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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.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

"I have come so that you may have glorious, eternal life in heaven. I alone am the true path; I alone am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to God, the Father, except through me. There are no other paths, no other is only through me. No one else loved you so much he died on a cross for you. No one else descended into hell, separated from Our Father and His pure holiness. 

Before time began, I knew this would happen, yet I chose His will above my own; all because of My love for you... only because of My love for you. You see, I asked Our Father if He would allow the suffering to pass me by. I pleaded with Him, I begged Him, I cried so hard I sweat great drops of blood and still, He shook His head 'no'. 

On that cross, I thought about you. I knew the choice you would make and rejoiced my suffering wasn't in vain. I knew the choice you would make and the sorrow shook me to My marrow, the knowing that upon your death we would be separated for eternity. And yet I stayed, hung between two thieves, one who understood, the other chose poorly. It is even so today; those who choose wisely, those who choose poorly. Days of rejoicing, days of sorrow but I don't regret I chose Our Father's will over My own. I did it gladly and would do it again if it meant you might choose Me.

Come to Me; I alone know how you seek peace, love, acceptance. I alone give you all that unconditionally; I alone will help you carry all your burdens. It's true it won't always be easy but you will always have My shoulder to lean on. Your tears are precious to Me and you'll always always always have Me to help carry your load. You don't have to do life by yourself; you can have Me.

I'm that small whisper in your heart...
come to Me, I alone will give you rest.

~ Jesus Christ

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Santa Claus wants some lovin'...

you may thank me after you listen...grin...

blessings ~ smiles ~ nice voices ~ 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

"The Lord is compassionate and gracious 
slow to anger and rich in love."

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion
If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

"The dew of compassion is a tear."

"Without suffering, 
there would be no compassion."

"That's the difference between pity and compassion: 
Pity just feels sorry!
Compassion does something about it."

"When action meets compassion
lives change."

"Don't treat people the way they treat you
Treat people the way God treats you."
~ Dave Willis ~

"Use your voice for kindness,
your ears for compassion,
your hands for charity,
your mind for truth,
your heart for love."

"How would your life be different if...You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day...You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey." ~ Steve Maraboli ~

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries."
~ Dali Lama XIV ~

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
~ Leo Buscaglia ~

"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others."
~ Sam Levenson ~

"Be kind and compassionate to one another
forgiving each other
just as God forgave you."
~ Ephesians 4:31-32 ~

Prayers going up for ~ elected leaders, especially those who serve themselves and not their constituents ~ Jim ~ Maxine ~ Jerry ~ Anderson family ~ Vicky and family ~ persecuted Christians ~

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

~ he makes me smile ~

"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow
the more knowledge, the more grief."
~ Ecclesiastes 1:18

"Be not troubled; for it troubles abound, and there be tossing, and storms, and tempests, and no peace, nor anything visible left to support; yet, lie still, and sink beneath, till a secret hope stir, which will stay the heart in the midst of all these; until the Lord administer comfort, who knows how and what relief to give to the weary traveler, that knows not where it is, nor which way to look, nor where to expect a path."
~ I. Penington ~

"The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day." ~ David Foster Wallace ~

"In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life."
~ Corrie ten Boom ~

"There are days when my heart is troubled, and just being in the Lord's presence and thinking about his love for me fills me with an inexplicable peace and joy."
~ Joseph Prince ~

"A bend in the road is not the end of the road...unless you fail to make the turn. ~ unknown ~

"If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience." ~ Robert Fulghum ~

"Even in troubles, there's usually 
something to make us smile." 
~ Sandra ~

"Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~

"Kites rise highest against the wind,
not with it." ~ Winston Churchill

"If you can find a path with no obstacles,
it probably doesn't lead anywhere."

"Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are." ~ Arthur Golden ~

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

"In these troubled times we live in, we should remain vigilant, and see through populist arguments."
~ King Albert II ~

"More people are troubled by what is plain in Scripture than what is obscure." ~ Roy L. Smith ~

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, 
that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; 
and it shall be given him."
~ James 1:5

If you have a prayer request, please send a private message.

Prayer Keeping ~ Jim ~ Rainey ~ Diana's hero ~ Kimberly ~ people out of work ~ 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Latest Winner, Quilt Book Giveaway, Winter Vehicle Prep

The Best of Vogue Knitting 25 Years of Articles, Techniques and Expert Advice was won by Donna of Brynwood Needleworks; the next giveaway is at the bottom of this post but the useful information is first.

I'm a great believer in taking care of equipment and this is due mostly to Daddy and partly to Dave. Dad always has his tools nicely oiled and put away while all vehicles are located year 'round, under shelter, out of the sun and weather. Many times, Dave told me, "Take better care of yourself; you're the most important and expensive piece of equipment on this farm. While you may can be repaired, you cannot be replaced." I still heed his wise advice.

This winter I am overjoyed that all vehicles are not only under shelter, most are behind locked doors. I'm a great believer in strong fences and gates with good locks. It's not that I don't perxactly trust people, I just like helping them make easier choices to go elsewhere to do their wicked deeds. I am also over the moon happy the tractor is now in the lower part of the barn where I can get it out to use no matter the weather. These past years, sigh, the tractor has been stored in the upper barn where it's virtually impossible to move without extremely careful planning and either the snow drifts or ice builds up and the barn doors cannot be opened. Last year I was trapped on the farm for a couple of weeks due to a sudden, unexpected storm that kept me from getting to the tractor or a 4-wheel vehicle to drive out of the valley. Being trapped on the farm is no hardship but to walk to the barn I had to, literally, fall off the back porch into the huge snow drift...get up, walk two feet, fall again into the huge snow drift...get get the idea. It would take me 30 or 40 minutes to get to the barn then do chores. Getting back to the house wasn't as difficult due to the broken path I'd made going down.

Do any of you keep a calendar for chores? If you do, is it something you'd care to let me see? I need help, lotsa A yearly calendar is one way to keep up with the work and make sure everything...oil changes, fluids topped, license, tags, insurance, etc., is taken care of in a timely and economical, manner. I am proud to say, winter vehicle prep is now finished and the vehicles are as ready as I can make them for cold, sleet, snow, ice, etc.

Two years ago I did a winter vehicle prep so this won't cover those suggestions. Rather, these are new or updated suggestions...

Some claim fuel treatments don't work but according to several mechanics I've spoken with, they swear by fuel treatments. They say it maximizes fuel efficiency and smooths rough idling and weak acceleration. I wouldn't know about the weak acceleration because due to being extremely cheap thrifty, I don't do jackrabbit starts. Why burn gas money I don't have to? There are many brands but Lucas is the brand my mechanics recommend so that's what I buy in a gallon jug which is more economical and when poured into a smaller container is easier to pour into each gasoline powered vehicle.

As you can see, I buy everything in a gallon jug; might as well save money where I can. You've read where I recommend Rain-X on windscreens/shields but I also recommend Rain-X in the wash container as a supplemental aid. Let's face it, driving is dangerous and I want to do everything possible to keep me and mine safe.

My mechanics suggest heavier weight oil for winter or for high mileage or older vehicles and I follow their advice. If you experience harsh winters, it's a good suggestion but if you live in a milder winter climate, it's all right to keep using your regular oil.

Most Important of All...keep antifreeze away from pets! For some reason, dogs and cats like to drink the stuff and it's extremely poisonous...your beloved pets will DIE should they drink it. Make sure your antifreeze is rated for your winter temps; you can check your owner's manual for their recommendation. I use antifreeze rated for my vehicles; for example, my farm truck gets a high mileage antifreeze while other vehicles get 'regular'.Your mechanic may suggest draining and flushing antifreeze but I've spoken to others that say Do Not Do It! I never have; I only top and fill antifreeze and have never, thank God, experienced any difficulty.

My tractor is diesel so a diesel fuel supplement is used to help prevent gelling and to prevent the fuel filter from becoming plugged with ice or wax. If you drive a diesel vehicle, check your owner's manual or do an i-search.

That's it for winter vehicle prep; if you've questions, suggestions or do things differently, let me know. I love learning from other people!

Upcoming giveaways...Kids' Travel Journal for you folks traveling with children, Campfire Cookery Adventuresome Recipes and Other Curiosities for the Great Outdoors for all you Camper Glampers and....... TA DA! To celebrate Season 6 - The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook from Lady's Mary's Crab Canapes to Daisy's Mousse au Chocolate - More than 150 Recipes - from Upstairs and Downstairs!

Now, the latest

Quilts, BABY! 20 Cuddly Designs to Piece, Patch and Embroider . (Yes, that is my flannel nightgown sleeve; it's been a long post and I'm burning daylight. I need to finish, publish and get busy doing chores.)

All patterns are cute and directions are given on how to get started, how to quilt, put together quilts...even a beginner can make a quilt with this book.

Let's see...leave a comment telling me if your vehicles are winterized or if you're a quilter. Contest will end Tuesday, 5 p.m., winner drawn by

Merry Christmas!

Blessings ~ quilting ~ vehicles winter ready ~ good mechanics ~ fun giveaways ~ Downton Abbey ~

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

~ Kit Carson and Guinea Bird ~

"An angry man stirs up dissension,
and a hot-tempered one commits many sins."

"The best fighter is never angry." ~ Lao Tzu ~

"Let this truth be present to thee in the excitement of anger--that to be moved by passion is not manly, but that mildness and gentleness, as they are more agreeable to human nature, so also are they more manly. ...For in the same degree in which a man's mind is nearer to freedom from all passion, in the same degree also is it nearer to strength."
~ Marcus Antoninus ~

"Anger is a short madness." ~ Horace ~

"Anger is a weed, 
hate is the tree."

"Angry people are not always wise."
~ Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice ~

"Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy." ~ Aristotle ~

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which is is poured." ~ Mark Twain ~

"Whatever begins in anger ends in shame."

"The best remedy for a short temper 
is a long walk."

"Anger begins with folly 
and ends with repentance."

"Getting angry doesn't solve anything." 

"Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry,
for man's anger does not bring about the 
righteous life that God desires."

Prayer Keeping ~ Jim, health ~ Jerry, health ~ elected leaders in our government ~ military ~ persecuted Christians ~ 

Friday, December 04, 2015

Anna, Last Post's Winner, Vogue Knitting Give Away and Recipe

~ Anna Grace ~

It's a rare occurrence I come home late and almost as rare I come home after dark. It's a dark drive across the mountains so plans are carefully laid so that errands are finished well before dark.

~ taken the day after she arrived,still hungry ~

One night last week, I came home late, after dark and when I parked the car, got out and walked into the yard I was met by this darling face, lungs bellowing "I AM HUNGRY! WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?" So, I hurried inside (I live to serve), poured cat kibble and put it on the porch where she tucked in eagerly while Girly and Lady Gray watched and waited their turn.

Although Sadie is huge compared to the kittens, she's gentle with them. The other kitten is Lady Gray, named for her color and my favorite tea.

This is Girly, mother of Lady Gray; Girly came here late winter, set up house keeping in the basement which is where she eventually had Lady Gray. In time, they both moved to the back porch, making it ever so much easier on me because I was going to the basement, twice a day, to feed them and mostly in horrible winter weather. Yes, all three females...oh joy.

Lady Gray is about 5 months, Anna's features are similar to a Lilac Siamese, and about 4 months and in January they'll all three be spayed. That is, if I can catch Girly who isn't as gentled as the other two.

Are you surprised to know Anna moved inside? I seem to recall it took her less than 24 hours.

Quinn, Comptonia blog, asked about cranberry recipes and posted a Cranberry Apple Mosaic Cake that looks super delicious. I made Banana Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bread Muffins because I couldn't find my bread pan and, truth be told, it tasted even better as muffins due to the crunchy tops. I added a few chocolate chips because I thought it would offset the tartness of the cranberries. I don't do a lot of food pictures because I assume you know how to mix butter and sugar, etc. If not, visit Martha Stewart or Pioneer Woman; they go in for tons of food photos.

Banana Cranberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
6 large muffins

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup mashed banana (2 medium)
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts - walnuts, pecans (optional)
1 1/2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease 6 large muffin tins.
Mix sugar and butter very well.
Add dry ingredients, mixing til moist.
Stir in nuts (I didn't add), cranberries, chocolate chips.
Spread evenly in tins.
Bake 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Remove from pan and cool.

Last blog post Kathy, Kathy in Ozarks, won J. Stephen Lang's The Christian History Devotional: 365 Readings and Prayers to Deepen and Inspire Your Faith. The next give away is The Best of Vogue Knitting: 25 Years of Articles, Techniques and Expert Advice.

Click on Vogue Knitting for a photo and review. (I've been on the tractor all afternoon and am crying for my bed.) So, if you're a knitter and would like a chance to win, leave a comment and a way to get in touch with you. Comments will be taken until Tuesday at 5 p.m. when a winner will be drawn via Random.

Blessings ~ a good recipe ~ great books ~ Anna Grace ~ Lady Gray ~ Girly ~ Sadie ~

Monday, November 30, 2015

31 Days to Do for Others, For Your Family, For Yourself & First Giveaway

Happy December! There are 31 days in this month; 13 days to do for others, 13 days to do for family and 5 for yourself.

Some of these will overlap...others, family and self and that's all right. If you don't do them all, that's all right, just try your best. If you choose to not doing any of them, it's your choice and that's all right. No condemnation here, no judging; I'm just trying to help you have a pleasant Christ centered Christmas or, if you're not of the Christian faith, a pleasant season. Some of these things cost money, others are free so lack of money is no excuse for not sharing love this season.

For Others:

*Donate a bag of cat or dog food to the local or county shelter.

*Buy food coupons to hand out to folks standing on street corners asking for help.

*A package of 3 wool socks may be purchased from Sam's, probably Costco and other places, for about $15, including taxes. Buy one package, give 1 pair to each Salvation Army bell ringer you see. It's going to get cold between now and December 24th.

*Contrary to what's been going around on facebook, don't send cards to Walter Reed Hospital. If you'd like to get involved with helping military personnel, please visit your local Veteran Amin. hospital here.

*Buy a fleece throw (Dollar Store, Family Dollar, etc.) and take to a nursing home. Ask staff who receives no visitors, cards, etc. and leave a card and the throw for them.

*Ask forgiveness of someone you've wronged.

*Give a magazine subscription to someone who doesn't get out much; it will delight 12+ times in the coming year.

*Send a card to an elderly person, enclose stamps.

*Shovel a neighbor's sidewalk or clean off their car of frost or snow...before they wake.

*Fill a book bag, back pack or purse with items for either a female or male (toothpaste, toothbrush, feminine products, brush, new underclothes, sweater, socks, hat, bag of mints or candy, etc.) and take to shelter or give to someone on street.

*Let someone in front of you in line or buy the person behind you a coffee.

*Write a thank you to someone who has done a good job or been kind to you. If it's a store employee, get their name and give the card to the MOD (manager on duty).

Your family:

*One night, turn off all media, sit around the Christmas tree and tell each other why you love being in your family.

*Bake cookies, it's all right if it's from a mix, keep some for your family, share some with a neighbor.

*On Christmas Eve, read Luke 2 or A Christmas Carol while gathered around the Christmas tree.

*Watch an uplifting DVD with your family then share the DVD with another family.

*Count your blessings, write them on a piece of paper, at Christmas morning breakfast, read them aloud.

*Take your unwanted, clean, warm clothes to a shelter.

*If possible, call or visit your parents.

*Buy a white tablecloth and with an indelible pen, have each person write their favorite Christmas memory, sign and date it. It's the start of a new tradition.

*Don't go into debt for Christmas.

*With your family, put together a food box and give to a family in need. This can be done through your church, a shelter, etc. Don't forget names on the Angel Tree.

*Don't allow other people's expectations to determine your quality of Christmas.

*Re-think your gift list. Just because you've always bought a gift, or gifts, for someone, doesn't mean you have to continue. Consider exchanging only gifts that can be tucked into a stocking.

*You don't have to go anywhere for Christmas; ask other family if they want to come to your house or simply stay home and celebrate with your immediate circle. It's your Christmas too.

Turkeys that got away last week.


*Get enough sleep each and every night.

*Eat healthfully; limit junk food.

*Every day, spend quiet time to center yourself. Meditate, pray, read the Bible or uplifting, positive devotions.

*Don't forget to practice deep breathing, all month long.

*If you need help, ask for it.

Even Superman takes a break every now and again.

I've got a number of things to giveaway this month. The first is J. Stephen Lang's The Christian History Devotional: 365 Readings & Prayers to Deepen & Inspire Your Faith. It's one of my favorite devotionals and puts me in touch with Christians gone before...that great cloud of witnesses, some known, others unknown but all fascinating. If you want to enter, please tell me what you're doing this December for others, for your family and for yourself and leave a way for me to contact you. Make sure your comments are 'reply to' or leave your e-address.

A name will be chosen by on Thursday, 5:00 p.m. and person will be notified by e-mail. If I don't receive a response, another name will be chosen and the person notified.

Blog2Print has a 30% discount; just use promocode STARTSHOPPING but the discount is only good for today.

Finally, Jenny Woolf has a delightful video of 12 year old Julie Andrews singing an aria. I had no idea she had such a voice, especially at such a tender age.

Blessings ~ December ~ Christmas ~ 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

"And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly
with your God."

"With pride, there are many curses.
With humility, there come many blessings."

"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."
~ J. D. Salinger ~

"On the highest throne in the world,
we still sit only on our own bottom."
~ Michel de Montaigne ~

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself,
it's thinking of yourself less."

"These are the few ways we can practice humility:
To speak as little as possible of one's self.
To mind one's own business.
Not to want to manage other people's affairs.
To avoid curiosity.
To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries.
To accept being slighted, forgotten and dislikes.
To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
Never to stand on one's dignity.
To choose always the hardest."
~ Mother Teresa ~

"The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes." ~ Winston Churchill ~

"It was pride that changed angels into devils;
it is humility that men as angels." ~ Saint Augustine ~

"Pride makes us artificial, humility makes us real."
~ Thomas Merton ~

"Generosity is giving more than you can,
and pride is taking less than you need."
~ Khalil Gibran ~

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all
external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."
~ Steve Jobs ~

"Pride must die in you,
or nothing of heaven can live in you."

"The people who abandon Jihad fall a victim to humility and degradation." ~ Abu Bakr ~

"I have been driven many times upon my knees but the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day." ~ Abraham Lincoln ~

"Life is a long lesson in humility." ~ J. M. Barrie ~

"True humility does not know that it is humble.
If it did, it would be proud from the contemplation
of so fine a virtue." ~ Martin Luther ~

"If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, "He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone." ~ Epictetus ~

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Prayer List for this week ~ Rainey with water problems ~ Yvonne with heat problems ~ Jim, health ~ Steve, traveling ~ Stephanie ~ those who struggle with depression during the holidays ~ 

Please forgive me...someone sent me an e-mail with 3 or 4 names...I can't find that e-mail so if you're reading, please send those names again.

Also, tomorrow I start special posts for December...lots of giveaways, suggestions and love. Please join me!

Friday, November 27, 2015

On Thanksgiving Day, I went shopping at Walmart...TWICE!

The evening before Thanksgiving, Mary called to let me know someone was serving Thanksgiving lunch, with all the trimmings, the next day at the county fairgrounds. It sounded great to both of us so we agreed to meet around noon.

Life Church volunteers, I think headed up by Jennifer Beth, along with volunteers from other churches, served turkey and all the trimmings. The woman in the above photo gave her permission, as did everyone, to have their photo taken and put in my blog.

The little man in front is called Sam, easy name for me to remember. He was front and center, asking people if he could get them a drink or more food and even thanked us for coming. Come to think of it, a lot of people told us, "Thanks for coming". It brought tears to my eyes...they provided a free with all the trimmings Thanksgiving luncheon, then thanked me and everyone else for coming! They were all so very gracious and radiated Shekinah glory .

Lamar, Youth Minister, and Crockett are from Destiny Outreach, both with beautiful smiles, tremendous personalities. 

The servers were from different mentioned, Life Church (Facebook page only), Destiny Outreach, Friendly Chapel and Main Street UMC were some I heard mentioned.

Lil Miss, on the left, was quite attentive, saying Happy Thanksgiving to people and her sister took turns serving.

I had a lovely time; the food was marvelous, the company sweetly Christian, the people beautiful. I cannot say enough good things about the luncheon or the people! My family is about 300 miles away and my plans included cold cereal for lunch...not complaining, just the way it was going to be so THANKS Life Church!

Earlier this week, on Facebook, people were talking about how terrible it was that people had to work at Walmart and other stores on Thanksgiving. Someone had a post (or whatever it's called) that said, essentially, "Please like or share if you think it's awful people have to work on Thanksgiving...greedy corporations" blah, blah, blah.

So, for grins I decided to go shopping at Walmart to buy several boxes of candy canes so I could give one to each employee. I wandered around the store, twice, to say, "Thanks for working today and Happy Thanksgiving."

These guys were happy; actually most people were totally shocked. One woman said, "In 15 years this is a first, you have to give me a hug!"  Another woman who identified herself as the store manager asked, "Why are you doing this? Are you with a church or something?" I said, "No, but people on Facebook are having hissy fits because Walmart people have to work today and I thought I'd come by and say, thanks for working". She said, "On no, you don't understand. Most of these people volunteer to work because they get a 25% discount on whatever they buy."

So, don't believe everything you read on Facebook, eh?

After handing out every candy cane, I was on my way out of the store and saw a stack of small electric fire places and thought, hmmm, one of those would sure look nice in my camper. So, at 5:30 p.m. I was back at Walmart to buy one and was helped by Stephen. He told me "This is the 6th year I'm working and I'm buying $300 to $400 worth of food so it's a great thing for me. My finance and I are really happy about the discount." Everyone was polite, pleasant, used manners and totally unlike last year when that store made national news. Apparently there was an altercation in the parking lot. It seems two men wanted the same spot and one brought a knife to a gun party. The guy with the knife stabbed the guy with the there's a twist!...but no one was killed so it was all good. I was home by 8:30 but, again, today my knees are crying like babies; God bless anyone who works on concrete.

Today we took a family walk, Sadie, Sam and Kit Carson. He's the kitten we rescued long in September and thinks he's one of the pack.

and he is.
The second wood rack is full of cherry, oak and maple; a good mix for a slow burn but not terribly hot fire. The chimney is cleaned and a starter fire laid; I honestly believe I'm ready for winter. God willing and the creek don't rise.

We've been having tremendously beautiful sunsets and warm weather. It's been lovely, a nice prelude to winter although we had a skiff of snow Sunday and Monday.

Lately, it's been beautiful one day and perfect the next. How's it been with you?

Blessings ~ Life Church ~ Destiny Outreach ~ Friendly Chapel ~ Main Street UMC ~ and all the volunteers who gave food and fellowship ~ 

Monday, November 23, 2015

LOOK SAMMIE!!! Santa Brought Us A BOY!

This morning, at 0:dark thirty the phone rang and when it rings at that hour, I've a good idea who is on the other end. This morning I was right; Mary wanted to know if I could keep Drew, her grandson. The regular baby sitter had influenza (that's what it sounded like) and all their other stand by's were sick as well. Apparently, there's something going around but since Dave got sick in 2010, I've only been sick once...a huge blessing, thank God! I mean really and truly sick...the grippe, not the in I've got a grip on the bed and don't wanna get up. (Which never happens because the animals really don't care if I'm too sick; they care about food and I'm their human who gives them food.)

So, The Boy, as he's called around here, arrived a little before 8 and Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent Angel, fell in LUV. Sam adores children and, come to find out, so does Gray Tom (although it could have been those nasty carrot mush The Boy was spitting out). I finally gave up on the carrots and popped a bottle in his mouth. Ahhhh. All is well and, while my back was turned, Sadie ate the carrots...loved 'em in fact! lol

You might want to stop reading at this point...I'm going to talk to myself and ask hard, desperately hard, questions. If you have any sane or sage advice or comments, feel free to chime right in. If you disagree, please do so pleasantly because People, I am frightened. I'm frightened for all of us, each other, our way of life, children, veterans, elderly, refugees. These are frightening times and, I'm ashamed to admit, there are moments, very long moments, when I forget God knows all, sees the future and absolutely nothing happens that is a surprise to Him.

If you're on facebook, perhaps you've seen those posts suggesting quite vehemently 'you've no heart whatsoever if you question bringing refugees into the USA', or, as one said, paraphrasing, "My religion demands I reach out to others" while another said, again paraphrasing, "those who would want to be in the White House think of refugees as Not Like Us".

There were many more comments that were sometimes more acerbic in tone and all seemed intolerant to the possibility someone might have an equally valid, but opposite, point of view.

As to the "my religion demands" camp...therein lies a huge part of the problem. Religion. I'm reminded of Nancy Pelosi who seems to have absolutely no concept of relationship so she fell back on that tired old chestnut, religion. Yo, religion demands nothing; my relationship demands all. Yes, Jesus did say "love your neighbor"; He also said, "count the cost" and if someone didn't welcome you or His message, leave and shake the dust off your feet

Ah, we don't want to hear or read that...count the cost or leave someone behind because they don't want to hear His Gospel. No, we'd rather the suckling babe lying in the manger, totally dependent upon humans. We don't want the God Man who will, at a time of His Father's choosing, return to judge and make war. (put another way...there's no reason for us to judge one another as that's Jesus' job.)

Dave's voice is ringing in my ear..."So essentially people want you to choose between this child you've held in your arms or someone else's child?" Harshly put but financially speaking...yeah. 100,000 refugees will be housed in the USA according to John Kerry in an Aljezerra article. By his own admission, there isn't a plan in place. Put another way, the plan is to bring 100,000 refugees to the USA and feed, house, clothe and give medical care. And what about the folks who live here, have been paying taxes here and who are struggling to pay their bills, have little or no health care, etc.? What about them? 

The USA is no longer the wealthiest nation in the world; we are, in fact, the largest debtor nation in the world. In 2014, we surpassed $18,000,000,000,000.00 dollars in debt, more than $54,000.00 per citizen and most of those dollars we borrowed from China. Last year the USA taxpayer paid $430 billion in interest!

Can you even conceive of the number 18 trillion? I can't but if it'll help, start counting now and when you've finished, 31 thousand years will have passed!

According to this site, it'll cost almost $260,000 a year to house, feed, clothe, give health care to a family of 5 refugees. Why aren't the Gulf States offering asylum? Interesting question, don't you think? But, back to us...are you willing to go, shelter, clothing, medicine so a refugee can have it? Are you willing for your taxes to increase? Are you willing to house your home? Are you willing to take from your child or children and give to another child? Hard questions and easy answers are not compatible; never have been, never will be but this is Sophie's Choice...for real.

Another salient thought I have is, "where are all those people crying for refugees when more than 2,200 babies a day are being aborted? or there are 50,000 homeless vets? or 1 in 5 children hungry? or 1.56 million other homeless? or those enslaved in sexual trafficking (the fastest growing global crime)?

I've got a lot of questions and not many answers but I do know...

I will not take food, shelter, clothing, medicine from the babe in my arms to give to another.

I expect the government of the USA to heed the Constitution to protect We, the whatever cost.

I will give to the Salvation Army to help those beyond me and I will also heed how Jesus lived...He preached to thousands at a time but He touched only one at a time. 

I can do no more.
You who are without sin, cast the first stone.

Blessings ~ Drew ~ Salvation Army ~ Jesus ~ relationship, not religion ~ 

Monday, November 16, 2015

So, What Do You DO All Day?

My brother, a retired law enforcement officer, now works at flipping houses and he's pretty good at it too. Anyway, one day we were talking and he asked, "What do you do all day? I mean, it's not like you have a job." (I'm glad we were talking on the telephone and he couldn't see my expression.)

So, this is what I did today...

*slept until 6:30 because at 5 I decided I was too tired to get up.
*got up and on my way downstairs, started the first load of laundry
*let the dogs and cats outside in outside in outside get the drift...
*treats for the animals
*made coffee for the human (me)
*settled in to listen to Yousseff and Begg
*read Bible, other devotions, wrote in 'blessings' book
*hung out laundry, started another load
*hung out down comforter to be ready to insert into duvet after washed and line dried
*checked e-mail
*fixed oatmeal, ate breakfast
*dressed, went to barn
*fed barn cats
*got out Ranger, carried hay bales to horses
*set out hay for horses in 2 pastures (using up all hay in Ranger)
*back to house, hung out laundry, started last load
*back to barn, got out tractor, mowed 2 small lots which required much opening and closing of gates while avoiding horses, preventing them from escaping
*put away tractor, moved Ranger in place to throw hay down from loft
*climbed into stables loft, threw down 5 bales of hay and stacked in Ranger then wrestled with old rug to cover hay from guinea droppings
*hung out another load of laundry, started final load
*went to library, Sam's Club and Joann's Fabric, 70 miles round trip, stopped at McD's for ice cream
*got home, unloaded car, fed dogs, cats, got in laundry
*started supper for myself, ate, finished watching Lawrence of Arabia (watching because it was filmed at a location Dave and I visited a few years ago when we were camping in the Sahara Desert), started watching As Time Goes By, Series 6 (LUV this BBC program!)
*started typing this post and when I finish, will mend a few rips in two blankets

So, that's what I do on any given day except I'm sure to have missed something...retrieving mail, picking up pasture trash while setting out hay, giving a few compliments while out, etc.

So, brother dear. Not much. You?

Blessings ~ God given strength ~ good health for animals and myself ~ treats  for animals and myself ~ a cat in my lap (Gray Tom) ~ As Time Goes By ~ 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

"Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, 
in due time their foot will slip; 
for the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things 
are hastening upon them."

"Revenge, the sweetest morsel to the mouth
that ever was cooked in hell."
~ Walter Scott ~

"But men often mistake killing and revenge for justice.
They seldom have the stomach for justice."
~ Robert Jordan ~

"I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?
If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge?
If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that."  ~ William Shakespeare ~

"Beware the fury of a patient man."

"It is only those who have neither fired a shot or heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell."
~ William Tecumseh Sherman ~

"On wrongs, swift vengeance waits."

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." ~ P. M. Sir Winston Churchill ~

"We must all hang together,
or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

"We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening." ~ Ronald Reagan ~

"...and they cried out with a loud voice, saying,
"How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain
from judging and avenging our blood
on those who dwell on the earth?"

Prayer Keeping ~ Pray for Paris ~

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Knees Are Crying Like Babies

This morning, my knees are crying like babies and at first, with an idiot's wisdom, I thought "It must be going to rain." Then I checked the weather and find it's not supposed to rain until Wednesday and reconsidered the knee situation. Oh. Right. The wood stack on the back porch went from the above to 

which meant one step up on the porch, carrying wood, one step down on the ground, repeat until wood off ground and onto rack. The large piece, left, will be used as a back porch table; a sweet reminder of the gift of the sugar maple. In the interest of full disclosure, the back side is what I did before leaving to do errands. The front is what Faith did when she came to help yesterday. Still, immodesty bids me also tell you, Faith is 2/3 my age; she's 21 to my 62 so your adulation and praise should not be withheld on my behalf (HAHAHAHAHA).

There's one more wood rack to fill and, in the next few days, the boys will be along with black locust. I've got a couple of things to finish in the house and then let Ole Man Winter come! But, not until then please and thanks.

Coming home yesterday, of course I stopped to take photos.

A beautiful white tailed deer.

The Cove from another direction. This taken from about where the "Half Mile Tree" stood until it succumbed to Father Time and Mother Nature. The tiny white spot, about center left is the Cove church, no longer used for services. Thistle Cove Farm cannot be seen due to the rolling nature of the landscape and much of the land in this photo belongs to the estate of Smiley Ratliff, a local southwest VA (Grundy, Buchanan County) boy "who done good"...very, very, very good. Dave and I were welcomed into the Cove by Smiley, long before we knew who Smiley was. To us he was simply a kind man, a good neighbor who invited us to his home for cook-outs and a good time. If you click on his name, you'll read a Washington Post article that describes Smiley and our part of Appalachia to a T. In the 1950's Smiley was on the cover of Time magazine. Like I said, a southwest VA boy who done good...very, very, very good for himself and a lot of others.

As an aside, when we first moved to the farm, a young lad who helped us told me he used to play junior varsity football. I asked him why he'd quit and he replied, "Waelll, we'un's 'uld play agin Grundy and I'd be on the line and look up and that thar feller 'n front of me 'uld have a mustash. Heck, Miss Sandra, that just ain't right...them Grundy boys go back to school in September so they'uns could play football and they'd quit by Christmas. Some of them had been in the 8th grade 3 and 4 times!"

Smiley coached Buchanan High School football and was once asked what was the best pass defense. He replied, "A quarterback lying in a pool of blood, dyin'."

They don' grow 'em as tuff as they us'd tuh.

Blessings ~ Smiley Ratliff ~ firewood ~ the Cove ~ black locust ~ sugar maple ~ 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wise Words on Veterans Day 2015

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, 
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, 
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer,
Who gave us the freedom demonstrate.
It is the soldier, 
Who salutes the flag, 
Who serves beneath the flag.
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."

"Those who cannot bravely face danger
are the slaves of their attackers."
~ Aristotle ~

"It is God's job to forgive Osama Bin Laden.
It is our job to arrange a face to face meeting."
~ General Norman Schwarzkopf ~

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." ~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower ~

"Military power wins battles but spiritual power wins wars." ~ General George Marshall ~

"There are some who've forgotten why we have a military. It's not to promote war, it's to be prepared for peace." ~ President Ronald Reagan ~

"God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever led us to victory, please continue your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Strengthen my soul so that the weakening instinct of self-preservation, which besets all of us in battle, shall not blind me of my duty to my own manhood, to the glory of my calling and to my responsibility to my fellow soldiers. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord." ~ General George Patton ~

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation." ~ President George Washington ~

"I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within."
~ General Douglas MacArthur ~

"Now therefore, be it Resolved by the Fiftieth Annual Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, That we hereby declare that we are unalterably opposed to any program which would entail the surrender of any part of the sovereignty of the United States of American in favor of a world government."
~ Veterans of Foreign Wars ~

"It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion. 
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
 It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, 
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."
~ Charles M. Province, copyright 1970, 2005 ~

Blessings ~ THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: USMC ~ US Army ~ US Air Force ~ US Navy ~ US Coast Guard, Reservists ~ 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Death by a Million bites or More Winter Prep Work

One of my favorite things to make (and eat) are roasted cherry tomatoes with EVOO, sea salt, cracked pepper and rosemary. It's about a quart of tomatoes, a double drizzle of EVOO and enough salt and pepper to perk it up a bit. After roasting for a few hours at 300 degrees F, I take them out and, depending upon mood, mix with capers, olives (black or Kalamata or your pick) then top sliced toasted baguettes pieces. It's especially nice with a shaving or three of Parmesan cheese on top but not quite enough to eat after a day of wood cutting.

The huge, old sugar maple in the front yard has been devoured by black ants. Donald tells me the ants get into trees and begin eating from the middle out and, eventually, the tree loses enough of itself and collapses. I'm sad to say this is what happened to the top of my 150 year old tree. The rest of the tree is still hanging in there; may it continue.

Donald came over to cut up the tree; first using his chain saw

and then using the maul to split the large pieces.

In a word, he's amazing. He's using Dave's maul, bought the first year we lived here and should I try to use it, the blasted thing would probably bounce back and hit me in the head. It takes enormous strength to do all this work; my work was in loading up the wood and taking it round the house.

I filled the Ranger three times, enough for three weeks for the wood stove. Most of the wood is dry but to start, I'll use a ratio of 1 of these to 3 of the black locust; it'll both stretch the locust and cause a slower burn. I think, perhaps, there's enough to last me December, January, February and, should winter last through March, I'll limp through. The wood stove is supplemental heat and I use it because it's warm heat...warming me several times...loading and dragging wood to the porch, stacking it on the porch, carrying it into the house, stacking it in the house and, finally, burning it.

The large "log" on the left back side is the piece I'm using as a "side table" on the back porch plus it's a nice reminder of the old tree.

The third load in the Ranger, the first two loads dumped on the ground. Tomorrow, I'll stack wood on one of the wood racks and hope for the best this winter. That's right, one of two wood racks...on the back porch. I do not want a repeat of this year's February...when I ran out of wood. I'm doing my best to be safe, warm and ready.

After a trip to the grocery store I came home and got in the Whirlpool, jets blasting, hot water steaming and Epsom salts thrown liberally into the mix.

It felt wonderful!

Now, my bones are pleasantly tired and it's time for my evening to end; tomorrow comes early and I'm excited to be closer to winter prep work being finished. How about you; are you ready for winter?

Blessings ~ Donald ~ free wood for the physical labor ~ Whirlpool bath ~ Epsom salts ~ Ranger ~ roasted cherry tomatoes ~
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