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

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year's End Post

~ Miss Emma ~
Do you celebrate Hogmanay? Read my post, here, for more information. I don't but that's mainly due to the fact I keep my front gate locked -smile-.

It's year's end and a lot of people are busy making plans and resolutions. If you're a long time reader, you may have read what Daddy has to say about New Year's Resolutions: "If you're living the way you're supposed to live every day, you don't need to make resolutions that you're probably not going to keep anyway."  Amen.
~ Levi Lilly ~
So, I  make no resolutions but do make goals and steps to achieve those goals. A year ago, December 11th, I began a two post series entitled PDS - Pretty Darn Smart, Part 1, of how to dream dreams, make goals and see fruition. The series continued January, Part 2, and now, a year later, I'm looking at what I hit, what I missed and what I simply forgot. Overall, the biggest lesson learned has been to print off that valuable information and keep it in front of me. Out of sight, out of mind and not realized. ouch

I was hit or miss (mostly miss) on the Wife to Widow book and, truth be told, I got discouraged. In July, I met with two book publishers and both said, "Great idea but not what we're looking for." I've since met with an independent agent and she suggested self-publishing but I'm not sure I'm capable of that learning curve.  Do I put all the information on the 1 Wife to Widow blog or print into a spiral bound book form? My original intent was to teach classes, using a 3-ring binder for myself and participants so each would have everything they need to prepare their affairs. I'm not sure what to do; what's your opinion, which would you prefer and why? Please help me make a wise decision.
~ Tippy and Gypsy ~
These last few days have found me reviewing my finances and making decisions on what to cancel, what to keep or delete. For example, today I canceled Direct TV for a purely financial reason. I'm paying $959.40, yearly, to watch no more than half dozen television shows and that averages $159.90 per show. I'm not sure but that might be obscene with Bill Gates' money! So, I canceled and, of course, they told me I'd been a good great customer for more than thirteen years and they wanted to give me $10 off each month.

Big Whoop and I don't think so. For $959.40, I can fly, round trip to almost anywhere I want to go in the world. For that same money, I can buy a truck load of movies and for $7.99 a month, I can rent as many DVD's as I want every month through Netflix. (I lack the bandwidth watch movies on computer.)

The nice young man at Direct TV wanted me to "save more money by bundling" which is another way of saying "gotcha!" Maybe it works for some folks but I refuse to bundle; I refuse to be caught in a loop where the contract date is different for television, telephone and internet. When I want to cancel one, they say, "You can't without paying a huge fine to get out of the contract and the contract dates are different for each. HA! The only thing bundled around here is laundry.
~ Sadie ~
I'm not suggesting you should cancel your cable television but I am suggesting you review your finances and see if there's money you're spending here, you'd rather spend there. I'm already looking at where I could go with that same money...a sunny Caribbean beach sounds fabulous, as I sit here, watching the snow pour.

Earlier in the year, I reviewed my land line telephone and dropped that bill by $25 a month or $300 a year. I was paying for stuff I didn't even know I had nor how to use! I also had to replace my mobile phone and, unfortunately, only had the choice to purchase a lesser quality phone due to the monthly amount I want need to pay. I would love to have a fancy smart phone but, around here, it makes no sense but should I ever move to a less rural area, I'll research a better phone.
~ Sam and Tom ~
Here's how I look at money as a tool...the basic Straight Talk phone costs $50 and $30 a month for the call plan. The basic Jitterbug phone costs about $30 and the basic monthly plan begins at $15. The first year, the Straight Talk phone costs $410 and the Jitterbug costs $210 and Jitterbug has a 30 day return policy. After that first year is over, the yearly cost is $360 for Straight Talk and $180 for Jitterbug. Guess what? I just talked myself into saving $200 a year! I've never been one of those people who are impressed with what someone else has; especially when they're treading water due to credit card debt. I'm not impressed with what kind of car someone drives; rather, is it safe, reliable transportation? Does a person provide for their family? If yes, that impresses me; if no, the Bible says a man (woman) who won't provide for his (or her) family is worse than an infidel. I agree. Like Dolly Parton said, "I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb and I'm not blonde."

If you've been thinking about identity theft insurance and heard the LifeLock commercials, you should know this: LifeLock charges about $150 a year (single) and Zander charges $75 (single) plus Zander provides more and better coverage. Wow, seems like such an easy decision when put in black and white numbers.
~ part of my small flock ~
The only reason I'm telling you about some of my personal financial decisions is to help you think about money. Money is a tool, just like a vehicle, and it can take you where you want to go...but you have to have a plan. Mom and Daddy brought us up to give the first ten percent to God, save the second ten percent and we could spend the remainder. It's a plan I follow today and have found I've never run out of money for my needs and, often, have enough to pay for my wants as well.

Dewena, Across the Way, recently blogged about her decision to stop blogging and I found her post interesting. Especially in light of the fact I've been thinking along similar lines. I don't want to stop blogging but I do want to change directions; I'm spending the next few days pondering directions.
~ dressed for chores ~
I trust your Christmas was memorable, in all good ways, and New Year's will be safe and sane. God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

Blessings ~ blog world ~ readers ~ smart financial decisions ~ saving money ~ spending wisely ~ dreams ~ goals ~ plans ~ travel ~

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

"Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness
And his chambers by injustice,
Who uses his neighbor's service without wages

And gives him nothing for his work."

"Nothing is really work, unless you would rather be doing something else."
~ J. M. Barrie ~
"Hide not your talents,
They for use were made.
What's a sundial, in the shade?"
"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."
~ Douglas Adams ~
"One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar." ~ Helen Keller ~
"Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."
~ Confucius ~
"All happiness depends upon courage and work." ~ Honore de Balzac ~
"In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you." ~ Leo Tolstoy ~
"Without ambition one starts nothing. 
Without work one finishes nothing.
The prize will not be sent to you.
You have to win it."
"Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds." ~ Gordon B. Hinckley ~
"I believe you are your work. Don't trade the stuff of your life, time, for nothing more than dollars. That's a rotten bargain." ~ Rita Mae Brown ~
"Never say anything about yourself you don't want to become true." ~ Brian Tracy ~
"You can't depend upon your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." ~ Mark Twain ~
"I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate." ~ George Burns ~
"The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else...The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!" ~ Earl Nightingale ~
"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful 
after all." ~ Michelangelo ~
"My mother said to me, "If you become a soldier, you'll be a general, if you become a monk you'll end up as the pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso." ~ Picasso ~
"We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. 
The amount of work is the same." ~ Carlos Castaneda ~
"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying." ~ Nietzsche ~
"Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction." ~ Anne Frank ~

"...the worker deserves his wages."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names are kept for one week; around the world, people are praying."

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Miki and Timi ~ Tiffany ~ Sandra ~

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Blessings ~ Christina Rossetti ~ poetry ~ Gloucester Cathedral Choir ~ Jesus Christ, the greatest gift ~

Monday, December 23, 2013

God's Favor

~ my fat flock ~
Since 2009, Alece Ronzino has been the author of

Forget New Year's Resolutions, 
Just Choose One Word.

She writes, "...The whole point of One Word 365 is living with intentionality..." and
from her blog, "Well, it's time to start thinking of your One Word for 2014...What do you want to focus on this coming year? Who do you want to be?

"Your word can be anything you want. All that matters is that it has personal meaning for you. It can be something tangible or intangible. It can be a thought, a feeling, an action, a character trait. Your word will stand as a reminder, a nudge. something you can reflect on, that will challenge you, inspire you. A touchstone you can return to time and time again to help you stay the course this year...

The second page of her website says, "Find your tribe" where you can type in your word and find others who have also chosen that same word.

Unless you're me. If you're me, the word you've chosen isn't a popular word, it's old fashioned, out of date and akin to naming your child Oscar or Henrietta. My word is in God's favor. As in, I want to, deliberately and with great intention, focus on seeking, and finding, God's favor in my life in 2014. His blessings surround me daily; indeed, the very breath in my body is a gift from the Almighty, is His enthusiasm over and in me, meaning His inspiration showered upon me.  The very thought makes me gasp.
God's Favor

Some of you may remember my Daddy's saying, "If you're living the way you're supposed to be living, there's no need for New Year's Resolutions." I can't say I ever remember making any such resolutions but have been choosing a word since Dave got sick in 2010. In 2010 I didn't choose a word and can remember being totally clueless about what lay ahead. Neither Dave nor I had any idea of the path we were going to have to walk in that coming year. The word for 2011 was breath because I had trouble remembering to breath and was, constantly and continually, gulping huge, deep lungs of air. In 2013, the words were intentional grace. (apparently, I have a problem with only one word -wry smile-.) Frankly, I don't remember much of anything since he got sick in August 2010 and died in November 2011; keeping this blog has been a good thing for me, it's allowed me to have a sounding board and then, go back and read my posts. I am truly amazed at some of what I wrote; emotional shock is a hard thing to live through, especially when it seems to never fade or go away. Even today, there are days when I feel, somewhat, in control but, mostly, I'm still walking around in a deep fog, still crying bitter tears, still grieving like the past two years haven't happened; thank God for the animals and the farm.

Anyway, think about what Alece has written; think about choosing a word to be your focal point for 2014 and then, let both Alece and me know what word you've chosen.

Blessings ~ Alece Ronzino ~ One Word 365 ~ Daddy ~ God's Favor ~

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind,
as with womankind; 
it is abomination."

"Alcohol doesn't console. It doesn't fill up anyone's psychological gaps, all it replaces is the lack of God. It doesn't comfort man. On the contrary, it encourages him in his folly, it transports him to the supreme regions where he is master of his own destiny."Marguerite Duras ~
"If any case, whether homosexuality results from genetics or upbringing, people don't generally choose to be homosexual. Many homosexuals testify how agonizing it is to find yourself with these desires and to fight against them, and they'll tell you they would never choose to be that way. And the Bible doesn't condemn a person because he has a homosexual orientation. What it condemns is the homosexual acts. It is perfectly possible to be a homosexual and be a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian."
~ William Lane Craig ~
"Passion is the evil in adultery. If a man has no opportunity of living with another man's wife, but if it is obvious, for some reason that he would like to do so, and would do so if he could, he is no less guilty than if he was caught in the act." ~ Saint Augustine ~
"No adultery is bloodless."
"Just because someone is a homosexual does not mean that we cannot love him (or her) or pray for him (or her). Homosexuality is a sin, and like any other sin it needs to be dealt with in the only way possible. It needs to be laid at the cross and repented of." ~ Matt Slick ~
"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body, but he that commits fornication sins against his own body." ~ Paul ~
"There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, 
even of the briefest, 
than in all the alcohol ever distilled." 
~ Ovid ~
"One reason God tells us to honor marriage and keep the marriage bed pure has to do with baggage. We carry baggage into our sexual relationships. Memories from the past, emotional scars and unwanted mental images can defile our thoughts and make our marriage bed less than pure. Certainly God can forgive the past, but that doesn't mean we're free from the baggage that can linger in our minds."
~ Mary Fairchild ~
"The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union." ~ C. S. Lewis ~
"Avoid using cigarettes, alcohol and drugs as alternatives to being an 
interesting person."  ~ Marilyn vos Savant ~
"Adultery is an obvious violation of the rights of another. 
You are stealing what doesn't belong to you."
"I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I begin to think: 'wait a minute - if I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities?' And slowly it dawned on me that maybe it was worth the 
risk."  ~ Craig Fergurson ~
"When adultery walks in, 
everything worth having, walks out." 
"I have certain moral parameters that I do not cross in writing. I don't write about adultery or kids having premarital sex." ~ Nicholas Sparks ~
"An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand." ~ A. W. Tozer ~
"As conscience grows more passive and the evil spirit supplies his guidance, some Christians begin to lower their moral standard - thinking they henceforth live according to a higher life principle, and therefore treat immoral matters as not quite so immoral any more." ~ Watchman Nee ~
"A god who let us prove his existence would be an idol." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ~

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? 
Do not be deceived; 
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, 
nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, 
nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, 
shall inherit the kingdom of God."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept one week; around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Miki and Timi ~ Sandra ~ unspoken requests ~

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Vehicle Winter Prep

Today is the worst longest day darkness of the year; from here on, it's all getting lighter, thank God. Today's to-do list didn't include working on the car but that's what I found myself doing. I should do vehicle checks every quarter but I usually do them twice a year. Let's face it, since Dave died, it all falls to me and, usually, I'm doing the best I can. Some days that's pretty good and other days...not so much. Anyway, these wipes are used as prep to clean the windows, inside and out and then rain-x fills the fluid container.

In my part of the country, using rain-x in winter is a good thing; it's good to 25 degrees F and, let's face it, I'm not driving in that kind of weather anyway, unless it's an extreme emergency. It also helps water, snow and sleet bead up and slide off the windshield easier.
Make sure the container for the windshield fluid is filled and also make sure your fluid is good for the temperatures where you live. It really does pay to use the good stuff; the gallon jug for eighty-nine cents is great for putting in your spray bottle and using on your house windows. It's far less expensive than using Windex and works just as well, maybe better.

While you're at it, rain-x and rain-vision are excellent products to wipe on the outside of the windows; both take a little bit of work but the results are well worth it. The product is wiped on a clean windshield, allowed to haze, wiped on again, washed off and then the window dried. Rain, sleet and snow will simply bead up then slide down your windshield; an added bonus is, so will dirt. You can tell from the bottle, I've had this for a while and it still works great. It does need to be re-applied every so often and after washing the vehicle.

NOTE: If using rain-x or rain-vision, when rain/sleet/snow starts, do NOT use your windshield wipers. The more you use those wipers, the more the blades wipe off the windshield treatment and your work is for naught.

It's suggested windshield wiper blades be changed every six months but who does that? I try and do it once a year but, probably, miss that deadline as well.

Never Fog is used on the inside of the windows to prevent fog from clouding the windows.  Then I move on to beneath the hood...

The hoses are checked for tightness and to make sure there aren't any cracks or slits.
I try and change the oil every 3,000 to 3,500 miles; oil is the life-blood of a vehicle.

If necessary, I'll top off the oil; today, it needed a few ounces and we've always used Penzoil.
Check the anti-freeze; make sure it's full but if you need to top it off, please consider taking it to a repair shop and have them do it. There are low-tox antifreezes, propylene glycol antifreezes, that are safe for pets but most are ethylene glycol and will kill a dog very quickly. Dogs love to drink antifreeze so I don't keep it around; when I need to top off the fluid holder, I go to the gentlemen who work on my car and have them do it. I'd rather be safe than sorry.
I check the battery to make sure the cables are tight. This is a sealed battery so I don't have to worry about topping off the fluids.
The trash bag was emptied and my next step was checking tire pressure and topping off before I used the Armor All to clean the inside of the car. It may not sound like a lot of work but it took about three five hours so the next time your husband is working on your car, thank him. It takes a fair amount of work to keep a vehicle in top performance, clean and running safely. If you're single, take time now, before weather gets really terrible, to make sure your car is in good shape. After all, it's your life that vehicle is protecting. By the way, these are all products Dave and I have used for decades; no one has paid me anything to talk about these products...but if they had, I would have cashed the check -grin-.

UPDATE: Don't forget to check brake and steering wheel fluids.

Next vehicle post will what to keep in your car for emergencies.

Blessings ~ good products ~ clean car ~ safe car ~

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NO Copyright Laws!

~ sorry, no photos, just information that'll scare your socks off! ~

I hope I've got your attention because what I'm about to write about affects every single person living in the USA and beyond. Except, perhaps, that 1% who already misuses most of the resources God allows them to have.

Have you heard about TPP? It stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership and is a free-trade agreement (not so much but that's what it's called) that is designed to do a number on We, the People. It's being called "the corporate power tool of the 1%" by WikiLeaks and Lori Wallach of Public Citizen but Congress and the Senate have not been included in the process. As a matter of fact, they've been excluded...secret meetings, remember?

From Lori Wallach, Public Citizen, "the message to President Obama from his own party is clear: Neither the public nor members of Congress will tolerate more of these NAFTA-style trade agreements, and the text of this deal must be released because there are major concerns about where it is heading.... Last week's leak of the TPP investment chapter sent shock waves through Congress because it showed that U.S. negotiators had totally abandoned Obama's campaign pledges to replace the old NAFTA trade model and in fact were doubling down and expanding the very Bush-style deal that Obama campaigned against in 2008 to win key swing states."

Apparently, the words honest and transparency mean nothing to the great o.

Some of the  more heinous parts...

*a ban on Buy American - in other words, any country participating in the TPP would receive equal access to US procurement contracts...meaning our tax dollars would not stay in the USA to create jobs for Americans.

*corporations would be empowered to attack US policies in foreign tribunals and demand taxpayer compensation for our environmental, health and other laws. The World Bank and UN tribunals deciding such cases are comprised of three corporate lawyers, unaccountable to any electorate, who rotate between suing governments...and act as judges. There is NO APPEAL on their decision.

*more US jobs lost...since NAFTA and WTO, the US has lost 1 out of ever 4 manufacturing jobs to foreign countries. I haven't liked a President since Reagan but that sorry Clinton, Bush Sr. and peanut farmer did horrible, horrible damage to this country. Now Obama adds to his heinous acts with the secret TPP.

*GMO labels would be removed.

*intellectual property...won't exist! You can say good-bye to copyright laws and just get used to the idea your work will belong to whomever steals it quicker. See Article QQ.A.2: {Objectives} on this WikiLeak page.

*bank de-regulations - frightening thought!

Oh, you haven't heard about TPP? Wellll, that's because the meetings are being held IN SECRET! Just like the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

Under TAFTA, click here for the report, we can expect...

*GMO labels removed and as Monsanto public relations president said, "It's not our job to ensure food safety; that's the FDA's job. It's our job to make  money." 

*tainted food: the TAFTA industry group wants US milk standards weakened because the process for complying with them “is both highly cumbersome and 

*increased personal data mining to "flow across borders"...iow, no more personal'll be against the law.

The only reason anything is known now is due to whistle blowers leaking information. Bless 'em for it! Yes, it's a lot of information and, frankly, most of it is frightening but you should do a search for TPP and draw your own conclusions. I don't know about you but I have tremendous problems turning over our democracy to a "tribunal of three judges"; adding "no appeals" is insanity, pure insanity!

Expose the TPP to read more information and then call your Senator and Congressional rep and tell them NO TPP and NO TAFTA! It's not good for America and it's not good for We, the People. Just search your state and the word Senator or Congressman and you'll find the contact information. Please call them as an e-mail doesn't carry the same weight. If you've time, please send a hard copy letter and ask where they stand...that really gets their attention!

I only have one question...if, by chance, folks are able to actually take their money with them when they die, what, exactly, do they plan on buying in hell?

Blessings ~ Lori Wallach ~ Public Citizen ~ WikiLeaks ~ 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Day's Sweetness

~ Sam and Tom ~
Just so you know, my day has plenty of sweetness that outweighs, mostly, all the hard, messy, cold, dangerous work. Dave was always a night owl and I'm a morning person; it worked out well because he would have his quiet time in the evenings, after I'd gone to bed and vice verse in the mornings. By the time he was ready for coffee, I'd been up a couple of hours, made coffee, had devotions and started breakfast. Being a creature of habit (aren't we all?), I still get up early and it's not unusual for me to be awake at 4:30 but, usually, it's more like 5:00 or 5:30. Every now and again I'll sleep in until 7 or 8 o'clock and then feel like I've wasted half my day. Anyway, lately it seems several of my posts have been on the whiny side so here's some sweetness. (If it bores you beyond've been warned, smile).
 One reason I get up so early is so I can have devotions. Each morning, unless there's an emergency, I sit in the sun room and read the Bible and other devotions then listen to Pastor's Youssef and Begg on XM Radio. If I can't get beyond first gear, sometimes I'll stay and listen to Chuck Swindoll as well. Dave used to get such a kick out of Pastor Swindoll's last name; he'd say, "What a perfect name for a preacher? Is he a swindler?" Not to my knowledge but he is a good teacher of Scripture.

The stacked books on the left are knitting, crochet and a novel or two. The books on the right are devotionals and Bible studies. The knitted wash cloths have scented soaps inside and are given to folks who have made my life a bit easier this past year. The women at the feed stores, auto repair and other places while the men receive short bread.
 I light a Wood Wick Candle because I enjoy the glow, fragrance and the sound. If you're not familiar with Wood Wick candles, instead of a cotton waxed wick they have a wooden stick wick.

All of us have our routine; Sadie sits to my left and starts out her morning (after treats, of course) by holding hands. She'll raise her paw and use it to nudge me until I take her paw in my hand and we sit, quietly, for a few minutes. 

Sam reclines on my right and when he feels Sadie is receiving too much attention, he'll slide over and tuck his head under my nightgown. By the way, if you like flannel nightgowns, Lanz makes the Most Wonderful flannel nightgowns! I've worn them for decades and they wear like iron and, when worn out, make excellent cleaning cloths. Recently, I found some at TJMaxx and they're more than 75% less than the price I found on the inter-net. 

Meanwhile, Sadie has stretched out so she can lay her head in my lap, 
while Tom sits on my stomach, sometimes resting his lower end on the top of Sadie's head. It's all right, we're all friends here.

In the past day we've gone from snow on the ground to bare ground. It's gotten above freezing, several days in a row, and everything has started to melt. (Which reminds me...I never did hang the laundry out today.)

I opened up the alfalfa field so the horses and alpacas can graze it; there's a lot of good pasture to be eaten and the manure they drop will aid in the new growth come spring.

I wait until 8:00 or thereabout to give Carly her morning meds with her breakfast. Some days I have to find her and other days she's still asleep. I'm disgustingly simple when it comes to the animals and try to make their lives as kind as possible.

When the dogs and I go to the barn, we check on Harry Shetland. He's an old wether, as old or older than Carly, and I'd love to bring him to the yard but he's better off at the barn, with no other sheep. He has the barn cats and guinea's for company, he's safe and I take him water and food twice a day.

He's blind and far safer where he can't be run over by the other animals. I was going to put him down but he's still enjoying his food and will move toward me when I shake his pan and call him. During nice weather, he can get in the sunshine and, at night or in bad weather, he can turn and go into the barn and lay down. He has free choice hay so he always had good food and water. I've noticed he prefers me to bring him fresh water in the morning and afternoon and he'll take a good long drink while I hold the bucket. Sometimes, he'll drink from the bucket when it's placed on the ground in front of him.  These animals are a study in patience for me; I can't become frustrated or get rushed or they'll panic and we'll be right back where we started. It's much easier for me to go slow, speak quietly, gentle and low and move slowly. Heck, it's probably good for me as well!

'PacaRose is doing fine, eating well, defecating properly and enjoying life with his bros.

The sheep are grazing the yard while the three guinea's wander amongst them. Generally, the guinea's roost in the sugar maple tree and have proven to be excellent "watch dogs". I've decided I'll always have guinea's as they are comedians as well as "watch dogs". They know when Sadie chases them, it's all for show; she just likes to hear them raise a ruckus.

A lot of my days, thank God, are simple and full of the work that it takes to keep this place going. I have two horses I throw hay to every morning and afternoon; I should get on the tractor and give them a round bale but, truth be told, my bones have been a bit creaky lately. Hard as it is to believe, it's just easier to climb in the loft and throw down a few square bales and tear them apart.

Daddy John, wife Ashley and their families have opened a restaurant (the restaurant business being, as Daddy John says, "the nearest thing to milking twice a day as I've ever seen!") and Ashley requested some knitted goods to display and sell. I had some things ready, then decided to knit some other things, and my poor hands are repaying me by not working properly. As in, I can do almost anything I want to do if it doesn't include picking up or holding things, knitting, or typing for any length of time. Ben and I go to bed together, nightly, with aspirin and a glass of alcoholic beverage. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big drinker but Dave used to tell me, "Take some aspirin and drink a beer or glass of wine and you'll sleep a lot better." This was the same man who would tell me, "Don't you think you should wait until your head hits the pillow before you fall asleep?"
Ah...such Precious Memories.

Blessings ~ calm week ~ healthy animals ~ Andy Griffith ~ good music ~ sleep ~

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sabbath Keeping

~ Ireland's west coast ~
"To you, O Lord, I call."

"My gracious heavenly Father, with gratitude I bow before You today. I rejoice in the little, ordinary things which so often are accepted by me unrecognized and which so frequently pass by unnoticed. For life itself I give You thanks. For the breath which I borrow from you, I am grateful. For the strength to pursue a course of active labor, I offer my gratitude. That the lily of the field and the sparrow of the air are under Your guiding and protecting hand, remind me. ... In the name of Your Son, my Savior, I pray. Amen." ~ C. Ralston Smith

"Until women and men come to discover the truth of God's presence in their lives, and discover it not merely as some statement they affirm or deny but as a living reality, they will never recognize the fulfillment of the "not yet," the fulfillment of God's total gift." 
~ Ernest Boyer, Jr. ~
"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries."

"If you do not cut the moorings, God will have to break them by a storm and send you out. Launch all on God, go out on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and you will get your eyes open. If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the smooth waters just inside the harbour bar, full of delight, but always moored; you have to get out through the harbor bar into the great deeps of God and begin to know for yourself, begin to have spiritual discernment.
"When you know you should do a thing, and do it, immediately you know more. Revise where you have become stodgy spiritually, and you will find it goes back to a point where there was something you knew you should do, but you did not do it because there seemed no immediate call to, and now you have no perception, no discernment; at a time of crisis you are spiritually distracted instead of spiritually self-possessed. It is a dangerous thing to refuse to go on knowing." 
~ Oswald Chambers ~

"Be present in all things,
and thankful in all things."

"If we are each obedient to our visions the cities would have green spaces, birds in their trees, and architecture to quicken the awareness of the divine life throbbing in the whole of the world. And the towns? the towns would have galleries to hold the works of their artists; theaters for the performing arts would spring up in their squares; scientists and poets would confer with each other; students would gather for debate and reflection, children would want to continue in life, and church congregations everywhere would be struggling "to make serious use of the wings the creator had given." Everyone would know what it meant to be the servant of the Most High." ~ Elizabeth O'Connor ~

"God's gifts put men's best dreams to shame." 

"God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, "Do you believe there is a God?" you may find yourself answering, "No, I do not believe there is a God, I know there is a God." 
~ Ernest Boyer, Jr. ~

"Coincidence is just God choosing to remain anonymous." 
~ unknown ~

"O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. You have been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Your presence. Open my eyes that I may behold You in and around me. For Christ's sake, Amen." ~ A. W. Tozer ~

"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."

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

Prayer Keeping ~ Mags ~ Maxine ~ Miki and Timi ~ Cathy's request ~ Ricky ~ unspoken requests ~ Sandra ~

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bogus Cranberry Marmalade

~ Bogus Cranberry Marmalade ~
In another post, I mentioned making cranberry marmalade, mainly for friend Mary, but also for me. She eats the stuff with everything...and I do mean everything! I don't make it to suit her exact taste because she likes it with a lot more sugar, but I try to stay away from a lot of white (processed) sugar. This time of year, I make a lot and am going to buy cranberries and freeze them so I can make it in July as well. Anything for a cheap thrill -grin-.

Usually I cook and bake from scratch but I'm not above using shortcuts. This is one of those shortcuts.

The reason it's called Bogus Cranberry Marmalade is I use a shortcut if I don't have any oranges on hand. Today, no oranges but I did have cranberries, sugar and Smucker's Orange Marmalade.

In a large colander, rinse the cranberries and place in a large, heavy saucepan. No need to dry the cranberries; heat over medium heat until they being to pop.

Continue heating for about 10 or 15 minutes, it really depends on how you like the finished product...with more whole cranberries or with fewer.  Add one cup sugar and stir to mix.  If you'd like it sweeter, by all means, add more sugar but do it sparingly. As you know, it's easier to add more but you can't take any away -grin-.
Heat cranberries and sugar until well mixed and glistening.

Add a jar of Smucker's Sweet Orange Marmalade and stir to mix. All the while, the cranberries will continue to pop as they heat.
I pour the marmalade into a Pyrex dish to cool before placing in glass jars for gift giving. I also have a traditional, non-bogus marmalade and I'll give that recipe after I go to the store and buy oranges. In the meantime, here are the ingredients and recipe...easier to copy and paste.
Bogus Orange Marmalade

2 bags fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 18 ounce jar Smucker's Sweet Orange Marmalade
1 cup white sugar

In a large, heavy saucepan, place the rinsed but not dried cranberries. Heat over medium heat until they being to pop.
Continue heating for about 10 or 15 minutes, it really depends on how you like the finished product...with more whole cranberries or with fewer.  Add one cup sugar and stir to mix.
Heat cranberries and sugar until well mixed and glistening.
Add a jar of Smucker's Sweet Orange Marmalade and stir to mix. All the while, the cranberries will continue to pop as they heat.

Enjoy and let me know how you like it or the changes you made to make it your own.

Blessings ~ cranberries ~ marmalade ~ friends ~ short cuts of a non-threatening nature ~

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chat Number 120

~ Carly Shetland ~
OHMYGOODNESS...can you believe it? Patrice is hosting Chat Number 120...although Wendell is a bit under the weather (is it possible too many carrots made him sick?) Her questions and my answers:

1. Have you baked any Christmas cookies yet?  No, but baking short bread is on my calendar for tomorrow. I want to give short bread to the folks at the auto repair shop, library and feed stores; they are so nice to me and I want to say "thank you" in a tangible way. 

2. Have you finished your shopping yet? Oh gosh, I finished most of my Christmas shopping months ago. Although, this year, I'm dong things differently. Family and I celebrated Christmas last weekend and I gave them baskets of home canned goodies, a few store bought goodies and a note that said a donation was made to The Gideons International in their name. Let's face it, all of us have everything we need (food, shelter, clothing) and most of what we want. I've reached the age when I want to share in a more tangible way, so I'm giving the gift of eternity. Most of my friends and I have decided not to exchange gifts as well; when we get together (whenever that is), we'll go out to supper or I'll cook for us. The gift of their presence is what I want; I can never get enough of good friends.

3. If you had reindeer like the story of Santa, what would you name them? Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Gentleness, Faith, Hope, Charity and Wisdom.

4. What was the most memorable Christmas gift you ever gave or received? In 1971, my parents sent me to Emmanuel Junior College in Franklin Springs, GA. Just before Christmas break, I was packing to go home and noticed Joni, a classmate from Hawaii, wasn't packing. It turned out, her family didn't have money to bring her home for Christmas so Mom and Daddy said, "bring her with you." On Christmas morning, there were gifts under the tree for Joni...a gift from Mom and Daddy. That's not only my favorite Christmas memory, it's also the most memorable Christmas gift I've ever given and received.

5. Please tell me something new, interesting, or funny. Also, Wendell could use some encouraging words to feel better, just saying. I was in my flannel nightgown, fuzzy socks and fleece mocs at 4:30 tonight. The oil man delivered oil (OUCH!) and as soon as he left, I locked the gate, gave a flake of hay to Carly, came inside and got comfy. Have I mentioned how much warmer the house is since plugging the foundation holes and sealing between the sun room and house?   BTW, Wendell, whenever I'm a little down in the dumps, I count my blessings and that always helps. Then again, so does a good cry every now and again. 

There are three water troughs on the farm and they all freeze; a de-icer is kept in one and that prevents ice but on the other two, ice forms. This ice isn't so bad, it's just a piece whereas sometimes it's a sheet, two inches thick, covering the entire trough. 

Once I drag the ice out of the trough, you can see how crystal clear the water is and, if you could taste it, you'd taste the sweetest limestone water in the world.  

Do you see this stealth 'paca?

Little sneaky thief! But...can't blame him because he didn't leave the gate was someone with two legs 

and I don't mean these critters:
Have I mentioned how nice it is to have dust to dawn lights on the garage? 


It's so cold and, this year, my old bones are feeling the cold so it's taking me a while to visit your blogs. Just be glad you're not here, the smell of muscle rub is quite intoxicating invigorating stinky.
Merry Christmas everyone; remember the reason we celebrate.

Blessings ~ Patrice ~ pure drinking water ~ egg nog ~ so much food to eat, I even have snacks! ~ warm flannel nightgown ~ guineas ~ a warm house ~

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