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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, January 29, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"Wait on the Lord.
Be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."

"I am thy shield. Have no fear. You must know that "All is well." I will never let anyone do to you both, other than My Will for you.
I can see the future. I can read men's hearts.I know better than you what you need. Trust me absolutely. You are not at the mercy of Fate or buffeted about by others. You are being led in a very definite way, and others, who do not serve your purpose, are being moved out of your Path by Me.
Never fear, whatever may happen. You are both being led. Do not try to plan. I have planned. You are the builder, not the Architect.
Go very quietly, very gently. All is for the very best for you."
~ God Calling ~

"Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is "timing"
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way."
~ Fulton J. Sheen

"If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us; it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord's people have always been a waiting people." ~ Charles Spurgeon ~

"Men trust God by risking rejection.
Women trust God by waiting."
~ Carolyn McCulley

"Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be."
~ John Ortberg ~

"Quite honestly, most people are quick to "write someone off." But our God is a God of the second chance. Learn from One who is patient with you, and you'll learn to be patient with others." ~ Woodrow Kroll ~

"He may delay because it would not be safe to give us at once what we ask; we are not ready for it. To give ere we could truly receive, would be to destroy the very heart and hope of prayer, to cease to be our Father. The delay itself may work to bring us nearer to our help, to increase the desire, perfect the prayer, and ripen the receptive condition." ~ George Macdonald ~

"Fall on your knees and grow there. There is no burden of the spirit but is lighter by kneeling under it. Prayer means not always talking to Him but waiting before Him till he dust settles and the stream runs clear." ~ F. B. Meyer ~

"A man must not stop listening any more than praying when he rises from his knees. No one questions the need of times of formal address to God, but few admit in any practical way the need of quiet waiting upon God, gazing into His face, feeling for His hand, listening for His voice." ~ Charles H. Brent ~

"But how much self-reliance obtains in Christian service. More effort is exerted in planning and arranging than in waiting upon the Lord. Double is the time expended on preparing the division and conclusion of a sermon than on receiving the power from on high because there is so much trust in the flesh."
~ Watchman Nee ~

"Never was a faithful prayer lost. Some prayers have a longer voyage than othrs, but then they return with their richer landing at last, so that the praying soul is a gainer by waiting for an answer." ~ William Gurnall ~

"That world outside there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity, it's waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity." ~ Leonard Ravenhill ~

"Wait is a verb."
~ Sandra

"And while staying with them 
He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for the promise of the Father."
~ Acts 1:4

Please pray for ~ Sissie at Shabby Cottage ~ Diana and John ~ Jim ~ Stephanie ~ Sandra ~

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"I am here to serve you."

As we slide toward January's closing, a few photos to give you a glimpse of Heaven on earth. The above is similar to the header photo; the valley view I see daily and it's always fresh and new.

A volunteer among the Jade plant; the amaryllis came from...? I haven't any idea but it's a lovely, unexpected surprise.

Maiden Spring is absolutely roiling; I've not seen it this full in some years. Please note although road signs says "Maiden Springs" there is but one spring, no more. When I pointed this out to a VDOT employee, I was told, "Well, it'll cost to much to change everything so we won't." I have a hunch this error was made due to the VDOT sign that references the fort that was nearby. That sign says, "Maiden Springs Fort..." and thus the error continues. The fort was established by Reese Bowen, an umpty-umpth grandfather of Dave's, and garrisoned in Dunnmore's War in 1774. Dave's mother always told the story of one of her umpty-umpth Grandfather, c. 1750 who, while on a hunting expedition, saw a maiden deer drinking from the spring and thus the name. She always claimed her kin were the first settlers while I always claimed they were the second as the Shawnee were the first...rightfully. We never agreed to

Whenever I cross the mountain to buy groceries or gasoline, I pass by Maiden Spring, sometimes seeing deer, cattle and, on this day, Canada geese.

Pulling the car to the side of the road, I visited for a while and enjoyed watching them perform their ablutions. 

There were dozens, both sides of the creek, making huge splashes and talking loudly to each other. It was easy to hear them over the roar of the water.

If you're curious as to how the house restoration is's going slowly. Low temps (in the 20's F) and high winds mean the house is cold. Thursday I caved and Eddie and I went to Lowe's where I purchased enough insulation to cover the outside walls.

I'd already purchased two heaters built to heat 1,000 square feet to knock the edge off the cold. Both rooms are about 18x18 feet so knocking the edge off is a very good thing...especially at night while sleeping because the bedroom has no heat save that little heater. The other heater is for the upstairs bathroom which is much less expensive than more frozen pipes.

Now I'm searching for radiators for the bedroom but so many people are going to heat pumps (UGH!) the call for radiators is minimal. I've made inquiries (thanks Ashley!) of two separate folks who might have the old fashioned radiators and might be willing to sell me a couple. Someone else (thanks John!) told me the people who make those outside wood stoves also deal in radiators.

Earlier this week, I spoke with a man who deals in Persian carpets and rugs; we made an appointment for me to take my (ruined) rug to him for evaluation. When that day dawned, it was snowing and sleeting so I called to reschedule. When I apologized for being too timid to drive two hours in inclement weather, his response was, "Please don't apologize. I am here to serve you and we can always reschedule when weather is better."

WOW! "I am here to serve you" has resonated with me ever since that conversation. Have you ever had a stranger tell you, "I am here to serve you"?
Have you ever had a Christian say those words to you? Have you ever said them to anyone? Does the idea of saying them to someone, a stranger, attract or repel you? It's been a clarion call to me and I question how well I'm serving Christ by serving others.

My planner serves me both daily and long term...the calendar pages I use are by Kathy Davis Studios and for each month she has an admonition. For January, it is "Seek Peace"....hmmmm...just can't get away from peace, can I? Nor do I want to get away from

Yes, this month has been "challenging" and the problems, not issues!, continue but, throughout it all, peace has been both blessing and gift. Although there is much to be done to restore house and belongings, I am beginning to slow down. Helpers come and go but I'm here 24/7 and the burden of all that needs to be done is wearing me thin. Laundry has been enormous due to salvaging by washing and drying my quilting materials and supplies instead of simply throwing them away. Throwing something away when it can be saved by some hands-on work goes against my Appalachian thrifty soul. The dining room furniture is being glued and, in time, will be restored to the best of Eddie's ability but there's no need to hurry as it will, ultimately, only hinder the process. Therefore, I believe I'll begin taking weekends off and will focus on doing those things I've been neglecting. Such as meal preparation, sewing, cleaning (notice where this is in and other things to be a balm and solace to ME. In other words, for a while, I am going to add me to the mix and I am going to

Ponder this ~ "Home! And happy to be." ~ Truman Capote ~

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"God changes times and seasons;
He deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise and
knowledge to the discerning."

"I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."
~ Ronald Reagan ~

"To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick."
~ Suzy Kassem ~

"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up. We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt ~

"No man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it. The honeymoon would be as short in that case as any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be ransomed by years of torment and hatred."
~ Thomas Jefferson ~

"It's not doing what is right that's hard for a President. It's knowing what is right."
~ Lyndon Johnson ~

"Ninety-nine percent of failures come 
from people who make excuses."
"The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph." 
~ George Washington

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives."
~ James Madison ~

"I am a slow walker
but I never walk backwards."
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

"I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessing on this house (the White House) and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof!" ~ John Adams ~

"Live simply,
 love generously, 
care deeply, 
speak kindly, 
leave the rest to God."
~ Ronald Reagan

"At the right time, he will make him known.
God is the blessed and only Ruler,
the King of kings and Lord of Lords."

Please pray - for peace to be in the land and in the people ~ for President Trump and his Administration ~ for compassion, mercy, kindness to replace hatred ~

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Air is Heavy and Scent Hangs Deep

~ Girly loves Sam with Gray Lady (rear) and Smudge Moonbeam ~

For a good portion of the last two weeks, we've had warm weather...very warm weather which is in direct conflict with snow, high wind chills of below zero double digits and temps of -5 degrees F we had Sunday, January 8 which caused this. It's been an epic, chaotic mess and had you asked me last night if I was up to it (after almost two weeks) I would have said, "NO!" Today, after a sleep of ten hours, I'm saying, "With God's continued help...". 

But I'm ahead of myself...every morning the air is heavy, pregnant with moisture, some days pouring buckets, other days only misty. The dogs are ecstatic as they chase scent after scent that hangs deep over the ground's surface. Even I see evidence of skunk, raccoon and, many times, startle the o'possum stealing eating cat food on the back porch. 

~ evidence of skunk activity ~

Let's get one thing, I do not feed the possum, the possum is a thief and contrary to what you see on face book...possums are dangerous critters, carrying in their feces protozoan that can cause Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM which can kill a horse. So, I allow the possum to steal cat food because it keeps him/her close to the house and not in the pasture; I'm choosing my evil, so to speak. What I'd really like to do is capture the thing and take them for a nice, long drive across the mountain!

This morning before dawn, at 0:dark thirty, I heard the far away call of Canada Geese. This is a surprise because they aren't due back for another couple of months; apparently, the warm weather is confusing a lot of us. My daffodils are pushing through the ground, trees are budding and all sorts of spring mischief is happening. Even I can smell the scent of fusty, furry little bodies and it drives the dogs in a tizzy as they wander from grass to shrubs to bush. 

The house is, slowly, being put back to right; the dining room is cleared of insulation, sheet rocks, staples, nails, heavy heating and de-humidifying machines (as an aside...cannot say enough great things about Jeff, Tyler and ServPro...I hope you'll NEVER need their services but the Kingsport ServPro is marvelous!) while the floor has been swept (many times), mopped (many times) and the dining room table is upside down, on mats, while Eddie is gluing legs together. The legs need to be attached so the table can be turned right side up in order to determine if the top can be restored. As of now, the top is white, due to water damage...this dining room suite was purchased by my mother-in-law and her husband when they began housekeeping in the mid 1930's and I want it restored along with the rest of the damaged furniture.

When the table is finished, the other pieces will be moved into the room and work started on them but it's impossible to know, yet, how much or what damage has been done. 

~ corner knee braces ~

~ joins to strengthen the length of support beam ~

It's been delightful to see, again, the hand hewn construction of this lovely old home! Dave and I looked at, then purchased this farm in 1995 and the real estate agent told us the house was built in 1900, but as she was wrong about so many other things, I now know she was wrong about this as well. I've been in touch with an employee of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources who says he's convinced this house was built 1850 to 1875 and others brought in to see my home concur. In the National Register of Historic Places registration paperwork for the 1879 St. Claire home, the then owner of my home, Mr. A. (Abindigo) White is referenced proving my home pre-dates the St. Claire home. 

In this photo, the center board has been notched to hang over the support beam below it which adds strength that is unattainable with mere nails. The nails appear to be hand cut.

The technique used above, showing the small piece jutting through the left side board is called mortise and tenon. Woodworkers have used this technique for thousands of years to join wood pieces, adding strength and security.

In the ceiling, original X braces add stability while Dave had the carpenter add other long boards, screwing and bolting them to their adjacent neighbor. The under floor of my bedroom is as beautiful as the top...more so since the top has had the stain boiled away. (The heating system is a boiler system, oil fueled hot water and when the pipes froze, burst and thawed, the hot water was fierce.)

Early days, when we were renovating, we found a piece of wood signed Thomas Hawkins, who was the original builder. We placed it behind the wall and in keeping with his sentiments, I labeled the inside clapboard with this: 

Thistle Cove Farm
Bought May 1995
To God be the glory
F. Dave Bricker
Sandra K. Bennett
married front lawn 
July 22, 1995
Dave died Nov 5, 2011 @ home

Now, not only will I leave my heart here, I'll leave this little testimony.

My hand knitted stockings are hung by the fireplace, adding to the home spun simplicity of candle lanterns, churns and small, wooden box. Probably, it's too much for some but it suits me and brings pleasure every time I see it, especially when there's a fire lit. 

Some spinning wheels are damaged but can be repaired, some Persian wool rugs are a total loss (hand spun, hand dyed, hand woven) while other modern poly are just about good as new and could, probably, survive the Tribulation

When the situation overwhelms, the dogs and I go for a Ranger ride and we see amazing sights, like the eagle above, that restore soul sanity. The peace spoken of here remains although tears have broken through twice. Still, that's not too bad and the men told me, "You're handling this extremely well!" I guess they've seen it all and my attitude is, "Why add to a stressful situation?" That's not going to help and might even hurt, if not me then others and certainly the "little Christ" I strive to be. I'm happy the animals and I escaped injury, I'm happy to have Mary as a BFF, I'm happy to have insurance, I'm happy to have good health, I'm happy Eddie and Faith have been able to help, I'm happy God has a plan.

 I'm happy.

Ponder this ~ God doesn't abandon His plans and made you as He planned in order to use you as He planned ~ 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"The eternal God is your [my] refuge and
underneath [me] are His everlasting arms."

As you may have read, last Sunday was a chaotic, epic mess. My morning devotions for that day, read prior to the chaotic, epic mess happening, included God Calling...this is that devotion:

Love Bangs the Door

"Life with Me is not immunity from difficulties but peace in difficulties. My guidance is often by shut doors. Love bangs as well as opens.

Joy is the result of faithful, trusting acceptance of My Will, when It seems not joyous.

Paul, my servant, learnt this lesson of the banged doors when he said, "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Expect rebuffs until this is learned-it is the only way.

Joy is the daughter of calm."

And, on Monday, when I awoke from an exhausted slumber, I read:

No Strain

"Be calm, no matter what may befall you. Rest in Me. Be patient, and let patience have her perfect work. Never think things overwhelming. (guilty!) How can you be overwhelmed when I am with you?

Do not feel the strain of life. There is no strain for My children. Do you not see I am a Master Instrument-maker? Have I not fashioned each part? Do I not know just what it can bear without a strain? Would I, the maker of so delicate an instrument, ask of it anything that could destroy or strain?

No! The Strain is only when you are serving another master, the world, fame, the good opinion of men--or carrying two days' burden on the one day.

Remember that it must not be."

"I have learned to kiss the wave
that throws me against the Rock of Ages."
~ Charles Spurgeon ~

Upset, someone asked me, "How can you believe this is part of God's plan?"

My reply, "Are you upset because I believe or because you don't?"

For everyone, faith and trust are choices. We all have faith and trust...the car will start, the electricity will work, the toilet will flush, our family loves us, etc. God has a plan and I choose to trust Him and have faith in Him that He'll bring His good will and His good plans to fruition in my life for His glory and my eternity.

Not because I love Him so very much but because He loves me so very much.

"In that way, you will be acting 
as true children of your Father in heaven.
For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good,
and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."

Please pray for ~ Regina, who just had surgery ~ Maxine ~ Laura ~ the new leaders of our country ~ Israel ~

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Well, there's bad news then there's good news...

~ 8 inches of snow on top of 3 inches of snow + extremely cold temps ~

Food, shelter, clothing are, or should be, everyone's concerns and once those three needs have been met, we're ready to move to wants. Lately, my concerns have revolved solely around needs; specifically around water...even more specifically, frozen water. Last month, the horse trough froze (several times) and this month, the heating pipes froze, burst, thawed and the resulting mess is epic...I'm sorry to say.

As the insurance adjuster and I are standing in my bedroom, he said, "I just don't see how the pipes could have frozen. Did you have the heat on?" It's a fair question and although the dogs and I sleep together, I still require need heat. My answer was, "Yes, but when the temps are below freezing (-5 degrees F) with a wind chill taking temps into minus double digits...and when the wind is coming from the west, clashing against the west corner of the house (my bedroom), Mother Nature will have her way with mere wood and copper".

~ Sadie, carries her chew treat to keep it from Sam
eventually, Sam returns the favor ~

When we first moved here, we were told the coldest recorded temperature in this county was on the hill to the northeast; a distance of a few hundred feet. In January 1996, Dave and I saw the back porch thermostat at 35 below zero but with no wind chill, thank God!

The bedroom, where the damage originated, had two or three inches of standing water. I began throwing down blankets, towels, washcloths...I managed to retain a modicum of sense and not throw down my red flannel As I was able, I threw things on top the bed, atop the stairs the dogs use to get into bed...Lord only knows what all I did...I can't remember.

To return to the beginning but making this a quick post...Sunday temps and weather were horrible for a lot of the country, including Thistle Cove Farm. The day began normally but as it wore, I noticed it began to get cooler in my bedroom. I raised the thermostat setting but cool became cold and the pipes eventually froze so using a heat gun and hair dryers, I attempted to thaw the pipes but it was a losing battle.

Due to my now complete and utter exhaustion, memory fades and confusion reigns but a vivid memory is of a crashing sound that turned out to be dry wall falling from the ceiling into the dining room. The frozen bedroom pipes had thawed and boiling water was being spewed forth like a geyzer and, yes, it did hurt burn when, using bath towels, I tried to stem the flow.

Immediately, I began running into the dining room, gathering up sewing/quilting supplies, machines, spinning wheels and taking them to safety. The winter after Dave died, I began using the dining room as a place to quilt, spin, weave, etc. as it was safer than going outside to the small building behind the house.

Twice, as I retrieved "something" and turned to run, the ceiling crashed down where I'd been standing perhaps two seconds before. Needless to say, there are no photos of events as they happened, only after the fact. As the ceiling crashed, in order to retrieve belongings, I had to take time to haul wet sheet rock and insulation to the porch...not a pretty mess, eh?

When it all began to overwhelm me, I grabbed the phone, dialed Mary and cradled the phone against my shoulder as I kept hauling stuff out of the room. When she answered, I'm rather sure I wasn't all that coherent but managed to say, "This is the worst it's been since Dave died; I can't cope. I'm afraid I'm at the point where I'll do something stupid." We both knew what that meant. She said, "I'll get Eddie and we'll be there as soon as we can."

Now this is the point where it needs be said what that entailed. Mary (and her son Dustin) had to leave their home in Burkes Garden, drive across a rather treacherous mountain, to Bluefield, WV, pick up Eddie, then drive to my home. That's a distance of about fifty miles...and in the night time low temps, snow and ice and it took them about two and a half hours when normally, it would have taken an hour, thereabouts.

The outside wall is a sheet of brown ice, colored by the floor stain and, yes, the wall will need to be painted in the spring. This process will take the house, and me, months to recover.

As soon as they got here, Eddie took over and Mary took me aside saying, "You need to stop, stand still and let's pray" and that's exactly what we did. Mary and I are both Bible reading, Bible believing Christians and, in the name of Jesus, she prayed for any and all evil (Satan) to leave this house immediately. She prayed for the peace and grace of Jesus to prevail, for any doubts in my mind to be gone.

You may know what the Bible says..."where two or three are gathered together" and for Mary praying I am eternally grateful. Actually, we'll probably never know, until we get to heaven, the full impact of her prayer.

When we couldn't get the water stopped, I called Daniel Miller who came and used rubber inner tube to slow the flow of boiling water. Both Daniel and Eddie are handier than pockets on a shirt and what they've forgotten isn't worth knowing!

Sunday wore on into Monday before things were to the point we could collapse and I'm pretty sure I may have passed out before folks were down the driveway. Even so, that didn't happen until the wee hours.

~ ServPro's heating mats ~

I would have thought exhaustion would cause me to pass out, and it did but only for a few hours. I woke early, sent an e-mail to my insurance company to get things going and, as soon as it was "working hours", I called ServPro and Jeff and Taylor came that afternoon. In the meantime, Mary, her children and Eddie returned and clean up began in ernest. By that I mean, Eddie started tearing down remaining wet sheet rock, moving furniture, etc.

So, what's the good news? Well, God is faithful and this is part of His plan. Other good news...once again, I can see how beautifully and well made is this old house. In the above photo, the mortise and tenon brace is evident and this is only one in the room, there are others along with knee braces and supports. In the attic, the joists are numbered in the Roman Numeral style...the way things were done by Master Builder Thomas Hawkins back in the 1800-1900's. I've always said living on this farm has been the best one-third of my life and nothing that's happened changes my mind. Bless the name of God, I am bowed but not broken.

How am I doing? As Dave would say, "C, C-" for a variety of reasons: I'm not sleeping well due to keeping the house so warm hot to dry out the plus 100 year old wood. I've moved to a spare bedroom and will live there for the foreseeable future but last night it was 85 degrees. The dogs pant and sleep restlessly and I sweat and sleep restlessly; I've been up since 2:30 and it's now after 6 a.m. I'm not eating well...takes energy I simply don't have and am busy talking to contractors (Gillespie Construction), plumbers (Daniel Jones), insurance adjuster, ServPro...on and on the list goes. Also, the machines being used to dry and de-humidify are LOUD...relentlessly LOUD and I've a constant headache. Plus, I can't use the coffee pot, microwave, convection oven or stove oven because the machines are pulling all the electricity and causes circuit breakers to flip off.

Last night, Brandon H. and his crew, delivered two loads of locust, cherry and red oak (hurrah!!), I'll have to order more oil and propane and it feels like I'm burning though money that would give Bill Gates pause. Bless God, today the temps are already in the 50's so the dogs and I will be able to get outside for a nice long gambol after I've returned from town errands.

For your prayers, I am ever grateful and, with God's help, I'll get through this as well (but, sorry to say, I'm sure to be even more negligent in responding to comments). In an effort to be "normal" (whatever that means...) yesterday, Eddie and I began clearing/cleaning the living room which is where the brunt of belongings were stashed while I was frantically rescuing things from the dining room. He then set up my laptop computer on the desk and linked it to my scanner/printer. It's my intent, when clean up, construction, etc. becomes overwhelming, to begin work on the story of the best one-third of my life. The working title is The Thistle Cove Farm Epistles ~ God Has a Plan.

Wish me well, eh?

Ponder this ~

"God has not promised skies always blue 
flower strewn pathways all our lives through 
God has not promised sun without rain
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain

But God has promised strength for the day
Rest for the labor, light for the way
Grace for the trials, help from above
Unfailing sympathy, undying love. 

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden many a care

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide
Never a mountain, rocky and steep
Never a river, turbid and deep."    (here)

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Sabbath Keeping


Friday, January 06, 2017

Jan 6 - Theophany and Three Wise Women

We're well into the New Year of 2017 and, surely, I hope your Holydays were as cozy, special and peaceful as mine. This season was the best in many years; more than five to be exact. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point this last year, peace was the lovely gift given by Abba. Peace regarding Dave's death; peace regarding those who've stolen, lied, cheated me in the ensuing years; peace regarding my animals; peace regarding the house and farm; peace that everything will be okay...Everything's Gonna Be Okay!

Today is Theophany (manifestation of God), also know as the Epiphany; some may call it Three Kings Day, when the three kings visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem. It's the 12th Day of Christmas and, accordingly, my few, special decorations are still in place. Three candles represent not only the three wise men but also the Trinity, of which Christ was the human representative on earth. Those three wise men aren't named in the Bible but it's commonly accepted their names were Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar and represented Europe, Arabia and Africa. Gold (representing money), frankincense (adoration of a consecrated life) and myrrh (sharing in the Lord's sorrows) were brought as gifts for the baby. I believe in two more things...the gold represented the thirty pieces of silver given Judas when he betrayed Christ and the frankincense and myrrh represented the ointments used to anoint the body of Christ after His death.

The other I believe is more practical. The gold was used to pay the way for the family to travel to Egypt to escape the infanticide of Herod while the frankincense and myrrh were used to treat physical problems and ailments along the way. Joseph, Mary's husband, was a carpenter and he would have been used to those occasional accidents requiring ointments while Mary may well have been pregnant again by that time so those ointments would have come in most handy.  
Frankincense is known to relieve stress, used as a disinfectant and in healing wounds to name a few. Myrrh is an antioxidant, anti-parasitic with many uses. I've read some who say aromatherapy is "bad and anti-Christian" but my Bible says God gave us plants to use; like Joseph told his brothers, "You meant it for evil but God used it for good." My God is a mighty big God and I trust He'll sort things out.

Do you observe Theophany? If so, how?

Now for a lighter mood...if Three Wise Women visited the Christ Child, as my new mug says...

"They Who are Wise Women...if there had been three wise women, they would have arrived three days early, swept the stable, gathered fresh linens and had a hot meal ready and waiting when the Christ child arrived.  Yet they come today, bearing three precious gifts...Love, laughter & friendship!"

Marti, a friend of decades (Really! I have so few...any?... friends of less than decades!) gave this mug to me for Christmas. It's by the artist Suzy Toronto (Life is All About How You Handle Plan B...and ain't that the absolute truth!)

and has given much joy in the few days since Christmas morning.

The inside says "Wonderful Wacky Wise Women still seek Him" and so we do.

The Cove is in the midst of a snow storm with more snow expected so I've put together a soup of country ham, potatoes, home canned tomatoes, white beans and sweet onions. The slow cooker, otherwise known as my cast iron kettle, simmers merrily on the stove,

waiting the addition of home made bread with home churned butter and honey from my brother's hives, and sweet milk to round out supper.

Do I know how to eat or what?! lol I wish you were here to share with me; it's going to be grand!

This is a day of large beginnings...but isn't every day? I have a few plans for this year...some delightful travel, visits with family and friends, quilting, knitting some hats, boot toppers and scarves. I'm hopeful my aspirations aren't larger than my! I'm leaving a legacy for family, friends and strangers. I'm trying to be Jesus-like and some days I actually succeed; other days I fail miserably but don't let that stop me from trying again and again and...

There's time enough daylight to throw some hay out for the horses and my helpers are willing although not very able (due to lack of thumbs but their enthusiasm is contagious!). My plans are simple...feed everyone (including myself), keep everyone happy (including myself) and treat others the way I'd like to be treated.

Big plans? Not really, but good, really good, plans.

Ponder this ~ life and time are the world's two great teaches us to make good use of time and time teaches us the value of life ~

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"In the beginning God created..."

"Life has no remote,
so wake up and change it."
~ Sushil Singh ~

"I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's." ~ Henry Moore ~

"It is difficult to live in the present,
ridiculous to live in the future
and impossible to live in the past.
Nothing is as far away as one minute ago."
~ Jim Bishop ~

"One resolution I have made, and try always to keep is this - to rise above the little things." ~ John Burroughs ~

"You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me."
~ Anais Nin ~

"To dress up today in the threadbare garments of yesterday is to create an
impoverished tomorrow." ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough ~

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year." ~ Emerson ~

"He who breaks a resolution is a weakling, he who makes one is a fool."
~ F. M. Knowles ~

"New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time." ~ James Agate ~

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something. So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever." ~ Neil Gaiman ~

"New Year's Day is every man's birthday." ~ Charles Lamb ~

"There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
~ C. S. Lewis

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Please pray ~ praying is a conversation with God. PRAY daily - Praise Him for His many blessings to you and yours; Repent of your shortcomings; Ask for those things that will help you serve Him better, that you want or need; Yield to His spirit as you listen for His quiet whisper. 
Another way to remember is ACT - Ask, Confess, Thankfulness. ~
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