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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, 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 ~


  1. Hard work surrounded by animals you love and animals that love you are so sweet. And days spent working hard allow us the sweet relief and renewal of sleep even if the hours of sleep aren't as much as needed.

    Your questions have oft been my questions. I, along with some others, have been studying the book of Job. Chapters 8 thru 10 are especially poignant and if you feel prompted, look them up.

    Sister, you are in my prayers, and so is your father.

  2. Bon courage, beloved Sandra xx

  3. Hi Sandra, I love seeing the pics of your cats. Pets give us a lot of comfort. I am praying for you and for your precious Dad.

  4. Sandra sending my prayers to your Dad and your family. I am also sending hugs to you. I know yesterday was a difficult day. HUGS take care. B

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart. Your words were all beautiful, as were your pillowcases. :)

  6. Sandra, so moving to read your lament this morning, and then your positive thoughts that followed. If you don't have a grief group to help, it might be a good idea. You are surrounded by such beauty where you are. Find some new friends who share your interests. You will make it through this, with your faith so strong.

  7. You could simply write about WORK.

    How did blessed work become a negative word?

    Adore my work, professional & personal.

    Metaphor of the gift to wash the servants feet. In thanks.

    Lost my husband of 3 decades to alcoholism. Soul within his body, that I loved/married/rejoiced taken by drink. Never to return. Different death, grief nonetheless.

    Cannot imagine the normal society accepted grief of death. Met a woman, while in 12-step meeting for friends/families of alcoholics, lost her husband to gambling addiction, lost her home at the same time. With children living at home. She got thru it but was mute for over 2 years. Literally lost her ability to speak. Ha, forgot to mention, losing her husband at that time too.

    Joy you share your faith. Exactly, why get up in the morning without it? Especially when experiencing huge loss.

    I don't understand why G*d gave us grief. Yet, sometimes think G*d must experience great grief at what we have done with the gift of free will. How we trash Earth, inhumane to each other, livestock.....etc...

    In faith I believe in passing forward my gifts in the form of blessed 'work' and staying positive, being negative is the easy path.

    In faith, in far future I will meet you and you will be with your husband. Until then, work and staying positive. Of course I'll be with every pet of my entire life when meeting you/your husband!!

    Like watching Joel too, always write notes from some part of his sermon.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

  8. I'm so sorry, Sandra, that you are without your precious Dave. My husband means the world to me, and I try not to linger on thoughts of life without him. My heart goes out to you for what you must endure alone. It must be terribly hard at times. I will add your daddy to my prayer list. You, as well. You have a lot on your plate right now.

    Btw, that pillowcase is just lovely!

    I know what you mean about struggling as a Christian. And like you, I've enjoyed Joel Osteen's messages when I've watched him. Not deep, but very helpful and encouraging in my daily walk. He helps us see the good. And to DO the good.

    Take care, dear lady!

  9. Sorry, I made it sound like your hubby, Dave, and your daddy were the same person in my paragraph. I meant to speak of them separately, but lumped them together. Oops!.

  10. I cannot speak from experience, for which I am thankful, but only learn from yours and your readers' comments. But you are in my prayers. Your father, also. And I rejoice with you in the beauty He has surrounded you with, the comfort of friends and critter-friends, and the satisfaction of the work of your hands, all of which He has gifted to you out of His love for you. Someday we will know the answers to the mysteries of life, but right now, I don't believe I am strong enough to know. Maybe when I grow up? (said with tongue in cheek as I celebrate my 76th.)
    His peace be with you.

  11. I love that phrase you say to yourself! This thing called MY.Life. is not pleasant or easy, either, but God does not call us to an easy life, nor is good character developed by such. We WILL keep on keeping on....

  12. I love spring too. New life. Warm-ish. Green things growing. Your cats make me smile. Your embroidery is great! Love those little flowers.

    May you find joy in small gifts that God gives.


  13. you have been blessed with such a sweetness in marriage - - taken too soon of course in your heart of hearts - - blessed nevertheless. gentle hugs.. so bittersweet is the hurt, then springtime.

  14. Praying for your dad.
    Sorry to hear you're having such a hard time with loneliness. We all grieve so differently. Nobody can tell us how to do it "correctly". When I think of my husband I'm filled with thankfulness that he's now in the safest place in the universe. Surrounded by God's love and totally healed and whole. I don't know why he had to go through such suffering except that we live in a fallen world and Satan is trying to steal, kill and destroy as much as he can, hoping it will derail our faith. I know God doesn't give sickness to us. Jesus spent all His time healing. I prefer to focus on the fact that God will bring good out of all that Satan meant for evil. In the end, we will win! Meanwhile, he said we would have tribulation in this life. But He is with us in it. Of course, there is a lot of beauty, too, and I'm so thankful for that. :)

  15. This post is the best thing about blogging, women reaching out to women, being honest about their feelings, friends commenting and understanding, the message being passed along that sometimes we hurt, hurt bad. But that we're searching for a better day when the bad ones overwhelm us. Knowing that we're not alone and we never know you we might reach with our honesty, our encouragement, just being there.

    Your being real that believers don't always walk around with joy in our heart but we know who walks with us.

    I love your sanctuary household. That commitment sounds precious and important to me.

    I hope you manage to get some rest, Sandra. Fatigue doesn't help, does it? Thank you for telling us what you're trying to cope with now. God bless you and strengthen you.

    Oh, and I am always blessed when I hear Joel. I often have felt frustrated to hear Christians criticize him, my husband included. All I know is that he encourages me. I'll be 72 soon. I don't want to be yelled at ever again. I get to choose now who I'll listen to and I believe kindness and joy speak louder than berating does.

    Well, I never thought I'd write these things in blogland, but you did bring it up!

  16. I'm praying for your Daddy. The sun comes up again tomorrow and we put one foot in front of the other regardless of what's going on. We still need to at least get to the bathroom. Not making light of it all. Just saying, we keep going. You keep going and one of these days it won't be so hard to put that foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breathe out. You are a strong women. Never forget that.

  17. Great post Sandra, straight from your heart. There certainly days when it all feels like too much, but our strength is not from ourselves but from God and He is the One we rely on to see us through each and every day.

    You are an inspiration to me and many others. God's continued blessings on you.

    Love, hugs and prayers for you and your Daddy too.


  18. Hey there.
    (That's the way I start my correspondence to my friends)

    I've only known you a little while. I hope we get to meet someday. I can't begin to empathize with you and all you've gone through, and yet my heart reaches out to you.

    Have you read, Ann Voscamp's "One Thousand Gifts"? If not, I strongly recommend it. If so, keep it close at hand and flip through it now and then. It might help to get your joy back.

    Thinking and praying for you and dad and family. ♡

  19. I liked this . . .

    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.

    What a woman you are . . . when all your work on the farm has been laid to rest, passed on to another . . . I hope you write. . . . and write some more.

    Keeping your dad in my thoughts and caring . . .

  20. I'm glad you are catching up and feeling well. Being over-tired for any length of time really makes a difference to life in general and difficulties in particular, doesn't it?
    Very sorry to hear your father has a tough recovery ahead. But then, they made 'em tough back then! I will certainly be keeping him in my thoughts, and you as well, Sandra.

  21. Dear Thistle, this post is like a great poem or music of life, dreams, pain, love .... today is my favorite day, this season my favorite season and this time the very best time of the year....
    Pain and love always go together. You always look at Jesus - He is your brother and friend, unknown and loving. He sent you His Spirit never to be alone. Love and greetings, thank you for going this brave way - your Dori from the Bavarian forest.

    Best wishes for your beloved father!

  22. Your life is so blessed and your attitude in all things makes you such a special lady. You are so courageous and such an inspiration.
    Prayers for your father.
    Wishing you many blessings my friend.
    Love to you, CM

  23. Don't you love just a beautiful day where you can just celebrate the loveliness around you? Even in the midst of sadness. Loss is so hard. It doesn't operate on a calendar -- one day it's done. Those special days bring back floods of feeling and sadness. Sometimes joy, but even that can mix in. Grief is a one-day-at-a-time thing. I'm so glad you could spend the day after in nature.

    And a whimsical note -- Your cat and my Gypsy (namesake of The Marmelade Gypsy and the sweet boy you see on the computer screen in my banner) were both named after Gypsy Rose Lee! My sweet boy was (I had initially thought) a girl -- Oops! Big smile when I saw that.

  24. Yes it dose. Cancer changes everything. I do understand even if my journey is not as yours for my husband is still among the living. But on July 19th 2012 our lives changed , forever. Never to be "normal" again. Feeling some days as if I will never know again our past and there are no answer as to what future if any we will have. Spend days often feeling stuck in the middle.Between what was and what may never be. You are a dear sweet woman Sandra and don't you forget it. <3

  25. I am so moved by this post. Thank you so much for sharing your grief and blessings with everyone. I have learned much from you. My prayers for you always! Hugs!

  26. Sandra, I've missed a few of your posts, and scrolled back to catch up. I'm so glad I didn't miss this one, nor all the lovely comments. It makes me glad to be part of this community of bloggers. We love to share the pretty things, but it's also about real life, our griefs and sorrows, and being honest. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    I will pray for your dad, too.


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