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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.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Martin Luther, Grounding, This Little Light of Mine...

His parents wanted him to become a lawyer but Martin Luther, in order to seek God, became an Augustinian monk, but eventually became disillusioned with the Catholic church. On today's date in 1517, his 95 Theses attacked the Catholic Church for selling "indulgences" to absolve sin. The 95 Theses (click to read a former post at Thistle Cove Farm blog) have two central beliefs: the Bible is the authority and salvation is obtained by faith alone and not by works. This sparked the Protestant Reformation, divided the Catholic church and forever changed "religion". If you're of the Protestant faith, you have Martin Luther to thank. Additionally, he wrote many hymns and one of my favorite is A Mighty Fortress Is Our God .

This Autumn has been glorious! Even though we're in dire need of rain, the colors are saturated against brilliant blue skies.

Sunday afternoon, Sam alerted me there were strangers on our road! How dare they! Sam is such a comical little feller; he's a good guard dog but will stay in our driveway while he's barking, barking, barking. When I acknowledge him and told him it was all right, he calmed down; all the while, Sadie is right beside me, making sure no one gets close.

A few years ago, I crocheted (is that right...crochet or crocheted???) this rug which is used in the bathroom. Every so often it needs to be washed, then hung over the gate so it can dry. It's not the best job ever done but it brings me pleasure, and, yes, even joy, when I both see and use it.

Warm, sunny days are taken advantage of by doing a bit of grounding. I wrote about it here and Wellness Mama writes about it here. She goes into scientific jargon while I basically say, "Here I am, it works." The book is Pushing Up Daisies, an Agatha Raisin mystery by M.C.Beaton...LUV this series and the made for television series, here. Heck, I LUV the Hamish MacBeth series as well!

I love where I live but one huge drawback, for me anyway, is the lack of thrift stores. A recent thrift visit found these lovelies...the little green pitcher, with lid, is used to hold cream for coffee and the little butter dish perfectly holds one of my half pound blocks of home churned butter.

I'm not sure of the original intent, but this cut glass vessel will now be used as a water pitcher. As a wedding gift, Dave and I received a Waterford pitcher and this little jewel looks like it will work wonderfully well alongside. (Gee, how do you like that onomatopoeia thing I got going? or is it? It's "alliteration", thanks to Mags for the Late Dark Thirty last night, I knew onomatopoeia wasn't correct, but couldn't sus out what was correct.) (The Lassie movie poster, background, showcases my farm, center, just under the word Lassie...woohoo!)

This little light of mine makes my heart beat quickly. I'm so glad my 'old granny' taste is out of fashion so folks will take things like this sweet, sweet lamp to thrift and consignment stores where God allows me to find and purchase.

The upper globe can be turned on or

the lower globe can be used as a rather bright night light, or

both upper and lower globes lit here.

Do you know Mags of Fraise Lachrymose blog, here? Last month, it was my pleasure to visit Mags, in Ireland! and she's begun blogging about the visit. I'm working on a Irish travelogue and, God willing and the creek don't rise, will soon have photos and verbiage posted. In the meantime, visit Mags for the first of her four parts...enjoy!

Sara, Sweet Magnolia Farm, recently commented, "Sandra, you live a beautiful life..." and it caught me by surprise. My life is centered on food, shelter, clothing with enough excitement like travel thrown in for good measure and I'm always surprised when people like it as well. Like Pam R. who wrote, "I just love your style of writing, the words and phrases. You have such a way with words!"

Sara and Pam, thank you so much and thank you all who read my natterings and give the gift of your time to comment! I do love my life, my animals, my farm and even though Dave is missed, dreadfully, the light at the end of the tunnel is light and not an oncoming train. I work terrifically hard, keeping it all going but I always...always!...take time to sit and bask in the beauty surrounding me. I have never taken my life, nor where I live, for granted and am well aware of the blessings and gifts God has given me.

Bless you all for the gift of your time in reading and the gift of your comment...bless you all!

Ponder this ~ "I have learned that my strengths are a result of my weaknesses, my success is due to my failure, and my style is directly related to my limitations.
   I have discovered that after all those years of musical instruction, after all that practice to be perfect, after all that hard work trying to compose the right notes, I am gifted with the knack of hitting exactly the wrong notes at precisely the right time.
   This is the secret of originality. Think about it...Only you can commit a colossal blunder in your own exquisite style. This is what makes you unique. But when you are faced with solving the problem, this is what makes you inventive."
~ Billy Joel ~ 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"You keep him in perfect peace 
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you."
~ Isaiah 26:3 ~

"When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed." ~ Fred Rogers ~

"We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom."
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower ~

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" for me.It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." ~ George Bernard Shaw ~

"What you leave behind is not what is engraved
in stone monuments,
but what is woven into the lives of others."
~ Pericles ~

"God cannot give us a happiness and peace 
apart from Himself,
because it is not there.
There is no such thing."
~ C. S. Lewis

"For to set the mind on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace."
~ Romans 8:6 ~

Please pray for ~ 11 year old Sawyer's family...he passed away Friday ~ Anita ~ Nancy ~ Julie ~ Bonnie Jean ~ Sandra ~

Friday, October 28, 2016

From Antiquity to DSL and Winner

~ leaving the Cove, a traffic jam ~

October has been full even if I don't count those precious weeks lost to MRSA and upper respiratory infection. Let me tell's going to be a l.o.n.g. time, God willing, before I step foot back inside any kind of doctor office and don't even think about a hospital! Petri dishes all for germs, germs, germs!

Daddy and Mom have a cabin in the county of Dad's birthplace and I took a whirlwind trip to visit Richard Lee and Loretta Lee (high school sweethearts). They have a place next to "our" place and were going to be in (as we call it) for a couple of weeks. I had business meetings this month so had to sandwich a quick, short trip. Many decades ago, Dad designed the cabin, taking months to draw plans that would incorporate full sized sheets of plywood and sheet rock...he didn't want to cut anything. It's a wonderful structure...three bedrooms with full bath, living/dining/kitchen great room and a mud room on the back.

The only heat is a wood stove, purchased at a yard sale for $25.00. Trust me, when it's cold outside, it doesn't take very long to get a good fire going as cold is a powerful incentive! My brother keeps campaigning for a wall mounted propane heater, in lieu of the stove, but I agree with Dad...part of the cabin's charm is the wood stove.

The first thing I do, upon arrival, is go to the well house and turn on the water. Actually, that's the second thing I do...the first is beat a stick against the well house door to let the snakes know I need to get in. The switch is flipped UP then the next switch is turned to open the valve so the water can flow from the well to the cabin. When I go back to the cabin, I turn on the electricity, flip the breaker for the hot water heater, turn on the propane gas for the cook stove and only then, prepare the wood stove to light a fire.

Dad's Mennonite friends built the stone fireplace and the flower bed and Dad uses his green thumbs to keep blooming flowers from last frost to first.

The last of my apples made the trip with me and, using what was on hand, I made a couple of pies. The tree was bought and planted by me twenty some years ago and was bought as a Granny Smith but has reverted to something else. Dad thinks it's a Punkin Sweet and cousin Richard Lee agrees so that's my story now. It's a heritage apple and one of the best for eating out of hand, pies and cider but to eat out of hand, it should be hit by a hard frost first. That will bring out the full sweetness of the fruit.

We only use the cabin in the warmer months; if we wait too long, a snow can trap us for only God knows how long. Trust me, we don't want to be trapped in that cabin without enough wood for the stove or food in the larder; the kitchen is rather poor, unless we bring what we need or want.  I thought there were be white sugar and there was, but about two cups, only enough for coffee for those who drink sugar in their coffee (I do not). I laid brown sugar in the bottom of the pie plate, topped with sliced apples then a liquid mixture poured over top.

The liquid was made from 1/2 cup of strong Vanilla Chai Tea, cinnamon, white and brown sugar mixed with flour. When the pies came out of the oven, both were a trifle burnt on top which was due to me forgetting about the pies, not being all that familiar with the oven and the pies bring sprinkled with sugar. Even so, the burnt bits were tasty, everyone said so!

Cousins were invited for supper - roasted chicken, butter beans and corn mix and sauteed mushrooms. The 'shrooms were a gift from Robert who, along with Kathy, his wife, live across the road. Both are extremely interesting people; I would love to live in the cabin for a month so I could follow them around and learn from them. They know all sorts of useful to forage food from the Earth's bounty...and in season, how to hunt wild game then put it in cans for eating in the winter, how to stalk an animal through the woods. Things city people don't understand both the why and the how but still useful applications for a lot of folks, including me.

Robert hunts mushrooms and, this time of year, he found these and gave me a poke full saying, "Egg and milk batter, dip in flour and fry." Trust me, they were delicious!

At the cabin, it's all "Appalachian" and what I told Dave..."heat and eat, baby, heat and eat". It's about keeping warm, keeping a fire going and keeping food on the table. There is NO internet, NO mobile phone service, NO landline and precious little television. It's a reader's Paradise! All I did the entire time was visit family and friends, keep the fire going, read, cook and eat. I'm going back in the Spring for an entire week as a gift and blessing to myself from myself.

Fast forward to the condo and business meeting...DSL fast. I could barely type fast enough to keep up with the internet!

To my mind and body, it's still warmish to hot in South Carolina. I walked along the beach in bare feet while people in coats, jackets, scarves, hats and shoes looked askance in my direction.

Morning is beautiful, if only because I get another chance, and this morning was no exception.

Shrimpers are out early and, outlined against the morning sky, seem peaceful with no indication of the desperately hard work being done.

To the right, the sugar maple is ablaze with all the glory God threw at it. Autumn is late this year but the beauty is still right on time. A while back, I hosted a giveaway of hand crafted nut bowl and tools and the first winner never responded. So, the second person to win is Deb at It's All About Purple and she's been notified and given until 6 p.m. tomorrow night.

Ponder this ~ "If the angels deem to come, they'll come not because of your 
tears but for your constant resolve to always be beginning to be a beginner." 
 ~ Rilke ~

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rivers and Roots in an Ocean of Love; Winner

Heraclitus said, "You can never step in the same river twice" and it's true; it's also true you can never step in the same ocean twice. Both statements give me pause. This life is so fleeting, so transitory but what should I expect when we Christians are aliens on this sphere? In His image we were made for this Earth but the Fall changed all that and instead of living in a garden Paradise, we yearn for something we remember through a veiled mist of time. In the meantime, the entire Earth groans for His return; from a Garden we came and to a Garden we'll return.

One of my very favorite things to do, when meeting a babe in arms, is to ask about heaven and Jesus. Always that babe delights with gurgles, smiles, bright eyes, raw, untempered excitement...they are new enough to remember being released from His arms to make their journey to this alien land. They don't yet carry all the doubts and fears that, ultimately, join us on our journey, causing us to spend enormous amounts of time striving to shed the weighty, familiar cloak of baggage we carry.

Almost everywhere in Blogland, people are writing about Autumn's bittersweetness and winter prep on the farm continues. Recently, both chimney and furnace have been cleaned, both ready for wood to be laid for fires. The back porch needs re-arranging so the wood rack can be brought from the barn, then filled.

Cleaning the chimney involves a man on the roof,

while another man cleans the wood stove.

A few weeks ago, Gypsy and I were on the back porch, searching for the location of a crying kitten.

There! In the tree straight ahead, Good Golly Miss Molly, sits in the tree, crying piteously, asking begging for rescue. Oh, by the way...we've had a gender identity issue problem on the farm...I took Good Golly Miss Molly and

Smudge Moonbeam to the vet clinic for vaccinations and to schedule an appointment to have them both spayed. Dr. Anne said, "Ummm, you need to take another look. These kittens are males, not females." I replied, "Well. Okay. In my defense, I've been a widow almost five years and while things haven't changed all that much, my memory is a little weak."

All that to say, Good Golly Miss Molly is now Good Golly Mr. Molly but still answers to Molly. You know, life is always interesting...even behind a locked gate.

At Living a HeartFul Life, I had a giveaway for a hand crafted wooden nut bowl and implements. There were thirty comments and number 18, Lisa of In the Boon Docks, won and has 24 hours to respond to my private e-mail.

Ponder this ~ Jesus stepped out of eternity, into time, so we might step out of time, into eternity. ~

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"I have loved you with an everlasting love.
I have drawn you with everlasting kindness."

"Love is not sees more, not less.
But because it sees more, it is willing to see less."
~ Rabbi Julius Gordon

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, 
while loving someone deeply gives you courage."

"Love begins with like, then facing the same direction...together." ~ Sandra ~

"Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."

"If she's amazing, she won't be easy. If she's easy, she won't be amazing. If she's worth it, you won't give up. If you give up, you aren't worthy. ... Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." (italics mine)
~ Bob Marley ~

"You don't divide your love; you multiply it." ~ Sandra ~

"Waiting is a sign of true love and patience. Anyone can say I love you but not everyone can wait and prove it's true."

"Love isn't something you find. It's something that finds you."
~ Loretta Young ~

"It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not."
~ Andre Gide ~

"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings." ~ Anais Nin ~

"Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses."
~ Ann Landers ~

"Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love."
~ Lao Tzu ~

Today, I am worshiping at Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church and listening to Part 3 of God's Perspective.

"God's Perspective: What Are the Beliefs I Build My Life On?" here, Part 1
"God's Perspective: How Do I Strengthen My Christian World View?" here, Part 2
"God's Perspective: Where Did We Come From and What Difference Does That Make?" here, Part 3

"Love must be sincere."

(Today's post written for new Christian sisters Mackenzie and Karen with apologies for, perhaps, incorrect spelling.)

Please pray as the Holy Spirit guides.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing 
that there will not be room enough to store it."

"A fool and his money are some party."

"A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money." ~ John Ruskin ~

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

"If you want to feel rich,
count the things money can't buy"

"Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread your love everywhere you go." ~ Mother Teresa ~

"Lack of money is no obstacle.
Lack of an idea is an obstacle."

"A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart."
~ Jonathan Swift ~

"Coins always make sounds but paper money is always silent. Therefore, when your value increases, keep silent and humble."

"Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will." ~ Nelson Mandela ~

"Know what you own
and why you own it."

"There is no such thing as a free lunch." ~ Milton Friedman ~

"There are people who have money
and people who are rich."
~ Coco Chanel ~

"Wealth is the ability to fully experience life." ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

"The love of money is the root of all evil."

Please pray for ~ Anita ~ Nancy ~ the USA ~ 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Living a HeartFul Life and Giveaway

~ kitchen fireplace warms 
the heart of the home on cool mornings ~

Although nights are getting cooler, we still haven't had frost in the valley. I'm sure someone, somewhere wants to say, "Global warming..." but as weather records have only been kept for the last 100 years, or thereabouts, I'm not sure of such definitive statements. As Dave would say, "Where you stand depends upon where you sit."

~ lanes are filled with wildlife; 
this straggler turkey last in a dozen ~

Last week, two days of rain gave a parched earth a brief respite even as the East Coast was pounded by torrential rain and wind brought forth by Hurricane Matthew. Usually, November brings rain and, combined with cooler weather, means a lot of woolens, flannel lined jeans, jackets, scarves and hats. Meanwhile, the farm, house and animals are being prepped for winter and before hard winter gets here, I'm thinking a mare needs to be put down. Lightly, the first horse born on this farm, was put down last November; it seems next month, her mother will be put down. Both easy keepers and hoof problems plagued them; it seems cruel to force Peaches, her mother, to walk on frozen ground for the next four months, especially as she is 27 years old. She's lived a wonderful life, better than most people on this earth and she'll be given a gentle death, then burial, on this farm.

~ antique livestock scales ~

The wonderful men from VA Dept of Agriculture and Consumer services came and certified my antique/vintage livestock scales. Scales are a necessity on a cattle farm...cattle are weighed prior to taking to market and money paid by the pound. Like everything else on this farm, the scales are well made, old and still giving great service. (Well, okay, my body is giving me good service but as soon as I finish healing, I'll be back to

Beautiful days follow beautiful mornings and neighboring farmers are busy cutting corn for silage to feed their cattle this winter. I watch them as I mow pastures, cutting weeds so the horses have an easier time at grazing summer's last grass. Two days ago, I mowed the garden, several times as the weeds were so tall, the job had to be done with the tractor mower in various levels. As I mowed, mice and moles, perhaps voles but it was difficult to tell due to their quickness, were stirred and the dogs gave chase.

For your prayers and good wishes, thank you. The same week I returned from Ireland, I had unexpected outpatient surgery and ended up with MRSA. The seventh day I finished antibiotics, I came down with an upper respiratory "problem" and am still recovering. I still have laryngitis and am battling a pulled or strained back muscle, but am on the recovery road; at least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! -lol- Thank God for walking sticks!

With winter pushing hard against autumn, I've been relentless in my attack and prep work. Probably, I won't finish but I'll make a good enough dent to notice and that's helpful. The convection oven, slow cooker and pottery egg cooker are getting a good workout and ensure I feed myself almost as frequently as I feed the animals.

 ~ hand thrown microwave egg cookers ~ 

Do you remember Mr. P, the woodworker? I'm giving away one of his hand crafted nut bowls, complete with nut cracker equipment. If you'd like a chance to win a random drawing, you must be a TCF blog follower and leave a comment with an e-address no later than 5 p.m., October 20, next Thursday. Winner notification by 9 p.m., via e-mail (thus the need for your address) and you'll be given 24 hours to accept with your snail mail address. The nut bowl is good for continental USA residents only but if a non-USA resident wins, you'll be sent a Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland bookmark.

Y'all take care, be safe and don't forget to live a life of gratitude; we've all something to say "God, thank You". (My short list includes Tiger Balm patches, flannel nightgowns, heating pads, kitchen fireplace fires, kitchen aids, etc. ...)

Ponder this ~ How would you like to be married to you?

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"I am the Lord, God of all mankind.
Is anything too hard for me?"

"All things are possible to him who believes. 
They are less difficult to him who hopes. 
They are easier to him who loves, 
and still more easy to him who perseveres 
in the practice of these three virtues."

"All that is good, all that is true, all that is beautiful, all that is beneficent, be it great or small, be it perfect or fragmentary, natural as well as supernatural, moral as well as material, comes from God." ~ John Henry Newman ~

"God provides in amazing ways to get the work done.
He can provide what you need too." ~ Karen Moore ~

"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"We believe that the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification and faith, is not an act of man's free will and power, but of the mighty, efficacious and irresistible grace of God." ~ Charles H. Spurgeon ~

"Sometimes we are our own worst obstacle." ~ Sandra ~

"At strategic moments God again and again manifested Himself to men by miracles so they had outward, confirming evidence that the words they heard from God's servants were true." ~ Billy Graham ~

"Where God guides,
He provides."
~ Karen Moore ~ 

"Our Father in heaven.
Reveal who You are.
Set the world right:
Do what's best -
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with 
three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you
and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from
ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything You want!
You're ablaze n beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes."

Please pray for ~ Nancy ~ Alisha ~ Sandra (recovering slowly) ~

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

Sorry. Between computer problems and being too sick to hit the floor with my hat, there's no Sabbath Keeping post today.

Please pray for ~ Isaac's family ~ Anita ~ Julie ~ Nancy ~ Alicia ~ Diana and her Hero ~ Patrice and daughters ~ Sandra ~ 
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