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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.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

"David said to Saul, 
"Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; 
your servant will go and fight him."

"Every great story involves a normal person who answers the call to become a hero. Every hero has a worthy opponent.
Who is yours?"
~ Lance Wallnau ~

"Heroes are made by the paths they choose,
not the powers they are graced with."
~ Brodi Ashton ~
"Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me." ~ Fred Rogers ~
"Stay strong.
Stay faithful.
Bear witness.
Fear God, not men."
~ Professor Robert P. George, Princeton ~
"We are all ordinary. We are all boring. We are all spectacular. We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all helpless. It just depends on the day."
~ Brad Meltzer ~
"Heroes may not be braver than anyone else.
They're just braver 5 minutes longer."
~ Ronald Reagan ~ 
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." ~ Winston S. Churchill ~
"Perseverance is the act of true role models and heroes."
~ Liza M. Wiener ~

"Courage is being scared to death...
and saddling up anyway."
~ John Wayne ~

"By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies."

Prayer Keeping ~ Donna ~ Faith and family ~ Mildred ~ Sandra ~ 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blackberry Winter, Self Talk, Skunk, Giveaway

~ and I'm making good time ~

Blackberry winter has come and gone, again, and summer is creeping, creeping, creeping closer and recent days have been spent on the tractor or lawnmower. Next to the house, there's a pasture that grows a mighty fine crop of thistles and it's my life's ambition to keep them cut. Um, did I mention the hill is steep? Yeah. To the men who were on tractors when they were nine, it's no big deal but to me it's gasp and prayer inducing. I got stuck on a left hand turn, going down hill when courage failed me and I got stuck. The hill was too steep to back up, even with four wheel drive engaged so, with one foot on the clutch, one foot on the brake I stopped and prayed. Hands lifted to sky and with a loud voice (in case God couldn't hear over the tractor roar) I prayed for help and spoke Bible verses and words of encouragement to myself.

Finally, I was able to creep, creep, creep down the hill all the while turning to the left so I could continue cutting more thistles. After doing all I could on flat-ish ground, the tractor was put away and the stirrup hoe put into use. It's a good rhythm, swinging the stirrup hoe, back and forth, back and forth knowing I'm doing something useful and worthwhile to help the land. For the most part it's quiet work and I'm able to hear animals, insects, wind. On that particular day, during one swing, I heard a skhhhh, skhhhh, skhhhh and looked around but didn't see anything so started swinging the hoe. Once again, I heard skhhhh, skhhhh, skhhhh and cast my gaze eight feet away and saw...
who was very polite and asked, nicely, for me to go away. Of course, I did; I apologized for invading his space, turned and walked away as did he.
A few swings later, I took a break to clean the water trough of algae
and when I turned around, this is what I saw
my Curly horses coming to see what's happening. L to R you see Dani Girl, Lightly and IzzaBella.

Almost forgot...blackberry winter is either side of May 10 when the weather goes from hot to cold to warm rather like Indian Summer only in reverse. Apple trees have bloomed and blackberries are usually in bloom during Blackberry Winter and there's generally a frost. This May was no exception.

Life on the farm is spent in solitude; it's a good thing I like my own company, eh? (lol) but as everyone knows, what we say to ourselves is important. Very important. I know a lot of people who are negative, the glass is empty (not even half empty) and they aren't happy unless they're making someone else unhappy. Bless God, He gave me the happy gene and, like Agatha Christie, "I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."  Yes! To keep my enthusiasm high, my outlook positive I put the above poster in my living room where I see it daily. It's important what I tell myself, what we tell ourselves, and I've spent wasted too much time, too many years with negative talk, negative emotions. If I could tell you anything that's of any importance (other than the story of Jesus), it's to be very careful what you tell yourself. We're not stupid but sometimes we do stupid things. We're not lazy but we all need times of rest and relaxation. We're not mean but sometimes we slip and do or say mean things but, overall, tell yourself good things...and then believe them!

As to the poster, the middle says "Just Be Awesome" and that helps keep me grounded. The Bible says God is awesome so I'm particular how I use that word so having that statement in the middle of my positive self talk poster reminds me Whose I am. The rest of it reminds me to keep my focus...and, mostly, I do.

 J. R. R. Tolkien wrote,

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."

and I believe it with everything that is in me. Whoever said life isn't a dress rehearsal was wrong. Life is a dress rehearsal and I'm trying, mightily, to live a life that's pleasing to God and that includes living with a grateful heart.

I keep little posters all around me and the one in the first photo is going to you, should you win. Leave a comment, let me know what you think Tolkien meant. Next Monday, around 5 p.m., someone's name will be pulled out of a hat and you'll join me...strangers in an alien land, for too short a time.

For now, I need to close so I can finish watching Young @ Heart; if you've not seen it, hasten to the dollar store and buy it for less than four bucks; it'll do your heart good!

Blessings ~ Young @ Heart ~ skunks ~ American Curly horses ~ Tolkien ~ wandering...but not lost ~

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

~ wild turkey ~

"Sow with a view to righteousness
Reap in accordance with kindness;
Break up your fallow ground,
for it is time to seek the LORD until 
He comes to rain righteousness on you."
~ Hosea 10:12

"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, 
I'd spend six sharpening my axe."
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

"Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I'm a great optimist, but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it 'the eaten by wolves factor.' If I do something, what's the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don't worry about because I have a plan in place if they do." ~ Randy Pausch ~
"The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today."
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr. ~
"Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability. ...We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation."
~ Thomas A. Edison ~
"Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation." ~ Robert H. Schuller ~
"Worrying paralyzes progress; prayer, preparation and persistence ensures it." ~ T. F. Hodge ~
"To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace." ~ George Washington ~
"Fortune favors the prepared mind." ~ Louis Pasteur ~
"I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it." ~ Denzel Washington ~

"By failing to prepare, 
you are preparing to fail."
Benjamin Franklin ~

"Therefore be ye also ready: 
for in such an hour as ye think not 
the Son of man cometh." 
~ Matthew 24:44 ~

Prayer Keeping ~ Jim ~ Marydon ~ Terry ~ Donna ~ Stephanie ~ Tara ~ Gretchen ~ Mildred ~ Sandra ~ 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

"And in every work that he began 
in the service of the house of God...he did it 
with all his heart, and prospered."

A new minister was walking with an older, more seasoned minister in the garden one day. 
Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice.

The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to  open it without tearing off any of the petals.

The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry.

 But, because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact. It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do.

Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud, without tearing it, the older preacher  began to recite the following poem...

It is only a tiny rosebud
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
God opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?

So, I'll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step along the way.

The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord and Savior knows.
I'll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose."
~ author unknown ~

"The process of being made broken bread and poured out wine means that you have to be nourishment for other souls until they learn to feed on God. ... Be careful that you get your supply, or before long you will be utterly exhausted. ... Be exhausted for God, but remember your supply comes from Him. "All my fresh springs shall be in Thee." 
"But none of these things move me, 
nor do I count my life dear to myself, 
so that I may finish my race with joy, 
and the ministry 
which I received from the 
Lord Jesus, to 
testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
Prayer Keeping ~ Stephanie ~ Mildred ~ Donna ~ Gretchen ~  Jim ~ Gladys ~ Tara ~ Stephanie ~ Andie, whose Dad passed away yesterday ~ Sandra ~ 

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Very Best Time of the Year...

~ Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Shepherd Boy ~

That's what the song says about Christmas but I disagree. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas...the story of Jesus' birth, the stable, animals, shepherds, star and every year I wonder anew at Mary delivering her first born. Did she have help? Who was it? Was it Joseph or did a woman from the village hear her cries, come to investigate and stay to help. So much we don't know yet so many stories in those very few verses.
~ Gypsy Rose Lee ~

Like Forrest Gump, today is my favorite day and this season my favorite season. Today was full of work, lovely work, that put me a tad ahead yet still, overall, behind. It's all right though; I'm good with that because I get to work outside in this very beautiful valley, listening to horses nicker, cattle lowing, sheep calling lambs, birdsong. We have a sanctuary household, meaning all the animals live in harmony and you wouldn't be surprised to know Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent Angel and Sadie Baby watch over me constantly.

~ Gray Tom ~

However, it might surprise you to know some of the cats follow along as well.

~ Hey JD, do ya need help shooting the groundhog ~

Last week, Daddy had vascular surgery and I stayed in hospital with him. Dad is tough, the Greatest Generation 2, doncha know but this has tried him, and the family, sorely.  In about 150 hours, I slept 20 hours and am still trying to recover. There are a lot of problems (not issues, ta very much!) that are attendant to Dad's surgery, recovery and physical therapy and prayer is urgently requested and needed.

This little pillowcase is one of two; the work of my hands and heart. I'm not good with hand work but I do like it and, sometimes, the product is sweet.

Yesterday was Dave's birthday, bittersweet indeed. This grief journey has been horrendous and the best I can say is I believe I've finally accepted it all. His illness, his death, the loss of all my dreams. I still struggle with "Why, Lord?" I still struggle with my inability to understand, the isolation, the question if I'll ever be happy again or have a life as good as the one I had. I struggle with "friends" who once were and are no longer but am grateful not to have to deal with as many takers. Yes, I do know I was greatly blessed being Dave's wife and am grateful, very grateful. I'm grateful to have meaningful work where I am blessed and can bless others yet I'm still sad.

No, this is no pity party but an ennui that I simply cannot shake and wonder if God will restore the years the locust has eaten. I struggle with being a Christian, all these questions with no answers and wonder how those who have no faith get out of bed in the morning or even why bother. I tell myself to 'practice faith until I have it and then, because I have it, to practice faith'. I listen to Joel Osteen, a lot, and his ministry of encouragement helps. Then, I think of people who think Joel isn't Biblical and wonder which Bible they read. He seems to me to be Biblically sound but not very theologically deep and that's all right too. Heck, I've know a lot of preachers who couldn't preach their way out of a wet paper poke and they still got paid. At least Joel makes his living from book sales, speaking, etc. and not from the church offering plate; I don't know many who can say the same.

I'm grateful to have the legacy of strong, mountain women (and men) who taught me by example. When I'm weary and it seems like too much trouble to continue, I think of them and their struggles and know the same God who was with them is with me. With God, I. can. do. this. thing. called. life. I call on Him, He hears and gives me strength and bread for the journey. It is an enormous feeling of awe when I consider I am a daughter of the Most High God; He has chosen me and I have said yes to Him.

Today is my favorite day, this season my favorite season and this time the very best time of the year.

There is no turning back.

Blessings ~ today ~ this season ~ this time of year ~ being a daughter of the King ~

Thursday, May 07, 2015

And so he did...

"Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventure..."

~ Lewis Carroll ~

A bestie for more than three and a half decades, Sandra, or S2 as Dave called her, was our sometime partner in travel adventures. In this photo, taken three weeks before Dave's death and in Sandra's home, they were discussing something on the computer. 

~ Happy Birthday, Dave ~

Blessings ~ S2, my beloved friend of the heart ~ 22 years of adventure ~ gifts ~ a very fine marriage to a very fine man ~ 
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