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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, 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:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
X.

"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 of...blue 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 DNA...to 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 speed...lol.

"...it'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 complete...at 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 going...at 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 1993...so 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 ~

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thank You for serving!

Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to men and women who have given their time, their efforts and in some cases their limbs and lives in service to the United 
States of America. 

As we end Veterans week, and from someone who has been handed an American flag during a military funeral, thank you Dave and all.


FACTS: 

Ft. Dodge, Iowa
Col William Newman, Commanding Officer
Col Rush S. Wells, Directing Officer
18,000 officers and men
Base to shoulder: 150 feet
Right Arm: 340 fee
Widest part of arm holding torch: 12.5 feet
Right thumb: 35 feet
Thickest part of body: 29 feet
Left hand length: 30 feet
Face: 60 feet
Nose: 21 feet
Longest spike of head piece: 70 feet
Torch and flame combined: 980 feet
Number of men in flame of torch: 12,000
Number of men in torch: 2,800
Number of men in right arm: 1,200
Number of men in body, head and balance of figure: 2,000

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Dear President Elect Trump...


Dear President Elect Trump:

"We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that 'except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind shall hereafter, from this unfortunately instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest." ~ Benjamin Franklin ~

People have put their trust in you; please, let it not be misplaced. No one knows your heart except you and God but know this...you and yours have been tucked in prayer and we will continue to pray for you. We want a country united, not divided. We want a President that puts the needs of her citizens first, and then helps the world, We want to be able to pray to the Lord God Jehovah when and were we want. We want a strong America, strong businesses, strong military, a health care and education system that actually work, and, according to the Constitution of the USA, a federal government that provides unity, justice, domestic tranquility, defense, promotion of the general welfare of the citizens and secures liberty for all.

Sir: you have been elected as our Leader and not our master. God bless you as you navigate the days ahead. Surround yourself with Godly men and women who will, prayerfully, consider how this country should be governed and then move forward in a positive direction. On your own, you have done well; with God, you will do better.

May you first seek God Almighty's guidance; may He bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." ~ Benjamin Franklin ~ 

Monday, November 07, 2016

VOTE Prayerfully, Carefully Knowing God Holds Us Accountable


Tomorrow we vote for President and Vice President of the USA. It is a privilege and duty to vote, one not taken lightly. However, this election is about more than the next four years; it's about the next three or four decades. The President we elect now will determine, in large measure, the sitting justices of the Supreme Court for, possibly, the next four decades! Do not think your vote does not matter; it matters tremendously...if not here then, when each of us, on Judgement Day, stand before God and account for every word, thought, deed, vote.

Your vote matters to God, vote wisely, knowing He holds you accountable.

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil:
God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak, is to speak.
Not to act, is to act."
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Nazi's killed this pastor for his faith ~

"Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians." ~ Charles Krauthammer ~

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." ~ John Quincy Adams ~

"The future lies with those wise political leaders who realize that the great public is interested more in government than in politics." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt ~

"Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."
~ John Kenneth Galbraith ~

"The very essence of a free government consists in considering offices as public trusts, bestowed for the good of the country, and not for the benefit of an individual or a part." ~ John C. Calhoun ~

"Politicians say they're beefing up our economy. Most don't know beef from pork."
~ Harold D. Lowman ~

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." ~ Plato ~

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." ~ Alexander Hamilton ~

"Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: 'Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Ponder this ~ to vote party, and not person, is to vote foolishly, not wisely. ~

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sabbath Keeping


"For God will bring every deed into judgement, 
including every hidden thing
whether it is good or evil."

"I must admit, I am so tired of people quoting Matthew 7:1 ("Judge not that ye be not judged") out of context in claiming we are not to judge. And of course, as they do, they are judging us for what we say! Now John 7:24 states, "Do not judge according to appearances but judge with righteous judgement."
~ Ken Ham ~

"God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools...and He has not been disappointed. ...If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world." ~ Judge Antonin Scalia ~

"When God wants to judge a nation,
He gives them wicked rulers."
~ John Calvin ~

"God is looking for broken men [and women] who have judged themselves in the light of the cross of Christ. When He wants anything done, He takes up men [and women] who have come to the end of themselves, whose confidence is not in themselves, but in God." ~ Henry Allen Ironside ~

"How easy it is to judge rightly 
after one sees what evil comes from judging wrongly." 
~ Elizabeth Gaskell

"I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world
than stand with the world and be judged by God."

"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think." 
~ Margaret Mead ~

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: 
God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak, is to speak.
Not to act, is to act."
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"God judged it better to bring good out of evil
than to suffer no evil to exist."
~ Augustine of Hippo ~

"God sees us as we are,
loves us as we are,
and accepts us as we are.
But by His grace
He does not leave us as we are."
~ Timothy Keller ~

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
Trust in God;
trust also in me."
~ Jesus, John 14:1 ~

Please pray for ~ the family of a 10 year old girl who was taken from church and whose body was found in a well ~ Jon Schmidt family, whose daughter, Annie, disappeared on a hiking trip ~ prayerfully consider Tuesday's election...this election is about more than the next four years (President), it's about the next four decades (Supreme Court Justices) ~ 

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Do You See the Mystery?


"A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible."
~ Welsh proverb ~

Lately, meals have been English cheddar cheese, Honey Crisp apple and Pumpkin Seed Cheddar crackers. A pint of Smithwick's or Harp would be wonderful but probably not going to happen in this rural burg. However, if I'm wishing...I'm wishing for Tom Crean's and time for another trip to Ireland, I'm thinking.

Today has been justly spent...laundry, reading a novel, cleaning the humming bird feeders, a Ranger ride or three, Sam, driver's seat, and Sadie, riding shotgun while I'm forced to drive from the middle, during this day of incomparable beauty.


Then again, aren't all days pretty grand when one wakes above ground?

The milkweed is blooming and seeds are ripe for the gathering. I adore milkweed although I'm surrounded by folks who despise it, consider it a weed and spray to rid fields and road sides. It's the Monarch caterpillar's only host plant and this site says Monarch butterfly population has dropped by 90% in the last twenty years. I can certainly see a difference in this valley and it's frightening to think such beauty could be lost. I've yet to identify the variety found on the farm but if you're interested in planting seeds, I'm willing to collect and send them to you. Let me know in the comments so we can get together with addresses, etc. I'll send to as many people as I can while the seeds may be found and gathered.

During WWII children were put to work (gasp!) gathering milk weed pods to be used in life vests which were called "Mae West's". Later, in the 1970's the suggestion was made to change the name to "Dolly Parton's". Today, that's probably not politically correct; as to working the lil' darlin's...that's probably against some child labor law somewhere. God forbid the lil' darlin's actually earn their keep or do something for the good for others...we mustn't damage their frail psyche's. I say teach them the benefit of good, honest work; to love God, family and country then get out of their way so they can become productive members of society.  There are any number of farm kids who, at a tender age, are working cattle, sheep, goats and other livestock (vaccinations, castrations, trimming feet and all the rest) all while learning responsibility, math, training their eyes to recognize potential health problems, etc. Yeah, I'm all about farm kids!


Canada geese are here in droves...must be hundreds and their call of the wild cascade the valley morning and evening. This low tech granny is trying to get video and sound but my skills are less than geeky. Unless, of course, we're talking churning Jersey cream into butter.


One reason for today's ride was to see the highway departments scraping job. They've been scraping both sides of our dead end road and I'm only hoping they don't put those hideous lines on the sides or middle. There's room enough for two vehicles to pass and there are only a handful of folks living on this road...we all know how to drive and visitors come and go...thankfully...lol.


This lovely old building belongs to a neighbor and every time I pass it, lust after it. I can only imagine the beautiful floors or even another building that could be made from those logs.


Just look at those mortise and tenon joints...incredible! Around here, a lot of the older homes were made using those exact joins, notched with Roman numerals.


This lane goes to the house where Lassie was filmed and it still tickles me to say, behind the boy and dog on the DVD/video cover, is my farm and the same poster hangs in my living room.

That's my Saturday, a good portion of it anyway, and where I live never fails to bring contentment and happiness. Yes, we're closing in on winter; yes, it's going to be physically difficult; yes, I'm getting older (thank God!) and yes, with His help it'll be just fine.

One reminder: if you've not read Mag's account of my Belfast visit, click here. After arrival home and talking with Dad, it seemed to me he asked somewhat wistfully, "Would you consider moving to Ireland?" I said, "Dad, if I didn't have family here, I'd move there in a blink of an eye." So, for the foreseeable future, everyone is safe...lol.

Today is bittersweet...another day of rare beauty and the fifth anniversary of Dave's death. I believe the Bible, "absent with the body, present with the Lord" when believers have made their peace with God. Which Dave did; only five days before his death, he made his peace with God which means I also have peace. It's both blessing and gift.


Ponder this ~ "you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."
~ Daniel Patrick Moynihan ~