks to replace Father God with mother earth.

I reject Al Gore and his fanatical brand of hypocrisy that allows him to buy a $9 Million home while telling the rest of us, "smaller footprint, smaller footprint!". Oh, his $9 Million were spent at a time when unemployment was almost 10%. 

I reject Obama's White House Rural Council Executive Order 13735 because it is intrusive and a grab for more power and control over the lives of 16% of the USA population, those of us living in rural areas.

I have yet to read Glenn Beck's Agenda 21 but it's on my to-read list. No matter what you think of Beck, he's not afraid to address the hard issues and is a militant Christian. That's right...militant! So many Christians should read and heed Beck's military Christianity and then, go thou and do likewise.

I support Democrat's Against U. N. Agenda 21

I support Republican's Against U. N. Agenda 21.

I accept that nothing on this earth and in this world happen without God's knowledge and permission.

I accept, wholeheartedly, the Bible as the inspired Word of God. I accept God's Son, Jesus Christ, as my Savior and Lord...none other...and know I will spend eternity in heaven with God, Christ, the angels and that great cloud of witnesses gone ahead. 

I urge you to accept Christ, immediately.

Happy God's day...
today and all the days to come.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Blessings ~ great cloud of witnesses ~ militant Christians ~ God, the Father; Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son and the Holy Spirit, Comforter ~ 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: 
the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."

"Should all the hosts of death and powers of hell unknown put their most dreadful forms of rage and malice on, I shall be safe, for Christ displays superior power and guardian grace." ~ Isaac Watts ~
"God preserves the wicked to give them time to repent."
Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does now show itself in protection from suffering... The love of God did not protect His own Son... He will not necessarily protect us - not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process."
~ Elisabeth Elliott ~
"Our "safe place" is not where we live; it is in whom we live."
~ Tom White, The Voice of the Martyrs ~
"Jesus feels for thee; Jesus consoles thee: Jesus will help thee. No monarch in his impregnable fortress is more secure than the cony in his rocky burrow. The Master of ten thousand chariots is not one whit better protected than the little dweller in the mountain's cleft. In Jesus the weak are strong, and the defenceless safe; they could not be more strong if they were giants, or more safe if they were in heaven. Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven. More they cannot need, and need  not wish. The conies cannot build a castle, but they avail themselves of what is there already: I cannot make myself a refuge, but Jesus has provided it, His Father has given it, His spirit has revealed it, and lo, again tonight I enter it, and am safe from every foe."
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon ~
"His will is our hiding place."
"Safety does not depend upon our perception of the absence of danger. Safety is found in God's presence, in the center of His perfect will." ~ T. J. Bach ~
"The will of God will never take you 
to where the grace of God will not protect you. 
To gain that which is worth having, 
it may be necessary to lose everything else." 
"I am going out on Thy path. God be behind me, God be before me, God be in my footsteps."  ~ Gaelic prayer ~
"The closer we walk to the Shepherd,
the farther we are from the wolf."
~ unknown ~

"But the Lord is faithful. 
He will establish you and 
guard you against the evil one."

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

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Debbie ~ Kim ~ Townsend family ~ Timi and family ~ Weaver family ~ Quesenberry family ~ persecuted Christians ~ 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Doggie Dash

 Recently, Crab Orchard Vet hosted a Doggie Dash and it was a huge hit. They had close to one hundred participants, some dressed lavishly while others dressed for the cool day. This fine black and white feller is a Great Dane; isn't he gorgeous?! 
 This little lady is about nine and was wearing the cutest necklace of pink tulle with red rosebuds on the end. I took close ups so I could, maybe, make one for Sadie and Sophie. Sam said, "Not on your life, Ma; don't even think about it!" No, I didn't take my clan; I'm pretty sure they would have all behaved but how could I take just one? The other two would have been upset and that's not a good thing. Best to keep peace in the ranks.
Little Miss and Mr. Mr. had a great day. These two are first cousins and, I'm now making this public, they beat up on me every time they see me. They think it's hilarious...or maybe, it's the fact I chase them screaming like a loon when they beat me. Whatever. It's a lot of fun especially as they, generally, use their small hands and not sticks or tree branches. Their small hands on my large rear are a nice combination as neither of us are terribly injured. Mr. Mr. told me in no uncertain terms, next VFD meeting, "You make brownies. I do not like cookies. I likes brownies." He tells me this in very short, stern sentences, looking deeply into my eyes in case I'm a simpleton and need one on one assistance.  I like children this age; they're a hoot, especially these children. All of them, there are four, are being raised to be thinkers and doers with a great sense of humor.  It's easy to love this bunch smile.
There were wonderful prizes for first, second and third but everyone received a Top Dog bone which went over quite well with the younger set. At the end of the race, the Vets and staff gave away tee-shirts and other prizes finishing up a fabulous day. I volunteered but got there just as the runners were bad...that was the Saturday my back decided to keep the rest of me in agony and it took me a while, a very long while, to get moving that morning. I told them next Doggie Dash, they need to get me in the week before to do the grunt work; that's where I shine. Well, that and letting wee ones beat up on me -grin-.

Blessings ~ Little Miss ~ Mr. Mr. ~ Doggie Dash ~ dogs ~ a good day ~ Vets, Dr. Anne and Dr. Lois, beloved by the community ~ 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Saving Money

Did you notice? My header photo has been changed to a spring photo and makes the place looks ever so much springier! sorry, couldn't resist. The flower bed is full of daffs, tulips and hyacinths that are all marvelously beautiful! 

Some one might remember, last autumn I took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only did I enjoy it, I learned a lot and the class filled in what Dave, my husband, and I didn't get around to because death is pretty dang inconvenient! During the months of April and May, I'm coordinating the class and, again, am enjoying myself and learning a lot. Each week, our small group brings what they've learned, their tips, hints and suggestions and we all learn from each other. 

Dave's advice is how I was raised; in other words, nothing new under the sun but there are so many people who weren't raised with Godly parents who taught right from wrong, how to manage money, how to save money and so on. Dave's time has come but not without cost. Before he was 30 years old, he'd made a million dollars and declared bankruptcy. He's been on the receiving end of nasty phone calls from bill collectors who, I'm fairly sure, were raised by coyotes, and people cursing him, threatening him, etc. When Dave talks, I listen and no, I don't agree with every word that comes out of his mouth but an overwhelming percentage of them find me in agreement.

There are a ton of places to learn good habits regarding money management and Robyn, at Simply Me, has been asking some really good questions and receiving equally good answers  that have been helpful.  (YIKES! I just realized she's lived one year more as I've been out of high school! Oh my. Now I feel like her Granny; and I was feeling really good about this post. sigh.)

The Christian Dollar has some really good advice on a variety of topics,  all dealing with Christians and finances. 

Christian Personal Finance was begun by a Ramsey fan and their Archive page has a huge list of well written articles on a variety of subjects all gear toward money management. 

White Fence is a good place to shop and compare prices on utilities, television suppliers, internet suppliers, etc. It's better for urban dwellers but I did find out Direct TV is offering a one year $39.99 special which is 2/3 less what I'm paying now. Oh yeah, I'm calling them on Monday.

A word to the wise...when you're negotiating with suppliers, you want to call their 1.800 number and say, "I'd like to speak with Customer Retention, please." Now, the person who answers your call is going to hem and haw because they don't want you to talk to Customer Retention; they know you're going to get a deal and their job is to put YOUR money in THEIR pockets! Those two words are worth money in the bank...CUSTOMER RETENTION. Then, explain how you've been a good and loyal customer for X number of years. It really helps if you've signed up for their auto-pay on either your credit card (hush, Dave Ramsey!) or checking account. Dave Ramsey despises credit cards while I find having one a convenience. Anyway, tell them you've found a special or gasp! you're thinking of getting rid of their service because you can no longer afford them. Trust me, they'll find a way for you to stick with them and at a lower cost. 

Mary and I are opening an Etsy site, details forthcoming, and Laurie, at Indulge Your Shelf, has been instrumental in my decision. She has a delightful blog and Etsy site and has taught me a lot. Just about every time I visit her blog I see "my" stuff she's found at antique and thrift shops! When Dave and I married, he brought 25 years of household goods, I brought 23 years of household goods and when his mother moved in, she brought 50 years of household goods. I'm beginning to think I'm sitting on a mini-gold mine! Laurie also sent a copy of Etsy 101 by Steve Weber in which she's featured.  For what it's worth, the information in this book may be found free on Etsy, but I've found the book to be easier to navigate. I'm old school and would far rather have a book in one hand, the mouse in the other.

One problem I've run into...definitions of antique, vintage, mature, retro. Any ideas? As soon as the site is open, you'll be the first to know. There have been so many huge life changes for me since Dave died; this is the beginning of the Next Step. Prayers appreciated and love you all, dearly, for your kindness toward me.

Blessings ~ Mary ~ Robyn ~ Laurie ~ 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tax Freedom Day

WOO-HOO! Today, dear Tax Slaves is Tax Freedom Day five (5) days later than last year! If you're good with this, raise your hand but if you're not good with this, keep reading.

According to Newsmax, today is the day you and I begin to work for ourselves. Up until now, we've been working to pay taxes. "According to the Tax Foundation, which does the calculations to determine Tax Freedom Day, the date is later this year "due mainly to the fiscal cliff that raised federal taxes on individual income and payroll. Additional, the Affordable Care Act's investment tax and excise tax went into effect." Um, I think that means Obamacare which has changed, several times, for the worse since it was first forced down our throats. 

No, wait...that cannot be. Obama promised not to raise taxes. Now, what does that mean in plain language? He lied. For a list of Obamacare tax hikes, please click here

The Tax Foundation says this year, you and I will pay more than $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and $1.45 trillion in state taxes. Add up what you spend on food, housing and clothing and taxes will be more than the combined total. yay From January 1 to April 18 is 108 days we're working to pay taxes; that's more than 29 percent of the entire year. 

The Tax Foundation says it will take us

*32 days to pay federal individual income taxes
*24 days to pay federal social insurance taxes
*12 days to pay state and local sales taxes and excise taxes
*12 days to pay property taxes
*8 days to pay federal corporate income taxes
*3 days to pay other federal taxes
*3 days to pay other state and local taxes
*2 days to pay federal excise taxes
*1 day to pay state and local corporate income taxes
*3 hours to pay state and local social insurance taxes

If you live in a higher-income state, like New Jersey, you'll celebrate Tax Freedom Day on May 4, Connecticut on May 13 and New York on May 6. Those living in Louisiana and Mississippi celebrate on March 29.

Blessings ~ I'm working only 108 days to pay taxes ~ Tax Freedom Day ~ 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Day in the Farm Life

Sadie watches over Carly who has extremely old bones and, near as I can figure, Carly is 19 or 20, ancient for a sheep. Her poor arthritic bones feel the cold dreadfully, and each day this winter, I'd have to heave her to her feet three or four times. She's enjoying the warmth of spring which, probably, is her last spring to enjoy. Carly is a dear thing and has brought much joy into our lives.
Each morning, Sadie rushes to see if Carly is still "with us"; one of these days, she won't be but will wait for us to meet her Home.
Once or twice a month, Jake shows up, stays for an hour, p'raps three and then hits the road again. He reminds me so much of my Christian walk...I love God and want to do His will, even try my best yet still fall off the straight and narrow. I go back to Father, cowed and fearful and He welcomes me with loving, open arms. 
Yes, Dave and I allowed our dogs on the sheet and towel covered furniture. When Jake comes 'round, he climbs into my lap for snuggles and kisses and I accommodate. Shortly, he's gone again to God knows where until he decides to visit me next time. 
Can you see Levi?
Each day, Levi and Gypsy go with the dogs and I to the barn. We do morning chores, check water and fences, make sure everyone is on their feet. It's a family thing.
Gypsy enjoys her dirt bath and I've never figured out, exactly, why.
 This red fox was in the pasture next to the farm and is, probably, a she who has kits. During early dawn and late dusk hours, I can hear them calling for food, a job that keeps their mother worn out busy.
Barn swallows are back...hurrah! In the eighteen years we've owned Thistle Cove Farm, I've seen one mosquito. Between the barn swallows and bats, insect pests are in short supply. It's pouring rain and the pastures are responding by becoming a beautiful "pison" green; the sign of growing things. There's so much to do but thought you might enjoy some photos; be safe and well, if you get a chance, come for a visit. Won't take a moment to put the kettle on.

Blessings ~ animals ~ farm life ~ dawn ~ dusk ~ this beloved farm ~

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Questions and Answers

1. Are you part of the back to nature/ecological group or are you more of the mindset of "I'll do what I want and everything will work out in the end"?

I'm a steward of God's creation and am held to a different and higher standard than nature or ecological groups. I worship the Creator and not His creation while trying to tend to the gifts He's given me.  My family was re-cycling long before it became popular...the Appalachian mindset has always been use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. I suppose all that means...there's nothing new under the sun smile.

2. What's a favorite dinner dish to make?

Pasta is a big hit around, easy and inexpensive. On weekends, pork roasts are a favorite and during the summer time, I love to make a chunky gazpacho with home made bread.

3. What animals have you seen give live birth?

Kittens, dogs, calves, horses, sheep, pigs and have assisted kittens, dogs, sheep and horses give birth.

4. If you had the opportunity to teach something, what would you teach?

I've taught folks in Sunday School, high school, university, conferences, conventions and fiber festivals. The agriculture tourism class I developed for university I taught in Russia which was a blast. I'm still teaching; just spoke to a group of folks at a local church and the topic was getting your affairs in order, the same subject matter of the book I'm writing.

5. What did you love most about school? Learning! Although the school supplies were, and still are, pretty spectacular. I adore buying notebooks, pens, everything about school and a good teacher makes it wonderful.

I'm visiting Patrice at Everday Ruralty.

Blessings ~ Patrice ~ a blessed life ~ good food ~ good teachers ~ learning ~

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

"Train up a child in the way he should go 
and when he is old he will not depart from it."

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."
~ Henry Adams ~
"Successful teachers are surpassed by their pupils." ~ unknown ~
"When you're ready, the teacher you need appears before you." ~ proverb ~
"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself."  ~ proverb ~
"Teaching is the royal road to learning." 
"We learn by teaching." 
"The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires."
"The greatest sign of success for a to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist." ~ Maria Montessori
"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." 
~ Malcom Forbes ~
"Children must be taught how to think,
not what to think."
"A teacher who loves learning earns the right and the ability to help others learn."
~ Ruth Beechick ~
"Teaching is a calling too. And I've always thought that teachers in their way are holy - angels leading their flocks out of the darkness." ~ Jeannette Walls
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
~ Judith Kelman
"Let us learn on earth those things whose knowledge might continue in heaven."
~ St. Paul's School
"Learn one thing well first." ~ John Clarke ~
"There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and move away. No one has stepped twice into the same river. But did anyone ever step twice into the same book?"
~ Marina Tsvetaeva
"Today a reader,
tomorrow a leader."
~ W. Fusselman
"It made me gladsome to be getting some education, it being like a big window opening."
~ Marg Webb ~
"The excitement of learning 
separates youth from old age.
As long as you're learning,
you're not old."
"I am still learning."
~ Michelangelo, age 87 ~

"You call me teacher and Lord,
and you are right,
for so I am."

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

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Townsend family ~ Timi and family ~ Weaver family ~ Dot ~ Quesenberry family ~ Debbie ~ Sara ~ persecuted Christians

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I'm Taking the Day Off...

~ me, being silly in Ronda, Spain ~

to celebrate my BiRtHdAy...the big big big SIX O!

In the meantime, check out Rural Women Rock.

Blessings ~ another birthday ~ good times ~ great memories ~ God's blessings ~

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Week Between

The week between Christmas and New Year's, I left the above to go with Stephanie, my sister, to NYC. At o-dark thirty, we took Amtrak and rode the rails until we arrived at Penn Station. 
We had a fine time, stayed at a hotel about six blocks from Times Square and walked until I couldn't feel anything other than pain in my body. It was fabulous! We were walking toward Times Square early one evening when a parade of police cars, sirens and lights screaming, pulled to the curb. Stephanie said, "I bet it's a celebrity!" We hung around, waiting to see who it was when Steph said, "I'm going to ask someone". She walked over the the police officer and he said, "Nope, no celebrity. The mayor likes a police presence so once a week, we put on a show of force." They had the K-9 unit, SWAT and beat was wonderful and we chatted for a few minutes. He loved hearing our accents (what accents?!) and we enjoyed receiving directions and tourism advice from him. 

At Times Square, Spidey saved Steph! People dress up in costumes...Spiderman, SquareBob Sponge Pants, Disney characters, etc. and make a few bucks by doing exactly what this guy is doing in the hopes people will give him a few I did. Hey, it was my sister! 
Not sure you can see us but we're standing at the end of the number 2, the top end. I wore a silly, wool, felted hat that gave Steph no end of amusement but told her, "We're going to be in large crowds and this silly hat will help you locate me." The first day, she agreed with me.

We visited the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center and while there, we witnessed a young man, on bent knee, propose to his girlfriend.

We visited Ground Zero, the 911 Memorial, a sobering and tear invoking event. I'm not sure you can read this but it says Deanna Lynn Galante and her unborn child.
While we were there, we visited the Survivor Tree on which rested this bracelet with the names of CPL William McMillan and PFC Christopher McGraw. People took photos but no one attempted to remove it; the feeling of respect and honor was palpable. 
We took a carriage ride around Central Park
and passed this Creche each day and evening as we'd walk to and from our hotel.
We had a fine time and, as we were walking to Penn Station to catch our train home, it started snowing, making everything magical. Memories...good excellent memories with a favorite sister!

Blessings ~ Stephanie ~ our trip to NYC ~ Ground Zero ~ Rockefeller Center ~ Times Square ~ Central Park ~ 
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