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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, December 25, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS one and all!

~ God bless us everyone! ~

IT'S A BOY! - Sabbath Keeping

"For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and His name shall be called
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace."
~ Isaiah 9:6

"Kneel before the Babe of Bethlehem. Accept the truth that the Kingdom of Heaven is for the lowly, the simple.
Bring to me, the Christ-child, your gifts, truly the gifts of earth's wisest.
The Gold - your money.
Frankincense - the adoration of a consecrated life.
Myrrh - your sharing in My sorrows and those of the world.
"And they presented unto Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh." "
~ A Devotional Diary: God Calling, 1945 ~

Jesus Christ is the only reason Christmas is celebrated; Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. He said, "You must be born again" and "I am the way, the truth and the life." The only way to heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as God's only Son and your Savior. His Holy Spirit will not always woo a person; there will come a time when His Holy Spirit will leave each to their own opinion. When that time comes, hell for all eternity is the future. C. S. Lewis said, "Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unspeakable horror." Choose wisely; your very soul is dependent upon your choice.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

In the Bleak Midwinter

~ click here ~

"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

5-Gift Rule and Gimme Gimme

~ red wing blackbirds here in droves ~

Yep, Abraham Maslow had it, shelter, clothing are needs; all else is want. He also said, "The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short."


That sure hit home. How many times do we slough off a compliment instead of simply saying, "Thank you", then tucking that compliment inside and pondering it later when we're in dire need of encouragement? I know I'm guilty.

For a lot of decades, I've remembered (a minor miracle!) and sung Mickey and Becki Moore's song called, "Gimme Gimme" and, at some point in time, had the pleasure of seeing them in concert. Mickey and Becki started in Greenwich Village, NYC as professional street singers, becoming part of the Jesus Movement and eventually moved to central Virginia. Theirs is a wonderful story, a testimony to grace, mercy and lashings of love and, in a box somewhere, I have their first album, Mickey and Becki (that's the album name I remember but could be wrong).

"Gimme gimme this, Lord,
Gimme gimme that
I gotta gimme gimme mentality
Oh, I really wanted this,
Instead you gave me that
Lord, you're not listening to me..."

All over the i-net, I'm reading where folks are going into debt, giving Christmas gifts. That is insane! I'm also reading about the 4-Gift Rule...something to wear, something to read, something they need and something they want. That sounds about right but I've made it into a 5-Gift Rule...something to in make small packages of hard candies, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb/brush, hand wipes, wool socks/hat (purchased at Sam's the socks cost about $15 for 3 pair and the hat is 2 for $12) then drop off at a shelter, letting your child hand over the goods. Allowing the child to make the association between the package and helping a real human being goes a long way toward establishing an attitude of gratitude and a lifetime of giving. Also, consider serving food or giving gifts in a Salvation Army or other shelter. This Christmas, what are you doing for heaven's sake?

Remember Gene? He's the Salvation Army bell ringer at Sam's Club and a more cheerful man you'd hardly find. Last year, while shopping at Sam's, I found three pair of wool socks for $15. When I left the store, I handed Gene a pair, starting a delightful, seasonal relationship of rejoicing with him in Christmas. This year, I wanted to up the ante so stuffed a little dollar store bag with tissue paper, a pair of socks and a wool hat. While in Sam's, someone saw me ripping open the packages and, smiling, asked, "Are you cold?" "No, it's a gift for Gene, the bell ringer. It's cold and the wool will help keep him warm." The woman looked at me and said, "That's such a nice thing to do."  And, instead of saying "Thank you" I admitted, "Wellllll, it's a very selfish thing to should see his face when I hand him a Christmas gift!" His smile could light up Time's Square!

Sometimes ya gotta break the rules or you'll never have any fun! There are a few days left until Christmas, meaning you've still got time to "be selfish"; click here for some suggestions.

My days are filled with supplying food, shelter, clothing for the animals and myself. Tending to the farm takes more energy and strength than I have yet I plod on, considering it all joy to do the work God has set before me. The hay is sold for this year...IF people come get it, leaving enough hay for my horses to get through the winter and my pantry, freezers and fridges have a few jars, bottles and containers of this and that, put up during summer's end harvest. I've got wool socks, hats, scarves, jackets and am ready to laugh, mildly, at winter.

Yesterday, the first day of winter, was mild and supposed to continue throughout the weekend, into next week. That's good with me; I've had white Christmases and while beautiful, they can add stress to the holy day. If yesterday was the first day of winter, that means today is my favorite day...the day when days begin to shorten with more light than darkness...YAY!

Although, this autumn and winter haven't been very harsh for which is am grateful. Eddie, my wonderful helper, has done a lot of things to make the house, barns, vehicles warmer and safer...he's my new hero!

Maxine, a friend of almost 45 years (!!!), gave this horse collar mirror to me. Her Dad made it, probably 30 years ago, and it was languishing in her home so she gave it to me. Eddie, my wonderful helper, put the pieces back together and hung it in the sun room right beside the

collection of, mostly, animal bells. Most of these bells were purchased in Eastern Europe...Romania, Hungary, Ukraine with one being purchased in Russia. I still have a few to display but have run out of room here.

Beside the bells is my beloved quote from Tolkien.

 Do you remember last week when I had problems with the water trough freezing? The problem was wasn't working but I didn't know why until Donald and Eddie came to check it out. The horses, being horses, were horsing around and doused the socket with water which overloaded the circuit and shorted.

Yeah. Rather frightening and I'm so very glad the entire thing shorted out instead of catching fire. God is good. Very, very good.

Donald and Eddie replaced the electrical socket and, using an old dog treat plastic jug, they jury rigged and sealed everything.

News from the farm is simple...we've food, shelter and clothing along with oil in the tank, wood for the stove and we are blessed. Dr. Anne comes tomorrow to give cats rabies vaccinations and on Monday "my" computer guy comes to get my desktop set up (OH JOY!), Eddie returns to do more wonderful things and in between is Christmas Eve and Christmas. The cats will be given canned tuna, the horses extra hay and grain, chews for the dogs and I'll be given the greatest gift of all...the assurance God has a plan. He says I am the apple of His eye and He holds my right hand telling me not to be afraid so I am not afraid. For me, faith is a choice and I choose to trust Him. God has a plan.

Ponder this ~ "We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk." ~ Thomas Moore ~

I hope you've a few such people in your life; in my life, Maxine is one among several; all are blessings and gifts. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me."

"May you live all the days of your life." ~ Jonathan Swift ~

"The truth is, of course, 
that what one regards as interruptions, 
are precisely one's life."
~ C. S. Lewis

"Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. In the past, whenever I had fallen short in almost any undertaking, it was seldom because I had tried and failed. It was because I had let fear of failure stop me from trying at all."
~ Arthur Gordon ~

"May you have the hindsight to know where you've been
the foresight to know where you're going
and the insight to know when you're gone too far."

"The only real battle in life is between hanging on and letting go."
~ Shannon L. Alder ~

"Recipe for longevity:
leave the table hungry.
leave the bed sleepy.
leave the table thirsty."

"May there be sprig enough in your life
to outlast the winters;
May there be music enough to lift your
spirits whenever needed;
May you be gentle enough to comfort those
who are hurting,
But revolutionary enough to bring Jesus to
whose who need Him now.
May there always be laughter in your home
And may God always hold you in the palm of His hand."

"Smiling at death seems like a pretty bold act.
And so I smile like a damned fool."
~ Emm Cole, Keeping Merminia ~

"If you obey all the rules,
you'll miss all the fun."
~ Audrey Hepburn

"Don't you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you're no taking advantage of it? Do you realize you've lived nearly half the time you have to live already." ~ Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises ~

"There are only two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done", and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"There'll be two dates on your tombstone, and all your friends will read 'em, but all that's gonna matter is that little dash between 'em." ~ Kevin Welch ~

"Intentional living is the art of making our own choices 
before others' choices make us."
~ Richie Norton

"Don't be afraid your life will end
Be afraid it will never begin."
~ Grace Hansen ~

"We're terminal from our first breath. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. As much as possible, as God leads, each day make fearless choices that will impact eternity. Give compliments lavishly; bless others; pray for strangers. Opportunities come and go so, starting with the next one, do something about it. Tomorrow will never come so today, live, really live, and live it large!

"Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory
or one of unthinkable horror."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"I have come that you may have life more abundantly."

Please pray for ~ folks, especially military, who are alone this Christ season. Better yet, invite someone to share a meal, take someone to lunch or for coffee. Be the Jesus in someone's life in the next eight days. ~ 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Rescue the perishing...NEVER AGAIN!!!!

I'm so sorry; I'm apologizing ahead of time but I NEED to vent!

I have HAD ENOUGH! I'll NEVER help anyone ever again! NEVER!! I'm either too kindhearted or too stupid...probably both!

Yesterday, it was so freezing cold outside that I took pity on someone and brought him into my home. Yes, out of the kindness of my heart, I opened hearth and home to him as he seemed to be shivering almost uncontrollably. When I got up this morning, he'd vanished; gone without even so much as a thank you or by your leave...simply gone!

To add injury to insult, he'd peed all over the living room floor! I couldn't believe it! So much for being good to someone so NEVER AGAIN will this women repeat that particular kindness!

Please be warned and watch out for this man as he, apparently, cannot be trusted! He's heavy set, wears a scarf tucked 'round his throat and his eyes are black as coal. His nose looks like a huge carrot and his arms are so skinny they resemble sticks!

Under NO circumstances should you take him into your home! The mess he made in my home is unbelievable and will take days to dry out!

You're welcome.

Ponder this ~ a day without laughter is like a week without sunshine ~ MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Appalachian Winter Approaches

A while back, I purchased this dandy ole timey pick ax for $4.94. As I walked through the thrift store, a man asked me, "Do you know how to use that thing?" I laughed and said, "Well, I live on a farm so yeah, I do know how to use it." On Friday past, said pick ax came in handy when the water in the horse trough froze during the 8 degree F above zero overnight weather. Of course, I went to the barn before learning about the frozen water so spent considerable time walking back and forth from barn to garage. (Yes, the pick ax is now housed at the Eventually, brain cells thawed and kicked in and the Ranger was put to use, making the dogs very, very happy.

The de-icer should be working except the electricity isn't but Donald said he'd come by tomorrow to fix it and says he has the parts! In the photo above, if you peer closely, you can see the water spigot isn't flowing because it's frozen as well.

Back to the house to boil a kettle of water which was poured over the brass spigot and TaDa! the water began flowing immediately. Thank You, God!

Using the pick ax head, I heaved it up and down until the ice began breaking then cleared the middle all around the trough to allow the horses free access. Even so, by later afternoon, ice had formed again and the process repeated. And again, the next morning but by Saturday afternoon, it was thawed enough it could be plucked out by hand.

Yes, to hard work but yes, as to feeling alive as well! Wool socks and sweater, LLBean boots, scarf wrapped around my throat, warm gloves and Elmer Fudd hat meant I was warm as toast.

The same winter storm that brought the snow and ice also tore tarps off the farm truck, the air conditioner and the camper. The wind was fierce, bringing temps down to wind chills below zero.

This is the road I take when going to the grocery store and farm store. Fortunately, no one was following me so no one got upset when I was driving 15 miles per hour on the right side which is the north side and nothing but a sheet of ice.

By the time I returned home, the snow was already melting.

Saturday, after clearing the trough of ice, someone came to pick up hay and bought all the bales so I gave them one bale free. Rather like lagniappe, eh? lol This was the first time I'd double stacked the bales and felt rather proud of myself.

Many years ago, someone crocheted my farm name, Thistle Cove Farm, in white thread. I mentioned to Eddie, my helper, I'd love to have it put on a piece of old barn or fence wood. Eddie said, "I can do that" and this is the result...fabulous, isn't it?! I simply love it and Eddie said he appreciated the opportunity to "be creative". Hmmm. He may regret saying that; I've bent his ear rather well with tales of what I'd like to do next with farm buildings. Now, to find The Lord's Prayer which the same woman also crocheted for me; Eddie will frame that in old barn/fence wood as well.

Remember the blog books I've had printed each year? This one is 2015 and they all brings me so much pleasure. After Dave died, I started printing these books as a memorial and a visual journal of our lives on the farm. I've been blogging more than ten years and these books are a fabulous reminder of the best one third of my life.

Until tomorrow, Blog 2 Print has a 30% off deal where you can have your own blog printed. I chose to have each year, individually, printed in order to have a dated journal. If you'd like to have your blog printed, use GIFT as the code to receive 30% off. A tip...don't have your comments printed in order to save a ton of money. Not having my comments printed, meant fewer than 200 pages as opposed to about 450 pages and saved a lot of money.

The full moon is the 14th but the moon tonight looks like it's struggling to be full. Temps are supposed to be in the 40's, most of this week, with a 15 degree dip on Wednesday. Time enough to clean ashes from the wood stove, lay a fire and prepare for winter's next storm.

So, nothing much but farm and house work going on; it's all good. What's going on in your world?

Ponder this ~ "It's what you do when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." ~ Oscar Wilde ~ 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"I will lead blind Israel down a new path, 
guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
I will brighten the darkness before them
and smooth out the road ahead of them.
Yes, I will do these things;
I will not forsake them."

Chapter 1: 

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2:

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out. 

Chapter 3:

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall's a habit...but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately. 

Chapter 4:

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it. 

Chapter 5:

I walk down another street.

"Jesus answered and said unto them, 
"I am the way the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me."

Please pray for ~ Maxine ~ Gina & Steve ~ Mary ~ Bonnie Jean & family ~ Nancy ~ Julie ~ Sandra ~ 

Friday, December 09, 2016

TCF Faith Filled Friday

Born February 24, 1902, the oldest of three, into an Anglican family, she was small, even tiny, and with dark eyes and hair stood not even five feet tall. She went into service, becoming a parlor maid to a wealthy family until she responded to a Gospel message to give her life to Christ and became convinced she was to spread the Gospel in China. Some reports say Gladys Mae Aylward questioned God as to why she was so short and dark; physically, she didn't fit in with her London counterparts and she was always shy about her differences.

At age 26, she became a probationer at the London China Inland Mission Center but didn't pass the examination so she worked several jobs, saving her money always with the intention to go to China. She heard about Mrs. Jeannie Lawson, a 73 year old Scottish missionary, who wanted a younger woman to help and carry on her work in China, and Gladys was told she would be acceptable if she could obtain and pay her own passage.

The money Gladys saved was not enough to take a ship so she booked passage on the Trans-Siberian Railway (although not nearly as luxurious as now). In October 1930 she left London with her passport, Bible, tickets and two pounds ninepence. The trip was fraught with worry due to an undeclared war between the Soviet Union and China. She arrived in Vladivostok and from there sailed to Japan then to Tientsin, China and again by train, bus, mule to Yangchen, south of Peking/Beijing. (Click here for a detailed account of her harrowing trip to Yangchen.)

Yangchen was an overnight stop for mule caravans on journeys of six weeks or three months, carrying raw cotton, pots, iron goods and coal. Mrs. Lawson and Gladys determined to establish an inn for overnight visitors, offering to sell food, clean beds and entertainment. Gladys would rush outside the inn, grab the reins of the lead mule and lead it into the courtyard; associating the courtyard with food, water and rest, the lead mule went willingly while the others followed. The muleteers purchased food and warm beds and enjoyed the "free evening entertainment"...stories about a man called Jesus. Some men became Christians and many repeated the Jesus stories to others and the Inn became a well known location on the caravan trail.

Mrs. Lawson had a severe fall, suffered complications and died, leaving Gladys to run the Inn with, Yang, her Chinese Christian cook and shortly after, Gladys was approached by the Mandarin of Yangchen who requested she become a "foot-inspector". The government had put an end to the practice of footbinding and needed a woman with unbound feet (so she could travel) to enter women's quarters and enforce the new law. Accepting this new position meant unlimited opportunities to spread the Gospel and Gladys eagerly accepted.

Her second year in Yangchen, her faith was put to a severe test when a riot broke out in the men's prison. The warden said to Gladys, "You preach those who trust in Christ have nothing to fear, go into the yard and stop the rioting." Gladys walked into the courtyard, shouted for quiet so the men could chose a spokesman who told her they had nothing to do. She talked with the warden and was instrumental in setting up looms so they men could weave and a grind stone so they could grind corn. Her name in Chinese became "Ai-weh-deh" meaning "Virtuous One" and she began dressing like Chinese women, learned several Chinese dialects and, in 1936, became a Chinese citizen.

She saved orphans by sometimes buying them and always giving them food and a safe place to live and sleep. The first child, a girl about five years old, had been stolen and used as an aid by a woman begging, was bought for ninepence and named Ninepence. The second child, a boy, was brought to the inn by Ninepence who said, "I will eat less so he can have something"; thus his name, Less.

In 1938 the Japanese invaded China and Gladys handed off messages about the Japanese to the Chinese. General Ley, a European Roman Catholic priest told Gladys, "The Japanese are coming in full force, We are retreating. Come with us." Her response was "Christians never retreat!" He sent her a copy of a Japanese handbill offering $100 each for the capture, dead or alive, of (1) the Mandarin, (2) an important merchant and (3) Ai-weh-deh so she decided to flee to the Sian government orphanage and took about one hundred children with her. They walked for twelve days, sometimes finding shelter, sometimes sleeping in the rough with no protection in the mountains and on the twelfth day, arriving at the Yellow River, they found no boats to take them across. The children encouraged her to pray, then sang songs until a Chinese officer heard them and obtained a boat so they could cross the Yellow River. When Gladys got her orphans to the Sian ophanage, she immediately collapsed with Typhus fever and spent a long time recovering only partially.

Her biography, A Small Woman, written by Alan Burgess, led to the Ingrid Bergman movie, Inn of the Sixth Happiness but Gladys Mae Aylward, aka Ai-weh-deh, wasn't keen on either the movie or Bergman's portrayal, especially since Bergman had just left her husband. The movie was full of inaccuracies, including a totally fictitious love affair between Gladys and a Chinese colonel. Gladys was a humble, chaste woman and suffered anguish over her "soiled reputation" and also suffered much at Japanese hands, resulting in extremely poor health. She eventually returned to London where she lived and talked until her death on January 3,1970.

Click here to see and hear Gladys, circa 1950's, as she talks about her missionary days in China and here to read more.

"I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done in China...I don't know who it was...It must have been a man...a well-educated man. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing...and God looked down...and saw Gladys Aylward and God said, "Well, she's willing."  ~ Gladys Aylward ~

Ponder this ~ Are you willing to do what God is asking of you? ~

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"Do not remember the former things; 
neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs forth;
do you not perceive and know it 
and will you not give heed to it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert."
~ Isaiah 43:18-19

"The only way to avoid making mistakes,
is to have no new ideas."
~ Albert Einstein

"The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away."
~ Linus Pauling ~

"Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do."
~ Liz Smith ~

"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world,
and that is an idea whose time has come."
~ Victor Hugo ~

"Everything begins with an idea." ~ Earl Nightingale ~

"The difficulty is not so much in developing new ideas as escaping from old ones."
~ John Maynard Keynes ~

"A person with a new idea is a crank until it succeeds." ~ Mark Twain ~

"The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size."
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way, and not starting." ~ Buddha ~

"Stay hungry.
Stay foolish. 
Never let go of your appetite to go after 
new ideas,
new experiences,
new adventures."
~ Steve Jobs ~

"A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man's brow."
~ Ovid ~

"Start by doing what's necessary;
the do what's possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
~ Saint Francis of Assisi ~

"You don't need endless time and perfect conditions.
Do it now. Do it today.
Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating."
~ Barbara Sher ~

"If all you can do is crawl,
start crawling."
~ Rumi ~

"He who was seated on the throne said, 
"I am making everything new!"
Then he said,
"Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
~ Revelation 21:5 ~

Please pray for ~ have new ideas and the courage to implement them. ~

Friday, December 02, 2016

TCF: Faith Filled Friday

There are times in life when one feels forgotten, superfluous, of absolutely no use whatsoever...are we making a difference? When those times come (and they will), we've, generally speaking, lost our vision.  Sometimes, in the overwhelming miasma clutter of life, this can happen all too often. It's all too easy to do one's work, day in and day out, and lose sight of the big picture. Years past, a shoe salesman would spend his days and evenings, kneeling in front of folks, removing their shoes (from sometimes stinky feet), fitting them for new shoes, then placing the new shoes on their feet. Endless hours were spent stocking the store, doing the same almost mindless work, over and over and over... .

In Boston, a young man named Dwight stocked shoes at Holton Shoe Store, his uncle's store but his employment was conditional upon Dwight attending the Mount Vernon Congregational Church. His Sunday School teacher, Edward Kimball, both taught and prayed for 'his boys' and determined to lead each one to Christ. On April 21, 1855, Kimball visited Dwight at the shoe store, explained the importance of the Gospel and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then led Dwight L. Moody to Jesus.

In time, Moody moved to Chicago to sell shoes and began volunteering for the YMCA where he established "Mission Sunday". Soon after, he began pastoring his own church and led Wilbur Chapman to Christ and, with Chapman, preached at the 1893 Chicago World Fair.

Meanwhile, William Sunday began his baseball career with the Chicago White Stockings, striking out the first thirteen times at bat...not quite an auspicious beginning and was led to Christ by Mrs. Sarah "Ma" Clarke, at the Pacific Garden Mission, still the oldest continuously operating Gospel rescue mission in the USA. In 1888, Sunday was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates and set a record for ninety bases stolen in one hundred sixteen games. Cincinnati offered Sunday $500 a month to play ball but he accepted an offer of $83 a month at the YMCA.

In 1894, the Pirates returned, offering Sunday $2000 a month but he went with evangelist Chapman as advance man; his salary $40 a week. In 1903, Sunday became ordained by the Presbyterian church and, as an evangelist, preached to thousands, among them Mordecai Ham.

Mordecai Ham, hear him preaching here and here (prepare to have your toes stepped on), wrote "there are three reasons men [women] run from Christ: love of gain, love of sins that make them shun the light, and fear of what others will say. "The best way on earth to study human nature is to hold up Christ to your crowd and note how He affects them. Each man or woman can be judged by his or her attitude toward Christ. If their deeds are evil, they will shun His light." " Even in his day, Ham was extremely controversial, proving God [still] uses flawed men and women in His grand plan.

In 1934, Ham began a series of sermons in North Carolina and said, "...he knew for a fact that a house of ill repute was located across the street from the local high school and that male students were skipping lunch to visit the house across the street." Some high school students decided to attend the meetings with an intention of disrupting the meetings; a teenager called Billy Frank among them.

William Franklin "Billy" Graham has preached to an estimated 215 million people in his world wide crusades and evangelistic rallies. He has met with every U. S. President since Truman and is, possibly, the only Gospel minister who has never been tarnished by any wrong doing. Decades prior, God used Edward Kimball to plant a seed but Kimball would be long dead without seeing the harvest.

In a recent post I asked, "Do you see the mystery?" A cut apart apple showed the apple seeds with the Welsh proverb stating, "a seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible." In a Christian's life, one plants, one waters and God reaps the harvest. Most likely, we'll never know the impact our words and deeds have on others (maybe ourselves). Do you sell shoes? Are you raising boys and girls to be men and women after God's own heart? Is your job keeping the pasture cleaned of thistle, burdock and other weeds? Do you clean the corridors of a public building? Are you the president of a company or are you retired? Whatever you do, do an excellent job because you're doing it for God; it is Him you are serving and He is aware of everything. He knows all our sorrows and keeps our tears in a bottle and, when we ask forgiveness, forgives us as far as the east is from the west. No one, save God, knows the orchards in an apple; no one, save God, knows the reach of our lives...for good or ill. God has a plan, as I'm fond of saying, good plans to give us a future and hope. It's that hope that gives me courage and a glimpse of a vision that sustains me until I'm called Home. Does it you?

Ponder this ~ I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"Give thanks to the Lord
for He is good
His love endures forever."
~ 1 Chronicles 16:34 ~

"There is always a reason to be thankful."

"Happiness isn't about getting what you want,
it's about being thankful for what you have."

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it 
is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
~ William Arthur Ward ~

"The more you thank God,
the more He'll make you aware of your blessings."

"You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given to you." ~ Sarah Ban Breathnack ~

"Thank God you aren't where you were."

"Life is full of give and take.
Give thanks and take nothing for granted."

"Be thankful for all the difficult people in your life.
They have shown you who you do not want to be."

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all the others."
~ Cicero ~

Your list for top ten reasons to be thankful:

"What if you woke up today 
with only the things 
you thanked God for yesterday?"

"And whatever you do, 
in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Please pray for ~ fire fighters in eastern TN, KY and southwest VA ~ Nancy ~ Anita ~ Bonnie ~ Stephanie ~ Maxine ~ Sandra

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Today is the Stuff of Beauty

Today is the stuff beauty is made sky, white clouds, brilliant sun. Temps in the mid 40's with a breeze cooling off to upper 30's and the day has been jam packed with chores, both finished and still on the to-do list.

And here I sit, typing on the computer, enjoying the 77 degree heat of the sun room. Every time I sit in the warmth of the sun room, I bless Dave's name; he's the one who wanted this room...both to help heat the rest of the downstairs and to enjoy the beauty of the valley yet I'm the one who always used it most. Isn't that the way of a good marriage...a good man or a good woman? They do and say those things that bring happiness, pleasure, enjoyment to their loved one(s) and all benefit.

Recently, another blogger wrote about her husband supporting her dreams more than she supported his (paraphrased) and I commented, "That man of yours is a blessing and a gift. Sometimes more than once a week, I would tell Dave, "Thank you for taking such good care of us"..."us" being me, animals, farm, house, food, shelter, clothing, providing and protecting "us". It's in a man's provide and protect and when we women acknowledge him, he grows into more of what he's meant to be. He's a blessing and a gift and with encouragement, gratitude becomes more and more of what he's meant to be. And us? We're the blessed recipients...blessings him, blesses us and the household is happy."

I look around (when I leave the farm) and see so many unhappy people. To repeat myself, I'm quite content but can't say I'm happy, yet, when I look around me and see the complete unhappiness of some, I realize I'm deliriously happy. It just occurred to me to search the definition of happy and it says, "feeling or showing pleasure or contentment". TaDa! I'm happy! How silly of me not to realize such a plain, simple, basic truth...why didn't you say?

(I've been known to curl up on the dog bed 
and enjoy the warmth of the kitchen fireplace.)

In September, while visiting Mags, Alan and their boys, I basked in the warmth of their love and happiness. A loving household is overwhelming in coziness, warmth, love and laughter. Their two boys have great, huge smiles and an endearing impishness; Mags is a wonderful wife and mother (plus a dab hand in the kitchen!) and Alan, like Dave, is a provider and protector plus priest of his household. I loved being in their household of safety and believe ours was such a household for people flocked here. It was not unusual to have an extra half dozen at the table or to hand a bath kit to someone who, unexpectedly, asked, "Would it be all right...I mean, is it possible for me to spend the night?" Everyone was having so much fun, so much enjoyment, it was difficult to leave and I always said, "Yes, here's an overnight kit filled with little necessities...toothpaste, tooth brush, comb, etc." and direct them to a clean bed (or sofa if beds were already claimed...beds could accommodate four couples and two twin beds before we started on the four sofas...yes, including Dave and I, we could sleep sixteen people!).

There were times someone would call and say, "We're in the area, could we stay with you and Dave?" I would say yes then they would say, "We're a couple of hours away..." and I would reply, "Not a problem; we'll leave the back door unlocked so y'all come in; you know where the bedroom is and we'll see you in the morning." I would then go to bed but Dave would always wait up; in the morning, I'd get up early so I could fix breakfast and Dave would sleep in. It was a nice, tidy arrangement.

No, I'm not feeling ennui as much as warm reflection; good memories are nice to have, hold and trot out every now and again. Good memories make me smile.

Country Living UK has a test to determine which county you are, here. It wasn't a surprise to find out I'm "Yorkshire"...a country woman, of the land, sturdy, reliable, honest, trustworthy, solid. I always told Dave I was built for comfort and not for

"'s a funny thing about gifts-
we usually don't consider ours
as unique or as stunning
as someone else's gifts
because whatever ours is,
it comes so easily to us that
we don't get the big deal about it."
~ Patsy Clairmont ~ 

Patsy Clairmont is right on target, isn't she? What are your gifts? Are you an artist, a writer, play the piano or other instrument? Can you teach or preach or encourage? It might be as simple a thing as having overnight kits at hand to give to someone who wants to share your hospitality, your joy, your home. We may think it's nothing much but to someone in dire need, it may be the difference between life and death.

Don't withhold your gifts; share them freely and often. Be the encouragement someone needs to keep moving forward. We're all struggling, some more than others, all at different times, but we're all struggling. On this earth, we are God's hands, feet, words of encouragement; as we enter into this Holy Season, this season of Christ, do all the good you can, to all the people you can, whenever you can. Just yesterday, I went to Sam's Club and saw Gene, the Salvation Army bell ringer to whom I gave a pair of wool socks last year. (My 31 days of giving here.) His smile lit up the day as he said, "God bless you Sister! I have those socks on my feet right now! Every time I wear them, I say a prayer for you. Thank you again!"

Thank you, Gene; in blessing you, I am blessed as you bless me and the circle is least this side of the veil.

This Thanksgiving has been the best in recent memory! It began with Mary, her nephew and brunch the moved to a neighbor's house where I visited with her, her husband, her son, her sisters and sister's friend then moved to another neighbor where I had the pleasure of eating Thanksgiving supper. It was an amazing day; thoroughly enjoyable, memorable and, yes...happy! The Lewis quote to follow sums it up and to finish...thank God for His blessings and gifts!

We have a large front window and smaller side and rear mirrors is to remember where we've been but focus on where we're going.

Ponder this ~ "The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal." ~ C. S. Lewis ~ 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"You will keep him in perfect peach
Whose mind is stayed on You
Because he trusts in You."

"Forgive others
Not because they deserve forgiveness
But because you deserve peace."

"Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the world to come." ~ Henri Nouwen ~

"For every minute you remain angry, 
you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ J. F. Kennedy ~

"Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict
by peaceful means."  ~ Ronald Reagan ~

"Never be in a hurry;
do everything quietly and  in a calm spirit 
Do not lose your inner peace whatsoever,
even if your whole world seems upset."
~ Saint Francis de Sales

"Make every effort to live in peace 
with everyone and to be holy, 
without holiness, no one will see the Lord."

Please pray for - Julie ~ Anita ~ Stephanie ~ Maxine ~ Sandra ~

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Count My Many Blessings, Name Them One By One...

Miss Emma came home! Miss Emma is a gypsy, coming...and will. Some years ago, I was a participant on a boomer women site and someone excoriated me because I allowed my cats outdoors. I attempted to explain my situation wasn't remotely similar to her situation (she was a self proclaimed phone sex worker in Las Vegas...count my many blessings!...) yet she refused to believe her opinion could be wrong. Yes, I did leave that group...are you surprised? Dave had New Yorker magazine note cards...a drawing of a dog, sitting at a computer with the caption, "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog"; click here for the cartoon, printed in very long ago. Let's face it, sometimes, in internet groups, one is thrown together with people with the faint smell of sulfur; it pays to be ultra cautious.

These lads are on their way to work...Charles, the middle rider, knows me and wasn't too surprised when I swerved to the ditch, jumped out and began taking pictures. They pulled up and stopped as I said, "One of these days I might get my clocked cleaned but I want this picture!" They were on their way to gather up cattle; see their big smiles? I'm thinking the smiles were for the camera and not laughing at me...ya think? lol

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore... November's super moon is the first in decades and the last until 2024. It was lovely!

The gift of getting oldER means when I over-exert myself, it takes longer to bounce back regain strength with reduced pain levels. Within the past two months, I made the comment my body was about 90%; I've since had plenty of opportunity to regret making that particular comment. Ahem.

A great blessing is the nephew of a friend who has been helping prep the farm and house...particularly the house. When Dave and I moved here, the house was in dire straits...several broken toilets stored upstairs as well as other debris. (I've continued to ponder storing broken toilets...I mean WHY?) The house was, probably, five years from being uninhabitable so we got here just in time to start re-claiming the house and farm. As soon as my desktop is fixed and returned, I'm going to start blogging Thistle Cove Farm Epistles (with photos and from newsletters and journal) but in the meantime, the house is warm, even without the wood stove which may, or may not, be put into use this year. I've been trying to caulk the space between bedroom toe molding and floor but E. was able to do the job better. God bless him! He's also done things to make the house safer so more blessings.

This Pottery Barn pillow was purchased at a thrift store and while pretty, I decided to tart it up a bit.

This crochet piece was purchased at Noravank Monastry in Armenia but I've never known quite what to do with it. In 301 A.D. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its national religion, a very rich tradition!

The big yellow button was added, but not so sure it adds very much except texture, then, everything stitched down.

The finished piece is now living in Thistle Cove Poppet; with her dining room sunflower theme, looks right at home. Next, I'm working on Poppet's kitchen theme which is roosters. The bedroom theme is luxe comfort and, having my priorities in order, is complete.

The sunsets have been beautiful and today we have rain...thank you, Lord!...with an expected 1 to 3 inches of snow tonight. Winds are howling at plus 20 mph, outside temps are dipping into low 40's and my contentment level stretches for the horizon. The American Legion is serving Thanksgiving lunch and I'm braving the storm to partake; blessings upon blessings upon blessings. To count only three per day seems churlish so I don't.

Ponder this ~ "Beware the barrenness of a busy life." Socrates ~
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