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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.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Blue Moon Magic of Dog Days

~ antlered male white tail deer ~
The above photo hasn't anything to do with dogs or blue or moon but it could be argued it is a magical. Let's face it: have you ever seen an antlered male (or any gender) deer urinating? It's rare and this is the first time I've ever seen, or captured in a photograph, such a sight. Dear God, thank YOU for nature...I LOVE IT!

As an aside, I don't doctor my photos as (1) I'm too lazy, (2) because pretty is as pretty does, (3) it's fake, false, faux, (4) time is sorely limited. On rare occasions I will crop a photo with key word being rare. Heck, I barely have time to post two or three times a week and have to choose wisely where my time is invested.

~ TCF ~

At Thistle Cove Farm, we're firmly in the grips of Dog Days leading to a Blue Moon on July 31st. If you're wondering, dog days are between early July and early September, but usually ending by late August when the heat of summer is stultifying and the humidity threatens to suppress deep breathing. (Thank God, yet another reason to put off yoga or any other form of exercise save walking in the cool (being a relative term) of the evening.) 


~ days old fawn ~

Anyway, back to dog days. In the millennium of yesteryear, the ancients would connect the dots of the heavenly stars and come up with bears, dippers, bulls, twins and any manner of beings. Mind, this was before light pollution but at Thistle Cove Farm, during each months darkened nights, such sights are still readily seen. Many nights, much to the dog's dismay, I go for a walk at 0:dark thirty simply to hear the nightingale sing and to see the diamonds of the Milky Way cast across the night sky. I can imagine God, shaking a handful of stars in preparation to slinging them away from Him. Much like those ejits do when playing roulette or dice or some other form of "entertainment" designed to separate fools and their money.

Canis Major, the big dog, is Sirius (yes, that is where XM radio got their name) and it is the brightest star in the southern night sky. In summer, Sirius rises and sets with the sun and in late July, is in conjunction with the sun thus leading the old timers to believe its heat (brightest star = heat) made sultry and hot weather. The period 20 days before and 20 days after this conjunction are the "Dog Days of Summer" and are generally between 3 July and 11 August.

On the 31st of this month, hopefully we'll see (as in no cloud cover) a Blue Moon, meaning the second full moon of the same month. A full moon is when, in this order, the sun, earth and moon line up and the light of the sun shines directly onto the moon. I've read it's also when lunar energy is most intense, whatever that means. There are all kinds of sayings regarding both moons..."take back control of your life", "it's a magical, mystical time" and so forth but I say if you're waiting for a full or blue moon to take back control of your life, well, it's no wonder your life is in a mess. In the first place, never give up control of your life (unless it's to Jesus) and secondly, if you do give up control (unless it's to Jesus), take back control ASAP and don't wait for the moon to do her thing. I mean...seriously folks, we get one shot at this thing called life so make it count.

This button buck, meaning it's a young male with antlers beginning to grow, was being dive bombed by a red wing blackbird; their antics were amusing to watch.


In the morning, some of the barn cats sit in the window, waiting on breakfast. I try to finish outside chores by late morning then do inside chores until late afternoon. Sometimes the plan comes together but on days like today, when the temps are in the 90's and the heat index is nasty, even working inside produces rivulets of water dripping down my body.

It's dog days with a vengeance and 11 August looks a long ways off.

Blessings ~ healthy animals ~ white tailed deer ~ buck deer ~ Sirius XM Radio ~ Luna Moths ~ Dogs Days ~ Blue Moon ~

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

"His pride led to his downfall. 
He was unfaithful to the Lord his God."
~ 2 Chronicles 26:16

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

"Too many people spend money they earned...
to buy things they don't want
...to impress people they don't like."
~ Will Rogers

"As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride."
~ John Ruskin ~

"It is easy to tell the toiler
How best he can carry his pack
But no one can rate a burden's weight
Until it has been on his back."
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox ~

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

"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity."
~ Dale Carnegie ~

"You differ from a great man in only one respect: the great man was once a very little man, but he developed one important quality: he recognized the smallness and narrowness of his thoughts and actions. Under the pressure of some task that meant a great deal to him, he learned to see how his smallness, his pettiness endangered his happiness. In other words, a great man knows when adn in what way he is a little man. A little man doe snot know he is little and is afraid to know. He hides his pettiness and narrowness behind illusions of strength and greatness, someone else's strength and greatness. He's proud of his generals but not of himself. He admires an idea he has not had, not one he has had. The less he understands something, the more firmly he believes in it. And the better he understands an idea, the less he believes in it."
~ Wilhelm Reich ~

"I do not care so much what I am to others
as I care what I am to myself."
~ Michel de Montaigne ~

"...Therefore it says, 
God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble."
~ James 4:6 ~

Prayer Keeping ~ Mary ~ Gabe ~ Donna ~ Rainey ~ Fred ~ Terry & husband ~ Jim ~ me ~

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Life Lessons From an Intentional Country Woman





~ photo by Vicki at 2 Bags Full ~

~ Every trail has a few mud holes, some of them deep.
~ If you loan money to 'friends', expect to lose both.
~ Keep skunks, bankers and the government at a distance.
~Locked gates help thieves make easier decisions.
~Do not corner something meaner than you.
~Forgive your enemies; it messes with their mind.
~When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
~Fences need to be horse high, pig tight and bull strong.
~Always drink upstream.
~Letting the cat out of the bag is easier than putting it in.
~Trust your neighbors but keep your gates locked.
~Life is simpler when you take time to pull out the stump.
~Successful people do one thing very well, not everything poorly.
and

~It's easier to step in manure than get it off your boots.

Blessings ~ good work boots ~ laughter ~ country women ~

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

"Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the Lord do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren."

"Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builders labor in vain."

"Be an aware parent. Identify your child's unique gifts and encourage those." ~ Linda Wakefield Kelley ~

"This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them on which will make them rich indeed." ~ Patrick Henry ~

"Remember that your ultimate goal is for your children 
to grow up secure in your love, 
strong in their faith, 
and with sound character."

"The family should be a closely knit group. The home should be a self-contained shelter of security; a kind of school where life's basic lessons are taught; and a kind of church where God is honored, a place where wholesome recreation and simple pleasures are enjoyed." ~ Billy Graham ~

"What God is to the world, 
parents are to their children."
~ Philo

"No man hath a right to claim God as his Father, unless he feeleth in his soul, and believeth, solemnly, through the faith of God's election, that he has been adopted into the one family of which is in heaven and earth, and that he has been regenerated or born again." ~ Charles H. Spurgeon ~

"The cure of crime is not the electric chair
but the high chair."

"Where will our country find leaders with integrity, courage, strength--all the family values--in ten, twenty, or thirty years? The answer is that you are teaching them, loving them, and raising them right now." ~ Barbara Bush ~

"A sentence from Psalm 101 has been both challenging and convicting for me: 'I will walk in my house with blameless heart' (Psalm 101:2). When God speaks to be about being more loving, this verse reminds me to make application  in my family first--and then to others. It forces me to ask, 'Am I more spiritual, more loving, or more fun somewhere else? Who gets my best--my family or others?" ~ Jean Fleming ~

"I praise loudly,
I blame softly."
~ Catherine the Great ~

"What higher motive could there be for the husband to love his wife? By loving her as Christ loved the church, he honors Christ in the most direct and graphic way. He becomes the embodiment of Christ's love to his own wife, a living example to the rest of his family, a channel of blessing to his entire household, and a powerful testimony to a watching world."
~ John MacArthur ~

"Let each one of you ...so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord...Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."

Prayer Keeping ~ Marine and law enforcement families ~ Jim ~ Rainey ~ Donna ~ Mary ~ Terry & husband ~ Grace ~ me ~

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sabbath Keeping


"Listen to me, you who know righteousness, 
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear not the reproach of man,
nor be dismayed at their revilings."

"He warned people to 'count the cost' before becoming Christians."Make no mistake," He says, "if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect--until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less."

And yet--this is the other and equally important side of it--this Helper who will, in the long run, be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection will also be delighted with the first feeble, stumbling effort you make tomorrow to do the simplest duty. As a great Christian writer (George MacDonald) pointed out, everything father is pleased at the baby's first attempt to walk: no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free manly walk in a grown-up son. In the same way, he said, "God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy."  ~ C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity ~

"If we displease God, does it matter whom we please?
If we please Him does it matter whom we displease?"
~ Leonard Ravenhill ~

"Some people say, "Once you learn to be happy, you won't tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less." My Christ says, "Your job is to get off your self righteous butt and start reaching out to the difficult people because my ministry wasn't about a bunch of nice people getting together once a week to sing hymns and get a feel good message, that you may or may not apply, depending on the depth of your anger for someone. It is about caring for and helping the broken hearted, the difficult, the hurt, the misunderstood, the repulsive, the wicked and the liars. It is about turning the other check when someone hurts you. It is about loving one another and making amends. It is allowing people as many chances as they need because God gives them endless chances. When you do this then you will know me and you will know true happiness and peace. Until then, you will never know who I really am. You will always be just a fan or a Sunday only warrior. You will continue to represent who you are to the world, but not me. I am the God that rescues." ~ Shannon L. Alder ~

"Where, oh, where are the eternity conscious believers?
Where are the souls white-hot for God because they fear His holy name and presence and so live with eternity's values in view?" ~ Leonard Ravenhill ~

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?
Or am I trying to please man?
If I were still trying to please man, 
I would not be a servant of Christ."

Prayer Keeping ~ Missouri woman's family  ~ Donna ~ me ~ 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Cost of Freedom


Contrary to what you might have heard or may want to believe, the Colonies/New World were established to serve as religious sanctuaries. Pennsylvania was established as a Quaker state, Massachusetts as a Puritan state and Maryland as a Catholic state.

"Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another two had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?
  
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants.
Nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated and signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well the penalty would be death if they were captured.
  
Carter Braxton, Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in Congress without pay and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was reward.
  
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hlal, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnet, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.

 Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.


Half of these signers of the Declaration of Independence were educated in theological, or divinity, schools; in other words, Bible schools.


At the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin offered a prayer and added, "Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance?"


Odd, that doesn't sound like a non-Christian to me. 


In Jefferson's Bible was written, "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator." 

Thomas Jefferson was Chairman of the American Bible Society and Patrick Henry said, "it cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."


In 1777, the First Continental Congress authorized purchasing 20,000 Bibles from Holland and in 1781 the Aitken's Bible was received Congressional approval. It was also the first Bible printed in the New World. 


I think it fair to say our Founding Fathers didn't want religion, rather they wanted Relationship. Religion has caused, does cause, wars, divisions, contention, and all sorts of evil because it's man quest for power whereas Relationship with Jesus Christ ensures eternity in heaven. 


And, that's what it's all about...relationship with Jesus. Let's face it, if we live three score and ten (70) years, it's a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to eternity. I admit, there are days I'm overwhelmed with the arguing, fussing, fighting that's going on inside the beltway, on facebook, in local, state and national government. It's easy to be overwhelmed because I get my focus off eternity and on the hear and now. 


That's so wrong.


So, in July I read and think about our Founding Fathers and the truth...not what some people want to force me to believe. It takes time, effort,energy and research to find out the truth but the Truth will set me free.


The Cost of Freedom is a lot.


Blessings ~ Founding Fathers ~ Thomas Jefferson ~ Patrick Henry ~ Continental Congress ~ Benjamin Franklin ~ Declaration of Independence ~ Aitken Bible ~ 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Best Marigold Hotel...now playing

As I don't have marigolds, day lilies will have to do as I'm watching The Best Marigold Hotel and recognize so many actors from other venues. Penelope Wilton, played Isobel Crowley in Downton Abbey, again playing a crotchety, disagreeable old woman who does not deserve the wonderful husband she abuses. Eventually, she figures it out and makes changes to propel both she and her husband forward even if separately. No, this isn't a recommendation for divorce...it's a movie...

Then there's Maggie Smith, aka Dowager Violet Crawley, another very, very crotchety old woman who is also disturbingly vocal in her dislike of Indians. Yet, as the movie plays on, we finds out she's been "let go" with no ceremony, after years, perhaps decades of being in service. A younger woman has taken her place and she's been put out to pasture, unwanted, unloved, un-cared for and totally at sixes and sevens. It's sad and I weep for her because I know her. I know many such women and men and sometimes, sometimes, they figure out a way to go on and go on successfully.

Judy Dench is someone who makes the best of a bad situation and, in this movie, does it beautifully ending her part in the movie "happily ever after". I do like her clothes though...all cotton and linen and she's about the only one who dresses for the city and the weather. Smart woman.

If you've seen this movie, no doubt your mileage differs; please tell me how.
~ Dandy Man, he's my boy ~
I've always wanted to visit India, particularly Jaipur where the movie takes place, but there are so many other places I want to see first...Wales, Scotland, Ireland (again), Mongolia, then, maybe India. But OH the textiles...that would make India totally worthwhile...yes? The Kantha quilts are lovely and the next quilt I make, I want to do it in the Kantha style.
Mom and Dad wanted to go to Niagara Falls so a camper was purchased. It's a 19 foot something or other that's no longer being made but is extremely suitable.
 The flag is to remind me to be me. Silly, eh?
 Table seats four and the Mikassa dinnerwear is vintage.

Banquet seating that breaks down into a double bed. The kitchen area has a rooster theme...cute, eh?
Seats four. 
 
Four burner stove, double sink, enamel cook wear. Pretty much, it's all vintage and thrift store finds. 

 Twin beds in the bedroom, the fabric on the bed will be used to make quilts for each bed.
The mattresses were in good shape but I purchased five inches of foam to put underneath them...which will make a wonderful nights sleep.
 I've sailed a 36 foot yacht with a shower about this size.
 Nice sized sink and
toilet with lots of storage.
A refrigerator a tad larger than a college dorm size.

Now, all this lovely, fun stuff and my parents can't go due to Dad's surgery. He's had complications and a trip to Niagara isn't happening this year. Still, I've had a lot of fun simply sitting in the sun, outside the camper, planning trips to come. And, should those trips not happen, I'm thinking this might be a nice farm stay camper. What do you think?
Recently, I was at Gina and Steve's house and we were visited by babies...twin bears! I'm not sure where Mom was but, to be sure, she wasn't far. I think it's a bit like humans...one child will stay put and do what they are told whereas two children will get into mischief so the babies ran off.
They were wandering around the front yard and when I stepped onto the front porch, began scrambling up a tree before scrambling down and running across the road.
which way...which way??? Cute as all get out and just more of God's creation we see in this lovely valley.
And, almost lastly, this is what one of the cats left in the sun room for me. Daddy John said he thinks it's a copper head; I know for sure it's a dead copper head. whew!
In more than twenty years, this is the second snake I've seen on this farm; the first was a green garden snake.
The first photo in this post was taken the same time as this photo...beautiful, simply beautiful. A storm blew through on Friday and Saturday, leaving crystal clear weather, mid 50's temperatures feeling like early September...break your heart beautiful!

As they said in the movie, "Everything will be all right in the end, and if it's not all right, it isn't the end" or as I like to say...God has a plan and that's a good thing because these are trying times. Tempers are running high, emotions are out of kilter, people are being mean, neither side seem to be very tolerant. People, listen up...it's okay to have differing opinions about, well...everything but what's not okay is to turn nasty. Please don't show hatred or even unkindness; if necessary, remove yourself from the situation and walk the other way. If you're a Christian, turn the other cheek and show Christian love.

Blessings ~ on all God's people, saints and sinners alike ~