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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, January 01, 2016

Downton Abbey Giveaway, Word & Verse of 2016

Like you, much of my life is the same...chores, animals, cleaning and keeping life moving in a forward motion with momentum that suits my slow living life style. Perhaps you've read about the slow food movement both international and USA or the entire "slow movement", which amuses me no end because this is how my family has always lived with emphasis on food, shelter, clothing then church and community. As well, Dave and I lived a slow life and even when traveling would rent an apartment or condo as opposed to staying in a hotel room. In an apartment or condo, we could experience the pace of the neighborhood, shop at local markets, prepare our own meals and, if only for a time, become part of the community. It's how I continue to travel and a huge part of the enjoyment is, first, deciding on a place to go then finding a place to stay.

How do you live your or slow? 

Have you seen in blog land folks choosing a "word for the year" or have you chosen a word? Although I've done this in the past, I wasn't deliberately seeking a word for this year but one found me.

Yesterday, I thought about the past year and the many people who, at one time or another, e-mailed, wrote or called me for encouragement because they were quite discouraged and, truth be told, so was I at times. I then put some thought into how not to be discouraged this year. That's when it dawned on me (yes, I am slow but I already told you that, eh? lol) at its most basic meaning, discouraged means to lose courage or even confidence or hope.

So for 2016 "courage" chose me and with the help of God I will fly in the face of pain, uncertainty, fear, the unknown, perhaps anxiety and, above all, acting in accordance with my Christian beliefs make the difficult, even hard decisions. I'll do as John Wayne said,

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

Do you have a word or verse for 2016?

Additionally, 2 Corinthians 5:9 chose me... "So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." I'm not perxactly sure what "away from it" means but it's my goal this year to 'make God smile' by striving to please Him at all times and in everything I do. Yes, I'll sometimes fail but I am committed to pleasing Him and making Him smile.

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."  Henri J. M. Nouwen said this in his book Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life and I've found it to be true in my own life.

Face in the sun, back to the wind

Living a life well spent is work, hard work, and if done correctly leaves one with feelings of both accomplishment and an amount of angst. Since Dave's death, I'm dealing with facing my own light in the tunnel and know I'm closer to my end than my beginning. In November and December I gave time to ponder the people in my life and then did the hard work of "cutting them out of the herd" so to speak. Names were deleted from address books, people were cut loose from social media and my life is the better for it. Maybe even theirs as well.

Was it hard? Yes. 
Is it worth it? Yes. 

I took courage in hand and against the advice of Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess, "If I withdrew my friendship from everyone who's spoken ill of me, my address book would be empty" and did it anyway.  Even as a Christian, it's all right to "shake the dust" from your feet because, sometimes, you have to leave some parts and people of your past in order to move forward.

Just because people don't mean to hold you back, 
doesn't mean they don't hold you back.

And now, if you're here for the Downton Abbey giveaway (or as I heard someone say "Downtown Abbey"), please leave your name and answer any of these questions

How do you live your life, fast or slow,
and why?
Have you ever cut people out of your life 
and why?
Do you have a word or verse for 2016
and what is it?

as well as a way to contact you, either your website, blog site or e-mail address. Downton Abbey's 6th and final season -boo hoo!- begins in the USA on Sunday, January 3rd and to celebrate I'm giving away a softcover version of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook so you too can cook and eat Lady Mary's Crab Canapes or Daisy's Mousse Au Chocolat from Mrs. Patmore's more than 150 recipes that fed folks both upstairs and downstairs. (Mercy! what I'd give to be a guest at either table!) Giveaway will close Sunday, January 10th at 5 p.m. with name to be chosen by random drawing. Giveaway is open to all; winner will have 24 hours to respond after which a new name will be drawn.
This isn't the cookbook but it is an interesting blog on Downton Abbey Cooks.

Thanks for the gift of your time in reading my blog, leaving a comment; you bless me more than you'll ever know.

Blessings ~ Natalie Cole, may she rest in peace ~ Downton Abbey ~ Maggie Smith ~ John Wayne ~ courage ~ making God smile ~


  1. I don't have a word for the year ahead. If I did it would probably be similar to yours.
    I have, sadly, cut people from my life after much thought and prayer, because they were doing me more harm than good.
    My life is lived very much in the slow lane, force majeure, with a very frail husband. But we have done our travelling and lived a wonderful life, so slow is all right!

  2. My life is lived slowly, thanks to retirement. I don't like to hurry doing anything anymore and get quite annoyed if I feel that I am being rushed.

    Yes, I have cut people out of my life. There comes a time when they are more of a burden than a blessing. People cut me out of their life due to Jim's illness and death because of that very same rationale, I suppose. The latest one to get the ax is a drama queen who sent me multiple garbled text messages yesterday and then she got angry when I told her I didn't understand what she was trying to say. I am tired of her silly, immature outbursts on a regular basis, so begone!

    I don't choose an annual word. But my watchword for the past two years has been "courage," and it will remain so for the foreseeable future. It is a very good one for a widow trying to build a new life, and I repeat it to myself whenever the need arises.

    Thank you for the lovely giveaway! I look forward to the latest Downton Abbey episodes!

  3. Happy New Year Sandra. ~:)

  4. What a beautifully written post, dear Sandra. I live a slow life, but sometimes feel it is in fast lane from time to time. It is not my choice though. I rush to the slow deliberate pace as soon as I can.
    Sadly, I too have cut myself from the drama that comes with dealing with some folks and situations. It's a difficult thing to do, but is necessary to live an honest life.
    I can hardly believe Downton Abbey will begin its final season. It will be quite sad when it is over.
    Happy New Year to you, dear Sandra! ♥

  5. I live my life somewhere between fast and slow. I would never cut someone out of my life but I do limit contact with negative people that have been a part of my life. Can't wait for Sunday but I'm a little sad about the last season of Downton.

  6. For me, slow is better, i enjoy the quiet places, the back roads, and times of no noise other than nature.

    Yes, I have cut a few people out of my life, one example someone who wanted someone desperately to dump all her griefs off on, every time you see her. She once told me, " if you ask me how I am, I am going to tell you all of it." As much as I care for her, and want good in her life, very few including me could carry all her chaos and unrest. Recently I had someone very close to me, basically stab me in the back repeatedly. According to her, going to a market to buy beans meant more to her than keeping an appointment she arranged with me. Although I will always care for her, after many years of this kind of friendship, I have pretty much cut her out along with the other lady. I sound self centered, but I came to realize being with me was a convenience for her, not a good fellowship for me. So I have moved on, she has since tried a couple of times to reinstate our previous friendship, but I feel I am out from under a great weight, and I no longer wish to carry her like I have for over 15 years. It is not a matter of forgiveness, for I know I have truly forgiven her, but freedom tastes sweet, and I hope I am now a better person because she no longer has such influence in my life.

    Both of these women profess Christ, the second teaches a Bible study, and Sunday School teacher.

    I have not chosen a yearly word, but I do have a scripture esp. dear to me.

    They that know Thy name shall put their trust in Thee, for thou Lord has not forsaken them that seek Thee.

    I enjoyed the early seasons of Downton the best.

  7. Dear Sandra I like you prefer the slow life but sadly technology has sped things up way tooo much for everybody!
    I only choose people who have love and kindness in their heart and choose not to surround myself with those who have not.
    Wishing you many wonderful blessings in your slow life where reality is really real!

  8. I think COURAGE could be the word for your whole life. I admire the way you keep on keeping on in the face of great loss and disappointment, in the face of a huge amount of work and every kind of challenge. Courage has been called the tipping point or something like that of all the virtues. I will follow your example and strive to have courage in 2016. Thank you, Sandra.

  9. I don't generally choose a word/theme for the year: I suspect I wouldn't remember it or I'd forget it. I'm not very focussed I'm afraid. But I will try to craft a little more, and to "let go" of things (and maybe people!) that I feel hold me back, or don't allow me to be what God wants me to be.

    I suppose, as I look forward to following 40 Acts this year ( I want my frame of mind to be generosity. It's something this world needs.

    I wish you as much courage as you need. And a little more! God bless.

  10. Very nice impressions!

    My words for you and us in 2016 is:

    I will bless you, and you shall be a blessing.

    1.Mose 12,2

  11. Dear Sandra ~ What a great post! Very encouraging and inspiring. Thank you for putting this out here for us to ponder.

    How do you live your life, fast or slow,
    and why?

    DH and I lived a slower life our whole 43 years together and I continue to live that way. Slower is better for me all the way around. Even getting into the fast lane for a short time wears me out.

    Have you ever cut people out of your life
    and why?

    Yes, because they were a negative drain on my life, unhealthy mentally, physically and spiritually for me. The 'relief' was immense.

    Do you have a word or verse for 2016
    and what is it?

    I've chosen single words before, this year what came to mind is part of a verse in Nehemiah 8:10 ~ the joy of the LORD is your strength.

    You and I have much to be thankful for even though our husband's are no longer with us.

    Last night I had a time of tears while reading from A.W. Tozer's book, The Pursuit of God. I became overwhelmed in my loss and doing things on my own and the tears just fell, then God's calming peace washed over me and the tears subsided. I thanked Jesus for His calming spirit and for continually taking care of me in oh so many ways.

    Thank you for your love, hugs and prayers and words of encouragement, they and you are priceless.

    Have a wonderful 2016 ~ FlowerLady

  12. I don't officially have a word of the year but maybe it should be patience as I recently had a fall which has caused me to slow down even more than my already slow life . I do consider my life to be slow , I like to take time to enjoy what is around me especially, you family . Thanks KS for a great read as always.

  13. You have given much to contemplate. I must think of a word and let the Holy SPirit breathe a.word in my ear.

    Do like your horse photo and quote! You will definitely saddle up!

    The Nouween quote is excellent.

    You are a courageous woman and your chosen word is just the one for you.

    Blessings to you; you have many decisions coming to Thistle Cove and I'm confident you will make wise, prayerful choices.

  14. OK; I am ready to answer:
    How do you live your life, fast or slow,
    and why? SLOW, because I am realizing the value of contemplation and ease!

    Have you ever cut people out of your life
    and why? YES, because I want only those with good influence to be in my circle

    Do you have a word or verse for 2016
    and what is it? YES, it is the word "peace", also akin to love, because without peace, love cannot bloom

    A Peaceful 2016 to you!

  15. How do you live your life, fast or slow,
    and why?
    I live life quietly . . . not slow always but quite simply and quietly. The bustle of people is not my thing. Shopping and crowds I avoid. "Putzin" in the gardens, listening to the bird chirps . . . now that is my quiet love for sure.

    Have you ever cut people out of your life
    and why?
    I haven't physically "cut" people out of my address book . . . That makes me smile . . . (What a mess my address book is, maybe I SHOULD start cutting!) I have distanced myself from certain people. I can't seem to listen to too much "drama," negativity and toxic behaviors . . . I find myself limiting my time with with those sorts . . . One person comes to mind that I have literally changed my self in relating with her . . . Very subtle it is . . . it took me a long, long time to "step aside" . . . easier to do so physically than it is emotionally, spiritually . . .

    Do you have a word or verse for 2016
    and what is it?
    I have done the word thing before . . , and I seem to stay with it throughout the year. I like your word, 'courage'. I think a "word thought" takes us someplace. I like it. This year I am doing something different. Each Friday in the week I am going to write something on a piece of paper that I loved about the week, put the paper in a jar, and at the end of 2016 . . . read my 52 "week loves" . . . Yesterday I wrote out number one . . .

    Happy NEW Year Sandra . . .

  16. I had to cut someone from my life and it broke my heart. I made the decision because I was always under stress and near tears with problems that weren't mine but somehow ended up on my shoulders. I love this person but had to break away to save myself.

    Happy New Year. Wishing 2016 to bring you joy.

  17. Hi Sandra, great post my friend. Even with the techie part of my life for business I try and approach it in my way, slower and timely. I do not like to rush around and stay organized in my day to day activities so I can keep a pace of steady and peaceful!!

    I have had to move on from a few toxic friends in my life. Recognizing when this is happening is a blessing and I am thankful for the courage to walk away when needed. Friendship should be give and take, love and consideration. When the balance is off, the friendship is not healthy!!

    I didn't choose of word for 2016 but rather keep to my favorite scripture verse. Proverbs 3:4,5

    Wishing you all the best in the new year. God Bless you with health, happiness and lots of love.
    Sending hugs to you my friend. xo

  18. hooray for the clearing out cobwebs of unhealthy entanglements. You are still my hero - strong, persistent and often dadgum funny! Love you Sandra dear - I'm not a Downton Abbey fan - nice so many people are since it appears to be higher quality than most tv programs

  19. I love the John Wayne quote. We live a slow life. My hubby's illness leaves us not much choice. But we try to live life the best we can. I didn't pick a word this year. I think I will enjoy our life day by day this year come what may. Unfortunately I did cut a person from my life last year. When you feel used by someone it is time to say goodbye. Enjoy the last season of Downton Abbey sorry to see it go. Hugs, LJ

  20. What a year you have had. Walking that grief journey requires a lot of courage -- I think you've been living that in the past year and to focus on it in this one is a wonderful thing. Redefining a life can be difficult and something we will all do one day, one way or another. I applaud all you have traveled and will.

    I love Downton -- can't wait for it to return! Did you less Mrs. P on Hallmark's home and family? If you look it up online you can see the videos. She was to talk about the proper pot of tea (she uses tea bags), make a shortbread (doesn't really cook much in real life) and did a fancy hat segment. She was very funny!

    Living life simply -- I'm a mix. I try to be local, community oriented, home cooking (but I love going out). Gardening? Not so great at that apart from herbs, canning -- same deal. But one tries! I'd say I'm a mix!

    A Happy New Year to you. May it bring you great joy.

  21. I read "New Slow City" in which the author and his wife were experimenting with living slower in a fast paced area of NYC. It was interesting to see them learning about a lifestyle we've known about for years, eh? We've always heated with a woodstove, taken care of horses, cows, goats, chickens, rabbits. We were pretty poor, but I think our kids learned things from this lifestyle that have made them stronger and more compassionate people. I wouldn't change a thing.

    Good old John Wayne. Such wisdom!

    Just minutes ago I was leaving a comment on Granny Marigold's blog in which I observed that I was feeling like my end was closer than my beginning, ha ha! A lot of us are in that age group. Decluttering, simplifying, organizing photos, leaving journals full of wisdom for our children to read. The road leads home! We must make preparations!

    Being an indecisive person, I have a hard time picking out one word or verse. Courage is a good one. Constantly turning toward Jesus and away from the world is my main resolution. The world can just make you glaze over sometimes, but there is more to life than meets the eye

    Please leave my name out of the drawing. I am the world's worst cook and it would be wasted on me, lol. Let someone win it who would do it justice. :) But thanks for reminding me about Downton Abbey beginning tomorrow! I love the show and don't want to miss it.

    Courage, my sister, courage! Blessings on your year!

  22. Fast or slow - probably too fast, and probably too slow, just in different areas and in different ways. I need more balance!

    Cut people out - yes as it happens. I don't like it, but I know that my life - and quite frankly probably theirs - is better for it. Sad to do, but sometimes needed.

    Words for the year - yes. Same as last years. Let it go - see previous answer! - and onwards, upwards, positive, stronger - see also previous answer!

    I hope that you have a good 2016! Happy New Year! xx

  23. Oh, Sandra.
    Yes, I deleted people from my life when they continue to do stupid things which are no longer excusable. People who talk too much. People who take your time and add nothing of value to my own life (or their's).
    But, I've opened my heart to forgiveness also. Forgiveness, especially to my daughter-n-law, who has been so very rude to me over the years. She & my son have 4 wonderful little children and she makes my son happy, so I'll excuse her and look beyond to what's really important. My life is good right now, I am happy, and that's enough. God bless you and all your animals. You live your "true" life and I admire you so very much.
    Happy New Year !!!

  24. Courage is a great word for so many reasons! I like being busy but with our family just growing and growing I have trouble getting to all the things I'd like. Been spending the last few days as I always do in January, decluttering. I am excited about seeing Downton Abbey tomorrow night. Lovely giveaway. Don't enter me as I already have the book. Happy New Year wishes!

  25. I think your word is wonderful. I like the words of John Wayne! I have chosen a word but I haven't posted about it yet. The word is Push. I am a Downton Abbey fan.
    How do you live your life, fast or slow, and why? I believe I am living a slow life but have enjoyed both being in a cabin and cooking our own food on vacation along with staying in a hotel. Truly the cabin/cooking is more peaceful with no outside distractions from TV, phone or computer.
    Have you ever cut people out of your life and why? Not totally. I did count my mother's sister, my aunt, out of my life because she let us down over a will. She talked our grandmother into giving her half of her money and splitting the other half with her grandchildren which included her children. We believed that my mother's half should have gone to us because she was deceased and her children would get her half when she passed away which they did. It was very selfish.
    Do you have a word or verse for 2016 and what is it? My word is PUSH. I found when I was working hard to get Christmas up that I could actually do it! Most day's I am rather lazy, hiding behind my computer. I want the PUSH of Christmas energy to help me through the year so I can declutter my house. No excuse not to make the most of each day.

  26. Hi Sandra, Happy New Year to you. I've always liked the slow lane, and choose it more and more. I have chosen to end relationships with people, too. It's been painful and difficult, but once done, a real relief. I don't have a word for 2016, but I think it's a great idea. Maybe one will come to me.
    I think you have a great deal of courage. To keep getting back in that saddle requires courage. Every day.
    I look forward to following your journey Sandra, and your inspiration, in 2016. Blessings to you, Deborah

  27. Beautiful horse portrait there!

  28. I love your word, Sandra...mine is somewhat related to it...Challenge. I am trying hard to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone to learn and try new things.
    I don't tend to cut people out of my life, but definitely do limit contact with those who have a negative effect.
    As far as how I live...slow. It's all I have energy for lol.
    I am looking forward to Downton Abbey, too! Hope you have a wonderful 2016!


  29. ** the hubs and i are homebodies for the most part and do live a 'slow life.' we've made some decisions leading up to 2016 that will further encourage thoughtful choices as to how we spend our time. we find that the simpler our lives the stronger His presence and the richer His blessings.

    ** in 2015 i ended a friendship of 10+ years.. it was as if a light bulb went off with realization that our relationship was sorely conditional on her part and sought to do great harm to me (and others) on a very personal level.

    ** i have no "word" for 2016. am i the only one? ;)

  30. I sure don't live fast, but I don't think of it as slow, either. Hmmm. You know what? I live DEEP.

    Please don't put me in the drawing, as another reader will surely make better use of that interesting cookbook than I would :)

    No words or resolutions for 2016 (at least not yet) but things keep popping into my mind that I want to do, and the first step is get the house so it all feels comfortable and I can actually work in here instead of always escaping to the barn. No repairs or construction projects...just going through everything, cleaning everything, and either donating or selling what I don't need. Fell off the wagon for a week but got back on yesterday. I'd say I'm about halfway there, so that's progress and I really must keep the momentum up.

    Thanks for all your comments on Comptonia, Sandra - very much appreciated. Hope we all (meaning critters included of course) make it through this winter intact!

  31. No, Sherry, you are not the only one....

  32. Hi friend, Thanks for writing such a good article, really will help me out in many ways.
    Scarlett Johansson HD Wallpaper 2015

  33. I have observed over the past 20 years that God tends to teach me in themes--and not generally on a yearly basis. For the past two years he has been teaching me more about Love, what it looks like to reflect the kind of love he has shown me. It makes you do and not do things that don't come naturally. This year, however, I suspect he is beginning to teach me about Hope. I am looking forward to what is in store for me.

  34. My word for the New Year is "Courage" because as this world continues, I need more and more of it. I have wanted to cut people out of my life, but I am always immediately reminded of "forgiveness" and thankful that for the sinner that I am that God did not cut me out of his. I live my life slow, but faster than I want, and sometimes not fast enough... I am a work in progress always struggling for balance.

    Much Love to you in the New Year Sweet friend.
    Didn't know there was a Downton Abbey Cookbook!!! My favorite show!


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