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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.

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 nightgown...lol. 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 firewood...black 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)

60 comments:

  1. Dear Sandra, Thank you for updating us. I am so very sorry. I have been earnestly praying, even before I knew exactly what the emergency is. My prayers continue. Love and hugs, Mildred

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    1. it's been, and continues to be, a chaotic mess. will be ever so glad when ServPro retrieves their machines...NOISE, NOISE, NOISE...I can't hear myself breath. thanks for your prayers!

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  2. The old construction is incredible. That long walk will feel good after 85 degree nights.

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    1. trying to sleep in a bedroom that's 85 degrees is as close to hell as I ever intend getting.

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  3. When you posted EMERGENCY! I envisioned all sorts of disasters. Glad you're okay! It's good that God knows what we're praying about even when we don't! This brings back memories of our old log house. We lived in the basement for 17 years(!!!)until we could finish the upstairs. For the first few years we didn't have a roof. Just a flat covering of plywood with a plastic tarp over it. Our woodstove sparks made little pinholes in the tarp and when it rained outside, it rained inside. Eventually, after a few years, we got the log walls up and a roof on it, but it was a long haul. For a long time I cringed when I heard a dripping sound. I praise God for a dry home! And I praise God that yours is now warm and dry. That's a big deal!

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    1. I forgot to mention that my favorite time of year was when it was really cold and everything froze. Then at least the ceiling wasn't dripping, lol. :)

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    2. LOVED your stories and thanks for your encouragement...can't remember where you said it...please remind me...but yes, to recent peace post and following events. Lisa, you are a wise woman.

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  4. Thanks for the update. Will continue praying for the process!

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  5. So thankful for you that friends came to help and prayed over the devastation. I've been praying for you and will continue to pray. I can't imagine your exhaustion. Wish I was close enough to bring a meal by...

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    1. gosh, a meal sounds good...I'm embarrassed to say what I've been existing on at meal time.

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  6. Oh how awful for you...I understand what the 'emergency' call was now. You must feel totally shattered by all this, it hurts to see one's home, one's safe place, so spoilt. My God be with you in all the next few weeks while it is sorted out.

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    1. and He will be Elizabeth...He has promised.

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  7. Sandra, I will send up a prayer that you find renewed strength and resolve to tend what you must, and especially remember to tend to yourself as you go. So sorry to hear of your home woes, ugh, what a mess indeed. And holy cow, that is some COLD WEATHER, I didn't realize you reached such low temps down there.

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    1. yeah, I've seen some life stealing cold weather on this farm. bless God, no life has been stolen due to the cold but neighbors have lost calves and lambs to the cold.
      tending to me...gotta work on that...grin

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  8. Oh Sandra, how overwhelming...so glad you had good friends to come right away to help and pray with you. I think you will be busy with a new project for awhile! The beams are beautiful...maybe you can keep them visible in the restoration work. And I hope workers can get things done quickly, so you can cool down and get some sleep. The writing sounds like a wonderful creative and healing distraction from the work. Keeping you in my prayers...xoxo

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    1. no to keeping beams in view...much easier to put insulation, drywall up and keep going. I did call the folks who are interested in the house/farm and asked if they wanted to see the rooms and they said, "YES" and were here in a matter of hours. they loved seeing the construction; now I believe this house is much older than 1900.

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  9. Having just finished three months of studying Job, I'm thinking the Lord might be saying to satan; "Have you seen my daughter Sandra?" I've been praying; glad to learn it's not been "life or limb" but traumatic nonetheless. The Lord must want you in that house a little longer – obviously because I'm not in a position to buy it yet! ;-)

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    1. Michelle, thanks for the chuckle...I keep trusting God because I have no other choice. it wasn't life or limb because God moved me just as the wet sheet rock/dry wall fell behind me. Hurry up with your position! lol

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  10. My heart goes out to you. Truly sorry that this tragedy has happened to your beautiful home. The process of repairing will certainly be a process. A huge learning time with a curve ball to altering you for you will be changed. It's alright to cry and grieve some. May you bounce back and be all better. Will pray and think about you as you piece together your new norm. God bless. Hugs, d

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    1. wise advice indeed and thank you. not crying much because it takes energy away from the process of moving forward. when Dave died, I found out the hard way, crying left me depleted, empty and unable to move. it's all part of God's plan...that's what's getting me through.

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  11. Glad things are getting better. Continued prayers for you.

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  12. Oh my goodness what a turn of events to have happened. I am so glad that you and the dogs are all safe and not injured in any way. It sounds as though your homestead is a sturdy building and will be with you along the way, I hope that the damage will soon be repaired, and better than before with new insulation and protection installed I imagine. Take care in the meantime.

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    1. have had construction workers, plumbers, helpers, etc. here to assess damage. much can be done now but some has to wait until April/warmer weather. ugh.

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  13. I can see that God is with you, because otherwise I don't think you could be so sane and functional! XO Praying...

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  14. You know, many times in this life we wonder "why." And seemingly we very seldom get an answer. I have no idea why this happened to you, but I believe God is going to use this for your good and His glory!!! So sit back sister and get ready for the Lord to move in your life in a huge way!!

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    1. woohoo! maybe He'll give me lots of energy beforehand? LOL seriously, we are in accord with His glory.

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  15. Anonymous5:16 PM EST

    Thinking of you and praying that you will be supplied with the right amount of strengthen, patience and wisdom each day!

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  16. Oh my my my. Frozen and burst pipes at my place are amongst the stories I try to forget. Eventually, I bet you will, too. Meanwhile, one foot in front of the other, and what a relief that no one - and I'm including cats who feel the need to supervise - was injured.

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    1. yeah, those pesky cats...although the NOISE of the drying and de-humidifying machines are keeping them in the back of the house. as well, the dogs and I...cannot tell you how much I'm looking forward to Monday when those machines are removed!

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  17. So thankful for this update Sandra. While I know you are beyond exhausted and weary, our Papa was working behind the scenes to provide the help you need. Will continue to uphold you through the renovation that will need to be done. So very thankful for His arms of protection around you and the dogs.
    Hugs, love and prayers.
    Noreen

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    1. Noreen, thank you so much...we are in accord.

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  18. Oh, Sandra. I am so sorry that you have had to endure all this without a life partner by your side. I KNOW you are capable AND able but still-it is easier to share the burden with someone by our side.

    Thank God that He protected you from even more damage--from fire and that it happened that you had someone you could call on for help.

    As you know, I, too, believe in the power of prayer. Sometimes we waver, and falter, we bend under our burdens but with God's help---we DO NOT BREAK.

    I will keep you in my prayers as you go through the clean up mess. We had something similiar on a smaller scale about 3 years ago and had a mess for months--but it did get done and we were better off in the end. Now is the time to super insulate if you can while it is all pulled apart.

    Blessings and love- xo Diana

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    1. Diana, one of my first thoughts...Dave, WHY aren't you here? Dumb, eh? We had great insulation but the heating system just couldn't keep up with the cold. In the last 20+ years, construction has come a ways so we'll update the heating pipes.
      Yes, the damage could be much, much worse...even total. Thank God for His blessings and gift that it's not worse.

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  19. Good grief Grace! Well done in Sandra fashion I must say. The Devil has nothing on you. Our big frozen pipe story wasn't nearly as involved as yours and in the barn. Ice rink results none the less. Continuing prayers.

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    1. greatly appreciate the prayers...frozen pipes are never fun, always a big mess no matter the location.

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  20. Dear, dear Sandra ~ I am so thankful for your dear friends who came to help you when you called. Thankful for the prayer to God for His help right then. He is most definitely with you through this event and in the end, eternity, you will see what it was all about. You will see God's glory revealed as to how He worked through all of this.

    I'm glad to read that things are being cleaned up and that you can see the beautiful construction of your home. I pray renovation will go smoothly and that all of your needs, and some, will be met.

    Love, hugs & continued prayers ~ FlowerLady

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    1. a Christian's life is for God's glory, isn't it Rainey? Hopefully, I'll not see what it's all about for a lot of years to come, eh?
      I'm ready to go but I'm not homesick! lol

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  21. Prayers of gratitude that in your literal hour of need - good Christian workers showed up. Yep - He is faithful and sure to provide - sometimes the route to provision seems like a broken GPS but then we don't see it all do we? Continue to keep you in prayers and trust you will come through this yet again stronger, smarter and your fabulous sense of humor still intact! Love you

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    1. I can't even work a working GPS...think that's my problem? I dunno, Linda Sue...I'm weary beyond belief.

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  22. Sandra,
    I'm still rereading your post before last with the gift of peace you've been given.
    This post reminds me of Charles Spurgeon's quote that I hold dear;
    "I have learned to kiss the wave
    That throws me against the Rock of Ages."

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    1. Carol...so good to see you and thanks for commenting. I now know you're on WP but have misplaced my password to comment...grrrrr... Thank you for the Spurgeon quote...am using it tomorrow.

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  23. Oh Dear Sandra, you have been on my mind and prayers since your request. I'm thanking God for his children coming to rescue you during this time. I'm still praying for courage and strength. You are an amazingly strong woman and I'm proud to know you. Love to you, dear one. ♥

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    1. Oh Martha Ellen...I don't feel very strong; I feel like a dumb, stupid ox standing in the field saying "Plod on Plod on Plod on". Thank you for your prayers.

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  24. Isn't it amazing that you actually got through this? You are OK and the animals are OK. The house can be repaired and hopefully your insurance will cover most of that. What sterling friends you have, which is a testament to your goodness, Sandra. Now that it's over, I know it doesn't seem as bad as it was. That's being a human. Go forward into the repairs, you might even like it better once it's finished. Of course, you know I couldn't have managed one minute of this! You are my hero! And, I love love love you !!

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    1. yes, Marsha, totally amazed and continuing to be amazed at it all. not so sure it's still not as bad as it seemed though...an enormous amount of work to be done...will take months...and we're still winter. at least the bedroom and dining rooms will be repainted...a different color...have already picked them out.

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  25. How horrible for you. But thank heavens you have good friends & neighbours who can help support you. I pray that you will have the strength to get through this, trusting in God. Maybe your testament in the face of all this will have an effect on those workpeople passing through your house, and show them your trust in God's goodness.

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    1. God's strength, wisdom, discernment, grace, etc. are mine because He promised and I claim; otherwise, I'm as empty as an old sieve. The workmen have been wonderful and coming tomorrow to bring my rugs and pick up their machines...hurrah!

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  26. Oh my, oh my, oh my . . .
    I am a week late commenting . . .
    I can't imagine . . .
    So very sorry, sad, for the BURST PIPES diaster
    and wish I could be there to help.
    I imagined ALL kinds of emergencies . . .
    nothing like this!
    Thank God for friends, family and your renewing spirit . . .
    God Bless You


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    1. it's been a mess, continues to be a mess and won't be finished being a mess until April or May. that's when we anticipate having the floor refinished. already, I'm exhausted...lol

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  27. Yes, I am praying for you Sandra. What a true and priceless blessing to have a friend that will stop in the midst of chaos and encourage you to pray together !

    But wow, I am blown away by the magnitude of the damage and yet your fine old home will still stand strong, as will your faith because HE loves you.

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    1. prayers gratefully received, Kathy. this won't be over until April or May and I feel behind the eight ball now. the old house is doing a lot better than I am doing...lol

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  28. I am so very sorry to see this! I know exactly how you feel, except my ceiling fell down in a nor'easter. Won't go into the details but the heat, and the drying machines on for 2 weeks 24hrs a day are never racking.

    Thank God that you were not hurt and that you are blessed beyond measure to have a friend like this! WOW!

    You are in my thoughts and prayers, I hope the weather gets warmer and that you are managing to get a little sleep and nutrition.

    Take care and know that your faith will get you through this!

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    1. Yes to nerve racking! So glad the machines are gone and am greatly thankful for ServPro men. Being injured was a close call, a couple of times, but God kept me safe; many thanks for your prayers...greatly needed and appreciated.

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  29. Very sorry to hear of this catastrophe to your beautiful old home. You and that house are both made of good fibers and will recover, I'm sure. May God bless the recovery.

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    1. and God is, bless His name forever!

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  30. Oh my!!! I am just now reading about this. What a story Sandra. I can't even imagine. I pray that you are through the very worst of it. And for strength to persevere through the rest. Thank the Lord for your good friends. I will keep you in my prayers. Blessings, Deborah

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Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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