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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, May 26, 2014

Decoration Day - Thank YOU for Serving!


We should revive a long ago custom...Decoration Day was borne of the desire to honour fallen War Between the State soldiers. On 5 May 1868, General John Logan, said, "The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land." In his General Order No. 11, he chose May 30th because there was no significance to any battle fought during the War. 

Until World War I, Decoration Day wasn't acknowledged by southern states; it was then the focus was changed from one war to any war. Congress passed the National Holiday Act of 1971 that said the last Monday in May would be Memorial Day. Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia additionally have separate days for honoring the Confederate war dead. 

In Flanders Field, was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD to commemorate that dreadful 1915 battle in the fields of Belgium's Ypres Salient, "those seventeen days of Hades...".


"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
in Flanders fields."

In 1915, inspired by Lt. Col. McCrae's poem, Moina Michael wrote We Shall Keep Faith and started wearing red poppies to remember those fallen.


"Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields." 

Professor Michael had the idea to sell artificial poppies to raise money for American's disabled veterans. Prior to her death in 1944, the American Legion adopted the poppy as its symbol and poppy sales raised more than $200 million for war veterans rehabilitation. 

If you have an opportunity to purchase one of those poppies, please do and then...wear it proudly. It means someone's son or husband or brother or father died so we could have the freedom to speak our minds...whether it's anything worth saying or not. In recent years, it also means someone's daughter, or mother, or wife or sister died and we should Never Forget the ultimate price untold thousands have paid for our freedom. 

How terribly sad the current Administration doesn't see the need to be grateful and, as a result, our veterans are being treated poorly, with complete and utter disrespect by people not fit to lick their boots! Twenty-two (22!) veterans commit suicide every day, the average claim takes more than 6 months to be processed, and, in 2009 the number of veterans that were waiting for more than year to have their benefits approved was 11,000. As of February 2014 it was 245,000! This article, "25 Signs That Military Veterans Are Being Treated Like Absolute Trash Under The Obama Administration" is enough to make you weep. Christ said, "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken." 

Next time you see a veteran selling poppies, buy one; it's only a dollar and it's for the rehabilitation of disabled vets, or, why not give a $5 bill and say, "Thank you for serving!" 



Blessings ~ military men and women, past and present, living and dead ~ Lt. Col. McCrae, MD ~ Moina Michael ~ Veterans of Foreign Wars ~ American Legion ~ red poppies ~

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sabbath Keeping


"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine owner understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, 
and He shall direct thy paths."


" Be intentional." 
"If you don't become the ocean, you'll be seasick every day." ~ Leonard Cohen ~
"Don't wish me happiness
I don't expect to be happy all the time...
It's gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all."
"People underestimate their capacity for change.
There is never a right time to do a difficult thing."
~ John Porter ~
"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable." 
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh ~
"What I like most about change is that it's a synonym for "hope". If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, "I believe in tomorrow and I will be a part of it."
~ Linda Ellerbee ~
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."
"A flower does not think about competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms."
"The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask." 
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh ~
"It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." ~ Lena Horne ~
"Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change." 
~ Mary Shelley ~
"Letting go doesn't mean giving up, 
but rather accepting there are things that cannot be."
"It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage,
but for that long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security."
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter 
another."  ~ Anatole France ~
"Don't let your happiness depend upon something you may lose." 
~ C. S. Lewis
"Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us,
carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you."


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 ~ Stephanie ~ Jim ~ Donna ~ "A" ~ Laura ~ Maxine ~ Sandra ~ 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Melodious Small Collection

Some years ago, ML, a dear friend of decades, traveled to London. While there, she bought this small bell, designed to be worn by a sheep or goat. When she returned home, she presented me with this little treasure and said, “I wasn't sure if you had an animal bell...”. No, I didn't but she started me on the way to a small, melodious collection of, mostly, animal bells.

Not for me the beautiful yet fragile, glass, tinkly bells. No, I have always desired the sturdy, time tested, time worn and, preferably, hand made of whatever venue. This now includes bells. A lot of my bells are handmade or, in this day and age, the word is “handcrafted” and all are sturdy and produce sounds ranging from a deep clanging of a cow bell worn to the tinnier sound of the bells worn by horse, sheep or goat.
When Dave and I traveled in Eastern Europe, we were both always on the lookout for animal bells. These, and the one on the right, as evidenced by its tag, were found in Romania and all designed for a horse. Frankly, I cannot imagine having such a clanging going on aside my head but humans, as mostly always, do what they do without considering the animal. Or, perhaps, the humans did what they did and considered all animals...as in notifying folks ahead there was a horse and wagon approaching. During all our travels, I only once saw a human riding a horse and that was for the benefit of tourists; it was invariably always a horse pushing a wagon. As an aside, the horse collar is designed so the horse pushes against it and the wagon has no choice but to follow...ingenious design!
This bell was purchased on our trip to 2004 Russia. It was this trip that necessitated my first passport and, come to think of it, the first bell ever in my collection. It now reminds me of wonderful memories of foreign travel. Dave and I were in Yaroslavl, Russia at a museum where a bell maker had a nice collection of his hand poured bells. Our translator, a former ABC guy (which is what I called the no-neck former KGB man) pressured Dave into buying the bell. Dave was furious but we were alone in a country where we didn't speak the language and the translator had been arranged by the man who had arranged the trip (and would arrive much later) so Dave purchased the bell. Frankly, I'm glad he did as it's a wonderful reminder of a fabulous trip where we did so many exciting things and met so many incredible people. Even so, Dave had many awful things to say about the ABC guy and none were complementary!
This bell was purchased in Ukraine, at a flea market. Ah me, I could have spent a small fortune at that flea market but came home with this bell, some textiles and carried home a hand made from wood pieces room divider to give to my sister. That dratted thing weighed a small ton and I'm not sure my back has ever recovered from carrying it around until I got to the airport and boxed it. Back to the bell...the leather collar is held in place by a hand carved wooden clasp; both leather and wood are well worn, the leather somewhat stiff with age but still a thing of beauty.
This bell is Polish, or rather, was purchased in Poland. That's about all that can be said as it's unknown where the bells were made or by whom. Especially the hand made bells because it's impossible to know the history but the well worn patina from both being hand crafted and worn by many animals, handled by many hands is still a sweet mystery. 
It embarrasses me I cannot remember where I purchased this bell, above. Perhaps my memory will surprise me one day...or not.

This bell still has its leather collar which is in, surprisingly, good shape and could be used today with no other preparation.  This one and the one below were purchased in Southport, NC at an antique shop. The shop owner said the, now deceased, bell owner traveled a good deal in Europe and she thought the bells might be European. It pleases me to know another woman found delight and mystery in such simple, hand made goods. Another woman saw the beauty in the everyday, hand made and found these bells worthy of being bought, carried home and admired.
 




This one is a cow bell, pounded out on some farmer's anvil and has a deep, melodious sound that brings to mind a placid cow, walking across an alpine pasture with nothing more serious on her mind than good grass, sweet water and being milked come evening. 

That's what comes of getting ready to move; no, the farm hasn't sold yet but like Noah ben Shea said, "Be patient. Patience is also preparation. It is the action before the act." Like I've always said, "Wait is a verb."  While waiting, I'm giving away, packing, tossing and wondering at a life well lived here on Thistle Cove Farm. Dave and I made it a good great life, one full of memories, good times, mementos and, it seems, every little thing has a history, a story and I can recall almost each one. I've begun using a small white tag to write where something was purchased or why it's special. I'm told the provenance of something, when written down or proven, makes the item more valuable. I know it makes the item more valuable in that when I read that small tag, memories, precious memories, flood over, around, through me and I'm transported to that time and place. It's part of the healing process, a good part, and I'm grateful.

Blessings ~ ML ~ a melodious small collection of bells ~ Willie Nelson ~ Precious Memories ~ Noah ben Shea ~ Dave ~ 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sabbath Keeping


"The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest."

What to plant in your garden:

Plant three rows of squash:

1. Squash gossip - James 3:6
2. Squash criticism - Matthew 7:4
3. Squash indifference - Matthew 22:5

Plant three rows of peas:

1. Purity - II Corinthians 7:1
2. Patience - James 5:7
3. Perseverance - I Corinthians 15:58

Plant six rows of lettuce:

1. Let us be unselfish and loyal - Matthew 16:24
2. Let us be faithful to duty - Luke 19:17
3. Let us search the scriptures - Acts 17:11
4. Let us not be weary in well doing - Galatians 6:9
5. Let us be obedient in all things - John 14:23
6 Let us love one another - I John 4:7

No garden is complete without turnips:

1. Turn up for church, prayer meetings, Bible study - Hebrews 10:25
2. Turn up with a smile even when things are difficult - Proverbs 17:22
3. Turn up with determination to do your best for God - Romans 12:1

Plant as directed:

God will supply the sunshine, the rain and will give the bounty.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, 
for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

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 ~ Jim ~ Donna ~ Stephanie ~ Sandra ~ 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

"For if you keep silent at this time,
 relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place,
 but you and your father's house will perish. 
And who knows whether you have not 
come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

"What if I am a woman? is not the God of ancient times the God of these modern times? Did he not raise up Deborah, , to be a mother, and a judge in Israel? Did not queen Esther save th elives of the Jews?" ~ Maria W. Steward, 1835 ~
"I am one, but still I am one. 
I cannot do everything
but still I can do something."
~ Helen Keller ~
"As I live in awareness of,growth in,m and gratitude for God's grace and mercy, my life will bring glory to Him." ~ Sandy Smith ~
"Pain is God's beautiful gift to make us lean harder on Him, when He knows we need it."  ~ Anne Ortlund ~
"Dress shabbily and they remember the dress;
dress impeccably and they remember the woman."
~ Coco Chanel ~
"I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman." ~ Anais Nin ~
"I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives." 
~ Jane Austin ~
"As a woman I have no country.
As a woman I want no country.
As a woman, my country is the whole world."
~ Virginia Woolf ~
"To learn humility is to learn contentment in all circumstances. Humility is not in what we own or achieve, but in maintaining a teachable attitude, a willingness to bend to the will of the Father."  ~ Jan Silvious ~
"Compiling our traditions and oral or written histories will give our children an identity with their Christian heritage." ~ Charlene Kaemmerling
"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls." ~ Mother Teresa ~
"Guard your tongue when your husband is angry." ~ St. Monica

"Likewise, teach the older 
women to be reverent in the way they live,
 not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, 
but to teach what is good."
~ Titus 2:3 ~

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Stephanie ~ Jim ~ Sandra ~

Thursday, May 08, 2014

This is SO Wrong!

Don't you agree?


Blessings ~ the promotion ceased ~ 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dave

~ Sandra and Dave in Russia ~

The room was always too crowded
until you walked in,
love as strong as death.

Dear Readers - if you read this post, you know Thistle Cove Farm is for sale. Yes, it's true although it's an unhappy truth. Thankfully, God gave me another birthday last month as well as the determination to make the difficult decision to sell the farm so I can move closer to family - teulu yn popeth. 

Please visit this site, here, for more information; it's updated every day or so.

By the way, Happy Birthday to Val, she and Dave share birth days, many decades apart.

Blessings ~ being Dave's friend and wife ~

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

~ old walnut tree ~
"But the word is very near you, 
in your mouth and in your heart, 
that you may do it.
See, I have set before you today life and good, 
death and evil in that I command you to day 
to love the Lord your God, 
to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, 
His statutes, and His judgments, 
that you may live and multiple, 
and the Lord your God will bless you 
in the land which you go to possess."

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A many who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and  kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feel and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." ~ C. S. Lewis
"The irony is that while God doesn't need us but still wants us,
we desperately need God but don't really want Him most of the time."
"Spending time with God is the key to our strength and success in all areas of life. Be sure that you never try to work God into your schedule, but always work your schedule around Him."  ~ Joyce Meyer
"Anything under God's control is never out of control." ~ Chuck Swindoll ~
"Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God." 
"Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you."  ~ Steve Maraboli ~
"Hungry for love, He looks at you.
Thirsty for kindness, He begs of you.
Naked for loyalty, He hopes in you.
Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you.
Will you be that one to Him?"
"The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, "This is love." God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, "This is love." ~ Joshua Harris ~
"I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery." ~ Brennan Manning
"Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken." ~ Rich Mullins
"We might be wise to follow the insight of the enraptured heart rather than the more cautious reasoning of the theological mind." 

"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God."

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 ~ Stephanie ~ Jim ~ Sandra ~ 

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Thistle Cove Farm - For Sale!

~ TCF, seen from hilltop across Rt. 608 ~

Yes, it's true; Thistle Cove Farm was listed on the Wall St. Journal print edition, yesterday morning and on their on-line edition, here. For more photos and information, please visit here.

Southwest VA has, according to an ag agent, one of the three finest grazing in the world. Kentucky and Argentina are the other two, and The Cove is renown for raising cattle. At one time, Cove cattle were shipped to England, destined for tables in all of Europe.


~ hand built birch Welsh type cupboard,
shelves can be re-positioned ~

Oral history says the original land was a King George I land grant and, around 1870, after The Late Great Unpleasantness, this property was sold for $300 in back taxes. Thomas Hawkins, Master Builder, started the house in 1900 and finished in 1902. It's said he weighed 350 pounds and would stand in the window frames; if they jiggled, he'd have his workers tear them out and re-build them. Mr. Hawkins said his houses (and he built many) were his lasting legacy. During renovation, in one of the upstairs rooms, a board, signed and dated by Mr. Hawkins, was returned to the place it was found.

Oral history also tells, Mr. Hawkins also like to drink and play poker as well as eat. When he was finished building this house, he sat down with the owner, Shadrach White, to play poker, winner take the money for the two years of work. Mr. Hawkins lost and walked away with the whiskey and food in his belly for those two years. 

Since Mr. White purchased the property in, approximately, the 1870's, it's been owned by three families, either passed down or sold within the families.


~ kitchen fireplace with propane logs
and wormy chestnut mantle ~

Fireplaces are either built, or rebuilt, with slave made bricks which were found inside the walls, being used as insulation, an R factor of 1. The house now has R-19 insulation in exterior and interior walls. 




1914 Acorn cook stove, 7 burners
3 ovens
1 warming oven



Living room has a Woodstock soapstone stove with fireplace made of slave made bricks. This valley is where the Lassie movie was filmed in 1994.


The front porch with magnificent view of The Cove valley. Hundreds of meals and celebrations have taken place on this porch, at this table.


The hand crafted sun room takes advantage of the same view as the header photo. This room has an adjoining bathroom and is off the kitchen. The walnut floor is also handcrafted; a porch is through the door to the right. Throughout the remainder of the house, are the original heart pine floors.

~ the dream God gave me as a six-year old girl 
came true here ~

There is more information and photos on the website; please go here. If it pleases you to pass along this information, please refer people here; there's also an e-mail address associated with this site wherein they may contact me. Please do not give the farm blog address.

Viewing by appointment only with bank pre-approval letter. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed; buyer to verify. This is an historic property and being sold As Is.


Please keep me in your prayers; thank you.


Blessings ~ being allowed to breath new life into this wondrous property ~ living here for so many happy years ~