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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.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mind Your Moments Because Moments Matter

~ evening in the valley ~

It's extremely doubtful this post will dig any deeper due to extreme weather on God's part and extreme exhaustion on mine, yet, looking back at notes made last year, I see February 2014 was just as horrible and I lost three sheep - Harry and Sophie Shetland and my beloved Carly Shetland, age 21.

~ Carly Shetland ~

This morning, at 5:00 a.m. there's no promise of dawn much less of sunshine and it's only hope and perseverance that gets me out of bed. Well, perseverance and the fact Daisy wakes me because she needs to go outside. We all stumble downstairs and I open the back door to frigid temperatures, twice, and decide I might as well stay up and start a cup of coffee. Eventually, the sun shines and hope stirs that today might just be a tad more gentle than the rest of this month has been. Surely, February, you can end on a gentle note, eh?

~ this morning, 7 a.m. ~

Slow Living is what my life is called and it's mostly concerned with what I call "heat and eat" or what Abraham Maslow called a hierarchy of needs: "food, shelter, clothing". Should you click the link, you'll find an article saying Maslow's work "suggests people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs." I find enormous humor in that statement because, to my way of thinking, there are NO "more advanced needs". Certainly there are other needs, different needs, but "more advanced needs" It could be I haven't any idea what's meant by "more advanced needs" and I struggle to think of Work is what I do because I love to do it and am blessed to do it...the work of my hands and heart is tending to this farm, these animals and myself. Self-esteem? Again, so tied in with my work that it's impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins and I've never felt that way about any other job. Sure, I've always done my best when employed by others but those jobs didn't give satisfaction like this farm, possibly, due to the bosses I had. It's nigh on impossible for me to respect a boss anyone who isn't honorable, trustworthy or who is a Janus. Truth be told, I don't even try.

The article says there are five needs: psychological (survival needs - food, shelter, clothing); security (employment, safety); social (belonging, love); esteem (personal worth, recognition) and, the highest level, self-actualization (personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, fulfillment of potential). Again, amusement because Dave once told me, "I wish you cared, just a little bit, about what other people thought of you." My response, "Dave, I care enormously about the opinions of those whom I respect; the others...ummm, not so much." That's still true and it amazes me when people say, "What will people think?" and I'm blown away by the prospect people will think. What they think is between them and God and I've enough to answer for without concerning myself with someone else's judgement.

Slow Living means daily, the animals need food and fresh water and that means going to the barn, twice a day minimum, to throw out hay for the horses and chicken scratch for the guineas. Far too often to suit my body, ice has needed to be broken and removed from the water trough and for that I use a crowbar and pitchfork. I'd like to say of all the jobs, that job hurts the worse but then I remember pulling the fire wood from the barn (one hundred yards, all uphill) and how it took three days for my body to recover (if it has). It's hard work yet I take perverse pleasure in being able to do it and, when my spirit, yet again, faints at the prospect I remember so many stories told in Daddy's family and find the strength (due to God's mercy) to carry on.

I believe it was my third Great Grand Daddy and Grand Mother who made their way from central Virginia (late 1600's - early 1700's) to the Appalachian Mountains of (what is now) West Virginia. Joining a group of travelers, she and the smalls (toddlers, babe at breast, younger children and girls) drove their covered wagon loaded with supplies (food, clothing, cast iron cookware, etc.) and, crossing many mountains, headed to the new home place. Grand Daddy and the older boys drove the livestock in a different direction but they were all to meet at the new home stead in time to plant a late garden. When Grand Mother's group got to a river (can't remember which) they didn't realize spring rains had dislodged the marker and it had caught, downstream, in a different place but not realizing, she nudged the horses into the water. Before anything could be done, the wagon overturned; everything, and everyone, was claimed by the river. When Grand Daddy got to the home stead the caskets of his wife and children greeted him.

So my questions are these: why and how do people who don't know Jesus or have such stories keep going? What's their motivation? From where does their strength come?

It's a privilege go live here, on this farm, in this valley. Every day moments are mine to receive and they all matter because all are gifts. When someone would ask Aunt Bonnie, "Why have you never left the farm?" she would reply, "Why would I leave heaven on earth?" I believe she well and truly cultivated the gift of contentment and found joy in the moments because they mattered greatly to her.

The Canada Geese are back and staying at Maiden Springs where they have food and water

and Maiden Springs cave drips with ice that will take another few weeks to fully thaw. Camus said, "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." Summer is mine to claim as well; a merciful gift from God and the stories of family...those great clouds of witnesses gone on before.

I mind my moments because moments matter...greatly.

Blessings ~ Maiden Springs ~ my animals ~ witnesses ~ stories ~ heritage ~ winter ~ summer ~ moments ~


  1. This is good enough to be a Sunday School lesson. I hope I "mind my moments" too. I do know I treasure every day I get to worship Christ more, to live here in the country where I want to be and debt free, with the man I love and loves me. That's all I really need (after the "essentials", of course). Everything else is just icing on life's cake and I'm truly grateful for that too.
    It grieves me that so many in your family died so tragically. Your poor great grand father! He must have felt crushed for a long, long time. Thank you for sharing their story.
    Stay warm and safe my friend. Luv ~:)

  2. What a story that you have with past generations in your family! It is so amazing how times have changed, and even though we have some hard days now, they can't really even compare with the days of the wagon trains. Can't imagine how they survived. Your photos are lovely and glad to know that you are seeing and appreciating your moments. Love that canada goose shot! Keep warm!

  3. I try to "mind my moments" although I don't know if I always do a good job of it.
    I am not much one to care what others think anymore-I once did. I have held my head high in the face of some real adversities and heard the tsk-tsk of those around me. Some things alter your life forever and make you look solely to God and yourself because no one else really understands and man will always let you down on some level. (I don't mean one man- I mean mankind in general).

    That was a touching, horrible story about your great grandmother. What a burden for your great granddad

    I hope you have a wonderful rest of the weekend. xo Diana

  4. May the Lord bless the animals & the fowl. We seem immersed in another bitter winter where no one knows what to do. Except survive. xx's my friend....

  5. I agree. Great post, good Sandra.

  6. This was such a wonderful post to read, I wished the stories of your family continued, I felt like I was reading a great novel that ended all to soon. Mind your moments...that too made me smile!

  7. This was a beautiful post to ready early this Sunday morning. God gave you a lovely talent for writing and it is from your life, heart and soul.

    Thank you and God's continued blessings, peace and strength on you.

    Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

  8. Exactly, how to keep going without a belief in G*d.

    Appreciating how Earth was given to us, and we can pull a living from it, provisions, and metaphors from the Bible arrive, simply staying home, and living with this Earth.

    Been reading much about the new research/results on the microbiome of our bodies.

    Almost 3lbs of our body is microbiome, without which we would die. Brain weighs as much.

    We're designed to live/thrive with Earth within us.....

    Studies are showing, much of our mood/actions stem from these gut bacteria.

    As if G*d hasn't already told us in metaphor.

    Humorous, G*d wants us farming & gardening.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

  9. This is a prairie kind of moment for me! and any kind of moment here on in. Your writing is amazing, your truth authentic and honest stands up to greet us in your every moment. God does show up doesn't he? and the love and respect you have for this life land is evident through him.
    Such hardwork you endure and such a testimony to who you are.....Yes, you need not care what others think of you, you know well enough who you are, and well enough to carry on.....Knowing God is so much BIGGER! Then MAN'S JUNK!

    This post is all about true grit, endurance, perseverance, and all sense of the phrase (Carry On)
    I so enjoyed this phrase ( Good and Pure )
    A message that stands up to greet you.

    Thank you dear, I am not sure why I don't make it over here so much more often, my bad, and I will soon again.

    Thank you dearly for taking the time out of honest work to visit me in my moment....your words joy my Sunday.
    Bless the many moments ahead of you.


  10. Now I can make mention on how I have said this before, but write that story, good and pure, all those moments, then seek out an agent, submit your stanscript and watch your book rise to the best sellers list!


  11. Yep... write that book, Sandra.

  12. this is a great post!
    bravo! and hugs!

  13. You are so beautifully honest - love you my friend and admire, pray for and trust in your ability to get through this winter. That cloud of witnesses are whooping and cheering.

  14. Every season has a blessing that we need to look for sometimes. So enjoyed reading your thoughts and I thing I have learnt is also 'who cares what other people think'.

  15. What a story. Heart-rending. I didn't expect that ending. How indeed did he manage to go on :(

    You have had a hard month and I do remember reading here last winter and it was more of the same...perhaps more snow, not sure. I think this winter's cold is worse. Lovely photos :)

    God Bless : )

  16. Another truly beautiful post, Sandra, your writing and spirit glow from the page. Yes, I agree that a book would be wonderful but you need to get through this dreadful winter first. Stay safe and warm my friend, and in good health.

  17. Excellent thoughts here, Sandra. I found the story of your ancestors in WV, fascinating. What overwhelming tragedy! Yet so many men married again and again, losing wives and children in such a harsh life. Our families are full of such accounts.


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